Oyster Creek Ch. 10bySoebek110©
Daniel opened the rear door as the truck pulled into the store's small car park and the driver climbed out. The man smiled at him as he walked round to the back of the vehicle.
"Is Ms Birch around, sir?"
Daniel shook his head. "No, I'll be taking the delivery. I hope that's ok?"
"Yeh, of course. Where do you want these?"
Daniel motioned the man through the back door, and he nodded in response. Climbing onto the rear of the truck, he picked up a long, flat box and brought it with him into the storeroom. Slowly, the space filled up, and Daniel sighed. Some small part of him had hoped that the furniture would be pre-assembled, despite the greater cost that would entail, but clearly that was not the case.
Soon Jenny's order had been taken off the truck and the driver approached Daniel for a signature. He signed the pad and turned back to the small pile of boxes.
He was alone in the store for the moment. He had sent the staff away for a coffee moments before the truck arrived; typically, the very second that he had been left alone was the second that the delivery came. Still, he hadn't had to do anything anyway since the driver had unloaded all the boxes.
"That's a lot of stuff," a sweet voice said, and he glanced towards the door to see Claire stood there. She smiled warmly. "I guess Jenny and I didn't quite realise how much we'd ordered."
Daniel laughed. "Well, when you think about it that's probably about right. I mean, once it's assembled it'll look better. I don't believe Jenny would order too much - the woman never seems to get anything wrong."
Claire grinned in agreement, before crouching down to look at the label on one of the boxes. Daniel took the time to cast his eye over her lovely figure. She was wearing a pair of black ankle boots, tight blue jeans and a stylish grey cardigan. Her slightly wavy red hair was loose over her back.
"These look easy enough to build, at least," she said, and Daniel moved over next to her. He crouched down alongside her, staring at the diagram she ran her finger along, and nodded.
"You sure? To me, 'easy' would be something you didn't have to build at all."
With a giggle, she turned her lovely face to him. "Dan! Don't be so lazy. I've seen sex positions more complicated than these."
He looked at her and raised an eyebrow. "Have you now? I'd like to see those."
"Would you? I think you might be disappointed there, Dan," she said, looking a little surprised, a small smile on her face.
A feeling of horror swept through him at the unintended insinuation of his words. "No. No! I didn't mean it like that. I meant that I'd like to see those positions, generally, in a book or on the internet or something. Not that I wanted to see you in those positions. Fuck, I'm not that lecherous." He desperately hoped she'd not been offended.
"That's good," she said, her smile broadening, a sparkle seeming to enter her blue eyes. "Because you wouldn't ever see me in those positions. I like to keep things far simpler."
An undercurrent had entered her voice. Clearly, she was not offended. Daniel decided to see how far things would go. "Simpler?"
She leant towards him slightly, until her face was no more than a foot from his, and her voice dropped to a whisper. "Yeh. Nothing fancy. Missionary, cowgirl, that sort of thing. Do you go for the complicated, Dan? Or do you keep things simple?"
He realised that their faces were only a foot or so apart, and as he stared into Claire's blue eyes, a familiar thrill ran through him. The grin had dropped from Claire's face, her expression now a mask of slightly nervous desire.
"I go with whatever feels right," he murmured back, slowly leaning in.
Their lips pressed together, a kiss that started off gentle but swiftly grew in passion. They were still crouched, but soon Claire's arms had reached for his shoulders and she was pressing her torso against him. Their tongues slowly began to explore one another's mouths.
Suddenly, the front door opened, the familiar jingling sounding loud in the small store. The kiss broke, both Daniel and Claire, tumbling away from one another, just in time to settle themselves before Rodrigo poked his head round into the store room.
"Ah, there you are. I didn't know where anyone was!"
Daniel smiled. "We're here." Some part of him wanted to scream at Rodrigo to fuck off, so he could get back to kissing the redhead beauty crouched next to him. Instead, he sighed and stood. "We should probably start building these." He would have more time with Claire later, hopefully. For now, the store needed his attention.
Rodrigo nodded, stepping forwards and picking up the first box, before carrying it out into the main room. Claire stood up then, grinning at Daniel, before grabbing a box herself and taking it into the main room.
The three of them worked solidly for the next hour or so, idle chat passing between them. Someone had brought in a radio, which chirped out the latest musical "hits" - 90% of which Daniel thought were utter shit - and Daniel took the time to explain that the store would be opening in two days time. Initially greeted with shock and disbelief, Claire and Rodrigo slowly came round to the idea, the pervading feeling being that if Jenny said it could be done, then it probably could be. Slowly, the store took shape.
When there were only a few cabinets left to build, the door opened again and Jenny stepped in, a look of happy excitement on her face. She regarded them all with a broad smile.
"Successful day?" Daniel asked.
She nodded. "Yes! I saw the painter, and he's agreed to let us sell his stuff. We put a markup on it and he gets the exposure, it's a win-win."
She raised a hand. "But that's not all, my friends. The woman you see before you, magic worker that she is, has also obtained for this store some more local crafts. On the way back from the painter's studio I came across a stall selling photographs and postcards, and arranged for those to be sold here too."
"It's coming together then," Claire grinned at her friend, before glancing round the store. "I hope we'll have room for it all!"
"We'll need some more, too, because Lucy has agreed to sell her designs here as well."
Daniel coughed in surprise. "Her designs?"
"Yeh. Nothing wrong with that, is there?"
"Not at all," he replied. A grin spread across his face. "In fact, they're very nice."
Jenny giggled, and joined them, and they had soon finished assembling the cabinets and displays. Under her direction, the newly-finished items were maneuvered around the store until she was happy with their location, and when it was done Daniel took a moment to admire their presentation.
"It all looks so bare, doesn't it?" she said, when Daniel and the others had joined her. "But by tomorrow evening, it'll be full."
"It's got to be!" Daniel laughed, and she grinned at him.
After a moment's silence as the four co-workers took in the revamped store, Jenny clapped her hands. "Right, guys. It's been a long day and there's nothing more to do until the stock arrives tomorrow. Go home. We've an early start, can I possibly get everyone in for seven?"
Rodrigo and Claire nodded, and Daniel mock-groaned. Jenny gave him a playful swipe before stepping away to more closely inspect a cabinet that Daniel had put together.
He realised then that Claire had sidled up next to him. "Hello Daniel," she smiled.
"I was wondering whether you would like to come round to my apartment a bit later. To catch a film, and maybe... further our conversation."
He grinned. "I think I'd like that."
"Good!" She handed him a piece of paper with her address on it and told him to come round for seven. Then she said goodbye to Jenny and Rodrigo, and left the store.
Rodrigo left a few moments later, leaving Jenny and Daniel alone.
"Did I overhear that right?" Jenny said with a raised eyebrow. "My best friend has invited you round for dinner?"
Daniel stepped towards her. "She has. But, if it bothers you, I can turn down the invitation."
"Don't be silly!" Jenny laughed, straightening. "I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that you fucked my sister earlier this morning. The thought that you'll then go and fuck my best friend is, to be honest, pretty damn hot."
Daniel growled lustfully, and Jenny wagged her finger at him. "Sorry Dan, there'll be no ravishing me here in the store. I've got a date now."
"A date? Do tell. Is he handsome?"
"Very. He's the painter!"
Daniel shook his head wryly. "The painter?"
"Yup, he made it a condition of selling his paintings."
"I don't blame him," he winked, casting his eye over her. She was wearing a smart white blouse, though her jeans still gave her a casual look. She looked amazing, her styled brown hair framing her face and those hazel eyes practically glowing in the late afternoon light. He did not blame the painter for trying his luck.
"Well, don't wear poor Claire out. We'll need her help setting up the store tomorrow. See you then, Dan."
Jenny leant forwards then, giving him a quick kiss on the lips before darting from the store. He paused a moment, rolling that kiss over in his head. It was very affectionate, and yet she had given it to him despite knowing he was about to go on a date with her best friend. Then again, she was about to spend an evening with another man, and that did not bother Daniel.
I really like that girl, he grinned to himself as he stepped outside and locked up.
Daniel tipped the cab driver as he climbed out of the vehicle, glancing around the small, residential street. Oyster Creek was not huge, but this part of town was still out of his way and most certainly not within walking distance of the hotel. Even small towns in this country were spread over miles, he realised; he'd end up funding the entire taxi business in Oregon if this kept up.
He'd gone back to his hotel after locking up the store, showering and changing to freshen himself up a bit, and then ordered a cab to the address that Claire had given him. She lived on the top floor of a two-story apartment building, clearly converted from a house fairly recently, and the winter evening had almost completely settled into night. As he ascended the metal staircase to her front door he realised he was actually slightly apprehensive, a fact he almost couldn't believe. Not too much, he reassured himself, but it was surprising he felt any nervousness at all. Claire's intentions couldn't have been much clearer, but he still felt himself wondering if he'd misread the situation.
That thought lingered in his mind as he rang the buzzer. A few seconds later, the heavy front door swung open, and Claire smiled sweetly back at him.
"Hello, Dan. Wasn't sure you'd turn up."
Daniel raised an eyebrow. "You thought I'd bail on you?"
"No, no; not that. It's just that... I dunno. I think I was just nervous."
"Well, I'm here," Daniel laughed. They paused at the doorway a second, before Daniel added, "may I come in?"
Claire seemed to jump a little, as if she had been lost in her own thoughts, and a grin spread across her face. "Of course. Sorry; I don't mean to keep you outside in the cold."
"No worries," Daniel said, stepping through into Claire's apartment. A small corridor by the front door led past what appeared to be the bathroom, and a large open space lay beyond. Daniel hung up his jacket on one of the pegs by the front door, before following Claire further into her apartment.
The large open space was her living room, as Daniel had suspected, with a reasonably-sized leather couch placed in front of a flat-screen TV, and a single matching leather armchair at a right-angle to the sofa. The walls were a pale blue, and in the far corner stood a small wooden table with a couple of chairs tucked underneath. Beyond lay the kitchen, which looked relatively well-stocked for the size of the apartment. A few tall floor lamps gave the room a pleasant glow.
Two further doors lay on the far side of the room, each seeming to lead to a bedroom. From the layout of the rest of the apartment Daniel guessed that Claire must live alone, meaning that the second bedroom was a guest room. He wondered which was which... and whether he'd get the chance to find out.
His mind was dragged back to the present as Claire spoke. He turned back to her, his eyes flickering up and down her body, from her tight blue jeans, past the swell of her large breasts beneath the stylish grey cardigan, to her beautiful face with its piercing blue eyes, framed with a long mane of red hair.
"I said would you like anything to eat?" she repeated, a smile quirking the corner of her mouth. He'd been so distracted he'd clearly not registered the first time she'd asked the question.
Daniel nodded politely. "Sure. What you got?"
"I was hoping you'd say that. I ordered a pizza. I hope you like pepperoni!"
She laughed, and they chatted a while, neither moving to sit down. After a few minutes, the doorbell buzzed again. Claire opened it, took in the pizzas and paid the delivery girl, and then turned to Daniel. "Food's here!" She grinned, before turning to slide in one movement onto the sofa. "I've queued up some old sci-fi films on TiVo. Got any preference?"
He moved next to her, taking his place on the sofa and putting his feet on the coffee table. Clearly this was going to be a casual evening.
"What have you got?"
"Return of the Jedi, Twelve Monkeys, The Fifth Element.." she said, scrolling down a rather impressive list of films.
"The Fifth Element?" Daniel laughed. "I've not seen that film in years."
"Then it's decided. Can't complain about getting to watch Bruce Willis for two hours!"
A few seconds later the film was playing, the pizza sitting in its box on the coffee table. Daniel took a slice and bit into it as he settled down; he had to admit, the Americans made good takeaway pizza. Claire fidgeted, clearly trying to make herself comfortable, before she finally sighed and looked at Daniel.
"You know, I'm usually alone on this sofa when I watch films," she said smoothly. "I'm used to being able to stretch out."
Daniel raised an eyebrow at her, and gestured to his lap. "Don't let me stop you."
She grinned, and it did not surprise him to see her take up his invitation, reclining on the sofa and placing her feet on his lap. Her red hair splayed beneath her head as she settled on a cushion and turned to the TV.
About halfway through the film, Claire paused it, regarding Daniel with a smile as she pushed herself into a sitting position.
"Ice cream?" she asked, moving to her feet and picking up the now-empty pizza box. A grin spread across her face. "I'm getting some for myself even if you say no."
He twisted around on the sofa as she walked to the freezer, casting his eyes over her splendid form. She had just as wonderful a body as her best friend, and Daniel surreptitiously stared at her ass as she bent down to pluck out the tub from the treats compartment. Not that he turned away when she stood back up; he was far too sure of the undercurrent that flowed between them to be sheepish now.
Claire strolled back to the sofa and slipped down next to Daniel, no longer stretched out at the opposite end. She passed him a spoon and popped open the lid, before grinning at him and digging in. He followed her lead.
"I wasn't sure you'd like ice cream," she said after a few minutes, once the film had resumed.
"What made you think that?"
"I don't know. I guess I thought maybe loving ice cream was a distinctly American thing. I thought you Englishmen ate cream tea." The last two words were said with such a poor attempt at an English accent that Daniel burst out laughing, almost spilling the ice cream he held on his spoon onto his lap.
"Hey!" she said, slapping his arm with a grin. "You try an American accent then."
Daniel's mouth tightened in a tight smile. "Not a chance. But at least I know I can't do one."
"Now where's the fun in that?" Claire said, returning her spoon to the ice cream tub. Her voice had suddenly taken on a far more salacious tone. "In never trying... new things."
And there it is. That's the moment. Daniel's mind laughed. I love this town. "Oh, don't get me wrong, I like to do... new things too." He took the ice cream tub from her hands and placed it gently on the coffee table. Her mouth had parted slightly, and he could see she took deeper breaths. "But only things I know I'm good at."
A small smile twisted the corners of her mouth, and her eyes had alighted in passion. "And what would you be good at, Dan?"
"Well," he started, pushing the coffee table away from the couch with his foot, "why don't you find out?"
"I think I'd like that," she murmured, her face closing slowly with his.
"So would I."
Instantly he was kissing her, their lips pressing together, staccato kisses that gradually became longer and deeper. Her tongue pushed into his mouth, and he returned the motion, enjoying the feeling of their mouths pressed together as he reached around to run his fingers through her luscious red hair.
It was silky smooth beneath his fingertips, and Claire moaned into their kiss as he drew her to him. Her left hand moved to rest on his bicep, and he felt the soft mounds of her large breasts press against his chest.
Soon, he broke the kiss, eager to take things to the next level. He'd been eager for this since their salacious moment in the storeroom earlier that day, and he smiled wickedly as he saw the opinion mirrored in his lover's eyes. There was a hunger burning in those twin sapphire points, and Daniel was quite certain the same would be true of his own.
He reached out, running his hands around her waist, feeling her slender hips as his fingers hooked underneath her grey cardigan. She breathed out heavily, her lust apparent, and Daniel took that as permission to continue.
He undid the knot that held the garment in place, and started to slide it off her shoulders. Claire let him do so, eagerly dropping her arms so that he could guide it from her body, revealing the purple top she wore underneath. Immediately, their kiss was resumed, their tongues duelling messily in each other's mouths, and he carelessly threw the cardigan onto the nearby armchair without a second thought. It took a few minutes for either to pull away; it seemed to Daniel that they were both lost in that kiss.
After a while, he broke it, grinning at the beautiful redhead. A particularly loud fight scene had broken out on the screen, and Claire smiled, too, grabbing the remote from the arm of the sofa and turning off the television, before tossing the control away. She wrapped her arms around Daniel's neck, pulling him close once more.
Instead of kissing her, however, he used his lips to trace his way down his lover's neck. She moaned as he reached her shoulder, and he could contain himself no longer; her large breasts pushed out from her purple top and he yearned to have them in his hands. Claire seemed to read his mind as with a giggle she grasped the soft cotton and, in one movement, pulled the garment over her head to reveal a black bra.
Daniel stared down hungrily at her, drinking in the sight of Jenny's best friend, her silky red hair cascading down her back. A mischievous smile grew on his face as she reached for his belt buckle, her nimble fingers making short work of the obstacle. Soon his jeans were loose, and he hurriedly pulled them from his legs, taking his socks with them.
Claire pushed herself into a sitting position on the end of the sofa, running her palms up his strong thighs, and her mouth twisted into a salacious grin. Daniel leaned down as she did so, kissing her neck as his arms wrapped around her waist, and he sank to his knees in front of her.