tagRomanceTrapped - Back Into Love

Trapped - Back Into Love

byGatorRick©

I could have posted this in the Loving Wives category but since there was NO INFIDELITY it really does belongs here. Besides those commentators on that genre are absolutely brutal and at my advanced age my psyche couldn't handle it. (lol) As usual my story has a happy ending.

*****

It is said that one picture is worth a thousand words. Well I have four photographs and all four thousands words they spoke to me were so completely wrong and untrue that they almost ended my marriage.

******************

The argument started with something so inconsequential I can't even remember what it was now. Things were said, hurtful things, and the war of words escalated out of control. Finally Terri, my wife of ten years stalked off into the bedroom, slammed the door and locked it. I spent the night on the guest room bed.

I couldn't fall asleep and began thinking about what had brought the two of us to such an impasse. Up until two or three months ago our life together was great. Yeah, we had arguments, but what married couple doesn't, and they were always resolved before going to bed. But this was different. I couldn't do anything without Terri criticizing everything I did. Nothing was satisfactory to her, no matter how hard I tried.

I thought that perhaps some of the problem were of my own making. I'm an electrical engineer with my own contracting company. Just about seven weeks ago I was presented with an opportunity that, if I could successfully pull off, would triple the annual profits my company.

I wound up spending sixteen hours a day, six days a week working on a presentation for this project to the prospective client. Too many late nights and missed evening meals didn't help our relationship. However, the day after tomorrow was Terri's birthday and I resolved to make it a memorable one.

The next morning I was up early before Terri awoke and left for the office. I left a note by the coffee maker saying, 'I'm sorry. I love you'.

By mid-afternoon I had reached a break through on the project and everything came together. All the problems were solved and the project would be successfully completed ahead of the scheduled presentation. I sat back and began to plan for Terri's birthday.

I made a reservation at Pierre's, the most exclusive French restaurant in town, for the next evening. Then I ordered two dozen red roses to be delivered to her office the following afternoon with a card that read 'To my beloved wife on her birthday. Dinner at Pierre's tonight at seven. I love you, Rick'.

Going over to the Hallmark Store I found the perfect birthday card and, after filling it out, I inserted the two tickets I had purchased for 'The Phantom of the Opera', Terri's all time favorite show.

After fine tuning the presentation of the project to the prospective client for the end of the week I headed home just after eight in the evening. The house was dark and empty. Finding a note from Terri, stuck on the refrigerator, simply saying 'I went to my mom's house. I'll be home late'.

Sometime after ten, and Terri still wasn't home, I fell into bed exhausted and crashed. I had no idea when she finally returned.

Waking up at my normal time of 5 am I showered, shaved and headed off to work. I stopped at a twenty-four hour doughnut shop for a cup of coffee and an apple fritter before continuing on in to the office. I had scheduled an early morning meeting with my critical staff members working on the project with me. By eleven-thirty we had resolved all of the possible issues that might arise during the presentation on Friday.

Since we wrapped up the meeting early I decided to go over to Terri's office and take her out to lunch. Arriving at the financial planning and insurance company office, Terri worked at, I walked inside.

"Hello, Peg," I greeted the receptionist. "I thought I would pop by and take Terri to lunch on her birthday."

"Hi, Rick," she responded. "You just missed her. She left about ten minutes ago for a luncheon meeting at 12:15 with a client at the Hyatt."

"Oh, darn it. Okay, I'll see her at home this evening. If she calls in please don't mention to her that I was here, it might ruin the surprises I have planned."

"Not a problem, Rick. Mums the word."

"Thanks, Peg," I said as I left.

Since the Hyatt was right on my way back to my office I thought I would stop by and wish her a quick Happy Birthday. Arriving just a few minutes after 12:15 I parked my truck and walked into the restaurant. I quickly spotted her sitting at a table, with her back toward me and facing an older man that I assumed was the client.

Just as I was walking over to greet her he reached across the table with both hands and Terri immediately grabbed them. They leaned forward to each other and he said something that I couldn't hear. As they sat there for several moments, holding each other's hands, I had time to retrieve my cell phone camera and take some photos.

When their waiter appeared with lunch they dropped hands as they were served. I didn't like what I saw so I decided to stick around for awhile and see what else might develop. I took a seat at the bar where I could see them but they couldn't see me.

Thirty minutes later they were finished eating and Terri handed her credit card to the waiter when he presented the bill. She put her copy of the credit card slip and the receipt for the lunch in her purse, no doubt for her expense account. During the entire time I observed them I couldn't tell if there was any discussion of business.

Before getting up from the table he looked at his cell phone, said something to Terri, and they rose from the table. As they got up I turned my back so Terri wouldn't see me. Looking in the mirror, behind the bar, I saw them head out, not toward the parking lot, but toward the elevators in the lobby.

I followed discreetly behind them. He had his arm around her shoulder and she placed her left arm around his waist, carrying her briefcase in her right. I took several more photos and then switched my phone from photo to video mode.

Watching them enter the elevator together I allowed the phone camera video to continue recording as the doors closed behind them. There was a clock above the elevator and I video recorded the time they entered the elevator as well.

I sat in the lobby for over thirty minutes continuously recording the closed elevator doors with the clock ticking away immediately above. Finally, when my phone signaled the battery was dying I left the Hyatt.

Instead of going back to the office I went home. I needed to get away to think things out. I decided to go up to my cabin in the mountains that I had inherited from my folks.

Arriving home I tossed the birthday card on the kitchen table as I made my way to our bedroom. Grabbing a duffle bag from the hall closet I proceeded to pack it with several pairs of levis, all my flannel long sleeved shirts, underwear and heavy socks. In the bathroom I filled a travel kit with my necessary personal hygiene items.

Then I changed from my business attire into jeans and a warm shirt. Putting on my hunting boots, that I had taken from the closet, I made my way back to the garage. After grabbing my heavy hunting jacket I threw it and the duffle bag into the truck bed.

Going back into my home office I opened my gun safe and retrieved my Winchester Model 94 lever action 30/30 along with my Sig Sauer 9mm automatic pistol both in their protective cases. I made sure to take all of the ammunition I had for both weapons as well. I put them into the truck bed, alongside the duffle bag. Then I locked the hard cover over everything as well as locking the tailgate.

Going back inside, once more, I went to my computer and transferred the photographs and video from my phone. Then I printed the photographs and downloaded the video onto a DVD. I took and placed all of it on the kitchen table along side the birthday card with a short note.

'I saw everything that happened at the Hyatt this afternoon. Now I know why you have been so miserable and nasty toward me for the past three months. Why didn't you tell me that you were unhappy with our marriage? I love you with all my heart. That will never change, but don't try contact me. I really do not want to talk with you. I just couldn't bear hearing your voice, Rick'

As an after thought I put my wedding ring on top of the note and photos. Before I left I placed my cell phone alongside everything on the table.

On the four hour drive north I thought about everything that I had witnessed. Never in my wildest dreams would I have ever thought that Terri could do that to me.

*******************

Rick's Thoughts While On His Trip North

Reflecting back over the years I remembered the first time I saw Terri. I was sixteen years old when a new family moved into the house next door. After the movers left the family arrived. A mom, a dad and a young girl in a wheelchair went inside.

My mother, always the friendly neighbor, had baked a plate of brownies and cookies to take over to greet them. When she returned I asked about our new neighbors. She told me their names were George and Marjorie Abbot and their daughter's name was Terri. Terri had evidently suffered from a serious illness that necessitated some heavy duty medications. The drugs caused her hair to fall out in clumps, left her face and body swollen and weaken her so much that she needed a wheelchair.

The good news, mom told me, was she was expected to make a full recovery and was already on the mend. A couple of weeks later I saw her walking up and down the block with her mom. She still looked kind of frail, but her hair had started to grow back a little and the puffiness from the meds was beginning to abate.

I had spoken to her on several occasions but she was reluctant to engage in any conversations. Mom said it was most likely because she felt so self-conscious about the way she looked.

In mid-October I saw her out walking by herself without her mom. I offered to walk with her but she told me she would rather walk alone.

I was in the park, which was a few blocks from my house, one afternoon when I heard someone yell. "GO AWAY!! PLEASE, JUST LEAVE ME ALONE!!"

Coming up from behind some bushes I saw Ralph Thompson, Bradley Miller and another kid I knew from school ringed around Terri making some really hateful comments about the way she looked. She was already in tears when I walked up on them.

"Hey guys!" I shouted. "Why do want to act like assholes? Leave the girl alone and beat it."

Ralph looked at me and knew my reputation at school. I didn't put up with shit from anyone and he knew it.

He walked up to me saying, "well there's three of us and only one of you. Right guys?"

"Right guys?" He repeated. When he heard no answer from behind him he turned around to discover that Bradley and the other kid had taken off.

"Looks like it's just you and me now Ralphie boy so let's get it on." Discretion being the better part of valor he turned and ran.

I walked over to Terri and, extending my hand, I helped her up from the bench she was sitting on.

"Come on I'll walk you home." The entire way back to her house she refused let go of my hand.

When we got there I helped her up the steps onto the porch and the front door opened. Her mother must have been watching from the front window. She saw the tears on Terri's face and glanced at me with a questioning look.

Terri gave me a quick kiss on my cheek and said loud enough for her mother to hear. "Thank you. I don't know what I would have done if you hadn't been there." With that she released my hand and stepped inside.

Mrs. Abbot asked if I would like to come in for a moment or two but I had to decline, saying, "I'd love to but it is close to suppertime and mom won't be happy if I'm late. Please tell Terri I'll see her in school tomorrow morning."

As I left to go home I saw Terri's face at the front window watching me. Her mother stood beside her with an arm around her shoulder.

After supper was over I went to my room to do some reading for my history test the next day. I heard the doorbell ring and then some muted voices coming from the living room.

My dad called up to me. "Rick, come downstairs for a minute, please."

When I got to the living room I saw Mr. and Mrs. Abbot sitting on the sofa across from my mom and dad. As I entered the room Mr. Abbot stood up and extended his hand to me.

"Thank you very much for what you did for my daughter this afternoon. It means a lot to me and my wife as well as Terri. She told us everything that happened in the park. All I can say is thank you, again."

He then turned to my parents and said. "You can be very proud of your son. He did something extraordinary that most kids his age wouldn't have thought to do."

I accepted his thanks and withdrew back to my room to continue my homework. Twenty minutes later mom and dad appeared in my room.

"We're so proud of you, son. You stood up and did what was right." Dad told me.

"Really, pop, it was no big deal." I replied.

"No, Rick you're wrong. To Mr. Abbot it was a very big deal. You protected his daughter from some bullies and that means a whole lot to him."

The next morning it was cold and overcast as I walked to school. I was about halfway there when it began to rain. Just then a car pulled up along side me, a window in the back seat was rolled down and Terri stuck her head out asking me to get in.

On the way there she told me why she hated to go to school. Her classmates called her names. They thought she was ugly, especially her hair which was starting to grow out.

I looked at her and said. "You have the most beautiful blue eyes I have ever seen."

When we pulled up in front of the school I got out first and then helped Terri from the car. Sticking my head back into the car I thanked Mrs. Abbot for the ride to school. The big smile on her face and the look she gave me said that she had heard what I told her daughter.

A lot of kids, including many of my friends, saw me escort Terri into the building. The look on my face told them they better not mess around with her anymore.

From that point on we were inseparable. Over the rest of the school year Terri blossomed. Her hair fully grew back, in the most delightful shade of brown, falling about her shoulders. All traces of the puffiness caused by the meds disappeared. We became boyfriend and girlfriend all the way through high school and college.

Terri was constantly 'hit on' by guys and her reply always was the same, "no thank you. I've already got a boyfriend and I'm not in the least bit interested in changing."

After graduating from the university, she with a degree in Business and me in Electrical Engineering, we got married. We tried to have kids, and believe me we tried, it appeared in wouldn't be in the cards for us. It seems the illness she had as a young girl, while not making it impossible, made it highly improbable she would ever conceive. I knew it really bothered her but I kept reassuring her over and over that I loved her.

******************

It was already dark when I arrived in the little town at the foot of the mountain where my cabin was located. I stopped at the local market and loaded up on food and supplies. A cold front was predicted to arrive sometime the next day with high winds and blizzard conditions and I wanted to be prepared.

I took the paved road as far up the mountain as it went before it turned into an unpaved rock and gravel path that lead to my cabin. It was slow going in the darkness.

Calling it a cabin did not really do justice to it. When my great-great grandfather built it, over a hundred years ago, it was just a cabin constructed from the native field stone. The walls were over two feet thick which kept it cool in summer and warm in the winter. Over the succeeding generations it had been enlarged and renovated several times over.

My contribution to the changes the cabin went through over the years was to install arrays photovoltaic cells on the south facing roof. These cells converted sunlight into electrical energy, which could be stored in large capacity batteries and provide electricity to the cabin.

Even with the four wheel drive in my truck the last few hundred yards was slow going. Unloading my gear and supplies I set about putting things away. Double checking the electrical system I found everything in good working order. There was enough energy in the storage batteries to last several days even through the impending storm.

While doing all this it kept my mind from thinking about Terri and our marriage.

It gets dark around four in the afternoon in mid-December and it was cold even before the plunging temperatures the coming storm would produce. Sitting in front of the fire that I had started in the stone fireplace I fell asleep wondering what was happening at home.

********************

Terri's Discovery and Reaction

After my meeting with John Chapman and his wife Emily in their suite at the Hyatt I was feeling pretty good. I had secured a contract to provide financial planning services for Mr. Conrad and his wife. There was also a promise for them to upgrade their life insurance plans in the very near future.

Now I had one more appointment to keep before returning to my office. It was after four o'clock when I returned to the office.

As soon as I walked in the door Peg said to me, with a grin on her face, "You have a delivery. I put it on your desk."

Sitting on my desk was a huge bouquet of red roses. The attached card read 'To my beloved wife on her birthday. Dinner at Pierre's tonight at seven. I love you, Rick'.

Collapsing into my desk chair I said to myself. "How could he do this for me? God, I hate myself for what I've put him through. I've been so mean and nasty over the past several months and now he goes and does this for me."

Then and there I resolved to change back to the way I have always felt about him. I've loved Rick ever since that day in the park so many years ago when he stood up for me.

Grabbing my briefcase I gathered up the bouquet, along with my purse and headed home. As I went out the door Peg said to me, "someone loves you very much."

"I know, I know, believe me, I know," was my reply.

Arriving home I saw that Rick's truck was not in its spot in the garage. Good I had time to get ready. Dropping my purse on the table leading from the garage I took the roses into the kitchen to fill the vase with water from the sink.

Turning from the sink I saw everything Rick had left for me to find. After reading the note and looking at the four photographs I played the DVD on the small television we had in the kitchen.

"NO, NO, NO!!" I yelled to an empty room. "It's NOT what he thinks. He has to know the truth. He HAS to believe me."

I sat down to wait for him to come home. It was almost seven and he still hadn't arrived. I called the restaurant thinking that maybe he was there waiting for me. They told me that he had cancelled the reservation hours ago.

Of course, why would I even think such a thing as I opened my hand. I had been clutching his wedding ring in it ever since I picked it up from the table.

Oh my God! I've got to find him. I called his office in hope that he might be there. All I got was the recorded message informing me the office was closed and would be opened during normal business hours of eight until five, Monday through Friday.

Next I called Dave, his right-hand man, at his home. He didn't know where Rick was. All he could tell me was that Rick had called and left a message instructing him to make the big presentation they had worked on for the past few months that coming Friday.

Frantic with worry I went up stairs to our bedroom. Falling onto our bed I began crying my eyes out. I must have fallen asleep still in my clothes. The next thing I knew it was three in the morning. Getting up from bed, I took off my business suit, that I had worn the previous day, and placed it with the clothes that would have to go to the dry cleaners.

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byGatorRick© 15 comments/ 23566 views/ 24 favorites

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