“You’ve put me in a bit of a difficult position here, Ms. Fernandez.”
Simone looks at him a moment with a half smile curling the left side of her mouth upwards. She runs her olive-skinned fingers through her jet black hair being careful not to snag her expertly manicured nails in her waves and slides out of the maroon silk sheets to grab a hairbrush from the master bathroom.
“Are you back to calling me Ms. Fernandez so soon? What happened to ‘Simone’?”
Her back is turned away from him, but she can still feel his eyes roaming every inch of her naked body taking in the sights of the skin his mouth and hands had just finished exploring. She lingers there letting him look a little longer hoping to break a little of the resolve she heard in his voice. Surely a man this weak, a man that had given in to her, his boss’s wife, in less than 10 minutes, would cave with just the right amount of pressure.
“Well, Ms. Fernandez…”
“Jimmy, call me Simone. You’re naked in my bed. I think we can safely agree that at this point we should be on a first-name basis.”
“No buts, Jimmy. Play nice and I might let you stay for a second round.”
She turns then tossing her hair back over her shoulder and makes her way slowly back to the bed. His pale blue eyes soften a little, and she knows she has him. A fly in her web. He licks his lips nervously, watching her climb back under the sheet. His hair had been pulled back and now fell in messy tangles around his shoulders. The sandy blonde beard that covered a portion of his cheeks and chin was a little patchy, but it disguised a weak jawline. He spent a little bit too much time in the gym for her tastes, but she liked the roughness of him. Her husband, Enrique, was a bit too meticulous about his looks. Too smooth, too polished and put together.
The fact that she hated him, her husband, probably didn’t help things either.
The two of them had been married since she was 19 and he was 22, roughly 17 years now. At that time, he was young and full of passion. He had goals. He wanted to open his own restaurant, cook the food himself, and keep things low-key and simple. They talked about having a small family and still living in the city so he wouldn’t have to commute to work. She would stay home with the kids, but they had agreed never to take each other for granted—he wouldn’t act like she didn’t work just because she was at home and she wouldn’t hold the fact that he always had to be at work against him. They had seen those very problems ruin marriages. Simone’s parents had succumbed to the very same ones themselves.
But nothing worked out like that. When he was 24 and still taking business classes at the local community college (the plan being to get his associates in business then go to culinary school), she worked at a Hooters type restaurant to help pay the bills. She would work to put him through school then they would start their family. The work was shitty. Customers always coming on to her, following her when she left, demanding her phone number. The store’s management wasn’t much help and told her it was par for the course. The tips were good though. She couldn’t make the kind of money they needed to get them through this without that job. So, she convinced the owner, Steven, to hire Enrique as a type of bouncer on weekend nights when the crowds were the worst. He would seat people, bus tables when needed, and if someone got out of hand, he would essentially kick their ass out. That was the nice way of putting it anyway. Enrique had a bit of a temper and was especially rough on the guys that put their hands on his wife. But, he built up a bit of camaraderie with all the women after awhile watching over them like a protective older brother. It didn’t take long for him to get a bit of a reputation. That’s when Adolfo Machado started coming in the club with some of his goons.
The first night, one of those goons took it upon himself to grab Simone’s ass. When Enrique tried to throw him out, the two got into one hell of a brawl which is exactly what Adolfo had wanted. That was his plan all along, and the thug on his payroll had acted on his orders when he made that ass grab. Adolfo wanted to see if Enrique lived up to the reputation. He did. Unfortunate, that.
At first it was just a fight here and there, underground fights that paid a few thousand dollars a pop—well more than she could make in a week’s time even on the best weeks, even when she flirted too hard for tips and overlooked the comments and the touching. She didn’t like, had told him she didn’t like it, but he always said it wasn’t a big deal, that they needed the money, and that it wouldn’t be forever.
All of that was a lie. It WAS a big deal. Anytime you get involved with someone like Adolfo Machado, it’s a big fucking deal. They didn’t need the money bad enough to get involved in shit like that. And here they are all these years later with Enrique entrenched with that man more than ever. Their entire lives revolved around Adolfo. What started out as a fight here and there turned into fight nights every weekend then bare knuckle fights once a month, then Enrique was traveling with Adolfo on jobs as protection, taking orders…doing things to people who owed money. She used to ask him questions about what exactly that meant, but he wouldn’t answer, didn’t want to involve her in what he knew. The risks to her life if she knew certain things wasn’t worth sharing those secrets.
So that’s how they lived. She was his wife, but she knew next to nothing about his life anymore. Enrique had risen up to be one of Adolfo’s most trusted. He was gone more than he was around, and when he was around, the two barely spoke. He mocked her when she asked for more of his time and told her if she was so unhappy she could find some other chump to buy her $2000 purses and $5000 gowns.
The man she fell in love with had gone a long time ago, the man who would have understood she would have been happy working every day beside him in a little sandwich shop making bread at 4 am and getting her hands dirty, coming home smelling like garlic and onions and grease. She wanted her Enrique not this stranger who came in, patronized her, then waltzed out to cater to one of the young women Adolfo provided or do God knows what on Adolfo’s orders.
The last time she packed her bags to leave, Enrique told her if she left, she was as good as dead. As far as she was concerned, she had no choice given that Adolfo, she was told, had been diagnosed with and advanced stage of pancreatic cancer and had chosen Enrique to take his place when he was gone. If she ever wanted a life of her own, Enrique had to go.
Simone snuggles up closer to Jimmy nearly purring in his ear about how good he makes her feel. She runs her hand along the smoothness of his chest enjoying it but knowing this charade is just a means to an end, her way out. All she had to do is convince Jimmy that taking out Enrique would earn him the top spot. It was just the distraction she needed to get out of there. She could clear enough money out of the account to set her up for a few months and leave the rest of this shit behind right.
“Jimmy?” she says.
“Yeah, Ms..I mean, Simone?”
“Why don’t you do more for the business? You seem like you should be the one running things, you know.”
Well, I just finished up an Elmore Leonard novel which might have had a bit of influence on this piece. The prompt was Position. Thanks for stopping by for another Sunday Confession. Be sure to check out the other entries on the More Than Cheese and Beer blog