Red and Darla ClaytonbyMatt Moreau©
I sat at the dinette table slowly rotating my cup of tea; a cup of tea I had not yet taken a sip from. Across from me, she watched me do it. Sixteen years of marriage down the shitter.
"I'm sorry, Red. I—we—we—we..."
"I get it. Don't say anything else. Please don't say anything else. I get it," I said.
"I'd do anything to have spared you this, Red. Really," she said. I stood—suddenly. I turned my back to her.
"I said to please not say anything else, Darla." I could almost feel her nodding behind my back.
"The kids, am I going to have to fight you over them? Just say yes or no. okay." I said.
"Uh-no. I know you love them. We—we'll always have them in common." My turn to nod. I turned back to face her. There was something in her look, but I wrote it off to the exigencies of the moment.
"Okay. I'll be out of the house by morning. I don't want it, the house. You and your lover can have it to play in. She sagged back into her chair.
"Okay," she said. I turned to go, to leave. I stopped just shy of the door and turned once again.
"We should've grown old together, Darla" I said. "It's what should've been." I paused. "sixteen damn years gone!" I turned one last time and went out. Nothing else was said.
That was the beginning of what I was sure was going to be a truly sad tale. That, at least from my point of view if not hers—theirs. Neither of us heard them, the kids. But, they, I would later discover had heard us.
Darla and I met in college during our mutual senior years; we, the both of us, just twenty-two years old. She pre-Law, me Criminal Justice. She looking to one day hook up with a major law firm, me the state police. We shared a class together, Evidenciary Forensics.
Never the shy one, one might almost have termed me aggressive, I asked her to have lunch with me on our second day of class. She'd eyed me suspiciously likely figuring I only wanted a chance to get into her pants. Well, she was right about me wanting to get into her pants, but it was not by any means the only thing I wanted. I wanted her to be mine forever. Yeah, I know, love at first sight is supposed to be fool's gold. Well, those who think that are entitled to their wrong opinion.
"Why?" she asked, her tone coy and investigatory.
"Because your pretty and I really really like pretty girls," I said. I was not smiling. I had on my most serious of serious expressions; hell, I practiced it all the time in front of the mirror while I shaved in the morning. But, she did smile.
"Hmm, okay, you're pretty enough yourself to interest me, at least for the short haul. Meet you at the Hut at high noon." She turned, without waiting for me to respond, and walked off.
Lunch at the Hut led to a series of thirteen dates, by actual count, that before I got past first base with her. When I did, I had to summon every nuance of sexual experience that I had ever laid claim to or even heard of to keep up with her; and, even then it was at best a tie. She was insatiable and very very imaginative.
I remember my exact words preparatory to that first time, "Ready for the next step?" I said, smirking and figuring she'd for sure shoot me down. She stared at me for a long moment.
"Yes, I think I am," she said. We were waiting for the waitress to bring the check when she'd said it. She started to laugh; my more than surprised look must have set her off.
"Didn't expect that, I see," she said.
A little slow on the uptake, I gathered my wits into a neat little pile and did my damnedest to not embarrass myself.
"Honestly, no. I mean I was hoping, but no," I said. She redoubled her smile.
The waitress came up, I slipped two pictures of Andrew Jackson into the little black folder that held the bill, stood, offered her my hand, and we left.
Her place was a modest two bedroom condo about a mile from the college. I guessed her parents had some dough.
"Nice place," I said.
"Thanks," she said. "Like some wine?"
"Sure, I guess," I said. She left and was back in two minutes. She handed one of the two glasses of white wine. I guessed it to be a pretty good sauterne.
We drank quietly on the couch. She was eyeing me I was eyeing her and the heat was building between us. I reached out and touched her cheek; she leaned into me. I kissed her gently. She came back at me with a scorcher. I let my hand tentatively slide down and in from her shoulder and brush her breast. She smiled. I squeezed her tit and was rewarded with an even better kiss; she tasted fantastic.
She touched my cock through my pants and gave me a squeeze of her own. I began to slowly unbutton her blouse. She leaned back to facilitate my invasion. She wore no bra and her tits were fantastic. We began undressing each other with some urgency—actually—furiously!
I stood and turned her around. Her butt was to me. I leaned into her as she knelt submissively on the couch before me. I entered her and she cooed. I began seesawing in and out of her, fucking her, loving her. She was wonderful. I was going to marry her no matter what and god help anyone dumb enough to get in the way.
As we lay spent on the couch wrapped in each other's arms, I plotted to make her mine. I slid down and suckled on her nipples. Physically, there was just no downside to this female creature. I was going to have her, and not just for a night.
For six months following that night we dated and were intimate almost every time. Then, it was grad time. We walked across the stage where I pulled a stunt that brought frowns from the school's admin staff and hoots and grins from most of the assembled student body.
Having gotten my sheepskin, I marched across the stage to the lectern that the invited speakers had used for the usual grad ceremonial stuff and took the mike.
"Darla MacAlister, will you marry me?" I said. I was looking straight at her out there in the midst of the be-gowned audience. There was a bustle of classmates around her. For a second, she looked stunned. She nodded and then shouted.
"Thank god," I said into the mike, "otherwise this could have been really embarrassing." Well, I said I had a kind of aggressive bent. At any rate the cheers went up, and for a moment there was pandemonium, but dean Howard got things quickly under control by cracking a joke of his own about young people that I cannot now recall, and the graduation ceremony continued.
We did marry, and that right after graduation. One year after we graded Jennifer was born followed a bit more than year later by Randy. And the early years were wonderful.
I'd finished my stint at the academy after but six months of marital bliss and joined the force. She did finish law school—that three years into our marriage.
Darla interned at Griswald and Schwartz Law Offices. I did a few years in a cruiser, and then passed the test and got myself promoted to detective and started wearing the inevitable cheap suit.
At the end of her internship she'd been made a junior associate of the firm and was assigned to the division that handled the smaller felony cases: burglaries, some of the less brutal examples of domestic violence, and the like. She enjoyed the work, and, as it turned out; she was good at it.
For my part, my partner, Jess Richter, and I were part of the anti-gang task force. As any cop can tell you, that particular duty can be more than challenging, demoralizing actually. This last led to a very bad day for me eleven years into my career.
It had seemed a routine call at first, as if any domestic disturbance call was ever really routine. We'd taken the call because we were nearby. Arriving at the residence we went in after hearing the scream, guns drawn. The sight of our Glocks brought immediate order out of chaos.
"He's been beating on me," she said. "I need to get the kids and get out of here."
"Where are the kids ma'am?" said Jess.
"Next door," she said.
"Jess take her and go get them," I said. "I'll stay with the gentleman until you get back."
"Roger that," he said, and they were gone. No sooner had they gone than the gentleman rushed me. He'd surprised me. We hadn't cuffed him because he was being cooperative. But appearances this time around were most definitely deceiving.
Lucian Corvallo, was, as it turned out: a born troublemaker, gang member, wife beater, and a truly star quality asshole. Good 'ole Lucian, seeing that he was no longer outnumbered two to one, and that my gun was now holstered, decided that rather than allow us to arrest him, he'd take it upon himself to argue the point. We'd been at it for a full three or four minutes before Jess finally returned and separated us. But, the damage had been done: Lucian was dead, and I was off the force. Not a good day for me. Did I mention that at times I tended to be a bit on the aggressive side?
Darla was not happy. And, I think that at that moment she was a little afraid of me. She'd never had reason to be, but maybe even that particular point could have been argued. At any rate, the two things that could not be argued was one, the fact that I loved her and, two, that I had never laid a hand on her; nor the children either if it came to that. So, anyway, I figured to be able to win that particular argument.
"Red, you have to get your temper under control. You just do. And I mean now! I mean out of a job! One you worked so hard to get! And you killed a man, and with your bare hands!" she said. "You've really done it this time."
"He was a bad man," I said.
"I have no words, Red. I have no damn words! I insist that you get counseling. I'll have Marty cover you in the legal stuff if that guy's relatives come after you; but by god you are going to get counseling. Sometimes, Red, you scare even me," she said.
"Now, wait a minute, Darla. I've never, ever laid a hand on you. You've no call to say something like that to me. I love you. Hell you and the kids are my world," I said.
"And, that's another thing, Red, you need to be here more than you are, more than you have been. Yes, I know you love the kids, but love as an abstract thing is not enough; you actually have to demonstrate it—a lot! Heck the kids hardly know their father," she said, "and that's a fact."
"Be here? Be here more! I'm working my ass off to make a home and a better life for all of us. Yeah, I do—did—sign up for all of the overtime that I could get, Why not, the pay's, was, good and..."
"Red! Stop it. You're making excuses. We don't need the extra money. Between the two of us we make more than anybody could possibly want or need," she said. She saw my face fall.
"You mean you make enough," I said. "Well, I'm not abrogating my responsibilities and becoming some wimpy-assed house husband. I intend to do my part, contribute my share."
"Red, there is no competition between you and me. We're equal. And, the kids are a big deal in case you haven't gotten that yet. They need us. They need both of us.
"Hell—anyway, where do we go from here?" the question was rhetorical. "You know you could just stay home for a while. Handle things here, and the kids, until you figure out what you want to do," she said.
I could feel my eyes narrow. "Become a house husband? Is that what you're suggesting after what I just told you? Try to remember, Darla. I just got done telling you that that was one thing that is never going to happen," I said.
"No, no. I'm not suggesting that. I'm just saying—well—that maybe you need a little time to get your head straightened out. In fact, I've been so damned busy myself lately. I mean, well, we could hire a maid if you don't want to do the household stuff. No problem with that," she said. "It'd make things easier for me for sure. Anyway, like I was saying, I've been thinking about it for a while. I mean you do all of the yard work and stuff now, and I do the usual wife stuff. A maid would be a big deal for me."
"Yeah right, a full time maid? And pay her how?" I said.
"Well, I mean..."
"You mean you'd pay her because your husband's a deadbeat. That about it?" I said.
"Damn it, Red! Whoever said anything like that! You are most definitely not a deadbeat. If anything you are the exact opposite. So opposite, that you are neglecting your children, and that, young man, is a fact!" she said. She'd finally stopped me.
"I'll be going out. I—I—will be getting new employment. I'll be back later—tonight," I said.
"Red—I'm..." but I was gone.
"Mom and dad are sad," said Jennifer as she closed her bedroom door behind them.
"Momma is for sure," said Randy.
"What are we going to do?" she said.
"Do? Do what? We can't do anything: we're kids," he said. "I'm only ten, and you're only eleven! What can we do?"
"Mom will tell us what we need to do," said Jennifer, repeating herself. "She always tells us what to do. She'll make dad stay home. I heard what she said." Her brother nodded.
"Darla, you've got to give yourself some credit. He's a good guy and everything, but if he isn't going to be there for the kids; well, that's a problem of his own making," said Marty.
"Yes, yes, I know. But it's not as simple as that. Red thinks he has to keep up with me earnings-wise, and he just can't do it. Even working eighty hours a week he is at best able to make half what I do. He's a hard worker, insanely so, and I admire him for his work ethic. But, he has this crazy need to keep up with the Joneses," she said.
"Yeah, well that's just plain stupid. And as for that, he should be home poking you more too," he said. She blushed. "When was the last time he did you?"
"Marty! That's none of your business," she said, but she was smiling.
"Hmm, how long, Darla? Just tell me," he said.
"Oh all right. Two weeks ago. It was quickie in the morning before he left for work," she said.
"A quickie? And you're okay with that," he said.
"No, I'm not okay with it, but what can I do. He's six-four and two-ten. I'm five-three and one-ten. He can do pretty much what he wants with me and there is nothing I can realistically do about it.
"Well, all I can say is, that if I had a honey like you, there'd be damn few days that I wouldn't have you bent over a couch or on your back in bed," he said.
"Sounds nice," she said. He suddenly had a look about him that she couldn't decipher. But, that became a moot point ten seconds later.
"Come on," he said. He led her back to his office. Closing the door, he turned and kissed her, hard!
"Marty, we shouldn't..." He kissed her again.
"If your man won't take care of you; well, I'm going to," He said.
He unbuttoned her suit jacket and then went after her blouse. Her bra hooked in the front, easy-peezy. It followed her jacket and her blouse to the puddle of vesture on the floor.
"Sweet Jesus! you're beautiful," he said. He leaned and kissed her nipples, then sucked one then the other. He sucked then desperately. She giggled at his obvious excitement. She pushed him away from her.
"Take your clothes off, Marty," she said, as she shed her skirt and panties.
He looked at her with puppy dog eyes. She went to her knees and touched him playfully. She took his cock in her two hands and licked the tip. She licked it again. She let it slip into her mouth, and she began to suck him. He kept jerking spasmodically as her tongue nearly drove him crazy.
He finally pushed her down on the couch and slid down her body and began doing his duty. A duty he swore he would be seeing to again if there were still any gods on mount Olympus.
Sliding back up her body, he kissed her. "I really think..."
"Marty, don't talk. Just take me. Do me now," she said. She spread her legs allowing him to kneel between them. He pushed into her. He began screwing her. Soon she was bucking and wheezing and drooling out the side of her mouth. The office began to stink of sex.
He stiffened and filled her washing the walls of her vagina with his seed.
Dressing some little time later, they looked at each other wondering what had happened. Or more, how it had happened.
"Marty, it was just the animal in us nothing more. I'm married. Happily married. It shouldn't have happened, but it did. I enjoyed it; hope you did too," she said.
"Enjoyed it? Oh yeah, that's the word," he said. "I enjoyed the hell out of it."
The guilt would come later. She cheated on her man. Her good man.
After deciding that I had to leave, and after having told her that she and her lover could have the house, I was beset with doubts. I needed her, but now it looked that I'd lost her forever. The divorce was just a legal hurdle; we were already done.
She'd laid it on me that she had a lover. She hadn't called him that, but that had been the meaning. Her good 'ole side kick at the shop Marty Griswold. I'd been a cop for chryssakes! How long did she think she could hide him and their adulterous relationship from me? Well, in point of fact they'd been able to do so for almost five years, fucking wonderful!
It hadn't been me who'd caught up with them either; it had been the kids. Jennifer at fifteen saw the signs and more; and then, saw him coming out of our bedroom, mine and Darla's. The kids had been sent home early that day. The high school they were attending had had a bomb scare. Seemed like they got one of those every year anymore. It was a hoax, but better safe than sorry.
At any rate, Jennifer knew what the situation was as soon as she and Randy had seen them. It had shocked them, but they knew Marty and didn't raise any big to do about it. Helluva thing, my own kids covering for their cheating momma. All such notwithstanding, my wife decided to out herself figuring, I suppose, that the cat was definitely out of the bag anyway, and she needed to try and minimize the impact on me; she'd failed in that.
I was out of the house. She had her lover, and the children. I had my de facto singlehood. Goddamnit!
All roads had led us here, to the her lawyer's office.
Gordon Hofschneider was pinwheeling a pencil between his fingers, as we sat there waiting; I've always wondered how anyone ever learned how to do that. Gordon was my lawyer. A little on the young side, but I trusted him. And, I trusted my wife, that, even though she was divorcing me for her lover. I didn't feel good, but I didn't feel threatened. I guess, as divorce cases went, or so I figured, ours was going to be among the less traumatic.
"Good morning Mister Griswald," said mister Hofschneider, as his counterpart entered the room and took his seat. "Have you perused our proposal?" I sat waiting stolidly to my lawyer's left.
"Yes, but, I'm afraid we felt impelled to make some changes," said lawyer Griswald.
"Changes?" I piped in. "What changes?" I was looking straight across the table at my soon to be ex-wife who'd come in some seconds after her lawyer-lover: though he was merely an observer in this situation. She looked away.
"Darla? We had an agreement," I said.
"Red, let me handle this," said Gordon. I leaned back in my seat and stared, but I did shut up. I hadn't had all of that cop training for nothing.
The proceedings lasted a half an hour more. I looked over at her. She'd changed everything, or her lover had—somebody had. Everything! Broken her promises. And, now a judge would have to be making the final pronouncements not the two of us. I silently swore that my hatred for the stinking bitch and her lover would never die.
It took another two weeks before the word came down from the bench, but finally come down it did, on my head!
I was sitting in the corridor just outside the courtroom where it had all just come to an abrupt conclusion moments before. I just sat there and stared at the tiled flooring. She'd gotten almost everything she and her asshole lover had asked for. There was no alimony; she made too much money. Yippy-eye-oh-kai-yea! But, that was about the only thing she didn't get—She'd come away with custody, a sixty-forty split of our liquid assets, and child support of six hundred a month till the kids were eighteen.