“I don’t understand what an ‘intercontinental fiscal consultant’ is,” Quincy’s father had said suspiciously when she’d brought Cormac home to meet her parents. “Doesn’t sound like a stable job to me.”
That had been eleven years ago and all throughout that time Quincy had never questioned her husband’s career. Cormac traveled quite a bit between San Diego and Ireland on business, and when he was home he rarely brought up the intricacies of his job. Quincey didn’t mind. She only cared that Cormac loved her and cherished her and made her laugh with his outrageous sense of humor. He was a thick, swarthy Irishman full of passion and mischief. His green eyes were constantly roving over everything around him and he drank in life as though it were a pint of stout and he was endlessly thirsting for a buzz.
But now… now Cormac was back in town, not in Ireland, and Quincy stood in the doorway of his San Diego office. It was a compact waterfront lease with an ocean view, a desk and a small outer lobby where Edna, Cormac’s secretary, presided over the coffee pot every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Today was Tuesday so Edna was not there. The outer door was locked which was strange since it was midday. Quincy let herself in with her key and called out, “Mac? The door was…”
Shuffling noises came from Cormac’s inner office and then a soft feminine moan drifted through the air.
Quincy’s grey eyes narrowed and her heart quickened.
“Ooooooh, darlin’,” gasped a delicate southern drawl. “Don’t stop…”
“Tell me what you want, lass,” came Cormac’s Irish lilt, so deep, so seductive.
And then there was a different female voice, husky and foreign. “Aye, mas por favor. Eres muy grande.” The last words were uttered breathlessly.
With a cry of rage, Quincy ran through the lobby and, horrified at the scene before her, yelled, “CORMAC QUIGLEY!!! What the hell are you doing, you bastard!!!”
Cormac was sitting in his office chair, his pants around his ankles and a beautiful nude Latino girl astride his lap. A lanky blonde wearing only red bikini bottoms was bent over them, her hands buried in Cormac’s thick, dark hair.
“CORMAC!” Quincy shrieked again.
Startled at the unexpected intrusion, Cormac gave a grunting shout and stood up in a panic. The girl on his lap tumbled off sideways, taking down the blonde. The women landed in a tangle of limbs on the floor, acrylic nails flailing helplessly in the air.
“What are you doing?” Quincy demanded again, which even to her own ears sounded stupid. It was obvious what he was doing: her intelligent, sexy, loving husband was smack in the middle of a threesome.
Cormac pulled up his pants and made a beeline for his wife, his muscular arms outstretched. “I’m sorry, baby, I’m so sorry.” His green eyes were stricken as he reached for Quincy, and for one brief second she wanted his comfort, his assurance. But what could he possibly say in his defense? That this whole scenario was really just a dream? That what Quincy was seeing was a figment of her imagination? That she was locked in some sort of swanky parallel universe where perfectly happy married people imbibed in ménage trois on the side?
The women on the floor unsnarled themselves and began putting their clothes on. “You told us you was single,” the blonde hissed at Cormac.
Quincy stared at her husband, her cheeks flushed with hurt and rage. “Seriously? I love you, Mac. And I know you love me. What the hell is wrong with you? How could you do this…”
Cormac’s breathing was coming in fast and his lips thinned anxiously. “It was an accident…”
“An accident?” Quincy’s voice rose incredulously.
“Yeah,” the blonde snorted. “We all just tripped and fell on each other.” She shot Cormac a look of disgust and then turned her heavily made up eyes on Quincy. “I’m sorry, doll. We didn’t know he was hitched.”
Cormac grabbed frantically for Quincy’s hands. “This was a mistake. It’s all just a misunderstanding, baby. It isn’t what you think…”
“What a crock; it’s exactly what you think,” drawled the blonde, shaking her head. She adjusted her sequin top and turned to her friend, “Come on, Angelita, let’s get out of here.”
“Pendejo!” the Latina sneered at Cormac as she stalked past him in pointy stilettos.
The women exited the outer office door, letting it slam behind them.
Cormac and Quincy stared at one another, their eyes locked and unblinking. Quincy’s full lips began to tremble and Cormac felt his heart turn over. In all his years of infidelity he never thought he’d get caught. He loved Quincy. Adored her. But he wasn’t a man who could keep himself to himself. He had needs. Exciting needs. Needs that required outside attention. And that had nothing whatsoever to do with how much he loved his wife. Having sex with other women- that was all purely physical; a release that satisfied his carnal nature, his wanton desires. But making love to Quincy… those moments were total ecstasy, pure heaven; when she was in his arms his world was perfectly right, all the planets aligned. No woman could soothe his heart and mind like Quincy could; she was the love of his life. He’d known it the first time he’d laid eyes on her over eleven years ago. They’d both been twenty-one, young, vulnerable, madly in love and absolutely inseparable.
Cormac had thought his sexual appetite would be satiated by Quincy. Surely the woman who was right for him in every way could quell his inner demons. But the wedded couple had been married for less than a year the first time Cormac had slipped. He’d been in Ireland meeting with a bank owner over dinner. Their server had been a young co-ed from NUI Galway named Cathleen. Her pale skin, smattering of freckles and huge bosom had piqued Cormac’s interest, especially when she’d purposely dropped a napkin and bent over to pick it up, checking over her shoulder that Cormac was watching. He came back to the restaurant late that night, after it had closed, and when she’d walked out the back kitchen door and into the night he’d swept her away for an evening of chaotic lust. They’d explored one another until the wee hours of the morning and, erotically surfeited, Cormac had kissed her good-bye and promised he’d see her on his next trip to Galway.
Cormac knew deep, wretched guilt during the long hours of his flight back to America, but once he’d arrived home and passionately bedded his voluptuous wife, he promptly forgot all about Cathleen, the young Irish girl who was surely just an isolated incident with no bearing whatsoever on his happy marriage.
But as time went on, and Cormac’s zest for life became a restless hunger that couldn’t be assuaged, he sought the company of many women over the years. Women of all shapes and sizes, of all cultures and nationalities. And there was never a shortage of options for Cormac. He was charming and enthusiastic, intelligent and driven, reckless and playful. His body was rich with muscle, his green eyes intense and full of mischief, his skin tanned and weather-beaten, his hair the darkest of browns. He had only to open his mouth and ask, “Can I buy ye a drink, lassie?” and women fluttered their eyelashes and opened their arms.
Now, as Cormac stared at his lovely wife, her curvaceous body rigid with distress, her grey eyes flashing murderous venom, Cormac felt his world flip upside down. He couldn’t lose her. Not over this… this trivial incident. His affairs were really just hobbies, extracurricular activities that had nothing to do with his deep love for Quincy.
“Macree,” Cormac pleaded, his accent heavy with remorse, “I’m so sorry…”
Quincy shoved at his bulky chest. “Don’t call me that!”
“But you are my heart! You will always be. What happened here in this room, what you saw, has nothing to do with us. Listen to me, will ye?”
Quincy crossed her arms and glared at the ceiling, unable to look at Cormac’s pleading face. “I don’t know what to think… how to…” She blinked back several tears. “How long has this been going on, Mac? How many women? What aren’t you getting at home that you have to find elsewhere?”
“It’s not like that,” Cormac said quickly.
“What is it like then?”
“I love you…”
“When was the first time, Mac?”
Cormac looked at the floor and shook his head. He would never tell Quincy how many females there’d been over the years. He would never tell her how he lived for the thrill of touching the nakedness of a woman’s body for the first time; how he craved being aroused by them in return, each move of prowess and dexterity fresh and new and different and… oh, so titillating.
Quincy had been tapping her foot in the silence, and then, eerily, she stilled and stopped when Cormac didn’t respond. The previous cadence of the sound left a hollow loneliness in the air.
“I’m going home to pack my things, Mac,” she said, her normally husky voice hard and wooden. “I won’t live with a liar and a cheat.”
Cormac’s head snapped up. “No! NO, Macree! I can’t live without ye…” He grabbed Quincy around the waist as though she were an anchor keeping him from floating adrift. “You mustn’t let what you saw… what you think you saw, come between us. Please talk to me…”
“Don’t touch me!” Quincy screamed, knocking his hands away. “You just had your hands on…” she broke off, her mouth twisting in revulsion. She turned to leave and Cormac reached out once more, this time in desperation. He couldn’t let her get away, he couldn’t let her walk out the door without making her see how much he loved her- and how that love had nothing to do with his proclivities.
At his touch, Quincy jerked her hips to the side, trying to shake Cormac’s fingers from her waist and he only dug in and gripped her harder. Filled with rage and betrayal, she swung around and caught him low and hard below the waist with her knee. Cormac doubled over and then fell to the ground moaning.
“Don’t call me. Don’t try to find out where I’m staying. I need time to think.” Quincy stood over her husband as he rolled around clutching his groin and her beautiful face altered for a moment, the mask of anger slipping away, revealing a devastated, vulnerable young lady. Cormac stopped squirming and gazed up at his wife, his green eyes hopeful.
Pressing her lips together, Quincy turned and walked away, the outer office door closing softly behind her. She couldn’t feel her legs, but they carried her away from Cormac nonetheless. Down the sidewalk, through the lush green grass flanked by iceplant, across the side street to the parking garage… it was the longest walk of Quincy’s life. She unlocked her blue Mercedes and climbed inside. Gripping the steering wheel, she let the tears fall. Tears for herself, tears for her marriage, tears for the innocence she’d just lost. She couldn’t stop replaying the scene in her mind; her beloved husband with his lips on another woman, his hands, his… letting out a cry of grief, Quincy screamed until her throat was raw, until the tears lessened, until the pain in her heart dulled to a numbness.
Dashing the wetness from her cheeks, she turned the key in the Mercedes’ ignition. She couldn’t go to her parents’ house in Oceanside. Her dad would kill Cormac. She’d go home and pack a few things and stay with Evie down in La Jolla. Quincy’s best friend was probably going to want to do some murdering of her own, but Evie was too much of a rule follower to realistically consider criminal vengeance. Quincy’s dad on the other hand… well, he had a temper, questionable underground ties and a buddy he commonly referred to as Joey “Whack Whack” Rigati.
When Quincy pulled up to her huge, sprawling two-story estate the tears began to fall again.
She loved him. Loved him beyond all reason. She couldn’t imagine life without him, any sort of existence apart from his presence. Unfathomable. But how could she bear to be around her husband after the betrayal she’d just witnessed? How could she ever let him touch her again? How could she believe any words that crossed his lips from now on? How many times had he lied to her? Crept around behind her back? All of his trips to Ireland… was he really even going to Ireland?
How many other women… how many other women… how many other women… the refrain kept playing in Quincy’s head over and over and over. But what did it matter? Even if Cormac had only cheated this one time, the trust between them had been destroyed, combusted on site when Quincy had laid eyes on her husband making love to another woman while his hands were on yet another.
Divorce should be the only choice. The only option. Quincy knew she should make the stone-cold decision to tear her marriage apart legally since Cormac had already done it domestically. And physically… emotionally… mentally… spiritually. The sacredness between them was dead now.
Quincy placed a protective hand on her stomach. There was someone else to consider. Someone she was going to excitedly tell Cormac about after the confirmation from her doctor tomorrow. Someone who was going to change their lives forever.
A small voice in her head whispered that she should stay and try to work things out. Not for herself. Not for Cormac.
For the baby.