JAZZ MUSIC ON, Allison began to decorate the house. Unwrapping the dozens of long-stemmed, red roses, she trimmed down a great bunch to the appropriate lengths and arranged them thoughtfully in vases positioned in the living room. As for the remainder, she collected and sprinkled their petals across the entryway floor, over the stairs up to the master bedroom, and on the bathtub and bed. Votive candles were then placed among them, and ones in metallic holders on tables near the vases, as well as in alignment on the cedar railings out on the deck where the dinner was to take place.

After a long period of careful ornamentation, it was time to cook. She had ambitiously planned for a three-course meal: coconut shrimp to start, sirloin steak with potato risotto as the main course, and chocolate raspberry soufflé to end. Despite having never made any of the dishes before, she followed the preselected recipes step by step, slaved over the hot stove for hours to put together each from scratch, and succeeded. The shrimp turned out golden-brown, the steak a perfect pink just how Daniel would like it, and the soufflé still baking in the oven added a touch of sweetness to the already appetizing aroma.

Having been caught up in everything else, she was unaware, until preparing to blend up some ice and fruits for the cocktail, that Sara had been absent all afternoon. It was already six o’clock. Just before she would go mad and call her up for a scolding, someone was at the door. She dashed to answer it with a face annoyed assuming it was Sara returning the blender at the last minute. As it happened, it was Ed doing her dirty work.

“She said she’s very, very sorry.”

“I specifically reminded her early this morning.”

“You know how she is. She’s got a memory like a sieve.”

“What has she been doing in the past ten hours?”

He shrugged. “Who knows? When I was just over at her place, she was busy tidying up the bedroom.”

“I’ve honestly not known anyone so forgetful. This is the last time I’m lending her anything.”

“Yeah, I had to learn that the hard way too. Exactly why doesn’t she use her own? She’s the one who’s constantly hosting parties.”

“It’s a long story. Hers broke a few weeks ago —”


Just then, the oven timer went off, prompting her to rush for the kitchen to take out the soufflé. On her return, Ed had let himself in.

“What’s all this fuss?” he asked her, studying the deliberate arrangement in the living room.

“Tonight’s our fourth wedding anniversary.”

“And am I lucky to have you as my wife,” he kidded, but she was not having it.

“Not now, Ed.”

“Relax. It was a joke.”

“I still have so much to do and so little time left.”

“What else is there to do?”

“I still need to make the cocktail and light all these candles…”

“Would you like some help?”

She looked at him weirdly for a second, and he added, “What? It’s a genuine offer.”

“Thank you, but no. I got everything covered.”

“I gotta say though, you must have put lots of thought into this night to make the place look so lovely…”

Seeing him continue to wander in the room with no immediate intention of leaving, she got anxious. “Listen, Ed. Dan will be home very soon —”

“And you want me gone. You know, I never planned to ruin your evening.”

“I know, but —”

“But dare I say that Daniel Skala is undoubtedly one of the luckiest sons of a bitch in the world.”

His rude comment stemmed from pure jealousy stunned her for a moment. “Did you drink at Sara’s house?” she suspected.

He let out a scornful snort. “Don’t worry, Allie. I’ll go. And I sincerely wish you two a wonderful night.” As soon as he finished talking, he showed himself out.

She could really do without the drama at a time like this. So she let him leave, secretly thankful, jumping back on track at once.

The time it took to light all the candles proved to exceed her calculation. By force, she scratched the whole homemade cocktail idea, presuming Daniel would be just as pleased. She then went to fix up her hair and make-up, and change into her lacy, baby-doll lingerie and heels for the occasion. The sun was just setting. As the colored sky gradually faded, the candlelight shone brighter. The metallic candleholders shimmered in the soft lighting, all at once retaining a charming luster that made the entire house — inside and out — glow.

Any minute now, she thought nervously, barely sitting down on the couch before hearing Daniel’s car pull up onto the driveway. Soon, he came in through the front door with a bouquet of red roses in his hand. He set it down on the entryway bench prior to following the trail of rose petals leading into the living room.

Hands on her hips, Allison greeted him in a seductive manner. “Happy anniversary, honey.” As she made her way to him, he looked over her luscious figure from head to toe, marking her every slinky tread till she stopped in front of him.

“I made us dinner instead,” she said, looking up at him enticingly.

“Is that what that smell is?”

She nodded.

“What’s with all the candles and deco?”

“Well… I uh…”

“I like them.”

She was beaming with elation then. “Are you —”

Suddenly without warning, he seized her boldly around the waist, lifting her up with one arm and supporting her bottom with the other. Instinctively, she wrapped hers around his neck and legs around his back.

“Am I what?”


“You were saying something before I interrupted.”

“I… I don’t remember.”

He smiled, and then his lips returned to their normal position. His gazing into her eyes was every bit sensual yet self-assured, drawing her closer. Biting her lower lip, she signaled her carnal desire. Just as she had wished, he kissed her, tenderly at first and then passionately. The moist taste of his affection went on for the whole time she was being carried out to the awaiting deck, and eventually set down on the small dining table.

Positioning himself in between her thighs, he brushed his lips against her ear and along her neck as her arms hugged around and fondled his lower back. One moment he pulled back, the next he reached behind her and untied the strip of fabric that was holding her top together, unveiling her full breasts. Her heart was pounding faster. Legs up on the table, she scooted back, her hands gripped onto its edges in anticipation of his violation.

Taking his time, he teased her rosy nipples with his fingertips, and on occasion with his teeth, to stimulate her erotic sensation. The arousal had her moaning away. In a moment, he wrapped his hand around her jawline, tiling her head back slightly, maintaining it. Consequently, she shot her yearning eyes at him, feeling his other hand leave her breast, graze past her stomach and come to touch her privates.

“Tell me. How does this feel?”

She felt her loins melting, like a shot through her trembling body, flushing with ecstasy that literally broke down all her guards; although, at the time, she was all too drowned in the feeling to reply to him. Not that he really needed her to anyway.

“You like that, don’t you?”

Her eyes never left his, just as he never removed the hand that grabbed around her jaw to hold her still. Meanwhile, he got turned on watching her suck on his forefinger that he casually slipped into her mouth, and her chest rise and fall harder trying to catch her breath due to the brisk movement.

“Please, Dan… now.”

“What now? I want you to say it.”

“I want… I want you inside me.”

Removing his pants and boxers, he commanded her to turn around. She obeyed, getting off the table swiftly. He stripped off the tie from around his collar, used it to bind together her wrists behind her back, and bent her over. Her cheek rested sideways against the surface of the table while her bottom stuck out at him. He lifted her thong and penetrated her. Excited by her own state of immobility, she thirsted for his bestial consumption. The thrill of having complete control over her sexual pleasure, in a wicked sense, intensified his lovemaking.

During the course of all the glory, someone hidden six feet away behind the railing was watching with jaundiced eyes. Blending in among the bushes, Ed glared at the intercourse in action. His fingers tightened into fists as anger ran through his core, struggling very much to restrain it. A sharp pang of envy struck him hardest the moment Daniel reached his peak. He looked on at his satisfied face roaring in orgasmic rapture, feeling sick to his stomach. He had to turn away.

For the thousandth time, and each time more pathetic than before, he vowed inwardly, that is it… no more.

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