Book: Madeleine Plays: A Wife-Watching Romance

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Ten

After another busy week, which included one trip out of town for Hugo, though not an overnight, and another interactive author event for Madeleine, they were both looking forward to their next Date Night on the Saturday evening, both needing to unwind.

They’d started to take turns arranging their dates, which might have been anything from an evening at a bar, a restaurant, a nightclub, a karaoke club or some kind of activity like a picnic in a park, a movie or show.

This time, it was Madeleine’s turn to arrange the date, and he had to hand it to her, her dates were usually more creative, so on Saturday morning he had a nice feeling that a little surprise was approaching.

During the day, Madeleine had a weekend shift at the bookstore, leaving her husband to sleep late and enjoy a lazy day in front of the college football. When she was supposed to come home after her shift, however, there was no sign of her.

The first thing he feared was that they’d got her to carry on, and do the evening shift as well. That would hardly be fair—she couldn’t do two shifts in a row, not the way she worked.

About half an hour after her normal return after a daytime Saturday shift, Hugo received a text message from a number he did not recognize.

He started out reading it with the assumption it was from Madeleine, that maybe her phone battery had died and she’d borrowed someone else’s cell. But halfway through the short message, his warm glow evaporated, leaving him in confusion.

> Hey! Nearly ready for our date. Been looking forward to it ever since you asked me out. Lets meet in the bar at the W, and go from there. You did say I could book a room under your name?

Was this from Madeleine? Sometimes people sent text messages to the wrong number. The fact she was talking about a date did fit with Hugo’s expectations, but the bit about asking her out...

Hugo was left scratching his head.

He decided to brush over that little snippet, take it on face value that she was simply using someone else’s phone at the store to arrange their rendezvous at the W hotel, presumably the one on Times Square.

Had she actually booked a room for the night? Expensive option for a date night, but Hugo approved of that idea. There was something seriously hot about the thought of a night of indulgence with Madeleine in a place like that.

He texted her back:

> Sounds good. What time do you want to meet there?

A simple enough reply—he wasn’t going to ask her what she had meant in her first text message, and at this stage he wasn’t going to ask whose phone she was using. Perhaps after a glass of wine or two, he might ask her to explain.

Then she replied with a text that sent a jolt of powerful confused heat through his chest:

> How about eight o’clock? Too late a start? Just have to blow off my husband—guess I was supposed to do something with him tonight, but I’m sure I can cancel that easily enough.

Hugo felt his cheeks burning, his heart palpitating.

Had she sent her text messages to the wrong number? Did she actually have another guy that she’d agreed to date? Had she finally given in to temptation to ask Connor out? Was she pursuing Fabian again? Was there someone else who had successfully negotiated her defenses?

He felt suddenly very cold, very small. Well, he had encouraged her to think about other men. He had told her how hot the thought was to him—the suggestion had been clear that as far as he was concerned, he wanted his wife to try dating other guys.

And now, she was. It just seemed so shocking that she would do it like this—without telling him. Perhaps even trying to use someone else’s phone to conceal herself.

In his fantasy, Hugo had assumed if she finally agreed to try it, she would keep him fully informed leading up to, and after, a date with someone else. Knowing about it, about how it made her feel, about everything she experienced—that was the whole point of this. If he didn’t know about it, it was simply an affair.

He tried to calm down. Madeleine would never be stupid enough to send a text to the wrong number, would she? Especially one like this. She had to be doing it on purpose. It was a game, to make him think she was having a date with another man.

Role play, it had to be.

He texted back:

> That’s fine. See you there—looking forward to it!

He half expected the next text to be some awful apology, that she’d meant her texts for someone else. He felt his insides squirming around. If she did that, it would at least make things honest again between them. But it would confirm that she’d actually accepted someone’s request for a date. Though half of him badly wanted that situation to happen one day, the rest of him didn’t feel entirely ready for that entire shocking scenario.

Her final text was no apology.

> Fantastic! See you then, can’t wait to see you xx

Kiss, kiss indeed.

He sat still for a moment or two.

He looked at the clock. Plenty of time to get showered and off to the W. If she had a date planned with some hunky other guy, he wouldn’t be showing up, judging by the misdirected text messages. Hugo could turn up instead, and demand to know what the bejesus was going on.

Oh, he’d be forgiving, he’d even probably tell her he was actually happy for her to start dating—but he would make the firm demand for her to tell him everything if she did. Maybe she’d be angry about that, maybe she’d say it would spoil the fun for her—but if that was the case, he wasn’t sure he wanted any of it—even with the strong urge inside him to know she was experiencing that wicked thrill of being with a new man.

If this was all a clever little role-play Madeleine had contrived for their Date Night, well, she’d be expecting him to turn up. He seriously hoped that was the case.

He hauled himself up off the edge of the sofa. One way or the other, he had to get down to that hotel. For either a date or a confrontation, either way, he needed a shower and a set of smart clothes.

He was about to get up and head for the bathroom when their landline phone rang. It startled him a little, since they so rarely received calls to that phone, particularly since it was unlisted.

He dived for it, said with a hint of uncertainty: “Hello?”

“Oh hey, sweetie.” It was Madeleine. Hugo felt his stomach twinge.

“Hey honey, what’s up?” he asked, neutrally.

She sighed. “They had me working a little late at the store—the new JK Rowling detective novel came in today, so the demand was crazy.”

“Oh, right.”

Another sigh. “Look, I know we’ve been really looking forward to Date Night, but I just had a call from Lucy and she’s really messed up right now—she found out that Greg’s going out with some other girl now, so—”

“Oh. Well they did split up.” Heart pounding in his throat, Hugo found himself pretending to engage with her lie, not really knowing what else to say.

What was she doing? Really blowing him off?

“You know how she gets—and she’s sitting in a brand new, virtually empty apartment. I said I’d go over there, maybe stay the night—that okay?”

Still, he could not work out whether this was part of a role-play idea, or whether he actually had an adulterous—or soon-to-be adulterous—wife on his hands. Why was he so hard as he spoke to her, hands trembling so much it was difficult to hold the phone up to his ear?

This was exciting to him, unnerving and breathtaking like that moment a roller coaster car climbs to the top of the first high peak at the start of the ride.

“Uh… sure, honey. We can do Date Night another time. I guess… it’s been a pretty busy week anyway, we’re both probably tired.”

“You’re the best,” she said. “I promise I’ll make it up to you.”

He suddenly thought about the last time she’d missed a planned date night—their anniversary. And how she’d made up for that. That had been no role play. She had actually shown that piano player her bare pussy.

What if this were real, right now?

“Honey—you called on the landline?” he asked her, the first time signaling that something was strange about all this.

“My phone battery died, had to use Ryan’s,” she said, then gave a little chuckle. “You know, you’ve had that cell number ever since I’ve known you, but I don’t know it off by heart? But because I set up the phone in the apartment, that number’s lodged in my head.”

“Funny.”

Hugo thinking she could have tried to remember the number her new date had given her, and what came out of her head had actually been her husband’s cell number. Was that likely?

Madeleine’s call to the landline seemed to back up the text message that stated her need to blow off her husband—it was one more piece of evidence against the theory that those texts had come from some unknown adulterous woman who’d gotten the phone number wrong.

He decided to let it lie. It seemed more exciting to him, now, that he get Madeleine off the line so he could ready himself for a taxi ride up to Times Square.

There were two possible outcomes of him showing up there, both of which he hoped might lead to a wild night in a luxury hotel room, the perfect situation for Date Night. But if he was late, and Madeleine assumed she’d been stood up by whoever it was she believed was turning up—that wasn’t worth thinking about.

*

He threw caution to the wind and got a cab uptown. It wasn’t that expensive. To step out onto the sidewalk in his crisp evening suit, and not feel the sweat and grime of a Subway journey, that made it worth it.

He decided that he had to trust her—she had to know what she was doing. If Madeleine was initiating an affair, then it was something she was exploring with a view to his confession that he harbored fantasies of her sleeping with other men. That meant when she was ready, she’d tell him the details.

This was Madeleine, after all—she did not have affairs. She’d come straight to him the moment her manager had even kissed her, for heaven’s sake.

He could trust her.

As Times Square approached, he was already semi-hard in anticipation, almost forgot to pay the cab driver he was so anxious to put an end to the uncertainty.

The cab had dropped him off just down from the hotel, since he didn’t want to wait 15 minutes just to drive one last block because of the insane number of people and cars around.

As he ducked around the corner just off Times Square itself, into W47th Street, he felt his phone vibrate in his jacket pocket—another text message. His heart skipped another beat. What did Madeleine have to say now? Had she realized she’d sent her text messages to the wrong phone before?

He paused outside the fairly innocuous entrance to the W hotel, and retrieved his phone.

It was a message from Lucy:

> Hey Hugo, thanks so much for letting me borrow your wife for the night! And I know it was supposed to be your date night and everything. Really appreciate it Luce xx

That stopped him in his tracks.

What on Earth did it mean? That Madeleine had actually gone over to Lucy’s new place in Brooklyn to help pull her back from the edge? That had all been hot air, though, hadn’t it? Part of her cover story.

Hugo felt a little foolish, standing out on the street in front of a luxury hotel he may not have had any call to be outside.

Either this was Madeleine cementing her cover story for her husband, and therefore she had merely sent those texts to the wrong phone by mistake—or else her arranging of an evening’s role-play was more complex than he’d appreciated. Lucy would have to be in on the truth either way—either if Madeleine was intending to meet her husband right now, or some other man.

Of course, there was also the possibility that Madeleine had been telling the entire truth—that she’d had to cancel because Lucy was feeling so awful. That the texts were completely unrelated. That Hugo was standing outside a hotel with no reason for being there at all.

But it was too much coincidence that Madeleine’s phone happened to have run out of batteries, and she’d had to call him via the landline. Hugo felt his loins stir. Adulterous or not, he now felt a strong craving for his Madeleine to be up there in the W bar, waiting for a man to come sweep her off her feet.

He took a deep breath and stepped inside the gloom, and headed past the dual water features toward the elevator that would take him to the hotel lobby on the seventh floor.

If he’d been stupid, and unfortunate, he figured the worst thing that could happen would be getting to the bar to find no one in there that he recognized. He wouldn’t have to tell Madeleine or Lucy that he’d been idiot enough to come all the way to the W to assuage his curiosity about that mystery text message.

As the elevator doors opened on the seventh floor, however, his swollen manhood was telling him quite clearly that Madeleine would be there, for good or ill.

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