I take the elevator up to my apartment instead of the stairs. My legs are done for the night, and I lean against the dented metal paneling wondering exactly how I get through the next twenty four hours.
What it came down to was this.
He'd sign the divorce papers when my adultery was confirmed. When it was legit, as he proclaimed it needed to be. My word wasn't good enough. There had to be proof of it.
Really I just want to see you fuck another man. He said.
There would be money involved. A settlement, of sorts. And then he never wanted to hear from me again.
I poured more vodka.
"So you'll be watching?" I finally asked.
He pointed a finger at me like a gun.
I should've asked why. What I asked was, "Who?"
"Do I have to orgasm?" Another stupid question. But my brain wasn't working right.
"I don't care."
His face was guarded. I searched it in an attempt to learn something—anything—that might be going through his mind. But all I came up with was the idea that this was crazy. Like he needed to prove something to himself. Or maybe to me.
I asked the big question. "Why?"
His big answer was a painful looking shrug. "I have my reasons."
I told him it didn't make sense and he told me it didn't need to.
And then I said okay.
He finds me towards the end of my shift. A tall man in a dark suit, his dirty blond hair pulled back into a ponytail. Without a word, he places a card key on my tray, together with a napkin. I can't look away from the room number, written in a hand I know well, the slanted lines blurring as I stare.
I look up into smirking blue eyes, though his expression is one of business-like formality. Maybe he sees my panic because the smirk dissolves and he gives me a small, sweet smile.
"I'm nervous, too." his voice is clipped, not Irish like my husband. Welsh maybe. His hand reaches towards me. "James."
I look at it, then up at him, before shifting my tray to one hand so I can shake. "Katie."
He nods. "I know."
"What did he ... what did he tell you? Is he paying you, too?"
His lips pucker and he shakes his head, like answers to those questions are secrets he won't be divulging.
"Tell me how you know him at least."
He smiles again, and I see a dimple flash on one side. "Roadie."
"Oh." I don't really know what else to say. He seems to understand that. He bows his head to me, tipping a non-existent cap and walking away.
I watch him go, watch the way he walks, one hand tucked casually into a hip pocket. He disappears into the throng, but I know I'll see him again, twenty minutes from now, and twenty floors up.
I change into jeans and a t-shirt at the close of my shift, find Jared at the bar and order a triple Kettle One neat and drink it, my eyes screwed shut against the burn. During the ride up I fish a Xanax from my pocket and swallow it dry.
YOU ARE READING
I'm still technically married. I still technically wear my wedding ring. It's on a chain around my neck. With his. He still won't sign the divorce papers. I still don't want him to.