I manage to cool things off between me and Sam, just in time for his departure from the business and from our lives. I am grateful when he moves to the west coast– with Rachel of all people, as an investor in her yoga studio slash raw food restaurant venture.
Then there was just me and Eric again. Deep in the doldrums. The routine existence of our complacent domesticity. The restaurant kept my mind busy, but at some point it seemed to run itself and I wondered if my presence was even necessary. With my general manager Lydia overseeing the operation there wasn’t much for me to do anymore.
Even though I avoided contact with Sam, he still texted me now and then and I have to admit that when he did it made my day. Sometimes when I was really bored, usually in the late afternoon, we would chat online. It always started out light, but sometimes our conversations left my skin flushed and my heart rate elevated.
Sam would often elaborate on ways in which he wanted to please me. And I let him. Because it felt good to be pursued. To be wanted in a way I felt I would never recapture with Eric. I held the sensual energy I indulged with Sam, hoping it might infuse our sex life with a little of the magic we had lost.
“What time is the flight?”
“Seven-thirty, but you know how security is…better get there early.”
I help Eric pack for his second trip to New York this month. Already, I feel the dull emptiness of his absence and realize I often feel that way when he is at home.
“Do you want to do anything special tonight?” I ask pointedly.
“Like what?” he asks, zipping the suitcase and setting it beside the bed.
“Don’t you think we should? It’s been a few weeks now.”
“Well, when you put it that way, how can I resist?” He makes a dour face.
“Now, come on…don’t be like that, let’s have some wine and relax.”
I pour two glasses of Malbec and join him on the balcony.
“I don’t know what the market sees in this artist, but before we sign him I’ve got to make sure his work fits our aesthetic. Otherwise, you know I wouldn’t go out there again.”
“I know, it’s important. The gallery is your baby…our baby.”
He pats my hand, gently. “How are things going with the re-opening?”
“Great, obviously– I’m sitting here at home with my handsome man and not running around borrowing favors, like in the beginning. Remember those days?”
He chuckles. “You’ve definitely paid your dues, my love. You deserve to relax. You hired an excellent staff.”
“But, I am interviewing all next week for a new front desk coordinator. Lena is moving back to California next month.”
I finish the last sip of my wine. “Are you getting sleepy?”
“No, I’m fine, just a little fatigued.”
“I’ll go get Sophie settled in for the night and meet you in the bedroom?”
I slip into the soft pink chemise I bought on my little shopping spree with Chris today. The satin slinks over my hips like second skin. I turn around in the mirror admiring toned shoulders and the shape of my breasts beneath the thin fabric.
Eric is brushing his teeth in the master bath. Reaching around with both hands, I stroke the hair on his chest, slowly planting kisses across his shoulder blades as our eyes meet in the mirror.
“You are as pretty as the day I met you.”
“Hmmm, I think I’m prettier than the day you met me!” I tease, pulling him by the hand and over to the bed.
“Well, aren’t we full of ourselves tonight?”
“I’d rather be full of you!”
“Well come on over here, girl.”
He kisses me and pulls my body to him, shoving my skirt up brusquely as we fall into a plush mass of pillows and bedding.
“No panties,” he notes approvingly. “That’s our good girl.”
In one swift motion he is on top, supported by one elbow, stroking my labia vigorously with his free hand while I caress him to hardness.
He slides into me, eyes closed. Bearing down, he thrusts slowly and rhythmically, hands planted firmly, the mattress shifting with the impact of his efforts.
Allowing my body to become one with the bed, I rock like a boat swept out to sea, battered like waves against the shore. The sensation becomes one long, slow, rippling pulse, like a metronome. Not unpleasant, but the effort doesn’t register enough heat to provoke an orgasm.
“Turn over,” he directs.
I turn over. Knowing he is reaching his final approach, I prepare for the grand finale. He breathes a heavy sigh, shuddering into his climax.
We lie on our backs staring into the dark.
“My darling, you were wonderful tonight.” He sings softly into the silence.
The Clapton song reference used to make me giggle and shower him with afterglow kisses. But over the years the line has hardened in my mind, twisted–sounding like an old joke that is no longer funny. We just keep telling it out of habit.
I hear him snore softly as I slip into my robe, lifting my phone from the bedside table.
To be continued…