Nothing to Talk About!bylikegoodwine©
By Likegoodwine copyright July 2013
Here's another story for you, a bit longer than my usual ones. I often write stories that depict characters that are a bit extreme. This one reflects more a normal kind of guy. There is cheating in this story but no revenge: only sadness then hope. The wife isn't burnt, not even scalded. She will just be forgotten.
Thank to Scalia for his patient editing.
Your votes and constructive comments are appreciated.
Chapter 1 - Denials
My trip wasn't starting the way I like. I had to be in Minneapolis Thursday and Friday for a convention. When we were younger, Martha, my wife, would take half a day off to make sure I had plenty of good memories to last me the entire time I was away. This time, she simply kissed me goodbye on her way to work.
My name is Yvan de Badgerweedsen, Ythebadger for short. I am 49 years old and married to my wife, Martha, for the last 24 years. We have two children, Ross, 22 and Amelia 20.
Around 3PM, I left work and drove to the airport. My flight was at 6PM. Since I hated to be late or worry about missing my plane, I always got to the airport early.
This time, everything went just fine and I spent an hour waiting for the boarding call. Because of the poor weather, the plane coming from Minnesota was delayed. A snowstorm was heading our way. After a delay of 45 minutes, we finally boarded.
Half an hour into our flight, I sensed the plane bank left. At first, I thought it was correcting its heading but I soon realized that it was turning around. True enough, the pilot informed us that the snowstorm was making a landing impossible at Minneapolis Airport and we were heading back home.
Back at the airport, I rushed to the airline counter to reschedule for a flight the next morning. I was lucky enough to grab one of the last available seats. I would be late for the convention, but I would get there.
As soon as I had a seat confirmed, I got on the phone to inform my contact in Minneapolis that I was delayed arriving and I would be there tomorrow. I also left a notice on my boss' voicemail. I then called home, but Martha did not pick up.
Although it was a bit after 8PM, the house was dark and Martha's car wasn't in the driveway. I guess she decided to work late or go to a restaurant. Now that our youngest child was away at college, the house would feel empty. I left my luggage in the car and went in. I heard voices coming from the living room. Strange! I headed that way and I realized that the TV had been left on.
That meant Martha came back home after work because I'm sure the TV was off when I left for work. I turned it off and looked around the house for her. No sign of her! I called her cell.
She picked up after a few rings.
"Hi Honey," said Martha when she recognized my cell phone number.
"Hi Sweetheart! Where are you?" I asked.
It was such an innocent question. The kind of question I asked so many times in our marriage. I didn't ask it to pry or to be nosey. I simply asked to know where she was.
"Where else Dum-dum? At home, watching my soaps," she answered, figuratively throwing a pail of cold water at me. "And you, how was your flight? Are you at the hotel yet?"
My brain froze. I was tired from the travelling delay. All I wanted was to have my wife back, to rest and to cuddle with her for a few more hours. They were such simple expectations. Despite a delayed flight, I had felt that I was lucky. I would be able to spend some unexpected bonus hours in my bed, with my wife. Until 30 seconds ago, I was happy to be stuck home.
But instead of coming back to my loving wife of 24 years, I was coming back to lies and deception. I wasn't expecting that at all. I didn't know what to do and I didn't know what to say. Did she really just lie to me? Why would she do that? There was no reason for her to lie to me if she was at work or with some friends or eating out.
My silence must have been long, because Martha asked, "Honey, are you still there?"
"Er... Yeah. Sorry! We landed in O'Hare and I gotta go," I said, hanging up on her.
My phone started to ring almost right away. I didn't answer and turned it off. I needed time to think.
Sitting all by myself on the couch, I felt numb. I was trying to figure out why Martha would lie to me.
Maybe she's planning a surprise for me. I remember four years ago a series of lies I had to tell her. I was planning a two weeks cruise for our 20th wedding anniversary. I involved her boss and her parents. For a month, I repeatedly lied, trying to simply weave my way around the truth. All the lies came to fruition the day we took off for a weekend in Miami and ended up at the dock where I presented her with a pair of cruise tickets.
But as hard as I tried, I couldn't find a special anniversary in the months ahead. At best, my birthday and our 25th wedding anniversary would be in 10 months.
There was one thought that kept returning but that I relentlessly rejected. I refused to think about it. Not us! Others, yes, they are faced with that! But not us!
That's it! I knew one person that would know of any surprise planned by Martha: my daughter Amelia. Turning my phone back on, I was soon speed dialing her number.
"Hey Daddy! How are you?" my sweetheart said, answering her phone.
"Hi Baby! What's up?" I asked.
"Nothing much Daddy. I just finished my homework and I am now watching TV," she said. "And you?"
"Have you spoken with your Mom lately?" I asked.
"No! Nothing special aside from our weekly phone call on Sunday," answered Amelia.
"Er... sorry to ask... but would you happened to know something about a surprise she would be planning for me? Don't tell me what. Just tell me if your Mom is planning something," I asked, full of hope.
"No Daddy! Nothing at all! Why do you ask?"
"Well she has been acting strange lately and I was wondering if she was hiding a nice surprise for me, maybe for my 50th birthday," I told her.
"No, not yet Daddy. Didn't we just celebrate your birthday, like last month?"
"Yeah! Well forget I ask. Good night Baby!"
Well that wasn't it. Why would she lie to me?
Maybe it was her coming promotion? Yeah, that's it! I don't know why she would lie about it, but it could be that she was still trying hard to get a promotion. Working for that promotion had kept her stay late so many time lately. She knew that no promotion was worth our lost time together. She knew that I was adamant that she cut back a bit her hours at work so we could be more together. She also knew that I was entitled to ask it, as I had myself refused a promotion in order to be able to spend more time with her and the kids just a few months before our 20th anniversary.
Almost five years ago, I had vied for and got an offer to become vice-president of Finance at my company. The only problem was the constant travelling to the head office in Chicago, where the board meetings were held, as well as regular tours of all our plants all over the country.
I was ecstatic when I was offered the job, but Martha soon had me thinking twice about accepting it. First, my predecessor ended up divorced within two years of his promotion. He ended up rich, but lonely and miserable. My two kids still had two and four years in high school left and they still needed both parent's guidance and support. Martha didn't relish becoming the only one involved. We talked about it for a full week before I realized that I was about to lose sight of the most important thing in my life: my wife and my kids. I turned down the promotion.
That's why I didn't take it too well the last few months when Martha started working real hard toward her own promotion. For Martha, it wasn't the same. The kids were in college and there was only the two of us. Her promotion would mean a bit more travelling, but nothing that would affect our life much. We could probably schedule our own travelling in the same time period to minimize our time apart.
The problem was the many hours spent working overtime toward that promotion. Just seeing your wife one or two hours each day for a whole week wasn't very satisfying to me, and that's without talking about the nose dive in our lovemaking. She even spent many Saturdays and some Sundays at work. When she was home, she was simply totally exhausted. I am not even sure when was the last time we made love. Three weeks ago? Last month?
We are not young anymore, but it was pathetic.
So I wouldn't be surprise if she were working when I phoned and lied to avoid my complaint. Of course that is unfair as I was travelling too and understood that some overtime would hurt nobody.
Well, there was an easy way to find out. I grabbed my phone and dialed her direct line.
"TBolt Advertising, Jake Turnbull speaking," answered my wife's colleague.
I was a bit taken by surprise. They don't work in the same room and I sure wasn't expecting anybody but Martha to pick up. But Jake was a good guy and he would tell me if Martha was around.
"Hi Jake, Ythebadger here!"
"Hi Yvan," answered Jake. He was never able to use my nickname. "Why would you phone me here when you and your wife are spending some vacation time together?"
Decidedly, I was going from surprise to surprise tonight. Vacation? What vacation?
"Hey sorry to bother you at work Jake! I just pressed the wrong speed dial button on my phone," I lied.
"No problem Yvan. Just tell Martha that she owes me lunch when she comes back next Monday for covering again for her. See, I am at work and it is way past 9pm. She owes me big time," he said then he hung up.
Not only Martha wasn't working, she wasn't at work at all. From what Jake told me, she was off work for the rest of the week. Now that was starting to scare the shit out of me. Where was Martha, and what was she doing?
A thought crossed my mind, unasked for and unwelcomed. Oh no! It can't be! I always refused to think the worst of people. I prefer to be a positive guy, to look at the bright side of things, to see what is best in each of us. But here I was, thinking the worst. Can it be? Could she do that to me?
Could she be with her sister, Nadia?
We were estranged from Nadia and Nadia's ex-husband, Mike. Once upon a time, we were really close. We shared evenings together, babysat each other's kids, co-hosted many family gathering and we even went on vacation together.
It all came to an end one day, when I came home with a terrible headache. I took a couple of Tylenol and lied down on the couch. Half an hour later, Martha and Nadia came back from shopping. They were chatting a storm and never noticed me.
"Have you notice the new produce manager at the grocery store?" asked Nadia.
"Sure, he's cute if I may say so," said my wife. "And he was all smile with you."
"He has better be all smile with the romp we had together yesterday in the back of my van," said Nadia.
"Oh Nadia! Not again!" said my wife. "One day you will get caught and will lose a good husband and maybe more".
"Don't worry big sister, I'm always careful," answered Nadia. "We go to go, it's time to pick up the kids."
And they were gone, leaving me wondering at what to do.
I have always been a straight shooter but in this case I wasn't sure about the right course of action.
I really liked Mike and I knew that the news of Nadia's cheating would be devastating. I also knew that he would kick her out of the house in a heartbeat. Do I really want to play the bad guy and destroy their marriage? I wasn't able to reach a decision before my wife came back home with the children.
I was glad that she disapproved of her sister's cheating and, in a very shrewd way, I decided to leave the decision to her.
When we were getting ready for bed that night I asked her about my dilemma.
"Honey, I have a hard choice to make and I really need your advice," I started. "Let's say that I overheard a conversation today and that I learned that somebody close to us was cheating, you know, having sex outside the marriage. What should I do? Should I tell on them? Should I get mad at the cheater?"
Martha looked at me unsure at first about what to say.
"Well, it might depend of the circumstances. Is it a one-time mistake? Or is it an error while drunk? There is so many possibilities," said Martha.
"Let's say for argument's sake that it's Mike and that he picked up a woman in a bar," I said. "And I know it is not the first time either. Should we let it slide and not say anything? Should I talk to him to help him change his ways?"
Martha suddenly sat straight in bed and grabbed her phone.
"The bastard," she said. "The two-face son of a bitch. I'll show you what to do, and I will do it right away. I'll tell Nadia right away that he's cheating on her."
I grabbed the phone from her hand.
"Let me do it honey. It's my responsibility," I said. "Are you sure it's the right thing to do?"
"You bet I'm sure. I hope she kicks the bastard out of the house," Martha then turned toward me. "And we won't let him stay with us. He can find another place, I don't want a cheater in my house."
Lucky for me, Mike answered the phone.
"Hey, it's your favorite brother-in-law here. Sorry to phone this late but I have something real bad to tell you," I started.
"Favorite brother-in-law? You're my only brother-in-law," said Mike. "What is so important that you phone this late?"
"I overheard a conversation today and I have very bad news, world shattering kind of news. Er... your better half is not all yours if I may say so. Your spouse is cheating on you. It happened yesterday and it wasn't the first time either."
Mike was silent for a long time on the phone.
"I can't believe it," he finally said, his voice barely loud enough. "Are you sure you are speaking about my Nadia?"
"Yes, I heard the confession from the horse's mouth itself. Bragging is a better description than confessing if you get my drift. And I didn't hear any sign of remorse. It was like describing a game of hide-and-seek. I am really sorry to be the bearer of such bad news. I will let you deal with it in your own way, but don't hesitate to phone. We will be there for you and the kids."
"Thanks Y!" and Mike hung up.
Martha had tears at the corner of her eyes. She sadly smiled at me.
"I am so proud of you Honey! It takes courage to be the messenger of such bad news," said Martha. "Can you please hold me? I feel so lost and scared."
I took her in my arm and started to rock her gently.
"I wonder if they will go in therapy," I asked after a little while.
"I believe it wouldn't do any good," said Martha sleepily. "Once an cheater, always a cheater."
I was drifting toward sleep when the ringing of the phone woke me up.
"Yeah, hello!" I said yawning and speaking softly, trying to avoid waking up Martha.
"You son of a bitch! What did you tell Mike?" asked the very angry voice of Nadia.
"Just the truth! I told only the truth," I said, glancing at Martha who was waking up. "I talked about it with Martha this evening and we decided it was better to tell the truth however upsetting it might be".
"I can't believe my sister would rat me out," answered Nadia, her voice full of venom.
"Sure she would. She was about to do it herself, but I took the phone from her and I decided to tell your spouse myself," I said. "We agreed that cheaters should pay the price whatever that price is."
Nadia started to cry.
"But what can I do? Mike kicked me out of the house," Nadia said between sobs.
"Well if you've been kicked out of the house, it is well deserved," I said.
"But what can I do? Where will I go? Can I come at your place?" asked Nadia.
"No way! Martha and I talked about it too and there's no chance that we would offer shelter to a cheater. You're on your own."
"I can't believe my sister would say that. She loves me," said Nadia.
"Martha, what do we say to a cheater that asks to come over here after being kicked out?" I asked Martha, turning the phone toward her, placing a finger on the opening for the speaker.
She had a mischievous smile on her face. Her mouth came closer to the phone.
"I don't want a cheater in my house. Get lost bastard," Martha said with real pride.
I quickly put the phone back to my ear.
"I'll talk for the both of us and say it only once. You're out of our lives. Stay away from us, don't come and don't phone. If you want a place to stay, go at your parents and try to explain to them why you've been kicked out of your house," I said and then hung up the phone.
Martha began to hold me tighter.
"I'm real proud of you, Honey," Martha said.
We drifted to sleep.
The next morning, the shit hit the fan as the old Scandinavian saying goes. Luckily, the kids were still sleeping.
Martha's Dad phoned early and Martha answered. I could hear him yelling at his daughter. Martha lost her initial smile and paled. She was crying when she hung up the phone.
"What did you do Y?" asked Martha.
"What did WE do, Honey? I asked for advice and to tell about the cheating was your idea. To cut all ties to a cheating slut was also your idea, and I completely agreed," I said.
"But you said that Mike was cheating on Nadia."
"I said 'For arguments' sake, let's say that Mike picked up a woman in a bar and had sex with her'. I didn't say that he was cheating on her. Anyway, what's the difference between Mike cheating on Nadia or Nadia cheating on Mike?" I asked Martha.
"Well, Nadia is my sister," answered Martha.
"So you say that it is alright for her to cheat on her husband because she is your sister? Is it a family thing? Do I have reason to be worried?" I said, exasperation clearly audible in my speech. Martha was speechless.
"Honey, I'll say it once and you are better to believe me. That sister of yours is a bad role model for our kids. I don't want her around and I don't want you to have anything to do with her. She is not welcome in this house and around our kids," I said.
That was three years ago. I know that Martha was still seeing her sister once in a while but it was a forbidden subject in the house. It was no surprise for me that she would go visit her sister while I was gone and that she would hide it from me. She was still somebody not very likable but as Mike bounced back from the drama and was soon to be remarried, a lot of my resentment was gone. I simply didn't give a shit about the slut and was glad not to have her around.
Martha, Martha! We should talk about it. It's not a pleasant subject, but it would be easier on us to clear the air. I am pretty sure that she felt bad lying to me about that, when I didn't care anymore...
Chapter 2 – The discovery
I was facing a crowd of at least a thousand attendees at the convention. They were all looking at me, an anonymous crowd without faces. I took a deep breath and started my exposé.
"Studies reveal that there are two kind of people in the world of tissues. There is the first group, the denial-ists, the people that blow their noses, that don't look down, and dispose of the tissue right away. And there are the people that face reality, they blow their nose and look inside the tissue..."
Somebody in the crowd was waving its arm to attract my attention. It was Dave Millicent, Martha's boss.
"Yes?" I asked.
"Well," he said with a smirk. "Face this reality... I fucked your wife."
Just behind him, an all-smiling Jake Turnbull stood up.
"Me too I fucked your wife."
A third guy, unknown, also stood up.
"Me Three!" and he started to laugh loud. "No, not really, I just always wanted to say that."
And the whole crowd started to laugh real loud; a thousand unfriendly faces smirking at me...
I sat up straight on the couch. Shit, I had fallen asleep on the couch. I swipe the drooling on my face and got up. I looked at my watch. It was midnight. I must have dozed off for over an hour.