Yes, I had to smile thinking of this last minute scene. “Tell her so…” That extra fuck had softened her up. I thought of a book I had read which told of rather strange experiments with carnivorous animals – lions, tigers, panthers. Seems that when, these ferocious beasts were kept well-fed – over-fed, indeed – one could put gentle creatures in the same cage with them and they would never molest them. The lion attacked only out of hunger. He was not perpetually murderous. That was the gist of it….
And Maude… Having satisfied herself to her heart’s content, she had probably realized for the first time that it was useless to harbor a grudge against the other woman. If, she may have told herself, if it were possible to be fucked like that whenever she wished, it wouldn’t matter what claims the other one had on me. Perhaps it entered her mind for the first time that possession is nothing if you can’t surrender yourself.
Perhaps she even went so far as to think that it might be better this way – having me protect her and fuck her and not having to get angry with me because of jealous fears. If the other one could hold on to me, if the other one could keep me from running around with every little slut that came across my path, if together they could share me, tacitly of course and without embarrassment and confusion, perhaps after all it might be better than the old arrangement. Yes, to be fucked that way, fucked without fear of being betrayed, to be fucking your own husband who is now your friend (and perhaps a lover again), to be taking what you want of him, calling him when you need him, sharing a warm, passionate secret with him, reliving the old fucks, learning new ones, stealing and yet not stealing, but giving oneself with pleasure and abandon, growing younger again, losing nothing except a conventional tie… yes, it might be ever so much better.
I’m sure something of this sort had been running through her head, had spread its aureole about her. I could see her, in my mind’s eye, languorously brushing her hair, feeling her breasts, examining the marks of my teeth on her neck, hoping Melanie would not notice them but not caring too deeply whether she did or not. Not caring greatly any more whether Melanie overheard things or not. Asking herself wistfully perhaps how it had ever come about that she had lost me. Knowing now that if she had to live her life all over again she would never act as she had, never worry about useless things. So foolish to worry about what the other woman may be doing! What matter if a man did let his feet stray now and then? She had locked herself up, put a cage around herself; she had pretended she had no desires, pretended she dare not fuck – because we weren’t man and wife any longer. What a terrible humiliation! Wanting it dreadfully, longing for it, almost begging for it like a dog – and there it was all the time, waiting for her. Who cared whether it was right or not? Wasn’t this wonderful stolen hour better than anything she had ever known? Guilt? She had never felt less guilty in her life. Even if the “other one” had died meanwhile she couldn’t feel bad about it.
I was so certain of what had been going on in her mind that I made a mental note to ask her about it next time we met. Of course next time she might be her old self again – that was only too possible with Maude. Besides, it wouldn’t do to let her see that I was too interested – that might only stir up the poison. The thing to do would be to keep it on an impersonal level.