This look is the one that hangs in his mind. In these wee hours of the morning, for it is inevitably morning when they have finally spent themselves on each other, they lie side by side in the dark. He brushes back her hair with his fingers and contemplates her feline smile, her dimpled cheeks. She looks so pretty, afterward. Always. The transformation from her heavy-lidded hunger to quieted beauty leaves him breathless. Her eyes are stilled now, twin lakes of placid water on a cool, windless night. He strokes her hair, brushes her cheek with his thumb, whispers each passing submarine thought, diving into the fathomless quicksilver depth of her eyes.
Before we met at the gala, I called and gave you very specific instructions on what to wear. You know what this means, when I want you to wear something very specific. You love what this means. You breathlessly memorize every detail. In my mind you are touching yourself, fingers sliding inside your panties as you listen to my voice, but I know this is not true. You work in a cubicle. You are surrounded by bored, nosy co-workers. They do not see you the way I see you. They do not know what we know. They do not live as we live.
I dress in the generic black tie uniform required of me and arrive fifteen minutes after I have instructed you to arrive. I spot you leaning against the far wall of the room as soon as I walk in the door. The effect is cinematic; everyone and everything else falls out of focus, leaving only you in the center of the frame.
You are wearing exactly what I have asked you to wear. The tight black dress I love so much hugs your body, plunging dangerously low to show off your small and flawless breasts (in bed I do not call them breasts, I call them tits, but we are at a party that requires decorum so I think of them as breasts; later in the evening they will be tits, your lovely tits). No one knows you are wearing thigh high stockings except you and I. You know how much of a fetish I have for your stockings. You know how it teases me for you to wear them. You are not wearing panties either. No one knows except you and I. You love so much to tease me, and I so love to be teased.
More importantly, you are wearing a long string of pearls, in two petite loops around your neck.
He watched her as she stood at the far side of the bed, taking off her jewelry, piece by piece. Rings first, twisted gently off her fingers and set on the end-table. Her bracelets next. Then her necklace, revealing a feverish curve of neck to him as she reached back for the clasp. He loved watching her take off her jewelry. She did it so carefully, so mindfully.
He thought, how demure.
He stood. As he walked around the far corners of the bed toward her he began to take off his belt, slipping it through the loops one by one.
Her back was to him when he reached her. Playfully he slapped her ass with it. She gasped. She turned her head to look at him, over her shoulder. She was smiling, but something crouched behind the smile.
Her fingers were outstretched toward her last piece of jewelry, the single shimmering diamond mounted at the end of a strand of silver, left dangling from her ear. It seemed important he not let her finish taking it off.
He lay naked on the bed, his khaki pants neatly folded on the chair at the side, his polo shirt draped over it.
She stood at the foot of the bed, wearing a modest beige skirt and matching blouse, the dull black matte of the enormous hotel television a backdrop behind her. She kicked off her sensible heels. She unzipped her skirt and shimmied out of it, and when it was left dangling on her foot flung it onto the chair with a kick. She spent more time with the blouse, unbuttoning it one button at a time, maintaining simmering eye contact all the while. She opened the blouse, revealing the lacy bra that had been ticking in his imagination the entire day. She pulled the blouse off and tossed it next to her skirt.
Lacy bra and panties. He knew she had been wearing them; she had texted a picture of herself wearing them (and nothing else) that morning.
She hopped up onto the dresser counter that held the television. She slid off her panties, let them fall to the floor. She left on her bra.
And then in a move so fluid and cinematic it had to have been planned, perhaps even practiced, she opened the top drawer of the dresser with her toe. Her foot disappeared into the drawer, then returned into view with a thigh high fishnet stocking hooked onto her toe. She gathered the stocking with elaborate care, lifted her leg, and with studied slowness began to roll the fishnet up her leg. When she was done with the first stocking she slid her foot again into the drawer, pulled the matching stocking out of the drawer with toes foot, lifted her leg with a dizzying flair for the theatrical, and rolled it on her leg with the same considered slowness.