The Forgotten WomanbyFD45©
Something for you to hate. Zero Eroticism, no heroes, bad revenge. In it's favor, there are no cuckolds, willing or unwilling, in this story and it's short so you won't waste too much time. There IS a humiliated husband (well, ex), so it might appeal to Matt...
Mikothebaby edited and then I ruined her good work by adding more crap.
It was after I served the jerks in the Harrison building that I saw him at the café. He was sitting there with a pretty woman. My heart raced. I watched them carefully, trying to make sure I was hidden. They held hands. She put a fork full of food in his mouth, forcing him to try something he wasn't interested in. He laughed. I remember those days. Dating days; when you tried to make a good impression. I should have just walked on. It was his life, not mine. He was trying to move on as well. But the yearning in my soul just wouldn't let me.
I used a reflective window to check my appearance, patting some errant locks in place, freshening my lip gloss and straightening my skirt. Good Will has some good bargains in high end clothes if you pick the right neighborhood. Rich women dump last year's fashions when there is still a lot of wear in them. I had long gotten over being choosy. A year out of date but I still was able to be presentable. Heck, in brand terms, I actually upgraded my wardrobe if you overlooked the humiliation of used clothes.
I ditched my carry-all in my car and hoped I didn't miss them. But no, some fru fru dessert was just being set in front of them as I edged the wrought iron gate for the cafe patio open.
They were making eyes and smiling at each other when I walked up. "Randy Carter! How are you?"
His eyes widened in surprise and his spoon stood still in front of his mouth. Suddenly gathering himself, he put it back in the bowl. "Brenda Roberts. It's been...a while." He said with half sincere bonhomie.
"It's Brenda Nealy again." I said slightly pointedly.
"Of course." I did not evaporate in the sunlight or suddenly slink away despite a pointed silent awkward moment. Didn't I see this was a date? Why the hell was I breaking the Code? The woman seemed slightly curious. Good. She should be.
"I haven't seen you for almost two years. How have you been?" I pressed.
"Not so bad." His tone suggested friendship and I almost screamed. "You know...I'm just getting over all of that. Let me introduce you to Natalie." He said this with a smile in his eyes as he glanced at her. "Do you want to join us?" He was forced to ask.
Without hesitation, I grabbed a chair from a nearby table without asking and sat down at the small table. "So...will you buy a girl a drink?"
He blinked at my effrontery but signaled a waiter. One needed to make a good impression on a date even when dealing with pains in the ass.
"Yes madam?" the polite young man asked.
"I'd like a cranberry and vodka, no ice. Heavy on the cranberry." He nodded left.
Natalie was looking at him with those raised eyebrows which indicated that he'd better start talking very quickly about who this strange, forceful woman was. I decided to let him field this one, curious as to how he'd spin it.
"Er...I know Brenda from during my divorce." He glanced at me, seeking some permission about how much he should invade my privacy. NOW this concerns him? I fought down a laugh "She was...she was..." he started delicately.
"The wife of the man who was fucking his wife." I said, reaching out to shake her hand. Needless to say, she shook it rather limply while he had a sour expression.
He put this aside. "How have you been?" he asked with some unfeigned concern. He hadn't bothered to keep up with my life as far as I knew, but his question just confirmed it. The waiter dropped off my drink and vanished as his ilk is fond of doing. I used that as an excuse to take a sip and really look at him.
He seemed to have been hitting the gym. Some of his mid drift spread had vanished from married life. There were a few stress lines, something I'd seen in my own mirror, but overall, he didn't look bad. He was also wearing a rather nice short sleeve button down that really brought out his eyes. I put on the vapid female grin and looked at Natalie. "Do you like his shirt? I think it looks really good on him."
She simpered a bit. "Thank you for saying so. I picked it out for him myself." I was in the midst of bringing my drink back up for my last sip and I hesitated.
"I'm sorry." I said to her. Then I dashed the entire glass into his face and specifically onto his shirt and khakis.
"What did you do that for?" he stated loudly, but quickly getting quieter as people looked on astonished. He'd jumped up and was grabbing at his napkin as Natalie sat there shocked...but then rallied to offer him another napkin.
"What do you think that's for?" I hissed back at him, letting my rancor show on my face finally. "You ruined my life!"
"Michael did that, not me! If this is just because I'm around and he isn't, I don't appreciate being your scapegoat."
I had to look at him agog. He was perfectly sincere. He had absolutely no idea what he did to me.
"You...you..." I was getting ready for some serious cursing when she put her hand on my forearm.
"Calm down. You're making a scene."
That got a rueful laugh out of me. "God forbid HE should face a painful scene!"
Randy gave me a pained look. "Look...I can understand you being upset. Divorce...it's hard on all of us. I thought you'd want to know about their affair so you could choose what you wanted to do." His bimbo was holding his hand and beaming at him. Wasn't he sensitive and understanding?
"That's a brilliant spin. Did he tell you how he 'let me know'?" I asked Natalie. She shook her head. "This...person came to my house and sat down with me at my kitchen and showed me the pictures. Pictures with Michael and his wife..." I put my hand in front of my eyes for a moment in a futile attempt to block out the memory. "Well...we know exactly what they were doing. Then he told me about the mailers."
"Mailers?" Natalie asked. Randy looked away from the table, obviously wishing he was somewhere else.
"Yes." In as sweet a voice as I could muster, I continued "He unilaterally decided to send the pictures to my parents, his parents, our siblings, three of my best friends and a couple people at my work. Do you remember what you told me about why you did that, Randy? Think Natalie might be interested?"
He was mad now. Petulant and mad. "I said that I didn't want him coming back to you with a charming sob story so you'd get all soft and just forgive him. I wanted to make it hard for him to reconcile with you."
"You said you wanted to make it impossible for us to reconcile. You wanted to punish him by ruining his marriage, but you forgot about me!"
"Of course." He said, puzzled. "How could you not divorce him? He CHEATED on you! And if he did it once, he'd do it again. Why would you want him back? He was a charming snake. I didn't want you to fall for a load of bullshit and put you in that position again. I was trying to spare you some pain."
"Thanks a lot! What do you think I'm going through now? I was married to him for 10 years. Don't you think I know exactly what he was? How charming he was? Do you think I was that gullible?"
"So you were going to divorce him? What's the problem?" he said with a shrug.
"You mean besides the humiliation? The problem is that besides being a charmer and a horndog, he was also a great father. He was the man I loved and a good provider and he was handy and he made me laugh and ..." I had to stop for a moment and Natalie grabbed a napkin from the next table. I used it and blew my nose "So no, I don't know what I was going to do, but you made me so angry and ashamed that I didn't have any choice at all."
"He was a cheater. He'd cheat on you again."
"Is that written in stone? He could have changed. We could have counseled."
"People don't change." He pressed. "That's why I divorced her."
"So you're saying you were just as big an asshole BEFORE she cheated on you? Well, that explains a lot. I was hoping that it was only a recent thing, but that makes me understand why she strayed."
"That was un-fucking-necessary." That obviously hurt.
"People change. My boys used to be happy. Now they aren't. Now they have problems. Are YOU there to fix things? Their dad certainly isn't. I used to be happy and in love. Now I can barely think about dating leaving aside how hard it is for a single mom to date. You...probably used to be a nice guy. But look what you did. You humiliated an innocent woman for vengeance. So if you can change into someone that...vindictive, why couldn't he change into someone who appreciated his family? If I knew then what I know now, I would have...I don't know. Had less pride. Pride doesn't fill in the role of a father."
"Look...if he really was a great dad, why would he move away?"
"Probably the same reason I'm wearing second hand clothes. Money issues."
"Excuse me? Why are you wearing second hand clothes? You had all the proof you needed. You could have taken him to the cleaners."
I started to reach for Natalie's drink but she divined my intention and moved it away. Pity. Coffee stains almost as badly as cranberry juice.
"The CLEANERS! Of course! The cleaners will fix everything." I laughed ruefully. "If only I had picked the right cleaners, my life would be a ball!" He looked at me confused. "Do you think my family had all kinds of spare cash just lying around? Do you think he had a big bag of gold coins hidden under his bed that I didn't know about? Here, let me show you. This is a piece of pie" I reached but he moved it.
"Thanks a bunch, but I don't need your visual aid in my lap."
"Fine. Even if 'the cleaners' cut me the bigger slice of the piece...it's still a much smaller than it was. Not to mention child care, two houses, separate insurance...Let's not forget the mailers you sent to THEIR work. Think the 'cleaners' could get me 100% of zero?"
"But there were...pensions and 401ks and stock options."
"You mean the retirement plans? You think it's a good idea for me to spend my retirement money NOW?" A look at the waiters showed me I couldn't scream the way I wanted to. I was already on thin ice.
"So what do you want me to say? I'm sorry? Okay. I am. I thought you'd be okay."
"Wow. That..."I pretended to be misty eyed. "That's just SO beautiful! Tell me, when your wife told you she was sorry...did that actually fix anything? Did it remove any of the pain or loss?"
He looked down in his lap. "No."
"And yet...somehow you think this makes this life shattering action of yours okay."
"What do you want then, money? Do you want to embarrass me in front of Natalie?"
"You you you you!" I said, shaking my head. "I almost understand why your wife was stupid with Michael. No...this has nothing to do with you or me. That ship has sailed and there's no going back. How long did you know she was cheating on you?" He mumbled something. "Pardon?"
"Six weeks." He hissed out.
"Six weeks. And that entire time, you were the perfect husband. Your wife never knew what hit her when she got HER mailers." I glanced at Natalie. "This has nothing to do with you and everything to do with Natalie." I turned to her. "I just thought you might like a little heads up on the kind of man you're dating. I hope you are pretty darned perfect because if you slip up...well, now you know what he can do."
I got up and straightened my skirt. Great, a bit of cranberry juice on my skirt. A small price to pay. "Have a nice date. I'm sure you have a lot to talk about."
I hate the phrase 'took him to the cleaners'.