“Don’t move,” he ordered, his voice annoyingly level. I was panting like a winded grandma and he was in perfect control, his heart beating at a strong and regular pace, his skin barely damp with sweat. Would I ever be able to budge his endurance needle? Maybe I should be grateful. My sister’s husband had wheezed after we’d sprinted from one gate to the other in the Miami airport. She once told me that sex with him involved intermissions, and not because he lasted too long.

Rolling off of me, he maneuvered over a sea of paperwork, stepping from bare spot to bare spot as if he was playing a game of hot lava. He disappeared around the corner and I let my legs splay open, the delicate trickle of air from the overhead vent gloriously cool on my overheated skin.

“We’re out of paper towels,” he announced, back with a box of Vick’s VapoRub Kleenex. I lifted up my head and glared at him. “Don’t use a tissue. Just—” I held up one hand as I tried to sit up. My hand hit a slick patch of egg and I slammed onto my back, the impact knocking the breath out of me. I huffed out a pained cry.

“Here.” The tissue box tossed aside, Easton trudged through a pile of receipts and worked his hands under me, carefully lifting me into his arms. “I’ll carry you to the shower.”

I looped my hands around his neck. “And buy me a new shirt,” I instructed, trying not to think about the eighty-dollar button-up that he’d just ruined. So much for reducing our credit card charges this month.

“I’ll buy you five new shirts,” he promised me, and I forced a smile.

“Better thought, I’ll pick out a new shirt and send you the bill.” I traced his features with my fingers, bringing the laser focus of those blue eyes to me. “I love you.”

“I love you too,” he said gruffly, his hands tightening on me as he leaned in for a kiss. Sidestepping through the hall, he carried me toward our bedroom, his shoes sticking along the wood floor as he moved. We passed the living room and I heard the faint sound of the television, the talk show host discussing the traditions on Mother’s Day.

Mother’s Day. It was stupid for me to have wanted a card that badly. I’d wanted to turn the attention off our lack of a baby and onto our Marmaduke of a dog. I had thought that a big stink over a card might distract him from the insufficiencies of my eggs. But that had been stupid. Instead, I’d drawn giant red arrows to my flat stomach, our nursery-turned-office, our high-chair-free dining room.

Maybe it didn’t matter. Dr.Phil said that not all men want children. Maybe Easton was happy with things as they were, maybe he liked interruption-free nights, and couples vacations, and the ability to party and fuck, as often and freely as we liked.

Maybe. Maybe. Maybe.

I tightened my grip on him, all the same.

I stood in the shower, water running over my sticky skin, and tried to enjoy the aftershocks of our lovemaking. But something felt off, and I closed my eyes under the spray, trying to pinpoint what it was. We had been as passionate as always, my confidence in our marriage always solidified by our sex. And the fight, of course, had only made it hotter. Our fights always seemed to end with us naked, our anger dissolving as our orgasms mounted.

I rubbed an exfoliating scrub into my cheeks and tried to place what was still nagging at me about this event. Was it the subject matter itself? My insecurities over my fertility issues? His avoidance of the topic altogether? Or… oh. The realization came with startling clarity.

It was the first time, in almost a year, that we’d had sex without me thinking—at least for a brief moment—of someone else.

6

I think you have to properly experience cheating in order to form a valid opinion on it. As either the cheater or the cheatee. It’s like death or a cancer diagnosis. Unless you’re in the trenches, facing the possibility or actuality, it’s not real. It’s a concept, one you can judge from afar and gossip over for hours without actually understanding the depth of feelings and emotions that are involved in the event.

I watched my husband as he spoke on the phone, his handsome features pinching, his one-sided dialogue giving me clues to the conversation. Cheating was the topic and with Aaron on the other side of the line, I knew who the culprit was—Becca.

“When’s he following her? Today?” Easton’s eyes cut to me, and he gave me a pained look.

I picked up my setting and headed to the kitchen, scraping the remnants of the spaghetti into the trash. Wayland looked worriedly from my plate to the trash can, then whined. Setting the rose-dotted china on the floor, I watched as he quickly cleaned every bit of the meat sauce off the delicate saucer, the eBay find scraping against the red Spanish tile as he skidded it into the corner and tried to pin it in place with his paw.

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