Last Night Last
They had an after work dinner date. A date as in something planned for later not as in something with romantic intentions. It was something they had done a hundred times before. Especially in the year following his divorce. They were co-workers and more important they were friends. But now, now something was changing. Even in their red wine induced intoxication they could see it.
He looked at her from across the table and for the first time he actually saw her as a beautiful, mature, woman and not a naive girl needing guidance. He had watched her evolve right before his eyes but had never noticed it until now.
In low light with just enough alcohol pumping through his veins he felt confident. Empowered. And she didn't seem to mind the extra attention he was lavishing her with. In fact she was enjoying it. Smiling and laughing and flirting. And it felt damn good. Comfortable and mysterious all at the same time.
He reached across the table to touch her hand. "This is nice." he said. "We should do this more often."
Mary couldn't quite get past how his touch sparked something within her. She felt flushed all over. "Mmm." she sighed. "I wouldn't be opposed."
"Have we had too much to drink?"
"I don't think so." she turned her hand over, his fingertips sliding into the palm. A rather simple yet intimate gesture. An intriguing caress.
"Wanna get a drink?"
He was flirty, she decided. And flirty she rather liked. "We just had an entire bottle of wine."
Lou nodded. "Wanna go back to my place for a drink?"
She hesitated. Momentarily. "Okay."
And after a rather leisurely dinner they returned to his place for a drink. Usually It was all innocent enough. And why wouldn't it be? They had done this a hundred times before as well. This time though they headed back to his apartment it felt different. It felt somewhere along the lines of sinful. Knowing what they were about to do even though neither one of them could say the words out loud. But whatever it was it was done now, there was no taking it back. Things would never be the same between them. And they hadn't even touched.
He handed her a glass of scotch and then sat down on the sofa beside her. "Something's changed, Mary."
She took a sip of her scotch. "I know, I can feel it too."
"Are you scared?"
"A little." she admitted.
He took the glass of scotch from her and polished it off. "I would never hurt you."
"I know." her words were soft and smooth. "But what if I hurt you?"
"I'm a grown man, I can take it." he sat the empty glass down on the coffee table. "Unless you've changed your mind. I can always take you home."
"No." she said, immediately. "I want to be here."
"You're not afraid of what's going to happen?"
"I think I'm more afraid of leaving and wondering what if." she shifted closer to him. "Unless you think it's best we just forget this entire thing."
"That would probably be a sober thought." his hand moved to rest on her thigh. "I think you should stay." he told her. "In fact I'm going to encourage it."
The space between them was lessening. His lips brushed over hers delicately, painfully delicate. As he started to pull back she pulled him to her. The first taste of semi forbidden fruit had been more than either one of them were expecting. And they wanted more.
Their lips met once again, but this time much differently. Intimate and deep and fulfilling. A kiss that made them think twice, but his hand on her face kept her from moving away. "I want you." he breathed out, his forehead resting against hers. "So much."
Mary loosened his tie and then her hands skimmed down his chest. She starting undoing a few buttons on his shirt. She raised her eyes to meet his, to find that they seemed to mirror her desire. "Lou." his name escaping her lips was oddly gratifying.
His eyes searched her dark ones. "Come to bed with me."
The bedroom was barely lit by a small lamp from the dresser just inside the door. Within moments she had her dress off and it was on the floor. Surprisingly she felt rather at ease. What could have been awkward and uncomfortable felt almost natural. Lou seemed to be fumbling with his own clothing.
"What happened to that confident man that just convinced me to come to bed with him?" she undid the last two buttons of his shirt and pushed it off his shoulders.
His eyes roamed most appreciatively. "I got a little distracted."
She smiled. "I guess I should take that as a compliment." she undid his belt and then his pants.
"I don't remember you being this...curvy before."
"Well you've never seen me with my clothes off."
His lips turned upward. "That's besides the point." he said. "You can't hide curves like these with clothes. You've changed in the past few months."
"I have this new found addiction to Pepperidge Farm chocolate cake." she said matter of factly.
Lou stepped out of his pants. "Not that you haven't always been..." he trailed off. "But now, now even more so."
Mary smiled. "Flattery will get you everywhere." she slid his white tee shirt up his body. His skin was warm under her roaming hands.
It was when she went for his boxers that he stopped her. "Wait." he took her hand and led her over to the bed. "I don't think there's any need to rush." he flung back the covers.
He was slowing them down, not that they were moving at a quick pace. He just wanted them to be sure of what they were about to do. Mary carefully eased herself into the bed and he followed behind her. Up until now things had been comfortable and he didn't want that to end.
"I want you to be sure, Mary." regret was the last thing he wanted her to carry.
She turned toward him and answered him with a reassuring kiss. And then an all consuming, passionate kiss. It was a quiet exploration, mouths and tongues and hands caressing and stroking and soothing. But not overly intimate, not yet, he was waiting to take that cue from her.
In the middle of a languid, smoldering, liquid kiss her knee slid over his hip. His hand on her thigh pulled her closer and he lost restraint. He pushed against her out of want and more importantly need. Apparently she had the same need because she arched into him.
"You have no idea what you're doing to me." his hand roamed up and down her back.
Her hips rocked against his. "I think I have a pretty good idea."
"It's more than just that." he undid the clasp of her bra. "I want you, all of you."
Mary turned over onto her back and encouraged him to follow her. "I want you to touch me." she said as she looked up at him.
"I have been touching you."
"Mmm." she sighed. "I want you to touch me without worrying about anything other than what's going on right now in the moment."
"I think I can handle that." and he meant it, he just couldn't seem to implement it.
She took off her bra and dropped it to the floor. "Please." she reached for his hand and placed it over the swell of her breast.
His instincts began to take over and he explored her thoroughly. His lips grazed the side of her neck, he drug his lips up to her ear. "You're beautiful." he whispered. "So very beautiful."
His open mouth covered the perfect spot on her neck and the appreciation escaped with a soft moan of his name. This encouraged him further, his mouth traveled down her body, replacing his hand on her breast. Teasing and then precise execution from his warm mouth and silky tongue elicited yet another moan from her. This time a little more raw than before.
All the alcohol had worn off and they were running on pure adrenaline rather they were able to realize it or not.
Her hands on his face guided him back to her and she covered his mouth with her own. His tantalizing exploration was painfully slow. She wanted more, she needed it. His touch inflamed her. She arched against him and finally she felt his hand on her outer thigh.
He caressed the smooth skin with his fingertips, slowly inching inward. It was when he brushed over dampened lace that her breath caught in her throat. Within moments her panties joined the rest of the clothing on the floor, followed by his boxers.
His hand resumed his earlier position, touching and stroking and teasing her to the point of insanity. All the while trying his best to keep his own wants at bay.
"Lou." her voice was stern, but filled with desire. "I need more. I need you."
And that was all it took. "Condom?" his hand was going for the night stand drawer.
"If you want." she replied. "I'm on the pill."
The first time was desire driven and heated. A lot of pushing and pulling and demanding. A lot of struggling to breathe. And a very rewarding payoff.
The second time was more precise. They took their time, finding a rhythm that neither one of them were expecting. It was tender and soft and oh so gratifying.
They were both wide awake and laying in rather awkward silence. After knowing each other for five years they found themselves completely speechless. They couldn't even get it together long enough to make small talk. Last night neither one of them had any trouble expressing themselves or what they wanted.
It was as if all their confidence had faded in the morning's light. And a lot of their nerve too. Lou shifted in the bed. It was his apartment they were in, his bed, and he decided he was going to have to make the first move. "Breakfast?"
"Hmm?"' she breathed out, turning to look at him.
"You want some breakfast?"
"Yeah, okay." she agreed.
He pushed back the blankets. "There are towels on the top shelf of the bathroom closet." he told her. "There are t-shirts in the middle left dresser drawer. Help yourself."
"Thanks." she looked away as he got dressed. Everything was different and awkwardly so. There was no way in hell they were going to be able to make it through breakfast together.
Mary quickly showered and upon exiting the bathroom to dress she found herself going through his tee shirt drawer instead of putting on her clothes from the night before. Why she had no idea. Maybe things didn't have to be as awkward as they were seemingly making it. One second thought she closed the drawer empty handed and preceded to get dressed in her own clothes.
When she came out into the living room she found Lou sitting two plates down on the dining room table. "I hope you like eggs."
"I hope you didn't put beer in them this time."
Lou chuckled as he thought about the past. "No beer." he assured her. "Just a little salt and pepper."
Mary sat down at the table. The mood had been lightened a little bit. But not enough. They made clumsy small talk through breakfast, which mainly consisted of pushing the food around on their respective plates. After breakfast was completed and dishes were cleared Mary made a few flimsy excuses to get the hell out of there.
The simple truth was she was suffocating. Everything was too much and too fast in the morning light. She slipped on her coat and picked up her purse.
"I'm sorry." Lou offered his very sincere apology.
"Yeah." she breathed out. "Me too."
The first few days at the office were the same as before anything happened. Deniers guilt had gotten to them and they simply pretended that nothing had ever happened. By the third day awkwardness began to set in. And by Friday they had skillfully mastered avoiding each other. Who knew that the news director and the producer never had to interact?
He watched from his door as she finished up her paperwork. He saw confidence of the beautiful woman who had captivated and intoxicated him the week before. It was the first time that he realized that their night together may not have been a mistake after all.
Mary looked over to see him leaning against the doorjamb. It was just the two of them in the office. "Date tonight?"
"Yeah." she sighed. "Andy and I are going to that new Italian restaurant."
Lou nodded and smiled even though jealousy rushed through his veins. "Have a good time." he offered, going back into his office. "I heard the food was terrible."
Another week had passed and it was Friday again. And they were alone again. Lou watched from his office door as Mary finished up the rest of her work. For some reason she looked exceptionally beautiful. Maybe it was the new dress she was wearing. Maybe it was the fact that he felt all warm and flushed the longer he admired long legs.
Mary could feel her eyes on him. And oddly enough found herself flushed with something akin to desire. Maybe their night together meant something. Maybe there was an underlying attraction between them. "Need something, Mr. Grant?"
"No." he shook his head. "Seeing Andy again tonight?"
She looked over at him. "Yes."
"Things serious between the two of you?"
She got up and placed what she was working on in the file cabinet. "Define serious."
"Prince charming sweeping you off your feet to a happily ever after life." he said.. "Complete with wedding gown and singing animals."
Mary laughed. "I think you've been reading Amy and Abby way too many fairytales."
"So I take it it's not serious?"
She sat down on the edge of her desk. "Would it bother you if it was?"
"No." he quickly answered. "I just thought that the two of you had been seeing a lot of each other."
"We've had two dates." she clarified. "Besides Andy and I have always kind of dated off and on. It never seemed to bother you before."
Her interest was peaked. "Jealous?"
He shrugged his shoulders. "A little." he admitted. "Not that I think I have any sort of..."
"Oh, I don't know, Lou, I think I like you a little green with envy." she smiled. "A little jealousy is healthy."
Lou moved closer to the desk, closing in the space between them. "I think I'm a little past the healthy mark."
Suddenly the room was so hot it was suffocating. "You know what I think?" she licked her lips in anticipation. "I think you should kiss me."
"Here in the middle of the office?"
She reached out for his tie and began toying with it. "Sure. We're completely alone, aren't we?"
A smile tugged at his lips. "That sounds almost like a dare."
Within seconds his mouth was covering hers. They kissed with pent up passion. Wholly and completely.. His hands moved to cup her face, slowing down their kiss. And changing the meaning of it.
Mary pulled away from him. Her heart was beating so hard that she thought for sure that it was going to come right out of her chest. In that very moment she regretted her actions. "I...I should go." she slid down off her desk. "Andy's probably waiting in his dressing room."
He stepped back out of the way. "Yeah, yeah." he mumbled. "Have a great time."
She stopped at the entrance of the door and turned around. "I'm sorry, Lou."
"Yeah, me too." he replied. "You know what? No, I'm not sorry. I'm tired of apologizing after the fact. I certainly don't regret anything, not kissing you or anything else."
Mary didn't know what to say. He said all the things she felt deep down, but couldn't. "I can't do this." she said, turning back around. "I have to go."
"If you change your mind you know where to find me."
It was a little after midnight when she knocked on his door. And she wasn't entirely sure he was going to answer. She couldn't stop thinking about what he had said all evening. She was trying her very best to have a good time with Andy. They had come very close to taking the next step but she found herself holding back.
Lou pulled open the door to find her on the other side. "Pleasant surprise."
She leaned against the doorjamb. "Are you really that surprised?" she asked. "After everything you said to me before I left."
"I half expected a fight from you." he said. "At least a little resistance."
"I've decided to stop resisting the truth."
"Do you want to come in and talk about it?"
She nodded and he took her hand and pulled her inside. "I think we have a lot to talk about." she slipped off her coat. "I certainly never meant to hurt you and for that I am sorry."
He sat down on the sofa. "Does this mean you don't regret what happened between us?"
"No, I don't regret it." she sat down next to him. "I thought I did, but I've come to realize I was just scared of where things were going to go."
"Are you saying that you're not scared now?"
"No, I am." she replied. "Just a little less. Especially after you told me that you didn't regret anything."
"So what does all this mean?"
Mary shrugged. "I guess it means that I think it's worth a shot."
"What about Andy?"
"Andy has been more less a distraction." she admitted. "It's not really going anywhere and it never could. I found that out tonight."
"What happened tonight?"
"The entire time I was with Andy I kept thinking of you." she told him. "I thought maybe if we took the next step that things would change but...but I couldn't."
"Maybe I knew that if I slept with Andy everything would change and I didn't want that." she was being honest. "I was afraid it would ruin any chance we might have."
"You think we have a chance?"
They went to bed together that night. As a couple. They shared a few kisses goodnight. And he held her in his arms and they fell asleep.
The wedding was a bit on the lavish side, his daughters had gotten a little carried away. But he loved it and he knew she did as well. After a rather lengthy reception they snuck away and back to his apartment.
"You are so romantic." she laughed as he literally swept her off her feet and carried over the threshold."
He kicked the door shut with his foot. "Oh, you have no idea."
"Watch my train."
"I see the damn train." he grinned. "It's two miles long."
There were boxes stacked up everywhere, ready for the big move that was getting ready to take place. They wanted to live somewhere they had picked out together. He carried her through the maze of boxes and into the bedroom, placing her on her feet.
His hands were immediately on the beaded bodice of her dress, encompassing her waist. "We need to get this dress off."
"Careful." she instructed. "This was my mother's dress, remember?"
"I'm being careful." his fingers slid around to the clasps on the back of her dress.
She could feel him tugging at the fabric. "Lou..."
"Sorry." he mumbled.
She couldn't help but smile. "There's no need to rush." she said. "It's not like this is the first time we've ever made love."
"No, but it's the first time as husband and wife." he spun her around so that he could see the worrisome buttons that were keeping him from his beautiful wife. "How did you ever get this thing on anyway?"
"It was easy."
Finally he had one button open. And twenty four more to go. "Easy?"
"Yes." she replied. "Rhoda and Phyllis helped me."
He shook his head. "I'm all for tradition but I think you should have picked a simpler dress."
"A simple dress wouldn't have went with your daughters vison of a fairytale wedding now would it?"
Few more buttons were opened. "I suppose not." he was growing more annoyed by the moment. "Dammit!"
"Lou." she said, softly. "Just slow down. Things always take longer when you're in a hurry. It's not like I'm going to vanish into thin air if you don't get this dress off of me in the next ten seconds. Just relax we have the entire night. Our flight doesn't leave until noon."
Lou let out a heavy sigh and turned her back around to face him. "You're right." he placed a lingering kiss on her lips. "I'm sorry. I love you, I love your dress, I think you're the most beautiful bride in the entire world."
Mary smiled. "Now that's more like it." she engaged him in a series of slow, seductive kisses. After all that's what she wanted, a slow seduction.
And when Lou started his second attempt at undoing the buttons things went much better. In no time at all she was freed from her Cinderella ball gown and in his arms.
"Finally!" he was triumphant.
Mary laughed. "Oh, you have no idea how much I love you."
"How about you show me?"