I sat at the dinette table slowly rotating my cup of tea; a cup of tea I had not yet taken a sip from. Across from me, she watched me do it. Sixteen years of marriage down the shitter.
"I'm sorry, Red. I—we—we—we..."
"I get it. Don't say anything else. Please don't say anything else. I get it," I said.
"I'd do anything to have spared you this, Red. Really," she said. I stood—suddenly. I turned my back to her.
"I said to please not say anything else, Darla." I could almost feel her nodding behind my back.
"The kids, am I going to have to fight you over them? Just say yes or no. okay." I said.
"Uh-no. I know you love them. We—we'll always have them in common." My turn to nod. I turned back to face her. There was something in her look, but I wrote it off to the exigencies of the moment.
"Okay. I'll be out of the house by morning. I don't want it, the house. You and your lover can have it to play in. She sagged back into her chair.
"Okay," she said. I turned to go, to leave. I stopped just shy of the door and turned once again.
"We should've grown old together, Darla" I said. "It's what should've been." I paused. "sixteen damn years gone!" I turned one last time and went out. Nothing else was said.
That was the beginning of what I was sure was going to be a truly sad tale. That, at least from my point of view if not hers—theirs. Neither of us heard them, the kids. But, they, I would later discover had heard us.
Darla and I met in college during our mutual senior years; we, the both of us, just twenty-two years old. She pre-Law, me Criminal Justice. She looking to one day hook up with a major law firm, me the state police. We shared a class together, Evidenciary Forensics.
Never the shy one, one might almost have termed me aggressive, I asked her to have lunch with me on our second day of class. She'd eyed me suspiciously likely figuring I only wanted a chance to get into her pants. Well, she was right about me wanting to get into her pants, but it was not by any means the only thing I wanted. I wanted her to be mine forever. Yeah, I know, love at first sight is supposed to be fool's gold. Well, those who think that are entitled to their wrong opinion.
"Why?" she asked, her tone coy and investigatory.
"Because your pretty and I really really like pretty girls," I said. I was not smiling. I had on my most serious of serious expressions; hell, I practiced it all the time in front of the mirror while I shaved in the morning. But, she did smile.
"Hmm, okay, you're pretty enough yourself to interest me, at least for the short haul. Meet you at the Hut at high noon." She turned, without waiting for me to respond, and walked off.
Lunch at the Hut led to a series of thirteen dates, by actual count, that before I got past first base with her. When I did, I had to summon every nuance of sexual experience that I had ever laid claim to or even heard of to keep up with her; and, even then it was at best a tie. She was insatiable and very very imaginative.
I remember my exact words preparatory to that first time, "Ready for the next step?" I said, smirking and figuring she'd for sure shoot me down. She stared at me for a long moment.
"Yes, I think I am," she said. We were waiting for the waitress to bring the check when she'd said it. She started to laugh; my more than surprised look must have set her off.
"Didn't expect that, I see," she said.
A little slow on the uptake, I gathered my wits into a neat little pile and did my damnedest to not embarrass myself.
"Honestly, no. I mean I was hoping, but no," I said. She redoubled her smile.
The waitress came up, I slipped two pictures of Andrew Jackson into the little black folder that held the bill, stood, offered her my hand, and we left.
Her place was a modest two bedroom condo about a mile from the college. I guessed her parents had some dough.
"Nice place," I said.
"Thanks," she said. "Like some wine?"
"Sure, I guess," I said. She left and was back in two minutes. She handed one of the two glasses of white wine. I guessed it to be a pretty good sauterne.
We drank quietly on the couch. She was eyeing me I was eyeing her and the heat was building between us. I reached out and touched her cheek; she leaned into me. I kissed her gently. She came back at me with a scorcher. I let my hand tentatively slide down and in from her shoulder and brush her breast. She smiled. I squeezed her tit and was rewarded with an even better kiss; she tasted fantastic.
She touched my cock through my pants and gave me a squeeze of her own. I began to slowly unbutton her blouse. She leaned back to facilitate my invasion. She wore no bra and her tits were fantastic. We began undressing each other with some urgency—actually—furiously!
I stood and turned her around. Her butt was to me. I leaned into her as she knelt submissively on the couch before me. I entered her and she cooed. I began seesawing in and out of her, fucking her, loving her. She was wonderful. I was going to marry her no matter what and god help anyone dumb enough to get in the way.
As we lay spent on the couch wrapped in each other's arms, I plotted to make her mine. I slid down and suckled on her nipples. Physically, there was just no downside to this female creature. I was going to have her, and not just for a night.
For six months following that night we dated and were intimate almost every time. Then, it was grad time. We walked across the stage where I pulled a stunt that brought frowns from the school's admin staff and hoots and grins from most of the assembled student body.
Having gotten my sheepskin, I marched across the stage to the lectern that the invited speakers had used for the usual grad ceremonial stuff and took the mike.
"Darla MacAlister, will you marry me?" I said. I was looking straight at her out there in the midst of the be-gowned audience. There was a bustle of classmates around her. For a second, she looked stunned. She nodded and then shouted.
"Thank god," I said into the mike, "otherwise this could have been really embarrassing." Well, I said I had a kind of aggressive bent. At any rate the cheers went up, and for a moment there was pandemonium, but dean Howard got things quickly under control by cracking a joke of his own about young people that I cannot now recall, and the graduation ceremony continued.
We did marry, and that right after graduation. One year after we graded Jennifer was born followed a bit more than year later by Randy. And the early years were wonderful.
I'd finished my stint at the academy after but six months of marital bliss and joined the force. She did finish law school—that three years into our marriage.
Darla interned at Griswald and Schwartz Law Offices. I did a few years in a cruiser, and then passed the test and got myself promoted to detective and started wearing the inevitable cheap suit.
At the end of her internship she'd been made a junior associate of the firm and was assigned to the division that handled the smaller felony cases: burglaries, some of the less brutal examples of domestic violence, and the like. She enjoyed the work, and, as it turned out; she was good at it.
For my part, my partner, Jess Richter, and I were part of the anti-gang task force. As any cop can tell you, that particular duty can be more than challenging, demoralizing actually. This last led to a very bad day for me eleven years into my career.
It had seemed a routine call at first, as if any domestic disturbance call was ever really routine. We'd taken the call because we were nearby. Arriving at the residence we went in after hearing the scream, guns drawn. The sight of our Glocks brought immediate order out of chaos.
"He's been beating on me," she said. "I need to get the kids and get out of here."
"Where are the kids ma'am?" said Jess.
"Next door," she said.
"Jess take her and go get them," I said. "I'll stay with the gentleman until you get back."
"Roger that," he said, and they were gone. No sooner had they gone than the gentleman rushed me. He'd surprised me. We hadn't cuffed him because he was being cooperative. But appearances this time around were most definitely deceiving.
Lucian Corvallo, was, as it turned out: a born troublemaker, gang member, wife beater, and a truly star quality asshole. Good 'ole Lucian, seeing that he was no longer outnumbered two to one, and that my gun was now holstered, decided that rather than allow us to arrest him, he'd take it upon himself to argue the point. We'd been at it for a full three or four minutes before Jess finally returned and separated us. But, the damage had been done: Lucian was dead, and I was off the force. Not a good day for me. Did I mention that at times I tended to be a bit on the aggressive side?
Darla was not happy. And, I think that at that moment she was a little afraid of me. She'd never had reason to be, but maybe even that particular point could have been argued. At any rate, the two things that could not be argued was one, the fact that I loved her and, two, that I had never laid a hand on her; nor the children either if it came to that. So, anyway, I figured to be able to win that particular argument.
"Red, you have to get your temper under control. You just do. And I mean now! I mean out of a job! One you worked so hard to get! And you killed a man, and with your bare hands!" she said. "You've really done it this time."
"He was a bad man," I said.
.... There is more of this story ...