Linda picked up the phone on the third ring. “Hello,” she said, trying to sound as cheerful as possible, even though it had been a train wreck of a day.
“Mrs. Franklin, please listen carefully,” a woman’s voice said flatly. “We’ve kidnapped your son, and are holding him for ransom. Please assemble $50,000 in small, non-sequential bills to secure his release. You only have twenty-four hours.”
Linda glanced over at the clock on the microwave, and saw that it read: 6:30 PM. “Oh, no, Sherry, please don’t tell me that I forgot to pick up Jason after baseball practice!”
Her best friend roared with laughter over the telephone, and finally said, “Don’t sweat it, girl, I’ve got you covered. I was picking up Aaron anyway, and I know how busy you’ve been. The boys are in the den playing some kind of auto racing video game, and I’ve got lasagna in the oven. It’s Friday night, so why don’t you let Jason sleep over? The boys can race their hearts out, and it’ll give you and Ben some down-time.”
Linda suddenly heard the sound of a metal-bending, glass-breaking crash.
“Turn it down, guys, please!” she heard Sherry call out on the other end of the phone. “Good heavens, do you realize that these kids will have their learner’s permits in only two years, and they’re already getting their driving instruction from speeding around the Daytona racetrack? Lord, help us both.” She sighed. “But anyway, you can pick Jason up tomorrow whenever you’d like. Roger and I will be home all day.”
Linda sighed. “You have no idea how much I could use a night off. I haven’t started dinner yet, and it’s my night to cook.” She glanced back at the clock, “And Ben should have already been home from work.”
“Then make something sexy, girl!” her friend laughed. “You two are alone tonight!”
“Sherry, please!” She never failed to be shocked at her friend’s cavalier attitude toward intimacy.
“Oh, come on! You guys have been married, what, fifteen years or so? All that time in a marriage that has produced a super kid like Jason and such a solid relationship, hey, your boudoir activities are a blessed thing… so go on and be a little blessed this evening!” Sherry laughed, and before Linda could comment, added, “Hey, we’ve got the kiddo tonight, so have a good time and I’ll talk to you tomorrow.” There was a click on the line and she was gone.
Linda sighed, but paused a moment before hanging up the phone.
Twenty minutes later, the hallway door from the garage opened and Ben walked in. He tossed his briefcase onto the couch, and said, “Sorry I’m late, Baby, but I got hung up at work.”
She walked over to greet him with a smile, and then gave him a peck on the lips… and lingered there for just an extra moment. “Bad day?”
Ben seemed not to notice. “It was the worst.”
“Well, I’ll see your bad day and raise you. I showed three houses today, all about an hour’s drive apart, and for each one it was nothing more than tire-kickers. Not one of the couples was genuinely interested in buying a home.” She shrugged her shoulders. “Life of a real estate agent, I guess.”
He smiled sympathetically, then said, “Well, I was stuck in a meeting for the last two hours in Brian’s office, and for some reason he insists on keeping it ten degrees warmer than the rest of the building in there. I’ve heard of people being cold-natured, but he’s ridiculous. In fact, I’ve got to grab a shower – I’ve sweated through everything I have on.”
“That’ll work great; it’ll give me time to finish dinner.” She put her arms around his waist, pulled him tight, and laid her head on his shoulder. “Jason’s spending the night at Aaron’s, so we get to have some down-time tonight. I’ll get you some socks, undies, and pajamas and put them out on the bed.” She kissed him again. “You just relax, get cleaned up, and I’ll have dinner when you get out. Will that work?”
“Pajamas this early?” He thought about it for a moment, and said, “You know what? That works great. Thanks for taking care of me.” As he walked toward the bedroom, he turned back and said, “You know, on days like this one I feel like we’re just riding a merry-go-round in circles. Go to work, come home, get paid, put away money for Jason’s college and our retirement, go back to work, come home…” He shook his head. “Sometimes I’d just like to get off the ride for a while.”
As Ben disappeared into the bedroom, Linda smiled and whispered, “Okay, off the merry-go-round and onto the roller coaster.” She laughed to herself, turned, and headed for the kitchen.
“Hey, Babe, you said that you were laying some clothes out for me, but all I could find was a top…” Ben walked into the living room wearing a pajama shirt, open, and then stopped immediately.
Linda was standing there in another one of his pajama tops, only one button fastened on the front, and the sleeves rolled up to uncover her hands. She walked over and flicked the light switch off, leaving the room illuminated by two candles on the coffee table. The glow of another candle back in the kitchen danced in the doorway.
Disappearing through the door for a moment, she came back holding a tray with rolls of cold cuts and cheese, grapes, olives, and pieces of bruschetta bread. “The Chinese might call this a Pu-Pu Platter, the Italians would call it a Tapas Tray, but I think that we can simply call it ‘dinner’.”
Ben looked at her and smiled. Along with his shirt she was wearing a string of white pearls, pearl drop earrings, and white high heel shoes. After admiring her for a moment, he said, “So what did I do to deserve all this?”
“You married me, and made me the happiest lady on the planet,” she said, walking across the room, then bending down and setting the tray on the coffee table. A hint of a smile crossed her face when she saw Ben’s eyes following her movement. “Oh, and one more thing.” She turned and walked back to the kitchen, very aware that her bottom was only barely covered by the shirt; Linda imagined her husband’s eyes on her.
She picked up two wine glasses from the kitchen counter, each half-filled with a merlot, and then walked back into the living room with a smile. “And given the fact that it’s a Friday night alone together, I thought that a glass of wine might be in order.”
“I would second that decision,” Ben said, taking the glass and clinking it against Linda’s. “To an old married couple,” he said with a smile, and took a drink.
She sipped as well, and then said, “You’re only as old as you feel, darling.”
Ben laughed. “Well, looking at you, I feel like a young man again. Are those the pearls that I got you for Christmas last year? I don’t think that I’ve seen you wear them before.”
“Oh, I wear them all the time; they’re my favorites,” she said.
He put his arms around her waist and said, “Well, maybe your daily outfits don’t show them off as well as this one does.” Ben took her wine glass and put it on the coffee table beside his, and then unfastened the single button on her shirt. He slipped it off over her shoulders, and she stood there in only her jewelry and heels. “You know, sometimes I forget to tell you just how beautiful you are.”
Linda blushed. “Thanks, but I fear that I’m not the young lady you married. A few years and a few pounds take their toll…”
Ben peeled off his shirt, turned her around and pressed up against her back. He began to kiss her shoulders as he cupped her breasts with his hands.
She felt his erection press into her back, and she stood there lost in sensation as his lips trailed up onto her neck. Linda reached around and pulled her hair up to give him access. Her legs felt weak as his lips continued to caress her neck, and his fingers began to knead her nipples. As his lips brushed across her ear, he softly whispered, “I love you, Linda.”
His arms cradled her as she felt him gently turn her body, and lay her down on the couch. “Ben,” she started, not knowing exactly what she wanted to say, when she felt him beside her. He rolled over, parting her legs with his knee, and she felt him suddenly, softly entering her body. “Oh…” was all that she could manage.
Linda felt him moving in and out, gently brushing her clitoris, causing her to breathe heavier with each stroke. He was kissing her lips, her breasts, her nipples, and it seemed like he was attending her entire body at once.
She rubbed her hands on his bare back, moving down and cupping his cheeks, pushing him into her. “Ben – this is…”
“…amazing!” He finished her thought. “I love you so much. You’re incredible.” Ben buried his face in her hair, kissing her ear, when she felt his thrusts begin to escalate. Just as she was about to reach her peak, he stopped, and slowly pulled out, both of them unfulfilled.
She looked up at him and pleaded, “No…”
He laughed softly, repositioning, and said, “Yes. Now come here.” He pulled her up so that she was seated beside him on the couch, their bodies touching from feet to shoulders. “You prepared such a wonderful dinner – let’s pause for a little nourishment before we continue.” Ben reached out for a turkey and cheese roll-up, took a bite, and then offered it to Linda. She laughed, and then reached out for a nibble.
Ben picked up the wine glasses, handed one to Linda, and took a sip from the other. “I think grapes will accompany this nicely.” With that, he took a handful of grapes and popped one into his mouth. As he broke the skin with his teeth and felt the juice flood across his tongue, he rolled a grape between his fingertips and held it out to his wife. She took it with her lips, slowly sucked it in, then smiled and said, “Another, please!” as she savored its flavor.
The couple enjoyed the platter of food and sipped wine, laughing and talking, their bodies still pressing together.
“Well, I don’t know about you,” Ben finally said, “but I’ve really enjoyed our dinner. Now…” He stood and walked across the room to the kitchen. In a moment, Linda saw the candlelight through the doorway go dark. Ben re-appeared, leaned down, and blew out the candles on the coffee table.
It was pitch black, but Linda felt her husband sit down on the couch beside her. His hands found her shoulders, and gently pushed her forward – she was sitting on the very edge of the cushion. He was suddenly behind her, and as he moved her around again, she realized that he was lying down on the couch and pulling her down on top of him.
Linda smiled in the dark as she laid her head on his shoulder, and then opened her legs to slide him inside her body. After pausing for a moment to enjoy the sensation, she pulled her knees forward and put his hands on his chest. She was sitting on top of him, and began to rock slowly back and forth. “This time you’re not going to stop!” she laughed.
“I wouldn’t dream of it,” he said.
She moved with more urgency as each minute passed. Ben put his hands on her thighs and helped her rock back and forth. “You feel incredible, Linda,” he said. “Keep going…”
“Don’t worry!” she said, and increased her movement. Finally, she called out, “Ben?”
“Come on, baby, go!” They were both breathing heavily and bucking off the cushion of the couch.
“Ben – Ben, come with me!” Linda said loudly, feeling a wave of sensation wash over her.
“I… I…” Ben called out.
As her orgasm suddenly drained her, she felt her husband thrust up into her, and then felt the pulsing of his own climax. She fell on top of him.
Linda wasn’t sure how long they laid there together, but Ben finally disengaged and rolled over beside her. She took a deep breath, and whispered, “I need to go clean up.”
He gently kissed her lips and said, “Shhhh…”
She felt him stand up. After only a moment, he was back and sat down on the edge of the cushion. “Here you go, baby. I’ve got a towel and a warm cloth.”
Linda reached out and took them both. “Wow – how incredible is that!”
“Oh, I’m not through,” he said, and she felt him stand back up. She finished cleaning up, rolled the towels together and tossed them aside, and then Linda felt him lie back down.
“What are you doing?” she asked, as she felt a puff of air and a blanket settling down over them.
He gently turned her on her side, and then moved up beside her. “We’re sleeping here, if that’s okay with you. We’ve got a king-size bed in the bedroom, but I don’t want to be that far away from you tonight.”
She put her head back against his, and a satisfied smile crossed Linda’s face in the darkness. She said, “By the way, tomorrow I’m buying Jason an early birthday present.”
Ben raised up a bit. “What do you mean?”
“Well, Aaron has some kind of racing video game at his house that he and Jason enjoy playing, so I figure if we get one for our house, the kids can swap back and forth spending Friday nights together.”
After only a moment, Ben said, “So you mean…”
“Exactly. I’ll talk to Sherry and work something out – I’m sure that she’d love a Friday night with Roger, so that means every other week we’ll have our own time for a date night.”
Ben laughed. “Hmmm… a date night… lady, I absolutely love the way you think.”
She turned her head, putting her lips against his, and kissed him deeply.