She told me she craved sushi.
“Aren’t you vegetarian?” I asked.
Nicole looked chagrined. “I make an exception for sushi. I love it, and there’s none near campus.”
I told her I knew a place. There was an early bird special, even, if we got there before seven.
“We can make that easily,” she said.
“Sure,” I agreed, pressing deeper into her. “We’ll just finish fucking and go.”
“Right,” she said, clutching my shoulders.
The sun set.
We kept fucking.
Rush hour noises faded.
We kept fucking.
I noticed the time. “Okay, no more sex,” I said, pulling out. “We want to be early birds.”
“Right,” she said, swallowing my cock.
We managed to extricate ourselves, quickly shower, and dress.
“Is that all you’re wearing?” I scolded. She wore a light shirt and a mini skirt that scarcely covered her panties, leaving her long legs bare. “It’s January, you know.”
“I didn’t bring tights,” she shrugged. “I’ve got my coat. I’ll be fine.”
“It’s freezing. I’m sure I have some sweats or something that might fit you.”
She peered at me with her one visible eye.
“I know, I know,” I shook my head. “You’d rather freeze than look unfashionable.”
We walked briskly to the restaurant. We were seated by a floor-to-ceiling window.
Her legs were red and raw from the cold. The proximity of her bare skin under the table was distracting. We hadn’t worn clothes in the twenty-four hours since she arrived; we left the bed only when necessitated by the exigencies of bladders, hunger and her nicotine addiction.
Now, for the duration of a meal, we were unable to touch one another without being observed by passers by.
My teeth tore into raw fish.
“I’m glad I came,” she said, her chopsticks adroitly capturing sashimi. She sat very erect, bending slightly forward as she brought the tuna to her mouth.
“I’m glad you’re enjoying yourself,” I smiled. “It’s really been a whirlwind, huh?”
She nodded, chewing. She covered her mouth with a hand. “I can’t believe I went through with it.” She swallowed. “But I had to get away from school to do this—and of course, finding you also made it possible.”
“You’re gracious. But what do you mean about leaving school?”
“Well, my friends regard me as somewhat asexual . . .”
“Ha! If they could see you now.”
“Seriously, I’m called an ‘ice princess.’ They think I’m frigid.”
“You have no concern there.”
“This we know,” she smiled. “But in truth, it’s a convenient fallacy, this image people have of me. I’m not interested in anyone on campus, and I’d rather not be bothered. I’d rather stay in the library, frankly.”
I took a piece of eel, listening.
“So by coming here, and seeing you, I’m able to pursue my sexuality without the bothers and interferences of my friends, or gossip, and the nonsense of all that.”
“In other words, you can let your hair down.”
A grin appeared under the swoop that covered her face. “Precisely. And it doesn’t hurt that you know what you’re doing.”
“I practice,” I smiled.
When the check arrived, she insisted on going Dutch. “I have to pay for myself,” she said, opening her bag. “I’m feminist.”
“Fine by me,” I said, reaching for my wallet. “I’m cheap.”
She put her arm in mine as we walked home.
I took pictures of her red, raw legs. She bent forward as I photographed the curve of her buttocks peering from under her skirt.
I took her panties.