Julie Ch. 13

byKKHowling©

Gary was standing in the bedroom doorway, slack-jawed, speechless. For the longest time after Julie saw him, he just stood there. Greg, whose back was three-quarters to the doorway, obviously realized something was wrong and turned around.

"Oh, shit," he groaned. His words shattered Julie's paralysis. She leapt from the bed and ran sobbing into the master bathroom. She fell to the floor crying. Her mind was not responding. Her stomach was convulsing, the tears beginning to stream from her eyes. But her brain, the part of her that she always considered her most resilient feature, simply went blank.

Then she heard screaming. Gary. He was screaming at Greg. That finally jarred her enough to get her thoughts moving again. Greg was big, strong, physically fit. Gary was much smaller and weaker, yet Gary sounded like he was about to start a fight with Greg. He'd get killed, Julie knew.

That was enough to propel her back to her feet. As she turned to intervene, she saw Gary rush at Greg. She screamed for him to stop. But it was too late. Gary charged toward Greg, arms flailing. But, to Julie's immense relief, Greg didn't hit him. Instead, he pushed Gary aside like a kid brother. Then he picked up his clothes and walked out of the bedroom.

Gary climbed back to his feet and started after Greg. Julie quickly ran out of the bathroom and grabbed him. Gary's eyes met hers and for a moment it was like he didn't see her. Then he did. And that was much worse.

Anger, bewilderment and, deepest of all, hurt were all present in his eyes and on his face. Julie had never felt so small in her life. How could she have done this to him? How could she have been so selfish?

Julie suddenly realized she was naked. It shouldn't have mattered. The man in front of her was her husband, right? But she felt a strong compulsion to cover herself. She let go of Gary and hurried back to the bathroom to retrieve her robe.

Gary watched her for a second or two, then surged out of the door after Greg. Julie turned in time to see him pass out of the door. She screamed at him to stop and, pulling her robe on as she went, she ran after him.

Julie heard the garage door going up as she chased after Gary. Greg's car, of course, was parked in the garage! Oh God! How could she have been so stupid! Greg was parked in Gary's spot in the garage!

Greg obviously knew how to let himself out and, presumably, that's what he was doing. But if Gary got there before Greg could back his car out, he could close the door. Force a confrontation.

That was the last thing Julie wanted. She caught up to Gary before he reached the garage.

"Wait!" she pleaded, grabbing him with desperate strength. Gary tried to shake her loose and continue after Greg, but Julie clung to him, frantically trying to restrain or delay him.

"Let fucking go!" Gary screamed, pushing at her. But Julie didn't let go. She couldn't let Gary close the garage door, trap Greg. Force Greg to go through Gary to get out. Nothing good could come of that.

Gary eventually shook her off of him, but even as Julie fell to the floor, she heard Greg's car pulling out. She breathed a momentary sigh of relief as she climbed to her feet. Then Gary returned from the garage and any relief she felt evaporated instantly.

Oh God! What could she say to him? He had just caught her in bed with another man!

Julie realized that a bouquet of flowers and a bottle of wine were sitting on the kitchen table. Gary had come home from his trip early. And had wanted to surprise her with flowers and wine.

Instead, they had surprised each other in the worst possible way.

Julie tugged at her robe, pulling it tightly shut, self-conscious of her nakedness. Gary's eyes were alternately on her or on the ceiling. Or focused on some distant point. He stood in the room, careful to stay away from her. Every movement, gesture and facial expression seemed foreign to Julie. She had never seen Gary quite like this.

The moment stretched out for what seemed like hours. Julie would have simply died if it was within her to give up her spirit at that moment. It was the lowest, filthiest, most despicable she had ever felt in her life. By a long shot.

Eventually, the inevitable screaming started. The accusations, the names the vitriolic explosion that Julie completely deserved. She hung her head and cried, letting Gary's words pummel her. Even in his anger and hurt, she noticed, his words were not as scathing as they should have been. They weren't vicious, mean. They weren't words that could never be taken back. Even as she had cut him so deeply, so unexpectedly, Gary was showing restraint. And that only made her feel worse.

He threw questions at her. Why did she do it? Did she love him? Julie had no answer. The idea of loving Greg was strange, foreign to her. But how could Gary know? Why did she do it? She still didn't know that herself. It had happened, Julie had allowed it to happen. But she didn't 'do' it, per se.

She fell back against the wall and slowly sank to the floor, her head falling into her hands, the tears streaming down her face. She heard Gary's tirade and she didn't. The words reached her ears and she understood them. But their meaning, their significance wasn't penetrating the protective barrier her brain had thrown up.

Gary fumed. He asked why again and again. Of course he didn't understand why. Julie didn't and she was on the inside. And had had a lot more time to think about it.

It wasn't real yet. Shock kept Julie from acknowledging just what a crushing blow she had dealt to both of them. Somewhere in her head was the realization that she had taken her life, her marriage and maybe even her career and crumpled them up like so much trash. But that thought wasn't rooted in any reality yet. It was swirling, unconnected, through her head with a myriad of other thoughts and feelings.

Curled up on the floor against the wall, Julie weathered the brunt of Gary's outrage. It wasn't until the wave of anger passed that he said something that really, truly rattled her.

"What am I going to do?"

It was a seemingly straightforward question. But it could be meant in many different ways and taken in many different ways, too.

What was he going to do?

A cold, clammy chill stole over her. Was he saying he was going to leave her? Was he saying that he was going to throw her out? Was he waiting to hear what she had to say in her own defense before making his decision? Or was he saying that his life as he knew it had been torn asunder and he was simply lost?

Julie opened her mouth, but nothing came out. She wasn't even sure if she had anything to say. Sobs shook her whole body. What could she possibly say? She had never been more ashamed of herself than she was at that moment.

"What am I going to do?" The second time he asked, the words caused her to physically shake.

"I... I don't know," Julie replied, struggling to speak through her sobs. "Oh, God! I'm so sorry, Gary!" she wailed, fresh tears bursting forth.

Gary stood there for several minutes, not saying anything. Julie was unable to look up at him. She cringed on the floor, her head down, her body shuddering as she cried.

Then, without a word, Gary turned and left. Distantly, Julie heard his keys jangling in his hand, the door to the garage open and close. Then nothing.

With Gary's departure, the house was deathly quiet. Julie's own sobs were silent and there was nothing else to disturb the graveyard-like hush. She hunched against the wall, knees drawn up under her chin and cried silently to herself. She had no idea how long she sat that way. It seemed like an eternity had passed, but it might have only been twenty minutes. Julie had completely lost her temporal bearings in a maelstrom of guilt and shame.

When she finally levered herself back to her feet, she realized that she was wearing only a bathrobe, nothing else. Not that it was unusual to have no clothes on under a bathrobe, but the reason she didn't was what made her think about it now.

Julie had felt compelled to hide her nakedness from her husband. Out of shame. Shame that he had seen her with another man.

The events slowly started to creep back into her recollection. She let herself think about it for a moment. Gary had done more than caught her in bed with another man. He had seen her getting fucked. From behind, screaming like a wanton slut no less. She forced the thought from her mind. It was too much to contemplate. What she had done... what he had seen... how could they ever recover from something like that?

Julie wandered aimlessly around the house, moving from room to room as if trying to avoid her own thoughts. She came across the wine and a bouquet Gary had brought home. Oh, dear God! How could she have been so careless? How could she have done this to a man who clearly loved her so much?

She ran to the phone and dialed his cell number. She didn't know what she was going to say, but she somehow had to tell him how sorry she was. That Greg didn't mean anything to her and Julie certainly didn't mean anything to him.

The phone rang several times and then went into voice mail. Julie hung up. It wasn't like she could leave a message. She had no idea what would have come out of her mouth if he had answered. She waited a minute, then called again. This time she knew if he answered, she would start by telling him how sorry she was. But Gary didn't answer.

Julie put the phone down and resumed her aimless wandering, the events of the last hour slowly returning to her. She didn't realize just how much her mind had blocked out.

He had been standing there, Julie remembered. She had seen him out of the corner of her eye, hadn't she? In her haze of lust she had seen him, and not even known it. Then it occurred to Julie just when she had caught him out of the corner of her eye.

It was when Greg had tapped on her ass in that oh-so-familiar way. Julie had been turning around on the bed. Turning around to face Greg. Turning around to... Oh God! Was that what Gary had seen? Turning around to...

Julie couldn't even complete the thought. It was as awful a way to have him find out as she could have ever imagined. And she just couldn't bear to think what the sight had done to him, how badly it had hurt him.

She curled up on the living room floor, her back against the sofa. She lay there crying for another indeterminate period of time. Eventually, she got up. Gary's question was starting to echo in her head.

What was he going to do?

Should she stay here? Would Gary come back? Would he want to talk to her? Or would he want her to get out? Could she even face him right now? Did she owe him the opportunity to confront her?

Julie called his cell phone three more times, but he didn't answer. By the third call, she was composed enough to leave a message.

"I'm so sorry, Gary. I'm so, so sorry." Then her tears welled up again, choking off her words and she hung up.

As much as Julie wanted to do what she should do, accept the responsibility and consequences of her actions head-on, she just couldn't do it right now. She went into her bedroom, packed a bag and made a phone call.

Gary wanted to know if she loved Greg. Obviously, she didn't. There was nothing that remotely approached love between them. Yes, Julie had been playing house with Greg when Gary was out of town, but she had always known that it was just a game. But Gary had no way to know that Julie was little more than a fuck-slut for Greg. And Gary had no way of understanding that Greg just filled a need for her by treating her like a fuck-slut.

Gary would never grasp any of that. Julie and Gary had a love life, a sex life, rooted in love and respect for each other. Would he even believe that the woman he had married had a desire—a need—to be fucked like a slut? To kneel in front of a man who didn't love her and have him order her to suck his cock? Gary probably wouldn't recognize Julie in that context at all, let alone accept it as an explanation for her conduct.

None of this would ever make sense to Gary, Julie felt quite certain. And she couldn't face him again tonight. What she had done, how she had hurt him, made her feel physically sick. She couldn't stay here and wait for him to come home, as much as her conscience told her she should, that she owed him that.

Instead, she took her car keys and her bag and fled.

An hour later, she was sitting on Ashlee's sofa, crying and confessing, in general terms at least, that she had gotten caught cheating on Gary. It was such a strange reversal. Ashlee was the one with the rollercoaster love life and Julie was the steady pillar Ashlee could lean on.

Ashlee was tactful enough not to point that out to Julie and listened sympathetically as Julie explained what had happened. Ashlee, of course, had no idea that Julie was carrying on an affair. Julie wouldn't have ever confided that in anyone. And Ashlee had no reason to suspect that Julie's marriage was anything other than the wonderful, loving relationship Julie had always claimed.

Julie could see in Ashlee's eyes, expressions and body language that she was dying to ask questions. But, fortunately for Julie, who was still too fragile and distraught, Ashlee kept them to herself. At least for now. It was after midnight when Ashlee suggested that they get some sleep.

"Do you think you should let Gary know where you are?" Ashlee asked as they stood up. It was a thought that had been nagging Julie since she left her house. She hadn't left a note or anything. She had just picked up and left before he got back. She pulled out her cell phone and tried calling him again. She didn't expect him to answer and was almost too startled to speak when he did.

"Gary?" Julie said at last, a slight crack in her voice. Ashlee got up and left the room quickly, giving Julie her privacy.

"Where are you?" The question was tersely asked.

"Ashlee's," Julie responded in a voice barely above a whisper.

"Yeah, sure you are." It dawned on Julie that Gary had every right to suspect that she had gone to Greg's place. Gary wouldn't have known that that wasn't an option.

And hadn't Julie claimed to have stayed at Ashlee's once before? So she could spend the night with Greg?

His suspicions were merited. It illustrated very clearly the level of trust Julie had violated. She had once taken Gary's trust for granted. And now? Well, he would be perfectly justified if he never trusted her again.

Did that mean her marriage was over? The enormity of that thought threatened to overwhelm her.

"I'm at Ashlee's," Julie repeated, aware that it was probably futile to try and convince him she was being truthful. After what he had seen tonight.

"Are you coming home?" He didn't ask in a way that made her feel particularly welcome. The sobs started to shake her again.

"Oh, Gary! I'm so sorry!" she cried, her shoulders hunching and quaking as fresh tears started pouring from her eyes. The phone slipped from her hand and fell to the floor. She reached down to get it, but between the tears clouding her vision and the sobs wracking her body, it took a few moments to pick it up. When she put it back to her ear, Gary had hung up.

She started to call him back, but the crying overtook her, paralyzed her. Even if she called him back, she couldn't talk. She sat back on Ashlee's sofa, unable to stop the flow of tears or the trembling and shaking of her body.

Everything was gone. She had thrown it all away.

Ashlee came back into the room and sat beside her, did what she could to comfort Julie. Eventually, Julie regained her composure and wiped her eyes dry.

"What are you going to do?" Ashlee asked. The same question Gary had asked himself. It almost started her crying again. Then Ashlee asked, "Are you calling out of work tomorrow?" The more specific question was what Julie needed. A yes or no question. Not something so open ended it could mean anything.

Was she going to work tomorrow? She had brought clothes with her. Even in her totally distracted state, Julie had the presence of mind to bring something she could wear to work.

She had to go to work. It was part of her identity, who she was. The only part that hadn't been completely wrecked by her foolish, careless behavior. It was all she had left.

"Uh, I think I'll be okay to go to work," Julie answered.

"Doesn't this guy work with you?" Ashlee's question sent a fresh jolt through Julie.

Greg.

Julie hadn't really thought much about Greg, except in the context of being part of what she had done to hurt Gary.

What was Greg doing right now? What was he feeling? Was he at all worried or concerned about her? Should she be worried about him? To some extent she realized she was.

It wasn't likely that she would see Greg for work related reasons any time soon. He was in town to coordinate with several companies and most of that effort was currently taking place with companies other than Julie's.

Julie found herself thinking that she should call Greg and apologize to him too. She had, after all, been the one to bring him to her house. To put him in that situation.

It was ironic that she should feel that way, she knew. Hadn't Greg been the one to make all the moves on her? Hadn't he said that he preferred married women?

That made Julie wonder if Greg had ever been in a situation like this before. Probably not, she decided. If he had, he probably would have had a different opinion about preferring married women. Not to say that he hadn't been in situations where the woman had been discovered. Just nothing as dramatic as being caught in bed by a husband.

How was Greg taking this? Was he concerned for himself? Was he worried at all about Julie?

Ashlee was still waiting for an answer, Julie realized.

"No," Julie replied, shaking her head. "His company, we, uh... do work for them and... sometimes he's around. But not at the moment."

"Well, I think you ought to take a day or two to pull things back together before you go back to work. At least try to talk to Gary first." But even before Ashlee finished her sentence, Julie was shaking her head.

"No, I have to go to work. I just have to." Julie didn't want to explain it. Didn't want to say that it was the only bastion of her life left. "Let me try Gary one more time." She pulled out her cell again and Ashlee considerately left the room again.

"What?" Gary answered. Did he sound like he had been drinking? Julie could hardly blame him, if he had been.

"Gary," her voice cracked again. She fought back the tears. "I'm so sorry." She paused, but there was no acknowledgement or reply. "I... I'm going to stay at Ashlee's tonight." She heard him snort contemptuously. "Can I... can we... tomorrow, um... after work..." She bit her lip to fight off the sobs that wanted to shake her again. "Can we talk?"

There was a long pause and Julie thought for certain that Gary had hung up. But eventually he answered.

"Where?"

It seemed like a strange question at first, but then maybe it wasn't, Julie realized. Was there still an "our" house with Gary? She couldn't really assume there was, could she?

"At the house?" she suggested.

"Fine." He hung up without another word. The abruptness startled Julie, left her feeling empty and cold inside. And deservedly so, she told herself. After what she had done to him, it was more than she had a right to ask that he even speak to her. Forget about being civil.

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