Maggie was running late. It was so unlike her to be late, she was usually punctual to a fault, but not today. Today everything had gone wrong.
It had started the night before, really. When the discreet cardboard box had arrived on her porch, Maggie knew that her TV plans that evening were going to change. She had been long overdue for an upgrade, and the sleek teal silicone toy with its flared head and clitoral stimulation had been oh, so worth it. She had gone down a dark rabbit hole of porn, staying up late as she dove deep into the dominant/submissive fantasies she had been increasingly turning to. They reminded her of the kind of wild, wanton sex she used to have long ago, before even Derrick.
When she finally got up out of bed in the morning, groaning after the fifth or sixth snooze, it was a framed wedding picture of her and Derrick that greeted her from the bedside table, exuding happiness. She winced, wondering what her late husband would think of her crazed masturbatory marathon.
She knew what he’d say. He’d say, get out there Maggie girl. It’s time already. Find a good man, not a good vibrator.
She’d been on a whopping two dates since Derrick died nearly three years ago. The first year had been a haze of grief, dating hadn’t even been an option. His illness had come on so suddenly, and so soon after they were married that her whole life had been caring for him. After the second year her sister had urged her to date, setting her up with a couple friends of friends, but it had been excruciating. Sure, they were nice enough guys, but the sheer effort of prettying herself up, going out into the loud bar or dinner scene, and telling every mundane fact about herself all over as if she was in any way interesting or different had been too much. The mere idea of having to start all over with someone new was exhausting. But she was 27, not 87. She had all the time in the world.
But time was not on her side this morning, it seemed. After oversleeping, she had burned her eggs black enough to set off the smoke detector, forgot her lunch, and spent a good 15 minutes in unexpected traffic. Instead of a quiet cup of coffee in the break room as she looked over her daily roster of clients, she was changing frantically into her scrubs and shoving crackers into her mouth as she snuck into her room a few minutes after the hour.
“Hi, Mr. Harris. My name is Maggie, and I’ll be your massage therapist today.”
“Hi Maggie, you can just call me John. Nice to meet you.”
She glanced briefly at the man lying face down on her table. Youngish, nice figure, tousled brown hair. Standard towel over his lower half. Her gaze was caught by his clenching toes, and she smiled. He’s nervous.
“Alright, John it is. So, do you get a lot of massages? Any style you prefer?”
“Uh, no. This is actually my first massage. It was a gift certificate I won at work.”
She moved about the room, setting the timer, turning the thermostat up a bit, the lights down a little more.
“That’s nice of your work. What do you do?”
“I’m a banker. Thrilling stuff,” he laughed, shifting on the table. Yeah, he was a newbie. He probably thought she was going to give him a happy ending.
“Hey, it’s the best job in Monopoly,” she joked. “Would some music or incense bother you?”
“Have at it.”
She turned on some light piano music and lit a stick of jasmine incense, waiting a second for it to catch and get herself in the zone. She was supposed to radiate calm, not pent up energy.
Maggie approached the table, coating her hands in some unscented massage oil and rubbing them together. “I’ve got some oil on my hands, just to warn you. I’m going to take it easy here at first so you can get a sense of the pressure. We can always go up from there. If you work an office job you’ve likely got a lot of tension in your neck and shoulders. I’ll focus there, if that sounds good to you.”
She waited for his affirmative, her hands poised over his shoulders, but it took him a moment.
“Sure thing, Maggie,” he said softly, and she felt a ripple of awareness in the familiar way he said her name.