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Book 6 of “The One Less Traveled”
By J.C. Wittol
Artwork by Moira Nelligar
Copyright 2017 J.C. Wittol
~~ All characters in this book are over 18. ~~
Silence held sway. I’d shut off the radio after being unable to find anything resembling music, and now drove through San Antonio traffic with only my thoughts as company. The awkward, heavy silence felt like a living, breathing passenger. My brain and conscience pelted me with second thoughts, cuckold angst, and the sharpest emotion of all…lust.
I fought the urge to drive back to Collin’s house, and ask my wife, Nicole, to come home. Even though I’d agreed to her staying the weekend, I couldn’t escape the feeling that I’d crossed yet another threshold in this lifestyle. Another mile down the Hotwife Highway, with a cuckold access road, and divorce as the final destination.
Our empty, dimly-lit driveway greeted me when I returned home. I shut off the engine, and sat in the car staring out the windshield. My heart raced, a light sheen of sweat covered my forehead, and a jumble of conflicted emotions flooded my body, laced heavily with lust and excitement.
The house was silent and empty, so I flopped down on the couch, and started flipping channels. My wife’s parents had arranged for our kids to spend the weekend at their house. It was a nice break, even if the kids had grumbled a little at having to spend the weekend away from home. Their grandparents spoiled them to an unbelievable level, so it wasn’t that much of an inconvenience for them.
A huge sense of relief washed through me again, because I wouldn’t have to make excuses to my daughters, Jasmine and April, for why their mother wasn’t spending the weekend at home. It was a lucky coincidence that probably wouldn’t be repeated, so we’d need to discuss the next weekend well in advance.
I dragged my sorry, horny ass off the couch, rummaged through the refrigerator, and pieced together a light meal from leftovers and scraps. The house echoed with the sounds from the kitchen, and I couldn’t help feeling a little depressed. The normal, frantic sounds of my family were absent, and I realized once again how much I missed a full house.
I grabbed my laptop and randomly surfed the net while I munched on the re-heated leftovers. Nicole and I had a few email accounts we’d accumulated over the years, and I went through the tedious process of clearing them out. We used the same site for all of our emails, because it let us link them all together. Our first joint email account was old and jam-packed with spam. I wanted to close it out, but a lot of our extended family still used it, so Nicole wanted to leave it open.
Our most recent email address was clean, so I moved on to my personal email account and found it empty. I really didn’t use it because I spent so much time at work, and all my correspondence went to our joint email anyway. I’d set it up for the websites that I visited a lot.
No, not porn sites.
The last linked email account was Nicole’s. I never checked it because it was her personal account. When she’d set it up, she’d said I could check it anytime, but it had never seemed important, and I also didn’t want to invade her privacy. While she’d given me permission, I still felt reluctant, especially if I checked it without her knowledge.
As I stared at the screen, my fingers poised above the keyboard, I felt hugely conflicted.
It’s her personal account. Leave it alone.
Yeah, but she didn’t have a boyfriend when she set it up, and she said you could check it anytime.
I was arguing with myself now.
True, but it’s still her personal account. She deserves your trust.
My fingers flashed over the keyboard. I pressed Enter before my conscience could get the better of me. A deep sense of betrayal washed through me as her emails popped up on the screen.
Aside from the normal amount of spam and email subscriptions to her favorite stores, her email was empty. I looked through the email folders she’d created, and there was nothing from Collin. I shook my head, and the feeling of betrayal grew stronger.
“I’m such a fucking loser.”
I spoke the words to an empty house, and resolved to tell Nicole when she returned. My wife deserved better, and I didn’t want any secrets between us. I logged out of the email account and shut down the computer. The house was empty, and for the first time in a long time, I felt lonely, unsure how to spend my free time.
I checked the clock on the wall, and I knew that my team would still be at the bar celebrating Sheila’s promotion. Despite my loneliness, I didn’t want to go. Sheila seemed intent on creating something between us, and I knew that was a really horrible idea. It would look bad, though, if I didn’t make an appearance. The team expected me to support her.
I sighed. And it’s the right thing to do.Besides, I told everyone I’d buy a round.
It only took me a few minutes to change and fire up my classic Mustang. It was a bad idea to drive the Mustang tonight because I’d be parking in a public parking lot, which seemed to invite people to smack my car with their doors. I needed a pick-me-up, though, and decided a ding or two was worth it. The car needed a new paint job, anyway, and a few dings would give me the excuse I needed to convince Nicole.
Sheila’s promotion party was at a bar known for their strong margaritas and nachos, and I resolved to only drink one beer. I’d say a few nice words, then leave. Easy. I figured I’d stop by a sports bar on the way home as a way to kill some time. The idea of sitting at home in an empty house, thinking of my wife and her lover, definitely didn’t appeal to me.
The bar was completely packed. I had to park across the street. That was actually a good thing, because I found a spot at the end of the row underneath a street light. I prayed that would keep my car from getting stolen or mutilated.
Dings were okay. Stolen was not.
The noise and heat of the bar washed over me as I entered and I scanned the packed tables for my team. I could have found them if I was blind, because they were the loudest group in the bar. A few people from other departments had joined, and they’d pulled some tables together. I estimated there were almost fifteen people chatting and laughing. Their tables were full of empty, half-full, and full drinks, and none of them looked like soda. Sheila sat in the middle, holding everyone’s attention as she said something about something. Smiles of anticipation brightened several faces, so I guessed she was telling a joke. I couldn’t hear the punch line or how she ended it, but everyone laughed and raised a glass.
She took a small bow, and saw me approaching when she straightened. Her face lit up, which caused everyone to look in my direction, of course.
The tables erupted with my name, and for several uncomfortable seconds, it seemed like everyone in the bar turned to stare at me. My face grew hot. I swallowed, raised a hand, and gave the table a wave. Everyone started shuffling chairs to make room for me, and…no surprise…I ended up sitting next to Sheila, which was the opposite of what I wanted.
“Nick, where’s Nicole?” someone shouted. “Did you get a kitchen pass or something?”
Everyone laughed. I didn’t see who asked the question, but of course, that had to be the first fucking question.
I glanced around at the grinning faces, and motioned vaguely. “Nicole is hanging out with some friends for the weekend. Thank you very much!”
Everyone laughed again, and the conversation turned to other subjects. I was relieved not to be the center of attention anymore. The waitress stopped by, and I ordered a beer. Sheila was talking with two girls on her other side, and I made polite conversation with a few of the individuals around me. They weren’t in my section, but we’d worked in the same general area long enough that we’d gotten to know each other. My discomfort faded, and soon I found myself laughing along with everyone else. I glanced down, and then did a double-take. I could swear someone was helping me drink my beer, because it was empty, and I didn’t remember finishing it. I ordered another.
Sheila hadn’t said more than a few words to me, and I was hoping that situation would continue. My second beer arrived, and my cell phone buzzed at the same time.
Text message. With a picture.
As discretely as possible, I checked my phone’s display. My heart leapt into my throat. I shoved my phone back into my pocket without opening the picture, because there was no way I was checking that message at this table. As tightly as we were sitting, I’m sure someone would see it, and that could be disastrous.
“Wife checking on you?” Sheila’s voice rang in my ear. We were sitting fairly close, and her eyes were twinkling at me. Her sexy smile revealed two impossibly cute dimples.
“No. It’s a friend of mine.”
“Ahh. Is your wife out of town?”
“Yep. Grandma and Grandpa have our kids too, so I’m all by my lonesome.”
The second I said it, I knew it was a mistake…but I couldn’t take it back.
Her smile grew warmer. “That’s great. You can stay out with us tonight. We’re heading to this dance club later, and you have to come along!” She laughed and squeezed my arm. “I won’t take no for an answer, mister.”
“Sorry. I can’t.” I shook my head. “I’m not much of a dancer, and I’m heading into the office tomorrow morning to finish up some work.”
“Come for a few songs, and then you can leave. Promise!” She punched my shoulder lightly. “Besides, we’re celebrating! It’s your duty as our leader to celebrate with us.”
What could I say? I didn’t have an excuse I could offer. Several others had heard Sheila’s invitation, and were now encouraging me to come along. Before I knew it, the whole table joined in.
“Come on, Nick.”
“Dude, come out with us.”
“You have a kitchen pass. You have to come.”
I scanned the faces at the table, slugged the last of my beer, and slammed it down on the table. “All right! I’m in! No pictures, and no recording devices!”
The table erupted with praise. I kept a plastic smile on my face until people turned back to their drinks and individual conversations.
As long as everyone’s going together as a group, it should be fine.
I repeated those words several times, wishing them to be true, until our waitress came by and refilled the many bowls of chips on the table. The restaurant served several different kinds of salsa, ranging from mild to set-your-ass-on-fire hot, thereby ensuring patrons ordered a steady flow of chips and drinks. A great business plan!!
Sheila and I ended up sharing a large bowl of chips. We chatted about work, and I finished my third beer. I was already feeling the alcohol, so I ordered a diet Coke and resolved to stop drinking. I wasn’t about to leave my Mustang and take a cab home.
“Lightweight!” Sheila teased me as she sipped her margarita. Her eyes were bright, and the smile on her lips had grown even more playful.
I wrenched my gaze away. “Hey, I have to drive home tonight.”
“Did you drive the Mustang?”
“Yep. I shouldn’t have, because it will probably get dinged, but I like driving it.”
“It’s a cool car.” She paused and leaned closer to me. “It’s also really sexy.”
Her breath tickled my ear, and she squeezed my thigh under the table. I sat straighter, laboring to act casual, and looked for the waitress. Sheila wasn’t fooled, but hopefully the people sitting around us wouldn’t suspect anything. The waitress wasn’t anywhere to be seen, so I grabbed a chip, dipped it into a random salsa, and shoved it in my mouth.
As luck would have it, the salsa was the hottest one the restaurant offered. My mouth quickly started sizzling and, of course, my beer was empty. My soda hadn’t arrived, and my eyes started to water. I glanced around, craning my neck to find the waitress who’d suddenly become invisible. Sheila was staring at me with an amused smile. Our eyes met, she laughed out loud, and pushed her margarita towards me.
“Was that salsa hot?”
I narrowed my eyes, but snatched her drink. She continued to laugh as I sipped the margarita, and held the ice in my mouth. A few other folks had noticed my painful experience, and joined her in laughing at my expense.
Finally, my mouth cooled enough for speech. “Holy shit! Is that stuff even legal?”
The table busted up with laughter, and the waitress finally arrived with my diet Coke. I promptly sucked half of it down, but it was several minutes before my mouth started to feel normal again. It felt like the salsa had removed the first layer of skin from my mouth.
We chatted for a bit longer before the crowd quieted, and I recognized the perfect time to bring everything to a close.
I made a toast in support of Sheila’s promotion, and said some nice, supportive words. Sheila thanked me and her co-workers. When she finished, everyone started glancing around, and making plans for the after-party. First, one person took their leave, then another, and before too long, the only people sitting at the table were the folks going to the dance club.
I’d switched to diet Coke, so I was okay to drive, but Sheila had continued to drink, and after several margaritas she was definitely buzzed. I worried about her getting behind the wheel, but I wasn’t about to drive her anywhere. The last few guys announced their departure, and indicated they’d see us at the club. I started to follow them when Sheila grabbed my arm.
“Nick. Can I ride with you?”
I motioned to the girls sitting on the other side of her. “Uh...I thought you’d ride with your friends.”
They looked over at me, glanced at Sheila with a smile, and one of them responded. I think her name was Beth. “We’re going to stop off at our apartment first, to change clothes, so we won’t be at the club until later. Would you mind…” She paused, and her smile grew predatory. “…taking care of Sheila?”
Well, that was nicely done! Jesus, were they planning this all night?
Yeah, I know my response was lame.
“But you will be there later, right?” I sputtered. “Because I won’t be staying long, and she’ll probably need a ride home.”
“Oh, definitely,” Beth replied with a growing smile. “Unless something comes up.”
Giggles broke out, but I couldn’t think of a response to her bold, naked innuendo, so I finished my soda. Cursing myself inwardly, because I’d walked right into this situation, I sat and waited for Sheila.
“Did you want to leave now? Or…?”
She smiled, but shook her head. “Mind if I finish my margarita? Then we can leave. Is that okay?”
A hand touched my shoulder. The waitress. I ordered another diet Coke, and told her to bring me the check. I turned back in time to see Sheila glance over at her friends, who gave her a slight nod and a conspiratorial smile.
Beth met my eyes. “We’re going to go. It was nice to see you again, Nick. Take care of our girl.”
I nodded lamely while the girls did the kiss-on-the-cheek-and-whisper thing. When her friends left, they were laughing together, and they glanced back several times before they disappeared.
Setup. Alone with Sheila. I’d honestly tried to avoid this exact situation. Of course, my cell phone buzzed again, and the tone indicated a phone call. I pulled my phone out of my pocket and checked the screen.
Nicole, of course. I toyed with the idea of letting it go to voicemail, but I knew that would just lead to more phone calls. I mumbled an excuse, and stepped away from the table.
“It’s me, honey. I wanted to call and see how you’re doing.”
“Hi. How’s it going?”
“Where are you? I can barely hear you!”
“I’m at Chacho’s. The team is celebrating Sheila’s promotion, and I stopped by to say a few words.”
Every word was true, but it sure felt like a lie.
“Oh. I thought that would be over by now.”
“Well, it’s winding down.”
“Okay. Things are great here. Collin made dinner, and his house is super nice, but it really needs a woman’s touch.” She started to laugh, but a surprised squeal cut it off. “Stop it!”
“Is he there?”
“Yes. We’re going swimming, and he’s waiting for me.”