The other day I got a call from Simon, who’s in town for a few days on business. Simon is a friend of Luke. Luke is my crazy English ex-boyfriend; we’re still friendly. I've known Simon for almost ten years now. Anyway, Simon had emailed me to say he would be in New York on business, and did I want to get together? I was delighted.
I have always been fond of Simon. He is one of Luke’s friends, but fairly sane for all that. I saw him over the summer when I was in London, at brunch with Luke and Maia (one of Luke’s former roommates, I’ve known her for years, too) and Maia’s boyfriend. Luke and Jessie and Colin (another friend from college whom I’ve also known for many years now) had all informed me Simon was completely depraved these days -- sleeping with prostitutes (!) and hoovering about 10% of the GNP of Bolivia up his nose. Funny, because when you meet him you probably would not guess this about him. He’s got a very upright, veddy English manner -- pleasant and mild-mannered and wry and, in general demeanor, Luke’s opposite. But of course news of his Downward Spiral of Shame stayed with me.
Anyway, when we met up he looked much as usual, not “six months from rehab,” as Marian Keyes puts it. We had a drink at the same tapas bar I went to with Jeremy a few weeks ago. Jeremy has still not contacted me. I hate him. By “hate him,” I actually mean, why hasn’t he emailed me? Simon and I talked about work a bit, and his daughter, who is four. Simon had brief affair with a woman he worked with, and Sara is the result. He and Sara’s mother had broken up before he even knew she was pregnant, I think. Nonetheless, Simon sees Sara pretty frequently and gets along OK with his ex, I gather.
Simon said he really wanted a steak, would that suit me? Of course I am always in the mood for a steak. We walked to Smith & Wollensky’s, but the menu is pricey, so we decided on a place Simon had been to before, but could not quite remember its location. I tried texting Google and going into a few shops looking for a Yellow Pages before at last it occurred to me to call information. Duh! Finally we found the steakhouse, and ordered another round of drinks while we waited to be seated.
It was lively and crowded and behind the bar was a sort of sculpture of shellfish on a tiered platter-- sort of a glorious tower of lobster tails, a la New Jersey wedding, which looked pretty amusing. At this point we got around to discussing drugs... I’m not sure how it came up, but it was probably me who mentioned it, ’cause I wanted to see what Simon would say. He was gratifyingly forthcoming, saying that he’d been sort of rabid for a while -- at one point, he was buying Charles (as he, and Luke and that entire crowd call it -- “Charles” rather than “Charlie” is Simon’s own locution) three times a week and staying up all night, etc. He had been scared somewhat straight by reading about a Hollywood producer who’d been teetotal ’til 40, then spent the next four years on a coke bender and ended up in prison. “I sort of recognized myself there,” Simon said.
“Wow,” I said, pretending to be surprised.
Simon continued, “So I quit for a month. That was good.” And, he says, since then, he’s not been nearly as bad. Though “Cocaine is amazing, it’s really, really good,” he said wistfully. And now that he’s made an effort to keep his nose clean (as it were, heh, heh) he constantly gets texts from Luke taunting him: “Come and snort a big fat line.”
That’s Luke, all over. I scowled, “He’s bad news.” And we reminisced about Luke and his bad habits for a bit.
I asked him if he was seeing someone. He did not admit to sleeping with prostitutes, but said he had recently met someone at a party. I did say I was seeing a lot of fellows... showing off a bit, I guess. Was this a bit of a come on? I had no intention of sleeping with Simon... I told him how I was kind of making up for lost time, etc. He claimed to be impressed. I gave him the back story, how all this had started, with seeing Luke and Jessie (they used to date) last winter, and how, when they’d asked me if I knew where to get drugs, I’d been flummoxed.
“We should call Jessie!” Simon announced. Jessie uses a lot of coke and of course knows where to buy it. I generally only see her on weekends, and nights, when she’s more likely to be high. I like Jessie but am not that close to her, so I'm never sure just how worried about her I ought to be.
“I don’t want to be a bad influence,” I said doubtfully. After all, if he was trying to avoid cocaine, perhaps I shouldn’t--- “You want to? OK.”
I knew I had Jessie’s number somewhere... In the second tech-related stupid moment of the night, I trawled back through my text messages, before remembering that I’d written her number in my date book. Sigh. Simon immediately phoned her.
“Hello, Jessie? It’s Simon ... how are you? Oh, really...?” We’d woken her up. D’oh!
She was too tired to come out (“Heavy Charles night last night,” Simon diagnosed,) and that seemed to put an end to his plans for buying coke.
“We can just get drunk,” I pointed out, though I was well on my way already. I’d had several glasses and we were working our way through a bottle. As our very boozy, rare steak-heavy night wore on, we decided to go have a drink.
Our waiter recommended a place just around the corner. It was a dark, large-ish place filled almost entirely with men in suits. And the bartenders! The cleavage! It was amazing. They were all brassy blondes with plunging black V-neck tops and really impressive breasts. While Simon got us drinks I studied the menu: $300 for a bottle of Tanqueray! And that was the low end. Cocktails ran about $15, which is expensive but not outrageous for the neighborhood, but I could never bring myself to buy a bottle at a bar, it’s just a joke.
Eventually Simon returned with our whiskies. “These were $100,” he said. He was, he assured me, expensing everything.
“What?!” This made the $300 bottle of gin look like a bargain.
“Well, I asked for the 25-year old whiskey,” he explained. “It was $25 for a shot, and I asked for two large ones.”
“But...” I was astounded.
“I guess it’s a double measure.”
We sipped our $50 dollar whiskeys. I was pretty drunk at this point, so I’m afraid the effect—not to mention the 25-year-old taste—was wasted on me. We were sunk down on a leather sofa. My miniskirt was riding up my thighs, and we were seated pretty close together. Simon showed no sign of making a move, but I think he might have been checking out my legs. Hmm.
The business suits at the next table stood up and began examining their billfolds. “They’re going to s strip club,” Simon predicted – I guess he would know. But it was getting late, and I was tired. At last I said, “I think I’m just going to get a cab home. I can drop you off at your hotel, it’s on the way.”
“Are you sure?”
We headed out into the cold, and caught a cab almost immediately. We settled in the backseat and Simon gave the driver the hotel address. “I don’t suppose you mumblemumblemumble the Continental?” he asked me.
The Continental was the name of his hotel, I was pretty sure. “What?”
“I don’t suppose mumblemumblemumble the Continental,” he repeated.
“Simon,” I said, “Are you propositioning me?” I tried, unsuccessfully, not to smirk.
“Er ... yes.”
I giggled. “OK.” I guess I hadn’t told the cabbie there’d be a second stop. I swear that wasn’t a conscious effort... I was pretty drunk after all.
So, feeling sneaky and dirty (I was going to a hotel room!) I followed Simon into the hotel and up to his floor.
He opened the door to his room. “I didn’t really have time... ah,” Simon laughed self-consciously. His suitcase was open and clothes were strewn on the floor.
We stood facing one another in front of his bed with the half light from the hall on us. “You haven’t kissed me,” I said.
“I was shy.”
Of course that’s not true, I thought as I wound my fingers into his hair and cocked my head. He wasn’t shy, and it wasn’t nerves, or passion, or boredom, or even drunkenness ... all right, maybe it was drunkenness, a bit. It was just ... casualness. Why-not-ness. We kissed. Simon’s not much taller than me. We were almost eye to eye. Was this the first time I’d ever hooked up with a friend, with someone who I wanted nothing more from than just friendship and a little physical excitement? I felt peculiar. Or rather, I didn’t feel peculiar, or worried, or excited at all, really. I just felt like it might be fun. I don’t have any romantic or sexual feelings towards Simon. Although I could, I suppose. I took off my boots and he took off his sweatshirt. We tumbled onto the bed, and I straddled him. I eyed him as we made out. His hand slipped up inside my shirt and undid my bra. What the hell. I lifted my shirt and bra over my head, letting him get a good look at me.
We didn’t say much, just sort of smiled at one another as we kissed and worked our way out of our clothes. He wore briefs, not boxers. Which I always think of as old man, or, alternatively, little kid underwear. Naked, he was broad shouldered, muscular, pale. He briefly dipped his head and slipped his mouth across my pussy. I panicked, thinking about my salty meal...
“I’m not going to fuck you,” I whispered, when we were naked and I lay on top of him. I didn’t mention the prostitutes.
“I don’t have a condom, anyway,” he said.
His mouth sloped towards my breast, and he bent to suck a nipple. My hand slipped down around his dick. Like most Brits, he’s uncircumcised. It was tapered at the tip and then thickened out towards the bottom, like a pyramid. It was a good size. Meanwhile, Simon’s fingers were sliding inside me. It felt really nice; I was quite wet. His other hand slowly tweaked my right nipple.
I didn’t know what to say. I kind of wanted to talk, the way I usually do, with my arsenal of murmurings and encouragements: “I like your cock,” “Does that feel good?” “Your skin feels great...” but I felt a little shy. After all, I’ve known Simon for ten years. He’s my friend. It’s easier to be sexually bold with someone who only knows you in a non-friendly sense, I think.
I started rubbing his dick. I would have liked to suck him off, but frankly his sexual history was a bit worrisome, so I stuck to stroking his dick. He seemed to enjoy it; his eyes closed, and he half smiled. I leaned my head on my free hand and watched his face.
But I was so tired, and drunk, and, as Simon said, “It’s that 25 year old whisky...” so he didn’t come, and soon enough we were asleep, naked in the big hotel bed with the crisp, industrial white linens. I rolled over onto my side.
I woke from a confused dream when Simon got a work call at about 6:00 a.m., and when he came back about half an hour later I tried again to get him off. Still nothing doing. I feel asleep again, but when I woke up later, just before eight, I went back to his dick (I was determined).
“Tell me how you like it,” I said, moving my hand rhythmically up and down his dick. “Tighter?”
“Oh, yes,” he smiled.
I studied Simon’s face. He had a square chin and his dark hair had been cut short but was sticking up a bit.
At last, success! He came with a long sigh and I watched his face go slack. I lay with my head in his shoulder; he had broad shoulders. I breathed him in: he didn’t smell. It wasn’t like Lee, who smelled wrong, nor like Daniel or Jeremy, both of whom smell wonderfully boy: Simon just didn’t have a smell, to my nose. It was so weird! Like vampires are supposed to have no shadow and no reflection -- was this the olfactory equivalent?
It was almost time for me to get up. I wanted to say, “Please, let’s keep this between us,” but again, I felt tongue-tied. I did not want Luke to find out about this, I didn’t want to hear his endless ragging. But I didn’t know how to bring it up. Maybe Simon felt exactly the same way, and would be offended that he thought I’d think he might not keep his mouth closed. Or maybe he’d be offended that I wanted this to be a secret, like I was ashamed... I was too tired and hungover to marshal my thoughts, so I didn’t say anything at all, and decided to hope for the best.
“Well...” I said, after we’d both showered and I was dressed. It was time for me to go.
Simon tugged on his trousers. We stood facing one another, just as we had the night before. “I had a nice time,” I offered.
“It was great to see you. All of you,” I added, because I can’t let a bad pun go unsaid. “Heh heh.... I’m glad I made you come.” We kissed briefly, politely. “I’ll talk to you soon.”
I left his hotel room, and in the elevator down I wondered if the other passengers could tell what I’d been up to.
I haven’t heard from Jeremy. Gaaah!