William Quincy Belle is just a guy. Nobody famous; nobody rich; just some guy who likes to periodically add his two cents worth with the hope, accounting for inflation, that $0.02 is not over-evaluating his contribution. He claims that at the heart of the writing process is some sort of (psychotic) urge to put it down on paper and likes to recite the following which so far he hasn't been able to attribute to anyone: "A writer is an egomaniac with low self-esteem." You will find Mr. Belle's unbridled stream of consciousness here (http://wqebelle.blogspot.ca) or @here (https://twitter.com/wqbelle).
The One-Night Stand
Ann sat bolt upright. She grabbed the edge of the blanket and yanked it back, exposing the other side of the bed. It was empty. She reached out and ran her hand over the wrinkled sheet. It wasn’t cold, but it wasn’t warm either.
“Tony?” She listened carefully. “Tony?”
Hopping out of bed she threw on her robe. Ann tied the sash around her waist, sliding her feet into fluffy slippers. Still, the apartment was silent. She headed down the hall toward the bathroom. Glancing about she pulled the shower curtain back. Nothing.
Ann walked back down the hall and stopped in the living room. It too was empty. Turning around she stepped into the kitchen, hopeful, but nobody was there. Heart dropping she went to the apartment door and glanced at the floor mat: there was only one pair of shoes.
Shuffling slowly back to the kitchen Ann sat down and stared off into space, her hands resting limply in her lap. Little by little her eyes welled until spilling over, leaving a wet trail down one cheek. She took a deep breath and sighed heavily.
Her cellphone vibrated from the counter. Ann didn’t move. The phone vibrated again, and she turned toward the noise as a third vibration sounded. Picking it up, she glanced at the screen. Opening her messages she looked at the list of names. Helen’s was at the top.
Ann hesitated before reading the expanded message: So? Is he still there? Is he as hot in bed as he is in person?
She wiped at her eyes with her free hand, sniffing. Using two thumbs she texted back: I just got up. He’s disappeared. Ann lowered the phone to her lap and exhaled slowly. Her shoulders slumped.
The phone rang. Almost without thinking she pressed the answer button and held the device to her ear.
“What do you mean he’s gone?” came Helen’s voice, sounding exasperated. “Did he leave a note?”
“I didn’t see anything. Then again, it’s not like I leave notepaper lying around.”
“Did you check your desk?”
“No,” she said, hopes rising. “Let me go look.”
Ann got up and walked again to the living room, examining the computer table in one corner. “Nope. I don’t see anything.”
“Nothing on the side table by the bed? Nothing in the kitchen?”
“Nada.” Ann sat down heavily on the couch.
“Why’d he run off? Did you scare him?”
“Helen, he was fabulous. It was the best sex I’ve had in a long time. Last night, I was so into him I thought I was going to scream. God, when he went down on me—”
“Helen, he was hot. He was really hot. I thought he was into it; I thought he was into me. At the bar last night, and in bed, he seemed to like me. No … he seemed to more than like me, he seemed to be into me as much as I was into him. I thought we clicked. It was lust at first sight.”
“So, what happened?”
“I don’t know. It was late, and we were both pretty exhausted after our hot and heavy marathon. We didn’t talk much afterward, but fell asleep in each other’s arms. I was vaguely aware of him getting up in the middle of the night to go to the can, but I was so deliciously unwound I slept like a log. I didn’t wake up till now. That’s when I discovered he had gone. At first I thought he might have got up to go to the bathroom or to the kitchen to make coffee, but I checked. His shoes were by the front door, but now they’re gone. He’s left.”
There was a moment of silence before Helen said, “That bastard.”
“He never said anything about needing to work, but maybe he had to be someplace this morning. I don’t know.”
“That bastard,” Helen repeated.
Ann leaned forward, propping her head up with one hand, elbow on her knee. “I feel pretty stupid right now, Helen. This is like that Matt guy two months ago. That shithead comes over, has sex, and then disappears, never to be heard from again. What the fuck is wrong with guys?”
“I’m sorry, Ann.”
“I end up feeling so cheap. Shit, it’s like those horny idiots only want me for one thing.”
“When am I going to learn? I shouldn’t do this on a first date.” Ann sat back on the couch. “Unfortunately, I get horny and what? Can’t I have fun like everybody else? Can’t I have fun like a guy? What the hell is the matter with me wanting to have sex?”
“Why don’t we get together for a coffee? Let’s talk this through.”
Just then there was a noise in the hallway and Ann turned her head. “Sure ...,” she strained her ears. “I guess ...” Somebody was definitely trying the lock. “Just a sec. I think somebody’s at the door.”
She gripped the phone by her side as she walked to the door. The sound of jingling keys came from the hall. Unlocking the door she pulled it open. Tony stood in the middle of the hall, fiddling with a ring of keys.
“What do you want?” She looked at him coldly.
Startled, he dropped the keys. “Oh. Darn. You’re awake,” he mumbled as he bent to retrieve them.
“Yes, I’m awake. And you left.”
Tony smiled. “I wanted to surprise you.”
“You did surprise me. You left.”
“May I come in?”
“Those are my keys,” Ann said, still seething. “Why don’t you hand them back and we can call it even?”
“Yes.” She fixed him with her coldest stare.
“Oh, I get it. You think I’d left for good.”
“You had left.”
Tony stepped forward, leaning in to kiss her. Ann turned her head. He paused before kissing her cheek instead. “I can’t leave yet. I haven’t had my quota of cuddling.”
“What?” She gave him a sidelong glance, suspicious.
Reaching down for something out of view, Tony revealed a tray. “I got us coffee. I still have to find out how you take it, so I came prepared for any combination: milk, cream and half-and-half, along with regular sugar, brown sugar, and sweetener. Plus, I have two bagels: one sesame- and one poppy-seed. You pick first, and I’ll take whatever is left. Also, I brought both butter and cream cheese so you can have either. Or both, if you want.” Tony raised the tray and grinned. “Have I made you an offer you can’t refuse?”
Ann looked between him and the tray. “Well ...”
He slid one arm around her waist. “I thought last night was pretty special. I think we clicked and I want to know more about you. So, how about inviting me back to bed, sharing the goodies I bought, and cuddling? Why don’t you tell me all about Ann, and I can tell you something about Tony?”
When she didn’t respond he brushed his lips across her cheek. “Well?” Bending down he whispered in her ear. “I’m not the type of guy to run off. I want more. I want it all.”
A tiny voice sounded from below. “Ann? Ann! What’s happening?”
Startled, Ann brought the phone up to her ear. “Got to go. Call you later.” She ended the call with her thumb. “Come in,” she said, stepping back.
Tony moved into the apartment as Ann closed the door behind him and locked it.
“It was my plan to sneak back in, take the top off one of the cups, and gently blow the smell of fresh, steaming coffee at you. I wanted to be the first thing you saw when you opened your eyes.” He clicked his tongue and shook his head. “Oh well, there’s one lost surprise.”
“Oh, I’m surprised,” she called over her shoulder as she walked toward the bedroom. “You’re redeeming yourself.”
Ann kicked off her slippers, propped her pillow against the headboard, and climbed back into bed. As he unbuttoned his shirt, she watched Tony closely. He noticed and smiled slyly, seductively pulling part of his shirt off one shoulder. He paused before letting it fall to the floor.
She looked him up and down. Jesus.
Tony undid his belt and slowly pulled down his zipper, puckering his lips.
Ann smirked. “My coffee’s getting cold.”
“Right,” he grinned. Hurriedly he stepped out of his pants before pulling off his socks and underwear. Climbed into bed he placed the tray between the two of them. “Now, tell me how you take your coffee.”
“Two milk, no sugar.”
He removed the lid from one of the cups and prepared the beverage, holding it up when done. But as Ann reached for it he pulled it away. “I want a kiss.”
“Oh?” She stared at him suspiciously. “I have to pay for my coffee?”
She took a breath. “Okay.”
“I enjoyed last night,” he said, leaning over. “I enjoyed you.”
Ann stared into Tony’s eyes. God, he is gorgeous. “I enjoyed you, too.”
Tony kissed her deeply, sensually. He held the kiss for what seemed like an eternity before breaking away and sitting back up. He handed her the coffee.
As he took the other cup from the tray, Tony playfully bumped his shoulder against hers. He held his coffee up, and the two of them toasted with their paper cups. He smiled. “Let’s see where this leads the two of us.”