Oxygen Games Ch. 12
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[Recap: While trying to get his wife pregnant, Aidan has come up with a game to spice up their love life. It appears to be harmless enough, so Rosa reluctantly agrees. The games are over and Rosa won the final bet. The prize is a hall pass, but Aidan doesn’t believe she’ll go through with it. He’s glad the games are over. It’s time to reset their relationship and work out the future]
LIMIT OF NAVIGATION
Aidan is weighed down. He’s got two bags of shopping in each hand, puffing hard, following his wife up to their door. She’s dressed in a little black tank top and tight jeans; he’s watching the way her bottom moves as she walks. He wants to run his hands over the rounded curves of her rear, but his hands are full.
Rosa has a bounce in her step, and when she looks back at him over her shoulder, spilling her mane of dark hair out of the way, her beautiful face is smiling at him. It sets something in motion and Aidan feels himself begin to stir, affected by the subtle energy his wife is radiating. She opens the door and he notices she’s had her nails done while he did the shopping.
Inside, they begin to put the groceries away. Aidan takes the opportunity to brush his hand over the irresistible curve of his wife’s behind, feeling the delicious firmness of her toned buttocks. It makes Rosa wriggle. He finishes stowing the pasta packets in the cupboard and turns to see his wife, leaning up against the kitchen table, watching him. She’s smiling enigmatically, bubbling with an emotion that could either be tension or excitement. They haven’t had sex for three weeks now and Aidan begins to respond to the vision of his petite wife’s perfect body reclining against the table in front of him.
“So,” he ventures, “what shall we do for the rest of the day?”
It’s Sunday, their one day a week together, the only day when they leave the running of the gym to someone else, Aidan’s favourite day. His wife doesn’t answer immediately, but she cocks her head to the side, looking at him, the enigmatic smile still on her lips.
It’s been a week since she won the final bet, but since then it’s like a weight has been lifted from her shoulders. Her moods have improved, the sardonic digs at him have ceased. They haven’t talked about the last embryo yet, but they haven’t talked about the bet either. Aidan has come to the conclusion that it was her test, her way of drawing the line, daring him to step over or alternatively to prove that he had the strength to stay the course. Rosa had needed a man who would stick by her no matter what, and in not baulking at the test of the hall pass, he’d proven beyond all doubt that he was her man. He knows his wife, he knows she loves him. Sleeping with another man just to prove she’d won wasn’t in her nature. Of course it was a test, and he’d passed.
He steps closer to his wife and her hand comes up, pressing delicately on his broad chest, her eyes looking up to his. Aidan can see a nervous anticipation in her now, and he bends down for the kiss. Gently, she pushes him away.
“Babe, I’ve got plans,” she says in a small voice, her smile fading as she becomes more serious.
“Just you? What?”
“I’m going to be going out for the day.”
Aidan’s world stops.
‘I’ll need to take the car,” she continues, earnestly. “I’ll be back tonight.”
He clamps his mouth closed, muscles working in his jaw as he scans his beautiful wife’s perfect face. Her eyes are wide now, nervous. She’s not bluffing; this is the truth.
“I,” Aidan begins, “I thought….”
“I arranged it last week.”
This new revelation hits Aidan hard, as he puts the pieces of the puzzle together in his head. A week: so, Rosa must have set it up just after she won the bet. His mind races, flashing back to the conversation he saw between Rosa and Davey at the bar. Davey, who was between girlfriends, the guy who had insisted she wear bikinis for the spa photo shoot. It becomes painfully obvious to him now that her lightening mood isn’t because she’d come out of the games on top, it’s because she’d made the arrangements, taken the leap already, made the decision. She isn’t happy because the games are over, she’s excited because the wheels are in motion.
Aidan stares at his wife, battling to keep his expression neutral. He needs a poker face now, more than any time in his life.
“So, you’re gonna go through with it. You hadn’t said.”
“I thought it was kinder.”
“To not have it hanging over your head all week.”
Our heads, he thinks. Your head. You didn’t want to be burdened with having to deal with your husband’s shit.
“You really want to go through with it? Knowing what I think?”
Rosa sighs, her eyes searching his.
“You know the game. You know the terms. I expected you to say the words and call it off in the bar, or in the cab afterwards, but you didn’t.”
Aidan grits his teeth, choking back a sullen anger at his wife pushing the responsibility back onto him. It shouldn’t be up to him to tell her to stop; she should almanbahis know not to go through with it. He’s trying to formulate words to cut through all this bullshit, but nothing’s coming to mind, except the inviolable: ‘I lose, you win.’
“Who?” he croaks.
The corners of Rosa’s mouth turn downward. “You know you can’t ask that. Or where.”
“So, I just know when. Tonight.”
Rosa nods. Aidan is feeling the abyss opening below them. He doesn’t respond, trying to quieten his reeling thoughts enough to work it out, to work her out. He has to make her stop, but it has to be her call. It’s her turn now to prove that she isn’t capable of this cruelty after all.
“Do you love me?” he asks.
“Then why do you want to do this?”
Rosa stands up on her tiptoes and gives him a kiss. Aidan feels the soft, delicate warmth of his wife’s lips on his, then it’s over and she’s watching him again.
“I know this is hard for you.”
“So why do it?” he snaps, feeling the anger being to rise.
Rosa shakes her head sadly. “Rule three,” she says, “No trying to talk me out of collecting my winnings. You remember, right? You’re not allowed to ask that.”
She’s no longer smiling, and the nervous excitement has evaporated. Aidan’s mind is still racing for something to say, anything to head her off, and then he comes to a conclusion.
“No,” he says at last, gritting his teeth, “I can’t. The only one who can talk you out of this is you.”
That should be enough to make her understand, and he waits for her to relent, but instead she reaches up to stroke his cheek tenderly and heads off towards the bedroom, leaving Aidan alone in the kitchen. He looks around, taking in the little details: the brightly coloured coffee mugs, the juice squeezer they got for a wedding present that they’ve never actually used, the empty shopping bags folded on the table, the way the morning sunlight streams in through the window and the way it casts the shadows of the chairs across the wooden floor. Everything looks like it always did: so normal, all the same.
This is her test now. He won’t say the words that will stop the game because he knows he can’t. If he does, he’s always going to wonder if she would have gone through with it, whether deep down she has that capacity for betrayal. He loves her more than anything in the world, but he has to know she feels the same. She has to prove it: she has to be the one to call this off, otherwise it would hang like a cloud over them, for always. His mind races, looking for a way out, but finds nothing.
Aidan doesn’t know how long he’s been standing there, but he hears a sound and looks up from the floor. Rosa is standing in the doorway. Her hair is brushed and tied back, and she has a pretty summer dress on; the pastel lemon cotton drapes over her breasts and hips, loose enough to flow but tight enough to show off her perfect, enticing body. The hem sweeps down only as far as her thighs, showing off her golden, sculpted legs. She’s wearing strappy sandals with a low heel, shaping her calves, enhancing the elegant curves of her skin.
“How do I look?” she breathes.
He watches her lips move. She’s put on eye shadow and a delicate shade of lipstick, understated and yet enhancing her beautiful face. The lips he’s just kissed. Aidan can’t speak.
“Back before midnight,” she says, “As per the conditions.”
She stands in the doorway for a moment, seemingly waiting for him to speak, but Aidan doesn’t open his mouth. Rosa turns to go, and Aidan catches just a shadow of emotion on her face as she disappears from view. He can’t be certain whether it was anger or disappointment.
Rosa had messaged Haro from the bar as soon as she’d won the bet, before she could talk herself out of it. She’d locked herself in the toilet cubicle, clutching her phone in both hands, just asking him if he had plans on Sunday. She had kept it short, half expecting to get no answer back. He’d pinged back less than an hour later with just a single line: ‘No plans yet, what do you have in mind?’
It had taken less than an hour from the end of the basketball game to set up a fuck with a man who wasn’t her husband.
Rosa shifts in her seat as she drives, stomach churning with anticipation. Haro works in a coffee shop on the other side of the city, and she’d stopped in a few times on her way back from picking up equipment from a supplier over that way. She made the rule that Aidan couldn’t ask because she knew she’d end up telling her husband everything, including where Haro worked and what he looked like. She couldn’t read Aidan’s moods lately; she didn’t know whether he would have gotten to Haro before she did. She couldn’t predict what Aidan would have done.
Thinking about it forces her to focus on her husband, about what she’s doing. She’d seen his face in the bar when he lost the bet and opened up the envelope, remembered how quiet he’d been in the days since. She knew right then it was too much, and she’d been waiting for almanbahis giriş him to pull the pin, say the words and end the game. It was clearly what he wanted, and yet he hadn’t.
She bristles again at the thought: his own damn pride at not wanting to admit he’d lost, not wanting to give in. She recalled the video of her body writhing in the ropes as he left her to impale herself on the vibrator; not so much the way that she’d been helpless, forced to orgasm over and over again until her mind had been emptied of all awareness beyond the throbbing device between her legs, but that he’d just stood by and let it happen. No, worse: he’d stood by and filmed it, the way she’d been turned into one of those bobbing toys, raising itself up from the vibrator to get relief but then the muscles giving in and sinking back down again. Rosa had been able to see the point, towards the end of the video, where the lights went out in the helpless woman’s eyes; the point after which Rosa remembered nothing. The dark feelings welled up inside her every time she’d watched that video since, masturbating furiously to it until she climaxed in private in the bedroom when Aidan was out of the house.
The resentment surfaced. Aidan’s face an hour ago, watching as she left in her sexy little summer dress for her hot date, the hang-dog expression. He’d been in control all this time, had every opportunity, but had chosen not to stop it. Fuck him, and his fucking pride, Rosa thinks to herself, it’s time to balance the score. If she’d lost, he would have turned her into the defenceless, obedient plastic fuckdoll he so obviously craves, and wouldn’t have had a second thought about it. He’s going to find out he’s met his match, and after today they were going to be on an even footing. She manages to maintain the resentment for the rest of the drive, all the way to the coffee shop.
Rosa stops off a block before, parks the car and gets out. It takes two minutes to walk to the coffee shop and she stops at the doorway, looking around at the customers. It’s the usual scene, nothing out of the ordinary, just like every other time she’s been here. She feels a tingle in the back of her neck and turns. Haro is behind the counter, watching her.
He’s in his late twenties, tall but with olive skin and short, bleached-blonde hair just beginning to show dark roots. He’s wearing a plain black t-shirt over his lean, athletic body. Rosa watches the bulge of his bicep as he picks up the milk jug and feels a little nervous spasm in her core as Haro’s hazel brown eyes drift down her body, taking in the view. His gaze shifts to the customer he’s serving and suddenly she feels ignored.
Rosa doesn’t approach. She takes a stool by the window and waits, handbag over her shoulder. Eventually, Haro taps his co-worker on the shoulder and murmurs a few words into his ear. The other man nods and looks over to Rosa. They exchange some more words and the other man taps Haro in the back heartily, smiling, leaving her in no doubt that everyone behind the counter knows that she’s there for Haro to fuck.
For a moment, she feels humiliated, like she’s some desperate housewife looking for sex, and she gets off the stool to leave, but Haro’s already there, smiling, cupping her elbow with his hand, holding her in place as he leans in to give her a peck on the cheek.
“You look so hot,” he murmurs into her ear, and her body tingles at the feeling of his breath against her neck, “Let’s get out of here.”
Rosa stands up and Haro escorts her out of the coffee shop, his hand still resting lightly on her elbow, directing her. Outside, the hand shifts, sitting lightly in the small of her back, propelling her forward.
“Are you hungry?” he asks, “I’ve got a place in mind for lunch.”
“Sure,” Rosa replies, and part of her is relieved that they’re going to lunch, not to bed.
His hand pushes gently, steering her down the street.
“It’s just a couple of blocks. They also do vegan, if you, uh….”
“I’m not vegan,” Rosa says, finishing the sentence, feeling his awkwardness. They don’t really know the first thing about each other.
As they walk, Haro begins to chat, aimlessly wandering through topics to fill the silence. He has a couple of anecdotes from the past few days and by the time they reach the little café she’s beginning to loosen up in his presence. They sit inside at a table for two and are served by a pretty waitress who seems to know Haro because they talk easily together, discussing the daily specials. Rosa finds herself wondering whether they’ve fucked, as she smiles at him. Or whether Haro brings all his girls here, she thinks darkly.
“Uh, the frittata,” Rosa says, and the waitress nods. Rosa watches the other woman’s face as her eyes slide back to Haro. Yes, she decides, they definitely know each other.
While Haro talks, she watches him, studies the way his lips move, the strong, square jaw. She can see why the waitress likes talking to him, it’s the same reason Rosa picked him in the first place. almanbahis yeni giriş He’s good to look at, with an uncomplicated air, funny, but not too smart. He looks and acts nothing like Aidan. The little dark feeling bubbles up again, and she finds she’s sitting meekly while Haro takes charge and completes their order. The waitress glances at Rosa, then turns to go. She knows what’s going on, she knows Rosa’s there to be fucked; she knows that by tonight, Haro will have gotten her into bed, stripped her naked and be sliding into her, just like everyone in the coffee shop did. The humiliation burns in her, but it’s kindling something else now: she feels a twinge between her legs and finds that she’s becoming aroused. The prospect of being laid on her back with this stranger using her for his pleasure is making her damp, her body betraying her. She doesn’t understand it.
As if sensing her thoughts, Haro turns back to her and places his hand on the bare skin of her thigh. He doesn’t move it any higher, doesn’t stroke her skin with his fingers, he just lets the gentle pressure of his touch do its work as they chat.
When their meal comes, he removes his hand and they eat. As soon as his last forkful is consumed, the hand is back on her leg, higher this time, resting just underneath the hem of her summer dress, fingers curled around the toned curve of her flawless leg to rest lightly on the soft skin of her inner thigh. They fall into silence and Haro’s hazel eye lock onto hers.
“Shall we get out of here?” he says, but she knows he’s not asking.
She drives them to his place, a single-storey brick house in the leafy suburbs about five minutes from the coffee shop.
“How do you get to work?” Rosa asks, as they pull up.
“My housemate usually drops me on the way to work, or I take the bike.”
“Must be an early start.”
Haro shrugs. “She’s a nurse so yeah, it’s not usually an issue.
They get out of the car and Haro leads her up the path to the house. His hand has settled on the curve of her bottom, gently steering her through the gate up to the front door. Rosa can feel her body reacting to the feel of him touching her there, so casual and yet so intimate. Her tummy is tingling with nerves as she watches him slide the key into the lock and open the door. He beckons her inside.
Rosa hesitates, feeling her heart begin to pound in her ears, as she looks into the darkened hallway. It’s too real now, no longer a game: he’s going to fuck her. She wants to turn around but his hand settles in the small of her back and then she steps over the threshold into the quite darkness of the house.
“Anyone here?” she asks, trying to keep it casual.
“No, just us. My housemate’s doing a double shift at the hospital, so she’ll be back late.”
“Just the two of you in here?”
Haro laughs, and says, “Nah, can’t afford the rent between two, but Chi is out of town for a couple of days.”
She doesn’t ask who Chi is, or whether Chi is male or female. Haro might be living with two women in this cosy little place. He’s probably told them both about Rosa, arranged some privacy with his housemates so he can bed that chick that comes into the coffee shop sometimes.
“Do you want a drink or something?” Haro asks.
He’s leading her along the hall past the bedroom doors to the open plan living area at the back. The décor is dated, the furniture well-worn. It’s probably not expensive to rent, Rosa thinks to herself, and she suddenly feels very out of place. The car is parked just outside, she could be there in thirty seconds, out of this suburb in two minutes. She could be back in Aidan’s arms in an hour. It would be easy.
“I got juice, or water,” Haro calls from the kitchenette, “Or a chardonnay.”
He’s looking at her expectantly, one hand holding a carton of apple juice, the other a bottle of wine. Rosa doesn’t reply, and Haro puts the juice back. He goes over to the cupboard and pulls out two wine glasses. Without asking, he pours two glasses of wine and walks over to where Rosa has come to a halt in the middle of the room.
Haro holds out a glass. It’s already frosting from the chilled white wine inside. Rosa takes it automatically and Haro chinks his glass against hers.
“Cheers,” he says, smiling, his charming hazel eyes watching her closely as he raises the glass to take a sip.
Rosa finds herself following suit, taking a mouthful of the cold, tart wine. The taste is unexpected. She swallows. It’s the first time she’s had alcohol since she started trying to get pregnant, over a year ago. All that waiting and careful management of her body, all that planning, brought to an end in an instant. She takes another mouthful.
“Steady on Rosa,” Haro laughs, “We have all afternoon.”
He leads her out into the back garden to a big hanging chair suspended from the patio pergola. It’s a woven faux-wicker half-sphere with comfy cushions inside, big enough for two. There’s also a table and chairs.
“Where do you wanna sit?”
Rosa looks around, but doesn’t move. Haro takes her arm and leads her towards the hanging seat. She watches him kick off his shoes and get into the basket, careful not to spill his wine. He’s smiling at her playfully, waiting. Rosa steps out of her sandals.
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