Flesh and Blood

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I roll to my side on the sofa, shifting and squirming in an attempt to get comfortable

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I roll to my side on the sofa, shifting and squirming in an attempt to get comfortable. The remains of the day, and part of my night, are littered on the floor and coffee table nearby: books, my laptop, a bottle of water, an empty carton of Ben & Jerry's Chunky Monkey.

It's my first day of enforced leave, and now that night has fallen, it's as if I'm in some time-warp suspended state. I scowl at my phone.

It's ten p.m., and I'm bored out of my skull.

My skin itches with restlessness, probably because on a normal day, I don't stop moving. Oh, sure, it was nice to sleep in this morning and pleasant to cook eggs, drink tea, and read the paper without rushing to the office. At first it felt like a Sunday. Lazy, hazy, and carefree.

Around noon a cagey feeling set in and I called the paper. Rafael's assistants told me they had everything covered and not to worry. Diana said the same thing—she must have gotten the memo that I'd been deposed as the paper's leader.

I napped and woke with sweaty skin. I texted Rafael a few times, petulant at first. My desire to stay angry with him dissolved by mid-afternoon.

I love you. I know you just want what's best for me. I've decided to roll with this. Hey, at least I'll plow through my reading pile.

I'm glad you're looking on the bright side. I love you too. Remember, this is only temporary.

His texts dropped off around sunset. What's he doing tonight? Is he with Christina?

I can't talk now or for a while. I love you, forever and always, Justi.

Now that it's this late, I'm too tired to start a second book but too awake to fall asleep. So I loll on the sofa, wondering if I should ask the beefy security duo stationed in armored SUVs—with bulletproof windows, as if I'm the wife of a totalitarian leader—outside the villa to run to the store for another tub of Chunky Monkey. Perhaps I should try to set those guys up with some of the single women at the paper. I daydream about being a matchmaker.

This leads me to thinking about sex, to sex with Rafa, but I'm too ambivalent and full of ice cream to drag my ass upstairs and masturbate with my vibrator.

Picking up my phone, I check to see if Rafa—or anyone—has texted. Nope. I sigh, not only because of my isolation, but because I miss him. I miss talking with him. I miss his low laugh. If he was here, we could snuggle and watch a movie. I scrub my fingers down the side of my face.

Rafecito. Are you home? Can you call? I wait for a response.

There isn't one.

My fingers clench around the phone. What does he talk about with Christina while they're together? Does he flirt with her? Does she try to make him laugh? My heart is insanely jealous that she's spending time with the man I love.

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