They talked about it, but nothing happened.
They made love and imagined that Madeleine was with someone else. It still made Hugo seriously hard, but it wasn’t taking that terrifying step toward reality.
It was seriously difficult to take that step, as it happened.
“Maybe we should just get super drunk,” Madeleine said, as they were both already sipping a quiet glass of white in front of the TV one night. “Then we’d have the courage to actually go out and do it?”
Hugo chuckled, but beneath the surface, he felt that undercurrent of icy fear. What if they did get steamingly drunk? Maybe they would be able to finally go through with it, The Fantasy, which neither of them could stop thinking about these days, but neither of them could initiate.
It was all very well being bold, and talking about doing it—but it was quite another thing to actually go out there and do it.
Even when Madeleine was flirting with her co-workers, suddenly now that they were both talking about taking the very real step of having her sleep with another man, she felt an invisible barrier limiting that flirting process.
One evening, she revealed that her personal trainer had got a little too personal—but rather than embracing it as she was permitted to do, she found herself frightened, and scampering out of there to return to the safety of her husband at home.
“He wasn’t the right guy,” she said.
Hugo shook his head, though he was rock hard after hearing how the guy had accidentally-on-purpose brushed his hand over her pussy during their last session, even if it was protected by her gym outfit.
“He’s not your type,” Hugo said. “Athletic, sure, but he’s got no class whatsoever.”
She smiled at that hidden complement.
“You think it’ll ever happen?” he asked her, actually thinking to himself that he would be okay settling for fantasy-only, since at the end of the day the whole thing had turned Madeleine into a confident sex goddess, it wasn’t merely about the actual act of her being with another man.
She said, “I think it will, some day.”
Another Date Night. It was something that had lapsed as a regular event as the Fall rolled on toward winter, with either of them, or both of them, finding their schedules all booked up. It didn’t disappear completely, however.
Sometimes, it was just nice to have it there to look forward to, even if the date got postponed for one reason or other. They might have arrived at a stalemate situation regarding The Fantasy, but it was great to know they had an evening coming up where it was just them again, a full night where they would not talk about work, and think of themselves as young free libertines again, on a date that would turn into hot sex by the end.
This time, it was Madeleine’s turn to decide where they should meet, and what they should do. As he left work on that Friday night, Hugo found himself a touch dizzy in anticipation of reconnecting with his beautiful wife after a long, hard week.
The moment the clock struck six, and his mouse pointer sank to the bottom left of his screen to shut down his tired old PC for the weekend, Hugo’s phone vibrated to signal the arrival of a text message. As he felt the buzz, knowing who it was, he felt his heart rate pick up a little, his loins tingle from the prospect of what the evening might have in mind for him.
The number was unfamiliar—not her regular mobile phone, then. You could pick up pay-as-you-go phones easily and cheaply enough, however.
The text read:
> Your companion for the evening will be waiting for you at the bar in the W Hotel at 7 pm.
His companion. Of course he knew that she was referring to herself, but what did companion actually mean? What role was she taking on? Was that a nice way to say she was a hooker, a call girl? Well, it wasn’t The Fantasy, but if this was her choice for the evening, it would be hot to think Madeleine might have fantasies of being paid to sleep with men.
Hugo felt himself stir down below at the thought of straight-laced Madeleine dressing up as a prostitute of some kind. Would he be expected to pay for her services?
Her choice of venue brought a smile to his face, too, after the last time they were there.
As he left his office building for the weekend, he typed in his response:
> I’ll be there. Can I ask how payment will be arranged?
Her reply arrived just as he came to the entrance of the Canal St. subway station.
> All taken care of. Thank you for your business, Mr Milton.
Business. He found himself sitting on the subway train gazing at that word in the middle of that last text message. Considering the fact that this was Date Night he was currently on the way to attend, that word seemed so out of place—and somehow, that sparked a flutter of nervous excitement within him.
Sometimes Madeleine managed to really flip the concept of Date Night on its head with her role-playing. The days of dressing up in smart clothing, or in costumes, seemed like adolescent fumbling compared to the elaborate schemes his wife could come up with.
Hugo found himself shivering as he waited for the train to reach Times Square. Then he was stepping onto the platform, negotiating the crowd through the turnstile and up the stairs to street level, his stomach filling with butterflies.
Back at the hotel just off Time Square, he ducked inside the small, dark entrance lobby and stepped inside the elevator along with a gaggle of overly excited tourists talking about their visit to the Statue of Liberty. He might not have been a sightseer, but Hugo was about to see another side of New York’s beauty, and he was just a ball of energy.
The stylish reception area was relatively full as people prepared for the start of the weekend.
Hugo meandered his way through the clusters of people and found the bar.
Subdued electronic jazz punctuated the air, concealing all conversation, while the subtle scent of some kind of incense lent the place a warm hint of excitement even before Hugo stepped into the place.
He paused at the door, checking his watch to ensure he’d arrived on time, and allowing his eyes to adjust a little to the gloom.
Hugo quietly gasped. There she was—and wearing a scandalously tiny dress.
She was absolutely stunning. The purple cocktail dress had to be the smallest, most revealing thing she’d worn yet. The thigh-high stockings added to the image that she was a high class call girl, though she managed to keep the look from being trashy.
With her long blonde hair tied up in a French plait, revealing her elegant neck, and her pretty face emphasized with a little heavier make-up than usual, Madeleine really was putting the class into the high-class call girl look.
She looked out-of-this-world hot.
He could see that she was talking animatedly over a vodka tonic. Madeleine was not at the bar alone.
Hugo felt his insides burn as he laid eyes on the older, well-dressed gentleman currently charming his beautiful wife as though he was negotiating her services. Hugo knew she had no intention of pursuing The Fantasy that night, but she was obviously having a little fun with her ongoing freedom to flirt with whichever men she fancied.
He knew that if she did actually want this man, he would let her. He would be thrilled. Still the jealousy erupted inside his stomach, sharp and acidic.
Something held him there at the door. The sound of Madeleine’s laugh—so pure and melodic, revealing genuine happiness. It froze Hugo in his tracks—such a stunningly beautiful sound.
He felt a gentle tingle between his thighs—and found himself curious about what Madeleine would do if he left her to her own devices with her gentleman admirer, just for a few moments.
A hint of mischief crept into him—he could tease her about this afterward.
He quietly edged up to the bar as far as he could away from his wife and her momentary companion, and nodded for the bar steward. A tumbler of whisky in his hand, and he slipped away to a quiet table over on the other side of the bar to see what his wife was up to.
God, she was so sexy. And Hugo could see in the eyes of the other man that he wanted to take her somewhere, no doubt charm her out of that dress. Did he think she was an actual call girl?
Sitting there in the shadows, sipping his whisky, the alcohol in his system wasn’t sufficient to warm the chill inside him, though perhaps it tempered the jealousy a little.
The man was probably some millionaire businessman staying at the W as some kind of regular business thing—and he wanted Madeleine. But it was Hugo who got to go home with her. There was some weird kind of biological response going on inside Hugo—he was getting a thrill sitting here watching rival males circling his wife, wanting her, lusting after her—yet unable to have her because she was Hugo’s.
She seemed to be loving the attention from this older Romeo, flicking a finger or two through a loose strand of her hair, twirling it, fiddling with it, trying in vain to tuck it behind her ear. Was it his imagination, or was she arching her back to push out her chest, maximizing the impact of her prominent cleavage for her audience?
Hugo was actually hard—this was all sparking up so much arousal in him, an innate urge to take her away and claim her, put her to the sword for her insolence in consorting with other men.
But he texted her:
> Sorry, slight delay because of transport. Be there very shortly.
He saw across the room the beautiful blonde call girl react to the cell phone she kept in her little coin purse. Retrieve it, gaze at his message. Apologize to her companion, then type in a reply message. He remembered only just in time to slip his own phone into silent mode, so she wouldn’t have any clue he was already there in attendance in the bar, watching her.
Her companion, the silver fox businessman, signaled to the bartender to refill her glass.
Hugo jumped a little as his phone vibrated in his hand. Incoming text message:
> No problem. I’m waiting for you in the bar when you’re ready.
No mention of her having other options if he didn’t turn up—but then, there was no chance in her mind he wouldn’t turn up. A tiny part of Hugo wondered what she’d do if he didn’t arrive. Maybe it would pay her back for the little adultery act she put on the last time they came out to the W.
How strange it was to get the feeling of excitement at the thought of her offering their booked room for her new companion to share if her date did not turn up.
Hugo drained the glass of fiery liquor, and hauled himself up to his feet. She was going to get angry with him—and he didn’t want to wreck their evening. He’d been looking forward to this for days.
Standing, he felt the alcohol in his system—a little stronger than he’d thought. He’d never been much of a drinker. He fumbled with his phone and realized that if he approached Madeleine from this direction, it would be a little obvious he hadn’t just arrived.
Well, this evening was all about role-playing. He slipped out of the bar, back into the reception of the hotel, then sent a text:
> Sorry, just got here—heading up to the 7th floor now.
From reception, he could see through the entrance of the bar, see Madeleine reach for her phone, mention something to her companion before typing in a text message reply—the silver fox nodding sagely in understanding at her need to respond to her husband’s message. Or had she given him the impression it was her client’s text to which she was replying?
The thought that she might have been role-playing her fantasy as a call girl with this other man made Hugo’s stomach flutter.
His phone buzzed as her reply came in, short and revealing nothing:
Then Hugo’s stomach seemed to turn to mush as he saw the older gentleman lean forward to kiss his wife. It was on the cheek, not the lips, but the way in which he did so—slowly, breathing in her fragrance, lounging in the proximity to her, nudging against her soft skin—made her husband bristle.
He couldn’t see Madeleine’s expression from this angle, but the way she moved her shoulders and hips, somehow emphasizing her exquisite feminine shape for her new admirer, made Hugo certain she had warmed to this older lothario—and sent a shiver of envy and excitement down Hugo’s spine.
Hugo watched the man leave the bar, stroll past him to the elevators as though he owned this place.
What did this older man have that Hugo couldn’t offer his wife? Effortless charm, sure. Probably wealth, too, judging by his designer suit and the way he seemed to ooze pure confidence. But the biggest thing he could offer Madeleine was the newness, the strangeness, the out-of-the ordinary experience of being with someone other than her husband. And that was Hugo’s gift to give her.
Afterwards, she’d place the blame firmly on the alcohol. She’d started drinking early, at the behest of Lucy, even while they were both still out shopping for the clothes she would be wearing on Date Night that evening.
Troublemaking Lucy, who was already in fiery mood because Madeleine could never stop herself when it came to talking to her best friend about what was going on with her and Hugo—and the unconventional way in which this married couple had rekindled their sexual desires for each other had quite caught Lucy’s interest.
Lucy had wound Madeleine up even before she’d got to the W to start preparing herself for her date. Champagne always went to her head, especially when she drank it early in the day. But by the time the evening came, she needed the buzz from the alcohol to steady her nerves.
Knowing she’d spent the day with Lucy meant Hugo was hardly surprised when he found his wife was still a little tipsy as he finally approached her in the bar.
“Hey, nice to meet you,” she said.
“My God, you look amazing,” he whispered in her ear as she rose to greet him with a kiss on the cheek. Breaking character, but then she really had outdone herself with the look, and he had to tell her.
She smiled, but he thought she looked a little flustered, somehow, her cheeks gently flushed.
“I dressed up for you,” she said, breaking character a little herself.
“Well you look incredible.”
“You know, you’re not the first person to say that to me tonight,” she said, a wicked glint in her eye.
Hugo raised an eyebrow. “Really?”
She blushed, full-on—not so much from embarrassment as modest delight. So sexy.
Madeleine leaned into him and whispered: “Some guy tried to pick me up just now—I guess he assumed I really was for hire.”
Hugo felt a pang of jealousy and arousal explode inside his chest, spreading through his body to kick-start the erection that had already been on the way.
As he paused to relish his physical and mental response to her revelation, he caught a flash of fear in his wife’s face—perhaps asking herself, was he really okay with her talking to some other guy at the bar?
“Was he attractive?” he asked, feeling mischievous.
Madeleine shrugged. “Well, he was no Hugo Finnell…”
Hugo rolled his eyes playfully, and he saw from that that she knew he wasn’t in any way angry at her.
His delight at seeing her like this seemed to be translating into a need to tease her, particularly given the easy cue she’d offered him. He said: “So if you had been single, and he asked you to dance…”
“I wouldn’t say no,” she finished his sentence, and he saw in her eyes that if he was in the mood to tease her that evening, she was in the mood to give it straight back to him.
“What did you say to him?”
Madeleine blushed again, peaking her husband’s curiosity no end. But she merely said: “I told him I was waiting for someone.”
“And he said…”
“He said if my date didn’t show up, he would be happy to keep me company.”
Hugo nodded, “I’ll bet he would, with that dress.”
Madeleine shifted in her seat, said: “Well, you can’t be jealous—you weren’t here on time, so I was either going to talk to the guy or look foolish for being stood up.”
“I’m not jealous,” he said, the fluttering, burning sensation in his stomach suggesting otherwise. “You know you’re not forbidden from talking to other guys just because we’re married.”
“Even in this dress?” she said. She slipped the hem of her aforementioned evening wear up her thigh to reveal a clear band of her stocking tops. Hugo noticed a few eyes around them observing the spectacle. It warmed him up a little inside.
“No harm in looking,” he said.
“Really?” her wry tone amused her husband. “Maybe I shouldn’t have worn a bra tonight.”
“Maybe you shouldn’t.”
Hugo could actually feel his heart beating inside his chest, the beads of perspiration welling up along his hairline. Was it stifling hot in here all of a sudden, or was it just him?
“Well, hey, this isn’t only supposed to be about you being a call girl,” he said. “We’re just supposed to be strangers, right?”
“Strangers, right,” she said, smiling calmly as he reminded them both of their game. “You know a stranger wouldn’t have reacted with such surprise at what I was wearing.”
Hugo nodded. “Maybe we need a script, huh?”
“And sound totally artificial?” she laughed. “You need to go upstairs to change—this is supposed to be a special night, right?”
“Then we can play strangers properly when you come back.”
“And stay in the role, Mister. Be as good as you were the last time we were here.”
“And what if your friend comes back while I’m gone?”
“You better pray he doesn’t if you want to see me again tonight.”
Hugo glanced around the bar to see if he could quietly spot a lone gentleman watching his wife’s progress. It wasn’t exactly full, but he couldn’t see anyone overtly looking their way.
“Or maybe we try it for real for once,” he said, his voice low, his expression dark.
He heard Madeleine quietly gasp.
She leaned in close, said in barely more than a whisper, “What are you saying?”
Hugo shrugged, trying to play it down, but inside his chest every internal organ seemed to be moving around, jostling for position to see how this played out. He said, “Maybe we actually find out what it’s like for you to be with someone else. You know—just for an hour or two, whatever’s normal for this kind of… trick.”
Madeleine flushed darker than he thought he’d ever seen her before, the rosy profusion spreading across her chest as well as her face. She said: “We need to talk about this, don’t we? I mean, we’ve never…”
But he saw her glance down, checking out her husband’s hardness straining in his pants, then her eyes returned to his, a question imprinted in them.
He said, “We’re in a place where nobody knows us. You have an attractive man who wants to spend a little time with you, and you know if you get uncomfortable with it, you can walk straight out and come up to our room.”
Madeleine slipped off the bar stool, looking a little shocked, from what her husband saw. He was expecting her to break out into laughter at any moment, tell him she’d been kidding, that they should go to dinner, she was starving.
But she ushered him away from the bar, towards a more secluded booth table.
“What if he wants to go all the way?” she said in a loud whisper, craning across the table towards him. “I’m assuming if he wants to hire a call girl…”
“Take some condoms with you.” Hugo gave her a broad smile, teasing her. “There’s probably machines in the restroom.”
“You know what I mean, Hugo Finnell. I’m serious—if I stay down here on my own, he will be back to see if my date showed up. He said so.”
Hugo held her hand. “We don’t have to do this, honey—it’s all a little sudden, huh? We can talk about this another time. We could just grab some dinner, enjoy the city, make the most of Date Night, right?”
Madeleine nodded, but she was unable to hide the hint of disappointment, of regret in her expression.
He said, “All I’m saying is, if you wanted to try going a step further, with a guy you’ll never see again, who you could never hurt by walking out on him—maybe it’s an opportunity.”
For an age, she just looked at him, he saw her eyes flicking over his face, examining him, determining whether he was for real, whether he was doing this simply to test her, or whether he actually wanted to explore her being with another man.
Under the table, he felt something brush his thigh, and then felt her stocking-clad foot slide over his legs to lodge against his rock hard cock.
Madeleine caught her breath as she felt how erect he was.
“You really want me to do this, huh?”
“I guess so.”
“This is real, Hugo,” she said gravely. “If I screw someone else, I can’t unscrew him.”
“So if there’s even a one percent chance you’ll decide you can’t handle it after all, I’m not doing anything.”
God she was beautiful, her sandy hair glinting in the halogen lights of the bar in that French braid, her pixyish face elegantly made up but spiced with a nervous blush.
Could he really handle the idea of another man laying he hands on her?
He said, “When you were on that train, you made me so certain you were actually fooling around with that other guy—I handled it, didn’t I?”
“I’ll say,” she said. “I don’t think I’ve ever come so hard.”
An elderly couple drifted past their table a little too close for comfort, no doubt on the way out to their own planned dinner, but there was no question the old lady had caught the tail end of what Madeleine was saying—she gave them both of them a highly disapproving glance.
It made Madeleine giggle, covering her mouth with a hand in horror at being overhead by such an inappropriate audience. Her peels of laughter simply turned Hugo on even more.
When they were alone again, she said, “I guess when I was playing, I did make you think it was real.”
“You did,” Hugo nodded, leaned back. “Look, if you like I’ll go upstairs, take a shower and comb my hair a different way, and come back down here as though I’m a potential client. Then we can go off, have dinner, and play it out, and I can even pay you for sex if you like…”
“And if the other guy comes back while you’re off having a shower?”
“You’re free to do whatever you feel comfortable doing,” he said. “If I don’t find you here, I’ll assume you decided to take the red pill…”
“It’s not The Matrix, Hugo,” she said, gravely serious. “If there’s any possibility of this affecting our marriage…”
“I can only say that you’ve already tested me in situations where only you knew you were faking.”
“So it’s down to me,” Madeleine nodded. “Can I handle it?”
Hugo tried to portray the picture of calm. “It’s one night. Not even that—you could be with him five minutes, turn around and tell him you’re sick, you’ve got to leave. If you like, we’ll never say another word about it.”
“And if he doesn’t take no for an answer?”
“You tell him your pimp has a Glock, and will track down him and his family with great anger and furious vengeance.”
Madeleine traced out the form of his hardness with her foot again under the table, and he was mildly impressed at her flexibility—perhaps assisted by her efforts in the gym.
She finally said quietly, “Okay. Go take your shower.”
Hugo felt his pulse quicken, his body forced into taking a deep breath. Either way, this could be hot. If she really did connect with someone who assumed she was a hotel hooker, it was going to be a huge step. And if he came down to find her waiting for him, they could imagine a fairly sizzling situation instead, he was sure of it.
“And take your time, don’t rush,” she said as he hauled himself up to his feet now, and it sounded like teasing, but was there a hint of hopefulness in her voice, that she would be hired by that other guy after all? “I’ll be okay down here.”
“Okay,” he said, amusing her as he shifted his pants to conceal his tent pole. “If you need more time—to decide, or whatever—just send me a text.”
Hugo leaned down to offer her a quick parting kiss on the cheek, but as he did so she glided in to kiss his mouth. She tasted so sweet, so fresh with the tang of alcohol lacing her mouth. He wondered faintly whether someone else would be kissing her later that evening.
And then he was thinking: would other men really pay to be with his wife?
“I love you, Hugo Finnell,” she breathed as they parted.
“I love you, too, Madeleine Finnell,” he said. “Nothing will ever change that.”
Then she beckoned him with a finger, so that he leaned down for her to whisper in his ear. “One way or the other, I’m going to fuck you later.”
She made him jump by squeezing his cock through his pants, but then Hugo found himself walking away, as though walking on clouds back to the elevators.
Was she going to be there when he got back?
Up in the room, Hugo felt conflicted as he stripped off and stepped into the glass-walled shower, allowing the wonderfully warm water to course down his naked body.
What did he really want?
His options were to take a quick shower and get down to the bar as soon as possible, so that Madeleine’s suitor had no time to make a move—or he could relax, take his time, allow the full possibility to go ahead.
Under the warm flow of the water, he felt distilled panic clawing away at his insides. It urged him to hurry, hurry, hurry, get clean, get dressed, get downstairs to snatch his wife from the jaws of danger. Yet the warm feeling of arousal seemed to keep that panic in check, pushing up his erection at the thought of the unbridled excitement and lust in Madeleine’s face, along with a fair amount of shock, as he had suggested the possibility of her actually being a call girl for the night.
He managed to slow his breathing, calm himself, take a leisurely shower, hanging on to the experience he’d had when Madeleine had called him from the Baltimore train, when he had been certain she was finally taking it to the next level with another man.
He had coped with that situation then—enjoyed it, even.
Even if he rushed his shower, dashed downstairs looking like an idiot, Madeleine might already be gone when he got there. He might as well take his time, enjoy this curious mix of emotions.
By the time he shut off the water and stepped out of the stall to grab his clean white towel, Hugo was actually beginning to hope Madeleine would be nowhere to be found when he returned to the bar.
Hugo felt his heart rise up into his throat, his pulse quivering as he left the room and headed down in the elevator to the lobby, then strode through into the bar, looking like a Wall Street trader, hair slicked back with gel in a way he’d never worn it before.
He would have to make up some kind of playboy backstory to kick-start their role-play. Maybe he was some kind of shipping magnate in town to check out the port facilities. Maybe he was a Silicon Valley overnight-billionaire, in town for a big meeting with investors on Wall Street. Maybe he was a scorned husband seeking the solace of hired company knowing his wife had left him for another man.
As he came through into the bar, Hugo actually gasped.
There was no sign of Madeleine.