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April frowned as she stared down at her phone. Her husband, Harvey, was reading her messages but not responding, as usual. Of course he’d abandon her to deal with hosting the entirety of the Christmas party by herself while he sits on his fat ass in his office.
The party inside was getting louder as everyone started arriving. She turned off her phone and headed inside.
All the others from the office are here, so why can’t he? April thought.
The presents were all placed on the decorative table near the burning fireplace. The others were all chatting amongst themselves, being merry.
April frowned as she thought of her marriage to Harvey. She had only met him when she was only seventeen and he was twenty-three, and they were married just two years later. They were so in love back then, or what she thought was love. As soon as the marriage papers were signed and the honeymoon was over, Harvey changed. His constant working, leaving her behind while he did his own thing. She was always alone. In an empty house.
I want someone new. Someone better than Harvey.
She scanned the party members coming in from the balcony above.
Someone single, obviously. Someone more.
April locked eyes with someone from downstairs.
He was one of the workers that Harvey assumed when he bought out the company over two years ago. His dark onyx black hair was cut short and combed back out of his square face. A pair of warm and welcoming blue eyes shied away behind a pair of dark horn rimmed glasses. He was a tall man, around six feet, as well as a well built man. He didn’t look the same weight as her husband, but unlike Harvey who had over fifty pounds of fat on him, this man had worked out. April saw his arms when Harvey asked him and a few others to move some furniture in the office.
Donny waved at her. April felt her face grow hot. He watched as she descended the stairwell.
April always felt his gaze whenever she stepped by the office. He always found a reason to talk to her. Always trying to be close to her. April smiled to herself.
Perhaps it’s time for the cat to catch the mouse.
“The presents go on the table nearest the fireplace, Mr. Howard,” April said, stepping beside him and taking his arm. She moaned softly at the rich aroma of his aftershave.
“Oh. I was wondering where to set this.” He gestured to the red and white striped present in his hand. Donny looked around the room. “You’ve really outdid yourself this year. It is beautiful.”
April smiled. “Thank you.”
Donny turned to her. “Of course, not as beautiful as you.”
April’s face grew hot again. “Why, Mr. Howard, you do love flattery.” It’s not as though April didn’t agree with him. She knew she was a beautiful woman with her creamy white skin and shapely figure, and she knew how to dress herself to make herself more beautiful.
“I sure do.” Donny placed the present on the table. “I hope she likes it.”
“Interesting decision Harvey made for the secret Santa. Gents buying for the ladies. Ladies buying for the gents.”
Donny nodded. “I did find it odd, but I like what I got.”
“Who’d you get?”
Donny smiled mischievously. “Now, that would make it no longer a secret, wouldn’t it?”
April pouted. “Aww. That’s too bad.” Then, she smiled. “But that means that you can keep a secret.”
“Of course I can.”
“Good.” She released his arm and stepped around him. “Dinner will be served in just a moment.”
“Excellent. I’m starved.”
One of the older workers, Mr. Williams stepped beside him, setting his own present on the table. “Hello, Mr. Howard.” He glanced down and seemed to fixate on Donny’s black belt.
“Evening, Mr. Williams. How are you?”
“Wearing a belt, I see.”
“Yes?” Donny arched his brows.
“I’d remove it if I were you.” With that, Mr. Williams stepped around Donny and headed for the dining room.
It only took ten minutes for everyone to filter into the dining room, sitting down at the long table. April took her usual spot at the head of the table. Donny sat near her, but not directly beside her. Mr. Williams sat across from him.
“Thank you, everyone, for coming,” April announced. “I am so honored that you all chose to spend your time with me. Dinner is ready. Tonight I will be serving pork tenderloin with roasted cauliflower salad, horseradish and sour cream mashed potatoes with white wine and rosemary gravy, roasted mushrooms and radicchio, roasted brussel sprouts, sweet corn with bacon and honey, with sweet potato casserole, herb stuffing, and homemade honey rolls. I really do hope you all enjoy it.”
Donny felt his stomach growl. “So what I’m hearing is that I should have listened to Mr. Williams’ advice and taken off my belt?”
The table erupted into a fit of laughter.
“I swear, Mr. Howard, I gained twenty pounds since meeting April,” Mr. Williams said. Again, the table laughed.
“Carve the tenderloin, please, Parrish,” April said to her butler.
“Yes, ma’am,” Parrish said, taking up the carving set.
“Where demetevler escort is Mr. Stone, April?” Mr. Williams asked.
April frowned. “I’m afraid he won’t be joining us tonight. He preferred work over this grand party.”
“Aww,” Mr. Williams murmured. “What a shame.”
“Yes, indeed,” April said. Parrish set two slices of pork onto her plate before she took the bowl of potatoes and spooned some onto her plate. Within a few minutes, everyone had a full plate and began eating.
“I hear Mr. Stone is sending you away to Japan, Donny,” Mr. Williams said. “Is that true?”
April gasped. Her fork clattered on her plate. “You’re leaving?”
Donny frowned. “Unfortunately. Mr. Stone wishes for me to help the branch in Japan.”
Her face fell. Her heart sank deep into her stomach. “When are you leaving?”
“Next month. The 28th.”
“When will you be back?”
Donny shrugged. “Not sure. Honestly, I might choose to remain in Japan.” April frowned again. She cut into her pork. “Mm. These potatoes are delicious.”
April faked a smile. “Thank you. It was my mother’s recipe.”
“They’re my favorite,” Mr. Williams said, eating another forkful.
“My only question is,” Donny said, “how can Mr. Stone not come home for dinner every night when he has a chef like you?”
April chuckled softly. “I’m not sure. I enjoy cooking for others. I really do.”
“The only reason why I cook,” Donny said, “is because I’d starve if I didn’t.”
“Maybe you should come over more frequently,” April said. “I’d rather not eat alone.”
Donny smiled wide. “Maybe I should.”
Dinner continued with everyone chatting amongst themselves and laughing. The games followed after dinner then came the presents. One by one, everyone came up and collected their present when their name was called before they all eagerly tore into the wrapping. One by one, each of the guests started to leave.
“What’d you get?” April asked, stepping closer to Donny.
“Aftershave,” Donny answered with a smile. “The kind I use, so I don’t have to buy it in a few weeks.”
“That’s good.” April smiled up at him.
“I have a present for you.”
“Donny, you didn’t have to get me a present. I’m fine.” He ignored her words as he fished out a small wrapped present from his suit jacket pocket. He offered it to her. “Thank you.” April took the box before undoing the bow and tearing off the wrapping, revealing the felt box. She opened it and gasped. “Donny.”
The diamond earrings sparkled in the light.
“You really shouldn’t have,” April said. Tears brimmed her eyes.
“It’s no problem.” Donny cleared his throat. “I would buy my mother a nice piece of jewelry every year for Christmas, but she’s gone now, and I never see Mr. Stone get you anything.
“I’m sorry about your mother. Are you okay?”
“Yeah. It’s been two years. I like getting nice things for people I care about.”
April smiled at him. “Thank you, again. Harvey’s never gotten me anything like this.”
“Well, you deserve to be spoiled.”
“Thank you, Donny.”
The two of them stepped towards the doorway, but Donny paused when they stepped underneath one of the archways.
“Mrs. Stone, has that been there the entire time?”
April followed his finger upwards to the mistletoe hanging from the archway above their heads. “Oh. I had forgotten about that.”
“Would you rather we didn’t?” Donny stepped back, not looking at her.
April glanced out the window. All of the cars, besides hers and Donny’s, were gone. She turned back to Donny, gently placing her hand on his shoulder. “We are alone, so who’s gonna know?” Donny’s face grew hot as he stared down at her. “And my husband won’t be home for at least another few hours.”
Donny stared at her, hesitating. “So long as it truly stays between us.”
Donny stepped forward gingerly, placing one hand on her waist and the other cupped the back of her head. He leaned forward slowly. His hands seemed to tremble as he held her in place. April parted her lips as his mouth covered hers. His lips were soft against hers. His body, firm. She moaned into his mouth. Donny pressed his hips against hers, and she swore she felt him grow hard against her. Her eyes opened.
Donny pulled away quickly, hiding his face from her. “I have to go.”
“Donny.” He rushed out the door without looking back. “Donny!” The door slammed into its frame. April watched as he sprinted to his car and left the driveway just as quickly.
She was still awake when Harvey came home, but he said nothing to her as dressed for bed and promptly fell asleep.
April found herself laying in her bed, staring up at the ceiling, as Harvey snored beside her. Even with her dressing so beautifully, Harvey paid no mind to it. He didn’t even say ‘hello’ when he came into the bedroom. She frowned, glancing over at Harvey.
I can always divorce him. But where would I go?
April stood and went over her otele gelen escort dresser and pulled out a lockbox, unlocking it with a key on her keychain. She had already signed the divorce papers. All she had to do was give them to Harvey and ask him to sign them or give them to her lawyer and ask him to do the hard work. She frowned at the papers.
Where would I go?
April returned the papers to the lockbox, locking it and putting it away, before returning to bed. She pulled the covers up underneath her chin.
For weeks, she found every excuse to come by the office, and always found and talked to Donny. They both spoke as if the kiss at the party never happened. April even managed to get Donny’s number and gave him hers. She texted him later that evening with casual small talk before falling silent for a couple of days until Saturday came.
“What do you mean you forgot?” April nearly screamed. Her heart sank deep into her stomach. “I told you that we were doing this.”
Harvey rubbed the back of his neck. “I’m sorry. I just did, and I made plans with John and Charles. We haven’t been fishing in a long time.”
“And when’s the last time we did anything together?” She crossed her arms.
Harvey huffed. “All you do is nag me.”
“Maybe if you just listen to me, I wouldn’t have to nag you. We don’t do anything together anymore. We don’t even have dinner together anymore.” Harvey rolled his eyes before he reached for her. She pulled away from his touch. “Do you even love me anymore?”
Harvey’s eyes widened. “Of course I love you. Why do you even have to ask that question?”
“Because we didn’t have dinner together once all of last month. You never say anything to me when you come home. Hell, we haven’t had sex since August.” Her face fell. “Not like you’re any good at it.”
He stared at her, raising his brows. “Really?” April said nothing. “That was a low blow.”
Harvey continued to stare at her. “Well. I don’t know what to do about that.” He fell silent for a moment. “I’m gonna get out of your hair.”
April watched, saying nothing, as he gathered up his fishing rod and left their home. Her face burned with anger. She shook her head as she pulled out her phone, quickly finding Donny in her contacts.
Donny: Hey, what’s up?
April: I know it’s a bit last minute, but I have an extra ticket for Stardust and dinner reservations later today. Would you like to join me?
Donny: Did Harvey skimp out on you again?
April: Yeah. He said that he forgot about the plans and he already agreed to go ice fishing with his friends
Donny: Sure. Been meaning to see the movie
April smiled down at her phone. Her core ached. She pressed her thighs together.
Pace yourself, April thought. Wouldn’t want to scare him off?
April: Okay, get to my place around 1:30. Wanna get there a bit early
The next couple of days crept by. Harvey left her earlier that day, leaving her alone. She stretched in skin tight yoga pants and a simple sports top.
The doorbell rang, and she couldn’t help but smile. April hurried to the door and opened it wide. Donny’s face grew bright red when he saw what she was wearing.
“Did I come by too early?” Donny asked.
“No.” She shook her head. “I’ll change real quick, and we’ll be on our way.”
“You want me to wait outside?”
“Heavens, no. Come inside.” Donny stepped inside as April closed the door. “I’ll be only a few minutes.”
Donny nodded faintly as she turned and walked upstairs. He watched the way her hips swayed with every step, the way her reddish-brown hair bounced on her shoulders. He smiled.
It didn’t take long for her to change into something more suitable for the movie theater and dinner: a simple but well tailored scarlet sweater, a dark pair of skinny jeans overtop some thermal underwear, and knee high winter boots. She pulled back her hair, tying it into a tight bun. Bright red lipstick and some mascara was all she needed for makeup then April added a bracelet and a necklace to her outfit. After one final check in the mirror, she hurried downstairs.
Donny gasped when he first saw her. “You look beautiful.”
April smiled at him. “Thank you.” She glanced at the clock on the wall. “We should get going or else we’re going to be late.”
“Of course, Mrs. Stone.” He helped her with her winter coat as he spoke.
“April. Please, Donny. Call me April.”
“As you wish.”
“The tickets are already paid for, so all we have to get is drinks and popcorn.”
“Sounds good to me. C’mon.”
The drive to the movie theater was long, but the two of them filled the air with idle chat and off hand flirtatious remarks. Donny paid for their drinks and popcorn before they found their seats in the middle of the theater. The movie was just fine, if not a little cliched.
Donny balgat escort pulled out April’s chair when they got to their table at the restaurant.
“I’ve never been here before,” Donny admitted, looking at the menu.
“Really?” April laughed at him. “For someone who’s bad at cooking, I’d assume you’d eat out a lot.”
Donny shrugged. “Not really. But I mostly just cook basic foods.” He looked over the food items. “What would you recommend?”
The waiter came by, setting their glasses of water in front of them, before leaving again.
“I prefer seafood, personally. My favorites are the seared scallops and the sea bass, but the steaks here are good.”
“They have braised short ribs.”
“Yes. Harvey said that the short ribs are good.”
“I might try that then.”
The waiter came by again. “Have we decided?”
“I have,” April said, looking across the table at Donny. He nodded faintly, still staring at his menu. “I’ll have the flatbread with goat cheese, the Chilean sea bass, and for dessert, I’ll have the chocolate empanada. I will also take a glass of white wine, Pinot Gris.”
“I’ll take a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon. I’ll try the seared stuffed mushrooms, the braised short ribs with the honey mustard sauce, and the raspberry soufflé for dessert.”
“Excellent,” the waiter said, taking their menus and leaving once more.
“This is a nice place,” Donny said, glancing around.
“Yes. It’s one of my favorite restaurants.” She leaned forward. “Tell me. What’s going on in your life?”
“Not much.” He shrugged. “I don’t really do much of anything outside of working and exercising.”
April frowned. “Don’t you have friends?”
“Oh, I do. Just they’re my gym buddies. We do some gaming, some outside stuff, but it’s not like we have set things that we do.”
“Do you have a girlfriend?”
Donny paused when the waiter came back with their glasses of wine before he disappeared again. “No. I don’t.”
April’s eyes brightened. “Well, I’m glad. I wouldn’t want to upset her.”
“Of course not.” He sipped his water. “What about Harvey? When is he coming home?”
“Late Sunday evening. He’s about four hours away.”
“And he and his buddies always choose a spot where they don’t get any signal. So I won’t be able to call him even if I wanted to.”
“Not like you want to.”
April shook her head. “No. I don’t. Especially when I have someone like you around.” Donny’s face grew a faint pink hue as their gazes locked.
The waiter stopped by their table. “Your appetizers.” He set down their plates then left again.
“That looks good,” Donny said, staring at her plate.
“It tastes just as good. Wanna have a bite?” She picked up a slice of the flatbread and held it out to him. Donny leaned forward and bit into the flatbread. He moaned softly.
“That is good.” He stabbed a mushroom with his fork. “Want a mushroom?”
“No. I’m not a big fan of their mushrooms.”
“Really?” He ate the mushroom and chewed. “Ah, yeah. Kinda spongy.”
“They’re not the best.”
April swallowed down another bite. “May I ask– how did your mother pass away?”
Donny lowered his fork. “She had pancreatic cancer. It’s a fast acting cancer, and not many people survive it.”
“I’m sorry to hear that.”
“Thank you. She was a wonderful person. She was an artist. She painted a lot. My mother always would take me to her little studio and let me paint with her.”
“You loved your mother very much, didn’t you?”
Donny nodded. “Yes. She was my favorite person. What about you and your parents? I heard that your parents are gone.”
“My parents are gone, yes. They were killed when I was twelve. They went on a weekend getaway at some resort, and on their way back, they were hit by a drunk driver.”
“I’m so sorry.”
“I went to live with my great aunt on my mother’s side. I stayed with her until I married Harvey, then she passed away a couple of years later.” Donny reached across the table, setting his hand over hers. “I’ll be okay.”
They talked as much as they could in between bites, only stopping when the waiter returned.
“This is delicious,” Donny said after biting into his soufflé.
“I like their soufflés, but my favorite is the empanada.” She cut a piece before folding it onto the spoon with a bit of the berries and whipped cream. “Try.”
Donny leaned forward again and ate the food. “Mmm. Damn.”
“May I try your soufflé?”
“Of course.” He held out his spoon. April suckled the spoon a little, moaning softly. Donny’s mouth went dry. “Is there another reason why you asked me here tonight?” Donny lowered his gaze as he spoke.
“There might have been some other reason attached.” Donny raised his gaze after another moment. “Harvey has a tendency of leaving me alone, and I do get lonely quite often.”
“We can get coffee sometime, if you want. I do enjoy your company.”
April chuckled faintly. “I’d like to have more than just your company.” Donny stared at her. “Harvey doesn’t treat too well. He’s finished before I even begin warming up to him.”
“Are you–?” Donny glanced over his shoulder before turning back to her. “Are you asking me to sleep with you?”
“Yes.” Donny remained still, almost as if he was expecting her to want him and was merely getting confirmation. “I’m tired of Harvey. I really am.”
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