She used the key I'd given her to let herself in. I wasn't expecting her so I was sitting on the couch reading James Lee Burke's latest, "The Glass Rainbow." I put the book down and gave her an appreciative look. She was drop dead gorgeous and the sexiest looking woman I had ever laid eyes on. She was the kind of woman that a star had on his arm at the Academy Awards or some MTV award show. She was the kind of woman you saw with super stars, famous athletes or some extremely rich bachelor. The kind of woman a guy like me normally couldn't even get close to.
I suffered under no illusions about myself. Thirty-five years old, early male pattern baldness and ten pounds overweight – in decent shape – but still overweight. But I wasn't a normal guy. I had something that she wanted – something that she needed.
"Hi baby" she said, "Glad to see me?"
"Always glad to see you and you know it."
She walked toward me shedding her clothes as she came and I marveled at the luck that had put us together. Luck both good and bad. Good for now – extremely good for now – but the bad was coming. Hopefully a long way away, but that it was coming was never in doubt.
Her name was Holly Gail Catron and she was the kiss of death.
I was eighteen when I Mary Ellen Shaver. It was the first day of class at Eastern Michigan University and I was sitting at a desk in the middle of the room when three girls and two guys came in together. They looked around trying to find five seats together and then their gaze came to rest on me. I had an empty seat on each side of me and there were two empty right in front of me.
One of the girls said something to the others and then she headed for me.
"Excuse me" she said, "But could I ask you for a big favor?"
"My friends and I would like to sit together. Could you move to one of the seats off to the side?"
I took a close look at her and liked what I saw. It wouldn't hurt to have a good looking girl thinking well of me and so I said:
"Anything for a pretty lady" and I got up and moved. When class was over and we were leaving the room we hit the door at the same time and she smiled at me and said:
"Thank you for being so nice."
"Any time. Pretty ladies have but to ask and I rush to do their bidding."
She giggled and turned left in the hallway and I went right. That afternoon in room 106, Introduction to Poetry, it happened again. I was sitting in the middle of four vacant seats when she and her friends came in. I saw her scan the room for five seats together and her eyes fell on me. I knew what was coming so I waved her over and got up to move to an empty seat in the back.
"You are so sweet" she said as I walked by her.
The next day I hit the school cafeteria at ten to twelve and as I left the cashier I looked for a place to sit. The place was packed, but I saw a familiar face at a table with an empty seat. I walked over and said:
"Care to repay the favor?"
She and her two girlfriends looked up at me and she smiled and said:
"What do you think girls? Should we gamble that he isn't an axe wielding mass murderer?" One said, "He is kind of cute" and the other said, "Maybe not a murderer, but he could be some sort of pervert." The first one giggled and said, "Oh goody; a pervert. Perverts are good. Please join us."
The girls were Mary Ellen, Marsha and Gail and after introducing myself Mary Ellen asked:
"Where are you from Rob?"
"Yep. Born and raised right here in Ypsilanti."
"Great. You can tell us where everything is. The places we can go to have fun."
"Can't help you much there. There isn't a whole lot to do here in Ypsiltucky. There are a couple of places down in Belleville or close to the airport down in Romulus, but most of the good places are over in Ann Arbor."
"But you can show us, right?"
"I'm only nineteen so I can't get you into any of the places I think you are wanting to go to. Besides, I have a part time job loading cargo planes out at Willow Run and I only get maybe one night a week off."
"And you want to spend that one night with your girlfriend, right?"
"Not hardly. She decided to go back east to go to college and I'm a realist. An eleven month high school romance isn't likely to survive an eleven hundred mile separation. I'm betting that I'll be replaced by Christmas break (I didn't miss it by much. I got the 'Dear John' the day after Thanksgiving) or by New Years."
"I'm in the same boat" Mary Ellen said. My boyfriend is going to UCLA and before he even left he told me that we should date others."
"You going to?"
"I'm not working this Friday. Can I be the first?"
"You sure are a fast worker."
"Got to try and get to you before someone else does."
Mary Ellen turned to her friends and said, "What do you think girls? Should I give him a try?"
The one named Marsha looked at Mary Ellen and then said, "If you don't I will."
Mary Ellen got a surprised look on her face. "Whoa! The Ice Queen sees something. I'd better grab you before you can get away."
She looked from Marsha to me and then back at Marsha and then said: "Unless you want first dibs."
"He asked you, not me."
"How about it Bobby; want to give Marsha first chance?"
"I prefer Rob."
"Maybe, but you look like a Bobby to me. I kind of like the sound of it – Bobby. You can be Rob to everyone else, but you'll be Bobby to me."
It wasn't worth arguing about so I let it drop and I turned to Marsha and said:
"I don't know any of you, but I'd like to get to know all of you. Would you like to share your Friday night with me?"
"Yes; I believe I would."
I saw Mary Ellen and Gail share shocked expressions and I wondered what that was all about.
My Friday night date with Marsha went off well. I took her out for dinner and then we caught a movie after which I took her back to the apartment she shared with Mary Ellen and Gail. When I pulled up in the apartment parking lot and before I even had a chance to try for a kiss Marsha said:
"You caught that "Ice Queen" reference that other day didn't you?"
"I did, but I've not seen anything to make me believe it."
"That's because I'm not an ice queen. Gail and Mary Ellen call me that because as long as I've known them I've never dated a boy. You are the first and probably the last and what I am going to tell you is my deepest darkest secret and I'm trusting you to keep it. Not even Gail or Mary Ellen know, but I've never dated a boy because I'm into girls."
"I don't understand."
"Sure you do. I'm a lesbian. I'm gay. I'm only out with you tonight because I believe you are a hell of a nice guy and for some reason that I don't even understand I don't want to see you hurt."
"No more than I am at my even being here, but I wanted the chance to give you a warning. Stay away from Mary Ellen. She's my friend and I love her dearly, but because I have known her as long as I have I know what kind of person she is. She will hurt you Rob. Do yourself a favor and stay away from her."
She leaned toward me, kissed me on the cheek and was out of the car and heading up the walk before I could get out and get the door for her. I didn't even think of her warning as she walked away. My only thought was, "A lesbian? What a waste."
But Marsha's warning came back to haunt me later. Much later and much too late to do anything about it.
Monday Mary Ellen's group was smaller when they came to class. One of the guys wasn't there and I found out later that his first day of college was also his last, but I never found out why. His absence left a vacant seat next to Mary Ellen and when she saw me looking her way she pointed to it. I got up and moved to sit with her. As I took the seat I saw Marsha give me a look that I took to mean:
"I warned you you poor twit."
We made small talk until Professor Irwin came into the room, called the roll and then gave me a ration of shit for screwing up his seating chart.
At lunch Mary Ellen was sitting alone and I joined her. She asked me how my date with Marsha had gone and I said that I had enjoyed it.
"Are you going to go out with her again?"
"That is up to you."
"Up to me? Why is it up to me?"
"Because you are the one I really want to date. Marsha is a nice girl, but she really doesn't grab me like you do."
"I don't know Rob. Marsha is my friend."
"Trust me; Marsha is not interested in me. There was no spark between us. It was a nice date, but we won't be repeating it."
"Let me think about it."
She thought about it and (probably after talking with Marsha) decided to go out with me. The first date led to a second and the second to a third. On the third we made out and again made out on the fourth and fifth. It was on the sixth date when Mary Ellen told me that she liked sex, but fully intended to go to her marriage bed a virgin.
"How can you say that you like sex and then say that you are going to stay a virgin? Don't you have to have sex to find out you like it?"
"There is sex sweetie and then there is sex."
"That doesn't make any sense."
"It does if you think about it. Aren't blow jobs sex? Isn't eating pussy sex?"
"Well yeah, I guess."
"So how's this sweetie; you can never fuck me, but if you will eat my pussy I will suck your cock."
To me, a stone assed virgin, the thought of putting my mouth on a woman's private parts was absolutely disgusting, but the thought of a blow job had my mind working overtime to try and come up with a way to get the one while not having to give the other. Mary Ellen was wise to the way of boys and she said:
"Oh no sweetie; I get mine first and then you get yours."
Nothing for it at that point but honesty. "I've never done it. I don't know how."
"It is easy sweetie; I can show you in minutes."
I wrestled with it. I just knew that as soon as I got close enough to it to get a good whiff I would barf and then I would not only not get a blow job, but Mary Ellen would be so disgusted with me that she would tell everybody and I'd end up a laughing stock. Still, it was a chance to get my first blow job so I took a deep breath and said:
"Promise me you won't laugh at me?"
Surprisingly it didn't bother me at all. In fact, Mary Ellen's moans and cries were kind of a turn on. Her fingers dug into my hair and she pulled me against her and then she screamed out:
"Oh shit! Oh fucking sweet Jesus!" and her body arched up at me and then went limp. I thought I'd hurt her and pulled back in alarm. She looked up at me with a question on her face:
"What?" she asked.
"Are you all right?"
"I'm more than all right sweetie. Are you sure that you have never done that before?"
Before I could answer that she grabbed a handful of my shirt and pulled me back down. She kissed me and her tongue tried to lick my belly button from the inside. She broke the kiss and said:
"Now it is your turn sweetie."
There is no adequate way to describe to describe your very first blow job. It was marvelous! It was stupendous! It was mind blowing! And when I came Mary Ellen did something that I never expected. She kept me in her mouth and swallowed what came out of my cock. When I was limp she let my cock fall from her mouth, looked up at me and smiled as she said:
"Now wasn't that worth what you did for me?"
I wanted to say "Again? Can we please do it again?" but Mary Ellen was already digging in her purse for her makeup. She saw my look and she knew what it meant and she smiled at me and said:
"There is always tomorrow sweetie."
And there was and many, many more tomorrows after that.
Mary Ellen and I started dating and while I wasn't exclusive with her we did get together once or twice a week and our get-togethers always ended up with our mouths being busy on each other. Mary Ellen dated others and it sort of bent me out of shape and one night when I was in a 'pouty' mood Mary Ellen told me that I shouldn't be that way.
"I have to go out with other guys because I promised Mike (her California boyfriend) that I wouldn't take up steady with a guy and he promised me the same. Date others yes, but don't get involved in a serious relationship. I'm more serious with you that I should be, but I had to have somebody to give me what Mike got me used to. None of the others get what you get sweetie. We are exclusive in that way."
By then I'd gotten my 'Dear John' from Jenny and Mary Ellen knew it. When I told her she got a sad look on her face and said:
"I'm hoping that it won't happen, but I'm half expecting a 'Dear Jane' from Mike. I haven't heard from him in a month.
A Tuesday night at work ended my relationship with Mary Ellen. I was loading a DC-8 with Harvey Marks, a guy I'd gone to high school with and who was also an EMU student, and he said:
"I see you have been keeping steady company with Mary Ellen Shaver. Tell me, old buddy to old buddy; are her blow jobs really as great as I hear?"
I'd known Harv for years, but I had never been a 'kiss and tell' kind of guy so I just said, "No idea Harv" and my tone of voice pretty much told Harv to move on to another subject and Mary Ellen wasn't mentioned between us again.
Harv's question did prompt thoughts though and 'so much for my so called exclusivity' was chief among them. I liked – make that loved – my blow jobs, but I had never liked being lied to so I didn't show up for my date with Mary Ellen the next night. She called me and asked me where I'd been.
"Decided that I was tired of being one of many Mary Ellen."
There was a second or two of silence on the other end of the line and then I heard the click as she hung up the phone. I avoided her after that and she avoided me.
Christmas break was only two days away when Harv invited me to go to a party with him. He was a member of the Phi Delta fraternity and they were having a pre-Christmas party before going home for the holiday break.
There was a keg and I grabbed a beer and wandered around, socialized and explained for the hundredth time why I didn't join. I would have liked to, but between school and work I just didn't have the time. I'd been there maybe an hour when one of the guys said:
"You going to pay your old girlfriend a visit?"
"Yeah. She's upstairs pulling a train."
Curious as to who this 'old girlfriend' was I walked up the stairs and then down the hall to the room where all the noise was coming from. I walked into the room and found five naked guys waiting for their turn with the girl on the bed. It was Mary Ellen and she had her legs up on a guy's shoulders and he was pounding into her. She looked over and saw me standing in the doorway. Something came over her face and her right hand came up and it looked like she was reaching for me. I turned and went back downstairs.
Harv came up to me with a concerned look on his face. "Did you know that your girl is upstairs being banged?"
"She hasn't been my girlfriend since you told me about her giving out blow jobs."
"I told you about her blow jobs?"
"The night we were loading the DC-8 for Kansas City."
"I was talking about you."
"What do you meant?"
I was dating her friend Gail and one night when she had a few to loosen her up I tried to get into her pants and she said no so I asked her for a blow job. She laughed and said that I need to get with Mary Ellen if I wanted blow jobs. Then she said, "Just ask your friend Rob about them" and so I did.
"So you don't know if she was giving them out to other guys?"
"I've no idea of what she does or did."
"No matter. She isn't upstairs trying to save her virginity now."
"What does that mean?"
"Nothing Harv. At least not any more."
Mary Ellen did not show up for classes the last two days and then school was out until after the holidays. When classes started again after New Years Mary Ellen didn't show up for class. Gail, Marsha and John (the other guy from the original group of five) were there, but no Mary Ellen. I got nasty looks from Gail and John and I couldn't understand why.
At lunch I was sitting alone when Gail and Marsha walked up and sat down. Gail looked at me and said:
"What the hell did you do to Mary Ellen?"
"Me? I didn't do anything to her."
"You must have. She was seeing you and she was happy and now all of a sudden she is a basket case and you aren't around. They have to be connected somehow."
"In a way they might be, but I haven't done anything to Mary Ellen except stop dating her."
"What do you mean by "in a way they might be" and why did you stop dating her?"
You get the credit for that Gail."
"Me? How do I get into it?"
I told her about what Harv told me. "The way he understood it was that you were telling him that Mary Ellen was giving out blow jobs to her dates. When he told me that I stopped dating her. That is all there is from my standpoint."
"How could you do that to her. She liked you. She was happy with you."
"Maybe so, but she did date other guys and if she was giving all of them blow jobs I didn't want to spend anymore time with her. It was one thing if I was the exclusive recipient of her oral favors, but the keyword there is 'exclusive.' Vaginal sex isn't the only way you can spread venereal disease. Once I found out that I wasn't exclusive Mary Ellen and I were done."
"But you were exclusive."
"Then you should have made that clear to Harv."
"Well now you know. Call her."
"Too late for that now."
"Why for Christ's sake? The poor girl is hurting."
"Not my problem."
"How can you be so cold about this? I thought you liked her."
"You did? You don't now?"
"I might still like her, but we are still over."
I thought about it for a few seconds and then figured that they were her friends and if she was a basket case like Gail said she was going to need them, but to help her they would have to know as much as possible. I told them about the frat house party and what I'd seen and how it had disgusted me.
"Oh my God" Marsha said, "You don't know?"
"Mary Ellen was given a date rape drug and was taken advantage of."
"That's her story?"
"It's true. When they finally left her alone she called the police. They took her to the hospital and did blood work and found the drug in her system. They arrested every guy in the house and Mary Ellen identified nine of them as guys who had used her. One of them worked out a plea deal and ratted out all the others and six more besides. The school is trying to keep a lid on it and Mary Ellen is going along with it."
"Why would she do that?"
"She is here on scholarships and there have been some behind the doors conversations that she may be able to get a full ride for the rest of the time she is here is she doesn't make a big stink. You need to call her Rob."
I thought about it for a day or two and then I picked up the phone and called. We met in a back booth at a restaurant and we talked. I found out that the night we had talked and I had told her that I was tired of being one of many she had just finished reading a letter from Mike telling her that he was sorry, but he had met some one else. My dumping her an hour later had crushed her.
She spent a couple of days feeling sorry for herself and then she decided that she needed to get out and try to get over her funk. She let some guys she knew talk her into going to the frat party and she ended up being raped.
"There was a bright side to it. I was so out of it that I never felt the pain of losing my cherry. How about you Rob? What have you been up to?"
She delivered that line in such a 'chipper' tone of voice that I was stunned. She saw the look on my face and said:
"I'm a big girl Rob and I'm old enough to know that what is done is done. Crying isn't going to change any of it and the way I've chosen to deal with it is accept that it happened through no fault of my own and move on. So tell me Rob, why did you shit on me?"
I told her about Harv and Gail and how I'd taken it."
"You couldn't have talked about it with me first?"
"Why would I? We weren't anything permanent. I was just a guy who was willing to do what your missing boyfriend used to do for you. You made it clear that he was your main man. That's why you were dating others, right? You promised him not to get into a steady relationship? With that situation why would I doubt it when Harv led me to believe that I was not the only one getting your oral favors? You weren't my steady girl. Not that I didn't want you to be, but you were this guy Mike's and not mine."
"You wanted me to be your steady girl?"
"Of course I did."
"Well Rob, Mike is now history."
And that is how Mary Ellen became my steady then my fiancée and then eventually my wife.
When we left the restaurant Mary Ellen asked, "Can you afford a motel Rob?"
"I can't give you my virginity Rob, but I don't want our first time to be on a back seat."
My parents were home so my room was out. I had just gotten paid, but the check was mostly earmarked for my car payment. I'd just have to tighten my belt and watch my pennies until my next paycheck.
"I can afford a room" I said and Mary Ellen slipped her arm through mine and we headed on out Michigan Avenue to find a motel. It was a most memorable night. Mary Ellen and I made love four times before checkout the next day and after that first night it was sex four and five times a week. Mostly on the back seat of my car or on a blanket at some out of the way picnic ground.
My parents did like to spend weekends at the lake and whenever they did Mary Ellen and I made the house ours for the weekend. Once I made my last car payment we were able to make use of motels more often, but one way or another we managed.
During our last year of school Mary Ellen got a part time job as a file clerk at a law firm and it cut into our lovemaking time, but the fewer opportunities for us to be together seemed to make Mary Ellen more insatiable when we were. There were a couple of times she had to work late most weeks, but she made up for things on the weekend by trying to fuck me blind.
Six months before graduation I took a knee in front of Mary Ellen and asked her to be my wife. I received an enthusiastic "yes" and a night of sex that almost crippled me. We set the date of the wedding for six months after graduation.
Graduation came and Mary Ellen, who had majored in Computer Science, went to work full time at the law firm. I took my Business Management degree and went to work for the XYZ Corporation. Mary Ellen and I moved into an apartment together and started saving money for a down payment on a home.
Things were going great and the only fly in the ointment, at least from my perspective, was that the law firm had Mary Ellen traveling to conferences, symposiums, meetings and training sessions and on most of them she got almost no notice. I'd come home and find her packing and be told that she was leaving in the morning and would be gone X number of days.
It was hard to bitch given what they were paying her, but being gone three or four days a week one or two weeks out of the month wasn't setting too well with me and we got into a bit of a tiff when she told me six days before our wedding that she would be gone for the next four days. I told her to tell them that she couldn't go and why and she refused. It was her job to go and there wasn't anything that she needed to do wedding wise.
"Be reasonable Rob. I'll be home sometime late Thursday and the wedding isn't until Saturday."
"That's not the point Mary Ellen. The point is that I want you here at this particular point in time. I have no idea if there are going to be any last minute glitches and if there are I want you here. We are talking about one of the most important events of our lives. You need to be here."
"I'm sorry Rob, but I have to go. I need to be there when the new system goes on line."
I almost said, "You need to make a choice; that fucking job or me" but at the last second I held my tongue. Things were a little on the cool side between us before she left on her trip. I avoided her even though she tried to not be avoided and on Monday morning she left on her trip.
I was pissed so I didn't bother to answer her phone calls on Monday night and Tuesday night and I let the calls go to the answering machine. Wednesday the call was short and to the point.
"I'll call back in one hour Rob and if you don't answer there will be no wedding this Saturday. One hour Rob."
I looked at the recorder for maybe a full minute and then I grabbed my car keys and headed for the door. I got in my car and pointed it toward my favorite watering hole. I wasn't anywhere close to being real smart when it came to women, but even I knew an ultimatum when I heard it and there wasn't any way I was going to start out on a lifetime commitment being given ultimatums. That was the same thinking that stopped me from saying "your job or me" but now I wondered if I wouldn't have been better off saying it.
I drank beer and shot pool until midnight and when I got home I ignored the flashing red light on the answering machine and went to bed. Thursday after work I hit the Olive Garden for dinner and then drove over to Murphy's Tavern and drank beer and shot pool until eleven and then headed on home.
Mary Ellen's plane was due in at three that afternoon and she wasn't home and that pretty much told me all I needed to know. When I got up the next day I called into work and took a vacation day and then caught a flight to Vegas. I caught a few shows, broke even at the tables and flew home Sunday.
I entered the apartment and Mary Ellen wasn't there. She had been though; the place was a fucking wreck. She had done a damned good job of trashing the place. There wasn't an unbroken dish or glass in the kitchen and anything else in the place that could be broken was.
The desktop computer was smashed, but I had my laptop in the car and I went out and got it. I logged on and brought up my banking accounts and saw that our joint account where we had been stashing the money for our house down payment hadn't been touched. I transferred all of the money into my personal account and then closed the housing account. Then, rather than clean up the mess in the bedroom I went to a motel for the night.
There were a ton of messages waiting for me when I got to work on Monday morning. Most wanting to know why I hadn't been at the church on Saturday. I'd called my family from the airport before boarding my flight for Vegas so they knew not to bother being there, but I hadn't contacted anyone else. It was at times like that I was glad I didn't have a cell phone. I'm probably the only person I know who doesn't have one. I value my time too much to have it at everyone's beck and call just because they can reach in their pocket, pull out a phone and reach out and touch me just because they feel the need.
I called a locksmith and arranged for him to meet me when I got home from work. When he was done and gone I got to work cleaning up the apartment and making a list of what had to be replaced. The light on the answering machine kept flashing and the little orange light that meant that the machine was full was lit which meant that I had at least two hundred messages. I got tired of looking at it so I unplugged it. The answering machine was digital which meant that it did not have a tape. The only way to clear the machine was start each message and then hit the delete button and I did not feel like doing that two hundred times so I tossed the machine in the waste basket and put down getting a new one on my list.
Tuesday after work I stopped at Wal-Mart and got some of the things on my list. I went next door to Best Buy and bought a new desktop computer and then stopped at Kohls to get sheets, pillow cases and the like. When I got home I set up the new answering machine and plugged the phone back in. Bad mistake. The phone rang almost instantly. It was Mary Ellen.
"Why is all the money gone from the house account Rob?"
"I'm fine Mary Ellen; how are you?"
"Answer the question Rob."
"I moved it until I can sit down and go through the deposits and calculate what we each put in. When I get that done I'll deduct from your share what I had to spend to repair the damage you did and replace what you destroyed. Once that is done I'll send you what's left. Drop me a note saying where you will be so I'll know where to send it."
I don't know if she was going to say anything else because I hung up on her. She called back almost immediately and I let the answering machine take the call.
"Pick up Rob. We need to talk. This is getting way out of hand. We really need to talk Rob."
Maybe you do I thought, but I don't.
For the next two days I shopped for what I had to and in several cases I upgraded what I replaced. It wasn't my money. The desktop she destroyed got upgraded – a bunch – and I bought a new coffee table to replace one that only had a few light scratches on it.
Mary Ellen's share of the house down payment money was $12,612.12 and the replacement costs came to $$4018.62. Being an asshole about it I added another $1000 to cover the cost of labor and the cost of gas from running back and forth to the stores and then got ready to write Mary Ellen a check for $7593.50 and then had a thought. I checked my receipts and found that I'd spent $1181.50 on various items for the wedding and I subtracted that. In the end I wrote her a check for $6412.00. I unplugged the phone and – not for the first time – congratulated myself for never getting a cell phone.
When I got to work the next morning the receptionist gave me a stack of message slips along with a look that said, "Please get me out of the middle of this."
There were nine slips and seven of them were from Mary Ellen. I looked at Linda and told her that I would try and take care of it.
"She might ignore what I tell her, but I will try."
At nine I picked up the phone and called Mary Ellen at work. After her "Hello" I said:
"Stop calling me at work Mary Ellen. Stop calling me at home. We have nothing to talk about. You chose your job over your wedding and that told me what our marriage was going to be like. Then you issued me an ultimatum and that also told me what I could look forward to in a marriage with you and I decided that those were things I could live without. I hope you have a good life Mary Ellen; it just isn't going to be with me. Goodbye."
I hung up on her and then brought up my computer and started going through my email. One caught my eye and I printed it out. I kept going back and reading it and at the end of the day I called my bosses secretary and asked her if I could get in to see him. She told me she would check and get back to me.
At five I was in Barry's office. I asked him if I could be considered for the position that had been opened in the Denver office. He stared at me for several seconds and then asked:
"How soon can you leave?"
It turned out that I only needed a week to break in my replacement and then I was in a U-Haul heading for Colorado. The truck and the car on the trailer I was towing were packed solid with everything that I owned. I'd left nothing behind in Michigan except Mary Ellen and I was missing her terribly before I even crossed the Michigan/Ohio state line. I loved her and I would be a long time getting over her, but I was a realist. What I'd told Mary Ellen on the phone was one hundred percent true. Given the way things were we didn't stand a chance.
I spent four years in Denver and they were good years. I met a lot of fine ladies and bedded several, but I never found one that I wanted to settle down with. The major problem and I knew it was that I compared them to Mary Ellen and they kept coming up short.
I received a couple of letters from Mary Ellen that had been forwarded from my old address, but I tossed them away unread. Since she didn't hear from me she might have thought that I didn't get them so she sent one registered with a return receipt requested. I signed for the letter and then tossed it unread into the trash.
I was doing fine career wise and had received two promotions. I knew that I had been doing a good job, but I had no idea that the company thought as highly of me as they apparently did. I got a call from my old boss and he asked me if I was ready to leave Denver. When I asked why he told me that he had been kicked upstairs and he wanted to know if I wanted his job. In three days I was on my way back to Ypsilanti.
I found an apartment in the same complex I'd lived in before I moved to Colorado, but I did slightly better for myself and got a second floor apartment overlooking the pool. It was summertime so the view was awesome if you liked girls in bikinis.
I settled into the new job, looked up some old friends and had dinner with my parents once or twice a week. I did not ask about Mary Ellen and no one mentioned her to me, but I still found myself looking for her when I frequented places where we used to go.
I spent a good part of my weekends lying around the apartment pool and I made the acquaintance of a few of the bikini clad ladies. I dated a couple of them and ended up in a friends with benefits relationship with one. Chelsea made it clear up front that she did not want a serious relationship.
"I've had enough of those and they don't turn out well for me."
"Why not? You seem to be the complete package; good looking, charming, intelligent and all around good company."
"And I attract guys like honey attracts flies and every man I've ever been in a serious relationship with starts feeling insecure and tries to be overly possessive. I just don't need any more of that. I do have urges and if you are willing to take care of them without starting to think of me as your property we can have lots of fun together."
"You sound like exactly what I need in my life right now."
Chelsea did indeed have urges and at times they came pretty close to crippling me. Chelsea and I got along great together. We were pretty damn near to being a perfect fit for each other and after about six months I decided that I was going to have to convince her that I wasn't like the other guys she'd had serious relationships with, but before I could do it though something happened.
I'd been back almost a year and one day I was having lunch and screening the financial pages of the newspaper when someone sat down opposite me at the table. I looked up from the paper and saw Mary Ellen sitting there looking at me.
"I didn't ask if I could join you because I was afraid you would say no. How are you Rob?"
"I'm fine Mary Ellen and you?"
"Older and wiser Rob; older and much wiser. How long have you been back?"
"About a year now."
"And you never tried to get in touch? I'm crushed."
"What would be the point Mary Ellen?"
"You just might have found out that I'm a changed person and nowhere near the woman you left standing at the alter."
"Left standing at the alter?"
"Yes Rob; I was there."
"You said you wouldn't be there and I took you at your word."
"Why would you do that?"
"Because you were supposed to be home Thursday and you never came home. You still weren't there by the time I left for Vegas the next day. You said there would be no wedding, you never came home and in my book one plus one always equals two."
"We got hung up and couldn't get done on Thursday and the only flight we could get on Friday was a late afternoon flight."
"And that is exactly why I told you I didn't want you to go; why you needed to be there. You say that you were there Saturday, but what if you hadn't been able to get that Friday flight. What then? I would have been at the church, but you wouldn't have been there. Again, that's just one of the things that could have happened that wouldn't have happened if you had stayed home."
"All right Rob; I was wrong, but you were supposed to have loved me. You could have cut me some slack. I was trying to make a name for myself at the firm. I was trying to balance work and you. You could have..."
"Forget it Mary Ellen, it is water over the damn."
She looked at me for several seconds and then said, "I've never forgotten you Rob."
I noticed the rings on her left hand and said, "But I see that you have managed to get over me."
She saw where my gaze was and she raised her hand and looked at it. "A mistake Rob; a very big and bad mistake that I'm in the process of correcting."
"And that means?"
"We are going through a divorce, but I won't take off the rings until it is final. When it is may I call you?"
"Why would you want to do that?"
"I can't get you out of my mind Rob. I think that it means that we were meant to be. I'd like to find out if that is true."
I'd never been able to get her out of my mind either so I got stupid and said:
"When it is final call me."
She took a pad and pen out of her purse and handed them to me and I wrote down my home and office numbers and gave her back the pad. She took it, dropped it in her purse, stood up and then leaned over the table and kissed me. She said she would be in touch. As I watched her walk away I wondered if I had done the right thing. I didn't linger on it. For all I knew the part about the divorce could have been bullshit, but even if it were true I wouldn't be having any part of Mary Ellen unless I was one hundred percent sure that her marriage was ended.
When I was making love to Chelsea that evening it was Mary Ellen that I was thinking of and it was pretty much the same every time we made love for the next several days, but eventually the thoughts of Mary Ellen slowly faded. I heard nothing from Mary Ellen and I was back to where I was thinking of trying to talk Chelsea into giving the two of us a go. She was the only woman who had me thinking that way since Mary Ellen and while I knew that thoughts of Mary Ellen were likely to remain with me I also knew that it was time for me to settle down. It wouldn't be the first time that some one had settled for second best and made a go of it.