My heels barely make a sound as I walk down the hallway and I realize about this halfway down they're silent because I'm tiptoeing. I feel so foolish. The door is at the end of the hallway, 'Loft 8' etched in the shiny plaque cemented to it. I raise a shaky hand to knock. Pause. Drop it back down at my side. Raise it again to only run my fingers through my short red bob. I take a deep breath. I shift my weight. Inhale again. Adjust my clothes. Try and gnaw a hole in my bottom lip. I could leave and no one would know I was here. No one would know what I was considering.
But I'd always wonder what if, wouldn't I?
I lift my eyes to the ceiling and almost clutch the thin silver cross at my neck. I stop myself short, chuckling under my breath at how absurd that would be if...
I inhale. Hold it until the pressure fills my chest and makes my face cold. I wait for the butterflies to subside two feet below my racing brain. I knock. Blow out my breath in a multitude of fractured rhythms.
"Hey La." Heavy voice. Low. Still a slight hint of accent despite having been here awhile. I manage a shaky smile that I'm sure makes me look like I've had a stroke. "Come in."
I'm in love with the place immediately, as I tend to be with any crib that has the basics that I love.
Hardwood floors? Check.
Big windows? Check.Open space? Check.
I glance above me at the expansive loft space that I'm sure holds the bedroom.
Everything is simple, classic. Elegant without being pretentious. Comfortable. I should have expected as much considering the source.
"Here," and I reach out for the wine glass, hoping like hell I can keep it steady and not drop it. Because it surely looks as though I can't afford to replace it.
We make small talk, not uncomfortable, but certainly the purple elephant in the room is glaring at us from her corner near the ten foot bookshelves. I down my glass. Request another. Which may or may not be my fourth. I see me as I'm sure I seem to my host who is trying to be extremely gracious and make me comfortable: uptight, tense. Eyes darting back and forth like a caged animal. Downing wine in an attempt to look like an adult when in all actuality I'm about two seconds from putting on my Catholic school uniform and running to my nearest confessional.
Fingertips find the nape of my neck and massage softly. Then slightly harder. Strong. Slowly kneading out all the tension I'm holding there. Then lazily twirling the curls at the apex of my spine. I sink further back into the fluffy cushions of the orange couch. Maybe I'm trying to disappear. Silence for a little while.
"I can't believe you came."
"Hell me neither," I reply with a chuckle.
The conversation flows more freely from there, covering a variety of topics, and before I know it, two hours have passed.
"You want me to give you the grand tour?"
"Yes. I'd like that."
Our pinkies intertwined, we walk the expanse of the apartment. I am taken aback by how gorgeous it is, and I can't help but wonder about the lives that collide here.
"Will you wait here for a second La?"
I chill on the bottom floor, standing in the big floor to ceiling windows, sipping and staring out over the city. The loft, in the newly trendy Meat Packing district, has a really fantastic view.
From above, "Come upstairs La," floats down and snaps me out of my trance. I climb the suspended staircase to the loft on unsure limbs.
Candles. Everywhere. Every shape, size, and scent known to L'Occitane dancing, throwing enticing shadows to the walls. Soft music playing. More wine.
King sized bed.
My hands have resumed their trembling, followed swiftly by my knees. I stand in such a way that I hope disguises my nervousness.
A hand reaches from behind me, gives me another glass.
"I'm so glad you came." Whispered right in my ear. Smooth like syrup. Tight with the expectation of what could happen if I ever decide to stop reciting Our Fathers in my head.
Big warm hands find my hips, move me slightly to the rhythm of Maxwell. I feel light kisses on my bare shoulders.
Delicate hands find the contours of my face. I reach up, find my hands idly occupied by scalp until I have the nerve to pull at the ribbon that's been taunting me all night. Swiftly, a dark sheet of thick hair falls down to her waist.
"May I?" he asks from behind me, his hands resting lightly on the zipper of my dress.
I feel the air hit every inch of my bare back as my zipper slides down. I'm distracted until full lips find my own. The thin sundress slides easily over my hips as the same lips find my neck, large hands warming the places up my spine and down my thighs that black lace doesn't cover. I close my eyes and lean my head back as Maxwell all but purrs.