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Keeping watch, twenty years later

Exotica

See You

by Robin Slick
(05/26/04)

When Erica Hollander leaned over and told Pete Blessing what she'd been doing, his first reaction was a frantic eyeball around the room for his wife. But Emily, thank God, was being her usual charming gregarious self in a far corner surrounded by a rapt audience of neighbors. No problem there, then. Right. Now what in the hell did Erica just say?

She was holding a martini, and some of it sloshed from her wobbly hand over onto her light beige sweater, leaving an almost perfect bull's-eye at her nipple. Pete wasn't quite drunk enough, because he couldn't bring himself to stare for longer than a second or two at a time.

"It's true. Every word of it. And I can't believe I'm telling you," she said, wringing her dripping hand and spraying his face with gin. He blinked, eyes burning, but no matter. The stinging felt kind of fitting; almost like penance for the conversation.

They were standing at a makeshift bar decked with blue and yellow crepe paper streamers at a party honoring their respective sons' little league championship. Their kids were great friends. He golfed with her husband. She shopped with his wife. They had dinners out together.

Stuff like this didn't happen to him. This was fucking great.

"I'm glad you're able to be, um, so honest and open with me," he said. He ignored the resultant unaccustomed feeling of queasy self-hatred. "In fact, tell me more." He poured himself a shot of brandy. To courage, he thought with a wry smile.

"What would you like to hear?"

"A continuation of the same? With even more details?" His gut sunk in guilt, but it did nothing to counteract his lower self which was rallying just the opposite.

"More of this afternoon, you mean?"

She said she straddled her pillow while wearing nothing but bikini bottoms. She rode it like a horse and pretended it was him.

He stroked his chin in a serious contemplating manner like he heard shit like that all the time.

He checked the corner again -- Emily was still the life of the party. She was beautiful and he loved her and hadn't had a serious impure thought since their marriage fifteen years ago. Okay, maybe a few, but they were nothing than the usual guy thing while watching beer commercials.

"It's just that something about you -- I don't know what it is, but I fantasize about you almost non stop. For months now. Oh, what am I saying? I should shut up. Don't you think so, Pete? "

"Huh?"

"Don't you wish I would shut up? Do you wish I hadn't said this to you? Tell me the truth. I can take it." She looked at him all girly girl innocent but then her eyes narrowed the tiniest bit...just enough to confuse him.

"No. No, of course not. I'm finding this whole thing, uh, rather stimulating to say the least," he replied.

"I mean, I love my husband Jeff is great. You know I love him. You love him, too. I love Emily. Please don't take this the wrong way."

Okay. He wouldn't take it the wrong way.

She bound her wrists with shoelaces snatched from her Nike running shoes, she explained, and pretended he kidnapped her and held her a sexual captive against her will.

He'd be thinking of that one all night long for sure in between the ride 'em up pillow scene.

"I don't know what to say, Erica," he replied, helping himself to another shot of brandy. Ah, that felt good. He felt like superman right now. Erica was blonde, big busted and hot. His wife was petite and dark, the yin to her yang. He was flattered, fuck that, his ego was soaring. But he was a good guy. No. He wouldn't bite.

"But...lately...it's like I'm obsessed with you or something," she says, but she's drunk and doesn't look away like she'd done from time to time at the ball field. Oh, he'd sensed something a bit odd between them -- she'd stare at him until he'd notice; then she'd glance down at her feet. He just thought she was shy. Ho ho ho.

And then when she was bad and tried to escape, she continued, he tied her up even tighter and spanked her.

She carefully watched his expression while she told him that, to see if he got the meaning.

Jesus. He got himself another shot of brandy and tossed it down his throat. Okay. This was better. He could leap and fly over tall buildings.

"What I want to know is...you're telling me this fantasy but at the same time you're telling me not to take it the wrong way. I guess I'm thick, but I'm not sure why you're doing this."

She hesitated for a moment and took a sip of her martini.

"You know. I honestly have no idea why. I'm probably going to be mortified tomorrow when I remember saying these things to you. I'm drunk. That's what it is. I'm a horrible drinker. You can't take me anywhere. Listen to me now -- I'm rambling. Oh God."

"It's okay. I'm not going to remember any of this tomorrow either. I'm pretty much in the same shape as you."

"Really?"

"Really," he answered, crossing his fingers behind his back.

"Look, I know this is going to sound weird but I want to make it up to you and prove to you I'm not some kind of lunatic. Let me buy you a drink after work tomorrow -- as a friend only," she said, running her still damp fingers through her hair.

"Sure," he said, shocking himself how easily the word slipped out.

They already knew their offices were nearby. Hell, he'd dropped his son off at hers just a few weeks ago for a sleepover.

So they made plans to meet, and he saw right away he was in trouble when he got to the bar and she was sitting there wearing a tight black clingy dress, which he couldn't believe she must have worn to work. What did she do again? He couldn't remember. Ah, yeah,accounting. Ha. Too funny. He said to himself I cannot do this, but he sat down anyway and ordered a brandy. Thoughts of pillows and shoelaces and spankings kept running through his head.

"Let's move to a table," she said, looking at him through boozy eyes. "It'll be more comfortable." She tugged at the short dress riding up her thigh, but not before parting her legs and flashing him page 23 of the Victoria Secret catalogue.

He obeyed in silence, picked up both their drinks and followed her to a corner booth, trying half-heartedly not to stare at her ass.

"I didn't think you'd come," she said, grinning at him over the rim of her glass.

"Nice choice of words," he replied without thinking.

"Oh?"

He sat back Shit. Fell right into that one.

"Sorry. Just thinking of what you said the other night," he mumbled. He quickly downed his drink and signaled the waitress for another round.

"Did that excite you, Peter?"

"Of course."

"Well, good. We're on the same page, then."

No, no. We're not. What page. What was she saying? Pete finished his second drink quickly and cursed himself for not eating any lunch.

"Erica. I know I'm here. I don't know why, though. I mean, okay, I do know why. But Jesus. I love Emily. I don't have these inclinations. I guess I'm flattered by your attention, but I just can't do what you want me to do."

"What is it that you think I want, Peter?" She sat back and stared into his eyes, her tongue briefly darting out and wetting her lips.

"Oh, come on. Don't make me say it."

"No, I'm curious. Tell me."

The waitress brought another brandy and he quickly raised it to his mouth and swallowed.

"You want to have an affair with me."

"Ha! Oh God, is that what you think? No, you have it all wrong. An affair? I have a husband and a family. I can't be getting all emotionally involved with another man. I am so, so not into that."

"Then what?"

"Let me explain, my son," she giggled drunkenly. "I don't want you to fuck me. I want you to watch me play with myself. I want to pretend that I'm in my room and you accidentally walk in on me and see me touching myself and you're so shocked, you stand frozen in the shadows. And you can't tear your eyes away, you just keep watching,and then you start touching yourself while I keep touching myself and it keeps getting wilder and wilder until finally we both explode. What do you think about that, Pete?"

"It sounds unbelievable, but it's still wrong and I just don't think... "

"And," she said, ignoring him. "It's just a one time thing. A one night stand, Pete. No one will know; we do it, we act like it never happened, you go home to Emily, I go home to Jeff, nobody gets hurt."

"I don't think that's possible."

"Why do you say that?"

"Because I would know. And I'm hurting someone who doesn't deserve to be hurt," he said. Christ he felt conflicted. Because while he knew what he was saying was true, he wanted Erica. But he wanted to do more than watch. Screw that. He wanted her legs wrapped around his neck; he wanted to fuck her from behind; he wanted to tie her up with her goddamned sneaker laces and spank her, damn it.

No. He loved Emily. He needed to get the hell out of there. Now.

"But you're not doing anything. You're just watching. The idea of that just gets me so, so hot. And it's harmless. We're not really cheating." She sipped her drink and tossed her hair and then got himin an eye lock and wouldn't let go.

"Right. I'm just watching." Oh man, he'd reverted back to idiot boy. And then suddenly, without thinking, he leaned forward on his elbows across the booth and she did the same, and before he could stop it, they kissed. At first it was just a brushing of the lips, but then she bent halfway across the table and grasped him by the back of the neck and swirled her tongue and he tried to break away and sit back, he really did, but it was just his brain telling him that, his body didn't obey.

They heard a cough and broke away quickly, but it was only a customer at the bar; it wasn't directed at them. Erica got up and came to sit on his side of the booth. She sat practically on top of him, hooking her leg around his, her hand on his thigh.

"We should get a room," she said.

"This isn't watching, what we just did."

"You're right. I'll stop. It goes no further than this once we're out of here. The touching each other, that is."

He couldn't answer her.

She reached over and kissed him softly then urgently and she pressed her breasts up against his chest. He reached behind her -- no bra, big surprise -- and he couldn't let go until she pushed him away with a smile.

"Let's get a room," she said again.

He stayed silent, a muddle of guilt and lust.

"Maybe it's the idea of a room. It's too planned, too duplicitous."

"Yes. Yes. That's it, exactly," he agreed, relieved, as if she'd actually given him a way out.

Her hand rested on his crotch. She stroked him with a feather touch and kissed him again, this time tickling his cheek with long manicured fingers, which then moved to the back of his head and raked his hair. Her kisses got harder and harder, mirroring his cock.

"Let's get out of here," she said.

"No room," he blurted.

"My office then. No one is there. I have a sofa...you know, you've been there. How hot will that be? You hidden behind a file cabinet or something while I...you know"

So. She wanted him to watch her masturbate in her office after hours. Jesus Fucking Christ. He forgot he had a conscience. He forgot he had a name.

They didn't speak as they walked to her building. It was as if the role playing had already begun, and they both understood it. They got on the elevator and she pressed the floor and they stood feet apart,like strangers. The doors opened and she walked out first, never looking behind her. He followed wordlessly down the corridor.

She reached into her handbag, extracted her keys, and let herself in. He was only inches behind her and she surprised him, closing the door in his face. He remained there wooden for a few seconds, and then said to himself Oh.

Of course she didn't click the lock.

He leaned against the wall and wondered if she'd give him a sign; then decided to look at his watch. He'd linger maybe two minutes before going in.

It was an out of body experience for him. His dick hadn't been this stiff since he was fifteen years old, and he felt like an actor in a porn movie, waiting in the wings for his cue. Whew, okay, so that's what this was. No worries then. It wasn't real.

He turned the doorknob and entered her office, trying not to make a sound. It was very dark in the room; the only illumination came from a candle burning in the corner. He idly wondered if she'd bought it for the occasion when suddenly he saw her in the flickering light, naked from the waist up, wearing nothing but the lacy panties. Her tits were large and creamy with erect pink nipples. He shivered. She was up on her knees on the carpet, straddling a throw pillow from the sofa between her legs, moving back and forth, a dreamlike expression on her face. One hand reached up and began massaging her left breast, touching the nipple, and then moved to the right, then back to the left. She moaned and wet a finger and touched her nipple again. He felt like he was going to explode.

Stealthily he inched his way closer, trying to stay in the shadows. There was a large potted plant in the corner, mere inches from where she was working that pillow a spot with a perfect view.

His dick lead the way.

Erica continued to gyrate but then she started to gasp and stopped moving. She sat up straight for a moment, still in character, as if she'd heard a sound but then decided to ignore it, and he smiled, her playfulness giving a little levity to the moment. But then she stood up and stepped out of her panties and he felt faint; he wasn't expecting this -- she was close enough for him to touch. And how he wanted to touch her, stroke her breasts, suck on her nipples, inhale her scent.

No, no. They'd agreed. That would be cheating. He wouldn't fuck her; they'd both still be faithful to their spouses.

She shimmied down on her sofa and spread her legs, giving him the most intimate of views. With one hand, she began to barely touch her clit, just lightly touch it, scarcely a whisper, with one finger. The other hand went back to the nipples, again, scarcely making contact, merely hovering at times.

Jesus, he thought, unzipping himself. His cock was rigid in his hand. He tried emulating what Erica was doing, but it drove him crazy, and if he didn't stop he'd come all over the god damn room.

And then she abruptly finished with the teasing and thrust two fingers inside herself while she rubbed simultaneously with the heel of her hand. The other hand pumped frantically at her breasts and she arched her back and raised her hips and dug her fingers in deeper and then she cried out and this time he did shoot everywhere and he couldn't believe this entire thing...he just couldn't believe it.

She stood up and stretched contentedly while handing him a box of tissues. With her back to him, she stepped back into her panties, pulled her dress over her head, and slipped on her heels.

He wanted to go the men's room, but was afraid to speak, maybe for fear of recognizing his own voice. So he cleaned himself up the best he could, tossed the crumpled Kleenex into her waste basket, and zipped up his pants and waited. She never looked at him, just blew out the candle, and motioned him out the door. He waited while she locked it, then she finally met his eyes and said, "I'd offer to share a cab, but I think it best we don't."

"I drove in," he said.

"You okay to drive?"

"Yeah. I'm fine. Remarkably sober under the circumstances, even."

She ignored the comment.

The got on the elevator, took it down to the lobby and strolled out the front door as if nothing had occurred between them.

She put up her hand and hailed a passing taxi. He waited until she got inside, then started to head in the direction of the lot where his car was parked, when she leaned out the window and yelled, "See you at the ball field, Pete!"

As the cab sped off, he stood there transfixed for a moment, hands thrust in pockets, until its headlights disappeared in the distance.

"See you, Erica," he whispered to the empty street.

He shook his head and rolled his eyes. What the fuck, right?

"Saw you, too," he added with a smile.

©2004 by Robin Slick

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Robin Slick is a fiction writer living in downtown Philadelphia . Her new novel, Three Days in New York City, is in the hands of a publisher while she prays that the final revisions she just sent off are truly final and she'll soon have a firm publication date. The short story from which this novel arose is curently nominated for a Best American Short Story Award. Short stories have been published in NFG, Small Spiral Notebook, In Posse Review, Yankee Pot Roast, Word Riot, Flashquake, Insolent Rudder, Reading Divas, Hackwriters, Fiction Warehouse, Storyhouse, and Nagoya Writes. Upcoming fiction will appear in two print magazines: Spoiled Ink and Graphology. See more of her work at her Web site.


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