He walked in without knocking, calling out a loud greeting so as to not startle me.
“Honey! I’m home!” he joked.
My angst had been building for weeks, the lust palatable. The last time I had sex was with Lover on October 23rd. That’s fifty-eight days without that which I crave. I had reached my tipping point. My heels clicked across the wooden floors as I ran from the kitchen to the front door, tackling my out of town friend with a fierce embrace.
Just home from the office myself, I still wore work clothes. The long, flowing black skirt I had slipped on that morning grazed the tops of creamy ankle boots and a winter white angora sweater wrapped me in comfort. My hair was pulled up into a high, loose bun and, thanks to a good skin day, my face was free of makeup except for mascara to highlight my long, blonde eyelashes.
“Don’t you look sweet and innocent,” he said, kissing the center of my forehead.
“Do I?” I demurred. “I certainly don’t feel that way.”
I still hadn’t stepped away from his embrace and looked up at him through my eyelashes.
“Don’t toy with me Marian. You know better,” he said firmly.
I didn’t pretend to not know what he meant. In the past he once told me, “You keep men like fish in a basket. You give them just enough water to survive, but never let them be free of you. And you don’t ever commit and go ahead and devour them. They are left in purgatory.”
Instead of slipping back into friendship mode as I’ve done when he has scolded me in the past, I stood on tiptoe and wrapped my arms around his neck, leaning into him with the full length of my body. He looked into my eyes, as if trying to read my intentions. I met his steady stare with nothing to hide. His lips landed softly on my right cheek and then the left one before he pulled me close.
“Oh Marian,” he whispered in my hair, “What am I going to do with you?”
“You could kiss me,” I said into his warm brown sweater, trying not to whine.
“And where would that lead?” he chuckled, “Are you ready for that?”
“I don’t know,” I admitted, “I’m just needy I suppose.”
“Well, let’s not make any rash decisions on empty stomachs. How about I take you to dinner?”
I nodded, stepped out of his arms, grabbed my purse and let him shepherd me into his sleek, graphite colored, high-performance car. He has always liked nice things and can be materialistic to a fault, but as I sank into the soft black leather and ran my fingers along the burled wood finishes I wasn’t complaining. The powerful engine purred, then roared as he transitioned smoothly from first to second to third, his long elegant fingers gently flicking the steering wheel mounted shifters.
We walked into the restaurant and I glanced around as he asked the hostess for a table. My heart jumped into my throat. Who should be sitting in the bar, drinking whiskey and looking like delectable trouble? None other than Lover, the man who gives me so much physical pleasure but lacks emotional depth. He didn’t see me and continued talking and laughing with the men he sat with at the bar. My out of town friend doesn’t know about Lover. This had the potential for awkwardness. I took pre-emptive action and texted him.
Me: How’s the whiskey? Don’t look around. lol
Lover: Serious? You here???
Me: Yeah. Afraid so. But with a friend. So behave.
Lover: A friend? New guy?
Me: Really just a friend. But still… He doesn’t know about you.
Lover: I’m gonna come over there and whip out my cock.
Me: I’d fall on it out of habit. And we’d get kicked out.
Lover: Well then we need to find time for that to happen.
Me: Yes, we do.
Lover: Text me when you’re ready for me to fill your pussy and you want to cum all over my cock.
Me: Ok : )
My friend never knew of the exchange and ate his soup and chicken sandwich in blissful ignorance. I nibbled on my salad, keyed up and on edge. Lover left before us, surreptitiously tipping the brim of his ball cap at me as he passed. Out of town friend finished his meal, paid and we walked out into the cold night.
Once back at my house, I poured drinks—aged single malt Scotch for both of us—while he built a fire in the fireplace. I struck matches and lit all the candles in the room, filling the space with a warm, flickering glow. We sank into my worn brown leather sofa, his arm draped around me, my head on his chest, our sock feet resting on the old trunk in front of us and listened to the sound of the cracking fire. He had plugged in his iPod to my stereo and soft mix of 1970s classic rock filled the room. For hours we talked, laughing quietly, making plans for Christmas, remembering details of our long friendship. Every now and then I’d get up to freshen our drinks and he would add another log to the fire until at last he whispered in my ear, “It’s time for bed, Marian.”
I nodded sleepily, stood, grasped his fingers and led him into my bedroom. He sat on the edge of my bed while I went in the bathroom and slipped on a silky black nightgown. When I returned, he had turned down the covers and fluffed my pillows. I slid between the sheets, let him tuck me in and closed my eyes as he bent and gently stroked my hair. I didn’t ask him to stay. I was afraid he would tell me no. So he slipped away to the guest room, leaving me alone with my thoughts.
Do I just want him because I’m in a dry spell, I wondered as I snuggled under my down duvet. Does his careful dodging of my advances just make me play into his hands? Does he just not want me? Am I falling into the trap of wanting what I can’t have? And if he does ever give in, will I tire of him and cast him aside? Do I really treat men like fish in a basket? I simply don’t know.