Standing at the mirror, Sandy brushed back the stray hair from her face. Then she stepped closer and frowned at the reflection looking back at her. When did the wrinkles appear? Had they always been so deep? Her friends told her she could pass for 40, but she knew they were just being nice. The mirror didn't lie, and it was telling her she looked every one of her fifty-one years.
Turning her back, she walked into the living room from the hall. It was the same room it had been for all the twenty-seven years she had lived here, except the walls had recently been painted and the carpet was gone now, revealing the peg and plank wood floors beneath. Pictures of Jack no longer were part of the decoration, either, except for that one on the bookshelf of the whole family.
How young they had been then! This particular picture had been taken outside this house the first summer after moving in. Kylie had only been two at the time and she was six months pregnant with Kara. The house had seemed so big then with it's four bedrooms, two bathrooms, formal dining room, and an attic large enough to walk around in. Then, when the girls got older and Jack took on more responsibility at work, it began to feel small. When Kara turned eleven, Jack had had a third bathroom built because he said otherwise he'd have to run to the gas station whenever he needed to use one. Now, with the girls grown and on their own, and Jack gone these last five years, the house seemed huge again.
They'd had twenty-six years together, married. Another year before then of dating. They had watched other marriages fall apart, friends divorce and leave, always grateful that it wasn't them. She had never thought of him as her best friend, but he had always been the man she wanted to grow old with. Then tragedy struck in the form of a drunk driver on a snowy night and suddenly that dream was lost.
Her friends commented on how strong she was, but she was sure that when she wasn't around, they called her cold. Maybe heartless. They hadn't seen her cry, she hadn't run to any of them for a shoulder to lean on. She went on a date less than a year after the accident, and related to them how much fun she had had, and although they acted happy for her, she could see the disdain in their eyes.
In truth, there were several nights she cried herself to sleep, her body sore from shaking so badly. Even now there were still times tears would slip, seemingly for no apparent reason. However, she refused to be one of those women who dwelt on the past, hanging on to what was and refusing to see what might be. Jack had been her rock, her security, her first love, but he was gone now. That didn't mean her life was over, only that that book was finished.
Picking up her purse from the table near the front door, she left the house and went out to her car. She was meeting Mark in a half hour at the little diner just off the interstate.
None of her friends or the girls knew about Mark. She knew every one of them would have discouraged her from meeting him, and perhaps their reasons would hold merit, but she knew if she didn't, it would be a regret she'd harbor forever.
When Kylie first suggested she get a computer she had bucked at the idea. She dealt with computers all day at work, why would she want one in her home? Then Kylie and her husband were transferred out of town and suddenly it made sense to have one, just so they could easily keep in touch. Kara moved out of state a while after that and Sandy was glad to have the machine in her home. They e-mailed each other nearly every day, and talked on a messenger service daily; it was almost like having them with her.
Oddly enough, she first met Mark while she was playing cards online with Kylie one night a month ago. He caught her up in a conversation after the game ended, they chatted on messenger for a few nights, then he gave her his phone number and she called him.
Although she had e-mailed him a couple pictures of herself, he hadn't reciprocated. His excuse was that he looked horrible in pictures, but he had given her a written and verbal description of himself. She had told him how old she was, that she was a widow and had two grown daughters; he always managed to change the subject whenever she asked about his age, only supplying that he was divorced and had a grown son.
He was the one who suggested they meet. Knowing that not everyone on the internet was honest, if what he said was true, he lived two hours away. She suggested they meet half way, he had insisted they meet in her town so she didn't have to drive far by herself.
Somewhat suspicious by nature, but always curious, she thought maybe he was some scam artist thinking she was a rich widow and would try to steal her 'inheritance'. That may be, but did it hurt to at least see what he had to say in person? It wasn't like she had any other plans for the day. And if he turned out to be some scum, she would leave the diner and drive to her brothers house so Mark wouldn't know where she lived if he followed her. She had never told him her real last name, just in case he was some psycho, so she didn't worry he would find her address on the internet and stalk her. And she had an unlisted phone number, so it wouldn't show up on a caller ID and he couldn't do a reverse phone lookup. She felt somewhat safe meeting him in public.
They had agreed to meet at two. It was five minutes before the hour when she parked her car in the lot of the diner. She knew any one of the other cars there could be his, but figured if he was already there then one of the pick ups was most likely his since he told her he was in construction.
The diner was small. The first thing she noticed was that only one person was sitting alone, and that was a young woman. He obviously hadn't arrived yet, so she let the waitress lead her to a booth and she sat facing the door.
Ten minutes later she saw the door open and a young man walked in. He looked to be just a bit older than Kylie, wearing tight blue jeans, bright white athletic shoes, a green polo shirt and denim jacket. He smiled at her and she thought to herself that if she was twenty years younger...Then he crossed the room, walking directly to her.
"Sandy!" he said, bending down to kiss her cheek before sitting on the bench across from her. "You are prettier in person than in the pictures, and those were great!"
He was still smiling.
"Oh my God. You're a baby," she blurted out without thinking.
Then he chuckled.
"Hardly. See? I knew you wouldn't have agreed to meet me if I told you my age. Everything else is true. Not that I ever lied about my age, I just conveniently never told you. Have you ordered yet? I am starving!"
A slight groan escaped between her lips.
"How old are you? Twenty?"
"Thirty-five. My son is eighteen... yep, I was just out of diapers when he was born. Could be why the marriage didn't last too long, huh? We gave it ten years. She's a good girl, good mom, we're still friends. My kid is great, he works with me."
Sandy felt like bolting for the door. Of all the things she imagined, this wasn't one of them. Not once did she even consider the fact he might be so much younger! Old, fat, bald, ugly.... Yes. Barely old enough to vote.... No. This man was someone she would expect Kylie or Kara to bring home, not someone she should be sitting with, someone she had fantasized about once or twice alone in her room. Certainly not someone she should have had phone sex with!!
Feeling her face getting hot at that recent memory, she looked down at her hands on the table and hoped he hadn't noticed. At the time, it had been great even if she had felt a bit silly at first, until his words had her so turned on that she couldn't stop herself. Now, however, she felt dirty... like a dirty old lady! This man wasn't even ten years older than her oldest daughter! Sixteen years her junior!
He reached across the table and took hold of her hand in his.
"Does it really bother you that much?" he asked.
"Yes!" she answered, keeping her voice low. "I know it shouldn't, it's the twenty-first century and it's supposed to be fine and dandy for an older woman to be with a younger man, but..."
"It's okay. We'll have lunch, I'll go home, and I'll leave you alone. But I had to meet you , Sandy. I love your sense of humor, your outlook on life, and you're just so damned pretty!"
After the waitress took their orders there was a moment of awkward silence, then Mark leaned against the back of the bench looking totally relaxed, lit a cigarette, and began to ask her about Jack. Although she hadn't smoked in ten years, she suddenly felt the need for one and took his as she answered his questions.
The conversation took many turns during the meal and by the time they had finished eating, she was considerably more relaxed. The shock of the age difference had dissipated and it was like having lunch with a good friend. She found herself laughing over some of his stories and remarks and just enjoying his company.
When the waitress filled their drink glasses for the third time it dawned on her that he was the same person, in person, as he had appeared to be on the computer and phone. If she had liked his company and accepted him then, was there really a reason for her to find any fault with him now? Did it really matter if he was so much younger? It wasn't like they were going to run off and get married or jump into a deep and meaningful relationship. That had never been her intention. She was only looking for friendship and a date or two, just something to ease the loneliness. Did it really matter if he was thirty-five or sixty-five?
In truth, she had to admit that he was a good looking man. He had just enough confidence to be sexy without being arrogant or cocky. And better still, he found her attractive.
"Wow," she said after glancing at her watch and seeing that two hours had passed since his arrival.
"Yeah," he agreed. "If we stay here much longer they're going to make us order dinner. Or start charging rent."
Suddenly the thought of him leaving saddened her. She hadn't expected to enjoy herself so much, especially when she first saw him. Yet now she couldn't recall having enjoyed a mans company so much since Jack. Amazed at that realization, she smiled.
"Well... suppose this is where I tell you I've enjoyed meeting you, it's been fun...I wish I could make you change your mind."
He stood up, holding his hand out to her. Putting her hand in his, she was mildly surprised when he didn't let go as he walked to the counter to pay for their meal. In truth, she was almost disappointed when he had to let go so he could retrieve his wallet from his jacket. After he paid, he took her hand once again as they walked out to the parking lot.
For a minute, they stood just outside the door before Mark asked her where she was parked. Until then, she was stupidly wondering why he had stopped. When she pointed to her car, he laughed, then explained that his truck was the one parked next to it. He walked her between their vehicles, then leaned his back against his truck, holding both her hands in his.
"So..." he said, and she could tell he was as reluctant to leave as she was to have him go.
"Do you have to rush home?" she asked before losing her nerve.
Smiling, he raised his eyebrows in question.
"Does that mean you actually enjoyed my company?"
Rolling her eyes, she shook her head. "No. I just want to make sure you don't drive too fast and have an accident. Smart ass. Yes! I did!"
"Ya wanna go hang out somewhere? A motel? Didn't I see one just down the road a pace? Hey, they've got cable at those places. We could sit around and watch HBO."
"Yeah, we could do that at my place, too. I could even make popcorn."
"No. 'Fraid you'd have to stop and pick up some."
"Damn! Well, okay... you talked me into it anyway."
"Twisted your arm, are you okay? I didn't break anything, did I?"
"Now who's being a smart ass?"
"Oh, just get in your truck and follow me."
"What if I'm a psycho rapist killer?"
"Then I'll haunt you the rest of your days."
"That would be bad, right?"
She nodded her head. "Real bad."
"Okay, lead the way."
He stepped away from his truck, pulling her close to him as he did. Before she had a chance to even think, he had covered her mouth with his. The kiss wasn't totally unexpected, but the intensity caught her off guard... especially since it came from her.
Stepping away, she looked anywhere except at him while she caught her breath. She had expected it would be a simple kiss, no passion, no fire. She hadn't expected her hands to wind up in his hair, her tongue halfway down his throat, her body aching for his touch. If it was possible, she would have kicked herself in the butt for losing her self control, even if just for a moment or three. She'd actually only just met him a couple hours ago, for crying out loud! What was she thinking???
A light slap across her backside caught her attention. Mark was smiling at her as he waved his arm toward the door of her car. Leaning over the door frame, he waited until she was inside before he spoke, keeping his voice low and a bit husky.
"I promise not to take advantage of the fact you obviously want me."
He chuckled then and she realized the shock of what she did and what he said must have shown on her face. Then he winked. God, why did he have to be so damn cute?
She waited until he was in his truck and had it started before she backed out of the space. Although she kept him in view of her rear view mirror the whole way, there were times she seriously considered speeding up to lose him at a light. Or turning down a side street, winding through the maze of alleys and hiding out in a back drive way. She knew she must be crazy.
It wasn't that she hadn't dated often in the five years since Jack's passing, or that she had remained celibate. In fact, there was that time a couple years ago, feeling somewhat depressed and in desperate need of a man's touch that she had gone to the lounge at the Holiday Inn with her friend Jane, and wound up in a room with a man she had just met. There had been some guilt afterward, but nothing that didn't pass. At least this time, if things went that far, it wasn't like Mark was a complete stranger. She had to remind herself that one hot kiss did not necessarily mean that anything else would follow though.
Smiling as she pulled into the drive way of her home, she asked herself who she was trying to kid. There was, of course, no reason in the world why she shouldn't let things go wherever they might go. She was single. He was single. They were both consenting adults. And again she reminded herself, it wasn't like she was looking for a lasting relationship.
After parking next to her car, Mark got out of his truck and walked with her to the front door. Then he took her keys to unlock the door for her, waiting for her to get inside before closing and locking it again.
She indicated he could take a seat in the living room while she went to get them something to drink, but he opted to follow her into the kitchen. When she turned from the refrigerator, she saw him sitting on the countertop behind her. All the years the girls were growing up she had yelled at them countless times for doing just that, but somehow it seemed natural to see him there.
"Have you ever dated an older woman before?" she asked as she handed him a can of soda.
"Actually, no. But I haven't really been doing a lot of dating lately. I was too busy building my business up. Jason, my son, is the one who told me to take the day off to meet you."
"And does he know how old I am?"
Mark nodded his head.
"Jay is my best friend. I raised him after the divorce. Kelly had weekend visitations and summer vacations. So, yeah, I haven't really had the time or the inclination to date."
He smiled and jumped down from the counter. Taking her into his arms he leaned his forehead against hers.
"I told you. You have a great sense of humor, I like the way you look at things.. And you are one very pretty, very sexy woman. I had to meet you. And then, too, there was the other night. Baby, listening to you... "
This time the kiss was no surprise at all. He seemed to be devouring her and she couldn't wait to be had. Did he take his jacket off, or did she push it off? She didn't know, didn't care. Her hands found their way under his shirt, palms flat against his back, and then the shirt was off as well. Again, she had no idea when, how or who. Her hands went to his arms, running over the slight bulge of muscle there, feeling every tendon move as his arms flexed.
An intake of breath escaped her lips at the feel of his mouth against her bare breast. It was only then she realized that while his shirt had managed to leave his body, hers had as well. How didn't matter. When was of no consequence. The only important thing was that nothing had felt so good in a real long time.
While his mouth suckled at one breast, his hand was on the other. He seemed to know just how to touch, how much pressure to apply, when to let up and when to begin again. She could feel her knees begin to weaken, slowly losing the ability to stand. Then his hands were on her backside, holding her up, lifting her off the floor as his lips found hers again.
He carried her into the living room and half way up the stairs. Unwrapping her legs from around his waist she stood on the step above him, keeping her arms around his neck for support. That she was so affected came as a shock to her.
"Okay," he said, his breath heavy, his voice deep and husky. "I'm going to ask you this while I still can... are you sure?"
Leaning forward, she placed her mouth against the side of his neck. In answer to his question, she began to lightly nibble the skin there, sucking it in between her teeth. Then she put her hand over the bulge in his jeans, rubbing against it. A moment later she smiled at him before turning and continuing up the stairs.
Just inside her bedroom, she stopped. Turning to face him, she unfastened the button on her jeans, took a step back and unzipped them. She smiled as he mirrored her actions, taking a step forward with every step she took back. It seemed like a dream, so much better than anything she had ever fantasized about. He kicked off his shoes when she did, and waited until she slid her jeans and panties down past her hips before shedding his jeans as well.
Damn! He was perfect! Or at least as close to perfect as she'd seen recently. For a moment she felt awkward, wondering if he'd change his mind and leave the room now that her body was in full view, all of it's flaws there to see. But he either didn't notice or didn't care. In less than the intake of a breath he was in front of her, his mouth at her breast again.
Without thought, her leg raised, wrapping around his hips. Her arms were around his chest, hands on his shoulders to steady herself. No man had made her feel this way in years, if ever. Not even Jack. Her heart was pounding, blood racing, and she could feel the walls of her pussy begin to pulse in needy anticipation as the head of his cock teased against those lips.
His hand slid behind her, grasping her, gently squeezing before moving lower. She felt his fingers playing against her pussy from behind, over her lips at first, then finding their way between. There was no way she could have prevented the soft moans that seemed to be coming from deep in her soul.
Minutes later, sure she couldn't take any more, she pushed herself away from him. Taking a deep breath to steady herself, she smiled at him before using her body to direct him to the bed, softly chuckling as he fell back and onto the mattress.