Tissue Deep

I don't cheat, okay? Let me say it again. I. Do. Not. Cheat. The same way I don't drink-drive or wear yesterday's underpants. It's a built-in rule and one that with a little forward thinking is never broken. I'm engaged now to Amanda and our relationship couldn't be stronger. It's built on honesty and it's built on trust, got me? We have a varied, healthy and satisfying sex-life and we don't screw other people. End of story.
This is most reassuring when, for example, I end up talking to the new temp across the photocopier at work. Or when I go out drinking with mates at the sort of club where randy, dissatisfied wives and girlfriends go to prove they're still attractive to other guys. The subtle explanatory reference is never far from my lips, should I fall into conversation with such ladies: 'I was on holiday there with my girlfriend.' Or the more direct 'Thanks, but I'm already with someone,' if required. And then there's that old faithful back-up: 'Yes, but I'd know, even if she didn't.'
Nothing is ever going to happen.
This is especially good to bear in mind on a day like today. One of the days when I visit Kelly. In fact, no - that's not even a cause for mild concern. Kelly's in a relationship as well, and she really likes the bloke. He's quite the romantic, it seems. Last time she told me all about her high expectations for Valentine's Day and I in turn described my plans for Amanda and myself. The two of us, client and professional, sharing the same warm glow from our respective love affairs. So the Kelly situation is nothing to worry about.
Okay, all right - so the reason we ended up talking so earnestly about our significant others was to deflect from a certain...frisson that passed between us. Now hold on, I didn't hit on her - don't think that for a second - and she didn't take it as such. I passed some vague compliment about her loose perm suiting her, or something like that, and she took maybe a little too much pleasure in it and then I held eye-contact a longer than was perhaps wise... And then it was all embarrassment and rapidly changed subject and very deliberate mention, on both our parts, of the people we were involved with.

Nice to know, as I pass through the revolving doors of Blue Haven Health and Fitness Spa. As I check in at the desk. As I make my way along the bright corridor to the massage suite. The massage suite where I know Kelly, the lovely manipulator of my limbs, will be waiting... Thank fuck she has a boyfriend.
'Hello?' Deep breaths as I knock on the door. I'm building this up out of nothing; it's a fantasy I've apparently been entertaining too much. Kelly'll be her bright, brisk, professional self. But I can feel my balls tingling as I hear her welcoming response. As I enter the brightly, clinically lit room, she's busy fluffing towels over by the massage table, but looks up with a grin of recognition. More welcoming than usual? But then we're naturally getting more relaxed with each other after four sessions.

Well massage is intimate after all, even purely therapeutic massage. Kelly is a consummate professional; she's friendly without being flirtatious, very careful to keep that businesslike edge. But after several sessions you get to know each other a bit. And if you have a natural connection and a degree of mutual attraction, however unspoken, well, anyone's guard can drop. Okay, it's true - I did carry her final smile with me for the rest of the day. And that night. When I was...having sex with Amanda. There I was, my body moving on my fiance's, and when I closed my eyes, Kelly's smiling face was floating before me. Amanda's moans and Kelly's smile... Shit, look, I mean everyone has those thoughts! It's not as though I deliberately dwelt on them...
And - and - why the hell am I even feeling guilty? The massage sessions were Amanda's idea in the first place. She was driving the bastard car when the accident occurred! If she hadn't braked to save that frigging pigeon, we wouldn't have been back-ended, I wouldn't have whiplash, there'd be no need for bleeding massage therapy! And I haven't even done anything yet. Not that I'm going to!
Like I said, nothing is ever going to happen.

'Hi Ed,' she grins, with a degree of warmth that surprises and gratifies me. 'Come on in, I'll be right with you.' I close the door behind me, acting casual, relaxed. She's dressed in her usual white overalls and gym slippers, and I divert my mind from the supple, tanned body I suspect lies beneath. Her wheat-blonde hair is tied back revealing her sharp-featured, pretty face. The pastel-walled room, with its posters on the virtues of acupuncture and various styles of massage, Eastern and Western, is unchanged from before; so why am I more aware of its intimacy, complete with bed-table and en suite shower?
'How's the back?' she inquires. 'Have I made it better or worse?' It's the usual relaxed style of chat, but there's some indefinable difference in her tone that makes me wary. Look, stop being an asshole, Ed - this is some type of twisted wishful thinking. Don't fucking flatter yourself.
'Almost all better,' I say. 'Couple more sessions and I'll be fine.'
'And then I won't see you any more,' she says with a mock pout. I must register some of the surprise I feel, because she adds, 'Well you're easier to talk to than a lot of my clients. Take off your jacket.' I've been curiously immobile and she's noticed.
'So how was Valentine's?' I ask, slipping the jacket nonchalantly off my shoulders and draping it over a chair. Get the conversation straight on to her fella, don't focus on the fact that you'll soon be undressing in proximity to this girl.

'Yeah, if I meet someone I like, I'm just going to fuck him.' She applies a lusty weight to the f-word. Fuck with my head, More's the point! A powerful current channels from my brain to the root of my dick, as soon as she says it. I'm standing naked behind the screen in an aching conversational void, groping clumsily for my towel. 'So what do you think of that, Ed?'
What I think is, When did Kelly the sweet-natured masseuse become Kelly the husky-voiced little prick-tease? What I say is a stammered 'Well - I mean - yeah.' Okay Ed, don't lose your cool. Just wrap the towel around as loosely as possible - try to disguise your embarrassingly extending organ. 'You deserve to cut loose a bit after what he did to you.'
'You said it. Ready yet?'

Her face darkens. 'God, let's not go there,' she says. But after a long, angry sigh she does. 'The bastard was cheating on me.' I'm knocked back. This is not what I've been expecting. Or hoping for. I think. 'Yeah, I know,' she goes on. 'Think how stunned I was. Mr bloody Romance. Only he's gone and had it off with some girl he picked up at a night club. At the same happy hunting ground where he met me! Except one of my friends sees him. Stupid bastard.' She pauses, seeming a touch embarrassed. 'You're sorry you asked now.'
'No, I'm not - get it off your chest.' Good God, I'm quoting lines from a Seventies British sex comedy now! Confessions of a Massage Client With a Dodgy Back. Get it off your chest? For fucks sake...
'So,' Kelly is finishing off, 'my Valentine's Day consisted of him trying to tell me it was only a one-off and he was drunk, as if that's supposed to console me, and then me finally telling him to piss off.'
'So is that it? No chance you'll get back together??' I hope I sound sympathetic rather than hopeful.
'No, that's that,' she shrugs, matter-of-factly. There's the slightest of pauses. 'So I'm single again. How did things go for you?'
'Oh - okay, okay,' I say. Don't want to set up my happy Valentine's evening against her crap one, after all. 'Went to a new Tapas place, exchanged cards, usual stuff. Sorry things didn't work out for you...'
She waves it away with a friendly smile. 'It's not your fault, Ed. Now go behind the screen and get stripped off for me.' She says this with a cheeky grin, flinging a towel my direction. 'And don't forget to wear that!'
Conversation has never been any problem with this girl, so why is every opening gambit dying in my throat right now? A great yawning silence is opening up, as I drop my shirt on the chair provided and set about unlacing my shoes. Don't be so bloody ridiculous, Ed. This is not a problem. Despite the fact she hasn't removed herself discretely from the room while I undress, like she usually does... Not a problem at all.
'No, I got too serious too soon with Nick.' Kelly's back on the subject of her break-up. I'm listening in a semi-daze, removing my trousers. 'Should have seen it for what it was. Should have seen him for what he was. No, Ed, it's given me a whole new attitude.'
'It has?' I want to hear, despite myself.
'Yeah - forget serious, forget meaningful. I just want to enjoy myself a bit.'
'Sounds fair enough.' I slip off my briefs.

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