Anne liked being with him. She couldn’t explain anything about it. “My energy really likes his energy,” she explained to her therapist. “When I’m with him, I want to be with him more.”
Her therapist told her plainly, “You should stay away until you find out what’s happening in your own relationship. You live with someone, have lived with someone for over ten years now. There’s more to consider than just your cravings for this man. It’s normal to have doubts about a relationship. It’s normal to have little crushes now and then. But Ben deserves more than you fooling around with some other man and then telling him that you’re having doubts. Those doubts need to be addressed first.”
“But I don’t have any doubts. I just have feelings for more than one person,” Anne said. “Is that really so strange?”
“Then you need to find a way to deal with that without causing harm to anyone else,” her therapist said. “From what you’ve told me, you and Ben don’t have an open relationship. And it sounds like he’s already been hurt by this. Is this person worth hurting your relationship?”
Anne understood that. She loved Bed and didn’t want to hurt him. She didn’t want to feel this way at all. In the ten years she had been with Ben, there had only been that one crush with someone at her office. She had met with him for a drink after work and he had been so boorish and rude and aggressively sexual towards her that she walked away from the bar and happily came home to Ben. Why can’t you be an asshole, Joseph? I could ignore you and then all this mess with just go away. But she knew better. This wasn’t going to go away.
She looked at the stack of papers to file on her desk. I have shit to do and I should just do it. Anne stood up and picked up the files and headed to the file room. It took her over an hour to get things where they needed to be and it was nearly lunch by the time she returned to her desk. The first thing she noticed was her phone blinking its green light at the corner of her desk. She had an email.
Anne picked it up reluctantly and then checked to see who it was from. She set the phone down again when she saw it was from Joseph. Fuck my life, she thought. She turned her phone face down so she couldn’t see the screen.
She finished some of the data entry work, made some phone calls and then delivered some paperwork in person to the downtown office. Once in her car, she remembered kissing Joseph there. She remembered how he placed his hand on her chest, not on her breasts where she would have pushed him away, but between them, right over her heart. She felt her heart beating against his hand. And then she suddenly wanted him to put his hands on her breasts, to run them through her hair, to clutch at her body. She had never wanted anyone like she wanted him in that moment. He brought her right up to the moment she wanted more and then pulled away, leaving her craving him. Fuck my life. It’s like the little prick was reading my mind.
She found herself pulling the car over. Fuck, she thought. My panties are soaked.
Anne touched her chest where Joseph had touched her. She remembered his mouth on her, the way he smelled of cigarettes. That usually disgusted her, but on him she just remembered how much she loved smoking. Especially after a good lay.
She looked around and discovered she pulled over across the street from a convenience store. Anne got out of the car and walked over and went inside.
“American Spirits,” she told the clerk.
“Black,” she said. Just thinking of smoking got her wet again.
Alone, in the car, she opened the pack and smelled the cigarettes inside. She did not smoke any of them. She just wanted the scent. I’m going to have to say goodbye to you, Joseph, she thought. This may be the only thing I have left.