Clark Kent or Superman?byrpsuch©
"If I didn't know you better, Grace, I'd think you were jealous. But, of course, that's not possible. Your rules make this perfectly acceptable. In fact, as I understand them, sorry for the crudeness Tina, it would be fine if we screwed the night away to the point we had to drag ourselves bleary-eyed into work, as long as I needed it to fulfill me. I didn't miss the part where this just applied to you, did I Grace?"
Jealous? Me? Hah! It was just, I don't know. Something seemed wrong about this. I knew I was pissed. I turned and walked up the stairs in a huff but he didn't react at all. He just focused his attention on little Tina. Bastard.
I didn't trust him. I didn't believe for a minute that they weren't going to fuck each other's brains out when they got into that bed together. I wasn't going to trust him. Tonight I would stay up and go to the door and listen. Then I would surprise them in the act. Cheating bastard.
I waited until I saw the light go out. Damn, he wasn't even hiding it. He hadn't even closed the door. I couldn't very well stand outside their door. I could be seen and I would look pathetic. But it didn't matter. I could hear very well from the hall.
I snuck down the carpeted hall silently. There were no creaking boards to give me away. There was also nothing to hear. It was quiet and still in their room. Soon I heard the sound of regular breathing. They were sleeping. Did they plan to do it later after they had gotten some sleep? I stood there for what seemed a very long time. Then I went back to my room to look at the clock. It was nearly three. I snuck back down the hall. More time passed and still nothing. I got back to my room just after five. Would they get up early and do it before they got ready for work? It didn't matter. I was much too tired to stay awake.
I was kind of tired to get up too. I must have hit the snooze alarm an alarming number of times. I was quite late. Nevertheless, I went into the spare bedroom and pulled down the covers to check the sheets - nothing. If they had done anything, it wasn't in bed. For some reason I didn't find this reassuring.
I called in to work and told them I would be late. They already knew that – I wasn't there. I discovered I would have a full day - Mindy called in sick. The day was so hectic I didn't have time to think about all the craziness but I was beginning to lose my patience and planned to confront Barry about this soon.
He wasn't making it easy. He was so damn condescending.
"I figured every experience in my life doesn't have to be top quality and I do owe you some time and attention so I'm staying home to have dinner with you tonight."
How very generous of you. I deserve a lot more than that; I'm your wife.
He was not very engaging during dinner. He didn't seem to be making the effort. When I have sex with him at least I try to put some enthusiasm into it. It's not as good as it is with the other guys but I put in the effort. I think.
He even sat and watched some TV with me after dinner. I was beginning to think I could lure him into bed when the doorbell rang at around ten. Who the hell could that be at this hour? It was Tina with an overnight bag.
"Barry, could I talk with you for a minute?"
"Sure. Tina, you know the way."
I watched her head up the stairs. "Barry, this is the second night in a row. Are you having an affair with her? Are you falling in love with her? It isn't right to be seeing the same person again and again." Actually it wasn't right to be seeing anyone at all.
"We felt good together sleeping last night so we decided to try it again. No affair. No love. Not yet. I mean I guess there's always the chance of that when you're seeing other people, isn't there? But I need it to be fulfilled, just like you do."
I still didn't have a good answer to this. So I tried another approach. "Barry, when are we going to make love?"
"Did we ever do that? I thought it was something you just doled out to me so I wouldn't be too unhappy. That sounds a lot more like sex than making love."
"No. It's special with you." Well, it used to be. Why was that?
"Whatever. First, I have no interest in doing anything with you sexually at the moment. For some strange reason I still feel betrayed. Second, I wouldn't even consider it until you bring me results of your tests for STDs. You clearly are not using condoms and I have no intention of risking my health. Bring back test results and we can talk about doing it until your next coupling. I will require tests after each time. You also need to know that even if it's no match for yours, I have a sex drive too and if I can't do it with you, I'll start auditioning for that as well."
"That's not fair. I always did it with you and I'm always available to you."
"Unless you're with some other guy. Anyway, you're not available if you don't have test results."
I hadn't even thought about that. I'd blown three days I could have been tested. This was a reasonable request. Even I could see that. "Even if I'm with some other guy, when I get back I do it with you if you're interested."
He winced and closed his eyes. "Great. I'm getting sloppy seconds." He headed for the stairs.
"I always clean up. I would never do that to you." Mostly because it would probably have resulted in my getting caught.
He didn't answer. He just turned back and gave me a look of disgust and went up the stairs.
That had not gone well. In fact, none of this had gone well. I had played over many scenarios in my head and none of them were anything like this. Barry was a docile, devoted husband. He carefully thought out situations before taking a course of action. But in this, he just seemed to be acting, reacting. I had expected him to recognize the logic of my position and acquiesce. Instead he seemed to want to fight it. He hadn't told me to stop, but then I had made it clear that I wouldn't. We were going to have to just sit down and work this out.
I didn't check up on them this night. He seemed to be telling me the truth and it wasn't like him to lie to me. I had lied to him, but it was for his own good.
Thursday night he stayed home for dinner as well but I got some more unpleasant news.
"I'm taking my friend Linda to the opera on Saturday night."
"Those are our tickets."
"I pay for them."
"But we go together. I like the opera."
"But Linda loves it. And she is very knowledgeable about it. It's a delight to discuss it with her. We've talked about them lots of times at the office after you and I go."
"Why don't you just do that?"
"I want the whole experience. It's like you with those bigger cocks. This is a more immediate experience of being able to talk in depth about the opera. Don't worry, I'll tell you about it afterwards."
It seemed like every time I was prepared to talk about his behavior, he threw me a new curve and I didn't know what to say. I was angry but how do I distinguish this situation from the one I had presented him with?
In the absence of anything else useful to say I told him I had been tested today. I would have the results next week. Having to get tested was going to put a serious crimp in my sex life, which I wasn't having any of anyway.
"You'll be happy to know, Grace, that my tests came back clean. I went Monday morning. Of course you've had more recent activity than me so there is no guarantee that you're okay."
When he got home Friday night, I asked if we could go to dinner and dancing. "It only seems fair. I mean you won't have to eat my cooking and I did give you time whenever you wanted it."
"And I'm so grateful I don't know how to express it."
Again, I couldn't tell which one I was dealing with. He didn't say it sarcastically but he could have meant it that way. "Well?"
"Okay. I don't have anything planned. I guess it's fair."
He said we could go to the Olive Garden for food like I cooked but he preferred Dominick's Italian for an upgrade.
I was nervous and didn't quite know how to bring up my unhappiness with the direction our relationship had taken. So I didn't. It turned out he did. "How was your day?" I asked him.
"I can't remember the last time you asked me that. It's funny, before I caught you screwing around on me I hadn't noticed it. I guess it should have been a clue that you were losing interest in me."
"First of all, that's a nasty way to put it. I'm just exploring my sexuality."
"With other guys you're not married to."
I ignored that. "Second, I haven't lost interest in you. I just, it just seemed that you never cared that much to talk about your work."
"That 'How was your day,' sounded like small talk, like you really didn't care. It always sounded like you really didn't care. So if you didn't care, why should I take the time to tell you? I would say, 'fine,' because I thought you really didn't want to know, so I was saving you the boredom."
"Is that really what you think about me?"
"Tell the truth, Grace, did you ever really care to hear about the problems of my day?"
That arrogant bastard, assuming I had no interest in that aspect of his life. The worst part was that he was right. How could he see through me so well? Or was this just hindsight in light of what he had discovered? "No. Why are you doing all this?" I sounded the victim.
"Criticizing my cooking, complaining about my conversation, telling me I don't share a bed well."
"Truth is your cooking is no better than average. The menus don't vary. You really don't try to make anything special. You don't put in the time or the effort. Now I know why you don't have the time. Look at your conversation: how was your day. You aren't all that interested in what I have to say. Maybe you're distracted thinking about all your fuck toys. I don't know how you could be a scintillating conversationalist if you don't have much interest in talking to me. As for the sleeping, I'm sorry but you crowd me. It's uncomfortable. I don't blame you for that. I'm sure it isn't intentional, but it makes it more difficult for me to sleep. So, my dear, I can say this stuff because it's true."
I didn't know about how uncomfortable he might be in bed with me, but the rest was true. I didn't want to dwell on it so I talked about more pleasant things: family, friends, the time we were spending together.
We went dancing after dinner and I thoroughly enjoyed it but I had the sense that he wasn't having that much fun.
He didn't seem to have anyone coming over to audition for his bedmate so I took the opportunity. "Barry, why don't you sleep with me? I'll try very hard not to crowd you. If I wind up doing it, just wake me up and I'll move over."
"It's not just about the comfort. I'm still repulsed by the idea of sleeping in the same bed with you. I'm still repulsed by what you've done and what you plan to do with all those other men."
"Why haven't you said anything?"
"Because you told me your rules and that you were going to continue doing it no matter what I said or did. I've just been applying your rules to everything else in our marriage but that doesn't mean I agree with them. You gave me no say. While I'm deciding what to do, I'm following your rules."
Repulsed? I guess I hadn't made my case very well. I had told him I would continue doing it no matter what, but I thought he would come to see my side of it. I watched in sadness as he headed for what was now his bedroom.
I would receive my test results on Monday freeing me to have sex with my husband who refused to even touch me. I would have to refrain from having sex with anyone else until he accepted me back or I would have to go through the whole process again. Life was not idyllic.
He dressed for the opera. God did he look hot dressed up. I wanted to jump him on the spot. My interest in him was not repaid in kind. He had an overnight bag in his hand.
"Grace, I'm not coming back tonight. I'll be sleeping with Linda."
"Is that sleeping or fucking?"
"Sleeping for sure. The other, I don't know. We haven't decided."
That hurt. No, it really hurt. I felt physical pain. I was sure it was just a panic attack and not a heart attack, but it did hurt. I was sad but I couldn't put my finger on the exact reason.
He left. The house was very quiet. He had been out quite a bit this week but the sense of quiet was more palpable today. I felt alone, not just in the house, but in my life.
The pain subsided but it was replaced by an increasing anger. How could he do this to me? I'm his wife. I love only him. He was going out with other women and tonight he might be screwing around on me. This wasn't fair. I gave him all he wanted. I was starting to feel jealous. Could I possibly lose him? It had never occurred to me that could actually happen. What did Linda look like? He was obviously interested in her. He must be attracted to her to want to sleep with her. Was she as gorgeous as Tina? Was Tina the one he would wind up fucking? I was starting to obsess. I needed something to drink. I mixed myself a whiskey sour.
I slowly sipped on it as I reflected on how lousy my life was becoming. I was just trying to fulfill myself and he pulls all this shit to bring me down. I reached the bottom of the glass. I made another.
Apparently I made too many. I was awakened by the repeated clanging of the bell in our grandfather clock, amplifying my headache with each stroke. I didn't count them but it must have been at least fourteen o'clock. I was still sitting in the green overstuffed chair, drool running out of the side of my mouth. Yes, I was getting more attractive with age.
Barry wasn't home yet. I knew that because I didn't hear him and, believe me, in my condition I was sensitive enough to have heard even a sigh.
It took me a couple hours to recover. Barry was still not home. Suddenly, for the first time, it occurred to me that I could actually lose my husband. It was not a pleasant thought. I had believed that, faced with the prospect of giving in to my wishes or losing me, he would love me enough to accept my desires and would eventually be happy for my being so pleased. I had counted on his overwhelming love for me being his kryptonite. Instead he seemed to have been trying to teach me a lesson and there was no evidence that he would accept my new lifestyle quietly. Funny, now I might be faced with the same kind of decision I had set up for him. I might have to choose between him and completely fulfilling my sexual needs. They certainly weren't being attended to now.
This thing about the testing would prevent me from following my desires all by itself. By the time I could get test results, I would have gone without for too long already.
Dinner time came and still no Barry. I was really getting worried now, not that anything had happened to him, someone would have called, but that he was in the process of removing me from his life.
I had been so stupid and selfish. Instead of giving him an ultimatum, I could just have lied to him and hidden it better. If he caught me I could have told him it was just one slip and I feel so ashamed.
Now that I was faced with the prospect of being without him, I realized I loved him enough to make sacrifices. I could cut down on the outside men. I could try to perk up his sex drive.
It was nearly ten when he walked in.
"Where the hell have you been?"
"I don't think you have the right to take that attitude with me. I was attending to my own personal needs as you so clearly told me I had a right to do. And if I can paraphrase what you told me, you'll take what I give you and if you don't like it you can leave."
"Barry," It occurred to me that I should choose what I said carefully. I thought that his being deliberately cruel to me signaled that he was not far from leaving me. "Where were you?"
"That's better. A fair question. Linda and I decided to spend the day together. We had breakfast at her place, a picnic lunch, dinner at a nice restaurant and then we went to a jazz club. We couldn't stay too late because tomorrow is a working day." He looked at his watch. "She should be over in around fifteen minutes."
He could see I was unhappy.
"You don't have to worry about sex tonight. I have an early meeting. But the next time we get together it's probably going to happen."
I just sat there silently fuming.
"If you prefer we can do it at her place."
What a sweet gesture. Jealousy hit me like a punch to the stomach, taking my breath away. This was not the marriage I wanted. If I had to give up the other guys altogether, that was what I would do. It was becoming clear to me that it would be over if he caught me again and the only way to absolutely avoid getting caught was not to do anything to get caught at. "I've changed my mind. I don't want anybody else Barry. I love only you. Please give me the chance to prove it to you. I was stupid. I surrender."
"Too late, Grace. You were stupid. Damn stupid. But I have learned something this last week. I don't have to settle. I love you but it doesn't work as one-sided as this relationship has been. I'll decide whether I want to stay with you after I've explored my options. I have you to thank for liberating me."
What does he want to hear, "You're welcome?" "I'm sorry Barry. I don't know if I can live this way."
"There's no law that says we have to stay together."
"Are you doing this just to teach me a lesson, or is this how you really feel?"
"It wouldn't be a very effective lesson if I told you that was my reason for doing it, now would it?"
"So you are?"
"So no comment. I'll say this, if you respond as if this was only to teach you a lesson, it's over."
"How long do I have to wait for you to make a decision?"
"As long as it takes."
That wasn't acceptable to me. I really did love only him and couldn't bear the thought of being without him. I tried to think of a benign way to say that.
The doorbell rang. "That's Linda. I'm glad we finished talking before she got here."
He left to answer the door.