COPYRIGHT Paranoia by Joseph Finder. Copyright 2004 by Joseph Finder. All Rights Reserved. Sharing not permitted.
Part Eight: 81 (Cont'd)
"What took you so long?" she said poutily when I returned.
She was under the covers, her naked breasts visible, and she looked sleepy. A Stevie Wonder ballad—"Love's in Need of Love Today"—was playing softly on a little CD player she must have brought.
"I couldn't figure out which was your trunk key."
"A car guy like you? I thought you drove off and left me here."
"Do I look stupid?"
"Appearances can be deceiving," she said. "Come to bed."
"I'd never have figured you for a Stevie Wonder fan," I said. Truly, I would never have guessed, given her collection of angry women folk singers.
"You don't really know me yet," she replied.
"No, but give me a little time," I said. I know everything about you, I thought, yet I don't know anything. I'm not the only one keeping secrets. I put her laptop on the oak desk next to the bathroom. "There," I said, returning to the bedroom, taking off my clothes. "In case you're seized with some brilliant inspiration, some amazing brainstorm in the middle of the night."
Naked, I approached the bed. This beautiful naked woman was in bed, playing the role of seductress, when really I was the seducer. She had no idea what sort of game I was playing, and I felt a flush of shame mixed, oddly, with a tug of arousal. "Get up here," she said in a dramatic whisper, staring at me. "I just had a brainstorm."
We both got up after eight, unusually late for us hyper-driven type A workaholics—and fooled around in bed for a while before showering and going down to a country breakfast. I doubt people in the country actually eat this way, or they'd all weigh four hundred pounds: rashers of bacon (only at country bed-and-breakfasts does bacon come in "rashers"), mounds of grits, freshly baked hot blueberry muffins, eggs, French toast, coffee with real cream.... Alana really chowed down, which surprised me, for such a pencil-thin girl. I enjoyed watching her eat so ravenously. She was a woman of appetites, which I liked.
We went back up to the room and fooled around some more, and hung out and talked. I made a point of not talking about security procedures or proximity badges. She wanted to talk about my dad's death and funeral, and even though the subject depressed me, I talked about it a little. Around eleven we reluctantly left, and the date was over.
I think we both wanted it to keep going, but we also needed to get home to our own nests for a while, get some work done, go back to the salt mines, make up for this delicious night away from work.
As we drove, I found myself grooving on the country road, the trees dappled with sunlight, the fact that I'd just spent the night with the coolest and most gorgeous and funniest and sexiest woman I'd ever met.