tagLoving WivesCross Passage

Cross Passage

byMainefiddleheads©

...Turbulent seas and tempestuous relationships are both difficult journeys

I've always savored the salt of the sea in my nostrils whether off the unbounded coast of Maine or the low country ebb and flow of Charleston, SC so when the Black Rand offered up the "Siren's Song Story" I had to at least try. I've admittedly written a much longer tale than I would normally offer, posted in one piece and it's probably a bit dry for most tastes. More troublesome for me was trying to decide where to post it. Since it has all the buttons for 'LW' I decided to leave it here even though I know it's a rough crowd to please.

I try not to write masturbation tales since there is such a plethora of them available so if you do need to leave off for a bit for the relief, I fully understand. Standard disclaimers here for the two or three that know they are wasting their time; don't bother.

As always, many thanks to the Black Rand and Lit for hosting these continuing series. I look forward to several great reads.


Severe gale force winds were prominently underlined on the bridge report the morning after we took up anchor out of Bremerhaven on the return crossing to the States. The storm had veered much further east than anticipated and with 350 nautical miles between us and a turn-around to Germany we would have to shelter in the harbor at Portsmouth, England. Nothing wrong with that for an emergency except that protocol would keep us in in another que to leave port again. Regardless, the order came down; head for Portsmouth and wait for a later departure.

The Molly Seine, registered out of Panama, is a 260m containership carrying 6,250 TEU of cargo on this trip, mostly industrial products and component supplies for auto assembly plants in the States. This was my 18th trip across the pond and back on the 'Molly. When we docked at Charleston I'd be looking at some decisions with 30 years coming up and a vested pension and medical if I wanted to exercise it.

Standing off the rail on port side I watched the harbor master come aboard to take over the bridge to bring the 'Molly into the channel and dockside. It's a common practice, required in most busy commercial ports. Roger Chafee is the master and I knew him when he worked the harbor in Southampton and as a fellow seaman years earlier; one of the best there is.

"Good to see you, Max. When we get finished up here we'll get a bite to eat and a pint down to the 'Ferry, eh?" He didn't so much as ask as announce and I've never turned down his hospitality.

"You know we will." I chuckled.

Later that evening when my second had been given the watch I joined my old friend at the Ferry House Inn and over the best fish and chips available anywhere in the south we regaled over past glories and tall tales from both sides of the pond.

"So how's that beautiful missus you got back there in the Holy City?" He asked me after we had torn up the truth on a hundred tales of mischief.

He caught my pause and must have seen the pain etched into my eyes. He'd been there himself a couple times now. It was the bane of the sea and he shook his head in acknowledgement.

"We separated a couple crossings back. Found some other fellow to keep her warm while I was gone I guess."

"Jesus, mate, that's bad to hear." He had the bar maid bring us a couple shots. "Here's to good women wherever they be found and as for the whores, fuck 'em as you Yanks say."

Roger had a point. It's just that I always thought of Tammy Waters as a good woman for a long time before she became something else...

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Six months earlier...

"Jesus, it feels good to step on hard ground again." I said to my 1st Officer as I pulled the tote behind me.

He was off to Greenville upstate and we'd hook up again in six weeks. The crew and another captain of the 'Molly were going to take her out for a trip down to South America and back once they reloaded.

"I can give you a ride, Captain. It's no bother." He said with his bride clinging close.

I accepted and had him drop me off at City Market where I picked up a dozen roses for Tammy, white long stems, her favorite. We were in port a couple days early and I wanted to surprise her. Usually I called shipboard when we were a day or two out just to see what she had planned...

The neighborhood was bustling with tourists and kids from the College of Charleston and the aroma of innumerable culinary delights filled the open air markets and the streets surrounding us.

I bought into the neighborhood a couple of years after Hurricane Hugo made its impressionable impact upon the fair city, found a city house over off Anson Street at a rock bottom price. It seems the New Jersey owners had enough of our sub-tropical climate after the storm took a chunk off their old roof; their loss and my gain.

With a good bit of elbow grease and grit over a couple years I got the place up to par with the historic charm of the neighborhood and with the help of a great old ironsmith all the street side and garden wrought iron fencing was reinstalled. When it was done, it was a three story city house in pastel pink with dark green hurricane shutters and nobody to live in it. I was out to sea ten weeks at a time and in home port for 6 weeks. For a 26 year old ship's engineer a few years out of school I think I did OK for myself.

Tammy Waters made her introduction a few years later with a press of the doorbell. I was expecting another young college kid to replace the girl who had just graduated and moved back home. After leaving the house empty on the first few tours back at sea I couldn't stop worrying about it the whole time until one of my mates suggested letting rooms out to screened renters. I found an ample supply among the kids at the College.

I ended up renting out two rooms on the 3rd floor to a couple girls and from that point on when one of them graduated the other would find a replacement. I was expecting the replacement when I answered the door.

"Mr. Bunyon? Good afternoon. I am Tammy Waters. I understand you are planning on leasing a room to my sister, Patty Waters?" She stood there expectedly as I opened the door for her to enter.

"Yes, she seems like a fine girl and the young lady who recently left strongly recommended her." I replied.

"Well, I told her I would check it out. You can never be too careful nowadays."

I offered her refreshments and surprisingly she chose an IPA which raised my opinion of the family considerably. I was even more impressed with her stark beauty. She reminded me of a young Catherine Zeta-Jones; dark haired, full lips, an abundant bosom.

She checked out the quarters and I gave her a full tour of the house ending up in the narrow courtyard next to and behind the house. I had embellished the small enclosure with several plantings and an assortment of potted blooms. With a soft evening light it was also a wonderfully romantic garden. Unfortunately with midafternoon sun and 90 degrees of Charleston heat and humidity it wasn't exactly romantic.

Nonetheless, she approved and I invited both her and her sister to dinner the following evening. That was followed by a date and another until we became one of those semi-committed couples that stroll through life until one or the other forces the hand.

There was no need at the time. Tammy understood my seafaring career; her father was a career enlisted man in the Navy. She was an assistant professor of fine arts at the College on track for tenure if she wanted it. Since we both loved the city it was understood that she would accept tenure and stay if given the opportunity and because of that we both settled into the comfortable existence our circumstances allowed.

We had been an established couple for almost three years before she decided to move in with me and lease out her small bungalow west of the Ashley River. By then I was a 35 year old Engineer in line to move to 1st Officer whenever the opportunity arose. It was odd at first even though I had been renting rooms to mostly College girls for nearly a decade by then and still did even after Tammy moved in.

There had been no shortage of womanly company before I met her although I was always discreet around the girls living in the house. Some thought it odd, others found some measure of titillating arousal in the fantasy. I just got laid and enjoyed the hell out it. It was the same with her; neither of us was virgin coming into it and our sex life has always been memorable and satisfying.

By the time we did actually marry, I was 40 and she was nearly 36. There were no children in our future; she was not able to bear a child for medical reasons although she seemed to have accepted it from the time she found out in her early twenties. Given our chosen lifestyles, that just never presented a problem one way or the other to either of us.

Now I do have to admit that over the years there have been temptations; it comes with the territory I suppose. I've visited over a 100 ports over the years from Charleston to the Orient and even to the far reaches of the Pechora River in bitter Russia. There are always women of various persuasions in most ports, some on the lower rungs, others commanding a captain's salary but with only a few exceptions when I was unattached I've always shied from the pursuits.

Tammy had her own temptations being home and at school with so many men to toy with while I was gone for weeks at a time sloshing through the waves of the high seas. We had an understanding. We didn't cheat on the other because we didn't want to. Of course either of us could have fucked our socks off and the other would never have known except for the slipup but we had to trust each other not to...

I trusted her and I know she trusted me so after several years of being married and having been together so long before that, I walked up Anson Street comfortable in the wellbeing of our lives.

"Good morning, Mr. Bunyon. You had a good trip?" Mr. Shields had been my neighbor since I bought the house. His wife died a couple years earlier and he turned to his other loves to sustain himself; growing orchids on his rooftop garden.

"Yes, sir. Smooth seas and good eats on the other side." I waved back at him as I rounded the corner to my own home.

The latch to the Iron Gate leading to the side wall courtyard had recently broken free and needed welding to repair it but it still held the gate closed. I never come in from the front door; it's always been a comfortable practice for me to inspect the garden before entering the house. Tammy parks at the curb and uses the front entrance as do visitors but my customs die hard.

The back door enters into a short hallway leading into the kitchen and pantry before opening up to the front rooms and bath. I tossed my jacket onto the back of a kitchen chair and found a vase for the flowers. She had left a couple of croissants in the bakery box on the counter so I helped myself before entering the front parlor and kicking off the shoes.

Being a bit before dinner time she wasn't expected to be home yet so I headed upstairs to change and put away my things. Maybe it's the engineering background and being a stickler for detail because I noticed it quickly and it startlingly seized my attention. The toilet seat was up and when I entered the shower there was body wash on the shelf that I had never seen before; blue gel, more of an outdoors kind of scent, not at all what Tammy would use. This was something a man would use, like a toilet with the seat up.

The latter point has been an issue in the past. All the years I had young women living in the house I never saw the seat up in the two other bathrooms. Tammy used to chide me about doing that and after a few months of living together she had me sufficiently trained to accommodate the needs of the fairer sex. So seeing the seat up in our bathroom after I had been gone for almost ten weeks, well, it was unsettling.

I guess it's not as disturbing as catching them in the act. One of my mates walked in on that sad scene and he spent a month in jail after making sure the other fellow spent his month on a ward and they weren't even married yet. No, this was bad enough even though I kept telling myself there might be a damn good reason why the seat was up and a man's body wash was in my bath. I couldn't think of one but there might be.

I finished getting dressed and went downstairs to check shipboard messages before stepping back out, putting on a good face and walking down to Henry's House for a pint. Henry's is a local watering hole close by that caters to those of us who like a good drink and a bit of jazz to soothe it a bit. My old friend Satch runs the bar there and I can always count on a special touch and a word of advice whether I want it or not.

"You looking like a cat on the walk, old man" He yelled out to me when I entered. The meat market crowd wouldn't take up residence until evening so the place had a few regulars. "When'd you get back?"

"You didn't hear my whistle? I gave you two quick ones." I replied. He just laughed and said he thought that was the little tug that could.

Satch got his namesake for his good looks and charm and for the cool jazz he liked in the place. He liked his regulars too even though we had been changing them up lately. I've been hitting the place for several years along with half a dozen others. We've lost a couple to conniving spouses and couple others had moved on.

"Maximillian's Golden IPA on deck!" He announced over the mic. The name's Maxwell but I've never minded his fancy expression. "Hey, before I forget, Dave Hoff was in here asking if you had been in yet."

Dave was one of the regulars we lost to both a scheming spouse and a new location. But he's a young guy with a solid head on his shoulders. His ex-wife Tracy on the other hand, well, she's a stupid bitch but give her time and she'll figure it out. She lost one of the good guys.

"He left a letter here for you." Satch called out from the end of the bar.

I opened it while savoring the delicious beer in front of me and was amused to find an invitation to a wedding on Lake Texoma way out in Oklahoma. My laughter was probably heard all the way out on the street.

"He's marrying his fucking Ex's sister, for Christ's sake!" I bellowed with amusement.

The date was in four weeks and given I had six to play with it all sounded doable to me.

"Here's to Dave and whatever crazy shit he's about to get into." I toasted to the small group of us that afternoon. I then tipped up my pint and gathered wits for my own shit up the street...

Tammy had not returned home by 8PM and I hadn't called her to let her know I was back. Instead I just sat in the armchair next to the parlor windows looking out into the street beyond, one of those moments I almost wished I had one of those soft fury house cats. We had two of them shipboard even though regs prohibited it, officially.

The sidewalk was starting to darken with dusk when her car pulled up to the curb a couple spaces down and I had just finished the second pint of Ale since returning to the house. I had a million questions, twice as many doubts and no faith in any of the answers especially as I watched the two of them approach the walk. I was fucking certain both were going to walk right into their nest when she turned and embraced the man and with a lingering kiss sent him on his way to the Audi across the street, the one with the College of Charleston faculty sticker on the windshield.

I'd met him before. He was the chair of the department she worked in; a swaggering man with the intellect of a scholar and the temperament of a fool, a good decade older than I. I almost laughed to myself. Tammy is a very good looking woman and if she wanted to take on a lover she could have had any number of suiters a dozen years her junior if not more.

Instead she's latched onto a toad of a man. It can't be tenure; she already has it. She's not hurting for money and I know I satisfy her in bed. I just shook my head and turned toward the door when the key pushed the deadbolt back into the frame.

She entered the foyer and sighed as if it was the end to a long day I suppose. I flashed briefly to that first time we met outside that same foyer. She was still as beautiful as then in my mind until a stain of ugliness crept over it.

She started toward the kitchen and maybe it was a premonition or the startled scurrying of my imaginary cat and she stopped and turned. It was darkening in the room but I saw it in her eyes when her hand went to her mouth.

"Oh my God... you are home?" She asked as if the apparition before her was an imaginary figment. "The horn this afternoon... that was you?"

I just nodded and glanced out the window. She had to know I saw them from my seat. How could she not?

"Why didn't you call me?"

"I thought I would surprise you with an early return. It looks like I should have called."

She paused for a moment and then the artistic inclinations in her kicked in.

"Max... Oh no... Thomas? We just had dinner this evening, that's all." She tried to smile but even with years of preparing students she couldn't master the trickery needed to coach her husband.

"Can I assume he paid and was expecting more at the door?"

"Max, please, it wasn't like that." She tried but she had to know the curtain came down after the embrace rather than before.

"What was it like, Tammy, to suck the tongue of a toad like that?"

She gave it her best but at the end of it she knew I knew; we both knew she was fucking Thomas Pryor, Ph.D. and philanderer of other men's wives.

"I'm going to step out for a bit. You need to take a few things and stay somewhere else for a while, maybe with Thomas. You can take his Cool Mountain Breeze in the shower back to him, if it's his."

"Max, please, can we-"I just held up my hand.

She was weeping softly while my heart shattered. I knew that afternoon but with the two of us together in the dark parlor the pain was excruciating, at least for me. I suppose it all caught up with me as I left the house and walked down the street toward East Bay. I didn't have any direction in particular but having taken nothing but a handful of bar pretzels and a croissant earlier that afternoon I needed something to eat.

I found an order of wings and fried mushrooms down at the Market Street Saloon served up by a waitress wearing just about nothing to cover her ass and nipping out with the fans overhead; just what a jilted mature man needed... or perhaps not. It's always a mixed crowd in there, more on the young side but they have absolutely the best wings on the Peninsula.

The waitress gave me my space and I contemplated the situation. Thomas Pryor was already married, not that it would matter; he might enjoy Tammy's piece of ass more than his own wife, in fact I'm pretty fucking positive that's the case. It's been said Mrs. Pryor could wrestle cows on the side. I know it was wrong to think of her that way but I had to chuckle at my own amusement just to keep levity and a touch of sanity in play. Nonetheless he and/or somebody was playing house in my space and Tammy had to know that was a deal breaker.

The house was dark when I entered, almost surreally quiet in opposition to the pleasant home I had returned to in the many years past. Tammy had gathered a few things from what I could tell and her car was gone. When I checked the shower the bath gel had been removed. Maybe she took it with her or she trashed it; I didn't care. I felt like a beaten man and tossing my shirt over the bedpost I surrendered into a restless sleep.

When dawn came I broke habit and skipped breakfast choosing instead to grab the bike and head to the Battery down on the point of the Peninsula. I needed a release and a place to think and sitting on the stone battery facing the harbor and beyond offers an exceptional opportunity for both. The problem with thinking is that you can think too much and end up second guessing everything you thought right to begin with.

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byMainefiddleheads© 48 comments/ 21901 views/ 43 favorites

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