Jeanie was upset. I could tell that by the angry flush of her cheeks, the wide-eyed glare and decidedly aggressive stance. Most of all, I could tell by the way she jabbed her finger at me saying, "What the fuck did you think you were doing?"
"I was playing the game and taking it to a higher level," I told her and, before she could say anything in reply, I went on, "...and you seemed perfectly happy to play!"
For a moment or two her mouth hung open in shock, then she took a deep breath and said, "Well... I didn't have much choice, did I... you rotten bastard!" before storming off to the bathroom and slamming the door.
It was the final evening of the 3-day conference I'd been attending. Normally I try to avoid them, but it was a chance to bring my wife with me for a few days at the seaside with all expenses paid. So, while I spent the days making ever-briefer notes about boring speeches, Jeanie was free to go shopping in the fashionable resort or laze around on the beach.
I'd met Greg on the first day. He was young and had only recently progressed into management; still full of enthusiasm and making copious notes about everything. At the end of the opening session I'd put him straight about a few things and he'd insisted on buying a drink afterwards. That was why I'd gone to the bar instead of going straight to meet my wife.
I found, however, that the bar overlooked the lounge so that, as we enjoyed our drinks, I had a perfect view of Jeanie. As usual, she had her head buried in a book and, clearly relaxed, she looked absolutely stunning.
"Now that's the kind of company I wouldn't mind having tonight!" Greg suddenly declared. I'd already discovered that he was single, unattached, and deeply disappointed that there weren't any attractive females at the conference, so I just smiled... until I realised he was staring towards the lounge where Jeanie was the only female to be seen.
I hadn't mentioned anything about my wife being with me, so I was trying to think of a polite way to let him know she was 'spoken for,' when he went on, "Jesus! Just look at those legs! I could spend a lot of time with my face between those!" And that, of course, made it even more difficult to say anything without causing a lot of embarrassment.
I suppose I should have been annoyed to hear him say things about my wife like that -- and a few other things in a similar vein -- but, to be honest, I couldn't blame him. Jeanie does have very long and shapely legs, and much of them were visible below the shorts she'd obviously worn to the beach. Less visible, due to a loose-fitting top, was the fact that she also has a trim and slender body.
Seeing such a female, with an elfin-like pretty face framed by blonde hair, it wasn't surprising that Greg didn't make any connection between the 43-year-old, slightly overweight bloke who was his drinking companion and the beautiful 27-year-old. I should have said something; perhaps even made it a joke to remove any possible sting but, before I could, he raised his glass and drained it.
"Right, I'd better get started on the daily report my boss wants from me," he said, adding, with a nod in Jeanie's direction, "Mind you, if I thought I could pull someone like her, I'd tell him to... well, y'know. Anyway, I'm off for a cold shower... or something. See you tomorrow."
I wasn't actually annoyed or anything. Jeanie is beautiful and I'm used to other men admiring her looks, or even trying to hit on her when they think I'm not watching; but Jeanie always laughed it off, displayed her wedding ring, and made it clear she wasn't interested. This was different, though. I'd listened to a good-looking, obviously fit young man openly express his desire for her -- and I realised that it had been a definite turn-on. Weird, huh?
Anyway, as I was about to leave the bar, I spotted Greg making a diversion through the lounge, probably to get a better look. I saw him say 'Hi!' with a big smile and Jeanie, who was well used to that kind of attention, look up, gave a polite response, and immediately go back to her book. Unusually, though, I saw her giving him the 'once-over' as he made his way to the door. In fact, he'd just gone through it and she was still looking in that direction when I tapped her on the shoulder and said, "See anything you fancy?"
I couldn't help grinning as she blushed furiously and clumsily started gathering her things together and, when I added, "His name's Greg... and he said he wants to spend time with his face between your legs!" she actually dropped her book while I sauntered off towards the lobby.
The lift was fairly full so we couldn't talk about it there but, as soon as we made it to the room, I quickly said. "So... how was your day, Love?" The look on her face made me burst out laughing and then, before she could get too annoyed, I told her all about it.
"But why didn't you just tell him?" she asked, and I explained how I hadn't really had chance to. Then, when I told her it was all good: that I'd been turned on listening to him and she'd been turned on looking at him, she hit me with a pillow! A pillow-fight led to laughter, which led to hurriedly getting our clothes off, which led -- after a slight pause to find a condom -- to making love -- much too quickly to be really satisfying.
Later, after an excellent dinner, we tried to make up for it. However, when I suggested pretending she was with Greg, I was amazed at how excited it seemed to make her. I'd heard of men who got a thrill from watching their wives with other men, but our own fantasies had never gone in that direction. Before we fell asleep, I asked Jeanie about it and her entirely reasonable response was that, although it was great fun to fantasise, the 'real thing' was fraught with too many dangers to even contemplate.
It was no surprise. I'd met Jeanie 7 years earlier when I was a mature student seeking a degree in business studies and she was studying English literature. Somehow, we connected. She surrendered her virginity to me a couple of months later and we were married soon after graduation.
After a good night's sleep we had, unusually, an early morning session of love-making. Jeanie teased me that I needed to thank Greg for stimulating our sex life -- and I responded by asking if should tell him it was because my wife was thinking about him as we made love?
The conference was as boring as ever but, over lunch, I learned that Greg was just 22-years-old, that he'd joined his company straight from school and quickly worked his way up, and that his long-term girlfriend had left him because he devoted too much time to his work. At the end of the day I told him it was my turn to buy the drinks but, disappointingly, there was no sign of Jeanie in the lounge. Even so, it was amusing to see the way he kept glancing in that direction. Half an hour later, the look on his face told me she'd arrived and, just as on the previous day, he swiftly finished his drink and left.
This time, I just relaxed and waited to see what would happen, and saw him stop to talk to her. I could see her respond politely, but I could also see her blush quite furiously when he sat down opposite her. After a minute or two, though, she began to relax. They began talking quite contentedly and occasionally laughing at something one of them said. They were enjoying each other's company and, though excited, I did feel somewhat excluded and perhaps a tiny bit jealous.
Eventually, I sent a text to say that I was going straight up to our room -- and she sent a reply saying she'd join me there in a few minutes. In fact, the 'few' turned out to be almost 30 and, when she finally arrived, she was positively glowing!
"Well, that took a while," I said, "What were you doing?"
"Playing the game," she retorted, "After all... you set it up so he'd have a chance to chat me up!"
"Fair enough," I conceded, "But I didn't expect you to drool over him quite as much as you did."
Fortunately, it all turned into light-hearted teasing: Jeanie saying that I was trying to push her into an affair with a younger man because I couldn't keep up with her; me saying she was tiring of me and looking for adventure with someone nearer her own age. It was all good fun, and it helped to fuel the fantasy we indulged in with even greater vigour than the previous night. After that, she told me about her conversation with Greg.
"Don't worry, I didn't tell him you're my husband. I told him I was having a few days on my own; just a bit of a break from home and husband. It was all I could think of because he'd obviously seen the wedding ring. But it probably wasn't the best idea because I think it made him wonder if I might be available, y'know?"
I just nodded as the thought produced an unexpected tremor of excitement.
"Anyway," she went on, "he said that didn't mean I had to dine alone. He invited me to have dinner with him."
"Did you..?" I began, feeling excitement rising again.
"Obviously not!" she laughed, "Or I'd probably be in his room right now... helping him use up a whole box of condoms!"
"Is that what you...?" I started to ask, but she cut me off.
"I'm here! That was my choice. I've never wanted another man and I don't want one now -- only in our game...okay? Anyway, that's the end of it, because he's heading home as soon as the conference ends tomorrow. And it's probably for the best because we're in danger of getting carried away with it.
"No... don't try to look innocent... you've enjoyed the game and I've played along... but I think you've enjoyed it a bit too much and you'd be prepared to let it go further."
"Just me?" I asked.
"No," she answered with her usual honesty, "I've felt a bit tempted as well. Greg's a really nice guy... a bit naïve, perhaps, but very attractive... and I don't want to get embroiled in something that could upset what we have together."
I reassured her that nothing could come between us and, as we settled down to sleep, she repeated that, since Greg was leaving, it was a case of 'game over,' and I could only agree.
I was commiserating with Greg, who told me that the gorgeous blonde had turned down his offer of dinner. I said he'd soon get over it now that he was going home -- but he responded by saying that his boss had called and asked him to meet and greet and a couple of clients who were due to arrive in town the next afternoon.
I know I should have let Jeanie know about it but, not entirely sure if things would work out, I sent her a text saying I'd be having farewell drinks with a few friends and was likely to be a little bit late; if I wasn't back by seven, she should go to dinner without me.
Greg, of course, wasn't interested in drinks this time so I went to the bar on my own. Although the bar was crowded, I managed to find a spot where I could watch Greg approach my wife in the lounge. She appeared to be surprised and pleased, then a little uncertain; probably when he told her that he was staying on for another night, but it didn't take long for her to relax.
She was still in her beachwear - shorts and tee shirt probably pulled on over a swimsuit -- and she looked incredibly sexy and desirable. By the time it got to six-thirty, however, I could see she was becoming a bit agitated and, moments later, her text message arrived asking me where I was. I replied that I'd be late and to go to dinner without me. Her next message said, 'Greg's still here.' I replied 'lucky you' and added a smiley face.
As the bar filled up it became more difficult to see them properly although they seemed to be deep in conversation and very much enjoying being together. Eventually, they began checking their watches and I guessed -- correctly as it turned out -- that they were arranging to have dinner together. That was when I went up to the room and poured myself a drink; just before Jeanie arrived, found me slightly drunk and, when I asked if she'd been able to find an interesting dinner companion, became 'upset.'
Surprisingly, perhaps, she appeared to have calmed down a bit by the time she came out of the bathroom. She'd obviously showered and I watched in uncertain silence as she covered the matching white bra and pants with a white blouse and a short, lemon-coloured skirt.
"It's only dinner, Jeanie," I said, slurring my words slightly as I attempted to offer an olive branch while she carefully applied her make-up, "It's just food, wine and conversation."
"Oh, I see," she replied sarcastically, "I must remember... if he wants a goodnight kiss I'll tell him my husband said it was only to be food, wine and conversation!"
"Look... Jeanie... I think..." but I'm not even sure what I intended to say -- the extra drink had been one too many -- but it didn't matter because she interrupted, saying;
"The trouble with games is that there're usually losers as well as winners. Remember that!" Then she grabbed her small handbag and, before leaving, only paused to add, "I've got my key with me... you don't have to wait up!"
After she'd gone, I laid down on the bed and, all at once the room seemed to start spinning -- definitely a drink too many. When it eventually settled down, I managed to strip off and get under the covers. Although I was obviously a bit concerned about Jeanie dining with Greg, even in that confused state I wasn't too worried. I was confident things wouldn't go beyond the 'goodnight kiss' she'd mentioned -- although even the thought of that gave me a vicarious thrill. Before long, thanks to the effects of the alcohol, I drifted off to sleep.
I woke up once -- somewhere around ten o'clock -- in need of the bathroom and, guessing she'd be home before long and not wanting to seem mistrustfully anxious, I decided to pretend to be asleep. In fact, pretending wasn't necessary. The next thing I remember is being woken up by a small sound and cautiously opening one eye to locate its source. Then I realised it was the sound of the door opening, and my head cleared rapidly as I realised it must be Jeanie returning from her dinner date.
Reaching for the bedside light, I found the switch and, in the dull glow of its light, the first thing I saw was the small alarm clock -- telling me that it was 4:18! Suddenly, I was wide awake, bolt upright and looking as my wife as she quietly closed the door behind her and came over to perch on the side of our bed.
"Jeanie?" I croaked, "Where've you been 'til now? What've you...?"
"I've been playing the game," she answered very quietly, "...and taking it to a much a higher level."
Then, seeing my stunned and uncomprehending expression, she went on, "Two choices... you can either ask me a lot of questions, or you can lie back and listen -- without saying a word -- and I'll try to tell you everything while it's still fresh in my memory."
My head was now completely clear. I was pretty certain that I knew what had happened, but I said "Okay," and settled back on the pillows to listen.
"Okay," she confirmed, "You're probably not going to like it... but I'll tell you... I'll tell you all of it." And then she began to tell me her story.
"After I left here, I met up with Greg in the lobby and we went to a restaurant just down the road. I was still furious about the way you'd set me up, Love... but he'd booked a table for 8 o'clock and we were early; so we had a couple of drinks while we waited for our table and I began to relax, calm down and enjoy his company. I got my head together and resolved that it would just be a meal in good company, followed by a goodnight kiss. And so, having decided that, I think I was able to relax properly...y'know?
"The meal was excellent... the full works and some really good wine... and we took our time over it. It was well after ten by the time we finished our coffees... and I really did enjoy his company. I don't mean his company was better than yours... but it was... well... different. He's still got a more innocent view of the world than we have, I suppose... and it was fun being with him. He's also very intelligent and he has a way of telling funny little stories that made me laugh a lot.
"So, there I was... in a place where no one knows me... with a young, fit and good-looking companion who seemed absolutely smitten with me... having had a lovely meal and possibly a little too much wine.
"So, when he'd paid the bill and we were leaving the restaurant, I felt really guilty. I mean, I don't think he actually expected anything from me... but I couldn't help feeling that we'd been using him as some kind of 'expendable pawn' in our game... and it just didn't feel right. So, once we went outside, I suggested a stroll along the seafront.
"It was really nice; the air was warm and there was a nearly-full moon... so I slipped my arm through his and we wandered as far as the Opera House before turning and heading back. To be honest, I wasn't in any hurry... that sounds terrible, I know...but I'd really had such a lovely time. He'd behaved like a perfect gentleman throughout and I knew I could easily get away with nothing more than a peck on the cheek, y'know? But it didn't feel right. It seemed wrong that we were just using him to fuel a fantasy.
"As we neared the hotel, I stopped to look in a shop window. It was just an excuse to extend the evening a little really. It was a music shop with all kinds of instruments on display, and Greg stepped into the doorway to get a better look at one of the guitars. I followed him and, when he turned to say something, I... well... I just reached up... and... and I kissed him!
"Yes! It took him by surprise, too!" she smiled when she heard my gasp. "I hadn't planned it... hadn't even thought about it... I just did it! And the next thing I knew, we had our arms around each other and we were snogging in a shop doorway like a couple of teenagers. We'd have probably carried on for ages if we hadn't heard a bunch of noisy drunks coming along the street!
"So, when we left the doorway it was with his arm around my shoulder and mine around his waist and, to be honest, I felt like I was floating on air. When we reached the hotel lobby, without thinking about it at all, I just hung back and waited while he retrieved his key from reception
"And I know this'll sound crazy... but it's true... I honestly wasn't thinking about anything when we got into the lift. I saw him press the button for the second floor... and I knew I ought to press the one for ours... but before I could do that, he started kissing me again! The next thing I knew, we were standing outside his room and he was holding the door for me.
"I did hesitate, Love... I really did. I realised the enormity of what was happening... and that I'd reached the point of no return. But then I saw the look on his face... the fear that he'd tried to take things too far too quickly... the fear that he was about to be rejected... and I just couldn't bring myself to let him down like that. It would have made me... I don't know... a heartless tease... or that's what I felt, anyway. So, with my knees definitely shaking... I stepped inside.
"The room was okay... a bit more 'functional' than ours... but the bed seemed wider than a standard single and... sorry... I'm rambling a bit... you want to know what happened, don't you?
"Okay... I'm telling you as much as I can recall... one or two bits may be a bit vague, but that's not because I'm holding anything back. And if it gets to be too much, just let me know and I'll stop.
"So... where was I? Oh, yes... we're in his room... and the door's closed... and the only light is from a street lamp outside... but it's enough to see quite clearly. And we just sort of stood there... looking at each other... as if neither of us had ever done anything like this before and didn't know what to do next! Ridiculous, really... but Greg suddenly seemed completely unsure of himself. So... well, I did what I thought was best. I undid the buttons on my blouse and just... sort of... shrugged it off me!