Shattered Ch. 02byAzpiri©
Gloria pleaded while crisscrossing her heart as if she were reciting the childhood rhyme, "I swear to you, that's the truth, Steve."
"And she didn't ask about him or talk about him when you had your coffee chats?" probed Steve curiously.
It took Gloria a few moments to answer that question, "She would ask about him. Things like 'is he a good kisser?' or 'how does he compare to your husband?', but that's just girl talk. We did refer to him as my boy-toy or my man-slave."
In a cold tone that belied his thoughts on a cheating wife, Steve asked, "So is he a good kisser? Is he better than your husband?"
Gloria's silence was all he needed to hear. He stood up while she looked down at her hands, unable to look up at him, "She's going to need a friend when she wakes up down there. You might want to be down there when she does."
"Aren't you going to be there for her? She'll need you more than ever."
Steve simply shook his head and rebutted, "Apparently, I didn't give her what she needed."
Gloria strode across the room to close the distance between her and Steve, "Steve, don't think like that. She loves you. This Chris thing was a mistake. She knows that. You can forgive her and get past this, right? Please, don't let this spoil your twenty years together."
Steve stopped his exit, turned to face Gloria and said with all the anger and rage that was burning within his heart, "She's being airlifted to have surgery done on her spine because she was giving 'this Chris thing' a fucking blowjob, which is something she never gave me, and he couldn't keep the damn car on the road! If that's love, then she sure has a funny way of showing it!" He scoffs with venom, "And you want me to forgive her? You want me to get past this?"
Gloria cowered at the anger, which gave Steve an opportunity to leave the cafeteria. In desperation, Gloria called out, "But she'll need you to take care of her." The only rebuttal to her comment was the door to the cafeteria closing behind Steve. In the silence of the dimly lit cafeteria, Gloria added softly, "Chris isn't that kind of man."
The monster that was becoming his nightmare twisted and morphed yet again. From the tryst in the bedroom to the perceived activities in the car, Steve's creative imagination took hold of the events and twisted it into a dark recounting of the tale. Images so vivid and clear were tainted with his insecurities and his self-doubts. The more information he uncovered, the worse the nightmare became. Bits of truth fueled the imagination, as if giving credence to the dark possibilities presented to him in his mind. The nightmare consumed him, engulfing him like some kind of black ooze. As the visions worsened, the black ooze suffocated him and his heart but forced him to endure more visions.
Laughter from memories long ago stained the wood used for the backyard patio. If one were to listen carefully, the merriment and laughter could still be heard, lingering on the wind. However, the sentiment shifted from joyous times to mockery and ridicule. The summer breeze chilled the air as if giving the cold shoulder to its intended target. The wooden deck served its purpose well in providing a place for people to have a good time. Four naked bodies were taking up the expanse of the deck. Two men were seated on lounge chairs, which strained to hold the weight of their bodies. Their larger than life cocks were exposed for the world to see. Dan and Chris stroked their monster cocks in the direction of their lustful stares.
Jill's half naked body, molded to perfection from the countless hours in the gym, stood before them in only a pair of skimpy bikini bottoms while Gloria stood behind her neighbor. Jill's long brown hair was pulled back so that Gloria could lick and tease one of Jill's erogenous, an area right below the ear. An area, that up until now, only Steve knew about. Gloria's hands cradled and presented Jill's heavy breasts to the men, while her fingers and thumbs tweaked and rolled Jill's sensitive erect nipples.
In a sultry, breathless voice, Gloria whispered into Jill's ear, "See how the men enjoy looking at your new body? They like you topless, but they'll love you completely naked."
As she spoke the last phrase, Gloria pulled on the bikini strings so that she could remove the final barrier. Jill showed no effort to prevent that total exposure from happening.
Steve felt pressure on his shoulder as he jerked out of his seat, trying to break free from the dark ooze that restrained him and save his wife from the temptations created by his next door neighbors. Unfortunately, he found himself in his office being roused from his sleep. A glance over his shoulder revealed a concerned young switchboard operator, pulling back her hand. His tear stained cheeks were not lost on the woman, causing her to frown.
"Amber, I'm sorry. I must have dozed off," Steve said while attempting to straighten out his clothes.
Her voice was gentle and tentative, "Steve, you should probably get going. You will want to be there when your wife wakes up after the surgery."
He rolled his eyes, turning away from yet another woman telling him to be there for a cheating whore. "I'm not going. I've called the boys, and they'll be there when she wakes up," Steve said out of spite, unable to hold back the bitterness.
Amber's frown caused him to stop in his tracks. His eyes were upon her, trying to decipher her body language. He did not have to wait long as she said with sadness, "Steve, I know you are hurting right now. I've been there myself, but this is not the Steve I know. You love your wife. You always talk about her, the vacations that you take together, and the movie dates that you go on." She points to the portrait on the desk that's larger than any of the other photos, "You still have her picture on your desk."
"Yea, well, she decided that she wanted someone else to take her on those dates," pouted Steve.
Amber continued to talk in a direct, but concerned manner, "You need to fight for her, Steve. You-"
Before Amber could utter another word, Steve launched into a verbal assault. He nearly shoved his finger into her face, "I need to fight for her? Well, what about her fighting for me? She should have fought for our relationship, our marriage, our love! She should have fought off the fucking asshole who doesn't care about our marriage. But no, she spread her legs for him without so much as even thinking about the word 'no'. Hell, I was the furthest thing from her mind when she fucked that mother fucker!"
Folding her arms across her chest, Amber gave a leveled glance and said, "And you're just going to let that asshole steal her away from you without putting up a fight? A rooster protects the hens in the hen house from weasels, Steve. The rooster doesn't give up once a weasel makes his presence known. They fight until the bitter end. Fight for her. Show her that she made a stupid mistake and almost risked everything."
Steve narrowed his eyes at Amber. The hurt from his wife's betrayal mixed with Amber's use of his high school nickname. His silence lingered, though.
Amber's voice returned to a more soothing nature as she stepped forward. She placed a hand upon his shoulder so that she could rub his back, "Steve, swallow your pride and be there for your wife." She could feel the tension in his back after she said that, so she quickly added, "I'm not saying let this guy walk all over you. No, I'm just saying that you need to show your wife that you love her in good times and in bad. She'll see you for the man you truly are. You're not going to penalize her for making one mistake after twenty years, are you?"
"How do I know it was just this one mistake? How do I know she hasn't been cheating on me for years, and that I was just a fool this entire time? What if she's sleeping around with a bunch of different men, and I was too blind to notice?" Steve melted into the back rub of the young woman.
"You ask her. You confront her head on and ask point blank. You have to find out why she did what she did. Maybe there's more to the story than you know?" explained the single mother, who had to deal with a dead beat dad skipping town.
Steve looked down to the floor, head hung in shame, "What if I don't want to know the answer to that question?"
"You need the closure, Steve. Even if things don't work out between you and your wife, you need to know so that you can understand where things went wrong. That way, if you find the next someone special..." She then offered as an aside, "... and you will..." She then resumed her normal speaking tones, "... you can make sure that history doesn't repeat itself."
Silence lingered in the air as Steve contemplated the wisdom of a young woman. Amber just smiled as she knew her words had sunk in that thick skull, "But right now? She needs a supportive husband to get through this traumatic event. She's going to rely on your strength to get through, Steve. Believe me, she knows she failed you. And I'll bet that she does everything she can to make it up to you. Call it remorse or guilt, it doesn't matter. When she sees that you're there, taking care of her and helping her through this hard time, she'll forget about what's his name." She winks playfully, "Besides, the Steve I know would be there for me when I needed him."
"But how am I supposed to forget? How am I supposed to see a loving wife when all I can see is a cheating whore spreading her legs for some bastard?"
Amber shook her head, not truly knowing an answer to those questions, "I didn't say it was going to be easy. All you can do is try. You have a supportive group of friends around you." She then mumbled under her breath, "Even if one of them is made of plastic, and I just want to take a fork and pop those silly balloons."
Steve smiled at the joke, but also picking up a hint of jealousy. "All right, Amber. I'll go talk to her and be there for her, but I'm not going to make any promises. She hurt me to the core. That's not something that I can easily forgive and forget."
"No one is asking you to do that, Steve. If they do, then they truly don't understand how badly they hurt you," explained Amber. She paused for a moment to recall a previous conversation she had with her ex before continuing, "It's not just sex. There is something intimate, something private, and something personal about having sex with another person. There's an emotional tie. Yea, for some, that emotion is pure lust, but ..." She simply shrugged her shoulders as her voice faded away; giving the impression that she gave little significance to that side of the argument.
Steve gave Amber a hug and said, "Thanks, Amber. I'll call you to let you know how she's doing."