A New and Delicate Balance Ch. 03


Yes, I have my needs, a lot of them. One of them is my need for you to love me. It hurt me deeply when you took that away. I could not understand why you would do that. How could you be so selfish not to allow me my harmless pleasures? I was like a little girl not getting her candy.

You knew it, that night in the hospital. I saw how you knew why I had cut my wrists so clumsily. Yes, it was blackmail. I just could not let you go. Later I even sent Cynthia to you to blackmail you back into loving me. And I counted on your old-time sentiments when I tried to reel you back in, in snowy Central Park.

You have disturbed my precious balance, honey. The balance of love and needs. I had it all and I intended to keep it. I begged you to come back and at the same time I never stopped providing for my petty lust. You saw it with your own eyes.

After the disaster in the Park I went to see a shrink. She showed me what had of course been always right under my nose. The selfishness, the greed. The inability to love or even care.

She tells me that I'll always need outside crutches to sustain my inadequate self esteem. Or whatever. I guess she means your love for me, darling. And yes, I shall miss it. I can only hope I won't fall apart without it.

Honey, I know it is over. I'll be leaving New York soon. I have found a new job in Los Angeles. I did not want to go without settling this mess. Please help me. I want to get through this quickly and with as little pain as possible.

I am so sorry.


P.S.: I know I can't ask you. But please talk to me one last time before I leave."


I walked into the bar. It was crowded. Icy rain poured down outside, so the place was clogged with wet raincoats and dripping umbrella's. It smelled distinctively swampy.

Elaine's letter had been a big relief. But it never interrupted my incessant stream of moonstruck thoughts of Irene. I felt like a schoolboy. Or worse: a 31 year-old schoolboy. I could think of nothing else.

I had phoned Irene as soon as I laid down the letter. My heart throbbed in my throat. I would hear her voice for the first time since Chicago. There was a fairytale quality to those days by then. It was all just a few hours ago, but the memory already seemed enshrined in a pink bubble. It got more and more unreal with time passing.

The perfection of every remembered minute scared me. Her voice surely would sweep me back to reality. The breathtaking question was which reality that would be.

And yes, Irene's voice cut straight through all the dreamy mists. She was as close and real as she had been. It was the most perfect reality. I eased down and we talked as if we had never left. She wanted so much to see me, be with me again. But the lost Chicago workdays had turned back on her with a vengeance. She had to work late and then drive down to Baltimore for two days. I groaned. Her voice tried to console me. It almost hugged me through the phone. It made me feel like a puppy in a warm nest.

She promised to take Friday off and so would I. A three-day paradise opened at my horizon. We kissed our phones like teenagers. We never wanted to end the call.

Now I was at this bar, looking for Elaine. I had decided that I should reward her courageous and honest letter with a prompt answer to her final request. I called her immediately. Her voice had been small and timid. There were long pauses and her responses had hardly been more than two or three words.

I did not see her. Maybe she was late. The weather was awful. Work might have tied her down. I guess she'd call me. I fought my way to the bar to get me a drink.

A finger tapped my shoulder. I looked around and up into the face of a giant. He asked me if I was who I was. I said yes and he asked me to come with him. Elaine had sent him to pick me up.

I hesitated. Why hadn't she just come here herself? He told me that she had been tied up with work and had asked him if he would take me to her office. She could talk there and not lose too much time.

The whole thing had a strange and rather illogical feel about it. But as this was quite a thing for Elaine to do, I agreed to come with him. A moment later we were back in the wet streets. I felt his huge hand take my elbow and steer me to the narrow alley next to the bar. I tried to shake my arm loose.

"Where are we going?" I asked. He just pushed me on.

Then two other men came out of the alley. My heart stood still. They were as huge as the first man. One grabbed the lapels of my coat. He pulled me into the dark alley, then pushed me against the wall behind a dumpster. White flashes of devastating pain made me crumble. Hard and merciless fists hit me in the stomach. They took my breath away, spreading instant nausea.

I sank to the dirty wet concrete. I vomited. A hailstorm of punches and kicks crashed into me. I rolled into a ball to protect myself. After a while a growing numbness seemed to shield me from the ongoing punishment.

I lost my consciousness.

I must have regained some of it, for I remember long legs in leather, heeled boots. But it may as well have been a dream. A dream with Elaine's voice in it.

I don't recall all she said. There were words and shards of sentences. Shards like "not fair, Eric...you should have understood." And: "How could you do it to me?" "I needed it." "It had to be restored, you know?" There were words like "goodbye" and "I love you, Eric." Then I must have gone down again.


A sweet, but drawn face came out of the white. A wealth of curls danced around it, creating a reddish halo.

"Eric?" its mouth said. I guess that must be me.

My head was filled with church bells and jackhammers. The white light absorbed the sweet face again.

When it returned, I knew that I knew its owner. I felt she was dear to me. I groaned.

I guess all good things are three, as they say. I croaked her name. A dazzling smile flashed. It almost blinded me.



They counted two cracked ribs, a split cheekbone and a broken nose. There also was a lot of other damage, though nothing permanent. My skin seemed a labyrinth of blotches, bruises and swellings. My body hurt all over.

There was police too. They had a lot of questions but I could only give a few answers. And those were hardly audible

But thank God, there was Irene.

It seems I had been on the floor of that alley for hours, mixing my blood with my vomit and puddles of dirty rainwater. It seems the police precinct got an anonymous phone call close to midnight. A female voice told them to go look in the alley. The voice or the call were impossible to identify.

An ambulance had picked me up and taken me to an E.R. I still had my wallet and cell phone. They had assumed that the number at the back of the small portrait in my wallet should be called. So they had woken up Irene in her hotel in Baltimore. She had jumped in her car and driven back immediately.

I hurt. I hurt a lot, but I felt great.

It took them about a week to restore me enough to send me back home. Irene insisted that I should stay at her place. I was too weak to protest. I decided to stay weak for a while longer.

After another few days we made love again. It hurt in the sweetest way.

After six more months we got married.


Three years have passed, but the pink clouds haven't settled yet. They won't for a long time to come, I hope.

It is summer, the city swelters. Good friends of Irene's invited us to their modest house in the Hamptons. Luckily not modest enough to have a huge pool.

I watch her from the shade. She lounges on a towel next to the water. She is topless to catch as much sun as she can. I love to watch her body. I love her sweet soft hills and valleys, the riot of curly hair. Maybe she watches me watching her. I can't see, she wears the sunglasses I gave her. She also wears half of the tiny bikini we bought on Aruba, last month. Her skin shines with the oil I rubbed into it.

They say there are a million signs to tell you that your wife has found a new and delicate balance in her marriage. You most probably are the last to discover them. Let alone see what they mean. Why should you? The signs are all-positive. They are a balm for your ego.

Damn, damn, damn you, Elaine, for all the poisoned little seeds you planted.

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byangiquesophie© 62 comments/ 127066 views/ 23 favorites
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by Anonymous

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by chaoddic12/05/18

Eileen needs to pay

Aling with all her bbc friends. Js

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by Schwanze111/20/18


it just went from unrealistic to goofy. WTF?

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by Anonymous05/30/18

You have a really disturbed mind

There are many, many, many wrong things in your story. And I'm not talking about the psycho-bitch you portrayed, but about your male character. You obviously have NO IDEA how a man feels, thinks and acts.more...

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by BrianBenson05/21/18

Great Story

Please don't be discouraged by some of the a-holes that write nasty, hateful comments. This is a great story that I am enjoying immensely! Thank you!

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by etchiboy04/17/18

Elaine needs a beatin’ real bad.

How can he do it? She obviously has money, or the ear/cock of somebody with money, else why the group of wiseguys? But still, it leaves a bad taste in my mouth her getting away with this very extreme (soundsmore...

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