Note: One NSFW screenshot ahead
“Phoenix… Are you sure you’re okay?” Addy asked softly from across the table.
Phoenix wished he’d had a better poker face, but it seemed he’d failed. All of his friends knew something was wrong… But that shouldn’t have meant they had to bug him about it, should it? Ugh! Why can’t she just leave it alone?!
He had been expecting a fun evening with his friends — something he’d needed desperately after all the stress and uncertainty he’d been feeling lately. Instead, they’d decided to give him the third degree all night.
Before he had a chance to reply, Niko looked up from his character sheet, shaking his head.
“You’ve asked him twice already… He’s not going to tell you what’s wrong.”
Addy looked over at him. “I know.” She sighed. “I’m just worried.”
“Me too.” Niko admitted. “But it’s not like we can force him to talk to us.”
“Seriously?! He’s sitting right there.” Lola grumbled in annoyance at her friends.
Phoenix flashed her a grateful smile. “Yeah, gotta practice your Stealth rolls, guys.” He tried not to let himself feel embarrassed or angry at their words. They were just worried. “Like I said before, I’m fine. Now, did everybody pick a class?”
“Not yet… But I’m thinking Cleric, maybe?” Niko picked up the players’ manual from the table as he spoke.
Thankfully, his friends remained focused on creating their new D&D characters for the rest of their time together, and did not discuss his mood again.
It wasn’t until Niko and Addy had both headed home that Lola decided to broach the subject once more… But when it was her, Phoenix didn’t mind.
“So, at the risk of sounding like Addy…” Lola seemed unable to resist cracking a small smile as she finished putting away the last of the notebooks and returned to the table. “Is there something you need to talk about?” She asked gently. “It’s okay if you don’t want to. But you know I’ll always listen.”
I know… That’s part of the problem. Phoenix thought. “Thanks, Lola.” He replied at last. “It’s just… Y’know. The usual crap.”
And that wasn’t a total lie, either. But there was something else on his mind he wasn’t mentioning too. He couldn’t.
Lola let out a small sigh. “I had a feeling…” Her face fell as she spoke. “I just wish there was something I could do to help.”
“You do help.” He assured her. “Way more than you probably realize. And it means a lot to me.” Phoenix realized how rarely he actually thanked her for being there for him.
Her soft, beautiful lips curled into a smile. “I’m glad.” She replied softly. “It’s just hard sometimes seeing you like this.”
“What do you mean?”
Lola hesitated for a moment. “I like Gigi, so I feel like a total bitch for saying this, but… You deserve better than this, Phoenix. You deserve to be happy… But you’re not.”
She looked so sad as she spoke, but so beautiful too. Phoenix found himself lost in her big, brown eyes. His next words left his lips before he even realized what he was saying.
“I am when I’m with you.”
He watched as her cheeks grew a pleasant shade of pink. “Come on. Do you have any idea how that sounds?”
“I do.” He replied almost guiltily. “But it’s the truth.”
For a few moments, Lola said nothing. Phoenix studied every inch of her gorgeous face, trying to figure out what she might be thinking. But it was impossible.
“Phoenix.” At last, she spoke. He loved the way his name sounded on her lips. “What are we doing? What the hell is this?”
Lola nodded. “This.” She gestured quickly between the two of them.
Phoenix furrowed his brow in confusion. “What are you talking about?”
“Nice try, but you’re smarter than that.” Despite everything, she managed another smile. “You know exactly what I mean… Unless you really don’t.” Her smile vanished just as quickly as it had come. “In which case, I’m officially the biggest idiot in the entire world.” She rose to her feet as she spoke, turning away from him. “God, this is embarrassing.”
That was when Phoenix finally realized. She can feel it too… And she’s just as scared and confused as I am. The thought somehow both thrilled and terrified him all at once.
He rose from his seat as well, taking a few steps to close the distance between them. “You’re not an idiot. I do know what you mean.” He said softly.
“You do?” She turned around to face him.
He nodded. “And the answer is, I don’t know. I have no idea what we’re doing or what the hell this is. But I…”
That was when he felt it again. That same urge he’d felt last week at the cafe. Her lips were so soft and full and her gaze so warm and loving… Phoenix wanted nothing more than to kiss her.
And this time, instead of trying to fight that urge, he gave in.
Her lips were just as soft as Phoenix had imagined they would be… but warmer too. It was amazing.
And he instantly found himself wondering just how soft and warm the rest of her might be too.
As though on cue, Lola finally opened her mouth against his, letting out a soft moan as she did so. He slowly ran one of his hands up the bare skin of her thigh as she pressed her body closer and closer to him.
Phoenix found himself growing hard with excitement and anticipation. How long had he been craving this? How many times had he secretly dreamt of this moment?
But what about Gigi? A small voice in the back of his mind seemed to whisper. She’s your WIFE. And if you go through with this…
It took every ounce of willpower he had to finally pull away from her. “Fuck. Lola, I’m sorry.”
“For what?” Her face was flushed and her breaths were heavy. It did nothing to help the desire that Phoenix was fighting so desperately to ignore.
“I can’t do this… It’s not right. I… I want to. But… I just can’t.”
It pained him to see the hurt and disappointment cross her face. “I get it.” She replied softly. “You’re right. You’re married…” Lola lowered her eyes for a moment. “We can’t.”
“I’m sorry.” He repeated. “I… I wish I…” Phoenix shook his head. “I should go.”
“Y-yeah… Okay.” Lola’s voice was small.
He turned away and took two steps toward the door.
Phoenix knew he needed to get out of there. He needed to head back home before he did something crazy. Something he’d end up regretting forever.
He thought of his brother, and all the pain that terrible mistake he’d made at that party had caused him. And tonight, Phoenix had already made the same one.
I can’t make an even WORSE mistake, can I?
But would it really be such a mistake after all? To finally do what he’d been dreaming of for weeks, maybe months. To feel connected to someone who understood him better than his wife ever could. To finally be happy… What could be so wrong about any of that?
Because you’d be a dirty, rotten cheater. A bitter voice whispered in his mind. It doesn’t matter how miserable you are. You’re married. You can’t do this to Gigi. This is wrong. You’re better than this.
“Phoenix?” Over his shoulder, Lola whispered his name.
What should I do?! Phoenix’s entire body felt numb. His head wanted him to run back home as quickly as he could. But his heart longed for him to stay and fall back into Lola’s waiting arms.
He continued standing there for what felt like forever as his head and his heart continued their back-and-forth battle.
But in the end, only one of them could win.