It came back to me in fragments, like it was a movie. I knew it had really happened, but I could only see bits of it at a time. A still image, and then another, and impressionistic bursts of sound and motion. I didn't want to open my eyes. I knew I'd have to eventually. I could feel that she was there, even smell the presence of a body that wasn't mine, so I knew what had happened, generally. But it was all hazy in the specifics.
Last night I had played the wingman, the time honored male role of running interference with a girl's friend, drawing their fire while your mate goes in for the kill. I wasn't proud of it, but Henry had been there for me, and more importantly, I still owed him 200 bucks when the stupid Buccaneers didn't cover the spread. So when he asked me to run interference for him, I agreed.
The club was one we hadn't been to before, but it was like most of those places, dark and loud and crowded. I followed Henry through the crowd, being jostled and bumped along the way. He had promised a nursing student that he would meet her here tonight. We made our way to her, and indeed, she was every bit as cute as Henry had promised- a pert nosed blond with a hard little body and a thin, silvery top. There was a scowling brunette next to her, slightly thicker and trying too hard to out dress her prettier friend, wearing a black dress that was too tight and shoes that were too high.
We broke into the usual routine, trying to start conversations, making dumb little puns and gentle compliments. They played the only cards they had, feigned indifference. We performed like a script had been written for us, dancing when they wanted to dance, keeping the drinks flowing, letting them have their conferences when they needed to debate their plans. It was an elaborate charade. We knew what we wanted, and they knew what we wanted. The trick was getting them to do what we wanted without asking. Asking was too forward, and if we asked, they couldn't let themselves accept. I oozed charm and sincerity, feeling them yield to our agenda gradually.
It worked quicker and easier than it had any right to. Maybe I was getting too good at this. We had them in a cab with us, laughing and smiling, heading back to our place, and then we separated, the comely blond slipping away with Henry, and her friend, who I now knew as Corrine, followed me into my room. In the more natural light of our apartment, I could see she was prettier than the club lights gave her credit for. She had a splash of freckles across her nose, and a very shapely body, and some reddish highlights in her hair. I didn't want to, but I didn't not want to. This was the awkward part.
She was sitting on my bed, sliding her stilettos off. I was hanging my jacket in the closet. I looked back at her. Her face was a mask, with a slightly quizzical smile. Her toes were pointed at me as she flexed and stretched what must have been aching feet.
"You don't have to do this," I began. "I don't want you to...,"
"Oh, no," she interrupted. "I know what's going on here."
"I can sleep on the couch," I offered.
"Nope," she said. "No way. You're sleeping with me. Tonight."
I was taken aback. "What?"
"I know what you are. You're the wingman. Your buddy macks on her, and you take the bullet by taking me instead. I'm not stupid."
"I didn't say you were, I...,"
"Women are a lot smarter than you think. I know the code," she said. "You're going to."
This was a twist. "What if I don't want to?"
She leaned back, crossing her legs slowly in front of her. "Am I that bad looking?"
"No, no. You're fine." She was. But something was a little off. I wasn't used to not being in charge.
"OK, then. We're doing this. Or I go knock on your buddy's door and we both leave. I have needs too. This is the only way I get anything, from taking Erin's seconds. You think girls don't have wingmen, too?"
She stood up in bare feet and turned her back to me. "Unzip me," she said. I felt ashamed, but not so ashamed that I didn't do as she asked.
From there, things progressed. She was good, but like pepperoni pizza, I've never had one that was any worse than pleasant. I had fallen asleep at some point, and so had she. I shifted my weight, and I heard her make a little mewling sound, like a cat, and I felt her burrow a little deeper into the bed. I could see her cheek and her ear where they peeked out from an opening. Her skin was flushed with exertion, or perhaps dehydration. She was cute in the morning, I had to admit that. I felt a tiny bit of sorrow. Her eyes fluttered. I wondered what she might be dreaming about.
I hoped Henry's night was more predictable than mine had been. As I laid in the tangle of sheets and limbs, afraid to move, knitting the night's events together, I wondered just who had played who.
For the IndieInk Writing Challenge this week, Stefan challenged me with "Maybe I was too smooth" and I challenged Chaos Mandy with "Shelter from the storm".