08/13/2016 21:25 in cheating
My editor suggested that I put the last two chapters together and submit it as one. Because of my recent hiatus due to my "football injury" (haven't been able to say that since high school) I have a lot of work to catch up on. Therefore, I took his advice. This is the final chapter.
On an offhand note guys, keeping yourself in shape does not mean that you can run around with 20 year olds. Lifting weights and running on the treadmill is no substitute for raw youth. FYI
Anyways, thank you guys for reading. I have enjoyed writing this story and the feedback that it produced. Even the feedback from people who didn't like it. You took the time to give it to me, and it is greatly appreciated. Many authors don't like negative feedback. I still see it as a compliment.
I really tried to answer the emails guys. I'm almost certain I got to all of them. If I missed some, please don't take that as a sign that I didn't feel it was important.
Brief synopsis of the previous chapter:
THE PAST: The game heated up for Josh and Naomi, and ultimately climaxed in a threesome with a man named Renaldo. This threesome, though erotic, made Josh seriously think about where this relationship was headed. He realized that they were out of control.
THE PRESENT: The couple start therapy with Beth, who is a marriage counselor. They feel at ease with her, and begin to open up. The strain that the relationship is under is taxing for the both of them. Josh is hopeful that therapy will help them find out what went wrong. They have a ways to go...
STILL IN THE PAST - Spring 2014 - December 2014
After Renaldo, we stepped around each other apprehensively. We avoided mentioning that event and went about our lives as if it never happened. At least we appeared to. However, each of us was dealing with what had happened in our own way.
Naomi showered me with love and attention. She practically drowned me if I am being honest. While I certainly enjoyed it, I did wonder why. She had always been a bit sparse in using the L word unless she had fucked up and needed to reassure me. That was what was so unsettling. I knew why all of the displays of affection were happening, and that inevitably brought me back to the feelings that I had over the Renaldo incident.
On my part, I dove head first into activities that gave me a little distance from her. I worked a little bit longer. Not enough to raise an eyebrow to the casual observer, but just enough so that I could delay going home while still maintaining an acceptable excuse.
I also started jogging/walking. Since her transformation a few years before, Naomi had been on me to start taking better care of myself, so this was also excusable. She did say that she would like to jog with me, but I waved that off. I told her that it would be too embarrassing to be upstaged by my wife because of my inability to keep up with her. It was a matter of male pride of course. She bought this reasoning, albeit a little too reluctantly for my taste, and didn't bother me about it again.
We did make love, but some of the fire was gone. I really have to take most of the responsibility for this. I could not help wondering if she were comparing me to Renaldo. When I watched her fucking him, it was clear that she was enjoying it. Even when I was out of the picture, it took her an entire thirty minutes to make it back to the room. Allowing her ten minutes to get dressed, that would still mean that he was fucking her for a whole fifteen to twenty minutes before she saw that I was missing.
This went on for a few weeks. I wasn't giving her the cold shoulder. I was just trying to come to grips with where we were in our lives together.
One night, I was watching "Suits" when Naomi walked in. I didn't see her so much as I felt her presence. When I turned to look at her, I saw pain written all over her face.
"What's wrong Na?" I asked. Seeing her looking like that broke through the barriers that I'd built up. The vision went straight to my heart.
"I miss you Josh. I miss us. I don't want to lose you."
I waved her over and she came over to the couch that I was on. I opened my arm and gave her room to cuddle me. Instead, she laid her head on my lap.
"I love you Na." I said as I stroked her hair. I felt her shoulders shaking before my pants got wet from her tears. I didn't say anything. I just gently caressed her hair. We stayed like that until "Suits" went off, and then we went to bed. We didn't make love that night, but we spooned and embraced until we fell asleep.
My icy fortress of solitude began to thaw after that. We slowly returned to how we were before the weekend at the spa. Within a few weeks after the night on the couch, we were enjoying the same loving partnership that we had. Everything except for our sex life was what it once was.
Understandably, we didn't attempt the game during this time period. Naomi's sex drive returned to how it had been before she opened up. I think that she was afraid of any reminders of that weekend and what it would do to me. Therefore, she avoided it. This avoidance had an overall effect on her libido. We still made love, but the fire that had been ignited in my wife - the fire that I enjoyed so much - was quelled.
In all other areas, she was the same loving wife that she had been in the past. She kissed me goodbye when we left each other. She cuddled me when we laid in bed together. We watched movies, went on dates, ate together, talked, laughed, cuddled, and made love. While it was very nice, it was also a little stale. At least to me.
I know, I know. Be happy with what you have. I was happy with what I had. But my penis wanted it all.
I began to miss the game, or at least the energy in our house when we were playing it. Yeah, we were cozy in our day-to-day lives and happy, but the extra excitement was gone. The spontaneity of the game had opened up a hidden compartment in our lives that was exciting. We had metaphorically closed that door and pretended that the room didn't exist. But we also left a lot of the fun in that room. That's the two-edged sword of excitement. It becomes addicting. I don't know if's adrenaline, or something psychological or whatever - but without a doubt when you start doing things that give you a high, you miss it when you stop.
It was close to Christmas. We were shopping for gifts. Naomi, being the ever-efficient one, had a list of things for everyone on the list. She knew the stores with the best prices. She actually had a spreadsheet of which items could be found at what stores. She knew the mall like the back of her hand. Using this knowledge, she separated the list according to which stores were in proximity of each other. I had my list and she had hers.
Being a guy, I was naturally was done shopping ages before she was. Hell, I had my list. I knew what I was going in there for. For me it was a simple matter of locating items, paying for items, putting items in the trunk. Easy peasy.
Now, my wife, well she did things a little differently. Being the quintessential woman that she was, she would locate her items, window shop for things that she would pick up on a later date, talk to the random fellow shopper about how crazy the stores were during the season, compare notes with another shopper who had kids around Henry's age, window shop in other stores, and finally call me to find out where I was. The exact opposite of easy peasy.
By the time she called me I'd already stuffed my face full of Sbarro's pepperoni pizza, a large coke, and a Cinna bon. Since this was one of the few opportunities for me to eat without the Health Nazi on my ass, I splurged.
She told me to meet her at some shoe store (not one of the stores that we needed to shop in, mind you), so I began to search for her. When I arrived, I didn't go right in. I watched her from the outside. There was a gentleman that she was talking to. He had a shoe in his hand and was pointing to various things about the shoe as he spoke, so my assumption was that he was describing the features.
It was obvious that he was hitting on her. It actually surprised me, because if I saw him in any other context I would have put money on the fact that he was gay. However, judging by the way he looked at my wife's cleavage as he spoke, he was definitely into women.
I also took a second to observe Naomi. The twinkle in her eyes. The smile. The arm touch. Oh my fucking God! She was flirting back.
It was really good to see her with that vibrancy that I missed. She was in her element right now, and I have to admit that I liked it.
She finally spotted me and waved me over. The shoe salesman did not look as happy to see me as she was. As I walked over, she made the introductions.
"Honey, this is Chris. Chris, this is Josh, my husband."
Chris shook my hand and smiled at me, but I could tell that I was the last person that he wanted to meet. Naomi went on talking about the shoes that she was looking at (as if I gave a fuck) telling me all of the wonderful things that she and Chris were talking about. Chris smiled at her, told her that he had to help to some other customers, and disappeared.
"...I would really like those shoes. Doesn't it make my legs look awesome honey? If we hadn't spent so much today I would buy it and model it for you." Her voice finally droned in through my consciousness.
Suddenly, my brain went into lust mode. It was time to wake the Kraken.
"Why don't you get it Na?"
She gave me a confused look. "Because we spent over $700 sweetie. You know what we had budgeted for Christmas. This shoe isn't in the budget."
"I'll bet you a dollar that you can't get it within the budget."
Her eyes flew open at me, as if she were shocked at what I said. I simply smiled at her and let things sink in.
"What are you saying Josh?"
"Nothing. Just making a bet that you can't find a way to get that shoe in a price range that will be in our budget." I gave her a smile dripping with false innocence. She looked at me warily.
"Josh, shut up. We're leaving." She said as she placed the shoe back on the display case and began to make her way out of the store.
"I understand if you don't think you can do it." I said casually as I shrugged my shoulders, trying to bait her with the challenge. She stopped and turned around to face me, her face indiscernible.
"No Josh. No. I will not have a repeat of what happened with Renaldo. I cannot go through that again. I don't want to go too far and risk losing you again."
"So, you don't want to do it? Are you saying that you aren't intrigued?"
"That's not what I'm saying Josh. I have no problem with the game. I have a problem with losing you."
"I get it Na. Things got out of control. I wasn't expecting the Renaldo thing. It was a shock to my system. One minute we are just a couple of exhibitionists and the next we are having threesomes with a guy that I don't like. I didn't take that well. But I miss how we were. I miss the excitement that the game brought. It is obvious that it brings out a wildcat in you. I like that wildcat. "
"Are you serious Josh?" I noticed that her face began to show some excitement, though she was trying to quell it.
"Josh, what if..."
"This is a very special dollar Na." I said, cutting her off as I waved a dollar in front of her face. "After all, we spent so many of them today. That makes this one rare. In order to get it, you have to do some special things."
Her face crept into a sinister smile as she gave in. Her eyes were on fire. I could practically feel the energy from her. It was intoxicating.
"What would I have to do Josh? I really want that dollar."
"Weeeell...I don't know if you have what it takes to do this but I'll tell you anyway...First you have to go into the bathroom and remove your panties."
She giggled. "I'm listening so far."
"Then I am going to go out to the car. I'm really tired and need to rest. Plus, I don't think I can stand in here while you try on shoe after shoe after shoe."
"So I'm simply trying on shoes? What's so hard about that?"
"I'm glad you asked. You aren't going to try them on. Chris is going to try them on for you. And you can't adjust your skirt one time."
Her mouth dropped open as understanding hit her. "But Josh, if he lifts my foot up to put the shoe on me, there's going to be no way to keep him from seeing my..." Her voice trailed off.
"Oh Gosh! I hadn't thought about that Naomi. But that doesn't sound like my problem. That sounds like a problem that you have to deal with."
The look on her face was electric.
"Your final task to complete this mission is for you to purchase a shoe. This shoe has to have a significant discount on it. I will be looking at the receipt."
With that I left the store with her bags in tow. I put them in the trunk with the bags and listened to the radio for about an hour. I then saw Naomi hurriedly making her way to the car with her head down.
"So..." I said when she was in the car. Her cheeks were flushed with embarrassment. She could hardly look in my eyes.
"I did what you said."
"He spent the last hour putting shoes on my foot. At first it was all professional. But when he got a good look up my skirt, and he saw that I wasn't hiding anything from him, he started lifting my leg higher and higher. After a while I actually started to smell myself, I was so wet."
With each word she said, my dick go harder and harder. I had to grab it to keep it from jumping around.
"Did you get the shoes?" I was able to ask despite have a difficulty forming words in my brain. She shook her head.
"He couldn't. His manager was there. But he told me that he closes tonight at 9. He will be by himself. He said that if I come back...alone... then he could see if something could be worked out for the shoes."
When she finished her statement, I got the full meaning of what she said. If I came back alone...something could be worked out.
I felt her hand brush my hand that was grasping my dick. I looked in her eyes and saw lust. Pure lust. Her hand gently moved mine to the side as she worked my zipper open. I helped her free my aching erection from its denim prison and watched her welcome him into her warm mouth. Nothing was heard in the car other than her sucking and my moaning.
She paused sucking and looked up at me, but her hand continued to stroke me.
"I really want that dollar Josh. My mission isn't complete yet. I have to go back at 9 and get those shoes."
She went back to sucking me as I died and went to heaven. Her soft lips slid up and down my shaft, gently caressing me. I felt the magma in my balls began to boil. I wouldn't last too much longer.
She stopped sucking and looked up at me. Her face was apprehensive.
"Josh, I don't want to do something that will damage us. I'm not going to lead you into anymore situations like I did with Renaldo. If you want me to do something, you have to tell me. You have to take the lead."
"Okay Na. I get it."
"Do you want me to go back tonight and get those shoes Josh? You know what he wants. You have to say it." Her voice didn't hold a seductive tone in it. It was serious.
It was kind of killing the playful mood.
"Do you want those shoes?" I asked as I pushed her head down onto my lap. I was trying to reignite banter. Her mouth wrapped around my dick as I heard slurps from her sucking. She took a break and said one word.
"Yes." Her voice was soft, almost a whisper.
Her mouth enveloped me again, this time more vigorous than before. Her head was bobbing in my lap in rhythm with her slurping sounds. It was coming. I could not hold back anymore. Suddenly, my semen exploded out of my cock and into her throat. Her head kept bobbing until I was spent. I felt her swallow as she rose and wiped her mouth.
We looked at each other and laughed. Our eyes mingled and displayed messages of love.
THE PRESENT - September 2015
Naomi and I had attended several weekly sessions with Beth. I would like to say that they were bridging the gap between us and getting us past it, but they weren't. These sessions were confusing. Beth avoided the infidelity altogether at this point. She was just having us go through the history of our life together. We were retelling how we met, how I proposed, the first time we had sex, the first time we said I love you, things like that. While I did enjoy taking the trip down memory lane, I didn't feel that we were tackling the issue of why we were in counseling.
I did find out who her paramour was though. We hadn't talked about it, or I hadn't really listened, until it came up in one of the sessions. Beth quickly reverted the conversation at that point away from it, but I did learn who he was.
I hate to tell you guys this part, because it is so cliché. But here it is. This guy is her BOSS. Yep. He is a new boss that the gym hired to replace the one that had worked there for ten years. Apparently, the old boss was offered a position running a new Walmart that was too good to pass up.
At the time that the new boss was hired Naomi was managing all of the personal trainers. She didn't do much one-on-one coaching anymore unless there was no one else scheduled. She had a staff of three trainers under her, so she only had to do an occasional session. She really didn't need the confidence booster of getting hit on anymore, so the promotion didn't do anything to our sex life.
I remember her mentioning her boss a few times. She described him as loud, abrasive, bossy, and kind of a bully. She didn't sound overly impressed with him at the time, so I didn't pay it too much attention.
So here we are at the next session. I admit that I am beginning to lose hope. I feel like I am no closer to finding out what went wrong than I was before we started coming. Without finding out what went wrong, I cannot find a way to trust her. Without that, there is no way that I can stay in this marriage. As much as it would destroy me, I will have to let Naomi go.
When Naomi and I first arrived today, something felt very different. For one, there was no soft music playing in the background. Secondly, we sat across from a somberly serious Beth. The drastic change from her normal demeanor made the tension palpable.
"Okay Josh and Naomi. I feel that we have come to a juncture in our journey together. I have enjoyed hearing the story of your marriage. Now I want to know about the past. Naomi, I want to hear about your parents."
Beth's cool stare is both soft but serious. Her face shows nothing of the warm woman who greeted us that first week. It is clinical. Almost cold.
I glance over at my wife, who actually pales. I can see her lips quivering as her wide open stare looks frozen. I have never seen her like that.
It is like a punch to the face. All of the times that I heard her say that in the past, this is the first time that I realized that she was lying. I almost walk out. But I need to finish hearing this.
"Naomi, I want to hear about your parents." Beth repeats. Her tone conveys that she is not letting this go. I can feel my wife's hesitance and fear. She looks like a mouse backed into a corner. Like a little girl who is hiding under the covers hoping that the Boogey Man will go away.
Part of me wants to jump in there and tell Beth to go to hell. I want to yell at her to stop bullying my wife. She obviously doesn't want to talk about this. However, I remain silent. I know that this is important. Has been for a while. I just failed to see it.
"How did they die Naomi?"
My wife looks at the floor as tears stream down her face. Beth hands her a tissue, but both of us patiently let her compose herself so that she can continue.
"My d-dad shot my mom."
I almost shit myself when I hear that. What the fuck! How could she never have told me this? I keep my feelings to myself though, because I need to hear the rest.
"I caught my mom cheating on him with my uncle Ricky when I was sixteen. I came home from school one day and they were kissing."
She wipes her nose on the tissue. It almost breaks me up to see her like this. It also angers me to only be learning this now, after all that we have been through together.
"When I confronted her, I called her a slut. I told her that she was whore and that I was going to tell my dad. S-she begged me not to. She promised to never do it again." Naomi pauses to swallow the frog that had lumped up in her throat.
"BUT I HAD TO TELL! I couldn't just let her get away with it. It was wrong! I felt that my dad had a right to know what kind of woman he was married to."
"Did you tell him Naomi?" Beth asks softly. I think she feels that Naomi needs a little help trudging through this quagmire of repressed memories. Naomi just nods as she breaks down crying in loud sobs.
"HE KILLED HER AND IT WAS ALL MY FAULT!" she wails out. I reach out and hug her without waiting for a cue from Beth. She sits there and doesn't stop me.
"It wasn't your fault baby. It was hers. She was the one who cheated." I say in soothing words. I thought that this was the right thing to say until she violently pushes me off of her. I look in her face and see pure rage.
"NO! It was HIS FAULT!" Her voice is filled with venom. She almost sounds demonic. I get an inclination to interrupt. Beth must be part Jedi, because she sees my thoughts and shoots me a "shut the fuck up" look.
"After he was tried and convicted for her death, I got a visit. From his son. HIS FUCKING SON! He was 3 years younger than me. Apparently, dear old dad had another woman on the side. Complete with a whole 'nother family."
She is now standing and speaking with so much force that there is a vein protruding on her forehead.
"My fucking father cheated on my mother for YEARS. Not only that, he bullied her. He talked down to her. He called her a worthless, mousy cunt. AND SHE TOOK IT! She never said a word. She let that fucking asshole walk all over her! Like the pathetic mousy bitch that she was!"
Her anger almost scares me. I have never witnessed anything of this magnitude from her. Honestly, if she grabbed the nearest sharp object and started to stab me I would not be any more surprised than I am at her outburst.
"For years he cheated with that other bitch. For years my mother sat there in a loveless marriage and allowed him to do whatever the fuck he wanted. She took his verbal abuse and his whoring without a Goddamn word! And when she finally found something that gave her a little peace and I-I..."
Her voice trails off as her face abruptly morphs from unadulterated rage to deep despondency. Her heart is broken. Had been broken for years. I just never noticed it.
Beth's soft soothing voice breaks through. "What did you do Naomi?" It is like Beth is trying to pull the poison out of her. She needs Naomi to say the words, to get it out of her soul. Like vomiting up bad food; it has to come out
"I TOOK IT FROM HER! ME AND THAT FUCKING MONSTER KILLED MY MOTHER!"
The three of us sit in silence after she is done. The only sound we hear is Naomi's heavy breathing. I am stunned. Never, in all of our years of knowing each other, did I even have an inkling that she was harboring this horrible secret. I cannot imagine what it must have been like. To have this crushing guilt of being the cause of her mother's demise, along with the rage that she felt at her father. My God! How could she even function?
"Where is your dad Naomi?" Beth asks after a moment. Naomi shot her a look of anger as she spit, "In prison getting gang raped everyday if there is any kind of justice in the world." Her voice has nothing but hatred in it.
Beth decides that we need to take a five-minute recess. Naomi needs to calm down. I need some air. So Beth tells me to go outside for a bit and come back when I am ready.
When I do make it back, Naomi is calmer. Her face is streaked with tears and her makeup is a joke, but the anger and rage are just a simmer. She sees me and comes running into my arms. I wrap myself around her and we embrace for a few moments before we sit down.
"Now, I feel that we are getting somewhere." Beth said in her normally cheery voice. We both look at her like she is insane. But she is not deterred.
"Do you have any questions Josh?" She says, looking at my pad. I hadn't even thought of writing anything down, though my mind was swimming in them.
"I guess the first question is...why? Why have you never told me any of this? We've been married for eight years. How come you lied to me all of these years?"
Naomi looks at the floor and sniffs. She actually looks to Beth for help, who simply sits there and nods.
"I didn't want to think about it Josh. I buried the hate in my past. It was easier for me to think of them both as being dead. They are dead to me. You would never meet my d...Kenny. There was no need to go into that."
I know that this is where I am supposed to show compassion and understand where she is coming from. But I don't. I feel anger of my own.
"So, you just lie to me FOR OUR ENTIRE MARRIAGE! After all of the trust that I put into you. You LIED TO ME NA!"
She crumbles into tears. "I know Josh. I know."
Through Naomi and my exchange, Beth sat there nodding her head and writing in her notepad. But she never interrupted our dialogue. She finally felt the need to step in.
"I have a question Naomi. Why do you think you found it so hard to commit to Josh early on? Why did you have trouble giving up your freedom?"
Naomi looked like a light bulb went on in her head.
"I never wanted any man to have any ownership over me. I couldn't stand the thought of being pathetic like my mother." She said aloud, but it sounded like she was saying to herself. Beth just sat back and nodded.
"As you played the game, did you feel that sense of freedom that you had before Josh?"
Naomi nodded, looking down at the floor.
"So, if that freedom is so important to you, why did you marry him?"
If ever there was a good question, that one was perfect.
"B-Because I love him. He makes me feel like there is nothing he would do to ever hurt me. He is..."
"The total opposite of your father?" Beth chimes in. Naomi looks at her for a moment, then lowers her eyes and nods.
"We are almost out of time, but we have such a good flow going that I'm going to postpone my next appointment. Give me a sec guys, okay?" We nodded the affirmative as she went out to talk to her secretary. When she returned, we resumed.
"We are at the point that I think we need to examine this affair that you had. Tell me about this guy again Naomi."
THE PAST - December 2014
With the reintroduction of the game back into our lives via Chris the shoe man, our wanton activities slowly picked up. The balance of our lives shifted a little. Things seemed more vibrant and titillating. Even innocent things like helping my wife cook dinner was a test in our resolve to keep our hands off of each other.
We began playing with the new boundaries that we'd set. Naomi did go back to the mall that night and got her shoes. Not only did she get a discount, she got them for free. Well, she didn't pay any money for them. But it did cost her a blowjob in the back of the store. The actual pair of shoes became a trophy of sorts for us.
The new boundaries became the rules of the game. We never wrote them down, of course, but we talked about them as we clarified our expectations. The rules of conduct were:
- We never played with anyone we knew. Innocent flirting with male friends was okay since I was also guilty of this with wives, but none of the "drunken" activities that we used to allow. We realized how messy that could get if we continued down that path.
- Heavy flirting and groping with other men was fine, but never anything under the clothes unless rule three consulted.
- Anything that was done was agreed upon and planned out by both of us BEFORE it happened. No sneak attacks like Renaldo or the bachelorette party.
- This was by far the most important rule: She was NEVER to have sex of any kind with another man outside of the confines of the game. Any sexual act that she had with another man was for us to enjoy in our own sex life.
The game didn't get as outrageous as before. With the exception of Chris and a few others, we really didn't play with actual sex all that much. There was a couple of hand jobs and blowjobs (other than Chris), but we did not go as far as we did with Renaldo. We saved the actual sex for our own bedroom.
There were times when we would play multiple times a week. It was mostly just flashing people or flirting to see what she could con out of guys. We could go for a month at a time in between bets. There was no set time frame. But just the possibility of the game made us hot. Knowing that there were always possibilities of playing the game gave us a charge in our own bedroom. Naomi had the perfect blend of the "freedom" that made her glow and the loving marriage to keep her grounded. This made her the happy, which in turn made me happy. It worked.
I am sure the question on everyone's mind is did you get the same "freedom" that she did? Do you think she would allow you to fuck other women?
To be honest, I don't know. It never came up. I believe that she would have allowed it. She would have been fair. Would she have liked it as much as I did? No fucking way. I am sure she would have hated it. But I do believe that she wouldn't have denied me something that she enjoyed, no matter how much she would have wanted to.
However, let's be honest. Naomi and I were deeply in love. We never tried to hide that love in public. Women are less apt to try their luck with a guy when he openly shows love and affection to his wife. If this guy could display all of these endearing traits of "Amor", and then turn around and try to seduce her into bed, she is more likely to be turned off than turned on. All of the things that made him attractive now make him look like a slimy snake. She'd actually feel sorry for the wife. At least a woman of quality would, which are the only types of women that interest me.
Men on the other hand are dogs. Plain and simple. We aren't looking for the long haul. If a woman kisses her husband and tells him that he is the only one for her, and then turns around and tries to seduce the other guy, he is probably going get a rush out of that. In his mind, he is taking something that clearly doesn't belong to him. Every time he slams his dick into her, he is going to be thinking about the clueless sap at home waiting for his wife's return.
When we (men) are in a position to claim a prize that is meant for someone else, we feel a sense of superiority. It is like we are conquering that guy. Being more of a man than he is. That is why we are more likely to fuck another man's wife. We don't really care about her morality. Hell, the less moral she is the better for the short term. As long as we can say that we "been there done that" we feel that forbidden pride. And we love it.
I know I am generalizing. Of course not EVERY man is like that. But I am willing to bet that we all know at least one man like that. I am also willing to bet many of the "rule followers" secretly fantasize about being like that, and would, given the opportunity. There are thousands of porn movies that utilize that very plot line to bring men's fantasies to life.
Therefore, I didn't have the opportunities that Naomi had to get laid. The only way that I could have gotten a woman into bed would be for me to pretend as if the relationship had a chance to grow. After my episode breaking Mel's heart (yeah, that still affected me) there was no way I could do that to another woman.
Besides that, I really didn't want another woman. I was getting more sex from Naomi than King Solomon got from his 1000 concubines. The fire that had been ignited in her was fierce once again. There were times when I had to use her dildo and my tongue to get her off because I wasn't up to it. I honestly didn't need any more sex.
Yes guys, I hear you. The happy cuck stays faithful while his worthless whore of a wife blows and jerks off the whole tristate area.
Whatever. I was happy. She was happy. Henry was happy. What harm were we doing?
We were happy for months. The episode with Chris happened in December and we were playing, enjoying and having fun until right before Labor Day. Then everything started to slip away. Yeah, I know you've been waiting for that. Well here it is.
It all started when she came home one night from her job in a foul mood. She didn't give me the usual greeting kiss or anything. She just went straight into our room and closed the door.
I thought this was extremely strange, but not strange enough to send out any warning bells. So I continued to spend my evening with Henry, casting a glance upstairs from time to time in wonderment about my wife. She didn't come down all night.
When I went up to the room, she was laying in the dark. A casual observer would have thought that she was asleep, but I knew she wasn't. Her breathing wasn't deep. She was wide awake.
I took my shower and crawled into bed next to her. She was laying facing away from me, so I snuggled up to her and wrapped my arm around her waist. I felt her grab it and push it off of her.
"Please honey. Not tonight."
I was dumbstruck! Never had she pushed away my affections. In fact, just that morning I had to pry her off of me so that I could get to work on time. What could have changed in a matter of one day?
Confused, I went back to my side of the bed. We lay there in silence, together but in completely different worlds.
I became even more concerned when I felt the bed shake next to me as she cried silently.
I concluded that something had to have happened at work. That was the only thing that occurred between the morning and the evening. Did she get fired? Did someone do something to her? My mind tried to make sense of her transformation, but came up with nothing. I knew that the only way for me to know would be for my wife to talk to me.
That was the beginning of our hell. After that night, all signs of affection stopped from Naomi. She became a completely different person. She didn't laugh. She didn't want to be around me. She didn't want to play the game. Hell, she didn't even flirt. Her demeanor simply became withdrawn and sullen.
Every day she went to work, she came home and went straight to the room. When I tried to engage her, she became angry and lashed out at me. I honestly didn't know what to do.
Three weeks after her sudden transformation, I'd had enough. I had tried patience. I had tried lovingly coaxing an explanation out of her. I had even tried bribery. All of it was met with hostile reactions.
So when she went to work, I dropped Henry off at my sister's house for a while. I told her that I needed to talk to Naomi and I needed Henry to not be in the way.
When she came home in her normally funky attitude and tried to brush past me to go into the room, I grabbed her by the arm.
"Naomi, what the fuck is going on with you?"
"Let me go Josh. I don't feel like getting into it with you tonight. I don't have the energy." She didn't even look me in the eyes when she said it.
"Fine. Then tell me where to send the papers." That got her attention.
"You know what papers I'm talking about. If you suddenly went from loving me to hating me, at least have the decency to tell me why. As much as I love you, I don't want to be with someone who doesn't want to be around me."
I could see her take a step back and look at me for the first time in weeks. Her face softened and became forlorn. I even noticed that her eyes started misting up.
"What is happening to us Na? What did I do?"
The tears instantly started streaming down her face. She looked away from me and I saw her entire body sag.
"Oh Josh! Please don't leave me!" She cried out as she threw herself into my body. I grabbed her and wrapped her in my arms as her cries went from silent sniffles to loud sobs. I was so glad that I made the decision to drop Henry off at my sister's house.
"What's wrong Na? You gotta tell me something baby. I'm going crazy. I don't know what to do."
"Please don't make me tell you Josh. I'm sorry for being a bitch. Please. I don't want you to hate me."
I was softly rubbing the back of her head as her cheek lay smashed into my chest. Her tears hadn't stopped flowing. Her body shook as sobs racked her.
"I could never hate you baby. There is nothing that you could do to make me hate you."
"Josh...I cheated on you."
Except for that.
PRESENT TIME - September 2015
"So Naomi, tell me how your affair got started." Beth says evenly. I don't know she is so calm. My stomach is practically sitting in my throat. I'd been waiting for us to broach this subject, and now that it is here I don't want to hear it.
Naomi and I had not really talked about the details of the affair. We couldn't without me getting pissed off and her feeling like the scum of the earth. Now, with Beth as an impartial mediator, I had no choice but to grit my teeth and bear through it.
"Well, Mark came to be the manager after Phil left to work at Walmart. Within a week he was hitting on all of the female staff. He even came on to some of the customers. I just blew him off as an asshole."
She glances at me to see how I am absorbing it. I have to admit that it is hard listening to this. It hasn't even gotten to the bad part and already I am feeling queasy.
"Because of the game that Josh and I played, I would sometimes allow men to flirt with me. There would be an occasional guy that would try to sneak a grope here and there. I sometimes allowed it and pretended to be naïve to it because I knew that Josh and I would use it later.
One day Mark noticed a client getting really fresh with me. He also noticed that I did nothing to stop it. He cornered me in the supplies closet a while later and told me that if he knew that working out with me would get him all of that then he wanted to sign up for free lessons.
Because I already disliked him, I slapped him in the face and told him to go fuck himself. It wasn't a gentle slap either. I actually hit him with all of my strength. His whole face practically turned around. When he looked back at me, I thought he would be angry. But he was smiling. He told me that 'he would rather fuck me'. He also said that he 'liked that rough shit'. Somebody walked in and interrupted us, so he left me alone that day.
But he began to pursue me relentlessly. Everyday he would make an obscene comment about us doing 'training' together. The more I saw him, the more I hated him.
On top of being an asshole, he was a bully. He would yell at people who made mistakes and call them stupid and slow. He made one of the girls cry when he called her 'fuck-tarded'.
So I just ignored him. Then I met his wife one day. She was so soft spoken and timid. It looked like she was afraid to even open her mouth around him. He called her all kinds of names like 'stupid cunt' and 'scared bitch'. I hated him! But I also hated her for letting him do that to her."
I look over at Beth and I see her nodding knowingly, like the light was finally shining. The pieces start to fall into place for me too. Naomi is too far gone in her recounting of the details to see how the dots connect.
"Then one day he cornered me in the locker room when the gym was closing. He asked me about a little 'one on one' work out. I asked him what about his wife. He told me:
'Fuck that mousy little bitch. I want you."
Naomi stops the narrative for a moment and tries to wipe her nose with the back of her sleeve. Beth hands her a tissue and allows the moment reprieve for Naomi to compose herself.
"How did you feel when he called his wife a mousy little bitch Naomi?" Beth guides her. I know where she is going with this. Things are beginning to come together.
"I was so livid at that point! I actually punched him in the face. I drew blood from his lip and everything. He just looked at me and sneered. 'That the best you got cunt?' he said.
Then he grabbed me by the wrist and kissed me. It wasn't really a kiss. It was more like he shoved his tongue down my throat. When I twisted my wrist free, I pushed him off of me. In doing so, I guess I grabbed his shirt or something, because it ripped. On his chest I saw scratch marks that I think came from my nails when I ripped his shirt. He ran his fingers across the scratches and licked the blood from them.
Then he said, 'Come to daddy bitch!'
After that it was a blur. We ripped each other's clothes off. I fucked him right there on the floor. The whole time I was doing it, I was in a rage. I punched him. I slapped him. I called him a worthless piece of shit. And I came so hard I almost passed out."
Her last statement hits me where it hurts. But surprisingly, it isn't as painful because I am beginning to see where all of this is coming from. Beth brings everything home.
"What did he look like Naomi?"
As I hear her describe the guy, my eyes are fully opened. There is no way that this is a coincidence anymore. I remember the picture that I saw in that photo album. Without realizing it, I break one of Beth's rules and interrupted Naomi.
"Oh my God Naomi! You're describing your father!"
The realization hit Naomi like a ton of bricks. She actually starts shaking.
"Oh my God. I'm so fucked up!"
I hold her as she begins to sob all over again. Beth even breaks protocol and comes over to our side.
"No sweetie. You're not screwed up. You've been holding these demons to yourself for so long that you had no way of understanding them or getting them out." She says as she rubs Naomi's arm reassuringly.
"But I fucked my father!"
Beth shakes her head. "No sweetie. You didn't..."F"...your father." I notice that Beth has an aversion to swearing and tries to avoid it. "He's in prison. You had sex with someone who reminded you of him. You were trying to exorcise your demons."
The sobbing subsides some, so Beth trudges on.
"When you and Mark were together, how did you feel?"
"I hated him. I hated his wife. I hated myself."
"What made you keep going back to him?"
Naomi was thinking for a moment, quietly sniffing. "No matter what I did to him, he continued to chase me. Like a pitiful puppy. He was pathetic, and I made him that way."
Beth looks at me and saw that I had a question, even though I didn't write it down. She gives me a nod to go ahead.
"Why didn't you tell me about this Na? You should have told me."
She looks at me with the saddest eyes I'd seen on her yet. "I was ashamed Josh. That was the first time in my life that I felt shame for what I was doing. I hated myself for fucking him. It made me feel low. But it also made me feel more powerful than I've ever felt. I didn't want you to see me like that. To know that a part of me was even capable of doing what I did with him. The rage that I was capable of."
Beth goes back over and sits in her chair. For the first time since this started, I feel optimistic about us. Sure, we are in a lot of pain right now, but that is because we just came out of surgery to get the cancer out.
"I think this is a good place to stop. Naomi, you were wonderful today! So brave." Naomi actually blushes and smiles as Beth claps for her.
"Before you two go though, I have to say this to you Naomi. In order to fully put this demon behind you, you are going to have to confront it. And I mean that literally. You have the opportunity and the means to release yourself. But it's going to take you doing something that you aren't going like."
We sit there looking at Beth expectantly. Her face is deadly serious, but also encouraging.
"You are going to have to forgive your father. I think that you need to visit him and confront him. Say all of the things to him that you couldn't say when you were younger. I believe you need that in order for you to forgive him. Only then will you be able to forgive yourself and heal."
Once again my wife looks uncertain. If Beth told her to dive headfirst into a pit of snakes, Naomi would have looked at her with more enthusiasm than she just did. She glances at me, as if trying to see what I think of it. I smile at her and gently stroke her cheek.
"You are the strongest woman I know Na. If anyone can slay this mother-fucking demon, it's you baby. And I'm going to be by your side every step of the way." Her entire face lights up with a smile as she crushes my neck with a bear hug. She is practically choking me, but it doesn't seem important at the moment. I look over her shoulder and see Beth wink at me as if to say Well done Josh. Well done.
PRESENT TIME - October 2015
I listen to the background noise of walkie talkies and doors slamming definitively shut. Low level murmurs surrounding me serve as white noise as the other people speak excitedly about loved ones that they miss so much.
I wish that I could share their feeling. I wish that the stark white walls and gloomy overhead lights didn't carry a sense of doom that spread throughout my body. Unlike the others here, I didn't drive 5 hours and 25 minutes to see a loved one. I came here to this miserable place to see a hated one.
Prison guards eye every last one of us with a detached interest as they wipe the wand over our bodies to detect any unknown metal objects. Once that task is done, they wave us through to the next station of inspection.
This place is so...cold. So devoid of warmth. It practically sends chills through my body. I cannot imagine a worse place to put someone for years at a time.
Once inside the family area, I take a seat at the table in the farthest corner. I sit facing the doorway through which the guests of the state would walk through. I need to see him when he enters. I want to be able to watch him approach me. Call it a survival instinct, but rule one of not being caught off guard is to never let your enemy see your back.
The door swings open and the room fills with orange jumpsuits. Hard core faces that had probably done unspeakable things turns into soft smiles as they lay eyes on the only people in the world that cared about them. It would have actually been touching if I were watching this under different circumstances.
Then "he" appeared. The monster of my nightmares. The one who had stolen my parents from me. The hypocritical asshole who thought that he was justified in ruining three lives. I hadn't seen him in 18 years, over half a lifetime ago. I always thought I would have been fine to never seen him again. But I am not fine. The current state of my marriage is a testament to that.
He doesn't look like the man I remember. The eyes of that young girl that watched his cold face all those years ago somehow made him a kind of evil deity in my mind. He was immortalized. His soulless eyes were so filled with hatred as he stared down at the lifeless body that he killed. He was invincible in my mind. Like Jason Voorhees or Michael Myers.
No, this guy isn't him. This guy's body sags, as if the weight of his jumpsuit is too much for him. His face is older, but it is as if the sadness and remorse of his life have added the years to him. Not just remorse that a person feels when they do something wrong. No, his remorse is deeper. It is like life for him is devoid of meaning and happiness. Like he curses God every time he wakes up in the morning.
Maybe there is justice.
"Naomi?" He asked as he approached me. It looks like he can't believe his eyes. He blinks, as if trying to make sure that I am really here.
He plants an awkward kiss on my cheek. I just sit there, rigid, not returning any warmth or affection.
"Hi Kenny." I say softly. I hate the sound of my voice. It sounds so weak. I wanted to come here and show him how strong I am. I wanted my voice to be stern and assertive. Maybe even a little intimidating. But seeing him so beaten, so defeated, takes all of that out of me.
I also see him flinch at the way I called him "Kenny" instead of "dad".
"Long time no see baby girl." He says as he sits down across from me. I try to smile, but I can't. I also feel a wave of discomfort at his term of endearment.
"So, what do I owe this pleasure?" He asks, trying to engage me in conversation that at the moment seems elusive. My stomach is filled with knots. I had an entire speech practiced. For days I had been going over what I was going to say when I saw him. I knew how I was going to say it. I even prepared witty, sarcastic comebacks to anything he could have possibly said to me. But all of that has vanished.
I regret my decision to come here alone. Why did I tell Josh to stay back at the hotel room? Why do I have to prove that I am strong enough to do this on my own? Why can't I trust my husband to lean on him during times like this? Why, Why, Why?
"I-I came here to talk to you. I'm seeing a counselor and she thought...she thinks...she and I think that it's time we talk."
I am babbling like an idiot. A weak idiot. Come on Naomi! Pull it together!
He suddenly isn't able to keep eye contact. I notice his eyes darting to the far wall as he averts my gaze. That serves me just as well because I am having trouble doing so myself at that moment.
"I suppose you want to talk to me about...what I did." His voice sounds just as weak and uncertain as mine does. My God! He's just as nervous as I am. The monster of my nightmares is nervous! Of me!
"Yes Kenny. I need to talk to you about the day you...shot mom." I am glad to hear that my voice now has some confidence in it. I use this gather my emotions and force myself to look into his eyes.
"Um, okay Baby girl. What do you want to know?"
What do I want to know? What do I want to know? What the fuck could I want to know? What the hell kind of question is that?
Suddenly, I feel the anger surge within me. The repressed anger that I felt in Beth's office as I purged myself of my memories comes flooding back. It practically chokes me, it's so thick and hot. I can feel it morph my face into a grimace.
"I WANNA KNOW WHY YOU SHOT MY MOTHER! What gave you the fucking right to kill her?"
I feel the burning tears on the brim, but I'll be damned if I let him see them. He doesn't deserve to see me vulnerable. He is the enemy.
"DON'T YOU FUCKING CALL ME BABY GIRL AGAIN! I'M NOT YOUR BABY GIRL! I'M THE GIRL WHOSE LIFE YOU STOLE YOU FUCKING MONSTER!
I'm yelling so loud that my voice echoes across the room, completely overshadowing the other conversations that are happening. Well, that were happening. Now, there is nothing but silence as all eyes find my dad and I too interesting to ignore. The guard gives me a warning look and seems like he is about to approach me. In my peripheral I see my dad - Kenny - wave him off with a pleading face.
"Naomi, I'm so sorry." He says as he reaches for my hands. I snatch them away and glare at him with an icy look that could freeze fire. He retracts his hands and places them on the table in front of him.
"There isn't a day that goes by that I don't regret doing it. What I did to your mother is unforgiveable."
"Why did you do it dad? Why did you shoot her when you were out there DOING THE SAME THING?"
His face falls when I say the last part. "I take it you know about Sandy and...your brother?"
I laugh sardonically. "Yeah dad. He swung by when you were convicted. Seems he felt he should meet me seeing how we had so much in common. Of course, you didn't kill his mom."
I can see how every sarcastic word that I shoot at him kills him a little more inside. Part of me revels in that. If I am hurting his feelings, good. Whatever he is feeling right now is like the after effects of a vaccine compared to the small pox he subjected me to. Relatives who didn't want to take care of me, social workers and physiatrists analyzing my moods, kids teasing me because of my murderer for a dad and slut of a mother. Fuck them both.
That is why I spent years forgetting all of that shit. Changing it. Changing me. I had to. I could not survive without moving past my experience, and I didn't have the ability to actually get past it. So I eliminated it. It was easier than my alternative. And it worked.
Mostly. Kind of. Not really.
I worked hard to be independent and not need anyone. Especially any man. Hypocritical assholes. Fuck anything on two legs, but then be ready to burn the women at the stake for not sitting there and taking it. Men are miserable shits. Not good for anything other than a good roll in the hay. All of them can go to hell.
Except for Josh
He is so different. No matter what, he always puts me first. My Josh! What would I do without you?
Kenny's voice drones in, interrupting my trip down the minefield of memory lane. "I wish I could undo what I did to your mother. All of it. I treated her like shit and it haunts me everyday. Her face is the first thing I see in the morning and the last thing I see at night."
He looks to be on the verge of tears. His eyes looks into mine, begging me to sympathize with him. To love him. But I'm not there. I'm far from there. Like in another hemisphere altogether.
At the same time, I can't help but to pity him - sort of. His life is shit. He is all alone. He has nothing to look forward to and no one to give a fuck about him. Horrible way to live, even for a monster like him.
"So why did you do it? Further yet, why did you even marry her?" I ask him, softening my approach. I no longer feel the need to beat him up and torture him. It's like slapping around a wounded animal.
"I never loved your mother. I know that sounds horrible, but I didn't. She was supposed to be a one-night stand. I was drunk. She was drunk. We had sex in a fucking bathroom stall. We didn't even get naked for Christ's sake!"
I sit back and digest that bit of information. Of course I always suspected that he didn't love my mom. There is no way that a man can treat a woman the way he did and truly love her. However, there is a difference between knowing it in your head and hearing it aloud. It is jarring to say the least. Every kid wants to think that they are a result of a union of love, not drunken lust. God, no wonder I'm so fucked up!
"I was a running back in college. Fast as hell. Strong. I had designs to go pro. Everybody felt I had a shot. Your mother was a local townie who enjoyed hooking up with college guys. She was even friendly with a few of my teammates. I'm just the lucky one who got her pregnant."
If it were possible to feel any more like shit than I already did, that last statement did it. Shock hits me. So, I am the reason why these two were stuck in that horrible marriage? I think he correctly reads the look on my face because he immediately tries to explain.
"Its not your fault sweetie. Your mother and I made the choice to fool around in that bathroom. I was too drunk to put on a condom. You had no choice in the matter. What happened was just a matter of consequences for stupidity."
I calm down a little, though I don't really like being thought of as a "consequence for stupidity". Every word that comes out of his mouth further tears me apart. But I know that I have to let him finish.
"When your mother told me she was pregnant, I about shit myself. I didn't believe you were mine at first. I don't even know how she figured you were. She wasn't the most chaste woman around. But when you were born the DNA showed that I was the lucky daddy." He chuckles to himself at his use of irony, completely oblivious to how low it makes me feel.
"My old man always talked about honoring commitments. Doing your duty. So when your mom had you he told me that the proper thing to do was to make her an honest woman. 'You deserved a family' he said. After all, you were the only one of us that didn't do anything they shouldn't have.
So we were married at the courthouse. Neither of us really wanted to be together. I was constantly getting ragged on for marrying the town bike. My teammates, classmates, even the coaching staff talked about me. I started to miss practices to avoid them. Started skipping class. Not to mention your mother always needing something. After a while, my performance on the field started to slip. A missed block here, a fumble there, a dropped pass or two. I was constantly distracted between enduring the constant teasing of my teammates and dealing with a family. Pretty soon, my scholarship was revoked and I couldn't finish school.
Of course, I blamed your mother for that. Every time I looked at her, I saw a future that was down the tubes. And I hated her for that.
Your mom had low self-esteem before we got together. That's why she let all of those guys have their way with her. A few drinks and a compliment and she was yours for the night. So naturally, she just took all of my abuse. It was in her personality.
The only one who really showed any love for her was your uncle. Poor Ricky! He thought she walked on water. He didn't care about her past. Several times people joked that she got pregnant by the wrong brother. Hell, I wished she did get pregnant by him instead of me. But we were all stuck.
My brother actually begged her to divorce me so that he could marry her. She never did of course because she was scared shitless of me, but I could see in her eyes that she wanted me to release her to be with him. But I couldn't do it. I thought that my future was shot because of her. There was no way I was going to give her a happy ending. I wasn't a very nice person. But you know that.
So I kept her in that marriage out of spite. When you told me that you caught her cheating, I was enraged. How dare she! She steps in, ruins my life, and then wants to try to be happy! I felt that she didn't deserve a moment of happiness. She cost me my future and my happiness. What right did she have to have to find peace?"
"So you shot her?" I finish his story for him, cutting to the point. All of his justifications just make me sick. He nods and finally looks in my eyes.
It actually looks like a weight has been lifted off of his shoulders. His jumpsuit doesn't look as heavy anymore. He'd apparently been holding on to that in for some time now. Finally being able to release it appears to be kind of cathartic for him.
"What about Brian?"
"Your brother? I started messing with Sandy, his mom, not too long after I married yours. She wasn't the only one. I have to admit that I wasn't faithful at all. I was young, good looking, and had a low opinion of women. On top of that, I was angry. So I always went after the low hanging fruit."
I have never despised anybody more than at this moment. He is a worthless human being, only capable of seeing what is happening to him. Everybody is against him. Nothing is his fault.
Funny thing though. I don't really hate him anymore. Listening to him talk, hearing his side of things, makes him...human. He is not the big bad monster of my nightmares. Just a pathetic man who couldn't own up to his shit so he took it out on someone weaker than him. I actually feel pity for him. He isn't worth hating anymore.
"TIME'S UP!" I hear the guard yell. Everyone seems to rise at the same time. I hear grumbles and complaining all around me. Most of it was about it "not being enough time". Me, I feel the complete opposite. This whole day has been just enough time for me to face my demon and slay him. Now, I just want to be out of here and put this entire building in my rearview as fast as I can get that my car out of the parking lot.
"It was nice seeing you bab...Naomi" he says as he moves in to hug me. I actually let him even though he makes my skin crawl. This is the last time I will ever see him. No need to be a bitch.
"Maybe we can do this again sometime?" He says as hope fills his eyes.
"We'll see." I return, throwing him a bone. Truth is the next time I see him will be at his funeral, and even that is up in the air. But there is no need to beat up on him. I did what I came to do.
Now I have to work on forgiving him.
JOSH NARRATING AGAIN:
I sit in front of the TV and look at the images moving across it, but for the life of me I can't tell you anything that I am seeing. My mind is wondering what the hell is happening with Naomi. God, why does she always insist on doing everything herself? It's almost like she doesn't need me.
By the time she'd been gone about two hours, I was worried sick. At four hours I was close to getting cabin fever. I almost felt like grabbing an ax and chopping through someone's door, then peeking through saying, "Here's Joshy!"
I heard the lock to the hotel room door engage after five hours. Seconds later my wife comes in. I take a second to see if I can find anything different about her. Is she happier? Sadder? Relieved? Free?
Honestly, she just looks tired. Like a warrior who just finished a big battle. Her physical appearance is as beautiful as ever, but emotionally she looks whipped.
She drops her purse on the bed and crosses the room into my arms. I hug her close as she smashed her face into my chest. I expect her to cry or something, but she doesn't. She just hugs me.
"You hungry? I ask when she finally releases me. She nods and begins undressing for the shower. I order some room service as she disappears into the bathroom. Her shower lasts about 20 minutes. When the food arrives, I just set it up for the both of us. I instinctively know that right now, she needs her time in the bathroom alone. When she finally emerges, she looks fresher. We eat in relative silence, though it isn't the awkward kind. It is more a comfortable silence; like two people who really don't have a need to talk at the moment.
Later on that night we lay on the bed blankly watching TV. She has her head on my chest and I am gently rubbing her hair. We hadn't discussed the events of her visit up until this point. I don't want to push her, and I figure that she will tell me when she is ready.
"Thank you Josh." She says softly. I pause rubbing her hair.
"For what sweetie?"
"For everything. For always loving me. For being the man that you are. For putting up with me. You have always respected me and you make me feel so loved. I know that I don't always tell you that I love you, but I do. So much. I get so scared when I realize it. Being dependent on someone is scary for me. But my life is so much better because of you. I need you in my life. You are the best man that I know. I want you to know that you are all I need, and I will always love you." She sits up and looks in my face.
After we return from the prison, life moves on. I really want to tell you that we go right back to being the loving couple we were, but that does not happen, at least not right away. Naomi is working on slaying her demon, but I am contending with something else all together.
For me it is trust. No matter what the reason was, Naomi lied to me for our entire marriage. Sure, she was also lying to herself by repressing her memories and thinking of both of her parents as dead, but deep down she knew it was a lie.
Her fucking her boss is more of a non-issue for me. Perhaps the game softened that blow for me. I don't know. But I am past her infidelity. Her lying though, that is big for me.
We had countless talks about it. Honest talks. One thing that we have learned from Beth is to listen to each other. And we do.
Over the next few months, we work on that trust. We continue to see Beth and talk. Knowing how much we like games, she suggests a college drinking game for us during one of our sessions. Those of you who have been to parties thrown by sorority girls will remember the game called "I never".
The game is really simple. One person says "I never" and then says something outrageous. Whoever else in the group is playing has to take a drink if they have done the thing that the person mentioned. For instance "I never had a threesome." Anyone else in the group who has ever had a threesome would have to drink.
Sounds silly, right? Well, we needed a little bit of silly. It is really helping us. Slowly, we are making our way back from the abyss. We are telling each other things that we never even thought was necessary to tell. I am learning more about her than I ever did when we were playing "the game". There are new sides to my wife that I am falling in love with. Her sexuality is one piece of who she is. The real Naomi, the one beneath her breasts, is so much more beautiful. I knew that, of course, but this whole experience has been so intense - and cathartic - that I am seeing dimensions and depth in her that I didn't completely understand before.
If it were possible, I am re-falling in love with her. Does that make any sense?
Of course there are other things that we are doing to gain the trust. More serious things. Naomi and I started journals. Anytime we think of something from our past we write it in the journal. Every once in while we read from each other's. Sometimes we just pick up the other person's journal to see if anything new is in it. Total transparency is the key to gaining the trust back.
As soon as I walk in the door, I am surprised by Naomi who throws herself in my arms and lays a kiss on me.
"Guess what?" She asks as she continues to pepper my face with kisses. I simultaneously try to return the affection and undo my coat.
"Na, I can't...guess with you...kissing me...all over my...face. "
She giggles and helps me out of my coat. Her face is just bursting with exhilaration.
"Okay Na, what has you so excited?"
"Well, there is a new manager at the gym. She started off as a part time personal trainer, but she worked hard and now they want her to be in charge."
"Oh my God Naomi! That's great! What happened to Shithead?"
That spark is back in her eyes. Has been for a while now. That little something extra that was most visible in her when we played the game. That thing about her that makes her alive. That "je ne sais quoi" that makes her...Naomi.
Yet we haven't played the game since September of last year.
"Well..." she continues. "It seems that a loyal customer made some complaints about the things that he observed Mark doing. He said that it disgusted him and made him want to change gyms. He said that Mark was a sexist jerk and he was making people uncomfortable. A few of the lady patrons backed him up. So they got rid of Mark and asked me to take over."
She could have told me that we won the lottery, and that would have still paled in comparison to the news she just gave me. I hug her and congratulate her.
"So, who was this customer that complained?"
She gives me an impish grin and sways from side to side. "I can't tell you his name Josh. It is confidential after all. But I can tell you that it starts with a "J" and rhymes with "berry".
You guys know what a fucking awesome guy Jerry is, right?
Her face falls when she mentions Jerry and looks worried for a second. "Speaking of Jerry, call your sister?"
I look confused for the moment as I grab my cell. "Why am I calling Trina?"
"Just do it Josh." She sounds deathly serious, which is such a contrast to how she was when I first came in that I take notice. Without another question, I call. It goes straight to voicemail.
"She's not answering Na. Her phone must be turned off. What's going on?"
Naomi looks around the room quickly, like she was deciding something. Then she grabs Henry and starts putting on his coat.
"Come on Josh. We're taking your car."
"What? What's going on Na? Where are we going?"
She stops like she was exasperated. "We're dropping Henry off at your parents', then we are going to Trina's."
I know I can be slow. But my sister's phone going straight to voicemail and the sense of urgency in Naomi's voice starts ringing all of my alarm bells.
"What's going on Naomi? Talk to me." I think she hears the panic in my voice because she slows down.
"I've been trying to call Trina all day since Jerry told me, but she hasn't answered."
"What did Jerry tell you about my sister Na?"
"It's not about your sister. Well, it kinda is. Jerry was offered a job in California. I think he's gonna take it, and I don't think Trina is taking the news very well."
Walking into my sister's house is like going through a time warp. The dirty dishes. The overflowing trash can. It is so reminiscent of the time after Carlos' death that I have to swallow back the feelings of those horrible memories.
"Trina?" Naomi yells out tentatively. When we don't hear anything we proceeded in.
We'd dropped Henry off at my mom's house. When we asked her if she spoke to Trina, she said that she'd been trying to call for a couple of days but kept getting the voicemail as well. That was when I really started to worry.
So we climb the stairs and find Trina in her bed, balled up under the blanket.
"Trina?" I say softly to the figure encased in the thick comforter.
"Go away." She says simply, emphasizing both words. Her voice is flat, like there is no life in it. Naomi creeps closer to her.
"Trina. Josh and I came over to check on you. We've all been trying to get in touch with you for a few days now, but your phone is going straight to voicemail."
"I'm fine. Now go away." The figure calls out. But her voice sounds anything but fine.
"Trina..." I start to say before she cuts me off.
"GO THE FUCK AWAY!" she yells loudly. She sits up in the bed so quickly that for a split second I think that she is going to launch herself at us. Her angry eyes locks on to us with a warning that tells us to keep away from her.
However, I see through that. I see her vulnerability. Her face is streaked with tears that flows from puffy eyes. Her nose is running. She looks broken.
Naomi is startled by Trina's sudden display and backs up a bit, but I stand my ground.
"NO TRINA! I'm not going away!"
"Fuck you Josh! You're no different than everyone else. YOU ALL LEAVE EVENTUALLY! My birth parents, Carlos, Jerry, you all abandon me sooner or later. Just leave me the fuck alone!"
As she speaks I can see her spirit breaking. Finally, Jericho's walls fall and her body shakes violently as loud sobs escapes her. Taking the risk of getting attacked, I cross the room and hold her.
Trina cries into my chest. When Naomi sees that it is safe to approach, she comes over. We both just hug her as she lets it all out.
"Trina, you need to talk to Jerry." I say when her cries quiet down. She pushes me off of her.
"Fuck him! Let him go off to California. If that what he wants, then to hell with him."
Naomi shakes her head. "He doesn't want to go to California Trina. He wants you. He said so. But he wants you to want him too. He doesn't want to always be in Carlos' shadow."
Trina looks at Naomi askance. I pick it up from there.
"Sis, you don't want Jerry to move into Carlos' house, yet you don't want to leave the house to move in with him. You never introduce him as your boyfriend. How do you think that makes him feel?"
Sniffles are her response. At least she isn't denying it. That is a good sign.
Naomi jumps in. "He's been in love with you for the longest time. He told me himself when we were working out together. Countless times. He adores Callie and Little Carlos. But whenever you deny him, it tears him up a little inside."
"So what am I supposed to do guys? Huh? What does he want from me?" Trina finally asks, finding her voice.
Naomi wipes Trina's tears with her sleeve and smiles at her.
"Someone recently told me that in order to move on with my life, that I had to face the demon of my past. I had to forgive him for what he did to my life. I think you need the same thing." She says. Trina nods softly.
I just look at my wife in awe. She has the ability to amaze me. Even after all of these years I still see something in her that surprises me.
"You need to forgive Carlos for leaving you. You need to forgive your birth parents for giving you up. Trust me I know about shitty parents!"
Trina looks at Naomi confused for a second.
"My father killed my mother. I had to stay with relatives who were shitty. That is why I bonded with you so much Trina. You are like me. I wish I had people like your parents take me in. You are so lucky."
Trina looks at Naomi with a newfound fondness as she grabs her in a hug. I smile as I go back in time and see how much they have bonded. I always found it curious. Now I see that they were kindred spirit.
"You need to chase down that big muscle bound hunk who is gaga over you and make him yours. I see the way that those women look at him in the gym. He ain't gonna be single for long Trina."
Trina actually gives a small laugh as she wipes her nose
"I can't just stop loving Carlos Naomi. He was my life. I can't forget him."
Now it is my turn. "Trina, do you think Carlos would have wanted you to be like this? He lived for your happiness. You dishonor his memory by using him as a crutch. You are using him as an excuse to not let another person in. Go look at yourself in the mirror. Do you think Carlos is proud of you right now?
That statement hit jackpot. I see her visibly tense up.
"Trina, you and my wife are two of the strongest women I know. When I was in your basement, you told me to take my life back. Well, get the fuck up and take yours back. You have all of the means to be happy at your disposal. You have two great kids. You have a good job. And you have a man who loves you despite all of your drama. You kept him at a comfortable distance for the longest time, and he patiently waited. I honestly think Carlos would've liked him."
Trina smiles at that. "Yeah, he would have liked Jerry."
I grab her cell phone off of her nightstand and hand it to her. "Call him."
She takes the phone from me and searches for his number.
"Hello Beth? Hey it's Josh"
"Hey Josh! How are things? I haven't seen you guys in a while. I was beginning to worry."
"Yeah. I got the voicemail. That's why I was returning your call."
"Good. Good. So, can I look forward to seeing you guys this Thursday?"
"Actually doc, that's another reason why I was calling. Naomi and I are doing well now. I thank you for all of your help, but I think we are at a good place and don't need to come in anymore."
She was silent on the other end for a moment.
"That sounds really good Josh. I'm so happy for you two. If you will, is there a chance that I could see you one last time. Just you. Naomi doesn't need to come. I think she has what she needs to handle her situation. But with dealing with her issues, I haven't really had a chance to address yours."
"My issues? Doc, I'm fine. I don't have any issues." I actually meant it. Men are not known for their great introspective skills, you know.
"Would you humor me one last visit Josh? If I am wrong about you, then the worst thing that will happen is that you lose an hour out of your life."
I chuckle. "Don't forget about the few hundred dollars that hour will cost me doc."
Beth laughs her endearing laugh. "Too true, too true. But you have excellent insurance. You pay for it every month, whether you use it or not. This is your chance to stick it to them. I also saw a new Prada bag that I just have to have. Both of us can get a little something out of this."
Beth could sell sunlight. I can't imagine anyone being able to say no to her. I almost feel bad for her husband.
"Fine. I will be there Thursday and you can tell me all of the wonderful things about myself."
"Thank you Josh. When I buy that purse I will remember this gesture."
We both laugh as we ended the call.
"There he is!" Beth says excitedly, like I am the exact person that she wanted to see. I give her a quick hug and sit down on the couch that Naomi and I shared every Thursday for many intense weeks.
"So Josh. How are things?"
"Good. Good. Naomi and I are doing well. We haven't played the game since the Mark thing. Also, Naomi got promoted when they fired him." I pause and smile at that.
"What about her relationship with her dad? Anything new on that front?"
"No, 'fraid not. She is working on forgiving him. For the most part she has, but sometimes she reverts back. I don't see her trying to let him be a part of her life. I think that ship has sailed."
Beth nods her head. "Yeah, well. Forgiveness does not mean condoning or permitting. It is simply releasing someone's responsibility of the pain they have caused you. By not holding them responsible anymore, you are letting go of that pain and the hold the person has on your life. She needed to do that."
I nodded in agreement with her.
"So, what about you? How are you Josh?"
"I'm good doc. Naomi and I are on the same page. What else could I want?"
Beth just once again nods and smiles. But this was a different one than before. It is as if I just reaffirmed something.
"Let me ask you something Josh. When you and Naomi were playing "the game" what did you get out of it?"
I think about it for a moment. "It was fun. It amped Naomi up and we had great sex."
"But what did YOU get out of it? You see, I know what she got out of it. She got to feel attractive. She felt powerful. She had control over men, including you, and had them willing to do anything for her attention. But besides having Naomi 'amped up' what did you get?"
"I don't know Beth." I answer honestly. Beth gives me a reassuring smile.
"I'll tell you what I think Josh. I think that you got to feel powerful through Naomi. I think that you felt special because someone who had such control of others CHOSE to be with you. Every time she teased some poor man mercilessly, you felt empowered because she could have any man that she wants, yet she was choosing you."
I hope Beth enjoys that Prada bag. She is worth every God Damn penny that we spend on her!
"Wow Beth. That's exactly what I feel."
"So, here's another question for you. What do you feel apart from Naomi? Every time I ask you something about you, you refer to how YOU AND NAOMI are doing. But I have rarely heard you talk about you apart from her."
"But doc. She's my wife. We are one."
"Yes and no Josh. You see, when two people become one, they don't stop being who they are. They just combine the two of them to make a better union. They supplement each other's strengths and try to compensate for each other's weaknesses. But they don't stop being who they are.
The way I see it, Naomi has always done much of what she wanted to do. She may have asked for your input, but she never really stopped being Naomi. You on the other hand let her push you to places that you didn't want to go at first. When she allowed the masseuse to pleasure her with his fingers while she took him in her mouth, she didn't ask you about that. She did that because she wanted to. You accepted the new boundary with little hesitation. Then she further talked you into a threesome with the guy, even though you disliked him.
Even while you were dating, you allowed her to have "freedom" even though you wanted to be exclusive. In fact, you actually had a chance to have that with someone else, yet you chose Naomi. It seemed that you were always doing what she wanted, despite what you really wanted. Oh, you learned to accept the new rules, and enjoy them; you even made yourself think that it's what you wanted. But they didn't start with your input."
"Well, Naomi's always been like that. Since I first met her."
"Yes, but have you always been like that? When you first met, were you the person who enjoyed having his woman have sex with others?"
I think about that for a second, and I realize that I wasn't. I remember breaking up with her when I found out I wasn't the only one. Eventually she talked me into accepting it. Even my relationship with Mel was because she rejected me. Eventually, I went back to her.
"So, are you suggesting that I divorce Naomi doc?"
She dismisses that with a wave of her hand. "No, No, No Josh! I would never encourage a couple to divorce. Especially when they are two people who love each other as much as you two. No, I am sure that you guys belong together. But I am saying that you need to examine yourself. You see, Naomi is just Naomi. But you are 'Naomi and Josh'. You were most content in this relationship when your wife was all over you.
Josh, you told me that the excitement of the game felt like a high. That's a good analogy. People get high on drugs. You can't live on drugs forever. A marriage that depends on the excitement from a game is like a drug. It feels good until it starts to take its toll. Pretty soon you depend on that high, and you feel that you can't survive without it.
When things came down from the high you were on, you became antsy. You NEEDED Naomi to be on that high because it made you feel good about yourself. But no marriage survives with that much heat. Those marriages eventually burn themselves out. No matter how careful you are, or what "rules" you put to it, you will always wind up burned if you don't learn to accept ALL of the things that a marriage has to offer. Sometimes being comfortable has to suffice. You can spice things up, but that spice has to SUPPLEMENT your connection, not VALIDATE it. Those things need to be more like a glass of wine at dinner than a drug to get through the day."
She cocks her head to the side and looks at me as I digests the knowledge that she spilled on me. I felt like Luke Skywalker in the swamp with Yoda.
Balance, a marriage needs, young Skywalker!
"So, what I got out of the game is feeling powerful as I lived vicariously through Naomi?" I ask, though I am speaking to myself more than to Beth.
"Yes Josh. What you got out of the game was validation. The way I see it, you have always looked for others to do things for you. It was your sister's job to look after you when you were younger. Naomi always took care of you. She made sure you ate, she encouraged you; all of those things you needed she did for you. You often said that being with her made you feel safe."
"I don't see how that explains the game doc. Why did I let it get that far?"
Beth smiles at me. "You tell me. Why did you?"
"I never felt good enough for her. I've always felt that she was above me. When she always chose me, it just reaffirmed that I was better than other guys. And it is good for the ego to see that men want what I have, and that at the end she will always come back to me." Even as I hear myself say it aloud, I can't believe it. But it is true. I know it is.
"Josh, would it surprise you that Naomi has said the same thing about you? She has always felt that she didn't deserve you. You always put her first. You stuck with her through all of the things that she put you through. YOU CHOSE HER despite having a girl who was devoted to you. You felt special because she was choosing you over all others, but that is exactly how she felt all of these years."
The light comes on in my head. I see everything so differently now. My entire marriage. Both of us felt like the other was too good for us. In essence, we were both exactly what the other needed.
"May I make a suggestion Josh? I think you need to develop who YOU are outside of Naomi. There is a difference between being married because you love that person and being married because you need that person. The Josh who is married to Naomi will be happier and better if he knows who that Josh is."
I certainly have a lot to think about. Beth and I talk for a bit longer until my final session with her is over. We hug each other again and I thank for all that she has done for my marriage. Beth is truly an angel. I will miss her.
September 2016 - One year after Mark:
"Hey mom. It's me, Naomi. I know I've never been up here to see you before. It was just really hard for me. Ya know?
Anyway, I've been doing a lot of growing this last year. I even got to a place where I wrote dad a letter and told him that I forgive him. That was pretty hard. I think I wrote 10 different versions until I found one that fit.
But now, I came up here to tell you that I forgive you too. I forgive you for being too weak to stand up to dad. I forgive you not being strong enough to leave him and be with Uncle Rick, the one you really loved.
I have always been afraid to be like you. I fought Josh tooth and nail for my independence. I was afraid that if I let that go, then he would own me like dad owned you. But you know what? Josh isn't dad. He loves me. He actually loves me. He chose to be with me on his own. He treats me with respect and kindness. He is the best man I know, and I wouldn't trade him for the world.
I wish you could have met him. I wish you could have seen what real love looks like. I wish you were here to see your grandson. You left behind your future because you were too weak to be yourself. But I forgive you.
I also forgive myself. I blamed myself for your death for the longest time. But it wasn't my fault. It was dad's - and maybe a tiny bit yours. You two created the hell that your marriage was. But I forgive you."
With that I kiss my fingers and touch her gravestone.
I feel a warm hand touch my shoulder. I turn around to look into the eyes of my wonderful husband. The only man that I could ever count on to be there for me. He is my hero.
"We're going to be late for the wedding Na. I don't think Trina would appreciate the Maid of Honor being fashionably late."
I grab his hand as we walk across the street to the church.
I sit back and look in awe as my wife does some group dance with the bride and a bunch of other drunken idiots. I make sure that my IPhone is set to record. If any of them forget what total asses they made of themselves tonight, I will direct them to the link on YouTube.
My wife and I haven't played the game since last year's revelation. You know what? We don't need it. I have fallen even further in love with Naomi than I was on our wedding day. Her sexiness is a result of who she is. Her strength, her character, the way that she loves me and pushes me to be better, the way that she lights up when Henry walks in the room, the way that she and my sister support each other; all of it makes her sexy. The things we do in the bedroom is just the physical expression of the deeper feeling.
I love my wife. We fought our demons side by side; together, like man and wife should. She is mine. Always will be. To have and to hold.
Some of you found the time jumps disconcerting and confusing. I apologize for that. "The Notebook" is my wife's favorite movie, and I tried to use the technique that they used in that movie. Some liked it, others hated it.
Two shows that I have gotten into in 2015 are "Empire" and "Marvel's Daredevil". I find these shows fascinating because they, in my opinion, have the best character development I have seen. "Good guy" and "Bad Guy" are terms that don't really fit in real life. Sometimes, "bad guys" are simply "misguided guys". A person can be both the hero and the villain, given the situation. These shows embody that so well.
As usual, I finally want to thank my editor. Nonethewiser is fucking awesome. No other way to word that phrase will suffice.