By the Book

Moira is worried that she hasn’t been fulfilling her obligations as a wife.  What if her husband doesn’t agree?

This story contains adult themes.  Non-explicit references to intimate acts.

Moira sat across from Jenna with her hands wrapped around her steaming coffee mug. She waited for Jenna to make the big reveal.

“So…remember last week when I told you I bought a copy of that new book?”

“Mm-hm.” Moira wasn’t particularly interested in being the other half of Jenna’s book club. She had better things to do with her time than listen to anyone go on about the latest in self-help. She sipped her coffee carefully, preparing to make a shopping list in her head while Jenna talked at her.

“Well, it’s really good. I mean”—Jenna leaned forward conspiratorially—“it definitely spiced things up, if you know what I mean.”

Moira rolled her eyes. Jenna was simultaneously repressed and obsessed when it came to sex. Moira was used to it, but it didn’t mean she had to pay any attention to Jenna’s advice.

“Don’t give me that look.” Jenna frowned. “You know, this is so typical of you. I wish you would just read it before you pass judgment.”

“Fine. Tell me again how you ended up reading this thing.”

“Our pastor recommended it for couples struggling with issues of intimacy.”

Moira raised her eyebrows. “I didn’t know you and Don were having problems,” she said. Jenna had never given any indication that anything was wrong.

“Well, we weren’t, exactly, but we did figure out that I wasn’t being as…receptive to his needs as I should be.”


Jenna reached down into her oversize purse. She produced a slightly rumpled paperback and handed it to Moira. “Here you go.” She smirked. “The good parts are marked.”

“Uh…” Moira said again. She reached out to take the book. “You sure about this?”

“Trust me,” Jenna said.

Moira frowned at the cover, which was considerably more dull than she would have expected for a runaway best-seller on sex for religious types. It wasn’t worth arguing with Jenna, though. Moira figured she would just stuff the book on a shelf and return it in a month with her apologies that she didn’t end up having time to read it. She set it on top of her purse.

“Trust me,” Jenna repeated, and this time, Moira just nodded.


Moira didn’t give much more thought to the book for about a week. She had moved it around from place to place, anxious to make sure that the kids didn’t get hold of it. Eventually, she threw it in the glove compartment of her car, since that was the one place she knew no one would randomly come across it. Otherwise, she didn’t even crack the spine to see which pages Jenna had dog-eared.

The next time the book crossed Moira’s mind was the day she took all three of her children for dentist appointments. Just as they were pulling into the parking lot, she realized that she had brought books for the kids but not for herself. She remembered the book sitting in her glove compartment and decided that it was better than thumbing through months-old copies of magazines that weren’t of interest to her even when they were new. She reached in and pulled it out, intending to flip through just to humor Jenna.

Moira and the kids settled into the waiting room. With the kids distracted by their own reading material, Moira opened the book for the first time. Within five minutes, she was absorbed. She hadn’t had any idea that she had been so neglectful as a wife. She found herself hoping that her husband hadn’t already gone tripping down a path of having his needs met elsewhere. By the time the third child had finished up with his cleaning, she had made a plan.

Moira had her chance to put her plan into action the very next day. Instead of staying up to watch the news, she turned in early. She would need to wake up in time to implement Step One. She willed herself to sleep so that she would be refreshed and ready.

She woke about fifteen minutes before Jeff’s alarm went off and stretched. She felt Jeff stir slightly beside her, and her pulse quickened. She steeled her resolve. Leaning over, Moira slowly pushed the bedding down so that it was about midway up Jeff’s legs. She peered at his deep blue boxers. They didn’t appear to be tight anywhere…specific, but Moira wasn’t sure. She bent down and put her lips right up against—

Moira suddenly had the wind knocked out of her as Jeff’s knee jerked up and caught her in the chest. His hand flew up, smacking her above her left eye. “Ow!”

Jeff’s eyes flew open and he stared at Moira. “What in holy hell—Moira? What are you doing?”

“I—” She deflated somewhat. “I was trying to give you a morning wake-up.”

“By licking my crotch? Good grief. I could have really hurt you!”

Moira scowled. “I didn’t lick it. I only kissed it.”

Jeff threw an arm over his eyes. “Yeah, well, don’t do it again. That’s—it’s creepy, Moira. I mean, I was asleep!”

“Okay, okay. Sheesh.” She flopped back down in the bed.

Jeff reached out his arm. “It’s okay,” he said. He drew her against him. “I guess I wouldn’t mind if we did that in the morning sometimes, but I’d rather you wait until I’m awake.”

Moira relaxed into Jeff’s embrace. “Okay.” She told herself that Step One hadn’t gone quite the way she had expected, but there was time to figure something else out later.

She spent the day poring over the book and trying to figure out which things to try next. After rereading one particular section of the book, she decided that before they did anything else, she would have to have some frank words with her husband.

When they were laying in bed together that night, she turned to Jeff and said, “So…do you ever, you know, um, touch yourself?”

Jeff turned his head abruptly to the side to look at her. “Moira, what has gotten into you today?”

“I’m just trying to have an open conversation with my husband about sex. Is that so bad?”

“Well, yes, if you’re going to keep surprising me like this. Why do you want to know?”

“Because I just read that it’s not healthy for you to do it unless you’re watching me strip or something.”

Jeff laughed. “Are you suggesting doing a pole dance for me?” He seemed to have noticed that she was serious, because his mouth opened slightly. “You are suggesting it.”

“Well…no, not that specifically, but maybe something similar. Want me to do it right now?” She brightened a little.

“No! I mean, maybe.” He frowned. “Uh…and you want me to masturbate while you do it? Isn’t that kind of—I don’t know, awkward?”

“For you or for me?”

“Both, I think.”

“Oh. We don’t have to, if you’d rather not.”

He sat up a little. “I guess we could maybe try that.”

She smiled. “All right.”

It ended up being interesting. Moira had never watched her husband that way before, and she found it thoroughly erotic. He didn’t end up finishing himself off; by the time she had all her clothes removed, they were both pretty well ready to have their hands on each other. Still, she counted Step Two as a success. She fell asleep considering her next move.

The next night, Moira went into the bedroom while Jeff was still in the adjoining bathroom. She undressed completely and slipped under the covers. When Jeff emerged after brushing his teeth, he looked surprised to see her.

“Not staying up tonight?”


He joined her in the bed, and she moved so that he could tell she was naked. He turned over.

“Aren’t you cold?” he asked.

“You could warm me up,” she replied.


Moira propped herself on her elbow. “What?”

“I’m actually kind of not in the mood.” He put his hand on her apologetically. “I’m tired, and I have an early meeting.”

“It’s okay,” Moira told him. “I just wanted you to know I’m willing whenever you are.”

Jeff smiled. “We could just cuddle if you like,” he suggested, and he held out his arms for her.

“I’ll just put my pajamas on first.” She slid out of bed and dressed in her nightclothes then climbed back in. She settled down with her back against Jeff’s chest. Step Three had not been entirely successful, but it hadn’t been a dud. At least she was wrapped in Jeff’s arms.

By Friday Moira was ready for the last part of her plan. She figured if it went well, she would flip through the book to find other ideas she could try. The section on using electronic media had piqued her interest and might be worth a shot. She certainly wanted Jeff to know she was available and willing to do all the things she imagined he was expecting of her. If there was one thing she had learned by reading that book it was that she needed to be flexible when it came to pleasing her husband.

After the children were all tucked in bed and fast asleep, Moira and Jeff retired to the bedroom. They lay facing each other, and he reached out to touch her cheek. Slowly, he drew her in to kiss her. They stayed that way for a while, letting things between them warm up. They shed their clothes, leaving them in a heap beside the bed.

When they were fully undressed, Moira surprised Jeff by turning onto her stomach and positioning herself so that her backside was raised. It took her several minutes to realize that Jeff was no longer touching her. She flopped down and rolled back over.

“What?” she asked.

“I was going to ask you the same thing.” Jeff looked genuinely confused.

“You don’t want to try it?”

“Try what?”

“Um. Anal?”

Jeff raised his eyebrows. “Do you?”

“Not particularly, but I thought it was something we should experiment with.”


“Because…” She didn’t really want to tell him about the book.

Jeff sat back. “Moira, what has gotten into you this week?” His gaze turned sharp. “Is there something you want to tell me?”

“No. I mean yes.” Moira sighed. She reached into her nightstand and took out the book. She handed it to Jeff.

He took one look at the cover and burst out laughing. “This is where you were getting these crazy ideas?”

Moira’s cheeks flamed. “Yes.” She snatched the book back and flipped it open. “He says the best way to keep your husband happy so he won’t stray or look at porn is to be available for him in every way. As your wife, I should fulfill the fantasies you would chase.”

Jeff’s mouth dropped open. “Are you—are you worried that I’m having an affair? Is that what this is about?”

“Well, no, actually,” Moira admitted. “But Jenna said—”

“Jenna? Jenna gave you this piece of crap?” He snorted. “That explains a lot.” He took Moira’s face in his hands. “We’ve been married for twenty years, Moira. In all that time, we’ve never had any problems in the bedroom.” He kissed her lightly. “Unless there’s something you haven’t told me.”

“No. I’ve always thought you were a very good lover.” Moira smiled. “So you don’t think we need that book?”

Jeff shook his head. “Not at all.” He took the book from her. “This”—he tossed the book across the room so that it landed splayed on the floor—“is what I think of that stupid book.” He folded Moira in his arms. “And this”—he kissed her, open-mouthed and hot, before he drew back again—“is what I think of you.”

Moira giggled a little. “I love you too.” She reached up and ran a hand from his shoulder down his side to his hip. “Screw the damn book,” she said. “Screw Jenna, too, for that matter.”

“I hope you don’t mean that literally.”

Moira laughed and pulled her husband in for another long, passionate kiss before they collapsed onto the bed in their eager desire for each other.

© February 3, 2013

One thought on “By the Book

  1. Pingback: Notable News: Week of February 2-8, 2013 « unchained faith

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