His hand pushed the small of her back, bringing her hips, legs, bringing all of her, closer to his face, his mouth, his lips. She leaned back against the headboard, held his other hand, her fingers intertwined with his. The next moment she pressed their hands onto her breast, and squeezed them both together. Then she took each finger in her mouth, then slowly drew each one out between her lips. Her other hand gently stroked his hair, her fingers pushed ever so firmly on the back of his head.
They had left the office separately, a few minutes apart, each in their own car. He made sure to drive in a direction away from his home when he left the company parking lot. He rented a bungalow in the old part of town. The landlord, a real estate agent living in Monte Sereno, owned seven homes on the peninsula. One neighbor was a widow; in her seventies, she wore a wig and drove a faded red Datsun truck. Her front yard, once well kept, was now a tangle of oleander, euryops, and rosemary bushes. The other neighbor, newly moved in, worked on Sand Hill Road. He always backed his silver German sedan into the driveway so it faced the street. In the yard was the sign of a contracting company, about to start renovation.
She was waiting on his porch when he drove up, leaning against the door, arms folded, her black leather purse hanging down, the slightest smile on her face. She said nothing as he unlocked the door, passed by him brushing her fingers against his ribs, walked through the living room. It was a spare room: a long dark wood couch, upholstery in red and green, like something from an Austrian hunting lodge. There was a large, frayed Oriental rug, a low table with books, newspapers.
She turned into the hall; on the wall he had five water-colors, in blue, gold, red, and black, from Paris his mother had given him; she walked to the back hall, to the bedroom.
She had taken off her own clothes. He took off his. Their time was limited, the gradual undressing of each other was for other occasions. Yet once in bed, they deliberately held back, the work tempo discarded with their clothes. They moved slowly, mocking the limited time they had. She placed her palm on the side of his hips, not moving, the heat building, soon there was the slightest hint of moisture.
The noon day sunlight shone straight down through the blinds onto the floor, the time of the day was wrong—no, not wrong, just different. They came together mostly at night, or in the early morning, not when the sun was overhead, not in the middle of the week.
He pulled her closer to until their foreheads touched. He never tired of her face. The spray of freckles across her cheeks, nose, even on her lips. There were the faintest of lines, like rays, from the sides of her eyes. He rested his cheek against her stomach, moved, kissed around her navel stud, then moved gradually lower, never hurrying.
It seemed unlikely. He was from Kansas, somewhat plain. She was of Saigon and Montreal, exotic—sometimes it caused confusion. In Hanalei their surf guide had been sure she was part Polynesian, told her about state benefits available to native children. At a barbecue in Lander, a man with large belly, in a pressed white shirt and rodeo belt buckle, insisted she was part Crow. An old man in Barcelona, in corduroy pants, a wool jacket, and beret, had walked up to her and started speaking Spanish. In Marseille, by the old port, two Italian women, arms interlinked, tourists in town for the day off the Costa Serena, asked her what cabin she was in.
They both had a past, disappointment, bad shit. Neither had parents nor grandparents, no one really close. Siblings and cousins were far away. They had lived in the state a long time, but neither felt it was home.
Now she lay on her side, he was behind her, pressed into her. His left arm ran between the gap just above her shoulder. His hand lay over her wrist and watch—she had bought it after her first magazine cover. He told her it cost more than some of the cars he had owned. She replied that said something about his cars, and spread over fifteen years didn’t really come out to very much.
His fingers traced along the ridge of her body, from the rise of her hips down to her waist, then up again to her back, then along the lines of her ribs to the edge of her breast. She didn’t like her back, she had been a swimmer in high school, it was too muscular. He disagreed.
During a dinner at Duarte’s in Pescadero, one of the sales managers had come into the restaurant with his family. Men were worse gossips than women, she warned him. There was a bit of consternation at the office, but nothing had really changed. They had made no effort to hide, nor had they told anyone. If someone too long watched them talking, she would stop talking to him, look at the observer until that person looked away, then she resumed.
In a gesture that might have been from a tea ceremony, her right hand reached back and pushed her thick, coarse brown hair to the top of her head, out of his face. As his prick slide inside her, she arched her back and pushed against him. He felt in the center of everything, all was as it should be, everything was clear to him now.
There was always the moment of violence with her. She suddenly became strong, stretching, flexing, then afterwards languid, calm.
He liked watching her put on makeup. There was something business like about it. She was like a mechanic preparing a car for a race. She knew she was good looking, but she had a clinical attitude about it, without vanity, as if she had inherited a trust and was responsible for it.
We need this. Smash the routine, defy convention.
They shared a baguette, blue cheese, a pear, and some left over pad-Thai. It was time to go back to the office.