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Janie sat in her kitchen, her hand gripping the pen tightly. She’d listened to the message on her answering machine at least a dozen times, the pit in her stomach growing each time she heard the soft, sweet, confident voice of the woman that left it.
Picking up the note pad off the counter, she stared at it again. Indeed, it was in her handwriting, but for some reason it seemed like someone else had just written it instead of her. It was as if she was looking at the phone number for the very first time.
That in itself was odd. She already had the number. It was on a small, ripped-up scrap of paper torn from an envelope flap; folded up and tucked away in a side pocket seldom opened in her purse. She’d almost thrown it away twice, but she couldn’t bring herself to do it. It wasn’t the number or the address on it that mattered. It was the name, and the reminder of what she’d done just over two weeks before. She didn’t want to let go of that memory altogether. Instead she’d decided to hide it safely in place she wouldn’t lose it, but also wouldn’t use it.
Yet with the voice message, she knew the number she was staring at on the notepad represented more. It was a promise of what could happen if she dialed it.
She’d set that idea aside, burying it the recesses of her mind. She wasn’t necessarily repressing it, but she didn’t want to think about the possibilities. It all seemed too enormous to handle. Her life had already changed so drastically since the implausible events of the three days over that weekend she’d been handed that very scrap of paper. In truth, it was that weekend that changed the course of her marriage.
The dampness between her legs was beginning to make her squirm. Her pulse had been racing since she hit the button on the answering machine and heard that voice. She was almost glad she’d been in the shower when the phone rang, unsure of what she would have said if she answered it. The whole thing seemed surreal, but the reality of a phone call and the message left behind had her flustered.
Her fingers trembled, the notepad with just the number she’s written on it clutched between them. It fell back to the table, almost as if it were too hot to the touch any longer. In some ways it was. Yet it landed face up and the number was right there, haunting her. She started to dial, her thumb shaking as she punched in the area code, but that was as far as she got. Ending the attempt, she instead hit the button on the machine, wanting to hear the message one more time.
“Please… give me a sign,” she whined, hoping for some outside entity to help influence what she should do.
“Hi Janie. This is Anna Thomas. We met a couple of weeks ago when we went hiking. I’m sure you remember. Anyway, I just wanted to let you know the pictures we took came yesterday. I sent them off to my friend Rose in San Francisco, and they turned out amazing. So, I was wondering, do you want me to mail them to you… or would you like me to bring them to your house… with your bra? Let me know. You should have my number, but in case you don’t, it’s….”
She hit the button again, not wanting to her the phone number a fifth time. She had it memorized at that point, having written it down the first time, and having Ann’s voice saying it in her head by then.
Janie sighed again. She could hear the playful banter in Ann’s tone; the way she giggled after saying she was sure she’d remember. And she could tell there was a hint of anticipation. But it was reserved.
“She knows I’m not really bisexual. She has to know,” she said, starting a conversation with herself. Shaking her head, she tried to apply reason. “It sure seems like she’s asking if I want to go through with it, though. It’s not like she’s teasing me, or being rude about it. Hell, she’s giving me an out. That’s so sweet of her to do that. Hell, I’m the one being rude by not calling her back!”
Grabbing the paper, she took it with her to the living room, along with the phone. Plopping down on the couch, she eyed a book on the coffee table in front of her, right next to the new vibrator she’d purchased that same life-altering weekend. The pages were tattered; the spine cracked where she’d bent it. There was one page in particular that had the corner folded so she could find it easily, and it brought a warm smile to her face.
Looking at the paper, she took a deep breath as she dialed the number complete, listening to it ring. Her hand absentmindedly went to her pussy, feeling her labia parting. Having not gotten dressed after her shower, she’d planned on reading more of her book, the vibrator there at the ready like trusted friend, waiting to be called on. Instead, she’d just reached out to someone else.
“Anna, this is Janie Forbes.”
“JANIE! I’m so happy you called me back! How are you?”
“Aw… don’t be. I’m just thrilled casino şirketleri we have a chance to talk.”
“Really? That’s it?” she said with a tense laugh.
“Look, I know why you’re nervous. And there’s no need to be. I don’t have any expectations, other than to get the pictures to you. Although I’d like to think at the end of this phone call that we’ll be friends. That’s really all that I’m interested in.”
“So that’s it… nothing else?”
Ann chuckled at the sudden sadness in her voice. “You sound disappointed.”
“I’m not sure what I am right now. But yeah, I guess in a way.”
“Well for the record, I haven’t said I’m not interested. But I’m also not going to pursue. You’re the one that alluded to us picking up where we left off. And since you’re not really into women, I’m not going to pressure you into doing something just because your husband suggested it.”
“H… how do you know all of that? Have you talked to my Terry? Did he put you up to this?”
“Ha… no. Sounds like you have an interesting story through. You know, Owen is asleep right now, so I’ve got time. Why don’t you tell me about it?”
“It’s not a story,” she said as she picked the novel up off the table, opening it to the chapter she’d flagged. “It’s more of a book.”
Janie had been happy in her life. She’d been married for over twenty years to a man she loved deeply. She had three incredible kids; and that wasn’t something she believed because they were hers. They truly were wonderful. Yes, they were kids, which meant there were going to be issues. But they weren’t into anything that was damaging or dangerous. Her life revolved around taking care of her family, and she always felt like she was blessed.
All of that changed in early September.
Their daughter had returned for her third year of college, and with the two boys in high school she was finding herself bored as a stay-at-home mom. The oldest son drove, but the youngest obviously rode along… the two of them inseparable. She felt it was such a blessing that brothers could be best friends, yet they were gone much more than they were home anymore.
On the plus side, it meant that her life had become much less frantic, since she didn’t have to constantly shuttle the kids to some practice or game. But it also opened her eyes to the fact that she wasn’t needed like she had been, and that led to a minor bout with depression.
The extra time on her hands was giving her too much of an opportunity to think, and she found herself becoming restless. She honestly felt she and Terrence had an incredible relationship, including their sex life. But like all couples there was the reality that they never seemed to have time for each other, and their time between the sheets had become staid and predictable. She never noticed it when she was playing the role of ‘Supermom’, the change happening so gradual over time that it didn’t seem like a change at all.
At first it didn’t seem like such a big deal to be home alone more often. She had more time to herself to do things that she wanted. She looked at it as a freedom from a burden of sorts, although she’d never thought of her family that way. Still, it was liberating. That is until it started to become debilitating. The idle time led to wandering thoughts; ones that might have led somewhere disastrous.
She’d been rattling around in their huge house out in the middle of the countryside. Yet she’d embraced it, thinking of all the things she could do now that she didn’t have to always be the taxi driver. Then again, she couldn’t do much else, as they’d not yet bought a car for the boys to share like she and her husband had discussed. It wasn’t like they couldn’t afford it. They just hadn’t had the time and it didn’t seem like a priority. That was until their daughter left for college, taking her car with her. So, Janie let the boys have her van most days so they could be independent and drive themselves to school. It was the right decision, but it tied her to the house.
It wasn’t like she hadn’t planned. She’d actually thought things out rather well at first, doing her errands and grocery shopping after they came home, or on the weekends. She had some projects she’d started that kept her occupied the first few weeks after school started, but once they were done, she hadn’t come up with any to replace them.
It was only natural that she turned her attentions to reading, one of her lost loves. She’d been a voracious reader growing up, including early on in her marriage. But the kids robbed her of that joy, mainly because it became more of a job to read to them, helping to teach them how themselves. After they’d learned, she never got back to that passion, because it was replaced by others that involved her children.
“I never have time to read anymore,” she recalled saying enthusiastically at the idea of enjoying a good book. And like everything else in her life, she threw herself into it fully. It was the casino firmaları path she chose that bit her. She wanted something more adult, far away from the children’s fare she’d been subjected to for so many years. She found herself immersed in the world of tawdry romance novels.
After a while, her overactive imagination got the best of her. She longed for the feelings that stirred inside her, those of being swept away by a handsome, rugged man. While corny on so many levels, the imagery of the scenes, filled with passion and the vague illusions of sex overwhelmed her. She wanted what was on those pages to be true in her own life. She became the women she read about, feeling their despair, hoping their hopes and dreaming their dreams.
She’d started with just one, picking it up on her way out of a store. It was the classic impulse buy, the selection based solely on the spicy title and the salacious picture on the front. Intending to read it during the week, she ended up ripping through the entire book in just one day. Her appetite now whetted, she wanted a second course, but she had no avenue of getting it soon enough.
She read the book a second time, and a third, just to get her through the week until she had time and a mode of transportation to pick up another one. It wasn’t until she read it a fourth time on a fourth consecutive day that she noticed the advertisements for other titles on the last couple of pages. She selected another book from the pages, going so far as to call a toll-free number to place a mail order. She even decided on the spur of the moment to have it sent overnight.
It was such a strange feeling, looking out the front window, waiting impatiently for the UPS driver to show up. It was such a waste of money, and yet her heart was pounding. She couldn’t remember the last time she was that excited, and it was all over a silly trash novel that would be hand delivered to her door. Yet there was no denying she was turned on, almost like she was doing something naughty.
The size of the box surprised her, but she tore it open like an eight-year-old on Christmas morning. She cursed the dreaded packaging peanuts and the way the static made them stick to everything. Pulling out the book, she felt a dash of guilt as she stared at the shirtless hunk on the cover, his long blond hair flowing in the breeze as he cradled the scantily clad woman in his arms, their lips about to touch. She placed it on the coffee table, attempting to scoop up the Styrofoam crap that suddenly decorated her living room. As she went to dump a handful back into the box, she noticed something colorful peeking from underneath what was left inside.
It was a sixteen-page catalog, filled with what seemed like an endless supply of available books, all of them appearing to be in the same general genre of the ones she’d already purchased. She wasn’t sure which excited her more, the novel that awaited her on the table, or the countless others she could order just by filling out the form in the back of the catalog.
Her attentions torn, she decided to start with the catalog, knowing if she ordered another book, she wouldn’t be in the dire straits she’d been before. Knowing she couldn’t continue to justify spending more on overnight charges than the actual cost of the book, she took a different tact, using the discount option by ordering ten books at once.
She made her selections, going through the book for an hour. But again, the choices were made on the superficial, weighing the bawdiness of the titles and the hotness of the tiny picture on the page showing the front cover of the books available. There was always a brief synopsis of the plot, but that really didn’t factor in. What mattered more was that she’d have ten more books coming her way. Yes, in the end she’d have to suffer until the shipment arrived, but she’d have two books to read until then, and perhaps she could make another trip to the store over the weekend if needed.
She managed to find a way to wait it out, discovering other avenues to occupy her time, most of them housework. But she did read the new book four times, while reading the original one at least once more. She’d forgotten just how quickly she could burn through a novel, her thirst for the medium suddenly coming back to her.
When the big brown truck arrived Monday of the next week, she found herself racing to the door. The handsome driver handed her the package, asking for a signature. He was different from the one that came the week before. She wondered if it was because one was special delivery, while the other was more of a normal shipment. She hoped it was the latter, as the first driver was diligent and professional, but she didn’t find him nearly as attractive.
“What am I thinking?” she said as she shut the door. It was a foolish thought, but it didn’t change the fact that his arrival at her doorstep gave her a titillating thrill. “It’s these damn novels,” she laughed, recalling the scenarios that would bring a stranger güvenilir casino calling… always ending in romance.
She read a new book every day while the kids were at school and her husband at work. She skipped the weekend, wanting to spend time with her family. But when the following Monday arrived, she found herself on the couch, immersed in the tale of another lovelorn heroine in need of a heroic man.
When she finished, she looked at her collection and quickly did the calculations. She made a note on her calendar; a subtle reminder that she’d need to place another order the next day to have it arrive in time the following Monday. While she usually loved reading books a second, and even a third time, it had always been with a great deal of time in between. Now that she was reading a new adventure every day, the idea of having to re-read something she’d just finished wasn’t that appealing.
She woke up that Tuesday in an impatient mood, wanting the house to herself in the worst way. But the kids woke up late, and Terrence wasn’t going directly to the office. He had a meeting set up with a client, so he had extra time to putter around the house.
The truth was he’d noticed his wife’s sudden interest in reading. As much as she tried to hide it, she wasn’t that good at keeping secrets. The credit card statement was the first clue; an odd place he’d never heard of. And he wondered about the ridiculous fee she’d paid in overnight shipping. But he never questioned her purchases. He was lucky. He had a frugal wife, and she did everything she could to save money. The family didn’t call her the ‘queen of coupons’ for nothing.
He’d found her stash of novels in the front hall closet accidentally over the weekend. It normally would have been a safe hiding place. After all, he actually never went in there. But he’d left his umbrella at the office, and he needed one to make the long trek to the mailbox Saturday morning. Opening the big box he didn’t recognize, he found it neatly organized, true to her nature. The left side was full of books that were obviously read, the right having a stack of ones yet to be opened. It wasn’t hard to figure out; especially since she’d actually gone to the trouble of labeling the piles.
His interest piqued, he checked the box again when he got home Monday night. Sure enough, she’d read another one. And to him, the fact they were all the dime-store romance variety wasn’t a coincidence. So, he’d scheduled his meeting knowing he’d have some time alone with the wife after the kids had left for school. That they’d gotten up late totally ruined what he’d hoped would be a romantic morning. And the ugly way she was acting because of it didn’t help. He could tell she was agitated, not just by the kids getting off to school late, but also him still being home. He ended up leaving for the meeting much earlier than he’d anticipated, escaping her foul mood.
When he finally left, she sighed in relief. That was followed quickly by her feeling guilty about how she’d just acted. She didn’t recognize yet that she’d become jealous of her alone time, guarding it as precious. What she was doing wasn’t all that bad, by any stretch of the imagination. She was just reading, but the thoughts it would bring became real to her as she soaked in every word. And that led toward the slippery slope of depression.
With Terrence gone and the house to herself, she raced to the box in the front hallway, pulling out the latest catalog of novels that came with her last shipment. She spent three hours scouring the pages, only to settle again for titles and pictures. It was all so strange to her how she was drawn to the image on a cover, or the not so subtle message of a title. The naughtier they seemed, the quicker she checked it off. In truth, it really didn’t matter to her. As long as the pages in between took her to another place and time, she was happy. She just didn’t realize that it was making her unhappy as well.
When the UPS driver showed up the next week; the same sexy man that appeared two weeks before, she was oddly excited. And it wasn’t from the box. It was the way he looked at her. Or at least the way she felt he had leered at her when she opened the door. She’d put on a short, sexy yellow sundress, leaving a few buttons undone at the top, wanting to look like one of the half-dressed damsels from the cover of one of her books. Her hair was done perfectly, her auburn tresses sweeping back from her pretty face. She’d gone without shoes, her soft bare feet feeling cool against the hardwood floor of the entry. But as calm as she tried to be, her hand trembled as she took the pen to sign her name. His smile disarmed her, and she nearly fell back.
“Am I swooning?” she wondered at the time, her heart pounding, her parted lips becoming instantly dry.
Nothing happened. He left with a polite goodbye, and that left her disappointed, although she didn’t know why. She wasn’t going to have an affair. She’d never go that far. Yet she was hoping for something… anything, even if it was just innocent flirting. There was a feeling building up inside of her; one that she couldn’t shake. But she couldn’t quite put her finger on it. That wouldn’t happen until a few weeks later.
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