tagLoving WivesApril Showers

April Showers

byShaneLucas©

"Yo, hey Sammy!"

Sam held in the cringe -- which took more energy than he normally had at this time of night -- and returned the greeting with a light wave. His supervisor feigned a gun and shot at him. Most of his coworkers, or at least those with enough coffee and Redbull in them, pretended to be shot or dodge or something to keep the humor alive. Sam just wanted to clock in, get to his desk, and guzzle the liter of coffee his wife had made him before hurrying off to the airport. He took a sip as he rounded a cheap metal desk into the center aisle, and winced. She had withheld the sugar again, still convinced he may have diabetes. That was thanks to some article she'd read last week that suggested the disease was hereditary. So now he was stuck with a bitter drink that tasted like coal dust mixed with milk. At least she'd made it for him.

He found his desk by the windows that exposed a dark world beyond, and immediately perked up. Amidst the off-white and black furniture and dark green carpet and walls was a splash of red. The hair was still damp, with long clumps caught within a tangle of weak curls. She hated hair dryers, since the sound drove her nuts and apparently her ears were extra sensitive to heat. He found himself smiling as he sat down next to his work-wife, Ally.

"Hey, Sammy," she greeted without looking up from her computer.

He let out a groan. "What have I done to offend you, milady? Why must you christen me with that abhorrent moniker?"

She turned toward him, her blue eyes holding nothing but contempt and disgust. "What the hell have you been watching?"

"Playing this RPG set in the middle ages. You know, back when men were men, women were property, and people got their names from whatever job they were born into. Plus, I think everybody had dysentery."

"Ah, the good ol' days. I miss having to call my boy 'Master' and waiting patiently for him to stumble drunkenly into my bedchamber. No wait, he did that last night, and I called his friend a Master Motherfucker."

He chuckled at the thought, setting his coffee aside and warming up the computer. "I take it your husband wasn't having a great day."

She took a sip of his coffee and stuck out her tongue with a disgusted sigh. His stomach fluttered when she did that, despite her efforts to look obnoxious. "Apparently, your wife was, too. What did you do to her?"

"Let her surf the net. Then nagged her about being careful and packing her suitcase properly before she went jet setting to Atlanta for another bachelorette party. She has way too many friends. So, ready for a long night?"

"With the storm brewing the way it is, it might not be so long."

"We'll see. I'm hoping for at least a couple of stoners and one UFO nut."

They worked the call center for a tech company, graveyard shift, during which only a few callers will have actual technical difficulties. The rest ran the gamut from the sleep-delirious to the outright insane, and those that were simply awake, alone, and wanting to interact with someone for a little while. Those were Ally's favorites. His were the psychopaths. As someone who was considered too passive most of the time, his outlet was talking the crazies through their out-of-body experiences. And yes, that has happened more than once.

As he settled in, getting his headset on and the volume adjusted, he felt eyes on him and glanced around. Several of the guys turned away quickly, grumbling about something.

"Saved your ass, so you owe me," said Ally. "Your chair is that one."

She pointed to the next desk over, and he immediately noticed the fabric of the seat was darker than the rest. Carefully, he poked it and felt it squish. The cushion was soaked. "April Fools, right. Doesn't this count more as bullying than pranking?"

She shrugged, her pink-glossed lips curling in a little smirk. "At least they know not to prank me."

He smiled at the memory. Last year, a couple of women spiked all of the water jugs and coffee pots with some kind of mint syrup. It was so strong that anyone who drank any smelled like they were chewing the leaves as they talked. Ally noticed it before even taking a sip, let her coffee cool, then walked toward the hall with the restroom. As she passed the culprits, she "accidently" tripped and spilled the lukewarm, minty coffee all over them. And since she was so small and innocent looking, she just pretended to get teary-eyed when the girls snapped at her, prompting the boss and several men to take her side. Since then, everyone had been nervous to so much as tell a joke in her presence.

"I completely forgot it was the first. I wanted to get you this year, but couldn't think of anything."

"Please, not like I've ever fallen for any kind of prank. Nothing surprises me, so it'd have been a wasted effort. Ah, got my first date," she said. A blue warning came onto her screen, signaling an incoming call. "Time for business."

He watched her answer the phone, sipped his coffee, and readied for work.

*****

At hour seven in her eight-hour shift, Ally was talking to a man whose scratchy voice pegged him between twenty and fifty years of age, guiding him through making a banana-peanut-butter sandwich. Why, she had forgotten the reason thirty minutes ago. She thought he had accidently deleted a file necessary to run the OS on the tablet he was using, but her mind was too frayed to care anymore. Eventually, the client had taken a bite, discovered that it was, in fact, gloriously delicious as she'd promised, and gave her a glowing review. She took off her headset and leaned back in her chair for a wide stretch. Only then did she notice a fundamental problem with wearing a white t-shirt and no bra. After oversleeping and ducking into the shower for a quick rinse, she'd scrambled to find her underwear, discovering that Darren -- the husband currently sentenced to the doghouse -- had taken her clothes to the Laundromat. She had no bras left, and had rushed out anyway. Now, with the chill of the AC, her nipples poked through, and her posture was basically advertising her breasts. She glanced over and caught Sammy stealing a peek. Men.

Not that there was much to gawk at. She was the definition of petite, most of her coworkers mistaking her for fresh out of high school. She was one of the few here with an honest-to-goodness college degree, not that it was of much use. Call center was her best opportunity thus far in the six months since graduating. It wasn't worth dwelling on. Sammy had an English degree two years old now, and he was still struggling to find a career.

The poor guy had bags under his eyes, but otherwise looked pretty good. For someone bordering on hipster territory, at least. His bangs were slicked back, his hair full on top to the point of looking almost spiky, the gray mixing in with the black giving him an extra air of maturity. He was even trying to grow a goatee, currently not much more than a shadow. Judging by how his own shirt was starting to look small, the workout routine his brother had forced him on was taking effect, as was the diet his wife made him adhere to. But there was stress in his soft brown eyes, which he tried to hide from her. She knew about Milena wanting kids, and while this was a steady enough job for a family, it was also a dead-end one. The poor guy needed a vacation, maybe a guys' getaway. She'd ask Darren about arranging it.

He looked over again. "Aren't your legs throbbing? You've been like that for hours."

She usually sat cross-legged, the twigs stuck to her hips curled up on the chair. One of the perks of being so small was that even these cheap seats better fit for an elementary school lab were easy to curl up on for her.

"Stop hunching before criticizing somebody else's posture."

He shrugged, but sat a bit straighter. Smiling with approval, she put her headset back on and returned to work. The last hour dragged with only one more short call, then the bell tolled seven by way of a shock jock coming onto the radio. She forced her legs straight, hiding the pain from the smug jerk next to her, and stood with some effort. Thunder rumbled, and the first patters of rain soon followed. She hoped Darren wasn't late this morning to pick her up.

A week ago, her car had started up, rumbled for a moment, then died. This wasn't an uncommon occurrence, but no matter what she and Darren did, the thing was toast. So now he had to take her to work after he normally would be in bed, and wake up early to bring her home. Even with them in the middle of a postponed fight, he had gotten her to work on time, and swore he wouldn't be drinking all night. In fact, he and his friends had gotten a side job doing home renovations, and were supposed to be redoing a bathroom today. She took out her phone, about to text him, only to find a message waiting.

"Shit."

"What is it?" asked Sammy. He glanced over her shoulder and read the next message.

AND IM LEAVING YOU FOR COUSIN JIMMY. HE GETS ME, AND SEX IS BETTER. This was followed by a heart emoji.

At Sammy's disturbed expression, she explained, "That's TJ's handiwork. That stoner he hangs with. Don't ask." She scrolled back up to Darren's text for him to see the difference, such as her husband using proper sentences and punctuation and making no allusions to renouncing women and running off with her cousin. "Darren left before dawn because his friend had left a pipe busted at this house they're working on, so he ran over to fix it. He can't get away for now. Could you give me a ride? I know I ask it too often."

"Not at all. It's not like I have to go out of the way."

She smiled in thanks. As he walked off to wash out his thermos, her eyes wandered toward his back, taking notice of how his shoulders looked fuller and were held higher. Her gaze then drifted down some, peeking at his rear. The jeans weren't tight enough to give a solid outline, but there was enough detail to admire. What, he checked her out all the time. She texted her husband to let him know about the ride, hoping he'd grabbed his phone back from that stoned idiot he hung out with.

I'M GOING TO START PAYING HIM GAS MONEY, he responded.

HE GETS THE PLEASURE OF MY COMPANY. THAT'S PAYMENT ENOUGH.

TRUE. After a moment, he sent another text before she slipped the phone back into her pocket. She felt her cheeks burn a little as she read it, quickly checking to make certain nobody was close enough to see it. HEY, IF YOU TWO TAKE A DETOUR, I SUGGEST THE HOLIDAY INN. I HEARD THEY'RE RUNNING A SPECIAL ON THE SUITES.

PERV. He never stopped with that. Always going on and on about Sammy trying to get into her pants, and acting nonchalant over it. Granted, the idea let them roleplay pretty easily. Not only that, but they'd made a deal that after ten years of marriage, they'd try a "free weekend," though never discussed if it would be at some swinger gathering or with pre-chosen friends. That was four years off, so plenty of time to decide. Of course, she wondered if she and Sammy would still be friends then.

"Ready?" asked Sammy.

She jolted and tucked her phone away, then followed him to the door. "I'm sure Milena is wondering why you have to escort another woman home at least once a week."

He waved that off, saying, "She could care less. Besides, she's gone for the rest of the week, so the house is empty. I could use some extra busywork."

"Good, because I need to run to the store to pick up a couple of things."

A yawn escaped her just after she spoke. Then, as she walked past, patting his chest, she saw the realization dawn on him. He just got suckered, again. It was just too easy.

*****

He really was too easy. That woman could talk him into dropping everything and driving her to Vegas. Not that he'd mind a road trip with her. Ally walked next to him outside, ignoring the light drizzle, humming softly, and teetering on her feet. She looked even more exhausted than he felt. Sam knew she often barely slept after fighting with Darren, as she'd fallen asleep on the ride home a couple of times before.

They headed for the supermarket first, which took only about ten extra minutes. By then, the rain was getting stronger, and neither of them had jackets or umbrellas. At least it was warm as they bolted across the parking lot. Upon entering the store, however, he really wanted back out. The air conditioning was going full blast, making them both shiver as their clothes stuck to them.

"I'll grab a basket," he offered.

"Why? You can carry it."

"I can?"

"Yeah, you're the pack mule. Now mush." She slapped his butt and got him moving.

The list wasn't extensive, just some basics -- bread, toothpaste, toilet paper, the usual. He followed her around like an obedient pet, cradling everything she dumped into his arms. She also made sure to buy his favorite cereal as thanks for coming along without a fight, to which he just rolled his eyes. Then his phone chimed.

"Is that an anime theme song?" she asked with blatant disdain.

"Shut up. You still use the Firefly theme." He juggled the pile of items as Ally sauntered off to finish the shopping. Standing in the cereal aisle, he recognized his wife's number and answered. "Have you landed?"

The noise on the other end nearly drowned her out. "Yes, honey! Sorry, it's insane in this airport." Nearby, a familiar batch of voices began squealing, and she mimicked them like a parrot. He waited patiently for her to greet her friends and remember he was still on the line. "I'm safe and sound, so don't you worry. Are you home?"

"Not yet. I'm with Ally, tricked into shopping for groceries. Darren had some thing at a house he's working on, the Morris place. Aren't they friends of yours?"

"Yes. Is he alone with her?"

"Dunno. I think he's with his friend, not sure if the owners are there. Is that bad?"

"Not bad, per se. Just... interesting. She's a bit frisky, and loves to mess with guys, especially married ones."

"Uh, should Ally be worried?"

"Not sure. She's with you, so I don't think so." What does that mean? he thought. "But hey, have fun this weekend, and take precautions."

"The storm isn't that bad right now. I heard it won't last past tonight."

"That's not what I'm talking about."

She left it hanging at that. A memory came to him, one he tried pushing deep down many times in the last few months. Just a conversation he'd overheard, probably innocuous, but the pieces he'd caught made him ask, "Is anything going on?"

Hesitation. Milena never did that unless she was stalling to lie. That was also a rarity. Then she said, "Just pretend you're on vacation, too. Have fun, baby. I gotta go, take care!"

She hung up before he could even formulate a response to that vacation remark. Confusion welled up in his gut, until Ally came back into the aisle and tossed a small box and loaf of bread onto the pile he was still hefting. The box was a package of condoms. He was a bit surprised that they even sold those at the grocery store. Without prompting, she explained how she hoped to make up with Darren this weekend, so she had to prepare. Afterward, she fetched a can of whip cream before considering the task complete.

Most of the checkout lanes were closed save for two, yet not many people were out and about so early. The line moved quickly, too fast for Ally to choose a good candy bar. So she grabbed one at random, only for him to snatch her hand and remove her prize.

"Nuh-uh. It's got peanuts."

"Oh shit, thanks. Never seen that brand before."

"You're not missing much." She trembled a little as she realized how close she'd come to doing something stupid. Her allergy wasn't horrific -- she wouldn't die from biting into a Reese's -- but he'd seen the insulin shot she kept on her for such a mistake. And Darren had told him about one particularly close call.

He was still holding her hand when the cashier was ringing them up. She sighed as if watching a couple of puppies playing together. "How sweet. I've never met your husband before."

"Oh, this guy is just today's mule," she said quickly, pulling her hand away. "My husband had 'work.' I think he's just hiding from helping me with errands."

"Ah, so this one couldn't run fast enough."

Sam hung his head in shame, mostly because he felt a little pang of regret from how quickly Ally had corrected the woman. It was stupid, he knew, yet he wished she could have hesitated just a little.

Then the cashier rang up the condoms and gave him a sidelong glance.

Neither showed any sign of realizing how that looked. Not until they were out of the store back into the soft rain, anyway. Then, sharing a glance, they burst into laughter. When she caught her breath, she said she was going to make sure not to bring Darren shopping with her for a while.

Ally tossed the bags on the floorboard as he got behind the wheel, and he watched as she yawned so widely that he feared she would dislocate her jaw.

"Sorry. I'm going on maybe four hours' sleep."

"I'll be driving slow, so go ahead and take a nap. You have at least twenty minutes."

"Thanks." She smiled at him almost sheepishly. Then she leaned her seat back a little, and promptly lost her battle with consciousness. With her lying next to him, it was all but impossible to stop stealing glances at the thin shirt over her chest. He shook his head, started the car, and turned the radio off before leaving the parking lot.

It wasn't as if he was always letting his hormones take control. They even hung out together without any tension on his part. The first time they had gone out on a movie date -- platonic, naturally -- Darren had met him outside their apartment, told him he couldn't get into her pants tonight, and held her hand as they went into the building. The next day, she'd assured him that her husband wasn't a sociopath and that he was in no danger even if he did make a move on her. Not that he ever really considered doing so. He was happily married, even if Milena was pressing the issue of kids and a new job, and other things. That reminded him of another big issue. He liked where he was working, even if there was no future. Ally was probably his best friend at this point, and the thought of not working with her was... unpleasant. Plus, he did have a crush on her. Milena knew it. Hell, even Darren knew it. If Ally herself did, she never brought it up. This was nice enough, just spending a quiet morning with her, and occasionally going out to see a new Marvel flick or for a few rounds of bowling. She was breathing softly, fast asleep.

Never fell for an April Fools joke, huh?

With that thought, he knew how to do it. Nothing too extravagant, or even that funny, it would be enough to prove the victor, and also distract his libido for a time. He took a detour on the way to her apartment as the rain continued in a light shower, the gray clouds only growing thicker but no more threatening. There was plenty of time to get her home then head back to his empty abode before the storm broke, if it ever did.

The city wasn't very big, and surrounded by trees and streams pouring down the unremarkable mountain rising against the western edge. He knew of a trail that was mostly used by bikes and four-wheelers, one his small car could easily follow. The mud made the going a bit more difficult, but soon he ran over more solid and rocky terrain. Nothing that put him at risk, at least. In only twenty minutes, with Ally still sleeping soundly, he came upon a large overhang of rock, as if a cave's walls had been eroded away. It reminded him a bit of Pac-man, with a steady pair of waterfalls cascading off the tip. The downpour wasn't too hard, and if he drove under both streams at once -- which he'd done last year when stupidly taking this path swerving nearly into the pond to miss a biker -- it was like a torrential rainfall. He positioned the car under both streams and parked. The noise was thunderous, barely weaker than the real thing that rumbled not far away. But it was enough to rouse his passenger.

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byShaneLucas© 15 comments/ 60945 views/ 38 favorites

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