Desiree and PeytonbyMatt Moreau©
Think of all the ways it might be possible to be incompatible with someone, and my wife and I are the poster children of such a list. Harken!
I'm five-six, and she's five-ten—and by the way she loves to wear high heels. Of late she's become a party animal, and I remain the prototypical bookworm. She, also of late, has become a dance aficionado while I'm more the organ-grinder's monkey. She likes TV and I hate the box. She's a beautiful woman, and I'm an average Joe in grave danger of losing my hair. All of the aforementioned being true, and as illogical as it seems her liking parties and all, Desiree has been, again up till of late, a very insecure woman underneath.
Up until this past year or so, I had been her sole undisputed anchor. It was this latter that made it possible for a woman like my wife to love a guy like me, I guess. But, now things are different, a lot different.
About a year ago, I had the brilliant idea of trying to instill greater self-confidence and an increased measure of self-esteem in the love of my life. I succeeded beyond my wildest—nightmares! You thought I was going to say dreams didn't you. Well, as it turns out, nightmare fits a lot better. My wife no longer has any confidence issues, and her self-esteem now borders on arrogance. Okay, I have introduced you to the genesis of our situation more of which a little later. So who are we really.
Well, my name is Peyton Joseph Gillis, a direct descendant of one Lester Joseph Gillis and a prostitute. People knowledgeable of the 1930's might remember my notorious grandsire by his more common appellation—Baby Face Nelson. Not a chapter of the family history of which I am particularly proud. I mention him only because my grandma told me I looked like him, except for my being a few inches taller. I am a chemist, actually a chemical engineer: Ph.D. Cal Tech. I work for Metro-Tech a company dedicated to creating and producing products for the military, and, rumor has it, for certain unnamed clandestine black ops services.
Desiree Marie Gillis, my wife, is a sales agent for Sylvia Jordan cosmetics and women's accessories. In her teens her height worked against her and she became something of an introvert. It wasn't that she was completely unaware of her basic beauty, but too many boys wouldn't or couldn't see her as pretty, her being so tall. They'd talk dirty about her, but seldom asked her out on dates. Nevertheless her sandy brown hair was always a cascading around her shoulders. She had dark eyes and full lips that were so pink she almost didn't need lipstick. Her breasts were respectable B-cups. Still, her best feature was her butt; gawd her ass was prime cut! When a male, using his most disrespectful tone, calls a woman a broad, something like my wife's butt has to be in his mind.
As mentioned Desiree had had trouble with self-worth. She almost didn't get a date to her senior prom. I say almost; I asked her. She'd looked down at me, standing there in the quad that May afternoon, and thought for several moments before agreeing to go with little 'ole me. Oh, we both knew we were going to be looking a little strange as a couple, but I convinced her that what others thought was passé—I'm very good with words, a regular Winston Churchill. Convincing her of that, readers, got me the inside track to the altar with the girl of my dreams.
After graduation I went directly to Cal Tech and she to USC. We graduated the same summer, four years later, with our B.A.'s. We married, and I continued on toward my doctorate completing it three very intense years later. During those three years, Des was our mainstay financially speaking: she worked and I studied.
At any rate, we got through the prom and our subsequent engagement and our wedding and the first nineteen years of married life with a minimum of problems. A major plus, two wonderful children appeared out of nowhere in the middle of the game: Grace now 13 and Charlie 11.
We are now both aged 42 and more than merely healthy; we're in top physical shape. We got that way working out at Black Iron, a local gym owned and operated by an ex-Mr. America competitor, Jason Black. And Jason is black and Jason has lately been after my wife. Which brings me to one big ass problem, how can I get my wife back and Jason the hell outta the picture.
It was my idea for us to begin going to the gym together. I'd been going for years, and I knew what it could do for a person's mindset. It was part of my strategy to bring Desiree out of her introvertedness. And now it may have backfired on me. I mean how could I compete with a big shot body builder.
I have begun to notice little things and some not so little things too. She's started going to the gym without me at least once a week; these are usually nights when I have to work late or Saturdays when I have something I have to do or have planned. So far, no clear problem, right? But, add to that that her sex drive seems to have lessened, in terms of me. We still make love a few times each week, but not like in the past, and afterwards she's begun just rolling over and calling it a night after I cum; this, whether she cums or not; bottom line, she doesn't seem to care if she gets off! Finally, there have been the phone calls and the hang-ups before the speaker identifies himself or herself. I'm not a stupid man. Something bad is going on and it is all too clear to me what it is. I have to do something.
I stood at the door waving goodbye to Grace and Charlie. They waved back. They were excited to be going to grandma and grandpa's for the weekend. The promise of a picnic and a trip to the zoo had made their stay over at the grams something they'd looked forward to all week. I went back in and headed upstairs to the bedroom where my wife was again getting ready to go out without me. Entering the room she laid into me again.
"Peyton, it's no big deal. I'm just going to the gym with Megan and then we're going out for a bite to eat. I should be back by 10:00. Okay?"
"No it's not okay, Des. It's Friday night. We should be doing stuff together. What about us. That's the third time in a row you have shined me on for someone else, I mean as far as going to the gym. Hell, you wouldn't even be going if I hadn't forced the issue last year," I said. I was making sure she knew I was pissed.
"Yes, I know. And I am glad that you did. But you are smothering me. It's like I can't do anything without you or you get mad at me," she said. "Anyway, I'm going. Get over it."
"Get over it! Did you say get over it!" She didn't answer. She just picked up her gym bag, headed down the stairs and left. I stood there with my mouth open and fuming. I decided to do what I usually did when we argued; I got my wallet and headed for the Rusty Nail, our—my—favorite watering hole.
I sat at the bar staring into a half empty shot glass. "You look kinda down," said a voice from behind me.
I turned. "Oh, hi Sonia. How are yuh? Yeah, I am a little. Des has been dumping on me lately, and tonight it may have come to a head. I don't know; maybe it's time to move on."
"Wow, you are down. I'm sorry, Peyton. Really. You deserve better," she said.
"Thanks Sonia, I really appreciate your concern. Can I buy you a drink?" I was feeling like company, preferably female company.
"Damn straight," she said. "I never turn down a freebie."
I should explain that Sonia is a retired prostitute, and no I have never had her. I have a long held rule to never pay for something that I can get for free, and besides, she was taken—sort of. I motioned to Mel, the barkeep, to load one up for her. He delivered her usual white wine, and she took the bar stool next to me.
Mel owned the Rusty Nail and was Sonia's only squeeze now; they'd been an item off and on since she'd retired some fifteen years ago. I should note here, that at aged 45 Sonia is still a classy looking gal. Anyway, Mel and Sonia apparently never had the urge to get married, though I kinda suspect that Sonia would have said yes real quick if offered the opportunity.
"Wanna talk about it?" she asked.
"Yeah, trouble is, I have no idea what to say. I think she's cheating on me, and if I find out she is, it's over."
"For someone who doesn't know what to say you sure have a lot to say," giggled Sonia.
I smiled for the first time since Des had run out the door two hours before. It was 8:00. If Des was going to be back by 10:00, I had two more hours. I could think of worse ways to spend my time than with a pro like Sonia. She did have the knack of making a guy feel better.
"Whaddya thinking about doing?" she said. "I mean you got any ideas?"
"No, it's too new. I'm kinda down, as you observed, and a little numb," I said.
"You know who she might be doing it with?" said Sonia.
"Yeah, I think so. Jason Black. "Owns the Black Iron gym. I've mentioned him to you."
"Wow, Mr. America himself, huh," said Sonia.
"He was never a Mr. America. He was just a contestant one year, like twenty-five years ago," I said. I think my jealousy was showing through.
"Yeah, just a contestant. Let's see, what else: six-five, two-twenty or so, shiny black, probably got a foot long dick, and handsome as hell. Yeah, I can see why you'd not have to worry about him," she said laughing.
"What the hell!" I said. "I thought you were on my side."
"I am, but be realistic. If you're going to fight for your rights to Desiree you have to see things in perspective and deal with them using your strengths" said Sonia. "To do that, you have to know his strengths, and also his limitations; then, use the latter against him."
"So, you got any ideas! Please don't hesitate to share them if you do. I'm dyin' here," I said, still miffed at her complete disregard for my feelings.
"Look Peyton, the fact is guys like him are a dime a dozen. The worst thing that could happen to Desiree would be for her to dump you for him. She already knows he's capable of being in a cheating relationship; he'll cheat on her today as soon as the initial thrill wears off."
"How duh yuh figure," I said.
"Okay, he's got looks all over you. There it stops. He's got nothing else. I know for sure that his business is on a shoestring. He's been looking for partners to share the risk with him. Oh yeah, I know him; hell he's even asked me to back him. He comes in here a lot. Peyton, he's been in here with Des."
The look on my face must have been something to see.
"Peyton, she's not let him have her. He just plies her with drinks hoping to get lucky," said Sonia.
"With Des!" I almost yelled.
"Control yourself. You go off half cocked and you lose—got it! Yes, they've been here together. I had to tell you. If you'd found out by accident—"
"Yeah, thanks, Sonia. I mean it, thanks," I repeated.
"Peyton, if she were to dump you for him, I guarantee you he'd be cheating on her within three months. He's a player and takes great pride in being one. Des is a babe in arms when it comes to someone like Mr. America. Your revenge would be watching her fall apart in the aftermath."
I finished my shot of vodka and motioned to Mel for a refill. Mel stood there staring. "Mel?" I said, at his apparent ignoring of me. He was looking toward the door. I turned. My wife was coming in the door on the arm of Mr. America. There was no mirror nearby to tell for sure, but I could feel my face darken.
"Peyton, not now," whispered Sonia. I paid no attention. I really didn't actually hear her. My stomach was doing flip flops. It was clear that they were more than instructor and instructee. My anger took over. I made my way to them with Sonia trying to pull me back. I came up on them just as they seated themselves next to each other in the booth. Desiree was on the inside.
"Megan how you've changed," I said to the man pawing my woman. "You're so black and so tall and so such an asshole."
"What the hell!" he stood up. He was near a foot taller than me and eighty pounds heavier and I never saw it coming.
The light was so bright. What is it about hospitals that they have to have such bright lights, I wondered.
"You okay, honey," said Desiree. I looked to my left and focused on her. "Where's Megan," I said, as sarcastically as I have ever said anything.
"Peyton, you don't need to act like that. It wasn't anything," she said.
"I saw him pawing you. It was clear it wasn't the first time either. Get outta here. I don't want to be accused of smothering you. We're finished you and I," I said. "Go find your loverboy."
"Peyton! He's not my loverboy."
"Fuck off!" I said. I was getting really mad.
She ran out of the room crying. I felt like shit, but I felt good too. I wasn't mister-wimpy for damn sure. I also wasn't mister tough guy. Geezsus that dude could hit. My face felt like a well dribbled basketball.
As soon as Desiree had left a suit showed up. "Mr. Gillis?"
"Yeah," I said.
"I'm inspector Busby. I hear you were attacked."
"Yeah? Why? Is the guy suing me for being an inadequate punching bag?" I said.
"No, but you have a case for assault. Need to know if you wanna press charges?"
I snickered. "You know I oughta. The guy sucker punched me. But no. I just wanna get out of here, divorce my whore of a wife, and get on with living," I said.
"Well, if you change your mind, here's my card," said Inspector Busby.
"Yeah, sure. I'll call yuh," I said. My daddy always told me to fight my own fights; my daddy's advice on any subject was seldom in error. I'd take care of the asshole my way and in my own good time. By the time I was done; he'd be wishin' it was only the law that was after him.
I watched inspector Busby go. At the last moment he turned back unsure of himself. "Mr. Gillis, is it really true that you are the great grandson of Baby Face Nelson?"
I had to laugh. "Yeah, but so far I haven't killed anybody myself," I said. The inspector nodded, smiled, and left.
They kept me overnight for observation. Evidently I'd had a mild concussion.
I was released at 10:00AM the next morning. It was Saturday, at least I didn't have to go in to work. I called a cab. I didn't want to be in the same car as Des, and she probably wouldn't have come anyway, I reasoned.
I walked kinda slow up the steps, opened the front door and went in. I could smell cooking in the kitchen—roast beef—it was our favorite. Being quick on the uptake, I figured she was going to try and mollify me.
"Peyton!" she yelled seeing me as I came into the kitchen. "I was waiting for your call. I thought you'd want me to pick you up," she said.
"I took a cab," I said.
"Desiree, we need to talk. I know that, but not now. Your boyfriend got me a good one and I'm not feelin' too good right now. I'm going up to bed. I need to lay down for a while." She followed me up the stairs. I think she was hoping I'd fall so she could have a reason to help me up the stairs and to bed.
I made it on my own and almost fell onto the yellow comforter. She knelt beside the bed and stroked my forehead. "Peyton, I'm sorry. But nothing happened with Jason. Nothing," she said.
"Later," I said, "I'm tired. I mean it." Then, I added, "The roast beef smells good. Maybe tomorrow."
"Okay. Okay, I understand. You do need your rest. I know that. I'll be here if you need me," she said. She raised my head a little and pulled a pillow under it. She kissed me on the lips and left leaving me to my dreams. I was out in minutes.
I awoke at daybreak. I was alone in the bed. She had not slept with me, I realized. Then I saw her. She was asleep in the chair a few feet from me. She must have been there all night. Okay, I get it, she was pulling a full-court press. This was going to be one tough deal anyway I sliced it. I was mad as hell about her indiscretion. I was also madly in love with her. And, I had no idea how I was going to handle those two mutually exclusive realities. I was about to find out it didn't matter either way.
I rolled out of bed and went to the bathroom. I showered; I needed it. When I came out she was gone. I went downstairs and heard her in the kitchen.
"Hi, hon," she said. There was something strange in her tone of voice. I felt a sense foreboding. "Are you feeling better?"
I nodded. "Yeah. I'm okay. You shoulda seen the other guy," I quipped.
She allowed herself a small smile. She set a plate in front of me. Two hard boiled eggs, a slice of dry toast and a few grapes. Very healthy I thought. She poured us both a cup of coffee. She sat opposite me at the table.
I could see she wanted to tell me something, but she was nervous, maybe even afraid. I didn't like the feeling I was getting. I was chewing on a grape. I put the fork I was holding slowly down on the plate, swallowed, and waited.
"What Desiree? Something's wrong isn't it?" I said.
"Peyton, I love him."
Stunned doesn't even begin to describe the badness of what I was feeling. I was having hot and cold flashes at the same time. My throat was suddenly dry.
"I'm going to be with him, Peyton. I'm leaving you. I'm sorry, really, but I need to do this."
She could see the tears beginning to flood my eyes. But, I said nothing. I just sat their mute.
"The last thing I wanted to do was hurt you, Peyton. But, I know that if I just cheated on you behind your back, that you'd eventually find out and be heartbroken anyway. And then, Friday night, when he hurt you like that in the bar; well, I knew I had to get him and you apart. But, Peyton, I just can't give him up. I love you too, but it's different with Jason."
I finally found my voice. "Yeah, he's taller."
"Peyton, you know that's never made a difference to me. I—"
"Desiree, before I embarrass myself, I'm going to go out. Please, please be gone when I get back. I'll file for divorce tomorrow. I'll just set it all up fifty-fifty. Grace and Charlie will be with me of course. I will not tolerate another man in their lives. Is that agreeable?"
"The kids with you? No, Peyton. They'll be with me; I'm their mother. I am so sorry for this, Peyton. I seem to be doing everything to hurt you today. I really didn't mean for this to go this way..."
"Okay then we fight it out in court," I said,
bitterness beginning to consume me. "I will not tolerate that man being around my children—ever! So get out your big guns Des; you just went to war."
"Peyton! You can't deny me the children. Their mine!"
"Correction, Des, they are ours, but they are not any part of that man's. Get that through your pretty head."
"Okay then, you leave me no choice. I will fight you on this, Peyton!" she said. She stormed out. I knew she'd be heading for my mom and dad's place. The kids were there. I made the call. I told dad to bring them here to the house immediately. I wanted Des headed in the wrong direction. If she was going to play with Mr. Black. I was going to do some playing of my own.
Waiting for the kids, I went online and made some major financial changes. Banks, credit card companies; even my stock broker, Greg Smithers: Wonderful what one can do even on weekends if one knows how to use a computer.
My last move was to call Clay Burns my friend from the job. He was not only a very highly rated attorney; he had power in high places. Well, after all we did do work for the black ops folks didn't we. I called and told him I needed to see him immediately. He said to come right over. I did. Mister Jason Black had no idea of the poop storm about to overtake him, and for that matter neither did Desiree when it came down to it. My job required a security clearance; Desiree knew virtually nothing about what I did or who I knew, and I was about to call in a whole bunch of markers.
"I don't know anymore, Clay. She's not like she was, and I don't think I like the new her. The killer is that it's mostly my fault she's like she is. I'm the one who introduced her to the asshole."