It had once been a storage room but now was empty and strangely well kept. As if someone came up every week to sweep and dust. She noticed such things. The ceiling was twice as high as downstairs in the bar and windows made up almost the whole wall opposite the door. Would have been impressive had they not looked directly across the alley to the blank brick wall of a building that reached three stories above. The late afternoon sun bounced off the brick and tumbled to the alley below. The only furnishings were a chair and a desk-really a long table with a drawer-against one wall and an old leather sofa under the windows.
Her bag and clothes were arranged neatly across the end of the sofa in the order she had taken them off, red panties on top, her short, scuffed boots parked neatly in front. He had discretely turned his back and stared at the door while she undressed. But he listened. He heard it all-the clump of the boots coming off first. The zipper, then the rustle of her jeans. There was no real sound as she pulled the black t-shirt over her head, but he heard it. He would have heard butterfly wings at that point. He heard her move-her muscles twinge and stretch as she bent and arranged, then finally the padding of her bare feet as she took position in the middle of the room.
“You can turn around now”, she said.
When he did his eyes were pulled first to the blonde page-boy wig. It was atrocious but served to round a face that would have been severe in someone larger. She was not tall; would easily fit under his chin with a thick book to spare. Slim without being skinny, lines of muscle and cords of tendons traced along her shoulders and down her arms. Her breasts were firm demitasse cups riding high above the soft ridges of ribs that tapered to a flat belly. The tiny manicured dark patch could easily be overlooked. But he didn’t.
“We never set a time limit did we?” she asked.
“No…no…whenever’s comfortable I guess. Are you thinking you’re done already?”
“No, no…it’s fine.”
She didn’t look at him, rather let her eyes float over his shoulders to the room, the walls. They could use a coat of paint she thought. Something natural-like sand-to offset the brick outside.
“Thank you for this. For doing this,” he said.
“You’re welcome. But the hundred bucks was a fine incentive.”
“There are probably easier ways to make a hundred dollars.”
Her first smile of the afternoon split her face like a razor.
He went silent again and she could feel his eyes, a damp breeze over her thighs and feathering her middle.
“Do you like my wig?”
“Not at all.”
She pulled a sad face and stroked the faux hair over her ear.
“It was very expensive”, she said.
“Then you got robbed. Plus I love your hair-the color.”
“Really?” she said, pleased. “Not too mousy?”
Hmmm, she thought. “Wait a minute”, she said. “Time out.”
She looked at him then. “Turn around. Don’t look.”
He turned his back and she slipped back to the couch. A quick flip and the wig flopped atop the pile of clothes. Shaking her head, she pulled a small hairbrush out of her bag. Squinting to see herself in the window she worked her matted hair as best she could to give it a little life. There was a part, and it lay over her right ear and caressed the top of her neck. She padded back to her place in the middle of the room.
“You can look now.”
He turned and smiled. “Ah, that’s nice. Thank you.”
“Stop thanking me. It’s fine.”
He moved close and looked down where the hair was thickest. “There is a touch of auburn”, she said then let his gaze leak down over her shoulder to her nipple. Suddenly startled by her proximity he moved a step backward then slipped to his right, out of her sight line. She stayed still, letting air in through her mouth and out through her nose. That’s all she remembered from an old mediation lesson. His shoes must have been new because they squeaked as he shifted his weight behind her.
“Can I touch?”, he asked weakly-afraid of the answer.
“That wasn’t the deal.”
“Of course. I know. I’m sorry.”
“That’s okay”, she said quietly but firmly. She cocked her head only a little to the side. “What do you want to touch?”
He was behind her and she well knew what he wanted to touch.
Of course. She grew up hating her bottom-she imagined it to be a boy’s backside: flat with none of the curves that her friends had. As she got older it filled out a bit, but still didn’t curve enough. The gym had made it firm and muscles gave it some shape, but she thought it rode up her back. He liked it though.
“OK”, she said. “But only the cheeks. Nothing funny.”
“No, of course not.”
As soon as his palm touched her, she pushed slightly backward trying to create a curve, or some kind of contour anyway. And she softened as best she could. He was thorough, palming the right cheek, sliding down to the thigh then across to the other side. She felt his hand lift away then touch her again, palming her fully. Then again.
“I know what you’re doing”, she said.
“You’re spanking me, aren’t you? That’s what you’re imagining. Isn’t it?”
“Maybe you’ve been bad…”
She bent imperceptibly and arched her back giving him a truer target for his pantomime.
“Bend me over and spank my ass. That’s what you really want to do, isn’t it?”
“I…” His mind, having been somewhere else, struggled to answer. His hand cupped her bottom and squeezed gently in lieu of words. She was still offering out.
“I mean, more than fuck me, right? You’d rather spank me than fuck me…”
He didn’t answer as his palm grazed across her backside.
“Well you can’t.”
He drew away, at the first negative she’d uttered.
“No…” he said.
“At least not now… What time is it?”
He coughed lightly and looked at his watch. Told her.
“My shift starts in twenty minutes. I gotta get down there.”
“Oh, sure. I know. That’s time then.”
“OK”, he said while haltingly heading for the door. “Again, thank you…”
“Wait. Don’t run off.”
He paused and turned, surprised and at a loss. She beckoned to the couch as he watched her move to her clothes.
He did, not expecting to watch her dress. He crossed a leg.
She stepped delicately into her panties. “Why’d you stop asking me out?”
“You kept saying no.”
“You weren’t very persistent.”
“I asked a thousand times.”
She pulled her panties up and slipped her arms through a red silk undershirt-all the bra she needed.
“You give up too easy.”
Her jeans went on smoothly and he lost himself in the workings of her fingers zipping, snapping and buckling. The t-shirt followed and hung loose. She held the wig and glanced at him.
“No. If you’re asking.”
She left the wig on the couch and picked up her bag. “Are you coming down for a drink?”
She smiled, opened the door and slipped through.
“See you down there”, she said over her shoulder.
He sat stiffly listening to the clippity-clop of her boots fading down the stairs.