Kris grabbed Meg by the arm and pulled her into the doorway.
“The meeting finished early. Let’s blow off the rest of the afternoon and have a drink.”
Meg tried to wrest her arm away. “Come on, Kris. I’ve still got stuff to do at the office.”
“Ease up, for once. Okay?” Kris steered her friend through the doorway of the trendy downtown restaurant and bar.
At four in the afternoon it was empty and quiet. A bartender was quietly arranging things at the end of the bar.
Kris guided her to a table near the front window and they sat down. Meg, facing the window, watched the street.
“Really, Kris. I’m feeling weird about this. I’ve never been here. We could go to that place across the street instead.”
Kris was getting a little pissed. “Meg! Let it go. This is a great place and it’s nice and quiet right now so we can talk. Just relax.”
Meg sighed and her shoulders dropped in resignation.
“Alright. I’ll have a drink. My head is still aching from that meeting. It’ll probably be good for me.”
“Good,” said Kris, “let’s talk. I’ve wanted to ask you all day, how’s the online dating thing going?”
Meg shook her head. “I’ve looked at some of the women online, but I haven’t posted my profile yet. I don’t think I have a decent picture without my ex in it.”
“I can take one,” Kris said. “You’ve got a digital camera, right?”
“I do, but I’m worried that with my short hair, I’ll come out looking too butch. Can you do something to make me look like the big femme that I am?”
“Well, usually you look pretty femme… Your glasses are girly and you sometimes wear sparkly earrings. Maybe you could wear them for the picture… and a little lipstick, of course.”
“I think I lost one of my favorite red earrings, otherwise I’d wear those.
“That’s a bummer. I really liked those on you,” Kris said. “Hey, wait, weren’t those a gift from….?”
Meg cut her off. “I know. I know. I’m sure it’s bad love karma to wear earrings from an ex-girlfriend in an online dating photo, but I really like them and think they look good with my glasses. I’ve worn them a long time and they’re like part of me.”
“Have you looked for the earring?”
Kris sensed her friend’s hesitation. “What do you mean ‘sort of’? Where do you think you lost it?”
Meg blushed and looked away.
“Whoa! What was that?” Kris asked.
Meg continued to look pointedly out the window. “It’s starting to cloud up out there.”
“Meh-eg?” Kris drew her name out threateningly. “Do you have something to share?”
“Oh, hell,” Meg said. “It was just one of those things that happens, Kris. Don’t give me a bad time.”
“I thought you were heartbroken.”
“Well, I am heartbroken, but obviously not completely crippled.”
“Share, share!” Kris said.
Meg started to laugh. “I may need a drink for this story.”
Kris signaled the bartender.
“Okay,” Meg said. “Just don’t make me go into details.”
“I met this girl and we spent a night together. It was only supposed to be a one-night thing.”
Kris cleared her throat.
“No. It wasn’t like that. We were sober and safe and all that good stuff. It was very consensual.”
“Do I know her?” Kris asked.
“So we don’t work with her?”
“Good,” Kris said. “So where’s your earring?”
Meg blushed again.
“Kris I’m going to tell you something, but you have to promise not to say anything to anyone we know…” Her voice trailed off.
“I said, share,” said Kris. “Your stories are always safe with me.”
“I know,” Meg said. “Remember when I told you about the nipple thing?”
“You mean how you can get off that way?”
“Shhh!” Meg said, looking around.
Kris continued. “I was in my gynecologist’s waiting room last week and read an article in Cosmopolitan that said that only one percent of women can orgasm from nipple stimulation? Did you know that? That you’re among the one percent?”
“I didn’t know that,” Meg said. “But I’m more worried about why your gynecologist would have Cosmo in her waiting room. That just seems wrong.”
“It does, doesn’t it? But don’t let it distract you, go on with your story.”
“Alright. So I ended up entangled with this woman, and she was touching me here…” Meg gestured to her breasts. “Which as I’ve told you, I really, really like. Then suddenly she tilted my head and put her tongue in my ear.”
“In your ear? Like this?” Kris flicked the tip of her tongue out.
“No. Not like that at all… it was like…” Meg grew even redder. “Like she was, you know, down there.” Meg gave her friend a meaningful look.
“No, really,” Meg said. “She was sort of relentless. She swirled her tongue around and kept plunging it in and out… all while keeping up this rhythm on my nipples. It was wild. It did this sensory thing and sort of blocked all the outside sound. I could hear my own heart beating and my breathing…. Every noise I made was amplified.”
“As I remember from having my tent near yours during last year’s camping trip, you can make some noise,” Kris said.
“Shut up,” Meg said.
“Was it good?”
“She ear-fucked you?”
“I guess you could call it that.”
“Wow. And, your earring. You don’t supposed she swallowed…”
Just then, Meg became aware of someone standing beside her chair. She turned to see a heavy black leather belt and shiny silver buckle atop a creased pair of black trousers right next to her face.
A deep, but decidedly feminine voice said, “Ladies, we’re actually closed right now. We don’t begin dinner service until 5:30.”
Meg looked up at the tall butch woman, her dark hair cropped close, a starched white shirt tucked neatly into her pants.
“Oh my god. I’m sorry,” she stammered. “I mean, we’re sorry. We’ll go.” Meg started to stand.
The woman put her hand on her shoulder, rather heavily, and sat her back down.
“Stay. I’m in charge of the house tonight, and it’s fine with me if you stay for a drink. Just know that the kitchen is closed.”
Kris took in her friend’s obvious discomfort and looked up at the tall, butch woman with her eyes twinkling.
“I’ll think some drinks will be fine.”
Kris ordered a glass of Chardonnay, and Meg, uncharacteristically ordered a vodka martini, straight up.
There was a little silence after the manager left.
“She’s cute,” Kris said.
“I could say ‘tasty’”.
“You could,” Meg said, “but she’s awfully damn young… maybe if she aged 10 or 15 years.”
“Maybe,” Kris said.
They sat in silence for a while.
“Anything else to report?” Kris said.
“That was about it.”
Their drinks appeared on a tray.
“Chardonnay for you,” the manager said, setting Kris’ drink down in front of her. “And a martini for the pretty lady. Are you sure you’re ready for this?” As she reached out with the tall, stemmed glass, Meg noticed her heavy leather wristband, and blushed for at least the third time that afternoon.
“I’ll be fine.”
“This round is on me,” the woman said as she walked away.
Kris upped her eyebrows at her friend.
They raised their glasses in a toast.
“Here’s to meetings that run on time,” Meg said.
“Here’s to your lost earring,” Kris said.
“I like to think it was lost as part of a transition,” Meg said, clinking her glass with her friend’s.
They took a sip.
“She’s flirting with you, you know,” Kris said.
“I doubt it.”
Meg played with the olive in her drink.
“She’s buying our drinks”
“It could be worse,” Kris teased her friend.
“Kris, she’s so young. Be serious.”
“Young, but really damn hot.”
Meg smiled in agreement.
They sat in silence, sipping their drinks.
Talk turned to work and co-workers. It began to dim outside.
Finally the women stood to go.
“I’ll leave a healthy tip” Kris said. “It was nice of her to buy our drinks.”
They turned to leave. As they were headed out the door, the manager appeared.
“May I have a word with you?” she signaled to Meg.
“I’ll wait outside,” said Kris, with a smirk.
Kris watched the woman lean close to Meg, whisper something in her ear, and press something into her hand.
Meg joined her friend on the sidewalk.
“Holy shit. Did she just give you her number?” Kris asked.
“No,” said Meg.
She opened her hand and in the last of the afternoon light, something sparkled red.