JustThisOnce by L.E. Chamberlin Read Free Book Online

Book: JustThisOnce by L.E. Chamberlin Read Free Book Online
Authors: L.E. Chamberlin
Chapter One
    “Sometimes I think of you like a sister,” he blurted, his
eyes straight ahead of him, gripping the wheel.
    Care to quantify that? I thought but my initial
indignant attitude gave way almost instantly to misery. I could feel my neck
and ears getting hot and my stomach beginning that slow roiling. These days
Jason’s every word elicited a hair-trigger response in my body and not the sexy
kind I used to experience. I held my breath and waited for the words he couldn’t
seem to stutter out. At that moment my husband seemed like a stranger to me.
And as shocked as I was about him making such a statement, I knew exactly what
he meant. Our marriage had hit a brick wall.
    After eleven years together and two beautiful children the
passion we’d once shared for one another seemed like a distant memory. In its
place were drudgery, resentment and irritation. Most nights I fell asleep with
our younger daughter when I put her to bed and he stayed up late working in the
garage. If we both still managed to be awake in the evenings there were bills
to sort out or decisions to be made. After a long day at work, time with our
children and the business of our marriage, we usually tumbled into bed grumpy
and exhausted and turned our backs to one another. It had gotten so that I
couldn’t even miss the Jason who couldn’t wait to ravage me, I couldn’t even
miss the self who was desperately horny for her husband, because I barely
remembered those people. These days the thought of making love to him was
wearying at best. And by the way he carefully avoided touching me and averted
his eyes from me during those few occasions he saw me getting undressed, I
guessed he was feeling about the same.
    I had brought it up in an attempt to figure out my own next
move. I was tired of acting like roommates, tired of the way we stepped
politely around one another in our marriage. I’d intended to save this talk for
a big sit-down the following weekend when my mom had the girls but I saw my
opportunity and I took it. We’d been in the car ten minutes with thirty to go
and I was already at my limit with the small talk. It was insane to me that we
should be talking about the weather while our marriage died a slow death in the
car between us.
    So I asked. I took a deep breath and said in as neutral a
voice as possible, “Jason, what do you think about our marriage right now?” He
had stammered and hemmed and hawed but finally… Finally he was honest.
    His honesty was like a kick in the chest. A sister? For the first few seconds I was furious. I fought the urge to grab the wheel
and run us both off the road so I could claw his eyes out in the ditch. There
was no way to measure the amount of anger I felt. It bubbled up in me like lava
and I threatened to spew it forth. I was resentful of his words, of the
implications, of the way our lives—our best-laid plans, started as naive
college sweethearts—had turned into this yoke of soulless monotony.
    “I—” He gripped the steering wheel so tightly his knuckles
turned white. “Maybe that didn’t come out right. I guess what I mean is that I
feel like our relationship has changed. That we’re not so much husband and wife
    “Siblings?” My fury had felt so huge within me but my voice
came out thin and anxious over the quiet hum of the engine. It wasn’t a battle
and I knew it wasn’t but somehow I felt I was surrendering. I was surprised at
how much his words had suddenly wounded me, when I had felt so numb for so
long. Maybe that pain was a good thing but at the moment it just hurt.
    “Well… No, not exactly. But, I mean, it’s been pretty
platonic between us lately…” Now it was his turn to flush. He kept his eyes
straight ahead on the road, not daring to look at me. I watched his jaw working
and I realized this was the moment. We’d been warned, long ago when we were
cocky enough to believe it wouldn’t happen to us, that we would have a crisis
of faith. We

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