Thunder startled me out of my sleep. I opened my eyes just in time to see a drop of rain plop against the glass. I wrapped the sheet around my topless frame, slid out of bed, and walked over to the window. I smiled, the rain was a perfect addition to our plans for the day – cuddling, cocktails and conversations – maybe a movie, or two.
“Good morning.” A familiar voice floated from across the room. It was a distinctive voice; one you couldn’t easily forget. I continued looking out the window, a lump forming in my throat.
“It’s alright honey, I’ve already seen you.”
My heart pounded in my chest as I turned to face the wife of the woman I’d spent the night with. Monica Monet’-Baldwin sat impeccably dressed in an olive body suit, a black camisole, and a pair of black thigh-high boots. Her jet-black hair fell against her dark brown skin. That was about the only thing we had in common – dark brown skin. Otherwise, she and I were physically nothing alike.
I sat on the bed and tried to avoid her eyes.
“I’m sure you’re surprised,” she spoke in a calm and confident tone. “Sid’s out getting breakfast, so I figured us ladies could …chat a bit. Do you mind?” She grabbed her purse and sat within arm’s reach of me on the bed. I eyed her cautiously and made a mental note to grab the lamp if she tried anything.
“…do I have much of a choice?” My voice was shaky, I’m sure she could sense my anxiety.
“You always have a choice,” she shifted her weight and gave me a sly smile, “Just like you had a choice not to sleep with my wife, but you did.”
My eyes widened, “I did NOT sleep with your wife!” I threw up my hands forgetting I didn’t have a top on, the sheet fell around my abdomen exposing my breast. Monica burst out laughing.
“Oh my gosh, you should see your face!” She struggled to catch her breath.
Mortified, I snatched the cover from the floor and hurried to the bathroom, locking the door behind me. Thank God there were robes hanging on the door – the sheet didn’t make it in.
“Girl, CALM DOWN,” Monica continued laughing as she banged on the door, “You have beautiful breasts. And a cute little ass too! I’m sure Sidney enjoyed them.” Her laughter continued.
Annoyed, I shouted back I needed to use the restroom and asked her to give me a moment. She obliged – thankfully.
I sat on the toilet and balanced my chin in my hands while I did my business. A thousand thoughts ran through my mind:
Where the hell was Sid? And why hadn’t she told me her wife was in on this? Had I known her wife was in on it I never would’ve agreed to this! Wait…does that make me a homewrecker? I was all-in when I thought the wife didn’t know, but now that she does I don’t want anything to do with it? Ugh, I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
This was insane. I grabbed some tissue, wiped, and got up. I took my time washing my hands and brushing my teeth, a desperate attempt to bide my time.
“Are you lost in there?” Monica was back. I grabbed a robe off the back of the bathroom door and said a quick prayer for wisdom.
Funny how you can pray for wisdom now, but you didn’t bother to pray for wisdom when you made the decision to come here, or sign that contract. I rolled my eyes, didn’t have time to deal with my conscious – I needed to figure out how to deal with Sid’s wife.
I took a deep breath, put on my most confident face, and opened the door to face the music. “Look,” I started in, I had no idea what to say, but figured an apology was a great place to start.
“I didn’t mean to cause any problems. Sid said we’d just hang out…we didn’t have sex…I don’t want to cause any trouble. Just let me get my things and go, and I’ll never bother you or Sid or your family again. Ok?” I tried to slide past her, but she blocked my path.
“Oh honey, please! There’s nothing to apologize for, you’re actually doing me a huge favor.” She ran manicured fingers through her pixie-cut hair and moved towards the window. The sky was an ominous shade of grey; probably a warning of things to come.
“Excuse me?” my voice was filled with confusion.
“I know about your little arrangement with Sidney and I’m fine with it. In fact, I’m glad she finally found someone she likes.” Monica reached into her purse and pulled out her iPhone, she smiled and typed something before returning her attention to me. “As long the rules are followed, you and Sidney have my full consent.”
Her phone vibrated, she giggled as she read something and typed another short reply.
“You give your consent…if I follow the rules?” I frowned and sat down on the chaise, I slumped forward, shaking my head. “Look, whatever this is, I don’t want any parts of it. Just let me get my things and go.”
Monica let out a “hmmph” and narrowed her eyes. “So…you’re telling me you…didn’t have a problem seeing my wife when you thought I didn’t know about your relationship, but now that I know, you do? I certainly hadn’t pegged you to be the home-wrecking type.” She leaned back on her arms and crossed her legs, waiting for my response.
“I mean, this wasn’t my idea…I.. I didn’t want to get involved in this in the first place!” I fired back, “I actually came here to turn her down.”
She laughed in disbelief. “Of course you did.” She rolled her eyes and shot me a smug look. “What exactly did you come here to do that you couldn’t have done from home, if you were not interested?”
She had a point. I knew the moment I signed out of Facebook messenger I was going to say yes. If I wasn’t interested, I wouldn’t even be here right now. But I was, and that was because I wanted to be.
“It’s really not like that…” I looked away. I had no idea how else to explain it – it was just, having her know about us seemed …weird. “I just have a hard time understanding why you’d give the person you love a free pass to become emotionally involved with others. And you’d be OK with it? What if she falls in love with me? Don’t you worry she’ll leave?”
“Oh honey,” she gave me one of those “that’s so cute you actually believe you’re on my level” smiles and responded confidently, “I don’t have to worry about that. What we have is solid. Whatever you have is what you have. Why does my love have to be threatened by your love? You love more than one family member, right?”
“Of course, but what does that have to do with any-“
“…and you love your close friends, even though you have more than one, right?”
“Yea, but again…what does that have to…”
“…and do any of them suffer because you love others the same way you love them?”
“No, why would they?”
“EXACTLY!” her eyes lit up, “Romance is the only relationship in which we are limited. We can love numerous the same way platonically, but we treat romantic love like it’s something to limit.” Her face softened as she made her way over to join me on the chaise. She sat close enough for me to smell a minty, berry mix on her breath. She continued her thought, “…I don’t like to limit my love. I understand the importance of limiting your sexual partners, but I believe I should be able to love as many as I’d like. Don’t you think?”
I’d never heard a wife speak this way. She was actually advocating an emotional affair with her wife.
“Sid made said no one was supposed to know about this. She never bothered mentioning you’d be involved.”
“Why is me knowing such a problem? Is it not exciting anymore now that I know?”
“It’s just that…I just don’t want to get involved in anything…crazy…you know?”
“You’re already involved, honey. You got involved the moment you signed that contract. But if you want to talk about not doing anything crazy, I’d caution you to be mindful of your lips on my wife going forward.” She gave me a “don’t $@&! with me on this” glare before continuing,
“Keep the kisses to a minimum. Pecks are fine, but keep your tongue in your own mouth. Your job is to keep her happy and get her excited. I’ll finish the job.” She slid off her camisole and threw it over the arm of a nearby chair.
“Finish the job?” She made me sound like a pornographic fluffer…who the hell did she think she was? More importantly, who the hell did she think I was?
“Look, let me explain how this works. For me to continue my relationship with someone I love dearly, you have to fulfill your roll with Sidney.” She looked at her watch, impatience settled in her brow.
“Why, though? Why would you do this?” I asked genuinely interested.
“I love Sidney. More than anything, but I’ve always been a free spirit. When I met Sid, I was honest about my needs in a relationship, which included emotional connections with others. Sid can’t always give me what I need, when I need it, so I keep others around who can.”
“…and how does Sid feel about this?”
“She loves me, she does whatever is necessary to keep our relationship happy.”
I heard a knock on the front door. I hoped it was Sid.
“Excuse me for a moment.” Monica left the room to answer the door while I scanned the room for the clothes I’d arrived in the previous day. I couldn’t find them anywhere.
Frustrated, I peered into the living room trying to spot my clothes. Instead, I spotted a dark-skinned woman in masculine clothing with her arms around Monica’s neck. They were kissing, loud and hard. I guessed that no tongue rule only applied to Sid.
Oh hellllll no! I hope they don’t think I’m about to join some swingers party or something.
Before I could finish my thought the hotel door burst open and in walked Sid holding several bags. I braced myself for an altercation…none came.
“What’s up, Tan?” Sid smiled at the woman sucking face with her wife. “Imma let you have that kiss since I broke a few rules myself last night” she grinned and looked at her wife. Monica playfully punched Sid in the shoulder and mumbled something I couldn’t make out. Tan grabbed the bags and headed into the kitchen, sounds of food prep soon followed.
“Jameka!” Sid made her way to the bedroom. I hurried towards the bed. “Good morning beautiful.” Sid bent down to kiss me on the cheek, I pushed her away.
“You could have told me your wife was involved in this.” I frowned and rolled my eyes.
“Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t think it mattered much. Would you have said yes if you’d known she knew?” She kissed my hands and caressed my face. “You look so beautiful in the morning.”
I responded with silence.
“You’re even prettier without make-up”, she stared into my eyes, “What’s the matter?”
“Sid, your wife basically accosted me without warning this morning. I could’ve had some kind of heads-up” I folded my arms across my chest.
“Ohhh, I’m sorry! I forgot she was going to show up, and I was already gone by the time she let me know she was heading over”
“You could’ve called…”
“I did! But it went straight to voicemail.”
I picked up my phone and realized I had several missed calls, and texts, from Sid explaining Monica’s arrival and what she’d want to talk about.
“…yea, well when I didn’t answer you should have called the room phone.”
“we turned those off last night, remember?” she smiled and nuzzled her nose in my neck, “you said you didn’t want to be “disturbed” after I told you we might get a wakeup call in the morning.”
I did remember but I refused to take the blame in this.
“…but you know what, you’re right.” I noticed Monica watching us from the door; she balanced her slender frame against the wall. She almost reminded me of the actress Meagan Good, except Monica had a more mature face. I returned my attention to Sidney.
“I should’ve sent Felecia to find you, but I gave her the day off to ensure we wouldn’t be bothered,” she looked over her shoulder, “…well at least once they leave.”
Monica laughed, “We’ll be out of your hair in a moment. You’re the one who insisted Tanya make you breakfast, you should’ve checked with me first to see if we had plans.” She moved in closer and eyed me, “So Jameka, are you still having second thoughts now that you know I know?”
I looked at Sid, who looked at me. If I said no, I’d look like the whore who only wanted to mess with a married woman behind her wife’s back. If I said yes, who knows what kind of madness I was welcoming into my life.
You need to run out of this room and get as far away from these people as you can – NOW. And don’t look back. My conscious urged. I ignored.
“I…don’t want you to take this the wrong way, but…why, me?” It was the only thing I could think to ask to buy me some time.
“Honestly, this was all her idea. She thought you and I would make a great fit.”
Well, that was insulting. Sid had been a big romantic thus far, I just assumed she’d have some heartfelt answer that would make me fall at her feet.
“So, your WIFE “picked me”, like I’m some kind of cattle or something?” My eyes moved rapidly between the two of them as they stared at me without emotion.
“Absolutely not. Obviously, I find you attractive. But I don’t make any moves my wife wouldn’t be happy with so she had to be comfortable with my pick.”
“Your…. pick? Who the hell else was in the running?”
Monica laughed again, “aww…looks like someone’s jealous already! I better watch her.”
My face flushed red with embarrassment. I was a tad bit jealous. I’d imagined I was her first choice and only choice – realizing I wasn’t made me feel something I didn’t want to feel.
“Stop, Monica. Give her a minute to wrap her brain around all of this.”
“Fine” Monica rolled her eyes, “I’ll leave you two at it. Tanya should be almost done anyway. I shouldn’t expect you tonight, should I?”
She stood and turned towards the door, for the first time I noticed her “donkey booty”, as we called them around the hood. Simultaneously, Sid noticed me admiring her wife from behind.
“Yea, it’s all real. I like my women all natural – stretch marks ain’t nothing but trails to help you explore that voluptuous body.” I blushed and nodded in agreement. Even though I preferred more masculine women, I’d always had a weakness for a petite feminine woman with a pretty face, firm thighs, and a nice round booty -as long as it were natural.
“Jameka” Monica addressed me from the door, “If I thought you’d be a problem, you wouldn’t be here. I told you how I feel about love, the only thing I ask is that you respect the rules – no sex – and keep the kissing to a minimum, please.”
Tanya came and stood behind her, and we briefly locked eyes – she looked familiar, but I couldn’t place why.
Are you coming home tonight?” Monica and Sid’s conversation continued.
“Probably not, we’re going to spend the day binging on movies and room service, I’ll probably turn off my phone.”
“Well, Tanya and I will be at the house if you need us. I’ll have Felecia arrange dinner for later and remember we have to be at Braxton’s school by 3 PM for the entrance meeting.” She waved my way again, “so great seeing you again Jameka, I look forward to building a relationship with you as well. Enjoy my wife.”
Um, it’s hard for me to enjoy your wife when you keep reminding me she’s your wife. I thought sarcastically rolling my eyes in my head.
“Yes, I…uh…hope we can see more of each other.” I faked a smile and chastised myself for my lame response. I hope we see more of each other, why would you say that?
I found my way into the living room where everyone said their good-byes. I settled into the plush couch and turned on the automatic fireplace. Sid placed a plate of French toast and exotic fruits on the coffee table and proceeded to feed me, I refused. I still felt “some-kind-of-way”about the whole situation.
“Sid, I’m sorry. I’m grateful for everything you’ve done thus far…but this whole thing with your wife…. and she has a boo and, it’s just…I don’t see how this is any different than a regular affair.”
“In a regular affair, my wife wouldn’t know about us. You were all-in last night when you thought she didn’t know. What’s so different now?”
“Nothing it’s just….” I still couldn’t put it into words. I understood what she meant, but it still felt…off. She sensed my uneasiness.
Beautiful,” Sidney cupped my face in her hands, “She has her partner; I’m just trying to find my own. And I really hope that’s you.”
“I don’t want to get hurt, Sidney. And I don’t want to hurt anyone in the process.”
“And you won’t. No one will. You never need to worry about my wife finding out because she already knows. You never need worry about calling the house, or someone seeing us out together and it getting back to my wife. If that’s not freeing, I don’t know what is.”
“It’s freeing for you. You get to have something new on the side while you go home to your wife at night. But what happens to me on the nights I go home alone? What happens when I start to want you and you’re not there…what happens when we can’t control ourselves and keep sex out of the equation, Sidney? You had to lock yourself in another room for forty-five minutes last night because we came so close. What happens when we don’t stop? What happens when we don’t care to stop….”
My mouth continued a mile-a-minute, I played out several scenarios of how this would play out– all of them ended with me broken and lonely when this was all over.
“Jameka.” Sid interrupted my rant, “I can’t promise you the future, but what I can promise is if you give me a chance I’ll love you unlike any other. I’ll give you passion, I’ll give you pleasure, I’ll give my heart – if you want it, hell…even if you don’t want it. Because I don’t need you to love me back …I just need you to let me…let me have the privilege of loving you….” She got up and made her way to the front door, holding it open.
“I know this isn’t an ideal situation for a single woman of your caliber. But I need you to be sure about this. Please don’t take this the wrong way, but I’m going to give you one last time to make up your mind about us. And if you’re unsure…if you have even the smallest bit of doubt – any kind of guilt, please walk away now. If you stay, I DON’T want to have this conversation again. Are you in or out?”
I saw myself walking out the door, getting into my vehicle, driving home, and never speaking to Sid or Monica again. That would’ve been the sensible thing to do, the right thing to do. Instead, I walked over and pushed the door close. Then dropped my robe and motioned for her to follow me.
“Run us another bath?” I said, offering Sid a lascivious look. She grinned at the suggestion and planted a passionate kiss on my lips.
“I promise, you will not regret this.” She gave me a reassuring smile before heading to the bathroom to start our bath.
I wanted to believe her. I wanted to trust every single word coming out of her mouth and indulge in this relationship in peace. Except, I knew better. I knew nothing like this could last without getting ugly. Unfortunately, in these situations, someone always ends up hurt; and in this situation, that someone was likely to be me.
There was no way I was going to let that happen.
Continue to Part IV