Despite the news about Lucy and Megan, I still had reason to be happy. Tonight I was going to take Jan out for dinner. It was a real date and I wanted to impress her, so I got reservations at the newest and most popular restaurant in the Bay Area. It was a Saturday, so I wouldn’t get to see Jan at work. I planned to call her this afternoon and tell her when to expect me. One thing that concerned me was the fact that Jan hadn’t had sex in at least 10 years. When the time came to make love to her I would have to take it slow and easy. In a way, it would almost be like her first time. I wasn’t too worried about it, though. Making love to Jan would be just that, making love. Tenderness would come naturally with such a sweet, loving person like Jan, so I knew I would be able to please her when the time came. But before I could even think about that, there was the matter with Lucy. I had to call Rocco for more details and such before I could decide whether to go to Palm Springs to confront her. As betrayed as I felt, there was still something there. I needed more information from Rocco before I could even consider seeing her again. And then there was Susan. I hadn’t heard anything yet from Tom, so that was something that would have to be dealt with. A little normalcy would be welcome right about now. My life has been like the world’s biggest and baddest roller coaster lately. I’m hoping that a nice quiet evening with Jan would be just the tonic that I so desperately need right now. I sat at the small breakfast table in the kitchen with a hot cup of coffee. As I closed my eyes, I could imagine the evening with Jan. She would be beautiful as always when I picked her up, making small talk as we made our way to the restaurant, giving me a light kiss on the cheek as I helped her from the car, making every head turn as we made our way to our table. Every man in the house would be envious of me for having such a beautiful woman on my arm. Even the women in the restaurant would look to see two people so obviously in love. Dinner would be perfect, with every course appealing and delicious, leading finally to a stunning dessert to end the meal. Jan would look into my eyes with love as she told me how wonderful the evening was. We would share an all-too-short kiss that brought a smile of approval from our server, causing Jan to blush. Afterwards, I would take her home and she would invite me in. Once inside, she would continue our perfect evening by kissing and cuddling with me on her sofa. One thing would lead to another, and I would carry her off to her bed, where we would make tender, sweet love over and over until sleep came. In the morning I would hold her in my arms and… The sound of my cell phone ringing interrupted my dream date with Jan. I looked down at it and it was Tom, calling from North Carolina. With more than a little trepidation, I answered the phone. “Hi Tom, what’s new on your end?” “Frank, I just wanted you to know that we served Susan yesterday. I’ve prepared a list of what we are seeking in the divorce settlement. Actually it’s not much of a list. We want the divorce, of course, and an even split of all assets. No maintenance payments, meaning no alimony. You should walk away from this in pretty good shape, Frank.” “Tom, what happens if they don’t agree?” “I really don’t think they will dispute our requests, Frank. If this thing goes to court, Susan’s affair with Mr. Woolf will be out in the open. Martin doesn’t need the negative publicity and he could drop her entirely and cut his losses. There’s a real chance she could really get burned if she contests it. In fact, I’d bet the ranch that Martin is advising her to take the deal. She’d be crazy to push her luck on this.” That was good news. I had Rocco to thank for digging up all the dirt on Susan. “Thank you for everything, Tom. Keep me abreast of any developments, will you?” “Of course, Frank. Just between you, me and the fencepost, though, this one looks like a slam dunk. Rocco made my work easy this time. I’ll let you know how things progress. Bye for now, Frank.” “Thank you, Tom. I’m looking forward to more good news from you. Goodbye.” Well, that was looking up. Hopefully she would see the consequences of rejecting my settlement offer and do the right thing. Not only would Susan lose out if she contested this, her friends who were in on the bursa escort deceit would be exposed as well. Their lives could be ruined if their involvement became public. My actions in cheating on Susan were wrong. I understood it at the time and I understand it now. I cheated because I considered our marriage to be dead. That doesn’t make it right, but at least I didn’t engage in the level of secrecy and deceit that Susan did. I know that’s rationalization at best, but there was a small amount of justification for me when Rocco discovered the extent of Susan’s actions. What caused me the most pain, other than the actual cheating itself, was how Susan’s friends were in on it. It was like some sordid conspiracy, the way they lied and helped Susan cover her tracks. I had no idea that Susan was doing any of the things Rocco told me about. Without him I would still be in the dark. Susan’s friends had always been friendly with me, their husbands had associated with me. Their involvement may have been the most severe and painful part of the whole thing, other than the actual cheating itself. It made me think about to what lengths would someone go in order to protect a friend. What could be gained by helping perpetuate the lie? Were they aware of the risks they were taking? Were they aware of the pain they were helping to inflict on me? Were they aware that their husbands could find out about it? It would surely become public if the divorce made it to the courts and their roles would be exposed. What drives a friend to do something like this? I couldn’t fathom their rationale for becoming involved in this. I had to stop thinking about any of this and move on with my life. Nothing good would ever come from dwelling on those things which were out of my control. That was something my father always tried to impress on me, that only those things in my control were worth worrying about. I guess it was time to heed his advice. I spent the afternoon working out at the gym. One of the perks of my job was having a membership at a local fitness center. It was a top-notch facility, complete with a swimming pool, showers and a sauna, along with state of the art equipment. I didn’t take advantage of it as much as I should, but it seemed like a good idea to go work out and maybe help clear my head today. I’ve never had a weight problem, but my average build was in need of some serious toning. I requested a trainer to help me out when I first signed up at the gym and I was surprised when Lydia, a very fit and attractive trainer, was assigned to me. Lydia had a tight body, with smallish, yet firm breasts and an ass of steel. Add to that a pixie haircut framing a beautiful face and it was easy to become distracted during my workout. Lydia had a reputation of being something of a taskmaster, demanding that her pupils commit to complete dedication in their training regimen. For some reason, Lydia liked me. She always had a smile on her face and never gave me a hard time about my infrequent visits to the gym. I liked Lydia, but never made a move on her. Sometimes you have to show restraint in order to accomplish things, and I considered Lydia to be off-limits. Maybe that’s why she liked me, because she felt safe with me, but it never stopped her from doing a little harmless flirting whenever I stopped by. Today was no exception. “Why hello, do I know you?” she teased. “If I didn’t know better, I’d swear you are a dead ringer for Frank Beddoes, but he is much better looking than you are.” “And hello to you, too, Lydia. You never seem to get tired of busting my balls, do you?” “Frank, you should know by now that I don’t treat any of my others the way I do you. I’m a hardass, but I seem to have a soft spot for you. Otherwise, I’d be all over your skinny ass for showing up so infrequently. Seriously, how have you been?” “Lydia, I’ve had better days. Hell, I’ve had better months.” “Let me guess, it’s your love life, right?” “Is it that obvious Lydia? I’ve had a tough time lately and I’m trying not to let it show. I’m not succeeding, am I” “No, you aren’t. I’m sorry to hear that. If you were dating me, you’d be smiling all the time, that’s for sure!” See, that’s where I’m not sure if she’s teasing me or not. She makes some kind of remark about us dating or getting together every time I visit the gym. We got into the bursa escort bayan program she set up for me, heavy on the cardio to begin, followed by cool down periods and then on to the weights. It’s about 60 to 90 minutes and I always sweat like a pig once we get into it. Lydia pushes me to do a little more each time, and I appreciate it. If I came to the gym regularly she would have me looking buffed in no time at all. When we got done, Lydia asked me what I was doing tonight. “Why do you ask?” I said to her. “Are you trying to work up the courage to ask me out on a date?” Lydia laughed, but her red cheeks gave away her embarrassment. “Frank, I was only wondering if you want to go grab a coffee or something after you get dressed. Not exactly a date or anything.” “Lydia, I would be happy to do that, but I have a date tonight. Can I get a rain check?” “Of course you can,” she said. Her disappointment was obvious. She had taken a chance and I shot her down. “Lydia, I didn’t mean to throw that in your face. I’m sorry. I’m serious about the rain check, though. You seem like a nice person, and nice people always get a second chance with me.” That seemed to brighten her demeanor and her infectious smile broke out all over her face. “I’m going to hold you to that, Frank.” “As well you should. Next time I come in we’ll go grab that coffee. Okay with you?” “Yes sir, it’s a date. Well, not really a date, it’s coffee.” We laughed a bit over that one and I excused myself to go shower. As I entered the locker room, I wondered what Lydia would be like in bed. Maybe someday I would get to find out. She flirts with me every time I’m here. Today she went a little beyond flirting, I could tell that by her reaction when I told her that I had a date. Maybe next time I would be the one to go a little beyond it, just to see what her reaction would be. Who knows, maybe she’s ready to get closer. As soon as I finished that thought I realized that it would probably never happen. I wanted to give my relationship with Jan a chance to grow, and that wouldn’t be possible if I were chasing every skirt I saw, but it was still good to know that there were possibilities out there should things not develop with Jan. The workout felt good. It took that edge off that I had felt all day and got me in a great mood for my date with Jan tonight. I had such high expectations for it and suddenly I realized that Jan might not be ready for us to go all the way. I had to be prepared for that possibility, but I was sure that the evening would be a good one, no matter how it ended. I got to Jan’s house about three minutes late. One thing I learned years ago was that you never, ever show up early to pick up your date. It makes for an awkward time when she isn’t ready and you sit on the sofa twiddling your thumbs. I made sure after making that mistake that it would never happen again. I rang the doorbell, feeling my heart skip a beat or two waiting for her to answer the door. I was wearing a grey sports jacket with a light blue shirt, no tie, black slacks and one of my best pair of shoes completed my attire. I was hoping she would approve of it. I was a bit surprised when Jennifer let me in. I was under the impression that she was away at school. “Come on in, Mr. Beddoes. Mom is almost ready and she asked me to be on the lookout for you.” “Thank you Jennifer,” I said to her. “I thought you were away at college. Is there some reason why you are here?” “I came home to offer Mom some encouragement. She’s not used to this, as I’m sure she’s told you.” “Well, she certainly raised you right, Jennifer. That’s mighty kind of you to come home to give her your support. Oh, by the way, please call me Frank.” Jennifer was like a younger version of Jan. Other than the obvious age difference they looked identical. Jennifer certainly inherited her mother’s good looks and her pleasant demeanor was no accident, either. It was true, Jan had raised her right. It is refreshing to find young people so polite and confident. It goes back to the parents, that’s for sure. Our children were good young adults, although our daughter has a little too much of Susan in her. I hope that she didn’t learn Susan’s penchant for deceit. I’m afraid that I allowed our kids to drift away after they moved out on their own. I was always too busy, or so it seemed escort bursa at the time, to take time to give them a call or send them a card. That ends now, I told myself. I was going to reconnect with both of them now that Susan and I are divorcing. They need to hear from both of their parents, if for no other reason than to explain what had happened to cause our split. I would spare them the nasty details, but they both need to know that I am still their father and that I love them very much, despite all that has gone down. I was so lost in my thoughts I almost missed Jan walking into the room. I say almost because there was no missing her. She looked spectacular, with a surprisingly low-cut top and a nice pair of slacks. It definitely accented her figure, with a lot of cleavage visible due to her choice of tops. The slacks were fit so that it showed all of her curves. Her makeup and hair were equally impressive and all I could do was stand there and gawk at her like a smitten teenager. “Hey, there, are you somewhere else?” she asked, fighting off the urge to laugh out loud. “You look like you are a million miles away.” “I’m sorry, Jan. I wasn’t prepared for how lovely you look tonight. You really look wonderful. Are you sure you want to be seen with a schmuck like me?” “Hey, that’s your word, not mine. I happen to think I’ll be on the arm of the best-looking man in the place.” I walked to her and gave her a sweet little kiss, so as not to mess up her makeup. Jan returned the favor with a little fuller kiss on the lips. “Jan, I’m the luckiest guy in the world to have you with me tonight. I’m so happy that you agreed to go out with me. I imagine you could have your pick of any number of guys who would want to take you out, but you chose me.” “No, Frank. I’m the lucky one. And you’re right, a lot of men have asked, but none made the cut. I sensed something special about you. So did Jennifer, and I value her advice.” Jennifer came into the room just as Jan said that. “I told Mom that she looked hot in that outfit, but she didn’t think so.” “For what it’s worth, Jennifer, I agree with your assessment. Your mother looks beautiful tonight. She always looks beautiful, but there’s something different about her that stands out.” “I know what it is,” Jennifer blurted out. “She’s happy, that’s what it is.” Jan blushed as her daughter raved about her appearance. She rolled her eyes and shrugged her shoulders. “Okay, you two,” Jennifer announced. “It’s time for a photo.” She brandished a huge cell phone and, using her hands, directed us to stand close to each other. “What is this?” Jan asked her. “Prom night or something?” “Mom, it’s almost that special for me. You’re going out to dinner with a very handsome man. Of course I want pictures.” We stood and posed for Jennifer as she snapped away. Once she was satisfied, I asked for her phone and told her to stand next to Jan. Nothing like a good mother/daughter photo to round out the shoot. As I took several photos of them, Jan appeared to be visibly moved by this. I finished, telling Jennifer that she needed to e-mail copies to me. Jan smiled as she hugged Jennifer. “Okay, you two,” said Jennifer. “I want you to have fun tonight. Frank, I’ve set an 11pm curfew for Mom to be home. You’d better be watching the clock later on.” Then she giggled like a teenager herself. “I’m just kidding about the curfew, but I seriously expect you to have fun tonight.” We left Jennifer and made our way to the restaurant, an upscale Italian place in Oakland that was the hottest ticket in town. I learned that Jan liked Italian cuisine and hoped to impress her with my choice. As we were led to our table I noticed that nearly every man, and a few women, turned their heads to look at the beautiful woman and the lucky guy who accompanied her. We had some very nice red wine and, as we worked our way through the courses, I noticed something off about Jan, as if she was worried about something. I couldn’t let things go on without asking her what was wrong. “Jan, you seem distant tonight,” I told her. “Is something bothering you? I thought that the choice of restaurants would make you happy, but you don’t seem to be enjoying yourself. What’s wrong?” Jan hesitated, then she spoke. “Frank, the restaurant is perfect. I’ve heard about this place and coming here is like a dream come true. I’m just having some trouble with later.” “What do you mean? What could be troubling you about later?” “I think it’s obvious that I have strong feelings for you, Frank. I hoped that last night proved how I feel. You are someone I’ve been waiting to meet for over ten years, Frank.