Sometimes my story ideas come to me via an opening scene that plays in my mind like a movie reel. This time, it was a picture that sparked the story idea. I saw this black and white picture and thought, there's a story here. Thus was born, Ignite Her Fire. I've had the photo for so long that I didn't know Fotolia and Adobe had merged. (I did find it again via Google's image search. Copyright: Forgiss) Now please enjoy this sneak peak.
Chapter One - Grant
“I’ve never had an orgasm.”
I froze mid-step, certain I’d heard wrong. I’d backed the car out of the garage to drive to Home Depot, but as soon as the tires hit the driveway, I realized I’d left my credit card sitting on my computer keyboard. I ducked under the closing garage door and entered the house. Dashing into my office, I grabbed my card and was headed out again when I overheard Sasha’s comment.
“I mean I enjoy sex, but I’ve never had anything close to the orgasms described in the erotic romance you gave me to read,” Sasha said.
I breathed a sigh of relief. If my wife was comparing our sex life to some silly romance novel, no wonder it hadn’t measured up. Everyone knew those books exaggerated.
“Sex is…” Sasha made the humming noise she unconsciously made whenever she carefully choose her words. “It’s nice, pleasant…comfortable, like sinking into a hot bath at the end of a long tiring day. It feels good but…”
Sex with me was nice? Pleasant? Comfortable? What the hell?
I must have said part of that aloud because Sasha suddenly said, “Hold on, Peggy. I heard something.”
There was a brief silence. I imagined Sasha tilting her head to the side and listening. Then she gave a soft laugh. “I’m back. I thought I heard a man’s voice… No, it wasn’t Grant. He just left. … What? ... No, I don’t think someone broke into our house in the few minutes Grant’s been gone. This is a safe neighborhood. We have several cops living on the block and scattered throughout the subdivision.”
The soft fall of Sasha’s footsteps on the tile floor headed closer to where I stood just inside my office door. Fuck. I wanted to hear the rest of this conversation. Just then, the neighbor’s car engine revved and loud Spanish music blared, echoing throughout the house. It was the one thing I hated most about our subdivision. The damned houses were built right on top of each other. For the first time, I was grateful.
“Never mind. It was the next-door neighbor. Listen, I’m going to put you on speakerphone so I can wash dishes,” Sasha said.
I edged down the hallway, closer to the kitchen. The way the house was laid out, the garage exited into a short hallway. Directly opposite the garage door was a half bath. To the immediate right was a bonus room I’d converted into an office. To the left, past the bathroom, the short hallway exited into the large, airy foyer and the formal dining room. The foyer was two stories high with vaulted ceilings, and upstairs you could see straight down to the first floor. Past the stairs and laundry room was an open archway leading to the open plan kitchen, breakfast nook, and large family den. The high ceilings and lack of doors let sound travel clearly.
“Where’s Grant?” Peggy's voice came over the speaker.
“He went to the store.”
“So, you finally read one of the books I gave you. I’ve only been nagging you for months,” Peggy said.
“Yeah, I know. I was busy trying to get Wendi off to college. Then Nigel came home on leave. Things were hectic. Not a lot of downtime for pleasure reading.” Sasha’s footsteps on the tile floor drew closer and faded away, most likely clearing the table of breakfast dishes.
“Honey, there’s always time to read, even if it’s on the john. Did you like it? Which one did you read?” Peggy asked, her voice showing her enthusiasm.
“Yeah, it surprised me how much I enjoyed it. The one I read was about a man who could turn into a bear. I don’t remember the title. I couldn’t believe the way her family treated the heroine. I take back what I said about erotic romances being nothing but soft porn.”
Forget about the damned book and get back to the sex talk, I silently urged them.
“I told you there was more to romance novels than sex. See what you’ve been missing by limiting your reading to cozy mysteries and true crime?” A pause. “You never had an orgasm? That’s a damn shame. Does Grant know?”
Sasha’s voice rose as she voiced her disbelief. “No, Grant and I don’t talk about sex.”
“I thought you two talked about everything. Why not this?”
Yes, why not this? I seconded Peggy’s question.
“I don’t know. Sex is something we’ve always just done. Who talks about their sex life?” Sasha asked.
“Plenty of couples, but I see what you’re saying. Once a couple actively becomes lovers, the conversations about sex reduce to when they want to do it, finding time to do it, or if one of them is adventurous, convincing the other to try something new. But if you’re not being satisfied, you should discuss it with Grant,” Peggy said.
The sound of running water filled the air, forcing me to move closer to hear. Sasha’s back would be to me as she loaded the dishwasher, so I had no fear of being seen.
“I never said I wasn’t satisfied. After all, we’ve been married for over twenty years. Besides, I can’t just walk up to Grant and say, “By the way, honey, I read this book and now I’m starting to wonder if I’ve ever had an orgasm.” It would hurt him, not to mention the damage it would do to his ego. He’d think it was his fault.”
“Are you sure it’s not?” Peggy asked.
The muscles in my neck and shoulders tensed as I awaited her answer.
“Grant’s a wonderful, considerate lover. If there’s a problem, I’m sure it’s me,” Sasha stated firmly. “I did a little research on the subject. Not all women are capable of climaxing. Maybe I’m one of them.”
My eyes narrowed even as my fists clenched. Though Sasha tried to sound matter-of-fact, I heard an undertone of sorrow.
“Hogwash! Every woman can orgasm. Our bodies are built for pleasure, and we all have the same equipment. Some women simply don’t know how, or they can’t relax long enough to let it happen. Then there are those stuck with selfish jerks who don’t care about anyone’s satisfaction but their own. I tell you, men are nothing but lazy, selfish pigs. Grant’s probably one of them, and you're just too nice to call him on it,” Peggy said.
“He isn’t! I told you, Grant’s a fantastic lover.” Sasha’s vehemence eased something tight in my chest. I didn’t think I was a selfish lover, but having my wife confirm it helped.
“All right, all right. Just checking. No need to get hostile. But still, are you sure you would know? Didn’t you tell me that you’ve been together since your senior year of high school and that he was your first lover? You really don’t have anyone to compare him with.”
“Peggy, I never said Grant was my only lover, just the first.”
I had to restrain myself from stalking into the kitchen and demanding who else my wife had been with. Had Sasha cheated on me?
“You had an affair?” Peggy’s voice echoed the shocked disbelief I felt, minus the anger.
“No! I did not cheat on my husband! Grant proposed while we were still in high school. Our parents did not approve. They thought we were too young to know our minds. His mother suggested that we see other people and make sure what we felt was real, spouting statistics about how many marriages between high school sweethearts end in divorce. My parents agreed, adding that if we still wanted to marry after graduating from college, my dad would pay for the wedding. My parents were concerned that marrying young would end with me dropping out of college. I was against it, but Grant caved under the pressure. We were apart during our freshman and sophomore years of college before getting back together the summer before our junior year. During that time, I dated and had a few short relationships.”
“Oh my god, I never knew that. Does Grant know?”
I do now, I thought angrily, fighting the urge to punch something—or someone.
“I think he was a little suspicious at the time, but we both agreed to forget the past and not discuss anything we did with others once we got back together. Besides, there wasn’t much he could say. We attended the same university, and every time I turned around he was with a different girl. For a while, he was the talk of the campus. That’s really what pushed me into accepting dates with other guys.”
The reminder of all the girls I’d gone through before admitting that none measured up to Sasha and never would put a chokehold on my jealous fury.
My dad had encouraged me to play the field. “Son, I don’t want you to hit forty, burdened with kids and a mortgage, and regret not taking advantage of your freedom while you have it. Maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll be happy you married young, but maybe one day you'll look back and wish you'd made a different choice.”
I’d always been a popular guy, able to fit in with any crowd. I was both a jock and a nerd, so everyone liked me. University had been no different. Girls had thrown themselves at me, and I’d taken my father’s advice to heart. I’d told myself I was doing it for Sasha but the truth was, I’d been a horndog.
“I take none of the others rang your bell, either?” Peggy asked.
Sasha chuckled softly. “They were nice guys, not too much more experienced than me, but eager to please. Sex was okay, but my feelings for Grant kept getting in the way. I usually broke things off after a few weeks, before the guys could get too attached. Being with me when I was hung up on Grant wasn’t fair to them.”
“Soooo, what are you going to do?” Peggy asked.
“About what?” Peggy sputtered. “About this whole never having an orgasm thing.”
Sasha sighed. “What do you want me to do, Peggy?”
More sputtering, then finally, “I don’t know, but aren’t you curious about what you’re missing?”
“Well, yes, but marriage is about more than sex. Grant and I have a great relationship and a wonderful marriage. He’s more than my husband; he’s my best friend. I’m not going to screw that up over a bit of curiosity.”
Peggy sighed. “You’ve got a point. You know, there are things you can do to educate yourself.”
Things like what? I wondered. Of all of Sasha’s friends, Peggy was my least favorite. Her views were a little too liberal for my taste.
“What things?” Sasha asked.
“Well, remember when I said a lot of women don’t orgasm because they don’t know how?”
“One of the things Denise taught me to do was to learn my body. She encouraged me to explore my sexuality. Under her tutelage, I learned how to pleasure myself, ‘cause God knows, Tom never had a clue. There are plenty of sex toys designed by women for women to maximize a woman’s pleasure. I can recommend a few. You’re a very passionate woman. I think all you need is for someone to light your fire,” Peggy finished huskily.
Wait a damn minute. Was Peggy coming on to my wife?
“Masturbation, sex toys? Uh, that’s a bit out of my comfort zone,” Sasha said.
“Well, if you change your mind, let me know. I’ll be happy to help. Gotta go. Denise is calling me. We’re spending the day at the spa.” Peggy sighed. “She’s so romantic. Unlike that pig I divorced. Now that you’ve read one and liked it, what’s next on your reading list?”
Sasha laughed. “A contemporary suspense I already have loaded onto my tablet. As soon as I finish cleaning, I plan to kick back and read.”
I silently eased back the way I’d come until I reached the garage door, still open from when I’d entered the house. Exiting the garage from the side door, I walked around to the driveway and quietly got into the car. As I left, Sasha’s conversation with Peggy twirled round and around in my thoughts. What, if anything, was I going to do about her revelation?
If my NaNoWriMo is successful, I hope to have this released in January. Or, you can read as I write at the following link: https://igniteherfire.laterpress.com/