Kevin sat at his desk staring at the time displayed on the bottom right corner of his computer. “11:49,” he read aloud. He had about ten minutes until his lunch break, which meant ten minutes until his lunch date with Maya. Kevin and Maya had a cliché “how we met” story. She stood in front of him in line at the local coffee shop near his accounting office. From the moment he stood behind her, he noticed her hourglass figure. Judging by her tailored pant suit and briefcase, he could assume that she was well into the corporate world. Most men would take her perfectly manicured nails, slicked down pony tail, and perfect posture as intimidating. Kevin found this attractive in every way. He admired the women in power and the work that they are willing to do to get the job done.
“Can I help who’s next?” the barista asked while staring at Kevin. He was so mesmerized by her soft tone while giving her order; he hadn’t realized the cashier next to her finished with the other customer.
“Uh. Yeah,” he said sliding over to the cashier next to his new found crush. “I’ll take a medium roast, black please.”
The barista recorded his order on the register and took his money. She directed him to the left where the other patrons stood, waiting for their afternoon pick me ups. Within the crowd, he found his mystery woman standing alone. She watched as the other baristas moved quickly throughout their small working space to get the orders completed in a timely manner.
He began walking over to introduce himself until a barista called out, “Maya?!” She raised her hand and walked over to counter. “Medium Caramel Latte extra whip?” asked the barista. “That’s right,” she replied showing off a beautiful set of teeth. He watched her from a distance as she left the shop. “Kevin?!” yelled another Barista. He took the medium coffee without giving the barista a chance to double check his order. After shifting through the small crowd, he followed her exact directions. He figured that she couldn’t have gone far in such a short amount of time.
When he reached the corner, his crush was nowhere in sight. “Dammit,” he said under his breath. Sweat began to collect over his brow as the August sun peaked around the skyscrapers above. He tied his dreads in low pony tail to allow the little bit of breeze to grace his back. He looked down the street ahead of him in search of a woman in a pant suit. It just so happened that the streets of Philadelphia were full of them.
“Looking for someone?” a soft voice from behind him asked.
He turned around to find his crush sitting at an outside table enjoying her latte. She smiled up at him and offered him a seat at her table. “I saw you looking at me in the shop, so I figured I’d wait for you out here.” She laughed.
“Oh, yeah?” he replied, “So, Maya is it?”
“Ok. Ok. Well my name is Kevin. It’s nice to meet you.”
“It is a pleasure meeting you too.”
“What do you do? If you don’t mind me asking of course.”
“I’m a corporate lawyer. Majority of my clients are here in the city.”
“Nice. I had to ask. I rarely see a woman so beautiful out in the corporate world.”
“Yeah,” he smiled.
“What a corny ass line, Kevin,” she laughed.
The unexpected humor threw him off. He was unsure if she was trying to play him or if she had a dry sense of humor. Whatever it was, it turned him onto her even more.
Forty-five minutes later, Kevin realized that he’d lost track of time and had to get back to work. They exchanged numbers before he headed to back to his office. He wore a smile from ear to ear the entire way thinking about their conversation. He was impressed to find that she knew a little bit about accounting and threw a little bit of knowledge his way. It was rare that Kevin was turned on by a simple conversation. They agreed to meet that Friday for a lunch date. Until then, she promised to stay in touch.
As soon as the clock struck noon, Kevin got up from his desk and got ready to leave. He stopped at the nearest bathroom to make sure that he was free of any sweat stains. His black suit rested perfectly around his toned body; his dreads worn down away from his face. A co-worker emerged from a bathroom stall.
“Big day?” Mike asked as he watched Kevin button and unbutton his suit jacket.
“Lunch,” he laughed.
“Ah. Well, leave it open. You look less uptight,” Mike joked.
Kevin laughed again and left the bathroom before more questions emerged.
He met his new love interest at a nearby cafe. A simple kiss on the cheek was enough to make her smile as he assisted her with her chair. After ordering their food, they took part in small talk. Maya told him about how hard it was growing up the only girl and how important it was for her to be successful. Her father put his time and energy into her three older brothers who were now still living at home with him. Ever since her mother died when she was 18, it was her against the world. She was the independent woman that most men feared because she learned at an early age that she didn’t need any man to get by.
Maya waited for the same negative reaction that she would get from most men. Instead, Kevin said, “I love an independent woman. Not because I don’t have to take care of her, because I will always take care of her. But if something were to happen to me, I know that my girl can hold her own. My children would be taken care of, the house; everything we built together will run business as usual. I trust her with my life.” Her eyes lit up paired with a smile from ear to ear. It was a response that she’d been waiting to hear all her life.
They finished their lunch and sealed the date with a passionate kiss. Maya began to walk towards her car when she received a text message. It was from Kevin who was watching her from the other side of the sidewalk. He laughed as she glared at the text asking for another date the next day; this time dinner. She winked at him and got into her car without a response. Later that day, Maya responded with a time and place for their date. “See you there,” Kevin replied.
Their dates became more frequent. They talked often throughout the day. Kevin liked that she wasn’t one of those women who demanded attention at all times of the day. It was just what he needed. Their afternoon lunch dates quickly turned into afternoon rendezvous at an Inn twenty minutes away from their offices. He would check into the room before work and come back during lunch with Maya to have her for lunch. Their sex was passionate and wild, something that he hadn’t experienced since his high school years. He’d become a regular at the hotel. Every employee knew him by name and was sure to have a room ready for him every Monday and Wednesday morning. She never asked to go to his house and he never asked to go to hers. To others, their relationship was suspicious, but to them it was perfect. The less they knew the better.
It was a busy day in the office one rainy summer day. Kevin and Maya stayed that the hotel later than usual the night before so it was hard for him to keep up with the hustle and bustle of the office. He was on his second cup of coffee when the receptionist came into the breakroom.
“Hey Kevin, your wife has been calling. I tried to transfer her to your office, but I didn’t know you were in here.” Kevin let out a long sigh and told her that he would give her a call on his cell phone. He walked back to his office with his head down and closed the door behind him. After staring at his phone that contained six missed calls from his wife, Sara, he pressed her contact and called her back.
“Hey, Sara. Is everything ok?”
“No,” Sara replied as she began sobbing on the phone.
“What is the problem? I told you I won’t be home late tonight. Why can’t this wait?”
“I called the hotel that you stayed in last night. Room 3118. That’s the room we used to stay in. That’s where we began. What the fuck were you doing their last night?”
“Sara I’m at work. I don’t have time for your paranoia. Why can’t we discuss this when I get home?”
“NO! I want to talk about this right now!” she screamed.
He hung up the phone and began pacing in his office. She called him again, but he declined the call. He was on his way to a staff meeting when she called again. At that time, he turned his phone off and joined his co-workers for a roundtable discussion.
An hour later, Kevin returned to his office. He was hesitant to turn his phone back on, but did it anyway just in case Maya texted him. Her name was the first to pop up on his phone once it came on along with countless messages from Sara. The message from Maya simply stated that his wife had called her. There was nothing more to the message. Just that one statement. His heart dropped into his stomach as he searched his mind for a response. A part of him had wished that she said more so that he could tell how she was feeling. He couldn’t tell if she was upset, angry, or neutral. “I’m sorry.” was all that he could type. The words to explain how unhappy he was in his marriage and how he should have told her that he was married in the first place were jumbled in his head trying to find the right way to come out.
Kevin gathered his coat, briefcase, and keys. He informed his supervisor that he had an emergency to tend to and had to leave right away. After the approval to take a half day, Kevin walked out of the office and headed to home. On his way there, he called Maya multiple times, but she didn’t answer. The only calls that he received was from his estranged wife.
“We will talk tomorrow,” read the text from Maya once he pulled into the driveway of his single family home. Sara stood in the doorway as she watched him stare at his phone inside of the car. He noticed her watching and slowly got out of the car. Without making direct eye contact, he went inside the house and placed his things on the couch. He then headed into the kitchen and poured a glass of Scotch to prepare himself for a fight. The fight would not be for love, the fight would be for his independence.
Sara came into the room and handed him the room key that was found inside of his pants pocket. He threw the keys in the trash and looked in her swollen eyes. He could tell from the bags under her eyes and strands of hair escaping her ponytail that she had been crying all day.
“Why?” she asked.
“I don’t want to talk about this right now,” he responded.
“When is a good time then Kevin? When is a convenient time for you to explain to me why you are cheating on me with a bitch named Maya?”
He clenched his jaw trying to refrain from telling the ugly truth. She had been hurt enough today and the last thing that he wanted to do was lead her into hysterics. Without another word, he swallowed the last bit of his drink and left the house. Sara was screaming behind him demanding that he’d come back and talk to her about it, but before she knew it, he’d pulled off.
Kevin texted Maya, asking if she could meet up with him tonight and that he’d left his wife. She agreed to meet him at the hotel at 7pm that night. For the first time all day, he felt a little bit of relief with a hint of happiness. He stopped by the nearest florist to purchase two dozen red roses and chocolate covered strawberries. Once he was inside of his favorite hotel room, he freshened up and patiently waited for his lover. Maya arrived around 7:30. She knocked lightly and he answered immediately.
“Where you waiting by the door?” she asked.
“Kind of,” he replied, “I was afraid that you weren’t going to show.”
She walked in the room and saw the apologetic display on the desk.
“I figured it was the least that I could do,” he said without her asking.
“Yeah, I’m only here to talk. That’s it.” Her tone was short and cold. She even looked different. He never saw her outside of her professional attire unless she was lying naked underneath him. This time, she was dressed in yoga pants, sports bra, and an athletic jacket.
“I just came from the gym,” she said as she watched him eye her up and down.
“I’m sorry. I should’ve told you in the beginning.”
“You said that already,” she laughed.
“I know. I just don’t know what else to say.”
“Kevin, if you would have told me you were married before, it wouldn’t have changed things. I still would have gone out on a date with you. I still would’ve fucked you senseless. The sad part is you weren’t honest with me.”
“Yeah, see I’m married too. My wife and I are in an open relationship. We have an understanding that sometimes I have a craving for the other side. Hell, sometimes I even invite them into our relationship. Why do you think that I never asked to come over your house? Why do you think that our conversations stop at a certain hour?”
Kevin began pacing, thinking about the last month. She was right and he never thought to ask her why she was this way.
“I knew you were married. I did my homework. I just knew that it wasn’t going anywhere passed this room.”
She held his hand and watched as he pieced everything together in his head.
“This is goodbye,” Maya said as she kissed his hand and left the room.
He paced the room for another hour before leaving the room one final time. The city of Philadelphia seemed much smaller since he drove around the entire city twice. He contemplated getting out and walking, but decided that the weather wouldn’t allow it. It was midnight when he finally returned home. The living room light glowed through the curtains. Kevin knew Sara was waiting up for him. He also knew that he was walking into World War 3 and he was ready for battle.
Kevin took one last deep breath and turned the doorknob. The door creaked open. His eyes met hers. Sara looked at the roses and strawberries in his hands.
“I’m sorry,” he said.
He kissed his wife on the forehead and sat next to her on the couch. She accepted the flowers with a half-smile before lying across his lap. They stayed there all night in silence, with no more fight left within them.