The entire living room was wall to wall groping, naked bodies. Why had coming here seemed like such a good idea at the time? At least, why had I allowed myself to be dragged here by my date for the evening? Alcohol had to have been involved, in fact it had been. I didn’t drink often and at some point in the dinner party, after the cocktails, wine with dinner, and that coffee drink after that tasted like more proof than coffee, everyone had decided to pack up and check out the private club. And I had laughed and jumped right in the car along with my date and the other couples who had made up our Valentine’s Day party. I was only out with this guy because it was Valentine’s Day and I didn’t want to stay home alone, so I accepted an office friend’s fixup. A dinner party in a nice restaurant sounded safe enough. Right.
It had seemed like a lark, a funny idea, and a story I could tell later in life about my wild evening. But by the time we were at the big house in the back of hell and gone (really, that was the address, I’m pretty sure), I was sobering up and really about half panicked. And in my underwear. Only my underwear.
It was a rule, to get in you had to strip down to bra and panties, unless you were a guy, then there was most likely no bra. And the woman at the door, she had to weigh at least five hundred pounds, and she had locked up all of the clothes and purses and things, for safekeeping, she said. My date had the claim check.
I looked around the house, which looked much too expensive for the activities it was hosting. I’m no expert on furniture or glassware, but the broken vase by the door had probably cost more than my car, and those stains were not going to come out of the couch. My date had dumped me for a blonde with lavender see-through panties and a big smile. I was now completely sober, and freaked out and I wanted to go home.
So there I stood, bra, panties, no purse, no clothes, no ride, pressed against the sliding glass door at the back of the house, considering calling 911 just to get the place raided so I could get the hell out of there. . Even if they took me to jail, it would be an improvement. They gave you a nice orange jumpsuit there, right? The cold of the glass against my skin was a comforting, because the room was filled with sweaty, grunting people, and way overheated. Could people actually raise a room’s temperature with enough friction?
Then, the cold glass was gone, and I was falling. Falling into the arms of a fully dressed man who had opened the door and was standing there looking appalled, and holding her against his very muscular chest. Amazing what a person could notice in stressful situations. He pushed me away from him and stared, from the tip of my auburn up-do rapidly becoming a down-do, past black lace bra and matching panties, and down to the tips of my red polished toes.
“What the hell are you doing in my house?” he demanded, shaking me until my teeth rattled.
“Nothing. I’m doing nothing.”
“Then why are you in your underwear? Get out of my house.” He attempted to push me back through the door, odd since he wanted me out, but I clung to his arms. No way was I going back in there.
“I am out of your stupid house,” I sobbed, giving in to the hysteria I had been holding back until now. “In case you hadn’t noticed, I’m in your damned yard. Let. Me. Go.”
He cooperated, pushing me away from him so that I fell backwards against the rough wood siding. “Happy? Now, would you care to explain what is going on here in my house? I leave for a few days and I come back to,” he gestured wildly in the direction of the sliding glass door. “This, this, well, words fail me.”
“Me too,” I wailed. “I had too much wine with dinner, and I almost never drink, and then there was that thing with the coffee. Vodka, brandy maybe, I don’t know. All I know is that the next thing I know I was in your living room in my underwear. And did you see what those people are doing in there?”
“Those people? Not you?”
“I still have my underwear on, don’t I? I think you have to take at least some of it off to do, well,” I pointed at a couple almost up against the door. “That.”
“I suppose you do. Well, maybe you can tell me who is responsible.”
“How would I know that? I was on a blind date, and we were all out at dinner, then they wanted to come to a private club and I came. The rest is kind of a blur.”
“But you didn’t...”
“No, I didn’t. I just didn’t have any way to get home.”
“Did you have clothes on when you got here?” He was trying to look politely away, but not really succeeding. His voice, however, was not as loud as it had been.
“Yes, of course I did.”
“Then where are they?”
“That gigantic woman at the front door has them; my date had the ticket for them pinned in his boxers.”
“Well that could hurt couldn’t it? Straight pin? Oh, never mind. So you came in, gave your clothes to that woman and then what?
I had to stop and think. What had happened then? Oh, yeah. “Before the woman there was a man standing by the door. He was taking money.”
“Can you describe him?”
“No, not really, he was tall and heavyset. And he had a weird laugh, I remember now, kind of ‘heh, heh’ like a movie villain.”
“What?” He was too calm, suddenly.
“My brother. He must have gotten into town and found my spare key. I have to kill him now.”
“You can’t kill your brother.” I was sure of that, it was just wrong even if he did host swinger parties in your living room.
“No, I can. I have a gun. Or I could strangle him.” He seemed to be actually considering his options. “The pool isn’t heated right now, but if you drown in it, does that matter?”
I grabbed the lapels of his jacket. “No, you can’t kill him. But maybe there is something we can do.” Now that I wasn’t afraid of being dragged into that mess on the Berber carpeted floor, I was calm and wanting revenge myself. “First, give me that jacket. I can’t plot in my undies.”
He handed me the buttery soft brown leather jacket and I pulled it over my shoulders. There, much better already. He was so much taller than I was that it hung over my thighs and covered anything I was especially worried about. Now I could think clearly. He was not only tall, but had the most amazing grey eyes framed by long, sooty lashes. And night black hair that reflected the light, just like Superman’s in the comics, almost blue-black.
There was a bench over in a corner of the yard, mostly concealed by trees. I pointed to it. “Let’s go over there and sit down for a moment and make our plans.”
“What do you have in mind?” In shirtsleeves, he was broad shouldered and that distracted me for a moment.
I started to lead the way to the bench. The panic had faded and I was ready for action. “You say your brother has made this mess. Let’s make him clean it up. By the way, my name is Joelli.
“Nice to meet you, Joelli. I’m Aaron.” He sat on the bench and patted the marble next to him. “So, you have a plan?”
“I do. I take it this isn’t the first time your brother has pulled a stunt like this?”
“Well,” he hesitated. “He hasn’t actually set up a swinger’s club in my house before, but he does have a history of being a major pain in my ass.”
“So you aren’t worried if he is humiliated?”
“No, I would love him to be humiliated. How can you arrange it?”
I held out my hand. “Cell phone? Mine is in my purse, currently being held hostage.” I took the smartphone from him and dialed. “Hello, Jerry? Do you still do the bridal showers? And can you reach any of the other boys? They are? Right now?” I covered the phone and whispered, “They’re all out at a bar together, and have their costumes and stuff in their cars” I went back to the phone, “Gerry, hun, here’s what I need you to do.”
Aaron watched me closely through the call, one eyebrow cocked, and a twinkle in those gorgeous eyes. “Should I ask? Or wait to be surprised with the rest of them?”
“Up to you. If we wait back here, we can watch through the door and enjoy the mayhem from a distance.”
It was no trouble to sit and talk with Aaron. It turned out we both worked in banking and we had a wonderful time talking business and accounting and other dry topics, side by side on the narrow marble bench, while we waited for my plan to come to fruition.
About fifteen minutes later, we could see the fun begin through the flat screen of the glass doors.
“We need popcorn for this show,” Aaron quipped.
“Yes or maybe bonbons.”
“You get bonbons at the movies too?” He smiled at me as though I had done a very smart thing.
“Of course, but never nachos.” I nodded wisely. “The grease from the cheese always soaks through the box and ends up in my lap.”
The movie we were watching at that particular moment was an action film. Probably European, as all the fleeing actors were naked, or nearly so. The policemen menacing them were wearing uniforms that had never seen the inside of a police station. They were tear-aways that were customarily worn to do lap dances, but Jerry and his fellow strippers seems to relish the role of ‘real’ policeman as they waved their nightsticks (vibrators, but as long as nobody pushed any buttons by mistake...) and we could see their mouths moving as they ushered the naked, flailing guests toward the front door.
I saw at least one local politician in the mix, along with my date from earlier and his friends. Also, a local TV weather bunny who I had often thought looked more like a cocktail waitress than the meteorologist she claimed to be. And, yes, they were fake; nobody’s boobs bounce like that if they are original models.
At first, we stared in fascination, but once Aaron began to laugh, I joined him. We held each other to keep from sliding off the narrow bench as tears ran down my face. Then the room and the ones down the hallway finally cleared and Jerry came and opened the door to wave at us.
“All safe now, ma’am, sir.”
“Thank you officer,” I fought to stay serious and play with my friend in his new role. “I believe you saved my virtue.”
At that, Jerry grinned and pointed at my companion. “I’m not sure about that, Joelli. The way that guy is looking at you; your virtue may still be in danger. Shall I run him downtown?”
“No, but you can take me back with you if you guys have room in the car? What are there, five or six of you?”
“Six, but you can sit on someone’s lap. C’mon. Let’s find your clothes and get going.”
Aaron stood up, pulling me with him. “I don’t think your virtue would be safe sitting on a male stripper’s lap in a car full of the guys. If you don’t mind, I will go find my brother, make sure I get my key back, and then I’ll give you a ride home.”
“Oh, no. You don’t have to do that. You have a real mess to clean up here, and it’s so late.”
He slipped an arm around my shoulder and hugged me against his side. “No, it’s no trouble. This has been quite a fascinating evening, and I would like to get to know you better. You saved me from a house full of sex maniacs. I would like to walk you to your door and maybe even get a goodnight kiss, if you don’t think it will compromise you too badly.”
I lifted to tiptoe and pressed my lips to his. “Before I saved you, you had already saved me. I would be very pleased to have you take me home.”
His other arm joined the first and he pressed me full against him, so I knew he was not too turned off the the pervs writhing on his living room floor. When he kissed back, I never wanted it to end, but finally he pushed me back a little.
“Good, because I think you’re gorgeous in black lace, and have a quick mind, but I’d love an explanation of how you ended up in my house this way. You don’t seem the type.”
My dear friend, my oldest friend, Jerry burst out laughing. “Man, you have no idea. I could tell you stories.”
“No, you may not.” I said as sternly as possible. “Aaron, let’s go find my clothes, And my purse. I want to go home.” I grabbed his hand and began to tug him behind me toward the house, but he looked back at Jerry the pretend cop.
“What do you think? Does she like me?”
“Like you?” The jerk actually winked at me. “I think she might. Just don’t move too fast, you know she’s been traumatized tonight.”
I glared at him. “Thanks, Jerry. I think you’ve done enough tonight. You’d better go put that nightstick back in your night table.”
He opened his mouth to speak, but thought better of it and just said, “Night guys. See you soon, Jo,” and wandered back to collect his swaggering friends.
“Now they will all want to be cops. Those boys will never grow up.” I shook my head sadly.
“But do you?” Aaron asked, holding me with the force of his gaze?
“Like you? Yes, I suppose I might.”
“And should I move very slowly? Are you traumatized?”
I lifted again on tiptoe to reach his lips. “Maybe a little, but I think what I need is an antidote.”
He reached down and lifted me up in his arms. “The guest house is still dark and locked up, it’s probably safe.”
And he carried me off in his arms, to a little house at the back of the garden, surrounded by roses, where we did our best to wipe out the memories of earlier in the evening. And that is the true story of how I met the man I will marry tomorrow, why I have six strippers at my party, and why his brother had to beg for an invitation to the ceremony. I did vote for him to come, after all, if he hadn’t held his party, we wouldn’t be holding this one.