They say there is a fine line between the emotions of love and hate. Supposedly it’s even documented that a person can swing back and forth and at times experience both emotions at the exact same time. Up until six months ago I would have said that was impossible, but no longer.

Right now there is a damn war going on in my head. I’m going from loving to hating and back again to loving the same person, furthermore, I don’t have a clue which one is finally going to win out. I only know that it’s going to have to end soon because I can’t take much more of this. I want to feel normal again. I want to wake up from this nightmare, go to work, come home to my family, and live like most normal families live. However, no matter which way it ends up, those days are over. I just need to decide how much fight I have left in me.

Well, one way or another Thursday is decision day and I’m looking forward to it. I may end up with some resemblance of my past life, and for once I might get a good night’s sleep, I hope so anyway.


Since I’d drawn the short straw I was delegated to grab the next bucket of long necks from the refrigerator in the kitchen. It was about nine minutes until halftime and the college we’d all attended was up three points after being behind most of the first half. They were in scoring position on the thirty-two yard line and no one wanted to leave the television. So, it was decided that the short straw would fetch the next round of adult beverages and snacks. You can’t very well watch the big game without a brew in your hand, can you? Well, certainly not this hard-core alumni group.

It was our monthly Saturday get together and everyone was having the usual good time. With Keith’s new fifty-two inch 3-D flat screen with surround sound, it was almost like being there. In truth, probably better because of all the amenities and conveniences were here in his house, without having to deal with the crowds. It was Keith and Rhonda’s turn to host our little football party and they had gone all out. The only problem was the snacks that were piled high on the dining room table were all the things I wasn’t allowed to eat while on the diet my wife had put me on.

“A few barbeque chicken wings won’t kill me,” I thought as I grabbed a couple when I saw no one was around, along with two jalapeño poppers that were filled with cheddar cheese. “Hell, it was the weekend and after eating salads and skinless chicken breasts all week, I deserve this,” I told myself. I re-filled the munchies platter for the guys before heading for the kitchen.

All us guys had basically grown up together. We went to the same high school, college, and Keith and I even got the chance to play football there our freshman year. That was before realizing we just weren’t good enough, not to mention the exorbitant amount of time it took to be even on the taxi squad.

Somehow after graduation, we all ended up living within a five-mile radius of one another. Now, years later we’re all married and still as close as we ever were.

Roger and his wife, Beth, have one kid; David and Sue just had their second and last as Sue put it, and Keith and Rhonda topped our group with three. Heather and I have two, Robert, six years old and Amy, four. We just celebrated our ninth wedding anniversary a couple of weeks ago. Dinner, drinks, and a little love making while the in-laws took care of the kids made it that much more memorable of a night.

I was almost to the kitchen when I heard the laugh. It was loud and high pitched. I knew without question whose it was. My wife’s laugh came from her toes and could usually be heard two rooms away. Even with the game blasting in the living room, I’m sure the other guys even heard it.

Our wives always seemed to congregate in the kitchen, drinking wine, gossiping, and no doubt comparing notes. I put the last popper in my mouth before quietly sneaking closer to the doorway to hear what was so funny.

“He can’t be that bad,” Sue said with a laugh, looking at my wife.

“Honey, I didn’t say he was bad, not anymore anyways. Hell, it took me the first five years to show him where it was and to properly train him on what to do with it. So if it’s anyone’s fault it’s mine.” They all got a big kick out of that one; everyone that is except me.

“Heather, you’ve got two kids, he must be doing something right,” Rhonda followed up with.

“Girls, he was just in the right place at the right time.” They all laughed again at my expense while Beth refilled their wine glasses.

“Look, Steve’s a wonderful father and a loyal husband, but as a lover he’s just barely adequate.”

“Well, Roger may be a little shy and quiet around most people, but he’s an animal in bed,” Beth added, blushing. “I just wish he was you know, just a bit bigger, that’s all,” she said, showing how long she would like him to be with her hands. All the other wives told her they wished their husbands were that long too.

“I’ve got a little something in my night table that could take care of that problem for you,” my darling wife piped up. “It’s about ten inches long, silver, and hums like a motherfucker. When I’m really horny and no one is around, I get Brian out and have the most mind blowing orgasms you can imagine.” Heather was sipping on her wine and fanning herself with a napkin. “You know what they say, no one can love you better than yourself.”

“Brian?” Rhonda asked with a puzzled look on her face. “You named your vibrator Brian?”

“An ex-boyfriend, but by far the best lover I ever had. He was hung and knew just what buttons to push, boy did he ever. He could almost get me off by just looking at me. Damn, that guy sure knew how to please a woman.”

By this time I was beyond angry. These were our best friends in the world and here’s my loving wife telling them I’m not worth a damn in the sack among other things.

“Now, if Steve and I are getting it on, and he’s not doing it for me, I think about my times with Brian and then even he can’t fuck it up.”

“God damn, how much worse could it get?” I thought, hearing all those snide comments she was making about our love life.

“Maybe I’ll have to get a Brian of my own,” Sue said laughing, that is until she and everyone else saw me standing in the doorway. The mood in the room drastically changed at that point.

Heather turned around to see what everyone was looking at and saw me.

“Hi honey, is there something I can get for you?” She said sweetly in her typical southern twang, smiling at me.

I think if I had a gun I would have shot her dead right where she stood and gone to jail a happy man. Thankfully for her I didn’t own one.

“Don’t come home. Go to one of your sisters, your parents, or to fucking hell for all I care. But, under no circumstances come home, if you know what’s good for you.” With that I turned around and headed towards the living room and front door.

I heard my name shouted out a couple of times while making my way through the house. Everyone from the kitchen caught up to me just as I hit the living room where all the guys were cheering about something. I didn’t have anything to cheer about.

“Hey man, where’s the beer?” David asked when I came back empty handed.

“Roger, I need you to move your car so I can get mine out.” I said, trying my best to control my temper.

“Just a second, they’re going for a two point conversion,” he replied, glued to the television still watching the game.

“Roger, if you don’t move your fucking car now, I’m going to push it into the damn street.” The look I gave him told him I was serious.

“Jesus Christ, Steve, give me a second, will you?” he said, going for his jacket that held his car keys.

“Honey, will you just settle down, it was just a joke,” Heather said frantically, grabbing my left arm. She didn’t expect what came next.

I swung around and pushed her back with my right hand. Heather staggered back two steps before falling flat on her ass.

“Don’t you ever fucking touch me again, do you hear me?” I screamed out, knowing my face must have turned ten shades of red. I’d lost total control of my emotions, but who would have blamed me?

I left a room full of shocked people and headed for my car with Roger in hot pursuit. I guess in my frame of mind, he didn’t want to take any chances of me damaging his hot new red Lexus.

Everyone was on the front lawn watching as I pulled out, heading for home, which was only about three quarters of a mile away in the next subdivision.

I was so angry I was shaking, sweating buckets, and calling Heather every ugly name I could think of. These weren’t just some casual acquaintances. I’d known most of these people for almost twenty damn years. What was she thinking?

Here was the supposed love of my life stabbing me in the fucking back, telling them what a horseshit lover I am and how fucking great Brian had been. If Brian was so fucking great why didn’t she marry him? That’s right, Brian was a fucking loser who treated her like shit, but I guess not inside the bedroom. I never liked him and now I had another reason to hate his guts.

For once I wished we lived a little further away. Driving, like running, always seemed to calm me down, though right now I don’t think even a marathon would have quenched the anger I was feeling.

For once, walking into an empty house was a welcome relief because I sure as hell didn’t want to talk to anyone. My brain still felt fried, and I needed to try and somehow get control and calm down. Pacing back and forth through the kitchen and living room, the first beer went down in just three long gulps and the second only lasted a few seconds longer. I looked at the third and last one in the refrigerator, debating whether or not to open it. Then I remembered the comment Heather made about Brian—I opened it.

My cell rang nonstop until I finally turned it off. When Heather couldn’t get me on my cell, she started in on the house phone. I let the answering machine pick up the first couple of messages.

“Steve, it was a damn joke! Come back and pick me up so we can talk.” The phone and the answering machine both hit the kitchen wall about the same time.

A fucking joke? It sure as hell was, but the joke was on me. We’d just celebrated nine years, and I would have staked my life on the fact that I’d rung every bell she had that night. Guess I didn’t, or was she thinking about Brian again? I got even more pissed if that was at all possible. Beer number three bit the dust.

With the previous two I’d consumed before this nightmare began, I had reached my limit, anymore and I’d be in uncharted territory. I wasn’t much of a drinker or hadn’t been for the last ten years, Heather saw to that. She said I was a stupid drunk, and if I was with her she wasn’t going to put up with it. So, five had been my daily limit, that is until tonight.

With a tall rum and diet Coke, no leaded soft drinks in our house since the start of my diet, I went upstairs to our bedroom to look for ‘BRIAN’.

It looked like Brian had brought his dad and Uncle Leroy with him, because what I found was not one but three toys in her night table’s bottom drawer, a silver, a red, and a black one. Shocked doesn’t even describe what I was looking at. They ranged in size from large, to extra large, to holy shit how did she get that black motherfucker in there. Underneath I found an assortment of lubricants one of which was even citrus flavored. It looks like there was a whole other world going on under our roof when I wasn’t around. Now I wished I was a lot drunker.

I was going to stomp them all into oblivion. Instead, I gathered up all her friends and whatever else was in that drawer. I opened up our front door, lined them all up nicely on our front step for the entire world to see, then shut and locked the door. I knew she wouldn’t miss me tonight, I wasn’t so sure about Brian and his buddies.

In the hour and a half I’d been home I’d managed to destroy our home phone and answering machine, safety chained all the doors, disconnected the garage door opener, gotten myself the start of a decent buzz, not to mention evicting her intimate group of friends from the house. Not bad for ninety minutes of work. Then my brain heard the doorbell ring over and over, followed by someone banging on our front door.

“Steve, please, open the door,” I heard Heather pleading through the door. Looking out the living room window, I saw her on the front step. Beth and Roger were sitting in his car on the driveway. I opened the door but kept the safety chain on.

“Heather, what the hell do you want? I thought I made myself perfectly clear that I didn’t want to see you.”

“Steve, I know you’re a little angry with me right now but you’ve got to know I didn’t mean a word of what I was saying. I guess I had a little too much to drink. Please, sweetheart, open the door. We need to talk about this.”

A little angry? Holy shit, if this was only a little angry, I sure as hell wouldn’t want her to see me if I was totally pissed off. Memories of the movie Fargo and the wood chipper flashed through my mind.

“Heather, just fucking leave, I’m not going to talk to you, and I’m sure as hell not letting you in the damn house. Why don’t you take Brian and his big buddies and go some place nice and quiet and fuck yourself.” I was done talking and slammed the door in her face.

How long she, Beth, and Roger stuck around I’m not sure. I went upstairs to what had been our bedroom and proceeded to puke for the next half hour. By the time I was done, there was nothing left in my stomach, and I think I saw a lung and part of my liver before I finally flushed. With some cold water on my face and a gargle of mouthwash, I walked into the bedroom and passed out on bed. Told you I wasn’t much of a drinker.

Sunday morning was quiet, too quiet. It was almost nine before my brain kicked in and tried to get me to open my eyes. Our bedroom faced east and with the shades up and the drapes open, the sunlight was doing its best to keep me from sleeping any longer. My head hurt and the inside of my mouth tasted like something I’d rather not think about. I awoke fully dressed, including shoes, on top of the bedspread. When I reached over for my wife and didn’t find her next to me, my brain graciously decided to remind me why not. I got pissed all over again.

I knew Heather wasn’t a virgin when we married. I had been intimate with two girls before I met Heather, both those affairs being brief. I wasn’t overly experienced, however I never realized she had that much more experience or I was that lame. Maybe I should have asked for letters of recommendations from the two girls I’d slept with to give to Heather. Looking back, I wondered if they would have sung my praises. I began to seriously doubt myself and my proficiency in the bedroom.

What she had offered up, with such gusto yesterday, cut me to the core. She didn’t just put me down and shame me in front of our friends, she cut off my fucking balls and had them bronzed. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine I wasn’t sexually satisfying my wife. All these fucking years it looked like she’d been faking it with me. What’s worse, she was fantasizing about being with someone else. The word humiliation doesn’t come close to describing what I was feeling at this very moment. How in the hell could I look my friends in the eye ever again after yesterday? Goddamn, I hated her. She not only took my self-respect she took away my best friends.

I made it through Sunday without taking a drink or even looking at my cell phone. I already knew I probably had at least a dozen or so messages from Heather—fuck it, she was the last person in the world I wanted to talk to.

I knew Monday, after I left for work, Heather would have to come home and get into the house. She and my kids would need a change of clothes for work and school. I would have to prepare myself to deal with her after work, that is if I decided to come home.

Monday I was worthless. For the first hour I just stared at my computer screen saver, a beach picture of Heather and me on our honeymoon. We sure looked happy. After that I found a few trivial things to keep me busy until lunch. I was grateful for a budget meeting and a conference call in the afternoon to keep my mind occupied. It was almost five before I had time to again dwell on my situation.

My mind kept replaying Saturday afternoon and every time I thought about what she’d said I got angry all over again. I knew we’d have words, I just hoped it would be later rather than sooner because I had a ton of issues to somehow address.

All the way home I prayed she wouldn’t be there. I wanted to see my children, but I didn’t want to get into it with her with them present. Oh well, I’d soon see. I pulled onto our street.

“Shit,” I said in disgust when I saw Heather’s car on the driveway. The kids were in the front yard and ran to my car when I pulled in.

“Dad, we’re having make your own pizza tonight for dinner. Mom’s in the kitchen cutting up all the toppings and told us to tell you to go right in when you got home. I’m going to make myself a garbage pizza with everything on it,” Robert said proudly. Amy stood by my side looking up at me.

“Well pumpkin, what are you going to put on your pizza?” I asked, picking her up and giving her a kiss on the cheek.

“Just cheese, Daddy,” Amy said smiling.

“Well, I’d better get in the house and help your mom if we plan on eating dinner anytime soon.” I put Amy down. “You guys play nicely together outside and I’ll call you when everything is ready.” No use upsetting the young ones.

I walked quietly in the front door and saw Heather cutting and chopping in the kitchen. She still had her work clothes on and with her back to me she was oblivious to my presence.

How long had I been the stupid fool? From what I’d heard it sounded like most of my married life. She never said a damn word. If I’d know we could have learned what she needed together and been brought that much closer. Now, all I felt was repulsion towards her. She’d blindsided me. And I can only imagine what my friends thought of me now. My anger was bubbling over again.

“Well, no time like the present,” my brain said as I walked into the kitchen. Dropping my laptop case on the kitchen table Heather jumped.

“I didn’t hear you come in,” she said, before spouting the same bullshit I’d heard for the last couple of days. “I’m so sorry, I must have gone brain dead Saturday. I don’t know what I was thinking.” I stopped her.

“First of all, don’t try to bullshit me into believing you were drunk, because we both know you weren’t. Second, everything that came out of your mouth afterwards was nothing more than you trying to back pedal and put a new spin on what I heard you say. I’m still in fucking shock. Who are you? You’re sure not the woman I thought I married, that’s for certain.” She started walking towards me.

“Steve, please listen to me…”

“Heather, save your lies for someone who gives a shit because I no longer do.” Tears were welling up in her eyes, they did nothing to soften my mood. It was like I was looking at a total stranger instead of the woman who was supposed to be the love of my life.

“Steve, it was just girl talk. You know comparing notes and slamming our husbands, it’s what wives do when they’re together. You must have heard Beth complaining about Roger, you’ve got him beat by a mile.”

“You mean we’re both losers? At least Beth didn’t embellish on her description of her husband other than to say he was an animal in bed, only lamenting there wasn’t a little more of him. You, on the other hand, rated me less than adequate. Weren’t those your exact words?”

“Yes, except I didn’t mean it the way it came out.”

“You mean it’s fucking worse? Jesus Christ, why the hell did you marry me if I was so fucking lame?” My voice was getting louder and cracking. “Oh wait, that’s right, Brian wasn’t the marrying kind. He was good enough to fuck, just not marry. Isn’t that about right?”

“Steve, you’ve got it all wrong. I love you!”

“Yeah, right, like I believe that anymore.”

At that point our two little ones came running in from outside asking when we were eating.

“Pretty soon guys. Why don’t the two of you go upstairs and wash up? By the time you come back down we’ll be ready to start making our pizzas.” They both ran up the stairs.

“Steve, we need to talk and work this out.”

“Sorry, you’ve lied to me for ten years. I’m done believing anything that comes out of your fucking mouth.” Tears started flowing again.

We didn’t have time to get into it any deeper watching Robert and Amy come bounding down the stairs, hands still damp from their quick wash. Thankfully, they weren’t leaving us alone.

Dinner wasn’t quiet as the kids experimented with different concoctions on their pizza. I wasn’t very hungry. Trying my best to put up a good front, I ate two small pieces. There wasn’t anything left in the house to drink, and even if there was I wasn’t going there tonight. I needed my wits about me for what was going to probably happen later.

Everyone helped in the kitchen and by seven the dishes were in the dishwasher, the leftover food put away, and the kids had their dessert of chocolate chip cookies and milk. They and I headed for the den to watch a little television. There was no way I was going to get stuck alone with Heather again. She joined us a little later but sat on a chair rather than the couch with us.

For the next hour she stared at me. I knew that look. I could almost see the gears turning in her head. She had tried the tears, since that didn’t work she was making plans for her next assault, but it wasn’t going to work either.

I would have loved to have left and checked into a motel, only there wasn’t enough extra money for an extended stay, and I’d miss my kids. We had a three-bedroom house, so there wasn’t a spare bedroom to go to. I started thinking about my options.

We didn’t have a basement, and the garage wasn’t something I was going to even consider, that left the den. Because of the size of the room it only had a small couch and two overstuffed chairs. There wasn’t a chance in hell I could sleep on the couch, which left the blowup bed we kept on hand for overnight guests. My mind was going a mile a minute and I knew as soon as Robert and Amy went to bed Heather would start in on me again. I had to be prepared.

It was shortly after eight thirty when the kids were finally down for the count, and I was putting into effect my own plans for the night.

“Steve, we need to talk,” Heather said, watching me pull down the inflatable mattress bed.

“About what? I think I heard all I wanted to hear Saturday.”

“Honey, I’ve tried to explain to you that it was all a stupid misunderstanding, and in no way do I find you inadequate.” The look on her face was that of someone pleading their case before the high court hoping against hope not to receive the death penalty. She knew she’d screwed up big time. I grabbed the blow-up bed and headed for the den.

“What are you doing with that?” she asked, then realized what was happening. “Steve, come to our bed, we can work this out,” Heather said, grabbing for me when we hit the den. I turned, gave her an ugly look, she immediately removed her hand from my arm.

“The only reason I’m even in the house right now is because of Robert and Amy. If I had my druthers I’d prefer sleeping at the Super 8 than in the same house with you, but I can’t see spending the money when I have a perfectly good alternative,” I said, watching the bed expand. “I told you Saturday that there is no way in hell I ever want to touch you again, or have you touch me. Just the thought of it makes me gag. Did you think I was fucking kidding?”

She started to protest at what I said.

The anger spewed forth from me like vomit. “Look, keep it up and I will get my ass out of here. Heather, you disgust me and right now you’re fucking dead to me.” She stepped back at that statement and gasped. “You’ve got your fucking toys and your memories of BRIAN to keep you warm at night so leave me the fuck alone. Wait, now that I think about it, I always wondered why some nights you were tight and others loose as a fucking goose, at least now I fucking know. So, if you don’t mind, I’d like to get my new sleeping quarters set up.” I turned my back on her to put the sheets and a blanket on my new bed. When I turned around she was gone.

I didn’t sleep much better Monday night than I had Sunday. I was still royally pissed and had more questions than answers. I thought we had a pretty decent love life right out of the blocks. I was average, but hell, most guys were as far as I could tell from the showers at the gym. I wasn’t going out of my way to compare myself to anyone there, maybe I should have. My ego up until Saturday wasn’t at all fragile because I was taking care of business—so I thought. Now I was second-guessing everything about our marriage. If she was lying about our love making what else wasn’t she telling me. I felt angry, jealous, and hurt that she never confided in me, and now I felt like I couldn’t trust her anymore. However, what had started creeping into my mind was the unthinkable, up until Saturday anyway. Was she or had she ever cheated on me? I thought not, but now I wouldn’t stake my life on it.

The rest of the week sucked. We didn’t even live like roommates because even roommates talked to one another. My anger had subsided somewhat, but I no longer looked on her as the love of my life. She was only the mother of my two children.

I was almost sorry when Friday rolled around because I’d be stuck at home with Heather all weekend. My kids were going to be there, but I would bet there was going to be a lot of pressure from Heather to talk about our current living arrangement.

Saturday morning the kids had cold cereal, I had coffee and toast. Heather never made her presence known until almost nine. I was just finishing up and mentioned I’d left her coffee in the pot. I couldn’t read her reaction, although I wasn’t paying her much attention. I just wanted out of the kitchen, so I headed out to the garage to do something, anything to keep my mind off the matter at hand.

I stayed away from her all the way up until dinner. I did hot dogs and hamburgers on the grill. Heather added the cold slaw and a bean salad. A dish of ice cream and a Netflix movie rounded out the rest of the night.

Neither one of us really watched the movie. When she wasn’t watching me, I was watching her. She wasn’t happy and neither was I, though I didn’t have a clue what to do about it and wasn’t sure if I even wanted to.

Once again I slept downstairs in the damn den. I played on the Internet with my work laptop even looking at a few risqué sites. I was still a healthy male even if I hadn’t had sex or so much as a kiss in over a week.

Sunday through Wednesday I did on autopilot. We talked when the kids were present, but when they weren’t I ignored her as much as possible. Just being in the house together was damn hard. That wasn’t the only thing that was getting hard.

It was Thursday about seven when out of the blue David called.

“Hey buddy, you up to having a cold one with a couple of friendly faces?”

I told him, “Hell, yes,” and was out the door thirty seconds later, without a word to anyone.

Rick’s Tavern was over on Ninth Street, three miles away. It didn’t take me long to get there. David must have called from the bar because he, Roger, and Keith, were already half finished with their beers.

“Set my friend up a Corona, will you?” David told the bartender. I grabbed it off the bar and took a long draw off the bottle.

“Damn, that tastes good.”

“From what little I’ve heard from Sue, I figured you might need to get out of there for a few hours. Things still a little tense on the home front?” David inquired.

“A lot more than a little tense. We’re together in the house, but apart in most regards. She has her bedroom and I have mine. The kids know something is going on. I’m grateful they’re still too young enough to understand the bullshit going on.”

“You guys doing any talking yet?” Roger asked.

“Heather opens up her mouth, words fall out, but I don’t believe ninety percent of what she’s saying. If I told you I never had a fucking inkling would you believe me? Jesus Christ, now I don’t have a fucking clue why she married me.”

The next swallow finished number one. The bartender brought a quick replacement.

“For what it’s worth, Beth says that Heather is miserable and regrets what she said,” Roger offered up.

“Let’s be real, the only thing she regrets is getting caught. If I hadn’t been in the kitchen doorway I’d still be the deaf, dumb, and blind Steve, still being led around by the ring in my nose.” My anger was bubbling up again.

“Are you two still going to try to work it out?” Keith asked once more. “Rhonda feels bad about the whole thing happening at our house, but says you should suck it up and get over it. I told her that if she’d said that about me, I’d be in fucking jail for spousal abuse. What don’t these women understand?’

“Here, here!” we all said together.

“Right now I don’t even know if I want to get back with her. Don’t get me wrong, I still love the bitch, but she sure as hell isn’t the woman I thought I married.”

Roger downed his shot of whiskey and offered his opinion. “No wife should bad mouth her husband to anyone, especially in public. If she has a problem with him, she needs to talk to him, not her fucking girlfriends. Beth and I had words on the way home Saturday about the crack she made about the length of my you know what. It hasn’t changed in length one iota since she first met me. If she wasn’t satisfied with me way back, then why did she agree to marry me?”

“Damn straight!” I shouted in agreement. “But at least Beth told everyone you were an animal in bed; mine just said I was fucking lame. I guess over the last ten years she’d perfected her lies so well that when told me I satisfied her I believed her. No more,” I told my friends.

David was next to offer advice. “Well, don’t do anything stupid that can’t be fixed. Even though I know you’re still pissed at her, I also know you still care for her. I’m just saying to give it time. Just don’t let Heather get under your skin or force you into something you’re going to regret later.”

We drank, we bullshitted, they gave me more advice, and two hours later we were all heading back to our happy homes and wives. That is everyone but me. I didn’t consider Heather a loving wife any longer.

“Where have you been? I was worried about you,” Heather said when I walked in through the garage door into the kitchen.

“Just had a couple of beers with a few of my friends,” I replied in a non-confrontational tone of voice. I did not want to get into it tonight.

“Well, you left in such a hurry I thought there might be something wrong. I’m just glad you’re back. You know, if you want to talk, I’m available twenty-four hours a day.” She smiled at me. No matter, it wasn’t like it was before.

“Maybe later, right now I think I need to go to sleep more than I need anything else.” Heather was still trying to smile and look positive even as I walked into the den.

I didn’t sleep. Hell, I hadn’t had a decent night’s rest since this whole nightmare began. I would have given anything to go back to that Saturday afternoon and have picked the long straw. That way I wouldn’t have heard what was going on in that kitchen. So what if I would still be clueless, it would be a lot better than what I’m currently going through. I would still love my wife to death and get a woody every time she gave me that come hither look. Now when she tries to give me that look, all I can think about is what are her real motives, can I satisfy her, and who is on her mind—that fucking Brian or me? Damn I hate that name.

The next three weeks, as slow as they went by, were something of a blur. I barely remember much of what happened around the house. I think I was starting to get used to our new normal. Heather still wanted this problem resolved and put behind us and was starting to push me to come back to what used too be our bedroom. I kept telling her I wasn’t ready, but like always she wasn’t listening.

It wasn’t like I took Heather away from Brian, she dumped him after what I’m told was an ugly weekend. We hung with the same large circle of friends in college. We knew each other by sight and name, other than that not very well.

I thought she was hot from the first time I laid eyes on her. I had a thing for blondes and her shoulder length blond locks were the first thing that caught my attention. Then when I stared into her bright, teal blue eyes, I was hooked like a fifteen-year-old high school kid looking at the girl of his dreams.

I was casually dating someone on and off at the time, but after seeing Heather I forgot all about her. I can’t say I was obsessed with Heather, only that I always found a way to talk with her whenever we were at the same party or other function. I would smile, put on the charm, and take whatever time I could get. That is until Brian started to feel neglected and pulled in the reins.

Physically Brain and I were almost total opposites. Brian was tall, good looking, had a full head of long flowing dark hair, and usually sported two days facial growth. Most days you could find him at the gym, instead of class, proudly showing off his six-pack to every girl he came in contact with. To this day, I can’t remember him ever having his shirt totally buttoned up.

I, on the other hand, am about five foot ten, with short brown hair, pretty average in most areas, and let’s just leave it at that. The other thing that set us totally apart was that I was smart and he wasn’t. I did say I was good looking, didn’t I?

I was in college to do one thing: graduate high enough in my class so I could get a good job and not struggle for the rest of my life like my parents had. Since neither one of them had gone to college, they wanted to make sure I had the opportunity they never got. There was no way I was going to let them down after what they sacrificed for me.

So after giving up my pipe dream of being a football great I put all my effort into my studies. By the time I finished my junior year I had a four-point grade average. I was going places, at least I hoped so.

Over that summer I had the opportunity to do an unpaid internship at a local marketing firm. At first I felt a little out of place being so young and inexperienced. After the first week I found everyone to be so nice I soon felt more at ease and part of the group. Did I have ground breaking ideas that set the firm on its path to instant success and riches beyond their wildest dreams? Get a grip, this was the real world and I was a lowly intern! My job was to keep my mouth shut, help wherever I could, and learn from people who had fifteen plus years experience, and learn I did.

Most people work hard and some even go beyond what’s expected of them. However, no one I saw there was driven. They all had been there long enough that just doing their job kept them from getting fired, so they’d become a little lackadaisical. Not me, I had something to prove. Although it took most of the summer, I did end up suggesting a few ideas I thought were a bit out of the box. They wanted me to stay until after the first of the year, but I told them I had a degree to finish and unbeknownst to me at the time, a girl to woo.

Thankfully, over the summer Brian had been his usual asshole self and Heather had about reached her limit with him.

“Steve, where have you been? I’ve missed you,” she said with her heart-melting smile.

“I did a marketing internship and worked part time at a printing company at night to save up enough for this year’s tuition. How about you? Are you still seeing, what’s his name, Brian?” I knew his name, but I was laying the groundwork for getting her to go out with me.

“I guess we’re still seeing one another,” she said almost hesitantly, eyeing me up.

“Too bad, I was going to ask to go with me to that jazz festival in the park down by the river Saturday. Cajun food, chilled wine, and good jazz, it’s going to be a fantastic night.” I’d thrown the bait, oh so close, and I was just waiting to set the hook.

The seconds felt like hours as she shifted her weight from one foot to the other as I watched those beautiful eyes never leave mine.

“Pick me up at six and don’t go broadcasting we’re going together, okay?” was all she said. “Steve, I’ve got to get going, I’ve class in twenty minutes. See you Saturday.” A kiss on the cheek told me all I needed to know. I didn’t even have to set the hook.

Saturday night was fabulous, spectacular, wonderful, and a dozen other adjectives. I would need surgery to remove the smile from my face. We ate, drank a ton of wine, listened to the music, and strolled along the river walkway.

I was the perfect gentleman even though I was hard most of the night. About eleven o’clock we walked hand in hand back to her apartment. I didn’t get an invite in, but I did get a kiss with just enough tongue to let me know she’d had a good time. One more peck on the lips and I was heading back to my parents’ house, weak in the knees, but with a smile on my face. I’d gotten to first base.

Heather was out of my league; hell, she was out of almost everyone’s league. She was hit on constantly, but she’d fallen for shithead hard and it would take everything I’d learned about the two of them to win her over. All I had to do was to be was patient and present, and dickwad would cook his own goose.

We went out secretly at least every other weekend. Forget dinner and a movie, that’s what everyone did. I made sure we did fun, out of the ordinary things. An impromptu picnic at the planetarium, a couple’s massage class, wine making, and an overnight dinner train ride were just a few of the activities I planned for us. On the train ride she ended up sleeping on my shoulder in the upstairs observation car while I inhaled every scent her body gave off.

We were made for one another, and at five foot seven she fit perfectly in my arms when we danced. Although I’d only caught a few glimpses here and there of her body, what I saw was more than okay with me.

“I’ve got tickets to the New York Ballet Company for Sunday afternoon, if you’re interested,” I told Heather on Thursday night. There was a pause—I didn’t like the look on her face.

“Brian and I are going away for the weekend, otherwise I’d love to go with you,” she said almost sadly.

“No problem, I’ll just find someone else who wants to go.” This time I couldn’t even force out a smile. “Maybe we can go next time they’re in town.” She started to say something else but stopped herself at least twice.

“Yeah, next time for sure. Look, I’ve got to run, I’ve got a million things to do.”

I got a half ass kiss for my trouble, and then she was gone.

Barb was known as someone who was easy when she was in the mood, a boyfriend stealer, and best of all; Heather hated her with a passion. She’d thrown herself at Brian on more than one occasion even while Heather was standing right there next to him. Guess who went to the ballet with me Sunday?

Barb was smart, articulate, and knew her ballet. We both dressed to the nines and had a fantastic time. I probably could have gotten lucky after taking her to dinner, but again I was the perfect gentleman. In the hallway in front of her apartment we kissed a bit, and indirectly I found out her ample breasts were real. I was invited in, and though I really could have used a little sexual relief I turned her down. Had I said yes, I don’t think I ever would have made it home that night. I was so damn horny my balls weren’t just blue, they were purple. Doing it with someone warm and soft to get a little relief was one thing, doing it with someone you cared about, that was something special, and that’s what I wanted.

When Heather came back I all but ignored her the first part of the week. It didn’t take her long to find out I’d taken Barb to the ballet, and when she saw me having lunch with her at the student union on Wednesday the look she gave me wasn’t very special. A couple of friends of ours told me that by Sunday Heather and Brian were doing nothing but arguing. When he called her a bitch, she slapped the shit out of him. Guess I had a much better weekend.

Wednesday evening I was upstairs in the library studying for a particularly difficult statistic exam coming up. I was in a zone when I heard my name whispered out.

“Steve, do you have a minute?” It was Heather.

“Sure, have a seat.” I whispered to her, we both had smiles on our faces.

“I was wondering if you had any plans for this weekend?” she asked sweetly. Heather was from Mississippi and could turn on that southern charm and twang almost at will, and tonight she was laying it on thick.

“Well, Friday night I’m helping Barb study for her math final, but I’m free Saturday night,” I said anxiously.

I guess she didn’t like the fact that Barb was still in the picture.

“Well, then make no plans for Saturday night, you and I are going out.” It was said like I wasn’t being given a choice.

“How about Brian? I thought you two were still an item.”

“Don’t worry about Brian. You and I are going out Saturday and are going to have a great time, you hear me?” Looking back, I should have picked up on how forceful Heather could be when she wanted something. Heather wouldn’t take no for an answer, even from me.

After Saturday there was no more Barb, Heather saw to that. We were an immediate item, even out in public. Brian had done what Brian did best and now Heather was all mine, and I planned to keep it that way. Like I’d said before, I was the fifteen-year-old boy that had gotten the girl of his dreams. I was stupidly crazy, and head over heels in love.

Three weeks later, in the bedroom of her apartment, we made love for the first time. As excited as I was, I was a bit clumsy at first and thankfully didn’t lose it before we even started. I finally got it together, and by the end of the night we were the only ones that mattered.

The next six months were something out of a wet dream. We spent so much time together you’d think we lived together. I’d finally gotten to see and taste every square inch of Heather’s fabulous body and thought I had finally found my soul mate. To my delight she turned out to be quite daring and we experimented trying most, but not all, of my fantasies. Flavored gels were something that Heather really got off on and if that’s what my girl liked, I was more than happy to oblige. We showed each other what we each liked and I did my best to make sure she was satisfied and happy every time we were together. Now that I think about it, was she that good of an actress or was I totally blinded by love? I imagine a little of both.

Looking back now, it was always me who was compromising. If she wanted a little oral or a massage, I gave it to her. However, if I wanted a little oral action she wasn’t quite as eager or in the mood a lot of the time. She repeatedly told me that she didn’t like doing it because I took too long and her mouth got sore, even though when I went down on her for up to a half an hour nothing was ever said about that.

Just two months before I was going to graduate I proposed. I think she said yes before I even had a chance to finish asking. I had a great job already lined up, and since Heather was only two semesters behind me, we’d soon start our working life together as husband and wife.

Weddings are stressful and ours was no exception. She wanted the wedding of her dreams and that is what Daddy gave her. I was glad to see it over. We had talked about children, deciding we wanted to wait at least three years and be settled first.

I was in love. I think that says it all. She was my life, and I was happier year after year. When our children were born I thought we became even closer. A year later I was promoted and was able to swing a home loan on just my salary. We couldn’t have been happier. I had a beautiful loving wife, a wonderful family, and a group of great friends to do things with. All in all a life most guys would be envious as hell for. How did it all go to shit?

“Steve, are we going to Roger and Beth’s this Saturday? Everyone is bringing their kids so we won’t need a sitter.” I guess Beth didn’t want a repeat of last month’s fireworks, thinking that with our kids there I’d be on my best behavior.

“Sure, why not,” I replied almost anxious to get out of this house and see a few friendly faces for a change. “Just try and keep your trap shut this time around, will you?”

I knew it was a cheap shot, but I wanted to remind Heather she was the one that started this whole mess and it sure as hell wasn’t resolved yet.

The ride Saturday was quiet until Robert and Amy got into it in the back seat.

“Kids, if you don’t settle down we’re going home, you hear me?” I was threatening them, knowing full well there was no way I was going back home. “Just sit quietly and we’ll be there in ten minutes.” I looked over at Heather who was watching my every move.

She leaned over and whispered to me, “Please don’t embarrass us today. I know you’re still angry with me, but for the sake of our children please don’t get drunk or cause a scene.” She was pleading for an afternoon without any drama.

Like always the guys were watching the game and the wives? Well, they were somewhere else. This time instead of drawing straws to get the next round of drinks, Roger volunteered to go. I’m sure no one wanted to see me go off on Heather again. It was a nice afternoon even though the tension was thick. The wives, like every other Saturday, huddled in the kitchen, the children played outside, and us guys continued to relive our college years through the football game.

I and everyone else tried to keep things light, joking with one another to keep it from getting too serious.

“Steve, you getting any yet?” Keith asked in a crude sort of way. “Or are you still doing it by hand?” He was snickering.

“Don’t you think you should be asking Rhonda? You know a gentleman doesn’t kiss and tell.” My insinuation brought on a lot of snickers from the rest of the guys, and more than a few catcalls and swear words. I was laughing as Keith called me an asshole saying I should be so lucky.

“But to answer your question,” I said, looking around before I finished, “we’re still not back together yet.”

“Don’t you think it’s about time you let this whole thing drop? Hell, if Sue had mouthed off like that, I’d be getting blow jobs morning, noon, and night,” David said, puffing up his chest.

“Talk’s cheap,” more than one of us told him. We all knew Sue, and there was no way in hell she would have buckled under even if she had been wrong, and David wasn’t one to push it. David himself was on the short side, at just over five feet six. Sue was about an inch and a half taller than he and to top it off also taught aerobics at the local gym. The woman could probably break his ass in half if she had a mind to.

“You just keep thinking that,” I replied, trying to keep the conversation away from me.

Our team lost by two points, still I had a pretty good afternoon. The only time we saw the wives was when they brought out the food and we all started eating. The kids were supposed to stop playing and eat, but like most kids they grabbed a few bites and were back outside.

We all talked together while we ate but as hard as everyone tried, there was still a dark cloud hanging over Heather and me. We smiled, tried to act normal, but were fooling no one.

On the ride home I looked over at Heather who was staring out her side window twisting her hair. I would love to have been a fly on the wall in the kitchen that afternoon to hear what the wives were talking about. Most of the guys agreed I was right to be mortified by what Heather had said, but also didn’t have a clue how I could resolve my dilemma. That is, with the exception of David who thought I should talk it out and put it behind us. However, coming from someone who is as pussy whipped as he, it didn’t hold much credence.

“I get sex at least four times a week without begging or even asking. Sue just whispers in my ear that she needs some loving and what am I going to say? Honey, I’ve got a headache! Please! I’m going to take everything I can get, whenever she wants it. And if that makes me pussy whipped, well, lucky me.” He really is a prick sometimes.

With the kids in bed later that night, Heather made her move.

“Honey, you in the mood tonight? You know, to talk?” I knew what she was asking, and it had nothing to do with talking.

“What the hell,” I thought. It had been a pretty decent day and what could she possible do to ruin it. I guess I was sliding back into my naïve and stupid frame of mind. So I shrugged and agreed.

“Look, I know I’ve said it a hundred times before, but I’m so sorry about what I said. We were all trash talking about our husbands and I guess I got carried away. There is no way on earth you don’t sexually satisfy me. Believe me, I would know.”

“Well, if that’s true, why do you have Brian and the other two if I’m so fucking great in bed?” I knew that would take our conversation off the, ‘you are the greatest thing since sliced bread,’ scenario she was dishing out.

“Steve, sometime I have an itch that only I can take care of, if you know what I mean. It’s kind of embarrassing but it’s a personal thing, you understand, don’t you?”

“Oh, I get it,” I said, watching Heather start to smile. “That’s when you fantasize about being with Brian or one of your other past lovers. Heather, if Brian is the silver one, who in the hell are the other two, especially the big black one? I only wish that when you’d used that one, you didn’t pretend to give me sloppy seconds. Thinking back, that really pisses me off now.” This, I guess, wasn’t the conversation Heather wanted to be having with me right now.

“Steve, I never did that to you.”

“On the contrary, yes, you did. I just want to know if there were any others after we got engaged. All those nights you were studying at school for your midterms and finals, were you studying someone else?”

“I never cheated on you!”

“Heather, I think we both have a different definition of what constitutes cheating.”

“So now you’re trying to tell me that you never fantasized about being with another woman? Oh please, you’re not that much of a saint.”

“Maybe I do sometimes. But be assured I sure as hell don’t do it while I’m making love to my wife!” I was angry all over again.

“Steve, I love you. Can’t you get that through your thick skull? I want more than anything to go back to the way we were before this all started.”

“Heather, I also would like nothing better, only I can’t get it out of my damn mind what you so casually offered up to everyone. You keep telling me it was just trash talking, but now everything you say I question. Is she lying? Is she telling me just what I want to hear? Heather, I don’t have a clue how to get beyond this.”

“Well, I know a sure fire way,” she said, taking me by the hand leading me up the stairs to our bedroom.

In my eyes she was still the most beautiful woman in the world. I fell in love with her the first time I laid eyes on her and every day thereafter I fell more in love with her.

I just stood there as she peeled off her layers of clothing. I wanted her. I wanted to throw her ass down on that bed and ravish her body until she couldn’t move, and it probably would have worked until she opened her fucking mouth walking towards me.

“Come here my sweet man, I need your loving tonight.”

Those were the same words she said to me the night of our ninth wedding anniversary. That was the night I thought I’d rocked her world and was the only man in her eyes. I wondered how many times she’d said those exact words to Brian. I lost my erection and any hope of doing anything more that night.

“I’m sorry. It’s just not working for me tonight.” I said, walking away.

“Damn it, Steve, you’ve got to try. It’s been a whole month since we’ve been together.” She just couldn’t keep her mouth shut and let me deal with it. I turned around angrily.

“We both know it’s been going on for a hell of a lot longer than a month! Try ten fucking years! I guess you should have been a better teacher.” That, my friends, was the shot heard round the world.

After that, Heather gave me more space and didn’t pester me more than a couple of times a week instead of every night. I was taking care of my needs and Heather, I assumed, was using her battery operated main man.

On Thursday Heather let me know she was going out with a few of her girl friends on Friday, asking if I wouldn’t mind watching the kids. They are my kids too, I never minded watching them.

“No problem, I’ll probably take them out for pizza or something.”

“Well, don’t let them stay up too late.” She smiled, but it was forced.

It was a long, miserable night. She went out dressed in jeans, a casual top, and sandals, never telling me where they were going. I guess I could have called her cell, but what was the point. She was going out to have some fun, something she wasn’t getting much of at home.

She and everyone else showed up at our house just after one in the morning. I don’t know who drove, but I hoped it wasn’t one of the three I saw in the living room. They were all pretty well wasted, and when I walked in the room it looked like they were attempting to call their husbands to pick them up.

“Heather, girls, you okay?” They giggled, telling me they’d had a little too much to drink.

“Look, don’t bother your husbands, I’ll drive you all home, I’m up anyway.”

“See, I told you he was the nicest guy in the world,” Heather announced to the other two wives. “And if you’re wondering, I didn’t have sex with anyone tonight. You can ask them or check if you don’t believe me.” The other two also piped up that they didn’t have sex with anyone either.

“I know Roger and Keith will be thrilled to know that.” I was not sure why they were sharing this with me, but I played along.

I poured all three into my car. I wanted Heather to stay home, but she would have none of that. Both lived within two miles and it took me all of ten minutes to drop them off on their doorsteps.

Heather was determined I know she remained faithful to me. “Seriously, you can check if you don’t believe me, I don’t mind, and I’d probably like it,” she said, moving next to me.

“Heather, you’re drunk and I need to drive,” I tried to tell her, while she mauled me in the front seat.

“All right, I’ll wait until we get home, you party pooper.” She was really hammered.

It took ten minutes to get her out of the car and another ten to get her upstairs, her hands and lips were in constant motion. When I started undressing her for bed it got a lot worse.

It had been so long and she looked so damn good to me. Did I still love my wife? Maybe, but I hated her just the same.

It started with one kiss and exploded after that. Tonight, however, I wasn’t doing any of the work, Heather was all over me. Brian never entered my mind nor did anything but the woman riding me for all she was worth.

I came once and immediately got hard again. This time I lasted a whole lot longer except she was oblivious to everything except getting herself off. After her second scream she rolled off to my right side and promptly fell asleep. I covered her up with a sheet.

I went downstairs, poured myself a glass of wine cursing myself for being weak. There was no love making tonight, she used me as much as I used her to get off. True, it sure as hell felt a lot better than what I’d been doing for the last six weeks. I just knew as soon as Heather woke Saturday morning she’d think we’d solved our problems, only we hadn’t.

The kids were up, fed, and watching cartoons in the den before Heather even stirred. Though she had showered she still looked like warmed over death. Nonetheless came downstairs with a huge smile on her face.

“I expected you would still be next to me this morning after what happened last night.” She was still beaming.

“Heather, we had sex last night, nothing more.”

“Well, it’s a start, isn’t it?”

“I don’t know what the hell ‘IT’ is anymore,” I said. I asked myself why I did what I did last night.

“Look, I know we’ve got problems, and it’s all because I went brain dead and disrespected the best thing that ever came into my life. I’ll do anything, do you hear me, anything to put this behind us.”

She had gotten off her chair and walked the three steps to where I was standing. With her eyes watering up, she reached out and pulled me in tight, crying on my shoulder. I may have been angry with her, but I wasn’t heartless.

She did it to me again. Later that morning I lay there naked in bed next to her trying to remember just how she got me in this position yet again. This time however, it was my turn to shine. I literally tried to pound her ass into submission. If there was any chance we weren’t going to be together after all of this, she’d remember this morning for the rest of her life, well, I hoped so anyway.

I used lips, tongue, and all ten fingers to keep her up there for the better part of an hour. She refused me nothing. We did things I’d always wanted to try and others we’d never even talked about. I don’t think Brian, even on his best day, could have come close to what I’d done that morning. Hell, even I was sore. Heather didn’t pass out afterwards this time, but she was still on her back trying to catch her breath. I hope the bitch walked bow legged for at least a week.

My thoughts were interrupted by two sets of hands beating on our locked bedroom door. It was almost lunchtime and we were being summoned. I made grilled ham and cheese sandwiches, one of their favorites, and with a glass of milk and a bowl of chips they were happy once again.

“Why is Mom still in bed? Is she sick?’ Robert asked, his mouth full of food.

“Don’t talk with your mouth full, and no, your mom isn’t sick. She just had a late night and is taking a nap, that’s all.” If she didn’t get up soon I’d have to go grocery shopping by myself, which is something I didn’t look forward to. Amy wasn’t bad, but Robert wanted everything he saw. He still didn’t understand that no means no.

This time when Heather came down she was dressed. Even if she’d come down nude, I wasn’t going to be baited into doing it again. Don’t get me wrong, after six weeks it felt wonderful, it wasn’t a husband and wife making love. We just fucked and took care of an immediate need that was all.

Heather made it up to go to the grocery store. We looked like your typical happy family. We talked and interacted, even though there was still a black cloud of underlying issues hanging over us. I picked up a few chickens to put on the grill for dinner, a magnum bottle of wine, and a six-pack—I’d probably need that later tonight.

Dinner was almost normal. Everyone talked including Heather and I and not just about our kids this time. After dinner the movie they all wanted to watch didn’t appeal to me, so I passed on it and decided to fix a few things in the house I’d put off for a while.

I had my head under the kitchen sink when I heard her walk in.

“Steve, what was with you this morning?” I said nothing, re-tightening a water shutoff valve that had a slow leak. “Don’t get me wrong, I liked it, but it was so unlike you.”

I stopped, “I just can’t win,” I thought to myself. “For Christ’s sakes Heather, did you like it or not?” I could feel the heat rising up from my toes.

“I said I liked it, only it seemed like you were trying to make a point. It wasn’t the type of love making I’m used to from you.” I pulled out from under the sink. The frightened look she gave me when she saw the look on my face was like what I’d seen weeks ago.

September 2018
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