"John? John. How can you sleep through that? It’s right next to your ear."
The words, half-whispered, gruff with sleep, were followed by warm flesh, an arm sliding over the expanse of his back and shoulders. Fingers fumbled with the alarm on the bedside table — on his side of the bed apparently. The annoying honk-buzz next to his ear stopped. The arm drew back across the landscape of his body.
He lay still, holding his breath. An ephemeral panic stirred in the lower chakras where sex and survival were linked.
The woman rolled close again, gluing her naked front to his naked back. “Mmmm…” she said and then, “Mmmmmm…” Her smooth belly wriggled against his buttocks as she slipped her hand over his hip and down between his legs. He gasped, a mingled shiver of delight and terror. She giggled. “My, my, my! And a great good morning to you too, John!”
A memory tickled the edges of consciousness and then sank into the sensation of her pulling and stroking.
"We have seven minutes before the alarm goes off again," she murmured into his neck. "Wanna play beat-the-clock?"
Well, how could he refuse? Even if he lost, (which was very likely,) he still won something.
wake up and smell the---
"Goddamn it, John!" The covers were jerked back leaving his naked body exposed to the chill air. "Get up right now or I swear to God we will never have sex in the morning again! Not even on the weekends!"
He bolted upright. "Yes! All right. I'm awake."
The woman glared at him, her face shiny and ruddy hued from the steamy bathroom. She was dressed in a terry-cloth bathrobe with a towel wrapped around her head.
"It’s almost seven,” she said, removing the towel and rubbing her short black hair with it. Her voice was clipped, brisk, sharp — all those descriptors that indicate displeasure. “You were supposed to be getting the children their breakfast while I was in the shower."
"Oh," he groaned, falling back onto the bed again, "not children too."
"Just what is that supposed to mean?”
“Aren’t we the sort of people who’d have an au pair lying about?”
The whining hum of a hair dryer started up and she shouted over the noise. “Josie’s not coming back. Were you even listening to me at dinner? There’s just you and me, so deal with it.” She appeared in the bathroom doorway, hair dryer like a fat gun aimed at her head. “I told you last night I had an early meeting with Bobby. You’ll have to drop the kids off at school. You should still have time to get a haircut before we meet with the board of directors.”
His hand went automatically to his hair, because that was real, tactile, sweaty tufts he could dig his fingers into, and board-of-directors wasn't. He scratched his scalp and shuddered all over because it felt soooo good. Sure, maybe the hair was sticking out a bit, but whose hair didn’t look all tufty when they first woke up? Plus, the sex. That could mess the hair something awful.
The sound of the hair dryer cut out. Abrupt silence rang in his ears — briefly. “You’re not at University anymore, John.” He heard cabinet doors opening and closing. “Eccentricity doesn’t play as well here. We’ve got people with actual money coming round today. You need a haircut. And please, please–“ She appeared in the doorway to stress the importance of her request– “wear the blue suit with a plain tie. And don’t wear the Converse sneakers. They’re falling apart. The last thing we need is you showing up all Nutty Professor again.“
He draped his arm completely over his eyes. The Nutty Professor had Jerry Lewis in it, right? Quintessential nerd in glasses, drinks formula, turns into a smooth operator in a shiny suit who smokes menthol cigarettes, plays jazzy piano, and pulls the girls like crazy.
Or wait? Maybe it was that Eddie Murphy fellow.
One thing was certain: as sexual fantasies went this one was stunningly mundane.
"Look,” he began, his voice sounding as lazy as the rest of him felt. “The sex was lovely. I’m perfectly happy to give that another go. But all this domestic filler seems utterly superfluous. I mean, what’s the point of it, really?”
There followed such a long silence that he ventured a glance from beneath his arm, hoping the woman had disappeared, along with the trappings.
She hadn’t. Same position. Different expression. She looked as if he’d really hurt her feelings, and that, in turn, had made her quite angry. She sucked in a breath full of bitter tears as yet unshed, and came into the bedroom discarding her robe onto the end of the bed where his feet stuck out from the disarray of sheets and blankets. He wriggled his toes beneath the terrycloth of her bathrobe. The cloth was warm from her flesh and she was just… naked there, naked as if he’d seen her in varying degrees of nakedness for years.
At the bureau she jerked open a drawer. “Well, well, well. Looks as if Professor Johnny is back in fine form. Same self-absorbed son of a bitch you were before the accident.”
He watched her step into her knickers, adjust her breasts into the cups of her brassiere. Tense movements that made her flesh jiggle. Vaguely erotic thoughts meandered through his brain like Cybermen on a Sunday drive.
Up onto one elbow, the most he could manage being so terribly relaxed and all, he said, “Sorry. No offense. You’ve been super, really. Honestly, I meant what I said. It was great. Best ever. Probably. I mean, thanks, really, really, can’t thank you enough. Mission accomplished, congratulations on a job well done, jolly good work, don’t even need the massage. Now feel free to pop out of existence so I can catch a few more winks before returning to the many and varied intrigues I’m undoubtedly up to my neck in somewhere, some–” Cybermen? Where the hell had that come from– “time. Wait. What accident was this then?”
The woman drew in a little breath. Alarm, he thought. Then she went very still.
"Oh my God," she whispered, black eyes glistening. "You didn't take your meds last night, did you?"
She ran back to the bathroom and returned to the bedside with a glass of water, a pill bottle, and a look of deep concern.
"Honey, you have to take the medication every night. You can’t skip a night. Not ever."
Something about her use of the endearment “honey” strained credulity but he couldn’t quite put a finger on what about it seemed off. She handed him the glass of water, and shook two oblong pills into his palm. Her eyes were compelling and he found it difficult to look away.
“The doctor said that if you don't take your medication every night you could have a serious relapse.”
“Wait,” he said again. He could feel the pressure of it in his mind — a bubble of sound just behind his eardrum.
“Please sweetheart, please just take the pills.” Her hand folded around his, trapping the pills in a cage of fingers.
“What sort of accident was it?”
“Pills first, then we’ll talk, all right?” Her tight mouth had softened, but worry still pinched at the corners of her eyes — and the something else.
“What are they? What kind of–?”
“Sshh.” She stroked his hair back from his forehead and urged his hand up to his lips. “Doctor’s orders.”
His lips parted. “But I’m the Doc–“ and in went the pills.
“Swallow.” Two gulps of water and the fat lumps slipped down his throat.
She smiled. “Now you’ll be all right.”
He blinked at her — black hair, black eyes, black bra, black knickers — stripes against the luminous pallor of her flesh.
And there it was again. The something else, the tickle, the itch. Just… there. It was excruciating. Oh, oh, ow.
It took only moments for him to feel the effects of the pills, far too short a time for any drug taken orally to metabolize. But by the time he realized that fact the part of his mind that could think it had crawled under metaphysical covers and gone back to sleep.