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, Martin almost dropped his vanilla latte.
Damn Yankees! With all he owed his bookie, he couldn’t afford to replace a single dropped vanilla latte.
Still startled, but having saved the vanilla latte, Martin helped Karen with her luggage. “Lots of…sex toys? A whole lot of…skimpy lingerie?”
Karen looked down.
Lots of sex toys and skimpy lingerie that would embarrass even a sensuous bae like Karen?
Hopeful, Martin grinned.
Karen collapsed into the mustard-colored cushions of one of Martin’s vintage Danish Modern armchairs. Martin 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.
Karen looked up at him. Were those tears in her eyes? Was she that glad to see him?
Martin 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 totally 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 how much he owed his bookie and those damn Yankees. 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?”
Karen 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. Martin figured he must be imagining things and turned back to Karen.
Karen 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 Martin started to worry. That’s exactly what she’d said the night he’d thought he was going to get laid as usual, but Karen had only come over to tell him in person that she was marrying some guy named Frank. Some guy Martin had never even met. Martin squeezed Karen’s 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 Martin wasn’t prepared for. Then again… Karen… And some more money coming in… Maybe he better play along for now and work out a way to get rid of her later. Another entry for his trusty to-do list.
Something else… Martin was trying to remember. In all these years he’d only met his bookie in person once…but hadn’t he had a scar on his face?