The realization finally hit me and I had to laugh out loud.
All day long I had been trying to place the scent. With my left hand still on the steering wheel, I raised my right arm and sniffed the sleeve of my black silk blouse.
Yep, definitely sassafras.
It was the same spicy, sweet fragrance I had smelled on the waiter earlier that day.
And now his smell was all over me.
I smirked as I thought about how my innocent question about his cologne had led to a torrid one-hour session of sex and sweat. Not right away, mind you. There had been some casual flirting in between the appetizer and lunch courses, but I was careful not to show too much interest in front of my co-workers. I played it cool when Cassandra made a remark about her taking him home instead of her leftovers. She ended up giving him her number after we paid the check. She had no clue I had already slipped him mine just before dessert.
We met up a few hours later at a nearby motel. But before I unbuckled the waiter’s pants, I recited my ground rules: no last names, no personal questions, condoms were required and this would be a one-time only screw. He seemed taken aback and for a second I thought I had misjudged his signals. Then he stuck his hand down my skirt.
After all, the invitation to casual sex was hard for most men to decline. And it had become a new thrill for me. My exact number of one-afternoon or one-night stands wasn’t exactly what you would call abundant – but it was enough to make my GYN raise an eyebrow at my last appointment.
At 7:05 p.m., I pulled into the garage. I checked my face in the rearview mirror for smudged eyeliner and smeared lipstick. The only trace of my physical activity just two hours earlier was the dark aroma I could still smell on my clothes.
But I had taken care of that.
“I’m home,” I called out as I entered our two-story townhouse.
“In the kitchen,” Brian, my fiancée, called back.
I smiled sweetly as I turned the corner and met his loving eyes. He continued chopping onions as I walked up and kissed him on the cheek.
“You’re early,” he said, smiling.
“The client ended up canceling. I even had time to stop at the mall to get some make-up and perfume.”
Brian cradled the little pieces of onions in his hands and then carefully scattered them over the sauce simmering on the stove. He wiped his hands on his apron and pulled me into a hug. He sniffed my neck.
“Is that your new perfume?”
I pushed him away gently. “Of course not, silly. That’s your new cologne.” I pulled a box out of the shopping bag I had been carrying. “The guy at the cologne counter said this is their most popular seller. I wasn’t convinced so he sprayed some on me. It is pretty sexy, don’t you think?”
A look of dismay crossed Brian’s face. He smelled the box and then scrunched up his nose. “It’s kind of strong. And you know how I am about trying new cologne.”
I bristled. Brian hated trying new things, period.
“Fine. I’ll take it back." I grabbed the box from him, threw it back into the bag and turned to walk away. He caught my hand.
“Hey, I didn’t say I didn’t like it. If you want me to wear it, I will.” He reached up and touched my cheek. “It’s just that I’m not like you. You go out and buy a new perfume almost every month. You use it a few times and then you’re on to the next one. I’m not like that. If I find something I love, I’m loyal to it forever.”
Suddenly, my gut wrenched and my knees wobbled. I could feel the color draining from my face.
“What’s wrong, Jess? You feeling sick?” Brian pressed his palm against my forehead.
I did feel sick. But it wasn’t because of a fever. At that moment, I desperately wanted to tell him about my betrayals and then beg him for forgiveness. I wanted to tell how much I wanted to be the woman he deserved.
Instead, I told him I had a migraine from all of the perfume and cologne testing and needed to lie down.
My body shook as I made my way to our bedroom down the hall. I dropped the shopping bag by the door so I wouldn’t forget it in the morning. All of it was going back.
I kicked off my shoes and started getting undressed. The tears that had been welling up in my eyes now streamed down my face as I struggled with buttons and zippers. I became almost distraught because I couldn’t get the clothes – and the waiter’s smell – off of me fast enough.I had just unhooked my bra when Brian’s voice called from the kitchen.
“So what is that scent anyway? I can’t quite place it.”
“I think it’s sassafras,” I yelled back. I gathered my clothes from the hardwood floor and aimlessly threw them into a canvas bag. Then I buried the bag deep inside my closet behind some winter coats.
“You’re right, it’s not” I whispered as I noticed Brian’s dress shirt draped over the desk chair.I grabbed it and pulled it over my naked body. I raised my right arm to my nose and inhaled.
Brian’s scent wasn’t as strong as the sassafras cologne, but it was still sexy. It was also familiar and comforting.
-- THE END--
**This original work of fiction is owned and copyrighted by the author**