tagErotic CouplingsMrs. Steven Rudy Ch. 05

Mrs. Steven Rudy Ch. 05

byHamletMacbethIII©

Author's note: This is a series inspired by the song of the same title by Mark McGuinn, but all characters are my own creation. Any resemblances to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental. And while I try to keep my stories fairly grounded in reality, this remains a work of fiction, of fantasy even. So if something seems biologically or anatomically improbable, just remember the MST3K mantra: "It's just a show; I should really just relax." I welcome criticism/feedback; all I ask is that you be somewhat gentle, or at least constructive.

This is the fifth chapter in this series, so if you find yourself getting lost, it might help to go back and read the previous chapters.


*****

Chapter 5: Loosen Up My Strings

Friday before spring break was a blow-off day for everyone. School let out early, so some classes didn't even meet, and a lot of students had already started their vacations, so many of the desks sat empty. The four periods scheduled for the day passed quickly and uneventfully. After the final bell rang, Mike moved to the main hall to help make sure the students all made it out quickly - the sooner the kids cleared out, the sooner the faculty could leave. As he watched the juvenile tide flow out through the front doors, he thought he spotted a familiar bald head flowing with it. He let the crowd carry him toward the front, turning to the side when he reached the office. He walked in and found Tabitha sitting behind the desk.

"What are you doing here?" he said. "I figured you would be one of the first ones out the door."

"I'm waiting for traffic to clear out." She waved out the front windows, where students could be seen milling about. Beyond them, cars crawled through the drive as parents picked up their kids. The students who drove themselves would only add to the snarl at the exit.

"Probably a good idea." Mike rapped his knuckles on the counter. "Was my neighbor just here - that guy I was talking to yesterday? I thought I saw him a second ago, but I couldn't be sure."

"Mr. Rudy? Yeah, that was him. He said he couldn't find his wallet and asked if anyone had turned it in here. I work in here as an office aide fourth period, so I helped him look for a while, but we never did find it."

"That sucks. Well, have a good spring break."

"I'll try, but if I don't, I blame you."

"Me? Why?"

"If you hadn't given those tickets away, I could have gone to the Pageant. Now, who knows what I'm going to do?"

"Sorry, Tabitha, but they need the time together more."

"So he really is having trouble with his wife?" She looked thoughtful.

"He told you about that?"

Tabitha blushed. "Not really. It's just that he said he really needed to find that wallet so his wife wouldn't have to worry about lost credit cards and have something else to be upset with him about." She chewed on her lip. "Poor guy."

Mike snorted. "Yeah. OK. Whatever. I'll see you in a couple of weeks. Have fun, get stupid, but not too stupid."

The kids eventually vacated the building. At first, Mike was as glad as they were to get out early, but his mood soured by the time he got home. He suddenly realized that he was likely to be alone all week with nothing to do. Heather would be with her husband (Mike gritted his teeth), and the old friends that he usually tried to catch up with all had other plans with family and/or significant others. When he drove past the Rudys' home, he saw them standing beside Steven's Lexus. He had his arms around Heather's waist, and hers were around his shoulders as they kissed. Mike looked away quickly, but he couldn't help but think of how he and Heather had held each other in a similar fashion while dancing. As he walked into his house, he realized that his jaw hurt and forced himself to unclench before he cracked a tooth. I need a drink.

A quick perusal of the house showed that he had no alcohol. Mike had never been much of a drinker. In college, he ended up being the designated driver more often than not since he couldn't see the point of getting so wasted he forgot his own name. Suddenly, however, it seemed like a good time to start. Hell, that's what spring break is for, isn't it? He threw himself on the couch and turned the TV on. Maybe tomorrow. Tonight, I just want to sit here and do nothing. He stared at the screen without really seeing it. His reaction to Heather kissing her husband bothered him. Why is this pissing me off so much? It's not like I didn't know they were a couple. Hell, I've been trying to help keep them together. He rubbed his forehead. Well, I guess that's not precisely true. But I have been trying to make sure she gives this "fighting for my marriage" thing a decent try. And it looks like she is. So what is wrong with me? I can see being upset and maybe sad about how well it looks to be turning out, but I'm just angry. Why? He went round and round with himself but was no closer to an answer by the time he cut the TV off and went to bed.

Mike woke late the next morning with a throbbing headache. He had tossed and turned all night, plagued by weird dreams where Heather was with him, then with her husband, apparently unable to make up her mind. Laughter kept creeping in from the background. It made little sense but disturbed him nonetheless. He took a couple of Tylenol and laid out on the couch with one arm over his eyes. The medicine gradually eased the pain in his head, and Mike dozed for a few hours. He felt better when he woke up shortly after one, although he did feel a little fragile, as if the headache could come roaring back at any time. He was also starving. Mike grabbed his car keys.

Waffle House may not have had the best food in the world, but it was cheap, and they served plenty of it. He tore into a steak and waffles while scrolling through Facebook. He laughed when he saw that Andrew, one of the friends he usually would have spent part of spring break with, had changed his relationship status to "Complicated." Before he met Lacey three years ago, Andrew had been a self-avowed player who planned to stay single forever. Now they were flying to Atlanta so he could meet her parents, and it was the worst-kept secret among their friends that he planned to propose this week if her father let him live. Mike was chuckling at the good-natured ribbing in the comments and taking a few shots of his own when he heard laughter from a nearby booth. Turning, he saw what appeared to ge a college couple enjoying themselves. The guy had a grin on his face as if he'd told the best joke in the world. His girl obviously agreed; she had her hand on his arm and her head thrown back as she laughed.

Mike smiled and turned back to his food. He paused with the fork halfway to his mouth. There had been that sort of high-pitched laughter in his dreams the night before. A woman's laughter. Heather. But it didn't have this bright, merry, sound to it. The laughter in his dreams had a darker tone, as if taunting or mocking. Is that why I've been so pissed? Do I really think she's toying with me? The fork slowly drifted back to the plate. Mike thought he could handle being a fling for an older woman, if they were honest with each other about it. But if she was just playing with him, trying to see how much of a rise she could get out of someone fifteen years her junior... Mike shook his head. That didn't seem like Heather. But if not that, then what? When she was with him, she gave every appearance of a woman who was at least deeply infatuated. He didn't think - didn't want to believe - she could be faking the passion she showed with him. But she still kept going back to her husband. Could the weight of twenty years in a relationship really be enough to explain it? Or am I getting played? He didn't know, but he figured the least she could do was provide some clarity. Waiting would be hard, but Mike decided not to bother Heather that evening. She undoubtedly had a lot on her plate, and Sunday morning would be soon enough to get some answers.

Sunday morning didn't cooperate, however. Mike went out a little after eight as he had every week for months, grabbed the newspaper, and turned to wave. He was halfway across the lawn before he realized the porch was empty. Frowning, he walked back to his own front steps and sat down. The world felt out of kilter. He had made dozens of trips to that front porch, and she had never not been there. Oh, sometimes winter had proven too bitter to do much more than say hello, and when she had the flu, she stood there just long enough to apologize and ask him to return the next week. But this was the first Sunday they hadn't exchanged at least a few words. Mike sat there for nearly an hour, staring at the porch. Part of him wanted to go knock on the door, but that felt wrong. He didn't want to turn into the clingy, stalkerish guy who couldn't take a hint. Is this her hint? Is this her telling me it was fun, but it's time to get lost? He didn't think she would do that, but the idea wouldn't go away. She could at least come outside and tell me herself. Mike went back inside, slamming the door as he went. His one hope - that she had gotten tied up or something but at least sent a text - proved fruitless when he picked his phone up off the coffee table. No calls, no messages. Tears welled up, and he angrily brushed them away. She had promised to meet him this morning and then brushed him off. I guess I got my answer. "Fuck it," he muttered.

Mike walked into the kitchen and tossed the newspaper in the trash. He never read the thing. It had started as a free promotional deal when he moved in, and he had only maintained the weekend subscription as an excuse to go talk to the hot neighbor next door. Guess I won't be needing that anymore. He took a long shower, got dressed, and drove to the nearest Walmart, leaving the phone sitting in the living room. He still had a couple of hours to kill when he got there, so he wandered the store, picking up a couple of DVDs and some T-shirts. Finally, the magic hour of noon arrived. Mike walked to the grocery side and grabbed three cases of beer. He would have preferred something heavier right then, but Texas didn't allow it on Sunday.

"Planning a party?" the clerk asked as he paid for the purchases.

Mike wanted to tell him to shut up and mind his own business. He bit his tongue instead and offered a lopsided grin. "Hey, it's spring break, right?" He pushed the cart away before the clerk could respond. With almost no traffic on the road, the drive home took less time than usual. Carrying the beer in took a couple of trips, and Mike was so focused on getting inside that he missed the white piece of paper taped to his white front door until the second time through. He waited until he had put the third case on the counter and his other bags on the table before he went back and yanked the note free. It was a small, plain paper rectangle, such as might be used to jot down a quick grocery list. It had been folded in half, with his name on the outside. He took a deep breath and unfolded the note.

Sorry I missed you earlier. I know I said we would meet as usual, but I got a nasty shock this morning, and I couldn't seem to deal with anything. You didn't answer your phone, and you obviously aren't home. I'll try back later. We still have a conversation to unpin.

- Heather


Mike went back to the kitchen and grabbed some tape and a pen. Refolding the note, he flipped it over and stuck it on the door. He scrawled the word "Whatever" before slamming and locking the door. He grabbed his phone on the way to the kitchen. One missed call, no voicemail, and two messages.

Sorry I missed you. Having a really bad morning.

Then a few minutes later: No answer. I guess you're a little upset. Can we talk?

He stared at the screen for several minutes. Finally, he sighed and sent a reply: If you think we need to, but not today. Not in the mood. Try me tomorrow. Turning the phone off now.

He powered it down and went to the kitchen to put the beer in the fridge and fix a small lunch. Need to eat something if I'm going to be drinking all day. No point in killing myself. He heated up a frozen pot pie, grabbed a beer and set about getting hammered for the first time since graduating college. Mike didn't worry about savoring the buzz he developed early on. He just drank steadily through the afternoon. Before long, his brain stopped worrying about Heather or much of anything else. He took that as a good sign and kept going until he finally passed out on the couch.

The next morning, Mike wished for death. After dragging himself to the bathroom and threw up what little he had eaten the day before, he started to think maybe he had died and wound up in hell. He finally finished bringing up everything he had eaten in the last five years and slowly climbed to his feet. Moving like an arthritic old man, he brushed his teeth and took a long, tepid shower. He didn't even bother getting dressed before collapsing on the bed, placing a pillow over his eyes, and drifting off once more. Mike dozed fitfully, waking up from dreams he couldn't recall only to slip back into an uneasy sleep. He thought he heard knocking at one point, but it was gone before he could determine if it was real or imagined. Exhaustion claimed him again.

Mike finally woke up late in the afternoon. His head still hurt some, and his mouth tasted like it had been used for some kind of weird chemistry experiment, but he felt that he might have graduated from hell to purgatory. "Shit, I need water," he croaked.

Still naked, he climbed out of bed and shuffled his way into the kitchen. He grabbed the biggest glass he could find, filled it with ice water, and drained it. A second glass helped to down a couple of Tylenol. As he chased dehydration away, he decided that he could actually eat. A little. Mike retrieved his phone from the couch, turned it on, and set it on the counter. He put on an apron and started some bacon and scrambled eggs. Just as the bacon started sizzling, another noise drew his attention to his phone, which buzzed and danced across the counter. He snagged it just before it fell to the floor. The screen showed three missed calls from Heather and a slew of text messages.

The first had been sent the night before. OK. I understand. Please call me when your mood improves. We do need to talk.

The rest came throughout the day, starting about nine. Good morning! How are you feeling?

Your phone is still off. Please call me when you get this.

"Whatever"? Wow! You must be really pissed at me. I hope it wears off soon.

Michael, please call me. I really need to talk to you.

Loik, mister. Why do yiu even have a ohobe if you're not going to anseer it?

Now youre refusing to anser the door. Reel mature.

mik evrythg iz goin to helk i need u pleez cll mi

There were a few more, but Mike couldn't decipher them. He pondered Heather's texts as he finished cooking his food. The deteriorating nature of her messages had him a little concerned. She was always so precise and correct. Had it been anybody else, he would think they had been drinking, but Heather didn't drink any more than he did. But if it's not that, then what is going on? A knock at the door brought his head up. I guess I'm about to find out. He walked to the door, took a deep breath, and pulled it open.

Heather stood there, swaying and clutching a square bottle in one hand. She wore a green T-shirt, tight jeans, and a pair of boots. Her hair had been pulled back in a ponytail. "Hey there, sexy," she slurred. "Nice outfit." Mike looked down. He had forgotten that all he had on was an apron. It's not like it's anything she hasn't seen before. They stared at each other for a moment. "Aintcha gonna invite me in? It's ver' rude to leave a lady standin' on the porch, you know."

Mike stood to the side and extended one arm in a wordless invitation. Heather stumbled inside, turning to lurch against him as she crossed the threshold. She gave him a sloppy French kiss and reached under the apron to grip his cock. She smelled and tasted like a distillery. Mike pulled her off of him and guided her to the couch. She tried to grab him again, pouting when he backed away. "Wassrong?"

Mike sighed. "It's like three in the afternoon, and you're drunk."

"'Havin' a bad day. I needed shum-one ta talk to. You din' wanna talk, so I figured I'd chat wif Jackie-boy here!" She held up the Jack Daniels bottle, which was nearly empty. Her voice lowered to a stage whisper. "But Jackie don' talk so good. So here I am!"

He tried to reign in his temper. I forgot how much fun drunk people are to deal with. "What do you want, Heather?"

"I wun lossa things," Heather said, a sly smile crossing her face. "Maybe I wunna talk. Maybe I wunna nudder drink." Her smile widened. "Maybe I wunna fuck."

"God damn it, Heather!" he roared, making her jump, eyes wide. "I am not in the mood for a bunch of games! So I'm going to ask you one more time: What the fuck do you want? Or do you even know?"

Tears streamed down her cheeks. "I wun my frien', but looks like it's too late for that." She started sobbing, gasping out as her shoulders shook: "I...I guess I duh...dun f-f-fucked th-that up, too." She struggled in her seat, one hand on the arm rest as she tried to find the coordination required to stand.

Blinking back tears of his own, Mike pushed her back to the couch. "Sit down."

"No. You don' wun me here. You don' love me anymore. I need ta go." Despite her protests, Heather made no move to rise.

Mike pried the bottle from her hand and carried it to the kitchen. He brought back a box of tissues and a bottle of water and plopped on the couch beside her. "Let's try this again, shall we?" He cracked open the water and set it on the coffee table. Heather blew her nose and nodded. "What was it you needed to talk to me about?"

Rather than reply, she leaned against him and fumbled with her back pocket for several seconds before finally managing to free her phone. She swiped the lock screen and handed it over. She reached for the water. Mike found him looking at a couple of messages on a screen marked "Husband." That's weird. I wasn't sure he even knew how to text.

The first one was stamped at 7:34 a.m. Sunday. Possible emergency at work. May not make it home this week.

The second came in at 10:17 that morning. Flying to Phoenix now. Major client threatening to pull business. Expect to take all week. Gave ball tickets to co-worker so they don't go to waste.

That was it. No apologies. No promises to make it up to her. Just the facts, ma'am. He checked the recent calls. Over a dozen outbound to "Husband," all of them unanswered. No inbound calls. "What an absolute bastard," he said, turing to Heather. She nodded, taking a sip of water. About half the bottle remained. She may be hammered, but she's being smarter about it than I was. Her tears had stopped, although their tracks remained visible. "So now what? Another knock-down, drag-out screaming match when he gets back?"

Heather shook her head vehemently. "I am so fuckin' done. The only text he eva' sens me, and it's this shit? Hell, no." She snuggled up close and leaned her head on his shoulder. "Please don't hate me."

"I don't hate you," he whispered.

"Yes, you do. I hurtcha, and you yelled at me." She turned her face to him. Fresh tears trickled down her cheeks. "I screwed up two rel'shunships this week, and now you don't love me anymore. I'm so sorry..."

"Heather, I want you to listen to me very carefully, OK?"

"OK." She spoke softly, sounding almost like a child.

"This," he said, holding up her phone, "is not your fault. If - and that's a big if - you did anything wrong, it was in allowing that jerk more chances than he deserved." He tossed the phone on the coffee table. "I am sorry I yelled at you. You're drunk and upset, and you didn't deserve that. I can only say that I've been on edge the last few days, trying to figure out where we stand. But that's my problem, not yours. Just know that I do not hate you. I don't think I even could."

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