From the novel Blackbirds:
“Oscar get some pricing on doing the tent on the Highline or in Brooklyn Bridge Park. Highline will be harder so also give me the specs on seating if we tried it there. I’d rather be in Manhattan for this. We’ll need more heaters and sandbags in Brooklyn because of the wind off the river but we’d have a heck of a lot more room.”
“No problem Ell. I’ll touch base with you when I have all the specs.”
“I’ll need to see everything in two days Oscar. No later. Got it?”
“Yeah, absolutely. No problem. I’ll send them to Joanne by then.”
As if the mention of her name was an incantation for her arrival, his assistant, Joanne rapped lightly on the door to the conference room before popping her head in.
“Ell, just letting you know that you only have about fifteen minutes before your next meeting. And Sydney is on line three for you.”
Ell turned off the video conference speaker and powered down the monitor.
“Thanks Joanne. I’ll be ready for the next meeting on time. Do me a favor? Tell Sydney I can’t talk to her right now.”
To her credit Joanne didn’t look remotely surprised at this request and just nodded her head before leaving to do Ell’s bidding.
Ell wrote down the deadline and assignments he gave Oscar on his iPad calendar. Setting up an alert that would go to Joanne and himself would mean she’d know to remind Oscar the day before the specs were due. Ell hated micromanaging people but since he’d taken the job in New York this year he’d learned that he had to. Once he’d finished, Ell picked up his phone and made the call, putting it on speaker as it rang.
“Why can’t you call me on my cell when you want to talk to me?”
Sometimes when Syd spoke, the simplest things she’d say Elliott could feel, all over his body. He particularly loved hearing her say his name that way. Like it was a relief and joy to her all at the same time.
“Yes, it’s me. Now answer my question.”
“I don’t want to bother you while you’re working. I’m glad you told Joanne to let me know if I’m interrupting you when you’re in a meeting.”
“You weren’t bothering me. But you did make me mad because you didn’t interrupt me. I had to cool off before I called you back.”
“Hey, you’re mad about that? How’s that even possible?”
“You are my girlfriend, right?”
“We live together, right?”
“Yes.” He could tell she was smiling into the phone.
“Your lips make me lose my mind, right?”
“I sure hope so.”
“So YOU get to interrupt me Syd. Got it? You, Laura, and Serena get full and direct access anytime. We clear?”
“Good. See if you’d done what you were supposed to I might have gotten out of that abysmal meeting a lot faster.”
“Poor Ell, that bad huh?”
“The shit is so whack Syd, I’m about ready to smack heads together. And not in a friendly way.”
“Is it more of the same old?”
“Yeah. Sometimes it feels like I’m overreacting. I know I’m ridiculously competitive about my work but I’ve seen guys do a retrograde at this stage of their careers. That shit is not pretty at all.”
“I am baby. I’ve got one more meeting with the big boss then it’s straight home. Should I bring something?”
“No we’re good. Laura’s already eaten. She had pizza with her class mates. You and I can eat together when you get home. Okay?”
“Better than okay. Any word from Mama?”
“Yeah, Serena called this morning . She said she didn’t need us to bring anything on Thursday except maybe some wine. I told her we’d get there early so we could help with the enormous Thanksgiving feast I think she’s planning for us. She also said not to expect her back here for another week or two.”
“Hmmm, she must be in a good spot in the book.”
They were both quiet for a beat. Neither one wanted to voice any other options for why Serena might stay away.
“All right honey. I’ll see you in about an hour.”
“Oh Ell? I almost forgot. Miranda Kramer called. She wants us to come to dinner next Friday. I told her I’d ask you.”
“I’m clear on Friday. Maybe Laura can go up to Claverack for the weekend or stay at a friend’s that evening. This way we can make a night of it.”
They might have been surprised to know the reason they were quiet the next few moments was because both their minds instantly flashed back to the last time Laura had a sleepover. The harsh panting breaths they both took as they climaxed on the stairs in the middle of the night. Sydney didn’t always sleep well. She’d gone downstairs to get something from the kitchen. Elliott who didn’t like waking up with her not in his bed, had gone down after her. The next thing he knew his dick felt like a pipe, their hands were tightly gripping the balusters, and she was letting him glide into her on the stairs. He’d seen that done in movies of course, but he always thought that shit would be damned uncomfortable.
Not at all.
“Gotta go baby.” He said, reluctantly coming back to the here and now.