New York City
Six years ago...
For the third week in a row, I woke up to a relentless rain falling over this repulsive city. The clouds above were coated in an ugly hue of grey, and the streaks of lightning that flashed across the sky every few seconds were no longer marvels; they were predictable.
Holding up my umbrella, I walked to a newspaper stand and picked up The New York Times—bracing myself for what lay between its pages.
“How many women do you think a man could possibly screw in his lifetime?” The vendor handed me my change.
“I don’t know,” I said. “I’ve stopped counting.”
“Stopped counting, eh? What did you do, get to ten and decide that was enough before settling down?” He pointed to the gold band on my left hand.
“No. I settled down first, then I started f**king.”
He raised his eyebrow—looking stunned, and then he turned around to organize his cigar display.
A couple of months ago, I would’ve entertained his attempt to make conversation, would’ve answered his question with a lighthearted laugh and a “More than we’ll ever admit to,” but I didn’t have the ability to laugh anymore.
My life was now a depressing reel of repeated frames—hotel nights, cold sweats, marred memories, and rain.
I tucked the newspaper underneath my arm and turned away, glancing at the ring on my hand.
I hadn’t worn it in a long time, and I had no idea what possessed me to put it on today. Twisting it off my finger, I looked at it one last time—shaking my head at its uselessness.
For a split second, I considered keeping it, maybe locking it away as a reminder of the man I used to be. But that version of me was pathetic—gullible, and I wanted to forget him as fast as I could.
I crossed the street as the light turned green, and as I stepped onto the sidewalk, I tossed the band where I should’ve thrown it months ago.
Down the drain.
Exculpatory Evidence (n.):
Evidence indicating that a defendant did not commit the crime.
The hot coffee that was currently seeping through my pants and stinging my skin was the exact reason why I never f**ked the same woman twice.
Wincing, I took a deep breath. “Aubrey...”
“You’re f**king married.”
I ignored her comment and leaned back in my chair. “In the interest of your future short-lived and mediocre law career¸ I’m going to do two huge favors for you: One, I’m going to apologize for f**king you a second time and let you know that it will never happen again. Two, I’m going to pretend like you didn’t just assault me with some goddamn coffee.”
“Don’t.” She threw my coffee mug onto the floor, shattering it to pieces. “I definitely did, and I’m tempted to do it again.”
“Fuck you.” She narrowed her eyes at me, adding, “I hope your dick falls off,” as she stormed out of my office.
“Jessica!” I quickly stood up and grabbed a roll of paper towels. “Jessica?”
I picked up my phone to call her desk, but she suddenly stepped into my office. “Yes, Mr. Hamilton?”
“Call Luxury Dry Cleaning and have them to deliver one of my suits to the office. I also need a new cup of coffee, Miss Everhart’s file from HR, and you need to tell Mr. Bach that I’ll be late to that four o’ clock meeting today.”
I waited to hear her usual “Right away, sir” or “I’m on it, Mr. Hamilton,” but she said nothing. She was silent—blushing, and her eyes were glued to the crotch of my pants.
“Don’t you need some help cleaning that up?” Her lips curved into a smile. “I have a really thick towel in my desk drawer. It’s very soft...and gentle.”
“It is huge, isn’t it?” Her eyes finally met mine. “I really wouldn’t tell a soul. It would be our little secret.”
“My f**king dry cleaning, a new cup of coffee, Miss Everhart’s file, and a message to Mr. Bach about me being late. Now.”
“I really love the way you resist...” She stole another glance of my wet pants before leaving the room.
I sighed and started to soak up as much of the coffee as I could. I should’ve known that Aubrey was the emotional type, should’ve known that she was unstable and incapable of behaving normally the second I realized she’d made up a fake identity just for LawyerChat.
I regretted ever telling her that I wanted to own her pu**y, and I was cursing myself for driving to her apartment yesterday.
Just as I was tearing off a new paper towel, a familiar voice cleared the air.
“Why, hello...It’s good to see you again,” she said.
I lifted my head up, hoping that this was a hallucination—that the woman at my door wasn’t really standing there smiling. That she wasn’t stepping forward with her hand outstretched as if she wasn’t the very reason that my life was heartlessly altered six years ago.
“Are you going to shake my hand, Mr. Hamilton?” She raised her eyebrow. “That is the name you’re going by these days, isn’t it?”
I stared at her long and hard—noticing that her once silky black hair was now cut short into a bob. Her light green eyes were still as soft and alluring as I remembered them, but they weren’t having the same effect.