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Authors: Victoria Lexington

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MARIA

The next month dragged on. Time sure did not fly when I was not having fun. I missed Enrique so much it hurt to get up some mornings. I didn’t realize how much of my happiness was tethered to
him. During our time together I popped out of bed, excited to get the, “Good morning, beautiful”, text he sent every morning without fail.

I longed to feel his lips on mine, to feel how warm and safe I felt in his arms. I ached to feel our bodies entwined with passion and heat, with fervor and lust. I missed his voice, his ridiculously sexy Spanish accent, and how he was always rolling his R’s, and the way his saying my name felt like a song.

All this longing for Enrique just made my marriage to Zack more intolerable by the day. I was daydreaming at work when my phone rang. I saw Liz’s photo pop up on my cell.

“Hey, MILF,” I teased as I answered my phone.

“Hey, Maria. How are you?”

“Eh, I’ve been better, and you?”

Liz sighed into the phone. “I have something to tell you.”

“Okay…” I sat down afraid of what she was about to tell me.

“Enrique and Claire split up.”

“Oh, no. That’s awful. I feel terrible. I know he really wanted to try and make his marriage work for the kids. What happened?”

“I’m not sure. Will you call him?” Liz asked.

“Hmm, I don’t know. I don’t think so. If he wants to reach me, he knows how. He must not want to be in touch. Maybe what we had wasn’t so special to him after all.” My voice cracked as I swallowed hard to hold back the tears.

“Aw, no, Maria. That’s not true. Enrique loved you. I’m sure he still loves you. He’ll call you. I’m sure of it.”

“Listen, Liz, thanks for letting me know. It’s almost five o’clock, and I just want to go home and get lost in a bottle of wine.”

“Okay, hon. I’ll call you tomorrow. Love you.”

“Love you too.” I hung up my phone.

I sat there for a moment in disbelief. Enrique and Claire had split up, and he hadn’t called to tell me. If Zack and I split up, he would be the first person I would think to tell. Did that mean he didn’t want me after all? Didn’t he still love me?

Fighting back the tears, I started packing up my laptop when Blake popped his head into my office. “Hey, Maria, a group of us are going out for happy hour. Wanna come with?”

Normally, I wouldn’t even consider it, but I wanted to go out that night and drown my sorrows. As luck would have it, the kids were at a sleepover and Zack was away.

We walked a few blocks to a local watering hole. The bar was packed, typical for a Fr
iday night. There were six of us: five young single guys and me. It seemed like getting wasted was the plan for the evening, and who was I to get in the way of that?

We sat at a round high table, and before I could even look at the wine list, a round of le
mon drop shots were brought to the table. I was the oldest one in the group and didn’t want to seem like an old fuddy duddy, so when Blake passed me my shot and a lemon, I just smiled and said, “Thank you.” Our waitress returned quickly with another round, and with just two shots, I was feeling pretty relaxed.

The other guys from work started circling the bar like predators seeking their prey. It was fun to watch them: their body language, the way they would smile at a girl they were inte
rested in, waiting to see if she would smile back. I kind of missed that, being young and single.

“What do you want to drink? I know the bartender, and she’ll hook us up with the good stuff.” Blake stood there smiling, waiting for me to respond.

“Oh, okay. How about Grey Goose and Red Bull?” I was in the mood to get drunk fast.

“Yum, sounds good. I’ll get the same. Be back in a few.”

Blake practically skipped up to the bar. His ass was so small and tight in his J. Crew jeans, and I loved his country club style.

As promised, Blake was back quickly. He had two big glasses with our drinks and two smaller shooters. This was going to be a long night.

“Here, first do the Sex on the Beach shooter, and we can chase it down with our Red Bulls.” Blake seemed so proud of his big idea, I couldn’t possibly turn down his beautiful innocence. He handed me my shooter, we clinked them together, and he said, “Cheers.”

I couldn’t help but smile at him. “Cheers,” I said, and like the sorority chick I once was, I downed the drink and chased it with the vodka.

The alcohol was starting to hit me hard, making me feel happy and mellow, something I hadn’t felt since being with Enrique.

“So Blake, tell me something interesting about yourself,” I said coyly.

Blake paused for a moment to think. “Well, I’m not gay, if that’s what you think. I just love clothes and musicals.” We both laughed.

He leaned in close; he had one arm on the table and his legs on either side of my stool, practically straddling me. He tilted his head down and looked me right in the eye. His face was no more than a foot away from mine.

“In fact,” he said, “I absolutely love women, especially older, married women.” His voice was low and raspy.

I sat stunned for a moment, not sure how to respond to him. I was glad I had not ima
gined the “I want to fuck you” looks he gave me in the office. “Oh?” I tried to play off his obvious advances.

“And you, Maria, love younger, hot single guys.”

“Do I?” I tried to sound coy.

“Yup, you do. You love how they look at you, undressing you with their eyes. You love the idea of being with a young, strong, hot guy. Someone who would take the time to make you feel good and spend hours just kissing you head to toe. Someone who would have the stamina to keep up with you all night long. Someone also in their sexual prime, someone who could never say no to you, someone to help you fulfill your deepest, darkest desires.”

I crossed my legs on the barstool. Blake’s words were getting me so turned on I could feel my panties getting soaked.

He gently placed his strong hand on my knee. His touch made me jump a little.

He moved in a little closer. I uncrossed my legs, and he ran his hand up the side of my inner thigh very slowly. I didn’t say a word, but my eyes locked with his and told him not to stop.

“You want to know what it would feel like to be taken by a man who has been lusting a
fter you for months, don’t you?”

I nodded ever so slightly.

His hand inched higher and higher up my leg until his fingers were just outside of my silk panties.

“I’ve seen you checking out my package, Maria. You want to know if I’m as hung as you think I am, don’t you?”

I nodded again; I could barely move. His fingers were gently circling on the outside of my wet panties, and I was dying to feel his fingers inside my pussy.

“You’re aching to feel my fingers inside of you, gently moving on the outside until they glide inside and caress your G-Spot.”

With one hand he gently moved my panties to the side while the other hand slowly started caressing my clit. I moved up a little on the stool, and he slipped his finger inside of me. I tried not to make a peep; I didn’t want anyone around to notice us. But it felt so good! I bit my lower lip to keep myself from making any noise.

“Come on, Maria, let’s go.” Blake confidently slid his hand out from my skirt, took my hand, and helped me hop off the stool. He didn’t ask me if I wanted to go to his place; my body told him all he needed to know.

We hopped in a cab, and luckily his apartment was only ten minutes away. In the car, Blake took my face in his hands before he feverishly kissed my lips.

We stumbled into his apartment, and before I got a chance to even look around, Blake threw me against the wall. He placed my hands above my head against the wall and ran his fi
ngers down my arms. He picked up one of my legs and put it around his waist and started massaging one cheek.

“Wow
, Maria. Your ass is amazing. I’ve fantasized about doing that for months.”

He kissed me passionately. His tongue wandered in my mouth; he sucked on my tongue and bit my lower lip. Blake was an amazing kisser, making me wetter and wetter by the moment.

He unbuckled his belt, and his pants fell to the ground. He stepped out of them and stood there half naked with his stiff cock waiting for me. He hiked my skirt up and then lifted me in his arms, placing my legs around his waist. He pressed me against the wall and teased my wetness with his throbbing dick.

I wanted him to go inside so badly.

“You want me, don’t you, Maria?”

“Hmm . . . mmm.” I could barely talk.

“Say it, Maria. Say you want my big dick inside your tight pussy.”

My voice was trembling and I could not wait to feel him inside me. “Blake, I want your big cock so badly. I need it. Come on, don’t make me wait anymore,” I pleaded.

“Okay, beautiful. That’s what I like to hear.”

He hoisted me up a little more so I could slide onto his thickness. He brought me down slowly.

“I want you to feel every inch of me, every ridge, as I enter your velvety pussy.”

I nodded, and I did. I felt every detail of his massiveness entering me. My body shook when he was all the way in. I had never felt such a strong man and never felt such a big cock in this position.

“Damn, Blake. You feel amazing.” My insides were already throbbing. I felt like I would explode if I moved at all.

Blake grabbed onto my ass and bobbed me up and down his shaft. His lips were warm on my neck; my head was thrown back, riding him and reveling in the incredible sensations this man was bringing to my body.

“Oh, Maria, you are freaking amazing. Ride me, come on, gorgeous. Feel all of me, feel my balls crushing against your clit.”

He pressed in closer, and that’s all my body could handle before it shuddered in perfect bliss.

“Blake, Blake,” I moaned out.

Blake gently let me go and then placed me on my knees. “Now, you’re going to swallow me.” He didn’t ask; he just told me, and it turned me on.

I opened my mouth so I could engulf his huge cock. Blake’s eyes rolled in the back of his head.

“Yeah, I love that. Roll your tongue around the head. Suck me, Maria.”

I licked and sucked and teased him with my tongue. Then with my right hand, I stroked his cock slowly up and down, and when he said he was close, I gently massaged his balls with my left hand.

“Oh, Jesus!” He threw his head back and yelled, “I’m coming! I’m coming!” I felt his warm liquid spray into my mouth and ooze down the back of my throat. It tasted salty and warm. I loved that I could make him explode like that.

Blake gave me his hand to help me off my knees after he finished. I stood up and kissed him hard on the lips.

“Mmm . . . that was yummy.” I smiled at him.

He kissed me back hard. “Maria, you are so freaking fantastic. I knew you would be. I could see right through your soccer mom image in your cute little Ann Taylor outfits. I’ve been lusting after you since the first time I saw you.”

LIZ

Flashback: Twenty-five years old

For my twenty-fifth birthday, Braden took me on a cruise to Alaska. It was the first cruise I’d been on, and I was blown away by the ship’s amenities and the beauty of the Alaskan terrain, not to mention how many Mai Tais I could drink in one night.

One evening, we decided to explore the casino. I had never played roulette before, and I was captivated watching an elderly gentleman. He smelled like Old Spice cologne and had deep laugh lines around his eyes and smile. He reminded me of my grandpa, my Papa, who’d died when I was ten.

My Papa. I still remember the way he’d look up at me through his thick, black glasses while reading the New York Times and sipping on his piping hot black coffee. It was Thanksgiving, and we were visiting our grandparents in Florida. They were snowbirds and spent half the year in New Jersey and half the year in Boca Raton.

Sitting at his glass table in his swanky kitchen of their Boca condo, we were the only two awake. He had just made me his infamous homemade waffles with whipped cream and cherries. They were my papa’s specialty.

He was always sharing stories from his youth and doling out words of wisdom. That morning was no exception.

“Elizabeth, if you want to live a long and happy life, there are three things you need to do. First, wake up early; spend time by yourself before all the hustle and bustle of the day. Exercise, meditate, read the Bible. Do something that will get your day off on a good note. Sometimes life throws us messes, but it’s a lot easier to clean them up if you start your day off right.”

“Two, don’t get caught up in the nonsense of other people’s lives. When you find yourself getting worked up about something, take a moment and think about if it will matter in an hour, a day, or even a week. If the answer is no, then don’t let it get to you. God only gave us twenty-four hours in a day. Use them wisely. Every day, make time for family, work, and play. Family first, family is always first.”

“And three—and this is the most important one, so listen carefully.” I hung on to his every word. “Be happy. Life is short. It may not seem like that now when you have too much hom
ework and your crush, Arthur Tutella, doesn’t love you back. But I promise you, one day you’ll blink and wake up and you’ll be sixty-five years old, your baby will be forty, and you’ll be having breakfast with your wonderful granddaughter.”

I smiled when I finally realized he was talking about me. He pulled me in close, ruffled my bangs like he always did, and kissed me on top of my head.

“Did you hear what I said, Lizzy?”

“Yes, Grandpa. Be happy.”

He took off his glasses and looked at me deeply in the eyes. “I wish someone had told me that when I was a kid. I spent so much time doing what I thought I should have been doing, I missed out a lot on life.”

“Bu
t wait, Grandpa. You said if I want to live a long and happy life, there were three things I would need to do. The last one you said is to be happy. But you didn’t say how I’d get there.”

“Ah, very good, my wise girl. I didn’t say how you’d get there because only you will know the answer to that. Life is not always sunshine and roses. Happiness is something we d
ecide for ourselves. How we get there is our choice and our choice alone. The same way no one can take a breath for you, no one can determine your happiness. Once you master that, then being happy will be like breathing. You won’t even have to think about it. It will just be.”

In December, my grandparents came to New Jersey to celebrate Christmas with the fam
ily. Even though they split their time between New Jersey and Florida, he always said New Jersey was his home. Born and bred a Yankee fan, he could never find a good bagel or slice of pizza in Florida. I think Grandpa planned the trip to New Jersey so that he’d have a good crowd at his funeral, like he had come home to die.

A few days later, Papa had a brain aneurysm and passed away in his sleep. My grandma said that when she found him in the morning, she’d thought he was just sleeping soundly because he looked so peaceful. She said he was smiling. I know he died happy. He chose to be happy in life; I had no doubt he chose to be happy in death too.

Like the heavens were paying their tribute, the day my grandpa died it really was all sunshine and roses. It was unseasonably warm for December in New Jersey. Not a cloud in the sky. And roses, well, they were everywhere. They were Grandma’s favorite flower, and everyone knew it. Her friends from the gardening club made beautiful bouquets of roses. There were dozens of arrangements in their house, at the church, at the funeral home, even on Grandpa’s coffin.

Grandma kept busy the day of the wake, tidying up and baking cookies for the guests. When Martha, a friend from her gardening club, stopped over with a huge bouquet I heard Grandma ask with surprise in her voice, “Martha! Where did you ever get such beautiful roses? They’re not even in season right now.”

Martha half smiled and said cheerfully, “Sure they are. You just have to know where to look.”

Thinking of Grandpa always made m
e smile.


I watched Walter drink his bourbon on the rocks slowly, with purpose. His hair was disappearing fast, but what was there was salt and pepper. His eyes told a thousand stories every time he laughed. I liked him immediately.

He caught me staring a
nd motioned with his hand to come over. “Hey, doll. Ever play roulette before?”

“No, but you look like you’re having so much fun I decided to watch you, see if I can pick up some pointers.”

“Ah, a rookie. Just what we need at our table for good luck! Rookies always bring good luck.” He dragged a chair from the other side of the table next to him. He proceeded to tell me how the game worked. “Each chip is worth a dollar. Minimum bet is five dollars. If you put a chip directly on a number and you win, payout is thirty-five dollars. Corners are worth eight dollars, and black and red payout is one to one.”

I had a hundred dollars to start with. I was too nervous to put my chips straight on the numbers, so I did some splits and corner bets. All my favorites: my anniversary, birthdays of loved ones. I was up and then I was down, but I was definitely getting the hang of it.

Walter summoned the scantily clad cocktail waitress. “Hey doll, I’ll have another Jack on the rocks, and my young friend here will have a Lucky Lady drink. Thanks, love.”

“What’s in a Lucky Lady?” I asked.

“Coconut rum, pineapple juice, cranberry juice. Don’t worry, you’ll love it.”

“Sounds great, but how did you know I’d like that?”

“Old age, wisdom. How old are you, twenty-five?”

“Yes,
sir! Wow, that’s three for three. You’re good!”

“Yeah, that’s what she said.”

The whole table was cracking up. Walter was smart, kind, and witty. After drinking three Lucky Ladies, my luck was on fire. I was up to two hundred dollars and having a blast.

“Okay, doll, you’ve doubled your money; it’s time to get a little brazen. Pick your five f
avorite numbers and put your chips directly on the number.”

I gasped. “Really? It seems so risky, and the odds are against it. Why can’t I just keep playing like I have been? I’m ahead,
see?”

“Averse to risk, are we? Hmm…you are still young, my dear. But when you’re older, you’ll see the greater the risk, the greater the reward. You can keep playing it safe, and you’ll probably always do moderately well. Or you can take some risks, and if you win, you will see the reward was well worth the risk.”

“But wait, that’s assuming that I win. What if I take a risk and I lose? Won’t I wish I had played it safe and still left ahead?”

“Is that how you like to live? So young, so naïve.” Walter was shaking his head from side to side.

This guy was pissing me off. “Hey, I’m only twenty-five years old. I can’t afford to throw away two hundred dollars.”

“On the contrary, my dear. It’s when you are young that you can take a risk. If you lose, one day you’ll look back on this day and laugh. You’ll rue the day you met crazy Walter at the casino. But you won’t forget the free lesson that came with it. Put away the hundred dollars you started with. Worst case scenario, you played for free and will have gained a life lesson here. Best case, you walk away with some cash in your pocket and a night you will never forget.”

I hung on to his every word the same way I did whenever my Grandpa doled out life lessons.

“Do you think really happy people stay home and think about ways to be safe? Succes
sful doctors, business people, or free-spirited skydivers—they take risks. How about having a baby? Do you know how many women used to die in childbirth? They didn’t think about the risk involved. Their desire to have a baby was greater than any fear. That’s when you will find true happiness: when you want something so badly that you’re willing to give up everything to get it.”

“But what if I just like having my small wins and the security that goes with them?” I thought I got him good.

Walter raised one eyebrow at me and took a swig of his bourbon. “Shop for security over happiness, and you buy it at that price.”

There was a beautiful older woman at our table who seemed to be watching us. Her silver hair was pulled back in a loose bun. She had blue eyes like Elizabeth Taylor’s, subtly lined with smoky black eyeliner; her lips were the color of ginger spice. Her diamond earrings dangled and danced every time she laughed. Her nails were French manicured, and her wedding ring and huge diamond told everyone she was loaded.

“Put a sock in it, Walter,” she scoffed at him. She motioned for me to come sit next to her and took my hand softly in hers. “Listen, dear, pay no attention to the man behind the smoke and mirrors. My husband is full of it.”

“Walter is your husband?” I was stunned.

She smirked. “I don’t sit near him when we are gambling. We play by a very different set of rules.”

I noticed she had a few stacks of red chips next to her wine glass. Not as many as Walter, but still very respectable. “Walter likes to play by his own rules: risk this, hedge that. See, the game, the drama is part of the fun for him. He doesn’t care if he loses because he only risks as much as he can a
fford to lose. Not to mention that he’s an old geezer.”

“Hey, Betty.” She casually looked in his direction when he called. “Blow me.”

The crowd was hysterical. It’s not often you meet two seventy-year-olds who speak like that, not in public anyway.

Betty seemed unimpressed and looked back at me.

“So as I was saying. Walter likes to play roulette like he plays life, but don’t let him fool you. At the end of the day, he has me. I’m the rational one, the one who discouraged him from buying a beach house right before the housing market crashed. I’m also the one who took money out of my trust when he had a great idea for a software invention. That was a gamble that felt right, a gamble that paid off. Hindsight is twenty-twenty, but we all have some insight into the future. It’s called our intuition. You listen to your gut, and it will pay off.”

Betty’
s words sounded so logical, I was anxious to hear more.

“That’s my advice for life. Here is how you play roulette. Don’t ever bet more than you can afford to lose. Have fun. If you’re feeling lucky, you can try a few numbers. But you want to know how I play? How I always made and make sure that I win in life? Always put love first. It’s the only thing that matters at the end of the day… at the end of our lives. These ten-thousand-dollar earrings you’ve been admiring all evening, they don’t keep me warm at night.”

I stared at her earrings. They were the most beautiful diamonds I had ever seen.

“They may look beautiful and sparkle, but the joy I got from them was only in the begi
nning. Like a new fling, so bright and blingy, they make you think the outer sparkle will fire you up from the outside in. But it’s not true. While it might at the beginning, that sparkle, well… it won’t last. You have to polish them, take care of them.”

“So when I play roulette, I bet on love. I bet on red. Red, my favorite color. How could it not be? The color of my husband’s lips, the color of the blood that pumped through my womb while pregnant with my four children. Red: the color of love. So my dear Elizabeth, you want to know my secret to winning? Always bet on red.”

I took Betty’s advice and put one hundred chips on the red. I had a fifty percent chance of winning. Of course, that also meant I had a fifty percent chance of losing, but not tonight. For all the free advice I was given, I was going to be that Lucky Lady.

The croupier took the little silver ball and spun it on the roulette wheel. Spinning around and around, I felt like it was never going to stop. I was holding my breath. And then it stopped, there on that wheel that suddenly had become symbolic of my e
ntire future.

“Red twenty-seven.” I let go of the air that I had sucked in and felt tears come to my eyes.

“Oh my God, twenty-seven! Red twenty-seven.”

“You won, my dear. You won!” Betty was giggling. Even Walter gave me a smile of a
pproval.

I wanted to tell them that twenty-seven had been my Grandpa’s birthday and my parents’ annive
rsary. Number twenty-seven is and has always been my lucky number. Red twenty-seven. I had goose bumps all over my body.

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