It was a late Saturday afternoon and I was sitting at home watching TV, waiting for my wife to get back from her mother's. Now you have to understand that her mother has never liked me: you know, the usual 'you're not good enough for my daughter' scenario; and I have to concede that the feeling of dislike is mutual. I wouldn't dream of coming between Robyn and mommy dearest, but it's been a long time since I've voluntarily crossed her threshold.
Anyway, I heard the front door open and close, followed shortly after by my loving wife coming into the room. She walked up behind my chair and put her arms around my neck and kissed my cheek. All very normal, but the next minute a large envelope landed on my lap.
"Here you go, Honey, we're even now ... can we just put this nonsense behind us and get on with our lives!" I was confused.
"I'm sorry, Love, I really have no idea what you're talking about ... and what's in the envelope?" Robyn sighed.
"Mother said that you'd probably deny it. You'd better look in the envelope, Sweetie; then we'll hear what you've got to say for yourself."
As soon as I heard those first two words I was on my guard and I knew that I probably wasn't going to like what I found, so it was with some trepidation that I opened the flap, reached inside and took out the contents. I studied the first photograph for some time.
" ... What the fu..." Robyn never let me finish the sentence.
" ... Exactly, Terry! It's called a revenge fuck, Baby. That's not what Mummy called it, of course, but that's what it is. Mummy said that those photos would shock you into stop seeing that tart you've been having an affair with!"
I leafed through the other 10x8 photos which showed my wife being right royally screwed by another guy. I was seething inside, but I kept my cool.
"Well," Robyn declared, " ... what have you got to say for yourself now, Terry!" I gathered up the photos and slid them back into the envelope.
"So this was your mother's idea, was it?" I said, calmly.
" ... Yes, but ... you're supposed to beg me to forgive you ... Mummy said..." I looked at her then said, equally calmly:
"I think it might be a good idea to ring your mother and ask her to come round. We'll continue this conversation when she arrives."
" ... But..."
"Just call her, please, and tell her the sooner the better."
Robyn picked up the cordless telephone handset and carried it over to the sofa. As she pressed the button for her parents' home number, she sat looking at me while the call was connecting.
"—Hello, Mummy! Yes, I gave them to him. No, he didn't ... in fact he told me to ring you and ask you to come over. No, I don't know why, but I think you'd better come ... please! Okay, see you soon."
I smiled at her, then picking up the envelope, I said: "Tea?" Robyn continued to stare at me with that confused look on her face and shook her head. Still smiling, I walked into the kitchen to turn on the kettle, then I took the envelope upstairs to the room I use as an office, where I locked it in a drawer.
I was once again sitting in the armchair, drinking my tea, when I heard the familiar sound of my father-in-law's car pulling onto the driveway and stopping. As Robyn went to open the front door, I heard two car doors open and close. Shortly afterwards Robyn and her parents entered the room. Being polite, I stood up to greet them.
"Marjorie, Eric, have a seat please! Would you like some tea?"
"Now look here, Terry," my mother-in-law began, "Why have you got us here?" I gestured to Robyn to join her parents.
"Does Eric know about the photographs, Marjorie?" I asked.
"No, but what..." I raised my hand to interrupt her.
"Eric, a short time ago your daughter returned home and handed me an envelope containing a series of photographs of her 'in flagrante delicto'. I'm sure you know what that means, Eric, but in simple terms, they show her committing adultery with, if I'm not mistaken, her former boyfriend, Alan Stark." He looked across at my wife with a serious expression.
"Is this true, Robyn?"
"Yes, Daddy; but Mummy said..." I interrupted her this time.
"Apparently, Eric, this blatant act of betrayal is supposed to make me feel guilty for some supposed indiscretion of mine."
" ... There's no supposed about it, Terry, you were seen!" Marjorie couldn't wait to tell everyone.
"Very well, Marjorie; since all parties are now here, shall we proceed with the evidence. I believe I have the right to know who my accusers are, and the basis of the charge."
At this point my mother-in-law seemed uncomfortable and my wife looked frankly terrified. I sat patiently waiting for someone to speak; of course it was Marjorie.
"It was Eric who told us. He was driving along Maplethorpe Avenue last week ... Monday, wasn't it, Eric ... when he saw your car outside number 84, at about 10:30. Now I know you drive to work each day, Terry, but Robyn said that you're there all day, so I ... we ... thought it was strange. So I got Eric to drive past there the next day at the same time, and your car was there again. I told him to wait nearby and watch for a while ... and that's when he saw her. He just happened to be looking up at the upstairs window, when that tart ... that woman ... appeared; according to Eric, in her underwear! Eric couldn't stay there long, but he told me that he drove past that way again, about an hour later, and your car was still there. Just to make sure, I told him to do it again Wednesday; and although he didn't see the woman, your car was there again. So of course I had to tell Robyn!" I wanted to smile, but I managed to keep a straight face.
"So whose idea was it to have Robyn fuck ... sorry, have intercourse with ... Alan Stark?" I asked, already knowing the answer, of course.
"I told you ... it was Mummy's, Baby," Robyn answered. Eric just sat there, slowly shaking his head.
"And did Marjorie tell you who to screw, too, Robyn?" I could see the tears forming and then running down her face.
" ... But ... but it didn't mean anything, Terry ... it was ... just to get you to stop seeing that tart, Baby!"