Salvation a la Mode and a Cup of Tea

Arianna Sinn

“Freefall,” Rebecca Quinn thought to herself as the elevator lowered her and her Husband down to the lobby of her office building so they could go have lunch together.

“Freefall…That’s just what my life feels like right now,” she had to stifle a perverse chuckle at the irony of the comparison between the elevator and her place in life.

Rebecca had been married to Neal Quinn for almost 22 years. The first dozen or so had been decent, but there was no mistake the two had drifted apart for the last decade and Rebecca had been having an affair on and off with a man from her office building for past year.

Part of the marital strain had been each’s steadfast pursuit of a career. Rebecca was an ad executive in Manhattan and Neal was a real estate developer in greater New York City area. Despite the fact that their collective careers provided for a relatively lavish existence, there had never been enough time or energy for growth and passion between the two. It wasn’t until both their children had gone off to college that Rebecca and Neal realized just how little they shared in common. It was sometime during that realization that Rebecca had began the affair.

In hindsight, Rebecca knew it was a very selfish thing to do, despite the fact that she was sure Neal had strayed several times over the course of their marriage as well. Raised in the church by a very loving and devoted Mother and Father, out of guilt, once the initial thrill of the affair had worn off, Rebecca put an end to it in hopes of maybe trying to re-kindle a spark with her Husband.

Part of that process was trying to take an active role in getting to know each other all over again and spending time with one another. Trying to coordinate an occasional lunch date with each other was part of that plan, even though Neal hadn’t shown much zeal for the idea.

As the two stood there in the elevator, making their way down to the street to head to an Italian eatery a couple of blocks away, Rebecca was at a loss trying to make small talk with the man she had known for nearly 25 years.

“You’re awful quiet,” she probed.

“Just got a lot on my mind, we can talk about it at the restaurant,” Neal dismissively quipped as the elevator continued it’s descent.

__________________________________

What her Husband had told her over lunch had left Rebecca feeling sick to the stomach. While Neal had casually finished his meal as he laid out the sordid details about why the Securities and Exchange Commission might soon be snooping around and asking questions about some of his business dealings, and perhaps even why the FBI might be coming to their house to serve a warrant to look around, Rebecca just sat there stunned, unable to look at the food in front of her.

“You don’t know anything,” Neal said firmly between sips of wine.

“Is there anything to know?” she asked.

“There shouldn’t be anything now,” was his cryptic retort as if saying the less she knew, the better.

Of all the years of Neal being a jerk and a cad, the last thing she thought she would ever hear was that he had done something so egregious, that it might compromise their life and tear the family apart. And all over greed.

“We have everything we could possibly want, and it just isn’t enough,” Rebecca reconciled to herself.

Knowing the restaurant was the wrong place to make a scene, Rebecca privately cursed her Husband for the gutless act of bringing her to a public place to break the news.

“I’ve got to get back to the office,” Rebecca blandly spoke, nearly drawing blood from the inside of her cheek as she fought to hold her tongue.

“I’ll walk you back,” Neal added as if nothing had ever happened.

Numb to her surroundings, the thousands of other New Yorkers milling about on the sidewalk were one big blur to Rebecca as she made a bee-line back to her office, her Husband constantly a step or two behind her simmering, deliberate pace.

“Slow down Rebec…,” Neal started to say as he reached out to grab her by the arm, seeing the next few seconds playing out before they happened.

BAMMMM

“OH GOD…I’m sorry,” Rebecca’s voice pierced the din on the street after she had plowed directly into the homeless man on the street who, with his back turned, had no way of avoiding the incensed female ad exec who was trying to stay two steps in front of her Husband.

“Get out of our way you stupid piece of shit,” Neal Quinn gruffly barked at the stocky vagrant his wife had just plowed into before taking his wife by the waist and hustling her forward before the stunned panhandler even knew what happened.

“I was trying to apologize to him,” Rebecca spat. “It was my fault not looking where I was was going.”

“Don’t fucking worry about the Goddamn Bum,” Neal gritted his teeth, his penchant for not caring who he runs over showing itself in spades.

“They ought to get all this garbage off the street,” Neal said just loud enough for all the interested parties to hear before disappearing edirne escort with his wife back into the mass of bustling humanity.

“OH…SHIT,” Rebecca growled a few steps later. “I think I left my purse back at the restaurant.”

“Are you sure the guy that just ran into you didn’t take it?” Neal snapped.

“No,” Rebecca groaned, picturing the purse in her mind sitting underneath the outdoor table they were eating at.

“Let me call the place,” Neal said as he reached for his phone to call information.

“This wouldn’t have happened if you didn’t have the audacity to break that stupid news to me over a public lunch you Sonofabitch,” Rebecca groused, her anger shooting like daggers from her eyes as her Husband dialed the restaurant.

“The waiter said it’s not there,” Neal moaned as he hung up the phone and put it back in his pocket.

“FUCKING GREAT,” Rebecca hissed. “Just don’t worry about it…I’ll just call and cancel all the credit cards when I get back up to the office…I only had about $40 in it anyway.”

Sensing his wife’s obvious frustration, both at him and at the purse situation, Neal Quinn carefully excused himself once they had reached the entrance of Rebecca’s office building, giving a weak, fleeting and unanswered, “I love you” before turning to head back to the garage where he had parked his car.

_____________________________________

It was Monday of the next week that Rebecca Quinn found herself heading out of the doors of her office building once again, this time to grab a quick cup of cappuccino for lunch at the coffee house across the street. It would also be where her life would take the most unexpected and macabre swerve she could imagine.

The subsequent few days after Neal Quinn had informed Rebecca about the possibility of some government heat coming down on him, the frost that had already been overtaking their relationship only seemed to harden. Not only had the passion grown listless between the two, now Rebecca had lost most of her respect for him and even found herself somewhat scared of what he, if not the people he was in financial bed with, were capable of.

Neal had left the night before with several boxes of documents and a plane ticket to an unspecified destination in what he termed a “gathering to get everyone’s story straight”. He hadn’t told her how long he planned on being gone, but she did notice he had taken a week’s worth of clothes with him.

Wading through the crush of humanity on the street, her mind mired in a whirlwind of complicated thought, Rebecca was suddenly snapped out of her distracted fog by a hand coming to rest on her shoulder.

“URRGGHHH,” was Rebecca’s visceral reaction when she turned to meet the eyes of the man who had grabbed her.

It was the homeless man she had nearly ran over a few days earlier.

“AHHH…It’s you,” Rebecca mumbled cautiously, her constitution withering somewhat from the searing but calm eye contact the stranger made with her.

A primal fear swept through Rebecca, even though there were hundreds of potential witnesses within eyesight, knowing that New Yorkers, at any given moment, could all have collective amnesia if a crime on the street was committed.

“I didn’t mean to scare you Ma’am,” the husky young man said with a distinct Southern drawl.

“He’s cleaner and smells better than I thought,” was Rebecca’s strange first internal thought. “He must have either gotten some new clothes at one of the shelters over the weekend or he’s one of those guys who pretend to be homeless just to make some easy money.”

“What is it?” she shakily asked.

“I found something the other day…I think it might be yours,” he said before reaching into his coat and pulling out a scrunched up ladies handbag.

“My purse,” Rebecca marveled, her eyes growing wide as if she was a child who had just had a lost puppy returned to her.

“Where on Earth…How did you know it was mine?” Rebecca stammered, wondering for a brief moment if the homeless man had in fact taken her purse that day.

“I found it in an alleyway a few blocks from here…just tossed aside,” He began. “Honestly I was hoping there was some money left in it…Fat Chance…but when I looked inside I didn’t see no money or credit cards but whoever took it left behind most everything else…I thought I recognized the picture on your driver’s license from the other day.”

“Oh Dear…Jesus…Thanks Again,” Rebecca smiled, having the fight back the tears of appreciation at the man’s charity. “I feel so horrible about the way my Husband reacted the other day…let me apologize again…Please!!”

“No worry Ma’am…he just felt you were being threatened and he was being protective…its completely understandable. There are some pretty bad dudes wondering around this part of town…you can’t be too careful,” he replied.

“Hold on,” Rebecca spoke up when she sensed the man beginning to turn back into the crowd. “Let me at least go over there and buy you a elazığ escort cup of coffee…its the least I could do.”

“OK Ma’am,” the man finally agreed, swallowing his pride without much of a fight at the thought of allowing such an attractive and well mannered business woman buying him a little warmth on such a cold afternoon.

_________________________________

Sitting at a small table inside the coffee shop with the homeless man, Rebecca couldn’t help feeling self conscious, as if all eyes were on the strangely paired couple.

“Honestly though Rebecca,” she tried to rationalize,” With his clean shirt, relatively new jeans and work boots, if no one knew any better, they’d have no clue he was homeless.

Still, Rebecca recoiled somewhat from the heat of all those perceived stares as she listened attentively to the young man’s story.

His name was PJ and he had grown up in a rural town in South Carolina. He’d freely admitted he had fallen in with a bad crowd after dropping out of high school and he had been helping run drugs north and south for almost a year when their operation was busted. When most of the brains behind the group had drifted back below the Mason-Dixon line when they felt the heat closing in, PJ was left to be a patsy when arrests were finally made.

He had spent the last four years serving his sentence, and had been released three weeks earlier. Without any real place to go, while he was trying to save up enough money from his panhandling to get back home to South Carolina, he knew there wasn’t much waiting for him there either. He’d discovered he could make more a week working the streets of Manhattan than he could in a month in a factory or on a farm back home. And the hours were much better.

Rebecca was startled when she looked down at her watch and saw just how quickly her lunch hour had passed talking to the young man.

“Oh God…I’ve really got to get back up to the office,” she chirped, instantly feeling a twinge of guilt from the deflated look that spread across PJ’s face.

“I’m keeping you…I’m sorry,” he grinned politely. “I’ve forgot what it’s like to have a real job…I’ve really enjoyed this…its the first time I’ve had a coherant conversation with anyone since leaving prison.”

“No…No…it’s not you PJ…I really do have to get back to work…but…,” Rebecca stopped, leaving that little three letter word dangling precariously in the air.

Suddenly the married businesswoman could feel a tomato shade of blush rising across her cheeks and neck.

“I…um…I could probably be out of the office by 3…will you still be out here?” Rebecca voice trailed away, leaving the man sitting across from her looking equally as stunned.

The words were out of Rebecca’s mouth, with no hope of bringing them back, and she felt her foundation beginning to crack when she saw the first gleam of understanding in the stranger’s burdened, brown eyes.

__________________________________

Rebecca knew she’d probably never know, or want to face, the real reason she’d met PJ back down on the street later that afternoon, or why she was standing beside him on the subway heading home to her uptown condo.

It was cast as an offer to the young homeless man as a chance to get a warm shower and a hot meal, but as that subway car raced towards the outskirts of the city, Rebecca felt her own life was somehow helplessly hurdling down those same tracks.

“Eight hours ago, you would have been fearing for your life standing this close to someone that looked like him on the subway,” Rebecca knew, understanding completely the cautious glaze of unease of everyone else surrounding her in the train car as they stared at PJ.

She could also see a look of curiousity in all their eyes as well, and she couldn’t help but feel a shiver of excitement as one by one, those same faces realized the scruffy looking man was with her.

_________________________________

“This whole thing is like some kind of out of body experience,” Rebecca lamented as she dipped her finger into a glass of rum (mainly rum) and Coke.

Standing over her kitchen sink, making a mixed drink as she had done thousands of other times after work over the years, Rebecca listened intently to the sounds of the ice cubes jingling in her glass as their cold friction mingled with the distant humming hiss of the shower on the other side of the condo.

Only this time, it wasn’t her Husband in there taking the shower.

“I expected him to be like a fish out of water when we walked inside,” Rebecca groused, feeling oddly unsettled at just how comfortable PJ seemed as he followed her inside her inner sanctum a few minutes earlier.

“The ultimate act of control is to give it up, and he senses that,” a wise but obtrusive voice in her head reckoned.

“Thank God only a few people saw him and I coming up the elevator, and none that lived here on my floor,” the withering vestiges of Rebecca’s self respect squeaked.

So erzincan escort lost in her own internal malaise, it wasn’t until she heard the shower cut off in the bathroom down the hall that Rebecca was collared back to reality.

“It’s your house, you’re the one who should feel like you have the power here…nothing should happen unless you say so,” Rebecca’s inner strength faded like a distant and distorted radio station. “A shower and a home cooked was all you promised him…”

Rebecca turned when she heard the steady drumbeat of footsteps coming up the hall and nearly dropped her glass when she saw PJ enter the kitchen, still wet from his long shower and clad only in one of her Husband’s robes that she had set out for him.

“Oh My…God,” she exclaimed, unable to believe a simple shower and shave could change a person’s appearance so much. “You look like a new man!”

“I feel like one too,” PJ replied. “It’s the first real shower I’ve had since I got out of jail…Hell its the first time I’ve taken a shower in five years where I didn’t have to keep looking over my shoulder.”

“And such a striking figure he cuts,” Rebecca internally noted, unable to ignore the glaring way PJ filled out her Husband’s robe.

“Here’s a drink,” Rebecca offered as casually as she could despite the vortex of emotions swirling through her.

PJ took the glass and smiled, the whole time studying Rebecca as she supported her weight against the front edge of the kitchen stove.

“It feels like your melting against the stove,” Rebecca’s inner voice trembled, causing her to instinctively turn her head to make sure the eyes weren’t turned on.

“It’s HIS eyes that are melting you, Rebecca,” that same inner voice added as the robe clad stranger stared on in silence.

“He’s been in prison for five years and on the street for a month. He hasn’t been alone with a woman for that long and here he is, half naked in your kitchen after you’ve invited him into your house…and he doesn’t look like he plans on leaving anytime soon,” Rebecca’s conscience crackled, the ice cubes in her glass cracking from the friction as her own self control steadily gave way.

Bowing her head to the left from the intense weight of PJ’s stare, Rebecca braced her back against the stove and raised her cold and sweaty glass up to her neck as the hulking man she had brought home began to stride towards her.

Feeling like a mouse trapped in a corner as PJ approached, Rebecca’s body visibly trembled as his imposing shadow enveloped her.

“UUHHH,” Rebecca groaned when he reached out and touched her for the first time, causing her to spill her drink on the counter in the process.

Engrossed in the moment so completely, PJ wouldn’t allow Rebecca to even turn to see the sticky pool of rum and Coca-Cola wash across the counter and drip down to the floor.

Still dressed in her work clothes, Rebecca withered there, like a fly snared in a web as PJ leaned in and kissed her directly under her right earlobe. Swaying as he pulled back, Rebecca could feel the homeless man sizing her up as he hovered over top of her.

“He did his time like a man and faced his crime and he’s doing all he can to try and drag himself back up with no resources or support…and where’s your Husband right now…out running away from problems of his own making,” Rebecca compared PJ’s plight to her Husband’s as justification for her carnal weakness.

His grip tight on her waist, Rebecca couldn’t move or barely even breath as PJ leaned in once more, this time kissing her hungrily on the side of her neck and collarbone. She could feel a tenderness and caution in his action, but deep down Rebecca knew he was a wild and uncaged animal, ready to strike.

“If its been that long for him without a woman…what on Earth will he do to me?” Rebecca shuddered.

“And its been so long for you without a real man…how will you handle it?” that same cold, inner voice heartlessly asked.

It was then that Rebecca understood PJ’s tenderness and caution was more of a well practiced patience as he prepared to take something that had long been denied.

Wedged that closely to the freshly showered man, Rebecca forced her eyes open so she could take in the bestial gaze of the man she had invited home. Seemingly lost in the hypnotic haze of PJ’s steady acquisition of her body, Rebecca was jolted back to the reality of his true intentions when he removed his right hand from her waist and placed it squarely and unabashedly over her crotch.

Clamping his fingers tight through Rebecca’s tailored, navy blue slacks, the homeless man felt the married woman shudder and gasp as he nearly lifted her feet off the ground from the force of his pelvic grip.

“OOHHHHH,” Rebecca’s moans ripped through the kitchen as she dug her manicured fingernails into the back of the robe she’d given PJ to wear.

From that moment, Rebecca knew her cunt, if not every bit of gristle, bone and soul, had been turned over to PJ as she continued to crudely grind her crotch against his squeezing hand. Digging the tips of her high heels into the tiled floor below to keep her quivering legs from giving way, Rebecca pressed her face flush against PJ’s shoulder as he devoured the soft inner flesh of her neck.

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