Stride of Pride

I woke up to Peter typing away on his laptop, sitting at his little desk catty corner to the foot of the bed. Some time in the middle of the night I must have kicked off the covers, because I was lying there stark naked, legs spread, providing Peter with a very unladylike view of my body. At least I’d recently gotten a wax?
My fingers found the duvet and I pulled it up to my chest, concealing my secret garden. “What time is it?” I croaked. And sadly, not in a throaty sexpot kind of way.
“8,” Peter said.
I had to be at work by 9, and I needed at least twenty minutes to get there from Peter’s apartment. There was no way I had enough time to get to my apartment, shower and change, and make it to my desk by 9. “Shit!” I said. “I thought you got up at like 6.”
“I normally do.” Peter shut his laptop and looked at me. “But you wore me out. Decided to work from home this morning.”
“Peter, I have to be at work in an hour!”
“That’s plenty of time.”
“Yeah, if I had work clothes here. I have a cocktail dress and strappy sandals. Like, ‘Good morning, I’m doing the walk of shame!’”  I sat up, holding the duvet to my chin. “My boss is watching me like a hawk right now so that’s just great.”
That got Peter’s attention. “Why?” he asked.
I said that forgetting that Peter knew my boss, or at least knew of him. I told him about how I’d been a slacker in the assistant department lately. When I finished, he snorted. “William Bradford is such a joke, Josie. Don’t even worry about him.”
“Um, he’s my boss. So even though you may not like him because of his whole deal with Elizabeth, I do have to worry about him.”
“The things I could tell you about that guy,” Peter said, shaking his head.
“Like what?”
“I don’t even have enough time to get into them right now.” Peter pushed his chair away from his desk. He walked over and sat down on the edge of the bed. “I’ll tell you another time.”
“You can’t do that to me,” I groaned. “Tell me now!”
Peter traced the tip of his finger over my collarbone and my breath caught in my throat. “I will,” he said, quietly. He pushed the duvet cover down and slipped underneath it, covering his body with mine. He was wearing a t-shirt and boxers, and I felt how hard he was against my thigh. “But only if you’re good.” He kissed me, his hands sliding lower onto my hips.
“Peter, I have to get ready,” I whispered, even though I did not want him to stop.
Peter slipped his hands underneath me, grabbing my ass and scooping me up so that he was standing and my legs wrapped around his waist. He carried me into the bathroom and put me down in front of the sink. He gestured to a tooth brush, still in its packaging, on the counter. “Multitask.”
He turned me around so that my elbows were on the counter and he was standing behind me. It was the weirdest, kinkiest thing I’ve ever done, but Peter refused to enter me until I started brushing my teeth. He reached around and stroked me using just the pads of his fingers, soft and slow at first, then faster but still just as soft. I thought my knees would give out but he held my hips high, pressing his palm into the small of my back and telling me to arch. I almost choked on the toothbrush when I came.
After that, I really had to hustle. I threw my hair in a high bun, showered off, and fixed my make up using what little essentials I had in my tiny clutch. At the last minute, I got the idea to borrow one of Peter’s white button downs. I rolled up the sleeves and tied it in a knot at my waist. On Kate Moss, the men’s shirt/cocktail dress combo would have looked effortlessly cool. I repeat: On Kate Moss.
I made it to work on time, and Richard spit out his coffee when I walked by his cube.

“Josie, time to stop reading that Man Repeller fashion blog immediately.”

Whatever. Better he think this was just a botched attempt to make a fashion statement. Kate was not so easily fooled.

“Stride of pride?” she mouthed to me. Off my nod, she gave me a thumbs up.

I didn’t have much contact with Megan and William in the morning, so at lunch, I ran out and bought a shirtdress on sale at Banana Republic. The last thing I needed was another sensible work garment—I have quite the collection because I’d rather buy something new than have to deal with picking my stuff up from the dry cleaners. Yes, my apathy is that great.
I spent the rest of the week literally chained to my desk until 9 or 10 every night. Peter wanted me to bag the Hamptons house this weekend and stay with him in the city (he had an engagement party to attend on Saturday night, so he was stuck for the weekend). But not only was it our last weekend in the share house, we were throwing a huge party, this time to celebrate Kate’s 24th birthday. Taylor even emailed me to tell me she had hired a stripper for the big event.
“He’ll be dressed as a cop but don’t be fooled,” Taylor wrote. “He’ll say he’s following up on a noise complaint, ask for Kate, and give her the ‘frisking’ of her life. HA. I call second lap dance!”
The fact that Taylor had volunteered for a lap dance was proof that she’s never actually been to a male strip club and has instead watched Magic Mike too many times. I have been to The Cave in Philly, people! None of those guys look like the Magic Mike cast. Well, except for Tarzan, and I would cry for my mommy if a guy who looked like Tarzan tried to frisk me.
I think Peter was actually kind of surprised I didn’t cancel my plans for him. I was obviously tempted because the sex was getting good and freaky, but I needed to take this slow. I couldn’t go rearranging my life after just one two orgasms! He tried to bribe me to stay by telling me he’d give up the dirt he had on William, but I’m pretty sure I already know what it is—he’s a scumbag, hits on his assistants, yada yada yada. I could wait until next week to hear it.
On Saturday night, our ramshackle little Hamptons house was packed for the last time that summer. I was looking around at all the new friends I’d made, feeling all beer-teary and sentimental, when ‘Officer O-Face’ charged through the door. He was wearing dark glasses and a hat, and he was enormous. His shoulders looked like two muscle-y ham hocks.
“Kate Nelson, identify yourself!” he demanded. Someone turned the music off and the room went silent with fear. It was like everyone was having flashbacks to that obligatory high school party that had gotten busted and gotten them grounded.
“Ummm,” Kate said in a timid voice from the center of the room. “Present?”
I looked at Taylor and we covered our mouths with our hands, trying to silence our laughter. “Present?”
‘Officer O-Face’ told Kate to take a seat. A circle formed around Kate in a chair. I stood on my tippy toes, but Richard was in front of me, and all I could see was Officer O-Face’s back, standing over Kate in her chair. He called for someone to turn the music up, and then he ripped open his shirt. The crowd cheered, and Richard and his friends groaned.
I put my hand on Richard’s shoulder and pushed him aside. “Move!”
“Easy, tiger.” Richard stepped aside. When he did, I saw the stripper’s bare back, the blonde hair that tumbled almost to his shoulders when he tossed his hat aside. I knew who it was even before he turned around to stick his sexy ass in Kate’s face. But I didn’t have enough time to get out of his eye line before that happened, and suddenly, I was face to face with Grady.

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