Out, damned cuff link!

When Milt called about an emergency visit, little did she suspect just how desperate he was.

Published August 16, 1999 4:00PM (EDT)

Sunday July 25, 10 a.m.

While Matt, Elspeth and Jason were downstairs indulging in homemade waffles, I sneaked in a call to Milt's car. He'd been driving around since dawn hoping to connect because it's never safe to leave voice mail on the family car phone. "What's up? You never come
into town on Sundays," I said. There was terrible interference on my cell phone but I had to speak quietly and he couldn't hear me.

"I'll be there at 8:30, Suzy."

"I'm out on the island," I warned him. "Getting into town is hard."

"Hire a limo -- you know I'm good for it."

"That would look ... funny." Talk about drawing attention to all
my secrets. "But I'll find a way -- for you."

I've always had a soft spot for Milt. During our session with April and Sandra, he remarked, "If I were single, Suzy and I would be an item." Sandra smiled at me professionally, as if to say,
"Another demented john." I didn't let on that I'm equally smitten. I still treat him like a customer, though -- when he tries to kiss me on
the mouth, I won't let him. What makes me like him so much? It's not lust -- I never come with Milt. He shows up every two weeks and calls when he can't see me. He craves variety, but when I bring in a new girl, he doesn't ask for her number ... Speaking of numbers, I have all his phone numbers, because he trusts me not to
call unless the coast is clear.

Sunday night

Matt didn't like it one bit when I announced that I was leaving
early. "I just got a call and I have to take the jitney back into town," I said, as calmly as possible. "I think there's a bus at
noon. Remember that cervical cancer project? They want me to start proofreading the galleys tonight and the editor's leaving for a breast cancer conference tomorrow.
She needs to meet with me." Matt looked ill at ease -- he hates talking about female ailments.

"Can you wait until after lunch?" he asked. "I feel like we just got here."

"Elspeth can drive you," Jason suggested. "She's got a meeting in
the morning." The thought of being stuck in traffic with Elspeth -- gal prosecutor and self-styled "body language expert" -- made
me want to scream. I had the urge to run away with no explanation. Then remembered that you can't do that unless you're a teenager.

Driving me to the Omni Center to catch the bus, Matt was tense and curious. "You know what I don't understand? Yesterday. Why didn't
you want to tell Elspeth how you met R_________?"

"Why should I?" I replied. "Is Elspeth my biographer?"

"If you dated him once, you can tell me."

"He's married, Matt!"

"How do you know that?"

"R_________'s wife is famous in her own right," I snapped.

Matt's ignorance of such things amazes me. For example, I always
thought of Henry Kravis as the designer Carolyn Roehm's rich
husband. (Now he's her ex.) But Matt had never heard of Carolyn

He frowned. "You've never slept with a married man?"

"What kind of question is that? My past doesn't belong to you," I

"No kidding. I don't even have your weekends," he replied churlishly.

"Hey, do I ever complain about your schedule? I didn't want to
cut this weekend short, either! This is really unfair!" I
protested. We brooded all the way to the bus station and kissed
goodbye -- but we both refused to apologize.

On the bus, I prayed that an afternoon of tennis would take Matt's
mind off his suspicions.

Getting dressed for Milt's appointment certainly took my mind off
our problems ... After throwing a fresh sheet on the bed, I
liberated my hidden dildo collection. Milt likes to feel that
something pornographic is happening when he visits -- he has a
perfectly good, but normal, sex life at home. A tacky,
unsophisticated "flesh-toned" dildo is the key to making simple sex

Milt arrived, in relaxed weekend wear, but looking totally
unrelaxed. He broke into a happy smile at the sight of my bedroom-wear -- a see-through blouse, impossibly high heels and a tiny
skirt. We nestled on the couch for a second but he was too nervous.

"Suzy," he said, "There's something you have to know. It's about
your girlfriend, April. She's crazy!"

"Well," I said, "She's from California --"

"She called me at the office and started making trouble for me."

"How -- uh -- did she get your number?" I asked, not wanting to
seem blatantly possessive.

"She says she recognized me from that profile in the Journal."

When the Wall Street Journal profiled Milt earlier this month, he
and I had a giggle over the flattering line drawing -- which shaved
off 10 years and 20 pounds.

"April doesn't strike me as a Wall Street Journal reader!" I said.

"I was flattered at first. She told me she had my cuff link, said it
must have fallen into her bag. I know I'm a jerk but I believed
her ... and I went over to her apartment," he finally confessed.

"I would take it as a compliment, Milt," I said, putting on my
polite professional hat. "She finds you attractive enough to go to
the trouble --" of trying to steal my No. 1 customer from right
under my nose! And to think I was trying to negotiate a discount
for her at my health club!

"It gets crazier," Milt moaned. "After I saw her, she didn't give
me the cuff link back. I stupidly mentioned that it was a present
from my wife." Milt's wife is a part-time jewelry designer who
occasionally sells a piece. The cuff link is one-of-a-kind -- he
could never deny it was his.

"You didn't tell her that your wife designed it?"

Milt cringed. "I shouldn't have ... First, she told me she needed a
financial commitment to help her get settled. I said I wasn't
looking for that kind of relationship. Then she turned nasty. She
figured out my car phone number, then she demanded $6,000 in
hundreds. She said she'd call my wife and -- she knows where my
kids go to school! We've been getting hang-up calls at home from a
blocked number. My wife wasn't born yesterday but she would never
forgive me for screwing around with a blackmailer. Someone who
could mess me up at work or tell the kids ..."

I was dumbfounded. I'd be afraid to pull a stunt like this!

"How long has this been going on?"

"She called the day after we met -- when Sandra came over and
we had that foursome ..." his voice faltered and I couldn't help
feeling rather fond of him again. "She flattered me ..."

I was furious with him for going to April's apartment. He's the
only client I care about in that way.

"You didn't have to hide it from me," I lied. "You're free to go
wherever --"

"But I don't go anywhere else, " he began to explain. "Hey, you
know that we're basically a lower form of life ... Our brains are in
our balls."

"Get out the violins," I said, rolling my eyes. Milt gave April the
satisfaction of stealing my client and persuading him to sneak
around on me! That's what hurts the most.

He began apologizing and pulled out all the money in his wallet. I
told him it wasn't necessary -- this wasn't really an appointment,
after all, and I had introduced him to a scary, unreliable girl.
Promising to try to get his cuff link back, I gave him a restrained
but dirty glare.

"I'll call before I leave for Tokyo," he said, sounding like a
guilty lover.

When Matt called, I was still brooding over Milt's betrayal with April -- and I pretended I wasn't home.

By Tracy Quan

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