“That’s sort of understandable. Is he a stud?”
“Not even close. She says in the books that he wasn’t very good. But she trained him up. He got her off. Thing is, later she went with a young guy from her work. She did that for a year, even when I was fucking her like normal. That hurts more.”
“Maybe she just liked him. Or liked cheating. The thrill.”
“After that, she just hooked up with guys. And conferences with co-workers. At her work they must have known how slutty she was. And my buddy knew. Even after I gave up trial work, and took her on a cruise, she still kept on. Then she stopped, ten years ago.”
“What was your sex life like for those ten years?”
“Good. We fit real well together. We had about four routines. You know, when you get old, it’s not as easy or spontaneous.”
“Seems to me that you can be spontaneous. Like right now.” She felt him get hard.
“One thing. I used to have to take a pill, for a couple of years, most times. Now, with you, no need at all.”
“You’ve been rejuvenated, somehow. I believe it’s some sort of minor miracle. I intend to benefit as long as I can.” She kissed his cock.
Twenty minutes later, Mary was again resting next to Ted. She was considering how honest to be with him. She decided to obey the old adage.
Mary’s divorce had happened because she had been unfaithful to her husband. He discovered it, and there was no forgiveness. Now, she believed that he was right to do what he did.
She had gotten pregnant with twins at twenty, and married the father, Jay, when they found out. Jay had been her only lover. When the twins came, Mary finished college, and her mom helped out with the babies. Jay was also a big help. He was two years older, and worked as an associate at a financial firm. He was developing a client base. But Mary had always wanted to be a doctor, like her dad. So, she successfully applied to med school. Three years. She did very well, while also being a good mom. Life was a whirlwind. When she had her residency, it had to be local. That was not a great time for the family. Her shifts were brutal, and she often slept at the hospital. There, she met a sexy fellow intern and began sleeping with him. This guy, Eric, was only her second man. In truth, the sex was rushed, but thrilling. She felt guilty, but put the affair down to the pressures of residency, and her needs.
Eventually, Jay found out. All the people at the hospital knew, and one of the nurses who liked Jay told him. Jay never hesitated. He filed for divorce and custody, despite Mary’s plea to him for forgiveness.
Jay got the divorce, but not custody. He had the girls part time, and for two weeks in the summer. He was a good and loving dad. He had been a good and loving husband as well. But Mary screwed that up.
She told Ted this as they lay in bed. He was taken aback.
He asked, “Have you had another long-term relationship?”
“No. A friend with benefits, who moved away last year. He comes back twice a year for a conference. We’ve been hooking up, then. Were you 100% faithful to Ella?”
“Yep. Temptation, but I never gave in. Unlike her.”
“Ted, I told you all this, because I hoped it might help you get through what must be a very difficult time for you. You can’t even yell at her. Can’t divorce her and walk away, like Jay did to me. I want to be a balm for you. And, of course, I like it when we fuck.”
“But, Mary, you did the same thing to Jay. Why? Have you thought it out?”
“For a while I thought about nothing else. I went to a shrink. What I came up with is that — under pressure — most people are weak and self-centered. Simple enough. I was weak and selfish. When I got stressed by work, I gave in to it.”
“Maybe Jay was also weak for not forgiving.”
“I don’t believe that, Ted. He said that we were young, but that he’d never be able to trust me again. Better to cut bait then. I think he was correct in that. He’s remarried. He has a good life, and the girls like his new wife. So do I, for that matter.”
“Does he have more family?”
“Two sons. Both doing well. A perfect family.”
They fell asleep. Ted was a little restless, but very tired.
As was fast becoming their morning routine, they brushed their teeth, had sex, and showered.
As they ate cereal, Mary asked, “If you’d discovered Ella’s infidelity, would you have — what?”
“We had kids, like you. But, I don’t think I could have forgiven her. Right now, I’ll never forgive her. I need to process all this. You sure help with that.”
“My girls believe that they were better off with the divorce. A one-time disruption. Better than living through a bitter cold war.”
“Mary, apart from all this, what’s happening to me? I really, really like my current physical condition, but it makes me uneasy. It’s so strange.”
“Why don’t you drop by the office around one and I’ll start some blood work. See what’s what. But. Whatever it is, I’m very happy about it.”
“Okay. See ya.”
Ted came by the office, gave blood, and met Mary’s partner and their staff. Her partner was Reggie Wilson, forty. He shook Ted’s hand. The staff was a receptionist, a nurse and a physical therapist. All women. Reggie was outnumbered. Jeanie, the receptionist, was a knockout. And she picked up right away that Mary was getting laid by Ted. She gave him a great big smile when she was introduced. The other women were less perceptive. Allie the nurse took his blood for testing. She had his chart. They were in a small room dedicated to lab work. She perused his chart, and stared at him.
She said, “You don’t look your stated age.”
“Yeah. That’s why the tests. I’m….deaging. Is that a word?”
“No. I don’t see how it could be. It’s not a thing.”
Ted and Mary went to lunch.
As they ate, Ted said, “Your receptionist is very…..smart.”
“Jeanie has a very quick and incisive mind. It’s intimidating, in that package,”
“Why is she a receptionist?”
“We pay well. She’s only a high school grad.”
“You know, she saw right away that we were an item. The others didn’t.”
“Ahh. She’s more attuned. Maybe if you keep getting younger, you’ll be her age and you can get her.” Mary laughed, but there was maybe an edge of worry there.
“As long as you’re around, she has no shot.” He smiled.
Mary smiled also.
Ted gradually thought through the Ella situation. He found himself thinking about how he kissed her forehead when he found her. Would he do that now, knowing? He pictured himself just standing there, over her body, not touching or speaking. Hen turning away to call 911. It didn’t feel right.
But the kiss didn’t feel right either.
One day about two weeks after he ran into Mary, Mick called to see how he was doing.
Mick said, “Hi, Teddy. I’m checking in, you know. See how it’s going.”
He’d done that periodically, and they’d been out to lunch.
Ted said, “Mick, can you meet me at Phil’s Diner for lunch?”
“Sure. One, maybe?”
“Fine. I’m doing okay. See you then.”
Ted was sitting at a booth when Mick arrived. Mick slid into the booth, smiling.
“You look great, Ted. What are you eating?”
Ted said, “You rat ass son-of-a-bitch. This is the last time we speak. Asshole!”
Mick paled. He knew why Ted had said this. He was quite intelligent, and he’d always felt a little guilty when he saw Ted. That had faded over the ten years or so since he had last fucked Ella. Now, here it was. Ted knew — knew something.
Mick said, “I’m sorry, Ted. I was always sorry. But I….she was so far out of my league. So pretty. She wanted me. Me!.”
“I thought you were my friend. All those times we were doing stuff, and you were stuffing my wife. You’re a Judas.”
“I….I’m not sorry I did it. I fell in love with her, Ted. I was crushed when she strayed from us.”
“From us? Bastard.”
“You weren’t screwing her. That’s what she said. If you didn’t do it, she was coming to me.”
Ted got up. He said, in a low voice, “I was the best friend you ever had. You betrayed that. Judas.”
He walked away.
Mick didn’t follow. He started crying. The waitress came over. He got himself together and gave her a small tip. He left. It was one of the worst days of his life. People died. That was bad. But this was a life-long friendship that he had trashed. He didn’t see it ever coming back. It was a wonder he made it back to his house in one piece.
Ted wasn’t quite satisfied with the confrontation. But it would have to do. He hoped Mick would suffer, and he thought that it was likely. They’d been such good buddies.
He told Mary about it that evening, after their session in bed, at his house this time. She was also sad — but for Ted.
She said, “You lose your wife, and your best friend. Terrible.”
“I feel like I should have done more. Beat the shit out of him. But he’s such a wuss.”
“I imagine this came as a real shock to him. And he also lost his friend. But, I can see that you feel bad. Time for Doctor Mary’s miracle cure.”
She rolled onto him and stuck her tongue in his mouth. That was a sure way to help him over the blues. She got on top when he got hard. She fucked him slowly, rubbing his chest as she did. They were staring right at each other. It was a trick she had, this staring. Ted was looking into her eyes, but most of his consciousness was in his cock. And he could see that most of hers was down there as well. He saw her come. Just watching her face when she came made him so grateful, and extra excited. He pumped her full.
“Feel better, now?”
“Yes. Another miracle cure. If you could bottle it, you’d be rich.”
“If I wanted to sell it, I’d be rich, bottle or not.” She was chuckling. “But now it’s all for you.”
“I’m so happy about that.”
The two of them slept together every night, now, at one place or the other. Ted’s blood work had not revealed any anomalies, except a high testosterone level. But not in the danger zone. He didn’t get any older, nor did he get appreciably younger. (Jeanie was in no danger.)
At Easter, Ted introduced Mary to his family, as his partner. They were both nervous. There was the age difference, and the fact that it hadn’t been a year since Ella’s death.
The gathering was at Ted’s house and all his children were there, with their kids. Ted had stripped the house of any sign of Ella. He’s been systematic about that. He just didn’t want to think about her. Lying bitch.
His daughter Bess came. His other two daughters, Anne and Leslie, brought Easter eggs for a hunt. All of them were surprised by Mary — that their dad had moved on so quickly. Mary was near fifty, but still hot. She got some looks from the husbands.
At first things were awkward. Just a tad. But Mary easily won over the crew. In part that was because they found out she was a doctor, and they attributed Ted’s robust health to her ministrations.
It was only after the meal that Anne wandered around the house. She came back into the kitchen and said, “Dad. There’s nothing in the house about mom. None of her stuff. None of her wall hangings, and no pictures of her. The wedding photo is gone. Why?”
Leslie and Bess were also in the kitchen then. Leslie paled. She looked at Ted. He had been expecting something like this.
He said, “I don’t want….memories. So, I eliminated anything like that.”
Leslie said, “It’s her, isn’t it? Mary.”
“No. Not one bit. It’s all on me.”
Anne went after him. “That’s so hard. So uncaring. It isn’t like you. Didn’t you love her?”
“Yep. Right up to the day she died.”
Bess looked around. She said, “You all should leave dad alone about this. It isn’t our business.”
Anne made a heated reply. “Yes, it is! She was our mom.”
Bess looked at Ted. She said, “You know, right? You found out.”
Ted nodded. Bess had been the one girl who had been in the house during the slut years. He had wondered about whether she knew that Ella was fucking around.
He said, “You knew and chose not to say anything.” It was an accusation. The other sisters were looking back and forth at them.
Anne said, “Knew what?”
Bess said, “Our mom was a first-class slut. Every time dad had a trial.”
Leslie was appalled. “No way. Not mom.”
Bess said, “She fucked that guy Mick over and over. I called her on it. She said she needed it, because dad was too wrapped up in his trials. She told me not to rock the boat.”
Anne had sat down on a kitchen chair. She was silently crying.
Mary came in from the patio, where she had been entertaining the sons-in-law and the kids.
She said, “Uh, oh.”
Ted looked around. “I’m only going to say this once for you two.” He nodded at Anne and Leslie. “I do not want to recall your mother. She’s dead. And dead to me. I never knew what she was doing. But I do now. I know in great detail, because she kept sex diaries. I’ve read them. If it wasn’t for Mary, here, I’d likely have killed myself.”
“Oh, dad. You really weren’t here sometimes. For months.” This was Leslie.
“She….her lies and treachery….they’ve robbed me of what had been my life. I loved someone, and she wasn’t really who I thought she was. She was actually someone else. And when I think of it that way, it makes me feel like everything in the marriage was fake. On her part. All of it.”
Bess said, “I’ve thought about it a lot, dad. I wish I had said something. But I thought you’d be happier not knowing. And, I’ll tell you this: I’m probably never getting married. She’s why.” Bess was sobbing. Mary was the one who went to her. She led her out of the kitchen, toward the living room.
Anne and Leslie were also tearing up. Ted felt bad for them. He wished they’d gotten through the holiday without this discussion and revelation. But there was no way he was going to put the stuff back up to fool them. He’d tossed most of it, or sold it and donated the money.
Ted went up to the two women, pulled them into a group hug. They rocked back and forth for a while. Then he stepped back and said, “Let’s find some eggs. They have chocolate in them!”
Out they all went to hunt the plastic eggs.
The two sisters, as well as Aunt Bess, put on a good show for the kids in the egg hunt. And doing that lifted their bad moods. By the time they all left for their hotel, things had lightened up. Only Bess was staying over at the house.
When only Ted, Mary and Bess were left, Bess said, “Dad, I apologize for not telling you.”
He replied, “It was the percentage move, if the goal was my happiness. If I never knew, I’d still be content with the marriage. Your mom, though, had to keep those diaries.”
Bess said, “I wasn’t a child. I could have manned up.”
Ted hugged her. He whispered to her, “Bess, if I never found out, I’d not have found Mary. And Mary has made my life so much better. So much. It worked out for me. Not so much for you, though.”
“I’ll be okay.”
Mary said, “Bess, people do dumb stuff. You don’t want to be lonely for the rest of your life. You have to take a shot. No cocoon. That doesn’t bring happiness, only sterile stability.”
Bess said, “I’m living too far away from you guys. Maybe I’ll switch up. You can push me out the door on Saturday nights.”
Mary laughed. “We can come with. Your dad’s a good dancer.”
That’s kind of what happened. Beth got work in town for legal aid. Not highly paid, but frustrating. Hmmm.
She had a roomette for a while near her work, and would see Ted and Mary most weeks for at least one dinner. The she met a young man who worked for the public defender, Silas James. They went out for a month. Then she allowed him into her bed. About four months later, she allowed him into her heart. She brought him home to meet Ted and Mary. They had a dinner. Later Ted walked off with Silas.
When they were away from the house, Ted said, “I take it that you’re serious, you two?”
“No sirs. Ted will do. I want to have a discussion with you, if you haven’t yet had that discussion with Bess. It’s about her mother.”
“We spoke about that, Ted. I understand that she has trust issues. I don’t. Not with her. I’m in love with her.”
“Well, okay, then. I’m pleased to hear that.”
Bess and Silas were married that June, in a small ceremony. They moved into a small house, and Bess was soon pregnant. It was a boy, Simon.
Meanwhile, Anne and Leslie came to terms with their mom’s infidelity, as much as they could. It did not disrupt their marriages. It did cause them to be more careful overall, with men other than their husbands.
Mick was devastated by the meeting at the diner and Ted’s rejection of him. He knew he bore the blame — along with Ella. Mick had never been popular. He was married for only three years before his wife left him for another man. He had a limited social life. By far his best friend was Ted, all through his life, even when he was fucking Ella. Mick loved Ted. He often thought of Ted when he was screwing Ella, imagining that he was Ted. He fantasized about a threesome with Ella and Ted. Those feelings did not abate when Ella quit him.
He had believed that his relationship with Ted had survived the affair. Until the diner meeting.
After that, Mick’s life lost all color. It proceeded in muted sepia. His chain of convenience stores basically ran themselves. He had no one in the night.
After about ten months with no contact from Ted, Mick gave up. He came back from work one evening and got out a bottle of his best single malt Scotch whiskey. He drank two glasses. Then he opened a pill bottle and swallowed the entire contents. He washed it down with more whiskey. He sipped more as he drowsed away. Then he was gone.
Ted didn’t go to the service. He felt a pang of regret when he heard. But a betrayal is a betrayal. He knew that Ella had overpowered Mick. He thought that she was evil and picked Mick for perverse reasons of revenge. He knew that Mick was weak. All their lives Ted had picked up Mick. But Mick couldn’t find the strength to turn down Ella.
That hurt Ted almost as much as Ella had. And it was on her. The bitch.
Mick left everything to Ted. Ted didn’t want Mick’s money, or his business. He formed a corporation and ceded the lot to it. His three daughters were equal owners.
Ted and Mary stayed together. They never married. Neither one wanted that. But they were steadfastly true to each other for fifteen years.
Ted’s miracle rejuvenation remained a mystery. He did age, slowly. The day when he bumped into Mary was probably the peak of his new prowess. But his physical abilities, stimulated by Mary, remained extraordinary. Mary was seldom left wanting. Of later years, she had to work a little more to get a result. Worth it, though.
Ted died in his sleep, at eighty-seven. The night before his death, he and Mary had gone at it like animals. Pretty rare then, even for them.
Mary felt like she had fucked him to death. She smiled. She knew that if he had the chance to script his death, that would be what he’d write.
Mary was only sixty-five. She never regretted a minute of her life with Ted. But that was over. It took her a while to adjust. But she still looked good.
One day she decided to take a walk down to that same convenience store. See if lightening would strike twice. It didn’t. But the fact that she took that walk woke her up to something she needed.
After a while she found a younger man who liked her. And she liked him. Another friend with benefits arrangement. It was better than okay. But never as good as Ted.
He had lived well, and had his revenge. Bless him.