Kerri finally shut the door to the office and headed home. It was dark. Nearly 9pm, and she had a ton of work to do, some of which was in her briefcase. As she backed her car out of the parking lot, she wondered if she should grab some take out or just hope that David had cooked. She was too tired to stop and decided to drive straight home.

David heard the door open and looked at the clock. 9:30pm again. He turned to grouse at Kerri for being so late, but when he saw the look on her face, he just walked over, took her briefcase away and then picked her up. He headed straight for the bedroom.

“David, this is very sweet, but I have work to do. I’m hungry too,” she said.

“And how long are you going to keep working overtime? This isn’t good for you. Plus, it’s giving your boss unhealthy expectations. He’ll keep working you till you drop and then yell at you for not doing your best,” he said as he set her down on the bed.

“You know I can’t back down. He’ll replace me or stick me back in shipping,” she said.

“And how many will he have to replace you with? Four or five people? More? As for sticking you in shipping, at least the job would get done, which is half your issue right now. Other people are not doing their jobs. Worst he could do is fire you and to be honest, that would be a mercy,” David said. He detested the way the company treated Kerri and any other woman. He was angry enough that he had started checking the want ads on Monster to see if there was a less stressful job for Kerri. So far, he hadn’t had any luck.

“David, I can’t loose my job. We have bills and responsibilities,” she said softly. She didn’t want to fight. She was ‘in charge’ all day long and her only respite was when she was at home. David took off her shoes and then helped her to stand up. She started to take off her suit and he brushed her hands away.

“Let me help,” he said as he finished undressing her.

“Okay,” she said as she stood there. “Did you make any dinner?”

“Yes, and I’ll get it as soon as you are in bed. No work tonight. No staying up till 2am. No whining either,” he said as he turned her to undo the zip on her dress.

“Fine, I’m not gonna win am I,” she said. She stepped out of her dress and David started to unhook her bra.

“No, you aren’t. In fact, As soon as you are done with dinner, you are going to sleep,” he said. Tossing her bra towards the dresser, he tugged her panties down and let them hit the floor. He grabbed her silky nightie and dropped it over her head. As Kerri struggled to get the straps in the right place, he left to get dinner.

He’d eaten earlier, and had fixed her a plate. It was in the microwave and all he had to do was hit the reheat button. While it heated, he poured her a glass of wine. When the microwave dinged, he put it all on a tray and headed back to the bedroom. He met Kerri in the hall.

“What are you doing?” he asked.

“I was going to the dining room,” she said.

“Nope. Turn around and get your ass in bed,” he said.

“No, I want…” was as far as she got. David put the tray down on the little table in the hall and took Kerri by both shoulders. He turned her and headed her to the bedroom. When they got there, he turned down the bed and made sure Kerri climbed in. He tucked the covers around her and put a pillow behind her head.

“I will be right back,” he said. David headed down the hall and got Kerri’s dinner. He sat down next to her and instead of handing her the fork, he fed her a bite.

“David, I’m not an invalid. I can feed myself,” she said.

“Maybe, maybe not. This way, I know you ate. Don’t fight me,” he said.

“Dav-,” was as far as she got as he fed her another bite. Each time she tried to protest he fed her another bite of the beef stroganoff. After a few minutes, he handed her the wine glass. After a few sips, he started giving her bites again. He sopped up the last of the sauce with the garlic bread and fed it to Kerri. Kerri finished the wine and then he took the dishes to the kitchen.

When he came back, he half expected to find Kerri trying to get up. Instead, he found her asleep. He pulled the extra pillow out from her head, covered her up and then turned out the light.

David went through her briefcase and saw that her asshole of a boss had loaded her and the other mid-level executives up with enough busy work to keep them occupied for a month. When he found the memo that said that all of the stuff had to be done by month’s end, he started growling. “Asshole!” he thought as he stuffed things back into her briefcase. He picked up the phone and called Tom who worked with Kerri.

“Hey Tom, how are you?” he started out the conversation. He listened to Tom complain about the work load and how life sucked. “Have you thought of going on strike?” he asked during a pause in he conversation. “No? Well, to be honest, if you all did it, what would he do?” he asked. David listened for a few more minutes. “No, she came home about thirty minutes ago so tired I put her straight to bed. If she wakes up before noon, I’ll be surprised,” he said. “No, I don’t care. This new boss is an asshole and he deserves what he gets,” said David. “You know, call around to the others in the office and see what they say. Yeah. I would. Okay, goodnight,” he said and hung up. David smiled knowing that he’d just begun to ferment revolution. He turned off the lights and headed for bed.

Kerri woke up groggy and in a panic. She couldn’t see the clock, and when she sat up, her head felt like it had been used as a punching bag. She had to pee and her head hurt so bad she didn’t think she could stand. She went to stand up and crumpled. “David,” she cried out softly even though it sounded like she was shouting.

David heard a thump and couldn’t place it. He walked towards the bedroom and heard Kerri cry out. She was on the floor. “Honey, what’s wrong?” he asked.

“Headache,” she whispered.

“Let’s get you back in bed then,” he started.

“No, bathroom,” she said.

David picked her up and carried her to the bathroom. He waited while she peed and then put her back in bed.

“I have to go to work,” she whispered.

“You have a migraine. You get to stay in bed and sleep. I’ll be right back with some aspirin,” he said and headed for the kitchen. He was back in a few seconds with water and the aspirin.

Kerri took them and handed back the glass. “I need to call in. Explain. Let Derrick know I’ll be in tonight,” she started to ramble.

“You are staying in bed. I’ll keep the drapes drawn and I’ll close the bedroom door. I’ll check on you, so don’t get up. As for Derrick, I’ll call him and let him know you are ill,” said David. With that, he kissed her, tucked the covers in around her and left the room.

“Hello, May I speak to Derrick Southold?” he asked. “Yes, I’m David Howard, Kerri Howard’s husband. No, I want to speak to him, not some secretary,” he growled into the phone. After a moment Derrick came on the phone. “Derrick, this is David Howard. Kerri will not be in to work today. She has a migraine and is confined to bed. No, this isn’t some excuse. She is ill. Also, until further notices, she will be working to rule,” David said. “Oh? You don’t know that term? It means that she will be working her normal work hours and not upwards of five hours of uncompensated overtime every night,” said David. He listened for a moment while Derrick blew his top and screamed and yelled into the phone. When he stopped sputtering, David started talking again. “No, it is not unusual for people to only work the hours that they are paid for. However, after examining Kerri’s pay stubs I realized that you are asking her to pull an extra twenty-five to thirty hours per week. No, there is not any compensation. I double checked with your accounting department on Monday. We’ve had enough and she is not going to be worked to death by you. Good day,” he said and hung up.

David went back to his freelance work. He wrote for a local paper, taught classes at the local library and did business consulting. It had hit him full in the face not too long ago that his own wife and her fellow workers were being abused and that they had no one speaking up for them. While he didn’t think he could get them to unionize, he could certainly look into things to help them. He’d taken the first step last night by calling Tom. Today was the second one with putting Derrick on notice that he no longer had slaves.

He checked on Kerri, and she was asleep. He made himself some lunch and at noon, he woke up Kerri long enough to feed her more aspirin, water and a bit of toast. Then he tucked her back in bed.

Kerri was having trouble going back to sleep. She was thinking about her job and all the stuff she didn’t have done. Worry was eating her up. She started to get up and like magic, there was David at the door.

“And what do you think you’re doing?” he asked.

“I can’t get back to sleep and I’m thinking about work,” she said.

“Well, I suggest you quit worrying about work and go to sleep,” he said. He walked over to the bed and switched his pillow with hers. Then he cradled her head on his chest as they snuggled.

Kerri could smell David’s scent on his pillow and on his shirt. She smiled and relaxed. It wasn’t difficult to think about the fun they have in bed with his scent in her nose. She drifted back to sleep. When David realized she was asleep, he carefully moved out from under her and went back to work.

Kerri woke up when David came to bed.

“Hi,” she said quietly.

“How are you feeling?” he asked.

“Better. I haven’t had a headache like that in a long time,” she said.

“You haven’t been stressed like that in a long time either,” said David.

“No. Oh god! Did you call me out of work?” Kerri asked panicking all of a sudden.

“Yes, and I explained to Derrick that you would no longer be working yourself to death. You will work your normal work hours and that’s it,” explained David.

“But, You can’t tell Derrick that!” started Kerri. She was getting upset and her face was getting flushed.

“First off, settle down,” David told Kerri. He waited until she had taken a few deep breaths. “Second, I did. He blew his cool, but he has two choices. He can keep working you to death and start paying you for the work, or he can just do without the extra hours he’s making you all pull.”

Kerri just sat there and blinked. “He’s… he’s not paying us? He said he was going to pay us. That it would just be a few weeks until it kicked in,” she said.

“He lied. I called the finance office after I saw your pay stubs. That 135 hours you put in last month over and above never showed. Good thing you documented it, but it is not on your pay records. It isn’t on Tom’s or anyone else’s either. Derrick is scamming you,” said David.

“That bastard!” said Kerri. Now she was getting really worked up and her headache was coming back.

“Now stop it, I won’t have all that healing screwed up because you’re stressing,” said David.

“But! He…” was as far as she got as David placed a finger over her lips and shushed her.

Kerri stopped. His finger trailed down her chin to the hollow of her neck.

“You, are going to relax. Tomorrow is soon enough to slay the dragon Derrick. Right now you are going to do what I say, otherwise, I’ll keep you home again tomorrow,” David said softly.

“David, I’m a grown woman! I can fight my own battles,” Kerri argued.

“Yes, and you can work yourself into a migraine too. Now do as I ask,” he said. “Lay down.”

Kerri started to argue and realized from the look on David’s face that she wasn’t going to win. She lay on her back under the covers.

David traced his fingertips down her throat and then across her chest to her nipples. “I want you to relax,” he said as he circled her nipples. As her breathing settled down, he broadened the surface of his hand caressing her until his palm covered her breast.

“David,” she started.

David pressed down on her breastbone gently until she noticed. Kerri stopped and lay there breathing. He lightened the pressure and then began rubbing circles slowly on her stomach.

“You will relax. No more thoughts of work, or anything else. Nothing but my hand touching you,” said David.

“David, I don’t think I’m up to having fun tonight,” Kerri said.

“We aren’t. You are just going to relax and then we will go to sleep,” he said as his hand worked down her hips and thighs.

Once he had massaged her down to her toes, he had her roll over and he worked her back. Kerri tried twice to convince David that maybe she was up to playing around. He told her no, and when he was done with her feet, he rolled over and went to sleep.

4 thoughts on “Subtle

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