Papaver Pilosum - A Gardener's Nightmare!byhansbwl©
I looked lovingly under the hood of my Morgan car. Saturday morning, a couple of hours work on my vintage car was therapy for me. I was travelling a lot in my work, so these few hours gave me many moments in total relaxation. My wife Joyce understood this and supported me. She knew that she was not in competition with the car; I did not take it to bed with me. She also enjoyed our trips through the countryside's local roads, the top down, the wind blowing in her hair. The car and my wife were my two great loves. My wife loved me and accepted my car as a necessary accessory.
Another look under the hood, and I saw that a new fan belt was needed. It was worn, and as I always wanted it in top shape, I decided to go into my home office on the ground floor and call the local garage and see if they had a spare I could use.
When entering my office, the phone started to ring; I went over and lifted the handset. Before I could say anything I heard my wife's voice answering, I was about to put the handset down, when I heard it was my good friend Tom who called and my wife saying, "Do you want to speak to George, Tom?"
Just as I was about to say I was on the line, I stopped as I heard Tom say: "No, it is you I want to talk to. Where is George by the way?"
"He is in the garage working on his precious Morgan," she replied.
I got curious; what would Tom talk to my wife about? And this is a short version of the conversation I overheard, not very pleasant:
"We had a very nice time together at the party last week. I would like to do it again some time soon."
My wife responded, "Are you mad? That is never going to happen. I'm so mad at you, and I can't understand how you could take advantage of your best friend's wife."
"Take it easy now, I know you enjoyed it, don't deny it please."
Joyce almost shouted, "NO, I DID NOT! I admit I did not scream and make a ruckus, I was not able to, and I was half outside my self, because you had spiked my drinks, you moron."
Tom rejected the allegation. "I did not."
"Yes you did. You know I get amorous when having a drink too much, but George is always there to take me home before I get naughty. You did take advantage of George being away and poured me strong drinks and put me in a state not being able to protect myself. It was so close to rape as it gets. So you keep away from me, do you hear. I MEAN IT TOM."
"OK, OK, I shall be a good boy for a while, but we will have fun again some day, I am sure of that," said Tom, trying to be placatory.
"Never, never in your lifetime," my wife told him firmly, "I have felt bad the whole week and I have decided to tell George what happened and hope he will forgive. I will not name you; I don't want him to lose a friend also. But if you at any time even hint that there is some secret buried somewhere, I will tell it was you who tricked me. I have been unhappy the whole week and cannot live on a lie."
And then I heard she broke off the connection without saying goodbye.
I forgot about the fan belt. What I had overheard shattered me beyond belief. My friend had, by force , or by a trick, had sex with my wife while I was not there. It was common knowledge he was a ladies' man, and had cheated on Mira repeatedly, but I would never have thought he would try to seduce my wife. I went back to the garage, I needed to think. What now?
Joyce had told Tom she would tell me, so I wouldn't disclose to her what I had heard. I was really angry, not so much at her, but at Tom. I understood that he could not survive this as my friend. I had to get back at him. How I had no idea, but I would find a way, you bet. During the day, when I was around Joyce, I noticed she was unusually quiet. After the telephone conversation I had overheard earlier, I understood why. I did not bother her; I would let her come out with it when she was ready.
After dinner, we were in the living room with a cup of coffee watching the news when I decided I would help her along.
"Dear Joyce, is there something bothering you? You have not been your cheerful self for the last few days. Have I said or done anything to upset you?"
She looked sadly at me, and replied in a very low voice, "To your first question, yes the last week has been bad and I have not been sleeping well. There is something that bothers me a lot. To your second question, no -- you haven't done anything to make me feel this bad; it's entirely my own fault."
"Would you like to tell me what's wrong? Can I help you?"
"No, I don't really want to tell you, but I need to. I have been burning up inside the last week, and my problem is what happened at the party last week, when you couldn't make it. I have always thought our marriage was strong, and I have never had cause to feel insecure around you. I hope it is strong enough for you to not throw me out and accept what happened at the party was more an accident than anything else."
"Have you slept with another man Joyce? Have you cheated on me? Please say no!"
"No, I haven't slept with another man. I have never wanted to be with anybody else, just you. But you may think I have cheated, I'm so upset with what happened and it was not what I wanted. Please let me explain," she said and threw herself at me, her arms around me with her face leaning on my shoulder, sobbing. "I love you so much," she said again and again between sobs.
I stroke her hair and kissed her tears away and gently said, "Just take your time, tell me what happened that was so bad. I promise to listen and not interrupt. Start when you are ready."
Between her snivels, this is what she told me, "I was, as you know, without you and I had too much to drink. When thinking about it afterwards I now understand that the drinks were stronger than I am used to, and that they where made stronger on purpose. When you make drinks for the ladies you always make sure not to make them strong. But the men at the party did not have your finesse and aptitude of being gentlemen. Anyway, you know me so well; you know that I am frightfully horny when I get a little tipsy. At that point I was wishing you were there so you could take me home and to bed. I went out on the veranda for fresh air, thinking about and missing you. Suddenly 'you' were behind me, 'you' cupped my breasts in 'your' hands and I made a longing sigh and pushed my behind towards 'you' and felt 'your' hardness. One of 'your' hands left my breast, lifted up my skirt, pulled my panties aside and 'you' entered me in one swift movement. I was soaking wet, and we both reached a climax after only a few strokes. When the excitement simmered down, I said something like, 'Oh George, thank you for coming to the party, I missed you so, lets go home and enjoy each other.' Then 'you' stiffened, let go of me and walked away. I turned around and saw that it was not you. Same built, same size, same after shave. I did not see who it was; it could have been any of at least three different men at the party. I started to cry and after a while found Rachel and said godbye."
She stopped her story and neither of us said anything for quite a while. I was prepared because I had overheard their telephone conversation. But even then, I had to force myself to remain calm.
Joyce looked at me and asked, "Do you think I made all this up? Please say something; please say you can forgive me. I'm so sorry. I will never go alone to a party any more, I will never drink any alcohol any more, I love you so much George! -- Please George, please don't leave me alone. I can bear your anger, I can bear frustration, but I cannot bear you not loving me any more," she cried, and hugged me tight as if her life dependent on it.
"I still love you Joyce, I have always loved you and I know you love me. The anger I feel is not so much against you, but the man that invaded you so cruelly. I don't think you made this story up. You could have kept it a secret. But you chose to tell me of your own free will and I am very glad you did. If you hadn't it would have been so much more difficult if it popped up later. You have never lied to me before, so I see no reason why you should lie to me now. Yes, I believe you. But I am not so certain that you are all together truthful about whom this man was. I think you know the identity and wish to protect him from my wrath."
"But I am," she replied, "it could be one of three or four and if I said who those where, you could accuse the wrong person. That would be very wrong. Please don't make me speculate and guess; it could lead to a lot of unpleasantness for many."
I knew she was lying about this, but she did it to protect my friendship with my supposedly best friend. I pressed her a bit more for appearance's sake. She was obviously relieved when I finally dropped it.
"It will be difficult to forget this episode," I told Joyce, "Not because I think anything like this will happen again. But your promise to never go to a party alone, and never to drink alcohol is taking the precautions too far. I suggest you go alone to parties if I am out travelling, but abstain from any alcoholic beverages on those occasions. When we are together, I am there to protect you; you should enjoy wine and drinks made by me. You are so right; I never make strong drinks for ladies. A gentleman never does."
I turned toward her kissed her lovingly on her lips and said, "However, I will always wonder who it could have been. I think we should keep to ourselves for a while trying to sort this thing out. The feeling of being cuckolded by one of my friends or acquaintances is bothering me. Just the thought of talking to somebody wondering 'was it him?' bothers me a lot. So no parties for the time being please. I have to come to terms with my own thoughts first. Ok?"
"Of course, if that make it easier for you," she replied.
We went to bed that evening, snuggling together and comforting each other, somehow that was what we needed that night. I loved this woman, I wanted to keep her, but I wanted to get back at Tom. He should not get away with tampering with my Joyce. I couldn't sleep, possible actions by way of revenge were thought out, each more extreme than the last, until a simple, subtle, and in his case, something that would hit him hard and to his inner core. I remembered the invitation for Sunday next:
It is the pleasure of Freeburg Garden Society
To invite you to a garden party at the home of
Mira and Tom Harding
Timberlake Lane 91
Sunday 28th September at 2 p.m.
In their honour of winning this year's prize for best Garden in our town.
The trophy will be presented by Mayor James P. Dickson.
Based upon our agreement last night, Joyce was mildly surprised when I informed her that I intended to accept the invitation to Mira and Tom's garden party Sunday next and hoped she would like to go too. "Of course, if you want to go I will join you. But you have decided to avoid our friends in the near future, so why do you want to go and take part in the general admiration of Tom's gardening skills?" She asked.
"Oh -- I have my reasons," I replied.
The day of the party was a sunny and warm day. Tom's garden party would be a great success. When we arrived he greeted us warmly and I did not detect any change in his behaviour towards me. The Garden Society had invited about fifty people, most of them Mira and Tom's friends and some officials, press and members of the society. Champagne and canapés were served, and a proud Tom received warm applause upon receiving the trophy. Some speeches were made and all seemed happy. I did not mingle with the other guests and missed some of the excitement. For the three hours I was there I walked around his whole garden, I did not miss any flower bed, the roses, the perennials, the one year plants, all admired. In my left hand a glass of champagne, my right hand dipping in my right hand pocket at regular intervals.
At the end of the party, congratulating Tom I absentmindedly turned the right hand pocket inside out and brushed off the remains. Tom told me that next year he would work towards the state trophy, as all county first prize winners one year competed for the state first prize the next year. I wished him good luck and told him he most likely would do well, his gardening skills were very impressive.
When we got home after the party I was in good mood and a bit horny. When I took the initiative Joyce was all fire. She was a tiger in bed that night, like she wanted to make up for all that had happened the fateful party a couple of weeks before. It was almost too much. At the end of our love session I jokingly said, "If our love life ever dwindles again, I have to send you to a party alone again and ask you to drink some strong cocktails." I didn't expect her reaction to my little joke.
She started to cry, and said, "Don't joke about it George. I love you, but to be reminded about that party hurts." The episode was not mentioned again for some time.
Two weeks after the garden party, my boss called me in to his office and said he had a proposal; "We have a problem in Memphis" , he said, "I would like you to take over the operation there as soon as possible."
"But that's Charlie Parker's position, is he being transferred?" I replied.
"Charlie is making a problem for us. He has exceeded his authority in a serious way and we need someone with experience to take over. You are that man; you have three years to do the job. If you make it you can more or less choose your next position in the company," he told me and continued, "Charlie will be moved to head office to a position here. He will believe it is a promotion, but it will be a dead end position."
"I think that I can do it, but in all fairness, I need to take this up with my wife. We are together making all important decisions. Moving a couple of states away is an important decision to make," I replied.
"Of course -- only reasonable. I hope she agrees, and you can talk it over during the weekend. I need an answer Monday; I hope you will take it because you are my first choice. But please keep this between your wife, you and me. Nobody else is to be informed before everything is settled," was his reply and he continued, "You and your wife can rent a flat or a house in Memphis until you find a house you want to buy. We will finance your house until you have sold your house here. Or you can rent for the duration and lease out your house here, whichever you prefer. You will not lose either way."
On my way home that afternoon, I stopped at a flower shop, bought some nice roses for Joyce. After the welcome home kiss and hug Joyce took the roses and simultaneously both said to the other, "I have news!"
We both laughed and I told her tell me her news first.
She smiled, turned towards the kitchen, found a vase for the roses, filled the vase with water and walked into the living room swaying her bottom invitingly for me to follow. She placed the vase on the table and arranged the flowers as women are so good at. Then she turned towards me with a sweet smile, folded her arms around my neck and kissed me and said, "You are going to be a father, George. Are you pleased?"
She must have felt that I got stiff like a stick, she understood I got worried, but she smiled at me and said, "Don't worry; I am absolutely sure you are the father. I was 3 -- 4 days overdue at 'the party' so I was already pregnant. I have been to the doctor, and he confirms it is eight weeks since I conceived. You remember that Wednesday afternoon you came home so horny. You had been so unmerciful teased by some pretty woman you told me?"
Did I ever!
"Your little son or daughter will so absolutely be a child of our love, dear -- I hope you are as pleased as myself," she said and before I could say anything continued, "What's your news? Please tell me."
I told her about the new job offer. We both used the weekend to discuss this opportunity and decided the change of scene would be good for us. Start again with a little family in a new place.
The winter came, and Joyce started to show. We kept a distance from Mira and Tom.
One day Joyce told me Mira had talked to her and asked what was wrong between Tom and me. She could not understand the distance Tom's best friend kept. "Tom could not enlighten her either so she came to me," said Joyce, "What do I say?"
"Say I am into one of my moods," I suggested.
"You don't have moods. You still think he had something to do with what happened at Rachel's party, don't you? Can't you just forget it and be friends with him. You two have been together since kindergarten, it would be a shame to loose such a long friendship," she replied.
"Yes it would, but I reserve my right to be in doubt until I find out for sure who took advantage of you," I said as the matter was brought up again after being left in hiding for so many months.
Early February we had sold our house and moved to Memphis. We told our friends we would be back later to say goodbye. Joyce was heavy with child and we thought it was not the right time. We had settled well in our new home and town when our son was born a late night early May.
Six weeks later I had to call on our head office for some meetings and I told Joyce I would visit Tom and say goodbye. She wanted to come along to say her farewell to Mira. I made the necessary arrangements and three days later we were on a plane going back to our old home town. I had stored my Morgan with a garage next to our headquarters. After checking in at the hotel I collected the car for use while we were there. The plan was that going home I would drive my Morgan, while Joyce and the baby took the plane.
Most of the next day was used for meetings, but in the afternoon I collected Joyce and we took off to see Mira and Tom. We arrived at their home in beautiful sun shine; the garden should have been at its best. Driving up the driveway Joyce looked at their garden and exclaimed, "Holy Moses!! What's happened to their garden?
With a snide smile I replied, "It looks to me he has grown quite fond of poppies," as what we saw were these orange flowers by the thousands all over. The gravel pathways snaking through the garden were filled with them. Between the bushes and shrubs was all filled up, between the roses, perennials, where ever you looked -- poppies. There were no poppies on the lawn to see as he had used the lawn mover. Later while we walked on the lawn you could see the poppy's green leaves lying flat on the grass, only the flower stem was cut. Silently I remembered back to September, when at their garden party I had used my three hours walking all over the garden, starting with about five million seeds in my right pocket.
When we left the party my pocket was empty.
Just a little background information to the reader before continuing:
A few years ago I bought 25 seeds and they all came out as good plants. I found out that their flowers lasted only 24 to 48 hours and each flower made a capsule with seeds. But new flowers grew up from the same plant so each plant produced a great number of flowers/seed capsules. According to the catalogue they seed easily, so I collected the seed capsules. Each capsule contained several hundred seeds, so at the end of the season I had a teacup of seeds. Just for fun I measured the average diameter of the seeds with a micrometer screw and calculated that in the cup I had five million seeds, take or give a couple of hundred thousands. I found this amazing, saved the seeds in a dry place in case I would find use for them later -- which I did! It did take me a lot of effort to get rid of my 25 plants, as the next year I had hundreds. But I saw the problem and weeded them out before flowering, and just about made it. I still have some problem and that just after 25 seeds. What will happen with five million? If just one percent produces a plant -- Tom will have 50.000 plants to cope with after the first year, OH he will be so happy!