By Lea Carrol
Copyright 2016 by William Abeleven - Publisher
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Diego’s Bistro was where Laura and Kim would regularly catch up, especially when either of them were having relationship troubles like Laura was having her Blake trouble today.
It wasn’t the least expensive place in town but a decent lunch and a side serve of fresh sea air...... Well, those two things together simply weren’t inexpensive and they deserved the inexpensive because they both worked very hard supporting the men who had liked them enough to marry them.
Laura and Kim played their parts, their husbands played their parts and that's how, Laura supposed, living happily ever after came about.
"Darling… Hello," they chorused. Both air kissed mightily, appraising each other, checking for signs that nothing critical had occurred since last they'd caught up that might affect their friendship. Nothing had, thank God, so the fact that Laura was a mess ready to burst into tears meant that whatever had changed had simply to do with a matter of feelings gone awry and feelings were things girlfriends at least could help girlfriends with. Divorces? And imminent poverty from them? Well, those sorts of things were not in the domain of girlfriend fixes.
"Water, please Michael," said Kim without looking at the waiter beside her. He was the epitome of Diego’s waiters, all tall, all slim, all wonderful in their classic black and whites. "Sans gas, please,” about the water, “and a bottle of Moscato – the good one, two salads, no dressing."
"Can I tell you? At last, finally the scampi have..."
"Michael. Please. Just the order, and do make it pronto please!"
"Three months" said Laura. "Longer, maybe even four. Blake hasn’t as much as even looked at me in all that time now.”
“Aqua – sans gas,” Michael smiled leaving the bottle of still Laquen water on the table and pouring a generous splash of Moscato into Kim’s glass. She didn’t looked and waved him to carry on.
"Laura, you poor darling. Tell me everything and tell it all right now.”
"….and that's how it's been,” she said, playing at the edges of her salad. “I’ve given him ten of my best years and now he’s bored with me, or worse, he’s bored with himself. What’s left now but to ache and pine away like an old spinster, which I’m not." Laura drained her glass, put it down and tapped it twice hinting for attention.
"We’re opening a second bottle, Darling. Are you sure you're up for a second?" With no answer, Kim caught Michael's eye, signalling the empty bottle.
“Laura, Darling,” Kim took both Laura’s hands in hers. “I don’t want to say this and spoil things but Blake is what he is - a very rich man-pig, like my Nigel. They do whatever they want and there's not a whole lot we can do it. All we can do is try to keep our self-respect and keep the ship on course, as my Nigel likes to say when there’s trouble brewing. These storms, they blow over and whatever you do, try to remember what life was like before Blake.
“I’m not leaving him,” said Laura pulling her hands back, annoyed at how she’d let herself go like this, especially in front of Kim. All she’d done now was to make herself look all emotional and unstable and silly.
Kim took Laura’s hands back, drawing them back to her. “You’ve got to pull yourself together, Darling. If Blake gets wind of how you are, you’re going to seem desperate and there’s nothing more deadly to our sorts of relationships than that sort of pressure on a man.”
“I don’t know. I’m younger than Blake, but I’m not young. And I don’t know if I can start all over again at this stage of my life.” She looked down at her glass. "He made me sign papers before he married me. If I leave him..... But I can’t live like a barren spinster either.”
“A friend maybe,” Kim said. “Have you thought about a special friend? Or an open relationship?”
“No, I have not, Kim. The papers he made me sign – there was a fidelity clause in there somewhere. And besides, Kim, I don’t think I could do that, to me, or to him or us. I’m just not someone like that.”
"And his duty as a husband to you?" Kim looked hard into Laura's eyes.
Laura looked glumly up.
“You know, Laura, I married the same sort of man you did, and for the same reasons a lot of girls say yes to the men who ask them to marry them – love, but security too because love without security doesn’t warrant the marriage part. I have a ‘friend’, and maybe you need to think about something like that for yourself too. Call it what you want, and do it how you need to do it so that it is right for you but you’ve got to do something for yourself. You and I both married wealthy men darling and they’re not wealthy because they’re in the business of attending to other people’s needs. Everything that is good about them requires them to be the pigs they are,” Kim laughed. “Just love the good parts of them because they do the same with us.”
“I can’t get caught, Kim. You know the business he’s in and what sort of friends he’s got. I know exactly what he’d do to any guy he caught with me but the scary part is I don’t know what he’d do to me. I don't even want to think about that.”
"Don’t get caught then. And if you do, make sure you’ve got a Plan B. What do they call it in politics? Plausible deniability? Victims don’t get punished and if you get caught, there’s no point in you and whoever you’re caught with, both going down."
Suddenly the restaurant was full. The lunch crowd was all in and the chatter was like a hum. Laura took another sip of her wine looking around absently. What Kim had said, made sense. She loved her girlfriends. One For All And All For One – that was their musketeer mantra that unified them.
"Ladies?" Michael held out a menu, looking for interest.
"Not today,” said Kim occupied with her phone. Take care of the check with this,” Kim handed him a card. It had Nigel's name on it. “Plus the usual for you, Michael, thank you.”
“I’m sorry I couldn’t help more, Darling,” said Kim. “Anyway, I’m sorry but I've got to go now. Nigel needs me to sign some papers.”
“I’ll call you soon. In the meantime, instead of waiting around for Blake, I’ll try taking the lead. It’s not really my style, but I’ll try. It might take the pressure off the both of us.”
"And if things go haywire, just call me. After all, we are all in this together, aren’t we?” said Kim, getting up. “Oh, and Darling, you’re never too old to start again with looks like yours. Ciao."
Outside, in the living room, Laura could hear Blake. He was happy and excited, talking to one of his friends.
“I’m killing them Max. The market’s gone nuts and it’s all going my way. I’m telling you, put fifty big ones on those shares I told you about and do it now and call me later about the next move later.”
Laura did a final twirl in the mirror and watched the little red dress fan out wide and then fall softly, perfectly against her flat tummy and wrap around her slim legs. Her yoga master, Calvin, had been expensive – not that ever bothered Blake, and having him as her personal guru had been worth every penny. He’d given her back her twenties. Not her early twenties, but still her twenties.
But like Kim had said, looks was only part of how a girl kept her man. Laura’s problem was for a while now, she hadn’t been showing Blake what he was missing out on. After all, he was busy and how could he see the magic under her clothes. Kim was so smart. Laura had been taking Blake for granted as much as he’d been taking her for granted. Tonight, she’d take it to Blake instead of waiting for him to come to her. Any number of months let alone three or four was too many months for her to play the nun. She was tired of that ache – that yearning in her belly staying unfulfilled.
“Blake? Eyes closed now Blake. I’m coming out…” and with a tiny shriek, three martinis downed already to loosen herself up and another in hand, out she leapt, topless, in the new little red skirt he didn’t know yet he’d bought her.
Sliding and shimmying towards him, she turned up the stereo so the bass rumbled and kicked and the glassware in the sideboard tinkled in time.
“Tonight’s my night Blake but it’s going to be your night too,” she sang, running her hands through his hair and along his shoulders and down through the hair of his chest. “Come on Baby, get up and dance with me a bit. I guarantee,” she was slurring now, “you’re not going to regret it.”
“Yeah Baby, that’s great. Real nice darling,” Blake turned and looked and smiled quickly before turning back to the TV news. “Look! The markets are diving, sweetheart and I’m so onto it. The English pound is in freefall and I’m making a killing. I love you babe, now go get us a real drink will you. I made the Martinis now you get me another one of those Jamaican Rums, double it up like the last one, and heavy on the ice.”
“Blake, forget your drink for a minute.” Laura stood, rocking from the booze, between him and his TV, legs apart, hands on hips, now swishing and swaying, her pert breasts rocking from left to right. “Blake. It’s the fourteenth today, Babe.”
“I know babe,” he said, his head trying to get around her, eyes looking for the TV news. “There’s twelve of them days every year, now get out of my frigging way, Baby. I can’t see what I want to see,” he said, pushing her aside.
“But there’s only one fourteenth of March every year, Blake. March, Blake!”
She spun around, her back now to him. With her zip loosened, her skirt slipped off and she let her body drop from the waist down till she was peering at him from between her legs.
“Come on Blake. This fourteenth only comes around once a year, so let’s do it.”
Back still to him, her bottom in the air, Laura slid her fingers around the waist band of her panties and slid them down to her knees. Her nipples hardened - she could feel them come alive as she played with them. She’d never ever put on a show like this for Blake or anyone else before. She felt cheap, but there was a thrill running through her to that she’d never felt before. She reached down behind her and reached for him, softly rhythmically squeezing him.
“Happy birthday to us,” she began, breathy, slurry and doubtless a little off key, “Happy birthday to me,” she finished, her hand now inside his trousers, cupping him, reaching under him, lifting and massaging, slowly, gently. “Let’s make love, darling,” she whispered. “We can do it the way you like to do it tonight, no questions, no limits – nothing off limits, Babe.”
“For Christ sake. Come on, babe – knock it off. I’m making a killing here on the markets and you want to do this? Right now? Come on, hop out of the way will you. I can’t see nothing with you there like that blocking everything. And aren’t you going to get cold like that? Look!” he pushed her away and flicked one of her nipples. “Now go put something on before the world sees you. Jesus, babe,” his face screwed up, his thick finger pointing to the floor to ceiling glass windows open to the high-rise apartments in the world beyond. “I didn’t get us a penthouse so you could put on a show for everyone.”
“You know what Blake?” she pushed herself away from him. “Forget it. And I’m so sorry I’ve embarrassed you in our own home,” she screamed, stumbling, running off towards the bedroom, her skirt and panties caught around her ankle. Bastard. Pig. She stopped at the bedroom door and turned. “I really hate you sometimes Blake.”
“Shut the hell up will you. We can do this anytime but you want to do it now when I’m in the middle of something. What’s the matter with you?”
“What’s the matter Blake is I’m sick of living with a man who never wants to touch me anymore.”
“Keep your voice down, OK, or I’ll do it for you. And if I’m not touching you, maybe it’s because you’re boring me. I give you a good life. What more do you want from me?”
Laura fumbled around in the dark of the bedroom, kicking off her panties that she couldn’t work out how to pull up. She found her skirt and zipped it back up and found the top she’d left on the bed. Now, he’d not only forgotten her one special day and rejected and humiliated her but she’d made it worse by losing it. Tears filling her eyes, she slipped her feet into her pumps and found her purse on the bed.
Suddenly the gap in the years between them seemed greater than they’d ever been. She, working at keeping herself young for him, and Blake just letting himself and their relationship go. He was taking her for granted like she was just one of his things, like his cars. At least though he serviced his cars…regularly.
“You’re a bastard, Blake,” Laura called out, her hand on the door knob. “And I’m out of here Blake,” she opened the door and stepped out into the hallway. “I’m going to go out and make my own fun. I deserve on my birthday, don’t I?”
“Don’t push it, Laura. And don’t forget your place. I only warn my staff once and you’ve just got yours.”
Blake was slurring now like she was. He was as drunk as she was, but he was crueller.
“Go make your own drink, Blake. This staff member needs some time off. Oh, and there’s no ice left. Sorry,” and she slammed shut the door. Behind it, muffled, she could make something out that sounded like, “Babe. Where are you going babe? Come on back.”
“I am so tired of living like this,” Laura said quietly to herself in the darkened hallway. “He doesn’t want me anymore the way I need to be wanted. I’m just another thing of his now – rubbish, used and ready to be thrown out like rubbish.”
The voice through the door was his but from the lift, she could no longer make out what he was saying.
"I’m an idiot. I'm barely even thirty, and I look closer to twenty,” she thought. “Maybe I’m kidding myself….about everything. Maybe Blake is right – that I’m boring and past it.”
She could barely stand now, the liquor hitting hard. She turned away from the lift door. “What if Blake is right about me? Maybe I should go back in and make up with him. I don’t know what to do. I need to talk to Kim – she’ll know what I should do.”
Laura turned to make her way back to where she belonged, the closer she got, the less muffled Blake’s voice till she heard him still ranting, “Get the hell back in here you thing,” and then the bell. She giggled and thought, “The bell saves me.”
Inside the lift it was quiet. His noise had stopped inside the lift and the quietness inside it, quieted her. “No. Tonight is about me. I have to find myself before I go back and face him. Stuff you Blake. Today is my day – it’s the fourteenth of March and there’s only one of them each year." She tugged at her ring but it stuck fast. Her fingers always swelled in summer and she wished, stupidly of course, that this fight they were having was being fought in winter.
It was hard to find her feet, and her balance in the softly lit confines of the lift. She found herself relying on the mirrored walls to get her bearings. She'd drunk before dinner – three, maybe four Martinis, and they were hitting her hard. The girl in the mirror looked wild and her mascara had run and smudged from the tears. They weren't all broken heart tears – many were from anger and frustration. As she quieted down, she felt the dull ache of pleasure denied in her. It was an ache that had been building and that needed attending, but was she worth attending to? Blake had said, no.
Through her bleary tear filled eyes, Laura stabbed at the illuminated numbers in the lift. "First downstairs, and then to Bensons for a drink to sober up. She should ring girls - they'd cheer her up and maybe they could make a night of it, all the musketeers together. She lurched to the back of the lift and fell forward onto her knees. The carpet smelled. She rolled back and to the side a little until she found herself sitting. "Got to ring the girls." She pulled her bag from under her leg. "No!" she wailed inside. It was empty. In her rush she'd taken her new bag - no phone, and no purse either transferred from the old purse into the new one. And no security swipe to get back upstairs - only a useless key to an apartment she couldn't even access…if she even wanted to. Laura watched the illuminated numbers on the panel move ever down.
Now she'd have to get on the public intercom, downstairs, outside on the sidewalk and humiliate herself by calling up to Blake and asking him to let her back in so she could get what she needed to get the hell away from him. Or she was going to be stuck having to ask that awful Caribbean, or whatever he was doorman who'd already embarrassed her after he first started, to help her get up to the penthouse.
Rashard.... What sort of name was that anyway? She'd only been staring at him because he was new in the building, replacing the old Jewish evening shift doorman, Mr Kanders. She'd simply had a few minutes time waiting for their car to draw up at the front of the building and of course she'd looked. A new face - she wasn't sure whether he was even supposed to be there at all. He hadn’t looked like the type for the position in the first place. Nobody had told her old man Kanders had suddenly retired and then the next thing she knew there was this black man in the foyer wandering around in Kander’s uniform. Of course he looked a bit suspicious with his black skin and muscles all bulging everywhere, bursting out of his uniform like it was three sizes too small, on purpose, the way they like to dress, that type. So she'd been, well, not checking him out but rather just appraising him and then she saw him grinning at her in the mirrored wall from there on the left next to his desk. She should have reported him to Blake and had him fired for insolence. That's what she should have done because appraising someone is not the same as checking them out.
So now, she had to get up off the floor before the lift stopped, or she'd be the one getting reported. And if she was reported by that Caribbean or whatever he was, it would all be Blake's fault.
Laura read the numbers of the floors she was passing. Just moments is all she'd need to get up off the floor and into a normal decent vertical position. With her head still swimming, she found the hand rail and pulled up hard until her legs got so close to straight that they were able to push her the rest of the way up. “There,” she grunted. Standing, facing the mirror wall she could see the mess she was. Her hair was still wild and she played with it with her fingers till it was as un-wild as she could get it, and the remains of the mascara that had run from the tears, she wiped at until what it looked like was a little at least like it had been done with purpose. Without warning, the lift came to a knee bending stop and with a soft hiss, the door slid wide open.
"Well, good evening Miss Laura."
Dam! Of course it was him - it had to be him, didn’t it? It was the night shift, after all. Him – Rashard, the pesky Caribbean with his beaming smile and perfectly white teeth against his oh-so wonderfully black skin.
"It's ‘Mrs’, if you don't mind," she said, noticing the trouble she was having forming her words. She avoided using his name. The hand he offered, she flicked away dismissively. Her attempted walk felt as though her feet had found their way into the wrong shoes – the left in the right shoe and the right in the left. And that Rashard was seeing it all.
"Oh. A bit unsteady there Miss Laura," said Rashard, reaching out for a second time, this time catching her in his arms before she kissed the floor.
"Excuse me, Mr Doorman," she slurred, looking up into his face. "What in the hell do you think you are doing?
“I’m saving you, Miss. On your birthday. Happy birthday, Miss.”
“Put me down immediately. And my birthday is none of your business. In fact, have you been snooping to get that sort of information?”
“I delivered the flowers up to your apartment that said, Happy Birthday Laura.”
“Well, tonight is my birthday and I’m not just some drunk that needs to be manhandled like this, so put me down if you don’t mind. Before I report you to my husband.
“Very well, Miss. As you wish.”
But as her feet hit the floor, she toppled over again and found herself on her knees, arms around his legs.
"I'm going to take you out back into the office, OK Miss? And then I'm going to call your husband to come and attend to you. OK?” said Rashard, picking her up again. “We don't want any of these people here in your building here seeing you like this, alright, Miss?"
"No! Not Blake. You're not to call my husband. Do you understand? Rashard! Do you understand? I just need a few minutes to get over this fainting episode and I’ll be fine."
Laura felt his strength. Her body in one of his arms and with his free hand, punching his code to get into this door that went into some back office she hadn't even realised existed. "And why aren't you in your uniform? You are actually Rashard our doorman, aren't you and not just some thug taking advantage?"
"No, Miss. I’m not some thug and yes, I am Rashard. I'm actually surprised you know my name."
His laugh was deep and rumbling in his chest. She could feel it, pressed up close to it the way she was.
"I was just going off duty, Miss - end of my shift, so maybe it's a bit lucky for you I hadn't left the building yet, you being all like this - the way you are, eh?"
"That's enough of that sort of talk, thank you. I'm not like this or like that. I've fainted and that's all. I've had a fainting attack and you've helped me and that's not much more than you should do anyway.
Close in to him, his skin smelled like musk and wood together. Eyes closed, it was like she was in a forest. "You can put me down now… please, thank you." But when he began to put her down, the spinning started again. She was certainly not ready for any clubbing right now. And at the same time, she was far from ready to come face to face with Blake.
Laura sighed. Tonight was a disaster – a total and unmitigated disaster. First Blake, and now this. And this scent that was all over this man – this musky woody scent.. When she closed her eyes, feeling how hard and strong he was… She felt the strength in his arm, and pressing her face into his chest – all that together with the drink and the musk and the wood – it was a heady mix.
"Here. Let me lay down here on the couch. Maybe if you lay still for a few minutes you can get over.... What did you say? Your fainting attack?"
His laughter, from deep in his chest – it made her feel safe, and it made her feel protected. She’d never been close like this to a man like this one.
She opened her eyes a little and the room was barely lit. A soft glow came from a corner somewhere and it was all warm around her in the air. She sighed. She was safe and she was comfortable.
“Thank you, Rashard, for helping me like this.” She felt embarrassed saying it because she remembered that day he caught her looking at him.
Rashard laughed out aloud. “It’s my responsibility, Miss. But thank you for thanking me.”
Dropped down on one knee now so he could lay her on the daybed, he put her down gently.
She felt his hand brush against the side of her breast. “Rashard. If you don’t mind, please be mindful where you put your hands.” But she had to say it even if she hadn’t wanted to because she wasn’t sure whether he’d meant to do it or not.
“Oh, I’m sorry Miss. My hand – it slipped. I didn’t want to drop you. Should I call your husband now to attend to you?
“No. I said no. Not yet. Maybe in a little while.”
"Can I put your legs up so you can rest more comfortably for a moment and then a good strong coffee to help make you feel a bit better?"
As he lifted her legs - first one and then the other, she felt a rush of cool air flow up under her frock and remembered suddenly that she was without her panties. When she'd stormed out of their apartment after the fight, in a huff, she'd not put back on the panties that she'd slipped off for Blake and ...... She eased her legs closed as he turned away to get the coffee, dying inside at the prospect that he'd seen her and that she wasn’t one of those girls who shaved down there.
From his kitchenette bench, Rashard asked softly and carefully she could hear, “Are you alright Miss? I think you’ve been crying and I think maybe you are having a problem with your husband. It’s your birthday and here you are alone like this.”
Laura thought about what she was hearing from this dark man who was a doorman in her building. He’d seen so much already tonight and maybe speaking with him might help her unload some of the drama of the day. “It’s really none of your business Rashard but yes, it’s been a difficult day and no, I shouldn’t be having my birthday alone like this, but I’d like to just leave it now if you don’t mind. It’s really a very personal matter, isn’t it?”
“Of course, Miss. But even for someone in my position, it’s still difficult to see such a beautiful young woman as yourself, so upset and distressed. But it’s not my business of course. I understand of course.”
“Sometimes, being married can be difficult. Today, is a difficult day.”
“I can’t imagine someone as young and beautiful as you having any difficult days, Miss.”
Even though the light in the room was soft, coming from a single small desk lamp near where he was making her coffee, she laid her arm across her eyes, partly to further soften and partly to hide the embarrassment she felt from the intimacy that was forming. “Thank you for the compliment, Rashard. I shouldn’t say so, but I think I needed to hear that,” said Laura, choking back a tear. It had been a long time since a man had said something warm to her.
He certainly was a study in the primitive, this man. Tall – much taller than Blake; lithe, like a coiled up beast, and hard where Blake no longer was, and maybe never was. When he’d cradled her after she’d fallen and she’d followed the line of his body down from his muscled chest and to his slim waist it had made her gasp and shudder. She hadn’t liked that she had but it had happened.
Now, from under her arm she began to study him. Where she shouldn't be looking, he was full and heavy and the line of it tracked down his leg. He was a big man, there was no doubt and it couldn’t be hidden. The outline of it was clear. He glanced over at her and for a moment she shied away from him, thinking he had caught her looking, but he hadn’t. His eyes were on her legs and they tracked up and down along her body. A slight movement as he poured the steaming coffee into a cup and she saw his eyes flicking over her again, his mouth slightly open as though he’d been mesmerised. His chest rose and fell, rose and fell rhythmically until suddenly he yelped, pulling his hand back, sending the cup clattering to the floor.
"Ow!” he rubbed his hand. “I’m sorry! I spilled the coffee and that was the last of it."
He hadn’t been watching what he’d been doing. She’d seen him glancing back and forth between her and what he was supposed to be doing. Laura felt a warmth begin to creep up her neck and into her face. She knew at that moment that he had seen her... down there – down below where she was unshaved, and she saw it had disrupted him. He had seen her only as Blake had ever seen her - weak, on her back, open to him, vulnerable, exposed…all of those things.
And she had seen it trigger that base part in him, that part of the brain in men they called lizard brain. A part in men that had no component of conscience and was blind to danger. It was a part that once awoken - aroused, would work, and could work at nothing else but to do that basest of animal things – to rut.
Laura closed her eyes to shut out the thoughts. She didn’t like what she was thinking and she wanted it to stop. This was not a road she should be travelling and certainly not alone with a man like this, nor in the state that she was in. She needed to go. That is what she needed.
"Rashad,” she called. “Come here. Come and let me see your hand."
She should not have said that. She should have left it alone. It was risky. He came. She pointed to a place that was not beside her but at the end of the flat daybed upon which she lay, naked beneath her dress. She pulled back her feet, lifting her knees to show him where to sit. “You’re helping me. Now I’ll help you and then I want you to call my husband to come and get me.”
"It's nothing," he said as he gave her his hand anyway.
His skin was flushed, or as flushed as it could be given its blackness. He had the fingers of a working man – long, thick, strong. “I want to thank you for helping me tonight,” she lightly traced around the area around the burn.
“How are you feeling now, Miss? You seemed a little upset if you don’t mind me saying, Miss. Did your husband perhaps forget about your birthday? Some husbands forget, and if I can say so, but they don’t mean it. ”
“I don’t know why I’m talking to you about things like this. It’s not proper, is it, to talk about personal things like this? I am a little better now but still dizzy. Just give me a few more minutes and then you can call my husband for me. I’m sorry if I’ve held you up,” she patted his hand.
“Where is Mr Blake?” he turned to look at a TV monitor on the wall. “When I’m in here and somebody enters the foyer, I hear a beep, but so far, no beeps and no Mr Blake. Not much of a fun birthday for you, is it?” Rashard took his hand back and let her ease back onto the pillow. “Your birthday should be better than this. Am I making it better, Miss?”
She watched his face and saw the disruption in it, and heard his breath, dry and husky now. Her heart was running faster and harder. She wondered whether he could hear it.
“Should I call Mr Blake, Miss? Now, to come and get you?”
“No! …I mean, not yet please. I’ll be ok very soon now and then I must go. I must go then.”
Laying herself back down flat on the daybed, her arm over her eyes, she could see he was talking to her but not to her face. Instead, he was looking at her knees. They were still raised where she’d lifted them to make room for him. Her frock had slipped back up her legs.
“Just a few more minutes. I mustn’t drift off, Rashard. I must go back to my husband. I really need to get going as soon as I can…. Just a few more minutes,” she sighed and felt a tension appear in her body that had not been there before. “A few more minutes….that’s all.”
Eyes closed, Laura made out the strains of the same slow smoky jazz that played in the lifts. She hadn’t noticed it before – that it was everywhere. It was easy music. The beat of it was slow, like the beat of her heart and she wondered whether her heart was following it, slowing her down more and more, relaxing her, helping her to drift away, awake, but not quite.
“You are a lovely lady, Miss,” his voice rumbled deep and low in his chest, and with that, he lifted one of her feet gently and placed it into his lap. “Just relaxing Miss. Everything is good now. Nothing to worry about, Miss. I’ll make sure you’re back upstairs in no time.”
“I do need to get back upstairs…soon. Very soon.” She could feel his hand softly stroking her foot and then she felt him press it into himself. It was a warm place where he was pressing it. And it was hard too at the same time – hard like his breathing was becoming hard.
“Rashard,” she could barely speak. “Rashard,” she whispered. “I should go now, please.”
“Shhhh….. In a minute. In a minute when you’re feeling better, you should go. I’m just waiting here with you until then. Everything is fine, Miss. You’re just resting for a minute.”
Laura could hear her breath, and she could hear his breath, and they were breathing together, softly. His one hand on her foot, pressing it into him, his other had found its way to her opposite knee and she could feel a slight pressure on the inside of that knee, easing it gently out, making her open to him. He would be able to see her now, down there. She would be wet now and open and the colour of her would be of something between red and light red. In places, the hair would be glistening. He was opening her, separating her lips. She could not see, but she could feel. Her thighs were now exposed and she was fully open.
“Shhh….. Everything is fine. Just relaxing. You need to relax. You’re so tight Miss you feel like you’re going to snap. Nothing to worry about.”
Seconds felt like minutes felt like seconds felt like time had become deranged. She could hear him breathing hard but she was breathing like him too. Oh God, she thought. Please don’t let this be happening.
He moved his body in closer to her, forcing her legs apart so they were splayed wide. She felt his fingers at the entrance and she could feel them wet and touching her, first a little and then more deeply inside. “Rashard….please. Please don’t Rashard.”
“Shhhh….. In a minute...Just a minute more. Just relaxing, Miss.”
She felt him move her foot off his lap and then the sound of a zip sliding quickly down. Then he had her hand, guiding it to his lap and then the weight of his thing in her hand, so thick, so thick, so heavy, and it was wet and silky and he guided her hand along the shaft, up, down, up, down, wet and along its length until she didn’t need to be guided but did it herself.
“Oh God. Why are you doing this? Why are you making me do this?” Laura moved her body up but he was strong and he smelled of musk and wood and he pressed her down gently.
The air was heavy and thick around her and she could feel his sticky wetness as it lay there in her palm. As she closed her hand around it, because she could not help but grasp it, she felt it come to life, swelling more, throbbing, getting harder and she began to stroke it again along its length, slowly, sometimes lightly, sometimes hard but along it full length. Below his shaft, she let her hands feel the weight of his sacks. He had almost no hair and everything was full and smooth and heavy.
“Oh God….Rashard, I shouldn’t be ….I shouldn’t.”
“The head, Miss. Now the head…just with your fingers, the head… Slowly, but harder, harder.”
Both his hands were massaging her thighs – up and down, down and up, and they were wet from her own wetness. All the while splaying her legs wider and wider, lifting them high so everything down there was open to him. Her skirt was nowhere. Her one arm still covered her eyes. Her eyes and her soul, through them, were not for him.
She felt him take her hand and guide it under his sacks further back and he stopped when her fingers found that place that would allow her to be inside of him and he forced her fingers inside him. She could barely breathe as she slipped first one, then two and then another finger in. She knew what this would do to him – touching that place inside a man and stroking it would bring him to a place she’d been told was a place like a heaven for a man.
All her breathing was now through her mouth, as was his. She could hear it, rough, like an animal – wild like a beast. And she was no better. Now she felt his fingers inside her, deeper than she’d thought possible. It was as though all his hand was there inside her but instead of pain from opening her up like that, all she felt was glory and that glory made her moan aloud and she didn’t care that she could be heard. With her agape and his hand almost fully inside her, she felt his thumb begin stroking rhythmically, building her up until she was almost gasping. In her other place – that place where she could also be entered, she could feel him inside her too now, stroking in and out, rhythmically and deeply. She was open and full everywhere. She was bursting. It was too late to go back. Now she didn’t want to go back.
The liquor in her had been enough to weaken her, and he shouldn’t have, and she shouldn’t have, and they shouldn’t be here like this. This, was so wrong and she could tell it was because nothing that felt like this could be right.
As he worked her, her hips began thrusting into his hands. He was working her hard but it was as though he thought that he would hurt her if he took it any further but he was wrong. She thrust harder onto him, making him go deeper and as she did, she began on him. Where her fingers had rested at that place inside him, they now followed his rhythm inside her. Each of them were no longer of this world. They’d been taken over, each by the animal drive inside them – he inside her, and she inside him and if anyone had heard them as they were now hearing themselves there would have been no doubt that these two were reaching bestial heights of pleasure.
This was no longer two ordinary people engaging in an intimacy – this was much lower than that...much lower.
Now splayed open and with him in her everywhere he could be, he became unrelenting, driving and driving her harder to that place called ‘the little death’. As he drove her, she drove him, one hand almost all inside him, the other sliding relentlessly along the wet length of his black manhood until finally, miraculously, both froze rigid, as though possessed at the exact same moment, each uttering a guttural scream so low and so base that it dropped to the floor beside like a leaden weight.
Seconds turned to minutes and minutes to tens of minutes and then the disentangling began. Neither one said anything to the other. It was too late for speaking.
“Rashard,” said Laura after some little more time had passed. “Do you know what Mr Blake does? Do you know why we live in the penthouse in this building?”
“No, Miss,” replied Rashard, perhaps a little too smugly for his station in life. “Why?”
“Rashard, I’m going now,” said Laura, straightening out her frock and slipping back on the little pump that had slipped off earlier. “After I’ve gone, I want you to Google Mr Blake’s last name. It’s on the mail box out there in the foyer. And after you’ve Googled him,” she said, not looking at him but at something nothing else, “and you know a bit more about him, you’ll know why we’ll never ever, ever, speak with each other in any other way than we have before this evening.”
She watched Rashard who was no longer looking at her. There was no smugness in his downcast face as he zippered up his open pants.
It was possible that he’d Googled the man in the building’s penthouse apartment already, and if he had, he had been either a very brave man or a reckless man who simply could not control himself. Blake didn’t like men like that. Laura both didn’t, and, obviously did like men like him.
“Can you clean up the mess, Rashard, before the next shift starts?” She had to get this situation back under control before this doorman got out of control. “Let’s call it unpaid overtime, shall we and leave it at that?”
If he truly was as reckless as he seemed to have been, showing such delicious disregard for her, and his own interests tonight, things could get messy. She wondered whether this was something she should talk with Kim who had, after all, sort of suggested the idea of developing ‘friendships’ as a way of dealing with her Blake’s diminishing interest. She’d think about it. Carefully.
Laura sighed. Same lift, different journey, she thought, feeling a little better now. That aching want in her belly was no longer there. But why wasn’t she feeling bad or guilty? This wasn’t her. Tonight wasn’t her. But it wasn’t her fault either. If Blake hadn’t been such an animal, and Rashard hadn’t taken such advantage of her, none of this would have happened. And didn’t she deserve something for herself? To be fulfilled?
She looked at her apartment door – 40A, and realised that for the first time, she’d thought of it as ‘her’ door. And it was – it was her door too, and she laughed. Her life wasn’t just about Blake and his money and power, it was about her too, and tonight, for the first time she’d felt it. It was her door too, just like it was her life and not just Blake’s she was here to live.
She slipped the key confidently into the door and stepped into her world. “I’m back.”
Faster than she’d ever seen him move, Blake was up off his couch and into her face. “Cooled down now, have we?” said Blake with a sour look on his face. “I don’t know what you’ve been doing, but I’ve been up here, making money. Alone. Don’t you ever…”
The sound of her slap on his face stopped the world and Blake in his tracks. “Don’t you ever treat me like a rag again Blake. Ever, please.” She saw a thousand seasons cross his face at that moment and then a broad grin broke slowly out over his face.
“Like I said, Baby, cooled down now, have we? A year older and now you’ve found a bit of fire there in that pretty belly of yours it seems. Well, come on over and have a look at this,” he said, feeling his face. “While you’ve been wherever you’ve been getting over yourself, I’ve made us a couple of extra million.” Blake smiled at her. “Good Babe?”
“Yes. That’s good, Babe. You did good for us.”
“Let’s pop a bottle of bubbly and have a drink to you and that birthday of yours,” and he pulled her close in to him, giving her a squeeze with his paw. “No panties?” He pulled her closer. “And what’s that new perfume you’re wearing. It’s kind of musky, isn’t it? And you know what they say about musk, don’t you?”
“Yes, I know what they say about musk, and it’s all true. But first, let me freshen up a bit. It’s been a rough night.”
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