*Adult content warning…*
I knew what I needed to do next and it did not make me happy.
Not one bit.
Whipping out the phone, I tapped at it fiercely only to remember that it no longer functioned. It had been years since I had seen an actual payphone anywhere and good luck getting someone to let me “borrow” their phone, especially when I started to explain to him what I needed.
A groan of frustration escaped my lips. I was going to have to go to his office. Or apartment. But no. I needed to keep things professional. It would have to be his office.
I groaned again and chucked the useless thing into the trash can. It made a satisfying crunch against the metal canister as it made impact. I could imagine the spider web of cracks that must now stretch across the screen.
The sharply dressed middle aged woman walking past me at that very moment paused slightly, looking hard at my contorted face, while clearly debating internally whether or not she should check to see if I was OK. She ended up talking herself out of it, going on her way instead. That was good. I didn’t want to have to deal with a do-gooding stranger’s concern.
What time was it anyway? I glanced around for a clock somewhere, anywhere, and found none. He was a few blocks away. I could get there quickly, certainly before five, if I left now.
I started to walk down Jackson Blvd.
My buttocks burned at the thought of his name, feeling the echo of the stinging slap of his hand followed by a lingering caress before the burn of the next strike.
Why does memory have to be so physical?
He was protective but he was also controlling. I was not the naive, docile, sweet woman he wanted from me but he was physically attracted. Very strongly so. As was I. So much so that I was willing to play the role. Those neurochemicals are incredibly hard to resist once you get a taste of them. As such, we pushed and pulled each scrabbling for the upper hand, for control of the relationship, never quite getting what we desired from the other but trying harder and harder still to get it, working up to a fevered pitch that could only culminate in intense lovemaking.
The fact of the matter was that if he started undressing me even now, I would not stop him. I would gladly offer my body up to him. Even now I wanted him to posses me physically. I just could not allow him to possess my soul. I remembered the delicious wetness of him on my thighs afterwards, the heady feeling of power that came from knowing that even while tied up, I could make him do things….
We were on a dangerous path, he and I. It had to end. We each wanted to believe we pulled the plug but in truth, it was mutual and it hurt in a way I was not prepared to accept. The sting of the memory even now was worse than that of his hand on my backside.
In the end I found that I could not stomach making love to anyone else.
So there had been no one else.
People didn’t like him, people that I knew at least. They did not like how he spoke to me, how he hovered and yet seemed to look through me rather than at me.
What do you like about him, anyway?
I liked having my nipples crushed between his thumb and forefinger but that was not the answer anyone wanted to hear. It was not the kind of relationship I could explain to friends, so they drifted off and away. Here I was in the giant city of Chicago, a place full of people of every type, and I had no one else I could turn to for help.
No one but him.
Maybe he had won our battle of wills, after all?
I stood at the foot of his building, at Wacker Street, squinting to block out the glare of the sun as I looked up to the 62nd floor. Right there at the corner was his office. He had pointed it out to me from the outside one day. A strange mingling of dread and desire rose up from within, making my heart pound and my fingertips tingle as I strode into the lobby working hard to maintain a facade of confidence that I did not feel.
The speed of the elevator always surprised me. 62 floors in as many seconds. The force pressing down on my shoulders always made me feel heavier than I really was.
A trim dark haired woman in a black dress glanced up as I entered the reception area through the thick glass doors. I recognized her.
“Do you have an appointment?”
“No, Laura. No, I don’t have an appointment.”
She sighed and rolled her eyes. “You know he won’t see you.”
The sentence was not even completely out of her mouth before I was down the hall, turning the handle on his office door.
My breath caught.
There he was, standing at the window looking out over the city, hands clasped behind his back.
He chuckled a bit then turned around.
“I’ve been waiting for you.”
And then I knew.
Want to know how we got to this point? Check out the other chapters of Impact: