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A Bitter-sweet Night

For years, Ava would recount the night that changed her life forever, when fate swooped in, dark and dangerous, destroying the normalcy of her existence.

The night began with a familiar heaviness that embraced her like a lover. It lingered, stalking, pushing her towards a depressing pit. In an effort to banish the feeling she stripped, then stepped into her walk-in shower and turned the faucet on. Bracing against the marble-covered wall, she allowed the heavy spurts to beat the feeling away.

Feeling marginally better, she took the body wash from the stand. As she soaped her body an arousal seeped in, conjuring thoughts of her husband, Stephen. Her sex tightened, aching with a need for him. Soap and water slipped between her thighs, stimulating her further. She replaced the stream with his tongue, imagining him lapping her with skillful licks. Sighing, she stroked herself, flicking her clit to a quick orgasm.  

She rinsed thoroughly and stepped from the shower, her lithe, golden body dripping wet, matching the sudden tears that cascaded down her face. She fought to keep a rising anguish in check, but the reality of her situation made it impossible. Stephen was out with his mistress—again—for the fourth night in a row.

And there was nothing she could do about it.

Glancing at the clock on the bathroom wall, she saw it was just past eight. Based on his track record, she expected his appearance at midnight. She wrapped the towel around her and proceeded to the master bedroom, pulling a drawer open to grab a robe.

Suddenly, a force hit her from behind and a pair of strong arms circled her damp body. She twisted, but before she could make a sound, the strong aroma of Stephen’s cologne wafted past her nostrils. At once, she ceased struggling and relaxed against his hold. “Stephen,” she groused. “You scared me.”

He chuckled against her neck and planted tiny kisses on her shoulder. “I know.” With his arms still around her, he straightened.

She turned to face him. “You’re late.”

“I had a major deadline,” he said, not meeting her eyes.

Liar. With a deep breath, Ava pushed the heavy pang away. He’s home now; that’s all that matters.

Stephen playfully tugged at the towel that still covered her body. “Wish I was here earlier; I would’ve loved to join you.”

“Hmm,” was her reply.

Running his hands through her short, silky hair, he pulled her in for a kiss. She let him in, surrendering to his hard strokes, showing him how much she needed him, and how compatible they still were after years together. Every lick communicated she was the only one for him and there was no need for another woman.

Why couldn’t he see that?

They’d just renewed their wedding vows and Ava thought they were on the mend. To learn of Stephen’s infidelity cut her to the core, but she suffered in silence. She couldn’t tell her friends, for fear of what they’d think.

To the outside world, Ava and Stephen’s marriage was perfect. They had it all…money, successful careers, love and respect for each other. Only Ava knew that wasn’t the case. Stephen’s betrayal began years ago and was likely to continue for the rest of his life.

Lately, she’d tried to summon the courage to leave him. Each time, she changed her mind. The thought of starting over scared her to death.

Stephen moaned against her mouth, pulling her closer. She could feel his hardness against her belly and it fueled her desire for him. Backing against the dresser, she tore the towel from her body, feeling a rush of satisfaction at his lustful perusal.

“Damn…” He murmured, his eyes raking her trim figure, narrow waist and long legs. His gaze settled on her freshly shaven mound and he licked his lips. Her sex responded, jerking rhythmically.

“Come here,” he said, and with slow steps, she returned to him. He knelt before her, stroking the soft flesh between her thighs, emitting a tiny moan from her depths. With deliberate slowness, he slipped a finger inside her heat and her eyes watered.

“Stephen…”

Ava could taste her need for him on her tongue. She ached for him to get down to business, for he hadn’t touched her in a month.

He worked his way in, adding another finger. “You’re so wet for me,” he whispered. “And so snug.”

“Just fuck me, Stephen, please,” she begged.

“Not yet,” he grinned and rose to lift her. Propping her on top of the dresser, he pried her legs apart. Her body heated in anticipation.

He settled between her legs and took her mouth, this time with slow, searing strokes that reduced her to weakness. Crushing her lips against his, she tasted the hint of alcohol that confirmed her husband’s lie.

He wasn’t working late.

She ignored it, using her competent tongue to convince him to let his mistress go.

Stephen broke the kiss and sank between her thighs, parting the meaty flesh. Resting her palms against the hard wood, she spread her legs further and waited for his tongued assault. It soon came; broad, thick and pleasurable, taking her to a new height. With tiny pants, she writhed against his hot licks as his tongue delved in and out of her cunt.

“Ohhhh god…”

He sucked on her clit, tugging an intense orgasm from her swollen bean. Rolling against his mouth, she absorbed the exhilarating pleasure that descended. He sucked her dry and rendered her limp and useless.

Releasing her, he stepped from his pants and boxers, exposing his abundant manhood. As sated as Ava was, her body came alive at the mouthwatering sight. Stephen’s dick was long and hard with the promise of another mind-blowing orgasm. He never failed to deliver a great time to her—and another woman.

Her heart sank at the thought.

He caught her expression and asked, “what’s wrong?”

With a shake of her head, she gave a dry smile. “Nothing.”

He studied her for a moment, then hauled his shirt over his head. Lifting her from the dresser, he took her mouth for a quick kiss. She wrapped her legs around him, breathing his scent mixed a flowery aroma.

Or maybe it was just her imagination. Her insecurities were quite active…

Stephen hooked his arms under her knees, shifting his cock at the entrance of her sex. She sank slowly down, her wetness contacting his rigid heat. As he drew out, her walls contracted to keep him in.

“Fuck,” Stephen muttered as his hips worked faster, his knees slightly bent. He thrusted in and out, gripping her ass for dear life. Ava bounced, feeling every inch of his cock as it pumped within.

“God…”

Sweat rained on their bodies; lust and passion filled Ava’s core. I needed this, she thought, her mind whirling with pleasure. She’d ached for the assurance that Stephen still wanted her. Knowing he’d found another outlet for his desire made her question his need for her. Tonight however, doubt had no room.

With her legs wrapped around him, Stephen sank to the carpet, placing Ava on her back. He buried his dick with a force, and she groaned as he sank to the hilt.

“Shit…” She closed her eyes, the pleasure almost unbearable.

He glided in and out, his hips churning, his face tight with control. “Fuck, Ava,” he muttered. “Your pussy’s like heaven…and it’s all mine.” His thrusts quickened. “All fucking mine.”

“Yes, baby,” she cried, as another orgasm arrived. “It’s all yours!” She bucked wildly, giving way to a resounding rush of intensity. Stephen’s body jerked soon after, joining her in a climatic chorus.

The sounds of heavy breathing filled the room as they rested on the carpet, too spent to move. Stephen rolled to his side, kissing her temple as his cell phone rang. Pulling it from the pocket of his pants, he glanced at the screen and disabled the ringer—not before Ava glimpsed the caller’s picture.

It was his mistress, Nyla.

“It’s my cousin,” he grumbled. “No doubt he’s calling for a favor. I’ll check with him tomorrow.”

Ava grunted in response, her heart hurting.

Raising from the floor, Stephen retrieved a box of wipes from the bathroom. He spread Ava’s legs open and cleansed her, his strokes delicate. She watched him as he worked, feeling a flicker of tenderness for the first time in ages.

After all he’d done, her feelings for him were dying a slow death. Still, a part of her fought to keep them alive.

Stephen had been a part of her life before she became a woman. When she had nothing. He’d given her a financial boost to her career and helped her establish a small empire. She owed it to him to keep fighting for her marriage.

Didn’t she?

Done with cleaning, he lifted her from the floor and took her to their bed. Throwing the duvet over her naked body, he planted a soft kiss on her forehead.

“I love you,” he said.

She gave a sad smile, wishing he’d meant it. His current behavior spoke to the contrary.

Four years ago, she discovered his affair with Nyla, his business partner’s mistress. After a violent confrontation, he swore it had ended. But Ava soon found that the relationship continued, despite his promises to remain faithful.

Depressed and alone, she longed to confide in her friends, but she was unwilling to destroy the image she and Stephen portrayed over the years. To Ava’s friends, their marriage presented the hope of a happy ending.

I can’t disappoint them, she thought. Stephen and I will make it. This is just another test of our love to each other.

Comforted with the thought, she drifted into a light sleep, then woke to the sound of Stephen’s soft-spoken voice as he argued with someone on his cell. Peering from half-closed lids, she watched as he paced back and forth, his free hand flexing into a fist.

“What the hell do you mean? You swore our secret was safe. I thought you’d taken care of it!”

He paused and listened to the reply on the other end. “How stupid are you?” He responded.

After another pause he said, “we need to meet. Tonight. Yes, at the same spot, in ten minutes.” He glanced in Ava’s direction and her eyes flew shut. She re-opened them when the bedroom door drew to a silent close, signaling Stephen’s sneaky departure.

No doubt Nyla was on the other end of the phone call. Ava debated going after him; she had to put an end to their affair once and for all.

The nice girl in me is of no use, she decided. I need to tap into my dark side.

Sliding from bed, she hastily donned a dress and underwear, running down the stairs and into the garage just as the tail lights of Stephen’s SUV disappeared through the garage door. Slipping into her car, she pressed the push-button ignition, but the engine did not come to life.

What the hell?

She tried again with the same result. Her car was in mint condition; she had it serviced two days ago. What could the problem be?

Exiting the car, she lifted the hood to check the engine and immediately found the source of the problem.

The car battery was missing.

Stephen, the sneaky bastard! He knew she wasn’t asleep. After twelve years together, he could read her like a book. He’d suspected she would try to follow him. Kicking the car in anger, she proceeded upstairs to bawl her eyes out.

I’m done, she conceded. I can’t take it anymore. In the morning I’ll go see my lawyer. I’ve given Stephen too many chances to count, and my patience is past the breaking point. There’s nothing left to fight for.

***

Ava returned to bed, but tried as she could, sleep kept a wide distance. Tossing and turning and watching the clock, she waited for Stephen’s reappearance.

Tonight, she resolved, I’ll show him I’m strong enough to walk away.

After half an hour, the sound of an opened door downstairs signaled his arrival. Ava flew from bed and ran downstairs, ready for a confrontation.

The living room was empty. A check in the kitchen yielded the same result.

“Stephen?” She called.

No answer.

I know I heard a door close.

Checking the garage, she saw the door raised and the cool night air wafted through the open space. In her anger she’d forgotten to close it. Slamming it shut, she retreated to the living room, turning the TV on for distraction.

Two hours passed, then she heard the garage door grate open. A few minutes later Stephen entered the room, stopping short at the sight of her.

“What are you doing up?” He asked, weary-looking. Clearly, the task of servicing two women in the same night had taken a toll on his body.

“Where have you been?” She sidestepped his question.

“It’s none of your business, Ava.”

“Excuse me?” Ready for a fight, she sprung from the couch, facing him. “I am your wife; it is my business. With me, you have no privacy.”

“Get out of my face.”

With folded arms, she moved closer to him. “Or what?”

He gave a small smile and took a step back.

Ava should’ve seen it coming. After twelve years, she knew the inevitable outcome of a fight with him.

His smile disappeared, replaced by a cruel frown. As quick as lighting, his arm swung, landing a hard fist to her jaw. Her eyes watered from the pain and she reeled back, but retaliated a few seconds later. Tonight, determination pushed her to fight back, and she resigned from her role as his punching bag.

Rebounding, she lunged at him with a force that sent them sprawling to the floor. She landed on him, clawing at him wildly. But she was no match for Stephen’s bulk and he flipped her over, raising on his knees. Her hands flayed his face, but he brushed them aside with one hand, using the other to land solid punches to her stomach. He beat her so hard, she struggled to breathe.

A sudden crash from the kitchen broke his flow and he paused, then rose to check the source of the noise. He returned soon after, looking at her teary form, his breaths heavy with frustration.

“Look what you made me do,” he cursed, reaching to lift her up. She struggled against his hold but he didn’t budge. He carried her to the sofa and sat, cuddling her in his arms like a baby. Ava sobbed hard, wincing at the increasing pain in her ribs.

“I’m sorry, baby,” he said, for what seemed like the hundredth time in the years they’d been together. This was a reoccurring scene; him delivering a resounding beating then making up for it afterwards.

On the outside, Stephen was the perfect man. His charming personality drew everyone to him, and his kind eyes and bright smile created a facade that people trusted. In the looks department he had an average rating, with a long face, hooked nose and bald head. His sexual appeal, however, made up for the rest. It attracted Ava to him and contributed to her delay in letting him go.

Stephen was an expert in bed. He’d always satisfied her needs. Would she find another who could deliver just as well?

It was time to find out.

“I want a divorce, Stephen,” she said through her tears.

His arms stiffened around her. “You don’t mean that.”

“Yes, I do. I’m tired. I’m done. This is too much for me.”

“I love you, Ava. I promise I’ll never raise my hands to you again. This is the last time.”

Pulling from his embrace, Ava struggled to sit upright. The pain in her ribs surfaced with every breath she took. In the morning, a doctor’s visit was inevitable.

“You don’t love me.”

“Yes, I do.”

“Then prove it,” she said as firmly as she could. “Let her go.”

He stared at the ceiling. “Tonight had nothing to do with her.”

“She called you, Stephen. I saw her name on your phone. You spoke to her before you left.”

“No, I didn’t.”

“What is it about her that makes you willing to sacrifice your marriage?”

He looked at her, silent.

“Do you love her?”

He didn’t answer.

That was all Ava needed. “I’ll file for divorce in the morning. She’s welcome to you—all of you.”

“Ava…”

“I’m done.” Raising gingerly from the couch, she took a bottle of whiskey from the liquor cabinet. Pouring a glass, she raised it to him. “Here’s to your freedom—and mine,” she mocked, emptying the glass in one drink.

He stood and walked towards her. “I’m not giving you a divorce, Ava.” He tried to grab the bottle, but she shifted from his reach. “You’re being irrational.”

“Am I? What would you do if you discovered I’d been unfaithful?”

His expression darkened. “You wouldn’t dare. Not again.”

She chuckled. “Why not? I’m beautiful, smart and amazing in bed. Why should I save it all for you? You don’t deserve it.” Taking a long swig from the bottle, she faced his deepening frown. “If you don’t give me a divorce, I’m getting a man on the side.”

Stephen’s fists curled at his sides. Ava gripped the bottle, prepared to smash it against his skull. The effects of the alcohol slowly seeped in. She was angry and bold enough to render physical damage.

“It’s simple,” she said, spreading her arms wide. “Divorce me, or share me. Choose the best option.”

“If you even look at another man, I’ll kill you,” he hissed. “I’d rethink those choices if I were you.”

Ava gave way to her temper. “Why do you want me around? Huh? To punish me? What did I ever do to you?”

His hands swept the expanse of the opulent living room, a part of the five-bed, four-bath mansion they owned. “You call this punishment? I’ve given you everything you ever wanted. What more do you need?”

“I worked for everything I wanted.” Which was true. Ava built The Pampering House, her beauty shop and gym from the ground up. Now it was a thriving business, with clientele from all walks of life. Sure, Stephen invested a great deal, but it was her hard work that created a dynasty.

“I need more than material things. My husband home at nights—a baby. You’re unwilling to deliver any of the above.” Stephen’s lack of interest in procreation was a constant bane in their marriage. After all this time, he still wasn’t quite ready for an addition to their family.

“I told you, in time we’ll try again. Now’s not the time.”

“Right, because you need to sew your wild oats.”

“Give me a break, will you?”

“Give me a divorce, and I will.” Ava took a few more gulps from the bottle, hoping the liquor would knock her into a deep sleep. Tomorrow she would start anew. Tonight, she just wanted to forget. With the alcohol muddling her brain, she staggered upstairs as Stephen said, “that’ll never happen.”

Looking back, she realized how right he’d been.

Slumping into bed, miserably intoxicated, she welcomed the beckoning of sleep.

***

The sound of the phone alarm woke Ava. She struggled to move, her eyes still thick with sleep, her ribs screaming with pain. A sharp headache announced a huge hangover. Rolling to her side, she reached for the phone, stopping short at the sight of a thick, red stain on her hands. Raising it to her nose, she sniffed, recognizing the metallic smell of blood. With her mind still jumbled, she tried to make sense of it, rolling over to wake Stephen. Maybe he could determine how it got there.

As she turned, her vision blurred, and she blinked to see clearly. The effects of the alcohol still lingered as her mind tried to process the gruesome image before her. The sight of her husband lying in blood was just her imagination, she was sure.

She blinked, willing her vision to clear. It didn’t. Stephen stared at the ceiling, his expression sightless, with blood on his chest and a hole in the side of his head.

With her chest heaving, she prodded him gently, calling to him. “Stephen…” Her bowels loosened as his body rocked, unroused.

“Oh god…Stephen!” Sitting up in bed, she shook him harder. “Stephen! Please…wake up! God…no! No, no, no…Stephen!”

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