Category: Loving Wives Stories

A Thousand Ways Good

by JaeLewis69©

The hand that brushed back her hair did not belong to her husband. Nor did the eyes that locked onto hers, nor the breath she felt upon her lips.

"I can't," she said.

"Talia, please," he answered.

He looked upon her light brown hair. Her face was neither round nor thin; her upper lip gently curved, her lower lip a cushion. She was petite in frame. Her arms and legs were toned; he let his eyes fall and took in again her small breasts, imagined her nipples, pink and firm. He had dreamed of so much. The damp of her mouth; the softness of her breast. And her wetness. Often, he dreamed of her response to him.

"I've gotten closer to you, Paul. More than I should. But my marriage. I just can't."

She put a hand on his chest. "I need you to understand."

She did not look back as she walked down the darkened office hallway. He did not look up.

And neither one saw the figure in the shadows.

Nearly a year later...

Talia soaked in the tub of the master suite. Heat relaxed her muscles; dim light calmed her thoughts; candles romanced her away from the day's activity.

As Director of Event Experiences for Scott Press Enterprise, Talia had final responsibility for the conference that had just concluded. Almost a year of planning and endless problem solving was invested into the last four days. Scott could not have been more pleased. In-event sales were record breaking; participant comments were mostly glowing. The small business leaders in attendance believed their best years were ahead.

As a bonus, Talia had been given three days off to remain at the resort, all expenses paid. Her husband was to have been flown in to enjoy the time with her. An emergency at his own company torpedoed that plan. She had been looking forward to the time with him. Still, she knew how to rejuvenate her spirit. The days ahead held promise.

Her hands played with the suds in the tub. She moved them up to her chest, then across her breasts. She didn't even realize what she was doing. Her thoughts had drifted, wandering to her husband, to relaxation, to touching.

Her hands stopped suddenly.

Talia blushed. "Getting a little carried away there." Then she chuckled to herself, "Good girls don't," and leaned her head back.

Talia enjoyed sex with her husband. Frequency had lessened, and maybe too the intensity. Both were young, career minded and exhausted. She imagined that was why she had the close call with Paul. New felt good. She hadn't been pursued in years. Her spirit felt wild again. She thought she could keep it all on a leash, keep it professional. But the wild seeks to be unleashed, not leashed.

She couldn't deny that she had wanted to respond to Paul's advances. She was committed to her marriage, but she had allowed herself some emotional attachment with Paul. He had brought her up through the ranks and entrusted her with her current position. He was strong, and his raven-black hair and athletic body aired magnetism. Because they were close in age, she was 28 and he was 30, it felt more dangerous. The jeopardy was greater than the possibility. It was probably good that he left the company a few months back to start his own business. Still, she sighed.

As she dried off, her phone vibrated. Scott's text was brief:

Got a minute?

Talia: You bet. Phone or in-person?

Scott: I will be right there. Stay in your robe. Just need a moment.

Talia opened the door. "How did you know I was in my robe?"

"After the week you had, you had better be. I'm surprised you're awake."

"With that tub? It's bigger than my bathroom at home. I may be in it more than my bed."

Scott smiled as he looked at her damp hair and freshly washed face. He could see she had taken time to run a brush through. Her lips glistened with freshly applied Vaseline.

42 years old, Scott had founded his company twelve years before. The first few years were a struggle, but then it seemed as if they had hit a gold rush. The company continued to grow as his reputation built. He helped small businesses succeed. Their success had very much become his success.

Scott's doctor had given him a wake-up call on his 40th birthday checkup. Scott had bordered on being diabetic. The stress and schedule of a start-up company wore on his body, aided by poor diet and lack of exercise. After that, he hired more staff and changed his lifestyle. Two years later, he was the healthiest he had ever been. People were so impressed with his transformation, they asked if he would incorporate a seminar about what he did. It was one of the better attended seminars of the conference.

Scott was blue-eyed and blonde-haired with touches of gray on the temples. His first marriage had failed after three years, so he poured everything he had into the company. He dated freely for the companionship, but never with the same woman long. As he once confided to a friend, "I whipped my body into shape with great self-control; my heart has a mind of its own. If I get too close, I get too hurt."

"So you have sex and dump them?" his friend asked.

"You know me better. No sex. Not on dates. I wouldn't do that to them. I tell them up-front too. No misunderstanding."

"Yeah, right. All this time you solo sex."

"No, I professional sex. I even have some favorites. I meet nice women and we have a nice time. Wrap it with a bow and call it good."

"Scott, whatever you need. But it's time to let your heart lead again. Trust it. It's not your heart that left you."

Scott told Talia to close her eyes. When she opened them again, he held a bottle of champagne wrapped in a towel.

"Freshly iced," he said. "You deserve a toast."

Talia laughed. "Well, if the bath didn't put me under, this will. Thank you Scott."

As Scott walked over to the in-room bar to retrieve glasses. Talia went to the gas fireplace and turned it on. Scott filled her glass and handed it to her.

Scott said, "This was, by far, the best event Scott Press Enterprise has ever conducted. You were involved from start to finish. I will get the credit, but I know where the credit is due."

"To you," he said, as he raised the glass to his lips.

Talia paused a slight moment. She was used to deflecting attention. Scott's words affected her, though. She felt genuinely appreciated.

"Thank you, Scott. I don't really know what to say. So, thank you."

"I don't want to keep you up, but let's sit down for a moment," Scott said.

"I'm good. I would like that."

The sofas were arranged u-shaped before the fireplace. One large footrest occupied the center. Its white leather still retained its fresh scent. Talia sat on the sofa, legs tucked beneath her, directly facing the fire. Scott sat near her, on a side sofa, stretching his long legs onto the footrest.

They drank in silence for a moment; the flames danced, reflecting off of the glass end tables, adding an air of mystery into the dimly lit room.

Scott asked Talia about her hopes within the company. At first, her reply was reserved, unsure if Scott had an agenda for bringing up the topic. It soon became clear that he was only trying to get to know her more, her dreams and aspirations, and any way that he could be of help. As she spoke, as the trust was bridged, she shared things she had never spoken before. She told of fears she wanted to overcome, of hopes she wanted to realize, of gains that seemed so out of reach not long ago. Before Scott Press. Before now.

Scott watched her animation grow, her face light up, her eyes come alive as she talked about her future. At no time did she indicate her future was apart from his. He was touched by her loyalty. He came to her room wanting to honor her; now he felt a need to do whatever he could to open doors for her.

Scott reached to pour Talia another glass but she stopped him.

"I passed my limit two glasses ago. I can't believe I didn't drift off already. Probably because I've done all the talking. Sorry."

"Never apologize for that, Talia. Maybe I can hear more over the next couple of days."

"You are staying, too?"

"O hell yes," he laughed. "I need a break."

He stood to pick up the glasses. "I've got that," Talia said. "It's the least I can do."

She walked Scott to the door.

"You could have come dressed more comfortably, you know. I feel bad I lounged around in this robe while you are still dressed to kill."

Scott laughed. "Trust me, Talia, you in a robe makes me look like I'm the one that got killed, and dragged through the mud for good measure."

Scott opened his arms in an obvious invitation for a good-night hug. Talia moved into him and wrapped her arms around him. His suit smelled of rich cologne. He held her for a moment.

"My gratitude is beyond words," he said. His lips pressed against her cheek, briefly, and then he looked into her eyes and smiled.

He closed the door gently behind him.

"Talia," she said to no one.

The next morning, she awoke to two texts, one from her husband and one from Scott:

Babe. I assumed you would sleep awhile. Call me and catch me up. Dreaming of what could have been. Whatever you do, enjoy. Xoxo

Dinner tonight? 7:00pm?

Talia planned to call her husband after breakfast. She responded to Scott immediately:

Sounds amazing. 7:00 is great. Attire?

Scott: There is a boutique shop off the lobby. Please buy a new dress. Accent it. Charge it to your room. I will be happy if you do. I will arrive with chariot at 6:30.

Talia considered her reply for some time. Receiving gifts had always been an awkward experience. She preferred to give, in her own way, usually with action over presents. She also didn't think she was good with words. But she needed something:

Every girl's dream! Best have me back by midnight then.

Scott opened the text, considered a reply, and let it pass, smiling.

At 6:30 sharp, Scott knocked on the door. Talia opened it and stood still. She hadn't shopped for a dress like this since she had been married. In the store, she struggled with a selection until the owner came alongside her. Discussing all the fine points of Talia's frame, the owner had selected three options. Scott took in Talia's final selection. The dress tied slightly behind her neck and was backless. It's simple but tight design accentuated her thin frame; it flowed full-length, and its cut highlighted her legs. A deep plumb, the rich color was equaled by matching shades of earrings and lipstick.

Scott, too, had stepped up his usual dress. The suit he wore was less business and more social elegance, light colored but not pale. He had also chosen plumb accents, from tie to cufflinks to shoes.

"Talia. Wow. My vocabulary fails me. You a masterpiece the artist dare no longer touch."

"Thank you, Scott. For this. For what you just said. Prince Charming has nothing on you."

They were seated at a private table, a crackling fire to one side of them, tall and expansive windows to the other. Candles glowed in the center of the table. Their only company were the waiters who served with professional discretion.

Soft, live music played in a room adjacent to the dining area; its sound didn't carry from the room but through speakers, the volume of which was controlled by the guests at their table.

"May I ask you a personal question, Scott?"

"Of course. And so you know, you are one of few people I would answer without reservation"

Scott lifted the wine bottle to fill Talia's glass.

"Why aren't you married?"

The bottle stopped mid-air, only briefly, and then Scott completed the pour.

Talia, though, saw the flash of uncertainty on Scott's face.

"Scott, I'm sorry. You don't have to answer. It's just, this. Any woman would die for what you did for me today."

"Don't worry about it, Talia. I meant it. I feel I can talk to you. This isn't the first time I've been asked. It might be the first time I've answered so...honestly."

"I screwed up my first marriage. I know, it's a two-way street and all that. I was a workaholic, making it big meant everything to me. I thought I was doing it for us, for the family we would have. I'm not so sure, now. My wife may have known things about me I only know in hindsight."

"It still hurts that she left. I wish she had rolled with me long enough to let me work things out. I think that's what hurts all of us. We know we aren't perfect. We just want people willing to ride long enough for the rough edges to smooth. To learn what matters together."

"Did she say why she left, Scott?"

"Yeah. She wanted a family sooner than I did. Concluded I didn't want children and was stalling. Wanted sex that didn't feel like it was done in-between commitments. She talked a lot about connection. I decided she was right about needing to connect more. After the fact and too late, of course. She was wrong about me not wanting kids. I wanted them when I could devote to them."

"We all make mistakes, Scott. But it sounds like you have learned from it. Isn't it time to try again?'

"Well, I'm not subjecting a kid to a forty-two year old dad, or however old I would be by then. And I imagine I could handle a blended family; I don't know. After a while, when you've adapted to a certain lifestyle that works, you just keep going. I give my heart to our customers. And to my staff. Some of them."

Silence took hold but for the soft background of music and the occasional snap of the fire. The candle's flames cast Talia's face in alternating shades of light. She looked at Scott, and then into the mirror behind him, taking in his face and the back of his head. They projected his strength, forged out of tough lessons, and the toughest of all, the ones we bring upon ourselves.

"The biggest lesson I learned in all of it was connection. I didn't understand it when I married her. We were together, of course, but that's different. I found connection in work before I found it in love."

"What do you mean by connection?"

"This work. When I poured all I had into it, I didn't just give myself, I discovered myself. It couldn't be what it is without me, and I couldn't be what I am without it. If I ever do something else, it will be the same."

"That kind of connection, Talia, is what people are to experience with each other. Right? I have people in my life. In giving what I can, I discover more of me. And them. And vice versa. It's this knit, this bond. It's why it hurts so much when one we truly love dies. We were part of each other."

"And we naturally limit ourselves. Marriage is supposed to have that connection, but not only marriage. We can have it with friends, with our kids. This deep love that is true for one relationship doesn't have to threaten another."

"Have you ever felt that connection, Talia, but it felt threatening rather than like an amazing opportunity?"

Talia paused. She nodded slightly. "Yes. I have."

"I'm sorry. Look who's talking now. I told you I trusted you. I got carried away. I didn't mean to make you uncomfortable."

"I'm fine, Scott. It's a lot to think about."

"Then thinking is over. The band room has a nice dance floor. And bar! Shall we?"

Scott took Talia's hand and led her into a small, elegant room. The bar was off in a corner; a few tables were purposefully set off to the sides. The area for dancing accommodated a limited number of couples at a time.

They sat with after-dinner drinks. Two other couples were in the room, both dancing on the floor.

"Shall we?"

"O Scott, I haven't been dancing for years. Not my husband's thing."

"Cinderella didn't sit out the dance, my dear. Come."

Scott and Talia danced a couple numbers while reacquainting themselves with certain steps and moves. The band slowed the music, and Scott drew her in closer to him. She again took in the scent of his cologne. The suit did nothing to hide his body's physique and strength. He was almost a foot taller than she, but there was no awkwardness in their hold. They swayed to the music as effortlessly as palms in a breeze.

Scott moved his hands gently upon Talia's back. Her skin was smooth. Her hair felt soft against his face. Her feet moved in perfect timing with his. His mind wandered, remembering the few times of such ease he had felt with a woman.

Scott realized his right hand had trailed down her lower back. She hadn't tensed, perhaps lost in her own world. Or welcoming his touch.

The music stopped. Scott took both her hands in his, gazed into her eyes. She looked back and didn't move.

"I promised to return you before midnight. Tonight, Talia, has not just been every man's dream, but mine. Thank you. For everything. No matter what we face in this crazy business of ours, whatever comes our way, I will always be for you.'

Softly, Talia responded, "I know, Scott. Me too."

"Then the pumpkin calls."

Scott wrapped his jacket around her as they exited the car and entered the hotel. She still wore it on the elevator, watching each floor number light as it made its gradual ascent. The door slid open, and Scott and Talia walked in silence to her door.

She unwrapped the jacket from her and handed it to him. She found the key in her purse, and before slipping it into the door, leaned up and gave Scott a kiss on his cheek.

"That was unforgettable," she said.

She opened the door. Scott stood in place until he heard the lock.

Half an hour later, Talia received Scott's text:

Are you still up?

Wide awake.

In your robe?

Wouldn't you like to know?

Scott knocked on Talia's door. She saw him standing outside in his robe, hands behind is back.

"You better come in. But if that is more champagne, I think I'm done."

"Nope. I brought this instead." Scott held out two water bottles. "Always stay hydrated."

Talia laughed and walked over to the seating area. As the previous night, the fire illumined a softly lit room. Light Brazilian music played through the speakers. Talia sat on the sofa. This time, Scott joined her.

She saw him stretch out his legs onto the footrest. His legs were hairy but looked groomed; his calves were well-defined, his feet cared for.

Scott said, "That's a different robe than last night."

Talia wore a silk robe with an unassuming pattern that draped just below her knees. "Yes, last night was hotel issue. Soft as can be. But this is my indulgence robe. I don't wear it often. But the night has been so elegant. It seemed fitting."

They sat without speaking, letting the moment enfold them. A song changed, and Scott looked at Talia and said, "I love this song. Come on."

He stood and extended his hand. She stepped into his arms and they moved slowly to the music.

Scott stopped. He slid his arms down Talia's and took her hands in his. He leaned forward, placed his mouth next to her ear and spoke softly.

"I want this connection with you. I want this memory as part of our long friendship. I will never do what you don't want, and all that you want I will do. But this night will be incomplete for me unless my lips find their way to yours. Don't say anything. But if you agree, just squeeze my hands. If not, let them go. I am for you either way."

Scott waited. Talia hesitated. And then squeezed.

She felt Scott's breath as he sighed audibly; felt his arms hold her to him. His right hand massaged her back as he nuzzled his face against hers. His lips kissed her beside her ear; he brushed them down her face, pursed them against the side of her mouth. Scott pulled his head back, slightly, enough to look into Talia's eyes.

She looked up at him, this older, courageous, vibrant man. At his first caress, she let herself start the journey of being lost in the moment. It took no time at all to wonder what intimacy with him would be like, what his kisses and touch and driving force would do to her. As his lips made his way to hers, she realized she was already moist.

Category: Loving Wives Stories