Rum Pum Pum, Pum Pum Pum, Rum Pum Pum, Pum Pum.
Music plays from the club downstairs, muffled as if wrapped in layers of cellophane. Two bodies press together and come apart, repeatedly to the rhythm of the beat.
Eventually, the heat becomes unbearable, and the two, exhausted, separate from one another as if in an act of mitosis. They both lay on their backs and stare at the gaudy print of wallpaper plastered above them (apples with golden leaves being impaled by golden arrows, surrounded by golden leaf embellishments), panting softly.
That... was amazing.
Mmm, the woman grunts as she gets up, slinking over to her purse to grab her phone. She checks it briefly and glances at the man on the bed, touching the screen here and there before tucking it away once more. She leans against the vanity and smiles at him, her canines visible despite the dim lighting of the room.
Be sure to tell your wife that.
The man jolts upwards. He stares at the woman’s face, trying to read her expression, but failing. He seems unsure on how to proceed, but eventually, he lets out a nervous laugh. She laughs with him.
He reaches into his briefcase and pulls out some paper bills.
Here’s a little something extra, Mahal.
Mahal is attractive. She is aware. She looks in the mirror with a solemn expression. Her hair is a bit disheveled and there is evidence of drooling crusted on the corner of her lips. She doesn't care. She has no appointments today and is free to laze about as she pleases.
An arm slips around Mahal's waist as she watches her own reflection; soft kisses clumsily placed against her shoulder. The corner of her lips rise. In that moment, she feels the most beautiful.
Stay with me another night.
You know my rules.
I’ll pay you double.
Mahal stops, hands just barely touching the cold surface of the doorknob. She turns to look at the man on the bed and narrows her eyes at him. He looks smug and she doesn’t like that.
She doesn’t like any of this.
At least not anymore.
Rough linen: that’s what the bed sheets are made of. She’s used to silk and satin and velvet, but now she associates the roughness with home. Mahal’s fingers lightly drag up and down the hills of a blanketed figure, eliciting a sleepy hum of content from the body before her.
I love you. I love you. I love you.
The words are timid in Mahal’s mouth as she lays quietly in the dark.
My wife isn’t as good as you.
He brings the flame of the lighter close, embers sparking at the end of his cigarette. He takes a deep inhale and holds his breath, letting the smoke mingle with the recesses of his mouth and lungs. Mahal counts the seconds goes by. They seem longer than they actually are and she wonders if he’ll suffocate.
Her curves aren’t right. They’re not as good as yours.
Mahal looks out the window.
She’s old now too… how old are you again?
Divorce her, Mahal mumbles, her attention loosely on the television lights flickering beyond a window in the neighboring building.
What was that? 34?
The man looks surprised, as if he hadn’t even considered that an option. He taps his cigarette lightly against the ashtray. It’s shaped like a cherub, it’s plump figure mirroring the man’s as they sit with one knee up. Mahal can’t discern their expressions, neither the cherub’s nor the man’s.
The birds chirp outside, welcoming the sun as it’s gentle light creeps through the open bedroom window. Mahal is leaning back against the headboard of her bed, fingers busily working away at her phone screen. There’s an arm draped possessively around her torso, a soft snore blending with the lazy drawl of the breeze.
A message notification appears at the top of phone screen, the beginning reads: YOU FUCKING BITCHES—
The bed shifts a bit and Mahal turns off her phone, laying it face down on the nightstand. A woman emerges from the warmth of Mahal’s body and the layers of sheets atop them. She smiles sleepily at Mahal as the latter brings a hand up to her cheek, caressing the skin affectionately.
They don’t belong to anyone else now, just to each other.