Home > Tempt Her

Tempt Her
Author: Kelly Finley





Would’ve, Could’ve, Should’ve by Taylor Swift



You know you’re in trouble when you wish your husband would die.

I hate him so much I don’t even mind if he’s killed. Like in one of those movies where the evil villain watches as everyone rejoices in his slow, agonizing death.

And I’m in the front row. Munching popcorn. Licking buttery salt off my fingertips before sucking down my last satisfying sip of Diet Coke while that fucker takes his last breath. Staring straight at my smiling face.

Bye-bye, Asshole.

Then I feel guilty. Then I feel like a horrible person and an awful wife this morning as I take three of his golf balls out of the freezer. I hide them in a bag of green peas toward the bottom of the drawer. The man doesn’t know how to boil water, much less dig past his pint of Butter Pecan to find one of the dozens of ways I fuck with his world while he ruins so many others.

Trick #1: If you freeze a golf ball, it increases its weight. It won’t travel as far as you hope across the manicured green.

I don’t know how many millions have been spent perfecting these expensive white balls, but I know the millions many men who play with them have.

And nothing fucks with a man almost as much as fucking with his golf game.

Still, I try not to let my heart become like the core of these balls. Because it’s all I feel sometimes—bitter cold.

Honestly, though? I don’t know who I hate more.

My husband, Senator Gentry Olan Evans III, South Carolina’s youngest and most ambitious vocal conservative ever to take office.

Or myself, his wife. Because that’s what they all call me... “the senator’s wife.”

The day I married Gentry, more than my name died. But I was too young, poor, and desperate to know better.

My maiden name feels like a lifetime ago—Stacey Noel James.

“Stacey” was a name my dad loved. He said it sounded happy, like a girl who always giggled.

“Noel” was from my mom. I was born on Christmas Eve at eleven fifty-eight at night. My mom said it was a sign and raised me like her gift.

And though my parents came from different worlds, where my mother was a very educated high school Chemistry teacher, and my dad was the high school’s head custodian, when they married, she proudly took his last name—“James.”

But now, if I’m not “the senator’s wife,” I’m “Mrs. Evans,” or my favorite... “Mrs. Gentry Evans.”

It makes me madder than a cat being baptized every time someone calls me that—like I don’t have a name or a brain.

I do.

I have a college education and a wicked enough imagination to have figured out this golf ball trick.

Actually, I know lots of tricks.

Men think they’re so smart. Some are. But most women aren’t dumb. We have the ultimate intelligence—survival.

Sneaking into the mudroom off our kitchen, I quietly unzip the front pouch of my husband’s red, white, and blue Terrida golf bag. The damn thing has a special place by the garage door he frequently exits, only to return hours, sometimes days, later.

Gentry always plays with nine Titleist balls. And his good wife, me, I always sneak three out and put three frozen ones back in. He’ll have no idea by his tee time, but it will be a very bad game.

Every day he does something mean to me, I do something mean back.

Today, he won’t let me see my dad.

It’s the worst he can do to me, and he relishes it. I wish I could do more to get back at Gentry because it’s not just one thing he does to me, this day or that.

He’s relentless. He’s mean. He’s smart and controlling. And he’s very cruel.

‘Til death do us part.

Choking back tears, I can’t lie to myself. Truth is, I’m the one I’m most mad at.

How did I get here?

How did I find myself married to an evil man, and I can’t get out?

“Stacey!” he barks, coming down our stairs while I quickly zip his bag closed. Throwing the good balls in the dryer, he’ll never look in there either, before I dart back into the kitchen, steeling my spine for his entrance.

The little ass-zit marches my way like Napolean in khaki pants and a pink golf polo. “Stacey!” he shouts again, and the man’s voice booms larger than his below-average height. But don’t worry. What he lacks in size, he makes up for in miles of dickish ways.

“Yes.” I keep my voice calm while I look through our mail on the desk by the pantry. This is “the wife’s desk,” as Gentry mocks, while he has an office and library for himself.

And the mail? He controls the bank statements and important documents. They’re sent to a P.O. box while I get a stack of invitations, thank-you notes, and southern-style magazines I’d rather wipe my butt with.

“Tomorrow morning,”—he yanks the refrigerator open, grabbing his usual V8 tomato juice for breakfast—“we’re having breakfast with Shane Turner. Then you’re back here at ten to watch those painters while they’re in my house.”

My heart drops. Like a lead weight, it falls into my souring stomach while I can’t hide my dread and sadness. “Gentry, no.” I hate being this vulnerable with him. I hate showing him one ounce of weakness, but he knows. “My dad; that’ll be two mornings I haven’t seen him, and I can’t do that to him.”

Cracking the lid open on his bottle, he shrugs. “He doesn’t even know who you are. You could be dead, and he wouldn’t care.”

He’s such a dick. My husband is such a controlling, heartless bastard. For ten years, I’ve been caring for my dad who has Alzheimer’s, and Gentry’s so damn cruel about it.

“He does know.” I try not to cry, scream, fall to my knees, or sink my teeth into his neck. “He knows our routine, and he gets upset without it. He won’t even eat sometimes if I’m not there.”

And my husband knows this, too… he just doesn’t care.

But I do.

I’m all my dad has now. My mom died when I was eleven, and the way me and Dad leaned on each other to survive it; we’re intertwining vines, still living and wrapped around the beautiful tree that fell, dying on the forest floor.

Every three days, I bake a fresh batch of muffins. It’s my mom’s recipe—Morning Glory muffins. I sprinkle extra sugar on top because, let’s face it, an unhealthy diet isn’t killing my dad. One of the most heart-breaking diseases is.

But if he has two muffins every day. If I bring them by at six o’clock every morning, along with a cup of orange juice, my dad has a good day. He doesn’t have outbursts.

Deep in his eyes, he doesn’t know me anymore, but he knows our muffins. Then he calls me “Priscilla,” my mom’s name, and asks about my students; if I’m giving a tough test that day. I always say yes because he gets a kick out of “how smart you are,” he replies with love in his confused gaze.

It’s been four years since my dad said my name. Four years since I stopped correcting him. Four years since I’ve committed to our little, happy routine. As long as his trembling hand grabs the muffin and devours it, and he grins while his thinning body gets some nutrients, I’m making my parents proud.

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