Heather Loosens Up
It begins at a seedy bar in their town, when a playful game gets out-of-hand in all the right ways. But
Toby is sure his uptight wife Heather has gotten as loose as she will ever get, and Heather seems to
regret it. He's content to live with the memory, until they're on an out-of-town trip, and Heather does
the unexpected. Heather lets go more than Toby thought was possible... maybe even more than he's
Toby’s scowl made almost three bulges of skin in
his forehead as he surveyed the dim street to the
left and right of his truck.
Force of habit.
There were parts of town where you could leave
your vehicle unattended, provided you had enough
cash on hand to buy your tools back from whoever
had stolen them. It was the price of doing
business in certain parts of town, and Toby didn’t
even get worked up about it anymore: he just
carried the cash.
There were other places in this city where leaving
his truck parked on the road could possibly
invalidate his insurance policy. At first glance,
the area around Salty’s Haven gave off a bit of
The neon sign (reading only “Saltys,” no
apostrophe) was partially illuminated, the first
“s” a bright, flamingo color that drained away to
grayish-pink by the end of the word, reminding
anyone who looked at it of stale meat. The outline
of the martini glass that followed the final “s”
was more corpse-colored, once having glowed blue.
The tropical color scheme, faded or not, was
spectacularly out-of-place in the Midwestern
climate, below freezing for six months of the
year. As if to punctuate the joke, someone had set
a palm tree, made of plastic and tinsel, next to
“Hooooly shit,” Toby said under his breath.
He looked at his phone again, re-reading the text
message from Heather: yes, this was the place.
Salty’s Haven on 17th and Sheridan.
The picture began to look less ominous as he
crossed the street: the cars in the parking lot
were new, but affordable, family cars. A sign of
respectability. If the cars were old, this was a
shit part of town. And if the cars were new but
unaffordable, tinted and tricked out, then it was
a good idea to – in the parlance of some
inhabitants - “bounce.”
Toby opened the door to Salty’s Haven and relaxed
even more. The clientele as evidence, Salty’s was
clearly one of those bars that delivered the
ambiance of a dive-bar to suburban mid-career
“suits” who worked in the office parks several
Toby scanned the room quickly and located his wife
among a throng of loud, drunk women. He typed her
a message to let her know he was there. She was
caught up in a story, and if there was one thing
Heather hated, it was to be interrupted. He
decided to wait at the bar.
The bartender was a young, brown-skinned,
good-looking guy. Clean-shaven and athletic in
appearance. He approached Toby right away, with
one wary eye on the table of women, who were being
fairly rowdy and looked like they might boil over
into table dancing or stripping. Something about
the kid’s haircut and police-face said he didn’t
let that kind of noise go on in his bar.
He sized Toby up with a quick up-and-down. The two
men had an instant impression of each other, both
athletes who would recognize the other as such.
They were both stars of soccer and hockey, wily
forwards who relied on skill and speed, but Toby
had the small paunch of a man who didn’t take it,
or himself, quite as seriously anymore.
The bartender was still ripped. Give it time, Toby
“W’can I get you?” the bartender asked, leaning on
the bar with his arms spread open wide, an
unconscious demonstration of his physical prowess.
Toby leaned on the bar. He was past his own prime,
starting to feel it in his knees, had a rotator
cuff injury that would never heal, and he couldn’t
spread his arms out like that anymore. He felt the
electric tremor of competitiveness kicking around
in his gut. He’d have liked to have shown this kid
a thing or two on the ice or the field, but it was
eleven o’clock on a Thursday night in Toby’s
world: a babysitter was being paid for, his wife
was drunk, and he had to be up at five in the
Toby turned on what he was calling his middle-aged
man charm instead. “I just need your finest,
cheapest beer, good man,” he said, in a jovial
tone he had cultivated for situations like this
Probably because they were cut from the same
cloth, even if it had been tailored twenty years
apart, the kid smiled and the rapport became
instantly friendly. “A Budweiser man?” he
suggested. “Or MGD?”
“Coldest,” Toby said. He was also a man who was
long past debating the qualities of shitty beers.
A peal of laughter, of the kind unique to groups
of middle-aged women who have stayed out way too
late on a weekday with too much wine, erupted from
the direction of another table, where yet another
group of ladies was cloistered.
“Ladies’ night?” Toby asked the bartender, who
grinned as he removed the cap of an MGD bottle
with an expert motion.
“This place is right by the hospital, man,” the
kid grinned. “Medical staff, admin ladies. Nurses.
Line ‘em up, knock ‘em down.” He shook his head
and looked down at the bottle of MGD, as if
disappointed in it suddenly. “You want a glass for
Toby swiped up the beer and shook his head at the
same time. He took a generous swig and swiveled to
face the table where his wife was sitting. His
phone was in his left hand, ready to send a second
message and get her out of here without having to
be introduced, in turn, to each of the crowing
birds Heather was entertaining.
But Heather was already standing up, an unusual
smile attempting to crack through the typical
seriousness of her mouth. It was clear from her
smile, her bright eyes, and the slightest wobble
as she took a first step, that she had consumed
too much alcohol. For her, that probably meant two
glasses of wine. Five foot six (eight in heels),
very slender and well-toned, Heather’s body size
was easily saturated by a single glass of wine.
Added to that, her generally uptight nature
forbade drinking in most situations. Heather was a
cheap, but infrequent, drunk.
Toby smiled over his beer as he took a swig,
thinking of what he would say to her. He was
annoyed by having to come pick her up, but
Heather’s tipsy walking and loose smile changed
his sentiments immediately. Maybe this was one of
those nights that Heather would let loose and be
It could even lead, he dared think, to sex.
On a Thursday night.
But Heather was up to more than simply being drunk
this evening. Making a sharp turn toward the bar
when she reached it, stopping far short of where
Toby was sitting, she leaned provocatively on the
bar, one leg crossed over the other. She gave a
flirtatious toss of her shoulder-length blond
hair, and the bartender dropped Toby like he was
Smiling, obviously flirting, he approached Toby’s
wife. “Whatcha need, pretty lady?”
Toby rolled his eyes and took another swig of beer
with his eyes closed.
When he opened them, the bartender and Heather
were leaning toward each other over the bar, their
heads almost touching. The bartender said
something, and Heather’s mouth turned up in a
smile just before a tinkling laugh spilled from
The sight of it was so jarring that Toby misjudged
the distance to the bar and set his beer down with
a too-loud crunch. Neither one of them looked
over. Heather tucked a strand of hair behind her
ear and smiled at the bartender.
Toby’s cock thickened with a single pulse as a
slow-burning sensation, equal parts jealousy and
arousal, filled him as though it had been poured
down his throat like hard liquor.
Had she not seen him sitting here? he wondered. A
slew of partial thoughts burned through him,
settling in his chest and his cock, fluttering
like butterflies in both places.
The bartender pushed himself away from Heather and
went around the bar to fetch something. Heather
turned to look at Toby point-blank, finding him
with her eyes, right where she expected him to be.
She had seen him, all right.
Mystified, Toby stared at her.
“What brings you here?” she asked, putting her
hand on her hip and leaning against the bar as she
rolled her body to face him.
Heather was wearing a charcoal-gray suit with a
blue blouse. The top button was undone, something
Toby noticed right away because having a top
button undone was not Heather’s thing. Heather
used a lint brush every morning, and they didn’t
even have a pet. Buttons did not get loose on
Heather's clothing unless Heather let them get
loose. Which she did not do.
It wasn’t a lewd open button; most women, in fact,
would wear their blouse opened that far, but on
Heather, it looked sloppy. The blouse folded down
on the button side, revealing a glimpse of the
curve of her small, taut breast.
Toby laughed, a low, almost adversarial laugh.
“What are you doing?” he asked.
Heather emitted a sound, a kind of sharp laugh
that disintegrated into a lopsided smile, tucked
the same strand of her hair back around her ear,
and shook her head. “I don’t knoooow,” she purred.
Toby’s gut went cold as Heather stepped closer to
him, sliding an empty glass along with her. “I had
three glasses of wine,” she whispered loudly. “And
a gross cocktail.”
Toby was just making a gesture with his head,
narrowing his eyes in confusion and giving a nod
of disbelieving approval, when the bartender
popped back with a bottle of red wine and a glass.
“One Shiraz for the lady,” he said charmingly. A
smile was plastered on his face but he was looking
back and forth from Heather to Toby, a definitive
glimmer of possessiveness in his eyes.
Heather was amused by this, because she gave her
shiny hair a shake and smiled.
It was at this specific moment that Toby glanced
at her hand and remembered that her wedding ring
had been taken in for repair. Her bare fingers
were long, neatly manicured, and only the
slightest pale shadow of the ring marred her
finger. She looked, quite suddenly, very young and
very available. Toby’s chest felt tighter, and his
cock strained against the confines of his jeans.
Heather extended a hand to Toby as though he were
a stranger. “Heather,” she said.
Flummoxed, Toby took her hand, and shook it limply
in his confusion. “Coop,” he said. Coop was the
inescapable nickname of all men with the last name
Cooper, and even Heather had a tendency to use it
when she was around his friends, who may have been
hard-pressed to remember his given name if asked.
Heather’s eyes glimmered, and she smiled for him,
as if he were precisely what he wasn’t: a stranger
in a bar. She grinned, and it was sexy. “Chris,”
she said, leaving her eyes on Toby for just a
moment too long before swinging them toward the
bartender. “Thank you for the wine. Put it on the
tab. Very nice to meet you, Coop.” She gave Toby a
sidelong, very sexy glance, and rolled away from
the bar. The two men watched her leaving: a tight,
small ass in a dark, shape-hugging skirt that came
to just above her knees.
Toby’s mouth was falling open, so he closed it by
taking a sip of his beer. Just moments before, he
had wanted to get home, but now he was intrigued
by whatever it was that his wife was doing and
didn’t mind sitting there to watch it.
Whatever it was.
What the fuck was it?
The bartender leaned on the bar, close enough for
Toby to hear him over loud top-40’s music that had
very recently begun but which Toby only heard just
then. “Hospital admin,” he appraised. “Line ‘em
up, knock ‘em down.”
Toby looked at the kid incredulously. “Seems a
little old for you,” he said.
The athletic swagger erupted inside the bartender,
and he stood up to his full height. He was an
average height, maybe 5’ 10,” but his abdomen was
flat and his muscles were hard in all the right
places. He shook his head as if he almost lamented
that it was this easy for him to reel the ladies
in. He lifted a glass overhead and slipped it onto
the rack. “Even better. That one, she’s a suit.
Uptight as hell when she first got here.” He
leaned back down, closer to Toby. “But those are
the hottest ones. Uptight, hasn’t had a good lay
in years, a little tipsy... she’s putty in my
Toby raised an eyebrow. “Oh yeah?”
It was an inappropriate response, and he knew
that, but he thought it would be funny when he
finally collected his uptight wife and took her
home. If there was one word that least described
Heather, it was “putty.”
More like steel-re-inforced concrete, buddy, he
The bartender nodded sagely, and then, grinning,
leaned on the bar again to confide in Toby. “This
whole group of ’em, they’re hospital girls...” He
pointed, not even trying to hide it, to each one
in turn. “Hospital - slept with her - admin, admin
– boned her - hospital, slept with her, her too,
admin, that’s who I was after next... and then you
have…” his finger ticked to the right and pointed
toward Heather. “The Suit. Sales, probably. She’s
got a corporate credit card and no limit. Got a
little too drunk, see how her hair’s out of place,
but you can see…. it isn’t ever like that,
usually. She is lookin’ for a good time.”
Toby stared at the bartender. What an arrogant
Although he had to admit – bitterly – that a large
portion of the bartender’s assessment appeared to
be correct. All but the last part, of course.
Toby finished his beer and flicked it toward the
bartender with the back of his fingers, pondering
his final comment. She’s lookin’ for a good time.