In my real life I have written numerous memos, bulletins, and letters. I have never written fiction (if we don't including a certain strategic plan written for the federal government). This is my first attempt. I posted this on the other site and now, we are here. Be gentle dear readers. Thanks to BarneyR and Walking Liberty for the editing and advice to make the story better. Any fault lies with me.
Chapter 1: Denial
I discovered my wife was cheating last July. I have been in the ninth circle of hell since then.
I never suspected it. At first I could not believe that my wife would do something like that. We had been married for a little over eight years and up until then I was the happiest man in the world.
Well-known psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross asserted that when a person is faced with the reality of impending death or other extreme awful fate, he/she will experience a series of emotional stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. I remembered this from some psychology lecture in college. Denial is the first stage and I was deep in it. If Mary was cheating, our marriage was dead. But she couldn't be. I wondered if I would suffer all stages of grief for the death of my love. I wondered if I ever reached acceptance, would the pain and heartbreak follow me forever.
I met Mary in college. I was studying computer science and as part of the general education requirements I had to take an English class. I was not looking forward to reading stories or poetry written by old and dead people. I figured that my mind could only hold so many things. Mostly, those things consisted of computer code and where the next party was going to be. I was the typical computer nerd, tall and a little gangly. I was a so-so student, wasn't good enough to be first string in any of the sports I went out for, didn't belong to any clubs or take part in any after school activities. But I was good with computers. I was the guy that everybody recognized and nodded hello to, but whose name they couldn't remember.
My love life had only consisted of a couple a turns with Pauline French after my senior year of high school. I think she took pity on me. We hung together for almost two months before she moved on to greener pastures. Since then, us computer nerds hung out and told stories about what great lovers we were – and what we would do to that pretty girl in class, if we ever had the chance.
When I met Mary my life changed. I sat next to her in the English class and fell into her eyes, those deep hazel eyes. I was lost in the deep pools of her eyes. During that first class I did not see much beyond her eyes, but as she was leaving I got a good look at the rest of her. Mary had shoulder length blonde hair with a slight curl at the ends. A cute button nose and lips that always had a little upturn at the corners. She wasn't as tall as me; I guessed she must have been about 5'7". I did not have enough experience with bra sizes, but I did notice that she did fill out her shirt nicely. Her lower half was sheathed in a pair of tight jeans that sculpted her backside nicely. She was perfect.
Every day after that, I made it a point to sit next to her. After a month, she spoke to me. She said that she noticed my calculus books and asked if I could tutor her as she was taking college algebra and having a difficult time. She said that she needed to pass the class to graduate. I would have agreed to anything she asked.
After that we met in the library Tuesdays and Thursdays after class. I tried to keep focused, but having the most beautiful girl next to me turned my mind to mush. Something must have worked because Mary got a "B" on her mid-term test. She was so happy. When she got the grade, she jumped up and down and grabbed me for a hug. She kissed my cheek and I thought my head was going to explode. I was in heaven.
Then I said something completely out of character for me, "Do you want to see a movie on Friday?"
"Sure, what time?"
"Wait, what?" I fumbled.
"I said yes, dummy."
I don't think my feet touched the ground all the way back to my dorm room.
I spent the rest of the week in a daze. I even went to the store to get a new pair of Dockers and a polo shirt to wear. My nerd friends teased me no end. I took it with a smile on my face. I was counting the minutes until my date. But, I survived somehow by the time Friday night arrived.
Our first date was to the latest Halloween movie. I know, real classy. It was a typical slasher movie with blood, dismemberments, and stupid characters. I thought that she would have to sit real close to me because she was frightened. Not so much. But, we had fun. Mary and I whispered 'who would be the next kid on the screen to get it'. She was right more often than I was. And later, I got a quick good night kiss on the doorstep.
On our fourth date, she invited me into her dorm room and we clumsily made love. It must have been good for her because, she invited me up again after our next date.
From there, we became a couple. Amazingly we had a lot of things in common: we liked the same movies, read the same books, and loved the same foods. After a couple of months, I was seriously in love.
By the time finals rolled around, I was sure that she was in love with me.
We were happy. Right before Christmas break, we were laying in her bed when I told her that I loved her. I said that she was the best thing to happened to me. She smiled and said "I love you too." Life was great.
Even though we didn't have any classes together in the spring semester, we still studied together in the library every day after classes. We picked up right where we left off after the break, with our love getting stronger each week.
We spent spring break together. We rented a cabin at the lake. I intended to go hiking and fishing, but I don't think we made it out of the cabin the whole week. On the last night, I got down on my knees and proposed. She said yes. Three months later we graduated and five months after that we were married.
After school I got a job doing computer security. Our company integrated security software into computers of small businesses that had anything from 10 to 50 workstations. I wrote code to make the different systems talk to each other. My boss was Bob.
Bob started the company 10 years ago with just two employees. After a couple of mergers and buyouts, his company had grown to about 50 employees and was doing great.
Bob was a good boss and mentor. After I had been with the company for about five years Bob got an offer to sell out. He said some big venture capital group in the city needed our position in the small business market to complement a larger computer division. He said the money was too good to pass up and he sold. He did stay on as manager and part of the deal was that we all kept our jobs. The overall effect was minimal. We never saw the new owners and Bob continued to run it his way. Work continued on uninterrupted.
Mary got a job right after graduation with Dr. Heubert, a dentist. She took over the role of office manager. Her boss was a kindly old dentist that reminded me of the absent-minded professor, right down to the funny glasses on the end of his nose that he was always searching for.
Dr. Heubert always seemed lost but he was a magician in a mouth. His dentistry skills were the best in the area and patients came from long distances to have him work on their teeth, if they could get an appointment.
When Mary began working there the office was in a shambles. Bills were unpaid, files were lost, billing systems were antiquated and – it was a general mess.
Mary set about to clean it up and help the good doctor to a better practice. The results were revolutionary. After three of years, the good doctor's practice was the envy of the region. Revenues were up, office turnover was eliminated, morale was high, and the doctor even dressed better. Mary was responsible for all of it. I was very proud of her.
After we married, Mary and I got a little apartment near my job. We christened every flat surface and every room numerous times.
We both decided to get our careers going before we had kids. Every year, we took a vacation around our anniversary. At first we couldn't afford much and went back to our cabin by the lake. After a couple of years our vacations got a little better and one year we flew to Florida and spent a week at Disneyworld.
About five years in the apartment we decided to look for a house. After looking around for a couple of months, we picked a small house with enough room for our soon to be family to grow into. We bought it and moved in. Again utilizing every flat surface and every room for our sexual gymnastics.
After about seven years, Mary came home from work very excited. It appeared that the management and organization of the good doctor's office was being noticed. The doctor had a couple of big dollar executive types as patients and they had been asking about Mary. They noticed the office's turnaround and commented to the doctor. Dr. Heubert could not say enough about Mary. One of the executives approached Mary with of a job offer.
That night and over the next few days, we discussed the offer. I felt that we were on the verge of starting a family and that this new job would set that back a couple of years. We didn't need the additional money and Dr. Heubert was like family to us. She felt that this could open up to greater opportunities in the future. If we could hold off on the family for a couple of years, she said she would make it up to me.
.... There is more of this story ...