She looked around the bustling party at the people she had once called friends without a second thought. But these days she didn't know if they were anymore. These days she didn't know what was truth or if anything actually was. After all, she wasn't honest with them so what would make them be completely honest with her?
She eyed each individual for a brief time before moving on to the next. She knew their flaws, inconsistencies, and short comings. She knew who was screwing the baby-sitter, who had an alcohol problem, who was doing lines, who was a compulsive sex addict, who lost complete control of their kid, who was abusing their spouse. But instead of giving her a false sense of superiority it gave her pause. These people were flawed, that was a given – after all, that was the human condition. Each flaw of these people she knew weighed on her, on her own conscience. Every mistake they'd made gnawed at her as though it was that easy to see her own guilt.
I found that I couldn't make eye contact with the guy as we redressed.
"Do you want to talk about it?" he asked nonchalantly.
"No," I said quietly. What was there to talk about anyway? He looked at me with a raised eyebrow.
"No?" he repeated. "I thought that's what women did, want to talk about it and dissect every little thing."
"What is there to talk about exactly?" I asked, my tone lightly spiked with anger as I pulled my shirt over my head. I didn't see what there was to discuss, And if I sat down with him and talked about our whatever it was it'd make it real – it'd make cheating on my husband real. Moreover, it'd make him real as a person and frankly I didn't think I could handle that. I was still in denial over it but it really wasn't any of his goddamn business why I didn't want to talk about it.
"Well, I dunno," he drawled. "maybe that we've been fucking like rabbits for the past four months and I don't even know your name much less anything else about you?" The number four resounded in my head and I began to feel dizzy and sick to my stomach. Had it really been that long? Oh god. There was once or twice and then there was this. Why was I still coming back to him? I unsteadily moved to sit on the edge of the bed. Sweet baby Jesus, this was bad.
I had my elbows on my knees and my face in my hands. I was dimly aware that he'd sat down next to me. But I found that I became increasingly aware of his proximity. I didn't want him near me. Hell, I didn't want to be near myself. But I pushed the self-revulsion down and choked back the tears. If I was going to break down sobbing and whatnot I damn well wasn't going to do it in front of him.
I straightened my spine and rubbed my palms on my jeans. I was good. I was just fine – or so I told myself.
"And just what about me intrigues you so?" I asked him dryly. If the guy thought we were going to have an emotional heart to heart he had another think comin'.
"I dunno. Let's start with what's your name?" he said, if he was taken aback by the sudden change in my demeanor he didn't show it. Interesting.
"Name's Ryder Collins," I told him calmly. "The fact that after four months we need introductions is pretty pathetic though." He smirked in reply.
"I'm Shae," he said. I arched an eyebrow at him.
"What, no last name?"
"I just go by Shae these days," he told me. I wondered idly why I had engaged him, why the hell had I humored the guy?. What did I care what he went by? I barely restrained myself from jerking back when he cupped my face and rubbed his thumb along my jaw. "So you took your husband's last name when you married him?"
"No," escaped my lips before it checked with my brain first. When did it become his business?
"Does he know about us?" Shae asked slowly. Us? When did we become an us? I eyed him and smirked at the pair of us.
"We're both still alive, now aren't we?" I muttered. His eyebrows rose in sync.
"Frankly, homicidal husbands don't scare me."
When I came home for the night, I found Ben in the living room with the TV on. I sat down next to him without a word.
"How was work?" he asked.
"Workish. You?" I replied. He wrapped an arm around me and pulled me closer until we our bodies touched.
"I think I'm going to be bored to death with white-collar crime," he told me. I chuckled.
"You told me you wanted a change of pace."
"I also told you some other things about that time," Ben reminded me. I tried to refrain from rolling my eyes.
"Did you?" I asked dumbly. He shot me a vaguely unfriendly look.
"Did you even think about settling down and starting a family or was I just wasting oxygen?" Ben asked with a frown.
"Ben," I started. I moved away from him and got off the couch. "Even if I was home enough to get pregnant – can you recall the last time we had sex?"
"Think hard, honey, 'cause the neighbors were carving pumpkins," I told him.