November – Philadelphia
“What are you thinking about while you’re pretending to listen to me?” My friend Bruce’s comment snapped me out of my reverie. The lights and pounding music of the club had combined with the alcohol to make my head feel a little fuzzy and I had let my thoughts wander.
“That weekend out in Bucks County when Adam and I wound up chasing after that intruder. It made me paranoid. I keep triple checking my locks now.” That was half true, at least. I had been thinking about that weekend, but the moment stuck in my head was the one right before we heard something out on the deck, the one when Adam had almost kissed me.
“It’s not a bad idea in your case. Tell me again why you live in the ghetto,” Bruce said, being his usual snarky self.
“Because a law librarian’s salary isn’t much to live on already, and I have the added cost of publishing my own books. At least the erotic romance novels are selling well.”
“You don’t think your parents would help you out if they knew you were living there?”
“They want me to use my law degree to be a lawyer, not a law librarian and part-time smut peddler. They’re really into ‘tough love,’ especially the tough part. Let’s talk about something nicer, which would be just about anything.”
“Okay, thinking about your boy again, huh? What’s it been, a month now since you’ve seen him?” he asked. I sighed and rolled my eyes. Except for that.
“Yeah, I saw him at Gabrielle and Braden’s wedding, but we didn’t talk. It’s for the best. I should just forget about it. We probably couldn’t even handle hooking up. We’d fight over who got to be on top.”
“You’re not going to forget about it. Don’t think I haven’t noticed that the main characters in your latest novel, Touch, were a tall, dark and handsome guy and a curvy, brunette with big brown eyes. I wonder who that could be.”
“There are lots of people who fit that description.”
“That’s just the beginning of the similarities. You want me to go on? It doesn’t take Freud to figure it out, sweetie.”
“So maybe I based one of my erotic novels on my own sexual fantasies. It doesn’t mean I should try to make them reality. This attraction is just physical, and it will pass. Eventually.”
“Whatever you say. Speaking of hot guys, check out that cutie on the dance floor. He knows how to move. He’s probably great in bed.”
“Does Jason know you check out other guys?”
“We’ve been together for seven years, Lil. He knows who I come home to every night.”
“Is that true about dancing?” I asked. “That guys who can dance are good in bed?”
“Think about it, rhythm, hip movement …”
Hmm, I could use some rhythm and hip movement. I hadn’t had sex in a couple of months. The guys I had been dating were nice, but I wanted someone who stirred something up in me. I snorted to myself when I thought about that observation. I should just sleep with Adam. He certainly stirred something up. Usually, it was fury.
As if my thinking about him had caused him to appear, when I was on my second apple martini, Bruce’s gaze became riveted by something over my left shoulder.
“Uh oh,” he mouthed.
“Uh oh what?” I asked, nervously. Anything that followed “uh oh” couldn’t be good.
“Your boy is here.”
“What’s he doing?” I asked, pretty sure I didn’t want to know.
“I don’t think you want to know,” he answered, confirming my suspicions.
I slurped my drink and began planning my escape. I knew why Adam came to these places and the last thing I wanted to see was him picking up some other woman, but I didn’t want him to see me sneaking out either. God, I missed the days when we just hated each other. I sloshed down even more alcohol. If I couldn’t make it out of here, maybe I would be lucky enough to have a blackout.
“Interesting…” Bruce said, apparently analyzing whatever Adam was doing. I was tempted to look, but I told myself not to do it. I wanted to know now, though. I had to admit Bruce was usually on target with his observations.
“Tell me,” I said resignedly. “It’s better that I hear it. It’ll help me regain my sanity.”
“Some blonde’s hanging all over him. She’s practically shoving her tits in his face.”
“What’s so interesting about that?” I asked, wondering if I had done something awful in a past life to deserve this.
“He keeps looking around like he wants to leave, but she keeps putting her hand in his lap. She may actually be rubbing his dick. I guess that’s one way to get his attention.”
“Classy,” I said, feeling my stomach starting to roil. “I’m the one who wants to leave.”
“Not yet you don’t, sister! Come on!”
“Come on where?”
“To the dance floor, of course!”
He yanked me out of my seat and I followed along obediently, although I really couldn’t tell you why I did. Bruce just had a way of compelling me to do things. The pounding music was starting to give me a pounding headache and I had a feeling that if any more lights flashed in my eyes I might go blind. I really wasn’t in the mood to shake my booty, but Bruce wasn’t going to take no for an answer. As soon as we got out onto the floor, he started channeling his inner boy band, busting out all of his fanciest moves.
“What are you auditioning for?” I shouted at him over the music.
“One of us has to catch your boy’s attention and you’re moving like you’re in a body cast,” he shouted back, swiveling his hips like Elvis in the early days. “It’s too bad Jason was on call tonight. If he were here, we could have gotten really raunchy.”
“I don’t know that having a threesome under the disco ball would exactly set me apart from his current companion.”
“She’s not his companion anymore. He ditched her.”
“Are you sure that she’s not just blowing him under the table?”
“I just love your girlish charm,” he yelled back at me.
“I feel the same way about you,” I responded. Hearing that he had changed his mind about his little friend cheered me up and I found myself loosening up a bit. At least I could probably get out of there before he found one he liked better. Now, if I could just get John Travolta to leave the dance floor.
“I think you have an admirer,” Bruce shouted a few minutes later.
“I have many admirers,” I joked.
“This one is a tall, dark and handsome prosecutor.” Suddenly, he backed up and practically doubled over laughing.
“Are you choking on something? Because I don’t remember any of that Heimlich shit from Girl Scouts.” He punched me in the shoulder, still laughing hysterically. “Ouch! What the fuck is wrong with you?”
“Come on, Lil. Will you try to look like you’re having some fun, for Christ’s sake?” he shouted/growled through his self-induced mirth. He grabbed my hand and spun me around twice. Not a great idea after two rapidly consumed apple martinis. I wound up facing the other way, and when the room stopped spinning too, I looked up and saw Adam reclining in a chair at a table not far from where we were, with an amused look on his face. He smiled and waved. I furrowed my brows and Bruce yanked me back around, nearly dislocating my shoulder in the process.
“Why didn’t you wave back?” he demanded with a maniacal smile. He was so intent on looking like he was having a blast that he was now dancing like a muppet.
“Because he’s laughing at me. Will you stop that? You look like you’re having a spasm. Someone’s going to call the paramedics.”
“He’s not laughing at you. Well, maybe a little, but not in a mean way. More in a ‘she’s pretty adorable’ way. I’m telling you.”
“I’m not adorable,” I said, feeling unreasonably irritated. “Chipmunks are adorable. I’m empowered.” You keep telling yourself that, Lily, I thought.
The truth was that while Adam might be laughing at Bruce, he probably wasn’t laughing at me. Jason, who had put himself through college as a Chippendale’s dancer, had been teaching me all kinds of sexy moves, and I could seriously shake my pom-poms when I wanted to. At the moment, I was doing things with my hips that would have made Shakira jealous.
“Since you’re so liberated, I guess you don’t care that he’s seriously checking you out now!” Bruce the muppet yelled, while executing a move that looked kind of like those double axels that ice skaters did.
“What do you mean, seriously? Not that it matters!”
“I’ll give you ten to one that he’s picturing you naked underneath him moving like that.”
“He probably pictures every woman that way,” I said dismissively, while my less-empowered, inner-girlie girl secretly beamed.
“Not if that other chick was any indication. She was practically jerking him off, but he looked like he was thinking about what socks to wear tomorrow. I think you’re making him hard from thirty feet away, though.”
“Maybe he’ll give the blonde a second chance to service him in the men’s room.”
I was starting to enjoy the idea that Adam was watching me move, and I began to let Bruce engage me more so that he could stop throwing himself all over the floor like a death scene in a silent movie. Seeing that I was loosening up, he changed tactics and began saying hilariously obscene things about the other patrons of the club around us. By the next song, I was a bit sweaty, but laughing and dancing in a fun flirtatious way with Bruce who, thank God, had finally started acting like a normal human being again.
“After this song, we’ll walk back to our table past him!” he shouted. “Stop and say ‘hi’ and try not to look like you’re having a colonoscopy.”
The song ended and Bruce started fanning himself like a Southern Belle and acting more effeminate than I had ever seen him act before. Ever. Give me a break! This performance deserved an Academy Award. He practically skipped off the dance floor. So much for normal. I sighed, steeled my nerves and walked in Adam’s direction.
“Lily, fancy meeting you here,” Adam shouted with a smile. I tried to figure out if there was an insult in there somewhere. Maybe I hadn’t heard him well enough.
“You’re not going to call me Lilith like you usually do?” I asked suspiciously. Adam was fond of calling by the name of the mythical queen of the demons.
“Feeling succubus-like this evening?”
“Perhaps some other time,” I yelled back and he actually laughed.
“Hello! We haven’t formally met but I’ve seen you in the library. I’m Bruce,” Bruce said, holding his hand out to Adam like he expected him to kiss it. “Lily is keeping me company while my partner, Jason, is on call at the hospital.”
“In case you didn’t catch that, Bruce was telling you that he’s gay. I wouldn’t get your hopes up, though, because he and Jason are a very happy couple.”
Bruce scowled at me and then rolled his eyes. “Would it kill you to be a little friendlier, Lil?” he demanded, putting his hands on his hips and giving me a pouty face. Suddenly he was Bette Davis. I had never seen him act like this before. Where was he getting this shit?
“What?” I sputtered, feeling appalled. “If you think that wasn’t friendly you should hear the things he’s said to me!”
“Well, he didn’t say any of them tonight. I think you should apologize.” My mouth literally popped open, but Bruce just continued to give me his most reproving look. I sighed.
“I’m sorry I was unfriendly,” I shouted. I mentioned how Bruce could compel me to do things, right? Sometimes I wondered if he had mind control powers.
“I accept your apology,” Adam answered, looking like he was trying not to laugh. I wondered if the busses were still running so I could throw myself under one. Bruce took his cell out of his pocket and read a text message.
“Oh shit! Jason got called in and I have his keys. I have to run. Let me call you a cab.”
“It’s okay. I can call one.”
“I’ll take you home,” Adam cut in. I looked at him in shock. Bruce looked at him with glee and beat it out of there so fast he practically left a dust cloud in his path. He was gone before he could say “beep beep.” Adam was taking me home. Oh God.
RELEASE DATE: April 22, 2014.