After three long-ish posts, I thought I was all written out this year. Then a title popped into my head – Rug Burn – and I thought I’d see whether I could bash out a quick piece of flash fiction before midnight. Judge for yourself whether or not that was a good decision!
Jay saw it one morning as I got out of the shower. A deep red blur on my forearm, just below the elbow, florid in the bright April sunshine.
“What’s that?” he said sleepily, pulling me back into our hotel bed. “Looks like a rug burn.”
“This? Nah, scalded myself on the kettle yesterday.”
“Of course you did,” he said, and kissed me on the forehead. “Makes total sense.”
That evening he saw it again; less angry this time, and starting to scab over. He frowned, his brow knitting together.
“I think you definitely had a good time while I was at that stupid conference,” he said, then chuckled. “Well I’m glad one of us did, anyway.”
“Oh darling,” I cooed, my hand sliding across his shoulder to squeeze his neck. “I told you: I slipped in that damn lobby, and scraped it along the floor.”
“Ah yes,” he said with a smile, looking at me in the mirror as he adjusted his tie. “How could I forget?”
At lunch the next day, he thumbed my wrist absent-mindedly, and studied the purple weal with its puckered, wrinkly edges.
“It’s almost as pretty as you are,” he murmured, pressing a finger against it. “A blooming rose indeed.”
“Why thank you, my love,” I purred, dipping my head to kiss the back of his hand. “As I said, that damn dog spooked, and when I reached for the wall to steady myself, well, I guess I just ran my arm right along it.”
And so we continued. Our little game. Every day a different story; more suggestion and innuendo, more airy obfuscation, till the burn itself was long gone and only the verbal sparring remained.
“A little amuse bouche before dinner?” “Don’t be silly, I tried to stop a candle falling over and you know how clumsy I am.”
“I hope he kissed it better afterwards.” “What this? You know I fell asleep on that delightful patch of lawn, and scraped it as I woke up.”
Back and forth, neither of us giving ground or showing any outward sign of irritation. Schrödinger’s mark, even once it was very clearly dead.
If he’d ever asked directly, I might have told him. Then again, I might not have done. Some things it’s nice to keep for yourself.
And let’s face it, there’s really no good way to tell your husband that you fucked his brother.