When Jude locked up the bar, he found himself driving to Desiree’s apartment. 2B. He hadn’t admitted to himself that he would. If he had, he’d have argued with himself and maybe even talked himself out of it. And he didn’t want to. He wanted to climb the steps to her apartment, fall into bed with her, and immerse himself in pleasure.
He could have walked to her place. It wasn’t that far from the bar. Drafts and Grub was a neighborhood hangout. She lived five blocks away. Someone had divided a big, old brick Colonial into four apartments—two on the first floor, two up. He parked at the curb and stared at the dark windows. When he and Desiree were done doing the dirty, he could walk to his car and drive away. And the next time he saw her, they could pretend they didn’t know each other. She only banged a guy once, and then moved on.
This wasn’t adultery. There were extenuating circumstances. Her husband approved.
He walked to the front door and turned the knob. Unlocked. No buzzers to ask for admittance. Pretty damned trusting. The stairway was off to the side, so he climbed it. A hallway swept down the center of the floor. Her apartment was the second one on the right. He slipped the key in the lock and let himself in.
Déjà vu fogged his mind. He pictured himself leaning against the wall of an alley, waiting for Lyndsay. Was this another set-up? Would a healthy husband step out of the bedroom with a gun in his hand? She could have lied to him. How would he know?
He stood still a minute, listening. No sounds of movement. She’d left a table lamp on in the living room. A doorway at its end showed a small, galley-style kitchen. The living quarters were cramped, but once Jude thought about it, Desiree and her husband were probably living on checks for his disability. And Jude would guess those weren’t overly generous.
She said she’d be in the second bedroom, so he passed the first door in the narrow hallway, passed the bathroom, and opened the door on the end. The curtain was open, spilling street light into the room. She sat up in bed, threw off her covers, and opened her arms to him. She didn’t have a stitch on, and her body was as beautiful and alluring as he’d expected. He put her key on her nightstand, then shed his clothes quickly to lower himself on top of her.
She stopped to touch his tattoos, made him turn to show them to her. “You’re spiritual.”
“In my way.”
“So am I.” She pulled him down for a kiss, and their bodies touched. Soft breasts. Smooth thighs. He reached for his wallet and a condom, but she shook her head. “I’m on the pill. I’m not worried about you.”
He lost control and didn’t come up for air for a long time. He took deep breaths to center himself, to calm down. So did she.
Her dark hair fanned out on the pillow as she stared up at him. She reached to the table and pushed the key into the folds of his wallet. “Come again. Every Friday after work. I’ll be waiting.”
He stood up and pulled on his clothes. He wouldn’t be back. Too much temptation. Run. Save yourself.
Tomorrow, he’d visit Damian. He’d ask for the High Priestess, seated between two pillars, holding the Book of Life. Dark secrets hidden in the folds of the unconscious. Another lesson of the Tarot. The needle going in and out, the pain, would ground him. But he couldn’t stop thinking about Desiree.