The party was okay as parties went. Well, it was except for the fact that I was all but an outcast at it. I'd known I would be. I knew no one, Chloe knew everyone; hell, she worked with them all at Sunset Properties and Real Estate. And, as usual, she floated around interacting with them all after abandoning me. Was I upset? In principle yes. What I mean is that I didn't like the people, and since I was certain that they didn't care all that much for me either, it was nice to not have to interact with them. But, that said, it rankled that my wife of twelve years would care so little about me as to abandon me and to blow me off when, after some little time, I'd had the temerity to mentioned it.
"You're exaggerating John. Stop being crazy. Get yourself a drink and chill." And just like that, like I said, she blew me off.
I could see the clock on the wall in the kitchen from where I was sitting. It read 10:30. It looked to be a long night of nothing for me. Patience not being my middle name, and with nothing else going for me, I decided to get some air. I took my drink—straight gin—and went out back to the patio.
I heard some voices, soft, coming from behind a tree to my left some twenty or so feet away. They were evidently taking a smoking break.
"Chloe looks good enough to eat," one of the two men said.
"Yeah, but she bought mister boring with her; we won't be getting any tonight," said his compadre.
"Never say never. All we have to do is get him talking, interested, about something, sports maybe. I heard him trying to talk to Nadine's husband, Mark, about the Cowboys, but Mark lost interest pretty fast. I think good 'ole John might be distractable if we went about it right," said smoker number one.
I headed back in. I was mulling over what I'd just heard. There was nothing said that would have specifically indicated that Chloe had ever given in to these assholes. But, fact was that their words left me thinking that such was not beyond the realm of possibility. That said, at the very least their confidence that they could corrupt her was disconcerting. My wife had, it's true been less than attentive to me tonight, and that was a pisser, but, cheat on me, and with losers like the guys I'd just heard bonding with each other; I hardly thought so. That said, I decided to let them take their shot. Not because I wanted to test Chloe; I didn't. No, I wanted to be able to put the rascals down—at some future date—having collected evidence of their failure. At any rate I was prepared for their little ploy, and I hung around in the living room waiting for one or another of them to come to me. The ball was in their court.
Now for a little background, background that is necessary to understanding what ensued at the aforementioned party and the days that followed immediately thereafter.
Chloe and I met in a bar, The Blue Fox. I was cruising; she was cruising, and damn if the twain didn't meet. We had a few drinks, we danced a few dances, had coffee at a nearby Bob's Big Boy, made out in the car in front of her apartment building, and were married six months later. How's that for being succinct?
Chloe was tall at five-ten, and the body was a work of art. The voice was a lilting contralto, the hair the blond of legend; oh, and her smell that of a female in constant heat. And her heat engendered heat in me that threatened my health. Chloe was thirty-eight years old the night of the party just alluded to. And me... ?
I'm five-seven, medium build, been told that I'm handsome; and, if it matters, I'm possessed of a formally documented genius for numbers. That, I suppose, is my primary excuse for becoming an accountant. I'd done some interning early in my career, but now I was the successful entrepreneur: owner and operator of Morton Records and Accounting Ltd.
Chloe graduated from our local junior college—A.A. degree—with an emphasis in General Business. She'd signed on with Sunset at a job fair sponsored by the college. Her initial position had been as an office assistant. But, after having passed the state real estate licensure exam, she'd begun rising in the ranks of sales agents. She was now their number one producer.
Me? I graduated with an MBA in Business Administration from the University of Chicago with an emphasis in—well yeah—Accounting.
Professionally, we were, the two of us, doing quite well, thank you very much. Our home life? Not so much.
When first we'd met at the Blue Fox, we'd both been into our careers for nigh on two years. The only reason for mentioning this last was the common fact that we were, likewise, both busy trying to make a name for our respective selves in our professions which kind of put the boff on us doing a lot together. Still we did have our moments, and we did get along.
Family? We'd had no children though of late we had talked about maybe going that route; well, the clock was ticking. Parents and siblings? Mine lived in Southern California, hers in Chicago. We saw them on the big Holidays: Thanksgiving at the one and Christmas at the other, and occasionally other times. We'd settled in Springfield, a couple of hundred miles from her parents; and did see them a sight more than we did mine due to the geography of the situation.
As noted above, we generally got along pretty good, that is we had—emphasis on the past tense. In recent months, things had been a little on the what—chilly—side. Sex had been sporadic and while not exactly rare, it's been too rare for me. We'd talked it over, she and I, and things'd improved, but I was beginning to get the feeling that she was more or less just going through the motions, and it bothered me—a lot. A bored partner was a major turn off; well, it was for me.
I was milling around the room holding my martini and smiling a lot. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a man talking to another man while furtively glancing in my direction. I smiled; the game was afoot. Would she or would she not? That was the question. She sure as hell was going to get the opportunity, about that there was not a scintilla of a doubt.
The man approached me. "Howdy. Charles," he said, introducing himself.
"John," I said.
"You seem a little lost," he said.
"Lost? No, not really, my wife works for the company; and, the party, she informed me, is kind of a command performance," I said.
"I see," he said. "Which is your wife?"
"Chloe Morton. She's around somewhere schmoozing the powers, I guess," I said.
"Chloe, yes, one of our best," he said. "So the Giants gonna win it all?"
"Football?" I said.
"Yeah, the Superbowl."
"I'm kinda partial to the Patriots. But, the Giants might do it if they find a runner in a heck of a hurry," I said.
We talked for some little time, refreshed our drinks and talked some more. Every once in a while another guy would join us for a moment or two, and then drift off leaving us once again alone. It was clear that Charlie, good 'ole Charlie, was running point for the gang of seducers. Still, my plan, my test, per my wife's fidelity, required that neither he nor I make an issue of the fact. And, for the hour and four minutes that we were engaged with each other, Chloe had not once made an appearance.
Over the course of the conversation with Charlie, and with the alluded to parade of company minions, I'd drawn a couple of conclusions. One Charlie was a moron. Capable of tying his shoes I was sure, but not much beyond that. Two, the parade of minions were not even up to his standards! Of course they were but four of the probably forty souls at the party, so any generalization as to the intellectuality of the Sunset Enterprises workforce would have been premature. Nevertheless, had I been in charge of their HR division, I would have been more than a little worried.
All of the above being true, the world still turns on its axis; and at length Chloe did return. Her face was flushed, her makeup not quite smeared, her hair was now tied in a ponytail, and the buttons on her blouse were misaligned: Jesus! she must think I'm blind as a bat, I thought. She'd been fucked, probably, by at least four different men.
Charlie was standing by me when she came up. His face initially signaled some little alarm—even Charlie could see that Chloe was a mess. This was my moment. One that I had mentally prepared for. I had planned for either of two outcomes; this was outcome B.
"Hi honey," she said. "Ready to go home?" I was smiling to beat the band.
"No-no, not yet. Charlie here has kept me busy for the past hour or so; and we're just now getting to know each other well enough to consider ourselves close acquaintances," I said.
"Huh?" she said. Now, Charlie began to look even more uncomfortable than he had been. Even so, he was clearly not quite getting it.
"Yes, of course. Hi, Charlie. So, you and my hubby have been getting to know each other?" said Chloe.
"Why yes, actually..." he started.
"Well, not exactly, dear," I said. "I've been getting to know him, but he hasn't a clue about me." My wife knitted her brow and spread her hands in a whaddya mean gesture. She knew me, and she knew what my tone presaged.
"Well, dear, actually he's been keeping me occupied while you were getting screwed by three of the four musketeers, you know: dickhead, butthead, asshole and jackass," I said. I was making a leap to judgment here that the three minions, who had earlier joined Charlie and me for conversation, were the ones who were banging my woman and hanging horns on me; and, Charlie of course had to have been the fourth; I wasn't sure how he'd managed it, but I was sure he had.
.... There is more of this story ...