A distant, metallic clang sounded, rousing Erica from a most delicious dream. She woke with a stretch, the tension arching from her toes through her fingertips until she released it on a sigh. She blearily rolled onto her side, stretching a hand across the sheets in search of her girlfriend. She blinked in confusion, finding the other side of the bed empty and the sheets cold. She glanced over at the master bath, but it also appeared empty.
Erica yawned and threw back the covers, climbing out of bed and pausing to adjust her ragged nightshirt around her waist. She shortened her bathroom routine, swirling a bit of mouthwash around to tide her over until she brushed her teeth later, before padding down the hallway. She looked around the living room and then made her way toward the kitchen, pausing to lean against the doorjamb when she saw a well dressed figure standing near the sink.
“Carmen?” she asked, “What are you doing up so early?” She couldn’t help but eye how the slacks accentuated her curve of Carmen’s thighs, or how the rich double breasted blazer was perfectly tailored to her shoulders. Carmen grabbed the fresh pot of coffee and began to pour it into a travel mug over the basin of the sink.
“Look, I know we talked about – I just have to go for a few hours. It’s a really quick meeting, both parties have to sign and then I’m done and back home and we can spend the whole afternoon and evening together.”
Erica didn’t budge from her place against the doorjamb. “You haven’t had a proper day off in weeks! I thought we both put in for today - our day. Morning delight, breakfast in bed, all day never getting dressed, remember?”
“I did, Erica, I tried. But this is a tricky case and it needs to be handled smoothly and carefully. They really want me to finalize it.” Carmen set the travel mug down on the counter and scrambled for her purse and briefcase, double checking that she had everything she needed.
“Were you even going to wake me?” Erica asked, choking on ice, but Carmen didn’t seem to notice.
“I always wake you up,” Carmen murmured distractedly, thumbing through a file.
“In the last month you have not woken me exactly six times,” Erica countered sharply, and Carmen’s head shot up, finally making eye contact.
“You count them?” Carmen asked, and her voice was softer than Erica could ever recall hearing in the past. She looked wounded, bewildered, and Erica wanted to stroke her cheek. She stood her ground and the look faded as Carmen cleared her throat. “I didn’t realize it bothered you so much. Sometimes you come home from work so late I think it better to let you sleep. I’ll wake you,” her promise hung, unspoken.
She put the file in her briefcase, picked up her coffee and walked briskly toward Erica. She planted a perfunctory good morning kiss on her mouth, mischievously adding a quick lick to Erica’s lower lip.
“I was truly looking forward to that morning delight,” Carmen’s voice was husky as she playfully nipped her teeth against Erica’s neck, then the door shut and she was gone.
Erica pulled out a chair from the dining table and slumped into it, burying her head in her hands. Over the past month she and Carmen had both been working overtime and the stress was building. Erica knew she was feeling neglected and Carmen didn’t even seem to notice.
It was childish, but Erica had continually been picking these little fights, starting miniscule arguments to relieve the frustration building inside of her and itching to burst out. It only served to frustrate her more that the arguments never blew out of proportion. Carmen was always able to win them, to nip them in the bud, to show a little bit of sexual dominance, make Erica weak in the knees, and then make her getaway while Erica was still panting after her. It was completely unfair.
Erica smacked her forehead on the table in self-punishment and then got up and made her way to the refrigerator. From a cardboard box that once held a twelve pack of root beer cans, Erica pulled out a weight loss shake. It was one of the few secrets she kept from Carmen, and seeing as Carmen hated root beer it was easy enough. Carmen always wanted Erica to be proud of her extra few pounds, and Erica never wanted to let Carmen down. It was a vicious cycle.
Tapping her fingers on the counter top, she began to form a plan. She had a few hours before Carmen came home, and then she’d get her way. The tension, sexual and otherwise wasn’t doing either of them any good. Carmen wouldn’t be able to win this one; she’d have to submit. They could talk after, Erica smiled to herself. She picked up the phone and dialed a number from memory.
“Hello? Yes, I’d like to make an appointment for as soon as possible. Thank you, I’ll hold.”