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The Bridge Game
by Jerry Guarino

Hannah and Jim were bridge partners. They knew each other’s moves and had an instinct for finessing. No matter what the situation, they were able to adapt and play the right card. Bridge wasn’t just a game for them; the deception and gambits were part of their personality. Their best friends, Kate and John, were experienced players, but they didn’t have deception in their nature.

Hannah secretly wanted to make John her partner, but not in bridge. She decided she could use Kate to bridge her way to John, if she played her cards right. Not that she didn’t care for Jim; she just wanted a little change, if only for a night.

“Would you excuse us gentlemen?” said Hannah. Jim and John rose out of their seats chivalrously while the women went to the ladies room. The two couples had been friends since college, the boys playing on the same soccer team while Hannah and Kate both played field hockey. Athletes make such beautiful mates but sometimes have trouble with commitment.

Hannah examined her makeup in the mirror. “Kate, isn’t John’s birthday coming up?”

Kate brushed out her chestnut brown hair. “Of course Han, it’s this Saturday. “I’m planning a surprise trip to a B&B in Maine.”

Hannah feigned interest. “And have you picked out a gift yet?”

Kate looked at her good friend suspiciously. “Why do you want to know?”

Hannah took out her lipstick. “Just curious. Jim’s birthday is coming up too. I’m looking for ideas.”

Kate relaxed. “Well ok then. I found this lobsterman that will take you out when he gets his traps to choose two choice lobsters. Then when you get back to shore, their restaurant will cook them for you as you sit beside a fireplace listening to jazz, all of John’s favorite things.”

Hannah held her long, blond hair back and pulled it through red velvet scrunchy. “Well, that will certainly set the mood; did you also get something new to wear?”

Kate winked and held out her phone. “Soma’s new chemise, black satin and lace.”

Hannah reapplied her lipstick. “Very nice. That should do the trick.” “What about you and Jim? Do you guys have plans?” said Kate.

“I have an idea. You’re going up Saturday morning, right?” “Yes” said Kate, now intrigued.

“Well, I’ll get Jim to take me there too. We can have the boys to ourselves all of Saturday, then get together for a surprise Sunday brunch and spend the afternoon together.” She gave Kate an encouraging smile.

“OK. That sounds like fun, as long as you don’t expect us too early on Sunday.” She gave Hannah a knowing wink. “And just make sure you don’t run into us on Friday night by accident.”

Hannah reassured her. “Don’t worry. Just tell me where you’re staying and what restaurant you’re going to.”

Kate was playing right into Hannah’s plan.

Jim was well aware of his friend’s upcoming birthday. “So John, your 25th is coming up, right?”

John smiled. “Yeah, Kate has some special surprise planned involving a 2-hour drive. I have to wear a blindfold; good thing I have an audible book to listen to.”

Jim laughed. “Well, I hope she doesn’t kidnap you until you propose.” John smiled at Jim like he had just discovered something.

Jim’s mouth opened. “You are going to propose! Good for you my friend. You two are perfect together.”

John pulled out the ring. “What do you think?”

Jim pretended to be blinded by the sparkle. “Nice. Will it be a surprise?”

“Yeah. Completely. And since it will be on my birthday, I won’t forget the anniversary date.”

“Smart, now if you can set the wedding date for a year later, you won’t forget any of those dates women want us to remember.” Jim and John high-fived. “Just like when we would take the lead with a few minutes left, keep it simple, score, and then play defense.”


Driving into Freeport, Hannah put her plan into action. “Jim, dear. Here’s what I’d like to do today. Let’s check in, make love, then do some shopping. Bean’s has the new season’s clothing in and you need a new jacket.”

“OK. And what about tonight?”

“I have a surprise for you. The Celtics are playing the Bulls. You go have bar food and watch the game and then come back to the room at 9pm for dessert.” She gave Jim that wink.

“And what are you getting for dessert?” said Jim.

“There’s a gourmet cupcake store next to a Victoria’s Secret. I’ll find something you like.”

Chocolate cupcakes and Hannah were two of Jim’s favorite meals. “Maybe I should skip the game?”

Hannah shook her head and reminded Jim of post game celebrations in college. “No, you were always hungrier after soccer games” and she leaned over to kiss his neck. “Besides, I want to have an elegant lobster dinner by myself after shopping, not burgers and beer.”

Meanwhile, Kate and John dropped off their bags at the B&B, and then joined the captain on his boat to get the lobsters. The salty air and romantic scenery might be the place for John to propose, but he thought he should wait until dinner. He wouldn’t want some bounce from a wave to send the ring into the Atlantic. They returned to the restaurant and were seated for dinner, next to a fireplace with jazz music playing, just as Kate had planned.

Kate and John had an intimate dinner, taking their time. John was waiting for the right moment to propose. “During dessert would be perfect” he thought. But when Kate finished her lobster, she got up and motioned John to stay seated.

“Sweetheart, we’re going to have dessert and your birthday present upstairs, ok? I’ll text you when I’m ready. Relax and enjoy the fireplace.”

Kate walked out of the restaurant to their B&B across the street. When she reached the entrance, she saw Hannah. “Han! You’re not staying here too, are you?”

“No, Kate. I was just going to meet Jim for dinner. He’s watching the Celts at the bar over there” pointing down the street. “Do you have time for a drink?”

Kate looked her watch. “Sure, a quick one. John is still in the restaurant but I told him that I would let him know when to come up. Come, I want to show you this

beautiful room we have on the second floor.” They quickly walked up the stairway to the corner room overlooking the marina.

“Han, pour us a glass of wine, while I get ready.” Hannah nodded as Kate went into the bathroom.

Hannah poured out two glasses, then added a hypnotic to Kate’s glass. Hannah knew that the drug would only make her fall asleep for an hour or so, without any memory of what happened.

Kate returned with the sexy new lingerie on. “What do you think?”

“Wow, he’s going to be taking that off you really fast. Hope he doesn’t tear it.” Kate smiled at her best friend’s suggestion. Hannah toasted Kate with the wine. “Here’s to a great night for both of us. Then we’ll see you again for brunch tomorrow at 11.”

As they talked, Kate began to sway, and then fell over on the bed. Hannah tucked her in, took Kate’s cell phone and texted John.

Your present is waiting in room 3B; get the key and hurry.

Hannah made sure to clear the history of texts from Kate’s phone after it was sent. Then she rushed over to her room and got ready for John.

John read the text, left his after dinner drink half-finished, a hundred dollar bill on the check and hurried to the innkeeper. “Room 3B please?”

The man smiled at John, gave him the key and sighed. “Bostonians.”

When he got to the door, he found a darkened room, with soft, flickering light from candles and moonlight from the window. Jazz music was playing from a phone on the dresser. The air had a slight scent of Kate’s perfume. He undressed quietly, got under the covers, then unknowingly began making love to Hannah; his caresses were received with soft moaning.

“Mmm, John. Don’t stop.” When John reached her face and kissed her, he realized that this wasn’t Kate at all. Hannah smiled sweetly and whispered “happy birthday, sweetie.”

“Hannah?” Thinking that Kate must have set this up as his present, John enthusiastically continued making love with the blond schemer.

Meanwhile Kate was sleeping in her room.

After an hour, John was tired but wondering what was next. “Ready to go again?” he asked her.

“Sorry handsome. Time for you to go.” Hannah stroked his face. “Wish you could stay. Maybe we can do this again sometime.”

John gave her one more kiss, realizing this might be the last woman he would sleep with before getting married to Kate. “Thanks Hannah. You know I’ve been wanting to do that since college.”

Hannah gave him a goodbye hug. “Me too lover. Now back to your room, 2D. Kate's waiting for you.”

John found Kate asleep under the covers. He undressed and cuddled up next to her. He began stroking her hair when Kate regained consciousness.

“John, hi. Guess I fell asleep. Happy birthday sweetheart.”

“You shouldn’t have Kate. This was the best birthday ever and I want to make it even better.” He took the ring out. “You are the one I want to spend my life with. Please marry me.”

Kate perked up. “Yes, of course I will.” Then the newly engaged couple made love and slept until morning. Kate never remembered seeing Hannah or being drugged.

Back in room 3D, Hannah had to clean up before Jim returned from the bar. She arranged the cupcakes along with champagne on a table. She took a quick shower, brushed her teeth and hair, and then changed into the new lingerie from VS. She was careful not to leave any clues of her deception. Then she heard a knock on the door, noticed that it was 9 o’clock and answered sweetly. “Come in.”

Jim came in and quickly undressed. “Perfect.”

“Would you like some champagne and cupcakes, sweetheart?”

“Those can wait, I’m ready for dessert first.” Jim and Hannah were very good together and Jim never realized what had happened earlier that night. They made love, had champagne and cupcakes and then made love once more. Then they both slept in.

Hannah got up first, showered, dressed, then woke up Jim. “I found a great place for brunch. We have a reservation for 11. You get ready. I’m going out to get some last minute things at Beans.”

Jim gave Hannah a hug and kiss. “OK, dear. I’ll wait for you downstairs at 10:45.”

Hannah left the B&B quietly, before John and Kate would be leaving for brunch. She got in her car and headed for L.L. Bean, about a mile away. As she drove, she remembered her night with John, how she finally got to make love with him and wondered how life would have been different if she had been with him. One night was

not enough for her; she was considering a longer affair, something she would have to keep from Kate. She decided to send John a text. But it would have to be innocent enough to keep Kate from getting suspicious.

Happy Birthday John! I hope I can find something special for you when you get back to Boston.

After hitting ‘send’, she looked up and realized her car was heading straight for a canal, as the winding roads in Maine will do. She turned the wheel just in time to avoid the water, but hit the bridge hard. The air bag deployed and she lay there unconscious.