The House Husband Ch. 04byfawguy88©
Chapter 4 The Situation Changes
During the following weeks things settled down a bit. I was still applying for jobs, most of them a lot further away from home, but the responses were discouraging. My housekeeping skills improved to the point where I now had free time on my hands and I was getting bored stuck at home. Walking the kids to and from school had the unexpected benefit of allowing me to lose those extra pounds I had put on. I was now fitter than I had been for years. But the problem of not having any transport added to my frustration as it limited my options on how to spend my time. I reconciled myself to this, as I did not have any spare cash to spend even if I did have transport to get there.
Anne was still keeping a tight rein on the finances and I learned not to ask about household expenditure. That really started to bug me, I was a trained accountant, I knew how to handle large sums of money, but I was being excluded from any access to the details of our finances. I didn't even have my credit card! Anne insisted that I didn't need one as she paid all the major bills now.
The saving grace in many ways was 'Gordon's Harem' They ladies guided me through a basic course in household skills and I learned the basics of how to prepare quick simple meals. The kids certainly appreciated the improvement. Anne was less forthcoming, she questioned me about what she now called 'Gordon's Coven' I think she was jealous of how well I had adapted to the House Husband role so she re-christened them.
It was Andrea Carter who was responsible for giving me the opportunity to break out of the life of House Husband, even if only for a short time each week. At one of our coffee mornings she asked if I was interested in doing some part time accountancy for her Brother-in-Law, Sam Rawlings. It turned out he was the owner of a Used Car Sales business and had the Inland Revenue breathing down his neck. His accountant had taken ill and his annual accounts were well overdue. I said I would be delighted to help. I had thought of trying to set up my own Accountancy practice, but felt that I had insufficient contacts locally to make a success of it.
Now, I thought, here was my chance, if I could impress Sam Rawlings, maybe I it would lead to more business. I thanked Andrea and called Sam straight away. He asked me to come down to his garage that afternoon to discuss the problem of his books. I arranged for Andrea to collect our two when she was picking up her own brood and set off to see Sam.
When he showed me his books and handed me a plastic shopping bag full of receipts.
"These are all sundry operating expenses, I made sure to get receipts for everything." He said as if expecting me to pat him on the back.
"Receipts for what? I need to know what was purchased with each receipt, so I can itemise them. The taxman may ask for proof of purchase, have you delivery notes to support each item?" I asked.
He told me he had them somewhere, so I tasked him with rooting them out while I made a start on the Sales Ledger. A quick inspection confirmed that this was going to be a much bigger job than I had thought. Everything was recorded in ledgers, purchases, sales, expenses and salaries. First job was to get all this transferred to my computer and then I could take it from there.
After about an hour of digging, I got a rough idea of how he controlled his business. It was not good and I suggested that the best thing would be for me to take away his records and develop a computer based accounting package that he could subsequently use on a daily basis. I gave him a budget figure of how much it was going to cost him and he blanched a bit at the price, but I told him that I would save him twice that amount in the first year, but only if he played his part in using the system religiously. He perked up at that and my first customer was hooked.
I got home that evening after collecting the kids from Andrea's, slightly later than Anne and she was annoyed that I had not prepared dinner. I was about to tell her about my new business venture, when something deep inside me warned me to be cautious. After all, it may go badly and I could do without any further humiliating sarcasm from her.
So I just said. "I got sidetracked with something and forgot the time. We can phone for a take away if you like."
She agreed and after checking what everybody fancied, we opted for a Chinese. Fortunately they delivered and we sat down to eat some forty five minutes later. Over the meal, Anne told the kids and I that she had booked our summer holiday at Euro-Disney -- Paris then a week at the west coast resort of La-Baule. I was somewhat put out as we had discussed Euro-Disney pre Christmas before I was made redundant, but nothing had been discussed since. I was about to take her to task on the subject when she deflected any further discussion by engaging the kids on what they would like to do first. After seeing the excitement in their eyes at the prospect, I decided to wait until later to have my say. After we had finished our meal we both played with the kids until their bedtime and after they were settled, Anne said. "I have a surprise for you too!"
I wondered what sort of surprise and started to ask her what sort, when she shushed me and taking my hand led me to the garage. She opened the door and instead of our battered old Ford stood a brand new Lexus saloon. I was gob-smacked, how on earth could we afford such an expensive motor and when asked she said airily. "My probation period was completed earlier than planned. Jim said he was delighted with the impact I have had in the four months I have been working full time. Part of the perks of this new permanent position is access to the Company Car Loan scheme."
She told me that Jim had made all the arrangements for her new car weeks ago and it was delivered today. Do you like it?" she asked failing to keep the excitement out of her voice.
"Sure." I said rather sulkily, "but where is the Ford?"
"I sold it to one of the staffers. Her car had just died on her and she needed wheels to get to work, so I sold it to her there and then."
This seriously pissed me off! Had she even considered keeping the Ford for me to use?
"How long have you known about this new car then?" I asked acidily.
"Oh, it was ordered weeks ago, but I had to wait for delivery in the colour I wanted." She relied totally unaware of the warning tone I had used.
"Did you ever stop to consider consulting me about the choice of car? Did you even consider keeping the Ford for me to use?" I demanded getting angrier by the moment.
Before she had a chance to answer those questions, continued angrily. "I am heartily sick of you making decisions without consulting me, first your job, then our family holiday and now the car! While I am on a roll here, I want access to the family accounts, I need to make sure that you are not over extending us with all these decisions!"
She went ape-shit and let fly straight back. "You know perfectly well why I took over the accounts, if you had not gambled our savings, you would still be in charge of them! As for consulting you, why should I? I earn the money in this family, not you! When you are contributing financially to our household, you will be consulted on every decision, until then you can get stuffed!"
More harsh words followed and I was left in no doubt that I no longer had her respect. As the realisation of this sunk into my brain, I went suddenly went silent and in a lull in our fight I said softly, "I will make arrangements to sleep in the spare bedroom from now on. You have made it abundantly clear that any love and respect you may have held for me in our marriage is gone. Divorce is up to you as I do not have any money to fund such an expense, but you can please yourself. I will not leave the family home as I am still our children's prime carer. You on the other hand can do as you please. You have pretty well have been doing so ever since my redundancy, so it should not be too difficult for you!"
This statement brought her angry tirade to an abrupt halt, she looked at me, the astonishment clearly etched on her face and stuttered. "Wha, What... What do mean divorce, who mentioned divorce?"
"Well I did actually," I responded keeping my voice devoid of any emotion. "I think we both know that we are having some problems, it seems that you no longer love or care for me, that much is obvious. I was stupid enough to think that your disrespect was merely a transitory thing attributable to the pressure you were under starting your new job, but thinking back it started before then probably when I was first made redundant."
"But I do love you, you must know that! Why else would I have been working so hard if not to keep our family together? I'm sorry if I have ridden roughshod over things recently, but you share a lot of the blame for that!" she responded determined to have the last word as always.
I hate arguments, always have. Anne was always to quick tongued and she was ever ready with a response whereas I need to take time to prepare and rehearse my statements and I knew when our arguments degenerated into slanging matches I would be the loser. This time I was determined to end this before it reached that stage.
"I may well have contributed to this sorry state of affairs, I apologise for failing to find other employment but there are nearly two million of us in a similar state at present, but that being said, I think you need to reflect on your own behaviour recently. If you are confident that you have been fair and supportive to me and the kids, then there is really no hope for us. Another point you may wish to ponder on, is, if we divorce, who do you think will be granted custody of John and Pamela?"
With that I left her standing there, speechless for once, it felt good. I cleared my things out of the master bedroom and moved into the spare room.
The next few days were pretty bad, Anne hardly spoke to me in a civil tongue. Instead of being contrite about her attitude she seemed eager to belittle me at every opportunity. Finally, I told her to keep her mouth shut unless she was prepared talk as mature adults.
"I will talk to you anyway damn way I please!" she snapped at me as she left for work in her new car.
After delivering the kids to school, I dropped in on Sam Rawlings with his completed tax return and VAT declaration. He was very pleased at that the way was now open to get the taxman off his back. He asked how I wanted paid for the work so far and I asked for cash.
He looked at me with a question on his lips when I said. "Look, I'm an accountant and I have just been through your books. Your business is generating a lot more cash transactions than I would expect given the value of the products. I don't want to know the details, but I hope you are being careful not to leave any trail for the revenue to investigate. Paper and electronic transactions are easy for them to check. Your life style needs to be consistent as well, any sudden high value purchases or living beyond your declared income will put them on alert. On paper, your business is now neat and tidy, but being late in your returns will put them on alert."
He looked at me and winked as he said. "I am a lucky gambler, horses, dogs or cards it doesn't matter, I always come out on top."
I smiled to acknowledge his casual way of admitting his business dealings were not all clean and above board. As I went to leave, he asked. "You're always on foot when you come in, don't you drive?"
I just gave him the short answer that my wife used the car for work and that we could not afford buy a second car at present.
"Come over here," he said. Pointing to a nice Honda Civic he said. "That's just come in, it's eight years old and I was going to pass it on for auction. It's just too old for my forecourt, but it's a good runner. I will give it to you in part exchange against the work you are doing for me."
We talked about the price he wanted for it and he finally agreed to sell it to me for £1,000. No cash required. So we shook hands on the deal and I drove home instead of having to wait for a bus. I used the cash Sam had just paid me to cover Insurance and Road Tax so I was also legal.
The kids were delighted to see me when I collected them and jumped in the car almost without comment.
It was a different story when Anne arrived home, the kids just blurted out the news as soon as she came in the door. She demanded to know where I had gotten the money to pay for it and the running costs. I just said simply. "Not from you!"
She, of course would not leave it there and I finally told her what I was up to with Sam Rawlings. She eased back on her inquisition after I had told her this and then she asked. "Do you intend to develop your accountancy business?"
"If I can, I will. I have the time to do the work and I'm hoping Sam will introduce me to some of his contacts. It's early days, but I will wait and see how it develops."
Dinner was much more relaxed than in the last few days. After dinner, I worked on developing Sam's Model as I named the project. Just before bedtime, Anne came in to the spare room where I slept and where the computer was set up and handed me an envelope. She left quickly before I had a chance to query what it was. I opened it and on the first sheet, there was the password to the household accounts file complete with a balance sheet summary of how we were faring. The second was a handwritten apology for her lack of consideration and appreciation recently. I knew this was a big climb-down for her. I also knew that it was asking too much to expect her to openly admit her crassness verbally, she was many things my wife, but eating humble pie came very hard to her.
I was pleased to receive her apology, but something inside urged caution. Was her apparent contrition just an act to get us back together, or was it a genuine attempt to heal the wounds. I wasn't sure and was still unsure when I went into the lounge.
Anne was sitting watching TV and said. "Thank you for the note and apology. You know I love and adore you. You are the only girl I ever loved, but what has transpired since my redundancy has wounded me deeper than I thought possible. I'm still unsure whether we have a future or not so let's take it a day at a time. OK?"
I could tell from the look on her face that she was not happy with my response but she said simply. "OK, whatever you want, but know this, I love you and I want you back in my bed!"
I told that I was not ready for that just yet and she was in tears when I left her sitting there.
The days passed and we were both trying hard to re-establish our former life. One night, she asked. "Are we going to attend the party at Peter and Bel's?"
"I don't want to go. We are just beginning to recover our own marriage! Do you think that swapping partners with the others when we are not sleeping together ourselves is wise?"
Anne smiled wistfully and said. "We can resolve the latter anytime you are ready, you know that, as for the party, I also don't want to go until we are sure of our own future."
It must have been about a week later when Anne came in from work and told me breathlessly. "Peter has been suspended from the police pending an investigation into an alleged assault on a prisoner!"
"I can't say I'm all that surprised, he can be a rough diamond at times. Remember what he did to you at the party?"
She did not respond to that but went on to say. "Jim has decided to postpone any future parties until the dust has had a chance to settle over Peter. There are a lot of questions being asked, not only about his professional activities but also his private life."
On the Friday following this disclosure it was our wedding anniversary. We decided to go out for a meal and after dropping the kids at my parents for the night, we went out to dinner. Anne was dressed to kill! She had on a short black dress that accentuated her deep cleavage. It was obvious that she was not wearing a bra, as the back was bare down to the top of her backside. I complimented her on her choice of apparel and she smiled and thanked me for noticing.
We had a great dinner and I ordered a second bottle of wine towards the end of our meal. We had spent most of the evening just reminiscing about the good times oblivious to the other diners. As Anne paid the bill and I went to the Men's Room for a quick run off. When I returned Anne was deep in conversation with a guy at the bar. I quickly recognised him, it was Simon, one of the attendees at Jim's party. He was clearly a little drunk and in between trying to gaze down Anne's dress, he was running his hand up and down her arm from the shoulder to the elbow and back. Anne was not doing anything to stop him and as I approached she re- introduced him to me.
She also explained that she was trying to get his permission to interview him and Judy on the subject of alternative lifestyles. She explained that she was keen to run a feature article and that all persons contributing would not be identified but given. It turned out that he and his Judy had also dined in the restaurant and they were just finishing up with brandy and coffee. He invited us to join them for a last drink before heading home.
We accepted and must have spent nearly an hour just chatting. Anne was over the moon, they had agreed to participate in her article as long as their identities were protected. It had started to rain as we stood at the foyer waiting for a lull to make the dash to our car. Peter was about to call a taxi as they had partaken of too much drink to risk driving, when Anne volunteered me to drive them home. She explained that she wanted to discuss the article with him and asked Judy if she minded sitting in the front with me as it would make the conversation easier if they were side by side. While I drove, with Judy giving me directions, we chatted about our families and found we had very similar backgrounds. She was a pretty lady with long brown hair and though I half suspected what type of alternative lifestyle they had it still came as a surprise when they revealed. "We are into S&M, nothing too severe and we only practice our little kink in the privacy of our own home. You are welcome to come in and see our little collection of toys."
I said evasively. "I'm not sure that we have the time tonight."
Anne must have had half an ear on our conversation as well as she interrupted saying, "Of course we would love to learn a little more about your lifestyle."
So that was it decided I thought, I had been overruled once again. When we arrived at their house, it was perfectly ordinary three or four bed-roomed detached Victorian Villa with nothing to distinguish it from many others in the street. We entered and Peter offered us drinks, I refused as I was driving, but Anne accepted a brandy. After explaining a little about what they found so appealing about S&M, Judy took us down to their cellar. It was an eye opener for me, but Anne took it all in her stride. They had the usual things one would associate with their kink, black leathers, face masks nipple clamps, vibrators and canes. The centrepiece however, was a set of what looked like medieval stocks that had holes to clamp hands, feet and head securely. Peter said. "We only left this gear on display because we knew our children were away this weekend. We keep the more kinky stuff locked away and the cellar is always locked and out of bounds to them anyway."
Seeing Anne's fascination with their toys, Peter asked if she wanted to try anything out. Anne backed off a little and said, "Not tonight, but I'm sure we would like to come back some other time and observe with your toys."
Once again, Anne had made decisions committing us to activities that I had had no say in. I could not be angry with her about this decision though, I found the idea of having her helpless in those stocks very appealing at that moment. We returned upstairs and Judy made some coffee and we made arrangements to return the following weekend.