This gearshift is a metaphor. Shutterstock

Chapter One: Why Do You Think They Call Me Council Member?

It was late, and the downtown traffic was throbbing—and that wasn't the only thing.

Against my better judgment, I had agreed to give Council Member XXXXXXXXXXXXX a ride home after the session. "I'm just so sick of my stupid driver," he confided, loosening the red silk tie that had been a gift from the Port of Seattle Propeller Club. "He's always giving me strange looks, asking me about my day. Just Council Member XXXXXXXXXXXXX this and Council Member XXXXXXXXXXXXX that. It's like, give me a break! Sometimes—" here he leaned in extra close to whisper in my ear, "he even flirts with me."

I felt the warm, damp flat of his palm linger near the crease where my thigh meets my hip (I've always been proud of that spot, actually, so I did nothing to discourage him). "At least that's what my wife thinks..." The rain was really coming down now, and traffic was at a standstill, unlike the blood rushing through my veins. One vein in particular. His hand inched ever closer to my stick shift. But I drive an automatic. In the rearview mirror, I saw his eyes scan my face for a response. I said nothing but shifted my weight just enough to graze his fingertips with the project I'd been working on. It felt right. Too right. But I panicked and acted shocked.

"Council Member XXXXXXXXXXXXX!" I gasped.

In one swift motion, he unbuckled his seat belt, pivoted toward me, and bent double at the waist. Anyone passing by would think he had dropped his Blackberry between the seats and was trying to dig it out. But that's not what he was digging out at all.

"Call me XXXXXXXXXXXXX," he said.

To be continued... recommended