Harriet was standing at the kitchen window. “You’re free all day, Dave. Why don’t you take Prince up to the woods instead of walking around the block?”
“It looks like a pleasant morning. I’ll do that.” Dave lifted his car keys and the dog lead.
Dave strolled along the woodland path with the family Dalmatian, Prince.
“You might not realise it, mate. If you get to jump on a strange bitch once a week, you’ll still have a better sex-life than me.”
Being a dog, Prince was oblivious to the statement, as he trotted along, sniffing the air and watching the birds flitting from one bush to the next. Sex for Prince was a natural instinct and would happen whenever he made the acquaintance of a submissive, and agreeable female, irrespective of breed.
The single factor Dave and Prince had in common regarding sex, was that neither of them were fussy regarding a temporary partner’s breeding. Yes, Dave was attracted more to the younger models, but as long as the woman was attractive to him, he’d feel the urge.
“Oh, good heavens, Prince, would you look at that walk, and the movement of those tight, rounded buttocks in the jeans?”
Prince didn’t reply, first of all, because he was a dog, but secondly, he was focused on a rabbit which had stopped to prick up its ears and stare. When Prince’s jaws parted a little, and his tongue rolled out, it was a yawn. The rabbit dived for cover in the long grass.
Dave didn’t notice the interaction of his dog and the local wildlife. When he saw the young woman strolling up ahead with her dog, he was glad he’d made an effort to go further than a twenty-minute walk around the block.
At forty-five years old, and having been married twenty-five years, Dave discovered too late, he should have stayed single, longer; much longer. Thoughts of sex were not a passing fantasy to him, they were a preoccupation. As a senior sales executive, when at work he was always finding himself in the company of attractive, and available female colleagues. Until he’d come around a bend and saw the woman in jeans and denim jacket, he’d been thinking of a woman at work.
“I don’t know why it never occurred to me before, mate,” Dave said. “You could come in very useful.”
The drive to the car park at the edge of the woods was a mere fifteen minutes, but it was a world away from the community of polite nods, and twitching curtains. More importantly, it was a few miles from Harriet and her mood swings. This was a day-off for Dave, and he had to relax.
Taking the dog for a walk had started out for the sake of the dog, but the glimpse of the twenty-something up ahead on the path was a breath of fresh air for the executive. He glanced back over his shoulder. Nobody else around. He slowed his pace to continue feasting his eyes on the tight jeans tucked into the knee-high boots. Dave’s clothing was becoming more uncomfortable, but only in one area.
“Oh, how I’d like to get to know you,” Dave whispered.
After a half mile following the path, the woman stopped to sit on a wooden bench. Dave pulled Prince into a gap in the hedgerow and unclipped the leash. He had little control over the animal when it was free to roam, but that was the simplicity of his idea.
Without the constraints of the lead, the big dog set off as if from a starting gate.
“Hi there.” Dave’s gaze was fixed on the cute blonde as he covered the last few paces to the bench. “Do you mind if I join you?”
“No, please do,” the woman said. “You might as well since our dogs are acquainted.”
“What’s your bitch’s name?”
“I use the same whether I’m in a good mood or bad. I’m Andrea.”
Dave laughed uncontrollably and shook his head. “I meant your dog.”
“Oh, sorry.” Andrea gave a beaming smile before glancing at the dog. “Priscilla. I know it’s a bit of a mouthful, but my mother named her, and she’s a big Elvis fan.”
Dave realised he’d been caught appraising the woman’s lovely features. He looked at the two animals. “Is she an Irish Setter?”
“No, my mum is from Yorkshire.” Andrea grinned. “Yes, Priscilla is a Setter.”
Dave took a deep breath to control the desire this woman had ignited. He’d talk about her dog. “I know they’re sometimes referred to as Red Setters, thanks to the beautiful coat.”
“Yes, it looks glorious when clean and shining, but not so good when covered in rain or mud. Does yours have a name?”
“My what?” Dave said, his mind having wandered back to the desirable body sitting on the bench beside him.
“Your dog—does he have a name?”
“Oh, of course. He’s called Prince.”
“I like that, and though it may be a common name for dogs, it’s single syllable, and easy to shout after him.”
“I’ve never considered that aspect of it.”
“How many syllables are in your name?”
“One,” he said absently, mesmerised by her beautiful brown eyes and long, dark lashes.
Andrea inclined her head towards him and raised her shapely eyebrows.
“I’m sorry. My name is Dave. I was miles away.” It was an honest response, he was mentally miles away, in a room somewhere, cavorting with this beautiful woman and gazing into her eyes as they pleasured each other.
Andrea stood and tugged at the lead to capture Priscilla’s attention. “Come on, you seductress, leave the poor dog alone.” She glanced over her shoulder. “I’ll be here same time on Sunday. Maybe we’ll bump into each other again.”
“I’d love to,” Dave murmured. “I might be back Sunday. It was nice meeting you, Andrea.” He gripped Prince’s collar, knowing he’d never get a response if he tried to call the dog back. While he sat leaning down towards the dog, his gaze followed the sexy walk of the girl in jeans and boots.
“Where are you going?” Harriet said. “You never go anywhere at nine o’clock on a Sunday morning.”
Dave lifted his car keys from the hook near the door. “I thought I’d take Prince for a wander in the woods.” He lifted the dog lead from its hook. “Come on, mate. Let’s go for a stroll.”
“If you’d told me half an hour ago I wouldn’t have put on my gardening outfit.”
“I think it’s healthy for us to have a bit of time to ourselves. I’ll see you in an hour.” Dave left before the conversation could end with Harriet going with them.
“That was a close call,” Dave said as he opened the tailgate. He watched as Prince jumped inside the car, tail wagging rapidly. “Maybe you’ll get to see Priscilla again.” Dave climbed into the driver’s seat.
As Dave reversed out of the driveway he noticed Harriet on the phone in the living room, but he wasn’t interested in who she’d be talking to—he’d wait to see if it was mentioned.
A short while after leaving the street, Dave pulled into the gravel car park near the woods. He opened the tailgate and secured Prince with the lead. The pair headed along the narrow path at a gentle stroll, Dave daydreaming, and Prince occasionally pausing to check or leave scent.
On the walk, the pair passed two other owners with dogs, but Dave merely acknowledged with a nod and continued on his way, locking the expandable lead to keep Prince moving.
“You’re worse than me,” Dave said as he and his dog parted company with the second pairing they met. Prince was kept on the lead until they reached the bench. When they arrived, and there was no sign of Andrea, the lead was tied to the arm of the seat and the lock released. Prince had the freedom to go sniffing around for up to twenty yards.
Dave had been as excited as a schoolboy, in anticipation of once again being in the company of the lovely Andrea. Fifteen minutes passed, and it caused the man to consider his motivation. He didn’t have to dig deep to discover it was a throbbing part of his anatomy. Friendship was not a consideration, at any level—Dave was aiming for sex.
He gazed up at the bright blue sky and watched a few fluffy clouds floating by. It was a warmer day than the day he’d met Andrea, and he wondered how she’d be dressed. On their first meeting Dave had been wearing a rugby shirt and jeans, but today he opted for a T-shirt, believing it enhanced his physique, and therefore his chances to advance his cause.
A teenage couple went past, their hands clasped together, and an aura of delight painted on their faces. It made Dave think back to when he’d first met Harriet, and they’d both been twenty. They’d married within a year and had a sex life worthy of gymnastic awards. At least they did until Harriet fell pregnant, with twins.
Harriet’s interest in sex waned while the boy and girl grew up. Dave had difficulty with fidelity, but when the sexual divide between him and his wife got ever wider, the marriage vows became a few phrases which had been used during a fancy ceremony. Dave thought back to the discovery of a crimson lipstick mark on one of his suits.
Harriet had stood with tears forming. “Please don’t insult my intelligence with a load of shit. How long has it been going on, and who is she?”
“It’s a bloody smudge of makeup from a girl at the office party. She was drunk, and two of us helped her to a taxi. The other guy had makeup smudges and booze spilled on him too.”
“I don’t give a shit about some other guy, Dave. You’re my husband, and just for the record—I don’t believe you.”
“Believe what you bloody want. I’m going for a walk.” Dave had gone out of the house, not because he was annoyed with his wife and her accusation, but due to his guilt. He was involved in his third extra-marital affair, but it was the first time he’d been careless.
Sex for the couple became an occasional exercise which took place out of Harriet’s sense of duty. By the time the children were teenagers, Dave was living a lie. He’d had several one-night stands and numerous short-lived affairs. Sex between Dave and Harriet had been reduced to the odd time when they’d both had a few drinks, and it was a special occasion.
“Miles away, Dave?” a sweet female voice said.
“Hi,” he said, turning as he stood. His eyes and expression said all that was needed, but he couldn’t stop himself. “You are looking amazing.” He shook his head slowly as he took in the sight of Andrea in a pink T-shirt, denim miniskirt and white sandals.
“You’re very kind.” She gave a coy smile. “I forgot you might be here today, so I grabbed the first outfit that came to hand.” Andrea sat on the bench and uncoupled Priscilla from the lead. The big red dog loped off in the direction of Prince’s expanded lead.
“I was just thinking about you.” Dave tried but failed not to gaze at Andrea’s impressive bust. She was wearing a lucky T-shirt.
“I hope I was bringing something pleasant to mind.”
“Oh, you were—” Dave said, and stopped himself when he recognised he was panting.
A shapely eyebrow arched. “Maybe I shouldn’t ask for an explanation, eh?”
“I’m sorry. I was deep in thought for a while, and you came to mind right before I was aware of you.” He paused. “I’ve been looking forward to chatting again.”
“Okay.” Andrea held her head high to pretend to be looking down on him. “Let’s get the obvious stuff out of the way. I’m footloose and single. Now, tell me about your wife.”
Dave’s smile faded, and his jaw dropped. He lifted his left hand and glanced at his ring finger. Of course, he’d decided to wear his wedding ring. Some women considered a married man more of a challenge. It was archived in his memory alongside his fantasy about lesbians.
“Come on,” Andrea said. “Don’t be embarrassed. I’ve been hit on by more married men than I care to remember, but I’ve come to accept it as a part of life’s rich tapestry.”
“Well, you’re certainly forthright, I’ll give you that.”
Andrea smiled and crossed her shapely legs before clasping her hands on her lap. If she was aware of her skirt riding more than half way up her thighs, she didn’t show any concern.
Dave sighed and pretended to look at the ground for a moment as he enjoyed a long look at the bare thighs on view. More disturbing than tearing his gaze from Andrea’s legs was the intense heat being generated between his legs. The topic of conversation would kill his desire.
“Should I cut through all the build-up and say that my wife doesn’t understand me?”
“No, Dave, you should not, unless you’d like me to get up and leave here right now.”
“Wow. You really don’t mince your words. Let’s see. How much do I tell you before you find me either pitiful or a complete shit?”
“If you remember, I didn’t ask about you, I asked about your wife.”
“She’s forty, like me,” he lied. “She’s attractive and keeps herself fit. While our children were growing up, Harriet took a correspondence course in journalism. Both of our kids headed off to university about two years ago, but by then Harriet had been working from home as a freelance journalist for a few years.”
“I have to assume you are a professional man since you look in good shape and you have a smart appearance even when you’re casually dressed. Now, I’m leaning towards you being comfortably well-off, living in a detached house and everything should be rosy.”
“You’re not studying psychology, are you?”
“No, but we’ll get around to what I do later. I’d like to know about the relationship between you and your wife behind closed doors.”
Dave tried a tactic which had worked for him before. “Our sex life faded after the birth of the children, and never really recovered.” He paused and glanced at Andrea’s legs. “I had a brief affair, which I admitted to my wife. Sadly, it sealed any chance of us becoming intimate with each other ever again.”
“Okay. Do you visit prostitutes, or have one-night stands?”
“No, although I’ve considered both options. I’ve learned to live with celibacy.”
“We’ve hit the bullseye there, haven’t we?” Andrea shook her head. “Do you and your wife sleep in the same bed, but there is no hint of a physical relationship?”
“Yes, I’m afraid that sums it up.”
“I know this will sound a bit random,” Andrea said. “Did you buy the dog for your wife as a sort of peace-offering?”
“No, Harriet bought the dog. She named him Prince, and told me it was to serve as a constant reminder of her nickname for me back in our early days.”
“Now, that is pretty bloody deep, if you don’t mind me saying.”
Dave grinned as he shook his head. “When I was looking at you the other day, I could never have dreamed we’d be having a conversation like this on our second meeting.”
“Oh, so what were you thinking when you were looking at me?” She raised an eyebrow, encouraging a truthful, and possibly embarrassing answer.
“I don’t think I should tell you.”
“Well, you’ve blown your chance to tell me until next time, because our dogs are wandering back, and getting along famously.” She stood and attached Priscilla’s lead. “I don’t know how your free days work, but I’ll probably be walking here again on Wednesday.”
“Andrea.” Dave stood. “Could I ask a favour?”
“I don’t think I’m the kind of girl you’re looking for, but there’s no harm in asking.”
“If the weather was pleasant on Wednesday, would you wear the same outfit?”
“Now who’s being forthright?” Andrea stepped forward to within arm’s length of him. “Does this outfit do something for you?”
He swallowed, and his face beamed. “Yes.” He nodded and briefly closed his eyes.
As Andrea strode along the path, she produced a slight sway of her hips, and when a few yards away, glanced back over her shoulder.
Dave was caught gawping at her.
“Thank you.” Dave had stood to greet his new friend.
“For turning up?” Andrea said. “Surely not for the simple act of wearing a sexy miniskirt, and a tight T-shirt. I don’t believe you’re that depraved.”
“If seeing you in such an outfit makes me depraved; I am.”
“You told me your day off was usually a Thursday, so I didn’t expect you to show. How did you explain your change of day to your wife?”
“I told her one of the other guys needed to have Thursday free, so I changed days with him, and we amended our appointments.”
“It sounds to me like the little white lies trip off your tongue.” She smiled briefly. “I suppose if I asked about your performance in bed, you’d tell me you were average?”
Dave breathed in deep. “I don’t know about average, but I’ve never had any complaints.”
“Oh, that is so cliché. If we were both being honest for a minute, I haven’t either.”
“No man could complain if he were to be allowed to give you pleasure.”
“What about women?”
“Oh my—” Dave’s face burned, but not from embarrassment, from excitement.
“I’m not a big fan of the missionary, and doggie, and suchlike,” Andrea said. “I like to try alternative positions and techniques.” She raised an eyebrow and inclined her head.
“You’re not doing anything for my heart. I didn’t have you down as a tease.”
“Oh well, if you think I’m a tease, I’ll find my dog and get on my way—”
“No, please—I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to sound crass.”
Andrea stood. “I’m not a tease, Dave, but I think maybe you are.”
“What do you mean?”
Andrea clipped Priscilla’s lead onto the dog’s collar and stood. “Room 45, The Harrison Hotel on Barton Road.” She met his gaze. “Be there, ready at three o’clock this afternoon.” She turned and walked two paces before pausing and turning.
“Yes,” Dave said, standing, listening with hope in his tone.
“Get your bathroom visits out of the way before you get there. I want to get started straight away.” Andrea pulled on Priscilla’s lead and strode off down the path.
“Come in,” Andrea said as she opened the door. “Throw your clothes on the armchair over there, and get on the bed.
Dave stripped off his T-shirt, trainers, and jeans, but as he threw his clothing on the chair, he repeatedly glanced at the large double bed. Two pairs of fur-lined handcuffs, a tube of gel, and a variety of sex toys were piled on a bedside cabinet.
Ten minutes after entering Room 45 at the hotel, Dave was naked, on his back, his wrists and ankles outstretched and handcuffed to the four corners of the bed. Arousal had been evident from the moment he was naked.
“You don’t have to wait any longer,” Dave gasped. “I’m ready, and you can do what you want with me.”
“Thank you for the offer,” Andrea said. “On this occasion, I’ll let it pass.”
“What do you mean?” He raised his head from the large pillows. “I don’t understand.”
“We have a couple of things in common, you and I.” She stepped closer to the side of the bed, ignoring the man’s condition and staring into his eyes. “We’re both adept at acting, or in your case, if we were getting down to basics, it’s called lying.”
“Come on, Andrea. If this is part of your build-up, we don’t need it. I’m ready. Keep the miniskirt on and get on here. Let’s have some fun.”
“I’ve had my fun with you. I am not having sex with you.”
“What are the handcuffs for?”
“I told you a moment ago, I’ve been acting.” She pulled open the drawer of the bedside cabinet and removed a folded item. She turned and flicked the plastic sheet to its full size.
“Is your real name, Andrea?” He glanced at the thin sheet of material.
“Yes, my name is Andrea—Andrea Ferguson.” As she stared at him her lovely smile faded. “You might remember my mother, Kathryn Ferguson.”
Andrea spread the plastic sheet under the man’s body and pulled the sides to spread it over the entire bed.
Dave’s brow furrowed as he watched. “Did I work with your mother at some time?”
“No.” Andrea walked across to the leather armchair. “You screwed my mother in a hotel toilet on your wedding night. She was an impressionable sixteen-year-old who was besotted with you. She’d been one of your wife’s bridesmaids.”
Dave’s face turned ashen, and his lips parted, but no sound came out.
Using her fingertips, Andrea lifted Dave’s boxer shorts from the pile of discarded clothing and returned to the bed. “My mother was ashamed when she realised she was pregnant. She ran away from home. She didn’t want to destroy your marriage, and didn’t tell anybody what you did.”
“Andrea, if I’d known—”
“If you’d known—what the hell would you have done?”
Dave’s head dropped back on the pillow. “I am so sorry.”
“I don’t owe you anything, but I said I’d tell you my profession.” She gave a brief smile. “I’m a private investigator. For the last two years you’ve been a case study.”
“I don’t understand.”
“Get over yourself, Dave. If you don’t include my under-age mother, you’ve had at least fifteen affairs, and numerous one-night stands. You have two more illegitimate children, and caused heartache throughout your selfish, hedonistic life.”
“Does my wife know about this?”
Andrea stepped forward and thrust Dave’s boxer shorts into his mouth.
Dave’s eyes bulged as he breathed through his nose.
“Your wife knows about all of it.” Harriet stepped out of the en-suite. Her body was toned and under other circumstances would have caused any man’s blood pressure to rise. She stood, with her long auburn hair resting on her bare shoulders. A sexy black lingerie outfit and stilettos were all she wore. Her hands were behind her back.
Dave’s breathing became erratic as he looked from one woman to the other and then appraised his wife in her stance, and in such an outfit.
“I hired Andrea.” Harriet stepped closer. “She had tracked me down, and it took more than one attempt before I’d allow her to explain the situation. How did she find me? Remember, I write my articles using my maiden name.”
Dave’s wife slowly brought her hands around into view.
In Harriet’s left hand was a thick, bound file, and in her right hand, a long, sharp, knife. The blade glinted under the room lights. Harriet nodded to the young woman at the door.
Andrea looked at her father one last time, shook her head, and left the room.
Wednesday 13th June 2018
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