tagNovels and NovellasBetter Ch. 15

Better Ch. 15


Chapter 15 - Andrea

Greta turned slack jaw the moment she saw me walking toward her on the patio. We normally got pretty fussed up when we met for Sunday brunch, but this time I was wearing a short emerald green off-the-shoulder dress that Michael had bought for me that I hadn't worn yet. That and a pair of matte gold strappy sandals that I hadn't worn yet either.

"Well shut the front, back and side door!" Greta practically shouted. "Look at you! All sexed up just to have brunch with me?"

Greta was a lot like me except in a center-of-attention, wild-ass life-of-the-party sort of way. She swung all ways – straight guys, bi guys, women. Hell, she could even bring a gay man to his knees, or at least make him treat her like the bitch goddess that she was. She was also extremely creative and much more successful than me – a gifted muralist whose work could be seen in at least a half dozen buildings in the area and even more in New York City, Dallas, Miami, Auckland, and LA. Her mom was a pretty prolific painter back in the '70's and her dad was a Woodstock-era drummer who played with everyone from Jimi Hendrix to B.B. King back in the day. That opened a lot of doors for her, too. Ever since our first day in art school, she was also the only person I could really talk to about my personal life in detail and without fear of judgment.

"Well, this isn't your typical Macy's 70 percent off, end-of-the-season get-up," she remarked. "And those shoes? Kate Spade?"

Greta had an eye for these things and thought nothing of socking away a grand just to buy a pair of Christian Loubotins.

"The same," I said, letting my ankle dangle my shoe into the narrow aisle between the tables.

"Holy shit!" she said. "What did you do to get those? Fuck the guy who runs the shoe department at Neiman Marcus?"

"No, but there was a whole lot of fucking around when I was trying on dresses," I said. "And Michael thought I needed some shoes to go with them."

"Them? As in more than one dress? More than one pair of shoes?' she asked in total disbelief. I knew she would press me for details for hours if she could.

"Mmm-hmm," I replied with a sly smile.

"How many?" she asked.

"Shoes or dresses?" I asked, toying with her on purpose.

"Both, of course, dammit!" she replied.

I held up eight fingers for the dresses and five for the shoes. Greta nearly fell off her chair.

"So what kinds of kinky hijinks did you get into to land this loot?" she asked.

"Well, since all I had worn to pick him up at the airport was a trench coat and my fake Loubotins and a backup dress I left in the back seat, he figured I'd need something to wear to go out to see Madeleine Peyroux in a private box at the Fox ... and a little side trip to Chicago," I said matter-of-factly, just for effect.

"No fucking way!" she exclaimed as she poured another glass of bubbly. "But you did say something about fucking in the dressing room."

Of course I had to dish all the juicy details about how he first came in the fitting room just to slide his finger into my panties, and then how he pinned me up against the wall to feel me up my dress, and then how I willing bent over the chair for him to take me from behind.

"Oh, tell me that really didn't happen!" she gasped.

"Oh, it did," I said as a nodded in a mock smug way. "And our initiation to the Mile High Club. In a private jet. And not in the bathroom."

Greta's mouth locked wide open. Nothing came out until she said, "Now you're lying!"

"Not at all," I said. "After all these years, have I ever lied to you?"

"Now I can understand why you'd go catting around with a married man," she said.

"You know it's more than that," I said. "There's something about being with him that's so much fun. So uplifting. He's been my best friend ... my best male friend, that is. He's really going full court press to get me to move out to San Francisco. I was really thinking about doing it. Until now, he's the only man who has treated me as if I'm the woman of all women."

She looked at me quizzically and asked, "San Francisco? Really? That would be awesome! There's so much to do and see in the art world. You could really rack up some great work out that way and get to see more of your man. But what did you mean when you said, 'Until now?'"

"Well, there's Robert," I said.

"Robert?" she exclaimed. "Honey, you and I both know that he's just a booty call. I keep telling you to not get your heart so deep into him. Just enjoy him for the sexy fuck that he is."

"But what if his heart is into me?" I asked.

"I don't believe it," she said. "He'd be a love 'em and leave 'em type except that he's getting free private photography lessons from you. I keep telling you, if he really wants to get serious about his work, which I really don't see him doing, then he needs to take and pay for some classes at College for Creative Studies. Besides, I've seen how heartsick you get when you don't see or hear from him for a week or two. He's just an opportunistic douchebag."

A week ago or three days ago, I would have agreed with her and took her advice to help me get over him. Then I told her about Friday night and how he showed up at my door singing "A Case of You" and how he nearly forgot to bring in the case of wine that he left in the hallway.

"Robert?" she asked. "Really? Are you sure that wasn't his angelic twin brother?"

"Yep," I said. "And I got to meet one of his brothers and a couple of their friends last night."

"Woah," she said as she took a gulp of her drink. "Meeting the family. That's big. Huge. But, you know, men never really change. He's bound to do something stupid and fuck it all up ... a month from now, a year from now ... or he'll go all soft on you and stop fucking you like the tramp whore you so like to be when you're with him."

I started smirking, and then started laughing way too loud. I told her she was right about the soft part, especially this morning when all we did was touch and never fucked and how it was just as intense as the crazy stuff we did ... the orgy on the roof with my neighbor and his girlfriend, sneaking away for a quickie in his brother's bathroom, and nearly shaking down the elevator last night.

"Wait! You got it on with a chick you just met but never with me?" she practically shouted, partially in jealously and partially with pride.

We got a couple of stares from people sitting within a table or two or four from us. I motioned her to shush.

"It was all ... umm ... in the moment ... just like it with the woman I danced with at this blues bar on Rush Street, but it just turned out to be just a ruse for her to try to pickpocket Michael's cell phone and wallet," I said very quietly.

Greta's eyes practically popped out of her head. I told her how sexy it felt to grind bodies on the dance floor with an extremely attractive woman in front of Michael and everyone else in the bar. I told her how I could see how men could get excited about having more tits than they could reasonably handle in their hands even though I much preferred the much more manageable size and softer feel of what I had naturally.

"Besides," I continued, "getting it on with you would be like getting it on with my sister. It would just be wrong. And aren't you the one who always 'Why let sex get in the way of a good friendship?'"

"Touché!" she said as she raised what little bit that was left of the champagne in her glass for a toast, "You're right. Besides, it wouldn't be as much fun to go out for girl talk with you when I'd already know what you would be talking about how fantastic I am."

I realized that we had spent the past three hours drinking, eating, talking about the tawdry details of my sex life, and had never gotten around to talking about what she had been up to these past few weeks.

"That's what Sunday brunches are for," she said. "Same time next week? And bring Robert so I can check him out for myself."

"Is that your way of not divulging what you've been up to?" I asked.

"Honey, there hasn't been much to talk about, but maybe we can go out to my new favorite club on Saturday night?" she said.

I heard about this place. It had been open only two months and it already had the reputation for the wildest hook-ups in town.

"Got plans. Concert tickets," I said.

She gave me a look like a jilted BFF who was being replaced by a guy.

"Make it noon instead of 11?" I asked.

"Of course," she said as she gave me a big hug on our way out of the restaurant. "Who am I to get in the way of Sunday morning sex or recovery from the night before?"

I finally got around to checking my messages and email when I got home and discovered a pile of texts from Michael. There were links to Jane Monheit songs, his latest torchy flame ... the musical kind, not me. There were links to some really cool but incredibly small and expensive apartments.

Then there was a text that said: "Call me ASAP. Urgent."

I knew I had a bad habit of not being attached to my smart phone like most people, but the "Call me" text was left about 24 hours ago. Urgent? What could it be? I hoped something wasn't wrong. It wasn't like him to be alarmist, but it was the last text he sent me.

I clicked his name on my speed dial and just got his voice mail. I sent a text message and didn't hear back. I was worried. I had a feeling that something wasn't right. I felt guilty for not getting back with him. I felt guilty for not checking up on messages because I was tied up with Robert. Besides, Michael was married and he knew he was still having sex with his wife. So why was I having this crisis of conscience?

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