Thursday. Late.

He works downtown in the District. She spends her time midtown in one of those trendy fashion boutiques--the second story kind. They met while drinking with friends one Thursday night late at Whiskey Blue. You know, the bar in W New York. Lex at 49th.

They were standing near each other, but on the outer rim of their individual party circles. Maybe five yards apart. And even though the place was jammed, their eyes met. Her tongue licked her lips before she threw back her Campari, pushing the empty glass into a girlfriend's hand. He involuntarily cleared his throat and ran his fingers though his longish hair before taking a sip of his Martini. Slowly, they worked their way closer as their friends chatted away.

When they were face to face no words were spoken before she took his Martini from him, pulled out the stabbed olive, drank it down and then offered up the olive by its red plastic sword to his mouth. He opened, showing perfect white teeth, and took it in. Then she spoke: "Buy us another Martini, will you?"

"Yes, of course," he said, as a tentative smile crossed his face and he started toward the bar. A good ten minutes later he worked his way back toward where he had left the beautiful young woman. Like a Lab with a tennis ball tightly mouthed, he held two Martinis. Both with double olives.

He did not see her, could not spot her. He waited, wondering if maybe the lady's lounge had a line. Time froze until she appeared. She was arm in arm with a tall, well dressed man of their age. He wondered why he felt a twinge of jealousy. "This is Bill. He kept me company while you were at the bar. And for such a long time you were gone," she pouted. The Lab felt the prickly heat of not knowing what to say or do.

"Alright," she said to Bill. "Leave us now, will you? I have a Martini to drink with this beautiful man." They kissed quickly; Bill playfully licked her nose, winked at the Lab and departed.

The next morning there would be no memory of the conversation as they drank together, surrounded by the hoard of young, hip New Yorkers. He would, however, vividly recall how she dropped the empty Martini glass and put her head on his chest, pressed her body tightly to his and raised a hand to his face and looked up to him. "Walk me home, will you? It's only a few blocks. I shouldn't go alone, I think."

"Yes, of course."

New York small and with a Murphy bed, her one room plus small kitchen place was well appointed. Lots of black, including what struck him as an elegant, modern black leather couch too grand for the space. An extravagance for her, no doubt.

She hung their coats, walked to him and again raised her hand softly to his face. She smiled, looking him in the eye. She sighed softly toward him and then moved toward the leather couch. She lost one high heel as she settled her knees on the leather and posed upright.

He stood awkwardly in the middle of the small room, watching her watch him. He struggled with her persona. She was so beautiful and visually so... So innocent? But there was an edge to her, to be sure.

She steadied herself and pulled up her black satin skirt on one side. Her stare softened yet she still focused directly on his eyes. He remained rigid and unsure. Just before she popped the first garter she hiccuped, softly, childishly. It was an endearing moment. She sighed a soft "ooh".

"What are you doing?" He regretted the question as soon as it was asked.

"What does it look like I'm doing?" she asked. "Come over here and help me, will you?"

He moved to her and his hands touched the cold leather as he knelt to help her. She smiled down toward him and hiccuped softly again. "Ooh..."

"We can stay here on the couch. Be nice, will you?"

"Yes, of course. I will."

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