I Really DID Need a Vacation!bywantsomefun1951©
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This story was submitted on another site as an entry into a contest with the theme, "What I did on summer vacation."
Being alone is all right. Sometimes, it's preferable to being with people who bore you or annoy you. Sometimes you just want to be alone. That's okay. Everyone needs a little space now and then.
But I had been alone for a year. My solitude had progressed into abject loneliness, and it sucked. I decided to treat myself to a summer vacation. I was going alone, but, hopefully, a change of scenery would help.
When the initial anger of my breakup with Karen faded, being alone was something of a relief. Don't get me wrong – our relationship had been great for a while. Mutual friends had introduced us at a party, and we hit it off well that very first night. Well enough, anyway, that she went home with me, and we didn't get out of bed for much except food or the bathroom for the next two days.
We both had our own apartments with several months to go on our leases, and we had a lot of our own interests, so we kept our relationship on the date-and-fuck level for a while. We enjoyed the time we spent together, even when it was something as mundane as washing our cars or going grocery shopping.
We got to be friends as well as lovers, and eventually decided to share an apartment. We were comfortable together. Maybe that was the problem. We got a little too comfortable. The edge wore off.
I guess I'm either a little too trusting or a little too dumb for my own good. I didn't question it when Karen said she was going to start doing volunteer work one evening a week at an adult literacy program (something I had no interest in whatsoever). After a while, said she was going to do it two or three nights a week. I didn't mind that either, because it gave me time to pursue some interests of my own, hang out with the guys, or just chill at home after a rough day at work.
Looking back on it now, I see that I should have recognized the warning signs. After all, if I was so committed to this relationship, why was I almost glad Karen wasn't around three evenings a week? But I was blind, and I accepted the fact that she sometimes came home very late, with alcohol on her breath. Her explanation was that she and some of the other female volunteers at the adult education center liked to go out for a drink or two after teaching their classes.
For some reason, I didn't even think it was strange that she would always rush to the shower the minute she came home from her tutoring sessions, even though Karen had always taken her shower in the mornings before.
The fact that our sex life had dwindled to only one or two sessions a week didn't seem to mean that much to me either. After all, we had both just turned thirty – we weren't sex-crazed kids anymore. We worked very hard at our jobs, and our "extra-curricular" activities often meant that sleeping was what we needed to do when we went to bed on the nights she came home late.
One night, Mike, a good friend of mine from work, called me about an hour after Karen had left for her tutoring work. "Kevin, I want to buy you a beer," he said. "We need to talk."
"What's up?" I asked. He sounded pretty uncomfortable.
"I'm at the Highway Tavern on Route 1. You know the place?" he asked.
"Yeah, I know where it is. You sound upset. Are you all right?"
"Just get your ass over here. How soon can you be here?" Mike responded.
"Give me fifteen minutes."
"See you then," Mike said. He hung up without even saying goodbye.
"Uh oh," I thought. "He must be in some kind of trouble." I grabbed my wallet and keys.
When I walked into the tavern, Mike was sitting at a table with a beautiful woman. She looked very familiar, but I couldn't remember where I had seen her before. "Kevin, this is Marianne, Bob's wife," Mike said. He poured me a beer from the small pitcher on the table. Marianne had a half-empty glass of beer in front of her.
I remembered Bob, another guy Mike and I work with, introducing me to his wife, Marianne, at last year's company Christmas party. She had been the subject of some discussion among the guys there, with her gorgeous face, long wavy dark hair, and dynamite figure in that slinky little black dress. The general consensus had been that she was the embodiment of the term MILF, and was way too good for an asshole like Bob.
I shook her hand and said, "I'm sorry, I'm terrible with names, Marianne. I remember you now. How've you been?"
"Fine, Kevin, how about you?"
"Good, but I'm confused. Mike, what are we doing here? You sounded kind of upset on the phone."
"Drink your beer," was all he said. He seemed very interested in studying his fingernails.
I looked at Marianne, but she just shrugged her shoulders and took a sip from her glass. We sat there in uncomfortable silence for a few minutes. I thought again that Mike must be in some kind of trouble, serious from the look on his face. But Marianne didn't fit in with any situation I could imagine.
Mike drained his beer and poured the remainder of the small pitcher into his glass. He took a few more swallows, set his glass down, and looked at us. "Shit, I hate this," he said. He looked really miserable.
"Come on, buddy, talk to me. What's going on?" I said.
"Kevin, you've known me for years. You know how I am. You can tell Marianne that I'm not the kind to start trouble or get in the middle of something that's none of my business, right?"
"That's true. And I'd say that even if you weren't my friend. So, what's this all about?" I said.
He downed the rest of his beer. "Finish your beers. We're going for a short drive. Don't worry, I only had two glasses. I'm OK to drive. You two can ride with me."
None of us said anything as we went out to Mike' car, although Marianne and I exchanged some worried looks. Mike helped Marianne into the front passenger's seat, and I got in the back. He drove us a few blocks down the street and turned into the parking lot of a seedy-looking motel. We went around the back of the building and parked at the bottom of the lot, a short distance from the cars that were parked near the rooms. He turned off the engine and the lights, and then pounded his fist on the steering wheel. "I pray I'm wrong about this. I just hope you guys don't wind up hating me," he said.
I started to say, "Hating you for what?" but Marianne interrupted me with a sort of strangled scream.
"That's Bob's car!" she said.
"What? Where?" I asked.
"Straight in front of us, Kevin," Mike said. "Now look four spaces to the left of it."
I looked where he was pointing. There was no mistaking it. Karen had put that dent in the rear fender of her car a week earlier when she backed into the trash bin outside our apartment. "That's Karen's Honda. What the fuck?" I exclaimed.
Mike said, "I didn't know what to think when I first saw them together at the tavern about two months ago. They didn't see me, and they seemed to be involved in some kind of deep discussion, so I didn't go over to them. They left at the same time. I decided it didn't mean anything, and I kind of forgot about it until I saw them again the next week. Same thing that time. They didn't see me, and they were sitting together talking. Again, they left together. They each got in their own cars and drove off."
"Did they come here?" I asked, dreading the answer.
"I don't know. But two nights later, I decided to go to the tavern again. Bob was walking across the parking lot just as I went inside, so I waited for him. He seemed pretty shocked to see me, and he looked really nervous. He said he just stopped in to buy a 6-pack to go, and he walked up to the bar and ordered one. He got on his cell phone and made a call. As he was talking, I saw Karen's car pull in. She stopped in the middle of the parking lot, and then turned around and drove out, fast. I could see she went up the road going this way, which I knew was the opposite direction she would have gone if she was going home."
I was starting to feel a little sick to my stomach, and Marianne looked like she had just swallowed a bug.
Mike just kept on talking. "Bob left right after her with his beer, got in his car, and headed the same way. I went outside and saw him stopped at the light at the end of the block. He should have been in the left turn lane if he was going home, but he was going straight, the same direction Karen had gone. I jumped in my car and followed him. He pulled in here and drove around back. Karen's car was parked in front of one of the rooms. He went inside with her."
"Oh God," Marianne moaned.
"I'm so sorry about this," Mike said. "I didn't know what to think. Remember, Kevin, when I asked you which nights Karen did her volunteer work?"
"Yeah, I told you it was Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays," I said.
"Right," Kevin said, "and I asked you that on a Thursday morning. I had seen them here the night before around 7:30. So I came here and parked way off in the corner around 7 o'clock that night. About a half an hour later, they both pulled in and went into a room."
"That bastard!" Marianne hissed. "He told me he needed to stay late at the office a lot. Some shit about short staffing. I'm going to kill him!" She started to get out of the car.
Mike grabbed her arm. "Wait, Marianne, it way not mean anything. Maybe it's not what you think."
"Oh please! My husband is already playing me for a fool. Don't you start, too. Let go of me!" she growled, wrenching her arm free of Mike's grasp.
"Marianne!" I bailed out of Mike's car, ran after her, and spun her around to face me. "Don't do anything rash. We have no way of knowing what they're doing."
"What the hell do you think they're doing, Kevin? Trading baseball cards? Crocheting? Are you even more stupid than I am?" Karen said.
"But we don't really know anything," I said.
"Then let's go knock on the door and ask them! Are you coming with me, or am I going alone?"
Everything suddenly snapped into place for me – all the signs I had ignored. She was right, but I didn't want to admit it, to her or to myself. "All right, Marianne, we'll go and ask them together. Come on, Mike, you're going with us."
"Why?" Mike asked.
"You don't have a vested interest in any of this, so you're going to serve as mediator," I said.
"Yes, come with us," Marianne said. "You may have to stop me from ripping his balls off!"
We knocked on the door. We could hear movement inside, and then Bob opened the door, wearing only his boxer shorts.
Marianne burst inside. "You fucking bastard!" she screamed at him. "You no good, rotten fucking bastard! Where is she?"
Bob had a look of utter shock on his face. "Where is who, honey? What are you talking about?"
Karen's purse was sitting on the bureau, and I could see a thong on the floor near the bed. I recognized it. I had taken it off Karen with my teeth more than once. I could feel the veins starting to stand out on my neck and my stomach dropping to the floor. The look of fear on Bob's face told me he could feel my rage when I barked, "Where's Karen?"
He just stood there, his mouth working, but no sound coming out. He was the only one in the room, but I could see light under the closed bathroom door. I pushed my way past him and knocked on the door. "Come out here, Karen."
There was no response. "I know you're in there, so you might as well come out," I said.
Bob finally found his voice. "Guys, there's no one here."
I tried the bathroom doorknob. It was locked from the inside.
"You fucking liar!" Marianne screeched. Mike grabbed her just before she tried to claw her husband's face.
"Don't stand there and lie to us, Bob," I said. "That's Karen's purse and those are her panties. Your cars are both outside."
"I don't know what you're talking about, Kevin," Bob sputtered.
Now I was really getting pissed off. "Shut up, motherfucker. I swear to God, if you lie to me one more time, I'll come over there and shut you up! Karen, get your ass out here!"
No one moved. No one made a sound. My blood was boiling. I shouldered the bathroom door open. There was Karen, stark naked.
"It's not what you think," she began.
I grabbed her by the arm, whipped her out of the bathroom, and threw her on the bed. I was struggling for control. "Then why don't you just tell all of us what the fuck it is, you lying bitch!" I roared.
Karen lay there crying, trying to cover herself.
Marianne spoke up, ice in her voice. "You bastard. I want a divorce. I'm taking the house, the kids, the cars, everything. You're going to pay for this, you miserable prick. And let go of me, Mike. I'm not going to attack him. I'll find an attorney who will hurt him far worse than I can."
"Kevin, can we talk?" Karen sobbed.
"What is there to talk about?" I shouted. "I want you gone. We're through. I don't want to hear an explanation, and I sure as hell don't want to hear any excuses."
"I'll start moving my stuff out next week," she said.
"Stay here tonight," I said. "I'm going home to pack your shit. Don't come home until I've left for work tomorrow, and be sure you have your stuff out before I get home tomorrow night. I don't want to see you again. Anything of yours that's still there by the time I get home goes in the trash. Come on, Marianne. Let's go. Mike can drive us back to get our cars. I've got to get out of here before I do something to at least one of them that will get me arrested."
As we were leaving, Bob said, "Marianne, baby, we can work this out. Please."
"I hope she was worth it, Bob. I'll get your clothes packed and leave a message for you at work to let you know when you can get them. And don't show up at the house until you hear from me. If you do, I'll get a restraining order against you. My attorney will contact you at work. Fuck you," Marianne said.
So here I was, almost a year later, alone. As I said, at first, it was sort of a relief. Oh, sure, I had spent the first few nights raging around the apartment. I found an album of photos of Karen and me, and I had a good time tearing up the pictures and burning them one night in the fireplace, along with a few homemade sex videos. With as drunk as I got that night, I'm surprised I didn't accidentally burn the place down. Then I went through the phase of going out every night with the guys or trying to pick up one-night-stand types at a few bars. It took a while, but I finally settled down.
I grieved for our relationship, at least for my idealized version of what I thought it had been. During the day, I threw myself headlong into my work, even earning a promotion in the process. It was a living hell at first. The only way I could deal with my heartbreak was to make my work my life.
Bob managed to get himself transferred to a division in another city, so at least I didn't have to deal with my urge to murder him any more. Mike was very supportive of me during this time, and I'll always be grateful to him for that. His friendship and the support of my other friends and co-workers got me through the worst of it.
But I was still alone. And now I was lonely. Most of the time, I was able to push the lonely thoughts to the side, but not always. I sold the antiques Karen and I had gotten together, bought my way out of my lease, and moved to a little house on a wooded lot a few miles from town. I thought changing my lifestyle, along with removing the last reminders of Karen, would help.
It didn't. Friends tried to fix me up with women a few times, and some of them seemed really nice, but there was no spark. I was OK during the day at work, and going out with the guys was still fun, but the times that I used to spend with Karen were empty. I wasn't dangerously depressed, but I sure as hell wasn't happy.
Part of me said that I was fooling myself, but another part said that a change of scenery would do me good. That's why I booked a room at a seashore hotel for my vacation this summer. Hell, what could it hurt? I could work on my tan, maybe go deep-sea fishing, do a little gambling, and stare at women in bikinis. Maybe I would get lucky. Would it solve my problem? Of course not. But at least I wouldn't be sitting at home, alone.
Yesterday, I was walking on the boardwalk, waiting until my lunch settled enough for me to go swimming. I had been pretty careful about sunburn, but I realized I was almost out of sunscreen, so I went into a little shop to see what I could find.
I spent a fair amount of time looking at the cheap novelty t-shirts, the chintzy souvenirs, and the postcards. Finally, I picked up a tube of the sunblock I wanted, and decided to head for the cash register.
When I turned, I bumped into a woman and knocked a pair of sandals out of her hand.
"Oh my God, I'm so sorry, miss," I stammered as I bent down to pick them up. "Are you OK?"
"Don't worry about it. You didn't hit me hard, but you should watch where you're.... Well, hello, Kevin!" she said.
For the first time, I looked at the woman I had run into. I'm terrible with names, but one look at the long legs in tight jeans, the trim belly and firm breasts in her skin-tight crop-top, and the beautiful face looking down at me refreshed my memory instantly. "Marianne, hi! What are you doing here?"
"I'm on vacation," she replied. "I'm surprised to run into you here."
"Well, I think I ran into you," I said. "I'm here on vacation, too. I never expected to see anyone I know."
"Are you here alone?" she asked.
"Yeah. I've pretty much been out of circulation for a year, ever since...."
"Ever since your girlfriend and that asshole I called my husband cheated on us," she said.
"Um, yeah. That made me a little gun-shy about pursuing another relationship."
"Me too," Marianne said. "It took me a while to put it behind me, but I'm moving on."
"You're doing OK, then?" I asked.
"My lawyer made sure of it. Bob had some family money and did pretty well for himself with investments and so on, so the house was paid off when it all hit the fan. I must admit, I didn't have any qualms about taking him to the cleaners. Rotten bastard! But that's in the past. I have my career, my two wonderful children, and my friends. At first, I didn't know how I was going to make it. After all, we had been married for ten years – my whole adult life. But everyone was really supportive of me. My parents even refrained from doing the whole 'I told you so' routine when I told them about Bob."
"They didn't like him?" I asked.
"Never. I couldn't figure out why, either, until I told them what had happened. Then my father finally told me that one of his poker buddies was friends with Bob's father. He had told my Dad that Bob was a no-good cheating bum when we were first dating, but my Dad didn't want to believe him. Over the years, my Dad's friend kept telling him rumors about how Bob was running around on me, but my Dad had no proof, and didn't want to stick his nose into my marriage. He was afraid to meddle, for fear of what it may have done to his grandkids. But when I called my folks the day after you and I found Bob and Karen in that no-tell motel, Dad hit the ceiling. He was really mad at Bob, and very upset with himself for not protecting his little girl."
"You're all right now, though?" I asked.
"Like I said, never better. The kids seem to have adjusted pretty well. My eight-year-old son even said a few weeks ago that he was glad Daddy was gone. Apparently he had seen his father one time kissing another woman, and Bob had sworn him to secrecy, threatening to punish him and make him out to be a liar if he ever told me about it. Can you imagine? What a son of a bitch!"
"Oh, that's not right," I said, indignantly. "You know, sometimes I wish I would have beaten the hell out of him that night like I wanted to."