Trying to Reclaim My MarriagebySlirpuff©
"Your friends not mine."
That was the crux of it. I never went to college and most of my friends were like me, blue-collar hard working people who struggled to eek out a living. Her friends, on the other hand, were college educated, mostly well off and never associated with the likes of me unless they were hiring for a job they needed done that was beneath them.
When we were alone though it was entirely different. We were in love and that was the most important thing in our life. I didn't love her for what she had more so for who she was. She wasn't perfect for me, far from it. And every once in a while she'd say something that would get stuck in my craw but then we'd look at one another and knew it didn't make a tinkers damn in the long run as long as we had each other. Her love was the most valuable thing I owned.
The best way to describe our wedding is a combination of the have's and have not's. Her parents had money and mine didn't, simple as that. They never came right out and said I wasn't good enough for their daughter, but her dad did try to get me to ditch my idea of expanding my painting business. I guess he figured if I flopped, his daughter would end up supporting me. So I smiled, was gracious and did what a good husband did to keep piece in the family, I sucked it up when we were together. I don't know how many times I drew blood biting my tongue while I'd listen to him talk or spout out about this thing or that.
"You ok?" Sue asked after a typical family gathering. "I thought you were going to blow a gasket at one point."
"For once I'd like to see your dad get off his high horse and live like ninety percent of the rest of the world."
"Steve, he started with nothing and built his business on his own. He just can't see why everyone else can't do the same thing. When he says most of the small business owners are just lazy, he really believes it. He worked 27/7 until he made it, now he's living off his success."
"He was damn lucky and he had a father who gave him front money to start his business. I'm not saying he didn't work hard, but also having a father whose friends threw their business his way didn't hurt either."
"If he wants to flaunt his money let him, he's earned that right. So what if he wants to spoil Danny and our new little girl," she said rubbing her belly. "It's just his way of trying to make it easier on us, that's all. Besides, having another mouth to feed will tax us even more since I'll be out of work for about four months. But, when I make partner, we'll be on easy street and won't need his money. You know I love you don't you?"
That statement made all the difference to me in the world. "Now you're not playing fair. You know I'd do anything in the world for you. Besides, I like keeping you pregnant."
"And pray tell why?"
"Boobs. You've grown two sizes since you've been pregnant and I'm loving every minute of it," I snickering as she punched me in the arm.
"Well, you had better enjoy these the next two months, because after this one is born we're done. We'll have our boy and girl. You'll have to go back to loving my boyish figure, like it or not." I put out my lower lip in a fake pout. "And mister there is no way in hell I'm going to get a boob job either. I like my small perky boobs, the ones you fell in love with, remember?"
"Big or small, I'll love you either way," I said rubbing her belly. "And if you say we're done, you won't hear me complain either. You're my bride and I'll love you until the end of time." It was a corny phrase I'd heard in an old song but I felt it fit. I was happy, we were happy and that's all I ever wanted in our marriage.
Four months after Kim was born Sue was back at work with a vengeance. I think she tried to make up for all the time she'd been out the first month she went back. Some nights I wondered if she was ever coming home.
"Babes, you're burning the candle at both ends, you need to ease up a bit," I said with a concern only a caring husband and father could possess.
"I don't want to get bumped out of my place in line. If everything goes my way, I'll be up for a partnership by the end of next year. That, my husband, will seal our future; there will be no more struggling after that."
I didn't think we were doing so badly. We didn't have everything we both wanted but what couple did. I wasn't trying to keep up with the Jones, hell we already had more than three quarters of my friends. My business wasn't a huge success yet but it was growing every year. So like I said at the start of this, I began taking over more and more home and kid duties while Sue's hours did nothing but increase.
When she made partner they had a big dinner for her. All the other partners, their wives and office staff were invited to the dinner and although it wasn't black tie, it was a dress up affair. I wore my suit, my one and only, and Sue went out and bought a new long dress. When she came down the stairs, she looked hotter than I'd seen her in years. I wanted to take her back upstairs, rip that dress off her and make love to her and told her as much.
"Simmer down cowboy, you'll have your chance when we get home tonight since mom and dad are watching the kids. Right now let's just get there in one piece and then maybe later tonight we'll see what we can come up with," Sue said blowing me a kiss.
The company's top senior partners were in attendance along with the others from her regional office. It wasn't a roast since everyone had nothing but good things to say about her. Sue was only one of three women junior partners and I was told she was being groomed to eventually become one of the senior partners. I guess having a woman as a manager shows all the other firms you are progressive and promote from within. It also didn't hurt to have a father who was wealthy and well connected either.
The dinner was great, there was an open bar and I made sure not to over indulge, but it looked like I was the only one. It seems like when there is an open bar, people think they have to get their moneys worth. Let's just say the bartender was kept busy all night.
Sue was passed around and spent most of the evening talking to one or more of the senior partners. She'd glance over and look at me every once in a while; I guess to make sure I wasn't getting too bored. I had nothing in common with any of them but did strike up a conversation with one of the senior partners about cars. He was from the corporate office in Atlanta, had a show car and was genuinely interested in what I had to say. About twenty minutes later however, my evening took a real dump.
Like I said, some people should not drink or at least not get drunk. That's when their mouths get the better of them and before their brains have a chance to pull the words back. I heard a group of the male junior partners talking and if they hadn't been so loud and laughing about what they were saying I probably wouldn't have paid them any attention.
"I guess we know who wears the pants in that family," one of them joked.
"I heard he's nothing more than a maid. Takes the kids to school, does the laundry and all the cooking. Hell, I can't even get my wife to do all that for me," another joked. Being the gentleman I am, I tried to ignore them.
"Shit, he's probably such a wimp that she dictates if and when they have sex." They were now laughing openly and loud. "Hell, he probably has some frilly thing on when she gets home just to entice her into giving him a little. But knowing the ice queen, she probably makes him beg before telling him "no"." As I said, some people just shouldn't drink.
I was standing right behind the guy who made that last comment when his friends suddenly shut up and he turned around.
"Just for your information, my wife, or the ice queen as you call her, could chew your ass up and spit you out on one of her bad days; I don't think I would mess with her."
"I don't think my ass is what I had in mind for her to chew on," he goaded me on with a stupid smile on his face. The smile didn't last long. A knee to the groin and an uppercut under the chin and asshole was out cold lying on the floor. Seeing what happened to asshole his buddies scattered.
All right, I guess I probably should have let his comments slide and just walked away from that drunk. But at the time, I wasn't thinking about the repercussions of my actions, only defending my wife's honor. It didn't go down like that though.
Sue was at my side asking for an explanation while the drunken guy's friends tried to get him to his feet.
"Sue, he was saying ugly things about you. I just couldn't let him slander you like that."
"Don't you think I can take care of myself? You let a piss ant coerce you into causing a scene and ruining what was suppose to be my night, how could you?" she quietly berated me. "I want you to go over and apologize to him right now, do you hear me?" She was right it was her night. Sucking it up, I walked over to where he was standing.
"I'm sorry I hit you but if I ever hear you say another word about my wife again, you won't get off so lucky." I was right the first time, some people should not drink because he got this grin on his face and said in too loud a voice that Sue probably gave a mean blowjob. Everyone around heard it this time.
I glanced briefly over my shoulder at Sue and cleaned his clock. He wasn't getting up on his own any time soon. From there I walked out of the banquet hall doors, got in our car and drove home. All the way home I knew there was going to be hell to pay and I figured Sue riding home with someone else might cool her down; I was so very wrong.
I'm glad I wasn't drunk and vulnerable when she got home or she probably would have killed me. She must have yelled at me for over an hour and a half explaining in detail what my little outburst cost her in credibility.
"You had to have heard what he said, hell everyone had to have fucking heard it. And you wanted me to let that commit slide? I'm sorry, he may be a piss ant, but no one talks about my wife in that manner."
"So what if everyone heard what a stupid drunk was spouting off. Did his words hurt me in the eyes of my bosses? Not a bit. But, your two outbursts sure as hell did. Now everyone is going to be talking about the new partner's husband who made a fool of himself at his wife's promotional dinner. I can just hear them now. We'd like to ask you and your husband to the next dinner, but we're afraid he might lose his temper again. That's what I'm going to have to contend with from now on."
"Fine, I won't go to anymore of your fucking high brow dinners if I embarrass you that much. He's just fucking luckily that I didn't put him in the hospital."
"Your lucky that he didn't press assault charges against you. If it wouldn't have been for one of the senior partners talking to him, you'd probably already be in jail," she yelled at me. I walked away as she continued ragging on me all the way up to our bedroom.
"I suppose sex is out for tonight," I commented lightly in a kidding manner. It didn't go over well. I slept on the couch that night. I didn't go over with her to pick up our kids, because I knew she was still angry and would probably have to endure the wrath of her father when he found out what I had done. I couldn't win no matter what I did on this one. This started our free fall.
From that night on the gap started getting bigger. She was right, she was invited to the dinners but I wasn't, or that's what she told me anyway. Sue started working longer and longer hours and when I complained, she said that if it wasn't for her paycheck what would we live on? Mine?" That was always said in a condescending tone. I guess she had a point.
From that day forward I threw myself back into my work. If she was working late, I took the kids with me to the shop. I started teaching Danny what I did for a living and showed him some of my work in progress.
"Wow dad, you painted this?" he said looking at the tank of a Harley I'd just finished. "It's beautiful." That made me feel good.
When she started getting on me about taking the kids to my dirty shop, I told her that if she'd come home at a decent hour once in a while I wouldn't have to. That shut her up for a minute but she just found something else to bitch about. We were going downhill fast.
When she went in on a Saturday and didn't get home until after eight we had a huge drag out fight. If it wasn't for the kids coming into our bedroom crying it probably would have gone on a lot longer.
"See what you did? Now you've upset the children," she shouted accusingly at me. I wanted to punch her.
After that, I spent most of my weekends away from the house. I'd hit a car or bike show and was doing everything possible to bring in new business. When I started doing experimental computer engineered graphics I picked up about ten percent more business. Sue gave me a hard time when I bought an Apple iMAC and updated my software. It had gotten to the point that I didn't care what she did or didn't think about anymore. And don't even ask about my miserable love life.
I took Danny to a two-day regional bike show that I'd done over fifty new drawings for. I had seven custom painted tanks and three rear fenders on display. I did a couple of drawings I was kind of proud of and thought long and hard how I was going to present them to a certain group I knew would be there. With my folder in one hand and my son in the other, I walked up to the badest looking motherfucker I could find. He was the chapter president of the Warmonger motorcycle gang. Danny's eyes were as big as dinner plates and he kind of stayed behind me.
"Excuse me," I said making sure I didn't tap him on the shoulder. "My name is Steve and I think I've got something you might be interested in." Immediately two big bruisers got in-between the two of us telling me in no uncertain terms I should be leaving about now. I wasn't giving up that easily.
"Since most of the paint jobs on your bikes look like crap I just thought you'd like to see what a good paint job might look like." When one of the other members pushed me back and said to get the fuck away before I got hurt, I almost gave up.
"I just thought a man of your stature might like something on his bike he can be really proud of." I gave him one more look and then turned my back on the group of ten bikers who everyone thought was going to kill me and bury my body in the street in front of them.
Then I heard it, "let me see what you've got." I turned around, walked through the group and handed him my folder. He flipped through the first three and smiled. The son of a bitch smiled. "You do these?"
I nodded and told him I did all my own design work. I knew which one had caught his eye. It was a picture of a badass biker on the back of his custom Harley that was being pulled by six hot naked women. I was thankful Danny had never seen it. It was something like Santa's sleigh on steroids or drugs. Everyone now started looking at my designs and snickering amongst themselves. I gave him a couple of cards and said I'd give him a great deal if he was interested. I thanked him for his time and before I could walk away he extended his hand and thanked me. His name was Sid, not Badass, Killer or Mad Dog like I thought.
With a scared Danny in tow, I walked back to our tent knowing most people thought I was fucking crazy and lucky to still be alive.
"That took balls. Jesus Christ, that took fucking balls to do what you did back there. You know your certifiable don't you? What were you thinking?" My friend Tim railed into me. "Everyone, including me, was waiting for the explosion."
"You mean you wouldn't have jumped in to save me?" I replied looking at him innocently.
"I would have saved your son and told Sue you just lost it and committed suicide."
"She probably would have been sad because she'd have to find someone else to watch the kids." I probably shouldn't have said that right in front of Danny, but he was still recovering from what I'd done. That day I picked up three tank jobs and one maybe total bike paint job.
"Dad, did you know those men today?" Danny asked sitting next to me on the way home.
"They're just a couple of friend of mine that I haven't seen in quite a while. Why do you ask?"
"Well, one guy said that we were going to get shot talking to those bad men."
"Well, did we get shot? Did they hurt us in any way? See, you can't believe everything you hear people say."
"Dad, did you see all the tattoos on their arms, and even the women there had a lot of them all over," he said looking at my arms. "How come you don't have any? Some of them were really cool." I was glad to see that Danny had recovered well. Dinner, on the other hand, didn't go quite as well.
"Mom, you should have seen us," he said before I could stop him. "Dad just went up to these guys and started talking to them, they were something called the Warmongers. It was so cool, they had tattoos and everything." Sue looked at me, her eyes narrowed.
"Steve, what the heck were you thinking?"
"Nothing happened. See, we're still here. We weren't shot and have no stab wounds. I just gave them a couple of designs I thought they might be interested in, that's all."
"Who are you approaching tomorrow? The Hell's Angels? Think about what you're doing for a change especially when you have our son with you."
"I'm trying to build up my business, if you don't mind," I said more than a little sarcastically.
"Steve. your job is to watch the kids when I'm working. I thought we agreed that I was the bread winner of the family."
"That was before you tried to cut my nuts off and make me into a eunuch. My business is every bit as important as yours, partnership or no partnership. So, from now on if you're going to be late, find yourself a babysitter if you don't like me watching the kids." I left the table. I started getting my balls back.
Sue refused to let me take Danny with me on Sunday. Something about me putting my son's life in danger. Business was slow Sunday and I was about to call it a day when I heard the roar of a lot of bikes coming down the street. When they pulled up to my tent I wasn't sure what was going to happen.
"I've decided to take you up on your offer," Sid told me getting off his bike. "I want the one with the six women pulling the bike. But, I want it to start on the front fender with a big-breasted blonde girl on her knees and have it extend over the full length of the tank. Finally, on the rear fender I want a brunette pictured from the backside. Just make sure she has a nice round big ass." I was doing back flips inside my brain.
It wasn't going to be cheap, but since I'd all ready done the artwork all I'd have to worry is about materials and labor. We finally came to terms on the price but Sid said that he wasn't going to pay a dime until it was done. I agreed.
"How long is it going to take?"
"It should take about two weeks, give or take a day or two. But, I don't want you to see it before it's done if you don't mind." He told me that he would drop his bike off at the shop tomorrow morning. I was in.
I didn't say a word to Sue about it. She was giving me her holier than thou attitude and I was up to here with it. And no, I wasn't getting any great sex if that's what you were wondering. We did it once in a while but now I made Sue initiate it. I only refused her once; said I had a headache. She slammed the bathroom door so hard it knocked the mirror off the bedroom wall.
I spent most of my days and nights in my shop over the next two weeks. When Sue would call me about dinner sometimes, I'd just tell her to eat without me. She'd get angry saying something about eating together as a family and then I'd remind her about the last couple of years and how often she was home for dinner. Now that she was the baby sitter, she could see what I'd gone through all those nights by myself.