Wife Swap

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“Remember he who has the gold makes the rules,” Lia says, she adjusts her ring light as she records herself.

I shut my eyes and sigh, “You know me well to know that I don’t believe love is a power play.” I answer her.

She whirls on her feet and turn to me and tilts her head slightly, “I am sorry to say that Mason is winning.”

I huff because I am not in competition with my husband, “I believe relationships fail because they either start wrong or lack similar values.”

She eyes me skeptically before deciding to pick another topic, "I am sure Mason and Esme will show up for that orgy.” She says.

She is right. That is his kind of adventure and unfortunately, I can't keep up.

“Probably,” I whisper trying to contain my emotions and she gives me a concerned look.

“And that doesn’t make you feel any sort of way... " She trails, gauging my expression. "... at least curious?” Her brows furrow together marred with inquisitiveness.

I take my eyes away from hers. How can I tell her that my curiosity about what Mason did or wasn’t doing only ended up hurting me? The messages, The dating sites, and his working mates.

I shake my head, afraid if I speak I will be back again to that nightmare.

“Wow!” She just shakes her head. “How about are you not curious to know if there is more to sex or being with someone else?”

“Sex is sex,” I say.

“You have no idea what you are missing.” She states.

“I doubt,” I am curt. Sex talks get stale so fast with me. Like it is just an in-and-out game and a lot of fluids involved. It is too overrated. Too messy all around.

Suddenly, the door opens, and Rome walks in. At first, he is surprised to see us, precisely me. I wonder why?

He removes his shoes and looks up to find us staring at him. I quickly change my focus to my phone. His sense of self-importance is already big enough, I don't need to add to that. Can't have that on my conscience.

“Hi, Lia.” He acknowledges her.

“Hiiii...” She drags it with a girlish chuckle.

He murmurs inaudible words directed at me, which I can assume he is greeting me too.

I nod in acknowledgment

He walks past us with his shoes at hand and disappears to his bedroom.

“This is a huge house for just two people.” She says out of nowhere and I nod concurring with her. It was my first thought a year ago when we visited with Mason after Esme had a miscarriage.

Her phones beep and she checks the message.

“Tyler.” She sighs as she proceeds to get busy on her phone.

Rome reemerges back with just shorts and a black T.shirt. He goes to the fridge and peeps through it. He takes out the juices I made, it is hibiscus and removes the other, tamarind to curiously inspect them. After long consideration, he opts for diet coke, and when he then turns to us. I look away to hide my disappointment that he didn't try them.

He leans on the fridge as he sips on his soda. Lia walks up to him and stops in front of him.

"It has been ages, how have you been?"

"I got cheated on." His voice is flat.

"Well, that happens," Lia says.

He let's out a painful smile and I feel out of place as they catch up.

"You will be seeing more of me since Athena will be living her. Take or leave it " Lia answers when he accuses her of stopping to communicate with him after her divorce.

"Still bossy as I remember." He says.

"I can't say the same about you. You have changed." She says and he just leans forward.

He looks relaxed with Lia, something that is rare for him while around me.

Her phone rings and a displeased look masks her face, I can guess who it is, Tyler.

She answers her phone as she packs her things. She waves at us while still on the phone and makes her way out.

The room fills with an awkward silence when we are the only ones left.

"I am expecting a guest, be on your best behavior," Rome speaks.

The way he puts it, I can assume it is a woman.

"What are you talking about, I am always on my best behavior." I put on an innocent face, "Is this guest a woman?" I ask sarcastically with less enthusiasm.

"She is my company for the adult party." He says.

"I see," I say in a judgemental tone.

"Please don't be modest, you can say what you think." Rome picks on my tone.

"You can sleep with all the women in the world but it would undo what they did to us, and neither will it bring you any comfort," I say.

"And what do you know about me?" He asks annoyed.

"That we are not like Esme or Mason."

"We are not alike." His voice is harsh, he truly hates me, "I don't bury my head in sand and just be lied to and cheated on. Do you think my wife was the first? She was one of many for your husband. I can list them for you. Stop pretending to be so special and righteous by judging me." He snaps and his words cut deep to hear him say the things I refused to see.

He shuts up as the reality of what he has said to me settles. I blink back tears and he looks away.

I don't utter a word, I just rush to my bedroom.

He doesn't know Mason as I do, I tell myself. He is not perfect but he tries.

Time passes and my pillows are getting soaked with tears I hear voices when the door opens and after a while, they die as the sources go with them. I am alone.

And I find myself texting my husband.

I miss you.

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