He is a gritty and exquisite man. Something about his hands on me reeks with turmoil, with power, hunger and significant loss. Every time I feel his touch, I believe it will be the last. Love for me is transient, gone on a breath of air, lost.
No, Bailey is not an easy man to love, but he is genuine and perfectly transparent. I don’t have to wonder what he’s feeling, or what’s in his thoughts. Where I am cunning and devious, and have always been so, I can know Bailey without asking questions, feel his straightforward power pulse through his veins. He transmits loyalty through his pores, lust through his eyes and steadiness in his firm grip. He lives for permanency, while I prefer to split at the first sign of intimate danger.
First time I saw him, my being shriveled overcome by cowardice. I knew I was in the presence of something apt to subdue me, set me up straight. His brother Albert was leaving the beer hall in his hands, but I didn’t know this when I heard my name boomed with the voice of Zeus, “Madison!”
“Do I know you?” I asked him, once I made my way from the front door to his newly acquired office—Albert’s office.
“No.” He pulled his hand from his pocket to shake mine, then pulled it back when I was much too dazed to respond, “Bailey. I’m taking over,” he introduced himself.
“What happened to Albert?”
“Fredo’s not doing well.”
That was all the explanation needed. Albert’s partner of fifteen years had been in and out of hospitals for the last six, dying slowly. I was sad. Loving Albert was easy—no obligations to perform. Gay men are easy for women, but then we have so few expectations of them. Take sex from the picture, everything is easier. I’ve thought that for a long time—was celibate for a while a few years back to test my theory. I only proved myself a rotten candidate for a nunnery. When I deny my sexual inclinations, I turn into an obsessive monster.
“That makes me sad,” I said, while staring into Bailey’s musty grey eyes.
“Yes, I guess it would,” he kept staring, like he couldn’t figure me out, or expected me to say more. “Nothing’s going to change here, Madison,” he finally went on. “Although I probably run a straighter joint than Albert.”
“Albert’s soft,” I replied agreeing
“I’m not.” It was a word of warning. “Nights are busy here. You arrive on time, work your station, turn in your tips and I’ll pay out at the end of the week. Keep yourself clean, and don’t bring your troubles inside this place.”
I knew all this. His lecture made me wonder if he’d heard the rumors. Had I been singled out? Or was this the standard 101 lecture to establish his authority? I hardly needed a lecture. The man was inside my gut with the first glance, the first powerfully thundered, “Madison,” to shock my ears.
He thundered well when he was aggravated. By the end of his first week’s reign over Albert’s beer hall, every waitress, every busboy, every cook, bartender and bottle washer was on report, skulking nervously, trying to get the right fix on the new boss.
I escaped down the street late Friday night after my shift was over and popped into Tracy’s—a smaller pub, which never seemed to close. It was one a.m. but I was wide awake, drinking with Riva, the closest person to me in the world. Riva works with me, and at that time lived across the hall—although she fell asleep on my couch enough to call my apartment home. She never slept over when there was a man in the bedroom with me—said she didn’t like hearing the sounds of my freaky sex. With a drought of good male companionship in my life, she’d been sleeping over a lot until Bailey made his first moves on me.
“Madison,” I heard my name called for the second time by that amazing voice. I turned around, going eye to eye with Bailey.
“What the hell are you doing here?” I let the first thing in my mind slip from my loose tongue.
“Asking you out,” he answered with the unexpected, looking calm, reasonable and sincere.
Riva snickered while squashing out her cigarette and trying to contain her amusement at my befuddlement.
“Like on a date?” I was hardly being subtle.
“As in dinner tomorrow night.”
“Umm….” I started stumbling miserably, and finally ended saying the only thing I could think of, “sure.”
“Good, I’ll look up your address in the files and pick you up at seven.”
When he was gone… “What was that?” I blurted out.
“You have a date with your boss,” Riva joked.
“Am I out of my mind?”
“He’s sexy,” she said, defending him. Her bleached blonde hair was frazzled from the rain, but her face was as crisp as ever, as blunt as her declaration. Riva’s nose, eyes and mouth were all firmly carved features, perfectly spaced on her wide face. She was tall, lanky and acute, and never slouched even when she was drunk. Her back was ramrod straight, similar to her thinking.
“Is he sexy? I hadn’t noticed.” I looked toward his retreating form, losing him for a moment in the crowd, then saw him gaze back at me and nod, perfunctorily, when he reached Tracy’s door.I immediately turned away without an observable response, dazed and curiously warm from my belly to my crotch.
Riva smiled, having hit on the same thought that was running through my mind. “Don’t lie, Madison. The man has you in his sights and you like it.”
“But isn’t it strange, that he’s all gruff and stodgy at the hall, and kinda nice asking me out?”
She shrugged her broad shoulders. “He’s got a dick and he knows what makes it jump, hon. You’re obviously it.”
“No. That can’t be,” I declined to agree. We changed the subject, because I was too confused to go on. When the conversation died, Riva stroked my hair, running her fingers through the red curls, looking at me adoringly, meaningfully. I always feel like a little girl around her… rounded and pudgy, though Riva reminds me that I’m simply, pleasantly voluptuous—‘big bosomed women make me salivate… not to mention what they do to men.’ My eyes are as green as my Irish blood. Riva says they stun the eye to look at them—so big and expressive, filled with ruthless tenderness, seeking, fear. These are compliments. I wish men loved me as much as she does.
“It’s late, babe, I need some sleep,” she said, awakening me from my reverie. “The man has me on at noon tomorrow.”
“Slow shift, Saturday,” I replied, while mulling the appearance of Bailey in my mind’s eye. I was getting sleepy too, and we went home to my apartment. Riva slept with me, as she sometimes did when one of us needed comforting. Did she think this little twist in my love life required comfort? I didn’t bother to ask, but I did fall asleep without spending hours wondering what the hell Bailey wanted from me.
I had no clue how to dress for a date with my boss. After pondering the dilemma and finally throwing Riva out because I didn’t like her suggestions, I pulled a green, wool knit turtleneck and short black skirt from the closet. Black thighs-highs, black leather books, my skin was suitably covered, but I wore no underwear, no bra or panties. My nipples made bullet-like protrusions on the surface of the sweater, strong declarations of sexual content on the inside, busting loose. Hey, I was horny, even if fucking my boss seemed like a stupid idea. Riva had been right: Bailey is quietly sexual, a walking marvel of animal testosterone. His body throbs relentlessly—disquieting me, even alarming me, but obviously arousing me. Hence my lack of bra and panties, the headlight nipples and the steamy crotch.
A knock on my door at seven sharp, just as I was zipping up the first long boot, I jumped from my skin, and tore off the boot. Unthinkingly, I raced to the door and saw Bailey with posies in hand smiling when it opened.
In my confusion, I dropped the boot to take the flowers and show him inside.
“Nice, thanks.” I smelled lilac and orange blossom. “Steal these from someone’s yard?”
“Oh.” Glad he wasn’t offended.
I went the kitchen to put the flowers in water, then on my dining room table, and returned to the boot at the door. By the time I’d bent over twice, he knew I wasn’t wearing panties. That I wasn’t wearing a bra had to be obvious at first glance.
Half way through a primo veal picatta and wine, and up to that moment, a stilted conversation, mostly about Albert and work, he addressed the dressing issue head on.
“You have plans to fuck on the first date?” he asked. I’d just put a big piece of veal in my mouth and almost spit it out.
At least I had time to figure out my answer. “Why would you ask that?”
“The way you’re dressed.”
Of course. I shrugged, knowing then that he didn’t miss any cues from my behavior. Had I hoped he would? Hoped that he would be the gentlemen to my slutty conduct? And, would that be gallant, chivalrous?
“What about the way I’m dressed?”
“Nothing. The messages look mixed. Although I’m not sure with you that they’re mixed at all.”
“And I’m telling you what?” I kept up the silly charade of vague replies.
“Generally, when a woman shows me her pussy in the first ten seconds of a date—twice—I get the idea that they want to fuck. Correct me if I’m wrong.”
“No, you’re not wrong, but I am testing you.”
“I am rotten with men. I don’t know how to have one. I know how to fall in love in ten seconds—but I’m told that’s only lust. I’m a flirt, a fuck and a runaway, and I don’t know how to stay in love.”
“And so, you’re testing me. See if you can fend me off, or if I’ll fuck you once then leave you alone?”
“Something like that. I really don’t understand my motives.”
“I think you know your motives very well,” he disagreed.
“No. I’m really not that deliberate. I’m being honest. I don’t know how to have a man.”
“Perhaps because you’ve never had the right one,” he said.
“For you, an immovable one.”
“And you’re an immovable man?”
“What do you think?”
I already knew, so I didn’t bother to answer, and let him win round one.
“What would make you want me?” I start on another tack.
“Did I say I did?” he replied. By then, he was smiling. This was all a grand joke to him. But I was taking it personally.
“Hell, I don’t really care,” I started to grab my purse and leave.
“Madison!” This time the thunder was a quiet rumble that jiggled my crotch with maddening desire. If I hadn’t stopped my flight just hearing his reprimanding use of my name, I would have when I failed to yank myself from the steely grasp of his left hand on my wrist. “Sit down. I’m not a threat. I’m not going to fuck you tonight.” That was a disappointment. “And I’ll decide when you leave.”
My face was turning red as a bright blush crept up my neck.
His face softened, his eyes looked beautiful and mushy. I wanted to cry.
“I don’t know what attracts me to you, but the attraction is there,” he told me. “I don’t try to explain matters of sexual chemistry. I will fuck you on our next date, but not this one, just so you know I’m not solely in this for your body.”
“You assume there will be second date?”
“I know there will be.”
I squirmed in my seat. “Boy, have you got balls.”
He smiled, agreeing.
“And you think you’ll fuck me, too?”
“Don’t fight with me, Madison,” he warned. “You’re wasting your time.”
“I could say the same for you.” I really wanted to leave, but I knew he wouldn’t allow it, and I’d let him have his way. I also wanted to suck his cock, feel his arms around me, his lips pressed on mine, a big, wet, wide-open mouthed kiss, the wild rush of energy that would flood me when his erection found a home between my legs.
I amused him. But at the same time, he respected me. That was more than I could say for the last half dozen lovers that found their way to my bed. He wasn’t asking me for a one night extravaganza, but what every little girl dreams of.
“We’ll try Wednesday night, you’re off and I’ll leave the hall with Rick. It’ll be a slow night.”