Now my art is sold not only on the Net but in department stores nationwide. Jason is quickly becoming one of the most sought-after architects in this city and recently made a 5 percent commission on a $2.1 million office complex. Financially, we couldn’t possibly be doing any better, considering we thought all our hopes and dreams were destroyed because of failing to use a condom the first night we made love.



I glanced at my watch, noticed it was almost 8P.M.and started to panic all over again. “Marcella, it’s getting really late. Jason’s going to be worried sick.”

She glanced at the small crystal clock on her desk. “You’re right, Zoe. It is a bit late. We’ve talked a good three hours.”

“Yes, I can’t wait to see the bill,” I chuckled. “ Whatever it is, it’s well worth it.”

I gathered my purse, coat, and gloves and extended my hand to shake hers. “Thanks so much for seeing me, and I’ll call your secretary to set up an appointment sometime next week.”

“You’re very welcome, and make sure you do that.” We shook hands, and I started toward the door. “We didn’t get a chance to discuss the foundation of your addiction. Or did we?”

“Not at all. You have yet to hear the truly sickeningpart. I wanted to make sure you understood my love for Jason, how much he means to me and why he’s my entire life.” I lowered my eyes and started fidgeting with my gloves, trying to put them on, but I got the shakes. “Now I have to go home and make up yet another lie to tell my husband. Lie on top of lie on top of lie. That’s all I seem to do these days.”

“I realize you have to go, but can I ask one question before you leave?”


“What exactly do you lie to your husband about?” Her eyes widened, and she seemed to be waiting to exhale until I answered. I guess the whole thing did seem a bit strange, considering I hadn’t actually told her what made me an official sex addict.

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“Well, did I touch upon the fact Jason’s not a very passionate or experimental lover?” I asked rhetorically.

“Yes, I did get that impression. Can’t you just try to work on it? It’s obvious to me that you love your husband very much.”

“I love Jason more than my next breath.”

She grinned at me, trying to make me feel at ease. “Zoe, just because your husband can’t make you see fireworks in bed and you feel your sex life is lacking something doesn’t constitute sexual addiction.”

I opened the door to her office, took a few steps into the waiting room, and turned to face her. For the first time, I was going to be honest with someone about what I had done. For the first time, I was going to divulge my deepest and darkest secret, one some people knew bits and pieces of, but no one understood the true spectrum of the way I did. If there were even the slightest chance Dr. Marcella Spencer could help me, I had to go for it no matter what the consequences. The alternative was tocontinue on the destructive path I was on, heading straight to hell in a handbasket. The words were barely audible because I whispered them. “Does having three lovers other than my husband constitute sexual addiction?”

The grin on her face quickly faded and was replaced by a look of astonishment. She was flustered. It took her a moment to gather her bearings while I struggled to hold back tears. We never broke our stare. “Yes, I would definitely say that makes you a sexual addict!”

“I figured as much.” I diverted my eyes to the door of the waiting room, ready to get the hell out of there before I broke down for real. “Look, I really have to go. Jason’s going to be climbing the walls if I don’t get home soon.”

She leaned on the door of her inner office, crossing her hands in front of her. “I understand, Zoe. We’ll pick up from here next week.”

“Kewl!” With that, I was gone. I tried to walk away nonchalantly, as if I had just told someone about the agenda for the next PTA meeting. Once I got on the elevator and pushed the button for the parking garage, I totally lost it and began wailing like a toddler throwing a temper tantrum. As the elevator descended, I kicked and hit the walls, wiping tears away with the sleeves of my suit and wishing like all hell the whole thing was a nightmare I would wake up from any minute. I knew better. It was all too real, and it was nobody’s fault but my own.

While I was waiting for my black Mercedes to warm up, I repositioned my rearview mirror so I could take a good look at myself. I wanted to see what a cheating,

disgusting, nasty, lying whore really looked like. “ Behold, the whore!” I spoke the words aloud and startedlaughing. There I was with mascara smeared all over my big brown eyes and tears covering my smooth caramel skin. There I was with ruby lipstick smudged over my trembling lips. I hated myself at that very moment. I closed my eyes and prayed for someone to throw me a life rope.

“Zoe, where you been, baby?” The dreaded question, and I hadn’t even made it all the way in the kitchen door yet.I came into the kitchen, where Jason was sitting at the table with the kids eating a Chicken Supreme pizza from Pizza Hut, and threw my briefcase on the countertop of the island. “Boo, I’m sorry I’m getting home so late. I had a problem with one of my distributors and had to hold an emergency meeting.”

“You couldn’t call?”

All sorts of excuses and alibis started running through my mind. I took my coat off and flung it over a stool at the breakfast bar. “To be honest, Jason, I got so stressed about solving the problem, the time just got away from me, and before I knew it, it was after eight.”

“Baby, you have a cell phone. You could have been considerate enough to take one moment out and call so I wouldn’t be worried.” He got up from the table and started clearing away the dishes, bringing them over to the sink where I was getting a glass of water. “I don’t understand you sometimes. It’s like you don’t even care about whether I know where you are or not.”

Something snapped. “Peter, take the twins up to their room and put on a cartoon movie for them, please.”

I watched Peter gather his siblings up and do as I asked. Peter paused just long enough to ask a question.“Daddy, can we watch that new movie you bought us? The one with the black Cinderella?”

“Sure, go ahead.” Jason was rolling up the sleeves of his white Bali shirt, getting ready to bust some suds. Once the kids were out of earshot, I got back to the matter at hand.

“Look, Jason, I really don’t need this shit from you tonight. I’ve had a very long day. You keep making it sound like I’m never at home, and that’s simply not true.” He stood there rolling his eyes, his hands on his hips, and that pissed me off even more. “Hell, if you had it your way, I would never leave the fucking house. You want me in the kitchen, barefoot, and pregnant huh?”

“See, now you’re getting ridiculous.” He cut the faucet off and started walking away, mumbling something under his breath, and I followed him into his drawing room. “I never implied anything like that, Zoe, and you know it!”

He went over to the compact stereo system on one of the built-in shelves and turned on a Nancy Crawford CD. He always listens to smooth music when he creates his masterpieces, designing some of the most beautiful and breathtaking buildings one could imagine. “You’re crucifying me for expecting a phone call. A simple phone call letting me know what’s up. If I did that same shit, you’d never let me hear the end of it!”

Jason was right, and I was ashamed. Once again, I was using my own feelings of guilt about my “ alternative” lifestyle as a basis for arguing with him. Before I started cheating on him, we never fought but the little spats were becoming more frequent. The infidelity had to end. A lesser man would have left me, betrayed me, abused me. Thank goodness Jason’s love for me overshadowed his frustration.

He sat down at his drafting table and began scribbling, breaking the lead tip out of a pencil by pressing down on it too hard in his anger. I walked up behind him and started massaging his shoulders. I could feel the tension in them, and it made me even more ashamed, knowing I was the cause of it all. “I’m sorry, baby! You’re absolutely right. I should’ve called. It was totally irresponsible and inconsiderate of me not to do so.”

He didn’t say a word, just grabbed another pencil and started drawing again. I slowly moved my hands from his shoulders down to his chest and caressed his nipples through his shirt. He grabbed my left hand in his and kissed it. “It’s okay, Zoe. I just hate it when we fight.”

“I know, Boo. So do I.”

Jason twirled the base of his elevated drawing chair around so he was facing me and looked into my eyes. “All I ever wanted to do is make you happy.”

“And you do! You make meveryhappy.” I pressed my palms against his cheeks and gave him a long, wet kiss. “I love you, and this is forever.”

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