My Husband, My Stalker

By: Jessa Kane

“Why is that?”

“Because in my short time living on this block I’ve picked up a lot of neighborhood gossip. And I’m about to fill you in.”

“Oh my gosh.” I press my palms to my cheeks, surprising by the pressing need to giggle. “I shouldn’t be so excited. Gossiping is mean.”

“Only if we get caught,” he says, winking at me.

I gasp with mock outrage. “You’re bad. You must do something evil for a living.” I narrow my eyes. “Lawyer?”

He leans forward on his elbows, grinning broadly. “Nope.”

“A magician?”

A laugh barks out of him. “Magicians are evil?”

“It’s common knowledge. They operate in the dark arts. Sawing women in half all willy-nilly.” I shrug, take a sip of my beer. “And just being generally cringey.”

“I can’t argue with that. You get one more guess.”

“Hmmm.” This is flirting. I’m actually flirting. And I can’t believe it. Except there is something about Christopher that makes it so easy. Makes me feel completely safe. At ease. There’s attraction, yes. But there’s no pressure. No anxiety. It also helps that he’s seated me in the exact right spot where I can see my front door. Did he do that on purpose? “Russian spy?”

He laughs into a sip of his drink. “Sorry to disappoint you. I’m just a normal, boring, run-of-the-mill insurance salesman.”

“Normal isn’t a bad thing,” I say honestly. “In fact, I think normal is the best thing.”

“Do you?”

I nod slowly.

We simply look at each other, the day passing in flurry of color around us, but our bodies remaining perfectly unmoving. “So…” I whisper. “About this gossip.”

“Right,” he growls, though it quickly turns to a cough. He must have had something stuck in his throat. “Let’s start with the man operating the barbeque. He’s obsessed with his lawn. I once caught him in the middle of the night on his belly, trimming it with scissors.”

My mouth falls open. “No, you didn’t.”

“I did. And it’s all because the man who lives across the street is his high school football rival. You didn’t realize we were living in a sitcom, did you?”

“I had no idea. Competing lawn care fanatics. Now that’s a show I would watch.”

“Me too.” He glances back over his shoulder and I take a moment to appreciate his physique. For a man who sells insurance, he is obscenely fit. Like cut triceps and flexing shoulders and hands that look like they do a lot more than tap at a keyboard. He must do CrossFit after working hours. Otherwise he’s very naturally gifted.

This is healthy, right?

Noticing men and their attributes?

I’m already excited to talk to my therapist about it.

“Okay, next up is the older woman holding court by the snack table. You see her? Fire engine red hair. Hard to miss.”

This time, I can’t stop my giggle. “I see her.”

My laugh seems to distract him, but he swallows and keeps going. “She dyes her poodle’s hair pink and posts pictures of it in costumes on the town’s online bulletin board.”

“Oh, please say she dressed it like an old timey sheriff.”

“A sheriff, a mermaid, a milkman, a flapper…”

I almost choke on a sip of my drink. “No insurance salesman? What a terrible oversight.”

“Right?” He shakes his head sadly. “We get no love.”

“Are you…” Don’t ask. Even if there’s an odd sense of connection here, you could be imagining it after such an upheaval and departure from regular society. And it’s too fast. Too soon. “Are you…looking for love?”

A light of awareness comes on in his blue eyes. Until his finger traces the small of my wrist, I don’t realize his hand is close enough to touch me. “I’m looking at you, Jolie.”

It’s suddenly hard to breathe.

That rough fingertip of his travels into my palm, moving in a circle and there’s an answering wetness between my legs. From such a simple touch.

My nipples ache in my bra.

I’ve never been this drawn to someone. Not in my entire life. Never knew it was possible. But I find myself allowing Christopher to weave our fingers together, holding my hand across the table. Like we’re a couple. Like we didn’t just meet minutes earlier.

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