Fool Me OncebyLonghorn__07©
Some say life is a road whose forks are determined by an individual's decision from one moment to the next. If that's so, the choice that drove Ryan Gilchrist down a disastrous detour one day was a damn small one to have such an enormous impact. Maybe that's the way things always are. Who knows?
The owner of the house where Gilchrist's crew was renovating the garage into a spare bedroom had spoken enthusiastically to a friend of his about the quality of the work being done. Not quite understanding what was happening at first, Ryan took the owner's cell phone from his outstretched hand. He found the man's friend on the line and wanting an estimate on remodeling his kitchen. The friend said it would be an anniversary present for his wife. Ryan's small construction outfit needed the work, so he set up a meeting for just past noon.
The friend lived all the way across town and the most direct route came within a mile or so of where the Gilchrists lived. Even so, Ryan would not have dropped by the house if the red Taurus hadn't cut him off. Ryan had to dodge quickly into the left turn lane and, once there, he couldn't get back out. He had to make the turn. After that, it was actually easier to go by home and take another major east/west thoroughfare from there than it was to fight through the heavy noontime traffic back up to the street he'd been on.
He wasn't that upset. The laptop with its Excel spreadsheets and small CAD program would make things easier in the interview with the possible new client. He would use the former to work out an accurate estimate for the client and the latter would show the man and his wife a reasonably good 3-D representation of the finished kitchen.
Oh, yeah, he could have easily done without them. He knew the pricing calculations by heart and could have given them a pretty good freehand drawing instead. When you get right down to it, the decision to get the laptop from the house was an awfully little thing to change a man's life.
Coasting to a stop in front of the house, Ryan was surprised to see his wife's brown Toyota Corolla parked in the driveway. Carrie had found work as a teller in a branch office of a big downtown bank a couple of years ago. She was a hard worker and had already received a number of pay raises. The hours were okay; she only had to work half-days on Saturday, and even that only one in four weekends. This Saturday wasn't on her schedule, though, and today wasn't her day off even if it had been.
He didn't know why Carrie was home. It concerned him because it was so out of character for her. He walked quickly around the side of the house and in through the kitchen door.
The door hinges were well lubricated. After all, he was a building contractor. It was a matter of professional pride to make sure small repairs around the house were taken care of immediately. Everything was well maintained. He liked things that way; he hated squeaks, drawers that didn't open, windows that didn't close right...things like that drove him crazy.
Neither the screen door nor the kitchen door itself made any perceptible noise when he opened them. The couple he could see through the doorway into the living room probably wouldn't have heard him anyway. They were too involved with each other.
Ryan froze in his tracks when he saw them. He'd never contemplated seeing his wife in the arms of another man even kissing him...and he'd surely never thought to see another man cupping Carrie's bare right breast and working the nipple to a dark red erection with a rapidly moving thumb.
Carrie was naked to the waist. Ryan saw her blouse and bra draped across the couch just beyond her. Her skirt was hiked up past the crotch of her pantyhose and Ryan could see the man's other hand on her sex. The man's body hid Carrie's hands, but her upper right arm and elbow were quite visible. They were moving rhythmically back and forth. There was no doubt her hand was on the strange man's penis and giving him a slow hand job. Her partial nakedness said the hand job was only a preliminary.
"God, Carrie," the man said hoarsely, "I've waited so long for today. Don't tease me, okay?" His voice turned more than a little plaintive right at the last. Carrie giggled delightedly.
"Have you, Marshall?" she replied in a light, coquettish tone. She was playing with the man. She brought her hand up to his chest and ground her lower body against his.
"Was it worth the wait?" she asked seductively.
A red-hot fury engulfed Ryan. He didn't think; he couldn't. He could only react. One moment he was frozen in shock. With his next heartbeat, he was moving swiftly forward, striding purposefully through the kitchen and partway into the living room. Planting his left foot solidly on the carpet, his brought his right one up in a tight arc that ended in the man's crotch.
At the last moment, "Marshall" sensed something behind him...a whisper of Ryan's shoes on the carpet perhaps, or his looming presence. Without thinking, Marshall moved away from a threat he had not yet properly identified and into closer contact with Carrie. That was unfortunate for the woman. She probably wouldn't have been hurt if he'd kept still.
The instep of Ryan's heavy workman's boot smashed into the other man's testicles and drove the man's whole body forward and up. Ryan was a strong man and he'd had a few steps to build up momentum. It was only the steel-reinforced tip of the boot that slammed into Carrie's groin but it was more than enough.
Sensitive nerve endings fired instantly, sending simultaneous pain signals to two badly confused brains. For a long moment neither of them had any breath to scream; it had been driven from their bodies by the sudden intense pain in their abdomens. They stumbled against the sofa and clung to it for an instant.
Ryan had time to set his right foot back down on the floor and ready himself to deliver more punishment. His normally pleasant features were twisted into a rictus of tormented rage. He took a step deeper into the living room and closer to the pair of interrupted lovers. He'd been planning to do further damage to the man in front of him but it was abruptly clear nothing more was required.
Marshall, whoever he was...Ryan didn't recognize him...began to scream in a high-pitched voice that filled the room. Carrie's even shriller cries started a split-second later. Both of them collapsed to the floor and began to writhe in agony.
The excruciating pain was overwhelming, worthy of the Marquis de Sade's most inventive tortures. Marshall and Carrie were locked in their own private little universes, unable to do anything but scream so piercingly they were close to rupturing their vocal cords.
Ryan stood back, watching the two thrash around on the floor while the screams assaulted his ears. He saw his wife's breasts bounce wildly on her chest as her body jerked uncontrollably. Her lower body was exposed, though covered by her pantyhose. He could see her palms pressed tightly against her vulva. The other man's prick was still jutting obscenely from his zipper. There hadn't been enough time for the blood to leave it. It was still hard...still ready to be driven into Carrie's willing cunt.
The vulgar display sickened Ryan but something else was wrong too. He looked down. To his horror, he saw the bulge in his work pants. He realized his cock was hard, perhaps harder, longer, and thicker than it had ever been before. A deep shame overcame the anger in his mind, blanking the fury in the space between two heartbeats. He was mortified. His own body was betraying him.
He could not be aroused by the sight of his wife about to have sex with another man. It wasn't possible; he was not that kind of man. His roars, born of renewed fury and deep humiliation, blended with the agonized shrieks of the other two.
When he thought about the incident long afterward, Ryan saw he'd been doing everything he could to resist the urge to use the Glock Model 21 in it's holster. From time to time, he still congratulated himself for not yanking it out. At the time, every nerve in his body had cried out for him to use it to kill both of the people who had dishonored him. He wondered sometimes if he would have reserved one bullet for himself to cleanse himself of his own body's treachery. The gun held thirteen rounds in its magazine and he carried the weapon with an additional round in the chamber. The fourteen .45 ACP caliber bullets would have been more than enough...
The urge for violence hadn't bothered him at the time and didn't worry him overly much today. Ryan Lincoln Gilchrist had been raised by his grandfather after Ryan's parents had been killed in a fiery car wreck when he was seven. His mother's father was half Comanche and the old man had been close to his grandfather. Ryan had quickly learned his great-grandfather, twice removed, had ridden on any number of raids when he'd been a young warrior in the late 1800's. He and his fellow fighters had made any number of forays into central and east Texas from the Llano Estacado, the Staked Plains of West Texas. The warrior had died protecting that last stronghold of the Comanche from the soldiers who came to punish them for killing Anglos and Mexicans.
His grandfather had taken young Ryan camping up on the plateau many times. He'd show the boy secret places only descendents of the old raiders knew of...places Anglos and peoples of the lesser Indian nations still would not go. The wildness of those wind-swept high plains was still with Ryan. He loved the solitude of the rough country. It called to something inside him and there were many times he longed to return. Things would be so simple up there...just himself, the wilderness, and a need to survive.
No, that he had wanted to put an end to the two adulterous lovers didn't bother him. In fact, he'd been unhappy for a short time that he had not taken care of the pair. The feeling had passed. This was the 21st century, after all. One couldn't do things like that anymore.
There was a far worse problem he had to deal with. It made him a basket case after discovering Carrie's infidelity. It wasn't so much the mental pictures of the sex he'd come home to find his wife engaging in. Well, it was, they were terrible images for a man to live with...but at least as upsetting was his own body's betrayal. It offended him on a very deep level to have been physically aroused at the sight of his wife preparing to engage in sex with that other man. He hadn't understood it. It made him less than a man and he couldn't stand himself. He had been so filled with revulsion he again considered suicide.
It had been a painful six weeks before he'd found a psychotherapist who'd been willing to take him on in a long series of individual counseling sessions. The wildness in his eyes had unsettled two other counselors and they'd found they had no openings in their practice to see him. Doctor Christopher was in his seventies though. There wasn't much that could intimidate him. He turned out to be a godsend.
What it was, the doctor said, was a response his body made on a primordial level. Male animals, including human ones, have instincts hardwired into their brains that drive them to reproduce. It had to do with the propagation of the species, he told Ryan.
It was about semen competition, the doctor said. Many researchers even thought the male penis actually evolved as a "device" for a man to displace other male's semen from a woman's vagina and replace it with his own. The doctor explained how the shape of the penis, with its larger glans and comparatively narrower shaft, could function to displace existing quantities of semen in woman's vagina and "pump" it out.
Doctor Christopher explained to Ryan the instinct to displace another male's semen in a female's vagina was why he became aroused when he saw his wife's partially nude body and the other man's penis so openly displayed. Ryan was a civilized man, the doctor said, but no amount of civilization could overcome some of the most deeply ingrained primeval instincts. Ryan's subconscious, where mankind's most primitive instincts still lurked, had taken over when he came unprepared upon the illicit sex scene. Now that he knew what it was, it probably wouldn't happen again. The conscious mind could take precedence in such things.
Most of what he learned was a lot more information than Ryan ever wanted to know about such things. He found peace with the first revelation that it was a primitive response to a situation he'd not been prepared for. Everything else had been added information he had no need for. He assured the doctor it would most assuredly never happen again, period. Doctor Christopher had made note of the grimness of Ryan's expression when he said that. It was disquieting...that is to say, threatening.
It had been a rough four years. He and Carrie managed to stay together but it had been a near thing. His preoccupation with his own body's reaction had consumed him for a long while. When he came out of his bemusement a couple of months later, he found Carrie doing everything she could to show him she wanted the marriage "to work."
She showered him with affection, respect, and admiration, offering sex of all kinds and at all hours. She was, in short, doing anything and everything she could to keep him as her husband. She was deeply remorseful. Ryan didn't doubt that. He was angry at the deception and infidelity, but she was obviously repentant.
After a while, he'd stopped thinking of leaving her and asking for a divorce. A separation ended after a few weeks when Carrie tracked him down at a local motel and tearfully pleaded with him to come home. They went to marital counseling for more than a year to get their marriage back on an even keel and, when they examined themselves carefully, cracks in their relationship were still showing up years afterward the counseling ended.
Lovemaking never fully recovered, though casual sex did improve after the counseling the special sex they had to show their love did not. It was a year and a half before Carrie noticed Ryan did not like touching her right breast, the one he'd seen the other man fondling. She quickly figured out why...and then worked out the root cause for the fact that he didn't care very much for her taking his penis in her hands either. It had sparked another round of counseling, this time with each of them seeing their couple's counselor on an individual basis, in addition to the joint sessions. After a long time the sex got better, but things were never the same. Something at the core of their relationship had been shattered and never returned.
Carrie had demanded they buy a new home after she determined Ryan's love for the old one had died. There were just too many triggers in the one they'd bought as a "fixer-upper" and made a good home of. In unguarded moments, Ryan would find himself gazing at the area of the carpet where Carrie and her fuck buddy had writhed in pain that day. It was clear to both Ryan and Carrie he was never going to be able to come in the back door again without wondering what he'd see through the doorway into the living room.
The two-story house they found for a good price (and actually in a better neighborhood) had four bedrooms. In many ways, it was too big for the two of them and they were always behind on the housekeeping. They kept it though, saying they would grow into it.
For a while in their reconciliation, they actually talked about children, but Carrie didn't really want any...not right now, she said. Over the months, the discussions about having children gradually withered and died away again. They'd talked about having a baby right after they were married too, but Carrie had plans for a career and kids didn't fit into her vision back then...and they still didn't. When she let the subject die this time, Ryan decided he'd never raise the idea of having children again. The decision left him empty, but he didn't know what he could do about it.
Eventually, Ryan overcame most of his conscious and unconscious disgust with his wife's deceit and got beyond her adultery. He'd finally had to remind himself neither he nor Carrie had been virgins when they married. It wasn't easy, but he forced himself think of the man he'd caught Carrie with in the same terms as he considered the nameless ones Carrie had been with before he met her.
Things got better but Ryan couldn't get back to where he'd been with his wife. Something had gone out of the relationship, something he couldn't define but he knew it was missing. They never really sat down and discussed her adultery in spite of everything their counselors could do to promote it. Neither Ryan nor Carrie wanted to go into the details. Perhaps they should have. Ryan didn't know.
Ryan was going to be thirty-three in July and some days he felt every bit of it and more. Today was one of those days. He'd found a small patch of gray over each temple in March and it devastated him for a time. Carrie had just shrugged. They made him look distinguished, she said. Ryan had stared after her as she walked unconcernedly away.
Distinguished? That was the way young women described older men. It was the kiss of death in the mating game. Bothered by the implications, he'd brought the subject up again a few weeks later. He didn't need to worry about it, she'd assured him. He was a married man and wasn't in the game anymore. He'd felt better...not much...but a little.
He didn't feel good about it at all anymore. Oh, he'd learned to live with the gray hairs, but he become concerned about other matters in the late spring. He wasn't at all certain he was going to be married very much longer. Though affectionate and attentive for most of the time since Ryan had caught her with another man, there was something different in her attitude and behavior these days.
He didn't go off the deep end the first time she started an argument that didn't need to happen, the first time she criticized him unnecessarily, or the first time she seemed a little distant for no good reason. He didn't go crazy the first, or the second time he found out she wasn't where she said she'd be. After a number of such incidents, though, he knew in his heart what was happening. Soon, there was no doubt.
All the signs were there now; the signs that said she was cheating. They'd been there for three months now, beginning just after Carrie's latest promotion. It wasn't entirely unexpected. He'd been concerned it would happen again and he'd trained himself to watch for the first signal her conduct had begun to change.
He'd read books over the last four years--lots of books--most of them paid for in cash at a variety of used bookstores. Some of the books were by doctors of psychiatry or psychology, and others were written by licensed counselors with no other degree. Most of these delved into the psyche of a straying spouse and spoke of ways to recover from adultery. Some of them, though, were written by retired private investigators. It was this group of books that Ryan found most interesting...and the most useful.
These books told of ways to catch a cheater. They detailed indicators that should raise red flags in the mind of an alert spouse. Some of them had a hundred or more signs a wife or husband might be unfaithful. One of these was written by an investigator and a psychologist team and Ryan found that one very informative. Other books concerned themselves with techniques of spying; some of them even used that term, on a suspected cheating spouse.
He had a nice library of books like this now. He kept them hidden in a storage cupboard out in the garage where Carrie never went. The spider webs in that corner of the garage and the heavy, greasy rags piled in front of the bin repelled her and she shuddered anytime she came within ten feet of it.