Something... Talk About in Tx Ch. 02byTx Tall Tales©
There's a Price to Pay for blatant infidelity.
Second and final part of the follow-up to Nici's Something We Have to Talk About.
Jonathan, with the help of family and friends, embarks on a plan to balance the scales. His wife has confessed to cheating on him for a year, and insists he accept an ongoing affair, or she'll divorce him and take him to the cleaners.
He prefers option 3, none-of-the-above, and pursues an alternative solution.
The next morning Jonathan was up bright and early. It was the dawn of a new day, and he no longer felt out-of-control. He had confronted both his wife and her lover about their behavior, insisting it end. He'd started down a path to help ensure it stopped, with the help of his family and friends. That included quitting his old job, and going back to work on the family ranch. It also meant early hours.
Susan was still in bed when he headed downstairs for a quick breakfast. He idly wondered if she'd run off and fuck her boyfriend that day.
At the ranch, Uncle Len introduced him around, most of the people he already knew. He was told his responsibilities, and put under the direction of old Miguel, who'd been working with the family for a good 20 years.
Uncle Len sent word down for him to come to the house for his lunch break. There was a big spread set out, and he was smiling when he saw his Grandfather and friends waiting for him.
He gave them a quick 10 minute update on the weekend, the discussion with his mother, and his wife's family. The visit to the casino, glossing over the female companionship he'd found. He reviewed his actions with his wife, and the confrontation with the bastard.
The grandfather spoke when he was finished. "You should know, the Gray Brigade is making this their personal project."
"Gray Brigade?" Jonathan asked.
The Colonel responded. "Senior Center. All the retirees. A little excitement in their lives. If the little slut keeps it up, she's going to be hearing about it. That's for damn sure."
"Madge Johnson lives across the street a couple of doors down from the bastard," Carl Jenkins said. "Her daughter works at the my store. She'll be keeping an eye on the house. Anyone coming and going, Madge and her sister will know about it."
The Judge laughed. "Her parents are getting an earful as well. 'So sad to hear the kind of woman your daughter turned out to be. Is that why your other daughter moved away?' I'm glad I'm not on their bad side."
"You need to talk to the bank, Jon. Get all your contact information moved to my house. When you get behind on payments, we don't need them calling your house, and your slut wife getting wind of it," his Grandfather said.
The Judge had some papers out. "The guy's wife. The dead woman. Her name was Heather. I've got some pictures. Buried in the Methodist cemetery. Pretty ugly. He was thrown clear of the car, she was stuck inside. She might have been killed in the impact, but the car caught fire, and she was burned to the point where she was barely recognizable. The suit he won was about that. The vehicle had a history of catching fire in accidents."
Jonathan nodded. Some good information he could work with. "Thank you sir."
"No problem. We take care of our own."
He had his directions. Hot and cold to his wife. Start the program against the bastard. Continue to protect the assets. Move all financial contacts to Grandpa's house.
By the end of the day, Jonathan was aching in places he didn't even know he had. It felt good to be working outdoors, and to be around old friends. He headed home, cleaned up, and went to work on his second job. His wife.
* * *
That night Rich Patton got a phone call from a blocked number. "Hello?"
"It burns, Richie. How could you let me burn like that? It hurts so bad..." a quivering female voice whispered.
He recalled laying on the hard asphalt, watching his car engulfed in flames, his young wife still inside. He dropped the phone, the words resurrecting his pain.
"Aaaargh!" the voice screamed on the other end of the line, still audible from where he was standing.
* * *
"No, you can't bring the kids over here for us to watch," Brenda snapped angrily.
"But Mom, I need to go out," Susan said.
"Take your kids with you. They're your damn kids, Susan!"
"Everything takes so much longer with three children to take care of," she explained.
"What else do you have to do? It's not like you have a job, or do much around the house anyway. You going to run off to that bastard you're screwing?" her mother sneered.
"He's not a bastard. He's a good man. You don't understand."
"I understand he's a lowlife prick that's screwing another man's wife. God, you're such a disappointment to your father and I. We can't even walk around town without someone reminding us of what a whore you've become."
"Mother! How could you say that!"
"Dump the bastard and go crawling back to that husband of yours. Beg him for forgiveness. Blow him every night for a year. Maybe it's not too late to salvage your marriage."
"I did nothing wrong," Susan argued. "He's the one who should be apologizing to me."
She was shocked to hear nothing but a busy tone on the other end of the line.
* * *
Max Schritter sat at the table, addressing the group before him. They had the card room at the Senior center, the door closed. More women than men, but all understood the situation.
They'd already divided responsibilities. The phone lines would be burning up well into the night. The first pass had brought the Gray Brigade up to speed. Second pass was to start applying pressure to the next generation. Make it clear what was acceptable behavior and what wasn't. Within days, the whole damn town would know.
Cheating wasn't the issue. It happened. Hell, probably better than half the group had probably strayed a time or two. Maybe more than a few times. But blatant disrespect, expecting a spouse to accept an ongoing affair, all but abandoning a family while expecting to be able to keep the rest of your life, your family and friends, was too much to ask.
No, they all agreed, it was unforgivable behavior on the part of both cheaters. Make up, or break up, but not this. Disgusting. The 'Me' generation.
They would be reminded, chided, insulted, and condemned where ever they went. No, that kind of behavior couldn't be allowed to spread.
Responsibilities were divvied up, tasks assigned, options discussed and weighed.
When the room had nearly emptied, the Colonel sat with five associates. "This is the ugly part. We all understand what's involved? The risk?"
His lifelong friends all agreed. They were up to the task. John Krum took the lead.
Copies of the keys to his house were passed out. Straight from the wife's keychain, to Jenkins hardware, and then in the hands of the perpetrators. Pictures, articles, documentation, love-letters, as much history as they could attain.
Step one was to get more information. They'd receive notice when he was out. The Gray network would keep tabs. Once they'd determined the window of opportunity was right, the first break-in would occur, and they'd collect as much intel as possible. Only then would campaign "Guilt" go into full gear.
A couple of them felt a little uneasy at what they were going to do. Not enough to stop them.
* * *
Susan parked in his garage, closing the door behind her quickly. She took off her hat and sunglasses, embarrassed that she was disguising herself. This was ridiculous. She had every right to see Rich.
She entered the house through the garage, and eagerly accepted his embrace. They didn't speak of anything other than missing each other as they retired to his bedroom, undressing quickly before falling into the bed together.
Half-an-hour and two sessions later, he sat up, staring down at her. "How did you mess things up? Nobody down at the firm will even talk to me."
Susan was stunned by his accusation. How had she messed things up? He uses her to get off, not even caring about her satisfaction, after the nights she'd given him. She confronted her husband, alone, faced his anger and accusations. And now it's her fault? "You wanted to stop hiding. Wanted your overnight stays. It was your idea to tell him, force him to accept us, threaten him with divorce and the kids."
"How the hell did it become everyone's business?" he snapped.
"I don't know. Gossip. He told his family and mine; they're still barely speaking to me. Word must have spead."
"You were supposed to keep it private, just between the two of you. How'd he know it was me? Where I lived?" Rich was livid with anger.
"How the hell do I know? I talked to him just like we discussed. Told him how it was. You're the man, you should have known how he'd react."
"I'm not some neanderthal who can't keep his woman. I'm supposed to remove half my brain to think like him?"
Susan could barely believe his words. The disrespect, the anger. Where did it come from? She started pulling on her clothing, before she said something she'd regret.
Rich reached out for her. "Where are you going? We're not through already. You just got here. It's been a week since we've been together."
"You shouldn't talk about Jonathan like that. He did nothing wrong. He's a good man. We're the ones who want to change the rules."
"Good man? Starting rumors and gossip about us? Ignoring you, disrespecting you? Where's the good in that?" Rich snapped, standing between her and the door.
She buttoned her blouse, and combed her hair back with her fingers. Plenty of time to clean up when she got home. She was thankful that her mother-in-law accepted her excuse that she needed to pick up some job applications. "I have to go. I'm going to be late."
He moved toward her, pulling her into his arms. "What about us, Suzy-Q? I miss you. We need some time together. Tell him you'll be spending the night over here. He already knows. We need to reconnect. You're everything to me. You know how much I love you. I can't stand going days on end without you. I need you."
She listened to his pleading, knowing it was true. Without her, he'd be retreating back to his old ways in nothin' flat. She held his face in her hands, kissing him softly. "We'll work something out. No overnights, what would I tell the kids?"
"Foist them off on your parents again."
She sighed. "It'll be a cold day in hell before they'll watch them again. They've made that abundantly clear."
She started to pull away, but he clung to her, needy. "Come over after they go to sleep. I need to feel you in my arms again as I fall asleep. Wake up next to you, your smell in my head, your warmth beside me. Don't you want that?"
She nodded, but if she were honest with herself, she would admit she hated being apart from her children at night. She didn't sleep well in Rich's place. She smiled to herself. She didn't sleep much at all, come to think of it. It was like being a teen again. "Let me think about it, Ok? I've got to get things settled at home before making any more waves."
"How about a quick blowjob before you go? To hold me over?"
His callous words stung her. Was that all she was to him? "I have to go, Rich. I'm going to be late as is. I can't afford to alienate my last baby-sitter."
He was pushing her to her knees. "You promised you'd never deny me, Susan. You said you loved me. I need this. It'll only take a few minutes."
She refused to let the tears fall, as she mechanically sucked his cock, his hands in her hair, forcing his way down her throat, heedless of her discomfort.
* * *
Max took the call from Madge. Nearly two hours all told, the whore spent with him, sneaking around like a thief in the night.
He called his daughter, berating her. "What the hell were you thinking, Carolyn? Watching the kids while she went to get laid?"
"She said she was looking for a job. Picking up applications."
"And you believed the lying slut, after all she's done?"
Carolyn was not happy when Susan showed up at her door 20 minutes late. She helped get the kids packed up and into the car. Before Susan could leave Carolyn grabbed her arm.
"Never again, you lying slut. Using me to cover for your ass while you screw around on my son?"
Susan trembled at the harsh words. "I... I didn't..."
"Save the lies for somebody else. You reek of sex. You could at least clean up before picking up my grandkids. What the hell is wrong with you?"
In the battle for shame and anger, anger won out. "If you don't ever want to see the kids, that's fine by me. I didn't do anything wrong. You'll never have to watch them again. You'll be lucky to see them."
Susan was rocked back on her feet, when Carolyn's hand whipped across her face. "He's right. You're nothing but a whore."
* * *
Jonathan sat with his Grandfather, after a long hard day. The last thing he needed to hear about was his wife's fucking around on him.
"I don't want to know, Grandpa. Frankly I could care less."
"She had your mother watching the kids. Said she was getting some job applications or some such nonsense."
Jonathan's anger took hold, until his hands were shaking. "Nobody watches my kids unless I say it's Ok. Nobody. Not you, not Mom, not even a neighborhood sitter."
"Don't blame your mother on this. She was trying to do the right thing. She has a right to see her grandkids."
"I don't blame her. It's the lying whore under my roof. I'll talk to Mom myself."
* * *
"Mom, what's a Jezebel?" Cindy asked.
"A... a what?" Susan asked, surprised by her eldest's words.
"Dana's grandma said you were a Jezebel."
Susan felt her blood pressure rising. She had no right. The old bitch had no right talking to her daughter like that.
"It's nothing, baby. Something old people say."
But not in front of her daughter, if she could help it. No more play-dates with Dana. That was for damn sure.
* * *
Rich didn't notice the stares or whispered comments as he entered his old employer's office. It was good to maintain relationships and his standing monthly lunch outing was one way to do that.
He waited in the lobby, patiently. After twenty minutes, he realized something was wrong. As each new person exited the elevator, he'd see the looks, the whispers. None would hold eye contact. Something was up. He made a call.
"Jean? I'm in the lobby, for our lunch," he said.
There was a silence at the other end. "I don't think I'll be able to make it today."
"Something come up? I haven't seen Eric or Dan either."
"It's just not a good idea right now. Things are kind of hectic. Maybe some other time. I'm really busy, I have to go."
Rich listened to the dead air on the other end of the line.
A quick call to Eric fared no better. "We've had this standing lunch date for over two years, Eric? What's going on?"
He heard anger in the man's voice. "Your girlfriend? You lead us to believe you guys were serious, getting engaged. You never said she was married with three kids. You used us to cover for you. We all feel like idiots now. My wife would kill me if I went to lunch with you. No, I don't think we'll be going to lunch anytime soon."
He looked up from the phone, feeling the eyes on him. He walked toward the revolving glass door, falling in with the crowd exiting the building.
"...a year. She's married..." he heard the whispers from in front of him.
"...cake and eat it too...three kids..." from behind.
"...two million for killing his wife..." echoed in his ears as he hurried down the sidewalk.
* * *
Late summer was a hard time on the ranch. Dawn to dusk most days, checking fences, working on the irrigation, moving herds from pasture to pasture. Almost time for the second hay cutting, which was breakneck while the weather held.
Uncle Len still abided by Grandpa Max's ways for the most part. Ranching had become largely mechanized, pickup trucks replacing horses for a lot of the work. The Schritters still stood by the practice of driving as infrequently as possible, as short a distance as possible. Gas cost money. For much of the work, horseback was the way to go, especially when it came to moving the herds and the pasture checks.
Jonathan had forgotten how sore a man could get riding a horse 10 hours a day. How tiring it was, hauling around 40 pound packs, digging trenches, replacing fenceposts. He was looking forward to the haying, which mostly involved driving around.
Most ranch-hands were jack-of-all-trades by necessity. A standard motto on the ranch was "If it's broke, fix it." His experience with machines, engines and anything mechanical was almost revered. No sending out the ranch vehicles for work. If it was broken, Jonathan could fix it.
He might be rusty on the range, awkward herding strays, but his mechanical abilities, and his willingness to do whatever the job took, won the admiration of his fellow hands. He liked that.
He went home each evening, tired, sore and hungry, but he couldn't remember being so satisfied with his accomplishments at the end of each day.
It was only when he got home, and had to face the anger, disrespect and condemnation of his supposed wife and soul-mate, that he'd get down. He braced himself before entering his house each evening, reminding himself of his plans and purpose. It wouldn't last forever, he told himself.
* * *
The first picture of a charred body was slipped under Rich's door sometime after he'd gone to bed. It was grisly, almost unrecognizable as human. Someone had written in white marker, "Heather Patton. Burned to death, now burning in Hell."
His hands trembled as he picked it up. How could anybody do something so horrible? So heinous? Didn't they know how much he regretted it? How badly it hurt? It was an accident. It wasn't his fault. He'd loved her.
He sat on the floor sobbing, until he fell asleep.
* * *
Susan was unloading the car of groceries. What should have been a simple 20 minute trip took over an hour. The kids had run inside carrying a bag each.
It had been a painful outing, seeing the glares, the looks of condemnation. Nobody would speak to her, but whispers followed her everywhere. Barely contained laughter in some cases. Did the whole world know of her relationship?
"Hey Susan!" her nosy neighbor called out, almost running over.
Shit. The last thing she needed. "Hello Margie."
"So what's he like, this young lover? Does he have a huge cock? Can he go all night? What's the scoop?"
Susan felt her face blushing. "I don't know what you're talking about."
"C'mon, Susie. You can tell me. Everyone knows. You and that young lawyer kid, the one who killed his wife. Isn't that scary? Exciting maybe? You don't think he'd do that to you, when he's done with you, do you?"
Susan couldn't believe the bile that was pouring forth from the neighborhood gossip's lips. "It was an accident. He didn't kill her."
"It sure paid off pretty good for an accident. So what is it? I bet he has a huge cock. Ten inches. That's it, isn't it? You wouldn't leave Jonathan for some sad sack if he wasn't amazing in bed. I mean, really! Leave a real man for that scrawny kid?"
Susan slammed the back of the car shut, turned and entered her house without saying another word.
* * *
Jonathan held her in his arms, while she cried in their bed. He felt pretty good about how things were going. "What's wrong, baby?"
"They're horrible. Everyone is horrible to me. They think I'm a slut."
You are a slut. "Shh," he whispered. "Things will get better. You do what's right, and ignore them."
"Why can't they understand? Haven't they ever been in love before? I can't help how I feel."
He had his hand inside her shirt, caressing her breast, cupping it gently. "You still have us. Your family. We love you."