Fandom: Mad Men
Character: Joan Harris
Notes: Written for MMOM Day 5. Prompt from cuddyclothes. Unbeta'd. Comments and concrit welcome. Slight spoilers for previous seasons.
Summary: In which we find out what really floats Joan's boat.
Saturday afternoon was the best time, Joan knew from experience.
The boat was filled with tourists; out-of-towners trying to keep track of their screaming moppets and rented binoculars while buying an over-priced Italian Ice to try and fend off the heat. The men might be tempted to wolf-whistle, but the presence of their over-weight wives would usually keep them in check. Even if they took a good, long look, they wouldn’t see anything beyond her curves. She had a head-scarf to protect her hair from the breeze and large sunglasses covering her eyes. They’d never see her, and that was exactly what Joan wanted.
She left mom to watch Kevin, claiming it was too hot for her to stay in apartment, which was true, but not true at the same time. New York was having a typical late-August heat wave. The papers were full of dogs dying from heat stroke and the Mayor had gone on television urging people NOT to open up the fire hydrants, which had about as much effect as anything else Lindsay had tried to accomplish.
It wasn’t just the weather, though. She’d had this feeling before, sometimes in the dead of winter. The urge, the need feeling she might explode from within. In the old days---old, she thought bitterly, being all of two years---she might have been with husband. The word felt slightly rancid in her mind, but whatever else she could say about Greg, most of it still full of white-hot anger, he was good at that.
If she wanted a man, she could have one, at least for a few hours. Too bad she didn’t; or wouldn’t. Not after Herb Rennet.
Besides, she reminded herself, there were other ways to get relief from the heat. The cab let her off at Pier 83 and although the river itself smelled rank, there was already an excitement building up as she joined the line of rubes to buy her ticket and made her way to the lop level of the boat taking a standing spot where she knew the vibrations would be best when the mighty engine throbbed into life.
There it was; the deeply powerful rumble stimulating her belly and thighs, sending tremors through her whole body. She curled her toes inside her high heels, bracing herself, trying to pace her own level of excitement. After all, the tour lasted over two hours and she honestly couldn’t care less about any of it, which was just as well. The recorded voice giving the tour monologue could have been recorded by Edison, given how garbled it was.
Gracie Mansion, Grant’s Tomb, the Cloisters, and Yankee Stadium. None of it mattered, despite the occasional “oohs” and “ahs” she heard filtered through the wind that cooled her skin, even as the sun glared back from the water, nearly blinding her with burning tears behind her sunglasses.
Three rivers, seven bridges, five boroughs and it all meant nothing except a way to be alone and get the thrill she needed in her loneliness. She’d let it build up against her body until she felt she have to scream or explode, then take a break, a breath and a stretch before starting again. Two and half hours. The Circle Line had more endurance than any man, and she knew exactly when to time the last surge, to keep her belly pressed against the edge of the boat, rocking herself against the tide.
The boat must have hit some kind of a current, because Joan felt someone lurch into her back-side only to stagger away with many profuse apologies uttered in what sounded like a Boston accent.
In her imagination, he stayed there.
Yes, he’d only seen her from behind and he was completely enamored; a phantom lover pushing his hardness against her ass, strong hands gripping her thighs, whispering something she couldn’t hear over the noise of the boat and the tourists and the wind, but knew was filthy. That was the moment, as the Circle Line finished the tour to a rousing shout from the passengers, including a muffled gasp and cheer of release from one Joan Harris, the happiest girl in New York City, if only for a few seconds.
As the passengers disembarked, sweat cooled on Joan’s face. Tourists streamed toward their next destination, including men who might desire her, but none of whom would ever touch her. She felt legless and lazy and satisfied, vaguely planning to stop at Gristedes when she got back uptown. Maybe she’d pick up a cold meat supper and some wine. Not that her Mom needed anymore booze, but Joan was feeling generous.
She slid into a cab, wondering absently if Pete Campell could set up a meeting with Circle Line. Joan thought she had a great pitch, one worthy of Don Draper himself.
Feel the post-boatal glow.