Valentine’s Day Flash Fiction
Bound To You
As the bartender hands me a whisky on the rocks his eyes slide past me.
The light in them changes, indifference shading into desire.
I turn and follow the direction of his gaze.
She moves with grace along the hunched shoulders of men who line the bar, their bodies shifting as she passes like ripe wheat in a summer breeze.
My wife of fifteen years.
I feel my breath change rhythm, the cadence faster, the sharp rush of adrenaline spiking my veins.
Anna Greenberg, Professor of Philosophy at Fletcher University, her body habitually shrouded in smocks and slacks, is walking towards me swathed in a red cocktail dress, hair burnished in the warm light, a cascade of black pearls accentuating the undulation of her breasts.
Beside me now, she plants a kiss on my temple and murmurs, “how do I look?”
I nuzzle at the soft skin below her ear. New perfume, unfamiliar, muskier than usual, drowns me in possibilities. “Divine.”
She laughs, low and husky. “Do I have time for a drink?”
“A dry martini then.”
I raise an eyebrow. “Not a red wine?”
Her lips, the exact shade of her dress, tilt at the corners. “Tonight is different. It is Anya tonight. Anya will have a dry martini.”
“Anya.” I let the addition of the y roll around my tongue, subjugating Anna to its will. “It suits you.”
I order and watch the bartender reluctantly release her from his gaze.
Behind the whisky glass my mouth shapes a smile.
Anna would escape notice, hair tightly bound, a furrow of deep concentration on her brow, planning her next lecture on Sartre or Nietzsche as she cycles to work against the wind.
But not Anya.
Anya commands attention.
The curve of buttocks and breasts, the sway of her hips, a symphony of womanhood.
And tonight we move into a new era of our marriage.
A profound shift, like the tectonic plates of the earth colliding against one another, forming new ground. A new continent.
As of one month and exactly two days ago.
As of me standing in the bedroom doorway as she pulls her hair out of its constraints, one pin at a time, releasing the drift of mahogany down her back.
“You are interested in this?” I hold out the lap-top, screen towards her, trying not to sound accusatory
Her eyes in the mirror meet mine. “Why are you on my computer?”
“No reason other than I wanted to send an email and I left mine at work.”
Her lips twist. “At the same time you checked my viewing history, right?”
I stand silent, unable to lie. “Okay, yes—yes I did. You’ve been so withdrawn lately.”
She stares at her reflection, the brush bruising her hair in long rhythmic strokes. “Do you really want to know?”
“An explanation might help.”
Her hand hovers mid-air. “Because I need to understand.”
My scalp tightens. “Understand what?”
“Why you don’t come home sometimes until the early hours. Why you wear a t-shirt to bed for days after. Why there is some need in you that I don’t meet.”
I open my mouth to speak but she silences me. “Fifteen years is a long time to take me for a fool, Simon.”
I have no words. My hypocrisy yawns back at me from her dark gaze. The mirror our witness.
“Whatever it is you do, I want to be there with you,” she says quietly, laying down the brush with barely a sound. “Whatever it takes. I want to be a part of it. Not locked out of your life. Part of all of it. Do you understand?”
Thus, we are here. On the fourteenth of February. The day I proposed all those years ago. Placed the diamond on her finger and noticed how her nails were chewed down to the quick.
My quiet Anna with her brilliant mind.
The love of my life.
An impeccably dressed man approaches. He slides a key card into my hand.
Anya cocks her head, an eyebrow raised in query. “Time?”
“Time,” I say.
She drains her glass. I watch the subtle play of muscles as she swallows and desire hits hard and sweet at what we will do tonight. Together.
“Ready?” I say.
“Ready,” she answers.
She pushes away from the bar, we walk, me just a little behind, the palm of my hand resting lightly on the small of her back.
We reach the door. She draws in a breath and her eyes meet mine, unwavering.
I bend my head and whisper, “Remember your safe word?”
“Say it. So I know.”
She looks up at me and smiles. “Valentine.”
I kiss her upturned mouth.
Together, as one, we enter.
© Davina Stone 2019