Short story: Madness

She wore her madness as lightly as the pale beams of the autumnal moon. What chance did I have? I had no defenses against her. I was a lowly mortal and she some heavenly creature, or forsaken demon from some unfathomable hell. All I knew was she was an otherworldly being, and I was besotted, feeding off her madness, sating some unquenchable thirst, some unknown longing in my soul.

I had lived a life devoid of passion, a life not worth living. I married an unimaginative woman whose only goal was to push out children with assembly line efficiency. One child, a second, and then a third. We started working on our fourth, our sex life as monotonous as our lives. No euphoric release, no joyous climax, only a feeble thrust, a perfunctory kiss, and an almost impotent issue. How we managed even one child, I’ll never know.

This was my life, and I lived it without complaint. I didn’t know better. I didn’t know about the thrill of schoolboy crushes, of the devastation of an unrequited love. I didn’t know that there was more to the human condition than blindly accepting your fate. I didn’t know I had had a choice. I spurned risk for the safety of a certain, easy life.

I wouldn’t know anything until I came home and found her in our bed with another man. Theirs was no feeble attempt of lovemaking. It was raw, it was passionate, it was intense. I could hear her scream as I stepped out from the car. I could smell them as I opened the door, my children listening in. Then again, maybe they were his.

I crossed the threshold into our room, and he looked frightened, but my bride looked back unabashed at being discovered. I sensed she relished making me into a cuckold, impotent and ineffectual, emasculating me so utterly. I confess I didn’t care too much. I didn’t love her. I never did. I left slightly aroused at the sight of such wild and carefree passion. That it was my wife made it even more exciting.

That was my first taste of madness. I left my house almost immediately, listening to the strains of the headboard hitting the wall percussively, listening to my wife moan excitedly, wondering what bastard her brood belonged to. I knew they couldn’t be mine. I was relieved. They didn’t care that I left.

I drove to the nearest bar, a strip club a few miles from the double-wide I had recently called home. I’d return later for my belongings. At the moment I needed to clear my head. I needed something for something had been roused in me, some latent potency that yearned for release. I had considered going back and forcing myself on my wife, maybe trying to join in, I didn’t know. I had no experience in the matter. I needed to sit and consider my options.

I walked into the bar, and it was still early. The afternoon shift was still there, the B and C squad. They were overweight, with visible stretch marks and cesarean scars. Their breasts drooped too much, or a few were too large and too perfect maybe for so ragged a troop of dancers.

Then I saw Diamond walk onto stage, and this beast in my chest roared with approval. Like the others, she was past her prime, pushing forty if not older, but she was feral on stage. A few men paid for her attention, but not enough. I could tell she demanded more in her younger days. Why she hadn’t quit yet, I didn’t know, but I was grateful.

She saw me and winked, but I sat rigid, not knowing what to do. I had never been to a regular bar, much less a strip club. A few of the house regulars laughed at me, a few yelling taunts at me and one gloated happily, but Diamond could sense my desire. She knew I needed her, perhaps before I knew it myself.

She walked off stage and a few minutes later returned and sat beside me, wearing a thin negligee. “I’ll have a drink, if you’re buying,” she winked. I nodded to the bartender who poured her a shot of something and handed it to her. “Salud,” she grinned.

“Cheers,” I stammered, holding up the bottle of beer I was nursing.

“Never seen you here before, Jacob, is that right?”

“How do you know my name?” I asked, shocked that she could possibly know me.

“Did you finally walk in on your wife?” She cocked her head, a sad smile on her aging face.

“You – you know about that?”

“Sugar, we all know. Your wife’s been fucking anyone and everyone for years. Hell, we all been placing bets as to when you would find out. Shit head over there,” she pointed to the guy with the gloating look about him, “just won the bet. Pity. You’re a good looking guy. What’s wrong? Does the plumbing not work?”

“Excuse me?” I stammered again, shocked as she racked her nails down my neck. I gasped as I had never felt such a thing. My nerves screamed and I tensed, not out of fear but out of desire. “Look at you,” she smiled approvingly as she glanced to my crotch. I covered myself clumsily, not wanting her to see my arousal, but ran her nails under my chin and forced me to look at her. “Sugar, it’s okay. You’ve never been properly introduced to a woman, have you?”

“I’ve been with my wife,” I said lamely.

“That bitch ain’t anything but an easy lay,” she laughed, then looked apologetically at my wounded pride. “No offense, but everyone in here has had a go. Even a couple of us girls, but not me. My baby sister went to school with her, and she was just as trashy then. You were just the poor sap she chose to take care of her while she fooled around behind your back.”

“Am I a joke?” I cried, ashamed as my eyes watered.

“Depends,” Diamond replied.

“On what?”

“On what you do now. Do you accept defeat or do you pay her back.”

“Pay her back? How?”

She took my hand and led me to a room in the back. She closed the door and pushed me roughly into the chair. Without warning she pulled off her top and took off her panties and then she danced for me. I shook with fear, but more with anticipation. It was not a sensation I had ever felt, and she knew it.

“Relax, Sugar,” she smiled. “This one’s on the house. You’re a good guy, a hard working guy. She didn’t deserve a man like you. You didn’t deserve a bitch like her.” She leaned in, her breasts pressed against my chest, she whispered into my ear, “Let me help you. I’ll show you what a real woman can do.”

“Uh – okay?”

And she danced for me, and the sight was more erotic and intoxicating than I could ever have imagined. It was sensual in a way that my wife never could have managed. My wife, not yet thirty, never looked as desirable as Diamond. There was something animalistic in the way she moved, a predator toying with her prey before the kill, and I longed to be devoured.

Before anything could happen a sudden knock on the door stopped everything cold. “That’s it for this now. If you want another, you’ll have to pay, but I’ll cut you a break, Sugar. Oh, and by the way, I get off in thirty minutes. I never tell clients when I’m getting off. Meet me at the diner off of 127 if you want to continue this.”

She didn’t say another word but strode out the door. Some guy held the door open for me as I walked out. He gave me an almost imperceptible nod and a wink and I paid for our drinks and left. Thirty minutes later, I waited at the diner Diamond had told me and sipped a cup of weak coffee. She walked in, looking remarkably normal. The cheap makeup was gone, as was the negligee. She looked like a suburban soccer mom wearing capris and a tank top. Only the feral look in her eyes remained.

“I’m glad you’re here. I hope that means you’re ready to embrace the madness.”

“The madness?”

“Sugar, there’s more in you than what you’ve been led to believe. Come on. Let’s go to my place, and I’ll show you wonders your wife never could have imagined. We’ll dance on the grave of your marriage, resurrect your tattered manhood, and I’ll make you a proper man. That’s if you think you can handle me. What do you say?”

I felt as though I were making a pact with the devil. Then again, maybe she was my guardian angel sent to save me from despair. I didn’t know, but I took her proffered hand and she led me out. The next hours of my life were spent in a tangle of limbs, of sensations I had never felt, and a passion that had eclipsed everything I had ever felt.

And her madness fueled the newly kindled fire in my soul, and I became her devoted and willing slave. And when my wife’s eyes came to fall upon me again, she realized her folly. I was everything she had ever wanted, but she had squandered it on a series of cheap flings. Diamond had made me into a proper man. I could never go back to being in an unfeeling life, devoid of everything that made things worthwhile. I had embraced her madness, bathed in her light, and shunned the darkness in which I dwelt for a lifetime.

But nevermore.


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Short Story: Shards

The look in Timothy’s eyes said it all. Grace saw him as he rounded the corner of the aisle as she stocked the shelves of the toy department. She had dreaded seeing in him for some time, dreaded the look he was now giving her. Her hands instinctively went to her belly, protecting her baby from his anger, though he was never prone to fits of outrage. His reaction was all the worse for it.

With one glance at her pregnant form, she could see waves of shock and surprise fighting with jealously and anger. She thought there was revulsion in there where, but she wondered if she was reading her own feelings in his eyes as they stared silently at one another. Her customers walked by them, oblivious to the awkwardness of the reunion.

“His?” Timothy muttered at last, once he found his voice.

She nodded. “Yeah, sorry I didn’t tell you. Me and Ken are, well…”

“I can see that,” Timothy said as he grappled with the unexpected feeling of betrayal. “You and him, huh?”

Grace nodded again, rubbing her belly absently, regretting the chain of events that led her to this moment, and not for the first time. “It was an accident, you see. Didn’t mean for it to happen.”

“Didn’t mean for it to happen,” he sighed quietly, closing his eyes as he tried to make sense of everything. “I thought he was only a bit of fun after your divorce. Wasn’t that why you and me didn’t happen?”

“I know,” she whined. “I know. He was only supposed to be someone to  play with before I settled down with someone a little more stable. I’m sorry. I know we were supposed to, but,” she shrugged helplessly. “You disappeared, and I know we kept in touch, but I thought I would never see you again.”

“I moved an hour away,” he retorted angrily, losing control of his emotions. “Promoted and moved one fucking hour away. I tried to call you, but you never answered. I text you, and the same. Oh, and you blocked me on everything. I guess you didn’t want me to know what was going on.”

“That was Ken’s doing,” she protested weakly. “Didn’t want me to get any ideas. He’s kind of controlling, and he’s always been jealous of you. You know how he’s like.”

“Oh, I remember Ken. Spent his whole marriage, or all three of them, controlling them, cheating on them, and just plain treating his wives like crap.”

“I know, but he promised it would be different this time.”

“Different? This time?” He said inquiringly as he pieced it all together. “You and Ken are married?”

“Well, no,” she shook her head, “but we’re supposed to get married in a month, once his divorce is finalized. “I don’t want to raise this baby without his father.”

“But you had no problem raising your other ones without their father,” Timothy argued heatedly. “What makes him so special.”

“I don’t know really,” she furrowed her brow in concentration, trying to explain the unexplainable. “It just is, you know. We’re together now. We’re going to have a family.”

Timothy scoffed, shaking his head in disbelief. “I must be the biggest fucking idiot.”

“No you’re not! Why would you even think that?”

“Because, I was hoping that maybe me and you could, but now this,” he pointed at her pregnancy. “I mean, holy fuck woman! You’re having Ken’s baby. And you’re marrying him? How fucking stupid can you be? How fucking stupid am I to hold on to the hope that maybe you’d finally decide to give me a chance. I mean, you said you loved me. You said you were in love with me.”

“I was,” she cried. “I still am, but it’s complicated.”

“No,” Timothy shook his head. “It’s simple, or at least it was. You chose him over me,” he said, tears streaming down his face. “Funny how everyone says I’m a nice guy, but it’s always the asshole that ends up with the girl. Either no one wants the nice guy, or maybe I’m really not as nice as everyone pretends I am.”

“You are, and I’m sorry,” Grace pleaded, sobbing into her hands, longing to fall into Timothy’s arms once more. “I fucked up. I should have picked you, but now I’m having his kid. I’m sorry.”

“No,” he shook his head. “Don’t be. I’m the one who should be sorry. I wasted all this time hoping that you’d give me a chance, but of course it was just that. I colossal waste of time. I – I have to go. Um, see you around, but probably not.”

He turned to walk away but Grace grabbed his arm and turned him around, pulling him towards her and kissing him. His resolve melted as he kissed her back, his need pulling him towards her in spite of himself. He ached for her and now there was nothing for him to do but walk away, but he couldn’t tear himself away.

Finally he wrenched himself from her grasp, unable to control the sobs tearing down his pride. “I love you, but I can’t do this. Not again. I’m sorry, but – goodbye.”

Without giving her a chance, he raced away. Grace stood there, rooted to the spot as he disappeared back around the corner, watching the man she was in love with get away, and she died a little.

***

A little over a year later, Timothy walked around his store, making sure the workers were busy with their tasks when he got a text. “It’s Grace. I need to see you. Can we meet?”

He stared at his phone the rest of the day, not knowing how to respond. Once he was home, he picked up the phone and replied. “I guess. I’m off tomorrow.”

“Okay.”

They agreed to meet at the city park. He waited on the bench by the pond as Grace walked up pushing a stroller and followed by her two other children, a boy and a girl.

“Thank you for meeting me,” she said timidly. “Can you guys go and play? I need to talk to Timothy for a minute.”

Her children ran towards the playground, not bothering to wonder why they had driven more than an hour to meet the strange man. She watched them for a moment before turning around and taking a seat next to Timothy who sat impassively watching the ducks waddle by.

“You wanted to meet?” He said in a cold voice.

“Yeah, I did,” she replied timidly.

“Ken know you’re here?”

“Me and Ken are getting a divorce,” Grace replied, picking up her baby from the stroller.

“That him?” Timothy pointed.

“Little Dexter,” she said lovingly. “He’s turning one next month.”

“Time flies doesn’t it?”

“Yeah.”

“So why are you here?” Timothy asked at last. “I mean, I don’t mean to be rude, but why bother driving all the way up here just to tell me you’re divorcing that sack of shit. I suppose you caught him?”

“Three times, the last time in my bed, while the kids were sleeping,” she whimpered. “That was the last straw. I kicked him out. That was last month. He doesn’t care enough to call to see how Dexter is doing.”

“Okay, but why are you here?”

“I fucked up, okay?” Grace choked. “I choose the wrong guy and let the right one walk away. I should never have decided to play with him and lose you in turn. That was not what I wanted.”

“But it’s what you did, and what you got. You can say sorry all you want, but it’ll never change the fact that you picked him over me. He was the one you wanted, not me. Why should I give a shit that you’re here apologizing?”

“Because,” she begged, “I was hoping you’d maybe give me another chance? Please?”

Timothy laughed. “You’re fucking unbelievable. You expect me to take you in after what you did?”

“I expect you to tell me to get lost,” she shook her head wearily, resigned at the idea of losing him for good. “I had to try anyways. I have to see if you’d give me another chance.”

“I don’t know,” Timothy shook his head slowly. “I’m tired of always coming in last. I’m never anyone’s first choice.”

“You’re my first choice now.”

“No, I’ll never be your first choice. You made sure of that the moment you went with him. I’ll always come in after that asshole, no matter what you try to say on the contrary. He married you, and you had his baby. No matter what, you’re linked forever. I can’t compete with him.”

“You don’t have to,” she cried. “He gone. Out of the picture. He moved in with that whore of a homewrecker.”

“As I recall, you broke up his last marriage. Don’t get mad that he treated you like he treated everyone else. You knew what he was like, and you choose him over me anyways.”

“You made your point. I guess I drove out here for nothing then?” She looked at Timothy, and he could feel his resolve slip away. She had a way of doing that when no one else could.

She stood and he joined her, looking deep into each other’s eyes. He had forgotten the striking blue of her eyes, or the dimple on the corners of her smile, or the way she’d squint when she smiled, as she did right now.

He had to have her, but he knew it would end in heartbreak. He also knew his heart would fail if he allowed her to walk away. Either way he’d end up hurt. It was a no-win situation, and he hated no-win situations.

They fell into each other’s arms before their lips met. She fit perfectly in his arms, and she felt it too. They were perfect for each other. They held on for a minute or two before they broke their embrace. He had to answer her. Yay or nay? Either way he would end up broken, and he wondered if he should bother. He looked at her, ready to give her the answer, wondering to himself as he spoke if there would be enough shards of his broken heart to put back together again.


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Short Story: Shattered

I wish I could pinpoint the exact moment my heart broke. There has to be a moment when it’s whole and well and in the next it’s shattered beyond recognition, beyond hope of ever being whole again. In my mind’s eye, I picture a high-speed camera recording it happening, and then when I replay it time and again, I can see the seismic event as my heart flutters and contorts violently, before the trauma rips through the organ, shredding it into uncountable pieces.

I replay the event constantly as I try to sleep. I try to divine meaning or purpose from it. I wonder if I had missed any warning signs. I pray for healing, but I’m left barren, an unbeliever in a miserable dark night of the soul. I’ve been hurt before, but never like this. Never have I been left questioning even my own identity. Maybe I should tell you what I’m talking about.

I met her a few years ago at a 5K event, a fundraiser with proceeds going towards cancer research. I lost my mother to breast cancer the previous year, and I wanted to do something to honor her memory. I took up running, hoping to help the cause. Sandra had also lost a loved one, in her case her favorite aunt. We met at the sign in table, and we started to talk. She was actually one of the first women I initiated a conversation with. I felt a pull from her, a well of gravity that captured me and placed me in her orbit, though I hadn’t recognized it at the time.

We exchanged phone numbers, and within a few days I called her, wanting to hear her again, needing to see her. The sensation was unlike anything I had ever experienced. It was utterly intoxicating. We went out for dinner, and then the next week to a movie. Soon we were dating fairly regularly. I’m not even certain when we became a couple.

All too soon, we ended up moving in together. I, who had spent a lifetime taking things slow, never wanting to rush into anything, fell headlong into a relationship. I realized quickly that I was attracted to her, that I felt a rush of emotions when I was with her. The heady feeling of euphoria clouded my judgement, but I didn’t care. I was in love with her, and she told me constantly that she was in love with me. It was bliss, or so I thought.

There were signs the entire time, of course, but I ignored them. I was too in love to see clearly. I cast my doubt away and allowed my heart to blind me. She, I believed, could do no wrong. She would never betray me, yet there was a nagging suspicion in the back of my head. I shouted it down, but the voice became louder. Still, I ignored it. I was, after all, in love.

As time wore on, however, the little signs became clearer. Maybe it’s because she became emboldened by my refusal to see what was in front of me that she no longer felt the need to hide it from me. I accepted her fidelity as a given, but her actions clearly betrayed her. Even my friends could see what was going on, and though they tried to warn me, I ignored them as well.

We were together for a year before the truth became brutally clear. Sandra, in her arrogance, started being careless. I would read texts between her and her friends. They were clearly romantic in nature. I’m not sure romantic is really the word I’m looking for. There were explicit, but I tried to rationalize it. I wasn’t giving her my full attention. I was clearly working too hard and not being available to her.

So I left work early ond day, wanting to surprise my lovely girlfriend. I got home, noticed several cars in the driveway, cars that I didn’t recognize. Curious, I crept quietly into the house. That’s when I heard her. From the doorway of the house, I heard her moaning, moans that I had never heard escape her lips. It sounded ravenous, guttural, with a kind of savage ferocity that I had never thought possible to issue from a woman’s mouth.

My heart seized in my chest, but I was still in denial. I had to be imagining it. I hung my jacket in the closet before sneaking up the stairs. The moans became louder and clearer as I crept up. I heard the voices of several men, in addition to hers. I heard her utter words I didn’t even know she knew, profanities and invocations to a deity I was beginning to lose faith in.

I opened the door, hoping not to see what I knew very well was happening within. On the threshold into the bedroom, I felt my very soul torn asunder. Something in my mind broke the moment my heart was shattered. When I came to myself, I was surprised at what I saw. I was covered in blood, the bodies of two men strewn along the floor, their bodies broken by my hand, and the wooden bat I must have picked up from the coat closet by the front door.

Sandra cowered in the bathroom, having witnessed my break from sanity as I swung against her lovers with an anger I had never displayed in my life. The aggression that had built up during a lifetime of submission washed over me, like a dam spilling over after a flood. Nothing could hold back my anger, and in those moments she came to discover that even the meek can only by strung along for so long.

I felt the power pulsing in my veins as I drank in the fear from her eyes. I must have looked mad, drenched in the crimson life force of the lovers with whom she had mocked my own manhood. At that moment, my tenuous grasp at sanity was fleeting and I felt a surge of hatred overpower my control. This time, however, I was fully aware of what I was doing. I knew what I had to do to regain my battered manhood. I would have to kill her.

I lifted my bat above my head, relishing the terror etched onto her face. I thought my love for her was intoxicating, but having control of her life, and now her death, was empowering. I laughed a mad laugh as I walked towards her, watching her shrink back against the vanity, having nowhere to flee. Her life had been forfeited for having been a treacherous bitch.

In my righteous anger I hadn’t heard the muffled, pained breathing of one of her lovers. I was deaf to everything but Sandra’s pleading for mercy. I didn’t hear anything until the loud pop from behind me, then the eerie warm sensation of something viscous pouring from my side. Then the searing pain as another bullet ripped through my body and I fell onto the floor, my consciousness floating away.

I’ve been told that I failed to kill those two bastards, but that the one who shot me lost the vision in one eye, and the other may never walk again. No one will tell me what happened to that bitch of a girlfriend of mine. I hear precious little in here, and the nursing staff will not talk to me. My therapist is trying to put my psyche back together, but I don’t think there’s much left of me to fix. The man I was is dead. The woman I loved killed him with her betrayal. I wish I didn’t miss her. I don’t understand how I can still love her with my shattered heart.


 

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Flash Fiction: Time

I’m astounded by the capricious nature of Time, how it ebbs and flows much like the waves of an ocean against the beach. At times it’s gentle as it caresses the coast like a besotted lover, and at other it wreaks havoc like a jealous cuckold, destroying everything in it’s path. Time, I fear, has become the mistress that’s getting away from me.

Age is creeping up on me. I’m reminded every morning as I roll out of bed, by the aches in my back and by how my knees threaten to give out on me. I’m reminded as I look at the sagging spectacle of a naked man staring back at me in the mirror. I’m confronted by it when my younger wife goes out without me only to return tousle-haired in the wee hours of the morning, smelling of cheap booze and stale cigarettes.

She tries to hide it, but I can tell by the satisfied look on her face that she’s fooling around. I cry myself to sleep at night, knowing I have never seen that look after our lovemaking, even when I was a much younger and virile man. I never heard her cry out, I never heard a murmur out of her. She just laid there, an unwilling sacrifice as the dutiful wife, performing solely for the benefit of her inept husband.

I can’t recall the last time we made love. I can’t recall the last time she cared to initiate physical contact. I don’t remember what it feels like to have a woman who cares. She has her lover – or maybe multiple lovers – but yet she stays, my labor financing her betrayal. I’ve often wondered, as of late, how much of my money has gone to lavishing gifts onto those undeserving scoundrels.

It’s getting late out, and I see my wife, in a short skirt, walking out the door without so much as a goodbye. I won’t be here in the morning to witness her return. I won’t be here to play victim, willing or otherwise. I’m done being played the fool. I’m done being less than a man. Better off dead than to remain the joke that Time has made me. Perhaps Time has only granted me the wisdom to see that I’ve always been the joke.


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Previous story – The Writing On The Wall

Short Story: On the losing end

The moment she walked in, I knew it was over. I could read the pain on her face, as well as a resigned determination to get what she came to do over with. I expected anger, I expected tears, I especially expected to be yelled at. What I didn’t expect was the bombshell she dropped on me when she sat down.

“I’m pregnant, Dave,” she said coldly, relishing the pain her unexpected news had caused me.

“P – pregnant,” I stammered, trying to grasp what she was saying. “But how? I thought we couldn’t…,” I finished lamely.

“No,” she grinned maliciously, “you couldn’t and I married you anyway. I gave up my right to motherhood for you, and this is how you repay me?”

“Repay you?” I yelled. “You’re pregnant! Who the hell is the father?”

“Who can say?” she teased. “Could be anyone, I suppose. Why does it matter?”

“Because you’re my wife, that’s why,” I yell, pounding the table between us for greater effect.

She looked at me, unfazed by my outburst. I could see contempt in her eyes, but also pity. I could stand the contempt, but why should she feel sorry for me? I wanted to strike back, to beat the woman who betrayed me and made a mockery out of my manhood. She silenced me with one question. “How long were you cheating on me?”

Just like that, the heat of my anger grew cold, and the reason we sat in a sterile conference room became clear once more. I opened my mouth to answer, but no sound escaped my lips. I closed my mouth when I became aware just how ridiculous I appeared, but it was too late. I swallowed and took a deep breath before I gave her an answer. “That was the only time, the time you caught me. What about you? How long have you been…”

“Don’t try to turn this on me,” she hissed angrily. “I caught you over a year ago, sleeping with Dan’s wife” She leaned back and folded her arms as she scrutinized me, making me feel somehow small. “Your best friend from college, and you slept with his wife. What would he think?”

“Please don’t,” I plead, not wanting to hear what I knew was to come. But she surprised me.

“I’ve been keeping an eye on you, for over a year, and I know all your little secrets, you text messages and emails to each other. I had you tailed and I have enough dirt to destroy you, but first I wanted to humiliate you.”

“You want to know how long I’ve been cheating on you? About four months. I waited, you see, to figure out how best to take my revenge on you, and then it hit me. I would get pregnant. Seemed a simple and elegant solution, don’t you thing?”

“That’s cold.”

“What? Don’t you want to hear the best part?” She waited for me to answer, but when I don’t she proceeds all the same. “You know Dan always wanted a kid, right? You know how his bitch of a wife refused to give him one?” I sat there in horror as the cruelty of her revelation ripped into me. “I see you can put two and two together. I told him about your rendezvous with his wife, and at first he didn’t want to have anything to do with my little plan, but I soon had him seeing things my way. By the way, he’s a much better lover than you. Don’t know why Delia’s fooling around with you.”

Without another word, she slides a packet towards me, and I know what is inside. I open to see a Waver of Service. Fill that out and we can get started with the whole divorce proceeding. I’ve already filed. We can let our lawyers hash out all the details, division of property, assets and debts, child support….”

“Child support! For a kid that’s not mine. You’re fucking crazy!”

“Funny thing,” she smirked at my indignant response. “In Texas, the husband is presumed to be the father. You’re my husband, I got pregnant while we are still legally married. In the eyes of the law, you’re going to be a father. Congratulations!”

“Bullshit,” I yell. “You can’t do this. I’ll fight it.”

“I’m sure you will, and I’m sure we may find some middle ground. Or not. Either way, this marriage is over. I hope she way worth it and I hope you two will be happy together.”

Fuming, I sign the waver and hand it back to her. She slides it into a folder and stands up. “I’m sorry it had to come to this. Believe it or not, I still love you and wish I didn’t have to do this, but I refuse to let you do to me what my father did to my mother. I deserve better. Good bye, James.”

In less time than it took to get her from the parking garage, she managed to take control and destroy me. Part of me was impressed and proud, but mostly I hated the bitch because I hate to lose and I lost this round. I’d have to wait and see what my lawyers would have to say, but regardless, this wouldn’t be cheap no matter how quickly and quietly we resolved this.

As I stood up to leave, my phone rang and I noticed Delia calling me. “What’s up?”

“Hey, James,” I heard her say and I could tell that she’d been crying. “Dan confronted me about us, and I can’t do this anymore. I can’t lose him.”

“What are you saying?”

“I had fun but it’s over between us.”

“What? You know he got my wife pregnant.”

“Yes, I know, but you don’t understand. I love him. You were great, but Dan’s the guy I’ve loved since forever. I made a mistake and we’re going to try to work it out. Don’t fight this, James. I won’t give him up. Not for you.” She hung up and I’m left to deal with the reality that I lost not once, but twice. I made a fool out of Dan but he got me back as well. I’m left with nothing but a bitter taste in my mouth.


Short Stories

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