Denise and RidneybyMatt Moreau©
He squirmed on the ground and made to crawl away. I leveled a Saturn-5 missile shot directly at the place where his descendants were even now boiling in their pre-destiny; they would never be making their appearance; his balls were mush. He started to vomit; the bile stunk up the place.
The timing couldn't have been better. As I turned and walked away, I'd gotten no farther than the door to my car when two black-and-whites pulled in. Well, he'd be easy to cuff and take away.
Yeah, yeah, I figured they'd be coming for me too at some point. Taking the law into my own hands and all of that muck and prattle. But at least I'd have the jury's empathy. He, on the other hand, would likely not.
As it turned out the D.A would not be pressing charges against me: too much expenditure for too little return was the analysis of my lawyer. Dearest Mikey, thank you very much, got two years, out in eleven months.
I was sitting in Denny's, my favorite diner. She was seated across from me.
"Rod, you need to shit or get of the pot. I love you, but I know you still have feelings for Denise. While I am not by any stretch of the imagination qualified to throw stones; I'm gonna pitch a couple anyway.
"She needs more than you got, Rod, and it ain't never gonna change. You're a much better than an average lover, Rod, not great but good; and I am qualified to make that determination. Add to that, you're a good provider, and nice person, and tolerant to an almost unbelievable degree. Oh, and I am more than qualified to make you 'great'. So, Rodney Harris...
"I want you, I need you, I love you: but, I am not prepared to wait forever for you. Let me know when it's convenient, okay?" She stood, came around to me, kissed me on the cheek. "Love you," she said. I never got a word in edgewise!
Well, that went well, I thought. We'd never so much as said a word to each other about us becoming more than friends—albeit friends with benefits; but here she was spouting Elvis lyrics to me. How did I feel? Good damn question.
I would be speaking to Denise, and that right soon. Beverly was right about that; I did need to make some decisions.
I wasn't on hand when Denise was released. I'd asked her to call me and let me know when, so I could see to her immediate needs; she didn't, call that is.
One of the nurses offered that some guy, some black guy, had come to get her. My woman sure as hell seemed hell bent on ticking me off.
She still worked, I knew. If she wasn't recuperating at wherever she was staying; and it evidently wasn't the house, and God knew why that was; I would be able to catch up to her and get some things settled.
She was walking slow when she came out, as well she might. It was 5:00PM on the dot. I was half hidden behind a bush next to the door. She didn't see me.
"Well, and were you ever going to say goodbye or go to hell or whatever," I said.
"Rod! You scared me," she said.
"I'm sorry," she said. "It was cold of me just to leave there without a word. Please forgive me. Okay?"
"Okay, you're forgiven, but I need to talk to you. You hungry?" I said.
"Denise, I need to talk to you. We can drink or eat, your choice; but it's going to be one or the other," I said.
She sighed. "Eat then, I guess. I am a little hungry."
The Crabtree was a nice fish place. We'd eaten there a lot in years gone by, but not in quite a while. She smiled when she figured out that that's where we would be going.
Inside she relaxed. "Been a while hasn't it," she said.
"It has that," I said. The waiter took our orders and disappeared. "How are you feeling I should ask?"
"Better than Mike Westbrook," she said looking at me strangely. "They say he'll never be the same."
"Yeah, well, neither will you, not inside at least." She nodded.
"Denise, what are you going to do? You gonna keep doing this sex stuff? I hear some black guy picked you up from the hospital. It was supposed to be me," I said.
She nodded her understanding of my upset. "That was a mistake. Not Mark picking me up, that was okay, but not clearing it with you was naughty of me. You'd been so kind; I owed you more than the damn phone call it would have taken. I still do."
"Then, why do you keep doing this shit to me, Denise? If I deserve better, then give me better," I said.
She started glancing around. She was trying her best to look at everyone in the place but me.
"Denise?" I said.
"The truth, Rod? Do you really want the truth?" she said. They way she said it made me wish I didn't, but I did.
"Yes," I said.
"The reason I had Mark pick me up instead of you is 'because' I owe you so much. I have done nothing but hurt you. And for what? For my own selfish self indulgence. And, I can't stop. I need it."
"What are you talking about, Denise? The sex? You can't be decent to me because you want to whore around on me? Do you realize how ridiculous that sounds?" I said.
"Yes, but it's a bit more than that," she said.
"Rod, you are a great guy in any number of ways, but you are next to worthless as a lover. You should have your friend Blue help you out there..." I started to interrupt, but she held up her hands.
"Yes, I know about her. You forget, she and I have met a number of times over the years. I know what she does and what she is. Anyway, maybe she can help you be better, so that when you find someone else you can get the job done.
"Rod I am not telling you this to hurt you. The fact is that I want to keep you. But, as I told you, seemingly so long ago, I need you to be okay with my outside love life. Boy, would that be the cat's meow for me," she said. "But, I know you will never be okay with it. So—so—Rod—we need to get a divorce. Not for me, honey, but for you. You need to be free. I'm not going to marry again. You've spoiled me for other men. But, I have other needs that can only be met by a variety of fellows. For the record, Mark—the black guy—isn't my lover. He's my guard, sort of. He watches my back now. He's an ex-boxer, but he's gay. I'm shacking up with him for now; we share expenses.
"I've sealed up the house. I knew this meeting between us would come sooner or later, and we'd be wanting to sell the place; so I sealed it up and took care to make sure the realtors would be able to get us the best deal.
"Did I do good there, honey?" she said. She apparently really wanted me to approve of her doings. I nodded.
"Yeah, I guess," I said. "But Denise, are you sure about this. I mean the divorce? I need to know. If it's what you want; well then, okay. But..."
"Yes, Rodney Harris. It's for the best. I've even spoken to Jill about it. She isn't thrilled, but she understands. I've been afraid to talk to Jimmy; he's still pretty sore at me," she said.
"I'll handle it," I said. "He loves you, Denise, but he is of the same opinion as me as to your exploits.
"Denise, I think you need counseling. Your choice, but there isn't much doubt about it as far as I'm concerned," I said.
She ignored my words. "Can we be friends, Rodney. I mean still—after the divorce?" she said. I smiled.
"Yeah, sure. Hell, we're still family. We have a couple a babies between us you know." She sobbed and came around and gave me a kiss. Helluva thing.
"Holidays?" I said.
"Together. Always, if that's okay with you," she said. I nodded and smiled. Well, we were getting a lot done.
"Absolutely," I said.
It was getting to be a habit. I lifted my glass to her and she, perhaps a little more tentatively, did the same.
"You said you wanted me to poop or vacate the facility," I said.
"Huh?" said Blue.
"Well, I have. Denise and I have. I filed yesterday, and we're done in six months," I said.
She leaned her head a little to the right; then, a little to the left. She stopped. "You mean..." she said.
"Yes, we're divorcing. She wants to keep me, but only if I can live with her occasional—friends—doing her. I couldn't and she understands.
"Bev, some time ago you mentioned that you were waiting for some rich guy to snap you up and take you out of the life you were living. Well, rich I ain't, but I'm not totally bereft of resources or talent. Anyway, my question is—is that enough for you? Am I enough for you?" I said.
She got up and came around the table. "Move your chair a little back, please," she said. I looked her askance, but did as she said.
She sat on my lap and draped her arms around me. "Kiss me you big lug," she said. Well, I'm good at following orders ask any of my current or former employers. I did as she said.
She pulled back a tad, "Of course you're enough for me, Rodney, and you've always known that," she said.
"Then, let's get married. I mean as soon as the divorce is final," I said.
"Rod, fine. That's fine. But..." she said.
"The children? Right?" I said. She nodded.
"You let me take care of that," I said.
"Okay," she said.
"Beverly, I do see the irony in all of this. I mean I'm leaving Denise because I refuse to be her willing cuckold. And, I will be marrying a professional prostitute—but an ex-professional prostitute. Right?" I said.
"You got that right, big boy," she said. "In fact I had a date tonight who is going to be more than a little pissed at the turn of events. But, guess who I choose between you and him?"
"Dad? You're kidding right?" said Jill.
"No, Jill, I'm not. Blue and I will be married after the divorce is final."
"Dad, you're making no sense, said Jimmy. I mean you're marrying a woman, who is an active prostitute, and you're divorcing mom for doing pretty much the same thing. Dad, explain that to me. I don't get it."
"Yes, I can see where it might be a little confusing," I said.
"No, let me," said Denise. I nodded my okay.
After Denise and I had made the decision to get the divorce, but to remain at least friends. Denise had come up with a plan. It made sense, and, well, here we were.
"Your dad is not divorcing me for being a whore, children. He's divorcing me because I betrayed him." I raised my hand to stop her.
"No, Rod, let me please. Maybe I can make some small amends here.
"Jill, jimmy, your dad will not willingly be any woman's cuckold. It's not in him. I tried to make it so, but, well, I blew it. Blue won't make the same mistake. She's quit the business. So you see, it's not the same thing.
"Mom," said Jill, "Are you...?"
"Still going to have boyfriends? Well, I will be single, won't I, Jill. But—can you forgive me? I know I've made a muck of things..." said Denise.
The children got up as one and went to her. The hugging and the kissing and the crying went on for some little time. I went into the kitchen of the condo. The owner was there; he had the beer supply.
"Well, Mark, I'd be pleased if you would look after her, and let me have one of those," I said, pointing to his beer. "You know my number if you need anything—help—whatever," I said. He passed me the beer.
"Yeah, you'll be in the loop, man. She still loves you, you know. But, from what I know, the two of you are doing it right," said Mark.
I smiled broadly. Things were gonna be okay.