"I'm not even sure he loves me anymore," Jennifer said with just a hint of moisture building in her eyes.
Vicki's long time friend sat across the coffee table from her with cup in hand. Small ripples disturbed the milky java as Jennifer's hand shook slightly with emotion. Vicki felt so helpless. She knew darn well her best friend's husband loved her, he was just so damn busy all the time he just forgot how to show it, that's all.
"Shit Vicki," she continued, "remember a few years ago, I told you all about the fun we used to have in the bedroom? We did some role playing, a little bondage here and there; don't ever tell him I told you, but he was even considering letting me screw him with strap-on at one time." Vicki's face registered the shock she felt from Jennifer's admission. She tried to visualize Andrew bending over the bed with Jennifer behind him wearing a big strap-on. She grinned. No, she knew Andrew better than that. They had all been friends for a long time. Andrew was all man. He would never agree to that, neither would her own husband. Still ... it was fun to fantasize.
"That's just between you and me though, okay?" Jennifer looked at Vicki.
"He never did let me do it to him anyway. I knew he wouldn't, but just the fact that he was thinking about it was kind of fun for me," admitted Jennifer.
"Honey," said Vicki with a soothing voice, "you know darn well Andrew still loves you as much as he ever did. He's just so damn busy with the studio all the time. Maybe you could just remind him how much he loves you."
"Remind him? How?"
"Well, I don't know, get him to take you out some night, or better yet, make a nice romantic dinner for him at home, complete with candles and wine ... something like that."
"That's not a bad idea," Jennifer said with a big smile, "I'll cook his favorite dinner and have a nice romantic evening planned."
You could almost see the wheels turning in her mind. "Maybe I'll even get some porn for the night, what do you think?"
"Well, hopefully you don't need the porn but I suppose it's not a bad idea, just in case."
"I'll do it," said Jennifer enthusiastically. "I'll plan it for this Friday, that gives me five days to get everything ready and that way we don't have to worry about how late it gets. He doesn't have to work Saturday so he'll have all night to fuck my brains out."
Both girls looked at each other with big wide grins on their faces and giggled like school girls.
Vicky told her excited friend, "Hey, if you need any help getting things ready just let me know."
"Thanks Vick, I might just do that," said Jennifer already dreaming of the big night.
"And if that doesn't work," Vicki said with a smile, "you can always take a lover."
"Yeah," chuckled Jennifer, "that'll be the day."
Vicki was absolutely correct when she said Andrew still loved his wife. The problem was, right now he had a lot on his mind. Slowly but surely he was losing business and was actually in fear of losing his studio entirely.
Andrew opened his own commercial photography studio a little over fifteen years ago, about two years after he and Jennifer were married. Since then the studio had been doing very well. About ten years ago he and Jennifer bought a nice house in a ritzy area northwest of Chicago.
That's when they met Vicky and Robert. They lived next door and were the first to welcome them to the neighborhood. They had been best friends ever since.
All this time Andrew's reputation as a photographer was instrumental in bringing in clients and expanding his business. About three years ago he took on an assistant. Her name was Audrey. She was young, about twenty-two and was studying for her own Masters degree in photography. She not only helped out with locations shoots but she helped in the every day tasks of running the studio.
Since marrying Jennifer, and opening his studio, Andrew simply couldn't have been happier. Lately, however, things were changing. It was called the digital era. It had already taken over the wedding photography industry and now it was encroaching into his territory.
It had taken years for Andrew to build up his studio. Professional equipment was very expensive. Piece by piece he added more and more equipment for shooting, lighting, processing, and enlarging his work.
Now, after years of acquiring everything he needed, it was all quickly becoming obsolete. Film was being replace by a digital flash card, the computer was replacing chemistry for processing and developing, and laser printers were replacing enlargers. And the cameras! The digital cameras he needed for his work were running eight thousand dollars each and he needed three of them to start with, not to mention all the newer lens made for them and all this was just the barest of necessities.
In the mean time he was already seeing an erosion of his clientele. Andrew's target customer was the smaller company, too small to be able to afford the outrageous prices of the large studios but who still needed quality work, the kind of work he provided.
The digital age, however, was making it much easier for the big studios to offer their work now at a lower cost, and on top of it, they could offer amazing computer graphics that he couldn't.
For the last several months now Andrew did his research and new what he needed. The approximate cost to bring his studio completely up to date digitally, came to just under a hundred thousand dollars. In addition, if he was to stay competitive he would have to go back to school and learn graphic design and computer graphics. In the mean time he would have to hire someone already skilled in those fields. It literally meant starting over and it was risky. Andrew just didn't know if he still had it in him to start over. The alternative was to close and get a job with one of the larger studios.
All this, of course, was weighing very heavily on Andrew's mind, so much so in fact, he hadn't even realized he was neglecting the most important person in his life.
Jennifer spent the rest of Monday making plans. Everything had to be perfect for their special night, the house, the meal, and her, especially her. She called the beauty shop and got the first appointment available for Friday morning.
The next call she made was to a florist who specialized in freeze dried rose pedals. She learned of the place when she and Andrew had attended a wedding where they were used. The florist was almost an hours drive but it didn't matter, the pedals would lay a pink and burgundy trail right up the stairs to their love nest. It was well worth two hours on the road.
Wednesday she picked up Vicki and they went to the mall. First thing on their list was romantic music. They had a CD player in the basement that took eight CD's at once. Speakers were all through the house so what ever she picked would play quietly through out every room, including the bedroom.
Next stop was Victoria's Secret. It took the girls almost two hours before picking out Friday night's ensemble.
Jennifer's romantic evening was working out perfectly. So far, she was able to get everything she needed. Now came the dinner itself. It would be Andrew's favorite Italian cuisine consisting of roast lamb with hurb crust and wild rice stuffed with raisins and pine nuts. She had to go to two specialty stores to find all the ingredients but she now had it all. Now, just add to that a chilled bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon and this, as she told Vicki, would be a night to remember.
Jennifer, not wanting to spoil the surprise, found it difficult not to show her excitement as the days and nights passed. On Friday morning she felt, down right, giddy on her way to the beauty shop. On the agenda was a sexy new hair cut she had seen in a magazine, a facial, pedicure, a manicure, and last but certainly not least, she would have her pussy waxed.
Because her husband sometimes worked with beautiful models, Jennifer always worked hard to make sure she kept her figure and looked as pretty as she could. As she walked out of the beauty shop Friday morning, the wolf whistles from everyone in the shop told her, she looked stunning!
By the time she returned home it was almost noon. Vicki was due to come over for lunch, after which she would help out with the preparations. "Oh my gosh," Vicki said as Jennifer open the front door for her, "you look absolutely breath taking." Jennifer smiled and said thank you as she stepped aside to give her friend access to her home.
By four o'clock everything was ready. The lamb with dressing was ready for the oven, and the Cabernet Sauvignon was chilling to just the recommended serving temperature. The CD player was filled with three hours of Sinatra's most romantic songs and candles were strategically placed to supply the most intimate atmosphere imaginable. Scented rose pedals led the way to the up stairs bedroom where the flickering candle light would soon be dancing across satin sheets.
"I want all the juicy details," said Vicki as she left with a smile.
"Oh you'll get them," said Jennifer. "Thanks again for all your help, Vicki. I couldn't have done this without you."
"That's okay, hon," she said. "Good luck tonight although I doubt you're going to need luck. Don't forget to call Andrew before you put the lamb in the oven just to make sure he isn't working late."
"I will," Jennifer answered as her friend left to return home. Next, thought Jennifer, comes a nice relaxing soak in the tub complete with her husbands favorite bath oil fragrance.
As her body slipped beneath the warm, perfumed water her eyes closed and she allowed her mind to slip away into fantasy. She could see his ruggedly handsome face looking down on her. She saw the love in his eyes, the tenderness of his touch. She could feel the white hot passion with every stroke of his steel like cock as it slid in and out of the fiery walls of her love canal.
Her hand slipped beneath surface. It's intent aimed at bringing physical pleasure to her erotic dreams. She stopped. No, she thought. It took all the restraint she could conjure up but she would wait. She wanted only her lover, her husband, her night in shining armor to be the one to satisfy her hunger tonight.
Time was closing in. Jennifer sat dress only in her robe. Time to call Andrew and make sure he will be home on time.
Her special ring tone told Andrew his wife was on the other end. "Hi honey, how's my gorgeous wife doing today?"
"Hi honey." He sounded up beat, he must be having a good day she thought. She smiled with anticipation. "I was just wondering what time I should have dinner ready, I know you're going to like what I'm cooking."
"I should be home on time, hon. I'll be walking out of here in about half an hour but you know Friday traffic. It'll probably take me almost an hour to get home."
"Okay, honey," Jennifer said trying to keep her excitement from coming through the phone, "I'll figure dinner about six o'clock then. Don't be late."
"That should be fine, honey. I'll see you when I get I home. Love you."
Jennifer was almost floating above the floor by the time she put everything in the oven. She ran upstairs to put the finishing touches to her make up.
Now for the peace-de-resistance, she thought, as she slipped into the flowing, black, see through, chiffon night gown that she and Vicki had picked out at Victoria's Secret. She looked at the clock, Almost time to start lighting the candles, she thought.
Andrew was just about to lock the front door to the studio when a man he recognized approached.
"Mr. Sutton, " the man addressed Andrew.
"Yes," Andrew answered back.
"My name is Harold Baker, I'm the VP at Hubbard Studios," he said while handing Andrew his card.
"Yes Mr. Baker, I know who you are. Please come in," Andrew said while opening the door. "How can I help you?"
"Just call me Andrew, please."
"Okay Andrew, thank you. Listen it looks like you're just about to close up here, could you join me in a drink? I'd like to talk over a business proposition with you."
"Sure. Plato's is right around the corner, is that alright?"
"That would be great," said Mr. Baker already reaching for the door.
The two men found a table in an isolated corner of the room where they could have some privacy and ordered.
"I'm going to lay it on the line, Andrew, I know you have to be hurting. Hell, most of the studios the size of yours have already gone under. The fact that you haven't is a testimony to the quality of work that put out. It's excellent."
"Thank you, Mr. Baker."
"That's no bull shit, you do good work. That's we I want to make you an offer. Our senior production manager will be retiring at the end of the year. He's a good man, excellent at his work, we're going to be sorry to see him go."
Andrew was starting to wonder what all this had to do with him.
"I would like to offer you his job, Andrew," Mr. Baker said.
Andrew's eyes widened. Hubbard Studios was the biggest in town. By being the senior production manager he would be leapfrogging over people who had already been there for years.
"Andrew," Mr. Baker continued, "if you take the job I figured the six month lead time would give you time to do what you had to do with your studio. I won't lie, I'm hoping your clients will come with us if they know you're working with us and I can even put you in charge of overseeing the accounts."
The two men sat and talked. Without actually accepting the position, Andrew negotiated his salary and bonuses. He wanted to knew how much actual control he would have over his projects. He had a million questions for Mr. Baker who seemed to have all the answers at his fingertips.
It was a good offer, there was no doubt about it. By the time they were done talking Andrew had a thorough understanding of every aspect of the position and what his duties and responsibilities would be.
"Well," said Mr. Baker, "I've given you a lot to think about. I've got to get going and I don't expect an answer right now. Why don't you think about it, talk it over with your wife...
"WIFE!" Andrew almost yelled loud enough for the whole place to hear him. He reached for his phone and realized he left it in the pocket of his overcoat, the one hanging across the room, near the door. Damn, he thought, if she tried to call me I would have never heard the phone. "What time..." He looked at his watch. It was almost eight-thirty.
"Damn it," he said raising from his seat. "Thank you very much, Mr. Baker. Yes, you have given me a lot to think about. When do you need an answer?"
Raising up from his own seat and a little astonished over Andrew's sudden need to get out of there in a hurry, "Well, to tell you the truth, Andrew, we have several more applicants in the wings so there is really no hurry. Would two months be okay with you?"
"Mr. Baker, two months is very generous, thank you. I will call you with my answer with in that time. Now I've got to get home. I just remembered, my wife called earlier and I told her I would be home on time. She had a special dinner cooking. Damn, I got so engrossed with our conversation I didn't even call her to let her know I would be late."
"I hope I haven't created a problem for you, Andrew?"
"No, Mr. Baker, it'll be okay. She'll be pissed but I'll make it up to her. Thanks again and I will call you and let you know."
As Andrew walked back to his car he looked at his phone, sure enough, there were two missed calls form Jennifer. He immediately hit the call button but it went right to voicemail. Damn, he thought, she must have her cell phone off. He tried the house phone but it too went to the answering machine.
Andrew jumped in his car and headed for home. Mr. Baker's offer was going around in his head. As jobs go, this wasn't a bad offer, even so, the money would be a little more than half of what he was making with his own studio. But for how long, that's the question; how long before he had to start cutting his own salary to pay expenses? If he did take the job would they still be able to live in the same place, would he be able to make the mortgage every month? Would he be able to do that anyway?
Although the money was certainly a factor, the thing that he hated most about losing his studio was the pride. He produced work to his own satisfaction. He was proud to put his name on it. If he took this job there would be others over him that would be able to yea or nay the work and force him to do it their way. That's going to kill him, he knew it up front.
As he pulled into his drive, Andrew was surprised to see no lights on in the house. Did she get pissed and leave the house, he thought, but when he pulled into the garage her car was there.
He really didn't know what to expect as he walked up the stairs from the garage into the mud room and then into the kitchen. He hit the light switch and, with one look, realized how much trouble he was really in. The candles on the table had been extinguished for some time. The unopened bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon swam in a carafe of warm water where ice had kept it at the proper temperature just a few hours previous. He looked in the oven and found the charcoal briquette that was once his favorite dinner.
Tears formed in his eyes as he started to understand the trouble his beautiful wife had gone through to make this night special. He looked around at the dark house and wondered where she could be. He walked through the living and stopped at the stairs. Wilted rose pedals adorned each step. My God, he thought, she'll never forgive me for this.
He looked up to the second floor and into more darkness. His heart was pounding in his chest. Had she left him? As he topped the stairs he looked toward the bedroom door. It too was dark. He couldn't approach, his feet wouldn't move, he was terrified she wouldn't be there.
Each foot felt as if it were made of lead as he slowly walked toward the door. He looked into the bedroom. He thought he could see someone in the bed. He tiptoed into the room. Relief didn't describe his feelings as he walked quietly around the bed to see his lovely wife lying there. He got down on one knee to kiss her. She was either asleep or pretending to be, he wasn't sure which. As his eyes adjusted more to the darkness he saw the streaks on her cheeks, stains from tears as she had cried herself to sleep. He saw the gorgeous chiffon gown she wore.
Andrew could not have felt worse. Not only was he losing his business but he is letting his wife down as well. He gently placed his lips on her cheek and kissed her. "I'm so sorry my darling, somehow I will make this up to you, I promise," he whispered. He wiped more tears from his own eyes as he rose and walked back down stairs.
As quietly as possible, Andrew cleaned up the kitchen. He threw the scorched lamb in the garbage, and cleaned up the table. It was still early but Andrew was wiped out, physically as well as emotionally. He didn't know if he should sleep up stairs or just on the couch in the living room. He decided Jennifer might even be more angry if slept on the couch so he walked softly into the bedroom and laid down gently next to wife.
As tired as he was sleep was not to be his friend, his studio, the job offer, the way he had let down his wife, they all played a tune in his head, and not a happy tune.
He watched the window curtains get brighter with the light from the morning sun. He reached for the alarm and turned it off before it disturbed his wife. He really didn't want to face her today. He could only imagine how angry she was going to be.
Andrew got up and went down stairs to make coffee. He sat at the kitchen table contemplating his future. After a while he heard Jennifer coming down the stairs. He jumped up and immediately started breakfast. She was still wearing the nightgown; even wrinkled from sleeping in it, she looked ravishing.
"Have a seat, honey," he said while cracking a couple eggs, "I'll get you a cup of coffee and breakfast will be ready in a couple of minutes." Jennifer sat down without saying a word.
"Honey, I'm so sorry for last night, I swear I'll find someway to make it up to you, honest babe, I'll find a way. I know all the trouble you went through and I just can't tell you how sorry I am."
Andrew set a cup of fresh coffee in front of her and went back to the stove to finish making her breakfast. He laid the eggs and sausage on the table in front of her and sat on the opposite end. She still hadn't said a word, just looked at him as she took a sip of the morning brew.
"Are you having an affair?" asked Jennifer in a monotone voice.
"No, oh honey, no," he adamantly denied. "Honey, believe me, I would never, ever do that. I love you, honey, with all my heart."
"You have a strange way of showing it," she said.
"I know, honey. Again, I'm sorry for last night. A client came in just as I was locking up. We started to talk and I lost track of time, honey, honest."
Jennifer took another sip of coffee then got up without even touching her eggs. "I'm going up stairs to take a shower then I'm going over to Vicki's, I'm not sure when I'll be back," she said walking out of the kitchen.
"Honey, aren't you going to eat your breakfast?"
"I'm not hungry," she said without turning around.
"So," Vicki inquired as she opened the front door for her friend, "how was your night?"
"It never happened," said Jennifer.
Vicki just stood there staring at her for a second, "What do mean it never happened?"
"He stood me up."
Vicki's jaw dropped in shock. "Oh honey," she said, "oh honey, I'm so sorry. What happened? Here, come on in. Have you had breakfast yet, I was just going to fix some for myself."
"Thanks Vick, I'd love some. Andrew fixed some for me earlier but I didn't feel like sitting in the same room with him so I took and shower and came over here. Where's Robert?"
"It's Saturday morning, he's on the golf course with his regular foursome. After they're done they always have lunch there so he won't be back till around three o'clock," said Vicki while pulling two more eggs from the refrigerator. "Now," she continued, "tell me about last night, what happened?"
"He didn't come home until nine-thirty."
"Did you remember to call him to see if he was going to be home time?"
"Yes, I did," Jennifer said with tears appearing in her eyes again. "He said he was going to be home on time. I had everything set for six o'clock. When he wasn't there by six-thirty I tried to call him but he didn't answer. I tried again around seven-thirty but still no answer. I waited until eight o'clock, by that time dinner was ruined anyway. I just sat at the kitchen table and cried till about nine then went to bed."
"Oh honey," Vicki said walking over and putting her arms around her friend, "I am so sorry. What did he say? Did you talk to him this morning?"
"He tried to apologize but I'm not in the mood. He said a client came in just as he was locking up but that doesn't explain why he didn't answer his phone. I looked him straight in the eye this morning and ask him if he was having an affair."
"Oh Jen, what did he say?"
"He denied it of course, but I'm not so sure."
"Jen I can almost guaranty you he's not having an affair. When would he have time? Think about it, he's always at the studio."
"You're forgetting about Audrey," said Jennifer. "She young, pretty, smart, and as far as I know, available."
"Andrew would never cheat on you, you know it and I know it. For one thing, I doubt he'd be able to keep it from Robert."
"Well Robert would probably protect him anyway. Isn't that some kind of a man's code or something."
"Jen," Vicki said while placing Jennifer's eggs in front of her, "let me tell you something about Robert. He is a fanatic when it comes to fidelity. He puts it right up there with, thou shalt not kill. If he thought, for one minute, Andrew was cheating on you, he immediately would disown him as a friend and he would tell you."
"Yes really," Vicki assured her.
"Well I don't know what it is, Vicki, but I'm losing my husband and I don't know what to do about it." Jennifer finally let go with the tears she had been holding back for the last ten minutes and cried like a child. Vicki scooted her chair up, put her arms around her good friend, and tried to console Jennifer as much as she could.
Andrew had gone up stairs to take a shower and get dressed. He didn't think he could feel any worse or more guilty until he looked in the waste basket next to their dresser. There, rolled in a ball, was the beautiful black chiffon nightgown that was to be the crowning touch of last night's demonstration of Jennifer's love.
Andrew sat on the bed. He couldn't feel worse if had just shot some kid's dog. How am I ever going to make this up to her, he thought. He walked around the house. He was going to do all the housework but the place was already immaculate.
He sat and waited for Jennifer to come home. When she finally walked through the door a little before two in the afternoon, he started to get up. He wanted to throw his arms around her and give her a big hug but she raised her in a stopping motion.
"Don't even bother," she said coldly.
"Honey you can't really believe I'm having an affair?"
"I don't know what to believe anymore," she said, "why didn't you answer your phone when I called?"
"I had already put it in the pocket of my overcoat, honey. I had laid it over the chair in the outer office and didn't hear it ring from the studio." He thought it was best not to tell her he was actually in a bar. "I tried to call you back later, but I guess you had already gone to bed."
She thought the explanation sounded plausible and she didn't really think he was having an affair but something was wrong, that much she knew.
For the rest of the week-end Jennifer offered him no assistance with trying to make him feel better. Monday was pretty much the same. She wasn't quite sure how long she was going to make him suffer, but she was still too pissed to even accept his apology yet.
Tuesdays and Thursdays Jennifer worked part time as a teller at a local bank. Tuesday afternoon she looked up to see a very good looking gentleman standing in line at her window. She wondered why he would wait in line when Tony's window was open next door to hers.
"May I help you?" she asked as he stepped up. He flashed his baby blue eyes and gave her a bright smile.
"Yeah," he said, "I'd like to make a deposit, but until I get to know you better, I guess I'll just settle for putting this check into my account."
She knew she shouldn't encourage him but she couldn't help give a small smile at this brashness.
Wednesday morning Vicki was over for coffee and some girl talk. "Vicki I've decided to take your advice," Jennifer told her.
"My advice? What advice was that?"
"I'm going to have an affair," she said blatantly.
"What? When the hell did I tell you to have an affair?" obviously upset with Jennifer's suggestion.
"The other day, remember? When we were talking about that romantic dinner and everything. You said, if it didn't work, I could always take a lover."
"Oh come on, Jen, you know damn well I was just joking," Vicki was getting more agitated by the minute, "if you really did something like that ... well, I'm sorry, but I would no longer be your friend."
"Not only am I planning to take a lover, I need your help to pull it off," said Jennifer.
Vicki was just about to get up and walk out. "Hold on just a second," Jennifer said pleadingly, "please listen to me."
Jennifer explained what she needed to do and she needed Vicki's help. After hearing what Jennifer had to say she was still apprehensive but she could see how Jennifer needed to do this.
"I still don't feel right, Jen," she told her, "but I guess I'll go along with it."
"Thank you, Vick, I wouldn't be able to do this without your help."
When Andrew came home later that night he got the best greeting he'd had since Friday night. She didn't throw her arms around him and give him a big kiss at the door like normal, but at least she was starting to talk to him again. As they sat eating dinner Jennifer made her announcement.
"I was talking to Vicki today. We're going to start going out with a couple of the other girls on Friday nights for a girls night out," she said.
"Girls night out?" he inquired. "Am I invited?" he said with a smile.
"Do you think you could pass the physical?" she joked back.
"So what do girls do on girls night out?" asked Andrew. He had no reason to be suspicious, it was just that now, since his wife was talking to him again, he wanted to keep the discussion going.
"Why?" asked Jennifer a little curtly, "don't you want me to go?"
Andrew looked at the scowl on her face. "No, no honey, it's not that, of course you should go. I was just trying to make conversation, that's all."
Jennifer never did answer his question and the conversation died down for the rest of the dinner.
The rest of the week went by with no major events or catastrophes. Andrew was a little late getting home Friday night. Just as he walked in the kitchen door the house phone started to ring. He didn't see Jennifer so grabbed it on the third ring.
"Hello," he greeted who ever was on the other end, but no one spoke. "Hello?" the second time was more of a question than a greeting. Just then he heard a click and then the dial tone. That was strange, he thought.
As he headed for the living room Jennifer was coming down the stairs. Andrew's eyes just about popped out of his head and his jaw dropped to the floor. It had been awhile since he had seen Jennifer dressed like she was. He couldn't remember the last time she wore that little black cocktail dress. It was so form fitting he knew she never wore a bra or panties under it. He rightly guessed the stockings she wore were stay up thigh highs and she hadn't worn four inch heels since the wedding they were at a few months ago.
Of course, as always, her hair and make-up was impeccable. "Jeeze honey," he said, "where are you going?"
"Did you forget already," she replied, "I'm going with the girls for a night out."
For the first time in their entire marriage, Andrew was suspicious of his wife. "Dressed like that," he said now sounding a little aggravated, "it looks more like you got a hot date."
"Don't be silly. We're just going out to have some fun," she said, "I need some time with the girls where we can complain about all our husbands," she said with a small smile.
"Well I just don't see why you have to be dressed like that, that's all. You're not even wearing any underwear," he said forcefully.
"How do you know I'm not wearing underwear?" she asked.
"Because I know you can't wear underwear with that dress. Even if I didn't know it, it's very easy to see you have nothing on under it, and if I can see it, so will every guy that sees you tonight see it." He was more than a little aggravated. He really didn't want his wife going out dressed like that without him.
"Well I'm sorry you don't approve, honey, but I don't have time to change now, Vicki will be waiting for me. I promise next week I won't dress up so much."
She walked up to Andrew and lightly kissed him on the cheek.
"That's all I get," he said.
"Sorry honey but I don't want to smear my lipstick. Don't wait up, we might be pretty late," she said walking out the door.
"How late?" he yelled as she was shutting the door but she was already on her way over to Vicki's house and didn't answer him.
Andrew went to the window and watched his gorgeous wife walk next door. By the time she got there Vicki was coming out to meet her. Well, Andrew thought, it does look like she's going out with Vicki and I know Vicki would never let her do anything so I guess it's okay.
Andrew really had a nervous feeling in the pit of his stomach as he walked to the kitchen. Jennifer had set some leftovers out for him to heat up for dinner, but in the shape his stomach was in right now, he couldn't eat. Later he tried to watch some TV to keep his mind from thinking suspicious thoughts but that queasiness in his stomach never left him all night.
Around midnight, Andrew decided to go to bed and try to get some sleep. Finally, at almost two in the morning, he heard Jennifer coming in the front door. He pretended to be asleep as she went into the bathroom to take off her make-up. So she couldn't tell he was awake, Andrew just barely opened his eyes and peered at her through little slits as she removed her dress and stockings in front of her mirror. He closed his eyes completely as she looked in his direction. She flicked off the light and climbed into bed. She was asleep with in minutes, a luxury Andrew never had all night long.
Andrew's only comforting thought was that his wife was out with Vicki. He knew Robert would never put up with any form of infidelity and couldn't believe Vicki would either.
Saturday morning Andrew got up at the crack of dawn, he hadn't slept a wink all night and saw no sense in laying there any longer. He made a pot of coffee and sat at the kitchen table staring into the cup of hot, black, nectar. Is he losing his wife as well as his business, he wondered. That phone call kept bothering him. You know what they say, he thought, if a man answers, hang up. Is that what happened, or was it just a wrong number?
He wasn't going to wake Jennifer. Let her sleep, he told himself. He was too aggravated, too pissed right now to talk to her anyway. She could be completely innocent and he didn't want to say something that would make matters worse. He had some yogurt for breakfast and decided to take a long walk to work off some of his frustration.
A good long walk always helped Andrew calm his nerves and he was feeling a little better by the time he got back almost two hours later. Jennifer was sitting at the table dressed in her robe.
"Hi honey," she said with a smile, "where have you been, I was starting to get worried."
"I went for a walk," he said in a flat toned voice. "So, did you have a good time with the girls last night?"
"Yes honey, thank you, I did. We're all going out next Friday night too. I promise not to dress so sexy next time though," she said hoping to placate him a little. Andrew didn't say anything.
For the rest of the week-end as well as the following week you could feel the tension in the air. When Friday rolled around again, Andrew left the studio a little early. He wanted to make sure he got home in time to see what Jennifer was wearing this week.
As Andrew was headed to the kitchen from the garage he heard his wife's voice. He wasn't positive, but he thought sure he heard her say her husband was coming. He entered the kitchen and looked over just as Jennifer was turning away from the kitchen phone. She had a startled look on her face. Another phone call, he thought, and just about the same time as the one last week.
"Who was that?" he inquired.
"Wow," she said, "no hi honey I'm home or anything? Just who was that?"
"Hi honey I'm home," he said curtly, "now who was that on the phone?"
"Just one of the girls I'll be seeing tonight, that's all. Why are you so angry?"
"Because I still don't like the way you dressed to go out with the GIRLS last week, he said, his voice still showing anger and stressing the word, girls.
"I'm sorry, maybe I did go overboard last week. I wasn't sure what everyone was going to wear and I just didn't want to be out done, that's all.
Is this better?" she asked motioning with her hands to emphasize her conservative attire.
Okay, it almost sounded like a legitimate explanation, thought Andrew. Maybe his suspicions are for nothing after all. The nerves that had him on edge all week long were finally starting to calm, just a little.
"Yes, much better," he said losing a little of the venom in his voice. "Where do you girls go, anyway?"
"Jeez, what is this, twenty questions?" Jennifer said defensively, "I don't know. If we do it like last week Vicki and I drove over to Barb's house and we decided there where we were going."
Again, a plausible explanation but he didn't really seem to be getting any answers.
"Honey, I have roast beef and potatoes in the crock pot that you can have for dinner. I got a run." She walked up and gave Andrew a kiss, this time on the lips. "I'll probably be late again tonight so don't wait up again. Bye, bye honey," she said closing the door.
For the second week in a row, Andrew went over to the front picture window and watched his wife walk next door and get into the car with Vicki. At least she's dressed in regular clothes this week, he thought.
Andrew dished up some dinner and sat at the table going over things in his mind. They hadn't had sex in over two weeks now, but it was kind of understandable. Jennifer had been really pissed about the dinner thing and he'd been really pissed since last week and hadn't even touched her in bed. Of course she hadn't touched him either. This has to stop he thought. I hope she doesn't come home too late, I would really like to make love to her tonight.
Unlike last week, when he his stomach was churning so bad he couldn't eat, he was enjoying the beef and potatoes. He was still mulling things over in his head when it struck him. Hey, he thought, if the girls can have their night out, why can't us guys do the same thing? He knew Vicki and Barb were two of the girls in their group, maybe Robert or Barb's husband, John, would know who the others were. The husbands could all get together and have their own night out.
Andrew finished his dinner and looked next door to Robert and Vicki's house. Damn, he thought, the lights are out. Robert must have gone out himself. He walked into the kitchen and took out the phone book. He found Barb and John's number and dialed it.
"Hello," Andrew heard from the other end. He was too shocked to speak for a second.
"Barb?" he asked as he heard a woman's voice.
"Yes," she said still not knowing who was on the line.
"I'm sorry Barb," he said, "this is Andrew, Andrew Sutton.
"Oh hi Andrew, to what do I owe the pleasure?"
"I'm just surprised to hear your voice, I thought you'd be out with the girls by now," he said his voice still showing some apprehension.
"Yeah, your girl's night out thing. I know Jennifer and Vicki go with you but I wondering who else was in the group? I figured since you girls were going out maybe I could get the guys together as well."