"Following an Affair"
I hadn't expected getting caught to be so satisfying. The first thing that hit me was the sense of finality. I knew there was no turning back, had known it from the moment I had crushed my lips against Christopher's. Somehow having Grayson witness ten seconds worth of the subpar tryst didn't freeze my blood like I thought it would. I still had some fight in me.
Christopher, in his panicked exit, had mistaken the closet door for his safe escape route. With him tucked away, I slowly slipped out from under the covers and put on Grayson's kickboxing hoodie—the special one he always left beside our bed.
I brought the hood up and turned for the first time to stare down my opponent. The look of surprise on his face was one that I recognized all too well. "Shocked to see me with another man, baby?"
I had had a terrible day in court, making for an equally terrible day in the office. Taking my rage out on a punching bag had seemed like an appropriate circumvent for my rage until one of the personal trainers tried to talk to me. His name tag read, Grayson Thomas, and he was every bit pretentious as his name made him out to be.
"You're going about that all wrong," he stated as he positioned himself behind the punching bag and began to show me, what he considered to be, the proper stance.
Without thinking, I turned on him, his cocky tone setting me on edge. "Let me make you privy to my situation. I just lost a day in court, so if you really want to help me you can either walk away or bring me a drink."
His eyebrows worked into a surprised arch, his smirk slow to follow. "I get done at eight. Meet me at the bar down the street."
He squared his shoulder and crossed his chest with his arms. With the way his jaw was clenched, I knew that he wasn't going to be saying anything until he knew why that pet name had crossed my lips.
"You know when I invited Christopher over today I hardly expected anything to happen. He's really shy and honest, such a cutie. What's the saying you always like to use? When push comes to shove? Well let me tell you when you push yourself on someone like Christopher, he shoves you through the bedroom door and gets to work." I let a laugh finally escape my lips as his eyes quickly darted over to the closet door. I took a few steps closer to him, putting my hands up in front of me like a boxer. My form was perfect.
"Hey Honey," I whispered as I ducked outside of the conference room. "Is this urgent?" I asked as I looked behind me to make sure that no one had followed me out. It wasn't that Grayson and I were keeping our relationship status a secret, but if I was working towards a promotion then I needed to appear focused and on point.
"I was just wondering if we were going to keep our dinner plans for tonight?" he asked, causing me to look at my watch and groan.
"We'll have to order in. I have a late meeting this evening to talk about the Reeshe case. If Christopher wouldn't buckle under pressure I could sneak away, but he's not competent when it comes to carrying an argument." I glanced back into the conference room, shaking my head as I noticed my coworker's twiddling thumbs.
"Just let him know that he owes you a night off so we can have dinner," he responded with a laugh. I laughed too. We both knew the chances of that were outrageously slim.
He didn't move towards me but looked at my hands curiously. He knew I couldn't hurt him, not with my fists, but I was always the one who could spin words. And I was about to make sure that every syllable that crossed his lips during his indiscretion last month was spun into a beautifully crafted portrait for him. He'd understand. He'd understand everything perfectly.
"I won't bother you with the details of my little tryst. You know how I like it, baby," I said as I extended my arm in a feigned punch to his chest. I wanted to imagine how a real punch, the hardest I could muster, would knock him back a step.
"Why do you need to go?" The seriousness of his tone caused me to focus on him in the mirror. He was sitting on the bed, staring directly into my face through the glass. His eyes told me that he wasn't happy with my response. "I feel like all you ever care about is work anymore."
I felt the sigh slip past my lips before I could rethink it. I put the cap on my eyeliner and slowly sauntered over to him, hiking up the skirt of my dress to straddle his lap. "I know I've been pretty work intensive lately, but trust me, it'll be worth it when I finally get that promotion and can take more time off." I pressed a quick kiss to his lips and ran my hands through his hair, smiling at him.
His expression didn't change. "Are you getting that promotion tonight?"
"Doubtful," I said with a frown, "but I know it can't be too far away. My case win rate is up to 89 percent."
I smirked and reached out and pulled on his shirt front, realizing just how tense his body was. I still had control of this situation. "Some things have changed. They've been changed for a while now actually. You remember last month when we went to that gala for my firm, and we all went to back to the hotel? I told you that I was going to console Martine since Hank had been playing her and chose that night to dump her. I assured you that I'd be back in an hour and a half and that we could settle down after that. You following me?"
He nodded, suddenly ripping his shirt out of my hands. He knew what was coming, he had to. I returned to my boxing stance, setting my hands up to fake a swing at his head. He suddenly scoffed and turned like he was about to leave.
"I came back to the room and thought I'd surprise you. I was back early after all," I said in my cheery voice that was reserved for when I was trying to persuade him into buying me something. I was trying to buy more time staring into his face. I wanted to see the look in his eyes. "I heard this huge ruckus. I peeked my head inside and realized that you weren't alone. There was this trail of clothes leading to the bed. Your blue button up, Tracy's purple dress. Then I saw your grey pants and her white slip and, well, it was like some sadistic multicolored brick road that led me to the bed." I made my fake swing, knowing that if it really had connected that I would have caught him mid-turn. A black eye would have been inevitable, and boy did he deserve one. "Leave it to you to pick the second-rate lawyer at the firm to achieve your infidelity."
"Mrs. Cole comes home to find her husband cheating on her with another woman and suddenly she thinks she's entitled to everything," Tracy explained loudly for the entire break room to hear.
The coffee slowly began to drip out of the coffee maker, giving me something focus on as I absentmindedly whispered, "Perhaps she should come to me then. Adultery does seem to be a matter of personal injury."
"Yeah, but who's really injured here? I mean poor Mr. Cole just wanted some passion, some affection, but the wife was too caught up in career building. He suffered for ten years before he finally resorted to adultery. It's his first offense and she immediately jumps to divorce. Just goes to show how much she valued their relationship." Tracy's eyes stayed trained on me for too long, causing me to lock eyes with her.
"From what you've told me, I see Mrs. Cole as a woman who was driven to create a great quality of life for her family. Could you imagine if you came home to find all the memories you'd created over the years tarnished by your husband's indiscretion? Everything you've worked to provide is tainted in seconds. Thrown away like worthless garbage?"
Everyone remained silent as Tracy simply gawked at me.
"Yeah," I said, picking up my coffee cup and moving towards the door, "certainly seems like a matter of personal injury to me."
"You think this is the way to resolve something like that?!" he yelled, his face gradually gaining a flustered shade of red.
I snagged the belt loops on his jeans and pulled myself closer to him. Mere inches from touching. "I do! You don't think I heard everything that was said. Oh baby! You know how I like it! Give it to me, baby!" I let out another long laugh, this time shoving him away from me. Slowly, I worked my way back to the bed, draping my body across it and smiling devilishly at him. "Now you know how it feels to see the one you love, or maybe that you loved at one time, with someone else. Sucks doesn't it?"
I couldn't bring myself to turn off the light. If I did then he would try to pull me close. His body's presence would overwhelm me in the enveloping darkness and then I would have to confront those images all over again. But my eyes couldn't stay open any longer as they absentmindedly scanned the pages of my case file.
Reluctantly, I set the file down on the nightstand and killed the light. Sinking below the covers was a relief until I felt his arm slip around my waist. He dragged me across the center of the bed and pressed his face into my hair, encasing me with a warmth I didn't ask for.
As the images of Tracy and him played across the cinema screens of my mind, I knew what I had to do. Months of silently fighting between forgiveness and revenge had done nothing to alleviate my rage and disgust.
I needed to hurt him. I needed him to know exactly how I felt.
He stormed forward, his knuckles turning white as he gripped the footboard of the bed. "Maybe if you had just put out a little more, we wouldn't have found ourselves in this predicament! Don't be jealous just because Tracy was willing to give me what I wanted!"
I bit my lip again, slowly crawling to the end of the bed and got as close to his face as I could, "If you got what you wanted, then you shouldn't be jealous over another man getting something that isn't yours anymore." I pulled away from him and ripped my bag out from under the bed. "If you ask nicely I'm sure Christopher will help you file a suit."
"For what?" he hissed through clenched teeth as I slinked by him towards the door.
I stopped and flashed him one last smirk, "Adultery seems to be a matter of personal injury." As I turned my back to him I realized, with a solid feeling of satisfaction, that there was no way he was getting up after that knockout.