(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

The unnamed narrator explains that his wife, Alicia, is not home this weekend; she is with her boyfriend, George. As part of their “new deal,” Alicia spends every other weekend with him. The narrator is therefore spending Saturday with his attractive neighbor, Juliet, a fitness and health buff in her twenties. Juliet lives next door with her girlfriend, Heather, who is thirty-five. At a restaurant, Juliet tries to get the narrator to say what is bothering him, but he is unwilling to discuss it. She abruptly announces, “When we go back to the house I want to make love to you.”

When they return to Juliet’s house, she sits the narrator down on the sofa. Looking out the sliding doors, he notices that Heather and Juliet do not have a real Weber barbecue. Juliet tries to seduce him, but the narrator feels uncomfortable with the idea. They hug and kiss but do not have sex.

Later in the afternoon the narrator is out driving and comes on Heather, who has been shopping and is riding the bus. He gives her a ride home. As they talk, Heather urges the narrator to take a stand against Alicia’s relationship with George. She also expresses concern about the narrator’s and Juliet’s interest in each other. On arriving home, they find Alicia working with some potted plants. Alicia invites Heather and Juliet to join them later for dinner. After Heather leaves, Alicia suggests that they go inside for a nap.

Juliet and Heather arrive at eight. There is a phone call from George in the middle of dinner, and Alicia goes into the...

(The entire section is 636 words.)