by B. Cavis

by B. Cavis

He calls out another name when he comes, and the tears in her eyes and throat are hidden behind thin white lids. Another woman enters his bed, another woman enters her arms, and another woman takes her place.

That other woman. The other woman.

She feels her insides pulse and the urge to cry come up, and she wonders how she can feel so bad after just feeling so good for an hour and a half. Three orgasms in half the time it takes her to get ready in the morning-- three. She should be melting into the mattress right now, never to be heard from again.

And instead, she's trying not to wail out her pain to the world and Bobby's neighbors.

Two syllables. Two friggin' syllables, and not even syllables that make up Her proper name, and the pain they instill burns like nothing she has ever known before.

His head falls down to her chest and she feels his tongue seep out of the side of his mouth to taste her salt and sex coated skin. She thinks about how she knew he would end up doing this at the end of the night-- cling to her and lick her clean-- and what she had planned to do when she felt that tongue on her flesh. Her brief waking fantasy of arching up at him and purring is gone now-- evaporated into nothingness and angst, and she feels the pain start to prick at her ribs.

Has her heart shattered and started to rip apart her insides, she wonders. Will internal bleeding take me soon?

He hums against her, and the first of the tears fall. Let it take me quickly, she begs whomever might take pity on her. Let it take me now.

"Mm," he moans against her, and she hates herself and him but especially Her in that moment.

For all her pretty dreams and prettier fantasies, this was never about love. It never is in situations like this. Partners can't do love, echoes her academy instruction, blending on the background of Her name called from his throat that is already bouncing around inside her head.

Partners don’t do love unless both of them want it badly enough.

And she knew she wanted it.

She was fine and willing and ripe with wanting it badly; still is, actually. She would kill for him. Die for him. Spread her legs open wide for him. She can feel his heartbeat next to his, and can’t imagine waking up in a nicer way for the next fifty years of her life and beyond.

She is willing. God is she willing.

But Bobby is... Bobby. And Bobby wants nothing more than that one person who embodies everything she can’t stand about women.

Snarky, smug, all knowing and all feeling. Blond haired and perfect, feminine and intelligent all at the same time. She’s the kind of woman who broke boys in high school that she would have loved till the end of time. A princess with a purpose and more than enough time, sex appeal, and intellect on Her hands to make sure that whatever She wants, She can get.

And she’s hated Her since the moment she saw Her.

Hates what She did to him, hates the way he looked at Her. Hates the fact that this woman is able to reduce Bobby Goren, a legend and a half, to some soft, pathetic male who would be willing to take off his coat so She wouldn’t have to walk over a puddle. She hates the way She can get to him with little or no effort at all, and make it look oh so very easy. Hates the fact that She treats Bobby Goren the way She does-- like he doesn’t have that magnificent brain between his ears, like he isn’t someone to be looked up to with wonderment and unconditional respect.

She hates that Woman more than she ever thought it possible to hate someone. And now She’s in his bed along with them.

Everything she has could be his-- she would give it all up for him to look at her like she looks at him. She was willing. But Bobby is...

Well, she isn’t what Bobby really wants. That name more than proved it, and let them say whatever they liked about her only being his lackey-- she is not stupid. That name is nothing like her own in any of the various languages he knows. That Woman is nothing like her in any of the various ways that women can be similar while still being different, and she refuses to be a filler for a void that solely his.

Substitute, she sees in his ceiling paint, and the tears slide thick and hot down her throat.

When he picks his head up, she knows, and comes back to himself enough to release just whose name he called out, he’ll be apologetic. Instantly. He’ll try and beg and plead his way to a forgive and forget agreement, say he didn’t mean it, say it was just a slip, say he knew exactly who he was in bed with.

And as much as she’ll want to believe it, she knows it’s not true. Bobby means everything he does and everything he says. That’s one of the things that makes him Bobby.

He meant those letters. He meant the name they form. He meant it all.

Substitute. That’s all she’ll ever be to him. A substitute for Her.

Bobby picks his head up, kisses her, and groans. “That was amazing,” he says. His fingers trace an invisible pattern down her skin, and she shivers. She could just lay here and let him use her. He’s more than willing for that-- and more than adequate at it. She can feel his fingers desire to draw another orgasm from her pliant limp body, and the desire to lie there and let the delusion coat her is overwhelmingly strong.

Her ribs ache and she shakes her head free of his lips. “Don’t,” she whispers, and he jerks back quickly to look her in the eyes. She can almost see the thought process trail through his head-- is this a game? Does she want me to push her? Is she too tired? And then the final, eye widening thought: Did I hurt her?

That pain in his eyes almost undoes her, but she shakes her head and closes her eyes to gather strength for what she has to do for the sake of her own sanity. There’s fear of rejection in every muscle in his body, and all of them are pressed up against her. He’s afraid of getting turned down and left, she realizes, but the fear is not for her.

...Substitute A goddamned substitute...

“What’s wrong?” he asks, concern glazing his voice. He pulls back all the way out of her body, and she takes a glance down at the 9 inches that she had been impaled on just a moment ago. The condom looks wet and depressing against the now softening flesh of his cock. She can’t slip away from how cheap she feels just by looking at that.

...I bet She would feel loved, accuses her mind. I bet he wouldn’t even use one with Her...

She hasn’t answered, and his worry has grown larger. “Did I hurt you?” His fingers trace over every area he might have touched searching for swelling or blood or something that might tell him why she’s suddenly withdrawing into herself. His hands are methodical and soothing, and she wonders if he can see her heart bleeding out of her body steadily.

“Are you hurt?” He demands, “did I hurt you?” His face has bunched up in contrite and scared circles, and she sighs with a tiredness that she’s feeling deep in her bones. The sheer size of him compared to her, something that was so comforting only a few minutes ago, now becomes something overwhelming and overpowering, and she shoves him on the shoulder to get him to move off her.

It’s the first time a lover has ever made her feel claustrophobic. She wonders if the living ghost that is currently perched by his side and in his heart has anything to do with why she can no longer fit in his king sIzed bed.

She sees her panties on the chair in the corner and retrieves them calmly. He’s sitting on the bed and looking like a little boy who was just beaten for asking for more brussel sprouts. The evidence of her three orgasms is dripping down her thighs, and she feels dirty to the point of shivering in disgust. Self loathing fills her veins, followed quickly by despair, and she wants nothing more than to fall back into his arms and cry until it’s all better, but she settles for putting on her bra.

He swallows and looks down at his big thick hands. “Please,” he whispers, “tell me what I did wrong? What did I do to upset you this much?” She can see him thinking back on the evening and searching for possibilities.

Was it when he pushed her up against the door and ate her out until she sobbed for him to stop? Did it happen when he tied her wrists to the bed with his belt and made her relearn the meanings of the word God? Was it when she was begging, pleading, arching up at him for more contact, more heat, more touch?

Did he somehow love her so good that she hates him for ruining her for all other men.

She does, actually, but that’s not the point.

“Think, Bobby,” she says, calling him the forbidden name and searching for her skirt. “Think hard.” She bends down to search under the bed, and finds one of her heels (the ones he had asked her to keep on for the first twenty minutes on the bed so he could feel them digging into his back) but no skirt. She comes back up with the shoe in hand, and sees that his face is still contrite and confused.

He doesn’t even know he did it, exclaims the voice that wants nothing more than to climb back in with him and let him soothe over his mistakes with more skin.

The dark hair that she loved running her fingers through during the second orgasm is sticking up in all directions from the sweat. He shakes his head and it bounces along with him. “I don’t...” He runs a hand over his mouth and eyes. “Please, I can’t...” He has the beginnings of a deep sorrow in his eyes and a pain around the corners of his mouth that makes her maliciously glad in a way.

Good, thinks that disgustingly vile bleeding part of her body. Let him be in agony too.

But as much as she wants him to suffer, to feel her pain, she still knows him as the man who she has been working with side by side day in and day out. And he looks so lost and so tired and so very contrite that the small part of her that still wants to love him unconditionally takes pity on him, and she sits down on the edge of the bed and folds her hands in her lap.

...Just a useful little distraction. Handy, as it were...

“You called out Her name, Bobby.” And suddenly the anger in her is replaced with sheer unadulterated exhaustion, and her posture fails miserably as she hunches forward to rest her elbows on her knees. There are bruises where she knelt down on the hard wood floor of the foyer and sucked him with her whole body. She covers the red patches up with her hands. “You called out Her name.”

...And, hey, who can really blame him for using her. He sees her everyday, works with her from nine to whenever. What could possibly be more convenient than fucking your own partner in place of the other Woman? You can even carpool to work the next day...

She glances up at him and sees the pain, the guilt, the horror in his eyes for the briefest of seconds, only to be replaced by fear. “Whose name?”

“Are you telling me you really don’t remember doing it?” The idea that he can’t remember breaking her heart would almost be comical if it wasn’t so likely. She sighs and her spine cracks loudly in the quiet room.

Bobby slowly shakes his head. “I... Whose name did I call out?”

And because it’s so Bobby, so utterly, ridiculously Bobby, she starts to laugh in spite of herself. The man who can solve a crime based on a look and an obscure reference to a German opera. Bobby Goren, so in love that he can’t see the forest through the trees, or what’s been right in front of him the whole time.

He can’t see me, she thinks, and laughs even harder.

“Dear God in heaven, Bobby,” she says, and suddenly it’s hard to feel angry at him for being such an oblivious idiot. Yes, she thinks, I said it. He’s brilliant, but he’s an idiot. Nothing doing.

His eyes reflect light from the street lamps. He hasn’t been laughing along with her. She leans forward, presses her hand to his cheek and laughs into his eye sockets.

“Alex,” she finishes with a giggling finale. “You called out for Alex.”

She sees her skirt lying on the far side of the room and gets up to slip it up her legs. The shirt is lying underneath, one button missing, and she slides it on and straightens it out as best she can.

He’s still sitting on the bed, staring at her.


“Alex.” Her other shoe is no where to be found-- how far could that bugger have gotten? She kneels down to look under his dresser.

Bobby is shaking his head slowly. “Why would I call out for Alex?” He runs his hands over his eyes and hair and sighs. “It just doesn’t make sense. You’re not Alex.”

Her fingers find what her eyes couldn’t, and she returns victorious with the shoe to sit down on the foot of his bed and slip both of them on. His chest is red where she scratched it, and she looks over at him with a new set of eyes, even as she can feel her heart liquefied at the bottom of her stomach.

“Because you’re in love with her, Bobby. That’s why you called out for Alex.”

His head darts up to capture her in a sweet whiskey gaze. “I am not in love with Alex-- Jesus, why would you say something like that? She’s my partner.”

“And partner’s never fall in love?” She asks, and hates the pangs of agony that run through her at the words. “I’m saying it because it’s true, Bobby. No other reason, no hidden agenda. Trust me, if I wanted to screw with your head, I wouldn’t have gone through all of this to get to you.”

She meets his eyes over her shoulder, and she can see that even if he doesn’t know it, he was looking for Her in the curves of her back. “You love her, Bobby.” His head is shaking, and she sighs. “You don’t think I know love when I see it? Trained investigator, right here.”

“And I’m better at this than you are,” he fires back half heartedly. The truth can’t sting her any more, and she shrugs.

“Yeah. But you’re too close to it to see.” She thinks she might have put her underwear on backwards, and tries to think of an easy way to check without exposing herself to him any further. “You know,” she says, “if you love her, you should tell her.”

“I’m not in love with Alex,” he snaps. “I don’t know why I did what you say I did, but I am not in love with Alex.”

She sighs and stands up, shaking her red hair out of her face and straightening it in the reflection from a framed poster he has on his bedroom wall. “So tell me true, Bobby,” she says. “When you saw me sitting on the edge of the bed, my head down and my body tiny-- did you look for Her in me? Did you try and see Her in my body?”

And the downturn of his lips and the wide dark eyes are all the answer she needs. She nods. “I thought so.”

“I’m sorry.”

“I know.” And because she will never have another chance to do this, will never be in this situation again, and because Alex will likely shoot her if she ever finds out about this, she crosses over to the head of the bed and presses one more kiss on his lips, just for memories. He responds back slowly, but she can feel his hesitance; the lie that he was telling himself earlier and that she has only now been able to make him recognize flavors his tongue.

“Tell her,” she whispers against his fat bottom lip, and he lets out a little sigh of distress.

“She’ll leave me,” he responds. “If I tell her, she’ll leave.”

How the hell anyone could leave this man is beyond her, but she sighs and smiles anyway. She’s still not quite sure how she’s managing to leave him now. “Not if she loves you back,” she tells him, and smiles with agony on her teeth. “Not if she loves you the way I know she does.”

His mouth parts open in confusion. “Alex loves me?”

And she laughs, long and loud, and thinks that maybe, just maybe, she might be okay if she gives it time. “You really are stupid, Bobby. That’s not what I love about you, but that’s what she loves you for.” She walks out of his bedroom and calls back a promise. “Tell her, Bobby. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

The door closes behind her and locks automatically.

Bobby sits in his bed and stares out the window until he sees the cab come and take her away. Maybe he’ll call Alex tomorrow, he thinks. She must be getting pretty bored cooped up in her apartment, waiting for labor to happen while she watches daytime television and eats baby carrots. Maybe they’ll talk and arrange to meet for lunch. Maybe he’ll surprise her with her favorite dessert, and maybe she’ll give him that smile that makes his knees go weak.

Maybe tomorrow, he’ll find his way home.

Maybe he’ll finally be able to think of the other woman as a partner, instead of a hindrance. Maybe he’ll be able to see her for herself instead of a stand in. Maybe he’ll be able to look her in the eyes and ask her opinion.


“Yeah,” he whispers to the back of her head. “See you tomorrow Bishop.”


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