Marriage Counseling

“He refuses to do any of the work you’ve suggested,” Susanna said. “You gave us that charm. He was me for less than ten minutes before he freaked out and we had to swap back.”

“I didn’t want to freak out,” Tyler said. “You didn’t warn me it was your time of the month.”

“It didn’t occur to me that would be a problem.”

“Are you telling me you didn’t freak out when it was your first time?”

She didn’t answer.

Carlos, their marriage counselor, said, “Did you?”

“Probably. It was long time ago. I’m sorry. I didn’t think about it. I was too happy you were finally willing to try the charm.”

“She has a point, Tyler. I gave you the body swap charm two months ago. The last few appointments you’ve had nothing but excuses for why you couldn’t use it as I suggested.”

“I’m very busy,” Tyler said.

“Everyone is busy. Part of the reason you’re both here, you told me, was you were going to work to save your marriage. You can’t do that if you don’t make time to do the work. Right?”

“Yes. I know. Susanna, I’ll make this my New Year’s resolution. You know I almost never go back on those.”

“You’ll resolve to making our marriage work?”

“I was thinking I’d resolve to understand what it’s like to be you.”

“So just using the charm?”

“More than that. The understanding part seems key.”

“Why wouldn’t you just make a resolution to do the work?”

“Resolutions falter. Even for someone like me who has a good track record with resolutions. It’s possible to do the work for our marriage without ever understanding what it’s like to be you. But I’m resolving to understand you better.”

“Tyler’s approach is sound. The point of the charm is only to see from the other’s perspective. Not to climb into their head,” Carlos said. “You’ll probably fail to achieve that level of understanding, Tyler.”

“That’s the point of the resolution. I can’t understand Susanna. How can our marriage ever work?”

* * *

“We’re staying in for New Year’s?”

“I just told you that.”

“We aren’t going to Paul’s party?”

“No.”

“We can’t stop in at your friend Jody’s party?”

“No.”

“Can I nip down to The Faulty Logic and have a drink with Frank? One drink. Be home by 9 PM.”

“No.”

“Are we going to...?”

“Yes.”

“Yes? Could a cock be sucked as part of this event?”

“It’s possible,” she said. “After we kiss at midnight.”

“We’re going to wait until midnight?”

“At midnight, we’re using the charm. And then we’ll kiss. And then… we’ll see what happens.”

“So when you said a blowjob was possible…”

“You’d be in my body sucking your own cock. I would be in your body at the time enjoying it. I’d also use that cock to do you.”

“Is this your attempt to sell me on the idea?”

“Are you saying you’ve never thought about what it would be like to be the one fucked instead you just being a fucker?”

“You mean being the fucker.”

“I said what I said,” she said with a smile.

“Now I think you’re trying to dare me to suck myself off.”

“Why not? You’re too chicken to even think about it.” She spread her knees apart and walked toward him like she were presenting the largest set of cock and balls to him. “You don’t want a piece of what I’d have swinging through here?”

“I don’t walk like that. Maybe you need a refresher course on how to use that equipment you’ll be receiving.” He hooked his arm around her waist and pulled her body close to him. They kissed.

“I’ll take meticulous notes.”

* * *

Auld Lang Syne played on the television. Susanna and Tyler were naked and the charm sat between them. “Ready?”

“Just do it.”

They touched the charm at the same time. A violet light shimmered around his hand. An indigo light shimmered around hers. Both balls of light slowly rose upwards and then suddenly streaked though the air into the other person’s chest. They blinked a few times before they realized they weren’t where they had just been. The bodies from which they had always looked out at the world were sitting in front of them looking at them. They were their own spouses.

His arms reached out toward her, taking her face in his palms. He pulled her head toward him. She allowed him to pull them together and they kissed.

“Happy New Year.”

“Happy New Year.”

She felt her nipples pressing against his chest and her upper thigh felt a hard, round shaft pressed against it.

“Someone’s excited.”

“Someone else is nervous. Relax, I’ll be gentle.”

“You’ll be gentle? Do men really say that? What a stupid statement that is.”

“Isn’t it?” He picked her up with ease and put her down on the bed, leaning her back as they explored the familiar territory of their usual bodies from a new angle.

* * *

“You both enjoyed it?” Carlos said.

“He did things to his body I had never done to him.”

“Proving it wouldn’t kill you to give me a blowjob occasionally.”

“I now understand why you always want one.”

“And I proved you don’t have a gag reflex.”

“Have you swapped since?” Carlos said.

“No, he’s always too busy.”

“That’s not fair. I am busy.”

“He just wants me to give him the blowjob I supposedly owe him first.”

“The purpose of the charm was to spend time as one another going about your normal day. Not to use it as a sex toy. Based on our previous sessions, you two don’t have any sexual problems.”

“You do owe me.”

“She owes you nothing. You freely gave her whatever it is you think is owed you,” Carlos said.

“That’s not entirely true,” Tyler said. He stared expectantly at his wife.

“I may have bet him as me she wouldn’t fit it all in her, well, my mouth.”

Carlos rubbed his forehead. “Whether or not you are owed fellatio is not why you’re here. You are a most frustrating couple. Tyler, you use sex to avoid having mature discussions about your marriage. And you, Susanna, enable him because you two are one of the few couples I counsel where I don’t have to encourage you to engage in intimacy. You two need less sex and more talking.

“Homework: you will use the charm again before the next time I see you. At no time while swapped will sex be discussed or engaged in. Instead you will do something that you usually do together except you’ll be wearing the other’s body. And, thank God, our time is up.”

* * *

“This is a bad idea,” Tyler said in Susanna’s body. “We should have just gone out to dinner by ourselves, not combine our swap with an evening with Jody and Stuart. They’ll figure it out.”

“We could just tell them. Carlos didn’t say we couldn’t tell people we were swapped. Or are you too chicken to face Stuart with boobs?”

“Hah, want to make another wager? Double or nothing on that blowjob?”

“We aren’t supposed to talk about that.”

“I didn’t say we were going to do anything. But I’ll stop harping on it if I lose.”

“What’s the bet?”

“We don’t tell them anything. If they figure it out, they have to say which of us blew it.”

“And if they don’t figure it out?”

“The bet’s a draw and you still owe me one blowjob instead of two.”

“Or none.”

“Yes, or none.”

“Deal.”

“How do I look?”

“Like I’d tell you if you something was amiss now that we have a bet.”

“I’ve never known you to be so ruthless. I’m a bit turned on.”

“It’s the testosterone.”

“I really felt something because of that. I might need a liner for my panties.”

“You do not.”

He lifted his skirt.

“You’re soaked? That doesn’t happen to me.”

“It doesn’t?”

He didn’t answer.

* * *

Tyler handed Stuart a bottle of white wine when they arrived and the two men went to the dining room to put it on the table. Susanna went to the kitchen and gave Jody a greeting hug. She whispered, “I’m Tyler.”

“Oh? You guys are swapped?”

“Yes, I tried to get her to do the swap a different day but she insisted we swap in front of others. Don’t say anything about it. We have a bet.”

“So, I should ask Tyler later why he’s acting funny?”

“No, if Stuart says something, preferably about ‘Tyler’, that’s fine. But I don’t want her thinking I told you to say something.” She kissed Jody on the lips.

After a moment they separated. Jody’s fingertips trailed along Susanna’s cheek, “Okay. Mum’s the word.”

Dinner was completely normal.

When it was time to clear the table, Jody said, “Why don’t you guys walk over to The Faulty Logic and have a drink with Frank while us girls stay here and catch up?”

“Are you sure, Honey?” Stuart said.

Susanna made the slightest of head shakes and mouthed the word, “No,” to Tyler.

Tyler ignored her and smiled. He said, “Susanna was saying this morning how she rarely gets to spend one-on-one time with Jody. Grab your jacket, Stuart.”

“Okay.”

After the two men left, Susanna’s disappointed face broke into a smile. “What do you have in mind?”

“Are you kidding? You know I’m bi. I’ve wanted to have sex with Susanna since I met her in college. This raises our affair to new levels. Let’s get to bed and have some fun before they get back.”

* * *

Frank was happy to see Stuart and Tyler. He owned the bar and pointed to his “owner’s” booth as they arrived. Frank brought a tray with three beers and a pitcher for the table. He sat down with them. “What brings you two in together?”

“We just had dinner with our wives and they insisted we come here so they could gab in peace,” Tyler said.

“What do they talk about?” Stuart said.

“No idea. Probably us,” Tyler said. He hoped he was drinking at a pace that would seem normal for Tyler.

An hour later, Stuart and Tyler were more than a bit tipsy.

“How goes the counseling?” Frank said.

“Same old boring shit.”

“You’re seeing my guy, Carlos, right?”

“On your recommendation.”

“He give you the swap charm yet?”

“The what?” A suddenly much more sober Tyler said.

“He has his most troubled cases use this magic rock to swap bodies. See how the other half lives.”

“Sounds cool,” Stuart said. “Maybe I should get Jody to see him with me.”

“I’ll get you his number before you leave.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about. Should I ask Carlos about this swap thing?”

“Maybe he doesn’t think they need it,” Stuart said.

“That’s right. We just needed someone to talk to.”

“I don’t know. I asked him how you guys were doing with him and while he refused to answer the question, the way he reacted to your names… He immediately had a headache after I asked. I’d be surprised if he didn’t think you two were prime candidates.”

“I don’t need a charm to tell me he… she is distracted by something. I fear it’s an affair.”

“Susanna wouldn’t cheat on you.”

“Jody says Susanna was such a goody two shoes in college she would probably die if a man suggested anything but missionary sex.”

Tyler’s face was aghast.

“He did give you the charm, didn’t he?” Frank said. “Susanna, I’m so sorry. If I’d known I wouldn’t have brought it up.”

“What’s going on?” Stuart said as Tyler burst into tears.

“This isn’t Tyler.”

“Susanna?”

He nodded.

“Oh, god, Susanna, I’m so sorry for what I said.”

“It’s okay. Going out swapped was my idea.”

“We’re sorry. If it makes you feel any better, just imagine poor Tyler trying to navigate a conversation with someone who’s known you for over a decade. She probably saw through him, too.”

“He probably wouldn’t cry about it.”

“No, he probably wouldn’t.”

* * *

As the girls were getting dressed again, Jody mapped out a series of talking points they would have discussed so that when Susanna grilled Tyler about what they talked about, he could answer in a manner that would make it plausible that Jody didn’t figure out she was talking to Tyler. They were having one last kiss when the front door opened and their husbands returned.

Susanna walked out of the back hallway into the living room first saying, “Oh, they’re here. What do you think of Jody’s plan for the spare room, Stuart?”

“You told her about my home gym idea?” Stuart said to Jody as she entered.

“No, I told her how I want to modify your plan.”

“She probably didn’t describe my idea correctly, Susanna. Let me explain my idea first.”

“Sure. How was Frank, Dear?”

“Frank was Frank,” Tyler said.

Twenty minutes later, Susanna had helped mediate a home renovation disagreement between Jody and Stuart. No decisions were made but both had been willing to compromise. Tyler said he needed to get home because he may have overdone it at the bar and they walked back to their apartment five minutes away.

“I guess they didn’t know we were swapped,” Susanna said.

“Frank figured it out. And Stuart agreed I was a bit off. You win again,” Tyler said. “How did you manage to survive a few hours talking with Jody?”

“Aside from the renovation talk, I hogged most of the time talking about your parents’ fortieth wedding anniversary party that’s been driving you nuts the last few months. Hopefully I got the details right. But even if I didn’t, she wouldn’t know if I was right or wrong.”

“Great. What happens when I’m talking to her and I contradict what your told her?”

“Just tell her plans were changed since last time you spoke with her.”

“I suppose you’ll want to swap back immediately to claim your prize.”

“You’re drunk. I’m not having a hangover I didn’t drink myself into.”

“Damn, I was hoping you’d be thinking with your dick.”

“Hard to do when it isn’t under my skirt,” Susanna said, swishing the skirt with her hands. “Just be sure to drink a couple glasses of water before going to sleep. I don’t think you’re that drunk.”

“Yes, Dear.”

* * *

“Do you want to swap back?” He said.

“How’s your head?”

“Not too bad. The water last night helped.”

“I wouldn’t say I’m comfortable as you. But I think I’ve finally gotten over the initial weirdness.”

“Carlos will be so glad. Now we can actually do the stuff he wanted us to do.”

“So, what did he tell us to do?”

“Be me. And I’ll be you. We’re just supposed to spend time in each other’s shoes.”

“Well done. You didn’t yell at me for not paying attention to Carlos.”

“You wouldn’t say that to me,” he said.

“So I should complain that you don’t pay attention?”

“Except I did pay attention so you can’t complain about that.”

“Okay, I think I get it. Why did you go drinking last night? You know I hate when you come home drunk.”

“Oh,” he said. He was surprised to hear her say something she herself had told him several times before. How did he usually reply? “I wasn’t even close to drunk last night. I don’t know why you’re complaining. I didn’t do anything bad.”

“You know my father was a mean drunk. When I see you drunk it makes me anxious that you’ll do the things he would to my mother.”

“I’m not your father. Stop comparing me to him.”

“How am I supposed to do that when you do things he does?”

“Have I ever hit you? Have I ever destroyed your stuff? I know what your father use to do. That’s not me.”

“Step back.”

Tyler was standing directly in front of Susanna, towering over her. “It’s what you do,” he said, still in her face.

“I do?” she said.

“Yes.”

“I’m sorry. I would never…”

“I know. But it looks the same to me as if you would.”

Susanna teared up. “You’ve been afraid of me?”

Tyler tapped her on the temple. “I know in there you aren’t him. But that doesn’t stop me from seeing him when you get in my face.” He held her.

“I’ll be better,” Susanna said, she dabbed her eyes with a tissue. “That actually worked. I’m impressed. Now, I suppose I should to tell you to take the garbage out.”

Tyler threw his hands in the air in frustration but there was a smile on his face as he said, “I took it out yesterday.”

* * *

At their next session with Carlos, he was impressed they had finally done some role-play while swapped. They convinced him they needed to do it again as they still had a few topics on which to clear the air.

A week later, Stuart and Jody came over for dinner. As soon as they arrived, Stuart said, “Are you two swapped again?”

Susanna said, “I tried to convince him to swap. But he complained he never got to have a beer with you and Frank.”

“You complained plenty that you didn’t get to talk to Jody,” Tyler said.

After dinner, the two men went to the bar to chat with Frank. The women cleared the table and were standing in the kitchen.

“Are you really you?” Jody said.

“Yes, I’m really me. Why?”

“Last week was awkward. I wasn’t sure if I should talk to you about… you know.”

“Did you?” Susanna said without seeming confused.

“I knew something was off. I waited for you to say something. When you didn’t, I was glad I didn’t say anything.”

Susanna didn’t reply.

Jody smiled and kissed Susanna. Susanna was still a bit confused but was happy to have another evening in bed with Jody.

* * *

Tyler and Stuart were walking back from the bar. “You really couldn’t tell?”

“Tell what?” Stuart said.

“We lied. We are swapped.”

“You’re Susanna? Get out.”

“No, seriously. After my poor showing last week, I had to try again.”

“When I asked earlier, so-called Susanna lied to us.”

“Yes.”

“You better not be lying to me now.”

Tyler laughed. “Oh, I never thought of that. A triple switch lie. Maybe next week. This week, we are definitely swapped. That’s why I didn’t drink as much this time.”

“What does that have to do with it?”

“Tyler wouldn’t swap back with me because he didn’t want my hangover.”

“That sounds like Tyler.”

* * *

Susanna and Jody were a sweaty mess when Jody said, “Why don’t we swap?”

“What?”

“We could use the swap charm and you could find out why I stay with Stuart and I can find out why you stay with Tyler.”

“That’s a terrible idea. I’m in counseling with Tyler. I don’t think you spending time with him would help that.”

“When did you stop being the fun Susanna I know?”

“When we used the charm this morning. Susanna’s having a beer with Stuart and Frank.”

Jody’s jaw dropped.

“Have you been cheating on Stuart with me or with Susanna longer?”

“Susanna. Oh, this is awesome.”

“Awesome?”

“Yes. You know. You finally know. Susanna will freak out. But I can tell by the fun we just had that you really don’t care that I’m fucking both of you on the side. You probably want us to try a threesome.”

“That would be cool.”

“My terms are that we swap. Then I’ll swap into Tyler’s body and then we have a threesome and reveal to Susanna that we’re swapped.”

“That still requires that I pretend to be you in front of Stuart.”

“You will love sex with Stuart. His cock is huge compared to yours.”

“Really?”

“I’m still married because of it.”

“If he’s so great, why cheat on him?”

“Because he’s Stuart. He’s great in bed. Sex alone isn’t a meaningful relationship.”

“You sound like Carlos.”

* * *

Stuart and Jody walked home. He said, “Did you know they were swapped again?”

“Yeah, it was obvious after you guys left. I don’t know how Tyler fooled me last week.”

“I didn’t figure it out either week. Why is that?”

“You’re a very trusting person, Ollie.” She gave him a peck on the cheek.

“At least I know you’re you.”

“Of course. Who else would I be?”

* * *

After swapping back, Tyler took Susanna in his arms and kissed her. “I have a surprise.”

“What kind of surprise?”

“No, we have to be wearing less clothes for this surprise.”

“This is my kind of surprise.”

They lay together and finished the evening with a round of lovemaking. As they lay breathless on the bed, Susanna said, “What’s the surprise?”

Tyler turned his head and whispered directly into her ear, “I’m not Tyler. I’m Jody.”

“That’s not funny.”

He just stared at her.

“How the fuck are you Jody?”

“You know how you cheat on Tyler with Jody.”

“I don’t…

“Hush. Tyler cheats on you with Jody, too.”

“He… you two used the charm while I was at the bar with Stuart and Frank?”

He nodded.

“Well, fuck me.”

“Any time.”

“Tyler is still getting an earful.”

“For what, both of you are cheating on each other.”

“I only cheated on him with you. Now he’s gone and cheated on me with Stuart.”

* * *

“Who’s this?” Carlos said to the couple that had arrived with a third adult.

“This is Susanna’s college roommate, Jody,” Susanna said.

“Why did you say you’re own name?”

“I’m actually Tyler,” she said.

“You two swapped before coming here?”

“It’s a little more complicated than that,” Jody said. “I’m Susanna. And he’s Jody.”

“This is not why I gave you the stone,” Carlos said, he fingers rubbing his temple.

“But, the stone did save our marriage,” Jody said. “With the stone, we found out we were both cheating on each other. It just turns out we were both seeing Jody on the side. Now that the affairs are out in the open, we get along so much better.”

“So much so that you are now comfortable in Susanna’s body, Tyler?”

“Resolution achieved. I haven’t been Tyler since we found out Jody was sleeping with both of us. My only regret is I never did get the two blowjobs Susanna owes me.”

“It is your decision not to be Tyler any more. Besides, you prefer giving head to getting it.”

“Jody and Susanna share Tyler’s and Jody’s body. And sometimes actual Tyler is Jody but usually she’s Susanna.”

“And why is that?”

“Stuart is hung like a horse,” Susanna said.

“Stuart?”

“Jody’s husband.”

“Does he know?”

“No.”

“No.”

“He probably wouldn’t believe us if we told him.”

“It is rather far-fetched.”

“Do I have this straight? You’re Tyler,” Carlos said, pointing to Susanna. “You’re Susanna,” he said turning to face the woman he didn’t know. “And you’re Jody whose husband is Stuart,” he said looking at Tyler. They nodded as he got each one right. “Good. Why are any of you here?” Carlos said.

“Isn’t it obvious?” Jody said.

“We want to buy the charm,” Susanna said. “Neither of them want to stay as Tyler forever and I’m not going back.”

“By the way, if Stuart Meecham calls about an appointment, could you say you’re booked solid?” Tyler said.

“I am going to murder Frank,” Carlos said.



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