It'd been a trying day at the office. My eyes burned as if each capillary throbbed in its own distinct rhythm.
A voice startled me. "Jesse?" Sandy smiled, her teeth gleamed behind ruby lips. "You told me to throw you outta here on time tonight. Trying to get me in trouble?"
"What time is it?" My brain was rattled.
She peeked at her watch. "4:11."
Had I even taken a lunch break? I ran my hand across my face and groaned. "Thanks, you're a doll."
I stood and walked around the desk. My legs were stiff from a day of sitting and I bumped against a stack of folders. They scattered about the carpet in a confused mess.
My temples throbbed as I realized the extent of the chaos. I knelt and began to straighten the pages. Sandy removed her heels and squatted opposite me. I glanced at her. The skirt she wore, short even by college intern standards, had ridden far up her legs. Her thighs were firm and athletic, smooth and tanned.
I tried to turn away but my flesh was weak.
She seemed not to notice my inadvertent fascination.
My spirit screamed at me to run. My body refused. I edged closer. A fragrant cloud of lilacs and vanilla wafted about her. It was a narcotic to me. My pulse strengthened as my neck began to bead with sweat. I slipped into the temptation, the danger excited me.
Sandy remained busy. "You'll be late. Go!" Her eyes met mine and she smiled.
I retrieved my coat and was halfway out the door. The reason that I needed to leave on time sprang into my mind. "Oh, that's great. Today's my anniversary."
She stared and blinked.
"I worked right through lunch," I said. "I forgot to go buy my wife a gift."
"Whatcha going to do?"
"I guess just run to Wal-Mart and grab... whatever." I calculated the damage if I showed up empty handed.
Sandy stood. "Wait. If you buy ’whatever’ you'll either end up with a vacuum cleaner or a negligee." The choices seemed logical to me, but she rolled her eyes. "You goof! You don't want to buy a lame gift."
I shrugged. "So what do you suggest?"
Her mouth lifted into a captivating smile and she skittered barefoot across the carpet. "Does she wear perfume?"
"Yea," I paused and rubbed my forehead. I couldn't remember if my wife had worn perfume since our baby had been born over a year prior. I struggled to isolate a memory. Nothing came.
Sandy moved close in front of me, her body near. "Do you like my fragrance?"
My mouth went dry as her temptation rose again. A red cloud rolled across my vision. I wanted to pray but no words came.
"Can you smell it?" Her eyes were the lightest shade of blue I'd ever seen. They were large and round. They looked at me. "Maybe it's warn off. Sniff my neck." She placed her hand on the back of my head and lowered me toward her. "I won't bite."
My hands went to her hips as my face descended to her ear. Her nails, polished and smooth, moved in small circles along the nape of my neck. She inched tighter to me as I inhaled her fragrance in a slow, deep draught. It swelled inside of me like an enchanting spell and I closed my eyes and wallowed in the sensation.
My breath, hot against her flesh, caused her body to shudder between my hands. She stepped away, her smile a bit richer. "Whatcha think? You like it?"
"Uh, yea, sure," I stammered. "Nice." I felt dirty.
She bounced on her toes. "I knew you would!" She bounded out of my office and returned with a golden box. "It's called L'Extrait de Vanille et Lilas de Fleur. It's French! I have a brand new bottle. Here!" Her eyes brimmed with sincerity. "It's from Macy's."
I wasn't sure. I wrestled with the basic concept of giving another woman's perfume to my wife. It seemed unclean at the core. "I don't know..." A tremor in my gut spoke of boundaries exceeded.
"You don't have time to argue." She placed the box in my hand.
"Okay." I thought of trying to hold my wife once she was scented with the fragrance. Would I see Sandy's blue eyes looking at me? I went to the elevator. "Father God, I'm sorry. What am I supposed to do now?"
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