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Marital Duplicity; chapter nine, part two

Chapter Nine; Part Two

I’m feeling out of sorts as I download the information from the flash drive onto my computer. I need to return the flash drive before Reverend Yang knows it’s missing. I call him before I can think about it, and he’s still at the office. I pause. Does he ever go home? He tells me he can meet me any time, so I quickly dress and leave. I don’t bother dressing up—I just wear a plain shirt and slacks. My only goal is to return the flash drive without getting caught, and maybe I’ll use the same trick I used the last time.

“Megan. I’m so glad to see you.” Reverend Yang grabs me at his office door and pulls me into a long hug. I get the sense of a drowning man clinging to a life saver, not of a leering Lothario. Given that it’s not even an hour since I last saw him, I know he’s in deep.

“Reverend Yang. You looked stressed. Anything I can do to help?” I look into Reverend Yang’s eyes, and I see that he’s deeply exhausted. In fact, he looks as if he’s about to keel over. “Sit down, Reverend. You’re tired.” I push him onto the couch, and he sinks into it obediently. To my consternation, he starts crying.

“This can’t go on, Megan. It just can’t. I haven’t slept in a week. I throw up whenever I eat. I never thought it’d be this hard.” Reverend Yang throws his arm over his eyes, and he bawls. I put my arm around him and hug him tightly. He leans against me, and he’s trembling. He needs to talk, and it might as well be to me.

“Reverend Yang, whatever it is, you have to get it out. It’s not good to keep it bottled up inside.” I pat his shoulder, and his tears eventually subside.

“I have a problem, Megan, and I need help.” Reverend Yang says, shifting his eyes off mine. He takes a deep breath and says, “I can’t stay away from other women. I’m sure you’ve noticed.” I nod, and he continues. “I love my wife. I really do. She’s been my bedrock through all this. I just…it’s the chase. I’m addicted to it.”

“Reverend Yang. Marcus.” I take his hand and squeeze it. “You are a human being, which means you have weaknesses. The fact that you can acknowledge it is a big first step.”

“Thank you, Megan. I can’t talk about this with anyone, including my wife. Understandably.” Reverend Yang’s eyes close, and within minutes, he’s asleep. I quickly pull out the thumb drive and put it back where I found it after deleting the files off of it. I look around the office, but there’s nothing else that catches my eyes. I pull on my gloves and quickly race through his computer files again. I want to find something that indicates who his most recent woman is, but I can’t find anything. Somewhere in the bowels of his computer, I find an email from his wife. My eyebrows shoot up because conceivably, they could just talk to each other at home. Feeling like a heel, I read it. It says, “Marcus, we need to talk. They’re breathing down our necks. You need to rein in your dick, and I need to be more creative with the books.” My eyebrows are about to fall off my face. She knows about his dalliances. She either doesn’t care or she’s accepted it as part of her lot in life. That’s hard enough for me to believe, but the fact that she just blatantly states she’s cooking the books is mind-blowing. Wait a minute. Reverend Yang said he couldn’t talk about his affairs with his wife, but it’s clear she knows. What accounts for the discrepancy, or is he lying to me? If he is, why?

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Marital Duplicity; chapter nine, part one

Chapter Nine; Part One

“Megan, I’d love to meet you for a cup of coffee after work. Seward Cafe at six?” It’s an email from Lee Bradley, and it’s the first thing I read when I get up. I dash off a quick yes, and I’m pleased to have made progress. I get through work with minimal mistakes before heading for Seward Cafe. It’s in South Minneapolis, which means I don’t get there often, but I like it’s homey atmosphere. Lee Bradley is already at a table, and I take a minute to look her over. She’s tall—five-foot nine inches, and she’s got a booty that would make Nicki Minaj envious. She’s wearing a pinstripe suit with a knee-length skirt. It’s clear she’s trying to minimize her curves, but to no avail. Mother Nature certainly took her time with the creation of Lee. Today, she has finger waves pulled up in a high ponytail and big gold hoops. She’s tapping her magenta-tipped fingers on her coffee cup. I order myself a large coffee and a chocolate croissant, then head to Lee’s table.

“Lee? I’m Megan.” I hold my hand out to Lee, and her grasp is firm and hearty.

“Megan. I’m so glad you emailed me. Please, sit.” She gestures to the seat across from her, and I sink into it. I take a bite of my croissant, then wash it down with a sip of coffee. I’m trying to think of my approach, and I decide the truth is for the best.

“Lee. Let me be honest with you. As you know, Bob is missing.” I sip my coffee again while watching Lee’s reaction. She’s nodding, and her eyes are reddened.

“I can’t stand it. It’s driving me crazy.” Lee’s hand is trembling as she picks up her coffee cup. “I did a little research of my own, but I can’t find shit.”

“Same here. It’s mostly fluff.” I sip some more and set down my cup. “Except.” I feel shitty for saying this, but I have to. “We have reason to believe he’s having an affair.”

“Bullshit!” Lee says, slapping her hand on the table. “Bob adores that sister of yours. You can take that to the bank.” She nods her head several times, and there’s nothing but sincerity in her voice.

“We determined her name was Lee.” I keep my eyes trained on Lee’s face, and there’s nothing but surprise on it.

“Me? You think he’s stepping out with me?” Lee flutters her fingers at her chest, and a second later, there’s guilt and/or anger on her face.

“I didn’t say that.” I spread my fingers to show her I mean no harm.

“Nah, but you sure as hell implied it.” Lee grips the edges of the table before relaxing. “I ain’t ashamed to say I wouldn’t have minded, but he was stuck on Jasmine like flies on—glue.”

“I really don’t mean to be disrespectful, but are you sure he didn’t say or do anything untoward?” I sound like a dime store romance novel, and I’m not proud of myself.

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Dogged Ma; chapter fourteen, part two

Chapter Fourteen; Part Two

I handed Ted a cup of coffee before taking one myself.  I sat across from him in a chair as I was in a strange mood.  Skittish, I’d say.  Not because we’d had sex already, but because my body was changing.  I knew it wouldn’t be long before I had to explain my precarious situation, but I didn’t want it to be tonight.  Unfortunately, that probably meant no hands-on fooling around as the signs were unmistakable.  Then again, he was a man.  What did he know about pregnancy?  What I knew was that he was looking at me with puppy-dog eyes, wondering why I was so far away.  I hesitated a moment before giving in to my impulses and plopping down besides him on the couch.  He pulled me to him, careful not to jostle my coffee.  I set down the cup on the table because I didn’t trust myself not to spill.

“Thanks for dinner,” Ted whispered in my ear before nuzzling my neck.  I shivered as I draped my arms around him.  My hormones were triumphing over my brains as usual, and I quickly gave in.  “Is there any way I can repay you?”  He slid his hand over my breast, frustrated at the limited access.  One problem with dresses was that there was no graceful fondling of naked breasts.  Ted realized that trying to worm his way in on top was futile, so he dropped his hand to my knee and slid it up to my thigh.  He met with more success on this route.

“Why don’t you show me your bedroom?”  Ted asked huskily, removing his hand from my thigh.  I nodded as I stood up, holding my hand out to him.  He grabbed it to pull himself up, leaving his coffee behind.

“This is it,” I said, gesturing around me.  I hadn’t done much with it as I didn’t spend much time in it.  However, I had pictures of my family on the wall which gave it a homey touch.

“Maybe we could keep the lights off,” Ted suggested, eyeing my mother’s stern face in consternation.  I suppressed a giggle as I complied; turning off the lights benefited me as well.

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Dogged Ma; chapter twelve, part two

 Chapter Twelve; Part Two

“Margaret, I’m glad you found my place all right.”  Ted’s voice trailed off as he opened the door to his Kenwood home.  His eyes widened when he caught sight of what I was wearing.

“Are you going to invite me in?”  I asked demurely, slipping my wrap off my shoulders and handing it to him.  He took it silently and stepped aside.  I took a second to check him out as well.  He was wearing black khakis, a silver shirt, and a black sports coat.  Black socks and no shoes, of course.  He looked hot as hell, and I had an impulse to skip dinner and go straight to his bedroom.  I reined myself in as I stepped out of my shoes, however.  I didn’t want to appear that forward.

“Margaret, you look indescribable,” Ted said, finding his voice at last.  He ushered me into the living room which was painted a warm marigold.  There were Ansel Adam reprints on his wall—at least, I thought they were reprints—as well as a few Chinese scrolls.  Even though the furniture was clearly expensive, the room was homey due to the color.  He had photos of his family on his bookshelves, and I noticed how uncommonly good-looking both his siblings were.  “Please, sit.  May I get you something to drink?”

“Rum and Diet Coke, if you have it.  A Rolling Rock if you don’t.”  I smiled up at Ted who nodded his head as he left the room.  I watched his ass, noticing how firm it appeared.  As soon as he was out of sight, I went over to the bookshelves to see what he had.  Toni Morrison, David Mura, Asian writers’ anthologies, a few Laurie Kings.  A wide variety, all of it good.  My estimation of him shot up a notch as I realized he hadn’t been bullshitting me at the party.  He did, indeed, have similar tastes to mine.  He also had a bunch of poetry which I didn’t recognize.  I didn’t do poetry, much to the chagrin of Wind who was always foisting this poet and that upon me.  Of course, she loved the Beats, whom I loathed.

“Here we go,” Ted said, returning with two Rolling Rocks.  He handed one to me before clinking the top of his bottle against mine.  “Here’s to a great dinner.  I hope I didn’t burn it.”

“Oh!  That reminds me.  Here.”  I thrust a bottle of port out to him.  I didn’t normally drink wine, but port was an exception.  “For dinner.”  I had no idea what he was making—though it smelled like Italian—but we could have it with dessert if nothing else.

“Great.  I love a good port.”  Ted set it on the coffee table, shifting from one foot to the next.  It occurred to me that he was waiting for me to sit down on the black suede couch, so I did.  I sank into it was more like it as it was impossibly buttery.

“This is one nice couch,” I said, patting the seat besides me.

“A little gift from my parents,” Ted said dryly, sitting besides me.  I could feel the heat even though he wasn’t touching me, and I hastily gulped at my beer to cool down.

“Something smells delicious,” I said brightly.  “You must be a great cook.”

“I’m all right,” Ted said, shrugging his shoulders.  “I had to cook for my brother and sister when we were little.  I learned to be creative pretty quickly in order to please those two.  Edgar would only eat meat and potatoes whereas Tina had a taste for haute cuisine.  Imagine trying to cook for those two at the same time!  As a result, I’ll eat anything.”  He didn’t say why he had to cook for his siblings, but I guessed it had something to do with his alcoholic mother.  “It’s chicken parmigiana, the Italian way.  A Caesar salad on the side and garlic bread, of course.  I made tiramisu for dessert.”  My mouth watered as he ran down the menu.

“You’re hired,” I said jokingly, patting him on the arm.  “We need a good cook at the alternative school where I teach.  The food is off and on right now, depending on our cook’s mood.  Given that she is bipolar and doesn’t always take her meds, it’s more off than on.”  I shook my head.  I looked at Ted who was gazing down at me.  Without seeming to, we moved towards each other, meeting in the middle.  When his lips touched mine, I knew without a doubt that we’d be having sex tonight.  Before or after dinner was an open question, but we were going to have it.  Ted leaned into the kiss, gently pushing me down onto the couch.  I was about to give in when I smelled a whiff of something acrid.

“Ted, your food.”  I pushed him off me, alarmed at missing a home-cooked meal.  Hell, I could have sex any time.  How often did I get a guy to cook for me?

“Shit.”  Ted jumped up from the couch and rushed to the kitchen.  I whipped out my lipstick carrier which had a mirror in it and reapplied my lipstick.  Ted must have wiped his mouth as well before returning because he was lipstick-free.  “Dinner is served.  Would you like to adjourn to the dining room?”  He motioned for me to follow, and I did.

“Good Lord,” I murmured, looking around me in awe.  This room was forest-green with abstract art on the walls.  I was beginning to think that the paintings were real and not prints, but that would be astronomical.  Then again, his family was filthy rich, so perhaps dropping a few million on a painting wasn’t such a big deal to them.  The table seemed to be made of mahogany, and I bet it’d been in the family for quite some time.  The china looked ancient, and the silverware was real silver.  Antiques Road Show would have a field day with this house.  Come to think of it, I wouldn’t mind meeting the twins.

“Sit, sit,” Ted said, coming out of the kitchen with a steaming-hot dish in his hand.  It smelled heavenly, and I assumed it was the sauce.  “I slaved all day making you this.”

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