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She’s off work early enough tonight to grab drinks with her friend Bianka at a place that’s near her home but one she’s never visited.  “A dock-worker’s bar” was what Bianka called it and it’s not a world X knows, but apparently it’s open late, the drinks are cheap, there’s a jukebox, and it’s equidistant between the two of them and both can easily walk home after.  It’s the distance that cinches it for her.  Ten PM on a Thursday night and she’s been on her feet for twelve hours a day for the past three days.  If she hears one more person asks for a “stronger drink, just don’t charge me extra” she will pull out her own hair.  The goal tonight, for both of them, is to let off steam and bourbon, tequila, or both, is in the stars tonight.

She takes an inventory of the place when she first enters; a little divey, pretty homey.  There are darts and the promised jukebox and (thankfully) other women scattered around alongside men talking over their beers and cigarettes.  She takes a seat at the bar where there’s an empty stool beside her for when Bianka comes.  Should be any moment, she thinks as she waits for the bartender.

The bartender, as it turns out, is a woman who reminds X a little of an increasingly likely distant future; dour, no-nonsense, and eyeing her with doubt as she says, “Name’s Delores.  What can I get for you?”

“I’ll take a water for now.  I’m waiting for a friend,” X says as she settles her backpack in her lap.

Delores the Bartender grunts and gets moving, as X’s phone rings.

By way of greeting Bianka starts with, “Jesus, I am so sorry.  Our closer was sick tonight so I’m covering for her and won’t be out until like, at least two.  Can we take a rain check or something?”

X shifts in her seat and glances at the bartender who’s busying herself with a water.  “Don’t worry about it.  It’s all cool.  I’ll see you Sunday.  Meantime, y’know, make that money, yeah?”

She hears the relief in her friend’s voice before hanging up.  Delores looks at her with raised eyebrows as she sets down a glass of ice water.

“I guess you’ll be wanting that drink now?” she asks.

X gives her the best approximation of a tired smile.  “Sounds good, thanks.  Could I please get a shot of tequila?  Sauza would be good if you have it.” 

She has enough time to look at the different beers on tap and register that Leonard Skynyrd is playing on the jukebox before she gets her shot.

“Courtesy of the guy at the corner of the bar.  The skinny one in the brown jacket,” Delores says drily, as X accepts her shot with a quiet thanks.

It takes a moment for the comment to sink in, and when it does X immediately looks to the corner of the bar, where there is indeed a skinny young man in a brown jacket with a shot and a pack of cigarettes in front of him.  He catches her eye and offers a little smile.

X takes in the big sad eyes and the faint dimple when he smiles, the long, dark hair and decides two things: the first is that she likes his looks and the second that she needs to unwind and relax, and she’s willing to see if he’ll help her achieve that.  She smiles back and raises her shot glass in salute.

The young man grins wider and gets up immediately, grabbing his drink and cigarettes and muttering something to the man next to him before ambling over and taking a seat next to her.

“You got a name to go with that pretty face?” he asks as he sets down his drink.

X can’t help it; she bursts out laughing.  “Oh my God, has that line ever worked?” she asks.

The young man’s eyes widen a little, his smile twitches and fades by a degree, but before he can act discouraged X puts her hand forward and introduces herself.

The smile returns as he shakes her hand.  “Ziggy,” he tells her, and when X looks down at their joined hands she notices he has his own name tattooed across his knuckles.  This could be a warning sign.  She chooses to ignore it.

They clink glasses and it’s down the hatch.  When X sets her shot glass down Ziggy calls for another round, and Coors chasers.

“You like Coors, right?” he says, turning to her.

X shrugs.  She’s never had a chaser for the taste of it.  And she isn’t talking to this person because she’s looking for someone to start a business with.

She gleans that he’s indeed a dock worker, and he mentions he doesn’t get a lot of hours but has “a few side hustles” to make rent and keep a tab open here.  X assumes he means selling pot and bootleg DVDs, and doesn’t want to know if it’s something else.  He’s twenty-two and a South Baltimore native, as if his accent hadn’t given him away immediately.  He’s cheerful, loud, and dumber than a box of hammers.  She can’t help but be slightly endeared by this, especially since he seems pretty intent on impressing her. 

She mentions her job and a few choice customers, including one who punched her in the face after she cut him off and another who took a shit on the bathroom floor.

Time passes—she honestly can’t gauge how much—and she feels a little hazy, is probably louder than she wants to be, and has made a decision only partly because of the alcohol and also because she hasn’t gotten laid in, like, ten months.  And from the way Ziggy’s hand has rested on her knee is any indication, he’s going to be fine with it.

“Let’s pay and get out of here,” she says.

Ziggy’s smile looks crooked somehow, the way the corners of his mouth curl up, and X likes it.  She really fucking likes it, she thinks as she reaches into her backpack for her wallet.

“Nah, nah.  I got this,” Ziggy says as he makes a show out of reaching inside his jacket for several bills and sets them on the table.  “Side hustles, remember?”

As they head out X hears someone say, “Jesus.  If Ziggy can get laid, anything’s possible.”

It’s a four-minute walk back home, Ziggy’s arm wrapped loosely around her waist, and the two are sober enough that they don’t stumble enough at any point, but drunk enough that the cold night air doesn’t register.  Just enough that this all seems like a great idea.

As soon as she’s shut and locked the door behind them Ziggy’s got his hands on her hips and tilts her head back enough to put his mouth on the crook of her neck, and there’s a touch of tongue and warm lips and teeth and oh fuck, whatever this guy lacks in conversation he more than makes up with his mouth in other ways.  X cups the back of his head and the sound she makes is definitely going to wake up her housemate if they stay out here, so as soon as she feels his lips leave her neck, she tells him, “Bed.  Upstairs.”

The trip up the narrow, warped stairs and into her room, dropping her backpack to the floor, turn into a blur.  She only has the presence of mind to tug Ziggy to her by his belt loops and to the bed, falling back fully clothed and shifting, trying to keep the transition smooth as he gets himself between her legs, propping himself up on one elbow as he leans down and kisses her.

He tastes, predictably, like beer, whiskey, and cigarettes, and he’s a more aggressive kisser than she expected; she hears herself whine as he slips her his tongue.  Her own hands travel over his back, under his jacket, under his shirt and along his bare skin that pricks up under her touch.  It occurs to her they’re still wearing extra layers.  They’ve still got their shoes on.  Fuck that, she thinks.

“Wait, wait,” she says, pulling away.  She tugs at his jacket.  “Take this off,” she tells him, as she starts to sit up and remove hers.  She manages to reach around to get her shoes off even as Ziggy stays between her legs as a narrow barrier.  She eyes his shirt, then looks back at him, eyebrows raised.

“Keep going,” she says, and waits for him to pull it over his head and toss it to the side before she gets started on her shirt.

He is, as she predicted, also skinny under his clothes, with a light smattering of body hair and a dark happy trail leading down the lip of his jeans.  The tattoo just below his collarbone isn’t a surprise, not really, but she asks all the same.

No Dice?  What does that mean?” she asks.

Ziggy shrugs.  “Don’t worry about it is what it means,” he says, and X scoffs and reaches for her own shirt, only for him to stop her.

“I wanna do it,” he tells her; she glances up and sees a glint in his eye and grins before raising her arms for him to lift her shirt off her.  She manages to get closer as he trails his hands along her sides and ribcage, before reaching behind her to unhook her bra.

His hands were freezing on the walk here, but they’ve warmed up considerably by the time he cups one of her breasts as he plants the other on the bed beside them for balance as he tries to coax them both back down.

“Your tits are at the top of the food chain,” he mutters in her ear as he gives her breast a squeeze, and X can’t help but start laughing again.  Ziggy responds by dipping his head and bringing his tongue over one nipple and the laughter stops on a fucking dime.

She feels Ziggy smirk against her nipple as he does it again, repeats the gesture with her other breast and draws the first moan out of her. 

“Like that?  How about if I did it to your pussy?” he says, and doesn’t wait for X to respond before sliding down the length of the bed and unfastening X’s jeans, pulling them and her panties down together, gets off the bed long enough to strip her completely bare.  She hears the tell-tale sounds of him kicking off his shoes before ambling back onto the bed and has the patience to wait, but honestly, she’s not above bossing him around if she must.

For a moment after reconfiguring he just kind of crouches above her with his thumbs running along her inner thighs and his breath warm over her lips.

She squirms, she gets ready to tell him to fucking get on with it, wants to bury her hands in his hair and lead him to her because it has been so fucking long since anyone’s gone down on her and he was the one who suggested this.

And then he fastens his lips around her clit.  His tongue darts out and teases her, one hand shifts to wrap around her thigh as the other braces himself beside her hip, and he goes faster when X gives a startled moan.

She does end up burying a hand in his hair as he shifts lower and draws his tongue along the length of her slit before pressing the tip of it inside of her.

Fuck!” she manages, her free hand clenching into a fist in the sheets as he eats her out with the enthusiasm of someone who desperately wants her approval.  He fucking moans into her pussy as she cries out, her legs falling further apart, her stomach tightening, her nerve endings singing as he keeps going.

She can feel herself being drawn closer to the kind of orgasm that leaves her nearly catatonic before Ziggy draws his mouth around her clit one last time before pulling off of her.  X groans as she releases her hand from his hair and sits back.

“Goddamn it, dude,” she says, and she’s not proud of how wrecked her voice sounds.

Ziggy shrugs as he gets to work on his belt.  “I wanna make you come with my dick in you,” he says by way of apology.

Yeah, that’s not gonna happen, X thinks, still aching from her near-orgasm.  She reaches into her nightstand and rustles around for some condoms, a miscellaneous collection of different colors and sizes that are hopefully all still good.

“Those might not fit,” Ziggy says, just a touch of a smug grin that makes X want to roll her eyes.

Oh, bullshit, she almost says, and then Ziggy gets his pants off.

“What the fuck?” she says without thinking.  “Were you grown in a lab?”

Because she did not expect this guy of all people to have the biggest dick she’s ever seen.  Even at just half-mast, it looks like it belongs to a man twice his size.

Ziggy shrugs, clearly both delighted and unsurprised by her reaction.  “My dick runs plus-sized,” is all he offers.

X snorts and laughs again, although she’s pretty sure he couldn’t possibly interpret it as a laugh at his expense as she glances through her selection and oh thank Christ, finds a Magnum XL and shoves the rest into the nightstand before tearing open the one. 

“C’mere,” she says, and still meets him partway, sitting up to take him in hand to stroke him to full hardness; it takes only a few seconds to get him there, and a few seconds for X to think about how she’s never had anything this size inside of her but she’s absolutely not going to stop now.  Not when she’s rolling the condom onto him and setting the wrapper on the nightstand before settling back and hooking one leg around Ziggy’s hips.

He takes it as the blatant invitation that it is, and grins as he shifts and guides himself to her opening, and pushes in.

He gets only the first couple of inches and already Y feels as though the wind’s been knocked out of her.  A loud whimper feels as though it was pushed out of her from her stomach upwards.  She starts to regain her breath as Ziggy pulls back slightly, only to lose it when he thrusts back in, deeper than before.

“Fuck.  Fuck.”  X tries to keep her trembling legs up and open, her stomach and hips clenching as he drives another couple of inches.

Ziggy leans forward, bracing himself above her.  “Good?” he asks, breathless, and X takes the opportunity to grip his back, find something to hold onto other than the sheets under her.

“It’s—ah!—it’s a lot.”  She can feel herself squirm again as Ziggy lifts her hip and brings it closer to him.  Even the degrees that it brings him deeper feels like too much all at once.  “Wait, wait.  Take a breather?”

Ziggy sighs and brings his face low, to the mark he sucked on her neck, and drags his tongue over it, as though leaving salve over a recent wound.  It makes X whimper, has her drawing her nails lightly down his back and digging in only when he repeats the action.  He’s pulsing inside her, almost shaking with the need to drive himself in deeper, and after a moment, when X flexes around him, she finds she can take some more.

“Yeah, okay.  Keep going.  I’m good,” she tells him, and he does not need to be told twice before he pulls out to the tip and pushes back in, the farthest he’s gone yet, with a force that knocks her headboard against the wall and makes her cry out.  He keeps going, drawing out of her before plunging back in, deeper by fractions until he finally thrusts all the way inside of her with a sharp roll of his hips that sends the headboard slamming against the wall and makes X shout.

And here she thought she’d wake up her roommate with a simple moan, she thinks deliriously.  She rocks back against him as he fucks her in earnest, wanting more even as she’s at her fucking limit of what she can take.  She wants, she wants

“Wait.  Wait.”  She grips his hair and looks up at him.  His pupils are blown wide and his mouth open.

What?” he asks.

“Lay back,” she tells him.  “I wanna ride you.”

Ziggy freezes, looking genuinely stumped for a moment, before dumbly nodding.  “Yeah,” he says finally.  “Yeah, okay.  Uh,” he pulls out of her (slowly, thank God.  Losing all that all at once would be too much of a shock) and turns over on his back as though in a daze.

Those big doe eyes widen as X gets up and swings a leg over him, grips his cock, and slides down onto him.

She hears herself moan as she finally reaches his hips, the full length of him inside of her once more.  It’s easier this way, to let gravity to part of the work, to fuck herself on him in her own rhythm.  She braces one hand behind her on his thigh, the other on his pale stomach as she rides him, building in speed and intensity until the slap of skin on skin and the creaking of the bed is almost obscene and she feels filled up to her guts with his cock in her.

Ziggy doesn’t seem to mind any of this at all, from the way he gasps and moans and from the way one hand grabs X’s hip to bring her back down onto him with every return, and the way his other hand travels upwards, cupping one breast and squeezing before going further and wrapping loosely around her throat.

Her previous orgasm, brought to a screeching halt earlier, starts building again and she is fucking ready for it, bringing her hand from Ziggy’s stomach to her own clit to take herself over.

“You almost there?” she hears Ziggy ask under her; his own voice rougher than before.

“Yeah, I am,” she manages, and cries out as he bucks his hips upwards into her.

“Me too,” he tells her, and continues rocking his hips up into her, bringing her hips down onto him until the very end.

She shudders and moans, still moving on top of him as she finally comes, clenching around him, legs shaking and chest heaving.  In the aftermath she vaguely feels him pulse and twitch inside of her, hears him moan, and figures he must have reached his own conclusion and she should probably get off of him.  It takes a moment to catch her breath and reconfigure before raising her hips and letting him pull his softening cock out of her before she collapses on the bed beside him.

She sees him start to pull off the condom and wordlessly picks up her wastebasket from her side of the bed and hands it over to him for him to drop it in before setting it back down.

For a while neither of them says anything, just catch their breaths and presumably think over what they learned tonight.

After a moment Ziggy asks, “Cool if I smoke?”

X glances over.  She herself doesn’t smoke, but she imagines how he’d look with a post-coital cigarette in his mouth, and says, “Yeah.  Totally fine.  Just wait and give me a minute.  I don’t have an ashtray.”  She excuses herself and heads down the hall to the bathroom without bothering to get dressed.

She pees first; he can wait another thirty seconds and she’s heard that one should always pee after being fucked to avoid getting a UTI.  She’s not entirely sure if that’s true but she did also have several shots and two Coors, so she needs to regardless.  And while washing her hands she considers a possible ashtray alternative and decides to go with the soap dish on the counter because she’s still slightly drunk and still more than a little dicked down and she can just wash it later when he leaves.

When she gets back Ziggy’s still in bed, this time in his boxers with a pack of cigarettes and a lighter beside him.  He looks up as she enters and looks her over without apology.

“You got a nice body,” he tells her, and it seems like he means it.

X thinks of retorting with something like, Thanks, I grew it myself.  Instead she settles in and sets the soap dish between them.  “Thanks.  I like yours, too,” she tells him.

Ziggy glances away as he busies himself with lighting a cigarette.  He doesn’t respond, just inhales and tilts his head back as he parts his lips and lets the smoke billow out.  He wordlessly offers her a smoke, and when she shakes her head, finishes his cigarette in a few long pulls.

“I usually fuck with my clothes on,” he says finally as he puts it out in the soap dish.

“I don’t,” X says.  “I think it’s better without them.”

Ziggy smiles and reaches out to stroke along her inner thigh.  “Yeah,” he says.  “Yeah, I can see that.”  His fingers graze over her skin and then abruptly stop.  He hesitates, sets the makeshift ashtray his smoking accoutrements on the floor on his side of the bed and gets out.

“Gotta take a leak.  Where’s your bathroom?” he asks.

“It’s the open door down the hall to the left,” she tells him, and he leaves without a word.

This part, she wasn’t expecting this.  The talkative, not-terribly-bright young man at the bar, the enthusiastic one in bed, has turned into someone more morose and awkward than she imagined.  Could be he’s tired.  God knows she is.

When he comes back, he stands nervously in the doorway.  “Should I go, or…?” he starts.

X yawns.  “Yes.  I’m going to kick you out at two in the morning right after you’ve fucked me,” she tells him.

This doesn’t help.  He freezes, eyes wide.  He looks very breakable right now.

X can’t help but feel a little guilty.  “C’mon, man.  Close the door, turn the lights off, and get over here,” she says.

Ziggy’s look of relief is palpable before he puts the light out and shuts the door behind him.

The moment he’s in bed he gets atop her and kisses her fiercely, bringing one hand below her had to get closer, one leg in between both of hers.

Of course on her one day off X forgets she doesn’t actually need to set an alarm.

“Oh, goddamnit,” she says aloud, or some groggy approximation of it before turning off her alarm clock and flipping to her other side. 

Then she sees the body stirring in bed next to her.

A flash of momentary panic, and then recognition hits home.  She fucked this guy.  She liked it.

“Hey,” she says.  She smiles a little as he starts to wake up, and thinks to herself that he’s not all that classically handsome, maybe, but he’s pretty.  She’s woken up next to worse-looking people and after worse nights.  Hell, as long as he’s not expecting anything serious from her, with the combination of her job and her quarter-life crisis taking up most of her time and energy, she wouldn’t be opposed to doing this again.

“Hey,” he mumbles.  “What time is it?” he asks, stretching.

X glances at the clock.  “Nine,” she tells him, and sees him immediately get up as though shocked with a cattle prod.

Fuck!  Shit!” he gets out of bed, where X can see the marks she left on his back, pink against the pale expanse before he puts his shirt on, pulls on his jeans.  “Shit.  Shit.  Nick’s gonna fucking kill me.”

“Nick?” X asks, still facing whiplash from the sudden shift in energy. 

“My cousin,” Ziggy says over his shoulder.  “My cousin and business partner.  It’s a long story.”  He sits on the edge of the bed where he finishes getting dressed and grabs his cigarette and lighter in the time it takes X to grab an oversized tank top and panties from her dresser.

“Y’know, I hadn’t seen you around before,” Ziggy says once he’s fully dressed.  “Think I would’ve remembered you if I had.”

X leans against the wall, arms folded.  “This your way of saying you’d like to meet up again sometime?” she asks.

Ziggy shrugs.  “Yeah, I guess it is,” he says, a little dopey smile in place.  Zero to fully awake in, like, two minutes.  Amazing.  “I’m there a lot of nights.  Worker’s hangout and all that.”

X considers him, as though she hadn’t already thought this over.  “Sure,” she says, finally.  “You wouldn’t be too far out of my way.”

Ziggy beams and leans in to kiss her one last time.

“I’ll just show myself out?” he says, and when she nods, heads downstairs.  She vaguely hears the door open and shut as she considers the severity of her hangover (mild) and the soreness between her legs (moderate.)

X waits a few moments before heading downstairs to lock up after him.