Author’s note: I’m not really a writer. This is my first submission. It may be kind of a slow burn, but it’ll heat up, I promise. I’m hoping for constructive comments, and I welcome your ideas for future chapters!
My phone rings around 11:00 on Tuesday, and I smile big when I see who’s calling.
“Miko!” I practically shout into the phone by way of hello. “I haven’t heard from you in, like, forever!”
I can hear her smile, too, as she coos, “Hey, Braden. It has been too long. I missed you, so I thought I’d call.”
“I’m glad you did. I guess it’s harder to keep in touch now we don’t work together anymore.”
“Yeah. It’s all your fault, leaving me alone at that dumb place,” Miko says.
“What can I say? I couldn’t be an intern forever. Time to make some money. And hey, I don’t even have to share my cube with two other people now!” It’s a meager jump in status, I know, but I’m still half bragging.
“What-ever. Since you left, I only have to share that cube with Rachel now, and I got a promotion – I’ll have you know you’re talking to a junior assistant project manager, mister.”
I miss goofing around with Miko. She was the only one I liked at that company. The one I ate lunch with, the one I messaged during the especially tiresome meetings. We got close. I told her about my family troubles, and she told me every time her boyfriend or her sister did something stupid. We kept each other’s secrets and checked in with each other after important events. I asked for her advice before I accepted my next job offer and left the company. She asked for my advice when she wasn’t sure about getting a tattoo. (I told her to go for it and jokingly suggested a picture of me. She ended up getting a small drawing of a mason jar. Miko said I was the only one who knew why the jar image was meaningful to her; she had confided in me and shared the heartbreaking backstory. But I never got to see the tattoo itself and she never told me where it was placed on her body.)
“Well congrats! That’s big news. I’m happy for you. We should get together some time and celebrate. Drinks on you.”
“Yeah, for sure,” she says. I don’t expect we’ll actually see each other anytime soon, and I doubt she does either. That’s too bad.
“Hey, are you still with Eddie?”
“Yup. I’m waiting for him to get home, as a matter of fact. He should be here in a few.” This is a surprise. I didn’t expect Miko and Eddie to last. She had only been with him a couple months by the time I left the company. I never met him, but he sounded boring as hell and Miko had complained about how he didn’t get her. Still, I know she really commits when she’s in a relationship, so maybe the fact they’ve been together for a year now isn’t so strange after all.
“So wow, you guys are shacking up?”
“Yup. Living in sin.”
“Yup. As a matter of fact, I was just trying to decide which sexy undies I’ll wear to greet him at the door,” she says. I know she’s joking.
“I thought it was customary to greet one’s man at the door wearing nothing but one of his dress shirts.” I play along.
“That’s so old-school, grandpa,” she chides. “Get with the times.”
“Fine. Tell me two of the options you’re considering, and I’ll decide for you.”
When we worked together, I’d do this all the time to help her decide what to order for lunch or what color scarf to buy when she was secretly shopping from her laptop at the office. I originally did it just for fun, but soon it dawned on me that she always went with whatever I picked for her. Every time. I got a kick out of that.
I only let her do the same for me once, when – speaking of dress shirts – I asked her to include a button-down shirt for me in her online order one day. I pointed out two styles on her screen, told her my collar and sleeve measurements and asked her to surprise me. The shirt she chose was the one I wore to my successful job interview. Since then it’s been my lucky shirt.
“Let’s see,” Miko says. “The old two options game, huh? Okay. Well, there’s the bright yellow see-through, lacy, nipple-less, crotch-less bodysuit…”
“Or the navy blue cotton hipster panties under a heather gray t-shirt.”
“That’s the one.”
“Are you sure? I feel like maybe the yellow bodysuit.”
“OK. You’re right. I should save the nipple-less bodysuit for a special occasion. Like an anniversary or something. It’s also crotch-less, you know.”
“Well, good. That’s a load off my mind. Listen, can we chat again soon? I gotta go get changed to greet my man at the door.”
“Sure. Call anytime. In the meantime, send me pics of your man-greeting outfit,” I say nonchalantly, in mock seriousness.
“Psh, yeah, right. Perv,” Miko teases. “Seriously, I do miss you. Message me or something, OK?”
“You got it. Good night, Miko!”
“Mm. Hey, Braden?”
“Eddie and I got engaged last weekend.”
Wow. I did not see that coming.
“… Wow! I did not see that coming!”
“Yeah. It was time. He proposed over a nice dinner out.” She’s quieter aydınlı escort now.
“Congratulations!” I’m not exclaiming sincerely, but I hope she can’t tell.
“Thanks! We haven’t set a date yet, but you’re totally invited. With your plus one, of course.” She has no reason to think I’ll have a plus one. I don’t have one now, anyway.
“Excellent. Well, bye.”
“Bye Miko. Have fun greeting your man later.”
“Ha!” I hear her snort as she hangs up.
I smile to myself, toss the phone on my nightstand and walk to the bathroom. I stare at my reflection in the mirror as I brush my teeth, thinking about Miko, knowing I miss her more than I had let on. Spit. Sigh. Whatever. I turn off the light and go to bed.
I’m just starting to drift off when my phone buzzes and the screen lights up. I ignore it and roll over. The phone buzzes a second time. I roll back and grab it, squinting at the bright screen in my dark room. I see a little preview image I can’t quite make out, but it’s from Miko. I sit up and swipe open my messages. She’s sent me two pics.
The first is a selfie of her from the shoulders up. She’s grinning slightly, tucking her short, sandy blonde hair behind an ear. And she’s wearing a heather gray t-shirt. I chortle to myself. She’s silly. I take a moment to smile at her impossibly blue eyes, sun-kissed cheeks and the barest hint of freckles across the bridge of her cute little nose. Then I swipe up to see the second pic.
It’s another selfie, but this one is at waist level only. It’s the bottom of her t-shirt, which she’s pulled up on her left side to show the top of her flawlessly smooth, tanned thigh – and a glimpse of some navy blue cotton hipster panties.
I scroll back up to the first picture of Miko and find new meaning in her sheepish smile, in the slightly vulnerable look in her eyes.
I swipe my thumb up. And down. I look at one pic, then the other. For maybe five minutes.
I tap to write a reply, but words fail me. I can’t think of a single thing I can type that would be right. I lay back down to think with the phone still lit and waiting for my reply. I stare at the dark ceiling faintly illuminated by the blue light of my device. Nothing appropriate comes to mind. I’m painfully aware of my breathing, the rise and fall of my chest and the phone sitting there, now seemingly heavier with the weight of these two images. I give up. As I start to drift off, I lock the phone and slide it back onto the nightstand.
My alarm wakes me up at 6:00 on Wednesday. I get out of bed, get ready, head downstairs and out of my building. Two blocks later I’m waiting at the bus stop with five or six other people. As always, I swipe open my phone to see what’s new in my feeds. Oh shit! Like a half-remembered dream, the photo of Miko’s face and the heather gray t-shirt stare up at me from the screen. I clutch the phone to my chest and look around. Nobody at the bus stop seems to have seen what I have.
I turn away from the assembled group and close my messaging app. I pull the earbuds out of my pocket, plug them in and start some music streaming before locking the phone and hiding it away in my jacket. As I look back to the people around me, all looking at phones of their own and waiting for the bus like on any other day, it hits me all of a sudden: Nobody has these photos but me. Miko took them with me in mind. She sent them to me alone. She may be living with another guy, and making plans to marry him, but Eddie doesn’t have these two photos. I’m sure of that.
I have a little trouble breathing normally.
The bus comes, I go to work. I’m exceptionally unproductive all day.
Monday night I’m walking home from the bodega with a bag of groceries when I feel a buzz in my pocket. I shift the bag to my left hand and pull out my phone to see a message from Miko.
9:26 PM: Um, hi?
Holy. Shit. It hits me just then: I never responded to her after she sent me those pics! I am such a piece of dirt. That was a big deal for her. She’d never done anything like that with me, and as far as I know she had never sent risqué pics to anyone else. She tended to be overly cautious about her digital footprints. I could hardly blame her – I was the same. An argument here or misunderstanding there, and it’s all too easy for someone to just repost your privately shared photos or videos to some revenge porn site.
I stopped dead in my tracks on the sidewalk and quickly typed in a reply with my right thumb, as if rushing to respond now would make up for nearly a week of radio silence.
9:27 PM: Holy shit. Miko! I am SO sorry I didn’t respond last week!
9:27 PM: Braden I’ve been tied up in knots this whole time
9:27 PM: I didn’t know what to think
9:28 PM: Oh my god. I’m horrible. I hate that I did that to you. I just didn’t know what to say. You blew my mind with those pics!
I stand frozen in place as people are forced to walk around me. I stare at my phone waiting for Miko to reply. I’m ashamed. I left her hanging bağdat caddesi escort for so long. I can only imagine what was going through her mind. I type a new message.
9:30 PM: Miko, I know you must have been outside your comfort zone to send me those. I didn’t expect it and I was just stunned. It was bold, it was funny, it was brave. I think you’re amazing. And that’s what I should have said, right away, that night.
Still I remain planted to the middle of the sidewalk. Some guy bumps into my shoulder as he passes. I stare at my screen. I will Miko to respond.
9:33 PM: I’ve never done anything like that before
9:33 PM: I know! It was unexpected, to say the least. I’m truly sorry. Forgive me?
9:34 PM: Forgiven
9:34 PM: I can’t believe I did that
9:34 PM: I don’t know what got into me. I was just so happy to reconnect with you and wanted to make you laugh
9:35 PM: You made me smile, that’s for sure! But when I saw your second pic, that was something else altogether.
9:36 PM: Was it too much? Over the line?
9:36 PM: Not at all. It was kinda hot, to tell the truth.
9:36 PM: I almost didn’t send the second one
9:37 PM: But I’ve always felt close with you and knew I could trust you
9:37 PM: You can definitely trust me. Always. I feel close to you, too.
9:37 PM: …
9:38 PM: Miko, you don’t send pics like that to Eddie?
This is none of my business. I have no right to ask this. Oh well. I look up, spot a bench, take a seat. It’s a warm night. The city lights are nice.
9:40 PM: No he doesn’t have a playful bone in his body
9:40 PM: He wouldn’t appreciate it if I sent him that stuff
9:41 PM: I sent those to you to be funny at first, but I admit I got kinda turned on as I tapped send
Oh, Miko. You have no idea what you’re doing to me. Do you?
9:42 PM: Why turned on?
9:42 PM: You know your skin is beautiful, BTW.
9:43 PM: Thanks
9:43 PM: Turned on because I sent a pic of my panties to someone who’s not my fiancé
9:43 PM: Felt sneaky, naughty
9:44 PM: Even though it wasn’t a nude shot or anything
9:44 PM: Nothing to get excited about, right?
9:45 PM: Miko, you’re plenty exciting. Sure it wasn’t a nude, but that’s almost more tantalizing. My imagination ran wild, honestly.
9:46 PM: Braden, secret?
9:46 PM: Go ahead.
We used to share so many secrets we began to use that one word as a signal that one of us was about to confide in the other and nobody else would ever find out what was said.
9:47 PM: Right after I sent those pics to you I got kinda worked up and since Eddie wasn’t home yet I went to my bed and
9:49 PM: I started to you know
I can’t believe Miko and I are having this conversation. I am slack-jawed and gawping at my phone screen in disbelief.
9:50 PM: Hello?
9:50 PM: You started to what, Miko? 🙂
In a way I’m trying to get us back on familiar footing, back to being playful, trading quips. Giving her a hard time. But on the other hand, deep down, I want to see her say the words.
9:51 PM: You know, Braden
9:51 PM: I’m sure I don’t. You started to …?
9:52 PM: I started to touch myself.
9:52 PM: Touch yourself like, stroking your chin? Were you pondering something profound and stroking your imaginary beard?
I regret sending that immediately. It’s a lame effort at wit. I hope I didn’t just ruin the mood.
9:53 PM: No, stupid
I deserve that. I had it coming.
9:53 PM: I was masturbating and thinking of you
9:54 PM: I had my hand inside the panties you told me to wear and I was getting myself off
9:54 PM: Oh my.
9:55 PM: I’m embarrassed now
9:55 PM: I shouldn’t have told you that
9:55 PM: Let’s pretend I didn’t tell you that
9:55 PM: Nevermind
9:56 PM: You’re so cute. You shouldn’t be embarrassed. That’s fucking hot. I’ve never seen this dirty side of you. I really like it. Tell me more.
9:57 PM: I’ve never had a dirty side before
9:57 PM: There’s nothing more to tell
9:58 PM: I never finished getting off because once I realized you’d gone quiet …
9:58 PM: I freaked out and started obsessing over what I’d done
9:59 PM: I felt foolish and worried I’d crossed a line
I am such. A. Dick.
10:00 PM: I’m so sorry, again. Miko, what you did that night – and what you’ve told me tonight – is incredible. Damn right you crossed a line, and I LOVE it. You’re even more awesome than I knew.
10:01 PM: I’m relieved to hear you say that thanks
10:01 PM: You know, you owe me an orgasm
10:02 PM: Oh?
10:03 PM: Yup. I was on my way to a good one but then you ruined it with your silence.
10:04 PM: I see your point. Surely you’ve had plenty since that night, though?
I’m asking Miko about her orgasms. Over phone messages. Could this conversation even happen if we were together, in person? No way.
10:05 PM: Nope
10:05 bostancı escort PM: What? What about Eddie?
10:06 PM: Nope we do it maybe twice a month
10:07 PM: And I almost never do it myself
10:08 PM: You almost never do what, Miko?
10:08 PM: I almost never masturbate, Braden
10:08 PM: I almost never touch myself
10:08 PM: I almost never make myself cum
Holy fuck. First of all: Eddie, what the hell, man? Second, Miko’s too sexy not to have orgasms every day. Even if she has to take matters into her own hands.
10:09 PM: You should. You should make yourself cum tonight.
10:09 PM: And you should think of me when you do.
10:10 PM: You should think of me and masturbate. Tonight.
I can’t believe I just sent these messages to my heretofore platonic friend Miko.
10:10 PM: K
10:10 PM: I will
10:11 PM: I’ll lay on the bed I share with my fiancé
10:11 PM: And I’ll get myself off for you, Braden
Holy shit. I can’t believe this is happening. I scroll all the way up to the beginning of our messages tonight and begin reading them all back to myself as if to confirm it’s not my imagination.
10:13 PM: Braden?
10:13 PM: Sorry. I was lost in thought. Making a picture in my head. It’s a nice, nice picture.
10:14 PM: Good
10:14 PM: I’m really gonna do it, ya know
10:14 PM: I’m going to say your name when I cum too
Well that’s just hot.
10:15 PM: Well that’s just hot. I wish I could hear you.
10:15 PM: I’ll bet you do
10:16 PM: I’m gonna go now. Bye, Braden.
What else can I do? I lock my phone, stick it in my pocket, stand up and start walking the rest of the way home. The air in my neighborhood smells cleaner, more invigorating tonight. I have a dopey smile pasted on my face like a little kid high on sugary cereal. My mind runs rampant, imagining Miko doing filthy things to herself while she says my name.
The fact that she included that detail, and the one about doing it in the bed she shares with Eddie, should be alarming. It’s almost cheating, after all. Yet that’s what turns me on most.
All the same, as soon as I calm myself, I understand. I understand Miko was just being silly again. She was just being flirty and playful. I love that about her. She’s fun and she knows I get it. She knows she’s safe with me.
My chest hurts vaguely. I circle my block a couple times, just to prolong my contact with the night air. I inhale deeply as I leave the street and walk into my building.
I climb the stairs to my floor and as I step off the landing toward my apartment door, a buzz.
10:38 PM: Check your Snap. Now.
I know I had just reassured myself Miko was playing around, but …
I drop my keys twice fumbling to get the lock opened and burst into my apartment as quickly as humanly possible. I slam the door behind me and lunge for the sofa across the room – I’ve got a feeling I know what this could be, and I need to be sitting down for it – but I stumble over the coffee table, battering my shin and sending me sprawling face first onto the hardwood floor.
Ow. Oh well. On the floor is as good a place as any, I guess. I roll over and prop my back against the front of the sofa. I fidget, getting myself comfortable and clear my throat (for no particular reason). I notice my dick’s getting hard. I look to the phone in my hand.
Snapchat opens and I swipe past the junk I don’t care about till I see the new private message waiting from Miko. I take a deep breath and tap to open it.
The upper right corner tells me I have five seconds to take in what I’m seeing. Shit. I center my gaze on the screen to see a somewhat blurry photo of Miko’s face. Just her face. But oh wow, her face.
Four seconds. Unlike the innocent, sweet face from that night last week, this Miko looks downright wanton. Her hair is unkempt and a few strands are matted to her glistening forehead. She’s looking into the camera, but her eyes are half closed and her long, thick lashes almost obscure the electric blue depths beneath. Three seconds. Miko’s cheeks are dappled in red and pink. Her faintly chapped but fully kissable lips are parted, her mouth slightly open. The bottom edges of her upper teeth are just visible, and deeper inside her tongue is pink and wet. Two seconds. I’m just noticing the long line of her graceful neck and the beginnings of her clavicles – it doesn’t look like she’s got a shirt on – when the snap vanishes from my phone.
Ugh. I want to see that again! I want to see it in person. I want to be the one making her look like that. Fuck.
10:40 PM: Miko.
10:40 PM: Yes
10:41 PM: Miko. Holy fuck.
10:42 PM: I was cumming
10:42 PM: When I took that
10:42 PM: That’s me cumming
10:43 PM: For you, Braden
10:43 PM: I don’t know what’s gotten into you, but I want it to stick around. That was so fucking hot.
10:44 PM: Miko, I’m hard for you.
10:44 PM: [Audio clip – tap to play]
10:44 PM: Listen to me, Braden
10:44 PM: I really did what I said I’d do and now I want you to hear it
I tap the play button before I’m even sure I understand what’s happening. I hear a few seconds of silent rustling, like clothes on sheets. I close my eyes to listen more closely. Then a quiet, long, high-pitched moan that intones upward at the end, as if asking a question. Her phone must have been close to her mouth. Then: