Not all who wander are lost
It is late on Friday afternoon. I have finished my final phone call and I lean back and stretch my arms above my head. My muscles are tight from a gym workout this morning and my stomach feels firm. As usual, my thoughts turn to Maria and my frustration begins to rise.
Last night when I called her Michael was there and she hung up quickly but not before I heard her name on his lips.
It still haunts me.
There is no ballet class today and so no Lily. I’m not sure if I am relieved or anxious that I haven’t seen her since I made love to her mother five days ago. Would Lily sense something between us?
Was I just a fling? A one night stand or a cheap experiment to satisfy Maria’s need for excitement? I tear up a sheet of paper, roll the strips into tiny balls and with an elastic band I flick them into a pen holder on my desk.
What will happen?
I stand up and take long determined strides to her office but it’s empty. Her desk is clear. Has she gone home early? There’s a noise in the kitchen and I spin around and spy her through the glass in the door. Her back is to me. She stands against the sink washing her mug then wipes the draining board. Her blouse has come loose at the waist of her skirt and her short hair is unkempt, sticking out at the back like duck’s feathers.
I push open the door.
She turns and a smile spreads across her lips.
“I thought you were still on the phone. Did you have lunch? I know what you’re like when you’re working - you forget to eat,” she says in mock admonishment.
I walk toward her and my eyes don’t leave her face. “I’m only hungry for you…”
We stand inches apart. Her breath is warm on my cheek. Her familiar scent begins ruffling and stirring my sense, and her lips part and like the core of a magnet I am drawn toward her. I am propelled by some unknown and magical force and when our lips meet, very softly and very slowly, I feel the pressure of her tongue and her lips enveloping mine.
Our kiss is taunting and tentative and she gives an urgent intake of breath and pulls me closer pushing her tongue further into my mouth, stroking my cheek, smiling into my eyes. She murmurs my name and presses her hips against me then reaches her arms behind my neck pulling me to her breasts.
“I’ve missed you,” I whisper.
“I want you so badly.” She brushes her lips against my neck, nibbling and sucking, and unhooks my top button trailing undulating kisses across my skin causing goose bumps under my ear and across my inky stars and the words Not all who wander are lost.
She raises her head to my mouth and groans huskily.
Outside a door thuds and quick footsteps echo along the corridor.
Instinctively we break apart.
I pull my blouse together, grab a magazine from the table and open it with shaking fingers. Maria turns her back and she is facing the sink as the door is flung open.
The only sound I hear is the beating of my heart. It is thumping rhythmically and loudly like tribal bongo drums.
I turn a page slowly, master my breathing to appear nonchalant, and I swallow hard before looking up.
John is standing in the doorway. His white lab coat is tucked behind his elbows his hands are in pockets. His cobra eyes flick from me then to Maria and back to me...
“I’ve been phoning your office,” he says.
“Is it important?”
“It’s Kat.” He is rocking on his heels smiling. “You know, your friend Katherine Small.”
Maria coughs and runs the tap.
“Put the call through to my office. I’ll take it in there.” I don’t want to speak to her but I will to get rid of him. I toss the magazine decisively onto the table and attempt to push him in front of me from the kitchen.
“She’s not on the phone,” he says, and I am filled with relief. “She’s downstairs in reception.”