Arabian nights

  By Edxl

Chapter 1 - 1

I made it back to the hotel room without losing my temper. I WAS steaming though--even for Saudi Arabia I thought that this last restriction was ridiculous: female contractors working on this project could not go out for meals together unless each was accompanied by a male relative or an escort provided by our sponsor, because we could apparently not be trusted to behave in accordance with local standards.

I knew exactly what this was all about too, it was Weasel Boy making another power play to show his control over us. Never mind that he had a small fortune riding on our getting the program ready on schedule, it wouldn't do for any of us to get uppity, especially not the women.

I went into our suite in the hotel ready to complain to Peter, but I found the room empty.

"Geez Peter, you better be back here before supper, I don't want to order room service!" I yelled into the empty space. Then I noticed the novel that I'd been reading, lying in the middle of the bed. I knew I'd put it away in the bed side table the night before, so I was puzzled. Then I noticed that my Dilbert bookmark had been replaced by a scrap of paper.

"Bloody hell Peter, now what" I muttered, and looked at it in dread.

It was marked "Things to do" at the top, and included "order room service for us for supper," "Go for a run," and "Talk with friends." At a corner in the bottom was doodled "14."

"Thank you very much - not! Jerk!" I thought, managing not to scream, because although the soundproofing was pretty good I didn't want to risk letting anyone know I was upset. But upset I certainly was: Room service did not need to be booked that far in advance, he did not run, and we had not friends around here to talk with. What the note was telling me was that he had taken off, and wasn't planning on coming back for 14 days.

I was not so much surprised as I was pissed. He was a journalist, and had come along with me on this project so that he could have lots of quiet time to work on the book of his experiences with Syrian smugglers working the Iraqi border. He'd finally been making some real progress, for lack of anything else to do. But I swear that man has ADHD or something, and the focus had been killing him, and he'd been musing at trying to write a freelance piece.

I fabntasized that he'd met some guy in the hotel gym that he was pretty sure was gay, and he'd been thinking that the hidden gay sub-culture, in violently homophobic Saudi Arabia would make for a great piece, that he was sure he could freelance. Assuming he didn't get killed in the process, of course.

I was worried for him, as I always was when he went off on one of his foolish stunts. I was also furious at him, because this meant that I had to cover for him, and would not be leaving the hotel. No way was I going out without Peter, because Weasel Boy would probably choose to escort me himself. Even adopting full local female dress hadn't stopped his leering eyes.

I knew the room service reference was a hint that I'd have to order for two, and disguise it so that it looked like two were actually eating. I couldn't manufacture sightings of him, but he was normally in our suite except for a while each morning when he'd absent himself to let the cleaning staff in.

I'd also have to muss up towels for two, muss around his clothes and put them in the laundry, and for that matter roll around in his bed at least most nights, to keep the pattern consistent.

Peter and I were still technically married, which was why I'd wanted to bring him along with me. That we'd been separated almost as long as we'd been married didn't matter to local standards, it mattered only that he was my husband, and hence a suitable escort.

It was exactly this sort of stunt that had led to our separation in the first place, but I'd thought maybe he was finally growing out of it. Which was part of why it was only most nights that he slept in a separate bed from me. He didn't have the same sort of enthusiasm in his love making that he'd had when we were first together, but he still knew my body better than anyone else. Well, anyone else than me I suppose, although sometimes he surprised even me. I'll give this: he is a good observer and analyzer. The same talents that made him a fantastic reporter also helped to make him a great lover. It was just at being a husband that he was pretty much crap.

I flung off my various outer coverings until I was down to stretch pants and a t-shirt--if nobody can see, I figured I might as well be comfortable--then threw myself down on the bed. I buried my face into a pile of pillows, then swore: "Damn, damn, damn! Peter you fricking jerk! You still think that I should be the happy little wife, sitting at home waiting for you to finish whatever you are up to now! I swear you are almost as bad as the Saudis! Why did I think we could live together for three months peacefully? You are never growing up, damn you."

And then I cried. Running a project I try to be the tough-ass manager who can't be fazed, but sometimes I have to be human, and I was stuck in this gilded cage for the next two weeks, with no moral support, and more than that my secret hope that maybe we could work things out finally was shot to hell. I wailed, sobbed, cried, and cursed until I was spent.

Eventually I got myself back together, and called down for room service, numbly ordering what we'd had the night before. When the knock came on the door I asked for it to be left outside, then through on the essential coverings before opening the door and wheeling in the cart. It was only then that I realized that steak was going to be hard to disguise. It wasn't like I could spread it around the plates or flush a bit down the toilets.

I looked at the plates, then grinned without any real humor. "Well, looks like losing those twenty pounds wasn't enough to keep Peter by my side, and I don't have anything else to do, so what difference does it make."

For the rest of the evening I worked over the new Resourcing plans, while slowly packing away two entire steak dinners, including dessert. When I was done I was surprised at how good I felt. "Good to get these plans finally sorted. That and maybe a protein high."

I was lying to myself and knew it, I felt good because I was stuffed, and better yet stuffed on 'naughty' food.

Ever since I'd been a young girl I'd love sneaking food. From swiping a green bean while carrying them to the table to sneaking down to the basement freezer and scraping out a bit of ice cream from each tub, snuck food had always been irresistible. You might think I'd been a fat kid, but not really. Kind of chunky, but athletic. Even as a teenager when I used to buy chocolate bars on the way home from high school I'd been a starter on the field hockey team.

It had only been in college, when I discovered the joys of late night pizza runs, that I'd gotten plump. In my frosh year I'd packed on 30 pounds after learning how much stuffing myself on late night pizza felt great. I'd started fighting those urges after that, and had done pretty well until dating Peter in my final year. We'd met in the International Affairs club, and before we officially started dating we'd started going out for pizza and beer after meetings, and debating long into the night, and continued once dating. Peter never showed the effects, but he had some sort of freaky metabolism that burned everything off. He was always hungry, and eating with him somehow had that same allure of snuck food that I couldn't resist.

When we'd married right after graduation I was already a size 16. By the time he went off on his first big adventure, investigating the "Coyotes" who smuggle Mexicans across the US border, I was by then a size 18. Without his influence I managed to get down to a fourteen by the time he'd made it back, but then things fell apart: I wanted him with me, he wanted to be out in the field. He never could seem to get that I wasn't so much worried about his fidelity or whether he loved me, but with the companionship.

When he went off again, to look into the traffic of parts from stolen cars, I gave up and changed the locks. We been together a few times since then. He was still the same brilliant, inquisitive guy who was fluently quadralingual and could get by in three more languages, and who never seemed to mind my pudgy body, and I couldn't help falling in love with him over and over again. Each time he'd spark my mind, my libido, and my appetite. We argue, debate, eat, and sometimes we'd end up in bed. If it lasted for long I'd put on weight, and his latest article would get a lot tighter for my input. Then we'd break up again, I'd throw myself back into work and working out, and that was all until the next time.

Now though, this was the first time I'd really had a secret pig out without Peter since before we'd been going out. I rubbed my comfortably full stomach and gave a chuckle "Look at what you are missing, boyo."

Truth was I knew Peter loved seeing me eat, maybe even more seeing me over eat. It was not just food, he loved seeing me give in to temptation and indulgence, whether that was inviting him back into my life or spending a lazy Saturday on the couch reading the newspaper, I'd long realized that something about me indulging myself turned him on. I'd challenged him on it once, suggesting that what he wanted was for me to be a 1950s housewife, sitting at home and eating bon-bons.

He'd just given me a cheeky smile and suggested that the sort of lingerie he pictured me wearing while I was doing that would have shocked the folks in the 50s, but he'd never denied it. It wasn't that he didn't want me to think, he loved my mind, but to him 'love' seemed to mean making me some sort of pampered pet.

Going with my feelings, I put on my sexiest lingerie, pulled out a more reliable companion than Peter, and pleasured myself to sleep.
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