From my spot inside the bar, I watch the passersby through the rain-streaked front window as they stagger down the street with jackets over their heads.
It’s been a hell of a week, I think as I take another sip. I desperately needed the effortless glide of aromatic gin down my throat.
I feel guilty for the chuckle that bubbles in my throat at their misfortune. Here I am, sitting comfortable and cosy, sipping on a dry martini, while they take refuge in the doorway until the onslaught calms, only to curse the heavens when the freezing, fat droplets bounce off the tarmac once again.
I avoided all of that because I'd consulted my weather app ahead of time. More time by the bar and less with my hair under the bathroom hand dryer.
It’s sparser here than most nights. A group of orange-tanned women cackle together in a booth. A lone man with plastic rimmed glasses and an impressive beard types away on his laptop. When the rain finally fades to a mere drizzle, the last batch of soaked travellers huddled in the doorway head to their next dingy palace of alcohol or promise of a one night stand.
I’m the only one perched at the bar. The bartender dries off a glass with a tea towel, looking at me a little too intently as I drain the last of my drink. I have to admit, I enjoy him watching me. I take the olive on the cocktail stick and slide it into my mouth with my teeth. He’s handsome. What harm is there in savouring the moment?
"Same again?" he asks.
My gaze skirts over his fitted white shirt, open at the neck, and black waistcoat. It suits him well. I flash a perfectly lipsticked smile.
"No thanks. Just a virgin mojito, please."
He nods and throws the towel over his shoulder.
"Virgin mojito it is."
He mixes my drink, muddles, shakes, and pours. I present my card but he holds up his hand.
"No need," he says. "It’s on me."
Our stares lock. I’m the first to break, casting my eyes to the ground with a flush in my cheeks. I return my purse to my bag.
I take a sip. The sharp lime fizz tingles along my tongue, refreshing my mouth after the dry gin. The bartender rests his hands on the polished wood. I catch a waft of piny aftershave. A mischievous glint in his eyes reaches the grin that spreads across his cheeks.
"Being good tonight?" he asks.
I set the glass down on the green napkin he’s laid out.
"I don’t drink much. Getting drunk’s not my style."
"That’s fair enough," he says. "Makes my job easier."
He winks at me and my stomach flutters. For all the aloofness I attempt to exude, he knows exactly how to get under my skin and reduce my insides to frantic somersaults without even trying. I straighten up and look away in an attempt to appear somewhat normal and not like a giddy schoolgirl.
More sheets of icy rain rattle against the windows, the blustery wind blowing the raindrops almost horizontal. One of the women from the booth scuttles out, across the road to a taxi, in her immensely high stilettos. The windscreen wipers circle frantically back and forth, before starting its slow but sure journey onward.
When I turn back to him, the bartender tells me his name: Caleb, and I tell him mine: Rose. Despite the chill of the evening, the thick sparks between us are obvious and difficult to ignore. Even when he’s serving someone else, I find myself glancing his way. We talk about everything and anything: drinks, books, music, and politics. We even go the extra mile of Britishness and complain about the weather outside.
The more we talk, the more we flirt. The more we flirt, the closer we draw to one another. Before long, our elbows touch across the bar, stares locked and giggling together like a pair of love-struck teenagers.
Caleb strikes me as a hedonist, something I’ve seldom tapped into myself until recently. Breaking free of Catholic guilt and the ‘virtuous woman’ teachings driven into me by my mother, this refreshed me. I was diving into Technicolor from a black and white life of confession every few days and monotone Latin rites.
Now, I smile brightly, laughing loudly. I express myself with bold lipstick, tighter dresses, and sparkling jewellery, away from a gilded cage of piety. For the first time in my life, I feel desirable, womanly, like Lilith who proved too fiery for Adam. It feels so deliciously sordid to let my inner rake out to play.
I find myself doing something I’ve always fantasised about. Up until now, I have enjoyed the electricity between passing flirtations, or many a night under my sheets with pulsing, phallic silicone, but have never had the gall to say it:
"What time do you get off?"
Caleb smiles and leans closer. I run my fingers over the tattoos on his tanned forearm.
"In about five minutes."
A nearby man coughs to get Caleb’s attention and we look up. An oily looking man in a well kept, but worn, grey suit glares at us.
"Can I get a drink please?" he snaps.
Caleb squeezes my hand and goes over to serve him. A silent promise of Don’t worry, I’ll be back. I watch him take the punter’s order and make his drink. The sight of Caleb's shirt loosening and contracting around his shoulders like a second skin makes my belly grow warm. Caleb doesn’t see me write the note, but glances over as I push a folded napkin to his end of the bar.
I hop off my stool and start walking. I glimpse over my shoulder to see him send the punter on his way and unfold the note, reading what’s inside:
Meet me in the ladies' room. I’ll lock the door.
My heart thunders against my chest while I press my palms into the flecked marble counter. Will he meet me? What if he doesn’t? What if I took it too far and made him uncomfortable? Will I be able to apologise and put it down to a misunderstanding? Or will I never be able to show my face in here again without willing the ground to swallow me whole? My doubts vanish with three sharp knocks on the door. Slowly, I make my way to the door, unlock and open a small crack.
"Room for two?"
Caleb flashes me a sexy half-smile that’s impossible to resist. I open the door and he squeezes through in an attempt to be discreet, turning the lock behind him. Here we are, completely alone together with all trace of public decorum flaking away at our feet. Our eyes locking for a mere second, we come together, our lips softly pressing against one another’s.
I melt into Caleb’s arms. His kiss is warm, tender even, as his arm snakes around my waist and his fingers thread into my hair. My hands run over the back of his satin waistcoat, clutching at his solid arms. Our kiss deepens, slowly ambling backwards until the wall’s cold tiles meet my back.
Layer by layer our clothes peel off. I slide Caleb’s waistcoat off his shoulders while he unbuttons my dress, revelling in the moan rumbling low in his throat as I place feather-light kisses along his jaw. Gently, Caleb pulls my dress open exposing my bra.
He cups the white lace, pushing up my breasts against the padding, running his tongue over them and showering my chest in kisses. Warmth pools between my thighs at being held firm and caressed in his strong hands. Our cheeks brush as we catch the other’s lips in another deep, knee-trembling kiss. His tongue explores my mouth, touching, stroking over mine like two lovers of their own.
Hooking the bra straps and sleeves of my dress, he pulls them down in one swift motion. I gasp and fight the urge to cover my exposed breasts. It’s been a while since I’ve been with anyone like this. Instead, I continue unbuttoning Caleb’s shirt, revealing the plethora of Celtic tattoos underneath.
While Caleb stares at my chest, my nipples grow wrinkled and pointed under the cool air slithering in cracked in the corner window. I jump at the sensation of his fingers trailing over the soft, sensitive skin, cupping them softly in his palms.
"Fuck…" he whispers, bending down to take one of them in his mouth. I gasp at his tongue circling my nipple, flicking back and forth. My legs tremble, stilettos clacking erratically into the marble floor but he holds me strong against him. I rake my fingers through his hair, grabbing a fistful with a light pull. He moans.
He yanks up my skirt, pulling me around to face my reflection in the mirror. My hair’s dishevelled, dress hanging off my waist. Caleb presses his hand to the small of my back, guiding me down until my cheek rests against the counter.
"You want this?" he asks, unbuckling his belt.
"You have a condom?"
"Purse. Zip pocket."
He takes a fistful of my hair and pulls my head up, running his hand over my jaw. Teeth nip at my earlobe and I shiver at his breath on my skin.
Something inside me clicks. My mind quiets and I obey, staying perfectly still. That’s when the words, lying in wait on my tongue, slip from my mouth on to the marble:
As soon as I speak I clap a hand over my mouth. I’m mortified. I haven’t said that in months and never with a complete stranger. Caleb stops dead, our eyes locking in the mirror. He looks just as surprised as I do and I get ready to apologise with some random explanation or another when his eyes darken, and his lips curl up into a wicked, playful grin.
"Good girl," he says. "You say exactly what I like."
He sees my eyes wider when he slams the condom down on the counter next to me and steps in closer. I hate to admit how much it excites me. As I jump he catches me, pressing his stubbly cheek to mine, holding my chin firm so I look into the mirror.
"You like being a good, obedient girl?"
I nod. Caleb kisses my cheek.
Firmly, he spins me around and guides me to my knees. He unzips his trousers, pulling his cock from his boxers.
"You can suck this like a good little slut."
He doesn’t have to tell me twice. I take his hard, fleshy cock in my hand and run my tongue from shaft to tip.
"That’s it…" Caleb groans. "Open your mouth, baby…"
He taps the tip of his cock on my tongue.
"Fuck, yeah… Put it in your mouth…"
Closing my mouth around the tip, I watch as Caleb’s eyes flutter shut. I rest my hands on my thighs, letting him guide me deeper as he likes. I take him as deep as I can, down my throat until I gag.
"That’s it," he growls. "Gag on my cock, you little slut."
His words slide deliciously down my spine. Pulsing his cock down my throat, I don’t notice he has a fistful of my hair until he pulls me off, gasping for a breath until he’s face-fucking me again.
All the while he’s groaning the filthiest words. Asking who I belong to, whose slut I am, as I suck and gag and gasp for breath before starting all over again. When he pulls me up to standing, he bends me over the counter like before.
"Don’t move," he whispers again and takes the condom, tearing the foil open with his teeth.
My plain, cotton knickers trail down to my ankles and off. Caleb reaches around and stokes over my clit, gently swirling as he parts my folds with his cock. I ache for him to be inside me, but on he teases, sliding back and forth until I am begging him to fuck me.
"Ssshhh…" He kisses my cheek. "We don’t want anyone to hear us now, do we?"
He holds up my knickers bunched in his fist.
I obey and he stuffs the white, cotton pants into my mouth, sealing the act with another kiss on my cheek.
"There’s a good girl. Now take it for Sir…"
With that, he slowly sinks inside me. I’m grateful for the gag. The sound that comes from me would have echoed off the marble. Caleb’s hands roam my hips, squeezing the soft, creamy flesh as he begins to move.
"I’m not going to be gentle, baby. You want that?"
I nod, a muffled Yes Sir coming through the gag. Caleb growls, picking up the pace until my hips are slamming against his. He takes my wrists, pinning them behind my back while he fucks me, rough and primal. I watch his handsome face contort in the mirror. He throws his head back as he grunts and gets close. My mind floats away in my submission, unable to move, taking him for as long as he sees fit to use me.
I never thought what I was always told was sinful could feel so amazing. I am elated, my legs languid, my centre pulsing as I draw close with a stranger I met in a bar. No husband, no commitment, just pure lust. If this is sin, let me revel in it until I am beyond absolution. If this is sin, I wish not to be saved. Let me soak in blood-red temptation until there’s nothing left of me.
Starbursts of blue, yellow and green explode under my eyelids. I feel his hand in my hair, him growling in my ear about how good I am for him for taking his cock, but it’s a distant whisper. I levitate over the sensations, my teeth biting hard into my underwear as he spanks me, massages my breasts and bites into my shoulder.
I contract around him, my moans growing louder as a euphoric wave washes over me, pulsing around him. Caleb’s nails dig into my skin, grabbing my skirt to pull me into him even harder. Harsh, male grunts seep into my hair and down my spine, and I melt into the cold counter, Caleb panting on top of me.
When our breathing finally steadies, he bundles me up in his arms. He takes my knickers from my mouth and helps me back into them, and calmly buttons up my dress before settling a gentle kiss on my lips.
"Go on," he murmurs. "Get your coat. I’ll be right behind you."
I gaze up at him, smoothing out a lock of his dishevelled hair.
"We’re going somewhere?"
Caleb’s eyes glint darkly. He snakes his arms around my waist.
"Back to mine. I want to have you all to myself again. Do you want that?"
I run my fingers over his stubble. My chest rises and falls against his. My vices spring up in my stomach, all my years’ worth of restraint telling me not to go. It’s wrong. It’s sinful.
But I’m not that person anymore. I balance on my tiptoes and kiss him deeply, winding my arms around his shoulders.
"I’d like that very much."