Chapter 22. DING-A-LING
The next morning Dick called to invite me to lunch at Café Loup, our favorite neighborhood bistro.
“I had French for dinner last night,” I told him.
“Can you have it again today?” He asked, “I’m coming from a meeting across town. Café Loup? One o’clock?”
What to wear? Something classy, yet seductive. Something to draw his eyes to me like a bee to the honey. I jumped up and began to prospect my closet. Nothing black, not midday, too obvious. I shoved the purple lacy dress out of the way. Plunging vee wouldn’t do. No print, three dresses moved past. I threw my arms in the air and vented a cry of frustration when I spotted my new beige dress. Dick hadn’t seen it before. The silk knit clung to my curves rolling over my pubis and down my thighs, stopping just above the knees. The simplicity begged the imagination to search for clues. I stroked my fingers down the front, slid past the midriff, where a hint of shadow rolled across my hip bones. My roving hand stopped at exactly the spot where my pulsing pussy would nestle, calling to him. The dress was unpretentious, with a cleavage dusting scooped neckline. Accessorized by push up bra, and patent stilettos, the same light color as the dress, to highlight my superlative body parts.
I was half a block away when I saw Dick’s taxi pull up to the curb. I slowed my step to watch, and admired his rear and thighs as he leaned in the front window to pay the driver. He straightened and scanned the street, catching sight of me. His gaze unapologetically assessed me from head to toe as I approached. I enjoyed the approval I sensed.
Seated at a small table that offered some privacy due to tactfully placed greenery, I waived away the offer of champagne and requested ice water with lemon. Dick had his usual. Once the drinks were delivered, we ordered, and were left to our own devices while the meal was prepared.
“How are you feeling?” Dick asked.
“Very well, thank you.”
“Lori, I’m sorry if I upset you last weekend.” He apologized.
“Yes, you did upset me.” I affirmed.
“Do you want to talk about it?”
“I think we should.” I told him, already bored with the foreplay and ready to knock boots.
“I’m sorry if you felt second class in any way.” Dick apologized again. “There’s no reason for that, Lori. Mercy and Randelle, well, they just have their ways.”
“This isn’t about Mercy or Randelle.” I told him in frustration.
“Then what’s it about, Lori?”
“Me, Dick. I want to be your wife. I want to be granted the respect due your wife.”
“Married? You want to get married?” He asked confused.
“Is that such a surprise? We’ve talked about it enough.”
“When did we talk about it?”
“Plenty of times. And I deserve a mink coat. I deserved to have the pleasure of shopping with the wives in Montreal.” I laid it all in front of him.
He looked at me across the table without speaking. The waiter took the moment to set the plates down. He arranged the silverware and asked, “Will there be anything else?”
“Lori?” Dick asked. I shook my head. “This is fine, thank you.” We sat in silence another minute, then he picked up his fork and said, “Is that it?”
“That’s it.” I said, and took a bite of salad.
“Well, I was sure I explained to you that I almost married once before,” he said.
“Yes.” I was curt.
“And that I have no plans to marry, then or now.” He finished.
“Dick, that’s ridiculous. It was years ago. I’m not her. You love me. I love you. We’ve been together almost three years. I want to get married,” I explained.
“And you want a mink coat,” he said as if confirming all aspects of the negotiation.
“That would be a lovely wedding gift,” I said. We sat quietly while he processed my requests.
“Lori, you put me in an impossible situation. I was clear. I thought I was clear. I do not want to marry, ever.”
“Boo hoo.” I heard my words burst out, “She was mean. She yelled at you. Whatever, Dick. That’s not me. I’m not her. After three years you don’t trust me? You don’t know me?”
He let the seconds pass as my anxiety built. “This wasn’t the time to buy you a mink coat. There will be other times.” He stopped talking, put his fork down and laid his hands on the table.
I glowered at him across the small space. Then I looked down at my lap to give myself a moment to compose my thoughts. I looked up into his eyes, and told him what I feel deep inside, what I believe more than anything else, “I have given you the best of myself. I am true, and good, and honest, and I deserve the best in return. I won’t settle, Dick. I can’t settle.”
He started to say something, then reached his hands to me across the table and gave a small choking sound, but didn’t speak. His eyes were full of regret and confusion, but offered no compromise.
I removed my bag and wrap from the back of the chair, stood and looked at him, one more moment, one more chance to make it right. He looked at me with those puppy eyes but said nothing.
“You lose, Dick. You lose me.” I told him, and walked away from the table, knowing that his gaze was riveted to the lean lines of my silk dress as it moved over my waist and derriere as I strutted out of his life.
I didn’t feel as happy about my abrupt restaurant exit once I was out on the street, and certainly not happy at all the next weekend when Dick didn’t call to apologize and admit he can’t live without me. To distract myself from thoughts of Mr. Grand, I spent the week working. I caught up on several press releases, met my deadline for the month and even prepped a few ahead of schedule.
When that was done, I busied myself with a routine GYN appointment that was scheduled months earlier. I know most ladies dread the doctor’s peek up the pink, but to me it was the usual thrill of my little bud being manhandled. I invited my imagination to run towards S&M gratification when that cool speculum slid up the canal. It felt like foreplay with a short, wide ding-a-ling, and it was all I could do not to wriggle and giggle with my legs spread and my feet planted in the stirrups. If the doc had strapped me down, I think I would have juiced a big O right there on the exam table.
By week three the doldrums set in. I moped around the house, watched all the late-night talk shows, and ate a lot of take out sushi. By week four I took a deep breath, cleaned out my make-up drawer and headed to Saks to refresh my supplies. The holiday parties were imminent and I planned to get back out there and sparkle for all the world to see. And to show Dick Grand that Lorelei Fox was not crawling under the covers in a valium slump over any man. Under the covers, maybe, but I’ll be way busy under there, ringing the great big ding-a-ling of a delicious new man!
Annie and I made a shopping date, and I set an appointment with Dizzy Lizzy, my personal shopper at Loehmann’s. I called her that because Lizzy twirled around that big warehouse store and brought me things I didn’t even know I wanted or needed. Head spinning outfits that did the trick every time.
We met in Lizzy’s office on the third floor of the store on 7th Avenue. Annie asked if Lizzy could find her a classic black trench coat. I was already there when Annie arrived. The room was incredible with a selection of raincoats and clothes in all colors and fabrics hanging on racks. I sat in the only plush chair, facing a floor to ceiling triple view dressing room mirror.
“Annie! Lizzy has 5 raincoats for you to try on.”
“Hey, mom.” Annie leaned over to place a little kiss on my cheek. Her unwieldy bag slipped off her shoulder, slamming into the side of the chair and almost pulled her off balance.
Lizzy stepped forward, ignoring the piles of clothes, and steadied her. “Hi Annie, let me help you with that.” She lifted Annie’s bag and somehow managed to slip her out of her old coat in one smooth motion. “I’ll put them over here,” she said as she draped them over the back of her desk chair.
“Annie, this is Lizzy, graduate of Parson’s School of Design and married to the handsomest man west of the Mississippi. Lizzy, this is my oldest daughter, Annie.”
“Hi Annie,” Lizzy said. “Come on in, sorry for the clutter. Can I get you something to drink? Coffee? Water?”
“Oh, thanks, water would be great.”
“Look here, Lizzy pulled some great raincoats for you,” I said reaching for the first one on the rack, a knee length A-line coat in waterproof black fabric. “It’s Jane Post!”
“Mom, I told you, classic, below the knee, preferably with a hood.”
“It has a hood!” I turned the coat so she could see the back.
“Let’s look at them all, then you can decide,” Lizzy said handing Annie a bottle of spring water. She pulled a Lafayette trench coat from the rack in her right hand, and a black and white plaid Kate Spade coat in her left hand.
“Okay, fine,” Annie conceded, and reached for the Lafayette first. Naturally Lizzy had worked her magic, and it was a perfect fit. “This is exactly what I had in mind,” she told Lizzy.
“Well, it’s a classic. And I took the liberty of bringing the others so you can compare.”
Three hours later, Annie walked out with both the Lafayette and the Jane Post, which looked sensational and I knew she loved it because that’s the one she decided to wear out of the store. I left wearing a new Jim Thompson silk floral scarf that Lizzy scooped for me before it even hit the sales floor. I asked her to send the rest of my treasures to my apartment. I was humming as Annie and I descended the escalators, sure that each outfit would be a standout at the holiday galas.