“I’m a fool for going along with this,” Stephen said staring at his smiling wife posed at the kitchen doorway. She was wearing tight white shorts cut crotch high, and a pink Under Armor tank top clinging to her curves in a way that enhanced rather than concealed the obvious fact she wasn’t wearing a bra. The roundness of her breasts and the swaying of them unrestricted was enticing, the cold blast of the air conditioner and the fabric rubbing her nipples hard and prominent.

“How do I look?”

Stephen didn't answer, but his mind raced with words like hot, sexy, glamorous, seductive, and the word he fought to come up but knew would—slutty. His wife was dressed as if she needed to arouse a man with enough desire to fuck her—and any man that saw her would likely think the exact same thing.

Allison clogs had high raised cork bottoms, accenting her long legs as if she was wearing heels. That was the extent of her clothing save for a long gold chain that fell down over the front of her blouse to rest between her breasts, and a single gold ankle chain on her right ankle. She was hot and desirable. Steven felt a pang. She had never dressed like this for him. “You can still back out.” He said.

“You know I can’t, silly,” Allison joked. “A deal’s a deal. There’s too much at stake here.”

“I’m sorry for getting you into this.”

“Nonsense, I could have said ‘no’ at any time.”

“You still could.” Allison wrinkled up her nose without answering. Her expression told it all, and for the first time Stephen realized that this was something she wanted to do. His heart fell. He reached for her, gave her a hug and she melded against him.

“Don’t worry. I’ll be alright.”

“OK” Stephen said in a shaky voice. Allison broke away, took her leather travel bag from the couch and moved toward the door. She paused at the door, as if waiting for Stephen to say something else. “Have a good time,” he said, the untruth of that hanging in the air, followed with, “I love you.”

Allison didn’t answer and moved out of sight without closing the door. Her face reappeared. “Me too,” she smiled and disappeared again. Stephen was frozen in place. He heard the car door slam, the motor start and the sound fading as she backed into the street. She was gone. She was going through with this.

Stephen still had not moved, panic bringing a jerk to his body. “What in the hell have I done?” he said, stiffly making his way to his couch and collapsing. “I’ve just sent my wife to spend the weekend with another man, a huge black man. Shit.”

 

***

 

ELIMINATED

 

“I’m sorry, I wish things were different,” Mister Beecher had said two months earlier, his massive chair making a creaking noise as he leaned back, “But Stephen, things are not good in the industry right now, we are tightening our belts. All print media, especially sports, is taking a hit and unfortunately your position has been eliminated.”

“Was it something I…

Beecher ignored the question and interrupted. “Eliminated. Sorry. We will give you a good reference, but please clean out your desk and be off the property within an hour.” Beecher’s eyes went to the door where a uniformed security officer stood waiting.

“My vacation earned, severance?”

“Your last check will be mailed Friday, we will pay you for any unused vacation time and two week’s severance.” Beecher looked back to his computer screen. “Now if you will excuse me.”

 

***

 

An hour and a half later Allison looked up to see her husband standing in the doorway of the kitchen. “Wow, home early, huh?” her smile fading as she saw the stricken look on his face.

“Oh my God, what’s wrong?”

“I’m fired.”

“You’re fired? Why? What?”

“I’m fired. They escorted me out of the office. Beecher said my position had been eliminated, no more reason than that.”

“You weren’t happy there anyway,” Allison said. “I knew it.”

“I was happy with the regular paycheck. What are we going to do now?”

The cold reality swept down over her shoulders, giving her chill bumps. Allison’s company had closed six months earlier. They had a couple of months savings but that was all. In a panicked whimper Allison answered, “I don’t know. We’ll think of something.”