nameless need

The morning was a blur of papers, emails, coffee and distractions. After shutting down the email chat, I argued myself into circles about Dave. I should really cancel lunch, but getting referrals from him was crucial to my business. I could have a business lunch with him, but he was expecting more. And I am spineless and whorish when it comes to Dave. I won't be able to shut him down. He previewed it for me already, saying that I'd have time for him after. Michael would die if he knew. Or worse yet, leave me. I should have ended this months ago. I should have ended it before it began. What was I thinking?

I nearly fell off my chair when the phone rang. "Hello?" I tried to keep my voice even.

"Hey, baby. It's me." It was Michael.

"Oh, Michael, love. What's up?" It was unlike him to call me before our late afternoon kid and dinner check-in.

"Oh, nothing. I just wanted to hear your voice."

"You did?" I could feel myself blushing. Holy hell, my husband of ten years was making me blush. This was a good day.

"I love you." Three words he said to me every day made me shiver now.

"Aw, Michael..." I swiveled and glanced at the disheveled bedclothes, remnants of the night before. "Maybe you should come home for lunch." I tried for my wickedly playful voice, the flirty voice that lately had been reserved for another man, not my husband.

"There's an idea." A rough edge returned to Michael's voice. We were on the same wavelength, I knew. "But don't you have a lunch meeting with Dave?"

"I can cancel." The words came out forcefully, too fast. Slow down, sister. Don't show your hand after all this time, when you are getting out. "I'm... not really ready for him anyway. I have a lot more to do on the RoundHead account, so I can't really take on more now." The rush of heat to my cheeks would have given me away if he were here. "Come home for lunch, baby."

He took a long breath in and released it. "Yes, okay, let me move a couple things and I'll be home. Half an hour or so." I could hear him shuffling papers on his desk. "Be ready for me." He hung up.

Michael's gruff but loving command sent waves from my brain to the rest of me, leaving me temporarily stunned. But I had to cancel Dave. I had to end it with Dave, in fact. No more jumping at every command from my husband's boss. My husband's boss! My husband was my husband, and that was who I wanted. What had I been thinking? Time to get my head straight.

Maybe I could beg off this lunch without speaking to Dave directly. I'll get out of lunch with Dave, love on my husband instead, and deal with the bigger issue later. I clicked the chat window on my phone, logging in. Dave's light was still green.


I waited, straightening out the bedclothes, flattening out my skirt, heading to the bathroom and the mirror, freshening my lipstick. Where was Dave?

Mo. Ready 4 me?


Well, hey. I gotta cancel for today. Sorry! Another day?

Whassup? U ok?

With anyone else, that kind of texting shorthand would annoy me, but somehow, with Dave, it was okay. Many of Dave's attractive qualities were abhorrent in others. That was the crux of it, what I had to break myself from.

I'm fine, just a minor kid emergency. I have to go over to Josh's school.

That was a good one. Dave would never know, so long I remembered to tell Michael what I had said. So complicated. How had I been living like this, keeping lies and half-truths straight?

K, Mo. Need 2 talk soon, tho, re RH n other projects I have 4 u.

Other projects. I need the work but must put an end to the extra credit.

Yes, thanks, Dave. Of course we will. I'll text or call you tomorrow, okay?

K. C ya, sweet thang.

See ya.

I wasn't sure what was making my heart race more, lying to Dave or anticipating my husband coming home for an unprecedented lunchtime quickie. Dave, as goofball and unexpected as he was, could always make me feel high. Part of me wanted to hold on to that feeling, but the rest of me knew it was too risky if I wanted to save my marriage. Maybe I wasn't sure before, but I sure as hell knew now: it was worth saving. Michael was worth it, we were worth it.

I was tempted to greet Michael in the buff, but after sizing myself up for the fourth time in the mirror, I decided to stay fully clothed. Including the heels. Though he hadn't ever said so out loud, or at least not in recent memory, I knew he found my business attire very hot. Damn, I want to say he finds it irresistible, but that's not true. He's certainly resisted me more times than not, for how many years now? Well, now's the time for amends, for starting fresh. When Michael gets home, he can take them off me.

Images of being unwrapped like a birthday present kept me pacing the living room, waiting. For the second time in one morning, I literally jumped when my phone rang. "Michael?" I tried to be cool, to control my breathless eagerness.

"Aw, Mo. I love you. Hey. I can't. I can't get away for lunch after all. Something came up here at work."

The ringing in my ears kept me from hearing what Michael said next as I sunk to the floor right there in the foyer.

Chapter Eight of The Thing With No Name. Comrade Michael Webb, it's your turn.