In the Neighbourhood

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Chapter 24: On Her Knees

Zsolt wasn’t sure, but he thought maybe El was keeping her hair a little longer these days. He didn’t care, of course; you couldn’t care about every little thing. Your wife didn’t have to know about when to bring the car into the mechanic; you didn’t have to hear every stupid detail about their hair or makeup. She just needed the car to start when she turned the key, and in return she just had to look good, take care of herself, maybe have a baby or two when the time was right.

He banished the thought as soon as it popped up. No use dwelling on that. He looked over at Elena, on her knees in front of the fridge, wiping at something or other.

She stopped, knelt back, surveyed her work. With a finger she pushed back the hair that had fallen in front of her eye. Yes, it was longer, almost as long as it had been when she was in high school.

“What do you want?” she asked, and Zsolt realized he’d been starting.

“Nothing,” he said, slightly embarrassed but determined not to show it. He turned back to the Globe and Mail on the table.

“Don’t forget to hang up the shelf,” she said before returning to her work.

I know, I know, Zsolt said to himself—not out loud, though. Why start an argument? It was a waste of time.

And besides, he was enjoying the view. The t-shirt kept riding up on the one side, separating from the band of her sweat pants, exposing the curve of her waist and back, white skin shining like fresh milk in the morning sun.

“I want to go to the garden centre today, too,” she said, her voice muffled a bit by the fridge. “Before lunch, or it’ll be too busy.”

“Fine,” he muttered, turning back to the paper. He longed for the soccer season, when he could spend his Saturday mornings in front of the TV. The announcers were always English, and Zsolt could barely understand half of what they were saying, but he turned the volume up pretty far, so Elena really had to have a good reason to disturb him. Soccer would start again soon, and he’d be back to his pleasant Saturday ritual again.

He was having trouble concentrating on the paper; the constant, irregular movement in front of the fridge, just in the corner of his eye, kept pulling his attention away.

She was bent right over, now, giving him a good opportunity to survey her nice round ass, the cloth of the jogging pants stretched tautly between her thighs. He watched closely, and could just barely see up the dangling t-shirt, into the soft shadows beneath.

It was stupid; he’d watched her just that morning, pulling the same t-shirt over her head, and here he was now like a horny thirteen-year-old, trying to sneak a peek at her. Still, she was sexy like that, at least a little bit.

They were married, after all; who cared; maybe he’d get up, kneel down behind her before she knew he was there, and pull the jogging pants down, just like that. He was hard enough already. He thought about what she’d say; probably act all annoyed at first, but that could only last so long. How many people preferred cleaning a fridge to sex?

No, she’d end up spreading her legs a little wider, raising herself a little higher to meet him. And soon she’d be holding onto the fridge for support, as the pickles and apple juice and jam jars tinkled and clinked as they watched.

She stood up, put the food back into the fridge, closed the doors firmly and tossed her cloth into the sink. “There,” she said, to herself more than to him. Then she squinted in his direction. “Are you seating?”

“I’m not the one sitting in front of the fridge for an hour,” he snapped. He folded the paper and tossed it on the table.

“Okay.” She patted him soothingly on the shoulder, apparently not taking notice of his outburst. “I’m going to put the laundry on.”

She left him alone in the kitchen, no longer annoyed, just horny. He’d put the shelf up for her right now, and take her to the garden store. Then, that afternoon, they’d fuck.

There were always chores—the thing was to not think about them, just do them. If you thought about how difficult or annoying they were, you’d just give up and never get them done.

The philosophy was a good one, very useful, but it failed him when it came to gardening. He was from a farming family, too, but farming was different. You took the horse and the plow and you ran it through the field and you were done. You threw grain at the chickens for a while and that was it.

But gardening was a killer. Dig a tiny hole and put the flowers in it, twenty, a thousand times. He could get it done in the five minutes, but then Elena would tell him it was all wrong. Couldn’t have the red ones next to the white ones, shade for this, that, the other. And all the fertilizer and food, costing him an arm and a leg. The flowers ate better than he did.

And the weeding. And taking out the early flowers and planting the late flowers.

“Okay,” Zsolt said, standing up, and tossing the latest handful of weeds he’d collected onto the pile. “I’m going to get a beer. You want anything?”

“I’ll have one too.”

Zsolt had already turned away to go to the house. Elena never wanted a beer. Interesting.

It was probably a plan of hers, he realized as he got the bottles out of the fridge. This way he’d have to go right back outside, could find something else—anything else—to do inside to delay having to go back out and work.

That woman was smart. He didn’t give her enough credit.

She was bent over, her ass waving in the air at him again, just like in the morning. She heard him coming this time, though, and sat up, resting on her heels to take the beer he held out.

Her t-shirt was soaked with sweat, and her neck and the top of her chest were shining too. Her hair was a mess, and she was breathing heavily.

He watched her drink—she sucked greedily at the bottle, finishing half of it right away. She paused to take a breath. “Aren’t you thirsty?” she asked.

What if he did it right there and then? Opened his pants and showed her his blazing hard-on? She’d know what he wanted—would she do it?

Or he could give her a gentle push and she would land in the nice, soft earth, and then he’d pull at the waistband of her jogging pants.

He drank his beer, considered this. Would she let him? Would she be excited or annoyed? She was kneeling there, her mouth right at the right height. She must see that. Any idiot would know what he was thinking.

But—would she guess what else he was thinking?

She was finishing her beer—better say something soon, or the chance would be gone.

“Hey,” he said. “What if I went and got the camera?”

He had been worried she’d be angry at the suggestion. She didn’t look mad, just confused.

“What for?”

“You know, to make, a tape. Of us.”


“We’ve never made one outside before.”

She looked around wildly like the neighbours were crowded around them. “Are you completely insane? She had switched to Serbian—probably not a good sign.

“No—just listen—”

“So all the neighbours can see how big your cock is, is that it?”

Where had that come from? “They all know,” he said, hoping a little humour would help. “Almost as well as you do.”

“You disgusting pig!” she said, throwing her beer bottle—not at him, really, more towards his feet.

“What, are you a schoolgirl now?” Zsolt had expected her to be annoyed maybe, to say no almost for sure, but this was just an overreaction. “Hiding your little titties so the boys don’t see? They’ve all seen you fucking, all of them. And look, no one can see with the fence and the trees—”

She started to walk away, and Zsolt felt a rush of anger and grabbed her shoulder before she could dodge. “You come back here.”

“Let go!” She twisted and pulled.

He would throw her down and fuck her right here and now if he had to, and she’d like it just fine. He’d hold her down and—

She wrenched free too quickly, before he figured out how to get her struggling body down on the ground. She dashed back a few steps, then stopped and faced him, her chest heaving. She looked like she was going to say something.

“Well?” Zsolt demanded.

She turned and walked away, quickly, angrily. The patio door slid closed behind her so hard he could hear the frame vibrating.

He’d collect the tools up, throw the weeds in the garden, take the beer bottles in. But one thing was for sure: he wasn’t doing any more weeding today.

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