By Sandra Beasley

 

“Give him a chance,” Angie says, watching him go back for another round of Red Stripe. “He’s cute. He’s into you.”

“How is he on foreign investment transactions?” I ask. “Because that’s the only thing on my mind this week.”

“He IS a foreign investment transaction,” she says. “And you say that every week.” Angie clinks her empty bottle to mine, then picks up her purse and jacket. “Not every hour has to be billable, lady.”

“Spoken like a woman getting a PhD in Literature,” I say, waving goodbye.

Still. I admire the confidence in his shoulders as he comes back with our beers. After a long couple of sips, I set mine down and look at him.

“My friend headed out. I should too. It’s a late night.”

“Oh,” he says. “Sure. I can walk you–”

I touch his arm. What the hell. “Can we make it a later night?”

The upside of being in six-figure law school debt is that the only crappy little studio I can afford to rent is just blocks from the only crappy little dive bar where I can afford to drink. As we walk I wonder what this guy is thinking. This is the fourth time we’ve met at O’Reilly’s. I know about all the bakeries where he works, his hikes, his crazy younger brother. All he knows about me is that I spend weekends at the office and I take a wedge of lime with my Red Stripes.

I’m three flights of stairs up. As we step into my apartment I run my hands under his shirt, feeling the muscles of his back flex as he catches his breath. We lean against the front door, closing it behind us.

I tilt my head back, looking at the scuffed ceiling as he kisses me. There’s hunger in how he moves his mouth along my jaw and throat. I yank at the sash on my wraparound skirt and feel it loosen, then fall to the floor.

One problem: the stack of contracts that wait on the other side of the room. I take my turn to kiss him. The ceiling fan’s breeze is now raising goose bumps on my legs. And there’s this stack of work. Waiting.

I keep kissing him. Tomorrow’s filing deadline is noon. Damn it. Why can’t it be a 5 PM day?

His lips have gone still. “Hey,” he says.

“Hey,” I say.

He reaches up and bangs his fist lightly on the door behind us.

“Knock knock,” he whispers.

I must have heard that wrong. I undo the buttons of his shirt and tug at neck of the t-shirt beneath so I can kiss his collarbone.

He’s the one to lead me across the room, but I’m the one to push him down onto the rickety futon I call a bed. I lie beside him, hoping he doesn’t notice as I glance toward my desk. I’ll work after he leaves, I promise myself. He laces his fingers through mine and rolls me so he’s on top.

“Knock knock,” he says, clearly this time.

“Seriously?” I say.

“Knock knock,” he says.

“Um. Milk,” I say. “Moo.”

“You seem out of practice,” he says, laughing. “Knock. Knock.”

“Interrupting cow, goddammit. Interrupting penguin?”

His palms keep my shoulders pinned to the mattress as he makes his way down my body with his mouth. One hand moves to cup my breast, while the other hand knuckles up and knocks on the V of my panties. Once. Twice. He doesn’t even say the words out loud.

I sigh. “Who’s there?”

He rocks his mouth back and forth over my center. A deep tremor moves through me. We’re separated by whatever stupid polysilk blend was on sale at Victoria’s Secret but it doesn’t matter. I clutch the sheets as he teases me with the comma of his fingers, then slips them inside. Faster. Faster. I fumble at the nape of his neck to give him permission to come up for air. He refuses.

I grab the back of his head instead, feeling the soft waves of his hair under my palms, and press him against my body. He moans with that earlier hunger–a guttural growl that pushes me over the edge. Jesus. I clench around his touch and howl.

As my shaking eases his tongue turns gentle, lapping along the inside of my thighs.

“Who’s there?” I ask again.

“Just me,” he says.

“Just me who?” My voice is as soft as the whir of the fan overhead.

“Just me who thinks we’ve got time for a joke or two,” he says, smoothing his thumbs over my hips. “We’ve got plenty of time.”

For the first time I see him. I really see him. I reach out and trace my fingers over his ear, tugging at the lobe.

“A lawyer walks into a bar…” I begin.

“I like it,” he says. “Tell me more.”

 

–Sandra Beasley