People are predictable to a certain degree. It's the rest, that little surprise something in their actions that makes life interesting. After all, where's the fun in knowing what everyone else around you is going to do in advance?
No, it's the fact that you can plan ahead and you can have options in case your plans aren't going smoothly, but there's always a moment when you have to improvise. A moment when you're reminded that sometimes people break out of the patterns they usually follow.
Jim Profit unlocks his door and enters his apartment. He takes one cursory look around and immediately knows Bobbi's there. He doesn't bother to call her name or otherwise acknowledge her presence. He knows she'll come to him and he's in no hurry to find out why she broke into his living space.
Slowly he shrugs out of his coat, carefully hangs it up on the wardrobe. He puts his car keys into the bowl by the door and slips out of his shoes. With his socked foot he pushes them together until they're neatly aligned near the door.
When he walks into the living room he sees her fumbling with the books near the fish tank. It's a deliberate act; she had more than enough time to move away when she heard him unlock the door.
Jim watches her hands smooth over the backs of the books. By the tight line of her shoulders he can tell that she hasn't found the mechanism to unroll the door. Not yet. He distantly wonders whether it's worth the effort to change the locks on his apartment door to keep her from ever discovering it.
The carpet makes a soft sound when he sets his heavy briefcase down next to the sofa. Bobbi turns around then, expression on her face too concerned to be anything but an act.
"You're working awfully late, Jimmy. Don't they ever give you time off?" Her smile is sugary sweet and Jim breathes deeply to smell the perfume she's wearing. It's always something different, musky scents changing into vanilla or fruity ones. Whatever she gets from the guys she picks up on the street.
"There's a lot to do, Bobbi," he answers, still standing next to the couch, looking at her.
Bobbi watches him with a friendly look in her eyes and they both pretend that she wasn't snooping around his bookcase. She keeps retracing the lettering on the back of one book and Jim follows the movement of her fingers for a moment, noting how she gently taps her perfectly manicured nails against the leather binding, before moving his gaze back to her eyes. He raises an eyebrow, silently asking her what she's doing here, why she locked the door after breaking in with a key she shouldn't have.
Her smile widens and she moves towards him, curves her hand over his cheek when she's close enough. She rarely answers questions if she doesn't want to.
"Sit down, let me fix you a drink, baby." Her thumb rubs over his cheekbone and then she's going to the kitchen and clinking around with glasses and the bottle of scotch Jim only keeps because it came with the apartment.
He watches her from the living room, the way she moves her hips more than is necessary just because it keeps men's eyes on her.
Jim turns his back to her, sits down on the couch and leans back into the soft cushions.
The first thing he ever sees of Bobbi is the soft, naked curve of her hip into her leg. One day she's just there, another presence in the house Jim senses and ignores like everything else that goes on outside the world of the television.
He watches an infomercial, quiet and still, sitting in his box. He hears her enter, the sound of doors banging registering with him but not triggering a reaction beyond recognition. Jim blinks and watches the infomercial give way to an old Western.
All of a sudden the TV disappears and he sees her; her hip, the tender, white skin. He makes a dismayed sound, moves to the side to glimpse the TV shining around her hip but she won't let him see.
The hip changes, he sees a quick flash of her breast and it reminds him of that movie he once saw, where a guy went around leaving naked, mutilated bodies of women behind. Then the breast changes into a face that appears outside the little hole of his box. She looks at him, wide, kind smile. He moves away from it instinctively.
"Aren't you the cutest little thing," she says and for the briefest of moments he's caught by the way her eyes glitter at him, just like--
She's gone in the next instant and he can see again. See the television. The distant sounds of her moving around the kitchen disappear into the background and he forgets all about their encounter.
Jimmy Stakowski doesn't dwell on things like that.
When people break out of their patterns, behave differently, you can usually tell in advance. Of course you don't know what they're about to do. That you never know. But you can tell by the way they behave beforehand, uneasy movements, sweaty palms, random laughter.
Granted, it's not always the same for everyone and sometimes you can't tell at all. That's what makes it so interesting to watch people, to predict when they'll break out. Unless you're caught off-guard.
Jim doesn't get caught off-guard anymore. He knows how to react now. Knows what to do, how to push people back into their comfortable patterns and manners.
He didn't always know.
They have sex in the kitchen sometimes, Bobbi and his father. It drowns out any sound from the TV and Jim has a hard time ignoring it. He usually lies down to sleep when it happens, has the ability to fall asleep right on the spot if he has to. Deep slumber, just like that, from one second to the next.
By the time he wakes up they're usually gone, back to the bedroom, where there are no sounds. At least none that Jim cares about.
It's always like that, slow rhythmical tide of how things work. When she's there Jim usually gets to be alone in his box. His father doesn't take him out and that's fine by Jim, so he tolerates the few times she looks in on him and talks to him like he's a plaything.
He doesn't mind. She leaves him be the rest of the time, doesn't try to intervene in the way things go.
Except for one time.
It's during the news, burning corpses in some explosion filling his vision. He sits, watches. Faintly, he hears the other sounds, then a little scuffing noise on the outside of his box. He looks up, sees her naked hip again. He waits for her to talk.
Instead she's quiet and comes around to the open side of the box. She's wearing a short cut-off black shirt and nothing else. Dismayed, he tries to ignore her but she doesn't budge and his eyes betray him, trailing up her legs to the place where her smooth thigh turns into a rounded hip.
She kneels in front of him and reaches for him. Just out of curiosity Jim stays where he is. Bobbi hesitates briefly, then brushes the back of her hand over his cheek. He tries not to flinch away from the touch.
They stay that way for a moment, Bobbi leaning forward on her knees, Jim awkwardly bent to avoid being too close to her.
Then Bobbi kisses him.
Tender and sweet, right on the mouth. She gets up afterwards without blinking, looks at him a moment longer and says "You're a good boy, Jimmy," before she turns around and disappears.
Jim has a hard time focusing on the television again after that.
"There you go," Bobbi whispers in his ear and holds the drink in front of his face. Jim takes it gingerly, takes a sip from it. It's more a reflex than any craving for alcohol really. While he drinks Bobbi slowly undoes his tie from behind him, then the buttons of his shirt, one by one, softly scraping fingers over the exposed skin.
Jim sighs and brushes her hands away.
"Aw, Jimmy," she says, and gently massages his shoulders, "C'mon now. Be a good boy to your Momma."
Jim's lips draw up in a faint smile and he thinks of the time she first called herself his Mom. He barely remembered his own mother by then and accepted the term like he accepted the beatings from his father - just another pattern to understand, to predict, to control.
Unasked, Jim gets up and shrugs out of his unbuttoned shirt. He knows what to do here, what the appropriate reaction is. He undoes his pants and slips out of them too, folds his boxers and then his socks on top of them. He forms a neat pile of clothes on the floor, corners tucked in perfectly, creases smoothed out.
When he's finally naked, he lets her watch him, because she likes it that way, to size him up even though he probably hasn't changed a bit since the last time they did this. Jim feels his dick swell a little under her scrutiny, a reaction that comes to him almost automatically; cause and effect when she looks at him like she does now.
Bobbi does this little thing where she flicks her tongue out over her bottom lip, something someone may have once told her was sexy. Jim absently rubs the bare sole of his foot against the smooth creamy carpet and watches as she starts to undress. Her movements are slow, sultry, overdone, but Jim doesn't mind standing there naked, doesn't mind that she takes her time.
It's not about them fucking anyway, never was. It's their way of a family routine, traditions that involve blowjobs and dirty fucks in the kitchen, rather than Scrabble and cupcakes. Jim likes it that way, it's comfortably familiar in a way he never examines too closely. Some things don't need to be thought about overly much.
"Where are you, Jimmy?" she asks and when he looks up, Bobbi's kneeling on the couch in her underwear, fingertips pressed to his bare chest. He briefly wonders how he missed her coming that close, attention slipping like that.
"Haven't gotten much sleep the last couple of days, huh?" Bobbi goes on, like she didn't even expect an answer to her previous question. She pulls Jim closer, rises up on her knees and kisses him, hot and fast and a little sloppy around the edges.
Jim wraps his hands around her shoulders and kisses her back after a moment. It always takes him that one short moment to adjust to her again, to yield against her touch and try not to show her where she should bend. It's a hard habit to break, but he does it for her, silently.
"Loosen up a little, baby, 's no fun if you act like I'm making you fuck me." Bobbi chastises him with a lazy grin and tugs on his arm, pulls him down, down until he's sprawled on the couch, Bobbi effortlessly sliding into his lap.
He can tell the exact moment when she stops caring about whether he's all there or not and starts thinking about her own satisfaction. Her hips jerk against his dick, head of his cock trailing wetly over her black panties. Bobbi unhooks her bra, throws it carelessly aside, pushes her panties out of the way and looks at him with hungry eyes.
Jim doesn't bother to talk now, she's not listening to him anyway, wrapped up in her own little business. He's pretty sure he could be sleeping right now, if his dick just did what Bobbi wanted it to, she probably wouldn't try to wake him up. It doesn't bother him much and he relaxes back into the couch cushions when Bobbi wraps her hand around his dick and jacks him a few times, hard and sweet just the way that makes his breath hitch.
She knows exactly how to touch him to get a rise out of him, nail scraping over that spot under the head of his cock that makes him groan quietly. And just because he's not gonna give it all up, he can't go that far, not even with her, he rips at her panties, fabric tearing easily, and watches how she throws her head back and hisses "Yes."
Jim doesn't make much noise during sex, doing things instead of just talking about them. It's easier that way; life is easier that way.
The first time he slides into her is always like a spark rekindling a slow fire and she makes enough noises for the both of them when he slams into her all the way, filling her, stretching her out.
"That's a good boy," she croons "Momma's gonna fuck you now."
One thing Jim likes about Bobbi is that she tends to stay true to her word.
Afterwards he lies on the couch with her on top of him for exactly as long as it takes her to fall asleep. Then he slowly gets up, carries her to the bedroom and puts her down on the bed. Jim stands there and watches her sleep, spread out naked, softly snoring. He thinks about how vulnerable she is like this, how exhausted she actually looks when she's not trying to impress anyone.
He leans over her and strokes the inside of her thigh, watches her twitch away in her sleep, still sensitive from earlier. He contemplates touching her again, thinks about sliding his tongue over her pussy, making her come while she sleeps, just because he can.
Jim trails his hand over her thigh again, draws the Chinese symbol for family. In the end he decides to leave her be. He's tired anyway, strung out from a long day at work, people keeping him on the move with their endless, unimportant problems.
Normally he'd lie down next to her, careful not to touch her, skin itching where the comforter touches it. But something--something makes him not do it tonight.
Makes him act irrationally.
He goes back into the living room and hesitates. Looks back to see if Bobbi's still sleeping and when she is, he flips the mechanism. Warm relief washes over him when he steps into the little hidden room, sliding the bookcase closed behind him. He crosses through the dark space purposefully, doesn't even need light to find the box and curl up inside it, crumbs of leftover food rasping against his naked skin.
Jim falls asleep feeling content, stray thought telling him in a rational voice that what he just did was not part of the pattern, that it was unwise.
He's awakened by a sound that is not right, that doesn't belong. His eyes fly open and he sees the bookcase rolled back, dim light outlining Bobbi's silhouette in the doorway. Jim's hand twitches but neither of them moves away from where they are; Bobbi standing there, Jim lying curled up in his box.
The moment stretches, eerie silence wrapping around the two of them uncomfortably. Jim remembers the little voice, remembers that you should never underestimate Bobbi. He concentrates to unclench the muscle in the back of his thigh that's threatening to cramp. He calmly thinks about possible scenarios here, courses of action. He still has the gun in the drawer of his desk.
Finally, Bobbi stirs, slides a hand over the wooden paneling of the rolled back bookcase. She hesitates another moment like she wants to say something. Then she takes a step back and closes the bookcase in front of her naked body.
Jim's box is plunged into comfortable darkness again.