Strangelove - Part 6
After dinner, the foursome sat around the hostess’ modest table, balancing glasses in their hands and telling stories. The laughter, the comradery and easy socializing set Jessica’s mind at ease. Garrett and Gwen sat across from her boyfriend and herself, their hands joined and their eyes alight as Peter recounted his most recent rescue.
“So, the guy’s dangling from the windowsill, in nothing but boxers, mind you. And this woman is inside, her bare ass to the window, screaming at her husband to put the knife down.”
Garrett snickered. “Damn, caught like a rat. Did he drop?”
“Yep. His arms gave out before the firefighters could inflate the bag, too, so he broke both ankles. Dude’s lucky to be alive. You should’ve seen the guy with the knife. He could’ve taken down a grizzly barehanded.”
Garrett’s laugh was haughty as Gwen shook her head in pity. Jessica refilled glasses as Peter sat forward. “So, how’d you guys meet? It was years ago, right?”
Jessica set the wine decanter down and nodded to Garrett, asking silently for him to respond. He did without qualm.
“She was the secretary at my ex’s office. She was the first face I saw when I came for visits. Always nice to everyone, very professional.”
“Oh, right, at the college,” Peter replied, sitting back and shifting his gaze to Jessica. “It was just you and Bridget in the office at that point, right?”
“Yep. Garrett and Bridget. Can you imagine?”
Peter laughed. “I wouldn’t have put them together. She was so prissy all the time.”
“How long have you guys been together?” Gwen asked Jessica and Peter with a puzzled expression. “He hasn’t seen Bridget in a long time and Jessica, you’ve been out of that job a while, right?”
Jessica retook her seat. “I’ve been at the accounting firm five years now and it’ll be a year for Peter and me next month. He knows Bridget because he graduated from that school. He passed through the office a few times, caught my eye. It just took us a while to connect.”
Peter snorted. “I’m glad you got out of there. She was so stuck-up. She refused to sign off on
my credentials because I didn’t sign in cursive. What a persnickety bitch.”
Jessica glanced over at Garrett in time to see his silver eyes shift to her. There was an evil grin tucked behind the rim of his glass as he lifted it to his lips. Jessica knew just how strict and how demanding Bridget was when her boss hat was on, and how Garrett had domineered and ravaged his ex into giving up that control she wielded so heartlessly at the office. Now, at her kitchen table, she rung her damp palms under the table, unable to halt her lustful imagination.
Gwen nodded knowingly at Peter. “She was something else. I heard all about it. Of course, I’m much easier to live with.”
Garrett lowered his glass, grasped both his wife’s hands and touched his lips to them. “You are my everything.”
Peter beamed again, touched by their romance. Jessica could only shift in her seat, squirming as she thought back on how close Garrett’s lips had been to her own the week before. How he’d chided her so fiercely in the empty theater. How he’d called her a bad girl.
Gwen’s cell phone chimed. Her brows nearly touched as she lifted it to read the screen. “Honey, the babysitter’s worried about getting home. We should head back.”
He nodded and stood without qualm, looming large over her tiny table. Peter rose next, stepping to the bedroom to retrieve coats while the hostess flipped on the outside light. “It’s snowing pretty hard. Please be careful.”
Gwen stepped up after fastening her coat, resting her palms on Jessica’s shoulders in a casual hug. “We will. Thanks for having us. I’ll make sure he texts when we’re home. I know you’ll worry.”
Her husband smirked. “I’ll try to remember. You make a mean lasagna, and Peter? Nice meeting you.”
Peter outstretched his palm to Garrett. “You’re welcome anytime. I’m glad to know you finally. She has so many friends on social media. It’s nice to know who some of them are.”
Garrett nodded as he and his wife headed out the door. A gust of icy air snuck into the apartment as Jessica watched them retreat to the truck.
“Oh shit,” Jessica shrieked suddenly, startling Peter. “Damn, I forgot to give them their leftovers.”
“I’ll run them out,” Peter volunteered, grabbing for his coat. “You stay inside. You’ve done enough.”
“No, it’s okay. I’ll do it. They’re my guests.” She swept up the bag and dashed from the house in her heels. With a stupefied headshake, he closed the door to keep out the cold.
She forgot about her frozen toes as she edged closer to the truck, her eyes on Garrett as he swept the inches of accumulation from the driver’s side mirror. As she approached, he turned to her with a lifted brow. “Seriously, do you want frostbite?”
“Here,” she replied, shoving the bag into his palm. “And I’m ready, Garrett.”
His gaze narrowed as he took a step toward her, ensuring they were both hidden from Peter’s view behind the truck’s massive cab. His palms moved to her forearms. “Tell me again. Say it.”
“I’m ready,” she repeated, stepping up close to his chest. “I’m ready for step two.”
He nodded once, a sinister and satisfied grin twisting his lips. His palm swept into her hair, twisting into a fist and tugging to tip her chin up. Her breath squeezed from her lungs as he dropped in close, his stormy eyes fixed on hers. “I’ll email you instructions. Get back to me quickly.”
Her lips parted as she nodded in silent compliance.
His thumb traced her lower lip, tugging and pinching it gently. “Good girl.”
He released her suddenly, stepping back and leaving her dazed and excited in his wake. He threw open the truck door, hopped in, slammed the door and started the roaring engine. She stepped aside, watching his truck roar down the white blanketed road before making her way back inside on wobbly legs.
When the front door opened, Peter saw the fiery desire in her eyes and swallowed hard.