Michelle woke to what she thought was a pesky fly buzzing around her face. It turned out to be a pesky husband lightly tapping the tip of her nose with his finger. She swatted his hand away.
“Good morning, wife.” Damien was lying on his side with his head propped in his hand, grinning way too much for first thing in the morning.
“Why are you smiling like that? You look deranged,” she said, flashing her own satisfied grin.
“You know why. You were there.”
She stroked his face. “Yes, I was.”
Last night had been one of the best nights of her life. It’d been a long time since she’d been so desired. So wanted. And so loved. Nothing seemed to matter to him but to satisfy her, a satisfaction that left her weakened and blissfully giddy.
“You hungry?” he asked, springing to his feet. He stood there. Naked.
“Starving,” she said.
He dashed to the kitchen, returned minutes later with leftover chicken cavatappi, veal piccata, a hunk of chocolate cake and a half full bottle of orange juice.
“Breakfast of champions,” he said, setting the tray on the bed.
Michelle sat up against the headboard with the sheet across her chest. She smiled at the vision of her magnificent husband in all his glory, presenting her with breakfast in bed.
“Here you go, darlin’.” he said, passing her a fork. “Dig in.”
They ate from the plastic take-out containers.
“This tastes even better than it did last night.” She stuck her fork in the pasta, then the veal, finishing with a few bites of cake. “I love chocolate cake for breakfast.”
“I’d love to have you for breakfast,” he said, leaning in for a smooch. He finished off the cake, took a swig from the orange juice bottle and handed it to her.
She stared at him, then the bottle. “Are you serious?”
“What?” he said, with a mouthful of food. “You didn’t have a problem sharing fluids last night.”
Michelle punched him in the arm.
“Ow! You don’t have to be so violent.”
“And you don’t have to be so nasty.”
“You know you like it,” he said, moving in for another kiss.
Michelle blocked his face with her hand. “Down, boy. I’m not finished eating.”
Damien pouted, dug his fork into the pasta. “Well, then tell me about your tattoo. When did you get it?”
“For Lashaun’s birthday.”
“You got a tattoo for someone else’s birthday?”
“Believe me, it wasn’t my idea. She turned forty and getting a tattoo was on her bucket list. I didn’t want one. I never had any interest in tattoos.”
“Not your thing, huh?”
“Not really.... Except on a really hot contractor who brings me breakfast in bed.” She kissed him and continued. “Lashaun made me feel guilty by pulling the best-friend-with-cancer card. We had a few drinks and walked to this tattoo salon and spa a few blocks from my townhouse. We—”
“Wait,” Damien interrupted with a perplexed expression on his face. “You got a tattoo at a salon?”
He chuckled. “You women have it good. I got these in the filthy kitchen of a local artist when I was stationed in Hawaii. And I’m pretty sure I saw him clean his needles with a dirty toothbrush.”
Damien shrugged. “I was drunk too.”
“Piedmont Body Art catered to an upscale crowd living on the edge. It was a beautiful place, and they did great work. Lashaun thought it would be special if we chose each other’s tattoo. I picked a dove for her because it symbolized love, grace and hope. I was thoughtful with my selection, even though I was buzzed. She, on the other hand, went for the funny. I didn’t realize what it was until the next day when I went to take a shower and saw the Tasmanian Devil growling above my ass in the mirror. Ooh, I was so mad at her—I wanted to choke her!”
“I like it. It’s cute.” He finished off the pasta and set the tray at the foot of the bed. “What did you say to Lashaun?”
“Since she’d slept over, I woke her up and showed her my ass. Of course she laughed once she remembered the night before. Then she made me cry.”
The memory clutched at Michelle’s throat. She sighed to keep from crying. “Lashaun said I picked the dove for her, so she could enjoy it while she was still alive, but she’d picked the Tasmanian Devil, because she wanted me to have a permanent memory of her that would always make me laugh once she was gone.”
“Wow... That’s... um... That’s really nice.”
“Yes, it was.” Michelle dabbed her eyes with the sheet and chuckled. “But, I still wanted to punch her in the face for having a damn cartoon put on my ass.”
“Can I see it again?” Damien asked, picking at the sheet across her chest.
“You’re the first man that’s seen it.”
“And I’m gonna be the last.”
“Yes, you are,” Michelle said, with a smooch to his cheek. “I’m going to take a shower. I have to pick up the boys soon.”
“Sorry I can’t go with you.... But I can join you in the shower. I can wash your back if you want me to.”
“No thanks. I can manage.”
“I promise to keep my hands to myself.”
Michelle glanced down at his body. “What about him?”
“Scout’s honor,” he said, holding up the three-finger Boy Scout sign. “I’ll keep him to myself, too.”
He didn’t. But it was a broken promise she didn’t mind.
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