It was actually a great night for a long drive in the country. The silvery moon was full and bright with just a sliver of clouds silhouetted against the lunar sphere for aesthetic effect. Glimmering shadows stretched across the rolling hills and valleys of the Wisconsin countryside and even at eighty miles an hour with the convertible top down, the evening air was warm against his face.
Under different circumstances his photographer's eye would have viewed the picturesque setting with a reverent appreciation of nature, but not on this night. The tears in his eyes indicated more emotions than just the anger and rage he was feeling, there was also turmoil, hurt, fear, denial, and a sense of dread, dread at what he might find laying ahead.
As he pressed on ever so anxiously, he thought back eleven years ago, to that last year in college when he first met his wife. As a photography major, Richard had taken one semester of creative writing thinking it might come in handy at some time in his career.
He noticed her on the first day of class. Her sparkling green eyes and bright smile lit up the entire room the moment she walked through the door. Her soft blond hair would flip and bounce around her face as she expressed her delight with an intoxicating laugh and turn of her head. On the surface she was one of the most beautiful women he had ever seen, but it wasn't until their first date that he found her beauty on the inside was even greater.
She was a poet and could express the wonderment of her world as only someone with the soul of a poet can do. It was that soul that would capture his heart forever.
It wasn't a long courtship, it didn't have to be. The very essence of their creative passions brought them together in harmony. Their hearts beat as one and they both knew it would be that way for ever.
After graduating, Michelle went into teaching, but never had she given up her passion for poetry. Through the years she had much of her work published and her name was recognized in several literary circles.
Richard opened a photography studio and was well on his way to developing his own reputation as a commercial photographer.
Seven years ago they had Angelica, a gift from God. Life simply couldn't be any better.
Richard looked ahead as his headlights illuminated the black, asphalt paved, country road. It was approaching ten o'clock in the evening and he still had an hour to go.
He remembered back four years ago when Michelle was invited to this thing for the first time. She was so happy she couldn't wait till he got home, she called him at the studio.
"Honey," she said obviously excited, "guess what I got in the mail?"
"Well," said Richard, "by the sound of your voice I'd say ... mmmm, a check for a million dollars."
"No silly, I got an invitation to the Writer's Retreat. It's a three day workshop for aspiring writers. They have well known authors from all over that come and give seminars and lectures, works shops, writing exercises ... things like that. It's by invitation only and I," she emphasized the word I, "got an invitation."
"Honey that's great! Where is it?"
"It's in a little town in northwestern Wisconsin. I've heard about it. It's a tiny, little town with one hotel right near a lake. It's supposed to be very quaint. Just the kind of place for writers to be able to concentrate. So, can I go?"
"Of course you can go honey. Why wouldn't you be able to go?"
"Well, will you be alright taking care of Angelica and the house and everything all by yourself?"
"Honey," said Richard in a reassuring voice, "don't you worry about us. You go and enjoy yourself. We'll be just fine."
"God, how I love you," she said in appreciation.
That was when she met Sharon. The small country inn where they stayed had a limited amount of rooms so everyone had to double up with someone. Sharon was from Indianapolis, Indiana and shared the room with Michelle. From the moment they met they were the best of friends. Sharon also had been published several times but she was best known for her short stories.
Richard had also met Sharon for the first time that year when Michelle had her spend the night on her way home from the retreat. It was a nine hour drive from where they were in Wisconsin to Indianapolis so Richard and Michelle's house made the perfect overnight stop-over.
Every year since then, Michelle and Sharon were invited back to the Writer's Retreat and requested to share a room together. It was an event they both looked forward to every year. In the mean time, they maintained their close friendship by phone or e-mail.
Once again time was approaching for this year's retreat. For the past week, their excitement had Michelle and Sharon acting like two young school girls as they talked on the phone and used instant messaging to plan out their curriculum and travel plans.
The first seminar started at nine o'clock Saturday morning. Sharon would be at their house around noon on Friday. They would have lunch, then take off in one vehicle around two in the afternoon. That would give them plenty of time to get up there, check in, have some dinner, and get a good night's sleep ... after a few drinks at the bar, of course.
The workshop was always during summer vacation so Michelle never had to worry about work, for Richard; however, it was a different matter. He had to cut his work schedule so he could stay home with Angelica. Richard always let Michelle believe he was making a big sacrifice just for her, but in reality, it was as much fun for him as it was her. By that time of the year he could use a small vacation himself, it made him happy to see his wife so happy, and it gave him some great quality time alone with his daughter. It was a win, win for both of them.
Thursday was a busy day. Michelle was busy packing and getting everything ready and Richard was busy in the studio making sure all the loose ends were tied up so he didn't have to worry about anything while the studio was closed.
Later that night, after dinner, Richard went into his home office. He wanted to send an e-mail to all his clients one last time, just to remind them that he would be out of the studio for the next three days. Angelica was already in bed and Michelle was in the bedroom making last minute plans with Sharon on the computer.
Just as Richard sent off his last e-mail he heard the upstairs shower. One of their favorite past-times was to shower together and he wondered if she was too tired after her busy day. What the hell, he thought, the least I can do is scrub her back.
Richard ran upstairs to the bedroom as started to get undress when he heard her computer ding. He looked at the small instant messaging widow in the lower corner. It was still connected with Sharon. "Are you still there?" it read.
Richard thought he would answer her and say hi. He clicked the mouse to maximize the window and there, in front of him, was the entire conversation Sharon had been having with his wife. Just as he was going to type his hello, something in the conversation caught his eye. Who the hell is Heath and Justin?
As he read part of their conversation, his heart sank deeper and deeper into his chest. He knew the, "ME" referred to his beautiful wife.
ME: So, do you think Heath and Justin will be there this year?
SHARON: Oh, of course, we had so much fun with them last year, I know they'll be there.
ME: I'm thinking we should go all the way with them this year, what do you think?
SHARON: Ooh, you naughty girl. That would be fun, wouldn't it, just some good old fashion hot, animalistic, raw monkey sex. I love it, let's do it.
ME: Yeah, that's what I was hoping you'd say. Last year, in spite of how hard they tried for a good fuck, all they got were a couple of blow jobs. This year we'll give them a whole night of wild, passionate sex. Ooo, I can't wait.
SHARON: Hey, we could even get a little kinky, maybe a little bondage?
ME: Now that sounds like fun. We could throw in a little S&M? We could have them all trussed up like Thanksgiving turkeys. Maybe have them bent over the bed with their cute, little asses sticking up, vulnerable and just waiting for good spanking.
SHARON: My, my. You're really getting into this. You don't think that might be going a little too far?
ME: Well, maybe a little. :-) He, he!
Just then Richard heard the shower stop. He couldn't believe what he just read. No wonder she enjoyed herself so much he thought. He quickly reduced the messaging window and scampered out of the bedroom before Michelle saw him.
He didn't know what to do. It's not possible, he thought. Bondage? S&M? In ten years of marriage, she had never mentioned anything like that to him. They meet a couple of guys, and all of a sudden they're into all kinds of kinky sex? It just can't be true. But it was true. It must be, he just read the evidence of his wife's infidelity himself. He would never have thought it possible, and Sharon is her accomplice. His was fuming, but more than that, he was hurting.
Tears were welling up in his eyes. What should he do? Should he confront her, show her what he saw, what he read?
Yeah, he could do that, but what about next time. No, he would catch her in the act. Tomorrow, after they leave, he will drop their daughter off at his mother's and drive up there later that night. He envisioned himself walking in on all four of them. Too bad Sharon isn't married so I could ruin her marriage like she's ruined mine, he thought.
The next few hours were going to be rough. Somehow he had to get past his feelings and act normal so his wife wouldn't suspect he knew.
.... There is more of this story ...