tagErotic CouplingsTraining Tristan Ch. 01

Training Tristan Ch. 01

bynageren©

With much gratitude to GaiusPetronius for editing my work. The final product is always more readable!





I leaned over the counter, putting all my weight on my hands. Deep breaths, girl. Deeeep breaths. I looked down and saw the plate I had been carrying: thank God I hadn't dropped it. With one more deep breath, I picked up the plate, set it on the ledge and shouted, "Moira! Special 58!"

From off in the distance I heard a faint "Thank you!" Turning around I walked back into the heart of the kitchen. I walked over to the array of sauce pans where Steve was mixing up a few different concoctions at the same time.

"What the hell just happened?" I mumbled, stirring a few of the sauces to check their consistency.

"Busboy dropped a whole tray full of silverware on his way to the dishwasher," Steve muttered back.

"Was I out long?"

"Didn't notice, so probably not," he said, giving me a weak smile. "Where's you go, anyway?"

Looking up at the scribbled notes from servers, I tried to decipher the next one. Sooner or later we'd have to get a digital system – most customer complaints could be traced back to an illegible word that the cook tried to guess. "Nowhere, really," I answered, squinting at something Gina had written. "Just spaced out." How do you explain to someone who's never been there what it's like to suddenly find yourself in the middle of a gunfight in the desert? I wasn't really there, of course, but for a few seconds my mind was there, and my emotions. All it took was a loud noise from behind.

"Mona, you're not the spacing out type," Steve objected. "But whatever. It's your business what you tell people." Then he grabbed some mitts and moved one of the sauces to the side.

Glad for the chance to move away from the topic, I took an interest in saucepans. "What is that orange one?" I asked. "I don't think I've ever seen that before. You're not getting all creative on me, are you?"

"I don't get creative in the kitchen, Mona, you know that," he said distantly. Then looking up he explained, "Macy wants to make this a special for the next month, sort of a fall harvest theme. She hasn't told you yet?"

"I haven't seen her in a week; we're working opposite shifts right now. Set aside a bite or two for me, OK?"

"Ten-four, sarge," Steve said with a mock salute.

"You OK for a few minutes?" I asked, halfway to the back door.

"Yeah, yeah... I got it," he said, waving me off.

I walked out the back door, stepped to the side to let the door shut, and leaned back against the stone wall. It was cold out, but the chill felt refreshing after a few hours in the kitchen. My fingers twitched and fidgeted. I tapped my foot and bit my lip. Damn, I wanted a smoke so bad! The doc had actually said smoking was probably helpful for dealing with the memories. The flashbacks. The short blackouts. The panic.

But I only smoked in the army. That's when I started and that's when it ended. I had felt like an outsider not grabbing one whenever they passed around a pack. That was probably my one big regret. The tattoos I had chosen for myself. Enlisting was my choice, too. The three guys I had taken to bed over the past eight years had all been my choice. But the cigarettes... That was a time I had caved in to someone else's opinion of what I should do, and I despised it.

And yet I still wanted a smoke.

After a few minutes, it got better. Lizzy, the front manager, came out for her smoke break. She was considerate enough to stand about ten yards away as she lit up. After a few puffs, and just as I pushed away from the wall to head in, she said, "Got a new server... Starts tomorrow." Lizzy smiled at me in a way that meant there was more to her statement than what she'd said.

"So?" Lizzy didn't bother me. We couldn't be more different, but she didn't bother me. I worked had at keeping my army body – solid, toned, and lean. Lizzy was tall and heavy and avoided activity. I was black, single, and in my late 20's. Lizzy was white, married, and in her 40's. But what made Lizzy OK in my book was that she was straightforward. She didn't give or take any bullshit. What you saw was what you got.

"He's hot. Young, built, sexy, and hot." She was practically drooling.

"What's it to you?" I chuckled. "You make sure we know how happy Hudson keeps you. Shit, girl, I could make money selling your stories."

"Not for me, Mona... For you. Or somebody. I wanna have him vicariously through one of you." Her eyes gazed dreamily into space.

I looked down the alley and crossed my arms. The cold wasn't feeling so good anymore. "Moira needs to get laid," I said, "or Gina."

"Moira's got a boyfriend out of town. Maybe Gina..." she said, considering the idea. Then she shook her head and concluded, "but you know she doesn't really socialize."

"Well, don't look at me."

"I'm serious, Mona. He's the finest piece of sexy man meat I've seen walk through these doors. And he's got these blue-gray eyes that just... smolder."

I put my hand on the door and said, "I'll let you and your imagination have some time alone."

"Tristan!" She shouted after me. "His name is Tristan!"





*******





I got my head back in the game and finished up the night without incident. Macy's new dish was delicious, though I added a little cilantro to the batch I made after Steve showed me what to do. I stayed until closing, made sure the clean-up crew was all set, then headed out to the cold night air. I leaned against my car and pulled out my phone. I looked at the list of names and gave it some thought. I had too much energy to just go home, and I was antsy. I found a name and hit the call button.

"Hey Mo," a deep, friendly voice answered.

"Hey Rollo, did I wake you?"

"Nah. Can't sleep. You?"

"Same. Can I come over?"

"Of course."

"You got a girl there?"

He chuckled. "Nah."

"See you soon," I said, then hung up. I got in my car and started it up. Rollo was the only army buddy I had in the area. I felt bad using him as a booty call, but I'd always been clear it was nothing more than that. Well, we were friends, too. Rollo was the sweetest guy. Half-Samoan, half Russian, he had this round, boyish face. Under strict discipline in the military, his body shaped up into a solid mountain of warrior. But in the two years since he'd gotten out, he'd gone soft and a little chubby. Genetics, I knew. He'd have to be running five miles a day to keep the weight off. But we didn't call him Rollo because of his roundness. We called him Rollo because, like the ad said, he was a whole roll of smiles. It worked out well that his real name was Roland. But I couldn't see anyone ever calling him that.

We'd hooked up shortly after we got back to the States. Both of us were hurting, both us of had no community, and both of us needed to get laid. We'd met up again a few times since then, usually when I was stressed out and wanted to blow off some steam. And having a couple of flashbacks over the past few days was enough to stress me out. It was either cigarettes or sex. I wasn't going to pick up a nasty habit again just to numb myself, so off to Rollo's I went.





*******





What bothered me about Rollo was that he just did whatever he was told. It made for a good vigorous fucking every now and then, as long as I asked for that specifically, but there was no heart behind it. He was made for the military, really. He just went along with whatever he was supposed to do. In bed, I could tell him just what to do, just what would get me off, and he would do it. But a girl doesn't want that every time. A girl wants a guy who wants her and who sometimes needs to tell her what to do. At least that's what this girl wanted. A partner, not a plaything.

But until something better came along, I was content to use Rollo's body every other month or so, and he never complained. He wasn't complaining while he lay back and watched me ride him. I tried not to look at his face. He wasn't ugly or anything, but he would usually get this silly grin just watching my breasts bounce around. His thick hands gripped my waist but didn't guide my movements. He just wanted to touch something while I was working. I liked the feeling of calloused, heavy hands holding my body, and I wanted him to start pulling me down onto him. I wanted his strength to take over and guide me to my peak, knowing that he was delighting in my body.

But that wasn't Rollo. He relaxed and enjoyed the show. I closed my eyes and imagined someone different. Maybe a spicy Latino lover, a passionate, sexy, aggressive man who would smile confidently, knowing what he was doing to me. Oh yeah, that would be nice. I kept my eyes closed and leaned over, shivering when I felt my nipples press against the chest of the man beneath me. I moved my shoulders, rubbing my breasts into the patch of hair on his chest. The light tickles and scratches gave me the chills and I sped up my hips.

Rollo couldn't go deep, but he was thick. And with just the right angle, I could rub my clit around the mound of his pubic bone. I heard his breathing speed up – he didn't have much time left. Didn't matter: my imaginary lover was pushing me up to the edge. I pictured him liftinging his head up to my ear and whispering, "Cum for me, baby." I must have whispered it out loud as I imagined it, because Rollo grunted, "OK," and started thrusting up vigorously.

I whimpered... So close... so ready... so close...

Rollo grunted and pushed as far up into me as he could. He groaned, filling the condom with pulse after pulse of his cum. Thankfully, when he held himself up like that, it gave me just the right position to grind myself to the end. He was just relaxing when I started clenching around his cock. I smacked a hand onto the bed and shouted.

"Fuuuuaaaahhhhhhk!" I dropped my weight onto Rollo, knowing he would barely notice it. The sound of his heavy breathing distantly registered in my ears past the ringing and throbbing of my own release. "Touch me," I managed to gasp, urging Rollo to do something. He moved his hands onto my back, slowly tracing them along my spine. I shivered and groaned in appreciation. This was way better than a smoke.

I rolled onto my back and lay next to him for a few minutes, enjoying the afterglow. I had no desire to stick around much longer – it was late and I wanted to sleep in my own bed. Rollo was still and quiet, and I wondered if he had dozed off. But when I finally sat up and swung my feet over the edge of the bed, he said, "Hey Mo, there's this girl I'm starting to see."

I froze for a second, not because I was jealous but because I didn't want to be some secret fling on the side. "You're not cheating on her, are you?"

He laughed a little, "Nah. We just hung out a few times. It's nothing official yet. But I like her, and I think she likes me, too."

"Really? Why do you think that?"

"Well, she tries to sit near me when we hang out, and her eyes... Mo, her eyes just sparkle when we talk. She doesn't sparkle like that with other guys."

I smiled, pulling a shirt over my head. He was smitten. "Well, good for you, man. I hope it works out. You know we can't do this if you and her..." I didn't finish my thought. He knew what I meant.

"I know, Mo. That's why I'm telling you now. I'm gonna ask her out next weekend."

"What's she like?"

"She's like a little pixie – always hopping around. She moves fast and she laughs a lot. She loves to dance, and..."

"I meant what does she look like, but I'm glad you answered that way. It makes me think you really like her."

"I do, Mo. She's wonderful." He was still on his bed, looking up at the ceiling.

"Well, bring her by Jackal's some time. I'll make sure dinner's good. But the rest of the date would be up to you."

"Thanks, Mo."

"Don't mention it. Hey, I'm gonna use your toilet then head out, alright?"

"Yeah, that's fine. I'm gonna make a sandwich. You want one for the road?"

"I'm good, thanks," I said, heading down his hallway. I shouted goodbye once I was on his porch, and I heard a full mouth yell something like, "See you later."

I drove home, speeding down the almost abandoned starlit highway. I thought (correctly, it turned out) that I probably wouldn't be hooking up with Rollo again. Oh well. I could live without sex for a while, and maybe someone else would come along soon. Maybe I needed to start keeping my eyes open.





*******





Late the next afternoon, I was prepping some dishes for the dinner rush when Lizzy walked into the kitchen. Right behind her was a new guy. I could only assume he was the one Lizzy had told me about. Trent? Terry? Didn't matter. Lizzy was right: he was hot. I guessed he was in his early 20's, maybe in college or just out of it. His body was perfect: broad shoulders angling down to a narrow waist, tight butt, solid arms, smooth face, short black hair with a little curl on top, and those eyes that just made you want to stare. Thank God he didn't notice me looking at him; he was scoping out the rest of the crew and hadn't seen me past the pots dangling from the ceiling.

I heard Lizzy giving her usual spiel about being nice to the kitchen crew because we had ways of making servers lose tips. Macy was working that evening – the first time our schedules had overlapped in a few weeks – and she leaned towards me and mumbled, "I don't think he's going to have any problem with tips."

"Especially if they give him the middle-age ladies," I muttered back.

Macy giggled and said, "Like me?" She was so sweet and playful that I would forget that she was a good bit older than me. I stuttered a bit, not sure how to answer, but Macy said, "It's OK. I might be married, but I can still appreciate some eye candy."

"That's probably all he is," I said, mostly to myself.

Just then Lizzy raised her voice and said, "Hey guys, this is our new server, Tristan. This is his first time as a server, so go easy on him, alright?"

"Hell with that, Lizzy," I shouted, moving towards the fridge. "Only the strong survive!" As I spoke, I made eye contact with Tristan, who slowly gave me the cockiest, most self-assured smile I had ever seen. Then he winked at me. Oh God, this guy just reeked of sleazeball. Too bad he had the looks to get away with it. I rolled my eyes and went back to chopping.

"You'll have to excuse Mona," I heard Lizzy saying as they walked away. "She's really a great girl, but she can come off as a bit abrasive."

"I think he likes you," Macy teased me in a sing-song voice.

"I bet he likes anything young and curvy," I replied. "I'm not interested in that type."

"I know," Macy said, washing her hands, "And good for you. Don't ever settle for an asshole. There are some really good guys out there, and you tend to find them when you aren't even looking."

"Well, maybe you just lucked out," I said, knowing that her husband really was one of the good guys.

"Not at first," she grimaced, shaking her hands dry. "I was married to the king of the assholes for a while. Ernst was my second chance."

"Hm," I grunted, not sure if I had already heard about her first husband. "Did you know he was an asshole when you married him?"

"I was too young to know any better. The signs were all there, I just hadn't known anything different."

"Macy, if you ever see me ignoring the signs, hit me with this pan," I said, holding up the wok I was about to use. Macy laughed and headed back to the freezer. Most people would call her cute. Her dark red hair had to be tied up at work, but when she let it loose, it flowed down her back. She was curvy with a little extra in the middle, and her white face seemed to glow. I knew she had at least three kids, maybe four, and yet she seemed to have so much energy. She was probably in her late 30's, so she was like a mom or older sister to most of us. Aside from the general manager and Lizzy, almost everyone else at Jackal's was in their early to mid-20's. Technically, Macy was training me as a chef. In reality, she was teaching me a lot more about life than about cooking.





*******





A few days later, I was taking inventory in the fridge. I stepped out to ask Macy if she had any cilantro on order. She chided me for using too much of the stuff, then told me no, she hadn't ordered any. When I turned around to head back into the fridge, I almost walked right into him. Tristan was leaning against the walk-in fridge, hands in his pocket and a smirk on his face.

"Hey," he said, half-nodding his head in greeting. "You're Mona?"

"Yeah," I said, "and you're in my way." He stepped to the side and let me open the door.

I was hoping he'd walk away, but instead I heard him say behind me, "So, Mona... how 'bout you give me a chance to really make you moan-ah?"

I froze in my tracks. Oh God, that was awful. A half-dozen snarky responses came to mind. But then I did something really mean. I laughed. It wasn't a playful laugh, either. I turned around and had to lean back against the doorframe just to keep myself from falling. I laughed loudly, drawing attention to our conversation.

"Did you really just say that?" I asked, louder than I needed to. I wanted to embarrass him. Tristan just looked around a little awkwardly, trying not to seem flustered. "Have you been working on that line since you got here?"

"Hey, I'm just making conversation," he said defensively.

"That's not conversation," I countered.

Tristan's face went from white to red, and he held up his hands. "Whoa, whoa, whoa... I'm just... I didn't mean..." Nobody was watching anymore, except Macy, who was shaking her head and smiling. She could tell it wasn't a problem.

I wasn't really angry, but this was fun. So I pressed the point, feigning agitation. "You didn't mean to walk up to me and make a blatantly sexual pun on my name? Did you tell Moira you'd have her 'begging for more-ah'?"

Holy shit! I could tell from the look on his face and the way all the color drained away that he had already done exactly that. Not that Moira would care. She would tease and flirt right back but would never cheat on her boyfriend.

Tristan composed himself, took a step towards me, thought better of it and stepped back, then said in a hushed tone, "I'm sorry. Please... I'm sorry. That's just... It's just how I'm used to talking to girls. I don't mean to harass anyone."

"Mmm-HM," I nodded, not wanting to let him off the hook so quickly. "Well around here, you need to know you're talking to women, not girls. And what you just did is not talking to, it's talking at. Show me respect and treat me like a person with dignity or else keep your distance. You got that?"

For a moment, it seemed like a real human emerged. Tristan relaxed and breathed a sigh of relief. "You're right," he said softly. "I'm really sorry." He paused like he was ready to say more, but instead he just backed up and walked back to the dining area.

I went into the fridge and finished up my inventory. When I came back out and was starting to mix some sauces next to Macy, she said, "I didn't hear the last part of that conversation, but he sure walked out of here with his tail between his legs."

"I was truthful and I was gentle," I replied, referring to two of Macy's three standards of when to speak and when to keep your trap shut. "And time will tell if it was helpful," I added, bringing up her third standard.

Macy answered with only a general "hmmm..." and went on to talk about our specials for the night. My conversation with Tristan occupied my thoughts more than I wanted it to. Hell yes, he was attractive. But what about his personality? I couldn't judge him based on just one interaction, but it didn't look good so far. And yet it seemed like he had a moment of being teachable. What if he really didn't know better? What if he didn't know how to treat a woman – or people in general – with respect? What if someone could teach him how to be a real man – not a sex-driven macho machine but a caring, interesting, good man? If someone took the time to do that, then I might be interested.

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