It was chilly in our bedroom. Outside the windows it was a gray winter morning, cold and rainy. There was an occasional gust of wind, with the rattle of sleet on the glass. The thermostat clicked as it returned to the daytime settings. Warmth began to flow from the vents.
We lay spooned, back to front. My lips teased the crease where her hairline met the nape of her neck. My left arm wrapped up from underneath, grasping her shoulder, hugging her warmth tighter to me. The blanket had slipped from my exposed shoulder. A quick tug and wiggle brought it back into place. My hand returned to a firm silky breast. The nipple began to awaken against my palm. Her bubble of a butt pressed more firmly into my groin. Her knees folded strongly around mine.
My last ever out-of-town project was done, and a major success. I'd been made a full partner. My new office was becoming a home, and my home was becoming a paradise. I was a full time husband and father again. My professional life, and my life at home, moved from success to success. I had never felt so warm and content, so fulfilled in marriage and life.
She wiggled in my arms, found a more comfortable position. She took a series of deep breaths, ending in a long sigh. She cleared her throat. "I've been seeing someone else," she said.
I heard her clearly, but couldn't hear her. I felt as though I had been drenched in ice water, lit up by lightning! My mind refused to process. Hundreds of questions, dozens of accusations, swirled in my head. It seemed like hours passed before I could speak: "HAVE been?"
She shook her head and sobbed.
It wasn't much of an answer, but it was enough. I released the grip on her shoulder, straightened that arm. The fingers that cupped her breast opened and slid away. A gap opened between us. An odd thought struck me. I had patted her breast as I withdrew, like patting a pet to say goodbye. "Some ONE?"
She rolled toward me in anger. Her eyes flashed, she spit her words in my face: "Yes, ONE! I am not some cheap ... No, I guess I am!"
I stared into her face, unable to read her expression. Was it fear or anger? Love or hate? Torment or pleasure? I just couldn't tell, but, she was no longer beautiful, no longer mine! A hand gesture indicated the bed, our bedroom. "Does it happen here?"
Her sobs became full blown wails. She flung herself off the bed, fled into the bathroom.
I was lying on my back, staring at the ceiling, searching for answers that would never be there: Why? Who? How long? Shock was fading, replaced by pain and a deep sense of loss. I'd waited for her long enough!
She wasn't in the bathroom. She had passed through the walk-in closet, down the hall, through the doorway to the carport. Her mustang was gone, long since out of sight.
It was mid-afternoon before I arrived at the office. Her car wasn't in the lot. Her office was empty. No one had seen or heard from her.
There was nothing important on my desk, not that I would have accomplished anything anyway. The staff gathered around. Something in my eyes prevented any questions. "We're having problems," I said, "We need to spend some time apart. I'm gone for the week."
They followed me to the equipment shed. Many hands helped me jack the camp trailer off the blocks and up onto the bumper hitch. Safety chains, wiring plug-in, tire pressure adjustment and lighting check, were all done silently, without the need for words. Ray asked for a private moment. They left us alone, after a touch on my shoulder or a kiss on the cheek.
Ray was the lead partner, and the primary shareholder. He was the source of our start-up funding, the deep pockets that kept us solvent. He was my best and oldest friend and team mate. I was his wing man. He was the linebacker to my free safety, on our football teams, and in business.
I listened to him for a bit, but my mind kept wandering. He said all the things that people say when a relationship craters, but it just didn't register. I'd heard it all before. Ray was getting frustrated. A frustrated Ray is just one step from furious Ray. Anger is something he does not do well.