by Amelia Beamer

"I’m nervous," the woman said.

"Why?" The man betrayed an easy confidence, an easy attraction. They waited for the elevator without touching.

The fluorescent light of the lobby was unforgiving after the gentle darkness of the bar. It was late; they’d said goodnight to their colleagues.

"Because," she said. The elevator opened. Mirrors surrounded them as the doors closed. They were alone.

He touched a button. "Because?" he asked.

They faced the door side by side, leaning against the elevator rail. She knew exactly how much space separated them.

"Because I really like you," she said. "Ever since we met last year." She tried to pitch her voice towards a flirty nonchalance.

He put his nose in her hair, whispered her name. Her fingers tightened on the rail behind her.

"I like you, too," he said. "I’ve known you, I daresay. Known you were intelligent, witty, and of course beautiful. You’ll forgive me that last one." His voice was so warm, teasing.

"Perhaps," she said. "Or I’ll hold it against you."


She slipped her arm around his waist. It fit just right. He was thinner than she’d expected, and it was both a shock and a relief. Touching him now, he felt so real.

The elevator dinged, and the doors opened. The man and woman separated as if expecting to be caught. This sort of thing happened all the time at conferences, but neither of them wanted gossip.

”Come up for a cup of coffee?” he asked.

They fell into step as they walked the empty hallway. There was a strong current between them, electricity and magnetism. The air smelled fresh, like ozone.

He unlocked the door, held it open. A single lamp was on, its light warm and yellow. There was his open suitcase, and his laptop on the desk. Here was his room, and they were alone, really alone, for the first time.

She took a deep, almost fearful breath. Her eyes closed, and she raised her hands, parted her lips, moving forward towards where she thought he was.

It took only a second to realize he’d turned away. His back faced her; he was applying a coathanger to his jacket. "Sorry for the mess," he said over his shoulder.

He was actually going to make coffee? She let out her breath, feeling embarrassed and a little perplexed.

He turned to her, empty coathanger in hand. But she wore no jacket, no wrap for him to hang up. She made a pretext of straightening her dress. There was her stomach, her hips, her thighs.

"Sit, please. I’ll make some coffee."

There was the bed with its bleached-cotton smell, and she sat on it. Her hands bit into the bedspread. They could already feel, already taste the rich creamy cloth of his shirt, the peppery stubble on his cheeks.

She watched him walk away from her, carafe in hand.

The silence lasted only a moment. Long enough. She wished she’d had one more drink at the bar. That she was a little thinner or funnier. That this didn’t mean as much as it did. She wanted him still, wondered if she should make the first move. How delicate this moment was, she thought. How easily the tenderness might boil away.

Their email exchange had been steady since they'd met: teasing, fun, but also deep at times, also well-considered words on the mean center of life. She had known him then.

The tap ran. "Should I be nervous?" he asked from the sink.

"Yes, of course you should be nervous." She spoke to his back as he poured water into the machine, replaced the carafe to collect it. She realized she didn’t know the color of his eyes. There was so much about him she didn’t know.

She stood to meet him.

"I’ll tell you something then," he said. He took her hands in his, kissing her fingers.

She felt herself softening. She wanted this, the feeling of his mouth on her skin.

"Of course I’m nervous, but I mustn’t admit it," he said. "Lest you think less of me." His way of choosing words was familiar. The pattern of his speech; the pattern of his thoughts.

They stood very close now. His eyes were brown, she saw. He was very good-looking.

"Truth is, I’m terrified," he said. He slipped her forefinger into his mouth and bit, gently. She couldn’t decide whether to laugh. She gasped, instead. It felt nice, in a way. Warm. After a second, he released her. She began to understand what he might want from her.

"I forget that I know you," she said, relaxing a little. "I have high expectations." Her arms fit around him of their own accord.

"As do I."

She leaned in as if for a kiss, then pulled away. Heat blossomed deep in her belly.

"Do you feel that?" she asked, testing him.

He ran his hands down her arms. His cheek brushed hers, and he kissed her neck. She tilted her head to expose the skin, arching her back. There were his lips, right there, his smooth even teeth. Her fingers threaded in his hair as he worked her from ear to shoulder. His touch was nothing like she had imagined. She grew warm all over, and pressed into him, no longer caring if he left marks.

"I feel it, my dear," he said after a while. He spoke into her neck, his breath in her hair. "You know I do."

The smell of coffee wound through the room. They wouldn’t wake up together, she knew. They wouldn’t breakfast together: they each had meetings scheduled. Everything had to happen now.

She kissed his mouth and nearly came. "I’ve thought of doing this with you so many times," she said when she could speak again.

"As have I."

She pushed him to the bed, wanting to feel his weight, his skin. Buttons and straps caught her fingers, unfamiliar. They both smiled at the awkwardness. He sat up to remove the shirt and undershirt. Naked to the waist, he was pale and a little hairy. He smelled of soap, light cologne, end-of-day sweat. She took it all in, learning him with her hands. That took a while, and it was good.

He guided her hand down, there to where she wanted to touch but was still nervous. Oh. How hard it was, and the appreciative noise he made. So trusting. She took down his trousers, his underwear. Left them at his knees.

He moved to pull them down, and she stopped him. “Stay there,” she said, and he made a wonderful noise.

His pubic hair was trim, as if manicured. Had he done this for her? The dark short hair framed his penis. It was slightly curved, smelled like skin and salt and musk. Bigger than the last guy she’d been with.

She looked up at him, approving. In her mouth it went. He was in her control, now.

He gasped, gripped the bedclothes. "Oh, you dirty, I never expected, oh sweetheart, please yes, God, already (or maybe Almighty?) slow down, fucking just yes like that, like that."

She’d never imagined he could talk like that. It was amazing. So she did it like that, fast and then slow. Licked the shaft, the balls. She did it until her eyes teared, both hands under his ass to hold him still while she listened to the words he made.

"For God’s sake, yes, you whore, my dear, oh like that, oh, wait, please, yes, wait, wait." His mouth was open, tongue touching the back of his teeth.

She pulled away, wiped her face on her arm, and stroked his penis with one hand. It was quite a nice penis.

"Sweetheart, let me touch you," he said then, as if he’d just discovered the ability to frame sentences. "Oh, fuck. Let me get you off." His eyes had darkened, in shadow. His face was so frank, open and beautiful. "Let me," he said, closing his eyes, and she knew he meant *come*.

She smiled. "In time. I want to watch your face, first," she said. She licked the tip of his cock, then the ridge that was supposed to have all the nerves, like it said in the issue of Cosmo she’d found on the plane. His hips rose, his ass tightening against her hands.

And there, then. His eyes squeezed shut, mouth moving from a grimace to an O, chin dropping towards his chest. He came, thick and warm, on the back of her throat. His eyes fluttered. It was a look just for her.

She held him there, milking the last of it with her hand. Then she went to the bathroom, rinsed out her mouth. In the mirror her hair was messy and her makeup smeared. She wore a goofy grin. She didn’t try to fix any of it. This was what she looked like to him. She mimed wiping the sweat off of her forehead in the mirror, then went back to the bedroom.

She poured herself a cup of coffee, sat on the edge of the bed. She took a sip, so he wouldn’t have to taste himself. Then she pulled off her dress, and got under the covers.

"That was amazing," he said, and she wished he wouldn’t try to say anything. Not about love or God or dear or fuck. Words weren’t enough. She took his hand, placed it on her breast. She kissed him for a long time, then guided his face down, and leaned back.


Amelia Beamer lives in Oakland, California. Her fiction is published or forthcoming in Red Cedar Review, Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet, and Eyes of Desire 2: A Deaf GLBT Reader.

© 2008 by Amelia Beamer






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