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You don't need to be the cheater to have consequences.
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Tom saw John coming in to the bar from their normal corner position and smiled at seeing his friend. Tom had been hoping that John would stop in and he seemed to have lucked out despite in being early in the evening and the bar being pretty empty. It had been a few weeks since they'd been able to get together. John was busy with something going on his life and had become unavailable. Tom had tried calling and emails but he hadn't been able to get a hold of friend and he'd been really concerned. He'd even tried stopping by John's home and office but John never seemed to be home and he was too busy at the officer. Tom was really hoping that what ever had been bugging John had been resolved but the angry look on John's face told Tom that whatever was going on wasn't close to being resolved yet and this could be a long night.

As Tom stood up to shake his friend's hand he suddenly collapsed to the ground from John's wicked right cross to his jaw. Tom's head bouncing off a nearby table as he fell to the floor.

"What the fuck" a dazed Tom sputtered as he spit out a bloody tooth.

John stood over him, getting ready to hit him again. "You fucking bastard, you knew. You and your bitch of a wife have been laughing at me this whole because you fucking knew. I bet you both got a huge kick out of what a sucker I've been."

The rapid swelling in his jaw and the daze from what was likely a concussion made it hard for Tom to concentrate. Tom didn't understand anything that his friend was saying as none of it made sense to him. The only word coming out of Tom's mouth was, "huh?"

A flurry of kicks came in to Tom's ribs and legs followed as John began yelling, "I'm sure it was fucking hilarious that you were hanging out with me just so she could fuck around. Hey buddy, lets go to my father-in-law's cabin for the weekend. Hey buddy, Emily got us tickets to that concert your were dying to see that is only playing three hours away so well need to stay the night. Any bullshit excuse to get me out of the house and the area so she could fuck that scumbag. I should have seen it coming but I never thought you'd do this to me. I have no idea what I did to make you hate me this much to help her cheat on me but you are not only a crappy person but you're a shitty friend."

By this time the few patrons in the bar had grabbed a hold of John and began pulling him back. Tom stared back at his friend, dazed from the blows and mystified by his friends actions and words with little comprehension of what occurred. The bartender had called the cops as soon as the initial punch had landed and luckily a cruiser had been nearby. The ambulance took much longer to arrive so while John was detained and put into the patrol car, Tom struggled to his feet with the help of some strangers. The ambulance team took a quick look at Tom and put him on to the gurney, strapping him down nice and tight for the transport to the emergency room. Tom was passed out before the ambulance left the parking lot to the lullaby of the siren.

To Tom it all seemed like a short nap with what he hoped was a really bad dream. As he slowly opened his eyes as he woke up he quickly realized he was in the hospital. He saw the machines and the normal standard hospital room of medical machinery and television set from 20 years ago. This hadn't been a nightmare, this was real. As he started to regain consciousnesses, Tom's wife Emily walked in with tears on her face. "I'm so sorry baby. I wanted to be here when you woke up but stepped out so I could call your parents to tell them you are ok. How are you feeling?"

Tom sat up a bit in the bed and tried to gather his wits a bit about what had occurred as Emily sat down beside him and took his hand. The sleep and medicine had taken the swelling down a bit so at least he could be understood. "I don't know what happened. I'd never seen him like that before. He said something how Amanda was cheating on him and that we were helping her. That we caused it. His freakout made no sense."

Emily's tears kept falling as Tom continued, "I may not have heard it correctly but he seemed to think that he and I only did those trips so Amanda could cheat on him. That's insane, why would he think something that crazy?"

As Tom stopped talking for a moment he looked over at Emily. Her head down, she whispered that she was sorry.

"I don't know what you are sorry for, he's the one who hit me and had a crazy idea that we were helping her cheat. It sounds so dumb, why would he think we'd help her do something so hurtful. What kind of awful people would do that to someone they care about?"

Tom looked at Emily as she had raised her head. Something wasn't right with how she was acting. Maybe he was still out of it but her behavior was really suspicious as she normally would give her opinion, especially on relationships involving close friends. She could be in shock of the situation as it was not something we could have imagined.

As he was getting ready to ask her what was going on, the doctor came in and gave the prognosis that the jaw wasn't broken or dislocated, only bruised. As long as Tom didn't have a headache, he would be allowed to leave tonight with Emily. Tom's head did still hurt but something clearly wasn't right with Emily so he dutifully lied to the doctor and told him that he felt great so he could leave. It was a slow night so the nurses were dutiful with the paperwork so Tom didn't get a chance to ask Emily what was going on before they left the hospital but hoped that she would be more comfortable at home so she would open up to him.

Both were quiet on the drive home as Emily drove. They didn't even put music, they just in silence for whole way. Tom wanted answers but by the time he got home he was exhausted and just wanted to get some sleep. A quick change out of his clothes and Tom was asleep within minutes from the exhaustion of the day. Emily curled up next to him, holding him tightly for dear life.

After his shower, Tom went down stairs and joined Emily in the kitchen. He was still sore from the beating but at least his head was clearer. She was already sitting at the table drinking her coffee but Tom could tell that she was deep in thought as he grabbed his own cup.

Emily finally realized that Tom was in the room. She asked, "How are you feeling this morning?"

"Alright, I've got a bit of a headache and I'm sore all over. A day of relaxing and I should be fine. I still can't figure out what caused John to go nuts like that or say the things that he did."

Taking a sip, Tom continued, "Did she say anything to you? Have you talked to her since yesterday to figure out what happened to him?"

"I did talk to her for a bit yesterday, she was as shocked as I was that he would do something like that to you."

Tom looked at his wife as she spoke. It seemed a measured and careful response but there was something else. She seemed to be sorrowful which was off because it was the opposite of her normally sparkling personality. She was reserved. He thought that maybe she was just shaken up be the assault and that it had affected her more than he initially thought. Reaching out he took her hands in his, "It's ok honey, I'm fine. I'll heal." His shirt was soon wet with her genuine tears as they wrapped their arms around each other. The continued to hug through I love you's, holding on to each other tightly.

They both called out of work and spent the day around the house. Tom didn't know what it was but something beyond the physical pain was bothering him. Nothing about this seemed to make any sense. John's attack out of no where. Blaming him and Emily for helping her cheat. Emily suddenly becoming timid and reserved. The measured responses to basic questions. He had wanted to press her more about her phone call but with Emily on the border of tears he didn't think that was the best time to hear what was said. Despite them both staying home they stayed out of each other's way.

As Tom sat in the back yard watching the wind blow the trees and grass, his mind started to reach some initial thoughts. Tom needed to know why John had assaulted him. They had been friends for a long time and Tom had never known John to fly off the handle without a good reason. Tom thought about Emily's few words and he couldn't remember her ever saying that John's wife hadn't cheated, only that they were sorry for what had happened to Tom.

Tom needed to figure out John's side of the story and the best way to get that would be from Tom himself. While it was a physical risk that Tom might attack him again it seemed to be the most direct way to set a baseline understanding of what had happened. Then he sit down with Emily to talk about their role in what happened and what caused John to think that Emily and Tom had been disloyal.


n the early afternoon, Emily told Tom that she wanted to go in for a bit to grab her laptop from work since she would be home with him the rest of the week and she didn't want to fall too far behind her schedule. After she left, Tom decided to take the risk to go see John. On the way over to John's House, Tom tried calling him but the cell just kept ringing. Tom hoped that John would be out off jail by now so he took an Uber over to John's house. If Tom got lucky, John would be there so they can hopefully figure out what had caused this all and get back to normal.

As the Uber dropped Tom out front, his stomach sank as he saw Emily's car in the driveway. Instead of ringing the front doorbell, Tom walked to the back of the house, through the gate, until he was outside the open window next to the kitchen. He stopped as heard Emily talking to Tom's wife. Emily wasn't being quiet now, she was clearly pissed off.

"What the fuck happened? How did John figure out what was going on?

"John overheard me talking about setting up a date and you covering for me. I wasn't think about where I was and he heard a conversation that he obviously shouldn't have."

"So how does that explain why he attacked Tom?"

"John heard me say that you would cover for me and that Tom would keep him busy so I could go out without John being suspicious. He must have took it as Tom knowing what was going on. I would have have warned you if I knew what he was going to do but I didn't find out until after the attack that he knew. As you can tell he's beyond pissed, he even used his phone call from jail to tell me how much he hated me and that he's rather rot in jail then live with me anymore along with just about every other mean and hurtful thing that he could think of."

Emily wanted to feel bad for her friend but she had been the one stepping out on John. Emily's stupidity in helping her do it had already caused the potential for massive problems in her own marriage and they were going to get much worse when Tom found out. She'd known that helping a cheater was wrong but they had been close friends and she had been hoping that John's wife would have been happy with a short fling or two and gone back to being a good wife. Instead, Emily's support had enabled worse behavior and now Emily was going to have to deal with the fallout in her own marriage because of someone who couldn't keep her legs closed.

"I know you've got your own problems, but so do I. Once Tom figures out what happened my marriage is going to be in serious trouble."

"Why would your marriage be in trouble? You never stepped out and they got to have fun. He knows that you'd never cheat on him, I'll tell him that you never did."

Of course Tom couldn't see it, but by the tone of Emily's voice he knew she was closing her eyes and rubbing her forehead as she spoke. "You really don't get it do you. I lied to him. I helped you screw over his best friend. I helped cause his best friend to assault him. Do you really think that he's going believe a single word out that I tell him? And as far as you helping, you are the only person in this that he is going to hate worse than me so do you really think that he is going to listen to anything you have to say after you've spent all of this time lying to everyone?"

"But you didn't do anything wrong, you didn't cheat, I did. He has to know that!"

"It won't matter. I have no idea how to fix this and if I don't have a solution by the time Tom finds out my marriage is probably as over as much as your marriage is. I can't believe how stupid I was in helping you. You need to understand that if I lose him, I'll never talk to you again."

"But you've always been a loving wife, he must know how much you love him."

"Yup, that's me. I'm such a loving wife that my support to my slutty friend caused my husband to get his ass kicked by his best friend. You really don't get it and I'm just realizing now how truly clueless you are. Do you really think he is every going to trust me again because at best case it would be years before he trust me again."

Tom had heard enough at this point and quietly went back to the street. Tom's stoic personality allowed to remain calm and focus on the task at hand. While waiting for the Uber to show up, he realized that he needed to start setting things right but he needed to make sure he had all of the facts first. It was time to visit a friend.

To say the desk sergeant and the detectives were confused was a but of an understatement but after years of dealing with the strange happenings of police work they just kind of shrug their shoulders when Tom said he wished to pay for the bail. They smirked at John's look when he saw Tom was the one who had gotten him out and openly laughed when Tom told John to just shut the fuck up until he was told to talk. A confused John followed Tom out to Uber and silently got in.

After Tom gave the address to the driver they sat in silence until arrived at the scene of the crime. The same bartender was on duty and the nervous look on his face showed his concern about a potential repeat about to happen but he was quickly satisfied by Tom asking for the bottle of Glenmorangie Signet, two glasses and for them to be left alone as the two men moved to a corner booth.

Tom poured a healthy pour into both glasses and pushed it to John. As they both drank they exchanged fuck you's as a way of toasting the first drink. Tom looked at his friend, "I didn't know about the set up. I just wanted to hangout and have a good time with your and they used our friendship against you. They knew I'd never go along with it so they kept me out of the loop so they could run their bullshit scheme."

John studied his friend. They'd known each other for so long that he could always tell when Tom was bullshitting and it was clear by the look on his face that Tom was being honest now. With the rage of the initial discovery gone and the time in jail to cool off John was able to think rationally. Or at least rationally about what Tom had told him. "She ripped my heart out and your bitch of a wife helped her. I gave our marriage everything I had and it was all a waste of time because she would rather be out getting some strange dick."

Tom refilled the drinks and just listened to his friend as John vented his frustration and anger at what had happened to his marriage. As the whiskey and verbalization of the event eventually calmed down John he was able to apologize for the assault. "I probably should have talked to you first but I couldn't help myself. Finding out my marriage and my friendship with you was over forced me to lose control. As much as her being a slut killed me, the thought of you backstabbing me was worse. The cheating is bad enough but the idea of you laughing at me while she did it hurt worse. I'm sorry."

Tom grinned while sipping his whiskey, "That's ok, I probably deserved it for banging your sister over Christmas break junior year. How did you find out she was cheating."

John shook his head. "It was the stupidest thing. I'd been thinking that something was wrong in my marriage a few weeks ago so I started to withdraw from everyone. I eventually reached the conclusion that she must be cheating so I was getting ready to hire a PI. But I while I was looking for potential PIs at work my phone started to show the Ring camera video and audio of her on the front porch. She had triggered the motion sensor as she picked up the Amazon package she'd ordered while she was talking on the phone setting up a meeting to fuck another guy. She said how you and Emily would help her out like you had been. It didn't come across that you didn't know what was going on, it sounded like you were not only involved but an active participate in the deception."

Tom stared in disbelief. "Two marriages dead because one slut couldn't keep her legs close and forgot about a camera."

"So Emily cheated too? I hadn't thought about it but it makes sense that she would be doing the same thing she was covering my slut for."

"Actually, I'm pretty convinced that Emily didn't cheat. I overhead them talking before I picked you up and it made me pretty sure that she didn't step out."

"So if she didn't cheat, why are you getting rid of her?"

"It would almost be easier to forgive her if she was sleeping with someone else but its worse than that for me. The problem isn't cheating, it's trust. She not only lied to me repeatedly about her actions and your slut but she used our friendship to hide it in an evil way and make me an active participant in the deceiving you. How do I stay in a marriage with someone I can't trust anymore and who my best friend hates?"

"You can rebuild trust. Maybe not my trust with my slut but Emily loves you. Are you sure this is the end?"

"I think so. Trust welded together isn't stronger, its weaker. People can forgive but they never forget and I'm not going to waste the remainder of my life holding this against her in the hope that years from now it is only a faded memory. She knew what she was doing, there isn't anything she can say to solve this. Its time for me to walk away and start again."

John envied his friend, "Even through all of this, you remain understated. You'll have an amicable divorce and you'll both remain on good terms while I'm trying to figure out which Mexican whorehouse rents out sluts for donkey shows so I can find her a suitable job for her skill set so I'm paying less alimony. I'm in awe of your ability to just see life for what it is. You identify your path and you just life your life."

Tom laughed at his friend's thoughts. It felt like his world was ending but he knew he'd be alright in the long run. He'd head home and talk to Emily but since she already knew what was going to happen it would likely be relatively anti-climatic.

She'd cry and beg for counseling but there was no way he could accept her behavior during this. It wasn't in him to let this go and she knew it. It was time for him to pick a new direction and see what else is out there because the chapter on his marriage to Emily had ended.

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Booboo12629Booboo12629about 1 month ago

This story had potential but you didn’t finish it. Too many unanswered questions and other details. Frustrating read.

AnonymousAnonymousabout 1 month ago

Good story, but I wished the author made the story a bit longer. 5 starts though.

AnonymousAnonymous3 months ago

The immediate, unconditional forgiveness Tom gives to John for the surprise assault seems a rather extremist nod to living by "bro code." John says the thought that Tom had betrayed him hurt him more than his wife's actions did. If that is true, did he not owe his treasured, life long friend the time and restraint required to be certain of the facts before placing him in the hospital? John's actions were the friendship equivalent of a spouse who, suspecting infidelity, goes for a revenge fuck with their spouse's greatest enemy only to later learn their partner had, in fact, been faithful. The vengeful spouse always ends up rightfully divorced in those stories.

AnonymousAnonymous5 months ago

It seems that many of the comments want to minimize Emily’s sin. Let’s walk through this step by step.

Adultery is EVIL. The only thing worse is premeditated murder. So, let’s make some comparisons. Let’s say that your wife’s best friend has been torturing animals, and your wife’s been covering for her. Would you stay married to someone who enabled a puppy burner? Of course not. Well, adultery is worse, so do the math!!!


AnonymousAnonymous5 months ago

Name switches are bad enough but in the same sentence? Give me a break. Despite that it was a good read and a very interesting variation on a familiar theme.


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