Before I went into work on Wednesday, I stopped by Dry Bar and got their ‘signature’ blowout. This client had given me a gift certificate a while back and I was meeting Ian later so it seemed like the time to use it. I figured showing up with locks more luscious than usual couldn’t hurt my chances of getting some.
I had the first appointment at 8AM when they opened, and I thought I would be the only person there, but the place was jam packed with cute girls getting their hair did for whatever hump day plans they had after work. I felt such camaraderie with my fellow hussies that I was tempted to rally everyone into doing the ‘bend and snap’ routine from Legally Blonde. But then I just returned to my copy of Lucky and continued lusting after Eva Chen’s editor’s letter outfit.
I was in a stellar mood by the time I arrived at work—nothing could get me down! Not even William giving me a weird look and asking if Farrah Fawcett hair had come back into style and he somehow missed it (I guess the Dry Bar signature blowout is a little Charlie’s Angels-ish). I could have the job and I could still have my womanly needs met. Gross! I said womanly needs. The key, I realized, was not getting attached, like Penny Lane and the Band-Aids. Ian, who lives almost 3,000 miles away, was the perfect person not to get attached to. Tangled up with for the night, yes, but not attached.
I set to work on the pile of manuscripts on my desk, returning emails, crafting emails, and rearranging William’s calendar—double, triple checking his appointments against his emails to me. Things were going so well here, and I couldn’t slip up on something as mundane as his calendar.
Around 1, Kate and I broke for lunch. I was trying to decide between a nice fat sandwich and a salad, the eternal girl lunch debate, when Kate mentioned she was grabbing a drink with Richard later.
“I thought he was taking a time out from drinking,” I said.
“He’s taking a time out from boozing,” Kate said. “Not drinking. There’s a difference.”
“So I take it things with you two are fine then?” I squinted at the calorie counts on the menu. How could the Spinach and Fig salad have more calories than the tomato and mozzarella panini? That’s it, I was getting the panini. I needed sustenance for later anyway, since Ian and I weren’t even going to dinner. We were actually going to a concert at Joe’s Pub. There was some ‘talent’ he wanted to check out.
“I mean, it’s still a little awkward,” Kate admitted. “I don’t want him to think I like him or anything. Because I don’t. I just wanted to hook up that night.” She made a psh-aw noise. “I would never date Richard.”
I wasn’t sure if this was just self-protective talk or not, but either way it was making me feel guilty. I hated keeping what had happened with Richard from Kate, but the moment to tell her what had happened was immediately after it happened, and that had passed. I didn’t even really get a chance to seize it because that was the day of the Literatti massacre, and then we were all at the bar, and Richard was already all over Kate, and I just didn’t know how to tell her then, without making it look like I just didn’t want her to hook up with him because I was jealous. Though, to be honest, I still don’t know if I would have told her, even if the perfect opportunity had presented itself. In my mind it was a one time slip and it’s not like Kate and Richard were ever together, together. I do think there are certain cases where ignorance is bliss, and where total honesty isn’t always necessary. The problem with that is that there is always that slight chance the person you are keeping something from will find out, and the fall out will always be ten times worse than if you’d just come clean from the get go.
The sandwich guy handed me my panini. It was the size of my face and there was no way it was less caloric than that measly little spinach salad. I’ll only eat half, I rationalized. Then later, as I chewed the last bite, Well, this is like lunch and dinner, so it’s okay.
I was just closing out all the windows on my computer screen when I heard William calling for me. He was actually yelling, “Farrah! Farrah!” But I knew he meant me. I sighed and made my way to his office. One day you will be the boss, one day you will be the boss, I repeated to myself.
“Farrah! There you are,” William said. He laughed at his own joke. “I thought you’d taken off on one of your secret missions for Charlie.”
I rolled my eyes. “No, I actually have a date so I’m getting ready to go.”
“A date!” William said. “Good for you. It’s good to let loose after work sometimes. Can’t work too hard.” William always tells me not to work too hard but if I didn’t work as hard as I did it would be my ass.
“What’s up?” I prodded. It was 8 and I was meeting Ian at 8:30.
“I was just hoping you could drop these writing samples off at The Carlyle before you go.” William pushed a binder across his desk. “Mary Ann doesn’t ‘do’ email attachments.”
I suppressed a weary sigh. Mary Ann is one of our clients who is freakishly suspicious of computers and big brother and is also looking for a ghost writer for her book. The Carlyle is all the way uptown, and Joe’s Pub is all the way downtown. I couldn’t say no, and now I was going to be very late.
“Sure.” I plastered a fake smile on my face. The boss is always right! “I’ll head over now.”
I texted Ian to let him know I would be running late. William said I could expense a cab, so at least I had that on my side. It was 8:24 by the time I got to The Carlyle, 8:31 by the time I located Mary Ann’s room and passed off the ghost writing samples to her. Then she engaged me in a long conversation about how cell phones give you brain cancer and I tried my best to sound like I didn’t think she was one crazy fucking bat as I provided her with various responses to placate her. “Really? A government conspiracy? Wow, I had no idea.”
It was 9:02 by the time I was in a cab, on my way to the East Village. It took another half an hour to get there and then they wouldn’t let me in the goddamn concert hall because I would ‘interrupt’ the performance and I had to wait for the intermission, which wasn’t for another forty minutes. By this time I was so harried and annoyed and sweaty that my Farrah Fawcett do was plastered to the side of my face and all the good will I felt about ‘having it all’ earlier that morning was gone. At least there was a bar in the lobby.
Two glasses of wine restored my mood, and by the time the concert broke for an intermission and Ian came through the doors, looking so dangerously lithe and feline in his rocker chic attire, I practically flung myself at him.
“Rough day, huh?” Ian said. He had his arms around my shoulders and he picked my Farrah hair up off my shoulders and flipped it onto my back, his fingertips grazing the sides of my neck as he did.
I smiled up at him at him. “It wasn’t that bad.”
Ian ordered a beer and then we found our way to our seats. We were tucked into a dark corner, sharing a table with a few strangers, forced to sit so close together our thighs touched.
“Dori is amazing,” Ian said, referring to the singer we’d come to see. “She’s on the brink of blowing up. She’s always had this huge cult following but she’s about to be bigger than Adele when her new album drops. You’ll always get to say you saw her here first.” Ian was right—the place was packed, and I’d read online that Dori’s concert had sold out in just a few hours.
The lights dimmed and the concert resumed. I don’t normally enjoy concerts unless I know the music I’m listening to (how else can I sing along, duh?), but Ian was right, this girl was amazing. Not only was she ridiculously talented, but she was beautiful—model tall and model thin. It was the type of music that warmed you from the inside out almost instantly, like you’d heard her songs before even though you couldn’t have because they were off her latest, not-yet-released album. Ian’s thigh was warm against mine and he had his arm resting on the booth, just above my head. Every now and then he would lean in and whisper something in my ear—some little factoid like, Dori’s grandmom is an old Hollywood actress. He would pause after he said it, his face still close to mine, watching my reaction.
Towards the end of the show, he leaned in again. “You know I used to date her.”
I turned my head. Our faces were inches from each other, our noses practically touching. “You did not,” I said.
Ian nodded. A slow smile spread across his face. “She’s cool. I’ll introduce you to her.” He tilted his head ever so slightly, and his eyes were on my lips. “She’ll like you.”
And then we were kissing. One of those really soft, slowwww
kisses where you just hold on to the feeling of your lips against his lips, not really moving, just touching. I think I half melted into the back of the booth by the time Ian pulled away. I couldn’t even rectify this Ian in my mind with the Ian I knew in high school.
When the concert ended, Ian led me through the kitchen and backstage, where Dori was hanging out with her band.
“Knock, knock,” Ian rapped on the door frame.
“Holy shit,” Dori said. Her voice was husky and it matched her whole tough girl ensemble—jet black hair, baggy leather pants and a ripped tank. Her ‘look’ was in total contrast to her voice.
Dori uncrossed her long legs and peeled herself off her chair. She had the same slow, languid way about her that Ian did. She wrapped her arms around his neck and whispered something in his ear and he laughed. The way their bodies fit together—they had definitely been a couple once.
“This is Josie,” Ian said, bringing me into their fold.
“Josie,” Dori said. “Hi.”
“That was a great show,” I gushed.
Dori smiled and swept her eyes up and down over me, then smiled wider. “Thanks.” She hooked her arm around Ian’s shoulder—she was practically his height. “What are you guys doing now? Want to come back to our hotel with us?”
Ian looked at me. Go back to the hotel with the band? Ian may not have been in the cool crowd in high school, but he was certainly in the cool crowd in the real world. I nodded and tried to look nonchalant about it but inside I was geeking out.
Dori was staying at The Standard—naturally. Her suite was milling with various people when we arrived—publicists, family members, a few fans/groupies. It was actually a great place to network and I forced myself to introduce myself to Dori’s publicist. I told her what I did and how we’d love a chance to work with Dori if she was interested in books. We exchanged cards and I couldn’t wait to report on this new find to William in the morning, even though I was a little annoyed with him for making me sweaty and late for my date.
After an hour or so, the crowd started to peter out, and Ian grabbed my hand and pulled me into the bedroom, where a few people were lounging on the bed, including Dori. They were passing a joint and the room reeked of pot. Ian took a hit and handed it to me. I can handle one quickie drag and that’s about it, as evidenced by my tweak out that night I accidentally ate those magic brownies at Brad’s place. I took a baby pull and passed it on.
Ian folded his body into a big plush chair caddy corner to the bed, and pulled me into his lap. He looped his arms around my waist, his hands resting against the zipper of my jeans, or, as the romance books say, my pulsating sex. Pulsating sex! That made me giggle. Yup, one hit is about all I can handle.
The joint had made its way around the room and Dori got up off the bed and made her way over to us. She knelt at the foot of the chair. She was so tall that we were almost at eye level. I politely declined another drag—when the phrase ‘pulsating sex’ makes an appearance in your head it’s better to just cut your losses, wouldn’t you say?
“No?” Dori asked. She cocked her head at me, looking disappointed. But then she leaned forward to hand it off to Ian, and her hair brushed over my bare shoulder as she did, making me shiver. There was this weird moment where I thought she was going to kiss me or something, and I thought, huh, I could do that. And then we were kissing. It lasted no more than five seconds, and there was no tongue. When Dori pulled away her eyes were sleepy and she sighed, contentedly. Then she got up and returned to the bed with her friend.
“Let’s get out of here,” Ian whispered behind me.
It was such a weird but erotic moment that my legs were shaky beneath me when I stood. Dori waved goodbye to us and then Ian was pulling me out of the room.
“So that’s why Dori and I broke up,” Ian said, laughing, as we stepped onto the elevator. “I told you she would like you.”
“Of course she would like me,” I said. ‘I’m irresistible.” Wink. I do have this theory that all celebrity types are pan-sexuals—they’re not straight or gay, necessarily, just so attractive and with so many options that they’ll try it all.
I turned to Ian. “Did you set that up so you could witness a little girl on girl or something?”
Ian laughed. “No.” He pulled me close. “I don’t like to share.”
We grabbed a cab and headed to my apartment. I didn’t even bother to turn on the lights when we stepped inside. We found our way to my bedroom and Ian fell on top of me, pulling off my jacket and his shirt. My room never really gets dark because the light from the city is so bright, and I could see Ian had tattoos on his ribs, and a small symbol right above one of his pecs. “You’re so hot,” I said. “How did you get so hot?” It was one of those things I meant to say in my head, not out loud, but I was too buzzed to be embarrassed.
Ian laughed and covered me with his body. “I’ve thought about this a long time,” he said. When he was closer, he lowered his voice and said so softly I almost didn’t hear him, “I’ve wanted to make you feel like this for a long time.”
We only made out, but there was a point where he was so hard and I wanted him so badly, but I just knew it wasn’t a good idea. I started to explain myself, to apologize, but Ian put his hand over my mouth. “You don’t have to say anything.” He removed his hand. “It’s fine.”
It was almost 4 in the morning before we finally stopped kissing, and fell asleep. Even though I only clocked a few hours of sleep, I felt energized in the morning. Something about the night had recharged me more than a full night of sleep could have.
Ian pulled his clothes on and crawled across the bed to give me a kiss goodbye. “If you’re ever in LA,” he said. “I expect to hear from you.”
“Ditto for New York,” I said.
I waited until I heard the door close and Ian’s footsteps recede in the stairwell, and then I flung myself flat on my back in bed, giddy with the memories of the night.
That giddiness lasted until I got to work. I turned on my computer, replied to a few emails, and then went to find Kate to tell her all about my crazy night. She was at her desk, but she didn’t turn around when I came up behind her and said good morning.
“Helloooo?” I said.
Kate stopped typing. She seemed to gather herself before she spun around in her chair. “Hi,” she said coldly.
“Hi, yourself,” I said. I folded my arms across my chest and gave her a quizzical look. “What’s wrong?”
“Oh,” Kate said. “You know, only that I thought I had this really good friend but turns out she’s a lying bitch.” Whoa. I don’t think I’ve heard Kate curse…ever. The word bitch was like a physical assault coming from her, and I took a step back. And then I remembered. Kate had drinks with Richard last night. Apparently he’d decided this was one instance where ignorance wasn’t bliss.