“How long have you been home?” she asked Hudson, her oldest.
“I don’t know,” he shrugged. “Five minutes.”
“Eight minutes,” Alex said. Caitlin figured it was probably eight on the nose. Her middle child knew numbers to the decimal, and used them often.
“Thanks, Alex,” she said. “Where’s your brother.”
“Flushing the toilet. He’s done it like a hundred times.
“You can’t let him do that!” Caitlin managed to cry out and sigh at the same time, rushing by her two older boys toward the bathroom. “That wastes a ton of water!”
They sang their sorry behind her.
Caitlin dragged Max from the bathroom, then brought him out to the living room and threw him in a lineup beside Alex and Hudson. She bitched through their fidgets, then finished, with “Homework. All of you. Now.”
The boys grumbled their okays and scattered. Caitlin headed toward the garage to pull groceries from the back of the Pilot. As she stepped into the garage, a motor whirred and sun bled onto the concrete as Jay’s jewel green Lexus pulled in beside her Pilot.
Jay waved from behind his windshield and Caitlin waved back. He killed the engine, opened the door and walked straight over to Caitlin, then set a gentle hand on each of her shoulders. “I’m so, so sorry,” he leaned in and whispered in her ear; hot breath a tickle. “It was all my fault.”
“No,” Caitlin leaned her head into his chest. “It was mine. I’m sorry.”
They held one another for several seconds, swaying lightly in the still of the garage until Jay pulled himself from Caitlin, smiled, then went to the Pilot and opened the back. “Groceries, right?” he asked, turning to Caitlin.
She nodded, then joined Jay at the back. He carried the first load into the house, then continued to unpack the pilot while Caitlin put the groceries away.
Once everything was settled, Caitlin started dinner, first preparing the batter and already anticipating Jay joking in her ear:
Thanks for the fish tacos for dinner, baby, can I have some more for dessert?
Caitlin would smile, and pretend she thought it was sexy.
She chopped the cabbage, prepped the pico de gallo, set out the cheese – both shredded and crumbled – then made the guacamole, starting by squeezing the avocado in her palm, remembering Jay cupping her naked sex as she slathered it with her nectar, before stripping her clothes and climbing on the table, purring, “I want you to fuck me like an animal.”
She finished making the guacamole, washed her hands, then went to help Hudson finish his math. If she didn’t do so now, it would be an argument at bedtime. One thing would lead into another, then blah blah blah it would be time to turn in and Caitlin would have to weed through a hundred excuses until she was finally forced to decide between sending Hudson to bed on schedule, or letting him stay up late to finish his homework.
“Alex!” Caitlin called as Hudson dropped his pencil in its box. “Your turn to set the table for dinner!”
Five minutes later, the family sat to eat.
Alex said, “We’re having seafood? You know I hate seafood!”
Caitlin turned to Alex, pleading with her eyes for him to please not give her a hard time. “Fish tacos aren’t seafood,” she said.
Alex looked at his tacos as if they were road apples wrapped in tortillas. “Yes they are,” he said. “It’s fish, isn’t it?”
Caitlin said, “Only sort of. You should taste the batter more than the fish. At least if I did my job. That’s why fish and chip places use bottom feeders. Deep frying it disguises the flavor.”
“Like at Long John Silvers,” Hudson said, smiling at his plate like he was staring at dessert.
Long John Silvers was Hudson’s favorite restaurant, and had chosen it for his birthday dinner two years running, even after Jay and Caitlin both tried to sway him toward any number of more delicious places. Though they suggested Olive Garden, Applebee’s, and even Red Lobster, all of which he liked (even though Jay and Caitlin each disliked a different two from the three) Hudson insisted on his cardboard treasure chest stuffed with deep-fried bottom dwellings.
Alex continued to bitch. “Well I hate fish, and I don’t have to eat it.”
Max turned his eyes to his own plate. Caitlin could see he was seconds from starting his own fit, which would be less articulate though far louder. Caitlin stared at Alex, begging him harder with her eyes.
Please just eat your dinner. And don’t get your brother started.
Jay chopped the conflict at the knees. In a voice approximately one breath over a whisper, and calm as a glassy lake, he said, “Your mother worked hard to prepare your meal, Alex, and you will be eating it. While you may not enjoy fish by itself, you do enjoy things that are deep fried, and have shown a healthy preference, for example, to have many of your vegetables served this way. You choosing not to eat dinner is about you gaining some sort of ridiculous power over your mother, and surely you’ve lived in this house long enough to know I won’t allow that.”
Jay cleared his throat and leaned closer to Alex.
“I was a boy once too, and I know the game you’re playing.” He shrugged. “I don’t even object to you playing it since it is part of growing up. But I can’t let you win. So here’s the deal: you’re either going to eat your dinner or not. If not, we’ll be warming it up and you can try again by having the same fish tacos for dinner tomorrow. You can still have your regular breakfast, and still buy your lunch at the cafeteria, but this will be your dinner every day forever until it’s finished. Trust me, you’re best off eating it tonight.”
Jay smiled, returned to his taco, and didn’t seem surprised in the least when Alex picked up his fork, scooped a pile of rice into his mouth, then topped it off with a giant chew of freshly fried taco.
“So,” Caitlin said, finally smiling. “How was everyone’s day?”
Hudson started bitching about his band teacher, Mr. Fox, who Caitlin had already decided was a 24 karat gold-plated cocksucker, though she couldn’t let Hudson know it.
“Why?” she asked, trying to keep accusation from her voice. “What did Mr. Fox do?”
“He gave me a fail for the day.
“Why did he do that?” Jay asked.
“Because he’s a jerk,” Hudson mumbled.
Jay said, “Why did he really do it?”
“Because I forgot my trumpet.”
Jay nodded, holding his eyes on Hudson, but saying nothing.
Alex chimed, “You probably would have remembered your trumpet if you weren’t trying to impress Lisa Broderick!”
Max started laughing as Hudson turned a livid shade of Crimson. Less than a minute passed before Alex and Hudson were loudly griping at one another, looking close to blows as Max started to fart on his arm.
Only the promise of dessert got them to finally stop being obnoxious. “What are we having?” Max asked.
“Fudgies,” Caitlin said.
Three of the four faces wore complaints, but none dared say a word for fear of getting nothing at all. “Thanks, Honey,” Jay said.
Hudson dared. “Those aren’t even real chocolate.”
Caitlin smiled. “You don’t have to have any.”
“No,” Hudson said. “Fudgies are fine.”
“I appreciate your blessing,” she said, so dry her sarcasm almost sounded sincere. Then, feeling exhausted, Caitlin went to the fridge and pulled out a box of frozen fake chocolate popsicles. She passed them out, taking hers last, then sat at the table, peeled the wrapper and started licking it at the side.
The table fell silent as everyone sucked on their sickles. Caitlin was half through hers when she caught Jay across the table, smiling like a wolf. She looked down, realizing the fudgesicle was dangling from her mouth like a dick, though much, much skinnier than Jay’s.
Rather than aroused, Caitlin felt embarrassed. Unsure. She wasn’t trying to turn him on, though turning Jay on was never difficult. She wondered if he was wearing wood beneath the table, and felt some of the usual butterflies flapping wings in her stomach as she thought of the coming minutes after the kids were in bed, anticipating her inadequacy.
She bit a giant hunk of fudgie, held it in her mouth until it was mush, then swallowed, as demure, unsexy and downright celibate as she could, avoiding eye contact with Jay through the rest of dessert.
The next two hours mostly flew, as Jay drifted from child to child, checking on homework, and Caitlin read stories. Per custom, they gathered around the TV for 30 minutes of America’s Got Talent, turning it off at 8:30 sharp and then going to bed. Jay went to tidy a few final emails while Caitlin got ready, wondering if they would read, or maybe watch TV first — or whether Jay would want to get straight to sex and the sleep that always followed.
Anticipation sped her heart to a steady thrum, tightening her throat and most of her body. She pulled a long black nightie over her naked frame, slightly upholstered in the middle from delivering three children, then climbed under the covers and waited for Jay, unsure whether she should turn on the TV, or leave it black. She retrieved the remote from the nightstand as Jay entered the bedroom.
“Hey,” he said, smiling.
Caitlin smiled and nodded, but said nothing. Jay went to his side of the bed, peeled the clothes from his body, then left them in a pile like always and climbed under the covers. He cupped Caitlin’s chin and said, “I missed you.”
“What do you mean you missed me? I’ve been here the whole time.” She smiled, feeling awkward, as she often did right before they were about to have sex, even though they’d been married for twelve years and together for nearly five before that.
Jay leaned down and covered Caitlin’s silence with his mouth. Her back curled toward the bed as he rolled toward her. Her mind, though she tried to silence it, started to whir.
Caitlin wanted to do everything better, to be everything Jay wanted her to be, both in and out of the bedroom; everywhere in life. After nearly two decades together they certainly deserved it. But her brain wouldn’t shut up.
Is this what he wants?
Am I doing it right?
Is he happy?
Their bed was an oasis from life, filled with comfort and shadows and cotton that grew threads by the year. Though it was hard to feel desire when you didn’t feel desirable, Caitlin did want Jay.
She pulled him toward her and kissed him, soft and then harder. Jay, of course, reacted immediately, muttering something sweet beneath his breath as he pressed himself into her body. His already hard cock pushed against her, and she could feel thick muscles from thighs that pounded 20 miles on the treadmill each week, though that couldn’t keep the soft from his belly, not that she minded, or didn’t have a softness all her own.
Jay caressed her breasts over the top of Caitlin’s nighty, then lifted it high to feel the heat of her skin. He smiled, lightly growled, then leaned forward, taking her nipples into his mouth one at a time, celebrating each with his lips and the tip of his tongue. His hands found the side of her nighty and pulled it up over her head.
Caitlin whimpered her usual OK, still trying to shut the nagging whisper from her mind, wondering if she was doing enough. He was already thick and ready to fuck her, she could smell it all over his skin, but their play was little if anything like the movies he sometimes asked her to watch, and the bright red numbers on her nightstand clock said that only four minutes had passed since he puddled his pants on the carpet and slipped into bed beside her.
“Are you ready?” he whispered.
Caitlin nodded and smiled. Jay pulled her into his body again, resting her at the tip of his hard dick, easing himself inside as they lightly groaned together.
Jay thrust into Caitlin several times, deep and hard and fast as another three minutes was lost to the clock. She could feel Jay’s tide rising, knew the waves were coming, and was glad it would be over soon.
As nice as it was, faster was better.
Just as she thought Jay was nearing his finish, he withdrew and turned her around, belly to the mattress.
Jay wanted to take his time. He thought it would please her, but Caitlin wanted to make love and fall asleep, not pretend they were 20.
Jay moaned lightly behind her as he planted kisses down her body, spending the most time just under her shoulders, until he reached her thighs, where he set his hands up under her ass, fingers splayed across each of her cheeks, elevated her entire body to his level, and started slathering the length of her body with pounds of kisses, starting at the creases between her thighs, then moving down to her lower lips, never showing her any less tenderness than he had when his lips first fondled her mouth.
He entered her with a stiff tongue, and where she should have felt a sudden shock of pleasure, Caitlin felt almost nothing, making her think – far from the first time – that something inside her might finally be dead.
She remembered a time, both not too long and a forever before, when she would scream from the stabbing as it shot rapture inside her. She would thrash so much, Jay would practically have to reach an arm up to hold her steady while his face did its job between her legs. Tonight, Caitlin only wanted Jay to hurry, do whatever he wanted to do with his tongue, then finish making love to her so they could fall asleep together.
After the red numbers grew another two, Jay came up from between her legs and entered her again – this time with his cock. Her pussy should have been dripping from excitement as her juices mingled with his. She should have heard the sloshing sounds of their rhythms playing together, instead she was just moist enough to give a thin sweater of slick to his shaft.
He started slow, but Caitlin got him to speed up when she whispered, “Fuck me, Jay. I want you to fuck me fast.”
After a second’s hesitation which felt like a sigh, he began to pound her with fury, maintaining his pace for nearly a minute before he cried out and exploded inside her, spraying a hot shot against her inner walls.
Caitlin didn’t cum, and barely knew if she wanted to.
Not having an orgasm didn’t make her sad, though not knowing why it didn’t sometimes filled her with an icy sorrow.
Caitlin remembered a time, not too long before, when once was never enough. She would scream as Jay came, sinking her teeth into his earlobe as he growled through his finishing thrusts filling her with gallons of spunk, and taking her already juicy hole to sloshy. Back then, neither of them could ever stay still, and he’d twist her nipples all the way to the end, climaxing as he pounded her with her body bucking against him. Caitlin would wrap her legs tight around his lean body, to help him stay inside her longer. For hours he would fill her with cock, followed with furious pounding and thick loads at the end.
Now, for reasons she couldn’t explain, Caitlin was too self-conscience to surrender to most moments, and certainly all of the ones that happened between the sheets. But she didn’t understand why that had to be a problem. Maybe there was nothing wrong. Maybe this was the difference in maturity, the difference between being a kid and growing up.
At least they still made love several times a week. That was more than most couples, and probably anyone she knew. Just because it wasn’t what it once was didn’t mean it wasn’t exactly what it was supposed to be.
“Good night, my love,” Jay said, like the sweet man he was. He spooned Caitlin from behind. It felt safe, sweet, comfortable. Love how she liked it.
“Goodnight sweetheart,” she said.
Caitlin closed her eyes and soon fell asleep wondering if Jay was satisfied.
It’s enough for me, but is it for him?