I walked into the boutique to make some purchases. I usually shopped online and had the merchandise sent to my work office but this time…I opted for a store which sold what I wanted.
I didn't see the petite brunette girl not much older than my daughter who worked there…but her boss instead.
The other woman smiled at me from the counter.
"She had her baby last night," she said, "Her husband stopped by to give the news on his way to the fire station."
I hadn't known she'd been pregnant, as I didn't frequent this store very often. I did know what had happened to her in the past and how it had played out. She'd rebounded from it stronger and it looked like she had found happiness in her life. She'd had to work for it hard and I did admire that. So unlike my own daughter who spent her summers lounging by the pool all day…still at least that kept her away from the lowlifes she allowed to touch her.
"What would you like…I'm Lacey by the way."
I just smiled back.
"I'll know it when I see it."
I left her and went to look at the merchandise, heading past the massage oils and body paints to the back of the store where they kept what I wanted.
Whips…leather handled ones meant to inflict more pleasure than pain. Blind folds, masks and soft nylon ropes. I had always been into doing things with a woman I didn't share with my wife. Gloria didn't go for a man who dominated women by tying them up and blindfolding them…and she would be horrified if she knew how much I had done.
None of the women talked, because none of them wanted rumors to circulate about them fucking married men in a town with few secrets which remained that way for long. I picked out a package with a rubber gag almost like a dog toy inside it and I had tried that too with some of the girls I'd lured into my bed.
Breast clamps, pussy jewelry…I imagined Ruby wearing all of it while I fucked her. Not that she'd go for it because she'd pushed me away. Not because she didn't want what I could give her but because she worried what Tiffany would do if she found out.
My daughter had raged at me for a little while over Megan but soon enough, I'd just let her shop her way out of her anger. A new pair of boots, a party dress and all would be right in her world. But Ruby didn't want anything like that from me or anyone.
I knew a secret about her that she didn't think anyone knew. I knew what that man in the bar had been talking about…that he'd been kicked out by his girlfriend after he'd gotten too friendly with her daughter. Back when I'd been thinking of doing here but not going that far, he'd been living in the same house and taking advantage of a young teenage girl.
He'd returned to town just a day ago obviously back with the town whore. Prematurely no doubt after getting busted in some casino in Vegas again…I knew all about him and what kind of cheat he'd turned out to be and not just at cards.
He had more than a wandering eye and craved girls younger than Ruby. That's why I knew I could use him for what I had planned. All I had to do was find a way to meet him, lure him into doing what I wanted and even use his own past against him.
Lacey rang up the items that I'd picked up without really glancing at me and I took my purchase out of the store.
Sonia had just come out of a coffee joint with cup in hand. She livened up when she saw me before I could walk right past her. She stood in my path.
"Devlin…what a surprise…"
I didn't smile.
"I just ran into Gloria not 10 minutes ago…"
I know she wanted me to ask where so she could tell a story with plenty of innuendo attached. But I knew my wife; she didn't have much of a life these days…outside her meetings.
"Don't you want to know where or are you too much a gentleman to ask?"
"I'm busy doing errands and don't have time to listen to what you're going to insinuate about my wife."
"Oh Devlin, you misread me but then that's always been a fault of yours…"
Because I refused to fuck her even when she came onto me like a bitch in heat? That might have been suicide.
"My wife can do what she wants…and I don't have to hear about it."
She sipped from her cup, gazing at me.
"I never knew she was so friendly with Brock," she said, "I mean that was so long ago."
I gritted my teeth suddenly, not letting it show. I never let anyone know when they got to me let alone a nosy bitch like Sonia.
"They still know each other."
"I know…but they're so friendly," she said, "I thought maybe they got in a fight some years ago…things seemed a bit chilly among the three of you."
I just stopped trusting my former colleague and friend and now I knew why. Because he and my wife had gotten very friendly…now when I thought of them together, I thought of him pleasuring her in ways I never did. Her never getting enough of him, her being the passionate woman that I'd met and later married before it changed her.
"Where did you see them?"
Her eyes sparked with something more malicious than mischief.
"Oh, they're inside getting coffee together," she said, "I just left them."
I wondered how that had happened. When she'd left this morning for a meeting, she gave no indication that she'd be heading off to meet him.
"They looked happy enough…"
I just set my mouth in a firm line.
"Even cozy if you ask me…"
No one had asked her and I didn't want to feed her enjoyment of the situation. Suddenly a car pulled up driven by another woman and she left me to get inside of it. I stood there a moment and then made my decision to go inside the coffee place.
I walked inside the small shop, that was built to look like a cozy spot but the draft always chilled in the wintertime when I'd been there with my wife. I saw her wearing her hair loosely in a bun and wearing a summer dress. Brock sat opposite her at a table and they both had coffee cups.
I ordered a coffee before they could see me and then walked on over after being served. Brock looked up and saw me first, not looking the least uneasy.
She froze in mid laughter and just looked at me. She seemed more uncomfortable than Brock and I knew why. She clearly knew the secret she'd tried to keep from me, the one she still believed remained such.
"Hi darling…I just ran into him here after picking up a few things at the grocery store."
"Gloria told me about how well the Midsummer Ball's going to look," he said, "Worked very hard on it…"
I just stared at him.
"She's in charge of a lot of the planning."
Gloria just looked between Devlin and me, sipping her coffee while her hand trembled.
"I know…she told me," Brock said, "but she's always been talented in that area."
Yeah, that's all she did with any talents she had and didn't have much time these days for her family. Gloria smiled but it didn't appear easy.
"He told me he's taking Ruby to the Ball this year."
I knew that already and didn't want reminding about him taking her anywhere or doing anything to her. But I covered myself well.
"Heard from Caroline lately?"
My wife shot me a look but Brock didn't react.
"She's enjoying London, and might work there longer."
I sipped my coffee casually.
"That's too bad," I said, "It must be hard on you."
Brock just didn't look fazed.
"She and I…we were drifting apart anyway and maybe it's for the best."
"I'm sure she'll do fine there," she said, "Caroline's always been successful."
"We're both moving on…"
I wondered how much Caroline had to say to that or whether she'd found out what her boyfriend had been doing while she'd been away. A whole town of busybodies would have raced to see who'd be the first to tell her the news that he'd cheated on her with a woman much younger.
"So what's on for tonight Brock," Gloria asked, "You going to the jazz concert?"
He shook his head.
"Nah, Ruby and I are going hiking, picnicking and watching the sun go down."
I listened and knew where they'd be heading. Brock had a secret place he'd shared with my wife before he'd fucked her. He'd be taking Ruby there too to be alone with her.
Only they wouldn't be alone.