As I lay masturbating in my bed, I choked off a sob of frustration. I had sworn I wouldn't torture myself this way any longer. But every night, I would see images of Cindy: her long blond hair tumbling down over her shoulders as she undressed. Her white undergarments from Sears (so I imagined) straining at the seams until she freed her flesh, just slightly chubby, from its clutches. And then, inevitably, my hand would stray below my navel.
I knew I had no chance with Cindy. One, I was not what I, or anyone, would call a babe. My figure is OK, but since I only wear baggy comfortable clothes, it's not a selling point. My breasts are just beginning to sag, but I suppose at 41 that's not too bad of a track record. Hair: short, boy's-cut, and brown ("mousy brown," as an aunt once said. We always remember those comments, don't we?). I do have good teeth, I've paid a lot for them. But my skin has seen too much sun, and I've been cursed with a hard face. Trust me, I'm not beating up on myself, I'm just being objective.
Cindy, on the other hand, was what ANYONE would call a babe. Late twenties, with blue eyes and long blond hair that she (annoyingly, to me) kept permed. A sweet, quick smile, a twang in her voice from Oklahoma. And, oh, those big, beautiful breasts, 38 if they were an inch, double d, firm and given to "headlights" when a cool breeze decided to blow. Though on the central California coast, it didn't get really cold. For which I was grateful. I didn't want her covering up those cotton K-Mart golf shirts, no no.
Cindy had never been in the classes I taught at the college, but I had spotted her on her first day, walking across the grass. I made a u-turn, deciding the faculty meeting could wait. It was hard not to stare at the firm muscles of her butt moving under her tight jeans, but I pretended I was only strolling in the same direction.
In the car park, my heart leapt as I saw her stop and chat with a girl I knew. The girl, Teresa, had been one of my best students the previous year. Teresa was Cindy's age, pretty in a bookish way. I had found her cute, but not worth risking my job and twelve years of postgraduate study to get into bed.
Because I'm quite obviously a dyke in my appearance, young women sometimes flirt with me in the government classes I teach. But I have a strong code of ethics, and I take the writings of Plato (which I teach in Civ 101) seriously. I have never once taken advantage of my position as professor; though I'm sure some of the girls wouldn't have seen it that way. Still, I practice what I preach.
The problem is, I don't like girl bars and meat markets. My last sex was years ago, with a fellow postdoctoral student who was into new experiences. Now I hear she's teaching in a tiny village in India with no running water. I like new experiences, too, but I only go so far.
The day after I saw Cindy, I casually asked Teresa to coffee. It was all I could do not to come out and grill her, but I played it cool and eventually steered the conversation to the new students, mentioning that I personally knew one or two.
"Yeah, I know one, also," Teresa mentioned, sipping her latte.
Her name was Cindy Chen. Chen by marriage, Teresa laughed. My heart sank. I quizzed Teresa as far as I dared: Cindy had been married five years. Before that she had been in the military, the Army, Teresa thought, but wasn't sure. My heart perked up. A girl's girl loves the armed forces! Or so I hoped. Cindy was in her first college classes. She had joined the military straight out of high school, and Uncle Sam was paying for part of her schooling, which was great because Cindy did not have much money.
"You two should meet," Teresa said. "She's really cool."
"Sounds good," I smiled. Sounded VERY good.
Two weeks later, I was impatiently drumming my fingers at the same café, even though I was ten minutes early. I had agonized over what to wear; I'd almost dressed up in a sexy black number, but realized that Teresa would immediately suspect what I was up to. And Cindy, too, maybe. So there I was in my usual crummy sweat shirt and sack pants, hungering for a glimpse of the valkyrie.
They arrived, right on time. But as soon as they sat down, Cindy was ill at ease. She answered my questions politely enough, but made no effort to talk. She mostly stared down at the cleavage between her beautiful, milky-white breasts. It was so hard for me not to stare, too. Finally I decided to be the one to exit first, pleading a heavy grading schedule.
"I knew you'd ask," Teresa grinned sheepishly when I casually (so I thought) asked her if everything was all right with Cindy. We were standing on the main quad a few days later, where I'd nabbed her on her way to class.
"It's just..." Teresa hesitated, glancing at her classroom building. She was running late. "Look, Professor MacKiddrick, you know I like you."
"I know," I answered, mystified.
"And I'm totally cool with you being, uh..." Oh no. I knew where this was going.
"But," Teresa continued, "Cindy's from a small town. In Oklahoma, and all. And, well, she's just not comfortable... With..."
"Say no more," I smiled.
"I think it's REALLY small-minded of her! I told her so, and I know she'd be the LAST person to be prejudiced or anything, racially, like that, but, there are certain things..." the girl jabbered, trying to cover up her embarrassment.
"Teresa, it's all right. Remember, the meeting was your idea," I said, feeling my cheeks burn at this half-truth. "I like Cindy but if she's not comfortable with my, er, lifestyle, that's fine." Oh, what an outright lie THAT was.
Teresa smiled. "I knew you'd be so cool about it. Listen, I have to run... Let's get together soon!"
"Bet on it!" I shouted to her retreating figure. Oh well. That was that.
Or so I thought. Night after night, I was tormented with images of Cindy. Cindy removing her clothes. Cindy lying down. Cindy masturbating, crying out. And finally, of Cindy opening her arms to me as I joined her on her bed.
It went on for months. Cindy was all I could think about. Obsessed days, sleepless nights. It affected my work; my students asked why I was no longer writing comments on their papers. I gave everyone A's just to shut them up. Everyone was happy, except me.
"Cindy has some looking to do," Teresa said, testing her hot cocoa for hotness. We had become twice-a-month coffee buddies.
"Really?" I asked between clenched teeth. I'd avoided bringing up Cindy again. Then why was I meeting regularly with Teresa? BECAUSE I WAS A MASOCHIST, THAT'S WHY.
"Yeah," Teresa answered. She dipped her tongue into her drink and, satisfied, sipped it. "She's leaving her husband."
My world stopped. "Tell me," I said, dropping all pretense.
Teresa explained that Cindy and her husband had not been getting along for some time. He had squandered most of the money she had earned in the military. And recently he'd made the mistake of trying to hit her; but she was stronger than him, and well-trained. He had taken a trip to the emergency room, alone. Nonetheless, Cindy was moving out.
"The thing is," Teresa continued, "She doesn't have much money. She can only afford two hundred dollars a month for rent, and even that's stretching. She has a car payment on top of school fees and stuff."
"Uh huh," I nodded.
"And she doesn't want a roommate, she REALLY values her privacy. But for two hundred a month? I was like, 'Hello!' But she says she's going to find something. Good luck."
At that moment a friend of Teresa's stopped by and they began an animated chat; which was fortunate, because I was about to shout, Me! Me! She can live with Me! For free! God, I'll pay HER!
But I regained my composure. That night, I stayed awake in bed, for once not touching my body, but using my brain. Staring at the ceiling, I willed my mind to come up with a plan. And slowly, it did.
The next day, after three hours of wandering the campus with papers under my arm, I spotted Cindy. I nearly sprinted across the quad to keep from losing her. I followed her into the library. She stepped to the front counter, and spoke to the librarian.
I made my move. Trying not to shake with nervousness, I approached and stood next to her, pretending to look for another librarian.
"Oh, hello Cindy," I said after she had received the reserve book she requested.
"Hello Professor..." Cindy struggled to remember my name.
"MacKiddrick. Don't worry, if you take my class, spelling it won't be an exam question."
She laughed, and I breathed a sigh of relief that that old joke worked. I set my papers on the counter, brushing her arm. The librarian, annoyed that I was ignoring him, moved on to someone else.
Glancing at her arm I'd touched, Cindy spotted what I'd wanted her to see: a flyer.
COZY ROOM FOR RENT. SMALL STUDIO. UTILITIES, WATER INCLUDED. BATHROOM. NEAR CAMPUS. $175/MONTH.
Cindy gaped. "Is that your ad?"
"Uh huh." I casually gave her the top flyer from its photocopied stack. My number and name were on little tear-offs at the bottom. I had fifty flyers. As if I was going to put them up all over campus.
"WOW. Hey, uh, you haven't rented it yet, have you?"
I studied her. She looked so nervous and eager. I wanted to eat her up. The reserve book she clutched was just brushing the underside of her breast.
"It's tiny," I warned. "You won't be able to fit much. It's only big enough for a bed... Well, not quite that small," I added hastily, fearing I'd gone too far.
"Is there a kitchen?"
"Unfortunately not." Her face fell. Pause. "But you can buy a hot plate at any drug store," I added casually. "And I do have a toaster oven that's fine for small casseroles, or whatever."
"Hmmm," she said, studying the flyer.
Please, please, please, I prayed....
"Okay," she suddenly piped. "I can get you first and last tomorrow, if that's okay."
"That's fine." I smiled. "But I'll need to do a little fixing up. Is Monday all right for move-in? You can give me the money then."
"No problem." Cindy smiled back.
"Sure you don't want to see it first?" She didn't. She said anything would be better than what she had at present. I gave her the address and left, walking on air. It was Thursday. I had three days.
Those three days were the most frantic of my life. The room in question was the basement of my house. It was only about twenty feet square, accessible from an outside door via the back yard. I called in sick Friday and spent all day moving my junk to the upper floors and shopping for a futon that fit the far wall perfectly. There was no desk, no chair. If she wanted to sit or lie down, she would have to use the futon.
Saturday, I made a very expensive trip to Circuit City, then stopped by Home Depot before racing home. On the opposite wall facing the futon was an antique heater, off to the side, next to the bathroom door. I removed and disabled the heater, since I didn't want to melt the little camera I was installing inside it. The microphone was tougher, but I finally managed to place it in a spot inside the heater where it was also invisible but could pick up almost any sound in the room. Some very sweaty and frustrating hours running wires up through the wall to my bedroom, another trip to Home Depot to match the paint when I replaced the heater and patched the wall, and I collapsed into bed at midnight.
Early to rise Sunday, I set up the satellite dish and receiver I'd bought, subscribed to a four-hundred channel service, and then blocked all but two: a deadly-dull weather channel, and a news channel that appeared to be only in Persian. Then, the fun part. I unwrapped a new DVD-burner, quickly scanned the directions, and began dubbing my ten favorite lesbian movies onto DVD. Ah, memories. They were all 1970s films, in wonderful soft focus, with full-figured girls who were vogue before damn Kate Moss came along. I realized with a start that Cindy was a throwback to that era: her big, natural breasts, long hair parted in the middle, slightly jagged teeth, big curvy behind...
I realized I'd been daydreaming for half an hour. I got to work, foregoing the temptation to watch the movies as the DVD-burner recorded them from VHS tape.
Deep in my garage, I finally found what I had been searching for: old soft-core magazines of young women making love. They had been my first erotica, and perhaps sentimentally I thought Cindy would find them stirring, too. But where to stash them? I couldn't just leave them sitting on her futon. At the library, she'd seemed nervous enough. She was moving in with a lesbian. Cindy was no brain surgeon--that was the honest truth, from what Teresa had said, and my own impressions--but she wasn't completely naive, either.
After a lot of thought, in-between changing tapes, I finally decided. Taking the oldest, dustiest box in the garage, I deposited the well-thumbed magazines in it and placed it in the upper corner of the closet.
At 3 A.M., the movies were all copied. I unwrapped a shiny new DVD multi-disc player and, once again scanning instructions, programmed it for sequential play, cycling uninterrupted. A moment of frenzy when I thought I didn't have the right connector to the signal box that fed all the channels into one cable, but I had it after all. Finally, I hauled my old television into Cindy's room and set it up next to the heater, facing the futon. I connected the cable. It worked.
I couldn't sleep, which was just as well, since it gave me the energy to keep adjusting the view of the little camera inside the heater. I would run up to my bedroom, check the picture, run down, adjust the camera, run back up. Finally, it was perfect. The camera captured the entire futon, and most of the room. On my last trip down, as an afterthought, I disconnected the cable from the television.
After dragging myself to Monday classes, I eagerly hurried home. One hour before she was due to arrive, I panicked. I'd never done anything like this before. I had completely abandoned my principles. It wasn't like me. I felt dirty. And what if she found the camera? I'd be fired, for openers. Probably go to prison. What's the penalty for this? Twenty years?
With an effort, I calmed myself: YOU'RE IN TOO DEEP, I thought. YOU'VE ALREADY BLOWN MORE THAN FIVE GRAND. AND FOR WHAT? SO YOU CAN CHICKEN OUT AT THE LAST SECOND?
I did realize, though, that the magazines were perhaps too obvious. I went down to remove them; but instead, was inspired to be more subtle. I quickly scoured my bookshelves for old, tedious books that I could easily have forgotten about, and added them to the box, leaving the magazines hidden on the bottom.
As I closed the closet door with the box back in place, the front doorbell rang. Cindy.
"That's all?" I asked, indicating her suitcase. She held the handle with both hands, leaning back. Her breasts were squashed up between her arms. Her cleavage looked like dessert.
"Yeah," she smiled. "I've got books and stuff, but I'll bring them over later."
"Of course," I said, ushering her inside. OF COURSE? What was I saying? With an effort, I suppressed my nervousness. "The room's this way." She followed me downstairs.
Entering, she glanced around uncertainly. "There's no desk?"
"No, sorry. There's no space for one. But you do have your own phone jack, over there. A big bookshelf, here. And you're welcome to this TV." She smiled, trying not to seem ungrateful for the dusty television. "But there's no reception," I added casually. "There's satellite, but the channels are weird. Sorry. You'll have to hook up the cable and give it a try."
"That's okay. I need to study, anyway." She plopped down. "A new futon!"
"Yeah! I figured, if I'm renting my basement, I should at least have somewhere for my tenant to sleep," I laughed.
"Thanks, Professor MacKiddrick. And that's my outside door, there?"
"Uh-huh. Here's your key. And call me Stacey." I smiled. "Street parking's easy to find around here. Help yourself to my kitchen upstairs, and anything else. I'm pretty easy to get along with."
"Sure." She was growing nervous; damn, I was staring at her body again. I made my goodbyes. As I ascended the stairs, I heard the key turn in her door's lock.
Upstairs, I watched on the monitor as she unpacked her clothes and set them into the closet. My pulse raced as she discovered the box; placing it on the futon, she hesitated before opening it. She pulled out one book, then two... Finally, she removed one of the magazines. Her mouth opened, and she dropped it back into the box as if it was red-hot. Hastily piling the books back inside, she stood and replaced it back in the closet. Oh, well.
That night, I eagerly awaited her undressing. But it was denied me. As she unbuttoned her shirt, she turned away and flicked the wall switch. Darkness. No window, of course. DAMN.
The next morning was better. After her shower, she came out of the bathroom wrapped in a towel. Fetching clothes and underwear, she tossed the towel aside. Oh, what a magnificent sight. The money and trouble had been worth it: her breasts were firm and round, just as I knew they would be, the aureole a pale pink against her milky skin. Her blonde bush was beautifully thick, a dense triangle boundaried by strong thighs and the slightest bit of baby fat at the waistline. She bent over and her behind, full, round, magnificent, taunted me. It was over in five seconds; I resisted the temptation to re-play the video I had been recording of her. I knew, or hoped, there would be better things to come.
But as the weeks went by, it seemed as if there wouldn't be. All I had were brief glimpses of her dressing in the mornings; she evidently was a modest girl, undressing only in the dark. I knew, or suspected, that she masturbated quite a bit, since the microphone picked up her moaning late at night, in the pitch black. I was so frustrated I was beside myself.
Then, finally... She connected the TV cable.
I arrived late one night, and grumpily sat at my desk to play back the afternoon's Cindy Cam. I didn't expect much; most of what she did was read on her futon. I'd grown accustomed to fast-forwarding.
But as I fast-forwarded, I stopped abruptly and hit "play". Yes, she was trying to move the television. She found the cable. And now... Yes, yes, she had connected it.
Pushing the TV back, she sprawled, bored, on the futon before pointing the old remote. I heard a droning voice: "Low temperatures in the midwest tonight, followed by partly cloudy..." After a minute of that, she switched channels. Persian news. She squinted, confused. Huh?
She flipped channels again. I heard voices from THE TWO OF US, a seventies French movie with artistic pretensions and some very erotic scenes. The movie had just started; the girls were meeting each other. Cindy realized there were only three channels. She chose the movie.
As I watched Cindy watching the film, I savored her changing expressions: first, boredom. Then, interest, as she was pulled along with the story. Then unease, as the girls traded secret, longing glances in their all-girl's school. And finally, shock as the girls secretly began to kiss after lights-out.
I expected Cindy to switch off the TV immediately, but she surprised me. Her jaw fell, but she kept watching, glancing occasionally at the locked doors, as if worried someone would break them down and catch her. Perhaps because the French film was soft-core (no close-ups in the sex scenes), and full of beautiful music and cinematography, Cindy felt that what she was watching was art, not porn. Which, of course, it was. Ha ha ha.
At the end of the film, when the two girls are reunited and begin to make passionate love in a romantic hotel, Cindy's free hand began to stray, unconsciously, down toward her navel. It slowly slid past her belly button and inched, creeping, to the waistband of her jeans. Without realizing it, she traced a ever-so-light line back and forth at the edge where her jeans and shirt met. As the movie ended, she started, jerking her hand away. She quickly shut off the TV, killed the lights and went to sleep.