Christa Wick

Slow Hand Curves

“I was already climaxing again when he flipped me onto my stomach.” Briana Custer blew at her coal black bangs as if her re-telling of last night’s encounter with an old flame had her ready to pop for the sixth time in the last twenty-four hours.

I squirmed in my seat, hoping Bree would run out of steam shortly or my sister-in-law Melinda would finally shut her up.

“And…” Melinda sucked on her strawberry milkshake, her free hand gesturing for Bree to continue. Eight- and-a-half months pregnant and just off an extended bed rest, Melinda had to settle for having a sex life vicariously through Bree.

Having already listened to thirty minutes of Bree recapping sex acts, some I’d never even heard of, I was down to my last nerve. Burying my face in my hands, I groaned.

Bree rolled her eyes at me. “What’s got your granny panties in a knot?”

Much to my horror, Melinda volunteered an answer. “Amber has never-”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah.” She waved Melinda off. “I know that Rice Krispies here has only been snapped and crackled, but never popped. But her ears sure as hell aren’t virgin.”

“No, I mean, she has never…” Melinda stopped and let an imaginary quiver roll through her body. “Not even on her own.”

“Oh, Jesus!” I wrapped my hands around my head and shut my eyes. I would never again try to entertain a bedridden pregnant woman who had been house bound for a month with a discussion of lady problems.

“C’mon, quit yanking my chain.” Bree made a little come hither motion with her middle finger. “Are you saying not even after a little rub or two?”

I felt my cheeks go from pink to red. “Uhm…we’re in a public restaurant, ladies…please.”

My voice had turned into an annoying little whisper that they completely ignored. Melinda slurped the last of her shake and then authoritatively pointed its container at her best friend. “Crockers don’t masturbate — at least the ones with ovaries don’t.”

If my mother had any say, the Crockers with testicles didn’t masturbate either. Heck, they shouldn’t even know what the word meant! Eleanor Crocker Rice was a past President of the Ladies Auxiliary for the First Baptist Church of Dallas, currently serving as an Ambassador-at-Large for the Southern Baptists of Texas and darn proud of it. She would have a stroke if anyone so much as suggested a member of her bloodline touched their naughty bits.

“You mean they lie about it.” Bree snorted and shoved a French fry between expertly painted red lips. “Of course she’s masturbated.”

Blushing, I remained silent.

“So, can’t rub one out on your own, huh?” Bree tilted her head to the side, her gray eyes glittering like ash- covered diamonds. “I could give you one.”

When Bree reached for my wrist, her gaze skipping to the restroom door, I started to hyperventilate.

“Lay off.” Melinda gave her friend a soft shoulder slug, but my relief lasted no more than five seconds before she offered an alternative. “What about that guy you were telling me about?”

Bree arched one manicured brow in confusion.

“At the wellness center,” Melinda prompted, her hand making an odd twist in the air for emphasis.

Bree’s jaw dropped open, her expression widening at the suggestion. “Slow Hand Sam?”

I looked desperately between the two of them. I had no clue where this was going or who this Sam was. The only thing I knew was that I didn’t like the look on their faces. They were up to no good, clearly conspiring against me.

I started to rise from the table. Bree had driven Melinda to the restaurant and the plan was she would drive her home. I had to escape while I still could!

“Not so fast, Rice Krispies.” Bree’s hand closed around mine. I glowered at her but she wouldn’t let go. Grinning like a demon, she pushed her cell phone at Melinda. “Dial, bestie.”

Melinda picked up the phone, entering the phone number Bree rattled off from memory. Whoever was on the other end answered quickly. Before I knew what was happening, Melinda was pretending to be me.

“Yes, this is Amber Rice, I need to schedule a massage with Samuel Pepin.” She paused as the person on the other side asked a couple of questions. “Tension headaches. I’ll be paying cash…Tuesday at three? Sounds perfect!”

As the phone snapped shut, Bree released me. Reaching into her pocket, she pulled out a dollar bill and started to fold it in a peculiar manner.

“What did you just do?” I looked at Melinda. Her grin was only half a centimeter narrower than the one she’d wore on her wedding day. I looked to Bree, who was still folding the dollar bill. “What are you doing?”

“It’s a code.” She showed me the bill. “You go in with a hundred folded like this. You get a massage and a hand job from this really hot physical therapist-”

“I will not!”

Bree gave me another one of her eye rolls. “Don’t worry, it’s perfectly clinical.”

I could tell by the demonic smile lingering on Bree’s face it was anything but clinical. I folded my arms across my chest. “If by clinical you mean illegal!”

“It’s a tip, for a job well done.” She looked to Melinda. “Go on, tell her!”

A look I’d never seen in my sister-in-law’s eyes appeared as she leaned in close. “This is all supposed to be a secret, but…”

She continued whispering in my ear, my expression growing increasingly distressed as she told me first about what Samuel Pepin had done for Imogene Fudge, whose husband had left her after she’d been diagnosed with breast cancer. She followed that report with one about his extra special treatment of Elaine Tyler, who had back surgery last summer, and then Becky Clay…

“He turned Portia Philips’ scrawny ass down, though.” Bree nodded her head at me as if that little fact would clench the deal.

I shook my head. I hadn’t been abandoned by my husband, hadn’t had back surgery, and I looked nothing Portia, who was the DFW area’s answer to Paris Hilton. He had no charitable or aesthetic reason to assist me.

Not that I wanted him to!

“No,” I told them, shaking my head for emphasis. “I won’t do it and you can’t make me.”

I don’t know what gave me the idea I could resist them. After two days of relentless goading by Melinda and Bree, I arrived at the facility twenty minutes early. The building’s automatic doors slid open, exhaling cold air that hit my skin like an arctic blast of shame. Hesitating, I looked back at my little blue Prius sparkling in the Texas sun. I could still flee — Melinda would give up trying to fix me after a while and things would settle back to normal. Bree I could avoid until she too had moved on to another pet project.

“Move, fat ass.”

Startled, I turned to the familiar voice. Portia Philips’ face twisted in surprise as she realized she had just insulted someone whose daddy was richer than hers. She recovered quickly, her right nostril and eyebrow creeping up her face in an unbecoming sneer.

“Finally seeing someone about your weight problem, Amber?” She adjusted the shoulder strap on her Dolce amp; Gabbana purse. Her bony hip canted to the side as she waited for my answer. Behind her, the automatic doors slid shut.

I smiled as if I wasn’t talking to a woman who was best described as the spiritual love child of Ted Bundy and Aileen Wournos. “Here to get your STD treated?”

Her gaze narrowed, the sneer disappearing as her mouth pressed into an unflattering thin line of hate. “At least I can get laid.”

My smile widened, but I was relieved she couldn’t see my eyes hiding behind my sunglasses. “I’d be

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