Waking Amy (Amy #1)

By: Julieann Dove

Chapter One

I’m not a whore, I’m not a whore, I’m not a whore. I repeated the mantra to myself as I white-knuckled the lingerie up to the checkout girl. I tried not to stare at her flamboyant boobs that had somewhat outstretched her garment by three sizes or more. The French inscription that was written on it had fanned out and was barely legible. “She who must be obeyed.” Great. I knew there was a reason I had taken four years of the foreign language—to interpret a shirt such as this. And to think—I learned it because I would one day honeymoon in the city of lights and would need to speak the lingo. Silly me.

In my husband’s defense, although we didn’t make it there after the wedding, he did purchase me a plastic Eiffel tower for our first anniversary and said he’d take me there when we reached our tenth year. As though getting to Paris was somewhat of a marriage marathon, and this plastic statue was a drink of water on the first-mile stretch. I only had six more miles—er, years—to keep brushed up for the fateful event. I hope he hadn’t forgotten his promise. Years two, three, and four landed me nothing resembling the pact he’d made. Year two I got a pair of earrings that make my ears break out when I wear them; year three, a box of candy; year four, a slow cooker.

“Would you like a gift receipt?” the tiny cheerleader with the bleached-white teeth asked me.

A gift receipt? She really thought I was purchasing this for someone else? It wasn’t as though she could see through my blouse and cardigan to my eighteen-hour bra and high-rise Hanes, could she? And did people buy lingerie for other people?

“No, that won’t be necessary. Thank you, anyway.”

I kept my head lowered, pushed my hair behind my ear and then continued to fidget with the top button on my shirt. It was safely keeping my blouse pulled together. No need to advertise my collarbones to the free world.

I smiled and took my bag. I hoped she hadn’t seen my hand shake when I signed the credit card copy. Not only had I never set foot into any sort of establishment such as this, but I usually walked on the other side of the mall to avoid getting too close to the entryway of it. “Devil-wear,” as my mother referred to it, never got you anything but trouble. Strap on that sort of getup and consider yourself a plaything for nothing but evil. Had my mother still been around, God bless her departed soul, she would have loosened up the slack on her judgment. Well, maybe. She came from a very different time, and schooled me in the same manner. My dresses were to fall below my knees, my sleeves to hit over the elbow, and for the love of God, wear only pajama sets at night. That way, the one-eyed monster didn’t get on the scent of anything foul play.

Of course, I have done all of this. I even stopped wearing skirts altogether once I got married. Pants are the way to go when you’re sitting in an air-conditioned workplace five days a week, nine hours a day—in the winter! And this modest method of living is perhaps why Wesley has been working late at the office three nights a week, going on business trips, and forgetting about important dates—like our first date anniversary. It was two weeks ago. I came home with Chinese takeout and cheesecake with cherry topping (his favorite), and he didn’t come home until ten o’clock. When I asked why he didn’t answer his phone, all he said was that the battery must’ve given way and died. I ended up eating alone and watching a stupid reality show before going to bed.

I was hoping this little Prada-like Satan outfit would fuel some fire back into our relationship. Either that, or he’d pass out from seeing three-fourths of my body’s skin. That is, if I knew how to assemble it. It had so many straps and pinchy things attached, I might have to Google someone wearing it and go from there.

I’d actually gotten the idea to ramp things up from the girls at work. I share a table with them at lunch. All they ever seem to talk about is sex. I rarely contribute, as I don’t have an array of things to offer. But today they asked for a donation from me. Tapioca pudding almost choked me as I looked up at the four sets of eyes, waiting for me to hash out what it was like in the “sack” of my bedroom.

Okay, first off, the “sack” was a dark cherry four-poster bed, ensconced with a Laura Ashley canopy. My remote control rested on my nightstand, where my highlighted TV Guide showed all the upcoming Hallmark premieres. My pink slippers sat beside my bed, and the cotton pajama set I wore for two nights consecutively before washing and changing out laid at the foot of it. I wouldn’t exactly consider my bed a “sack.” And I wouldn’t exactly confess to them that we did “sack-like” things every third Saturday night. If I was in the mood, and there was no pay-per-view boxing on that particular night.

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