Pete worked with the law firm of McAlister and Howe; he was a Junior Partner and liked his job immensely. He had made the best of his life at 39 and looked forward to more good things, He had an active life, and as an attorney, he was often entrusted with life altering decisions that he took great care in making. Pete was a planner, from the moment he woke up in the morning to just before bed, every thought and action was calculated… perfectly. Yes it seemed like Pete lead a charmed life, but he often felt like something was missing. Today was going to be an average end to an average day when he took an alternate route to avoid some road construction, and passed an adult men’s club which he had never even knew existed. Pete looked at his watch and felt he had some time to kill and stopped in, he thought to himself “Just a moment or two, one drink and I’m home” he walked in and it was the stereotypical seedy, smoke filled nude club, half dressed women walking about and not one sober man in the place. Pete sat down at the bar and watched as the 15 seconds of fame dancer showed her wares. Pete thought to himself how lucky he was to have a wife at home that made this woman’s look unattractive, yet he could not pull his eyes off of her. He finished his drink and went home, thinking of this nude princess as he pulled into his driveway. Pete was home, alone for about an hour, thinking of the experience he had and thinking very deeply about things that he felt may not have been good for his marriage when his wife, Melisa walked in. Melisa looked at her husband and smiled the smile of a woman in love, after 6 years one would think this look would fade but in all truth it was stronger than ever.
Pete met Melisa at High School during a baseball game, she was the sister of the opposing team’s pitcher, when Pete scored the winning run, she had thrown Ice Water on him from the stands, telling him how much of a bastard he was for ruining her big brothers pitching career, that there was a scout in the bleachers and her brother was supposed to win. Pete looked up at her and it was love at first sight, even though she was crying and shown much “insta-hate” for this young baseball hero, a couple of weeks, four beatings from her big brother later they started dating and after 2 years, they were married.
Pete gave his wife a kiss and they discussed their days and enjoyed their evening, but In the back of Pete’s mind, he though of the dancer. Pete spent the next week thinking about this, “Why the dancer, she was not much to look at, not did it really excite me” but then Pete figured it out; it was the distance, the personal danger, and the desire to have a “sinful” moment. Pete has always been a “good boy” never doing the wrong thing and always being an example, Pete then began his embark and a dangerous path.
Pete had a meting coming up that would take him out of town for 2 weeks and he decided that while he was away from home he could leave his “good boy” at home and stretch his morality to the limits, Pete decided to have a one night stand. Now for the most of us a one night stand would not take planning or exact, surgical strike accuracy, but for Pete this needed scrutiny. Pete searched the internet for information on the area around the hotel he would be staying at, finding a distant but not too known adult theatre and planned routes to and from the hotel, where to get gas, where to find ATM machines, Pete was planning a mission. Pete made sure his new obsession did not overcome his attentions to his wife, if anything he made sure that when he was with Melisa, she was the center of his attentions and gave her the stage in his new melodrama.
Melisa loved her husband and wanted him to be happy at all times, she had complete trust in him, why not? Pete has always given her the best of himself and from the Home to the car, the best was always the first choice. Melisa had noticed though that Pete was being very attentive since a week ago and wondered if everything was ok? Melisa was not the nosy type and did not question him, but was concerned that maybe he was stressed from work. Being a lawyer could be stressful and she understood the challenges of being under pressure all the time. She decided that her love may be looking for some added attention, so she left the matter alone, until she found an email that was printed out, Pete had requested some information from an adult call in service and it was routed to his home email from work, it printed out and was left in the printer at home. Melisa was amazed, appalled and curious, why would he need this, is he unhappy, is there a problem…what could this mean?
Pete came home to find Melisa in the living room with an icy look in her eye, he walked over to give her a kiss ion the cheek and she shied away, and Pete didn’t know how to take this. “What’s wrong dear” asked Pete as he set his bag down. “You got an email, something about a Call Girl?” Melisa stated with a subtle anger that all men have heard in a woman’s voice after a late night out with the boys. Pete scrambled his mind for an excuse; he knew that since the email was from a club in another state, it couldn’t be something like a bachelor party or a mistake, so he shot from the hip. “ it’s for the boss” he said trembling slightly “ we were going to surprise him on his birthday in LA, we have that meeting in a week and it will fall on his 58th Birthday, some of the guy’s thought it would be a hoot if he had a stripper come to the LA office Board Room, you know sort of a Gag” Pete hoped this would work, he looked straight into her eyes the whole time, she could tell if he was lying if he tried to look away. Now Pete is an Incredible lawyer, he could be very convincing, and he was trying to really hit this one home “ I know, ill call roger and have him take over, I don’t want you to think ill of me for having to plan this, it’s just if this plays out well I could get in good with the boss”. Pete reached for the phone and sung it around in the air for a moment “Roger will understand, but I don’t think his wife will, man she just dose not trust him” he said with a hint of confidence “not like you trust me, I mean”. There was a pause in the air as he made like he was dialing “I hope Roger plays along” he thought to himself, Melisa hung up the phone and kissed Pete “you plan your party, sorry… Just not something I am use to seeing on your desk, I shouldn’t pry”.
After dinner Pete was treated to the best “sorry I didn’t trust you” lovemaking he never thought he would have, and he was even more enthralled with his plan now “I could do this, I could get away with it, just once, ill do this and then it’s over”, Pete was never a man to be unconventional in this aspect of humanity…Overconfidence.
You have to understand something about Pete, he has always been the type to do the right thing, you could always trust him, the lawyer that didn’t lie was his nickname at the office, so if he could lie to his wife, he could do anything, this though empowered him. The next morning Pete realized he needed an accomplice; he went to Roger, whom was not only his co worker but an old friend from college. Pete explained his plan in every detail, it was like a military meeting in the war room, afterwards Roger was large eyed, like a deer caught in headlights, then a smirk came across his face “ damn you dog, what’s the deal?” said Roger “why would you want to do this?” Pete explained his feelings of excitement and the desire for one “indiscretion” that he would never try again in fear of losing it all, but he felt odd that he would have to explain this to Roger, Roger had been Married and Divorced 3 time, all due to “ lack of judgment” when being faithful. After the conversation Roger agreed to cover for Pete if Melisa ever became suspicious, but only if Pete gave him full details, you see Roger was going on this trip as well and was “between wives” so he wanted the details of “when and where” so he could be “entertained” on the trip as well. At this moment Pete felt a little better about himself, he felt like a “player” something he never thought he could be. Men are controlled by their libidos and the conquest of the gentler sex, and he wanted to be Cortez.
Pete and Roger left for the trip to Los Angeles on Monday; they arrived at the airport and went to check in at the hotel. Pete went to the club that evening to find that they were closed on Mondays, but stopped to look at the pictures of the dancers and the days they worked, while he stood there a man walked up to ask for a light, Pete didn’t smoke but he did have a lighter. The man thanked him and asked “ you looking for a special lady” with a grin from ear to ear, Pete replied “ no, just the one” the man began to tell Pete about this one girl who could light a “wet mop”, a girl named Candy, just started there, only works every other Tuesday. He looked at the poster with Peter and pointed her out, “that’s the one, Candy… right there, oh you got to see her” the Man then walked off singing “Candy, oh Candy” to himself. Pete looked at the girl, her soft silhouette seemed to jump at him and he decided that this was the one to see, and reserve, you see this club had dancers that were also “on call” and he wanted to be the one for a private showing.
The meetings couldn’t end fast enough, after he was done in the office Pete got back to his hotel room and made a reservation at the hotel near the club, he did not want any witnesses to his indiscretion; he even made roger promise to not make any comments at the club. Pete and roger made it to the club at 6pm and waited, Pete had made all of his reservations, especially with the club in regards to Candy. It was 7pm when Candy arrived, she came into the club and was escorted to Pete and Rogers Table, Pete was both confident and nervous, “why am I nervous” he thought “men do this all the time” as the evening progressed Candy left the table “after this dance we can leave” she said and Candy took the stage. Pete watched and his heart beat harshly as he watched her dance, she did know what she was doing, as she bent over to pick up her tips he actually found himself look away as she was exposed, he felt blushing in his cheeks and it was if he had never been with a woman before. Roger was very intoxicated and made a comment as to how Candy looked familiar, but “not any trick I’ve ever seen” Pete looked at him and held beck his desire to beat Roger senseless. Pete met Candy by the back door and drove to the hotel. At the hotel Pete asked Candy if she needed anything, she smiled and said “just you, for now” Pete fumbled for the key in his pocket and the opened the door. The room was just like the rooms in the old porn movies he used to watch in high school, round bed with a vibrating machine, the sick stale smell of perspiration and the sign over the bed stating that the condom machine in the bathroom was only 1.00 each. Pete felt the need to engage Candy in conversation, to tell her about himself, his hopes, dreams and goals. Candy smiled and asked to use the restroom, he nodded and once the door closed he began to strip feverishly.
Candy opened the door and through the doorway asked him so shut out the light, he smiled and followed her gentle command and Candy exited the bathroom, the light from the parking lot shined in and reflected off of her naked body, she slid into bed next to him and drew him close. Pete stated “ I have never done this before” Candy replied “ I know, they never do” Pete responded with great exception “ NO, I never have, I have always been faithful to my wife and she was my first ever, I really don’t know why I am here, but I feel I have to, I have to be here with you, right now” Pete laid there, like a boy who never has even so much as kissed a girl than ever doing what he was about to do. Pete was at this moment starting to have doubts, he was starting to feel the pinch of guilt and remorse for thoughts he has had and for actions he have yet to do…What was this, why, why was he doing this. Pete sat up and reached for the bedspread to hake his retreat when Candy gently caressed him in her arms and kissed him gently, Pete was about to say something, anything to break to tension when Candy gently put her finger over his lips and began to do what they were there to do.
The next morning Pete awoke to find Candy gone, he had over slept and had to get back to the other hotel to get ready for the last meeting before he was to go home. Pete made his way through the day thinking only of the events of the prior night, Roger was still hung over and he gave a star presentation to the rest of his person his own. On the flight home he thought of Candy, how it felt so right to do what he did, and now that it’s over he could go back to his life and his wife and not think of it ever again. When the plane landed Pete called the house to let Melisa know he was going to be home, the answering machine picked up and he remembered that this was the week Melisa visits her mother. Melisa visits her mother very couple of weeks since her stroke, she was in a home and Melisa went every week religiously, so Pete went home and found a note on the table, “will be home soon, the dinner is in the fridge, sorry leftovers, Love Melisa” and Pete did love her, this is when the guilt kicked in, he realized that even if Melisa never found out, he would know and it hurt him, his whole life an honest man now fallen to his desire to know what it was like to cheat on his wife, oh how he envied Roger, how he wished he could not care about love so much and how he was sick of himself, he suddenly felt the urge to take another shower, to wash the sin away.
Pete walked upstairs and made his way to the bedroom, when he opened the door his heart dropped to the floor, he walked to the bed slowly and saw a dress draped across the footboard, it was a black sequined dress with a half slit up the side, next to it was a blond wig and stiletto heels, it was Candy’s dress, her shoes, her hair? What was going on? He picked it up and smelled it, her fragrance was still strong on it, and it was warm! Melisa walked out of the bathroom, looking very smug and very angry. “So, it was for the boss” Pete felt his heart beat so fast he thought it was going to explode, his veins iced over with fear, he looked at his wife and his mouth could utter no sound when she said” I can’t be angry, I know your secret and now you know mine” she walked over to Pete and ripped the dress from his hands. Pete dropped to the bed and held his head “you…you …how did you know…I” he stammered, “I didn’t know, you idiot, not until Tuesday, when I got to LA for my show” Melisa then explained that the home that her mother was in cost far more then they could afford and to help make ends meet Melisa donned the Candy persona, dancing was easy and it paid well and the tips were great. Peter then interrupted “how many men have you slept with” in a very accusing tone”, “None” replied Melisa “I didn’t pull tricks, but when the club called and said a man, a man named Peter Asked for “Candy” while he was in town at a law meeting…how could you be so stupid as to use your real name and profession, you don’t lie often Pete and when you do it is very poor”.
Pete slumped on the bed, his mind spinning and racing, he felt the walls closing in, “why didn’t you tell me you needed more money for your mother, I would have”, “Would have what” exclaimed Melisa, “given me the money, worked more hours, taken more cases, Pete you give me more than any wife could expect, but I needed to do this on my own” Pete looked at her with confusion in his eyes, “ You have tried so hard to be perfect, the perfect husband, the perfect lover, the perfect lawyer and you were always worried about what people thought, so worried you became perfect in every way, I would feel guilty to ask for money for lunch” Melisa said with a smile, but then the smile hardened “but what made you want to cheat on me”. Pete turned away at first, but then faced her and puffed up his chest to seem large “I wanted to see what it was like, what it was like to be something other than myself. I wanted to be like Roger, I wanted to be like every other man who makes mistakes I didn’t want to be perfect anymore” Melisa looked at him, and she reached for the wig and the shoes “I am going to keep doing this you know, I was going to stop but the money is too good and mom needs care. I have needs to, the need to be independent, you… you don’t want to be perfect, neither do I, always being Pete’s perfect wife, I want to be human, I want to be driven by desire”, Pete interrupted “Don’t I give you everything” Melisa replied “Don’t I, Don’t I give you everything, don’t I matter, you want to be manly and go out and cheat and …..Well I want that too”. Pete looked at her, Melisa picked up the phone,” who are you calling” asked Peter, “Roger” said Melisa, “maybe he can help me feel how you felt, last night, when you were cheating on your wife with…your wife”. At that moment Peter fell to his knees and the room began to spin, faster and faster. Melisa looked at Pete and said “ you had it all and now you have to decide, do you accept me and your life as it is, or do we start playing games, if you sleep around, why cant I” she started dialing the phone and the room began to stretch out and become a million miles long. Pete got to his feet and started running towards her but could never reach her, he tripped and fell through the floor and came upon the rocks below.
Peter woke up and looked around his bedroom, he realized he overslept, he thought to himself if he was late to the office one more time old man Grisham would hang him from the flagpole. Peter worked at the Car Dealership in Orange County, he did OK and made enough to feed his family, Pete dropped out of law school when his fiancé, who at the time was paying her way through school as a stripper, became pregnant and he had decided to do the right thing. Pete has always tried to do the right thing and sometimes you have to deal with what life gives you. Pete made his way to the kitchen where his wife was making breakfast, his son and his daughter are waiting for the eggs Mom was scrambling, Pete sat at the table “ you kids settle down, ill drop you off at school on the way to work. Pete’s wife looks at him lovingly as she sets the table “when are you going to go back to law school, you could do so much better” Pete smiled ad thought about his dream, he has never told his wife about it, about how he secretly wished he had not done the right thing and went on with his original plan, but then when is a plan perfect. Pete looks at his family and said” Candy, my life is perfect just the way it is, life is good, and as long as I have you, it’s a dream come true”.
For Pete’s Sake is a short story, but I feel is one of the oldest; the story of how a man could have everything, yet still feel like his life is lacking. We all have a side of ourselves like Pete, we all have something we feel we regret, and we all make our life choices, some planned and some reactionary. Pete had a life that seemed too good to be true, and in his dreams he lived a life he truly wanted, yet he still felt something was missing, which asks the question, which life do we reach for, the Real or the dream.