tagLoving WivesThe Letter A

The Letter A


[With humble apologies to Walker Percy.]

You might not believe that anything so insignificant as a single letter of the alphabet could matter so much. But it all depends on the context.

I was sitting at our desk one evening, looking at my daughter Katie's medical forms. Katie was about to start kindergarten, so the pediatrician had given her a complete physical, and my wife had left the forms for the school lying on the desk.

Glancing idly at it I saw the letter that ended my marriage. Under "Blood Type" it said "A".

I sat frozen—for ten seconds, a minute, I have no idea. Then I went over to the filing cabinet and pulled out two sheets of paper from our medical file. It was just as I remembered. The summer before, my wife and I had both donated blood to the Red Cross, which had given us each a receipt showing our blood type. There it was on the two sheets: mind was "B", hers was "O".

So there was no way Katie could be my daughter. If my wife was her mother—and I'd seen Marie deliver her!—then someone with type "A" had to be the father.

The kids were in bed, Marie was upstairs watching TV. I got a beer from the fridge, and went and sat in the back yard, thinking.

How was my marriage? I would have said, "OK. Pretty typical. Good, and bad. Depends on what day you ask."

When we were dating, and in the first months of our marriage, Marie and I were passionately in love. We made love all the time, sometimes wildly, and even away from bed we touched each other constantly: held hands, walked arm in arm, stroked one another's necks or backs as we passed by.

Of course it died out after awhile—didn't that happen in every marriage?

But now that evidence of her infidelity had hit me right between the eyes, everything I ever thought about our marriage was up for grabs. I sat and thought.

Had things changed gradually, or suddenly? It seemed like both. The slowdown of our sex life was gradual, for awhile. But about six years before—which would have been a few months before Katie's conception—there were a couple of weird months.

Marie, my open and loving and affectionate wife, had behaved very erratically. She came home quite late from work one night, briefly allowed my affectionate kiss, went straight into the shower, and avoided me the rest of the evening. The next morning was the same—cold and brusque.

Then that night she was a changed woman. She got home early, made a special dinner, took me to bed early and lovingly fucked me half to death. She lingeringly sucked my cock, which she usually resists doing, and then we made love twice, with an eagerness and excitement I had thought we'd lost. We cuddled happily before sleeping, and Marie told me how much she loved me.

Several more times that week we had passionate sex together. Then soon after there was a repeat of the "cold night": late home from work, not a word to me, quickly into the shower.

For the next couple of months I hardly knew from one day to the next who I was married to. Marie was passionate and loving, Marie was cold. Marie was attentive, Marie was distant and preoccupied. Marie was patient, Marie was short-tempered and explosive. I asked her several times if something was wrong—was something between us bothering her, was there a problem at work?—but got nothing more in reply than, "I don't know Bill, I guess I'm just feeling a little stressed-out. Sorry!"

When things finally settled into a pattern, after three months or so, the pattern was far less pleasant than the start of our marriage had been. Marie was less moody, but almost never sweet and loving any more. And her interest in sex had seemingly disappeared. We made love no more than once a week, sometimes not more than once in two weeks, and only when I asked pretty firmly.

Any gentle request, like "maybe we could fool around tonight?" was met with a sharp refusal. I pretty much had to point out in a serious tone how long it had been since we'd done it; then Marie would have sex with me, but in a way that made clear she was just doing me a favor.

Did all marriages fall into such a sad pattern? This was the only marriage I knew well, so I couldn't say.

Of course I wondered what was going on, and my wonderings included the possibility of an affair. But soon after that Marie was pregnant; and our shared excitement about the coming baby, and our joy at having our wonderful Katie, drove most of my concerns about our marriage from our mind.

After Katie was born both Marie and I were always tired, so her lack of any interest in sex seemed easier to understand, though I still wasn't happy about it. And when Katie was three, Marie conceived again, and we had Brian just after Katie's fourth birthday.

So Bill and Marie, the lovers and spouse, turned into Bill and Marie, the parents of two wonderful, exhausting children. We both adored our kids, and though I realized now I had been deeply unhappy about the state of our marriage—and our virtual lack of a sex life—I didn't realize it consciously at the time. Or if I did, I just figured it was what all couples with young kids went through.

Now—armed with the shocking knowledge that my daughter was not mine—the events of six years earlier didn't seem so mysterious. Marie must have begun an affair around then. That explained the coldness, and the sudden rushing to the showers. The passionate sex and warm affection in the days that followed could presumably be chalked up to guilt—or even, if I was being charitable, to a determination to keep her marriage happy while continuing the affair.

As I sat in the yard, watching the darkness fall and the stars grow brighter, my inital shock gave way to a rising anger. My "loving wife" had not only cuckolded me, but she'd given me some other guy's baby to raise! And perhaps not only one—maybe Brian wasn't mine either!

If all I had cared about at that moment was punishing Marie, I would have raced inside, confronted her with the blood type evidence, forced a confession out of her, and thrown the lying bitch out into the street.

But it was complicated. I adored my kids—regardless of whether they were biologically mine or not. If we divorced Marie would surely get sole custody, once it came out that they weren't mine.

I sat and thought. I asked the question, What do I want? And the answers were surprisingly clear:

First, I want to know exactly what Marie has done. Was it a brief affair? Does she not even know Katie isn't my child? Or does she know all about it, and has she been screwing some guy for years behind my back?

And second, I want to raise my kids as mine, and never let them know I'm not their father.

Once I knew what my goals were, planning how to get there seemed surprisingly easy.

** ** ** **

I went back into the house and found the Q-tips. Going into each of the children's rooms, I carefully took a swab from the inside of each of their cheeks—without waking them up—and wrapped each one up separately. I labeled Katie's "2" and Brian's "3". Then I went down to the kitchen, used a swab on my own cheek, and labeled it "1". I had a friend who worked in a chemistry lab at the University, and I'd arrange for him to test the DNA for me.

That was the first step, the beginning of information gathering. When I had my first answer, I knew what I would do next.

A week later my friend called me. He didn't know whose samples they were—I'd told him I met some people with the same last name, and we were trying to figure out if we were distantly related.

"Hey, Bill," he said. "Your '2' and '3' are definitely related: they're siblings. But your '1' isn't related to either of them. I guess those people aren't your cousins after all."

I thanked him and hung up. So Katie and Brian were brother and sister, meaning they shared both parents. Marie had made two babies with the mystery asshole. But did she know she had? Obviously she knew she was screwing the guy—but was she aware that he was the father of our kids? There was an easy way to find out.

I went into the kitchen, where Marie was washing the dinner dishes.

"Honey, I want to ask you about something," I began. Without turning around she told me to go ahead, and I continued.

"A colleague of mine at work has a biologist friend who's doing some DNA research, and he needs samples from people who are related. I told him I'd get him swabs from you and me and each of the kids. I'm going to do each of the kids now before bed, and then you and I can do ours later, OK?"

From behind I watched Marie very carefully as I told my tale. Partway through it she stiffened, and nearly dropped the pot she was washing. Then she recovered herself, and continued to wash.

When I'd finished speaking there was silence for a minute, and then she turned around and looked at me. With elaborate casualness she said, "I'm not sure I like the idea, Bill. How do we know what this biologist guy is going to do with the samples, or whether our information will be kept private?"

I started to disagree with her, but she basically ran right over me. "No, I'm just not happy about this idea. Please tell your colleague that we're not willing to participate."

"OK, honey," I relied mildly. "It's no big deal either way." Her reaction had told me everything I needed to know!

** ** ** **

My next step was to learn whatever I could about her affair, or affairs. The who, the where, and the when. Maybe even the why.

I wasn't at all sure, but it seemed possible that Marie might have something hidden somewhere in the house that would give me a clue. But I'd need some time to search carefully.

We were planning to drive to her parents' house that Saturday to spend the afternoon. A few minutes before we were due to leave, I went to the bedroom, called our house on my cell-phone, then picked it up and pretended to have a conversation with my supervisor from work.

When I'd finished I went to Marie. "Honey, I'm really sorry. There's a crisis at work, and they absolutely need me for at least four hours today. We're looking at a major shutdown otherwise."

"Dammit, Bill, my parents are looking forward to seeing the kids!"

"I know," I said soothingly. "I'm really sorry. You go ahead—just make my apologies. You and the kids will have a nice time, and I'll get myself some dinner and see you later tonight."

She accepted this change in plans without further protest, and soon she was off in the car with the kids. I now had a number of hours for a systematic search of the house.

I figured there was not much sense looking anywhere that I normally went in the house, since Marie would be unlikely to hide anything there. So I skipped the kitchen, the living room bookshelves, etc. I likewise ignored my parts of the bedroom and bathroom, but checked carefully all of her part of the closet and her dresser drawers. All I found there that surprised me were a couple of very sexy pieces of lingerie—pieces that I'd never seen her wear. They were tucked far into the back corner, beneath the everyday things, so she didn't want for me to know about them.

What was left were the kids' rooms and the attic. Figuring the kids' rooms were less likely, I climbed into the attic. There were various old and long-forgotten pieces of furniture, a couple of lamps, and some boxes of books and things that dated back to before our wedding. It was a lot to check through, so I looked around carefully first.

I noticed that one set of three boxes off to the side looked less dusty than the rest. Peering at them more closely, I could see that they'd been lifted and moved more recently than the rest of the attic junk, which apparently hadn't been touched in years.

So I devoted my attention to these three boxes, and found all that I was looking for. They were all old things of Marie's, mostly letters from friends and boyfriends dating back to college. I found a bundle of letters and souvenirs from me as well—mushy birthday cards, that sort of thing.

Pretty far down near the bottom of one of the boxes, and obviously meant to be hidden by the older letters above, were a thin packet of more recent notes and two videotapes. I pulled them out. The tapes were unlabeled; the notes were from "Harry", and they were brief but overtly erotic. I took the notes and the videotapes downstairs for a closer look.

Twenty minutes with the pile of notes told me pretty much all I needed to know. Marie had been fucking Harry, her supervisor in the office she worked in. The affair had started, as I thought, about three months before Katie was conceived, just at the time Marie was behaving so strangely and erratically at home.

All of the notes were from Harry to Marie, and they were crude and forceful. There was no love in them, but a lot of lust. From the beginning it appeared to be almost a dominant-submissive relationship, with Harry calling the shots. Some notes told her how to dress on a particular occasion: to come to work without panties on a given day, or to wear a sexy cami under her blouse without a bra. In others he described how he'd fuck her in the ass the next time they stayed late at work, or commanded her to come into his office the next day at 10 am, take all her clothes off, and give him a blowjob.

A couple of notes congratulated her on the birth of "their" kids, and scornfully referred to me as the poor fool who'd be unknowingly raising them for him. It was clear he had no intention of claiming the children as his. I knew that he was happily married to a nice woman named Caroline, and they had three kids of their own. Obviously Caroline was as ignorant of his affair as I had been.

My jaw tightened as I read. It was clear that Harry dominated Marie, but that she'd gone along with it willingly—there was no hint of rape or blackmail. It sounded like she enjoyed playing the slut for him, and being told what to do.

Likewise, it was obvious that they both knew who the father of Marie's two children was; and it seemed that both of them enjoyed the secret knowledge that they had over me.

I couldn't get any of Marie's side of the story from these notes, but it was no longer possible to doubt that she had played me for a fool for more than six years, and knowingly had another man's children while pretending to be my loving wife.

One note made clear that Harry had ordered Marie to cut me off—she hadn't fully complied, and he was pissed about it. He wrote, "I agreed to let you fuck your loser husband once a week, so that he wouldn't be suspicious. But last week you seem to have have fucked him twice! So I am punishing you: you cannot fuck him again for two weeks. During that time you have to give me a blowjob every other day, and you get no orgasm from me during that time. No masturbating either, slut! If you don't do what I tell you, you lose access to MY dick—permanently!"

I had already been full of anger for days, but these notes brought that rage to a boil. My plans for revenge on Marie would have to encompass Harry as well. I thought a while, then took the videotapes to the VCR and began to watch.

Both of them were tapes of Harry and Marie having sex. The older of them, to judge from Marie's haircut, was made in a room I didn't recognize—perhaps in Harry's house. The more recent one was made in my own bedroom. I wondered when Marie had had a chance to do that, and it occurred to me that I'd had a couple of business trips in the last year, and maybe she left the kids with her parents.

In general the tone of the tapes confirmed Harry's sexual dominance over Marie, and her eager willingness to comply. The lighting was not so great, though the two of them were clearly recognizable; but the sound was surprisingly good, and I could hear every word and every moan and groan.

In the first tape, from early in their affair, I could hear Harry giving the commands. At the beginning he sat on the bed and ordered Marie to give him a sexy striptease, which she smilingly did. Then he made her blow him until he was nearly ready to come, after which he bent her over the bed and fucked her hard from behind. The sex was rough, not gentle or affectionate, and he talked to her crudely, ordering her around and calling her a slut.

It saddened me to see that Marie clearly loved the treatment she was getting. Her arousal was obvious even when she was sucking his dick; and when he fucked her from behind she moaned and thrashed wildly, apparently coming several times before he finished.

While they rested, he gave her some orders: now that she was pregnant (it must have been with Katie), she was to cut me off: I got no sex. She protested that she had to fuck me occasionally, or I'd suspect something. He reluctantly agreed that she could let me fuck her once a week. But I couldn't come in her mouth, and I couldn't fuck her ass—only he could have those treats from her. Marie promised to do as he said.

Then, recovering after his rest, he had her suck him again, then he propped her on the bed on some pillows and fucked her in the ass. He wasn't even gentle, sticking fingers roughly into her to loosen her up, then using some of their combined juices out of her pussy for lubrication. When he stuck his cock in I could see her expression of pain—but he paid no attention, thrusting vigorously and deep. After awhile she seemed to relax, and Marie's pain gave way to the same excitement and pleasure I'd seen earlier on the tape.

The second tape had much the same sort of sex scenes, but a couple of interesting new bits of dialogue. They were lying on the bed, having just come after a bout of 69. Marie asked Harry why he didn't mind that I was raising his kids, and he said, "Bill's a good enough guy, and according to you he loves the kids. I've got three of my own, and no need for any more to bother with."

"If it weren't for that," he went on, "I'd just tell you to leave him. What is he good for, besides changing diapers?"

Marie said, "that's not fair, Harry. Bill is a good and sweet man. He has loved me faithfully and been a great provider for me and the children."

Harry leered at her, and said sarcastically, "and that's why you've been letting me fuck your ass off for all these years, right?"

She smiled at him, and hit him lightly in the arm. "You are a bastard, you know that? You've never been tender or kind to me the way Bill is—and I guess that's why you turn me on like he never has."

"Yeah, baby—I treat you like the slut you are. Now get on your knees and suck me till I get hard again, then I'm taking your back-door before I have to leave."

When I'd finished viewing both tapes I sat and thought. What arrogant jerks they were, both of them! Not only to make those tapes, but to have the stupidity to leave them and Harry's notes where I could find them!

My revenge was going to be total, and it would be on both of them. I used the scanner to scan each of the notes into my hard drive. Then, using some fancy software I'd borrowed from work for a project I did last summer, I converted each of the videotapes into a digital file on my hard-drive, so that I could return to them later to edit them. When I was done I took the notes and tapes to the trunk of my car, hiding them beneath the spare tire. Finally I tidied up the attic, carefully putting everything back as it was so Marie could not tell I'd been there.

** ** ** **

Over the next two weeks, I systematically went about making and carrying out my plans. I found it much easier than I'd expected to be totally false to Marie, acting as if nothing was out of the ordinary. It occurred to me that she had been deceiving me for six years, so why should it be hard for me to do the same to her?

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