I wrote this many, many, many moons ago and thought I would share. Random, I know. This is untitled and unedited.
:: Monique closed her eyes, squeezing them shut against the sweat that threatened to drip from her brow into her lashes. In the back of her mind she knew the cheap mascara she’d hurriedly bought at the drug store was smeared under her eyes. Tentatively, she allowed her tongue to touch her upper lip. It was salty with sweat. Her chest rose and fell in quick, short spurts. She wished the boy, V.J., she thought he’d called himself, would move off of her.
As if reading her thoughts, he slowly raised himself up, smiling down dumbly at her before rolling onto his back, still huffing loudly. Monique closed her eyes again. Her breathing had slowed significantly now, her stamina built up from chasing three little girls around the house all day.
The thought of her kids made her sit up in the bed. She ran a hand through her ruffled hair and leaned back against the motel’s cheap headboard. The room was still spinning slightly and she could feel the effects of the Seagram’s Gin she and her best friend, Phoenix, had hastily gulped down in the parking of the concert they’d just left weighing down her body. Monique struggled to remember the name of the band that had performed. It was a group that Phoenix liked, some rock band she hadn’t ever even heard of. But the concert offered an opportunity to get out the house and away from Grandview that she was not going to pass up. If two hours of screaming guitars and drunken college kids stepping on the $15 pumps she recently bought on sale at Payless was what she had to endure to get away, she’d do it any day of the week.
Grandview was a town of about 4,500 people—and that was on a good day. Monique often liked to joke that she couldn’t go to the bathroom without everybody knowing what color her pee was. As a girl, she never imagined that she’d be living in a place like Grandview. But then, most of the things in her life hadn’t turned out the way that she’d expected.
She glanced at the clock radio on the dashboard. It said 2:45 a.m. Garrison was going to be pissed. She’d never stayed out this late before. She never dared to, even if she would have had somewhere to go.
“Hey, do you know what room your friend is in?” she asked, her voice raspy to her own ears.
“Nah,” he mumbled. “A couple of doors down maybe.”
Releasing a breath, she started to get up, peering around the room for her discarded clothes. She found her underwear balled up at the bottom of the bed and rose up on her knees to grab them.
“Mmm,” the boy grunted dramatically, winking his eye at her. “You are fine.”
She turned away from him and rolled her eyes. She needed to find Phoenix, now. Already, she was mentally sorting through a list of excuses she could feed to Garrison. Car trouble? Even in the alcoholic haze that clouded her mind, she knew that was a dumb idea. She’d just had her car serviced earlier in the week. Kidnapped by a redneck? She grinned to herself, pulling her too-tight mini-skirt over her thighs. She could blame it all on Phoenix. Hell, it was partly her fault they’d ended up in a cheap motel with some horny college kids. Monique had just wanted a night off. A chance to break away from the confines of Garrison’s house. She called it Garrison’s house because even after nine years of marriage, it still didn’t quite feel like hers. Phoenix was the one with an untamable wild streak that even her domineering jerk of a husband, Smitty, couldn’t beat out of her.
“Come back to bed for a second round.”
The nasally voice of the kid jerked Monique out of her thoughts and she turned to look at him, lounging comfortably against the headboard with a silly grin on his face. He was still naked. She studied him, seeing him clearly for the first time now that her buzz was wearing off. He wasn’t bad looking, but couldn’t be any more than 19. Her eyes grazed his penis, which was still limp. He wriggled his eyebrows suggestively and she couldn’t stop the short, superior laugh from escaping her. This kid was funny.
When they had stumbled into the dark hotel room less than 45 minutes ago, she didn’t waste any time with small talk. There was no need to pretend like their drunken encounter would ever go beyond Room 213. She wouldn’t kiss him, instead, letting him drop hot kisses on her neck, while he fumbled clumsily with her bra.
She had taken control of the situation immediately, knowing that if she didn’t, she never would’ve reached a climax. At that point, she knew that a good climax was about the only thing that could’ve justified her behavior.
He wasn’t bad in bed. He was just inexperienced, goofy and drunk. Not a choice lover for any grown ass woman of 32. But she needed this release. She needed something that just felt like…anything.
She looked at his face again and he smiled dumbly back at her, oblivious to her thoughts. Quickly, she snatched her cheap, purple rayon tank-top off the bed and slid it over her head. She really needed to find Phoenix.
Her stomach gurgled and she wondered if she were going to be sick before the night was over. She had only thrown up once before after getting drunk, back when she was a freshman in college. It seemed like light years ago.
She glanced at the clock on the nightstand again. It was nearing 3:00 a.m. and for the first time since she decided to allow Phoenix to talk her into following the boys to the motel, she felt panic setting in. What was she thinking? She was married, for goodness sakes. It didn’t matter how miserable she was, or how badly Garrison treated her. It really didn’t even matter how many times he, himself, had cheated. The point was, cheating with a kid almost half her age simply wasn’t her. She pressed on her stomach, trying to suppress another wave of nausea that swept through her abdomen in a powerful current.
“Don’t ever let anyone change who you are,” her mother had told her frequently as a child. “You can’t be responsible for anyone’s actions but your own.” Now her mom’s voice blared loudly in her head. She physically shook her head, trying to get rid of the ringing.
Hurriedly, Monique found her pumps and slipped them on. She heard the bed rustle and looked up to see the boy slowly putting on his briefs. She frowned and tried to remember if she had brought her purse into the room with her, or if she’d locked it in the trunk. She whipped her head around to give the area a quick once over and nearly lost her balance.
“You okay, baby?” the kid asked, still moving slowly. He had started to put on his t-shirt, but stopped.
The sound of his voice was starting to irritate her and she nodded quickly.
“Do you remember if I brought my purse in here?”
“My purse!” she repeated forcefully, sounding shrill to her own ears.
She glanced on the nightstand, then across the room to the tattered TV stand and desk that was pushed pitifully into a small corner of the room.
She must’ve locked it in the trunk. She saw her keys on the nightstand and quickly grabbed them, moving swiftly toward the door.
“Uh, bye,” the boy said deliberately.
She paused with her hand on the door handle and offered him a weak grin. She’d almost forgotten he was even there.
“Call me!” she heard him yell as she shut the door behind her.
She paused outside of door, inhaling the crisp night air. She stuffed her underwear into her purse, making a mental note to stop at a gas station to wash them out. She definitely couldn’t go home without panties on.
She took another deep breath, fighting off another wave of nausea and began walking down the sidewalk, eyeing the door numbers. She thought Phoenix was in 217, but she wasn’t really certain. The boy had said a couple of doors down. Under normal circumstances, she never would’ve forgotten something as simple as a room number. She released a frustrated breath rolling her tongue in her mouth. It was a habit she had that she was never fully aware of until Garrison had teased her about it one day while they were still dating. Softly, she pressed her ear against the door, listening for Phoenix’s voice. She stood there for a moment, her face pressed against the cool wood, wishing she had been paying more attention.
Suddenly the door next to her opened and Phoenix came stumbling out, her face flushed bright red as she turned and yelled into the room.
“I told you motherfuckers, no! I’m not doing no fucking three-way!” she shouted. Her clothes were disheveled and she pushed her bra strap up beneath her tight one-piece dress, flipping her long, brunette hair,
“Come on, Mon,” she said, barely even looking at Monique as she half-ran toward the parking lot. She didn’t seem surprised to find her standing there.
Monique followed her quickly, nearly stumbling on the badly paved gravel. She turned and looked back toward the room. One of the boys had followed them out. He hadn’t bothered to put on a shirt, and from the looks of him, Monique figured he must’ve been an athlete at the small Division II college which was located a few blocks down from the hotel.
“You fuckin’ whore!” he snarled, his muscles bulging as he moved quickly to catch up with them.
They had about a 30 yard lead on him, and Monique moved more quickly towards the car, wishing for the umpteenth time that she had a newer car so she could unlock the doors remotely. Her tattered ’87 Ford Escort did fine for driving around Grandview, but she figured it had to be on its last leg.
She looked back at the boy, her heart thudding in her chest. He had nearly caught them. Phoenix was moving quickly too, towards the passenger side of the door. Monique fumbled with the keys for a split second before clicking the lock open. She flung the door open and immediately reached on the side panel to flick Phoenix’s door unlocked, but it was too late. The boy had caught up to them just as Phoenix had gotten her door open. He slammed it shut and hovered over her, breathing heavily.
“Get the fuck off of me!” Phoenix breathed, struggling against the boy’s hardened grasp.
“Get off of her!” Monique yelled, running toward the passenger side of the car to help her friend. Who the hell did this kid think he was?
“Get off of her!” she yelled again, pushing at his forearm.
“Dude! What the fuck are you doing?”
Monique whipped her head around and saw that one of the boy’s friends had followed them outside.
“Come on, man,” he was saying, pulling his friend by the t-shirt. “Let them old bitches go.”
The boy glared at Phoenix again before following his friend back toward the motel.
“Yeah, you better go with your friend, you punk ass….”
“Phoenix! Get in the car!” Monique yelled, scurrying back over to the driver’s side. She wished she would shut up before the boy changed his mind and came back. “Phoenix!”
She yelled again for her friend to get in the car, already turning the ignition.
Finally Phoenix slid into the passenger’s seat, still cursing.
“What did he think he was gonna do?” Phoenix asked incredulously, as Monique pulled out of the hotel’s lot.
Monique chose not to answer her friend, instead focusing on getting them onto the interstate. She maneuvered through the deserted, darkened streets of the small college town easily, thankful that her buzz had pretty much wore off. Phoenix was still talking from the passenger’s seat, filling Monique on details that she really didn’t care to hear.
“And then that’s when his friend came in the door,” she was saying. “At first I didn’t even notice the little bastard had walked in, but they started talking that three way shit and you know I don’t do no damn three-ways, Mon.”
Silence filled the car for a split second as Phoenix seemed to run out of breath.
“So what happened with you?” she asked after a couple of minutes. “How was A.J.?”
Monique had thought the boy had said V.J., but shrugged to herself. It didn’t matter what his name was anyway, DJ, AJ, LJ… She rolled her tongue in her mouth, not really wanting to share the details of the sloppy sex, even with her best friend.
“We need to find a gas station,” she said instead to her friend. She glanced over to the passenger seat. Phoenix had closed her eyes and leaned her head against the worn seat.
“We can stop in Walkerson at that truck stop,” she said, sounding strained.
“If you’re gonna throw up, let me know and I’ll pull over, Phoenix,” Monique said her eyes widening as she looked at Phoenix’s pasty complexion.
“Shit, girl,” she said, throwing Monique a look. “You just make sure you’re alright. I got this.”
Phoenix’s eyes drifted shut again and Monique allowed herself to focus on the road. She still hadn’t decided what she was going to tell Garrison. The kids were staying the night at Sherrilyn’s house, their frequent babysitter. Sherrilyn considered herself to be Monique’s surrogate mom, and always managed to give her advice without being pushy. She wondered what her play-mom would have to say about this romp. She shook her head to herself, feeling her stomach rumble. What the hell was she going to tell Garrison?
Hinkley, the college town that they’d been in was about 30 miles away from Grandview. They’d just passed a sign that said they were now 17 miles away.
“Stop at the gas station at the next exit,” Phoenix said, her voice low. Monique didn’t even know that she was still awake.
Monique pulled off of the exit and swung into an empty parking space in front of the store, glancing at the clock on her radio as she did so. It was already 3:24 a.m. Phoenix pushed open her door and the rush of the cool night air swirling in the car, once again forced her into action. She opened her door and got out. The attendant, a guy who looked to be in his early 20s, barely even glanced at them as they entered the store.
Monique followed Phoenix into the bathroom. She was already digging into her suitcase sized purse as the door swung shut behind them.
“Here,” she said, handing Monique a mini-sized bottle of mint Scope. She pulled out her own bottle and quickly began swishing the green liquid in her mouth, digging through her purse again as she did so. She took out another small bottle of body spray and sat it on the counter, which was thankfully clean, before leaning over to spit in the sink.
“Girl, hurry up,” Phoenix demanded, glancing at Monique. “Smitty doesn’t get off tonight until 4:30, so if you stop just standing there, staring at me, we can beat him.”
She quickly shimmied out of her underwear and threw them in the trash. She reached in her bag, unzipped one of the little compartments and extracted another pair.
“Mon!” she paused her fluid movements and gave Monique a look. “What are you doing?”
Monique shook her head. Under normal circumstances, she probably would’ve laughed at the thought of Phoenix carrying around a pair of spare Granny drawls in a secret compartment in her purse. But then, these really weren’t normal circumstances. A frown automatically played on her lips.
“You carry underwear in your purse?”
Phoenix smacked her lips and flipped her brunette hair.
“Shit yeah,” she said, snatching a paper towel from the dispenser. She wet it and began wiping herself.
Monique quickly turned around.
“Shit, Phoenix,” she mumbled to herself. “Shit.”
“I can’t believe that bastard called me old,” Phoenix responded, ignoring her, oblivious to Monique’s inner-turmoil. “Shit, I look good.”
Monique glanced at Phoenix, who had turned to study her non-existent ass in the large mirror. She was still slender, even after having two kids, and although a few wrinkles were starting to show up on her face, she still looked at least five years younger than her 34 years. Men in the town were always chasing after Phoenix, who Monique always thought was beauty pageant pretty—cute, but not gorgeous.
Monique shook her head again, trying to focus on the task at hand. What the hell was she doing? This was the first time that she’d ever been out for real with Phoenix. Even though they were best friends, it was the Grandview version of friendship. That meant that they picked each other’s kids up from school, took the kids swimming together, and spent hours watching damn near every movie that Hollywood had greenlighted starring Joaquin Phoenix, Clint Eastwood or Anne Hathaway over the past few years.
Monique had always purposely distanced herself from Phoenix’s wild excursions. In the three years that they’d been hanging together it had been pretty easy. Smitty had Phoenix on a tight leash, so she wasn’t able to stray often. But when she did, she’d come back and tell Monique the details, and even encourage her to do the same. She figured, the guys did it, why shouldn’t they do the same? Sometimes Monique thought Phoenix even wanted to get caught by her husband, just so that she could rub her handful of affairs in his face. For Phoenix, adultery was escapism, pure and simple. It was her way of bucking against her controlling husband, who, despite her feistiness, she didn’t have enough willpower to leave.
Monique swished the Scope in her mouth, then gargled it loudly before spitting it in the sink.
“I don’t carry panties around in my purse,” Monique said aloud.
Phoenix pulled her fresh underwear up over her skinny, but toned, thighs and cast another look on Monique.
“Guess you better get to washing,” she said, squirting herself with the pink body spray she’d sat on the counter. She threw both Scope bottles back into her purse along with the spray and ran a hand through her tousled hair, fixing it into a sloppy bun on the top of her head. She pulled the sweats she’d left the house in on and shrugged into her sweatshirt.
“Hurry up. You have five minutes,” she called over her shoulder to Monique as she slid out of the bathroom.
Monique stared at herself in the mirror for a long moment. She looked at her face, her almond eyes staring accusingly back at her. She’d always been told her eyes were best feature. She figured it was just because they were the same shade of brown as her dark complexion, making them appear soulful. She stared at herself in the mirror for a second longer. She didn’t look like she’d just had wild sex. That was good. She did look tired though. She sighed, taking her underwear out of her bag. She washed them quickly, and pushed the air dryer on, waving the simple turquoise cotton panties in front of the dryer. What was she going to tell Garrison? She violently waved her still damp underwear in front of the dryer, as if that would make them be any less wet. Shit, her underwear would have to finish drying in the car.
Phoenix had left the backpack in the bathroom and she pulled out her own sweats and yellow and green “Garrison High School” sweatshirt out. She quickly put the clothes on, pushing her ruffled top and mini skirt into the bag. She ran a comb through her thick hair and grabbed the backpack, giving herself another once over in the mirror before she exited the bathroom. She decided that with her sweatshirt and sweats on, there were virtually no traces of adultery on her at all. Well, except for the pair of damp underwear that was now stuffed in her pocket.
She found Phoenix at the counter, paying the bored cashier for a pack of powdered donuts and two large Pepsi’s. Monique followed Phoenix out of the store, glancing back guiltily at the cashier. She wondered if he had even noticed that they’d changed clothes in the bathroom. She wondered how many other women came into the store in the middle of the night and did that.
“I’m driving,” Phoenix announced, heading toward the driver’s side.
“No…” Monique started, but Phoenix smacked her lips impatiently.
“Mon, I have to get home before 4:30, and that gives me…” she glanced at her watch, “all of 15 minutes. With you driving we won’t be there before five.”
“Don’t worry, I’m not going to wreck your hooptie,” she said, rolling her eyes dramatically, “Those little bastards damn near ruined whatever buzz I had going anyway.”
Monique sighed and tossed her the keys. They were back on the freeway in seconds. She took a long guzzle of Pepsi, trying to calm her nerves, and then held her damp underwear out the window to air dry. As fast as Phoenix was going it would only take a couple of minutes for them to be wearable.
“Girl, what are you doing?” Phoenix asked, casting a sideways look at Monique. “Are those your panties?”
She stared at the underwear that were flapping in the wind, then at Monique before bursting into loud laughter. It only took a few seconds for Monique to join her. It was pretty funny—them speeding down the interstate, half drunk, with her underwear hanging out the side of the car, flapping in the wind. Actually it was damn funny. Monique doubled over with laughter, gasping for air.
“Just don’t drop them,” Phoenix said, finally catching her breath. “I will not be looking for that shit on the side of the highway. Can you just imagine us, combing the highway like prisoners, looking for your old ass Granny panties?”
She looked at the underwear again and cracked up again, wiping tears from her eyes.
“Hey, these panties are cute,” Monique said between giggles, defending her Fruit of a Looms.
It took a few minutes for them to both calm their giggling. Her panties finally dry, Monique maneuvered in her seat to wiggle out of her sweats and into them. She finished just as they entered Grandview. The clock said 4:15.
Phoenix sped through the dark streets, toward her neighborhood. She lived in the “middle class” part of town, although the town was so small, Monique often wondered why people even bothered with dividing folks up into classes.
“Thank God,” Phoenix muttered to herself as she pulled up to her house. Smitty’s truck wasn’t there and Phoenix and Monique both let out audible sighs.
“Okay, girl, I’ll call you tomorrow,” Phoenix said, already sliding out of the driver’s seat.
“Okay,” Monique said, hopping out and jogging around to take the wheel.
She pulled away quickly and took the back way to her house. She didn’t want to chance passing Smitty on his way home from his late night trucking gig. She still had no idea how she was going to explain to Garrison why they were getting home so late. This lie she had weaved was quickly spiraling out of control. It was always easier to exaggerate circumstances if there was at least a little bit of truth to the story. But this entire night was nothing but one big ass lie.
If it were up to her, she would’ve at least told Garrison the truth about going the concert. But Smitty never would’ve let Phoenix out of the house to attend a rock show, so she had lied and told them they were going to a late movie in Hinkley—one that wasn’t showing in lame Grandview. Monique had to go along with her story in case Garrison and Smitty ever talked, or, in case Smitty called Garrison to check on Phoenix’s story, like he often did. Garrison never liked Smitty, and wondered why Monique chose to involve herself in his and Phoenix’s life at all. But Phoenix was her friend. She was always there whenever Monique needed her and was probably the most selfless person she knew. Phoenix would give you the shirt right off of her back if you needed it.
Monique navigated through Grandview’s worn streets to the south edge of town, where their tiny house was located. Her and Garrison had never expected to live there so long. It was a starter home. Three kids and seven years later, they were still there. And while Garrison seemed content in the tiny three-bedroom house, she was going crazy.
Her heart was pounding in her chest. She would just tell Garrison that the battery had stalled, and she didn’t want to bother him so late, especially since Phoenix was with her and they were safe. That would have to work. She turned onto her block. She was literally sweating now and her stomach rumbled. She’d never been a good liar, ever, which is why she rarely did it. She always, always ended up getting caught. She gently pushed the brakes a few houses down from her house, and closed her eyes, silently saying a prayer, then immediately opened them. What was she doing? Praying to God to help her lie after cheating on her husband? She glanced up into the sky, fully expecting a bolt of lightening to strike her sinful ass.
Slowly, she pulled up to their house. Something wasn’t right. She pulled up into the right side of the driveway, since neither her nor Garrison ever parked in the garage until the winter months anyway. Garrison’s truck wasn’t there. She frowned, wondering what was going on.
She hopped out of the car, leaving her backpack safely hidden in the trunk under some blankets and quickly strode to the front door, pushing her key in the lock. She stepped into the house, listening. The small lamp next to the living room couch was on—it was the light they left on for safety in case any one was coming home late. She snapped it off as she headed toward their bedroom, passing pictures of the kids hanging on the hallway walls. She flicked the light on in the bedroom and looked around. The king sized bed was made, just as she’d left it earlier that morning. Garrison was clearly not home. She frowned again, then spotted a note on the nightstand.
“With the fellas, be back later.”
She’d beat him home. In the back of her mind, she knew that he’d left her a note instead of just texting her on purpose. But, she was so preoccupied with her own guilt, she couldn’t even process his sneakiness.
She let out a sigh of relief and silently thanked God, this time not bothering to feel guilty for it. Quickly, she shrugged out of her sweats and stepped into the master bathroom. She needed to take a quick shower before Garrsion got back. The thought of climbing into the bed with the sweat of another man on her skin made her stomach hurt. She took a quickie, not wanting to get caught in case Garrison arrived, wondering why she was showering at almost five in the morning. She slipped into one of his old t-shirts and climbed into bed.
Her body was exhausted, and sore in places she’d almost forgot existed. She and Garrison hadn’t had sex in nearly five months, which was torture, but at the same time, a relief. She loved sex. But honestly, didn’t really even desire it with her husband any more. She could barely even stand to be around him, let alone have him touch her intimately. She struggled, but she couldn’t even remember when things had gotten that bad. She felt if she could somehow pinpoint the exact day she could somehow fix it.
She rolled her pillow up into a ball, shoving it beneath her head and turned onto her side. Although she was tired, she couldn’t seem to shut her brain off. She closed her eyes, waiting for sleep to come.