Some Like it Hot (Lisa Wu #01)

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I met Paul through my job. But first I expect you’ll want to hear about me.

My name is Lisa Wu. I’m twenty-six years old and I work downtown at an IT company. Doing pretty well for myself, too, as a project manager with a team of techs working under me. The numbers vary depending on the work we have on, but typically there’ll be as many as five or six of them, mostly guys. It’s the proverbial cat-herding job — these guys are world-class time wasters who would spend their days playing video games if I let them. I have to ride ’em pretty hard. But one way or other we get the job done and that keeps everybody happy.

You might think it a disadvantage, in a job like mine, to be this petite Chinese girl who, frankly, is kind of cute. It might be, but it doesn’t have to be. Sure I need to lay down the law from time to time, but mostly we get on pretty well. Not so long ago my own boss took me aside, told me they’d been calling me the baby-faced assassin behind my back. I spent the rest of the day feeling more than usually pleased with myself.

What else about me? I’ve been single for a while now, largely by choice. Had a long-term boyfriend, then a breakup. Not something I want to talk about all that much. I’m over it now. Mostly. My body is over it for sure, if this restless feeling I’ve been getting lately is anything to go by. I miss the intimacy, it seems so long since I’ve felt another person’s skin against mine. So yeah, I guess in that way I’m kind of lonely.

Okay, I’ll be honest. I miss sex. Fantasies and touching yourself are all very well but they can’t replace the weight of a man’s body on top of you, of being able to rub my nose into his neck and breathe in the smell of him. I’m not saying I’m desperate or anything. Still …

My co-workers are out of bounds. I work hard to keep things very brotherly and sisterly in that part of my life — not that I’d consider going out with any of them anyway, but it’s the principle. As for my social life, that’s not much help either. It feels like I’m at that age where more and more of the best men have already been whisked off into matrimony or other locked boxes.

And on top of all that I’m just fussy, I guess.

But that still leaves clients. That’s where I met Paul.

He’s the lead tech at one of the companies we’ve been working for. I first knew him as this guy who would turn up at meetings, nothing super-special but presentable enough with a soft clean face and quiet eyes. Then we got into this habit of joking around afterwards. I’m always super strict and straight-laced at my own office — a severe business suit and a stern expression — but it’s different with clients. There I get to be sweet and girly, a real pussy cat. Not in an unprofessional way, you understand. Exactly the opposite: it works better than you might think. People tend to underestimate you when you go into a negotiation. Better still, I get to do my cat-expecting-to-be-fed routine where it never appears to cross my mind that I won’t get my own way. And I’m not above throwing in a few plaintive meows if that’s what seems to be needed. Honestly, it works. You’d be amazed. And if it doesn’t, it’s not that big a jump from pussy cat to tiger lady.

But it rarely comes to that. I always try hard to find the best solution for all concerned, not to use my wiles to put one over on anyone. After all, we’re all just trying to get the job done.

Luckily the project with Paul’s company has been going well. Everybody happy. Paul helps by being an easy guy to work with. He’s got this good-natured sort of face and a demeanor to go with it. Always joking around. It’s not like his jokes are all that funny, but it’s as if he’s accepted that this is the kind of guy he is and he’s comfortable just being himself, even if what comes out of his mouth is a bit lame sometimes. I like that. And yeah, I like the attention he’s been showing me.

But there’s more to him than just that good-natured face. It sits atop a lean lanky body, for a start. A sportsman’s body, it seems to me. Not like some sort of jock — I couldn’t imagine him wrestling or playing hockey, say — more like one of those agility sports. Fencing or snowboarding, something like that. I like how he moves. He might gabble his words, but his movements are like the speech of a wise old man, slow and deliberate, coming at their own pace. And he was single. I knew because I asked him.

Most of all, it seemed he might be one of life’s good guys. I’d decided I was going to snaffle him up and put this theory to the test, before some other girl got the same idea.

Problem was, he still hadn’t asked me out. I couldn’t see why not. He seemed to like me, and he didn’t lack for opportunities. It made me wonder if my bright and bubbly routine was backfiring. Maybe he thought I was only paying attention to him because he was a client. Was it time to try shy and sultry, I wondered? I decided not. It might scare him off. Thing is, he was kind of awkward at times — in that geeky pendik escort boyish way guys often are. Always trying to make a joke of everything, just when you want him to be serious. Could it be he was too shy to ask?

Okay then, I’d just have to ask him instead. That suited me better when I thought about it. It would mean I’d be the one to choose time and place. And it seemed to me that Paul was one of those guys who needed a bit of prodding to get him moving. The sort who needs an organizing force in his life. My day job was all about delegating, but sometimes if you want something done right you just have to do it yourself.

One of the things we used to talk about was my cooking. I’d confessed to him that this had been my hobby lately, something to fill up all the extra time I had after splitting up with my former boyfriend (though I didn’t tell him this last bit). Truth is, I like to eat well, and with nobody around to take me out to good restaurants any more I just had to make it myself. All sorts of food: French and Italian, Chinese obviously. Paul used to tease me about it. One day he made this lame joke about Chinese food, something about how real men don’t eat tofu. So I thought — Right, you’re not getting away with that. I invited him to come to my place for dinner that weekend. He said yes, and Lisa went home a happy girl.

I called myself petite before, and maybe that’s stretching things a little. Five foot six when I tiptoe, and I prefer to describe myself as slightly on the cuddly side of slim. Not fat, you understand! I want it on the record that my belly is still flat enough you could set a table on it, not that I’m making any suggestions. But plenty of rounded edges too. And I’ve got a pretty face, at least I think I have. Not the sort you might see on the cover of a fashion magazine — too cherubic for that — but one I’m happy with.

My greatest asset, though, is my skin. When I was a younger I developed this peculiar determination that wearing a hat would be my signature look. I guess it was one of those teenager self-expression things, and back then choosing a hat was about as self-expressive as I was allowed to get (but that’s another story for another time). Whatever my motives, it left me with a habit of always being shy of the sun. Not vanity — or at least not just vanity. I happen to believe that every girl has a right to feel protective about her complexion. Nor does it stop at my neck: underneath all these clothes I’m as smooth and baby-soft as you could wish for, unsullied by all those nasty UV rays. No bikini lines on me. It’s kind of a shame that the best I have to offer is the one thing that needs keeping under wraps. Paul was just going to have to learn there’s more to me than meets the naked eye.

I instructed him to come to my apartment at seven-thirty on Saturday night. That still left all of the day to fill. So what’s a girl to do? Shopping of course.

I’d already decided what to wear: a cotton one-piece summer dress from my wardrobe. It was quite demure in a girl-next-door sort of way — it came down almost to my knee — but also quite clingy, almost like a body stocking. I was keeping my options open. I didn’t want to throw myself at him, but nor was Paul going to be left in any doubt as to what was at stake here — all those ample curves I mentioned. Play your cards right, and what-you-see-is-what-you-get.

Nor was I about to put on fancy shoes just to walk around my own apartment. That just left the choice of lingerie. No need for ambiguity here — if things got to the point where my underwear was on show then there’d be no more need for an exit strategy. I could go for broke, I decided, and treat myself to something new and sexy. So that’s what I did.

This took up a good chunk of the morning, then it was off to the supermarket. Paul had made fun of tofu, so tofu it was going to be: Mapo Tofu, a fiery Sichuan dish made with mincemeat and lots of garlic and chili. Paul seemed to think it was funny to describe bean curd as a food for wimps — let’s see how he gets on with this. Again, my project manager’s brain was at work. Planning ahead. I was still just a little bit angry, and a little bit uncertain too, about it being me who had to ask him out rather than the other way around. Could I be misreading the situation? We still had to work together. I had high hopes for the evening, but I also wanted a way to turn it into a jokey ‘just friends’ kind of thing, if need be. A way to get out with my dignity intact. I was going to have to play it by ear.

Back home the first thing I did was try on my new purchases. I stripped naked and gave myself a good looking over in front of the mirror. Mmm, all that silky skin — really it was a waste that nobody else got to see it. I did a little twirl, then stuck out my ass and gave it a wiggle. I could feel my body starting to tingle already. Paul thinks he’s some sort of expert on what makes a real man? Well, he wasn’t going to lack for a proving ground.

I maltepe escort put on my new bra, a frilly see-through thing that felt wonderfully silky against my skin. My breasts aren’t exactly huge — I meant it when I said I was on the slim side of plump — but with the help of the bra there was enough cleavage to be getting on with. A thought struck me. With the sheerness of the bra and the clinginess of the dress, how much of my nipples would be showing through the fabric? Especially if they got all hard and pointy like they were right now? Oh well, I figured, some things can’t be helped.

Next were the panties. These really were the flimsiest of things. A thong, black and high on the hip. Just the thing to show off all the pearly white skin of my little round bum, to accentuate the curve of my hips. It took a real effort of will not to slide my fingers over that silky band of fabric that was all that covered me. Will power, girl. You’re saving yourself for later, remember. I quickly slipped back out of them — keep them on any longer and they’d need to go to the laundry basket. Instead I pulled my morning’s panties back on, these being frumpy enough to get me through the rest of the day until it was time to change back before Paul arrived.

God, I was so looking forward to this. But could Paul be relied on to play his part? I could half imagine him trying to make a joke at just the wrong moment. Thinking about it gave me butterflies in my stomach. Good grief, Lisa, you really are getting yourself in a state over this.

Somehow I got through the rest of the afternoon without suffering a nervous breakdown. Preparing the meal helped a bit, though compared to some of my culinary exploits Mapo Tofu is one of the least ambitious dishes in my repertoire. In my current flighty state of mind, that probably wasn’t a bad thing — nothing that could go wrong. Essentially you just fry up some garlic and ginger then make a meat sauce before finally adding cubes of tofu. The special ingredient is a type of chili bean sauce called toban’djan. Isn’t that a great name for an ingredient? Toban’djan. I just love the way it rolls off the tongue. This made me think of other things that roll off the tongue and I grimaced to myself at this corny private joke. Is humor another of those things that atrophy from lack of sex? Or have I been spending too much time with Paul and his lame jokes? Steady on girl, I told myself.

Paul arrived on time. I invited him in then turned to let him take in the view of my clingy dress as I padded off barefoot to the kitchen to get him a drink. Now there’s an image to ponder on.

I was still feeling nervous. I’d built up such expectations for this night that I’d be crushed if it didn’t go as planned. Would Paul turn out to be who I hoped he was? At work he always seemed eager to please, but then men sometimes develop peculiar ideas about what a girl wants. To begin with I kept worrying he would break into the silliness I knew he was capable of, but to my relief, our dinner conversation stuck to more serious matters.

“So tell me your dream,” he asked me, somewhat later. “What would you do if there was nothing holding you back?”

“Oh, I don’t have dreams. I have ambitions.” I’m so used to speaking sternly at work that it’s a tone of voice I can slip into it without my even being aware of it.

Paul wasn’t daunted. “There must be something. Some thing you would do if your ambitions weren’t in the way.”

“Mmm…” Right now I knew exactly what I wanted, but I wasn’t about to say that out loud. “Maybe travel back to China. See where I was born, see where my family came from. I’m not sure. It’s not unimportant to me, but some things are better left as imagination. You know, the reality might not live up to the expectation, so why spoil it?” I shrugged. “Perhaps one day.”

I know I do that girly girl act with clients, but I’m an earnest type underneath it all, a real sucker for a serious conversation. There have been times, once or twice in the past, when people have taken advantage of that — pretended to be serious with me when they were really just making fun. You want to make an enemy out of me, that’s one of the best ways.

Not with Paul, though. That was one of the things I liked about him — what you see is what you get.

“What about you?” I asked. “Are you going to tell me your dream?”

He grinned. “Oh, I can never remember my dreams.”

This made me laugh. “What a cop-out!” If I’d had something soft and convenient I might have thrown it at him.

He was thoughtful for a moment, or at least he pretended to be. “Actually, that’s not quite true. I can remember my dreams, for about five minutes after I wake up. I wouldn’t mind telling you all about them. You’d just have to be there at the right place and the right time.”

“You wish.”

He was grinning at me now. “Better a wish than a dream. Wouldn’t want to forget the experience five minutes after it’s over.”

“I don’t kartal escort think there’d be much chance of that happening.” I said the words as prudishly as I could manage, though surely he could be in no doubt as to the inuendo. By now I’d forgotten all about my earlier concerns. Paul had been charming all evening. No inappropriate jokes, just the two of us talking together like adults.

“So what did you think of the meal?” Not fishing for compliments or anything. Just the natural flow of the conversation.

“It was delicious. So this is real man’s tofu?”

“Not too hot for you?”

“Not at all. I mean, it was spicy. I swear I’ve never had a less wimpy meal of tofu in my life, nor a more delicious one.” He was grinning at me now, but that was okay. This was what I had intended all along. A joke we could share between us.

“I just wanted to see if you were man enough to handle it.” I looked him up and down. “Seems you are.” I was entirely ready for him now. All he needed do was stand up from the table and I’d be there to meet him. But Paul seemed intent on taking his time. All of a sudden that nervousness that had afflicted me all through the afternoon came rushing back. It was all I could do not to jiggle my legs up and down like an impatient school girl.

Paul was watching me, a light smile on his lips. I had served the Mapo Tofu in a bowl garnished with a couple of large chilis which I had pushed to the side when dishing up the food onto our plates. Now Paul picked one up, as if to examine it in more detail, holding it by the stem, point upward. He wiggled it back and forth and we exchanged knowing looks, then he lent forward as if to brush it against my lips. I shied away with a brief girlish squeal.

“Nothing to be scared of,” he laughed. He brought it back to his own mouth and took a large bite off the tip. I gasped. This wasn’t just any old store-bought chili. This was an extra-hot variety of Habanero I picked from a friendly neighbor’s garden. Not the sort of thing to be snacking on raw.

To Paul’s credit, he didn’t spit it out. His eyes went wide, but he kept on chewing, then swallowed. He was very careful about putting the chili back down on the bowl though, treating it like some sort of undischarged weapon.

Through all this I did my best not to laugh. Mostly succeeded. I did a little ‘my hero’ routine over him — sympathy and a short round of applause — then went off to the kitchen to fetch him a glass of water, figuring he’d be too proud to ask for one himself. He took it gratefully.

“So have I passed the chili test?” He said, breathing heavily and wiping moisture off his lips with the back of his hand.

“It wasn’t really a test,” I said, playing along, not wanting to spoil the moment. Rather than sit down again after I brought him the water, I had remained standing, leaning against the breakfast bar and all but wriggling in anticipation. Surely he could see the way was wide open for him. What on earth did he think he was up to with all this stalling?

When I spoke again, my voice had gone all husky. “Not a test, but perhaps you’ve earned a reward anyway.” Caution be damned. If he didn’t come and get me soon then I would go and plump myself down in his lap.

“Have I? What reward would that be?”

Inwardly I growled. Outwardly I made a tentative mew and gave him a bashful look.

I felt naked beneath my dress. That’s a statement of the obvious, I know, but I’m going to assume you know what I mean. My breasts and my loins swelled with longing, and for all their flimsiness my bra and panties suddenly felt more like B&D restraints, teasing me and holding me back. Holding me together as I felt ready to melt on the spot.

At last Paul took the hint, standing up and walking slowly toward me. Our first kiss. I held on to him tightly and let the sensation of it engulf me, reveling in the solidity of his body against mine, how he in turn had wrapped himself around me. I gave a little shimmy of my hips, acknowledging his erection, expressing how pleased I was to make its acquaintance.

The kiss went on forever. I think we’ve established that Paul wasn’t one of those rush-right-in sort of guys. Good for him. I, on the other hand, have a tendency toward impatience. I was in no mood to stretch things out for too long.

I was the one who broke away, pausing a moment to look into his eyes and brush a hand through his hair. Then I took him by the hand and pulled him into the bedroom. Perhaps the slowness was a sign he liked being led on. Well, if so, he’d come to the right girl.

We kissed again, still standing, and again I was the first to break away.

“Wait a minute,” I said, taking a step back. I reached down and grasped the hem of my dress, pulled it up and over my head. “Don’t move, okay.” I turned and padded across to the wardrobe, putting in a little extra wiggle as I went. We’d only just finished our second ever kiss, but I was greedy for him already. All that pearly white flesh I’d been keeping under wraps for so long, I wanted his eyes on me, admiring me. The black lace of my new lingerie, the whiteness of my puppy fat thighs. The lingerie would be coming off very soon, but dammit, I was going to get my money’s worth first.

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