The Fourth Man
"Honey, do you trust me; I mean really trust me?"
Now there's a question for you; how the hell do you answer that? If you say yes, you really trust her you know damn well you're not going to like the next thing that comes out of her mouth; but, if you say no, you don't trust her, you're probably going to regret it even more. Ken needed a few seconds to think.
"Before I answer that, you want to tell me what would prompt a question like that. Why would you think I don't trust you?"
"I didn't say that; I didn't say I don't think you trust me, I was asking a question."
"Yeah, well there's a reason for the question and I'd like to know what it is before I answer."
"Honey, it's a simply question; do you trust me, yes or no?"
"It's not a simple question and you know it. There is no way I'm going to give you an answer without knowing the purpose for the question in the first place."
Jennifer sighed; this was not going the way she had hoped. He was supposed to say 'yes, of course I do, ' then she'd have him boxed in, but no, he was too smart for that and wasn't going for it even a little bit; time to fall back and try a different approach she thought. She decided honesty was the best policy.
"I need you to trust me, honey. I have to go away for the weekend and I don't want you to ask any questions."
"What? Oh hold on just a damn minute here; you're planning to go away for the weekend and I'm not supposed to ask you where you're going, or what you'll be doing?"
"Exactly; I know it's a lot to ask, honey, but in eight years of marriage, have I ever given you cause to distrust me?" she responded.
"No ... at least not until now. Honey, you have to see how ridiculous this sounds. I don't care how trustworthy a person is, no husband in his right mind would go for something like that. Look at it from my side, what would you do if I asked the same question of you?"
She thought for a second then answered, "Well, just like you, I wouldn't like it. I'd wonder why you couldn't tell me what you'd be doing, but I would figure whatever it was, it must be very important to you or you wouldn't ask. I'd also know that you love me very much and would never do anything to hurt me, so yes, I would trust you."
Ken sat down on one of the kitchen chairs with a sigh. He should have known better than to ask that; he walked right into it. "How long would you be gone?" he asked.
"I have to leave Friday; I'd be gone before you got home from work, and I'd be back Sunday afternoon," she replied.
"You're talking about THIS Friday ... right? How long have you been planning this?"
"I ... I didn't really plan it, it was something that just ... well, an opportunity that popped up," she replied.
"An opportunity ... and you can't tell me anything about this opportunity; where you're going, who you'll be with ... nothing?"
Jennifer slowly shook her head. "I'm sorry, dear, I just can't say."
"What if I say no, I don't trust you to simply go away for two days without telling me where you're going or what you'll be doing; would you still go?"
She stared at him for a second, "I really don't know; but whether I went or not, I would be extremely disappointed in your lack of trust in me."
"I don't know," he said softly as he pondered his dilemma. "I really don't know. I guess I just don't understand why you can't tell me where you're going. If I let you do this I'm going to be wondering about it for a long time, maybe years. I don't think that's fair, Jen, do you?"
He looked over at his lovely wife; clearly she looked anxious. "I'm sorry, honey, if I could tell you I would, but I just can't. Please trust me," she asked again.
They stared at one another for a few more seconds then she informed him she was going upstairs to read for a while before going to bed and asked that he give it some serious thought ... he did.
For the next two hours Ken ran through every scenario, every plausible situation he could think of, but he was getting nowhere. He always came back around to the most obvious explanation; she was going to be with another man. Just the thought made his blood run cold.
"Damn it," he mumbled to himself, "I sure wish I knew what this was all about." The more he thought about Jennifer spending the weekend with another man, the more it didn't make much sense. They'd had a happy marriage; they both had been true to one another, he was positive of it. No, he thought, it must be something else; she wouldn't cheat, she knows damn well it would be the end of our marriage, she wouldn't take that chance.
Could it possibly be some kind of test, he wondered; but that would be out of character for her as well. It just didn't make sense. He was getting tired and worn out. Hell, maybe she'll wake up in the morning and tell me it was all just a joke; don't I wish, he thought, but he knew her better than that. No, whatever was going on, she was serious.
By the time Ken got to bed his wife was already asleep. He still hadn't made up his mind what he was going to do. He lay down and stared up at the ceiling still trying to come up with a reasonable justification for his wife's mysterious request. He finally drifted off to a fitful sleep with the question still looming.
The next morning he hadn't quite awakened yet; he was still in a kind of dream world. He didn't remember hearing the alarm yet, but whatever was causing the sensation he was feeling in his groin was better than any alarm.
He forced his eyes open, lifted his head from the pillow, and watched the top of his wife's head bobbing up and down on his morning woody. He brought both hands to his chest, closed his eyes again, and moaned in hedonistic bliss as his head dropped back down to its feathery soft resting place.
Her tongue slurped its way from the depth of his balls to the pinnacle of his prick. With a smile, he took in a deep breath as he felt her warm, moist mouth close over his shaft and slide down to its very base, only to rise again, teasing and taunting his stiff pole along the way.
He opened his eyes just wide enough to peak down again; this time to his wife's smiling face. She gave it one more lick before straddling his hips and impaling herself. She leaned forward, placing her hands on his chest for support while she rocked to and fro on his welcomed pussy invader.
"Oh God," she cried, throwing her head back in rapture. She could feel him getting even bigger; she swayed back and forth faster, harder; building the climax she knew they would both experience any second.
Ken groaned first; his body convulsing upward from the waist, one, two, three times while his wife screamed with ecstasy. He felt the inner walls of her love tunnel squeezing, milking his manly appendage of every drop of cum.
Jennifer collapsed on top of him and lay while they both wrestled for control of their breathing.
"It's been a while since I've been wakened by such a beautiful alarm clock," he said.
"Too long," she replied still trying to catch her breath.
"Would this have anything to do with our talk last night?" he asked.
"Well, I was kind of hoping it would buy me some brownie points," she replied with sly grin.
The expression on Ken's face turned from sheer ecstasy to annoyance. Her thoughtless confession had just turned a wonderful moment of passion into no more than a ploy to get what she wanted ... a bribe. If she thinks she can buy my trust with sex she's sadly mistaken, he thought. Without another word he gently nudged her from on top of him, swung his legs over the side of the bed, and headed for the shower.
Jen could feel his uneasiness and realized her mistake in admitting to her attempted manipulation. Her little plan was coming apart at the seams and she began to ponder his question of the previous evening; if he says no will she go anyway? She really couldn't answer that. She just prayed she wouldn't have to make that decision.
She put on her robe and wandered down to the kitchen. By the time Ken appeared, breakfast was being served with a smile and a kiss on the cheek.
She was really laying it on thick, he thought. Actually it was all for nothing; he'd made up his mind in the shower. He just hoped he would not regret it.
"I don't imagine you've changed your mind from last night?" he asked.
"No, honey," she responded shaking her head. "This is something I have to do."
"Well I've decided to let you go and not ask questions..."
"Oh, honey, thank you..." he held up his hand to cut her off.
"But I want you to know you've hurt me, Jen. You ask me to trust you but you don't trust me enough to confide in me, instead you use sex as a tactic to try and persuade me. It appears this trust thing is very one-sided.
"Honey, it's not that I don't trust you..."
"Oh ... what is it then? If it's not a lack of trust then I can only think you're going to do something that you're not very proud of." She just lowered her eyes, she didn't have an answer. "If this is so all fired important that you're going to go ahead, even though you know you are causing me pain, then you go, but I'll tell you right now, if I ever find out you did this to be with another man that trust will be irrevocably broken along with our marriage, understand?"
She meekly nodded her head. "I don't mean to hurt you, honey ... honest. I wish I didn't have to do this, but like I said, it's important to me. Please don't be hurt."
He didn't respond, in fact no more was said about it at the breakfast table at all. They kissed when it was time for him to leave for work but Jen could feel the lack of passion from his lips. She hoped he would feel better when he got home later that night.
All day long Jen was having trouble with her inner demons. She wasn't kidding when she told Ken her weekend trip was very important to her, but it was also killing her to know she was hurting the man she loved. All morning her stomach was tied in knots. It was mid-day by the time she came to a final conclusion, this was a once in a life-time chance, she would never have this opportunity again, she didn't want to spend the rest of her years saying, 'I wonder, or what if' so she would make it up to her wonderful husband if it took the rest of her life, but she was going through with her plans.
In spite of her many attempts to brighten the atmosphere that night, Ken was definitely on the quiet side. He hoped by displaying his feelings of dismay she would change her mind. He wondered if she would try to bribe him again by initiating sex once they were in bed; if she did he would turn her down, but she knew he would consider it another attempted bribe and didn't. He was reserved again the next morning at breakfast, again hoping his attitude would dissuade her, but that afternoon she called him at work to let him know she was leaving.
"I love you," was the last thing she said before he hung up without responding.
"Hey, old buddy, Arnie can't make it Sunday."
Ken was lost in his thoughts. He had still maintained hope that his wife would change her mind at the last minute but it didn't look like that was going to happen.
"Huh, I'm sorry, Jack, what'd you say?" he asked his longtime friend and co-worker.
"Arnie ... he can't make it on Sunday," Jack repeated. "Are you okay?
"Ah, yeah, I'm okay," Ken responded while forcing himself back to the land of the living. "Arnie can't make it? Shit, where are we going to find a fourth this late?"
"Well I was going to ask you if you knew of anyone who might be available but I'm guessing the answer is no. I'll call the pro shop and let them know we're one short, I'm sure they can find a single to fill in," Jack said still looking at his friend a little suspiciously. "Are you sure you're alright, old buddy?"
"Yeah it's..." he stopped and stared at the second best golfer in their foursome. Ken never was one to unload his troubles on someone else, not even a good friend like Jack. "Yeah, I'm okay; I just have a few things on my mind, that's all."
"Okay, if you say so. If there's anything I can do just let me know."
"Will do," Ken replied nodding his head and trying to look nonchalant.
The rest of the day was a complete waste of time as far as work was concerned. All he could think about was his wife's refusal to say where she was going or what she would be doing for the next two days.
He fought back tears as images of his Jen having sex with another man flashed through his mind over and over. The more it happened the more he denied it. That's not what this is all about he kept telling himself; I know she won't cheat on me.
Damn it, he thought, this is torture, it's fucking mental cruelty. How can she do this to me, why would she do this to me? Will I ever know what it was all about, he wondered?
Not knowing was worse than knowing if she really WAS with some guy. He felt lost, helpless, and hurt, but above all he felt anger, and it was the anger that was slowly becoming his motivating force. The more he gave in to his feelings of anger the less he felt lost and helpless. He was going to make her pay; oh how he was going to make her pay. What's that old song, "You only hurt the ones you love." Yeah, well, he thought, two can play at that game. He didn't lose his love for her but he wanted to hurt her, hurt her like she did him. He wanted her to know the agony she was putting him through, and damn it, he was going to do just that.
He started making plans. As soon as he got home he would move all her things into the guest bedroom. If she thought he was giving her the silent treatment before just wait, he schemed. He was going to make her sorry she was ever born.
On the way home Ken stopped for dinner, after all, he had all weekend to work on, "operation pay back."
"Good evening, can I get you something to drink?" asked the pretty waitress as she handed him a menu.
"Coffee please," he responded. As Ken opened the menu, just looking at it made his stomach queasy. He was so busy working up his anger he hadn't been aware of his anxiety until then. His hand shook slightly as he reached for the glass of water on the counter. Again his mind started to wander, and always to the darkest thoughts of an adulteress affair between his wife and another man.
"How we doing?" the cheery voice asked. "Have you decided yet?"
Ken heard the waitress' voice but had no idea what she said, he was too engrossed in his thoughts. "Huh, what?" he asked looking up.
"Have you decided what you want to eat?" she repeated almost as if talking to a child.
"I'm just going to have the coffee," he told her handing the menu back.
Ken sat sipping coffee and stewing in his glum thoughts. At one point, tears tried working their way back into his depression but he successfully fought them off for the second time that day.
It was almost nightfall by the time Ken pulled into his driveway. Even though he knew it wouldn't be so, somewhere in the recesses of his subconscious, he held on to the slightest optimistic thought that she would be home, waiting for him with open arms and a big kiss. One glance at the gloomy residence though, and the last of his smallest hopes were destroyed.
Once again his ire rose and took over his emotions as he walked into the lonely house. Angrily he looked around; it was as if all the anxiety he felt during the day had suddenly come to a head, he needed to lash out and the lamp sitting on the table in the front hall was his unfortunate victim. Seething with rage he flung it across the room ripping its cord from the socket and hitting the corner of his favorite painting. The blow knocked it to the floor with a crash as splinters of glass exploded from the frame and mixed with the shards of broken lamp.
Now driven by wrath, he charged up the stairs to their bedroom. Without hesitation he grabbed her clothes from the closet and marched them into the guest room. It took a number of trips with Ken carrying several hangers in each hand before all female contents of the closet had been unceremoniously sprawled over the guest bed.
Returning to the bedroom, he didn't bother removing anything from her drawer of lingerie; he simply yanked the entire drawer from the dresser and dropped it on the floor of his wife's new quarters. He was pissed and he was going to make damn sure she knew it.
Later that night, while tossing and turning in an unsuccessful attempt at sleep, he thought of something he hadn't thought of until then; what if this was all for him? What if she couldn't tell him anything because she was coming home with some kind of major surprise for him? Damn, would he feel like an ass!
Ken rolled over and looked at the clock; it was two in the morning. It had been a very strenuous day, his whole body felt like a wet wash rag but he still couldn't get to sleep, not with all the turmoil going on in his brain. He rolled on his side and for the first time since it all began, before he even realized it, a tear wandered to the corner of his eye then slowly ran down his cheek to the cotton pillowcase below.
The thought that his wife's mysterious trip could be for his benefit only served to confuse him more. Never could he remember being so conflicted with emotions, they were tearing him apart.
Ken tossed the sheet from his naked body and slowly sat up on the edge of the bed wiping the salty track of agony from his face. Giving up all hope for getting any sleep, he made his way to the kitchen and a fresh pot of coffee.
"Damn her," he mumbled out loud to himself. "Damn her all to hell anyway." Ken sat, and for the umpteenth time, went over their conversation. "She said it was important to HER," he said talking to himself again. "Why would she say that if she was doing something for ME? No, I'm pretty sure whatever she's doing she's doing it for herself, not me."
Sometime during his second cup of Columbian nectar he decided he was going ahead with his plan. He doubted it very much, but even if she did come home with some kind of surprise for him, it made no difference. She deserved to experience a little of the hell she'd put him through, he rationalized.
Once he'd made up his mind he was ready to try for some sleep again. It was getting light outside by the time he finally conked out.
Saturday, Ken started putting his plan into action. The first thing he did was to drive down to the hardware store and buy a keyed lock for the bedroom door. From now on that door will stay locked until he decides otherwise.
In the afternoon he went to the driving range to get in some practice with his irons. He was hoping it would take his mind off of things and help relax him but it did nothing for his anxiety ... or his swing. In fact his inability to hit a single good shot out of an entire bucket of balls only added to his frustration.
On his way back, Ken stopped at the pizza place a few blocks from his house and ordered a small pizza to go. He didn't feel like cooking and Jennifer was always watching her weight, so seldom was he able to enjoy his favorite junk food.
It was a long, lonely night. He thought his plans for reprisal would give him more satisfaction but they really didn't. A profound sadness swept over him as he wondered where all this would lead; divorce? I wonder if she knows, he contemplated, does she have any inkling how precarious our relationship is right now?
Once again he prayed he would not find out his lovely wife was with another man, for that would certainly clinch it; there was just no way their marriage could survive a betrayal like that ... he would not stand for infidelity. He shook his head in doubt as he wandered into the bedroom for another stab at getting some rest.
After another restless night, Ken found it hard to get going Sunday morning. Even after a nice hot shower his feet felt as heavy as his heart. After breakfast he tossed his clubs in the trunk of his car along with an overnight bag. He hung a suit up in the back then went back inside the house and locked the bedroom door.
"Hey, old buddy," called an enthusiastic Jack from a golf cart headed his way. "Damn, man, you still look glum. Are you sure you're okay?" he asked pulling up behind Ken's car to transfer his clubs to the cart.
"Ah, Jen and I are having a little spat, that's all, nothing earth shattering," replied Ken as he strapped his clubs to the back of the golf course vehicle.
Jack looked inside the trunk before shutting the lid then saw the suit hanging up in the back. "Are you moving out?" he asked suspiciously.
"No, not really, just taking an overnight sabbatical. Come on," he insisted, not wanting to talk about it anymore. "Did they come up with a fourth man?"
"Well, yes and no."
"What do you mean, yes and no? Either they did or they didn't."
"Well they came up with a fourth person," responded Jack.
Ken looked at him for a second while considering his friend's words..."Oh no, the fourth man is a woman?"
"Yup, her name is Tara but the pro says she shoots in the low eighties so you'd better have your "A" game ready, old buddy, I'd hate to have to tell everyone at work how you were beaten by a lady."
Jennifer was putting her suitcase in the car. She would have never thought it possible, but fate had sanctioned her to experience a longing that started when she was still in school; but at what cost? She was aware of her husband's lack of response when she told him she loved him over the phone but the anticipation of the weekend tempered her fearful thoughts with excitement. Now that it was over she was left with only the fear.
She hadn't had breakfast and was planning to stop for something but decided she had to get home; she wanted to be there for him when Ken returned from the golf course. She wanted to start making things up to him immediately. Her heart started to pound with anxiety as she pressed a little harder on the gas pedal.
By the time she pulled into the drive she had the entire evening worked out in her head. There were two Cornish hens in the freezer she could thaw quickly in warm water; she knew they also had at least one bottle of her husband's favorite white wine to go with them. While dinner was in the rotisserie she would put on her sexiest lingerie, his favorite, the black corset with garter straps to hold the black thigh high stockings. Just seeing her in that outfit always got him worked up.
After dinner she would make him a present of her behind. She'd always refused him before. No one had ever screwed her in the ass before, not even Ken; she was afraid of the pain. Tonight she would endure the pain for her husband. Tonight he would break her rear cherry.
Yup, she thought, I will leave no doubt in his mind that he is my one and only lover. By the time I'm done with him tonight he'll be well on the way to forgiving me and never again will there be anymore secrets; I will treat him like a king, because that's what he is.
In spite of the eighty some degrees outside she caught a chill as she walked into the house. Something had changed, their home always seemed so warm and inviting, but for some reason it felt different, lonely and cold. She put her overnight case down and noticed the lamp was missing from the table. Jennifer looked around and saw Ken's favorite painting was also missing; her eyes followed the scratch on the wall down to the broken fragments of both missing pieces.
She gasped and brought her hand quickly to her mouth. Her anxiety worsened as she realized Ken must have thrown the lamp against the wall and hit the painting. "My God, what have I done," she whispered.
Rarely did Ken lose his temper and never had she seen him enraged to the point of throwing something. She started to tremble as she began to understand the hurt with which she had infected on her loving husband. Not more than three hours prior she had been okay with her decision, now she was racked with guilt.
Tears leaked from her eyes as Jennifer walked over and carefully knelt down to examine the expensive watercolor. The painting itself was not harmed, but it would have to be reframed. She would do that on Monday and surprise him when he came home after work. She cautiously picked up and threw out as much of the glass and broken pieces of lamp as she could then vacuumed up the rest.
She checked the time, it was already two o'clock in the afternoon; she knew he'd be coming home soon and she hadn't even started thawing the birds out yet. Suppressing her emotions temporarily, Jen took a deep breath and headed for the kitchen, she was determined to start her penance with his favorite dinner and a romantic evening at home.
As soon as she had the hens sitting in the warm water, Jennifer walked back out to the hall, picked up her suitcase, and climbed the stairs. She was looking forward to relaxing in a tube of her favorite bath oil, the one that drove Ken crazy with desire from its seductive scent.
As she turned at the top of the stairs Jen was surprised to see their bedroom door closed. She noticed the lock about the same time she tried the knob, but for a second her brain couldn't conceive why the door wouldn't open. Then it hit her, oh my God, she thought, he's locked me out of our bedroom ... but...
She turned and saw her clothes lying on the bed in the guest room. Jen could feel the panic building in her chest as she slowly, nervously walked into the room that had previously been reserved for the occasional over-night company. She sat heavily on the edge of the bed and stared down at the drawer full of panties and bras sitting on the floor. It's not even here, she thought. The corset she was going to wear was in another drawer and she couldn't even get in their room to get it. Her mind flashed backwards to all the events that should have prepared her; the broken lamp, his refusal to say he loved her during her last phone call, the look on his face when she answered his question about the blow-job. All the signs were there, she'd just done a rotten job of reading them.
It was if she'd been hit with an avalanche of guilt, shame, and remorse; she buried her face in her hands and burst out crying hysterically. "Oh God I hope I haven't ruined my marriage," she shrieked aloud. The distraught woman slumped over on the guest bed; her entire body was racked with fright as tears flowed spontaneously down her cheeks.
She knew he was hurt, he told her, but she had no idea how deeply he was hurt or the height of his anger. She lay sobbing as her mind scoured through a dozen different ways to show him how sorry she was.
Finally, her tears exhausted, Jen gradually came back to reality. She looked at the clock. She was so preoccupied with her penance, time had slipped away from her. She was shocked to see she had wasted an hour, crying. Where is he, she wondered, he should be home by now.
She felt listless, her whole body was void of energy, but believing she was running out of time, Jennifer dried the tears from her face and dragged herself into the kitchen to start dinner. After seasoning the hens she stuck them in the rotisserie and set the dining room table, complete with candles.
She glanced at the clock, it was after four; where was he? He was never this late getting home from golf. Then a terrible thought occurred to her, what if he locked the bedroom door to hide the fact that his clothes were gone; what if he'd left her?
Oh God, she uttered ... no, he wouldn't do that, not without telling me; no, he couldn't do that. Her entire body started to tremble. She was starting to panic for the second time since coming home. She sat on the couch in the living room and started to cry again but kept telling herself that her loving husband would never leave her; not like this, not without confronting her first.
It took her only a few minutes to convince herself that Ken was probably sitting around drinking beer with his friends and would still be home shortly. Okay, she thought, I can't wear my corset but there's some pretty sexy lingerie in that drawer I can wear. With a new resolve and determination to make things right, Ken's pretty wife ran up the stairs and took a shower. She paid no attention at the dwindling time as she made herself pretty, first with make-up, then with the prettiest lingerie she could find.
She threw on a robe and returned to the kitchen just in time to remove the Cornish hens and set the table. Refusing to believe he wouldn't be walking in at any second, she lit the candles and took her place alongside her husband's chair.
A tear rolled down her smooth cheek as she sat alone and listened to the grandfather clock in the living room sound six times. Jennifer had never felt as lonely as she did at that moment. She had to accept the fact that the romantic evening she had planned was not going to happen. She had avoided calling him, she was hoping to surprise him but now she felt as if she had no choice.
Jen took a deep breath and forced herself to pick up the phone. She was terrified of what her husband might tell her. Her hands shook as she touched the familiar numbers.
Ken was just getting ready to walk across the street to the local Denny's for dinner when his phone rang. He looked and saw it was his house phone. He sighed, he knew it was coming; in fact he was surprised it took her so long.
"Hello," Ken answered with no emotion in his voice.
"Hon ... honey," he heard his wife say softly from the other end.
"This is Ken," he responded curtly.
Jen's heart sunk even deeper at his reply but she wasn't going to react. "I ... I just wondered when ... I, ah ... I made Cornish hens for dinner, honey; I wondered when you'll be home."
"Good question, I don't know, maybe tomorrow, maybe next week; I'm not sure."
"Oh, honey, please come home. I'm sorry, I know I hurt you. Please let me make it up to you, please."
"Make it up to me? And just how are you going to do that, Jen? How are you going to erase the doubts and suspicions that I've been wrestling with all weekend? I've tried coming up with every possibility I can think of for why you can't tell me where you were and it always comes back to one thing ... you were with another man. It's the only thing that makes sense, Jen; it's the ONLY thing!"
"Oh, my darling please, please trust me. What I did had been a fantasy of mine since I was a young girl. It was something I had to do. I just can't tell you what it was. Please darling, please come home. I WILL make it up to you, honest. I'll do whatever it takes, honey ... please."
He heard her break down and start to cry. He still had no proof she was with someone and hearing her sob was tugging at his heart strings but he was determined to give her some of her own medicine.
"I might be home tomorrow after work," he stated emphatically.
"Honey, won't you please come home now, please?"
"Okay," she mumbled between sobs. "May I ask where you are?"
"No. If I don't need to know where you were, you don't need to know where I am ... or who I'm with."
Jen didn't think she could feel any worse but hearing Ken say those last four words almost caused her to throw-up. She fought to keep it from happening and had to swallow before she could speak again.
"Ken, ar ... are you with a woman? Oh, honey, please don't do this."
"I didn't say I was with a woman but if I can't ask questions neither can you."
"Ken, that's not fair; you agreed. You agreed not to ask questions, you said I could go. Please, please come home and let's forget all about the weekend."
"Jen, listen to me. I went through absolute hell wondering if you were in the arms of another man. I can't ever remember being so angry or so hurt in my life. It's going to take a hell-of-a-long time before I forget it. In the meantime, I don't want you trying to make up for it. I don't want you sleeping with me; I don't even want you around me anymore than necessary. That's why I locked the bedroom door. Until I say different you can sleep in the guest room."
Ken could hear Jennifer crying as he disconnected. He was still conflicted with emotions. Why did she have to pull a stunt like this, he asked himself, it was so unlike her. Could her weekend really have been about something innocent? He was going to feel like a real heel if that turned out to be the case.
It was that thought that kept him up for the fifth night in a row.
"Alright I want the truth, damn it, what's the hell's going on between you and Jennifer?" Jack asked as he walked into Ken's office closing the door behind him.
Ken looked up from the paper work he'd been unconsciously staring at for the last half-hour.
Jack walked over and sat in one of the chairs across the desk from his friend and looked him in the eye.
"First I see an overnight bag in your trunk, a suit hanging up in your car, and then you play the worst game of golf I've ever seen you play. Not only did Tara beat you but I beat you and Smitty came with-in two strokes; something's drastically wrong, old buddy, and it's obviously not doing you any good to keep it bottled up inside so spill it."
As uncomfortable as he was, maybe Jack was right, maybe he needed to get it off his chest. "Jack, do you trust your wife?"
"Marge? Of course I do."
"What if she said she was going away for the weekend and she didn't want you to ask where she was going, what she'd be doing, or who she'd be with?"
"I'd know immediately where she was," Jack responded.
"You would; where?"
"Her brother's house, she knows I can't stand the bum," Jack said with a smile.
"Come on, Jack, this is serious, that's exactly what Jennifer hit me with the other night. She wanted my blessing to go away for the weekend but didn't want me to ask where she was going or what she'd be doing. She has a brother to but he's a great guy with a wife and kids; no, there's only one reason I can think of for all the secrecy, she was with another man."
"Oh, Ken, no way; there's no way Jen would cheat on you, come on, you know better than that."
"Do I? Okay then, tell me, what else could it be? Can you think of another reason why she'd go away like that, because I sure as hell can't?"
"Did she say anything; give you any clues whatsoever?"
"All she'd say was that it was something she had to do. It was supposed to be about some fantasy from her childhood."
"And that sounds like she was with another man to you? How many little girls do you know who have a fantasy about screwing some guy? It's probably something embarrassing and she just doesn't want to tell you, that's all."
Ken looked down in thought but spoke almost immediately. "I can't believe something from her childhood would be so important that she'd go ahead and do it knowing how much it would hurt me."
"Okay," Jack said, "if she was going to be with a guy why wouldn't she just lie and tell you she had to go visit a sick friend or something? I mean, if you're going to cheat on your spouse wouldn't it be better to avoid suspicion and make up some excuse for going away?"
Ken had to admit, Jack was making sense. He'd thought of that himself and couldn't figure out why she wouldn't just come up with a good lie.
Jack continued, "Look, my friend, we've all known each other for many years. Your wife and mine are the best of friends. If Jen was cheating on you Marge would know it, there's not a doubt in my mind about that, just like there's no doubt that Marge could never keep it from me; and as far as I know, Jen has never even looked at another man? No, whatever she's up to, I'm sure it's not adultery."
"I don't know," said Ken still with some skepticism in his voice. "Maybe you're right, I sure hope so because if I ever find out she was fucking some other guy it would be curtains for our marriage."
"Come on, man, Jen loves you to death. I'm telling you, there's no way Jen was out fucking around, she wouldn't do that to you."
Jack stood and started to leave; as he grabbed the doorknob he looked at Ken once more. "Go home, man. Go home and make love to your pretty wife. Forget all about the weekend. Whatever she did she's simply too embarrassed to tell you about it, that's all ... oh, I meant to tell you; our fourth man said she had fun and hopes we'll call her again to play with us. What do you think?"
"Yeah, sure, she'll probably change her mind when I whip her ass the next time though. I played lousy yesterday, but there's no way she can beat my regular game," Ken said with knowing smile.
"Okay, my friend, I'm going to hold you to that; see you later." He hesitated just before walking out. "You know some women are into that."
"Whipping their ass," he said with a chuckle.
As the day dragged on, Jack's words kept playing over and over in Ken's mind. He loved his wife. He wanted to believe it was just as his friend said, she was simply too embarrassed over something to tell him about it.
The screen door hissed as it closed behind him. Ken put his briefcase down then climbed the stairs to change out of his suit and into some comfortable clothes. He hadn't seen nor heard his wife until he came back down into the living room. She was sitting on the couch. Tracks from her tears where very prominently displayed down her cheeks. She had a wet, dirty tissue rolled up in her fingers and her hands shook despite resting in her lap. Her voice was weak and hoarse from sobbing.
"Don't..." she sniffled while still looking down. "Don't you love me anymore?" she asked in fear of his answer.
"Jen, if I didn't love you anymore your clothes would be in the front lawn instead of the other bedroom."
She finally looked at him and for the first time he could see how red and puffy her eyes were. "I'm ... I'm so sorry, honey," she cried, "I'm so sorry I hurt you like I did. I ... I didn't realize ... I mean, I ... I didn't know ... oh honey, please forgive me," she begged before bringing the dirty hankie up to her nose and starting to cry again.
"Jennifer, as long as you..."
She anticipated his statement. In her anxiety she didn't even let him finish. "Oh Ken, please ... I ... it had nothing to do with sleeping with another man," she blurted out, "nothing, honey; please believe me, I did not screw anyone."
Her emotional declaration took him by surprise. "Then WHY? Why would you put me through hell all weekend like that? Damn it, Jen, I don't get it; why didn't you tell me that before you left? You had to know what I was thinking. Do you know the kind of pain I went through picturing you in the arms of another man? Why would you leave letting me think that if it wasn't true? Hell, Jen, how am I even supposed to believe you now ... after the fact?
"Oh, honey ... please, I'm telling you the truth," she cried! "Honest, Ken, you have to believe me."
Ken stood and stared at his wife while her words soaked in. She sure sounded sincere. "Jen, I just don't know..."
"Honey, please believe me. I didn't say anything before I left because I didn't want you asking a lot of questions and I thought the best way to avoid that was to simply not say anything at all. To tell you the truth it wasn't nearly as exciting as I thought it would be; the fantasy was much better than the reality, but it was something I had to do, something..."
"Yeah, I know," Ken said snidely cutting her off, "something you've wanted to do since you were a little girl; you told me. That's one of the things that hurts so bad, Jen, you excluded me from something that was important to you. We've been an integral part of one another's lives for the last eight years. I've always included you in my life and it hurt to think that you didn't feel the same way. Then I wondered if this just the first step? What else would you exclude me from?"
"I know," she sobbed. "I ... so sorry, honey; I didn't think about it like that. It was thoughtless of me. I ... I had no idea this would hurt you so badly."
"Yeah ... well, to tell you the truth I didn't know it would either. It bothered me when I said you could go but I was hoping you'd change your mind. Then when you actually left ... well, the idea of you excluding me from an important part of your life was bad enough, but the thought of you meeting some lover from your past just festered like an open sore. I tried telling myself you wouldn't do that; there was just no way you would cheat on me, but as much as I tried, I just couldn't come up with any other reason for your behavior."
She lowered her eyes. "I ... I guess I thought you trusted me more than you do," she said meekly.
"Jen, trust is one thing, but what you pulled over the weekend goes way beyond trust, it's more like blind faith or something; I don't know. What was it that Reagan said, 'trust but verify, ' well I have no way to verify."
Jennifer just sat sobbing even more heavily. Ken was still pissed but his wife's statement about not being with another man gave him a certain amount of relief. He also wasn't made of stone. It wasn't a stranger sitting there crying her heart out, it was the woman he loved. Ken walked over, sat beside her and put his arm around her trembling body.
Jen immediately buried her face into his chest and put her arms around him.
"Alright, take it easy," he said while gently rubbing her shoulder. "As far as I know you haven't done anything wrong but I still need some time to come to terms with all of this."
He could feel her head nodding into his chest showing she understood but offering no more in the way of an explanation.
"I still think it's better if we sleep in different rooms for the time being."
That brought on a big sob and she tightened her grip around his waist. "Oh please, please don't make me sleep without you again."
"I'm sorry, Jen," he said, but that's the way it has to be, at least for a while."
They sat holding each other a little longer before Jennifer had to dish up supper. She looked like a whipped dog with her tail between her legs for the rest of the evening; it wasn't an act, it was exactly how she felt.
That night, as Ken heard his bride of eight years quietly weeping from the guest bedroom, he wondered how long he'd be able to hold out. He was already missing her lying beside him.
"So ... how'd it go yesterday," asked Jack as he sat in the same chair as the day before.
"Ah, well, better than I had expected. She at least told me she wasn't out fucking anybody."
"You believe her?"
"I don't know; I'd sure as hell like to. Why ... don't you?" Ken asked his rather smug looking friend.
"Of course, I was the one who told you she wouldn't cheat in the first place, remember? So, everything's back to normal then?"
"Well I wouldn't exactly say that, I'm still pissed. I'm making her sleep in the guest room for a while to give me some time to cool off," said Ken.
"I guess I can understand that. To tell you the truth if Marge had pulled something like that she'd be sleeping there too. When I got home last night I asked her if she knew anything about Jen's mysterious weekend trip. She said she thought it might have something to do with when she was in high school; something she never got a chance to do."
"Some-THING, or Some-GUY?" Ken asked curtly.
"No, no, some-THING," Jack replied with a cautious smile. "I guess Jen never really came out and said what it was but Marge is sure it had nothing to do with fucking some guy. She doesn't believe Jen would cheat on you anymore than I do."
"Yeah, that seems to be the general consensus," Ken replied leaning back in his chair daring a small gratifying smile. "To tell you the truth, I really don't think she would either. I guess I'm going to take your advice and just try to forget about it. In spite of all the thoughts I had over the weekend, I just don't see her cheating on me."
"Okay then," Jack said as he shifted his posture and leaned forward. "Not to change the subject but I got a call from Arnie's wife and he's not going to make it next Sunday for golf again."
"Again," responded Ken with a surprised look. "Is something wrong, it's not like him to miss two weeks in a row?"
"I guess his back is bothering him. Linda said he wasn't able to go to work all week. He has an appointment with the doc on Thursday.
"Hell, I hope it's nothing serious."
"Yeah, me too; listen, now that you have your head out of your ass, you want another crack at Tara? I was thinking of calling her to see if she can fill in again."
"You really seem to like her, Jack. You sure you two aren't having an affair of your own?" teased Ken.
"Me!" Jack countered. "You're the one she flirted with for eighteen holes."
"Yeah ... right; she was just trying to keep me distracted so she could beat me. She's in for a rude awakening this time."
Jack broke into a big grin. "Ah huh, you can't tell me you didn't notice that sexy, little waggle she does before hitting the ball."
"You mean how she wiggles that pretty, little ass," joked ken. "I'm not dead, old buddy; of course I noticed. It won't be enough to save her from the jaws of defeat though ... not this time."
"Yeah, well we'll see. I've got a feeling she hasn't even started to turn on the real charm yet."
Ken felt better after Jack left his office. He made an effort to separate himself from any jealous or insecure thoughts and tried looking at the situation from a completely impartial standpoint.
In eight years of marriage he never even saw his wife so much as flirt with another man. Their sex life was good and she always seemed to be satisfied. Certainly anyone who knew her was adamant about her love and loyalty to him. No, if he weighed the pros and cons the circumstantial evidence was heavily in her favor.
Okay, he said to himself, if I keep going back and forth like this I'm going to drive myself crazy. I gave her permission to go in the first place because I did trust her. It wasn't until she was actually gone when my overactive imagination kicked in and I decided she must be meeting another man. There's certainly no proof of that, and up until this weekend I've never had cause to doubt her sincerity or her fidelity. As far as I know she's never lied to me so when she says she wasn't with another man what justification do I have to call her a liar; none, absolutely nada.
Ken arose from his chair and walked to the window. The telecommunications company he worked for was located in a northwest suburb of Chicago. His office was on the fifth floor; from there he could see the Hancock Center, Willis Tower, and most of down town. Somehow the view always reminded him of what a lucky man he was. He could surmise how much misery and heartache there was down there. His parents made sure he was well educated, he had a great job that afforded him a comfortable lifestyle, he had a great wife who loved him and good friends; yeah, he was a very lucky man.
He also loved her, so without even acknowledging it, he was talking himself into forgiving her. Ken had made up his mind. He turned to walk back to his desk. It was over; oh he would always wonder what she did or didn't do and he would always remember the torment he went through, but for now at least, no more incriminations. He would let his wife back into the bedroom and try to put it all behind them.
A sense of relief came over him as he sat back down and looked at the work that had piled up on his desk during the last few days. He wanted things normal again. He was tired of guessing what she may or may not have done. He wanted his loving and loyal wife back.
"Betty," he called to his secretary through the intercom, "would you grab a couple of coffees and come in to help me prioritize some things, please?"
"Sure, Ken," she answered.
By the end of the day Ken and Betty had everything caught up, and for the first time in almost a week, he was driving home in a good mood.