That Susan loved Bill and that Bill loved Susan was never in question. They had been happily married for fifteen years and were devoted to one another. Bill hardly ever went anywhere without Susan and Susan almost always took Bill with her wherever she went. Their evenings were spent watching the same television shows, going to their favorite bar – the bar where they had first met eighteen years previously – eating at their favorite restaurant or just sitting silently while Bill read mystery thrillers and Susan worked on her crocheting. Often, they would sit without saying a word for hours. Others might think they were a bit, well, dull, but they didn’t care. They loved each other, enjoyed each other’s company and, perhaps most importantly, understood each other.
There’s was the perfect relationship. Well, almost perfect. If you’d asked Bill, after a few drinks, if there anything, anything at all, that he would change about his marriage, he might, with a little persuasion, admit to being just the slightest bit frustrated that Susan didn’t seem to like sex very much these days. They would still kiss, on occasion, and their cuddling was wonderful, but it wasn’t quite enough. And if you took Susan to one side at a work function and gave her a glass of wine – though she rarely drank at all – she might tell you that she wished Bill was a bit more adventurous physically, was prepared to just take the initiative, to kiss her and hold her and tell her that he wanted to make love to her.
But other than that, there’s was the perfect marriage. They had so much in common. They were also the kindest, most considerate neighbors in their district, and although the neighbors largely didn’t reciprocate their invitations, that didn’t alter their determination to be hospitable. They were always the first to organize charity collections, bake sales, and other events. They volunteered at their local hospital and they were the first to welcome strangers to the street, which was how they got to know Marie and Alex.
The house next to Bill and Susan’s had been empty for months, after the Bannisters had moved away. The Bannisters had been good neighbors. They were quiet and largely kept to themselves, and weren’t always the friendliest people to live next door to, but they were polite enough, and always appeared to be grateful when Susan brought them round a freshly baked pie or when they were turning down a barbecue invitation from Bill.
It was fair to say that Marie and Alex were not the sort of people who usually moved into the district. Mostly the couples and elderly folk of the neighborhood were quiet folks; relatively wealthy, of course, but not ostentatious. The Carpenters were different. Marie roared into the street one day in a red sports car that screeched into the next door drive and woke Bill from his afternoon nap. He was a little disorientated, so he stood up and wandered to the window, and was surprised to see a car on the driveway next door. He was even more surprised to see the door open and a pair of bare legs as a stunning looking woman slid elegantly out of the car and walked up the driveway.
She was shorter than Susan, maybe 5’4”, with a shock of dark, thick, glossy hair and Bill, in his groggy, half-asleep state, couldn’t help lingering on her bare thighs, on her tight, clingy mini-skirt, and her equally tight white t-shirt that could barely contain her ample breasts. As his mouth hung open, he felt his cock stirring in his shorts and before he could tear himself away from the window, he saw her look up in his direction. Frozen, he couldn’t move. She smiled, gave a casual wave of her delicate hand and then opened the door to the Bannister’s house and walked inside.
Bill stood there, in the window, for several seconds after she had gone. His heart was racing, he felt flushed, and worst of all, he wasn’t entirely sure that his erection had not been visible from the window. Feeling guilty, he turned away from the window. Part of his brain was telling him to return to the soft embrace of the bed, close his eyes and fantasize about the woman next door, but he shook his head, got dressed and walked downstairs to tell Susan that they had new neighbors.
Alex turned up later that day. Susan saw him arrive, in an SUV. She was crocheting, sitting in her favorite armchair by the window, with a good view of the neighbors’ drive, when the vehicle pulled up. She watched, intrigued as he climbed out of the car. He was about 6’2 and built like a sports star. Though he was wearing an expensive suit, the line of his biceps and strong, powerful thighs were visible through the material. Susan watched, intrigued, dropping her crochet work onto the floor as she gazed at the neighbor’s butt disappearing into the house.
The next morning, Bill went round to make his habitual visit to welcome the new neighbors. He was bearing one of Susan’s freshly baked cranberry pies, and wore his best shirt, along with a touch too much aftershave. The door opened after the second ring of the doorbell, and there stood Marie. Her hair was a little tousled and she wore no make-up, just a blue silk kimono that barely covered the top of her thighs. Bill stammered a little before he managed to explain that he was from next door and he wanted to welcome them to the street.
“Aw that is lovely, thank you,” said Marie. “I would invite you in, but we’re in a bit of a state, boxes everywhere. And Alex is still asleep.”
“I’m sorry,” said Bill, trying desperately to focus on Marie’s eyes and not her thighs, or her chest. “I didn’t intend to disturb you, but we were wondering if you’d like to come to ours tonight, just for a welcome to the neighborhood party.”
“Oh that would be lovely,” said Marie, touching Bill on the arm. Her touch sent little electric shockwaves along his arm. “We’d love to.”
“Great, about seven then?” said Bill.
“See you then,” said Marie, smiling. Bill stood there, a second longer than was strictly polite, before scurrying off down the path.
The day was spent in preparations. Susan, who seemed more fidgety and anxious than usual when preparing for guests, swept and cleaned every room twice, while Bill scrubbed the patio – in case it was a fine night and Marie and Alex wanted to sit outside – and cut the grass – in case Marie and Alex wanted to walk in the garden – and even cleaned the barbecue – in case Marie and Alex felt like an impromptu barbecue.
Seven o’clock came round, then seven thirty, before Marie and Alex finally turned up at seven forty-five. Susan saw them first. Marie was wearing the kind of red dress Susan had only seen in documentaries about strippers. Alex was more casually dressed, in a tailored t-shirt, which showed his flat abs and powerful chest.
“We’ve brought a bottle,” said Marie, handing a bottle of red wine to Susan.
“Actually, we’ve brought two,” said Alex, brandishing a bottle of white.
“Oh that’s lovely of you,” said Susan, “You really didn’t have to, you know.”
“Our pleasure,” said Alex.
“Please do come in, I will fetch some glasses.”
Susan showed them into the living room and hurried into the kitchen. She had made a point of reminding Bill to tell them it was a non-alcoholic evening. They rarely drank alcohol, well she didn’t drink alcohol at all. One glass was enough to leave her completely out of control, and she had always hated being out of control. As she fetched the glasses from the cupboard, she noticed Bill lingering in the kitchen.
“Go and say hello,” she whispered, urgently.
“Right,” he said, his eyes lingering on his wife. She was wearing that dress. The one he loved. The one she’d worn on their trip to Miami two years ago. That was the last time they had enjoyed really passionate sex, and though neither of them ever talked about it, they both thought about it often, carrying it with them as a golden memory.
Susan caught him up in the hallway, carrying glasses. They looked at one another and smiled at the same time. They could both see the nervousness in one another’s expressions. It was always a little nerve-wracking, meeting new people, but they gave one another strength to get through social occasions. This time, though, it felt different.
They sat around the table in the dining room. Although the conversation was a little stilted at first, but Marie and Alex were confident and outgoing people, who did most of the talking, which was the way that Bill and Susan liked it. They learned that Alex was an investment banker while Marie designed jewelry, though had done some modeling in the past.
“I’m not surprised,” blurted out Bill.
Susan blushed and looked at him with a quizzical expression. Bill was already on his second glass, and starting to slur his words a little.
“Susan, you’re not going to drink at all?” said Alex, smiling at her. She flushed.
“No, I don’t drink,” she said, stuttering a little.
“Are you teetotal?” said Marie, “I knew a girl who was teetotal once, in college. I had no idea how she did that. I love a glass of wine.”
“Or three,” added Alex and they both smiled at one another.
“I’m no teetotal,” said Susan, suddenly. “I just don’t usually drink.”
“Oh well, why not just have a drop of this Merlot. It’s really good,” said Alex. He raised the glass from the table.
“Go on, honey,” said Bill, “It won’t hurt.”
Under pressure from all sides, Susan gave in. What harm would it do, anyway, she thought to herself. She was forty-two years old, after all. Why couldn’t she have a little drink in the company of adults? She smiled at Alex and held out her glass. He poured her a big glass of red and smiled back at her. Bill watched, fascinated, as though he were a scientist watching the administration of a new, powerful drug to a patient.
Susan didn’t drink. That was one of the golden rules that kept their normality in place. Now the rule had been broken and both of them felt that they were in uncharted territory. It felt strange, and exhilarating. The conversation continued, but was much more natural. Susan loosened up considerably. She started to laugh. Bill loved his wife more than ever when she laughed, naturally and freely. Her whole face lit up. It was as though her true beauty was revealed when she laughed.
She laughed particularly at Alex’s jokes. Alex was a charming man, Bill, could see that, but his jokes were a little cheesy. It was during one particularly loud squall of laughter from Susan, that Bill felt a little tap on his wrist. Marie had reached across the table.
”Can I speak to you privately, for a moment,” she said. Bill, gazing into her eyes, was speechless.
”Is everything okay, hun?” asked Alex.
“Yes sure,” said Marie, “I just wanted to talk to Bill about something.”
Susan looked over at them and Bill met her gaze. For a moment he thought she looked worried, but then he recognized the look. She was already a little drunk. Marie had stood and was walking towards the door. She cast a glance back at Bill, who looked at Susan again, but Alex had grabbed her attention and was starting another joke.
What the hell, thought Bill. He stood and followed Marie out of the hallway. He watched her perfectly peachy butt in her tight clingy red dress and felt his cock stirring once again. She stopped and turned round and smiled at him.
“What would you like to speak to me about,” he stammered. She put her arms around him and before he could react, pulled him down to her and kissed him, passionately.
It took a while for him to resist, but eventually, he found some will power and pulled away from Marie’s lips.
“What are you doing? I…can’t do this.”
“Shh!” she said, putting her finger on his lips. Then she slid her hand into his and led him back down the hallway, back to the dining room. There, he saw Alex kissing his wife. They were leaning in together, across the table, and Alex was cradling Susan’s head in his hands as they kissed passionately.
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