Marion is just putting the finishing touches on her make-up for Jack's party when he leans down to kiss her cheek. She sighs.
"Jack, now I have to do that side over."
She reaches for her powder puff and dabs delicately at her already flawless skin. Jack makes a hurt noise, and it gives her a bad feeling in her gut.
“Darling, now that's no reason to quarrel. All we do is quarrel lately. We don’t even talk to anymore. You won’t even look at me.”
Marion gives a long-suffering sigh as she gazes into her vanity mirror. She flicks her eyes up to speak to her husband’s reflection while applying her lipstick. It’s called Cheery Cherry.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
She smacks her lips and gently ruffles her blonde waves until they are at a satisfactory level of fluffiness. Marion frowns at her naked wrist. She can’t remember where she left her tennis bracelet. It had been a wedding present from that Jack, a nice one too, considering his usual thriftiness. Then again, he did say it was a "steal..."
“Marion,” he pleads.
She turns around and smiles. That radiant one that shows off her pearly whites. Jack finds himself drawn into her charm and smiles back.
“What’s the matter, Jack? Don’t you love me anymore?”
It's an unkind thing to say, but at least it diffuses the fight they almost just had.
“Love you? Marion, I don’t know how you can even ask me that. I'm crazy about you, kid!”
The earnestness in his voice makes her actually meet his eyes. He’s wearing a blue tux that brings out his eyes to perfection. His hands are spread open at his sides, helpless. She stands, feeling slightly guilty. She didn’t love Jack in the same way that he loved her, but he was a good man, and she knew she owed it to him to try, at least just a little.
“Jack, I—I didn’t mean to…”
Jack smiles and lets out a long sigh of relief. Marion goes to him and shamefully embraces him. Jack is quick to reciprocate. His arms wrap around her middle tightly, and he presses his face into her neck, breathing in her orange blossom perfume.
“There, there, honey,” he soothes. “It’s alright. We’ll work this out.”
She wonders if that’s true. If she even wants it to be true. She picks her head up off his shoulder and presses their lips together. Jack very much likes to be kissed. Jack loved affectionate gestures and sweetly murmured words. He could best be described as a romantic.
She then feels his large, capable hands slip down her back until they rested mere centimeters from her backside.
“Marion? Please, Marion?” Jack murmurs.
She swallows. They were going to be late to the party. His hands move down to get a handful of her rear in those nimble musician’s hands of his. He had hands that knew exactly what they wanted. He wanted her, and she could tell he wanted her badly. Marion guesses that she doesn’t really see the harm. What could it hurt? He always did make her feel so good.
“Alright, Jack,” she concedes.
He moans in her ear, and his hands come up to undo the hook and zipper on her dress. He could be bold when he wanted to be. And he had always been a considerate lover. Marion untangles herself from Jack’s arms and walks to their bed. Free of the fabric, she turns her head to look over her shoulder seductively. She’s glad she went with the smoky eye make-up after all. Jack said the blacks and greys made her eyes stand out like emeralds on black velvet.
She turns her head back around and lets the red silk dress slither to the floor like a puddle of blood, leaving her in her peaches and cream lingerie, dripping with lace and ribbons from corset to stockings.
“Now wait just a minute here,” he says, eyes bugging. “Now wait just a minute.”
“Don’t you like it?”
Marion knows he’s head over heels for her. And he obviously loves her in these underclothes because he looks just shy of drooling. Jack liked women who were sexy. And he especially liked it when women were sexy just for him.
“Like it? I can’t wait to get it off you!”
It’s enough to spur him into action. He rapidly strips out of his own dress clothes while Marion sits down on the side of the bed, waiting for him to catch up. She wouldn’t say she was in love with Jack, but his enthusiasm and desire to please her more than made up for it.
Jack gleefully pounces on her once free of everything but his undershirt and drawers. She lets him settle between her thighs while he gets to work unwrapping her like a present, murmuring to her all the time.
“You’re gorgeous, honey. You’re perfect. You look like an unripened rose. You look fresh enough to eat.”
Jack always ate her out like he didn't want to be anywhere else. She had never met a man like that before. Someone who was just as excited to go down on her as he was when she went down on him. She’s seen his sketches before. The ones where he gets bashful when a pretty woman is nearby. The one where he sticks out his tongue like a dog in heat. He always puts it to good use. It’s one of the reasons why she’s letting him fuck her.
She appreciates him. She honest to god does. She’s never been more grateful to have been hanging around a train station. What a strange day that had been! The memory was still very fresh in her mind.
Marion had just leaned in to give Bill another kiss goodbye when a man interrupts them.
"Buddy, I'm sorry to interrupt, but you're going to miss your train."
"Oh, my train doesn't leave until September," Bill says to the man before turning back to her. "Goodbye, Marion."
“September!” he cries. “Well, my train leaves now!”
Suddenly, the man pushes Bill out of his way—her Bill, her fiancé, who was going away in a few weeks—and leans in to steal Bill’s deep kiss. It’s a surprisingly glorious kiss considering it lasted only seconds. His hands tighten at her waist and neck, his tongue briefly darting out before he’s peeling himself away at the urging of his friend who was frantically trying to get him to move along.
She catches his gaze and his daring behavior and snapping blue eyes completely enrapture her. The strange man still holding her must have felt the same.
“You’re coming with me,” he proclaims.
He says it with such conviction that she finds herself nodding. Marion almost misses Bill’s bewildered voice calling after her. She grabs the man's hand then, and he quickly leads her over to the platform he was to depart from. She gives one quick wave to Bill before hopping on the New York bound train with her mystery man. Breathless, she follows him to his—their?—berth, and they sit down, fingers still laced together. They watch each other pant and smile, feeling excited and nervous about the crazy stunt they had just pulled.
“I’m Jack Benny,” he finally says.
“I’m Marion Miles.”
“Not for long though.”
She cocks her head to the side, so he clarifies.
“I’m not letting you out of my sight. I don’t want Bill to come looking for you. I think we should get married.”
Something in his grin told her she should say yes.
Had that really happened only a month ago?
And now here she was, on her back in their bed, breathless yet again as he set out to prove his love and devotion to her.
“Jack?” she breathes, already feeling hot and bothered from his kisses and his southbound fingers.
“I—I want you to do something for me,” she stammers.
She wants to recapture those first glowing moments. She wants to feel that spark she felt in the train station. She wants him to make her unequivocally, unquestionably, irrevocably his.
“Anything. Anything you want.”
“I want you to make love to me, Jack. I want you to sweep me off my feet. I want you to make me yours. I want to forget everything.”
Marion thinks he might weep, and it’s not long before he’s inside her, panting damply, just as he had when they’d sprinted down the platform together. He trembles with the force of the sensations her body gives him, and she thinks she might be a little more in love than she had thought. Anyone who looked at her that adoringly, that openly had to deserve a chance.
She brings her hands up to his cheeks and pulls him in for a deep kiss, trying to show him that she was sorry for neglecting him. Even if she didn’t love him, she didn’t want to hurt him. He was too gentle and sweet to take advantage of.
“You’re beautiful, honey. I love you. Anything you want. Anything. I love you.”
Marion swallows over a lump in her throat, touched.
Maybe she was crazy for marrying him. Maybe deep down she knows that it won’t, that it couldn’t, last. Maybe she knows that Jack would slowly spend more and more time with his show than with her. She knows all of this, and she doesn’t care.
She watches him smile down at her and decides to enjoy this for as long as it lasts.