I cook, I clean, I do the laundry for two households. Yes, I said two. Our house, and the house next door where Dave’s father, Roger lives. He’s a forty-five-year-old ex-serviceman who hated retirement so much, he set up his own garage here in town. He's not your typical grandpa by any means, but he does help out with the kids, and I help take care of his house. I even prepare his lunch for work and cook dinner for when he gets home. He often jokes that I have two husbands to take care of and says it’s like having a wife but without the sex. I wouldn’t mind having two spouses if it meant at least one of them would put out. Dave is under so much pressure from work, he barely notices I’m home, and Roger is busy banging anything with a pulse. I’m not bitter. I’m just sexually deprived. But hey, at least I have a family. We're still young at twenty-seven. Dave and I are just going through a dry patch. It won’t last forever. We got married while we were still at college, and timed it right before Levi popped into the world.
“Mom, make dinosaur pancakes,” Leo, my youngest, says.
“Make mine into a rocket ship,” Levi, my eldest, adds.
I drizzle some oil around the pan and get it nice and hot. “Okay … one dinosaur and a rocket ship coming up,” I reply, as I prepare to wow my children with my awesome pancake skills.
“Hey, something smells good in here,” Dave says as he enters the kitchen.
He leans in to sniff my neck and notices I’m wearing the perfume he bought me for our seventh wedding anniversary last week. I know he’s not referring to the pancakes as he grabs my butt and kisses my cheek. I grin as I work, then flip each pancake over with a spatula.
“Oh, Mom,” Leo protests. “You’re supposed to toss it like this,” he says, mimicking a pancake flipping motion with an invisible frying pan.
Dave chuckles. “Look up there, buddy,” he says, pointing to a giant grease stain on the ceiling. “That’s what happened the last time your momma tried to flip pancakes.”
I swat my husband playfully and return to the task in hand. It’s nice when our mornings start like this. He’s usually so busy with work, we hardly ever see him despite him being home all the time. Whenever his study door is closed, it’s a sign that Daddy is working and doesn’t want to be disturbed.
“I’ll pour you a cup of coffee,” Dave offers, kissing my cheek.
“Thanks, love,” I reply, admiring my husband as he moves around the kitchen.
He’s gained a little weight since he started working from home and I know he’s conscious of it. It doesn’t help that he keeps a drawer full of candy in his desk and survives on energy drinks all day long. I buy him healthy snacks, but he complains they taste of cardboard. He won’t eat fruit and vegetables, so how can I win? I work hard to take care of everyone. I’m doing the best that I can.
The backdoor handle turns and in walks Pops in all his tattooed glory. My god, the guy knows how to make an entrance. He swaggers in with his mechanic overalls on and his steel-toe-capped boots that stomp across the linoleum as he walks. He’s a real grease monkey, with dark hair that naturally slicks back as he runs his fingers through it, and a rough and rugged appearance that gets all the women’s panties wet. His three-day-old stubble shadows his jawline, and he looks like a walking wet dream rather than my son’s fun-loving grandpa. I shouldn’t be thinking about him the way I do, but I’m a red-blooded female with eyes. The guy could seduce a nun to sin. He would have her on her back in no time.
“Good morning, Tanya. You’re looking particularly radiant this morning,” Roger compliments me.
He isn’t flirting, it’s just the way he is. I turn to him with a smile.
“Good morning, Pops. Would you like some bacon with your pancakes?” I ask.
Roger rubs a hand against his washboard stomach. He has abs that I could file my nails on. I avert my gaze so that he doesn’t catch me staring.
“You know the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach,” he remarks, then adds, something crude as a private joke to Dave.
I think he’s talking about dicks, but I don’t ask him to repeat it any louder because the children are within earshot. We eat breakfast and then I wash up before taking the kids to school. Dave scuttles back to his office, and Roger grabs his lunch bag and heads off to his pick-up truck. The kids fasten their seatbelts and I turn the key in the ignition. My car won’t start, it just coughs and splutters like a sixty-a-day smoker. I think the battery is drained because Dave left the lights on all night. Why do things like this always have to happen when I have things to do and places to be? It’s just my luck.
“Do you need a jumpstart?” Roger asks, tapping on the side window.
I’m so damn flustered, I slam my hands on the wheel and beep the horn. The kids giggle and Roger rolls his eyes as the glass rolls down.
“Pop the hood,” he instructs.
I do as he says, and he connects the cables to a portable battery pack. Luckily, I have a handy mechanic living close by.
Roger looks effortlessly sexy as he concentrates. I watch him sometimes, and I wonder what it would be like to have a man like him focus some of that attention on me. If he’s as thorough with his lovers as he is with detailing cars, then those women are in for a treat.
I exhale a sigh, wishing that I could get some of that. Dave loves me, but he’s not as interested in sex as he used to be before we had kids. We rarely ever do it. The kids take up most of my energy, and Dave is usually exhausted from looking at a computer monitor all day. He often complains about having headaches. In most cases, it’s often the other way around—the women fake headaches, and their husbands pester them for sex. Not in my marriage. Sometimes I feel like a born-again virgin.
Pops reaches in through the open window, turns the key, and the engine roars to life.
“Thanks, Pops,” I say, relieved to get going.
He leans in and rests his arms on the doorframe. “If you have time, come over to the garage and I’ll give you a service.”
My mouth hangs open as I misinterpret what he says. His eyes sparkle with amusement as he realizes what he said.
“I’m talking about the car, Tanya,” Roger clarifies.
Air rushes back to my lungs as I take a breath. “Of course,” I answer, shaking my head at the ridiculousness of the situation. “I knew that.
Roger flicks his gaze to the back seat. “Bye, boys. Have fun at school.”
“Bye, Pops,” the boys chorus at once.
I flash him an awkward smile as he steps back on the driveway. I’m so damn flustered, I’m sweating.
“Mom,” Levi chirps up from the backseat. “Put on the radio.”
I do as he says and distract myself with the high-pitched crooning of the latest female pop group.
We pull up outside the school and my phone beeps with a text. I’m convinced it’s from Dave, reminding me to add things to the grocery list. But it’s not. The text is from Roger, letting me know that he can book me in for this morning. The kids clamber out of the car, and I watch as they rush in through the school gates. Their teachers greet them at the door, so I know they’ll usher them in safely.
I type a brief, ‘OK’ to Pops, to let him know that I’ll be there. Then I make the mistake of asking him if there’s anything he wants from the store, and I’m shocked to receive his answer.
He replies, “Pick me up a box of extra-large Trojans, will you? I have a hot date tonight.”
Dave and I haven’t bought rubbers since we went to college. Ever since Leo was born, I’ve relied on birth control pills … not that I’m getting any bedroom action, but at least I know when my period is due, so there is that.
Roger’s revelation leaves me stunned. He’s asking me to aid and abet his latest fuck-a-thon, and now I know he uses extra-large condoms. I don’t know whether to be horrified by that or turned on.
This isn't right. Roger’s rampant sex life shouldn’t concern me in the way that it does. And believe me, it so does.