L'Affaire C. 12bysharkandpen©
L'Affaire C. 12 Carly and Ally share the after effects of anal; Nicki shares sexual sparks with a rapist defender.
"That is some rock," Carly grinned, smiling as Ally approached the waiting room. Carly noticed immediately that Ally's hair was down. For every other appointment Carly had had in the year she had been visiting the upscale salon, Ally wore her hair pulled back into a simple bun low on the back of her head, but today the red locks fell around her shoulders in soft waves. "I saw that thing as soon as you turned the corner!"
Ally blushed furiously, her face immediately hot. She'd managed to make it into the salon without any of the other stylists or estheticians noticing, but leave it to one of her clients to draw attention to her. Ally wasn't good with attention.
"Come on back," Ally said, motioning for Carly to follow, feeling the receptionist's eyes on her, knowing the girl wanted to say something and was just waiting for Ally to look at her. Ally studiously avoided her gaze, trying to downplay the salon's response to her news, and started walking Carly back to one of the private manicure rooms. Once safely inside the door, she admitted, "My boyfriend proposed last night."
Ally made a motion to one of the chairs, indicating Carly should sit down. While the salon encouraged music on the verge of being easy listening, today a French album was on the sound system. The current song was wistful, complaining of destiny promising happiness, creating hope, and ultimately delivering nothing. Carly wished desperately that she didn't understand French. She sat gingerly in the chair, reminded again as she was this morning, sitting on the edge of her bed, (and sitting at her kitchen table drinking coffee, sitting at her make-up table putting on her game face, and lowering herself into her car seat) of exactly where Liam had been last night.
She drew in a breath as she sat. Carly had allowed Mike on a handful of occasions to use her ass, but she had never wanted it. Never needed to be filled, never needed him everywhere. She was embarrassed by the way she reacted to Liam; by the way she threw herself at him, wanton and shameless. Under normal circumstances, she would like to think she'd have been ashamed by her actions; though she couldn't know for sure since she'd never behaved this way with a man, in or out of the bedroom.
Ally wandered over to a cabinet and pulled out some sterilized tools as Carly said, "How exciting. What an exciting time for you both. Did you two celebrate?" Her own engagement had been an exciting time. Picking out the ring, deciding on the flowers, picking out a white dress that stopped breath; why hadn't she been happier about it at the time? Why couldn't she have reveled in the happiness of the moment? It had all seemed like something to get through, to get out of the way. She had wished not for the perfect wedding, but to settle in, to have the day behind her. She wished only to be married; relieved from dating and heartbreak.
Ally was in black pants and a black cashmere sweater with a deep V down the front. Carly sometimes missed the days of being able to wear V-necks or scoop-necks without prominent cleavage, with just the hint of a swell where the fabric stretched gently. Little moments of regret about her rejection of her own body, which only really disappeared when Liam's eyes were on her, the intensity of his gaze leaving her feeling naked and cherished. But that was ridiculous, wasn't it? A man looking at her implants making her feel cherished? He's fucking you, not cherishing you. And that's okay, she chastised herself. Ally shook her head, and Carly wondered absently what the movement meant, until she remembered that she'd asked a question.
Ally slowly took her seat, wincing. The wince was slight, and Carly mightn't have even noticed it if not for her own discomfort this morning. "Oh, there was a celebration," Carly said, her tone playful and sexy all at once. She had never been so forward with Ally. They talked easily about personal things, had both mentioned off-handedly that they should get together for drinks and good company; but they never had. Carly felt sad about that now. Dawna was thousands of miles away; and she couldn't face the group of friends that she and Mike had shared in the area.
Ally looked up at her, questioningly, unsure if she had understood the remark. Carly kept silent, but her eyes twinkled. "Oh my god," Ally moaned. "Seriously, you can really tell?" She leaned forward, her voice seeming frantic when she asked, "Do you think everyone knows? Is it obvious?" Carly shook her head, positioning her hands on the table in front of her as Ally pulled out a nail file and reached for her hand, looking dejected. "I'm so embarrassed."
"Don't be silly, of course it's not obvious." Carly watched Ally's face, still blushed pink under her freckles. There was nothing in her body language or facial expression to indicate that her embarrassment overcame her happiness, though she was eyeing Carly dubiously. Feeling bad for putting her on the spot, Carly said, "I only noticed because I feel your pain."
"Oh, stop. This is embarrassing enough, don't make it worse."
"No, I'm serious. I feel your pain. Today, I mean."
Ally shook her head, obviously trying to clear it.
"I don't—we don't—" Ally looked around the room, as if the word she was searching for was on the walls, "I had never done...that." Ally filed vigorously at where the acrylic met Carly's natural nail, smoothing the edge down to blend into the natural nail. She wanted the fill to go on smooth when she retouched Carly's nails to keep up with the growth. Most manicurists used a dremel for the work, but Ally's instructors had been purists, not allowing them the use mechanical tools, arguing the damage to the natural nail could not be avoided, that ridges would form underneath. For this reason, even in school, the students charged more for acrylics and gels than most shops in the city. It was a niche market, this work by hand, but they kept steady business at the school (Seattle loves her niche markets), and as a professional she kept steady business out of school. So much so that she had to refuse clients, as she only allowed the receptionists to book 20% of her day as nail clients.
Ally made most of her money doing hair, and had all but given up her esthetics work. It had taken longer to complete the required hours and obtain her licenses as a manicurist, a cosmetologist and an esthetician, but she had done it because one day it would be her salon, her staff, whether or not she continued doing nails and skin. She needed to know each aspect of the business. And soon, she would get the response from the bank about the business loan application. If approved, she would leave this twenty stylist salon, and hopefully take at least 70% of her clientele with her when she went.
This would be the hardest part, because Ally was loyal by nature. She worked at one of the most respected salons in town, had stayed here for years, because they had believed in her talent and hired her right out of school. It felt like a betrayal to be leaving. Even more so when she knew she wasn't leaving alone. She had a partner, who would hopefully be taking at least 70% of her clientele, too. Their duplicity, her duplicity, kept her up at night. But she needed more. She was marrying Jack, an attorney. An ambitious attorney. He would expect more. He would expect her to be more. Of course, they were her clients, they had free choice... but still.
"So I guess you're seeing someone?" Ally glanced up at her client, who looked stunning in a ruffled cardigan the blue-grey color of a winter sky, set off against bronze skin. The sweater did something amazing for her eyes, which today looked the color of blue flame. It was hard not to be jealous of this woman, smart and beautiful and successful with amazing style. Today she wore a simple black pencil shirt the grazed her knees but, clinging to her hips and the curve of her ass, looked anything but demure. Ass. The word sent heat rushing through Ally, she felt herself remembering the feel of Jack's fingers digging into her hips, could feel him inside her, opening her. Ally flushed, felt hot all over.
Carly made a sound that was either a sigh or a groan, or a little of both. "It's not really—" she paused, "I mean we aren't, really—it wouldn't work so it's just...physical. You know guys will screw anything with a vagina, and he's gorgeous, and I needed to get back on the horse." Ally had stopped filing to look at her dubiously as she rambled. "He's not... I mean it's not that he's... I mean I would, that's not it. But he's, you know, he's got a career." Carly's voice had gotten progressively lower during her stammering, and she finished at almost a whisper. She pulled her glossed bottom lip into her mouth.
"So...he's employed," Ally said slowly, picking back up at the filing. "That's good."
"Oh, shut up, you," Carly snapped, feigning irritation but laughing quietly at herself.
Ally worked in silence for a few more minutes, finishing the file work on one hand and moving to the next. "I wish you would let me soak these stupid things off, just get manicures. You really don't need them, you've got great nails under these things."
"Nah." Carly was dismissive. "I need at least two fake things on my person at any given time. If I lose the nails I might end up with bad collagen injections in my lips." They both grinned at this, and fell into another comfortable silence before Carly spoke up again, her voice quiet, her statement offhanded. "My dad adores him."
Ally seemed surprised. "He's met your dad? I think that's more than physical."
"No, no—they work together. Dad's really impressed with him, says he's driven, you know, destined for great things."
Ally nodded, sensing it. Insecurity. There was no use saying anything. She knew very well that insecurity is something a person can't be talked out of. "Well, he is attracted to you..."
Carly nodded. "Yeah, well... I have a vagina." Then, in a stage whisper, "And an asshole."
By the end of the appointment, they had made a date to meet for drinks.
You forget things when your head is somewhere else. You forget you can't bail someone out of jail before they're arraigned. He remembered, of course. As soon as he sat down behind the driver's seat of his Audi Q7 he remembered. But he'd already left her by that point. Already run out of her apartment like the place was on fire. But it wasn't on fire. He was on fire, and he hadn't been ready to be ignited.
And he could have saved himself some of the sleepless night. He could have gone back up, could have knocked. Could have stepped inside when she opened the door for him. Could have gone back, and made an effort not to run, to be still, to accept it. A big effort. He was terrified. Carly. She was terrifying.
See that? Just her name and you're hard. And he was. He was so hard his cock ached for her. So hard he could do anything to be inside her again. He could do anything. He could call in sick, spend an entire day in her bed. It wasn't him, wasn't the man he wanted to be. He didn't call in sick. He didn't let women get into his head. He didn't let women interfere with his career. But he could. He couldn't have before, not for anyone before her. But for her? He could. Terrifying.
And if he didn't? If he didn't, if he managed to keep his head on straight... If he concentrated on work at work, and took her out when he wasn't at work. If he fucked her every night, and first thing in the morning, every morning? That might buy him 12 hours of being useful in the office. That might be sustainable.
But there would be talk. He just made partner. He joined the firm alongside Jack, who most certainly deserved partner, but he made partner first. And he made partner before Rich Peters, who joined the firm before either of them. So there would be talk. Because he made partner, there would be talk. It wouldn't matter how much he flew back and forth to Hong Kong, it wouldn't matter how many clients he brought in, how much he produced. The talk would be the same. If Rich Peters was fucking Tim Dugan's daughter, Rich would have made partner. And now? Now he wanted to drag Rich Peters out of his office, push him into the street and threaten his life if he tried to come back in. And why? Because he had just imagined Rich Peters putting his hands on her.
It was terrifying.
He was terrified.
"Can I just have my things back?" Nicki's voice was shrill, and immediately identifiable. Liam looked over and spotted her immediately. One would have thought she had been picked up for solicitation her skirt was so short. Her wool pea coat actually made it past them hemline of her skirt, which was probably for the best.
"Over here," Liam said, and waved. Every eye had been on her, or more accurately, her legs, but the attention soon moved to him. Nicki wouldn't normally have made such a spectacle, except you could see in the way she held herself, see in the expert way she walked in heels, that she wasn't a prostitute. Everything about her, save for her clothes, was elegant. And it wasn't that the clothes were trash. Nicki didn't dress in trash. Nicki dressed in sex.
"Took you long enough," Nicki glared at him as she approached, clasping her watch around her wrist as she did. "I was expecting Jack."
Liam shrugged noncommittally. "He couldn't handle another Nickimergency." He was too wound up to react to her lack of appreciation. He held his arm out to her and Nicki slid her arm through his. They were nearly to the door when a man in a grey suit entered from another hallway, smiled at Nicki, said "We'll see you later, Ms. Moreau."
"Go fuck yourself, Donovan," Nicki said, her head high as she all but dragged Liam out of the building. Liam glanced back and found the eyes of the man following Nicki. He saw none of what he expected to see. No contempt brought on by seeing a suspect released on bail. No judgment. No disgust. No irritation at her complete lack of respect. No, it was bemusement he saw in the man's eyes. A quick look at his belt, at the badge clipped under his suit jacket, confirmed the man was a detective.
"Oh, Jesus, Gil, really?" Liam heard Nicki's protest before he saw the photographer.
Liam took his attention off the officer just as the door to the building closed behind them and a camera was shoved in his face. "What the-?"
"If it were me, you'd be here covering it, too," Gil said, snapping a few more times. "Got anything to say? I could use a quote on the story."
"Yeah, I've got—"
"Nothing," Liam interjected, squeezing her arm in the crook of his elbow. "We have no comment."
"Are you her attorney? What's your name?" The man was pleasant, seemed embarrassed to be asking the questions.
"This is not justice, I am innocent. I am innocent and the police department is clearly embarrassed that they can't find person responsible such a highly publicized crime." Gil looked disappointed. He had obviously hoped for a more personal response from her, something, if not entirely sensation, then at least headline worthy.
"Nicki, are you aware your ex regained consciousness yesterday?"
"We'll be meeting with her attorney now, if you'll excuse us." Liam spirited her away, pinching her when she made a move to turn back to her colleague.
Nicki relented and allowed him to lead her toward the parking garage down the block. "I'm not meeting with anyone until I've eaten something. And I haven't hired a lawyer. Was Gil right? Did he wake up?"
"You're hiring this one," Liam glanced down at his watch. "We have time for something to eat. And it makes sense, might explain why the police moved forward, if he gave a statement."
Nicki clenched her fists. That son of a bitch.
They stopped at a chain restaurant famous for breakfast after an uneventful drive spent in silence. Liam had even less to say to her than usual, and found she was wondering what was distracting him before remembering she didn't care. "I'm exhausted," she said, as soon as the hostess left them. They'd gotten a booth seat, with a view of the street.
"A night in jail will do that to you," Liam said.
They were seated at a booth against the window, and Nicki looked outside of the bustle of pedestrians downtown. She loved the city, the way it moved and breathed. She loved the grey skies and the drizzle blowing with the breeze of the ocean. She loved fog over the bridges and ferries and traffic so bad you could walk faster than you could drive on the freeway at rush hour. But there was no comfort in any of it today. She didn't want to make small talk over a plate of pancakes. She just wanted to eat, and go home. That little sleezeball had woken up in the hospital and either suggesting that she stabbed him, or that he didn't remember enough details about his attack to exclude her from the suspect list. She needed to see him but couldn't, didn't want to.
But a meal without small talk is uncomfortable, so Nicki made the effort Liam seemed inclined not to make. "So—Ally said you made partner?"
Liam nodded, smiled wanly. "Yeah, I made partner."
"You seem thrilled," she said, sighing in relief when the coffee arrived, and they had a chance to order. She'd ordered bacon and eggs, and a side of French toast. Liam had ordered eggs and whole wheat toast, probably not to make her feel like a huge asshole, but that was the end result. She was so starved she found it hard to care.
She looked at him expectantly when the server left.
"You seem thrilled."
Liam shrugged. "I am thrilled. It's just—I've been going, going, going, and when I got the news that I made it-- it was just such a relief. I felt like I could finally slow down, relax a little, not work so much, and have a life. But then I remembered that I can't slow down, that I'm lucky if I don't have to work harder."
"You're a real ball of joy," Nicki said around a mouthful of French toast.
Liam sighed. "You're right, your life is far worse than mine—when you think about it, what do I have to complain about, really?" He took a sip of coffee and looked up at Nicki, only to find that she was staring at him, incredulous.
Liam flushed in embarrassment. "Sorry, I didn't mean—I just meant that you have a lot on your plate. You got arrested, had those charges dropped, and then arrested ag—" he stopped short, dropped the metaphorical shovel in his hands. "Sorry."
Silence settled over the table before Nicki spoke up again, "I'm just so annoyed, you know? I'm so full of impotent rage and anxiousness and there's no outlet, I can't write a story about it, I can't do anything. I can't confront that jackass... I just need to vent, you know. I need to relax. If I were a man I could just go hire a prostitute and fuck my worries away, at least get them out of my head for awhile, but I can't even do that, unless I want to walk the street corners seeing if I can find a gay prostitute on the corner that's willing to accommodate me."
"I'm not a criminal attorney, but I still wouldn't recommend engaging a prostitute immediately after leaving jail."
"Like I even have the option, like I could find one. And, what, are you offering your services?"
Liam looked like a deer in headlights, "I—I'm seeing someone," he stammered as their food arrived.
"It was a joke."
He shrugged again. Enough with the shrugging, she wanted to scream. "Sorry, your jokes are less funny than usual lately. "I thought you were seeing that teacher—the—"
Nicki cut him off. "You must have missed last week's headline—'Local Teacher Linked to Stabbing Suspect'." Nicki rolled her eyes. "He said his career is his whole life, and he works with peoples' kids, and even though he believes blah blah blah, end of story. Another one bites the dust."