The Not Entirely Complete Works of Peter Schulman

©2005 Peter Schulman

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Clark Kent or Superman?

I pumped my hips up as Harvey drove his down, once again burying himself in me to the root. This time was taking longer. Not only was he working on his third orgasm, but, frankly, the friction we had experienced the first two times had diminished considerably from the use of my pussy and from the overabundance of fluids we had both produced. Lucky me, I didn’t need the friction as long he made sufficient contact with my clitoris, and he did. I made sure of that.

This was not a contest and I had lost track of my orgasms, but there were enough that by the time he came, I would be satisfied.

He soon began making those silly man noises that let me know that if I wanted to get off with him, I had better make it happen soon. I reached a hand down between us and began rubbing two fingers over my slippery clit. It was sufficient. I enjoyed yet another orgasm. As I started to come down from the high, I recognized that he was moments away.

"In my mouth. My pussy is full enough!"

Ever the gentleman, he complied with my request. It was not copious. He had used up most of what he had stored the first two times. But

I love the taste of cum and this was a lovely way to end an afternoon of pleasure.

We rested a few minutes and he got up to shower.

"Do you have to rush off?"

"Your husband will be home in a little while."

"No he won’t. The game won’t end before four and it often runs as late as four-thirty. It’s at least forty-five minutes in traffic. He has never left an Eagles game early no matter how much they were winning by or how badly they were losing. It’s a whole big production for him from tailgating three hours before the game to the final whistle."

"Well, I have nothing left anyway."

"Enjoy your shower; wouldn’t want the wife finding any evidence."

I just laid there resting. Orgasms take a lot out of me. Of course they’re wonderful, but the body does undergo some pretty violent contractions when they are really good. I would need a shower too and I would need to change the sheets but I had plenty of time. I needed to rest up so I would be ready to do some more of this tonight with my husband, if he was interested.

Harvey was a lot quicker in the shower than he ever was in bed and he dressed and headed down the stairs.

I heard his tires screech as he pulled away. That was stupid. Be unobtrusive. Don’t draw any unnecessary attention from the neighbors. I would have to talk to him.

I heard the front door close. Maybe it wasn’t him pulling away. He probably forgot something. I heard the footsteps coming up the stairs and then he appeared in my doorway - my husband.

"What are you doing home so early?"

"I think the more important question is what were you doing? Who was that guy who ran past me and tore out of here in his car?"

I didn’t have a good answer to either question. "Why are you home so early, honey?"

"I got sick. Who was that guy you were just fucking?"

No use lying. There was really no question as to what I had been doing. "Baby, it was just sex. I love only you, but I need more than you can give me."

"That’s an explanation?" He wasn’t yelling. I would have preferred it. He yelled when he was angry. He spoke quietly when he was so far beyond angry he was on the edge of explosion. He is not usually a violent man, but I was afraid.

"He’s nobody, nothing. He means nothing at all to me."

"Like me?"

"No, I love you with all my heart."

"I guess you don’t have much of a heart."

"Don’t say that baby. It didn’t mean a thing."

"It did to me. I’ll talk to you later. I’m so angry now I’m afraid I’ll punch you hard enough to kill you." He turned and left. I heard the front door slam.

This was good. He would come back calm and I could explain so that he would understand. In the meantime, it was probably a good idea to get cleaned up and change the sheets. The mess on me or them might reignite his anger.

I stripped the bed and made it with fresh sheets. Then I took a nice hot shower. I didn’t know how long I would have, but I wanted to be sure to remove all traces of our activity so I took the necessary time. I was surprised at how calm I was. This had the potential to turn out very badly, but I had thought of what I would do if I were ever caught and I think that preparation helped me do what I had to do now.

I put on a white blouse and black skirt that ended around eight inches above my knees. I put on panties but no bra. I wanted to look appealing without looking slutty. He might think that of me so I didn’t want to enhance that perception with my attire.

I took down the sheets and started the washer. Then I poured myself a glass of wine to help calm me and waited for him in the living room. He took his sweet time. He was gone nearly an hour and a half.

"Do you have a better explanation? How long has this been going on? How many other guys are you fucking? Any of our friends?"

"Calm down, honey. I’ll answer your questions but I can’t answer them all at once."

"How long?"

"Around three years."

"We’ve only been married for five years."

"I know. I held out as long as I could."

"I’m deeply appreciative."

"No need for sarcasm." He was often sarcastic. I didn’t know if I would be able to put up with that through a long marriage.

"Yes there is. How many guys?"

"Around a dozen. None of our friends."

"You’re pretty fucking calm about this. You don’t even care that you’ve been caught? You don’t care how much you’ve hurt me?"

"Oh, I care. I’m really sorry you had to find out. I didn’t want to hurt you."

"What did you think this would do?"

"I thought that after I got to explain to you, you would understand and be okay with it."

"You really think that? You think I’ll be fine with being betrayed?"

"I didn’t really betray you. It didn’t mean a thing. You need to let me explain."

He stared at me with a look of incredulity. This might not be as easy as I had imagined. "Sure. Give it your best shot, slut."

"That’s not nice thing to say."

"Well then, convince me it isn’t appropriate."

"You know I have a much greater sex drive than you. Well, I tried everything I could think of for the first two years we were married to rev you up so I could be satisfied, but nothing worked. Just because two people are married doesn’t mean they can be everything to each other, that they can do everything for each other. I need more sex to be fulfilled. You couldn’t supply it so I had to go out to get it."

I wasn’t rushing through this but he just sat there passively, not looking as if he had any plans to jump in. "Just because we are married doesn’t mean that I don’t have a right to be sexually satisfied. I can’t supply everything you need either. That’s why you go to the Eagles with Frank. He fills a need I can’t."

"Just a fucking minute, you’re equating going to a football game with another guy to you fucking whoever you want, whenever you want?"

"No. Of course not. I don’t do it whenever I want. And I don’t do it with just any guy. And I make sure I take care of you too."

"No. You’re not taking care of me. You’re taking care of you. I just happen to be the guy of the moment."

"Don’t say that. I love you. It’s completely different. But you can’t take care of me. I have needs. If you couldn’t make enough to support us, would you consider it a betrayal if I got food stamps so we could eat?"

"So you think you’re entitled to indulge yourself in any area in which you don’t think I’m taking care of you adequately?"

"No. But there are some things that are just too important to do without. If we needed money to pay the rent or to buy food, I’d get a job, I’d do something to make sure our needs were satisfied."

He was starting to get that quiet, angry look again. I had thought this would go better. "You’re not satisfying our needs here. You’ve chosen to satisfy yours."

"Aren’t my needs important? Don’t you care about me?"

"Grace, you’re talking about cheating on me."

"I’m talking about not having to give up an important part of my fulfillment as a woman just because I got married. What if you told me you didn’t want me working? Would I have to give that up too?"

"It’s not the same thing. Let me ask you this, if I could somehow put this behind me, if I could find a way to increase our lovemaking, would you put an end to this?"


"Well, what?" Now he was shouting.

I wanted to try to put this delicately. "I’ve discovered that I like to be more filled than you can do. I don’t want to give that up completely."

"So you plan to keep on doing this no matter what I say, no matter what it does to our marriage?"

"I don’t want to lose you. I love only you. But I need this."

"Doesn’t this strike you as being supremely selfish?"

I was ready for this one. I knew he would try to play the selfish card. "What about you? You’re saying you would be fine with me having an unfulfilled sex life for the rest of our marriage? How selfish is that?"

He sputtered. I knew this was a really good argument. "So anything you’re not completely satisfied with, you just do what you want to make yourself happy?"

"Don’t you want me to be happy? I would think that when you love someone you would want them to be happy."

"I’m not happy."

That was harsh. "Maybe there are some situations where everybody can’t be happy."

"I don’t know if I can live with this. I want you to see somebody, a therapist, to talk about this."

"What, now I’m crazy?"

"No. Someone to help you make sure you understand what you’re doing to the marriage, to make sure you have your priorities in order."

"No. There is nothing wrong with me. Go see one yourself. Look, I’m sorry all this came out, and I’m sorry you feel bad about it, but I if I start giving up parts of myself just because I’m married, where does it end? I don’t want to lose you, but this is very important to me."

He just sat there with a pained look on his face. I knew it was possible that this might not be easy for him. But I did love him and he did love me and I was sure that he would come around after he had a chance to think about it.

"Give this some real thought, Barry. Don’t just dismiss it out of hand because it seems the natural thing to do. Think about what you want. Think about how much we love each other."

Pained and incredulous. He didn’t say anything immediately. Neither did I. The least I could do was to give him the time to collect his thoughts.

"I love you Grace. I’d like to find a way for us to stay together even though you’ve hurt me very deeply and you tell me you plan to keep on doing it. I’ll do that much for you. I’ll give it some thought."

"Thank you. I love you so much." I got up to hug him, but he pushed me away. I could understand how he could feel that way. All of this was too recent. He would handle it better as he had time to absorb it. I left him to his thoughts in the living room.

I went out and bought cheese steaks. That was our traditional Sunday night dinner after a home game. It was just a small way of showing him that nothing had to change as a result of my activities.

We didn’t talk over dinner. I wanted to give him space and he had nothing he wanted to say.

I watched TV in the bedroom by myself. He didn’t come in. I suppose he was in the house somewhere thinking about all this. I hated to hurt him this way, but what else could I do? I was very hopeful. Barry is a very mild-mannered guy, the archetypal Clark Kent. His way was to accommodate, to smooth things over. Sure he got angry every now and then. But there was nothing in his personality that indicated he would ever turn into Superman. He would think things through and come up with a logical solution, a solution that allowed us to stay together.

He came in at bedtime and I pulled down the sheets on his side of the bed as he took out his pajamas.

"I’m sleeping in the guest bedroom."

"There’s no need for that. I love you as much as I always did and I want you with me."

"Frankly Grace, the thought of sleeping in the same bed with you right now makes me nauseous."

"Barry." But he ignored my plea and left the room. I would give him as much space as he needed. I decided not to plan any extra activities for a while to give him the time he needed.

Somehow he left in the morning without me seeing him. He must have left awfully early because I had to get up for work too, even though I only worked half days. I had been laid off and good jobs were not easy to come by in this economy.

I took advantage of the afternoon off to make his favorite meal - roast with garlic mashed potatoes. I was really looking forward to dinner.

He got home just before six. He didn’t say anything to me; he just went upstairs. I waited patiently for him. I heard the water running. He must have been taking a shower; freshening up for me. That was a really good sign.

He came down dressed in a suit; awfully formal for dinner at home. "I made your favorite dinner, honey."

"I’m not eating here. Frankly, Grace, you’re not a very good cook and I need something better to feel gastronomically fulfilled so I’m going to a restaurant where I can get a really satisfying meal."

That was cruel. I guess there was some truth to it, but it was cruel nonetheless. "Okay, wait up. I’ll be ready in a few minutes."

"Sorry, I have a kind of date. You’re also not the greatest conversationalist and if I’m spending the money to have a good meal in a quality restaurant, I don’t want to spoil it with inferior conversation. I asked somebody I know who is really interesting. Look at the bright side, you’ll have leftovers tomorrow and you won’t have to cook."

"Barry!" I said it reproachfully but he ignored me, took his coat and walked to the door.

"I don’t think I’ll be back late but you don’t need to wait up for me." And he left.

I really didn’t know what to make of this. I guessed it was some kind of attempt to get me to change my mind though I didn’t understand how he hoped to accomplish that. I figured one night of trying to assert himself would make him feel better about himself and smooth the whole process. I could wait for this to play itself out.

I watched Fear Factor. It was a two-hour episode. As it was ending I heard him come in so I went downstairs to greet him. He was not alone. She was suitably dressed and very attractive.

"Grace, this is my friend Deborah. Deborah, Grace."

"Pleased to meet you," she said.

"What’s going on here? Did you bring your date back here to fuck to get me jealous?"

"Grace, that’s rude and crude. I’m appalled at your behavior. First of all, I didn’t have dinner with Deborah. Second, there won’t be any sex unless we have a discussion and decide to try each other out. I think you owe her an apology."

Like there was any possibility that would ever happen.

"Your behavior is disgraceful. Nonetheless, I’ll give you an explanation of what she’s doing here. Right now I can’t stand the idea of being in the same bed with you. But even if that time comes, you take up too much space and you’re too intrusive on my personal space. It’s often uncomfortable to try to sleep in the same bed with you. But I have gotten used to sleeping with someone. Deborah is single and she also likes the feeling of sleeping with someone, so we’re auditioning each other to see if we are compatible sharing a bed. Even though you and I are married, that’s no reason I shouldn’t be able to get a good night’s sleep. There will be no sex involved for the time being. We just want to find out if we’re compatible. I’ll probably audition a few other women before I make any decision on that."

He took their coats and hung them up in the closet. I didn’t say anything. What the hell could I say? What were the magic words to make him realize what an idiotic idea this was? I didn’t know them. It should have been self evident.

"Have a good night’s sleep, Grace." And he took her upstairs.

I hadn’t expected any of this. I had thought I was ready for any possibility but he sure threw me with this one. I decided to get that good night’s sleep he had wished me. I could think about this tomorrow.

It turned out that, for some reason, I didn’t sleep all that well.

They were getting ready for work when I got up. I saw her walk into the hall bathroom wearing only panties and a bra. Very utilitarian. She wasn’t planning on seducing anybody with those. Barry was singing in the bedroom. He was awfully cheerful this morning. I got ready for work myself.

I found them having breakfast in the kitchen.

"Good morning, Grace. Did you sleep well?"

"Just fine."

"Good morning, Grace."

Right, bitch. "Good morning, I’m sorry, what was your name?"

"Deborah," said Barry.

We ate in silence. Nobody said a word until they were leaving.

"Have a nice day," said Barry, still very cheerful.

I didn’t. I couldn’t stop obsessing. What was his plan? Could it possibly be that he had just accepted my decision and was making the best of it? I didn’t think so. Was this his game, or was there more? Was I dealing with Clark Kent or was this Superman?

I had the afternoon off, but I didn’t have the enthusiasm to call anyone to play with.

He came home from work at the usual time. "Hello Grace." Cheerful and pleasant. He headed upstairs and again I heard the shower. This time he returned dressed casually. Nice, but casual.

I was about to ask him what was going on when he went for his coat. "Enjoy your dinner, Grace. I’m probably going to be back later tonight."

"Where are you going?"

"Dinner and dancing."

"Just a damn minute."

"You’re a perfectly adequate dancer Grace, but she’s really hot."

"But you’re depriving me. I would be happy to go dancing with you."

"Number one, like I said, you’re not as good a dancer. Number two, you wouldn’t ordinarily be interested in dancing on a weeknight anyway. If you’re so interested in dancing, why don’t you call one of your many lovers?"

"They’re not lovers. I just fuck them."

"I stand corrected. Well, tonight, you can also dance with them."

"I don’t deprive you. I always give you as much as you want."

"You don’t give me loyalty, which was what I thought I wanted more than the sex. Hey, I’m just following your rules, aren’t I? Being married shouldn’t stop me from fulfilling myself personally in any way I desire. I did get that right didn’t I?"

There no rancor in his voice. Had he just accepted what I had said completely? This wasn’t what I had in mind. He walked out the door. I know there is something I should say but I’m not sure what. It’s too late now anyway. I’ll talk to him when he gets home.

I knew I had to talk to him but try as I might I couldn’t come up with something clever and pithy. Maybe I should talk to Deborah. She was sleeping openly with another woman’s husband. What gave her permission to do that?

They got back after midnight. They weren’t loud enough to wake me, I was already awake. I went down to confront her, him, them. It wasn’t Deborah. He was with some other woman who was even hotter than the first.

"What the hell is going on here? Who is this?"

"Grace, where have all your manners gone. That’s no way to treat company."

"She’s not my company."

"I didn’t do anything rude to whatisname as he ran from the door, fresh from coupling with my wife. Tina is only here to audition for sleeping with me. Plus she is a great dancer."

"So this is the slut you went out with tonight?"

"Grace, I’ve got to insist that you start behaving." There was palpable anger in his voice. "I didn’t so much as kiss Tina, though I’ve got to say it was awfully tempting. But we’re not far enough along in our relationship for that. I told you, for the time being I’m only looking for someone comfortable to sleep with."

My face was red. My breathing was heavy. I was angry too.

"If I didn’t know you better, Grace, I’d think you were jealous. But, of course, that’s not possible. Your rules make this perfectly acceptable. In fact, as I understand them, sorry for the crudeness Tina, it would be fine if we screwed the night away to the point we had to drag ourselves bleary-eyed into work, as long as I needed it to fulfill me. I didn’t miss the part where this just applied to you, did I Grace?"

Jealous? Me? Hah! It was just, I don’t know. Something seemed wrong about this. I knew I was pissed. I turned and walked up the stairs in a huff but he didn’t react at all. He just focused his attention on little Tina. Bastard.

I didn’t trust him. I didn’t believe for a minute that they weren’t going to fuck each other’s brains out when they got into that bed together. I wasn’t going to trust him. Tonight I would stay up and go to the door and listen. Then I would surprise them in the act. Cheating bastard.

I waited until I saw the light go out. Damn, he wasn’t even hiding it. He hadn’t even closed the door. I couldn’t very well stand outside their door. I could be seen and I would look pathetic. But it didn’t matter. I could hear very well from the hall.

I snuck down the carpeted hall silently. There were no creaking boards to give me away. There was also nothing to hear. It was quiet and still in their room. Soon I heard the sound of regular breathing. They were sleeping. Did they plan to do it later after they had gotten some sleep? I stood there for what seemed a very long time. Then I went back to my room to look at the clock. It was nearly three. I snuck back down the hall. More time passed and still nothing. I got back to my room just after five. Would they get up early and do it before they got ready for work? It didn’t matter. I was much too tired to stay awake.

I was kind of tired to get up too. I must have hit the snooze alarm an alarming number of times. I was quite late. Nevertheless, I went into the spare bedroom and pulled down the covers to check the sheets - nothing. If they had done anything, it wasn’t in bed. For some reason I didn’t find this reassuring.

I called in to work and told them I would be late. They already knew that - I wasn’t there. I discovered I would have a full day - Mindy called in sick. The day was so hectic I didn’t have time to think about all the craziness but I was beginning to lose my patience and planned to confront Barry about this soon.

He wasn’t making it easy. He was so damn condescending.

"I figured every experience in my life doesn’t have to be top quality and I do owe you some time and attention so I’m staying home to have dinner with you tonight."

How very generous of you. I deserve a lot more than that; I’m your wife.

He was not very engaging during dinner. He didn’t seem to be making the effort. When I have sex with him at least I try to put some enthusiasm into it. It’s not as good as it is with the other guys but I put in the effort. I think.

He even sat and watched some TV with me after dinner. I was beginning to think I could lure him into bed when the doorbell rang at around ten. Who the hell could that be at this hour? It was Tina with an overnight bag.

"Barry, could I talk with you for a minute?"

"Sure. Tina, you know the way."

I watched her head up the stairs. "Barry, this is the second night in a row. Are you having an affair with her? Are you falling in love with her? It isn’t right to be seeing the same person again and again." Actually it wasn’t right to be seeing anyone at all.

"We felt good together sleeping last night so we decided to try it again. No affair. No love. Not yet. I mean I guess there’s always the chance of that when you’re seeing other people, isn’t there? But I need it to be fulfilled, just like you do."

I still didn’t have a good answer to this. So I tried another approach. "Barry, when are we going to make love?"

"Did we ever do that? I thought it was something you just doled out to me so I wouldn’t be too unhappy. That sounds a lot more like sex than making love."

"No. It’s special with you." Well, it used to be. Why was that?

"Whatever. First, I have no interest in doing anything with you sexually at the moment. For some strange reason I still feel betrayed. Second, I wouldn’t even consider it until you bring me results of your tests for STDs. You clearly are not using condoms and I have no intention of risking my health. Bring back test results and we can talk about doing it until your next coupling. I will require tests after each time. You also need to know that even if it’s no match for yours, I have a sex drive too and if I can’t do it with you, I’ll start auditioning for that as well."

"That’s not fair. I always did it with you and I’m always available to you."

"Unless you’re with some other guy. Anyway, you’re not available if you don’t have test results."

I hadn’t even thought about that. I’d blown three days I could have been tested. This was a reasonable request. Even I could see that. "Even if I’m with some other guy, when I get back I do it with you if you’re interested."

He winced and closed his eyes. "Great. I’m getting sloppy seconds." He headed for the stairs.

"I always clean up. I would never do that to you." Mostly because it would probably have resulted in my getting caught.

He didn’t answer. He just turned back and gave me a look of disgust and went up the stairs.

That had not gone well. In fact, none of this had gone well. I had played over many scenarios in my head and none of them were anything like this. Barry was a docile, devoted husband. He carefully thought out situations before taking a course of action. But in this, he just seemed to be acting, reacting. I had expected him to recognize the logic of my position and acquiesce. Instead he seemed to want to fight it. He hadn’t told me to stop, but then I had made it clear that I wouldn’t. We were going to have to just sit down and work this out.

I didn’t check up on them this night. He seemed to be telling me the truth and it wasn’t like him to lie to me. I had lied to him, but it was for his own good.

Thursday night he stayed home for dinner as well but I got some more unpleasant news.

"I’m taking my friend Linda to the opera on Saturday night."

"Those are our tickets."

"I pay for them."

"But we go together. I like the opera."

"But Linda loves it. And she is very knowledgeable about it. It’s a delight to discuss it with her. We’ve talked about them lots of times at the office after you and I go."

"Why don’t you just do that?"

"I want the whole experience. It’s like you with those bigger cocks. This is a more immediate experience of being able to talk in depth about the opera. Don’t worry, I’ll tell you about it afterwards."

It seemed like every time I was prepared to talk about his behavior, he threw me a new curve and I didn’t know what to say. I was angry but how do I distinguish this situation from the one I had presented him with?

In the absence of anything else useful to say I told him I had been tested today. I would have the results next week. Having to get tested was going to put a serious crimp in my sex life, which I wasn’t having any of anyway.

"You’ll be happy to know, Grace, that my tests came back clean. I went Monday morning. Of course you’ve had more recent activity than me so there is no guarantee that you’re okay."

When he got home Friday night, I asked if we could go to dinner and dancing. "It only seems fair. I mean you won’t have to eat my cooking and I did give you time whenever you wanted it."


"And I’m so grateful I don’t know how to express it."

Again, I couldn’t tell which one I was dealing with. He didn’t say it sarcastically but he could have meant it that way. "Well?"

"Okay. I don’t have anything planned. I guess it’s fair."

He said we could go to the Olive Garden for food like I cooked but he preferred Dominick’s Italian for an upgrade.

I was nervous and didn’t quite know how to bring up my unhappiness with the direction our relationship had taken. So I didn’t. It turned out he did. "How was your day?" I asked him.

"I can’t remember the last time you asked me that. It’s funny, before I caught you screwing around on me I hadn’t noticed it. I guess it should have been a clue that you were losing interest in me."

"First of all, that’s a nasty way to put it. I’m just exploring my sexuality."

"With other guys you’re not married to."

I ignored that. "Second, I haven’t lost interest in you. I just, it just seemed that you never cared that much to talk about your work."

"That ’How was your day,’ sounded like small talk, like you really didn’t care. It always sounded like you really didn’t care. So if you didn’t care, why should I take the time to tell you? I would say, ’fine,’ because I thought you really didn’t want to know, so I was saving you the boredom."

"Is that really what you think about me?"

"Tell the truth, Grace, did you ever really care to hear about the problems of my day?"

That arrogant bastard, assuming I had no interest in that aspect of his life. The worst part was that he was right. How could he see through me so well? Or was this just hindsight in light of what he had discovered? "No. Why are you doing all this?" I sounded the victim.


"Criticizing my cooking, complaining about my conversation, telling me I don’t share a bed well."

"Truth is your cooking is no better than average. The menus don’t vary. You really don’t try to make anything special. You don’t put in the time or the effort. Now I know why you don’t have the time. Look at your conversation: how was your day. You aren’t all that interested in what I have to say. Maybe you’re distracted thinking about all your fuck toys. I don’t know how you could be a scintillating conversationalist if you don’t have much interest in talking to me. As for the sleeping, I’m sorry but you crowd me. It’s uncomfortable. I don’t blame you for that. I’m sure it isn’t intentional, but it makes it more difficult for me to sleep. So, my dear, I can say this stuff because it’s true."

I didn’t know about how uncomfortable he might be in bed with me, but the rest was true. I didn’t want to dwell on it so I talked about more pleasant things: family, friends, the time we were spending together.

We went dancing after dinner and I thoroughly enjoyed it but I had the sense that he wasn’t having that much fun.

He didn’t seem to have anyone coming over to audition for his bedmate so I took the opportunity. "Barry, why don’t you sleep with me? I’ll try very hard not to crowd you. If I wind up doing it, just wake me up and I’ll move over."

"It’s not just about the comfort. I’m still repulsed by the idea of sleeping in the same bed with you. I’m still repulsed by what you’ve done and what you plan to do with all those other men."

"Why haven’t you said anything?"

"Because you told me your rules and that you were going to continue doing it no matter what I said or did. I’ve just been applying your rules to everything else in our marriage but that doesn’t mean I agree with them. You gave me no say. While I’m deciding what to do, I’m following your rules."

Repulsed? I guess I hadn’t made my case very well. I had told him I would continue doing it no matter what, but I thought he would come to see my side of it. I watched in sadness as he headed for what was now his bedroom.

I would receive my test results on Monday freeing me to have sex with my husband who refused to even touch me. I would have to refrain from having sex with anyone else until he accepted me back or I would have to go through the whole process again. Life was not idyllic.

He dressed for the opera. God did he look hot dressed up. I wanted to jump him on the spot. My interest in him was not repaid in kind. He had an overnight bag in his hand.

"Grace, I’m not coming back tonight. I’ll be sleeping with Linda."

"Is that sleeping or fucking?"

"Sleeping for sure. The other, I don’t know. We haven’t decided."

That hurt. No, it really hurt. I felt physical pain. I was sure it was just a panic attack and not a heart attack, but it did hurt. I was sad but I couldn’t put my finger on the exact reason.

He left. The house was very quiet. He had been out quite a bit this week but the sense of quiet was more palpable today. I felt alone, not just in the house, but in my life.

The pain subsided but it was replaced by an increasing anger. How could he do this to me? I’m his wife. I love only him. He was going out with other women and tonight he might be screwing around on me. This wasn’t fair. I gave him all he wanted. I was starting to feel jealous. Could I possibly lose him? It had never occurred to me that could actually happen. What did Linda look like? He was obviously interested in her. He must be attracted to her to want to sleep with her. Was she as gorgeous as Tina? Was Tina the one he would wind up fucking? I was starting to obsess. I needed something to drink. I mixed myself a whiskey sour.

I slowly sipped on it as I reflected on how lousy my life was becoming. I was just trying to fulfill myself and he pulls all this shit to bring me down. I reached the bottom of the glass. I made another.

Apparently I made too many. I was awakened by the repeated clanging of the bell in our grandfather clock, amplifying my headache with each stroke. I didn’t count them but it must have been at least fourteen o’clock. I was still sitting in the green overstuffed chair, drool running out of the side of my mouth. Yes, I was getting more attractive with age.

Barry wasn’t home yet. I knew that because I didn’t hear him and, believe me, in my condition I was sensitive enough to have heard even a sigh.

It took me a couple hours to recover. Barry was still not home. Suddenly, for the first time, it occurred to me that I could actually lose my husband. It was not a pleasant thought. I had believed that, faced with the prospect of giving in to my wishes or losing me, he would love me enough to accept my desires and would eventually be happy for my being so pleased. I had counted on his overwhelming love for me being his kryptonite. Instead he seemed to have been trying to teach me a lesson and there was no evidence that he would accept my new lifestyle quietly. Funny, now I might be faced with the same kind of decision I had set up for him. I might have to choose between him and completely fulfilling my sexual needs. They certainly weren’t being attended to now.

This thing about the testing would prevent me from following my desires all by itself. By the time I could get test results, I would have gone without for too long already.

Dinner time came and still no Barry. I was really getting worried now, not that anything had happened to him, someone would have called, but that he was in the process of removing me from his life.

I had been so stupid and selfish. Instead of giving him an ultimatum, I could just have lied to him and hidden it better. If he caught me I could have told him it was just one slip and I feel so ashamed.

Now that I was faced with the prospect of being without him, I realized I loved him enough to make sacrifices. I could cut down on the outside men. I could try to perk up his sex drive.

It was nearly ten when he walked in.

"Where the hell have you been?"

"I don’t think you have the right to take that attitude with me. I was attending to my own personal needs as you so clearly told me I had a right to do. And if I can paraphrase what you told me, you’ll take what I give you and if you don’t like it you can leave."

"Barry," It occurred to me that I should choose what I said carefully. I thought that his being deliberately cruel to me signaled that he was not far from leaving me. "Where were you?"

"That’s better. A fair question. Linda and I decided to spend the day together. We had breakfast at her place, a picnic lunch, dinner at a nice restaurant and then we went to a jazz club. We couldn’t stay too late because tomorrow is a working day." He looked at his watch. "She should be over in around fifteen minutes."

He could see I was unhappy.

"You don’t have to worry about sex tonight. I have an early meeting. But the next time we get together it’s probably going to happen."

I just sat there silently fuming.

"If you prefer we can do it at her place."

What a sweet gesture. Jealousy hit me like a punch to the stomach, taking my breath away. This was not the marriage I wanted. If I had to give up the other guys altogether, that was what I would do. It was becoming clear to me that it would be over if he caught me again and the only way to absolutely avoid getting caught was not to do anything to get caught at. "I’ve changed my mind. I don’t want anybody else Barry. I love only you. Please give me the chance to prove it to you. I was stupid. I surrender."

"Too late, Grace. You were stupid. Damn stupid. But I have learned something this last week. I don’t have to settle. I love you but it doesn’t work as one-sided as this relationship has been. I’ll decide whether I want to stay with you after I’ve explored my options. I have you to thank for liberating me."

What does he want to hear, "You’re welcome?" "I’m sorry Barry. I don’t know if I can live this way."

"There’s no law that says we have to stay together."

"Are you doing this just to teach me a lesson, or is this how you really feel?"

"It wouldn’t be a very effective lesson if I told you that was my reason for doing it, now would it?"

"So you are?"

"So no comment. I’ll say this, if you respond as if this was only to teach you a lesson, it’s over."

"How long do I have to wait for you to make a decision?"

"As long as it takes."

That wasn’t acceptable to me. I really did love only him and couldn’t bear the thought of being without him. I tried to think of a benign way to say that.

The doorbell rang. "That’s Linda. I’m glad we finished talking before she got here."

He left to answer the door.