My wife told me she took on another night school course, but I discovered we weren’t being charged for it. I found out that was because she wasn’t attending. Her parents were even more upset with her behavior than I was. They took her cheating ass in hand. Did they ever. They taught me a thing or two about marriage as well. A tale of straying, learning and redemption.
My favorite mother-in-law picked up their phone fourth ring. Like her husband, she’s self-employed and works from home; she does the billing and book-keeping for a couple of dentist’s surgeries in town. Makes a nice living out of a part-time job where she chooses her own hours.
I made my voice sound cheerful, hiding my real mood.
“Hi, Mom! It’s Rob. How are you today? Can you ask Pop if I can borrow his truck tonight while Stacey’s at her night school class? I need to dump some trash?”
“Hi, Rob, you okay honey? We’re good, thanks. Give me just a moment to get hold of him.”
I heard Betty talking and Pop came on a minute later.
“Sure, Rob, I’m only doing some repairs in my shop this morning, do you want me to bring it right over?”
“No, I’ll come get it late afternoon, then I can spend some time with both of you.”
“We’ll be looking forward to seeing you. We’ll both be here after four; I need to drop off a couple of machines I’ve fixed back to their owners around two.”
I went and confirmed to my boss that I did indeed need to take a couple of personal days to sort out an urgent family problem, got the nod, thanked him, and headed home from the office.
I had gotten most of the garage floor covered with filled garbage sacks before I made myself a sandwich for lunch, and then I spent some time on the computer moving funds, checking paperwork and making calls, before making one final trawl through the house to check that I hadn’t left anything behind. I took a taxi over to my in-laws just after five (one detour on the way), had a coffee and some of Betty’s own cookies, enjoying visiting with them for a while. They’re real nice people, and they’ve always treated me really well, like a member of the family in my own right.
Which is why I absolutely hated what I was about to do to them.
As I knew he would, being the amazingly nice guy he is, Stan volunteered to give me a hand, so he drove the truck back to our place and backed up to the garage. I left him sitting in the front while I quickly loaded up the trash, and then we headed off. I took a deep breath before I said the fatal words.
“Pop, can you first take us over to the Deska Motel on 11th? I’d like to show you something.”
He shrugged and turned left instead of right towards the town dump. Five minutes later, we were in the Deska car park round the back of the building. The car was still in the same place it had been an hour and a half earlier; I got him to pull up a few yards behind it. Then he recognized the nodding dog in the back window and the bumper stickers; I saw the shock come over his face as he worked out exactly what that meant. He turned to look at me, his expression a mix of grief and horror.
“Oh shit! Rob, that’s Stacey’s car, isn’t it? She isn’t at school tonight?”
“Sorry, Pop, I’m afraid it is hers, and she’s obviously not where we both expected her to be.”
He groaned as I confirmed his fears.
“She’s in one of the rooms?”
“Yeah, with Grover, her boss at work, breaking her marriage vows again.”
“Oh Jesus! How could she be so fucking stupid?”
He put his head in his hands; I reached over to touch his shoulder in sympathy.
“Pop, I’m so sorry. I still love you and Mom, but I can’t live with Stacey any longer. I’ll never be able to trust her again, and that will kill all the love I have for her stone dead. I hope that you’ll allow her to stay with you for a while. All her stuff is in the back. If she doesn’t fight the divorce, I’ll go for irreconcilable differences instead of adultery, and we’ll do a fair split of the assets. I want to try and stay sensible about it.”
“No way you could get through this?”
“No, it would never work. I’ve no idea why she’s doing this, but I can’t accept it. She’s misled all of us, claiming to be doing a class. Say I took her back, and one evening she told me she was calling in to see you for a coffee? Would you want me calling you to check that Stacey was actually with you, asking for the precise time she arrived, and then insisting on speaking to her on your land line, not your cell, to verify that you weren’t covering for her being somewhere else? I know you wouldn’t do that, but that’s the way I’ll be thinking.”
He looked hurt and shook his head sadly.
“I guess you’re right. Constantly checking would eat away at both of you.”
We sat in silence for a few moments. I looked at my watch. My wife’s Thursday ‘night school’ ran from five until seven, and she was always home by twenty past. It was now two minutes to seven. I picked up my phone and set it to camera mode.
“They’ll be out shortly.”
Sure enough, the cheaters emerged from their room at five past. I got a great shot of their faces as he turned to kiss her goodbye, and she leaned forward to meet him. Then I turned to my father-in-law.
“This is it, Pop. Please take her back with you, and I’ll drive the car. I’ll be ending the lease agreement now that we’re divorcing. Give my love to Betty, please, and tell her how very sorry I am that it hasn’t worked out like we hoped. You’ll make amazing grandparents, but it won’t be with me. That’s something I’ll probably regret for the rest of my life.”
He’d aged visibly in the last few minutes, but he smiled sadly put out his hand to shake.
“Rob, Son, Betty and I are real proud to have had you as our son-in-law. Goodness knows what Stacey has gotten herself into, but she hasn’t given you any other choice, and I’ll tell Betty so. You can guess how much I wish this hadn’t happened. Please don’t become a stranger to Betty and me?”
“Thanks, Stan, your friendship means a lot to me. You’re both really great people. Yeah, I’d very much like us to remain on good terms. I hope I can stay friends with Stacey too, but I’m not sure if that’ll work, at the moment it’s hurting too much. I’ll come over to you tomorrow morning to talk with her once I’ve done a couple of things; it will be best if she doesn’t go in tomorrow.”
I let go his hand and stepped out of the truck, leaving the passenger door open. Stacey cried out in shock and surprise as she looked over and recognized me, and then her father’s truck. I walked up to her and took the bunch of keys from her unresisting hand, then handed the envelope to her lover.
“Grover, you’ve been served. My attorney will be contacting your company in the morning; I shan’t be suing them provided that you get fired, Stacey keeps her job AND agrees to the divorce terms. Stacey, I’ll bring your copy of the papers round to you at your folks tomorrow for you to sign. All your stuff is in the back of your Dad’s truck; you don’t live at my house any longer. He’s waiting for you.”
I didn’t even try listening to her tearful claims that this wasn’t what it looked like, and that she still loved me. I unlocked the car, got in, locked the doors again, waved goodbye to Stan, and then reversed out and headed for home. Not that it was a home any longer; it was a house that would be displaying a “For Sale” sign the next day.
Stan called me just after eleven to tell me that they were coping just about okay and about to go to bed; they’d all spent the evening weeping. He told me Betty had given Stacey a couple of her Ambien tablets to help her sleep. I thanked him for letting me know and sent Betty my love again; I had indeed been worrying about them. I hated hurting any of them; my folks were dead, and they were now my family. At least I got a few hours sleep after that call.
The lady from the realty agency was prompt at eight o’clock; as her firm had sold us the house three years earlier, it didn’t take very long to agree the details. We had made some improvements and smartened things up, and had a little more equity on the place, but after her fees were taken off, we’d probably only get back what we’d paid. At least we wouldn’t lose much on the deal.
Then I called my attorney; he’d already talked to the HR manager at Stacey’s work, told him that Stacey wouldn’t be in today, and explained exactly why. He reckoned that they would be extremely happy not to be sued, so Stacey’s job was safe. Grover, because he’d opened them up to a potential lawsuit and loss of reputation, was currently clearing his desk under the watchful eyes of security. Oh dear. How sad. And he’d probably be divorced once his wife started asking what all the letters from lawyers were about. Shame.
I picked up some baked goods from a small independent bakery, thinking that Betty wouldn’t have been in the mood to make her usual treats, and got to their place just before ten. Stan must have been looking out for me, because he was standing by my car door before I’d even switched off the engine. I stepped out and shook his hand, both of us trying to smile but failing.
“How’s everyone, Pop?”
“Not great, Rob. It’s been real tough, to be honest. Stacey can’t believe that she’s been so damn stupid, and we haven’t been letting her off easy either. She spent most of the evening crying, when we weren’t bawling her out, and the Ambien hardly touched her when we did send her to bed, so none of us have slept much. Anyway, come on in – Betty’s real keen to see you.”
I passed him the bag of pastries. He grinned, but the smile didn’t touch his eyes. It may have been his daughter who’d caused his sadness, but I still felt guilty for bringing her actions to his notice.
“You guessed right. No cinnamon rolls with breakfast today; Betty was too busy working on getting Stacey sorted.”
He led the way inside, offered me a chair at the table, and poured me a coffee. Betty came in a couple of minutes later, so I stood and hugged her, telling her once again how very sorry I was. She said that she dearly wished she could fix it, but that I was in the right on this one. She had tears in her eyes as she said she really felt for me, and was furious with her daughter for being so darn stupid and selfish.
We hugged some more, then she went up and fetched my unfaithful wife down from her childhood bedroom. I don’t think Stacey was given a choice about joining us. She looked terrible. She’d obviously just brushed her hair and washed her face, but she held herself as if she was all ready to crumple into a little ball again. She had changed clothes overnight, but she didn’t look at all comfortable in them. Betty made her sit down opposite me and passed her a coffee. I looked at her, waiting for her to start the conversation. She struggled to even look at me. Stan had to prompt her.
“Stacey, Rob came over here to talk to you and give YOU a chance to say what you want to say, face to face. Come on, honey, speak to the man.”
I thought for a moment, from the look of fear on her face, that she was going to get up and run. It took a visible effort for her to get a grip of herself, and her voice was trembling and uncertain.
“Rob, I made a mistake. Can’t we get through this? I love you, and I don’t want to lose you.”
I shook my head in an exaggerated gesture to show my refusal to accept her suggestion.
“No, Stacey, a mistake is getting drunk at the office party and letting a colleague put his tongue in your mouth under the mistletoe. Inventing another night class so that you can meet your lover in a motel room for two hours every Thursday is kinda deliberate and premeditated, wouldn’t you say?”
She couldn’t meet my eyes again. She had no answer to that one.
“Okay, Stacey, here’s the deal. You broke your marriage vows. You cheated on me. You lied to me, and you lied to your folks. I simply have no trust in you. We are going to divorce, period. You have two choices. We do it nice and friendly-like, or we do it the hard way. If you sign today, then we split everything fifty-fifty, and try to stay friends of a sort. If you can’t live with what I’m about to propose, then we’ll do it through the lawyers, and they’ll take most of our money in fees, and you’ll still be divorced, and probably be without a job.”
“I don’t want a divorce!”
“I didn’t want my wife to cheat on me. Get real, honey, we cannot stay married after this. Think about it. Say you go to the mall one Saturday. I’m going to be wondering if you are going to the mall, or perhaps to a motel. I’m going to be asking who you are meeting, and what you are planning on doing. I’m probably going to follow you most times, just to check on you. I’ll be checking the dates on the receipts for the things you buy. I’ll be questioning everything you do. That’s because you have betrayed my trust, and therefore lost all your credibility. I’ll always assume that you are lying until I can verifiably prove to myself that you aren’t. I can’t live my life like that, and you can’t either. Do you see what I mean?”
She was silent for a while.
“I guess I hadn’t thought of it that way. So, even if I swear on a Bible that this will never happen again, and that I’ll always be faithful to you from now on... ?”
“I won’t believe you, not even on a Bible. Why would I? You’ve knowingly lied to me now, and henceforth I’m entitled to not believe anything you say. Come to think of it, you made your vows before God and the congregation, so you’ve already lied to Him as well. I guess He won’t be happy that you don’t take the Good Book seriously.”
She sobbed uncontrollably for a moment. I guessed that she hadn’t thought about this moment very much, just assumed that she would not be caught, and that if she was, then she could wheedle her way back in. She managed to dig deep and pull her voice back together.
“What if I signed a post-nup, giving you everything if I ever stray again? Could you forgive me then?”
“I’d still have issues, still suspect that you might be straying again. It wouldn’t work. Stacey, sweetie, I just can’t do it. I still love you, which is why I’m trying to do this amicably, but I just can’t trust you at the moment. Please, hear me out.”
She was weeping loudly again, the gasps shaking her whole body. My immediate instinct was to comfort her, and I almost stood up to do so, but then remembered how I’d felt when I saw the cheaters meet up and disappear into that tawdry motel room. I gave her a moment with her tissue before continuing.
“Sweetie, I still love you, and I do believe you when you say you love me. That’s the most important of the three legs of a great marriage. The second is communication; being frank and honest with each other. Looks like we’ve failed on that one, and allowed something to develop which shouldn’t have done. In my book, the third is mutual trust and respect, knowing that your spouse is your best friend and will always have your back and you’ll have theirs. That trust and respect has just gone MIA; you showed that you don’t respect me or your marriage vows, I’m telling you that my belief in you has also gone out of the window since I caught you cheating on me.”
My wife wailed again, desperation in her voice.
“Please, Rob, tell me what I can do to make you trust me again! I really don’t want to lose you!”
“Stacey, you cannot make me trust you. I don’t know the answer to that; at the moment, from where I’m standing, our marriage is stone cold dead. BUT, and it’s quite a big ‘but’, I do still love your cheating ass, and I’d be real sorry to never see Mom and Pop again; they’ve become my family too. I want us to divorce in a way that keeps us civil; if you ever have a problem in the future, I want you to always know that you can call on me, twenty-four-seven. I was thinking last night, we’ve always gotten on real well, and I’d much prefer to keep you as a friend.”
Stacey was silent, apart from the sobs. Stan and Betty were also crying; hell, I’m not too proud to admit that the hot tears were running down my face as well. Okay, I’d only just realized it when the words came out of my mouth, but by divorcing Stacey, I was effectively dumping my best friend in the whole world, and her parents who stood next to her in my affection. I stood up and headed for the back door.
“I’ll take a stroll in the yard for a while, and you talk it through with Mom and Pop.”
I did a whole lot more thinking while I was out in the yard. They keep it nice, but I hardly noticed my surroundings. My thoughts were on and with the despairing girl back in the house behind me.
Stacey had been a year behind me at high school, though I’d never really talked to her, and it wasn’t until I went to a Chamber of Commerce seminar and recognized her at the coffee break that I actually learned her name. She’d gotten a whole lot taller and prettier from the gawky girl I half-remembered. We had sat together at lunch and chatted, and by the closing question and answer session we had agreed to meet up for a drink after work on Friday. We’d ordered some food and danced for a while afterwards, and I’d walked her back to her office and watched over her as she started her car and headed off home to her folks. I had called her there Sunday afternoon, she’d told me that she’d really enjoyed our date, and we’d booked another one for the next Friday.
Eight months later, with the blessings of her parents, we were married and paying off a mortgage on a place of our own.
We were each other’s first steady and serious boy/girl friend; yes, we’d both dated at high school, and neither of us were virgins, but nobody significant. I guessed that we couldn’t have been doing this marriage thing quite right if Stacey had been tempted to stray, but then we’d both been busy building our careers, and our weekends had often been spent on home improvements and re-decoration. I couldn’t exactly put a finger on the time when we’d started growing apart, but the last year hadn’t been quite like the first two.
I had to admit that we weren’t now having the spontaneous fun that we had enjoyed at first; if Stacey came home and said that she didn’t feel like cooking, we had to work out whether we could afford it this week before ordering a take out or hitting a restaurant. If not, we had to cook anyway, or make ourselves a sandwich from whatever was in the fridge. Life wasn’t a walk in the park; we’d be okay once we’d paid off a few things, but until then things were a tad hairy. Jeez, a divorce on top of that would pretty much clean both of us out, maybe even put us into debt.
Money was tight, what with the mortgage, leasing two cars, and the extra expenses of setting up our home the way we liked it, so the little impulsive treats like going out for a drink and a meal had hit the back burner. Heck, the monthly payments for the new couch were more than the cost of one evening’s drinks, dancing and a meal, and we’d be paying that off for another year yet. At least we now owned the bed, and the TV would be ours in a couple of months, so we’d be able to argue over who kept it, rather than just having it repossessed.
Jeez. I’d genuinely thought that we were on the way up. Now I’d have to start all over again.
It was a good half hour or more before Betty came out to fetch me. She looked thoroughly miserable, just as bad as I felt; we hugged each other in sympathy.
We sat on their swing seat and talked for a few minutes; she said that she needed to tell me a few things about Stacey, and about how Grover had wheedled his way into her panties. It made for sad listening; I still couldn’t easily forgive Stacey for going through with it, but she was perhaps more of a victim than I’d thought. There was no doubting that Grover had come on to his subordinate, abusing his position of trust. Betty also told me that there was a lesson in there for me as well; she explained that Stacey had been extra-vulnerable to his attentions because I’d been working long hours and coming home tired; I hadn’t been complimenting her, or doing the fun things that we had shared since our first date, and she’d gotten bored. Grover had smarmed up to her, offered her a little bit of excitement, told her she was attractive, spent some money on buying her lunch, and she’d fallen for all his bullshit. Betty wasn’t bitter about it as she explained that part to me; she knew that I’d been working hard to get promotion at work so we could afford for Stacey to give up her job and start us a family. I said that I could see where she was coming from, and she wasn’t far wrong. She hugged me again, and we went back into the house.
Betty and Stan had persuaded Stacey that she needed to sign the papers right now because fighting over the divorce would use up money we didn’t have; there were splotches of tears on them, but each blank space that had been marked by my attorney now had Stacey’s signature in it.
There was not much more to say; I shook hands with Stan, kissed and hugged Betty, said goodbye to Stacey and that I hoped to see something of them, and drove off, the occasional tear falling onto my lap. Right then, if an asteroid had come down from the sky and wiped me out, I wouldn’t have complained. My entire world had just collapsed; Stacey had been everything to me. Now she’d signed the papers that would separate us for ever.
How did I find out that Stacey was cheating?
It was a matter of pure chance, although in a small town like ours the chances of them keeping their secret for long weren’t all that great; both Stacey and Grover know too many people to be anonymous. Someone would have seen them before long.
Keeping a close eye on our spending had become a habit, to ensure we didn’t over-reach. I’d just happened to be balancing the check-book stubs against the bank statement when I noticed that Stacey’s tuition fee for her Tuesday evening book-keeping class hadn’t increased when she’d started the additional Thursday evening business management module. I looked up the college website, and sure enough, although a second course at the same time was discounted by 40%, it wasn’t free. There was no on-line transaction on the statement, so either Stacey had paid cash, which made no sense, or there was something wrong.
Thursday that week, I went over to the college after work, and Stacey’s car wasn’t in the car park where it should have been. The next Tuesday it was. Thursday, I waited at a strip mall along from her office at five, and followed her a few cars behind when she left. She drove straight to the Deska, seemingly oblivious to the thought that someone might be tracking her, and I was standing by a dumpster the other side of the car park when a guy trotted down from the office with a room key, and she followed him in.
When she got home later, I was lying on the couch stinking the place out with sports liniment, complaining about straining my groin slipping on a wet floor. It didn’t take much fuss for her to make up the spare room for me, and I was in no hurry to get back to the marital bed which she’d betrayed.
I was already at the Deska the next Thursday, with my camera, when they arrived. Friday morning, I showed a photo of the guy to the receptionist at Stacey’s work, saying I’d forgotten his name, and she very obligingly gave it to me. I passed it to my attorney, and started the process rolling. A bad cough kept me in the sick bed for that weekend, and the following Thursday the plan went into action.
Saturday and Sunday were plain miserable, no other word for it. The house had felt real empty when I had gotten back there Friday afternoon, and it just got lonelier. That first night I’d made up the spare room again; the bed was cheap and uncomfortable, but at least it didn’t smell of Stacey.
That whole weekend, I couldn’t sit down and rest, I couldn’t concentrate on anything, even mowing the yard grass didn’t relax me like it normally did. Everywhere I looked I could see images of Stacey; it had been our first home together after a couple of months crammed in the small apartment that I’d been renting, and we’d had all the ambitious plans that a newly-married couple has. Making a lovely home together, getting the stuff we wanted, then going for the 2.4 children and the fun of having a family, watching them grow and leave the nest.
Now none of these things would happen. Well, not with Stacey. I just hoped I’d find another woman I liked half as much.
I did manage to resist going out to buy a bottle or two; the temptation was there but I’ve learned from watching other people that alcohol is very rarely a sensible solution. Besides, I don’t really enjoy liquor; it’s too harsh for me. I’m a beer man. I did try comfort-eating pizza; I have to tell you that its reputation as soul food is way overstated. It works fine if you’re happy, not so much when the world has turned to shit on you. Then it’s just calories that make you fat.
Monday morning, I was real glad to get back to work. I was there at half past seven having picked up a breakfast sandwich on the way, and I stayed until the cleaning staff threw me out just before seven in the evening. Hey, if the office had been open Sunday, I’d have gone in cheerfully, anything to avoid sitting in an empty house with the love gone out of it. Soulless? Maybe it was. In no way did it feel like home.
There was a knock on my door about eight, when I’d been home an hour, eaten a sandwich for my supper, and was now bored out of my brain waiting for bed time. It was Stan, carrying a six-pack of beer. I welcomed him in like a long lost friend. I guess that was a fair description; I hadn’t expected to see him or Betty for a while.
“I just called round for a chat, Son. Betty and I have been talking a whole lot; we’d do anything we could to help the two of you make up. Yes, we appreciate that you can’t trust Stacey, and we’re not asking you to stop the divorce, but will you give us a chance to shake some sense into the girl? Even if you don’t get back together, she needs to grow up and learn her lesson.”
I didn’t need to think about my reply. I’d already found out that, despite her cheating, I still loved Stacey, and I was missing her something awful.
“Okay, I certainly owe you that much, care to tell me what you have in mind?”
Stacey was currently grounded like she’d never been grounded before, not even when they’d caught her smoking at age fourteen. No going out, no car, no phone, no TV, no treats at all. Stan had driven her into work before eight that morning, and had asked to speak to the HR Manager, just like you’d want to talk to your child’s school teacher about something they’d done wrong. Betty had picked Stacey up at lunchtime and taken her to the doctor for a full blood STI check, giving her a sandwich, apple and milk box lunch like she was seven years old. Stan had been standing by the doors waiting for his daughter when she exited the building at five, and had driven her straight home, where she was told to change her clothes and then get her lazy ass into the kitchen to do her chores. Last he’d seen, Betty was getting on to Stacey’s ass about peeling the potatoes too wastefully.
“I want to take over the lease on her car, Son, but if you wouldn’t mind keeping it here until she’s earned the privilege of driving herself, I’d appreciate it. Betty hopes you’ll come over for supper Friday?”
He made it clear from his expression that the invitation wasn’t to be turned down.
“Thanks, Pop, I’ll be there. Can I bring anything?”
“No, thank YOU, Rob. We all miss seeing you. A few bottles of beer never hurts, if you don’t mind.”
I got a whole lot done at work that week, staying in the office until gone seven every night when the cleaner ejected me so that she could lock up and go home, just so as not to have to go back to the empty house. Maybe my usual quality wasn’t there, but the quantity of stuff I produced sure made up for that. Heck, by Thursday night I had nothing left in my ‘pending’ tray; of course it filled up again Friday morning as my boss slipped a few more tasks my way. I didn’t mind; I’d much rather my brain was checking facts and figures than moping over the loss of my marriage and my current loneliness.
Friday evening, I was over at my in-laws just after six. Betty took me into the den and gave me a beer, Stan joined us a few minutes later.
“Rob, how about we go down the lake tomorrow and do some boasting with the boys about the fish we caught and let go?”
“I was going to do some cleaning round the house.”
“No, boy, you need a day off. I’ll be round at seven to pick you up.”
I shrugged. I could sure use a day out of the cheerless house that had been my home, and the company would be good.
Supper was great; while we’d been talking, Stacey had cooked up some fried chicken with corn and baked potato, with a cherry pie and ice cream to follow. I thanked her; she smiled but couldn’t quite meet my eye. I was sorry to leave; after a week of eating on my own, I’d enjoyed eating companionably around the table. It had also reminded me that Stacey was a great cook when she was in the mood, almost as good as her mother; it’s just that most nights we were both too tired to make much of an effort. That meal was the best I’d had all week, bar none.
I was real down when I walked back into my silent house with all its memories. I tossed and turned on the spare bed; it was another disturbed night. I was up and about early Saturday, but was still surprised at seven o’clock when all three of them turned up in Stan’s truck. I saw Stacey flinch as she passed the realty sign, Betty just nodded to acknowledge its presence.
“Betty’s Maid Service here! Be back here at two for lunch. Go on, you two, git!”
I knew better than to argue. Stan and I had a great morning, just sitting quietly and absorbing the peace of the lake. Yeah, there’s nothing like fishing to let the tensions of the week go. We also had a couple of beers each; Stan had brought along a container of sandwiches that Stacey had prepared first thing, and they went down well. We got back to my place at two, and sat down to a real tasty corned beef hash that Stacey had cooked.
The place was cleaner than it had been for a while; with two of them working, everything was polished and it actually smelt clean. I could tell that Stacey had been crying, but Betty’s eyes told me not to go there. While Stacey washed up and Betty sorted the leftovers into my fridge, Stan and I mowed the grass and tidied up the yard. I got back in to find that my washing had been done and my shirts ironed and hung up ready for the week. The marital bed had been changed and made up; so had the spare bed I was using. When they left at six, I was tired enough to spend an evening in front of the television without breaking down. I’d been real glad of their company, and I’d been civil to Stacey without even trying.
Sunday morning I was over their place at eight; Stacey was already cooking breakfast, and passed me a coffee and my plate almost as soon as I sat down. I gave Stan a hand cutting back his hedge and digging out the old tree stump that we’d been talking about removing for a couple of years; Stacey produced some great hot roast beef sandwiches for lunch. Afterwards, we took the debris down to the dump, and then I headed home, with some sliced beef and pickles for my lunch box. That weekend had been SO much better than the last one, and I had to admit to myself that I wasn’t going to be happy living on my own.
Monday night, Betty called by for a mug of tea and a chat; she gave me Stacey’s cell phone and asked me to install a GPS app so that we’d be able to track it. I didn’t know how to do that, but a few minutes on the Internet showed me the way. We talked a bit more about Stacey; Betty surprised me by confiding that Stacey had an appointment with a therapist Wednesday after work.
Tuesday afternoon, Stan called me at work; he was picking Stacey up from her office and taking her to her book-keeping class, and would be collecting her at seven. That meant he had an hour or so to kill, and did I want to buy him a beer? I most certainly did. He must have kept Stacey waiting a few minutes because he didn’t leave me until just gone seven; of course without her phone she couldn’t call him.
Wednesday, Betty dropped Stacey off at the therapist and came round to drink my tea for a couple of hours. I’d thought hypnotherapy was only for giving up smoking or stopping being frightened of flying, but apparently there are a load more issues it can help with.
Thursday Betty called to invite me to supper the next night, telling me that she wouldn’t be accepting ‘no’ as an answer. Of course I said yes; I was already more than tired of cooking for one. Okay, I’m exaggerating here. I was bored with variations of two slices of bread with something between them. I can cook, my Mom taught me, but there’s not a lot of motivation for a guy on his own. Besides, one plate and one knife had lasted me all week. A sandwich doesn’t leave a lot of mess. Why dirty a skillet or pan if you don’t have to?
Friday, I walked into their kitchen at seven, carrying a couple of bottles of wine, to find Stacey about to serve up meatloaf with green beans and mashed potato, followed by peach cobbler and ice cream. Well, they say that the route to a man’s heart is through his stomach, and, under Betty’s generalship, Stacey was waging an all-out campaign on this one. Once again, the best meal of the week, although Stacey was even more uncomfortable around me. I couldn’t work out exactly why; we’d been able to talk friendly enough the previous Sunday.
Stan and I stayed at the table afterwards and had a coffee. Betty talked quietly but emphatically to her daughter, and then Stacey left the kitchen. Betty passed me over an envelope and told me to read the report inside. It was the test results for Stacey’s STI work. She was clean. I looked at Betty for an explanation. She waited until Stacey came back down, wearing only an almost transparent robe, which hid nothing of her charms. I’d not seen that robe before, and I knew instantly that I wouldn’t mind seeing it again. Betty grinned at the hungry look on my face.
“Welcome to Betty’s Whore House, Rob. It’s not healthy for a virile young man like you to have to go without for long. There’s only one whore on duty tonight, a beginner, but she should be hot to trot because Stan and I have been tearing up the sheets all week just to let her hear what she’s missing out on. It’s five cents for a blow-job, ten for a fuck, and twenty-five for anal because of the cost of the soap to wash the towel. You don’t pay anything at all if you’re not totally satisfied with the service. Free breakfast and as much coffee as you can drink. Do we have a deal?”
Well, Stan was laughing fit to bust. Stacey looked as if she wanted to curl up and die. I guessed that’s why she hadn’t been able to meet my eye all evening; she must have known this was going to happen. I had to pinch myself to check I wasn’t dreaming. Ouch!
“Are you quite sure about this, Mom? I admit I could sure use getting laid, but is this such a good idea?”
She took my hand and stared me in the face.
“Rob, honey, you need it, she needs it, at the moment you’re still married to each other, so it’s the only sex either of you are going to get. Admit it, Son, you weren’t going to date or get yourself laid until the divorce was final, were you?”
My mother-in-law knows me too well. I confirmed that she was correct.
“Okay, the two of you get your asses upstairs right now and attend to each other’s needs. Rob, holler if you need a gag, rope, a whip or anything like that; we can probably find something that will work until I can buy the proper thing. Stacey, honey, your man could probably use a shower; you make sure you wash his back properly using your tits like I told you, you hear me? Yeah, and blow him first before you get in the bathroom, then he ought to be able to fuck you in the shower.”
I looked at Stan; like me, he was staring wide-eyed at this new side of his wife. He wasn’t contradicting her, though, and that told me that he approved. Oh yeah, and the glint in his eyes told me that he hadn’t had any problem helping Betty to fill their house with the sounds of passion.
Her daughter nodded her understanding, and led me upstairs to her room, eyes still downcast all the way. She quickly stripped off her robe and helped me out of my clothes, before sitting me on the edge of her bed and kneeling down between my legs. That blowjob didn’t take long; after four weeks abstinence I was pretty much on a hair trigger, and Stacey swallowed my load right down. Then I finally paid some attention to her. She looked better than she had done for a while; she’d clearly lost some weight this past fortnight, as had I. We’d both put on some extra pounds since we got married, what with our sedentary jobs and being tired when we got home from work, and shedding a few hadn’t hurt either of us. She grinned shyly as I pulled her up and kissed her on the lips, not minding that she tasted of my seed.
“That was great, honey. Are you going to let me return the favor?”
Stacey had never been real enthusiastic about oral sex; she’d always had a thing about it being dirty licking around the places where your piss emerges. This time she looked delighted at the suggestion; I quickly got her squealing with pleasure, and the smile on her face when I had finished seemed totally genuine. I guess something had recently changed in her mindset, and I sure wasn’t complaining.