"If you don't mind, Ben, I'll sit with her for a while," Susan said to me.
"Sure. That's a good idea," I said. "I need to make a couple of calls anyway."
She rose from the sofa still wearing only a towel and I watched the sway of her body beneath the terry cloth as moved across the room. I let out a low wolf whistle.
She looked back for a moment, winked and closed the door to Michelle's bedroom behind her.
I was concerned about Michelle's remarks that we needed to view the other discs, but more so that she'd insisted on Susan seeing them too. Why then, after viewing them would she ask us to reserve judgment until she had a chance to explain?
Lifting the book in my hand to eye level, I read aloud the title, "I Am, Therefore I'm Not." I grinned and chuckled to myself. The "book" was a reminder of the novel that I had never written. With my thumb I triggered a hidden spring-loaded panel on the leather covered spine. It sprang open to reveal a hollow compartment in which there rested three discs, the other discs to which Michelle had been referring.
For a moment I considered viewing the discs without Susan's presence. Having done so, would I then have to decide whether or not I wanted her to see what was upon them? Then again, who was I to make that decision to go against Michelle's instructions?
I snapped the cover shut and set the book down onto an end table next to the sofa. Producing the cell phone I'd purchased earlier, I sat down and punched in 4-1-1. I listened to the prerecorded message, "What city or town?", and requested, "Greater Boston." The message responded, "What listing?". I glanced at a note I'd scribbled on a pad of paper and said, "Allied Office Cleaners, Inc."
A live operator came on the line and said, "Sir, I do show a listing for Allied Office Cleaners, Inc., but it is an unpublished number for a Government agency. I can give you the address if you'd like." I replied that I would and wrote it down as she stated, "That address is 44 Portland Street, Boston." I thanked her and ended the call.
I had expected it be a government listing, and I wasn't surprised that the number would be unpublished. Portland Street was over by North Station in an area featuring several old ware houses. No doubt number 44 was unoccupied two or three months ago. I was sure that the fact that it was within three blocks of the Mass General Hospital was no accident. If it had been seen at all, no one would have thought it unusual for an ambulance to be in that area in the evening after business hours.
I might have solved one problem, but there was still all of those seemingly unrelated and yet coincidental events that troubled me. Of course, there were those damned butterfly tattoos. I had passed it off as a coincidence then, but was there significance to the fact that Susan had been humming the melody to "He Ain't Heavy" not long after I had been thinking of the words to that very song? There was something else eating at my thoughts about that song, but I couldn't grasp what it might be.
I stuffed the phone and note pad in my shirt pocket and glanced at my book on the table next to me. I figured it was as good a time as any for us to see what Michelle felt was so important on those discs. I got up and walked over to the bedroom to fetch Susan.
When I opened the door I froze in shock. Susan, sans the towel, was astraddle Michelle's lower torso. She looked up to see me standing in the doorway and gasped, "Ben? Oh dear," she uttered. "It's not what it looks ..."
"There's no need to explain," I declared. "You're both consenting adults." I turned away and closed the door. I didn't know if I should have been insulted, angry or jealous. The scene was not something I'd expected.
I heard the door swing open and the shuffle of bare feet upon the carpeted floor behind me. Susan approached me holding the towel in front of her. "Ben, nothing happened. I assure you that nothing would've happened. Nothing could've happened!"
I crossed my arms across my chest and looked into her alarmed face, "Susan, go put some clothes on!"
Tears began to well up in her eyes and she began to whimper. "You ... You don't believe me, do you?" When I didn't answer and turned my head, she snarled, "Well ... F**k you!" Then she bolted past me, her exposed dimpled buttocks jiggling as she ran for the far bedroom.
I looked up to see Michelle standing in the doorway to her room. "What have you got to say for yourself?" I queried with a sarcastic sneer.
"Give her a break, Benjamin. She told you the truth. Nothing could've happened," she admonished. She didn't wait for me to respond, "I guess I'll have spell it out for you. As I told you before, my mind and my thoughts might be in Michael's body ... But I have no control over much of this body's functions, especially those controlled by ... a libido."
"I see," I muttered, "Then what was Susan doing on top of you ... and why?"
She lowered her head, "I'm ashamed to admit it, but I asked her." She raised her hand to silence me and continued, "Don't think of me as perverted, Ben. I told her about my condition, about how I have thoughts of sex and that I have been unable to arouse my ... Michael's penis."
"So, she was just trying to help you achieve an erection?"
"I asked her to use her hands on me but it didn't help. It was her idea to crawl on top of me. She thought it might do the trick. If it had worked," she seemed to momentarily blush as she spoke, "then I would have, if you'll pardon the expression, taken matters into my own hands."
I was looking down at the floor unable to look Michelle in the face, "And how do I reward for her good deed? What an ass I am!"
Michelle smiled and whispered to me, "Go to her."
A few moments later I stood outside the door trying to formulate what I should say to Susan. I knocked on the door and called her name, "Susan? Can I come in. I'm sorry." There was no answer. I turned the door knob and stepped through the thresh hold.
She was standing by the drawn blinds of the window. Her naked body, a silhouette against the sun filtering in from outside, was a breathtaking sight to behold. I couldn't help but think that it was a vision that at that moment, I didn't deserve to see.
"Ben, despite what you may think of me, I'm not an over-sexed bimbo. I don't make it a habit of sleeping around with just anyone," she said.
"I never thought that, Susan," I stated. "Michelle told me what happened. It was wrong of me ..."
If she'd heard my words she didn't respond but continued with a speech that I reasoned was something she wanted to get off her chest. "I'm not sure what is happening to me or why, but there was only one other time that I felt this attracted to a man. Then like now, I can sense that that man is attracted to me also." She paused as she bent some of the blind slats to look outside which allowed a narrow mask of sunlight to illuminate her eyes. Her head turned in my direction, "Was I being too forward and reckless eight years ago when I slept with him on the same night we met? Am I being too forward and reckless wanting to sleep with you?"
"Yes and no," I espoused without hesitation. "Yes, I am attracted to you. No, you are not being too forward or reckless." I didn't want to spoil the moment, but I had to know, "What happened with the other man, Susan?"
I saw her head lower as she spoke, "I don't know. I never saw him again. He slipped away while I was sleeping. I never heard from him after that night." She moved away from the window and disappeared in the shadows of the dark room. Then she whispered from some point close to me, "You wouldn't make it with me and then just walk away, Ben?" She began humming a familiar song and then vocalized a few of its words, "I want to make it with you ... I really think that we can make it..."
I groped the wall for the light switch and then threw the room into brightness. She was lying on the bed, having assumed a sensual and provocative pose. Her eyes were closed. She was caressing her breasts. Her hips were writhing. Her lips were moving with the words of the soft ballad.
It was the same song that had been whispered in my ear eight years ago ...
(To be continued Monday, 1/26, in part 18, We Interrupt This Sex....)