The Shock of Her Life Ch. 01byyevkassem72©
I suppose that Laura thought that she would shock the hell out of me, but the opposite turned out to be true. She certainly expected me to be more upset about her affair and decision to leave me than I was, but I found it to be a welcome relief. When one is released from a prison sentence, particularly a life sentence, who doesn't wish to celebrate that? On the surface, however, I didn't even show happiness. I just acted as numb as ever.
Perhaps I should back track a little, at least to our initial confrontation, when she told me that it was over. I was busy reviewing my students' theses from my History class, noting mistakes in both grammar and content, when my wife entered my office in a rather rude and abrupt manner. I didn't bother to ask how she got past my secretary. Becky was intimidated by Laura and knew that she was married to me.
My wife was dressed to kill. She had a short, slit skirt and a blouse that didn't hide her cleavage in the least. Laura had never bothered to find out that breasts were only a secondary attraction for me. I had a greater interest in a woman's derriere, preferably a larger one, and long legs were also important to me.
"Hello, honey, this is a surprise! You haven't been here in weeks!" I spoke without looking too closely at her. That in itself annoyed her, but it was meant to do so.
"Well, I won't be back. I want a divorce. I'm leaving you for Nathan Jones. I believe that you know him, since he's my boss at the UN," she sneered.
"The diplomat from that corrupt African regime? Which one was it, Tanzania?" I deliberately needled her, wanting to sound more interested in punch lines than the end of my marriage.
"Yes, he's from Tanzania. If you're wondering why, it's because he's fun-loving and practical, not a silly academic like you. I can't remember why I ever loved you," Laura taunted me.
"Well, if you can't remember, I'm certainly not going to remind you. That's not my responsibility. I gather from what you've said that you're having an affair with Mr. Jones. Incidentally, when did this relationship of yours begin?" I casually inquired, making it seem as if I just wanted to satisfy my curiosity.
"It's been two years. It started when I became a member of the Secretariat staff and he was my immediate supervisor. He has risen since then and taken me up the ladder with him. I wanted to be sure that he was marriage material before leaving you. Otherwise, it was just a fling that wouldn't be worth the trouble of a divorce. It has become more serious, however, so I decided to go for it.
"I guess that this is something of a jolt for you, dear, but I imagine that you'll recover from it. If you want to cry, once you get over your shock, I would advise you to go ahead and do so. It's not healthy to bottle it all up, you know," she rambled, frankly losing my attention with her self-absorbed drivel.
"Will you get on with it, already? I need to grade these research papers, Laura," I deliberately made myself sound impatient, as if I intended to dismiss her, now that I had toyed with her a bit.
"What, don't you have time for your wife? Is work that damned important to you? I'm telling you that our marriage is over, and you make it sound as if I'm announcing a shopping trip. Isn't this the kind of event that requires more of reaction than that? What are you, a robot?" Laura fumed, subconsciously reacting to my psychological warfare.
"Well, you told me it's over. That's the big part. Everything else is just the fine print. If it's over, it's the past, and I don't have time for that. I certainly can't let it interfere with my duties as a member of this faculty. I have tenure. I am the chairman of the History Department. I have a reputation to uphold and expectations to fulfill, Laura. I can't postpone these papers to chew the flab with my estranged wife, can I? Our marriage is dead, by your own admission. There's no sense in being nostalgic about the happier days, is there? Now, run along, Ms. Jimenez. I have work to do," I replied, as cool as a cucumber.
"I am not 'Ms. Jimenez' yet, honey. I am still Mrs. Daud. I'll probably be Mrs. Jones very soon. I don't appreciate you treating me like some student in need of tutoring. You're goading me, I think. Well, I won't rise to the bait. I'm leaving this office for good. Expect to hear from my lawyer soon. You're clearly too angry to handle this well. Either that, or you just don't give a damn and your calmness is more than a façade to hide your feelings. Either way, you need a shrink, hon. I can see that I made the right decision. I can't spend the rest of my life with a man who lacks emotional maturity," she stormed off, which had me laughing as soon as the door slammed behind her.
Becky probably wondered why I wasn't furious, since Laura had dropped her wedding ring on my secretary's desk. However, I stopped laughing long enough to call her into my office. I had to cover a few bases, now that Laura was out of earshot. She didn't need to see how pleased I was, but (I hoped) my assistant could be trusted with such information.
The truth was that I wouldn't miss Laura at all. She wasn't much of a wife lately. Perhaps that was due to her affair with Mr. Nathan Jones from the UN Secretariat. However, I suspected that the affair was simply the last step in her shrewish path. She had been difficult to live with for a while now, so life without her might be more pleasant than lonely for me. I wouldn't ever have to compromise with her, which she often tried to turn into my surrender, instead of an equal partnership. Getting my way in anything was like pulling the proverbial teeth.
I would also probably get laid with less difficulty for a change. I had been faithful for most of the marriage, but recent developments had changed my mind about that idea, even before I suspected that she cheated on me. Laura not only withheld sex from me, but she even locked me out of the bedroom several times, and often ridiculed me in front of my colleagues. That sort of humiliation was unpardonable for me, a proud Lebanese man of partly French blood. I made sure to humiliate her, in a way that seemed fitting for her offense. She was distinctly vain about her beauty and sex appeal, so undercutting her self-image would hit her where it hurt most seriously.
"Dr. Daud, are you alright? Do you need something? I just watched your wife throw her wedding ring onto my desk!" Becky exclaimed with some confusion.
"Yes, I'm getting a divorce. To put it more candidly, she's leaving me for another man. She has been having an affair with him. I'll be fine, though. If you ask me, it's no particular loss of mine. She was a rotten excuse for a wife anyway. I could do a lot better, if I were so inclined. Frankly, however, I'm in no rush to find a new bride. I will enjoy my single life, at least for the moment. There's no sense in not weighing my options at this point. Anyway, thank you for asking me.
"The reason that I wanted you in here was to see if you could find locate a good divorce lawyer for me. I suspect that I will need one. I might also need an immigration lawyer, come to think of it. There's a danger that she might try to have me deported back to Beirut. I've been here in the States for over a decade and am almost a citizen, but I can't take any chances. There's no guessing how the INS will define a 'person of high moral fiber', after all. They might assume that I'm screwing you, for instance, and use that against me, my wife's infidelity notwithstanding.
"Oh, and I told Laura that I'm grading papers. You and I both know that they aren't urgent, but she doesn't need to know that. If she, or anyone else close to her, asks you, I'm 'grading papers' at the moment. The element of surprise will come in handy on the legal front. The less that she knows of my strategy in the divorce, the better off I'll be. I'm trusting you on this issue, Becky. I hope that I can rely on you. Can I trust you?" I explained.
"Well, Dr. Daud, you can absolutely trust me! I'm totally on your side. That's not just because you're my boss, either. Your wife hasn't exactly been nice to me since I've known her. She's been downright distant and scary, in fact. She certainly hasn't confided anything in me, like you have, sir. Oh, and there's one more reason," she grinned for the first time that day.
"What's that, Becky?" I probed, a bit mystified at her cryptic comment.
"When you spoke of fucking me hypothetically, you didn't treat it like a completely absurd idea. For a young, professional woman with no boyfriend, that's somewhat flattering. It suggests that you think of me as at least attractive enough to be taken seriously as a potential lover. Of course, I still wonder why you haven't slept with me yet, since I'm not dumb enough to think that you were completely faithful to your wife up to this point. Care to enlighten me, Professor?" Becky flirted openly with me for a change.
"Well, to be honest, I was faithful until about a year ago. As for why I didn't pursue you, well, that was because you once told me that you don't fuck married men. I simply took you at your word. Hell, for all I knew, you might have a new beau. You've only worked here for a semester now. Besides, I thought that you said that you were a Mormon," I clarified that issue rather quickly.
"I'm about as Mormon as you are Catholic, Dr. Daud. In other words, in name only. I haven't been to church in ages, just as you haven't been to Mass. You probably don't even worry about excommunication, do you?
"As for the other thing, well, I'm embarrassed to say that was my lame attempt to cover up my attraction to you. If I could hide behind moral platitudes, I could avoid embarrassing myself with what I thought would be a hopeless advance on my part. I suppose that I put on too good of a front, didn't I? If you ever decide to give me a 'second chance', you're more than welcome to visit my apartment. It's not that fancy, since I live on a secretary's salary. However, I can make it rather...um...'inviting', if you get my drift. I won't ask for a ring or a commitment. We'd simply be a pair of singles having a discreet tryst," Becky propositioned me.
"Very well. In that case, call me Charles from now on. There's no sense in being formal with a lover, is there?" I suggested.
"A 'lover'? Dr. Daud, I mean, Charles, didn't you just say that you're not looking for a serious relationship or marriage? I'm confused now," she wondered, being truly puzzled.
"Oh, damn my Francophone expressions! In my mother's culture, any sex partner is called by the euphemism of 'lover', no matter how casual or romantic. That is, unless one speaks of spouses or whores," I dealt with that question.
"Sorry, I keep forgetting that you're half-French and half-Arab. Is that common in Lebanon?" she got sidetracked with my cultural background.
"Yes, it is, in fact. Whatever the case, let's see about those lawyers and then I'll take you out to eat. A professor's salary is not as modest as an assistant's, after all. Afterward, we can do what we should have done much sooner. We have a lot of ground to cover, don't you think?" I laughed this time, as I took her up on the offer of a sexual liaison.