It must be fun to have someone else that you didn’t think that you would end up giving up your time for. Gary thought of Carol as a second option—especially when he wanted to step out of his element and explore things he wouldn’t normally do with Sheryl.

Normally a man wouldn’t brag about who he’s seeing outside of his marriage, but I guess it was completely noticeable to the people around him who were considered close to him. I don’t think he imagined that he made his infidelities an open discussion.

Mark, his business partner, walked into his office. For weeks, he noticed a change in Karolyn‘s behavior and attitude. He understood her behavior. Even Gary glowed when he was around her. Mark knew the signs and kept quiet; it became out of hands, especially when he noticed a few paperwork linking to a community project that he was surprised he wasn’t involved in. the proposal was more than a draft. The fact that an approved project in so little time raised a flag. For whom would a man give up his investment for? He knew this story before because he was in a situation where things didn’t turn out the way he hoped it would turn into.

Approaching Gary in his office, who was concentrated on the papers in front of him, Mark handed him the figures that the accountants upstairs had customized. Mark placed his hands in his pockets looking back at Karolyn. Gary was so focused on looking at the figures that he did not notice that Mark was looking for a conversation.

Mark cleared his throat. “How we are looking?”

Quickly glancing through the figures, Gary from time to time looked up.

“I’m just looking at the figures and I’m seeing some good signs. What’s going on with the deal with the other property? I thought we were closing in on a deal like a week ago.”

Mark shrugged his shoulder. “You know how this goes. Everyone is trying to buy out the property. First of all, we don’t want to put all eggs in one basket and that’s what these guys are trying to pull on us. We have other locations that I think you would like to look over.

Gary agreed, “Good thinking to thinking,” he said putting the papers down. “So how’s everything?

Scratching his nose and looking back at Carolyn, Mark answered, “Everything is good in the neighborhood. Trying to balance things a little bit better you know. Balance is key. You outweigh what’s value and what’s imagery.” Mark was trying to see what reaction Gary will show, but Gary seemed unbothered.

“I hear you. I need to balance my life a little bit too, but I am handling it.”

“How’s the wife?” Mark asked.

Gary faked a smile. “Everything couldn’t be much better. She’s doing good.”
Marked licked his lips, smirking, “She’s so sweet your wife. I appreciate the gifts from the baby shower. I didn’t think of a gift so generous.”

Adjusting his packets, Gary looked around the table. “You know I can’t make decisions for anything. My wife has great taste. Honestly, I would have settled with giving cash or checks. But a woman knows best.”

Mark agreed. “It’s really hard to find a wife that has great taste, huh?”

“That you are right about,” Gary laughed.

Mark appeared serious. “Men need to step up their game to compete with a woman. We tend to be stupid in our choices.” Mark hit a nerve. Gary fixated on Mark as he ignored the work on his desk.

Confuse, “Okay! What are we talking about?”

“You need to watch out who you have for company. Not all company is good company. Not everyone here is doing good by you. Some people want to destroy and take over and I worked too hard to lose anything because you want to be incompetent. Be a smart man.”

Gary quickly looked up trying to decipher what he’s really trying to say. He went to close the door behind him hoping that this will become an intimate and quiet conversation. “What are you talking about?”

“I know you’re creeping around with that woman. Karolyn. Chick with the flashy outfit and Brazilian hair. She seemed to get you hooked and start a venture we are not ready to get involved with. Since when we get involved in community affairs?”

“I have no idea what you are talking about,” Gary said, returning to his desk.

“Homegirl practically brags about you outside of work how you’re giving her the business. You’re walking around the office happy and constantly at her desk reviewing paperwork I should overlook. How are we partners, when I get the news after the deed is done? Is that how we’re operating now?”

Trying to calm Mark down, “Okay! I understand, but Karolyn and I have been working on something to expand the business and get local communities to support the big things we are trying to do. How many businesses get ridiculed by the community? How many actually help the community? Not many. This will create jobs and provide a safe haven for us. Many businesses are going bankrupt. Not us! We are doing good. I just got carried away with the numbers. It happens.”

Mark ignored his comments about the business. “You have a wife.”

“I do! And I love her. With all my heart. Honestly, I do.”

“Your wife is a good woman. She is irreplaceable. Don’t you see that bitch, Karolyn, is trying to use you?”

Gary looked at Karolyn through his glass mirror. “First of all, show some respect to her. She created a solution to what other businesses couldn’t even think about.”

“Her pussy is that good that she deserves some respect, but you don’t think about how she can affect your home? Where is your priority?”

Gary got up. “My home is fine,” Gary yelled.

“So, you just want the cake and the desert. You’re that guy. You have everything. The house. The car. The perfect job and the wife who cooks, clean and work. But the excitement of being with someone else arouses the shit out of you. It’s a thrill. A ride you don’t want to miss.

“How do you go home every night and sleep next to your woman when you finish laying with someone else? How can you come home every night, lying to a woman you say you care about but tend to another woman during the day? Honestly, man, it’s exhausting. Trust me. I know.” Mark sat down. He genuinely wanted to explain to Gary the error of his ways.

Mark continued, “I am lucky to have my wife today, but she wasn’t the woman I was going to marry. My fiancé, Cecile, and I at the time were crazy in love until another woman, Jessica, introduced me to a world of fun. Cecile and I literally planned our life. Buy a house, start a family, raise our family, etcetera. Cecile was my best friend. I could talk to her about anything whether it was movies, sports, entertainment, social issues…you name it. Nothing was off the table whenever we talked.

“Jessica came into my life on one of the business trips. We drank. Danced. And drank some more until my feelings were numb. I laid with her. After one night of being irresponsible, I became hooked on her. I would drink with her, something I couldn’t do with Cecile, every day. After every drink, we were making love. And she was great at it. I enjoyed it. At the time, it seemed all worth it.

“Then little trick got pregnant. Defiantly not part of the plan. I told Cecile about us—I mean I had no choice. To raise my little family, Cecile and I broke our engagement. It wasn’t what she signed up for. For months, I invested in Jessica. To have a healthy pregnancy, I kept her home. I supplied the money and cashed it out for her. I didn’t want her to work. At all. I bought her clothes, food, shoes. I got her a new car. I worked hard for her and the baby. I wanted her to be satisfied.

“Three in the morning, Jackson was born. A son I always wanted but wasn’t mine to keep. Jessica took every money I supplied and then some. She prostituted her way into my life, leaving me for her pimp—who was the biological father of the child. They played me. I lost my best friend, my child and half of my earnings, for a good time.”

Gary looked at Mark. “The best part is…you didn’t get caught. You got cheated.”

“How different is that from you? Cheating is an addiction. Why do you think it’s done repeatedly?”

“I am just spicing up the work environment.”

“Then change the environment, don’t mess with it.”

“I understand your concern, but I am not going to end up like you. No offense. You and your wife are happy. You guys are expecting. Life is great.”

“But I am not. Because of my infidelities, I am in constant fear of losing my wife. Karma is a bitch. I may deserve a second chance, but anything is possible. I have a lot to lose.”

In the present, Gary sat in his wheelchair. He glanced at Mark, ashamed. Mark was disappointed. Gary’s pride was shot. The same man who offered advice in the past is the same guy he’s seeking guidance from.
“What do I need to do?” Gary asked.