I picture Monday in my mind—long, pin-straight blond hair, a surfer's tan. She's lean and muscular with perfect white teeth. She laughs a lot—mostly at the things he says—and is youthfully in love. He told me once that she is twenty-five but looks like a college girl. Normally, I'd judge a man for that, the cliché way men want younger women, but it isn't true of him. Seth likes the connection.
"You'll let me know as soon as you know what you're having?"
"It's a ways off, but yes." He smiles, the corner of his mouth moving up. "We have a doctor's appointment next week. I'll have to head straight over on Monday morning." He winks at me and I am not skilled enough to hide my flush. My legs are crossed and my foot bounces up and down as warmth fills my belly. He has the same effect on me now as he had on the first day we met.
"Can I make you a drink?" I ask, standing up.
I walk over to the bar and hit Play on the stereo. Of course he wants a drink, he always wants a drink on the evenings when we're together. He told me that he secretly keeps a bottle of scotch at the office now, and I mentally gloat at my bad influence. Tom Waits begins to sing and I reach for the decanter of vodka.
I used to ask about Tuesday, but Seth is more hesitant to talk about her. I've always chalked it up to her being in a position of authority as first wife. The first wife, the first woman he loved. It's daunting in a way to know I'm only his second choice. I've consoled myself with that fact that I am Seth's legal wife, that even though they're still together, he had to divorce her to marry me. I don't like Tuesday. She's selfish; her career takes the most dominant role in her life—the space I reserve for Seth. And while I disapprove, I can't entirely blame her, either. He's gone five days of the week. We have one rotating day that we take turns with, but it's our job to fill the week with things that aren't him: stupid things for me—pottery making, romance novels and Netflix; but for Tuesday, it's her career. I root around in the pocket of my robe, searching for my ChapStick. We have entire lives outside of our marriage. It's the only way to stay sane.
Pizza for dinner again? I used to ask. He'd admitted to me once that Tuesday was a takeout-ordering girl rather than a cooking girl.
Always so judgmental about other people's cooking skills, he'd tease.
I set up two glasses and fill them with ice. I can hear Seth moving behind me, getting up from the couch. The soda bottle hisses as I twist off the cap and top off the glasses. Before I'm finished making our drinks, he's behind me, kissing my neck. I dip my head to the side to give him better access. He takes his drink from me and walks over to the window while I sit.
I look over from my spot on the couch, my glass sweaty against my palm.
Seth lowers himself next to me on the couch, setting his drink on the coffee table. He reaches to rub my neck while he laughs.
His eyes are dancing, flirtatious. I fell in love with those eyes and the way they always seemed to be laughing. I lift one corner of my mouth in a smile and lean back into him, enjoying the solid feel of his body against my back. His fingers trail up and down my arm.
What's left to discuss? I want to make sure I'm familiar with all areas of his life. "The business...?"
"Alex..." He pauses. I watch as he runs the pad of his thumb across his bottom lip, a habit I'm endeared to.
What has he done now?
"I caught him in another lie," he says.
Alex is Seth's business partner; they started the company together. For as long as I can remember, Alex has been the face of the business: meeting with clients and securing the jobs, while Seth is the one who manages the actual building of the homes, dealing with things like the contractors and inspections. Seth has told me that the very first time they butted heads was over the name of the company: Alex wanted his last name to be incorporated into the name of the business, while Seth wanted it to include the Pacific Northwest. They'd fought it out and settled on Emerald City Development. Over the last years their attention to detail and sheer beauty of the homes they build has secured them several high-profile clients. I have never met Alex; he doesn't know I exist. He thinks Seth's wife is Tuesday. When Seth and Tuesday were first married, they'd go on vacations with Alex and his wife—once to Hawaii and another time on a ski holiday to Banff. I've seen Alex in photos. He's an inch shorter than his wife, Barbara, who is a former Miss Utah. Squat and balding, he has a close-lipped smugness about him.
There are so many people I haven't met. Seth's parents, for example, and his childhood friends. As second wife, I may never have the chance.
"Oh?" I say. "What's up?"
My existence is exhausting, all of the games I play. This is a woman's curse. Be direct, but not too direct. Be strong, but not too strong. Ask questions, but not too many. I take a sip of my drink and sit on the couch next to him.