Mia had avoided the Tabor’s annual Halloween party for years, always concocting some excuse to avoid wearing those sexy Halloween costumes that had now become de rigor for all women of reproductive age: The Sexy Doctor, The Sexy Engineer, The Sexy Policewoman, The Sexy Ambassador, The Sexy Systems Analyst...”

“Too late,” said Ben. “It’s already ordered. You’re a large right?”

“Large?!”

“Ha, just kidding.”

“I’ll look like a Parisian whore,” said Mia.

“No, it’s a sexy MILF.”

“I thought MILFs were already sexy?” Mia said.

“This just makes official.”

“You are an idiot.”

“You know, I just don’t understand...” said her husband, shaking his head with faux concern.

“What ‘don’t you understand?’” Mia said, with zero interest in hearing the answer.

“I would think you’d be eager to show off all your hard work.”

“Sure, I like to show off. But do I have to get naked to do it?”

“You’d be wearing more than you ever do by the pool.”

“Why do you want to parade me around like some prize steer?”

“Because I’m proud of you, Hun,” said Ben, “And your beauty reflects upon me. I’m shallow enough to admit that.”

She found herself softening. Hearing the word “Beauty” in reference to herself was something new for Mia. She didn’t necessarily buy it, but she liked hearing it— and it helped soften Ben’s crude objectification of her new body. But after years of neglect, Mia resented how Ben was suddenly so interested in her.

“Oh— and one other thing, Hun.”

“Yes?” said Mia.

“Carlo will be there.”

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