The Table by the Window Ch. 02

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One Week Later

“Rough day, kitten?”

Sarah looked up from the piece of paper she’d been scribbling on for the last half hour, not surprised to see a smirk on Abel’s face. “I quit my job.”

“Congratulations. Too bad they don’t serve wine here, I’d buy us a bottle.” Abel dropped his bag on his half of the table, sliding into the seat across from her. An eyebrow arched up at her lack of response. “Problem?”

“I quit. My job.” Sarah said the phrase again, slower, leaning forward and over-enunciating each word. “I’m unemployed.”

“I’m sure a busy little worker bee like yourself has money set aside just in case something happens. Although since you are unemployed, why are you still wearing your spinster clothes?”

Sarah threw the pen at him, surprising them both. “I wasn’t concerned with what the hell I was wearing when I quit the only job I’ve ever worked at. I was concerned with not causing any more of a scene than I already was.”

“You caused a scene? Forgive me, kitten, but I highly doubt it. Although you are working up to a minor one right now.” Abel picked the pen up out of his lap and slid it back across the table towards her. His fingers tapped on the scarred wood surface, his eyes sparking with curiosity. “But if you want to tell me all about it, feel free to.”

“It was stupid.” Sarah sat back in her chair, rolled her shoulders. She could feel her face settling into a pout, even though she knew it was ridiculous. “Mr. Brown decided that the best way to reprimand me for not answering the phone on the first ring was to call the firm’s main line for an hour.”

“I’m not sure I’m understanding you. You didn’t answer the phone on the first ring, which I’m assuming is firm policy. So instead of actually working, your employer spent an hour prank calling his secretary, ensuring that neither one of you got any work done?” Abel shook his head, his hair falling into his eyes briefly before he shook it back out. “You’re right, that is stupid.”

“Why you–.”

“Maybe I should clarify. Your former employer is stupid. The man’s, what, eighty? He should have retired a long time ago, or at least before you started working there. He wouldn’t have spent the past seven years alternately making your life hell and pinching your ass if someone had forced him to retire.” Sarah widened her eyes in surprise, both at the length of his speech, and the contrast between his words and his expression. His tone of voice was its usual mocking self, but there was more than a flicker of anger in his eyes. “I still say you should have slapped him, at least one good time.”

“Yes, because I’m going to get another job with a battery charge on my record.” Sarah uncrossed her arms, resting her hands on the table. One restlessly spun the pen while the other tapped on the wood, as if she couldn’t quite sit still. “I could take a month off. And it shouldn’t be that hard to find a secretarial position. Maybe I can get on at the university.”

“Or maybe you should do something that you’ll actually enjoy and that doesn’t force you to wear clothes from the 1800’s.” Abel pulled his phone out of his pocket, tapping on it rapidly while Sarah rolled her eyes. Finishing, he put the phone on the table, leaning forward, grinning. “But just out of curiosity, what color underwear are you wearing, kitten?”

Before Sarah could answer, Abel’s phone vibrated across the table. Whatever message flashed on the screen made him grin even wider. Standing up, he shoved the phone back in his pocket and slung his back over his shoulder. “Come on, kitten. I want you to meet a friend.”

Without giving her a chance to answer, he grabbed her hand and tugged her to her feet. The coffee shop was less crowded this week, and Sarah caught the smirk one elderly man sent in their direction. When they were out on the sidewalk, Sarah said, “People are going to start suspecting.”

“Suspecting what?” Abel pulled on her hand, and she did her best to match his pace. They were headed in the direction of Abel’s loft, although Sarah was pretty sure that wasn’t where they were going. When he dragged her down a dogleg alley, her suspicions were confirmed.

“That we’re doing something besides playing cards.” She thought about taking her shoes off, but that would have meant taking her stockings off as well, and something told her that Abel was too impatient for that at the moment. “They probably think we’re engaged in some torrid affair that requires us to meet in the coffee shop before rendezvousing at some cheap hotel.”

“First, I’d like to think we are engaged in a torrid affair, but without any of that nasty guilt that happens when you go behind someone’s back.” Abel stopped in front of a door that looked like something Jackson Pollack would have painted, giving it a sharp rap with his free hand. “And second, if we were rendezvousing, we wouldn’t leave together. But you do get points for creativity and imagination.”

Before Sarah could respond, the door was flung open, and a kurtköy escort bayan tall, rangy man posed dramatically in the doorway. His gray eyes flicked over Abel for the briefest of seconds before sweeping to Sarah. His hair was as long as Abel’s, but a rich, dark blonde, a shade before brown. Arching well groomed eyebrows, he laid one hand over his chest and sighed. “Abel, darling, what have you brought me?”

“Inspiration. Let us inside, Joseph.” Abel pushed Sarah in front of him, and Joseph angled his body so that she could walk past him. “And Joseph, her name is Sarah. Try and remember that.”

“Such a nice, wholesome name. Darling, you said you had the answer to all my problems. I have one week before my show, and I’m still missing my major theme.” Joseph shut the door behind Abel, planting his hands on his hips. The ends of his scarf fluttered violently around his torso as he stalked forward, coming to a stop in front of Sarah. “She’s pretty enough, but I don’t see how she’s going to bring me out of my artistic slump.”

“Kitten, take a seat while I explain to Joseph what he’s apparently too blind to see.” Abel paused, his mouth curving up in a half smile. “Or maybe he’s gotten so used to looking at men that he’s forgotten what a beautiful woman looks like.”

Sarah raised her own eyebrows briefly before settling onto something that was supposed to be a couch. She assumed it was a couch, although she had never sat on anything quite so uncomfortable. Whoever thought plastic was a good idea for this should be shot. There was no way anyone would be taking a nap on this. Although maybe that was the point. If nobody was inclined to nap, nobody would be inclined to stay.

While Abel and Joseph held their consultation in furious whispers, Sarah scanned what she could see of the space. From what she’d gathered, Joseph was some kind of artist, and based on what the walls showcased, his medium was photography. Scooting to the edge of her seat, she began to absently flip through one of the portfolios on the chrome and glass coffee table. After a few pages, she reevaluated Joseph’s specialty from photography to erotic photography.

Her flipping slowed, finally stopping at one print. She tilted her head left, then right, then left again. It might have been the Kama Sutra, or it could have just been complementary yoga poses. But it looked really, really uncomfortable.

She turned another page, and changed her mind. That looked uncomfortable.

“Kitten.” Sarah looked up from…whatever she was viewing to find Abel smiling that half-smile at her. “It’s not nude–the studio is a little too middle class American for that–but it’s close.”

“No wonder you asked me what color underwear I was wearing,” Sarah murmured. Rising to her feet, she walked slowly around the room, paying closer attention to the photos on the wall. They were dramatic, beautiful in their starkness and simplicity. She came to a stop in front of one, tilting her head to the side as she examined it. Turning on her heels, she crossed her arms over her chest, studying Joseph with the same scrutiny she’d given his work. “What do you think?”

“I agree with Abel–the suit is horrible. I won’t know about the rest of you until we get you out of that monstrosity.” Joseph tapped a finger against his mouth, tapping his foot to the same internal rhythm. “There’s potential. And the fact that you didn’t bolt as soon as you saw what was in that book makes me think there’s more to you than meets the eye.”

Sarah turned back to the photo on the wall, giving it one long, last stare. “I’ll do it. When?”

“Now.” Sarah glanced over her shoulder at Abel, now leaning against the door, ankles crossed lazily. “Since we’re here. And you’re now one of the unemployed.”

“Very funny.” Sarah rolled her shoulders, spinning on her heels. “Alright. Let’s get started, then.”

“This way, if you please.” Joseph opened a set of double doors, flinging them open dramatically. Abel sauntered in, obviously at home in whatever space this was. Sarah followed at a slower, more cautious pace, coming to a halt at the threshold. Now this, this was more like what she had expected.

Gone were the plastics and the glass and the chrome. The carpet was thick, almost shag, but not quite, and the most amazing cream color. Even as she looked over the rest of the room, part of her mind was wondering how anyone kept a carpet that color so pristine. There was a variety of furniture, all heavy wood and lush, red fabric, not velvet but something close to it. The windows were floor to ceiling, the same fabric that was on the furniture flowing from the valence to pool on the carpet.

One corner held a selection of props, hats, umbrellas, fans, masks, and who knew what else. The one mirror in the room was obviously an antique, the glass slightly smoky with age, the mahogany frame glowing. The only true modern thing that Sarah could see in the room was Joseph’s maltepe escort bayan photography equipment, and a quick glance at it told her that she had a better chance of winning the lottery than figuring it out.

“Alright, kitten. Time to get you out of the clothes.”

Sarah blinked, then smiled shyly, the words a reminder of the week before. Crossing to the center of the room, she came to a stop in front of Abel, both of them wearing the same half smile. His fingers had undone only two buttons when Joseph spoke up.

“Stop. Just like that.” There was a series of flashes, and when her eyes cleared, Sarah became aware of Joseph standing to her right, at the very edge of her vision. “When I tell you to stop, just freeze.”

“I wasn’t part of the deal.” Abel didn’t look angry, more amused, and Sarah bit the inside of her cheek as she dropped her eyes. “This is going to cost you, Joseph.”

“I’ll pay the price. If you could see how the two of you look together.” Joseph made some gesture that Sarah caught only part of, and Abel undid another button. “I’ll apologize when we’re done.”

“Be sure that you do,” Abel murmured, coming to the end of the buttons. He held the two edges of fabric in his fists for a moment, waiting until the flashes stopped before pushing it off Sarah’s shoulder, letting it drop to the floor. Sarah watched the small movement in his throat as he swallowed, and flushed at Joseph’s whistle.

“I take that back. I apologize now.” The flashes were less bright this time, or maybe Sarah was just getting used to them. “I should hate the fact that you’re always right.”

At Abel’s urging, Sarah lifted her arms, the thin silk camisole gliding over her skin like a whisper. When she would have lowered her arms, a word from Joseph had her merely bending her elbows, resting her forearms on her head. Abel’s fingertips skimmed down her cheek, across her shoulder, before flirting with the edge of the corset.

“The skirt, Abel.” Sarah watched Abel’s face start to shift into a snarl at Joseph’s interruption. Joseph must have been watching, too, because he hurriedly said, “Soon, Abel. Just have a little patience.”

Sucking in a deep breath, Abel knelt, pressing his face against the silk and lace that covered her stomach. If anyone besides Sarah noticed that his fingers shook slightly as they tugged down the zipper, they didn’t say anything. There was a pause as the skirt hit the floor, and even though he was at least five feet away, Sarah heard Joseph gulp. Abel simply tilted his face up to look at Sarah, the hunger in his eyes almost feral.

“Kitten. Warn me next time you wear something like this.”

This was something that she had bought and thought she’d never wear. Even with her tendency towards provocative underwear, it pushed the limits. But some little voice had told her to wear it today, for no reason. Sarah decided that if it put that look on Abel’s face, she’d listen to that little voice more often.

The red and black were a sharp, screaming contrast to the paleness of her skin, making it glow like a polished stone. The corset dipped low on her breasts, pushing them up, even as it nipped in her waist, coming to a teasing halt on her hips. The matching underwear was lacy and brief, little ribbons dangling from her hips, teasing the tops of her sheer black stockings. The stilettos were a good four inches, ice pick thin, with the slightest point on the toe.

“What’s the fun in that?” Sarah wasn’t surprised to find her throat dry, her voice whisper thin and shaky. If being undressed by Abel was arousing, having someone watch was even more so, something she would never have imagined. They stared at each other for long moments while Joseph snapped away, the tension winding tighter with each second.

At Joseph’s shaky voiced instruction, Sarah turned around, felt more than heard the low sigh that passed through Abel’s lips. Joseph cleared his throat, causing Sarah to slit her eyes in his direction. “By the window, I think. Sarah, if you could face the frame, give me your right side.”

It was difficult to walk across the few feet, her feet unsteady from the thick carpet and the desire pounding in her veins. When she reached the window, she braced her hands against the wood as if she were doing a push-up, arching her back, turning her face towards Joseph. Abel was still on his knees, and Joseph stood further back, his mouth gaping. Sarah closed her eyes, leaning the top of her head against her hands.

The flashes were muted behind her closed eyelids, and Sarah flicked her tongue over her lips, pretending not to hear the quick breaths sucked in by both men. She didn’t jump when Abel’s fingertips rubbed the skin between her shoulder blades before sliding down to tug gently at the knot. There was the most gradual of loosening as he pulled the ribbon free from the eyelets, and Sarah ran her teeth over her bottom lip.

“You’re not actually supposed mecidiyeköy escort bayan to pull it out.”

“It’s for art.” She felt his lips, the burn of them, press against the inch of skin newly bared. While Joseph snapped away, Abel teased the flesh with his tongue. His next words were muffled, but clear enough. “Don’t worry, kitten. I’ll make sure we get you put back together.”

Two more sets of eyelets, and Joseph had Abel stop again. Sarah’s thighs were trembling, ever so slightly, but she knew that Abel could see. It helped that his fingers were trembling as well, and she did her best to relax, even though she suspected it was an impossible task. The skin moistened by his tongue felt cool, in contrast to the heat that seemed to pulse everywhere else.

It took longer to pull the ribbon free from the next few sets of eyelets, and by the time Joseph had Abel stop, Sarah was biting her lip to keep from sighing. Last week had been hurried, almost frantic, even in its thoroughness. But this–this was almost glacial slow, every moment thick with tension and promise. It took her two tries to wet her throat enough to speak, and even then it was only a whisper. “I don’t know if I want you to put me back together again.”

When Abel pulled the ribbon through one last time, Sarah felt the silk and lace fall away, leaving her bare from the waist up. She heard Abel stand behind her, felt the coolness of his shirt press against her back. She lifted her head slightly, began to protest as he wrapped the ribbon around her wrists, quieting when he spoke in her ear.

“Do you trust me, kitten?”

Her heart pounded erratically, and her breathing wouldn’t quite even out. She should say no. They’d already gone further than originally discussed. She should say no.

Instead, she nodded her head, ever so slightly. Felt his low sigh brush past her ear, followed by the lightest of kisses. “Thank you.”

He tied the ribbon loose enough to not chafe, but tight enough that she wouldn’t be able to slip her hands out. He gave an experimental tug on them, and Sarah sucked a breath in. It shouldn’t feel good, this lack of control. It shouldn’t feel right. “Abel–.”

“Shh, kitten.” His hands slid, one down her arm, the other up and around her torso to cup her breasts. She arched her back, pressing herself more firmly into his hold. They both moaned when he ground himself against her ass. His next words were breathy, almost a pant. “Keep your eyes closed until I tell you to open them.”

His hands fell away, and Sarah whimpered in protest. There was the sound of ripping fabric behind him, and Abel swore even as Joseph laughed. “I told you, darling. Patience. Good things come to those who wait.”

“Shut up, Joseph.” The words came out through clenched teeth, even as Sarah heard the muffled sound of a belt hitting the carpet. The rasp of his zipper was almost painfully loud in the room, and Sarah had a sudden, almost overwhelming urge. Instead of fighting it, she followed it without thinking.

Keeping her eyes closed, she spun on her heels, sank to her knees. Sheer determination had her keeping her balance, and she clenched her bound hands together in front of her. Leaning forward, she laved her tongue over warm skin, dipped into the indentation of his belly button. Her own stomach muscles tightened in sympathy when his jerked beneath her lips.

“Kitten.” The one word was hoarse and raspy, his hands coming up to tangle in her hair. Next to them, Joseph continued clicking, although at a slower pace. Even at a distance, Sarah could hear his breathing, as ragged as hers and Abel’s. “You don’t have to–.”

“Shhh.” Sarah trailed her tongue over his right hip, felt the shudder that ran through him. She didn’t have his tattoo memorized, but she knew she was in the right area. “I want to. Turnabout’s fair play.”

Her tongue slid lower, and she felt the muscles in his thigh tighten. His fingernails scratched her scalp, and she hummed in appreciation. Resisting the urge to peek through her lashes, she trailed her tongue to the left, heard the quick intake of breath from above her. Sitting back on her heels, she dipped her head lower, running her tongue down the length of him before coming to his head.

Her breathing was slow and steady, and she matched the swirl of her tongue to the lethargic beat of her heart. When his hands tightened in her hair, she opened her mouth, slipping just the head inside. His first moan when she curled her tongue along the underside made her weak with power.

She moved her head forward slowly, taking him into her mouth in the smallest of increments. Even as swamped with need as she was, she knew she couldn’t take the full length of him, probably no more than half. But when she ran her tongue up the bottom of his shaft, drew back until she could suck hard on just the head before sliding him deep again, the slight buck of his hips told her that no more than half was plenty enough.

If Joseph was still taking pictures, she didn’t know. She didn’t care. All that mattered was the smooth length of him in her mouth, the shudders that moved through him almost continuously now. When she drew back again, swirling her tongue around his head, he groaned, long and deep. His hands tightened almost painfully in her hair, and he tugged until she pulled further back, his cock falling from her mouth.

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