Ghosts & Shadows Pt. 06byDanielQSteele1©
(PRECEDE: Hugh Davidson is a 59-year-old executive in the powerful Hunt Bank organization in Jacksonville. Two years ago he discovered his wife of 36 years, Mary, had been involved in a six-month affair with a younger man. She left him and moved in with her love. Then he learned through his children that she left her lover two months later. For two years he's lived without the sight of her or the sound of her voice. With the help of good friends and his two grown children, he's made a bachelor life of sorts for himself in Jacksonville. Then, after his daughter in New York City is nearly killed in a traffic accident, he finally has a showdown with Mary. And learns that she knows about his mid-life crisis involving other women a decade before. And that, as he hasn't been able to put her behind him, she hasn't been able to make a new life for herself. They discover they can be in the same room together, but they live on opposite coasts. And then one night Hugh goes to a bar owned by a guy named O'Brien....ED'S NOTE: I want to thank my editor and friend, curiouss, not only for technical help but also wise counsel. The story is much better for his involvement.)
GHOSTS IN THE LIGHT
I thought at first it was just someone who looked like her. There are a lot of tall, brown-haired ladies with great asses walking the earth and, if this one moved the way I remembered Mary moving, well, that could be a coincidence.
As I looked at her more closely, I realized it wasn't a coincidence. Mary was dancing slowly, hip-to-hip and cheek-to-cheek, with a tall blonde guy dressed in a blue pullover and blue slacks. He had to be my height, or a little taller, from the way that Mary fit against him.
They were moving slower than they had to. The song was Sarah McLachlan's 'I will remember you', "for the lovers", as O'Brien's DJ termed it. The song is slow, but they were practically statues, swaying rhythmically to the tune. I noticed he had his hand on her ass and she was rubbing her thigh against his.
What the hell? She was supposed to be in San Francisco, or New York, or anyplace but here! This was MY town now, now that she had thrown me away and fled to a better life elsewhere.
I knew it was stupid. We were divorced, long divorced. She had the right to be with anyone she wanted, to do whatever she wanted, wherever she wanted. You'd think, though, she'd have the decency not to flaunt herself in front of me!
I gently tapped my forehead against my table. The woman made me stupid. She could have no idea that I would show up at O'Brien's on a busy Friday night. In any case, she had told me that she'd had other men since leaving me AND Richard Kelly! I had no claim, no reason to even be watching her.
I tore my eyes away from her and started in on another Icehouse Draft, then pulled out my cell and punched in a number I hadn't called in a while.
"I'm only answering this because I'm curious as hell, Hugh. You haven't called me in a long time. I thought you'd moved on -- to someone more age appropriate!"
"And I thought you'd have met some nice young man and gotten married by this time, not be accepting calls from old boy friends."
"Ha! Old booty-call bed partners, you mean! Old, old bed partners."
I could sense her grin across the ether.
""Why would you be that mean?"
"Maybe because I get mean when a guy makes it clear he's only after my pussy and drops me when he gets tired of that."
"He would be a really bad guy, somebody who would do that. We don't have anybody like that around here. You know I stopped calling because you were just too much woman for me."
"Because you got bored with me outside of bed, you mean!"
"Because we missed each other by a generation, Brittany. Believe me, there have been lots of times when I wished you were either 20 years older, or I was 20 years younger, and that's no lie."
"You should have been a securities salesman, Hugh. You could sell ice to the Eskimos, as they used to say. So, why are you calling me tonight? You couldn't be desperate enough to try to talk me into giving you another taste, could you?"
"I'm sitting here at O'Brien's, on the Westside, with some friends and I'm alone. There's good music, the booze is flowing and I got to thinking about you. We never did much dancing, you know?"
"We did plenty of horizontal dancing. You weren't too bad, for an old fart!"
"Be still my heart! I know you've got to be busy, but if you weren't too tied down, I thought you might bop over here and I'd buy you a few drinks.
A little change of pace for you if you're not busy."
"Actually, I'm sitting at a table at Pelicans right now. My date went to get me another drink. He's hoping he's going to get me drunk enough to spread my legs. I was getting ready to bail on him, anyway -- Boring! So, actually, your suggestion sounds pretty good. I'll grab a cab and be over in 30."
"I know you can handle it yourself, but since this is sort of a date, call me when you get here and I'll come out and pay the tab. Oh, and, how are you dressed?"
A long silence, then...
"My god, you really must be horny tonight. I'm in something tight and sheer and see through and silver and gold."
"Does it show a lot of skin?"
"Y.....essss! Oh shit, now I AM pissed. I have some pride, Hugh! I'm not going to let you use me to get some bitch you're really interested in jealous."
"It's not...uh...yeah, I guess it is but, it's for a good cause! I'll explain when I see you. It's somebody who needs to be eating her heart out tonight.
I want you to look as hot and slutty as humanly possible!"
"It's not...okay, I'll be there. I want to see the bitch who ruined you for everybody else!"
My cell phone rang two Icehouses later. I was moving fluidly, but was still FAIRLY sober -- sober enough, anyway. When I walked out and Brittany wrapped herself around me, I couldn't help remembering some of those sessions on her bed. Maybe she had learned how to hold an interesting conversation after sex by now.
The cabbie gave me an envious glance and said, "You ever decide to bottle and sell whatever you got that attracts women like that, let me know and I'll buy a case."
I leaned over and whispered in his ear along with the $100 I deposited in his hand, "It's called money - large amounts of it."
He just shook his head and pulled away.
I turned back to her, admiring her large breasts, which were -- ALMOST -- on the verge of falling out of her low cut top. The top was low enough that the pale pink circles around her nipples were almost completely exposed.
If there's anything hotter than big boobs about to pop out of a woman's dress, I've never found it.
"Put your tongue back in, darling," she said, running her hand quickly over my dick, which began to get hard at light speed.
"Will this do?" she asked, with a grin.
"More than adequate, Brittany, more than adequate."
She grabbed my hand.
"Let's go torment the bitch."
We walked back in and straight onto the floor. There was a faster song playing now, but not out of my range and we moved around to it. Gail and G were out on the floor. Gail took one look at me and burst out into the widest smile. G just gave me the thumbs up.
We'd been out there about ten minutes, two songs, when I happened to glance to my left. There, not ten feet away, was the brown-haired heartbreaker and her tall blonde ass-grabber. She was facing me, her companion facing away from me. Our eyes locked and I knew she had already noticed me.
I looked away, pulled Brittany to me and put a lip-lock on her that should have scoured the enamel from her brilliant white teeth. She tried to climb into me while I was doing it and one large breast popped free while she was enthusiastically rubbing it all over me. We got a little smattering of applause for the exhibition.
When I looked back at Mary, she was just staring at me, no emotion on her face that I could read. Her date gave me a decidedly unfriendly look but, at that point, I would have welcomed him starting something. She saw the expression on his face, pulled him down to her and tried to swallow his tonsils.
When she finished, she looked straight at me and ran her tongue over those lips I remembered so well. It was as if she wanted to lick the taste of him off to savor, and she as good as said with her eyes, "So there, you son of a bitch! See if I care!"
I was determined I was going to prove I didn't care either, so I went back to concentrating on Brittany. We stayed out on the floor another ten minutes before walking away, without a backward glance, to our table - where the rest of our party had already returned.
Gail extended her hand to Brittany and said, "Brittany, haven't seen you in months. What are you doing slumming in a place like this?"
Brittany smiled at her, undressing G with her eyes as she did so. The sheer aura of sexuality given off by the two blondes had to have cocks getting hard in all directions around us.
"I just got an interesting invitation to see how the other half parties.
I've never been in here before, this is fun!"
"It is -- bracing, invigorating! I understand you've been out with Hugh before."
"Yes, we had some fun, until he decided that I was too boring to be worth fucking. His standards are too high for somebody like me."
"I love boring," came a call from a nearby table, followed by a lot of laughter.
Gail stood and said, "I've had too many drinks and I've really, really got to pee. Come with me, you too Chauvonne, let's exchange a little gossip."
Brittany turned to me and planted another kiss that covered my entire face before letting me go and saying, "Now, don't run out of here on another banking emergency while I'm in the lady's room."
Then the three of them left us males at the table.
Bobby leaned back in his chair and said, with a lazy grin, "Life is good. Life is good."
"Sometimes I think it is, and then again...," said G.
"Don't think too much," Percy said, kissing his friend on the side of his face. They held hands like young lovers, though Percy would never see 45 again.
"You're here and then you die. Just enjoy what you've got, while you've got it, friend."
"I see you're trolling the school yards now!"
"Hello Mary," Percy said, looking behind me.
Bobby sat up a little straighter and said, more coolly, "Hello Mary."
Both of them had known her for nearly 20 years.
I turned my head and saw her standing behind me, an expressionless stare on her beautiful face.
"She's 29, not that it's any of your business. What the hell are you doing here?"
"The last I heard, it was a free country, Hugh. Are you going to tell me now where I can go to get a drink and do a little dancing?"
"No, you can go anywhere you want to drink and dance and...whatever.
I have a pretty good idea what you're going to wind up doing with your friend. You were practically doing it on the dance floor anyway.
I meant, what are you doing back in Jacksonville? I thought you wanted to stay as far away as possible...from your old haunts."
"I'm probably going to be doing the same thing you're going to be doing, and at least I'll be doing it with a grown up."
She looked at Bobby and Percy and, if I didn't know better, I'd have sworn she was embarrassed.
"For your information, I'm back in Jacksonville because this is my home. I've lived here for nearly 35 years. My friends are here. I know the people at McDaniels here in Jacksonville. I'm tired of living in exile."
"Well, don't let me stand in your way, Mary. Welcome back, but don't expect any housewarming gifts from me. Oh, and Brittany, that's the blonde, is all grown up, and she is better in bed than she looks, hard as that may be to believe."
"Oh, I have no doubt she is a hot young thing. I'm just wondering why she's with you."
I just stared at her and felt the weight of Bobby and Percy's gaze on me. G didn't know enough to realize what had happened but they did - I felt their pity! I pushed myself away from the table and stood.
"I'm walking away now, Mary. You've managed to ruin a good night out, the same way you ruined our marriage and my life. Don't say another fucking word before I get away from here, because I'm not going to be responsible for what I say or do if you open that lying, cheating mouth again!"
I made it outside on autopilot, not aware of who I passed or what I saw.
It felt like she had jammed a sharp blade through my heart. I leaned back against the plate glass front of O'Brien's and took deep breaths of the cold November air.
The miserable fucking bitch! With seven words she'd dredged up every bit of pain, anguish and doubt in my manhood that I'd lived with for two years, since another man effortlessly took my wife away from me.
The woman who'd known me the best, who had loved me the most, had chosen to suck another man's dick; had wanted him, not me, between her legs. How do you answer that? No matter what we say, a man's worth, his sense of himself as a man, doesn't come from within. It comes from the women in your life, the woman in your life!
Show me a man whose prowess and abilities in bed are scorned, laughed at, rejected by the women he's been in bed with, and I'll show you a man who's had his balls cut off. You can tell yourself as much as you want that their rejection doesn't mean you are less of a man, but you're lying. You won't feel like a man again until you find yourself between the legs of another woman, one who treats you like a man.
"I'm sorry, Hugh."
"Hugh, I didn't mean-"
"You meant every damned word of it! I thought it was bad when you ran away but, now you're back, I wish you'd go away again!"
She stepped in front of me. I wasn't going to close my eyes and try to hide from her.
"I was trying to hurt you. That girl is so young, so beautiful and I'm old, my breasts are sagging and my ass is starting to droop and I'm getting wrinkles in my face. I am so damned jealous of her that I could spit!"
"Mary, go away, please, just leave me alone."
"I'll go away Hugh. I never meant to hurt you, to drag up - old memories. I don't know why, I have no claim on you. I knew what you were doing but, when I saw her all over you, I just saw red! I was so jealous I had to stop myself from coming over and getting into a hair pulling spat with your little playmate."
I looked at her standing in the night in front of me and I found myself seeing her naked body under those clothes. I had known every inch of it, I had kissed every inch of it, I had come in her mouth and ass and pussy so many times. Even knowing what she'd done, even remembering that day when she had told me about Richard Kelly, I couldn't help myself from wanting her still.
"You're right, Mary, you have no claim. You gave it up, you gave ME up! You put me through hell for nearly three years because you wanted another man's cock. I would have died for you, do you know that? No exaggeration, I would have died for you."
"So this is the bitch!"
Brittany was there, slipping next to me and putting her arm around my waist. She looked like the dictionary definition of "slutty." She looked Mary in the eye. They were both tall women.
"You're Mary, the famous Mary. What the hell did he see in you? You're just a flat-chested, wrinkly old bitch and stupid to boot."
Mary didn't say anything, she just stared back at her as people streamed by us in and out of O'Brien's.
"How do you get that stupid, lady? He is a good looking man, and way past his prime but he still hits it pretty good in bed. You have any idea how many women would kill to have a man who looks like that, rich and successful with his balls still working, loving them when they get as old as you? And he does love you, the idiot."
"I know," she said softly, "take good care of him. He deserves the best. He deserves better than I gave him."
She turned and walked away.
I looked at Brittany and I didn't have to say a word.
"I know you're going to go after her. Like I said, an idiot. Just...I hope, someday, some guy loves me that way."
She walked back toward the entrance to O'Brien's as I caught up with Mary halfway down the block.
"Do you even have a car down here? Didn't you come with the guy you were with?"
"Yeah, I was just going to wait until you went back in, then call Harry -- the guy I'm with -- and tell him I was calling a cab and going home."
I grabbed her shoulders and stopped her, then turned her around. The tears were ruining her makeup. I dabbed at her face with my handkerchief.
"I'm -- I'm sorry for what she said, Mary. You're not old and wrinkled and flat-chested. You're still hotter than hell and probably always will be. I still don't understand how you've managed to stay 45 while I got old."
"When you looked at me at Brandy's wedding, I knew that's who you were seeing, Hugh. When that blonde was standing there, I knew you didn't see how old and wrinkled I've become. I'm not ready for a nursing home, but I look like a hag compared to her, and you don't see it."
She reached out and rubbed her finger over the side of my mouth and it came back red. I realized I was still bleeding a little from a lucky shot one of the cowboys had gotten in.
"That's what hurts the most, Hugh. Even now, you don't see me as I am. You see the girl I was in college, and you always would have, if I hadn't gone with Richard. I had the best husband, the best father, the best man in the world - and I threw you away!"
"Go back inside Hugh, with your blonde, and Gail, and your friends.
Go back to your life and let me go back to mine. I'll be alright."
SOMETIMES YOU CAN'T GET WHAT YOU WANT, BUT...
The next day I walked into Gail's office without going through the secretary.
"I don't believe in coincidences, Gail. You told her I was going to be there. Nobody else would. Why?"
She had vanished when I had gone back inside O'Brien's. I assume she had gone home with G, since both of them were gone when I went back inside, so I hadn't been able to accuse her in hot blood.
Now I was just pissed - and curious!
She looked at me without embarrassment.
"Yes, I knew she was back - has been for a couple of weeks. We've talked a few times and I went out to dinner with her at Benny's the other night."
"And you didn't think to tell me that she was back in Jacksonville, or that she was going to ambush me at O'Brien's?"
"You want me giving her daily reports on what you've been up to and your actions?"
"It's not the same."
"You've worked for me and been my friend for more than 20 years. Mary and I have gossiped and shopped and been friends for more than 20 years. I know she screwed up and hurt you, and I was royally pissed at her for a long time, but she's still my friend."
"So why did you tell her we were going to be at O'Brien's?"
"She had asked me to tell her when we went out."
She gave me that female look.
"You're not stupid, Hugh."
"That makes no sense."
"She fell into another man's bed, fucked him and kept it a secret from you. She made a mistake and let her pussy think for her for six months, but remember you let your dick do your thinking for months while you were going right up to the brink of fucking other women too!
Yes, you stopped just short and you never stopped loving her, but I don't think she ever stopped loving you either."
"I don't believe it but, even if I did, it doesn't change anything."
"It changes everything! She's trying to find a way back to you. She thought you'd see her at O'Brien's with another man, get jealous and approach them, then she'd have a chance to talk to you. It just didn't work out that way."
"What if I don't want her back?"
"Then, I guess...you'll go on living the same wonderful life you've enjoyed for the past three years."