Part One | Chapter One - The Beginning of the End
Kimberly opened the basement door and stared down the stairs. This area of her home has always been used as her husband’s man cave but after today, she was sure that she would see it as something different. She took a deep breath as she thought of turning around and forgetting about the whole thing. There was nothing that said she had to actually go through with it. It wasn’t like she had signed some kind of contract. She could change her mind. It was her right, right?
Of course it was, but she knew that she would not change her mind. This was her own idea. How could she change her mind on something that she had suggested? If Kimberly changed her mind, it would make her look indecisive and unsure of herself. Not to mention that it would put them right back where they had started and her sole intent was to change the nature of their relationship. No, she would not change her mind. She would go through with it and do it so well that her husband would have no idea that this was not something that she really wanted to do.
What she really wanted was for him to love her unconditionally. Kimberly wanted her husband to want no other woman but her. She wanted him to cringe at the thought of another man touching her and to realize that she should be the center of his universe. Instead, her husband has had numerous extramarital affairs and has been caught by her in many compromising situations. As a result, of his cheating, Kimberly has had a few extracurricular activities of her own.
She didn’t participate in these acts because she wanted to. She wanted to show her husband how it felt to be betrayed and lied to. She wanted him to understand that it was not normal for a person not to trust their significant other. Carl never caught Kimberly in any of her affairs; she eventually broke down and told him. She tried to keep it a secret in hopes that he would be able to figure it out on his own, but he never said anything. He acted as if he did not know even though Kimberly felt that all of the clues were there in front of his face. Kimberly didn’t know if he was just ignoring them or if he just didn’t care.
Eventually, she learned that he really did care. When Kimberly told him that she had been with another man, he said nothing initially. He walked away from her silently and stood in front of the wall on the far side of the room. After a few minutes, he punched his fist through the wall. Then he turned and glared at her over his shoulder. Next, he exited the house and did not return for two days.
When he finally returned and got around to talking about it with her, he was very angry. He was upset to the point of being unable to forgive her. He told Kimberly that he would never be able to look at her the same again and that he no longer trusted her. He said he was unsure if he even wanted to be in the marriage anymore. It was this event that lead them to marriage counseling. They saw two different counselors over a two-year period. The first of which Carl said he didn’t like or trust. The second was a female that seemed more interested in hanging on to Carl’s every word than in trying to help save the couple’s marriage.
After it was all said and done, the couple decided that they would just go ahead and separate. The only problem was that they did not have the means to part due to their financial situation. It seemed that neither was able to handle their personal bills without the help of the other. Also, they shared so many joint debts that it was just easier to stay together.
As a result, the couple decided that they would try to push through.
Kimberly suggested that they create their own definition of marriage and classify their relationship according to what worked best for the two of them. She decided that they would or should no longer let the traditional societal views of marriage distinguish who and what they would be. This is when she brought up the idea of starting an open relationship.
Karl’s first reaction to her suggestion was one of disbelief. He laughed like she had just told the funniest joke that he had ever heard in his life. When she told him that she was serious, he became skeptical. Kimberly’s logic was that since the two of them could not be faithful to one another, then maybe they shouldn’t be. If both agreed that it was okay to have other sexual partners, it would take the strain off of trying to remain faithful and the barriers of trust would be taken down. She rationalized that he would no longer have to worry about her questioning his whereabouts and she would not have to deal with the wonder of him messing around behind her back.
As Karl began to consider her proposition, he realized that there could be some benefits as well as loses. He would be free to roam as he pleased, but he would also have to live with the idea that Kimberly would be free to do the same. He would no longer have to hide telephone numbers in his cell phone or disguise the women on his Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter pages. At the same time he would have to live with these situations for his wife as well.
To Kimberly’s surprise, Karl’s response to her idea was to the negative. He declined the idea of opening their marriage and held firm to the idea of monogamy. His explanation was that he was having a hard enough time moving past the image of imagining her with another man. He could not be intimate with a woman that has had sexual relations with numerous men. There was a part of her that was delighted that he would be so jealous because it was never her intention to sleep with any other men. She had only suggested the idea as an attempt to give her self a sense of peace, while keeping her marriage at the same time. So with his rejection, Kimberly let go of the idea.
Today, it had been over a year since that initial conversation. Two weeks ago, Karl reintroduced the idea. He said that he had not cheated on her, but he was admitting that it was getting harder for him to remain faithful. He said that he could no longer do it behind her back, especially since she had given him the option not to. When Kimberly asked about how he felt about her with other men, he stated that it would be something he would just have to learn to live with. So they agreed to give the idea of an open relationship a try and decided that before anyone did anything that they would settle on some rules that both would have to abide by. They decided that they would think about what they wanted individually and would come back in two weeks to discuss it. During the time that they were thinking about it, Karl suggested that, as a commemoration of the start of the new relationship, both would have sex with someone else at the same time, so no one would feel guilty about being the first. Kimberly agreed and today was the day that they would discuss the rules. It was also the day that they would both have sex with someone else.
The couple decided that they would individually invite another person into their home, the intent here, to remain private and somewhat together at the same time. They would do it in two separate rooms of the house and come out and discuss the events with one another afterwards. But, before any of this could happen, they needed to come together to discuss the rules.
This is what was about to happen as Kimberly stood at the top of the basement stairs. Carl had been down here all morning. This was his man cave and he spent most of his time in the home in this location. He had a pool table and all of his game systems down in the basement. There was also a wet bar, spare bedroom, and full bathroom. He had couches and a computer set up in the large space as well. The basement was the equivalent of a small apartment or what a single man would call a bachelor pad.
Kimberly walked down the stairs. As she neared the bottom, she could see Carl sitting on the couch. He was laid back with his head on one of the smaller pillows. He seemed to be engrossed in whatever program was playing on the television. The stairs ended a few feet behind the back of the couch, so Kimberly could not see his face. She walked around the side of the couch and sat down beside him. Her gaze locked on the television. She felt afraid to look at him. She did not know what his facial expression would be. She feared that he might have a look of excitement, while hers was one of hesitation. Carl did not move or look in her direction. After a few moments of silence she slowly turned her gaze toward him. Her eyes remained low and trained on his legs. She slowly raised them up his body noticing that his breathing seemed calm and relaxed. His legs were extended, indicating that there was no tension in his body. She continued her screen up toward his chest and to his neck. Next, she looked as his chin, then his nose, and reluctantly into his eyes. She noticed that his eyes were already on her. A bit startled, Kimberly dropped her gaze for a moment. She then lifted her eyes again to look at his face but said nothing. She noticed a small smile form on his face as he took her hand. Kimberly felt a sense of calm come over her. Maybe, he was going to tell her that he changed his mind again and that he couldn’t go through with it. Maybe he realized how important their relationship was to him and was going to tell her that how much he cherished her. He opened his mouth to speak. Kimberly held her breath. Tears formed in her eyes and then he said the words that would signify the beginning of the end.
“Are you ready?” he asked.