L.A. Woman

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Authors: Cathy Yardley
He was studying the place minutely. Then he shrugged. “Pretty good sized. Seems like a nice enough neighborhood.”
    Sarah let out a breath she didn’t even know she was holding. “I like it.”
    He scowled. “I think some guy was hitting on me in the lobby, though.”
    “Really?” Now was obviously not the time to explain West Hollywood to him. “How odd.”
     
    They wound up staying in and ordering pizza. Sarah wished she could take that hot bath, but he seemed in the mood to talk. They talked at length about his job, and she told him about the hell that was her boss and the ad agency. “I’ve got to go into work tomorrow, too,” she said sorrowfully.
    He didn’t seem very sympathetic. “Honey, I’ve told you before…you’ve got to pay your dues. You didn’t just think they’d give you some six-figure job you loved right out of school, do you?”
    She hated it when he got patronizing, but she knew he was just trying to be helpful. “I didn’t think that. I just didn’t think I’d have to work every single day for a month going to a job that frankly makes me want to vomit every time I go in in the morning. Honestly, when I get sight of the building, my foot eases up off the accelerator.”
    He shook his head. “It’s normal. If it were fun, you wouldn’t get paid for it.”
    “Don’t you think that’s sad?”
    He shrugged. “I think that’s reality.” He smiled, and it was one of his indulgent smiles. “Honey, you just want a little dream world.”
    “Guess I’m in the right city,” she said, and went over to the bedroom.
    He followed her in, sighing heavily. “Don’t be this way,” he said, in a voice that was persuasive but she knew could turn stern at the drop of a hat. “I’ve come all the way down to L.A. to see you. Do you really want to waste what little time we have fighting?”
    She immediately felt the wave of guilt hit her, and she sighed. “No. I’m sorry.”
    “Then let’s make up.” He stroked the back of her neck, then reached forward to unbutton her blouse. Within minutes, she was naked, on her back, while he went at her a little more quickly than she’d have liked. Of course, she’d been so tired lately, it wasn’t like she was even really in the mood. She went through the motions of being interested as best she could, when all she could picture was her deep tub and scalding hot water. Maybe some lavender bubble bath. Mmm, she thought, smiling over his shoulder. Bubble bath. God, that sounded good.
    Still, she was glad he was there, she thought as he shuddered and groaned, pushing against her. It had been a while. Besides, it was only twenty minutes out of an otherwise very long day.
     
    Sarah turned over the next morning, and immediately gasped. Shit, ten o’clock, ten o’clock, ten o’clock! She prayed that Becky wasn’t coming into the office this morning. She sort of doubted it…Becky usually had plans on the weekend, and she left the work to her “able team.” Sarah grabbed her toothbrush, smeared toothpaste on it as she turned the shower on, then jumped in, brushing and getting her hair wet at the same time. Screw shaving, no time for that. She jumped out and was toweling herself off when she realized that something was missing. It wasn’t unusual to wake up alone, she realized, but this morning she had, and she shouldn’t have. Benjamin had been snoring in her ear when she’d dozed off last night around one.
    She came out in a towel. “Honey…?”
    She stopped, abruptly. Martika was sitting at the kitchen table, eating cottage cheese straight out of the carton with a spoon. “Sweetie?” she said, mimicking Sarah’s tone.
    Sarah blinked at her, surprised twice in the past five minutes. “I’m sorry. I thought…did you see my fiancé here? Tall guy, blond…”
    “Bit of a prick?” Martika calmly spooned up some more cottage cheese, then put the cartoon down and drizzled honeyover it. “He was leaving when I got home. I tried to

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