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I didn’t want to sound too eager, so I sent a simple: Sounds boring.

Yeah…

I thought maybe he was regretting telling me that when he sent something else.

I really want to taste you.

I pictured him between my legs, how I’d grab onto his hair and arch my back, pressing his face into me.

Only a taste? I sent him.

He sent me a picture of his dick to show me how hard he was. I recognized the floor tile from the downstairs bathroom and I wondered where Jolene was. It was exciting. She was right there in the house and he was looking at my pussy and touching himself.

It’s really big. You’ll have to work it in.

He liked that a lot. He sent back an OMG and then showed me that he’d come. For all of her tits, and ass, and overall sex appeal, I’d been the one to make him come tonight. I wondered if he’d turn her away tonight if she wanted to have sex, and that thought made me happy.

I watched their bedroom window for a long time. I even thought about sneaking into their yard to eavesdrop. At eleven o’clock, the light turned off and Darius sent me one last text.

Can’t stop thinking about you.

The next day I baked a Quiche Lorraine and took it over to Jolene’s. Darius was at work and she answered the door in her towel, having just got out of a shower.

“I thought I’d feed you,” I said. “Since you’ve been working so much.” I shoved the quiche at her and just like I expected, she invited me in. My Mercy was on the rug playing with blocks.

“Is it hard to work with her here with you? Can you get anything done?”

She unwrapped the towel from her head and set it on the back of one of the barstools to dry.

“It’s hard,” she said. “There’s an interruption every few minutes, but I’m used to it.” She shook out her hair and moved to the cabinet to get plates. I watched rivulets of water run down her tanned shoulders. She was leaving puddles all over the kitchen floor. I wondered what made a person so comfortable with themselves that they could cut quiche and serve their neighbor wearing only a towel in the kitchen.

“I could stay and play with Mercy,” I offered. “I know you’re near the end of your manuscript.”

Her eyes suddenly lit up. “Really? You don’t mind?”

“Not at all,” I said. “We can have a tea party in the yard.” I said this loud enough for her to hear, and she came running into the kitchen with a smile on her little face.

“Play with Mercy,” she said.

“Yes. You wanna?”

She nodded, smiling so big her eyes became little slits on her face.

“Okay,” said Jolene. “Go get your dolls and your tea set.”

The slapping of her feet on the hardwood as she ran to her room made my heart ache with happiness.

“Thank you, Fig. I’m so stressed with these deadlines. You have no idea how much this helps me.”

“Hey,” I said, “you’re the closest thing I have to a best friend. I want to help.”

She smiled and her eyes filled with tears.

“Heard anything from Ryan lately?” I asked. I cut off a corner of the quiche with my fork and lifted it to my mouth.

“Yeah, he keeps in touch. He always sends songs that he thinks will inspire me. It’s really … nice.”

Nice, I thought. Riiiight. Is that why she wouldn’t make eye contact with me?

“Do you ever send him songs?” I chewed my quiche as she pushed hers around on the plate.

“No. I don’t want him to get the wrong idea.”

I wanted to roll my eyes. He already had the wrong idea. This is what men did: women became the prey and they hunted what they wanted, using every technique in the book.

“Let me see a picture of him,” I said.

“Fig! No. What in the world? Where’s Mercy anyway? Mercy…”

I laughed. “Come on. Stop trying to change the subject. I just want to see if he’s cute. Show me one.”

After a few minutes of me pressing her, she pulled up his Instagram and handed me her phone.

“Oh my god, look at his lips. You know he’s got to be a great kisser.” I glanced up at her and she gave me an annoyed look. “Oh come on. You know you’ve thought about kissing him. You can love Darius and still wonder about other men.” I shook my head, smiling at her like she was the silliest thing.

“No. I don’t. I’m in love with Darius. He’s good in bed. Like really good. We’ve not gotten to that point where I’m bored.”

She set her now clean plate in the sink, and I thought about what he told me last night about her just lying there. He obviously didn’t feel the same way. I’d ride him so good he’d never go back. I pictured his O face, how he’d grip my hips and say, Oh my god, over and over.

“He fingered me in the car on the way home from my mom’s house,” she blurted. “He was driving. We were doing eighty on the interstate and he just reached up my skirt and-”

I don’t know whose face was more flushed, hers or mine.

“Oh my god,” I said, my eyes wide. “That’s so hot.” How many times had I watched his hands and wondered what they would feel like sliding into me? In all the years of our marriage George had never done something like that.

“I can’t stop thinking about it,” she said. “If that tells you anything about how I feel about my husband. He still gives me butterflies.”

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