FORTY-THREE

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"Oh, God. Oh, God. Oh, God." Panic was detectable in both the frantic mutterings and her fast-paced walk. "What the hell did you do, Virginia? Are you crazy?" She reached her car and slid into the driver's seat. "You just invited Mark Spinelli over to your house. To have sex. Tonight. With you!" Even the Mustang seemed shocked by the disclosure, taking a couple of turns of the key to start.

Their conversation replayed over and over in her head all the way home. "Come to my house," she mocked as she pulled into the driveway. "That was quite a decision you made there, Virginia. Now what are you going to do about it?"

There was a stark contrast between the moonlit ambiance of the restaurant she had just left and the plain, functional setting of her living room. She cursed and started to move, plumping pillows, clearing old newspapers, lighting candles, and selecting "easy listening" from her music playlists.

It helped. A little. Very little.

Moving on to the bedroom, she yanked open the top drawer of her dresser. Patting through silk and cotton, she found the little pink box that held her diaphragm and pulled it from its hiding spot in the back corner—a perfect representation of where her sex life had been for the last few years. Placing it on the dresser, she bent down and stared at it.

After a moment, she shook her head and muttered, "It's not going to give you advice, Virginia. You invited him here so make up your mind for Christ's sake." Grabbing the box, she headed into the bathroom.

She was checking her makeup in the mirror when her good conscience got its cynical say on the events of the evening. What if he doesn't show up at all? What if it was all a big joke played on the stupid cop? She pictured them laughing together at their table: Spinelli, Gus, the blonde with the boobs.

"Stop it," Virginia hissed at her reflection. "And while you're at it, stop talking to yourself." She shoved the thought away and went to look for wine.

Turning the corner into the kitchen, she groaned. Dishes from the day were piled up on the counter. She'd forgotten what a hurry she had been in when she left. Nothing like the day-to-day monotony of life to put a kibosh on the libido.

She went to the fridge first, pulling out the wine before searching for the ice bucket. Once that was done, her eyes panned between her rarely-gotten manicure and the dirty dishes. Vowing to spend the money and finally replace the dishwasher, she fished out an old pair of rubber gloves from the back of a drawer and set to work.

Getting down to the one pot, she needed a scouring pad. Bending over to look under the sink, she tossed every other cleaning product out of the way. "Where the heck did I put those—"

A throat cleared.

Virginia jumped, hitting the back of her head on the frame of the cupboard. "Ow." Damn it. Rubbing at the spot, she stood and turned with a frown, knowing exactly who was behind her. With all the rushing, she must have forgotten to lock the front door.

"Don't you knock?" She sounded bitter, but it was all she could manage to say, embarrassed that he had found her that way.

Spinelli was undeterred, his lips curving into a provocative smile. "The door was open. It's locked now, though." He took a step toward her.

"Wait." A pink-gloved hand shot up into her line of vision. With a groan, she yanked the things off and threw them on the counter. "I just want to talk for a second."

Spinelli dragged a chair out from under the table, turning it to face her, then shrugged off his tuxedo jacket and hung it on the back of the seat. He sat down to undo the bow tie, letting it hang as he worked the first few buttons of his shirt and tugged on the collar to stretch it out comfortably.

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