Michael was on the edge of the couch, beside me, his hip grazing my ribcage. He was drinking white wine, and he sat his glass on the coffee table. "Michael," I said, putting my arms up like I was going to hug him, but finding myself a little too tired and drunk -- I laid them back down again.
"Jane," he replied, pushing a strand of hair out of my face. "You missed your designated driver."
I sighed, realizing that I would have to call a taxi. Then his hand fell onto my bare shoulder, and it occurred to me how cold it was in the room.
"You're cold," he said. I just nodded and smiled. He rubbed his hand up and down my arm. His touch was warm. I felt so cozy, I thought I might really fall asleep then and there.
"I better get home," I groaned, starting to get up. But almost immediately he pushed me back down. It startled me. It startled me awake.
"You can't, you've been drinking," he said.
I smiled at him again. I felt like I was in an old movie, drunk in a mansion with a man in a tux. It was all so elegant. "I better call for a taxi," I grinned, already thinking about putting my fur back on and sashaying off to a yellow cab, with my Emmy sticking out of the coat's pocket. I reached for my clutch, but Michael snatched it up a moment before I did.
"Don't do that."
Was Michael flirting with me? Playing Keep Away with my purse at three-thirty AM wasn't the kind of thing I would usually find amusing, but I don't know. I used to have a little bit of a crush on Michael, back when I was still just an assistant. Of all the people in the studio, he had the most power. He was a wit, and he looked damn good in a suit. I used to fantasize about him accidentally reading one of my scripts, loving it, and falling in love with me as a result. I imagined flowers, and "chance" meetings near the soda machines. Eventually, shyly, he would ask me to a movie.
"I need to go home, Michael," I said, giving him a look that I hoped communicated that while I appreciated the flirting, I was serious. It was late, and I needed to take my contacts out. I reached for my clutch again, sitting up a little more, trying to take it out of his hand.
He just held it further away. But the rest of his body didn't move. "Why?" he asked.
"So I can get some sleep," I said, and I reached again. This time, for balance, I had to put my other hand on his arm.
Suddenly though, he moved that arm down around my waist and pulled me even in closer, pressing his nose behind my ear, into my neck. "Sleep here," I heard him say, before I felt the moisture of his open lips on my skin.
Instinctively, I tried to push away from him, but his arms were unmovable. He continued kissing down my neck, and being ticklish, I squirmed uncomfortably. "Michael," I said. "Michael?" I had never had this happen before.
His face rose above mine. The piercing blue eyes, dark hair, hard pale lips I had ogled so often at work, looked strange up close. "You're beautiful," he said, before kissing me on the mouth.
I was so shocked I could barely breathe, and then his tongue was everywhere. I began to panic. I pushed him, and finally he gave a little, releasing my mouth at least. "Michael. Wow. Okay -- this is. I mean, it's great. You're beautiful too. And I would love to further investigate this... thing we have going on right now, perhaps on a date, at a later date. Dinner. Movie. Et cetera."
As he listened, I noticed the hand with which he held my purse was now resting on his thigh. I reached out and took it now, adding, "But we should really call it a night. It's been a long day, you know?"
He didn't nod, or do anything to acknowledge my words. He was just staring at me. Not knowing what else to do, I opened my purse. That's when he picked me up and threw me over his shoulder. "Michael!" I yelped. I had never imagined he could pick me up like that, let alone walk through a house carrying me.
We passed through the living rooms, and his game room, then we reached a darkened hallway. "Michael, I really have to go." He kicked open a slightly closed door, and soon we were in almost complete darkness. Moments later, he was throwing me -- throwing me! And I yelped as I fell, seconds before I hit a soft, slippery bed.
I backed away in the darkness, seeing only his dark silhouette against the doorway as he took off his jacket. He turned for the door. Maybe he just wanted me to stay the night because I was drunk? Maybe I was so drunk I was just imagining his hitting on me and... He shut the door, but he was still in the room. And now I could barely see him.
It occurred to me that I still had my purse. I popped it open and started digging for my phone. It was already glowing with texts and messages. But I felt the disturbance of his weight on the bed near my feet, and then I saw his arm as he knocked everything out of my hands.
He grabbed my hips next, slipping me along the bed easily in my silk dress. I felt him balance a moment, kneeling beside me, then lifting one leg to trap my hips between his knees. "Michael, please," I said. "I'm not the kind of girl who," I began, but he put his hand on my mouth. He pulled something out of his pocket and stuffed it into my mouth -- felt like a handkerchief. Shit. I was going to have to fight him. I didn't want to, but he was scaring me. I tried to scoot away from him, but he kept pulling me back. I slapped him, hit him, tried knocking one of his arms out of commission at the elbow, but he just ignored it all.
Suddenly grabbing my arms and holding them over my head, he flattened himself on top of me, and whispered into my neck, "I've watched you for two years now, spying on me. Wanting me." He started kissing my jawline. "I could have had you anytime I wanted," he said, "Then you go and get famous. Think that changes anything?"
I tried to say, "Uh, yes?" But it didn't quite make it past the handkerchief. I guess he understood me though, because he laughed a little before he kissed me on the shoulder. Then he reached behind my neck and unsnapped the snap, and started on the zipper. I was terrified, but my entire body was tingling with anticipation. --Including my lungs. I started to choke on the handkerchief I was breathing so hard.
At first, he wasn't sure what was happening. He just paused there, hard body pressed against this soft, convulsing one. Then he figured it out and pulled the handkerchief out of my mouth.
When I was done gagging, he asked, "Are you okay?"
"Yeah," I said lamely.
Immediately, he pulled the hem of my dress up above my waist. I tried putting it back down again, but he took both my wrists in one hand and slid the other up beneath the dress. He massaged my thigh as his hand traveled up and up. "Please stop, Michael."
"I want you, Jane," he said. "Everyone does. Did you see the way Joshua Marks was looking at you tonight?" Admittedly, yes, I had. It was great! "And Andrews and Sean?" he asked. "I'm having you now before someone else does."
His hand reached the elastic band on the leg opening of my panties. This was going to be embarrassing. His fingers slipped inside. He smiled in the darkness and leaned into kiss me on the neck again. "Looks like you want me, too," he said.
"Don't do this," I said. In response, he wiggled his fingers, tickling me, and my whole body arched. I tried swinging my arms out of his grip, the will leaving my body even as I did.
"Listen," he said, "If you fight me, I'm going to ruin this dress. And then what will you wear home?"
In response I went limp. Now he let go of me. He took the straps of my dress and pulled them down, putting a hand under the small of my back and pulling the rest down around my waist, exposing the strapless long line bra I had underneath. He stopped a moment, just to look at me, and I looked away.
He pulled the rest of the dress off. When I had gotten dressed earlier that day, the long line bra over black granny panties had seemed like a good idea. "The fuck are you wearing?" he asked, probably unable to see where the bra ended and panties began in the dark. Admittedly, there was a bit of overlap.
"Shut up," I replied. I didn't want to think about this. It was too confusing. His hands felt so big and I had always wanted him, but this was not the perfect ending to my perfect night.
He pulled off his shirt. I looked up at him, trying to find the contours of his chest and abs in the darkness. Then his hands went down to his waist. I heard the click and slide of his belt buckle. He pulled his belt away from his body slowly; I could hear each time the end passed through a loop. When it came completely loose, he tossed it to the side of the bed.
Then he reached down and grabbed me by my bra, and turned me over the bed. "Michael!" was all I could think to say. He didn't reply, but I realized soon enough he was trying to get the bra unhooked. Based on my own experience with this torture device, I knew it was probably going to be the big kink in his plans. "If you're going to get this thing off, you're going to have to turn on a light. Otherwise you won't find all the hooks."
Frustrated, he grabbed the material in both hands and pulled -- I guess thinking he would simply rip it off me. Obviously, nothing that kept my body in check was going to give because of a little angry tug. He finally got off the bed and headed to the light switch by the door. "You're a pain in the ass, Jane," he said.
The light came on, but it was a dimmer switch and Michael barely lit the room. But I could see it. The bed was red. The carpet black, and the walls were grey. There were large decorative vases around the room, but no flowers. I could see two doors other than the one we had entered through, which I assumed led to the closet and bathroom.
When Michael turned around, I was already off the bed. He saw me leap to the nearest vase and pick it up like a weapon. His eyes widened. "Jane, no, that thing was a small fortune."
I looked at the vase. It was tacky as hell and clashed with the room. "Really?"
"No," I said, "Really?"
"Yes. It's Miki Pandori."
"Put it down, please," he asked.
"Okay, I'll put it down. But you're going to stop being... so... you know. Adamant about the sex."
He smiled at me then. He turned his face away as if I wouldn't see it, but he did. Then when he looked back he said, "Adamant about the sex. Some people would call it date rape."
"No," I replied, "We would have had to have been on a date for it to be called that. You've never asked me out. This was a party."
"You stayed after the party was over." He took a step toward me in his bare feet. I suddenly realized all he had were his pants, and whatever he had underneath. I raised the vase in the air a little more, and he paused.
"I fell asleep. I was supposed to ride with Stella." Suddenly something occurred to me and I was pissed. "Did you drug me??" I demanded.
Now he actually looked offended. "No!"
"Oh, so you'll date rape a person, but you're so above drugging the victim?"
He sighed then, and walked over to the bed and sat down. "I didn't want to rape you, Jane."
I looked at him, then down at the state of my clothing, then at his belt on the floor and my dress on the bedpost.
"Okay, okay -- I know what it looks like. I was more or less going for a forceful seduction."
"No. Really, I... I know we've been friends and coworkers for years now, but it's just-"
"Just since I've won an Emmy, that you've noticed me."
"No. It's been since before tonight. It's been months. Nearly a year, I've been going nuts trying to figure out how to approach this."
"You mean how to buy me a burger at the In and Out?"
He rolled his eyes. "Yeah, because you'd go for that."
"I would go for that."
"No. You'd say yes to the date. You'd eat the burger. You'd laugh at my jokes, and maybe even act like I'm interesting during the date. At the end of the night you'd thank me for the meal, and when I lean in for the kiss you'd peck me on the cheek. But we wouldn't go on a second date."
That was kind of my MO. But what did he know about it? "How do you know?"
"You've broken a few hearts in the office."
"You can't say I've broken hearts. I've never been on more than one date with any of them!"
"But I didn't go because I didn't want to break their hearts. I didn't want to string them along. But what does that have to do with you? You were going to forcefully seduce me because you're afraid of rejection?"
"I heard awhile back that you were a... you were saving yourself for your husband." I didn't reply. He looked at me for a bit, then he said, "I got it into my head that maybe you're the kind of girl who would stick with your first. And knowing how you act with dates, I thought maybe a seduction, something a little more insidious was in order. I had planned to move slowly." He sort of laughed at himself then. "I was never going to ask you on a date. But I had all these ideas about how to get you on one without you knowing. Of course, you had to win tonight, and everyone was looking at you and figuring out what I knew from the start."
"Not from the start," I interjected.
"Long enough," he replied. "I'm sorry. I was scared. All night I was sure someone else would take you home with him and beat me to it. I was already trying to console myself of the fact, and then -- there you were, asleep on the couch, and your escorts leaving. It was perfect. But I pushed my luck, didn't I?"
I put the vase down. I leaned back against his wall. "You know why there's never a second date with those guys from the office?"
"Because none of them were you," I said, and he looked up at me with wonder in his eyes. "See I had this huge crush on you, I think you know. And eventually I gave it up, but I still have this standard now." I held my hand up in the air as if I was measuring his height. "I want you or better. None of them were you or better."
"Oh, Jane," he said, standing up. I must have cringed, because he immediately stopped in his tracks. "God, I've frightened you haven't I? Fuck, and I'm your standard. Fuck." He looked around. He grabbed my dress off the bedpost. "Here. I'll take you home."
"What time is it?"
He looked at a clock by his bed. "Three."
"Do you maybe have something I could sleep in, here? And something I can put my contacts in?"
"You want to sleep over?"
"Yeah, of course," he said, overcome suddenly by a visible need to redeem himself. He began running around the room; first to the closet to get me a sleep shirt, and then he walked to the bathroom. "I know I have some extra contacts cases around here."
Cautiously, I followed him to the bathroom. It was well lit, and he was digging through the drawers under the bathroom sink. I looked around. The whole place was red and black granite, with mahogany cabinets. "Would it be okay for me to take a shower?"
"Sure, of course," he said, walking over to the shower. There was no curtain, just a little nook in the wall where you might stand hidden if you stayed still. He turned the knob to turn it on. "It'll be awhile before the water's hot," he said. We stood there a second. He had a great chest. And that's when I realized he was having the same thought. I looked away, and he went back to the cabinets. "Oh, here we go," he said, finding a contacts case. But he fumbled it, and it fell to the floor.
I dropped to my knees to pick it up. I could hear his breathing, even with the shower running just behind him. I looked up, finding myself eye level with his unbuttoned fly. To say the least, he hadn't completely calmed down yet. But he reached down to help me up.
I took his hand, but was off-balance. I fell into his arms on the way up, and he held onto me. Steam was filling the room, and down between my legs I felt empty. I felt that ache of emptiness, wanting so much for something big and whole and willful to massage out the ache, to stretch out that cavern that just couldn't completely close. Meanwhile, that part of him that could fill me was so close and tantalizingly hard I thought I might lose my mind.
Quietly, as if I could speak quietly enough to fool myself, I said, "I need help getting out of this thing. Could you unhook it?"
He froze. Then, "I better not."
"Please?" I asked.
He let go of me, and not looking at me, turned me around. He pulled the back of the bra tight enough to unhook the first few, and continued on the way down. It took about a minute, and then I sighed when it finally came loose. But I didn't expect to feel the soft touch of his fingers in the grooves where the bra had rubbed me a little raw. "Why'd you wear this thing? You're practically bleeding," he said.
"Oh," I tried to laugh it off, "What we do to look thin."
He spun me around. "You're perfect," he said. I hadn't had time to cover my breasts. He looked down at them, then slowly reached out to massage one with his thumb. I closed my eyes. I pulled away, my knees weak, but his hand stayed on my breast as I backed into the wall. Then he crouched as he put his mouth to my breast, and suddenly my hand was in his hair and he was pulling down my granny panties.
Then he was on his knees and my hands were on his shoulders and his tongue snaked between my lips, so near where I wanted him, so near where I wanted all of him. I fell into his lap, so tired and so ready.
"Michael. You'll be mine forever, right?"
"If you still want me."
"So much. But I'm falling asleep."
"Don't worry about that," and for the second time that night, he picked me up and carried me... into the shower.