Build Up #1

At Oona’s kitchen table I shared a seat with Marianne, one leg, one half of our asses each. She leaned forward on her elbows now, breaking her dinnertime good etiquette, which made me feel better.

She and her friends—Angelina, Lindsey, Hanna, and two other boys prettier and better kept than all of us combined—did shots of flavored rum. Marianne’s breath was sweet, hot on my face. I watched her sucking, licking at her lips while others were talking, while Oona told stories of hash bars in Amsterdam.

I was finishing my second beer when I felt Marianne’s hand move beneath the table to my leg. She rested it on the top, just above the knee, and moved it slowly, gently, from side to side. The heaviest contact was at her thumb. But it wasn’t long before it climbed, her hand did, up my thigh when I leaned backwards to fill the space there. And I’d be lying if I said that I, with my arms now free and loose at my sides, and after running my hands through my hair and over my face in a fairly weak attempt to steady my surroundings, I didn’t bring an arm down and touch with my fingers the place on Marianne’s back where her t-shirt separated from her jeans. I’d be lying because I can tell you her white skin was soft and warm, and in response, she tucked her hand very high, more on the inside of my thigh and nearly in my crotch. Then I was aching, my body was. And although I stared at Marianne while she spoke with her friends, my full attention was on her hand, its placement, and my body’s reaction to it. There must have been something on my face, some strange, distant expression, because I felt the kick instantly and looked at my right to the boys, who were only looking at each other. But it was Oona who was staring, smiling strangely. She mouthed to me, “What?” sitting on Hannah’s lap with an arm over her shoulders, but I only shook my head, folded my arms on my stomach.

I sat like this for minutes, an hour maybe, with Marianne’s hand on me. I said goodbye to people as they left, and they’d wave, saying, “Thanks for everything. Drive safely.”

But I was the one to lean over and whisper in Marianne’s ear, “I think that I’ll get going.”

She turned quickly away from her conversation, said, “To where?”

“Home,” I said. “I need to catch the last train. How about you?”

“We can drive you home,” and she pointed at Angelina who noticed and nodded.

“I’m the designated driver,” Lindsey said. “Really.”

I smiled at them all and then over at Oona, Hanna, ignoring the boys who had been ignoring us. “Thanks,” I said. “But I’ll catch the train.”

When I stood, I felt her hand slip off. But with our coordinated motion, there were no second guesses, not for anyone who had been looking.

* * *

That’s when she caught me in the hallway. With my jacket tucked under my arm and my head pounding, she came up to me quickly, fast enough for me to step back and toward the side as if to let her pass. And then she put her hand on my hip and held me firm, hard against the wall.

“I know you want to put your hands on my tits,” whispered, like she was telling me secrets.

I smiled, lowered my gaze from hers. “Oh, how’s that?”

She was leaning on me, the two of us against the wall. “The way you look at me. On the train, I could tell.”

“But why your tits specifically?” As if answering my own question, my hands reach up and land just beneath her breasts, my fingers brushing their undersides over the cotton of her t-shirt, above the wire in her bra.

“I don’t know,” she said. “Everyone has their weaknesses, I guess, a place to where they are inexplicably attracted.”

“I like the way you talk,” and my forehead is against hers, my nose cold against the warmth of her cheek.

“Keep going,” she said, with one hand on my belt, her fingers working my skin behind, beneath it.

“What your weakness?”

Her other hand returns to my upper thigh, working its way between my legs.

Marianne says, “Lips and tongue. I’m easily entertained. I thought you were coming back with me tonight?”

“Not tonight, no.”

She brings her head away from mine, looks at me, “Another night then? Like, soon?”

Her nipples are hard beneath my hands. I said, “Sure, another night.”

And that’s when her lips are on mine and she tastes, I think at first, a lot like Christmas cookies, but then I realize that it’s vanilla. I entertain Marianne’s tongue in my mouth, do my best to keep it busy, until Angelina excuses herself behind us, on her way to the bathroom.

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