by Gwen Masters
“You’re the color of the sky
Reflected in each storefront window pane,
You’re the whispering and the sighing
Of my tires in the rain...”
-Jackson Browne, “Sky Blue and Black”
Larry’s radio murmured as he turned into the parking lot of that hotel, the one with the broken mirror in Room 108, the one with the non-smoking rooms that smelled like smoke and the king-size beds that were too big for two people in love. The windshield wipers made their comforting thump-whack and his watch kept up the steady ticks and the rain poured down, coloring everything a darker shade as he thought of Katherine.
She would be cooking dinner about now, standing in the kitchen with her blonde curls tied up in a bun, or maybe under a bandana, one of those cheap ones from the discount store. She would be doing half a dozen things at once, manning the brigade of pots and pans as she sidestepped around a two-year-old and hollered to the six-year-old that his room had better be clean before he came to dinner or there would be serious trouble. After stirring a pot and hearing the grandfather clock chime she would holler again, her voice carrying down the hallway and to the bedroom where a man would be taking off his shoes after a long day of work, smelling the good smells and feeling his stomach rumble.
Larry remembered what that was like.
The old Ford truck was one they had made love in when they were courting, back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, before children and mortgages and things that went wrong. One night while they were lying down on that bench seat Katherine had gotten her long blonde hair caught in the door handle and she couldn’t move and somehow that excited them both, excited them so much that Larry went at her hard enough to rock the truck on its wide wheels, hard enough to fog the windows. The whole time the radio was playing one song after another, songs that meant something, songs that fifteen years later were like that truck: they don’t make ‘em like that anymore.
When it was over Larry had untangled her hair and she had cried because his hands were so tender and so careful, and because she loved him so much.
Lightning struck something nearby. The sound was loud enough to make Larry jump, close enough to turn the radio to static. Thunder roared. Larry watched the little blue car come through the curtain of mist. Behind the wheel was a pretty brunette, a bit on the heavy side with deep blue eyes and a radiant smile. She looked frightened as she drove under the light of the neon sign, and Larry guessed she was afraid of storms. He was learning more about her every time they met.
She ran to the shelter of the hotel room. Larry watched her as she opened the door to Room 108. He caught a glimpse of the broken mirror and thought about how Erin kept getting the same room as though they were testing their luck, as if the clerk at the front desk didn’t notice that they only stayed for a little while. Did she want to get caught?
Larry wondered if Katherine had wanted to get caught and if that is why she had left her own hotel key in the console of the car. He wondered if she had left it there deliberately and if she had ever thought about the way he would react, the suspicion and then the anger and then the shock of finding out that he was right after all.
She had been in Room 214. At least that time, she had been. Larry wondered if she had ever watched the new man in the mirror as he fucked her, perhaps in Room 108.
Another clap of thunder, and this time Erin looked out the window. She hadn’t seen his truck yet, parked way over there on the other side of the lot, but he climbed out anyway. He had forgotten his umbrella. By the time he dashed through the rain and the door closed behind him, he was soaked. Erin remedied that by removing his clothes.
She was wearing something silky. Her skin was scented with the fragrance that was uniquely her, the one that was seductive. She also wore a wide gold wedding band. Larry needed to make love to a married woman, to take what was taken from him, and Erin seemed to understand, seemed to revel in it sometimes by asking him if he thought Katherine had ever fucked her new man like this, or like that, or like this.
Larry came harder than ever when Erin did that, because it was like permission to go where his mind was going anyway, it was like having both of them in bed with him, it was living out the questions in his head, and it disgusted him yet made him want more at the same time.
He didn’t want to think about it.
Larry kissed Erin and lowered her to the bed and removed her clothes a little bit at a time, until he was between her widespread legs and she was playing with her nipples. He looked up and watched the harsh light from the bedside lamp as it glinted from her gold band.
He played his tongue over her lips, nice and slow, teasing each one. He delved into her, his tongue at first, then his fingers. By the time he touched her clit she was writhing under him and he knew how to do it, knew what would set her off, knew how to make it last. She told him over and over that he was better than her husband was and he clung to that like a drowning man clings to driftwood he happens to find in the ocean.
The new man would be sitting down in Larry’s chair now, looking at the food on the table and perhaps looking at the woman who served it. What was she wearing? Something that the new man would take off later in the bedroom that now belonged to them but used to belong to Katherine and Larry?
Larry bit gently on Erin’s clit. She wiggled in that certain way. Larry slid two fingers into her and then three and then four. Larry knew she would be sore and he was glad for that. He wanted her to be sore from him when she fucked her husband. That was important.
“Baby, I love you,” Erin gasped, but Larry didn’t hear her.
His mind was in a house across town, sitting down to dinner of mashed potatoes and peas and beef brisket with that good gravy only Katherine could make, and Larry felt a hunger inside, something deeper than anything food could fix.
Then Erin arched up into him and she cried out, a long wail that told him he had done what he was supposed to do. It was his turn now, because that was how things worked, wasn’t it? He did his duty and then she did hers or they did it together and that was supposed to be the correct way. It was all supposed to feel right.
Larry slid into Erin and she moaned, that deep down way that she always did, not like the gentle whimpers that came from Katherine. He moved deep into her and held her hair in his fists, the way she always liked it. He said all those things he had never said to Katherine, things like slut and whore and bitch and Erin broke out into goosebumps and moans with every new word. They turned together, her on top and him on bottom, and she rode him hard while she played with nipples on breasts that were bigger than Katherine’s, much bigger. Her body was rounded and soft and it was a turn-on of immense proportions (at least that’s what his dick said and by God, dicks don’t lie). It wasn’t more or less than the body Katherine had. It was just different.
When Erin leaned forward and rode him in that perfect way that drove his cock against the back wall of her cunt, the way that put pressure on his pelvis and his belly and everywhere else, Larry wrapped his arms around her and pressed his face to her throat. He came hard, deep inside her, where her husband might find it if he chose this night to fuck his wife.
When it was over, Larry said all the right things and did all the right things, but Erin knew he was far away. He could tell it by the look in her eyes when she saw the look in his.
“I said something wrong, didn’t I?” she asked, and Larry didn’t know what she meant, but he held her and kissed her and told her no, she hadn’t said anything wrong. She had said everything right.
She smiled and was content, and that was good. Content was good.
Two hours and then they were gone from the hotel room, the door closed and nothing amiss, the broken mirror in darkness, her little blue car disappearing in a haze of rain and fog. Larry drove slowly out of the parking lot and turned up the radio, which was no longer static but crystal clear, songs from years ago that still meant something. He turned toward the apartment across town, the one with the mismatched furniture and the empty fridge.
The rain poured down harder, hard enough that he had to squint to see through the windshield. Finally Larry had to pull over, had to sit there while every song on the radio told another tale from the story of his life and the rain pounded the hood of the old Ford. Unable to be here, he closed his eyes and he was there, sitting down to a dinner of beef brisket and mashed potatoes and peas, Katherine was smiling at him, and all was right with the world.
Originally published on Clean Sheets, copyright 2007.