OK, so the honeymoon was over. That much was fairly obvious. I knew it would happen. I just didn't think it would happen quite so soon. We'd been married a little over a year—my second, Jake's first. I knew he loved me, and he was a wonderful father to my son, Michael. Jake just didn't seem that interested in sex anymore. No, strike that. He was interested in sex. He just wasn't interested in making love.
"Well, what do you think the problem is, Carly?"
My long-time client and friend, Lisa Quimby, looked up at me from the shampoo bowl.
She blinked as a fine spray of water misted her face. Ok, so it wasn't that fine. I grabbed a towel and blotted her face.
"Sorry," I said. "I'm not sure, but I have a pretty good idea. Baseball."
"Baseball?" Lisa looked at me quizzically.
"Yeah, he's coaching Mike's team."
I finished rinsing Lisa's hair, wrapped a towel around it, sat her up and told her to head back over to my station while I rinsed the bowl. A moment later, I removed the towel and began to comb out her hair.
"So, why is coaching a problem?" she asked.
"It's not the coaching, really. Jake's good at it, and I'm proud of him for doing it. The problem is that he's gone almost every night with practice and everything else, and then they have games on the weekends. He's also working full time. He comes home exhausted. He eats and has a shower and then passes out. When we do have sex, which isn't very often, it's usually quick and to the point. Before we got married, we couldn't keep our hands off each other, and it wasn't even all sexual, you know? I miss that. Now I get a little peck on the cheek or a slap on the ass in passing, and that's it."
"So, what are we doing with this?" I said, pointing the rattail comb at her head and meeting Lisa's gaze in the mirror.
"This." She held up a magazine open to a red carpet photo of Jessica Simpson in an evening gown, long blonde curls cascading over one shoulder. "Make me look like this."
"Oh, wait," I said to the short, round forty-something with chin-length hair. "Let me just get my magic wand." Reaching behind me, I pretended to pull the wand out of my ass.
Lisa threw her head back and laughed. "Bitch."
I grinned at her in the mirror. "So, what are we doing?"
"The usual. Just stack it a bit more in the back."
Grabbing my scissors, I set to work, sending little chunks of wet hair flying.
"So, what are you going to do about Jake?" Lisa asked.
"I don't know. Find some ways to spice things up, I guess. I mean, I'm only thirty-four. I'm not ready for a life of celibacy. I just want a little romance, you know? Some kind of emotional connection."
"Yeah. I can relate."
Our eyes met in the mirror. Shit. I sure as hell didn't want to end up like Lisa. She and her husband, Nick, hadn't had sex in years. I couldn't understand why she stayed with him.
Lisa thought for a moment and then said, "Maybe you could show more interest in stuff he likes."
"You mean like baseball? Because that seems to be pretty much the only thing he's interested in lately."
"Sure, why not? Don't you like it?"
"It's okay, I guess."
"Do you ever go to his games?" she asked.
"Yeah, I've been to a few. For Mike. Sometimes it's hard with work."
"Maybe you should go to practice sometimes during the week too. Maybe that's the only way you're going to be able to spend time with him. Mike too, you know?"
"Maybe." I was tired of talking about it. "So how's it going with Nick?"
Now it was Lisa's turn to sigh. "Oh, you know..."
My mind wandered as she continued to talk. I was good at that—keeping half my mind on what someone was saying while still being occupied with my own thoughts. Lisa stopped talking when I turned on the blow dryer. I supposed she was right. Maybe if I started making more of an effort to spend time with Jake, he'd take more interest in me.
Over the next couple weeks, I did just that. I started going to practices two or three times a week. Jake didn't comment on my presence but didn't seem displeased by it. Sometimes, I'd bring snacks or drinks. I'd sit on the bench and watch or sometimes chat with the boys. Mike always seemed happy to see me there, especially if I brought food.
There was one boy in particular whom I really enjoyed. Brian Nutter. God, he was adorable. Tall and muscular with blue eyes and blond hair and dimples—an angel child. He was usually sitting on the bench, so we talked quite a bit during my visits. Intelligent and personable, he'd always greet me with "Hey, Mrs. Peters," his cheeks flushing pink with embarrassment. It had been a long time since a boy had had a crush on me, and I thought it was very sweet. At some point, Jake became aware of the situation with Brian and began calling him my "little boyfriend."
"He thinks you're a MILF," Jake, always the smart ass, said one night over dinner.
"Shut up!" I giggled, lobbing my pizza crust at him, hitting him on the shoulder.
He just laughed.
"Who?" Mike asked.
"Brian Nutter," replied Jake.
"I said shut up," I barked with a pointed glare in Jake's direction.
"Mom's got a crush on the Nutter?"
Now Mike was laughing too.
"Michael." I aimed the warning glare his way.
"Naw, Nutter Butter's got a crush on her. He likes older women, apparently." Jake grinned and winked at me.
"No shit? Oops." Mike blushed and looked down at his plate.
"Michael, do I need to get a bar of soap? It's been a while, but I'm sure I haven't lost my touch."
"Sorry, Mom. It slipped."
"Don't let it happen again."
I hoped this little digression would deter Jake from continuing with the Brian thing. No such luck.
"You love it, don't you honey? You're not fooling me."
"Love what, Jake?"
"All those young boys slobbering after you, staring at your boobs. All that."
Mike was laughing again, relieved, I'm sure, to have the attention deflected from his little faux pas.
"Yeah, Mom. They do think you're hot." He paused to roll his eyes. "Don't they know how old you are? Jeez."
Jake roared at this and slapped Mike on the back. Feigning annoyance, I stood and began to clear the table.
"Aw, c'mon, Carly." Jake made a grab for me, which I neatly sidestepped on my way to the sink. "We're just kidding." When I didn't reply, he said, "Hey, maybe Nutter will ask you to the prom when the time comes."
More laughter. Mike was practically rolling on the floor.
"That's fine," I declared. "You two just go ahead and yuk it up at my expense."
With that, I slammed the dishwasher shut and walked out of the room amidst more laughter.
"My mom, the cradle robber," I heard Mike say just before I was out of earshot.
I wasn't really mad, though I wished Jake hadn't said all that in front of my son. I decided to have a talk with Mike later about not repeating stuff he heard inside our home.
While the guys watched TV, I took a shower, shaved my legs, slathered on moisturizer, and styled my hair into soft brown curls. I slipped into one of Jake's white dress shirts and nothing else. The tails were long enough to hide my nakedness. When Mike came in to say good night, I was propped against some pillows in bed reading a book. As he leaned down to kiss my cheek, I grabbed his arm.
"Listen, you know better than to repeat any of that dinnertime conversation outside of this house, right?"
He rolled his eyes and pulled away.
He was on his way through the doorway and turned back.
"I'm not a baby, Mom. Stop treating me like one."
I checked myself from telling him to stop acting like one and sighed, returning to my book.
A half hour later, Jake came into the bedroom, fresh from the shower, a towel slung low around his hips. He grinned when he saw that I was wearing his shirt, a particular turn on for him, and flopped down next to me.
"I thought you were mad at me," he murmured, stroking his fingers up my leg toward my crotch.
Kicking his hand away, I said, "I am mad at you," and returned my eyes to my book, trying not to smile.
"Why? You know it's true."
"What's true, Jake?"
"That Nutter has the hots for you."
"Oh, stop it. He's just a kid, and it's just a little crush."
"So, you admit it."
"Why'd you have to bring it up in front of Mike?"
"I don't know. Because it's funny, I guess."
He pulled his towel off and tried to push my legs apart.
"I'm trying to read."
He grabbed the book and tossed it on the floor.
"You can read anytime."
"I want to read now," I said, leaning down and reaching for the book.
Unfortunately, this also revealed that I wasn't wearing panties, lending credence to Jake's assertion that I did not, in fact, want to read. He laughed at me again, of course. Now I was really getting annoyed. His plan of attack, apparently, was to ignore my protestations, because he slid his hands down my legs and back up and pressed a wet kiss to my upper thigh.
"Mmmm, you smell good," he growled, and nipped my skin with his teeth.
"Ouch! Stop it."
After some ineffectual struggling on my part, Jake wrapped his big arms around me and nuzzled my neck. He knew he could get to me that way, but I gritted my teeth, determined not to respond. After a while, just as my resolve was about to crumble, he stopped and sat up.
"Maybe you'd be more interested in your little boyfriend, huh?"
.... There is more of this story ...