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Andrea Smith's humorous writing style clicks with me and I found myself chuckling on many occasions. Diamond Girl was a suspenseful read. I very much enjoyed Slate's and Sammie's journey!
"This was truly one of the best books I have ever read. I love books with an older woman. It was something new and different."Samantha
Sammie's Book Blog
"Wow! This is how a woman needs to take her life back."Beth G.
"A fabulous start to a Five-Star Series!"Michelle New
Have you met Slate? Don't you think it's time?
What does a thirty-five year old soccer mom do once she's sent her only child off to college? Well, for Samantha Dennison, it is something totally out of character!
Sit back and watch as empty nester Samantha goes from frumpy to fabulous when she secretly transforms into a popular dancer at a gentleman's club. But her second life is filled with lusty danger when biker Slate enters the picture! A thrilling erotic romance with plenty of twists and turns!
No spoilers here, but something BIG is brewing in Indy; and it ain't about race cars!
'Diamond Girl' will keep the reader on the edge of their seat from beginning to end; this book has it all: passion, romance, danger and possibly more . . . much more.
ADULT CONTENT 18+
Release date: January 12, 2014
Publisher: Meatball Taster Publishing
Print pages: 281
Content advisory: Adult Content. Graphic Sex. Some Violence
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Behind the book
Note: This book is based loosely on actual events that occurred in Indianapolis in the summer of 2012, involving certain members of the Outlaws Motorcycle Club, after a lengthy investigation conducted by various federal agencies. The names have been changed to protect the parties. Other events depicted in this book are purely fictional for entertainment purposes.
I pulled the meatloaf out of the oven, slamming the oven door shut with my left thigh as my pot-holdered hands set the finished entrée on top of the counter. I glanced quickly at the clock on the stove. It was 6:45 p.m. I’d set the table with our good china and silverware. Meatloaf was Jack’s favorite, along with cheesy potatoes. I’d made his favorite dessert as well: Boston Crème pie. I just needed to make a quick trip to the bathroom to check my hair and make-up.
This was the first dinner Jack and I were having together since Lindsey had left for college two days earlier. He’d promised he would be home on time after work. He’d been rolling in past 9:00 p.m. off and on over the past eighteen months. I’d finally told him enough was enough.
Jack explained that his promotion to the V.P. of marketing for the East coast region would require long hours. I got that. I had no clue that it would entail approximately months on end without sex, though. That part was getting to be a real drag.
Jack blamed his workload, jet lag and general exhaustion for his lack of sexual appetite. I knew there was more to it than that.
I studied myself in the bathroom mirror. I had to admit it. At thirty-five-years-old, I was officially a ‘frumpy housewife.’ I’d pulled my light brown hair up on top of my head with a clip. F-R-U-M-P-Y!
Thankfully, I’d put on a clean pair of jeans and a sweater. Jack was used to seeing me in sweats and a tee shirt. My jeans were noticeably tighter than when I wore them last. I was trying to remember exactly when that had been.
I reached into my cosmetic bag to get my compact out to dab a bit more blush onto my cheeks. I saw my fingers reflected in the vanity mirror. My God!
My nails were chewed down below the cuticle. Whatever had happened to the beautifully manicured nails that I had as a newlywed?
I knew the answer to that question before it had left my mind. The baby had followed the wedding ceremony, in short order. There were diapers, spit-up, formula, teething, cleaning, laundry, and trying to keep my head above water with Jack. He was a very persnickety man.
He liked order.
He liked perfection.
I didn’t fit into either category.
I guessed the reason that Jack had been extremely patient with me over the years was because of the great relationship he had with my father.
When I had discovered that I was pregnant at sixteen, I’d been terrified of telling my folks. I was an only child, and I’d understood through my upbringing that there were certain expectations. Those expectations hadn’t included my brief, sexual interlude with Jack Dennison.
Jack was two years older than me in high school. He was an all-around athlete. He played varsity football and was the star point guard for the Northwood High Raven’s basketball team. I never thought he would have given me a second look. He was gorgeous and sexy, even in high school. There wasn’t a girl at our school that hadn’t drooled over him at some point in time.
The truth was he hadn’t really given me a second look that night. It was more like we were at the same post-game party and he was drunk. He’d been extremely attentive to me at the party, and I was simply an infatuated sophomore girl on the cheer squad enamored with him like all of the others. I felt honored when he wanted to slip upstairs to be alone with me. We had talked and then started making out. I had no clue that the rest was going to happen.
I remember creeping back into my parents’ home the next morning. I’d stayed the night with my best friend, Becky. My mother had been up putting the coffee on when she saw me quietly coming in at a little after 7:00 a.m.
“Oh, I couldn’t sleep at Becky’s, Mom. Kerry had the flu and was puking all night, so I had to get out of there, you know?”
“Now, Sam,” she’d said, giving me the hairy eyeball, “Are you sure that Kerry had the flu, or were you girls drinking beer? I was a teenager once you know? And I know what went on back then.”
“Mom, I swear, as far as I could tell, none of us girls drank any beer or alcohol of any kind.”
“Well, alright then,” she replied, shrugging. “Go get out of that uniform and into your PJ’s. You need more sleep than what you probably got over at Becky’s house. Don’t wake Daddy.”
“Okay, Mom,” I had said, hugging her and giving her a kiss on the cheek. “I promise not to wake Daddy.” I knew that she wouldn’t wake Daddy, either. I was his princess and my mother wouldn’t do anything to banish me from his kingdom.
I had collapsed into my own bed that morning, not realizing for an instant the implications of what had happened the previous night. The strange thing was that I couldn’t recall wanting Jack to do the things that he’d done to me. I was positive that I’d heard myself telling him “no” beneath his lips that were crushing mine with passion and just plain old drunken horniness.
Afterwards, as I’d tried to sit up on the bed, my mascara streaming down my cheeks, searching for my ripped panties, I realized that I hadn’t wanted what happened to happen at all. He was simply drunk and incoherent at the time. He seemed to be used to getting his way with girls, and I was sure that he generally met with no resistance.
I wasn’t even sure that he had been aware of what happened. I mean I couldn’t very well blame him for something that he’d done while under the influence. Afterwards, he had simply told me that I was a “great fuck” and then passed out next to me on the random bed where we’d done the dirty deed.
Six weeks later, I knew that something was terribly wrong.
So, I naturally did what any sixteen-year-old girl would’ve done when faced with such a dilemma: I confided to my best friend, Becky.
“Holy crap, Samantha, why didn’t you tell me what happened that night? Aren’t we supposed to be best friends?”
“Can you please be mad at me about that later, Bec? Right now, I’m freaking out. I needed to tell someone. I don’t think Jack even remembers.”
“Well, first of all, you need to make sure you’re really pregnant. Let’s stop by Whitaker’s Drug Store after school and pick up one of those testing kits.”
“I can’t stop there,” I had whined. “What if Mr. Whitaker is there? He knows my dad.”
“Samantha,” Becky had said in her matter-of-fact voice, “Everyone knows your dad, I mean there’s no getting around that.”
She was right. My father was the CEO of Banion Pharmaceuticals, one of the largest employers in town. His father, my grandfather, had founded the company fifty years prior. Like Becky, and most everyone else at our school, I’d been born and raised in Indianapolis, Indiana. My father sat on the board of trustees for two local banks and the Chamber of Commerce. He had recognition and power in the community.
“Okay,” she had acquiesced, “I’ll go get it and meet you at your house later.”
‘Later’ had turned out to be the following morning before school. I’d called Becky telling her that my father had gotten home from work earlier than usual. He was taking Mom and me out for steaks at The Elite Cafe downtown. It was his favorite restaurant. He insisted on taking us there at least once a month. Mom was simply tickled that he’d gotten home early, for once.
I’d driven my car over to pick Becky up for school, as I’d done every morning since getting my driver’s license.
I had held my pee, just as she had instructed me to do, in order to get the most accurate reading. I had covered my mouth to stifle my screams as the result came through loud and clear: knocked up.
My father was going to kill me.
My trip down memory lane was interrupted when I heard the sound of our garage door opening. Jack was home. I hurried to put the finishing touches on dinner.
I heard him talking as he came in through the garage to the family room. Our house had two stories with a loft from the second floor. Our master suite was the loft. The house was only two years old, and I hadn’t finished decorating it yet. Jack had been on me about that, telling me I procrastinated far too much, and reminding me that most women would love to furnish and decorate such a gorgeous house with no worries about money or the confines of a budget.
I figured he was probably on his cell phone talking work on his way up until I realized the conversation was live. I heard a female voice laugh coyly at something he must’ve said.
Who the hell was with him?
“Sammie,” he called out from the main hallway.
“I’m in the kitchen, Jack.”
He entered the kitchen, setting his briefcase inside the door. A tall but petite, well-manicured woman was following behind him. She had perfect features, perfect make-up and she was dressed in a dark grey business suit that was tailored to accent her slim, yet shapely, figure. Her long, blonde hair flowed well past her shoulders. She had exquisite eyes. They were a mixture of greenish blue, almost a deep grey color to match her business suit.
“Sammie,” he repeated, “I want you to meet Susan Reynard, my new administrative assistant at the office.”
“It’s Samantha,” I replied, pasting what I hoped was a sincere-looking smile on my face as I held out my hand to clasp hers. “Very pleased to meet you, Susan.”
She afforded me a smile, showing perfectly even, white teeth. Naturally, her nails were professionally manicured and matched the shade of lipstick she was wearing on her full, pouty lips.
“Samantha,” she purred, “It’s such a pleasure meeting you as well. Your husband told me what a beautiful home you have here and he sure wasn’t exaggerating.”
“Yes,” he remarked, “if only I could motivate Sammie to finish furnishing it. Hey, perhaps Susan could help with some ideas on what the house needs to bring it all together. She’s done an awesome job on my office.”
“Oh, Mr. Dennison,” she gushed, almost blushing, “I just narrowed the choices down. You made the ultimate selection. Your husband has great taste by the way.”
“Now, Susan,” Jack admonished with a smile, “There’ll be none of this Mr. Dennison stuff. It’s Jack.”
“Yes, Jack,” she replied obediently. “I keep forgetting.”
I felt like a voyeur watching their interaction as I remained clueless as to why she was even here. I was hoping my husband was going to clue me in.
“Sammie,” he said, as if sensing my curiosity, “I invited Susan to dinner. We have some work to finish up and I thought we might as well work here in my office. I’m sorry I didn’t call you earlier, babe.”
“Oh, it’s no problem at all,” I lied. “I’ll just set another place.”
“Can I help?” Susan asked.
“Everything’s done,” I replied. “All that’s left is to take our places.”
Dinner was strained. I felt like an intruder on both the small talk and office talk between Jack and Susan. She looked to be about in her mid-thirties, if that. She certainly hung on Jack’s every word. I tuned them out, resuming my jog down memory lane.
I thought back to the ugly scene that had taken placed when I’d informed my parents that I was pregnant.
“I didn’t even know you were dating anyone,” my father had blurted out in pure confusion. “Why haven’t we met the boy?”
My mother had been less vocal, simply wringing her hands, like she always did when my father was upset or displeased about something. She constantly ran interference when I had occasion to disappoint him.
I hadn’t been sure how to explain what had happened without fear of my father hunting Jack down and killing him in cold blood. I merely told them that we were both drunk one night and it just sort of happened. In other words, I mostly lied. I had been stone cold sober at the time.
I remember my father’s face turning red. He’d been livid about my behavior.
“No daughter of mine is going to be regarded as some party tramp,” he bellowed. “I want the name and address of this boy, and I want it now! He’ll damn well make this right. I’ll see to that.”
“Now, Sidney,” my mother had whined, “Keep calm, remember your blood pressure.”
Six weeks later, Jack Dennison and I had been married in a small civil ceremony in a judge’s chambers. The judge was one of my father’s closest friends.
Jack had been able to graduate high school with his class.
My parents gave us a seven-day cruise for our honeymoon. They purchased a two-bedroom condo for us as a wedding gift, and Jack was given an entry level position in the office of my father’s company. My father had fixed the situation for us. He had a knack of doing just that. Unfortunately, no amount of my father’s power or influence could force Jack to love me.
“Oh, I’m sorry,” I said, shaking the memories of our shotgun wedding out of my mind for now. “What did you say, Jack?”
“I wondered if you made dessert.”
“Of course, Boston crème pie,” I replied, getting up to clear the dinner plates.
“Oh, none for me thanks,” Susan said. “I ate too much as it was. I’ll have to work out twice as long tomorrow morning.”
I watched as Jack openly admired his assistant’s physique.
“Speaking of which,” he said, “Susan belongs to a great fitness club just a couple miles north of here, Sammie. Perhaps you two could meet mornings and work out together?”
That was Jack’s not-so-subtle way of reminding me that I needed to get into shape. He worked out faithfully each day. Sometimes in the morning before work he stopped at his men’s club and sometimes after work. His physique was perfect.
“Maybe I will,” I replied. It was my standard reply to his nagging. If it shut him up for a day or two, then it worked.
After dessert, they both took mugs of coffee and went to Jack’s office, which was on the second floor. I cleaned up the kitchen, thankful that I didn’t have to continue to make small talk and observe Jack’s beautiful and shapely assistant. Maybe it was time I did focus on myself. Our daughter Lindsey had encouraged me before she left for Cornell to do just that.
“Mom, you never do anything just for you,” she’d stated. “It pisses me off, too.”
“Why would it piss you off?”
“Because Daddy indulges himself and you never do anything just for you.”
I’d argued that her father loved working out, buying new clothes for himself, and preening about. I just wasn’t sure I would get that much enjoyment or satisfaction from it.
“At least you should try,” she argued. “You need a hobby of some sort, besides looking after me and Daddy, especially now that I’m going away. I worry about you, Mom.”
“I’ll be fine, Lindsey. I swear that I’ll find something outside of the home to do once you’re gone, okay?”
“Yes, Lindsey,” I’d replied, laughing. “You do realize that you’re a nag, right?”
I wiped the countertop off, thinking about my beautiful daughter. I missed her terribly. I knew that I would. We were close, very close. She’d made everything over the years worth it. Jack loved her - that was abundantly clear. Maybe that was all I could have hoped for under the circumstances.
I’d wanted more children, but Jack wouldn’t budge on that topic. He’d gotten a vasectomy when Lindsey was seven years old, due to my pressuring him for another. He came home one day and said I could put my diaphragm away (not that it had gotten much use anyway). He’d taken care of the problem, stating that one child was enough.
Jack had come from a family of four children. They’d struggled financially. He’d been the oldest and when his father had taken off when he was just twelve years old, he’d borne a lot of the responsibility while his mother worked two jobs. She’d finally remarried when Jack was sixteen, but by then, he’d had his fill of caring for his younger siblings. He hadn’t gotten on with his stepfather either. Even now, he had very little to do with his family.
The phone rang. I picked it up in the kitchen.
“Hi Bec, just finished up the dinner dishes. What’s up?”
“Not much. George is in Chicago on business for a couple of days. I wondered if you wanted to hang out tomorrow. I figured you might be having Lindsey withdrawals.”
My friend knew me too well.
“That sounds great. I’ve been thinking I’m in dire need of having a spa afternoon. What do you think?”
“Let’s do it,” she said. “Meet me at Cappelli’s at noon. We’ll do lunch first.”
I was showered, wearing my sexiest nightgown and reading a book on my iPad when Jack came to bed. He was fresh from the shower, his brown locks still damp.
“Tired?” I asked.
“I’m beat,” he said, pulling the covers up and fluffing his pillow. “The light doesn’t bother me, though. Go ahead and read.”
I closed my iPad and set it on the nightstand. I switched the lamp off next to it and rolled over, scooting close to Jack.
I lowered my lips to his, kissing them gently. He wrapped his hand around my neck and pulled me closer, his tongue briefly tracing my lips.
“Jack, I kind of thought maybe we would make love tonight. It’s been a while.”
“Samantha,” he sighed, a bit of impatience in his tone, “I told you how beat I am tonight. Rain check?”
“Sure,” I said, rolling away from him. “Love you.”
I lay in the darkness, a single tear escaped and rolled down my cheek. Within minutes, I heard Jack’s even breathing signaling that he was sleeping.
What the hell was wrong with me? Becky said I was still gorgeous. That presumed I’d been gorgeous as a teen or as a twenty-something. I figured best friends were obligated to say things like that. Jack had never said that to me, though. I wanted Jack to think I was beautiful, or ravishing, or goddamn sexy.
My thoughts went back to the honeymoon cruise my parents had given us. Jack had been attentive then. He’d romanced me, charmed me, and we had sex every day of the cruise, sometimes even twice. The sex wasn’t what I’d expected. Jack avoided kissing during sex. He had a tendency to be a bit rough. I attributed it to the fact that Jack had been pressured into marrying me. Still, I loved him, for whatever reason.
Once we returned from our honeymoon, I’d busied myself decorating our new condo, buying baby furniture, and outfitting the nursery.
Jack’s family hadn’t bothered to acknowledge our marriage or the impending birth of our daughter. They did, however, periodically hit us up for money.
My father had started Jack out at a generous salary. Money had never been an issue for us, though I suspected this was all new for him. He loved having money and sometimes flaunted it a bit when he got together with his buddies while they were home on summer breaks from college.
Jack’s mother and step-father had come to the hospital to see Lindsey shortly after her birth. Jack’s mother, Louise, had commented that Lindsey was probably set for life. It was a strange comment. I’d looked over at Jack to see his reaction to her comment. He’d remained impassive to it. The truth was, I think he somehow enjoyed the fact that we were financially comfortable in life and that the rest of his family continued to struggle. I knew deep inside that was the only reason he’d allowed my father to force our marriage. Jack was set for life, too.
I turned over on my side, clutching my pillow beneath me. Why had I settled, though? Perhaps contentment was all that mattered to me. I’d busied myself with Lindsey and her activities, and Jack had participated as well. He’d coached her softball team and never missed her soccer games, school concerts or plays. He’d taught her how to drive, and was extremely protective of her when she’d started dating. He was the one who had insisted on taking her to Cornell for freshman orientation. I knew that he loved Lindsey. I just couldn’t figure out why he’d never come to love me.
I finally drifted off to sleep with the feeling of loneliness and uncertainty gnawing within me.
Becky and I spent a lovely afternoon at the spa. We were massaged, given facials, waxed, manicured, and pedicured. We were now sitting in the sauna, white towels wrapped turban-style around our hair, another wrapped around our torsos.
“Now, this is just what the doctor ordered, right Sam?”
“Yeah. It does feel great.”
“Come on, talk to me, Samantha.”
I knew that Becky wouldn’t let up until I shared whatever I was feeling with her. She knew me too well.
“It’s just that, with Lindsey gone, I have nothing, Becky. I need something of my own. I even promised Lindsey I would find it.”
“Okay, I get it. Lindsey is right, you know? I just can’t figure out why you had to hear it from your daughter. How many times have I told you the same thing?”
I got up from the bench and dipped the wooden ladle into the bucket of water, pouring it over the hot stones. I took my place back on the bench, pulling my knees up and resting my chin on them.
“I don’t know. I guess it was easier not to think about myself as long as I had Lindsey to take care of and to occupy my time with her activities.”
“That’s kind of a lot of bullshit, you know?”
I looked over at her quickly. Where was this coming from?
“You haven’t had to take care of Lindsey for quite some time, Sam. She just didn’t suddenly go from diapers to college in a day. You chose to fill your time over the past eighteen years by caring for her as an infant, then as an adolescent, but face it, once she hit her teen years, it was more of you and her buddying around together.”
“I’m not sure if I understand what you’re saying.”
“What I’m saying is that, once Lindsey reached the point where she was independent, you know, dating, going to dances and parties, you kind of lived your life vicariously through her. I mean, come on; think about it.”
I contemplated what she had said silently. She continued on a roll.
“All of the photos you took, the scrapbooks you made, the video journals you created to document the sports she played, the hobbies she had. What about you always being one of the chaperones on the class trips she took throughout high school?”
“What about it?” I asked, now getting a bit defensive.
“All I’m saying is that I can see why you’re suddenly out of sorts with what to do next. You can’t plan your life around Lindsey’s anymore. You need to find a life of your own.”
“What do you suggest? It’s different with you. You still have your two kids at home.”
“Yes, but I still have my own life, too.”
I thought about it, and it was true. Everything that Becky was saying was true. I’d centered my life on Lindsey’s. I’d not developed any interests or hobbies of my own. My only social activities, outside of volunteering at Lindsey’s high school, were occasionally hanging out with Becky, or Jack and I having dinner with my parents. My father was retired now. He and my mother traveled quite a bit, so even seeing them socially was rare these days.
“You’re right. I need to focus on myself. Jack has been nagging me to finish decorating the house. I guess I could throw myself into that.”
Becky rolled her eyes and sat up from her reclining position.
“That’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about something for you, Sam. You aren’t into decorating. Let Jack decorate, if it’s so damn important to him.”
She shook her head as if she was becoming impatient with my cluelessness.
“I don’t know what you want me to say? I agree with you, okay?”
“You’re not getting it, Sam. Your daughter is off to college, so what? You’re going to try and build some kind of life around that mannequin husband of yours?”
I was taken aback. Becky had never taken such a harsh attitude with me, ever! She had always stood by me through everything, as far back as high school. She was Lindsey’s godmother, for Christ’s sake. Why was she giving me shit? I didn’t respond to what she said. I grabbed my thongs, putting them on my feet, and exited the sauna room, heading for the showers.
Once showered, I dressed and headed out to the front to pay the bill. Becky was just a couple of minutes behind me. I paid our spa bill, though Becky protested when I picked up her tab as well.
I was signing the credit card slip when I saw a stack of business cards on the counter in a holder that was labeled, “Take One.” I did, not even sure what the card said, but I liked the artwork on it. It was a slender woman in a kick-boxing pose. I shoved it into my pocket and headed out the door.
“Samantha, please,” Becky called after me. “Stop, I need to explain.”
I stopped on the sidewalk outside to look at her.
“Look,” she said, “all I’m saying is that you need to do something for you, Sam. Get a job, go back to school, or take an art class. Start living for yourself because you never have, and it hurts me to see that you have no identity of your own.”
“Gee, thanks Becky, I think. Have you considered that my fate is to just be a mannequin’s wife?” I hissed.
“I won’t apologize for that, Sam. You know how I feel about Jack. I’ve never pretended otherwise.”
She was being honest about that. Becky had little use for my husband. She considered him to be self-absorbed, demanding, and unable to bond or to be intimate with a woman.
I wasn’t sure how qualified she was to make such a diagnosis, but I felt it was likely due to my intermittent complaints about him over the years. Perhaps it was my fault that Becky had developed the opinion she had of Jack. I never shared with her the good things about our life together.
“I know that you’ve never cared for him, but he is my husband and Lindsey’s father.”
“Just think about what I said, okay? I’ve got to run now. I’m late picking up Shawn from football practice. Call you tomorrow.”
“Yeah, later,” I said, suddenly absorbed in the business card that I’d picked up inside.
The name of the establishment was Foxy & Fierce Body Shaping Shop. It boasted several types of martial arts training, along with kick-boxing and yoga classes. Why the hell not?
I located Foxy’s in a somewhat seedy neighborhood not far from campus. I decided that if everyone in there was Lindsey’s age, I would turn around and leave. There was always the YWCA.
Once I stepped inside the doors, I was pleasantly surprised. The receptionist looked to be about the same age as my mother, but holy hell, was she ever fit.
“Hey, sweetie,” she greeted me, “what can I do you for?” I noticed her nametag read “Vonda.”
“Vonda,” I said with more enthusiasm than I’d felt for quite some time, “I want a body just like yours.”
It had been nearly four weeks since I started my membership at Foxy’s. I’d lost a total of twelve pounds, and dropped two sizes. My sweats were practically falling off of me. The part that I was most proud of, however, was the muscle tone that I’d developed, both in my lower and upper body.
The kick-boxing was awesome for building muscle tone in the legs. My other workouts included lifting with free weights for arms and shoulder toning, along with a Pilates class for my torso and abs. I’d been spending about four days a week at the gym. I hadn’t told Jack any more than that. He’d mumbled an obligatory, “That’s great, Sammie,” not bothering to feign interest.
I’d just wrapped up my workout for the day and showered when Vonda came into the locker room looking for me.
“Glad I caught you, Sam,” she said. “We need one more person to sign up for pole-dancing lessons. The instructor has a minimum registration number in order to meet what she charges. I figured you’d be perfect.”
“Why not you? You’re pretty damn limber and it’s a hell of a way to build up your biceps and triceps that you’re always whining about, sweetie.”
“I know, but Vonda, come on. Don’t you think I’m a little bit old for that type of --?”
“I think the word you’re looking for is exercise, Sam. Good grief, it’s not stripping. It’s a great dance art form, and to answer your question, no. I’m on the roster. Do you think I’m too old?”
Vonda had me there. At fifty-six-years-old, there wasn’t too much that Vonda couldn’t do. Maybe it wasn’t out of the question. After all, I’d taken three years of ballet under the tutelage of Madame LeBlanc when I was in grade school. She had told me I had natural grace. I had taken it to appease my mother, who insisted on lessons of some sort during my formative years.
“Okay Vonda, I’m in. When does it start?”
Vonda was tickled pink that we had enough members signed up to bring in who she claimed was the ‘queen of pole-dancing.’ The instructor’s name was Ginger Cooper and she’d actually won a third place trophy in the Midwest Pole Dancing Competition the year before.
The lessons started the following week and were daily for the following three weeks. I had no clue that pole dancing was recognized globally as a competitive sport and art form. I’d always regarded it as being a second cousin to stripping. Boy, had I been misguided.
Ginger was extremely talented and driven. She expected no less from her students. She was brutal in her training and assessments.
After the third day of lessons, I told Vonda I was contemplating dropping out. I could barely move a muscle. It had certainly burst my “I’m in great shape” bubble. My God, I hadn’t known the muscles that were now feeling a slow, burning pain even existed.
“No, you’re not,” Vonda stated, in her authoritative tone. “If I can hang with it, you sure as hell can, Sammie. Besides, you’re doing great.”
“How do you figure, Vonda? You heard Ginger today telling me to get the lead out of my gluteus maximus while she was instructing us on the snowflake or pretzel, or whatever the hell she called it.”
“She’s tough, I know, but really Sammie, you’re doing great. Hey, I bet your husband would love a pole dance demo once you finish this class.”
“Yeah, right,” I said, getting clothes out of my locker. “He hasn’t even noticed my new svelte body,” I replied, rolling my eyes.
“What’s his problem?”
“I guess he doesn’t find me attractive anymore, maybe he never did,” I replied with a shrug.
“Humph,” Vonda said, shaking her head. “You’re gorgeous. You do realize that, right? I hope to God you don’t see yourself through his clueless eyes, Sammie.”
“You’re required to say stuff like that to paying members, right Vonda?”
“You’re so full of shit, girlie,” she replied, still shaking her head. “I hope to Christ you wake up and smell the coffee one of these days. That’s all the pep talk you’re getting from me today. I’ll see your getting-tighter ass in here tomorrow for our lesson.”
I started to say I wouldn’t be coming, but then I thought about it. Maybe Vonda was right; maybe I did have potential. Maybe I would give Jack a demo when classes finished. Maybe he’d even want to touch me again.
I stopped by Becky’s on my way home. I hadn’t talked to her in the last couple of weeks. She knew I was totally wrapped up in my “exercise” classes as she called them. She was simply relieved that I was finally doing something just for me.
“Holy shit,” she said, her eyes widening as she held the door open for me. “You’ve lost a ton of weight, Sam. You look fantastic!”
“Thanks,” I said, rolling my eyes. I didn’t do well with compliments. It was probably because I wasn’t used to getting them.
“No, I mean it. Your damn body looks like a teenager’s. What type of exercise class is it? Maybe I’ll join you.”
“It’s kick-boxing and Pilates. I just added pole-dancing to it.”
“Oh, God! There’s no way I could hang with that, but Sam, it looks so freaking good on you! I bet Jack is drooling, right?”
“He thinks I look great,” I lied.
“I bet the mannequin hasn’t even noticed, has he?”
Becky knew me so well. She seemed to know Jack much better.
“You know, he’s been pretty busy these days. He’s been traveling for work quite a bit. We barely see one another.”
“Uh huh,” she replied. “He’s such a fuckwad.”
“Becky,” I said, my tone cautioning her to just let it go, “how have things been with you?”
“Everything’s good. Shawn’s playing junior high football. Megan’s doing well with her piano lessons. George still fucks me at least three times a week.”
“Braggart,” I said, with a smile. We both laughed, and the mood lightened.
I loved my best friend, but our worlds were different. That was just the way it was. She’d finished high school and college, married George, had two great kids: a boy and then a girl. She had done everything right. Her life was the American dream. It was the way that things were supposed to work out.
We made plans to meet the following day. I needed to shop for new clothes, she’d pointed out bluntly. She was right.
I was surprised that Jack was home by the time I got there. He’d been in Charlotte, North Carolina, for the past three days on business. Banion Pharmaceuticals had plans to open a large distribution center on the east coast.
Jack had been negotiating with members of the Chamber of Commerce both in Charlotte and in Charleston, South Carolina, for tax incentives. The two cities were competing with each other to be awarded the location where the facility would be built. It would employ up to five hundred people when completed.
He’d just finished up in the shower when I came into our bedroom. I made it a point to undress in front of him, hoping that he would notice and perhaps get the hint.
“How was your trip?” I asked, kicking off my shoes and lifting my sweatshirt up and over my head.
“Brutal,” he replied, getting his nail clipper from the top of his dresser. “I have to fly to Charleston on Friday. Our meeting is early Monday morning, so I figured I would have the weekend to prepare my presentation.”
I slipped my sweat pants off, and unhooked my sports bra, springing my breasts free. I’d always been rather proud of them. They were still full and perky. I sauntered by Jack who was now sitting on the bed, clipping his toenails. I got clean underwear from the drawer and sat down on the bed next to him.
He finally looked up at me, noticing that I was practically naked in front of him. His eyes narrowed infinitesimally, as he actually looked at me for the first time in weeks.
“Have you lost weight, Sammie?”
“It’s nice of you to finally notice.”
“Have you been feeling well?” he asked.
“I feel great. I’ve been working out, getting in shape. What do you think?”
“I think that you’ve probably lost all of the weight you need to lose. If you get much scrawnier, people will think that you’re ill.”
“Hey, “I said, moving closer to him on the bed. “How about I go with you to Charleston? We’ll have a romantic weekend together. We haven’t gone away together alone for as long as I can remember. This would be perfect.”
“Babe,” he said with a sigh, getting up off of the bed. “The whole point of me going down Friday and staying over the weekend is to prepare for Monday’s meeting. I mean, you know how it is with me. I need that total concentration, no distractions when I’m preparing for a big presentation. How about a rain check?”
“Sure,” I said. “I’ll just list that in our rain check voucher. Maybe one day I’ll be able to cash in on all of these IOUs.”
Jack didn’t even bother to respond.
No mention of how my legs, arms, and abs had gotten into shape with ample muscle tone. No mention of how he missed our making love, since it had been months now. I guess that was too much to expect from my mannequin husband. Christ, I was sounding like Becky now. Maybe she was right. The bottom line was that I was getting sick to death of Jack’s inattentiveness towards me. Maybe I needed to take the next step in getting a life of my own.
I sauntered into the bathroom and took a shower. I decided I would start looking for a part-time job as soon as possible. I needed more things of my own.
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