When we last left our hero, she was checking her fly in a library after a femme got off right in front of her. “That should’ve been the end of that. / But ten minutes later, picking up take-out extra-hot red curry at my favorite Thai place, I hear behind me: “Well, well.”” Catch up on Part One if you need a refresher.
I turn. It’s her. Of course it’s her. How did we end up at the same place? She’s three inches shorter than me and wearing heels. Her cheeks are flushed from the chilly weather and I notice her lipstick, remember watching her redden her mouth. Does she know I watched her? Does she know me? Did she see me that whole time?
She’s looking at me, but she can’t be. I don’t know her. I glance to my left and right and nearly do that stupid pointing to my chest and mouthing me? when she giggles a little, and takes a step toward me, outstretches her hand. “I’m Juliet.”
I clear my throat and take her hand. “Sinclair.” I try not to look flustered.
“I usually do this kind of thing in the other order, but hey, I give you points for originality,” Juliet says, eyes shining, and shimmies by me to the counter to pay for her take-out and mine, leaving me aghast. I recover a moment too slowly and say, “No, please, let me …” fumbling with my wallet, but she’s waving her hand at me dismissively and shoots me a look over her shoulder that says back the fuck off, I got this and I do.
I’d planned on taking my curry home but she carts our two trays to an empty table and sets them both down, gets up to fetch silverware, and glances at me expectantly. I can’t find my voice and sit across from her, stunned, as she folds her napkin in her lap, arranges her food, and takes a few bites.
“So what’re your books for? For fun? Or are you doing research?” She reaches for her water and shoots me a smile.
I open my mouth but nothing comes out. She’s so damn articulate, and speaks quickly, boldly, which catches me off guard. I pick up my fork and mix my curry and rice on my plate – not really date food, so strong and long-lasting in the body, but – is this exactly a date? Not really. I still can’t form the words to answer her question. What was her question again? I take a bite of the red curry and it explodes in my mouth: at first it’s just hot but then the subtle layers of the curry hit my palette and I taste sweet coconut milk, basil, bay leaves. Strong and bold. My lips tingle with the heat of the spice. I take a sip of water and look up at Juliet; she’s chewing slowly, waiting for me to say something. I swallow.
“I was looking for evidence of butch/femme roles in antiquity cultures,” I start, finally comprehending what she’d asked me.
She nods, takes another bite of her curry, green, and listens as I tell the story of the play I saw a few months back, the Oedipus Cycle in full, and how it struck me that women’s roles may have varied more than represented in the typical Greek canonical texts. I’m not an antiquity scholar – at all – but I do study gender, so I got inspired to re-read some of the most famous works with an eye toward gender theory.
We chat on and on. The conversation is fantastic; a perfect combination of asking questions, answering, and listening to each other. She is new to New York and moved her to be with a girl; the move promptly broke them up. Meanwhile she’s working in a bank, she wants to go to business school, she loves Thai food, she’s 28, born and raised in Minneapolis.
She starts to tell me her femme story as I am finishing my curry. My mouth is aflame and this is the best conversation I’ve had in months, I’ve nearly forgotten what it’s like to be charmed by a pretty girl’s first date version of her life story, such a fascinating character study falls into place.
We’re done eating, but she’s still telling her femme story. It’s like a coming out story – we all have one, we all have the struggle to understand and then the eventual development and acceptance of our own sexual and gender orientations. I’m actively listening, watching her eyes dance, watching her lips and teeth, her hands as she illustrates her points with gesticulation.
She takes her lipstick out of her bag and uncaps it, twists it up and paints her mouth subtly, softly. A gesture I remember well and which stirs something in me.
I take advantage of her momentary pause in the story. I want to hear more about her life. I lean in toward her on my elbows and catch her eye, give her a hard stare. “Can I walk you home?”
She stops, considers, and puts her lipstick away. “That’d be great,” she says, holding my gaze a moment longer, then begins to gather her things. “Now? Shall we?”
I nod, stand and put on my coat, grab my satchel, clear off our plastic trays and take-out containers. Not exactly a smooth date … but the sight of those thin white cotton panties under her grey skirt keeps flashing in my mind and I want to feel her, want to fuck her, want my hands under her skirt, up her thighs, on her tits.
Her apartment, it turns out, is not far from my favorite curry place. We walk the few long blocks slowly, strolling, savoring each other’s company. She takes my elbow, submissive, but leads the way, keeping close to me with an occasional dip of her head into my neck and shoulder as she keeps telling the story of herself, sweet, so sweet, and unselfconscious.
At her stoop we’re still talking. I’m opening up a little about my gender, my history, my character. I’m in storytelling mode, all melodrama and timing, and she’s watching my face, sitting on her very New York stoop as I have one foot up on the low stair, telling her how I came to be where I’m at. Her eyes are sparkling, hands together in her lap.
We laugh. It’s one of those perfect conversations where I’m charming with awkward real moments without trying. I don’t want this date to end.
Neither does she. “Coming up?” she asks, as if we’re already lovers, standing and slowly stepping up the stairs, looking back over her shoulder as she opens her purse for keys.
I grin, and follow her in.
The moment she closes the door behind me she gives me a look that tells me exactly what I need to know: she’s done chatting. I take my jacket off and she steps next to me to take it, then tosses it onto the hallway chair and presses me swiftly against the wall, her arms next to my head.
I smile, hands reflexively going to her hips. “Oh, is that what you think.” It’s not a question. We haven’t even kissed yet. Our mouths are nearly touching. She grinds up against me, my thighs between hers, and I can tell she knows I’m packing.
“Who packs to the library?” she asks, softly, in my ear, hot breath on my neck.
I shrug, a little sheepish, exposed. “Me,” I say, and get a grip around her waist to quickly switch places with her, press her up against the wall, and lower my mouth onto hers.
The first kiss: oh it gives away so much. The way she tastes, the way she sounds when she breathes, whether she keeps her eyes open, what sounds she makes, whether she claws at me with her hands or wraps her legs around me or feather-touches my face. All the senses activated, heightened. Such sensation. Plus: the power she keeps is all revealed. Will she let me take, let me lead, let me control? Give over her strength while she begs and submits?
Juliet’s kisses are insistent, fierce, fiery. I let her lead a while and get a sense of her style, then stop her quick to push my thighs between hers and press my forearm to her breastbone against the wall. She nearly growls, lets out a low hummed breath, and allows herself to be restrained, enjoys the feeling of restriction.
“When did you know I was packing?” I say, my mouth close to hers.
“When you walked through the reference section.”
I consider the timeline: before I hit Classics. Just after I walked in. She brings her mouth to mine and lets me work through this in my mind. That means she followed me to Classics. That means she put on that little show on purpose. Does she know I saw her? Probably. I grin, amused. If she didn’t know I was there, she secretly hoped I was.
I’ll take it either way.
She watches my face as I work through this and knows she’s been found out, knows I saw her. She waits for me to get it, then a smirky little self-satisfied smile plays over her lips, like something is very funny, like the joke’s on me, and I get the strong urge to slap her, bring my palm to her cheek fast and wipe that smirk from her face, watch her gasp and look back to me wide-eyed.
I don’t. I don’t even know her, I wouldn’t want to be rude. But when I do know her, I will, and she’ll like it.
“Really.” I say, chewing my tongue and decidedly not slapping her. “So that little show you put on – ”
“Oh, you mean with the … lipstick?” She takes one of my hands in both of hers and brings my index finger to her mouth, making an O of her perfect lips and sliding it in. I feel the soft soft smoothness of her inner lips, the rough scrape of her teeth, the sweetness of her tongue, warm, damp, and then I feel her suck and my eyes roll back in my head.
I groan, audibly (dammit). Goddamn.
She smiles with my fingertip between her teeth, closes her lips, and sucks deep again. She knows now: knows how to have me if she decides she wants to. Knows I like my dick sucked, I’m that kind of guy, knows she can make me weak and take me down with the sweet spot on her tongue.
I can’t really take it; I grab her hair. Hard, harder than I mean to but she’s got me all worked up already, and I bring my mouth to hers, forceful, and her lips are so supple, sweet, mouth in that tiny O, she lets out the softest muffled gasp and melts a little against the wall, against me.