calculating: to forecast or compute the character or consequences of; to fit or prepare by the adaptation of means to an end

I am calculating. I am a strategist. I love games. In monopoly, I’m buying Illinois Avenue even if it leaves me with a dollar to my name. I am analytical. Even when I am spontaneous, I do a cost-benefit analysis. We all do. I just happen to give a certain amount of conscious thought to my actions.

My flirtation with Billy was calculated insomuch that I knew my tangible actions were innocuous enough to prevent any recourse or recrimination from Dexter. But I wanted more. In fact, after a couple months, I became obsessed. I thought about Billy all the time. Carnal, lascivious thoughts. Seeing this 23-yr old man, in the prime of his jet-skiing, water-skiing physicality, take off his work shirt when it was 100-degrees outside to fix something in my car was more beautiful than any piece of artwork Dexter ever bought me.

But I knew better than to actually act on my desires. I wouldn’t risk my job or career on something I knew to be a flirtation born out of boredom and distress. And I couldn’t trust Billy to keep his mouth shut. And I wasn’t willing to risk my relationship with Dexter.

The day came, however, after months of dissatisfaction with my project that my exit was confirmed (my chunk of a rock of an engagement ring actually came in handy when explaining to my project partner that they either take me off the project or I quit the company, as my fiance would love nothing more).

The weekend before my project departure date was my family’s annual beach trip. Dexter was unable to attend – he had a golfing trip. Billy’s family had a beach house 20 minutes away from where my family stayed. And he would be down there at the same time.

For this trip, instead of packing just my typical spartan wardrobe of bathing suits, flip flops and casual clothes, I included a few additional pieces – the black open-toed, sling back heals, my black mini shorts, and a backless top. On Saturday, when Billy called to see if I wanted to go out to a bar, I said ‘yes.’ He would drive and pick me up.

When it came time to get ready, I found myself feeling the same sense of eager anticipation the first time I went out with Dexter. I paid acute attention to everything – from what and how I shaved in the shower to the lotion and perfume and jewelry I put on. By the time I was finished, I felt something I hadn’t felt in over a year – sexy.

A part of me died in my relationship with Dexter. I know it happens to couples – people get complacent and stop trying to impress. But sex and sexy is a part of who I am – they are inherently me. And so, if that part of me died a little in my relationship with Dexter, it was resurrected by Billy.

That afternoon, I left a message on Dexter’s phone, a time I knew he’d probably be on the back nine, letting him know I would be meeting up with some friends from work that evening (the same story I told my family). While getting ready later that evening, I ignored the ring on my cell from Dexter. I instead chose to call him back while I was riding in the car on route to the bar with Billy.

At the beginning of my project , when I first mentioned Billy, Dexter dismissed him. Yes, he was curious to know who was burning me CDs – but the notion of a 23-year old kid still living at home with his family posing any type of threat was laughable. However, the night I was at the beach in the car with Billy, explaining the circumstances and my plans for the rest of evening, I sensed raised eyebrows from Dexter.

“Put him on the phone. I want to talk to him.”

I handed my phone over to Billy as he drove.

“Dexter wants to talk to you,” I explained.

I not sure what exactly Dexter said to him. Billy replied “uh-huh” several times over the course of the minute-long conversation and ended with a “definitely.” After that, I didn’t think about Dexter for the rest of the evening.