“You know what I would name my band if I were in a band? Cult of the Neon Santas.”
“Bet that gets all your rock star desires out of your system. Mine would be Pizza for Breakfast.”
“I love that name and having that on the menu,” I say, then take a drink of my grapefruit and vodka. “You want to know why I’m not a rock star, Chris?”
“Why are you not a rock star, McKenna?”
“It’s not because I can’t sing. It’s not because I can’t hit a note if my life depended on it. And it’s not because I can’t play a guitar,” I say, layering in a pause for effect. “It’s because I can’t stand being in a car for more than one hour. It would make me crazy having to drive all over this country from gig to shining gig.”
Chris laughs, then tucks a strand of my hair back behind my ear. “You’re funny, McKenna.”
I’m funny. He says I’m funny. I feel like Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer when Clarice tells him he’s cute. Rudolph scampers off, joyous and happy, shouting, “She thinks I’m cute! She thinks I’m cute!”
I could so fall in love with him. I could fall in love with him in a heartbeat. He brings his other hand to my waist, and pulls me in close. He’s seated on the bar stool, and I’m standing as I slide into the V between his legs, his firm thighs now on either side of me. The distance between us narrows, and the temperature rises. Like this, with him so close, I can tell how much he wants me. As much as I want him. I am turned on beyond belief, my skin is so hot, and my body is aching all over with the need to be touched, and he knows it. And just like that, the mood between us here at Circa Rose shifts. It’s no longer flirty, or chatty, or get to know you. We’re no longer a guy and girl confessing to crushes and likes. As he plays with the waistband of my skirt, his hand dipping inside, stroking the bare skin of my hips just above my panties, we are a man and a woman who want to get the hell out of here. The air between us electric, like the moments before a summer storm.
“We don’t need to shoot that promo anymore, do we?” he asks, and his voice is different now too. It’s smoky and low, and as he brings me in closer, I can tell he’s gone to the same place I’ve gone to. Desire. And then the hope that we can take this contact to another level.
“I was really hoping to see your fancy studio though,” I tease.
“It has a nice couch.”
“We could do a lot on a couch.”
“It’s ten blocks away.”
“That’s far,” I say, and I’m keenly aware of how my voice has become a ragged whisper. He has to know what I want right now. Him. His green eyes are dark, shadowed with lust and staring intensely into mine. He’s waiting for me to say more. “But I think I really want to see that couch.”
“Good, because I would really fucking love to make out with you properly right now.”
There is no option to do anything else. There is no way I will go anywhere right now, but to this studio that’s ten blocks away. I cannot conceive of doing anything else in this moment but being alone with Chris. He takes my hand, gripping it tight, and guides me to the front of the bar, then the sidewalk. In seconds flat, he’s hailed a cab.
“That’s no small feat to hail a cab quickly in San Francisco,” I say as we slide inside.
“It’s part of the guy code. All the cabbies in the world have this special alert to show up quickly when a guy really needs to be alone with his woman.”
I start to laugh, but my laughter is smothered by his lips on mine, and soon I’m grabbing at his shirt, and he’s cupping the back of my head, and we are a fevered picture of two people who can’t get enough of each other. Then the cab stops, Chris pays, and we’re at the door of a three-story brick office building that’s dark except for one light in the lobby.
“This isn’t where you shoot your show, right?” I ask as he fishes in his pocket for the keys. My hands toy with the waistband of his jeans.
He shakes his head. “No. The network’s over in the Dogpatch, near the other TV shows shot in town. This is just a tiny little studio for pick-ups, promos, quickies.” He winks at the last word as he unlocks the door and holds it open for me.
Using his cell phone for light, we walk quickly up a darkened stairwell, then Chris pushes open a heavy door that leads into a short hallway. He flicks on the light switch. At the end of the hall is a door with a white lacquered sign that reads Fish Out of Water Studios.
“Clever name,” I remark.
“Like a band name,” he replies as he opens that door and turns on the light. The space is split in two by a glass window. The studio itself is beyond the glass and it’s tiny – but even in the dark I can tell it has a green screen on one wall, a camera, and lights. We’re in the waiting area and there’s a desk with a desk calendar, a computer and pens, and the aforementioned couch.
But we don’t make it to the couch. Instead, I back up quickly against the wall and pull him close to me, my fingers tapping out a staccato rhythm on his belly.