© August 2000
Jake roused me from sleep, his fingers prodding my panties. With practiced skill he slipped beneath the elastic and lace, quickly, before I was fully awake. His fingers maneuvered in and out, every other stroke pushed a little deeper. He kissed my neck, nibbling my earlobe. I shivered.
"It's after midnight, Jake," I mumbled irritably.
"I'm sorry," Jake responded. My husband nuzzled up against my back. I felt the heat from his naked chest warm me through my thin nightgown.
"This is the third time this week," I continued, stiffening slightly. An image of that evening's ruined dinner popped into my mind. "You promised to be home before 9:00," I whined.
Jake nudged my bare leg up, giving him a better passage to my now moist sex. I grew wetter despite my anger. He licked my earlobe, dipping his tongue in and around the shell of my ear. I shivered again.
"I had to prepare some experts for tomorrow's deposition. John was going to handle it but had a family emergency. I didn't have a choice." Jake flipped me on my back and kissed my mouth. His fondling quickened. His tongue mirrored the activity of his fingers. He was such a dedicated man - at least to his other partner.
"Mmmhmmm," was the only response I could give while his tongue played in and around my lips.
"Didn't you get my message?" He pushed my nightgown up with one hand.
Anger flashed suddenly inside of me. "Yes, your idiot secretary called with the message around 10:00. Since when does she work so late?" I struggled against him, a little attempt to get away. I envied the amount of time he spent with his secretary. I wasn't happy with Jake but at the same time I couldn't resist him. He had a way about him that drove me crazy with desire. But still, I wanted him to know I wasn't happy.
His mouth fastened on one of my nipples. His tongue lashed over the sensitive tip, driving me crazy. I struggled against him again.
Jake peeked up at me, sliding up my body until we were face to face. "I'm really sorry, hon. I told her to call you a lot earlier than that." He kissed me softly, then severely before plowing his cock deep inside of me. I arched against him, taking him deep. He felt so good.
Reverently he moved in and out, despite his initial forcefulness. After ten years of marriage he knew my body. He knew unhurried thrusts at first, gliding up slowly, and then down slowly, while making contact with my clit, would get me wetter. I opened my legs wider and dug my fingers into his rear, pulling him deeper. I rocked against him. Soon we found our rhythm: Jake plunging in and out of me while I arched up to meet him.
"I love you, Stacey. I love you so much," Jake growled near my ear. I felt part of my anger dissolve, but not all of it. Familiar frustration washed over me when I thought Jake was avoiding something. Then I felt Jake tense slightly. His penis pulsed and emptied warm semen deep inside me.
Jake's a good man, a good husband, a good lover. He is thoughtful - most of the time - and he is sweet. He has a hidden erotic side that always fascinated me. When we were dating, he would write arousing little stories involving us or characters we could assume were us. Every predicament, every plot or non- plotted out description still stirred me up. The stories and poetry began to taper off after our first anniversary. Any free time was spent with law firm activities. I often reread those old letters and reminisced. Things weren't the same lately.
Jake continued touching me gently, spreading our mingled juices around my swollen labia and clit. He was also a patient man.
"It's no use. I'm sorry. It's just not happening." I gently nudged Jake off of me and felt around our bed for my panties. I felt him slump on the mattress next to me.
"What can I do?" he asked, concern in his voice.
"I don't know. I really don't know." I pulled on my panties and straightened my nightgown. I turned to my side, away from Jake, and let the tears slip from my eyes. I felt my husband pull the blanket up around my shoulders. He kissed the back of my tangled hair before he turned away and fell asleep.
It had been seven months since my last orgasm. Also for the past seven months I've dealt with overwhelming feelings of guilt. My past had come back to haunt me.
I felt screwed up. Damaged beyond repair. Frigid. Desperate. But most of all I felt alone.
How did it all start? I was reading the local paper and recognized a photo in the obituaries. I read about the woman and felt panicked immediately. Lauren had died in a car accident that week. There wasn't a long list of accomplishments or sorority affiliations listed after her name. A husband grieved for her but no children. By all accounts Lauren appeared to be a simple woman. How wrong. Lauren introduced me to feelings I would never forget.
We became friends while I was away at college. I began working at a strip club the last semester of college, hoping to earn extra money to finance my upcoming move. I also needed to buy clothes for my future career in the banking world. The extra money would help take some of the pressure from my parents. A minister's salary wasn't much.
Lauren was a dancer, raking in tips. I was a waitress, raking in smaller tips. One weekend the owner asked if I would fill in for an absent dancer. The jump in pay and the extra tips were too much to pass up. During that time I managed to hide my part-time job from my parents. I pushed the guilt to the back of my mind, justifying my reason for working at the strip club as a way of helping my parents. It was a lame excuse but it eased my conscience at the time.
I was surprised at how much I actually enjoyed dancing on that sleazy stage. I was a natural at dancing and always had a healthy respect for my body. In many ways I didn't mind showing off my figure. The flashing neon, loud music and skimpy costumes turned me into a different woman. I enjoyed playing the part, maybe a little too much. Taking off my clothes and dancing lewdly in front of a bunch of strangers didn't bother me. I enjoyed the exhibitionism.
Lauren and I loved exchanging dance moves and stories about some of the customers. We grew closer each day. Lauren was closer to me than my own sister.
We had a brief fling eventually that led to my first lesbian experience. I've never felt anything like it since. It's hard, even now, to forget how her body felt. Her soft curves - smooth and warm to the touch - opened to me, feeding me in a way I never imagined. I had large breasts, wide and round, crested with deep mauve nipples. My waist narrowed and then flared to generous hips. Not too big, not too narrow. Lauren was fair and blonde, with small upturned breasts topped off by fat, pale nipples. Our coloring and bodies contrasted completely but when we were together, naked, everything blended perfectly.
Everything felt so right, so natural. We both were able to bring each other to orgasm again and again, instinctively knowing what to do, how to touch and tease. That last night was wonderful. I was still basking in the glow of our passion, Lauren's arms wrapped sleepily around my waist, when my father called. Ice water flooded my veins as he began questioning my whereabouts the previous day. Yesterday, Saturday, was my baby nephew's christening. I was expected and it wasn't like me to forget, he said. The whole family was worried about me during and after the ceremony. He nearly drove the four hours to Dayton to look for me. Thank the Lord I was safe, he kept saying.
Guilt, like a heavy weight around my neck, began pulling me down. The more I talked, the more I tried to cover up my activities. The lies began to flow freely. I was going to burn in Hell. I lied to my father, telling him my Daytimer had been stolen. I thought my nephew's christening was the following weekend. I was at the library late studying. The lies continued to flow.
That day seven months ago I stared at Lauren's picture in the obituaries and relived our friendship. So many emotions came flooding back. I wondered how our affair had affected her. I never knew because I left Dayton as soon as possible. My background growing up in a strict religious family taught me I had committed a grievous sin. Homosexuality might be a feeling fallible, horrible, demented human beings lived with, but to act on it was acknowledging it and, therefore, saving me a place in Hell. All this, of course, I learned while attending the Riverside Christian Academy. I was constantly reminded of my weak nature. "It's the way all humans are created," so said Brother Thomas, one of my counselors. "Sometimes we all feel the need to do something against the wishes of God. Suppressing that need is what makes us better humans; acting on that need makes us sinners." I was definitely a sinner.
I should have told Jake about my past when we met. I couldn't bring myself to do it, partly because of the overwhelming need to hide my sinful past and partly because I wanted Jake to see me as the woman to build a future with. I felt he wasn't the type of man to want to get serious with an ex-stripper.
Now, ten years had gone by. How would he react now if I told him I had stripped for money? I hardly expected him to understand how much the tips helped me financially. I also had to face another fact, something Jake would despise me for: I turned a few tricks during that time. Four sex-for-money tricks, to be exact. How would he feel if he knew that I enjoyed doing it?
Honestly, I didn't know how to deal with this now. The guilt was eating away at me. I know Jake sensed it. He commented the other night that I'd been drinking a little too much lately. In turn I would lash out and ask him how many hours had he put in at the law firm that week - was he billing 100 hours this week or only 90? He wouldn't say much to me after that, just disappear into his study. The guilt and self-loathing intensified with the drinking.
The next morning I slept a little later than usual. I watched Jake emerge from the shower. Tall, with a slight stoop to his broad shoulders, Jake couldn't help but attract attention. His eyes sparkled when he talked and he loved to make people laugh. His dark brown hair remained thick and wavy after all these years, curling slightly when he let it reach his collar. Each year he just gets better looking, I thought.
Water drops slid down his back. I had the urge to lick them off but I held back. I wasn't ready for another disappointment so soon. I couldn't deal with the fact that I was frigid. I insisted on longer intervals between our lovemaking, hoping my body would react normally again. Instead I ended up giving myself a pep talk as my orgasm once again stayed dormant. The letdowns were getting tougher to handle.
"Good morning," Jake said when he noticed I was awake.
"Good morning." I smiled up at my husband, snuggling deeper into the warmth of our bed.
"I'm sorry about last night. I'm going to have a talk with John today about hiring another associate. The work load is getting ridiculous." Jake sat on the bed. "I also think we need a vacation. We haven't had one of those in a while."
"That's a great idea," I said, reaching out to button his cuffs.
"Good. I'll have Deb work something up with the travel agent."
"Deb?" I asked, feeling that familiar tug of jealousy. "Since when do you call her Deb?"
"C'mon, Stacey. What's wrong with calling my secretary by her first name?
I pushed a hand through my tangled auburn hair and sighed. "Nothing's wrong with it. I've been feeling a little edgy lately. I apologize for snapping."
Jake leaned over and kissed my forehead, smoothing down a curl. "I've noticed. A vacation will do us both some good. We need to rediscover each other, Stacey." He fingered a curl that lay across my cheek, his expression growing serious. He checked his watch and frowned. "I need to run or I'll be late for the deposition. I'll call you later." Jake hurried from the bedroom. A few moments later I heard the back door slam and Jake's car start. I was alone with my thoughts again.
My weekly appointment with my therapist was in an hour. My doctor recommended him three months ago after I mentioned my physical problem. I agreed that it was worth investigating. I hurried through a shower and quickly dressed in khaki Capri pants and a white short-sleeve T-shirt. I fluffed my thick hair with my fingers and ran out the door.
Dr. Lehner's office was comfortable, for a psychiatrist. It wasn't cold and formal but it wasn't exactly cozy either. Over time I began to feel more at ease with him and able to discuss my deep secrets without feeling embarrassed. He probably heard all kinds of weird things. My problem couldn't have been too strange for him. Still, I always felt a little ashamed.
"How are you today, Stacey?" Dr. Lehner started our session the same way each week.
"Nervous, edgy, unhappy. The usual," I replied flippantly.
He watched me for a moment before turning to his notes. "Last week we were talking about Lauren. Have you been thinking about her a lot?"
"I try not to. I don't know how to stop. It's driving me crazy. I really believe I'm going insane."
"You're not insane, Stacey. At least that's my diagnosis," Dr. Lehner smiled dryly. "You do need to be honest with yourself and your husband. I think you need to speak about your feelings with him."
"Sometimes the love someone has for us may seem superficial on the surface, especially after a long relationship, but over time those bonds do strengthen. Occasionally we're forced to test these bonds. If they break, most of the time they can be repaired. The important thing is that you put everything on the table."
I tried to follow the doctor's train of thought. "I think I understand what you're saying. I'm afraid of losing Jake, that's true. I do love him. I do. He's a wonderful man and I want a future with him."
"But?" Dr. Lehner added.
"But I'm also afraid I'm not all that he thinks I am. That's confusing for you to hear, I'm sure. It's confusing to me."
"I'm not confused," Dr. Lehner said. "You need to feel comfortable with your feelings, with the love and attraction you felt to Lauren, just as you are attracted to your husband."
"It's perfectly fine to be bisexual, Stacey."
I stared at him. I wanted to be shocked that he, a doctor, felt I was - am - bisexual. In the back of my mind, behind all the things that were making me feel guilty, that label lurked. "Bisexual." It wasn't a question anymore. It was a statement. I tested the word on my tongue.
I left Dr. Lehner's office in a daze. I stopped by a liquor store and bought a few bottles of wine, a six-pack of microbrew for Jake and a bottle of Scotch.
Even though the word was out in the open, I still didn't know how to deal with it. Bisexual. How would this affect my marriage? Would Jake want a divorce now? What was going to happen to us?
Being a daughter of a minister had taught me many things. My father believed that an intimate relationship with the same sex was a sin. Psychiatrists spoke with a heathen tongue and should be virtually ignored. No sense wasting money on something the Lord could fix if I lived His way. I was becoming confused again. Dr. Lehner put it out on the table for me. I was bisexual, therefore a sinner and in defiance of the Lord's work.
"Where the hell is that corkscrew?" I mumbled as I rummaged through the kitchen drawers. I was alone in my house, as usual, trying to open a second bottle of wine. It was 9:00 p.m. and Jake was not home yet. "Fuck you, Jake. Fuck you and your secretary," I screeched to the silence, throwing the first empty bottle into the recycle bin. I flinched as the bottle broke into several pieces.
Jake promised he would be home early tonight. Once again I was let down. Dinner was ruined, not that I had an appetite any more. I was content with drinking my meals lately. "Look on the bright side," I thought, "at least you won't have to struggle with the inability to orgasm tonight, or-," I gulped the wine, sloshing some across my white shirt, "to break the news to husband dearest. Oh, by the way, I like to have sex with women. Does that bother you at all, Jake honey? And if that doesn't bother you, how about those itty bitty prostitution jobs I worked? Would it help if I told you I only enjoyed them only a little?" I was drunk.
"Dammit!" I slammed the wine glass down on the counter and peeled off my shirt, throwing the stained blouse in the sink. In a fit of anger I peeled off my bra, pants and panties, throwing them to the floor. I stumbled into our bedroom and fumbled with my night stand. At last I found what I was looking for and clutched it to my naked chest. I staggered back into the kitchen, grabbed the wine bottle and wandered out into the back yard.
The moon was full and bright, illuminating the neatly manicured back yard. A chaise lounge looked comfortable on the deck so I hauled my shaky body over and fell into the cushions. Trees shielded me from view all around. I was free of discovery. Somehow this made me feel angrier. Forgetting my wine glass, I took another swig from the bottle of wine.
I opened my legs and felt between them. I choked back a sob when my fingers met with dry flesh. I tapped my clitoris, hoping to wake it up. When nothing happened, I turned on the vibrator still clutched to my chest. I felt the hum of the vibrator reverberate through my breasts. "Vaginal dryness is normal," I mocked a television commercial. Or was that from one of the many doctors I had visited in the last seven months?
I touched the tip of the vibrating wand to my clitoris, drawing it back suddenly. I licked my fingers, dragging the saliva around the dry folds of my labia. I touched the vibrator once again to the entrance of my vagina and worked it around. I thought about Jake, the beautiful man I married. I imagined his body on top of me, his mouth finding me, wetting me. Yes, I could feel the pulsing of the toy but it never developed into anything more. I pressed it to my sleeping clit, praying... praying...
"NO!" I threw the vibrator into the dark yard. I could vaguely hear it buzzing, like a huge insect caught in a spider's web. "No," I sobbed against the cushions of the chair. I reached for the wine bottle.
I heard Jake before I felt him. "Oh, babe," Jake groaned in one exhaled breath. "I'm sorry."
I was still curled around my wine bottle, naked, in the chaise. I struggled past the nausea and strange surroundings to find his voice. I wanted to turn toward him but couldn't command my stiff limbs to move. I shivered in the cool night air. I didn't care any more. How many times was I supposed to patiently wait for Jake to spend time with me? Or, had he already discovered my secret and chosen to stay away?
He leaned over and slipped his strong arms beneath my knees and back. He held me close to his warm chest, murmuring apologies into my hair. The wine bottle slipped from my grasp and crashed to the deck. The sound was deafening.
I must have drifted into unconsciousness once again. I awoke midmorning to the bright glare of sunshine sifting through the blinds. I was naked and Jake was curled, spoon-fashion, against my back. He was still in his work clothes, shirt sleeves rolled up, and his strong arms were fastened around my waist. I looked around the room for a few moments, trying to assemble a few thoughts. The clock read 10:23 a.m... It was a weekday and Jake was still in our bed.
I stirred. Jake's arms tightened protectively around my naked body. His fingers brushed lightly up and over my breasts until he reached my cheek. He touched me softly. "It's over, Stacey. Things are going to change as of this morning. You are too important to me. We are too important together. I realize how unreasonable all this has been for you."
I licked my dry lips. "What do you mean it's over?"
"You make me alive, Stacey. Not my job. I don't know why I let all that work take the place of being with you."
"You quit?" We stayed locked in the same position. Truthfully I didn't think I could move without upsetting the gentle balance between my head and stomach.
"John and I hashed out a few things late last night. One of the associates from another office is coming in to handle part of the work load. The case we were working together settled. The pressure of that trial is off. It seemed like a good time to take a leave of absence and work some things out," Jake explained, playing with one of my curls.
I didn't know what to say.
"I've been selfish, Stacey," Jake continued, "I asked you to quit your job years ago, thinking how nice it would be to have a wife at home, waiting for me when I got finished at work. I wanted this pretty picture of suburban bliss. I didn't keep up my end of the bargain by coming home to lavish attention on my beautiful wife. How could I have been so stupid or blind?"
"Things just snow-balled, Jake. Business picked up and things had to be done," I was making excuses for my husband. I couldn't believe it myself.
"I had no right asking you to give up your career. In fact, I would even understand at this point if you had an affair. I would completely understand why you needed the attention. Not that it wouldn't hurt any less, I would just understand why."
"An affair? Do you think I've been having an affair?" I asked.
"You're not home a lot during the day, especially on Thursdays. I've also noticed a big withdrawal from our bank account on those days, sometimes the day before." I felt Jake shrug against my bare back. "I put two and two together... "
I shook my head. "We've been keeping too much from each other. Yes, I have a standing appointment on Thursdays but it's not at a motel." I didn't know if I should tell Jake yet. I didn't feel ready.
"Can you talk about it?"
"I've been seeing a psychiatrist."
Those words hung in the air around us for a while. I felt Jake shift behind me. I closed my eyes when he hugged me closer to him.
"There's a lot going on, Jake. I've been feeling very fucked up lately. I know that I need to talk to you more but you weren't always available. Then, when I heard you talk about your secretary, how you take her to lunch, give her bonuses when she works late, I get jealous. I've never felt jealous before. I've also never been frigid before. These things just have a way of getting to me right now. I guess I want to punish you in a way, by keeping things from you." I took a deep breath, swallowing back the lump in my throat. "I have so much I want to talk to you about, so much I need to tell you. You may hate me when it's all said and done but I need to get it off my chest soon."
"Fuck everything else that's on the schedule right now. Let's just run away together and settle things," Jake said. "We can get through this."
This was going to be it. The trip would be the turning point in our marriage. Away from our everyday surroundings, we would be forced to face my issues. What happened after that would be anyone's guess.
Jake and I quickly settled into our cabin on the cruise ship. We spared no expense. In my mind, this trip was either a second honeymoon or a farewell excursion. Either way, we decided to make it first class. As for Jake, I believe he saw this trip as a second honeymoon. He handled all the arrangements and logistics of the trip with lighthearted enthusiasm. Only I knew what he was in for. I was afraid of crushing him.
Our cabin was larger than a normal cabin. We had one large bed, a separate sitting area and a small walk-out balcony outside the bedroom. My eyes found the champagne chilling on the bedside table as an omen. I wasn't ready for sex. Not yet. Jake sensed my anxiety and smoothed one of his hands down my back. "What do you say we change clothes and walk around for a while? A cold beer sounds good."
"That sounds great. I'm a little hungry, too." I quickly unpacked, stowing our suitcases in the closet. Jake started hanging up our clothes.
"Stacey, what's this?" I turned around and smiled at Jake. He was holding up my new bikini: Margarita green underwire top with a matching thong. He kept rearranging the bottoms in his hands, trying to determine which end was up. He looked up at me, a silly smile on his face.
I grabbed it from his hands and held it in front of me. "It's my new bikini." I shoved it into a drawer.
"You mean you're going to wear something with your ass hanging out like that?" Jake was still smiling.
"Maybe. Well, yes. I had planned to wear it on the beach. I have a cute little sarong that ties around my waist. If you have a problem--"
"--no, not at all. I think I might like this look on you."
I leaned over and kissed him on the cheek. He caressed my ass through the fabric of my khaki shorts.
We explored the ship the rest of the morning. We found a shaded table on one of the decks. Jake ordered a Heineken and I ordered a margarita. We nibbled on some fresh fruit and cheese as we waited for our lunch order, absorbing the balmy sea breeze and the wide expanse of turquoise water over the railing. The surroundings were truly relaxing and beautiful. Gradually I felt some of my anxiety slipping away with each sip of the tequila cocktail. Jake touched my hand. I looked up at him and smiled, almost shyly. I held his hand, looking into his smiling eyes. I did love him. He picked up a strawberry and touched it to my mouth. I parted my lips and licked at the strawberry with the tip of my tongue. My eyes never left his. He dragged the lush fragrant fruit across my lower lip, stopping to lightly push the tip between my lips. My lips closed around the tip of the fruit and my cheeks collapsed a little as I sucked. I stopped sucking and parted my lips, licking the strawberry and his fingers before biting heartily into the fruit. Jake ate the other half with a grin.
"Do you know one of the things I really miss?" I looked up at my husband as I said this. His eyebrows shot up in question.
"All those hot letters you used to write," I smiled for a moment before continuing, "Oh, Jake, they were so incredible. Do you know how good they were?"
Jake shrugged. "It's just a hobby. I've always like to write. I wish I had more time for it."
"I know I could tell you to prioritize these things, just so you could write, but that's got to be up to you."
Jake nodded, his eyes sparkling as he watched me.
I continued, "I saved every one of those letters. I still dig them out of my closet and read them. They mean so much to me."
"Really? I didn't realize--"
"I know, because I never really told you. I'm telling you now. Those letters, those stories you wrote would get me so worked up... it was almost like..." I paused a moment. I felt the warmth of a blush spreading over my cheeks.
"What? Tell me," Jake took my hand, kissing the palm.
"Well, I wondered if you wanted to act out some of the scenarios you wrote about."
Jake grinned, licking my palm after his last kiss. "Would you? Some of that stuff was a little... I don't know... over the edge."
"I might like over the edge."
Jake continued to grin.
"Do you remember that one character you wrote about, Miranda I believe her name was? She enjoyed showing off in front of men. She had a partner, a man, who told her what to do at times and she got a thrill out of performing for him. He clearly enjoyed it, too."
"Yeah, I remember her," Jake said.
"Are you saying that you wouldn't mind performing for me?" Jake asked. "I admit I love the idea but I didn't think you would appreciate being put in that position."
"I'm not being 'put into a position' if I want to do it for you. It's like, I wouldn't mind doing certain things for you if I knew you were in control of the situation. Almost like I didn't have to feel responsible for anything I did while you were telling me what to do. And you would never tell me to do anything that was objectionable to you. Am I making sense?" I sipped my drink, frowning over the salted rim at Jake.
"It does make sense. Somehow." Jake laughed. "This is interesting, Stacey. I never realized you felt that way. Wow. And we've waited ten years to tell each other this?"
"I've never regretted marrying you," he said through his sparkling smile.
"You might," I answered. Suddenly the spell was broken.
"How can you say that?"
"This trip, it's a way for us to reconnect, to talk things out, right? We're not likely to run away from each other this week. We're stuck on this boat to hash it out. I have some things I need to tell you," I told Jake in a quiet yet firm tone of voice.
Jake frowned, releasing my hand. "This sounds ominous, Stacey."
"It is. Or, I guess it could be. It depends on how you react. I've had some time to think it through. What I have to say will be totally new to you."
"I'm a little afraid of what might happen," he said.
"I'm afraid, too."
I watched Jake finish off his bottle of Heineken. It was half full when he started drinking. He put the empty bottle on the table with a loud clatter. I sipped my margarita, taking a bite of my Caesar salad. I watched Jake cautiously.
"Tonight we could do a little dancing if you feel like it," he said. I nodded. "Sure."
"Or we could do a little gambling in the casino."
I made a face at Jake. "You can gamble if you want. I would rather not."
His smile faded. "When do we start?"
"Yes. When are you going to give me something to work with?" Jake asked. "I don't mind telling you this is making me anxious."
I thought for a moment. I knew it was best to jump right in but I didn't know where to start. I leaned forward and took his hands. He leaned closer. "My psychiatrist tells me that I should tell you everything. Keeping secrets will eat away at me, at us. It's best you know... "
Jake gripped my hands.
"Jake, I think for a long time now I've hidden the fact that I have, or had, feelings for someone else that came along in my life before I met you." I studied my husband's expression. His face was blank of judgment so far. "The person I had feelings for will come as a shock. It was hard for me to come to terms with it too, but the more I think about it, the more I realize now that I was in love with... this person."
I took a deep breath as I watched him absorb what I just said.
"This person? Stacey, are you saying--"
"I'm bi, Jake. The other person I had feelings for was a woman. I'm bisexual." Suddenly I felt the ton of bricks that had been sitting on my chest slowly fall away. "It was so hard, Jake, so hard to come to terms with that fact. But if you'll let me, I'll tell you about her."
Jake leaned back in his chair. My hands slid from his and I laid them flat on the table. I watched my husband. This was going to be tough.
"I'm surprised, I guess. I'm not totally shocked, though." Jake ran his hands up and through his hair. He pulled his chair closer to our table, sliding to my side. "It's not like it's written all over your face or anything, Stacey. And it's not something I feel threatens what we have, unless you want to leave me for her." His blue eyes looked at me worriedly. I reached out and lay my palm against the side of his rugged face. I felt the beginnings of a beard beneath my palm. My thumb touched his bottom lip, dragging it over the firm flesh until I found the dimple in his chin. Our foreheads touched.
"I don't want to leave you for anybody, Jake. I love you," I said. "This is just a part of me I never gave you the opportunity to know before we were married." A strand of my hair tangled in one of my earrings. I felt it when the wind blew across my face. Jake noticed and untangled my hair from the silver hoop. I reached for his hand. "There's more, but maybe later. Why don't we go for a swim?"
Jake pulled me to my feet. "Let's go."
I nodded. It took me seven months. How could I expect Jake to get over it in ten minutes?
I started peeling off my clothes as soon as we stepped into our cabin. I felt hot and sticky and something else: a little self-conscious. I felt that Jake was seeing me in a different way. I didn't even turn around to see if he was watching me undress. I heard him behind me taking off his clothes, searching the dresser for his swim trunks. I pulled the bottoms to last year's red bikini over my hips. I turned around facing Jake as I tied the bikini top behind my neck. He reached over and tied the other ends across my back. "I don't get to see you in your new bikini yet?" he asked, feigning a pout.
"Maybe tomorrow. I have a bikini for every day, you know. I can't travel with just one. Or two." I giggled at his expression: an exaggerated roll of his eyes and a frown.
"I heard there's a place we're going to stop that has a nude beach." Jake's eyebrows rose and fell as he said "nude beach."
I laughed. "Then I won't be needing a suit at all."
"You'd really go nude?" Jake asked, smiling wolfishly.
"Do you mind if I do?" I asked, winking back at him. "I'm not ashamed of my body in the least. In fact, I'm rather comfortable with it. Besides, it'll be new and different."
"Stacey, I don't mind at all. I love looking at your body. It doesn't bother me that others admire your body. I know that at the end of the day, I am the lucky guy who gets it all to myself."
I gazed at Jake. "Really? It doesn't bother you when other men look at me?"
"Does it bother you about what I said earlier? I mean, the part about wanting to live out some of those erotic stories you used to write?"
I nodded and smiled. "C'mon. Let's go swim. I could use another one of those margaritas, too."
Jake smacked my ass as we left our room. I giggled as I ran from him, Jake snapping his towel at my legs.
We spent the next hour wrapped around each other in the pool. One of my favorite feelings is being held up by Jake, nearly weightless in the water, my legs wrapped around his waist, the hair on his chest brushing against my belly. We had a few drinks at the swim up bar. Alcohol loosened our tongues a little more.
"Did you have sex with her?" Jake finally asked.
"How? I mean, it was all oral, right?" Jake asked. He seemed interested, but more as a titillating subject of conversation. He didn't seem to realize that it was raising certain feelings in me.
"Right. Oral. We used our hands, too." I asked for another margarita.
"How did it happen?" Jake asked, watching me take a few sips of the strong margarita.
I didn't know if I should tell him about the dancing yet. My brain was feeling fuzzy and I wasn't sure if my judgment was on the mark. Still, as with any alcohol-laced illusion, I decided to plunge ahead. "We danced together."
Jake smiled. "You met at a club?"
"You could say that."
"You picked a woman up at a club - or she picked you up at a club - and you both decided to have sex? Just like that?"
"No, it wasn't like that," I sighed, I sipped my drink, sucking an ice cube into my mouth. I rolled the ice around in my mouth before shattering it with my teeth. "We danced together at a strip club."
Jake's smile left his face immediately. "You what?"
"You know, strip club, titty bar, the pole in the center of the stage--"
"--I know what a strip bar is," Jake interjected.
I nodded. "There you go. Bombshell number two." "Wait. Let me get this straight. You used to dance naked at a bar? Before we met?"
"Yes, before we met. And, no, I wore a g-string. And, no, I would start off wearing clothes. Eventually I got down to a g-string." I couldn't believe my attitude. I was starting to treat this as a joke, shrugging as if it didn't really matter.
"About four months or so, last semester of college. The money was good," I said, draining my fourth margarita. I leaned back in the water, wetting my hair. The sun burned bright orange behind my closed lids. My face felt flushed. When I pulled back up, smoothing the water from my eyes, Jake was staring at me.
"I'm sorry, Jake. I know it was wrong keeping it from you."
Jake's eyes had grown cold. He grasped me around the waist and pulled me off of him, flinging me a little harshly aside. I watched, stunned, as he left the pool.
I ordered another margarita. My hand shook as I signed the bar tab. I should have expected him to react like that. But still, I felt shocked. We couldn't ignore this and we couldn't avoid each other the rest of the trip. After this drink I was going to find him. Hopefully he would be calmer by then.
Finding our room wasn't as easy as I thought it would be. By the time I entered our suite my bikini was completely dry and I had developed a little headache. If I were to shut my eyes the darkness behind them would spin.
Jake didn't look at me when I walked up to him. He lifted a beer bottle to his lips and drained it. I watched him, feeling sorry for him. "I'm sorry, Jake. But what's done is done. At least I told you."
"What did your parents say?" Jake knew my parents, the minister and his wife. He knew my upbringing.
I rolled my eyes dramatically. "I'm sure, Jake. I never told them. Are you kidding? It would kill them. Some secrets are okay to keep. Between me and you, it's not healthy. I mean, think about these past several months... " I let the last comment trail off. Jake was all too aware of my problems in the bedroom.
I perched on the ottoman at Jake's feet, trying to read his stony expression. A muscle worked in his jaw. A breeze from the open balcony door ruffled our hair. I touched his naked thigh. I felt up his leg, seeking to comfort him somehow. I moved my hand over his lap, kneading the part of him I felt underneath. He began to grow hard at my touch.
"Not now." Jake gently pushed my hand away. "Maybe now, since you're being so honest, I can tell you a few of the things I've been feeling."
I sat back. His expression had changed a little. His eyes were still cold but the muscles in his jaw were relaxed. He managed a tight smile. "Please tell me what you're thinking," I said.
Jake stood up, lumbering to the door. He spread his arms wide, leaning against the door jam. "I've been a little bored with our sex life." He turned at this comment, eyeing me for a reaction. I sensed an anger beneath him. I stepped carefully.
"Bored? I can't blame you there. I think we could do with a little something new."