A Romantic Affair
Will thought that Scarlett’s affair with her tennis instructor ended months ago, but her strange behavior
makes him suspect otherwise. As evidence of Scarlett’s cheating mounts, Will discovers that he enjoys the
thrill of Scarlett’s now very illicit affair: the casual lies, the deleted texts, the sneaking around.
But there is much more to Scarlett’s renewed affair with Alessandro than meets Will’s eyes, and she may
be in way over her head. Is there any way to untangle the delicious mess Scarlett has made, while
salvaging the trust in their marriage?
“Is that going to be a problem?”
Scarlett’s question shook me out of my reverie. I
was staring openly at her figure by the window,
mired in a bittersweet, pining reflection of my
love for her. She was staring out into the snowy
backyard with a distant expression. Scarlett was
thinking about something intently, and I could
only guess at what it was.
Until she spoke, my money had been on her thinking
about the six feet and four inches of tanned
Italian muscle, dark wavy hair, and occasionally
stubble-dusted jawline of her “tennis instructor,”
Alessandro. I had sipped my coffee, entertaining
the simultaneously painful and arousing idea that
her mouth was watering for his cock, or that she
was privately re-enacting the way he manhandled
her in bed.
“What?” I said, setting down my coffee and
addressing her question after a lengthy pause.
She was already gesturing into the backyard. She
gave a sigh of impatience, which meant she had
already told me “what,” possibly more than once,
and I hadn’t listened.
“That pool thing, it looks like it’s going to
break. Is it supposed to be like that?”
Scarlett and I had recently purchased a lovely
house in a charming Santa Fe neighborhood. We had
been delighted, at the time of purchase, that the
house had a pool. Like most transplants to Santa
Fe, we had nurtured the mistaken belief that Santa
Fe was like all of New Mexico, and very very hot.
We spent our first summer making much ado about
the relatively few hot days, shivering with
determination while sunning ourselves, as we
believed we should, next to our pool. We quickly
realized the pool would have been much more useful
in a Chicago summer, but we maintained the facade
right through a rainy July, all the way to August,
when a sprinkling of high-altitude snow laid the
deception too bare for even our stubborn
We were even more shocked, in winter, when Santa
Fe turned out to be snowy and quite cold. It had
nothing on Chicago, but it was chilly, and our
pool required maintenance and closing down. We
were now utterly perplexed by the pool, and wished
we didn’t have one.
I rose from my chair and stood next to Scarlett.
She had her sunny blonde hair in a professional
twist, and was wearing a smart navy suit she had
recently purchased. It was crisp, clean,
professional. She even had stockings on.
All so very professional.
Except I knew that the stockings were thigh-high
and made of silk, with intricate nude lace at the
top, matching her panties, which were also quite
elaborate and lacy. Designed to tease a lover.
I hadn’t bought them for her. I hadn’t even seen
them on her. The lover they would entice was not
I glanced down at the vague outline of lace
beneath her white blouse, her pert breasts
pressing against the cups, almost overflowing. Her
flawless skin, now a creamy white with little
remaining of the tan she’d acquired playing tennis
all summer, was kissed by a healthy pink glow. She
had painted her lips with a drab, professional
mauve, but a hint of bright pink in the center of
her mouth made her teacup lips look ripe and
youthful. A dusting of gray shadow and thick black
mascara made the gray-blue of her eyes pop.
To someone who didn’t know her very well, there
was nothing different from the usual about
Scarlett’s appearance. If you didn’t know, as I
did, about the expensive new underwear, you might
miss all the little details – the stain of pink,
the smattering of eye shadow, the very faint whiff
of perfume – that were not usual for Scarlett.
“You want me to call the pool guy again?” I asked.
Scarlett’s mouth twisted into a half-smirk. She
played absent-mindedly with the turquoise pendant
I had given her, sliding it sensually along the
silver chain. There was an erotic appeal to the
conflagration of secret underwear beneath her
getup, and her inclusion of the pendant, a
stunning chunk of polished turquoise, almost
indigo blue in color, and shot through with such
large veins of coppery red metal that it looked as
if someone had splattered paint on rust. It had
delighted Scarlett, and I was very proud of it
because I had picked it out myself.
“Ugh. I’m sure it’s fine,” she breathed. She
looked up at the clock, then jumped. “Shoot. I
have to go.”
She leaned toward me to give me a quick kiss.
Because I had gotten a little wound up watching
her, speculating about her wayward thoughts,
thinking about her thigh-high stockings, I reached
around her waist and pulled her toward me.
She relented, melting into my embrace, kissing me
wetly. She opened her mouth to let me explore hers
with my tongue, and I felt her soft belly relax
Then her hand was on my chest, her lips tugging
away from me, making a noise, making an excuse.
“Uh, honey, I have to...” She kissed me again, and
then pushed away. “I have a hearing. I have to
She hurried around the kitchen and scooped up her
things. I watched her, fascinated. She had her
briefcase, and she even opened it to check inside.
She smoothed her hair and her suit in front of the
mirror, showed her teeth to make sure no lipstick
had gotten on them, and then shimmied into a coat.
“No hat?” I asked, spinning a woolen hat she had
tossed on the counter on my fingers. Playfully,
smiling at her. Messing with her, just a little.
She looked at me, pulling up her collar and
straightening her coat around her shoulders. “With
this hairdo?” she scoffed, her voice friendly. Her
eyes were shifty, though, going from her phone to
me and around the house.
“It’s cold,” I countered.
“I’ll have to man up,” she quipped. “Okay. Bye.
Don’t forget I’ll probably be late tonight.”
Oh, I haven’t forgotten.
“Sure. I’ll just get some takeout.”
I watched her as she slid her fingers over her
phone, a worried expression on her face. For a
moment, I could almost believe that the frown was
due to a deluge of emails about labor disputes and
union negotiations, for the busyness of her
understaffed and overworked law firm, Katherman
But Scarlett wasn’t the kind of lawyer to get so
flustered that she would let that go. The comment
about the takeout, that is. I waited, sipping my
coffee, hoping that the cold ache in my lower
abdomen had not spread so obviously to my crotch.
Scarlett turned, and put her hand on the door,
opened her mouth to say something, and then seemed
to think better of it.
“Yeah,” she began, and then gave her head a light
shake. “Wait. Takeout?”
She looked at me.
I looked right back at her.
“That’s rude,” she said, smiling, trying to make a
joke. I wondered if she suspected that I was up to
something, or if she was just so caught up in her
own little world that she didn’t notice these
things. I slurped my coffee as I looked at her
over the rim of the mug.
“Them’s the breaks,” I said.
It isn’t nearly as rude, I challenged her in my
mind, as lying to your husband about your Italian
lover. Is it?
My stomach knotted up again, the now-familiar
wrenching coiling tightly, cold and hot at the
same time, as Scarlett blinked, started to cock
her head slightly, and then was distracted by the
buzzing phone in her hand. She shrugged, turned,
said something like “okay, bye,” and then
disappeared out the door.
I waited, listening to the car start up, the
garage door close, and then a few beats more.
Blood was pulsing in my ears, and a curtain of a
sentiment I have yet to name was falling down,
blurring my vision.
It would pass.
My hands were shaky as I reached for my phone, but
by the time I began to swipe at the screen, they
were steady again.
I swept through the countless, useless, one-time
apps I had piled up on my phone to get to my
current addiction, the app I used day and night,
the app that was taking away time from work,
driving me crazy.
I wasn’t proud of myself, but then, Scarlett was
no angel either.
I swept through her messages, all neatly displayed
on the control panel of my app. I preferred to use
HM on my laptop – the preference curiously similar
to my preference for watching porn on my laptop,
the sensation almost equal.
I scanned the messages. I knew Alessandro’s number
by heart, though the man suspiciously changed
numbers as often as every two weeks.
Whatever. His sultry, surly, Italian smarminess
was simple enough to detect.
My heart fell.
No new message from Alessandro.