The Secrets We Keep From Each Otherbychilleywilley©
This story is about two ordinary people who are struggling to save a marriage and their family. Life is what you make of it, and they are doing the best they can. If you can't accept forgiveness and redemption, you won't like it.
Copyright, Chilleywilley, January, 2012. Noone has the right to publish this story elsewhere
My family is an ordinary one, living in a small town in Pennsylvania. Our physical appearances are not remarkable, clean, reasonably well groomed. I'm not a wealthy guy, I manager the local sewage treatment plant so you could say I'm big in shit. The work is interesting, challenging, and I'm home most nights. Unlike many of the characters in these stories, for my wife and I, sex is a part of our lives, but a fairly minor part. Neither of us was a virgin when we met, but then we weren't promiscuous in our single days either.
Now a days many jobs are insecure, automation, outsourcing, he quest for cheap labor mean almost any job can disappear overnight. Wastewater treatment jobs are different. With a high school education you can take courses to improve your knowledge and by experience and testing get certified for higher valued jobs in wastewater treatment. In this way the Mayors' brother in law can't leave his job as an insurance salesman and run the plant. I have reasonable job security. My wife worked for several years before the children came along, but chose to be a stay at home mom. It meant sacrificing a second income leaving us strapped for money, but it was well worth it.
She did a very good job. Our two daughters (Stacy and Annie) are now in middle school and high school respectively, both very good students but now not needing so much guidance. It was time for Ann to rejoin the workforce, fulfill her life, and more pragmatically, earn money to help pay for their college education.
She had a tough time of it as this is a lousy time to look for a job, especially if you haven't been employed for years. After almost a year of ego shattering cycle of search and rejection, sending resumes that were never acknowledged, herself esteem suffered. She shed her dreams of what a good job would be, rejections beat her down until she would take about any honorable work she could find. At last she was hired by an insurance company for a public relations position. Like so many people, she didn't particularly like the work, mostly because it was to obscure and/or justify actions by the insurance company that the general public thinks are somewhere between wrong and despicable.
However from a human perspective, she liked her co workers, liked the idea she is supporting her family financially, and liked being recognized for doing a good job. Her ego was at a low ebb due to the horrible job search, and maybe that was a lingering problem. I don't think our sex life fully recovered from the hit it took during those discouraging months.
Part of any job is fitting in and making connections to others at the job, so it was no surprise when she mentioned that the girls at work were going out for a pub supper and a few beers Thursday night, and did I mind if she went along?
"Sure, you'll enjoy yourself, you should go. Tell me where you'll be, who you'll be with, and when to expect you be home, just so I don't worry. Anyone I know going as well?"
"Well as it turns out, Vicky Freeman works in accounting and she's going. They go to Finn McCool's and I should be home by 8 or 8:30. "
Finn McCool's is a nice Irish pub near her job, about a 35-40 minute drive from here. The pub was named for Finn McCool, a mythical Irish Warrior, of Paul Bunion stature. Vicky and her husband Charles are casual friends of ours...we get along better with Charles than with Vicky. Vicky imagines what is good for Vicky is good for everyone, but she doesn't bother me that much, I didn't marry her. Don't misunderstand, they're good, upstanding people, just not my cup of tea. Nothing more was said until she reminded me Wednesday night:
"Remember, I won't be here for supper tomorrow night, you're on your own with the girls."
"I remember. You have a good time. I know you won't drink much, but if it should creep up on you, don't get in the car. Call me and I'll come get you."
"Right, like I'm going to get drunk in front of my new co workers!"
"No no no, of course not! You don't drink much, and that's a good thing, but because you don't, you haven't much tolerance for it. I just mentioned it because I care about you, and don't want you to hesitate to call me. I'll think better of you, if that's possible, when you can admit to yourself that you shouldn't drive."
The kids and I had fun. We made homemade spaghetti and meatballs which involves mixing handling cold hamburg, cheese, garlic, breadcrumbs, parsley, and raw egg with bare hands. Stacy, our youngest liked to do it first of all because she liked homemade meatballs, and secondly because she could complain "Eeeuuu! This is awful! Like cold puke!" while she mixed and shaped the meat balls. Annie did the salad, salad dressing, and set the table, I drank a beer and chopped bell peppers and onions. I delegated Annie to mince the garlic cloves.
"Aw come on Pop, my hands stink of garlic for a couple of days!"
"Well that's good thing, don't you know. You know why in the old days gentlemen use to kiss a lady's hand, don't you?"
"Well, first they would take her fingers in their hand, and feel for calluses, so they would knew if the woman did useful work or not, and then as the bend down to kiss the back of the hand, they sniffed to see if they could cook...they also only kissed the right hand."
"You're kidding! Why only the right hand?
"The left hand was 'unclean', their toilet hygiene left something to be desired
Daad! That's awful!. Is that true?"
"The part about the left hand is true. The rest, I have no Idea, but it makes sense doesn't it? If you are wealthy, you might not want a lower class woman, as a middle class person, a woman who can work and cook is a desirable woman. So for out class of people, if a lad smells garlic on your fingers, it's a good thing!"
"Maybe a hundred years ago, but not so much these days, Pop."
The wife came home right on time, smelling of beer, but sober, and happily regaled me with a recap of the evening.
The girls nights out became an every other week event, with Vicky and the girls from work at Finn McCool's . By early summer I noticed she was coming home later and later each time. So when she said she would be home at 10:30 or 11:00PM, I had a problem with that.
"I can see having supper and a couple of hours in a bar with friends. But four or five hours of sitting around chatting seems excessive, even for a bunch of women. "
"Well, I was telling you when I expected to get home, not asking your permission."
I picked up my ears! If I understood her right, she just said 'my way or the highway'.
"So it is just six or seven women including Vicky, Mary Ryan, June Russell, and a few others, and no men at McCool's?"
She paused just a second before answering a bit defensively.
"...Yah, that's right. Well, of course there are men at McCool's, just not with us. After all these years, don't you trust me?"
"Of course I do, Ann, because the day we can't trust each other to tell the truth, that's the day we're in trouble, isn't it."
That Thursday I wanted to drop by McCool's and see what was going on, but frankly it would look better if I was with someone, spread the blame so to speak, I called Charlie Freeman, Vicky's husband, to see if he wanted to go have a beer with me. I offered my eldest as a free babysitter.
"Geez Chris, I'd like to go, but Vicky and I are wallpapering the kitchen tonight. Just about any other night would be good, though."
"Vicky hangs paper?" I was surprised because I didn't think she had much capacity for work.
"Well, she doesn't like getting up on the ladder, so she's doing the cutting and pasting, and I'm hanging it on the wall and trimming. It's slow work, but it goes better with the two of us. The kitchen is a mess, we've got it cleared out, so we're ready to go and eager to get it finished."
We said a few more words and rang off. So Vicky wasn't with them tonight. Since I set up the wife's I-phone, I can go on line and track about where it is. She had location services off, so I just had the cell towers to locate it. At 7 PM, she was over by the Delaware River, nowhere near McCool's. I went on Google Street view, and there were three restaurants in the general area. Well, I could get in the car and go looking for her, but I probably wouldn't find her. Besides I really didn't think the worst of her.
Just about then Stacy was struggling with a math problem, and while I could solve the problem, I wasn't able to explain it to her in a way that she understood. I told her to pick up her cell phone and call her Mom who's better at math and science than I am, and to put her on speaker phone, so if she didn't fully understand mom's explanation, maybe I would.
It took a while for her to pick up, which didn't mean anything, but when she did, it was quiet on her end. No restaurant or pub sounds. She was irritated, trying unsuccessfully not to show it. She was curt in answering her daughter's question. I asked another question to clear up a point, getting no better treatment. Ann hung up after the usual 'Iove you's'.
"Geez, what's with Mom! Like I'm only asking for help on school work."
"Don't know. PMS?"
"That'll be next week, Pops."
I thought to myself 'Women always know these things, don't they.'
An hour later, the older one was having trouble with her advanced placement chemistry, so she called her mom. It rang and rang until voice mail popped in.
"That's funny, Pops, she never leaves her purse anywhere. She's ignoring me. I'll ring her again, then she'll know it's important."
Ann picked up after a lot of rings. I wasn't on speaker phone, so I only heard Annie's side of the conversation. In short, it sounded like the wife was really irritated at the call, but ended up in a longish explanation of ionization in solutions. Ann's explanation was apparently not very clear, and in some regards wrong as she and Annie were going back and forth on it for a while.
"Well, at least she's not pissed at just Stacy, she was pissey to me too. What's with her? She's been, like weird for a while now."
So it wasn't just me. The girls noticed something was up with Mom too. I was getting worried.
I guess the phone calls shook her loose because she came in the door an hour early, which meant she left wherever she was, soon after Annie's call.
The kids were already in bed, and the wife was not in a great mood with me either. She went upstairs to change, and I made an excuse to be there. She looked normal, no marks and was wearing all of all her underwear, anyway.
When she came down, she said:
"I didn't appreciate the girls calling me on my night out. You should have been able to answer Stacy's question, and Annie could have asked the teacher tomorrow. Now that I'm working, I get little enough time to myself as it is."
"I was working with them on their homework, but Stacy couldn't see it from my explanation. Vicky has kids, as I suppose several of the other women you were with do too, and after all, you were only at McCool's, not some fancy restaurant, so I don't see what the problem is here. There was a time when your daughters' school work was a number one priority with you. What's changed with you? Is this the new you?"
"Nothing's changed. Vicky and I were talking, and I had to go outside to answer the phone."
"In McCool's parking lot?"
"What the fuck do you think is outside of McCool's? Yes! You guessed it! The god damn parking lot!"
Ahh ha! I touched a nerve.
"Hmm, right! McCool's parking lot. Well you got one out of three. Could've been worse."
"What are you talking about?"
"Oh, one out of three? When you first started with these girl's nights out, I asked you to tell me three things, where you would be, who would be there with you, and when you would be home. Tonight you lied to me about two out of three of those things. At least you were home earlier than you planned. You got one out of three, so you flunked the honest spouse test. So what does it mean, you lying to me like that?"
"What do you mean? I didn't lie to you!"
"You just said you were talking to Vicky Freeman, but that was a lie, wasn't it?"
There was a long pause. And I pressed her:
"Take your time, maybe you'll think of a way to avoid the yes or no answer the question requires."
"What makes you think Vicky wasn't with me?"
"Sorry Ann, can't answer a question with a question. Answer me, why did you lie to me about Vicky?"
"She couldn't come, but I was with other women, so it was the same thing."
"So if it's the same thing, for the third time, why did you lie to me? What are you hiding?"
"I don't appreciate the third degree. I did nothing wrong, here."
"Yes you did do something wrong. You're telling me lies when you say the truth would have done as well. I want to know why? Why tell me Vicky was there at McCool's when she wasn't?"
"I don't know why I said that. I shouldn't have. I'm sorry."
"Apology accepted for that one. Now where were you, really, and who were you actually with?"
"What are you trying to say?"
"Ann, its simple god damn English we're speaking here. You weren't anywhere near McCool's, or McCool's parking lot, were you, and you weren't with Vicky, so where were you, and who were you with?"
Guilt flashed across her face.
"Did you follow me? Goddamn you! That is completely uncalled for..."
"And you've got fucking shit for brains tonight! You know god damn well I was home helping our daughters with their homework! We talked on the fucking phone!"
She took a deep breath paused and said:
"I'm sorry. You're right. June and me each got a gift certificate for two... from work... for a restaurant I never heard of, Swirling Eddy's, in Essington, on the Delaware. We asked two of the other woman to go with us. I felt guilty because I should have taken you."
"Had you told me this in the first place, I wouldn't have objected. Why did you think it was better to lie to me? Now I know I can't trust you, can I? You're telling me you lied for no good reason...don't you trust me? I'm thinking the 'no good reasons' are maybe more lies. How can I know if you're telling me the truth?"
"Well I guess you can't. In the end, you have to have faith in me. It's not what you think."
"So if I believe what you're telling me, it's not what I think?"
"That's it, Chris, I'm going to bed. Let's put tonight behind us as a bad night. "
Well, she was up to no good, but what or with who was for her to know and me to find out. If she was playing around, I wasn't going to put up with that. I admit I slipped off of the fidelity wagon for a couple of nights about five years ago now. I was up in Binghamton New York helping the wastewater plant get back on line after they were flooded out, and ran across a woman whose husband was sailing solo around the world. At the time the idiot was half way across the Pacific heading to Australia, where he was to dry dock, fly home for a few weeks, and then fly back and finish the trip. He was in a little boat in the middle of the Pacific, and his wife gave me two nights of the best sex I've ever had. I never saw her again, and I never told Ann, either. I enjoyed the sex, for me an experience of a lifetime, but nothing compared with the joy my family brings, so while I got away with it that time, it was a foolish risk to take. I've tried to relive it with Ann, but she refused all my efforts to go beyond vanilla sex in our bed.
A week later, as the wife and our daughters went rushing out the door after supper to shop for school clothing, I was cleaning up the kitchen. She left her laptop on the table, and when I went to move it, I saw she was still connected to her company web. Well, hand me an opportunity and I'll take it! I looked through recent e mails, and opened forty or fifty until I came to one from J. Worthington Proctor. He was talking about what a lovely singing voice she had, and that he was looking forward to the next afternoon they had planned for when he was in town on the 23ed. Didn't say what they would do, but I could guess. He apparently worked in her companies New York office.
I did a search on her computer. Proctor is not a particularly common name, found the folder with their e mails and copied it on to a flash stick. The company also has a section where you can look people up by name, phone number, or department and see a brief biography and picture, so I did. He was a nice enough looking chap a few years older than me, with a short beard and a shaved head. He was from Tiffin Ohio, had some sort of financial job with her company. I looked at the time, it had been an hour, and I still had work to do, so I backed out, and left everything as I found it.
I was pissed. A mother with two children! Fucking around! On me! Yes, I screwed sailor boy's wife, but my infidelity was a onetime event, this was a regular affair that could become serious. Of course it's a little like distinguishing between killing someone with one shot as opposed to four or six shots. Either way it's serious and it's murder, but still...
It's a good thing house work is mindless work. My hands were occupied, and my mind was spinning. I was trembling with rage. When I get real upset, I don't barf, instead it pours out the other end, and it did that night too. I finished cleaning up the kitchen and the family room, washer-to-drier and started another load, and was folding clothes when they came in with bags of new clothes, a half gallon of ice cream and a box of ice cream cones. Older readers might get the wrong idea, me doing house work, but when both you and your wife work, and you can't afford a maid, both have to share the work that needs to be done. Tonight the house needed to be picked up and the girls needed new school clothing. She was better at shopping for woman's cloths than I was, so I did the cleanup.
I was raging at the wife, and refused her offer of an ice cream cone, knowing she picked the flavor to please, or maybe appease me. The girls didn't have homework to do that night, and they had used up their computer time earlier in the day, so the four of us sat around the kitchen table, played Uno, and ate homemade popcorn I cooked in a pot on the stove. Annie won two games, me one. Lots of laughter, trash talking and joking. Later that night the wife was singing to herself and reached for me in bed. I loved to hear her singing because it meant she was relaxed and happy, but it was a lot different now because she was singing to another man as well.
I was conflicted; given what was going on, but the little head won. Charged up with suppressed anger, I went short on the fore play, and gave her a hard fucking and a long one, because truth be told, I was too angry and had trouble cumming. She was fine with it, even commented favorably about how a nice fucking was good once in a while.
The next afternoon, I had some time, and read the string of e mails. They were indirect, probably for fear the IT people might read them, but I gathered they had one session of kissy-feely in her office, that lead the next day to a heavy petting session , getting each other off, she sucked him, he did her tits and got her off with his hand. Not clear where it was this happened. He was telling her to shave her pussy as he'd liked to eat her, but didn't like the hair. She knows I like it hairy, but said she'd think about it. Evidently she was still thinking about it as she hasn't done it yet, and didn't say anything to me about it.