A Cautious Man Ch. 06-08bycoaster2©
When he met Zena Wildman, it wasn't at a church social. She came into his shop one noon hour and handed him a fine old Sunbeam toaster. It was the heavyweight, chromed beauty of the fifties with the slow-down, slow-up feature. The raising and lowering mechanism had quit and almost as an afterthought, Zena remembered Bill's Repairs and decided to see if it could be fixed. It had been in the family for many years and had been given to her by her parents when she moved out. Her brother had bought them a fancy toaster-oven and even though her parents preferred the Sunbeam, they felt duty bound to use the new device.
"Can you fix it?" she asked as Bill examined it. He plugged it in on his test bench and used a small piece of plywood to activate the mechanism. He took a flashlight and shone it down into the bottom of the toasting cell and watched carefully as he tried to activate the switch mechanism. He pulled the cord from the socket and turned back to the attractive woman at the counter.
"Yes, I'm pretty sure I can. This toaster is well worth fixing. You can't find another this good at any price." He was surveying the dark haired beauty has he reassured her.
"How much will it cost?" she asked with a worried look. "I can't afford a lot."
"If it's what I think it is, my minimum charge should handle it. Ten dollars." He looked at her expectantly, hoping she wouldn't flinch at the cost.
"Oh ... that's not so bad. If that's all it is, you can go ahead and fix it. How long will it take?" she asked expectantly.
"Uh, if you come back in a couple of hours, it should be ready for you," he smiled.
"Oh, wow. I didn't think it would be that fast. I'll come back after work at five, if that's OK?"
"Sure. If the door's locked, just knock and I'll let you in." Service with a smile, he thought. Service with an ulterior motive too.
"Great. Thanks very much. I really appreciate this." She flashed him a big, lovely, toothy smile, and then turned and walked out the door. She had given him her business card and he noticed that she was listed as "Customer Assistance" at the most exclusive women's wear shop in town. That would account for the lovely dress and jacket she was wearing. He smiled and wondered if she would be at all interested in someone like him. He had his doubts.
At five past five, Zena tried the door to Bill's shop and it was unlocked. She entered and the little bell above the door announced her arrival. In a few seconds, Bill emerged from the back of the shop, carrying her toaster.
"There you are. All fixed," he said proudly.
"Oh thanks. I'd heard you were good. I'm glad I decided to try you out today."
"Thanks for thinking of me. I always appreciate referral business. Can I ask who recommended me?"
"Uhhhh ... I can't remember. Maybe one of the girls at the shop. We're always talking about the guys we meet," she laughed. "I can see why they'd remember you."
Bill blushed and was conscious of the heat in his cheeks. "Thanks, anyway. I know you'll be happy with that toaster."
"Thanks for staying open for me. Our shop closes right at five and if someone tries to lock up early, there's hell to pay." She was laughing as she said it, but Bill thought her comment was probably accurate.
"Yah, well, not everyone works a nine-to-five job anymore. I try to find ways to help folks get their stuff when they can't manage it."
It was an offhanded remark, but on several occasions he had delivered a repair after dinner when the customer couldn't get in before closing. His house calls were now limited to after-shop hours, but he still believed that word-of-mouth and reliable service went a long way toward building his business. The proof was the constant growth to the point where it was getting difficult to accomplish everything within reasonable working hours. More and more he found himself working nights and weekends to keep up.
"We have those late hours on Friday. That can be a real drag," she sighed.
"Yah, I guess they would be. Do you work all the way through from opening?"
"No, thank god. The girls with seniority get the morning and afternoons while we get the Friday evenings and afternoons on Saturday. That way, they ruin both days for us." She was clearly not pleased with the distribution of work at her shop.
"I was admiring your clothes. Did they come from your store?" he asked, anxious to keep the conversation going.
"Yes. It's about the only benefit we get. We get a nice discount on them because Mrs. Kronsky wants us to show her stuff off to the customers."
"Well, that only works if the person wearing it does it justice. You probably make lots of sales when you wear her clothes." It was a completely spontaneous compliment.
Zena gave him another of those big, toothy smiles. "Thanks. You really know how to make a girl feel good." She laughed, but blushed at the same time. Bill recognized the sign. She was flattered by his comment -- he hadn't expected that. He was struggling to think of something else to say to keep the banter alive.
"So, do you live nearby?" he tried.
"Yes ... just a few blocks up the road. I have a small apartment I share with another girl. We don't make much at the store, so we have to be careful with our money." She was being quite open and he was surprised.
"Do you live in the neighborhood?" she asked.
"Yah ... you could say that," he laughed. "I have an apartment upstairs."
"Oh, wow. That would be cool. No need to worry about being late for work." She was laughing again and it was contagious.
"Not unless I sleep in."
"No one to push you out of bed?" She had blurted the question out and then, once again, blushed deeply as she realized its nature.
"Hah! No. No one." Bill couldn't help but grin at her discomfort. He was also emboldened.
"Just my roommate. Usually it's the other way around. I'm the one that's gets up and has to bang on a pot to wake her up. I don't know how many times we've just barely made the bus to work. It's a good thing our shop doesn't open at eight, like you. We'd never make it."
Bill was paying close attention to Zena as she talked. She was just an inch or so shorter than he was, and her arms, legs, and torso were slim. She had a long neck and a lovely oval face. Her hair was a mass of black, tight curls that fell recklessly to her shoulders. Her eyes were a very dark brown, almost black, setting off a slim, aquiline nose and small, pouting mouth. She was economical, but skilled with her makeup and to Bill, she looked very, very attractive. He wondered what it would be like to make love to such a lovely woman. He doubted that he would ever know.
Zena, for her part, was paying close attention to Bill. She was now leaning against the counter and enjoying the conversation. She hadn't taken much notice of him when she first entered the store, but now that she had engaged him in conversation, she studied him and decided that while he would never be considered handsome, he was still attractive. More than that, he was polite and a good listener. The men in her life lately had been self-absorbed jerks who thought they were doing her a favour by dating and ultimately, bedding her. She longed for a relationship built on mutual respect and liking. She wasn't asking for miracles, just a nice, solid, honest guy. It was that sentiment that drew her to Bill Orton.
"What do you do in your spare time, Bill?" She had overcome her earlier embarrassment and had decided to take the initiative.
"Well, lately I've been so busy, I've spent much of it here, working. I've got to find some help pretty soon or the only thing I'll have is work and sleep. I could use a break," he said honestly.
"I know what you mean. I feel that way myself on Saturday afternoons."
Bill blinked. Had she just let him know she was available? There was only one way to find out.
"I'm surprised you don't have a lineup of guys all wanting to date you. I know I'd be there if ..." He left the awkward comment unfinished.
"Well, if you're asking me for a date, I'd probably say yes," she replied without hesitation.
"Really? Then, yes, I'm asking you for a date, Saturday, after work."
"And I'm saying yes. What do you want to do? A movie? Dancing?"
"Ah ... I don't know. I'm not much of a dancer and I don't drink much. What about dinner and a movie? That way you don't have to do anything but come along with me."
"Sounds fine, as long as I get to pick the movie," she grinned.
"Deal! I haven't been to a movie in ages. I have no idea what's on." He was elated that she had agreed to the date.
They exchanged phone numbers and she gave him her address. They decided on six o'clock for dinner and then catch the late show at one of the theatres in the mall. Since Zena was choosing the movie, Bill would choose the restaurant. She finally left the store shortly after five thirty, leaving Bill in a very good mood. A very striking woman had agreed to go on a date with him. He would make sure that she was treated like royalty. It would be good for his ego to be seen with Zena.
He studied the restaurant guide and when he couldn't decide, he asked his father for advice. Dad had a quick answer -- Ambrosia. It was just out of town on the secondary highway north, but his father assured him that it was, by far, the finest restaurant in the area. He warned him that it would be expensive, but Bill assured him that Zena was worth it, and that he hadn't spent any of his earnings on himself in so long, he couldn't remember when. His father offered congratulations when Bill told him about his date and described just how lovely the young lady was.
He picked her up in his truck and immediately apologized that it was the only vehicle he had. She assured him that it wasn't important. She was dressed in a black, short dress that looked just wonderful on her. It had a nice dip in the front to show the tops of her small breasts and very thin straps across the shoulders. It was a cool evening and she had draped an emerald green sweater across her shoulders. With her high heels, she was as tall as Bill.
Bill had splurged and purchased a navy blue herringbone sport coat, dark grey slacks, a new dress shirt and tie and finally, new black dress shoes. His father kidded him, asking him if he was going to a funeral. His mother picked out the tie and it was the only splash of colour in his wardrobe. When he looked at himself in the mirror, he was satisfied that he wouldn't be embarrassed. He felt even more secure when Zena complimented him on his outfit just after he had done the same for her.
When he told her they were going to Ambrosia, he heard her sharp intake of breath.
"Bill, that's so ... expensive. Are you sure?" she asked in wonder.
"Absolutely. My dad told me it was the best and it sounds like you think so too. Have you been there before?"
"No, never. I've always wanted to go. I hear it's fantastic." She was beaming. "Do you always treat your dates this well?"
"Well, as a matter of fact, yes." He turned to her with a grin. "Since you're the only date I've had in living memory, then the answer is yes."
"You mean I'm your very first date?" she asked in wonder.
"Pretty much. I've been so busy building my business that I haven't had time for romance." He almost instantly regretted his choice of words but said nothing more. He tried to catch a glimpse of Zena to see if she had reacted to it, but couldn't detect anything at all.
"All work and no play ..." Zena had turned her head toward him and smiled.
"Yah ... I know. I have to do something about that. Tonight is the first chance I've had. I'm really happy you're here, Zena."
"Me too. You're not like a lot of the other guys. The ones I've dated aren't very mature. You seem much more grown up. I feel more comfortable being with you."
Bill was surprised at her comments and, at the same time, pleased. He briefly turned his head toward her and smiled. His confidence had just been given a very nice boost.
They arrived at the restaurant a few minutes early, but were seated immediately. They were presented with menus, and when they opened them, Zena giggled.
"What?" Bill asked.
"My menu doesn't have any prices." She was enjoying the moment.
"Good. Then you won't worry about what you order. Just make sure you have what you really want."
"Hmmm ... the lobster looks yummy," she laughed.
Bill just smiled and watched her as she scanned the menu. A few moments later, a waiter arrived to ask if they wanted anything to drink.
"Zena, what would you like?"
"White wine would be nice," she answered tentatively.
Bill turned to their waiter. "What would you suggest, sir?"
"Ah, if you prefer a dry wine, I would suggest a California Chardonnay or an Italian Pinot Grigio. If something sweeter is more to your taste, perhaps a Riesling or a Liebfraumilch."
"Do you have a preference, Zena?"
"No, but I'm used to dry wines. Let's try the Italian one," she suggested.
"Italian it is then." Their waiter nodded, smiled and headed for the wine cabinet.
They perused the menus and when they each had decided, the waiter promptly appeared and took their order. Zena ordered a light salad and a roast lamb entrée while Bill discussed the appetizers with the waiter and chose a pâté and a veal entrée. The meal was superb, and they were charmed with the perfect service and elegant atmosphere. They could talk to each other quietly and still be heard. As the evening progressed, Bill promised himself he would return.
They sipped the remainder of their wine and chose to share a chocolate dessert. The portions were not large, but Bill, whose appetite was normally substantial, found he was very satisfied with the slow pace and smaller portions they were offered. He felt sated but not filled. The wine had proven to be a good choice. Bill had little experience with wine except for the ones his parents served on special occasions. However, Zena enjoyed the Pinot Grigio and Bill was happy with that.
Bill didn't want the evening to end. They had decided almost immediately upon arriving that the movie could wait for another time. This was too nice to rush through. The Ambrosia would be the highlight of the date. Zena declined a coffee, but was patient as Bill ordered one to ensure he was fit to drive.
As they walked to the car, Zena took Bill's hand and held it to her thigh. She was rubbing shoulders with him as they slowly strolled across the parking lot to Bill's truck. When he stopped to open the door for her, she turned, wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him. It was a slow, simmering kiss that initially caught Bill by surprise, but not for long.
"Thanks for the wonderful evening. You really are nice to be with," she said quietly.
"Thank you. I had a very nice time too." He stood, looking into her dark eyes, wondering what to do next. He leaned forward and kissed her again. She grasped his shoulders and pulled him into her. It was a more passionate kiss than their first. He was conscious of becoming aroused.
"Too bad I have a roommate," she said coyly.
"I don't," he said quickly, without thinking.
"Then, what do you say we go there for a while and get to know each other better." She was still holding on to him and the tone of her voice left little doubt what she wanted.
Bill parked the truck in back of the shop and opened the rear entrance, holding the door for Zena. He flicked on the stairwell lights and led her up to his apartment. As he turned on the hall lights, he could see the surprise in Zena's eyes.
"Bill, this is lovely. It's much nicer than I would have expected for this old building. It's so neat and bright." She was clearly impressed with the effort Bill and his parents had put into the living area.
"Glad you like it. Let me show you around."
"Uh ... may I use the bathroom first, please," she asked.
"Of course. Just down the hall on your left." Bill sat in a kitchen chair waiting for her to return.
When she came out, she was looking all around at the living area and kitchen. "I've never seen a bachelor pad that was this neat and clean. Do you have a cleaning lady come in?"
"Nope. Just me. I guess I've always been a bit of a neatnik," he confessed.
"Well, you are definitely marrying material, let me tell you." She seemed only partly to be kidding him.
"Nice of you to say so."
Zena looked thoughtful as she surveyed the rooms. This man was nothing like the men she had been involved with. He was almost too good to be true. He had his own successful business, a lovely apartment that was as neat as a pin, and conducted himself like a perfect gentleman. She began to wonder if he had some hidden vice that she hadn't detected. As she looked around the kitchen, she could see that he had more than a minimum of cooking supplies and utensils.
"Are you a good cook, Bill?"
"Well, I don't really know. My folks think I'm OK, but I could always use a second opinion. Why don't I make dinner for you some night?"
"How about breakfast ... tomorrow morning?"
Bill didn't immediately grasp the meaning of the question. He was about to answer when he realized what she was asking.
"Are you sure? After all, it's our first date."
"Yes, I'm sure. I find you fascinating and I'm just amazed that some woman hasn't snagged you yet. You are quite something, Bill Orton ... and yes, I'm very sure."
He moved toward her and she reached out to him. They kissed and held each other for a moment. "I guess it's time to show you the bedroom then."
She turned and walked ahead of him down the hallway. The bedroom had been decorated in muted colours and as with the other rooms, it was spotless and tidy. The bed had been made and covered with a homemade quilt. Everything about Bill and his living quarters gave her a sense of confidence. She wondered, however, if this was truly his first date. What would he be like as a lover? Was it his first time? He didn't act like it. He didn't stumble or stammer. He seemed to be in control. Perhaps the first date story was just that, a story.
Bill was nervous, but not for the usual reasons. He was uncertain how this had all come about. It was a first date and she was offering herself to him. Was she that loose that she would have sex with someone on a moment's notice? She didn't seem like it. She had talked about the poor quality of her dates and almost despaired that she would find someone. Then, the next minute, she was inviting herself into his bed. Little warning bells were ringing in his head. He was, after all, a cautious man. Where was his cautiousness now?
Zena stepped out of her shoes and turned to Bill. She loosened and then removed his tie. Bill had already hung his coat on the bedpost and had removed his shoes. Zena was now unbuttoning his shirt and running her hands over his chest. It was an erotic gesture and it was quickly bringing Bill to attention. Soon his shirt was draped over the end board of the bed and she was loosening his belt.
Bill reached out and smoothly brushed the slim straps of Zena's dress off her shoulders. As she stepped closer to him, he felt the heat of her body and she was running the palm of her hand over the lump in his pants. She was unzipping his fly as Bill was unzipping her dress. The dress dropped to the carpet first, followed quickly by his pants. Zena was braless. Her breasts were small but perfectly formed with bright red nipples and small aureoles. Her nipples were extended, indicating her arousal just as Bill's cock was pushing through his shorts to prove his readiness.
Zena dropped to her knees and removed his socks and then pulled down his shorts. She was delighted with what she saw. The thickness of his now rigid member was greater than she had ever experienced. She anticipated how it would feel as it filled her and she began to sense her arousal flooding her center. She reached for him and brought her mouth and tongue to his glans. It was leaking as well and she enjoyed the taste of his pre-cum. She licked and kissed and sucked and generally made love to his swollen cock. She could barely get the head into her mouth. He was so thick and her mouth was so small. She had to content herself with bathing him with her tongue and lips.