Justice Served Hot
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Copyright ©2013 Sarah Barimen
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Deliciously buzzed, I sat alone, watching people drink and flirt around me at the bar. The bartender, Nick, knows I like to relax like this on Friday nights, and he usually warns people off. He must have had his back turned, though, when a warm hand slid down my shoulder and along my arm and a rough whisper said, "Quick, beautiful, pretend you're my lover for a minute."
I turned slowly, because when I'm that buzzed everything seems to happen in slow motion, and took a breath of the most masculine aftershave ever, underlain with the scent of clean, healthy man. What the hell, I thought. The night had been too quiet, and I'd been alone a long time. I looked up into a face with a hint of five o'clock shadow under dark brown hair and eyes to drown in, and he kissed me like a thunderstorm, igniting every nerve in my body.
In a momentary lull, I sensed more than saw two men in suits walk past. One of the men even glanced at me, but all he saw -- I'm sure, since he didn't grab my unexpected lover by the shoulder for a very rude interruption -- was some drunk chick totally making out with some guy. I submerged myself again. They went past.
When they were gone, and I could drag myself out of that kiss -- not easy! I whispered, "Hey, can I take you home? Because, you know." I jerked my chin in the direction the two searchers had gone. "A hiding place." Sure. Right. I'm so altruistic. I was also suddenly wet as hell and aching with need. We could kill two birds with one stone. I honestly didn't care if he really wanted somewhere to hide, because if he agreed I would get what I suddenly needed so much. I was certain he wouldn't refuse such a direct request.
He was breathing hard as he straightened to check the room. Not seeing his pursuers, he whispered, "Go out and wait on the corner for me. I'll find you in a few."
I rose unsteadily, not only from the liquor. "Okay. See you soon."
Nick was watching me by this time, his expression reserved with a bit of a smile. He said, "Be good, Tansy -- and if you can't be good, be careful."
I waved at him. "Always." I meant it when I said it. I always mean things when I say them. I reserve the right to change my mind later. My buzz and I went out into the brisk chill of a breezy autumn night. It was dark already, naturally. At this latitude you kiss sunlight goodbye after mid-afternoon, and it was well past that.
I weaved my way down the sidewalk, ignoring a few catcalls and a proposition from someone who mistook me for a working girl. I actually laughed at him. I might have sex on the brain and elsewhere, but being paid by some random John to do that would take all the fun out of what I was really hoping for, and while the extra money might have come in useful, the risks -- you know, like maybe finding out the "John" is a cop in disguise -- weren't worth it. I won't pretend I never thought about it, though. Obviously I have.
I've thought of all kinds of things since my divorce -- celibacy will do that to you. I hadn't had to stay that way. God knows I've had enough offers. But I'd never really seen what was in it for me, and I don't think for a moment those men were ever altruistic. They saw what I could do for them. Not that there's anything wrong with that, you understand, but honestly.
So, back to this guy, whose name I didn't even know yet. I saw what I could do for him -- if he was telling the truth, I mean -- and I saw what he could do for me. That's a fair trade. Screw altruism. I went to the light pole at the crosswalk and pretended I was going to cross, hunched in my jacket as the chill began to seep through, while the world rushed by and I doubted the wisdom of coming out here with quite so much of a buzz going. What if he didn't come? It occurred to me that maybe, just maybe, those two guys might be around somewhere, but I hadn't exactly gotten a good look at them. I'd been... occupied at the time. I waited.
The light changed; the walk signal turned, and I stood there like a half-drunk idiot, feeling vaguely guilty because I wasn't crossing when it told me to.
The light changed back. He didn't come. I began to think I'd been had, and that I should go home. As I waited, though, I became aware that someone was standing next to me.
He said quietly, "At the next light, cross and continue on down the block. I'll walk separately."