Breaking UpbySacred Beauty©
This particular stories subject matter is marital infidelity. If you are sensitive to that subject, please select a different story of mine to read. I do not advocate lying or cheating on a spouse and I don't feel that the characters actions and reactions are typical.
Of all the times my wife could have picked to confront me about her suspicions of cheating, this was the worse. In twenty minutes I was scheduled to receive the top honor in my company. The coveted sales award which is passed from person to person each year at the holiday party. Felicia was hysterical so I closed the door so that all of the guests wouldn't hear the altercation. My strategy was to play dumb, "What the hell has gotten in to you lately?"
Felicia thrusted the picture towards me widening the ocean of pretext between us. "I could ask you the same question."
My words came slowly as I looked at the picture of me and my secretary in a compromising position. "I can explain."
"Go ahead and explain how the camera captured the sin in your heart?"
I was silent.
"I'm going to go." She swung her legs over the side of the couch in my office then pitched over in pain. The throbbing in her head must have intensified because she had sat up too quickly.
"You're right we shouldn't argue here. I don't want to cause a scene in front of the partners."
She rolled her eyes. "I guess it's all right to disrespect me."
"Honey, you know I respect you."
I stuck my hands in the pockets of my slacks, "I'm going to pretend you didn't ask that."
"I don't want to pretend anymore. It's killing me."
As the tears inched towards the corners of Felicia's eyes, I realized that I had to do something. Yes I was cheating on her but I still cared deeply. We needed to settle this right now before it got out of hand. "Hold on." I went into the lobby looking for Nikki.
She finished her cell phone call then looked up at me expectantly, "Hey Brad."
"Can I talk to you in private?" I knew she would take the bait. Nikki always jumps at the opportunity to spend private time with me. My office was the main location for our encounters. I can't even count the number of times she has stayed after hours and let me fuck her on my couch, in my chair or over my desk.
"You know you can." She was a flirt, as usual.
I forced a smile. "Thanks."
We walked back down the dark corridor to where Felicia was waiting and stopped at the door. "I thought you wanted to talk to me? Isn't SHE in there?" she asked.
"You went to far this time with your games." I took Nikki's arm and told her what was about to happen. "You are about to clear this up right now."
"Brad..." She stopped short when she saw the look on my face. I could tell that she knew I was asking for the truth but at the same time asking her to lie.
Felicia sat up and looked at my hand on Nikki's arm. "What is the meaning of this?"
I closed the door behind us then pulled the photo from my back pocket. My eyes were locked on Felicia as I passed the photo to Nikki. "Explain this."
When she put her hand on her hip, I knew she wanted to play hard ball. "The picture is self explanatory."
I realized I was squeezing her arm and let go. "You know what I mean." I snapped. "Was anything going on between us when this was taken?"
She cut her eyes at me and played innocent.
Any hesitation would make Felicia think we were guilty. I snatched the photo from her, "Why did you give this to her? You are making her doubt my love for her..."
"Brad please..." my wife whispered, "We don't need to do this here. I don't want to argue anymore, I just want it to be over."
Nikki didn't pay Felicia any attention, "I gave her the whole stack of photos... she just stopped at that one. I didn't know she would get the wrong idea when I gave it to her."
"Stop the lies." I yelled, holding the photo in her face. "What does it seem like is happening?"
She looked towards the door. "It looks like you're trying to kiss me."
I took the photo from Nikki and gave it to Felicia. "Tell my wife what was really going on."
"We were just dancing." she admitted.
"Did I do anything to lead you on or touch you at the party?"
I should have left well enough alone but I had to keep on pushing. "Don't tell me, tell Felicia."
She looked in Felicia's direction but not directly at her. "Nothing happened."
Felicia finally spoke up, "Thank you for clearing this up."
I was relieved but still mad, "So why are you playing these fucking high school games?"
"What's going on?" My boss interrupted the tense standoff. "Everybody at the party can hear you all yelling back here."
"We're just talking Mr. Parker."
He glanced at Felicia and softened his tone, "All this yelling can't be helping your wife's headache."
"This evening has more excitement then I was expecting." Felicia said softly.
"Brad, why don't you two go in there and tell your Mr. Willis to start the awards."
"Yes sir." Felicia was still sitting on the edge of the couch with her face covered, clutching that damn photo. I went over and ran my fingers through her hair until she looked up at me. "I love you." I mouthed. Back in the conference room, me, Nikki and the others sat down and started the program. My boss showed up a minute later alone. "Where's my wife?"
"She went home."
When I found Felicia alone in our living room, she looked like the perfect candidate for a Visine commercial. It was obvious she had been crying. She allowed me in and sat next to me on the couch. The knot in my stomach tightened as I watched her drink her wine in the dark. The fact that the overhead lights weren't on meant that she must have felt pretty bad. I slid the bottle of chardonnay away from her.
"It's pain medication."
"For your head?"
"For my heart." She clarified, reaching for the wine.
That shut me up like a kick in the balls. Since she didn't say anything, I led the conversation off with a stupid question. "What did I do that was so bad?" Millions of men cheat.
"Did I ever tell you about the first time my ex-husband and I made love?"
"No." I answered, wondering what that had to do with anything.
She sat her glass down then looked at me. "We had been dating a little over a year..."
I cut her off, "Honey, you don't have to tell me about it if the memory is hurting you. I know how deeply Max scared you."
"Alright then let's talk about what's been going on between us lately." Felicia stared off into the distance at a plant. "I know exactly when you fell in love with me Brad. The way you treated me was the same but the way that you looked at me changed. I was flattered but cautious in my response. As I came to know you better I realized that I felt the same way. This was all long before London, before Venice even. I didn't fall in love with you Brad... its like one day I woke up mired in it... consumed by it. And I had no control over the situation. I had to flow with the currents or drown trying to swim against them. Do you understand what I am saying?"
"Yes." I took her hand and kissed the inside of her palm then her wrist, smelling her perfume.
"Your actions tell me how you feel not your words. Tonight when we were in your office with Nikki, you said that she was making me doubt your love for me." Felicia turned to face me again. "I had never doubted it until that very moment. I feel like you were only proclaiming your love for her benefit and it made me feel cheap. It made me feel insignificant, like our private relationship needed justification. It didn't matter that I had been laying there in pain moments earlier. It was more important for you to prove a point to your secretary. I had to watch you humiliate her to make yourself feel better yet here we sit with the same problems. Saying I love you doesn't mean that you do."
There was an awkward silence because I didn't know what to say. I was actually feeling guilty for how I acted tonight at the party and sorry that I didn't listen to her in the first place and skip the damn function all together. As usual it was my ego. I had wanted everyone to see me receive that award. Now in addition to Felicia's headache, she was drinking. Then I had to go and act like a jackass and compound her problems. In the grand scheme of things besides my cheating, I was a hindrance in her life.
She continued, "I don't like Nikki or what she stands for. If you want to call it jealousy, then so be it. At this point in my life I need loyalty. I am fine with you working with her. I am fine with you being friends, but don't climb into bed with me smelling like her and then expect me to sit across from her at a formal function and keep my food down. I don't want to see photos of you holding her whether it's innocent or not. I don't want to feel like second best when she calls our house knowing it feels like a dagger in my heart..." Tears rolled down her cheeks as she finished up.
Again, I had no idea what to say. I damn sure wasn't going to tell her that I loved her after that heartfelt plea.
Felicia's voice got really low. It was as if she has stopped talking directly to me and was talking to the emptiness of the room. "The reason I brought my ex husband up before is because the first time he told me he loved me was that first night we shared a bed. It was right before he entered me and it cheapened the whole act of making love. That is how you made me feel tonight." Felicia took such a long pause that it became even more uncomfortable for me, as if that were possible. "Max only said he loved me so that I would give myself to him with less reservation. I was a virgin who took a leap of faith with my life and chose to believe him. I thought that he loved me. Sometimes I even felt that he loved me. But I never knew for sure that he loved me, only that I loved him." Felicia stood and walked across the room, "Right now Brad, I think that you love me. I could even lie and say that I feel that you love me... but I don't know for sure that you love me." Felicia closed the bedroom door and never came back out.
Think... feel... know.
I got a blanket and pillow from the linen closet and settled back on the couch contemplating the seriousness of our talk. In so many words, Felicia had just said 'fuck you'. Hearing the woman I loved, outwardly doubt me was unsettling. Especially since for the first time in my married life I was considering being faithful.