This is a simple little story of selfishness, anger, pride and love. No sex in this one.
I'm not an eavesdropper but when my ears start burning, I usually try to find out what's going on. Problem was, at times...I wish I hadn't.
It was late and I just got home from my shift. I was a thirty-two year on the job cop getting ready to retire as a patrol sergeant. Now, I was kinda getting excited about retiring; however, my wife, Robyn, didn't seem so keen on the idea. I think she wasn't too sure about having me around underfoot all the time.
We had been married going on thirty-one years. I was fifty-three and she was a beautiful fifty-two. For the past thirty years, Robyn has had to live the life of a cops wife subjected to shift work; such as, weekends, graveyards and/or swings, overtime, special duties, training days, travel...it all had to fit in to our marriage. Then, there was the constant worry that something would happen to me, you know, the inherent dangers that come with police work. And it didn't help any that she was a nurse working at one of the local hospitals.
Then the kids, let's not forget about the kids. First Janey and then little David named after my brother. God, we loved them both, but...they did take a toll on the more intimate part of our life together. However, we managed to make it all work. Now, the kids are grown and have families of their own. David was a three year vet at one of the larger Orange County city police departments, his wife also a nurse. Hmmm, see a pattern there?
I had only three more weeks until I was done with the badge. Oh, I would still be able to carry a gun concealed—us retired cops can do that as long as we qualify, but I would no longer have to slap on the uniform and crawl into a black and white for ten to twelve hours dealing with the crooks, addicts, gangbangers and drunks...and the ever-complaining, un-appreciative public.
As I pulled up to the house, I smiled when I noticed my sister-in-law's car in the driveway blocking the garage. I always like Trisha. Born with a bubbling personality, she was also one fine woman, almost as sexy as my wife. Both had similar great figures but where Trisha had dark hair, Robyn had lustrous auburn curls. The two of them shared the same emerald green eyes. If there was a fault to be found, it would be Paul, Trisha's lame excuse of a husband. They were going through a rough time of it and their marriage may not survive.
Parking next to her car, I walked around the side to enter through the back door. I never liked walking in through the front door after getting off work, kind of a weird habit I developed. When I entered the backyard and strolled to the door, I saw the dining room light was on. The dining room window was open and I could hear the soft sexy voices of Robyn and Trisha, my sis-in-law, gabbing away. Hey I thought, this should be interesting and, after all, my ears were on fire. As I moved closer, I overheard them engaged in a heated argument.
"You are fucking crazy, sis! If you do this, you might lose everything you love. You may lose Grant. Hell, if he ever finds out...you will lose him."
I could hear Trisha admonish my wife. Lose me? Oh fuck, this does not sound good. What the hell is Robyn up to now? Oh, by the way...I am Grant, Grant William Dawson.
"I won't lose anything and Grant loves me too much to ever leave me for just a little fling."
My wife, Robyn, said this aggressively, but, didn't sound convincing...at least to me. And, Robyn doesn't know me as well as she thinks. If she were to do something stupid, like cheat on me, she would be very surprised what I would do.
"Besides Trish, it will be just the one time. I've got to do this. Shit, I'm in my fifties and not getting any younger. I need to know, before my time is up, if a man would still desire me."
I heard Trisha snort and say, "Robyn, you are a beautiful woman and Grant is a very handsome man. You are fifty-two and he is fifty-three and you both turn heads whenever you walk into a room. Crap, if I wasn't trying to fix my fucked up marriage, I'd jump at the chance for a man like Grant and I'm fifteen years younger that you. Believe me, if you do this and Grant finds out...and he will...then there will be some extremely happy women out there. Because dear sister, Grant won't put up with your shit. I'm telling you Robyn, you do this, he's history."
Hell, this is sounding bad. Would Robyn cheat on me? Has she already fucked another man? Who? I have felt these sensations before, at work. Starts with a coldness, a fear running through you but then begins to evolve into heat, a burning anger that threatens to fly into a rage if you don't get a handle on your emotions. Above all else, I had to keep a tight control on my temper or else people I love would get hurt.
As I hid by the window, I heard Trisha continue, "Listen, if Grant finds out about this guy you work with...Jubal isn't it? And, well...I wouldn't want to be in his shoes. You know Grant's temper. Have you done it with him yet?"
Jubal? I've heard that name a few times, even met the guy once. He's one of those ER doctors at the same hospital my wife works. Robyn is a registered nurse and has been with Mercy for nearly twenty-five years. This Jubal character showed up about six months ago. The guy comes across as a typical hustler, always playing to the skirts. He probably does pretty well for himself. Oh, he's a looker at a couple of inches past six foot with blue eyes and wavy dark hair and maybe in his late thirties to early forties. Had that easy smile that made me wanta rip off his head. I met him at the hospital awards banquet and was irritated the way he was always hovering around my wife. After the party while on the way home, I mentioned this little observation to Robyn and she just laughed it off. When I pressed the issue, she became angry and wouldn't speak to me for the rest of the night. Pissed me off because I was hoping for a little loving later that night. I might as well have kissed a bottle of liquid nitrogen...would have been warmer than the attitude she gave me.
I heard my wife sigh before she said, "No, not yet. We've necked in his car and I even allowed him to feel me up a little but I wouldn't allow him to go any further. I keep fighting these goddamn emotions. He gets me so hot, I...I want to rip his clothes off and jump his bones but then I think of Grant and stop whatever I'm doing. Shit, it's pissed Jubal off a few times, let me tell you. This last time, he threatened to call it off, said I was nothing but a cock tease. I really had to beg him not to give up on me. Jesus, Trish...what's wrong with me? Here I have a wonderful and loving husband who is a terrific lover, and two great kids and I can't get Jubal out of my mind."
I heard Robyn groan.
"I want him to take me, to fuck my brains out. I feel, that...if I do this thing, you know, go all the way with him, I can get him and this idea that I'm getting to old to have men want me, out of my system."
I heard a crunch and looked down. I didn't realize it, but, I had grabbed one of our outdoor rattan chairs and shredded the backing. My knuckles were white as my fists had a death grip on the wood frame. Bits of rattan wood littered the ground.
"What was that?" I heard Trisha, her voice concerned, ask Robyn.
"I don't know, maybe the cat scratching the furniture again...don't change the subject Trish, what should I do?"
I slowly released the chair and let the blood back into my hands as I heard my sister-in-law's reply.
"Look, Robyn...you obviously have already made up your mind to do this. You just want me to justify it, and I won't. You are being the typically selfish little bitch you have always been when we were growing up. You say you love Grant but you still want to have this fling with that asshole, Jubal. You know this dickhead only wants to pop your panties. He doesn't love you and could care less about your marriage and family. But, god forbid, you don't get what you want. Lord help us all if you grow old without satisfying your itch! Well, listen and you better listen good; I can almost guarantee that if Grant finds out you did this, he will leave you. You know how much he has wanted to move up north, to live in Washington State. The only reason he has stayed here...is you. Well girl, this will give him the motivation."
Fucking A! Trisha you are so right, I thought. Maybe this isn't such a bad thing after all. As much as it would kill me to lose Robyn, well...hell, I'd get over the hurt. I love my wife but for the past three months she has been treating me like a leaper. Every time I would try to get intimate, she would feign a headache or was too tired. Three weeks back, I broached the issue and she came unglued. Robyn accused me of every ill that man had ever imposed upon a woman. The list was endless; I didn't understand her, I was too impatient or I lost my temper all the time. I had sex on the brain, I didn't support her, she was nothing more than a sex object. I didn't like her friends, I didn't love her anymore, I no longer found her attractive, I didn't help around the house enough. I was always working, I was never around for the kids, yada, yada, yada.
But, while recovering from the pain of losing her...well hell, I could recuperate back on the island. At that exact moment, I realized what I had to do.
I quietly move from the window and went back to the front of my soon to be ex-home. I stomped over to the front door and noisily entered the house.
"Grant? Is that you honey?" I heard Robyn yell from the kitchen and replied, "Yep, been a long day too."
I walked into the kitchen and set my gun belt and keys on the table. I walked over to Trisha and gave her a big squeeze.
"Jeez Grant...good to see you too."
I looked at her, my eyes moist and said, "This is for being the best sis-in-law a guy could ever have." I could see the concern in Trisha's eyes and watched as they suddenly widened with understanding.
"Oh no," she whispered.
"Oh yes," I softly replied.
I walked toward Robyn picking up the gun belt and car keys, Robyn waiting for me to give her a hug and kiss.
"Hi honey, how was work?" Robyn asked as I approached.
"Tonight was very illuminating," I replied as I strode past her walking out of the kitchen for the bedroom.
"Grant?" I could hear the surprise in her voice as I ignored her.
Once in the bedroom, I threw my gun belt on the bed and grabbed a suitcase out of the closet. Robyn stepped into the room as I was tossing some clothes and personal items into the bag.
"Grant, what's going on...wha...what are you doing?" Her voice quivered, I could feel the fear dripping from her words.
"Should be obvious Robyn, I'm packing to leave." My voice was cold. It took everything in me to hold back from lashing out at her.
I glanced over at her standing in the doorway. "Look dear, I'm only thinking of you. I'm only in the way for you and Jubal. So, I'm clearing out so you can let him in."
"But Gra...Grant, I don't want you to leave. I love you and only you! Please, don't leave." Sobbing, she stood there, her eyes wide with fear.
Turning, I stared at her. "Robyn, it is obvious you no longer love me. Hell, you haven't touched me in three months. You pick fights for the slightest reason. Most times, you make me feel like a piece of shit that only wants you around for a good fuck. I thank god the kids are grown and on their own. It will be easier on them and on us. We can split everything down the middle. You can have the house, it's almost paid for. Dear Jubal can move in after I'm gone. Your job will support you so you shouldn't need any of my pension. But, if you need some support, we can work something out."
She finally picked up on Jubal's name. "Jubal? I don't love Jubal. Why would I be with him?
Trisha stood next to her sister and whispered, "Robyn, he heard us. He heard our conversation."
Robyn threw her hands up covering her mouth and said, "Oh god, no...no! Grant, please don't leave me. I love you. I'm sorry, so sorry...I can't live without you. It's all a mistake...please understand."
I didn't say anything while I finished packing. Finally, I walked over to the two of them. I glared at my wife, still sobbing.
"Robyn, why is it that my sister-in-law has more respect for me than my own wife? I'll be staying at my brother's for the next couple of weeks, at least until my retirement kicks in. Then, well...I'm going to take Trisha's advice. They both stared uncomprehending what I meant. "I'm not going to divorce you...why bother. I'm not looking for another wife so why pay an attorney. You have the house but that asshole had better never be around the kids when they visit. After my retirement pension begins, I'm leaving the state. You see, I no longer have any reason to remain in California."
I looked at Trisha. "If you and that poor excuse for a husband can't make it, look me up on Orcus Island. Robyn knows the address." I pushed past the women, Robyn crying hysterically. I stopped in the den and retrieved my laptop computer. The last thing I saw was Robyn standing in driveway, her sister holding her as I back out and drove away.
Six months later...
I waited as the ferry dropped the ramp. A few minutes later, several vehicles and pedestrians disembarked...I was one of the pedestrians.
For those who are not familiar with the San Juan Islands of Washington State, Orcus Island was one of the larger of the many islands serviced by the Washington State ferry system. I had just returned from Anacortes, a small town on Fidalgo Island. God, I loved this area. Yeah, I know...it rains a lot. So what! It's gorgeous up here with fresh air and lushes forests. And the fishing, Jesus Christ himself would love fishing here.
My folks had a place on the island that has been in the family for generations. My sister was living there now, my brother still in L.A. He has another ten years before he can retire from the LAPD. The house, built of stone and brick, has weathered many storms and the great Alaskan earthquake of 65.
I leisurely strode to the old beat-up Jeep 4x4 left on parking lot of the Orcus Hotel Bed and Breakfast just up the hill from the ferry landing. For a fee, and it helps being friends with the owners, they allow me to use the parking lot. Winding down the road from the hotel, I headed off to the old homestead passing a few farms and horse ranches on the way. The house overlooked the cliffs on the leeside of the island and promoted peace, tranquility and no visitors.
On the way, my mind drifted to Robyn. I missed her so much. I thought the pain would have subsided by now, but, I was lonely without her.
Two months after I left, Trisha had written a lengthily post telling me what happened after I left. Robyn had sunk into a deep depression but with her sister's help and that of the kids, she was able to get counseling. Trisha also wrote about dear old Jubal. Seems someone threatened to sue the hospital for destruction of my marriage and the fraternization of one of their doctors with a married nurse. The six-figure check created a trust for my grandkids education.
And Jubal? Seems he was terminated for cause. After an in-house investigation, the hospital discovered Jubal was the reason for several other marriage break-ups. Plus, an unknown source informed the hospital security to check Jubal's locker and the trunk of his car. Their search uncovered a large amount of bottles containing narcotics and other prescription drugs. Trisha wrote that Jubal denied any knowledge and had been set up. He is still in court fighting the charges.
She also mentioned Jubal had attempted to see Robyn on several occasions. Robyn had made Jubal aware she wanted nothing to do with him; however, he kept trying to get something going again. Then, Jubal mysteriously stopped any further endeavors to contact her. Trisha mentioned that a certain Los Angeles police officer was notified of the good doctors continual harassment of my wife and paid the doctor a visit. I couldn't keep from smiling when I read that. You don't piss off my brother, David.
My heart caught in my throat, the last page was written in Robyn's handwriting.
"Dear Sweet Grant,
I won't ask your forgiveness, I don't deserve it. Please believe me when I say how sorry I am for the hurt I caused you. As Trisha wrote, I have been getting counseling trying to find out why I was so screwed up. How could I even think of another man when I had you? The counselor believes I was scared. You were retiring, we were both in our fifties and the kids were on their own. Instead of looking at your retiring as a new chapter in our life, I instead saw it as the final chapter.
You never did anything wrong, it was never you. I was the one at fault. I pushed you away those many months after I realized you were actually going to retire. Deep down, I was blaming you for what I perceived would be a major change to our life style. I was not ready to give up, to be put out to pasture.
When Jubal arrived and began to pay attention to me, I was thrilled. He knew this and worked on it. I have to admit, his attention and our little get-togethers were exciting. It was like sneaking around, like I had a secret over you. I am so, so very sorry.
If anything else, know this. I never let him have me. If you hadn't heard Trisha and I talking, yes...I might have. And, I would have regretted it the rest of my life. Husband, thank you for eavesdropping that night.
My sweet husband, for we are still married, I love you more than life itself and I miss you terribly. But, I understand I hurt you deeply and wish not to cause any further pain. Should you decide to divorce me, I will not contest it. I know you are happy on the island and will not bother you any further.
My darling, just know I love you with all my heart. All I wish is for your happiness and contentment.
Please take care of yourself,
All my Love, Robyn
After reading her letter, I cried. I should have stayed and worked it out. We could have gotten marriage counseling or something but I went ballistic, my pride injured.
Two months after the letter, I called my sister-in-law and asked how everything was going between her and her asshole of a husband.
Trisha laughed and said in that sweet sexy voice, "Hey Grant, boy have I missed you. Paul and I were able to find a good marriage counselor, thank you very much, and we're doing good. And, no...there will be no reason for me to look you up."
I laughed and we talked for a few minutes over mundane topics until Trisha giggled and said, "Grant, Robyn's doing well. She's okay. I know you've been dying to ask. She found a very good counselor, a psychologist who helped her to work out her issues. You know Grant; she doesn't blame you for leaving her. She loves you and misses you very much and you need to talk to her. You never took the time to talk to her, Grant. Please, you have to talk to her."
I was stunned, she was right. I never spoke to Robyn, never tried to talk or work it out. I choked up and said, "Uh, shit...I'm sorry Trisha, gotta go."
I never called back.
Since then, two months had passed. And now, here I was on this isolated road, heading home to my lonely life wishing I had the guts to contact Robyn, if nothing else to hear her voice.
I pulled up front and walked around back. I still had that weird hang-up about walking through the front door. Josey, my beautiful and wickedly twisted sister was busy welding her latest in a series of art pieces. I smiled as her hooded face disappeared among a blaze of sparks.
"Josey," I screamed. "JOSEY!" She glanced up and shut off her arc weld electrode. Lifting her face shield she smiled and said, "Bout time you got home little brother, you have a visitor waiting in the study."