Temptation pushed Steve’s gaze back across the room. The unspoken message was clear. It’s okay. Come closer. No one will notice.
Steve had already consumed a drink so he was stuck for awhile. One scotch on the rocks wouldn’t prevent most people from driving home but did him. With the intent of relaxing when he first arrived Steve put the drink down on an empty stomach. He would need at least an hour for the drink to process through his system enough so that he could safely drive home.
Steve knew that he was about to sin but he couldn’t stop himself. He moved casually toward the temptation. As he closed the distance, a captivating scent also urged him forward. He reached out and the warm and delicious desire in front of him did not resist. He guiltlessly closed around it.
Unconsciously finding privacy away from the crowd, Steve’s few remaining inhibitions dissolved and released him into pure primal pleasure until every synapse in his body fired simultaneously and with almost excruciating pleasure. Every fiber of his body then relaxed into a satiated heap and he dozed.
The alcohol kept Steve sleeping a little longer than he would have liked. Checking the time, he recalled what he had done. Guilt and shame consumed him as he put himself back together. It was late enough now that Rene would get home before him.
Approaching his driveway Steve pressed the button on his visor. The opening garage door revealed her car and confirmed that Rene was already home. He tried to calm himself and figure out what to say without lying to her. He hated himself for being so selfish and stupid.
As Steve walked into the kitchen from the garage Rene met him with a cheerful greeting and kiss. Then she apologized for needing to work late. At the same time, she realized that Steve should have arrived home before she did. She picked up a scent on him that didn’t belong.
“I thought that you would beat me home.”
“Well, I had a drink before you called so I had to hang out long enough to let that wear off before driving.” He looked away from her when he said this.
“Three hours?” She faced off with him and looked into his eyes.
Steve tried to look away but Rene took his chin into her hand and pulled him back to her. It was then that she saw the red stain on his shirt just below his loosened necktie.
“You bastard!” Her face contorted in hurt and anger at the sense of betrayal that she felt. She knew what the odd was scent was when she put it together with the stain.
Steve pulled a chair away from the kitchen table slumped into it, wracked with guilt and shame.
“It just happened…” he started.
“This is Friday of Lent season and all that you can say is that it just happened? You are pathetic.”
Steve looked up at her with the shamed face of a sincerely regretful school boy.
“It did. It just happened. I saw this beautifully delicate ice sculpture of a swan at the buffet table. I went over to look at it closer and maybe have some fruit from the salad buffet. Then I smelled the pasta that was at the end of the buffet table.”
The look on Rene’s face didn’t soften but she let him go on. Her family was Catholic, for generations, as far back as anyone who was living could remember. She married a Methodist and converted him.
“Rene, please! Try to understand. They had lasagna with ricotta and mozzarella. It was layered with sliced portabella. Then when I saw and smelled the Italian sausage I lost it. I couldn’t help it. I gorged myself. You know that I can’t resist a pasta dish like that. It’s my favorite comfort food.”
Rene’s anger faded at the sincere and heartfelt confession. She took his hands and urged him back up to his feet and close to her. They hugged and kissed passionately.
“Your confession is accepted but there must be penance.”
Steve eyed her suspiciously.
“There is something else that you’re going to do with that mouth, besides gobble pasta, that will give me comfort, too.”
Taking Steve’s hand, Rene turned and led him from the kitchen with a mischievous smile on her face.