I stripped the beds and made them with fresh sheets. I put out clean towels.
I swept and emptied the trashcans. I bagged the garbage and took it to the chute.
I did the dishes, taking care to leave only one cup, one plate and one glass in the dish rack.
I had to hide the evidence.
Anna was coming for a sleepover.
My on again/off again girlfriend was back on.
I knew our most recent break up was mended when she stopped over with a contrived game in which we could embrace only by asking permission to touch.
The next time she came over, she treated me to a slow strip tease.
A week later, I was in her bedroom reddening her ass with a riding crop.
She can’t give up the good sex.
She had offered to cook dinner for my birthday. She also wanted to give me a blowjob in my new desk chair.
I checked my calendar and offered a Saturday night.
“Really?” she replied archly. “Do you know that in the two years we’ve been seeing one another, you’ve never slept with me on a weekend night?”
“Is that right?” I asked.
“That’s right,” she asserted.
I’m sure she was right. She keeps track of things like that.
“Huh,” I said.
I guess I am more likely to spend weekends with people who don’t dump me every four months.
Now, I was a little nervous about having her at my place overnight. Anna is an incorrigible snoop. She can’t seem to help but notice small details that lead her to infer big things about my secret life with other women.
She knows I date others. I spare her the details.
I did my best to put everything in order.
There was no evidence of the Nubian orgy the night before. There was no evidence of the threesome that preceded it. No evidence of the threesome that transpired that morning.
I paced the apartment, looking under furniture, around planters, on shelves. I saw nothing one wouldn’t expect to find in the home of a single father with three children.
Anna arrived late, as usual, and loaded with grocery bags.
I reached to help her. “Are you making dinner or moving in? Gee, this weighs a ton.”
“Well,” she began. “I wasn’t sure you would have everything I needed.” She hefted her bags to the table. She pulled a carton from one. “Like, no one has parchment paper.”
“I think I do, actually.” I kissed her cheek. “But one can never have too much parchment paper. Can I take your coat, baby?”
I held out my hand.
As she unbuttoned her coat, her eyes drifted to my piles of mail. She stopped mid-button.
“Jefferson, who’s Viviane?” Her eyes never left the mail.
“Huh?” My hands continued to wait for her coat. “Oh, Viviane is a friend of mine. Why?”
“Because her name is on this envelope.” She fiddled with her button.
My eyes followed her to the mail. “Yes, I can see that. My friend Viviane gave me something in an envelope. Your coat, please?”
She looked at me as if to surmise the veracity of my explanation. Apparently satisfied, she continued to unbutton her coat.
How stupid of me to have mail, I thought.
I hung her coat. “Would you like some wine?” I offered.
She sat on the couch. “Yes, please. I’ll start cooking once I recover from the walk over.”
“Take your time, dear. Relax. I’ll be right back.” I went to the kitchen to open the wine. “What are you cooking anyway?” I called.
“Scallops,” she called back.
“Oh, yum,” I said, cutting the foil from the wine. “You know, I haven’t had scallops in a while.”
“I’m right here, you don’t have to shout,” she said, suddenly at the door. “Are you applying to law school?”
My brow furrowed as I held the corkscrew. “Uh, no I am not applying to law school.”
“Oh.” She motioned towards the next room. “I saw the envelope from a law school and thought . . .”
“My neighbor gave me some papers in that envelope,” I said. I took down two wine glasses. “I think her husband is a lawyer. I am not applying to law school. Can you just sit on the couch while I get your wine?”
She returned to the couch. I soon joined her with two glasses.
I raised my glass. “Cheers.”
“Cheers,” smiled, clinking glasses. “Happy birthday.”
“Thanks.” As we sipped, my eyes scanned the room. Did I miss anything that might lead Anna to think that Viviane and I are eloping to law school?
I relaxed as we cooked. I offered myself as sou chef, chopping leeks and assorted vegetables as she washed the scallops. We drifted into a conversation about my children.
A song came on the radio.
“Ugh,” I moaned. “Here’s that annoying Ben Lee tune.”
“’Catch my Disease.’ I’m sure you’ve heard me rant about it.”
“No, you’ve never mentioned this song to me.”
“Oh. Well, it’s not awful or anything, it’s just so cloying and cutesy, with the baby piano and the ‘na na na.’”
She turned off the water. “I’ve never heard you talk about this song.”
“Okay, well, that’s all I have to say about it really.”
“Hmmm. I’ve never heard this song before. I don’t know who Ben Lee is.”
“You must be confusing me with someone else.”
She cut a few sheets of parchment paper. The song continued.
“Yeah, I’ve never heard this song. You never mentioned it to me. Must be someone else you are thinking about.”
I reached for another leek. Her comment lingered in the air.
Detective Anna was hot on the trail.
No doubt, this Viviane and I would soon be in our dorm room at law school, reveling in our shared dislike of Ben Lee.
I set the table as the scallops cooked. I lit candles. I poured more wine.
I replaced the radio with Sarah Vaughan. Don’t talk about Sarah Vaughan, I told myself.
As we ate, something seemed to be weighing on Anna’s mind.
“Jefferson, I have something to tell you.” She rested her fork on the edge of her plate.
I pulled my fork from my mouth. “What?” I chewed. “Anything wrong?”
“I guess you’ll have to be the judge of that.” She drew a breath, and then exhaled. “There’s nothing to do but just come out with it. I’m seeing someone else.”
I wiped a napkin on my lips. “You are?”
“Yes. His name is William. He’s a veterinarian.”
I took a sip of wine then sat back. “I see. Have you been seeing him long?”
“No, we just meet two weeks ago, on New Year’s Eve. I had asked you out, but you were busy. So I went dancing with friends. I met him on the dance floor.”
I got the subtext—it was my own fault she had met him.
“Well, that sounds like a romantic way to meet,” I smiled.
“It was. We spent the weekend together.”
“That’s pretty hot and heavy,” I nodded. I skewered a scallop and popped it in my mouth.
“You aren’t upset?” she asked.
“No, not at all,” I chewed. “You are free to date anyone you like.”
“I’m glad.” Anna picked up her fork. She moved food around her plate. “I guess now I’m polyamorous too.”
“Something like that.”
I hoped she wasn’t disappointed that I took the news so well. I wasn’t upset in the least.
If anything, I was relieved.
I think anyone who dates me should have at least one other boyfriend. I would prefer not to be anyone’s sole sexual outlet. That’s just too much responsibility.
I listened to her talk about her new boyfriend in halting terms, apparently concerned about saying something that might wound me. I smiled and made it clear that I was glad she was enjoying herself.
I hoped that she would notice something now and in the future.
I wasn’t pressing for details.
If she wanted to talk, I was happy to listen. But her relationship with him was her affair and not mine. She can share it or not depending on her preferences.
Perhaps in this way, I could lead by example. I don’t nose in your privacy. Please don’t nose in mine.
Or, as Brother Hank put it, if you mind your own business, then you won’t be minding mine.
Likewise, I could let it go that she considered this situation to be polyamorous. I wasn’t going to parse words, but I hardly think its polyamorous to date two people at once. That’s what single people do, right? Play the field. Hedge their bets.
As for me, I’m not really involved in anything I’d define as polyamorous. That requires the same commitment as monogamy.
I’m more of a slut, really.
Not that I was going to argue that point with Anna.
After supper, I cleared the table. She had cooked, so I assumed I would do the dishes.
As I ran the water, she called my name.
“Jefferson? Can you come here, please?”
“I’m just rinsing the dishes, I’ll be out in a moment.”
“I’d prefer not to wait.”
I turned off the water and dried my hands.
I found Anna kneeling on a pillow in front of my chair.
She had stripped to pale blue hot pants panties and a white bra.
She sat very erect, smiling at me. She patted the seat of my chair.
“The dishes can wait,” she told me.
“Yes, I believe they can,” I said, tugging my shirt over my head.
My pants melted to the floor like butter on hot scallops.
Anna moved aside as I settled into my chair.
“Dinner was great,” I smiled. “And so simple.”
She wriggled her shoulders coquettishly, taking my cock in hand.
“I have a great many talents,” she said.
With that, she leaned forward and took me into her mouth.
I stroked her hair. “That you do,” I agreed. “That you do.”
She worked her mouth on me slowly, keeping her eyes on mine. She held my cock, gently turning her grip in contradistinction to the movements of her mouth.
Such a dancer. She was choreographing a blowjob.
If I could have read her mind, I am sure I would have heard her voice repeating: “One and two and turn and three and four and turn.”
I kept my eyes on her face, on her eyes on mine.
I closed my eyes, letting the time pass.
“This is so good,” I sighed. “And the chair is so comfortable.” I leaned back.
She licked the length of my shaft. “You certainly look comfortable.”
“You should try it sometime.”
“Perhaps I will.”
For the moment, though, she preferred to tease me with her hand job. Her hands alternated in a fluid movement, pulling my cock away from my body, firm but gentle, one hand after the other.
Closing my eyes, I could not tell where one gesture ended and the next began. It all blurred into a continuous wave, as if she were extending my cock as an endless supply of flesh and filament.
Once she had reeled out a few feet of cock. she alternated her gestures, pushing it all back into my body. Handful after handful, slowly, she guided it all into place.
When I opened my eyes, my cock was back to its normal size—or rather, only slightly larger than usual.
She began to take me back into her mouth.
I held her cheeks.
“No, not so fast,” I clucked. “You must sit in the chair.”
“I’m fine here. On my knees. At your feet.”
“I’m not fine. I want you in the chair.” I stood.
“Well, I would like to try the chair,” she began, standing.
Her ass turned before me. She lowered herself to sit.
“Hmm, yes, this is comfortable.”
“Isn’t it?” I pushed down on the armrests. “See how well it leans forward?”
I offered my cock to her mouth. She took it.
“And see how well it leans back?” I pushed the headrest. The chair fell back.
Her mouth opened and her legs lifted as she instinctively braced for a fall.
I took her thighs and lifted. I dropped to her abandoned pillow, lifting her ass high.
I removed her panties.
She tossed her bra across the room, panting and disoriented.
I thought to say something clever, but instead put my tongue to better use.
I plunged it into her cunt. She jumped at the sensation.
I opened my mouth wide as my tongue entered and retreated, fucking her fast. My upper lip grazed her clit.
I fell into sucking her soft smooth skin, burying my nose into her small tuft of hair. My tongue stayed on its target until she came.
My fingers joined, pressing against the contractions of the taut muscles inside her body. Her cunt opened and closed, gasping for breath, farting as she pushed against me.
Just two more orgasms, I said to myself, and then I’m fucking her.
Moments later, we were fucking.
Three hours later, we were asleep.
Six hours later, I woke.
She lay next to me, on her back, an arm resting on her hair. The duvet covered her from the waist down.
She had not moved since I pulled out of her as she drifted to sleep.
She breathed softly, deep in her sleep. I watched her breasts rise and fall as she breathed.
She looked so content.
Anna is often frustrated by our relationship. She most wants in life to meet someone, to settle down and to raise a family.
That hasn’t happened. It’s not happening with me.
I’m often frustrated too, if only by the bad timing of it all.
If I had met Anna just after college, when I was starting to date Lucy, life might have taken a different turn.
If there had been a moment in my youth when Lucy and Anna told me I had to choose one or the other, I would’ve looked at them though my long hair and pondered.
Both women are challenging, and more than a little overwrought. Much as that rubs against my grain, I am apparently drawn to women who push me.
Both are attractive and smart. They both read. They both want families.
Anna cares about art. Lucy doesn’t. Lucy tolerated sex. Anna loves it.
If we had met at another time, in another place, I might have been able to give Anna what she most wants to be happy.
Now, in this time and place, I can only offer what she needs to get by.
I reached for a condom and lube.
I parted her thighs slightly.
I entered her slowly. She was moist from her dreams.
I kept my body apart from hers, so as not to disturb her sleep.
Her breathing quickened. She turned her head.
“Unh,” she began, not opening her eyes. “Jefferson, wha . . what are you doing?”
“Shhh,” I kissed her lightly. “I’m making love to you. Go back to sleep, baby.”
She rubbed her face, eyes tight. “I can’t . . . I can’t sleep if you are fucking me.”
I stilled myself in her body. I cradled her neck in my arms.
I kissed her hair.
She slept, and dreamed.