Madeline and I have worked together for the past five years and besides the job the two of us have one thing in common - we both despise our employer and most of the other people we work with. As you might guess, not caring for the others we work with means that we spend a lot of time together during breaks and lunch periods, and as time went by we became very close. We were like brother and sister or even best friends, if such a thing is possible between a man and a woman not married to each other. Mad had a husband and three kids and I had a wife and two and it was inevitable that, given as close as we had become, we would confide in each other and cry on each other's shoulder.
During the early years it was simple stuff like the washer was broken and where was the money going to come from to fix or replace it. As the years passed by things began to get more and more personal. For example, I knew she was pregnant with her third before her husband did, and she knew before my wife that I was going to get a vasectomy. I told Mad about finding out my wife was cheating on me and it was Mad who, knowing how much I loved my wife, advised me to play it cool and see if it was just a phase that Peg was going through. She was right; after a couple of months Peg ended it and hasn't stepped out on me since. Like I said earlier, Mad and I are close.
And then, quite suddenly, our relationship changed. Mad had been quiet and irritable all week and finally I asked her what was wrong. Tears came to her eyes and she blurted out:
"It's that asshole that I'm married to. For weeks he's been acting strange and I just knew he was running around with some floozy. When I finally got mad enough to call him on it he laughed at me and the madder I got the more he laughed. It turned out that he had taken a part time job to earn enough money to take me to St. Thomas on our anniversary. But the way he laughed at me - he's just a goddamned asshole."
She saw me with a bit of a smile on my face and she said, "What are you laughing at?"
"Not at you Mad" I replied, "It's just that I would have thought that by now you'd have known that all men are assholes at one time or another."
"Not you" she said, "You're not an asshole."
I laughed and said, "Hell Mad, I'm a bigger asshole than most."
She looked a me with a curious gaze and said, "I've known you for five years and not once have you been am asshole. In fact, you are the nicest guy I've ever known."
I just stood there and said nothing and Mad asked, "Why? Why do you say you are an asshole?"
I was silent for a moment and then I said, "What else could you call a married man who lusted after a married woman not his wife?"
Mad looked at me with surprise, "Who? You?"
I nodded my head yes and Mad smiled at me and asked, "Just who is the lucky lady?"
I just smiled back at her and walked away. I should have known that I wasn't going to get away with that. For the next two days Mad was after me like a bulldog after a bone, "Who is it? Come on, you can tell me!" She kept after me until I finally snapped:
"Oh come on Mad! Just who in the hell else could it be!"
Understanding finally showed on her face and she pointed at herself, "Me? It's me? You've got the hots for me?" She stood there with her mouth hanging open, not knowing what else to say, and I figured that I'd already said too damn much so I walked away and found something to keep me busy for the rest of the afternoon.
I almost didn't go to work the next day, but at the last minute I decided that I was going to have to face Mad sooner or later so it might as well be sooner - no sense losing a day's pay over it. The day started out okay and the morning went quick. I was sitting at a table in the break room when Mad slid onto the chair across from me.
"How's my secret admirer today?"
I had to chuckle at that and I said, "I should never have let that slip out."
"Why?" she said, "I think it was sweet of you to tell me that you cared for me."
That got a raised eyebrow from me and I said, "That's not exactly what I said Mad."
She smiled at me, "I know, but I'm not quite comfortable with 'lust', at least not yet. Tell me, how long have you felt this way?"
"From day one Mad, since the very first day we met."
She gave me a contemplative glance and asked why I'd never mentioned it before.
"To what end? You were happily married, and at the time so was I. Saying anything could have ended a great friendship before it even got started."
Another long look from Mad, "Lust huh?"
"Yeah Mad, lust! I wanted you so bad I could almost taste you."
She raised her eyebrows at me and said, "Wanted? Not want? Am I losing you?" and the absurdity of the conversation hit us at the same time and we both broke up laughing. After we got it out of our system I said:
"No Mad, you haven't lost me. I still lust for you."
She smiled a big smile and said, "Good! My ego needed that. But I am curious about one thing."
"What's that?" I asked.
"You said you wanted me so bad you could taste me. Did you mean that literally, or figuratively?"
I gave her a loud laugh and said, "Literally Mad, literally!"
She was silent for a moment and then she said, almost to herself, "That's something Brian won't do" and then she looked at her watch and said, "Oops, got to go" and she got up and left me sitting there wondering about her last comment. Two hours later, as I stood at the urinal in the men's room, it hit me - she was talking about oral sex! Interesting, I thought, apparently Brian wouldn't go down on her. Did the tone in her voice mean she wished he would?
Following that lunch conversation our relationship moved onto a different plane, and it was all Mad's doing. The next day, the first time I saw her she said, "Hey baby. Still hot for my body?"