By Jack Greene
Going through the motions in a loveless marriage, Chris is unaware of how much he is missing--until he meets Leif.
The gorgeous, tempestuous man turns Chris's life upside down in every way.
Can Chris save himself from this dangerous affair, or will his life forever be changed by love?
“No more. It’s her or me.”
Chris had dreaded the ultimatum, and had hoped to never hear it; but there it was, the words issuing clearly from his phone, no mistaking the meaning.
“Leif, babe, I’m going to tell her...”
The snort from the other end told him his weak promise did not convince his lover in the slightest. “I’ve heard that too many times, and too many of your pathetic excuses to go with it. I’m not interested in them. Tell her, or we’re finished.” A calculated pause, then Leif’s voice dropped to its silkiest. “Or I can tell her if you like.”
“No!” Chris’s heart pounded at the very thought. “I’ll do it!”
“See that you do. Don’t you dare come over here until you do.”
The phone went silent.
Chris sat at his desk, head buried in his hands. How had he gotten himself into this situation? He was a married man with a male lover on the side. It was like a bad movie, but it was his life, and he didn’t know what to do about it.
It all started about eight months ago.
Chris Ryan and his wife, Stephanie, had gotten married right out of college, almost six years ago. At first everything had been great. They’d struggled for a bit financially, but finally Chris got a job with an up and coming biotech company. When the company went public, the stock options made them comfortably wealthy. Chris worked his way up to VP of Marketing, and he was damn good at it. He enjoyed his job. It was challenging and fun most of the time, and paid well. He was good friends with the CEO, Tony, and most of the executive team.
Stephanie had been an art history major, and she’d gotten a part-time job at an art gallery after college. Two years ago she was promoted to buyer. Stephanie didn’t need to work now, but she seemed to enjoy it, judging by the long hours she put in. They both worked well over forty hours a week, of course, but Stephanie frequently attended the gallery’s evening openings, and lately they barely saw each other.
That was just as well. When they were at home together they barely spoke—just ate dinner, watched some TV, then went to bed. To sleep. Chris couldn’t remember the last time they’d had sex. When they were first married, they’d had sex every day at least once, sometimes more.
The frequency of sex had dropped off, predictably, but they still used to have great sex a couple times a week, and definitely on the weekends. Things began to change about a year ago. Stephanie would be too tired, or not feel well. Slowly, Chris stopped asking, tired of feeling rejected.
Chris liked to work out, and as he had sex less frequently, to burn up excess energy he ramped up his training. He hired a personal trainer and started to bulk up. He didn’t have much body fat to begin with, so he had really good results, and was quite proud of how cut he’d become. But Stephanie never seemed to notice. Everyone else did, though.
“Dude. You doing steroids or something?” Tony teased after a meeting one day, poking at Chris’s biceps as they strained his crisp white dress shirt. “You’re not gonna go all ragey on me, are you?”
Chris laughed. “Nope. It’s called good old-fashioned reps,” he replied, poking Tony in return in his not-quite-going-soft abs.
Tony pulled a face and mock shivered. “I don’t know, man. Sounds like work to me. I’ll wait till somebody comes up with a workaround.” Tony was a couple of years older than Chris and always dating a new woman, so Chris figured he was doing okay.
Chris liked the attention he received from the women in his company. He flirted, but never more than that. He wore his wedding ring, and never let it go too far. He’d seen too many men approaching thirty get a pretty secretary and become infatuated. It never ended well. He was happily married; he’d tell anyone that asked.
Only he wasn’t so sure about that happily part.