Stories Hub / Chain Stories / F5: Desperate Times and Measures

F5: Desperate Times and Measures

by Tx Tall Tales 06/16/14

F5: Desperate Times, Desperate Measures

(Author's note: This story is an entry into FAWC (Friendly Anonymous Writing Challenge), a collaborative competition among Lit authors. FAWC is not an official contest sponsored by Literotica, and there are no prizes given to the winner. Every story for this FAWC begins with the exact same line. Where it goes from there is up to the author.)

* * * *

Upon the table lay three items: a handkerchief, a book, and a knife.

I knew it was a desperate tactic, but these were desperate times. I adjusted their position once again, then sat back in my chair, wiping a stray tear from my eye, while waiting for my wife of 21 years to come down the stairs.

I didn't have to wait long. I heard the door creak open, and felt a surge of anger. When had she started closing the door to our bedroom when she got ready? She hadn't done it for the first two decades we were together. It had been a running joke within the family. Sandy's favorite outfit was her birthday suit. She'd come home from work, yoga, or from working out, peeling off her clothing while chattering, walking through the living room, naked as a jaybird. Our daughters would occasionally give her grief, reminding her that anybody could have been around. Her argument was that it's her home, and she should be able to be comfortable. I supported my wife of course. It was my favorite outfit of hers as well. Even though I hadn't been seeing much of it lately. Closing the door? Never crossed her mind in a score of years.

I heard her heels coming down the hardwood stairs, clacking away noisily. Heels. Another irritation. She never wore heels. She was a runner, and had nothing but bad things to say about women who would treat their feet that way. As far as I knew, the tallest heels she had were only about an inch high. Or at least that was the way it always had been. The woman was almost five foot ten. It wasn't like she needed heels. She didn't need anything to emphasize her height or her long luscious legs. Genetics had blessed her with the first, and the 30 or 40 miles she put in each week took care of the second.

She appeared from out of the stairwell, wearing a dress that was nothing less than shameless. For an innocent dinner with two of her girls from work. Right.

Sandy looked up at me sitting there, and unconsciously adjusted the bottom of her skirt, pulling it down a little. Perhaps she was trying to stop me from seeing if she was wearing panties or not. Another inch higher, and there would have been no question. She glanced at me again, and I could see the nervousness. She was a horrible liar, and terrible at deception. How she expected to get away with this I had no idea. Maybe she wanted to be caught.

"Dinner's in the oven," she said, avoiding my eyes. "I might be a little late."

I didn't make an effort to answer, not even nodding. I just watched, stifling my urge to jump up and scream at her, for her idiocy, her disrespect, her horrible behavior. Almost as strong was the desire to fall on my knees, to plead with her, to beg. Honestly, I'd come close to both in the last couple of weeks, neither in the least bit effective.

I could see her eyes scanning the area, looking for her purse. She normally dumped it on the kitchen island when she got home. I had taken the liberty of hanging it off of the arm of one of the chairs pushed into the table. The table I had cleared earlier, wiping it clean, leaving the glass sparkling, before I laid out the three items for her to discover.

She eventually noticed her purse, and stepped toward the table. I saw her look down at the items, first giving them a casual glance, then her head turning back to look at them more carefully. When the realization hit her, she wobbled, her ankle turning as the heel of her shoe flared out beneath her foot, forcing her to lean forward, grabbing the edge of the table to catch her balance.

Sandy looked over at me anxiously, then turned her head away. Looking back down, at my little reminders. She straightened up, back on those ridiculous heels, and I saw her hand drift forward, almost of its own accord, toward my last effort to stop this runaway train.

* * * *

It was a recent thing, her attitude, barely suppressed irritation with me, snippy manner, avoidance, disrespect. I thought I deserved better. Twenty-one fucking years. Our youngest finally out of the home, and off to college. A chance for us to refocus, on each other, and not on the responsibilities of being good parents.

At first I chalked it up to boredom, having me around too much, not having our girls to dote upon. But it didn't stop. She started avoiding me. Spending more time than ever on the computer, usually on Facebook, or chatting on her phone. Names I didn't recognize. Walking out of the room, and closing the door behind her to talk in private. Private, from me.

A love life that I'd hoped to rekindle, instead sputtered and died. She was unresponsive, passive aggressive in her denial, surrendering after enough coercion, but no longer a partner in passion, now a weary victim, waiting for me to finish. It was heart-breaking, but any attempts at discussion were either laughed off, or ended in her walking away.

I thought perhaps she was depressed, until the party at her friend Tracy's. Her behavior was anything but depressed, laughing, flirting, spending far too much time with people I didn't know, one person in particular. He'd been introduced to me when we arrived. I didn't like him then, and was really starting to detest the jerk as the night wore on. A younger guy—I guess you call them metrosexuals now—you know the type. Hair immaculately coiffed, he probably spent a hundred bucks to get it looking just right. His coordinated outfit was carefully chosen from the pages of GQ, hands manicured, soft, lotioned, I'm sure. Shoes no man would wear, not a real man. Even his eyebrows were shaped and plucked. I was certain his chest was waxed. It turned my stomach the way he hovered around my wife, his hand reaching out often to touch her, brush her arm, stroke her lower back. He would lean over and whisper in her ear, and her laughter would fill the room. A sound I'd almost forgotten, it had been so long.

Tracy appeared before me, a worried look on her face. "It's nothing, Dan."

"If it was nothing, you wouldn't have to tell me that, would you?"

She blushed. "It's just flirting. It's how he is."

I saw the guy grin, his perfect caps gleaming. I wonder how they'd feel, cracking under my knuckles. "How long has that asshole been fucking her, Tracy?" I asked.

Her red face changed from embarrassment to anger. "He's doing nothing of the kind. I can't believe you'd even suggest that! Sandy has never been unfaithful to you. She's just . . . confused now. It hasn't gone anywhere."

"Why is he here? Who the hell is he? Since when did you start inviting assholes like that to your parties?"

"Nathan? He's just a friend. A neighbor. He's new to the area, lives two doors down. There's nothing to it, I'm telling you. He acts like that with all the women. He's harmless."

"Harmless. Right. If he touches her again, you're going to have to call 911. I'm going to pound those fake porcelains so far down his throat, he'll be shitting them out his manicured and bleached asshole." I tore my eyes off the scum bag and glared at my wife's best friend. A woman I thought was my friend, for the last decade. "I'm grabbing a beer. If I were you, I'd get that jerkoff out of here. I swear, if I come back and see him within ten feet of her, you'll be replacing that pretty white rug of yours, because you'll never get the blood stains out."

A couple of minutes later, with a new Shiner in hand, Tracy's husband Jake was bracing me, obviously interfering with my going back into the main room. "He's an asshole, Dan. But that's all. I told her not to invite him, but he's harmless."

"Sure, he's harmless to your wife. He's like a fuckin' leech on mine. I'm not putting up with it."

"It's a party. Everyone's had a little too much to drink. She's having a good time. Why not enjoy the results? Don't do anything now that you'll regret. You can talk about it later, tomorrow, when you're both sober."

Enjoy the results? Maybe, once upon a time. Not lately, that's for sure, and it was pretty obvious why. "I'm sober. Not even buzzed. Now do you want to get out of my way, Jake, or is this going to get ugly between you and me? Are you siding with that fucking pussy-hound?"

He seemed to deflate, and stepped out of the way. "I don't want any trouble. It's just a party."

I brushed past him, and back into the family room. It took a few moments to spot my wife, now standing at the edge of a group that contained Tracy, and was notably absent of any assholes of the male variety. Jake had followed me, and was talking softly. "Nothing happened. Nothing will. It's not a big deal, Dan."

Turning, I glared at him. "When'd you lose your balls, Jake? Since when do you put up with shit like that? If that guy was all over your wife, would you just laugh and lick up his cream-pie later? Is that how it is now? Seriously, man, I wanna know."

Jake bristled at my comment. "He'd never do that with Tracy. She wouldn't put up with it. Maybe you should ask yourself why your wife doesn't shoot him down. He's no threat to me."

"Fine. I get it. I thought you were a friend, but now you're running interference for some sleazeball so he can hit on Sandy. That's all I need to know. I'm leaving now. Maybe you can spare a bedroom for my idiot wife. Hell, talk to Tracy, it might just be permanent."

I looked up and saw the gaggle of women were watching us. I was disgusted. Some friends. I turned and headed for the door, turning my beer upside down, and pouring it out on the carpet on the way.

"Damn it, Dan!" I heard Jake snap. I dropped the nearly empty beer in the fancy umbrella basket they had standing by the front door, and let myself out.

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