She picks up a second pair of the panties, because Sam's big hands have been known to cause some serious damage to her delicates, and these red lace numbers are pretty enough to frame. She'll wear one pair for him, and keep the other in her drawer against a rainy, miserable day.

She loves that her efforts to turn him on are always so well rewarded. His unflagging enthusiasm has led to a whole closet full of ripped clothes, but it's worth it to know how much he loves her. She's never had a boy look at her the way Sam does, lusty and appreciative and unbelieving all at once, and there are times when she wants to smack him upside the head and point out that he's not so bad himself. Those talks never go all that well, with him wearing that look that means he's humoring her, and her getting more frustrated, until at last she pounces on him. Actually, scratch that, those talks always go swimmingly.

Maybe she should have another one of those talks to get him to agree to this Halloween party.


Sam's at the library, working on his honors thesis, but he promised to pick her up for the party; she's got plenty of time, and the whole apartment to herself.

Laying everything out on her bed in crisp, orderly perfection gives her as much of a thrill now as it did before her first boy-girl party in eighth grade, at Toni Marshall's house. The only difference is that now she can imagine Sam's face, Sam's hands, Sam's words as he reverses the process, peels every last scrap off of her.

The red of the flimsy new panties matches her heels and plastic jewelry just right. She can imagine Sam stripping of her of everything but these little red adornments, coaxing her with his pretty eyes to climb on top of him, and then licking at the beads that hang between and over her breasts.

Her own hands are a poor substitute for Sam's. But it'll be so much sweeter to wait.


The bath is hot and perfect, steam rising in scented curls that fill the room. Her eyes drift shut but the pattern of the pink and white tiles stays fixed behind them. She's feeling almost too lazy to do anything except lie back in the water, but pruniness is not the look she's going for tonight.

The loofah, lubricated with creamy lines of body wash, scrapes pleasantly along her skin. This is the way Sam's teeth would nip at her, that sweet spark of pain, there and gone in an instant.

She has to swipe at the mirror before she can see her face. Flushed skin, parted lips, gleaming with moisture; she looks like she's gone a round with Sam already.

Only a few more hours to go.


It's one of the perks of living in one of the back apartments that she can walk around naked if she feels like it. The air is cool against her still damp skin, and she's humid like she's moving in a vanilla thundercloud. She slicks her hands with lotion and rubs it into her skin, softening it so that the elastic of the panties will leave lighter marks, mapped paths for Sam's tongue.

The panties are the first thing she wears. She pulls on the beaded necklace and the thick bangle next, just to get a visual of her earlier fantasy. The white thigh-highs Sam will peel off with his teeth need to go on next. The old-fashioned powder puff, as big as her fist, releases a sweet cloud when she lifts it from its container. It's feathery, intimate against her skin, reminding her irresistibly of Sam's hair as it trails across her thighs.

Ah, but the stockings are white, virginal in hue, nearly bridal. She rolls them on carefully, as anxious as the first time she'd rolled a condom on Sam. She stands when she's done, catching a glimpse of herself in the full-length mirror in the corner. No, this is what Sam will have her wear in their bed tonight. She's sure of it. She looks like something in a sex shop and smells like something in a candy shop. And all of it is for Sam.

"Jess?" he calls, startling her. He must have ducked out of the library early. "You hungry? I got burgers and beers."

"Just a minute!" she shouts back, smiling at her reflection. She should have known he would never keep her waiting.