Beatrix limped across the shiny-slick hardwood as fast as pain and her satin harem slippers allowed. Her tongue trapped between teeth to prevent saying aloud words she dare not say. Teary eyes narrowed, breath labored in flaming bursts from flaring nostrils, fists clenched white-knuckled. Every step caused a stabbing knife of agony from her ankle, stoking the fires of her resentment.
That son-of-a-bitch. What does he think I am? A plaything for sadists? How can he leave me, day after day, to these monsters? He told me he loved me. But what does he do? He makes the money and I get treated like an object. Fucking bastard. Why, oh, why didn’t I listen to my mother? She knew, she knew, but I was too smart to pay attention. Now I’m trapped in this life that’s making me older by the day, catching diseases, dying a little every time they come to me.
The phone sat on a sideboard, under a mirror. Tears ruined her mascara, feathery wisps of hair exploded in every direction from her head, lipstick wandered across her mouth.
I used to be pretty. Now look at me. I’m a used-up mess. Is this what he intended for me all along?
She released her tongue to its place. Tentative, uncertain combing with her fingers mollified the debauchery of her once coifed hair, but reminded her of chipped and broken nails. A tissue removed ruined makeup.
She stared at the hollow-eyed woman for a moment, and then wept. Not wracking sobs, because the strength for that was gone. Only whimpering.
She couldn’t let him know how she felt, because there wasn’t anything he could do about it. He wouldn’t know how. She didn’t know how. But what she needed from him, the promise still living somewhere in the chaos of her heart, that he could give. A poor morsel, but a feast for a starving woman. She had to have it. Couldn’t go on like this without it.
Breathe, Beatrix. Cool off. Don’t let him hear the weakness. Calm. Calm as a cool lake on a July morning. Calm.
Beatrix picked up the phone and dialed his number.
What if he’s busy? What if I interrupt something?
Well, he can just kiss my ass, the prick. I don’t ask for much. After all I’ve given him, he owes me.
Crap, what if I catch him a really bad time, maybe piss him off?
Oh, hell. This is wrong. I’m acting like a clingy fool. He’ll hate me.
“It’s Daryl. Speak to me.”
“Uh, hi. Hi, Baby. It’s me.”
“Trixie? Is that you?”
“Yeah, Baby, it’s me. Are you busy?”
“I will be in about ten minutes. Is something wrong? You sound funny.”
I look funny, too, and it’s all your fault you damned, insensitive – man!
“Listen, Baby, I need you to do something for me.”
“Okay? What is it?”
“Talk dirty to me, Baby. Really filthy, sticky, ungodly dirty. Do it, Baby.”
“I need it, Baby. I need it real bad. Just tell me what you’re going to do to me when you see me. C’mon. Tell me, Baby.”
“Trixie, I don’t –“
“JUST DO IT, BABY! MAKE ME FEEL LIKE A WOMAN! YOURWOMAN! NOW!”
A long pause. Beatrix felt the salty sting of tears.
“Please talk to me, Daryl. Don’t make me come down there wearing a coat with nothing underneath. And don’t think for one minute that I won’t.”
The sounds of Daryl clearing his throat and a door closing.
“All right. As soon as I get through that door I’m going to kiss you like I haven’t seen you for days, but tenderly, sweetly. I’ll kiss you until the strength goes out of your knees, and then I’ll sweep you into my arms. Like the precious creature you are, I’ll carry you upstairs and gently lay you on the bed. As I remove your clothes, I’ll kiss every inch of your gorgeous body until you’re completely naked. Then I’ll explore you again with my hands, touching your sensitive places, teasing your nipples with my mouth, my tongue.”
Her eyes had closed and she saw the scene in her mind. Felt the velvet touch of his tongue. She caressed herself.
“And when you can’t stand it anymore, we’ll make love. Hot, sweaty, passionate love, like when we were dating. Animal love, with a hunger that can’t be satisfied until we’re both exhausted and bathed in each others fluids. Until all that we can see is each other, all we can feel is each other, all we can know is each other.”
She reached for her panties and felt the heat. A moan escaped through open lips.
He remembers. He still loves me. It’s all worth it. No matter what, it’s all worth it.
“Oh, Baby. I’ll be ready when you come home. Call before you get to the front door and I’ll be waiting for you.”
He chuckled. A warm and sympathetic laugh. A lover’s laugh.
“That’s the best offer I’ve had all day. In fact, I’ll bring something you like from Chez Gustav so you don’t need to cook tonight. How’s that sound?”
“Like heaven, Baby. I love you.”
“I love you, too. How are the kids?”
“Oh, fine. Suzie has the sniffles but I don’t think it’s serious. She and Jeremy are in the kitchen eating breakfast. They miss their daddy.”
“Their daddy misses them. Kiss them for me. Oh, Trixie?”
“The coat with nothing under it? I think I’d like that.”
“Then that is what you shall have, darling. Don’t be too late.”
“Are you kidding? Not a chance.”
“’Bye, you sexy nut.”
A click and silence.
Beatrix warmed herself in the fuzzy ecstasy of her husband’s love. She barely noticed the rumble of plastic wheels on wood and the giggling of a toddler violently propelling his walker at her undamaged ankle.