Bend, стр. 2

I shouldn’t have looked up.

No.

I should’ve let his silent proposition fall by the wayside.

The question is, why am I glad that I did?

Chapter Two

Last night

The wedge of my sandal falls in the cracks of the cobblestones causing me to stumble. I laugh aloud at how ridiculous I must look to the patrons of the little bistro bar I’ve just left. Lonely, pathetic woman getting drunk while on vacation by herself. Using a few drinks to ease the sting of being chosen second best to work once again. I shrug away the true but unwelcome thoughts as a sharp pang of anger hits me because … they’re right.

And the sad thing is that if Anderson were here, I’d probably feel even more alone than I do now. We’d have sat at the bar and gotten buzzed without saying much to one another, both of our minds on the numerous things we needed to do when we got back home. We’d have thought about things that could wait a few more days instead of focusing on the whole reason we took this trip: to reconnect, to reprioritize, to recommit. So I’d have sulked in the silence we’ve grown accustomed to while thinking of what-could-have-beens and when exactly we stopped communicating. Eventually he’d have asked me what was wrong, to which I’d have replied the over-generalized, and my term of choice as of late, fine. He’d have looked toward my wrist to see if I was fiddling with the bracelet I wear and never take off—the surefire way for him to know I’m bluffing. Then depending on if I was or wasn’t, either an argument would’ve ensued where I’d be told to lighten up some or we’d go back to the hotel room where we would have some underwhelming sex.

The same sex we’ve been having for the last ten of our fifteen years together.

Uncreative.

Routine.

Predictable.

And because we would’ve been drinking, my body wouldn’t be able to concentrate on the task at hand—an orgasm. The miraculous aligning of stars that must occur to reach my release would’ve been unattainable. I’d just have lain there and moaned at all the right times with his alcohol laced breath panting in my face. I’d have taken his drunken, less than pleasurable love-making, and recall times when we couldn’t wait to ravish each other. The times we used to push limits that were considered taboo to this preacher’s daughter, and how he’d drawn this sexually modest girl from her bubble and dared her to try new things.

I snort out a laugh. How times have changed and roles have reversed. I’d give anything to try something new, push boundaries, explore the sexuality I’ve now found and accepted with age. Open us up to new experiences, new toys, and redefine new limits.

Jesus. It’s sad that I’ll give myself a stronger climax using my fingers to get myself off tonight than if Anderson were here. All I have to do is think of things I want to try, imagine him doing them to me, and coming is not a problem. The problem is I can’t spend the rest of my life deriving satisfaction from thoughts alone, but every time I’ve attempted to bring up how to spice up our sex life, he’s shut down the topic instantly. “We’re not in our twenties, our sex life is great, why change things?” the standard given response.

Does he not see how unhappy I am? How I need more sexually? My mind shifts to our last conversation on the topic. The one that happened a couple of months ago when he found the box of toys I had hidden in the bottom of my closet—the items I’ve secretly bought and kept with the hopes of one day showing and asking him to use on me. I recall how he walked up with the lid off and looked at me, brows furrowed and grimace of disgust on his lips. His disbelief stemming from the fact that I’d bought all of it without consulting him. I can still hear the refusal on his lips, the disconnect in his tone believing that I don’t think he’s not enough for me anymore, when that’s not the case at all.

My dissatisfaction has nothing to do with him not being enough, and everything to do with me coming into my own. Being a woman who’s hit her sexual prime and finally after ten years has the confidence and security to ask for what I want.

Nothing crazy, just … more: restraints, domination, anal play, adding a little pain to enhance the pleasure. Something. Anything. A slow ache coils in my lower belly as I imagine how hard I’d come if Anderson would use any combination of them on me.

God, I’m pathetic, but … it’s not too much to ask, is it?

I laugh again—the hollow sound of it ringing more pathetic than cheerful as I ponder if I’m losing it, talking to myself about the experimental, boundary pushing sex I’m never going to have with Anderson.

“Yep, you’re losing it all right, Lil.” My voice slurs some and sounds odd—off—as it hits my ears. I focus on placing my hand along the building beside me for support because I suddenly feel drunker than I should. And I wonder how sad it is that everything seems so much easier with him being called away to work.

The memories flash through my mind of our first five years together. We used to be fun, adventuresome, imaginative. We’d make sure no surface was left unchristened and orgasms were mutual. I smile forlornly, thinking of when I used to give him spontaneous blow jobs while he drove us home or how his hand would wander underneath my skirt at a restaurant and test if I was wet enough. And if I wasn’t, he’d order desert and sit there, draw out the meal, his fingers idly playing between the juncture of my thighs.

I stop for a moment and hold a hand to my stomach when it growls, the realization hitting that I forgot to eat dinner. That must be why I’m so buzzed from only a couple of drinks. And then I remember the box of chocolate covered strawberries the bellhop delivered to my room right as I was leaving. How I set the box down with the card unopened because I knew the gift was Anderson’s way of softening the blow of his absence. His usual throwback gift to remind me of those earlier, carefree times of ours, since we can’t seem to have any for the life of us these days. His way of saying hold-on, things will get better soon.

But how can they get better if he won’t let me explain how we can fix them?

I shake my head at tonight’s reminder: the night we ate chocolate covered strawberries and drank champagne. Our college days when we were broke so we indulged at his sister’s art exhibit before we snuck out and had sex on the venue’s rooftop. We’d fucked carelessly, hands over each other’s mouths as we tried to be quiet, the thrill of being caught an adrenaline rush all in itself.

When I saw the strawberries I wasn’t reminded of what was, but rather was forced to see what no longer is. How life happened. Kids. Corporate promotions and stressful jobs. Time never idle and exhaustion being the new norm.

The tears burn their way up the back of my throat and sting my eyes as my thumb reaches over and rubs my wedding ring. I love him. I really do. He’s been mine since our senior year in high school. He’s an incredible father to our boys, a hard worker, and treats me incredibly, but I sometimes wonder if this is all there really is for us.

We’ve fallen in a rut. Life has gotten in the way. Sapped the passion and recklessness. And this trip was our way to reconnect, our way to rekindle everything we once felt and find the “us” we know is there but has been snuffed out by the daily grind.

I sigh, suddenly feeling sad as I realize that I miss him. That I even miss his no surprises, always on cue missionary sex. The twice a week scheduled mattress time that in no way rivals the spontaneous, push you up against the door, rip your clothes off, carnal fucking within the pages of my books. God, what I’d give for Anderson to bend me over, pull my hair back, and make me take what he gives me.

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