Of course the bus was running late, it’s always running late.
It was ten in the morning on a Wednesday and I was waiting on the bus stop bench, I was trying to get to Sherman Oaks from Pacoima. The bus I was waiting for would take me down Van Nuys Blvd and then I’d take another once I got to Ventura Blvd to get to Coldwater Canyon Ave.. I was the only one at the bus stop, there were very few cars on the road, I looked down the street impatiently. The bus should’ve been there at nine-fifty-five, and it was now ten. I took my phone out of my jean pocket to check the time then I looked down the road again, more impatient.
It was cloudy and cool, fall hadn’t set it yet, it never really does in the valley, but it was trying. I ran my hand along my chin and cheeks, checking and feeling face, I had just shaved and showered so I wanted to make sure I didn’t miss a spot. I checked after I shaved but I was paranoid I’d missed a few hairs, maybe I was just nervous. There’s a weird feeling I get after I shave that lasts for about two hours after, I don’t necessarily feel better or worse or different about the way I look, I don’t really care about the way I look too much. But for whatever reason I feel vulnerable right after I shave, susceptible to something out there, I’m not sure what but I suppose it could be dangerous. My senses get on high alert after I shave, paranoid probably, of something else than missing a few hairs.
I took out my phone again, checked the time again, but this time I also unlocked it to look at my text messages. Nothing new, but I checked the last one I got:
ventura and coldwater cyn. call when u get here
It was from earlier this morning, I said I’d be there at around 11, the trip would take an hour. I thought about replying, saying I’d be there later, but I noticed the bus coming towards the stop. I stood up to put my phone away and take out my wallet. I stepped onto the bus while I was still rummaging through the bills in my wallet, looking for a single. The door closed behind me and I slid the single into the fare machine, then I dug into my jean pockets for a couple of quarters to complete the fare.
I sat by the window towards the back, there were maybe only nine people in the bus altogether. This bus would take forty-some-odd minutes to get me to Ventura, the other would be a lot shorter. I kept checking the time on my phone and my reflection on the window, making sure my face was clean and my hair was in order. The bus didn’t take as long as I thought it would to get to Ventura, it skipped a few stops since there was nobody at them and nobody wanted to get off there.
The second bus I was taking took a few minutes to get there, but I hardly noticed since I was on schedule. I was only on that bus for a few stops, four at most. There was a restaurant called Sawyer’s at the corner I got off at, it was ten to eleven. I went inside Sawyer’s and got a coffee, I looked at my phone and through the text messages again. This time I tapped on the number the messages came from and the phone dialed. It rang a few times and she picked up:
“Hello?” It was the first time I heard her voice, she sounded sweet but concerned.
“Hi, Emily? It’s David, we messaged yesterday.”
“Hi, are you near?”
“Yeah, I just got to Coldwater and Ventura.”
“Ok, I’m ready. I’ll text you the address, call when you get here.”
“Ok, see you soon.”
“Bye.” And we both hung up.
I finished my coffee anticipating to get the message with the address right away. The waitress gave me the bill for the coffee and I still hadn’t gotten a message. I got up and paid up front, then walked out, it’d been more than ten minutes since I called. There were some chairs outside the restaurant where I sat down and looked through my phone, thinking maybe I hadn’t noticed the message. I considered calling again, maybe she’d sent it to the wrong person or just forgotten while getting ready. I got up and paced a little while pretending to stretch, I was just about to call when I got the message with her address.
It was just a couple of blocks down Coldwater Canyon. I got to the front of this apartment building, 2213 Coldwater Canyon, I checked the text she sent and the number on the side of the building. The building was some kind of beige and boring looking, I double checked the number to see if I was at the right one. I kept checking the number not because I couldn’t believe this was it, my paranoia was just having a good kick at me. This was the building, I was sure, but I checked once more. I dialed her again and heard her phone ring from the speaker in my phone.
“Hi, are you here?” she sounded a bit impatient, like I’d kept her waiting or something.
“Yeah, I think so,” though I was positive, “I just got here.” I forget how long I was out there checking the number.
“Ok, I’ll buzz you in, are you by the door?”
“No, not yet, one sec,” I walked towards the door of the building, an ensemble of hollow metal bars, “alright, I’m by the door now.”
There was a buzzing sound and I snatched at the door as my heart jumped a bit against my rib cage.
“Did it open?” she asked as I pulled the door open and walked inside.
“Yeah, I’m inside now.”
“Ok, it’s unit 108, got it?”
“See you soon.” She sounded extra sweet that time.
There was this kind of courtyard in the middle of the complex, nothing too fancy, just benches and plants that would hold up if you didn’t water them for a while. The units were around the courtyard, I walked along the right said looking for 108. I passed 100 and 101 and so on, the entire place seemed kind of empty, I suppose people were either at school or working. When I got to 108 it seemed just as empty as the rest, I double checked the number and looked around, I felt silly and knocked.
The door opened a few seconds later. She was wearing a short, tight black dress, she looked good and my eyes probably went wide. Before I could even think of saying anything, she grabbed my arm and pulled me into the room. She closed the door and gave me a kiss on the lips that I wish had lasted a bit longer.
“Hi, Emily, I’m David,” I extended my arm as if to give her a hand shake and immediately recognized how dumb that was.
She gave a small laugh and grabbed my hand, “You’re cute,” and walked me over to the couch.
We sat down and I really looked at her. She had enough make-up on where she was pretty but you could still tell her age if you really looked, a wrinkle or two would seep through the layer of make-up. I didn’t really mind, her ad said 31 and I was looking for someone older anyway. Her body seemed really fit and I suddenly felt self-conscious of mine, but maybe it was just her dress and just my paranoia.
She asked if I’d brought something for her and I hurriedly stuck my hand in my pocket and took out an envelope I’d prepared at home. I handed it to her and she gave me another kiss, she got up and excused herself.
“I’ll be right back, would you like something to drink?”
I said no and she walked down the hall into another room, she walked back after a minute or so and sat down next to me again, this time closer. She crossed her legs in a way that one rested on top of my lap. We began talking, pleasantries mostly, it was brief but my nerves definitely calmed down a bit and I think she noticed. She held my hand again and we began kissing again, this time with tongue and she placed my hand on her hips. I placed my other hand on her hips too and pulled her on top of me with her ass on my lap. She made a little surprised shout and smiled, now I was getting into it. My hands slid down and we made out some more and she pulled away from my lips while sliding her hips closer to me.
“It’s time we go to my bedroom.”
I followed her down the hall and into the room she had previously gone into. It was a little dimmer than her living room. She told me to get undressed while she took off her heels and dress. I hadn’t noticed she wasn’t wearing anything underneath and I felt cold from my nervousness. I sat on her bed as she noticed me gawking and walked toward me.
She laid me down on the bed and whispered “Ready?” while she began touching my dick. We moved up on her bed so that my head was resting on her pillows, she got me hard and I could feel my heart beating. It wasn’t a fast nervous beat, but slow and heavy like a sledge hammer on a wall. My heart seemed in sync with my breadth, I would inhale and it would drop and I could feel the thud all over me. Then I would exhale and I would feel my heart climb almost into my throat.
I began touching her too, mostly her breasts. They were fake, obviously, but they were great. While I was groping and kissing her, I felt her reach under the pillow I was laying my head on. She pulled out a condom from under the pillow and I don’t know why, but I was really impressed by that. I’d never even considered putting condoms under a pillow, I wondered if she usually kept some there or if she’d placed it there when she walked in before. She opened it and began putting it on me, I considered reaching under the pillow to see what else was under there, maybe it was more condoms or something more interesting. I gave up the thought as soon I as felt her pussy coming down on my dick.
She was on top of me for a good while, we were both sweating but I’m pretty sure I was sweating the most, I could feel the air from the ceiling fan sticking to my skin. I’m not sure if she was faking her enjoyment or not, I never could tell a lie in either sense, but her feeling was all I really wanted and needed. She began slowing down and I suggested we switch, she got off me and laid down while I sat up and rolled over between her legs. By instinct, I looked right into her eyes as I slid inside her. She looked away and closed her eyes, I felt as I’d done something wrong but I wasn’t about to stop, so looked away and closed my eyes too.
I don’t know how long she was on top of me, but it was definitely a lot longer than I was on top of her. She felt too good and I just didn’t have the hips for it. The air was sticking to my back and it was getting heavy, I began feeling my heart beat slow and heavy again, but this time building up like some train about to leave the station. I figured she noticed I was close since her moaning got a little louder, or maybe I was doing something right, probably not the last one.
She wrapped her legs around me right before I came, maybe that’s what did me in. I collapsed onto her, sweaty and heavy with air, her skin on mine felt strange now. Everything feels worse after pleasure. I rolled off of her, I felt like thanking her and apologizing at the same time, but there’s no single word or phrase that expresses that. And I couldn’t figure out whether I should apologize before or after I thanked her, so I just stayed quiet and waited for her to say something.
“That was fun, I really enjoyed myself, and I think you did too.” Her voice was still sweet but just like with the air, I could feel the sound of her voice land on my skin and stick to me.
“You’re great, Emily, thank you.” I gave up on apologizing, I figured the cash was apology enough.
She reached over to her nightstand and began asking me about my line of work, she checked her phone and opened a small drawer to take out a pack of cigarettes. I answered her question while she lit a cigarette and offered me one.
“No, thanks. Not much of a smoker.”
“Does it bother you? I can put it out.”
“No, it’s fine, most of the people I know smoke. I’m used to it.”
I marveled at her for a few seconds, with the cigarette smoke floating low around her naked body. She noticed and smiled, we kept talking.
She asked me about my college days and I got brave enough to ask her about her job. We were both pretty candid, though it was more impressive on her part. All the while she kept smoking and the smoke kept hanging low. And like the air and the sound of her voice, the smoke landed and clung to my skin, I could feel it wrapping itself around me. That feel, along with the scent, got me nauseous in a way I’d never been. I wasn’t dizzy, and my stomach felt right side up, it was this buzzing feeling all over my skin. Like when your leg falls asleep and it’s just regaining its sense, but all over. I felt like throwing up, partly the sense of needing to and partly wanting to. She kept smoking and telling me something.
I waited for her to finish whatever it was she was saying, and I felt more air and sound and smoke land on me. Then I asked her if I could use her bathroom, she said it was down the hall and I got off the bed and walked over. She shouted I could use the shower if I wanted to, I said no and walked into the bathroom. I splashed some water on my face and started to hear some music, probably from her room.
My hand were trembling, the water felt too cold. I knelt down in front of the toilet and began trying to make myself throw up. At about the third try I began hurling whatever I’d eaten for breakfast, it wasn’t a lot and it was fast, I hoped it wasn’t loud. I flushed the toilet and washed my hands, then I caught myself in the mirror. Some kind of hate came over me as I stared at myself, naked. Hate, not because of what had happened or what I did or what I paid for, but because of that moment.
I never got used to my skin, I don’t know how other people did or if they were just playing it up like me. I hated that sense, feeling, always feeling something. You can close your eyes to stop seeing, or plug your ears to stop hearing, or stop some other sense in some other way, but you can stop your skin. The world just crawls all over it, how the hell am I supposed to be ok with that. And the good feel gets outweighed and outnumbered by the bad feel. For every orgasm there are a hundred cuts or burns or hits, even for the most active, solo or otherwise. That’s why I liked sleeping, it’s the only time my skin is censored. But you can’t stop it, so you minus well go for it while you can and try to feel good. I rinsed my mouth to get rid of the taste of vomit and walked out.
She was still in her room, lying in bed. I thanked her again and started getting dressed. She asked if I was alright and I said of course, I told her I was just a bit winded by her. I said I hoped we could do it again sometime and she said she’d really like that, it sounded sincere. She asked if I had her number and I assured her I did. Then she walked me to her front door and gave me another kiss while I grabbed her ass. We said goodbye.
The trip back was much the same as getting there, it took about an hour. As I got off the final bus and started walking home I decided to send her a text message.
“Hi Emily, thanks again for the session, are you available this Friday?”
She replied a few minutes later.
“Hi. Yes who this?”