Jason had to make an unexpected stop at his house mid afternoon. He expected no one to be home. Instead, two cars lined the driveway so he had to park in the street.
He felt his knees wobble as he approached the front door of his freshly-painted home. The white trim against the solid brick structure gave the appearance that solid citizens lived there, people who adhered to a conventional code.
But he sensed something had gone terribly wrong. The black BMW in the driveway, which he knew belonged to Clarke Peters, who shared an office with Becky, was parked behind her mini-van. They were both supposed to be at work.
Images of the past weekend with Clarke and Elise Peters flashed though his mind: Becky reaching out to grab a crumb from Clarke's shirt; the wives laughing at their husbands' idiosyncrasies. At the time, Jason thought nothing of it. Now, he fumed.
The perfectly manicured lawn mocked him as he made his way to the front door.
He tried suppressing images of Becky and Clarke together. He considered turning around and retreating to his office. Should he ring the bell to give them time to prepare?
But why was he assuming the worst of his wife? He knew their marriage had been strained of late, particularly in the bedroom, but he never expected this.
Standing motionless with his key in the lock, he made his decision and pushed open the door. What he saw surprised him even more than what he had feared.
Becky and Elise sat at the kitchen table sipping coffee.
"Hi, honey," he said, trying to act nonchalant. "I thought you were working?"
"Elise came by the office to bring Clarke something and we decided to play hooky." Becky smiled, first at Elise, and then at him.
Kissing his wife, and exhaling for what seemed like the first time since he pulled up to his house, he said he needed a file from his office. On his way, he glanced towards the master bedroom and noticed the bed unmade. At first nothing unusual registered. Then, tangled amidst the sheets, he saw red panties he knew didn't belong to his wife.
The wobbly knees returned.
Author's Bio: Wayne Scheer has been locked in a room with his computer and pet turtle since his retirement. (Wayne's, not the turtle's.) To keep from going back to work, he's published hundreds of short stories and essays, including, Revealing Moments, a collection of twenty-four flash stories, available at http://www.pearnoir.com/thumbscrews.htm. Wayne can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org