MY FLESH/MY FAITH BY: Shonda J. Stephens

I drive by Helena’s shop on my way home from church. My mind races; my heart pounds through my chest. I’d pictured her with my husband, her with me, her with the both of us a dozen times. The thoughts I had entertained about it had given me great pleasure, but now that it was no longer going to be a fantasy, but a reality, I’m not so sure it’s what I want to do.

I know it’s a sin, but I love him, so I agreed to do it. I know I’m not old enough to have hot flashes, but I’m hot. My flesh is weak from lust. My spirit is upset; the religious way I was raised has me filled with guilt. The quickening of my spirit to do right battles with my thoughts of adultery, promiscuity, fornication and perverseness. It’s funny how the preacher just preached on the ‘sins of the flesh’ earlier this morning. In a stern voice, he had warned his congregation to “deny ungodliness and worldly lust,” his breathes heavy after ever two words. I squirmed in my seat as his words settled deep into my spirit like a splinter under my skin.

I slow down my speed. I see her inside of the store window; she notices my car and waves friendly-like. I turn the corner as if I don’t notice her: slam on my breaks. My insides shake with nervousness while I wait for the red light; the car in front of me inches away. My heart thumps wildly within my chest. I’m a wreck.

“Get a grip, girl!” I tell myself.

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artwork by Corey Tre-Dot Henderson

The time on the dash board shows that the moment is hours away. Brendon made the hotel reservation last night. Our bag is already packed and everything is all set for tonight. I pull into the drive way. Brendon stands at the door. He greets me with a pleasant smile, then pulls me into a warm hug.

“Hey, baby!” he calls out to me. He kisses me passionately on my glossed lips. I wonder who he is more excited to be with tonight: her or me. But I keep it to myself. I love him so much I just want to make him happy.

I agreed to grant his sexual fantasy as well as put an end to my own sexual curiosity. He’d spent months convincing me to do this, and once I agreed we spent another few weeks planning it, and now the time was here.

“Hey!” I kiss him – clutch my bible close to my chest between us.

“You ready?” he asks. “I spoke to Helena, and she is excited about tonight,” he informs me as we walk inside the house.

“You talked to her?” I am taken aback.

“Yes,” he answers. “I just wanted to make sure she is okay.” There is a big smile on his face, bigger than any I have seen in the five years we’ve been together. I sigh with insecurity, and hug myself for comfort.

“Is she ready?” I ask, trying to appear concerned, but I don’t really care how she is feeling. Why he cares about how she feels concerns me more. She is nobody to us: just a third wheel in his sexually fantasy.

I sit my bible down on the coffee table; it takes me a minute to move away from it. Quietly, I say a little prayer of forgiveness, then ask myself, Do I really want to do this? Betray God?

I wish I can cover His eyes so that he won’t see what we are about to do. I ask for forgiveness again. I hadn’t even done anything yet, but the thoughts I have been entertaining have made the act feel already done.

“Yes, she is ready,” he replies. I wish I can say the same.

“How are you? Are you ready?” He pulls me into another hug; is he trying to comfort me?

How did I get here? I silently ask myself. A part of me wants to say forget it, but I don’t want to hurt him. I fear I will lose him. “I’m ready,” I reassure him.

Upstairs, I sit on the edge of the bed, close my eyes and take a moment to think. Then I get up ready. I shave. Wash up. Get my skin smooth as butter. I straighten my hair. Make-up my face. Slide into my red stilettos. Slip on my black belted coat. Brendon is already in the car. I grab the duffle bag full of toys and oils. I glance at the Bible on the table on my way out the door. Guilt hovers over me like a dark cloud. Fear grips me like an angry, disgruntled man. I want to say no and turn back, but I go anyway.

The clock counts down. Everywhere I look, I see signs of my wrong, my betrayal towards God, on store signs and billboards on the drive to the hotel. I’ve driven down this street a thousand times and never saw the Trojan poster in the window of the gas station store. And never before had I paid any attention to the half-dressed girls on the ‘Crazy Horse’ billboard, but they were in full view now.

I shift a little in the passenger seat, my bare body tenses inside of my French Connection belted trench coat. The closer we get to our destination, the more I can’t seem to breathe. My insides shake with fear, but I hold my peace for his sake. I just want to get this done and over with. I wonder if God will forgive me if I go through with this.

“Reese. Brendon. Hi!” Helena greets us both as we enter the hotel suite. I feel exposed like Eve in the Garden of Eden. I draw the wide collar of my coat together to hide whatever could be seen of my nakedness. My inner voice warns me to go home, but I ignore it.

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Artwork by Diamin Nicole

Helena is as stunning as she was the day I chose her to be the one. Her mocha skin glows, her heart-shaped lips glisten. I want to get lost in her dark brown almond-shaped eyes. The thick curves of her body fit beautifully in her short, see-through black laced dress; her matching black nine-inch heels define the shape of her long legs.

Wetness drops down my inner thighs. Excitement erects my nipples. My flesh weakens with lustful thoughts and clouds my better judgement. My vagina throbs as I reflect on what I want to do to her, what I want Brendon to do to me. My body begs for the both of them to have their way with me – make me feel so good.

I drop the bag on the floor. My inner voice still warns me to go, but my aching flesh speaks louder. I need a release like a junkie needs morphine. Brendon steps to me and unties the belt of my coat. I let it slide slowly down my smooth, cocoa brown naked body and onto the floor. He cups my face in his hands and kisses me wantonly. I feel Helena behind me, her soft, bare skin on mine excites me. I gasp for air.

Brendon kneels down in front of me, kissing the lips of my hairless vagina. Helena caresses my firm breasts from behind. She holds me up as Brendon has me for his meal, bringing me to my climax. I turn and kiss Helena’s succulent lips fervently, caress her body passionately’. She jolts, breathes heavily.

Doggie-style, Brendon positions me on the edge of the king-sized bed and deep strokes me hard. I let my lips explore Helena’s body with no fear. I know exactly where to put my tongue. I know exactly how she yearns to feel; her plump breasts fill the palms of my hands. She shifts and moans. Brendon pounces me from behind, grips my waist to still me as he reaches his peak. Helena jerks. She begs me to set her free, but the taste of her is so good, I suck her even more until she screams my name and explodes uncontrollably. She squirms off the bed to gather herself.

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photo provided by Zaid Zahid

I nod to Brendon as if to say, ‘We’re not done’. I don’t feel like myself. He walks over to Helena and grips the thick curls of her natural hair, wrapping it around his fingers. He then leads her back over to the bed and lays her on her back. He spreads her legs wide, heels up to the ceiling; he enters her just as I climb onto the bed and make her face my seat; backwards, I grind.

As if it were just Brendon and I in the room, he looks me in my eyes as he thrusts into her good. I stare at him. I see his eyes turn red. His mouth begins to foam; his skin moves like an alien has taken over. His smile turns into a devious grin, his teeth fangs, and horns grow from the crown of his head; he is changed, no longer the same man.

I can’t speak. This release feels like a drug that I have long needed. I yield to its addicting pleasure, and succumb to the trance it has me under, leaving me to care about nothing but the way Helena has me feeling and thinking. I could die right here, I feel so good.

“Oh God!” I shout. The sound of His name out of my mouth brings me back to reality: hits me hard. My sin smacks me in my face. I hear the chilling, wicked laughter from the belly of Hades. “Oh God!” I cry. “What did I do?”

“Baby, what’s wrong?” the voice of Brendon asks. I look up for him to save me, but his eyes are still red, his skin grey pale. He is not the man I came here with.

“What did I do?” I freak out and jump off the bed in a total panic. I throw on my coat. “Oh God! Oh God!” I yell frantically. I look around the room; it is dark. The walls move in and out as if pulsating.

“Reese, wait!” Brendon calls out. He gets to the door before me and guards it so that I cannot leave. He snarls at me like a guard dog ready to attack. His red eyes glare at me.

“God help me!” I plead. “What did we do?!” I scream at him. I ball up my fist and fight him to get out. I had laid down with the devil. My skin crawls. I feel dirty and ashamed.

“Baby, wait!” Brendon begs. I run in mortal terror out the door and out of the hotel, across the parking lot to my car.

“No!” I am weeping as I run towards my car. “It’s okay,” he yells in the distance far behind me, his voice is craggy and deep. I don’t turn around. I fumble with the belt of my coat to tie it.

I keep running. “What did I do?” I cry aloud like a mother who has just watched her child die. I fall to my knees, my face full of tears before I even get to my car, and sob. “God please forgive me,” I beg. But in my heart, I don’t believe He hears me for my sin is great.

I let the lust of my flesh defeat me. I wail, my flesh stained with my sin, my guilt, my regret all for the lust of a man and woman. I have compromised my faith. I tarnished my relationship with God whose still, small voice I can’t hear anymore, all for one night of pleasure; the spirit of God I cannot feel anymore.

Instead, I feel cold and clammy. The sky turns dark, opens up and pours rain. “What have I done? Oh God! No!” I scream at the top of my lungs up to the sky I fear warns the end of the world.

“Reese?” I hear Brendon call my name, but I want nothing to do with him. He walks over to me, lifts me up from off the wet ground and shakes me.

“Get away from me!” I fight him. “I hate you!”

“Reese?!” he hollers, and smacks me gently on the side of my face. “It’s me!” Slowly, I open my eyes. I blink slow and look around. “Reese? It’s me. Are you alright?” he asks.

I look up. He is normal. He is standing by the bed over me with a half pitcher of water. “It’s me, Brendon, baby.”

“It’s you!” I exhale and smile. I throw myself on him and hug him tight around his neck “It’s you. It didn’t happen! Thank God!”

“What didn’t happen?” he asks, his brow raised. “I came upstairs to check on you and you were passed out on the bed. Are you okay?”

“I’m fine, now,” I giggle with joy. It was nothing more than a bad dream. I smile at him, and reach out and wrap my arms around his neck again, hugging him tight. “I love you.”

“I love you, too, baby,” he smiles back. “Now come on.” He walks over to the dresser, sets the pitcher down and heads for the door. “Helena is waiting for us at the hotel. Are you ready?”

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Shonda J. Stephens is a writer, poet, and working mother.  She has released a book of inspirational poems entitled Inspiration from Within.  Currently, Stephens is completing her debut novel.

Feature artwork provided by Diamin Nicole.  Her work can be viewed on Picture Pearlfect as well as for purchase at Picture Pearlfect Etsy.