I have added my most recent short story called Blind Date. Please take a moment to read it and let me know what you think. If you are new to the blog there is a story a few posts back called To Catch a Train. I hope you will look at it as well.
Things had not felt right for quite some time. The spark was gone. There was just no other way to say it. But to say they had once felt something for each other was an understatement.
Their love had once been nothing short of passionate and explosive. When they were together, they caught fire, burned out of control, and consumed everything in their path.
In the bedroom burned away the boundaries of love and sex, pushing their minds and bodies until there was nothing left to push. They often urged against each, entangled for hours against one another until there was nothing left to push against. Then they would just lay with each other, panting, sweating, and biding their time until the next time came around.
Outside the bedroom, they burned away the boundaries between friendship and hate, blurring the lines between freedom and bondage. Their arguments were legendary and all consuming to them and to their friends as well, powerful pro and con arguments that caused a choosing of sides. Her closest friends were always on her side. His closest friends were always his. The people that were friends with both of them tended to stay away when they were arguing. They didn’t want to get caught up in any of it. They thought the way Johnny and Maria acted was insane.
But to Johnny and Maria it was just a way of life. It had been for all of their existence together. There was passion in every moment of their life whether they were fighting or making love. They had come to know the two as the same thing, for the more intense the argument the more intense the make up period.
Then one day it just all stopped. They had come off another intense argument, one that had had them storming through their tiny house, slamming doors and kicking holes in walls. The pot to the coffee maker had been a victim as well. She poured three of his beers down the drain while he wasn’t looking. He flushed a whole pack of cigarettes down the toilet. (It clogged and now he’d have to plunge it. That’d teach her.)
Then the argument stopped. They went to their neutral corners to cool down. Once the tempers subsided another feeling took over, a familiar and powerful feeling. He crawled out of his recliner and went to the bedroom where he found her, as he always did, on the bed pouting, waiting for him to say he was sorry.
Only this time when he reached for her, it was as if he had stuck his hand in a bear trap.
“Don’t you reach over here for me,” she snapped. The venom in her voice was clear and unmistakable. She wasn’t playing.
“Maria?” he said. “What are you talking about?”
“All you ever want to do is fight, say horrible things to me, and then have sex!” she said.
Well? Yeah? Hadn’t it worked that way so far?
Johnny was confused. The rules had changed in midstream and he hadn’t gotten the memo.
“What is the matter with you?” he asked. “What I have done wrong?”
“You are just a jerk!” she said. “That is all you are. You think you can say horrible things to me and then come in here and touch me any way you like!”
But isn’t that the way it has always been. Isn’t that what we have always done?
That was the day the confusion set in for good and the Great Decline began. The passion in the bedroom dwindled steadily over the course of the next couple of years. The fighting that had once been nothing more than a means to a very satisfying end for both of them became only fighting. There was no longer any joy between the punching through the wall and repairing the wall. There was only the punching and the repair. Soon enough there wasn’t even enough passion for fighting.
Johnny did more than just miss the passion. He craved the passion.
“Hello, miss,” he said as he stepped up to the front desk.
She looked up from her filing and asked, “May I help you?”
“I need a key to room 203,” he said.
She thumbed through the filing system, pulled out a handwritten note, frowned and asked, “What’s the name?”
“Dirk,” he said. “Dirk Steele.”
The name seemed to satisfy her. She prepared a magnetic swipe key card and handed it to him. She looked at him with a coy, knowing grin and pointed to her left as she spoke.
“The elevators are just around the corner,” she said. “You are on the second floor. Did you need any help with your…uh… luggage?”
He smiled and shook his head, “No thanks. I’ll be down later to get it.”
“Enjoy your stay,” she said.
I damn well will, he thought. If she is anything like she is online, I will enjoy the hell out of it.
Delving into chat rooms, making “friends” on line had all started some time shortly after he had learned from this women who had stolen his girlfriend’s body that making love was no longer a proper way of making up. When the fires in the bedroom didn’t come around as often, when they were not nearly as hot as they once had been, he found himself craving some sort of outlet for his pent up passion. Cheating was not a desire of his. He still loved Maria even if the physical part wasn’t as all consuming as it had once been. The chat rooms allowed him to talk to women, to express certain feelings, and to be intimate without having the guilt of a physical relationship on his hands. For three years he had chatted, flirted, and inched right up to that line, the line where all morality was lost, and then backed away. In all that time, while he was having fun with his online acquaintances, the man they knew as Dirk Steele had never considered a face-to-face meeting.
Six months ago, that had changed. A new name logged into the chat room Clarissa! The minute they started to banter back and forth, it was nothing short of electric. He was ill prepared for the intense feelings the conversation had stirred in him. After a handful of engagements with this new woman, the absolute unthinkable was not only entering his mind but charging through it like a team of stampeding horses. Meeting her – meeting Clarissa – was all he could think about.
The elevator came to a stop with a ding, the door slid back. He took one step to his right and there it was. Room 203. On the other side of that door was Clarissa. There was not a last name ever given. Simply Clarissa.
“Ask for the key in the lobby,” her online instructions said. “Come to the room and knock once. Wait five seconds and then knock again. After that, come in. Come inside and go lay on the bed. Don’t say a word. I want the first time I hear you speak to be the first time I see you, the real you, not the picture you posted on line. When you are ready for me, ring the bell.”
Even though he had never heard her voice, the words she had typed to him came to life in his head. Her words were soft, sexy, and passionate. His heart was pounding in his head as he raised his hand to knock once. He counted slowly in his head to five and then knocked once more. The hand that held the card trembled as he slid it in and out of the magnetic lock. He pushed the door open with a click.
The bathroom door was to his left and closed. There was some soft music playing from a stereo on the far side of the room. The smell of scented, sexy candles filled his nostrils. With the sound of the music filling his ears and the scented candles dancing around the end of his nose, he felt a dull thump in his chest and then a lump in his throat. Suddenly none of this felt right. In fact, it had never been more wrong. He had the uncontrollable urge to close the door and run like hell. He didn’t belong here. He didn’t belong here at all.
He closed the door but he didn’t run. Instead, he closed it behind him and pushed his way on into the room. He found his way through the small foyer, past the table where a bottle of booze was chilling. He didn’t have to look to know that it was a blush of some kind. What else would it have been?
On the edge of the bed, there was a small stack of clothes. They were neatly folded, of course, as he might have expected. There was a handwritten note on top of the clothes. It was a simple note, but the words hit him as if the pen they were written with had been stabbed into his heart.
Ring the bell, Dirk. Ring the bell and I am yours.
The note in his hand was suddenly as heavy as bricks. The scent of the candles was no longer scintillating. It was sickening to him. The soft music, a powerful classical piece from five or six years ago, enraged him. The candles and the music were all too familiar with him. When he picked up the bell to ring it, he had to keep himself from throwing it through the wall.
At least that much of the passion had returned.
He didn’t sit on the bed as instructed, rather stood beside it. His knees quaked when the bathroom door opened and the smooth, naked body appeared before his eyes. It was the most beautiful women he had ever seen naked in his life.
It was true then and it was true now, five years later.
“Hello, Clarissa,” Johnny said. “Let me introduce myself. My name is Dirk. Dirk Steele.”
Maria, his beloved Maria, stood naked before him. Her eyes were wide with shock, her jaw dropped open, frozen in uncertainty.
“Well, dear,” Johnny finally said to his girlfriend. “What do you suppose we should do now?”
The two would-be cheaters stood before one another. Neither of them knew the answer to that question.
By Tim Keen
If you like this story, check out my book of short stories After Hours by Tim Keen on Amazon Kindle books