I was nervous, or excited, almost impossible to tell which now. Maybe a little of both. So I crossed and re-crossed my legs a dozen times, the sweat from my half-full glass of beer raining tiny droplets onto my bare legs that stretched out from beneath the thick wool of my coat. It was crazy to wear a dress in the throes of winter, but the bar was warm with the body heat of out-of-towners who filled the room with clamor of holiday shopping, tonight's football favorites and diminishing gas prices. The waiting was almost too much, and made it almost impossible to sit, still and serene, leaning with one elbow on the sleek wood of the bar, as if it would keep me in my skin.
Sitting with a head-dotted view of the door, I saw the moment he came in. My belly stirred, but I didn’t get up. Watching as he walked, his eyes smiling, looking for me among the faces, I held my breath when he finally met my gaze. Anyone watching would’ve blushed, not at the expression, but because the room became noticeably warmer. Like someone had finally got the fireplace lit, after dumping in wadded newspaper page after page. Maybe it was just me.
I continued where I was, unmoving, like an Italian marble statue in a museum, afraid of what I’d betray if I rose to meet him. Or that my knees would buckle.
He didn’t speak, only reaching me and taking my hand in his, motioning to the bartender, a cute girl with a blonde ponytail, for one of the same. He winked at me, not missing that I’d ordered his favorite. And then he pressed into me, wrapping his arms around me, brushing his lips against my neck. He obliterated everyone in the room, and I pulled him closer, spreading my knees just enough to accept one of his legs, bringing his body to me, cheek against the soft cotton of his shirt, arms under his cost, around his waist. His leg, my leg, his leg, mine.
No one saw, or even attempted to see what his hands did. No one even turned as we continued the embrace just a little too long. The trembling of my bottom lip as his hand moved swiftly from just above my knee to just between my thighs, the cold from outdoors still on his fingertips. I could feel the pounding in his chest, and his face showed nothing but happiness to see me.
He turned suddenly. Flipping a bill on the counter, we left the glasses as they were to make rings on the surface for the girl to wipe up after we’d gone, the only sign we’d even been there. His hand in mine, we made our way through the quiet of the nighttime lobby to the elevator, and gave the impression of complete calm as we watched the numbers light one by one.
As the doors slid closed, what seemed an eternity, I listened as the regifting-quarterback-3-dollar-a-gallon chatter became a whisper and then nothing. And when his hands slid firmly around my waist, I was glad for once to be going to the top floor.