The night had started so well.
Drinks with my friends, some laughs at the saps singing. A few drinks later, we were the saps singing. Karaoke should not be legal. Possibly not gin either. At any rate, Bonny Raitt, and another G&T later, I was thinking, These are my girls. They've got my back. I can count on them.
"Hey, Beth, isn't that Peter's house?" Jamie asked, pointing.
"Huh? Uh, yeah, I think so. I've never been, but he lives around here."
"There's a light on upstairs," Mary pointed out.
"Yeah, so?" I asked.
"So, what if he's home?" Jamie asked, giggling.
I hiccuped. "So what if he is? I'm not going to knock on his door at-" I tried to read my watch. It was blurry, but I thought it said one. "One in the morning. I don't know him that well."
"But you want to," Mary sang, hugging onto me. "Go on, I dare you!" She shoved me at the door.
"What are we, twelve? You're going to dare me to ring his door bell? Should I run away after too?"
They both snorted before erupting in laughter. "No, silly, you jump him."
Well, that made more sense but wasn't any more likely.
"I'm not even sure it's his house," I complained.
"So check." Jamie pointed to the tree on the lawn.
"You're kidding right? I can't climb a tree! I can't drive! That's why we're walking. Remember?"
"I'll do it!" Mary said with a hiccup of her own. She put her foot to one of the branches.
"Oh my God. Jamie, stop her. We can't let her climb a tree." I reached for Mary's leg but she was already putting another to a different branch, giggling like a maniac.
"I think I can see him!" she sang.
"Get down!" I yelled, pulling on her ankle.
"Wait! Shit!" she slid down from her perch landing on me.
"Ow," I complained rubbing my thigh where her heel had caught. "What?"
"It's him; he saw me. Shit, run!"
And we might as well have been twelve, running from the parental unit that just busted us. I peeped from around the corner and saw Peter sticking his messy blond mop of hair out the door.
My heart skipped. It was like something out of one of my fantasies. His hair was always so perfect, scultped almost. Yes, he went for a certain amount of bed-head, just been fucked, but it was still fake. I don't know how I could tell - product smell? - but every time I passed his office I knew he had spent twenty minutes or more to get it looking that way.
Not this way. This was bed hair. If we hadn't woken him, we'd interrupted him. He had the cutest cowlick that I'd never seen before, poking up on the left side of his head, his right was matted to his scalp, like he'd fallen asleep on it.
The girls were still shushing and giggling, but I was silent, awestruck. "Beth? Are you breathing? Earth to Beth. Shit!" Mary slipped and sent the contents of her pink purse clattering over the pavement.
My eyes widened at the sudden sound on the quiet street. I had been pulled by them to look away, but my eyes returned to the door, afraid we'd been made.
We were in luck. The door was closed.
"Goddamn. You two are going to be the death of me, you know that, right?"
"Go on, Beth. He'll be going back to bed, maybe you'll get a good peep."
"Shut the fuck up." I walked away from them, bending my heel on a misplaced step.
"Oooh, aren't we miss high and mighty? Let's go, Mary. Leave her to her dreams." Jamie linked arms with Mary and turned down a sideroad that would also take them home.
I huffed, abandoned. I looked back at Peter's house. How did he afford such a big place? I mean, I knew he made more than me, but that much? I wondered what it looked like inside. That tree didn't look that hard to climb.
I had definitely had too much to drink. Damn Gin. Prohibition, probably not such a bad idea.
As he neared the top I saw that it wasn't a cup, but a phone or blackberry or something with a screen that lit up, which is why I could see it so clearly.
I heard a buzz from my bag. Maybe the girls were checking on me.
Get outta my tree. The door is unlocked.
Fuck. This night had started so well...
I slid down, landing in a heap on the grass. My balance was shot and these shoes weren't great for landing anyway, probably would have broken the heels. I tried to hold my head high and not sway too badly as I walked to the door. I opened it slowly, intimidated.
"Hello?" I asked.
"Upstairs," he called.
I kicked off my shoes and grabbed the rail, stopping once to look at the photos on the wall. They were hard to make out; he didn't have any lights on, just the one at the top. The moon and streetlights let me make out faces I recognized from his desk, family for certain. I stopped at the top were he stood, smirking. He had a robe tied on over his pyjama pants. His phone was turned so I could see the screen. It showed a picture of me, under his tree, with my ass in the air. Very nice.
"Well, that'll look great on an intra-office memo," I quipped, hoping he wasn't thinking of doing anything of the sort.
"Maybe. I think I'll keep this one for myself."
I shouldn't be flattered, but somehow I was. Something about the way his eyes looked at my picture as he turned the phone back to himself.
"So, why the invite?" I asked, crossing my arms. "You could have just told me to get out of your tree."
"Why were you in my tree?" he countered.
I closed my eyes and thought, "there's no place like home." I even clicked my heels together three times.
Lips met mine.
My eyes flew open and I lost my balance. I was going down the stairs. My arms windmilled as I tried to grab something.
Peter's arm latched to my waist, and my arm caught his shoulder. I held on for dear life as my legs fell beneath me.
"Whoa, Beth. One too many?" he asked, smirking again.
"No, one too many got me in your tree. That was at least two, maybe three too many that had me falling for you."
He shook his head. "Not enough. You're still too witty."
I chuckled. "Can't handle my wit?" I asked.
"I can shut that smart mouth up, you know," he threatened, still holding me to him. His eyes were on my mouth and I felt something shift between us.
What was the correct response? I'm not going to be the next to polish your desk? You have some nerve? Mommy? I was seriously contemplating each of these when he took the decision out of my hands again.
His mouth was warm and slightly sticky. He had been woken earlier. I had kissed Peter before, but only once. Stupid Christmas party. Stupid Gary. He'd found us under the mistletoe and snagged Peter for another round of nog. So, this is what it would have been like if Gary had fallen in a sewer as I had wished so dearly then.
Was Peter even aware of my state-sized crush on him? I had always thought not. I certainly hadn't been aware of any interest from him until now.
He paused for breath, and I was grateful, taking the moment to find my feet again.
"I invited you in because I've been wanting to do that for a while."
"Intive me in?"
He rolled his eyes. "Kiss you."
"Oh." I looked at his lips now, licking my own. I thought I heard a sound from him, but it was low and hard to make out. "I... I did too. That's why the girls made the scene. Why Mary..."
He snickered. "Mary climbed my tree? I wish I'd gotten a picture of her ass in the air. Gary would have paid me for it."
I chuckled too. "I don't know if hers was on display. She landed on me, see?" I lifted my leg a little showing the darkening bruise and scratch on my thigh.
I know I heard something this time, and I dropped my foot at his groan.
"I should go," I said in a rush.
"Beth?" he called, stopping me after I'd made the bottom stair. I turned and looked up at him.
"What are you doing Friday night?"
I smiled, beaming. "What am I doing Friday night?" I asked.
"I'll let you know. Six?"
"Six." I agreed, showing myself out.
"And Beth?" I was actually outside at this point, but he stuck that beautiful bed-head out the door. "Put some witch hazel on that bruise. It won't turn as dark."
I smiled again, softly this time. "I'll do that. Thank you." I leaned forward to kiss him again. Unable to resist I put a hand into his hair, playing with the whorl on the left side. He pulled away, cussing and trying to smooth it.
"No," I chuckled. "I like it that way." I kissed him once more. "Good night."
"I think it's technically morning."
"Let me shut that smart mouth-"
He did it for me, pulling me to him once more. His robe wasn't as tight anymore and my hands were pressed to his chest, my thumbs on his skin. They wrapped in the hem of the robe, clutching it and him.
"I should let you go," he murmured breathlessly. "You're... inebriated and..." he sounded like he was trying to convince himself.
"Yes, you should. Because I'd just tease and run anyway. I need at least another three or four to lose the panties."
He groaned and dropped his head to my shoulder.
Well, this was fun. Apparently the night would end well too. Imagine that.