Fish in a Basket

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.

39 thoughts on “Fish in a Basket

  1. Ha! Well that could have been a great blog post … Lover making a scene.
    Fish in A Basket? I suspect out of town friend knows you so much better than any of us ever will, but it does seem to ring true somewhat, does it not? Oh, but to swim in that water .. sigh …


  2. you said it…or rather he did – the answer lies in what he sees you as, and like Mike said, He knows you better than any of us.. That is very interesting or perhaps he doesn’t want to ruin the relationship you have already.

      • well, god – I started with 3 answers to your question
        1. he didn’t take your offer… he knew he could have
        2. Were you serious or just wanted him for the night? ( maybe you aren’t serious about long term and he sees that but he is more of the serious kind)
        3. tell him exactly how you feel or drop it and don’t be laying on him drinking wine if your friends. I don’t get that but that is very well my problem. If I’m drinking wine…laying on some man I find attractive – I’m after him. I wouldn’t do that, especially alone for the night – I couldn’t take it closeness without touching more and more. I don’t understand that blurring of the friend/lover boundaries. That makes me think – why hasn’t he tried anything before this? If you guys are friends and snuggle while drinking wine – I’m an easy whore or you two are masters of control. OK – I’m rambling.

        • He is definitely the more serious kind. And I still don’t know how serious I am… and because I respect him so, I’m trying not to push until I do know how I feel. You’re right. Our boundaries have blurred. But they’ve been that way for ages. I think we use each other for intimacy… And I think the control part is easier just because we have known each other for so long.

  3. Sometimes I’m impressed by the things that come out of my mouth or I put to paper (or blog, as it were). Little morsels of wisdom that aren’t really lessons but mostly observations. Anyways, I appreciated what your friend said, harsh as it was. There was a poetic air about it almost. And you remembering and reciting it for us reveals depths I think. I wonder if people remember the things that I’ve said. (That is in no way a plea to talk about me.)

    I really enjoyed the text exchange. While the subject got naughty quite quickly it still felt innocent. As if it was simply the way lovers talked to each other.

    Your final paragraph feels like an echo of my heart… I agonize over the same questions about my own friend, adding the double edged fear of never knowing the answers or having the answers be something I don’t want to accept.

    Best of luck Marian, can’t wait to hear more… if you’re willing to share. ;)

    • Maybe your friend is asking the same questions. :)

      And yes. Lover and I have our own very naughty language. :)

      As far as what my friend said, it has stuck with me because it stung. He didn’t mean it that way, but it left me wondering about myself. And it made me feel cruel. Not something I am proud of at all.

      • Totally can relate…..I think I’m the same way…..always leave them wanting more…but I don’t want to hurt them…I’m just trying to avoid them hurting me. So I avoid the true intimacy and stick with what works best… Then feel horrible and wanton….sigh

  4. MmmmI feel a bit inadequate not having written anything on my blog lol, but hopefully you wont hold that against me! This was well written and interesting! It would seem your out of town friend is not into you sexually at least if he didnt fuck you after that night, but he is into you as a true friend and that in itself is priceless. And I’m sure you adorned his classy European car beautifully, as he adorned your leather lounge! And its interesting to see you say that Lover has a lack of emotional depth and you dont take the relationship deeper, which is sorta what your out of town friend seemed to be saying about you. Neither of them seem right for you as partners! Keep one as a friend and one as a lover i think! And hope that drought breaks soon hehe ;)

    • I certainly won’t hold your lack of blogging against you. And you could be right. But part of me really wants to see what could happen between me and out of town friend. I’m scared to cross that line too… So we will see what if anything develops.

  5. That’s too hard a situation to imagine to me. This could never happen to me… Somehow I can’t imagine close friendships without sex, but I guess I might not be the common friend either… And even less the common lover…

    I am intrigued…

  6. If it’s the case, you wouldn’t be the first woman or man to shield him/herself from hurt by keeping a number of possibles in a basket. That isn’t necessarily wrong, in my opinion; there are periods when we’d all do it if we could pull it off.
    Your friend has a fine way with a metaphor, by the way; sounds like an intelligent person with some pride and some perspective on life. (smooch, smooch, Marian; I hope your dry spell comes to a gushing end soon.)

  7. Friend has depth and doesn’t want to spoil relationship if you don’t Marion. What I mean by this is if you don’t want more than a tumble, he doesn’t want to introduce sex into a friendship he values. I suspect his pleasure in your company is being protected by his arms-length actions. I doubt it has anything to do with his desire for you. I would venture a guess, if you asked you would find somewhere in his past he has crossed the line before and it ruined a friendship he valued, he isn’t willing to do so again.

    As for Lover, not much of one if it has been 58 days.

Talk to me. Please.

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