Anny Sugar

Looking over the comments so far, I have decided to put parts 3 & 4 together. I have also moved from the LW section as the twist in the story moves away from the infidelity storyline. The comments are fun but in order to appreciate the story you need to focus on the husband who he is and the choices he made in his life. As with the other parts, Demirath did the editing. Neither of us is perfect so write me if you find a typo.

*****

Something was wrong. It was in the way the engines sounded. The F-14 Tomcat was sluggish. Its performance was clearly off. The pilot did not seem to notice, but I knew. Before dawn, we had been hurled from the deck of the USS Eisenhower. We were headed for Riyadh and a final meeting, rush, rush as with everything. We were going to war. The preparations were all made. I was to go over the last details and be back in time to see the first planes off. We were one day from war. As the sun came up, we were traveling beyond the speed of sound at twenty plus thousand feet. The engines cut out. The momentum carries the plane forward, but not for long. Forty-three thousand pounds of aircraft will not fly long, then it drops. It will not glide, it will not maneuver, it will drop.

The pilot ran the restart.

Nothing

Again

Nothing

We began to fall towards the dark sea.

“Time to bail out, Sir? He asked in a voice meant to be nonchalant, but which betrayed every pilot’s worst fear.

“Restart,” I said

Nothing

Dropping faster and faster toward the dark water.

“Shut off the fuel and try again,” I said.

“That’s crazy.”

“DO IT NOW.”

I woke with a start as we hit the water. It was not the first time that I had this dream. It was the first time, I woke alone in bed. Always before Karen had been there with me. Unlike the dream in real life, the plane engines started. The problem had been the fuel. It was contaminated, one of those screw-ups that happen on the way to war.

Ultimately my own fault as the man in charge, but we were lucky. I caught it by nearly losing my life. The emergency reserve was not affected. The engines restarted on the reserve tank once the main supply was cut off. We headed straight back, and I checked all the fuel. My flight to Riyadh that afternoon was at Mach 2. I could not have bailed out and gotten back to fix the problem. I can only imagine how many planes we might have lost, but the engines had whispered to me, and I had caught the problem.

Why did I hit the water in the dream, because I have lost Karen? The fact of that loss hit me harder than death.

There is a knocking at the back door. There is a brief porch by the back stairs. Someone is there. I open the door, and Avril Du Monte comes striding in on her stiletto heels. She had arrived to stay the week after Karen and I had had our talk about Philippe. A talk about what they had done. Somehow Karen expected me to shrug and put it behind me. I could not and had retreated to the fourth-floor apartment.

“Mon Dieu, such a scream,” Avril says.

“Sorry to disturb you, but what are you doing up here?” I said.

“I was sitting on the upper porch when you cried out. The view of the University at the crown of the hill so beau.”

“Sorry, a bad dream, but come, let me show you the river,” I said.

We walk to the front of the house. She is in a McGill tee shirt, blue jeans, and those extravagant heels. The shirt and the jeans must be extra small. They are as tight as any I have ever seen. They mold her body. The woman is sexy, and she knows it. The outfit is far too skimpy for the October morning, but I can hardly talk. I’m in my boxers.

“I cannot see out, the windows are too high,” she said.

“Come up here,” I said. I lead her up to where a loft has been installed. The fourth floor was added as a false floor. It was built to make the house appear to be in the ornate Italian style rather than the original Greek classical. We built the apartment and rented it for a while till our finances improved. Eventually, my oldest son took over. It had at the front, a cathedral ceiling with a substantial sleeping loft built in. Now I walked Avril up to the loft. Her short statute was ideal for the space.

“The dormer windows look so small from outside, but I could stand in them, and you are right the river view is breathtaking,” she said.

“Glad you like it.”

“You have a beau home. Bigger than our house in Mont Royal, but far too much for two people. Even those who intend to live apart,” she said in a scolding tone.

“Well you have seen the view,” I said.

“I am not done. We must talk,” she said turning to look me up and down.

“You are an attractive man. Such men should not sleep alone with their nightmares,” she said.

“Circumstances have overtaken me,” I said trying to put some sarcasm in my voice.

“What a foolish man you are. The most belle woman who loves you is sleeping alone with her own bad dreams in the same house,” she said as she walked down into the living area.

“What do you casino siteleri want Mrs. Du Monte?” I said.

“I want you to stop hating my poor Philippe, who can no longer defend himself.”

“What makes you think, I hate him?”

“Now you think me a fool,” she said sitting down at the table, “Coffee would be nice as we talk.”

“I should throw her out,” I thought she is dangerous, but how absurd for a man to be afraid of so small a creature.

“You don’t want tea,” I asked.

“No coffee this morning, we have serious things to discuss,” she said.

It takes me a few minutes to make the coffee as I do I watch her. She is self-possessed and entirely comfortable seated in a room with a barely dressed man. It is I who feel uncomfortable and ill at ease.

“I take cream and sugar. Not black and bitter like some barbarous American man,” she says with a hint of laughter in her voice.

She knows how I drink my coffee what else does she know about me? I know only that she is the widow of the man who seduced my wife.

I put the coffee in front of her with the cream and sugar. I turn to get dressed.

“Do not get dressed. I’m an older woman and, therefore, enjoy the male form. Do not deprive me of my pleasure,” she said.

I hesitate, but I sit in my boxers and sip my coffee.

________________________________________________

“We have much in common,” Avril Du Monte began. “We have married persons of passion, but we are rather controlled and introverted. Perhaps the biggest difference between us, that I notice, is that where you are shy, I am not. Perhaps that is why we have reacted so differently, but perhaps it is the difference in our genders or our cultures or all of this.

My mother was a war bride. She was Japanese and followed my French Canadian father to Montreal after the World War. I was their fourth child, their last, and the only girl. It was not easy being half Japanese after the war. It is not easy now, but my Philippe never saw me that way. If you could have known him. What a man he was. Tall and so elegant he stood far above the crowd. But I speak more than physically. He had a gift, and it glowed about him this light of genius.

Philippe was a great artist even at twenty-six. He walked the McGill campus like a prince. He was a part-time instructor of drawing and a professor of preservation. I was a lowly first-year undergraduate. I worshiped at the altar of this Phoebus come to life. The little brown girl half this and half that. That he noticed me at all was a miracle, but when he kissed me, I suffered the petite mort. You know this? The little death that those in love suffer when they feel their breath leave and their heart stop.

Why we married, I do not know. We were so wrong, and neither family was happy. Philippe had the barest of incomes. I was not yet nineteen, a silly girl, but so much in love. We lived on his fixing the work of others because it paid. He should have been painting, but I got pregnant too fast. It was different then, the birth control not so reliable. We could have done something, but we were too Catholic to live with it.

We were poor had nothing but babies and love, so much love. I will never be that happy again. But I knew it could not would not last. He was too much for me to hold. Simone was seven and Suzanne, but five when I saw the discontent in him. The sex was extraordinaire still, but there was roving in his eyes. He had a big need. Great talent and a great appetite for life.

What would you have me do hold him so tight I strangle the life of our love? It was up to me to hold with open hands. I suggested that we see others. I could read the relief in his blue eyes. I picked my men so as not to compete. Shallow boys more physical and far less experienced. They gave pleasure without threat. I hoped that he would do the same. And he did until he met her.

It was my worst fear. A woman so perfect, tall and blond with that hint of red in her hair. She has the skin, they say peaches and cream, and the big magical brown eyes. If she had only these looks, but she was so much more. I think you see it so obvious in her portrait, the wicked smile that contrasts the ingenuous eyes. The combination of sex and innocence so attractive that no man can resist. As if to taunt me, I discovered what a true heart she had what a bon women she is. How was a little half-Japanese girl to compete with that?

And then she made me love her! It seemed, at first, the affair was ending. There was a husband and small children. She would not leave the husband, and Philippe would not ask it. Theirs was a pure love each wanting the best for the other.

But then the husband was gone. Did he discover them? Philippe moved in. I was distraught. Surely now, I would lose my love. I could see how bright their love burned, and there were the wonderful small boys to care for.

When I arrived on that first weekend in this awful uncultured ALL-BAN-ee, there was a blanket of grief and fear hanging over this lovely house. The husband was gone, but she slot oyna grieved for him and was burdened with worry. The little boys troubled unable to understand their mother’s sorrow. No one would speak of the missing man. We were in some film where he had left the scene but was expected back for the happy ending only maybe it was a tragedy.

Philippe had stepped in to play the good and faithful lover until the end came. I look you in your eyes when I tell you I was never more proud to be the wife of Philippe Du Monte. He did not abandon his love because it was inconvenient or difficult. He loved this woman, and she was in need, and he was THERE. It was her husband who had somehow failed her. I knew then Philippe would never forsake me whatever happened he would always be my Philippe. He was that rarest of creatures a truly good man.

They say that no Christmas can match those we experience as a child. They are fools for it is what we share with our true loves that will always burn the brightest in our souls. That year Karen came to Mont Royal she stole our hearts as she had Philippe’s. I had no sister, but now I had one and two little boys to share with my daughters. Ours was a happy time in a home that was hung with joy. But beneath the joy sadness for the man who was far away in some danger of which no one would speak.

December 1990 was all snow in Montreal. We built snowmen for the little boys. Took them to the puppet show, and watched the older one try to hide his tears when his father called from far away. He was told he had to be brave like his daddy. Karen only whispered, “thank you, God, he is still alive.”

Your family became part of our family. I am not sorry for that. It is a right thing. Karen will always be my sister as Philippe will always be my husband. Nothing you can do will change that, but I have hurt my sister because I am a selfish woman.

I am lost without my Philippe. He is always in my thoughts. I came that day with her picture to share with Karen. It was thoughtless. I should have known. Maybe somewhere inside I did, and still I came. P L E A S E forgive us. We did not mean you hurt. I am lost without my Philippe. I need my sister. She has a part of him, and I need that part. Please, Please I beg you— forgive her. It was not sin…only love.

Avril Du Mont had broken down. She was weeping uncontrollably. All the grief and the loss she had suffered overcame her. She had bared herself to me without reserve. Pulled that confident mask from her face and shown the vulnerable woman who lay beneath.

I had been right she was dangerous. She had real courage and was more than a match for a man who had only mere physical courage. I enfolded her in my arms. Let her cry against me as I stroked her head like a child. She had bested me, touched my heart, and taken away my anger. She hurt my pride by showing me her limitless love.

We descended the steps. I carried her down. She was so small, so light, and so brave. Her head rested on my shoulder while her tears dampening my bare chest. We found Karen in the first-floor kitchen. She yelled at me as she saw Avril.

“You bastard, what have you done to her.”

They came together those two women so different physically but joined somehow at their souls. I retreated up the stairs naked to my heart and troubled to my core. Later Karen ascended the stairs. She knocked softly.

“Rob, may I speak to you…apologize,” she said softly through the door.

When I opened the door, she rushed into my arms.

“Please, please, I’m so sorry,” she said the tears flowing over the wool shirt I had put on.

She tried to explain once again, but I stopped her.

“No need,” I said, “Avril explained it all.”

We sat in the strange half sofa, my son had left when he moved to Chicago, her leaning into me. We were quiet for a long time. I having nothing to say and she afraid to speak. Finally, it became too much for her.

“What is going to become of us?” she said.

“I don’t really know. I’m too confused. It seems more than a man should be asked to handle,” I said.

“Could we just for a little while pretend that it did not happen? Just until we see if there is a way forward,” she said.

“And how is that going to work? Love.”

She smiled, “If you still love me we will find a way.”

“How long do we ignore the past?”

“I’m not asking forever only until January. I need to help Avril she is suffering so, and I feel I owe her. If that hurts you, I’m sorry,” she said.

“Yes I’m hurting, but I feel for Avril as well. All she did was love someone without limit. I don’t believe I can do what she did,” I said.

Karen began weeping again, “I’m so sorry,” she said.

Thus began a new period of my life and marriage. Karen was helping Avril with the exhibition of Philippe’s work. The exhibition was taking place in New York City first and then was slated to tour nationally. It was a significant project that involved collecting more than one hundred fifty works from various owners, collectors, and museums. The canlı casino siteleri opening was scheduled for Mid-January.

Karen’s plan, if you can call it that, was to put off a confrontation of our problems until after the first of the year. Karen and I would seek marriage counseling in January. The interim arrangement was to ignore the problem. Pretend that although Avril was there in residence while she and Karen worked that somehow what happened did not happen. It might even have worked, but we did not fully take into account Avril and her and our families.

By the fifth of October, Karen had taken a leave of absence from the State through the year’s end. I tried to bury myself in work. There was a new engine that was totally experimental. If successful it would allow a plane to reach orbit, it had eighty thousand pounds of thrust. There was only one problem it never got close to the eighty figure. The government dragged me into it. The University was ecstatic because the contract was huge. The work was allegedly secret, but how could any project that had already been worked on by thousands of engineers and scientists be held entirely confidential.

The machine itself was a monster. It was not a pretty beast. She sucked in air and burned fuel faster than any engine ever made. It was the speed that gave her the efficiency that and light weight. But she never equaled her paper performance. She had her problems, not unlike my marriage. She was a fine distraction, but I tried not to love her. Something told me that my work might have been why I lost Karen to Philippe. For that is how I saw it. Philippe had taken her and loved her. The hidden life, they had, was a part of her that I would never have.

Maybe I was jealous, egotistical, or plain stupid. I felt that Philippe had rendered me second that what Karen and I had would never equal what she and he had. Avril was right I hated him. A man I could not know except through his women. It would come to seem that I could not escape these women and, therefore, could not escape Philippe Du Monte.

The trouble began with the arrival of the daughter Simone. First, she came with the kids, five of them. Two older step children and three of her own. The husband soon turned up and then her sister Suzanne with her husband and two kids. They were all happy to see Aunt Karen they knew her well. The grandmothers were next Aimi Lefebvre, who was eighty-one, Avril’s mother, and then there was the grande dame Sara Marie-Pascale Du Monte. She was ninety-five, but you would not know it. A tall, slender woman who was the center of any room she entered. Two uncles showed just for the holiday and four additional cousins all females in their twenties going on a trip to NYC after Thanksgiving, their Thanksgiving not ours.

The appearance of my older son with a new girlfriend who was suitably pretty and sported a mid-west accent was no surprise. The shock was the arrival of Oscar with his friend Mark in tow. Now the house that the week before had seemed empty was filled with people. They were all there to celebrate Thanksgiving in October, the Canadian feast, and to support Avril in what was becoming her life’s work, gaining Philippe the recognition she felt he deserved. Our home had become Avril’s house. Her family had simply subsumed mine. Naively, I still believed I was separate and perhaps headed to be single and alone.

Beds were the first problem. The children were no issue. Several groups at the University manufactured loft bed for dorm rooms to enhance the space. Four sets of bunk beds for two of the three third-floor bedrooms were no problem. The beds in those two rooms were moved. The Uncles shared the third bedroom on the third floor. The grandmothers took over the two-room guest suite on the second-floor front with its small bathroom.

“A great convenience,” Mrs. Lefevre said.

Oscar, Mark, Kevin and the girl, whose name I believe was Laura, took over the basement with its gym, laundry room, spare kitchen and hot tub. Sleeping together in the gym room on rented cots. I asked why the girl didn’t mind sleeping with three guys but got no answer but a shrug. The cousins took over the parlors sleeping on the couches. Avril’s daughters and their husbands moved onto the fourth floor leaving the back bedroom on the second floor for Avril, Karen and me. It was a fact, I did not discover until well after I came home to the mad house of people on Thursday evening. The sleeping arrangements had all been made, this massive group was dining on wood-fired pizza from the upscale purveyor in the south end of the city. I had not gone near our former bedroom since the painting of Karen had arrived. I did not think I could ever view the room the same way again.

My day had not gone well. The beast sitting in the lab at the university was not talking to me. She was a quiet lady who was not going to be easily tamed. She worried me. All that power she had and so little control. My mind was elsewhere as I came into a house that in just a few days had filled to capacity with people. They regarded me with a relaxed familiarity as if I were a member of this extended family that now included my two sons and Karen. I felt estranged from Karen and the boys now more than ever. Had they been mine all these years or was I sharing them.

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