When your name is evil
Bad is good or so you think
But you’re so very wrong, it’s evil
But being wrong is right
And so you’re good again
Which is the evilest thing of all
Excerpt from “Dr. Evil” by TMBG
Oh, buddy. I just fucked up BIG TIME. I knew I should red, but I just couldn’t. I wanted to know what happened more than I wanted to do the right thing.
“Well?” I asked, foot tapping.
“Red. I said ‘red,’ Alice.”
I went behind him and started undoing the knots at his wrists. It was an automatic response, not what I wanted to do at all. The rope fell to the hardwood floor with a soft thud.
I looked up at him, trying to keep the uncomfortable feelings under the surface, so he wouldn’t see. I was very pissed at Jasper…and even a little at myself…but I couldn’t dwell on that. There were answers I needed. My little slut—I mean husband—wasn’t getting off that easily.
He spoke for the first time after he safe-worded: “I’m getting dressed. And you’re changing into something…” he gestured to my catsuit with disdain, “with cotton. Then, we’re going to meet in the kitchen. Then, we’re going to talk. Like a normal couple. No D/s. Got it?”
I nodded, but kept my face stern.
He was disappointed in me. I was disappointed in myself. I went back over the events of this evening in my head to figure out where it went wrong as I wandered into our closet to find some clothes.
I knew where it started. It started with that damn perfume. Only Isabella would wear something so odd that it would stand out in a crowd. Not happy with regular patchouli, she just had to have “modern” patchouli. Only Isabella would wear something so plebeian…I mean, it was GAP for crying out loud.
I knew, even as my thoughts pulled up reasons to blame both of them for what happened in the playroom, that I had no one to blame for Jasper safe-wording but myself.
Of course, I wasn’t going to cede the moral high ground so easily. Jasper had a lot to account for, and I had a feeling my sister did, too. I just hoped it wasn’t the kind of betrayal we couldn’t come back from…I hoped it wasn’t sex-related.
I continued to worry as I dressed.
If it had been something benign like planning for my birthday next month, then Jasper would have told me right away, I would have “punished” him, and we would have moved on.
But he hesitated…and before he hesitated, I saw something I’d never seen in his eyes before…not even in the courtroom with a morally bankrupt client.
I saw guilt.
In that moment, I knew that they weren’t party planning this evening.
No, it was before then. I knew the minute I smelled her perfume. Isabella would never assert herself to the degree that she would be involved in any kind of planning. I couldn’t even think the word near her name without a negative. I actually rolled my eyes as I thought it.
Not to mention, the only way the smell of her perfume would transfer to Jasper’s clothes is if she were close enough to actually hug him…and why would she do that? Although she wasn’t weird about hugging, it’s just not something she did with Jasper.
That I knew of.
Jasper wasn’t really that much of a hugger himself. I mean, he hugged me plenty, but I was his wife. It’s not like he hugs anyone else in his family.
No, I couldn’t possibly know that. I didn’t know any one else in his family.
But the facts in evidence were: A. I had never seen Jasper hug my sister, and B. He had clearly hugged, or been pressed up against her, recently. And because those facts seemed mutually exclusive, there had to be information I was lacking.
The bottom line was that I didn’t have sufficient evidence for anything. Judgment would have to be suspended until we talked.
Suddenly cold at the prospect of my husband cheating on me with my plain mute sister, I grabbed my robe and a pair of wool socks to add to my cami and shorts ensemble and dejectedly shuffled into the kitchen.
Jasper was sitting there, leaning back in his chair, legs splayed out. He was back in the rumpled suit he wore home. He stared at me impassively.
Either he had some major chutzpah or he wasn’t guilty of adultery. A guilty husband always gets rid of evidence (especially the sensory kind) as soon as possible. And although Jasper did have that quality in the courtroom, when he was alone with me, he was a different man. He could never flaunt it in front of me like this and still look me in the eye.
But I was still curious, so I didn’t tip my hand. I looked at him sullenly, my tears forming behind my eyes, ready to drop down my cheeks if required.
“Alice, I’m going to tell you, straight out, before you ask. I did hug your sister tonight, but that’s it. There was nothing forward or inappropriate in my hugging her.”
I started to jump in with my interrogation, but Jasper put his fingers to my lips.
“There’s no need to do what you’re about to do, Sweetheart. I’m going to tell you everything. But you must promise me two things.”
No. Way! He doesn’t have the right to impose conditions on me! I raised my right eyebrow in protest while his fingers stayed in place at my mouth.
“I know what you’re thinking. But let me remind you that you brought serious, personal, non-D/s shit into the playroom tonight. You knew from the moment I came in the door that something was off, and you concealed that from me. The right thing to do would have been to not play at all until it was resolved.”
Why did he have to be so condescending? It was obnoxious.
He paused, clearly considering if removing my gentle gag was a good idea or not. It wasn’t. He realized it and continued.
“I would have told you everything as soon as I came in, but it’s not really my story to tell. I suppose I have to tell you something now, but, there was nothing wrong with me keeping it to myself…apart from making you worry that I had had an affair…with your sister of all people.”
He rolled his eyes. I considered blinking the tears out of my eyes, but he seemed to want to make this argument completely rational, so I decided to play along with his terms. For now.
“1. I need you to listen until I’m finished and 2. I need you to direct any anger at me, not your sister. She wasn’t even the one to initiate the hug, nor the dinner for that matter. So, if there’s any “innocent” party in this, it would have to be her. Will you listen, Alice? Can you listen?”
He removed his fingers slowly. Although I was glad to have the opportunity to respond, I suddenly missed the contact. Ever attuned to my body, Jasper reached across the divide and grabbed my hands in his.
I almost cried for real. I turned my head and got my shit together before I looked at him and said coldly, “You’ve got five minutes.”
Jasper let go with one of his hands and rubbed the back of his neck, hesitating. He always did this when he was trying to decide which point was the best to start with—especially when he was unprepared.
I was never unprepared.
“Four minutes, forty-five seconds,” I said nodding to the clock on the wall.
Jasper turned and looked at it, then turned back to me. He grabbed my hand again.
He began, “Here are the important facts: I did have dinner with your sister tonight. However, I did not know she was going to be there. She has made the acquaintance of my sister and her family, but had absolutely no idea that I was going to be there too, because like you, she didn’t know who my family was. Obviously, they don’t know who she is…that she’s your sister and my sister-in-law.”
That sounded a bit contrived, but he didn’t appear to be lying. Of course there were still more questions. He knew what they were and he had three and a half minutes. I blinked slowly and waited.
“Your sister, well, obviously, it was a trying time for her…you know, a social situation…and not expecting me to be there. She did very well, by the way. You would have been proud, I think.”
I rolled my eyes, but resisted the urge to scoff. Like I could take any credit for anything she did. I could barely keep any tabs on her at all. She was the most independent person I knew. She didn’t need anyone to make her happy. She was satisfied to have one friend. And when she goes to parties, she just hangs out by herself. How could it have possibly been a trying time? It might have been a boring time.
“Anyway, since it’s my family, and I don’t have to tell you any details about my family, I can’t tell you why she became upset, but she did, and I just comforted her…very briefly, in a totally brotherly way. That’s all.”
He was finished? Not hardly. I searched for a loophole.
“Hm, well, you’re right, you don’t have to tell me names, but there’s nothing that would break the rules if you were to only tell me the circumstances. So, give me all the specifics that aren’t names.”
“Oh, times up!” He tried.
“No, that was for me to be quiet. It’s now fair for me to ask questions.”
“Fine.” He rubbed his neck again, and stood up, delaying his response with the excuse of needing to make coffee. After turning the machine on and grabbing a couple of cups from the cupboard, he turned to me.
“Can’t I just ask you to ask Bella about this?”
Jasper carefully set the coffee cups down on the table. The sound was so loud with the utter quiet around us that I flinched.
He pinched the bridge of his nose. In this position he said, “Yeah, she likes to be called ‘Bella’ apparently.”
My stomach churned at this news. I wanted to vomit. “She never told me that.”
Jasper turned and looked at me as if to say, Of course not.
I felt a new kind of betrayal clawing its way to the surface. One I would have never anticipated. I swallowed the lump in my throat. The weepy feeling…the real kind, the uncontrollable feeling I hadn’t had since I was a teenager, was suddenly consuming me.
I remembered the day she changed me. I was twelve. I was sitting in her office, in one of the client chairs.
She had been on the phone with someone…another attorney, an employee, perhaps even my father—yelling. I was upset that she wasn’t paying attention to me.
Jared had broken up with me, and I was upset, and even though I had a feeling that tears wouldn’t be a good idea, I couldn’t help myself.
I felt so alone and abandoned.
She looked up at me from her call, noticed my crying and turned around, away from me, in her chair.
When she was finished she came around her desk to sit next to me, watching me like she did her clients…with a look of clinical interest, but no feeling.
When I finally got my tears under control, she took my chin and made eye contact with me.
Then, my mother told me that, “Tears are a weapon, Alice. If you can’t control your weapon, you are the only one who will get hurt. Don’t ever cry because of weakness and vulnerability. Only cry to manipulate the situation. Period. Do you understand?”
I nodded. Even though I had no idea what she was referring to.
It would be a couple of years before I could consistently control my tears; cry on command.
But only few months after our “talk,” I learned exactly what kind of weapon it was.
Mother was an excellent mentor in that regard.
Jared and I dated for the rest of my high school career. He was so easily manipulated. I dumped him without feeling the day after graduation.
I looked up at Jasper, unable to conceal the evidence of my emotional state any longer.
He was leaning against the counter, the slurping and bubbling sounds of the coffee brewing taking up the slack in our non-existent conversation. He looked at me, his eyes openly and tenderly questioning, begging for a verbal response.
I wasn’t sure what to do. The tears were there, yet un-shed, but regardless of what was happening with my eyes, I was definitely crying. The lump had turned into a mountain of sorrow.
I lowered my head again as I processed what was happening.
I couldn’t organize all the details in my current state, but I was positive that the fact that my husband had developed a closer relationship with my sister in the past few hours than I had in thirty-odd years as twins was directly related to my sadness and feelings of betrayal.
And that conclusion was all I needed to be able suppress that evil vulnerability. My heart properly hardened, I knew who to blame. Feelings and tears under control, I looked up to Jasper again.
The tenderness fell, and the openness disappeared.
Jasper already knew these steps. It was his least favorite dance, but he was the only one who had ever successfully partnered me through it, the only one who didn’t stumble and lose my respect.
Meeting me at the table, he didn’t sit there waiting for me to push him away and give him the silent treatment or fake tears like I usually did.
He did the one thing he’d never done outside the playroom.
He begged. Out loud. On his knees.
His hands articulated each request, touching me gently, touching my hair, holding my hands, grasping my knees; each a physical manifestation of his petition: “Please. Don’t do this, Alice. Not tonight. Let’s take this as an opportunity to grow as a couple. C’mon, baby. Look at me. I love you. Let’s just talk about it. Please? I want to hear your feelings. It will be OK, I promise…Just…let it out…”
No, it wasn’t a petition. He was giving me permission. To cry.
I looked at him incredulously, as I was hit with the realization that the tactics I had always used: crying to get a sympathy response or ignoring him so he would apologize until I was satisfied, had had no impact on him. He sympathized with me regardless. He apologized because he was sorry.
And he knew this time was different.
But I couldn’t give in. I couldn’t give him the satisfaction of being right.
“No.” I shut him down and threw his hand away. “I know what happened. I understand completely.”
Satisfied that I was at least talking and not just ignoring him, Jasper tried again, “OK. Good, tell me. Tell me what you know. Let me know, too.”
He reached for my hand again, and I felt the traitor lump returning. The forcefulness was harder to contain this second time around.
I pushed him back, out of my personal space, and walked away from him toward our bedroom.
I ignored him. We were not having this conversation tonight…we probably weren’t having this conversation, ever.
I made it to the bathroom with no time to spare. I slammed door in his face and then I was weeping.
I was loud and thorough, hoping that the more I let out, the faster it would dissipate.
I learned first hand that night that the more you cry, the more you cry. Truly, a word to the wise: if you don’t want to cry a lot, don’t start crying at all…especially if it’s been a while.
I cried for hours. I knew, because as my wails morphed into sobs, which turned into whimpers, the black sky turned gray and then pink.
Finally, I looked around the room, away from my view of the window, which had been eclipsed by the soft slate rug, and glimpsed my husband, sitting on the toilet, head in his hands, eyes red.
I hadn’t even noticed when he’d entered the room. I thought about asking him how long he’d been sitting there, but I was too ashamed.
I’d never seen him so sad, so worried.
“I love you, Alice,” was all he said.
Then, he got up, grabbed a washcloth and wet it in the sink. Wringing out the excess, he knelt on the floor and started cleaning my face.
Somehow, I still had more tears. He shushed me, caressing my face with the terry fabric, which felt surprisingly like sandpaper on my tear-swollen face. I winced when it became more than I could handle, and Jasper stopped.
He helped me up, and once I was standing, he picked me up and carried me to bed. He tucked me in, and then lay on top of the covers, brushing my hair from my face with his fingers.
He had never looked at me with such love and adoration.
I never knew that level of caring existed, for real.
I looked down and saw he was still wearing the suit. Immediately, my mind conjured the feelings of hate and betrayal from last night, but I willed them away this time.
There had to be another way of looking at this. I couldn’t fathom it right now, but I was a smart girl; I would figure it out.
Alice fell asleep shortly after I pulled the covers to her shoulders. I lay there a bit longer than I needed to ensure she wouldn’t wake-up when I moved.
Also, I couldn’t stop looking at her, yet.
She had never been so vulnerable with me—with anyone, I’d wager.
She had never been more beautiful.
Not that I wanted to see her weeping on the floor in a truly pathetic state; I could go forever without an evening spent watching her melt on the bathroom floor.
But the honesty…now that was something to cherish. I hoped it would remain, beyond her tears.
I thought about calling Bella and giving her a heads up, but I knew that whatever inroads I’d made with Alice would be lost if I involved her sister before my wife was ready.
No, I’d have to go it alone.
I got up and went to the kitchen, pulling my suit jacket from the back of the chair. I pulled off all my clothes, throwing them in the hamper in our closet to be dry cleaned.
I worried what would happen once Alice discovered that the hug and Bella’s name were the least of my offenses…at least, that would be how she would see my participation in Bella and Edward’s affairs…
I showered and prepared for the battle ahead.