Ch. 13 What's the Deal?

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What kind of moron makes a stupid deal like that? Her inebriated brain had betrayed her. She had a man-she had Russell in a position to bargain with, but had agreed to reenact his teenage years by risking her life at five hundred feet in the air and visiting an active volcano. What other fantasies he did have? Diving in a shark cage? She could have asked for a bungalow beach holiday where they rubbed sunscreen on each other's backs every morning, sip mai tais all afternoon, then watch the sun set together over the ocean, but no, no; instead she was hiking across a sharp-as-glass lava field to watch lava ooze from the ground like the Blob while the ambient heat sucked the moisture from her eyeballs.

I'm such an idiot.

"Took advantage of you?" Russell asked. He put his hand on her arm. "Beth, I would never take advantage of a woman who was intoxicated. We talked for nearly an hour, and you were really excited about this trip."

"We talked for an hour?" Beth asked, incredulous. During an entire hour, and it hadn't occurred to her once to try and invite him home? Not once?

"Yes, and you were very coherent. You told me about the tickets, but that you didn't know who to go with. You also said you hated your husband who's asking for a divorce and that you had been depressed for the last six months or so. Of course, you said the depression could be because you stopped using birth control pills after he left and it was messing with your hormones."

"Oh, God, don't tell me anymore!"

"All right, I won't tell you the rest, but I didn't take advantage of you in any way, that I'm aware of. I swear it."

"Tell me the rest," she said, dizzy from the heat. She took another drink of water. "I need to know."

"You really want me to tell you the rest?" he asked.

"Yes. I can take it."

"Are you sure? It doesn't matter now. We're here, we can do whatever you want. We don't have to stick to the original plans."

"I never make plans. That doesn't sound like me." Beth shook her head at him.

"The plans were that I show you around, but what I meant earlier was the rest of what happened between us at the party."

"Oh, God, tell me what happened!"

"You're sure?" He paused. Beth glared at him. "Well, after I suggested I go with you and show you the sights, you agreed. Then you invited me back to your place-because you had ice-cream in the freezer that you wanted to smear all over my chest and then lick off. If I remember correctly."

"Oh, God, I said that?" This seemed more like her style. What went wrong?

"Yes, which I admit sounded rather fun, although it did occur to me that you'd had a bit much to drink. Besides, it's a bad idea to get involved with people you work with. I was going to decline when Donna said it was time to go home."

"No, no, no. Oh, God. Is that everything? What else did I do?"

"Beth, it's no big deal. Everyone has little too much every once in a while. Look at how much fun we are having here. Don't worry about the party." Russell held her shoulders and tried to make eye contact, but Beth had her face covered.

"Did I...say anything else?"

"Only that you hadn't had sex in the last eight or nine months and you'd been faking your orgasms with Brian for several months before that. But that's really everything."

"No," she moaned. How could she have admitted such things to Russell of all people? Sure, she could imagine crying on Mike's shoulder or even Jerry's, but not Russell's. Now he knew she faked orgasms, and that her hormones were a mess. And he didn't want her licking ice-cream off his chest!

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