We donned coats and stepped into the brisk night air. In my four-inch high heels I came past his shoulder, but just barely. Teetering bravely down the sidewalk I kept up with his strides before taking his arm as we crossed the street.
“You can leave your hand there,” he said as I was untangling myself. So I did. He was warm. And comfortable.
“I’m in this city every day and I forget to look up,” he marveled, “Those people who have reached the top level of those buildings have a very different view than the regular people. I’m very much a street-level guy.”
“I was told not to look up,” I said, “because that would mark me as a tourist.”
“Well, you’re with me, so you look up all you want.”
So arm in arm we went, block after block, me happily gazing at the beautiful, tall buildings and him unsuccessfully searching for a bar.
“I’ve never walked so far in this city and not come across a bar!” he exclaimed. “Where’s your hotel? Does it have a bar?”
I told him and confirmed that it did indeed have a bar. A few moments later we were in a taxi and headed back the way I had come a few hours earlier. He held my hand in the taxi, but not in a leering way. Not even in a way that implied any expectations. It was simply what felt right in that moment.
The drinking establishment at my hotel was a complete fail, full of twenty-somethings preening and music so loud one had to shout to be heard. We walked in and right back out. The doorman gave us two other near-by suggestions. The first was more of the same, but the second was quieter, with a private corner where we could slide and in sit close, but not too close. Drinks were ordered and served. I added water to my bourbon. He sipped his scotch neat.
In that secluded nook I basked in the moment. And while I can’t transcribe the conversation, for it would be wrong to splash things so personal in harsh black and white text across the vast internet, I’ll carry it always in my heart.
Perhaps it was the bourbon that caused my barriers to finally relax. Perhaps it was the mutual sharing. Perhaps it was him. But something prompted me to reach out and lay my hand along his cheek.
“See, I’m not so scary,” I said, referring to a text he had sent me months ago.
He leaned gently into my open palm, increasing the pressure of the caress. I pulled my hand away. Because you see, My Enigma had skirmish within himself during the time we discussed meeting. We both recognized that we had a connection, a seductive connection. One that, given free reign would flare, and burn hot and fast. But he is committed to someone. And giving into the potential passion that lurked just beneath the surface, while brilliant in the moment, would result in regret for him. So I had promised to be the gatekeeper. The one who would not let him go down the tempting path we both could see. He didn’t yet know to lengths I had gone to ensure I kept my promise.
It was time to leave. Time to walk the three short blocks back to my hotel. Another countdown. But this time it seemed so very final. We walked holding hands and words slowed for the first time. And then I stopped.
The abruptness pulled him up short. I took three steps back into an alcoved doorway, our fingers still interlaced. We stood, facing each other, and I lifted my face to his, making it plain what I wanted. He bent his head and our lips met, hungry. Mouths opened. I tasted the scotch on his tongue. He straightened, pulled me around the corner out of the glare of the streetlight, leaned back against the stone building that flanked the sidewalk, pulling me close, and kissed me again. My arms wrapped around his neck. It was a deep kiss, a storybook kiss.
“Where you really not going to kiss me?” I breathed against his neck.
“Oh, I was,” he said, “But I had planned to wait until we were at your door.”
“In front of the doorman?” I questioned.
“Not that door,” he said, his voice lowering.
“Oh… but you wouldn’t stay outside the door.”
“No, I wouldn’t.”
I tilted my head back so I could see his twinkling eyes and smiled. Here was where I would keep my promise. I had been waiting for this, unsure if I would need to be the gatekeeper until he spoke the words.
“You can’t come up,” I said softly, but with an unmistakable firmness, while my eyes swam with lust and desire.
He read my face, searching for the meaning behind the words. Understanding washed over him.
“You have a man in your room,” he said, certain, with no questioning.
“I do,” I said, “A wonderful man.”
“And he knows you were meeting me?”
“He does. And he even knows I wanted to kiss you. He understands me, in a way I haven’t experienced before. And I care about him deeply.”
“And you are going to make out with me on this street corner and then go upstairs and fuck him.”
“I’m not gonna lie,” he said with a chuckle, “That’s hot.”
The dynamic shifted. And I kissed him again, with more fierceness, letting him feel the passion I had been tethering.
“It’s my way of protecting you. From me. And from yourself. If my room was empty, I’d be very tempted to bring you up. But having him there, it helps me do what I want, for the long-term. Don’t get me wrong… it would be magical. We would explore each other’s bodies until dawn, taking turns giving and receiving pleasure. And then you would leave. But because of the regret you’d feel, you’d push me away.”
He tilted his head back against the cold stone, arms around me, my chin resting on his chest while I looked up at him, watching him look up.
“Yeah, I might,” he admitted, bringing his gaze back down to me.
“Mmmmhmmm,” I murmured, “And I don’t want you to push me away. Crazy at it may sound, maintaining a relationship with you… I’m not sure if we call this friendship… but I don’t have a better word… but whatever this is, it’s more important to me than having your cock.”
He was quiet, retreating back to the enigma state, but I didn’t push. In that moment I had all I wanted. He had opened, he was real, he desired me and I had proven I would keep my word. Not only to My Enigma, but also to myself. And the man waiting for me four floors up, who from this point on shall be known as My Woodsman, had given me the strength to be the woman I wanted to be—a woman not driven solely by passion and lust, but one who could put aside her baser desires for the good of all.
We kissed a while longer, but now with a relieved innocence. And even though his fingers did slip inside my blouse and caress my breast for a lovely ten seconds, mine never wandered past his chest. We parted, intending to say goodbye, but instead I felt myself pressed firmly against the concrete corner, his hands knotted in my hair and his breath and kisses hard against the back of my neck. I turned and he took my face between his hands, and his mouth ravaged mine, leaving me no doubt as to what could have been.
“I can’t promise,” he said, “that on some night after drinking too much, I won’t text you that I want your mouth wrapped around my cock.”
“This mouth?” I teased, offering it to him to kiss once more. He did.
“You know I won’t mind that at all,” I smiled.
“I’m gonna limp home on three legs now,” he said, grinning.
“Goodnight,” I said, as he stepped away and turned the corner out of sight.
I crossed the street to hotel, looking up at the fourth floor. The doorman did his duty asking with a knowing smile, “Have a good evening miss?”
“Why, as a matter of fact, yes,” I demurred, pretending he hadn’t been able to see me canoodling on the street corner for the last forty-five minutes.
Walking to the room, my heart began to pound. I would tell the Woodsman everything. Of that I was certain. But how he would react felt far from definite. I knew what he had said, and I believed he meant it, but I had put everything to the test. Could he truly care for me in spite of myself? Could I really be that open with someone and not be rejected? I slid the keycard in, unlocked the door and turned the handle. I was getting ready to find out.