The story so far...Out of the blue, Mark gets a call from his ex-wife Jenny, who he left years ago when, while working as a private investigator, he videotaped her in a motel room sleeping with anothe...
Out of the blue, Mark gets a call from his ex-wife Jenny, who he left years ago when, while working as a private investigator, he videotaped her in a motel room sleeping with another woman.
She wants to get back together again and seems to be sincere about it. Against his better judgement, Mark agrees to pick her up the next day and give reconciliation a try.
Jenny doesn’t seem all that interested in talking to Mark and catching up on his life. She does, however, seem to be very interested in picking up her phone messages with her cell phone. After a day of strained relations, she wants to eat at a fancy restaurant and sleep in a hotel room. Mark, watching his dollars, is reluctant, but is eventually wooed by the promise of some hot hotel-room sex and agrees to rent a room.
The sex had been great.
Jenny had been a disappointment in most aspects of their marriage, but he really had to hand it to her in the bedroom. She was everything a man could want, and more. Then again, she’d had a lot of practice.
A lot of practice.
When Mark caught her on tape in a motel room with another woman it had just been the tip of the iceberg.
By that time she’d been cheating on him regularly with all kinds of men and had only started with women because she’d become bored and was looking for something different.
Well, whatever she’d been looking for, she must have found it. Mark was feeling satisfied this morning, and a little bit tired out too, but pleasantly so.
The night had been great, but the trouble was he couldn’t lounge around in bed all day reflecting on it.
He had to get back onto the road to earn his living. Then night would come and after eight or so hours of driving he’d be dead tired while she’d be all ready to go again.
Another night like the last would be nice, but any more than that would probably kill him, or at least send him to an early grave. Sure, it was a great way to go, but…
It was already nine o’clock.
“Jenny, wake up!”
“It’s after nine.”
“We’ve got to get going.”
“But it’s only nine…”
Mark jumped out of bed and got changed.
Jenny lingered in the bed, trying to sleep and then grudgingly sliding out of bed and heading to the bathroom without any clothes on.
“What are you doing?”
“I’m going to take a shower.”
“But you had a shower last night,” Mark said, his eye on the clock.
“I start every day with a shower.” She closed the bathroom door behind her.
Mark thought about taking off his clothes and joining her, but he’d already made a big deal about hitting the road, it would be hypocritical of him to suddenly want to take his time.
Half an hour later, she was packed.
“What are we having for breakfast?” she asked as they exited the room.
“Just a coffee and donuts for me.”
“But the hotel has a really nice restaurant.”
Mark put a hand to his forehead. This was going to be a replay of last night when they drove for extra hours hoping to come across a Swiss Chalet on the highway.
Mark decided it would take less time just to agree with her now and get breakfast over with.
“On the other hand, bacon and eggs is good too,” he said.
In the end they compromised, getting coffee with bagels and cream cheese to go.
Still, they didn’t get onto the highway until well past eleven.
It wasn’t all that big of a deal when they actually got onto the road, but Mark liked keeping regular hours because it made it easier for him to maintain a semblance of a normal life.
When you did most of your driving during the day, your constitution was more regular, you were able to do things in the evenings when most other people did them, and dinners were always better when they were served at six in the evening instead of three in the morning.
But getting on the road late was just the beginning of what quickly turned into a really bad day.
Jenny’s slow start irritated Mark to the point where everything the woman did grated on Mark’s nerves.
The way she breathed… in and out, in and out. Geez!
The way she sat there, with two feet on the floorboard and an arm on the armrest. Like she owns the place!
And the way she looked out the window, her head turning left to right on her neck as if there were all sorts of interesting things to look at outside the window. For crying out loud!
It was all so annoying!
After a couple of hours on the road, Mark just had to ask. “Why are you doing this?”
“This! After all these years we don’t talk to each other and one day you decide that you want to get back with me. Why?”
“Because I missed you… and I realized what I had lost… and because, well, I wanted to.”
Mark shook his head slightly. It sounded good, too good to be true.
The Jenny he used to know was cunning, calculated. If she wanted back together it was because she wanted something else from him… but what.
He wanted to continue the conversation, but she cut him off and dialed her cell phone.
This time Mark paid close attention to the code she used to pick up her messages.
It might be interesting to find out what she was so anxious to hear.
When she got off the phone, Mark decided to start pushing her about getting back together.
“You know, it would be great if you could get your AZ licence and we could share the driving duties. We could drive twice as far in half the time and make a lot more money.”
She was quiet a moment, thinking about it. “The money part sounds good, but I really can’t see myself driving a truck.”
“Then why did you agree to ride with me? I’m not on vacation you know, I’m working. And if you’re with me, you might as well be driving and making yourself useful.”
She smiled at him, obviously trying to settle him down.
“I guess I’m just having trouble making the adjustment to life in a truck. I did drop everything just so I could join you on this ride, so excuse me if I’m not exactly ready to give up all the usual creature comforts for the privilege of living out of a truck for the rest of my life.”
Somehow, Mark felt she had a valid point.
Living out of Mother Load wasn’t such a great way of life. It suited him, but he was a bit of a nut.
To ask someone else to live that way, well, that was selfish.
Maybe she was trying to make the adjustment, maybe she really did want to be with him, and maybe, just maybe, Mark Dalton was a sap for questioning her motives.
Still, he couldn’t shake the feeling that something wasn’t right. But what?
By the time the sun started to set in the west, Jenny was lying back in her seat and running her hands slowly up and down her arms.
“Last night was great,” she said, all breathy.
Mark couldn’t deny that. In fact, it had been spectacular. “Yes it was.”
“I want to do it again.”
“Tough to make money at this job when you spend every night in a hotel.”
Without saying a word, Jenny unbuttoned her blouse, ran a finger inside one of her bra cups and flashed one of her breasts at Mark. “Are you sure I’m not worth it.” Mark was only human.
“I think there’s a motel up the highway a bit with pretty reasonable rates.”
Jenny smiled at him and ran the tip of her tongue across her upper lip.
He dropped her off in front of the motel and then headed over to the nearby rest station to refuel his truck.
After topping up his tanks, Mark realized that he’d given Jenny his credit card to rent the room.
But instead of going back to the motel to chase down Jenny for his card, Mark went through Jenny’s purse in search of one of her cards.
The purse was on the passenger seat and her credit cards – several of them – were just inside.
On the one hand he didn’t feel right using her card for his fuel, but on the other hand, why not?
If they were together again, then they were also sharing expenses.
If she wanted to sleep in a motel room each night, then the least she could do was spring for fuel every once in a while. If they made a stink in the kiosk about whose card it was, he could just act surprised that he had his wife’s card and not his own.
Mark stepped up to the clerk and handed over Jenny’s
The clerk seemed to have trouble getting the card to work.
Then he made a phone call and spent a couple of minutes listening very carefully to someone on the other end.
“Problem?” Mark asked when the clerk returned to the counter.
“Do you have another card?”
Without another word, the clerk presented Jenny’s card to Mark, then cut it in two with a huge pair of heavy-duty scissors.
“What the hell did you do that for?”
“Do you have another card, sir?” the clerk asked. “Or shall I call the police?”
– Mark Dalton returns next month in Two for the road – Part 4.