Rick pulled up into the drive after an especially hard day at the power plant, glad that he'd tacked an extra day off onto his vacation. He was exhausted — ready for a shower and a lazy weekend. Loud music greeted him as soon as he opened the car door. He shook his head and chuckled, making his way to the door.
Most of the neighbors complained, and his sister had commented more than once about the white trash who had moved into the trailer next door. Rick took a live and let live approach, able to more or less ignore the cluttered yard and loud music. At least the music was simply loud, and not filled with overblown bass thumping his walls. The youngsters who had moved in next door were both nineteen, and though he was forty, he wasn't so old as to not remember being that age.
A quick peek out the window made him pause. Billy was under a shade tree, working on a dirt bike — a regular sight out the rear window. What was not a common sight was Summer lying on a beach towel in the yard, wearing a skimpy bikini.
"Good lord," Rick muttered under his breath as he drank in the sight of her. Honey blonde hair fanned out around her face. The sparse cloth of her bikini bottom revealed every inch of her long, gorgeous legs. The top likewise did little to hide her breasts, which were perky little handfuls.
Fortunately, she had her eyes closed and Billy was engrossed in his greasy engine, because Rick stood staring out the part between the curtains for far longer than he should have. He hadn't been with anyone since the divorce three years ago, and the sex had been sparse for the last several years of his marriage anyway. The sight of the gorgeous young woman had simply mesmerized him.
Tearing his eyes away, he blew out a long breath and adjusted his erection, which had swollen as he admired her. He was a couple of minutes into a shower before it ever drooped.
A weather report blared over the clock radio the next morning, confirming warnings that had been in the air for days. The whole state was under an excessive heat warning, with the heat index expected to reach around 110. Never fond of the heat, he would have been miserable and irritable if there had been any need to go out in it.
He stretched and slipped out of bed. His only plan for the weekend and the following week of vacation was sleeping in and watching television in the air conditioning, so the forecast didn't bother him in the slightest.
After whipping up some breakfast, he settled in to do exactly that. A World War II marathon on the History Channel kept him engrossed — the perfect start to a lazy vacation. Once or twice, he heard odd thumps from outside, but assumed it was Billy working on something and did a fair job of ignoring it. He'd been young once, and wasn't one to complain.
Upon returning from the bathroom during a commercial break, a different sound caught his attention. He stepped toward the window, having heard Billy and Summer shouting at each other. Through the curtains, he saw them face to face in the yard, screaming at each other. It was hard to make out the words, but Summer's final scream of, "Fuck you, bastard," came through loud and clear.
She spun on her heel and started to walk back to the trailer, but Billy grabbed her arm and jerked her back. She clawed at him with her other hand, trying to get free, and he suddenly backhanded her.
Rick was moving even as she stumbled back and fell hard on her bottom. He threw open the back door and shouted, "Hey, now."
"Go back in the house, old man. This is none of your business," Billy growled.
Rick ignored him and crossed the yard. He could see the red mark on the blonde's face, and the tears streaming from her dazed eyes. "Summer, are you okay?"
"I said go back in the house, old man," Billy repeated, turning with balled fists.
The words sprang to Rick's lips almost as soon as they formed in his brain. "I may be old, but at least I am a man, and not some punk hitting a woman."
"I will knock you the fuck out."
"Stop!" Summer cried out as she tried to rise, but it was too late.
Billy sprang forward with a growl, his fist cocked. Rick's training from the Marine Corps and subsequent years of karate kicked in, and he moved without thought. In the space of a heartbeat, he dodged the punch, grabbed the younger man's wrist, twisted it behind his back, and drove Billy to his knees.
Billy's voice was an octave or so higher than usual, somewhere between pleading and demand. "Ow, mother-fucker, let go."
"Please stop," Summer asked, touching his arm.
Rick released him, and Billy grabbed his arm, scooting away across the grass.
Summer looked down at him and said, "We're through, Billy. Nobody hits me."
The younger man started to rise. "Bitch, I'll..."
Rick stepped between them and growled, "Get in your truck and leave. You've got three seconds before I call the police. With your handprint still on her face, you'll go straight to jail."
"This isn't over, you old son-of-a-bitch. You either, whore." Despite his brash words, Billy was walking backwards toward his truck.
Choosing not to answer him, Rick turned to Summer instead. "Are you okay? You should really call the police anyway."
"He's... He's just drunk."
The truck roared to life, tires squealing as Billy tore out onto the road.
"That's no excuse."
"I meant what I said. I'm done with him. I just want it to be over."
Rick nodded. "Okay. Have you got someone to be here with you when he comes back to get his stuff?"
"Good. I'm sorry about all this."
She rubbed at the red mark on her face and offered a half smile. "Don't be. Thank you."
"You're welcome. If you need anything, I'm right next door. Don't hesitate to ask."
"Thanks, Mr. Willard."
"Rick. We're neighbors."
"Rick," she repeated, her smile a little wider.
He gave her a nod and returned her smile, feeling good as he walked back to the house.
Concern for his neighbor kept Rick's eyes and ears open throughout the day. Fortunately, Billy had either sobered up and had a flash of reason, or one of his friends had, because someone else came to clean his belongings out of the trailer late that evening. Rick hit the rack feeling fairly comfortable that Summer was safe from another drunken rampage for the evening.
He'd barely had time to have breakfast the next morning before a knock sounded on the door. When he answered it, he found Summer, dripping with sweat and her eyes red from crying. Jumping to conclusions, he said, "Let me get the phone and we'll call the police. He's..."
"No, Mr. Will... Rick," she interrupted, "It's not like that. He didn't come back. It's just that... Well..."
"Come in out of that heat. It's like Satan's breath out there."
"Thanks." She stepped inside and a violent shiver ran through her as the air-conditioning hit her sweat-soaked clothes. Rick had to concentrate hard to ignore how her damp top outlined her bra in perfect detail. "So, what's wrong?" he asked after closing the door.
"The electric and stuff was all in Billy's name, and the jerk shut them off." Her eyes welled up again. "They came out and turned everything off today, but they say that they can't turn anything back on until Monday at the earliest. Everything in the fridge is going to go bad. I can't take a shower. The..." A sob stole her breath.
Laying a hand on her shoulder, Rick said, "Okay. First things first, let's go clean your fridge out and get everything over here. I've got plenty of room, so there's no need to worry about that."
She sniffled and said, "That's what I was kind of hoping."
"Let me grab a couple of coolers to put everything in for the moment."
"Thank you so much," she said while wiping her eyes.
"Like I said, we're neighbors. Don't be afraid to ask if you need any help. I'll be right back with those coolers."
Finding a pair of coolers in the well-organized loft over the garage took next to no time, and he was soon walking across the yard with Summer. All the doors and windows were open, but it didn't seem to do any good. Right at the threshold, the temperature shot up.
"Lord, it's like an oven in here," he commented, sweat already beading on his forehead, and he barely had a foot in the door.
"It's miserable. It only took like fifteen minutes after the power went out."
"This isn't safe. Let me take care of the fridge. You grab some clothes, head back over to the house, take a shower, and cool down. The bathroom is the first door on the right. I can't conscience you being over here and ending up in an ambulance from heat stroke."
"Yes, you can. I'm not taking no for an answer."
Hints of a smile emerged on her face. "Thanks, Rick. I didn't know what I was going to do."
"Well, you do now." He gave a nod and headed toward the fridge.
Emptying everything into the cooler didn't take long, as there wasn't much. Over half of it was beer. Summer had only been gone with her armload of clothing for a minute or two when he finished and made an escape from the sweltering trailer. He breathed a great sigh of relief when he stepped back into the cool confines of his own house.
The fridge in the garage only had a few beers in it, so there was plenty of room for Summer's things. When he walked back inside after putting everything away, the sound of the shower running tickled his ear.
He couldn't help it. The sound conjured up images of her standing nude with water cascading down her beautiful young body. Her clothes — her bra and panties — would be lying on the bathroom floor. Blood rushed between his legs, draining out of his brain, and he stood daydreaming for a minute or two before his conscience got the better of him.
You're supposed to be helping a neighbor out, not imagining her naked.
The silent self-admonition and a determined shake of his head chased the images away, but not quickly. Rick sat down, flipping on the television for the additional distraction, and to cover the noise of the shower.
It worked right up until she emerged from the bathroom with damp hair, wearing a pair of shorts and a tight t-shirt. Bra straps dangled from the bundle of clothing under her arm.
She sighed as she walked into the living room. "Oh, that felt so good. Thank you."
"You're welcome." Good lord, she's beautiful. Billy's a damn fool.
She sat down in a chair. "I am so dreading going to work. I don't want to go back out in that again."
"I picked the right week for vacation, that's for sure."
"What I wouldn't give for a vacation. I'd take a nap right now. I barely slept last night, and I have to go to work in a couple of hours."
Rick stood up. "Well, the couch is a hide-a-bed."
She shook her head. "You're watching TV."
"Got one in the bedroom."
"You're just going to tell me not to argue with you, aren't you?"
He chuckled as he walked to the bedroom. "Have a nice nap."
Summer was out like a light right until he awakened her to go to work. Looking at her lying asleep was almost too much, and he wasn't sure whether to be relieved or disappointed when she headed out to the car. Things settled into a more normal routine once he was alone, but soon enough, her car pulled up next door.
Despite the sun being down, a glance at the thermometer revealed that it was still almost 90 degrees outside. Thinking that the temptation couldn't get much worse, and that he'd survived so far, he headed for the back door and called out to her.
"You'll never get any sleep with it still like this. The couch is yours, if you want it."
"God, thank you. Just going to grab a couple of things."
"I'll leave the door unlocked. Come on in."
A couple of minutes later, she walked in with a bag. "It's still horrible in there. How did people live before air conditioning?"
Laughing, Rick answered, "You just got used to it, I guess. I can't handle it like I used to. I'm going to have a shower. Probably won't be up long, so the couch and the TV are yours."
Unfortunately, his prediction didn't exactly go as planned. True enough, he went to bed as soon as he got out of the shower, but sleep eluded him. It started with Summer going to take her own shower, once again reminding him that a beautiful young woman was naked in his home — and with only a single wall separating them this time. Tired despite his inability to sleep, his daydreams were vivid, just short of real dreams, and fueled by his subconscious to go places he would have never allowed otherwise. The hours ticked by, and water continued to cascade down Summer's body in his mind's eye long after the shower had shut off.
At some point, he finally dropped off, only to awaken again. A glance at the clock told him it was nearly two a.m., and he grunted in frustration while flipping the pillow over to the cold side. As he settled in and tried to go back to sleep, he thought he heard something from the front room.
Assuming that Summer was either still up, or had fallen asleep with the television on, he tried to ignore it and go back to sleep. As the night had worn on, the temperature outside had finally dropped, giving the air conditioner a reprieve. It wound down, and he heard the sounds clearly in the quiet house.
At first, he thought the whimpers heralded his guest having a nightmare. Gradually, the quiet sounds grew more frequent, and took on a completely different tone that was impossible to mistake for anything other than pleasure.
Rick snapped fully awake as he realized that Summer was masturbating.
"Ah. Ah. Ah. Mmm!"
Rock hard and throbbing, he heard her climax. The air conditioner kicked back on to combat the still warm night, and he blew out a long breath. There was no helping it. Beyond the point of conscience or propriety, he reached for a box of tissue.
Rick had shut off his alarm clock when it sounded, far from ready to get up after a restless night. Only an hour later, he got a wake-up call anyway. The smell of bacon and coffee worked its magic, overcoming lethargy and drawing him out of bed.
"Morning," Summer greeted him as he walked into the kitchen.
She was dressed far more conservatively today in a loose t-shirt and capri pants. Remarkably, he didn't feel uncomfortable around her, despite what had happened in the deep of the night. Maybe I just needed to let off a little pressure, he thought, and then said, "What's this, then?"
"Breakfast, silly. I have to do something to keep from feeling like a mooch."
His stomach grumbling, Rick smiled and said, "Smells good."
"Done, too. Go sit down. You're on vacation, remember?"
Hard to argue with that.
Rick sat back and groaned after cleaning his plate. "Lord, that was good. First time I've had eggs without broken yolks in a dog's age. Never could get that right."
Summer grinned and took another sip of her coffee. "Nice to cook for someone who appreciates it for once."
"Appreciate ain't a strong enough word. Going to need a crane to get out of this chair."
She stood, still smiling, and picked up her plate, sitting it on top of his. "Now the sucky part — washing the dishes."
"Yep." He groaned and levered up out of the chair.
"I've got it," she protested.
He shook his head. "I'll dry."
Summer filled the sink and squeezed in dish washing liquid. "You're pretty self-sufficient."
"Haven't had a lot of choice but to learn."
"Know what you mean. I had to learn everything as I went. Billy was no help." She rolled her eyes.
"Don't know what you saw in him." As soon as he said it, he mentally kicked himself.
She shrugged. "Honestly, I don't even know any more. Things were going wrong for a while, but it was routine, you know?"
Remembering the last few years of his marriage, he nodded. "Hard to think about starting over again. You just accept that good enough is good enough."
"Well, I know better now." She handed over the first plate. "Here you go."
To his amazement, he fell easily into the conversation. Despite the difference in their ages, she was just starting what he'd been working through for the last three years, and they had a lot in common because of it. They talked about work irritations and annoying relatives, every subject leading into another. When she walked out to her car to go to work, he found himself watching her drive away with a wide grin on his face.
It was only after she passed out of sight that he snapped back into reality. "Old fool," he grumbled to himself. You're twice her age. Pull yourself together.
Thinking it was time for a major distraction, he headed for the garage to tinker with the old lawn tractor to see if he could get the beast running again.
Here we go again, Rick thought as the shower kicked on that evening. The only saving grace was that her power should be back on the next day. Once she had air conditioning again, he could end his self-induced torture with a clear conscience. Of course, part of him wanted that torture to go on for a long, long time. He enjoyed her company.
She was wearing a chocolate brown, fitted top with spaghetti straps and baggy shorts when she emerged to walk gingerly into the room. She sat down on the opposite end of the couch with a groan and flexed her toes — wincing.
"Oh, my feet hurt so bad."
"Long day at work, huh?"
She nodded. "Don't suppose you have a foot massager you could let me borrow?"
"Just these," he quipped back, lifting one hand. He had meant it entirely as a technology versus good honest sweat joke, and only realized that he'd actually made an offer when her eyes lit up.
Knowing that this was a bad idea, he couldn't help himself. "Well, I could give it a try."
Summer pulled her feet up on the couch and stretched out her legs toward him. He couldn't help but notice that her feet were just as beautiful as the rest of her. They were dainty and smooth, with the nails painted a soft pink. Swallowing, he cupped her left heel in his hand, lifting it, and began to knead the sole.
She let out a long, sensual moan, tilting her head back at the same time. His breath caught in his throat as the motion thrust her perfect breasts up toward the ceiling. "Oh my god, that feels good," she said in a breathless whisper as the moan trailed away.
That was only the beginning. She continued to moan, her breasts rising and falling. Though he did his best to keep his eyes on the task at hand, his gaze still strayed to those perfect mounds, and her long legs. He was fighting the blood trying to rush into his loins, and had an almost overwhelming urge to lean down and kiss her toes, one by one. The minutes slipped by, and he was in heaven.
She shifted position just before his gaze wandered to her body again, and what he saw finally shocked him enough to slip out of the trance. The angle of her leg, the way the loose shorts hung from it, and the light over his shoulder all conspired to let him see straight up the leg of the shorts to the panties beneath.
Tearing his gaze away from the sight of her mound covered only by thin cotton, he asked, "How's that?"
"So much better. Thank you," she answered as she sat up. "You're good at that."
"You're welcome." Snatching up a nearby newspaper, he put it in a strategic place as he rose, hiding his erection. "Well, I'm off for a shower and then bed. Goodnight, Summer."
He briefly considered taking care of his erection in the shower, but opted for talking it down instead. Not an easy task, considering how the sounds she had made as he massaged her feet had merged with what he'd heard the night before. Once in the bedroom, he knew that his thoughts were going to drift back to that, so he picked up a book from the nightstand.