The black Adrianna Papell hangs so beautifully on the hanger, but it always takes twenty minutes of pulling, tugging and adjusting to get that dipping neck-line to pull right the top of my breasts and draw attention to both my curves and my style. Why don’t they sell eveningwear that doesn’t require an engineering degree and two hours a day at the gym to put it on? Black Carvela heels and just a dash of Tom Ford’s Black Violet behind each ear, a twist in the mirror and I’m ready. For what? For a wine-spritzed snooze-fest, that’s what. Valerie’s parties are always the dullest things my editor insists I attend.
“You never know who you might meet,” he says to me every time the invitation shows up at the magazine. “You could get an exclusive with a star, learn about a story from a mysterious dignitary, or find an open door to another Pulitzer just waiting behind a coat rack.”
“At Valerie’s penthouse? Are you kidding? At best I’ll meet a middle-aged hedge fund manager who wants to talk about interest rates while he spits cracker crumbs in my cleavage.”
Of course, the problem isn’t that I’m not meeting good story material while I’m chatting up Valerie’s rich, important friends. The problem is I’m not meeting good dating material. It’s been eight months since I broke it off with Trevor and while he was about as interesting in bed as a night of proofreading my tax return, I miss having someone there.
Poor, polite Trevor. He never got what he wanted because he didn’t know how to take it for himself. Always so full of compliments and compromise, he was intimidated by everything that set me apart. My height, red hair, college awards, journalism career, taste in wine – he felt everything put me one notch better than him on the scale. So he treated me like a precious jewel, practically apologizing every time we made love for his unworthy entry into my body. Obnoxiously caring, he was the perfect man until he left my state of arousal perfectly empty.
So, out with Trevor and back in with my fantasy lover. “D”, a high-school tool shop guy with big muscles, bad grades, and a reputation as every decent girl’s nightmare. He owned the halls he walked down and when he took his marker and scrawled a “D” on your locker, you were suddenly “in” with the pack. Unless you were a “nice girl.” Nice girls didn’t associate with D. What was his name? David? Denny? Dexter? I can’t recall. I just know one day he kissed me by the soda machines after gym and I’ve never recovered.
I saw the “D” on my desk in Chemistry and thought it was probably left over from some other girl. Then he passed me in the hall and whispered, “It’s you. I want you,” between classes. Was this some kind of joke? Was he crazy? I couldn’t date him! I came from high up the social ladder and he was a gutter rat from shop class who always had car grease on his hands.
The day he kissed me I was getting a soda when I saw one of his big dirty hands hit the button for me. Everything was a blur as he put an arm on each side of the machine and pulled his body up to mine. Before I could protest his lips were on mine. Surprisingly soft, he kissed my lips and pressed his mouth closer to mine. His lips were furtive, warm and wet. I opened to him instinctively, my body pulsing in a way I couldn’t understand. He pushed against me again, pinning me to the machine. His warm lips crushing and sucking at mine while his hips began to rock just a bit – just enough to let me know where any date with him would go. I broke it off before we went any farther.
“I’m a nice girl,” I said with a simmering tone of disgust acidic enough to repel his well-toned legs away from mine. “I don’t date shop boys.”
D backed up, dropped his eyes with a disappointed shrug and ambled out of my life forever. Later, ten years’ worth of sloppy college fumbling, two unfulfilling near-engagements, and the unfortunate boredom of Trevor, D returned to my bed in my dreams. Night after night I relived that kiss feeling his body pressed up against mine, his bulge pushing against me in my fantasy while my fingers made the tugging rough circles around my clitoris for a self-sexed reality. By the time I had worked myself into the frenzy of a silent O in the night, it was D who spoke, not me. Pushing his rhythmic hips against my wet and wanting body the last words he said in my thoughts were always the same.
“I see you’re not a nice girl.”
“Amy!” Valerie’s shrill voice cut through the din of the party and jolted me out of my memory. “I have someone you need to meet.”
“No more, Val. I’m done.”
“Just one more, and don’t leave early. Just because you’re a star reporter doesn’t mean you have to be home by ten!”
“I’ve already met two bankers, a linguist, and a voice therapist,” I whine. I look in the direction she’s pointing and see the back of man that looks vaguely familiar. Nice suit, beautiful broad shoulders and confidence oozing out of his pores. “I want to meet him.”
“Who? Mr. Evans? No, Amy. He’s not for you.”
“Why not? He looks delicious.”
“He’s new money,” Valerie whispers as if she was telling me about some shameful new disease. “His company makes engines for Formula One cars. Evans Motorsports or something. He might be solid muscle under those tight black pants and his pockets are deep, but I’m sure his brain pan is shallow. Bill only keeps him around because he likes to talk about cars.”
“Take me to him,” I demand. Strong, smiling, and with enough swagger to at least keep the yawning party interesting, he is what the doctor ordered.
“Fine,” Val pushes out her pouting lips and pulls me toward the mystery man.
“Doug Evans, I want you to meet our friend…” Val stammers as Doug interrupts her.
“Amy Rose!” He booms triumphantly.
“Do you…um…know her?” Val stumbles through an introduction as she realizes it isn’t necessary. I look at his beautiful face. Deep brown eyes, chiseled jaw and perfect smile. I know him alright.
“Irish Amy Rose , hair so red it glows!” He recites that old school taunt like he’s been saying it every day for the last ten years. I smirk and take a second look. Then it hits me. Douglas Evans. Douglas. D.
“I forgot about that,” I say with coy laughter.
“Have you forgotten me?” He asks, reaching out with his finger and drawing a D on the condensation of my white wine glass.
“No, D. Not at all.” He moves closer to me while shutting out the rest of the party, and shutting down the rest of my world. Val gets the clue and flees into the kitchen mumbling about cheese balls.
“Long, long legs. Flowing red hair. Smart and saucy. I haven’t forgotten you either, Amy.” His eyes follow the length of my body, each area catching on fire as he notices it. “Your hair is a bit darker.”
“Your clothes are a lot better,” I counter then bite my tongue. How could I be such a rude bitch to a man I’ve been fantasizing about for years? “I mean, um, you, ah, look well.”
“Oh, I am doing well,” Doug says with a smile. “Not a gutter rat anymore.”
“I didn’t mean that,” I say with fake demur.
“Sure, you did.” He laughs and the air in the room turns electric. We talk for a bit about cars and journalism. He tells me about his rise to the top of the Formula One world, and I mention the interviews I’ve done. He reaches for a cracker on a passing tray, his brazen hand slightly rubbing across my breasts. My nipples rise and swell through the fabric.
“Excuse me,” he says with phony southern politeness. My face is red as the flush overtakes me.
“Can I get you more wine?” I offer as a way to flee from his presence long enough to adjust my dress and stop the visual proof of my shaken stimulation. He holds up his glass.
“Do you have anything better than this?”
“I can ask Val…”
“At your place?”
“Yes,” I answer too quickly, too breathlessly, too honestly.
“Then, let’s go.”
The cab ride is short, and his hand lingering on my thigh goes on forever. This is real. This is really happening. My stomach knots with nervous butterflies. What if I’m not what he wants? What if he’s a psycho? What if after all these years of fantasy he turns out to be disappointing? What will happen to my go-to arousal idea if this turns out to be the quick in and out with no real spark?