Looking back, he knew the affair had been a mistake. Of course, in retrospect, ALL affairs are mistakes (or you had better be sure you could convince yourself of that fact if you choose to remain married). This affair had cost him. Not only had it hurt his young, yet already crippled, marriage and ended the marriage of his partner in crime; it had also cost him his best friend. Worst of all, it had cost him part of his sanity.

He had made the mistake of falling dick-first into his best friend's wife. Whenever he explained this to someone (like his cold fish of a wife, or her endless chain of therapists, for instance), he was immediately angered by their first response which always seemed to be "How COULD you?!!?" How he would love, just once, to tell them EXACTLY how he could have done it. It wasn't rocket science. It was one of the few completely simple things that had ever happened to him. The person who insisted upon complicating it was the "victim." His wife. Her brand of mental illness depended upon having something with which to stab him in the back (or groin) forever- God only knows what she might do without her precious grief to feed upon twenty-four hours a day.

No matter what his wife insisted upon twisting it into, it had been simple.

He had been so young at the time. And married. Not happily married, either, but married to a woman who could (and did) cheerfully go without sex for months at a time. She didn't seem to find anything at all unusual about not being interested in intimacy. She didn't think it was bizarre to sleep in the same bed with someone night after night without having sex, ever.

However, that was not the case with his best friend. In fact, he and his best friend seemed to have completely opposite problems. While his own wife had apparently taken some celibacy vow without his knowledge, his best friend's wife was insatiable. How strange it had been, meeting his friend after work and, over beers, listening to how his friend's wife wanted it all the time. How she couldn't be satisfied. How that, if it was up to her, they would probably be homeless because his friend would never be able to get to work. It had been foreign to him. He had joked with his friend about it, too, about how he only wished he could say the same thing about his wife.

He had visited his friend's home often and, strangely enough, there didn't seem to be that much difference between their home and his home. His friend's wife didn't walk around wearing nothing but stockings and garters, begging to have a dick shoved in her. The only difference he noticed between this woman and his own wife was that this woman was openly affectionate with her husband. She would hug him, kiss him, and touch him- but her husband was uncomfortable with all of that and pushed her away. Yes, he was envious. If only his wife were affectionate. He wouldn't push her away. What a waste it all was. Life can be totally fucked-up, sometimes.

One afternoon he had stopped by his best friend's house for a visit (and to prolong going home to the Frost Queen, of course). It is true, he should have just gone on home when She had told him his friend wasn't home. But he had not gone on home. She had invited him in and offered him a beer. He had only just gotten there and, already, She had shown more interest in him than his own wife had in weeks. So he had accepted Her offer. And, yes, once he figured out She was already buzzed and working on being completely blitzed, he should have politely excused himself and left. Nevertheless, he had not. He had never been alone with Her and, outside the shadow of Her husband; She had been charming and funny. She had made him laugh. And, just below the surface, he could see it, the tragedy of Her marriage. It was like a vein running through both of them. A silent understanding. He wondered if his friend had told Her about what his marriage was like. Probably not. His friend never seemed to talk to Her.

He'd had a couple of beers and many laughs with Her. He had watched the alcohol loosen Her up more and more. But he wasn't afraid of Her. She wasn't throwing herself at him, after all. She was just lonely. And he was lonely, too. He was speaking with a kindred spirit, and that's a very powerful draw. Misery has always loved company.

They had talked and talked and talked. He found Her remarkably easy to talk with. She had been so eager to listen to what he had to say. She had been hungry for attention. She hung on his every word. As they had talked, he had allowed himself the brief fantasy that this was his home and She was his wife. Maybe that short-lived fantasy turned the conversation to marriage. Maybe not. Destiny has a strange way of revealing itself one way or the other. Whatever the reason, they soon began discussing their marriages. Neither of them had anything near what they had expected. Matrimony just was not what it was cracked up to be. It wasn't about companionship at all, no, as a matter of fact, it seemed more like a business proposition. She had told him that her marriage had turned out to be about money and status- not about a sacred relationship between man and woman at all.

When She had said those words, the short hairs on the back of his neck had stood up. Maybe that was the sign married men get when it's time to get the Hell out of Dodge. He didn't know and had no interest in learning at that point in time.

She had left the room and he was pondering all that She had said, the great similarities between Her feelings and his own. He hadn't heard Her come back in the room at all, so deep he had been in his thoughts. He was startled to look up and find Her standing right in front of him. There was nothing out-of-the-ordinary about Her appearance. She hadn't sprouted horns and a tail. The letter A in scarlet detail wasn't emblazoned upon Her chest. She didn't look any different than She had on any of the occasions he had visited this house. The only difference had been Her eyes. She had stood there and devoured him with those eyes. He'd never felt so "on display" as he had at that particular moment, when he'd watched Her take him in from the top of his head to the tips of his toes. She had not missed one inch of him in her assessment. He had actually blushed. He'd realized he had just been fucked, because She had fucked him with her eyes. Whatever She had seen in him must have agreed with Her, because the next thing he had known, She had been sitting on his lap, one arm around him, and Her fingers in his hair. Her face had been very close to his and those eyes of hers were now fixed upon his. Once again, She had seemed to be reading him. One side of Her mouth had turned up in the tiniest hint of a smile and then She had grabbed the collar of his shirt and, without ever taking Her eyes off of his for a second, She had pulled his face to hers, forcefully, until Her lips were fractions of an inch from his. He had never been handled that way in his life and (even though he had been known to pay exorbitant amounts of money along with precise instructions for just how it should be done) he had never been handled that way again. Then She had sealed the fate of her marriage (and his sanity) with an oh-so-simple question:

"Well, are you going to fuck me, or what?"

Women were miraculous. No two were ever alike. They may all have similar physical attributes, but their minds were things of such mystery that he feared them terribly. He knew he was capable of falling deeply in love with those mysteries. Sometimes he had wanted to fall in love with those mysteries- but he didn't dare. He had never been in love, not really. He had liked his wife when they were dating. He had been attracted to her, of course. She had loved him, but he didn't love her. He never felt that completely powerless feeling that he had heard described repeatedly. She had wanted to get married. He had been torn. In the end, he had allowed her to rush him into the marriage. She had done it by manipulating his hormones and by laying a guilt trip on him about "making an honest woman of her." She didn't want to be some cheap whore. (No, nobody could ever accuse her of being a whore. That was a certainty.)

And here, sitting on his lap, was the beauty of that mystery unfolding. She'd not done or said anything up to this point that he had interpreted as a 'come on,' but she had come to a decision about herself, and she had chosen to include him in this decision.

How could he resist? Of course, he had NOT resisted.

For the first time in his sexual history, he did not know who had enjoyed the act more, man or woman. She had been as desperate as he had been. It was frighteningly erotic to have a woman respond the way She had. She had been insane with lust. In the course of a few seconds, his sex life had gone from something only carried on within the sanctity of marriage and in the privacy of a locked and completely darkened bedroom, and only in the missionary position, to a passion-driven adulterous coupling in a living room with all the lights on. One of the few lucid thoughts he'd had while he had been banging her was a fear that one of them was going to inadvertently kill the other somehow. Spontaneous sex so hot that one actually has a fear for the lives of the people involved- How could he even BEGIN explaining that concept to the woman who could not even bring herself to put his penis in her mouth? It was beyond her comprehension and so she had chosen to turn it into some fault in him, and he'd never had the strength to point out to her that maybe, just maybe, if she had been a wife to him instead of some sort of bizarre surrogate mother, he wouldn't have found the arms of another woman so inviting. He wondered if that particular truth had ever occurred to her. Of course, it hadn't. It was far too simple an answer.

Had he felt guilt when it was over? Hardly. He had felt powerful. He had felt good. And She hadn't seemed to be suffering from guilt, either. Once She had caught her breath, She had looked at him in utter amazement and then She had laughed. She had laughed so long and so hard that tears had streamed from her eyes. No shame, no remorse, no guilt. She had been so happy to be released from what he knew all to well to be the icy prison of an unhappy marriage. And he had laughed with her. He had laughed in understanding- they may not have been eighteen anymore, but they could still feel that way, given the appropriate tools. They were not fodder for the Grim Reaper just yet.

There had been such a lack of guilt, in fact, that he had managed to screw his best friend's wife three more times that night. He wasn't thinking about guilt when he bent Her over the table on which She served his best friend's meals. He wasn't thinking about guilt when She was riding his cock in the bed She shared with his best friend. He wasn't thinking about guilt when he'd slammed Her against his best friend's car when he was on his way home and She'd walked him to the door then came outside, leaned against the car and lifted her skirt, daring him to leave without fucking her again.

Guilt, in fact, had not come for a long time. It had not come when he had gotten home to the Ice Queen who didn't have so much as a kind word for him and who did not seem to be the least bit interested in what had made him four hours late in getting home. Guilt had not hit him when he had seen his best friend a couple of days later. Guilt had not hit him when his friend had invited him over after work for a couple of beers. He had made an excuse as to why he could not come over, but guilt had not played any part in that. He was just afraid his friend would see him with Her and would KNOW what had happened. He didn't want to lose his friend. And he didn't want to lose his friend's Wife either, for that matter.

Guilt did not enter when he did take his friend's invitation and go over for a drink. Not even when he saw Her. They avoided looking at each other in Her husband's presence. When he was out of the room, though, She LOOKED at him. Just the way She had LOOKED at him That Night. God, how he loved that look. (Since that time, he had figured out that some women have that ability and some do not. Should he ever venture forth into the world of sexually active women again, he had long ago decided that he would only pursue women WITH that ability.) That look alone was enough to trap him at the table for a good fifteen minutes, fearing that if he stood up, his unholy feelings would be all too evident.

Guilt had taken quite a bit longer. And the guilt was not "normal." He did not feel guilty about betraying his wife or his friend. He felt guilty for betraying himself. Because She had taught him that life did not have to be lived in a miserable state of pretending. She had taught him that there were women out there who could have made him very happy. Since Her, he had met a handful of those remarkable women; women who had that something that he always recognized immediately. Some of them had been available, some forbidden, but the fact that they existed at all was a torment to him.

The irony of the whole situation was that he knew his wife would gladly let go of her precious grief for how he had hurt her, if only the whole thing could be wiped clean from his memory. He wondered if she would feel the same had she known that, could he have removed this memory from his mind, he would in a heartbeat. For all its passion and freedom, this memory did not serve him the way his wife perceived it did. The memory gave him so much guilt that he could not stand the thought of it anymore. And his guilt, which was not for his marriage and was not for his friend, was for himself.

He felt guilty for being miserable when he had known better all along...

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