“More than happy,” Buckram said. “Try ecstatic.”
“I grant you he’s enjoying himself.”
“And she didn’t walk out,” he told them, “and she didn’t go to the can, either.”
“What did he do, devour her? Little black dress and all?”
“You’re closer than you realize,” he said. “I think she’s under the table.”
“How the hell—”
“I’m a trained observer,” he said. “Once a cop, always a cop.
Look at the expression on his face, will you? That’s more than cheesecake.”
G O D , I T W A S E X Q U I S I T E .
The feeling of utter submission, kneeling unseen before him, servicing him invisibly, almost anonymously. And, one with it, the sense of being wholly in control.
His penis in her mouth was an iron rod in a velvet glove, so sweetly soft on the surface, so iron-hard within. She cupped his balls in her hand, ringed the base of his cock with her thumb and forefinger. He gasped when she tucked the tip of one finger into him, and she thrilled at that, and at the way the sphincter tightened and relaxed, tightened and relaxed . . .
She was in charge, and she at once played him like a flute and conducted him like an orchestra, raising the pitch, building toward a climax, then easing off, tightening her grip on the base of his penis to choke off his orgasm before it could start. Then building again, moving toward the finish, and backing off, and resuming, and . . .
There were women who hated to do this. There were women who point-blank refused to do it. Fewer with each generation, from what she heard, and girls Chloe’s age seemed to regard a quick BJ as an easy way to satisfy a man, less intimate than inter-course and not much more than a step up from a goodnight kiss.
Her own generation saw it as more intimate, and her mother’s generation saw it as unacceptably intimate.
Did her mother give her father blow jobs? Well, not now, obviously, but when he was alive? That was something she didn’t want to think about, so she forced herself, pushing against the resistance, and for a moment she became her mother and she was on her knees sucking her father’s cock.
God, if people could read her mind they’d lock her up . . .
Maury played his own part so perfectly. Not a sound, except for that one sharp intake of breath when she’d worked her finger into him. He’d been silent since then, and utterly passive, and he kept his hands above the table, not reaching down to stroke her hair, or, God forbid, holding her head in place. He didn’t need to be in control, he could let her be in control, and this was delicious, just delicious, and she could let it go on forever, but she couldn’t, not really, and it was time, wasn’t it? Wasn’t it time?
This time she let the crescendo reach all the way to the coda, and his semen spurted and she drank it down and fancied that she could feel the energy of it radiating outward through her whole body all the way to her fingers and toes. She kept him in her mouth and sucked him, but gently now, gently, and felt him soften and shrink, and she sipped the last drop from him and wiped him dry with her napkin and tucked him back into his pants. And zipped him up.
She couldn’t have enjoyed the orgasm more if it had been her own.
After a long moment she said, softly, “Is anyone looking our way?”
“I can’t tell.”
“It doesn’t matter,” she murmured, and reached to remove an earring. She got out from under the table, holding up the earring in triumph, and refastened it to her ear before sitting down again.
He looked transformed, radiant. “You amaze me,” he said.
“If anyone was watching,” she said, “they saw a woman who dropped an earring and managed to find it again.”
“Unless they’ve been glancing over here off and on for the last ten minutes.”
“Is that how long I was down there?”
“I wasn’t checking my watch, you’ll be surprised to learn. You don’t care if anybody knows what just happened, do you?”
“You even get a kick out of the idea.”
“A little bit,” she admitted. “I’m a naughty girl.”
“I was planning to take you home and punish you,” he said,
“but I don’t know if I’ve got the strength. And I’ve got a bail hearing first thing in the morning.”
“For the case we’re not allowed to talk about?”
“I’m allowed, I’m just not inclined. And yes, for my newest client.”
“I should keep you up all night and let the bastard rot in jail.
But I don’t mind an early night myself, Maury. Get the check and you can put me in a cab.”
“You won’t feel . . .”
“Unfulfilled? What we just did, I think I got as much out of it as you did.”
On the street she said, “I didn’t even tell you about my new artist. A black kid, he walked in while I was talking to you the other day with pictures of the sculptures his crazy uncle has been making out of junk he finds on the street.”
“Better than that, I think. Important. You’re going to buy a piece.”
“I’m giving him a show in the fall, and you’ll get to see it ahead of time, and we’ll pick out the best piece together. Unless you don’t like the work, but I think you will.”
“You generally know what I like.”
She squeezed his hand. “It’ll be late October or early November.
And don’t worry, I know I’ve got jury duty the beginning of October. Maybe I’ll be on your jury.”
“Your new client.”
He shook his head. “We won’t go to trial until the spring,” he said. “Maybe later than that. And you couldn’t be on the jury anyway.”
“Because I’m smart and chic and in the arts?”
“Because you knew the deceased, because you’ve already formed an opinion about the guilt or innocence of the defendant, and because you’ve enjoyed an intimate relationship with defense counsel.”
“Enjoyed is the word, all right. Also intimate. Maury? Do you think a blow job is more intimate or less intimate than fucking?”
“I think that’s your cab,” he said, and stepped to the curb and hailed it.
“I F H E C O U L D R U N for reelection tomorrow,” Avery Davis said of the current mayor, “he’d win in a walk. But a lot can happen in three and a half years. Everybody’s been waiting for him to step on his dick.”
“He hasn’t so far,” Saft pointed out.
“No, he’s handled himself well, which doesn’t surprise me, I must say. He’s the mayor now, not the head of a private corpora-tion, and he’s bright enough to know the difference and behave accordingly.”
Boasberg said, “‘Yes, I tried marijuana. And I enjoyed it.’ ”
“So? That makes a refreshing change from I never inhaled. But it’s all moot, because he’s not going to run again in 2005. Either he’ll decide he’s had enough fun in politics, or he’ll try for Albany in oh-six. Pataki’s going to win this year, everybody knows that, and four years later his second term’ll be up and why wouldn’t Mike want to trade up?”
But wouldn’t he first run for reelection and use that as a spring-board for Albany?
“He’ll have to pledge that he’s going to serve a full term. If he waffles it’ll hurt him during the campaign, and if he reneges on his promise that’ll hurt him, too. But, as we’ve been saying all evening, it’s all a long ways off.”
Everyone agreed that it was.
“Now the big question,” Irv Boasberg said. “Mets or Yankees?” Buckram laughed, and they joined him. “Naturally, I support all the local teams. It’s my private opinion that anyone over the age of sixteen who still cares deeply about the outcome of a sports event more than half an hour after it’s over is a pretty clear case of arrested development. Unless he’s on the team, of course. Or owns it.”
“You read my mind,” Boasberg said. “I was just thinking of a particular club owner, and you can probably guess which one. But he is a case of arrested development, so the hell with him.”
“I agree all across the board,” Saft said, “except when it comes to the Knicks. That’s different.”
Someone told a sports story, and that led to another. A few minutes later Avery Davis looked up from signing the check and said,
“Well, I think this was a good meeting, Fran. We’ll walk away from it with a better sense of who you are, and hopefully you’ll know us a little better as well.”
Outside, Davis held up a hand, and half a block away a limousine blinked its lights in acknowledgment. “I’m going to run these bozos home,” he said. “How about you, Fran? Can we drop you anywhere?” He said thanks, but he thought he’d like to walk off some of his dinner. “Which is one more reason why you haven’t put on weight,” Davis said.
The two other men got into the limo, and Davis drew Buckram aside. “You made a good impression,” he said. “It’s early days, but, just so you know, if the time comes that you decide to take your shot, I think you’ll find the support you need.”
“That’s very good to know,” he said.
“It’s always a consideration.”
It was, he thought. But first he’d have to figure out if he really wanted the job.
JOHN BLAIR CREIGHTON looked at his attorney, standing there with his thumbs hooked under his suspenders and his stomach pushing forcefully against his shirtfront, and decided the man looked like Clarence Darrow—or, more accurately, like the actor playing Darrow in Inherit the Wind. Well, he thought, if the man had to imitate someone, he could do worse. Darrow, as he recalled, generally won.
“Your Honor,” Winters was saying. “Your Honor, you can see how little regard Ms. Fabrizzio has for her own case. Her office is trying to imprison my client before trial because they realize it’s the only chance they’ll get.”
“Ah, Mr. Winters,” the judge said. “I suppose you feel the best way to demonstrate confidence in the prosecution’s case would be to release your client on his own recognizance.”
“That’s exactly what they should do,” Winters said, “if only out of good sportsmanship and a love of the arts. Mr. Creighton is a writer, Your Honor, and a respected one with a good critical reputation and an international readership. Unfortunately, our society doesn’t always reward an artist commensurate with his talent, and—”
The assistant DA, a deceptively soft-faced blonde, sighed theatrically. “Mr. Winters’s client is charged with strangling a woman, not splitting an infinitive. His talent or lack thereof—”
“His talent is unquestioned, Your Honor.”
“He’s charged with a capital offense,” the judge pointed out.
“High bail is hardly unusual in such circumstances.”