by Henri Colt
My girlfriend and I had just returned from an overnight trip into Manhattan. A night of gentle love-making on the pillow-covered king size bed at The Surrey followed drinks at the Carlisle
and dinner on seventy-sixth and Madison. Our morning walk across Central Park in a light summer rain kept us in a tender mood, but the drive back to Westchester was mostly silent, each of us locked in our own thoughts. After getting out of the car, I escorted Chris to the front door.
“I can’t stay, you know.”
“Awww,” she said. “Baby is so important he just has to get back to the office.”
I put my hand on her waist. “It pays the bills,” I said. Then jokingly, “I didn’t see you change this morning. Are you still wearing a little bit of nothing under your dress?”
She turned and bent slightly forward to slip her key into the front door. “Just nature’s natural fur,” she said without looking up.
I nudged her from behind, putting my hand on the back of her short, knit skirt. I could almost feel the warm, soft triangle between her legs. My palm cupped her snuggly. Nestling her, I wrapped my arm around her waist. Her thighs squeezed me…hard.
She leaned her cheek on my shoulder. “Hmmm,” she said, pressing herself against me. I kissed her behind the ear and inched my lips down toward the tip of her nose. I scratched the nape of her neck playfully.
“Stop,” she whispered, “you know I like that.”
“You could undress here, you know?
She giggled, but it sounded more like a purr. “You mean on my doorstep? I don’t think so. I have neighbors.”
“They’ll just be jealous.”
“Let them talk.” I brushed myself against her. The word ‘relentless’ popped into my mind.
“I’m serious,” she said. “Stop.”
But my hand was still trapped between her legs. I sort of just left it there, fiddling, as if it had a mind of its own.
“Stop,” she said, in a way that made the word sound like it had two syllables. I restrained a smile when I felt the tautness in her thighs relax. Grudgingly, but with my arm still wrapped around her waist, I grasped her hand and lifted it to my lips. A sweet almond aroma rose from my fingertips. I breathed deeply, making sure she would hear me.
“Did I upset you?” she said.
“I’m not sure,” I ventured. “Maybe it’s the mixed messages?”
“It’s just a word,” she said. “There’s no need to make a big thing about it.” Pulling away, she adjusted her skirt and turned the key. The door popped open and she stepped across the threshold, then pivoted on her toes. I loved her toes, but they were concealed in those soft black loafers she bought on Lexington Avenue. No socks.
With her back to the hallway, she looked at me. I marveled at the way she ran her tongue across her teeth and scratched the corner of her mouth with her little finger, as if she were removing a spot of lipstick.
“My lips get so sticky,” she said, suddenly opening the cross-body Hermes bag draped over her shoulder. She pulled a tube of lipstick from the purse. Its black and gold logo was unmistakable. With perfectly set short black hair, a shapely figure, and deep blue eyes, she stood statuesque-like in the doorway. I peeked past her at the small marble coffee table covered with books. A crystal vase overflowed with bright yellow tulips. The lights came on automatically.
“I had a wonderful time,” she said, “but you know that.”
I wasn’t sure whether to leave or to wait patiently for an invitation to come in. Perhaps she expected me to say goodbye. A stray cat sauntered across the driveway and brushed against my leg, arching its back repeatedly. After curling itself twice around my ankles, it groaned plaintively before vanishing into the shadows of an afternoon sun drowning in the treetops.
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