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So yeah, like I said, this is a long story.  I’ve actually omitted quite a bit of dialogue between Marian and me.  She really grilled me about my marriage, why I do things, what I was hoping to accomplish, etc.  It was one hell of an interrogation.  But this is the meat and potatoes of it.  And the thrilling conclusion will be up as soon as I have time to write it.

————————————————————————————

Marian laughs brightly.  “Yeah, that would be a hell of a downside.”

I stay silent, sipping my coffee.  I can feel her smile fading.  “…you’re kidding, right?”

I shake my head.  “Nope.”

She stops cold.  I’m certain there’s a look of shock on her face, but I refuse to look back.  If this is going to work out, I have to keep going.  So I continue strolling down the sidewalk, maintaining an air of confidence and comfort.

Sure enough, a moment later, I hear her footsteps quicken as she powerwalks to my side.  “Wait, you’re married?”

“Indeed I am.”  I maintain my forward-facing stroll.  I can see Marian out of the corner of my eye, looking quite intently at my face.  Likely searching for some hint that I’m joking, or perhaps for guilt.  My expression is an unreadable half-smile, a relationship poker face.  She won’t see anything I don’t want her to see.

After a moment, she speaks again, and her voice has lost its mirth.  “Then why did we have dinner together?  Why have you been flirting with me?”

“Because you’re clever, and good company, and quite attractive,” I answer matter-of-factly.  Marian waits as though she’s expecting me to continue, but instead, I take a sip of my coffee, then wrinkle my nose.  “My coffee’s gotten cold.  Want to go get another?”

“Are you serious?”  I can hear the first hint of anger creep into her voice.  To be expected.  “You want to keep this up?”

“Why not?  It’s not as though we’re doing anything inappropriate.  We’re two people having a cup of coffee and spending time together, and having a good time of it.  I fail to see the problem.”

“The problem is you’re married,” she says, stressing the final word, putting a little venom in it.  “You have a wife.”

“A fact which, until now, has not stopped us from thoroughly enjoying each other’s company.”  I hook my thumb back and say, “I’m going to go back to the coffee stand and get another of these.  You’re welcome to join me if you’d like.  I’ll answer your questions honestly up until the point you begin to shriek and accuse me of horrible, if not entirely unwarranted, things.  Keep it civil, and you can ask me anything.  Otherwise, we can part ways.”

“I–”  Marian starts to say something, but I’ve already turned around.  “C’mon,” I say, and wave her over.

I walk alone.  Then footsteps, and Marian appears alongside me.  “How can you be so callous about this?”

“There’s a difference between being callous and objective,” I answer.  “I have no desire to be cruel or insensitive.”

“The implication being that a married man taking a woman on a date isn’t inherently cruel?” she asks.

“That’s why I told you in the first place.”

Marian holds her right bicep with her left hand, a protective posture.  She grows silent again as we walk, looking down toward the concrete.  It’s not awkward for me, as I’d been expecting this from the moment I considered telling her, but I imagine she feels decidedly uncomfortable.

“I know you’ve got a question,” I prompt after a moment.

She looks over at me, frowning slightly.  She takes a deep breath.  “Why did you ask me out?”

“I told you, because you’re clever and attractive.  Those qualities don’t often pair up in people.”

“No, I mean…”  She hesitates.  “If you’re married, why did you ask me out?”

“There it is,” I say.  I toss my coffee cup into a nearby trash can.  “The honest answer is, I don’t know.  I could speculate for hours, and believe me, I have.  I want to say it’s because I’m unhappy, but that’s not entirely true, because my wife is my best friend.”  I shove my hands into my jacket pockets to keep from fidgiting.  “But sometimes that’s not enough.”

“But that doesn’t give you the right to cheat on her.”

“Nothing does.”

Marian continues to look at me.  “So you acknowledge it.”

“Of course I do,” I answer.

“And that doesn’t strike you as callous?”

I start to respond, but stop when no words come to me.  I can’t help but smile a little.  “You got me there,” I admit, and I chuckle as I glance toward her.  “Like I said, you’re clever.”

I detect the feint hint of a smile at the corners of her lips, but she suppresses it.  After another moment of silence, she asks, “So were you just planning on trying to get me in bed or something?”

I laugh again, more out of surprise than amusement.  “Well, that was blunt.”

“You said I could ask anything as long as I was civil,” she reminds me.

“That I did.”  My fingers fidgit like crazy in my pockets.  “The answer is, mostly, no.”

“Mostly?”  There’s a sense of incredulity in her tone.

“Mostly,” I repeat.  “I honestly just wanted to get to know you.  We had an interesting encounter in the store, and I wanted to see where it went.  I had no intention of trying to bed you.”  I consider this for a moment, then add, “However, if things had gone that direction, I can’t say I wouldn’t have followed through with it.  But it wasn’t my primary goal.”

“It’s still a little sleazy.”

“Only when you think about it.”  I shrug.  “I try not to do that.”

The smile plays at Marian’s mouth again as we approach the coffee stand.  I turn and face her, and she looks up at me.  We make eye contact for the first time since my admission.  “Look, I’m not going to deny that my behavior has been less than stellar.  If you want to go, that’s fine.  I’ll give you a ride, or money for a cab if you’d prefer.  But I’d rather you stay and have another cup of coffee with me.  Even if this doesn’t go anywhere, you’re better company than I’ve had in ages, and I’d still like to get to know you, propriety be damned.”  I gesture to the coffee stand.  “So, I’m going to have another cup of coffee.  If you’d like one, I’m still buying.”

Marian looks at me for several long moments.  “You know you’re not getting me in bed.”

“I hadn’t presumed otherwise.”  I gesture toward the coffee stand again.

She sighs and shrugs.  “Fuck it.  Not like I have anything else to do.”

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10 Comments

  1. You are a smooth talker. I would’ve been struck by your honesty and I can’t say I wouldn’t have still be intrigued. It’s hard to just walk away when you have someone being so up front. Interesting.

    I have so many additional questions in relation to your cheating, but I figured maybe a look through your previous posts would explain that. You’re very fascinating (and hard to resist I imagine). Look forward to the next bit.

    • You’re welcome to ask me anything. The rules about civility apply here–as long as you ask nicely, I’ll pretty much talk about anything.

      And thanks for the compliments. 🙂

  2. Ooooh you’re very smooth. I like to think I have that same ability…
    Can’t wait to see how this one plays out!

    • The whole damned thing has been interesting. Though I’m surprised to see so many people think that style of talking is “smooth”. I think of it as simple objectivity and honesty.

  3. You know you’re not getting me in bed… sound like famous last words to me. Looking forward to the rest.

    • I second the sage Noodle.

      • Sage Noodle. I should like a pasta dish gone way wrong. ; )

      • Sage with a vodka cream sauce coating thick, loose fettuccine noodles; the white cream glossing my lips and the noodles choking down my throat…

      • That’s the sexiest pasta, and way to eat it, ever.

    • I swear, I’ll have it up as soon as I have time to write. (Of course, Diablo 3 releases tomorrow, and after an 11 year hiatus, the juvenile in me is just itching to get his hands on it.)


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