E. G. Fabricant
|From Matters Familiar. vignette, after infidelity was declared an Olympic sport.
He noticed her first while on the StairMaster in the hotel’s fitness room. (In truth, she may have noticed him then, too-or before. Selfish indifference and no eye contact were strict guidelines in these preliminaries.)
She staked herself to a treadmill and removed her Reebok Hipster warm-ups. Nice, he thought. Champion JogBra, Chickabiddy Retro Boardshorts, Nike cross-trainers; athletically stylish. Jewelry. Eye and lip liner. A player.
He’d claimed the spa when she emerged again, after changing. As she busied herself with a deliberate deck shower, he updated the inventory. Black mesh, high-cut Polo tank-Caesarian? Stretch marks? No breast cups; outstanding nipples. Quality salon tan, no lines. Subtle-therefore, expensive-surgical enhancements: nose, lips, gluteals. Breasts? Can’t tell; good contours. Why leave the weaker jaw line? Interesting. Above-average manicure and pedicure.
He studied the pool rules vacantly as she lowered herself into the sanitized froth. Their heads and eyes moved in non-synchronous orbits. Wait. Wait. Now. Discreetly, he tucked in his TYR Heatwaves Male Racers to accentuate his genitals. He stood, grasped the handrail and climbed, hesitating on the top step. Slowly, his eyes found her fingertips, lingered at her tennis bracelet, and glided up her arm into her pupils. Violet–real, or lenses?
She smiled, holding his gaze, but did not reply.
My contact. Your move.
She was already there, conducting business, when he met his own clients that evening. He’d confirmed the sighting by doing a men’s room fly-by, two tables away. Evening Business Utility: DKNY separates; DvF fragrance; pearl choker and matching bracelet. Gucci sling-backs. Coach briefcase. She feigned interest in her dinner partner’s tabletop electronics.
No further intelligence to be gathered through the meal, since their table was out of his seated line of sight. He disguised his slight alcohol intake with accustomed ease. His own commerce concluded with light, conversational cuddling to take the edge off the deal making. He called an end to it, got up, and walked his confreres out toward the valet desk, leaving his paraphernalia behind. He loitered politely, bid them away, and turned to see her disappearing into an elevator. Withholding judgment, he went back into the restaurant and over to his table. There it was, under his Dunhill cigarillos-a magnetic key-card, with a room number in neat cursive applied to it. Mont Blanc Meisterstuck Classique Rollerball, fine, he guessed. Game on.
To give her time to prepare the home field, he lingered in his room over his own physical pre-routine. He reviewed the relevant data in the elevator on the way up, before devising his own strategy. Thirty-one, tops–eight, 10-year difference. Five-four, in the 108-112 range. Thirty on the treadmill this morning, then a full circuit. High rep-to-resistance ratio. No cocktails and no wine on the table, that I could see.
Before knocking, he laid an ear on the door. Silence. No TV, no tinny clock radio, no imported background. He rapped twice, slid the key-card through the reader, and entered. In the half-light cast through the open bathroom door, a balmy breeze billowed the sheers away from the half-open slider. He could make out two snifters, each with an inch of Esteve Très Vieux, on the nearer night table. The only other illumination came from a desk lamp in the sitting half of the suite. He swept his eyes toward it.
She was at the Queen Anne desk, just hanging up. She regarded him briefly over her Armani readers before sliding the Mont Blanc slowly from her encircling lips and laying it on the notepad. The spectacles followed.
Ah, the old “business-to-pleasure” lead-in. Grrl Power!
She pushed back and tossed her freckle-dusted leg over the chair’s arm, dangling a Gucci off her stocking-less toes. The hip-length, crimson kimono she wore retreated, revealing a neat, rust-colored pubic triangle.
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