Breakfast at Manny'sbyFrancisMacomber©
Megan and I had been living together for the last two years, and things were going so well that I decided it was time to pop the question. One Friday I bought a suitably extravagant engagement ring that I felt she'd love and hid it away until the next morning. I intended to propose over breakfast.
Breakfasts were a special time for the two of us, especially on the weekends. Megan and I loved to fix elaborate meals together and then linger over them for several hours, sipping coffee, reading the newspaper and working the crossword puzzle together. So it seemed very appropriate for me to propose at a time we both cherished.
She was deep in the editorial page when I felt the time was right. The newsprint in front of her face screened me from her view, so I was able to slip around the table and kneel in front of her without being noticed. I opened the box containing the ring, held it up in both hands and ostentatiously cleared my throat.
When she lowered the paper and saw me there, her eyes widened in astonishment. "Megan," I said in my most sincere tone, "waking up beside you in the morning and enjoying breakfast together these last two years have been so wonderful that I want to keep doing it for the rest of my life. Please make me the happiest man in New York City by agreeing to become my wife."
I waited for her squeal of delight and fervent embrace, but all she did was sit there in stunned silence, her face reddening by the moment. Finally she took the ring from my hands and looked at it for quite a while before handing it back to me with a sigh. "This is not the way I'd wanted to tell you, Jake, but I've been seeing someone else. I was going to move in with him next week, but I guess we'll have to move up our timetable now. I'm sorry."
I remained kneeling in front of her, so stunned that I was unable to speak. She looked at me again. "It is a beautiful ring," she said wistfully. Then she arose and went into the bathroom, closing the door behind her. I could hear the chirp of her cellphone and the tones of a hushed conversation.
When the doorbell rang an hour later, Megan rushed to open the door, admitting a tall, attractive-looking guy about my age. As I sat apathetically on the couch in my pajamas, he and she began carrying her belongings from our apartment out to what I presumed was his car. Neither of them said a word to me as they worked, but, as they were leaving for the last time, she paused at the door and cast a pitying look at me. "Have a good life, Jake," she said quietly, and then she was gone.
I don't remember anything else about that weekend, and if it were not for my Outlook calendar, I probably wouldn't remember anything about the week that followed at the law firm either. I think (hope) I was able to focus on the cases I had and the clients I saw, but I can't be sure. Over time, however, the opportunity to immerse myself in my profession offered a sort of anesthesia that helped me survive. During the day I could bury myself in work, but the nights were hard and breakfast was harder still, especially on the weekends. Not only did I have no distractions then, but every aspect of breakfast -- food preparation, reading the newspaper, working the puzzle -- held excruciating memories.
After a few weeks of misery I resolved to do something to try to break the cycle of self-pity into which I had fallen. So instead of fixing my solitary breakfast as usual, I got dressed one chilly morning and left my apartment to look for someplace else to eat.
I'd only walked a couple of blocks before I came across a neighborhood restaurant that wasn't part of a chain. The sign over the door said "Manny's" and below it was a blue neon sign that read "Open for Breakfast."
When I entered, the place was surprisingly busy, which I took for a good sign. If my neighbors patronized the place, the food must be okay, I thought. A man -- I later learned he was the owner -- approached me and asked, "How many for breakfast, sir?" I felt a twinge of pain as I told him "one."
He steered me over to a table with two chairs against one wall, and seated me so that I sat facing the door. I was glad he had done so because I thought it would be nice to observe the people who came and went. That way I wouldn't be eating entirely alone, even though I was the only one at my table.
The menu he gave me was old and laminated with thin clear plastic. Obviously, Manny's seldom if ever changed its offerings. I found that somehow reassuring. There were the usual selections on the page with the breakfast items -- eggs, pancakes, sausage and the like -- but in a small box I spotted "Manny's Homemade Granola" and, on a whim, ordered it.
The bowl Manny brought me was unlike any granola I'd ever seen. There were whole oats that were lightly cooked, chunks of almonds and walnuts, and a mix of dried cranberries and blueberries. I also tasted cinnamon and some other spices I didn't recognize. Initially I feared the concoction would be too dry to eat, but after pouring a little milk over it, I found the cereal delicious. The steaming mug of coffee Manny brought with it proved the perfect complement.
And so Manny's became my regular place for breakfast. Manny soon came to recognize me, and when I went in he would automatically usher me to the same little table by the wall and bring me my coffee and homemade granola without asking. I began to feel comfortable. It wasn't as good as eating breakfast with Megan, but it was far better than eating alone in my apartment.
One morning after I had been seated, I noticed several customers milling around waiting for a table. I thought for a moment and then beckoned Manny over. "If it would help, I'd be glad to share my table with someone else," I told him. He nodded gratefully and went over to the customers by the door. A minute later he brought a middle-aged man back to me, saying, "This gentleman doesn't mind sharing his table."
The fellow nodded at me in thanks, and, after he had placed his order, pulled out his paper and began to read. "Just like Megan," I smiled to myself, and this time the memory didn't seem to hurt quite so badly.
From then on, any time Manny's began to fill up, I'd keep an eye out for a lone customer, wave and invite him or her to take the unused seat at my table. Most of my breakfast companions, after acknowledging my offer, ate in silence, but some took the opportunity to strike up a conversation. If the talk turned to politics or other areas of controversy, I'd retreat behind my own newspaper, but sometimes the other person would treat me like an old friend, talking familiarly about life, family and other topics, sometimes of quite a personal nature. It was as if the anonymity of this chance encounter with a total stranger lowered normal barriers, and my tablemate would freely express his or her feelings, seemingly without reservation. Occasionally I would talk about my experience with Megan, but more often I would just listen, keeping the conversation going with a question or two to let my newfound comrade know I was indeed interested.
I began to look forward to these encounters: they became a new and unexpectedly pleasant diversion. Having grown up in Manhattan, I had been used to shutting out strangers, never making eye contact much less initiating a conversation. Now, although sharing tabletop intimacies still felt alien, I found the brief, no-commitment exchanges appealing.
One busy Saturday I noticed an intense-looking man enter the restaurant, and I immediately waved to him to join me. A look of relief came over his face and he hurried over to my table. "I was afraid I wouldn't be able to find you," he said hastily, "since I didn't know what you looked like."
I immediately realized that he must be looking for someone else, but before I could correct him, a strange impulse seized me. I had, I realized, an opportunity to take my little game in a new direction. It was a risk, but I could always plead mistaken identity if things got awkward. I decided to try it.
"I didn't know how to recognize you either," I said, "but I was sure it was you when you came in."
He nodded comfortably, then sat there, obviously waiting for me to make the next move.
What to say, what to say? "So," I said, trying not to look nervous, "is everything all set?"
He looked at me uncertainly. "Yeah, if you're OK with the price."
I looked at him evenly. "About the price, I don't know if I can go that high."
The intense man became agitated. "I thought we had a deal!" He pulled out a handkerchief and mopped his brow. Restoring it to his pocket, he looked at me again with an imploring expression. "Look, $5oo is a good price, you've got to admit it."
"Yes," I acknowledged, "but $400 would be even better."
He put on a look of pained astonishment, but somehow I sensed that it was false. "You're killing me -- $400 is below what I've got in it."
I decided to play along with him. "Alright, then how about $450?"
The speed of his response told me I'd read the situation correctly. "$450? My wife is going to kill me. But, okay, I'll do it for you -- $450, in cash."
He extended his hand across the table, but I didn't take it right away. "$450 in cash, but not until I take possession," I said firmly.
"Of course," he said and grabbed my hand. "Just come by my place tomorrow afternoon at 5:00 and it's all yours. You won't regret it." Then he looked at his watch. "Listen, I've got to run. It was good doing business with you. Don't forget: 5:00 o'clock tomorrow, and bring the cash with you."
I nodded, and as he got up he grabbed my check along with his own. "This is on me," he said with a wink before striding to the cash register to pay.
"He was too happy with the deal," I thought to myself. "I'll bet he's only got $300 in it -- whatever 'it' is."
All that day I couldn't get the interlude off my mind. At times I was apprehensive about what I had done. What would happen when I didn't show up at 5:00 with the cash tomorrow? Would he come looking for me at Manny's? But the rational side of me dismissed the concern. As far as the guy knew, ours was a one-time meeting at a neutral location. He didn't know my name or where I lived. Besides, what harm had been done? He'd lost nothing but the price of my breakfast. He still had "it," and somebody out there had offered him $500 for it.
But what really fascinated me was the way I'd been able to insert myself into the other guy's life. Even in our brief interaction I felt I'd had a real insight into his personality, a window into his mind. I also found myself quite pleased with my ability to think on my feet, and I couldn't help but hope I might have a similar experience.
To be honest, I skipped going to Manny's for the next couple of days just in case Mr. Wheeler-dealer showed up looking for me. But I missed the homemade granola, and when I resumed my daily breakfasts at Manny's, nothing untoward happened. I decided that the whole thing was a one-off, and sternly told myself it was just as well.
Not surprisingly, nothing even close to this experience happened over the next few months. As a result, I was caught unawares by what happened one Wednesday in the spring. I was enjoying my coffee when I glanced up and noticed an extremely attractive woman with long blonde hair enter the restaurant. She was wearing a sleeveless sundress, and although the daytime temperatures had warmed up nicely, the morning was still somewhat chilly. Perhaps that was why her nipples were clearly erect beneath the thin bra under her halter top.
She began looking about anxiously, and I quickly stood up, waved and pointed to the empty seat at my table. Without hesitation she walked over to face me. I was so taken with her that I didn't know what to say, and she seemed to be similarly uncertain. Then she reached out and gave me a friendly hug and a peck on the cheek. The brief whiff of her perfume almost made me stagger.
After we were seated and she'd placed her order ("Just coffee for me, thanks"), she leaned across the table. "You don't look like your picture," she said in a voice so low only I could hear. Then she smiled. "You really should get another one -- you're much more handsome than I expected."
Now I thought I knew what might be going on. "You, on the other hand, look exactly like your picture, and I thought it was gorgeous," I responded. She blushed prettily.
We sat there a moment in silence. Then she looked me in the eye and I sensed that she was uncomfortable. "I don't know what you must be thinking about me," she said suddenly. "I've never done anything like this before."
"I haven't either," I told her honestly, "and I'm just a little uncertain about how to proceed."
Somehow that seemed to reassure her, and she brightened a little. "Is Lance your real name?" she asked.
I looked at her solemnly. "No," I admitted, "it's not. I wanted to protect my identity because you never know what kind of weirdos are out there." Then I gave her a mock piercing look. "You're not a weirdo, are you?"
"No," she giggled delightedly, "and Deirdre isn't my real name either. But I always thought it was a beautiful, romantic name, and this seemed the right opportunity to become a Deirdre."
"Then Deirdre it is," I pronounced, "and I'll be your Lancelot, and we'll have wonderful adventures together." I made a half bow in my seat at the table, and she pretended to curtsy back at me.
"So how shall we begin this adventure, milady?" I asked.
"Maybe we could just walk for a little while and get to know each other," she suggested, and I hastily assented. "Just let me call my office and let them know I'll be late," I told her, and she gave me that wonderful smile again.
As we walked down the street, I took off my jacket and draped it around her shoulders to protect her from the chill. She accepted it gratefully, and I could see that she was pleased with my act of chivalry.
We came to Central Park and began to stroll south along Fifth Avenue. It seemed natural to take her hand in mine, and she was happy to hold mine as well. As the sun shone through the new leaves, we began to talk. At first we only chatted about neutral subjects like the weather and the news, but after a while, she began to describe her upbringing and then her marriage. I listened as I'd learned to do at Manny's, and kept encouraging her with questions and comments.
She'd met her husband while they were both in school and had married right after graduation. He was a good man, decent and kind, but it was clear that he'd been sucked into the game of climbing the corporate ladder and his devotion to his career wasn't helping their relationship at all. He hadn't wanted her to work, so while he was out making deals in distant cities, she was left at home to find what fulfillment she could in continuing education and volunteer work.
As "Deirdre" described it, his passion for his work exceeded his passion for her. I began to understand how an otherwise demure and proper wife might miss the romance and passion she craved so badly that she might dare seek it out from a stranger.
I looked up and saw we had made it all the way down to General Sherman's statue; ahead of us loomed the Plaza Hotel. I looked at Deirdre and made my decision. "Come with me," I said firmly, and she followed without hesitation.
The room was overpriced, but I didn't care -- I was paying for romance and a one-of-a-kind experience, for her and for me. Now that we were there, she stood before me uncertainly. This was the moment of truth, and it jarred her to face it.
"I'm not sure why I'm here," she procrastinated, but I wasn't about to let her talk herself out of what she had started.
"You know exactly why you're here," I said forcefully. "You're here because you have needs that aren't being fulfilled. You're here because you want the passion and the excitement that your dull daily life doesn't provide. And you're here because I want you more than any woman I've ever wanted before."
She gasped, and I decided the die was cast. "Take off your dress," I ordered, and as I'd hoped she meekly complied. When she had finished, she stood there in her heels and matching underwear.
The dress had only hinted at how fine her body truly was and I wanted to take it all in. I walked around her conducting my inspection while removing my shirt and tie. She stood there silently, but I noted that her breathing began to quicken. When I bent down to examine her trim hips in her teal green bikini panties, I got a distinct whiff of the smell of an aroused woman.
After I had finished I stood in front of her. "Take off my shoes and socks," I said, and she quickly knelt before me to do so. Seeing her on her knees at my feet sent a thrill through me. I'd thought I'd detected a hint of submissiveness in her, and her hasty compliance reinforced my assessment.
"Now remove my trousers," I told her when she'd finished with my footwear. Quickly she undid my belt, unzipped my pants and pulled them down my legs. Once I'd stepped out of them, she reached up for my boxer briefs, but I stopped her. "Touch it," I demanded, and she ran her hands over my erect penis like she was discovering something rare and fine.
"Now remove my underwear," I said, and she hurried to obey. "Take it into your mouth and love it with your tongue," I ordered, and for the first time I saw her hesitate. "Of course," I realized, "she's never sucked her husband's cock." I decided that was going to change. "Do it and be quick about it," I said commandingly, giving her no time to protest.
At first she was tentative, but once she'd taken me deeply into her mouth she began to lave my penis with her tongue, coating it with the saliva that filled her mouth. This act of obedience seemed to arouse her even more.
Quickly her ministrations began lifting me toward a climax, but I decided I wanted to be inside her for the first time so I lifted her up by her arms. As she came off her knees, I laid her back on the bed; then I knelt before her and placed her legs over my shoulders. Her startled look let me know that this too was not a part of her conjugal routine. But a quick lick of my tongue silenced her protest, and then she began to moan as I explored her lower lips, the depths of her pussy, and the little swollen, sensitive knob at the top of her slit.
Soon her moans were replaced by groans that seemed to originate somewhere deep within her. Lubrication began to ooze from her pussy to match the precum now running down my cock. I raised up and brought my cock to her gaping pussy, using my hand to run it up and down the lips. Instinctively her pelvis rocked forward, trying desperately to force me to enter her. Finally, after teasing her long enough, I slid easily into her depths. She cried out at the sensation, and I felt her hands grip my hips to pull me tighter into her.
I wanted to take my time so I began a slow, smooth pace, never bottoming out, never completely withdrawing. In no time at all her groans began to come quicker and she clutched at me frantically. I resisted her efforts to go faster, maintaining my tantalizing rhythm until finally she went over the top.
Even after she relaxed back on the bed, I never ceased my same pace, giving her no respite from the sensations that she felt in her depths. After a couple of minutes her eyes flew open and she stared at me in disbelief as her hips began to rock again. "I've never . . ." she gasped, and then squeezed her eyes shut again, grimacing as a new wave of sensation threatened to overwhelm her.
This time I was ready too, and I began to accelerate my thrusting until I was pounding into her as hard and fast as I was able. Just as I began to cum, she arched her back off the sheets and screamed. This time we both collapsed.
After a few minutes I rolled onto my side to take the weight off of her while still holding her close. Her hand came up to stroke my chest and she opened her eyes to regard me with wonder. "I've never cum so hard in my life," she whispered, "and never twice in a row." I kissed her gently, and we lay there nuzzling, reveling in the smell and feel of one another.