The Man in 3B
to starting a fight that would ruin my chances of getting any.
    Just as I expected, Ben defended his son. “Look, why don’t you try to understand where he’s coming from, Nancy? I’m always preaching to him about making the right choices, and then he sees me making—well, you know…”
    “No, I don’t know. Why don’t you say it?” I folded my arms over my chest and twisted up my mouth. I knew exactly what he was trying to say, but if he was going to take his son’s side over mine, I was not about to make it easy for him.
    He looked me up and down. “You’re a married woman.”
    Okay, yeah, that was true, but what the hell did Benny care? It wasn’t like I was creeping on his father. That kid needed to loosen up a little bit. I’d never seen someone his age so damn uptight.
    “I get all that—kind of. But I don’t think it’s any of his business.” I said it as kindly as I could because I was still hoping to get naked within the next ten minutes, so I couldn’t risk agitating Ben.
    “Well, actually, it is his business,” Ben corrected me. “He’s my son. I’m his father. He looks up to me, Nancy. And you have to admit I spend a good amount of time with you. Take away the time I spend working, and well, I guess lately there hasn’t been a whole lot of father-son time. Maybe he feels like you’re taking time away from him.” Ben stared off momentarily. “Which probably explains why he’s been spending more and more time with Daryl over in 3B.”
    “Do I detect a little jealousy in your tone?” I questioned.
    Ben snapped out of his daze. “Who, me? No, it’s just that Benny needs a man he can look up to in his life and maybe I haven’t been there the way I should. He shouldn’t have to go to a neighbor when he has his father.”
    Shoot, I could have kicked myself. Why in the world did I bring up this subject? Now Ben was getting all sappy on me, boohooing about his parenting duties. If I didn’t get him out of this funk, there was no way we were having sex.
    “Yeah, I guess you’re right,” I said, taking his hand. “At the end of the day, if we want our kids to do the right thing, then we have to setthe right example. But you’re only human, Ben. And you’re a damn good father.”
    Ben looked over at me with a gleam in his eyes. I thought it meant we were about to get busy until he jumped up from the couch.
    “Do you really believe that—what you just said about setting the right example?”
    “Yeah, of course, I mean—”
    “Good,” Ben said, cutting me off. “Stay there. I’ll be right back.”
    “Ben, what’s wrong? Where are you going?”
    He didn’t reply, but I heard him shuffling around in his dresser drawers, and then he reappeared in the living room with something in his hand.
    “I’ve been thinking,” he started. “It is time for us to do the right thing, and the right thing is you leaving your husband.”
    It took a few seconds for his words to sink in, and by then he’d already opened the box in his hand to show me an engagement ring inside.
    “Ben? What is this? What are you talking about?”
    “We need to make this right. Yeah, this might have started off as a sex thing, but I think both you and I know it’s deeper than that now. You’ve said it yourself that I’m the most important man in your life. If that’s true, then let’s do it.”
    “Ben, I can’t leave my husband,” I said sadly.
    “You can’t?” he said, closing the box. “Or you won’t?”
    Damn. Now I knew for sure I wasn’t getting any today.

    I wished I had something to cover myself up with as I stood there naked and exposed, taking in the vile words my husband had spoken to me.
    Had I really heard him right? No, I couldn’t have. I know he didn’t just say, “Connie, I want a divorce.” Especially not after what I’d done for him. This might sound vulgar, but I could still taste him in my mouth, for God’s sake. My jaws were locked in an open position, and

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