What a project.
We'd worked together for about six weeks, mostly in a compact command post set up in a fish-bowl conference room at our main supplier's offices. Freelancers all, we each had our areas of expertise, with some overlap, and we all knew the complexities involved. We were a fairly diverse bunch: four men from their twenties to forties, and one thirty- something woman.
It was a job worth big bucks, one key part of a larger project worth many times more. The idea of a missed deadline doesn't exist here -- like a moon shot, you go when the planets line up or you don't go. It was especially challenging because so much depended on production teams outside our direct control.
What a blast. Under pressure your options are to cave or to thrive, and we weren't cavers. Designing workflows that cover a wall, then seeing items filled in and ticked off as the million-dollar train approaches, provides a rush like a drug.
If the people mix is wrong it can be a chore and a headache. But when it's right, it's camaraderie squared. Bantering, bickering, inside jokes, shared meals and miseries, all tempered with professional respect, make for what the army calls 'unit cohesion', and we had it.
When you're going a thousand miles an hour, and accelerating as delivery nears, you don't think about the sudden stop at the end. One day your world is four walls and a drop-dead date, the next you've successfully put yourself out of a job. Mixed with the pride there's a real sense of loss -- your team will never exist again. There'll be other jobs, other groupings, but this family is history.
Except for the wrap party...
"Hey, honey, another round here!"
The party started, as many do, at a bar. The five of us -- me (I'm Tom), Randy, Mike, Bill and the lovely Megan -- were on the loosen-up rounds, the ones before the serious drinking. We'd been fairly abstemious during the project, but there was no reason to hold back now.
I can't say there hadn't been any indulging. I'm pretty sure a little Peruvian marching powder got sniffed on some of those 15-hour days. I've been off that for years, but I don't think Megan needed to do her makeup quite that often. And Randy's been known to relax after work with some bud. I guess that makes us a cross-section of the population.
While we weren't exactly amateur partiers, we were out of practice. That night the booze tap was on and we were getting raucous. Bill was a fount of industry war stories and knew how to tell them. You know when there's one group whose outbursts are particularly loud, the cheer a bit hearty? That was us. Don't hate us for having fun.
Let's go around the table. Me (Tom, remember?), I'm an average guy in his 30s, in reasonable shape but hardly cut. Medium height, brown on brown -- you wouldn't pick me out of a crowd. Married but not too much.
On my left is Mike. He's a big guy, buff and dirty blond, a little younger than me. His size alone seems to attract women. He's also a charmer, the way garrulous Irish dudes often are.
Bill is, well, nondescript isn't being unkind. He's the oldest of the bunch, mid-forties and inexorably losing his shape, his hair and his color. Great guy, mind like a trap and a non-stop wit.
On my other side is Randy. Randy's not in any danger of losing his color, which he'd be the first to acknowledge with a grin. He's our youngest, maybe 26, very creative, with a good eye and a talent for drawing. And if rumor can be trusted, with the package black men are known for but few actually have.
Across from me is Megan. You know I'm going to spend a little more time on her, right? I mean describing her. Mind out of the gutter, dude.
Megan is a hottie. Thirty-two, five-five and I'd guess 125 lbs, pale skin, with hazel eyes and collar-length dark red hair. Never married as far we knew, no boyfriend, no girlfriend either -- we did speculate -- so there was a story she hadn't shared.
She always dressed conservatively, but she couldn't hide all her charms. Maybe not an hourglass figure, but pretty damn good for thirty-two. Nice rack, probably a C cup, with a butt two clicks short of bubble. Definitely a Betty.
Now, a crew of guys working together is going to have some crudity. We weren't being dogs, but nothing was off the table. Of course we started out cautious because there was a woman in the room, but Megan quickly set the tone by cursing like a teamster at one of our suppliers. After that it was anything goes.
Our work atmosphere was flirty but not overtly sexual. We had a job to do and while we could have fun, there were limits. Not to say we didn't have our fantasies -- I can only speak for myself, but I know how guys are, and so do you. And I didn't just imagine the sexual tension, we all felt it, but it never boiled over. Now here we were, and liquor was loosening the lid.
"Hey Meg, how come you never wear like jeans and a sweater? You're so stuffy in jackets and slacks and that shit. We don't get to see that hot bod. It's not fair." This was Mike, mister diplomat.
"Bite it, Mikey. If I wanted to strut my stuff I'd be a stripper, not an account exec." Megan could give as good as she got.
"I bet you don't even own anything sexy."
"If I do you'll never see it. I could be wearing flimsy silk underwear for all you know. But hey, I wouldn't be surprised if you're wearing a thong -- mucho machos like you are all overcompensating, right?"
"Nope, tighty whiteys. I'll show if you will, Meggy. C'mon, give us a peek." As Mike reached for his zipper, Megan snorted, pushed back her chair, grabbed her purse and wandered off.
The rest of the us had been talking sports while those two needled each other, but Megan's exit shut us down. "Mike, what the fuck? Did you just make her split with your bullshit?"
"No way, Bill. Just a piss call, you'll see. Besides, she wouldn't go home without taking me, would she?" Mike's infectious grin took the edge off his braggadocio.
We fell back into guy talk, and after a while I looked up to watch Megan work her way back through the tables. I felt a little like a voyeur. She was a fine woman, and I wasn't the only one who noticed. She was swaying a little, but still managed to slap away an errant grope. Men.
Her eyes were brighter as she plopped back down. I knew that look. Even 10 years off blow, I remembered the one good thing -- it let me get stinking drunk and still maintain. But oh, when the bill came due, you paid and paid...
"Meg -- doing OK?"
"Sure Tom, I'm great. Great. So we gonna talk or drink here?"
We did both. Another round and Bill was fading. I wasn't far behind, and my inhibitions were right there with me. I caught Megan's eye, raised a questioning brow and tapped the side of my nose. She caught my meaning and nodded her head with a jerk toward the restrooms. No one noticed.
"Right back, guys, too much ice in these drinks." I stood a little unsteadily and made for the rear. A second later Megan got up too. "Good idea, tinkle time." This caused a woo-hoo from the rest. "Don't fall in, girls! And no dishing!" Oh, ha ha.
The restroom corridor was empty. I leaned against the wall as Megan caught up. "You can tell?" she asked warily.
"Yeah, but only because I used to do it too. I'm sure those guys are too busy looking at your chest to notice your pupils."
"Those fuckers. Guys are assholes." She was slurring a little -- good thing she lived just up the street, because no way was she driving. "Leas' you're a gentleman." Gemmin.
As she said this she leaned into me but misjudged the distance. As I reached to steady her she fell right at me, so I ended up with my arms around her as she pressed against my chest. "Whoopsie, sorry. God, I hate a sloppy drunk and now I are one."
I hate me a sloppy drunk too, but a pair of firm tits and there goes my standards. Did I mention she's great looking and sexy as hell? Yeah? I thought so. Why wasn't this one taken?
"Nothing a little tune-up can't cure, at least for a while. Got a taste for me?" I asked. As we disentangled, my hand stroked her breast, an honest accident. Honest. She brought out a small vial and a tooter from her purse. Ah, memories.
I waited for another patron to pass, then took one on each side and felt that familiar tingle. Megan did the same, then again. Apparently not a rookie. She got a thank-you peck on the cheek, and I hit the head with renewed energy.
She was back at the table before me, and Mike had started in again on the subject of her wardrobe.
"Ah, you know jack. I've got lots of other clothes. A closetful. I can dress for business and I can dress for... not business. I got church clothes and party clothes and dance clothes and..." Megan was oiled up, and motor-mouth had set in.
Randy interrupted, getting into it for the first time. "But Meg, we're at a party now and you're not wearing party clothes."
Megan gave him a narrow look, the kind that lets you know drunk logic is at work. "We came right here. Didn't change. But I got 'em."
"Oh really? Can you prove it?"
Prove it. The challenge was laid, the glove cast down. "OK, mister Randy, I live right over there..." -- an arm swept vaguely toward the north -- "... and thass where they are. You don't believe me, I'll go change and you'll see. Party cloze," she concluded smugly.
"Aw, Meg, you're too wasted. You go home now and we'll never see you again. C'mon, we'll all go. You can show us at your place."
Megan was indeed more wasted than us, which was odd considering her fortification, and she couldn't find the right way to deflect that. So she just said, "Fine. Fine. Go to my closet. I'll show you."
There followed a confusion of polishing off drinks, settling the tab, finding coats and totes. Bill begged off, so we poured him into a cab. The rest of us set off down the block at a merry reel to continue the party at Megan's. Fortunately there was a liquor store along the way.
The fresh air had revived and steadied us by the time we got to her building. We managed the two flights to her floor, but as she found her keys she had an attack of regret. "Uh, guys, I'm not really ready for visitors. If I'd known, I'd have straightened up. It's kind of a mess."
Mike answered for us all. "Meg, you're talking to men here. 'Straighten up' -- what's that, Russian? I don't recognize the words."
She shrugged and unlatched, leaving us in her wake as she moved in for some quick housekeeping. Hell, Mike was right. No pizza crusts or Thai cartons, no beer cans or underwear on the TV -- it was Martha fucking Stewart compared to a typical bachelor pad. After some fussing about it looked like my mother could stop by.
We shifted the seating into a circle and settled in: Mike in the lone chair, Randy on an ottoman, and Megan and I on a small sofa. What you call a settee, if you're Martha F. Stewart. We popped some of the beers we'd picked up, and eased back.
Randy asked if he could twist one, and Megan found an ashtray. It felt like college again, with a joint going around and a longneck in every fist. I guess this was my night for regression. I should have known that the youngster would have da kine -- two tokes and I was halfway toast.
So was Megan, who got animated and feely. Everything was funny, and with no real thought we drifted hip-to-hip. Another few minutes, another toke, and she unselfconsciously snuggled against me. No complaints here.
Mike couldn't stand it. "Hey, Meg, you remember why we came over, right? You were going to show us how you aren't all button-down and pinstripes. So where's the party duds?"
Megan stretched and groaned, "Ok OK! Give me a few minutes. Put on some music." She stood, with a little help and a little grope, and headed to her bedroom. Mike found her docked iPod and started scanning for tunes. Once he got it going he poked through her CDs as Randy and I told lies and swapped jokes.
A minute later Mike let out a soft whistle. "Uh oh. Guys, you are not going to believe this. Holy fuck. Jesus. No wonder Megan doesn't have a steady. Look." He held out a stack of polaroids -- yes polaroids, still the safest way to take snaps you don't want lingering on memory sticks and hard drives.
We glanced nervously toward the bedroom door, which was open just a crack, as we crowded around Mike's find. And what a find. There was a dozen or so, each one showing Megan naked and engaged with multiple partners of both sexes. Let me repeat that: multiple partners, both sexes. Naked. To quote Mike, "Holy fuck."
Here was Megan on all fours with a cock at each end. Here she was licking the slit of a gorgeous blonde, and here was the blonde returning the favor. This was so at odds with our professional Megan that I almost wanted to look away, to erase this new knowledge and go back to the innocence of an hour ago. Almost. Instead I flipped to the next snap.
And whoa. Maybe I'm just naive, but I don't usually imagine my friends having butt sex. That's probably very last century of me, but it's what it is. And yet here was my lovely friend Megan with one in the bush and one in the tush. Megan being DP'd -- oh man, now I really wanted to turn back the clock. I didn't need to know any of this. My eyes were probably going to burn out now.
We quickly stuffed the photos back behind the CDs where Mike had found them, and reclaimed our seats. Of course we were as stiff as donkeys, so we started reciting boxing stats and horsepower ratings to distract our little heads back to normal. It helped, some.
But then Megan made her entrance. It hadn't been a lie, she did have 'party cloze'. She was dressed in black for dancing, with a mid-calf skirt and a silky spaghetti-strap top that fell nicely across her obviously unencumbered breasts, complete with pokies. If you hear a noise it's me biting my lip and clenching my jaw.
Mother Mary, what a set of legs. All these weeks and not a glimpse, not a hint what she was hiding. She gave a quick spin to flare the skirt, and couldn't quite stop at 360. She had the dancing spirit, but the flesh was weak. She laughed and tumbled back onto the sofa, tucking her legs in and snuggling up to me again. Uh-oh. Megan was as high as a fucking kite. First the booze and coke, then the beer and pot, and now she'd obviously dipped back into her little vial while changing.
"So now do you believe me? I'd say this qualifies as non-business, right Mike? Can you picture me out clubbing in this?" We could picture a lot more than that, in a lot less than that. Pictures. Oh christ. My cock was back to full mast and it didn't help having Megan, blissfully unaware Megan, practically draped over me.
"Oh, you started some music. Randy, is this your mix?" she asked as I slipped an arm around her to make us more comfortable. It felt very natural, to both of us I guess, because her head found my shoulder and her eyes drifted closed.
Randy replied, "No, Mike found them. Found it. The music. You have my tastes, though." He was having trouble adjusting his position to hide the bulge in his jeans and for a second I flashed to those rumors.
"Mmmm" into my shoulder was Megan's only comment. Conversation paused as we retreated into our heads. Megan might have been trashed, but none of us was exactly straight. My thoughts were just where your own are now, and my superego was still down on the landing. Those polaroids, the sight of Megan in party regalia, and the scent of perfume mixed with the unmistakable aroma of an aroused woman pushed me into what-the-hell territory. I went for it.
The arm around Megan became a hand on Megan's breast. Cupping and fondling Megan's breast. I slid my hand under her top to tease a nipple. This was a moment of truth: I'd either get whacked or get lucky. Mike and Randy saw it all, in fact couldn't look away if they'd wanted.
"MMMMmmm!" Just the response I was hoping for. Her nipple tightened and she squirmed around to give me access to the other side. Bonus! I was in. No one spoke, but we knew -- we were all in.
With my free hand I stroked her leg, gradually moving toward the inside and pushing her skirt so the guys could see. I kissed the top of her head -- god, she smelled great -- and she raised her face to mine, eyes still closed, still purring. As our lips met she opened like a flower, moaning in lust and thrusting her breasts in time with her tongue.
My leg hand -- as I thought of it -- had reached a fork in the road, to find that Megan had forgone more than a bra. All of us now knew what parts she waxed. As we continued kissing, I caressed her outer lips and toyed with her few remaining russet curls. She responded by stroking down my chest to my slacks, then clasping at the thoroughly engorged member encased therein. She copped my johnson, all right? Plain enough?
The other guys had to be content with stroking their own trousers, as the scene unfolded along with Megan's legs. Breaking our lip-lock, I whispered, "Meg, I've got to have you, right now. Shouldn't we take this into the bedroom?"
She opened her eyes, now bright with passion. "Yes. Find a bed."
"What about the guys?"
She gave a smoky glance at Randy and Mike, then lowered her eyes and said something I couldn't catch. "What's that, Meg? I didn't hear you."
She looked up with a hint of defiance. "Fuck them."
"Fuck them? Or fuck them too?"
She bit her lower lip and nodded a little shyly. "Too."
I don't think any of us could have imagined it, not in our fantasies, not even in dreams. It looked like this cool professional woman, our gorgeous friend and respected colleague, was going to fuck us all.
"Meg, I have to confess -- we saw the pictures. Your polaroids. Mike found them over by the CDs."
She gazed at me deeply, not shocked or surprised, but with an old, old look. "I know. I saw. I wanted you to find them. To know me." That crack in the door -- it worked both ways. 'Put on some music'. Man, any time you think you'll outfox a woman. And I realized now that Meg wasn't acting quite so drunk any more. Oh.
No more needed to be said. I hefted her into my arms and kneed the bedroom door open. I always did like a dramatic gesture. Then I slid on a throw rug and she splayed onto the bed. Look, I never said I could pull off those gestures. At least no one got hurt this time.
She raised her arms so I could slip off her top. I'd just seen pictures of her boobs in diverse positions and gravitational influences, but this was live and direct. I took one in each hand and knelt to suck on them.