Bill Phillips leaned back against the headboard of the bed as he looked at the item that had led to the painful situation he now found himself in. It was so simple, and still very common, although not as common as they had once been. Not quite 3 inches wide by 2 inches high, and if you looked at it from the side it appeared to be in the shape of a small wedge.
An everyday package of paper matches. He opened it and counted the remaining matches inside, and came up with 35, the same number he always arrived at when he went through this ritual. Five were missing; another number that never changed. He wondered why he took the time to count them again, and considered that maybe it was a sign of his depression.
This particular package was plain white in color, both inside and out, with fuchsia printing on the flap that opened to reveal the matches inside. When he first saw the package he thought of the color as sort of a light purple, but a secretary at the office had told him that no, it wasn't purple, it was fuchsia.
Someone else told him later that the printing was magenta, and when he checked it out on the Internet he found that the two names were synonymous. It didn't really matter; although he sort of thought that every time he would see the color in the future it was going to bring him feelings of sadness and loss.
There wasn't any phone number, or address, or map to show you how one would find the place it was advertising. All that was printed on it, in fancy script, was 'The Puma's Den'.
When he first saw that name he had no idea of what it meant, and by this time he sometimes wondered if it might not have been better if he had never learned of its significance. Sometimes ignorance really is bliss.
Bill had almost another hour to wait before he made a promised call to his sister Sandy, and he decided to once again spend his time going back over everything that had happened since his first exposure to this plain book of paper matches.
It had all started just over two months ago.......
It was Thursday and almost 9 p.m. Eastern Time, time for Bill Phillips to make his normal call home to his wife Linda. He made the call at the same time every evening when he was out of town in Colorado Springs. It was only 7 p.m. Mountain Time, but he had already eaten, and would probably watch some sporting event on TV when he got off the phone to his wife.
Bill Phillips was 37 years old, a ruggedly handsome man of almost 6 feet in height, with brown hair and blue-gray eyes. He knew his wife Linda, who was a year younger than him, would be sitting near the phone just as he was.
He could picture her as clearly as if she was sitting there beside him, with her short dark brown hair, her dark eyes, dimpled smile and her well proportioned 5 foot 4 body. He found himself smiling in anticipation of being at home with her again the next night.
During the last week of every month he made a trip to his company's Colorado Springs facility to check, test and upgrade the computers and servers that his IT department was responsible for.
Bill relied on the local manager during the rest of each month, but Bill was the one in the company that had the expertise to ensure that everything was being done according to the specs of the equipment and software manufacturers, and to the strict requirements the board of directors he reported to insisted on. He'd been making these trips for almost 18 months, ever since their company, Abstract Devices Inc., had purchased one of its main competitors, a firm that had their offices and manufacturing facility situated in this lovely city in Colorado.
His trips always started the same way, leaving Dayton, Ohio in the afternoon on Wednesday and returning home from Colorado late in the evening on Friday. Full days on Thursday and Friday would ensure that all of the software had been properly upgraded to the latest revision levels, and the antivirus programs were up to date with the latest virus signature files.
It was also important that all of the firm's networked computers contained nothing but the software they should contain. The two buildings, one for manufacturing and the other containing office facilities housed several hundred terminals as well as their controlling servers and the devices interconnecting everything. It took a lot of time to ensure they were all compliant.
Their company manufactured electronic devices for the military, and the last thing they would need was a surprise visit by the military that found something out of order with their computer security. It was a given that the military would check at least once per year without giving them any heads-up. It was his job to make sure those inspections never found anything that was unacceptable.
Bill had phoned Linda on Wednesday evening, letting her know that he had arrived safely, and that the weather was wonderful compared to the rain they were experiencing in Ohio. The conversation lasted for approximately 15 minutes, the usual amount of time they would spend on the phone.
They had exchanged their normal 'I love you' messages at the end of the call, and he had spent the rest of the evening answering corporate emails. Bill finally called it a night about three hours later, shut off the television and the lights, and then crawled into bed.
Now it was Thursday evening and he only had this one night left to pass before he would head back to Dayton. He was watching the clock, and finally it was close enough to 7 p.m., the time that he normally would make his call.
As usual his wife answered on the second ring, and reported that as usual, she was fine, but had had a busy day at work. She was a sales manager at a large furniture store in the Dayton Mall, located not too far from where they lived. There were four other locations around the Dayton area, and her job entailed overseeing their sales forces as well.
There wasn't much of great importance to talk about, because he had only been gone from Dayton for a day and a half. Instead they took turns joking with each other about who had the most difficult job, but soon they exchanged their customary messages of love and he hung up the phone.
Within 15 minutes he was getting comfortable on the bed, watching baseball, when he realized that he had not told his wife that his return flight would be getting him home at the unusual time of 7 in the evening, instead of what had been the more normal time of 10 o'clock Dayton time.
The airline's scheduled flight from Colorado Springs had been permanently moved forward by three hours, a change that he welcomed wholeheartedly. He was lucky he had checked his ticket in time, as he had just naturally assumed his flight would leave at the time that he had become accustomed to.
When he phoned to confirm the change he was told that in order to accommodate new routes the flight from Colorado Springs to Dayton by way of Indianapolis had to be bumped up to the earlier hour. Sometimes change was good, he decided.
Since he was going to be that much earlier getting home he had intended to ask Linda if she wanted to go out for a drink, and maybe some dancing, for a couple of hours after he got home. This wasn't something they were usually able to do on Fridays anymore, and it had once been their most usual way to spend a Friday evening.
It was 9:20 when he called home for the second time, but this time Linda didn't pick up the phone, and eventually he had to leave his message on the answering machine. The answering machine would pick up after only four rings, so he made his message long enough that she would have a chance to get to the phone if she had heard it ring.
He wondered why she had been unable to take the call, but finally assumed that it was because she was probably doing the laundry and hadn't heard the phone. She would often tackle mundane chores like that later in the evening when he was away on his monthly trip. In any event, he was soon engrossed in the ballgame, and the fact she hadn't answered his call was just as quickly forgotten.
The earlier departure from Colorado Springs had forced Bill to skip his usual lunch at a nearby restaurant, having to settle instead for a sandwich from a vending machine, but other than that it had been no problem for him. He had also managed to have a quick snack in the Colorado Springs Airport while he waited for his departure.
Bill traveled light, and it didn't take long for him to get out of Dayton International Airport and into his car that had been left in the long term parking area. The route home was down I75 south to the Miamisburg Centreville Road exit.
It was just before 8 o'clock when Bill Phillips got to their home on a quiet street in West Carrollton, a suburban area southwest of Dayton. It was a nice area, and he and Linda loved their home. As an added bonus neither of them had to drive very far to get to their jobs.
Originally their home had belonged to Bill's parents, but when his parents decided to move to Florida for their retirement, they had given the home to Bill and his sister Sandy. After some friendly negotiations Bill had bought out his sister, although doing so had required him to take a mortgage out on the property. It had been his home for over 10 years.
He had owned the house for a year before he and Linda decided to marry, and it was natural for them to make the house their home together. With three bedrooms it was large enough that they wouldn't have to move right away when they decided to have children.
As he pulled into his space in the garage he wondered if Linda had considered the message he had left for her, and whether she would want to go out for a quiet drink at least. He could see she was home because her new model Chrysler was in her spot, right beside his more pedestrian Ford sedan.
He hoped that if Linda was agreeable to going out that she would give him time to shower and change. He had been busy and rushed for most of the day, especially with the need to get to the airport earlier than he was used to, and he needed to freshen himself up. It shouldn't be a problem, as he could get ready quickly.
He entered the house through the kitchen entrance, left his laptop on the kitchen table, and went down the hallway towards their master bedroom. The door was almost closed, and he pushed it aside gently before stepping into the empty bedroom. He could see that a dim glow of light was visible through the slightly opened door to the ensuite bathroom.
After carefully setting down his suitcase he quietly slipped off his shoes, jacket and tie, and walked to the bathroom door. When he opened it slightly he could see his wife relaxing in the tub under a swath of bubbles. Her brown eyes were closed and he could tell she was probably in a state of semi-sleep. There were about a dozen candles of varying sizes and shapes scattered around the bathroom.
"You look comfortable, my dear. It's been a while since I've seen you relaxing in a bubble bath. I almost feel like I should join you." He laughed quietly, knowing that his offer would be refused, again, as it always was.
Linda didn't open her eyes before replying, "I've been waiting for you, but I think you can go have a shower in the bathroom across the hall and then come back to join me."
Now she did open her eyes, and quickly turned towards him with a radiant smile before continuing, "I didn't mean join me in the tub, either, Bill. We'll need a bigger tub before you can do that." She let out a little giggle after implying that she wasn't totally opposed to the idea.
Bill was already removing his shirt and unbuckling his pants as he answered, "I'll be right back! Don't you go anywhere."
Linda giggled again and said, "I wouldn't dream of it. Get back here as soon as you can and I'll give you your reward for getting home so early."
Bill wasn't a rocket scientist, but it didn't require that level of knowledge to realize that Linda had something in mind. She often did feel especially playful after relaxing in a warm tub swathed with bubbles and breathing the air sweetened by the aromatic candles she enjoyed.
Within 10 minutes Bill had returned to rejoin his wife in the bathroom. His prominent erection led the way as he entered the room, and it didn't escape Linda's notice.
"Mmmm, is that for me? I like it when you bring me a gift from one of your trips." She was smiling, and Bill thought he heard her giggle again, but very softly this time.
Bill laughed and replied, "It sure is for you." He then added suggestively, "Where would you like me to put it?" He pretended to leer at her as he spoke.
Linda tapped the edge of the tub and said, "Move a couple of these candles and then sit here." She began to move her slender body around in the tub so that she would be facing the spot she had indicated. Masses of bubbles were clinging to her from the neck down, but gravity was causing them to slowly slide down towards the water.
After he did as instructed and sat facing her with his feet in the tub on either side of her, she leaned forward and without hesitation or fair warning she inhaled his manhood until he felt the head of it reach the opening of her throat.
"Oh God, Linda! That feels wonderful! It's been so long."
She began to fellate him slowly, and his natural reaction was to place his hands on her head, but she quickly pushed them aside, preferring to keep their only physical connection his cock in her mouth.
She was using her tongue to great advantage, tickling the underside of his erection as she slowly moved back and forth. She was varying the amount of suction she was applying, and he found this added to the eroticism of the moment.
When he tried to take hold of her head a second time, and again was rebuffed, he placed his hands palm down on each of his thighs while he closed his eyes, deciding to simply enjoy the experience.
Linda continued her actions, but now combined them with variations that included sometimes stopping with the tip of his erection trying to enter her throat, and other times making only short movements while she twisted her head from side to side. She carried this on for almost 5 minutes before Bill was forced to say something.
"Linda, you had better stop now. I'm about to cum." He knew she wasn't a fan of catching his cum in her mouth, and had only once to his recollection ever swallowed. He fully expected her to finish him off with her fingers.
A few seconds later he said, this time more urgently, "You had better move, quickly." She didn't stop, remove her mouth, or even indicate that she had heard him. Instead she began a slightly more rapid motion, and it seemed to him that she had increased the suction on him slightly. Within seconds the outcome was beyond his control.
He had opened his eyes and was watching her now, still expecting her to pull her head away and let his ejaculation join the last of the bubbles that were slowly sliding down her breasts. It didn't happen. Instead, he saw her swallow twice before she brought her fingers up to begin milking the last of his semen from his shrinking erection.
Her head had been down so that he couldn't see her eyes during all of this, but finally after one last suctioning kiss she removed her mouth from his member and looked up at him, a grin on her face. Before he could say anything, she opened her mouth to let him see there was still some of his semen on her tongue before she closed her mouth and made a show of swallowing a third time.
"Wow, Linda! What brought that on? I sure hope we can do this again." He was grinning as he looked at his pretty dark-haired wife who was grinning back at him.
She giggled and said, "Don't get your hopes up. I'm not going to promise to give you a blow job every time you get back from Colorado Springs."
Her face took on a little more serious look as she continued, "I just thought it was time that I got a little more adventurous."
Bill bent over to kiss his wife, and she immediately brought her tongue into his mouth, letting him get just a small taste of himself. That had happened once before in his life, with a previous girlfriend, and while he had been initially shocked that first time, he had quickly realized that there was no reason to be put off by the taste.
When the kiss ended he said, "What prompted the decision to become more adventurous? Not that I'm complaining!"
His wife smiled at him and answered, "I read a long article on how to please your husband in one of the women's magazines, and it mentioned how much men enjoy the... full treatment." She paused before adding, "I asked Denise about it, too."
With the mention of her friend's name, Bill lost most of his smile. Denise Grady was a longtime friend of his wife's, a divorcee who spent most of her time when she wasn't selling real estate trying to seduce any man she came close to. She'd even grabbed his ass in front of Linda, and then had simply laughed at him when he objected.
Denise was what his dad would have called a bottle blonde, 38, with a figure that had been enhanced with silicone to give her a 38D chest to go along with her otherwise slim build. She was reasonably pretty, but it was her chest that attracted a lot of men.
He just found her willingness to go out with a married man as quickly as a single one off-putting. He and Linda had disagreed more than once about the fact that he disliked having her hanging around with Denise.
"So you're suggesting that I owe Denise a thank you for this wonderful experience we just shared? You know what I think of that idea, Linda."
Linda stood up in the tub and began using a hand sprayer to rinse the bubbles from her body before she answered her husband. "I know you don't care for Denise, but she's not so bad. I just asked her if it got easier to swallow the more often you did it, and she assured me that in time I would even enjoy the taste."
With that said, she started blowing out the candles, a job that Bill joined her in. When they were done he helped her to step out of the tub and then enjoyed the task of drying her with one of the fluffy towels she had laid out on the counter. He gave her perky 36B breasts maximum attention, before making sure that her mons didn't require shaving.
At first she tried to convince him that she had just finished shaving before getting into the bath, but as his attention moved more to the area of her clit she quit trying to convince him, and instead began to moan in appreciation. Not wanting to continue in the confines of the bathroom, he finally took her hand and led her to their king size bed. He didn't get any argument.
On Saturday morning Bill was the first one awake. He lay there thinking about the night before, when he and his wife seemed to have tried everything sexual they could think of, and even tried some things twice. They had drifted off to sleep more from fatigue and satisfaction than from anything else. He smiled as he thought about how uninhibited his wife had been.
He had been awake a couple of minutes, trying to mentally relive the night before, when he realized that he needed to have a pee. He got up carefully, making sure that he didn't wake up his wife.
Once he was in the bathroom he relieved himself and then washed up and brushed his teeth. It was as he was putting his toothbrush away that he saw the candles still scattered throughout the room. He began to collect them and put them on the shelf where Linda usually kept them. When he did that he noticed five burned matches stacked on the vanity.
At first he thought that Linda may have scorched the surface with them, but when he picked them up he could tell that they were damp, and that she had probably put each one of them out by running water over them. He added them to the contents of the garbage can and then picked up the book of paper matches that had been lying beside them.