Friday, April 15, 2005

"Not to change the subject, but how's your computer been running lately!?"

Friday, March 25, 2005, 7:30pm
Hyatt Hotel, 2nd floor ballroom
Ruthann's retirement party

We never have retirement parties, but Ruthann was with the company for over 35 years. She worked her way up from receptionist to VP of underwriting with no college education and no prior job experience. Still, she is one of the most competent and capable employees I've ever known, and I will really miss her.

Steph came with me tonight. It's strange not having to keep my love life secret. For most of my professional life, I was either screwing more than one girl, or someone I worked with, and was therefore very stingy with details. But now that I am with just one person, and since she has no connection to the company, I've made no efforts to hide the truth.

Steph has come to visit me at the office a few times. The first time she did, I took her around and introduced her to a few people, and heard about it for weeks afterwards. "How's your better half?" busybodies would ask, smiling slyly.

Now that we are coming up on six months together, the ballbreaking has shifted to an all-new level. "Uh-oh, six months!" my coworkers will say. "It's gettin' SERIOUUUUS!! Are we gonna be hearing bells soon?!"

"Please," I scoff, with a dismissive roll of the eyes.

She looks amazing tonight, in a tight black dress and her hair pulled back into a bun with one strand hanging lazily down in front of her face, just the way I like it. From the corner of my eye, I keep catching guys checking her out. Actually, I like the way that feels.

"Happy engagement, you two," says Tom from accounting, pausing for effect. "Oh, oh, sorry, never mind, I thought this was your engagement party for a minute!!" Three or four people have made references to us getting married, actually.

"Ha!" says Steph, sarcastically.

I almost asked Steph to skip the party, not because I didn't want her to come, but because I didn't want her to see Dom, or God forbid, Tim. But Dom does not go in for these types of functions, and though I know he'll probably show up, he'll definitely be alone, and he won't stay long. There are about 75 people here, and it's plenty crowded enough for us to avoid any awkward moments.


Steph and I are talking to Bonnie when I glance toward the front of the room.

Dom is walking in. With Tim.

This ought to be very fucking interesting.

They walk through the middle of the room to their table, Dom nodding politely to employees and their guests as he breezes by.

I haven't seen Tim since That Night. She looks gorgeous! her hair is in a French braid, and she's wearing a low-cut dress with a slit up to her thigh, and four-inch Fuck Me pumps. Every male head within 50 feet turns and stares.

I am shocked that Dom is bringing a date. He's much more private than me. As far as I know, he hasn't even told anyone except me about Tim.

".....vacation anywhere this summer?" Bonnie is saying. "Steve? STEVE!" she says.

"What about a vacation?"

"Are you gonna take your girlfriend on vacation this summer!" she repeats.

"We're going to Hawaii!" I say.

"UH-oh," Bonnie says, with a sidelong smile. Thankfully, she doesn't make another marriage comment, though I know she's thinking it. "Well, you two are a VERY nice couple."


Steph and I are speaking to Heidi, who is also wearing a sexy black dress. I smell a wave of flowery perfume, and a second later, there are hands over my eyes from behind.

I reach up and touch them, and I can feel long fingernails. Ahh, shit. It's Tim, I think.

She pulls her hands back. I turn around and look at her, and my breath catches.

The dress is lower than it looked from across the room. Her neck and shoulders are completely bare, her collarbones standing out sharply beneath her flawless, tanned skin. Her huge breasts seem dangerously close to popping out. Her lips are thicker than I remember, and her teeth are whiter.

"HEY handsome! You look GORGEOUS tonight," she says. I am wearing a suit and tie; nothing out of the ordinary. And a ton of cologne. She grabs my shoulders tightly and kisses my cheek, barely touching it. Her smell, her look, and her lips against my skin all go to work on me. I am starting to get hard.

Everyone in our little circle stops talking. I look around. No Dom. Where the hell did he take off to?

I turn to Steph. She is studying Tim intently. She doesn't seem angry, just... serious.

"Stephanie, this is Tim, Tim, this my girlfriend Stephanie."

"Ohhh, so YOU'RE the girlfriend!" Tim says, smiling.

"Mmmm," Steph says. "Nice to meet you." She stares at Tim, unsmiling. Then she glances over at me, her lips pursed tightly. She doesn't offer a handshake.

There's an awkward silence. Tim and I look at each other. "So, how long have you guys been dating?" she asks.

"I'm going for a walk," Steph says, and storms off.

Tim glares at me for a long moment, her eyes narrowing. "You told her, didn't you?" she asks.