Back to Bristol Ch. 06byGaryAPB©
As I drove home through the traffic that was beginning to build up to the rush hour, I began to try to make sense of the whole afternoon. There were so many contradictory clues.
Molly had decided at some point that she was out to seduce me. I'm sure she led the way. OK, I didn't put up much of a fight, and maybe I should have done, but I'm sure she instigated it.
And what about the way she was dressed? At first, I thought she just dressed sexier these days. Maybe that was part of their marriage, he liked her dressed sexy all the time. But that contradicts his comment that she was wearing undies that he had wanted her to wear and she'd refused. But that didn't make sense, Molly loved sexy undies. OK she was a suburban housewife, mother and part-time dietician when she was my wife, and she didn't wear glamorous clothes all the time. Mainly it was chain store sensible, especially the undies. But I was always in trouble if at birthdays and Christmas there wasn't a present that couldn't be opened in front of friends and family. And she loved to wear them for me. So why wouldn't she be wearing them for him, if that's what he wanted?
And why today did he suddenly come home early? I know the Abbey usually works to five o'clock. And he, as a senior executive, would probably work on beyond that. I would guess that six o'clock was a more likely going home time, but he must have left at about four today.
The whole bloody thing doesn't make sense!
And what was it she wanted to talk about? Nothing! She'd not said a word of anything that warranted having to have lunch with an ex-husband.
I trawled through my mind. And a theory began to shape up. I can't claim I'm an innocent in the ways of the world, and I've certainly explored a few of the minor by-ways in my time. I know there is a bunch of guys out there who get off on being weak, wimp, cuckolded husbands, I've never come across any, but I know they're there. What if dear Peter is one of those, and Molly has taken the dominant wife role?
Then, I'm lined up as the fall-guy. Maybe for Peter and Molly I'm the ultimate fall-guy. She phones me up, invites me to lunch because she wants to talk about 'something', a something that never materialises. She warned me that she may take some time, I should take the afternoon off, and that we needed to relax. So far my theory holds good.
Then she gets me home, I have to admit, I volunteered for that bit, but she could easily have asked for a lift home. Otherwise, why didn't she use her own car to come into town?
She seduced me, and gets me into bed. And the sex wasn't that great. OK she seemed very wet and eager for it, but she would have been if she's been building up to this for several days. I remember that an afternoon in bed with Molly would last for hours, and we'd run the full gamut of positions and acts. Oral, both ways. Anal, sometimes. And vaginal, well that was guaranteed. But maybe this afternoon the act itself wasn't that important, just a necessary part of their game.
And then she keeps me there on the promise that we still haven't talked. And guess what? Peter comes home early!
It all fits!
By now I was home, and I chose to make myself a cup of tea before I go and shower. Even as I'm making it, and as I'm drinking it, I start to search for alternative solutions.
Well, the obvious one, I suppose, is that everything was innocent, and that in a wave of sentimental nostalgia Molly suddenly wanted to make love to me one more time. It fits some of the clues, but isn't as neat as my cuckolding wimp theory.
And I suppose there is a possibility that Peter and Molly's marriage isn't as happy as I've always assumed. But then, why not say so? No one has given me any indication that they're unhappy. In fact Peter visited my office precisely to tell me how much in love he was.
Neither of these possibilities explains him coming home early on this day of all days, nor that Molly doesn't wear sexy clothes for her man any more.
By the time I'd finish my cup of tea, I was beginning to feel that the cuckold wimp theory had to be the answer.
As I came out of my shower, another clue hit me. She said the boys were being collected from school by Susan, as if that was a special arrangement. But then they'd need some privacy after the cuckolding event for their follow-up, whatever that was, whatever their fetish was for nights like tonight. The whole scene had been planned, down to the fine detail.
And the Little Cock and Elsie story? Maybe the boys had picked up on some derogatory talk from their mother to their step-father. That would also fit the cuckold wimp theory.
But then I found a fly in the ointment! I remembered the look in Molly's eyes as I dressed and left. Surely she would have been looking at Peter with excitement? Not looking at me with pleading in her eyes.
But was it pleading? Maybe it was regret and sorrow at using me in their sick little game. God knows! I know all about regret and sorrow after the act. Just ask me how I felt when I left some brothel in my bad days. And I know Molly. I still believe that she's a decent person at heart, so shame and regret are pretty likely if she's been driven to play these sort of games.
Now that was the biggest fly in the ointment, that Molly was a decent person, and had shown no sign of any interest in these sort of games ever before. That just didn't fit with my theory.
As I sat eating my fish and chips in the local pub, I began to worry about the future of what I had thought of as a stable home where Jamie and Ben were growing up. Whatever their kinks, I was sure that Peter and certainly Molly were sensible parents, and they wouldn't expose the boys to anything bad. But what if this was the start of the break up of that happy home? What if one of my other theories was the truth?
Well, I'm not sure how I would feel if I'd been party to the breaking up of a good marriage, and my boys' home. I guess the best thing I can do is to do nothing.
If Molly really did have problems, and had wanted to talk to me, then she still can. She knows where I work, and where I live, and she has my number. If they have problems now because of this incident, then it's better that I stay out of their way, and let them sort it out for themselves. And if I was just some pawn in their game, well I don't want to get further involved. It all adds up to a policy of do nothing.
By the time I went to bed, another thought had occurred to me: What was Peter going to be like at work on Monday? I threw that one around in my head for some time, but in the end, I decided he'd probably say nothing. If it was some weird sex game they were playing, then I doubt whether he wants it advertised. Equally, if it was a humiliating and horrid surprise for him, then I guess he'll keep quiet until he's decided what he's going to do about the marriage. That assumes, of course, that he will be at work on Monday, and not in some lawyer's office.
I did have a worry about him suing the Company. I guess that Managing Directors should keep their hands off employees' wives. But, in the unique circumstances, and under British law, I decided that he would have a weak case, if one at all.
On the Saturday, I felt very restless. So, I went and bought myself a bike. I thought that I could go cycling with Jamie and Ben as something to do on some weekends. I then went down to the motorists' supermarket on the retail park, and bought a cycle carrier. I am sure it was against all the rules, but the young lad who sold it to me was delighted to spend half an hour crawling all over a brand new XK, whilst he checked that the cycle rack could be easily mounted and dismounted on the tailgate.
Even with doing all of that, my mind was still running over Friday afternoon and I was still curious as to the truth of Peter and Molly and Friday. Eventually it got the better of me, and I phoned Susan and Ralph's and asked if I could have the boys and I'd take them to see a film, and buy them a meal.
No one said a word about Molly or Peter when I collected Jamie and Ben. Ralph and Susan both opened the door, and just called the boys. When we were in the restaurant, I did try asking Jamie and Ben about their home life, and a bit about how Mummy treated Peter, but I got nowhere. I felt that I couldn't ask too many probing or leading questions without scarring young minds. And when I returned the boys, Ralph opened the door, gave me a big smile, asked us all if we'd enjoyed the film, and no word was spoken about anything being odd. I could only assume that neither Molly nor Peter had spoken to Ralph and Susan. I told him that I might take the boys out on their bikes on Sunday, but that I'd phone once we'd seen the weather in the morning.
I spent that Saturday evening on the internet, looking for a good cycle route on which to take the boys. I think I found one.
The weather on Sunday was fine, and I phoned Ralph to say I'd pick up the boys as usual at eleven o'clock, for our cycle ride. When I got there, Ralph was happy and cheerful, and helped me load the boys' bikes onto the carrier. It was obvious that he knew of nothing wrong.
The three of us had a good time. I was beginning to feel that my relationship to the boys was getting stronger. I really think they enjoyed themselves, and they happily joked with me that I'd not bought enough food for the picnic.
When we got back, Molly's car was on the drive, and my heart missed a beat. I was very nervous as to what was about to happen. Ralph was out in the garden, and he was exactly as he had been in the morning.
Ralph quietly said, "Molly's here. Do you want a word with her?"
"Has she said she wants to see me?"
"No, she's having a cup of tea in the kitchen with her Mother."
Ralph opened the front door, and I could see Molly sitting at the kitchen table, through the doorway at the far end of the hall. She turned and looked at me, but didn't seem to react. The boys pushed past me, running in with Ben shouting "Mummy! Mummy! Guess what we've been doing? We've been out cycling with Daddy!"
Molly turned on her chair to greet them. Then she stood and just stared at me down the length of the hallway as I stood at the open front door. I waited for her to say something, I just stood there, watching her. Eventually, she turned to talk to Jamie, and I got in my car and drove away. I'm sure it was all very meaningful and important, but I just didn't know what it meant.
The next morning, in the office, I was just refreshing myself on the issues for my first meeting when there was a knock on my open office door, it was Myra.
"Have you got a couple of minutes?" She asked, and I noted that she looked pleased with herself.
"Sure." I answered, putting down my papers and leaning back in my chair.
"It's just that I thought you'd like to know that I think we're onto something with the value of Marston Abbey."
I noted the 'we're' in that statement, but smiled and said "Good. You have news?"
"Well, you remember I was having lunch with the local planning guy? We met out at the George in Marston village, conveniently next door to the site. Well, he was far from adverse to the idea. In fact, I think he'd be quite pleased if as part of our scheme we could sell them a tiny bit of the land for improving that lousy junction just this side of the village. And if we could sell or give some land for low cost housing, then I reckon he would be a very happy man. And the architect loved the idea that we might build some purpose built research laboratories, still near the village. By the time lunch was over, we were all quite excited."
Suddenly something made sense, "And don't tell me, you all went over to the Abbey that very afternoon."
She looked surprised, "Yes, but how did you know?"
I ignored her question, "Did anyone else join you?"
"Yes, later the architect called up a developer he thought might be interested, and an agent who has been looking for somewhere to put a new hotel for one of the major chains, he wouldn't tell me which one. And the Council guy called up a local Councillor, just to make sure that that anything discussed was open and above board. But to start with it was just the three of us looking round."
"And all of you went and viewed the Abbey, tramping all over it, discussing your plans? And pissing off the staff, who were probably a tad upset that the place was being sold without any warning to them?"
For the first time, Myra suddenly looked worried. "I thought you told me that you would clear it with Dr McBaine."
"I did. I told him that we were revaluing the property for accounting purposes. And that if it was ever sold, it would be after thought and planning. I didn't tell him that a bunch of property developers would be crawling all over the place in the next few days, carving up a deal to suit themselves."
"Oh, indeed. What was the staff reaction?"
"Well, Dr McBaine wasn't there. I got Peter Davies to show us over the building. The staff didn't seem too worried, although I did hear Peter Davies having his leg pulled a bit."
"How were they pulling his leg precisely?"
Myra began to study her shoes, and looked embarrassed, and spoke in a quiet voice, "A couple of them said that him screwing your wife was probably the cause. You were going to sell the whole lot, just to get rid of him." She paused before she urgently added, "But he laughed. He seemed to take it well. But when the others turned up, he seemed to just disappear. I think some of the comments got a bit more pointed then. Sorry."
I sighed, "OK, Myra. It was a genuine mistake. But a little more diplomacy next time, please."
So, Peter Davies coming home wasn't planned. He was pissed off, probably suspecting that I was going to shake up his world. He should have stayed at work, little did he know what awaited him at home; his world would have been less shaken if he'd stay at work!
Well, it didn't explain everything. But my cuckold wimp theory was definitely weakened. I think my policy of doing nothing was still the best idea, especially if Peter and Molly were trying to put their marriage back together.
Myra would have got no further than the corridor outside Carole's room, when my phone rang, and Carole told me she had Piers McBaine on the line.
"Piers, what can I do for you on this Monday morning?" I decided that innocence was my best bet.
"Chris, I thought I ought to phone you and tell you about Friday afternoon."
"Well, I wasn't here, but I understand that Myra Hepsted turned up with a bunch of people, and Peter had to show them over the building. Apparently they were talking about it being turned into a hotel. And it didn't go down very well with some people here."
"I'm sorry. I can promise you that there are no such plans. Myra had lunch with some planners and developers. It got out of hand, and they got carried away. I've spoken to her, and told her off for her lack of diplomacy. Is there anything I can do to put peoples' minds at rest? Nothing is going to happen in the short term."
I heard Piers sigh, "To be honest it was probably a bit my fault. When I told them the place would get revalued, maybe I played it down a bit too much. I don't know about people coming in unannounced and talking about which wing would make the leisure centre, but I guess a team turning up to really look and measure up was a possibility, and I didn't warn anyone of that. But I'd like some warning next time."
"Point taken. Is there anything I can do to smooth it over?" I asked.
"No, it'll be alright. But I will quote you in a memo I'll put out."
"Then draft it up and show it to me first."
"OK. By the way, Peter has suddenly taken off. Maybe Friday afternoon got to him. But he phoned in this morning, and was apparently rather short with the receptionist. He is taking a couple of weeks off, and we can put it down to any damn thing we like, holiday, sick leave, he didn't give a damn."
"As you say, Friday afternoon may have got to him, but not just Myra. I had lunch with Molly on Friday, and she invited me back to their place afterwards, to see where Jamie and Ben actually live. I was there when Peter came home early, and I don't think he was very pleased to find me there." I thought that was all he needed to know.
"I doubt whether he would have been. Whether that's got anything to do with him suddenly taking leave I don't know. Maybe it's just some other family emergency."
"Well, ..... email me your draft memo."
So, Peter has taken some time off work. Maybe to go away and think about his marriage? Or, to take Molly away on a romantic holiday where they can talk and put things back together? I don't know. What I do know is that Molly's behaviour on Friday is an even bigger mystery.
The rest of Monday and Tuesday passed without anything new happening, but on Wednesday morning I thought it was time to show Myra that I wasn't too upset with her, so I called her up to my office for a progress meeting on Franks Engineering. We were talking across my desk when Carole brought in a tray of coffee, which she was about to lay on my desk, when I asked that she put it on the coffee table, "We might as well sit comfortably" I explained, looking at Myra.
Myra started gathering her papers that she had spread in front of her when Carole asked, "Have you decided whether you're going to the RNIB dance on Saturday of next week? They've been on the phone, they want to sort out the seating plan. You'll be on top table of course, if you're going."
I looked up, and watched Carole going through animated mime of nodding her head towards Myra, who had her back turned. I couldn't help but laugh.
Myra suddenly looked up and round at Carole, with that sixth sense that warns all of us once in a while, "What?"
"It's Carole. She's playing matchmaker." I said, still laughing.
Myra looked round at me, and I explained, "I need a date for this Easter Ball, and Carole thinks it ought to be you."
"What Easter Ball?"
"Royal National Institute for the Blind's Easter Ball. Apparently we sponsor it, and I'm meant to go." I paused to look winningly hopeful, "Would you go with me, please?"
"I don't know...." Myra sounded very doubtful.
I interrupted quickly, "It is a sort of business do for us. Surely you could come on a date for business?"
She still looked dubious, "Well ...........OK. Thank you." And she smiled.
I smiled back. "Thank you. I promise to be the perfect gentleman."
"Spoilsport!" She flirted back, then she had an afterthought, "If its for business, does that mean that I can buy a new dress on expenses?"
I laughed, "Don't push your luck."
Carole left with a "There, that wasn't so difficult, was it?" I'm not sure whether it was aimed at Myra or me.
I spent Thursday and Friday in London, sometimes supporting the sales team in presentations for possible clients, and some of the time at HQ. I tried to get to see The Old Man, and late on Friday afternoon, Pamela phoned me to say that he invited me to dinner, with Frances, at their home. That was a rare honour. I rebooked my hotel for an extra night, and phoned Ralph that I wouldn't get to see the boys until Sunday.
The dinner with The Old Man and Frances went well. He, of course, wanted a report on how Franks was going, and I chatted honestly about my hopes of how we might improve profitability, but also pleading for extra funds for research. We needed more products, which meant more research as well as doing marketing deals with other foreign companies. Frances was more interested in my love life, she knew of Helene and wanted an update. But there was nothing really important or meaningful in that conversation.
On Sunday I collected the boys and it was Susan who opened the front door. She treated me with stony silence, there was no smile and certainly no polite words. I guess they know something is wrong with Molly's marriage, and that I'm involved. As far as Susan is concerned, I guess it's all my fault.