tagChain StoriesF6: Coffee and Cleavage

F6: Coffee and Cleavage


This story is a submission to the sixth Friendly Anonymous Writing Challenge (FAWC) and a tribute to the founder of FAWC, slyc_willie, who we lost unexpectedly in October 2015. The true author of this story is kept anonymous until the end of the competition. Authors base their story on a list of four items. Their choices included the following letters: S L Y C. Each item was used in the story. There are no prizes given in this challenge; this is simply a friendly competition.

The list for this story includes: Cleavage, Clerk, Cabbage, Carnival

* * * *

Jason walked into the coffee bar and over to the counter. "Can I get a . . . " He looked past the counter and saw her sitting at one of the tables, snuggled into a black leather coat with a plush lining and displaying the most magnificent cleavage he had seen in a long time. His attention was utterly arrested. One of those. He realized the clerk was waiting for his order and drew his thoughts back to the task at hand. "Tall latte with an extra shot of espresso."

"So, that would be three shots of espresso. You don't want four?" the woman behind the counter asked.

"No, three should get me the four hours down the road without an incident of road rage. Four and I may not be so lucky." He banged on the counter. "Move that Volvo! You're going forty in a fifty-five!"

He couldn't help looking over at her again. She looked up and their eyes met. He was blown away. The overwhelming desire to hear her voice left him speechless. She was sophisticated, beautiful . . . lovely, warm and soft . . . there weren't adjectives sufficient to explain what he was looking at. Her blond hair was sleek, her make-up expertly applied and when she smiled, he was dazzled. Then she simply looked back down at her e-reader.

His phone rang and he automatically pulled it out to answer. "Hi sweetheart, what do you need?"

"Hi, Dad, the guy for the table called again. How far out are you?"

He sighed. Demanding customers, but the guy was technically right. They had promised delivery by noon today and he was having to take the place of a delivery man who had food poisoning so he was late getting on the road. It was already ten o'clock. "I'm just getting some coffee to keep me going. I'll be on the road in a few minutes. It's a four hour drive and if I push it I can be there in under that, so promise him two o'clock."

"Okay, just watch it with the coffee. You know it's bad for your blood pressure, right?"

"I know I also need something to keep me awake, and my blood pressure is fine."

"Just . . . drive carefully, Dad. No speeding, company policy, you know. I love you."

He had to smile at her tone, she was his youngest. "Love you, too sweetie."

He hung up and turned back to look for the woman at the table. She was gone. Damn. He paid for the latte and strode out of the coffee shop. He looked to the right up the street, then to the left but didn't see any sign of her. He sighed. Aw, I'm being ridiculous, she was way too young and out of my league anyway. I'm a fifty-three year old man with a business to run. Better get on the road.

* * * *

Meanwhile, Madeline was sitting in her car preparing to head down the road. She had another arts council office to visit but she needed a minute to get her head together. She hadn't been immune to the man in the coffee shop.

She had looked up and her eyes had traveled up his body. He had been tall and solid in jeans and a light blue shirt with his name embroidered over the pocket, Jason. The shirt was tucked in and the sleeves rolled up. He had a thick shock of dark hair, streaked with gray, but his face was lean and strong. Lovely eyes. They'd been a crystal blue. He was older than her by a few years, she was only forty, but but he looked vital and strong. His forearms had sent a shiver over her entire body. The attraction had been instantaneous, she'd thought for him too.

Then he'd answered the phone and she heard him talking to a woman. He'd called her sweetheart. "I don't play those kinds of games," she said aloud to the empty car. It had been nine months since her divorce and she hadn't been on a date since. Well, that needed to stop. "Tonight. I will sign up on a dating web site tonight. I promise myself." She turned the key in the ignition and set off.

* * * *

Jason had delivered the table and was on his way back to the home office with the truck when he saw a woman by the side of the road, changing her tire. She was kneeling on the far side of the car, working with the tire iron, but he couldn't drive by without checking if she needed help.

"Perks of being the boss, they can just wait on me."

He signaled and pulled over in front of the car then got out and walked back. When he got to the front of the car he stopped, didn't want to startle her. "Hello there, can I give you a hand?"

She looked up and he felt his heart stop and then beat double time. It was the same woman from the coffee shop. She was just as beautiful as he had thought. He felt himself pulled toward her.

"I'm doing okay," she said with a smile but she shivered. There was a smudge of dirt on her cheek.

"Beautiful lady like you shouldn't be kneeling beside the road getting dirty. Let me do that for you," he said, holding out his hand to help her to her feet. "You get in the car and warm up."

She looked at his large, calloused hand for a moment then put her soft, white one in his. He drew her to her feet and saw she'd been kneeling on a folded blanket at least. He didn't want to let go of the soft hand in his but he did. "There now, you get in the car and I'll have this off in a minute. Do you have a spare?"

"It's here," she said, stepping around to the back of the car. She reached into the trunk to pull it out but he reached past her.

"I'll get that." He started to pull it out and saw there was a flat side to it. "Might have a problem. I've got a pump in the truck, I'll see if I can plug it in and get it back up to pressure. You go ahead and get in the car, keep warm."

"Thanks," she said, smiling bemusedly.

"My pleasure."

But the tire wouldn't hold air and when he got the other tire off, he could see she'd picked up a bolt. That was good and bad. It would be relatively easy to patch.

He walked around to the front of the car with the tire and she got out before he could go to her door. "It looks like the spare is shot but it shouldn't be hard to get this patched. Would you like to wait here or do you want to ride with me?" he asked, indicating the truck

It was a difficult question and he knew it. Stay by the side of the road by yourself or get in the truck with a strange man? His phone chose that moment to ring. "Excuse me a minute," he said. "Hello?"

"Hi Dad." Reception was good, his daughter's voice strong and loud. "Are you on your way back?"

"Yep, the table has been delivered. I'm just stopped to help a lady with a flat tire. We need to get it patched so I'll be a bit. It's the end of the work day. You go ahead and close up the office and head out. Don't wait on me. Give the kids a hug for Grandpa."

"Okay, will do, see you in the morning."

"Okay, sweetheart. Love you, bye."

When he turned back, the blond woman was smiling. "I'll ride along, if you don't mind."

At the truck, he opened the door for her and offered her his hand to step up into the truck. Her shoes weren't made for climbing into trucks and her foot slipped a bit so his let go of her hand and put his hands to her waist to steady her and give her a boost.

He heard her quick intake of breath and had to resist the urge to let his hands slide across the full roundness of her backside as she moved over into the cab. "I'm going to hell," he muttered softly.

"Sorry?" she asked.

"Nothing," he said with a smile. Been talking to myself for too long. Instead, he waited until she was situated and closed the door then jogged back to her car for the tire.

Once it was tucked into the back of his truck, Jason took a couple steadying breaths before he went around to the cab. He was just helping a beautiful lady with her tire. That was all, nothing more. Right. This couldn't be good for his blood pressure.

* * * *

Madeline looked around the cab of the truck. It was your average delivery truck, smelling of gas and plastic, but it was neatly arranged with a clipboard on the seat next to her. The man, Jason, she surmised, came back, climbed into the cab and turned the key in the ignition.

"I'm Jason, by the way," he said.

She smiled over at him. "I figured."

He looked surprised so she pointed to his name tag. "I saw your name tag at the coffee shop."

"Oh, right, forgot that was on these shirts."

"I'm Madeline." She had settled back in the seat, comfortable she was in competent hands.

"What brings you out on a cold November day, up and down the interstate?" Jason asked her as he put the truck in drive and signaled to get back onto the highway. It was relatively quiet at that time of the day and they were soon on their way.

She found herself studying him instead of the scenery. She'd seen that a million times. The man next to her was a new piece of work. "I work for the arts council and divide my time between several offices. Today was my day in the city."

He glanced over at her. "What do you do for them?"

"I help people with grant applications," she said.

"Grants for what?"

"For money to help them put on performances or teach classes or get supplies . . . things like that."

"Must feel good helping people for a living."

"It does," she admitted with a smile. "And what do you deliver with this big truck of yours?"

"My company actually builds furniture, handmade pieces. I usually work there on special pieces but we had a delivery man sick today so I delivered the table myself."

"So you're an artisan," she said.

"I suppose, I tend to think of myself moreas a craftsman." Jason pulled off the interstate and down an exit then turned at the bottom and a quarter mile later they were at the repair shop. He grabbed the tire out of the back and they went inside.

"Hey Jason, what brings you by, my friend?" the tall, lean, white-haired man behind the counter asked.

Jason rolled the tire around the desk. "Hey, Bob. This is Madeline, she got a flat on the highway so I stopped to help out. There's a bolt in the tire. Could you patch it?"

"You got it! Take about twenty minutes. Have a seat."

Jason and Madeline walked over to the empty waiting area. "Buy you a cup of coffee?" he asked, waving a hand at the coffee machine.

"Oh, no, thanks. I'm fine."

They sat down and Madeline looked over at her companion as he crossed one leg over the other. How to ask the questions she really wanted to ask without seeming too forward? "So, you were on the phone with your daughter earlier? Does she work for you?"

He nodded. "She's been running the office, answering the phones and keeping the books, for about eight years now. One of my sons works on the furniture but the other went off and became an environmental conservation agent. They're all doing great, made the old man proud," he said with a smile.

"You don't seem that old to me," she said. "You've got a very youthful face."

He reached up and ran a self-conscious hand through his hair. "Thanks, even with this gray hair? Truthfully, I'm fifty-three."

"I'm forty myself," she replied, unasked. She took a breath and went fishing for the information she really wanted. "And what does their mother think of the kid's choices for careers?"

If Jason realized what she was really asking, he didn't give any indication. He just smiled sadly. "She was very proud of them, but she passed away about six years ago, cancer."

"I'm sorry," Madeline said, putting her hand on his as it lay on the chair arm.

Jason shrugged. "It happens. I loved her very much. We had a good life together and . . . then she was gone. I've been alone ever since." He glanced down at her hand on his arm. "What about you? No husband?"

It had been nine months since her divorce, which had been sad but amicable. "I was. We grew apart, instead of together. It was both our faults," she said with a shrug. "We didn't invest in the marriage, we were too busy investing in our careers. He met someone at work who he connected with emotionally and he ended our marriage before it became physical with her, or so he said. Honestly, it didn't even matter at that point."

"I'm sorry," Jason said, placing his own hand over hers.

She looked up into his eyes and didn't even know how long they just sat there that way.

"I've got that tire patched for you," Bob called from the counter.

Madeline got up and went to pay but Bob waved her off with a smile. "No charge. You take care now."

"Thank you," she smiled. She wondered if he did that for everyone he hoped might become a repeat customer or if it was because she was with his friend.

Jason picked up the tire and Madeline held the door for them on the way back out to the truck.

* * * *

Jason stowed the tire in the back and hurried around to help Madeline back into the truck but she'd managed it herself this time. Pretty limber for such a nice little armful. Aw, I'm going to hell, no doubt about it.

He slid into the cab of the truck and fired it up then headed them out of town. Not much time to get to know a woman, what should he ask next? Shoot, he just couldn't think of a darned thing.

"So, Jason, if you're not in a terrible hurry to get back, I'd really love to buy you dinner to thank you for taking care of my tire for me?"

He looked over, mildly shocked and wondering if he was about to get hit by lightning. He was not about to let the opportunity pass though. "I'd like that," he said. I'd never let a lady pay for dinner, but we can argue about that when the check comes.

They were back at her car in no time and he changed the tire while she waited, though she refused to get back in the car where it was warm. Once the tools were stowed in the trunk, he felt like an idiot. What if she changed her mind about dinner? Should he give her an out? He didn't really want to go have dinner with her if she was just doing it to be nice to a guy who was almost old enough to be her father.

"If you follow me, there's a nice Greek diner I know, just a couple exits up?" She smiled up at him.

"Sounds great," he found himself agreeing.

She waited while he got back into his truck and gave him another minute before she signaled and pulled back out onto the highway.

Following her down the road, watching her taillights, put him in mind of helping her into the cab the first time and he couldn't help wondering what it would be like to cup that derriere in his hands and maybe snuggle up against her from behind. Heaven. That's what it would be, pure heaven.

Soon they were pulling off the interstate and he followed her into the parking lot of a large Greek restaurant. He'd been here before, a couple times. It was busy, but not too busy. They could get comfortable, enjoy a meal together and talk. Okay, even if nothing ever comes of it, I'm going to enjoy having a meal with an attractive woman and I'll have plenty to think about at night for a while.

A terrible thought occurred to him. What if she was one of those women who just liked to make friends with guys? He didn't think he could handle seeing her as a friend on a regular basis. The attraction was just too strong. Okay, knock it off. Find out whether you like her company before you get any more involved.

* * * *

Two hours later they had talked and laughed their way through dinner then lingered over coffee and dessert.

"How could you have never noticed it before?" he asked, grinning.

"I know! Right? But, it's just one of those things your eyes glaze over. You know you have to avoid them so you don't think anymore about it." She shrugged but she was grinning too. He had a fantastic smile and a great laugh, deep and rich.

The check had been sitting on the table for at least half an hour and she picked it up rather reluctantly. She didn't want the evening to end. She wasn't the type to just invite a man back to her house but . . . she had a nice little one story dark green bungalow she'd bought herself after the divorce.

Jason opened his mouth as if to protest over the check then seemed to reconsider and just said, "Can I leave the tip?"

"Sure," she smiled.

He threw a few bills down and grabbed her coat to hold it for her.

As they left the restaurant, he put a hand to the small of her back to guide her out in front of him. Even through her coat, there was something intimate about the gesture and Madeline shivered.

He walked her to her car. The time had come to say good-bye but she simply didn't want to. He didn't seem to want to either.

"Thank you for dinner," he said.

"My pleasure," she smiled up at him.

He leaned in, giving her plenty of time to say no, moving slowly, but when his mouth touched hers she arched up into the kiss. He slid his fingers into her hair, and cupped her head, supporting it as their lips brushed then melded and his tongue slid into her mouth to dance with hers.

They broke apart, both breathing more heavily. "I don't want this evening to end," he said.

"I don't either," she admitted. She bit her lip, looking up at him, trying to decide how far she was willing to go. Take a chance, it'll be worth it, her intuition told her. She smiled. "Follow me home."

His eyes traveled over her face. "Are you sure?"

There was no indecision anymore. "Yes," she said.

* * * *

It was a twenty minute drive and she drove slowly, as if she were worried about losing him, but there was no way he was going to let that happen. When they arrived, he hopped of the truck and went to open her car door for her, offering her his hand again.

He looked at her face, searching for some sign to be sure she hadn't changed her mind but she just smiled up at him serenely. He felt an urgent need to kiss her again. As he leaned in, her arms went around his neck, his lean body pressing into her soft one.

He caressed her shoulders, pulling her into him then slid his hands down to cup and knead her firm, full buttocks. When they finally broke apart, he took a step back and simply stared into her luminous face, amazed at his good fortune in not only finding this beautiful and charming woman but in her being more than ready to find him.

Madeline took him by the hand and led him up a little flagstone path between rows of dried flowers to the front door of her house. Jason could picture the little dark green one story house with a riot of summer flowers, like laughter, in front of it in the warmer months. There were cabbage rose bushes along the house that would hold a riot of blooms in the summer months. It suited her perfectly.

Inside, Madeline turned on a few little lamps and took his coat. "Would you like a drink? I don't have much, but there's whiskey or wine?"

"Whiskey would be fine," he replied.

"I'll be right back."

The dress she had on was made of some thick, stretchy cream colored material that swayed beautifully as she walked away and Jason enjoyed every moment of it until she stepped out of view. He took a deep breath to steady himself and looked around at the cozy little living room they'd walked into, with its overstuffed chairs and books, framed pictures and little glass pieces tucked into shelves on the wall. One of the pictures caught his attention, it was of Madeline at some kind of riotous street party, like Mardis Gras or Carnival, wearing a halter top that showed her cleavage to it's best advantage, her sleek blond hair caught back, sunglasses on, a glass in one hand and laughing. He wished he had been there.

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byMagicaPractica© 14 comments/ 28960 views/ 9 favorites

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