The right hand side of the bed is cold and my skin is awash with the smell of freshly buttered toast.
They never stick around. They’re always gone even before the toast becomes stale.
I don’t want to open my eyes. To do that would only confirm my fears – that he left without so much as a word.
I can’t remember how much we drank at the bar last night, but it was enough to turn my Numbers to People. I thought this one would be different. In my drunkenness, his name was Stephen. In the semi-soberness of this morning, I realise his name was 26583.
I do remember arriving back at my apartment. I was fumbling with my keys for a stupid amount of time. When we stumbled in, the door was barely closed before we began to take our clothes off. He was slurring too, the words tumbling out of his mouth like careless pennies. Cinnamon and berries exploded on my tongue.
Now as I open my eyes, I notice a piece of folded paper on my bedside table. I reach out lazily and flip it open. The paper rustles as I trace his writing with my thumb. The stench of petrol permeates my senses.
I’ve got to get to work.
Thanks for a great night! Hopefully I’ll see you around,
[THE TASTE OF CIGARETTES]
I get out of bed pretty quickly after that; the fantasy is ruined and I need to get the bitter taste out of my mouth. But no amount of mouthwash helps. Cigarettes, cigarettes, cigarettes.
I need to stop.
Returning to my bed, I rip up his note. The taste still lingers on my tongue but I feel a little better.
I shower, dress and have breakfast in a record breaking thirty minutes. And, amazingly, I get to work on time. Not that it matters anyway because my boss is 1. The one. (Or at least he will be, one day.)
I answer telephone call after telephone call, and recommend product upon product. Somehow I survive until the end of the day. People begin to zip up their bags, switch off their computers and make their way towards the elevators which turquoise! in expectancy. The life and colour of the office begins to drain away like the remnants of paint being washed down the sink. When the colours are less concentrated, I knock on my boss’ door. He’ll distract me from 26583.
He’s happy to see me. He always is.
“Did you finish the report?”
I hold up the stack of papers I’m carrying, before placing it on his desk.
“[Strawberries and Cream.]”
He’s always so grateful, even though I’m simply doing my job.
Then he gestures to his lap and I obligingly sit. He buries his head into my neck and sighs. A hot expelling of air that sets my skin alight.
“Long day?” I ask.
“Like you wouldn’t believe.”
He turns me to face him before kissing me hard. Fresh linen. Chlorine. New books. It’s overpowering.
My hands are just reaching towards his tie when there’s the sound of a terrible, bruising purple on the door. I jump up and try to look nonchalant.
It’s 666. My boss’ boss.
“Was wondering whether you could get in early tomorrow?” The words hang in the air, black and unwelcome.
“Sure, what time?” Boss asks.
“Seven. Just want to discuss planning for the month.”
The door shuts behind 666.
At the soft yellow click of the door, I return to 1. He removes my blouse and throws it to the floor. Then he unclips my bra. There’s no comfortable position in an office: desk, walls, or floor. We choose the last option. He straddles me, his lips trailblazing across my skin. He starts with my mouth. At first it’s the wonderful essence of chocolate, which soon gives way to honey. He moves lower and lower, caressing my breasts with his hands.
And there it is. Just like this morning. I sigh and relax against his touch. If only it could always be like this.
I don’t fuck my boss because I want a payrise. I’m not even that attracted to him.
I do it because I really really enjoy buttered toast.