You meet me at the door of the hotel room. It's a cheap dirty motel off the NJ turnpike, we both could afford far better but this is an affair and I suppose you find it fitting that our trysts should be held somewhere similar to the kind of sex we have, tawdry and dirty and cheap. It's also a convenient way of signaling that you don't care too much about me. That I don't deserve to have enough money spent on me to book a room with fine linen sheets and a jacuzzi. Tonight you're dressed in full classic whore ensemble, push-up lace bra that lets the nipples peek out, g-string, garter belt and ultrasheer stockings. All La Perla, all black. You vary the outfits some but those two things never change. Get your ass on the bed, I say. My voice is cold. You jump on, twist around until you're posed to show off both tits and ass to perfection, and taunt me: Can you handle this? I get on top of you, slap the smirk off your face, and you snake your hand down into my pants and we then proceed to destroy each other. We don't call it that though. We call it sex.
With Annette that first time I was gentle, the way you are with someone who's weaker, precious girl breakable as fine china, little porcelain doll baby. You're more delicate than she is physically, thin with tiny feet and fine small bird bones, but I know you. And so I bite you so hard I draw blood, smack your ass hard, grab your ass and tits with enough force to leave bruises, gag you on my cock until I feel the bile rise up in your throat. And you don't care. You like it rough. When you're on top of me you take your revenge, hand on my neck cutting off my air supply and smiling while you do it, nails leaving red marks on my chest, grinding on me until my hips are desperately sore and you know I'm in pain so you do it harder. Hate fuck. But then, love was never anything but a word we used to manipulate people so maybe if we really truly hate each other enough it will mean something.
We reconnected about a year ago. It was at the after party for Vogue's new fall season spread. I was there as a photographer. You were there with your husband. An Italian fashion designer. Handsome, in an unimaginative Ken doll sort of way. He told me the story of how you two first met. He'd fallen in love at first sight and pulled out all the stops to seduce you: trips to Tahiti, Paris, Milan, to the family estate where his Nonna made you her signature homemade spaghetti sauce and the rest of his relatives gathered round to proclaim you beautiful, charming, a perfect match for him. Everything his treat, even though you were making far more money than he was. The youngest female hedge fund manager in Wall Street's history, gossip pages called you the Lady Shark. Just then the head of a modeling agency came by and gave you and your husband a big air-kissy greeting and dragged him away from our table to talk shop, the husband left you there with me without a care in the world, and I knew right then that he had not the slightest idea who you really were. Unless you'd changed drastically in the years we hadn't seen each other, which seemed unlikely. If anything, you looked even harder-edged than the girl who'd tried to kill me when we were still in high school. I asked you why you married him.
“Because I love him,” you said sweetly.
“That's very nice. So really, why did you marry him?”
“Well, he's handy for keeping the other men away. You know, there are rumors about his family.” There weren't, I found out later—you were just making a dumb Italian joke. “Anyway, I could ask you the same question.”
“It's because he loves me,” Annette broke in. She'd been sitting at our table for a while, looking small and out of place, even though she'd been the one begging me to take her to this event, to invite her girlfriends to this event, which I'd done. She'd said she wanted to see the new fall fashions, which was fine, but as a civilian, she didn't know anyone here, wasn't really necessary to this party and knew it. She wasn't a celebrity; she was the punchline to “sorry girls he's taken,” when the magazines profiled me.
I think of your husband sometimes, when I'm with Annette. When I'm with you I never think of him. Or of her, or anyone else. When we're together there's no room for anyone else. The hotel room seems to shrink, closing us in. It's Hell but it's what we chose. The first time I came here, I told you it wouldn't happen again. You didn't say anything, just watched me as I put on my clothing and smiled because you knew it was a lie.
Once you screamed out your husband's name at climax, just to piss me off. I got off you and gathered up my clothes. I'm sorry, you said, it's just that he's the love of my life and I really do miss him...
And I love my wife, I said. I think this was a mistake for both of us.
I stood by the door, looked at your naked body, didn't go out.
After about a minute, you got up and led me back to the bed.
After we're done fucking you'll kick me out, say you've got other more important things to do, but if I happen to forget something at the motel and come back you'll still be there, watching bad TV and smoking a cigarette while sitting tangled up in the dirty sheets. Like it's the hotel room you're really attracted to. Or like you'd rather hang out in sheets stained with my cum than deal with me directly. One time I called your bluff, held you down on the bed and told you neither of us was going anywhere. You pretended to struggle and then we fucked again. Afterwards it was the same. Fuck me or get out. Fine for me to come back and hold you down and play some sick pretend rape game but never to just hold you, never to just lie there in the bed together and relax over bad TV or even maybe have an honest conversation, actually talk about our lives and what we're doing and what's really going on. After all, there's no real reason for either of us to be here. We're both married and if it comes to that we can both find people to have affairs with somewhere else. So why, then...?