Wife and Ex-Wife Ch. 08

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The next morning, a Sunday, found Nina in the kitchen, working a bit frenetically on a bacon-and-eggs breakfast. She had climbed over a dozing Patrick to come downstairs in nothing but her nightgown, and as she banged pots, pans, and skillets around she didn’t hear another person enter the kitchen while her back was turned.

“Hi, Nina,” Amelia said quietly.

Nina wheeled around and clutched her chest. “Omigod, Amelia! You scared the life out of me!”

“I’m so sorry,” she said.

Nina fanned her face and said, “Oh, it’s nothing. I’m just being silly.” Turning back to her tasks, she added, “Gotta get this breakfast ready for Patrick—and, um, us. He likes big breakfasts on weekends.”

“Yes, I know,” Amelia said quietly.

Nina flushed and looked away from Patrick’s ex-wife. “Of course you do.”

“Um,” Amelia said tentatively, “can I help?”

“Why, sure!” Nina said with exaggerated enthusiasm. “Anything you like!”

“I think I know how to cook bacon the way Patrick likes.”

“Go to it, girl!” Nina said, gesturing toward the skillet she had brought out.

While the two women were busy making the meal, Patrick sauntered in, wearing a robe and looking sleepy and disheveled. The sight of his wife and ex-wife gave him something of a jolt, but he tried to put the best face on things.

“Hi, ladies,” he said in a shaky voice.

They both turned around and smiled at him. “Just sit down,” Nina said. “It’s almost ready.”

The meal was eaten largely in silence. It was exceedingly obvious that everyone was uncomfortable, for all manner of reasons, and they had difficulty even making idle conversation. When breakfast was finally over, Nina looked over to Amelia and said:

“Would you like to take a shower?”

“Yes, please,” Amelia said, like a little girl hoping to get a treat from her mother.

“Okay,” Nina said with determination. Extending a hand toward Amelia, she added: “Why don’t you come upstairs with me and we’ll find you some clothes that will fit you.”

“Anything will do,” Amelia murmured.

The two women went upstairs. Amelia was thankful that Nina wasn’t leading her into the bedroom, although she gave a quick and alarmed look at the king-size bed there. Instead, they went into the room that Patrick had claimed as his studio, but where Nina still kept most of her clothes. Amelia’s eyes widened as she saw all the art paraphernalia scattered around the room. Now that Patrick was a full-time freelance artist, he had a lot more of this kind of material in the house than he had had when Amelia had been his wife.

“Wow, look at all this stuff!” she said wonderingly.

“Yeah, pretty impressive,” Nina said, taking some reflected pride in her husband’s achievement. “His career as an artist has really taken off.”

Amelia seemed to be getting choked up, so Nina quickly turned her attention to the matter at hand. Flinging open the closet, she quickly surveyed the contents for something suitable. Being a good four inches taller than Amelia, she realized that her long and even her mid-length dresses might be unsuitable. Muttering, “Nothing very promising here,” she closed the closet door and turned her attention to the dresser. As if struck by inspiration, she pulled out an angora sweater and a short pleated skirt. Holding them up, she said:

“How about these? I think they’ll look awfully cute on you!”

“They’re just fine. Thank you,” Amelia said.

Nina pulled open another drawer, coloring as she did so. “I—I hope you don’t mind wearing my panties. They’re clean!”

“No problem,” Amelia said as Nina handed her a frilly pair of satin panties.

Nina now gave a quick look at Amelia’s chest as she said, “Um, I don’t think my bras will fit you.”

“It’s all right. I’ll wear the one I was wearing yesterday.”

“Just out of curiosity, what’s your size?”

Amelia smiled at that. “Thirty-six C.”

“I’m thirty-two B,” Nina said lugubriously.

Amelia felt she had to say something. “Bigger isn’t necessarily better.”

“I guess not,” Nina said as she shut the drawer and headed downstairs.

“You want me to shower in the downstairs bathroom?” Amelia asked.

“If you would.” The same bathroom where Patrick and I . . .

Patrick and Nina showered after Amelia had finished. As the clock was showing the approach of noon, the three found themselves sitting at loose ends in the living room.

“So what happens now?” Patrick said, looking apprehensively at his wife and his ex-wife.

Amelia sat silent, also looking nervous.

After an awkward silence, Nina piped up with: “Well, you know, this is Sunday, so it’s not likely that you”—looking at Amelia—”will be able to get your things out of your apartment. I figure your boyfriend will still be hanging around, won’t he?”

“Yes, probably,” Amelia said.

“So,” Nina said with an agitated sigh, “we’ll have to do this tomorrow. He does work, doesn’t he?”

“Yes, thankfully. halkalı eve gelen escort He has to go down to Burien on a job.” Burien was a suburb far to the south of Seattle.

“Fine,” Patrick said. “You and I can get your stuff then.” He was addressing Amelia.

“I can help!” Nina said in a high, fluty voice.

“You don’t have to do that,” Patrick said.

“I’d like to! I mean, three people can do the job quick than two, can’t they? I’m not a weakling.”

“No one said you were,” Patrick said calmly. “It’s good of you to offer to help.”

“Yes, really good of you,” Amelia added.

“So what do we do today?” Patrick said, his nervousness returning.

“We could have some fun!” Nina said imprudently, then covered her mouth. “Oops! I didn’t mean it to sound like that. What I meant was that, since today seems to be shaping up as a nice day, we could go out and enjoy some fresh air.”

“That sounds wonderful,” Amelia said.

“How about the Arboretum?” Nina said, again speaking without thinking.

“No—not there,” Patrick countered at once, glaring at Nina with almost vindictive venom. Both of them knew what he was leaving unspoken: How could you even think of taking Amelia there? Do you really want to rub in her face the place where we got married?

Patrick’s silent hostility so stunned Nina that she lapsed into silence, but Amelia came to everyone’s rescue. “How about Discovery Park?” This was a huge park in the Magnolia district of Seattle, overlooking both Shilshole Bay and Elliot Bay.

“Oh, that’s a splendid idea!” Nina chirped.

Everyone agreed to that, and they got ready for the trip. It was a sunny but cool day, and they stopped off at a deli to pick up some tasty things for a picnic lunch, then headed off to the park.

Given that there weren’t likely to be many more sunny days for the rest of the fall, the park was fairly crowded, and the trio had some difficulty finding a reasonably secluded spot. But they managed to stumble upon a place that was not only shrouded in trees but also had an unoccupied picnic bench, and they all enjoyed their lunch as they took in the fresh air and the spectacular vistas of the two bays.

Almost before they had finished eating, Patrick got up from the bench and said, “I—I need to take a walk.”

Nina thought that was an odd way of expressing himself, and she had a sinking feeling that what Patrick really meant was: I need to get away from you two ladies for a while.

As they watched him stalk off into the woods, Nina and Amelia smiled hesitantly at each other.

“He’s a funny guy, isn’t he?” Nina said.

“Yes, he is,” Amelia agreed. “Doesn’t say much—but some of his looks speak volumes.”

“Maybe that’s why he’s an artist and not a writer,” Nina said.

“I never thought about it that way. You could be right about that.”

There was a little silence, broken only when Nina said shyly: “Do you want to talk about that dreadful boyfriend of yours?”

Amelia closed her eyes and sighed. “Not really. There’s not much to tell, anyway. God knows what madness led me to shack up with him in the first place. I’d only known him a few weeks before I invited him into my place.”

Nina said nothing to that. I’d only known Patrick exactly one week before I made a similar invitation.

But Amelia, in spite of her apparent reluctance to talk about the matter, went on without any prodding from Nina. “God, I’ve made some really bad choices in men!” Her eyes widened as she shot a glance at her companion. “I meant after Patrick. Can you believe I’ve lived with four different men in the last three years?”

“Wow, that’s a lot!” Nina cried. “I didn’t even date anyone in the three years after my husband left me. Imagine living with four guys, one after the other!”

“Well, it wasn’t quite like that. There were some fairly large gaps in between.”

“Were you with them long?”

“Hmm,” Amelia said reflectively. “The longest was about eight months. The shortest—that only lasted two or three weeks.”

“That’s pretty short.”

“Yeah. He was a total disaster.”

“How about this current guy?”

“We’ve lived together about two months.”

Nina murmured sympathetically, then said: “Please don’t take this the wrong way, but why were you so eager to ‘shack up,’ as you say, with these men?”

“I wouldn’t exactly say I was eager. It was more like”—and here again Amelia cast a nervous glance at Nina—”I just felt the need to prove to myself, after Patrick left me, that I was desirable and could attract a man.”

“Oh, you can’t have any doubt about that!”

“You’d be surprised. When a man leaves you high and dry, it’s a pretty hard thing for a woman to take.”

“Yeah, I know,” Nina said despondently. “I think that’s what led me to shun men for such a long time. I was afraid it would happen all over again. God, if Patrick ever deserted me, I think I’d just halkalı grup yapan escort flip! I’d go off and become a nun, or something.”

“Patrick’s not going to desert you,” Amelia said softly.

“I hope not. You can never tell, though.”

Any further discussion was cut off by Patrick’s return. The look he gave the two main women in his life was unreadable, but he suggested that it was time to do some joint exploration. So for the next several hours the three of them wandered all around Discovery Park, sometimes resting on benches, at other times taking in the view of forest and water, and at still other times marching resolutely like a mingled Boy and Girl Scout troop along trails that ventured deep into the woods.

They all found the excursion refreshing, and Patrick treated the women to a nice restaurant meal afterwards. When they got home, Amelia fell in with the married couple’s usual evening diversion of watching an old movie. After that, they all decided to retire early.

As Patrick was lying in bed with his wife, he said, “You know, Nina, you don’t need to treat Amelia as if she were made of nitroglycerine. She’s just a woman.”

“She’s not just a woman!” Nina said, suddenly enraged. “She was your wife for four years! That’s a huge difference, isn’t it?”

“I guess it is,” he muttered.

“You bet it is! God, I feel as if I have to be super-careful of every single thing I say or do, for fear of offending her or, as you say, rubbing it in her face that I’m your wife and she isn’t. I can’t imagine anything more awkward!” Pausing to catch her breath, she went on: “And anyway, you’re dancing around her, too! The way you wandered off this afternoon, leaving me alone with her . . . You seem totally freaked out that she’s with us.”

Patrick was silent for a time, finally saying: “It’s a difficult situation for everyone.”

“Of course it is—and for her, too, poor thing! Jesus, I think I’d go crazy if both you and my ex-husband were in the same house with me. Thank heaven that will never happen!”

“She’ll be out of here soon.”

“Well, I hope so—more for her sake than for ours. I just hope she finds someone suitable.”

And with that, they drifted off to sleep.

The next day, both Amelia and Nina asked their respective offices for a personal day while they and Patrick trooped over, in two cars, to Amelia’s apartment and began boxing up her belongings. She had a fair number of clothes, and they took a long time to pack. There wasn’t a great deal of other material, and Amelia had no intention of taking any furniture, even though most of it was hers. Some stuff she wanted to put in a storage unit, but Patrick (with Nina’s permission) said she was welcome to store it in their basement, which had a bit of space for the purpose.

“But,” Nina said, “isn’t this your apartment, Amelia? How can you just leave?”

She smirked at that. “Yes, it’s mine—the lease is in my name. But it’s Jack’s lookout now. If he doesn’t pay the rent, well, he’ll get evicted. And I hope he does!”

They all chuckled at the prospect.

It took no more than three trips to get all her stuff out of the place, and the job was done by mid-afternoon. It took a bit more time for Amelia to unpack essentials—toiletries and some clothes—into the spare bedroom that Nina and Patrick had given her. She made sure not to put too many of her things in the closet or dresser, not wishing to convey the idea that she was there for the long haul.

“Do you mind,” she said while enjoying some late afternoon tea, “if I wait till the weekend to look for another apartment?”

“Of course not!” Nina said at once.

Amelia seemed surprised at Nina’s response. “Well, that’s very kind of you. I shouldn’t really take more time off work this week—we’re really busy right now.”

“You take all the time in the world,” Nina said. “It’s—it’s nice having you here.”

Patrick gazed at his wife as if to say: Are you quite right in the head, Nina?

Nina herself couldn’t have articulated why she was so keen on having Amelia stay longer in her house. Maybe she felt that, through careful questioning, she could gain some further insights on Patrick’s temperament and outlook: in some ways she still felt as if she didn’t know her husband very well, or as well as she should. The guy’s so bloody silent!—more silent than most men. She also felt pity, sympathy, and a bit of female solidarity with Amelia, whose bad luck with men had some similarities to her own experiences.

Amelia did her best to fit into the household without getting in the way. Strangely enough, it now seemed as if Patrick was more agitated around her than Nina was. The two women had taken to making meals together; and there was a time when Patrick, coming down exhausted from his upstairs studio, saw them in the kitchen and marched right around and went back upstairs. Nina and Amelia gave each other a look that said, What was that all about?—although halkalı masöz escort both had an idea what the trouble was.

Then there was the episode Thursday night, as Nina and Patrick lay in bed, staring at the ceiling and lying at least two feet apart, like corpses laid out on a bier. Amelia had now been in the house for four full days.

Nina extended her hand and took hold of Patrick’s. “Dearest,” she said quietly, “are you ever going to make love to me?” Patrick had hardly touched her since the preceding Friday. They’d never gone so many days without sex since they’d become acquainted.

A little shudder went through him. “Of course. Don’t be silly.”

“Well, you haven’t, ever since Amelia—”

“I know that,” Patrick said in a clipped voice.

Nina turned and snuggled up next to him. “Does her presence bother you?”

His breathing seemed to get irregular. After a long pause he said, “Okay, yes, it does.”

“So,” she said whimsically, “we’re going to be celibate as long as she’s here?”

Patrick also turned and held her close. “No, silly. But—”

“But what?”

“Let’s be quiet, okay?”

“I’ll do my best.”

And with that, Patrick peeled off Nina’s nightgown, stripped himself of his underwear, and started doing some serious cuddling. His hands ran all over Nina’s body, especially her face, breasts, back, and bottom, and she responded at once with soft little cries that signaled both her desire and her relief that Patrick was acting like a husband again. As she stroked his member to get it hard, she received his fingers into her rapidly moistening sex while giving him open-mouthed kisses on his face, neck, and shoulders with increasing fervency. To her own surprise, and Patrick’s, her climax came in a matter of minutes, and she had to suppress her usual sharp cry with a hand placed firmly over her mouth.

Patrick was impatient to tend to his own pleasure, and without giving Nina much time to recover he turned her on her back and plunged into her. His strokes were forceful, relentless, and as he squeezed her breasts tight and mashed her lips with his own, he too came in a hurry. It almost counted as premature ejaculation.

Almost at once he reached behind himself to take the cold cream out of the drawer in the nightstand. Applying it quickly, he flipped Nina almost violently over onto her stomach and forced his member into her nether orifice. The speed of his entry caused her to gasp, and he was in at full length in seconds. Giving his wife little time to get used to the process, he began pummeling her while, as usual, grabbing her breasts with both hands.

His thrusts were so vigorous that she had to plead, “Dearest, not so hard, please.”

He grudgingly let up, only to resume his pounding as his second climax approached. He again seemed to come sooner than he expected, and he actually bit down on Nina’s shoulder as he spurted his seed deep into her.

As he pulled out of her and flopped to his side of the bed, she rubbed her shoulder and chided, “You didn’t have to bite me.”

“I’m sorry,” he said between breaths. “I—I didn’t want to cry out.”

Patrick in fact rarely cried out when he came, and she knew it.

The whole experience wasn’t entirely satisfactory to Nina: for one thing, it seemed to be over before she knew it (she couldn’t remember the last time Patrick had come twice so fast); for another thing, she hadn’t come during Patrick’s rear entry, and she was hoping that he would take care of her afterwards, but it was obvious he just wanted to go to sleep.

“I love you, dear,” she said, with a strange sense of regret in her voice.

“I love you too,” he said formulaically. But he was already half asleep.

*

Office work kept both Nina and Amelia busy all week, and during the evenings they—and Patrick—were able to do little except slap together a quick dinner, watch a movie, and then go to bed. But Amelia had chosen Saturday for a preliminary examination of a new apartment to rent. Patrick was for some reason keen on accompanying her, but she declined the offer. Putting a hand on his chest as she was leaving the house, she said in an undertone, “You stay here, Patrick—take care of your wife.” And then she left.

When she returned, several hours later, she looked bushed—in more than the physical sense. Exhausted and dispirited, she hung up her coat in the coat closet, threw her purse down on the coffee table, and flopped on the couch in the living room, doing nothing but keeping her eyes closed and breathing heavily.

“My God, Amelia,” Nina said, “you look like you’ve been through the ringer!”

Amelia reluctantly opened her eyes, then shook her head. “I can’t believe what’s out there—or, rather, what isn’t out there. There just aren’t very many good rental properties available—ones that don’t cost a fortune, that is. It’s very discouraging.”

“I’m sorry,” Nina said, slipping in beside her and wrapping an arm around her shoulders. “This city is so damn expensive.”

“You got that right,” Amelia said, disgusted.

“Well,” Nina said, “I think you should stay here as long as you want, until you find just the right place. I mean that.”

It was just at this point that Patrick came into the room from upstairs. He glared at his wife as if saying: Nina, have you gone insane?

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