Down From The Pedestalbyjanevalenz©
Disclaimer: I apologize, but I just can't resist a guy with talent and drive. I'll probably never meet him, so this is probably the next best thing...fanfiction.
"Intense focus" are the two words which first come to mind when seeing Michael Phelps's eyes on the television screen right before an Olympic event. "Incredibly gorgeous" would be two more words which come to mind.
I should know better. Honestly, I'm 19, in college and full of my own ambitions. As a writer, I should know better than to use weak adverbs, but when I see those intense eyes and a body which would make any Classical marble statue jealous, all I can be is weak. I am no longer a rational adult. I am a 16-year-old girl with an adolescent crush all over again.
Or, am I just a 19-year-old girl reminiscing about the days when she used to sit in the bleachers cheering for her boyfriend at high school swim meets? Then again, if I was still with my ex, I would probably feel guilty being around him now since at the exact moment when I would close my eyes and kiss him, Michael Phelps would be on my mind.
Now, boyfriendless, I suppose I am seeking other diversions before school starts again. I never played sports, and I was never into spectating quietly on the sidelines. Yet, I would be there with pen and pad in hand, ready to record the results of the swim meet for my high school newspaper. I still find it hard to believe that it has been more than a year since I had last covered a swim meet.
Now I'm at home, cheering on Michael Phelps as if he could hear me all the way in Athens. My mother is afraid of what she considers to be "unhealthy" behavior. I guess she doesn't want me to be one of those groupies or celebrity stalkers.
Yet as famous as Michael Phelps could be, he seems like any other guy, but at the same time, he is extraordinary. His smile glows, genuine and all-American as they come.
I find it amusing that he drives a tricked out Escalade and listens to rap music to get him psyched and ready to compete.
It just reminds me that if I actually did know him personally, I would have nothing in common with him. I'm a nerd, and proud of it, listening to emo music and scribbling bad poetry in my journals. Then there's the faint hope that perhaps opposites really do attract after all.
This is usually when I realize how ridiculous I am. I tricked myself into thinking that I grew up when in all truth, I am still the shy girl with glasses and a book full of lovesick poetry.
Yet there is nothing wrong with the occasional impossible fantasy. It's just that this one happens to be mine.
I watch him from the bleachers, feeling out of place spectating a swim practice, wondering if someone is going to come over and ask me to leave. Michael cuts through the water, white foam fleeing his path. He is the only one in the pool since the others are already in the showers. His coach is making him do a few extra laps for showing up to practice late again. Even before that, as far as I was concerned, he was the only one in the pool. Perhaps to himself, he thinks that he is always alone in the pool. I have a vague taste as to what it's like to have people expect a lot from me, but nowhere near the weight placed on his capable shoulders. The sports critics seem to find it easy to forget that he is a 19-year-old.
I find it easy to forget as well, but in an entirely different way. Michael has the appearance of one who has always belonged in the water. He reminds me of all of the Latin translations I did about the mythological beings who lived in the water, eternally youthful and beautiful. Years from now, he will still be the same virile 19-year-old, if only in my memory. I follow every breath of air, every stroke of his arm, full of intent. The droplets of water appear to hover in the air before floating down, long behind his wake. I gaze at the O of his mouth as he takes in a breath, wondering what it would be like to trace my fingers around his lips, going so far as to dare to dream of licking those same lips.
I blush as if he can read my thoughts, but know that I could never be on his mind when he's in the water. I wonder if he dreams of swimming the way I used to dream of playing my piano Concertos in high school. Michael reaches the end of the pool and takes off his reflective swim goggles. I find myself in the direct path of his piercing eyes, always so determined, even when laughing. I remember my heart racing the first time I saw him look directly into a camera at the Olympics, feeling like he could see me all the way from Athens. Now those burning eyes were fixed on me.
My throat goes dry as I watch him get out of the pool, eyes still locked on mine. The stoic look is still on his face, as if still striving for his prize. In my head, I know I am more than just a prize, but part of me wants to be desired in the same way as a hard-earned trophy. I am afraid to break the gaze except that my curiosity always gets the better of me. My eyes wander, rolling down the same paths that the water droplets fall along the chisled grooves and ridges of his body.
Then my eyes ended up somewhere where they probably shouldn't have been, but there they remained momentarily before they began wandering again. There may not be such thing as the perfect man, but Michael Phelps is physically perfect as far as I am concerned.
Names of Greek myths of beauty come to mind. Adonis. Hyacinthus. Eros. Apollo. Even Aphrodite rising from the waves comes to mind, but in this case, in male form. I wonder if Michael knows about the legends. He had spent time in Greece, but probably didn't have time to see all of the sights. The Parthenon, which once held the most stunning statue of Athena in gold and ivory. The great temple of Zeus in Olympia. I had been to Greece and had fallen in love with the combination of old ways and modern development. What I wanted to do was to take him there, show him everything, and then sail off to some remote island where I could have him all to myself. Yet like Calypso from The Odyssey, I would live with the fear that he would someday swim or sail away from me. I saw myself standing on the sandy shore, watching him slowly disappear into the wine-dark sea.
Yet now, he was standing right in front of me, catching me in my reverie. His eyes had the same glint in them, but his smile was different from any other smile I had seen in press photographs. It was a smile which suggested that he knew exactly where I was looking and knew full well that I liked what I saw. I'm pretty sure that my jaw was on the floor, silly girl that I am. Silence occupied the few feet between us until he spoke.
"Who are you and what are you doing here?"
"I'm sorry, you probably get this a lot, but I'm a huge fan, and..." I stopped babbling, looking down at the floor.
"Well?" he smiled, egging me on.
"I don't know, I supposed that I just wanted to show my appreciation...personally," I blushed, just realizing how terrible that sounded.
"Thanks," he smiled, "But I'd like to know who I'm thanking."
"Oh, I'm Jane," I said, extending my hand to meet his.
"Excuse me, but my hands are all wet," he looked around sheepishly.
I saw a towel sitting on the bottom bleacher and went for it, tripping on an untied shoelace in the process. "Whoops!"
"It's all right, I got you," he laughed as I looked up at him, hands touching his bare, wet chest, and the familiar scent of chlorine radiating from him along with a warmth which reminded me of when Galatea came to life after being a cold, marble statue.
This is when I realized that Michael Phelps truly is a myth. My dream was right in front of me, and I could do nothing.
"I'm sorry. I'm such a klutz," I murmured, absently tracing my fingers down his torso as I stood up on my own two feet.
"I said it's all right," he shuddered slightly, perhaps cold, or unnerved that I had touched him with such familiarity.
Michael dried himself off with the towel. I truly envied the water now, for being able to touch him and cover him so completely. He took his swim cap off, his unique ears springing back to place, and then he ruffled his hair dry with the towel. The chestnut softness, still moist, stood up in the most perfect way. I soon realized that I was staring again, and averted my eyes.
"Are you ok?" he asked, starting to walk to the locker room.
"I'm fine..." I lied. How on earth could I be all right around him?
"You seem a bit...shaken," he smiled.
"Well, you know that feeling when you want to say something clever to someone, but can't think of anything?" I asked.
"I'm having that feeling right now," I was stalling, trying to get all of the thoughts that were running through my mind.
I thought about how much I wanted to jump him, wrap my legs around him while he pounded me against the wall. I imagined the taste of his lips and how his arms would feel around me, tensing and relaxing as his hands explored my skin. I blinked, noticing that the same smartass smirk had returned to his face.
"You don't have to say anything clever," Michael leaned towards me. His 6'4" frame shadowed my miniature 5'5".
I regained my nerve, "I guess I don't have to say anything at all when I can do this."
I stood on my toes as I once did whenever I was out with a much taller guy. My lips caught his before he had any time to react. I fumbled at first, almost falling down again, but found his arms encircling me, pulling me up to meet him. I wasn't sure if my feet were even touching the floor anymore, but I didn't care. I was enthralled, completely surrounded by perfection. I was afraid of pulling back, afraid of finding that he had only kissed me out of courtesy, yet I felt that I had to come up for air.
"I-I need to breathe," I gasped, remembering what oxygen felt like rushing through my lungs.
"So do I, but that's not going to stop me," he smiled and started kissing me again.
I grew braver and started exploring with my hands, feeling the warmth and firmness of well-toned muscle beneath marble-like skin. Yet he was unlike most pieces of art in the sense that he actually served a purpose.
Even then, there was a sort of softness to him, reminding me that he was indeed human after all. I pulled closer to him, feeling a bulge straining against his speedos. My legs shook beneath me, and I was afraid that I would wake up from this wonderful dream.
I found tears coming to my eyes, but I laughed as I pulled back.
"Are you sure you're all right?" a look of concern washed across his face, "If you want, I'll stop."
"It's just that...why me? There are probably millions of other girls, much prettier than me who would throw themselves at you in a second." I choked, "And even if it is just one of those things and nothing could come out of it, I don't want to be just some groupie."
"I don't know," he shook his head, "It's just that I get a bit lonely sometimes, and you were the only girl who ever treated me like, you know...a guy. Everyone else just treats me like a machine, created solely to win medals and awards. Even the girls would just put me on a pedestal, but not bother to talk to me like a friend."
"I don't exactly know what you mean, but I know what it's like when people don't see you as a person," I explained. "Wait a minute, we barely even spoke, so it's not like we established some deep connection that way."
My lust was screaming at me, "This is your chance to get what you want! Why are you being analytical at this, of all times!" But the heart of me, who wished I could connect with him told me that what I was doing was wrong, taking advantage of something which did not belong to me. I was not one to steal the virtue and strength of Lancelot by ruining his honor.
"You're right, but I've never really been good with this sort of thing, so all I can ask from you is to do only what you want to do," he shrugged.
"I guess I am too analytical for my own good," I smiled, leaning back against the wall again.
"I guess you are," he started kissing me again.
It felt as if I had won, but then I realized that I had done the one thing I had not wanted to be done to myself. I was treating Michael as if he was a trophy. His smile, his kiss, these were the medals I was stealing from him. It continued nagging at me, but I was beyond the point of no return. Michael Phelps would most likely break my heart, as the only thing he had room for in his life was swimming. In turn, I could never fully understand him since I could not be him. So, all we could do was provide each other some sort of comfort in a cold world.
The only question was: would I dare? I shrugged my red panties out from beneath my red pleated skirt. He caught on and started unbuttoning my blouse, running a hand cautiously beneath my bra. I sighed quietly as he started kissing my neck and collarbone. I felt his strong hand run up my thigh, parting my legs as he had with the water before. An adept finger brushed against the once-hidden button of flesh, now distended from desire, and slid inside. I was embarassed since I had been so turned on from seeing him that I was afraid that the wetness would be seep through my panties and down my legs.
My curious hands traced down his sides to his speedos, where a rather intimidating bulge waited to be set free. A crinkle sounded from my pocket from where I had left a condom.
"You can never be to careful, eh?" I bit my lip and looked up at him.
"Are you sure you want to do this?" he asked, looking at me in disbelief.
"Of course I am," I whispered in his ear, nibbling his earlobe.
After some maneuvering, I had my legs around him, bracing myself against the wall.
"You've had this planned all along," he grinned.
"Maybe...but half of me wanted to run out the door as soon as I saw you looking at me," I said sheepishly.
"Aren't you glad you didn't?" Michael asked, holding my hips with his hands.
"Indeed, I am," I gasped as he suddenly entered me.
I was still relatively inexperienced, so it still hurt. The pain quickly subsided, and I started undulating slowly, matching his thrusts. His flesh continued heating up, tensed from bearing my weight. Michael's eyes never left mine, glowing, ever-intense as he broke me against the wall. I felt myself burning, consumed by something I had no control of, and I enjoyed every second of it. His lips, hands, everything stirred up strange feelings I had never even imagined. I could taste the salt and chlorine on his skin whenever I could reach him, but mostly, I arched back and tried to keep myself from screaming.
"Michael..." I gasped, again and again, over and over, my heart dripping from every syllable.
"Jane, please...I can't..." his mouth was rounded in that cute O again as he gasped for air.
I ran my hands through his hair, whispering to him to just let go. In a sudden burst, he rammed into me faster and harder than ever, a low moan escaping my lips. Satisfied with that, he continued until the wave of pleasure washed over him as well, allowing for a quiet culmination. I floated back down and we sank into each other, taking in the beauty of the moment.
I buttoned my blouse and put my panties back on. Just to be a smartass, Michael tossed the used condom in the pool. I got my purse, and just as I was about to leave, he took me by the arm.
"Do you have a pen and paper?" he asked.
"Always," I smiled, taking out my old journalism equipment. After thinking for awhile, he gave me back the pen and pad, smiled and walked away. Enclosed was his personal contact information and a brief note.
I can't think of much to say to you now, other than that you mean more to me than just some groupie. Keep in touch, and by that, I mean in every way possible.
I know, he's probably extremely out of character, but after all, it's my damn fantasy. If anyone out there doesn't like it, they can just write their own.