tagNovels and NovellasEqual Shares Ch. 12

Equal Shares Ch. 12


Stan returned home, quivering. He felt full of energy and unable to be still, like he'd had several espressos, one after the other in quick succession. He bounced around from room to room, unable to settle into doing anything useful before he managed to bring himself to a halt.

"Settle down, Stan," he told himself aloud, "Get a grip. It's just a date, you're not getting married!"

He forced himself to schedule things: shower, followed by a change of clothes, a quick snack, then listen to some soothing music. Oh, wait, better have the snack first – he didn't want to drip strawberry jam down his clean shirt, and that would be bound to happen. Actually, better the music first.

Mozart's Wind Serenade filled the living room, and Stan sat, seeking a little peace at last. He still didn't believe it, he was going to go on a date with Anne. Anne!

So. He listened to the sweet sounds as they soothed him, 'Like the savage beast!' he thought with a grin, then when it finished, he took a deep breath.

Food first. Stan went to the kitchen and made himself a strawberry jam sandwich, a glass of water and a cup of coffee. He sat at the breakfast bar and munched his way through the sandwich, sipping at his water. Once finished eating, he drank the rest of the water and took his coffee into the living room. He picked up Neil Gaiman's graphic novel Brief Lives, and began to re-read it. By the time he'd finished the coffee he was well into the book... feeling much more relaxed.

He went upstairs to their – his – bedroom. He started picking out clothes to wear, starting with socks and underwear, then chose a pair of grey lightweight trousers and a blue shirt. His jacket he took out of the wardrobe, hanging it on the peg on the back of the door while he laid the rest of his clothes on his bed.

He walked into the bathroom, started the water running in the shower and quickly stripped, clearing the pockets of his trousers and checking the pocket of his shirt before putting them all in the laundry basket.

He showered long, luxuriously. His hair, thinning though it was, still got a good wash in a tea-tree oil shampoo. He put some shower gel onto a flannel, folded it over and massaged up a lather, washing diligently.

Coming out of the shower, he dried completely before applying deodorant and body spray. Next he brushed his teeth, thoroughly, before using a mouthwash. Time to shave.

Stan normally simply used an electric razor, for simplicity, but it always left him with a five o'clock shadow. So instead he opened the bathroom cabinet and pulled out a disposable safety razor, and some shaving cream. He shaved very carefully, as the last thing he wanted was to cut himself now.

Finally, he studied his reflection in the bathroom mirror, flicked at his hair with a comb – he kept it short nowadays, so it didn't need a lot – and decided he was fit for presentation.

He walked, nude, back into the bedroom and got dressed. He looked at his shoes and decided they'd pass muster with just a silicone wipe, so that's what they got. Finally he tried on the jacket, looked in the mirror – Caron's mirror.


'Are you sure you're okay with this, my love?' he asked, and in return felt his momentary disquiet replaced by a feeling of peace, of support. He closed his eyes, nodded and looked in the mirror again. He turned sideways, sucked in his gut, grinned and let it out again. No point, Anne knew what he looked like. 'Overweight a touch. Oh well.'

A look at the watch that his wife had given him showed there was still nearly twenty minutes before he should leave. Turning up early, while quite romantic in some ways, was likely to upset the lady you were calling on, he'd learned that much from Caron: 'For goodness' sake! I'm nowhere near ready, I haven't dried my hair, and now you've embarrassed me!' she'd told him, although she'd given him a kiss, too. Nevertheless, Stan had been careful to be on time, not early and very definitely NOT late, when calling for her after that.

What to do for twenty minutes? Space Truckin' from Deep Purple's Made in Japan album, reissued in 1998. Just over 19 minutes of pure pleasure for Stan.

When the music finished, Stan grabbed his jacket and left the house to get into his car. He was still not-too-quietly attempting to sing along with Ian Gillan as he started his Mondeo.

Quickly thereafter he was at Anne's house. He parked on the road outside it and sat for a moment to compose himself.

He thought he saw a lace curtain twitch in Anne's front window, and smiled to himself. He got out of the car and walked up to her door.

He didn't have to ring the doorbell. Before he could reach out for it the door flew open and there stood Anne, in a very classy black oriental style number. The patterns on it were autumnal leaves picked out in a metallic thread. It looked gorgeous, and so did she.

Anne had a wide smile, and invited him in. "I'll just be a moment, I'll get my shoes and a wrap," she said.

Stan answered, "Fine", and walking into the house in a daze. Anne told him to sit for a moment, but Stan was drawn to the bookcase. Two shelves of technical literature were followed by one with Scientific American and Nature. Next was a shelf of romance novels, which made him grin a little, and finally there was a shelf of science fiction which, he realized, surprised him, but it shouldn't have.

He heard Anne walk back into the room and turned to her. She looked stunning. Her blonde hair was now piled on top of her head, presumably pinned there though he couldn't see it. She'd applied a little makeup, just enough to accentuate her fine features. Her lipstick was pale, but it did enough to bring out those gorgeous lips.

The dress' halter neck closed at the front to create a teardrop opening which displayed just the right amount of cleavage to be classy, and very, very sexy. The dress hugged her figure, displaying her slender torso. Stan was a bit surprised to see she was wearing a pair of flat shoes.

"The shoes?" he queried.

"Oh. Well, I thought... well, if I wear heels I'll be much taller than you. I wasn't sure you'd like that."

"Anne, you look wonderful. You could be seven foot six and you'd still look wonderful. If you want to wear heels, wear them."

A very feminine giggle came from Anne as she scurried back up the stairs. Only moments later she returned, barefoot, with a pair of silver high-heeled sandals in her hand, which she immediately put on. Drawing herself up to her impressive height – now about six feet – Anne said, imperiously, "I'm ready to be escorted now, my good man."

"As m'lady requires," intoned Stan in response, and they fell together, giggling.

Pulling himself together, Stan crooked an elbow and Anne put her arm through it. They walked towards the door, and Anne giggled again, saying, "I think the arm-in-arm thing should have waited until after we were through the door?"

Stan laughed, they disentangled and went through the door. Anne locked it up, putting her keys into a small black clutch purse, with beautiful blue-white flowers printed onto the silk. Anne had really put some thought into her outfit. There was something that she didn't think Stan had noticed yet...

The narrow path was too tight for them to walk abreast, so Stan gestured for his lady to go first. Anne walked through her garden gate, turned and shut it after Stan. He opened his car door for her, ensured she was seated and got in himself.

The drive to the town was short. Neither spoke much, just quietly asking after the other, complimenting on their look and so on. Stan said to Anne, "I thought I'd said not too flashy? Looking like that you make me look like the hired help!" Anne's reply was simply a grin and a raised eyebrow, but then she whistled (badly) the tune to "Just a Gigolo" which made Stan laugh aloud.

Arriving at Tennants in the rays of the setting sun, the two linked arms again and walked through the double doors.

The bar was off to the right as they walked in with many small tables dotted about. The place was built like a maze, but one with clear directions: "To the Bar" and "To the Exit" were visible everywhere. This enabled the cosy, intimate atmosphere that the owners were striving for along with a sense of security and familiarity.

They found a table and settled down. Stan wasn't much of a wine drinker, but Anne spotted a Meursault on the menu and asked for that. Wine and glasses were brought over. The lovely white burgundy was cool and refreshing. Both sipped appreciatively.

Neither spoke for a while. They were each seeking the right way to start the conversation, but neither could actually do it – both were responders, rather than instigators. Finally, Anne smiled and said,

"This is silly. We're like two tongue-tied school-kids. Let's just relax. How d'you like the wine?"

Smiling himself, Stan responded, "It's lovely. How'd you know about it? I have very little idea about wine, I'm afraid – I just check the price and discard anything with a screw top."

"Hmm? Well, I've been to the vineyard, and spoken to M. Straebler. I got a case of this while I was there, and I just fancied trying it again. It's not actually my favourite, I don't normally go for oaked chardonnay, but this is dry without being bitter. I do quite like it.

"As for wines in general, your approach is as good as any, really. But the best way to buy wine is to go to the producteur and sample direct from the source. It's good when you can strike up a rapport with the guy who's making the wine, he'll often give you some tips, and sometimes some free samples! Also, it's much, much cheaper.

"I've always enjoyed France. I'm reasonably fluent so I've never had a problem talking to the people there. How about you?"

Stan thought a moment, then replied,

"I've only been a couple of times, actually. Neither time could really be called 'visiting France' as they were quick trips on the ferry, 'booze cruises' – stocking up with cheap beer and wine. I spoke French at a very poor schoolboy level at age fifteen, so that was twenty-seven years ago. So I don't feel I can really comment. I'll have to let you be my guide."

"Guide? Guide to where?" asked Anne.

"Paris, of course. I've got piles of Annual Leave left – how about you?"

"Hmm! I can make a long weekend sometime, but not right now – I'm still up to my eyeballs in that damn chip. But once I can get free, you can take me to Paris, and I'll show you around." She said the last phrase in mock seductive French accent, causing Stan to roll his eyes.

Once the ice was broken, conversation flowed freely. Stan, as the driver, could only have one small glass, but Anne could feel her nose and upper lip going numb before the end.

At about ten thirty, with the wine gone, Anne grabbed Stan's arm and looked at his watch...

"Probably time to go, Stan. Nice watch, by the way."

"It was a gift from Caron."

There was a long pause.

"Who was Caron?" asked Anne

"My wife. She died last November."

"Oh, God. I'm so sorry, Stan. I didn't mean..."

"No, that's all right, Anne. Oh, it still hurts, but I'm trying to get on with life, now."

There was another long moment's silence before he continued, "You're right, we ought to go, there's work in the morning."

Stan stood, to assist Anne out of her chair, but despite the wine, Anne succeeded in erecting herself without help, albeit with a slight falter. On the way to the cloakroom, Anne nearly tripped and Stan moved to hold her, but she kept her balance – just.

The moment's levity was enough to break the slightly sombre mood that had descended, and Anne giggled at Stan's hesitant, aborted assistance. Taking her arm with all the dignity he could muster, Stan guided her out, picking up his jacket and Anne's wrap on the way.

Once outside, Anne shivered. Stan couldn't help himself – Anne's nipples pointed themselves out to him, very graphically. Anne certainly noticed, and despite the temperature smiled inwardly.

"Ooh, it's chilly out here after being in there. Let's hurry up and get in the warm," she said, so Stan quickly walked her to his car. He opened her door and assisted her in, then got in himself.

"Turn the heater on, Stan," Anne pleaded, so Stan set the climate control to a higher level, but as he said, "It won't do much good until the engine's warm. Besides, it's not that cold. Hold on a moment..."

He struggled out of his jacket in the car and gave it to Anne.

"Sorry, I was a bit thoughtless I guess. I should have given you my jacket earlier. Damn!"

"That's okay, honey, you're slow but not hopeless," she told him sweetly.

Soon enough, they were at Anne's door. "Coffee?" she asked Stan, quietly.

"Are you sure that's a good idea? This is only the first date," Stan said, blushing.

"Stanley! The idea!" she said with deliberately false offence, before smiling and telling him, "I've had almost all of a very nice bottle of wine. If I wanted you indoors for sex, I'd have said so, silly. I meant coffee, no more."

"Ah. Well, in that case, unless you have decaf I'd better decline. I have enough trouble sleeping."

"I have, actually. Want some?"

'Do I want to spend more time with this gorgeous lady? Hell yes!' he thought, but he merely said, "Yes, please Anne," quietly.

Once again Anne preceded him along the path, this time towards the front door. Anne fumbled with the key a bit, but not much, and once she'd got inside she looked over her shoulder at Stan, who nearly melted at the sight. She seemed like a catwalk model, and that look! He followed her in and shut the door behind him.

Once indoors, Anne's navigation improved a bit, and she hustled into her small kitchen. Like the rest of her house it was neat and clean, and Anne swiftly filled the kettle and put it on to boil.

She grabbed a cafetière, a French Coffee Press, from a cupboard, and reached for the fine dark-roast decaf. She added the coffee to the empty glass cafetière and turned to pick up two mugs. Once the kettle boiled, she let it cool a little before pouring it into the Press and attached the filterscreen-plunger on top. "Give it a few minutes and it'll be ready, then," she said.

Anne was wondering where this might lead from here. She was half hoping Stan would make a move on her, and half terrified at the prospect. She'd meant what she'd said in the car, but now he was here with her, and Anne was feeling horny – the effect of the wine and long, long abstinence. On the other hand, she couldn't appear too eager.

Stan, too, was wondering where things might lead. He wanted to kiss Anne – hell, he wanted to make love to her – but equally he knew that he shouldn't take advantage of her tipsy state. So, he resolved to make an escape as soon as he could after having his coffee. In fact, he now regretted accepting the offer of coffee. Every time he managed to tear his eyes away from Anne's wonderful hazel eyes, or her sensuous mouth, or her marvellous figure... he'd find himself wanting her so much that he just had to look back at her again and again. He realized with a shock that he was actually getting hard, just thinking about her.

The two sat, a little awkwardly, until Anne reached over and pressed the plunger in the cafetière down. She looked enquiringly at Stan, who nodded, and she poured out two mugs, black. "Sugar?" she asked, and Stan demurred. "Both alike, then!" Anne commented, and handed him his mug.

Black coffee kept its' heat a long time, but Stan started to drink his quickly. He stopped, and told Anne, "This is really nice coffee. What is it?"

"It's 'Java Decaffeinated'. I got it from a website. They don't use chemicals to get rid of the caffeine, instead they do it with water. It's healthier and it tastes better, I think."

"I have to agree. This is great stuff, for a decaf. Thanks."

They sat, the tension building again, until Stan finished his coffee (scalding his mouth a little in the process). The unwanted pain helped a little down there, and he took advantage. He stood up, saying, "Thanks for the coffee, Anne, I really must be going – we've got work tomorrow."

Anne, realizing that Stan had decided not to try for anything, felt both relief and frustration at the same time – a very curious mix of emotions. She said nothing, merely standing and walking Stan to the door. She retrieved his coat from the hook in the small porch and turned to him, saying, "I had a really nice time tonight Stan. I'd like to do it again. Can we?"

"God, that's music to my ears!" said Stan with feeling, "of course I'd like to take you out again. Maybe... Friday?"

"It's a date," said a grinning Anne, "it'll be our second. I look forward to it. Very, very much!"

She leaned forward and gave Stan a peck on the cheek before he could move away.

Stan made half a move towards her, his hands just starting to reach for her. He stopped, his resolve just strong enough. Anne noted the move, of course, and felt her own desire surge. She ruthlessly suppressed it however. 'Not Yet!' she told the wanton hussy inside her...

"Now go! Go before I make a fool of myself. I'll see you tomorrow at work, Stan – we can have lunch together and make sure the rumour-mill is fully primed!"

She opened the door and let Stan out. Just the other side of the doorstep, he turned and said, "I don't think you need worry about that, Anne. They don't need such silly things as facts to create good gossip!" He softened his voice and said, "Good night, Anne. I've had a great evening too. See you tomorrow."

Anne leaned forward, almost imperceptibly. Stan, unconsciously, did so as well. Now they were almost together, and Stan tilted his head up very slightly. Without further thought they were kissing. Stan's hands moved of their own accord, and he had his left around her waist, pulling her to him, his right behind her head, tenderly yet firmly cradling it. They kissed with increasing passion, lips mashed together, mouths parting and tongues duelling.

Stan pulled back, breathless. Anne looked dazed by what had just happened as well, but then she seemed to come back to herself and whispered, "Tomorrow." For a moment Stan hesitated, but then he turned to go.

Anne watched him walk down the path to his car, get in and start it. She waved to him, and he waved back before putting it in gear and driving off.

Anne watched the car disappear, and then closed the door. She leaned against it for a moment. She couldn't believe it; she'd almost been ready to jump him after only one night together. Two if you counted the meal at Apricot's, three if you counted the dancing... no. They'd done the right thing. Definitely. However, she was now so turned on she needed to take care of things, now! So she ran up the stairs to her room, got undressed and ready for bed, then reached into her bedside drawer.

Her vibrator, a 6" long pink cylinder that had been her closest companion for years, sprang into life as she teased her nipples with it. She arched her back, rubbing the toy over her right breast, while she pinched her left nipple with her free hand. She saw a kind, gentle face with laughter lines hovering over her as she passed the buzzing phallus over to her left breast, while her left hand snaked down, sliding over her abdomen, feeling the muscles quake as she did.

She was already very, very wet, as she discovered when sliding a finger along her labia. She lifted her hand to her mouth, tasting herself and wetting the tip of her middle finger thoroughly, before sending it back to her lower lips, gradually, softly, slowly tracing.

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