Authors: Suzanne Jenkins
“Very nice,” he said, walking into the living room. “Is that woodwork original?”
“What else did
say?” Her tone had an edge of disgust, and Jason picked up on it right away.
“Let’s sit. I said I wanted to talk to you face to face.” Sandra pointed to the dining room table, dark wood in a dark paneled room with one window facing a dark brick wall. It was almost claustrophobic. She turned on lights that hung over the table, but the yellow light from it made Jason feel sick. “I’m getting a headache,” he said. “Can we go out to your kitchen? I see light coming from the back of your house.”
“We can go to the deck if you want,” she offered and he nodded his head.
“Where’s your son?”
“The nanny is upstairs with him,” Sandra said, finally smiling. Jason nodded but didn’t say anything more about Brent. They sat in opposing chairs, which overlooked a very nice landscaped yard. He estimated the work done to be at least fifty thousand. She
a spoiled young woman, as Pam accused.
“First of all, I didn’t mean to make it sound like Pam said the money you made was a gift. Just that it was a lot of money for a young woman.
“And as far as the baby goes, she’s resigned that her relationship with Brent won’t be like one she’d have with a child born in a normal relationship.” Sandra jumped up from the chair, surprising Jason so that he squeaked.
“That’s just awful,” she yelled, her voice echoing up and down the neighboring yards. “What difference does it make
my relationship with Brent’s father was?” Jason looked around to see if anyone was observing them, hunching over slightly.
“I’m sorry I upset you,” he said, ready to say it was a lie if she’d just sit back down and calm down. “Please don’t get so upset.”
She was marching back and forth, and even in her distress, she was beautiful, her black hair flying from her face, her dark eyes flashing. “I don’t think you understand. I lost a baby. Jack’s baby. Did you know that?” Jason was appalled, but he tried to keep his expression neutral. What would it have been like for Pam if the child had lived? Her husband’s baby. It made him a little sick thinking about it, watching her move back and forth, her long legs making the trip in few steps, the white fabric of her sweat pants swirling around her body. She was babbling about it, about losing the baby and how Pam was relieved, gesturing with her arms as she spoke, and Jason couldn’t stand it anymore. He stood up and grabbed her, wanting to hold her as he would his daughter, to calm her down, anything to get her to stop.
Sandra misinterpreted the gesture, and fell against him, rubbing her hips against his and kissing him on the lips. There was a second of clarity where Jason knew that if he didn’t stop right that minute, the relationship he was building with Pam would be destroyed. But loyalty to Pam took second place to comforting Sandra, her slender body pressing against his. He remembered her round derrière in the thong bathing suit bottom that had so offended Pam, and common sense gone, he reached down and put his hands over her ass. Noise from the kitchen announced the nanny’s presence and they flew apart.
“Miss Benson,” Valarie called. “Little Brent is ready for bed.”
“I’ll be back in about half an hour,” Sandra said, flushed, her lips swollen. “Do you want to wait?”
“What do you think?” he answered, turning to sit back down, his prominent erection embarrassing him. He wouldn’t need Viagra tonight if this was going where he thought it was going. He looked at his watch; it was almost seven. If he left right then, he probably wouldn’t get back to Philadelphia until after ten; Sunday night traffic.
He could go back to Babylon. He should go to Pam’s, say he had a change of heart and wanted to spend the night. But the sad fact was he didn’t want to. He was bored with Pam. They hadn’t had sex in months. Their relationship was in a rut, an inconvenient rut. If they could just accept the fact that they were antiquing buddies and little else, it would be great.
You’re an ass, Bridges. Pam’s a great lady, and you want to lay blame on her because you have a hard on for a girl younger than your own children.
Needing to go to the bathroom, he stood up, adjusting his crotch in case the nanny was still there. The downstairs was empty though, with a powder room off the front hallway. A mirror oddly placed on the wall behind the toilet gave him a view of his face as he stood to pee. He laughed out loud, just the comic relief he needed. He looked like hell, sickly pale under his tan, hair awry. The next time he went out on the boat he’d slather on sun block. The dark tan, white hair and his teeth made him look like a caricature; his kids had talked him into getting his teeth whitened after Emily had died. Thinking he looked ridiculous, he decided he was going to have a cigarette to try to yellow his teeth up again. “They look like fangs,” he said to his reflection.
A light tap on the door startled him. “Jason? I’m back.” He washed his hands.
“I’ll be right out,” he called. She was waiting in the kitchen, and fell back into his arms. He was sorry she did it, hoping she’d come to her senses, counting on her to put the brakes on.
“Do you want me?” She asked.
“What do you think?” He repeated.
“Tell me. Do you want me? I need to hear the words.”
“Yes. Yes, I want you.” She took his hand but instead of leading him upstairs to bed as he expected, she took him back to the deck.
“We need to talk,” she said. “If we have sex tonight, it means we’re in a relationship. Is that what you want? I thought you were marrying Pam.”
“I am. I mean I think I am. It’s not easy being with you, denying how good this feels. But what is it exactly? I know I like you a lot. I care about you. I
after you.” They both laughed.
“Is it worth hurting Pam for?” Sandra asked, surprised she cared. Maybe she wasn’t such an evil person after all.
“We haven’t done it yet,” Jason said. “But I really want you. Badly.”
“Think about it, Jason,” Sandra said. “Think what it might mean if we did it, and decided we wanted to be together. I have a small child. Are you ready for that? Are you ready to be Pam’s grandchild’s daddy?” Bursting out laughing, Sandra looked at his shocked expression. “Bet you didn’t think of that!”
Shaking his head, Jason was so disappointed. He wanted to fuck her and call it a day, go back to his boring life, but she wasn’t going to let him use her. He wondered if what he was experiencing was some of what Jack Smith may have gone through; willing to risk twenty – five years of marriage to a beautiful woman for a chance to take Sandra Benson to bed.
“Well, I guess it’s good you have some self-respect.”
“Oh, yeah, I’m just bursting with self-respect. This is probably the first wise decision I’ve made in a long time.” She leaned back in the chair and looked up at the night sky, bright turquoise fading to indigo blue, reaching as far as she could see, the sun almost set.
Maybe I’m finally growing up.
Monday, August 31, 8 am
I wanted to talk to you but you’re probably on your way to work by now.
Last night was good for me in more than just a few ways. I feel like we achieved something special together. It’s weird writing because I don’t really feel that great about us not doing it. (Be sure to delete this after you read it.) I wanted you. But we didn’t give in to what we wanted because it wouldn’t have been fair to either of us or to other people who shall remain nameless.
What a bunch of bull crap. Anyway, I am anxious to see where this is going.
And I’m sorry I grabbed you on the deck.
Yours very truly,
Jason, relax. It’s no biggie. Let’s just pretend it never happened.
Sandra, it is a big deal to me. I need to sort out my feelings about you.
Sandra, I can’t get you out of my mind. Call me when you can talk.
I’m crazy busy today but maybe during lunch I can sneak outside for a call. We get terrible cell phone reception in the building and I don’t want to call on my office phone.
Is everything okay? I thought you’d have called by now.
I feel like I’m stalking you now. I just tried to call you. I hope everything is okay. If I don’t hear from you by nine, I’ll have to take a drive to Brooklyn tonight. Please let me know as soon as you get this.
Sandra I’m getting ready to drive to Brooklyn.
Thank you so much for calling. I forgot small children could be so demanding. I hope he’s settling down now and you are able to relax.
I feel as though something special was developing between us and I’m destroying it. I agree it should have never happened. I’m still not certain who’s to blame. You said if I kept harping on it you wouldn’t speak to me again, but it’s important that we sort through how it unfolded so it doesn’t occur again. If we are going to be friends, we need to keep things completely platonic.
Jason, so now I’m the temptress, is that what you’re saying? That is really unfair. If I remember correctly, you grabbed me and started to kiss me. Am I wrong?
Sandra, no, I’m sorry, you’re not wrong at all. You were dressed so provocatively, and when you leaned in for a hug, I guess I just lost control.
Sweat pants and a t-shirt is provocative? Give me break.
You’d look good in a paper bag.
Whatever. Let’s call it a day, Jason. Obviously being friends isn’t going to work and I really looked forward to taking that boat ride!
If I promise to behave myself, would you reconsider? You have to believe me that I have never done this before. I was one hundred percent faithful to my wife, Emily.
I guess you must have called it a night. I hope we’ll talk tomorrow. Have a good night.
Tuesday, September 1
Sitting at her desk, Sandra was having difficulty concentrating on work because she kept thinking about Pam. This thing with Jason, the flirtation and now his persistent emailing and texting was getting out of hand. Falsely believing she could handle him, that she’d beable to withstand the attraction she felt for him, she didn’t know if she could unless he promised to be in control.
That night on the deck with Jason proved how lonely she was. It wasn’t just Jason she wanted; it was the arms of any man around her. Knowing how vulnerable she was, calling Pam as an effort to stay in a relationship might help Sandra resist Jason. Reaching for the phone, her intercom buzz surprised her so much the phone went flying in the air.
“Oh for heaven’s sake!” Getting up to retrieve it, the voice of the receptionist came over the speaker.
“Mr. Bridges on line two, Miss Benson.” Sandra frowned, picking the phone up off the rug.
“Alison could you take a message? I was just getting ready to make a call.” Now she was certain she had to call Pam. It would be impossible for her to succumb to Jason’s pursuit if she was seeing Pam again.
“Miss Benson he’s insisting I put him through.”
“You’ve got to be kidding me. I’ll take the call.” She sat back down and pressed a flashing button. “Jason?”
“Hi, I’m sorry, Sandra.”
“Don’t ever do that again. This is my place of business and I’m trying to work.”
“I know, I needed to talk to you and was afraid you were putting me off.” Sandra had her first suspicion of fear.
“Jason, I think perhaps we need to put an end to this
I’m feeling threatened by you now and I don’t like it.”
“Oh, no, I swear to you I’d never do anything you didn’t want me to do. If you’d rather I didn’t call you again, I won’t.”
“Well, for starters, how about you don’t insist on talking to me when my secretary tells you I’m unavailable?”
“Of course, I’ll never do it again.”
“Goodbye Jason. I have an important call to make.”
Hanging up the phone without waiting for his response, she quickly dialed Pam’s number.
“Alison, I’m on a call. If that gentleman calls again, hang up on him if he persists.”
“Yes, Miss Benson.” Pam’s phone rang through to an answering machine. Disappointed, Sandra hung up without leaving a message. What was there to say?
I almost had sex with your fiancé, please call?
First Jack’s unfaithfulness, then Dan marrying Pam’s daughter, now Jason flirting with Sandra, inviting disaster.
Tuesday night, 8 pm
Valarie was gone, Brent was in his little crib, and Sandra was on the deck reading when her phone rang. Hoping it was Pam returning her call from earlier that day, disappointment set in when she saw Philadelphia, PA on the screen. Jason. Debating whether or not to answer, she gave in.
“Hi Jason,” she sang out, smiling, trying to be nice. “What can I do for you?”
“Hey Sandra, it’s good to hear you sound so chipper. What are you doing?”
“Oh, not much. Trying to relax,” she answered, rolling her eyeballs, repeating, “What can I do for you?”
“I’m taking the boat down to Cape May early tomorrow. Can I entice you to take a day off work?”
“Why isn’t Pam going with you?”
“You know she hates boats,” he said. Sandra did know it about Pam.
“Oh! You mean you’re taking it down in the water! I thought you were towing it down,” she replied, her earlier resolve smashed. She’d throw caution to the wind. “What time are you leaving? By the time I get to Philadelphia it will be almost lunchtime.”
“That’s fine,” he replied. “I’m in no hurry.” Taking the train from New York to Philadelphia was easy; he’d pick her up when she arrived at the station.