Being the idiot that I am, I had chosen to meet Jezel in one of the most expensive restaurants in the city. I didn’t have the head to worry about money that evening. My mind was elsewhere. Driving over, the evening whirled above the car like black smoke. I had missed a turn in my excitement and had to cut through downtown.
Luckily, I had left my apartment early. I wanted time to settle into my seat and get my act together before Jezel showed up. The maître d’ led me to a corner table by a window that looked out over Elliot Bay. I couldn’t see the water through the fog. Rain had begun to fall on the street below.
Inside, the restaurant hummed with the muted tinkling of wine glasses and cutlery. Bus boys were flitting between tables, almost but not quite frantic just yet. It was a Friday evening, the busiest of the week. The new normal didn’t look half as bad tonight.
That or I was just delirious with anticipation. I couldn’t tell. I could only hear my heart throbbing in my ears. My fingertips were icy cold. I couldn’t believe I was finally having dinner with Jezel.
I hadn’t had a wink of sleep. I had tossed and turned all through the previous night. Trying to work that day had been just as pointless. I kept checking my phone for the time. I saw Jezel only once all day. She was in her office, sitting at her desk. She didn’t return my gaze.
Call it a premonition. Call it wishful thinking. Call it what you will. Tonight, I would put everything on the table. Tonight, I would go for it all. I was excited. I had every reason to be.
I met Jezel two years ago, when she first joined the accounts team as CFO. I developed a crush on her almost immediately. But I wasn’t alone. Every man – and quite a few women – in the creatives department had a crush on her.
She was beautiful: tall with bright green eyes, long, straight black hair, shapely legs, and an exquisitely proportioned body. I’d heard somebody say she was half-Thai, half Idaho farmgirl. I am not sure what that makes her. All I know is that she was gorgeous, head to toe.
At 33, she was also married – but that didn’t stop her from flirting. She was a shameless flirt. In fact, for two years, I had watched her flirt with just about every man and woman in the office. She had that hint of wantonness that can be fascinating in a beautiful woman.
The gossip was that the boss had pirated her from a rival ad agency out east. The bribe? A sizeable paycheck, of course. There were also rumors that she’d had an affair with somebody at work back in New York. I didn’t care about any of that. I only cared that she was beautiful and unpredictable and strange and her skin was like a brush of light.
I am a painfully shy person, though, and so I never really spoke to Jezel until two weeks ago. She never flirted with me, never showed any interest. She’d greet me when we met in the hallways, flash a tight-lipped smile, and quickly look away. I decided that I wasn’t her type and let it go at that.
None of that stopped me from fantasizing about her when I was alone in my bedroom at night. She was my go-to girl when I needed to get off. I must have taken her a thousand times. I’d had different versions of her and with all sorts of props and costumes. There were ribbons, garter belts, thongs, bras, no-bra, tiny dresses.
I took her to bed. I took her in the shower. I took her in the elevator at work and on her desk. But I never spoke a single word to her in the real world.
That is, until two wo weeks ago. Two weeks ago the bosses assigned me to a team organizing a pitch to land a much sought-after new client. I later found out that Jezel was leading the team.
We won the final bid, which is cause for a celebration. The bosses decided to throw a small party for the team at a nearby bar. That’s where, toward the end of the evening, Jezel and I got around to talking.
I was sitting alone in a corner table when she joined me. We first talked about work. She said she liked the way I write. Happy and loose with what looked to be a manageable wine and vodka buzz, Jezel talked about her marriage. She spoke with surprising candor.
She suspected that her husband – a police detective – was having an affair. She blurted it out just as casually as anyone else would make a remark about the weather.
“What’s wrong with me?” she said, looking down into her half-empty glass. “Why would he cheat on me?”
“Maybe it’s a cop thing,” I said. “Some women simply can’t resist a man with a gun.”
“He’s about to leave me,” she said. There was no self-pity or sadness in her tone. There was only a certainty, a resignation. “I’m sure of it,” she said.
Was this some kind of act? I had never seen her in any way that suggested vulnerability. She wasn’t the type. Was it the vodka talking? Was any of this shit real? What was she trying to do?
“Well, he’s a fucking moron, then,” I told her. “The man has to be more than just a little dumb. No man in his right mind would leave you.”
“You really think so?”
“You’re beautiful and smart as a whip,” I told her. “Of course I think so – and everybody else does, too.”
Maybe I was even more drunk than her. I’d had a few. Maybe it was the gentleman in me wanting to reassure her. I don’t know. Her candor was certainly disarming. I guess beautiful women are comfortable being as candid as they want.
I, on the other hand, am never as candid. But when I followed with a small apology, she waved it away.
“You’re right, he’s a moron,” she said throwing her hands up and smiling. “I’ve come around to the fact that there are lots of better men out there.”
That one conversation began a series of short, furtive office conversations that lasted two weeks. Jezel and I would kiss and touch each other in her car sometimes. But she always ended our trysts abruptly, before anything other than kissing and groping could happen.
She was surprisingly strong, lithe, and limber. I found her physical power sexually exciting. I loved that she treated me like a possession when we were alone. I loved being the little pet she embraced with her legs in her parked car when no one was around. She was so beautiful. I could never get over how beautiful she was.
I liked how her body tightened the more eager we became. I’d feel her muscles grow taut, her thighs clench. She’d squeeze her eyes shut and squirm. I enjoyed watching her face change when she was excited. I even liked how she pushed me away each time I tried to enter her.
Lifting her eyes, she’d shoot me a contemptuous glance while she buttoned her blouse. It was easy for her to make me feel unworthy. “Put that back in your pants, you disgusting little perv,” she’d hiss. “Don’t get too far ahead of yourself.”
Still, one thing led to another and, a day later, I found myself inviting her to dinner. “A straight-up date,” was how I put it. She looked down and took a moment, pretending to tidy her desk. Then she looked up at me squarely and said, “Sure.”
Now, sitting alone at a table reserved for two, I was suddenly a nervous wreck. So much so, in fact, that I considered leaving.
Don’t get me wrong. I am glad Jezel liked me enough to play with me. A woman like her could have any man she wants, and I am no Brad Pitt, after all. But now I wasn’t sure she’d show up. What if she doesn’t show up? I have been stood-up before, and Jezel is way beyond my league.
What if that chemistry I thought we’d discovered together was just in my head? Would I be able to take the disappointment, the humiliation? God knows I would miss kissing and touching her.
I’m going to be embarrassingly honest here for a moment. Society, like a good dictionary, had equipped me with a set of nouns to account for the butterflies in my stomach. The word for the nausea and indecision I felt might have been misconstrued as an entry under the letter “L.” Of course, a medical journal could have just as easily interpreted my symptoms as an indication of coronary seizure.
What if it was all a game and she was laughing at me right now back at the office? Christ, what am I even doing here?
Luckily, just then, I had looked up to catch the beginning of the evening’s show. Jezel came in dripping rain. Fate had cued the maître d’ to take her coat at exactly the right moment. She tousled her hair precisely as my eyes found her shape amid the polished wood and stained glass. Tiny beads of rain flew out from the thicket of her wet hair. The droplets radiated from her head to form a halo under the yellow light of the room.
She was wearing a tight, strapless mini dress with a flowery pattern and a trendy shade of red lipstick. I loved the way Jezel’s breasts moved under her clothes when she walked. She always wore heels. This evening it was strappy high heels so tall and slender they were like pencils.
I tried to look away but I couldn’t. I watched her short dress and her brown bare legs and her high heels and her bouncing breasts. She was so beautiful – so sinfully erotic and alluring- it was terrifying.
She glanced at me as she made her way between tables. She paused halfway, smiled, and said something to a passing waiter. There was not a single pair of eyes in that restaurant that was not on her. She knew it. She was putting on a performance, as always. A part of me wanted to applaud.
“I don’t think I’ll ever get used to Seattle weather,” she said as she slid into the seat opposite mine. “I have been here two years and I still can’t believe how much rain this place gets.”
“It never ends,” I shook my head as if disappointed. I always liked rain. “You’re drenched,” I said, motioning the red-haired waiter over. The young man nodded, disappeared for a moment, then reappeared with two menus. “My friend here needs a towel,” I told him.
“Thank you,” Jezel said to me, smiling as the waiter shuffled away.
There could not have been a more appropriate setting for Jezel’s beauty. The evening outside the window was as dark and as wet as her hair. The chandeliers threw soft shadows across her pretty face and the sea-green walls matched the color of her eyes.
“Would you like some wine?” I asked her, feigning calm in the face of desire that was near insane.
“I’ve already asked for a glass of wine,” she said, studying the menu. “Now, what’s good here?”
“I don’t know,” I said. “I have never been here.”
Jezel wasn’t listening. “This is perfect cassoulet weather, don’t you think? Yes, I think we’ll have a cassoulet course.”
The waiter came over with the towel. Jezel asked about her glass of wine. The waiter apologized and said it was coming. He would see to it, he said.
Drying her hair with the towel, Jezel then asked him about the three-course cassoulet dinner.
She wanted to know whether the chef used duck confit in the cassoulet. He did? Good. She’d like fresh apricots and candied walnuts with the first course. Would that be possible? Yes? Excellent.
I was mesmerized. I was finding meaning in every gesture, every pause in her speech, every flutter of the eyelashes. I was fascinated by the way her hands moved when she spoke. Somehow, she was especially good-looking this evening, and I was caught completely off-guard.
I have learned, as every child learns early on, that modern Homo Sapiens communicate in layers of code. We say appetite when we mean hunger. We act relaxed when we are approaching maniacal panic. We say turned-on when we mean burning with lust.
If everything meant something else, which part of me should I let loose under the current circumstance? The charcuterie platter came and we talked over the cheese, walnuts, and the Bordeaux.
Our initial conversation was sparse, painfully tentative. The first round went to her. Jezel was as sharp, articulate, and witty as ever. I didn’t do quite as well. In fact, I found that I had lost all capacity to think or speak coherently.
Whatever I managed to say seemed to be of little consequence to us both. If you grew up in Seattle, as I did, you’d know the state I was in. They don’t call it “the Seattle Freeze” for nothing.
But the meal went on despite the fact that my brain seemed to have ground to a halt. For a while, we ate quietly, and the only sounds were those of cutlery against the china. That was when I felt Jezel’s foot between my legs.
I looked up from my cassoulet. She gave me a wink from across the table, her foot still on me. “You like that?”
I smiled. “You’re teasing.”
“Oh, I can do much more than that,” she said with a wink. “I’m going to get up now and wait for you in the ladies’ room.”
“What?” I said, then, lowering my voice: “Here? You do realize that we’re in a room full of strangers, right? This isn’t the office anymore.”
Jezel said nothing. She shot me a wicked look as she took a gulp of wine and set her glass on the table. Then she got up, smiled at me one last time, turned, and headed for the back of the room.
I was stunned. Was she kidding? Was this her idea of a joke? I sat with a fork in my hand and watched Jezel disappear into a hallway beyond the dining area. I must have looked like a clueless idiot. I certainly felt like one.
I am just like every other guy, I suppose. There are limits to my daring. A parked car in an empty basement parking garage is one thing, a restaurant full of strangers is quite another. The idea of having sex in a public place has never crossed my mind. I wasn’t sure how I felt about it.
Confused, I decided that I should go on with my meal. I had just shoveled a fork of beef into my mouth when my phone beeped. I pulled the device out of my front pocket and read the new message: “I won’t wait for you.”
I almost spat my food out. This was it. This was now or never. Either that or I was being played for a fool. If that was the case, I decided I didn’t care. I had to find out. I pushed myself away from the table, got up, and followed Jezel into the back of the room.
Jezel was waiting for me in the narrow hallway outside the ladies’ room, her back against the wall. I walked over quickly and kissed her. She opened her mouth to meet me. Her tongue lit into my mouth like a snake. I pressed myself against her and slid a hand down her back and squeeze her buttocks through her skirt. I used my other hand to toy with her breasts while we kissed. Her hard nipples poked out between the buttons of her blouse. I stooped down and tongued them briefly.
Jezel slipped a hand down the front of my pants and wrapped her fingers around me. We were both breathing heavily. Our mingled breaths felt hot against my cheeks. My heart was beating so fast it threatened to leap out of my chest.
I loved kissing Jezel. She was aggressive and eager but skilled enough so that she was never overwhelming. She made me feel wanted.
She began to move her hand up and down my shaft as we kissed. I was so aroused, so completely taken by the soft, sweet, hot, wetness of her mouth that I hadn’t noticed a gentleman squeezing past behind me. Now he was standing not five feet away, watching.
I drew myself away from Jezel’s mouth to shoot him as menacing a look as I could muster. He was wearing a grey business suit and a dark blue tie. He had a nondescript little white face with thin lips and his oily hair was slicked back smoothly from his forehead. “Mind your own fucking business,” I told him. “Get the fuck out of here, you sick little pervert.”
The man shook his head disapprovingly before continuing down the hallway and into the men’s room. My behavior seemed to excite Jezel. She kissed me deeply as I pulled her skirt up and slid a hand up between her legs. She was sopping wet. I could feel her wetness though her panties. I tugged her underwear aside and found her mound.
I had never touched Jezel there before. She wouldn’t let me. Now I found her gloriously bald and wet and lovely and hot. She moaned quietly when I slipped a finger into her and her face took on a startled expression.
“Is something wrong?” I asked.
“No,” she said. “Go on.”
“Are you okay?” I said, thinking that maybe the wine had gotten to her. “Do you want me to drive you home?”
“No, you idiot,” she said. “I want you.”
“Good,” I said, driving two fingers into her as my thumb found and toyed with her pearl. “We can head back to my place,” I told her. “We can spend the night together.”
“Here and now,” Jezel shot back with a frustrated sigh. “Take me here and now.”
I paused, withdrew from her mouth, and studied her face for a moment. “What?”
“Take me right here, right now.”
“I can’t,” I told her, shaking my head left to right. “Not here.”
Her body went suddenly limp in my arms as she looked up at me, disappointed. “For chrissakes,” she said, thumping my chest with the side of her fist. “If you can’t handle it, then get off me.”
I gave in easily enough. I wanted her so bad I had no choice. I couldn’t possibly refuse. Somehow, I knew that, had I refused, that would have been it. That would have ended things between us. She’d never speak to me again. “All right,” I said, kissing her. “You win.”
Jezel unbuckled my belt and unzipped me. I raised her skirt and shoved her panties aside. I looked at her. She was unbelievably desirable with her clothes half undone. The skin on her thighs was like porcelain and her mouth was a soft, wet, voluptuous pout.
“Fuck me now,” she said. “Fuck me good.”
I let my pants drop to my ankles and tried not to think about the crowd on the other side of the wall. I was ramrod stiff. She reached down, grabbed me, and stroked as she guided me to her. I could not help moaning when she rubbed me up and down against her wetness. I ached and throbbed with anticipation.
“Do you feel me now?” she whispered. “Do you?”
I was unable to speak. I simply nodded instead. Finally, she stuck the head into her opening and slid herself around me. She whimpered softly as I entered her fast, full, and easy.
“Go on,” she urged, wrapping a leg around my thigh. I pushed in deeper. The sensation of being totally engulfed by her was exquisite. Jezel was deliciously responsive. She sucked and tightened around me. Her muscles pulled me in deeper and she kissed me.
“Go on, fuck me,” she said. “Do it fast.”
Just then the door to the men’s room down the hall swung open. I paused to look. White light from inside formed a rectangle across the wall opposite the door. Then the man in the grey suit stepped out, shut the door behind him. The rectangle of light disappeared and now he was standing in the shadows down the hall. He wasn’t moving. He just stood there.
“Get out of here,” I growled. “Or else I walk over there and kick your teeth in, man.”
He didn’t move a muscle. He just stood there with his hands in his pockets. I was suddenly filled with a rage. “I’m going to hurt you,” I told him, and I meant it.
“Let him watch,” Jezel said.
“Let him watch,” she repeated. I looked at her, dumbfounded.
She gave me a wicked little wink and smiled. “Let him watch.”
I took a moment to organize a sentence. “I don’t like it like this,” I said. “I can’t.”
Jezel kissed me and began to sway her hips, thrusting herself forward. “Go on and fuck me,” she urged. “Let him watch. I like being watched.”
“I don’t,” I said.
“I’ll fuck your brains out, I promise.”
That was all she had to say. Everything around me – the walls, the floor, the hallway, and the man in the shadows – all seemed to melt away. There was only her and the wicked look on her face and her soft, delicious wetness.
I pushed myself as deep into her as I could and began to thrust, slowly at first. Then I gradually quickened the pace.
She was a warm, slick sheath, a tangle of black hair, a mouth that licked and sucked. She was perfect.
“Oh yeah,” she cooed as I ground her against the wall. I began to bang away, driving into her, slamming her against the wall.
Jezel was nibbling at my hear and it was driving me nuts. I was in heaven and I didn’t want it to end.
“Faster,” she urged.
I was pounding away and she was clawing at my back and kissing me. Then she reached between us with one hand and started to gently fondle my balls.
“I’m going to come if you keep doing that,” I said.
“Go ahead,” she gasped between my thrusts. “Fuck me and come inside.”
We were kissing and holding each other frantically as I drove into her. Her fingers were toying with my sack and it felt amazing. She knew what she was doing. She was fucking like a pro. Suddenly, she was not just a woman. She was a Greek nymph, carnal, erotic, carefree. She was sex itself.
I drew away to watch her face. I was surprised to find her gazing at the stranger at the end of the hallway. She was flicking her tongue wildly in the air, watching him. The sight of her tongue made me lose my head.
“I’m coming,” I said. I tried to hold back a little longer. I tried to think of something else. I tried to leave the restaurant, leave the city.
I thought about my empty apartment. The street on which I had grown up. I went farther and farther away. I was hunting deer in Iowa with a buddy of mine two summers ago. I was there. The buck was in my scope. I remembered how the trees looked across the ridge when I took that long, long shot.
“Look at me,” Jezel said. “Watch me.”
“If I do that, I’m going to come,” I told her.
I squeezed my eyes shut and I thought about the dead buck in the sage thicket after the shot. I thought about the smell of the grass. None of it worked. I could feel it coming. I thought about Fallujah. I tried to remember the smell of the desert.
“Give it all to me,” Jezel whispered, grinding against me. She clenched her leg around my thigh and pushed me into her deeper. Her eyes rolled to the top of her skull. “I love how come feels inside me,” she said.
“Stop it,” I told her.
“Give it to me,” she pleaded.
I tried to summon the flies buzzing over the corpse of that dead little girl we found. She was lying on a pallet inside one of the hovels. She had been shot through the chest. Her black robe was crusted with dried blood. Someone had taken away her hijab. Her mouth was a deep, charcoal grey. The skin on her small hands was like white paper. The smell was awful. “Like a million dead rats,” was how someone from the platoon had described it later.
But it was no use. Jezel kept dragging me away from the corpse, back across the minarets and the clay of the city, across desert. No matter how hard I tried, she kept me pinned to the here and now.
Finally, I gave in, drowning myself in her mouth and her body and her sex, her wonderful soft white flesh. She was unstoppable. She was so beautiful, almost otherworldly. I couldn’t help myself. I let go, pounding between her legs, and released myself inside her, burying my seed deep into her wetness.
“That’s it,” Jezel moaned excitedly. She told me to suck her nipples. Her voice was urgent, pleading. When I did, she began to gush. Her half-closed green eyes turned glassy. Her jaw dropped. She began to moan and whimper louder. I pressed a palm to her mouth.
“Keep it down,” I told her.
Then she came, gripping my shoulders and drawing me closer with her leg, which had remained wrapped around mine throughout. Her mouth was open and I kissed her. Her entire body went stiff for about a minute. For a moment, I worried that she was about to pass out. But I kept pounding her until she went limp in arms.
I was done. I slid away from her and pulled my pants up. I was back in the restaurant now. It was as if someone had turned on a switch inside my head. Now I could hear the thrum of the crowd on the other side of the wall again, the tinkling dinnerware.
Jezel said nothing as she buttoned her blouse and arranged herself.
“Are you all right?” I asked her.
“I’m going to the ladies’ room to fix myself,” she said. “You go on back to the table.”
If anyone else other than that stranger down the hallway had seen us, they didn’t show it. I strode across the restaurant floor casually and resumed my place at our table. No one so much as looked up. Jezel emerged from the hallway a few minutes later. I rose and pulled her chair out for her.
“Is that guy still there?”
“What guy?” Jezel said, glancing around the room.
“That perv who was watching us.”
“Oh,” she said, chuckling. “I didn’t notice.”
“I wonder where he went. I lost track of him.”
“You should thank him,” Jezel said. “I love being watched.”
“I noticed,” I said. I took a sip of wine. “I saw you.”
“Did you enjoy it?”
“Yes, of course I did. You were out of this world.”
“You made me come so hard,” Jezel said softly, rolling her eyes toward the ceiling with a grin. “We must try it again,” she told me. “But somewhere else next time.”
Our audience never did reveal himself. Either he waited for us to leave or he had somehow managed to slip out when I wasn’t looking.
Jezel spent the night at my place. It rained all night. Neither of us got any sleep. I lost count of how many times we had sex. She was wonderful in bed, too.
We kept the blinds open and the lights on all night. I’m not sure whether we had an audience in the building across the street. But Jezel did put on a great show. ###
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