tagLoving WivesThe Story of Dan and Denise

The Story of Dan and Denise

byswingerjoe©

Author's note: This is yet another one of my LW writing experiments. If you read all seven chapters of Shadow Lake Estates I recommend that you click away now, as this will be redundant for you. If you didn't read that story, or if you read the first few chapters and decided it was too complicated to bother reading any further, then this story is for you.

If you clicked on this story because you saw who wrote it, and you're anxious to scroll to the end and leave your one-bomb and semi-literate attempt at a witty insult, please feel free to do so. Unlike some notable authors, my feelings aren't hurt by comments or ratings, so I not only allow anonymous comments, but welcome them with open arms. Obviously, I'd prefer constructive comments, but I cannot deny whatever gets you through the day and fills your heart with joy.

Finally, here is a legal disclaimer especially designed for Whackdoodle: All persons, fictional or nonfictional, either resembling or not resembling characters that are either fictional or nonfictional, within the confines of this fictional story, acting in accordance with the author as specifically and unambiguously depicted through the excruciatingly-crafted words used in this story, who engage in sexual contact of any type during the course of this fictional story, with "sexual contact" defined as any contact that results in the genitals of any fictional character coming into contact, whether brief or prolonged, accidentally or intentionally, with another fictional character's body part or parts, was born no earlier than eighteen years to the exact second from the time at which you, the reader, are reading this fictional story.

Oh, also, there is hardly any sexual contact in this story. Enjoy.


*

At the end of a frantic and stressful week, the Price family's first weekend in their new neighborhood had arrived. Dan shuffled across his backyard toting a heavy cooler filled with beer and soda with one hand while a pair of lawn chairs dangled awkwardly around his other arm. Shuffling alongside him, his wife Denise held a large covered casserole dish. Trailing behind them were their children, Holly and Alex, each clutching a lawn chair of their own. The look on the younger child Alex's face was one of pure excitement and bewilderment, while his older sister appeared as though she were already planning her escape.

Art was stationed near the keg when he spotted his new neighbors slowly approaching through his backyard. He quickly excused himself, took his wife by the arm, and hurried toward them. "Welcome to the neighborhood!" he shouted to them. He extended his hand toward Dan, who was forced to drop his lawn chairs in order to reciprocate. "Art Clevinger," he said with a handshake that was a little too firm. "This is my wife, Roxanne."

"It's so nice to meet you," Roxanne said with an East Coast accent. She had a classically beautiful face and a flawless smile. "We're so glad you could make it!"

"Your timing couldn't be better," Art said. "Our Fourth of July party is pretty much the highlight of the year around here. You'll have a chance to meet all the neighbors. Well, except for the assholes who didn't want to come."

Roxanne thrust an elbow into his side. "You'll figure out eventually that my husband has no filter." She looked toward Denise and lunged toward her to seize the casserole dish from her hands. "Here, let me take that. If you were waiting for my husband to act like a gentleman, you'd be waiting here all afternoon, trust me."

Art laughed and reached down to pick up the lawn chairs Dan had dropped. "Come on," he said. "Let me introduce you to the rest of the folks."

All eyes seemed to be on the Price family as they were ushered through the crowd. After finding a place for their belongings, Dan cracked open a can of beer. Family by family, the Prices were introduced to their new neighbors.

"Dan and Denise, this is Bill and Kara Thompson," Art said. "They live just next door."

The couples exchanged handshakes and greetings.

"And who are the two troublemakers you've brought with you?" Denise asked Kara with a sly grin, nodding toward the two young children maintaining a safe distance at their mother's side.

Kara smiled. "This is Matt," she said, gently placing a hand on her son's head. "And this little one," she said, referring to the young girl clinging to her leg, "is Ella."

"It's nice to meet you, Ella," Denise said, sweetly. She turned to her son. "Alex, it looks like Matt is around your age."

"I'm nine," Alex responded. Matt nodded his head and smiled.

Noting the baseball cap on Matt's head, Dan asked, "Do you play baseball?" Another nod. "Well, Alex here just started playing ball last year. Didn't you, Alex? He really loves baseball."

"Is that right?" Bill said. "We'll have to get him signed up for little league. I'm the coach for one of the teams. You'll love it out here, Alex. We play baseball all year 'round!"

Alex gave him an uncomfortable grin and nodded.

"So, where are you from?" Bill asked.

"Just outside of Kansas City, Missouri," Dan responded.

"You're a long way from home, Toto," Art noted.

Dan forced a chuckle. It wasn't the first time he had heard that lame line. Soon, more people surrounded the new neighbors, each offering a handshake and a friendly smile. There were so many new names to remember, it soon became overwhelming. At last, after the formalities had ended, the women, men, and children split off into their own little groups. The men stood in a circle around an array of coolers, clutching their beers.

"So, what do you do for a living?" Bill asked Dan.

Dan hesitated for a moment and took another sip of his beer. Although it was a question considered to be commonly polite, he found it oddly intrusive as of late. "I used to own my own business," he said, "but now I guess you can say I'm between jobs. Denise is the new breadwinner in the family."

"So, you got yourself a sugar-mama!" Art said, patting Dan on the shoulder. "Good for you! I need to find me one of them!"

The other men nodded in sympathy. "Times are tough," Bill noted.

"This economy sucks monkey nuts," Art added, punctuating his sentence with a loud belch. "Thankfully, I work at that firehouse down the road, and those jobs are tough to outsource."

The men chuckled. "I had a landscaping business," Dan continued. "It was a really great business, and we were really doing well when the housing market was at its peak. But then the market collapsed, and a lot of my customers just disappeared. Thankfully, Denise had just finished up with her degree. She got an opportunity to come out here, and we just couldn't pass it up. I'll find something out here eventually."

"I'm sure you will," Bill reassured him.

As the afternoon turned into late evening and the sun began to fade behind the mountains, leaving a spectacular canopy of oranges and reds in its wake, the party revelers grew a little more boisterous. Polite conversation turned off-color, and comments were made that would have been stifled earlier in the day.

Throughout the day, Dan couldn't help but notice the way that several of the husbands were looking at his wife. They didn't do it rudely or overtly, but he caught several of them subtly checking her out. Although it made him feel uneasy, he could hardly blame them. Denise was a knockout, and she looked particularly gorgeous that day. After Holly was born, she had let herself go, physically. She no longer watched what she ate, and there was simply no time for her to exercise. She had just begun to get back into shape when she announced she was pregnant with Matt. They hadn't planned to have more than one child, so he was a surprise, to say the least, born nine years after his sister.

After Matt was born, Denise was more determined than ever to whip herself back into shape, both physically and mentally. She had graduated from college with a degree in business, but became pregnant with Holly soon thereafter, putting her career on hold. With Dan's thriving landscaping business providing plenty of income for the family, Denise decided to go back to school after Matt was born to get her Master's degree.

That is when their lives took an unexpected turn. The economic downturn, combined with increased competition, brought Dan's business to its knees. Suddenly, for the first time in their marriage, it became difficult to make ends meet. Not only did their finances suffer, but their marriage did as well. They began arguing more often and their sex life practically disappeared. Even Holly and Matt began to suffer as a result of all the stress in the house.

When Denise first mentioned the job opportunity presented by her college professor, Dan was hesitant. It meant a complete upheaval of their lives. It also meant that Dan would no longer be the primary breadwinner of the family. It took a great deal of convincing before he finally agreed to swallow his pride, sell the house, and move halfway across the country. The weight of all that pressure over the past several months had taken its toll on their marriage and their family, but it was his hope that the most difficult part was behind them.

"Hey," a voice said, snatching him away from his train of thought. It was Denise. "Are you coming back to the party? People are asking for you."

"Yeah," he said, "I'm coming."

"Everything okay?"

"Yeah, it's fine," he said. "Denise...are you sure we did the right thing moving out here?"

She studied his face for a moment before responding. "Yes. We'll be fine. Everything will be fine. You'll see."

After the party, the Prices said good-bye to their new friends and headed back home. That night, Dan and Denise slid under the covers of their bed. Dan wrapped his arms around his wife, spooning her from behind, and hugged her tightly. He gently kissed the back of her neck and slid one of his hands below the sheet, down along her side, to the curvature of her hip. That is when she grabbed his hand and told him to stop.

"It's been a really long day," she said. "I'm exhausted."

Dan sighed heavily and flopped onto his back. "Fine. But just for the record, it's been thirteen days since we last had sex."

Now it was Denise's turn to sigh. "What? Are you keeping a diary or something? How do you know that?"

"I keep track."

"That's ridiculous. First, I'm pretty sure it hasn't been thirteen days. But more importantly, it's really demeaning that you keep track of our sex schedule like that."

"Demeaning? You know what's demeaning? Being treated as if sex is a chore for you. Like it's something you do just to appease me. Check it off your list, knowing that you won't have to do it again for another two weeks! It's been this way for months, Denise!"

"Can you keep your voice down, please?" she whispered. "You had a lot to drink at that barbeque. It probably won't work, anyway."

"Won't work?" he said in a whisper. "You wanna try me?"

There was a long hesitation followed by a deep sigh. He felt her hands yanking down his boxer shorts, followed by her warm hand on his cock. She pulled at it as if she were making taffy, stretching it, then rolling it like a ball of dough. Sex with her had been so exciting when they first married, but had become a predictable routine after the birth of their first child. Lately, it had devolved into a pitiful handjob like the one he was receiving at that moment.

He tried to concentrate. His mind wandered to his "go-to" images that would normally evoke a pleasurable response. It didn't work. The alcohol had won this round. His cock was as lifeless as it was before she began.

"Never mind," he said, tugging his shorts back up.

"Told ya," she said. She was asleep within minutes.

Hours later, Dan glanced at the alarm clock beside his bed, sighed, and flipped over his pillow.

***

Dan checked his text messages once again. Exasperated, he threw his hands into the air and pulled the pan out of the oven. He shouted to his children to come to dinner as he set the pan on the table.

"Where's Mom?" Alex asked as he sat in his usual chair at the table.

"That's a good question, buddy," Dan responded. "I've been trying to reach her, but she isn't responding. They work really late out here."

Holly asked the same question and received the same answer once she took her seat at the table. Just as they began to dig in to their meals, the front door opened and Denise appeared. She was dressed in professional business attire and seemed exhausted. She set down her tote bag with an exasperated groan and joined her family at the table, wearing a forced smile.

"Sorry I'm late," she said.

"I tried texting you," Dan said.

She looked confused for a moment and checked her phone. "Oh, I didn't feel the vibration," she explained. "You know I don't like to text when I'm driving."

"Bad day at the office?" he asked as she loaded her plate.

"Not bad. Just long. And traffic was absolutely ridiculous, as usual. Andrew didn't waste any time at all putting me to work. They have me leading this project where I have to coordinate, like, six different groups of people. It's a logistical nightmare. I have to develop a project plan from scratch, work with the business on a BRD, coordinate with the IT team.."

She noticed that neither Dan nor the kids seemed to be listening to her, and verified this by allowing her voice to trail mid-sentence. They ate in silence for a moment as she seemed lost in thought. "How was your day?" she asked at last, turning to Dan.

"The usual," Dan responded. "Housework, cooking, taking care of the kids. You know, typical house husband stuff."

Denise shook her head. She had heard this lament before, many times. "You won't be a house husband forever," she consoled him. "This is only temporary. You'll find something out here. It's just gonna take some time." She turned to Alex and asked about his day.

"It was good," he said. "Mostly just played video games. Dad and I had a catch in the backyard. He's taking me to the field tomorrow for some batting practice."

"That's good," she said.

Before she could ask, Holly spoke. "Kiersten asked me to go to the movies with her on Friday. Is that okay, Mom?"

"What does your father say?" Denise asked.

"It's fine with me," Dan responded with a mouthful of food.

"Then it's fine with me, too," Denise responded. "Oh, I almost forgot. The company needs me to attend a meeting in San Diego next week. We'll need to fly in on Sunday and stay for a couple of nights."

"We?" Dan asked.

Denise nodded. "Yeah, it's just me and Andrew."

She was too busy eating to notice his expression of annoyance.

***

"Okay, get into a nice, balanced stance, Alex," Dan instructed. He stood on the pitcher's mound on a little league-sized baseball diamond. At the plate stood his son, Alex. His neighbor Bill, and his son, Matt, were positioned in the field, prepared to catch whatever was hit their way. Unfortunately for Alex, they hadn't seen much action.

Dan reached into the bucket of balls at his feet and gently tossed a pitch over the plate. Alex swung and missed. Pitch after pitch eluded Alex's bat, and the frustration on both the father's and son's faces was evident.

"Let me give it a try," Bill suggested, tapping Dan on the shoulder with his mitt. "Now, Alex, just take a deep breath, okay? Relax. Now this time, I want you to try swinging a little less hard. Okay? Just a nice and easy, level swing. Got it?"

Alex nodded. The next pitch sailed across the plate and Alex finally met the ball with the barrel of his bat, sending a line drive into the outfield.

"You're a miracle worker!" Dan exclaimed, shaking his head.

"Nah, it's just that he was pulling his head out of the box," Bill responded. "I see kids do it all the time. They swing so hard, they pull their head away from their body. By the time they finish their swing, they're looking down the third base line. You can't hit what you can't see."

After tossing a few more pitches, Bill asked Matt if he wanted to take a turn on the mound. Perhaps in an effort to impress his new neighbor, Matt threw his first pitch with a little too much velocity. Alex tried to turn away from it, but there wasn't enough time, and it hit him squarely in the center of his back with a loud thud.

Dan rushed to the plate, followed closely by Bill and Matt. Alex lay in the dirt, writhing in pain. His eyes welled with tears, but he bravely fought to maintain his composure.

"I'm sorry, Alex!" Matt shouted. "I didn't mean it!"

"I know you didn't, Matt," Dan reassured him as he rubbed his son's back. "You got a hell of an arm, there!"

"Yeah, but he chose the wrong time to show it off," Bill said, glaring at his son.

"You'll be okay," Dan reassured his son. "Just be tough. Shake it off and get back up there."

"Nuh-uh," Alex said. "I'm all done."

"Okay," Dan said, "I guess you earned a little break."

As Alex hobbled toward the bench, Bill pulled Dan aside. "It's none of my business, but I think he should get back in the box for at least one more pitch. It's like falling off a bicycle. You don't want him to be scared of stepping in that box again."

Dan looked to his son sitting on the bench with his head in his hands. "He'll be okay. He's a tough kid."

Following the practice session, Bill drove his new neighbors back to their home. As Dan was exiting the vehicle, Bill told him, "If you're gonna be my assistant coach in the fall, we should have a little 'coaching session' at the bar sometime. You know, to develop a practice plan."

"Coaching session," Dan repeated with a laugh. "Sure thing. That sounds great." He then glanced at his cellphone. "Actually, how about we grab a bite to eat now? Denise probably won't be home for another hour, and I could use a cold beer or two. The kids can order a pizza."

"Sounds like a plan!" Bill said. "Hop back in!"

Sitting across a table at the bar and grill, Bill explained his coaching philosophy to Dan over an order of buffalo wings and a couple of draft beers.

"So we really are going to talk about coaching at this coaching session," Dan said with a smirk.

Bill laughed. "Nah, we can talk about anything you want. How do you like the neighborhood so far?"

"It's great. The people are very friendly, and the weather couldn't be nicer."

"But..." Bill said, leaning back in his chair. Dan gave him a quizzical look. "I sense a 'but' is coming my way."

"Okay, but I'm not too happy with our new lifestyle," Dan admitted. "I hate this 'house husband' shit. It's emasculating. I used to be the breadwinner in our house, and now I'm playing Suzy Homemaker. And Denise...well, she just seems like a different person out here. I hardly see her anymore. And when I do, I hardly recognize her."

"What do you mean?"

"Ever since she got this job, she started acting differently. She's confident and assertive, she's dressing and looking sexier than ever..."

"That sounds terrible," Bill said with a smirk.

"No, it's good, don't get me wrong," Dan responded. "It's just that...I don't know. I feel like I'm losing her or something. Like we're moving in separate directions. Hell, she's going away next weekend with some guy."

Bill raised an eyebrow.

"No, it's not like that," Dan added quickly. "It's her boss. She's going to some business meeting. It's just a couple of days. Still, I have this uneasy feeling about the whole thing."

"It sounds like you two need to talk," Bill said, signaling to the waitress for another round of beers.

"Yeah, I know. I just don't want her to think I don't trust her. I agreed to come out here and try to make this work. I just need to find a way to make it work."

***

Denise traced the rim of her empty wine glass with her fingertip and admired the results of the manicure she had scheduled just before leaving for her business trip. In a way, it was nice to be away from all the stress at home. Dan hadn't been himself lately. All of the confidence that drew him to her when they first met seemed to have disappeared when his business went under. She hoped that a change of scenery would improve his outlook, but it only seemed to drag him further into depression.

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