tagLoving WivesYou Can't Throw Everything Away Ch. 03

You Can't Throw Everything Away Ch. 03


Eileen put the papers on the table. "This is a one-year lease for the office space and this one covers the furniture rental and this one takes care of the phone and DSL for your internet. I think that about covers it unless you can think of anything else."

Bill looked at Eileen. "No, I think you've covered everything. How soon will this all be set up?"

"Friday... I know you'll be busy but don't worry, I'll take care of everything."

"Great. What would you like for dessert? I hear the blueberry sour-cream pie is fantastic."

JoAnne looked one last time into the wall mirror, ran her hand across her dark hair and walked outside to her light blue Camry. Soon, she would be traveling down Hawthorne Blvd toward the Torrance Marriott and Philip.

Her three-year affair had filled her early afternoons with lusty excitement. As she drove into the parking structure, she smiled. With her husband's office in Century City, she found the freedom to explore aspects of her personality she didn't know she had before watching that cable TV show one morning about married women and their boyfriends.

She had been amazed that someone would admit to doing that but then she met her old boyfriend at the mall. At first, she and Philip just met at the Cinnabon for a treat and talk about friends from college. That soon became lunch once or twice a week. One day, lunch at the Marriott became room service and so much more.

That first time, Philip had slipped his arm around her waist, taking her tightly against him. They danced in place to music unheard. She hardly knew at what point all movement stopped. Their bodies collided, the curve of her breasts pressing hard against his chest. The world stopped for her as their lips met in a kiss that tasted of excitement and lust. JoAnne's lips parted in a soft sigh that allowed his tongue to invade her, searching desperately for permission to continue.

She shivered from his touch, knowing there was no going back and tightened her own arms around his neck, kissing him eagerly. He swept her into his arms and carried her to the bed.

"Are you really sure about this?" he asked, already taking her clothes off.

She stopped him by pressing his hand to his mouth. "Philip, you talk too much. Make me feel."

Philip breathed a kiss against her fingertips. She could see the hunger in his eyes, but the hesitation as well. "When I asked you..."

"Then, you don't want to make love to me?" She drifted her fingers over his now bare chest.

"Oh, God, yes... but, I don't want you to have any regrets, later. What about your husband?" He couldn't bring himself to mention Bill's name.

She silenced his question by pulling him down to kiss her, again. She never dreamed he would be the one who hesitated.

Philip resisted for just a moment, then with a low groan returned her embrace with an equal hunger, the warm weight of his body pinning her to the sheets. She could feel the heat pulsing between them, the hardness of his arousal pushing her faster into her betrayal of her marriage vows. He kissed her throat, his hand entwining with hers above their heads as he felt himself gather heat.

"I'm not wearing my ring. I want to be yours... yours, alone."

Philip's mouth moved down to taste her throat. Her hands braced against his shoulders as she arched her back, stifling a soft sigh of pleasure as his lips sought the curve of her breast. She felt the heat of his mouth as his tongue caressed her nipple, sending a current of desire racing through her heart.

A kiss? It was more than just a kiss. The intimate feel of his mouth against her breast made her hot, flushed, almost unconscious... and, for one insane moment, she experienced a mad urge to leave Bill and stay with Philip, forever. That kiss sealed the strange union they had made.

The longer her affair continued, the less respect she had for Bill. If he was a real man, she thought, he would have discovered her transgressions.

Bill left Marie Callender's and drove to Bank of America. After emptying their accounts and taking a tax hit on his retirement, he took the most of the money in a cashier's check, leaving thirty thousand for a new account to cover any expenses that might arise. Then, he cancelled the house VISA card.

Finally, he drove to Chase, opened an account for the thirty and put the other check into a new safety deposit box. Even if they didn't divorce over this problem, he had lost all trust in his wife. It was just better to say 'goodbye' and try to move on.

In the car, he found himself crying for what should have been. She had been everything to him and he couldn't understand how she could be so easily swayed by a TV show and a couple of books. Finally, brushing away the tears, he turned on the radio and just sat there.

It started to rain.

"Shit!" he said as he leaned over to roll up the passenger side window. Time to get a real car, he realized. The Dodge was a beautiful car but to drive a quarter-million dollar car around no longer seemed very intelligent. He started the car, listening to the Hemi rumble. Damn her, he cursed. None of this would have happened if she didn't watch all that stupid daytime television.

Going north on Hawthorne Boulevard, he soon came to Rosecrans, turned toward the beach and eventually ended up at the Chevy dealership on Sepulveda. An hour later, after turning down several offers on the Challenger, he ordered a dark red Malibu and arranged for pick-up the following Monday. He felt he was closing one chapter of his life and opening a new one... one that didn't include his wife.

While Bill was closing the purchase of his new car, his wayward wife was once again with her lover at the Torrance hotel.

"Ah, Jesus, JoAnne, do it again." Philip squirmed on the bed, his hands covering his eyes.

JoAnne moved across the hotel bed and took Philip into her mouth. Wrapping her lips around it, she slowly took him into her mouth, scraping lightly with her teeth as her tongue did a dance.

"Oh, damn, that's good." After that, Philip was speechless as JoAnne attempted to swallow him down her throat. She could feel the swell as he tensed and then erupted into her mouth. Rapid breathing was the only sound in the room as she wiped her mouth with the back of her arm.

Bill's cheating wife rolled over onto her back and spread her legs but Philip was still softly limp. "Damn it," she said, quietly and began to slowly stroke him.

"I can't believe that your husband is SO stupid. Telling him HE was cheating is classic."

"I know. I almost feel bad about it. When I'm done with him, he'll be eating out of my hand and we can spend more time together. He's made it clear he doesn't want a divorce. Maybe, I should go to the Friday session."

"He's never asked to see the book?"

"Sure, he did but I told him a friend has it and I'll tell him it's gone; she'll 'conveniently' lose it. You know there is NO book. For a lawyer, he sure... you know, though... I think I made a mistake telling him he wasn't a good lover. I hope I didn't go too far."

"God, I hope not," Philip said. "You attack a man's ability to make love..."

That afternoon, as Eileen continued to call their former clients to explain what had happened, Bill despondently headed home. Walking in, he called for his wife but there was no answer. Going to his new bedroom, he got down on his hands and knees and looked for the pair of slippers he had kicked beneath the bed earlier in the day.

"Gotcha," he said, pulling them out. He looked at them, tired but still comfortable. Is this, he wondered, what our marriage had been? It's certainly wasn't comfortable any more.

In the kitchen, he pulled out a Coors and set the beer down on the table. Then, he looked at the can, confused. Where did this come from? He never bought beer and hardly ever drank. What's going on?

Bill stared at the can as its icy condensation starting to drip onto the table. He got up and opened the refrigerator door again and peered in. There were two more cans on the shelf. He collected all three, took them over to the sink and opening them, one by one, he poured the cold foaming liquid down the drain.

He threw the empty cans into the trash, not even bothering to recycle them. Somehow, it seemed more appropriate to just get rid of them.

Later that afternoon, JoAnne finally returned. She put her purse and keys down near the door and walked into the kitchen, stopping for a moment as she gazed into the trash can there. He thought she was going to say something but after a moment's hesitation, she continued into the bedroom.

Bill went into the front bedroom, took off his slippers and lay down on the bed. He stared at the ceiling for a long time, wondering what had happened to his life. He was cried out and wouldn't be doing that, anymore.

Several hours later, he went into the kitchen and made himself a turkey sandwich. Thanks to Oscar Meyer, it was Thanksgiving Friday every day, if he wanted it. He took it into the den and turned on the television to watch "Family Guy". He loved Stewie; the baby's murderous attitude toward his mother matched his toward JoAnne more than any other time. When it was over, he checked the schedule but found nothing worth watching other than a "House" re-run and went to bed.

He wasted another hour trying to sleep before he got his railroad magazine and looked at the pictures, again. Some months were good and there were many things worth looking at; some months were, as they used to say, slim pickin's. This was one of those months. The magazine fell to the floor.

The next morning, he left a note reminding JoAnne about Friday's counseling session and left.

Bill walked into Carrow's and went to the back corner booth. "Good morning, Eileen. How are you, today?" He looked at his secretary. The last few days, she had been dressing much nicer and he knew why. As much as he liked her, he wasn't in the mood. Still, he thought...

"I'll be better when we have our own office. As much fun as working out of restaurants may be, it's getting old." Last night, she had bought a new outfit just for him and was hoping he noticed. She wished he'd look at her, that way.

"I've bought a new car and I'll need a ride Monday to pick it up." He picked up his coffee and took a sip. She does, he had to admit, look good. Is that a new dress? It had to be...

"No problem, Bill. Your house?" Maybe, she hoped, we'll leave a little later. Maybe he WILL leave his wife and I'll pick up the pieces.

"Yes, please. How many more calls do you have to make? I'll be glad when this uncertainty is over." Especially, he thought, in my life.

Me, too, she thought, me, too. "Only seven."

"That's great. When we're done with that, why don't you take the rest of the week off and I'll see you Monday morning? Say, about nine or so."

"Gee, thanks."



"That's a very nice dress. You look very pretty this morning."

"Thank you." As much as she had hoped for his reaction, she still blushed at his compliment but wished there was more. Maybe, there would be.

That afternoon, he phoned a garage door installer. "Yes, I want to make the place completely locked. Can you send someone over today?"

He listened.

"I'll pay extra to have it done, tonight. Yourself? Good. I'll see you around six."

He touched the disconnect button and then paged through his cell's address book. Here it is, he thought.

"Papa John's... can I take your order, please?"

"Yes, medium pepperoni, extra cheese..."

"Your name?"

"Hiquet..." Bill gave his phone number.

"Yes, sir. It'll be about 30 minutes. Is that all right?"

"Yes, but wait a minute, use this card number..."

He was just finishing his pizza when the garage installer arrived. He walked out the back door to see the man looking at the Challenger.

"Nice car," the man said.

"Thanks. I want to be able to lock this place up so no one can open the door except me."

"That's not hard, just a couple of padlock hasps here and here and then you pull the cord there and it detaches the automatic opener from the door. You know, you could have done this yourself."

"I've got too much on my mind and I wanted it done right. Thanks for coming out."

"That's OK, it's your money. This'll take no time at all."

Thursday evening was another lost night. She sat in the den, watching Entertainment Tonight. Bill walked in and turned the set off. He had to give her every chance she deserved as his wife. "JoAnne, can't we talk about this, please? Do you REALLY think I've cheated on you?"

"I don't want to talk about it," she said, watching her words carefully. She made sure not to bring up what she had said about his bedroom skills. "I know what I know. Why don't YOU just admit it and we can go from there?" The more she spoke, the more she realized she had made a grave error ever saying anything. Her thought-out plan didn't seem so well thought-out, anymore.

Bill was so angry he threw the remote on the floor and smashed it beneath his heel. "Admit this, JoAnne," he said and left the den.

Friday afternoon took forever to arrive.

The marriage counselor looked at Bill. "Even if you can convince your wife you're innocent, your marriage will never be the way it was. It will be hard to forgive her, if not impossible. I also don't know if she's just giving 'lip-service' to accepting your innocence and deep-down, still not trusting you."

Bill was very uncomfortable. He had thought the counselor would give him advice on how to save his marriage; instead, she seemed bent on telling him it was over.

"You know," she continued, "if this really had been an affair, it would be easier to resolve. You could show regret and put some effort into showing you still love her. As it is..."

She shuffled some papers on her desk. "Well, Mr. Hiquet, it looks like your wife is a 'no-show.' Are you going to continue?"

"No, there's no point. I just came today to stress that I've never done anything but, you know... I don't care, anymore. Thank you for your time."

He handed her his new business card. "You can reach me, here, if you need to. You have my cell number. Thank you."

As he drove down the street, JoAnne rushed into the counselor's office. "I'm sorry I'm lay... he's gone, isn't he? I forgot. Can you call him back?"

"Please, sit down, Mrs. Hiquet. We need to talk."

He sat in the Challenger and called the divorce lawyer. "Yes, go ahead and file the papers... Monday?... All right, that's fine... yes, thank you, I appreciate that... I know but what can I do? Goodbye."

As much as he hated to admit it, a tremendous weight lifted from his heart, the pain in his head disappeared and he felt better. It was strange... ten years of his life were coming to an end and he felt good. When did I stop loving her? he asked himself. Have I stopped loving her? No, he admitted. I still love her, I just can't continue like this.

Bill drove home to an empty house.

He left.

His cell rang. "Hello, Bill? It's Jeanette. Listen, I need to talk with you. Could you meet me at Outback, in Del Amo? Say, an hour? Thanks."

She saw him approach across the parking lot and went outside. "Thanks for coming. I appreciate it."

They soon had a table and after ordering, he asked her how she was doing.

"I'd say 'fine' but your situation has me sick at heart. I can't believe JoAnne's doing what she's doing. Has anything changed?"

"She didn't show at the marriage counselor this afternoon and when I went home, she wasn't there. I don't see how this can be salvaged and, to be honest with you, I no longer care."

"I'm sorry to hear that. I can't believe she's doing this. What are you going to do?"

Their salads arrived and he paused before answering.

"I did all the usual stuff... moved the money before she could think of it and cancelled the credit cards. It'll be there when the divorce divides things up."

"So, you're going to divorce her? For sure?"

He looked at her, his face giving her the answer.

"I guess that was a stupid question. But, then what?"

"Sell the house or buy her out, I guess. Probably sell it. I don't want to walk around and see her in every room. It's too bad, I like the house."

"You could always just buy new furniture and repaint everything."

Their steaks arrived.

He looked at her. "That's something to think about. Thanks for the idea. What did you want to talk about, Jeanette? You didn't ask me down here to discuss painting my house."

"I have something to show you. I wanted to make sure I was right before I said anything."

He stopped cutting his sirloin. "I was hoping you could tell me what's really going on with her. I can't believe she's treating me this way just because of a book and a TV show."

She leaned closer. "When we first spoke at your office, I wished I knew and I said to myself 'Do you think that she's...' and then I said, 'No, that can't be it,' but I had to make sure, so I followed her."

Bill knew what she was going to say and didn't want to entertain that idea yet it made sense, in a roundabout way. JoAnne couldn't be THAT stupid, could she?

"If that's the case, even so, why would she do this to me, now?"

"I don't know," Jeanette said, "maybe she wants out of your marriage and this is the only way she could think of, find a way to blame you, real or otherwise."

He pondered what Jeanette had said. It was the first time THAT idea had surfaced.

"That's something to think about, that's for sure. Why I didn't think about it already, I don't know. Pretty stupid for a lawyer, isn't it?"

"No, you're just too close to it and you were trying to save your marriage. Look, I used my cell phone." She passed her phone over and he could clearly recognize his wife embracing another man. "I'm sorry it's over. You're such a good man."

"No, I'm just a normal guy who tried to save his marriage, that's all." He kept staring at the glowing picture.

"Anyway, I decided to wait and follow him, if I could. I took a chance and waited outside the parking structure for them to leave. I almost lost him a few times but fortunately the traffic was bad enough I caught up to him. He lives in Manhattan Beach and I used the internet to look up his address. His name is Philip Delacroix and he's married. I don't know if there are any children or not."

"Thanks. At least I know for sure. Why did you do this for me?"

"To be honest, the idea of you cheating was a possibility. I'm glad that's not so, though. As I said, you're a good man. But then, she said you take too long and that didn't make any sense. What woman was going to complain about that? That's just insane. So, I decided to find out, at least for myself."

"Thank you so much. You're a good person to have done this for me. You want dessert?" He laughed. "I'm buying. Might as well make one woman happy."

"No... I've got to watch my girlish figure, you know. Look, Bill, anything you need, you just give me a call... anything. If not now, then later. Thanks for dinner. I'm sorry, I truly am."

Bill heard a noise at the front door and perked his ears up. It must be JoAnne coming home, he thought, and walked into the living room.

JoAnne spoke up before she even closed the door. "What's the matter with YOU? There's nothing you can say, right now. I'm leaving." I need to get this situation back under control, she thought, before I lose the upper hand.

He was fuming. "If you leave, don't expect to have a Goddamn house to come back to. I'm serious. This has gone on long enough. What's Oprah got to say about that?"

JoAnne stood there, one hand on the doorknob, the other clutching her purse. He could see the indecision in her eyes, like an animal trapped with nowhere to run.

"Don't you want to save this marriage?" he asked. "I'm doing all the work, here." I'll give you one last chance to come clean, he furiously thought.

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