“Has it come in handy?”
Rather than demand her response, Quinn picked it up and turned it on. A loud buzzing sound echoed in the room.
Libby’s face was beet red.
“Tell me, have you used this vibrator?”
“Yes, damn you, I did, okay? I was curious and horny and I burned through an entire sixteen pack of batteries in the first week. Happy now?”
“Did it make you happy?” Quinn tossed the tube of K-Y on the bed and moved over her so they were face-to-face. “Is this piece of vibrating plastic better than the real thing?”
She shook her head. “It takes the edge off, but it’s…”
“Impersonal. Mechanical. Not you.” She gave him a considering look. “Are you mad?”
“Hell no.” The grin he’d been hiding bloomed. “I’d been tryin’ to figure out a way to bring up sex toys to spice up our sex life long before our…break. I’m happy to see you’re good with it.” Quinn lowered his head, reviving their desire with a steamy kiss.
“Mmm.” Libby whispered against his mouth, “You ready to fulfill your fantasy?”
“Nope.” Quinn rolled her so she was on top.
“What’re you doing?”
“I want you to ride me so I can test out your new toy.”
“You already know how much I love to see certain parts of you bouncin’.”
Her whole body seemed to flame with embarrassment.
He brushed his finger over the hot spot on her cheekbone. “Interestin’.”
“I can still make you blush. I’ll probably try to turn your cheeks bright red when you’re an eighty-year-old lady.”
“You think we’ll still be together?”
“Yep. I can’t imagine my life without you, Libby. These last few months have been pure hell.”
Even though Libby was buck-ass nekkid, she seized the opportunity to talk, since it appeared Quinn was in a rare mood to do just that. “It didn’t seem like you cared.”
“Jesus. No. I cared, I was just…” Quinn frowned and a minute or so passed before he spoke again. “I can see where you’d get that idea, bein’s I took off right after you kicked me out to help Ben and my cousins with calvin’.”
“I thought after you returned from living at Ben’s for three weeks you might’ve been ready to hash it out.”
Quinn’s eyes searched hers. “Wanna know the real truth?”
She nodded, even when her stomach pitched.
“I didn’t know what to say to you. I ain’t ever been good at sharin’ my feelings and shit. I thought if I ignored it, maybe it’d work itself out.” He scowled. “Stupid, huh?”
“Naïve, maybe. Our problems didn’t happen overnight.”
“Yeah, well, I guess those problems never seemed that bad to me.”
That comment floored her. “Are you serious?”
“It ain’t like one of us was cheatin’. Or one of us was drinkin’ too much. Or we were bein’ physically or verbally abusive. Or that we’d gotten in debt up to our eyeballs. Hell, I didn’t think much beyond that our problem was us just bein’ stuck in a rut.”
“How’d you figure we’d get out of that rut?”
“Or were we just supposed to sit and spin our wheels?”
“Better that than burnin’ rubber tryin’ to get away.” He sighed. “I don’t wanna fight with you, Libby.”
“And I don’t wanna sweep this under the rug anymore, Quinn.”
He mumbled and looked away.
“I said this is typical.”
“Typical?” She braced her hands on his chest and got in his face. “Explain that.”
His focus snapped back to her. “We’re nekkid. In bed. I had a fuckin’ hard-on to rival a fencepost, we were all set to have hot, fun, wild sex with toys, with extra lube and trying new positions…and now all you wanna do is talk, talk, talk.”
Stung, she retorted, “Yeah? You think ignoring the important stuff and having wild, kinky sex is gonna fix it?”
“It sure as hell can’t hurt, and at least we’d be havin’ sex for once.”
“Christ. You ain’t gonna deny that in the last year, even before you demanded a separation, we weren’t havin’ sex on a regular basis.”
“Sex on a regular basis?” she repeated inanely. “That’s what’s so all-fired important to you?”
“Sex is a big part of the important stuff we need to discuss. At least it is to me. You’re all for talkin’
about what’s bothering you, and yet, whenever I tried to bring up what’s bothering me, you changed the damn subject.”
When she froze in shock, he moved her off his body.
“That’s not fair. My unwillingness to talk about sex was in the past.”
“You’re right. Forget it.” He rolled sideways and perched on the edge of the bed with his back to her.
What’d just happened? Everything had been going so well. “Quinn?”
Libby forged ahead anyway. “What makes you think that sex isn’t important to me?”
“For the last several years sex is important to you as long as you’re gettin’ what you want out of it, and out of me.”
“Which is what?”
“A baby.” He stood. Without looking at her, he said, “I need to check cattle,” and booked it out of the room, apparently not caring that he was completely naked.
Stunned, and a little heartsick, Libby slipped on her robe. She went to the window and opened the blinds.
A few minutes later, a bare-chested Quinn exited the house and plopped on the porch steps. He yanked his old boots over his gray sweatpants in angry, jerky movements. He stalked to the truck, grabbed his T-shirt from inside the cab and pulled it on over his head. Then he slapped on his ball cap, climbed in and roared off.
Needing something to do besides pace, or wait to see if Quinn returned to the house, or if he preferred the cramped horse trailer to her lousy company, Libby went downstairs.
Darkness enveloped the big, bold Wyoming sky by the time Libby heard the porch screen slam. The table was set and ready, but supper had gone cold. Would Quinn fight with her? Or pull that silent macho crap and ignore her? At this point she didn’t know which she’d prefer.
Wrong. She wanted his fire. His anger. His honest reaction. Because his words spurred her to take a longer, deeper look at her actions and inactions over the last few years and she hadn’t liked what she’d seen.
Consequently, she’d been staring out the kitchen window, nursing a glass of whiskey for the better part of an hour. She didn’t turn around when he entered the kitchen.
The silence between them was absolute.
Who would be the first to break it?
Quinn said, “I’m—” at the same time she said, “I didn’t—”
They both laughed, but it was forced laughter.
Quinn approached her. Her heart sped up.
Slipping his arms around her waist, he rubbed his face in her hair. “Sorry.”
“I’m sorry too.”
“We probably oughta talk about it, huh?”
“Or we could just get drunk.”
He chuckled. “There is that option. Might be less painful initially, but guaranteed we’d pay for it in the mornin’.”
“Where do we start?”
“Where we left off.” Libby drained the last of her whiskey. “Where the problems began. Jilly warned me about bringing up the baby issue, or lack thereof.”
“Jilly? What’s she have to do with it?”
“She called and offered me some free advice.”
“Then take it for what it’s worth. Nuthin’. Besides, I’m the one who brought it up. And not in a nice way neither.”
“I don’t think there is a nice way to tell me that I seriously screwed up everything with my quest for a baby.”
“Just let me get this out, okay?” Would this confession be easier if she wasn’t looking into his all-knowing eyes? Probably not.
“I’m not gonna pretend that I was aware that I was driving you away when I became obsessed with getting pregnant. After you stormed away a couple hours ago, it was like a light bulb went off in my head and I saw everything in a whole different light. I didn’t like what I saw.
“It was all about me. My body. What I wanted. What I needed.” Tears gathered in her eyes when she considered how selfish she’d been. How much she’d hurt him and without knowing it.
“And?” he prompted.
Suck it up. You made the bed, you can lie in it.
“And the truth is you were one hundred percent right when you said I cared only about your sperm, not about sex. Making love with you or to you didn’t cross my mind if it didn’t have…purpose. Sad to admit that mindset would’ve stayed even if I had gotten pregnant, because I would’ve focused all my attention on the baby. You suffered either way. God, Quinn, what kind of horrible, self-centered wife does that make me? And yet, I justified my attitude because I blamed you for not being interested in whether we got pregnant or not.”
“I just didn’t see the big rush, Libby. It wasn’t like we were too old then or even now. It’s just…well…”
“Part of me wondered if you were in some sort of competition with your sister. She popped out four babies with no trouble. Then every time she came over with the kids, it was like she was rubbing them in your face. Jilly always was hinting around maybe one or both of us had problems with our, um, plumbing, so to speak.”