In Her EyesbyJidoka©
It wasn't something that we ever planned or even discussed, just sort of a habit that we fell into. As our night was coming to a close we would settle in for a drink or a late night snack and basically review the day.
"How was your day, Suze?"
"Everything was OK, honey."
That was the sum total of our most frequent end of evening discussion. Sometimes if there was a problem, we actually talked it out. But problems were so infrequent that I always looked forward to the last discussion of each day. I would look into my wife's beautiful eyes knowing that things had gone well and that she was truly happy. After that, it was always easy to drift off into a comfortable sleep.
During the past three days, our early morning discussions were getting stranger and stranger. It wasn't necessarily the topics, we always talked about everything. No subject was ever off limits. It was the timing that bothered me. This was the third off the wall topic in as many days.
I set the toast on my plate and swallowed the bite I had just taken. I was purposefully deliberate when I reached for my mug of coffee.
"Do you know anyone who has a marriage like that?" she asked.
I was curious about what led to this topic, but I wasn't all that worried. Yet. Or was I? I honestly don't know.
"Yes, dear. I do know some people who claim to have an 'open' marriage."
The expression on my wife's face barely changed. But after having lived with her for almost 15 years, I knew she wasn't done asking questions. I admit I was more than a bit curious about what she was thinking.
"Do I know these friends of yours?"
"Well, honey. I never said they were friends. I said I knew some people. I suppose you would recognize their names, if I told you. However, I imagine that you know some people who think they live like that, too."
"Oh. OK. I suppose you're right."
And there it was. It was at that moment that I felt the first pang of sorrow in my chest. I saw the indecision in her eyes. She was afraid to ask me something, tell me something, or she was just plain hiding something. I had no idea what 'it' was, but 'it' was something. Unfortunately, I had a bad feeling about what 'it' might be.
The rest of my breakfast didn't taste the same as it had when I started. Barely a word was said between us before the kids tumbled down from their bedrooms and hopped into their chairs. Our children were so full of energy and enthusiasm and love, it was nearly impossible to be melancholy around them. So it was all giggles and smiles until it was time for me to leave for work.
She was almost whispering as I walked out the door.
"I love you, David."
I was surprised at how calm I felt. I didn't know anything, really. And yet, I did know. She was feeling guilty about something and was afraid to tell me. We talked about everything. We disagreed about many things. We had discussions, never arguments. I was never angry with her, and I don't think I ever gave her a reason to be angry with me.
But for the first time I could remember, I had left for work without giving my wife a kiss. I mean there had been other times, of course, when she was sick, or visiting her family or when I had been traveling for work. But for the most part, I started every day with a goodbye kiss and a promise to return home as quickly as possible.
But not that day.
It was the topic of our discussions that worried me and I knew it had the potential to get ugly.
My wife was a little better looking than your average girl next door type. She had dark flowing hair that naturally curled at her shoulders and the most beautiful blue eyes. The dimples on her cheeks when she smiled were adorable, but she had a sultry gaze she could bring out to remind you that she was all woman. She looked just as good with her hair in a pony tail, a baseball cap and sweatshirt, as she did dressed for night on the town in an outfit that left little to the imagination and heels that said, 'yeah, you're getting lucky tonight'. She always looked younger than her years. Her figure had barely changed over fifteen years and three children.
I had always known that she would retain her good looks and body. When we were dating and I met her mother for the first time, I thought I was meeting her older sister. And I wasn't just being kind. I was legitimately shocked when I learned the truth. Later on, as I seriously considered a long term commitment, it was one of the factors that weighed heavily in her favor.
She was by no means model or movie star gorgeous. I suspect that at first glance most men wouldn't have labeled her the prettiest woman in the room. But to me she was perfect, from the very first time I saw her.
It was her general attitude that sealed the deal for me. Everyone liked Susan. All of my friends, Maggie, everyone we ever met. She was comfortable and at ease in any situation, with any group of people and always maintained a positive attitude. She was lively and outgoing and just so much fun to be around.
I was that exact same way, when I was with her.
On my own I was more guarded and pragmatic. I would say that I would best be described as an introvert, but I was by no measure anti-social. I had maintained a large group of friends throughout my life. But Susan was almost the first person I ever told every secret. I hid nothing from her. I never even considered it.
I strolled out of the elevator a few minutes late after taking some time to visit the department heads and say a quick hello. Pretty standard for a Friday morning.
"Is everything OK, Mr. Stephen's?" my assistant asked as I entered my office suite.
"As good as can be expected, Miss Davis," I replied thoughtfully.
She stared at me briefly, then quickly went back to whatever she was doing before I arrived.
Fifteen minutes later, Rebecca Davis, was in my office, diary in hand ready to review the day's schedule.
"The sales team will be in the conference room in 30 minutes. You have a conference call with King Pharmaceutical at 10:00. And Mr. Sloan, from Kipling Manufacturing is expecting your call at 11:00."
She looked at me almost sorrowfully, "Would you like to review this afternoon's schedule now, Mr. Stephens?"
I sighed as I stared out of my office window at the plaza below. Miss Davis and I reviewed the afternoon schedule right after my noon workout as we ate lunch together in my office. The same routine every day I was in the office for the past 10 years. I clearly hadn't concealed my thoughts as well as I thought I had. But then again, Miss Davis had always proven to be invaluable at anticipating my every need. It was the reason she was paid as much as some of the senior staff.
"Reschedule everything that is not urgent until next week, please."
"Right away, sir."
She stood like she was on a mission and briskly walked to the door.
She paused with her hand on the door knob.
"I need to see Maggie. First thing this afternoon."
I am sure that if she hadn't been facing the door the look on her face would have matched the shocked gasp that I heard.
"I'll take care of it, Mr. Stephens."
Then she was quickly out the door, leaving me alone with my thoughts.
Margaret Peterson was my closest friend. Our families lived across the street from each other. From the 3rd grade on, when her family moved to our neighborhood, she was my study partner, my companion to nearly every school gathering and even my date for senior prom. She taught me the meaning of loyalty and friendship, and maybe unbeknownst to her, she taught me how to love unconditionally.
I was unreasonably driven in high school. So was Maggie. She wanted to be a lawyer. So did I. Our common goal meant we had to get into great schools by graduating at the top of our class. She pushed me to be the best. I challenged her to achieve the great things I knew she was capable of.
I wasn't interested in any type of high school romance. Maggie wasn't either. I didn't want to be distracted from my goals. She wasn't interested in dating boys. That didn't mean we didn't have any fun. There were sports and drama and choir and student council and clubs and committees. We wanted to experience everything, and we did. The time that other kids spent dating and partying, we spent on extra-curricular activities. We had a blast.
I was the captain of the basketball team, president of the student council, salutatorian and prom king. Maggie was the class valedictorian, captain of the debate and soccer teams, and year book editor.
I am certain she was the one who left the skateboard on the sidewalk at the bottom of the steps that tripped me during our freshman year. It was the day before our physical fitness testing. My swollen ankle slowed me down just enough to earn me a B+ in freshman physical education, a blemish I could have remedied in summer school but didn't, and left me .02 points from matching Maggie's perfect 4.0 GPA. But alas, I never could find any physical evidence to prove my case.
Maggie never told me she was a lesbian. She never had to. But she had no interest in guys, I knew that for certain. We never talked about it or even hinted at it. I just knew, and she knew I knew, and our shared secret made us closer. If being closer than inseparable was possible.
I always figured I was her cover story to get through high school without the taunting and teasing. It didn't bother me at all. She was my cover as well. I never had to answer ridiculous questions about why I wasn't dating or if I was gay. No one ever questioned why I only ever 'dated' Margaret Peterson, the drop dead gorgeous blond bombshell.
And she was, too. Gorgeous I mean. My lifelong friend was the most beautiful girl I had ever seen. Perfect blond hair, perfect green eyes. As she grew into a young woman, everything else was perfect too. Feet, legs, ass, stomach, breasts, neck, lips, ears, brain. She had it all. No doubt about it.
To everyone looking at us from the outside it would have appeared that we were a normal couple. We frequently held hands and hugged. We would sit close to each other, my arm around her or her head on my shoulder with her arms wrapped around me. We even kissed on the lips, though it was rare. The most meaningful time was the day I said goodbye to her as she left to go to Stanford.
"Thank you for everything, David. No one will ever understand why or how much I love you. You will always be my closest friend," she whispered in my ear.
Then she took my face in her hands and kissed me right on the lips. It would be 7 years before I saw her again.
Before I go on, I hope I haven't left you with the wrong impression. I wasn't a geek growing up. Not even close. Sure, I had my awkward boy stage, but mine didn't last any longer than normal. Nope, I ended high school as your basic suburban hometown hero. By the time I left home, I was six foot four, 210 pounds of lean, good looking muscle with curly brown hair and brown eyes. I was confident, smart, charming and ready to take on the world. My parents were stable, supportive and successful people who had taught me the most important lessons in life. Work hard, be humble, be honest with yourself and others, and treat people with respect. It wasn't that I couldn't date in high school. I chose not to date.
I guess that probably would have surprised some people, even my father. Before I left for college my dad sat me down for one of our 'man to man' discussions.
"Davie, I am not sure I will ever be able to tell you how proud your mother and I are of you. You have become the young man that I always hoped you would be. I love you very much."
"Uhh...I do have one question for you though, son. Your mother has threatened me with a year on the couch if I fail to have this discussion with you before you head off to face the world. So here goes....are you a virgin?"
I had long ago gotten over being uncomfortable during one of my father's discussions about drugs, alcohol and now apparently sex. I never had a warning about what the topic was going to be, although I usually could take an educated guess. I never got in trouble for answering his questions honestly. I quickly learned that he only wanted what was best for me, and wanted to help me anyway he could. He couldn't help me if he didn't know the truth and he never made me uncomfortable about my answers even if he didn't like them. He never judged me and always tried to guide me to find solutions to problems that I was comfortable with. It just worked for us.
"OK, I have to admit I am surprised to hear that, even though your mother told me that was the case. With the amount of time you and Margaret spent together I was almost certain your answer would be different."
For a second he seemed to be a little uncertain if he wanted to continue.
"Can I ask wh..?"
"I am not gay, dad."
It was subtle, but there was a very small sigh of relief.
"Can I ask you a question, Pop?"
"You know you can ask me anything, Davie."
"Do you consider Mom to be your equal?"
"David, your mother is a far superior person to me in almost every way."
"When you were in high school, did you ever meet any girl like her?"
"No, David. There was no one at my high school like your mother. I honestly didn't think anyone that perfect for me existed, until I met her in college."
"I know what you mean. I have done a lot of thinking about what I want my life to be like. I look at you and mom as the gold standard. I want to be as successful and content with my life as you are with yours. I want to share my life with someone as beautiful, smart and strong as mom."
I honestly thought my dad was going to cry. Either that or he suddenly had something caught in his eye.
"I met a person almost perfect for me, dad. I have never met anyone else as close to perfect as Mags."
"Or as beautiful..."
"I know dad, I know. She is a babe, no doubt about it. And she is my best friend. Always has been, always will be. I love her with all my heart, unconditionally, and without question. But we are never going to be in love with each other."
"I guess I must have missed something there, son. You said that Margaret was perfect for...."
"Almost perfect, dad. And our differences would have been insurmountable, pop. Margaret is a lesbian. She has no interest in guys."
"Mom and Maggie have forced me to set my standards incredibly high. I know that. But since no other girl in high school was ever going to meet that standard, having sex with one of them seemed to be risking a lot of trouble, like pregnancy or STDs, with no real upside. That was just too much risk for me to take for short term gratification. I am not saving myself for 'the one' either but, I will wait as long as it takes to find someone with potential. I just hope I don't have to wait too much longer."
My dad let out a huge belly laugh at that and seemed to regain his footing.
"Well, then. I guess your mom was right. You may need my speech, which fortunately for you is short. And I think this goes without saying for you, but it never hurts to make sure. David, don't ever lie to a young lady just to get into her pants. I think if you are honest and considerate of a lady's feelings, you will have the opportunity to have many memorable experiences. If you don't, I think you will be very unhappy with the results."
"It goes without saying, dad. But thanks for thinking of me."
"Well, I suppose I had better go eat some crow. I don't know how your mother knows everything, but I will eventually learn to stop questioning it."
"Someday soon, pop?"
"Probably not soon enough, David."
"How good is my pre-nup, Maggie?"
"What are you talking abo.....oh, shit."
"Well, maybe shit. Maybe not. But I think it would be best if you starting looking into it just the same. I imagine that you haven't looked at it for some time."
"No, David. I haven't. Are you certain?"
I turned away from the window I had been staring out of again to face her. She was looking directly into my eyes.
"Do you think you can tell what someone is thinking just by looking into their eyes, Mags?"
"Well, no. Not everyone. Just you, David."
"Yeah, I know what you mean. It only works for me with you and Susan. Until this morning I thought that was one of the coolest things about my life. Now, I am not so certain."
Maggie tilted her head ever so slightly to take one more look.
"You're starting all of this because of something you saw in her eyes, David?"
College was everything that I expected it would be, several things I hoped it would be and took my life in a completely different direction than I had planned. Maggie and I spoke on the phone for at least an hour every week. For important events, I sent her a letter or a card. Even 2,600 miles away she was my best friend.
I loved the east coast and I quickly made a new set of friends with diverse interests. I studied, and partied, and immersed myself in college life with a vengeance. Yep, Harvard was a good fit for me.
On the sexual side, I could write an entire series on my adventures at Harvard. My virginity lasted for all of two and half weeks. Anyway, there were lots of women with potential there and I started my search for a lifelong companion almost immediately. There was hardly ever a weekend without some special event, and I rarely attended any event without a date. By no means was I 'banging chicks' every week. But I did have sex frequently, basically every time I was in the mood.
One of my friends with benefits explained to me after our date at the Boston Pops Firework Spectacular that I had developed quite a reputation. I was intrigued and I wanted to hear more.
"David, you make every woman feel unique and special. You never try to be someone you're not. And you don't force women to be something they're not either. And you are fucking hot!" she giggled.
"Want to spend a romantic evening with someone and be treated like a princess? Go see David. Want to see a football game and be treated like one of the guys? David is your man. Have some crazy sexual fantasy that you have to try? Share it with David. No one will ever hear about it from him. Want to let out your inner slut? Make sure it's David in your bed. When it's time for that slut to go back into hiding in the morning, your friend David will be the one to kiss her on the cheek and let her know she is beautiful and will be missed. We girls like to talk."
"I don't quite know how to respond to that Stacy. It's very flattering, but I think maybe that has all been a bit more luck than skill. I am not exactly Casanova here."
"Oh, you have skills all right David. No one ever makes me come like you do," she blushed. "I just wanted you to know, on behalf of the female student body, that you give us hope that not every gorgeous man is gay or an arrogant prick. And that Mr. Perfect actually exists."
"Well, thanks Stacy. That is quite the boost to my ego. But...you know I am only interested in one student's body right now."
"And that, David, is exactly why I am going to fuck your brains out as soon as we get to my apartment."
That basically sums up my sexual experiences in college. Finding a willing partner was never a problem. I was upfront and honest with all of my dates. I never spoke out of turn, or shared anyone's secrets. I treated women with respect and because of that it seemed I could do nothing wrong. I tried everything at least once with a variety of beautiful, smart and destined to be successful women. Oral, anal, role play? Check, check, check. Bondage? Sure, lightly. Threesomes? Twice. Once with twins.
My dream of being a lawyer didn't fare as well. I dumped that dream, rather rudely, in favor of a new and sexier dream. Well maybe not sexy, but definitely new. Computers. I found out that I preferred problem solving to negotiating, coding to debate and discovering a use for the latest technology to almost anything. I admit I was a bit obsessed with the new love in my life...oh, the possibilities.