I know that’s true. I’d done my shameful Google search the first time I’d met him. It had come up with nothing. Never in a million years did I think he’d show interest in me. He is ten years older than me. I was barely twenty at the time we met. Some said he only did it to make his partnership with my father more solid. I never once thought that. He’d made me feel special, something no one had ever made me feel before. To be the center of someone's world was so foreign to me. I ate it up. Now that some of that center had shifted back to his work, things started to feel a little bit lonely again. Loneliness was a feeling he’d taken away from me the moment I’d met him. I don’t like it creeping back into the edges of my life again.
We’d dated for two months in secret, until my twenty-first birthday, then we’d come out as a couple and married one month later. He even made us wait until our wedding night before he took me fully. From the very start we both talked about wanting a family, and he said he never wanted anything between us, so we’d wait.
Well, we’d waited to go all the way at least. Phillip spent many nights with his mouth on me. Telling me all the things he’d do when I’d finally say “I do.” I can’t count how many nights he’d sneak into my room at my father’s house after they’d gotten done with some late-night meeting in my father's office. I’d go to bed alone and wake up to Phillip’s face between my legs. Some nights he’d go at me like he was starving. Other nights he’d make me promise over and over I was going to marry him before he’d finally give me what I need. He’d never let me return the favor. The closest I’d gotten to his cock before our wedding night was dry-humping, and his pants never came off or undone.
But do men really go months without sex? I push the thoughts away.
“I know. I’m being silly. I know he loves me. She’s just so freaking rude when I call or show up. I swear every time I see her she’s thrusting her giant boobs in his face or doing that stupid high-pitched laugh. Every time I call, she has some reason Phillip can’t take it. Every. Time.” I know all this, together with him working so much and me feeling alone in this giant city has morphed into this giant insecurity I’ve been feeling for the past few months.
“Say something,” Cindy snaps, leaning forward, her blue eyes narrowing like they always do when she’s squaring up for a fight. It’s what she often does in the courtroom.
“I know I should. I’ll speak to him about it. Just sometimes I feel a little out of place. I’m so much younger than everyone, and I know he’s running a company and I don’t want to be the needy, clingy wife who’s insecure.” I sometimes feel a little lost in his world, and it would be a lie if I didn’t think back to times I’d interrupted some of my father’s meetings, only to get snapped at and made to feel unimportant. I have a degree in art history, and I’m proud of that, but sometimes I felt a little lacking. But I know that’s my own doing. Phillip has never talked down to me or tried to exclude me from anything, but old insecurities run deep sometimes.
“Fuck that,” she tosses back, making me smile. One of the reasons I’ve gotten so close to Cindy is she isn’t like a lot of the other women I’ve met in New York. Nor is she like the wives of some of Phillip’s business associates. She always says what she’s thinking, and I want that to rub off on me.
“That man will be pissed if he finds out that his secretary is treating you like shit. In fact, I bet he’d can her ass on the spot if he even got a hint she was doing something like that.”
I know what she’s saying is true. I once told Phillip in passing I didn't think the doorman at the building we lived at liked me very much. Anytime I’d try and ask him a question about something, he’d get short with me and tell me that I shouldn’t be out without my husband. He would make constant digs about my age, like I didn’t belong in this world. He’d amped up the disrespect when he hit on me one morning after Phillip had left early for the office. I’d shot him down quickly. Needless to say, after I told Phillip what had happened, I never saw the man again.
“You’re right. I’m making this all out to be bigger than it is and I just keep throwing dirt on it.” I grab my purse from the chair, making Cindy smile. “You mind?” I ask. We hadn’t even gotten our main entrée yet.
I stand and lean down to kiss her on the cheek.
“Call me. I want to know all the details.”
With that, I head out of the restaurant and onto the busy New York sidewalk. Glancing down at my watch, I see it’s already eight. I make my way down to his building, which is only four blocks away.
Red, the security guard, swipes me right in as I make my way into the practically empty building. I hit the elevator button for the top floor and tap my foot as it moves up. When I exit, the hallway is completely clear. I walk to his office, bypassing the empty secretary desk, and pull open the heavy door.
The sight that greets me almost brings me to my knees, and it would have if I hadn’t had my hand still on the door to brace me.
There, in the middle of Phillip’s office, completely naked, is Cary. The secretary. Phillip is on the sofa, his face turned away, but I can see his tie is undone and his shoes are off. His suit looks worn and wrinkled. Cary just stares at me in shock.
“You can have him.” I’m not even sure how I get the words out. I turn, fleeing the office. I hit the elevator button and luckily it slides open immediately. I take it all the way down in a trance, trying to hold myself together. You will not break like this. I suck in a deep breath, trying to calm myself.