Laura's coming out our office door as I'm coming in, and suddenly we're face to face, less than six inches between us. I realize this is my chance, one that I'll probably never have again, but I have half a second to take it or it's gone. So I grab her lapels in my fists, pull her body into mine, and kiss her hard on the mouth.
I keep my eyes open, just to make sure, and I see her eyes go wide too. She wasn't expecting this. I lick the tip of my tongue over her teeth and between, exploring the warm texture of her soft palette. I pause a moment to give her a moment to pull away if she wants.
Laura doesn't kiss me back, but she also doesn't try to move away, so I let go of her bomber jacket to wrap my arms around her waist. My right hand moves slowly up her spine, feeling her taut runner's muscles quiver under my touch. My left hand drifts down to her belt, but I resist the urge to cup her ass. I love her, I admit, and I don't want this to be over too quickly.
After nearly a minute I break our kiss and lift my mouth off her, but I keep her body pressed into mine. Not hard, you understand. She could break free if she wants. But I sure hope she doesn't.
"Neil?" she whispers.
"If you want me to stop," I breathe, "just give the word."
"What..." She rolls her eyes down to my throat, where I imagine she can see my pulse. My heart is beating so fast. "What brought this on?"
"I didn't plan this, I assure you."
Laura nods, distractedly, like she didn't really hear me. She opens her lips to speak, but nothing comes out. I watch her swallow, hard. Her mouth is so beautiful. Lips thin but round, and firmer than I'd imagined, with small white teeth. I love to watch her talk, because her bow-shaped mouth is hypnotic in its movements. She has a small scar by the right corner of her mouth, maybe a chicken pox scar from childhood. I don't know exactly what it is, and I never thought it appropriate to ask, but it dances as she speaks to me. I've wanted to give her a quick peck on that scar since I first met her, so now I do. Her skin is warm under my lips.
"Why?" she finally asks.
"Because I love you."
"Me?" Her creamy face is slightly round under a head of curls the color of sunset, and when she blushes the color is almost too beautiful to be real. She takes a deep breath between her teeth, and I feel her breasts press into me through my shirt. "Neil?"
"I thought you knew."
"I had no idea."
"Oh, Laura." I whisper her name, and the feel of it on my lips reminds me of the prayers I said at my bedside when I was a boy. "We've been bantering back and forth across our desks for nearly a year now."
"But ... but I thought..." Her wide green eyes move all over my face.
"You thought what? That I would praise your beauty and pledge my devotion just to make you laugh at work? That I would say you were everything a man could hope for just to pass the time?"
I slip two fingers through her belt loop and draw little circles on the small of her back with my thumb. "Is that what you did?"
"Um, no, but I..." She can't seem to find words.
"Do you want me to stop?" I begin to ruck her shirt tail up from her jeans, inch by inch, under her jacket.
"I don't know."
I lean in and give her a slow, gentle kiss between her eyes. "I love you," I breathe, and my breath on her skin gives her visible goose bumps. "I need you," I say, and kiss her left cheek. "I dream about you when I'm alone," I say, and kiss her right cheek. "I cry for you when you're not here with me," and I kiss her on the lips again, not so hard this time, but with the same warm urgency.
That's when I feel her arms lift. She puts her hands on my hips, and her long, light fingers are like fire through my jeans. She still seems tentative, though, like she's scared to give in to me.
I lift my mouth off her lips and press my forehead into hers. "Tell me to stop and I will," I say. "Is that what you want?"
"I don't know," she repeats.
"I only want this if you want it too. I want to disappear into your flesh. I want to get lost in your soul."
"But I don't just want to give away my body," she whispers back. Her eyes are closed and her voice trembles. "I'm not some office whore."
"No, you're not."
"I don't know what people say I am..."
"You're Laura, the woman I see when I close my eyes. You're Laura, the voice who answers when I pray. And I don't want your body, Laura: I want to belong to you."
Her hands slide around to embrace my ass. For a moment her tapered fingers lift, then she gives me a light squeeze and raises up to kiss me.
What a mouth. Her lips open so little, her teeth gleaming, and when I put my mouth to hers I feel her breath, warm and fluttering. She's still afraid, I realize, but not of me. Her feelings must be so big and so sudden; I can't imagine what she might be going through right now.
As we kiss, her hands begin to explore my back. She takes a big fistful of my shirt and pulls it up. I feel my shirt tail slide from under my belt, and she plants one warm palm flat on my skin. That's when the fear hits me too.
What have I started? Her hand is so soft, so warm. We can never go back after this is over. She rakes her red nails across my spine. Do I deserve this marvel that is Laura? One finger slips under my belt and touches the crack of my ass.
No fear anymore. I reach up to grab her jacket, and she lifts her arms just long enough to shrug it off. I drop it on the floor beside us and stick one foot out behind me to kick the office door close. Most of the staff has gone home, but you never know.
"Promise me," she says.
"Promise you what?"
"I don't know. But promise me, and I'll know if it's right."
I lean my face down so my lips just brush the cup of her ear. "I promise I'm here for you," I whisper, and as my breath puffs into her ear I feel her shiver against my body. "I promise to be yours, and you can decide what's too far and what's far enough. I promise..." I can't think for a moment. My heart is racing. I never thought this would ever happen, it was a choice of an instant, but now it's real. "I promise myself to you for as long as you'll have me."
Laura slides her head down to bury her face in the hollow of my shoulder. Neither of us moves for a moment. We're like statues. But every frightened, fluttering breath presses her further into my body, and her skin is so warm under my hands. I wait for her to decide what's next.
Finally Laura's hands slide around to the front of my body and she grasps me by the belt. "I promise you the same," she says, so soft I almost can't hear her, then she pulls me away from the door and out into the middle of the room, where we sink gratefully into the carpet.
Her blue silk blouse has big square buttons, and I take my time sliding each button through its hole. I let my fingers linger at her breasts, and just the thumbs dip into her cleavage, hooking lightly under her bra, the tips resting on her soft secret skin. She unbuckles my belt and opens my fly. We both pause in our rhythms and lean in together for another kiss. Her tongue is so warm, so firm, more even than I could have dreamed about.
Laura sits up just a moment to shrug out of her blouse, and turns to let me admire her body. Her timing is so perfect, and so is her frame. She's no rail-thin fashion model, in fact she's maybe got a little more than average on her bones, which she's hidden well under her clothes. But each ounce is in just the right place, with firm breasts and a gently curving belly, arms so smooth, muscles lightly toned by years of running.
I roll up onto one elbow and kiss her gently on her navel. She giggles softly.
"I love you," I say into her belly.
She strokes my hair with her soft slim fingers. "I need you," she whispers back.