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Last Wives Club — 9 — A New Recruit

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About two months after my husband started his new job in Columbus, I found a coworker and friend in tears in the women’s room at work. I had known Claire for about six months. She was a contracted technical worker; a professional researcher, not a regular employee. We had become friends while she was assigned to a team project with me. Now she was on another project, but we always looked for each other in the cafeteria and ate together when we could. She was thirty years old, five foot eleven with a slender athletic build, flattish chest, boyish hips, broad shoulders, striking red hair, and a lean angular face. Not a classic beauty, but the kind of woman who would be called handsome. She was a lot like Kyra, only younger, taller, a ginger, and less feminine. “Claire, sweetie, what’s the matter?” “Oh, Cathy, I’m having a helluva fuckin’ day. I just found out my fuckin’ husband is cheating on me. The only good thing is that he won’t be back until Friday, so I have time to think about whether to cut his fuckin’ balls off before or after I change the fuckin’ locks and find a fuckin’ lawyer.” “Oh, you poor girl.” Claire’s potty mouth was something she hid well in normal business conversations, but we’d had a few drinks together once and when I wasn’t shocked at the verbal filth that resulted as she described her college years, she routinely let her guard slip when we were alone. It seemed to be a way that she relieved stress. She had joked that she was a lady with the vocabulary of a well educated sailor. “I took this fuckin’ marriage seriously. I’ve been faithful and that hasn’t been easy. Truth is, I’ve been lookin’ for a fuckin’ reason to get out, but this hurts, more than I would have thought. I feel like I’ve been punched in the fuckin’ guts.” I didn’t know her that well, but I knew what it felt like to learn that your husband was cheating. “Promise me you’ll keep a secret and I’ll promise that you won’t regret it.” “Sure, Cathy. I swear on my dead fuckin’ husband’s grave. He’s not dead yet, but that’s a detail I’m fuckin’ mad enough to fuckin’ arrange.” “Well, I have experience with learning that a husband is cheating on you.” “Your husband? I never knew.” “That’s because it’s a secret. I don’t need the consequences of that becoming common knowledge. And it’s because we worked it out.” “How do you work something like that out?” “It’s not easy, especially when you realize that your marriage will be permanently broken. There’s no way that I can ever trust him again, but there are ways to live with that. Let’s have dinner together and I’ll tell you.” “I can’t do that, Cathy. I have to pick up my girls from daycare after work and feed them.” “Hey, we can get takeout or something. Or I can help you cook dinner. I don’t think you should be alone until you’ve heard what I can do for you.” “Really? It might be good to have some company tonight.” “Stop by my office before you go. I’ll follow you home.” “Sure. I can do that.” Of course I was thinking that the club might want to recruit her, so I sent a text to Mrs. Cardinal with Claire’s name, a brief description of her job, and her husband’s name. An hour later I received a call on my secret cell. “Recruit her.” “Um, I was thinking you might want to send someone more skilled.” “You have wings little bird. It’s time to fly. I’ve started the research and she looks like a catch. We need her as much as we need her husband.” “I don’t know if I can do this, Kyra.” “She’s your friend. You know her better than anybody bahis siteleri else we have. Find out what motivates her and use it. Seal it with sex if you’re willing and she’s interested. Or money, or altruism, or all of the above.” I thought about what Kyra said for the rest of the afternoon. I wanted to do the right thing for Claire, for me, and for the club. I just didn’t know if I was up to the task. *** “You wanted me to stop by?” She looked much more composed, but still had the appearance of a lost soul. “Hi, Claire. I got a sitter for my kids, I’ll follow you home.” “Cathy, I’m confused. What exactly is your interest in me? Because, I’ve been trying to interest you in me and you’ve never responded, until now, when I’m at my worst and having the worst day of my life.” What? This was unexpected. It began to dawn on me, but only slowly. I had thought she was just a touchy-feely person, but there had been signs of a more intimate interest. “Interest me in you? You mean like in… ” I saw hope, fear, and anticipation of rejection in her eyes. I suddenly understood. “Claire, I… I’m not ruling that out.” She breathed a sigh of relief and the amount of hope increased. I considered the implications. “I’m sorry if I missed some signals, sweetie, but I’ve had a very complicated life for the past year. I’m not exclusive. I’ve only had one and she’s my best friend. I don’t have a shortage of lovers at the moment, but there’s room for one more, as long as it stays discreet of course. I’m making up a short list of candidates right now and you’re the only one on it. But you’re also a candidate for something else I have in mind and I think it would be the opportunity of a lifetime for you. You’ll be on my short list either way, but time is of the essence on the other one. It’s going to require trust. I will take care of you and your daughters. Will you trust me?” “Yes. I will, long enough to hear you out. But I’m running late. I have to go pick up the girls.” “We’ll pick them up together. I’ll drive. I don’t think it’s a good idea for you to drive.” I had stepped up beside her, ready to lead out the door. “But… ” “No buts, Claire. I’ll bring you back in the morning.” I leaned in and kissed her on the lips. Not long and not deep, but clearly not sisterly. “You said you would trust me. Let’s go.” I knew that I was showing a side of me to Claire that she hadn’t seen before. I was winging it. Claire gave me directions to the day care center and we picked up her four year old and two-year-old daughters. She introduced me as Aunt Cathy, so they would know I was a friend. I convinced Claire that pizza and wine were the perfect meal for us. So I picked up a bottle of red on the way and followed her directions to her house in a nearby suburb. She put the kids to bed at 8 and then joined me on the sofa. “Okay, I’m all ears, Cathy.” “The first thing I want to say, Claire, is that men are not our enemy. They are unruly beasts of burden that we have difficulty managing. I belong to an organization that can help with that and so much more, and they want you, but only if you and your husband can stay together. They wanted me under the same conditions and that’s why I didn’t get a divorce when he cheated on me. They made me an offer that was fantastic. I’ve committed to being the last wife that my husband has. “I just can’t imagine that, Cathy.” “I imagined my future without him, and the futures of my children without their father, and I compared it to the future canlı bahis siteleri that we can have as part of this organization. I’ve been a member for less than a year, but I haven’t regretted my decision to join for a minute. Life is not all roses with my husband, but I’ve felt the hurt you’re feeling now, and I think I made the right choice. Take a minute to think about what life would be like for you and your daughters if you leave your husband.” She took more than five minutes. Then she told me that starting over without him could be pretty bad, but staying with him could be worse. He hadn’t physically abused her, but she knew she could never trust him again and probably couldn’t bring herself to sleep with him again. “Neither of those are essential, Claire. Give me your honest opinion. Is he a good father to your daughters? “Yes, absolutely. I can’t fault him there.” “That’s good. It’s very important and it means that taking him out of that role could be more harmful to them than keeping him. Our organization helps women and children all over the world benefit from avoiding divorce, by helping the woman get the right deal and then providing her with the means and support to keep it together.” I handed my white card to her and said, “Have you ever seen one of these?” She looked it over pretty carefully. It was just a plain white card with a magnetic strip on the back. No name was embossed on it. It bore no logo from VISA or MasterCard or any bank. “Sure, it’s an ordinary credit card blank. It has to be programmed. It has to have a name stamped on it.” She handed it back to me. “No, it doesn’t need a name and it’s already programmed, Claire. Looks can be deceiving. Maybe that’s the lesson of using a blank card. I can take this card almost anywhere and buy almost anything I could need, and I would do so completely anonymously and not necessarily with my own money. My children don’t have to worry about college funding, and I don’t have to worry about retirement saving. I could quit working right now and live out my days in luxury, that’s the deal they struck with my husband. But with this card, and with the commitment to the organization that it represents, I’m convinced that I’m making the world a better place for us and our children. “You might not start out with a card this powerful, but judging from how my sponsor jumped at the chance to recruit you, you’ll definitely be eligible for a card. I’m offering to be your sponsor. Your level of commitment to helping us will determine how much influence you’ll have.” “Wow! This is all so fuckin’ intense. But what are we doing?” When I heard the word we, I knew that I already had her. “We’re keeping the men of the world from fucking everything up and getting us all killed, and we’re having a pretty good time doing it. One man who knows more about us than we would like, but less than he thinks he knows, calls us a bunch of conniving cunts who pretend to run the world while we whore around and blackmail men. He got that all right except for the part about pretending.” “It’s very tempting. But I honestly don’t think I have that much to offer Mick if I stay. He’ll probably be happy to see me go, and he’ll try to keep me from having custody of my kids, just to spite me. There are some things in my past.” “Let us worry about that, sweetie. We have expertise in convincing men. We’ll put together a package he won’t want to refuse. It will spell out rewards and punishments. It will be a tempting offer for canlı bahis him too, mainly because we have ways to hurt him badly if he doesn’t see reason. I’m not sure what my sponsor sees in you or him, but she wants me to recruit you and she has a way of getting what she wants. I told her how useful it was to convince her man that she had options, if he wouldn’t agree to the changes she wanted. I told her about showing up at my house in a stretch limo with an armed female body guard, packing my sexiest dress while my husband stood helplessly by and leaving him with the kids for an unspecified time while I contemplated my options. I told her about the many changes I went through over the weekend that I spent with my sponsor. “I could do all of that for you, Claire. I could take us to some woman-friendly place while my team puts together a weapon to subdue your husband with.” “You could really do that?” “It would be a pleasure.” “Where did you go?” “We went to a spa resort, but that place catered to older women. It was fun, but maybe not right for you. We can go anywhere within reason.” “You mean like Vegas?” “Well, we should go somewhere peaceful. You’re probably going to have lots of questions over the weekend. We’ll talk, eat, drink, play.” “Play?” “Get to know each other better.” “I like the sound of that.” “Where would you like me to take you?” “I don’t know. This is all so overwhelming.” “Well, we don’t have to decide right away. It’s only Wednesday. For the next two days, it will be business as usual at work, then the limo will whisk you away.” “Can I take my daughters with me?” “I don’t see why not, but do you think that will increase, or decrease, your husband’s acceptance of the deal we offer?” “Good thinking. I think it would be good for him to have to take care of them for a while, let him know that trying for sole custody might not be so pleasant, but I’ll miss them so much.” “You can call them, maybe skype them.” “Okay, let’s fuckin’ do this.” “Welcome, sister. We have a lot of work to do. Let’s get started. First, let me tell my sponsor the good news.”*** When Kyra answered, I said, “We have a new recruit, but she drove a tough bargain.” “Mmm-hmmm. Do I hear a request for a spa weekend?” “We haven’t decided where yet, but I think a weekend getaway is called for.” “And I’m assuming fur checks will be involved?” “Um, yeah, probably. I didn’t think you would mind.” “No, Cath. You have fun. I’m gonna bet she would have agreed if that was the only offer.” “Um, maybe,” I said with a grin. “I’ve created a monster,” she laughed. “I’ll schedule the jet for Friday afternoon.” “Thanks.” “Thank you for this recruit.”*** As we worked out the details and she took the oath, I became more and more attracted to her. I initially thought that I would just take one for the team, because I’m not really attracted to most women. But all it took was to imagine myself in her arms, rubbing her muscular shoulders, squeezing her tight butt. Now that I was looking at her in a new light, I was warming to the idea of having a more intimate friendship with her. But from our talk, I also learned how emotionally impoverished her life was. Since moving to St. Louis, she had not developed a helpful social network. She thought of me as her best local friend while I had thought of her as barely more than a casual job acquaintance. She had no relatives in the area. She had no sisters at all. Her job did not produce many friendships. Her husband was somewhat controlling and isolating, because he knew she was bisexual and didn’t want competition from anyone. She only learned about his infidelity because the woman had sent an email that morning, rubbing it in her face and advising her to give him up.

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