Now I’m second guessing the entire past year. The months we spent in therapy, the trust building exercises, the concentrated work we both put into our marriage since last summer.
I never told Eric about the flirtation with Sam. How I let myself be pursued by him in the weeks after our brief encounter. And for those weeks after he moved away. But there was really nothing to tell. It’s not like I cheated. Not really, anyway. But now I am left to wonder, was Melissa the first and only breach of Eric’s fidelity? And what now?
I’m not dressed to party tonight, but I don’t care. My jeans and t-shirt were the first thing I grabbed as I rushed out of the bedroom, leaving Eric and Melissa to their lovers’ feast. How did things get so out of control?
I can already hear the thumping beat before I get out of the car. The valet gives me a wink. “Have a good time,” he says.
Christophe is easy to find—holding court at the main bar, chatting with one of the dancers gyrating on a narrow lacquered countertop cluttered with empty beer bottles. Man package bulging from the seams of a shiny red g-string bobbing just inches from his face.
“Stacey, this is Jorge. Jorge, this is Stacey.”
“Nice to meet you, Jorge.” I yell over the music, squinting into the red and blue strobe lights bouncing off his chiseled form. I smile up at him, admiring his Adonis-like physique, which I assume is a prerequisite for the job.
“Stacey is my best friend!” Chris gives my shoulder a squeeze. “She’s the owner of Jasmine, in the Beaux Arts Hotel.”
“Jess, I know the place.” Jorge squats down over my Pinot Gris to be heard. “Are juse hiring any help? I am long time pastry chef, that is my true passion!” He resumes his gyration, now, bumping and grinding emphatically– making up for his short break.
“Check in on Monday!” I yell up at him. “Ask for Lydia!”
“Sank you so much!” he nods his head of dark hair that falls in long layers along this prominent jawline and blows a kiss, shuffling hazelnut tan feet down the bar.
“This is just a temporary thing—working here. He’s six weeks’ sober and trying to get his life back together. It’s a long story,” Chris sighs, gazing adoringly at Jorge’s oil-slick and sinewy backside.
“Isn’t he pretty?”
“Yes, he is pretty, but don’t you think you should take it slow after what happened with Dex? I mean, how well do you know this guy?”
“We just met, but I am officially smitten!” he beams.
“Well, don’t say I didn’t warn you. He looks like a real heart breaker, “ I elbow him in the side playfully.
“Oh, please, can we keep him? Can we keep him?” he claps his hands excitedly, bouncing on the bar stool.
The bartender refills my wine with a sideways glance. I pretend not to notice him roll his eyes as I take a sip, recalling the unsavory parting of the ways between himself and Chris not too long ago. These upsets tend to pass quickly in their group, but they are never truly forgotten.
“Jorge is having a party later at his condo—well, it’s not his, it’s his boy, er ex-boyfriend’s place. He is always away on business or something. Right on the beach. And he’s so cute. Pleeeeze??”
“Chris, he has a boyfriend? What is it with you?”
“Boys just wanna have fun!”
He grabs both my hands and slides me off the bar stool and into the electric tangle of humid, gyrating bodies on the dance floor. A sea of bulging pectorals and biceps. The music is relentless, thumping electronic beats and snares.
Florence + The Machine bursts from the sound system and I dance, fast and reckless–blending seamlessly into the fray. Shouting the words to the song along with the rollicking wave of pleasure seekers:
‘Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out!
It’s hard to dance with a devil on your back
so shake him off!’
To be continued…