Playing With Fire

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“So how’s the job search going?”
I watch my brother grab a head of something green and leafy from his fridge. My eyes follow his movements as he tosses it into a strainer and holds it under the faucet.
“What are you about to do with that?” I ask, wrinkling my nose. I know it’s been a while since the last time I visited Andy, but I’ve never and I mean never seen this man prepare Kale in his lifetime.
He snorts, shutting off the water and begins moving it to a cutting board. “Blend it. Not everyone subsists off of stale pop tarts and coffee, Hol.”
I haven’t had a pop tart or any such pastry in the last three years but I place a hand on my chest and feign offense anyway.
Andy knows about what happened with Winston, but I spared him the gory details, one of which being Winston’s control over my sugar intake. Not to spare Winston— who’d probably find himself in a ditch if Andy knew everything— but for my brother. I relive my time with my ex husband every time I close my eyes at night. My brother doesn’t need that shit in his head. Not now that he’s finally happy. Sure, maybe I wanted to rattle Andy’s chain a bit in the beginning but after our talk last night, I realized that maybe my big brother really has changed. I know I have.
“And I don’t know, I think I could get used to this unemployed thing. I get to eat groceries I don’t have to pay for and lay by the pool everyday. It’s like having a sugar daddy that doesn’t want sugar,” I joke.
Andy snorts. “That bad huh?”
I sigh. “It’s hard to get hired as a teacher with no references, no job experience, and an out of state certification. Even with the shortages, the schools out here are picky as hell.”
Andy frowns, the corners of his lips tightening just a fraction more than normal.
“Don’t. Please,” I whisper. It’s our unspoken rule that we don’t talk about anything that happened with Winston. But I can’t imagine what it’s like to have been led to believe your little sister was a thriving pre med student for years only to discover some controlling asshole made her quit school and isolated her from the world.
Andy’s expression softens slightly, but rather than respond, he just continues to prepare his smoothie. “You want me to make some calls?”
I try not make a disgusted face. I know he’s only trying to help. But I lived in my brothers shadow in high school long after he graduated, then again when he became an NFL golden boy. Using him to get a job will only confirm that I can’t do anything on my own.
“No thank you. I have an interview at Greenman Prep on Thursday and I’m hopeful.” The lie rolls off my tongue. I do have the interview, but I’m not hopeful in the slightest. Private schools are incredibly selective with their hiring process and many applicants have resumes I could only dream of having. If I hadn’t gotten married maybe I might’ve traveled abroad, done more with my chemistry research. Only Winston didn’t want me to have a social life. I know that now...
Andy takes a sip of the green concoction he’s made and smirks. “I’m proud of you, Hols. I know I don’t say it enough but I mean it.”
I snort. “I’m, by clinical definition, a battered woman. A twenty six year old divorceé. And I see a therapist weekly.”
Andy’s eyes turn serious and his brows knit together. “I was talking about your accomplishments. Getting into grad school, making a brave move back home, trusting me enough to take care of you... But Hol, fuck what anyone says, you’re not a fucking victim, you’re brave. It takes bravery to break free from a state of mind you’ve been beaten down to and to finally stand up for yourself. I don’t feel sorry for you, Hol. I congratulate you.”
My jaw drops slightly and Andy clears his throat uncomfortably. “I meant it when I said I wanted to change what kind of brother I am to you. You’re not my child and I realize that it’s not my place to control you. I have to respect you enough to trust that you’ll make the best decisions for you.”
My eyebrows nearly hit my hairline. “Who the hell are you and what have you done with Anderson DeLower... Oh.. wait. I know what this is!” I say, pointing at Andy. I smirk. “I suppose I should be thanking Miss Collins.”
My brother’s not one of those saps that gets that dreamy far away look when his wife’s name is mentioned, but he can’t help his big smile. “Lolo’s great but you should probably thank my therapist.”
I shake my head. “My brother, the changed man. Never thought I’d see the day.”

For the rest of the day I prepare for my interview and get some work for one of my graduate classes, done. However, it doesn’t take long for me to feel stir crazy. My brother’s home is beautiful but it feels like a prison. I know it’s the safest place for me to be right now but I can’t help but feel like I’m on lockdown.
My thoughts drift toward my last night of freedom. My night with Lucas. Just the memory of his hands on my body, the hot lust in his beautiful green eyes, and that mouth... it makes my teeth sink into my bottom lip and my thighs push together. I don’t want to feel to like this, especially after his “not that cute” comment. But I can’t help it. Winston was my first and sex with him was mechanical, a means to an end and at that time I was just under the impression that sex was simply a man’s thing. I used to believe that sex was probably like that for everyone and the movies just exaggerated. No one could possibly enjoy sex enough to thrash and moan like a wild animal. I never even had an orgasm with Winston... but with Lucas, it was as if a switch turned on. Sure the alcohol made me bold enough to make the first move but when the liquid courage began to wear off and my naked body was so exposed to a famous, gorgeous professional athlete, I was so nervous. But then Lucas took over and it was so easy to let him. He told me over and over how beautiful I was. How wonderful I felt. I’d never felt so beautiful or powerful in my life. He showed me to ride him on top. Winston never let me be on top. I can’t even count how many times I came. I hadn’t been expecting that and to make matters worse, it’d felt too good, too natural to sleep in his arms. It’s why I’d overslept my alarm and had to rush him out of my hotel room. My one night of being the confident, sexy woman I’d longed to be in my oppressive marriage and here I am, wishing I could be that woman again. If I was, I’d text Lucas using the number I got out of my brother’s phone and offer a round two. But it’s a new day. One of the bad days where my fear makes me feel small and insecure. So for now, my memories will have to do.
I close my laptop and decide to turn in for the evening early. In my room, I can’t wait to take advantage of the large marble jacuzzi tub in my bathroom. Andy and I didn’t grow up poor, but we didn’t grow up rich either. Not NFL football player rich. Not by a long shot. I didn’t even have my own bathroom when we lived in our childhood home, so this is a treat.
I pour the vanilla sandalwood bath oil and bubble bath into the hot bubbling water and fill the big tub. I light a few candles around it and use the dimmer to turn the lights down. I’m not a high maintenance girl per say, but there’s something just decadent about a hot relaxing bath.
I sink into the hot water and moan at the wonderful sensation. My eyes flutter closed and my mind drifts to Lucas. The hot ache returns to my center and I move my hands to my breasts, brushing my fingers over my nipples. I bite my lip shifting onto my knees to position my pussy against one of the jets. I’ve never been a girl to masturbate— Winston didn’t like it— but I have to get rid of this needy, desperate feeling. I ride the jet, rocking my hips against the rush of water that creates a lovely pressure against my clit. Before long my orgasm takes over, the last face, mouth, body on my mind being Lucas’s.

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