Stacey wished James would hurry up and go to bed. Sure, it was interesting hearing about his trip, but she really wanted to get on with Riana’s journal for once and for all. The curiosity was killing her!
“Did you hear from Emma?” James asked.
“Yes,” Stacey told him, “I got an email a little while ago. Says things are going great. Hayden added a few sentences of her own about how they’re all getting quite a kick out of how psyched Emma is about going to the beach. They’ll be hitting Laguna Beach in a few days, as you know.”
James smiled. “Yeah. Guess that kind of excitement is to be expected after growing up in the desert.”
After they ate the dinner Stacey had prepared, James announced that he would be going upstairs to take a shower.
“Okay,” Stacey said as she began tidying up the kitchen. “I’ll just finish up in here, then surf the web for a little while.”
“Thanks for the wonderful dinner.”
Stacey watched him retreat. She knew he’d be too tired to make love that night, and she was okay with that.
She tidied up the kitchen as quickly as she could, then hurried over to the laptop. She booted it up and sat down in front of it. “Damn!” she muttered, jumping up a moment later. She’d left the journal site address in her purse. Scurrying back into the kitchen, she yanked the post-it out and nearly jogged back to the laptop. She sat back down, not remembering the thing ever taking so long to boot. Once it finally did, she typed in the address and was amazed by what she found.
It appeared to be a social network for people to share their writing, be it about their lives, stories, poems, and more. They left comments on people’s posts, set up polls, and participated in chat rooms and discussions on every topic imaginable. People, mostly young women, talked openly about their sex lives, good, bad and boring. They asked questions and left feedback for others seeking advice on relationships, health issues, job-related issues and more.
Stacey browsed through Riana’s profile. It seemed honest enough and to the point, but brief. She went by the name of DesertGal.
“You have quite an amazing little world here, don’t you?” she whispered softly.
The water stopped running upstairs. Stacey glanced up the stairs as if she were a child doing something horribly wrong that she feared getting caught for. She decided it would be best to keep this to herself, figuring that the fewer people that knew about it, the less chance of it getting back to Riana. She knew she should have told Riana about accidentally bumping her iMac and seeing the journal or refrain from checking up on her, but decided not to say anything in case it caused Riana to run and delete things she might find interesting. And if she didn’t, she may hold back in future entries, preventing her from knowing something she might want to know. She wanted to learn all there was to learn about Riana, and this might be a quicker, easier way to do just that since they had limited time together. People acted differently with strangers as opposed to those they knew.
The bathroom door opened upstairs. Stacey glanced up to see a shadow cast partway down the staircase as James crossed the hall and walked into their bedroom.
She returned to Riana’s profile and quickly scanned the page. She had photos of herself, pets, and other people that could be anyone. She assumed Amberlyn was in some of them. She listed her age, gender, sexual orientation, interests, and hobbies, most of which she was already aware of. Surprisingly, the journal entries started not long after moving into the guesthouse.
Footsteps descended the stairs.
Stacey clicked out of the writer’s site and into a news site.
James got to the bottom of the stairs, clad only in his briefs. He stretched his arms overhead and yawned.
“Ready to be tucked in for the night?” Stacey asked, rising from her chair.
“I sure am,” James said, gathering her in his arms. “It’s too bad I’m this tired. We so seldom ever have the house to ourselves.”
Stacey smiled and kissed James on the lips. “True. But our daughter isn’t coming back tomorrow or the next day. Come on. Let’s get you into bed so you’ll be refreshed and ready for work in the morning.”
“Sure you don’t mind, even though it’s not even 9:00 yet?”
“I’m sure,” Stacey said, nudging James up the stairs in front of her. “Besides, I want to check out some jewelry stores online for my mother’s birthday in a couple of weeks.”
That much was true.
“Okay,” James said. “Then I guess I won’t feel so bad about crashing on you early.”
“No need to feel bad at all,” Stacey assured him. “I’ll be joining you soon enough anyway as I’m pretty tired myself. We’ll make it up to each other tomorrow night for sure.”
Once James was settled in bed, Stacey went back downstairs, fixed herself a cup of tea, then she eagerly settled herself in front of the laptop once again.
She opened Riana’s journal which had sixteen entries in all. Each one had a different background color.
“How creative and colorful,” she softly breathed.
She clicked on the first entry titled And So We Meet Again. Deep violet text appeared against a bright pink background. She began to read.
I have to pinch myself just to make sure this is real and that I’m not dreaming. Yup, I’m really living in the guesthouse behind Stacey’s house. I never would have believed this in a million years, of course, since we didn’t exactly get along when we knew each other 15 years ago. The tyrant managed the apartment complex me and an old friend resided in here in Phoenix.
Originally from New England, I moved out here when I was 26 in hopes of a better life. Well, it wasn’t always better, but it sure was more adventurous! It was also tragic as well.
Mark, a gay guy I’d known all my life, moved here 15 months earlier. I came to join him, then got my own studio apartment which was identical to his. He warned me about the bitch of a manager, saying that many people had problems with her.
Eventually, it was my turn. The things she said and did were bizarre and confusing. Mark, other tenants I’d become friendly with at the time, and I, often pondered the possibilities for why she was dishing out an overly generous dose of her wrath upon me. We came up with several theories. Maybe she hated gays and lesbians. Maybe she hated Jews. Maybe she was just plain mean. Maybe she liked me but found the idea a bit scary and just didn’t know how to handle it. After all, she was married and had a child on the way by the time I got fed up enough to move.
The journal went on to explain the discussions they’d had, her problem with Andrea, a little about her life in between, then life after moving into the guesthouse and discovering the journal site through a cyber friend. She didn’t learn much more than she already knew. It was the last entry that she found she had mixed emotions about. It was posted earlier in the evening, just two hours ago. She thought about it a bit and then she read the entry again.
As I told Stacey, I don’t have a problem with having a fling with a married woman so long as her husband is okay with it. I just don’t want to do anything behind James’ back. I guess Stacey would tell him about us if anything really did happen, so there shouldn’t be any worries there. I hope not anyway! I don’t want to be anyone’s homewrecker.
Usually, I would prefer to see someone who wasn’t married, but in this case, I’m glad she is. Stacey’s still not someone I would want a relationship with. She may be attractive, but I could never imagine being happy with a bossy bitch like her. So, if she’s worried I’ll get too attached, she’s certainly worrying for nothing. I don’t want to spend much time with her, and if our “relationship” ever does become intimate, I wouldn’t want it to happen too often. Maybe just once or twice a month. It might keep it special that way anyhow if we don’t see each other too often. Even too much of a good thing eventually gets old, doesn’t it?
Stacey sat back in her chair and folded her arms across her chest and exhaled loudly. So she plans on me becoming “old” news? Sweet, just sweet. “We’ll see about that. We’ll just see if I can keep things interesting enough for you or not,” she said softly.
A glance at the clock said it was now nearly midnight. She looked up at the ceiling. “So much for coming to join you soon, dear hubby.”