Carmen unhappily found out that Harry had a massive ego as things became more serious and she began accompanying him to his vernisages and shows. One time too many Carmen found herself standing alone, seething, drinking a glass of white wine while Harry dealt with all of the insufferable college art student groupies that clung to him, doe-eyed and flirtatious.
Carmen did not think of herself as a jealous person, but here she was, biting her lip and resisting the temptation to just turn around and call a taxi home. It’s not that she was worried that Harry would actually sleep with any of his adoring fans (though maybe he would?), its just that she didn’t appreciate his huge grin as he basked in his glory, and he wasn’t ever exactly quick to turn the girls away and come and spend time with her either.
So she drank her wine and pouted. And she kept having to pout at each show, and she kept having to drink her wine alone at each show, until finally, Harry looked over to see if she was still standing there, and she was gone.
Outside, the night loomed quiet and dark. Mired in feelings of doubt (should she run back in and confront Harry?) and frustration, Carmen suddenly felt an uncomfortable dizziness and reached out for something to latch onto. Leaning heavily against a telephone pole, she lit a cigarette, allowing the cool night rain to drench through her coat and then through her clothes. It seemed to her as though she stood their for an hour without seeing anyone, until the thin lights of a solitary car attracted her attention through the sheets of tumbling rain. The taxi rolled up beside her and the passenger window unrolled.
“Do you need a ride? You’re soaking wet.”
Carmen climbed into the back seat and started straightening out her unruly, sopping wet hair. She pulled her phone out of her purse to see if Harry had contacted her. He hadn’t. He was so firmly entranced by his own world that he probably hadn’t even noticed her leave. Typical.
What wasn’t typical was her cab driver, who, when she took a moment to look up from her phone, she realized was incredibly handsome. He looked at her expectantly, and for a moment Carmen became confused. Why was he staring at her?
“So, can I take you somewhere? Or we just going to sit here parked on the side of the road?”
Carmen flushed with embarrassment.
“Oh yeah, of course…um, I guess, can you take me home? It’s on the other side of the city though.”
“Doesn’t matter much to me where it is. It’s my job to drive to the other side of the city, after all.”
Before driving off into the night, he turned back and looked in Carmen’s eyes, and for a split second Carmen’s mind swam as she got lost in his large, dark green stare.
“You OK?” he asked.
“Yeah, I’m OK. I’m just soaking wet and tired. Why?”
“It’s just that normally when someone is standing in the rain, soaking wet, with their makeup running down their face, slouching against a pole and smoking, it’s because they’re not alright. That’s all. So? Am I wrong?”
Carmen was taken aback by the taxi driver’s abruptness. She felt like her personal space was being invaded a bit, actually, but when she looked at him again and at his earnest smile and honest eyes, she knew that he was trying to be supportive.
“No, you’re not wrong. But it’s OK. Just what you’re probably thinking: I got into an argument with this guy I was dating.”
In her mind, the emphasis weighed heavily on the was as it came out of her mouth. So it was decided then. Things had petered out between Harry and her: a fact that she had ignored, yet one that had been mounting, along with her frustration, in the last couple of weeks. She would be better off without him, his ego, and his legions of groupies. She had dipped her toes into the chaotic art world, and frankly, she didn’t feel like standing around in a museum for a good long time.
As they drove through the night, Carmen found herself opening up to this taxi driver, whose name, she discovered, was James. In turn, he opened up to her.
James was a taxi driver by night, but only to pay the bills. He was also a fledgling author with a few somewhat successful publications to his name. When he quit his day job to start writing a novel, he still had to make ends meet, and so here he was, buzzing through the twisting city streets, looking for fares and making small talk with strangers.
When James dropped Carmen off at home she felt the pull of not wanting to get out of the car. She was enjoying herself, and felt completely at ease with a man that she hardly new. They had spoken briefly, and innocuously, yet she felt a certain conversational chemistry developing between them. So Carmen reached into her purse and procured a receipt, on the back of which she wrote down her name and number. She handed the paper over to James with her fare.
“This probably happens to you all the time,” she said as she handed it over, “but you should call me sometime. Maybe we can go out for a drink or something like that.”
Without giving James an opportunity to respond, and without looking back, Carmen got out of the cab and went up into her apartment. She poured herself a glass of wine and sat down on her couch, absent-mindedly flipping through a newspaper. Her mind kept trying to drift back to Harry, but when she found that, surprisingly, she was thinking about James instead. The idea of James, the mysterious knight in shining armour that had appeared in the dark, unforgiving night, aroused Carmen.
Carmen hoped that he would take her up on her offer and call her. In the meantime, she allowed herself to be taken over by the fantasy of his touch, his lust. His vivid green eyes pierced her consciousness, and she could imagine herself draped over his rugged body as he ran his manly hands all over her, down the small of her back, up the inside of her thighs, around her breasts and nipples – she could feel her body tingling as her thoughts raced.
And then she imagined him touching her, slowly at first sliding his hand down the front of her underwear, and her wetness and arousal became vivid and real as she touched herself, and for a moment, her fingers became his as she pleasured herself, putting her fingers inside of herself and trying to imagine how James would do it. She had not fantasized about someone so strongly for quite sometime, and for a moment she felt guilty – she hardly knew this man, but the fantasy took back over, and she lost control of herself and her body as the ecstasy overtook her rationality, and she felt the orgasm come over her in waves like the falling sheets of rain beating against her windows.
Carmen woke up the next morning with James still on her mind. She wondered how long he would wait before calling. Another day passed. Carmen was at home one evening, drinking a class of wine. Suddenly the phone rang, and she picked it up.
“Yes, Carmen speaking.”
“I haven’t stopped thinking about you since you got out of my taxi.”
“I haven’t stopped thinking about you either.”