Consequences - Aprilbythecelt©
This is another in the Consequence series. I decided to write this based on a story by nici, a story that bothered me considerably. I would urge you to read her 'Something we have to talk about' story if you want to see another side to this scenario.
Edited by Angel Love. My thanks to her.
* * * * *
Consider: In most major events, it is the little things that can make or break them. In 1986, the Challenger space shuttle was lost due to a cheap O ring that probably cost less than a few dollars. Because of that, seven lives and hundreds of millions of dollars were lost.
Consider: It is often mentioned that a blood clot, sometimes so small that it takes a microscope to see it, can kill someone. Blood flow to a critical part of the brain is blocked and a life is lost due to a microscopic chunk of sticky cells.
Consider: A small patch of black ice on an otherwise dry road can cause the car to go out of control and crash. The wheel twists, control is lost on a sharp curve and death can result.
The list goes on and on. Some small thing, often not even visible, can destroy a major undertaking. But consider: Can we call a marriage a major undertaking?
I do. I consider my marriage a major undertaking. I've been married for a little over eight years to a beautiful woman named April. We have two wonderful boys, Chris and Charles. Chris is my namesake, Chris jr. Charles is named after my father. We live in a nice home, one with room enough for a growing family. I'm not a college graduate, but I have a good job as a master mechanic. My talents and skills have made us a good living. I work long hours but the money makes it worth it. I've always considered my marriage the high point of my life. I worked hard to provide for my family. I considered it a major undertaking and I took it seriously.
What broke my marriage was a small thing. In my case, it was a small blood vessel in my brain that was too close to another vessel and sometimes, when conditions were just right, the vessel would swell and touch the other. The result was a migraine headache. I had one on that fateful day. Mine was classic in its symptoms: light was painful, sounds were magnified and smells were horrible. It came on me suddenly and without warning. Just a blinding pain that took me by surprise. I knew what it was immediately. The problem was that I didn't have my Imitrex inhaler with me so I had no way to stop or mitigate the pain. The pills I carried weren't as effective as the inhaler and it would take time to reduce the pain to a manageable level. Time I couldn't work anyway.
I staggered in to see my boss and gave him the bad news. He was panicked at my distress and called his secretary in. "Take him home. Hell, it's almost quitting time so he doesn't have to worry about hours. Just punch him out and give me his card. And don't let him drive for God's sake. Go, now!"
Penny helped me stand up and she and my boss led me carefully out the door and down the hall to the exit. Penny led me outside, helped me lean back against the wall while she went for her car. I couldn't stand the light so I kept my eyes closed and my hands to my temples, pressing as hard as I could to help block the pain.
Once in the car, l leaned back against the seat and tried to block everything out. The pain was intense and getting worse. I was almost blind, the light causing me to squeeze my eyes tightly closed. The sounds were now just a deep booming in my head and the smell was disgusting causing my stomach to rebel. Since Penny knew where I lived, I didn't have to say or do anything while she drove. It seemed to take forever, but eventually, she stopped the car, went around and opened my door and pulled me out. I went, following where she led. It was all I could do.
Penny got me inside, helped me to the kitchen where I told her to open the refrigerator and get the injector out. She found it, put it in my hand and held me up while I placed it in my nose and pushed the plunger. I inhaled at the same time, taking the aerosol into my lungs and quickly into my bloodstream. I had her guide me into the family room off the kitchen and help me to lay down on the couch. I asked her to close all the blinds and turn off any lights. She did so, waited a few minutes until I told her that I felt the relief beginning already and she left. I thanked her for getting me home and welcomed the silence when she was gone.
I must have fallen asleep quickly once the pain started to fade because I woke up sometime later to voices. It was very dark in the room so I knew it was later in the day. As I remembered where I was, I noticed immediately that the pain was gone. I felt like I had taken a beating around my neck and shoulders, but that was just the residue of the migraine. I sat slowly up and waited a heartbeat or two to be sure the pain was not just lurking, waiting to get me. It was gone. Thank God!
I sat there in the dark, recognizing the voice of my wife April and her friend Robin from next door. I guess they didn't know I was there since it was dark and the lights were still out. Maybe April just let me sleep, suspecting I might have come home early? But no, my car wasn't in the drive. She probably didn't even suspect I was here. Maybe I would just surprise both of them. I stood, ready to tip toe over to the doorway and then pop out when I began to pay attention to their words.
"Come on April, how was it? Was it as good as before? Give me the details girl."
"It was fantastic. I felt like I was in heaven. He was even better this time than he was before. I swear, I must have climaxed three times before he came. God, it was almost mind blowing. It was the best sex I've ever had."
"Even better than Chris? Better than your husband?"
Hell yes! I love Chris to death but he's never made me feel like that. Never! Of course, I never let him do those things to me either. He'd think I was a real slut if I did."
"But Carl must think you're a slut then."
"Of course, but I'm his slut. And I love it. God, I can't wait until the next time."
"Aren't you afraid of Chris finding out? What would he do? Have you thought about that? You're risking a lot you know."
"Chris will never find out. And even if he did, so what? He won't do anything about it. He's a sweetheart and he would forgive me. He would never divorce me and take a chance on losing his kids. He loves those kids and he knows I would take them away from him in a heartbeat. All I'd need would be a cutthroat lawyer and he'd be toast!"
"This doesn't sound like you April. I've never heard you talk that way about Chris. How could you say you love him when you talk that way? You scare me girl. I think you're making a huge mistake. I really do."
"I love Chris. I really do, but I don't want to stop what I have with Carl either. I want both. I want the sex I get with Carl and the love I get with Chris. I need both and I won't give it up."
I had heard enough. My migraine was gone but the pain in my heart was worse by far. The pain was so intense that my stomach tightened and my breath left me gasping. I heard a ringing in my ears and my blood was pounding in my head. I was afraid I was going to have a heart attack and held on to the jam of the doorway until I could feel my body begin to return to some degree of normal. I still hadn't let them know I was there, but as my control returned, the anger inside me grew in intensity until I felt ready to explode. I straightened up, raised my head and walked into the kitchen light.
There was a sudden silence when Robin saw me first. She looked up, stopped talking while her eyes widened and her mouth opened into a shocked 'O'. Her hand flew to her mouth and she let out a soft, "Oh my God!"
April turned to see what she was looking at and saw me standing there. Her face went from satisfied, to surprise, to fear and then to anger. All in a flash. She pushed back her chair and stood, turning to face me. "How much did you hear? Why in the hell were you lurking in there and spying on me?"
I just looked at her without speaking. My eyes shifted to Robin, who immediately rose and said, "I have to go. Pete and I will keep the boys unless you come over to get them. I'll call you later." With that she almost ran out the side door. I watched her go without a word.
Once she was gone, I looked back at April, considering that this was the woman I had loved without question for the last eight years of my life. Eight years that were the happiest I had ever known. I had expected that we would be together for the rest of our days, but now that expectation was shattered. There would be no forever for us. No growing old together. April had killed that tonight.
"Where are the boys? What did you do with them while you fucked your lover? Did you take care of them or was it too much fun just to have another man fucking you that you let them alone?" I was now calm and cold. The pain was still there, deep cutting pain. It was going to be a long time before that pain lessened. There would be days and days of pain so intense that it was going to tax all I had.
April had a look of anger on her face that turned her beauty into an ugly mask. Maybe the mask was the real April. Maybe this was the April I had never seen but who had been inside all along. She lashed back. "The boys are with Carly. Robin and I were out shopping and Pete was sitting for me. I wasn't with anyone else, just Robin."
With this announcement, she felt she had scored a point. The look of anger changed into a look of satisfaction. She finally realized that I had been home all along and asked, "What are you doing home? Where is your car and why were you sitting there in the dark? Were you spying on me? Trying to catch me in something?"
"I came home early with a severe migraine. George had Penny drive me home since I couldn't stand the light. I took my Imitrex and fell asleep. I've been there ever since." I felt a tremor in my stomach and the unmistakable urge to vomit took me. I rose and continued as I started to the bathroom. "Your voices woke me and what I heard made me sick. I need to use the bathroom, so if you'll excuse me." With that I ran to the bathroom and tried to heave my stomach through my mouth. It wasn't successful, but my body certainly tried.
I sat there on the bathroom floor, my face pressed against the cool porcelain as my body slowly relented. My stomach finally stopped its rebellion and my breathing returned to normal. The sweat dried on my face as the urge dissipated. I sat there for a few more minutes before getting up, splashing some water on my face and using more to rinse my mouth. Once the shaking stopped and I felt under some control, I walked back to the kitchen where April sat, staring out the window.
"I'm going to get the boys. I'll put them to bed tonight." I walked past her and out the door, going next door to the Anderson's.
Pete and Robin Anderson were our neighbors and best friends. We spent many an evening on each other's decks talking and sharing drinks. Good friends I thought. I wondered what Pete knew. I had to ask. I walked up the steps to their back door, knocked once and walked in. Robin was sitting in her kitchen with a cup of coffee in front of her talking with her husband. It seems she had told him. He glanced up as I entered with a look of pity on his face. Robin just looked scared.
"Came to get the boys. Are they ready to go home?" I was already moving past Pete to the family room where I assumed the boys were playing with Carly, their teenaged daughter. I saw them working on a puzzle together with Carly watching over them. She smiled at me as I entered the room and stood.
"Hi, Mr. Phillips. Did you come to get them?" At my nod, she said, "I'll get their jackets."
I stood watching them, a feeling of sadness overwhelming me. Scenes like this were the casualties of infidelity, I imagined. All the little everyday pleasures that consisted of family were forever changed. Shattered by the inconceivable selfishness of one or the other of the adults. Shattered beyond repair in most cases. This seemed one of those.
"Thanks Carly. I'll be in the kitchen when they're ready." I walked back to the kitchen where Pete and Robin continued to sit. I looked at Robin and then at Pete.
"Did you both know? Did you know that she was cheating on me? Was it a turn-on knowing what you knew when we were together? Gave you some sort of sick thrill?" I was angry and my words were unnecessarily harsh but I wanted to know. I wanted to know what my dear friends knew. I had to know. Pete looked at Robin, the anger clear on her face, before answering me.
"I didn't know shit buddy. I swear to you if I had I would have told you right away. I can't believe my wife knew and hid it from me. That was really low. Damn low. You didn't deserve that. I won't apologize for my wife but if you need me, I'm here." Pete was starring at his wife, a look of anger on his face. I believed him. I did. He would have told me if he knew. So, it was Robin and April's secret.
"Then I have you to thank Robin. Thank you for letting me become a joke, a cuckold, a wimp husband that didn't need to know his wife was fucking another guy. Hope it makes you feel good, knowing what you knew. Thinking of me when she gave you the details."
I turned when I saw Carly out of the corner of my eye. I quickly put a smile on my face as the boys came out, each with a cookie in his hand. I prayed she hadn't heard my last comments, and from the look on her face, knew she hadn't. I commented on the cookies the boys had as I herded them out the door for home. I followed them out without a look back. That would be the last time Robin would ever be with my boys. I would make that a goal. I didn't know how but I would try.
We entered the house through the back door where the boys ran upstairs to their room to change for dinner. I moved through the empty kitchen and into the family room where April was sitting. She hadn't turned on any lights, sitting in the dark as I had done while I listened to the end of my life. I walked in, turned on the light on the table beside the couch and opened the curtains to allow the dwindling daylight inside. All I succeeded in making was a room filled with shadows, dark corners symbolizing the hidden secrets my loving wife held.
April looked terrible. Her eyes were red, still glazed with tears, her face was pale and drawn, her shoulders hunched. All the anger and belligerence had fled and now she was the frightened woman that I would have expected. It was a little late for this however, and instead of filling me with hope, I was disgusted. Now she was contrite? Now she was frightened? I couldn't accept that much of a change in just ten minutes. No, this was the first salvo in the battle for supremacy. This was the cheating wife that kept secrets and hid her infidelity from me. This face was one of deception and cunning, not regret.
I looked at her and asked the first question that came to mind. "Who is he? What does he have that I don't?"
She just stared at me without answering until I was sure she wasn't going to say anything. I was about to turn to leave when she finally spoke.
"Who he is isn't important and it has nothing to do with you. Chris, I'm so sorry you had to find out this way. I never meant for you to know. I never wanted to hurt you like this. I'm so sorry you heard what I said to Robin. You have to understand. You have to."
"Funny. No: I'm sorry I did it. No: I wish it had never happened. No: It'll never happen again. Just sorry I got caught and you had to find out." I shook my head as I sank into the soft recliner she had bought me for our fifth anniversary. I loved it still but now it was just a chair.
"Please, you have to let me explain this to you. It doesn't have to be the end of us. We can go on just as before. We can if you'll just try to understand. Will you?" She looked at me with a pleading expression, one I had seen before when she wanted something I disagreed with. Deceiving bitch!
"Can you tell me it's over? Can you promise me you'll never see him again or be with him again. Is it done?" I kept my voice still, my body rigid, my hands holding the arms of my chair, gripping, holding me in control.
April looked at me with her eyes wide open, tears welling up to flow down her cheeks. She didn't answer me. That was enough for me. She wouldn't stop. I heard her words to Robin. She wanted both and she wasn't going to let me get in her way. She wasn't going to give him up. She wanted me to accept.
"I guess that's your answer. I'll put the boys to bed after dinner and then we can discuss our options. I'll move my things out of the house tomorrow. I guess I'll stay with my brother at his place."
I rose and walked out of the room and to the kitchen. Funny how the kitchen becomes the place to go when things get really bad. Wonder why? Strange thought to have when your world is falling apart. Stranger thing still to know that your world is falling apart.
April went about fixing dinner for us while I took the boys down to the playroom and spent an hour or so with them, just enjoying. We were playing with one of their games when April called us for dinner. We trooped upstairs with lots of noise and I pushed the boys toward the bathroom to wash their hands. Routine things. Holding it together for their sakes.
Dinner was a strained meal that night. The boys were their usual boisterous selves, enjoying each other, nothing on their plates, and life in general. Compared to their parents who sat quietly, each in their own private world, thinking about consequences and decisions that had to be made. Ah, the joys of growing up and leaving childhood behind. Why do children always want to grow up? Little do they know. They see the freedom adults have and think it is unrestricted. They see decisions to be made and see no consequences to making them. They see the independence adults have and relate that to a lack of rules. Adults know better. Then again, some don't. Some see freedom as unrestricted, with no consequences for their decisions and no respect for rules. Like April.
After dinner, April did the dishes and the kitchen while I took the boys upstairs to bed. We talked, read a couple of stories and enjoyed each other for an hour until they finally gave up the fight and let me put them down. I walked to the door of their room, dimmed the light and watched them as they pulled the covers up to their necks and prepared to enter that dreamland where possibilities were endless and new discoveries awaited. My eyes burned and my throat closed up with grief as I watched. This too would end.
Downstairs I sat in my chair and tried to find something to hold onto. It seemed that my world was slipping away and there was nothing I could do to stop it. I had loved April with all my heart but I couldn't forget the words I heard as I stood there in the dark listening. Those words, "he's never made me feel like that" and "I'm his slut." No. There was no way back from those words. I felt the love inside me die as I tried to consider all the possibilities. April walked in and sat down.
"We have to talk. I know you're upset but you have to understand. What I have with Carl is just sex and the excitement of something new. I know it will pass quickly but right now, I can't stop seeing him. It is something that has a hold on me and I can't give it up. But it hasn't affected how I feel about you. I love you, not him. He's a distraction nothing more. It will end soon and we can get back to the way we were. You just have to let this happen."
The words were flowing but I was not able to comprehend what she was saying. I can't give it up? I can't stop seeing him? I have to let this happen? Was she crazy or just deluded? Whatever, this was going to stop. Now!