Saturday, October 03, 2015

Chapter 14: Change in Plans

I can feel his hands on my waist, sliding toward the front though not moving upward.  Not that daring.  Neither of us are that daring.  Don't ask me "not yet" or "ever" because I can't say.  I only know where we are now.

Fate intervened today.  Last night, really.  An 11 PM phone call from work, to Liam, demanding his presence and to hell with the moving van, keep your car and drive out to your new home later, I don't care if it's Saturday, yelled our leadership-challenged employer when Liam pointed out that he was moving.

What happened?  I can't detail it, but let it suffice to say that three months of work went down the tubes with the click of someone's mouse button.  A very incomplete tale, true, but some things are best left secret.

It's 3 PM now, and Lam was finally able to escape long enough to go home and throw together an overnight bag.  His hotel fantasy finally coming true... sort of.  He has the room, but it will be just his alone.  He'll be back tonight.

When he returns, he'll meet the lawyers sitting upstairs, the suit-clad attack dogs waiting to find a scapegoat.  It won't be us.  We didn't use a penny of the money in question.  Neither of us are guilty.   It was another department, another project.  How many of our suits will remain when the dust clears remains to be seen.  I'm not holding my breath.  Just let me finish my final weeks and get the hell out of here.

We slipped out for a quick lunch, going to some dive on the South Side for fast -- yet edible -- food.  Indeed, it was so fast that we had time to slip into a little bookstore on our way back to the car.

It's funny, the intimacies that we share.  What we even call intimacies, in fact.  His belt loop, for instance... something so trivia, yet even days later I'm still thinking about it.  In a lovely, dusty bookshop we know, he came upon me so entranced in some antique books that I didn't hear or see him.  My standing on tiptoe with my hands clasped behind my back, unaware of everything but the titles.  Another intimacy, this time on his side: coming upon me with my guard down.

It wasn't until I found my prize and sat down to read it that he came to me, taking a seat across from me at a rickety old table placed there for readers like me... or perhaps people like us, those who want to steal away from the world and just selfishly indulge in another's presence.  A table that's seen everything, including us, as he took my hand and kissed my fingers, his eyes holding mine for that infinite moment.  Not quite lovers but more than friends.

Tables have a role in our us.  Happy hours in a booth, a quick meal somewhere, working on presentations.  Tables keep us apart, at a respectable public distance from the other, but they do nothing to stop us from looking or from talking at the personal, intimate level we reached some time ago, eons before touch itself became involved.  Once upon a time, in fact, we shied from the very possibility of touch... perhaps instinctively knowing that one touch would never be enough.