In episode #12, Carter, spurned from a major diss from Vince–at least in her eyes, decided to hate all men, but when she found Kenneth Stevenson’s wife in an uncompromising position, she decided all was fair in love and war…well, make that lust and war.
In this episode, Carter sets the stage for snagging Kenneth and putting him into compromising positions. Unlike her F.A.C.E. buddies, however, she’s not trying to catch him in the act; she’s trying to be part of the sexy act with Kenneth.
There wasn’t a spot at 123 Park Avenue or on me that wasn’t clean and looking great. I told Interiors to make 123 sparkle as I spent the afternoon at my place, making sure I smelled and looked good enough to eat. I went for the simple, “at home” look of a white peasant blouse and jeans; I kept my feet out so that Kenneth could enjoy my new pedicure. I washed my hair, ran moisturizer through it, and let it air dry for that naturally curly look. I looked like a carefree, hippy, waiting for fun and adventure to come my way. That’s how I wanted to feel that night, too.
I, ad nauseam, thought about my situation all afternoon. Here I was, young, unattached. I was relatively attractive. I mean no one had ever physically gotten ill by looking at me. I was smart. I was funny. Damn it, I was someone with potential. This was not to say I wanted to be in a relationship. Hell, at this point, I would run from a relationship just like most men run from commitment. I did, however, want to have some fun and get outside of my “woe is me” life, and there was no time like the present.
There was a small glitch. I was still Cassie Deckart. I was still an aerobics instructor. I was still a C. I., and technically, seducing a client or a suspect was something we at F.A.C.E. shunned. I told myself that up until this point, I had been a good girl scout. I followed all the rules. Received all my badges, and always sold the most cookies. What could one fall from grace do, really?
I wasn’t going to think about that, I told myself as I sat on the sofa at 123 and flipped through a magazine. Any minute Kenneth would come and fix me a wonderful dinner. Whatever happened…happened.
The doorbell rang, and I slipped into some flip flops and headed to the door. I opened it to find a smiling Kenneth holding a bottle of wine and a grocery bag.
“Hey,” he said.
“Hey,” I whispered. “Come on in.”
His eyes took in my toes before he walked in. He dropped a kiss on my cheek. His lips were warm. I was about to be, too.
“Let me take this bag into the kitchen,” he said.
I put an extra bit of swivel to my hips as I walked ahead of Kenneth. When I turned to him to help take things out the bag, the red hue beneath his tan skin told me that the hips affected him. Good.
A few times, our hands touched, and I would look up at him and grin. He’d shake his head and laugh.
“What’s so funny?” I asked after his third chuckle.
I gave him the “yeah right” face.
“It’s just weird,” he said.
“Feeling comfortable around you and you not being my wife.”
Well, little wifey is feeling awfully comfortable around someone else, too, I wanted to say but didn’t. I had contemplated showing Kenneth the pictures, but that would mean admitting I knew who his wife was and revealing who I really was. Neither was an option at this point.
“Well,” I said, “if you find that funny, here’s something that will really make you laugh.”
“And what’s that?”
“I’m comfortable around you, too.” I bumped his hip with mine before moseying around the island to retrieve a pot and pan. I remembered when F.A.C.E. first purchased the brownstone and how we all came to study each room, to know where everything was. We had to pretend it was our home when we were there. I sat ‘my’ pot and pan on the island.
“It bothers me that I’m comfortable with you,” he said.
I leaned against the stove and peered into his brown eyes. Wrinkles formed on his brow. He crossed his arms over his chest. I catalogued everything about his face—the eyes, the long lashes, the strong jaw, the little dimple that formed on his right cheek when he smiled, the cleft in his chin. I looked at the flop of hair that rested on his forehead—a sign of him being carefree, or a sign that he needed a haircut.
“Why does it bother you, Mr. Stevenson?” I asked.
When he finally focused his eyes on me, he smiled. Mmm, I moaned inwardly. I definitely had to catalogue the crooked smile.
“I shouldn’t feel this comfortable with a woman that’s not my wife,” he replied. “Shouldn’t I feel bad about this?”
Slowly, I walked to him. Close to him. Close enough where my blouse rustled against his t-shirt.
“Do you feel bad?” I asked.
I watched his Adam’s apple bob up and down; he answered, “No.”
I placed the palm of my hand on his chest and patted twice. “Good. Now prepare my…” I glanced at the ingredients on the island, “…chicken alfredo, good sir. I hope it’s to my liking.”
Kenneth laughed and responded, “Will do, mi lady.”
He bowed deeply at the waist.
“Will you be okay in here?” I asked.
“As long as you sit and talk with me, yes.”
“Okay. Let me do something real quick. Be right back.”
I walked through the living room, down the hall, and entered the bathroom. I turned on the faucet and reached in my jeans for my cell phone.
On the second ring, Rico said, “Girl, are you trying to get some tonight?”
“Hush,” I whispered. “I just wanted to make sure everything’s going through on your end.”
“Yeah. The cameras in the living and dining rooms are on. Same with the bedroom…just in case.”
“Forget you, Rico Suave.”
I laughed. “Yeah, that’s what I thought. I’ll holler later.”
I looked in the mirror and checked my makeup. I touched my cheeks; they were warm. After rolling my shoulders, I took a breath and went to converse with Mr. Stevenson.
I should have been reveling in the feel of Kenneth’s hands on my feet, but I couldn’t stop staring at the spider plant by the bay window and the stereo system on the wall. Rico, because he had nothing better to do with his time, managed to place a camera in a woven, wooden pot. The day he placed the spider plant in his camera pot and sat it on the console table by the window, I could see him mentally patting himself on the back. The plant cascaded nearly to the floor, and the camera, as tiny as it was, wasn’t visible to the untrained eye. I knew it was there, and it was poised on me and Kenneth.
The stereo was wired to record conversations in the living room. After dinner, I had barely said one word.
I lay back on the sofa, pillows piled up behind me. I tried to relax. To act normal despite the investigative trappings.
I chuckled a bit. Kenneth was the one to cook dinner, yet I was getting the foot massage.
“What are you thinking about?” Kenneth asked.
I opened my mouth to speak when Kenneth kneaded the ball of my right foot; I felt tingly in my chest. I couldn’t help but to sigh.
“That is nice,” I said. “Are you a masseuse when you’re not in front of a jury?”
He grinned. “Only for special clients.”
He massaged each toe; I became lightheaded.
“You know,” I began, “massaging my feet is a very intimate thing to do.”
“I know.” He placed my feet in his lap; his hands disappeared under the cuff of my wide-legged jeans. I took in a breath as he tenderly kneaded my ankles.
This was not the Kenneth who didn’t molest me on the dance floor at Satisfaction. This was not the Kenneth who told me he wanted to be my friend and would try hard to not let the friendship go further. This definitely was not the Kenneth of two hours ago who felt a bit uncomfortable making me dinner.
I was excited, overly so, and somewhat frightened by this Kenneth, who rubbed my ankles and the top of my feet while staring at me with chocolate eyes. If he could change this much in a short evening, I feared what an extra hour or two would do.
Just when I was about to reach the brink of sexual fulfillment from a foot massage, Kenneth said, “May I use your bathroom?”
Stunned, I said, “Sure. Down the hall, first door on your left.”
As soon as he was in the hall, I flipped the light off, crawled to the plant and turned the camera toward the curtained window. I hit two buttons on the back of the stereo system that turned the recording off, then tapped a button on the front that loaded a pre-loaded selection of mood music. I took the cell from my pocket, put it on silent and sat it on a side table, and then I turned off the only house phone. By the time Kenneth came back, the lights were back on, I was still lying on the sofa, and Brian McKnight played softly in the background.
Kenneth looked at me; I could see the want in his eyes, and I knew he could see mine.
“I think I should go,” he whispered.
I jumped from the sofa and walked up to him.
“Why?” I asked.
He placed his hands on my shoulders, then rubbed up and down my arms. “Because I don’t want to hurt you.”
“You won’t hurt me,” I said, and that was partially true. If he stayed, I’m sure I would receive nothing but pleasure, but if he left, I would be crushed. The inner me was praying he wouldn’t leave. The inner me could not take a rejection so close to the last one she suffered.
“Cassie, I’m married,” he said.
To an adulterer, I almost said. “I know.”
“This,” he began, “this would be…”
“Good,” I said. I leaned in and stood on tiptoes to kiss him. It was a soft kiss, but it generated a moan from Kenneth.
“Kiss me,” I said.
The question threw me and instantly made me moist and heated.
“Right here.” I pointed to the left side of my neck. I tilted my head and when his lips made contact, my knees buckled. Trembling, I went back to the sofa and sat on my knees. I motioned my finger for Kenneth to follow. He did.
“Kiss right here,” I said and pointed to the right side of my neck. I squealed as he pulled me onto his lap. My knees dug into the sofa. His hands found my back and began to knead up and down while his mouth made contact with my neck.
I tried to calm myself, but I could hear my near-frantic pants. His tongue licked my ear lobe. Then he nipped it. Then he sucked it. That’s when the first orgasm of the night occurred.
His hands traveled down and cupped my rear. Without any initiation from my brain, because it had long turned to liquid, my hips began gyrating against Kenneth; there was no doubt that he wanted me. Second orgasm.
Kenneth released my ear and for a full five seconds, we stared at one another. He kissed me once on the mouth. Softly. Then again. His tongue glided over my lips. He bit my bottom lip. I sighed. He kissed the curve between my bottom lip and chin as he hands moved up my back, neck, and into my hair. He kneaded my scalp, and I panted out, “Kenneth.”
He groaned. I watched his face; I felt him take handfuls of my hair into his hands. He kissed me again, this time hard, this time with our moans tumbling into each other’s mouth. Just as he broke the kiss, he gently, yet forcefully pulled my head back and trailed kisses down my chin, down my throat, down to my cleavage. Every part of my body throbbed for him, and then he licked a slow line back to my mouth and kissed me deeply. Third orgasm.
Kenneth’s hands disappeared under my blouse and caressed my breasts.
A loud banging at the door caused me to scream. Kenneth and I looked at the door, then at each other. His eyes were wide and wild, his lips pink and puffy. His hands still cupped my breasts. The banging continued, and I reluctantly stood on shaky legs and stepped to the door.
I opened it, ready to cuss someone’s ass out, but no one was there. I looked up and down the street. Nothing. As I turned to head back in, I spotted a white piece of paper jutted out from the mailbox. I snatched it and read:
Where the hell is the A/V?
I quickly crumbled up the paper and stuffed it into my pocket. I closed the door. Kenneth stood.
“Who was it?” he asked.
I shrugged. “No one.”
Kenneth crossed his arms. “It was a sign.”
“From what?” I asked. “From who?”
“I don’t know. Somebody who knew we might be making a mistake.”
I frowned. He was going to leave. He wouldn’t stay. He had fallen into temptation, but a banging at the door stopped him from banging…well, you know.
I went to him and patted his arm. “You’re a good man, Charlie Brown,” I said.
He laughed. “You are a nut,” he said. “You know this, right?”
“It’s not the first time I’ve heard it.”
We stood, staring at each other. He bent and kissed my forehead. I turned away and wiped a few stray tears from my face. I couldn’t believe I had cried, but this hurt.
As I walked the short distance to the door, I practice my friendship smile and dried my cheeks.
I opened the door. “Thanks for dinner,” I said. “For a man, you really know how to work the pots and pans.”
He smiled. “I’ll call you.” He kissed me again, this time on the cheek.
I waved and shut the door. I didn’t think he would call me.
The back door slammed shut, and I braced myself for a fight.
“What the fuck are you doing, Carter?” Rico screamed.
I peeked out the window. Kenneth had just driven away.
I sat on the sofa and stared straight ahead.
“Oh, so now you not talking?” he asked.
“He’s not a cheater,” I answered.
“So what the hell were y’all doing in here then?”
“That’s not because he’s a cheater.”
Rico sat beside me, placed his hand under my chin and turned my face to him. “Aren’t married people who screw other people cheaters?”
“His wife is the cheater, Rico,” I said. “Not him.”
“Okay. His wife is cheating. He’s here kissing on you. And you’re pretending to be someone you’re not, Cassie Deckart. Do you think this is going to end happily?”
I wanted Rico to go. I didn’t want this discussion. I didn’t want anything to taint what I was feeling now. I wanted to go to bed tonight with thoughts of dreamy massages and kisses and sex and orgasms.
“Well,” he said, “do you?”
“One,” I said, sticking out an index finger, “I didn’t say I wanted happily ever after. That is the last thing I’m worried about right now.”
“What, are you feeling horny?”
My lip twitched. I almost slapped Rico; instead, I stood and moved over to the chair in the corner.
“It’s not necessarily about sex, Rico,” I said. “You wouldn’t understand, and I am too tired to break it down for you.”
“So what do I tell Vince?” Rico asked.
I shrugged. “Really, I don’t care. In a nutshell, this is how things are.”
Rico leaned forward, his hands on his knees.
“I am hurt, okay? Your boy, my best friend, blew me off, and it fucking hurts. I wanted to curb that hurt. Enter Kenneth.”
“But your heart is hurt over Vince. You’re not using Kenneth to ail your heart. You’re using him to fix your concha.”
“Fuck you, Rico,” I said.
“No. I’m married.”
I winced. I stood, retrieved my cell from the table, and headed to the front door. I heard Rico yell that he was sorry as I slammed the door shut, but I didn’t stop.
I didn’t need him to be o, holier than thou. I didn’t need anyone to tell me what I was doing was right or wrong. To me, nothing was wrong. I was trying to be casual, to hang loose, to get some satisfaction. Kenneth could satisfy those needs. Enough said.