Separate Lives Pt. 01byLonghorn__07©
My wife knows me so well. She can predict where I will to take her out to dinner, for instance, though I've tried hard to surprise her. She has an instinct for when I need a little tender loving care too. She knows everything about my life...from fumbling flirtations with girls in high school to the angst of being passed over for a promotion I thought I deserved. She knows I'm scared shitless of snakes, whether they're dangerous or not. She knows I can't bear to hear small children cry without wanting to pick them up and wrap my arms around them...and she even knows I'm that way because my father could never unbend enough to hug me. Everything about me, I entrust to my dear wife.
She knows I always go to lunch at 11:30 every day because I had to take a lunch break at that early hour when I was the most junior guy in the office. Back then I would always be back at 12:30, because other people would want to leave right about then. I got into the habit and never changed. But, as some philosopher should explain, shit happens.
My wife doesn't know I'm taking a late, extended lunch today. The whole office is going out to a farewell party for one of the senior administrators, specifically the director of the Research and Development Branch, where I work. Bill Thornton was retiring after thirty-six years and the whole operation was being shut down to wish him a happy retirement.
Lyle was one of the youngest engineers working in my division and I was happy to have him under my supervision. He was a hard worker, imaginative, and highly resourceful. When it came time for merit pay increases and bonuses, I was happy to put in his name.
With his first big bonus, Lyle bought one of those mammoth Chevy Suburbans. He had one kid and another on the way, so he wanted a wagon big enough for lots of kids. Apparently, his wife felt the same way. I privately considered his new SUV big enough for a whole clan, much less one family. But he was proud of it and wanted to show it off. With my seniority, I got to ride "shotgun" on the way down to the convention center.
"So, Ron, what do you think of my new buggy?" Lyle asked. That's me. I'm Ron—also known as Ronald Masters. Twenty-nine years old, in pretty good health and well thought of within my field of expertise—mechanical engineering—though lately my job has had little to do with that degree. I hadn't been a manager for very long but it was taking up more and more of my time. I was even thinking of taking some night courses in personnel and resource management to keep up with the responsibilities the boss kept pushing my way.
"It's cool," I replied, interjecting some enthusiasm into my voice. "Or is that supposed to be "hot" or "tight" these days? I can never remember what the latest slang is," I told him. He laughed.
"You like it?"
"Oh, heck yeah," I said. I twisted around to peer into the interior of the spacious vehicle.
"Shoot, Lyle," I remarked, "I think the first apartment Sherrie and I lived in was smaller than this." He laughed, pleased with my comment. I turned back around to face the front.
As Lyle braked to a stop at a red light, I saw once again how high off the road I was sitting. Lyle's "truck," as he called it, gave the driver and passengers an excellent view all around and even over most of the cars on the road. I glanced down out the passenger side window when I caught movement out of the corner of my eye. I was surprised to see my wife sitting in her two-year-old Taurus beside us at the light. This wasn't a part of town that Sherrie would normally go. It was a long way from her office and she rarely had to leave during the day.
I was looking at the controls on the door's panel, trying to figure out which one lowered the window but it was taking too long. I started to open the door and tap on my wife's car window when I saw another movement. As I watched, a man's hand was thrust up her skirt so far his wrist and some of his forearm disappeared.
I froze. My gut knotted up so badly and so quickly, I was abruptly deep in pain. I felt the blood drain from my face. My fingers trembled where they rested on the door handle. I felt disoriented...I couldn't think, I couldn't move. All I could do was watch.
I waited for Sherrie to shove the man's hand away. Surely, this was nothing she would put up with from any man but me. I found it hard to breathe as I watched my wife spread her legs wider, accepting the intruding fingers into her pussy. The guy she was with, whoever he was, had to have two or three fingers inside her. There simply wasn't anyway that length of male arm could disappear under her short skirt without his fingers being in a place I thought only I had access to.
"Please...no," I whispered, but no one heard.
I've only passed out one time, after being struck on the head by a baseball when I was twelve years old. I was feeling the same sensations I'd felt that day right now. My vision began to contract into a narrow tunnel and a huge weight was crushing my chest. I couldn't breathe. I couldn't move. I'm a strong man, but the shock siphoned all my strength away. I was nothing but an empty shell. If I'd been lying across a set of railroad tracks and had only to roll to the side to avoid being run over by a train, I couldn't have done it.
My eyes filled with unshed tears as I watched my wife of four years lean back to better enjoy this unknown man's ministrations. She never objected, never tried to get the man to stop. It came to me that this was a thing she'd enjoyed before with this man, a thing she wanted and was used to receiving. Sherrie tilted her head back; her eyes closed as she lost herself in the pleasure his fingers were giving her. The look of lust and need for gratification shocked me. It was the same one she showed me when we had sex.
The light turned green. I saw Sherrie slap at the man's forearm playfully. She tugged his hands from beneath her skirt so she could drive, I guess. I twisted around in my seat as Lyle accelerated away from the intersection. I watched my wife's Taurus as it made a right turn down a street that would take her back to where she worked.
She'd never looked up to wonder who might be watching in the big Suburban, not that she would have seen me through the dark tinted windows. She "knew" I wouldn't be out and about at this hour...my lunch hour ended thirty minutes ago.
She hadn't cared what an obscene, exhibitionistic show she and the man with her had put on for whoever it might have been. It didn't have to be me watching; it could have been anyone. Sherrie had been so caught up with the sex play that she hadn't thought to conceal the act. Yeah, my wife knew me well...but it seemed I only thought I knew her.
When she got home that evening, I got a quick peck on the cheek. A couple of years ago, my mind told me, I'd gotten long, loving kisses at the door when I came in from a hard day's work. Somewhere along the line, they'd decreased in number until they tailed off to nothing. I watched my wife as she started up the stairs. Suddenly, I noticed something missing. It hadn't struck me earlier in the day as I watched her perform in traffic.
"Sherrie!" I blurted. "What the heck happened to your pantyhose? I know darn well you put on a new pair this morning. How come you're not wearing any now?"
She hesitated before proceeding down the hallway to our bedroom. She didn't turn around to face me for a long moment.
"Oh, I got a runner in the right leg," she said finally. "It kept on growing and growing and I finally just took them off," she said. She grinned back at me, looking at me more intently than I think she would have under other circumstances. She needed to know if I was buying her explanation. I nodded understandingly. She turned away, but not before I detected a small look of relief cross her face.
"I see," I said in what I hoped sounded was a more playful tone. I hadn't planned to say anything, but a sudden surge of pain and rage had taken control of my tongue and made me ask about the pantyhose. The dual emotions still had control of me. An evil imp pushed me into seeing how far I could provoke my dear wife.
"I thought some guy might have ripped them off because he was in a hurry to get into your panties," I said, studying her reaction. She was good. There was little to see beyond a slight stiffening in her posture.
"What in the world brought that on?" she said inquisitively. I looked at her with as blank a face as I could manage. I refused to let the hurt and anger show in my eyes. I shrugged.
"It's been known to happen," I said. "You remember Katy, that girl I had to fire last year after she got caught screwing one of the men on the loading dock? Well, I remember her coming back from breaks and lunches without her thigh high stockings and pantyhose many a time. That was before I knew what was going on, of course." I shrugged and looked away, trying to project an image of a man remembering a painful event.
Sherrie nibbled at her lower lip for a bit before coming to me. Stepping close to me, she put her palms flat on my lower ribs and swept them up my chest in a slow caress before throwing her arms around my neck. She pulled my head down and pressed her lips against mine, slipping her tongue into my mouth for a few teasing seconds.
"Honey," she said earnestly when she finally broke off the kiss, "You are the only man who will ever rip my panties off...I thought you knew that." There was a hooded expression on her face. Her eyes flicked from side to side as she searched my face for some telltale sign. She was gauging my reaction, hoping I would accept her explanation.
I was willing to bet she was wondering how much I knew and what she'd have to do to deflect my suspicions. It broke my heart all over again. She'd been lying "by omission" all along and now she was lying to my face. It was a raw, calculating thing to do, born of deception and reared by cruelty. I'd hoped...well, I didn't know what I hoped for.
I guess I thought that if I got a confession from her, we'd find some way to get past this, even if I had no idea how. If you love someone, though, it's hard to let go without one last attempt. But Sherrie was waiting for an answer. I'd been looking too long into her eyes for something I just this second gave up all hope of finding.
"I know that, sweetheart," I said with as much sincerity as I could muster. "Katy's husband threw her out and got custody of both kids. She wrecked her marriage, the other guy's marriage, and her life...all for a little stupid, dirty sex out behind the warehouse." I let my contempt color the last few phrases. Sherrie flinched slightly, almost undetectably, but her expression never changed.
"Well, she deserved it," Sherrie said...and now the deceit was complete.
My dear wife thought the rules by which other people restrained themselves didn't apply to her. I caught her wrists in my hands and tugged her arms from around my neck. I looked at her levelly, not saying a word, and then kissed her lips gently. Taking hold of one of her shoulders in each hand, I turned her around and slapped her beautifully shaped little ass. It didn't "belong" to me anymore; it no longer mattered that she didn't like even playful spanks.
"Now go get changed...I'll have dinner on the table in ten minutes," I told her. I turned away and walked into the kitchen without looking back.
At first, I had no idea what to do. I didn't have a clue what I should do. What was the approved reaction from a husband who discovered his wife was cheating on him?
I'm afraid the company didn't get much work from me over the next week and a half. I would be working on something and then would suddenly find myself gazing into space, not knowing how long I'd been doing it. A number of the staff members asked me if there was anything wrong, but I always replied there was not. No one could help me through this. I'd have to solve the riddle by myself.
I was able to reason my way through a few things. For one, that the guy felt comfortable fondling my wife in public said they had been having sex for some time. If they were just beginning with each other, he'd still be a lot more tentative. It meant Sherrie had been cheating on me for some time. I wondered when it had begun. I couldn't remember any signs that she was cheating on me. There'd been no attitude changes, or any modifications in our daily life that I could think of. In the final analysis, though, it didn't really matter how long it had been going on. The only important factor was that it was happening.
Second, I wasn't going to put up with her infidelity. I was not going to go off to work each day, wondering who Sherrie was fucking that day. I wasn't much of a church going man anyway. There was no way I was going to turn the other cheek. It wasn't in me to do that.
I couldn't see any point in trying to save the marriage. Sherrie had broken the trust we'd built up over the four years of our marriage. It seemed to me she'd broken it a number of times, judging by the evidence, and I didn't know how it could ever be made whole again. The only thing that logically remained to do was to confront her and get myself out of this mess with my mind as intact as I could. If there was something I'd done so terribly wrong that it prompted a reaction like this from Sherrie, maybe she'd tell me.
I tried to pull my eyes back inside the windows through which I'd been staring blindly. I felt more alone than I ever had in my life. The hurt came in cold waves, alternating with fiery periods of anger. Neither emotion would let me be long enough to do any productive work.
Having decided that my marriage to Sherrie was dead, I set myself the dreary task of finding some quick way out of my pain. The thing was, without proof of some kind, Sherrie would probably be able to take damn near everything we'd put together. Texas courts are not friendly to a man making unsubstantiated allegations about his wife. In the twenty-first century, wives got the benefit of the doubt in almost any situation.
I shoved what loving feelings I had left for Sherrie behind a door in my mind and slammed it shut. I decided I wanted my share of what we had. We had some good equity in the house and the savings account was beginning to show a nice balance finally. We both were making pretty good money, and had been for a year or so. We'd managed to buy some quality furniture and appliances. The cars had both been financed, but we'd been making balloon payments and the loans were nearly paid off. If I wanted my fair portion of what we'd accumulated, I had to catch her red handed. I watched for an opportunity.
On Tuesday, one day short of three weeks after I'd seen Sherrie letting some asshole play with her pussy, she told me she was going to go out Friday night with a group of her girlfriends for a few drinks and lots of gossip. It was something she and a half-dozen women in her crowd did every six weeks or so. She said Connie, Barbara, Miranda, Colleen, Tammy were going along but not Melissa, Sherrie's best friend. They were going to find all the things they could to talk about Melissa behind her back. Sherrie giggled a little about that when she told me.
There was absolutely nothing suspicious about her doing this. She'd done it before on widely separated occasions through the years. I knew in my heart, though, this one was different. I couldn't see anything in her behavior that indicated she was not actually going to do exactly what she told me. But I didn't trust her anymore. I had to verify what she was saying.
"Connie!" I said cheerfully into my cell phone. Connie was one of my wife's friends. She and her husband Art were occasional guests over at what had been "our" house for barbeques and sometimes dinner.
"Hey, tiger," she responded happily. Connie liked to flirt and she took every opportunity. "What's up?" she asked.
"Not much," I said. "I was just wondering if you and Tom have any plans for Friday night...tomorrow evening. I was thinking the four of us might get together for dinner and some cards."
"Hmmmmmm," she said in her mock-seductive voice, "I'll have to check my busy calendar, big boy." There was a momentary pause but not one long enough for her to actually be checking anything.
"No...nothing on tap for that night, sugar," she said. "I'll have to check with Tom but I think it sounds like a great idea...what shall we bring?"
"Just your cute little self, your better half, and a pair of bright smiles," I quipped. I tried to sound upbeat, but inside I was dead. All the pleasure in my life had disappeared over the past few weeks.
"Okay, hon," she said. "I'll give you a call when I know for sure, okay?" She paused briefly.
"Ahhhhhhh, Ron...me and Tom are sure glad you and Sherrie are doing so well, sugar." I frowned into empty space as I listened. "We weren't sure after the Vegas trip that you guys would be able to get things together...you know?" she said in a more serious voice than I'd ever heard from her.
"Vegas?" I said, a little mystified.
I thought at first she was aware of Sherrie's straying, though I didn't have an inkling how she would have known. The trip she was referring to was one I hadn't gone on because at the last minute, my boss had called, needing me to go to Denver to straighten out a mess in the R&D division in our parent company. Sherrie; Melissa and her husband, Cal; Connie and Tom had gone without me and, by all accounts, everyone had come back with small winnings for once.
Wait! Was Connie saying something had gone on in Vegas? Hell, she had to be...but I needed to know more. It made me sick, but I had to know.
"I don't understand what you're trying to say, Connie," I said. Even I could hear the confusion in my voice. She was silent for a long time.
"Oh...it's just scatter-brained ol' me," she said. "You know how I am...well, listen, I'll get with Tom and check if he's already got something planned for tomorrow or not, okay?"
"Sure. Let me know, all right?" I replied. She said she would. I got off the phone as quickly as I decently could. I was afraid my voice would reveal the pain I was in.
Half an hour later, Connie called back and apologized. Tom had obligated himself to play in a poker game at a neighbor's house. Connie was just as sorry as she could be...maybe next time, she said. I agreed, regretting that they couldn't come. Maybe Sherrie and I would just forget about the whole thing and try again at a better time. Neither of us was fooling the other.
I knew two things now. Something involving my wife had occurred in Las Vegas and Sherrie was not going out with the girls tomorrow night. I had to let the former lay uninvestigated while I dealt with the latter.
I've heard it said that adulterous spouses get into a mindset where they conclude they must be more intelligent than those they are cheating on, simply because they're getting away with what they're doing. They begin to believe they are cleverer than anyone else in the world. Because they manage to deceive their marriage partner for a time, they begin to disrespect him or her and hold their spouses in contempt. Eventually, so the story goes, cheaters start making mistakes because of overconfidence; they don't think anyone else has the smarts to catch them.
I didn't know about all that, this was my first experience dealing with such a thing, but I did know that Sherrie was making mistakes. If I hadn't seen her that day with that sorry SOB in her car at the stoplight, I'd have caught on to her activities eventually anyway. Being in public with that man was a bad mistake. Any one of our friends or neighbors could have been in a van or SUV beside her car—it didn't have to be me.