Is it spying or cheating?
Maybe I never should have opened Carol’s laptop but there’s something seductive about spying. Carol was a hundred miles away when I got her password right and the screen opened up to her desktop, file icons scattered across a picture I know she took on our honeymoon, seven years ago. Ironic that, given what I found.
I could feel my pulse raging inside my chest, as though I might be discovered any moment. I kept going even though the adrenaline made my fingers tremble for ten minutes and my control of the mouse was clumsy.
That kind of rush is addictive. Even though what I found on the machine damn near killed me, it drove me on, took me deeper and so for better or worse, as they say. I was hooked.
Carol changed jobs a few months ago and now she has to be away a lot more. Her company sells stuff, complicated stuff, kit with back up services that sit behind all sorts of customer-facing services. It can need a team to handle all the angles, so Carol often has to work with two guys, Dean and Jay. Dean is the senior and Jay's a kid, a year out of college.
The last two months she's always taken her laptop with her when she's been away but recently they've given her a flash new one now so the old one stayed at home. Carol is none too sharp on the IT front and didn’t have the sense to pick a good password. None of this would have happened if Carol had been savvy with her password... so it's kind of her fault— getting caught I mean— the adultery is down to her too; her and Dean and whoever else...
What I read was downright incriminating, and exciting too, I guess, for anyone apart from her husband, me. I can't say it was great literature, and unless the reader was very wet behind the ears they wouldn't learn a lot— everyone knows what goes where, don't they. How often, and how risky the environment, was what Carol bragged about to her laptop.
Adultery is the old-fashioned term but I find it hard to call it that. Adultery has always sounded tacky to me; it brings up images of sordid hotel rooms and furtive sex. What I read was way beyond that. It completely spooked me, so much so that I found it hard to believe; this was almost fantasy sex, everything was bigger, went on longer, made better orgasms; she even bragged to her laptop about how sore she was and how much she had to put me off because she couldn't take any more.
I didn't want to believe it, didn’t want it to be true. I can't even bear to write down the details. What she described was what to her was the most wild and exciting sex ever, ever, ever. I tried to tell myself that she's in sales and salespeople can't help exaggerating— that's a known fact, right?.
Maybe because it hurt so much my mind kept trying to find other ways of seeing what was happening. I started to wonder if it was a trap. Was Carol pissed off with me because I'd been asking too much about what she did when she wasn’t home half the week?
Maybe I overdid that and annoyed her. Possessive stay at home husbands are a bore, right? Maybe that was me but so many things piled up in my head. Too many nights when I couldn't get her at her hotel. Too many times when her mobile was off. Too many times when she was in too much of a hurry to do her laundry when she came home; and when she bought new underwear saying that it helped her to feel confident but I didn't get to see her wear it.
Was I so whiney and needy that she left the computer there to tempt me? Could Carol be that devious? She'd never been that way before, but thinking about it helped... some of the time it helped.
I couldn't come right out and say I'd found a way into her computer— I mean, how would that make me look? I had to have another source of data, something to confirm that the emails and diary I'd read and copied were genuine.
I guess I could have called her right away or confronted her the next time she was home. I knew I had to do something or one day I'd find her gone... that's how I felt.
Easy to say that but those first few days every line I imagined saying made me sound pathetic. I had to do better than that.
The last entry worried me most. She told Dean— yeah, you've guessed it, she was screwing the two guys in her team. She told Dean I was away at a conference next week and they were working locally. Open house at our house was what she was offering— whatever they wanted and in my fucking bed; literally my fucking bed, not that I've done much fucking in it recently.
If it was a trap then she must think if I read that promise of an orgy at home it would flush me out for sure, but if I did nothing and she knew that I knew— hell that could be worse. Whatever way I cut it, I had to do something.
In the two days before she came home from her current trip, I consulted a private detective. I knew I had to get my shit together but why not hire some help? It cost me some time and money but got me the essential spyware and a load of recording kit.
After my consultation with the professionals, I put a programme on her computer that silently and invisibly sent me copies of anything she might write. If she abandoned that old laptop that would be a waste of money but better to be sure— it was good practice anyway in case I had to get into her new laptop. When she got home Friday I got up very early next morning and after some more guesswork for the passcode, I got a similar programme onto her phone. All that cost me serious money but I had a plan to get the money back.
I'd already cunningly changed the password on that old laptop. I made the first letter a capital. She’d be annoyed when she couldn’t get into it and I figured I could convince her she'd made a mistake when she set it and the experience would spook her a little. There was a good chance that she would change her password, which would make her more confident that her secrets were safe. My spyware would give me the new password, so my secret would be safer than hers.
The material that I'd already seen told me that she was worried about her main boss back at company HQ finding out that she was having wild sex with Dean and Jay. The company didn't approve of stuff like that— they once got sued by a pissed off husband. I made a note of that and researched the case and the company policy.
The only crumb of comfort I could find was the language she used in her emails to Dean. She raved about the wild time they had but not about how much she loved him. She was obsessed with having fun. Cheating, doing wild things, thrill-seeking, yeah, but not loving; she never used the word love; I hung onto that.
Dean was a big guy with a big ego and big everything else if her diary was to be believed. I never liked the man, there was something about him, he was too full of himself. He ignored me whenever we met anywhere but he paid attention to Carol, almost like he was mocking me. I was suspicious as hell— wouldn't you be?
Saturday afternoon I saw her cursing that her old laptop wouldn't open.
"Try a capital for the first letter," I said. "I got locked out of mine one day because I'd done that. Force of habit typing."
She tried it and got in. After that it didn't matter if she changed it, my spyware would tell me straight away.
The next week she was away again. I went to see her big boss at the head office. I wore my best suit, had a haircut and psyched myself up. I talked my way past the secretary's bullshit, took a deep breath, ignored the plush surroundings of the massive office, barged in and cut right to it. The secretary tried to chase me but I shut the door behind me.
I started talking as soon as the door closed.
"My wife is having extramarital sex with two of your employees on work time. One of them is her immediate superior, so I think there could be some bullying and harassment involved. I don't want to waste your time. I have evidence and I thought it was only fair to tell you in case you want to avoid the publicity of a scandal and the hassle of a lawsuit."
The door behind me opened but the secretary retreated after a gesture from the boss. He might have a luxury swivelling chair and a huge desk, but I had his attention.
"I like your style," he said. "Right to the point. You'd better tell me who your wife is."
"The names are in the pages," I said as I laid the print-out on the table. "Best if you read. This is from her personal laptop— she accidentally left it switched on at home. I haven't looked at her work machine or work files so your trade secrets are safe."
I took a chair and let him read. I can't say that I'd learned by heart every word of what she'd written, but it was kind of burned on my brain. I could match the way his face changed as he read the words as easily as if I was conducting an orchestra. The words where she said she’d be toast if the company knew what was happening was the part I was waiting for.
I was happy to own up to being a little selective in what I printed; why waste ink on boring bits? I left out her fantasies too; I figured they couldn't count as evidence. Having the hots for someone isn't a misdeed unless it's followed up. That might have made it look more like Dean was pushing her. Tough— the basic facts were crystal clear, this activity was on work time and would not have happened without their work connection. The big boss sure looked irritated before he got to the end.
"So?" I said when he put the papers down. "I'm guessing that there's a company policy that says that kind of carry-on is somewhat forbidden?"
He looked up, working at getting his negotiating face back.
"Well," I said, before he had a chance to interfere, "I'm not exactly guessing, I've read your personnel policies and some company history and it seems to me you all know the kind of liabilities you could end up with. Dean is Carol's superior, so whichever way you swing it he looks bad. Jay, the other kid could argue that he was being exploited too so that might cut him some slack, but I think the kit he used to make porno movies of my wife is company property and he used it on company time."
The man in the swivelling chair couldn't stop himself nodding. I gave him a little time.
"Are you going to divorce her?" he said eventually
"I don't know," I said. "I haven't confronted her yet. I’m putting it together. I don't want to be unfair. I know what’s going on but I don’t know why yet. She may have a good defence that she was coerced because he's her immediate boss. Will you be firing the three of them?"
"I may have to," he said with a sigh. "Carol would be a loss. She's ambitious and good, that's why she was promoted. She could argue that she was put in a position... I'm not giving anything away if I say Dean doesn't surprise me."
"Has it happened before?"
"That's for me to know and you to guess."
"Yeah, right— what about Jay?"
"He's new. Off the record, neither of them would be a great loss."
"Is there any way you could hold off for a week?"
"I'd like to be totally certain,” I said. “What's there is her own writing, but it could be fantasy, Dean could deny it, write it off as all in Carol's mind and he can't help it if he's attractive."
The man in the swivel chair nodded.
"I bet you can imagine him saying that, yeah?"
"I think I can get some solid evidence: pictures and recordings. If you fire them now neither of us will know for sure and they might come back at you. That file is her diary and emails— it’s totally obvious what’s been going on but she could spin it, and so could he. I want it to be solid before I move."
"And you think you have a way to be certain?"
"I have a plan," I said, not giving anything away. I'd already bugged every room in our house and the garage; if they got up to anything when I was away next week then I'd have everything I wanted; well no, not what I wanted— but all the evidence needed to be certain.
"Are you going to sue me?"
"Blunt meets blunt," I grinned. "That could be messy and take a while. Can I offer an alternative?"
"Pay me three years of her salary before tax. Call it an out of court settlement. If she ends up fired I might need the money, same if she leaves me. If we stay together it gives us time to put it behind us and she can move on to some other work. Pay me whether you keep her on or not."
"You might get more than that in court."
"Yeah, I guess, but if I need the money I'll need it soon, so I'd rather you paid me now. Why do you want to keep her?"
"She brings in business."
"I know she's smart but is there more to it? Is Dean encouraging her to whore herself to get an inside track?"
He tried to suppress a smile but I knew I had him. I sat out the silence, slowly raising an eyebrow.
"She does flirt a little and Dean might have encouraged that."
"But what's out of sight is out of sight?"
"I can't say that. You know I can't say."
"I promise I won't up the ante."
"There's something going through your head," he said.
"I was gonna save it till I knew for sure—"
"Come on. Today I've got time to listen, next week, who knows."
I took a deep breath. I couldn't get out of my head that Carol liked what she was doing. With luck, she'd be upset if she discovered I was hurt, but she might not want to stop. She didn't seem attached to Dean, but the kind of fun she was having might be as addictive as my spying on her. It would take some getting used to but maybe there was a way for us to find something that would work for both of us.
"If she can't help behaving like a whore, maybe it could be good for both of us," I said. "I'm, not totally comfortable with it, but if she doesn't want a divorce and we can agree on some limits, maybe there's something there."
It wasn't easy saying that and I had to work at not losing it. "Every company needs a reliable whore, I guess," I said, letting my mouth run away with itself.
"And you're the pimp?"
"Maybe I worded that wrong. Every performer needs an agent."
He sat and looked at me for at least a minute. "There is a snag."
"I can hardly fire two guys for screwing on the company's time and then have Carol do the same."
"I see your problem," I said. "Another reason why holding off a week would be good. Time to think it through. There is another wrinkle. She might leave me and do her own thing."
"I'd like to keep her on anyway. I'll work on it, you get your evidence and we can talk next week."
"Pay me half the money by the weekend and the rest when I have more evidence. Deal?"
I left it at that. On the way home I set up a new bank account and emailed the numbers back to Carol's big boss. There was no way I wanted her getting her hands on that money; even if we stayed together I needed a backstop. The other thing I did on the way home was bought myself a new Apple watch. Some of my plan was going to need exact timing.
That was retail therapy too, something to make me feel good, like I was a cool guy. You know what they say— fake it to make it. I needed something for me to feel in control, to move upmarket, be confident. A slick watch isn't a magic wand, but it does look smooth and it's there all the time to remind me to be that guy.
Keeping the powder dry
When Carol got home I tried to behave as if everything was normal, but she saw my new watch in a few minutes.
"One of my projects came in with a bonus," I said. "Not a lot, but it's all the trend these days to bill time in small chunks. I thought this would help me get in the habit."
"Is there any bonus any left over for a treat for your wife?"
"Sure," I said. "What do you fancy, a meal out or a shopping trip?"
"What kind of shops?"
"You choose," I said. "If I say lingerie or jewellery or something like that I'll be told off for being a predictably lecherous male."
"Not bad choices though," she said. "Have I been neglecting you? Was that a hint?"
Was that a trap or was she feeling guilty? If I said no I'd lose any chance of getting anywhere. If I said yes I'd look like a needy wimp.
“What do you think,” I said, trying to keep my options open. “I can’t help thinking of sex when I look at you,” I said, going out on a limb and throwing caution to the winds. “Anyone would, I reckon.”
That really stopped her in her tracks. For a second I felt good but something told me to hold it, to not overplay my hand. “Come on,” I said. “Let’s go to town, a meal and shopping. Where do you want to start?”
I pulled her close and kissed her, shutting down the conversation. I pulled away before she could say anything, headed for the front door and grabbed my coat.
“You'll need a coat,” I said, “it's getting chilly out."
By the time we’d parked she had her mojo back so I didn’t really know what she had in mind. We hit the jewellery shop and she went straight to look at bracelets and bangles. Good idea, I thought, not too expensive. I hung close while the girl laid out a tray of stuff. She picked out a simple chain anklet and suddenly I knew where this was going.
“How do I fit trinkets onto it?” Carol said.
“Oh it’s simple,” the sales girl said. “If it has a fitting then it hooks through a link, or if not we can attach it for you.”
Carol turned to me.
“Which one?” she said.
I picked a heart. “What do you think?” I said, holding it against the anklet. It was a risk; I’ve never owned up reading hotwife stories. She probably thought I hadn't a clue about such things but I did some reading while she was away. I read a hotwife's blog that laid out a kind of code; how many people know it I have no idea; maybe Carol had done some research, maybe she wanted to be a hotwife.
♠ - The Queen of Spades - It means a Hotwife has a sexual preference for black men only, which is very common for many white Hotwives.
❤ - If the anklet contains heart symbols, it means the wife is committed to her husband but free to date other men and have relationships with mutual benefits.
- The Key to his Happiness - When an anklet has a key charm, it means the husband’s cock is probably locked in a cage and the wife holds the key to his happiness. He most likely can’t have orgasms without his wife’s permission and is a cuckold.
I was ready for Carol to grab the ace of spades but she stuck with the heart. Did she know the code? Did I want that kind of marriage?
Right then I was sufficiently thrown by the whole thing that I was subconsciously looking for any way of getting a foot in the game. Wearing something like that couldn't guarantee that Carol played by any set of rules, but maybe it was a way of having a framework for a conversation, of not stepping straight into quicksand or a black hole.
“You surprised me,” she said. “I like that.”
I played ignorant, smiled, paid, and took her to the restaurant. While we were waiting to be seated she took it out of the box and played with it.
“Do you want to put it on?” I said.
“No, not now but having it is great. It’s lovely.”
We’d been invited to a barbecue at the weekend by the infamous Dean. Would she wear it to that? Would she tell me what she thought it meant before she wore it? Had she read the same blog as me?
I started to wonder if she was going to bounce me into something before I had a chance to work my plan. Well if she did it would spill the beans one way or another and I’d still get my money from the company. I kept telling myself that... and tried to relax into the evening.
I could tell you all about the barbecue, and you might love it, particularly if you're one of those folk that loves to watch paint dry. The food was average, the conversation banal and predictable, the weather chimed in with the mood and was grey all afternoon, no sunshine, no rain, not cold but never warm either.
I had wondered if Carol had a secret plan to swap with Dean and his wife, some kind of trick to break me in. No way I was risking that, so I made sure never to look at the woman, never to be drawn into any conversation and be excessively polite about the food and the garden; I was so nice that anyone could tell I was being insincere.
If Carol wanted to use Dean's wife as a consolation prize while Dean did his thing on her, then I was gonna make sure I did nothing to make that look like fun. I kept my distance.
Carol did wear her anklet. I watched to see if it got any reaction. She didn't flaunt it but I did catch a meaningful look from Dean. If the symbols meant anything to him then he could guess that I might know what he’d been up to with Carol.
Did he dare say something? He was obviously looking for a cue from me or her but neither of us obliged. It was entertaining watching how Carol worked the party, giving Dean no special attention. I got some secret satisfaction out of seeing him on edge on his home turf.
It couldn't have been easy for Carol; if she made too big a show of ignoring him it might look suspicious; after all, they were work colleagues and he'd invited us. If she made like she couldn't stand him, then why were we there. She had to look friendly but not too friendly, tricky to do when you've had your brains fucked out by the guy and your husband and his wife are within touching distance.
I had to admire Carol; she was way better at it than he was. I wished I could read minds. She'd tempted me into coming with her, let me buy her a hotwife anklet without ever saying she knew what it was and then spent three hours holding my hand, laughing at my jokes and giving him chilly looks. Not exactly the cold shoulder, but decidedly tepid.
Four hours of this social masquerade actually cheered me somewhat. I was daring to hope that she didn't want to lose me and he was a game on the side— a daring escapade to add some spice. I'd have to contain my curiosity for a few days; keeping cool and not giving anything away seemed to me to be an important spy skill. I determined to keep working on it.
Trying to be rational and working at keeping up hope for four hours with strangers is relentlessly wearing. Driving home in bleary misty weather didn't help either. By the time we'd gotten home, I was exhausted but Carol had snoozed in the car, so she was wide awake.
When we got home Carol started making supper and I slumped in a chair in the living room. Seeing her buzzing around the kitchen and looking happy was good but it didn't help my mood because the second I thought about us, her laptop and all those words extolling what great sex she had from Dean and Jay started to fill my head. I could see why they, or anyone else would be turned on by her but I felt too worn out and I had no faith in myself. Slumped in my chair I felt every bit of the underperforming, disappointing husband.
"Food in ten minutes," Carol sang out from the kitchen. "You wanna eat out here or where you are?"
Right then she looked at me. "Hey," she said, "are you okay, you look wiped out."
"Yeah, kind of," I said.
She ambled into the room, standing in front of me.
"Something getting to you?"
Well yes, there was something getting to me, ten pages of banging on about great sex with Dean, but I needed to hold my nerve. If I opened up about that while I was worn out I'd come across as weak and needy.
"All that mist and fog that you slept through I guess, plus being polite to Dean— kind of wearing, all told."
Maybe I shouldn't have mentioned Dean.
"What's wrong with Dean?"
"Nothing, I guess, I mean, you know him better than me, you work with him. Seeing him on home turf, showing off to his friends, I thought he was a bit full of himself. A couple of times I felt like telling him, but... well, you know, at a party, his party..."
"Sorry, I should have let you stay at home."
I sat up, seeing a chance to move the conversation in a different direction. "I didn't let you down did I, I mean, did it show?"
"No, honey," she said. "You were a model husband, faultless, erudite, supportive; I think he could tell that you’re smarter than him, he probably felt threatened."
She grinned at me, leaned down and kissed me on the forehead.
“We’re both pretty whacked, it’s been a hard week and you have to be away tomorrow, why don’t we just veg out, I’ll find a good movie.”
That was when the possibility of STDs crossed my mind— from the way I'd seen Dean behave I could imagine that he'd fuck anybody if he had a chance and I had no idea at all about Jay. Who knew where they'd been, what they'd done and who with apart from Carol? That thought totally finished me off for the day. I watched the movie with an arm around Carol, cuddling but not pushing it; I don’t think I could have got it up if I tried.
Maybe Carol didn't fancy sex with a lame duck, maybe she was feeling guilty, maybe she just felt bad about dragging me to the barbecue. We cuddled and I fell asleep with her spooning against my back, thanking heaven for small mercies.
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