Courting Lucy Ch. 01

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We had been courting her for a couple of months now. That’s what it felt like, courting. We hoped she thought so, too–we were pretty sure she did. In so many little ways, she let us know. The particular smile she gave us when we walked into the bar, a bit lopsided, ever so slightly wicked. The way she bit her lower lip when she talked to us, shyly mischievous, a little bit hungry; the way she leaned a bit farther over the bar than strictly necessary when handing us our drinks, her eyes flirtatiously on mine. The way she ran her hands through her hair, the way she lingered, talking with us, until the next customer needed a drink–and the way she’d leave us then, a tiny half-smile of promise on her lips. We got a lot of mileage out of that smile, later, in bed.

We’d found the bar when they started carrying Jake’s rum–he ran a small craft distillery–and soon we were stopping in for a drink or two a few nights a week. It was our favorite kind of place–casual and unpretentious, no hipster drinks on the menu, no mustachioed and waistcoated bartenders, but plenty of interesting, quality bottles behind the rail, and staff who knew what to do with them. We liked that it felt cozy–just one little room, brick walls and warm soft lights throwing a dim glow on the dark of the bar. And best of all, we liked that nobody else seemed to know about it. It was never empty, always a buzz of conversation and enough other people sitting at the bar to make us feel a little bit private and anonymous–but it didn’t draw the crowds a place like that deserved, and we knew we could always find a couple of stools next to each other.

It didn’t take long before she was our favorite bartender, and without ever acknowledging it, we seemed to end up at the bar only on the nights she was working. She’d start mixing my Tanqueray and tonic as soon as we walked through the door, but she’d always have something different for Jake, a new bourbon or a recipe she’d made up. It was a game with the two of them–she’d never give him the same drink twice, always trying to surprise him with a creative new twist or the ultimate version of a classic. And he’d tease her, a little exacting and difficult to please, always a bit of a challenge–but when he’d nod with pleasure at his first sip, she’d flush, victorious. After that first drink, he’d settle into a Sazerac or a few fingers of Balvenie, but when he first sat down at the bar, he never knew what she’d hand him.

Probably it started there, the flirtation that built up between us, with the challenge that rested between the two of them once she learned Jake was a distiller. But we all felt it, that indefinable electricity. It was in the way she’d rest her hand on my arm when we talked, so lightly, just above my elbow. The way my gaze kept straying to the lovely curve of her breasts in the black wrap dress she wore, the way I couldn’t stop imagining what it would feel like to run my finger along her collarbone. The way Jake was with her, open and charming but oh so sexily in control.

The way we fucked when we got home, hard and fast and intense, a little bit wild. The way we whispered to each other between kisses, “What if we…,” “Imagine that now she’s…” They way Jake’s shoulders looked the next morning, red and raw with marks that were suspiciously finger shaped.

It might have stopped there, just a fun little flirtation to get us all riled up in bed, if we had more of a taste for modern art.

We’d gone to the gallery on a Saturday afternoon to see a portrait exhibit we’d heard good things about–and we walked through the stark white rooms and took it in, absorbed our share of culture, and half an hour later, we were done. The rest of the gallery, the Picassos and the Rothkos and the Pollocks, didn’t hold much interest for us. So there we were, plans for the afternoon more or less shot, and a nice wide swath of time on our hands. So we decided to stop in at the bar for a drink–just one, we agreed.

“No day drinking,” I warned Jake. “I don’t want to be passed out on the couch by 5 o’clock.”

“Nope,” he reassured me. “Just one drink. You can have a glass of wine if you want. Very responsible.”

But when we stepped in from the cold, stopping just inside the door to brush the snow off our shoulders, there she was behind the bar, polishing glasses.

My heart did a little tumble, and I know I was probably blushing. But with one hand firm on the small of my back, Jake guided me to a pair of stools at the corner of the bar, tucked into a cozy nook by the window. And before I could decide if I was in the mood for pinot grigio or riesling, there was a gin and tonic in my hand, and she was pulling down a bottle of Campari to make a drink for Jake.

“I didn’t think you worked afternoons,” he said off-handedly. “You must have known we were coming in.”

“The day girl has the flu, so I picked up a shift. You two are just a lovely surprise.” She gave him a sleepy-eyed smile as she slipped a twist of orange into his drink and handed pendik escort it to him to try.

“Apparently we’re philistines,” I told her. “We tried to go to that exhibit at the art gallery and we couldn’t even spend an hour there. And since we’re actually out of our pajamas on a Saturday, we thought we might as well get a drink.”

“Not really my thing either,” she agreed. “I always feel like my nephew could have made most of those paintings.”

“I know, right? Give me a poem any day.”

“Lucy, this is fantastic,” Jake broke in, setting his drink down on the bar. “What am I drinking?”

“You can’t guess?” she teased.

He took another sip, letting the drink roll over his tongue, then passed the glass into my outstretched hand. But my nostrils flared with the first taste. “Wow. That’s too much for me.” I washed away the burn with the last of my G&T.

“Slow down there, cowboy,” he said. “I thought you said no day drinking.” But Lucy was already setting another down in front of me. And anyway, it was a snowy Saturday afternoon. What else did we need to be doing?

“Ok, so…no idea?” she challenged Jake.

“Fuck. No. Campari with orange–but there’s something else I can’t place. What’s in there–a boutique tequila?”

“Nope,” she grinned. “I made you a Smoky Negroni. That’s mezcal you taste.”

“Hmm. I like it. It’s a darker taste than tequila–but sweeter, too.” And then Lucy was pulling down bottles, pouring him a couple different mezcals to taste, and some tequila for the sake of comparison.

“Robin, you’d like this one,” he said, holding out his glass to me. “Are you sure you don’t want to try?”

“Baby, my tequila drinking days are over. Mr. Cuervo and I have a sordid history.”

The bar wasn’t crowded, and somehow the afternoon passed while we sat on those barstools, knees pressed up together, fingers intertwined. Lucy talking with us between mixing drinks and pulling pints. And then the sky was starting to get dark, and Lucy’s shift was over, and she came around the bar to sit on the stool beside me, and we bought her a drink to say thank you for all the tequila tasting Jake had done.

“This was fun,” she said as she drained her glass. “But I’d better go home now, while I can still drive.”

“This was fun,” Jake agreed. “What are you doing next Saturday? Let us take you to dinner.”

My heart lurched, and I tasted adrenaline on my tongue. My God, did he just say that? Fuck, he is so masterful, so sexy and in control. I could never have–

“I’d love that,” she smiled. “Let’s.”

And with that she was gone, and we were pulling on our coats, stumbling down the sidewalk with our arms around each other’s waists, wobbling up the stairs to our little apartment, and tumbling into bed, Jake heavy on top of me as we kissed, hungry and frantic and wet.

“Baby,” I whispered between kisses, half-embarrassed even to say it, “do we have a date?”

“I think we do,” he murmured into my ear, as his hand slid under my shirt, along my belly, to circle the hard nub of my nipple, taut under black lace.

“Oh god,” I moaned. “That’s so fucking hot.” And my hands were on his back, and then gripping his cock, swollen hard inside his jeans, and I couldn’t wait, I was grappling with his belt, dragging his pants down, rolling on top of him, taking his whole length deep into the back of my throat. I could feel how wet it made me, having his cock in my mouth, the salty-sweet taste of him at the tip, where he was slick and wet already.

“I loved watching you flirt with her today,” I told him as I drew my tongue all the way up his cock, then took the head into my mouth and sucked gently. “You were so confident, so very much in charge. And completely mine. It’s so hot.” I took him deep again then, picturing the scene we made, me on my knees before him, that gorgeous sweet thick cock filling my throat, how badly she’d be wanting it as she watched us.

“I think she’d love to suck you, too, baby. She wouldn’t be able to just watch. She’d have to join in, both our tongues on you, taking turns pulling you deeper, and maybe she’d take my nipple in her fingers as we worked you over, pinching it just a little.”

“Get up here, sweet girl,” he growled, pulling me up with a fist tangled in my hair, “I’m not done with you yet.”

And then I was on my back, and Jake’s mouth was on me, his tongue on my clit in wide circles, drawing me nearer, nearer, and then–with his teeth so gently on me, sucking–over the edge and into a pulsing climax.

“Fuck, that was good,” I gasped, and he was already inside me, rocking with me as the waves washed over me, then faster, harder, taking me over for his pleasure until all I could do was hang on, fingers gripping tight into his shoulders, until I felt him throb deep inside me and we collapsed, panting, in a heap.

“Wow,” I said, kissing his chin.

“Yeah. Wow.”

Later, after we’d slept off all the drinks and rus escort the sex and awoken to a dark room, half the night gone, we curled together on the couch with scrambled eggs and toast, watching TV. I leaned back against Jake’s chest, sated and warm and comfortable and getting sleepy again. He crooked his arm around me and pulled me closer, lips brushing close against my ear.

“You wouldn’t really want it, would you?”

“Mmmm. That’s nice. Your breath tickles.” I pushed back against him. “I don’t know. She is so, so sexy. And I do want to kiss a woman again. I want–a lot.” I groaned.

“But do I want to watch you with her? Oh god–maybe–oh, that’s such an image.”

His fingers traced lightly along my collarbone. “You don’t have to know right now,” he murmured. “It’s just dinner.”

“Just dinner.”

I had a project due at work that week, and Jake was putting in long hours too, then bottling at the distillery most nights after he left the office. There was grocery shopping, and yoga class, and Thursday night drinks with friends. In the mundane rush of the week, I managed not to think too much about our plans for Saturday night. I think if I looked it straight in the face, I might have bailed, out of sheer embarrassment and terror, so instead I closed my eyes and told myself it was just a night out with a friend, the sort of thing we’d done a hundred times before. And maybe I started to believe it, because by Saturday afternoon, as I was shaving my legs in the shower, straightening my hair, painting my toenails a dark burgundy, I’d think of the night ahead and get a little thrill, not scared anymore, maybe a little excited, even.

I think Jake knew that if he brought it up, I might spook, so he just watched me with half-lidded eyes as I slipped into my favorite black lace bra-and-panty set. I pretended not to notice, turning to the mirror to gather my hair up into a big, messy twist at the top of my head, giving him a view of naked back and hips and the curve of my ass that the lace didn’t quite cover. I smiled to myself as I slipped in a few bobby pins, thinking that no matter what happened–if I got scared and bolted, or if we had our signals wrong entirely–I would still wind up in his arms that night, tangled up together in the sheets. In that moment, I felt inexpressibly lucky.

“God, you’re gorgeous,” he told me, your hands on my waist, pulling me close. “I love you in that.” I hadn’t wanted to overdo it–for all we knew, she didn’t even think of this as a date–but I’m a dress kind of girl, so I’d chosen a casual black t-shirt dress that skimmed lightly over my curves. Normally I’d have worn a cami under the deep v-neck, but tonight I skipped it, drawing attention to the full globes of my breasts with a little diamond pendant that nestled just above their swell.

“You look great, too, baby.” And he did, in the sort of clothes I think of as most “him”–dark jeans, t-shirt, striped button-down worn open and a little bit rumpled. “This will be fun.”

And then it was time to go, and I was stepping into my ballet flats, locking the door, following Jake out to the car–and pretending to myself that we had no ulterior motives for tonight at all.

We’ve always liked to frontload our drinking, having a few cocktails early in the night to get a nice buzz, with plenty of time for Jake to sober up to drive us home, so we met Lucy in the bar an hour before our dinner reservation. She was already there when we walked in, a glass of wine in her hand, but she stood to fold us both in hugs to say hello. Her hair brushed my ear as we pressed our cheeks together in greeting, and I don’t think I was imagining the electricity that sparked between us.

“Hey, sweetie,” she said to me. “I’m so glad we planned this.”

“Me, too. You’ve got a drink already . . . J, can you get me a G&T?” I hopped onto the barstool next to her, and Jake perched on my other side, a glass of bourbon in his hand.

“It’s not as much fun without one of your mystery drinks to start the night off,” he told Lucy with a wicked grin.

“Yeah, is it hard for you to go to other bars?” I asked. “Are you always super critical of the bartenders?”

“Occupational hazard,” she said with a wry smile. “I usually just order red wine or something really basic. It’s hard to screw up a glass of wine.”

“That’s why I’ve never wanted to edit fiction,” I said. “Sure, it would be more interesting than research articles and dissertations, but I think it would ruin reading for me. I’d never be able to turn the editor off and just enjoy a book again.”

“What are you drinking, Luce?” Jake asked, leaning a bit across me to be heard, his hand on my thigh.

“It’s a garnacha,” she answered. “Want to try it?”

Watching him take the glass from her and sip, then pass her his bourbon to taste, I thrilled at the sexy intimacy of it.

He didn’t take his hand off my thigh then, just slipped it a little bit higher as he angled sancaktepe escort his body into me, his head and Lucy’s leaning in toward one another so we could all talk over the noise of the bar. Every so often she’d put her hand on my arm as she spoke, and I felt, in the way she let it linger there a few extra beats, that we weren’t wrong, there really was something between us.

By the second round of drinks, I had that lovely loose feeling, the tingle of arousal in my fingertips and more or less everywhere else. Jake knew it, and edged a finger ever so slightly under the hem of my dress, making small circles along the inside of my thigh. I had just discovered that Lucy was a knitter, and we were deep in a conversation about merino and alpaca, sock knitting, double-pointed needles versus magic loop. Jake was letting it go for now, but the movement of his hand on my leg was a reminder that soon he’d draw us back to him again.

“If I were having dinner with anyone else,” she said, “I would have stuffed a project in my purse, just in case it got boring.”

“Oh my God, me too,” I laughed. “Jake will tell you–I take knitting everywhere. I even tried to take it to a football game–but apparently they don’t let you do that.”

“Speaking of dinner,” Jake broke in, “we should probably go claim our table. Are you girls ready?” And with a hand on the small of our backs, he guided us both to the hostess stand and then through to a cozy booth tucked in a corner of the restaurant.

We decided to order family style, which was fun but also a little romantic, passing plates of pasta carbonara and chicken french between us, fighting each other for the last olives in the salad. We’d gotten a bottle of wine, and Jake kept everyone’s glasses well topped up, quietly ordering a second bottle when we’d finished the first–though I noticed that he drank much less than we did. After the plates had been cleared away we lingered over our glasses, lost in conversation. In a pause, Lucy reached out and gently grasped my wrist, pulling my arm across the table toward her.

“What’s this?” she asked, her finger tracing the bold lines of the tattoo on my forearm. “I’ve always wondered what it meant.”

“I got that a few years ago,” I told her. “It’s Jake’s handwriting . . . it’s the way he always signs his notes to me.”

“I have one, too,” he said, “it’s just a little more hidden.” He quirked a smile at her.

“I know this is crazy,” I told her, “but my mom died when I was in college, and ever since then I’ve had this fear that one of us will die too young. Jake and I have made it through so much shit together, it’s like we’re forged in iron. I just wanted to be marked as his, in case anything ever happened.” I was doing that thing where I get a little drunk and tell all my secrets, but I couldn’t help it, and I felt safe with Lucy.

She still held my wrist in her hand, and now she brushed her fingers along my arm as she said, “God, that’s so romantic. You guys are just crazy in love. It’s sexy just to be around that.”

“The thing about that kind of love,” Jake murmured, “is that it’s big enough to expand. There’s room for more if we want that.”

I hid my face in my wineglass at this barely veiled innuendo. I don’t think I’ve ever made the first move in my life. But, fortunately for me, he is good at that sort of thing.

She smiled a heavy-lidded smile. “I like the sound of that,” she said.

Leaving the restaurant, Lucy gave each of us a slow, warm hug before Jake tucked her into a cab. As she let go of me, she touched her lips briefly to mine, the kind of chaste kiss that could mean affectionate friendship, but might also hold the promise of more to come, if I wanted it.

And oh, I wanted it.

Back at home, Jake hardly had his coat off before he was pouring himself a good four fingers of scotch (he had some catching up to do), then taking me by the hand and leading me straight to bed.

In one swift move he had my dress off, and then I was tumbling onto the bed, wrapped up in a tangle of blankets and him. He was beside me, over me, his mouth on mine, hungry at first, devouring, but then softer as I gave him what he needed. We kissed like that for a long time, not speaking, hardly moving, just slow and gentle and thick with desire. He took my lower lip between both of his, and I groaned, then pulled his shirt up over his head, pushed his pants down off his waist, and buried my nose in the hollow between his shoulder and his throat. “This place was made just for me,” I said, inhaling deeply.

“Did you have fun tonight?” he asked me.

“Mmm, oh, that’s so good.” I stretched underneath him, arching my back to bring my breasts closer to his searching mouth. He took my nipple into his mouth and pulled.

“I did have fun. I loved it. She’s so easy to be around.” I ran my hands up his back, then into his hair, pulling him closer.

“You looked so fucking beautiful. Both of you. I loved watching you two together.”

“Mm, I bet you did,” I laughed, and bit his shoulder.

Then he was kissing his way down my belly, one nipple still between his fingers. He lingered at my hips, trailing his tongue along my pubic bone.

“Oh God, don’t tease,” I said. “I’ve been wanting this all night, I can’t take it if you make me wait.”

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