Hard Luck Harlan Lawton

by Matt Moreau

Copyright© 2010 by Matt Moreau

Romantic Sex Story: The man just can't seem to catch a break.

Caution: This Romantic Sex Story contains strong sexual content, including Ma/Fa   Romantic   Cheating   .

"Harlan, you don't mind do you. The children do love to be with you," she said. I looked at my wife. She was dressed to kill, but it, her efforts to kill, were not for me; she was planning on leaving me home again—to watch the kids, her sister's kids. The two women were going out to paint the town—presumably red.

No news there, it had been happening a lot lately, lately being the last several years. Except for the inevitable family gatherings, Jennifer and I had gone almost nowhere together as a couple over that period. It rankled, a lot, but she didn't exactly give me a choice. And, being the pussywhipped wimp that I was, I let her get away with it.

I'm a retired army first sergeant—twenty years active. She's an executive secretary making pretty sizable bucks working for an ad agency in town—the town being Houston, forty-five minutes from our home in the burbs. We are both forty-seven, as this story begins, and still socially active; well, she's socially active; I'm an active baby sitter and all around gofer.

Like I said, my place in this household rankles. Jenny never wants to go out with me, unless you count the two or three movies a year that she deigns to let me escort her to. I had begun to think that maybe she was ashamed of me; the theaters were dark, so she had minimum exposure to criticism being out with someone who looked like me.

Okay, me? Five-seven, one-seventy-five, thinning hair, but not actually ugly. But, not handsome either. I used to be able to dance, but I know I had to be a bit rusty now since it had been so long since I've been given the opportunity. Oh, and her? Five-nine, one-twenty-five, beautiful long auburn hair, ass and tits that are a threat to traffic. Jen is not actually movie star beautiful in the face, but she is far from unlovely. Okay, and yeah, she's taller than me; well, so the fuck what.

According to her and her sister, Marie, Marie, Wills, they don't invite me because I didn't like the kinds of places that they generally frequented. She was right about that. Sawdust joints filled with wannabe cowboys, rock clubs that I long suspected of selling more drugs than beer, and disco dance halls where the clothes made the man just didn't do it for me. A hit to my ego them always leaving me behind? You bet. Ready to do something about it? I'm getting to that point.

Marie is part of the problem. Divorced, snooty, and an all around party girl; she couldn't imagine a Saturday night without her wing-woman. But, whereas she couldn't even imagine having me tag along with the them; she was more than happy with me in the role of baby sitter. Helluva thing.

I like jazz clubs and soft music and classic cocktails rather than the yellow pepsi her circle of friends seemed to prefer. I'd gotten, what I see as my high class tastes, from my dad, a retired Navy lieutenant commander, thirty years in. He'd actually been a bandleader in the Navy. He could play several instruments and had seen to it that I had an excellent musical education since I wasn't interested in college. My instrument of choice was the piano; I was pretty good.

The kids always want me to play for them when I'm sitting. It's about the only time, apart from Christmas with the family, that I have an audience. I see the kids, Jenna (7) and Willy (8), as a definite upside even though they are not my kids per se. Jenny had not wanted kids; I did, so we didn't have any; put another way, we do what Jennifer Ann wants. Like I say, my place in the household rankles, and I have for a while been close to making a move; I'm just not hadn't been sure what kind of move. Am I the village wimp? I guess, when it comes to my wife, I am.

I love Jenny, and to be fair she always makes it a point to tell me she loves me. But, saying it and showing it are two entirely different things. Sex between us is okay, maybe once or twice weekly; but it isn't anything outrageously kinky or exciting.

I stood there in front of her. She was waiting for an answer. It came to me

"Yes," I said.

"Yes what? She said.

"Yes, I mind being a baby sitter again. Frankly, Jennifer, I am tired of being left out and never being allowed to go anywhere with you," I said. She looked at me funny. I had never said no to her for anything. She was obviously having processing this new information.

"Harlan, why didn't you say something before. You knew that Marie and I were planning to go out tonight. It's Saturday night; we always go out Saturday nights," she said.

"Yes, and always without me," I said. "Don't you think that that's kind of a weird situation for a husband and wife to be in?" I said.

"Harlan, look, sit with the kids tonight, and we can talk about this tomorrow, okay? You can't just throw a monkey wrench into other people's plans at the last moment like this. It isn't fair!" she said.

I smiled. "Isn't fair. I have plans of my own tonight. I'm headin' out. You do what you want, but I'm leaving now. Have a nice time with the kids; they really are fun you know," I said.

"Wha..." She was speechless as she watched me walked out the door."

I'd had no plans, but then the military had taught me to improvise. I headed for the nearest bar. Richard's bar and Grill was the best bar in Houston as far as I was concerned. I had been there a hundred times at least, though not lately. Richard's was frequented mostly by true adults like myself; unlike the kinds of places my wife and her sister liked to go to where the clientele always seemed to be around twelve years old.

Richard's place sported an ancient piano, but one in excellent tune, and an equally ancient piano player who knew a lot of tunes. The music was mostly rhythm and blues, but some jazz if the clientele was interested enough to ask for it. The player's name was Sam, if you can believe it. And yes, Richard, the owner, was mostly referred to as Rick. Go figure.

I mounted a bar stool near the end of the bar furthest from the door. I looked around. It was still early. The place was maybe a quarter full, but I knew it would fill up pretty quick after 9:00. I smirked my satisfaction that I had had the huevos to stand up to Jennifer and leave her having to figure out what to do about the babysitting situation.

Sam began playing some romantic stuff and a few couples got up to dance. I looked around for a likely partner, saw one, and left my martini sitting on the bar as I went over to her and asked her to dance.

"Care to dance," I said to the cute maybe thirty-something blond. She looked me up and down.

"Uh—not right now," she said. I did my best not to sound desperate, but I'm sure my face must have been bright crimson at hearing her reject me.

"Oh, okay. Sorry," I said. I turned and walked away. Over the next hour and half, I asked three other women, more or less in my age bracket, to dance; I was turned down by all of them. My luck was apparently gonna be pure shit tonight, I thought.

I had been to Richard's dozens of times, but I had never asked any of the women there to dance before; this was a wakeup call for me. What was wrong with me? Was I chopped liver as the saying goes? Before, it had always just been a few drinks and some light conversation with the barkeeps or other customers seated at the bar. Now that I wanted to dance my batting average was nada. Maybe my wife and her sister knew something I didn't. I know I didn't have bad breath, or so I assumed. Looking around at the other patrons, I deduced that I was dressed okay. So what was wrong with me?

I paid the bill and left before the place got really full. Okay, yes, I was humiliated.

It was only about half past eight. I didn't want to go home. Especially not with my tail between my legs. If Jen were there, I would be catching a busload of heat; right now, I didn't need any of that. I wondered if in fact she were there, at home? It'd been around 6:30 when I'd left her; she could have gotten the neighbors kid, Rhonda, to sit if the teenager hadn't had a date herself. An idea came to me. I'd know soon enough about that, I thought, that is about whether she had gone out or not.

As bad as my luck had been tonight, I wondered about Jenny's luck. If she had gone out with Marie where would they have gone? Her favorite place, I knew, was the Hard Hat. It was across town, but I could get there in half an hour. If she had gotten a sitter, she might be there having the time of her life by now—and probably dissing me for not being cooperative. I smiled to myself. Would she be glad to see me? I was maybe about to find out.

I pulled into the parking lot and parked in the rear. My luck, good or bad was holding, Marie's car was parked two rows up from where I'd pulled in. I knew her plate number by heart, and I recognized it before I even got close. Was she alone or did she have my wife with her. I froze.

Just as I got close to Marie's car two naked feet planted themselves on the rear side window. The sounds of fucking were audible even with the windows closed. Marie had been married to a good man, Cass Wills. I doubted that Cass had come back to fuck his ex-wife in a bar's parking lot. I moved closer to the car. I heard the woman screech. It wasn't Marie; it was Jennifer.

My heart sank. My marriage was over; that was a fact. I just had one thing left to do.

I Pulled my cell phone, went up to the car window, and began to shoot pictures. They noticed and began scrambling. One shot got their faces as well as their half naked bodies. I heard Jenny's audible, "no!" The window got rolled down by a speechless drugstore cowboy; I looked down at the two of them. In a calm voice, I just told her to not come home early; I wanted a little time to pack up my stuff. Head down, a hang dog look no doubt painting my features, I walked away. A moment later she almost jumped out of the car pulling her dress down over her nakedness as she did so. She ran after me and grabbed me by the arm.

"Harlan, please, give me a chance," she pleaded.

"I'm in the way, Jen," I said. "I guess I've been in the way for years. You'll be free now. We're done." She dropped her hand and watched me walk away.

"Harlan, I need you," were her parting words to me.

She at least had the decency to leave me enough time to clear out. Either that or she went back to doing what she'd been doing, but I doubted that.

The babysitter was surprised to see me early and I assured her that she should stay and wait for Jen and her sister. It took me about a half hour to put together the stuff I needed: clothes, bathroom gear, and some other odds and ends and papers. Two suitcases filled the bill.

The car loaded, I sat in the driver's seat for a moment and looked at the house that had been ours for years and now no longer was. I was sad, very sad. I really had loved the woman; hey, probably always would; I mean twenty-one years of marriage; one doesn't get over an investment like that without shedding a few tears.

I found me a local motor lodge, paid for a week, and settled in. I set up my laptop, plugged in my aircard, and checked my savings account. Not too shabby, I thought; I had enough to hold me until I decided what to do. She had her own accounts and I had my own; that arrangement worked for me now.

Divorce? Yeah, I guessed that that would be the way to go; it's what I'd just told her, but was I sure? We'd likely have to sell the house to split the proceeds. Alimony? I smiled; she made twice my retirement money. If anyone had to pay, she would. Would I take it? I honestly didn't know.

She tried to call me several times on the cell over the next few days, so I went to the phone company and had my number changed. I would talk to her at some point, I told myself. But, for the moment the wounds were still too raw.

I filed for divorce a few days later. My wife didn't contest it. She did ask for a final meeting though. Ah me, the inevitable final meeting.

The meeting was held at a restaurant we had favored while we were still a young a couple: The Shadows Inn. There were to be no lawyers, just us; kinda the period on the sentence metaphorically speaking. I was early; she was late. I'd had a couple for martinis by the time she finally got there; I counted that as a good thing.

"Sorry, I'm late, Harlan, really," she said, taking a seat across from me. "How have you been?"

"Well, let's see: broken heart, no home to call my own, a shit load of humiliation, and a soon to be ex-wife who betrayed me and played me for a sucker for years. And, she's even late for our final meeting together as husband and wife. So, to answer your question, Jennifer, I'm feeling fucking wonderful." She was startled by the intensity of my sarcasm.

"Harlan. I apologized for being late. And as for all of the rest, I was a shit. I am so very, very sorry for what I've done to you. You never deserved any of it. For me it was never about you..."

"Yes it was, Jennifer. It had to be about me. You wanted someone, or someones, taller and better looking than me and you went out and found them. It was very much about me or rather what little I had to offer.

"Let me apologize to you, Jen, for being less of a man than I needed to be for a woman of your class," I said. "Clearly marrying you was a mistake; you were obviously way out of my league." I said this last a little less sarcastically than I had my first words.

"My God, I had no idea the depth of the hurt I was putting you through. I will never forgive myself," she said. "But, as for you not being enough of a man for me, forget it; you were more than enough man for me, Harlan, or for any woman. I love you even now. If you were to stop the divorce, I would spend the rest of my life proving my love for you, Harlan." She looked hopefully at me.

"Can't trust you anymore, Jen. I still adore you. You're everything any man could want. Whoever you hook up with after this; well, I wish him and you both well," I said.

"You don't hate me?" she said.

"No, I don't hate anyone, Jennifer, especially not you. I'm disappointed and hurt, as you said, but there is no hate in me."

We ate and carried on light conversation for the next hour. Finally it was time to leave.

"Harlan, please keep in touch. It's going to be hard for me at first not having you around," she said.

"Yeah to baby sit," I said, laughing. Her face darkened.


"Sorry, Jen, that was a cheap shot." Even though it's probably true, I thought. She tendered me a slight smile. "Say hello to Marie for me; I did love the babies."

The divorce was uncontested and easy. Three months after our final meeting at the restaurant it was over. I was alone. I wasn't sure about her.

The terms of the divorce had Jennifer paying me $500 monthly for the next two years. Not a lot, but it was something. We did sell the house, and each of us got enough for a down payment on a new place which I wasn't ready to lock myself into yet. We split the personal stuff amicably and prepared to get on with our lives.

The days after the divorce for me were—well boring. My uninspiring, nothing little digs, a rented apartment at the time, and my "no" job situation left me with a lot of time to think. But, my thinking, such as it was, was disjointed and without direction. I needed to get my miserable, now forty-eight year old, act together and start the long road back toward some kind of normalcy.

My first order of business was to get myself a job. I didn't need the money, really, but I needed to be occupied with something; I needed to be up and doing. Without a woman, retirement sucked, and that in technicolor!

I did get myself off occasionally, however, massage parlors and the occasional paid escort took care of my most basic needs. They were anonymous, made no demands, and really weren't all that expensive. It worked for me.

A search for a job that would suit me came to an unexpected end three days into it, the search that is. Sam, the pianist at Richard's retired. Mr. Campbell, Richard, was looking for a replacement. Minimum wage plus tips. Well, the tips could be as much as a $100 a night, I was told. But, I wasn't in it for the money; I just needed something to do; playing the piano was something I loved to do, and I was skilled at it. Heck the customers loved me. Things were looking up, or so I thought.

I had been on the job, and making fairly good tips, for almost a year, when I met her. Sylvia Moore, was pretty, fortyish, and sexy.

She'd actually had the audacity to put money in the jukebox "while" I was playing. I looked over at her and was both angry and intrigued. Some of the patrons also looked at her wondering what the heck she was doing. She looked around at them, smiled, and said to all within hearing, "I just want to dance with the music man." There were a few guffaws and some nervous laughter from the crowd as she came up to me.

"You wouldn't turn me down after I made a move like that, would you?" she said. I stared at her.

"Huh?" I said. She giggled.

"You wanna dance with me," she said. I nodded. I don't think I was altogether with it at that point. She kinda led me out onto the dance floor and we—well—danced, and that pretty close.

Sylvia claimed to be a retired secretary. She had blond hair and a near perfect complexion. A little paunchy in the middle, but great looking tits and ass. We started off a little tentative, well I did, she, on the other hand, was totally in control of herself.

Some four minutes later as the song ended, we'd made a date for the following night. We danced some more between sets; she was captivating.

I was off; it was Sunday evening. I picked her up at her place: a upscale condo complex downtown. I was early.

"Anxious are we?" she said, as we walked to the car. I snickered.

"Not anxious, desperate," I said.

"Hmm, I like desperate men," she said, as I helped her into the car.

For some reason I knew not of—maybe something Freudian—we ended up at the Hard Hat. I hadn't been there since that fateful night, seemingly, so long ago.

We'd spent a good hour at the bar drinking waiting for an open table, which was cool. I wanted to talk more than I wanted to eat. Finally we were seated and were half way through our meal, and in my case my third martini, when they walked in: Jennifer and her escort. He was at least six-five and very handsome and, I thought, at least ten years younger than Jen. All of the old feelings came back to haunt me. Sylvia noticed. She also noticed who had caused it.

"Someone you know?" she said.

"Yes, the woman. She's my ex," I said.

"Oh my. Are you okay? You look upset." She said.

"Truthfully? No, I'm not all right. The whole thing still bugs me," I said. "Would you mind if we went somewhere else?" I said.

"No, of course not," she said.

I signaled for the waitress. I handed her a fifty and we began to make our way out, but Jennifer and mister whoever were too near the door for us not to be noticed.

"Harlan! I didn't see..." started Jennifer.

"Hi, Jen, we were just leaving; have a nice evening," I said, helping Sylvia with her coat. The man with Jennifer looked perplexed—at first—then amused. He could see something was going on, but of course he had no clue, at least I don't think he did. I waved an "in a hurry" goodbye, and we left.

We got the car and were on the road in a trice. "My luck to run into her and one of her boyfriends," I said to Sylvia by way of a backhanded apology.

"No problem, I broke up with my partner just a little while back myself, as I mentioned yesterday," she said. "It takes time to get over things like that, if one ever can."

"Yeah, I can relate," I said.

"It's only been a day, Harlan, but I think we need to comfort each other. What do you think?" she said.

"Oh yeah," I said. "Oh yeah."

At her apartment, I plunked down on the sofa. All I could think of was Jennifer. I was with a nice looking woman who cared about me, and I was thinking of my ex-wife; helluva deal.

"Drink?" she said.

"Yes, something strong. Anything strong," I said. She disappeared into her kitchen. She reemerged three minutes later with two, as it turned out, well built martinis.

"You okay?" she said.

"Better, I guess," I said. "It's tough you know. I mean you love someone so long and then..." I couldn't think of what else to say.

"Yes, I'm familiar," she said. "Uh—Harlan?"

"Hmm?" I said, as I downed the drink.

"There's something you have to know," she said.

"What Sylvia? I hope it isn't that you have some stud boyfriend. I mean, you're a good looking girl, and we've only known each other for a day or so, but..."

"No, no, nothing like that. It's something else." I waited.

"Okay," I said, finally.

"Harlan—oh this is hard," I just waited. "Harlan, I'm not what you think. Harlan, I'm a guy." I smirked. Right and those tits are socks in a bra.

"Hormones," she said. I felt warm, flushed really. I felt—what—confusion, maybe.

"Guy? Hormones? Huh?" I spoke so softly that I could barely hear myself let alone be heard by another.

"Yes," she said. She lifted her skirt. Her panties, really a thong, had a bulge in the front.

"That's not a mons?" I said.

"No," he said. He was a he now.

"Uh—Sylvia—I have to go. No problem, but—uh—I have to go. Oh, and Sylvia, lose my number," I said. I set my empty glass down on the coffee table. I rose, grabbed my jacket, and left.

"Harlan, I'm sorry," I heard him say as the door slammed behind me. I drove back to my place as fast as I could. That as it turned out was a bad idea, at least the cops thought so: they busted me. The breathalyzer betrayed me at .12 blood alcohol. The jail turned out to be cold—fucking wonderful.

One thing about being in the tank, I had time to think if not to drink. I took stock of my situation. My wife had screwed me over. I had a minimum wage job—with tips extra—yippie-i-oh-ky-ay! I had picked up a transsexual or whatever to date; and, I didn't even know it. Oh yeah, and I almost forgot: I'm in fucking jail! What a fucking mess.

I thought back to Jennifer's date for the night. His look of amusement? Was it because he knew, or more than that, knew that I "didn't" know! Fuck-fuck-fuck!

Well, the upside was that if it weren't for all of my bad luck, I wouldn't have any luck at all. Helluva deal.

I had to do something about turning my life around, but I was damned if I had a clue as to how I might accomplish that little ditty. But there had to be a way. There had to be.

Well, I was no college graduate. No military genius. But, I was a Heckuva piano player, thanks to my dad. It was a year and a half after my divorce and I'd done practically nothing to change my life for the better, or to forget Jennifer if it came to that. I still worked mainly for tips. I was still short and just barely not ugly. I did have a house now though, recently purchased. It was small and in a kind of rundown neighborhood, but not too bad. It, the house, kinda reminded me of me.

I hadn't seen Jennifer since that night at the Hard Hat. Neither had I seen Sylvia—thank God! My humiliation over that mess just wouldn't die. I wondered if Jennifer knew. More, I wondered how I would handle it if I ever found out that she knew!

It was 2:00AM and we'd just closed the place. I stood outside and breathed deeply.

My life might be shit, but the weather was nice. It's true what some people say: the best things in life are free.

My new home, three bedrooms, two baths, thirty years old, and no leaks was a mile and half from the bistro: a half hour walk. I walked every day that it didn't rain. As I turned the corner onto my street, I noted a car, a fancy car, parked out front my old new home. There was someone in it. I walked slow trying to make out who it might be. I had no reason to be cautious, but something cued me that it might be a good idea.

As I neared the Caddy, for now I was able to identify the make; she got out.

"Hello Harlan," said Jennifer.

"Jennifer! What are you doing here?" I said.

"I was in the neighborhood. I thought I'd stop by," she said.

"Yeah, well how did you know where I lived, if I may ask?"

"I stopped by your work. I asked around.

"How come you're walking," she said.

"I always walk. Trying to slim down and stay in shape," I said. "Been going to the gym too, not that I'm any big stud or anything. Just a way to keep fit and busy. Lost some weight too, since you're asking. How about you?"

She looked at me, and I thought I read sympathy in her look. Just what I fucking needed!

"I'm okay. Job's good. Harlan, I really came by for a reason, if that's all right. Could we go inside?" she said.

I motioned her to follow me. "Just moved in, not too long back," I said. "But the place is clean if still a bit unorganized." I looked her up and down. She looked good, real good. I said so. "You look terrific."

"Thank you, Harlan. You look better too—slimmer and more, I don't know, something," she said.

"Yeah, something," I said. I know she didn't mean it as a put down, but her qualifications about my looks made me realize, once again, just how out of her league I was. Hell, I wanted to cry. In the two years since the divorce, I'd gotten laid maybe five times, and I'd had to pay for all five. Nothing like that to gut an ego.

"Harlan, that was meant as a compliment," she said.

"Well, thank you for that. And, I'm grateful," I said, trying not to sound too phoney.

"Harlan, you have no way to know it of course, but I think of you every day. I really do. I miss you," she said.

"Uh—yes, and how's Marie and the babies," I said. Oh, and where's my manners? Want a drink or something?" I said. She frowned at my dodging of her remark.

"Marie and the kids are fine. The kids ask about you from time to time; you really should take some time to go over there and see them. They miss you.

"As for the drink, Yes, I guess—yes," she said. I headed for the kitchen to mix the martinis. Odd, I thought, it had been Jennifer that had turned me on to martinis a thousand years ago, and I had become more or less addicted to them over the years.

Returning minutes later, I found her on the couch, legs crossed, and smiling. Jesus she was hot. He skirt had ridden up and barely covered the temple of my adoration. And, I couldn't be sure, but I think she'd loosened a button on her blouse. She caught me staring.

"Like what you see, mister?" she said.

"Always did, Jen. You know that. Anyway, what did bring you here," I said.

"Harlan, it's been two years now since our—separation," she said. Separation, I thought; it was a divorce, not a separation, but if she wanted to pile on the euphemisms, I'd go along.

"Yeah, guess so," I said.

"My alimony checks to you are slated to stop after next month as you know." Actually, I should have known, but I hadn't even thought about it until she'd just mentioned it.

"Uh—yes," I said. I was going to feel the pinch once she stopped sending the $500. She'd never been late and never complained; I had to give her that. At first it had been kind of humiliating being partly supported by a woman who was no longer my wife, but it had gotten to be so routine that I no longer gave it much thought. But, now I had to.

"Well, Harlan, I don't mean this as a put down, I really don't. But, can I ask, how are you doing financially?" she said.

"Okay. If you mean how will I do once you stop sending the money, I'll be okay. I'll be fine," I said. I really would be okay, I knew, but it would force me to tighten the belt a bit what with the new house payment.

"Harlan, if you need the money, I can and will continue the payments. Kind of a reimbursement to you for all of the suffering I caused you. I feel just awful about us. I can't get over it," she said. I just looked at her. She had to know how humiliating it would be for me to have to ask her to continue to help support me, and that voluntarily.

"No, no," I said. "Like I said, I'll be fine."

"Okay, but I'm doing very well, so it would be no problem for me if you change your mind," she said. I wondered why she thought that I needed the extra money.

"Look," I said, "why don't you let me take you out for lunch tomorrow?" Where did that come from. Silly me, it came from the mouth of my little head. She was stunning. She must have realized what I was getting at because she actually giggled.

"Okay, big boy. I think I'll just let you do that," she said. Her big boy comment kinda bothered me, I wasn't big, and she clearly knew that; but I decided to let it pass.

I knew that lunch would be a time for us to talk, that's why I'd made the offer. I was pretty sure she wanted to too. I was hoping that maybe we could mend a few fences. I was sure I couldn't trust her in any meaningful way, not after what she'd done. But, maybe we could find some common ground and perhaps see each other from time to time—okay, so I wanted to fuck her; every man who'd likely ever met her did.

We talked for a little while, and I was feeling—what—kind of at ease, I guess.

The next day she showed up at a little before noon. She was dressed nice, but conservatively.

We took her car; it was better than mine. We pulled into the lot of The Red Barron Steak House ten minutes later—her choice. Yeah it was going to be expensive, but this was a onetime deal; I could afford it. It must have finally hit her that maybe I couldn't afford it because she stopped cold as we took our first steps toward the entrance.

"Harlan! Oh my goodness, I never thought to ask you. Is this place okay? Would you prefer somewhere else? I just kinda drove over here. I knew it was close, and I know the food's good, but..."

"No, no, it's fine. I've never eaten here before, but if you say the food is good; well, it's okay by me," I said. She totally knew she'd blown it. We went in and were escorted to a table in the back. It wasn't overly busy; it was a week day, and it was way too pricey for the local work forces in the area.

Seated, the waitress took our drink orders and disappeared. "Harlan, this is dutch today, okay? I refuse to stick you with the bill," she said.

"No way, Jennifer. I invited you. Besides, I'm not that poor. I have a job you know," I said.

"Uh—yes—I heard," she said. What went left unsaid was the obvious fact that she knew I was working essentially for tips. She knew of course, that I got a couple of grand a month from my military retirement, but keeping a house with all that entailed was expensive and she knew that too; and, I knew she knew it. The extra six grand annual that she'd been paying me per the divorce settlement had been a big help. My income was going to drop from a tough enough 40K to an actually painful thirty 34K. Well what was, was, I guess.

She Was pulling down 6K to 8K monthly depending on her bonuses. I couldn't compete with her economically, and yes it bothered me a little. But, that said, I did like having my free time; that, almost as much as she liked doing battle in the world of business.

"What?" I said. "It's a good job!" She smiled.

"Of course. I'm glad for you," she said.

The rest of lunch was filled with pretty mundane stuff. I kept trying to see down her blouse, and she kept pretending that she didn't notice. I felt like a kid from the wrong side of the tracks on his first date with a decidedly uptown girl.

She slid over next to me on the way back to my house and kissed me lightly on the cheek. I turned to look at her and she planted one squarely on my ruby-red lips and made an effort to spear my tonsils with her tongue; she almost caused an accident.

"Okay, we'll have to wait till we get to the house since you are clearly a little rusty in your making out while driving skills," she laughed.

I didn't break any speed laws on the way home, but I didn't waste any time either.

Once in the house she excused herself to go to the bathroom. I busied myself with fixing us a couple of martinis. Some minutes later she emerged. She was naked except for her high heels.

"See anything more interesting than television?" she said.

I just nodded. Speech for the moment was not possible. "Huh?" I said, finally.

"Get it while the gettin's hot," she said. "I know you need it and I am here for you." I felt uneasy with what she was saying, or more to the point the way she'd said it, but she was right about me needing it. Needing it hell! I was desperate. I'd worry about the niceties and nuances of her linguistics later.

I came to her and took her in my arms. Her being taller than me, especially in her pumps let me rest my face and lips against the softness of her breasts quite naturally. It felt good. It felt like I remembered in the early years. She had me and she knew it.

I hated feeling helpless with this woman, the same woman that had killed my heart. She led me to the couch and pulled my face to hers and kissed me. It was a tender kiss, but one that was also laden with anxiety and wishful thinking on my part. Dueling tongues became the game of the moment. My dick had never been so hard.

"You gotta get naked, Harlan, don't make me do all of the work," she giggled. I stood and I obeyed. Finally undressed, I again joined her on the couch. I began suckling on her breasts. God what wonderful things they were.

For the next half hour we kissed, felt each other up, and then the heavy stuff began.

She pushed me back and smiled benignly at me; she was taking care of me—my needs. Leaning forward she took my whole five and a half inches into her mouth and sucked and licked me to a state of uncommon ecstasy. I came and she swallowed.

"Needed to get the first one out of the way," she said. "Now, hopefully you can last a little bit while I give myself to you."

"I will do my best;" I said; "you can trust me on that one." She took a drink of her rum and coke, and began kissing me again and fondling my dick. I'd been so long without that she had me up and ready within ten minutes: a record for me. She just smiled.

I coaxed her onto her knees, back to me, on the couch. I nudged her knees a little farther as I stood behind her and pressed into her. She grunted a little bit, but actually pushed back at me impaling herself. I screwed her slowly at first. She just rested her head on the back of the couch and let me have my way with her. As I neared a climax, she sensed it and started mooing and telling me to go faster and harder, "Harder, much harder," she gasped as I unloaded myself into her. She jerked and grunted again; I was hoping she'd made it."

Her slip back on and my boxers donned, we sipped our drinks and looked at each other. She smiled at me and finished dressing; I was right behind her. She stood and smiled down at me as I finished putting on my shoes.

"Feel better?" she asked. Her look and her tone made me feel like she thought she'd done me a favor or something. It was disconcerting.

"I feel good; it was good," I said. There was that smile again—condescending.

"I'm glad," she said. "I can do you every once in a while if you need it. I mean we were married, and we did enjoy it in the old days. I know it's tough for a man to do without."

The timing was bad, but I felt I had to say something. "Jennifer?"

"Yes, Harlan?

"Was this—was this a mercy fuck?" I said. She looked surprised.

"Baby, I just wanted to give you something. I felt I owed you for the way I treated you before. I know you've been—well—without for a while..."

"Wait—wait," I said. "You know I've been going without? How?" She looked down.

"Look, Harlan, I just wanted you to feel good. I wanted to do something for you. I know you needed..."

"Yes, Jennifer, but 'how' did you know? Please, how?" I said.

"Melanie Groves," she said, as if that meant something to me.

"Huh?" I said.

"You told her. I know her from a long time ago," she said.

"And, just who is Melanie Groves," I said. I really had not a clue.

"Harlan, let it drop, okay. It's not important and neither is she. What's important is my taking care of you; I mean even if only occasionally. Okay?" she said.

"Jennifer, I want to know. I mean it," I said.

"She's a prostitute, Harlan. One of the ones you hired for an evening. We used to be friends. She does some porn films and puts out for bucks now and again, okay." She was looking at me with what could only be described as sympathy. If I hadn't been humiliated enough, I certainly was now. I fell back into a nearby chair.

"Fuck!" I said. "Well, I guess I should be grateful for your sympathy and you having the kindness of heart to have mercy on this old ex-husband of yours. Fucking wonderful. Did you get a nice little giggle out of what she told you?

"Jennifer, don't come back, not ever," I said.

"But why, Harlan? There's nothing wrong with me helping you out now and again. I like doing you. I really do. For the record, so did Melanie," she said.

"Just leave me the fuck alone," I said. "O-fucking-kay!"

"Harlan, you're being silly. I'll be in touch." With that she picked up her purse and left.

I sat there stunned, and stewing. So, I am reduced to being a laughing stock, at best an object of sympathy. Well, what the hell, what else was fucking new.

Sitting in a bar and crying in one's beer is a less than delightful way to live a life. That said, it is a primo way to think things over.

So here was Jennifer allowing me, an old flame, an ex-husband, a complete loser the opportunity to get his rocks off—occasionally, and that for free! That there was a downside to that kind of favor does not seem to have occurred to her. My ego was crushed, but my balls were emptied out. My self-esteem, what little I had, was reduced to a vague mist in the ether of the eternal cosmos. Did the woman think me that low? Did she love me? The answer to both questions seemed to be yes.

Still, that Jennifer no longer had any respect for me that was clear; she felt sorry for me. I think too that she still loved me a little and maybe even felt a little bit guilty about what she'd done to me. Questions answered, but now there were other questions, new questions. Should I bite the bullet and accept that I was a loser and take what I could get? Was there a way that I could redeem myself at least in my own eyes if not in Jennifer's or for that matter anyone else's? Yes, bars were good places to ruminate and plan and make choices; and oh yes, drink.

"You play very nicely," she said.

"Thanks, that's nice to hear," I said. "Can I get you another one of those?" The woman eyed me warily.

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