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by Jonathan Cardew

My wife was all about new experiences, so we booked a female escort one Friday night. But instead of having sex with her, we sat around the kitchen table and played cards.

“This was something else,” the escort said, placing our crisp twenties into her black purse. “You guys are special. Really sweet.”

When I let her out the front door, it was raining so hard you couldn’t tell if it was raining up or down for the spray.

“This is for you,” she said, planting a kiss on my earlobe and pushing her tongue a little way in. She felt for my half-hard cock and gave it a little tap. Then she walked away into the deluge.

I re-entered our house in a daze. I walked from hallway to living room to kitchen without even registering any of it; all I could think about was the tongue and the tap and the sound of rain on concrete. My wife was doing the washing-up at the sink.

“I love you,” I said.

She nodded. “Me too.”

“That was …”

“I know …”

“… something else.”

We made love that night. When I was done kissing her neck, I noticed a mark of red lipstick below her ear. It was shaped as a perfect V. I was going to wipe it away, but I left it there, tracing it with my forefinger. My wife kept her eyes shut.

It rained until morning.

Jonathan Cardew’s stories, interviews, and articles appear or are forthcoming in Atticus ReviewFlashThe ForgeJMWWPeople Holding, SmokeLong Quarterly, and Segue, among others. He holds an MA in writing from Sheffield Hallam University, and he teaches English at Milwaukee Area Technical College, where he co-edits The Phoenix Literary and Arts Magazine. He was a finalist in this year’s Best Small Fictions. More at his website: https://jonathancardew.wordpress.com/.