Monday, December 20, 2010

By Design

By the time I made it home the sun was coming up and my body was beginning to shutting down. I took a shower and crawled into bed. I hadn’t even begun to doze when my alarm sounded. “No sleep for the wicked.” I thought aloud and climbed back out of bed.

I checked my calendar to see if I could put off my morning business. I had a final fitting at ten o’clock and an eleven o’clock meeting with a potential new client. No sleep for me. I would come home after my meeting and sleep I thought. I started the coffee maker. I dressed and called the office.

“Cheyenne Designs,” Denise chimed happily, “How may I direct your call.” I could hear her smile.

“I want to speak to your fucking boss.” I said suppressing a giggle.

“Very, very, funny Ms. Cheyenne.” There was something in her tone.

“Ms. Cheyenne? Don’t call me that. Why are you calling me that?”

“So, how was the art show and reception last night?” Denise asked sarcastically.

“It was fine. I had a good time.” I responded. She went quiet.

“I see. Didn’t stay long huh? So, what was her name, or did you even ask?”

“It’s not like that.” I lied.

“Of course not, it’s never like that, is it Cheyenne?” I could hear the tone of her voice dip into the land of frustration, our past rearing its ugly head.

“Are there any changes in my schedule today?” I said changing the subject.

“Have you slept, have you?” She continued. I didn’t respond.
“You haven’t, have you? Did she see you out or did you dip while she slept.” She laughed a mirthless laugh. Again I didn’t respond. “Fine, don’t tell me! I’ll know when I see you, now won’t I!”

“Are there any changes?” I was almost growling

“There are no changes. I’m sorry, I just.. it’s just..”

“I’ll see you later. Get yourself under control.”

“No need to apologize. I’m ok. I am sure there will be other gala events that you won’t go with me to in the future and beyond.” She didn’t even try to hide the sarcasm.

“Look, you know the deal.” I added thinking I was helping. I was not.

“I know. I know! As long as we work together nothing else between us can happen.” She paused, “What if I didn’t want to work with you anymore?” Her voice softened. “What if I just want to be your lover?”

“You don’t mean that. Besides I am a much better friend than a lover.”

She laughed unconvincingly.

“As long as you know that you’re never going to find a woman as good as I am.” She sighed, I could hear the tightness in her throat. “Now get your ass to work. The new fabrics came in and they are gorgeous. I can’t wait for you to see them.”

“I’m on my way.”

Walking into my office still gives me a thrill. Three years ago Cheyenne Designs was just an idea. Now it was MY thriving business. I had a small staff that consisted of six seamstresses and a receptionist.
Denise was sitting at her desk and frowned at me as I approached.

“You haven’t slept.” She barked.

“Good morning to you too.” I smiled. She handed me a stack of messages and a cup of coffee.

“I bet you haven’t eaten.” She stood and crossed her arms looking very much like someone’s mother. I pretended to read the messages and walked to my office not responding. I powered up my computer and checked my email. Ten minutes later Denise walked in and placed a plate of food on my desk. “Just eat it. Your ten o’clock won’t be here for another twenty minutes.” She spun and walked out of the door.

I did as I was told. The relationship Denise and I have is a strange one. I met her one night when I was celebrating. After a year of success my client list was growing and my investors decided they would help me to expand. The next day I would be interviewing the applicants for the receptionist position for my new business. I was feeling so empowered that when I saw a beautiful woman at the bar I approached her. I rarely approach women, but I guess I was prowling in my new business owner skin. I offered to buy her a drink and struck up a conversation.

She told me her name was Dee. A nickname, it was just as well, if anything happened it would just be one more, in a long line of one night stands, and it was an easy name to remember. We talked. We drank. We danced. We drank. We went back to her place and because I knew I would never see her again. I didn’t hold back. We played for hours, and as usual when I exhausted her I slipped out. I didn’t sleep. I showered, changed and drank an obscene amount of coffee. Then, I went into my new office space and waited for my first applicant.

When she walked in I had my back to her. I turned to face her and heard her gasp. Needless to say, she was that one, one-night stand, that went horribly awry. We just stood there looking at one another. She handed me her resume and walked out of the office.

I was thrown. I thought there is no way I am hiring this woman. I held interviews for hours, still distracted by the fact that I’d slept with an applicant, a potential employee. Of all the interviews, no one impressed me. When the last one left I had a mountain of resumes on my desk, no prospects, a headache and a guilty conscious.

I shuffled through the paperwork until I came across her resume. My one-night stands name was Denise Moore and she was very qualified. I knew she had a wonderful personality because we had talked so much the night before. I knew she was passionate because of other things we’d done the night before. I also knew I was attracted to her and that could be a problem. There was also a pretty good chance she didn’t want to see me again, let alone work for me. I compared her resume to all the others. She was the one most qualified for the job. I didn’t know what to do.

The clock read close to six p.m. if I was going to do this it had to be now. I dialed her number and hung up before it connected three times. Knowing this was a bad idea, I called her again, anyway. She was hostel. I couldn’t blame her. I invited her to dinner so we could discuss in person whether or not she wanted the position.

“Which position? We’ve shared so many positions in the last twenty-four hours. Can you be more specific?” She laughed the laugh of the pissed-off.

“I deserved that I guess. I also understand if this is not something you want to do. I apologize for my behavior last night, Dee. I’m sorry I mean, Denise. I won’t bother you again.” I hung up the phone feeling very much like an idiot.

The phone rang.

I answered it.

“You didn’t tell me where or when?” She huffed.

So I told her where and when.

I arrived at the restaurant early. I had to get myself together. I was nervous and that wasn’t like me. I saw her get out of a cab. As she entered the restaurant and walked towards the table I couldn’t stop staring at her. Beautiful women are my weakness and she was ridiculously beautiful. Suddenly this seemed like a really, really bad idea. She smiled and stuck out her hand for me to shake. I stood and shook. The contact sent a wave of heat through me and I flashed back on the night before. The way her body felt in my hands, on my skin and the taste of her. I bit my lip and removed my hand from hers. We sat.

“So is this my interview, or was I interviewed last night?”

I felt the blush creep over me and hoped she didn’t see it as well. She smiled warmly and placed her hand on top of mine on the table. I acknowledged the gesture then slid my hand from underneath hers. She picked up her napkin placed it into her lap and opened the menu.
We ordered and I chose a wine to go with our appetizers. We didn’t speak. I couldn’t stop watching her, though I pretended not to. I needed to say something, nothing came so I didn’t.

“Don’t you want to ask me questions?” She asked nervously and reached for the bottle of wine.

“Do you like the wine?” I asked taking the bottle from her and refilling her glass.

“If I do will I get the job?” She laughed nervously and took a deep breath.

“Do you want the job? If you do, the job is yours.” I refilled my own glass and watched her. I was more like undressing her. I caught myself and took as much of the attraction out of my voice as I could.
“You are qualified and I need to fill the position as quickly as possible. I can no longer design, sew and take the orders. I need help and well, you did apply.”

“I have a feeling you can do all that and more, Ms Cheyenne. I went to your web site your designs are beautiful, and if your picture was on it, I would have recognized you and saved us both some embarrassment.”

“Thank you, and just Cheyenne, please. I guess a picture would have helped. When I am more established, I’ll consider that.”

“If I took the job, not that I’m going to, when would I start?” Her hands were shaking.

“I’d like you to start on Monday, if that’s okay with you.”

“Today is Friday?” She said it like a question then looked at me seductively.

“It is indeed Friday.” I responded removing my jacket. It felt like I was on fire. “Did you want to start sooner?” I joked refilling my wine glass.

“Once I start working for you I won’t be able to see you like I saw you last night. Will I?”

“That wouldn’t be very professional. So no.” The waiter was back delivering our dinners. We ate for a time in silence.

“Can we spend some time together tonight?” She almost whispered the request. I watched her not responding. “Think about it.” She said holding out her glass. I refilled it. We finished our meal small talk filling the spaces not occupied by thoughts of what might happen after dinner. The waiter cleared our dishes and asked if we wanted dessert. I declined and ordered an Irish coffee. Denise ordered the chocolate mousse. Watching her eat the sinful dessert didn’t strengthen my resolve. I paid the check and we left the restaurant. I remembered once we were outside that she’d arrived in a taxi. Fuck.

“Can I give you a ride home?” I offered. She smiled, nodded yes, and wrapped her arm around mine the way she had done the night before. We walked to my car. I vaguely remembered where I was going, and we arrived I really didn’t want to go inside. This was feeling more and more like a date. Something else I didn’t do.

“To thank you for dinner, the least I could do is offer you a nightcap.” She got out of the car before I could respond. Walking briskly to her front door. Leaving the door ajar so I had no choice but to come inside. Besides, I couldn’t think how to refuse without hurting her feelings. I groaned. One-night stands cannot last two days it’s against the rules, and then you surely don’t ask the one night stand to work for you. When I fuck up, I do it big.

I got out of the car and followed her inside. Her apartment was cute. I hadn’t noticed much of it last night or in my hasty retreat this morning. She handed me a drink.

“Amaretto, this is a favorite of mine. How did you know?” I tried to joke, my mind skipping though my contingency plans when I realized I’ve never been quite in this place. There was no fucking plan.

“Shall I give you a tour?” She took me by the hand and showed me the kitchen, the bathroom and I hesitated as she approached her bedroom. “Oh yes, you’ve already seen the bedroom.” She smiled licking her lips.

“Denise, this isn’t a good idea if we are going to be working together. I’ll finish my drink and go. I think that will be best.” I downed my drink and handed her the glass.

“It’s Friday. We don’t have to worry about Monday until Monday.” She moved closer to me placing the glass on a table as she approached. She kissed me. I stepped away from her. “Just one more night Cheyenne, please. I promise I won’t bring it up again.” I knew she was lying I also knew I wanted her. Like I said, when I fuck up, I do it big. We made love all weekend. When she showed up for work Monday morning, early, she behaved like the weekend hadn’t mattered. Like she’d gotten me out of her system. I was relieved; right up until the time her lie reveled itself. I’ve never been sure if she took the job because she wanted it or because she wanted me.

If I said that weekend was the last time we were together I’d be lying. So I won’t say that. She knows my energy and that I roam, for lack of a better word. She reacts badly to other women in my life in any way except when I’m draping them in fabric. We end up compromised when I take her to one of the parties or openings I’m often invited to, which is why I’ve stopped inviting her. She tells me often that she’s the woman of my dreams, but I’ll never know that until I wake the fuck up!

“Your ten o’clock is here.” Denise said, handing me my kit and removing the empty plate.

“Are you still mad at me?” I asked removing my tape measurer from the kit and finding the file for my new client.

“I’m not. Well, not until next time.” She kissed me lightly on my forehead and winked at me. I followed her out of the office, refreshed and in full designer mode.

The Art of Hooking Up (2)

(The Art of Hooking Up, 2)
I hesitated on the threshold. "What the fuck am I doing?" I thought mentally kicking myself again remembering my mantra. She must have felt a skip in the electricity of my pulse because she stopped and looked at me. She walked towards me her body moving with purpose.

"What's wrong?" She ran a finger across my lips. I took a deep breath. "I know you want me Cheyenne." She moved closer to me, "You do want me, don’t you?" She pressed her body against mine. I kissed her, an unspoken response to her question. She took my hand and walked towards the parking lot. "What are you driving?" I clicked my clicker and the headlights of my car flashed illuminating her form.

"Where's your car?" I asked once I found my voice.

"I didn't drive."

"Really, then how did you get here?" She pointed at a limo idling in front of the gallery then slid into the passenger side of my car. "Where are we going, Lenore?" I asked liking the sound of her name and feeling skeptical. Something here didn't feel quite right.

"I have a room at the Marriott downtown. We could go there?" She took out a cell phone and speed dialed a number. "I won't need the car tonight. I met up with a friend," she looked at me meaningfully, "I'll let you know when I need you tomorrow." She thanked who I deduced to be the limo driver as I saw the lights of the car turn on and he drove away. I started up the car and slowly pulled out of the parking lot. "Do you know how to get there?" She asked slipping the shoulder restraint of the seat belt away and kissing me on my neck.

"I'll figure it out." I placed my hand on her knee; she slid it up and underneath her dress. My mind was reeling. What the hell was I doing? She opened her legs slightly and hooked my thumb in the waistband of her panties. I smiled, and then laughed to myself, this is not what I came out for. My God has a wicked sense of humor.

"What's funny?" She asked pushing herself against my cupped hand. I fingered the lacy garment and listened as her breath caught when I brushed against her clit. I smiled again shaking my head. I parked the car in the underground garage. I cut the engine and she removed her seat belt then mine. She pushed her dress above her hips and straddled me kissing me deeply. My heart racing I cupped her breast in my free hand my other nestled in the soft folds of wet flesh. She moaned and rocked against me. I lowered my head taking the outline of her nipple through the dress in between my teeth, her tongue in my ear.

A car came up the ramp. Headlights silhouetted us and we froze. We were perfectly still, holding our breath. The car pulled in beside mine. I started to laugh. She bit down gently on my ear and put her hand over my mouth to suppress my giggles. The woman getting out of the passenger side dropped something. She rested her and on my car to lean down and pick up the item when she looked directly at us. Her face registered what she saw, ran the gamut of expressions. Finally she blushed, retrieved her dropped item and hurried to meet her man. We both let our laughter go.

She kissed me again and before we got out of hand I asked, "So, where exactly, is this room of yours?"

We entered the lobby and made our way to the elevators. I had to quicken my pace to keep up with her. I couldn’t tell if she was anxious to get me up to her room or running from someone. When we got in the elevator I stood with my back against the glass windows clutching the rail behind me. She stood on the opposite side looking at me hungrily. The doors closed. Nothing happened. I laughed.

‘”What’s funny now?” She asked smiling all teeth.

“It’s an elevator.” I said still smiling.

“Damn, your right,” she said laughing, “I get it. That is funny. The elevator! That’s the best joke I’ve heard all day.” She moved towards me. I shook my head no and she stopped. Her expression changed. She looked worried. “Are you changing your mind?” I shook my head no again biting my lip. Her smile returned.

“Lenore, it’s an elevator.” I said again more seriously this time.

“I know.” She looked confused and looked around like she was making sure it was indeed an elevator.

“Lenore, it won’t go anywhere until you tell it where to go.” She blushed and put her hand to her head and shook it.

“You’ve got me so flustered I’m not thinking straight.”

“I hope not, because I am a lot of things. Straight is not one of them.”

She looked at me, swallowed hard then pushed the number for the 12th floor. The elevator started to rise. I stayed where I was and watched her eyes. The sexual tension in the small moving room was so thick you could cut it with a knife. On the 8th floor a man stepped into the elevator with us. He looked at us both in turn and said hello. We didn’t respond both of us staring at one another.

Reaching the 12th floor we all but ran from the elevator. She fumbled for her card key. She dropped it picked it up and dropped it again. I picked it up and placed my hands on her shoulders.

“Are you changing your mind?” I asked looking her in the eyes, not sure what I saw in them. She took my hand and placed it on her breast. I could feel her hardened nipple pushing its way against the restraints of the fabric.

“What do you think?”

I stepped in front of her. I slowly opened the door and held it for her to walk through.

“Would you like a drink?” she asked as she walked to the mini bar. I walked closely behind her. “There’s white wine and some..” I spun her to face me and kissed her. Her hands moved under my jacket and she slid it off my shoulder and threw it on the floor. Without breaking our connection I walked her backwards to the bed. She curled her fingers in my locks and kissed me so deeply my knees felt weak. Then she pulled away and sat on the edge of the bed. Her hands went for my belt. She unbuckled it and pulled from the loops with a flourish. Before she could unzip my jeans I took both of her hands in mine.

I kneeled before her. I ran my hands along her calves then her thighs pushing the hem of her dress up with my progression. Her breathing became labored. I slid my hands under her and slipped the dress over her head. The purple lace bra and matching panties against her mocha skin was lovely. She made a motion to unsnap her bra. I shook my head no. She stopped. I took her hands again and kissed each of her palms before placing them on the bed. She immediately clutched the comforter for support.

I hooked my finger inside the waist band of her panties and slid them down. I lifted each foot removed the garment completely and placed it on the floor next to my belt. I ran my hand between her thighs and parted them. She was wet and her scent was strong. I took a deep breath to steady myself. I didn’t want to rush this. I was determined to take my time. I fingered the neatly trimmed triangle of hair while watching her. Her stomach muscled tightened, her hips bucked forward slightly and her face was a mask of anticipation. She was fucking beautiful. Still playing in her hair, I delivered light kisses along her inner thighs. She parted them more for me. I ran my other hand lightly across her stomach watching the muscles in her arms as she held on to the bedding. I ran a finger gently across her clit, she held her breath. I was pretty wet myself by now and I wanted out of my clothing, but pleasing her took precedence. I pushed her thighs wider apart, lowered my head and blew gently. Her hips bucked forward and a moan like music filled the room. I played making contact with everything except her clit. I’d save that for last.

I couldn’t stop myself once I started. I had every intention of holding back, but her body wouldn’t let me. Much later sex turned into making love. Not what I wanted. I found myself wanting to touch her deeper and in more places than just the physical. Every orgasm was accentuated by sweet moans and the sound of my name erupting from her. She was music. My new favorite tune for the moment, a song I wanted to play over and over and over again. I could do this forever and I had yet to find that woman who could match my stride. I often wondered if there was a woman out there who could wear me out first. Lenore had fared better than most. It soon became easy to see that I was walking that fine line between pleasure and torture. I pulled her close to me. She had to stop touching me or this wouldn’t end. I splayed my body on top of hers. She writhed beneath me kissing my lips, my chin then finally flicking her tongue across my erect nipples. I lifted her face and kissed her I stroked her body placing my thigh between her legs and spreading them. Her last orgasm with me would be one she would not easily forget. I sent my fingers deep inside of her, captured her nipple between my lips and rocked her hard. She arched and moaned. I replaced my fingers with my mouth and feasted on her sweetness. When she came I held on tightly right there with her. Our mingled moans hung in the air. I pressed against her until her tremors subsided. Gasping for breath I kissed her gently the taste of her sweat sweet on my tongue. I rested my head between her breasts and reminded myself again what this was. I would never see her again.

She stroked my back and my mind screamed for her to stop touching me. I pulled her hands away. I rolled away from her and she rolled towards me. She was exhausted and more beautiful than when we began. Her chest heaved her body was spent. I ran my fingertips along the side of her face. Then I caught myself and closed my eyes. This is a one night stand, I reminded myself for the fourth or fifth time. She wrapped her frame around mine and shuddered. I reached for something to cover her with the sheets in a heap somewhere out of my reach. I released myself from her long enough to retrieved a sheet and covered her beautiful body, before she reached for me pulling me back into bed rewrapping herself around me. She nuzzled close holding me as tightly as she could. She whispered in my ear, “Cheyenne, promise me you won’t leave.” My body stiffened briefly, I took a deep breath and closed my eyes pretending to doze knowing that I wouldn’t make that promise. Because when the opportunity came I would. I would leave. I always did.

I waited, listening closely to sound of her breathing. She stirred a few times tightening her hold on me. I could see dawn peeking through the curtains. I had to get out of here. I rolled towards her in an effort to loosen her hold on me. I was able to free myself. The room looked like it had been searched by the police. There was shit everywhere. I found most of my clothing. I walked quietly to the bathroom and dressed. I avoided looking at my reflection in the mirror. “I have to stop doing this.” I said to myself, again. I really didn’t want to leave. I just had to.

I found my jacket behind the bar and slipped it on. I checked my pockets making sure my cell phone, wallet and keys were just where I’d left them. I walked back to the bed and looked at her again.
She looked so peaceful. A pang of guilt hit me hard thinking how pissed she would be with me when she woke and found I was gone. This is the part I hate. I left the room quietly closing the door behind me. My eyes stung. I rested my head on the door, “I’ve got to stop doing this,” I said to myself again, as I made my way towards the elevator.

Kissing With Your Eyes Open

Kissing With Your Eyes Open

She was brought up in a loving home. Her parents encouraged her in all things academic. Her father was a strong handsome black man who protected the women in his family. Her mother was always supportive and insisted that Cheyenne always be herself, then to be herself quieter, then to be herself only when her father wasn’t looking. They were devout church going folks who could thump a bible loudly. Nowadays they thumped only when she wasn’t around. They maintained their love for Cheyenne but made it quite clear they disagreed with her choices in lifestyle. They believed she could change if she made herself go out with men. If she surrounded herself with men and churchgoers and everything would go normal. That she would be normal. What the fuck was normal?

Cheyenne has always been attracted to women. As far back as she should remember girls held her attention. She found men attractive she just wasn’t attracted to them. When she was in elementary there was a boy who was very convinced that he was in love with her. She convinced him that they would be better off as friends, and by seventh grade he was inviting her to sleepover at his house where she slept with his sister. They would touch and rub while they pretended to sleep. Fingers fumbling, mouths roaming, they wouldn’t kiss with their eyes open until ninth grade. Cheyenne had learned a lot about pleasing a woman during that time. That night in ninth grade when she kissed the girl she’d been sleeping with for three years for the first time with her eyes open, she went to far. She made it too real for herself.

“What do you mean, you’re going out with Tim?” I asked getting in her face.

“Cheyenne, I can go out with whomever I want. Stop acting like this.” She whispered.

“You gonna sleep with him?” I spit. She recoiled like I had slapped her.

“I’m not that easy, Cheyenne.”

“You sure about that?” I spat, wishing I could take the words back. Her face fell. Her lip began to quiver and I knew she was going to cry. I could never handle Bridget’s tears. I looked around to make sure we were still alone, we weren’t, my own lips quivering I muttered “I’m sorry” and fled.

I avoided her all day. We usually walked home together but not that day. I went straight home, took my phone of the hook and tried while curled in the fetal position to imagine Bridget with someone else. The tears came and came.

She was waiting on my porch the next morning, her backpack slung across one shoulder, hands jammed into the pockets of her jeans. She was so pretty, I wanted to touch her, but all I could think was she let someone else touch her last night. I walked past her and she fell in beside me trying to match my speed walk then asked me to slow down.
“I called you five times last night.” She said gripping my arm forcing me to slow down.

“How was your date?” I asked looking at my shoes.

“I didn’t go. I was worried about you. Cheyenne we have to talk about this.”

“What’s to talk about? You like boys, I get it.” I waved my hands over my head.

‘”I do like boys. I have always liked boys. That doesn’t mean I don’t like you too.” She leaned her head on my shoulder. “Stay over tonight so we can talk, ok?” I nodded.

That night at Bridget’s house we hung out with her mom and her brother. They were both getting ready for a night on the town with their perspective sweeties. We watched them primp and change outfits’ countless times, both ending up where they started. I was feeling pretty good, until they left and I was alone with Bridget. She and I went through the routine. We washed the dishes, made popcorn and began the ritual of our Friday nights together. We were like a couple, I’d always thought of us as a couple and cuddled up on the couch like that anybody else would have too.

She closed her eyes and leaned up to kiss me. I pulled my face away. She looked surprised.

“Why do you do that? Why do you always close your eyes when you kiss me?”

“I do not always close my eye, Cheyenne. What’s wrong?” she asked. I didn’t answer her I just leaned in and kissed her. Falling back into our old pattern.

We ended up in bed in no time and this time I was determined that she would feel how much I loved. I was so soft with her. The sounds coming from her were so different from any other time. I did things I’d never done before. I graduated that night from grinding and fingers to open thighs and my tongue searching. I watched her watching me, while I hoped I was doing it right. From her reactions I figured I was. I was drunk off of her scent I couldn’t keep my mouth off of her. She held my head in place and a screaming orgasm ripped from her throat. I climbed on top of her grinding as she bucked and shuddered. I turned her face to mine whispered “ look at me” and we kissed with our eyes opened. She held my gaze and her body folded around me. I went down on her as many times as she would let me that night.

She woke me with a kiss on the cheek, and I staggered to the shower my arms and legs aching. Breakfast was cold cereal with her mother and brother. They talked about their dates and asked what our plans were for the day. Then Bridget’s mom asked her, “So when are you and Tim going to finally go out. He really likes you, and he’s cute.” Bridget blushed. She actually blushed.

“He wants me to go to church with him on Sunday then a movie.” She beamed.

“A nice church going boy. You know I like that!” her mother gushed back. “What are you going to wear?”

“Cheyenne and I will figure that out tonight. Cheyenne you’re spending the night again right?” she smiled.

Over the sound of my ripping heart I managed a reply of “Sure.” Barely keeping the tears out of my words.

I didn’t stay the night. She had crushed me and I realized she didn’t care like I did. I realized how she was using me. I loved her but she just loved how I made her feel. I decided then to open my heart in increments. You see all kinds of things about yourself and the one you think you love, when you kiss with your eyes open.