The morning Lee crossed the line she felt was far beneath her character was like any other morning. She awoke to find Bret was already in the shower, always the early bird. She used the bathroom while he washed and they talked about the responsibilities of the day. The comfort of a familiarity that comes with a long standing relationship was evident in how they flowed, their movements like a dance, harmonious, rhythmic.
“What do you think about going out to daddy’s farm this weekend? Getting away with the kids?” Lee said. She flushed the toilet, washed her hands, and went on to brush her teeth.
“This weekend? I was thinking bout going to Bobby’s for the LSU game? He’s having some of the crew over for a barbecue.” Bret said.
“Oh. Never mind.” Lee said.
She stopped brushing. She looked at herself in the large vanity mirror. Her creamy white skin was supple, glowing, she was barely mid-thirties after all and as a teen she even won a few beauty pageants. She felt confident in that moment. She felt beautiful and sexy. She flung her strawberry locks around and teased her hair a bit with her hands. She took off her t-shirt and looked at her breasts, they were plump, not very big but proportioned to her frame and matched her ivory complexion. As she looked at her body and admired herself, she smirked. A confidence rose up in her and even though she felt a bit nervous about what Bret would say when he would stepped out of the shower to find her standing there topless, she remained there, seductive, alluring. As Bret wrapped himself in a towel Lee took it a step further and took off her pajama pants and panties. She was completely nude, just her and the toothbrush. She watched Bret in the mirror expecting him to notice her and ravage her.
Bret walked by barely noticing Lee as he hurried to the bedroom to dry off and get dressed for the day. Lee was mortified. She slammed the bathroom door closed and ran to the shower to wash off the humiliation. How could their once passionate, fiery love have turned into this pathetic excuse of a marriage where he walks by her naked body without even so much as a second look. In the midst of her tear filled shower Lee got angry and determined that she would go back to Aaron’s bakery and have that coffee with him. She reasoned that coffee and talking was simply coffee and talking, not an affair. And what did it matter, it wasn’t as if Bret wanted her anyway.
By the time she was packing lunches for the kids and making sure they were eating breakfast she had almost completely talked herself out of the idea of seeing Aaron. She looked over at Bret, his curly brown hair still a bit damp was parted and neat, he was wearing a great suit, tailored for his frame, it was gray. The suit jacket was rested on one of the kitchen chairs so Lee got to admire how utterly sexy Bret looked from behind in his gray suit, light blue dress shirt, and gray vest. To her, there was nothing sexier than her guy in a suit until Dean, their youngest, spilled his juice and some splashed on Bret.
“Oh shit. Dean, come on, buddy. You gotta be more careful. Daddy has to go to work and I can’t be all sticky and shit. Fuck.” Bret said. His voice was guttural, deep.
“Hey! He’s five years old.” Lee said.
Lee swooped in to clean the mess. She handed Bret a wet towel to wipe off the tiny splash of juice from his fancy suit pants. As Lee cleaned she glared at Bret, the glare of a mother bear pissed and protective over her cubs.
Bret gave Dean’s hair a tussle before kissing him on the lips. “I know, bubs. Daddy’s sorry for yelling. It was just an accident.” Bret then kissed each of his daughters good-bye and when he looked at Lee she looked away.
“I’ll see y’all for dinner.” Bret said. He left the kitchen, his foot steps getting farther away.
Lee threw the wet, juice soaked towel into the sink and paused for a moment of contemplation. Why was she so frustrated, so anxious, so willing to risk everything she had worked so hard for? She broke herself from her frozen state and snapped into mommy mode.
“Come on, we have to go. Grab your lunches and your back packs.” Lee said.
With the kids safely in school and Bret at his other home Lee was free to sit in her minivan in the parking lot outside Aaron’s bakery and ponder many times over exactly how she would walk in, what she would say, how she would act… basically she had time to bring herself through a series of possible scenarios that each ended in disaster and subject herself to an ongoing mental torture. But alas this thing between Lee and the scruffy blonde baker seemed to be something other worldly because amidst her daydreaming there was yet another knock on her driver’s side window which yet again startled her. It was Aaron, all smiles, God his teeth were perfect Lee noticed. Her heart leaped a bit, a feeling that had become so foreign to her she nearly forgot it even existed in the world.
She rolled down her window slowly, cautiously. She was panicked, not knowing what to say. How did he even see her, recognize her van?
“So, are you going to come inside and say hello or…?” Aaron said.
It’s truly wondrous how quickly the human mind can process information and in that moment, standing before her, so handsome, his offer of spending time with her, Lee had so many thoughts flying in all directions telling her to do a thousand different things. But she looked at Aaron in that fleeting, no turning back split second, and said:
“Yes. Um. Hey. Hi. So. Um.” Lee was a barrage of one syllable filler words. She had to stop so she crossed the line before she could talk herself out of it and she said: “I could really go for a cup of coffee.”
The words were as shocking to her as they were exciting to him. His face lit up like a light bulb and he opened her car door like a gentleman. He then extended his hand and Lee instinctively placed her hand in his. She noticed his hand was strong, a bit calloused, and when she looked at it she thought to herself that it was one of the most attractive hands she’d ever seen.
“I just received this shipment of coffee from Ethiopia that, well, I was saving for you.”
Lee didn’t know what to say and at the risk of sounding corny she blurted out the first thing that came to mind: “Well, that was sweet of you.”
Once inside the bakery, all the way in the back there was an old red leather booth and table, rescued and restored from a restaurant that went out of business several years earlier. It sat in a corner, the center piece amongst exposed brick walls, reclaimed wood beams, and a couple of rusted and weathered metal business signs like Dr. Pepper and King Arthur Flour. It was charming, whimsical, inviting.
“I know, I know what you’re thinking, ‘Aaron, who did this amazing decorating? Please get me their business card.’ Well, it was me. I did it.”
Lee laughed. She covered her mouth like a geisha girl, delicate, feminine.
“You did a great job. It’s really lovely.”
“Go ahead and sit, make yourself comfortable. I’ll make the coffee.”
Aaron had a makeshift coffee bar set up with everything one would need for a delightful afternoon date. It was a wet bar he used for coffee and baked goods and it looked especially neat and put together as if he planned on having a special guest.
“So this coffee is from Ethiopia, Western Ethiopia, Biftu Gudina to be exact…”
“Biftu Gudina?” Lee asked.
“Yes, exactly. And it’s known for its floral notes of magnolia with citric acidity, plum sweetness and a spicy finish.”
“That sounds so… exotic.” Lee said.
“I guess we’ll see in a couple of minutes. By the way, you look ravishing today.”
And Lee did look ravishing. After she dropped the kids off at school she went home and tore through her closet for the perfect outfit to meet Aaron. It had to be something that would show him that she was a sophisticated woman, a real woman that she had curves, and breasts, and a body that craved the touch of a man and his admiration. But she wanted to feel pretty as well. After looking through dress after dress Lee saw a flirty little flowered sundress, the tag still on it and remembered she bought it a year earlier but never felt confident enough to wear it because it sat a bit higher above the knees than she was used to and revealed a bit more of her breasts than she was comfortable with.
It was an adorable dress, cream with pink and red wild flowers, a swoop cup that framed her cleavage just right, straps that accentuated her delicate neck and shoulders, and a flow that made her legs look elegant and long. She paired with ballet flats and wore her hair in soft wavy curls with just one bobby pin on the left side of her hair. Her makeup was light and delicate, just enough to show off her sweet, kissable lips and bright doe eyes.
Lee blushed at Aaron’s compliment. “Thank you,” Lee said, “You’re too kind. You look very handsome as usual.”
What did she just say? Lee couldn’t believe that flirtatious reply had come flying out of her mouth without even a second to process and think. But he was so handsome. He was wearing cowboy boots, a pair of perfect fitting jeans that hugged his thighs and plump butt, and a soft cotton henley, sky blue, the perfect amount of buttons undone. The blue brought out his electric blue eyes, the lightweight cotton fell on the curves of his musculature revealing the masculine build that lay beneath. And Lee took in every detail of him as if her mind was taking snapshots and storing them in file folders. She didn’t want to forget anything about those moments with Aaron.
“How do you take your coffee?” Aaron asked.
“I guess the usual. To be honest, Aaron, I’ve never really been a coffee drinker…”
Aaron stopped dead in his tracks. He turned around to look at Lee. A look on his face that could either be read horror or wonder. “My lady, you are in for a treat. I can tell you have a sweet tooth, don’t ask me how I know, just trust me, I know, so I’m gonna make your coffee like mine, cream and a couple of sugars. Light and sweet… and hot.”
Aaron served the coffee in large ceramic mugs that had celtic designs etched into them. They were kelly green and matched the look and feel of the artisan corner of the world Lee had found herself.
“And to go along with our delicious Ethiopian coffee are these buttery browned butter Madeleine cookies. I made them myself. A pastry snob will tell you that they’re not Madeleines if they’re not made in the Madeleine shape with the Madeleine recipe but whatever… I like to brown the butter for an extra nutty depth of flavor.”
Aaron held up one of those golden brown, soft and outrageous looking cookies to Lee’s mouth and nodded for her to take a bite. Lee leaned in and took a generous bite of the cookie, it was soft, not too sweet, the edges were a crispy texture and a ever so chewy. The browned butter mixed with the pure vanilla in a harmony of flavors that was almost orgasmic for Lee.
“Now take a sip of the coffee.” Aaron said. He held up Lee’s mug and she took a sip which hit her mouth like a rush of hot, glorious goodness, and all of those notes he described were accurate, bursting in her mouth, the magnolia, citrus, plum sweetness, and spicy finish… it was all there. Lee closed her eyes and reached over to take Aaron’s hand in hers for the single most intimate moment she ever shared with any man, ever. When that moment was over, Lee opened her eyes, looked at Aaron, his gorgeous blue eyes staring back at hers, and she realized she had just cheated on her husband and there was truly no going back now. She wanted Aaron and nothing was going to stop her.