Insomnia. Diana had battled the beast before, but it seemed to be a nightly visitor recently – a more regular lover than she’d ever had in her modest lifetime. Jim had come to bed around midnight, up late finishing a report for work. The man barely slept, but these days even he’d felt the pressure to cut his typical five hours to four to satisfy the men who signed his paychecks.
He had pulled her in close after stumbling into bed, half-drunk with that sleepy good-naturedness that he managed to hold even at his most wrung out. His thumb now stroked the back of her hand in a gentle crescent, a curve around and then back again, the rest of him pulled up close behind her in a protective scoop.
This was a good man, Diana knew. She used to have to remind herself that a mere three percent of affairs have “happy endings” in the literal sense. But theirs had. And now, three years legitimate, she was finding that inner reminder growing quiet.
Yet, with all that warmth and comfort, she couldn’t sleep, exhausted as she was. Eyes closed, she ached with unresolved need, and thought of days when Jim wanted her with such animal desperation that mere breathing was an unsure concept. She had taken it for granted, that pull into the laundry room for a quick feel of her breasts during a dinner party, heedless of the fact that both of their spouses were on the other side of the horrifyingly thin wood paneling. Falling behind on a group hike in the woods and emerging later, after a panicked check for remaining leaves in her hair. They’d fooled no one, she now realized. Just looking back still brought a hot flush to her cheeks.
The breath on her neck, the way he’d kissed her – no one had ever loved her like that. Her first marriage, a marriage of two virgins, more from curiosity than love or a desire to be committed, had never had such heat. With Jim, it was the all-consuming passion of the forbidden, far surpassing the smut in her sister’s epic romance novel collection, rivaled only in online erotica found with incredibly specific search terms. They’d once made love in a hotel hot tub, surrounded by happily chatting tourists. That thrill had only been topped by the one that immediately followed, when mere minutes after readjusting her bikini bottom, the hotel staff announced the pool area would be closing in ten minutes and the bubbles instantly dissipated, allowing a crystal-clear view of the tiled tub floor beneath. Had he taken but a minute or two longer. She blushed again. So many close calls.
With a familiarity bred routine, and a few short years later, here she was in bed, his mouth so close to the back of her neck yet angled so conscientiously away as to remain nearly platonic. She ached to be wrapped up from behind as she now was, but with his mouth on her neck as he slipped inside her.
–But no. Stop. She was generally happy, she scolded herself. They’d had a good romp just four days ago. Four days wasn’t all that long, honestly. But it felt like forever. And what made four days feel like a year or more was that it had been her chasing after him. Come to think of it, she’d initiated the previous, what, six or more times? And the last time he initiated before that was after she’d made a joke that someone should market an advent calendar for people with busy spouses that spat out a sex toy or dirty book every day leading up to the Big Day. He’d laughed, but also saw the bitterness brewing behind her eyes. And even though it was him that had reached out to her that night, she didn’t feel like that one particularly counted. It had felt placating. And she wanted to be anything but placated. Seduced, ravaged, used, raped, but never simply placated.
Yes, Jim was a good man, wife-stealing aside. (She of course didn’t condemn him for that, but surely others didn’t appreciate it as much as she continued to.) Had she never experienced the ecstasy that was being successfully commanded to orgasm while having one’s face shoved down on a sex organ, she never would have minded the mild acceptance of advances that now plagued their sheets. Together, they had awoken some long dormant monster inside her that craved being craved, and Diana wasn’t sure there was any way to relatch that box.
She reached a hand between her legs as Jim breathed heavy sleeping breaths into her back, and for a moment felt conflicted. Was it inappropriate to get off while being held by a lover that didn’t, at the moment anyway, want to love you? She thought it probably was. How would she feel if some guy was getting off in her bed next to her? That wasn’t exactly a fair question, considering her mental state, because the analogy made the ache even stronger. She wasn’t just “some girl” to him, she reasoned. And it’s not like he’d said he didn’t want to – he’d just passed out before she had the chance to make a move. Plus, it was nearly two and she was already going to be getting half the sleep she needed. Unless –
“You awake?” she whispered and waited a beat. No response.
She decided it wasn’t that inappropriate after all, and a mere fifteen minutes later, fell hard asleep.