In the morning Mary was shy-eyed. She flushed red over her chocolate when she and Bill were face to face downstairs changing into their uniforms. Bea had not come down yet. She made a pot of coffee and sat on her stool. She smoked a cigarette and read the racing pages just like she always did but usually after she’d changed clothes.
Bill was tired. Just plain feeling lazy. He was looking forward to some time off, even if only a couple of days. This was his first time off since he’d started at Steakhouse East. He wasn’t complaining. He was happy to have a job, a trade, money in the bank now, even a good car. He worked and worked and worked. The social life there, being in demand, was something he had never experienced before, and like the proverbial kid in the candy shop, he was eating all the candy.
Mary was different. He sensed her mood change, saw her blush, saw her continually looking away from him, even down at her feet. Finally, when he had put on the checkered pants and the white kitchen shirt, even though he hadn’t buttoned the shirt yet, he took Mary’s hand and stopped her where she was at. She had her dress on, but open, and she was sitting on the folding chair they kept nearby putting on and tying her work shoes.
“The turkeys are in the meat room,” he said. “And what’s up with you?”
“Ain’t nothing wrong with me.”
“Didn’t ask that. I asked what’s up with you?”
Bill bent over her and kissed her. As he did so, he reached inside the open dress and fondled her bosom. He kissed her again, stood up straight and looked down at her.
“You ain’t right,” he said. “So whatever it is, let’s get it out in the open.”
Mary finished tying her shoes then stood up and began buttoning Bill’s shirt. “I’m a little embarrassed about last night,” she said shyly, still not looking him in the eyes. When she finished his shirt, she started on her dress, but Bill stopped her and picked up where she left off.
“No need to be. It was cute, kind of.”
“I never did anything like that before.”
“What you mean so what?”
“You have fun? Did you finish playing with yourself?”
“Yes and yes. But it just made me horny.”
“Come on, we’ll get the work started and then we’ll come back down and make some sweet love, some soft, velvet love. We’ll scrub away that horny feeling.”
“Why you got to be so pretty?” Mary asked.
Bill was shocked and looked at Mary. No one had ever said he was pretty before. No one had ever said he was handsome. Even after he’d grown his hair long, lost more than sixty pounds and gotten really skinny, he was still not desirable, not wanted, so to speak. But then he was a broiler cook, in a power position, and all of a sudden…
Mary could see he was taken aback and was surprised. “What? You never been told you were pretty?”
“Only by the prison guards who wanted to set me up for trouble.”
“You poor baby. I think you’re beautiful.”
Bill could have cried, he was so touched. He was shocked and touched and even embarrassed. His emotional state did not know how to accept such a compliment and he wanted to bolt. But Mary began to stroke his cheek. Her hand ran over his cheek and her fingers went to his lips. She ran her pointer around his lips until finally he kissed it, then sucked it gently.
“Don’t do that,” she said.
“Why not?” Bill asked.
“It makes me hot.”
Having discovered a means to move away from a difficult spot, Bill sucked more to make Mary the focus. She allowed him to suck her finger and she finally closed her eyes and let herself enjoy it.
“You’re gonna pay for that,” she said when they were ready to start upstairs.
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