tagRomanceTogether—You and Me

Together—You and Me

byrwsteward©

Dean scanned the directory beside the elevator as he ran his finger ran down the listings. There it was on the fourth floor; family court, that's where he needed to be. The elevator doors opened, and he stepped in.

Although Dean had never stepped foot into the county court building, it was exactly the way he had envisioned it. The ceramic floor had long ago lost its luster from countless footfalls. Dark rich mahogany woodwork detailed all the doors and windows. Small brass plaques fastened above each door served as a guide for visitors. A dozen frosted ornate chandeliers hung from the high ceiling, their yellow light illuminating the people milling about below. Several old oil paintings hung on the walls; portraits of people whose names were lost to the public. Dean stood and took in the sights of the main floor.

Court secretaries from various departments scurried about from office to office, their shoes making a tap-clack sound on the tiled floor. The court staff appeared to be the only ones hustling.

Those with appointments with the court seemed to be just milling about. A few women dabbed at their eyes with tissues they clutched in their hands. A number of men stood quietly, their hands folded in front of themselves. Except for the office staff, everywhere he looked, it seemed as though everyone was moving in slow motion. No one seemed eager to move any faster than they had to. It was a depressing place to be.

Dean noticed several sheriff's deputies mingling around the perimeter of the room. They moved constantly from one end of the room to the other as they watched for possible problems. Dean looked at his watch; it was a quarter till ten in the morning. He saw a short, well-dressed young man approaching him.

"Mr. Dean Bradley? I'm Paul Gayle. I'm a junior partner with the law firm you hired to represent you. This hearing is just a formality. Your marriage dissolution won't take more than three, maybe five minutes at the most.

"You'll both be asked a few simple questions. Answer them with a yes or no, the magistrate will read the filing paper for the record, and it's done. In and out in five minutes, max!"

As the two men discussed the coming procedure, Dean's eyes locked onto his soon to be ex-wife as she walked over.

"Mrs. Bradley?" the young lawyer asked.

"Yes, but not for much longer."

"Right..." the lawyer said, "I'll go and find out how much longer we have. They normally run pretty much on time, and I see our case is to be heard at ten. I'll be right back."

Dean said, "Sandy, I'm willing to give it another try if you are. I'll go see a counselor if you'll come with me."

She shook her head pressed her hand against his cheek and said, "Dean, it won't work. We both know it. You've changed since you got back. I can't deal with your problems. I just don't love you anymore, and I've found someone else. Be strong for me and let's get this over with and we'll both move on."

"Okay, it's time," the lawyer said.

They stood in front of the court magistrate as she asked a few questions. As she flipped through a few sheets of paper she said, "I see no issues here. The court grants the dissolution between the parties. Good luck to the both of you." She struck the gavel onto the wooden desk and Dean jumped, startled by the sudden noise.

"There, under five minutes," his lawyer said and he led them out of the courtroom. "That's it. The papers will be recorded and filed, but for all practical purposes, you're both done and now single. I wish the best of luck to both of you."

He shook Dean's hand and checked his watch as he walked toward another couple. Dean let out a long sigh, looked at the clock on the wall, "Six minutes after ten," he said to himself as he stared out the window at the bustling city below.

****

Dean walked into Molly's Bar, an old bar and half-ass restaurant he frequented and took a seat at the bar.

"How'd it go, Dean?" Molly asked.

"Just like the lawyer said it would: in and out in five minutes. You know, it doesn't feel any different being married one minute and single the next. I'm going to miss her, Molly. What am I going to do?"

"I know you're not going to sit here and mope all day. Dean, you're a damn good looking young man and you'll have women hanging from you if you just let Sandy go," Molly said.

Just then more of Dean's friends walked into the bar.

"Hey, Dean! How's it feel being single?" Russell asked.

"Russell," Molly said, "he's feeling pretty low right now."

Russell sat down beside Dean. "When my sister got her divorce, she went out, got some new clothes and hit the singles' dances up. Had one hell of good time, met a lot of good men—a few stinkers as well—but it got her out. She got really serious about a guy she met there. Wait... I think I have one of their cards...Here it is! Christ, Dean, get yourself some new clothes, a big box of condoms and have some fun! "

****

Time constantly moves forward and after a few months, Dean didn't want to admit it, but Molly and his friends were right. He was having a good time at the singles' dances. He met many a beautiful woman and took quite a few of them home, but the chemistry he wanted just wasn't there.

On a chilly September evening Dean found himself at yet another singles' dance. The place was festive and while he was having a good time, he decided he had enough for this evening and left earlier than usual.

As he made his way through the parking lot, he heard a commotion between two parked cars. A woman was desperately trying to fight off some guy. She was trying with all her strength to break out of his grip.

"Leave her alone!" Dean yelled as he ran over.

"This doesn't concern you, buddy!" the stranger snapped back.

She looked over with fear in her eyes and said weakly, "Help me, please..."

That's all it took. Dean reached out and pulled her away from her attacker. Just as she broke away, the assailant took a swing. Dean caught his fist in mid-flight and in the blink of an eye twisted the guy's arm back around his body.

"Leave! Or I'll break it!" Dean said in a commanding voice.

The assailant struggled and Dean applied more twist to the man's arm. "I'll break it right here, right now! I'm giving you an out. Take it! You understand?"

The guy nodded; he was in too much pain to speak. Dean pushed the guy away and he hastily made a retreat to an old beat up pickup truck and drove off.

"You okay?" Dean asked the woman.

"Yes, just a bit ruffled. Thanks for coming to my aid. My name's Amy, Amy Patterson."

Her hands were shaking from what just happened. Her face was red from the flood of adrenalin that had flowed through her blood.

"You're welcome Amy. You know, you shouldn't come out here alone. Get someone to come with you next time you venture out in the parking lot at night. By the way, I'm Dean Bradley. Where're you parked and I'll walk you there."

"What's this?" Dean said as he picked a small purse off the ground. "This must be yours."

He handed it over to Amy and placed it in her hand. He innocently touched her arm.

"You're shaking. Are you sure you'll be okay?" Dean asked.

"I'll be fine. My car's right here. Thanks, Dean. I have to get moving."

"Next time, remember what I said."

Dean walked over to his car, got in and when he turned the key... nothing happened. "Damn! I knew that battery wouldn't last the winter."

He looked out his windshield and saw Amy's car door slam shut. Dean got out and dashed over to her before she drove off. He tapped on her window, and she lowered it a bit.

"I don't suppose you have a set of jumper cables do you? It appears my battery died," Dean said.

"No... But, you did come to my rescue; I could run you home."

"That would be great! I live about ten miles from here. I'll gladly pay for your gas."

"Oh, there's no need. Hop in and point me in the right direction."

Dean jumped into her car, thanked her again, and started to make small talk. He took the opportunity to look her over; he hadn't noticed much about her in the parking lot.

She was wearing a light yellow dress that came down to her mid calves. Dean couldn't tell exactly how tall she was, perhaps five-foot-five, as she had on what appeared to be black heels that were much too high for her. Her hair was swept up, and Dean wondered how long it was. Black bangs came down to just above her eyebrows. A pair of round black-rimmed eyeglasses sat upon her nearly round face, her eyes a deep brown. Amy was attractive in a girl-next-door way.

"Here we go," Dean said as she pulled her car up to the apartment. "You sure can tell autumn is in the air, it's a bit nippy out here. Would you like to come in for a drink?"

"Thanks, but I'm not much of a drinker," Amy said.

"Neither am I. But, I make a really good cup of hot chocolate. None of that water and pre-packaged stuff either. I use whole milk and lots of Hershey's syrup! Come on what do you say? The night's still young. Just one cup?"

"Well...maybe one cup."

Dean unlocked the door to his apartment and they stepped inside. He turned on some lights as he led her over to the sofa. Dean turned and watched her as she moved about his apartment.

"Have a seat. I'll put the milk on the stove."

Amy looked around. There was a solid oak dining table with place mats and dinnerware already set out. Several copper-bottomed pans hung above a small island in the kitchen. Off-white carpet was on the floor.

"This is a nice place you have here, Dean," Amy said. "I was expecting a lot of man clutter. I'm impressed."

She noticed several sheets of parchment paper mounted into glass frames hanging on the walls.

"I've never seen calligraphy like this before! Where in the world did you find such artwork?" Amy asked.

Dean walked over to her and said, "Thank you. I did it myself."

"Oh, you've got to be kidding!" Amy exclaimed, disbelief in her voice. "I've taken classes in calligraphy for years, and I can't even come close to this."

"It's just a hobby of mine. I find it relaxes me. Here, let me show you," he said as he took her hand and led her to his small office.

"Have a seat, Amy," Dean said as he pulled a chair out. "The word calligraphy comes from the Greeks. It means beautiful writing. However, a lot of people try making their letters so fancy and ornate that no one can read them. I don't. I write from my heart. It's the words that are important.

"Take your name... Amy... Can't you feel it? Can't you see how your name just flows? Say it with me out loud... Amy... But it's just not a name. It's your name. I can see in your bright brown eyes how much you love life."

Dean pulled a sheet of paper from a stack then picked up his pen and dipped its tip into the inkwell. He tapped a few drops off the tip.

"I don't use fountain pens, but the real old fashion dip pens and good 'ol India Ink. Now, the first letter is important. You're small, so we don't want the 'A' too big, but it needs a lot of attitude 'cause I can tell you have a fiery spirit. I'll make a swirl here then finish the bottom with a large serif. I feel magic in your name so I give the letter 'M' a mystical stroke.

"The last letter has to be very feminine, just like you, so I'll finish up with a delicate long loop at the end of the 'Y' like that. There... Amy... Not just your name but how your name feels to me. Let me run the blotter over this."

Dean handed the sheet of paper to Amy; her name filled almost half the sheet. She stood there in total disbelief as she looked down at the paper.

"May I keep this?" she asked.

"Of course. Oh, I'd better check on that milk," Dean said. He got up and headed back to the kitchen.

Amy followed him slowly, still looking at her name Dean had scripted out in calligraphy. She just stared and smiled at the ink on the paper.

Dean lowered the lights and brought over a cup of hot chocolate and handed it over to Amy. He turned the gas fireplace on, warming the room and setting the mood.

"Here you go. The best you'll ever get. A simple and basic guilty pleasure."

Amy sat down and sipped the hot liquid.

"Oh... just like my mom use to make when I was a kid. This is good!"

Amy placed the hot cup onto the coffee table and rubbed at her ankles.

"Dean, would you mind if I take my heels off? They're killing my feet," Amy asked.

"No problem. Here, I'll do you one better if you don't mind."

He reached his hands down and pulled both her feet up and placed them across his lap. He could tell she was wearing hose when he touched her legs. Dean worked on the tiny straps that went around her ankles and tried to un-buckled them.

"What did you use to pull these straps tight with? A Vise-Grip?" Dean said as he struggled with the tiny metal pins and buckles on her shoe.

"You mean a strong man like you, who tossed my assailant across a car hood, can't take a lady's high heel off? Do you want me to do it?" Amy giggled as she watched Dean struggle with her heels.

His face blushed from embarrassment. "No, I'll manage," Dean said as he worked the straps out of the buckles.

He slipped her heels off and began to rub her ankles, her toes, and up a bit of her calves.

"Does that feel better?"

"Ohhhh, does it ever. I knew I shouldn't have worn these tonight. I wear heels all the time at work, but these are really high, and I'm not used to them." Amy said.

"If you don't mind my asking, why did you wear them to the dance?"

"I guess you didn't notice," Amy said, "but there are a lot more women than men at those things, and the women are so much better looking than I am. I've got the smallest breasts in the world and skinny white legs. So I tried this tonight. Dean... I've worn skirts so short I couldn't bend over without giving everyone a show. I've tried long dresses, low heels, high heels, sandals, dress slacks, and every possible combination to get a guy's attention.

"There's so much competition out there. I'd ask a guy to dance, and I'd get turned down only to see him get right up with the next beauty queen that talked to him. I know men are visual beings but what exactly do you guys want to see? Would you tell me, 'cause I'm lost?"

"I'm not sure I'm the guy to ask," Dean began, "after all, we're all different. But I'll tell you a man secret if you don't let it out of this room. Every man in the world wants a woman that cooks like his mother, looks like a centerfold out of Playboy, and provides unending great sex with the experience of a high priced escort.

"As for me, I guess I'm a sucker for the standard man bait."

"What bait?" Amy asked.

"Well you know... man bait," Dean said. He thought about how to explain.

"I guess first on my list would be a great smile followed by beautiful eyes; they're the entrance to your soul, you know. Ample breasts are always nice, but not too big. My dad always told me more than a mouth full was a waste. I've always been drawn to a great pair of legs wearing sheer pantyhose and yes, like most men, I'm a sucker for a pair of high heels. But not like the ones you had on tonight. Christ, I don't know how you even walked in those.

"I did wobble a bit in them," Amy admitted.

"I bet you did!"

As Dean continued to describe his ideal woman, Amy pulled her dress up slightly, showing off more of her legs.

"Of course, there's not a man alive that doesn't get turned on by a girl's long hair. There's just something about that clean-yet-flowery-girl-hair smell that drives me wild. Speaking of scents, if you want to be seriously seductive with me, all you have to wear is a yummy-sweet scent like pumpkin and vanilla. When I smell that on a woman I'll be all over her like a bad suit!

"Amy, I hope you don't mind my saying it, but that Patchouli you're wearing is way too strong for you. Sorry... but, you did ask.

"I like to kiss, so the woman I'm after better know how. Amy, have you ever just thought about being... well just you?"

Amy lay there listening to Dean as he rubbed her tired feet. She reached behind her head and pulled her hair loose. She shook her head and Dean watched her black tresses fall around her face. He stopped the foot massage, entranced.

"Wow... Amy, that's nice," Dean said as he looked down at her. Dean slid her feet down to the floor and stood. "How about me warming your drink?"

"Sure," Amy said as she sat up; her long black hair glistened in the dim light of the room as it flowed across her shoulders and down her arms.

Dean came back and poured the last of the hot chocolate into her cup and said, "Now, you tell me Amy, what do you look for in a man?"

Amy pulled at the hem of her dress, then nervously fidgeted with her hair. She dug her toes in the carpet.

"Let's see. I guess I'd like a man with light brown hair, perhaps a bit darker. Not a deal breaker, but blue eyes are a definite plus! He's got to have a great smile. A man that's not afraid to help a woman in need and yet is sensitive and soft-spoken. Of course, like any other red-blooded woman, he's got to be handsome with a great body and strong arms.

"The scent of Burberry Brit cologne will certainly help get my jeans off. But, if a man really truly wants to get me going all he has to do is put a tie on. Not just for a dressy date or a fancy night out on the town, I'd really love to have him wear one for me, for no reason other than to sit in front of a warm fire and kiss.

"That's what I'd like in a man...A man just like you..."

"Why didn't you ask me for a dance when the DJ called for ladies' choice?" Dean asked.

"I'm not pretty enough, so I don't try much anymore."

Dean touched her thigh innocently and said, "You've got to stop beating yourself up. We can't all be super models. Hell, lots of guys would love to have a drop-dead gorgeous young woman hanging from their arms. They have a name for that. It's called 'arm candy.' You know why? Because they're all glossy and sugary sweet but with a hollow center. I'd much rather sit drinking hot chocolate and massaging your tired ankles than be with a super model any day.

"Give me your hand."

Amy held her hand out, and Dean moved himself as close as he could, his waist touched hers. He took Amy's hand and placed his on top of hers.

"We'll do this together...you and me," Dean said as he moved his free arm around Amy's small waist and drew her body even closer to his.

"Point your finger out like this. It's going to be our pen. That's it. Now we're going to write your name right out in front of us. I'll do the writing; you just follow along with my hand. Ready? Let's dip your finger into the ink, there, that's good."

"You're silly!" Amy giggled.

"Okay, arm all the way out, now lean your head over so you can look down your arm to the imaginary paper in front of us."

Dean held Amy's arm out, using her finger as the ink pen, he began to guide her hand as they both wrote in the air together.


"Touch the pen with your fingers. See the writing with your eyes. Feel your heart guiding you." Dean whispered into her ear as he held her hand in his.

"Do you feel it? Say it with me... Amy... Feel the music in your name. Let's move our pen and with a long unending stroke put the music you feel onto the paper like this."

Dean moved their arms together as though he was conducting an orchestra, their heads almost touching.

"I look at you, and I see magic. I feel the magic so give the letter 'M' a mystical stroke. Do you feel it, Amy? You're so very feminine and light so I'll finish up with a delicate long loop at the end of the 'Y' just like this.

"There, we're done. Say it with me... Amy... A beautiful name for a beautiful woman."

Dean lowered their arms and as he did, he took her hand and squeezed it softly. He turned his head; he was but inches from Amy's pink lips. He could feel her warm breath on his cheek. Amy's eyes were closed, and her lips looked so soft and velvety smooth. Amy slowly opened her eyes. They both looked at each other, neither one wanting to move, neither one brave enough to forge ahead.

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byrwsteward© 58 comments/ 98521 views/ 153 favorites

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