When it first started happening, Justine wondered how long she could keep the momentum of the affair going. She had a tendency to ignore things, to let them run their course without her present. She got bored. Adam was something, someone she couldn’t see the foreseeable end of, someone so new and electric that surely the fire in her stomach that swirled and traveled upward to her cheeks, causing her to blush, would never end forever and ever amen.
She hadn’t tired of Blake. Not yet. Not ever. He was her husband, and therefore knew her too well. She couldn’t fuss or pout or allow small, slow tears to travel down her soft (usually flushed, thanks to Adam’s attentions) cheeks around him. He knew when she was faking and he knew when she needed to be the ignored one.
“I’m gonna leave you to your own devices, lady.” he would say, and then shut the door to their bedroom so she could let her misery pass over her like a storm cloud. She would eventually emerge, sheepish and wrung out like a washcloth, but by then Blake was sometimes gone. Down at the commissary or fishing or walking the high trails around the mine. She would be alone again. She would let her thoughts and her body find their way to Adam again.
When she started showing up at Adam’s office door she was as surprised as he was. She had made a secret, personal promise to herself not to travel his way. Let a boy come to you, the books on dating used to say. They love mystery and intrigue and a girl who seeks out a boy just looks desperate. Well Justine was no young girl anymore. She knew that there were still many mysteries inside a woman that a little desperation wouldn’t wipe out.
Justine certainly looked mysterious and desperate that misty Sunday morning when Blake was fishing in a secret, hidden, reflective lake nearby and Adam was reading on his bed, alone as usual. Adam actually felt quite comfortable that day, without his regular lunch with Justine. The blanket over his legs was red and black checked. It was warm and he felt like he fit in with the misty mountains outside his window, the rough-hewn floorboards, the red and and the silver of the mine buildings. The rap at the door felt invasive, Adam wasn’t terribly engrossed into the novel he was reading, but he was engrossed with the private moment he was having. He was getting older. Alone wasn’t so bad after all.
The rapping continued. Justine was persistent in her desperate knocking. She was bored, she was sad, she was lonely. Adam offered an unfamiliar warmth. Warmth wrapped in heat wrapped in desire wrapped in skin upon skin. If anything, Adam was a way to spend the afternoon. A way to ignore the ghosts that lingered in her thoughts. When she was seducing Adam she didn’t have to think about her mother dying alone in Ohio, the twin sons that were growing up without her somewhere in the ether, or the husband who was starting to fall out of love with her. When she took off her dress for Adam she was regaining her former power, she was stuffing her sadness down.