When Fantasy Becomes Reality Ch. 02bySlirpuff©
I was long gone before Randy and the kids got up. I stopped for coffee and a donut before driving the final fifteen miles to work. It had crossed my mind that something could be going on but I had virtually no proof. What was she doing all those nights in New York when I couldn't get her? I know she'd started drinking a lot heavier and reasoned that they were hitting the clubs and hanging one on, or I hoped that was all it was.
Monday night I made dinner, like always, and never saw Randy until late in the evening just before the kids went to bed. She kissed them both and went back into the den. I could have sworn I saw my bedroom door open just after 2:00 A.M. but must have dreamed it, because half asleep I saw no one.
Like Monday, I was gone before Randy got up. I left a note asking her to tell me who was going to watch the kids while she was in New York. Don't worry, I wrote, the kids and I will be ok. See you or not when you get back.
Carol was making dinner when I got home just after 6:00. The kids were watching a Disney movie in the living room so I went in and gave they each a hug and kiss. I said hi to Carol as I made my way up to my room to change. I kind of expected a note of some kind but after glancing around I just shrugged my shoulders before going downstairs. Grabbing a Corona from the refrigerator I started to set the table.
"Carol, you eating with us tonight?" I asked.
"If you want me to stay I can, but I'm really not that hungry."
"Don't worry about it, the kids and I are pretty self sufficient and can take care of ourselves. If you want to leave, I can finish up for you," I told her walking over to the oven.
"That's ok, the pot roast is almost done anyway," she said shutting the oven door. "Steve, can I ask you a personal question?" she said almost hesitantly.
"Sure sis, what do you want to know?" was my flip reply.
"You two ok? I mean, are you and Randy doing ok?" she asked.
"Why, has she said something?"
"Not in so many words, but she seems pretty down and she doesn't mention you or the kids very often anymore."
"But I'll bet if you asked her about her book, she could tell you line by line what she's written," I said getting a little warm and Carol picked up on it.
"Well, I told her she should back off a bit and take care of business at home, if you're wondering. I think she's got bright lights and dollar signs in her eyes if you ask me."
"Couldn't tell you, because it's been quite a while since I've seen her eyes close up." With that, I'd said enough and called the kids to dinner. Their motor mouths were going a mile a minute before I told them to eat first, talk later.
"If you need an ear I'm only a phone call away," Carol told me walking out as she gave me a big hug.
"I'm fine, it's your sister I'm worried about."
Tuesday night was boring, so boring I flipped on the late night gossip station. You know, the ones that show all the beautiful people in exotic places parading around in some skimpy two-piece trying to look like you and me.
"I wish I had just half their money," I said to myself finishing the last swallow of my beer.
The show went from Madrid, Spain, to South Beach, Florida and finally to one of the hot nightclubs in New York. I was so glad I'd finished that last swallow because what I saw next would have made me choke on it on the way down. There on the screen was my lovely wife, making lips with some hunk on the dance floor. His hands were on her ass but by the looks of it she didn't care. It was a split second shot because they were panning in on a well-known starlet standing just behind them.
I was stunned. Hell, I was fucking livid but thanks to modern technology I was able to relive that sight ten more times. You see our cable box has a built in TiVo. I was able to record the shot and save it on my cable box. This way, if Randy wanted to see her three seconds of fame she could relive it again. Personally I'd seen enough. I did however call her cell and like always it went right to voicemail, figures.
Did I get any sleep that night, not one fucking bit. I was still awake at 4:15 when I glanced over to look at the bedside clock, still debating with myself how I was going to handle it. At 5:30 I got up, took a shower and went downstairs to make some coffee. I was going to need tons of caffeine to make it through work today so I figured I'd better start now.
At 7:00 her mom came bounding in making sure for once she wasn't late. I told her I had breakfast in the oven for her and the kids. I guess she was thankful that she didn't have to make anything as she opened the oven and looked at the pancakes and sausage patties in there staying warm.
"You must have gotten up early this morning she said fishing. With Randy coming home, you'll probably want a little quiet time; you want me to watch the kids tonight?" she asked.
"Won't be necessary, because I doubt there will be any quiet time between Randy and I tonight," I said grabbing my lunch. "Thanks for coming over," I said as I walked out the door.
I was tired and ornery as hell all day Wednesday. I chugged down coffee and ripped two vendors who were late with their deliveries. By lunch I'd started to get pissed and by 5:00 I was angry as hell. Luckily the drive home mellowed me out somewhat or I don't know what I would have done. Her mom's car was still in the driveway when I got home so I at least hoped that dinner was started.
She was talking on the phone and watched me as I came through the door.
"Steve, it's Randy," she said handing me the phone.
"Honey, I missed my flight and the next one isn't until 10:30 tonight. I'm just going to stay an extra night and catch the first flight out tomorrow," she told me.
"Well, you were probably dead tired after spending half the night out dancing, no wonder you missed your damn flight," I answered with a sharp tone in my voice.
"I wasn't out last night, I had a quiet night in my room," was her reply.
"Randy, get a copy of TMZ from last night, watch it and then tell me who you spent a quiet night with," I kind of yelled at her before slamming down the receiver. "That went well don't you think?" I said to Ann. "If you'll excuse me, I need to pack up Randy's shit. It'll take me a couple of hours, just let me know where you'll want me to drop it before I get to your house."
"Steve, take a deep breath. You don't want to do this before you talk to Randy, do you?"
"Ann, I wanted to do it last night at 11:00 when I watched it for the first time. Her lying to me just makes me want to do it that much more. So, like I said, I've got a lot to do tonight and not much time," I told her going out the kitchen door into the garage.
Four boxes and twenty-two bags later, it was all done. I probably wasn't as careful as I should have been but hell it wasn't my clothes and I did pack her the iron and ironing board. With the kids strapped in and my SUV packed to the ceiling I headed out for Randy's parents' house. The kids thought we were going visiting so they were excited. Randy's mom and dad met me outside. Ann took the kids inside and her dad just stood there waiting until they were safely inside.
"What the hells going on between the two of you? You got a damn burr under your saddle all of a sudden?"
I could tell he was pissed off but I wasn't backing down.
"Talk to your daughter. I've had it up to here with her shit and I'm not putting up with it any longer. If I can't get my old wife back, I'll let you deal with the new Randy, I'm done."
"You can't believe she would cheat on you do you?" he said in that fatherly you've got to believe me voice.
"Wouldn't have fourteen months ago, but too many thing haven't added up and after seeing what I did on national TV last night, I wouldn't put it past her. So if you don't mind, where can I dump her stuff?"
We put it all in their garage, which took us half the time that it took me to load it.
"I've got nothing against you and Ann, but I need you to make sure Randy doesn't come to the house tomorrow. I'm not going to change the locks, well not yet anyway, but I need some time to sort this out and she needs to get her story straight. Just tell her no lies this time. Tell her we can get together sometime this weekend and talk, but until then to stay the hell away from me."
He wasn't happy but at least he knew he wasn't going to change my mind. I grabbed my kids and headed out. On the way home I called Carol and told her I needed a big favor.
"Can you please watch the kids Thursday and Friday?" I asked.
"I thought Randy was coming home tonight?"
"Long story, but the short of it I need someone to watch the kids."
"Sure no problem Steve, I'll see you tomorrow morning just before 7:00."
"Thanks girl, I owe you one," I said disconnecting. Well, that takes care of the kids, now what the hell do I do?"
I had the kids in bed by 8:30 and told them that mommy wasn't coming home until the weekend. After answering a million more questions I turned off the light and was on my own. I drained the open bottle of wine in the refrigerator and then cracked open a Miller. Why I looked at that five second clip twice more I haven't a clue. Maybe it was to remind myself or justify what I'd done tonight. Whatever the reason our marriage was in deep shit.
Randy's father was there to pick her up at the airport.
"Where's Steve?" she asked.
"He asked me to pick you up," was his only reply.
Randy went on and on about her trip and how well the book as coming along before noticing they were not heading towards her house.
"Dad, you missed my turn."
"No I didn't, we're stopping at the house first," he replied.
"Dad, I told Steve I'd see him as soon as I landed."
"He already knows about it sweetheart," he said as they pulled into the driveway.
Her mother was sitting on the couch pulling on her hands as they walked in.
"Did you have a nice flight dear?" Ann asked her.
"It was ok, but I'm tired and want to get home and take a long bath," Randy told her mother.
"Doug you didn't tell her did you?" Ann asked her husband.
"Thought it might be best if we did it together."
"What the hell is going on? Will someone please tell me?"
"I guess there is no easy way of saying this, Steve kicked you out of the house, honey," her mother told her.
'What the hell, he can't do that, it's my damn house to for Christ's sake. And if he thinks he can keep me from my kids he'd better think again, God damn it. Jesus Christ, what a son of a bitch, doing it when I'm out of town," Randy said getting more livid with each sentence. She never expected what came next.
Doug, walking up to a now pissed off Randy and slapped her hard across the face.
Shocked doesn't even come close to the emotion Randy was now experiencing as she rubbed the side of her face.
"Doug!" his wife yelled at him.
"Me, me, me, that's all I've heard out of her mouth since I picked you up at the airport. I didn't allow that language in my house when you lived here, and the rules haven't changed since then."
"Dad, Steve's the one who's lost it but if he thinks I'm going to take this lying down he's got another thing coming," she almost shouted.
Looking at Ann, Doug went to the television and turned it on.
"Randy, come here and sit your ass down, I think you need to see this."
With a click of the remote a replay of TMZ started. Doug fast-forwarded to just before the part he wanted her to see before slowing it to normal speed. When she saw it, her hand went to her mouth. Her father rewound it three times and played it until she told him to stop.
"This is why all your stuff is now in our garage. Steve saw it and went nuts."
"Dad, it's not what it looks like. It was just a friendly kiss."
"Randy, don't talk to me like I'm one of your idiot friends," he said pausing it on the picture of her giving this guy a full mouth kiss. "And anyone with half a brain can see that this wasn't the first time you did a lip lock with him," he said sarcastically.
"Dad, he's just a friend, that's all."
"Married women in New York may do that with friends, but they sure as hell don't do that here. Your marriage is in the toilet and right now Steve has his hand on the lever. If I were you sweetheart, I'd come up with some good answers for the hard questions he is going to ask you Sunday. And, for the love of God, don't give him that bullshit that it was just a friendly one time kiss."
That's my understanding of what happened that night. Randy tried to call me but I was in no mood to talk to her, I was saving all my questions for Sunday when I would be calmer, I hoped anyway.
The rest of the week was at least normal, or whatever normal now was. Carol, not her mother, took over the duties of watching the kids as they became more and more anxious to see their mother on Sunday.
At breakfast Sunday morning they were wild.
"What time is mom coming home?" was all they wanted to know.
"Not until you finish your breakfast," I replied. Needless to say their plates were clean within five minutes.
Randy and her mother arrived about 11:30. The kids were all over her kissing and hugging her talking a mile a minute about everything they'd done while she was gone. This went on for about twenty minutes before I told them I needed to talk to mommy and that they would see her after that. Ann took the kids into the backyard and Randy and I sat in the living room.
"I'm so sorry Steve, it was nothing," she opened with.
"On national television, on fucking TMZ no less everyone sees my wife cheating on me. Now I know why you were never in your hotel room when I called. Is he good in bed?" I asked.
"Steve I didn't sleep with him, I've never cheated on you."
"I guess you and I have a different definition of cheating. Having a man, other than your husband, feeling you up at a public club comes under mine even if it isn't covered by yours."
"How many times do I have to tell you, I did not sleep with him," she said now angry.
"Maybe not this time, but probably next time from what I've seen."
After that exchange, we just sat looking at each other; each not knowing what to say next.
"What do you want Randy? I don't have a clue where you're coming from anymore. Hell, you haven't been a real wife to me in over a year and it looks like everyone else is getting more action than I am."
"Steve, I still love you, but I can't go back to being little Susie homemaker anymore. I've got a new career and I'm loving it. I create stories that people love. I'm making more money than I could ever make as a teacher and I'm meeting a different class of people I never would have here," she said taking my hand and trying to explain where she saw herself.
"Well, at least I know where I stand. I'll get the papers going and file as soon as I can so as not to interrupt your "new life", I told her. "We can split everything fifty-fifty but I'm going to fight you for full custody."
"Steve, you're haven't heard a word I've said. I still love you and I don't want a divorce," she said trying to grab my hand. "But I still want my career. I can probably make close to $200,000.00 this year and we could use that money to pay off the house or set ourselves up a nice nest egg."
"But at what price? I don't know you anymore and when you're physically here, you're shut up in the den. We haven't made love in well over a year and every time we have sex I get the feeling you can't wait for it to be over so you can get back to your damn book. I can't live like that anymore. Let's end this charade of a marriage and you can go back to being a published author and me and the kids can go back to our mundane life."
"I've got another solution," Randy said looking at a note pad. "We have a trial separation, go to counseling and rebuild our marriage."
"A separation, you'd like that. That way you could do what you want with whom you want without any consequences."
"Steve, don't you trust me?" Randy said sitting up straight looking at me.
"Not on your life. Do I think you cheated on me yet? I don't think so, but you must have been close a few times. Do I think you will, definitely, the way we're headed," I told a flabbergasted Randy. "If we do this, it's with a signed written agreement and with an ending date of, say, nine months.
"Steve, it's sounds like I'm signing a damn contract," an indignant Randy shouted at me.
In a way you are, a remarriage contract, because we don't have one now. We can see if there's anything left to salvage and either build on that or just pull the plug; it's either this way or I file next week."
"All right I'll agree, but we both need to come up with conditions and what is and is not acceptable behavior."
"I agree, but I wasn't the one giving it up on national TV."
"I didn't 'give it up' how many times do I have to tell you before you'll believe me?" an agitated Randy said, now standing.
"Will you take a polygraph and answer all my questions?" I asked her.
"In a heart beat if that will lay your fears to rest."
"Then I believe you but we still need conditions," as they both rattled off things to add to their agreement. "Couples' counseling once a week and no sleeping with anyone; let me rephrase that, no sex of any kind outside the two of us," were the two non-negotiable points I told her. It includes anything you wouldn't do right in front of the other.
"You type it up and I'll sign it," she told me. "Other than that is there anything else?"
"Who's going to watch the kids during this time?"
"I'll get a place nearby and between me, my mom, and Carol we'll take care of it. If you want I could move in the spare bedroom," she started to say but I stopped her.
"The kids are going to have a hard enough time with this as it is, and it won't work with me either; you're either totally with me or out of here."
Two days later the agreement was signed, notarized and put in place. My marriage was now based on words written on a ten-page agreement; I didn't hold out much hope of it surviving.
Our first four or five counseling sessions with Dr. Allen were something out of a nightmare. There was a lot of shouting, crying and most of all name- calling and accusations thrown back and forth.
I was a son of a bitch for trying to hold her back, I was jealous of her and that I was insecure and kept accusing her of cheating when there was no proof.
I did agree that I liked my old life better but I was thrilled by what she'd accomplished. However, she had pulled so far away from the family with her work habits that the kids kept asking if mommy still loved them. That took Randy down a peg or two.
The sex, lovemaking and cheating accusations were thrown both ways.
"It's tiring chasing after two kids all day. I can't just throw a switch or switch gears when you come home and want to fool around."
"Randy, we haven't made love in over a year and a half and if you're not getting it from me, tell me, where are you getting your needs met?"
"Steve, we sure as hell have fooled around in the last twelve months," she threw back at me.
"Randy, lying in bed naked, with your leg spread and you telling me that if we didn't get it on soon, you were going to sleep; that, my dear, doesn't do much to excite me. I'll bet pretty boy got a whole lot more foreplay than that."
Randy went ballistic on me and Dr. Allen had to settle her down.
"Steve, that was uncalled for. Why don't we call it quits for this session since we have only five minutes left anyway. I've got an easy homework assignment for the two of you for next week," he said smiling. "I need you to write down ten things you like about each other and the same number why the two should stay married; this should be a no brainier for you two."
That was the hardest assignment I'd ever had. Two years ago it would have been a slam-dunk but now I struggled to get seven items and I think two were basically the same.