The Affair (R)

Forty three year old Ron Potter lay in the bed of his next door neighbor, school teacher Liz Lantier watching her nude form sleeping next to him. Glancing out the bedroom window, he could see his own house through the trees and he wondered how in the hell he wound up on the opposite end of the view.

He had been faithful to his wife Diane since the day they officially became a couple and never in his wildest thoughts did he imagine himself cheating on her, especially after twenty-two years of marriage.

Ron and Diane had started out as good friends, hanging out with the same group of people in college. Then one night Ron boldly asked Diane out on a date and they fell in love soon after that first outing.

"Ron is the sweetest, funniest, most attentive man I've ever met," Ron remembered Diane gushing to their friends at the time. "He makes me laugh and I love being around him."

They married soon after graduating from college and career choices brought them to Greenville where they bought a handsome house and raised their family - daughter Lori and son Jack. Ron worked his way up the corporate ladder at the Johnson Plastics and Diane went to work when the kids were old enough to go to school. Ron coached little league and Diane was an involved mother in the children's activities.

"It all seemed almost too easy and too much fun," Ron would tell Liz later. "It was the perfect life and it never occurred to me that things could go wrong."

But things did go wrong. Diane's mother got sick and their idealistic family life became strained as a result. It was bad enough that Diane hated her job and spent twelve hours a day at work sometimes. The kids were getting older and there was less involvement in their daily lives and when Diane's mother illness became all-consuming, the family structure became more strained.

Diane's mother died and Ron and Diane eventually came to the realization that they were mostly going through the motions. Lori left for college and Jack joined the military leaving Ron and Diane home alone to deal with the empty nest syndrome and a crumbling marriage devoid of intimacy or true empathy.

Diane finally quit her miserable job as a successful accountant with a local corporation without telling Ron and she went to work with a friend in the neighborhood florist shop. Ron learned of his wife's career change when he called her office and was told she no longer worked there, exemplifying the total breakdown in communication between the couple.

"There's nothing left between us," Ron confided to Liz soon after the incident, stunned that his wife would do something so dramatic without even discussing it with him.

Liz had been a good friend with Diane and Ron for several years. She and her ex husband Dave went out with the Potters frequently and Liz remained in the house next door neighbor after she and Dave divorced a few years earlier.

"Unless it involves the kids, we rarely speak to each other anymore," Ron complained to Liz. "There's virtually no real conversation between us."

Liz hated being caught in the middle because she liked both Ron and Diane but she tried to be a mediator as best she could without picking sides. In truth, she could see both ends of the argument. She knew how much the death of her mother had affected Diane and she knew how frustrated Ron was about the condition of his marriage.

"Sometimes I think that when my mother was dying our marriage began to die too," Diane admitted to Liz during one conversation over coffee at the kitchen table. "It was a very tense time."

"I remember," Liz said with sympathy. "I know how close you were to your mom and how hard it was on you when she was diagnosed with that malignant cancer and had to undergo all that radiation and chemo."

"That last year of her life was impossibly painful and traumatic," Diane sighed with sad defeat. "I spent all my time with her and I know it took a toll on the family and that Ron tried to pinch hit and be there for the kids but all his energy was wrapped up with them and I pretty much became invisible."

"You were dealing with your mother," Liz reminded her.

"I still get an occasional pang of regret about the choices I made," Diane admitted. "Maybe I shouldn't have spent so much time with Mom. Maybe I should have moved her into the house with us. I was under enormous stress. I had a demanding job and a mother whose condition was worsening by the day. It was so overwhelming."

"It wasn't anything you could really control," Liz pointed out. "You did what you thought was right at the time."

"Everything Ron did annoyed me," Diane confessed. "I'd get home from visiting my mom, upset and needing to talk but Ron was too busy dealing with the house and the kids and his job. Plus he was in denial about mom who he really liked. 'She's fine,' he'd say. 'She'll pull through.' I was resentful that I couldn't talk to him about it. To this day, I feel betrayed."

"About what?" Liz asked.

"That he wasn't more supportive and understanding," Diane admitted. "After Mom died, Ron pretty much just closed the book on it and moved on while I was left to grieve alone."

"Everybody deals with grief in their own way," Liz said. "Ron seems to be much more internal with his feelings whereas you are much more passionate."

Diane nodded in agreement. "It never occurred to him that I needed something emotionally from him," she sighed. "One day I woke up and I realized that I was miserable and that I was deeply bitter toward Ron. My mother was dead and he was concerned about getting the gutters replaced."

Diane looked at Liz and sighed. "Am I being unfair?"

Liz shrugged indifferently. "You're entitled to your feelings, Diane."

"You want to know what really pisses me off?" Diane asked.

"What?" Liz wondered.

"That Ron's mother is still alive. She's lived a sinful life of greed and booze and affairs and marriages but she's as healthy as a horse. My mother lived her life like a Saint and she's dead."

"You can't blame Ron for his mother's faults," Liz pointed out.

"Yeah, but it sure does seem unfair," Diane complained.

A few days later, Liz ran into Ron in the driveway between the two properties as Ron headed off to work. It was still months before they would end up in bed together.

"I hate living this way," Ron grumbled with frustration after another in an endless series of cold and quiet mornings with Diane. "But I have no idea how to make things better."

"Maybe you should try opening up," Liz suggested gently.

"About what?" Ron asked with a confused frown. "Her mother? She's dead. I'm sorry, but I'm not her mom. Those two would enjoy marathon conversations about everything from personal problems to books, television, movies, sex and politics. I'm good at talking sports and not much else."

"Maybe after twenty-two years of marriage you've run out of things to talk about," Liz suggested. "I know Dave didn't want to talk to me anymore!"

"I fell in love with Diane because she's incredibly smart, energetic, and fun," Ron remarked. "But the word flexible isn't in her vocabulary. She'll berate me with something she dredged up from two years ago that I don't even remember. How am I supposed to respond to that?"

"I'm not sure," Liz admitted.

A week or so later, Ron noticed Liz sitting out on her back porch reading a book in the evening sun. Since Diane wasn't home, he walked across the driveway and joined his neighbor on the porch.

"Where's Diane?" Liz asked, glancing at her watch and realizing it was nearly supper.

"Out with her friend Jane again," Ron sighed. "She's with her more these days than she is with me."

"Are you hungry?" Liz asked. "Can I fix you a bite to eat?"

"I don't want to put you out."

"I was going to make myself a sandwich anyway," Liz let him know.

"Oh, okay," Ron said.

He followed Liz into the house and he took a seat at the kitchen counter watching her make the meal for them.

Diane was nearly ten years his junior, an attractive professional woman with a shapely body. She was four inches shorter than Diane with a bigger chest. Before his marriage became troubled Ron never looked at another woman with lust or passion. He appreciated the female form and he enjoyed sexy women but he never saw them in a sexual way. Recently, however, he found himself attracted to women in a much more primal way, noticing their bodies and feeling attracted to them differently than in the past.

Ron and Liz had always enjoyed a meaningful friendship. He thought she was funny and spirited and he felt younger when he was around her. She was also smart and worldly. He really appreciated her support and company during the most recent tough times in his marriage.

"So, how are things?" Liz asked.

"Pretty bad," Ron admitted honestly. "I'm thinking about moving out."

"Oh?" Liz looked over her shoulder at him. "That bad, huh?"

"Diane and I haven't made love in nearly two years," Ron announced with defeat. "I don't think it can get any worse than that."

"I suppose not," Liz agreed, staring at him for a long moment.

"My mother-in-law's illness was a real turning point for the worse," Ron told Liz. "I felt so incredibly helpless. I didn't know how to help Diane cope and I was afraid of saying or doing the wrong thing. I knew what she was dealing with and going through but I didn't want to tell her how sad and scared I was about her mother too. And we had no time for each other anymore."

"There was a lot going on," Liz reasoned as she brought two plates with sandwiches on them to the counter.

Liz grabbed a bag of chips from the cupboard and a couple of beers from the refrigerator before taking a seat at the counter next to Ron.

"I'm ashamed to admit this but I was actually glad when her mother died," Ron revealed.

"Because it was a relief," Liz said.

"I thought it would ease some of the tension and distraction," Ron admitted. "But instead, it got worse," Ron sighed. "Diane became more withdrawn and depressed. She seemed to resent me because I wasn't feeling as sad and troubled as she was. She always disliked my mother but now she distained her and bad mouthed her all the time. I stopped bringing her up in conversation because it got so bad."

"Diane really misses her mom," Liz offered.

"But she wasn't my mother," Ron sighed. "It's just been a colossal misunderstanding but I don't think Diane ever forgave me for failing her during that time."

"It would appear not," Liz agreed. "But I don't think her mom's death was the only thing eroding your marriage."

"What do you mean?" Ron asked

"I noticed the communication between you two worsening for years," Liz offered. "I'd call it a mute marriage."

"Really?" Ron asked with surprise.

"Yeah," Liz said. "I noticed that conversations between the two of you were infrequent and strained, often full of sarcasm and nasty jabs on Diane's part and sullen withdrawal from you."

"Well, she wasn't happy in her job," Ron admitted. "And when the kids started getting older and more independent she felt less important, I guess."

"And when her mom got sick, all of that became exasperated."

"Her mom was always so cheerful and positive," Ron smiled fondly. "She's the one who brought out the best in Diane. She laughed when her mother was around and her mother made her feel good. Her illness and death sapped all of the positive energy out of Diane making it impossible to enjoy our life together. She's always pissed off and angry, mostly at me. It's almost as if she wished I was the one who died, not her mom."

"I think she just got burned out," Liz theorized. "As a caretaker to her mom. As a mom to the kids. As a wife. You resented her for always being with her mom and she resented you for not being more supportive and understanding. She feels betrayed by your lack of empathy toward her mother's death. She's wounded."

"She's bitter and angry and unforgiving," Ron snapped. "She has no interest in trying to save our marriage. She's content on working in the florist shop and hanging out with her friends. We don't talk. We don't do stuff together. We're basically just sharing the same house."

"I'm sorry," was all Liz could say in response.

Ron shrugged his shoulder. "It's not your fault."

He thanked her for the sandwich and she nodded in response, watching him leave with heavy footsteps and trudge across the lawn back to his own house.

Ron was seated on the couch watching the ball game when Diane came home later but she barely acknowledged his presence and went straight upstairs to the bedroom. That was their common routine now, barely sharing the same room for any length of time.

Ron sighed and continued watching the ball game.

###

Ron sat at the kitchen table and looked up when Diane entered the room. She had been sleeping when he went to bed the night before and she was still asleep when he got up in the morning.

Diane said nothing as she poured herself a cup of coffee and glanced at the morning paper sitting on the counter.

"We should probably talk about finances," Ron said. "With your volunteer unannounced job change, our income level has taken a dramatic drop."

"Don't worry about it," Diane replied, not bothering to look at him.

"We're going to need to cut back on expenses," Ron said.

"We don't take the big vacation anymore," she reasoned. "The cars are paid for. The mortgage is manageable."

"What about Lori's college expenses?"

"Her grandmother left her money for that," Diane said. She looked coldly at Ron. "Don't try to make me feel guilty for leaving my job."

"Is that why you didn't tell me what you were planning?" Ron wanted to know. "You thought I'd try talking you out of it?"

"Well?" She accused. "Wouldn't you have?"

"I've been telling you for years to quit your job if you weren't happy," Ron said defensively.

"Yeah, but what you were really saying was go get another job in the same field," Diane said, tossing the paper aside. "I don't want to be an accountant anymore."

"You want to be a florist," he said knowingly.

"It makes me relax and feel good," Diane replied. "Don't give me a hard time about it."

"I'm not," he insisted. "I just want to make sure we're on the same page with the expenses, that's all."

"I'm on top of it," she said with annoyance. "I already cut back. Don't worry about it."

"I'm not worrying about it," Ron sighed. "I just want us to be aware of it."

"Fuck off!" Diane snapped.

"What?"

Ron was caught off guard because Diane rarely cursed or swore. He stared at his wife who stood against the counter with her hand pressed against her forehead. Her face was red and her eyes strained.

"What's wrong?" He wanted to know.

Diane turned away. "Just don't give me a hard time," she yelled.

"Oh, for god sakes, I wasn't giving you a hard time," he growled. "I was just making a point."

"Well, you can take your point and shove it up your ass," Diane scowled. "I know how much money we have."

"Whatever you say," he mumbled.

She held up her hand to tell him to shut up while keeping her back to him. "Just – drop it," she demanded.

"I'm going to work," Ron sighed, heading for the door.

Diane wasn't home when Ron got home from work that evening – no big surprise there. He glanced out the kitchen window toward Liz's house, wondering if she was home. Liz was easy to talk to and she didn't judge him or yell at him.

He sighed as he opened a can of beefaroni and ate dinner while watching the news.

Diane came home an hour later.

"I'm going to bed," she announced as she headed up the stairs.

Ron rolled his eyes glancing at the VCR clock. It was only 8:30 in the evening.

He followed his wife up the stairs and he placed his hands on his hips as he stood in the doorway.

"Do you really detest me that much?" He asked.

Diane ignored him as she stepped into the closet and changed in there where he couldn't see. She didn't like him seeing her naked anymore.

"Isn't it a little early to be going to bed?" He asked.

"I'm going to watch some television," she replied.

"We have a TV downstairs," he pointed out.

"You know I don't like sports."

"I'll turn the channel," he said.

"Yeah, you really love the stuff I watch," she said sarcastically. "Besides, I'm going to do some reading too."

She didn't look at him as she came out of the closet dressed in her summer pajamas.

"This house is suddenly very large and empty," Ron remarked.

"I'm too tired to argue with you tonight, Ron," Diane replied with disinterest as she sat on the bed and turned on the remote.

"Okay, good night," Ron sighed.

She didn't answer so he closed the door and went back downstairs.

He remembered the last time he tried to have sex with her. She was in the shower and he got naked and tried to join her but she got angry and pushed him out of the stall.

"Are we ever going to fuck again?" Ron yelled at her with frustration as she closed the stall door in his face.

That was nearly two years ago and he had given up trying not long after that disappointing episode. It was clear that Diane had zero interest in doing anything other than sharing the same bed with him.

He went into the downstairs half bath, turned on the light and stood in front of the mirror pondering his reflection. He was getting older and it felt like life was passing him by. His eyes looked tired, his face was drawn, and his hair was growing gray at the roots and at his temples. He rubbed his eyes and groaned wondering if he'd ever have sex again. He masturbated now more than he did in high school and the porn on the computer was his new girlfriend.

He watched the ball game and by the time he went to bed Diane was fast asleep.

In the morning, Ron dragged himself out of bed feeling sluggish and disgusted. Diane was already up and when he headed for the bathroom he saw that she was already in there but she didn't speak or even look at him as he took a leak. Although his back was to her, Ron watched through the mirror as she undressed to shower and he caught sight of her exposed back, catching a glimpse of her breast as she reached for the stall door.

Diane was forty two but she still had the best ass he'd ever seen. She didn't show any signs of getting older. In fact, she was still as beautiful as she had been the day he met her. She ate right, worked out, and stayed in shape. He felt his dick tighten as he eyed her lovely backside as she disappeared into the stall but he knew better than to follow her in.

Ron thought Diane was cruelly seeking her revenge by not having sex with him. They had enjoyed an active and fulfilling sex life for years, even locking the door when the kids were young to ensure their uninterrupted private time. Diane had been a spontaneous, giving and participating lover and the sex was great. They'd do in the morning in the shower, they'd do it in the Blue River while skinny dipping, they'd do it on the stairs if the mood caught them right.

But those days were long gone now and even though Diane remained sexy and sexual and sensual, attractive and physically desirable, she had turned off the pipeline and Ron hadn't felt this horny, frustrated and miserable since his high school days when he couldn't get laid. Diane hadn't been in the mood in nearly two years but he was convinced she was purposefully torturing him. He wondered if she was having an affair and getting her satisfaction elsewhere.

Ron rubbed his face in his hands with frustration as he headed back to the bedroom to get dressed for work.

The routine was the same. He'd get home from work at around 5:30 and Diane was never there. He'd make himself supper which he'd eat watching the news and then he'd spend the evening watching a ball game on the tube or maybe a movie. Diane would come home at various times, usually already having eaten. She'd usually went straight upstairs, although occasionally she would stop in to pass on some piece of information (or complaint) to her husband.

By the time Ron made it upstairs, Diane was asleep (or faking that she was asleep). Ron would slip into bed and she would usually turn her back to him and they wouldn't say much if anything to the other. He was used to the routine and his mostly sleepless nights because his wife refused to have sex with him had ended. Now he slept with a certain degree of acceptance and sometimes when he awoke, his hands were around his penis.

###

It was a Saturday and Diane had gone off with Jane and another couple of friends for some day together, leaving Ron home alone and frustrated. Gone were the days of family activities and day trips. Now he was stuck at home alone with nothing to do and nobody to do it with.

His computer had become his new best friend. He enjoyed the social networking with old friends and torking off people on some of the political blogs, intentionally going over the top with his comments and philosophies just to get people on the other side fired up.

Of course his new best interest was the porn sites, something he didn't have access to during his sexually frustrating high school days. Now he could sit in front of the computer screen watching all sorts of sex and that enabled him to experience his much needed sexual release although he knew he was beyond pathetic jacking off to images of other couples having sex.

He didn't like the hard porn sites and tended to surf to the more tame sites, usually amateur sex where couples supposedly sent in their own sex tapes for others to watch. He figured that was about as close as he was going to get to having sex with Diane again – trying to find a woman who looked like her and masturbate to the image of the fake Diane having sex with some other guy, although he would pretend it was him.

The computer was in the den so there was some privacy. Diane had her own lap top so Ron didn't have to concern himself with her finding porn on the computer, not that she'd probably care anyway.

On this particular day, he found himself particularly horny and sexualized after watching a good amount of the amateur sex and he stood up, dropped his shorts and underwear and started wacking off to the sexual imagines on the screen. He grabbed his nearby coffee cup when he felt that he was about to ejaculate.

Liz didn't see Diane around all that much anymore. Diane always seemed to be coming or going and when the two women did find the time to chat, it struck Liz that Diane was being almost cruelly vindictive in her attitude toward her husband. After months of being the neutral arbitrator, recently Liz began identifying more with Ron and his situation than she did Diane who didn't seem lonely or even all that concerned about Ron. She just remained bitter, mean and spiteful, seeming to go out of her way to be unkind and hurtful toward Ron just to seek revenge and pay back for his perceived wrongs.

Liz found herself enjoying her conversations with Ron. As a divorcee, she could identify with his loneliness and frustration much more easily and she sensed the deep level of pain and angst he was feeling about his deteriorating marriage whereas Diane was unable to move beyond her anger.

Liz looked forward to those moments when Ron would stop to chat with her when he climbed out of his car at the end of his work day or strolled across her lawn to say hello to her as she sat on the back porch reading a book. She remembered how he said he hadn't made love with Diane for nearly two years and while it hadn't been quite that long since Liz last enjoyed a physical relationship with a man, it had been a while for her too and she identified with Ron's carnal desires, unspoken as they were.

It had become acceptable for Liz to stroll into the Potter house unannounced or without knocking, especially if the back kitchen door was open. She had seen Diane drive off a few hours earlier and she assumed that Ron was home alone so she thought she'd check on the guy and see how he was doing.

The back door was indeed open so Liz let herself into the house, passing through the kitchen and dining room and into the living room, but she didn't see Ron. She heard sounds coming from the den, however, so she walked toward the door and peeked in. Liz did a double take when she saw Ron standing in front of the computer bare assed naked from the waist down, apparently jerking himself off to images of porn on the computer screen.

She heard him groan almost painfully as he came and she stepped into the room far enough and at an angle enough to see that he was beating off into his coffee cup. His large member was hanging out of his fist as he wacked himself off and she watched as his white cum shot into the coffee cup. His eyes were closed and his head was leaning back as he groaned with satisfied relief as he performed his business.

Liz stepped up to him and she could see that he was surprisingly stunned and embarrassed when he opened his eyes and saw her standing two feet from him. She took the cup from his hand and drank his cum, something that he couldn't believe he was witnessing.

"Next time, come find me," Liz said as she handed the cup back to him, glanced down at his dick, smiled, and left the room.

Ron wasn't sure if he should be turned on, grossed out, humiliated, embarrassed, ashamed, or satisfied. He couldn't believe Liz had caught him jacking off like some teenager and he was especially stunned that she had actually taken the coffee cup from him and drank his substance. Diane wasn't all that much into oral sex, especially after they married and she never swallowed. She used to bring Ron to climax and then spit out his penis as if it was poison and let him ejaculate all over himself or into her hand which she quickly washed off.

Liz had taken a coffee cup full of his grim and happily drank it down like it was hot coco. Simply unbelievable. Ron hadn't felt this excited in a long time. Liz had caught him beating off and she wasn't turned off or freaked out? Was she as pathetic as he was?

For a moment, Ron thought about going after Liz but he was too embarrassed about what had just happened to see her so soon. He needed to forget about what she had just seen and let some time pass before he saw her again.

Diane came home later with an arm full of packages from her shopping excursion.

"Can we afford all that?" Ron asked with a sigh, still stuck on the whole budget situation.

"Don't start with that crap again," Diane grumbled as she headed for the stairs.

Ron decided to sell their speed boat moored on the Blue River. The family used to enjoy weekends on the river together but those days were long gone. He also decided to sell his Harley. He and Jack used to go for motorcycle rides together and even Diane enjoyed riding on the back of his bike, but they hadn't been out since her mother got sick and there was no point keeping the bike any longer. The cash made from those sells would help the family coffers given the loss of income from Diane's job change.

Diane didn't say a word in response or protest when Ron mentioned his plan to her.

###

A week had passed since Liz had caught Ron in his compromising position. He was taking the trash out on trash day when he met up with Liz who was doing the same thing.

"I really want to apologize for the other day," he told her.

"Oh, don't worry about that, Ron," she said as she patted him on the shoulder. "Besides, I'm the one who should be apologizing. I'm the one who intruded on your privacy."

"I hope you don't think any less of me," he said with worry.

She leaned into him. "You could have just have easily caught me," she whispered with a smile. "My fingers are my best friend these days. Sad but true."

He blushed at her candid remark and he had an image of her spread out on her bed stark naked masturbating herself between her legs.

She smiled before returning to her house with a more seductive sway to her hips than usual.

Diane was home when Ron arrived from work at the end of the day and she had actually prepared dinner, something that rarely happened anymore. She was silent and only greeted him with a head nod when he joined her in the kitchen where they seemed to take all their meals these days when they actually bothered to eat together. She served the food onto their plates but there was an awkward silence with only the clattering of their silverware making noise.

When she was finished eating, Diane pushed away her plate and left the room without saying anything.

"Thanks for cooking," Ron called after her.

He sighed and shook his head before cleaning up and doing the dishes.

Ron was surprised to find Diane sitting on the couch in the living room watching the evening news when he was finished in the kitchen. He took a seat in his easy chair.

"Is there anything you want to talk about?" He asked his wife during one of the commercials.

"No," she replied with disinterest.

"Because if there is you know you could tell me," he said.

"There's nothing, Ron," she sighed as she got up from the couch and went upstairs.

He sat in his chair looking at the stairs and wondering how it had come to this.

A few nights later, Ron came home from work. Diane had texted him that she was going out with the girls so he was on his own again. He noticed Liz watering her flowers in the back yard. He hadn't seen her since trash day.

"Hey," he said, giving Liz a wave, trying to forget about how she saw him that time.

She was wearing short cut offs and a halter top and she was looking pretty good.

"Hi, Ron!" Liz replied brightly. "Are you alone again?"

He nodded affirmatively.

"Well, come on over, have dinner with me," she said warmly.

"Let me change first," Ron said.

He went into the house and changed into shorts and a tee shirt before returning to Liz' house. She had gone inside and so he let himself into the kitchen where she was cooking the meal.

"Have a seat," she invited. "The food's almost ready."

They made small talk and Ron noticed that Liz appeared to be in a particularly chipper mood. She smelled good too and she was looking sexy as she stood at the stove with her back to him, occasionally glancing over her shoulder as she made a point or asked a question. Ron sat at the table admiring her. It felt good to have a woman actually talking to him with interest and enthusiasm.

"The food smells delicious," he remarked.

She turned her head and smiled at him and he couldn't help but suddenly feel nervous. Or was it arousal?

"You look delicious," he added cautiously.

She laughed with appreciation. "Thanks, Ron." She turned to look at him again and he looked at her knowingly.

"So, school starts soon, huh?" He asked, suddenly feeling awkward for coming on to her.

"I don't want to think about that!" Liz laughed. "I love my summers off."

"I don't blame you."

"I try to get enthusiastic and excited about… school," she said with a smile, glancing at him again.

A silence filled the room. Ron felt nervous. He was afraid that he was feeling so horny and lonely that he would say or do something that would spoil the moment. She looked so sexy and desirable but he didn't want to ruin things between them by doing something she wasn't ready for or wanting.

He hesitated but then stood, crossed over to her and placed his hands on her hips from behind as she stood at the counter. He stood very close to her and watched over her shoulder as she cut the tomatoes for the salad. He stood so close that his chest was touching her back.

"Do you….." He whispered into her ear:

"Do I… what?' She asked, turning her head slightly.

He kissed her neck behind her ear as he took in the smell of her hair.

"Neither of us have been with somebody for quite some time," he commented softly as his hand rubbed over her back.

"I know," she said sadly as she placed her hand on his and caressed the back of it.

Ron pressed his groin against her backside as he continued to kiss her neck.

"I want you," he softly whispered into her ear:

"I want you too," she said with a shiver, opening her mouth and inhaling deeply.

"But…."

"But what?" he asked, his hand slipping underneath her shirt and touching her warm skin.

Was she aroused or was she afraid?

"Diane," she sighed. "I'm sorry."

Liz gently pushed his hand away.

"We should eat," she said nervously.

"Okay," he agreed.

She was rejecting him because of Diane? He knew they would be so good together – so passionate. He had felt incredibly excited when she said she wanted him but now he was feeling incredibly disappointed that she had turned down his first (and only?) advance.

Ron returned to the table and waited for Liz to serve up the meal.

"You are someone I value," Ron said as he watched her serve the food. "I hope you know that."

"I do," she answered. "And it's okay, Ron. Don't worry about anything."

"But it is getting – awkward, isn't it?" Ron asked as an uncomfortable smile appeared on his face.

'Yes – very actually," Liz admitted with a chuckle as she sat down across from him and they began to eat. "I'd like to fuck you right here on the table but I couldn't do that to Diane."

"I respect your loyalty."

"It's not about loyalty," Liz told him. "It's about ethics. You are married to her."

"It doesn't feel that way anymore," Ron sighed.

"I know," she said.

They changed the subject and talked about his work and her upcoming school year and his kids and her brother (recently busted for a DWI) and last night's Red Sox game.

When they were done eating, Liz stood, walked over to Ron's chair and plopped down in his lap. She looked directly into his eyes and then she took his face in her hands, leaned in close and kissed him. After a few moments, she broke the kiss, took his hands and pressed them to her breasts.
"What about your ethics?" Ron asked breathlessly.

"To hell with them," she said. "I can't take this anymore. Fuck me. Right here. Right now."

"On the kitchen table?"

"If you want!"
He smiled, feeling her breasts gently and she returned the smile before he lifted her up off of his lap and plopped her onto the table, knocking away the dishes and left over food, some of it crashing to the floor.

He pulled off her shorts and panties in one stroke and saw that she was clean shaven.

"Just in case," she said with a smirk when she saw him peering at her open slit.

He leaned over her while tugging down his own shorts and underwear and she smiled with approval when she saw his dick pointing at him.

"This will be better than beating off to porno, Ron," she assured him.

It was rough, it was loud, it was physical, and it was rugged as the two desperately lonely and horny neighbors fucked each other with reckless abandonment out of need and distraction from their empty lives.

When they were done, they were covered with food from the table, mixing with their sweat and body fluids. They were both still panting as he lay on top of her on the table, her legs daggling over the side.

"God, I've wanted that for so long," Liz said happily. "You don't know how hard it is being a divorcee trying to find guys that aren't perverts, losers, or psychopaths."

He laughed as he looked into her eyes, feeling slightly surreal before he dismounted and extended a hand to her which she took. Liz stood from the table and Ron let her lead him up the stairs naked to the bathroom as he admired her lovely nudeness. They stepped into the shower stall and Liz turned the water on and they washed each other. Ron felt a pang of guilt and sadness as he thought about Diane and the times they made love in the shower and especially that last time when she rebuked him in the shower and they hadn't made love since. But here was Liz, totally happy to accept and have him and so why should he feel guilty about Diane's rejection?

He ran his hands over Liz's soapy breasts and then he fell to his knees and gently washed her naked pussy before giving in to the urge to run his tongue along her exposed vagina lips. Liz shuddered as he tasted her.

When he successfully brought her to another climax with her screams echoing through the stall and over the sound of the water spray, Ron stood and Liz stroked his penis briefly before they stepped out of the shower, drying each other off. They kissed their way into the bedroom where Liz fell onto the bed and Ron joined her as they resumed their kissing.
Ron kissed his way down her body, lapping at each breast and lightly kissing her nipples before working his way down to between her legs again where he inserted his tongue as deeply as he could until she came with a soft whimper. She pressed her thighs against his head as she pushed him away.

"I can't take anymore of this!" She moaned. "You're killing me!"

Ron scooted up to lay beside her. Liz rolled over to rest her head on his shoulder.

"Wow," was all she had to say.
Ron rubbed her ass with his hand. "Pretty good?"
She nodded with approval. "Those were the best orgasms I've ever had."
"I bet you say that to all your lovers," Ron remarked.
"Yeah, I have so many of those," she said sarcastically.

"You should," Ron said quickly. "You're wonderful."

He saw her eyes tear up.

"Oh, Liz," he sighed.

She put a finger to his lips. "I'm okay," she said. "I just miss…..this."

"You'll find someone," he said. "When it's right."

"Diane must be crazy to give this up," she sighed. "I don't know what she's thinking."

"Me either."
She placed her head back on the pillow. "Please do it to me again," she requested.

He obliged and got her all excited with his fingers between her legs and when she couldn't take that any longer, Liz pushed him back on the bed and climbed on top of him, sinking herself onto his penis in one smooth motion. It wasn't long before he was climaxing into her and she shrieked out an orgasm as well.
Liz continued to rock on his shrinking member until it slipped out of her and then she fell forward and kissed him her thanks. He returned the kiss, more elated than he had been in years. She rolled off of him finally, falling to his side and they both breathed in rhythm for a few moments.
She fell asleep and that's when he glanced out the window at his house across the way wondering if Diane was home yet and if she would care that he was next door fucking their friend and neighbor. He wondered if he should slip out of the bed and sneak home without saying goodbye but struck him as rather heartless and cruel. He didn't want her to think he used her for his own selfish satisfaction and would now abandoned her as if she was just one of those porno videos on the computer.

He watched out the window as the dusk settled and when he felt her moving by his side, Ron glanced down at her.

"Do you have any regrets?" He asked when she opened her eyes and smiled at him.

"Ron, you're a sweet lonely guy and I'm a lonely divorcee going without too," she told him. "You have a marriage that isn't satisfying you and I know this was selfish and wrong on both our parts but I just don't care anymore."
He looked at her. "You won't resent me?"
She shook her head. "Don't do that to yourself," she advised. "Don't worry. I won't fall in love with you and I don't have any expectations. You and Diane need to figure out what you want and where you're going."

"You're okay with this?"

"I'll be here for you and your sexual wants and desires and you can attend to mine until things change with Diane if you want."

"So, we'll use each other?" Ron asked.

She nodded. "While it lasts."

"You deserve better than this, Liz," he said.

"So don't you," she replied.

There was silence between them for a few moments.

"You should probably get home before Diane does," Liz said.

He leaned over and kissed her goodnight before slipping off the bed.

"My clothes are downstairs," he realized as he glanced around.

Liz laughed and hopped naked off the bed, grabbing him by the hand and leading him down the stairs. She stood naked in the kitchen watching him dress and when he was done he gave her a passionate kiss goodbye and he left through the back door. He stopped in the window and glanced through it, watching Liz who remained naked as she cleaned up the mess they had made on the table and floor. It looked as if she was crying and Rob felt awful as he headed across the yard to his house.

Diane arrived home a few moments later but she made no effort to greet him as she disappeared up the stairs as usual.

###

Ron had a hard time sleeping the next few nights. He felt both guilt and remorse for sleeping with Liz and cheating on Diane and for the next few days he tried to be more attentive to Diane but she continued to give him no reason to believe their marriage had any hope of necessitation. Whenever he attempted to engage her in a conversation she ignored him and when he tried to be nice she didn't react either.

So the routine continued. He'd leave in the morning to Diane's coldness and came home to either an empty house or an indifferent Diane who didn't seem to care whether he was there or not.

Ron hadn't seen Liz since their first unbelievable sex together on the kitchen table, in the shower, and in her bed. He wondered if he should slip next door and enjoy Liz as the days passed. Did he really want to be a cheating married man? Too late, of course, he realized.

Nearly a week had passed. Diane texted him and said she was going out to dinner and a movie with the girls and he was on his own for dinner. On the way home from work, Ron stopped at the florist (he wasn't dumb enough to use Diane's florist!) and purchased a single red rose to present to Liz.

He parked the car in his own driveway and walked across the yard to Liz's back door. He knocked and let himself into the house.

"Liz?" He called. "It's Ron."

"Upstairs," she called.

He skipped up the stairs and stepped into her bedroom, finding her sprawled naked across the bed, her clothes tossed on the floor.

"I saw you through the window," she giggled. "Is that rose for me?"
He appreciated her for a moment and then walked to where she was laying and placed the rose in her mouth much to her delight. He bent down and kissed her cheek.

"I missed you," he whispered.

"Me too," she laughed. "Now, get naked."
Hours later, the mattress of the bed was on the floor and Ron and Liz were lying on it, cuddled under a sheet. Their mad and wild sex had literally knocked the mattress off the bed and they willing went with it.

"Wow," Liz said once again. "I feel like I'm a teenager again."

"You make me feel like I'm a teenager again," Ron laughed.

"We are like two horny teenagers, aren't we?" Liz realized. "Just like my students."

"It's different for us," Ron insisted.

"How so?"

"We're older, more mature."

"But we are just fucking, Ron, right? That's all this is?"

"We are two lonely people needing each other, Liz," Ron said. "I don't see anything wrong with that." He glanced at her. "Do you?"

"Let me give you a blow job while I think about it," she replied seductively as she gave him a kiss before moving down his body and placing her face between his legs.

It was almost dark when Ron awoke, having dozed off after his sexual encounter with Liz. They were still lying on the mattress on the floor with Liz sprawled out on top of him, naked and asleep.

"Liz," Ron whispered. "Wake up. It's late."

She stirred and opened her eyes.

"I need to go," he said softly.

"Oh, I wish you could spend the night," she moaned.

"I know," he sighed. "Maybe the next time Diane goes out of town," he said hopefully.

"Okay," she agreed happily.

She slid off of him, giving him a farewell kiss before they both stood. Ron found his clothes in the dark, kissed her goodnight and made his way out of the house.

"Thanks," he said with meaning as he floated down the stairs.

Liz stood naked at the top of the stairs looking at him sadly.

The lights in his house were on and Ron knew that Diane was home.

"Where have you been?" She demanded as soon as Ron came through the front door.

"Went for a drink with Buster," he lied.

"Where the hell is your cell phone?"

Ron felt in his pockets. "Must have left it in the car."

"I've been trying to find you for an hour," Diane said.

"Why?" Ron asked with annoyance. "What do you care?"

She leaned over and hit the answering machine button.
"Hey, it's Kim."

The familiar voice of Ron's older sister echoed out of the machine.

"Listen, I'm afraid I have some bad news." Kim's tone was serious and drained. "Mom's had a stroke."

Kim paused and then continued. "It's pretty serious and it doesn't look good." She paused again. "Anyway, I know things haven't been good between the two of you but, Ron, Mom's dying. You should come say goodbye."

The message ended and Ron stared at the machine for a couple of moments trying to take in what he heard. Even though he hadn't been on speaking terms with his mother for a long time, the thought of her dying hit him like a punch to the gut.

"I'm sorry, Ron," Diane said, sounding human for the first time in years.

Ron scratched his chin and shook his head. "So, I guess it's my turn," he sighed.

"Do you want me to go with you?" Diane asked.

Ron looked at her with surprise. "You're kidding, right?"

"I'll come if you want me too," she offered.

"Do you want to?" He asked suspiciously.

"It's the right thing to do," she replied.

Wow. He hadn't seen samplings of the real Diane in a long time and here she was suddenly acting empathetic, sympathetic and caring.

"Okay," he agreed. "Just give me a minute to clean up."

"Do we have time for that?" Diane asked with a frown.

He smelled of sex and knew he needed to wash up.

"I won't be long," he said, heading up the stairs three steps at a time.

Ron felt like a cad as he stood under the shower spray washing evidence of Liz off of him. He was fucking his neighbor while his mother lay in a hospital bed stricken and dying and his wife frantically looked for him. He was beyond pathetic.

Diane was sitting on the living room couch patiently waiting when Ron came down the stairs less than ten minutes later.

"Okay," he sighed with defeat. "I guess I need to do this."

They didn't talk as he drove them to the hospital. What was there to say?

They walked into the hospital together and found Kim sitting next to her mother's bed in the ICU. There were all sorts of machines and noises and cords and tubes coming and going from his mother's body.

"Mom's dying," Kim sighed as she stood and gave her brother a hug.

"I'm so sorry, Kim," Diane offered, giving her sister in law an embrace.

Kim nodded her head at Diane's offer sympathy. "Thanks," she sighed, her voice breaking. "I know you know what this feels like."

Ron stared at his mother's lifeless body and he pressed his lips together, squinting his eyes as though he was seeing her for the first time ever.

"I'm surprised she lasted this long," he remarked.

"Ron!" Kim protested.

"Come on," Ron replied angrily. "It's been so long."

"Not now," Kim complained, shaking her head. "Can't you just let it all go and let her die in peace?"

"Don't pass on the chance to make amends with your mother," Diane suggested as she stood next to her husband staring down at the bed.

"She's unconscious," Ron said.

"You can still make your peace," Diane remarked.

"It's too late," Ron replied. "Besides, she's the one who turned her back on me."

Kim and Diane stayed quiet while the trio stared down at the dying woman.

"Do you remember the first time you met her?" Ron asked Diane after a few quiet moments had passed.

"Yes," Diane sighed.

"She was drunk," Ron sighed. "I'm bringing the girl of my dreams home to meet my mother and she's falling down drunk."

"That was a long time ago, Ron," Kim pointed out.

"She was always drunk," Ron complained. "She was never there for us. For me. For you, Kim, or your family. For Diane or the kids. Where was she when Diane's mom was dying?"

"Drunk," Diane admitted bitterly. "But," she said, sucking in a deep breath and surprising herself with the next remark. "It wasn't her fault."

"She had a disease, Ron," Kim said. "She was an alcoholic. She couldn't be there for us."

"But now we're supposed to be there for her?" Ron asked angrily.

"Yes," Diane said, taking Ron's arm in his.

He looked down at it with surprise. It was the first time in forever she had actually touched him.

"Do you forgive her?" Ron asked.

"Yes," Diane announced. "I do. And you should too."

"Do you forgive me?" Ron wanted to know.

Diane burst out into tears and buried her face in her hands, sobbing uncontrollably.

"What's that all about?" Kim asked with surprise.

"Unresolved issues," Ron replied, taking Diane in a long awaited much needed hug.

"This shouldn't be about us," Diane said when she was finally able to gather herself.

"It's always been about our mothers," Ron told her. "Hasn't it?"

"Yes," Diane sobbed into his chest. "And I'm sorry."

"You don't have to apologize for anything, Diane," Ron said.

"Yes, I do." Diane pulled a strand of her hair from in front of her face. "I've been a vindictive bitch and I'm sorry for that."

"You know what's funny, Diane?" Ron asked, taking her chin by his hand and lifting her head up to look into her eyes. "I don't even blame you."

"That's because you're way to forgiving," Diane sobbed.

"Except when it comes to our mother," Kim pointed out with hurt in her voice.

Ron kissed the top of Diane's head and then looked at Kim. "Okay," he whispered.

"Okay?" Kim asked.

Ron turned and looked down at the bed. "Mom, I forgive you," Ron said. "And…..I love you."

###

She died at 4:07 a.m. the following morning.

Ron, Diane and Kim were by her side when she took her last breath.

They smiled and laughed and cried and left the hospital together, hugging each other in the parking lot before going their separate ways.

Diane was quiet during the ride home but Ron knew he had to ask her one final question.

"Are you having an affair?"

She looked out the window of the passenger door, unable to look her husband in the eyes. "Don't ask questions you don't want to know the answers too, Ron."

"Will you stop seeing him?" Ron wanted to know.

"Yes," she said. "I will."

"Okay."

They didn't say anything else for the rest of the ride home. They quietly entered the house and they both went upstairs. Diane stripped out of her clothes and collapsed naked on the bed. Ron knew that was her way of telling him she was back.

He stripped out of his clothes too and he slipped under the covers of the sheets besides his wife.

"Will you make love to me?" Diane asked.

"Yes," Ron replied.

He never told her about Liz knowing it would make things much too awkward. Diane never told him who she had been with and he didn't want to know. Their marriage got stronger and some of the old issues fell always with their mothers gone.

Liz accepted the reality of the situation and held no grudges against Ron who sometimes felt guilty about using her to satisfy his own needs and desires. He brought home a nice available guy named Frank from work for dinner and invited Liz over to make it a foursome.

Three months later, Frank and Liz were living together and Ron felt relief and happiness for the two of them. Sometimes, though, Ron and Liz would exchange knowing looks of a shared secret of an affair they both needed and wanted.

Ron slipped into bed next to Diane and they cuddled together, just as they had since the beginning.

"Good night," Ron said in the darkness.

"Good night," Diane replied.

"I love you," Ron let her know.

"I love you too," Diane said happily.

In the darkness, Ron could see Liz's house through the window.