Something’s wrong with her, Stephanie can feel it. It’s leading her emotions to go down a darker path as she returns home to her caring husband, and finds the veil before her eyes has started to change everything.
Home was where they were in a few hours, and Stephanie was glad to see it as they crested the last little hill before the final dip. The mid-day view opened up to many numerous square clusters of homes grouped around an aspiring business sector. All sides were surrounded by the mountains save for the far corner. At that point a river fed by the wild creeks poured out of the valley and the main road out of town followed the watery path.
The small town nestled in the giant dip had been Stephanie’s home her entire life. She’d grown up there, married there, and now worked there. That made her a small town girl with big ambitions about her business, but she didn’t mind the driving to cities and back. It made the homecoming that much sweeter.
“Nice view, isn’t it?” Chuck commented. He’d moved there about five years before, and the scenery still put him in awe.
“Yeah,” she readily agreed.
She solemnly nodded as they dipped down into the green valley. “I don’t think any skyscraper could hold a candle to some of these trees.”
“Well, skyscrapers definitely aren’t as bushy,” he joked as they entered the residential part of town.
They lived across town from one another, so he opted to let her off first and drive the car to the rental place. He steered the vehicle to a two story house with a large, immaculate front lawn. Stephanie’s stay-at-home husband, Bob, managed all their home affairs pretty well. Chuck shut off the engine and stepped out with Stephanie as she retrieved her stuff from the trunk.
“Well, I’m not sure I can say it’s been fun,” Stephanie teased as they met at the front of the walk leading to the entrance. “But it’s definitely been interesting.”
“Yeah,” he hesitantly agreed. He ruefully glanced at her. “You’re still not going to go see a doctor, are you?”
“Nope,” she stubbornly informed him. She glanced down at her arm. It didn’t look too bad today. “Maybe it just needs some peroxide and a long afternoon nap.”
“I think it’s worse than that, but those things will help,” he grudgingly agreed. He looked over to the quiet house. “Think Bob’s got a great dinner planned for you two?”
“Maybe, but he usually just cooks me some food made out of leftovers,” she laughed. She was especially amused when her partner grimaced. “It’s not that bad, and at least he tries to cook.”
“You sure he’s not trying to poison you?” Chuck suggested. He’d been invited over to their house only once, and Bob had cooked for them. The food had been so bad he hadn’t been able to stomach most of it.
“If he is, it’s taking him a couple of years, and he’s no worse than me,” she pointed out. They’d been married almost lucky number seven. While they’d had their ups and downs with her traveling so much, it was a pretty happy marriage. “But I think I hear that nap calling me.”
“Later, Boss,” Chuck gave his farewell.
“See you tomorrow, bright and early,” she playfully threatened.
Stephanie huffed her luggage to the door and waved goodbye to Chuck as he sped off. She sighed and stepped through the entrance. The home was a clean off-white throughout most of the rooms, and her husband was a germ freak, so the place was always immaculate. There was the open kitchen and dining room to her left, the living room in front of her, and a small office to her right. The stairs leading to the second story were also to her right, and up there were two more bedrooms with the bathroom. All in all, it wasn’t such a bad house. She definitely liked the fact that the building didn’t take up so much space that they didn’t have any yard.
It was always nice coming back to a clean, inviting home and a loving husband. She just wished said spouse would at least get up off the couch and greet her when she came inside.
“I’m home, Bob,” she loudly announced. “You got my message about the delay?”
“Oh, hey, honey,” he called back as he glanced over his shoulder. He had a remote control in one hand and a bowl of snacks beside him. The TV was blaring some crazy movie. “Yeah, I got your message. How was the rest of trip?” he asked as he turned back to his show.
“Not bad, but I’m not sure if we got any new clients,” she admitted. She dropped her luggage beside the door and walked over into the living room. “So anything happen while I was gone?” she wondered as she glanced between the TV and her husband. “You lose the ability in your legs?” she teased.
“No, just kinda tired,” he absently admitted. “You know, cleaning this place up and balancing the checkbook for the month.”
Stephanie let Chuck handle the finances at the business, and Bob handled the money in her private life. It worked out pretty well in both areas.
“It looks pretty good,” she complimented. That’s when her stomach loudly rumbled. She’d only grabbed a couple of donuts from the continental breakfast at the lodge. “You have anything I can eat around here?” she wondered.
“Maybe there’s something in the fridge,” he shrugged. He apparently wasn’t interested in giving her a welcome home lunch, but there was always dinner.
Stephanie gathered together some various food stuff and took it to the table in the dining room. That room abutted the living room, and there was no dividing wall or even partition between them. That meant Bob could see what she was eating, and how she was eating it.
“Did you lose your manners while you were gone?” he asked as he watched her eagerly scarf down a plate of leftover hamburgers.
“No, but it was a long trip,” she pointed out between bites. In a matter of less than five minutes the food was gone and her hunger was satiated. Her husband, though, didn’t take the ordeal with much patience.
“You sure you couldn’t have done that some place else?” he snapped. He was really cranky now after watching her wolf the food down. “I just lost my appetite.”
“Well, excuse me,” Stephanie shot back as she put her dishes in the sink. She’d just gotten home from supporting their lifestyle, and he had the audacity to tell her to go some place else? “I didn’t realize you were the only one paying all the bills here.”
Stephanie didn’t even wait for him to reply as she stormed out of the kitchen. She grabbed her bag on the way by the door and angrily marched upstairs. He watched her leave from his position on the couch, and when she was out of sight he turned back to the TV.
“What’s her problem?” he muttered.
Stephanie didn’t know herself what was her problem. All she knew was that she was tired from the long trip and just not up for dealing with anyone’s bullshit, least of all her lazy husband. As she flung her luggage next to the unmade bed, she wondered how he kept the house so clean while she was gone. He never seemed to lift a finger when she was there, but every day when she was at work he’d get it all clean and shining before she got home.
“Wish he’d learn to cook,” she grumbled. Those hamburgers she’d eaten were store bought patties, and that’s the only reason she’d been able to scarf them down so willingly. She sighed and shook her head. “Man, do I need a nap.”
With that being her focus, Stephanie flung open her bag and dumped the contents of dirty clothes into the hamper. She stepped into the master bath and started some hot water as she stripped off her old clothes. Their bathroom, too, had a window, even larger than the lodge’s own, that looked out onto the bright, sunny sky. It would be a pretty moon tonight if the skies kept as clear as there were then.
Stephanie shuddered a little as she thought about that moon. It wasn’t a shudder of abhorrence, but one filled with excitement. That feeling that had gone through her, that thrilling chill of heat, she just couldn’t forget it. She didn’t want to forget it. She hoped it would repeat itself just by her staring outside the bathroom window, but nothing came up. There was no tingling sensation or creeping feeling of erotic heat climbing up her body. There was only the steam from the hot water rising into the air and escaping out the window.
Stephanie sighed and got on with her normal shower. The new clothes she’d grabbed were her pajamas, because she wanted to be comfortable for her nap. She slipped those on and then gleefully dove beneath the covers on the bed. It was always nice to sleep in one’s own bed after a few nights in a hotel, and she slept very well. So well, in fact, that the whole afternoon slipped by without her waking.
She didn’t even stir when her husband quietly crept into the room. He silently stood over her slumbering form with a look that didn’t convey spousal affection. His mouth was set in a firm line and his eyes were dark and narrow. He seemed to be pondering some great question, because he shook his head and turned away. Whatever plans he had for her, they wouldn’t be put into action today. Then he left the room as quietly as he’d come in, and his wife was none the wiser.