“Megan. It’s good to see you.” His eyes are glued to my admittedly impressive bosom, which I have on prominent display. I’m wearing a snug-fitting, bright red dress that falls just below my thighs. The good reverend’s eyes travel downwards and settle on the tattoo of my left ankle.
“They’re the initials of my best friend,” I offer. “She was…she died a few weeks ago.” Tears spring to my eyes, and they’re genuine.
“I am so sorry for your loss,” Reverend Yang says, forcing his eyes back to my face. “Please. Have a seat.” He gestures at the black velvet couch in the corner of his office. His wife is nowhere to be found, and I don’t ask. I sit on the couch and arrange my legs so my dress falls to the side. As he’s distracted, I pull out my phone and place it, camera-side up on the couch in the crack between cushions. Reverend Yang pulls his ergonomic chair next to me and stares into my eyes. Normally, I would find that off-putting, but it’s soothing coming from him.
“I know I only met you this morning, Reverend, but I feel as if I’ve known you forever.” I bat my lashes up at Reverend Yang, and, predictably, he melts.
“Call me Marcus.” He pats my shoulder several times before removing his hand.
“I can’t do that, Reverend Yang. It wouldn’t be respectful.” I lean forward so Reverend Yang can see that I’m not wearing a bra. I can tell he appreciates that mightily as his cock stiffens under his chinos. Something is rising in this church, but it’s not Jesus. Reverend Yang clears his throat before speaking.
“Megan. Please tell me what has brought you here this evening.”
“It’s my boyfriend, Reverend Yang,” I say, forcing tears to my eyes. “I’m afraid he’s…seeing another woman.” I touch my eyes with a newly-bought handkerchief, careful not to smudge my mascara. Yes, I even put on makeup for this occasion. I should take a picture for posterity.
“How terrible. That must be so hurtful.” Reverend Yang picks up my hand and starts caressing my thumb.
“Oh, it is!” I throw my hands up in the air, the picture of distress. I grab his hand and squeeze it as I force myself to cry. “I did something terrible, Reverend Yang. I—I—I followed him last night. He met some young blond at a hotel! When I met you earlier today, I felt as if we really connected. I knew I could talk to you.”
“That’s what I’m here for. To help. To counsel. To nurture. Tell me more.” Reverent Yang looks soulfully into my eyes, and I notice he’s still holding my hand. Tightly.
“I think it’s one of his clients. He’s an accountant. You would think you could trust an accountant, wouldn’t you? Anyway, Peter started coming home late about a month ago. One time, he smelled like perfume. I don’t wear perfume!” I sniffle again, and Reverend Yang rubs my fingers slowly. Despite my performance, I’m becoming aroused. I tamp down my feelings and concentrate on the task at hand.
“Megan, the flesh of man is weak. He has to constantly watch himself, otherwise he’ll slip. He must pray daily not to be tempted.” Reverend Yang stands up and sits next to me. He puts his arm around my shoulder and pulls me close. I place my head on his shoulder and nuzzle my cheek against his chest.
“It’s not always easy for women, either,” I breathe into his ear.
“Everyone must stand guard lest he—or she—falters.” Reverend Yang kisses the top of my head, and I slide my hand onto his chest under his shirt. I feel a twinge of guilt as I think of Rembrandt, but I tell myself I’m doing this for Bob. I wonder how far I’ll let myself go; I also wonder if my phone is picking this all up. I hope the video gets captured, too, but there’s only so much I can do.
“You are so right,” I say. “It’s difficult sometimes, though.” I let my hand slide downwards so it can rest on his stomach—with rock-hard abs—then add, “I have needs, too.”
“I understand. You are a sensual woman; I can tell.” Reverend Yang kisses me on the cheek then slides his lips over to my mouth. I slip my tongue into his mouth as he presses his body against mine. He’s as hard as a rock, and I have to decide pretty soon how far I’m going with this.
“Oh, Reverend Yang. You make me feel so alive.” I pull him to me and kiss him hungrily.
“You deserve to feel alive.” Reverend Yang pulls down the top of my dress and starts caressing my tits. This is it. I have to put a stop to this now, even though I’m enjoying the sensations he’s producing.
“Oh, Reverend Yang. I want this, but it’s going too fast. Do you think we could slow it down? I’m sorry for being so wishy-washy.” I gently push Reverend Yang away, and like a gentleman, he immediately stands up.
“I understand, Megan. You must be really confused right now. We can continue our counseling at another time.” Reverend Yang clears his throat and adjusts his pants. I pull my dress back up and pull out a compact to freshen up my makeup. I also turn off my camera and slip my phone back into my purse while Reverend Yang’s attention is on his pants.
“I would like that. Maybe tomorrow night if you have time. I realize you’re very busy. Your wife said you’re full this week?” A flash of rage passes over Reverend Yang’s face, but he quickly plasters a smile on his face.
“Tomorrow at nine will be fine if it’s OK with you.” The lust is still there, and I marvel at a man like this being able to hold on to his job for so long. I also wonder why he chose to be a pastor, but that’s not any of my business.
“I’ll be here.” I press a kiss on Reverend Yang’s mouth, and he grabs my ass and squeezes. I grab his in return and do the same before slipping out the door. Once I’m in my car, I check my phone. The audio is clear, but the video is spotty. There’s a few frames of us kissing, which is good enough for my purposes. I may never have to use the evidence, but it’s good to have it. I take a few slow and smooth breaths before driving home. I have a lot to think about.
“Mreeeow!” Onyx nuzzles my shin as I enter the house.
“You big phony. I know you just wants treats.” I pick up Onyx and cuddle her, and she wriggles in an attempt to free herself. Jet flattens his ears and hisses at me until I put his sister back on the ground. Then, he resumes his happy face and bonks me on the shins. I ruffle his fur before going into the kitchen to get them some treats. I can’t stop thinking about Reverend Yang and how easily he put the moves on me. I mean, he just met me this morning, and he’s hitting on me not twelve hours later? He’s already been reprimanded once for his behavior, so he’s either arrogant or an addict. Or both. At least I can confirm that he does have affairs with his parishioners, but I highly doubt he’s into guys so that isn’t related to Bob’s disappearance.
I go into the living room and check my blog. As I expect, there are several responses, both pro and con, to my church post. There are plenty of the usual ‘slut, whore, bitch’ comments, but there are also some thoughtful comments as well. I smile. I love it when my commenters interact intelligently and without rancor. I post a few comments of my own before starting a new post.
Some people say that money is the root of all evil, but I believe power is that root. There are very few people who come in contact with it who are not corrupted by it, and those who seek it succumb to its siren song all-too-easily. Whether it’s politics, corporations, or religion, a megalomaniac will stop at nothing to get what he—or she—wants. It’s the last that interests me. As I’ve said, I don’t mind if people find comfort in the arms of religion, but I do mind if a religious person takes advantage of his parishioners. A pastor or priest is synonymous with a therapist in my opinion. He is in charge of the well-being of his flock. If a woman in distress seeks out her pastor for counseling and comfort. She may be attracted to him, but she’s in a vulnerable position. It’s up to him to stand strong and be above reproach.
I write a bit more, then stop. As much as I want to expose Reverend Yang for the scum that he is, I have to wait because I need information about Bob. I save the post as a draft and close my blog. Once I’m done with this investigation, maybe I’ll finish the post. I pull up a Google tab in Chrome and type in Reverend Yang’s name and Harvard Divinity School. With a little digging, I discover that there was a classmate of his who made a big public scene and accused him of getting her pregnant. I read more about the accusation. It seems they were working on a project together, which usually ended with the two of them having coffee after everyone had left for the night. One thing led to another, according to Katie Parker, the classmate, and she was two months pregnant when she made the accusation. It wouldn’t have been that big of a deal except Marcus Yang had been dating Sharon Chu for a month prior, and she would not take kindly to him fathering a bastard child. Marcus had a talk with Katie, and she suddenly disappeared from Boston, not to be heard from again.
I open another tab and Google Katie Parker. Too bad her name is so common because I get over a million results. I narrow it down by putting in Harvard Divinity School and age parameters. Within seconds, I get the full story on Katie Parker’s time at Harvard Divinity. She was from Washington DC and had been raised by a single mom. She worked three jobs during high school to help out at home with her three younger siblings. She matriculated from Georgetown U with honors before attending Harvard Divinity School. She took on a full schedule and also worked in a local restaurant as a server. She was driven, and her professors agreed she was the brightest student they’d had in years. I wonder if that’s why Marcus Yang was attracted to her in the first place. He’s a pretty driven man himself, and I’m sure he’s not used to women who can compete with him. I research further, and I discover one of her sisters, Nadine Wendell, lives in Northeast Minneapolis. Before I can talk myself out of it, I send her an email asking about her sister. I don’t expect her to respond, but doing nothing will get nothing.
I dig a little harder, but there doesn’t seem to be any mention of Katie after her disappearance from Boston. There’s no mention of her child, either. I can’t even find out if it’s a boy or a girl. I do notice that Nadine has a son who’s three. He would have been born about the right time, but that’s just a flight of fancy on my part. The article I’m reading says he’s adopted, and he’s Asian. That puts more meat to my theory, but it’s still conjecture. If I don’t hear from Nadine tonight, I’ll stop by her place after work tomorrow.
“Megan, are you there? We need to talk.” It’s Rembrandt texting me, and I stifle a groan. I don’t want to have a talk, but I don’t see any way around it.
“I’m here. Let’s talk. Skype or phone?” I text back.
“Skype.” I call him on Skype, and soon he and Ginger are staring at me. Onyx and Jet peer at the video, puzzled by what they’re seeing. They mew at Ginger, and she meows in response. “Hi, Megan. You look good.”
“So do you.” I check him out, and most of the bruising around his missing eye has healed.
“I know I said I was OK with what we have, but I’m not.” Rembrandt’s tone is frank, but his eye is scared. He clutches Ginger to his chest, then relaxes his grip. “I’m not asking for much—just that you stay the night or let me stay the night after we have sex.” I tighten my lips so I won’t say the first thing that pops into my mind. He has a right to ask for that, so why am I so irritated?
“I understand, Rembrandt.” I see the look on his face and add, “Really. I do.” I look at my babies who are peering at Ginger with interest. To be honest, they are a big reason I don’t like staying the night. If they were to come with me….”I’ll be honest with you. I’m not sure I want to take that step, but I would like to try. If I do, however, I’ll want to bring Onyx and Jet with me.” At the mention of their names, they meow in unison.
“Deal. Tomorrow night? I’ll cook a simple stir fry.” Rembrandt smiles at me, and I don’t have the heart to refuse. It’s not usually smart to cook ethnic food for a person of that ethnicity, but I’m pretty easy to please.
“Sounds good. Six-thirty?”
“Perfect.” We let our cats chatter with each other a bit more before closing out the chat window. I start another post.
When I was a teenager, I dreamed of my first kiss and my first boyfriend. I thought it was my ticket to the perfect life, but reality soon kicked me in the ass. One failed relationship after another, and I realized there was no man—or woman—who could make me complete. It’s trite, but true that happiness comes from within, and I’m thankful I learned that fairly early on in my life.
Fast-forward thirty years. I’m now an older and much more jaded woman. I no longer believe in eternal love, at least not one that isn’t fraught with pitfalls and booby traps. It’s folly to believe that love is unchanging because it has to adapt as we ourselves grow and flourish. Love is not static, nor should we want it to be.
Dating at forty-five is much different than dating at fifteen. In some ways, it’s easier because I have a better idea of what I want—and what I’m doing. Physically, I mean. No more fumbling and groping and tentative caresses. I know what makes my body respond, and I have a pretty good idea how to get other people’s engines revving, too. I’m also not afraid to ask for what I want, which isn’t something I’d do three decades ago.
Sex is much better now as well because I’m more comfortable in my own skin. Back when I was a teenager, I was so self-conscious about every roll of fat, every wayward dimple, and every pimple. Now, I know the most important thing is giving it your all and just enjoying yourself. I’m fatter and more saggy and more wrinkly than I’ve ever been, but none of my partners have ever seemed to mind.
I write for another fifteen minutes before hitting publish. I’m tired. I need a nap, but sleep is elusive. I’m tempted to take a sleeping pill, but I don’t like the side effects of them. They play hell on my system, and even if I get some sleep, I feel worse when I get up than when I fell asleep. I go to the kitchen to brew myself some chamomile tea. While the water is boiling, I give Greenies to Onyx and Jet. Once I’ve made my tea, I grab a few Oreos and carry both to the living room. I eat the Oreos and sip my tea as I read the comments on my latest post. ShadeNotBlade writes, “The first time I had sex, I was so disappointed that was all there was. It was gooey and slimy and messy, and I couldn’t wait for it to be over. It wasn’t until I’d had a lot of practice that I figured it wasn’t so bad after all. Five years later, I realized I preferred women to men, and then sex was fantastic.” TankedFace reminisces, “I was a late bloomer, so I didn’t care about girls until I was in my late teens. I preferred chess, drama, and playing the flute. When I went to college, however, it was a completely different story. Then, I was all about the pussy, and nothing else mattered. I nearly failed out my freshman year because of it!” BLMMatters writes, “Girl, no one could tell me anything way back when. I knew what was what, and I knew how to shake my thang. I thought I was such hot stuff! Little did I know. Now, I listen more than I talk, and the sex is so much better.”
I must have drifted off because the next thing I know, it’s four in the morning. I should go to bed and try to get some real sleep, but I’m wide awake now. I grab a cigarette and a mug, and I go outside for a smoke. I’m pensive as I think about my brother-in-law. I may think he’s an uptight prig—and I do—but there is no way he’d just disappear. I need to get Jasmine to give me Bob’s passwords if she knows them. Sometimes, I don’t know what she’s thinking. If it were me and someone I loved was missing, I would give anyone any information they need in order to find that person. I think there’s something Jasmine isn’t telling me, and it makes me uncomfortable to suspect her in this manner. I also have to wonder how far her flirtation with Reverend Yang has gotten. I’m pretty sure they’ve flirted as Reverend Yang seems incapable of keeping his hands off a female parishioner. I imagine how this is going to go over with—oh, shit. I said I’d go to dinner at Rembrandt’s tomorrow, presumably staying the night, but I also agreed to a counseling session with Reverend Yang at nine. I think it would be more prudent to go to Reverend Yang’s, but I need to tend to Rembrandt. I call Reverend Yang and move our session to ten Tuesday night. With my conscience clear, I go upstairs, take a quick shower, and go to sleep. Morning comes way too soon.