This is the second chapter in the pending “Fall from Grace” series dealing with Phil’s sexcapades with Jeannie Robbins so be sure to read the first chapter called “Fall from Grace” which I’ve posted before this one.
Phil sat with his hands on the manuscript, ready to jump back in. But not quite. He needed an all-caps MOMENT. Fuck it. Why not make it an italicised, hyphenated M-O-M-E-N-T while he was at it? Because an unitalicized lowercase moment would never accommodate the magnitude of what had just happened. He could barely believe it himself. He definitely needed a M-O-M-E-N-T.
His first thought was that he had now joined the fifty percent of the population who’d given marriage a spin and decided for reasons [often involving a third party in a thong] that it wasn’t their thing. I mean he hadn’t officially joined it, but after the mind-blowing, earth-shattering sex he’d just had with Jeannie on the floor of Detective Redmond’s office with their uniforms strewn about, he was as good as a lifetime member. Come to think of it, divorce didn’t sound that bad anymore really. He could join the throngs tossing out the expression “my ex” willy-nilly, a group which included, to his chagrin, teenagers who’d broken up after their 24-hour anniversary. And if things went as well as they had in the past half an hour, he wouldn’t even have to brave the dating scene or go on-line; he could simply segue into a new and orgasmically-improved relationship with Jeannie, no Hotshots necessary.
Besides, considering the way Claire had been behaving lately, she might not even notice he’d gone, or at least she might not hear his upcoming divorce announcement over yet another podcast blasting through her headphones. And when she did, it’d take her all of five minutes before she was fucking off in Bohemian garb to a retreat for the superior and the enlightened. Phil wouldn’t put it past her to take a non-entitled, non-white lover and a book on the Tantric Arts along with her.
And as for James and Nico?
They were full-grown men for Christ’s sake.
What did they need him for anymore?
Oh right, he almost forgot. To financially back the JaNi MesCo. Vegan Supper Club.
Phil looked through the glass wall at Jeannie hunched over her work. As put-back-together as she was, she was still showing tiny tell-tale signs of their “tryst”, a word Phil had decided he quite liked because it dignified the passion a little bit.
Christ, Phil adored those telltale signs: the undone button on her collar, its number ever-so-slightly askew, the lock of hair that had never made it back into her ponytail, her shining eyes, her rosy pallor. The more he watched her, the more he wanted to see her out of context, out of the station. For starters, he wanted to see her in and out of pyjamas on a Sunday morning. And before he knew it, he felt a fantasy coming on. Before he indulged, however, he got up from his desk and wandered into the Polaroid Room, clamping his hands on the edge of her desk and leaning down.
“Yes, Phil?” Jeannie said, sitting up straight with her slanted smile.
“Before I go ahead and imagine us having a Sunday morning tryst in bed,” Phil whispered. “I thought I’d better double check with you that there’s the slightest possibility of that happening.”
“On what happening?” Jeannie whispered back, winking.
“On us waking up together on a Sunday morning.”
Christ, the song ‘Sunday Morning’ by Maroon Five was already playing in his head.
“Just waking up?’ Jeannie asked, picking her pen up and pinching either end of it.
“Well no, not just that,” he said.
“Then what exactly?” Her eyes glowed like crazy over the horizon of the pen she was now twirling back and forth in front of that delicious little slope between her lips and her chin. “What would you like to do on this Sunday morning of which you speak?”
“Seriously, Jeannie? You want details?”
“I need them,” she replied, bringing the end of the pen up to her lips and giving it a gentle bite. “If I’m going to make an informed decision.”
Christ, Phil had never actually articulated stuff in his imagination out loud, especially not sexual things and never in the workplace. It all seemed a bit dangerous, like, if things took a bad turn in the future, and if Jeannie should spin it like it had all come from him, he could get in some serious trouble for doing that. Then he’d be divorced and unemployed and, depending on the outcome of the situation, he could be trying to protect his nether regions from the leader of the pack in prison.
“Phil – you there?” Jeannie gave the end of her pen another nibble.
“I could get arrested for talking like that on the job.”
“For fuck’s sake, Phil. We just had sex in Detective Redmond’s office so if we’re talking about arrestable activity, that would be it. And if anything were to ever come of that, I’d be right there with you. What we had was a bona fide two-way street. How would you like it if I told you what I’d like you to do on said Sunday morning?”
Phil cast a glance over his shoulder then looked back down at Jeannie. “Go on then,” he said.
“Sit down,” Jeannie said which, lickety-split, he did.
‘So, it goes like this, Phil,” Jeannie murmured, leaning forward. “I’m half-awake and I can feel the sun streaming in through the window. I roll over and face you in the morning light –”
Just a sec. Did she say that? Cue: Helix’ Anything You Want. And, to Phil’s delight, it started playing in his head, providing the soundtrack for Jeannie’s description.
“– and there you are, watching me wake up with those lovely blue eyes of yours. As I come to, you reach out and brush the hair away from my face. I take your hand and slide it down into the covers and back up under my night shirt which you drag up over my head, following it with your kisses.”
“Christ,” whispered Phil. “And then?”
“You tell me, Phil,” she said.
Here we go, thought Phil. Arrestable stuff oncoming.
“And then, I look down at your figure. And, Christ, you’re so beautiful bathed in sunlight like that. I love the way your soft brown hair slips past your left cheek and hooks under your breast, the way your pale skin glows. I love the way you stretch your arms above your head to make room for my body. And there I am, bringing down your red lace thong –”
“The one I’m going to buy you the day after tomorrow.”
“Okay, thanks ahead then – you may carry on.”
“And there you are, bringing your knees up on either side of me, urging me in.”
“And there I am, taking you in. My hands are on your shoulders and –”
“Christ, Jeannie – I can’t do this.”
“You can’t talk it, but you can damn well do it.”
And before they knew it, they were in stall #3 in the male toilets, trysting each other’s brains out away from the surveillance cameras whilst rehearsing for all the Sunday mornings, Tuesday afternoons and Saturday nights to come. And as Phil lost himself in Jeannie’s body for the second time that night, he came to the conclusion that, when it came to crimes of the flesh and crimes of the heart, thinking too hard about something meant that it was halfway to being done. Or, in his case, all the way to being done.
Eventually, they walked back to their desks and returned to work, but not before Phil acted like a total teenager and sent Jeannie ‘Sunday Morning’ by Maroon Five from his phone, watching as she plugged her earphones in and tapped her pen on the desk in time to the music.
Before Phil dove back into the nineteenth century, he thought of Claire.
“It’s all our fault, isn’t it, Phil?”
Oh, he could hear her loud and clear.
“Typical –” she said.
And here it came – Christ, she was like a broken record –
“Typical self-entitled, white male behaviour.”
Yep. As predicted.
“Always pointing the finger at everybody else, acting like the victim when, may I remind you, it was you who decided to pull your pants down at work and take a few jabs at your co-worker who fell for you in the first place because she hasn’t yet had the pleasure of seeing you in socks and an undervest stuffing yourself silly whilst watching Naked Attraction on Channel Four.”
And there it was. It was imagined, yes, an auditory hallucination if you will. But it was an auditory hallucination based on all the things Claire had said to him lately – all the diminishing, unromantic, unsexy things Claire said to him all the time whilst partying her way through her midlife renaissance.
And that based-on-reality statement sat opposite Jeannie’s words.
‘You’re one of the best officers on the force. Hardworking. Dedicated. Generous with time with the Mistwell youth. You’re the one the rest of us look up to. Some of us want a guy with kind blue eyes and a reassuring smile like you have. Someone real. A guy with the wear and tear of an ordinary life.’
In the end, it was Jeannie’s kind language had sealed the deal.
Jeannie had made him feel bloody wonderful.
And, as a result, he’d risen in more places than one to the auspicious occasion.
Besides, how dare Claire use the word ‘jab’ because, in all honesty, he had not been ‘jabbing’. He’d been passionately thrusting, and whatever had just happened with Jeannie (which to be quite honest, was adultery, painful consequences pending) had been fucking sublime. And – also – let’s be fair – if he were with a woman who treated him like he truly meant something, maybe he wouldn’t be in socks and an undervest stuffing himself silly whilst watching Naked Attraction on Channel Four. Maybe, just maybe, he’d be in her open arms (cue Open Arms by Journey, one of the best bands of all time), putting the world to rights under the Mistwell stars. And – oh, what the hell – why not? – he went with his strobe-lit heart and with a tap and a click, sent Open Arms to Jeannie on the other side of the glass. And as he watched her close her eyes and flip the pen through her fingers as she listened to it, without a shadow of a doubt, Phil knew he’d succeeded in having a M-O-M-E-N-T and, Christ, what a M-O-M-E-N-T it had been.