illustrations by sidney teles
“I’ll just take a walk to the store. It will only take five minutes.”
I watched my husband leave the dinner to purchase a bottle of brandy, his boss’s, Rachel, favorite. The dinner party celebrating her promotion into John’s division meant an increased level of stability for us. The company was almost bled dry when the auditors found millions missing and Michael, John’s previous boss, trying to leave the country. The arrival of Rachel meant John would keep his job and we would keep our home. Thus, the purpose of the small dinner to show Rachel our appreciation.
“Lisa, let me help you with the dishes.”
I accepted Rachel’s offer and we both moved to the kitchen to begin cleaning.
No sooner had I set the last plate down near the sink, Rachel commandeered our small talk conversation to her real motive.
First brushing a small amount of my hair from my face and moving closer than anyone other than John does, she spoke.
“I appreciate the dinner tonight, but it isn’t enough. Lisa, I am going to make this simple. I want more than just pot roast as a display of thanks. For John to keep his job, I want much more.”
Just like that, she leaned in to kiss me. I instinctively pulled back.
“I don’t know what . . . “
I never finished my sentence.
“Now you listen here Miss Susie Homemaker. What I want is simple. For John to keep his job, for you to keep your life, I want you. I want you to be ready for me when I demand it. I want you to please me.” Rachel leaned in again for another kiss and I tried to step back. She pushed me against the refrigerator and held both of my hands over my head against it.
“Ooh, I do like a struggle. It makes the hunt all the more worthwhile.”
“Why are you doing this to me? I am not gay.”
“Neither am I.” She replied displaying more force than I thought was possible.
Do what I want, when I want, or I will go to the police, tonight, and have them arrest John as Michael’s accomplice. The police have always wondered how Michael stole as much as he did without any of the staff suspecting a thing. That bonus I gave John, the cash bonus he must have deposited by now, is going to look very suspicious when I deny everything and he is behind bars. Or, you, Lisa, could play ball, right now, and John will never see the inside of a jail. The choice is yours.”
John would return in a few minutes. I have no proof of Rachel’s blackmail.
“What do you want from me?”
With that magic question, Rachel released her grip on me, but moved in closer.
“Be as aggressive with me as I was with you. You have only minutes until John returns.”
With that, there was no more talk. I had to do what she wanted. I leaned to her and began kissing her. She guided my hands to the hem of her dress. Her hands did likewise. In the next three minutes, the only phrase Rachel said was, “follow my lead”.
One hundred and eighty seconds of forced sex upon me. I stood there actually the aggressor, forcing myself on Rachel, all to save John, the house, and my marriage.
We both heard John’s keys on the front door lock when I broke away from Rachel’s kiss and her permeating threat. Immediately, I straightened my dress as Rachel did likewise. When John found us in the kitchen, Rachel looked at her watch and excused herself for the evening because of work tomorrow. She shook John’s hand and gave me a hug before she exited.
I felt cheap…
John followed Rachel to the door and returned with more than conversation on his mind. Within seconds, he was advancing to me, almost, mimicking Rachel. His hand began exploring and on any other day, I would have reciprocated eagerly.
Today was not any other day.
From that night on, I cannot bear to be with John sexually. I have trouble the moment he tries to kiss me or become intimate. He thinks he has done something wrong and I cannot explain to him the circumstances.
For John, he believes my problem will pass with time. Until then, he has redoubled his efforts at his job. Ironically, this permits Rachel to increase both the frequency and the tempo of her demands. Some nights, I am to be her slave. I neither know or care if I am to play the participant or the voyeur. I am numb to her “charms”.
John, for his increased workload, has received two incremental raises/promotions due him from the disaster that was Michael. Rachel rewards John’s work and by doing so, destroys my marriage.
I have no other recourse than to follow her instructions. I have been made a fool and a harlot. I am also at Rachel’s mercy should she decide to increase her demands.
Impropriety defines the actions of one who fails to observe standards or display modesty in character. In the beginning, I believed this word was solely reserved for Rachel. I understand, it is solely reserved for me.