There was a time I would have looked back to lock eyes with the beefy young man with the sun tanned baby face and the perfectly groomed black hair. I would have even allowed his friend to point that tattooed elbow in my direction, leaning sideways onto his chair, hovering between our tables. Maybe I would make a joke to the inked guy, but only to immediately connect with the handsome young man. Everything about him breathed cougar hunter. He would take the bait.
But instead I took a mouthful of Chardonnay and wished Ivy had not gone to the toilet, leaving me a sitting duck for male attention. I shielded with my phone, pretending to be texting. There was a Whatsapp from Rutger which I answered, and then I sent one to Biggie. A question about something practical but with a sexual reference so strong I felt a sudden warmth between my legs.
Big came online immediately and answered in a business-like fashion, with a kiss smiley. I put the phone down with a sigh and saw Ivy return from the loo. She took the wine the waiter had brought in her absence.
“To what shall we toast?” she cheerfully asked.
“I already drank half of mine,” I apologized.
She took a sip. “How are things between you and Big?”
“Just normal.” And I realized how ridiculous this was for two people having hardcore good sex less than two months ago.
“That bad, huh? Did you have vanilla sex?”
I washed the last wine down. “Don’t be ridiculous”
That was the disturbing thing: on the surface nothing had changed.
“Are you still breaking up with him this weekend?”
“Of course not. Our deadline has not brought anything I hoped for.”
Somewhere in the process of Big struggling, of Big not deciding, of Big not seeing that we were obviously made for each other and that his marriage was doomed, somewhere in there I decided I would do the dirty work for him.
“Let’s set an expiration date,” I suggested. “Like in 6 weeks. That way you don’t have to decide anything and I don’t get frustrated.”
Big had wondered if a planned ending of our affair would work. But I assured him I had done this before, and that it was a drama-free solution for both of us.
“But we still have your whole bucket list,” he remarked. That was true. My biggest sexual dreams, unfulfilled.
“Well better not waste time then,” I had smiled, looking forward to six weeks of sexual slavery and Biggie stretching my consent to the utmost limits. But instead our sex menu had been cleaned up. The most vulnerable sex acts quietly disappeared, along with the intimacy they nourished.
“Makes sense,” Ivy said. “He’s retreating.”
“You don’t understand,” I explained. “Big always has great sex before a break up. He pushes how far he can go sexually. He will drain her down to the last drop, told me so himself.”
Ivy gave me a wide smile. “That’s when he wants to break up. Not when you want to break up.”
My jaw dropped and I gazed at her.
“I thought it was because I had sex with Rutger,” I disclosed.
Ivy shrugged. “Well that probably didn’t help. But that’s not what’s causing this. Big is worried he’ll get hurt. You know what that means right?”
But I was unclear about everything.
“It means Mr. Big is in love with you.”