Written by lizz

Fiction
17 Oct 2016


My husband didn't want to fuck me. I didn't know when it happened, but there was no warmth in our bed anymore. As the feelings of rejection and disappointment simmered, and weeks became months in our sexless marriage, I begun to realise that our connection had shifted. We were roommates more than we were lovers. Lingering kisses became irritating pecks on the temple. Touch became a luxury - suddenly something as simple as holding hands made us shy and awkward.

Being the high-strung person I was, as I had grown older and my responsibilities and work stresses had grown, I'd found a way to let steam off: sex. The perfect antidote to my frustrations, anger and loneliness at the workplace. I had saved myself for marriage, yet, as the fire in our relationship cooled, I began to regret this impossible fairytale I had built in my head. The man I had given my virginity to, after years of marriage, now rejected my advances night after night. I was devastated. My wants and needs went unmet. But despite this, I never strayed. Somehow I switched into survival mode. I always hoped that my husband and lover would somehow find his way back to me. To us.

Seeking solace, I ended up burying myself in my job. I had always been good at what I did. The praise of my bosses and rewards of a job well done became my balm. I'd always valued my professional, aloof, almost cold presence at work. Getting to know colleagues, but not getting too close. I kept myself and work in clear compartments, so it was probably my solitude that eventually drove me to agree to meet one of my junior colleagues, Matthew, at tennis after work one Friday.

Matt was a smart kid whom I'd known for years. We met well before he graduated and found a job and a way into my firm. Friendly, driven and hardworking. He was well-liked and respected in my unit; but had many friends throughout other offices and departments within our organisation. I hadn't played tennis in a while and thought that it would be fun to allow the tables to turn. For once I'd let someone whom I supervised for a living call the shots for a change. He'd been training regularly for a while, so he'd teach me to play again.

We arrived at the courts in good spirits - I was anxious I'd get sprain an ankle or tear a muscle - but as we filled in some paperwork and paid our fees, Matt chatted to allay my fears as we warmed up and made our way to the allocated tennis courts. I assumed that it would be a relaxed one-on-one match, so it took me off guard when, as we lightly knocked the ball over the net, the gates opened a few minutes later and in walked two guys carrying their kitbags and rackets. Both colleagues, Mark, a senior exec, and - we were later introduced - Andrew - who held a similarly junior position as Matt did.

Mark was older, unfit - despite his slender build - and as unseasoned as I was, so Mark and I took to one court and started bashing the ball around while the other two guys grabbed a second court. It was tough going. A little embarrassing, to be honest. After a few games, Andrew and Matt - the 'kids' as I called them - took a break and watched our game as they shouted encouragement, insults, taunts - Mark and I began to laugh after we realised this was all supposed to be light fun, and the mood became a bit more jovial.

Matt wandered off to smoke and return some urgent calls while Andrew walked closer and watched me for a while. I wasn't at all bothered though. During a lull in our game, Andrew walked closer to me and spoke quietly criticising my technique gently. A dramatic change to the hollering he'd just been doing across the courts, so I listened attentively. He was actually rather polite, "Your forehand technique needs a little tweaking and power, but you're getting there! It looks better already from when you started..."

He came to stand behind me and asked Mark to pause the game. He leaned close, carefully leaned over my shoulders, adjusted my grip and held his hand firmly over mine as he gently swung my arm round to in a complete arc. "Just let it flow through like this." Time slowed. He let go and stepped back.

As soon as he did so, the air around my neck and back cooled. Goosebumps tingled down my spine and arms, and, for a moment I was dizzy. It took a few seconds to gather myself, but I think Andrew noticed. He watched as I took a deep breath and jumped back into the game. I tried to banish the memory and feel of his chest around my shoulders, his wide, strong hands on mine but I couldn't shake it - or my sudden self-consciousness. We played on, and Andrew and Matt resumed their game. The mood then returned to normal. Almost.

The sun sank lower, but the heat and sweat became overwhelming so we all decided to call it a day. Mark excused himself and rushed off to a dinner date and left the three of us as we elected to grab some refreshments from the clubhouse before parting ways.

As we walked, I was sandwiched between the guys, but suddenly I was again very aware of Andrew. Despite his age, at 24, he spoke and stood with confidence in his tall, sinewy frame . He had short, brown, tight curly hair, clear, caramel skin and a well-trimmed beard that framed his soft, full lips. His wide shoulders and easily towered over me - a tiny 5' 1" thirty-something year-old. Everything about him: his posture and walk boasted unabashed energy and youth.

I kept telling myself that *if* I'd been ten years younger I would have thrown myself at Andrew. But the 'MILF' persona was not me. There I was - a married professional - and I thought I was getting hit on by a boy barely out of his teens. Who the fuck did I think I was? And what was there to see in me? I was going to avoid this one. In no way were my marriage problems going to influence my professionalism. In my twenties, my personal experiences dating guys that age had left a sour taste in my mouth. Younger guys were needy, insecure, volatile, even infantile... Considering one again was not even a remote possibility - no matter what this young thing had in mind.

At the clubhouse, around our cozy little table, we chatted. He would make eye contact, smile and keep talking as our drinks arrived. It could have been how we sat, but Andrew's knee would keep touching mine. When it happened, he apologized, touched my knee gently under the table and continued with the conversation. My skin was on fire where he touched me. I had forgotten what it felt like to be so on edge - in a good way. I could hardly sip my glass of water, and I pretended to listen while my ears roared with adrenaline through those 20 minutes.

We got up, parted ways and I made vague promises to 'do this again'. The awkwardness, the bizarre, unexpected rush between me and Andrew was almost palpable.


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