Veronica shared a council flat on the upper level of a building long-since sold to the mortgage-owning middle classes. One period feature of cold-war era design remained - an echoing concrete stairwell at the centre, connecting the long shared balcony along the front leading to the front entrances of the flats.
At the top of this middle staircase there was a little-trafficked final stretch leading up to a locked steel door. These steps to nowhere had a film of dust and grime on them, with a faint set of scuffed footprints vanishing into a shallow alcove, out of sight of the landing below.
I sometimes looked up there when I visited, wondering what was around the corner, but didn't get around to taking a look. The attraction was never strong enough to take my mind off the woman living on the other side of the wall. Why bother with a detour so close to the destination?
Walking up the stairs one evening I pointed it out, told her about my idle erotic speculation. "I want to push you in there and finger fuck you until you come. That's what I think about - the sound you make when you bite down on an orgasm, trying to be quiet and failing."
Veronica wasn't even interested. "Mon, I live here."
That was it.
Until she moved out. Out of her flat, out of London, out of the time zone. She had two days left until departure. "I want to feel your handprint on my arse when I sit down on the airplane," she emailed me.
We set aside an afternoon.
The doorbell was busted, so I texted her from downstairs to push the buzzer, let me in.
No reply. I waited a few minutes - after all she was expecting me. Anticipating, even. But nothing happened. I sent another text. "Patience," she replied.
I loitered. Neighbours came and went, giving me the eye like I was looking to sneak in past them. I peered in through the thick panels of smudged glass in the front door, trying to see if the lift was coming.
After a while, Veronica emerged from the lift, wearing a knee-length black raincoat over black nylons and high heels. She opened the door for me, smirking mischievously.
"You going somewhere?" I asked, stepping inside.
"Not at all. I plan to spend the rest of the day indoors," she said. Neither of us leaned in for a kiss. It didn't seem to fit the game, or whatever it was we were playing.
I pushed the button on the lift, out of habit.
"Not this way, sir. Follow me."
Veronica enjoyed a good tease. She set out to walk up the stairs ahead of me, my face level with the slit down the back of her coat, which swished around with the sway of her hips, opening and closing with every step, offering brief flashes of the tops of her seamed stockings, the bulge of soft pale skin above the tops, and a fine view of the perfectly straight seams up the back of her calves and thighs, terminating in the clip of a suspender.
The coattails opened and closed, back and forth, demurely refusing to expose her fully.
"What took you so long?" I asked, enjoying the view.
"What do you think?" she giggled. "Have you ever tried putting on seamed stocking in a hurry?"
"I have trouble with neckties when I'm in a rush. Does that count?"
We walked all the way up, Veronica setting the pace, looking back at me every time she rounded the top of one flight of stairs and started up another.
Mid-way up, she stopped suddenly, turned around and lifted the front of her coat, parting the flaps to give me a look at her black knickers, trimmed with red, and the matching suspenders.
Just a glimpse. Then she kept going, smiling back at me as if to encourage me to keep following her.
When we got to her floor she turned briskly to open the door onto the connecting balcony, her fingers touching the door handle when I put my hand out to stop her. "No. Keep going."
Veronica looked at me, puzzled. "Where?"
I pointed up the grimy, unused steps leading to the alcove.
A flash of nervous hesitation on her face almost put an end to the plan, but then she smiled and obeyed.
The steps felt almost greasy underfoot, the soft film of dust clinging to our shoes on the way up the remaining few stairs.
It was broad daylight. We would hear anyone coming, but there would be no reasonable excuse for our behaviour if we got caught. They'd know right away.
Veronica turned around as if to say something. Interrupting, I pushed her backwards so she stumbled half a step and fell up against the steel door. The recess turned out to be deeper than I thought at first, nearly swallowing us both into its shadow with the sun filtering through the brown-streaked windows of the stairwell.
"Is this what you wanted... sir?" Veronica undid one button at the top of her coat to show me her cleavage, framed by the frilly red fringe of her black bra.
"I warn you," she bit my ear as if for punctuation. "I've been waiting all morning, wanting to touch myself."
"And...?" I fingered the bottom buttons of her coat. "Did you succeed?"
"Mostly," she giggled.
I reached inside and pinched the lips of her pussy through the fabric of her knickers, already saturated with her juices. Pulling it aside, I slid one finger inside her.
"Just to make one thing clear," my finger was all the way inside her. "I plan to use you extensively this afternoon."
"You may think you're a teasing little minx..."
Veronica moaned, smiling. "Mmhmm..."
"...but I know what you are. You're my very own private slut toy, and if you're good, and you suck cock and spread your legs and bend over like you're told I will allow you to come. When you ask. Nicely."
I added another finger inside her.
"Is that clear?"
"Yes," she breathed. With my fingers so deep inside, she began to rotate her hips, rubbing her clit against my thumb. Her thrusts grew insistent, her rhythm faster.
I withdrew, leaving only the tips of my fingers touching her plump, wet labia.
"What are you doing?"
"Fuuuck..." Veronica bit my earlobe in frustration. "Please...."
I slid my fingers inside, by one knuckle or so.
"Please, may I come...?"
"Yes." I held my hand still for a moment. "But only if you do so very quietly." I pushed all the way in, fingers curving out to massage her from the inside while my thumb circled her clit.
Veronica did her very best. And failed. Riding my fingers to the first orgasm of the afternoon she bit her lip, struggling to keep the deep down groan inside her. Just as it escaped, echoing between the bare concrete walls down seven flights of stairs, she buried her face in my shoulder and let it out in a muffled, unmistakeable noise.
Then a still moment, listening for footsteps.
Veronica raised her head, smiling. I pulled her coat back into place, fastening the buttons we'd just loosened. First the top, then the bottom.
"So. You were leading me somewhere?"
"Well. Keep going. We don't have all day."