I frowned, and shook my head. My best friend from my college days was visiting me, and it was like nothing had changed. His attitude, his self-importance, his subtle maintaining of himself as the focal point of every girl in the room. It was all the same. What was so confusing about all this was that, in truth, everything had changed. Back when we roomed together, John had been the very pinnacle of strength, and had secretly been a hero of mine. A habitual exerciser and comfortable dieter, he had maintained a daunting and flawless physique all through our college days together. In the time since, I had worked hard to aspire to the form he achieved rather easily, and had managed to develop quite well. John, on the other hand, appeared to have given up. His hairline had retreated in the last 8 years, which his stomach had apparently compensated for. In fact, I had to look pretty closely to identify the tan powerhouse that had entertained countless female companions. Several days' worth of stubble populated his pale skin, and his disturbingly wide body waged constant war with the filthy jeans and yellow-stained shirt that struggled to contain it. I thought about the firm pecs that had become a saggy bosom, and felt guilty for teasing my wife so much about how impressed she would be, and how she had better contain herself. Brenda, for her sake, was reacting to him exactly how I had thought she would. When he arrived, she ran up and through her arms around him in a warm greeting, in spite of having never met the man. Her elfish brown eyes looked up at him from behind long, matching hair as she listened eagerly to his (rather boring) story of his trip there. She smiled, asked questions (a lot of them), and laughed frequently even though he had said nothing funny. I couldn't decide if she was being friendly, or if this was her way of teasing me for thinking that this human train wreck standing before us would be anything she would be interested in. Brenda was my heart's prize. She was kind, funny, brilliant, beautiful, and as intensely in love with him as he was in her. She was also a gorgeous, short little thing with a perfect body (to his eyes) and a model's face, and about seven years my junior. The three years we had been married were the happiest of my life. She stood now in a tight blue tee that said "Kitty" in pink sparkling letters, and a pair of white shorts that ended somewhere above mid-thigh. Light amounts of make- up perfectly accented her tan, magazine-cover face. Her beauty was on display, probably for my sake more than anything. She wanted to give me every chance to be proud and to look good. As I said, her devotion to me was immeasurable. She had a wicked sense of humor, though, which I suspected was behind the performance I was now watching. "Let me tell yah, though," John was grinning, "that stewardess would have jumped on me in a heartbeat. I could tell it. She was a fine piece, too!" My jaw begged permission to go slack with shock. I denied it, but was surely tempted. John had always been coarse, but he hadn't known my wife ten minutes yet and he was saying these things? Brenda made an exaggerated pouty face and looked up at him. "I hope you told her you were saving yourself for me?" I quietly sighed in relief that she was not choosing to take him too seriously. John laughed. "I tell you what; I did make this teen bitch at the airport suck it so it would be clean for you. She did a good job, too...couldn't a been more than 18, but she knew how, lemme tell yah." Furious, I opened my mouth to shout this vulgar idiot out of my house. The idea alone was offensive enough, but to say such a thing to a woman you've never met? Your friend's wife? My arms tightened and released, an involuntary reaction I got when I was pissed. Before I had a chance to say a word, however, the situation defused. Brenda laughed. "Oh, that's so sweet of you! I hope she was a good girl for such a nice man, and didn't spit?" "Nobody spits me out," John said with such certainty that I almost thought he was serious. Brenda nodded her approval, before turning to me and rolling her eyes. I stifled a smile. She really was just indulging this buffoon for my sake. I silently told her I love her. "Say," John said, "I've been so entranced with the hottie that I haven't hardly said 'hello' to my old friend! What say you show me where to put my bags, Tug, and then we can catch up a little bit?" I groaned inwardly. My name was Robert; Tug had been my nickname freshman year after I was walked in on several times while masturbating. I didn't get much play back then. I ignored my wife's confused glance, but I knew I'd have to explain it to her later. "Sure, John, your bedroom is downstairs, first door on the left. Toss me a bag, and I'll show you." "Nonsense!" My wife skipped forward. "John's had a busy day," she winked at him, "and I'm sure he'd much rather have a beer on the deck and talk with you than carry all this luggage down." Now that she mentioned it, he did seem to have an awful lot of luggage. One suitcase, five skuzzy gym bags, and a backpack. The plan had always been that he would stay for three days. "You two go out, and I'll bring this stuff down for you. I may even get motivated and get it all put away and hung up!" "Honey," I admonished, "there's no reason why we can't do it. His stuff doesn't need to be put away, it's only three days. And besides, I'm sure he doesn't need you going through his things for him." John shrugged. "Makes no difference to me. Let's go have a beer!" He headed for the kitchen without encouragement, then grinned at Brenda over his shoulder. "Thanks, 'Honey.' I hate when my shirts get all wrinkled." I looked helplessly at my wife, who shoed me off and began hefting the overstuffed bags on her own. I couldn't help but think, as I rushed after him, that the shirt he had on was wrinkled. "This is a nice place, man. I dig it." John was starting out at the sunset, sitting comfortably on my back porch. He casually tipped his beer back and downed most of what was left of it. I wondered, sadly, just what had become of my hero. "We're proud of it, yeah," I offered. "John, can I ask you for a favor?" He glanced over at me. "Sure, man." "I hate to get things off on a bad note, but could you not be so obscene in front of Brenda? She gets kind of upset about stuff like that." I didn't look at him while I asked it. I wanted to make it as unembarrassing for him as possible. He just laughed. "What, are you kidding? She's as randy as they come, man! I had her eating out of my hand back there...woulda had her eating something else, if she weren't my buddies toy." "She's not my 'toy,' John, and she was humoring you." "Bullshit." "I'm serious. It needs to stop. Furthermore, the only person who needs to address my wife as 'honey' is me." He sighed, and shook his head. "I tell you what, I'm not used to marital situations and I wasn't very fair. How about this: I'm too tired for any real catching up tonight. I'd rather just goof off a little. When Brenda comes out I'll apologize, say I'm just blowin' off steam or some shit, and let her know that this is probably how I'll be all night so she can excuse herself if she wants to avoid hearing any more." I nodded. "That sounds fair. Thanks, man. Like I said, she's just not into that kind of humor." It wasn't a lie. Brenda was definitely not into sick or sexist joking around. John cracked open his next beer. "Who the hell said I was joking around?" I laughed. "Nice to know you're still a smartass." He grinned. "Sounds like I'm missing all the fun!" Brenda stepped out onto the patio, cosmopolitan in hand, and sat down so that John was between us. "I'm not intruding?" "Of course not," I looked at John, "we were just reminiscing." "I'm sure John has all sorts of stories to tell. Now I'll finally know the truth about you!" "Actually, on the subject of stories," John interjected, "I want to apologize for earlier. That one probably wasn't for the ladies, you know?" "What do you mean?" Brenda looked honestly confused. John looked at me before continuing. "Anyway, I shouldn't have blurted that one out, and I want to warn you that I'm kinda rowdy after that plane ride. Probably all I'm good for tonight is dirty jokes and talkin' about my dick. If you'd rather get to know me tomorrow when I'm together enough to be gentle, I understand." Brenda laughed. "Are you kidding? You're the only one of Robert's friends that has a sense of humor! I don't need to be protected from you," she stuck her tongue out, "I just wish I'd met you before the wedding! The stiff who was best man was so boring!" I couldn't believe what I was hearing. That 'stiff' was Matt, my closest friend and someone Brenda had always claimed to like. I figured she was still putting her best foot forward with John, but that still didn't explain why she would want to stay for his disgusting comments. "Are you sure you're up for this, Brenda?" I gave her a confused look. She didn't look at me, she just nodded at John and said "I can hardly wait!" John didn't hold back. He went on and on for hours about anything he could think of, which was apparently limited to sex. Old girlfriends, one-night stands, great techniques, the dirtiest things he'd done or had done to him, and a long oration on how women were naturally subservient to men. I was at first amused, then a little grossed out, then bored, and finally exhausted. I excused myself at around one in the morning. Brenda promised to be along soon, but she wanted to hear the end of this story first. I wasn't surprised, she had been hanging on John's every word like it was gospel. She wanted to know every detail. When he was explaining how Suzie Marketon in high school gave him the best handjob ever, she wanted to know exactly what the girl had done. How had she held it? How long did it take? On and on and on and on. It wouldn't have been ridiculous if half the stories hadn't been so far-fetched as to be impossible. I drifted off to sleep still waiting for her. I don't know what time she finally made it to bed, but they both slept until early afternoon. When she did wake up, she gushed about how much she'd enjoyed the night before. I asked how she could stand him. She shrugged and smiled. "He's so funny! I mean, his stories are so ridiculous. It's like talking to a living Penthouse letter." "I think he is under the impression you believe him." "Is he?" She thought a moment. "I don't mind. It's probably good for his self-esteem or something. And it amuses me." I sighed. "I just don't think you should let him think you're flirting with him." She frowned. "Are you telling me that you are jealous of HIM? Mr. Muscles feels bad because his wife is amused by his flabby friend? It's just a game." "I know that. Does he?" She threw a pillow at me. "Oh, shut up, Tugs!" I stared at her. She laughed and stuck her tongue out. I chased her around the room, and tackled her on the bed. She squealed. "He told you?" "Of course!" "Well, for this you will have to be punished!" I didn't quit until she laughed so hard she threatened to pee. Was John wearing the same clothes as the night before? I made a note to ask Brenda what his wardrobe was like, later. He sat on the couch, flipping through the channels and eating the soup Brenda had made us all. A little spilled on his shirt, and more sloshed on the leather sofa when he set the bowl down to wipe at the stain. "Willy, how ya doin? We missed you last night." "How late did you stay up?" "Oh, I dunno," he shrugged, "I suppose another couple of hours." "Cripes. Too crazy for my blood." "I've not been around town for a long time. What say you and I hit the used CD stores, and you can buy me a few." "Sounds harmless enough. Why you want to buy me CDs is beyond me, though." He laughed and got up. "I said you can buy ME CDs." "Right," I tossed him his coat, "you can buy me CDs.!" The CD trip was fun. I found an old Mountain Goats EP, and a Pearl Jam bootleg. John coerced me into buying him that Eagles best-of, at the cost of my respect for him. We were laughing and cracking each other like old times by the time we hit the last place, a dive known as Heart Attack and Vine. That's when I thought I'd put my curiosities to rest. "Say, man, what's with all the bullshit stories?" He frowned, and looked up form the rack at me. "What do you mean?" "Well, like the one about the little girl at the airport. Nobody's gonna believe that shit, so why tell it?" He grinned. "I've been trying to tell ya, they ARE true!" "Bullshit." "Serious, man. I used to think the girls were flocking to me cos of all the muscle," he waved a hand in my direction. "Then I hurt my back and couldn't work out for a while. No matter how much muscle I lost or how soft my belly got, they never stopped coming. That's when I started to figure I could have 'em no matter what. It's like women can't resist me. I've never ever been turned down, and they'll all fucking do anything for me. The more I push em, or mistreat em, the more I'm certain I can do whatever I fucking want with them and they'll love me for it." "That's the steamiest turd I've ever heard." "Oh yeah? How's this. See the girl in the hip-hop section?" I glanced over. She was either a near graduate at high school or an early college student. "Yeah." "I bet you anything I can get her to show me her tits right here in the store. Won't take five minutes." "You're crazy!" "Bet me, or not?" "Goddamn right I do. What do I get when I win?" "If you win." "Whatever, what do I get?" "I'll buy you any 15 CDs you want." "You can't afford that!" "Sure I can. Check this." He opened his wallet. There were at least 10 $50 bills in there. Why the fuck had I just bought this guy a CD? "And if I lose?" He laughed. "You have to promise not to hide Brenda from me." I didn't like the way he said it. "What do you mean?" "Don't look so nervous. I just mean that you can't try to protect her from my charm simply because you know now that I can have whatever woman I want. You have nothing to fear." "This is all so much shit, man. Sure. Deal." Protect my wife from this overweight slob. It was too funny. John strutted his way over to the girl, and the two started talking. She was immediately all smiles and giggles, and sure enough less than three minutes later she looked up into his eyes and brought her shirt up to her chin. She didn't even look around to make sure no one saw. Everybody did. Two teen boys stared openly, as did the twenty-something behind the counter. They were magnificent tits. John reached up and lightly stroked the right one before she lowered her top. They talked a moment more, and then he strutted right back to me. "Game, set and match." He smiled. I was nearly speechless. Nearly. "You planned this." He laughed. "Ridiculous! I live two hundred miles away!" "I don't care. That was too impossible. You paid her." John shook his head. "I could have done that with any girl and you'd say the same thing." "I would. There's no way that really just happened. And there's no girl who you could do that with and have me willing to believe it wasn't for money or because you knew her." He smiled. "What about your wife?" I blinked. "What?" "She wouldn't do that in a million years, right?" "Duh!" "So what if she does?" "She won't, that's the point." "Wanna bet again? If you win, I'll get you season tickets to whatever team you want to see." I didn't like this. What if I was wrong? What if he was telling the truth? I chided myself silently...Brenda was certainly a far step from some slutty teen queen desperate for attention. Besides, I knew he would deliver on the tickets. John didn't renege on bets. "What do I owe if I lose?" "You'll owe me nothing. I'll have seen your wife's tits...that'd be payment enough." We were all sitting around a table at Spazia's. John had degraded right back to his filthy self, and Brenda was (pretending to be?) loving it. The waitress didn't seem to mind, either. She strayed over to our table often, and joined in the conversation when she could. Both girls giggled when John joked that the three of them should sneak into the back for a threesome. I didn't. "I tell ya," John said as I paid the check. "It's been a good goddamn day. Hung out with my old friend, got a new CD, and met a waitress with an amazing rack." My wife frowned. "I didn't think they were all that great. Were they?" "Hell yeah! They were outstanding!" I shook my head when she looked at me for confirmation. Instead of comforting her, it only seemed to make her bolder. "You're kidding," she insisted as we made our way towards outside. The deep red sunset reflected off expensive cars. "Aren't mine better?" My stomach tensed. He was going for it. "I can't say, sweetheart, your man is right here." "Nonsense!" She pouted. "Men stare at my chest all the time. It's just part of being a girl. If a stranger at a supermarket can try to sneak a peak, why can't you?" "You really want me to check out your tits, eh, honey?" When had he started calling her that again? She stopped in mid-stride. "Yes." He turned and stood in front of her. He looked her right in the eye, grinned, and said, "Then why don't you take em out so I can get a real look." She stood there for a split second, watching him. I thought he had finally gone too far. To my horror, she reached down and lifted the tan turtleneck she had on up and over her head. She handed it to him, and then without ever taking her eyes from his reached back and unsnapped her bra. I couldn't believe my eyes. Was she doing this just to prove she could outdo him? Her face was expressionless. It didn't matter, this was too much. "Honey, don't," I said. She just looked at John and slipped the bra down her arms and handed it to him. Then she stood there, hands at her side, and let his eyes roam her body. I looked around to make sure we were alone. We were. John looked at me and smiled. Brenda watched John. "Well," she said, "are you just going to ogle all day or have you reached a verdict?" John chuckled. "Some of the finest mams I've ever seen, honey." He reached out and gently stroked one, just as he had the girl at the CD store. He looked over at me. It was a message. I'd promised not to protect her. She didn't fight it off, she just watched his eyes as he felt her up. Then, casually, he tossed her clothes back and said "Let's go home. It's time for a beer." "Why did you show John your breasts?" I asked her that night. She frowned. "I dunno. I don't think it's any big deal. Most clothes pretty much show them off anyway." "Is that why you let him feel you up, too?" "I didn't see you stopping him." She snapped. We lay silent a while. "I'm sorry," she whispered, "I guess I just couldn't let him feel like he was too much for me, like he's some kind of sex king and I'm intimidated. Isn't that how he acts sometimes?" She sounded desperate for reassurance. "I suppose," I whispered back. She sighed. "Will?" She sounded very small and scared. "Yes?" "Why did I do that?" I was quiet a moment. The unstated question, buried by fear, was 'why did I want to?' "I don't know, my love. Get some rest." "Ok." I listened to her breathing. I could think of two things. First of all, I couldn't figure out why neither of us were upset at John over this incident. I was jealous, sad, scared, all at once. But not mad. Brenda was not only not mad, but had to some small degree wanted that sweaty and calloused hand upon her. She was scared now, and I knew that it was only because she thought she might want it again. - PART II The next day was benignly uneventful. We ate together, watched TV, and John and I played a round of golf. The night before never came up, although in hindsight I can't believe I didn't explode. I suppose I was in shock...not only at the event itself, but in the reactions of each of the participants. Who the hell was I, that I could be playing golf with a man who had felt up my wife? On the thirteenth hole, teeing off, I thought for the trillionth time about his hand on her breast, and my vision went blurry. I shook my head and looked over at my buddy. He just smiled his yellow-tooth smile back at me. Crows feet and smile lines erupted on his face whenever it pulled itself into that self-satisfied grin. No person who ever lived could ever look so pleased, I thought. The man seemed to have enjoyment tattooed on his face...it was always there right behind the eyes. I hit a hole in one and wondered what look seemed most permanent to my face. For her part, Brenda remained silent all day. She spoke only when asked a question, and seemed distracted. A look of confused melancholy occasionally crossed her face. She made us all eggs for breakfast, flawlessly disheveled from a full night's sleep and wrapped in faded purple pajamas. A pang of jealousy hit me when she shoveled more onto John's plate than mine, but I shrugged it off. He was fairly overweight, so she probably just assumed he'd eat more. When we got home from golfing, she was still in her pajamas, still unshowered. She sat reading Joseph Heller's God Knows, a favorite she had read several times before. She acted casually enthralled by the novel and virtually ignored us, but quietly rubbed the two biggest toes on each foot together. Her eyes didn't follow the pattern of words on the page. Anxiety crawled through her like bees in their nest, covering every inch. My heart broke for her, but I fought it by reminding myself it was she who had made this bed. By contrast, I found myself feeling some affection for John in that he had not made any lewd statements or jokes all day. On the golf course, he could have said anything he wished and I wouldn't have cared, but I was grateful he had spared Brenda. God that sounded stupid. He'd felt her fucking tit, and I was grateful. "You know," he smiled as I handed him a beer and we sat on the couch across from her, "I haven't gone this long without fucking snatch in forever!" I sighed and mentally scribbled out all the credit I'd given him. My wife looked up from her book for the first time since we'd entered the room, her brow furrowed. "What about that big story you fed us about getting blown at the airport?" Undisguised curiosity dripped like honey off her tongue. He just looked confused. "Well, yeah, that was more than two days ago!" Brenda clicked her tongue. "You're used to getting laid every day?" "More than once a day, usually." He shrugged, "like I told Tugs, here, for some reason women are just drawn to me." "I'm not sure I believe you." "Is that how you felt when you let me roll your nipple between my fingers in the middle of the parking lot?" She fell silent. She didn't take her eyes off him, and her eyebrows stayed together. It was like she was measuring him, the way a scientist measures new data which shows an impossible correlation. I tried to intervene. "Look, let's just leave that out of things from now on, alright? Tomorrow's you go home, and then everything's back to normal. Last night was a stupid mistake, that's all." John smiled and leaned back, putting his feet up on the coffee table. "You're right, man. Water under the fucking bridge. In fact, if it's all the same to you, I'd kinda like to make it up to the woman. I know a girl who owns a jewelry story in town. She... owes me a favor. Tomorrow, I want to take Brenda here and see what we can get for her." "You don't have to do that," I said too quickly. "There's no need to spend that kind of money." Brenda nodded. "You don't understand, gringo." He winked at me. "What I get her, I will be getting for free." Brenda didn't look like she believed him. I knew better, by now. "I'd still prefer not," I said. "Why the fuck not? Don't want the little lady to get a taste for something that expensive?" He laughed. "No, it's just..." "Why don't we let Brenda decide. It's a gift from me to her, and if it makes her uncomfortable she can just say no." We both watched her. She was still just looking at him with that same half-squint. "You know," he said, "you can always just look. If you decide against it, that's fine, but at least come see what they have." A moment passed. Brenda nodded. "I guess I don't see why not. It'll be fun." She went back to reading without saying anything more. Then she blinked and looked up. "Oh, honey, I almost forgot! Work called...they need you to stop in tomorrow and revise that contract before Monday." Shit. That would take most of the day. I didn't know if I was more pissed to be missing down time with my friend, or scared to have to leave him with my wife. "Don't worry," John finished his beer, "We'll be fine for a day. We'll go shopping." Deep red lines crossed the horizon as I drove home from the office. Without the usual rush of traffic, I had just enough time to pick up John and take him to the airport. It couldn't happen soon enough, as far as I was concerned; I'd spent the entire day thinking about the two of them shopping together. It made me uneasy, to say the least. Pulling into the garage, I discovered something equally unexpected and unnerving: Brenda's car was gone. I knew they had left to go shopping just before lunch, because she had called to find out how things were going at the office. Since there was no way they could still be trying on jewelry, I wondered if perhaps Brenda had decided to take him to the airport. Had she thought I wouldn't be back in time? She knew me better than that; regardless of my opinion of the man now, John was an old friend and I would have liked to say goodbye. It made sense, though. She would probably have tried on some jewelry, not picked anything (so as not to have a constant reminder of the jerk), and then been in as big a hurry as possible to get rid of him. I decided to reward her patience in putting up with him by cooking a lovely dinner. Spaghetti and meatballs would be perfect. I worked hard at it, going the whole nine by setting candles up and using the best dishes. My wife was so understanding and kind, and I wanted her to know how much that meant to me. I made the best damned spaghetti that has ever been made, figuring that she would be back from dropping off John any second. Time passed. The meal was ready. No sign of Brenda. The meal was lukewarm. All the pots and pans were in the dishwasher. No sign of Brenda. The meal was cool. I had to relight two of the candles. I would reheat the meal the moment she walked through the door. No sign of Brenda. The meal was cold. The candles were dead. The moon was out. No sign of Brenda. What had been an intensely refreshed love had turned into impatience, then irritation, and finally curved into a growing fear. The clock ticked past midnight. Where was she? Had there been an accident? What had happened? I had never once known Brenda to disappear for such a long period of time without at least a courtesy call. I paced for half an hour, watching the window and telling myself I was paranoid. Finally I gave in and took out the phonebook. First I would call her closer friends, then family, and finally hospitals. A picture of her, smiling and hopeful, watched me from atop a bookshelf. She had called at 11:14 to see how I was doing. Had that been the last time I would hear her voice? Headlights in the driveway. It was her car! I allowed myself a relieved chuckle, and went to meet her at the door. It swung open. I was almost euphoric as I swung in to hug her. I froze. Smiling at me in the doorway, fat and disheveled, was John. It took three hours for the gravity of the situation to apply its full pressure upon me. It amounted to this: John and Brenda had had finally come to accept one another in an adventure which had involved jewelry shopping, light drinking, games of darts and mini golf, and an arm-wrestling contest. They had both had tremendous amounts of fun, and John had suggested that this newfound friendship was reason enough to stay. Brenda, once she had been convinced that John would not risk being fired or evicted, agreed. They lost track of time as they hopped all over town laughing and drinking. It was no big deal. I should relax. Maybe I could have, if the person my wife had spent the day partying like a college kid with wasn't the same fuckhead who had gotten her shirt completely off in a public parking lot. Or if I hadn't seen the gifts. A large diamond bracelet adorned my wife's tiny wrist, complements of John. An overweight Victoria's Secret bag sat in the bedroom, thanks to John's insistence that I would love to see Brenda be a little sexier. They hadn't paid a dime. The girl at costumer service had taken care of it. I couldn't tell if the overriding emotion was jealousy, anger, or fear. Finally, around 3:00 AM, the stories ended. I sat at one end of the table, nursing a beer and trying to act at least semi-pleased. John and my wife sat at the other end, sipping harder drinks. My wife was still giggling a little at the last of John's elaborately spun tales of their exciting day. He lay one arm across the back of her chair and rubbed her shoulder affectionately. "So, how long will you be staying?" I asked, glaring at his hand. Brenda had her eyes closed, as though dreaming. John was watching me. "Oh," he sighed, removing the hand and sipping his drink, "I don't know. Truth be told, I'd like it if you could consider letting me stay here for a while." My wife's eyes opened wide, and she smiled. "Oh, yes! That'd be awesome!" "How long, John?" "Until I'm ready to leave." He shrugged. I was about to tell him to fuck off, but Brenda apparently hadn't gotten the hinted message. "Really?" She turned to me. "C'mon, Bob, it'd be great! You always say we don't socialize enough, and I just know it'd be so much fun!" "What about your apartment? Your job?" I asked. "Hell, I haven't had a job in years. In case you haven't noticed, I have better ways of getting what I want. As for my place, let's just say there's a fine young thing who'll be keeping it up until I choose to return." Brenda was still smiling. "Whadd'ya say, hon?" She asked excitedly. With nowhere left to go, I sighed. "Yeah, that'd be alright." Brenda squealed, jumped up and hugged John. Then she ran over and hugged me. "This is going to be so much fun, I just know it!" I looked at John. "Just don't forget you're a guest here, friend." He smiled. "Relax." Then, he appeared to sober up. His face became very serious. "Brenda, honey." "Yes?" "Could you come over here for a moment?" He patted the chair she had vacated moments before. She scurried over, sitting down, watching him intently. "I want you to do me a favor," he told her. She frowned. "You want me to refresh your drink?" "No, no," he laughed, before looking at her intensely again. "I don't want to do anything that will interfere with your marriage. Remember how we talked about Bob's needs? About some of the ways that you could spice up your love life?" "You mean the clothes we bought today, and the make- up?" "Yeah. I don't want my staying to interfere with that. I want you to promise me that you'll still dress up for Bob, even if I stay. I would hate to feel like I was preventing you two from being husband and wife, and I promise that it won't bother me at all." She smiled, a warm, innocent smile, and nodded. "Ok, John! I definitely will." Her smile faltered for a moment, and then she pointed her finger at him. "But if at any point it becomes a distraction or embarrassment for you, you better tell me, mister." John laughed. "Deal." The next day I called in sick to work, both because I was terribly exhausted and because I didn't trust John. We watched TV and talked sports, but often when Brenda was in the room I was the third man out. The two of them seemed to have developed quite the collection of inside jokes in the short time they'd been friends. It probably didn't hurt that Brenda was wearing a low- rise, light blue thong which held her hips like a lover, and a matching bra. At no point during the day was she more dressed than that, nor did she display any shyness about her appearance. John may have proposed the idea of being virtually nude as a way to help improve our sex life (which needed no help, before he arrived), but it was obvious who it was really for. Brenda never even kissed me all day. Her erotic display was an amazing sight, regardless, and it was only heightened whenever she would dash into the kitchen to make food or retrieve drinks for John. Once, she even remembered to ask me if I needed anything. Finally, when she was in the bathroom, I drew up the epitomy of my fear and courage and started asking questions I didn't want to know the answer to. "John, just what do you have planned here?" He didn't even turn away from the T.V. "No plans, man. Just enjoying myself." "Then why are you going after my wife?!" He looked at me out of the corner of his eye. "I'm not 'going after your wife,' Tugs. I might entertain myself with her while I'm here, but I promise that when I go she won't be coming with. In fact, if you haven't noticed, by the time I get bored and move on she will be quite the little firecat. Think of me as a remodeler... I'm making improvements." "Why can't you just leave her alone, though! She doesn't need improvements!" I felt heat enter my face as it went red. "There are tons of women! Why her?" "Shut up, Tugs." "No! Fuck you! Why won't you leave my wife alone?!!" He looked me in the eye. "I find these questions annoying. I don't think you get it, at all, so let me demonstrate for you just how much worse you will make things if you make me unhappy." Brenda sauntered back into the room, obviously feeling sexy and proud. John smiled at her. "Brenda, honey?" He asked. "Yes?" A faint smile appeared at his beckoning. Her eyes lit up. "Come over here for me." She practically danced over, hips swaying like branches in a soft breeze. "Sit on my lap, babe, we need to talk." Without hesitation she swung her butt down into his lap. He chuckled. "No, no, no. Not like this. Straddle me...we can't talk if we're not face-to-face." She spun around, and his hands went to her flanks. Hers went around his shoulders. This was too much. I started to get up, about to do I don't know what, when he gave me a threatening look. I sat down, fear trailing through my nervous system. Brenda giggled. John rubbed his hands on her sides, almost as though her were petting a mare. "Here's the thing," he said, looking very somber, "I promised not to be distracted with your body, so that you could be beautiful for Robert. I'm happy to say that I'm doing just fine. You're perfect, gorgeous, but you're my friend's wife and I'm doing very well. I can't believe Robert hasn't humped you nine times today...I would have!" She blushed and her smiled grew. "It seems to me that Robert needs something more. You look beautiful even if you're not trying. He's used to it. Men are visual, and maybe if he saw you acting as sexy as you look, it would help. You'll need a partner for this, and I just happen to be here. No, don't ask, there's no need. I'll be glad to help. Whenever you want Robert to see you being sexy, all you have to do is kiss me." Brenda bit her lip, her eyes locked on his face, her breathing heavy. She nodded softly. John smiled at her. "You like the idea, don't you, little girl?" She nodded again, fainter this time, and began to lean in. He placed one index finger to her lips. "There is one catch, babe. Since I'm doing you this huge favor, I really think you should ask permission each time. Say please, like a good girl." It was almost a whisper. Breathy, desperate. "Please." They made out, ten feet away from me, for twenty minutes. My wife's nearly-nude body writhed in his lap, practically grinding against him by the end of it. Their lips danced, tongues sliding against each other. His hands found their way alternately down and up her back, gripping her ass as she dry humped him. Finally, he broke away. She stared at him, eager and hoping to give him whatever he wanted. He set her on her feet. Her legs almost gave way. "I'm going to go out for supper," he said casually, "and to take care of a few things. I'll be home late. Brenda," he winked, "I think you'll find that this helped a lot. John," he frowned, "it's been a fun lesson." Brenda and I made love that night. She wouldn't have taken no for an answer, and I was horny regardless. She was louder, more maniacal, than she's ever been. She sat astride me, eyes firmly shut, convulsing and moaning and screaming and saying his name. I had to go to work the next day. I couldn't afford to keep missing. It was a terrible, terrifying day, wondering what they were up to. I needn't have worried; when I got home Brenda was wearing a tiny pair of underwear but John was just waking up. He stumbled out into the living room in his boxers, looking fat and gross and hairy. They made out again that night, and again Brenda insisted on use of my body before bed. It was obvious who she really wanted. The next night they went out for a night on the town. I fell asleep nervous, but both were passed out in the living room when I got up for work, with their clothes still on. John was snoring. Brenda hardly talked to me anymore. She followed John around like a schoolgirl meeting a teen idol. I was getting by on the idea that he might leave. Or that I might kill him first. Thursday night, we were sitting in the living room, John flipping lazily through channels. He wore one of my robes, though it fit him poorly, and his bare feet were up on the footrest. He kept complaining that they were sore. "I don't know what I fucking did, man." He belched. "They've just hurt like hell all day. All over, too." "Maybe you should wash them," I snapped. Brenda glared at me, and then looked back at him. She was kneeling beside his chair, talking and giggling about their time out on the town the night before. "Should you see a doctor?" she asked, nervously. "Goodness, no, honey." He stroked the top of her head. "At my old place, though, I had this little bitch whose tongue was like medicine. Used to have her tongue my asshole all the time, but I when they hurt I had her suck and lick my feet." "Gross," I muttered. But Brenda looked intently up at him. "Please," she whispered. He just smiled. "Good girl." She crawled eagerly down to his feet, and I was surprised to see how big they were compared to her face. She is tiny, of course, and he's a big guy. I had forgotten how great the difference was, though. She didn't look at me, or up at him, but instead her gaze remained locked onto his mammoth feet. The was a sense of worship in the way she leaned in to peck the bottom of his right foot, then open-mouth kissed it, and quickly, excitedly became more and more passionate about her administrations. Soon she was licking his soles and sucking his toes, moaning like it was great sex. He glanced at me, and I wanted to die. "Be strong," he said to me, "it's going to get worse before it gets better. A lot worse." Then he went back to his beer, his TV, and my wife slobbering on his filthy unwashed feet.