The Sex Whisperer: Book 1 in the Whisperer Trilogy (12 page)

BOOK: The Sex Whisperer: Book 1 in the Whisperer Trilogy
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Your Faithful Servant,


P.S. I’m not going to tell you which photos I bought. You’re going to have to come over and visit sometime so you can see them yourself.



The next two days went by in a blur. Olivia packed. She scheduled a gardener
to take care of her plants. She tiptoed around Mike. She paid bills and returned books at the library. Then, the evening before she left, she drove south to meet with the director of the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati.

The two Olivias hit it off immediately.

“I was at your opening,” Olivia, the director, said.

“Surreal, wasn’t it?”

“Indeed,” she said. “And I think that’s why I loved it. The masks, the lighting, the theme of your show and your work — it was the perfect marriage. Even my boyfriend, the dilettante, had an incredible time.”

“I owe all that to Klaus,” Olivia said.

“Nonsense. Klaus brought out what was in your work and made it more tangible. And I want to do the same thing here. We have a budget, money I’d be willing to sink into creating a different — even more exotic — environment for your work; an environment that’s a lot like what Klaus created, but one that ups the ante.”

“What are you thinking?” Olivia asked.

“I have my own ideas,” the director said, “but I want you to think about it. Run with the theme, and see what comes to you. Approach the whole gallery, the entrance, the lighting, the costumes, like you would a photo shoot you’re doing. Don’t worry about the costs — we can always trim things back later. Just think about how you can create an environment that rips people out of their skin and plops them down in a brand new reality. Don’t let your mind be inhibited by what you think can and can’t be accomplished. I want raw ideas, and we can take care of refining them later.”

Olivia’s mind was already whirring. “I think I can do that
. Actually, I’m certain I can.”



A simple note on the granite counter. That’s how Olivia said goodbye to her husband.

Dear Mike,

There are leftovers in the fridge and several frozen meals Armando made for your lunches. Take care of yourself. I really do wish you were with me.


She thought about saying more, but nothing came to her. The more she reread the note, in fact, the more it felt like a lie.
Part of me is glad he’s not going. We need time apart.

They’d hardly spoken since
the argument. All they had were the sour words they’d said, and they echoed in Olivia’s mind like shouts bouncing off the walls of a cave.

“I know I’m not a knight in shining armor,” Mike had said. “I know I need to treat you better, and it’s at the top of my priority list right now.”


forced herself to stop thinking about the fight. She packed the last of her things: her cell phone charger, her makeup and some snacks. Then, she made one last lap through the greenhouse. “My gardener will take good care of you,” she announced to the plants, particularly her tropical plants. Everything else would be fine: the fruit trees and the vegetables. A child could take care of them. They were hardy enough to grow outside, even, but in the greenhouse, Olivia could eek two long growing seasons out of them, three for some plants.

Five minutes before noon,
Olivia sat on a bench in her driveway waiting for Kenneth and Charlotte. She rested her elbow on a lopsided pile of luggage.

A squirrel stared down at her from the branch of a sugar maple tree. Its eyes were beady and black like two
tiny beetles. Olivia wondered how the animal perceived her.
Does it see in color? Can it make out my hair color or smell my perfume?

Christ, I must be bored,
she thought. She turned away from the squirrel and looked back at her house. It truly was a magnificent place. “The country manor,” Mike called it. The brick was dark, creamy beige, the roof covered in slate and dotted with dormer windows and massive chimneys. It was every young girl’s dream house, and yet, Olivia often felt like a guest there. She could stay there in exchange for spreading her legs for Mike every two weeks.

Her thoughts were interrupted by
Charlotte and Kenneth. They were blaring Nicki Minaj’s
when they drove up.
Charlotte’s arm hung out the window of their SUV like a bird’s wing flapping along to the music. Olivia smiled.
Starships were meant to fly,
Minaj sang.
Hands up and touch the sky

The three of them loaded Olivia’s luggage quickly, and a few moments later they were leaving.
Goodbye, country manor!
Olivia thought.
Goodbye, squirrel! Goodbye, Mike!



Two hours into flight, conversations fizzled out and the passengers turned back to their books, magazines or in-flight movies. Olivia craned her neck so she could look out the window at the rolling hills below. The United States seemed truly immense from the air — an interlocked series of forests, fields, rivers and roads. Occasionally, a city rose up in the distance like a stack of children’s blocks. Then, more land, mountains and trees.

Olivia thought about
Thomas. He’d asked her to check her email in Hawaii, and she wondered why she liked that idea. Did she want another whisper? Sex in an airplane bathroom, perhaps? Was she using him as avoidance so she didn’t have to think about Mike? She wasn’t sure, but if she was honest, a small part of her wished he was sitting beside her.

He was the opposite of Mike in so many ways. He ap
preciated the arts for one, but deeper than that, he seemed to enjoy life. He didn’t care about enormous houses, social standing and work bonuses. He wrote trashy stories and peddled them out to … women like her. Women who needed excitement in their lives.

It wasn’t exactly a reputable way to make a living, and Olivia loved the fact that Thomas didn’t care.

“You’re thinking about him, aren’t you?” Charlotte asked.

Olivia blushed, and Charlotte got a confused look on her face.

“Okay,” she said, “wait a minute — I thought you were thinking about Mike. Were you thinking about someone else?”

“Of course I was thinking about Mike,” Olivia said.

Charlotte shook her head, smiling. She looked at Kenneth to make sure he had his headphones in. “You’re devious. I
you were thinking about Thomas.”

“I ask
ed him what he’d do if he had $10 million dollars,” Olivia said.

“What’d he say?” Charlotte asked.

“He asked me why I was assuming he didn’t already have that much money,” she said. “Then, he admitted that he didn’t — that he was broke as hell, in fact, after buying some of my photographs. Anyway, he said he’d buy a motorcycle and a tent and ride it to South America. He said he’d try to get lost and end up somewhere no one’s ever been before.”

“Sexy,” Charlotte said.

“Did you ask Kenneth what he’d do?” Olivia asked.

“Yeah,” Charlotte said. “He said he’d move us to Hawaii and become a beach bum — learn to sail and surf and go skinny-dipping
, get fat and grow an enormous beard.”

Olivia laughed. Somehow she
see a fatter, bearded version of Kenneth skinny-dipping in the ocean. He carried his weight well. He’d probably look decent even if he gained 30 pounds.

“So tell me,” Charlotte said, “if Thomas asked you to run away with him today, would you consider it?”

“I already have,” Olivia said. “And I’m not sure what I’d do. I’d be paralyzed. I’d have to call you and have you make the decision for me.”

“I’d tell you to
move into that crappy apartment of his,” Charlotte said.

“Don’t say that,” Olivia said. “This trip isn’t going to destroy my marriage. It’s going to make it stronger.”

“Let’s hope so,” Charlotte said.

“Let’s just vow not to say another word about Mike on this trip,” Olivia said.

“What about Thomas?” Charlotte asked.

“We can talk about him, I guess

They both laughed.

“No more Mike,” Charlotte said. “I promise. And you’re right — this trip
going to destroy your marriage. If anything does, it’ll be Mike.”



The cabanas sat in a tidy row. Eight of them clung to the northern edge of a wind-sheltered cove. Clustered in groups of two, each pair of cabanas had a private pool, a long, shared porch and clusters of palm trees covered with green coconuts.

“Sure as
hell beats Dayton, doesn’t it?” Kenneth asked loudly. A thick cigar was burning in his hand, and he’d already cracked open a Kona beer.

“Can I have one of those?” Olivia asked, pointing at the beer.

“That’s my girl,” he said. He disappeared into the cabana and returned with one for her.

“Coffee-flavored,” he said. “I thought it was going to taste like shit, but it’s not that bad.”

Olivia took a drink. “That does taste like shit,” she said, laughing.

“The second one tastes better.”

“So how’s your job going?” she asked. “I never hear you talk about it.”

“That’s because I try to forget about it when I’m not there,” Kenneth said. “It’s not bad.
It’s sure as hell not my favorite place to be, though. You’ve never worked for a giant corporation, have you?”

Olivia shook her head.

“It’s a strange place,” he said. “Some days, I have so many meetings I have to pick and choose which ones to go to. Literally, I’ll have four meetings scheduled at the same time. I get so many emails, it can take two or three days for me to respond to one.”

“Sounds like working for the government,” Olivia said.

“That’s what it feels like,” he said. “It’s inefficient as hell. Sometimes, I wonder how they stay in business. Actually, I think I know; they charge lawyers an ungodly amount. Then, the lawyers stick it to their clients.”

“Are you happy working there, though?” Olivia asked.

“I tolerate it,” Kenneth said. “I don’t know how I ended up there, though, and ultimately, it’s just a job to me. You know, a lot of people, teachers, nurses, doctors, they can go home and feel like they actually made a difference, like they’ve helped someone. I’m just a glorified assembly line worker.”

“You’re a programmer,” Olivia said. “Why don’t you quit? You could go work anywhere.”

They both looked out at the beach and the sea beyond. The water was the color of a blue martini. The tide was coming in and it brought a strong, cool breeze with it.
This is paradise.

“The pay’s good,” Kenneth said, smiling. “The benefits are better. Isn’t that what
makes people stay in crappy jobs?”

Olivia remembered the night Mike got his original job offer at P&G.
That was almost four years ago. He was the one who’d landed a job, but he brought

“I couldn’t have done it without you,” he’d said. “You had faith in me when I was selling cell phones at the

They went out that night. Olivia could remember it like it was yesterday. First, TJ Chumps where they drank too much beer. Then, they stumbled across the street to the wine shop and shared a bottle of Malbec. They had sex in Olivia’s car that night — the first and only time they ever did that. Mike
was more daring then. He was like Kenneth; carefree, not burdened by his job. He worked because he had to, because it gave him the money to have fun on nights and weekends.

Where did the old Mike go?

Olivia realized Kenneth was awfully quiet beside her. She glanced at him and followed his gaze to the beach. A fit blond mom walked by in a very tight,
undersized bikini.

’d better not let Charlotte catch you checking out the locals,” she said.

“I was trying to see what brand her bathing suit was so I could buy one for Charlotte,” Kenneth said.

“You’re a pig,” Olivia said. “And those tits definitely aren’t real.”



Night two.

Olivia was getting ready for an
evening swim in the ocean. She changed into her bathing suit and looked at her body in the mirror. She needed sun, but otherwise she looked like a normal, happy adult woman with a pretty damn hot body. Seeing her, no one would guess her marriage was crumbling while she had a crush on a penniless smut writer.
How do other people always keep their emotions in check?

The cabanas were rustic but modern enough to have wi-fi. Olivia sat on the bed Indian-style and flopped open her laptop. She logged into her Hotmail account, holding her breath while the inbox loaded. She let out a lungful of air with a smile when she saw that Thomas had already written her.

BOOK: The Sex Whisperer: Book 1 in the Whisperer Trilogy
6.7Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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