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From ‘The Lover’:

Ryann stood naked at her bathroom sink and looked at the flexible, silicone cup in the palm of her hand. Six hours. A minimum of six hours. That was how long she should have kept it in if she wanted to prevent pregnancy. By taking it out, she was breaking an almost sacred trust between consenting adults; one which said that neither party would do anything to make the other procreate without their knowledge and consent. The kinds of women who did what she had just done were most frequently younger, and lacking in personal accomplishments, the kinds who wanted to hitch their wagon to a man who could be a provider. Or a man that they simply wanted to keep, however unwilling he might be.

Ryann did not want to ‘keep’ Spencer. And she hadn’t even premeditated what she had just done, in removing the barrier between her egg and his sperm. That hadn’t been her goal in inviting him back to her house, and she had only removed it on a whim. It wasn’t as though anything was likely to happen.

What were the odds, after all? That she was ovulating? That when she removed the diaphragm, enough of his little swimmers remained to make their way toward her waiting egg? That the egg would be fertilized and then implant in her uterus? Thinking about it that way made the possibility so remote, that Ryann almost believed it was a miracle anyone ever got pregnant.Lover

By the time she had wrapped the little cup in toilet tissue and disposed of it in the trash, Ryann convinced herself that that was the most shocking thing that had happened that evening. Not that she had invited Spencer back, not that he had eventually, in a rush of passion and recklessness literally said ‘fuck it’ when he couldn’t find a second condom; and not that she had removed the diaphragm just now. What shocked her most was that she was getting rid of it altogether.

Someone was going to make her a mother. Tonight, she’d made up her mind, and Spencer just happened to be the man in her bed when she did. It could just as easily been some other man, and Ryann didn’t much care. Her sex partners were always good specimens of manhood in one way or another, even if just physically. Any one of them might make a beautiful baby. And if they did, they need not know it was theirs.

“You comin’ back, or what?”

Ryann jumped a little at the sound of Spencer’s voice from the next room. She flushed the toilet and turned on the faucet, running her hands under the warm water.

“Peeing after sex is good for your urinary tract health,” she called back.

Suddenly the bathroom door opened, and Spencer walked in, still naked. Looking at him was almost as pleasurable as touching him, and being touched by him. And talking to him over dinner had its own pleasures. She was always surprised, though she shouldn’t have been, that people as good-looking as Spencer could be good company as well.

“Why are you shouting?” he asked smoothly.

Ryann turned to look at him. “I had no idea you were sneaking up on me,” she said, smiling.

He came closer, close enough that his semi-erection brushed against her hip. Her body clenched in response, and she felt the warm, viscosity of his semen on her inner thigh.

See there? It was all coming out, anyway.

She knew the thought was foolish. But she clung to it, because it made her less of the villain in this scenario. Handsome, charming hapless Spencer had only been looking for a roll in the sack, poor man. And all he knew about her probably convinced him that she was no more likely to want a surprise baby than he was.

“It’s still your birthday,” Spencer said. “Let’s go back in there and celebrate some more.”

“Or I could make you a nice, strong cup of coffee so you don’t fall asleep during your drive home,” Ryann suggested.

Spencer’s hands were on her waist now. He shook his head. “I’m not going home,” he said. “Not unless that’s what you really want. I’ve waited way too long to spend some time with you. So I plan to be here till morning if you let me.”

“You don’t have to do that,” Ryann said.

“Are you listenin’? I said I want to.”

He leaned in and kissed her neck. She squirmed.

“I’m sticky,” she said.

She didn’t expect him to be one of those who wanted to hang around after. She was all primed to show him the door, take a shower, put on her plush terry robe and wait for dawn with a glass of wine in one hand, and a book in the other.

“So go ahead take a shower,” Spencer said. “Whatever makes you most comfortable.”

Ryann stepped out of his grasp. “Okay, but …”

“But?” he prompted.

“I’d prefer to take it alone.”

Spencer nodded. “I’ll take one after you.”

“Okay.” Ryann didn’t know what to make of this. Everything she’d heard about him had led her to believe he would be more than happy to duck out once the deed was done.

He left her alone in the bathroom and she took a hot shower, but a short one, because she wasn’t sure how comfortable she was leaving him alone to poke around in her house. When she got out, he was reclined on her bed, watching CNN with the sound turned all the way down.

“Clean towels in there for me?” he asked, getting up and heading toward the bathroom.

Ryann nodded, still perplexed about why he was still there, and why he seemed to want to be.

While he was gone, she stripped the bed and replaced the sheets with clean ones. By the time Spencer re-emerged, everything was in order again.

“Look at that,” he said, indicating the now pristine bed. “Like it never happened.”

“Can I get you something?” Ryann asked. “Some tea, or …?”

“Tea? No.” Spencer sat on the edge of her bed, tossing aside the damp towel.

Ryann stood a few feet away, still not comprehending what he wanted. He extended a hand to her. She hesitated, then went toward him. He took her hand, pulled her closer, then loosened the tie of her robe and slid it down, over her shoulders. Moving up the bed, he pulled her along with him, and lay back.

Reaching over, he turned out the bedside light so the room was thrust into darkness again. She wanted to ask him what he was playing at, to tell him that they had already had their fun, but that it was time for him to go home.

But she said none of that because his hands were warm against her skin; and not insistent the way they had been when they were fucking. Instead they were coaxing, and tender.

“I’m tired,” Spencer said in the dark. “So, so tired. And I feel like … I feel like maybe you are, too.”

His words, for reasons she couldn’t even begin to explain, made Ryann want to burst into tears, something she couldn’t recall having done in, well, in years. She was not a ‘soft’ woman. Tears were not her thing.

Spencer sighed, a deep, long sigh that made his body heave. Ryann felt his hand on her head, gently pressing it down toward his chest, so that she was lying partly on him. She draped a leg over his, and felt his hand on her hip.

“Yes,” she allowed herself to say.

“Then let’s rest,” he said.

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