We'd been sitting at the table furthest from the bar having, what any interested spectator would have judged, a spirited conversation. April Mulrooney, my intended had just laid it on me that she had indeed been seeing other men, read screwing them, and that as recently as the night before. Oh, she had assured me that none of them were a threat to our plans, but I was not having any!
We'd had a date that she'd stood me up for. When I'd fortuitously caught her at the Red Light with her stud of the moment; she'd flushed, stammered, and tried to get me to sit down with them. I'd opted to flip them off and cut country instead. But, that was last night. When one hour ago, she'd cornered me here, I'd decided to get the mandatory last conversation with her over with. Well, and so here we were.
"Any chance for us, Finn," she said. I slowly shook my head in the negative. Begging not getting her anywhere, she decided to go on the offensive.
"Finnley Matson, you love me, and I love you. Why can't you understand that! This thing with the others—it's just—well, sex. There is no emotional attachment like I have with you, like you and I have. It's just fun stuff when you're not available."
"Fun stuff? Not available? We had a date last night, April. I was available as hell; actually looking forward to a good time with you! You, on the other hand, stood me the hell up to screw somebody else. And, even though I'd caught you, you still went home with the asshole and fucked him. Explain that if you can, April!"
"I almost didn't go home with him, Finn. But, I'd led him on. And, well, I figured that if you were going to dump me that I might as well go ahead and do it with him. Finnley, if you'd only have stayed and talked it out with us..."
"Talked it out—'with us'! You actually expected me to sit down with the guy you were going to cheat on me with and be okay with it. Tell me, was that what you really thought! You're a trip and a half, woman, a trip and a half for damn sure.
"We're engaged, April, or rather were. And, we are, but three months from graduation, and are—were—only four months from being man and wife," I said. "How do you expect me to level that with you screwing everything on campus with a third leg? No, there is no chance for us, April, not a chance in hell. And, I pity any fool stupid enough to hook up with you. Thank god I found out about you before it was too late. Have a nice life. No don't—I don't want you to be happy. I want you to be as miserable as you've made me!" I stood, turned, and left her sitting there.
I hadn't seen or spoken to April since the blowup. But on grad day I saw her. Oh yeah, I saw her; she was in a huddle with her parents. She noticed me staring at her and flashed me a smile.
My anger had abated some over the three months since Gotterdammerung, but I didn't smile, anger abatement or no. Did I miss her? Hell yes I missed her. Enough to give us another chance? Hell no! At least that's what I kept telling myself.
We were still in our grad suits when she came up to me. I was talking to a few friends and making plans for that evening: basically plans to party hardy!
"Hello, Finn, congratulations," she said. I looked her up and down. She had a sad look about her.
"Hello, April. Congratulations to you too," I said.
"Finn—could I have a word with you? Would that be all right? You know for old time's sake," she said. I stared at her. She was so beautiful. I nodded and stepped away from the group I was with. She walked with me.
"I guess I blew it, huh?" she said.
"We've had this conversation, April, three months ago," I said.
"I've changed, Finn. I haven't slept with another man during that whole time," she said. I remained silent. I had nothing to say.
"Doesn't that make a difference?" she said.
"What do you want me to say, April? You killed my heart. You say you've been celibate for the past three months, but then how do I know that that is so. And, even if it is, how do I know that you won't revert to past habits in the future. And even if you never do do it again, how do I get around the fact that you were hanging horns on me for the entire three years we were going together, the last as each other's intended! Kinda hard to get by that much doubt and anger huh, April," I said.
"Finn, like I said, I blew it. I know it, and I; well, I would like you to give me another chance," she said. I think my jaw must have dropped a yard.
"Another chance? You're serious?" I said.
"As a heart attack," she said. "I will never cheat again, Finn, not ever. I promise you that. You're my main man. None of those others ever meant anything; but, that said, I know that I was in the wrong, crazy in the wrong. I will make it up to you in spades if you just give me half a chance."
I looked her in the eyes. Main man? What did that mean? And did I believe her whatever it meant? I wasn't sure. Would I want to risk making her mine? Frankly, no. And, frankly again, I didn't want to risk having my heart broken a second time. That said, I considered that there might be a way. It was not sure fire, but almost: live together for a year and include a prenup if we made it that far and got married.
We moved in with each other the next day. It was a good day: one filled with promise. But, one thing, one minor downside to her moving in with me, was the massive amount of stuff she brought with her. It was—well—massive!
Things went along well for the next several months. Seven months actually. Then, she laid it on me.
"Finnley, I know we talked about waiting a year, but it's been seven months already. Do you think we might be able to short shank things and get married now," she said.
I looked her in the eye. The look was innocence incarnate. I was more than persuaded that she hadn't doublecrossed me during the months we'd lived together. Could she have and kept it from me? Possible, but not real likely. We were together almost constantly during that time. On the rare occasions that we were not, I had to believe that she was doing whatever she'd said she was doing. She knew the price that she would have to pay if she played behind my back.
All of the aforementioned said, and apart from the fact that we'd had an agreement, I had no good reason not to accede to her request. So, I did. We were married in front of a justice of the peace. And, the prenup? Didn't happen. And, no, not because she'd said anything about it, but because I had come to trust her. That, added to my undeniable love for her, made a prenup a non-happening. And so was launched the family of Finnley and April Matson nee Mulrooney.
The next eleven years weren't good; they were outrageously wonderful! Well, they were for me. And, up until five minutes ago, I had thought that they had been just as good for April. But, five minutes ago, I discovered my wife in our bed with a man, one I had never seen before. The worst of it was that my lovely wife, the light of my life, actually had the brass cajones to assume I'd could be persuaded to be okay with it. I knew that because that's what she told me—five minutes ago.
"Finn, today, this thing that you came upon by accident. Well, it wasn't exactly by accident," she said.
"Huh? What are you saying, April?" I said.
"Finn, I didn't exactly set you up, but I knew that sooner or later you'd come home early and catch me and Roger—well—doing what we were doing," she said. "And, Finn, it's a good thing."
"Fucking! I said. "Cheating! Cuckolding me! That's what you were doing, and now my marriage and my woman are gone, and it's over. Eleven years in the toilet," I said. "And you are actually trying to tell me it's a good thing!"
"Heavens no! I mean yes," she said. "All it does is prove that I love you and only you," she said. I think I was going cross-eyed with something—rage, confusion, something.
"You're insane!" I said. "Looking back, I should have expected it. You just couldn't keep your word to me. Goddamn it, I blame me! I'm the stupid jerk for damn sure. You're just a whore! Stupid is worse!"
"Finn, hear me out. Let me prove to you that my playing is no threat to you," she said. I remained silent. What could one say to the kind of insanity she was selling in any event. Damned if I knew.
"You are a hundred times the man Roger Wilcox is; well, in every way but one. You are at best mediocre in bed. Roger is something else."
"How long," I said.
"Huh?" she sighed. She seemed to lose a little of her self-assurance, but she shook it off and reseized the initiative.
"Two years. I met him at one of the parties we went to. I felt his dick through my dress while we were dancing, and well, I had to have it; and, so I did."
"Two years? Two fucking years!" I all but screamed.
"Calm down, Finnley. Think about it. Two years, and you and I have done great, been great, are great. You have to give me that," she said.
"Yeah, I'll give you that, April. Yeah right! And now it's all ashes. Thanks a helluva a lot.
"No good in bed am I? Well, I am so sorry for disappointing you for so long, I mean the eleven years. I'm happy for you, I mean now that you've found a real man. You know, now that you have found someone who can fulfill your needs.
"I'll be leaving, in the morning. I won't be back. Oh, and I won't be divorcing you. You can have the pleasure of doing that. What I also won't be doing is supporting you anymore.
"So, just do me a favor, okay? Stay the hell away from me," I said.
"Finn, Roger, is a decent sort, rather boring other than in bed; but there, in bed, he is nothing less than spectacular. You are spectacular too, Finn, in every other possible way it is to be as a husband and friend," she said.
"Friend? Not lover, Not love of your life. Friend? Acquaintance? I don't want to be your goddamned friend, April, I wanted to be your husband, the love of your life. Not some goddamned cuckold fool. Fuck you, April! Fuck you!"
"Finn, your language! Please. Listen, Roger is a plaything, nothing more," she said. "You and I can get by this. He's just a toy. And, he will be gone one of these days, and he'll be nothing more than an amusing memory. And, have I ever denied you sex? Anything in bed? The answer is no, Finnley, and you have to admit that."
"Amusing memory! I'll say it again, April, fuck you!
"Oh, and as for not denying me sex. No, you haven't, not in absolute terms; but more and more in recent times I've had to beg for it, all but argue with you. It's gotten to the point that I've stopped asking in case you haven't noticed. Oh, and now that I think on it, you haven't noticed have you. Well, and why would you? Your needs are being met, just not by me!
"When was the last time we did it, April? Do you recall?"
"Well—I—I'm not sure..."
"Exactly. It was three weeks ago, April. And when we did do it that night, you laid there like a dead thing until I shot my wad and then got up and showered. And you didn't even kiss me good night when you came back to bed. Yeah, you've been a paragon of sexuality when it came to me all right—not!" I said.
She had the decency to look down. Maybe even feel a little shame.
"Oh my God Finn, I didn't—I didn't realize what I was doing to you. You know, acting like you say. But, now that you say it, I guess what you say so—and well—I'm sorry. I will make it up to you if you let me," she said.
"You need to get this, April. I'm saying it for the last time; then I'm going to bed, in the guest room. I will never spend another minute in the bed you desecrated with that asshole. And fuck you!"
"Finn, we'll get rid of the bed. I wasn't thinking today. I wasn't. I don't know what I was thinking using our bed. Jesus what a Dumbo I am. You are so right, Finn, the bed is gone. We'll both use the guestroom. Okay?" she said.
"No," I said. "I can't stand the sight of you. Or the smell of you, the stink of a cheater is on you, April, his stink. You and I will never sleep together again." I started to head off and out, but stopped.
"April, one thing. When we started this conversation you said, well, you said a lot of things; but there was one thing. You said that you hadn't set me up, but that you expected me to catch you; and that that was a good thing of sorts. Did I have that right? I mean why was it a good thing for me to catch you?" I said.
She was starting to cry, but wiped her eyes with the back of her hand. "I thought, that maybe—well maybe—that Roger and I could maybe excite you. You know get you excited enough to join us. What we, he and I, were doing. It hasn't hurt you and I, Finn, not really. Like I said before. But, thinking about what you just got done saying, maybe it has. Honest to God, I didn't realize I was neglecting you like that. I am so ashamed of myself, Finn. Really, I am. I'm just hoping that you'll cool off some and maybe give me another chance." I nodded, then shook my head. This was beyond belief, beyond rational—unbelievable!
I headed off to get my stuff out of the bedroom closet and the bathroom. I'd be gone at first light.
Her? She sat on the couch, head in her hands. I don't think she was full out crying, but she was kind of talking to herself—weird.
I was up and out of the house—almost—before she got up. She woke just as I stepped out of my bedroom door and ran after me as I carried my stuff down the stairs. "Finnley, don't leave me. Please!" she wailed. I turned and looked at her.
"I'll call in a day or two and we'll maybe talk. Or, maybe not," I said. "I just don't know. After what you said to me about my love making skills; well, that more than even what you did to me, may have put us beyond the pale. There may be no reconciling from those, those words, April. But, like I said, maybe we'll talk." Then I was gone.
Carlisle estates was a five minute walk from my office at Hampton Accounting. Mike Hampton had been good to me, but it'd still taken me ten years to make it; but I was finally a senior accountant with the firm: profit sharing, bonuses, a slew of really good perks. All of that added to a $100K annual base. Life'd been good until the light of my life had cast a shadow over it.
Carlisle was a condo complex that had all of the amenities including Debra Cross, my new next door neighbor: young, pretty, and on the make—for me; go figure. Debra was doing her best to make me forget my wife; and yes, April was still my wife. Divorce wouldn't work for me the way I saw it. The courts have a habit of screwing over husbands no matter how justified they'd been in divorcing the miserable whores they'd married. If the traitorous bitch wanted out, she'd have to be the one going for it.
Since dumping her, I'd buried myself in my work. It was tax time, so business was—well—busy. I had an even six junior accountants under me, and production was good. I was looking forward to the end of season, maybe taking a few weeks off and heading to Mexico for sun and relaxation. I was even thinking of inviting Debra to join me. It'd be nice to share a beach towel with her; she was a no pressure girl; the kind every guy dreams about.
As I walked home thinking about Debra and my maybe vacation, a car pulled up beside me. The driver called out to me to wait. He looked familiar, but I couldn't place him, not right then.
He came up to me and gestured toward the bench a few feet down the sidewalk from where we stood. I looked him askance.
"Just like a word with you if you have a minute, mister Matson," he said. I still couldn't place the guy—a customer maybe. I took the seat he indicated.
"The name's Roger Wilcox," he said. "I'm the guy you caught banging your wife that day some months ago." I could feel my mood darken. I got up and started to walk away. So far I hadn't spoken a word.
"Wait please," he said, as I walked on. "It'd be worth your while." I stopped and looked back at him.
"Whaddya want asshole?" I said. I was measuring him with my eyes. We were about the same size, five-nine or ten. I figured him to have maybe twenty pounds on me. But, I figured, if it came to blows, my chances were pretty good.
"Your wife—she hasn't been doing too good," he said. "Thought you should know."
"Why, she's not mine anymore. She dumped me for you. So fuck off and leave well enough alone," I said. "You take care of her." I started to walk on, but he fell in beside me."
"Look, guy, it's been more than eight months since you left. She hardly leaves the house. And, before you ask, yes, I'm staying there; somebody has to pay the rent," he said.
"Lucky you. Take care of my roses, okay. They took me a long time to get them going."
"Roses? How about your wife," he said.
"She can help you take care of them," I said.
"Look, I know you're upset with her—us. But, you needn't be. She wants us to include you in the fun. She was sure you'd go for it; well, she was hoping. And, what we do is fun," he said. "Since you left we've only had sex a few times. She keeps hoping you'll come to your senses and realize that you belong together. She loves you, man. She likes me, likes my eight-inch dick, but she loves you."
"Well, let me put it this way, mister Wilcox; she was wrong, dead wrong. I actually believe in the sanctity of marriage," I said.
"No way I can convince you to see her, talk to her," he said.
"None," I said.
"How incredibly plebian," he said. "Well, I guess I'll have to go to plan B then."
"Goodbye, mister Wilcox; you have a nice life," I said. Just then another man came up to me and handed me an envelope.
"You're served," he said. I looked at him like he had two heads.
"Cost me a grand to have you served; she didn't have the moola," said mister Wilcox. "For the record she didn't want me to do it; thought we'd done enough to you already. But, I told her it was the only leverage she had; so, she went along."
"I don't care about this. I figured she'd go for it sooner or later. There's no leverage for her in this," I said.
"Sure there is. You don't go see her and give her a chance to sell her wares—her ways—she will absolutely rape you in the divorce. You'll be drivin' around in a thirty year-old Datsun, and wearin' shoes with holes in the soles," he said.
I could feel my face go pale. I'll counter sue on grounds of adultery. She won't be makin' out as good as she thinks she will," I said.
"Maybe, maybe not. But, here's the deal: plan B. You give her a week to sell you on her ways, and she'll sign off on a divorce with no alimony, no touching your retirement, no support of any kind; and, she'll leave you alone forevermore. Whaddya say?" he said.
"She'll—the both of you—will leave me alone? I mean forevermore? And, no nuthin' in the divorce for her or for you? Am I hearing this right?" I said.
An idea began to take shape in my head. I'd record her promises. What did I have to lose? It'd be painful being around her; well, I still loved her. Seein' her, smellin' her, it was going to be tough. But, it would only be tough for a week. Then, I'd be the hell outta there. She was imagining things if she thought I was going to buy into her idea of a lifestyle.
"Yes, that's what I'm saying," he said. I nodded.
"Deal," I said.
I'd made the deal, and I had a plan. So, here I was parked in front of the house. I was parked, I was here, and I was nervous, plan or no plan. I knew they wouldn't be able to convince me to accept their shit, but the odd thing was that it scared me that she was so sure that she could! What was it that they knew that made them so sure; and, was I really so certain that they couldn't corrupt me? I opened the car door and got out. I took my time getting to the front door. I knocked.
"Hello, Finn," said April.
"Hi Bud," said Roger.
I just nodded at the two of them. It had to be obvious that I was very suspicious of their game. But, the recorder in my pocket was—presumably—getting it all.
"Let's adjourn to the kitchen if that's all right, guys," said April, taking charge of the situation. I still hadn't said anything. I followed them to what used to be my kitchen, mine and April's. Now, it was his and April's. I looked wistfully around. Helluva thing. I actually felt uncomfortable sitting in the same old chair at the same old table, staring at the same old walls.
I noticed that she'd let me sit in the place I always had before: my place. Likewise she sat in her old seat. She'd planned. I was sure of that, I could see that.
"Can I ask a question?" I said, asking a question.
"Of course, honey," said April. Honey? I thought. This was going to be a full court press if ever there was one. I ignored her words.
"Why do you want me here? Why do you give a damn about me or what I need or want or any of it? Why do you even care if I live or die? It makes no sense," I said.
"I'd tell you I love you, but you wouldn't understand that, I'm sure. How about this. I did you wrong, and I feel guilty and want to make it up to you. Or, how about you make a lot of money, and I need you to support me. Or, how about I'm hot for your body and I can't get enough of your lovin'" she said. "Frankly, Finn, all of the above are true to one degree or another. And coming full circle, all of that brings me back to square one, Finn; I love you."
"I can't satisfy you in bed, April. You've told me so. What's changed? Let me answer my own question, nothing," I said.
"Finn, I said stuff kinda like that, but my meaning was nothing like that. What I meant then, and even now, is that you're not as good as Roger, but you're not all that bad either. You're okay actually," she said.
"So again, what can I do for you?" I said. She smiled—way too broadly—actually I was worried.
"You'll be sleeping with me in our old room," she said. "And, Finn, so you won't feel uncomfortable about it; it's got a new mattress and box springs; they came today; they've never been used. Okay?"
I raised an eyebrow at that. But, I'd had to figure she'd been plotting something of the sort to "sell her wares." I nodded my acceptance of my fate.
"Okay," I said. "If that's my fate. It is what it is."
"Finn, please. For the next few days, please. Okay?" she said.
"Okay, okay." I said.
"He'll be in the guest room for the first couple of days," she said, nodding in Roger's direction.
"Huh? What?" I said. I was more than afraid I knew what she was intimating.
"Don't sweat it, Finn," he said. "It'll be fun. Give us a chance. Okay?" I nodded, but more slowly this time; and, I wasn't smiling.
Dinner was good, beef stew, my favorite. Did I say I figured to get the full court press. Dinner was good, as I said, but it was quiet. No one seemed ready to start jabbering. A few inane comments and observations, all of it about nothing, were pretty much the end all of it.
I helped her with the dishes—well, she asked. I didn't know what happened to him, the other man, but he'd made himself scarce after dinner. I kept getting knowing looks from April. I was more than sure what they meant. I intended to just go with the flow. Let her take the lead. I was not, I repeat, not, going to be complicit in their plans. I'd play their game because I was relatively certain that she would honor her promise to leave me alone in the divorce, and I was going to have it all recorded in any event. At any rate, she'd get her turn at bat, but her chances for hitting a home run were damn near nil. Yeah, her luck figured to be more like Casey's than Babe Ruth's.
I was drying my hands on a small hand towel. "Time for bed, okay?" she said.
"Yeah sure," I said. She smirked at my lack of enthusiasm but said nothing.
In the room, I disrobed leaving only my underpants on. I plopped down on the bed and waited for her to exit from the bathroom. She was maybe ten minutes in the process. I looked over at the bathroom door as she came out. She had seldom looked more beautiful, more sexy. I said so.
"You look fantastic," I said. She smiled.
She was in a knee length slip and sported a red choker and what looked like a silver anklet. I wondered at the anklet. I remember reading somewhere that when a woman wore an anklet it meant she was available or some guy's plaything or something like that. I had to think it signaled that she was Roger's toy, but for the moment all I could think of was making her my toy.
Her long dark hair splayed out around her shoulder and gave her a teenagerish look. She came near the bed but didn't get on it. She stood a few feet away and stared at me, a half smile playing around her lips. God how I wanted her! But, also didn't want her. A week like this could have me on my knees begging her to let me come back, but the humiliation, the daily psychological riot: I knew I couldn't do it. I waited for her to make the first move.
"You said I look fantastic. You going to do anything about it?" she said, finally wrinkling her brow and showing some signs of concern. I guess I had on a—what—thoughtful look.
"You should be mine and mine alone, April. God, how I want you right now. But, you're not mine. You're his. And—we—I—think it is just too sad. My underpants, tented but a moment before, no longer were. I rose, gathered my clothes and started dressing.
"What are you doing, Finn? What are you doing!" she said.
"I'm dressing. I can't bed you knowing that it's nothing but a mercy fuck to get me back for I don't know what reason, maybe my income, I don't know. But, I can't. I need a one man woman. I'm afraid I'm not cut out to be a cuckold. Go to your boyfriend. It'd be a shame to waste all that beauty on a nothing-in-bed item like me," I said.
Just then she did something I didn't expect. I mean I really didn't expect it. She came at me with surprising strength and pushed me down on the floor. It happened that I was just then pulling on my pants, and I was on one foot; I went down easily. She rolled on top of me and began kissing me and reaching for my cock ... She was, I think, shocked to discover that I wasn't hard. She stopped, slid off of me, and sat up on the floor drawing her legs back to her chest. She was more embarrassed than I was; and, I was embarrassed!
"Do I turn you off that much," she said. She was beginning to cry.
"Hell no," I said; "or actually, yes. What you are doing and have done and plan to do to me: those are the things that turned, and are turning, me off.
"I can't do it, April. I can't. I can't be your cuckold. I just can't get it up for a woman who is of the opinion that I'm no good in bed, no matter how desperate I get. I thought I could get through the week, but I realize now that I can't. Seeing you like that, when you came out of the bathroom, trust me; I was—am—desperate!" I said.
"Finn, I love it when you make love to me. I do. I don't think you're no good in bed. Yes, Roger is very good, but he isn't you. I'm not trying to get you back for your money. I'm trying to get you back because I need you. I need his dick too, but it really is only a part time toy! Nothing more! Jesus, I'm sorry, and I mean forever sorry, that I said those things to you. I had to have been out of it mentally to have said them. I don't know. All I do know is I want to take everything I said back! Please, grant me the 'mercy' to let me take back the stupid stuff I said. Please!" she said.
"I've said it before, April. But, I'll say it again. My woman must, that's must, be a one man woman. So go ahead and sue me for divorce. Screw me over if you must—if you can. Nothing you could get from a judge will even begin to hurt me as much as what you've already done to me. And, 'me, ' be here when you do him! No fucking way! I can't at all believe that I even considered it. But, I've got my head out of my ass now. So, goodbye, beautiful lady. Goodbye," I said. I'd kept dressing while we talked. Done, I looked around for what I figured would be the last time. Then, I left.
She watched him from the door way as he slept. He was a pretty boy for sure: not too tall, some gray flecks in his otherwise dark wavy hair; but a pretty boy. He was having a dream; the tent in his pants was testimony to that. She could feel the tears run down her face as she moved across the room and climbed into bed with him. She needed to be comforted. Women always needed to be comforted, she thought to herself.
He stirred. He rolled toward her and his eyes flickered open. His head suddenly jerked up from the pillow. "What? How? Finnley?" said Roger.
"He left," said April. "He said I looked fantastic, and up and left. Said being my cuckold was more than he could bear. But—well—I think it was more a case of what I'd said to him before. You know about him not being all that in bed. God how I wish I could have those words back. They killed his heart," she said.
"Yes, I'm sure it probably did. I don't know what you could have been thinking when you told him that. It was crazy, April. A man, any man, wants to believe he's enough for his woman. You verbally castrated the guy when you told him, that he simply wasn't enough. Destroyed his self-esteem; he doesn't have any anymore. I don't know that you'll—he'll—ever be able to get it back now. And I mean his manhood. If he does, you can bet it will be a long time in coming," He said. Her tears were nonstop now.
"Jesus, Roger, I was only trying to be honest with him. I told him that in every way but the one, he was tops," she said. She didn't immediately notice the look on Roger face when she spoke,
"April, I know you didn't mean to hurt me just now, but you did. I mean, I love it that you think I'm the best in bed. But, I have some good points besides just in there, don't I?" he said. She looked at him funny.
"Listen woman, just now, you as much as said that I'm no good at anything except sex. Or, at best no better than an also ran compared to Finnley. Now the fact is, that as bad as that sounds to me; and trust me, it doesn't make me feel good; I can live with it. I can because the most important thing to me as a male is the fact that I'm supreme in bed. I couldn't live with my woman thinking that I was a nothing sexually. As a man that would be just too hard for me to swallow."
"Oh, Roger, I wasn't putting you down. Of course I wasn't. I love you too: different than Finn, but just as much.
"Oh hell, I can't stop shooting zingers at my men no matter what I do, can I," she said. Roger looked away.
"Oh hell, is right, April. Make that 'Oh hell Finn should've been here to hear you'. Maybe it would have made him feel a little better, just as it made me feel a little worse," said Roger.
"Huh?" she said.
"Loving two men, even if it is for different reasons, April, is a tough go 'round. I can dig what's going on in Finn's head. He had you all to himself, and then you up and tell him the game's changed, and he has to share you. Had to be pretty tough for him. Even tougher than we—the both of us—thought.
"But, then again, me maybe not so much. I came in knowing I'd be sharing a married woman, so my expectations were different. Even so, and that said, you telling me that he is better at everything but sex is kind of a tough nut for me; just not as tough for me as it is for him being labeled worthless in bed. See what I'm getting at, April. Two men is too hard, and that for the two men and for you, April. I never thought I'd say this, I mean ever. But—well—it may be that you're going to have to choose," said Roger. Her eyes shot open.
"No!" she said. "Roger, I can't lose you. I need you." She suddenly lost her voice. Her almost unconscious decision became clear, clear to both of them: if she were made to choose, it wouldn't be Roger.
"I see," said Roger. "I see."
"Roger, I need you. Don't make me choose. Please don't make me," she wailed.
"I don't mind being second in line, April, so long as it's sex you're keeping me around for; but..." he started.
"But?" she said.
"But, all this this weeping and wailing over the absence of numero uno is getting to me, and to you. We have to try again. Make that I have to try again," he said.
"Try what? You try what?" she said.
"Try to get him to join us, at least tolerate us. You tried and failed. I guess it's time I took my shot. I hope he likes to drink beer—free beer. Because, if I can work it, he and I are going to get stinkin' drunk and come to some serious understandings. I'm gonna get him to go along even if I have to fight him. Don't be surprised if you get a call to bail the one or the both of us out of the slam," he said.
"He'll not fight you, Roger. You're muscles are too big," she said. He smiled at her
"Don't bet on it. A man will risk anything if his ego's been stepped on hard enough, and his has. I will, however, be doing my level best to avoid that scenario; even though, it might be cathartic—and I mean for him—to get it on with me. Anyway, we'll just have to see how it plays out," he said.
"Rogggeeerr!" she said.
"Yeah, yeah, I get it. No catharsis if it can possibly be avoided. I promise," he said.
"Don't worry. I'm not after him. I want him to join us. It's selfish of me, actually. I don't want to lose what I have with you; and, I know I will if this situation we've
"Hampton Accounting," I said, picking up the phone.
"Hi," said the female voice on the other end of the line.
"Debra?" I said.
"Yes, sir, it's me. I'm across the street at LaRue's. It's lunch time, and well, do you have any plans?" she said.
"No, as a matter of fact I was just going to stay in, but if you're interested in company..." I said.
Yes, yes I am. Come on over if you can," she said.
Debra and I had shared a bottle or two in recent months, and even did a little dancing and hand holding a couple of times when we both were feeling a little down, or, in her case bored. Nothing serious was likely to happen between us, but she was pretty and tall and sexy if a little light intellectually. And, I liked her. And, she liked me.
"Haven't seen you in a couple of weeks. Where'd yuh disappear to?" she said.
"Just been busy," I said.
"Been negotiating with your wife, or soon to be ex or..." she said. I was going to have to rethink my impression of her intellectual capabilities.
"Yeah, sort of. But, it doesn't look good from where I sit. She is still trying to get me to join in her cute little sex games, and I'm not into it. Truth is her thinking, her ideas, would be a turn on were it not for the fact that she holds me to be sexually boring and well, useless.
"Oh, she wants me back right enough; there's not much doubt about that, but not in the capacity of a thrilling bed partner. In that regard, it would be strictly a matter of her granting me mercy and faking orgasms to satisfy me enough so as not to not have me objecting too strenuously to her fucking good 'ole Roger or whoever," I said.
"But why?" said Debra. "Why would she be wanting you back if she is already more than satisfied with this other guy, this Roger?"
"I don't know. My income maybe. I make three times what he does. She swears it's not the reason. Swears she loves me. But, well, I'm not convinced, not really," I said.
"Hmm. Then, you should date me. I make enough so as to remove any suspicion that I'd be after your money, and I like you a lot," said Debra.
"I like you too, Deb. It's—it's—it's just I can't cheat on her. No fun in the sack for me until we settle it all. If we get back together, I'm gonna make damn sure she doesn't have anything to hold over me. If we don't, I'm gonna be after you with both hands," I said. I was smiling broadly. Well, she'd made me feel good.
"Hmm, okay," she said. "I can wait—a little while." Now she was smiling, sort of.
I was at the far end of the bar. Marge Cassidy was on duty and doing her duty rather well, a fact I was infinitely grateful for. She had tenure at the King's Court Bar and Grill: been serving drinks behind the same bar for twenty years or so she claimed. I was tilting back my second brew when somebody tapped me on the shoulder.
"Finn," he said.
"Wilcox! Get the fuck outta here. Leave me alone," I said.
"I'm not going anywhere until you hear me out," he said. I slid of the stool I was sitting on and did my best to stare him down. He smiled.
"Look, Finn, she loves you. You need to give her the chance you said you would the last time you and I talked. It won't kill you. She..." My first punch took the wind out of him the second one staggered him.
"Getting the message, asshole?" I said. He was back pedaling, but keeping an eye on me as I trudged after him. He stopped.
"Okay, I guess we gotta do this," he said.
"For real," I said
The other patrons in the bar were stone silent. No one was making a move to do anything to interrupt the proceedings.
He threw a couple of jabs my way and the second one stung, but not all that much. Then he was on me. The next thing I knew some woman was wafting smelling salts under my nose. It was one of the bar girls.
"Stand aside, please" said a voice from behind her. She stood and backed off. The paramedic s took over. I was more or less conscious again and beginning to feel real bad. But all of a sudden I felt myself getting mad.
Where is the motherfucker," I said, trying to get up.
"Take it easy, fella, you're kinda busted up. Let us do our job, okay," he said. The paramedic said.
Somebody in the ambulance hooked me up to an IV. I was out in less than a couple of minutes.
The light filtering through the window shades woke me. A nurse was fooling with some machine or other across the room from me.
"Miss? How long?" I said.
Since last night, sir. But the doctor will give you the details," she said. And he did.
"You took some pretty significant hits to the head. And, I think you hit your head on a table edge. We'll be keeping you for a day or today to be sure your okay," he said.
"Okay," I said. I was already getting tired again, sleepy.
"You just had to hit him, didn't you, Roger. You're bigger than he is. You had no right," said April.
"April, he attacked me. I was afraid he would, and I did my best not to be provocative. Really!" said Roger. She seemed to deflate some.
"I know. I guess I know," she said. "I so want to be with him right now. But, I know he'd probably have me kicked out."