At first, she was just a customer in the store, albeit a pretty one. Blonde, blue eyed, with a curvy body, she projected an attractive aura, and her youthful flirtiness just added to her charm. He was only a couple years out of college, an assistant manager, someone who handled both the difficult and special customers. He earned a good reputation with customers, his combination of boyish enthusiasm, surprising knowledge, and attention to their needs contributing to building a loyal customer base. He was usually swarmed with customers, asking his advice, listening to one of dozens of stories he'd accumulated in his short adult life, or watching him help someone else.
She was not an exception and soon she started asking for him by name. He found himself looking forward to her visits, almost always preceded by a cell phone call to make sure he was there. As a customer, she did buy things, she was reasonable, and brought her friends to shop as well. Then, one day, in the middle of the summer, she sort of disappeared.
An odd call came in that fall, someone calling on her behalf, telling him that she'd been seriously injured and that she was in a hospital. Then nothing. He tried to call her, but there was no answer. Worried, he tried the cell phone. Nothing, just her pleasant voicemail. Well, he thought, I wonder if something really bad happened. He didn't know if he should call the hospital. Don't be ridiculous, he thought, you barely know her. Finally, he did, nervously, but he couldn't even learn if she'd even been there.
The winter went by, and although he occasionally thought of her, the intervals grew longer and longer. Other customers occupied him, other problems. Spring rolled around, the leaves started to blossom, and people started to do summer-like things like wear shorts, ride their bikes, and lawnwork. The phone rang one beautiful day - another routine call on a busy day. But then when he picked it up, it was her.
"Hi." she said.
"Oh my God!" he cried out, "I thought you died."
She laughed. "What are you talking about?"
"I got a call from someone saying that you were hurt and in the hospital and I called and no one answered so I tried your cell and it was just voicemail and I thought you died!" he blurted out.
"Oh." She seemed a little taken aback. "Well, it's true that I was hurt, a climbing accident, and I was bed ridden for a couple months. But now I'm okay, ready to get on with things."
He could hear her smile, and they talked a bit more until she said she was waiting at the light for the store parking lot.
He watched her walk into the store - she hadn't changed a bit. She stood a hair under 5'7", just about his height, but she had long blond hair as opposed to his short, dark hair. She was pleasantly tan, with long legs and a very proportionate and shapely body. He guessed she weighed something like 120 lbs, 30 lbs less than him. She loved to wear skirts, and he drew in the sight of her thighs moving under the mid-thigh skirt, hips moving seductively. They said hi, him shyly, a slight blush on his face. She looked at him knowingly, smiling with the contrasts of his obvious pleasure in seeing her while at the same time seeing his uncertainty and shyness.
Her "official" reason for being there was to be re-fitted for some equipment. Although she had the equipment before, the accident (a neck injury affecting her spine) made fitment a little different. And so she they discussed what would take place. Now normally, this involves things like measuring limb lengths, a procedure that would need some relatively close quartered touching, something that invades a person's personal space. So when she showed up in a miniskirt, his face fell.
"Um, you need to wear shorts or jeans, a skirt won't really be appropriate." he told her.
Typically focused on the task at hand, he couldn't even think of the possibilities of a fitting session with a skirt.
"I should have realized," she replied, "I'll come back another time."
They walked outside, him to help her with a few bags, and they caught up with each other's last few months.
She'd had a tumultuous time in the last half year - along with the injury, her husband filed for divorce while she was still bed-ridden. In her late 30's, she struggled to straighten out her life, to return to normalcy, and this fitting was a part of it.
He'd ended (a few months ago) a painful, up and down, 5 year relationship, one that started when he was barely 19. Too weak to end it, too drawn to its rare highlights, he'd carry the effects of it for literally a decade more. He too was struggling to maintain some semblance of a normal life. Although very cheery at work, privately, he longed for companionship. He focused on his work and his hobbies (one of which, fortunately, had to do with his job). Personally though, he felt a lost, lacking direction, longing for that special someone.
And so they parted that day, both glowing, both smiling, him looking forward to her next visit. As promised, she returned a few days later, but as she walked in, she laughed.
"I forgot my gym bag," she smiled, "and it has my shorts in it - I'll have to come back." She paused. "You know," she continued, "we could just do it now."
"No, no, no," he said, blushing, "um, it'll be better if you have something other than a skirt on."
They chatted a bit and she left. For the rest of the day, he couldn't wipe the smile off his face.
He thought about her a lot, her smile, her voice, her scent. He wished that she'd talk to him as more than just a sales person, maybe even have dinner or something with her. But no, that wouldn't be possible he thought. No way.
A couple weeks went by, with visits every few days, and each time, either time or clothing seemed to intrude with the planned fitting. It didn't stop them from chatting though, and they found themselves drawn into each other's words, talking until it was time to go.
Finally, she walked in and proclaimed that she forgot her bag and she didn't care. Scowling, she said that she really needed the fitment, and this delay was getting ridiculous. A little intimidated, he agreed to do the fitment. She had to sit, stand, and generally do a lot of "unladylike" things, and her peach colored skirt was definitely inadequate for coverage. Other patrons smiled at his discomfort, watching the proceedings, but continued on out of respect for the two of them.
Inevitably, he found his eyes drawn towards her crotch, where her very visible white (with little pink and purple roses, he noted) panties flashed. Then he'd look up, finding her watching him, smiling. He'd blush and continue on, asking her to lift her elbow or stretch out or move her leg. At some point, she had to lift her leg up, and for the first time she seemed embarrassed, clutching her skirt and pulling it down. But as she lifted her leg, she couldn't help but reveal everything, and once again, he couldn't keep his eyes off of her. Surprisingly red in face, she apologized for her unladylikeness, and he assured her it was okay. She looked around, catching more than a few eyes looking her way, and turned to him.
"Oh my God, everyone is watching," she whispered, leaning over to his ear. He smiled, feeling her brush against him.
"It's okay," he said, "you're done."
They paused as he made recommendations for equipment, then he walked her out to the car.
She settled into her car, and he leaned in her open windows sill. She looked at him questioningly, but he didn't say anything. His eyes darted around, he blushed, and, knowingly, she patiently waited for him. He took a deep breath.
"Would you like to have dinner with me one night?" he exhaled. She looked at him.
"I had a feeling this was going to happen," she said, "I can't, my schedule doesn't give me a lot of time in the evening. But if you want, we can have breakfast together."
"Uh, sure," he replied, taken off guard, "let me know when is good for you. I just have to get to work by 9."
"Okay," she said, "I'll call you."
She drove off, and he thought about it. There's no reason for her to call me, he thought. But I hope she does.
A week went by with no word from her. But then the phone rang, and her voice was at the other end of the line.
"How does Thursday morning sound?", she asked.
"Great!", he replied. Then a pause. She stayed silent.
"Are you okay?", he asked.
They met at a nearby diner. He walked in, nervous - he'd never really asked a woman for anything like a date, and now he was going to a breakfast date. He met his ex-girlfriend in his dorm through a friend, and they just "hung out" till things started to happen. So this was a novel and frightening experience. When he arrived, she was already there, sipping a cup of coffee. He sat down, and they ordered their breakfasts. They talked and she revealed to him that the separation was getting ugly, and that she'd actually called the police one night. He listened, empathizing, concerned. In return, she asked him about his ended relationship and listened as he poured his heart out. They both shared little stories, experiences, and such.
He glanced at his watch. It was time to leave. He walked her out to her car. She got in and started it, then looked at him.
"You want a ride?"
"It's only a hundred yards!", he said.
"Yes, but I can still give you a ride!", she laughed. They got in her car and he thought about the impossibility of this - to be in her car with her! She drove slowly to the next lot and pulled up in front of the store. He turned to her, painfully aware of her closeness, of the private little world the car formed around them. He paused.
"Um," he stammered, "would you like to have breakfast again?"
"Of couse," she said. "Next week, same time?"
He grinned a Cheshire Cat grin, "Definitely!"
He stepped out of the car, smiling broadly. His co-workers (all friends) teased him as he walked in, asking him if he just got laid. He smiled inwardly. They don't realize, he thought, that it isn't just about sex.
He looked up from the coffee he was stirring.
"So where exactly do you live?", he asked. He knew the address by heart, but he didn't have a map of the town (it was in the next state over). She described where it was.
"You should drop by if you are ever in the area", she smiled, "you can check it out if you like."
"Oh, no," he said, "I wouldn't want to bother you."
"Really, it's not a problem," she answered, "it's just me and my daughter. If you're scared of a 4 year old..." He laughed.
"Well, are you sure it's okay?"
"Maybe he would drop by," he murmured, already thinking about the possiblity.
He came by a few days later, heart pounding, and seeing someone in a window, quickly turned away and kept going...
She laughed when he told her.
"Why didn't you just come in and say hi?", she asked, "really, it's not a problem!"
She laughed again, shaking her head, looking down for a second, then peering up.
"I can't believe you, going all the way up there and not saying hi." She paused.
"Next time, come into the house," she said.
He couldn't help but stare into her eyes.
"I will," he promised.
He walked up to the door, nervous, worried. He reached for the bell, but jumped when the door opened before he touched it.
"I watched you come up," she said. "Come on in, we can have some lunch."
He walked in, giddy, nervous. Her house was large, with cathederal ceilings, large open areas, and a deck running around the perimeter. Private, secluded, he understood why she took refuge here. And with the well stocked kitchen, she whipped up some great food. He explored her kitchen, finding things like pictures of her and her daughter (she gave him one) and her magazines (he loved reading Glamour and those types of publications). Sometimes, he'd just stare at her as she did kitchen things, slicing, mixing, stirring, checking. Together they sat and ate, chatting, happy. Afterwards, he prepared to leave. She walked him to the door, and they said their awkward good byes, standing a couple feet apart. She watched as he went down the driveway.
He wasn't sure when he admitted the fact that he had a crush on her. It was probably at the third or fourth breakfast. She only smiled in response, their eyes locked, their heads close. His visits to her house became his "off-day" routine, more and more frequent. His heart soared when he thought of her. The scent of the house, the particular flower she kept in abundance, both mixed well with her natural scent. When there, he'd breath in deeply whenever he could, amazed at where he was, soaked in the aroma, the emotion, the woman.
Early on, she admitted that she had a deep distrust in men, from her childhood on. He respected that and kept his distance. His puppy love didn't seem to bother her - in fact, she thrived on the relatively innocent longing he felt for her. She forbade him from coming upstairs to the bedrooms. She felt that it was her private space, and she wanted it kept that way. Although a little pained by the seeming rejection, he understood and accepted her request.
One night they sat to watch a movie. A little chilly, she went and got a blanket and some pillows. She offered half of both, which he accepted gratefully. She gave him a pillow, taking one for herself, and she lay down. He sat, leaning on his arm, painfully aware that she was laying just next to him. She moved her legs over just a bit, straightening them out, touched his thigh. Her touch electrified him. This is the first time they'd touched without purpose, not a bump or a door holding or a passing of the salt. His breathing almost stopped, and he froze. He turned and looked over at her.
"You okay?", she asked.
"Um, can I lay down too?", he replied, his mouth dry, nervous, excited. She scooted over just a bit.
"Sure", she replied, "but there isn't a lot of room." He lay down on his side, his arm and leg held in, his body barely touching hers. He reached out to her blanket-covered stomach and gently laid his hand there. He looked up at her face, but she seemed intent on the movie. He visibly relaxed, his body sagging, contact attained. His leg came down over just a bit of hers. She moved a bit, and he thought it was in rejecting him, but it was only to get a little more comfortable. He smiled and closed his eyes, his face nestled in her neck, his arm wrapped around her torso, his leg over hers. He could feel her breathing, the slight rise and fall soothing him. He grew hard, pressing against her thigh. But she didn't move, and he let himself just bathe in the sensation of being close to her.
Weeks went by. She invited him over for a workout (lifting weights and such) and dinner. He accepted, and arrived, comfortable enough to walk in without knocking. With fall arriving, the air a little crisp, indoor workouts seemed to be a little more comfortable, a little more easy. They had a good session, both of them working hard. They showered separately (even on separate floors), settling in to watch a video. Snuggling, they watched, warm, cozy. Afterwards, he got up, his hair a mess, his eyes sleepy. He glanced at his watch.
"Holy... it's midnight. I have to go." he exclaimed.
"Are you tired?", she asked.
"Well, yeah, but it's okay, I'll make it home.", he replied.
"You know, you can just stay here tonight. Then you can just go in from here."
He looked up at her.
"Really," she said, "it's okay."
His eyes questioned her.
"You can sleep in the guest room."
"Well, okay," he agreed, "I'll stay."
She had him come upstairs to get a t-shirt and a blanket. He stopped outside her bedroom.
"Come on in, it's okay," she said, looking out at him.
"I thought you said this is your private sanctuary," he said, "I don't want to intrude."
She smiled appreciatively.
"You're not intruding, trust me," she replied, "if you were, you wouldn't be here."
He walked in gingerly, as if tip-toeing in would make it ok. She was standing in her closet, a large walk in, and handed him a t-shirt. He held it, her scent on it, fresh, female, beautiful. She pulled out a drawer. "Lingerie," she smiled, closing it quickly.
"Uh, but," he pointed, "um, can you open that again?"
She slid it out, smiling, and stood back, inviting. He stepped forward and touched the soft, satiny, silky, little things, all sorts of colors, all types of frilly things. She cleared her throat.
"Okay," she said, "you need to go to sleep."
He withdrew, and after grabbing a blanket, she led him back downstairs.
He went to sleep, laying on his stomach, wanting to be with her upstairs, holding her, breathing her in, listening to her heartbeat. Her t-shirt lay in his protective, curled arms, and he fell asleep with her scent in his face.
The next morning, he offered the shirt back, but she told him to wear it. It ended up on his bed, a reminder of him when he slept at home. He asked her for another t-shirt after a few days, and she obliged, trading. She smiled when she handed it over, watching him accept it, guarding it, protecting it.
She came into his work one day and pulled him aside.
"I wanted to show you something!" she said.
"Show me what?" he asked.
"This!" she said, pulling her halter top open just a bit. "What do you think, you like the color? I just got it!"
He stared, speechless, at her bra, some unusual beige color, lacy, frilly.
"Um..." he flushed, "I like it."
She didn't move, so he reached out caressed the bra, afraid to press down. He looked up at her. She flashed a smile and pulled her pants down just a bit over her hip.
"Matching thong!" she whispered proudly. He ran his hand over her hip, following the edge of the thong. He pulled him towards her, pulling him into her, her breasts pressed against his chest, his hardness pressing against her. He put his face against her neck, breathing her in. She allowed this for just a bit, her arms wrapped around him, and after too brief an interval, she pulled away.
"You know that man-barrier I have?" she asked, her eyes locked on his. "You're breaking them down."
One morning, alone in the house (no daughter, now 5, to watch over them), he woke up early. He normally did, unable to sleep past 5:30 or so, excited to be in her house even after months of sleep-overs. He trotted into the kitchen, but she wasn't there. He looked up the stairs. He so desperately wanted to go up, but he was scared. What if she got mad and banished him? He'd never forgive himself. But recently, they'd been closer and closer. When alone in the house, she'd let him hold her close to him. She welcomed his hugs, and he'd put his hand on her thigh when she drove. Her visits to his work would consist of them walking into a private corner, her showing him her outfit underneath, and they'd hold each other, quiet, pressing, enjoying the closeness. He looked up again and made up his mind.
He climbed the stairs, tiptoeing quietly, not letting them creak. He walked slowly towards her door, then stopped, his heart pounding. What if she doesn't want me here, he thought. He turned around and started walking back to the stairs. He stopped at the top of the stairs, his hand on the rail. He looked back. He stood there for a long time, maybe 5 minutes, until his legs started to ache from lack of movement. He turned around, his decision made. He walked back to her door, and opened it a crack.
"You in there?", he whispered. It was quiet, dark. He walked in, slowly, cautiously, and saw her sleeping in her bed, curled up on her side, close to the edge. He walked over there and knelt on the floor, his face level with hers. He watched her breathe, studied her cheek, her lips, her neck, her arms. Her face seemed so relaxed, free of the stress of her waking, daily life. He sat back, and just let himself soak her in. Suddenly, she opened her eyes. He started, but she smiled.