Her Next HusbandbyBigK10©
There are three things I must say about this story before you read it. Firstly, there is a character in it that closely parallels a celebrity (I slightly changed the name). I want to make it clear that my character and the celebrity are NOT the same person—even in my twisted mind. This story is not about the above mentioned celebrity, but I had to include someone similar to him, as he is an integral part of the story.
Secondly, this is not a "burn the bitch" story as my others, so if that's what you want, you may be disappointed.
Thirdly, this is based on a dream I had, and the celebrity was in the dream. And yes, my wife used to refer to the celebrity as "my next husband," until I put a stop to it. This was supposed to be a shorert story (per my dream/nightmare) but my characters took on a life of their own and my fingers just kept on typing. I hope you enjoy it and I apologize if it rambles on too long...
My wife, Dolly, and I were just an average middle-aged couple, living in a medium sized town in Southern Indiana. Our children, Rhett and Scarlet, had gone to college, and married, settled nearby, but no grandkids yet. Even though we'd both put on a few extra pounds over the years, we were still relatively attractive, considering our ages; we're in our mid fifties. We had happily celebrated our twenty eighth anniversary two months before it happened.
I'll get to that soon enough, but first I need to tell you a little about a celebrity crush my wife has had for years. Shortly after we married back in the eighties, a long haired crooner, about seven years older than us, rose to popularity belting out syrupy ballads made along the same (successfully proven, but quickly boring) formula—financially, he became very successful, but artistically frustrated. His name was Bradley Morogan, but thanks to a "misprint" on his breakthrough album, he was known as Bradley Morgan. Dolly was completely in heat for the romance novel stud image his public relations entourage projected.
Of course, as the resident music hound, it became my duty to purchase his latest album as soon as it was available. On a whim, I bought one of his older albums and liked what he done with some bluesy riffs and some great songs. Dolly didn't care for them at all, preferring the pop romantic drivel that played her heart strings like an angel on a harp.
Knowing full well that she'd never have a chance to meet her idol, let alone have a "chance for romance" with him, she joked that Bradley would be her next husband. I laughed with her...the first couple hundred times she said it—both in public and private. She never noticed that I quit laughing long after the joke got old, and on my nerves. She just kept right on professing her wistful romantic desire for him.
After a few years, she made one too many, "When I marry my next husband, Bradley Morgan..." comments in front of our friends, I let her know that I no longer appreciated her telling everyone that "old joke."
"Dolly, it's time for you to give that crap a rest. I know that you've told me a hundred times that you're just kidding, but after you've repeatedly told everyone you know (not in so many words) that he's 'Mr. Right,' and I'm just 'Mr. Right-now,' it has become very annoying to me. It's also a put-down to me in front of your friends and family that I'm very tired of hearing. Saying it a few times is a joke, but over the years, you've probably referred to him—and me—that way thousands of times, and it's way past time to stop. I understand that our life isn't one of vast fortune and fame, but we drive decent cars and live in a nice house. If you must have a fantasy life with him, please stop sharing it with everyone—especially in front of me. It's become humiliating."
"Oh, you can't be serious! I'm just joking around! I know the closest I'll ever come to meeting him—let alone marrying him—was the concert you took me to last year. It's just my way of..."
"Telling everyone that the life we have is not good enough for you," I interrupted. "Listen, I understand that everyone has their real life and their dreams of how life could've been, but no one talks about it as often as you do. Let me ask you a question: How often do your friends tell you that they'd just love to be married to another person, specified by name?"
"That's the same with me and my friends. Also, do you EVER hear me talk about another woman about whom I fantasize?"
"Well, I can't think of any off the top of my head..."
"That's because I don't have a 'fantasy woman.' My fantasy woman is you, assuming that you can quit talking about Bradley Morgan fifteen times a day! I know it's an exaggeration, but when something like that gets under your skin like this does, it sure seems like you bring him up that often. Do you see what I'm trying to get at, here?"
"It sounds like you're getting jealous of Bradley. You know that you're my main man, don't you? I'd never leave you for him—even if I did get the chance. I love you, Curt, and no one else comes close."
"I may be a little jealous, but if that were all this was about; I'd have brought this up years ago. Let me put it to you like this; what if I mentioned that I really liked some woman, and made comments about how she was better than you—several times a day. Just to randomly pick an example..." I paused for a moment to make her think I was selecting someone off the top of my head, I continued, "...say, Betty Roth, and remark that she has a great pair of..." I'd prepared for this conversation ahead of time. Betty was the neighborhood sleaze—pure and simple. At thirty-seven, she was seven or eight years older than we were at the time, but dressed like someone in her twenties. She had the body for it, and she spent a lot of her ex-husband's alimony to keep that body well tanned and in perfect shape. Having a flirty nature, she was a sore subject in many homes in our neighborhood.
"In case you haven't noticed, that 'great pair' you mention are store bought boobs. You have a lot of nerve to compare me to that floozy! I should cut you off for a month or two, just for..."
"You are making my case for me! Do you see how it feels to be compared to someone that you cannot ever hope to compete with on the same level? I can never hope to have the money, fame or image consultants that Bradley Morgan has, but I still get unfavorably compared to him quite often. Do you see where I'm coming from?"
"Yes...I guess so. I'm sorry, Curt; I'll try to stop it."
"Thank you; that's all I ask."
Of course, you can't fully stop a fully imbedded habit like that cold turkey, but to her credit, she did slow it down to a few times a week, then a couple of times a month.
When you get big and famous enough, especially when you make women swoon, jealous husbands begin to make jokes about you. So it was with the late night comedians and Bradley Morgan. I laughed a little extra hard when they got a good zinger in on good old Bradley "don't call me Brad" Morgan. This began to irritate Dolly, and it got under my skin a bit when she made it clear that she didn't find those jokes at all funny. Okay, so maybe I was a bit jealous; do you blame me?
Well, the references to her 'next husband' finally started to fade, and so did his career in the late nineties. Our family matured and the next thing we knew, we were in our mid fifties, in an empty nest. I knew that she still had a thing for Bradley, as she bought his autobiography when it came out. Seeing that she had read a total of five books during our years together, it was obvious that she still did like him a lot, but at least she didn't wave it in my face anymore.
One Wednesday evening, we were sitting in our ten year old ranch style home, which my Dad, my son and I had built. Being seventy, Dad mostly supervised, but his years of experience as a home contractor were invaluable. We would never have a mansion, but we did okay for ourselves. The doorbell rang and we both looked at each other with the unasked question, "Were you expecting someone?"
I got up and walked from the family room, through the living room, flipped on the porch light, and opened the door. I saw three men in nice suits, and a professionally dressed woman about thirty. I cautiously opened the storm door, but blocked the entrance to our home with my body.
"Does a Dolly Dylan live here?" inquired the woman.
In spite of my instinct to do the contrary, I replied, "Yes, I'm her husband; what do want with her?"
"We prefer to discuss that with her. Is she home now?"
Dolly stepped up behind me at this time, so she redirected her question, "Are you Dolly Dylan?"
"Yes, why do you ask?"
"Well, Dolly, you are one lucky gal! You are the winner of The Dream Date with Bradley Morgan contest!" She thrust herself past me and the three 'suits' followed, shoving me roughly aside in the process.
"You're kidding! I never win anything! This is so awesome! So, when does this happen? What will happen?"
"We are going to whisk you away to have a complete makeover done by Hollywood's top makeover team. Then we go shopping on Rodeo drive to get you some new clothes, because you are going to a movie premiere on the arm of Bradley Morgan himself!" The two women screamed like two excited teenage girls and even jumped up and down a couple of times.
"I can't believe this! This is so incredible! When do we start?"
"Right now. You're coming with us. We're leaving here tonight."
"Okay, just give me a few minutes to pack."
"Don't bother with that. We'll have all new things for you. It's all part of the makeover. If you have any prescriptions, get them and let's go!"
Dolly almost ran into the kitchen where she grabbed her blood pressure medicine and her cell phone. I noticed that one of the suits was filming the whole thing with his camera phone, probably for publicity use later.
While she was in the other room, I asked, "So, where is she going and where is she staying, and when is she coming back? I need to know these things..." I was cut off by Dolly coming back into the room and grabbing a jacket as she almost ran from the house, forgetting about our traditional goodbye kiss, muttering something about finally meeting my next husband.
As she opened up the storm door to leave, she exclaimed, "Wow—a stretch limo!"
The woman replied, "We're taking her to Hollywood for her makeover and her date for the movie premiere, on Friday night. Be sure to watch Entertainment Tonight—you might get to see your wife on TV! She should be home late Saturday or Sunday, depending on what flight we can arrange. Don't worry, we'll take good care of her. I'm sure that she'll call you to keep you updated, when she gets a minute. Thanks for being such a good sport. See ya!" With that, they were gone out the door as quickly as they arrived.
"Good sport—my ass!" I replied sarcastically to no one. I was standing there all alone in my living room, wondering what the hell had just happened. I kept going over it, replaying it in my mind, trying to make sense of it. My best guess was that Bradley was trying to revive his sagging career by making some "lucky" female fan the winner in a hokey "dream date" contest. My wife had evidently entered this fiasco without mentioning it to me, but why would she? I don't mention every contest I enter to her, but if I won, the prizes would've benefited her as well.
I closed the front door and locked it. Then it hit me that she left without even saying goodbye. I went to my cell phone and called her, but it went to voicemail after three rings. Three rings meant that she had hit the "ignore" button when I called. So, I sent her a text, "GOODBYE to you, too!" After an hour with no reply, I figured that I had my reply.
Then I began to think that she was going to miss work, so I better call her boss to let her know what was going on. As we socialized with several members of her work on occasion, I had Bev's home phone number.
"Sorry to interrupt your evening, Bev," I began when she answered, "but Dolly won't be in to work tomorrow or Friday."
"Is she sick?" she inquired anxiously.
"No, it's much worse than that; she won some stupid dream date contest and will be in Hollywood with that old has-been Bradley Morgan. Her 'event coordinator' said that she should be back late Saturday or Sunday, so she should be into work on Monday to tell you all about it."
"Wow! You're kidding!" She was thoroughly excited.
"Nope, but I wish I was..." I was much less than excited.
"That's incredible! She is so lucky! lucky! lucky! I remember when she found out about that contest. She must've entered it once a day for the whole month you could enter. She'd have entered more, but that's all they'd allow. She told us that if she won, she'd give the camera a wink as she walked down the red carpet, and it would be for us! I can't believe she won! Hey, I actually know a real celebrity! I can't wait to tell all the girls at work! Goodbye Curt!" And she was off the line, but probably right back on it with another one of "the girls." I was left hanging for the second time tonight.
I sent Dolly another text, "If you care, I called Bev and told her you wouldn't be in to work tomorrow or Friday. SHE is happy for you. Me...not so much."
I always have a hard time falling asleep when Dolly isn't in bed with me, and I knew it was going to be damn near impossible tonight. Now, I usually don't drink very much, but I figured that tonight would be a good exception.
The next morning I was awakened by the phone ringing before my alarm was due to ring. It was Scarlett, "Daddy, is it true? Did Mom win that contest? I just caught part of the morning news, but it sure looked like Mom. What's going on?"
"Whoa! Give me a moment to wake up. Yes, she won some sort of contest and they swooped in last night and took your Mom away for a makeover and a "dream date" with that loser Bradley Morgan, who's desperately trying to revive his spiraling career. It would've been nice if we'd had some warning about this, but they ambushed us last night and she left without even saying goodbye..."
I quit talking because I could hear her excitedly telling her husband that it WAS Mom on the morning local news, doing a quick interview on her way out of town. It seems that the PR team was going full throttle. After thirty seconds or so of Scarlett "whoo-hooing" to whoever was there, ignoring me once again...I hung up. She called back a few minutes later.
"Dad, did you hang up on me? Aren't you happy for Mom? Is something the matter that you're not telling me?"
"Let's see...kind of because you were busy celebrating, no, and yes."
"Okay, sorry. Now, spill! What's going on?"
I told her how they arrived in a whirlwind, giving me almost no information, and when I tried to get a handle on what was going on, I was brushed off with a "She'll be back on Saturday or Sunday." She left without so much as a 'goodbye' or a 'kiss my ass.' When I called and texted Mom, I was promptly ignored. When I called Mom's boss to call her off, she did a frigging happy dance, and practically hung up on me to call the other girls with the news. Then when you did your celebration and I couldn't get a response from you...I felt justified in hanging up.
"I'm sorry, Dad; I had no idea. I'll try to call Mom and see what's going on. She'll always talk to me; I'll get her to call you." We talked for a couple of minutes and I started to feel better. She concluded the call with another promise to call Mom and have her call me.
An hour later, I was arriving at work and got a text from Scarlett, "Haven't been able to get through to Mom yet, but it is two hours earlier out there. I'll keep trying. Be strong. Love, Scarlett."
I replied, "Thanks: I'll keep trying, too. Crazy whirlwind chick said to watch E.T. tonight—might see Mom on TV. Love you, too."
I tried calling and texting several times during the day. The first few times, it rang two or three times, once again indicating that the phone was on, but the call was being "ignored" using the button. So, at lunch I sent a text, "QUIT IGNORING MY CALLS! PLEASE REPLY AT ONCE!"
After that, the phone must've been shut off because the calls went straight to voicemail. That's just rude.
Work was hell because as soon as word got out that my wife had won the "Dream Date," everyone kept dropping by to tell me how lucky Dolly and I were. It stopped after I snapped on a woman who gushed and went on and on about how lucky I should feel, because I told her in no uncertain terms just how "lucky" I did feel. Everyone gave me a wide berth for the rest of the day.
I called Scarlett on my way home, and asked, "Did you have any luck getting hold of Mom today?"
"No, my calls and texts were ignored. Rhett had the same luck, too."
"I got the same for my efforts. I hope she's okay."
"I'm sure that she's fine. Didn't you say that woman promised to take good care of her?"
"Yeah, but I'm not sure whether I should be worried or pissed, or if I should be more pissed at 'Bradley Moron's' entourage, or your Mom!" I figured if he could alter his last name, I could, too.
"Now Dad, I'm sure there is a totally reasonable explanation for this. Just be patient. Mom will call."
"If she doesn't call soon, she may not need to call!"
"I'm sorry, Sweetie. I'm just really frustrated."
"It'll be okay. She'll call soon."
"I know. See you later, Scarlett. Love you."
"Love you, too. Bye Dad."
Just so it wouldn't be a total loss, I went out to supper to Long John Silver's. Dolly hated it; more specifically she hated the smell of the malt vinegar that I used on their fries. I really loaded the fries up with it and enjoyed myself guilt free for a change. Home was just as empty when I got there as when I left it.
I was restless and just rattling around when I had a thought. That "has been" surely had a Facebook page. It's probably where she entered the damn contest in the first place. Maybe I could get a message to them to have her call home.
I signed on to my Facebook page, and checked Dolly's page for new posts. Finding none, I searched for Bradley Morgan and quickly found his "official page," and I noted that they had a picture of my wife being surprised in our living room. Realizing that this was the right place, I made a post where everyone could see it. "Please call this to the attention of the crew that stole my wife under the pretense of the Dream Date contest. I am her husband. As she is unwilling or unable to answer my calls and texts (as well as those from her children and friends), please tell her that she needs to call home and speak with her quickly forgotten husband and family. Thank you!"
I did not anticipate the many angry messages that I got from Bradley's rabid fans. They couldn't understand why I didn't feel completely honored by this, and just accept my situation as the 'second man' in my wife's life. A lot of them took me to task for not supporting my wife in her hour of glory. All of them expressed genuine awe of her winning and offered to replace her, if it would "help my situation." It was like dealing with an army of angry teenage girls, using the vocabulary of pissed off redneck grannies—with "an attitude."
Friday morning, I got up and tried to call her again, but it went straight to voicemail. I was on my way to work when my cell rang, but the number was from another area code. I was thinking that maybe she had to call from someone else's phone, so I optimistically answered it.
A woman's voice greeted me and asked, "Are you the husband of the woman who won the Dream Date Contest?"
Thinking it was someone from the contest, I answered, "Why, yes I am. May I speak to my wife?"
"Hell, NO! I'm not calling for your wife...well, maybe I am in a way. I think you need to support your wife and let her have a couple of glorious days in the company of a magnificent man like Bradley..."