The Stripper Wife, Chapter 1
Add: 27 February 2016 / 00:00
James and Donna had been married for about five years and while they were happy together, their marriage wasn't without its problems. They got married right out of high school, which was no surprise to anyone since they had been sweethearts since eighth grade. Now he was twenty-four and she was twenty-three and they were still very much in love.
James worked as a diesel mechanic for a small local trucking company - a job which paid the bills, but little else. Money was always a source of concern for the young couple, and James tried to snatch up every opportunity for extra pay or overtime he could get. He wanted his best girl to have the nice things in life that she had before they met, and he felt it was his responsibility as the man of the family and breadwinner to provide for his family.
Donna came from a pretty well-off family and, as she was their only daughter, she benefited from her family's money. James, on the other hand, came from a less affluent background. While not poor, they didn't have the money Donna's family had. James' family was more middle income and so he had learned to live without a brand new car every year and without the latest, greatest gizmos. He knew how to make do.
But James hated that his girl had taken a step down the wealth ladder to marry him. He felt that he should be able to give her the good life too, and even though Donna was more than happy with the way things were, James wanted more. So James worked every chance he could and even took temporary part time jobs when available over the holidays to earn an extra buck or two.
One morning while Donna fixed breakfast, James was pouring over the ever-present stack of bills, trying to figure out which ones to pay next. The task seemed insurmountable and he sat with a calculator trying various ideas to get them paid before they became overdue and incurred late fees. They didn't need any more money taken from their stretched-to-the-breaking-point budget.
"I don't how we are going to do this, Donna," he said, exasperated.
"Don't worry honey... it will all work out somehow," she said, smiling at him. James loved her upbeat attitude and she could always make him feel better no matter how gloomy things looked. But James was a realist, and the figures in front of him didn't lie. Once again, they had more month than money.
"Thanks, sweetheart, for trying to cheer me up, but I've tried every combination I can think of and we are going to be short again this month. Now I have to decide who will be put off until next month," he said.
"I hate that you have to work so hard, baby. I wish you would let me ask Mom and Dad to help us. I know they would be happy to," she said.
"Absolutely not," he said adamantly. "I will work myself to the grave before I will ask your parents for a single dime. I love them to death, but when I married you I took on the responsibility of taking care of you and if I can't support my wife, then I am not much of a husband or a man."
Donna knew that James felt strongly about being independent and not relying on either of their parents for financial help. So she just sighed and dropped the conversation. He may have to go to work, but he didn't have to go to work mad.
"I don't know what we are going to do," she said, talking to her best friend Lisa on the telephone. Lisa had called that afternoon, giving Donna a welcome break from her housework. "The bills come in faster than the pay-checks. I know my folks would loan us the money to get caught up and even ahead a bit, but James is stubborn and won't even discuss it."
"Yeah, James feels it's his problem to find the money somehow. But hon, there are only two ways about this - either you cut your expenses, or you figure out how to get more money," Lisa said.
"Well, we have cut just about everything we can cut. I mean our budget is really bare-bones. Any more cuts and it's rice and beans for dinner," Donna said. "Besides, James feels bad enough that he can't provide for me, to cut anything more would only make things worse."
"Well then, look at the other end. How would he feel about you getting a job? I mean the days of the wife staying home and taking care of the house while hubby goes off to work are over. Lots of women work - this is a two-income world."
"I don't know... I would want to be able to have time for James. I mean, I would still want to be able to take care of the house and fix dinner and..." Donna giggled at the end of her sentence.
"Oh sweetie," Lisa said, knowing what her friend was thinking. "Well, there has to be something you could do to earn some extra money. Why don't you talk it over with James tonight and see how he feels about you working. If he's okay with it, then we will start looking for a job for you."
"I'll do that. Thanks Lisa, I always feel better after I talk with you," Donna said.
"No problem hon. Let me know what James says," Lisa said, and hung up. Donna went back to her housework and started preparing dinner.
"Honey, can I talk to you about something?" Donna asked that evening as they ate dinner.
"Sure baby, you know you can talk to me about anything," he said.
"Well, I was talking with Lisa today. She called this afternoon while I was cleaning. And we got to talking about bills and such. I told her that you have been working like a dog but we never seem to have enough money. I wasn't too specific, don't worry, but she suggested that maybe I should talk to you about getting a job... at least a part-time job and just long enough to get some of these bills paid down."
"I don't know Donna. I like having you home here when I get home. I work all day long, it's nice to come home to you afterwards. If I wanted to come home to an empty house and cook my own dinner, I wouldn't have gotten married."
"Well, I would find a job that still allowed me to spend time with you. And I would still have dinner cooked for you - I am your wife and my main responsibilities are here at home. But I just hate that you work so hard honey, and I know that you are doing your best. It's just that these days one income can't always cut it. Our parents lived in a one-income world, but with prices the way they are these days, it takes two incomes if you want to get ahead at all."
James listened to his wife. She was right - he was doing all he could but it wasn't enough. He wasn't the only one at work trying to get extra hours and his boss could only throw so many his way - he had to let the others have a crack at some overtime, too. And that overtime only came when they happened to be short-handed at work, so it wasn't a constant thing.
"I will think about it," he said.