I make it to bed just in time.
I can hear Christian letting himself in through our front door. I look at my Inner Goodness. She wipes her forehead with the back of her hand in the international sign of “Whew!”
Hard to believe it was just a few hours ago that my beloved husband and I were getting ready for a masquerade ball given by our old friend Prince Prospero of Westeros. Christian was going as the Red Death from Edgar Allan Poe’s magnificent short story Masque of the Red Death.
"A fiendishly handsome Red Death," he told me.
Myself, I decided to go as a sexy Winnie the Pooh with my Christopher Robins hanging out. To make a long story short, I won't tell you how Pooh’s honey pot got stuck on my head. Let's just say that there wasn't any real honey on the inside.
After much effort, Christian was finally able to pop that darn thing off my head like the cork on a bottle of very expensive champagne, the kind you can only buy at Walmart. Let me tell you, after such an ordeal, I was no longer in the mood to attend any masquerade balls. Not to mention that my costume was ruined. There were two huge footprints on Pooh's shoulders. They got there when Christian climbed up on me so he'd have better leverage to jerk the honey pot upward.
"Newton's first law of physics," Christian explained. "A body at rest tends to stay at rest, and a body in motion tends to stay in motion, until another body, hopefully one in her teens, decides to wake you up with an apple and a morning quickie at a fair price."
So, I stayed at home with nothing to console me but a bad headache, and Christian went to the ball by himself. He offered to stay and keep me company, but I insisted he enjoy himself instead.
"Are you sure, dear?"
As time passed, my head felt better, so I decided to dress and go to the ball, after all. I put on the costume of Christian's favorite Dizney Princess... Sin-derella! I put it on sometimes just before we, well, you know.
I drove myself to Prospero's castle and waltzed into the soiree like a hungry tigress searching for prey, secure in the knowledge that no one there could recognize who I was. I was safe in the shroud of my anonymity.
That was when I saw my husband. He was talking to three gentleman and Donald Trump. The three gentlemen were Bill Clinton, George Bush, and Barack Obama. You know, the Larry, Curly, and Moe of American politics. Jimmy Carter would have been there as well, but there was a Matlock marathon on TV.
As I slithered seductively past Christian, I whispered a naughty preposition into his ear.
"Proposition," my Subconscious corrected me.
No, I'm sure it was a preposition.
Christian followed me like a hungry puppy lusting after a bone into an empty room down the hallway and we forever changed the expression on Prospero's poor cat. Maybe it was the festivities of the evening or the costumes we wore, but Christian was especially voracious.
Once done, I snuck off through the merriment like a decadent Cinderella and made my way home, happy with myself and wondering what Christian thought of the whole naughtiness. I chuckled at my lustful whimsy and the uninhibited seduction of... of...
Hey, wait a minute!
Christian thought I was home.
He didn't know that enchanting seductress was me.
"Oh, boy, is he going to get it when he gets home," I thought to myself, shaking my fist threateningly in front of my face.
Which brings us back to the present.
My present, not yours.
I pretend to be roused from my slumber, yawning and rubbing my eyes, as Christian walks into our room, looking like a man who has something to hide.
"How was the masked ball, dear?" I ask, feigning innocence.
“Without you, my love, I wasn’t in the mood for such debauchery—I mean revelry—and gave my costume to my brother Elliot. He told me later that he had a wild time. There was one girl in particular...”
Christian pauses, choosing his words carefully.
"He called her 'Cinderlicious.'"
“Humma, humma, humma,” I sputter.
“Anyway, I went to a midnight screening of Eyes Wide Shut,” he continues. “I slept like a baby.”
He changes into his silk pajamas, the ones with “Hot Stuff” embroidered in flames on the tushy part, and crawls into bed with me. I lay there, stiff as a board, but not in the I'm-in-the-mood-for-fun kind of way, completely mortified.
Oh, my goobers!
That was Elliot?
And we... we...
I can feel the warmth of Christian's body as he moves toward me and kisses me seductively on my lips.
“Just kidding,” he whispers, his head still under the blanket. “It was me.”