THE OTHER WOMAN - KELLY WHITLEY
Mitzi sat in her bra and panties on the bed, blowing smoke rings as she absently toyed with the necktie around her neck.
Richard walked out of the bathroom in a cloud of wilting steam, a thin towel wrapped around his hips. “Did you want a turn at the shower?”
Mitzi flicked her gaze in his direction and exhaled, bouncing the red stiletto on her left foot. “No.”
He grabbed his boxers off the floor, then turned his back and worked them on beneath the towel.
“Too shy to dress in front of me? You weren’t shy fifteen minutes ago.”
Tension shimmered in the room. Richard grimaced. “You seem pissed off.”
She tapped ash into a Styrofoam cup half-full of coffee. “Why would I be pissed off? Because you chose this scuzzy motel room? Because you’re leaving already? Because you’ll be with her tonight instead of me?”
“See? The anger is radiating off you.” He let the towel drop and yanked on his pants, then pushed his arms into his shirt as it stuck to his damp skin.
“When are you going to leave her, Rich?” Mitzi leaned back on her elbow and blew smoke at the yellowed ceiling.
The bedsprings squeaked as Richard sat down on the mattress and put on his socks, then hunted under the faded bedspread for his shoes. “Don’t do this now.”
She took one last drag off the cigarette and dropped it into the cup; the butt hissed as it hit the coffee. “Then when should I do it?”
He leaned his forearms on his thighs and folded his hands. “Mitz—”
“Don’t ‘Mitz’ me,” she said, stretching out on the bed propping her head on one hand and pulling the tie from around her neck with the other.
With a groan, Richard stood and turned away as he buttoned his shirt. “You know I can’t stay.”
Mitzi tucked the necktie in her purse. “Well, I can’t do this anymore.” She rocked off the bed and snatched her dress off the desk and stepped into the red satin, zipping up the back herself.
“I love you, but I can’t leave her.” He shoved his shirttails into his pants and swung his jacket over his shoulder.
She snorted. “You would leave her if you loved me.”
Richard exhaled loudly. “She’s got the house, the business, everything. I leave, I lose it all. You know this.”
Mitzi picked up her purse. “If they’re so damned important, find a way to keep them and get rid of her.”
He opened the door to the humid night. The red neon blinked in the parking lot.
“It’s not that simple—”
“It is that simple, Rich. It is that simple. There are a million ways. Accidents happen all the time.” She pushed past him.
Richard stared and shook his head. “I can’t. She’s my—”
Mitzi whirled around. “Your priority? Over me?”
Richard snagged her around the waist. “No. No, she’s not. I’ll think of something.” He leaned in, but she twisted to avoid his kiss. He sighed in defeat. “See you next week.”
Mitzi extricated herself. “Get your priorities straight, and then we’ll see.”
The evening heat rose up from the sidewalk as Mitzi approached the house. She looked up and down the street, then knocked.
A woman answered the door. “Yes?”
“Hello. I’m Mitzi. A friend of Richard’s from the office. Is he home?”
The woman pulled the door open wide. “Oh. He hadn’t mentioned a visitor.”
“He wasn’t expecting me. I have a project I’m finishing for him, and thought I’d stop by.”
“Would you like to come in and have a glass of tea while you wait? Richard should be home anytime now.” She turned and walked into the house.
“Oh, that’s okay. I’m actually here to see you.” Mitzi pulled the necktie out of her purse and looped it around the neck of Richard’s mother as the door closed behind them.
BIO: Kelly has been writing for years, but is new to the art form of flash-- the shorter, the better.
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