Short Story: Duped
This week got away from me, so no podcast, I’m afraid.
Instead, here is a short story from my anthology Caught in the Cogs: An Eclectic Collection.
Contains explicit adult content.
The baby’s finally asleep. Husband away on business. Overtired. Unable to sleep. I sit at the computer in Alex’s office and switch it on. The blueish glow lights the dark room around me and stings my bloodshot eyes. I won’t even bother checking email. Since I left my career to raise kids about the only emails I get are for penis enlargements and pleas from Nigerian Princes. And mom, of course, but those are mostly forwarded jokes and funny pictures of cats. Facebook it is. Mom’s been nagging for more baby pictures anyway. Now’s as good a time as any.
Three new messages. Mom, of course. Sis, and Duped? Who the fuck is Duped?
Subject: Just the Messenger.
I click on the message and read.
See for yourself.
I’m so sorry.
No signature. No nothing. Just that.
What the fuck?
Certainly not. This must be a joke. I open a new tab and go to yahoo.
The boulder that has grown in my stomach begins crawling up my throat, slithering. As if boulders can slither, but it is.
Hold my breath.
I don’t believe it.
The taste of bile fills my throat and I put my hand over my mouth to keep from vomiting. Darkness closes in and my breath comes faster, heart pounding, as I look at my husband’s secret inbox. And folders. Down the left, a list of folders all named after US cities. Six of them. Dallas. San Francisco. Chicago. NYC. Vegas. Wichita.
All the places he travels to for work.
This can’t be happening.
Seriously. This just can’t be happening.
I pick one. Dallas, where he is this weekend. Surely there is a logical explanation. They’re just clients, right?
Your last email was so romantic! I read it ten times straight through again and again. This weekend will be so magical, just like the last, and I’m aching to have you inside me again–
I bolt up, knocking the chair over, and it crashes to the floor with a loud band, waking the baby. Screams from the other room fill the silent night, and I rush in to quiet her before she wakes Sarah.
April giggles as he pours scotch on her stomach. With a flat, firm tongue he sucks the drink from her skin and licks up between her full breasts. She arches her back, pressing into him and moans.
“You like that?” Alex asks, settling on top of her and looking into her green eyes.
“Mmmmm. Do I ever.”
“Then you’re going to love this.” Grabbing his cock, he positions himself against her wetness, sliding the tip up and down her swollen lips until she gasped. Grinding himself against her clit, circling until she screams and he feels the warm liquid squirt out of her, drenching him. Then with a slow, determined push, slides inside.
His phone on the bedside table buzzes as it vibrates against the hard surface, but its sound is drown out by April’s orgasms as he thrusts inside her harder and deeper with each new movement.
I hold the baby against my breast with one arm and wipe the tears away from my cheeks with the back of the hand holding the phone. I catch my breath and dial again. So help me if I get his voicemail a ninth time.
“The party you are trying to reach…”
A sound of pure agony bursts out from the depth of my soul and I hurl the phone across the room straight into his beloved flat screen TV.
The baby startles off my nipple and cries anew. I bounce her, my tears baptizing the three-week-old all over again.
“Mommy, I’m scared.” My shriek woke Sarah again. She stands in her pale blue nightgown holding tightly to her favorite teddy bear. Her eyes are wide, and they question me. They’re pleading for me to tell her it’s all okay. That everything will be okay.
“Come here, baby.” I hold her close to me with one arm, cradling Maggie with the other.
And I’m alone. With two children, I’m alone. Shattered. My brain scrambles to catch up with this new information and starts to see a pattern. The amount of time he spends on his blasted Blackberry. The late nights working at home in his office. It all makes sense now. How could I have been so stupid not to see it? Maybe this is just a nightmare. Just an overstressed, overtired nightmare and I’ll wake up soon. Please let me wake up. Please let me wake up.
Alex picks up his phone and looks at the Blackberry’s screen. Nine missed calls from Karen.
Are the girls okay? What if something happened while I was here doing…this. Oh God! I’d never forgive myself. What am I doing? Karen and me, we work most of the time, right? I mean, she’s a good woman and all, but I just can’t talk to her like I can to April. And Sandy. And Trish. She just doesn’t understand me anymore and she doesn’t even try to. It’s all about the girls. I have needs, damn it! She’s not loving, not at all. She’s hard and nagging and always so fucking tired. I mean what does a guy have to do to get a little action? Even when we do have sex it’s quick and stale, not like it is with April. She’s so alive and…participatory. Still, they’re my family. Fuck! What are you doing, Alex? Turning into your father, that’s what. You cunt.
April comes out of the bathroom. Naked. A goddess.
How can I let her go? I– Fuck.
“Everything okay?” She’s toweling her long, dark hair dry.
Alex looks down at his feet and turns toward the curtain-drawn hotel window.
What an ass. I can’t even look her in the eye.
“We need to talk.”
Baby Mags is finally asleep again. Sarah too, after two stories and a glass of warm milk.
And I’m alone.
It’s dark, just past one or so, and I sit, staring into the nothingness, unable to muster the courage to look at more emails. Perhaps it’s just the one time…but all those folders. And Chicago. He hasn’t been to Chicago for four months. How long has it been? Is my entire life a lie? I should’ve made love to him more often, but with the complications during Sarah’s birth, I was being too careful. I drove him to it. Perhaps it’s not too late. Perhaps I can make it work.
The phone, still in my hand, rings.
The underlying nausea rises too quickly and vomit splashes on the coffee table, covering his blasted comics with sick.
“I can do this,” I speak aloud into the darkness. “I can make this right.”
The cab ride from the airport seemed to take an eternity. After sixty-plus calls with no answer, Alex had taken the next flight back. Work be damned.
Approaching noon, he walked up the cobblestone path to their Victorian home on the corner. The American Dream. He had achieved it. And then he had spat in its face.
His hand instinctively covered his nose as the smell of vomit assaulted his senses. Shattered television. Clothes strewn everywhere. And the words “Fuck You!” spelled out across two walls in multiple sheets of paper. The words extended from the ceiling to about hip level.
The world closed in around him, darkness covered his peripheral vision, and he suddenly was directly in front of the new decor. All the emails to his girls. All of them. The last paper hanging as the period at the bottom of the huge exclamation point after the offensive words reads:
I’m done. At mom’s. Get your shit and get out by Monday. Looks like you have plenty of places to go. See you in court.
Get this short story as well as several others, poetry, and relationship essays in my anthology Caught in the Cogs.
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~ by omgrey on March 23, 2012.
Posted in Short Fiction & Poetry
Tags: author, broken heart, grief, heartbroken, honesty, infidelity, love, misogyny, non-monogamy, o.m. grey, olivia grey, passion, postaweek2011, relationships, romance, sex, shattered, short story