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The Price is Always Right Part 03.1

"Sophie deals with advances from multiple suitors."

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James sipped his coffee as his students filled the classroom for the first hour of his Monday morning. The sound of their chattering interrupted his effort to grade papers. He stacked up the pile of papers and put them into the drawer of his desk, then set his cell phone on top of them before he closed it. The students were mostly in their seats now, but a few stragglers were still up and talking to their friends.  

“Matthew! Take a seat please,” he said loudly to get the attention of one of the particularly rambunctious students. As the last few students took their seats, he started to try to get things moving. “Everyone, pass up your homework to the front so I can collect it.”

James stood up and moved from row to row as his students handed up their homework. He gathered stacks of papers from the students in the front and brought them back to his desk, thumbing through them to make sure that everyone had turned in what was due.

BUZZ. James felt the vibration of his phone from inside the drawer but he ignored it. He started going through the day's lesson with his class for the first twenty minutes before he gave them an assignment to work on by themselves. He walked around for a few minutes after that, taking the time to help a few individuals who needed one-on-one attention to grasp the concepts.

By the time he took his seat at his desk again, there were only a few minutes left before the bell to signal the change of classes.

BUZZ. He felt his phone vibrate again from inside the drawer. BUZZ. BUZZ. It was going off in rapid succession. He normally tried not to use his phone in class but who would be texting him this much? Was something wrong with one of his parents or with Sophie? He considered it for a moment. He better check just to make sure it wasn’t anything serious.

James discretely opened his drawer and slipped his phone out to make sure that everything was okay. His students would never let him hear the end of it if they saw him using his phone during class considering how strict he was about them using them. He looked at the notification but didn’t recognize the phone number that had sent the most recent text. His worry was replaced with a different emotion when he opened the conversation though. There was already a string of texts in the group conversation that he had been added to, which explained the number of messages he had received.

The name attached to the first message was the only one he had on his phone, and seeing it made his stomach flip over violently. Richard. He looked around the classroom to make sure that the students were completely engrossed in their work before he started reading through the messages.  

“James, we enjoyed having you at the poker game the other day and would love to have you back at the next one. This is the group text where we organize the games.” Richard’s text said. The scenes from the poker game raced across his mind. Sophie in that emerald silk dress that hugged her body so tightly. The way the men watched her strut around in her lingerie. The way she had sat in their laps one after another and then… He pushed it out of his mind and focused on the messages in front of him.

The next message was from a number he didn’t have, but thankfully, Clarence included his name. “Welcome, James! – Clarence”

“To be more honest, we mostly just bullshit here,” yet another number started, “This is Hank, by the way. Glad Richard added you to the group, James.”

“Arthur here. Don’t get too excited though. The games usually aren’t that memorable,” another number added.

“Yeah Saturday was one for the fucking books alright,” Hank agreed.

“I certainly enjoyed my time – Clarence,” Clarence said.

“You don’t have to add your fucking name every time, Clarence, we’ve been over this,” read the next answer from Hank.

“Hey James, Cliff. Clarence, we all saw how much you enjoyed it, but I’d say you still didn’t enjoy it as much as Ben, lol,” another number said. That must mean that the only other number in the chat was Ben, or Mr. Miller, as Sophie called him the other night. That memory sent a shiver through him. He hoped that the man was discrete because it could blow up their social lives. Thankfully Richard had promised he would handle it and Ben had as much to lose, if not more, than Sophie did if his daughter Nora ever found out about what happened.

“Speaking of, Richard you need to do whatever it takes to get that girl back at our next game,” Arthur said. James’ breath caught in his throat.

That caught him up on the most current message as there wasn’t any more to scroll through. “Shit,” James said under his breath as he waited to see what would come next. He stared at his phone, waiting. He looked around to make sure that nobody was up to any mischief when his phone made the familiar BUZZ. He looked at the message that had come through.

“I’ll have to text her and see if I can convince her,” Richard said. James felt his heart beating faster. He knew it would come up again, but he hadn’t expected it so soon. He and Sophie had barely had time to process what happened Saturday night, and now he’s reading messages about trying to convince his wife to do it all again. No doubt the men hoped that next time there wouldn’t be a sudden end to the evening before they had their fun. BUZZ – another message.

“If she needs to be convinced then I better do it,” Hank’s message read, “I bet I can sweet-talk her in no time.”

“You’re such an overconfident cunt, Hank,” Cliff said back to Hank a few moments later. James tried to think about what he could say to join the conversation but he was having trouble thinking straight while the men talked about Sophie.  

“Hell, I’ll text her right now,” Hank insisted. “Send me her number.” James froze as he read Hank's brazen request for his wife’s number. Surely Richard would ask him before…

Before he had time to finish his thoughts, another message interrupted him. Richard had sent his wife’s number to the entire group text. Shit. Fuck. FUCK, he thought. He had no idea if the men would really text her but Hank didn’t seem to lack confidence. How would Sophie react to getting texts from these men in the light of day though?

“Shit,” James said under his breath again, louder this time though. One of the students looked over at him and he gestured at them to continue working on the assignment. They seemed to know he wasn’t in the mood because they went straight back to their paper without a word. The messages just kept rolling in.

“Speaking of Hell, you don’t have a chance in it with her,” Cliff said in a follow up message. 

“A little southern charm can go a long way,” Hank answered, adding a wink at the end of the text. James felt his mouth go dry at the idea of this man trying to seduce Sophie, and he struggled to determine whether it was anxiety or desire.

Richard answered next, “That girl doesn’t care about your charm. She cares what’s between your legs.” James felt himself turn bright red as he sat in his classroom reading the improper messages about his wife and the implication that was being made.

RINGGGGGGG. The bell to signal the end of class startled James so badly that he nearly knocked his chair over. His students started packing up their bags and leaving the room as James flipped his phone over and tried to act as natural as possible, saying goodbye to a few of the students as they left for their second hour of the day.

When they had all funneled out of the class he flipped his phone back over and picked back up with the messages.

"Well, if she’s lucky, I’ll let her find out what’s between my legs,” Hank said. James felt his cock threatening to break through his zipper as he thought about Sophie with Hank. Frustratingly though, nobody engaged Hank again for a moment after that comment, and the group fell silent for a few minutes as the next group of students filled the class. James reluctantly put his phone up in the drawer and focused on teaching another lesson, though admittedly he was so distracted that it wasn’t his strongest work.

After stumbling through it for fifteen minutes, he couldn’t take it any longer and decided just to put them in groups and set them loose. It saved him from having to work one-on-one with different students since they could help each other. As soon as he got back to his desk, he opened the drawer and took out his phone. His anticipation was overwhelming as he scrolled through a few new messages.

“Well? Is she drooling over it already?” Cliff had asked, challenging Hank to put up or shut up.

“Soon enough. Sweet talking her as we speak,” Hank texted back. James was on the edge of his seat. Was that true? Was Hank texting Sophie at this exact moment? Should he text her? His mind was a blur as he tried to sort out what to do.

Minutes passed by, and he decided he needed to text the group to act as normal as he could so they wouldn’t think something was amiss. “Hey guys, thanks for including me. Looking forward to the next poker night.” Generic, but he couldn’t make himself think of anything to say about the Sophie situation. A few of them sent him replies and niceties in return, but the conversation about Sophie had dropped off. James couldn’t get it out of his mind, though.

The rest of the day, he struggled to focus as he waited for any update from either Sophie or Hank but it was all silence. As soon as he finished teaching the lesson for the hour he would hurry back to his desk to check his phone, just to be disappointed each time. He considered texting Sophie a number of times but he held back, waiting to see if she would tell him that Hank had texted her.

By the end of the day, he was barely holding it together, wondering what had happened. The fact that Hank hadn’t sent them an update made him wonder if Sophie hadn’t been open to his advances. But then why didn’t she tell him that the man had texted her? Maybe Hank was bluffing and didn’t text her at all. Maybe he didn’t actually have the balls to back up all of his bravado.

When the final bell rang for the day, the students hurried out in the hallway, reenergized by their freedom. James frantically gathered the papers he needed to bring home to grade and put them in his briefcase before he locked up his room and power walked to the parking lot. He opened the passenger door and tossed his briefcase onto the seat - BUZZ. 

He fumbled to get his phone out of his pocket as his mind raced, wondering who it would be from.

A message from Hank to the group text. The message he had been waiting for all day. He half ran around, throwing open the door and jumping into the driver’s seat so he could read the message in a semblance of privacy. His fingers were trembling as he clicked on the message from Hank. It was a series of screenshots of a conversation. 

James enlarged the first screenshot and noticed immediately that it was a conversation with “Sexy Blonde – Poker Night”. He skimmed it quickly, too eager to know what happened to take his time. The conversation started off straightforward enough, with Hank introducing himself and telling her how much he enjoyed her company that weekend. Sophie’s answers – assuming it really was Sophie and not something he faked – were short and a bit stilted at first. She thanked him when he told her she was gorgeous, and she answered that she was at work when he asked what she was up to.

Cordial enough, but not really playing along with the subtle flirtations from the man. Not sure so far why the man would have bothered to send the screenshots.

James moved through a couple of pages of messages as Hank and his wife had apparently texted off and on throughout the day. Hank was persistent as he managed to keep the conversation going even when Sophie gave him little to nothing. Slowly, though, he noticed that Sophie seemed to be loosening up and giving him a little more as she started to make a little small talk. James had to admit the man had a certain charm which was helped by the fact that he had taken a gradual approach, treating Sophie like a lady despite the sordid way they met.

Finally, in the last screenshot, Hank offered a riskier message. It was from no more than a few minutes earlier.

“I apologize if it’s a bit much, but I haven’t been able to think of anything other than you for the last two days. I’ve been all over the world and I can’t recall a woman that’s captivated me more than you have,” Hank told her.

“Is that so?” Sophie asked in response. It could be somewhat of a non-answer, he thought, but it also invited him to continue complimenting her, which could be the point. He felt like he was overanalyzing it and read the next message.  

Hank continued, “What would you say if I asked you to meet me for a drink this weekend? I’m out of town until Friday.”

James felt his stomach drop and his cock grow two inches as he read his wife’s response. “Let me think about it.”

--------------------

James anxiously crossed the threshold of his own home, the anticipation of seeing his wife absolutely killing him. He had thought about her answer the entire drive home. He wavered back and forth on if she really was considering it or if she was just putting it off rather than saying no. He sat his briefcase down on the chair as he walked through the living room, looking down the hallway toward the bedroom to locate his wife.

At that moment, the back door opened and Lucy bounded inside, followed by Sophie. When he finished playing with the dog, Sophie gave him a quick kiss on the cheek. She was wearing a pair of tight stylish black scrubs that accentuated her slender waist where they were tucked in. Her long blonde hair was up in a neat ponytail that fell down the middle of her back. The emerald color of her eyes popped and added a splash of color that caught your attention immediately. He tried to imagine her texting Hank looking like this.

“Hey,” she greeted him cheerfully enough.

“How was your day, Soph?” he asked her, testing the waters.

“It was okay,” she said without letting on anything as she opened the cabinet and took out a wine glass. He let that answer hang in the air as he thought about what to say next to try to direct the conversation. He didn’t have to say anything for it to go exactly where he wanted it to go though.

“I got a text from Hank today,” she said casually while she poured a glass of wine.

James did his best to play it cool as his pulse sped up. “Hank?” he feigned, not wanting her to have a hint that he already knew that Hank had messaged her. She might react poorly to him going all day without letting her know that the entire group text was talking about her. He also didn’t want to let on because she hadn’t told him about Hank earlier, even if she seemed to be working up to it now. 

“From Saturday,” she said. From Saturday. That’s certainly the most innocent way to say it, he thought. ‘The guy who groped me on Saturday at the poker game’ would have been a more honest way to remind him.

“What? Really?” James asked with surprise, doing his best to keep up the act. 

Sophie, to her credit didn’t shy away from telling him the truth, “He asked me to get a drink with him this weekend.” James could see his wife's nervousness as she told him about the man asking her out.

“Shit… I mean I guess it’s not like he knows you’re married,” James said, thinking out loud.

“I’m not sure he would care, James,” she said.

“Well, what did you say? Did you let him down easy?” he asked her. Sophie cringed for a second at the question and he felt a pang of guilt. He was leading her a little with the question since he already knew the answer.

“I told him I would think about it,” she said. “I wasn’t sure what you would want me to say.” Sophie was looking at him intently now, her vibrant, verdant eyes studying him.

“Me?” he asked. “I don’t know. I wasn’t expecting this so soon after Saturday,” he admitted honestly.

“Me either. I guess Richard gave him my number. I don’t know how else he would have gotten it,” she said as she took a sip of the wine she had poured.

James poured himself a glass and followed her out onto the back porch. He sat in one of the rocking chairs a few feet from hers as they looked toward the back of the yard, enjoying the cool evening air. Silence fell between them as they sipped their wine for a couple of minutes until James finally broke it.

“Would you really go?” he asked his wife as he watched her.

“I would do anything for you, James,” she told him quietly. He thought about that answer for a minute, choosing his words carefully.

“I don’t want you to do it just because of me,” he admitted. “I only want you to do it if you want to do it.” It was true. As incredibly erotic as Saturday night had been, he didn’t want Sophie to feel like he was pressuring her to do something she didn’t want to do. He wanted them to be on the same page if they were going to go forward with anything like that again.

James knew that whether she admitted it or not, part of her loved it, craved it. He had seen how she reacted the first time with Richard and again with all of the different men a couple nights earlier. She had something inside of her that she was wrestling with but he wanted it to be her choice on what she did with it.

She studied him for a while. “Is it wrong that I kind of do?” his gorgeous young wife asked him softly. “I feel like such a whore every time I think about any of it. I could have put an end to it and I didn’t. I just lose control and then I’m doing things that I can’t even believe I’m doing,” Sophie was pouring her innermost thoughts out to him, making herself completely vulnerable. He adored her and her trusting him with his made his heart swell and reassured him that everything would be okay. 

“You’re not a whore,” he laughed, trying to reassure her. “If there’s something wrong with one of us, it’s me. I mean what kind of husband pushes their wife into the arms of another man? You said it yourself the other night. It would all be on me.” He paused for a moment before going on. The silence hung in the air, but there was a comfort to it rather than tension. “I was thinking about it today and I wondered what the people we knew would think about us if they knew,” he said as he looked out into the evening.

“They would say I’m a whore,” she said with a laugh at the absurdity of it all. “And James, the other night… I wanted you to understand that I would have walked away if that’s what you wanted. I could see how much you wanted to stay, to see what happened. I didn’t want you to blame me for where it led.”

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“No, I know. I get that. And if they’d say you’re a whore, then they’d say I was a terrible husband,” he told her as he looked back at her.

She gave him a sad look. “You’re definitely not that,” she said as she put a hand on his arm to make sure he knew she meant it.

“I love you so much, Sophie. It’s just… It’s like an addiction,” he said.  

“Really?” she asked as she studied him. “Explain it to me.”

“Ever since Richard started hitting on you, it’s been there in the back of my mind, something that I couldn’t shake…” he started.

“Wait, when he started hitting on me?” she asked him. “Like you were thinking about it before I even went to the party with him?” Shit, he actually hadn’t even meant to admit to that, but obviously she would have thought that it started when he watched them together. He momentarily considered trying to backtrack but he knew he needed to continue with the unabridged honesty.

“Y-yeah,” his voice cracked, “It was like something that would force itself into my mind even when I tried to forget about it. At first, I hated how much it turned me on, thinking about men hitting on you. Especially a man who shouldn’t have any chance with you. When he asked you out, I thought I could just have a little. A taste of it without anything more happening. But I guess, like any addiction, once I had a taste of it, I couldn’t say no. I saw you with him after the party and when he offered money, it was… like an excuse.” He knew he was telling her everything but he owed it to her and she seemed to be doing her best to understand.

“Why does it turn you on so much?” she asked as she studied his face. When he hesitated, she reassured him. “I want to understand, James. So much has happened. I just want to try to understand what you’re going through because, honestly, I’m not sure I even understand what I’m going through.”

He tabled his questions for her for a moment, wanting to finish his thoughts before the words left him. “I read about it. When I first started having the thoughts, I mean. It’s apparently pretty common for men to fantasize about it,” he explained. “They think it’s because of how, like, taboo it is and I think part of it for me definitely is. I mean, look at you. You’re gorgeous, professional, classy woman and the idea of you with another man, with Richard. It’s just so… dirty. And seeing you with him and the way you reacted. I’ve never seen you like that.” He watched her reaction and noticed her blush as he brought up how she acted with the other man.  

“It’s… It’s just different, James. When we make love, you make me feel safe, loved. When I was with Richard, it was more… animalistic. It was like he didn’t want anything from me but his own pleasure. You don’t treat me that way. And the way he talked to me… I hated it but I hated it even more how much it turned me on,” she admitted to him before taking another big drink from her wine. “Like fuck this guy for calling me a slut, but also I can barely focus because of how good it feels…” she trailed off again. Her profanity surprised him, but it was surreal to hear her talk about it like this. When they had talked about it after her first night with Richard, it had been shame, guilt, regret. After the poker game, they had some of the most intense sex of their marriage and then acted like nothing had happened for a day. Now she was telling him what it felt like, what she experienced in those moments without trying to hide it from him out of shame.

“It seemed really intense,” James said, coaxing her along.

“Yeahh… When he first started, I tried to fight it. I tried to just focus on getting through it but everything about it. The way he talked to me, about me. And how big he was…” she said, shooting him an awkward glance to gauge his reaction before continuing. “It just built and built and then the release was so powerful.”

“I saw. Both times,” he said, making his wife blush again. “The second time was something else.”

“By that point… it was so… overwhelming that it was like I was watching someone else do those things. And say those things,” she told him, acknowledging what she had agreed to in the heat of the evening. “I mean, it barely registered in the moment. It was just like, I needed to say whatever he wanted so it wouldn’t stop before I got there.”

“Would you really have sex with him at work?” he asked her, point blank.

“No. I mean. I don’t know. I didn’t even really think about it when I said yes that night. It wasn’t like I thought it out while he had me bent over on the sofa, James,” she said defensively.

“Have you thought about it now?” he asked her. He had to know while they were in this moment of complete honesty.

“I thought he would try something the first time he came in after that night and it was such a relief when he left without trying anything. I think… I think I didn’t trust myself being alone with him after that night,” she admitted. “And I didn’t think I could talk to you about it.”

James felt his stomach drop as he listened to her. It made him feel terrible that she had been so worried about it and felt like she couldn’t talk to him about it.

“You can talk to me about anything, Soph. Anything,” he stressed.

“I know, but I was afraid that if I brought it up to you, that- that you would want me to. It was all so much, and I couldn’t get it out of my mind how you looked at me while you watched us. I’d never seen you like that. You looked at me like he does. Like Richard does,” she explained carefully.  

“Looked at you, how?” he asked, trying to imagine it.

“Hungrily. Like the lust was completely overtaking you while you watched. Like it was devouring both of us,” she said. It was obvious to James how much time she had spent thinking about all of this as she explained it.

“With everything that’s happened, maybe it has,” he admitted before they both fell into silence for a few minutes. The sun had gone down now, and the air was getting cooler. James was watching a firefly in the distance as he thought about everything his wife had said. This time, it was Sophie who broke the silence.

“So where does this leave us?” she asked her husband.

“I think that as long as we can be this honest with each other, we’ll be okay,” he said, shoving away a moment of guilt for not telling her about the group text with the other men. It was a small white lie, he thought.

“What should I tell Hank?” she asked him, deferring the decision to him but leaving the door open for him to tell her to go.

“What if we just start with drinks?” he suggested. “If you want to,” he added quickly. Sophie studied him like she often did, trying to see his inner thoughts before answering.

“We’ll start with just a drink,” she agreed, “Dip our toes in rather than cannonball into the deep end.” James nodded his agreement as he thought about the fact that the last time they had agreed she would just serve drinks, and look how that ended up. James couldn’t help but feel a rush of excitement over the possibility.

“Ready to go in?” he asked her as he stood up.

“Not just yet,” she answered him with a smile. He took his empty glass and went inside, leaving Sophie with her thoughts. After doing the dishes, he went to the bedroom to change into something more comfortable than the khakis and polo he wore to work. He was slipping on a t-shirt when he heard it.

BUZZ. He looked over at his phone on the dresser and felt his heart skip a beat. He walked over and grabbed it. A message from Hank to the group. It was a screenshot with Sophie’s answer.

“I’d love to. Tell me when and where.”

--------------------

James sat on their bed as Sophie did a quick spin for him. She was wearing a flowing, light blue dress that ended a few inches above her knees. Its neckline showed the start of the swell of her breasts and it had a cut out in the back where it tied together. She had paired it with a pair of nude pumps and had on the sapphire bracelet again that she had worn for her date with Richard but had taken off her rings as they had discussed again. He wondered how Hank would like this outfit compared to what she wore last time.

Sophie looked gorgeous in it, but it was markedly more conservative than what she had worn the first time Hank had met her. Tonight, she looked like the sexy, upper-middle-class professional woman that she actually was, as opposed to looking like a well, a very expensive escort.

“Stunning,” he told her. “Absolutely stunning.”

“I wanted to go with something that said, ‘I’m not actually a whore’,” she explained with a little bit of a cringe.

“I think you nailed it, Soph,” he said with a laugh. “He might be shocked to see you looking so different.”

“You mean in my clothes?” she asked. “It’s just a drink. I’m not going to do anything else without talking to you.” James appreciated her stating it again, even though they had talked about it all in even more detail after their big heart-to-heart. They had agreed that they would explore things together as long as they were both completely on board.

“I guess that is sort of what I mean,” he said. She shook out her hair again, making sure she got it just right. He wondered again if he was crazy for letting her do this, but honestly, as he watched her body move around in the flowing dress, he didn’t care.

He reread the last few messages from the group. Hank had been bragging all week about how he had a date with her to get drinks after she got off work on Friday. The reactions had ranged from Cliff’s jealousy to Arthur’s hopes that they would get some of the play-by-play. Clarence had wished him luck. Richard hadn’t said much, which was interesting. It made James wonder if he was perhaps less thrilled about Sophie agreeing to go out with the other man than expected. James had commented that he was a lucky bastard to see her again, which was a popular sentiment. 

Sophie finished putting lipstick on and grabbed her purse. “I’m leaving,” she said, coming over to him and took his hand in hers. “Are we sure about this?” she asked him again.  

“Text me updates as you can,” he answered, feeling a little giddy with the anticipation. Sophie looked at him knowingly.

“That excited?” she asked with a roll of her eyes.

“I wish I could come and watch, honestly,” he admitted.

“I think he might notice if you show up every time he sees me,” she laughed. “I’ll keep you updated, but don’t get your hopes up. Just dipping my toe in tonight to see how it goes, right?”

“Right,” he reaffirmed to his gorgeous wife. She walked to the door and slipped out, blowing him a kiss before she closed the door behind her. James immediately tried to picture her meeting Hank for a drink at the swanky bar downtown. The man was younger than most of the other men in the group, but he was still probably twice Sophie’s age. The age factor seemed to be something James focused on when he pictured them together.  

The man wasn’t bad-looking, but being so much older than the twenty-six-year-old woman he was with would still draw more than a few looks. What would people think? She could be his daughter. Hell, she was friends with Ben’s daughter Nora and Ben couldn’t be far off from Hank’s age. Or would they be too friendly for people to make that mistake? The minutes passed slowly as he waited for Sophie to get to the bar.

BUZZ came the message finally. He expected it to be from Sophie telling him she had arrived, but it was actually from Hank.

“It’s showtime, boys,” Hank’s message read. James took a deep breath and decided to make himself comfortable on the sofa with a strong drink in hand as he waited for more texts. The men made a few bawdy responses to Hank, but nothing too exciting. Finally, he heard from Sophie.

“Here. I love you,” Sophie said in a text. He waited eagerly for updates, the minutes seeming to take eons as they ticked by. He let his fantasies run wild as he waited, imagining all of the sordid things that could happen quickly enough.

--------------------

Sophie walked through the lobby of the hotel. She had never been here before, but the bar was easy enough to find. She tried to keep her nerves in check as she looked at everyone she passed worried that there would be someone she knew. She knew that she just hadn’t gotten over Mr. Miller being at the poker game the weekend prior.

Of all of the people to be in the game, it had to be her best friend’s father who had known her since she started college. No chance he wouldn’t recognize her and though she wouldn’t see him all the time, there was a high chance of seeing him in their normal social circle.

She tried to focus on Hank as she walked into the bar and looked around. He was sitting at the bar at the end, already with a drink in hand. Sophie had to admit for a man in his fifties, he was handsome and seemed to be pretty fit. He was wearing a long sleeve white dress shirt without a tie and black slacks. Putting one foot in front of the other, she walked down the bar towards him. She studied him closer as she reached him. He had a little grey along the edges of his light brown hair that made him look distinguished and lines on his face that told her he smiled often.

“Well, hot damn, you didn’t have to put every other woman in the city to shame just to come get a drink with me,” he said as he looked her up and down, admiring her. “I don’t know how you did it, but you look even more gorgeous than the last time I saw you.” It was nice to have him compliment her in a way that wasn’t as egregious as the way Richard did. She actually didn’t mind Hank at all and hoped that tonight would be easy. He pulled her chair out for her, and as she sat, he pushed it back in for her.

“Thank you. You look very handsome yourself, Hank,” she said, returning the compliment. It was strange to be out on a… well, a date, with a man other than James.

“You’re too kind. I’m just glad you had time to meet me for a drink. A woman like you, I’m sure men are fighting for your attention,” he said with an easygoing tone.

“Ha, maybe a few,” she said. Hank was as charming as she remembered as they talked. He asked her about her work and her life. She made sure not to give anything too specific away but tried to tell him things as close to the truth as possible so she could remember it.

He told her about his business. He had started as a ranch hand before he had saved enough to get into cattle where he had been exceptionally successful.

“You still help with the cattle yourself?!” she asked him incredulously.

He responded by showing her the callouses on both hands. “I think that men were made to work with their hands,” he said, “And I enjoy it. So I make sure that I go show those young studs how it’s done every once in a while.” Sophie was starting to relax by the time she finished her drink. She was no longer worried that every new person who walked into the bar would recognize her and see her having a drink with a man who wasn’t her husband.

She reached out and took his hand, feeling the callouses of his rough hands. There was no faking it. He definitely spent time doing manual labor.

“Isn’t it a little dangerous?” she asked him.

“Only if you don’t know what you’re doing, darling,” he said in his country accent. As she released his hand, he lowered it and sat it on her knee beneath the bar. Sophie hadn’t expected it, and had to stop herself from reflexively pushing it away. As their conversation continued, he left it there for a minute, buying Sophie a second drink for the evening. Subtly, he started moving the hand but not far. She had shaved this afternoon, and she knew that her skin was silky smooth in contrast to the rough hand that was resting on her knee. She watched him carefully as they talked and she knew he was enjoying the contact.

--------------------

A few more minutes passed, and finally, another text from Sophie.

“Hey, it’s going fine. We’ve just been talking. I came into the restroom to update you. I’ll let you know when I leave in a few minutes and give you all the details when I get home,” she said. James knew this was what they had planned, but it still felt anticlimactic after what had happened the last two times. He couldn’t help but feel disappointed. He finished his own drink and started on a couple of chores to keep his mind occupied. BUZZ.

He eagerly unlocked the phone, but it was just a message from Arthur asking about how it was going. Both sides seemed eager to find out more about what was happening between the two. He returned to his chores, passing a few more minutes before he heard the vibration of his phone again.

He rushed over and read the message from his wife. “Leaving. Be home in a few,” she said. He took a deep breath. Only a few more minutes before he would get to hear about what happened. He watched her location on his phone as the Uber brought her home.

The anticipation was killing him as he waited impatiently. He paced a few times, and finally he heard the door opening. Sophie stepped in looking just as she had a couple hours earlier.

He couldn’t wait to ask her questions. “Well, how was it? How was he? Did he try anything?” he asked.

“Whoa now, slow down with the interrogation,” she joked as she set her purse down.

“Sorry, I’ve just been on the edge of my seat since you left,” he told her with a smile, waiting for her to be ready to answer his questions. She stepped out of her heels and took a seat on the sofa where James joined her.

“He was, shockingly respectful,” she admitted with a laugh. “We just talked and had a few drinks at the bar. He told me all about his business, where he grew up. He asked me a lot of questions. As if it was a normal date,” she told him.

“Oh,” James said, disappointed after all of the bluster about being able to sweet-talk her.  “That’s all?” he asked.

“Mhmmm,” she said as she ran her fingers through his hair playfully before pulling him in to kiss her. James could taste the alcohol on her lips still. He ran his hand up her leg and felt her respond, knowing where this led. He laid her back, following her down with his body on top of hers as they continued to kiss. When they broke apart, she spoke again. 

“Oh, and he asked me to go up to his room with him afterwards,” she said with a little smirk at him.

“What?” he asked, his mouth suddenly dry.

“Mhmmm, I told him not tonight,” she said. Not tonight. It implied maybe another night she would let him. I bet Hank loved that, even if it wasn’t what he wanted today. His hands were all over his wife, under her dress, as he kissed her again.

Sophie reached down and started trying to unbuckle his belt. He paused, kissing her to help her get it undone. “How did he take that?” he asked.

“Pretty well. Since I told him I’d love to but I couldn’t tonight,” she whispered to him as she got the buckle undone and quickly unbuttoned his pants. “That is, if that’s something you’re okay with,” she whispered into his ear as she unzipped his pants.

James felt like he was in heaven as he and his wife made passionate love right there on the couch while he fantasized about her with Hank. He heard the buzzing of his phone as he pushed himself into his wife, knowing that all of those men would be envious beyond belief, knowing that tonight she was all his.

Published 
Written by awriterssojourn
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