Authors: Anita Claire
As I pull out my running shoes, Nate picks one up. “Good,” he says as he checks out the wear. “Too many people wear the wrong kind of shoe, and don’t change their shoes often enough. It can lead to a lot of foot and knee problems.”
Surprisingly, it’s the first time he’s said anything doctor or trainer like to me.
Wearing my running pants, shirt, and jacket, I add another layer with my fleece as we head over to Nate’s. He’s chosen to live close to downtown Palo Alto in a newer apartment complex not far from where he now works. The main room is a rectangle with a sliding glass door at the end. When I walk in, to my right is an open galley kitchen that’s empty except for a fancy Keurig coffee maker, a bag of beans, and an empty oversized mug in the sink. The dining room consists of a sturdy work table with a MacBook Pro and an office chair. The living area has a TV stand with a flat screen, and a second office chair in front of it. Following Nate into his bedroom, there’s a mattress on the floor with pillows, and sheets and blankets haphazardly twisted on top. A row of boxes line the walls, along with a couple of gym bags.
“Homey,” I say with a playful smile.
“I took your advice: traveled light.” He says with a grin as he tosses the bag he took to my place on the floor. “It should look homier soon. My sister helped me pick up a bedroom set and a couch, they’re supposed to be delivering it next week.”
“Hey, I like your dining room table and chairs, they’re practical.” I say as I sit down on the edge of his mattress.
Smirking as he changes into winter running clothes, he nods as he tells me. “I doubt I’ll be throwing any dinner parties, but I’ll be spending a lot of time sitting there researching and catching up on paperwork.”
“And I thought only engineering guys were practical.”
Shaking his head at me, he says, “After our run, do you want to come back here and watch the game, or should we go back to your place?”
“My place, Cassie’s couch is much more comfortable than your office chair. Anyway, they never come back to Cassie’s after a game.”
Nate packs some clean clothes in his bag, and then we head out.
Rancho is a mad house, which is typical for the weekend. “It’s a big park, the parking lot and farm are busy. Once we get in the hills, there are a lot less people. Now for Rancho parking etiquette, just idle at the end of a row, within ten minutes someone will leave. If you drive around, you’ll never get a space.” I tell Nate.
About five minutes after we choose a row to idle in, a white SUV idles behind us. It takes another five minutes before two guys come walking down the lane and get into their car. As the red taillights on their car come on, the women idling behind us starts maneuvering her car around us.
“Oh, no she doesn’t,” I yell as I fly out of the car and stand in front of her car. Luckily, she left enough room for the guys to pull out and for Nate to navigate around her. As Nate pulls in, I yell, “You should know better. Don’t cut in line.”
Nate grabs my arm and walks me out of the parking lot, “Shit, I thought you were going to beat her up.” He says in amazement.
“Me? I’ve never hit anyone. But that woman really pissed me off. She was waiting behind us, so she knows the protocol. She just didn’t want to wait her turn. I bet she lives in Los Altos. The SUV-ers from Los Altos act so entitled.”
“I thought you grew up in Los Altos.”
“That’s how I know.”
“Do you act this scrappy at work?” Nate asks.
Luckily, Nate thinks my behavior is amusing and not psychotic. “Not yet, I’m so junior I haven’t yet learned enough of the ropes to say anything.”
We start off running at a slow pace. As we warm up and feel each other out, our pace picks up.
“Hey hotshot,” Nate says as I start picking the pace up a bit more. “Please don’t kill yourself out here. You might be only a little bit of a thing, but I still don’t want to have to carry you back to the car.”
Flashing him my annoyed look, I yell, “I’m fine.”
“Oh, I know you’re fine, how about you do this: run a little slower for me.” Shaking his head, he tries another tactic, “Juliette, how about you don’t kill yourself on the run. I have some ideas of how we can spend the rest of the day, and you bonking on a run doesn’t fit in.”
The voice of reason prevails as I choose a more gradual route that winds us around the park and up the mountain. We find a nice pace that won’t burn me out before we get back. Rancho has a lot of single track paths; Nate always makes me go ahead. We walk the last half mile as we shake out our legs.
On the way back, Nate turns on the radio to listen to the football game. I’ve never dated a guy who followed sports. Stephan followed the British Rugby league, but those games were usually early in our morning, and no one but his friends back in England cared about them. When I was in England, the rugby season was just getting underway when our relationship crashed. Anyway, Stephan considered rugby to be one of his guy things, he never included me.
Back at my place, Nate turns on the game as we put together lunch from the food we bought at the farmers market. In the kitchen, he comes up to me from behind, wraps his arms around me, and kisses the soft spot between my shoulder and neck as he says, “let’s take a shower at halftime.”
Goose bumps run down my back.
We sit on the rug using the ottoman as our table. A towel works as our table cloth. At one of the million stops in play, they flash on Cassie, along with some of the other girl friends. We both laugh and cheer. Cassie takes full advantage of her screen time.
Nate shakes his head, “I don’t think I’ve ever met two people who are as polar opposite as you and Cassie.”
“Yeah, but our friendship works.”
Knocking me with his elbow, he says, “Until she started flirting and strutting around this morning. “
Flashing him a look doesn’t’ stop him from elaborating.
“Juliette, I wasn’t born yesterday. She heard us in the kitchen; she came strutting out wearing almost nothing, and acting all flirty. Come on, when a guy isn’t around she doesn’t dress and act like that.”
Rubbing his finger down my cheek, in a soft voice, he says, “You weren’t very happy with her behavior. I didn’t miss that either.” Then he nuzzles up. “Don’t worry, I wouldn’t fuck her with his dick.” he says as he points to some random guy on TV.
True to his word, at halftime Nate grabs my hand and helps me up. “Come on, we have fifteen minutes to get clean.”
“How come I feel like clean is not the goal of this exercise.”
When we enter the bathroom, I laugh, “I take it you just want a quickie?”
Nate leans on the sink as I start stripping. He looks me up and down and says. “On second thought, why don’t we just take a quick shower then have some slow sex after the game. It will give us a chance to build up an appetite for dinner.”
Our joint shower includes us washing each other. Nate must be saving it up for after the game. When he hands me the towel, he says, “I have one request, that you wear the red T-shirt you wore at the game.”
“But that’s a short sleeved top. I wore it last month when the temperatures were in the seventies.”
“I’ll turn the thermostat up.”
Rolling my eyes, I cave. “OK.” As I head back to my room, I put on yoga pants, and dive into my summer clothing to find that shirt. When I get back to the living room the game is back on, but Nate only has eyes for me. He pulls me onto his lap so my legs are straddling his hips, his hands immediately are on my breasts.
“I thought you wanted to wait until after the game?”
“This shirt is hot.” He says as he starts kissing and licking me from my ear down to my cleavage. Taking a break from kissing and licking me, he says, “Or should I say, you’re hot in this shirt.” He then smashes my breasts together and buries his nose in my cleavage.
Giggling from his touch, “What is it with this T-shirt?”
Nate lifts his head and smashes his mouth into mine, kissing me deeply.
Pulling away, we lean our foreheads together as he says, “I just couldn’t get you out of my head after I saw you on TV last month. All my fantasies had you wearing this T-shirt.”
Laughing, I mention, “You’re missing the game.”
“Yeah, well I’ve never followed these teams, but this shirt. Take off your bra and let me see you braless in the shirt.”
Scrunching my nose up, I ask. “Really?”
Pulling the shirt off of me, he undoes my bra, throws my bra on the ground, then he grinds his face in my chest as each hand palms my breasts. I’m still laughing as he pulls away and hands me the T-shirt. Getting off his lap, I pick up the shirt, put it back on, bra-less this time, and head into my room to get my computer. Entering back into the living room, I set my computer up on the opposite side of the ottoman from him. With a coy expression, I say, “I’m checking e-mail, you can look, but I decided you can’t touch till after the game is over.” Interlacing my fingers and stretching my arms over my head, I can see him looking at me with a hungry expression.
“This is going to be a long fourth quarter.” he says staring at my chest.
“In the bathroom you were the one who was into delayed gratification.”
“Just looking at you in that shirt makes my mind conjure up some really wild things we can do.”
Looking up from checking my e-mail and project information, I smile as I point at him. “Keep fantasizing over there, buddy.”
Monday morning’s alarm rings way too early. As I roll over, Nate says, “I don’t think we have time for any sex this morning. And I have to work until eight p.m. every day this week.” As I pull on my swimsuit, he lays in bed watching me. “I don’t want to wait till Friday to see you again. Can you work in a late dinner?”
I shake my head, “Saturday you said you would be done at two but actually showed up at four. I think you’re being way too optimistic to think you can make dinner. Why don’t we just plan on a mid-week booty call?”
He just stares at me. “You’re cool with a booty call?”
I shrug, “If all I get is a booty call, no, not at all. If you show up drunk at midnight, you’re going to get a door slammed in your face. But we spent the entire weekend together. We’re both busy. Hopefully, we’ll spend next weekend together. If we want to see each other during the work week, we’ll need to be happy with a late night booty call. Right?”
“You’re way too logical. When does crazy come out?”
“Oh, jumping out of the car and yelling at the woman wasn’t crazy enough for you?”
“A guy would do something like that. When do you get all emotionally crazy?”
“Remember this conversation the day before my period. Except if you call me emotionally crazy then, I’ll probably cut off your balls.”
As I come back from the bathroom to say goodbye, Nate is getting dressed. We kiss, lips only. He saves my face from whisker burn.
Picking up his bag, he follows me to the garage. Kissing me again, he strokes my face, “This was a very good weekend.” Then he gives me a secret smile, “more than a very good weekend.” He stares at me then regains his trail of thought, “I’ll text you and we can figure out when I get my booty call.”
“It’s my booty call, Nate.” I say with a grin, as I watch him walk to his car.
Zach is not at swimming and he hasn’t texted or e-mailed. I think about what Amanda said about those guys having a one track mind. Unfortunately, Zach’s one track is work and not me.
Heading into the office, Friday feels like a long time ago. As I sit in front of my computer, I keep having flashbacks of all the amazing sex Nate and I had over the weekend. It’s hard for me to concentrate on work.
When I check texts on my mid-morning stretch around the building,
I wish I made you late for swimming.
I think you just gave me an instant orgasm.
Actually, I’m thinking I need a couple days off. I remember Kelly once telling me after one of her wild sex weekends.
“My hoo-hah is so sore and swollen it needs a vacation.”
Now I can relate.
As I head back to my desk, Buddy greets me with a very energetic crotch sniff. She must smell how raw I am. The guys ask me, again, about Luke. Not having the guts to tell them Cassie’s line that “he’s fine since he can still keep it up,” I just roll my eyes, shake my head, and start laughing. Then I get embarrassed because I flash to Cassie screaming Saturday night, and, finally, my mind lands on Nate and me listening to them while having sex.
When I get Hita’s lunch IM, I feel excited; I’m looking forward to my lunch table friends.
On the way down to the cafeteria, I check messages.
Tuesday or Thursday work for you?
I was wondering if the texts would stop once he showed up in town. Now I’m getting two in one day as I then wonder what he’s doing Monday and Wednesday. Will my hoo-hah be ready for sex by tomorrow night?
Juliette: Either night works for me- I’m looking forward to your moves.
After getting my food, I’m the last to sit down at the table. The other women are all busy talking about gifts they need to get, and what they plan to wear to the company party. Having nothing dressy in my closet, I send a quick text to my mom, asking her if I can come over and look at her dresses for our company’s holiday party.
Hita fills us in on her exciting new love life. It sounds like they spent the weekend together at a gaming convention. Megan regales us with stories about partying in San Francisco.
After listing to another one of Megan’s drink, hit an after-hours party, hook-up weekend story Caroline asks, “Megan, are you going to bring a guy to the Christmas party?
“I probably should bring a socially acceptable guy, so I’m not that sure.”
“What, the guys you go out with aren’t acceptable enough to bring to a work party?” Hita asks.
“The guys I go with aren’t acceptable to bring anywhere. I like my men tatted up and wild. I don’t think it will be a good career move if I bring a guy who gets drunk then throws 3CP0 at some storm troopers.”
“Yeah, better not bring mister drunk, room wrecker to the company Christmas party. It could be a career limiting move.” Hita says.
“What about the rest of you? Who’s going stag? Who’s bringing a guy? Kami asks as she turns to Caroline and raises her eyebrows.
I’m real curious to meet Caroline’s sort of boyfriend, after hearing all the things she’s said about him.
“I’ve already asked Jeremy,” Caroline says, “I’m not sure if he’s going. He really only likes getting together with his friends.”
“Hita, what about your new guy?” Kami asks.
“I haven’t asked him yet, but he’s a real Star Wars fan so I’m sure he’ll think our party is cool.”
“You realize HR needs a final number and names by Friday. They’ll have bouncers at the door. If you’re not on the list, you’re not getting in.”
“What about you Kami?” Megan asks.
“I’m going stag. I was hoping someone else was going stag, so I don’t have to hang out with all the couples.”
“I’m going stag, I can hang out with you.” Jessica says.
“I thought you had a boyfriend?” Hita asks.
“Last year I had a boyfriend. This year I’m going stag. I could always invite a guy friend, but I’m taking the company bus down from San Francisco, I think it will be easiest if I just go stag.”
“Juliette, have you decided between your two love interests? Are you going to bring one?” Kami asks.
“I’ve decided on one guy, and I can take him out in public. The party’s in two weeks. Is seeing a guy for one month long enough to take him to a work party?”
“Hey, half the people who bring someone just bring a date, not a significant other. So going out for a month should work.” Caroline adds.
Now one more thing to think about, I hope Nate is cool with going to a work party.
“Juliette, you decided on one guy? Which guy?” Caroline asks.
Smiling shyly, I reveal the guy. “Nate.“
“Zach got called out of town for work. Nate was in town.” I shrug and laugh. “The old bird in the hand. They’re both great guys.”
“With that smile, I think you did more than just kiss this weekend.”
My mind flashes to all of our wild sex. But this weekend was personal, and as I have no interest in sharing any of it with the other women, I maintain my coy smile and raise my eyebrows. Then looking at the other women, I say, “Absolutely under no circumstances can any of you even elude to a choice when you meet Nate. He doesn’t know about Zach.”
Megan picks right up on this, “But Zach knows about Nate.”
I cringe and nod. “He kind of asked me to wait till he gets back. But Nate was here and I haven’t heard from Zach since. Does this make me a bad person?”
Megan starts laughing, “It’s the oldest story in the book. He who’s local wins.”
“Yeah, but Nate only just became local.” I say.
“Which means Zach had over a month to close the deal. He who hesitates loses.” Megan says, as I think that Zach didn’t get really interested until he heard there was competition.
After lunch, Hita and I head to the conference room for our team meeting. Roger is in a bad mood. It turns out he attended a meeting where upper management changed the priorities and cut our deliverable date without giving us any new resources. Roger is reorganizing workflow so that we can meet our new commitments. All the guys are grumbling. Roger tells me he’s keeping me on Mark’s team, and Rajive stays with Jim. Relieved, I wonder how Rajive will deal with Jim; then I tell myself this is Rajive’s issue, not mine, so I vow not to interfere. I’m just relieved that I don’t have to work directly with Tom or Ian. Hita is working with the sports guys—Chris and Avery. I wonder if they’ll get her hooked on fantasy football.
As we walk out of the room, Mark says, “Are you cool with us working together?”
Surprised, I say, “Yeah, I thought we worked well together on the bug fix.”
Smiling, he says, “Good, I told Roger you were competent, easy to work with.”
The guys I work with are terrible at giving compliments. Calling another engineer competent and easy to work with is a really high form of flattery. A warm smile lights my face.
“One thing,” he says in a big brother sort of way. “People seem to notice that you leave kind of early. You really need to be putting in more time if we’re going to be getting this project out.”
“But I’m working almost fifty-five hours a week already. I get in a good three hours before everyone else.”
“Yeah, but most of these guys are coming in on either Saturday or Sunday. I’ve yet to see you work on a weekend. You really need to be putting in the time.”
My glow from his complement is now shot. One thing I really liked about work, over school, was that I thought I had more control of my time. No more all-nighters, the weekends were now my own. It looks like I’ll either need to give up breakfast after swimming or horseback riding, I don’t want to give up Sunday, the only free day I have with Nate.
When it’s time to go home, I head into the women’s locker room and change into yoga pants and a workout top – what I wear under my padded electric fencing vest - then carrying my fleece, I stop at the cafeteria to grab a bite. On my way out, I almost physically run into Flint.
“Juliette,” he looks me up and down. I cringe inside. Not the attire I need executives to see me in.
“do we have a yoga class now in the gym?”
“No, I teach fencing at a local club.”
“What, we don’t pay you enough? You need a second job?”
Horrified, I respond, “What, no, it’s a favor for my high school fencing coach.”
He kind of squints his eyes.
Pointing to him, and with a flirty smile, I add, “Oh, you meant that as a joke.” Internally I slap my head. This guy must think I’m a complete idiot.