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The End of The Affair

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One Month

 

 

"Should we stop this?" She asks the older woman, who dresses with her back to her. The ridiculously expensive hotel room they've acquired for the afternoon remains silent and so the young attorney tries again with a probing statement as she slips on her stockings, "We should probably stop this before it goes on for too long."

 

Having buttoned the last button of her blouse, the blonde turns and sniffs as she gathers her jacket off of a nearby chair and slips it on one arm at a time. "Yes," She says, "We should.But the most pressing question remains, Ellen."

 

"Yes?" 

 

Stepping back into her shoes, Patty smiles and flips her hair back in one fluid motion, "Do you want to?" 

 

Ellen shakes her head and can't help but wonder why she doesn't feel guilty about this. "Come here." When she tastes Patty's kiss, she remembers.

 

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Three Months

 

 

"Did you always sleep with women?"

 

Patty looks over in mid stretch and regards the younger woman with a glare of bewilderment. "Did I always sleep with women?" She asks, incredulous and pulls the sheet up to cover her breasts as she rests her sex disheveled hair against the plush hotel pillow.

 

Ellen lays on her stomach, bare legs crossed at the ankles and swinging thoughtlessly up and down in the air while the side of her head rests upon her right hand, propped on a bent elbow. She's naked, content and relaxed as she looks dreamily down upon her lover. The light in the room is minimal and there, in the privacy of Patty's hotel room, with the freedom only a work trip to Maine will allow Ellen is brave enough to voice her curiosity. "Yes. Before me, I mean."

 

"Am I a raging closeted lesbian? Is that what you're asking?"

 

Ellen smiles, "Yes. In so many words." 

 

Greedily taking in the curvature of Ellen's spine and that dip just at the base--oh she could live in that dip--Patty sighs and speaks as if to no one, "That would be too boring a cliche, don't you think?"

 

"I don't think you're boring."

 

"There have been other women in the past, yes." Patty resumes, her gaze following the lift and drop of Ellen's backside, firm and perfect. "Not many," She assures the brunette and makes sure to smirk affirmatively, "But there have been women." 

 

A pang of jealousy makes itself present and Ellen quickly pushes it away in favor of garnering more information while she's able. "So, did you and Phil--sleep together?"

 

"Yes." 

 

"Oh," Ellen nods, and for some reason this makes her all the more jealous. Perhaps because she's met Phil and knows him to some degree. She hates to think he's come even remotely close to making Patty beg the way she did only minutes ago with her. It turns her stomach. 

 

"Ellen--" Patty starts, "--don't do that."

 

Ellen clears her throat and brushes the topic of her awakened jealousy away with a slight shake of her head and a shy dismissive smile, "So uh, why haven't you ever been in a relationship with a woman? I mean, publicly." 

 

Patty stares for a long time, seriously considering the question, thinking back and quickly examining her past partners. "I haven't found a woman who is willing to do THIS forever."

 

And with that, Ellen knows that Patty's public persona has so much more to do with her success than the younger  woman is yet able to understand. A woman from Patty's generation has had to learn to truly separate all aspects of her life from her name which has become a sort of Brand. All in all however, it doesn't diminish or devalue that Patty is a passionate woman with every single inch of skin that composes her body. 

 

Patty hopes Ellen isn't going to ask questions she isn't ready to answer. Especially since the blonde herself has now presented the aspect of "forever". This trip is definitely not apt to stand this level of communication. Hoping the premise will be enough, Patty pushes herself up and maneuvers her body over Ellen's, kissing her shoulder once before accusingly stating, "You know, you are too naked for so many questions."

 

Biting her lip, Ellen falls and sinks easily against the mattress, grabbing handfuls of bedding while Patty's mouth, full of incentive, licks and kisses its way across her back. 

 

"Mmm..." Ellen moans, "...I'm a lawyer. Asking questions is what I do." 

 

This is the last she says for a long time after. 

  

 

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8 Months

 

"David knows."

 

Ellen looks up through a bite of cream cheese bagel, watches as Patty absentmindedly sips her tea, and then looks over out the window to her left. She is glad they're tucked away in the back table in the corner. The little cafe they frequent at least three mornings a week for breakfast can get very nosy when it's full.She swallows the bite in her mouth before lifting her coffee to her lips to sip carefully. 

 

"He approached me yesterday and--demanded I 'tell him the truth'. He was sufficiently furious." 

 

Ellen nods her understanding and upon glancing upward, freezes at the sight of the red mark peaking out from Patty's sleeve like a bracelet. Ellen's heart races suddenly and she slowly asks, "Did he do that to you?"

 

Patty clears her throat and nods her head, "He has been lied to for months." 

 

"That's no excuse--"

 

"No. It isn't." Patty says firmly before gently pushing her cup aside, "Ellen. Ellen look at me." 

 

Ellen looks up, jaw clenched as she meets Patty's glance, "He shouldn't have done that to you. He should have come to me." 

 

"Ellen, he loves you. I'm the bad guy here, you just fell into this as far as he's concerned."

 

"I'm going to go talk to him--"

 

"Yes. Do that," Patty replies and nods, "We'll cancel tonight." 

 

"No." Ellen quickly retorts as she stands and regards Patty, "I'll see you tonight." 

 

Patty nods briefly, straightens her spine and releases a breath. 

 

"Hey." Ellen says sternly, leaning forward just enough to have Patty's full attention, "We're not cancelling anything."

 

"All right," Patty replies only looking to please the other woman as always, then adding before she leaves, "Ellen, tell him it's over. I think you need David. I can't offer you anything he's willing to give you. I won't give you even the remote prospect of children, I can't give you a marriage in the traditional sense, not the one you picture we'd have, you should--tell him it's over."

 

Ellen bites back the angry tears that are inevitable at the sound of everything Patty has just spewed at her and says, "Do me a favor. Don't tell me what I want, don't tell me what I 'picture' for my future. And how dare you summarize this entirely different conversation altogether in one sentence when we haven't even discussed it. Don't ever speak for me again." 

  

 

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That Night

 

 

Patty eyes the burning end of the cigarette as she holds it between her thumb and index finger. She's rid of her shoes and has waited, against her better judgement, for over five hours now. She has the room for the night anyway, so she decided she might as well use it. The hotel is closer to the office anyway. 

 

She turns in the seat and looks out the window overlooking the city, a single trail of smoke floats upward in her line of vision. Squinting, she brings the cigarette to her lips, inhaling the still satisfying taste of tobacco as the city roars silently bellow. Exhaling deeply, she sighs and wonders how long it will be until she finally gives up and goes to sleep. She had a feeling Ellen wouldn't show but giving her the benefit of the doubt is Patty's job it seems, and now here she is, in their usual hotel room, waiting and smoking her first cigarette in nearly twenty years. 

 

Rolling her eyes and chuckling sardonically, she puts out the cigarette in the small ashtray sitting on the table before her and lifts the glass of bourbon beside it instead. Just as she sips, there is a knock on the door and she quickly rises to her feet, trying to remember if she ordered something from Room Service. She pads across the room on stocking clad feet and without another thought pulls the door open, only to be surprised by the young woman standing on the other side of that door.

 

Ellen manages a meek smile. Her hair is pulled behind her ears, her coat and bag are hanging from either arm and the dark circles under her eyes remind Patty that it is in fact three-thirty in the morning. The brunette sighs heavily and as her shoulder fall forward, defeated  she says, "I'm exhausted."

 

Wordlessly, the blonde steps aside and allows the unexpected visitor to walk in, dropping her belongings in the first chair she sees before capturing the peculiar smell in the room. She turns towards Patty as the door gently swings shut and asks with a deep V furrow for of her brow, "Have you been smoking?" 

 

The ice in Patty's glass clinks noisily as the woman moves her hand expressively. "I didn't think you would come."

 

Ellen frowns and crosses her arms over her chest, "I said that I would."

 

Patty stares back for a moment and then shrugs off the tension before asking the obvious, "So how did it go with David?" 

 

"Not well." Ellen replies quickly then turns back toward the bar where she pours herself a drink identical to Patty's. Once it's served, she turns back and adds, "It's over. it was awful."

 

"I'm sorry."

 

Ellen licks her lips clean of bourbon and notes with distaste the way Patty has kept more than a few feet between them. "What's going on?"

 

"Nothing. I'm just wondering if maybe you decided too quickly." 

 

"Okay--" Ellen groans inwardly and then pinches the ridge of her nose to push the sudden headache away, "--Patty, you really need to stop talking to me like I'm some contact in one of your cases, you're not going to con me into changing my mind about this. Unless you don't want to do this anymore, because if that's the case then we should get it all out on the table right now. I have to look for a new apartment tomorrow and I'm really not in the mood for bull shit." 

 

The brutal honesty takes Patty by surprise, pleasantly so, and she looks visibly taken aback. She watches as Ellen kicks off her shoes and sits at the edge of the bed.

 

After a long quiet moment of no reply from Patty, Ellen adds, "Look--" She sighs, her tone softening. "--I don't want to freak you out. I'm not going to move into your place just because my relationship ended or anything. And I'm not proposing or suggesting we adopt a Chinese baby either, I didn't break up with David for you, I did it for me. Okay?"

 

Patty nods and manages a meek, "Fine," while Ellen seems about ready to drop. Feeling somewhat as if she's just had the rug pulled out from under her. She's impressed, so as she strides toward Ellen, she tells her, "You know, you're funny when you're tired." 

 

Ellen smiles tiredly and exhales heavily, directing her wide brown stare up at the blonde as she comes to stand so that their knees touch. Patty won't say that she was sure their little adventure would be over, and instead reaches over to brush Ellen's hair back in a soothing motion until the younger woman's eyes are closed and she's visibly relaxed within seconds. 

 

"I'm just so tired," Ellen repeats.

 

"I know," Patty says reassuringly. 

 

Something different happens. Patty removes Ellen's clothing with a lot less urgency than they've experienced and with different connotation than either woman is used to. But Patty is sufficiently at a loss to only know do one thing and that is make sure Ellen rests. As she removes the young woman's clothes, she wonders if it's okay for them to be doing this, as she pulls the covers over her, Patty thinks maybe she should leave, but before she can make a speedy exit, Ellen asks if she's coming to bed soon and instead, Patty pulls her white buttoned down shirt out from her skirt and and says, "Yeah, I'll just brush my teeth." 

 

Minutes later, when she crawls into bed, Patty holds her breath as Ellen sleepily scoots in behind her and pulls an arm tightly across her waist, pressing herself securely against the older woman's back. "Relax, Patty, it's just spooning, not a lobotomy." 

 

Patty smiles in the now pitch dark room and has no choice but do just as she's told and ease into Ellen's hold before replying dryly, "I'm not so sure." She nearly laughs, because knowingly or not, Ellen has completely changed her plans for this and just like that, the affair is over.

 

 

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