Caroline Ch. 01.03byVitorio©
I change 'voice' here using Caroline's point of view. Oh course that means some repetition but from a different perspective. It's Caroline's story for a good while now.)
I suppose that I knew I really liked him the second time we met. That was in Sarah's shop where I worked. I first met him at Sarah's house. I'd gone there to help out with a party she was having and Mike had dropped in with a message for her. Sarah introduced me to him and I could see that he was interested in me by the way he looked at me. That's what I noticed, I suppose, his eyes. They were sky blue with a hint of steely grey. They made me feel queasy inside when he looked directly into mine.
He said, "Hello, Caroline, nice to meet you", and gave me a big smile and fixed his eyes on me.
"Hi," I said, I couldn't think of anything else at that moment to say!
"It's always nice to meet an attractive young woman." he said smiling again directly at me. I didn't think I was particularly attractive, dressed in my tight work jeans and old top but I don't often get paid complements so I smiled back at him.
"Thank you", I said and he nodded his head in response.
We didn't speak anymore, he was only there for about 15 minutes but during that time I could feel his eyes on me all the time and, once, I turned round and caught him looking directly at me, or should I say, my bottom. I was close enough to see that his very expressive eyes were on fire and I wondered what he was thinking. I think that catching him out like this rather embarrassed him as he blushed up a little. I looked away, I suppose I was quite pleased at his interest and I was a little sad to see him about to leave.
As he said goodbye to Sarah, I flashed him a big smile which he returned with interest. I suppose I flirted with him a bit. I'm not normally a flirt so I was quite surprised I had behaved in this way.
When I got home that evening Joanna was still up. I live with Joanna, she is almost like a sister to me and my friend. We've known each other for ages and, although she's three years older than me, we get on famously together. I'm nearly 21 by the way. For some reason I couldn't get this man Mike out of my mind. So I started to tell Joanna what had happened.
"Jo," I said, "I met a man earlier on"
"Don't you mean 'you met another boy'," she interrupted emphasising the last two words.
I should explain, I've had a bit of trouble with 'boys'. I've had lots of boyfriends, most of whom I've had sex with, none of whom gave me any pleasure. Most of them were also selfish, opinionated boors. So boys were not my favourite topic at the moment. Joanna had also had trouble with boys and men! – she was fed up with their childish self importance and premature ejaculation! She had had one fairly long but ultimately unhappy relationship with a guy in his late thirties and was of the opinion that older men were better but more dangerous!
"No, I mean a man," I said. "He's a friend of Sarah's. I should think he was older than Steve (her older ex). He had the most wonderful eyes and he said I was 'attractive'".
"Well, you are," she said, smiling.
"Oh, be quiet," I said, "He's the first man to have ever said that to me."
"He sounds like the first MAN you've met," she responded. "Did you like him?"
"I don't really know. We didn't talk. I think he liked me, though".
"Because he couldn't keep his eyes off me, or my bottom."
"I'm not surprised in those jeans", she laughed.
Jo didn't wear tight clothes. She's quite different from me. In fact we're opposites. I'm blonde with my hair cut in a bob, she's darker with a much shorter cut. I like nice clothes, expensive jeans, tops, that sort of thing. She wears dark stuff, loose, that hides her figure. I don't know why, she's got a much better figure than me. My boobs are too small and my bottom's too big. She's better proportioned than me. I often say to her that she ought to show herself off more but she doesn't seem bothered. I suppose that being a nurse and wearing a uniform makes her less concerned about clothes, and since breaking with Steve she's got even worse.
She's also much more attractive in the face than me, I'm pretty plain I suppose. I have got big blue eyes and a cute button nose but Jo has a much stronger face than me. I once saw a picture of an actress called Ava Gardner. Jo is the spit of her but with shorter and lighter hair.
It was quite late so we didn't say anything else and I went to bed. As I fell asleep I could see those blue eyes with a touch of grey following me around the room. It didn't feel too bad.
I didn't really think much more of it for the next week. He was just someone I met. He did make an impression on me, I must admit, I remembered his eyes and that he told me I was attractive. I don't get told that very often, only by Jo, and it always makes me feel good.
About a week later I was working away in Sarah's shop. She had gone out and left me alone for a while as it was a very quiet part of the day. Someone came into the shop and I looked up and saw that it was Mike.
He said, "Hi, I'm looking for Sarah".
For some reason my heart bumped a bit at seeing him again. He might have been nearly three times my age but he was quite attractive really. He was quite tall, well over six foot I suppose (I'm five nine), well built without being fat, with a very open face and, of course, those lovely grey/blue eyes. Since all my problems with petulant boys I had found myself looking more closely at older men, wondering what it would be like to go out with one. I was sure it wouldn't be talking solely about football or cars, pushing their hands away, or being treated like an accessory. So, actually, I was quite interested in him.
I said, "Hello Mike. She's just gone out, probably be back in a few minutes."
He looked quite startled, "Hi Caroline," he replied, "I'm surprised you remembered my name."
I was feeling a bit 'perky' so I decided to have a bit of fun, to flirt with him. As I said, I'm not normally a flirt but I realised I did rather like him, and anyway, it couldn't hurt to have some fun.
"How could I forget someone who so completely undressed me with his eyes," I said giving him a big smile.
He was really embarrassed. I knew he couldn't leave because he had to wait for Sarah so I kept looking at him with a big smile on my face. I wanted him to see that I wasn't angry about it. I was just playing I suppose. He swallowed hard and answered me. He had picked up my playful mood as he said, "Look, Caroline, I'm really sorry if I made you feel uncomfortable but my plea in mitigation is that I hadn't seen anything as beautiful as you since the Mona Lisa in Paris".
I laughed, "I bet you didn't undress HER with your eyes". I felt wonderful, he was the first man ever to call me beautiful! I knew then that I REALLY liked him!
"She wasn't wearing jeans as tight as yours," he said and laughed.
I knew he was interested in my bottom, perhaps it wasn't too big?
He seemed to have lightened up now, he was more relaxed with me. I pointed to a chair in the corner and said, "Why don't you have a seat, I'll just carry on." And I did, but I made sure that I gave him a show to remember! I managed to reach up high for everything which then had to be put on the floor and vice versa. I was really enjoying myself. It was vampish really, showing myself off like this. I don't know what came over me I'm not normally very forward with the opposite sex but he made me feel more confident somehow. I really can't explain it but I know I enjoyed myself immensely. I felt his eyes on me but it didn't bother me like when boys stared. I felt very sexy, I longed to know what he was thinking when he was looking at me.
I was quite surprised when he spoke. I was reaching up to a shelf with my back to him when he said, "Do you know Caroline, that you are a very beautiful girl."
My heart bumped into my mouth again – he called ME beautiful. That was twice!
I turned to face him, "None of my boyfriends has ever told me THAT before", I said.
"Then they are either blind or stupid or both."
I looked at him through my lashes, boy was I trying it on. I really don't know what came over me. I suppose I was fishing for more compliments when I said, "I don't think I'm very pretty, my bottom's too big and my boobs too small!"
"Well, I think that you are just perfect, nothing's too big, nothing's too small".
I wanted to go over and hug him, what was happening when I said, "I wonder what were you thinking when you were watching me just now. You seemed very interested!" Oh god, I was playing the vamp, I was trying to seduce him. I couldn't believe I was acting this way but I didn't want to stop. It was fun, I was really enjoying myself and I did desperately wanted him to tell me although I was apprehensive about what I might hear. My question seemed to perplex him so I suspected he had been thinking something particularly interesting, little did I know how interesting, but that comes later.
He responded to my question hesitantly, saying, "I don't think I can do that Caroline, not here anyway and," and he added, seemingly as an afterthought, "certainly not until I get to know you better!".
Was he asking me to go out with him? I wasn't really conscious of the age difference, I think that it matters less to a woman than to a man, but he might have been.
"Take me to lunch tomorrow, then", I blurted out. Boy was I being forward. 'Jo will really tell me off' I thought to myself. This suggestion seemed to blow him out of the water, he looked absolutely astounded. I thought he might not want to, "Don't you want to", I said.
This brought him back to earth, "Want to" he said, "of course I want too. What red blooded male wouldn't want to take you out." The he mentioned our age difference.
I said, "I don't really care. I quite like you (Liar - I really quite liked him a lot!). You are the only man who ever called me 'beautiful' and, anyway, I like older men." All my frustration with boys came to a head, "I'm fed up with silly boys who only think of one thing!"
I told him that tomorrow was my day off so we arranged for him to pick me up at 11 o'clock in the High Street and he gave me his phone number. Sarah came back to the shop then and Mike and her chatted for a while before he left. He turned to look at me as he left and I flashed him my best smile.
When I got home that evening I couldn't wait to tell Joanna what had happened. I knew she would scold me for being so forward but I didn't care. She was on lates so she didn't get in 'til late and I was waiting up for her with a glass of wine and supper. She flopped down.
"Oh Jo, I've got to tell you what happened today, I saw Mike again. You know, the man I told you about last week."
"The one with the eyes?", she asked.
"Yes" I said. Then I began to tell her all that had happened. All the way through she kept on interrupting with things like "What?", "You didn't?", "Bloody hell".
When I'd finished telling her she looked at me and said, "It's a wonder you didn't take your knickers off and lay on your back with your legs open!"
"Oh, Jo, it wasn't like that. It was a bit sexy but it was fun. I enjoyed doing it, I think that he did too. We were playing. And he did say I was beautiful: twice!"
"Well I've told you often enough that you do yourself down, you are very attractive. You shouldn't get swept off your feet just because someone calls you 'beautiful'."
"But it can't do any harm to go out with him can it. It's only lunch after all and I'm so looking forward to seeing how different it will be."
"No, I don't suppose it can do any harm but BE CAREFUL. He's a lot older than you, he'll have a lot more experience at getting a girl where he wants her so keep your head!"
"Well, I know he likes my bottom. He can't take his eyes of it so tomorrow I'll wear a skirt, can I borrow one of yours?"
"Of course you can Lena, any one you want," she laughed. I don't have any skirts you see!
Joanna had gone to work early the next day, a Tuesday, and I chose one her longest skirts. Although I'm just a little bit taller than her it fitted me quite well. It kind of hugged my bottom before flaring out. I didn't feel very comfortable in it, I don't really like skirts, but I thought it might take his mind off my bottom.
He picked me up bang on time and we went to a little pub in the country. I was a lovely day and we sat in the gardens having lunch. We talked a lot and laughed a lot. He was very funny, he made me laugh. He was so polite and the way he looked at me, well I couldn't wait to tell Jo. He could talk about anything, even things he didn't know anything about! He told me later that you could talk about anything as long as you didn't say anything. I had to figure that one out! We had a lovely meal and some delicious wine. He knew quite a lot about wine, although he said he didn't really. He was always modest about himself but I could tell that he was very intelligent and extremely well read.
It was a lovely lunch and I was sorry when it came to an end. I had to meet Joanna so he took me home about four. On the way back he asked me if we could do this again. I was a bit unsure. I knew liked him a lot but I wanted to tell Jo about the day before making a decision. What was nice was that he didn't push me, a boy wouldn't have let me have time to think.
As I sat waiting indoors for Jo I recalled the lunch. The more I thought about it the more I realised how much I had enjoyed it. When she finally arrived I just had to explain to her what had happened.
"Hi, Lena," she said, "I'll just change and we can go". We were supposed to go on a major shop. We did this together now an again.
"How'd it go, by the way?", she asked, "was he a dirty old man?"
"Oh Joanna, it was wonderful. Sit down and let me tell you about it. We can go out in a minute. I'll make some coffee while you change."
Off she went while I quickly rustled up some coffee and biscuits. When she came back she said, "OK, tell me all about it then. You obviously had a good time."
"Jo, it was soooo different. He was so polite. He was bang on time to pick me up and the first thing he said was how lovely I looked".
"I think he's got you on that one", she laughed, "He knows how make you happy!"
"Ssshh, It was funny. I didn't know what was going on at first, he opened doors for me, he actually sat me at a table, you know, pulled the chair out, asked me to sit and pushed the chair in. No one's ever done that and he insists on walking on the outside of the pavement! He said that he was sorry when he kept moving to the outside but he felt uncomfortable walking on the inside with a lady – me a lady!"
"That's just old-fashioned courtesy," she said, "lots of older men act like that."
"Oh I know, but it felt so good to be on the receiving end. I makes you feel so important, the centre of attention. And I was the centre of attention for the whole time. You know he actually listened to what I had to say. We talked about so much, not just football and cars. You know, like usual!"
"That's certainly an improvement. Did you actually find anything out about him."
"Oh yes, he's divorced. From the way he said it, it happened some time ago. I think he's been on his own for quite a while. He's got a big house with an office and everything from where he works. He's got three daughters, all in their thirties – can you imagine and he's got grandchildren."
"How old is he?"
"He didn't say and I didn't ask. I suppose he must be in his mid fifties. He didn't act like it though. Well I don't think he did. I don't really know how someone that age should act so that's a bit silly really. What I mean is it didn't feel as if I was with someone that much older. Do you know what I mean?"
"I think so, it was a bit like that with Steve. Because he treated you like a woman you treated him like a man and the age difference doesn't become so important. What did you talk about, sex?"
"Oh no, he never even hinted at sex. No double meanings, no sly touching. I forgot all about it!"
"It must have been an experience then, for you to forget about sex," she laughed and dug me in the ribs.
"Oh, you know what I mean. But Jo, it was his eyes. I don't know how to explain how he looked at me. He's got lovely blue eyes and he looked at me so softly. Oh that's not right. It's difficult to find the right words. He sort of 'worshipped' me with his eyes".
"Pooof, what a load of rubbish".
"No really Jo," I laughed at her, "he did. They sort of seemed to be saying I was beautiful. At least that's what I thought. Its so difficult to explain but it felt really good. The centre of attention. Do you think I should see him again, he asked me?"
"I think you should be very, very careful. He sounds charming but you never know. If you enjoyed yourself so much then, yes, see him again."
That made up my mind and we went off shopping. I phoned Mike later and told him how much I'd enjoyed lunch. I said that I was free on Sunday if he wanted. He did so we arranged everything.
Sunday went as well as Tuesday. The only thing that spoilt it were some disapproving looks we got from some people. He asked if it bothered me. I said that I didn't care much what other people thought. We went out a few more times together and had a great time. He made me laugh, made me feel so important, the centre of attention. I was really flattered.
For some reason I hadn't flirted with him at all since we had met again in the shop. I didn't know why (I realised later, though) but all that changed after the meeting on that Tuesday.
It was a gorgeous day, sun shining, birds singing, you know, really romantic. We were in the pub garden, in a secluded corner. We were laying on the grass, him on one elbow and I stood up to look at a plant. As I turned to lay down again he looked at me in a way that made my heart flutter and my tummy go all funny.
"Caroline," he said, "why are you here with me? Shouldn't you be with people you own age, enjoying yourself?".
I looked at him quite sharply, didn't he want to be with me, his eyes said he did.
He quickly said smiling, "Not that I wouldn't rather have you here with me. I just wonder why?"
I gave him both barrels, my eyes open wide, looked him straight in the eye and said, "Because you make me feel real, important. You're kind, you're polite and I don't feel threatened with you, you know, I feel 'safe'. And," I gave him my biggest smile, "you are the only man who ever said I was beautiful!". That got him! As I was saying this, however, I was realising something that I think I must have been hiding from myself.
"I'm not sure about the 'safe' bit," he said, laughing.
I smiled a big smile at him, "Oh I mean, I know you want me. I can tell by the way you look at me. I don't mind, I suppose I like it, you know, it makes me feel important. But you don't push it." I went on to talk about boys and how juvenile they were, trying to touch me up. "You treat me like a real woman, you make me feel important, individual, not some accessory to be used for sex. You're interested in me as well as my body". Did I really say that?
As I was saying this I was aware that there was a change taking place inside me. I suddenly realised that, as much as I thought he wanted me, I wanted him! I don't know why but I hadn't thought of him in that way, but I suppose I must have subconsciously. I started to feel very confused.
"It's true," he said, looking at me with his powerful eyes, "I do want you. I don't think that any man in his right mind could fail to . . ."
"There you are," I interrupted, "you make me feel good, you complement me all the time. You make me feel beautiful, because you treat me that way!" I felt that I needed to return to safer areas, I was so confused, what was this 'wanting'? Some powerful feelings were surfacing here and I was frightened of them. I suddenly realised that I hadn't really been very fair to him. It must have been so difficult for him all this time, and he had been the perfect gentleman. Had I just been leading him on. Oh dear, I really needed Jo to sort this out.