It's been four months since Veronica has had sex and she's aching for the pleasure of a man. At the prompting of her best friend, she goes out to seduce one of the local firefighters she recently met. Can she go through with it, or is she doomed to a life of not taking chances?
Veronica Hill sat, defeated, in her lawn chair, the cool morning breeze blowing across her exposed legs. Her plush bathrobe hung open across her lap as she took another rather large sip of wine from her glass. She looked off into the gray sky that was perched over the tall posts of her backyard fence and thought, as she always did in these lonely moments, about the events that had brought her here.
Love. Betrayal. A bitter divorce. A man she she’d known better than to trust, but had trusted just the same, year in and year out, believing there was some good in him. She had clung to her marriage vows for 15 years because she took them to heart. “Till death do us part.”
But sometimes the heart dies before the body. Now, at 36, Veronica had to start all over again, and the thought was both demoralizing and exhausting.
She shook her head to clear her thoughts. When that didn’t work, she took another swig.
“Jackass,” she said. Cursing her ex-husband always put her in a better mood, as if exorcising a demon that had possessed her.
Thoughts of the past were no cure for the needs of the present: taking care of the house and two children he had walked out on. So there Veronica sat in her spacious backyard, disheveled, frumpy, and sour, burning brush and branches in a fire pit. All the chores were hers now. She had to take care of everything herself.
She watched the fire consume the dead leaves. It ignited the air and crackled. The smoke and flames leapt higher. As the wine loosened her inhibitions, she barely noticed her free hand moving towards the edge of her robe. A whisper of air wrapped around her body. Slowly, she spread her legs. The flames danced. Her delicate hand, which once proudly sported a ring showing her commitment to her marriage, moved across the soft cotton that separated her bare skin from the cool air, tracing lines across the contours that pressed against her panties.
The fire in the pit could not equal the fire within her. There was a passion in Veronica, a hunger that was once satiated by the touch of her husband, but now, the thought of his hands on her skin made her sick. She still wanted to be touched, needed to be touched, to be consumed until she was…
“Excuse me, ma’am,” a voice called out behind her. Startled, Veronica tried to simultaneously stand up, close her robe, and hide the flushing of her cheeks, but all she did was drop her wine glass to the brick patio. She spun around to see two firefighters staring over her backyard gate. They gave her a moment to make herself decent before they continued.
“Ma’am, is, um, everything OK here? We got a report of smoke.” One of them opened the gate and walked in. Veronica stood there for a moment, dumbfounded, before she understood. She turned to the burn pit. The fire had become massive and, although contained, was billowing out a stack of ominous-looking smoke.
The second firefighter approached, and Veronica sighed at the absurdity of the situation. Each of them was what a woman would dream of in a firefighter fantasy: tall and broad-shouldered with chiseled features, wearing the uniform of those brave men who risk their lives to save others. There was also the knowledge that underneath all that gear was a rock-hard, muscular body that would look great on a calendar, but even better in real life when he had her pinned against a wall.
“Ma’am, are you OK?”
Suddenly, Veronica realized she had been gaping at the two men.
“I…I’m sorry, I was just burning some brush,” Veronica stammered. “I…needed to…”
Needed to get fucked by a firefighter. She tried to shake off the dirty thought.
“I…needed to get fu…”
No, don’t actually say that! Veronica told herself. Drunk enough to be verbally reckless, she had to choose her words carefully.
“…get…fully cleared out…the brush in my backyard. I needed to burn it.”
“Getting an early start this morning?” asked the second firefighter, glancing at the broken wine glass.
“Hey, it’s always a good time to get drunk,” she replied.
“No…I meant getting an early start on your burn pile.”
If there had been a bridge nearby, Veronica would already have jumped off, aiming for the rocks. She turned away and caught a glimpse of her reflection in the sliding glass door. Her hair and face were a mess. Her eyes were red from crying. She was wearing no makeup; she didn’t bother with it when she was home alone. And this is when two of the hottest guys—torn right from the pages of a trashy novel—happen to come along? But when Veronica turned back to them, she noticed something. They were checking her out.
They were both looking at her left hand. Not at her messed-up hair, not at her makeup-free face or her smoke-smudged robe, but at the hand which once wore a symbol that she was unavailable. That symbol was no longer there.