She storms into the room without a word, wild-eyed and shivering with angry energy. A ceramic lamp is the first victim, sent flying across the room - a tan streak. Exploding beside your head into a million fragments of clay and glass.
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Next is the remote. Cheap matte-black plastic casing shatters as she repeatedly smashes it against the hardwood end table, where the lamp used to be. Silver duct-tape comes free and two slender batteries shoot out. One glances off your hand. You don't register the pain, yet. She throws the remainder of the broken device at you. Bouncing off your jacket, falling to beige carpet.
It seems like a good time to leave.
Because she's coming at you.
Eyes hard and accusing and brimming with tears.
"You LIED, you fucking LIED!" Her voice breaks. "You said nothing happened!"
Bare feet and tanned ankles maneuver around a battered recliner and over the cream-colored lampshade. She avoids the pieces of busted lamp somehow. And is within reach now.
The car keys are still in your hand. The door is cracked open behind you. Just open it a bit more, slip through, hit the remote starter...
Streak of honey-colored flesh. Her fist slams into your chest and you instinctively back up, into the door. It slams shut. The knob against your hip. She's using both hands now. Pushing and pounding and grabbing.
It seems like a good time to say something.
Sounds bad, but it's the best you can do.
"It just happened...we were alone and-"
You look down. Her head is against your chest. She's crying. The assault has ceased and her hands grip your jacket tightly. Pale blue nail polish. Frosty-looking.
Her words come out muffled and broken from staggered breaths. "But w-why did you lie?"
"Because I didn't want to hurt you."
Slightly slanted eyes passed down from her Chinese mother look up, brown, yawning. Her Caucasian father's high cheekbones wet and slick with tears. Nude, quivering lips.
You wipe the tears away and hold her face in your hands. "I'm sorry."
Now she's starting to break. Time to go for the kill.
"I would never, ever do anything to hurt you or fuck up three years together." Your conscience is screaming now. It's very upset. "We just had a few drinks and she came on to me...and-"
The eyes tell it all. They soften, eyebrows go up into that puppy-dog look of hopelessness and anxiety. "You said nothing happened."
"I didn't want to hurt you." Repetition, bad, time to end this quickly. You plant a quick kiss on her lips, taste the salt there.
She starts crying again. Arms around your waist now. Head on your chest. The smell of her hair reminds you of the other woman.
Her underwear, a wad in your front right pocket.
"How many times has it happened?" she asks.
Now she lets go and stands up straight, wiping her eyes, sniffing. "Just once? Just last night?"
"Just tonight. And I'm sorry. I'm so damn sorry..." You take her hands in yours and pull her close. Breathing in the scent of her hair - light, feminine - kissing the smooth skin on her neck. "Sorry..."
"I love you."
Finished. She's broken completely now. Time to go.
You give her one more little kiss, spout some BS about having to wake up early in the morning, project due for work. She just stares down at the carpet and nods.
Door opens, you're out into the cool night. Halfway to your car, something beeps angrily at you. Cell phone. You take it out and check the neon green LCD.
Probably your wife, bitching about how you've been gone all evening. Out of habit you kill the ringer and get in your car, fishing the thick wedding band from a sea of coins in the drink holder.
Although you suspect she knows about the other woman, you're not sure. And frankly don't care. They're both too weak to do anything about it if they do. All it takes is a little 'I'm sorry.’ a few little kisses and some sweet talk. Works every time.
The wedding band is a little tighter now, and you twist it around a bit. No matter, you're thinking about getting a divorce anyway. The other woman is too tempting, and it's only a matter of time until you slip up and she finds out you're married. Better to be safe than sorry, right?
Beepbeep. Soft, lacey fabric. You fumble past the other woman's underwear and pull the phone out.
It's her. She's apologizing for throwing the lamp and hitting you. Crying. It's okay, you say.
Beepbeep. The LCD displays another number, one without a name attached to it.
It's the other woman.
Something pulls your attention up the long sidewalk, creaky wooden stairs, through plexiglass. Silhouette. Then the door closes.
"Look, I had some extra work at the office to do, I'm on my way home right now."
Beepbeep. A reminder. The other woman is still waiting.
"Yeah, love you."
You switch to the other call, to the other woman, and pull out into the street. The wedding band goes back to it's place among the change. Second thoughts. What if she sees it somehow and asks about it, or you forget to put it on after a night out? One woman already suspects you are seeing other people behind her back, and your wife has been paranoid about you having affairs for several months now. No need to have another one asking questions.
"Can you come back over for a minute? I need to see you again..." She sounds desperate.
Can't help but smile at that. She's hooked. "Yeah, I'll be over in a minute.
It doesn’t take long to get to her house, a nice little 2 story around the corner. You live a block away. It's funny how they're all absurdly close and don't know for sure what's going on, not even after all these years. One to the other, to the other...
Though it would be fun to get them all together at the same time. Your wife. Your girlfriend. And the married woman. A night full of blatant promiscuity and sexual deviation.
Nice thought. But if you try it they'll probably kill you. Maybe each other. Better stick to cheating on them separately.
You pull into the other woman’s driveway, notice a black SUV parked at the curb between her house and the neighbors. Odd. You don't recall ever seeing it there.
Strolling through the well-manicured lawn, incidentally taking the same path you took not half an hour ago, the grass crushed and folded in your wake.
She opens the door before you lift your hand to knock, sheathed in the same semi-transparent thing she was wearing when you left. Sans undergarments. You start to reach into your pocket but she pulls you inside.
"Thanks for coming back." her voice is wavering, nervous. Something about the way she's standing makes you look around.
And a big black thing is standing in the living room, off to your left. The lights are off and the thing looks like a shadow. Only thing is, it's not stuck to the floor, or a wall. It's head turns and you can barely make out a face.
It looks a little upset with you.
And it's wearing black gloves.
And a suit.
"This the other guy?"
You hear the Jersey accent.
You wonder if his name is Tony.
You suddenly need to urinate.
The door slams shut and someone grabs you from behind. Choke-hold. At first you think it's the other woman but she's still standing in the same spot, looking terrified. The shadow breaks away from the darkness of the living room and strolls towards you, much too casually. Black hair slicked back, a shadow around his hard jawline, little gold cross hanging around his neck.
His eyes are studying you, up and down, he grabs your chin, and you smell leather. There's a flash of something in his hard gray eyes, anger, fear, maybe recognition. Right now you're too damn scared to tell.
He looks away, towards the other woman.
"How long you been a dyke?"
The plastic bag pulled tight over your face muffles her response. You would have screamed if not for the garrote around your throat, impossibly tight.
Damn. He was supposed to be out of the country for another week at least. How did he know what was going on? Did he have people watching?
Disjointed male voice: "I told my step-sister God would fuck her up for getting involved with this bitch."
Disjointed female voice: "Did you tell her about what happened?"
M: "Yeah, she went ape shit. Now she's over at that chick's house crying on her shoulder I guess."
F: "Other chick?"
M: "You know, that married one she's been fooling around with. The one with a wife. They live around here I think."
And another thing is, no matter how much you think you love someone, you'll step back when a pool of their blood edges too close.