Live from the Game Ch. 03byjezzaz©
I went home that night in a foul mood. I caught every red light possible, every moron who's ever driven a car in his life was in my way and I had decided that the stuff people talk about in LitErotica stories about wiring up their houses for video and audio and all that were horse shit. I'd paid a visit to Frys Electronics on the way home and that shit is expensive. Also, it requires wiring and computer skills I don't have. I didn't have a clue how to wire up a phone intercept, and even if I did, it wouldn't do us any good since we don't have a land line any more -- just mobiles.
Sure, it would be a stroll in the park for Solomon, but he wasn't there. I was.
Besides, from what Crystal had told me, Deanna was careful to keep it out of our house. About the only thing I'd get good footage of would be me taking a crap and the kids stashing plastic bugs in our bed at night. That was a favorite of theirs -- stashing bugs in our bed and scaring the crap out one of us when we pulled back the covers. Little shits. I wonder where they got that idea from? Hehehhe.
I parked in my little garage and before I went inside I looked at the boxes I had bought at Frys. They were little voice recorders that were voice activated. The stories on Lit make it look so easy, but looking at these things, they could only record a hundred files at a time, which meant hundred different voice activated incidents, before they were full. That meant I'd need to be recovering them and grabbing the data off them constantly. Ah well. Being James Bond was never going to be easy. I did look good in a Tux though, even if it was rumpled. That little crack from Crystal still rankled. Mainly because it was true.
I went inside and the kids were running around, making more noise than it should be possible for such small packages to make, balanced against the TV which was blaring out the Odd Family, with it's grating and irritating voices. Paula came and gave me an embarrassed kiss -- she was just at that age where romantic idea's were raising their heads, hormones were everywhere and I was, naturally -- and rightly so -, gross.
I nodded at Deanna, who was in the kitchen, sorting through large piles of Chinese food packages. She nodded back and yelled, "Good day?"
"Probably not as good as yours," I screamed back, without a trace of irony.
"Kids, turn off the TV," bellowed Deanna. That got her a chorus of "awww, moooommmmm" before the kids actually did it. Suddenly the noise quotient dropped fifty percent.
I said to Deanna, "I need to go shower. Long day and it's humid out there," and she nodded absently mindedly, while sorting the food containers.
"Don't be long, dinner is almost ready," she replied.
I went upstairs and marveled at how calm and collected she was. No hint of what was going on during her day. No difference in her demeanor. She was a world-class actor, there was no doubt of that. That or she had some serious schizophrenic issues.
I took a very fast shower, just in and out, then looked around at where to stash the first of the three voice recorders I had bought. In the end, I taped it to the underside of her bedside cabinet. I didn't really expect to get anything from the recorders at home, but I wanted to be thorough.
After that, I got dressed in sweats, went downstairs and had dinner. It was the usual rambunctious affair, with three children competing for our attention. After dinner was done and the things tidied up -- and I had managed to plant another recorder in the kitchen, under the bottom of the high counters - Deanna came and plonked herself in my lap.
She game me that special smile, and the noise we made to indicate that dessert was on the menu, if you know what I mean. She whispered in my ear, "You've been home two days and we've not seen each other. Lets send the rabble to bed early and go snuggle down ourselves."
Looking at her, I saw her so differently now. She was offering me a mercy fuck, after probably spending the day in bed with her lover. It wasn't because she wanted to, it was because she thought she had to. It was all I could do to keep dinner down, to be honest, but I nodded weakly.
Then she produced a little package from the coffee table and said, "Tada! Small gift. I saw it and thought of you."
Well, this was weird. What was I to make of this? I opened it and found one of those GPS based running watches -- the ones that are designed for runners and which record heart rate and so on. It came complete with a small insert you put in your shoe to count footsteps.
I looked back at her, and she was looking at me, all expectant. She said, "I thought of you on the bike thing you are doing with Simon now. I thought it would be cool to track all that stuff."
While I looked at her, everything came into focus. My entire life with her, the kids, our day to day life. It was all a lie. Well, it wasn't, but it was less than fifty percent of what she thought it should be. Our lives together were based on routine, rote and unfeeling expectations.
She'd bought me a present. That was nice, no denying it. But what she'd bought me had zero thought put into it -- I already had a tracker for my bike -- my iPhone. Deanna had been with me when I'd bought the mount for it. She hadn't been paying attention and was on the phone in the store, but she was there, and I had been exuberant about getting this thing in the car all the way home. She just wasn't listening -- in one ear and out the other. She had absolutely no interest in what I was doing, beyond being pleased at the concept that I was doing something to stay healthy.
I suddenly realized all the times I'd tried to engage her on the subject, to get minimal attention -- of the kind where you nod and just say things like "hmmm, yes," trying to give the impression of attention when you have none. And the other person just burbles on happily, full of the joy of the purchase and thinking about usage cases, not even really noticing that you couldn't give a rats ass.
What's more, this device was for runners. Bikers couldn't use it -- apart from the GPS part, the idea was to track footfalls. There aren't any when you bike. Sure, I could use some portion of the facilities of this thing, but honestly, the iPhone did it better than this device ever would.
And if she'd asked someone, spent more than 30 seconds in the store and looked around, she'd know. But she didn't. That was our marriage in a nutshell. Do the least amount possible with a smile and get your jollies elsewhere.
I had to balance that with the thought that it had even occurred to her to buy me a gift in the first place, but all I could see was guilt. I know I probably wasn't being fair, but that's what I saw. She was off gallivanting with this guy, I was getting the short end of the stick, so she'd bought me a gift to feel better about it. And the gift itself was totally not thought out, just an off the cuff thing to make her feel better about what she was doing, not for what I wanted at all.
I realized that this had been our life for a couple of years now. I was still trying to keep it alive -- flowers, dinners out, a weekend away. I spent hours trying to get her the right thing for Christmas last year -- agonized over what to get. I went to three malls and went through all their jewelry and in the end bought her a diamond necklace, and also shooting lessons - for her and me. I thought it might be fun for us to do it together. While I paid for them, we did one and never went back. Just never found the time, I guess.
But now I thought about it, she never did that for me. Each year she just demanded an email of links for items on Amazon and that was that. There was no thought. There was no concern. There was the act of the purchase, but I did all the work for her. She didn't think about a gift for me at all. She just clicked the link, put in the credit card info and that was that. Gift giving done.
I was just suddenly overwhelmed with sadness. We were done. All that I had found out came to a head and the realization that she had already internally moved on was there. Love me? Bullshit. She might love me in some way, but the love of her life? He was in some apartment down town. She loved me like... like I loved Paul. OH FUCK.
That realization -- that I was Paul in this marriage -- that just totally pushed me over the edge. I just dissolved into tears. I'm not afraid to admit it. I wept for our marriage, for the fact that it was over. I wept for allowing it to happen, and not even seeing it as it happened. I wept for our children, because divorce was never easy on children -- they'd spend years wondering if it was their fault. And I wept for myself. For being betrayed by someone I trusted with my life.
Deanna was speechless -- she could see some dam had broken, but was clueless about what was going on. Initially she made a joke, saying weakly, "Hey now, it's just a work out device. No need for tears Ryan!"
I just looked at her, bawled some more, and abruptly got up and headed to the bathroom.
"Paula, take the kids up stairs. Watch something in your room. Your father and I need some time," she instructed our eldest, who was watching slack jawed.
Paula gathered up the others, with some complaining from Jamie who was in the middle of playing Lego Starwars on the Xbox.
I could hear Deanna outside the bathroom. I had started to get myself under control and was breathing heavily, just looking at myself in the mirror. How did it get to be this bad? My wife was intent on betraying me and our family in the worst possible way, and what's more, she was getting off on the prospect of being caught. What do you do in that situation? How are you supposed to feel? How are you supposed to react?
Some people would just react out of anger and push back. And on occasion, I felt like that. That there needed to be beatings and pain, so others would know the pain I felt. Other times I just wanted to retreat -- hole up somewhere by myself and retreat from humanity entirely. Obviously it didn't need me to function. Then I thought of my kids, and the pain came from the impact to them, and the realization that no matter what happened, I would never be free of Deanna. She would always be there, as their mother, always reminding me of what she'd done.
I felt trapped. I felt angry. I felt out of control -- not the kind where you want to do damage, although there was some of that, but the kind where your life is happening to you, rather than you making it happen. You are in complete reaction mode and not able to actually effect events, just react to them. I've never felt this way before -- I've been to all intents and purposes a CEO of a midsized company, and I've had to be in control. But now? I didn't know what to do with my life.
All the time I had purpose when I was tracking down the facts, conspiring to trap Crystal and get the details, well, now I had them, and I had to decide what to do.
She had no clue what I knew. I had to make a decision. And like the coward I am, I didn't make one. I just decided I would hold it together and make the decision tomorrow. So I took a bunch more deep breaths, thought frantically for a story to tell my slut wife, and exited the bathroom.
She was hovering outside. "Are you ok, Ryan? This is just...not like you. What's going on?"
"I got some news today. From Simon. One of the guys we bike with has a tumor. I was just getting to know him and enjoy all their company and this happened. He's dying. He has six months at the outside. When you gave me that present, well, it just all came out. It makes me feel for my own mortality, you know?"
It was all utter crap, all absolutely inspired and I couldn't quite believe I was coming out with it. And Deanna bought it. Well why not? She'd been lying to me for weeks -- be nice to get some pay back.
"Oh that's horrible Ryan. Oh my god. Is there anything we can do? I'm so sorry; I didn't mean..." she trailed off.
"I just...need some time, Deanna. I just need to go have a drink somewhere by myself or something."
The inspiration just kept coming. This was great stuff. I was building myself a wall that she wouldn't dream of trying to breach in the short term.
"Of course, Babe. Go, The Mill is open. Go have a beer. Call me when you want to come home, I'll come get you."
"Thanks," I said, giving her my best 'I'll be brave' smile.
And that's how I left it. Before I went to the bar, I stashed another recorder under the front seat of her Town and Country van, then I fled to the Mill Tavern, had a beer, pulled out my phone and called Simon and Solomon. It was time to make plans.
They arrived within half an hour. Solomon was especially interested in the bar; his was not a social existence and this was a new experience for him. He just sat there, looking round with interest at all the other people, the bar maids, the TV's mounted on the wall. I got him a coke, and then Simon arrived, and with it, more beer and suddenly Solomon was understanding what it was that everyone was going on about when it came to that subject. He was suddenly very happy very quickly. I already imagined what I had created here would not end well.
"Right, we are all three here. Simon, this is Solomon. Solomon is very smart and socially inept. That's the right word, isn't it Solomon?"
At this point Solomon was feeling no pain and cheerfully said, "Absolutely. No redeeming social skills what so ever. Wow, she is cute. Look at those tits!"
I couldn't have scripted it better. Simon just stared at me, took a long drink of his beer and looked at Solomon, then he leaned and said, "We aren't going to have to pull him out of a fight, are we?"
"No, I don't think so. Look, I need to fill you in on what I've learned."
Both gave me their full attention as I recapped what I'd done with Solomon, what I'd learned from Crystal, even the whole present thing. At the end I said, "So yeah, Simon, if you get phone calls from Deanna, follow through on the dying comrade ok? Lay it on thick. It enables me to keep away from her in the short term while I am coming to terms with my own mortality."
Simon nodded and said, "You got it, bud."
"So what's next on the Uncle Ryan Personal Plan?" asked Solomon.
"Well, I think we are done. She's just too good to trust any more. She's got this entire other life with this asshole and I have had no hint of it. No hint of unhappiness, no hint of our sex life changing. Nothing. She's just too good at lying and being able to pull the wool over my eyes. Well, that's done and there's a price to be paid for both of them. And I know just want I want to do. They want high-risk sexual activity? I'm -- no, we - are going to give it to them."
I went into the plan I had in mind and both Solomon and Simon sat there, shocked. Then Simon started to laugh and then Solomon did and then I started to chuckle. We all had a good laugh and after we were done, Solomon pointed out something that hadn't even occurred to me. None of it was illegal. Oh, we'd need to go about it in certain illegal ways, but the end result would be one hundred percent legal.
I had no idea how we were going to pull it off, but we were damn well going to try. We spent the rest of the evening talking about how to make it happen, what it would cost, how we would go about it, what each of us would do and generally making plans.
There was a lot that needed to be put in place first though, and I would make a start on that tomorrow, by seeing my lawyer.
I went home that night and thankfully Deanna was already asleep. I'd called and told her Simon was dropping me home, so she didn't need to wait up. She sounded grateful. I'm sure she was. I'm sure the day had been very hard on her, physically. I'm sure she'd need her sleep to recover from the pounding she'd gotten that afternoon, poor baby.
Now that I had plans in place, I needed to start other balls rolling. I knew I had to get away from Deanna, and she had to feel some of my pain. And not the touchy-feely kind where we all sit in a circle and hold hands and cry. No, she needed some humiliation and understanding that I would not put up with this.
It was going to be hard to do some of this. Part of me couldn't wait to get it all in place and enjoy the fall out, and part of me was both sad and ashamed that I could feel that way. I wanted to shield the kids as much as I could, but I also recognize that this is the real world. Whether I did what I did the way I wanted to or just folded my tent and stole off in the night, they were going to have to deal with a house divided. Given that, I might as well do it my way and get some satisfaction out of it.
So the next day, bright and early, I was out before the kids even woke up. I'm sure Deanna wondered at that, but it wouldn't be long and I'd not have to answer to her questions any more.
I went to breakfast at IHOP and made a call to my company's lawyer, Jonathan Bruty. He and I went way back, and he was also a friend, of sorts. I'd dated his wife before he'd arrived on the scene and I definitely got the impression he was not wildly thrilled about that. His wife, Angie, and Deanna were friendlier, doing shopping trips and so on. But we had a relationship and it was ok. Either way, I needed to do this.
So the appointment was at ten am, and when I was shown into his office, he was all smiles and hand clasping, as well he might be, given how much business I'd pushed his way with Dresdin and other companies looking for legal assistance.
I went into why I was there and his face clouded. I don't know if it was because it meant I'd be back on the market and therefore competition for his wife in his mind, or because he didn't want to see a couple he knew break up. Honestly, I didn't care. He wasn't going to have anything to do with it anyway.
"Ryan, I feel for you buddy, I really do. But I don't quite know how I can help? I do business law, not family or divorce law."
"Oh I know. I'm here more for advice on who I should see about this. Who are the best divorce lawyers? Can you give me a list of the best within, oh, ten miles, and then the ten best in Chicago? So I have some choice?"
The entire point here is that once I've had the one hour free initial consultation with each, it means I have a prior relationship with that law firm, and therefore it would be a conflict of interest for them to take her case. I was basically stripping Deanna of legal resources before she could get to them. If she approached any of the people I approached, they would have to refuse her service. Plus I was going to need a lawyer anyway, so I might as well do the research.
Petty, yes, I know. But she had it coming. I was on a mission now, and I was going to see it through.
"Sure, I can do that. I'll get my admin on it. Would you like some coffee while we wait?"
So we had coffee and it was all very civilized and I could see how he was restraining himself from asking more details that he desperately wanted to know. Before I left, I felt it necessary to say, "This is covered by confidentiality, right? No chatting with Angie? I don't want this to get back to Deanna just yet."
Jonathan actually looked hurt at that. "I thought you knew me better than that Ryan. I would never do that."
"I'm glad John. This is just personal and very close to home and I need to tread carefully here. I'm sorry I impugned on your professionalism."
He hesitated and then said, "It's ok, I understand. When this is all over, we need a beer sometime. You need to talk, I'm here. I'm sure Angie would want to offer you her support, too."
That was unexpected. I felt like perhaps I had misjudged Jonathan Bruty. And then the nasty little voice in my head who had been making it's presence felt since I'd discovered what I had said, 'Sure, and then Angie can report back to Deanna!' and I left the office wondering who I was becoming.