A pomegranate martini later, I am touching his hand lightly, buzzed by the playful banter that only lets loose when I start to speak in French, when I wrap the scarf around my face, pretending it is a mask for Halloween.. maybe. Pretending he will use it to entice me, tease me, tempt me.
I order another. He does, too, reaches for his wallet and suggests we take our refreshments from the bar to a pair of plush chairs next to a glass fireplace–cozy with its fire, cold as fits this chic, antiseptic lobby where two strangers meet, exchange names only now. Jean-Paul meet Sylvie, we could say, and Jean-Paul has become increasingly attractive throughout the conversation, not the least because his leg keeps rubbing against mine. I remember things I have not thought in years, thinking in another language as I am while I flirt with him now. I roll through the endless possibilities of French verbs, stunning myself by what I remember of their nuances, by what I might say.
I want in not a small way to find him nice, to find him sane, to enjoy this conversation. I am thinking of room #504, a room with a tub first and foremost, a room with plush towels and space, turned down sheets on a king size bed, peace that I am feeling an increasingly desire to disturb as he so cleverly claims to see something in my eye. I know what he is doing, let him do it. He is so close that I can feel his hot breath on my neck, his brown eyes close to mine, his skin sizzling, about to ignite.
I tell him I can stay for only an hour.
He is already asking me if I am free on Thursday.
The desire becomes overwhelming. He is from Lille, and I have never been there. I am from here, no, not originally I answer… I have been all sorts of places, but he wants to hear my stories of Chevrolets and shooting beer cans off of fence posts. These are words I never learned. We switch into English, and now he is the bold one.
I think briefly about regret: regret at my own voyaging life that ended abruptly. Years slipped by… not wasted years, but a path I never expected, and the turns away from some things I loved. I want him, want his adventures and his stories, want to hear him beg me for a fuck in French. I am laughing younger now as we switch back to his language, tease, talk about life, about books, about all the things I can never say in English. I wonder if it is not the language itself that now is seducing me as much as he is.
I turn to leave, and he walks with me toward the entrance. In room #504, Jean-Paul would undress me slowly. He would talk as we slow the moments, delicious, his kisses covering my clothing, each inch of skin bare, bared. Hours and hours. He walks near me, his steps dangerously close to my sharp heels. He stops me by the elevators.
“Pour toi,” he pulls out the chocolate from his pillow. “Un treat.”
He unwraps the chocolate, dark and silky, and puts it into my mouth, then kisses me, first soft, then fiercely, his hands combing my hair, pulling it. I plant my hands on the wall behind me, I am so dizzy. His tongue swirls through my mouth, sweet darkness, his coarse face scratching, agonizing, enticing.
A jeudi, alors? I pull away, wet and flustered. Yes, Thursday. Thursday. Perhaps.