He pulled me onto his lap, lifting my skirt, and I awkwardly wrapped my legs around his waist. In one motion, he moved so that I was beneath him, my bare ass against the leather interior of the backseat of his luxury SUV. I pulled him closer to me and he kissed my open mouth, and I felt like we were no longer separate people but one singular being leaving the living world and entering the dream world we shared, just us and our naked bodies. I saw vibrant, shining colors behind my eyes, colors that I’d never seen before, and then he moaned into my neck and it was over.
He leaned his head against my shoulder for a moment, resting his entire body on mine. I could feel his heart pounding. He inhaled deeply, and then he pushed himself off of me so that he was upright in his seat and I was still laying there uncomfortably. He began buttoning his dress shirt, and I managed to sit up beside him. I found my underwear and pulled them back on, and I thought about how I’d consciously chosen to wear this dress today because I knew that this was what I’d be doing during my lunch break.
When he was dressed he looked at me and smiled, and his expression was almost gracious. “You’re so amazing,” he said, and he pulled me to him again, kissing me, sliding his hands over my body, between my legs, under my bra. “I could stay here and kiss you all day,” he murmured, and I felt my body grow hot again. “I want you so badly,” he murmured, kissing my neck and collarbone.
“You just had me,” I said playfully. I could hear the smile in my own voice.
“I know.” He sighed heavily and let me go, but it looked like it pained him to do so. “You just do something to me. It’s like I can’t control myself.”
I didn’t want to be flattered, but I was. “Do you want to control yourself?” I asked.
He chuckled. “No. Not even a little bit.”
I sat closer to him and rested my head on his shoulder. He put his arm around me, and we stayed like that for a few minutes. Then he said, “I should go back to work.”
I thought about earlier that morning. I was at work, sitting at my desk, creeping on his wife’s Instagram account. There was photo of the two of them from the weekend, outside at a backyard barbeque. He was wearing a t-shirt and shorts, which was so interesting to me because I only saw him in dress shirts and slacks. She was wearing denim shorts and a striped tank top. I cruelly thought to myself that her hair was the color of dirty dishwater. I could tell that she was insecure about her teeth because she never showed them when she smiled in any of her photos. He had his arm around her shoulders, the same way he had his arm around me now, and they were both smiling for the camera. In another photo, they wore the same outfits and the same smiles, but they had their kids between them, an elementary school aged girl and a toddler boy. The grass in the photo was so green that it looked photoshopped. I’d looked for signs of me on him, somewhere in his eyes, in his body language, in the way he was maybe slightly leaning away from his wife. I told myself that social media wasn’t real and maybe they’d had a huge argument before that photo was taken, and no one would ever know. My own Instagram account was perfectly curated to only show the most flattering photos I had of myself. I wondered if she ever came across my profile, and if she did, what she thought of me. I wondered if she thought I was pretty. I wondered if she was jealous of my youth, my size 2 jeans, or my breasts that weren’t saggy from nursing two babies.
While he was at cookouts with his family, I’d been in my apartment, wearing the same pajamas for three days and not leaving the house. I checked my phone obsessively to see if he texted. When he didn’t, I couldn’t do anything else. I paced around my apartment, I drank cups of instant coffee, I avoided my roommate when she was home. Saturday night I went to bed horrifically depressed because I didn’t hear from him all day, and he’d asked me not to text him in case his wife saw it. I felt crushed and empty. While I was in bed, I heard my roommate and her boyfriend come home. I couldn’t make out the words that they were saying, but I listened to their voices, talking and laughing. I imagined that one day, that’d be us.
“So,” I said, moving around so that I could make eye contact with him, “do you think you’ll do it soon?” I busied myself straightening my dress, making sure I was presentable to go back to work.
“Do what?” he asked as he adjusted his watch on his wrist.
I blinked. “Tell her you’re leaving,” I said.
He smiled at me again. “Yes,” he said, and he leaned over and kissed me. “Soon. I promise.”
“How soon?” I was trying to look him in the eyes so he’d know I was serious, but I couldn’t help but fidget with my hair and my dress.
“I don’t know.” He wasn’t smiling anymore. “Why does it matter?”
“Well, I have to tell my roommate if I’m going to renew the lease or not.” This seemed a reasonable excuse to me, even if it was completely untrue and my lease wasn’t close to expiring.
He looked confused. “What does your lease have to do with us?”
“Well, we’re going to be together, and I figured we’d be living together, so we need to find a place, and she’ll need to find someone else to take my room,” I replied. “I just need to know, like, a time frame. It’s not a big deal.” I was trying to act like I didn’t care.
“I don’t know,” he said again. “Why are you so worried?”
“I just told you.”
“Well, I don’t know. I don’t have an answer for you. It’ll probably be soon. But I’ll see you here tomorrow, right?”
I felt exhausted suddenly, but like something was brewing inside me. “It’s been eight months,” I said. I felt my cheeks get hot when I said it.
“So? I didn’t know I was on a time limit,” he said, annoyed.
“Well, what the fuck,” I said. “You’ve been saying the same shit for months now. I don’t even know if I believe you anymore.”
“I’m married. I have children. It’s complicated,” he said through his teeth. He was looking at me in a way he never had before. It was the first time I’d ever shown unhappiness with our situation. I’d broken the spell.
“I know it’s complicated,” I said, rolling my eyes. “But you tell me all the time how unhappy you are, how awful she is, how she never wants to fuck you, and then I see photos all over social media and you look pretty fucking happy.”
He stared at me, confused. “What photos?”
“Oh geez.” He rubbed his palm over his face in exasperation. “It’s just Instagram. And I thought you blocked her.”
“I unblocked her.”
“I don’t know.” I looked down at my hands. “Because I felt like it.”
“Are you, like, trying to keep tabs on me?” he said.
“No,” I said softly. “I just want to know what you do without me.”
“Nothing. Boring shit.”
“I don’t care if it’s boring, I want you to do boring stuff with me, not her!” I snapped. “Why don’t you get that? I want you to leave your wife and children and be with me! I thought that was the plan, I thought that’s what we’ve been talking about.”
There was a long pause. We stared at each other. I refused to break eye contact this time. “Are you okay?” he asked.
“Do I look okay?” I said tearfully, louder than I’d intended. I felt my eyes fill with hot tears, destroying the tough exterior I’d attempted to put on. “All I do is wait for you. I wait for you text me, call me, tell me to meet you here.” I sniffed and thought of the beginning of our affair, when he’d take me to expensive lunches at restaurants with real cloth napkins and lists of expensive wines. Rich, flavorful soups, decadent salads with fruit and nuts, crème brulee for dessert.
After a long pause, he said, “I’m sorry.”
I sniffed again and brushed tears from my eyes with my wrist. “For what,” I said. A statement, not a question.
“For upsetting you,” he said.
I looked at him intently. “That’s it? Not for treating me and your wife like trash? Not for lying or cheating?”
“Obviously I’m sorry for those things too,” he said sharply.
I swallowed hard. “Well, it doesn’t seem that way,” I said.
He sighed. “I didn’t mean for this to happen.”
“For what to happen?”
“This.” He gestured between us. “I didn’t think it’d be…like this.”
“I don’t understand.”
“Do I have to spell it out?” he snapped. “I didn’t think we’d still be talking, I thought we were just going to fuck.”
My stomach dropped. I watched him realize what he’d said. “I’m sorry, that came out wrong. I meant I didn’t think I’d have feelings for you.”
I looked down, absently picking at my chipped nail polish. “What exactly are your feelings for me?” I asked, not making eye contact.
“I don’t know what you mean.”
“Why do you like me?”
He looked plainly uncomfortable, and I enjoyed seeing him like that. “You’re beautiful,” he said. “And you’re nice. You’re a nice person.”
Nice was hardly the word I’d use to describe myself. “What do I do in my free time? What do I do for fun?” I didn’t know the answer anymore, but I wanted to see what he said.
He rolled his eyes. “Come on. This is stupid.”
“How about my favorite color?” I continued.
“I have to get back to the office. Are we good?” he said, opening the car door to go back up front to the driver’s seat.
“No, we’re not good,” I snapped. “You’re never going to leave her.”
“I will. Soon.”
“You’ve been saying that for months. I don’t know why I keep believing you. I know you’re full of shit.”
“I am not.” He huffed. “I don’t understand why this is suddenly a problem now. We’ve been fucking for months.”
I stared at him then, looking into his face and eyes. I stared for too long, and I could tell it unnerved him. “You have no idea who I am,” I said softly, as though I was in a trance, the realization finally descending upon me that the man I’d been sleeping with for almost a year knew nothing about me.
“Yes I do,” he said.
“No,” I said, shaking my head. “You really don’t. You don’t know anything about me as a person. I don’t even think you know my last name.”
He wouldn’t meet my eyes, so I knew that I was right.
I felt myself starting to cry again, a lump forming in my throat, and I looked away out the tinted window of the backseat. I thought of all the plans I’d canceled in case he called, summoning me to meet him in a secluded parking lot. I thought about how I’d never seen the inside of his house. At first, he’d paid for hotel rooms for us, but as time went on he stopped, saying his wife was questioning why he was spending so many nights at the office. I told him that I understood, but I didn’t like the feeling of being naked in the backseat of a car on a regular basis. It made me feel like a stupid high school kid, like I hadn’t matured past age seventeen. I thought about the perfume I’d picked out just for him, because he said he liked it, and how he always showered before he went home to make sure my scent was completely gone from his body. The perfume was on my dresser. The bottle was made of glass, and I imagined hurling it at the floor so that the glass shattered into a million tiny fragments.
“Has this happened before?” I asked.
“What?” he said.
I waited for him to understand what I meant. When he didn’t, I said, “Have you had an affair before?” For some reason, I’d never thought to ask him.
He shook his head. “No.”
I was surprised. “Never?”
“Nope.” He looked at me expectantly, like he thought he was redeeming himself in my eyes.
He shrugged. “I don’t know. Never met anyone, I guess.”
I knew that he hoped this would make me feel special, and for a second it did, but I immediately dismissed the feeling as not being real. After a long silence, he said again, “I need to get back to the office.”
I nodded. “Okay,” I said. I felt numb.
“So…I’ll see you tomorrow?” he said slowly, like he was suggesting it for the first time, waiting for me to confirm for him that yes, everything was alright, nothing was going to change between us, I was content to be his secret mistress for the rest of my life while he continued to go home to his wife and kids every night like I didn’t even exist.
“No,” I choked out. “I can’t do this anymore.”
He sighed again. “Okay. I’m not going to argue with you.”
I didn’t respond. I opened the car door to let myself out. He did the same, then he walked around the back of the car to stand in front of me. He opened his arms to me, like he wanted me to hug him, but I didn’t move. I just stood there with my arms crossed tight over my chest. He waited a moment, then he walked past me and got into the driver’s seat of his SUV. He turned the car on, and I turned my back to walk to my car, not wanting to let him see my face.
I opened my car door and sat down heavily in my seat. I looked around, and for some reason the inside of my car looked different. There were empty coffee cups and granola bar wrappers and old fast food bags strewn about. I started the car and drove to the nearest gas station. I filled my tank for the first time in weeks instead of putting in a quick $10 like I usually did, and then I cleaned out my car. I knew it would make me late going back to work, but I did it anyway. I filled an entire trash bag. When I was done, my car felt new, even though it was the same beater it had been before.
I drove back to work with the radio off. The pit in my stomach was dissolving. I was hungry for what felt like the first time in months. I entered a Dunkin Donuts drive thru, and I ordered a large iced coffee with cream and sugar, and a bagel with cream cheese. I checked my phone while I waited for my food. I had no new messages. When I arrived at work, I parked and ate alone in my car. It was the most delicious bagel I’d ever had.
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The story is about the never ending story about a man cheeting his wife. When the mistress wants him to leave his wife it is the same story ”soon”. The story is well written even if it is not original. The toneis, however, well kept and the ending is good.