Julie Ch. 14

byKKHowling©

The next day at the office, Julie threw herself into her daily work, using it as a distraction. To some extent it succeeded. But she couldn't fill every moment of her day with enough pressing issues to keep the night before from forcing its way into her thoughts.

She couldn't help noticing that Greg had not emailed her. Why not? Was it a case of not wanting to get dragged into a messy situation? A messy divorce? Was he truly only interested in her as long as there was plenty of good sex to be had and, now that they had gotten caught, he was cutting her loose? Moving on to the next married woman?

Or was he leaving it up to Julie? She was the one who had the most to lose. If anyone was going to take the risk of making contact after getting caught, it should be her, right?

Julie wondered what would happen if she simply didn't call him or contact him again. They would still have contact through work, but Greg had always been very discrete about their affair in their professional environment. Would Greg simply let it all go?

How long before there was another woman on her knees in front of him? Of course, Julie had no reason to think that there hadn't been other women all along. There was nothing exclusive about their relationship. He could have been screwing other women on nights when Gary was home and Julie couldn't make arrangements to see him.

Would it bother her to know that there had been? Maybe if she had to confront it, if there was proof that he had. But otherwise, no.

What about tonight? Julie was going to be facing Gary, trying to explain why she did what she had, trying to keep their lives from coming completely unraveled. And where would Greg be? Would he be sitting in a parked car getting a blow job? Would he be slipping quietly into the bed of some other married woman?

The thought angered her somewhat. They had both had the fun, but now it looked like the price to be paid was on Julie alone. Greg had lost nothing more than a piece of ass. Even if Julie was a good one, he could find another. If he hadn't already.

That thought decided it for her. She made no effort to email or call him. Even if she wasn't bitter about bearing the brunt of the consequences, it just wasn't a good idea to talk to him again. Not if she wanted any chance of saving her marriage.

When she got to the house, her house, their house, it didn't feel at all like coming home. Julie didn't even park in the garage. She parked in the driveway, like a visitor. She didn't go in through the garage either, instead walking around to the front door. She hesitated there; almost rang the doorbell.

She felt no more at home inside the house either. Gary was waiting for her, sitting at the kitchen table, a drink in front of him. Julie sat down across from him. He looked up briefly, then looked away. He either couldn't meet her eyes or didn't want to. It stung Julie as harshly as any words could have.

"Gary," she began, hoping she wouldn't start crying again. "I'm so sorry. I never meant to... to do anything... to hurt you..." her voice trailed off, her words sounding so trite, so cliché.

"How long?" he asked directly, looking up at her. There was no compassion in his eyes. They were cold. Julie blinked. The dead look in his eyes threw her off and she couldn't grasp the meaning in his question. "How long were you and..." He paused. Was he expecting Julie to give Greg's name? "How long were you fucking him?"

Julie should have expected the question. It was probably one that every victim of infidelity asked.

"Six months," she answered, her eyes cast down, her voice quiet, subdued.

"Six months?" he echoed in disbelief. Was it six months? Julie wasn't sure. Maybe it was longer, maybe it was shorter. Did it matter?

"Were there others?" That question also should have been expected. But it hit her like a ton of bricks, left her dumbstruck. Did Gary really believe...? Well, she chastened herself, she had destroyed his trust. Why shouldn't he believe the worst was possible?

"No," she said simply, eyes still on the table in front of her.

They went on that way, question and answer for a half hour. Gary showed very little emotion throughout. His questions were all ones that Julie should have known were coming, but somehow they all still managed to surprise her.

When he finished his interrogation, Gary fell silent. He simply sat across the table from her without speaking for fifteen or twenty minutes.

"I don't know what to do," he said at last. "I need some time." Julie nodded automatically. She didn't know what he meant, but her conscience told her that she was the one who had committed the wrong. She had to defer to Gary.

She told him that she could probably stay with Ashlee for a little while. Ashlee had in fact offered to let Julie stay, if necessary. He seemed to accept that absently.

"Wasn't it enough?" he asked. "Everything we had? Wasn't it enough?" Julie could finally see some emotion starting to slip out from behind Gary's mask of detachment. Her head fell forward, tears starting to roll down her cheeks.

"It's not like that," she protested, her voice tight as a lump suddenly formed in her throat. But wasn't it? If what she and Gary had was truly enough, would she be in this predicament?

Did Gary sense it too? He didn't press the issue.

"I need some time," he reiterated. "Maybe a week or two. I don't know."

And that was how they left it. She went to the bedroom and packed a suitcase. A week or two... it seemed like an eternity, but what could she do? Maybe the pain she had caused him would fade a little and they could talk again.

She tried to embrace him before she left, but he turned away. She kissed the side of his face, her tears falling on him and then retreated.

Julie deserved that rebuke and she knew it. But had she dared to hope that maybe Gary would soften a little toward her? So soon? If she had, it was a foolish hope. She had hurt him badly, probably destroyed forever any chance that he could trust her. And torn his life apart every bit as badly as she had hers.

Julie returned to Ashlee's apartment, her heart heavy and despairing. At the moment, it didn't seem likely that Gary could forgive her, that there was any chance of saving their marriage. True, he only said he needed time to think. But how much could a week or two possibly temper his anger at her betrayal? How much could a year or two, for that matter, diminish his mistrust? There were some doorways that, once you passed through them, you could never go back.

Ashlee was sympathetic and compassionate, listening to Julie without judgment. But her curiosity began to get the better of her and Julie found Ashlee asking for more details. How did she meet Greg? How long did Julie know him before they got intimate? How did that first intimate encounter come about? How had he convinced the happily married woman that Julie supposedly was to sleep with him?

Julie tried to answer Ashlee's questions, in general terms at least. But how could Julie explain things she didn't fully comprehend herself? Sure, the last few months with Greg she could explain. Once Julie had experienced the heights that Greg made possible, it was easy to see why she would keep going back for more. But what had induced her to do it in the first place? What weakness in her had Greg found? Exploited?

And the fact that she had let him find it, exploit it... what did that say about how happily married she was? These thoughts ran through Julie's mind even as she tried to answer Ashlee's questions.

Julie wanted to save her marriage, her relationship with Gary. That was real. Greg was... a source of excitement, sure. But there was no substance there. Gary was the one she loved and wanted to stay with. Even if the possibility existed with Greg, she wouldn't choose him over Gary, would she?

Julie didn't dwell on that thought. It was moot. Gary was her husband. The man with whom she had exchanged vows. To Greg, Julie was a conquest. Another mountain on which he had staked his flag.

That particular night, Ashlee kept her questions general, non-intrusive. But Julie could see in Ashlee's eyes the curiosity, the urge to pry, to get the hot gossip straight from the source.

The next day, Friday, Julie's circumstances hit her harder than before. Tonight would be the first time in quite a while that she and Gary wouldn't be going out for their usual Friday night dinner. Sure, they missed weeks from time to time because of their jobs or other obligations. But this was the first time in a long, long time Julie could remember that they could go, but weren't going to. For some reason the interruption of that trivial ritual hit her harder than having spent the last two nights sleeping away from home. From Gary.

Ashlee had a date, so Julie was basically left alone. It was a strange feeling. She probably did need time alone to think. She just didn't want it juxtaposed with some part of her old life, her old routine.

Julie wondered how Gary was handling this first Friday apart. Should she call him? She felt horribly guilty about destroying one more part of his life that was comfortable and counted on. She really should call, right? But he had said he wanted time alone. Time to think. Would it do more harm than good to call?

Julie picked up the phone, hesitated, put it down, then picked it up again. Finally, she dialed, resolving that, if he did answer, she would ask him if he wanted to go out to dinner with her tonight. It was probably a bad idea. He might consider it salt in the wound. But surely he was missing their normal routine too, wasn't he?

But Gary didn't answer. Julie debated for a moment about leaving a message, then hung up. He would see her number on the phone. If he wanted to talk to her, he would call back. Now there was nothing to do but sit and think and wait.

Julie had put herself in Gary's shoes a hundred times in the last couple of days. Would she be in a hurry to forgive him if their roles were reversed? It wasn't just about forgiveness, she had realized. There was the violation of trust. Whether the wronged party forgave the other or not, there was no chance they would ever forget. Could a marriage survive under those circumstances?

How could Julie convince Gary to give her the chance?

Julie just didn't know. In his place, she wouldn't be in a hurry to give a second chance, she admitted. But if he didn't... Then what?

Julie wondered again about Greg and what he was doing in the wake of what for her was calamity and for him was probably little more than an inconvenience. Was he with another woman tonight? And if he was, did Julie even care?

In her shame and guilt, Julie had seemingly lost all the sexual urges that had made her Greg's toy. At the moment, Julie couldn't picture herself ever feeling the way she had about sex ever again.

No, that wasn't entirely true, was it? If Gary took her back, Julie would never look back, of course. Their sex life had never been bad, after all.

But what if there was no saving their marriage? What then? Julie was only now starting to ponder what that might mean in terms other than what she would be losing. What if it meant she could see Greg whenever she wanted? Spend nights with him without guilt or anxiety?

It was a completely unrealistic and dangerous line of thinking. Gary had been hers in ways that Greg would never be. To imagine Greg replacing Gary in an equivalent relationship was absurd.

But the idea of seeing Greg any time she wanted...

Julie cursed the weakness of her body, her willpower. How could she even be thinking of anyone other than Gary?

But, the dark side of her mind countered, Gary was almost certainly going to divorce her, right? And if that was the case, what was the point in wallowing in grief and guilt, waiting for his inevitable judgment?

It was a ridiculous rationalization and Julie immediately recognized it for what it was. Still, she was unable to totally dismiss it. It tugged at her even as she reminded herself over and over again that all she wanted was another chance with her husband.

Could Gary ever forgive her? And, more importantly, if he could, would he ever trust her again? Was there a real chance for them to save their marriage?

Julie found herself thinking about the moment Gary actually caught her. That exact moment was like a collage of things that Julie didn't do for him. It made her cringe to think about what Gary would have thought about that.

She and Gary rarely had sex doggie style. Julie was never so vocal with Gary, perhaps because she never came so explosively with him. Julie couldn't remember a single time with Gary that she had gone down on him after he had been inside her either.

And all of those things were really only secondary, weren't they? Gary might have noticed all of that, sure. But Julie knew what he had definitely seen.

Julie had wanted Greg to cum in her mouth. She had taken his cock in her mouth dripping with anticipation of tasting his orgasm on her tongue. She had willingly, gratefully swallowed it all. And she had been so turned on by it that she had fingered herself to an orgasm before his cock even started to soften. Gary had certainly taken note of how willingly she let Greg cum in her mouth. And he most definitely would have noticed that she swallowed. In all their time together, Julie had never done that for him.

Gary had stood there and watched her behave like a complete slut, act like a sleazy porn star. How could he ever reconcile that image with the Julie he knew? The woman who gave him blow jobs only on special occasions? Who left the room to spit out his cum afterward?

It made Julie wonder what would happen if he took her back? Would he expect her to be like that with him? Could she be? Could she will herself to do things with Gary the way she had with Greg?

It was an interesting point and Julie was pretty sure she knew the answer. She didn't choose to be the way she was with Greg. It was a response to him, his dominance, his expectations. If Gary didn't have that... well...

So how much of a factor should sex be, anyway? If everything with Gary was as close to perfect as she could ask for, and the sex was at least average, wasn't that all enough?

But suppose that Gary did want to work things out. Obviously, the first thing she would have to do is swear that she would never betray his trust again. That meant that the only sex she would have was with Gary. At the time she had said her vows, that was the way she wanted it. But now, knowing what she knew about herself and the way she could respond to a man like Greg, was she sure that was still true?

Despite any bitterness Julie might have harbored toward Greg, did Julie believe she could go the rest of her life without ever knowing those heights of ecstasy again? And who else but Greg could take her there? Sure, there might be plenty of other men who could, but Julie wasn't about to start hopping from bed to bed in search of such a man. She was either going to stay with Gary and forget that brief period of her life, or she was going to see Greg again and experience those highs again at his hands.

Again, that sneaky voice in the back of her mind was whispering to her that Gary wasn't going to take her back anyway. She might as well see Greg again.

It was an awful thought and she loathed herself for even having thought it, no matter how unlikely she would ever act on it. But the real problem was the whisper was getting to her. It was the voice the ex-smoker had to contend with after catching a whiff of a cigarette. It was the voice that perverted logic. The voice that convinced recovering alcoholics to take a drink.

It was a dangerous voice. One that, even though all the facts were against it, it could still find a way to argue its point. And the real power of the voice, of course, was that the person wanted what it was selling. It was the con man playing on wants and desires, knowing which strings to pull, which buttons to push. A very dangerous voice.

Julie thought about her life with Gary and how much she wanted all of that back again. She was willing to give up the carnal pleasures of the past few months, wasn't she? She was pretty sure. Except for that damn whispering voice.

She was still sitting on the sofa, wrestling with her thoughts when Ashlee came back. It was a bit early and Julie said as much.

"I decided to cut my losses," replied Ashlee and went on to explain that the date had gone badly from the beginning and she would have come home sooner if there had been an earlier opportunity to excuse herself. "So what are you doing?"

"Just thinking," Julie replied, honestly enough. Ashlee nodded and sat down in the chair adjacent Julie.

"Hear from Gary at all?"

"No," Julie said with a sigh. "Not really expecting to either. At least not so soon," she added with a shrug.

"What about the other guy?"

"Greg?" Julie asked, surprised by Ashlee's question. Why would she wonder if Julie had heard from him?

"Yeah, Greg," Ashlee echoed. "Heard from him yet?"

"Oh, I don't think I'm going to," Julie replied, shaking her head. "He's got plenty of less, uh... complicated options." Ashlee smiled and shrugged.

"I don't know, kiddo," she said with a grin. "Shouldn't sell yourself short."

"No, you have to understand just how much of a player this guy is." Julie hadn't been completely honest when she had told Ashlee how she and Greg had first met. She had mentioned the chance encounter in the restaurant and how he turned up at her company a week or so later. But Julie seeing him in the parking lot, getting a blow job from a married woman, well... somehow Julie had omitted that from the original tale.

She related some of the details of that encounter. Julie still didn't tell Ashlee everything. But she told enough for Ashlee to understand just how much of a womanizer Greg really was. Julie put emphasis on the fact that the woman was married and that Greg found that to be a good thing. An 'uncomplicated' thing.

"Still think he's going to call?" Julie asked. Ashlee shrugged.

"Maybe you're not just another piece of ass," she suggested. Julie made a dismissive gesture, but Ashlee persisted. "No, really. You're beautiful, intelligent, confident, well-dressed, great sense of humor... the list goes on and on." Ashlee was grinning as she said it, but Julie heard the underlying sincerity.

"Even if any of that were true," Julie said with a slight laugh, "this guy has them lining up. He doesn't need to deal with a messy situation, so why would he?" Ashlee nodded, but a smile was still on her face.

"Okay, kiddo. Maybe you're right." But there was an underlying tone in her voice that said she wasn't convinced.

Maybe it was Ashlee's comment. Maybe it was the persuasive voice inside chipping away at her better judgment. But something prompted Julie to check her email before going to bed that night.

There was a message from Greg.

Julie stared at the screen for a long minute. She should just delete it without reading it, right? Maybe block his emails from now on, shouldn't she?

It was like the first night Julie had followed him up to his hotel room. She knew that she shouldn't do it; that there was no good reason to do it. And she had been right. How much different would her life be right now if she had only been smarter, stronger then, when it had really counted?

She clicked on his email.

"Sorry about the other night. I hope you're okay. I will be heading back home for a couple weeks after next week, but I'll have the place to myself Friday and Saturday if you want to come over and talk."

Come over and talk? He made it sound so... so reasonable, didn't he? Julie should delete the email without replying. She should block Greg from being able to send her emails from his private account. She should...

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