Tales of Dirty Old Man Ch. 02byAndyhm©
Copyright Andyhm. 2016
The author asserts the moral right to be identified as the author of this work.
This is a work of fiction. The events described here are imaginary; the settings and characters are fictitious and are not intended to represent specific places or living persons. All characters engaging in sexual relationships or activities are 18 years old or older.
Revised and updated.
This is one off story. I don't know where the idea came from. I woke up one morning with the outline set out in my mind. If I'm taking inspiration from another story on this site, then I apologize in advance to the author. This is a long piece that uses a lot of dialogue, and some sex. You've been warned! I needed the room to develop the story and allow me to do justice to the characters. In fact, it's grown larger than I'd anticipated, so I've decided to break it into three parts. They are all finished, so I will submit them one day apart. This is part 2, and it will probably make a lot more sense if you've read the first part.
I could have put this in Romance but as I put the first part in LW, I thought that this was a more fitting home
You are warned, the conversations between the main characters are often long and involved. They are also sometimes repetitive, especially from the husband's point of view. Why? Because this in my experience is what, real life is. This is just what I saw happen, when the husband of a close pair of very good friends, found out that his wife had an affair. He so wanted to understand why she had considered doing it. I spent a lot of time with both, trying to help. He would keep asking the same questions in multiple ways, hoping, I believe, finally to get answers he could accept. The questions and answers followed no logical pattern. They were convoluted and random. That's what I've tried to replicate here, and yes, he must have got the answers he hoped for, as they are still very happily married. If it worked for him...
I can't thank Romantic1 enough for the time he spent reviewing and editing this. Thanks, R. And a special thanks to BlackRandl1958 for her kind offer to review and polish the story.
Any remaining mistakes are all mine, usually because I can't resist fiddling with the finished story.
Call me a coward, I don't care, I felt so betrayed that all I wanted to do was run away and lick my wounds. But where? Then I recalled I did have a bolt hole that no one knew about. I threw a few things in a bag, grabbed my passport from the safe and was on my way to the airport all in the space of five minutes. My phone was going ballistic in my pocket, and I switched it off.
At the airport, there was a flight leaving to Zürich in two hours and I could get the last business class seat.
Trials of love: Part 2
Almost four months later:
I tossed the mooring line to the waiting woman and watched as she efficiently tied off to bow line to the nearby mooring post. I walked back to the stern, jumped onto the bank and tied off the stern line. Jumping back on board, I switched off the main engine. The diesel thudded a last couple of times, then silence fell over the boat.
The port Capitainerie, a very lovely young woman, who I noted with regret was wearing a wedding ring, greeted me. She asked how long I intended to stay and did I want an electrical and fresh water hook up. The medieval town of Bezier, in the south of France, looked a nice enough place, so I decided to stay a few days.
"Trois jours," (three days) I told her, and yes to the power and water. We went to her office overlooking the lock and I signed the paperwork and paid the fees.
She walked back with me and helped me connect the power and water lines. I offered her a glass of wine, which she accepted. We sat on a bench on the bank and sipped the local red wine. The sunlight, reflected off the surface of the water, danced as the gentle breeze ruffled the leave in the trees. It was late September, and the canal was much quieter now that most of the hire cruisers, the dreaded 'noddy' boats, were back at their home bases.
The Nevermore was an eight-year-old steel hulled, 68-foot replica Dutch barge that I'd bought nine months ago as a holiday hideaway for Kay and myself. It was going to be a surprise, so I had kept the purchase a secret. I was now extremely grateful for that fact. I'd seen an advert for her online and had bought her on a whim. I'd had her taken to a boatyard where she'd been fully overhauled and updated.
From Zurich, I'd taken a train to France, making my way to Toulouse, where the boat was moored. I'd spent a couple of days restocking and refueling her before beginning a slow cruise along the Canal du Midi, heading towards the Mediterranean.
There was no radio or television on the boat. Well, there was, an automatic satellite system was one of the updates, but I hadn't bothered to switch them on since I'd stepped on board. My phone had suffered a similar fate and was languishing in the back of a drawer. I was enjoying the total isolation. I was only travelling a couple of miles each day; I was in no hurry, and most nights I would moor up on an isolated stretch of the canal. I only ventured to commercial moorings when I needed fresh provisions, or fuel and water. Books, music and a rekindled passion for fishing had become my companions.
The woman on the bench stirred, and we talked about the important things; the weather, and which were the best local restaurants. In the background, the rustle of the leaves in the breeze and the metallic clink of Pétanque balls kept us company.
The glass of wine finished, she bid me farewell and made her way back to her office. I filled my glass and sat on one of the chairs on the sun deck. There was enough of a breeze that there was a chill in the air, so I pulled on a hoodie.
You can call me a coward, but I really didn't want to know anything about Kay. If I knew nothing, then nothing could happen, was my irrational logic. I had severed all ties with my former life. I hadn't shaved, and I now sported a respectable beard.
I had been at my lowest point that first week. I was so bitter at the blatant disloyalty of a man I'd thought of as my friend. I was so angry that I'd sold my share of the management agency that bore his name to his closest rival. The money had found its way into my French account, and that's what was providing my living. I touched nothing that linked me back to my former life.
The gates of the lock opened, and a slightly smaller Dutch barge nosed its way out into the basin of the port. I recognized her as the Wizard. She headed for the vacant berth beyond mine. I stirred myself and joined the Capitainerie as she walked along the bank to meet the new arrivals. Between us, we made the Wizard fast to the bank. I acknowledged the owner's thanks, an Australian couple, Paul and Caroline, who were in their earlier fifties. We had bumped into each other several time over the past few weeks as both boats were heading in the same direction. I invited them to join me for a glass of wine when they were ready.
Twenty minutes later, a call from the dockside drew me from my contemplation and I welcomed them on board. Paul and Caroline are your typical Australians abroad. They were a complete breath of fresh air, and as had happened on our previous meetings, within moments of their company, I'd put my worries to one side as we regaled each other with stories about life on the canals.
They shared the ownership of their boat with three other couples. They would come over for three months each year. Paul was semi-retired and only worked half of the year, so three months each year in Europe suited their lifestyle to a T.
Caroline was a few years younger than Paul, an attractive willowy honey blonde in her late 40s, who was always smiling. She was an excellent counterpoint to Paul, a stern no-nonsense man, a little shorter than his wife was. He seemed to be much like a more refined version of Crocodile Dundee. We finished the second bottle of wine and I invited them to join me at the nearby restaurant, the one the Capitainerie had recommended earlier. The food was excellent and the company even better.
We were relaxing at the end of the meal when Caroline couldn't restrain herself any longer. She asked, "You're wearing a wedding ring, but since we met you, you haven't mentioned anything about your wife?"
I shrugged, "She found that she preferred another man in her bed. I haven't spoken to her in months, and I've been too lazy to take the ring off."
"Who was she?"
"Just a musician," I replied dismissively, hoping that Caroline would take the hint and drop the subject. Fortunately, she picked up on my discomfort and stopped.
"Paul's baby sister and her boyfriend are joining us tomorrow," she said, changing the subject.
Paul snorted, "Cassie's twenty years younger than me. She was a bit of an oops baby. I don't know who was more surprised, Mum or my dad when they found out that what she thought was the change of life was a baby."
"She's a bit of a handful, and her latest boyfriend..." Caroline petered off. "Well, he leaves a bit to be desired if you know what I mean."
"Let's be honest," Paul said, "he's a total waste of space. He's a perfect candidate for a Darwin Award. The world would be a lot better if he removed himself from the gene pool. I just don't know what she sees in him."
Caroline snorted, "He's well hung," she muttered.
"What?" Paul said.
"He's hung like a horse," she explained. "Not that I have seen it," she hastened to say. "It's just what she told me."
She held her hands an exaggerated distance apart and grinned at her husband.
"Apparently, he's a walking dildo, and she loves him fucking her. She always was a bit of a size queen, and he's a perfect fit, but even she admits that he's as dumb as a wombat."
We were laughing so much we had to leave the restaurant. Back on the boat, I offered them a nightcap, and we sat under the stars drinking several brandies. Paul's head slowly dropped forward, and soon we heard a soft little snore.
Caroline smiled at him, her eyes full of love. "He's so cute when he's like this. He had a heart attack two years ago, and I thought I was going to lose him. Fortunately, he made a full recovery, but that's the reason he's semi-retired."
She shook her head, "Christ, I've had too much to drink."
I murmured my agreement and raised the half empty bottle in her direction. She smiled, held out her glass, and I topped up both of our drinks.
She sipped and then gave me a long contemplative look. Finally, she said, "Your wife really hurt you, didn't she?"
Emotions I'd managed to bottle up over the past few months shot to the fore, and I could feel the tears welling up. The amount I'd drunk, combined with Caroline's easy nature made me lose my inhibition and make me talkative.
"I still don't understand why she did what she did. I had no clue that there was a problem until that last day. Suddenly, I'm watching a stranger propose to her and all the people around her congratulating them."
"Sorry," Caroline said, "Did you just say a stranger?"
"Well to me, but apparently, no stranger to her."
"Why would he propose to your wife when he knows she's already married"
"Most probably because only a few people ever knew Kay and I were married," I said, as though that explained everything.
"That makes no bloody sense," Caroline said.
"It'll make a hell of a lot more sense if you understood the ridiculous relationship we had."
"Well?" She asked
I sighed, I'd been thinking about this for the past few months and I still couldn't believe I'd allowed Kay to keep our relationship hidden for all that time.
"I suppose it doesn't. Remember when you asked what she did, I said a musician?" I said. "Well, she's a bit more than just a musician. She's one of the best concert pianists in the world."
Caroline gave me a surprised look, "Are you talking about Kayla Ortiz?"
"Yes, only she's Kayla Ryan, or at least she was, maybe still is; I don't know anymore."
"But she's not married."
I wiggled my finger with its ring glowing in the streetlights. "That's what she wanted the world to think."
"I don't understand; why did no one know that she was married to you?"
"Because that's the way she wanted it for the past 10 years, ever since we first met. It was a big thing for her. Soon after we first met, her aunt went through a very messy divorce. She, like Kay, was a world-class musician. It turned out her husband couldn't cope with the endless hounding they got from the press. All the innuendos and speculation about her and other men caused him to have a mental breakdown."
I paused for a moment. Now that I'd started, it actually felt good to be talking about this. I'd been bottling it up for too long.
"Kay was so afraid that could happen to us," I continued. "Her answer was to hide our relationship away from the paparazzi. I loved her, so stupidly, I agreed. Only our families and our closest friends were to know about us. For the last couple of years, I've been trying to get her to change her mind. I know that we are strong enough to survive any publicity. I really thought I'd succeeded, but obviously, I was too late. She found someone else with whom she could be open to the world."
I swallowed the last of the brandy in my glass, enjoying the burn as it slid down my throat.
"So, that's my sorry story, Caroline. I thought I was happily married one day, then humiliated in front of hundreds of her so-called friends the next, as he proposes to her."
I contemplated the empty glass in my hand, debating if I should fill it with another measure of emotional anesthesia.
Caroline took it from my grasp. "I think you've had enough Pete. Have you spoken to her since that night, because if you haven't, you really need to."
I shook my head. "It's still too fresh in my mind, and I might say something I'd regret if I did speak to her." I lurched to my feet. "On that note, I'm off to bed."
Caroline stood and gave me a brief hug. As I went below deck, I heard her rouse Paul and then a chorus of good nights as they made their way back to their boat.
I woke in the morning feeling far better that I had any right to feel. Okay, my mouth tasted like something had crawled in and died at some point, but that was fairly usual morning occurrence, nowadays. Showering and cleaning my teeth resolved my body issues, and the first cup of fresh coffee solved my mental ones.
A knock on the wheelhouse door and Caroline's call was a pleasant interruption.
"I come bearing gifts," she said as she held out a paper bag from which the aroma of freshly baked croissants escaped.
"My savior," I said, and gave her a kiss on the cheek.
The croissants went onto a plate, and I asked if they'd had breakfast.
She eyed up the plate of croissants and grinned. "Yes, but I've always got room for one more of those and some fresh coffee."
She called out to Paul, and he waved back, saying he'd be over in a while and to save him a croissant.
"We're off to pick up Cassie and her walking dildo from the airport in a wee while. You're invited to ours for a barbeque to meet them this evening if you're not moving on."
"Love to join you," I replied, trying not to smile at her description of Cassie's boyfriend and failing miserably. "I think I'll hang around for a few days. It's not like I've got anywhere I need to be."
She laughed, and a little while later Paul joined us for a second late breakfast. They left for the airport in Marseille at eleven.
I had a lot to think about, but I was kept busy performing the daily chores that living on a boat required. It wasn't until mid-afternoon that I could relax. I sat down on the sun deck to enjoy a glass of wine with some fresh bread and the local cheese. The conversation with Caroline last night had caused those black thoughts I'd been trying to repress to rattle about in my mind.
Now that I'd had time to think about that last day, very little that had happened made any sense. Yes, we had been arguing. Then there had been that odd phone call from N. I was still guessing that the mysterious N was Nigel, and it was the most logical explanation to make. He'd even wanted to see her the previous evening.
There had to have been something going on between them. They must have been having an affair, otherwise, why would he have proposed. You don't do something like that in front of all those people unless you are sure of the response. He had to have been expecting Kay to say yes.
It made no sense; why had she threatened to cancel the concert if I wasn't there? Thinking about it, I knew she'd had the spotlight shine on my seat so she could confirm I was there before she started playing. In fact, nothing had suggested she wasn't in love with me. There was also something about Stephen's reaction that kept niggling at me, but I couldn't work it out.
These, and many other thoughts kept racing through my mind, yet I got no closer to a conclusion, in fact it just made it worse.
My musings were disturbed by Caroline calling out a greeting. She and Paul were back from the airport. A man and woman who I assumed was Paul's sister and her boyfriend were with them. I was surprised that the sun was already dipping towards the horizon. It was gone five, and I had been lost in my thoughts for most of the afternoon.
Cassie was in her early thirties, radiating that uber-confidence that Australian women seemed to have in abundance. She was a light brunette, the same height as her older brother. Her eyes were the same striking blue as his. She had an excellent figure that must have been toned on the Australian beaches, because her boyfriend, who I now could only think of because of Caroline's comments, as 'the walking dildo', was your archetypal surfer beach bum: tall, lanky with long sun-bleached hair and a body honed on a surfboard.
"We are just going to get Cassie and Tom settled in, then you and I need to talk," Caroline said. "I'll be over in few minutes."
As good as her word, she was climbing on board the Nevermore ten minutes later. She wasn't alone; Cassie was with her. I'd opened a bottle of the local white wine in anticipation, so I poured them a glass each and we sat down on the sun deck.
"So, what do we need to talk about?" I asked after we'd got past the introductions and pleasantries.
"I can't get your story out of my mind," Caroline said. "I'm not a great one for the gossip columns. I know who Kayla is, but that's because I love her music. Cassie here, on the other hand, loves celebrity gossip."
"I can't believe that you are married to her," Cassie said. "It has to be one of the best-kept celebrity secrets ever."
"We've been together for 10 years and married for the last eight of them, but I've no idea if we are still married," I pointed out.
"There was a story on e-news a couple of months ago, that she had pulled out of a record deal for personal reasons. She was also supposed to play at a gala concert for the Queen's birthday last month, and she cancelled. The gossip writers say she's moved back to the UK. "
Christ, I'd forgotten about that. She'd been so proud when she'd received the invitation to perform at the gala concert. I couldn't believe that she'd not played. She must be staying in the place we'd bought in Cornwall.
Caroline reached into her bag and pulled out an iPad. She pointed at it and said. "I was looking while we were waiting for their plane to land and there's nothing in the news about Kayla Ortiz getting engaged anywhere. There is this, and I really think you need to read it. It's from a couple of weeks ago."