Anya stands in the patio doorway, gazing out into the rainy garden. I wonder what she makes of it all, oblivious as she is to the menacing sound of thunder, the shrill wail of the wind. Can she still appreciate the violence of the storm, its fierce and godlike nature? Or does her soundproof world render everything peaceful, benign? Her slender silhouette has a stillness to it, a serenity, as if the absence of one sense has freed her from distraction, tension, whatever it is that leads me to constantly, nervously fidget. Our flimsy deck chairs jerk and dance across the lawn, tumbling and rolling apart only to collide again.
She doesn't hear me approach, has no idea that I'm there until it's too late, until my right arm is wrapped tight around her waist and my left hand is over her mouth, cradling her jaw, caressing her throat. She moans, and it is a hollow sound, unable as she is to convey feeling through her voice. I carry her to the bedroom and she expresses in other ways her delight at me taking her by surprise when I wasn't due home for hours. It is a game we play often.
Later, Anya brews some tea in the kitchen, wearing nothing but my shirt. She carries the cups back to bed and together we lie there in silence, drinking and dozing. Soon Anya is fast asleep, but I can't seem to drift off – the foul weather outside still rages, and I feel restless in the pit of my stomach. I carefully ease myself off the bed and get dressed. Things to do are definitely in short supply; I don't much fancy having a drink, and going for a drive on a day like this would be sheer stupidity.
I content myself for a while with flicking through television channels, then scanning the first page of a paperback over and over. The restless feeling returns and I find myself pacing, itching for I don't know what. The sound of the rain on the roof, constantly hammering, is starting to drive me mad – for once, I envy Anya. There's a girl who'll never know a sleepless night.
The doorbell rings once, then a second time only a moment later. It’s Laurel from work. Laurel whose pencil skirts know exactly what they’re doing. Laurel who laughs louder and longer than is necessary any time a man she likes tells a joke. Laurel who I fucked two weeks ago and haven’t been able to get out of my head since.
She smells like the rain.
“I missed you,” she says, stepping over the threshold and out of the downpour before I can invite her in or tell her to get the hell out of here.
“My wife is asleep upstairs,” I whisper hoarsely, by way of response.
“Don’t worry baby,” she smiles. “We can be quiet. We shouldn’t need to be, anyway – right?”
“Please go,” I say. “I’ll see you tomorrow–”
“I can’t wait,” she tells me, and presses the full length of her drenched body against mine. I feel her cold wetness blotting through my clothes, and a shiver goes through me as her thin arms circle around my waist.
Her lips are slick, salty against mine. When her hand works its way inside my boxers, it is clammy and moist. My cock stiffens despite my resistance, and all I can think of is my sleeping wife above us, separated only by wooden beams. I suddenly want Laurel out of here, far away from our empty mugs and battered lawn furniture.
But she won’t go. At least, not until I give her what she wants.
I push her against the now-closed door, reach inside her raincoat, under her dress, and yank down her knickers – no doubt expensive, probably ripped now. I push myself inside her and she squeals with an almost childlike delight. It pierces my eardrums and I wince as I thrust into her again. Knowing that Anya can’t hear it doesn’t make me feel any better.
It’s over quickly. Not soon enough. Laurel insists on kissing me hard before she leaves, as if to leave her imprint on me, a memory of her that will not fade or wash away. I try not to grimace as I close the door behind her.
I check myself in the hallway mirror: no lipstick smudges, no unsightly love bites. The perfect crime. I decide a shower is a good idea, and head up to the bathroom. Anya and I meet on the stairs. Her lips part as if to say something, but when Anya chooses to speak it will be with her hands. She takes in the state of me: hair disheveled, clothes covered in damp patches, flies still down. My wife is deaf, not stupid. When she asks me everything with just that one look, I can't even shake my head to deny it – I smell like the rain.