“What?” Scott looked up wearily at Case, holding a crossword puzzle.

“Perfunctory: unthinking, automatic.” He said proudly.

Perfunctory, like this damn conservation. Scott closed his eyes and leaned back in the stations’ semi-worn recliner, his 24-hour shift mere minutes from completion. It couldn’t come soon enough. The hours were long but having twenty days off a month made it worthwhile. The television blared some God awful talk show, which three guys seemed drawn too, while Case read off his latest word discovery with little regard for Scott’s pounding head.

Case was Casey Loomis, his ex-Courtney’s, older brother and the reason he had a job. Their parents thought it would be cute to give their children unisex names but quickly realized the error of their ways when Case spent more time fighting on the schoolyard than actually learning in the classroom—‘Case’ it became shortly thereafter. He and Scott met when Courtney tricked him into meeting her parents only days after they’d met. Case was the only member of their Greek orthodox family that hadn’t welcomed Scott with expectant eyes…No, Case shook his head and mouthed, “You poor sap.”

They bonded over grappa shots and firemen talk. Case was a ten year vet of one the largest stations in the Atlanta Metro area and loved hearing Scott’s hellish tales of working in Marietta. He promised to let him know on any openings. Six months later, Scott was in and he and Courtney were on the outs. Luckily, Case sided with Scott but rarely poked his nose in his sister’s relationship; it was a mess. Overall, he was a decent guy, yeah he grinned a little too often and performed crossword puzzles with the enthusiasm of a prepubescent boy watching porn but there were worse qualities one could possess.

Scott pulled his head up just long enough for his bloodshot eyes to make out the time on his watch, 6:50pm. He called it a night and heaved himself to the car, exhausted. The night following his shifts were the most grueling and feeling the early stages of a head cold didn’t help matters. For the pass month, he and Monica sent every night together and developed what vaguely resembled a relationship, so he prayed she’d take mercy on him and go straight to sleep.

Without bothering to check his messages or even turn on the lights, he crawled in bed and was asleep before his head hit the pillow. The phone rang less than an hour later. He smiled a little when he heard Monica’s voice—she was whispering but it wasn’t sexy, it was panic stricken.

“I need you,” she mumbled.

He sat up straight. “What happened?”

“I have a dinner party tonight and I need a date. I would leave but it’s one of those meet and greet, couple-ish functions. Everyone is expecting me to be with someone. Scott, please.”

The ‘please’ did it. “Fine. I’ll…”

“Great!” she cut him off. “Be sure to lint roll your tux before you leave and the Town Car will pick you up in thirty minutes and bring you to The Plaza. I’ll be waiting. See ya, bye!” And just like that, she was gone. Scott had half a mind to go back to sleep but he cut his losses and headed for the shower.

He drew a deep breath as the driver opened the car door. His expertly polished shoes glistened against and red carpet and he buttoned his tux jacket as he stood to mee his escort, Monica’s assistant. He ascended the stairs under the heavy gaze of the bejeweled snobs lining the entryway waiting to have their vitiations collected.

“Who is he?” Scott over heard someone say.

“He’s someone.” Came another. “We’ll see him inside.”

I’m the person who puts your goddamn fires out! Still wanna to get to know me? He was tempted to say. His pissy attitude lightened when Monica appeared through the crowd wearing a Greek Goddess floor length gown in shimmering gray with a radiant broach affixed its single strap. Her hair was pulled up and tiny twist of curls played about her neck. She was stunning, absolutely stunning. And he wanted her badly.

“Hi, I’m so glad you could make it,” Monica said flakily and pecked Scott on the lips. “We can leave now.”

“What?” Scott hissed gallantly trying not to draw attention to his boiling anger.

Monica turned to the room, smiling. “I only came to close a deal with the Fitzpatrick’s,” she nodded to a passing older couple. “The deal is done and we can go home. I tried calling you in the car. Turn your phone on.” She tucked her arm in his and casually introduced him to the Fitzpatrick’s.

Like everything in Monica’s life, her choice of clients was maliciously well thought out and planned; each of them a step up to someone or something grander. She’d remained in her entry-level position at Morgan’s long enough to see the benefit of moving to Fleming’s while her contemporaries were fishing for position elsewhere. Once Fleming’s wells ran dry, she moved on. Dealing with her clients were no different. She used this client to get to that client and so on. However, unlike her competition, she didn’t discriminate. A rapper’s listening party at a hip-hop venue received the same level of expertise and attention as The Links at The Plaza. Her street cred runneth over and the snobs worshiped her.

Mr. Fitzpatrick was another story. She’d had to work to secure the bid to host his family’s charity fundraiser. Really work! For the last month, she’d attended balls and dinners thrown in his honor, swilled enough French champagne to constitute an intervention and run up a dry cleaning bill larger than an average mortgage. She’d seal the Fitzpatrick deal by out maneuvering her competition, The Links was the key she needed to the land of the ultra rich and Mr. Fitzpatrick was the fattest, in both weight and wealth, of them all.

The Fitzpatrick’s were an old Atlanta family whose wealth steamed from coal production. Nowadays, they were philanthropists but, through a seemingly innocent conversation with his driver, Monica found out that Mr. Fitzpatrick had a passion for his family’s heritage and enjoyed gabbing on about it. Monica, the quick study she was, dove into everything coal related and indulged him in endless conversations and even emails. Bingo, her year was set!

“Mr. Fitzpatrick. I’d like to introduce you to Scott.” She gestured between them gracefully. “Scott, this is Mr. and Mrs. Fitzpatrick.”

They exchanged pleasantries and Monica took note of Mrs. Fitzpatrick’s sudden giddiness in Scott’s presence. Yes, he attracted the attention of younger women, but now older women were jocking for position. He was beautiful, a darker haired, blue eyed Gabriel Aubry minus the gay following. He charmed the Fitzpatrick’s and, contrary to all common sense, agreed to escort Monica to his house for dinner the following Saturday. Two days away.

Why had he promised? He didn’t want to be anywhere near Mrs. Fitzpatrick, and he told Monica as much soon as they exited the hotel.

“I don’t wanna go.” He unbuttoned his jacket and crawled in the car after Monica.

“You have too, they’re expecting you.”

“No, they’re expecting you.

“They’re expecting us both,” she turned his chin to her and kissed him. “Please. We won’t stay too long. We’ll just make an appearance. Please.” She said then lazily kissed him.

How could he say no? She said ‘please’. “I’ll go,” he surrendered.

Monica laid her head in his lap and stared up at the small pot lights on the roof. “Dim the lights, driver. My friend has a headache.” She all but ordered. The light faded and she studied Scott perched against the window, his eyes closed, his hand rubbing her thigh. “How are you feeling? Long day?”

“It was a very long day. I’ve been awake for 22 hours and I feel a cold coming on. You may want to stay away for a few days.” Slowly and sensually, he peddled the silky fabric of her dress around her waist, exposing her mound just out of the driver’s line of sight. His hand slid between her legs, his fingers traced their way up to the crotch of her panties.

“What are you doing? He can see me.” Monica wiggled.

“Sshh, he can’t see. “Just lay back and enjoy.” He said as if his fingertips weren’t rubbing between her legs, gently but firmly, round and round, they caressed her. “You don’t want to be touched in front of strangers?” he asked looking out of the window.

“It’s not the kind of thing I normally do.” She pushed his hand, making a half-hearted show of discouragement. She wanted it. He was, quite honestly, the only man who could finger her to orgasm. She loved waking in the middle of the night to find his hand moving between her legs, as if even in his sleep he desired her.

His hand drifted to the waist of her panties where he teasingly slithered his hand down inside, pass her smooth mound, his fingers found her clit and rubbed it gently and rhythmically. She groaned softly in response and opened her thighs a little wider. Nonchalantly, he watched the passing landscape, his fingers still caressed her clit, over and around, teasing her, stroking her, feeling she move against his hand, his fingers traveled slowly to her slit. “Damn you’re wet.” He opened her thighs further.

She gasped as his fingertips part her labia, fondling her softly, sinking into her wetness; his fingertips slick with her juices. Back and forth, his patient fingers moved to her clit, being rewarded with a groaning response. She wanted more, but perhaps not, to be touched in full view like this, to be watched by a stranger—it wasn’t her style yet it aroused her—it felt…amazing. She wriggled again, halfheartedly, trying to escape the tender, insistent demands of his fingers, still not entirely sure she really want to stop.

“Ohhh no...please don’t... not here...” she struggled placing her hand atop his urging him on. “No...please... I don’t think I can do this...I can’t cum like this.” Quite certain the driver could hear her muffled pleas.

“I don’t think not cumming is going to be a problem,” Scott ignored her protests; his fingers were all the way inside of her panties, descending between her dripping wet lips, two fingers reducing her to a shaky moaning heap.