Vicki Marie’s Sexy Summer Reading Series: One Chapter A Day
THE BACHELOR CHAPTERS: A THINKING WOMAN’S ROMANCE
I had been tentative, but six months after Toni left me, I opened up to a relationship with a fun and sexy chick. Erica and I had a playful and flirtatious rapport for years, and when we started dating, she distracted me from the sorrow of my recovering self-worth with two of my favorite pastimes: ass kicking comedy and outstanding sex.
“The quickest way to get rid of the stink of one man is with the smell of another,” my assistant at work had counseled, and she and I felt certain that applied to lesbian heartbreak as well.
It was not love, but it was lovely, and Erica and I started to behave like a couple with a future. Yet after two months, our relationship started to strain, and after five months it was done. “Boot camp,” I called it when it was over. I considered it my own personal training ground for how not to have a relationship, ever again. Fuck the sisterhood. Too many unwritten rules! Why were women so relentlessly complicated? My husband had been simple.
When spring crested out of the dark drudge of winter, it infused me with that familiar fever; I wanted sex back in my life. But I didn’t want another Erica, or Jon or Toni either. No, not ever again. I needed to recalibrate my heart to match the facts of my life. It had been a full year since Toni left, and I had the health and the motivation to make my next move. It was time to change the game.
Katsu was a client, but as with several of my customers, we slid right into a friendship. In his mid-thirties, born and bred in New York City, Katsu was an accomplished graphic designer and a veteran of Seattle’s best advertising agencies. I was charmed that he was also that rare outdoorsman who chose the bow and arrow for his annual elk hunt in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest. The image of this biracial, Japanese American, who was raised on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, slinging arrows in the Cascade Mountains had always delighted me. Katsu’s résumé ran counter to cultural and class expectations, which made him above average admirable in my eyes. From the minute we met, I knew he was my kind of guy.
We were eating sushi in the Regrade, a neighborhood on the north edge of Seattle’s downtown.
“You’re not bringing me any business, baby—what’s up with marketing?” I asked, stirring the wasabi into the soy sauce.
“Idiots.” He made it simple. “We just finished our third acquisition in two quarters, and now the brass is freaked about cash flow, and the print buying has been centralized. I’m not allowed to talk to vendors.” Katsu picked up the Hamachi with his sticks, “Fuckin’ bean counters.”
“You’re going to give me that contact’s info,” I said, taking action to manage the bad news, “and, you’re going to give me a rock star referral.”
“Sure, send me an email tomorrow. Hey—did you guys get that new press yet?”
That night, my reason to meet with Katsu was about more than just food and shoptalk. I had reflected heavily on the last eighteen months of my life: the divorce, the wrecked love affair, and my stint in boot camp. I was back on track, but still leery from the emotional strain. I was developing a plan, and it was time to get it outside of my head. I needed someone who would hear me out and talk back straight. Katsu was a guy’s guy, but he was also a girl’s guy. He was a listener. I was counting on his ear, and I was counting on his wisdom. I needed a man.
TOMORROW: Chapter 11
Copyright Vicki Marie Stolsen, 2014, Forever Forty-Four Publications, Publicity Rare Bird Lit, Tyson Cornell, Tyson@rarebirdlit.com, Distribution by Ingram, Available online and in bookstores in paperback, eBook, and audio format.