Yeah, I can tell what you're thinking of me. It's as plain and as cold as these chafing handcuffs.
Funny I should remember that. George knew, and had always known, that I had a semi-crush on his wife Sandra - she was a fabulous piece of work, a former model that had settled for relative normality with us, occasionally returning to the cat-walk when the urge came. Not that life in Paradise Heights was always typically normal, of course; last year we had some nasty business with the town's former inhabitants, a bunch of common riff-raff that claimed they'd been forced out of their homes to make way for us. They resorted to terrorist extremes against us, and one of our valued residents, Bill Forester, got himself kidnapped by them. Ever since his escape, he's gotten kind of quiet, which is a sad end to a once great man, a once great teacher, which makes it doubly worse. Anyway, as I was saying before I so rudely interrupted myself, because he knew I had a harmless crush on his wife, George took great delight in tormenting me with details of the sexual games he and Sandra got up to. Including, you guessed it, the old bondage/handcuffs/prisoner routine.
Kind of funny, really, in a nasty kind of way. A bit like this whole story.
It goes without saying, though, that I never expected my own wife to go in for such kinky stuff. I mean, you could tell Sandra would be into anything that made her feel good, feel pleasured; it was in her eyes. My wife was different. And things between Eileen and I had been... not exactly boring, but sort of stale of late. Too much work on my part, and too much... well, I didn't know what on her part. We hadn't been talking much, spending too much time in the spaces that can create themselves between people. A sad fact but a true one, and we're all here for the truth, right?
However nasty it might get.
When I finally broached the subject with her, however, over a caviar meal with the very same friends I'd soon be sharing her with, she was more receptive than I'd expected. Later on that night, she was enthused enough to instigate lovemaking, and she arched her back in pleasure, then pushed me over and got on top and whispered in my ear as she writhed and squirmed and drove me further into her, "let's do it" And since we already were doing it, I guessed what she meant. Who was I to argue?
"We'll start off lightly," George was soon telling me, spreading his hands across a sheet full of names as if he were a General and this was a map of a battlefield that must be won. "Just us, you, and a few others. People we can trust."
He looked up at me, surprised by the naivety of my question. "Why, of course! What fun is there in two?"
"You sound like you've done all this before."
He raised an eyebrow. "Never underestimate George Goldstein, my friend."
So yeah, I'd be kidding myself if I said we weren't up for it, Sandra and me and Eileen and George, plus a few others from the influential circles we dabbled in. I was so excited about it that I went to this little meeting he and a few of the other husbands were having about the soiree, where they were debating whether or not we should start including teen wives and mothers in the fun. "I've had a few requests," George said, looking very dapper in an expensive suit with glass of wine in hand, "and I certainly think it's something that bears some thinking about." The rest of the party were nodding their heads in agreement, and despite some concerns I had about dabbling in underage sex, I was swept up enough by the moment to nod along with them.
The mistakes were just mounting up by now.
I was expecting most of the party to be relative strangers, but that was my next shock (the first of many); of the three other couples that turned up, two were family friends that were old hands at this kinky behaviour, and the third were merely acquaintances and, like us, novices. I recognised most of them from their cars before we even got in there. That was when I looked over at Eileen, flashed her my most re-assuring smile. "Nervous?"
"A little, dear."
"It'll be fine." I rubbed her thigh, wondering how Sandra's would compare. "These are our friends."
"I know." She squeezed me back. "Let's give it a whirl."
"That's my girl."
George and me had a quick word in private before he got things under way.
"Hey, isn't that lady over there... isn't it Ruth Hanson?"
"Yes, you know it is." He sounded disinterested and distant, not even bothering to look up from the drink he was pouring. "So?"
"But she's pregnant!"
"My Lord, you really are innocent. Pregnant women are a big fetish nowadays. Our other new-starter can't wait to get his hands on her." On that note, he took the tray of drinks into the living room, and I eventually followed.
You might expect the atmosphere inside to have been tense, solidified by nerves and barely restrained sexual tension, but George was too good a host for that, and he kept the wine flowing, which kept the good feelings rolling until the time was right to begin.
Which happened at around nine, when George removed a glass from Sandra's hand, laid it on the table and then leaned forward in his chair. All conversation and activity stopped; somehow, we all knew what he was going to say.
"Who's feeling in the mood?"
The two hosts let their gaze fall on everyone, and I stared back at Sandra intensely, pleased in the knowledge that, come what may, I would be making it with her before the night was out. What, me unfaithful? Nonsense! It was what we had all come for, Eileen included, and if I had to sleep with someone else, I would rather it was someone I actually knew, was friendly with. It seemed more dignified.
"Who's going to be first to pair off?"
I was acutely aware of the fact that George's wife was resting her head on his shoulder so that it tilted to one side, and that she was staring back at me, a strange look in her eye.
"Who feels that pull?"
No takers, I was thinking downheartedly. Waste of time I was thinking. Never gonna get to score with Sandra, I was especially thinking. Then came the reply from behind us.
We all looked around, finally pulled away from hanging on the ringmaster's every word. I was very surprised to see my wife in the limelight; she had beaten her initial apprehension and was now standing with her hand on a guy called Johnny Peterson's chest. Johnny was well built, and he had a bit of a cowboy fixation, always wearing a big hat and spurred heels. It was quite a shock that Eileen found herself attracted to him; after all, he was nothing like me. The first shiver of doubt ran through my insides with the realisation that another man - this man - would soon be putting his thing into my wife; what if he was better than I was and they ended up having an affair because he satisfied her more than I could? But it was too late, because as soon as George had his answer, the room erupted, cheers coming from everyone, all of which attention forced a blush from Eileen...
Who disappeared into a room with Johnny the cowboy, leaving the path well and truly open for me. When everyone else was paired, I wasn't surprised, just very excited, to see Sandra waiting for me, look still in her eye and robe slowly falling open, revealing to me what I'd secretly lusted after for so long.
"I'm glad you finally decided to go through with this, Mike."
So was I. Behind me, George disappeared into a room, hand-in-hand with Ruth Hanson.
You're probably wondering why, since things started out so well, I'm now bothering to write it all down in such lavish detail. Well, hold you water; I'm just getting to that.
Everything was going just fine - hell, better than fine; I was with Sandra, and she was soaring high above the pinnacle of expertise and excellence I'd placed her on - until something happened. Our lust had been so great that we never made it to a bedroom, just dropped to the floor in the top hallway. Consequently, I could see the whole of the first floor, and that was how I saw the man open the back door and stroll right in, without a care in the world.
He looked both mean and oddly out of place here. Tall, bald, built like a steroid-guzzling action movie star with a purple waistcoat open exposing his huge chest, my first instinct was not to feel surprise but to feel jealousy, as he was exactly the type of perfect-bodied sort that I'd envied since I was a scrawny kid - I may have grown a lot in stature and personality since then, but seeing the guy for the first time sent me right back to the playground, where he'd either bully me or be too far up to even know I existed. He stood still for a few seconds, looked around, and that's when his out-of-place-ness struck me: neither sharply-dressed nor undressed, no glass of wine in hand, no sense of excitement around him. Looking at him intensely, forgetting what I was actually supposed to be doing, it struck me that he was too out of place here.
"Come on, honey," Sandra urged me, digging nails into my back. "You're doing just fine."
Considering that she'd probably sampled model meat, I took it as a great compliment. But still a small part of dwelled on the intruder, the strange man still walking among us below me.
"You're not going, are you?" she said when I got to my knees. "I thought we were having fun here, just the two of us."
"We are," I insisted.
"Well, then." That's when she did something that made me realise Eileen must have given her some tips on my buttons. I've always had a foot fetish, and nothing used to get me worked up more than feeling a woman rub her bare foot against my chest. So that's just what she did, and it had the desired effect, and before I knew it we were going round again. Apart from the mystery of the downstairs stranger, the night was going pretty well.
It should have been one of the best nights of my life, what with the drink flowing and the house full of laughter, fun and love. But something about it was no longer working for me; it might not have stopped me getting it on with Sandra - twice - but it certainly soured the experience a little. I could hear cries from Eileen - I recognised them instantly, as I was sure she would recognise mine - but I could also see Johnny the suburban cowboy knocking the ass off Sarah Maguire, the female part of the other first-timers, so that meant my darling wife had taken another lover onboard. So why shouldn't I? There were certainly no shortage of offers, but I just couldn't get back in the mood for it. My good time thrill was now calling itself treachery, and I was left to wander the house like a demented soldier stalking the dead.
And then I saw the guy again.
Not a pretty sight. Especially when I figured out what he was up to.
"Hey, sexy." Eileen came running out and grabbed me by the shoulders, and then planted a big kiss on my cheeks. "This is great! Thanks for talking me into it!"
I saw her lover walk out of the room, nodded my head in way of greeting, and then decided to speak.
"Hello, Ruth. When's it due?"
So, my wife had decided to experiment with someone of the same sex, and a pregnant one at that. Something kind of funny about it, or is that just my warped sense of humour? A bit of both, I'm thinking.
Anyway, back to the guy. He'd gone into a room when I'd been talking to my wife, and closed the door behind him, and I suppose I knew that I shouldn't peer inside, but an immensely persuasive voice inside, one I couldn't resist, was urging me, and so I quietly pushed the door open, tension building as I did so, and poked my head through the small gap I'd created. I could only see his bare, muscular and sweaty back, so I circled around the door a little, and it was then that I saw the naked legs hanging by his waist, kicking viciously at the wall. It was Alice he was with, Alice Huntington, one of the community's most devout Christians, and, and...
He was throttling her.
I stood watching, disgusted and transfixed, and I harboured innocent ideas about rushing him in my head. But let's be honest, what damage could weedy old me do to this huge, barbell-pumping brute? It was amusing to contemplate, but I was through with being naive.
So I watched. What else could I do, oh silent accuser?
She squirmed about for most of it, her legs and feet working overtime in her struggle, and when she finally stopped, he bent down so that his face touched hers. Then he walked off, while Alice lay still.
'Hey, handsome.' I turned to find Sarah standing there, naked except for an over-sized shirt, probably one of George's. She slid an arm around me, gripped my most sensitive part with a firm, warm hand. 'Coming to bed?'
I turned her so she could see Alice. 'Wow, looks like she had a really good time.'
Ignoring her, thinking only of returning safety to our house of love and grabbing some glory in the process, I ran down the hall to George's study. That was where he kept the gun.
He was in there, bare-chested and tired-looking, pouring himself a drink.
'George! There's a strange man in here!'
He did that eyebrow hoist again, something he did a lot that had never annoyed me until now. 'Michael, there are several.'
'No, damn it, listen for once.' This comment put an annoyed glance on his face, for which I was glad; if he was ready to argue, he was ready to listen. 'This guy – I saw him, uh, hurt Alice Huntington.'
'In what way?'
I got the feeling that he wasn't taking me very seriously, so I pushed him out of the way, pulled open the draw and scouted through it until I found the weapon. Then, praying it wasn't too late and no one else had been hurt, I took off back down the hall, ignoring George's cries of protest.
I caught him with Eileen, oh horror of horrors, doing the same as earlier, and when her eyes fell on me, on the thing I had in my hand, I saw blind panic in them, and I nodded my re-assurance to her that everything was okay now, that I was here to rescue her, that I was finally going to be the big hero that years of failure and self-damage had almost wiped out, and she shook her head no, but I didn't understand, and I saw the huge man bend down towards the neck he was throttling, and I just knew, knew for absolutely damn certain, that he was going to bite it, tear out her throat – man, I even saw it in my head, saw him rip it out like a vampire in some horror movie – so I ran forward towards the scene, feeling like everything was in slow motion, and I swear to you, I only meant to club him with it, knock him out, but I tripped over a couple that were busy on the floor, and as I fell, yelling, my finger squeezed the trigger, and the stranger's face splattered all over my wife's bare shoulder. She screamed.
'It's okay,' I told her. 'He can't hurt you now.'
She looked up at me, shock in her eyes. Death hadn't been my original aim, but I still felt very manly, very heroic. Now all we had to do was break the bad news to Jimmy Huntington... who about then stood up, revealing himself as one of the two lovers that I'd fallen over.
After the slow motion, things started going pretty fast. Everyone rushed in, alerted by the sound of the accidental shot, and I expected glory, even though my prevention of a potential massacre had been pretty much accidental. But all I received was cold, judging, accusing eyes, much like I would soon see from the ladies and gentlemen of the jury. And then, to top things off, Sandra ran in and started crying, cradled the dead body and screamed up at me: 'bastard! You killed my brother!'
Alice was fine; she was one of those curious types that enjoy asphyxiation at the height of orgasm. Eileen had been discussing it with her earlier that night, displaying some enthusiasm for the idea, and Alice had told her she knew just the man for the job.
Hey, anyone can make a mistake, right? Right?
So they busted me for it, and I duly got sent down for murder. I ruined one of George and Sandra's star attractions, which they still haven't forgiven me for.
Eileen still comes to visit sometimes, though, and the kids send their love. I guess that's about all you can say for me now: good husband, loving father – lousy wife-swapper.