Martin’s once-lost, now-reclaimed, friend-with-benefits…and oh what benefits! As he ushered her in through the front door of his garden apartment, Martin mentally checked getting laid Saturday night off his list. But when he saw the luggage Karen was pulling in behind her, he almost dropped his vanilla latte.
Damn Yankees! With all he owed that loan shark that funded his gambling, he couldn’t afford to replace a single dropped vanilla latte.
Still startled, but having saved the vanilla latte, he helped Karen with her luggage. “Lots of…sex toys? Skimpy lingerie?”
She looked down.
Dirty enough to embarrass a sensuous bae like Karen?
Karen collapsed into the mustard-colored cushions of one of his vintage Danish Modern armchairs. He would have preferred the matching sofa; it could have all started with him “comforting” her, assuring her that he wouldn’t think less of her because she’d never resorted…no, wrong word…never had the great idea of bringing sex toys and skimpy lingerie before.
She looked up at him. Were those tears in her eyes? Was she that glad to see him?
He dropped the luggage on the other side of the room, actually ran toward Karen, then slid across the floor till he was seated by her knees. It reminded him of the American custom of sliding into home plate. But this was one Americanism a “cold Brit” like Martin could pull off. It also reminded him yet again of those damn Yankees and how much he owed that dangerous loan shark. But he brushed that thought aside as he stroked Karen’s thigh, starting with outer but planning to move quickly to inner. “Gobsmacked to see me again, is it?”
She smiled, though a little weakly, and took his hand. “Martin, Martin. It was so easy between us, wasn’t it?”
Martin was distracted for a moment when he thought he heard a moan. Fearing Jennifer, he looked at the little window next to the door. Yup, he’d forgotten to close the curtain after letting Karen in. But what he thought he saw instead of Jennifer was the face of a man with a scar on one cheek. A moment later it was gone. He figured he must be imagining things and turned back to Karen.
She squeezed his hand. Then she looked down again. The “stuff,” to use Jennifer’s pet term, in her luggage? Funny, Karen in bed was anything but shy. He used the hand she wasn’t holding to stroke her other thigh, planning to move upwards this time.
But Karen grabbed that hand, too, and squeezed both. “I…owe you an apology.”
Now he started to worry. That’s exactly what she’d said the night he’d thought he was going to get laid as usual, but she’d only come over to tell him in person that she was marrying some guy named Frank. Some guy Martin had never even met. Now he squeezed her hands back but knew it was a bit too hard. “You’re going back to Frank?”
“No. Not that. Not ever.” But she teared up, choked up, and bit her lip. Finally she squeezed his hands, almost as hard as he’d just squeezed hers. “I was apologizing to you for my luggage. I had no right…”
“Your cases? What’s in them?”
“Everything I have left that I didn’t put in storage.”
“Moving in, just…for a little while. I’ll find someplace else. Obviously I should have asked you first but…”
Martin, fearing Jennifer again, thought he heard a faint shrieking outside, but dismissed it.
“I’ll contribute toward the rent. I just couldn’t stand to be completely alone and don’t have any place else to go. I…know it’s pathetic.”
Bollocks! Right after getting rid of Jennifer? This he wasn’t prepared for. Then again… Karen… And some more money coming in…
Something else he was trying to remember… In all these years he’d only met that loan shark in person once…but hadn’t he had a scar on his face?