I Was Kind of the "Other Woman"

Evie M.

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When you picture nightmarish romantic scenarios, do you imagine yourself the hero? Up until I met M.D. — “Modern-day Casanova” — I did. When these moments unfolded in my head, I’d march up to a victim and spin tales of their beloved’s infidelity, saving the day. Yet sometimes the moral choice isn’t the wisest.

Oh yeah. It’s going to be one of those stories.

But before we get to the drama, there’s a history lesson.

M.D. and I met when I started dealing cards at a country bar near the fairgrounds with a seedy reputation. M.D. loved hanging out here during the week after work. Most of his fans didn’t follow due to the drug dealing and often questionable live music.

Though a quiet man, M.D. was a favorite amongst the ladies. A trusted friend of our organization and a hardworking father with a stable job, M.D. was catnip.

With inquisitive, large brown eyes and his hood up for a dash of mystery, he’d sit at a table alone with five bingo cards and a wicked game face. The sexual energy around M.D. produced a subtle yet evident current.

Our friendship grew over two years. Though we never saw each other outside of work, we loved to talk about horror movies and cards. The only topic we didn’t touch much on: relationships. M.D. had a kid, no ring, and often spoke about an ex-wife, emphasizing the “ex.” I was married.

He didn’t share more. I didn’t care to learn more. Bing. Bang. Boom.

The Offer

When my boss relocated me, M.D. and I lost touch. But a year later, he walked by the gaming counter at my new bar.

I should’ve let M.D. move on by, but then there’d be no issue and no story. So, like the lonely, divorced idiot I was, I’d grabbed his shoulder.

“Evie? Damn!” he’d laughed. “Where have you been?”

M.D. and I exchanged numbers, promising to watch Hereditary together. At midnight on my next night off, I’d stood at his apartment door in “natural” make-up and some PJ’s, ready to get scared with my friend.

M.D. answered soon after I knocked — but not too soon — with his “fuck if I care? I’m hot,” boyband hair peeking out from his hoodie.

“Dammit,” I’d groaned at the end of the movie, tossing a pillow his way. “I might call out of work. My shift starts in a few hours. Boss owes me a favor”

“You can sleep here,” M.D. offered.

“I’m not a fan of couches. Thanks, though.” — M.D. pointed to the mattress beyond his open door — “and I don’t want to take your bed, dude,” I added. “I’d feel bad.”

“Well, we could share?” M.D. suggested.

At this pinnacle point, I’d like to address those in my head rolling their eyes and saying, “you had to know this guy’s plan.”

And I did.

As I processed M.D.’s proposal, the part of me who’d smoked a little too much weed and arrived at his apartment with an apparent lack of a bra said, “hell, yeah.”

People like M.D. are a special breed. Their mental acrobatics and good looks are a powerful combo. You might not understand what’s happening, but man, are you turned on. And when your blood isn’t in your brain, it can lead to some bad choices.

Luckily my rational self called a ride. When I arrived home and settled into bed, a text waited.

You could have stayed. I mean, you should have stayed.

Confused, but in the mood

M.D. came to visit that weekend, gliding through the casino doors and straight to my blackjack table. As I dealt cards to him, I noticed an odd shift in his eyes and the way he smiled.

“How are you?” I’d asked.

“About as good as you look, babe.”

“Pretty tore up, then?”

I deflected his one-liners with humor and a smile as I often did to some customers. But the more he made me wonder, What is this fool doing? Where is all this come from?. The more I wanted an answer to my questions.

It’s stupid logic and the catalyst to the first of several regrettable decisions.
But we can’t absorb lessons unless we’re truthful about our mistakes, and this moment still isn’t my brightest.

After M.D. left, he sent me a text around closing time.

WYD? (What You Doin’?) — the mating call of the Lady’s Man. Or, at least, someone who finds themselves to be one.

I can crack all the jokes I want. But these three letters lead to watching Godzilla with M.D.…and not really watching it at all.

M.D. didn’t come around for about three months after our make-out session. I didn’t plan to see him again, but then, the bar owners started a new theme night to drum up business — Lady’s Night: Taco Tuesday.

To tell or not to tell?

I didn’t notice M.D. in the small gaggle of women until I almost smacked into him coming from the bar with a drink in my hand.

M.D. and his date glided past me to their table before they started sucking on each other between DJ requests. As I sped-walked back to the casino, my friend and the night manager, M, raised her eyebrows at me.

“Number one, thank god you didn’t sleep with him, Ev,” she said with a disbelieving shake of her head after I shared my story. “You don’t know where that dick has been. Number two, I could’ve warned you about M.D.’s wife, C, in another state who visits him during his off time.

Before the strip club closed down, I bartended while she danced. She’s pretty but insane. This woman doesn’t care about going to prison,” M warned. “Lay low.”

M was right. I didn’t need a visit to the ER. But between morality and safety is a tough place to be.

I harbored personal opinions about the actions I wanted to take, and they might not be everyone’s favorites.

A spouse takes on the job of remaining forthright when they say their vows — not the people used to cheat. At least, not the oblivious ones whose safety is in jeopardy over a kiss.

Yet with C revealed to me, I couldn’t play this card any longer.

No one deserves to have their partner step out on them. But on the other hand, no one deserves to be the unwitting notch in an unavailable belt. Or to possibly get their nose broken for confessing on behalf of the guilty.

Yet, I had to try and do the right thing.

I made my way across the floor to the pair, watching like a mouth-breather as they dry-humped against the table.

Yet, I couldn’t speak the words, “I kissed your husband because I didn’t know you existed; please don’t kill me.”

Chicken

After a while, C noticed me off to the side.

“Is there a reason you’re staring at my husband?” she asked me before turning to M.D. “Do you know her?”

If I hadn’t been so dumbfounded, I’d have laughed rather than freeze — a turkey drowning in the rain.

“Never seen her,” lied M.D. with a natural shake of his head. “Can I get another Corona, though?” he asked me, waving his empty bottle.

I paused, readying myself for the moment I swept in with a heroic “Well, actually, C…”

But I couldn’t even slap together a snarky line about not being part of the wait staff.

Instead, I said, “sure, sir, I’ll be right back.”

I’d like to be clear: I’m not proud I walked away. At the time, the image of my eye socket connecting with the hard side of the table kept me from tying this story up with a neat bow.

I’m aware, like you, the importance of fighting for what’s right. Yet, the truth is: I was afraid. And fear is as powerful a motivator as justice.

When I returned to the casino, wordless, M reassured my decision with a pat on the shoulder.

“This isn’t your fight, man,” she said. “You don’t need to die today. M.D. has done this before and will again. Besides, C’s not stupid — she’s going to handle it. You’re doing them and yourself a favor by staying out of it.”

I nodded, my eyes fixed on their table before dropping my gaze.

In the plainest of words: it felt like crap, but so would a punch to the throat.

M.D. became another face in the casino for me. But I admit, I searched for C each time he came to the bar — until one day, neither of them ever did again. I still can’t find an appropriate answer to this puzzle. Do I have regret? Yes, any decent person would. But, sometimes, it’s just better to save your ass.

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"Reader beware, you're in for a scare!--R.L. Stine"

Orlando, FL
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