Not saying girl
“Oh, bloody hell!”
He really should have just used the computer, but despite a flurry of sponsored training sessions, Stanley had remained a pen and paper man. Forcing himself to calm down, he pressed the C button on his calculator and started entering the figures anew. He forced himself to do it slowly, meticulously verifying his list before entering each new series of digits, and when he finally pressed Enter, he was gratified to see that the number flashing up on the small slate-coloured screen matched the first total on his list.
“All that effort, and for what?” he sighed.
Suddenly, Stanley felt bone-weary, and it took all his self-control not to fold his arms atop his desk and lay his pounding head on them for a five-minute kip. There was no time for that.
“Indeed,” a low-pitched voice purred in his ear. “All that effort, and you could do so much better with it. You haven’t in a while. In fact, we haven’t. Don’t you miss me, Stanley? Don’t you miss… yourself?”
Stanley’s tired eyes turned upwards, and there she was.
“Lita! What are you doing here?”
“Stanley!” she exclaimed, mocking his tone of surprise. “What do you think? Surprise!”
She was looking very fine indeed, Stanley immediately noticed. Her long black hair was styled in two shiny plaits that slithered down her shoulders to rest on her pert little breasts. Her skin was dark, and her hand against the pallor of his wrist provided such a sharp contrast as to make him uneasy. She was wearing dark-tinted glasses that had slid partway down her small nose to reveal near-black eyes that were sparkling mischievously.
“No, really, what are you doing here?” he said.
“I just popped by to see how you were faring, and whether you’d like to come home with me?”
She looked good enough to eat, Stanley thought. She was wearing a new dress- a sliver of black fabric that must have cost an outrageous amount- and he longed to run his hand along it’s side-slit, up her firm thigh, to see if she was wearing any underwear. It had been a while since she’d visited him at the office.
Still, he wasn’t happy to see her. He was too busy to see her.
“Lita, I’m sorry, I can’t. You have to go. I don’t have time for you right now,” he said, putting a hand on her arm to soften his words’ intent.
“Oh come now,” Lita replied, taking a step back. “You haven’t had time for me in weeks. I’m getting restless. A girl needs to get some occasionally, Stanley, and I have to say you haven’t been very good to me. Sometimes, I feel I might as well go and never come back, for all you’d care.”
“No, Lita, I… Look, now’s a bad time. Come back after this afternoon maybe, and I’ll- we’ll…” Stanley paused and mopped his brow, looking around him. If anyone came in here now, they’d think he was quite mad. “Look, Lita, just come back later. I’ve got a big meeting. I don’t have time for games. Later. Okay, Lita? Later? Tonight, at home?”
But Lita was gone, and the door to his office hesitated only for a second before banging shut as he heard the sound of her high heels click-click-clicking away down the hall. Then, sounding quite far away, the clicking stopped and Stanley thought he could almost hear the sound of a quiet, feminine sneeze make its way to him, followed by an irrepressible giggle.
He flushed, and promised himself that he’d make it up to her later. He gathered up his things in haste, and it was his turn to disappear down the corridor.
The meeting had gone well, but that would mean additional work for Stanley. Impressed by the figures he had amassed, his boss had decided to put Stanley in charge of the Okron account, patting him on the back and telling him to “go get ‘em, tiger!” It was a great opportunity.
Stanley was pleased, as this would mean another big step in winning that promotion he’d been lusting after, but he also realized he’d have to put in around ten more work hours a week at the office for the next couple of months. Ten more hours, when he was already working around seventy. Where would he find them? Stanley felt certain he could swing it; he had a few friends, which he had neither called nor seen in weeks, and his hobbies… well, he didn’t really have time for hobbies, but he’d work around that.
Just thinking about it, he felt a vein begin attempting to pound its way out of his temple.
“About time you got back!” Lita’s voice floated to him when he shut the door. “You’re a bloody workaholic, you are.”
“I’ve been working. I have to, you know,” he answered, hanging his coat on the hook behind the door. Lita’s, he noticed, was already there. “Sorry again about earlier, love, it was a very busy day.”
“It’s always a busy day for you,” came Lita’s reply. “One of these days, Stanley, you’re going to have a heart attack. You need to slow down. You never have any time for me.”
Something smelled delicious. Stanley poked his head into the kitchen where Lita was, and his nostrils widened to welcome in the smell of a hearty, well-seasoned stew. It was a familiar aroma; the components were pre-packaged, and all one needed to do was empty the contents into a cooker and let it- appropriately enough- stew.
“You know that’s not true. I’ve just been busy with work, and besides, you know you shouldn’t just turn up like that. I’ll be fired! A pretty lady like you…” he went up to her and put his arms around her tiny waist. “A pretty young thing like you, all the guys’ll be jealous!”
Lita giggled and spun around, away from the slow cooker, and pressed herself to him.
“If you’re not careful, I might decide to run off with one of them, y’know!”
“Don’t you dare, Lita-Lita, you’re mine!” He gave her a kiss on the lips, and then pulled back, bringing a hand to his forehead. “So what’s for supper? I’m starved. The day I’ve had…”
Two bowls of stew were served up. Lita had wine with hers, Stanley a beer, and the long-awaited moment where he could take off his tie in the comfort of his own home was bliss. He finished off his stew without a word, and then had a second helping.
“Stanley,” Lita said after they’d finished with the meal, the plates put away and the dishwasher started up, “Stanley, notice anything different?”
He looked at her. She was wearing that tempting half-smile filled with promises of pleasures untold. The black plaits were gone; Lita’s hair was swirling down in waves that looked like black rapids, and the light dusting of freckles on the bridge of her nose was almost erased by the evening’s dim lighting. A long flowery frock that made her look like a virginal maiden had replaced her black vamp outfit.
“You got a new dress? I like it. It suits you.” His eyes twinkled and he broke into a tired smile. “Makes you look chaste and sweet. Kind of girl I could marry one of these days.”
“Oh, pfft,” she frowned, “like I’d ever agree to marry you!” But his smile was contagious, and she was sporting one of her own when she spoke again. “I’d much rather have the pair of us live happily in sin.”
“So what’s new, then?” Stanley asked.
“I,” Lita’s hand rose dramatically and fluttered to her temple where it lay like a small, blind dove, “have caught a cold.”
“Lita, you’re hardly ever ill!” Stanley said.
“Well then,” Lita said, cutting him off with another small, mischievous smile, “fine. I’m hardly ever ill. But today, I can just feel that I’m coming down with a cold. Nothing serious,” she teased, “it’s just a tickle in the back of my nose. It’s made me feel sneezy all day.”
Stanley swallowed hard. For some strange reason, Lita’s hormones always ran wild when she had a cold. And before he had become so absorbed in his work, his had, too. This was a common interest that had helped to cement their relationship, in the most delightful way, from the very beginning.
“I know what you want,” he told her.
“Then give it to me, Stanley,” Lita singsonged. “You know you want to give it to me. Come on baby, be my one and only… do it to me right now.”
Knowing only too well how to convince him, Lita brought her hands up to her face and looked pained. Her curiously symmetrical features slackened expectantly for a moment, and then she rolled her coal-dark eyes before shutting them fiercely, her head propelled forward by the force of a sneeze.
“Ah- tish- ah…”
“Well…” Against his best wishes, Stanley felt himself begin to harden down below.
“Do you need more convincing?” Lita inquired, raising anew the hands she had temporarily lowered. “Hup- tish- ooh…” Satisfied by the growing bulge in his pants, she sniffed heavily and sat back in her chair. “Oh Stanley, let’s. Come on…”
“Lita, I can’t,” he sighed, frustrated in every possible way. “Look, you know I want to ‘give it to you,’ you know that. But work… I’ve got work to do for tomorrow…”
“It’s always work with you!” Lita’s ire flared, and a flush rose to her cheeks. It only took a second for her tone to switch from playful seduction to resentful hurt. “We haven’t done it in months, you and me. Months! And for what? Oh, you used to love spending time with me. Mornings, afternoons, nights…” She closed her eyes and sighed before continuing. “Where did it all go wrong, huh Stanley? When did your ‘work’ start being more important than your real interests? More important than me? Oh, Stanley, Stanley, I’m hurt! I’m really hurt. And I even went and caught a cold for you. A sneezy cold. A sn-eeh- ehh- epp-shuh…”
Stanley shook his head, miserable. “But I’ve got another meeting tomorrow, with the head guy from Okron. I’ve got to polish off this proposal in time. I’ll barely get to bed as it is, Lita, I’ll… Look, I’ll make it up to you. One of these days, we’ll have ourselves an all-nighter again. Like in the old days. Okay, Lita-Lita?”
Lita’s voice was no longer simply reproachful, it was harder than nails. “You think you can make me believe that you want it, Stanley? Make me believe that you’ll be true to your word? And I’m so gullible, so stupid, that I’ll fall for it again. Well now, one good lie deserves another, don’t you think?”
In a curious re-enactment of that afternoon, Lita stalked off. Her sandals made pad-pad-padding sounds on the steps until she had fled beyond his hearing, presumably to the sanctuary of the bedroom.
“Lita, I’m really sorry,” he called out, but the only answer he obtained silence. Stanley’s shoulders hunched.
Sighing, he went to get his briefcase and made his way to what he liked to think of as his study, but which was really only a barren-looking lounge with a computer stuck into one corner, looking curiously out of place among the rest of the wood-and-chintz furniture.
He stayed there until three a.m.
It felt as though gains of sand lined his eye sockets by the time Stanley finally felt he was going to pass out unless he went to bed. He trudged up the stairs, brushed his teeth, emptied his bladder- he hadn’t even noticed he was bursting- and shed his work clothes like a used skin. Lita was nowhere to be found, and she didn’t deign to answer when he tried calling her. Maybe she was sulking in the spare room; Stanley was too tired to go after her.
Slipping naked in between his rumpled bed sheets was bliss. For three hours every night, he could lay his fevered body to rest and be dead to the world. He was edging towards that ephemeral line in between reality and dreams when Lita finally resurfaced, shaking him awake, pressing her naked body against his.
“Oh, you bitch,” Stanley groaned, not quite angry but definitely annoyed. “I’m trying to sleep. I need to sleep, Lita, or I’ll die.”
“You might as well be dead, Stanley, the way you’re living. Three hours sleep every night. No time to clean your house or to see anyone. Slow-cooked stew the only thing you eat. No time for you or for me. Is that what you call living?”
“Yes. Now will you let me sleep? Please? Lita-Lita, we’ll talk tomorrow, I promise…”
He rolled over away from her, but Lita wasn’t having any of it.
“My cold’s gotten worse, Stanley. Hear how stuffed up I am?”
And Stanley could. Despite his best intentions, he couldn’t help but notice that Lita’s last sentence had sounded like, “ear ow sduffed ub I ab?” and it excited him tremendously.
Lita continued. “In fact, my nose feels so stuffy and so tickly that I feel like I really need to sneeze, sneeze and sneeze just to clear it, just to feel better…” she paused. “Would it make you feel better Stanley? Ah, but I feel one coming just now. Oh, it’s tickling, my nose is really- reeah- ah- ah- ah- tish- uh…”
“Lita…” Stanley groaned, but he knew it was useless. He knew she meant well.
“Stanley, you’ve got to relax or you’ll explode. It’s not good Stanley. Unless I’m the one who’s ex… eh- tish- ooh… exploding.” Lita’s voice sounded deliciously wicked, a siren’s song to Stanley’s ears.
Not feeling so tired anymore, Stanley got up. Or rather, got it up. Lita was delighted, pressing her body to his, kissing him, occasionally letting out a thrilling little sneeze against his hot skin.
Suddenly, Stanley was like a demon, a fiendish whir of activity. He pinned Lita down on the bed and climbed aboard her, worshipping the moonlit outline of her body. She squealed in delight, and then sang,
“Oh Stanley, do it to me good, do it like you should, like you said you would, do it to me right now…”
“I will! You’ve had it coming.”
“Hup- tish- ooh…”
That sneeze, that perfect little sneeze, put even more fire in his blood. It was as if his previous fatigue had never existed. He kissed her lips, her throat, her breasts, running his tongue along her nipples, forcing a little groan of pleasure out of her. Steadying himself, he aligned his member with her opening and slowly thrust forward, sliding into her, the small noises they made seeming to slide against each other and then mingle.
Lita was murmuring, “Take me higher and higher, oh Stanley, yes…”
And take her higher, he did. She was moaning stuffily, sniffling intermittently as he thrust in and out of her, exciting him tremendously. Even better was when she sneezed, small explosions, “huh- tish- uh…” on his chest. He could feel the sneezes land on skin, cool mist against his scalding heat, reverberating inside his chest as if he’d been the one delivering them, and he loved it. Time after time.
When he finally came, his penis giving a few definitive spasms inside Lita’s warmth, he could have sworn she’d had no less than two orgasms. And sneezed about ten times. She did it right before he climaxed, too, making the peak he experienced absolutely magnificent. He groaned loudly, a sound of pure animalistic pleasure, and let himself relax against her, tiredness rushing around him once again, stronger than he’d ever felt it before.
He couldn’t help it- he collapsed, his entire body feeling like it had been pumped full of lead. Stanley couldn’t move no matter how hard he tried, but luckily, no complaints were coming from underneath him. In fact, all that lay underneath him was a wad of sheets with a small wet patch. Wordlessly, Lita had gone again, her bare feet thump-thump-thumping against the carpet down the hall.
A small smile formed on his lips as he listened to her leave. Lita… A few seconds later, Stanley was snoring, alone in his bed.
He was awakened by the sound of his mobile phone ringing close to his head. Groggy, he lifted a hand to pick it up off the night table, and winced at the pain in his shoulders.
“’Lo?” he whispered.
“Stanley!” a voice boomed at the other end. His boss! “Where are you? Mr Fingle from Okron is here for your meeting, and you’ve not turned up. It’s been fifteen minutes; are you stuck in traffic?”
Stanley sat bolt upright and looked at his clock. Eight a.m. He’d overslept! Then, his vision blurred around the edges and the room swam around him. He lay back down, and only then did he notice how dry and sore his throat was. He couldn’t breathe through his nose at all, and his entire body was a mass of aches and stiffness. Giving a small cough which hurt him more than it should have, he said,
“I’ll be there, just give me…” another cough, “give me twenty minutes.”
“Stanley, are you all right?”
“Fine,” he croaked, “just fine, just give me-“
Stanley’s throat ganged up on him, and he couldn’t finish his sentence he was coughing so much. His head was pounding and he was suddenly ice cold and shivering.
“Stanley, are you all right? You don’t sound very well. Maybe I could get Andrews to step in for you.”
“No!” Stanley shouted. His voice came out barely above than a whisper. Andrews, that new trainee suck-up who would soon have a better office than Stanley’s if he kept on putting in the hours. His boss had had him training the fiend, and Stanley had been scared from the start by the promise he saw burning in Andrews’ bright blue eyes. “I’ll be there, just hold on. Don’t give it to Andrews.”
“Look, Stanley, I’ll get Andrews in on this meeting. He’s been working with you on this, he knows the client almost as well as you do. He’ll be fine. You’ve really been putting in the hours lately, and frankly, a lot of us feel you could use a bit of a break. Especially if you’re ill, and by the sound of it, you definitely are. We all noticed you looking a bit flushed during yesterday’s meeting; maybe it wasn’t just nerves. And it can’t be easy for you, what with Lita leaving and all the…”
Stanley ceased to hear.
Lita leaving? But she’d been there just last night…
Suddenly, his room seemed unbearably hot, a veritable oven, and he threw back the covers, sweltering. There was no one tucked in there with him. And there were several dry, stiff patches on the sheets.
Of course she hadn’t been there. She hadn’t been there for months. And then, it dawned on Stanley that Lita hadn’t- couldn’t have- caught a cold last night. He was the one who was sick! He must have been running a very high fever indeed…
“All right,” Stanley replied, feeling very small and vulnerable. “Maybe I should take the morning off. I can come in around- heshhoo!”
His boss cut him off right after the sneeze. “Bless you. Oh, Andrews is here. We’d better get started on this meeting; Mr Finkle will need to get back to Okron eventually. Stanley, tell you what, it’s Thursday, why don’t you take today and tomorrow and come back bright eyed and bushy tailed on Monday? A couple of days’ rest would do you good.”
He’s right, Stanley thought. Besides, it’ll give me a chance to get caught up on some of that paperwork. Out loud, he said, “Right. I’ll do that. Thank you. Tell Andrews to bring the blue folder on top of my desk to the meeting; it has those figures from yesterday in it. Maybe he could bring the red one, too, I’ve been working on some new ideas in my spare time. And also, he can start on the-“
Again, his boss cut him off. Stanley could hear the smile in his voice. “Stanley, I order you to relax and get well. And if you do any work before Monday, you’re fired, got that?”
The conversation ended, and Stanley closed his eyes. Hot, fevered tears coursed down his cheeks. His nose felt ticklish and his throat swollen, and for the first time in months, he had the luxury feeling sorry for himself.Stanley put his head on his pillow again, promptly drifting into deep, deep slumber. He had weeks of sleep to catch up on and set about tackling this task with his customary ambition, entirely unaware of the wistful smile that found its way to his face as he dreamt of Lita.