Consequences - Judith, Revisitedbythecelt©
I wrote Consequence- Judith almost a year ago but the ending always bothered me. Judith paid for her affair with Wes as she should, but I felt sorry for her. She fell on hard times afterwards, but then picked herself up and moved forward, raising her two sons and building a new life for herself. This is her story. Please forgive me for doing this but the comments from some readers told me they felt the same way I did.
Edited by LadyCibelle with my thanks.
I pushed the papers around on the desk in front of me and tried once more to make a decision. I told myself this shouldn't be that hard for me, and I didn't have to please anyone but me and my client. After all, I owned the company and I was considered one of the best around. I had several awards from my peers for creative art, and a very nice cash award from a company that was happy that my packaging ideas had increased their sales by over twenty percent. So, this should be a piece of cake! It should be so easy that I wouldn't have to even think about it. But it wasn't going so easy and I knew why.
Maybe I should bounce some ideas off Rick. He was always good for my creative juices. I always went to him when I had trouble and this qualified, big time! I had several ideas and maybe talking to him would help me decide. I picked the three best ideas I had been working with and began with the one that was my least favorite. Let's see what he thinks of these.
"So, this one is just an idea: to show the product floating on a raft in the middle of the ocean with dark clouds off in the background. Underneath the raft, we have the words, 'Always be ready for the worst possibility. Call Continental today.' What do you think?"
I agreed with him that this one was pretty weak. Maybe for something else? Could be. Take the next one.
"OK, then, how about this? This shows a plane; a single seater, maybe one of those double winged jobs, you know? Anyway, the pilot is looking at his one wing and sees the covering begin to come off. He looks and then says 'Oh, darn, why didn't I prepare for something like this? I should have called my Continental Insurance agent before I took off.'
Still nothing. Damn, he was a tough sell! Well, that's why I turned to him for his advice wasn't it? OK, go for the final one.
"I have two people walking down the street, holding hands. In the background we see a car rushing toward them, bearing down on them. Neither is aware of it but the guy says to the girl, 'I got the papers from our Continental Insurance agent today. We're covered for anything that could happen.' In the background, we see the car veer off and hit a light pole instead of our people. They go off, unaware that they were ever in danger."
"Yeah, I like that one the best too. I think the client will like it. I'll get Clark started on it tomorrow. Tonight, I'm just too damned tired to do any more."
I got up from the desk and turned off the light. As I turned, I saw my son Will, standing in the doorway, watching me. He smiled sort of sadly at me and asked, "Talking to dad again? Seems you do that when you're stuck."
"Yeah baby, it helps. It always helps." And it did help. I always felt better after talking with him. "What are you doing up? It's late and you have school tomorrow. You should be in bed."
"It's fine mom. I'm just getting a drink of water. I'll be there tomorrow for sure. I don't intend to miss the final game; that's for sure."
"Neither will I. We'll be sitting right behind the bench like always. Robert and I will be the ones screaming the loudest."
He laughed as he moved off to get his water. Tomorrow was the final basketball game of the current schedule and unless they won, the season would be over. But, if they somehow won, which would be a miracle, they would go to state quarterfinals. I didn't think there was much of a chance but Will disagreed. As he should. He was a starting guard and had played in most of the games. At seventeen, he was tall and thin but strong as an ox. He was a senior and was hoping for a scholarship. He was certainly good enough. He was his father's son all right.
I walked slowly down to the kitchen to watch my son finish his glass of water and wave goodnight. He left and I sat down, not yet sleepy enough to head upstairs to my own bed. Besides being a great athlete, Will was also a very smart boy. Not as smart as Robert, but still no dummy. He had listened to me in my den, talking to Rick, my husband. I did it quite often and Will never said anything negative about it. Robert was not so understanding however, and hated when I did it. It made him mad. I knew why of course.
Rick and I were divorced after fifteen years of a wonderful marriage. We had been divorced for eight years; today was the anniversary of the day the final papers were delivered to me. The ones that made it official. It was my fault and I had told both the boys what I did when they were in their teens. I told Will first of course since he was the oldest and then Robert two years later. Both took it hard and I had some dark days afterward. But, both came to forgive me and life went on. Both were a little more subdued around me for some time afterward but I gave them their space and the time they needed. I just loved them and continued to be there for them until they remembered that it was their father I cheated on, not them.
During that time, Rick never tried to use my depression and my actions as a reason to take my boys away. After he left, taking them with him, he had reconsidered and gave me full custody during the divorce. He wanted unlimited visitation and I agreed without reservation, because to have my boys was all I had left. I needed them more than they needed me. They had it hard during the depression but fortunately I never neglected them while I was falling apart. I had Rick take them when things got too bad but always came back for them. They supported me, probably with coaching from Rick. All in all, it was a strange time, but a fortunate time for me. They were the main reason I continued to live.
As the boys got older and more involved in school activities, they spent less and less time with Rick and more time at home. Rick was fine with that since he was working steadily and spent a lot of evenings out of the house. The boys understood and made their plans accordingly. Actually, they spent most of their time with their friends and their activities but they always came home. I let them have their freedom since they had grown up learning to cope with some very serious problems at home and survived to become strong, confident boys. I was proud of them and who they had become.
I never asked them what Rick said when they let him know I had told them what happened. Rick and I rarely spoke except to deal with problems about the boys, or to make plans for their futures. Rick and I both did quite well financially so there was never any problem with alimony or child support. We worked that out between us without need for lawyers or judges. Once our divorce was final, we began to work out methods of mutual support and it just became a habit over the years to do so. We got along well, no unreasonable demands from either of us. It was comfortable between us now, after several hard and bitter years. I don't believe he has forgiven me but he no longer seemed to hate me. That was a blessing for me.
Why did I talk to him when he wasn't there? Because I never stopped loving him or counting on him for support when I was troubled. The fact that he wasn't there wasn't that much of a hindrance to me. I could see him as clearly as if he were. I could hear his comments and I knew what he would say back to me. I could carry on a conversation with him without a hitch. I always felt better after I 'spoke' to him. I always turned to him when I was in trouble or if I had a problem I couldn't solve on my own. I never made a business decision until I had 'talked' to him.
Yeah, I know. Even my sons thought I was nuts. But I was fine! The fact that I could talk to Rick in my mind was enough to keep me sane; keep me from that depression that was so deep I almost drowned in it. I know; I almost did drown the first two years after our divorce. Rick was so cold then; he wouldn't talk to me or let me explain why I did it. Actually, I didn't even know myself but I wanted to try to explain. Rick let his lawyer handle everything and when I tried to make it difficult, Rick threatened through his lawyer to change the terms of the divorce and take my boys. I gave in and signed what he asked me to.
I began to go downhill almost immediately after the divorce was final. I felt myself drifting away but I could do nothing to stop it. I had continued to work at my job, the only thing I had besides my boys, now that Rick was gone. Even though Wes was still there, we had no contact with each other by mutual agreement. But he talked: he told some of his buddies what we had done and that it cost me my marriage. I think it was a badge of honor for him but it proved to be my downfall. My reputation within the company changed from that of a dedicated professional to some kind of tramp that slept her way to the top.
I was angry and alone with Rick gone, and I buried myself in the job, trying to prove those rumors wrong. While in the process of the divorce, I would talk to no one and kept pretty much to myself, but after my divorce was final, one of the men I worked with asked me out. I initially refused but finally thought 'what the hell' and accepted. We went out and I had too much to drink, trying to get myself through a bad evening. When we left the lounge, he drove me to his place and we had sex. It was rough, dirty and quick, but it was sex. And, I had been without a man for over six months. I told myself it would serve Rick right if I could have some fun. It was over very soon. He pulled up his pants and drove me home. No words were exchanged between us and that was fine with me. I would show Rick! I didn't need him!
I continued to work and thought about what I had done. I was single so there was no stigma attached to the sex but it hadn't been pleasant and I wasn't sure I wanted it to happen again. I refused several more invitations but finally, after six weeks had passed, I decided to give it another try. Maybe this time would be better. We went out to dinner and then to a lounge where there was dancing. I loved to dance and Rick and I often spent the weekends dancing at one club or another.
This evening began better than the first one but I soon did the same thing. I drank too much and began to lose my inhibitions. We danced several fast dances and then the slow ones. I felt him pressing against me and I felt myself getting wet. He suggested we leave and I agreed. We never got further than his car when he pushed me down onto the back seat and fucked me right then. It was over in a few minutes. He was satisfied but I was still frustrated. As he drove me home, I tried to get him aroused again by using my hands on his now soft cock but he kept pushing my hands away. I finally stopped, feeling like a cheap hooker. He dropped me off at home without even getting out of the car.
This happened two more times before I woke up one night, and found myself lying on the floor of the living room, my pants down around my ankles, my blouse ripped open exposing my naked breasts and a pool of liquid running down my thighs and dripping onto the carpet. I was alone, my date for the night not present. I couldn't even remember who it was or where we had gone but I had vague thoughts that somewhere during the evening we had picked up another man. Could I have been with two men. . . .? All I knew was that I was alone and whoever I had been with had gotten what he wanted and left. I rose, staggered to the bathroom and looked at myself in the mirror. The shock that I felt was the first sign that I had hit bottom.
I spent the rest of that night and the following day in the bathroom, worshiping the porcelain god and asking myself over and over why I was doing this to myself. As I sobered up and thought about it, the first feelings were of shame and disgust. What had I become? Who was I punishing? And what about my boys? Thank God they were with their father for the weekend. Finally, my stomach calmed enough to allow me to get up and clean myself up. I went into the office Rick had established at the house and found an old phone book. I called a doctor and made an appointment for as soon as possible. The next call was to resign my position and put that part of my life behind me. I had to find some way to get myself back to some semblance of normal. I had to get on with my life!
My two sons were the only things that kept me going then, but they were both in school five days a week and I was alone. I almost did something foolish a couple of times but I didn't and that was a miracle in itself. Just before I lost my kids and lost my sanity, I pulled myself together long enough to see a shrink my doctor recommended. Her name was Cheryl Hopkins and she helped me and got me on medication and stayed close until I was able to grab hold of life and hold on. Just by my fingertips at first, then clawing with both hands to find a stronger hold. Finally I pulled myself all the way up and my life was mine again.
With Cheryl's help, I finally learned what caused me to do what I did. It was simple, really. I was a successful working woman with two wonderful boys and a husband that I loved unconditionally. I had what all women want: I had it all. And it wasn't enough! That's what I learned working with her, but even today, I can't tell you why it wasn't enough. I was successful, beautiful, creative and frustrated. I wasn't unhappy; I wasn't alone; I wasn't sexually frustrated, but there was something missing and I had no idea what it was. So, I went looking for it.
Wes was a good looking man, a man most women found attractive and sexy. I began to notice him when we were working on a project together. He was flirting with me as he usually did with any women he came in contact with. He was a natural at it and I began to respond, initially in fun and then more seriously. We grew more aware of each other and he finally made a move. He cornered me in the supply room, pressed against me and I became aroused almost at once. That led to an arranged meeting where we had sex in my office on the stupid couch! That was my downfall. From there, the thrill and the forbidden part of it outweighed the guilt and filled that need inside me that was so elusive. We began an affair that lasted three months. It ended with the trip to San Diego and the three nights of sex. But it wasn't soon enough and it ended my marriage.
In the beginning, I continued to work but without much direction. They let me stay mainly because I could make a real stink if I tried. Even though I was in charge on that project, Wes was higher up the scale then I was so sexual discrimination was a possibility. I didn't press the issue as long as they left me alone. I did make a fool of myself, going out with those men who knew what I had done and wanted to take advantage of me. I let them, trying to find some way to make me feel again. Feel something; feel anything at all. Even if it was wrong! It was stupid and they were less than able to be more than a quick, meaningless fuck with them getting what they wanted and me just lying there, feeling nothing. I was using them, trying to end the numbness that filled my life, but it was no use.
I called my doctor the following morning after that terrible night when I couldn't even remember what happened, and that began my slow crawl up the steep slope of depression. Cheryl was relentless and wouldn't let me slide back down that steep slope. She never let go! It took almost two years but her treatment was successful and even now, I continue to see her from time to time. During that time, I quit my job and left those people behind. I had no desire to go back once I finished with my recovery.
That was appropriate for that time but I needed a job. Rick left me enough that I didn't have to work and he was maintaining the insurance for all of us. I had enough money for food, utilities and upkeep and all I needed for the boys. It was enough but I needed a job for my own sanity. And there was no chance that I could go back to my old company. Not one chance in hell!
I was good at graphic design and packaging design and I knew many people in that field. My old company was one of the top in the industry but I knew there were a lot of jobs they turned down because they were too small. I could handle those jobs by myself. I decided to give it a shot and got myself a business license and started my own little company, working out of my house. I called it, J. Proctor, Packaging Concepts. I advertised on the internet and by word of mouth to some of the people I used to know.
I borrowed some money from the bank, using the house as collateral. Rick had given it to me in the divorce so that the boys could grow up in the only home they knew. We had a lot of equity in it so I used some of that for a small loan and bought the equipment I would need for my business: a computer with a lot of graphic capability, a large color copier, a drafting board and a photo layout. I also found a setup that would permit cross comparisons with multiple media. I would use that to transfer the best images to a film medium that would allow me to print and modify. Just the basics to begin with.
Will had just turned thirteen at the time and Robert was still not a teen at eleven. They were a lot of help, giving me time in the evenings to work while they watched television, played games and in general, kept themselves occupied. Since they were too young to go out by themselves, it was a perfect time for me. We compromised: I made sure they got to their games or their practices and they left me alone later in the evening to work. Both understood what I was trying to do so we functioned as a team. It was one of the best times in my life and was a real plus as I began to get some business. Initially it was just a few referrals from my erstwhile workmates but it was a beginning. I lost the first two accounts I tried for but got the third and I was in business!
As the year progressed, my business took off and I had to hire a girl to answer phone and internet queries, a draftsman to work on the big board, a color artist to fill in the singles, and one person to sell. I was good at all but not good enough to do it by myself. The only thing I changed was to have a small office put in at the back of the house where we could work, keeping me close to home. It seemed to work quite well and I began to take on more and more business. Over the next two years, my business continued to grow as well as my reputation and I was a financial success, paying off my loan and all my bills.
Fast forward two more years. Will was seventeen, Robert was almost sixteen and I had just turned forty eight. My business was one of the best in town and I had twelve people working for me. I decided early on to keep my business small and restricted to those who wanted only the best. My people were the best and we maintained a solid reputation which translated into profits. I was well to do now and my boys had everything they needed. I went to Rick for less and less and he agreed to put his support payments into a bank account for the boys' college fund.
As I said, Will was hoping for a basketball scholarship and would probably get one since he was so good. He wanted to go to Ohio State in the fall and he had already been accepted. Robert was so smart that he would have no trouble getting an academic scholarship when he was ready to go on. Both boys were popular in school and Will had a girlfriend that he seemed pretty serious about. Robert was just beginning to enter the life of female companionship and seemed to have no lack of pretty girls calling the house.