For anyone who thought apocrypha was going a little light on the gratuitous sex, here's another story by Gaelin! Dig in, and make sure you have an air conditioner on nearby....
The temperature was much cooler than it had been earlier that afternoon when the game began, but the sun showed no sign of going down and the humidity was still so thick you could cut it with a knife.
The victor in this, the long-anticipated final playoff game between Queens and Manhattan, would face the Bronx for the title of New York City Police League Champions. The bases were loaded in the bottom of the third overtime inning, with a score of five to four in favor of Queens.
When the pitcher, a vice detective from Queens, stepped back onto the mound, a low murmur passed through the crowd. Joe "Porky" Padowski lifted his cap and wiped his brow as the batter, a homicide detective from Manhattan, walked over to the plate.
Detective Mike Logan was five for seven today, with three RBIs. He had the best shot at being named game MVP, but in his two at-bats since Porky entered the game, he had flied out to center once and been struck out once. It was that damn curveball. Mike could hit just about anything thrown at him, but Padowski's curveball gave him trouble every time.
The pressure weighing on Logan was evident in the stiff line of his shoulders and the hard set of his jaw. Not only was Manhattan's win or loss riding on what he did in the next two and a half minutes, but, as the 2-7's only representative on today's playoff team, so was his house's reputation. And that was a far heavier burden.
From her seat in the top tier of the stands behind the home plate fence, Katheleen Gallaher-Logan watched her husband adjust his helmet and prepare his stance. He should go for the bunt, she knew, but he never would. It was all or nothing. She crossed her fingers.
Two balls followed a strike. Another wind-up. Another strike. A very audible expletive from the batter's box. Stay calm, Katheleen willed to Mike, rising to her feet and crossing everything she could. A ball. She murmured a silent prayer of thanks to God and begged that Porky's next throw would be anything except the curveball. "You can do it," she whispered as Mike prepared for Porky's final pitch. The breath caught in her throat.
The smack of the ball against the bat filled the hushed silence, as spectators and players alike held their collective breaths in anticipation. Every eye lifted to the sky.
"Go, go, go, go..." screamed the third base coach, waving the runners into home.
All the outfielders dashed into right field chasing the ball that had become lost in the sun. Two of the players, one a patrolman and the other a sergeant, collided, and with a comedic bounce off each other, fell to the ground. It didn't matter. The ball was long gone. Mike had hit Padowski's curveball out of the park.
Grinning ear to ear, Mike trotted around the bases back to home plate into the waiting cheers of his teammates and begrudging congratulations of their opponents. He shook Porky's hand before being lifted onto the shoulders of his comrades and paraded around the diamond.
Katheleen abandoned her place in the stands, and, pushed her way through the roaring crowd to wait on the sidelines for the players to complete their circuit of the field. Back at home plate, Mike was lowered to the ground, and immediately he turned to her and that devastating grin of his widened. Her heart beat just a little faster.
"I knew you could do it," she said after he had swaggered over to where she waited.
"Porky didn't have a chance," he told her, wrapping his arms around her and lifting her off the ground. "I had a good luck charm."
"You don't need any luck." She grabbed him by the ears and lowered her mouth to his for a big, wet, sloppy kiss.
Oblivious to the wolf whistles and catcalls that surrounded them, her tongue plunged into his mouth. He was hot, sweaty and tasted very, very good. A little tangy and a little sweet, with just a hint of mint from the gum he was always chewing.
"Whoa, whoa," Tony Profaci announced. "Don't make me have to hose you two down. This is a family show."
Reluctantly they drew apart. With an ever-widening grin gracing his lips, Mike flushed and licked at the moisture around his mouth. Any chance for a smart-ass rejoinder was lost when Mike was pulled away to do more peacocking and parading.
That was okay, Katheleen thought, blowing a bubble into her newly-acquired piece of gum, she knew where he would be.
None of the players had arrived, but when Katheleen got to O'Roarke's, the place was already packed. The blast of the jukebox competed with the din of the crowd and the shout of drink orders across the bar. Stopping just inside the door to catch her bearings, she couldn't help but smile. This was home, or it might as well have been with as much time as she and her five brothers had spent chasing their cousins around the place while growing up.
From then till now, the pub hadn't changed. The same emerald green walls were trimmed with the same dark wood that matched the scarred but polished surface of the bar. The air was still a comforting mixture of smoke-cigarette, cigar and pipe; rye whiskey and scotch; and Old Spice. The only real difference was that the jukebox now regularly belted out popular songs instead of a steady stream of Irish jigs.
Growing up, O'Roarke's had belonged to her uncle, now it was her brother, Patrick's, and he had volunteered it for the victory party, regardless of who actually won. Neutrality during PAL baseball season was a must, since they had family and friends on both teams. Hell, there wasn't a precinct house in any of the five boroughs where they weren't related to or didn't know somebody.
Katheleen scanned the sea of familiar faces, calling out several greetings before she spotted the bright red-head of her brother, Bryan's wife in a group on the far side of the room. Annie waved her over, but before she could weave three feet into the mob, Jimmy, the bartender, called out to her, "Hey Katie, you want a job? Just for a little while?"
"Maybe," she called back, glancing down at her watch. With packing up the equipment, schmoozing with the brass and plain old crowing, the players wouldn't get there for close to an hour. "What does it pay?"
"Only my undying gratitude."
To hear Jimmy tell it, he had changed more than a few of her diapers.
"I'm all yours." She signaled to her sister-in-law then headed over to the bar. It had been a while, but she could still mix a mean Sex on the Beach.
Katheleen didn't know how long she had been on the tap when the players finally came in, but the cheer that went up was loud enough to shake the rafters and easily drown out Don Henley's Boys of Summer on the jukebox. The crowd at the bar was five layers thick, and the only sights of the players she could get were lashes of the blue and white jerseys they wore. She elbowed her way around the counter and out to the aisle to try and spot the one player that was on her mind, but the only thing she got was a glimpse of dark hair, broad shoulders and the white lettering spelling out LOGAN as he turned the corner that led to the back of the pub.
"Hey, Katie, how about giving an old man another drink?"
Swallowing her disappointment, Katheleen turned and smiled. "Connie, Mary know you're on your third?" Cornelius Flynn, a retired sergeant from the one-twelve, was practically her uncle. He and her father had worked together for more years than she had been alive.
"Katie, darling, it's my fifth. And what the old broad doesn't know, won't hurt her." He cackled. "Or me."
Jimmy's little while turned into a couple of hours, and instead of the crowd thinning as time wore on, it expanded with the arrival of those just getting off duty.
In a way, it was like being in college again when Katheleen bartended there for extra money the summer before law school. The light banter, mild flirting and raunchy jokes were things she hadn't realized she missed. Still, she thought, she'd enjoy herself even more if she could find the player with the number seven sewn onto his back.
Every so often she'd hear his laughter above the noise, but whenever she got the idea to go find him, another group would come through the door.
Katheleen had just taken a couple of pitchers of beer over to one of the front tables, when the screaming guitar rift of Clapton's Layla caught her attention, bringing a smile to her lips. Of all the people in that room, and she knew ninety-nine percent of them by name, only one would play that song. She searched the crowd for him, but couldn't find those mercurial hazel eyes, the gorgeously full lips, or the smile that could make her heart skip a beat. He wasn't far, she knew, circling in her spot. She could feel him.
Back behind the bar, Katheleen released the tap and handed the two brimming pitchers to one of the waitresses. She had just bent to retrieve a packet of napkins from the cabinet beneath the counter, when she heard her brother, Bryan, say, "Logan, you keep looking at my sister's ass like that, and I'll have to take you outside and beat the crap outta you."
"And I'll have to stand back and watch," Profaci piped in.
"It'd probably be worth it," Mike said, never taking his eyes from her.
He sat there, Katheleen noted, leaning against the end of the bar like he had been sitting there all day. Her delight at finally seeing him far outweighed her annoyance at the fact that he hadn't been by earlier.
Tony said something to her about peanuts, which she paid no attention to, and she barely noticed his coming around the bar and marching past her.
"What can I get for you?" she asked Mike.
"I don't think what I want is on the menu."
"You never know. I'm sure something could be arranged."
Mike sniffed and chewed thoughtfully on the gum in his mouth, his eyes boldly raking over her. "So, what time do you get off?"
"Well," Katheleen replied, leaning against the counter and licking her lips, "when I stop serving drinks is one thing. But getting off is something completely different."
His eyes followed the movement of her tongue. With an arrogant jerk of his head, he motioned her closer. "What would it take to get you off?"
"Hmm..." She leaned in close enough for her breasts to rest a hair's breath away from his forearm. His warmth radiated through the thin cotton top. "I'm not sure the answer to that question can be explained. It's something that can only be demonstrated."
The top button of the tank was undone, and because of the way she had positioned herself on the counter, it didn't take a whole lot of effort to get a real good view of the flesh hidden beneath. A detail Mike didn't miss. Nor did the guy on the stool next to him. Mike turned and glared. The patrolman suddenly discovered a group of friends he had to go join.
Katheleen waited for Mike to turn his eyes back to hers. "Would you like me to show you?"
He fingered the gold wedding band on her left hand, careful to touch only the metal and not her skin. "You wouldn't hurt me, would you?"
She drew the tip of her index finger of her right hand slowly across her lips, then into her mouth to suck on it thoughtfully. Releasing it, she ran the moistened tip of her finger down the column of her throat. "Only if you asked me to."
"Yo, Logan, get over here," someone shouted from the far side of the room.
"Duty calls," she told him, but he was still staring down her collar. "I guess it comes with being the hero."
"Huh?" He blinked, shaking his head. "What?"
She motioned over his shoulder . "They're waiting for you."
Mike reached out and caught her by the wrist as she started away. "Let them wait. I'm not finished yet. Hell..." That grin was back, along with a mischievous twinkle in his eye. "I haven't even started."
"Katie, how about a refill?" someone called from behind her.
"Sorry," she licked her lips once more and shook her head, gradually drawing her hand from his grasp, "but I got a job to do." She turned and walked away.
That one refill became fifteen. When Katheleen looked back at the end of the bar, Mike was gone. She searched to crowd for him, but, again, he had disappeared.
Dammit, she cursed silently. It's not like she had expected him to wait, she told herself, then thought about it. Hell, yes, she had expected him to wait! It wasn't like he had bothered to come by and say hi at any other time during two and a half hours since he had gotten there.
With a violent jerk, she pulled down on the beer tap handle, and got nothing but the hiss of compressed air and the sputter of an empty tank. Shit! She filled the pitcher from the second tap and set it on the counter.
"Jimmy," she called to the older man, "this one's empty. I'm going to replace the keg."
"Need any help?"
"It hasn't been that long." She rolled her eyes at him. "I can still do this in my sleep."
"All right. Go ahead."
Katheleen walked back through the kitchen, stopping to say hello to the few women who remained there, mostly wives of some of the older guys. The self-designated clean-up crew, she supposed. She was surprised her mother wasn't in the group. Pat had donated the booze, but the food was all potluck. Each of the players' wives supplying something, the rest being brought by whoever felt like cooking. Not surprisingly, they had ended up with enough food to feed three armies. Also, not surprisingly, it was all gone. The counters were littered with empty containers. She was glad to see that the ton of potato salad and chocolate chip cookies she had contributed were gone. There was still plenty left in the refrigerator at home. But her heart nearly broke when she discovered that not one piece of her mother's chocolate cake remained, and Maureen had made four.
Katheleen grumbled her way down the stairs into the basement. Going into the center of the three doors, she switched on the light. The hollow silence of the room was broken only by the regular drone and occasional rumble of the old chest freezer in the corner. The intermittent activation of its compressor sounded more like an Indy car shifting gears, than an appliance, and she imagined she could feel the vibration all the way across the slate floor. But, even the almost silence was a nice change from the noise upstairs.
Other than the deep freezer, the room held extra cases of napkins, peanuts, pretzels, popcorn, crates of liquor and several silver thirty-gallon kegs of beer. She crossed the room and unhooked the empty keg from the wall line and rolled another into its place, hooking it to the valve that would pull the beer upstairs.
The door banged closed behind her. She whirled around.
"You scared the hell out of me," she told Mike, her heart moving down out of her throat.
"What you did upstairs was not very nice, Counselor." The lock clicked into place.
"What?" She turned back to wall to finish the beer hook-up. "What did I do?"
"Teasing a guy like that can be very dangerous."
"Teasing? What guy? What are you talking--Oh, that." She turned back to him, a saucy grin curving her lips.
"I never claimed to be a nice girl."
An ominous glitter shone in his eyes as he began closing the distance between them, slowly. "It could get you into a lot a trouble."
Katheleen could hear her heart pounding as the blood rushed through her veins and a tingle moved throughout her body to settle into a dull ache between her legs. "What kind of trouble?"
"It's sorta hard to explain." She moved backwards as he stalked her across the room. "It's something, I'll have to show you."
The deep freezer blocked further retreat. Looking him over, from head to toe, her gaze lingered at the bulge in his jeans before lifting her eyes to his in bold challenge. She licked her lips. "Forget explaining. Just show me the hard part."
He stopped in front of her, the corner of his mouth tilting into a half-grin. "You are trouble, aren't you?"
She threaded her fingers into the hair at his nape. "You wouldn't want me any other way."
"Nope," he whispered against her mouth.
Instead of kissing her, Mike reached up and pulled her arms from his neck. Flipping her around, he pressed her up against the cool, vibrating metal of the chest freezer.
Gripping either of her wrists, he held her pinned while slipping his thigh between hers, pushing them apart. The faded denim was both smooth and coarse against the sensitive skin of her inner thighs left bare beneath the hem of her shorts. She gasped softly when, for an instant, his knee lifted to warm the already hot spot at the apex of her thighs.
Mike forced her palms down to lie flat on top of the freezer. His hands glided slowly over hers, fingers moving between hers. Thumbs and index fingers closed around her wrists, circling before continuing upwards. His fingertips, roughened just slightly by calluses, slid over the bare skin of her arms, stroking, yet barely touching.
Their bodies connected no where except where his hands touched, but Katheleen could feel him with every fiber of her being. Despite the coolness of the cellar, the heat radiating from his body enveloped her in a cocoon of warmth. His breaths were heavy against her temple, stirring the tendrils of hair that had escaped from her ponytail. Faint traces of his woodsy cologne mixed with the slight scent of sweat and the heavier musk that was his alone to tantalize her nostrils. She was becoming light-headed, dizzy. Intoxicated.
She started when his hands closed over her shoulders, firmly kneading the muscles there while the pads of his thumbs grazed lightly over the surface of her nape. Down over her back, he moved. Over her waist. Exploring every hollow and curve. Rounding her hips, he grasped her buttocks, his touch more aggressive now. He kneaded. He shaped.
The air was cold against her back when he knelt, his fingertips gliding over the smooth skin along the back and outside of her thighs and calves. He circled her ankles, then worked his way back up along the inside of her legs. Bold and firm was the hand that cupped her through the cotton shorts. He stroked and teased until she began to tremble. But all too soon, he moved on, continuing along his path.
At her shoulders, his hands dropped from her body. Though still close enough to hear the intake of each of his breaths, she felt bereft. Yet, anticipation left her almost panting.
"Find what you were looking for, officer?" she asked when he said and did nothing.
"No," he answered in a hoarse whisper that stroked the delicate skin of her ear. He took a step forward, again pushing her up against the freezer. Circling his hips against hers, he made sure she was very aware of his aroused state. "But I'm not finished yet."
"Well, then" she said, the words flying from her mouth as Mike whipped her around. "Get on with it."
Katheleen could have easily drowned in the depths of the hazel eyes that bore into hers, before they dropped to linger on her mouth. She let her gaze drop to his. He had an incredible mouth. Generous and full, with a sensuous lower lip, made to be suckled. She could imagine its softness pressed against her own. Taste it on her tongue. She licked her lips. He smiled.
Stepping towards her, Mike pulled the clip from her hair, causing it to cascade in thick waves around her shoulders. Pushing his hands into the heavy mass, he massaged her scalp. His mouth was close enough for her to feel his warm breath and the prickle of his stubble, but his lips never touched hers. Instead he kissed her eyes, her nose, her forehead, her cheeks, her chin. He suckled the plump flesh of her ear lobes. He alternately nipped and licked a path down along the side of her neck and across her shoulder, pushing the material of her top out of the way as he went.
She felt his arousal pressing into her belly, and she rocked her body beneath his. He grasped her hips, stilling her motion as he continued the exploration of her skin. Tangling her fingers in his hair, she tried forcing his mouth back to hers. He resisted. She whimpered in protest.
Drawing back, his hands closed briefly around her throat. Using the flats of his palms, he moved down over her chest. The hardened tips of her breasts strained for his touch. He obliged, rolling the taut peaks between thumb and forefinger. Her eyes fluttered closed and her head dropped back onto her shoulders.
One by one, he unfastened the buttons of her top, wetly kissing each inch of skin as it was exposed. Pushing it from her shoulders, his tongue laved the flesh that spilled over the edge of the satin bra. Kneading the firm mounds through the soft fabric, he drew a nipple into his mouth, gently suckling. She couldn't have stopped the moan that escaped from her lips even if she had wanted to.
Mike dropped to his knees in front of her, kissing a path down across her stomach. Unfastening the button of her shorts and then the zipper, he licked and nipped at each bit of flesh as it became visible. He pushed the material from her hips and she felt his lips against the inside of first one knee and then the other. Lifting her right leg onto his shoulder, he began licking a path upward.
The compressor of the freezer rumbled to life just as his mouth closed over her. She came hard and fast. There had been no time to breathe, no time to cry out. The scream of release had become locked along with her breath in her throat. She shook as wave after wave after wave of sensation flowed over her until she thought she would pass out. But he held her steady.
The world began to slow, but his lips and tongue continued to coax and tease and quickly that ball of sensation formed anew in her belly and spread. Fingers clutched in his hair, she arched repeatedly against him. A series of soft whimpers, the only sound she was capable of, forced themselves from her throat, as she inched closer and closer to release. So close, but not close enough. The ache was acute, almost painful. She was sure she would go mad if it didn't end soon. He pressed two fingers inside of her and she exploded into what felt like a billion pieces.
She was only dimly aware of his lowering her leg back to the floor, and standing up. Grasping her hips, he lifted her to the top of the freezer. She helped him to yank the shirt over his head, and then his mouth covered hers in a kiss that was rough, fierce, demanding, hungry. She sucked at his tongue.
Tearing the metal button from its loop, she unzipped his jeans and forced them along with his underwear over his hips. Like steel in a velvet sheath, he throbbed in her hand. He pulled her nearer the edge of the freezer, and she guided him into her body. The fullness was glorious.
Locking her thighs high around his waist, she fell back against the surface of the freezer. His lips left hers to leave a trail of moisture across her chest. He kissed, nibbled, licked, sucked before moving back to her mouth, his tongue mimicking the movements of his hips.
She rose to meet every forward thrust. Again and again and again, until the flame in the pit of her belly built. His movements slowed, becoming long, slow and easy, urging her to catch up and meet him at the edge of the precipice.
He tore his mouth from hers and buried his face in the side of her neck. His heavy, thick pants competed with the thunder of her heart to roar in her ears. Gripping her buttocks in his hands, he raised her hips and his movements quickened, coming faster, harder, sharper. His heart beat a pounding rhythm against her breasts and his breathing was ragged and harsh. Both matched her own. She raked her nails up the sweat-slickened surface of his back to dig into the thick muscles of his shoulders.
Every muscle in her body seized and she lifted in an arch as her body and mind burst like a dam beneath the onslaught of a raging river. She tightened her legs around as he continued to thrust in and out of her body. Not long after, he reached his release. With a guttural groan and a shudder, he jerked repeatedly against her before finally dropping to her chest. She reveled in the delicious weight of him.
After a few minutes, he lifted his head and their mouths met in a long, hard kiss, before it softened. He kissed her lips, her cheek , then followed a path along the column of her neck.
Suddenly. she was jerked upright and his shirt thrown at her. Dazed, she stared down at the ball of fabric in her hand, then looked over to see him hurriedly pulling up his pants. Then she too heard it, the jingle of keys in the lock. Faster than she would have thought possible, she had his shirt over her head and down over her body. Mike hopped up on the freezer in front of her, forcing her back against the cinder-block wall and shielding her half-clothed body with the width of his shoulders.
Tony Profaci pushed open the door and strode into the cellar. He stopped short when he noticed Mike and Katheleen on the other side of the room. His round face turned a deep shade of crimson.
"Uh...Uh...Uh...," he stuttered. "Jimmy, uh, sent me down here, uh, to get some more peanuts."
"They're over there." Katheleen peeked around Mike's head and pointed to the box next to the case of scotch. She wished with all her heart that the floor would open up and swallow her.
"Oh, yeah." Tony walked over and grabbed a couple of cans from the box.
The freezer chose that moment to jump on. Involuntarily, Katheleen yelped. She wrapped her arms around her knees and dropped her head to them. She couldn't shrink into a ball small enough.
At the doorway, Profaci turned back to them. The flush was gone and he was wearing a huge grin. "So, Logan, I guess the ball field ain't the only place you scored today, huh?"
"Profaci," Mike warned.
"I'm kinda curious..."
"Get the hell outta here!"
"I'm going. I'm going," he said pulling the door behind him. Almost immediately it opened again. "You know, next time, you two might wanna think about getting a room. I hear the Hempstead even has those, you know, vibrating beds."
Mike jumped down off the freezer and Tony slammed the door. They could hear his laughter all the way down the hall.
Mike turned back to Katheleen. He kissed her bowed head, then helped her down off the freezer.
"He's going to tell everybody, isn't he?" She handed him back his shirt and began putting on her clothes.
"Profaci?" Tucking the shirt into his pants, he glanced back at the closed door, then looked down at her. "Yeah, he's gonna tell everybody." His voice was solemn, but there was a definite cockiness to the expression in his eyes and an arrogant smirk on his lips.
"Oh, God," she moaned as he pulled her into his arms.
Five minutes later, Mike and Katheleen re-entered the bar to an uproarious round of applause and catcalls. Unable to do much else, Katheleen held onto her husband's hand and took a bow.