When I see her walking toward me, my heart first flutters anxiously and then beats with the force of a mallet against my ribs. That is, quite simply, the effect that she has on me.

When she drapes her arms lightly over my shoulders, drawing me, bent slightly, toward her, my heart is beating so loudly in my ears that I expect the passers-by in the street to begin dancing to the thoracically amplified, disco rhythm.

“I've been thinking about you all morning, lover,” she whispers to me, her eyes locked on mine and the pupils dilated.

“Hi, beautiful,” I answer, my lips poised and hovering only inches from hers and my hands, having found her waist, resisting the urge to slide upwards and feel the fine fabric of her tailored jacket and blouse moving over the skin beneath.

“I hope you are still taking me out to lunch – I'm very hungry.” She is biting her lip and smiling mischievously at me. Of course, I can not resist her playfulness and my lips close slowly over the fullness of hers. We linger like that, breathing each others breath and, as we part, her lids open drowsily, revealing clear blue, unfocused eyes.

“We could always skip lunch and go home for half an hour,” I suggest, knowing that we don't have time. She frowns accusingly at me and then smiles.

“I have another idea,” she states and then nips at my cheek. “You take me out to lunch because you promised but, you better not want to watch TV tonight – I have other plans for you and I.” She looks around, conspiratorially, as though someone nearby could be listening.

“My plans involve lots of skin and touching and you and I being in love. Do you think you can handle that?” she challenges me. She looks around again to make sure that the implied listening devices are pointed elsewhere.

“I couldn't imagine handling anything more wonderful,” I answer, a little breathless with anticipation. I gently squeeze her middle - her back flexes subtly in response and her hips curve backward. She is smiling broadly, flashing her beauty at me.

“Good,” she answers, suddenly breaking away and slapping one of my wrists. “Make sure you pick up a bottle of wine on your way. Now, take me to lunch before I jump you right here.”

She is laughing and I join in while buttoning the front of my jacket to hide my conspicuous discomfort. She notices and winks lasciviously at me before taking my arm. The sun is warm through our dark suits and the busy, downtown avenue is crowded with people but, in that moment, there could be no one at all and we would scarcely have the attention to notice an abandoned cityscape.

The afternoon passes with painful and frustrating slowness. It is almost five-thirty when, no longer willing or able to subjugate my enthusiasm and my desire for her, I turn off my computers, neatly stack the folders on my desk and, making  excuses to colleagues not used to my early disappearance, flee from the stifling rigidity of the office toward the liberating freedom and joyfulness that I find with her. Out of habit, I pick my briefcase, filled with design projects requiring my attention, from a side table - its usual position - but, descending the elevator, I question my decision, knowing that I have no want of it this night. I deposit the briefcase with Security on the way out, promising to retrieve it in the morning.

There is a conveniently located liquor store on the corner, near the subway. I rush in, breathless, and choose two bottles to take with me; a robust and vigorous, southern Italian, red and a dry, prosecco. With my purchases carefully wrapped, bagged and tucked against my arm, I run to the subway where, agitated and impatiently waiting, I count the stations which emerge from the darkness until I am able to ascend from the winding tunnels and I am home. She is waiting for me.

“Why did you make me wait so long, lover? I've missed you so much,” she says when I have scarcely passed the threshold and my hands, longing for the feel of her, close upon the silken, diaphanous shift she is wearing.

“I couldn't think of anything but you all day,” I tell her but, my phrase is truncated; her mouth is on mine, insistently. My arms close around her and I pick her up. Her thighs curl tightly over my hips.

I become lost in her; our love, my love her the artful beauty that is her body, become a physical thing of kisses, caresses and tantalising explorations. We alternately dominate and submit; wanting only more of one another and, when I enter her, her back arches and she is beneath me, her hands pulling on my hips. I wonder how it is possible to feel so fulfilled with a woman, so utterly and passionately in love that I can not imagine greater happiness. My breath hitches and I collapse, exhausted, beside her, my heart pounding while, in my ear, are her whispered endearments.

I catch my breath when she passes. My heart is still thudding with such strength that I fear she will hear it. She nods precisely in my direction and speaks with cool, withdrawn professionalism.

“Good morning, Mr. Andersen,” she utters, the words clipped, distant.

I fumble to reply, my breath caught uselessly in my throat but, by then, she is gone and I am left only to sample the tattered trail of her perfume on the air as it dissipates.

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