tagLoving WivesFor The Greater Good - Ending No. 3

For The Greater Good - Ending No. 3

byHooked1957©

I recently came across imhapless' original story, "For The Greater Good," which I enjoyed very much except for the non-ending. But since imhapless asked others to write their own endings, I read both the GeorgeAnderson version and the amyyum version, and enjoyed both. However, I saw it a little different than both of them, so for the first time ever I decided I would jump in and play along. I hope you enjoy my attempt as much as I enjoyed the others. You need to read the original story first to get things rolling.

*

I totally expected to get a full Ashley production to explain what she did and why, from a well-rehearsed presentation speech to a vigorous defense of her position. Hell, she would probably have a few charts and graphs up on a computer for me to look at as well.

I wondered if her new lover helped her get over any sticking points on this project as well.

And there it was, in a nutshell. She broke my trust, and I don't think I'll ever be able to truly forgive her for that. Now matter how much I say I will forgive her, I will never forget her cheating on me. And if you don't forget, then you truly never forgive. I can't live like that, and I don't think she would put up with it either for very long.

But along with the trust, there was this little matter of respect as well. Perhaps if she had just cheated the once, truly lost in working on the cure, I might feel differently. But doing it multiple times, and swearing everyone to secrecy about it just seems to be the ultimate in disrespect. It's not enough to be able to cure cancer, you have to cheat on your husband in front of your co-workers and make them cover for you while you do it.

I am crushed. If only I had a brain as big as Ashley's to help me work my way around this, but I don't. An IQ of 135 isn't too shabby, but Ashley is sitting at cool 160, and is probably one of the smartest biomedical engineers on the planet. But unlike some people who are brilliant, Ashley is truly gifted in her field. With the occasional ... ahem ... assist from me in the past, it's almost like she can think around corners. Now it looks like she'll willingly take that ... ahem ... assist from anyone she deems worthy.

I got a text from Ashley at around noon saying that she had turned in her apartment keys and was heading home. Again, I wondered to myself if the reason she was getting such a late start was because she and lover boy said their final good-byes, and maybe this time it was much more than doggy.

About the time I expected her to walk in the door, I got another text. Seems she stopped off at Tom and Melinda's to check on the patient, my parents showed up, and now it was an unofficial Bronson get-together. My sister Jill and her husband were headed over there, and Ashley figured I'd better get my ass there, too. Maybe I'm way overthinking things, but it seemed like Ashley went out of her way to put off our discussion. Maybe she's rethinking her position.

By the time I got over to Tom and Melinda's 20 minutes later, it was a full-blown celebration party for Tom and a lovefest for Ashley. My parents had ordered enough food for a small army. There would be no talking tonight.

My family has always loved Ashley to the fullest, right from the start. So saving Tom's life made her a hero. From that standpoint, she was a hero to me as well. So it wouldn't surprise me if they took her side in this, especially since I wasn't sure exactly how much I was going to tell them.

When I showed up at Tom's, the party was in full swing. Still, under normal circumstances, I would have expected a big greeting from Ashley. But these weren't normal circumstances. Although I tried to put on my best "happy face," I felt like shit inside, and I knew Ashley would read that in my eyes in a split-second. She did, and adjusted her greeting to a slow and tender hug, with just a quick peck on the lips. She stayed just out of reach throughout the evening, but I caught her several times glancing my way and trying to read what was going through my mind.

Apparently the act by both of us was good enough to fool everyone except Jill, who led me from the den to the quiet of a spot on Tom and Melinda's porch as the sun headed down.

"What's up, Big Guy? You and Ashley are definitely trying way too hard to act normal," she said.

"Never could fool you, Sis. Next to Ashley, there's no one who can read me better. And I know that you and Ash would be joined at the hip if it was possible," I said. "We've got some serious talking to do, but that's really all I can say now without talking to 'Everybody's Hero.' But I'd appreciate it if nobody else was clued in on this, OK?"

"Solemn promise, Bro," she said as she held up her right hand like she was doing a swearing-in.

We got home about midnight, and even though neither one of us had to work the next day because it was Saturday, we both agreed to wait until morning to talk. We headed up the stairs to go to bed, and when Ashley turned in to our room, I headed on past, went into the guest bedroom, and locked the door. That should have told her everything she needed to know. She took the hint and didn't bother me.

I didn't sleep the entire night. It seemed like my head and stomach were fighting for possession of my very soul. My head was pounding, while my stomach was twisted into 1,001 knots. I finally gave up and went downstairs at 7:30 a.m. Ashley must have heard me moving around, because she came down a few minutes later. I was in the process of fixing us coffee -- a big pot. She looked like she hadn't slept at all either, but she had her "Ashley Bronson, Ph.D." game face on. I didn't know if that affectation was for her benefit or mine. Guess I was about to find out.

"You know what you did last night was unnecessary, cruel, and childish," she started off in a condescending tone as she sat down at the kitchen table with me. "Have I ever done anything that disrespectful to you before?"

I shot her my "who the fuck are you kidding look" and she stopped talking immediately. She busied herself pouring each of us a cup of coffee. As she handed me my coffee, our eyes locked, and for a brief second I saw the first look of fear I'd ever seen in those beautiful blue eyes. At that moment I wanted nothing more than for us to go back to the way we were before RCA. But I didn't grow up in a fantasy land, and we could never go back to what we were.

"So, I'm guessing you figured out how I broke the project logjam a few weeks ago," she began. "Look, I'm sorry I didn't call you to come to RCA and help me get things figured out. I was in full project mode, and you of all people in the world know how I sometimes get tunnel vision when I'm like that, and I could only see the team around me for a solution. So I told the team about my idiosyncrasy and how you were always able to clear my head, and I asked for one of them to help. I figured Chad would step up, because despite the fact that he's a true family man, he's also a bit of a flirt, and I figured he would have the confidence to think he could get the job done.

"Well, in truth, he did, and I got off twice doggy, which was the whole idea. It was completely antiseptic, no kissing at all, and we each got ourselves primed for the event. Then after he got off, we each cleaned up and went back to work, and two hours later I had the solution to the problem.

"I'm sorry. At the very least I should have discussed the problem with you and not have made the decision by myself. I got lost in the work, and couldn't see my way clear. You, of all the people in the world, know how I sometimes get lost in the work. I promise, it will never happen again."

Ashley was sniffling back tears and truly looked sorry. I sat there and waited for her to continue, to explain about the other two incidents that John had noted, and the one I had witnessed. Nothing. She slurped some coffee. More nothing.

I sat there in stunned silence. She was going to give me the once, and call that good. At that moment, I knew I had completely lost her.

I had to say something while I was still reeling, so I honed in on her confession.

"So you lied to me that Thursday night when I asked about how you overcame the sticking point?"

"No, I didn't lie to you. I just didn't give you all the details so as not to worry you at the time," she retorted.

"Lie by omission then. Damn, Ashley, how could you? A simple phone call and I could have been up there in hours. And it's not like time was that tight, was it?

"And I bet Chad was only too happy to help out, wasn't he?"

"There's nothing going on with Chad," she lied straight to my face. "I told him this was a one-time thing, and if he ever brought it up again I would tell his wife."

The whole apology/reveal seemed well-planned and well-rehearsed. I would have expected nothing less, although I truthfully was expecting a whole lot more. There was still the matter of the other three times she got stuck, and what I suspected was a good-bye or thank you fuck with Chad yesterday morning. I expected this was going to be a major discussion, not just some quick lie with a drawn out explanation and, of course, using the importance of the project for cover. Maybe after this latest success of hers she thought she was just that much smarter than everybody else, including me, and that it just didn't matter.

This was not a peer review like she was used to. This was personal, not professional, and she badly overrated her potential success. I got up from the table, walked up the stairs to the bathroom and got into the shower -- alone. I made sure of that by again locking the door behind me.

When I was done and dressed, I unlocked the door. Ashley was in our room getting dressed.

"Hey, I'm heading over to Tom and Melinda's to check on him and see if there's anything they need done at the house, like mowing the lawn. Even though Tom thinks he's ready to take on the world, you and John don't think that would be wise, and I would hate for that knucklehead to ruin all of your good work trying to keep up the house.'

"I'll be over there in a little while, too. I think I can tweak the delivery system on the machine a bit," she said.

Ashley had on tight jeans and sneakers. Her bra and a T-shirt were on the bed. It took all of my willpower not to walk over to her, slap the shit out of her, and then fuck the shit out of her. What I had to do was going to be the toughest thing I've ever done in my life.

I slept in the guest bedroom with the door locked again Saturday night. Ashley looked confused when I said my good-nights, gave her a peck on the lips and headed upstairs.

When I got downstairs Sunday morning, Ashley was already up, showered, and looking gorgeous. She was flitting about the kitchen when I walked in.

"So how long are you going to keep locking yourself in the guest room? Are we going to try to work this out like adults."

I detected both a perturbed and condescending tone to her comments. I was back to wanting to slap the shit out of her.

"As the person who knows me best in the world, Ashley, you might not want to use that tone with me."

I was working in Tom's yard after lunch when I got an unexpected phone call.

"Look, Kurt, you've got every right to tell me to fuck off, but I'm asking you man to man to hear me out," Chad Beltran began while I wondered how he got my cell number. "I know it looks bad, but honestly, it was all about the project, and saving Tom's life and others. When she got stuck that Wednesday, Ashley explained the situation to us all, and I figured I needed to step up. So we had sex that Thursday, and soon after she had a solution. It was like magic.

"You've got to understand, I'm a happily married man with two wonderful kids. The last thing I want to do is ruin my marriage ...

"So you figured you would head me off at the pass so you can keep me from lighting up your marriage, and yet you didn't give a fuck about mine," I said, sounding much calmer on the phone than I was. "Did you, or any of you, for that matter, even mention the fact that I could have been up there in three hours? No, apparently not. So you took advantage of the situation and got to fuck a beautiful woman, and want me not to spill the secret to your precious fucking wife."

"Kurt, you, of all the people in the world, should know how sometimes she gets lost in the work. Blah blah blah blah blah ..."

Chad didn't actually say that last sentence. But as soon as he made the first part of the statement, I didn't hear another word. Could it have been a coincidence that they both used the same phrasing. I seriously doubted it; not having been born yesterday. This had to be part of a discussion between them, as was the fact that both were sticking by the story that they only had sex the one time.

"Kurt, Kurt, are you still there?" I heard Chad query as I came back to reality. I didn't answer. I just clicked off the phone, put it back in my pocket and went back to work.

Up until the last few weeks, if you had asked me, I would have told you I married the perfect woman: world-class scientist with the looks and body of a goddess who loved sex as much as I did, and who brought in a lot of money with her brains. Now I'm lost. I loved her with every fiber of my being, but staying married to her is an impossibility. If the cheating was a one-shot deal ... if she hadn't lied by telling me only part of the story ... if she hadn't conspired with her new fuck buddy. If, if, if. I knew I could never trust her completely again, so it really was a simple decision. I could be a man and divorce the woman of my dreams ... or live as an unhappy cuckold.

On Monday I made a call to a highly regarded local attorney to start the paperwork. Monday night after we ate dinner I told Ashley we were through.

Ashley had started to clear the supper dishes when I asked her to stay at the table because we needed to talk. I know I caught her by surprise, and she looked stricken.

"I can't do this anymore, Ash," I started. "I've given you enough time, but somewhere along the line you've lost your respect for me. You say you still love me, but once respect goes love usually follows it out the door."

"No, Kurt, we can make this work. I screwed up, and I'll spend the rest of my life trying to make it up to you," she said as tears started streaming down her cheeks.

"Then how about starting with the truth, Ashley. You didn't just fuck Chad once, you fucked him four times that I know of, and probably a fifth. You only told me about the first time," I said with my voice rising.

She flushed, stammered, and took a deep breath, trying to collect herself for her return argument, but before she could speak, I screamed, "Don't! I saw you in the napping room with Chad a few weeks ago with my own eyes. I swore John to secrecy the same way you did, after he got trapped when I showed up at RCA and neither you nor your new boyfriend were around. Trying to lie for you was probably the hardest thing that man has ever had to do in his professional career. I hope you're proud of yourself in so many ways.

"By John's count, that was the fourth time you two had left to get you unstuck, and every time after you came up with a solution within hours, so despite how embarrassed we both were over the situation, he begged me not to interrupt the work because the team was on the precipice of not just a breakthrough, but an actual cure. And since a cure for any type of cancer doesn't happen every day, I took one for the team ... four times it seems.

"And then of course there was the good-bye sex Friday morning."

Her head shot up at that point and her eyes glared daggers at me. I had guessed right, and although she had wronged me, she was pissed at me because by her way of figuring, I had one up on her.

More stammering. More tears. Unlike with her dissertation, where she was in control and on the offensive, for perhaps the first time in her life she was on the defensive, and under the pressure she cracked.

"Give me a chance to explain," she cried. " I can explain it all."

We make all sorts of allowances for the ones we love, and believe me, I still loved this woman. I was hoping against hope she could say something that would change my mind.

"After telling everyone my problem, my idiosyncrasy, I swore everyone to secrecy so you wouldn't be hurt, honestly," she said firmly but quietly. "I knew that sometime in the future I would tell you, but I couldn't let that cloud the issue while we were close to a cure."

"Explain those last three times, then, and why you and lover-boy both tried to pretend they didn't happen."

"Wait. What? You talked to Chad? When did that happen?"

"That happened yesterday, as if you didn't know. I figured it was all part of the plan to keep us together, and keep me from going to Chad's wife. He reminded me that me, 'of all people, should know how she sometimes gets lost in the work.'"

I used air-quotes on that last part, and Ashley knew the game was over.

"You admitted to making a mistake in judgment the first time. How to do you explain the last three, especially since you never said anything to me about being stuck after the first time, I asked pointedly, already suspecting I knew the answer.

"Even though it was just doggy and antiseptic with Chad the first time, it was good, and did the trick; I already admitted that. But it was better than I wanted to admit, and while not as good as you, I wanted him again, so I got stuck a few more times, and he unstuck me. I figured since I had already done it with him once, what difference would a few more make. And then, when I got home, I would go back to being your completely faithful wife. That's the whole truth ... except, yes, I did fuck him Friday morning, and we did much more than doggy and yes, it was wonderful. I felt I owed him a real fuck, considering he was trying to be helpful and I had him on a short leash the other times."

"Thank you for your honesty ... finally," I said.

"Is there any way we can get past this?" Ashley choked out. "I don't want to lose you. I can't lose you. You are the other half to my soul."

"I probably could have looked past the first time," I said. "But three more times? And the visual of you and Chad having sex in the napping room is seared into my soul. I'll never be able to unsee that, no matter how long I live or how much I tell you I forgive you.

"I will be eternally grateful to you for saving Tom's life, and for the best six years of my life -- until a few weeks ago -- but no, there's no way for me to get past this. You, of all people in the world, should know that."

Ashley was served the next week at our house in the evening. There was no sense embarrassing her. Since we live in a no-fault state, our assets will get split evenly, and she agreed to buy my half of the house. We joked that I got custody of my family, although I gave Ashley very liberal visiting rights.

My family was devastated by the news, and virtually all of them tried to talk me out of divorcing her, even after they found out about her cheating on me. As I explained to all of them, sometimes the right thing is the hardest thing to do.

I wasn't near as considerate with Dr. Beltran. I called his wife soon after I filed on Ashley, and found out that he did try to downplay everything, and tried to use the one and done story on her as well. Although she wasn't happy with him, she was buying his story hook, line, and sinker until I told her about the other four sessions. Then she practically exploded on the phone. She asked me the name of my divorce attorney, and I was only too happy to pass along the info.

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