The sound of our breathing filled the room, the soft pounding against the mattress, the feel of his scratchy scruff against my neck warm bursts of breath as we spent our afternoon doing something we shouldn’t have, each other.
It had been my third afternoon that week alone, cutting out of work early just to sex up my husband, but I felt zero guilt in doing so. His being gone made me appreciate the sex we had so much more, and when he was here within my reach, I was sure as hell not going to deny myself. Nor was he, he was always more than up for it, the first afternoon I surprised him the shock on his face had been evident as he worked away in the yard making pieces for the wrap around pouch seat for the Stevens’. It was hard to resist really, watching him do his thing out there all sweaty and over worked. It did things to a girl, this girl in particular. So, I did what any good wife would do, I took full advantage.
“You’re laughing again. This is not funny matter Sookie.” He said as he fell back against the pillow again, as I balanced on top.
“Not a funny…matter…” I panted, planting my hands on his chest for balance. “Tickling beard issues…”
He grunted before taking my breasts in his hands before taking one to his mouth.
I giggled again.
“Christ woman.” He said out of breath rolling his eyes at me, I knew my giggling was doing things to him more so than annoying him. I couldn’t help it!
“Sorry…” I said pulling back but grinding into him a little harder still, it made him grunt again but for a different reason.
“Fuck.” He moaned, throwing his head back a little, his eyes closing.
“Trying to…” I answered breathlessly before he flipped us over again both of us flushed red and screaming for release. Sometimes it came, literally, sometimes it didn’t, but I knew that to be normal now. Life wasn’t like bad fiction where everyone experienced mutual orgasm or any orgasm at all every time and there were rainbows and bells, sadly life was just was not like that. What was weird was, even when I tried to fake it he knew. I guessed for a guy that had been with a lot of women and who actually cared about their sexual satisfaction, that it was an easy thing to spot after a while. That or maybe I just wasn’t a very good faker. He never got annoyed as I had expected him to, but, always attempted to get me there even after he’d get there himself. The man wasn’t afraid to try, that was for sure. God loved a trier, and in Erik’s form, so did I.
He kissed my thighs, my bellybutton, my breasts, and my neck until he got to my mouth making his way back up my body as I came down off my eventual high.
“We good?” he asked.
“We’re good… very good.” I laughed fixing myself next to him as we laid silently for time. My phone beeped on the table and I already knew what it was. It was Tara; we were going for cocktails after work, even though my after work meant something different now.
“I should shower; I’m meeting her at six.”
“That means moving…” he whispered hugging me closer. “No moving. Nap.”
“Can’t. She said she wants to talk to me about something, I guess I should see what that is.”
“Telephones are good for talk. Call her.”
I just rolled my eyes before I rolled away from Erik patting him on the chest.
“You nap… I’ll be about a couple of hours, think about what you want for dinner, I’ll bring back takeout, I don’t feel like cooking tonight.”
“Mmm good sounds.” He was already half asleep, as usual after sex. I just left him to his hopefully sweet dreams as I took the world’s fastest shower and slipped into a black dress and some heels. Effort without actually making an effort.
“Jesus look at you, you’re practically screaming sex.” Tara laughed as we sipped our cocktails at our table at the bar. “It’s nice; don’t get me wrong after these last few months…”
I grinned not hiding it in the slightest.
“It’s been so bad of me, but most of this week I’ve shut up shop early to go home and –“
“Fuck your husband. As you should, if you can do it, do it.” She clinked glasses with me and nodded. I decided to agree.
“So, this thing you wanted to tell me?”
“Right, well, here’s the thing. I still… I still want to get married Sookie, get married, settle down and have kids.”
Uh kay. I thought, but she was with Pam now and not her ex. Pam didn’t seem like the civil ceremony type of woman. Or any ceremony type of woman really. She was great at matching others, she even said so herself, but her own personal beliefs weren’t exactly on the road to tradition.
“Well that’s just it. I love her, I want to be with her, and just because I’m with a woman now doesn’t mean I still can’t have those things in my life, right? I mean, there are ways and means for everything.”
“Oh, wow. Okay…what does she –“
“Well, that’s the thing I’ve sort of brought it up and brought it up she just kind of brushes it off or promises we’ll talk about it later and we never do.”
“I know I’m a hypocrite for even saying this but you guys haven’t been together that long…”
“Yeah you are!”
“No, hey, look. Hear me out okay, with Erik and I it worked because we were both in that same place in our lives and it worked and clicked and the fact that we married so fast didn’t seem to matter. You’re different and Pam certainly is. I didn’t walk out of a years long relationship into another one with a person of a different gender –which comes with its own set of system shocks I’m sure… to try to pick up where I left off in my hunt for a ring.”
She sat stunned.
“Don’t mince your words, damn.”
“You don’t mince ‘em with me, I’m giving it to you straight like you do me on the daily. If this is something you both want, I will support and love and cheerlead it til you both say I do. But only if it’s both what you really want and not just what you think you need.”
“What’s that meant to mean?”
“It means… Tara you’ve been obsessed with the idea of getting married since we were ten.”
“So were you!”
“I was ten! Point is, make sure it’s for the right reasons.”
“Like you and Erik.” Her face hardened.
“Yes. Like me and Erik.”
“The husband you paid for.”
Then it was my turn to wear my poker face.
“Don’t play dumb, because you certainly aren’t.”
“Pam told you?” How dare she, I thought. That was confidential. We signed shit to that effect and everything!
“Oh bullshit, what was it? Pillow talk?”
“Pam didn’t tell me, Sookie. I was on her laptop and …. I was snooping around and I found your file…and his file.”
I was livid, at her, at Pam, maybe at myself.
“Great… just great!”
“Why didn’t you tell me?”
“That what? I was so lost that I resorted to a relationship pimp to find me someone? How exactly might that convo have gone, Tara? Massive amounts of laughing and judgements aside.”
“I wouldn’t have –“
“You would, hell, you just DID!” I was getting angrier by the second, so I got up from my seat and grabbed my bag. “I have to go.”
“Sookie, please wait I didn’t meant to sound like –“
“But you did. You ask me to sit here and not judge you for making crazy choices when you did the same thing to me. It was obviously not something I wanted talked about and if you were my friend you’d have known that. That’s why I didn’t tell you. This what you want with Pam? Do it, don’t do it… I don’t care anymore.”
By the time I got home I had worked myself up into a state, I didn’t know why I was angry she found out, maybe it was how she found out. That it wasn’t on my terms, that I hadn’t been the one to tell her, or was it the fact that she used it against me like a weapon in her argument -I had paid for a husband, ha at least she wouldn’t be resorting to that.
“You okay?” Erik asked coming in about ten minutes later from a walk with Sam, clearly seeing on my face that I maybe wasn’t so okay. That and I’d broken out the vodka.
“Tara knows about how we really met.”
“You told her then?”
“No.” I deadpanned as he took a seat next to me, taking my glass and a sip of my drink before giving it back. “Apparently, she was snooping on Pam’s laptop and found our files. Bitch.”
Yeah, I was pissed.
“Sookie… did you really think it would be secretive forever?”
“You’re going to time logic me now? Really?”
“Is it such a bad thing that she knows?”
“No! I mean, yes… I don’t know okay? I just don’t like that she’s judging me for it.”
“She basically threw it in my face when I tried to talk her out of wanting to marry Pam?”
His eyes widened.
“But Pam doesn’t believe in that.”
“I know, I mean who knows maybe with Tara it’s different.”
“Like you were different for me?” he smiled and it made me want to smile even though I was steaming mad.
“Do I think she’s rushing into this? Yes. But we were different, we knew we were on sort of the same page – at least eventually.” I shrugged. “I don’t know, I’m just mad. It hurts that she’d use it to … hurt me I guess.”
“Are you ashamed?”
Nail on the head, as always.
“A little? I mean not of you, never of you or us, but sort of …how we came to be?”
He moved in then, took me in his arm for a side cuddle.
“Sookie, we found each other in not so … traditional ways. You are all the way here and I was all the way there. Without Pamela, and her ways, you and I would never have met and I hate that idea more than anything else. I would have been still lost, maybe married someone wrong, you … maybe the sames. I am thankful for Pam. She is like a human version of online dating, and many people do that now. I am not ashamed of how we came to be… but if you are then that is something you have to think of for yourself I cannot fix that.”
“You know I hate it when you’re completely right….”
He just rolled his eyes and squeezed me.
“Forgive Tara, she seems lost. It’s not easy not knowing your place, we of all people know that feeling.”
I said there in silence for a little while longer, stewing in my anger, as Gran would say.
“I guess… tomorrow. Tonight, let’s get drunk and watch bad TV?”
“Sounds like a plan. I’ll get the cocktail shaker.”
He made a mean margarita. And after the evening I had, I just wanted to get drunk and silly with my husband, even if I had paid for him or not.
I’d deal with my Tara issues later. Much later.
I paced the bathroom, as I waited for her to answer the phone.
“There’s a friend!” I whispered harshly into the phone as I paced.
“There are more than one teenager in the garden now. Lucy has a friend.”
I heard her giggle, this was not the time!
“Well, of course she does she’s sixteen. Sixteen year old girls have friends, most of them will disappoint her in life and they won’t speak again past graduation but hey…”
“Sookie that is pointless to me now there are two of them staring at me as I work, sunning in the garden and even though I am a Swede and melt easy in this sun filled country even I know for normal people here it is not sunning time, there is no sun to shine on their bodies and they are sunning and I don’t like it because no one else is home.”
“Wow honey, you’re panicking right now it’s okay, look, it’s probably harmless.”
“In Bikini tops and her grandmother or father are not at home and there is no one but me and the cleaning person named Cindy who is Spanish but speaks even badder English than I do. Help.”
“Okay, okay I’ll… drop by with some kind of floral excuse or something I don’t know but I’ll be there and talk to you and maybe them, you know, metaphorically pee all around you so those little perky breasted bitches know that you’re mine. Will that make you feel more secure that they aren’t sexual predators about to jump you?”
“A little yes, thank you.”
“Okay, now stop panicking in the bathroom and I’ll be there in at the most fifteen minutes.”
“Okay good. Good.” I nodded taking a deep breath.
Teenagers were scary.
“Yes?” I answered coming back out to the porch, far from then but still in earshot. I had water, as that was my excuse for leaving in the first place.
“How old are you?” Lucy asked, looking to her friend.
“You don’t look that old.” Her friend countered, both of them leaning up on their elbows, laying out in the sun.
“Well I am, very old, far too old really.” I nodded, moving the planks from the side of the porch to start fitting them.
“Do you like it here? In America?”
“Yeah Erik, Jane and I were talking –“Jane, her friend’s name was Jane. Jane was the opposite of Lucy, she was taller with smaller breasts and a tiny waist, and they talked a lot about lacrosse I assumed they played.
“And we think it’s really cool that you moved all the way from like, Europe, for love. It’s so romantic.”
I looked at them then and didn’t want to feel the fear of the half-naked teenage girl. They seemed like nice girls in truth. So I decided to try and relax.
“No really, guys we know so wouldn’t do that; it’s sort of amazing your wife must be like, really pretty right?” Jane continued.
“I think so…she is beautiful.”
“So are you…” Jane sighed unapologetically and it made me laugh, Lucy nudged her in the ribs and got an annoyed look in return. “What? He is!” she whispered and I just kept on working. I heard a car pull up a few minutes later, and saw Sookie at the side of the house then. I silently breathed a sigh of relief.
“Hi girls?” Sookie said as she approached and Lucy sat up, followed by Jane. They both looked at her curiously.
“Who are you?” Jane asked but Lucy knew. I knew from further conversations with Sookie that they had met a few times, but it had been years.
“You’re Sookie right? I think I remember you from a long time ago when I would go shopping with my grandmother.”
Sookie nodded, walking up to the porch where I was standing.
“That’s me, I’m just here to talk to Erik for a minute, that’s okay with you girls right?”
They shrugged and Sookie winked at me before leaning up to kiss me. I knew they were watching and so did she, we didn’t make a show of ourselves but a little performance was given on both our parts. As Sookie had called it, her metaphorical peeing was hopefully working. She led me inside the massive open kitchen where she couldn’t hold her laughter any longer.
“That was fun!” She looked around. “Nice digs, no one home?”
“No one’s home but their cleaning lady and the teens.”
“The teens, you make them sound so awful. They seem harmless, and it’s nice to see you aren’t topless and thus destroying their hormones by the minute.”
“I am so warm… I think I will do majority of the works in our yard… bring them only over here for fitting. I have most of the measurements in place now anyway. They stare. It’s unsettling.”
She laughed again.
“You’re so cute, big giant softie of a man.”
“I am not a softie.”
She narrowed her eyes at me, moving in so I could wrap my arms around her.
“Oh? What are you then? A hardy man?” she smiled and I just couldn’t help myself.
“Well, if you give me a minute… I could be just that for you.”
Her eyes widened.
“You did not just…shh!” She looked around as if someone were listening. And knowing the teens, they probably were somewhere. “I can’t believe I’m even in here doing this…” she shook her head with a smile, before tucking her hair behind her eyes shyly like she did. God I loved her.
“We got an invite to an old friend’s baby christening next week, it’s a snore, but it’s their first kid so it’s all a big deal.”
“Yup, if it sucks we can just make excuses and leave, it won’t be so bad.” She chuckled nodding out the window behind us. The girls were watching and pretending they weren’t.
“They’re just… nosy. Curious is a better word maybe. We sheltered Southern girls are extremely curious.”
I squeezed her a little tighter, making her jerk away.
“Here is so not the place.”
“But I thought you were …curious.” I wiggled my brows at her and she just blushed. Still, after all the time I could still make her blush. It was a mission of mine to always be able to do that.
A year from now: ten years from now.
“Plenty of time for that… later when we have less of an audience.”
“I’m going to hold you to that…” I said and she just stepped out of my embrace.
“As nice as this has been, I’m in the middle of an order, so if I’ve metaphorically peed enough, you good?”
“I think so… they still watching?”
She looked past me and smiled.
She took my hand and we walked out into the garden, Sookie smiled her Sookie smiled that she smiled when she wasn’t sure what to do or say.
“Well, girls, enjoying the sunshine?”
There was little sun shining, this was all very pointless.
“Yeah for sure. So you’re Erik’s wife right?”
“I am, and you are?” Sookie directed back to Jane.
“Jane Winsor, I live three doors down, my dad runs the gym in town.”
“That’s nice. I hope Erik being here isn’t bothering –“
“Oh no, he’s really not bothering us, it makes a nice change, the usual working people around here are usually such a snore… but he’s fine.” Lucy said with a happy sigh.
“Okay … well you all… have a nice time?” She looked back at me with wide eyes as if to say ‘yeah I don’t know’. “You know, be good and all that… I guess. You know, don’t be jail bait, it ain’t cute.”
With that she leaned up and kissed me on the cheek.
“Maybe working at home isn’t such a bad idea after all.” She said with a giggle before patting me on the ass before she made a swift exit.
Man, women were complicated. Teenage ones even more so. I was never as glad to not be a teen as I was in the days I worked at Mrs Steven’s house. The ones that were, didn’t stand a chance where those girls were concerned. Something I would come to find out a lot more about when the job offer from Lucy’s dad came to me as I finished up the porch seating a few weeks later. They were looking for a wood shop teacher three days a week and apparently the women in his life were nothing but complimentary about my wood working skills. With literal wood this time, and not the metaphors that Sookie’s friends threw around and think I don’t know what they really speak of.
Could I teach? Even more of a question could I teach teenagers?