The Retreat Ch. 02byharemgirl©
Author's note: Again, sorry for the delay between chapters. Time for writing is still pretty limited these days. If you're one of those impatient types, you might want to wait until all the chapters are posted before reading this story. I don't want to rush the writing, but I'll get it all posted as quickly as I can.
Nick unpacked his suitcases, putting his clothes away mechanically. He was a seasoned traveler. The process of settling into a room didn't require any thinking on his part, allowing his thoughts to dwell on the past. Although ten years had passed, the images of when he had first met Jess were clear and crisp. He had tried to bury them in his subconscious, but now that they had been unearthed, there wasn't even a thin layer of dust to soften their sheen.
Placing his empty suitcase in the closet, Nick released another anguished moan and sank onto the edge of the bed. He rested his elbows on his knees and cradled his head between his hands, wishing he could blot out the memories entirely...
It had been a rainy October morning, and he was rushing to his Calculus class, mentally reviewing the formulas he had learned that semester. He had to do well on this midterm. It was vital that he get an 'A' in all his math and science classes if he hoped to get into the Masters program he had been eyeing. Competition for the program was stiff, and although his grades were impressive, one poor mark could dash his hopes.
He had been in a hurry. There was only fifteen minutes between classes for him to get from one end of campus to the other. He usually made it with a couple of minutes to spare, but that morning, he wanted to get to his class early and have time to settle in for the exam. With that thought in mind, he kept his head down against the rain and practically jogged along the path.
That's when he met her. Well, he didn't actually meet her, he practically mowed her down. All he saw was the flash of her runners and the mud splattered bottoms of her sweat pants coming directly toward him before they collided.
"Oh!" she squeaked, flailing her arms as she began to fall backward.
Nick reflexively grabbed her around the waist and hauled her against him. Their eyes locked in stunned surprise, and they both held their breath. A suspended moment passed, as they both became aware of every place their bodies were touching from chest to knee, and her eyes widened further. She gently pushed against his chest, and Nick set her away from him, maintaining his hold on her arms until he was sure she was steady on her feet.
"Sorry about that," he murmured. "Are you okay?"
"Yeah. I didn't see you either," she said. "I usually pay more attention when I run, but I just happened to be looking down."
For the first time, Nick took in her appearance. She was dressed in a drab grey sweat suit that revealed that she was slender but curvaceous. Her hair was pulled into a casual pony tail, but it was so wet, it was impossible to tell what color it was. Her face was devoid of makeup, and still, it was the most arresting face he had ever seen. Her cheekbones were high, her nose slim and finely wrought, her chin delicate but firm. Her lips were full and pink, and as he watched, her tongue darted out to moisten them. But it was her eyes that caught and held his attention. They were large and almond shaped, fringed by dark lashes and the irises were the most wonderful shade of deep blue.
She cleared her throat nervously and took another step backward, freeing her arms from his grasp. She flashed him a brief grin and stepped around him.
"Well, have a good day," she said before turning to jog away.
She turned back toward him but jogged in place. "What?"
"I can't let you just disappear. What's your name?" Nick asked, giving her the grin that had always gotten him results with women.
She eyed him with amusement, cocking her head slightly to one side as she appraised him. "My name's Jessica, what's yours?"
"Nick. Can I have your phone number? I'd like to see you again."
Jessica laughed and shook her head, her eyes twinkling with mischief. "I don't give my number out to strangers. Maybe I'll see you around campus sometime."
Once again, she turned and began to jog away. "Wait!" Nick called insistently, and once again she turned back. "Where's the best place to find you on campus?"
"Sometimes I go to the library to study in the evenings. You might catch me there." She flashed him a flirty smile and turned away. "I've got to run. See ya!"
With that, she was gone, and he grinned as he watched her shapely ass disappear around a curve in the path. It was only when she was gone from sight that he remembered his exam.
He raced to his class, arriving five minutes after the exam had started. Luckily, his preparation paid off, and he aced the test. He handed his exam in and left the building, making his way back to his dorm.
His thoughts were firmly centered on Jessica. Nick was surprised that he was so anxious to see her again. With women, it was usually out of sight out of mind. He enjoyed their company while he was with them, but he had never met a girl who held his interest for long. He had never really pursued a woman. Women usually pursued him.
Later that evening after eating his dinner, Nick grabbed his textbooks and headed for the library. Jessica hadn't said where she studied, and it was a big building. He searched the various floors, growing more and more impatient when he didn't see her. Finally deciding that she hadn't arrived yet, he settled in at a table and tried to study, 'tried' being the operative word. He got absolutely nothing accomplished. He couldn't concentrate because he was too busy watching for Jessica to arrive.
When two hours of futile waiting had passed, Nick gave up and returned to his dorm. He was surprised by his level of frustration. It wasn't as if they had a date. She hadn't promised to be at the library at a certain time, but he had assumed that she would make an appearance. She obviously wasn't as anxious to see him as he was to see her, and that stung his ego.
Against his better judgment, he returned to the library for the next two evenings, and each time, he was disappointed. By the fourth night, he had given up on her, and he was finally able to concentrate on his project for Marketing class. He was deeply engrossed in preparing a market analysis when he felt a prickling sense of being watched. He glanced up and saw her.
Jessica was standing just inside the doorway, and when their eyes met, she smiled. As she made her way to his table, he greedily took in her appearance. She was dressed in slim fitting jeans that hugged her hips and thighs, a soft blue sweater that molded her high breasts, and her hair was loose around her shoulders. It fell in soft waves around her face and shone with red highlights. She was even more beautiful than he remembered.
"Mind if I join you?" she asked with a raised brow.
Nick returned her smile and indicated the chair beside him. "Be my guest."
She eyed the chair but opted to take a seat across from him. "I need some room to spread out," she said in answer to his disappointed look.
Nick leaned back in his chair and watched her retrieve a laptop and a thick stack of papers from her backpack. She turned on the computer and arranged her notes into several piles while she waited for the machine to boot up. Noticing Nick's interest, Jessica curved her mouth into a questioning smile.
"Nothing," he said with a shrug. "I was just wondering where you've been for the past several days."
Her face lit with pleased surprise as her smile turned up with a teasing slant. "Have you been looking for me?"
Nick leaned forward and his voice took on a playful growl. "You knew I would be, didn't you?"
Jessica met his eyes and her smile gradually faded. "Not for sure. Anyway, it isn't like I've been avoiding you or anything. I had to work the last few nights."
"Where do you work?"
"On campus," she said with a grin.
Just then, the librarian cleared her throat. They both turned to see the woman's stern look of warning. Jessica gave her an apologetic nod and turned her attention back to her computer.
Nick watched as her fingers caressed the keys. Her face shone with the reflected blue light from the screen, and her brow crinkled slightly as she opened a document and settled in to work. She was beautiful.
"You like to keep me guessing, don't you?" he whispered, returning to the thread of their conversation.
Jessica shot him a rueful look. "Not purposely. I'm just careful about revealing too much about myself to strangers. You never know when someone will turn out to be some wacko serial rapist or something."
Nick waggled his brows playfully as his eyes dropped briefly to her breasts. He captured her gaze and grinned devilishly. "Now that's not a bad idea."
Jessica giggled softly. "Shhh. You're going to get us kicked out, and I have work to do."
"What are you working on?"
She made a comical face of disgust. "A paper on the many characters in Chaucer's 'The Canterbury Tales'. It's captivating stuff, let me tell you," she whispered with heavy sarcasm.
Nick was captivated, but not by the topic of her paper. He tried to follow her lead and concentrate on his own work, but his attention kept slipping back to her. He finally gave up and simply watched her. Jessica wasn't immune to his interest. Her eyes kept flitting up to meet his, and after an hour of mutual, nonverbal flirting, she heaved a resigned sigh and fixed him with an accusing glare.
"It's obvious that this was a bad idea," she whispered. "I can't think straight when you are looking at me that way!"
"Me neither," Nick said with a grin. "Let's get out of here."
Jessica appeared to debate with herself for a few seconds before finally nodding agreement. They loaded their backpacks and she led the way out of the library. Nick enjoyed the subtle sway of her hips until they were outside, where she turned to face him. She opened her mouth, but before she could say anything, he held up a hand to stop her.
"Trying to study together is obviously not a good idea, so why don't we go for dinner tomorrow night?"
She drew in a deep breath and let it out on a long sigh. "Look, Nick. I'm trying to concentrate on school right now. I've got too much on my plate for a serious relationship."
Her reaction was so different from the ones Nick was accustomed to that he was momentarily stunned. He shrugged, trying to appear nonchalant about his invitation, despite the fact that he desperately wanted a date with her.
"Come on. We'll keep it casual. Pizza at Marco's, how does that sound?"
Jessica searched his face. He sensed that she was about to refuse him, so he rushed on.
"Come on, nothing serious. You have to eat, so it might as well be with me."
She hesitated for another few seconds before nodding her agreement. "Okay. How about I meet you there at 7:00?"
Nick smiled with relief and pleasure. "Seven, it is. Can I walk you home?"
"Don't push your luck, mister!" Jessica put up a hand as if to ward him off. "I'll see you tomorrow night."
Jessica flashed him a grin before turning on her heel and walking away. Nick watched her until she was out of sight, pleased to note that she glanced back at him a couple of times. When she was finally gone, he released a sigh and headed to his own dorm.
The next day passed interminably slowly. Nick tuned out his professors, daydreaming instead about Jessica. He thought the hours would never pass.
When the appointed time came, he arrived early. He paced restlessly until he spotted Jessica coming down the street. She took his breath away. She was wearing a red sweater and a black skirt that reached just above her knees. Her breasts thrust outward, jiggling gently as she walked, and her hair swung against her shoulders. Her legs were swathed in tights, and her calves and ankles were wonderfully curved. As he watched her walking toward the restaurant, Nick imagined those legs wrapped around his waist, her head thrown back, and her succulent breasts offered up to him. His cock throbbed, and he cleared his throat to avoid releasing a pained groan.
Jessica spotted him and smiled. He held the door open for her, and she slipped inside. She turned to face him, and her eyes made a hasty assessment of his appearance. Her smile deepened with pleasure.
"Hi," she breathed.
"Am I late?"
"Just on time," he said with a grin. "I don't know about you, but I'm starving."
They were seated at a corner booth, and the waiter took their order. Nick winked at her from across the table.
"You like exactly the same things on your pizza that I do," he drawled. "I think we were destined to be together." Jessica's sparkling eyes and throaty laughter sent another jolt of blood into his loins.
"Don't make too much out of it," she said. "I'm sure lots of people like black olives, mushrooms and Italian sausage."
"Yeah, but it was the extra sliced garlic that sealed the deal. Is this your way of testing whether I'm a vampire?"
"Possibly," she said with a playful shrug.
The waiter brought their drinks, and Nick clinked his glass of coke against hers. "May this meal together be the first of many." Jessica met his eye over the top of her glass and took a deep sip, signaling her acceptance of his toast. "So, oh mysterious one, tell me about yourself."
Jessica raised her brows in challenge and shrugged. "What do you want to know?"
"Everything! Why don't you start with your birth and work your way up from there," Nick suggested with a grin.
"I don't want to bore you with the gory details," Jessica replied. "Why don't you ask me whatever you want to know, and I'll answer your questions."
Nick recognized the playful challenge in her response, and he applied himself to the task of getting to know all about Jessica. He noticed that she supplied him with minimal personal details. They made a game of him probing and her dodging his more in depth queries. The attraction between them was palpable, thrumming just beneath the surface as they verbally sparred. By the time their pizza was eaten, he was even more intrigued by her than he had been before.
He paid their bill, and they walked back to campus, still engrossed in their verbal game. Jessica stopped beneath the streetlight at a major crossroads and smiled up at him.
"Thank you for dinner. It was fun."
"It was my pleasure," Nick said, realizing that he really didn't want the evening to end. "Can I have your phone number now that we're no longer strangers?"
Jessica treated him to another of her husky laughs that set his blood on fire. "No, but I'm sure I'll see you around."
"Oh no you don't," Nick growled, capturing her hand in his. Her fingers were warm and soft in his. "You can't just leave me hanging like this, not knowing when I might see you again. What are you doing tomorrow night? Tomorrow's Saturday. How about dinner and a movie?"
"Sorry, I'll be working."
"What about during the day then?"
Jessica nibbled her bottom lip with indecision. "Well, I have to do laundry tomorrow morning, and I prefer the machines at the SUB. I'll probably be there about 10:00."
"Washing clothes isn't my favorite activity, but I'd better take what I can get," Nick said with a rueful grin.
A long moment passed as they smiled at each other. Jessica laced her fingers through his, bringing their palms together. Nick struggled with the urge to kiss her. Jessica cleared her throat and stepped back, breaking the contact with his hand.
"Thanks again for dinner."
"I'll see you tomorrow," Nick said.
He was becoming unpleasantly accustomed to the habit of watching her walk away, and he did so again with a sharp ache in his gut. He waited for the blood to stop pounding through his cock before heading to his own dorm.
The next morning, he arrived at the Laundromat a few minutes before ten, but Jessica was already there. He grinned as he watched her sorting through her clothes, separating the whites from the colors. He approached soundlessly, and he was close enough for his breath to tickle her nape before she realized he was behind her.
"If we combine my clothes with yours, we'll have two full loads instead of four half full ones," he murmured.
Jessica let out a squeal of surprise and spun to face him. She belatedly realized how closely he stood to her, and her breasts brushed against his chest with every breath she took. Nick was certain he caught a glimpse of desire in the depths of her eyes before she flashed him a reproachful pout and gently pushed him back a step.
"Don't scare me like that," she admonished.
Nick chuckled and set his laundry bag beside hers. "What do you say? Shall we throw all our stuff in together?"
Jessica rolled her eyes in mock exasperation. "Hmmm, I'm not sure that's such a good idea, Nick. I barely know you," she teased.
"And how better to get to know someone than by sorting through their underwear," he responded with a grin.
Without waiting for her approval, he started adding his clothes to hers, and they soon had the two washing machines loaded and running. They sat on the top of the machines, thigh to thigh and shoulder to shoulder as they chatted. They resumed their conversation from the previous evening as if there had never been an interruption.
They moved the clothes from washers to dryers, laughing and flirting the entire time. Much sooner than Nick would have wished, the dryers buzzed. They began to sort the clothes, separating his from hers and placing them in their laundry bags. When Nick pulled out a pair of bikini panties and held them up with a lecherous grin, Jessica's face turned bright red.
"Give me those," she said, snatching the panties from his hand and shoving them into her bag. "You do the colors and I'll do the whites," she grumbled, switching places with him.
Nick's grin only grew wider when he reached into the dryer and snagged a sexy pair of red lace panties and a matching bra. He caught her eye and waggled his brows at her suggestively.
"I told you that doing laundry together was a good way to get to know someone," he teased. "I had no idea you were a fan of Victoria's Secret."
Jessica groaned and grabbed the lingerie from his hand, casting a quick glance around to make sure no one else had seen them. She blushed even brighter when Nick released an occasional chuckle. They finally finished the chore, and headed out the door together.
"Can I see you after work?" Nick asked.
Jessica met his eye and noticed that all traces of teasing were gone. She took a deep breath and finally nodded.
"Alright," she whispered. "If you want to."
"I definitely want to," Nick said huskily.
They were both aware of the double meaning to their words, and Jessica blushed lightly. Nick swept his thumb along the high plane of her cheek.
"I love the way you blush," he whispered. "You're even more beautiful when your cheeks turn pink."
Jessica held his stare, her eyes full of confusion. She cleared her throat and looked briefly away before meeting his gaze once again.
"I work at the Roasted Bean," she whispered breathlessly. "I get off at nine."
Nick gave her a dazzling smile. "I'll see you then."
She returned his smile and nodded shyly before waving goodbye. As he watched her leave, Nick's heart soared. He had never thought he would enjoy doing laundry, but he had just spent the most enjoyable morning of his life.
Once again, the hours dragged by until he saw her that evening. He showed up just before nine, and he grinned at her through the coffee shop window. She rushed to finish her shift. She was breathless and her eyes were shimmering with expectation a few minutes later when she emerged from the shop.