Short Fiction,  Wicked Wednesday

Overture

“Yes … uh huh. That’s right, eight o’clock. Oh, I’m so glad! How fun! I’ll meet you in the lobby. Alright … yes. Bye now.”

Alex tossed her phone on the bed and smiled to herself. She’d been looking forward to this night, to the grandeur of the symphony, for months. Richard had cancelled last minute with some excuse or another and she had just rebooked with Emma, a new acquaintance she’d met a few times in recent months at various events. Frankly, she was relieved. Richard always tolerated evenings like this but only barely. It would be much more fun to experience with a new friend, someone who might want to talk about the music not just who they did and didn’t see at intermission and how they were dressed. Humming a tune from the score they’d be seeing performed, Alex stepped into the shower and luxuriated there under the warm water, resisting the desire to linger and pleasure herself, knowing there was only so much time to bathe and dress.

The sleek, black town car slowed to a halt in front of the theatre. Alex never grew tired of the golden glow of the marquis, the velvet ropes, the energy of an opening night. She’d never been musically inclined but she loved the rush of the music and the elitism of the crowd. She knew this was a luxury afforded to few but she felt no shame in the chic velvet of her evening gown or the clutch of rubies and diamonds hanging at her throat. The symphony was always extravagant and she tugged at her elbow gloves and checked her makeup before stepping out into the balmy summer evening, her smile opulent and calm as she nodded at her fellow society types and paused for cameras. The same hungry desire gnawed at her that she’d felt in the shower. She let her hips sway as she strolled the red carpet and focused on the way the night air felt on her bare back, her quiet arousal thick like honey at the apex of her thighs.

Inside the lobby she saw Emma immediately, her auburn hair glimmered deeply in the bright lights of the chandeliers and her laugh floated across the crowd. She turned, as if feeling Alex’s gaze and smiled, quickly excusing herself from a conversation and rushed to Alex, arms open. Their embrace was strangely genuine, not the distant “hug” of the rich and detached, no air kisses on both cheeks. Instead, Alex felt the warmth of Emma’s face against her, the dampness of plush lips on her cheek, the flutter of eyelashes as they disengaged.

“You don’t even have champagne yet!” Emma grinned and lifted her braceleted wrist above them to signal a waiter who appeared almost instantly. She swapped her near empty glass for two ice cold full ones and handed one to Alex. They clinked rims, eyes level and unblinking, one pair tawny and flecked with gold, the other cool grey. They smiled.

“To new friendships.”

Upstairs, settled in their box seats, they chatted pleasantly, warmly, as if they were old friends, not new acquaintances. The space was shared with an older couple, across a wide aisle, who had hardly acknowledged them as they’d taken their seats. Alex found herself transfixed by her new friend. Emma was so warm and bubbly, so intelligent and beautiful. She was flummoxed when, to Alex’s great surprise, Emma had reached to tuck an errant strand of hair behind her ear as they talked, casually as if they touched so intimately all the time. She found herself watching Emma’s hand as it pulled away, longing for her fingers to touch her again. The lights dimmed and the crowd broke into polite applause as the curtain went up.

In the dark, Alex watched Emma’s profile, her eyes drawn to her neck and plunging cleavage. Emma turned and smiled warmly, then turned back to the performance. Alex waited in the dark, willing Emma to turn to her again, not hearing the music, just aching for the beautiful creature beside her, but Emma remained focused on the stage. By intermission, Alex was frustrated and confused. Emma’s flirtation continued but the tension showed no sign of breaking and she began to think she was reading Emma’s signals all wrong. Back in their seats, Alex squirmed as Emma’s arm settled against hers on the armrest, she swallowed hard as Emma crossed her legs and later crossed them the other way. To say she was distracted was an understatement. The show ended and  Alex felt as if she hadn’t heard a thing. Emma gushed about the music, the conductor’s charismatic performance, the beauty of the theatre. Alex could feel her smile tighten, the agitation between her legs increasing and her patience wearing thin. She found herself not listening to Emma as the crowd poured out onto the steps of the theatre; she just wanted to get home and get off like she should have hours ago in the shower.

“Are you alright?” Emma’s hand caught Alex’s and her ebullient  smile faded with concern.

“I am … I just … I’m confused.” Alex’s chauffeur tipped his cap in acknowledgement as they stopped near the car, the street still filled with fellow symphony goers.

“By what? I don’t understand.”

“By … by this …” Alex gestured at their nearness. “I don’t know what we’re doing. What this is.” She exhaled in frustration.

“We’re friends at the symphony. Isn’t that what you invited me for?”

“Well, yes, but then you … ”

“But then I what?” Emma’s tone dropped and she moved closer to Alex who tried not to squirm, feeling eyes of the passersby sliding over them with interest and disbelief.

“Then you … ”

“Yes?”

“I don’t know … bewitched me.”

Emma tossed her head and laughed, golden eyes twinkling, her hand resting on the side of Alex’s face.

“When is Richard home, Alex?”

“What?”

“When will Richard be home and will he be upset to see me if my face is between your legs when he walks in?”

Alex blinked at Emma, stunned. She smiled.

The driver cleared his throat discreetly, standing at the open door of the car. Alex slid in across the seat and Emma followed, the space between them rapidly disappearing. The driver shook his head and smiled, trying to ignore the soft moans and whispers from the back seat, trying to ignore the undulating bodies in the rear view mirror. Instead, he settled into his seat and drove the long way home, buying them time for their own personal symphony to play out.

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