tagRomanceEducating Jaime

Educating Jaime


(The naughty bits can be found on page 4 - if that's too much first, well, you've been warned.)

Jaime had been asleep for a couple of hours when he woke up because his wife prodded his shoulder. He half turned her way and she stroked his chest, so he snuggled up to her and used his left hand so push her nightgown up over her chest - undressing before making love had been discarded with a long time ago as she found it took much time to get dressed again. He bent over to kiss her and then slid down under the duvet to attend to her breasts while his hands went to work on her nether parts. She liked having her buttocks stroked, and he had become rather adept at working on her pussy. She lay back and passively enjoyed his ministrations; it had been a long time since she'd allowed him to make love to her last. He knew it would take some time to get her excited enough, and he earnestly worked on getting her in the mood, glad that after all those months she felt like having him touch her again.

He kissed her stomach and went for her navel; after the third time he'd tried she'd ruled out oral stimulation of her pussy because, she said, it made her come. He had never understood what on earth could be wrong about that, but talking about it would result in a long harangue followed by months of frost. Her voice would go up one or two pitches and a load of decibels, and he hated it. Any attempt at reasonable talk would flounder in loud unreason; nothing doing there.

He returned his mouth to her breasts. Her body reacted favourably, and her nipples noticeably stiffened - and then she came with a shudder around his fingers. She immediately closed her legs.

Oh God, he thought, not again.

His wife worked herself loose from his embrace. "We'd better go to sleep now, eh?" she said as she turned her face to allow him to give her a peck on the cheek, readjusted her nightgown and panties, rolled over and was snoring lightly within minutes.

He lay staring into the darkness for a long time, wiping the tears from his eyes and trying to keep his breathing regular. Sessions like this seemed to have become the norm; and they seemed to grow further and further apart. He couldn't remember when they had had intercourse, nor when she had cuddled him. It was all very much a one-sided deal.

Then he tiptoed downstairs down the stairs and went into the living room. There was a DVD he'd bough and hid in a book his wife was not likely to read that he had not seen; it contained woman-friendly pornography according to the cardboard sleeve. He'd tried watching the other type a couple of times, but it didn't do anything to him; the girls' faces seemed unpleasant and entirely uninterested in what they were doing, the men were ugly and unfriendly, he couldn't for the life of him see what it was that anyone could see in anal sex or some kind of gymnastic exercise and the way the sessions ended, with the women kneeling before the men with their tongues stuck out as if they were to receive the host had disturbed him no end. Perhaps this would be better.

He plugged in his earphones and started the DVD. After a series of disclaimers it showed a couple making love. The man seemed really bent on pleasing the girl, and they kissed each other with obvious enthusiasm. They looked at each other and smiled, and slowly, beautifully worked towards a mutual orgasm... He found watching them unbearable, and switched the DVD off with tears in his eyes, restored it to its sleeve and hid it again. He sat down on the couch, cradled his head in his hands and cried.

When they first met Mara had been rather impressed. Jaime was funny, he wrote poems, wore his hair long and used all kind of words she seldom did; he played the guitar and sang and knew a lot about the kind of pop music they didn't play on the radio. He'd done A-levels and he had studied at Loughborough University, and his family was different, too. They lived in a house that seemed to stuck in the twenties, with loads of books and paintings and an atmosphere that was completely unknown to her. She wanted him.

He had been as impressed by her as she was by him. She was beautiful - she had regular features and catlike green eyes, a sumptuous figure and an infectious level of energy in those things that she really liked. She could smile in a way that seemed directly aimed at his heart and loins alike... Head over heels would have been an understatement. She was his second girlfriend; the first one had been a true case of puppy love. His parents had never told him anything much about the ins and outs of love, and anything physical had been unmentionable. They had simply stressed the fact that as a male you had to behave, and instilled a kind of courtly love ideal in him that in retrospect had been old-fashioned, unworldly and unworkable.

Mara had wrapped him around her little finger. She enthused about his likes and dislikes and as he had no idea what a normal relationship could be like he didn't see anything unusual in the way she kept him at a distance, physically, nor that a frequency of roughly once every three months could, perhaps, be seen has somewhat odd.

When she felt it was the right time she increased their frequency a little and got pregnant; after their first child had been born she got another one. Then she decided it was enough. There was no earthly reason to have sex more often than once in an anaemic blue moon; yet sometimes even she actually felt the need, after all.

She began to find fault with her husband on numerous accounts. All those books had long ago begun to work on her nerves; so had his musical activities, both passive and active. She began to complain, and whenever he tried to defend himself she would play the wronged innocence. How could he? SHE always did everything for everyone, SHE would always buy the food he really liked, find nice shirts or pullovers for him, SHE would see to his every need... SHE had had all the pain and trouble bearing their children... But perhaps he wanted to quit? Well then, she would not be in his way, she'd leave home and rent an apartment somewhere and then HE could be happy with his stupid music and books, and he was never sociable and he would never do anything for someone else anyway...

She presented a brick wall to him in which he could effect no breach; he'd been taught to treat others reasonably, and he did not know what to do about it. He simply tried to ensure he didn't do anything to release her fury - to no avail. Speaking well couldn't win her, not could saying nothing do it.

When Jaime had sat on the couch for so long that he felt thoroughly cold he crept back to bed; but he couldn't get to sleep. His predicament kept mulling in his head and by morning he had decided that he would go and talk about it once more.

Mara more or less ignored him that morning. It wouldn't do to give him ideas; better keep him in his place. She needed her energy for the children. They, at least, were malleable enough, and she loved moulding them to her liking.

At work that day Jaime didn't perform too well. There wasn't anything he could do about it; his resolve to go and talk weighed on his mind like lead, and he kept trying to find the right way to put things so as not to aggravate Mara overmuch. He needn't have bothered.

That evening after dinner they put the children to bed as usual; then Jaime tried to be heard. He was, until half-way his second, rather hesitant sentence. Mara exploded. She hit him and called him any name she could think of, and accused him of treating her like a whore, not caring for her one jot, being a selfish sexist pig... It made his ears ring and seemed to go on forever. He felt the skin of his face go taut. There were footsteps on the stairs and their elder daughter came into the living room with tears on her face. Having an audience only increased Mara's fury. Myrtle, who at twelve was quite old enough to understand what she said, as she was obviously meant to do, looked at him in wide-eyed horror. Then something broke in Jaime. He turned around and ran from the room. Mara came after him, shouting at the top of her voice in a high-pitched cannonade of abuse. Jaime made for the spare room and locked the door. He put the ears of his I-pod in his ears and blocked out the continuous noise from outside.

The next morning after the children had gone to school Mara went to work, confident that she'd put that man in his place. Jaime rang his work and told his immediate boss he'd have to take the day off. He called the local housing agency and was fortunate enough to be provided with a not too unreasonable apartment. Then he made an effort and moved his belongings. He went to the bank, opened a new account and put half of their savings into it; he did the same for their current account, leaving the rest for Mara. He went to one of the town's charities for some furniture. It took him all day to get the place inhabitable; he went to bed very tired. For once he slept like a log.

For a couple of days he heard nothing from Mara. Then there was a letter - from a lawyer, to his relief. It was put in strictly reasonable English, even thought the demands made in it were not; but he thought he could live with that. He hired a lawyer himself and instructed her to deal with the situation and left the two firms to fight it out among themselves.

To his surprise he did not only hear nothing from Mara, he heard nothing from anyone else either. All those people he used to know seemed to have vanished from the earth altogether. Then he called one of his closer contacts; he made an excuse and rang off. He called another one, and was told he ought to be ashamed of himself before she slammed down the receiver. He didn't know what was happening; but he certainly felt he might as well be on a desert island.

That feeling grew when he asked on of his friends at work to come and have a drink. He said he had to go and take care of the children, something Jaime had never heard him worry about before. He gave up. Then the text messages began.

Two days later, on a Friday afternoon, four of Mara's friends met in Ye Olde Teashoppe, as was their wont. They placed their orders and embarked on a heated discussion of the iniquities showered on poor, lonely Mara by that no-good husband of hers. No-one knew who he'd been seeing lately, but he had obviously been cheating on her for a long time; and when she found out he'd left her holding the baby, deserted and stony broke. The bloody bastard!

Molly, who had not heard of the altercations yet, asked how they knew. How they knew? Hadn't she seen Mara's sorry tale on Facebook? It was bloody horrible, the way he had treated her. She had to wear long sleeves to hide the bruises he given her, and he'd been beastly brutal to the children and emptied their bank accounts completely... No, it was ab-so-lu-tely terrible. Terr-i-ble. You'd never have expected it, but then, still waters ran deep, didn't they? Molly raised her eyebrows. Had anyone spoken to Jaime? Mo-lly! You must be out of your mind - spoken to that man? As if anyone would want to, no thank you. The idea. And what had happened to him? He had left Mara. He'd probably be living with that woman somewhere, but they didn't know.

They had more tea and discussed all the ins and outs in every grisly detail Mara had revealed on Facebook. It was horrible, oh, but it was thrilling, too. Wasn't it?

Molly went home and opened her Facebook account. She felt the gruesome story her friends had told her didn't ring true - and the tea party had felt too much like the meeting of a witches' coven to her liking. She had always thought of Jaime as a quiet-spoken, hardworking man who, if anything, seemed to be over-scrupulous and too much inclined to give others the benefit of doubt, and she had some trouble envisaging him beating up his wife. She found Mara's exposé easily enough. It wasn't an edifying read, and it was presented with an abundance of capital letters and exclamation marks. She went through the lurid thing twice.

Goodness, she thought. If a quarter of this is more or less true the guy is certifiable, to say the least. What's more, he'd have been locked up - and then she decided to go and find out. She certainly wasn't the type to go howling with the wolves at anyone's demand. Not she.

Molly went to Mara and found her in the garden. She was wearing a summer dress with thin straps and a pair of sandals. The children, June and Myrtle, were playing around a wooden hut that Jaime had built; they were yelling and having fun, and Mara had just poured herself a glass of red wine. Would Molly like a glass, too? No, she wouldn't - she was driving. But one thing was clear; Mara had no bruises on her arms.

Molly stayed for a while; it was not difficult to draw Mara out on the subject of her defaulting husband. She was subjected to a variation on the Facebook story, with the obviously untrue bits left out.

"Your job will weather you through?" Molly asked.

"Oh, I don't know. I'm much too strung up to do my work right - and Jaime is too stingy to part with a penny," Mara replied with a catch in her voice. She went on to paint her dire financial situation and Jaime's unwillingness to pay for either her or his children in sombre tones.

And then to think that he had settled in town in an apartment near his job, living a life of depravity, of course... Yes, almost in the centre, on 5 Laburnum Street... Molly stayed a little longer for the sake of appearance. Then she drove off.

She went straight to Laburnum Street. She had to climb a flight of stairs to reach the front door. She rang the bell. It was a little time before Jaime answered the door. He looked awful, Molly thought - not the way you'd expect a man in his love-nest to look at all.

"Hello, Molly" he said hesitantly. "Er, what can I do for you?" He remembered having met her at one of his wife's parties - she was one of the quieter friends Mara had assembled over the years.

"I er, I have come to ask you a couple of questions and show you something. Do you mind if I come in?"

"Well, er, no, I don't. Did Mara send you?"

"She told me your address, but she didn't send me. I rather think she'd be angry if she knew I'm here," she added, with a grim smile. "She's convinced you are having a good time with your new girlfriend."

"Oh, she may well say so - but I don't think she really believes it. She er - she may be a little vindictive, I'm afraid. But that's just her nature, you know."

"All well and good," Molly said as she stepped inside, "but one's nature is not a free pass to do as one pleases."

Jaime showed her into the living room. He'd put his stuff in boxes along one wall and there were a table and three chairs in the centre of the room.

"This is just makeshift," he said. "Heart Foundation..." He smiled a little sadly to himself.

"Right," she said, and sat down. "So how are you?"

"Old, tired, fat and ugly... I don't know. Er, it seems the world has crumbled around me."

"Look, I had better be a little blunt, but rumour has it that you had a terrible row with Mara, beat her up and left her broke. Er..."

"But I did nothing of the sort," Jaime said, a red rash creeping up his face. "We did have a row - or rather, Mara yelled at me for a long time, but apart from that..." He opened one of the boxes and took out a ring binder. "Look," he said, and he showed her the bank statements that proved he'd split up their accounts, and another one that showed their mutual account was now in Mara's name only.

Molly inspected them. "Good for you," she said. "But mind you, this will only satisfy a lawyer, and you could defend yourself in court with this. Mara will despise you the more for it."

"Despise me?"

"That's the way it works, you know. She would expect you to act the way she would - wage a battle over each teacup and each hanky. She will think being reasonable is a sign of weakness."

"So I should have made off with everything?" he said with a baffled look.

"No, of course not; but I expect Mara would have done so. Wouldn't she?"

Jaime sat down and stared at her. Then he moved his shoulders to relieve some stress. "I'm not sure. I hope not - but you may well be right."

Molly nodded. "Do you have a computer around?"

"Yes," he said. " I brought my old laptop - I couldn't do my work properly without one, you see. I left the new one at home."

"And you have Internet here?"

"Yes, I haven't buried myself completely - not yet."

"OK, " Molly said. "Please get it for me, will you?"

Jaime complied at once; it had become a kind of second nature over all those years of being necessitated to ensure there'd be no quarrelling. Molly didn't notice; she was too busy devising how she could get the message across without letting matters get out of hand, but she really didn't see a way to get things done without causing pain. Eventually she decided to let events take care of themselves.

She started up the laptop and went to Facebook. She quickly found what she was looking for and then told Jaime to sit down and have a look. She watched him while he was reading; he turned very quiet, and his face went white.

"That explains it," he said. " I knew she was vindictive, but I never expected..." He put his head in his hands, and stared at the keyboard. "My God, I can never show my face in public again."

"So what did happen?"

Jaime lifted his eyes from the keys and looked at her for a moment. He smiled at her, a little crookedly, and shook his head. "I tried to tell her I wasn't happy in our marriage..." he said. "I er... I wanted to talk about things, to get her to listen to me for once. I did my best not to tread on her toes..." He paused to try and frame his words as well as he could, and made a sound halfway a laugh and a sigh. "I don't think she heard more than my first two sentences. Then everything I'd tried to avoid for so long happened; it all went wrong." There was another pause. "She shouted the house down. Myrtle came downstairs..." He tried but couldn't finish his sentence. He held his hands in front of him and moved them from left to right and back, as if to shield himself. "I'm sorry," he said, trying to hold back his tears. "That's all, really."

Molly gave him a wide-eyed look. This, to her, seemed more likely than Mara's version. In her mind she saw her sitting in the garden, complaining of Jaime making off with the family fortune... Jaime turned out to be even more reticent than she had expected. She couldn't envisage him sitting at his laptop concocting lies about anybody. He had stopped looking at her and sat staring at the keyboard again. His face looked grey.

"Don't you want to talk about it some more?" she asked.

He shook his head. "I don't think I could," he said. She saw his chin wrinkle and decided to call it a day.

"Look," she said. "When you feel lonely you can always call me - I do believe you, and I don't think there's anything in Mara's allegations. I'm not really a member of her witches' coven..." Her image elicited the shadow of a smile, and Jaime lifted his eyes to look at her again. "What's your mobile number?"

He gave it to her and she called it. "Right," she said. "Now you've got mine. I must be off now. Don't worry, I'll let myself out."

She drove home, weighing all she'd heard and seen that afternoon. People certainly were funny. She had always thought of Mara as the epitome of a happy mother, and Jamie, who seemed to exist a little in the background, had appeared to be a quiet, contended husband. If he had been unhappy long he'd made damn sure no one noticed. She could hardly believe he'd abandon ship because of one tantrum only. But if what he described had been a common thing, then how on earth could he try and excuse it, even after what had happened?

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