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A Romantic Interlude

“First things first,” Brent whispered and led her to the bedroom.

“Oh, Brent,” Joellen protested, “this is so extravagant. We shouldn’t do this, especially right after . . . ”

“Right after what?” he asked, standing behind her, even as he was unbuttoning her dress and sliding his hand under her bra to unhook it.

“After just being at the lawyer. After just signing that agreement,” she said.

“We didn’t agree not to do this,” he answered and bit her shoulder as he slid her dress down over her arms. “We’re not breaking any rules. We’re married. This is just a married date. And we’re just reversing the usual date ritual. This first, then the date meal.” He was sliding his hands over her breasts now and her black bra looked like some large exotic insect on the floor. He hooked his fingers into the sides of her panties and pushed them down and slid his fingers between her legs.

“Oh Brent,” she said. “Why am I letting you do this?”

He pulled her around to face him and began kissing her so she couldn’t object anymore, and then they were on the bed and he was undressing hurriedly. Soon the only sounds coming from Joellen were muffled cries as Brent moved inside her, pulling her up to meet him, waiting for her to be first. When his waiting was over he raised his head to look at her as he began his own ascent, and he held off until she was ready once more and then their cries filled the room at the same time.

They lay in silence next to each other on the bed, until he sat up.

“Are you going to shower?” Joellen asked.

“Unless you want to go first,” he said.

“How about together?” she suggested.

Brent stared at her for a long time, looking at her body and her hair in disarray on the pillow, the early afternoon light spilling over her stomach, the same stomach he had watched expand with each child, the same body that had been in bed next to him all these years.

“I don’t even know you,” he said. “I don’t think I ever did.”

“I think you’re right. But don’t beat yourself up over it. I didn’t know me either.” She was thinking that she only began to know herself when she found that note, when he slapped her after church, when she went crying to North. What would he say if he knew the whole Joellen? What would he do? It was a dangerous thought. She rolled off the bed and headed for the bathroom.

Joellen Part 3, Episode Thirty-Nine

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