Short story: Perfect Strangers

I wrote quite a decent number of fanfictions in my life, for different TV shows. Most of them are, to my own admission, depressing tear-jerking sh*t. This is one of the few not falling into that category. Because at times even my miserable muse needs lightness and fun.


New York City, 2010

Will has a hard time remembering a conference that looked more soporific than this one. Excepting the fifteen minutes of brilliance of some Texan lawyer with a very original interpretation of copyright law, the rest was mostly an unproductive waste of time. The only bright spot he can think of is that it’s over, and that for once he’s enough miles away from his office to not fall into the unhealthy temptation of burning the midnight oil. There is him, the hotel bar and, if he’s lucky, his favorite whisky.

And then, there is that enchanting and solitary brunette sitting at the bar.

Staring from a convenient distance, he tilts his head and takes a moment to admire her beauty. The red sheath dress with wide straps hugs her slim figure, leaving little room for imagination. Her legs are crossed a bit to one side, while her dangling foot moves restlessly up and down in her stiletto.

Quietly, he approaches her from behind, with discretion and faux indifference, then sits on the stool next to her and gestures at the bartender. “A Jim Beam. Thanks,” he orders, politely. With only a faint motion of his head, he casts a sidelong glance at the woman who’s sitting to his right. In front of her there’s a glass of Martini, almost finished, which she’s gazing at with exaggerate interest. He looks away and down at his hands as he waits for his drink, then makes his move. “What is a beautiful woman like you doing all alone in a hotel bar on a Friday night?” He’s quite positive that this sentence is on any top ten list of pick up lines to avoid when approaching a woman for the first time.

“Waiting for someone,” she answers, quietly, not gazing away from her drink.

Will peeks around. The place is desert, except for a couple sitting on a small table and a businessman staring intently at his laptop. The wired wireless is diffusing some soft jazz music.

“Mind if I wait with you?” he offers, as the bartender places the rock glass in front of him. With a weak nod, Will thanks him, then looks down and rejoices with the sight of his favorite liquor.

“No, not at all,” the woman replies with confidence, “I guess it’s his fair payback for making me wait.”

Will nods and smiles to himself, then looks back at her, eyeing her all the way down and back up. Everything in that woman, from those generous lips to her sensuous legs, screams perfection. “So… are you from New York City?” he tries to keep the conversation moving forward.

For the first time since he sat there, she finally looks up from her glass. In the dim, warm lights, her eyes shine like emeralds. Their gazes meet, then linger on each other’s features for a long moment, maybe exploring each other’s intentions.

“Nope, just here on a business trip,” she says, almost telegraphically, making his seducing job a tough one.

Will nods, then takes an inhibition-loosening gulp of his whisky. “I can’t remember your name…”

The woman smirks, her wide eyes are judgmentally fixed on him. “Because I haven’t told you?” she calls his bluff. “I’m Alicia, by the way.”

“Nice name, Alicia. I’m Will,” he introduces himself and stretches his arm, offering his hand.

She looks down, seemingly reluctant for a moment, then repeats his gesture and shakes his hand.

He likes her tight; self-confident, relaxed.

“So, what is a handsome man like you doing all alone in a hotel bar on a Friday night?” She picks his same line and he laughs up his sleeve. “Aside from trying to pick me up,” she adds.

Busted. “Releasing the stress of a rough day, I guess?” he tells her.

Her eyes are still on him, her gaze alights with audacity on his lips. There’s the shadow of a smile on her face; barely hinted, but Will notices it.

“And what do you do for living, Mr. Rough Day?” she teases him.

The pantomime is served on a silver platter and Will wonders how much awareness is there in Alicia’s question. “I’m a professor.”

Alicia raise a brow, questioningly, then smiles. “Really? And what do you teach?”

“Linguistics,” he answers, his eyes staring intently at his glass to avoid bursting into loud laughter.

Alicia’s reaction is entertaining, as she nearly chokes on her drink, then struggles to suffocate a chuckle. “That sounds… an interesting subject…”

He nods, then looks up, but still can’t meet her gaze. Instead, he focuses on the rich display of liquors in front of him. “It can be,” he agrees. When he managed to summon enough self-control to remain serious, he turns around and peeps behind them. “Looks like your someone blew you off.”

“His loss,” she acknowledges with an exhale.

He notices that her glass is now empty. “Another drink?”

She contemplates his offer for a moment, then shrugs and nods slightly. “Why not?”

“Another drink for this lady,” he exhorts the bartender.

The guy on the other side of the counter smiles, then takes the bottles of gin and dry vermouth, and with skill he quickly prepares a perfect Martini.

“Thanks,” Alicia says as he pours the liquid in her glass. “And thank you,” she addresses to Will.

“So, Alicia, I know you are on a business trip, and that your date went to shit, anything else?” he spurs on her to play along.

“What would you want to know?” she takes up the invitation, then leans forward and folds her arms on the counter.

“What kind of business brought you here?” he asks, with pretended curiosity.

“A conference. I’m a lawyer,” she gives away, her eyes expectantly on him and ready to catch his reaction.

Will winces and leans back, distancing himself a bit. “Ouch. Then I should be careful.”

Her ringing laughter fills the hall. “Nah, I’m not on duty,” she assures him with a dismissive wave of her hand, then takes a sip of her drink.

“And there isn’t any hunky lawyer in your life? Hard to believe it,” he tests her.

She stares at him, thoughtful, before whispering, “I’ll tell you a secret.”

When he bends toward her, ready for the big revelation, a thrill runs down his spine as her lips touch his lobe.

“Lawyers can be so boring,” she reveals in his ear, emphasizing her words with a decided nod.

Will stiffens in fake offense, confident that he will very soon have the occasion to belie her, for the umpteenth time, if it’s even needed. “Who would have said?”

“I know, right?” she agrees, “always talking about law, obsessed with sports metaphors and baseball.”

Will chuckles. “Thank God I’m not a lawyer, then?”

“Thank God,” she smiles seductively at him, as her eyes initiate an easy-to-read dance with his lips.

Her eloquent message doesn’t fall through the cracks, and he quickly sizes the moment. “So, are we spending the night here mulling over the misery of being both alone on a Friday night or shall we do something about it?”

Alicia looks down, takes her glass, then sips it. In her eyes there is already a mischievous sparkle. “And what would you suggest?”

“I’m a gentleman, you choose,” he bounces back.

Alicia thinks, or rather pretends to. “Well, you could teach me something of that subject of yours,” she suggests with a teasing tone.

The tie is too tight around his neck. Maybe it’s the whisky, most likely it’s the company. He pulls at the knot and loosens it enough to breathe again. “I’d be more than pleased to share some of my knowledge with you. But what will I get in return?” Everything comes with a price.

“I won’t sue you for what you’ll show me,” she whispers, as she stands up from her seat and starts to walk away.

Will turns around. He watches as she walks a few steps, then halts, expectantly and with an undeniable impatience in her smirk. He looks back to his glass and tells to himself, “Sounds fair.”

As they head for the elevators, he remains a few steps behind her. From afar, he admires her seductive walk, the way her steps tango away, the way her hips sway with mindful allurement.

When they are inside, far from strangers, it’s almost a disappointment to end this game. Though, another one is soon to start. “So, lawyers are boring, uh?” he confronts her.

“I thought you were a teacher…” she teases him, her impudent gaze fixed on the increasing numbers on the panel.

“Just for tonight.”

“Good, because you still have to show me that thing…”

He doesn’t need to be asked twice. Before the elevator reaches their floor, his mouth has already started a meticulous, hedonistic exploration of every exposed inch of her body.


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