So he pressed his hands up and down along the outside of her thighs, over the terry of the robe. He rotated his palms in circles that traveled down from hip to knee. He tucked his hands behind her knees and ran his hands up the backs of her legs, both at once, massaging circles along the full length of her powerful hamstrings, to the crease where thigh joined buttocks, and back down again to her knee. And then he casually flicked aside the robe to reveal several inches of thigh above the knee. He placed his warm palms above her knees and let the heat transfer to her body. He massaged just above her knee and then shifted his hands up an inch or two and repeated the process: heat, massage. And again: heat, massage.
It wasn’t until he began moving his hands lightly over the surface of her thighs that he noticed a change in her energy. One of her hands went to her hair, her fingers tangled in the barely damp orange waves. Her mouth was open, her eyes closed. Mick trailed his fingertips lightly, lightly a few inches along the insides of her thighs. Her skin, under the folds of her bathrobe, was palest white, firm, soft. And he nudged the fabric apart an inch more, to reveal more of it. His fingers had a will of their own now, and he watched as they traveled in tender circles over the delicate skin, tracing their way, slowly but inexorably, up the length of her thighs, pushing away her robe incrementally, just a little farther, and a little farther, until he saw a peak of dense orange curls.
He lost his breath, his jaw dropping slightly as he remembered that this was Fran, his best friend for ten years, the funniest, smartest, kindest woman he knew, and also someone toward whom he had never felt the slightest sexual attraction. (Well, maybe the slightest, but that was long ago, before they became friends.) He looked back at her face. Her eyes were still closed, her expression soft, and Mick had a sudden urge to press his face into those curls to watch what happened, to see how her mouth would open, how her skin would flush. Jesus.
But instead he kept his fingers brushing along the thick length of her inner thighs, so attuned to the softness and warmth under his palms that he was scarcely aware of anything else until he heard her exhale sharply, and then he realized that her hips had been rocking slightly, her belly tense.
He kept his touch light, the flat of his hands moving with slow delicacy over the fragile-looking skin.
On an impulse, he eased her thighs slightly farther apart, and her legs fell open, revealing an expanse of flesh that met half-way between her knees and that tantalizing apex. He wanted to put his hands under her knees and lift her legs wide and open, gaze at her center and its hidden folds and pinkness. But he just kept brushing his palms in slow strokes over the pale expanse of thigh, the entire length now, tucking his finger between her thighs where they met. And her breath got shakier and her hips kept rocking in minute, tense movements.
Every now and then Mick glanced at her face, watched her lips grow redder, watched her bite her lips, lick them, listened to the tiny, breathy noises she made. He could smell her now, the musky, unmistakable scent of arousal emanating from her body. He knew she was wet, knew that if he looked he’d see the shine of moisture at her entrance. Jesus.
When her hand began to wander, seemingly of its own accord, over her breast, he felt a tense twitch and discovered he was hard – raging hard, with a spot of wetness through his jeans. Jesus. He could fuck her. He could open his pants and spread her legs and slide into her wetness right now, right now he could –
She broke, with undulating hips and sharp little cries. Mick watched her face and hardly recognized the quietly heartbroken woman who had sat across from him at dinner. In orgasm, she was transformed, beautiful, transcendent. For suspended moments, he felt her thighs under his hands contract in rhythm with her noises, felt her skin hot and taught. Then her body seemed to melt into the couch, as the tension of orgasm ebbed.
What the hell had just happened? Did all women have orgasms just from having their thighs stroked? He felt like he had unlocked some sort of easter egg.
At sea, he tucked the folds of her robe across her legs and massaged her calves, waiting for her to open her eyes.
When at last she did, they were glittering and calm.
“Did you do that on purpose?” He’d never heard her voice like that, kittenish, shadowed.
She sighed and snuggled into the cushions. “Well thanks. Was better than the chocolate you didn’t bring.”
“I – do… should I stay tonight?”
“Stay? Why?” She was drowsy, drifting in a haze of wine and orgasm and no sleep the night before.
“I don’t know. It seemed like the right thing to ask.”
“Oh.” She yawned hugely, blinked at him, then closed her eyes. “No. I think I’m gonna go to bed.”
“Okay. Okay. I’ll do the kitchen.”
With a hand under her heels, he lifted her ankles, rose from the couch, then gently lowered her feet to the cushion. He watched her face, but her eyes stayed closed.
Limping slightly, he went to the kitchen and started rinsing dishes and filling the dishwasher. The empty wine bottle went into the recycling. The half-full crockpot went into the fridge. And all the while, flashes of Fran’s ecstatic face crossed his vision. No amount of deep breathing would allow his erection to fade, no thoughts about icebergs could block his mind from the feel of her thighs, tensing and releasing under his hands. That orange patch. The scent of her. Oh Jesus. When the counters were wiped and still his dick wasn’t soft, he leaned on the counter and considered his options.
He could go home and jack off, like a gentleman.
Or he could go in there and ask. Just ask. What’s the harm in asking? She could always say no. Hopefully she’d say no. He knew there were many good reasons why he should not fuck Fran tonight, and even though he couldn’t remember what any of them were, she surely would.
He draped an apron around his neck and went back into the living room.
She was gone.
And that answered his question.