© 2006 by Penelope Street
With a sigh of disgust, I got up from my kitchen table and made my way to the ringing phone. "Hello?" I snapped, expecting to hear a creditor on the other end.
"Sandy? It's me, Melissa."
In a moment, my bitterness vanished, replaced by a smile that spread across my face. "Hey! Two weeks from today, right?"
"Yeah, two weeks."
"Good," I said with a giggle. "Because that's when my reservation's for."
"You have a room already then?"
"Of course. You know me, plan ahead."
"What a relief," Melissa said. "I knew you would. Silly me, I didn't think about the wedding being the week of graduation, so the rooms are all booked."
My eyebrows dropped. "You need a room?"
"Not me," Melissa said. "I'm staying with my parents. It's another of my bridesmaids who needs a room."
"Kayla. She was my roommate after you dropped out. You haven't met her."
"So, she needs a room and you want to know if she can share mine?"
"Would you be a doll?" I could almost hear Melissa smiling across the line. "Kayla says she'll split the cost."
It was my turn to smile. "Of course- except I don't know about the doll part."
"You're always a doll. Thanks."
"Anytime," I said. "How's everything else going?"
"Oh, you know, a million things to take care of today, a million more tomorrow."
We spent another half-hour discussing, planning, and reminiscing before my friend steered the conversation in a way I neither anticipated nor desired.
"What about you," she asked, "how are you doing?"
My eyes returned to my table and the pile of bills atop it. I took a deep breath. "I'm ok."
"Do you still miss Jacob?"
"Yes and no."
"Tell me about it."
"I miss having someone, but I don't miss having him."
"Good for you!" Melissa squealed. "So you haven't found anyone else?"
"I haven't looked."
"It's been a year. You should start."
"Not yet," I said. "I'm not ready."
Three breaths of silence followed. "Well, I guess you know best."
"Not always," I admitted with a giggle. "But in this case, yes, my life's too much of a mess for any manly complications."
My eyes darted back to my bills. "I'm just busy, work, you know."
"Oh. Ok. I should let you go then, if you're busy?"
"I'm not that busy," I admitted. "But I bet you are."
"Yeah," Melissa said with an audible sigh. "I guess I am."
"See, I should let you go?"
"Two weeks then?" I said.
"See you then."
"Ok," she said. "See you then."
With a massive sigh, I replaced the receiver and looked back to my bills. Busy with work, I mused with a sigh. What a lie that was.
I returned to my chair and began to sort out which bills I would pay and which would have to wait. All the while I wondered when I might see the light at the proverbial end of the tunnel. Little did I know that light was already there, in the form of an approaching train named Kayla- and she would be upon me before I even knew she was coming.
* * * * *
Thirteen days later I tumbled off a Greyhound bus in downtown Baton Rouge. I didn't exactly panic right away when I didn't see Melissa, or anyone else I knew, but I was a little concerned. Though dressed for comfort in blue jeans and a T-shirt, I still felt my skin grow damp with sweat while the minutes ticked by. An hour later, with the time of my dress-fitting approaching, I began to wonder if I ought to make change from one of my dollars and call Melissa.
My mind was on that issue and my eyes on the worn, gum-pocked tiles of the bus station floor when a pair of black leather boots strode into my field of view, stopped, and turned their toes toward me.
For a second, I just stared, but the boots did not move. With a gulp, I slid my eyes upward from the footwear, over a pair of black leather pants stretched skin-tight by long, muscular legs to wide hips where a gloved right hand balanced a motorcycle helmet. Onward my eyes traveled to a similar black leather jacket, tapered toward a narrow waist, yet widening again to accommodate a substantial bosom.
My gaze followed the flowing ebony locks that lay over those breasts until I came upon a round, chocolate-colored face within which a pair of large, wide-set orbs demanded, and received, my full attention. Perfect her eyes were, large and full like her lips, yet sharp enough to peer into my very soul. My mouth fell open just a bit, although I had no intention of speaking.
The woman's brows jumped upward to form a semi-circle above her eyes. "Sandra?"
My spine stiffened. Her accent was as striking as her appearance- French, I was certain, but definitely not Creole. I could feel the taut muscles in my neck as I swallowed. "Yes. Sandy."
"What's your surname?" she demanded.
"And where do you live?"
"Good," she said. "I'm Kayla. Melissa couldn't make it." Her eyes darted to my suitcase, then back to my face. "That your luggage?"
"Yeah," I nodded. "That's it."
Before I could even think to react, her left hand had found the handle of my bag. With no apparent effort, she flipped it onto her shoulder. "You travel light," she noted. "I like that. Let's go."
Kayla turned and marched toward the exit, her legs drawing huge portions of the floor toward her with every step. I leapt to my feet and scurried after her, marveling at how the crowd parted before us. With me in tow, she stomped out of the door to a huge, midnight-blue beast of a motorcycle parked upon the sidewalk.
My jaw fell. I'd never ridden a motorcycle before. I'd never wanted to ride one. I didn't even like bicycles. Having half a mind to protest, I turned to Kayla, but before my lips had moved her right hand and the helmet within shot toward me.
"This is for you," she said.
"Oh," I began with a shake of my head. "No, you should..."
Her eyebrows dropped a noticeable fraction of an inch. "I said it's for you."
I swallowed, nodded, and extended my hands to accept the helmet. By the time I donned the headgear, Kayla had strapped my suitcase across the back of the bike and climbed aboard.
"Hurry," she said, jerking her head toward the empty space behind her.
With my lips pressed in a line, I lifted my leg and hoisted myself onto the seat.
"I'm going to have to ride a little fast to make the dress fitting," she announced. "Hang on." Beneath us, the motor churned, then settled into a purr.
My wide eyes searched for any sign of a handhold. "Where?" I gasped.
"Put your arms about me and grab my belt."
Leaning, I reached my hands about her torso. Her fingers found my wrists, directing them to the desired location.
"There!" she called over her shoulder.
My fingers wrapped around the band of leather. With my seat a few inches higher than hers, the position compelled me to push my chest tight against her back.
"Now just stay with me and lean when I do." Kayla looked forward for all of a second during which the engine revved once, then she snapped her head sideways again. "Oh, and you might want to close your eyes."
With that, we were gone, off the sidewalk and right into traffic. The inertia yanked my head to the rear, a situation I remedied at once, tucking my face behind her shoulders so that all I could see was her hair playing across the visor. Thus secure, I clamped my eyelids tight while the engine screamed through the first several gears.
From the lean of the bike to and fro, I guessed that Kayla was changing lanes, weaving in and out of traffic. I couldn't feel her heart pumping, but somehow I knew its pace was just the opposite of the speed of the motor. In spite of the terror I thought I should feel, I experienced something closer to solace tucked behind her.
Within a minute, maybe two, the engine settled into a high-pitched drone. The wind whipped a portion her hair up into my helmet. Her locks played across my face and I took a deep breath, relishing the aroma of the leather combined with the floral scents from her flickering tresses.
Shifting my head to one side, I opened my eyes and stretched my neck to peer over her shoulder. We were on a freeway, but I didn't move my head to see beyond that. I'd seen enough freeways in my life. Pulling myself a little tighter against Kayla's back, I clamped my eyelids closed again and wondered if the heat I felt was hers, mine, or just the sun of a late spring morning in Louisiana.
The passing of half an hour found the motorcycle on another sidewalk and me following Kayla into Marie's Bridal Wear. An older woman strode forward to greet us, but she never got beyond opening her mouth.
"Sandra Hegenson and Kay Renaeu," my companion announced. "We have a dress fitting appointment at two."
The woman looked at her watch and sighed. "You're fifteen minutes late."
"We have the time booked until two-thirty."
"Yes, well, we hardly have time..."
"I agree," Kayla interjected, tossing the motorcycle helmet into one of the guest chairs. "The wedding's tomorrow. We hardly have time to babble. Show us our dresses at once."
The woman's lower lips fell from her upper one and lay quivering for a couple of seconds. Her eyes darted to me, then back to Kayla. "Very well," she began with a nod. "Right this way."
A half-dozen minutes later I emerged from my fitting room feeling regal for all of the instant it took my eyes to light upon Kayla, already standing before me in her dress. The azure of the fabric was a perfect contrast to her dark brown skin and the fit called attention to her form even better than her motorcycle outfit. My lips formed a line. I turned my moist eyes downward to my form, as if perchance it might compare, though I knew better.
"Come on, then," she said. "Let's have a look at you."
My throat flexing with a gulp, I steered my gaze upward into Kayla's eyes. Before I knew it, my head was bobbing in agreement. I moved to the squat platform and took my place upon it, turning my hopeful gaze to my companion.
"Nice," she said. "Now spin, slowly."
Again, I nodded. My feet began to shuffle, rotating my form. I imagined what Kayla saw as I spun- a shorter woman with a rather ordinary figure, except for a pair of breasts every bit as fake as the blonde tresses that shrouded her shoulders. I looked up into one of the mirrors and managed a smile- even if my body was average, my face was at least cute, especially my dainty nose.
"Snug up the waist a quarter inch," Kayla insisted.
I looked down to see the clerk gather in the fabric surrounding my midsection. The woman continued to scurry about me, following Kayla's instructions for the next several minutes.
"Good," my companion at last concluded. "We'll be by tomorrow to pick them up. Noon sharp." With that, she turned, stepped from her pedestal, and sauntered into her changing room.
Five minutes later she was again on the motorcycle, cutting through traffic with me pinned to her back. This time I kept my eyes open. I expected to go to the motel, but we went to the airport instead. Kayla didn't ride onto the sidewalk when we reached the terminal, but she still parked in the loading-only zone.
"Watch the bike," she instructed. "I'll be right back."
With my lower lip dangling I watched her strut through the sliding glass doors. I gulped as she disappeared and turned my attention up and down the concrete walk, wondering which of the uniformed police officer wannabes would approach me first.
I didn't have to wait long before a portly middle-aged guard waddled toward me. "Beamer, eh?" he said, jerking his head toward the motorcycle.
"BMW." The man dropped his chin to look over his glasses at me. "Is it yours?"
My head vibrated more than shook. "No. It's my friends, she went inside, to, uh, pee."
"Well, you can't be parked in this zone, no matter how rich you are."
"That bike probably cost twenty G's, but you'll still have to move it or I'm calling for a tow."
My chest expanded in preparation for either a sigh or my response, I hadn't decided which. I considered just admitting I had no means to do so while that timid streak I loathed urged I beg for mercy. Either of those choices, I was certain, would be just playing to the officer's expectations and enforcing his sense of authority. My heart raced along with my mind- Kayla had told me to watch her motorcycle and I knew she didn't mean watch it being towed away.
The man's eyes drifted to my bosom and I opted for a solution that both surprised and thrilled me. With a wide grin, I crossed my arms over my tummy, grasped the bottom of my T-shirt and yanked the lower edge of the garment to my nose. Above my fists, I saw the man's eyes bulge. I let him look until he shook his head and put his eyes back to mine, then I shoved my shirt down over my chest.
"Ok," I said. "That's my end of the deal."
The guard's brow fell. "What deal?"
"You know, Officer," I paused to put my eyes to his nametag, "Schroeder. I show you my boobs and you won't hassle me about the bike."
"I said no such thing!"
"Sure you did," I insisted. "Why else would I have done it? It's all on that security camera behind you."
His head snapped over his shoulder, to the camera and then several bystanders, all of whom looked away at once.
My confidence rose as he turned his pallid face back toward me. "Of course," I began, "you could go get your supervisor. And I'll call my lawyer. Did you think I'd have a Beamer and not a lawyer? Or did you mean without my bra? I can show you that too." With that, I sent my hands behind my back and beneath my shirt.
He took a step backward. His palm hand shot upward before him with his palm turned toward me. "No!"
"We have a deal then?"
His eyes narrowed. His chest expanded, then contracted through the passing of a single large breath. "Five minutes. I'll give you five minutes."
I flashed a close-lipped grin. "Why, thank you, Officer Schroeder."
A quarter hour later I was still staring at the sliding glass doors through which Kayla had disappeared.
I jumped at the words uttered so close behind me, then smiled as I recognized the accent- and the content. With a smile breaking across my face, I spun. "Thank you!"
Kayla's lips formed a smile as well. "You bet. Catch." With that, her right palm flipped toward me a flash of black and silver.
Recovering from my startle, my eyes followed the key through its arc into my waiting hands.
Kayla motioned with her head toward the Buick parked beside her motorcycle. "The hotel's out in Denham Springs, right?"
I nodded. "Yeah. The Days Inn."
"I'm gonna take sixty-one. You know the way if we get separated?"
Again my head bobbed. "Sure, just go to twelve, then go east. I used to live here too- for a year, anyway."
Kayla smiled. "Good. See you there."
The directions turned out to be unnecessary. In spite of my expectations, Kayla led me at the speed limit for the half-hour trip, observing every traffic law until she steered her motorcycle into the far corner of the motel lot and motioned that I park beside her.
By the time I alighted, she was already heading toward the lobby, my suitcase in hand. To my surprise, she stopped and held the door for me. Wearing a smile I couldn't account for, I headed toward the front desk.
"This way," said Kayla, turning down the main corridor.
I scurried after her. "Don’t we have to check in?"
"I already did."
My brow dipped over my eyes. My head leaned to one side. "You did?"
"But the room is in my name."
"Yeah. That's the name I gave them."
"Aren't they supposed to ask for I.D.?"
"Probably," Kayla said without looking back.
"How did you check in before noon?"
"Who cares?" With that, she stopped. Her eyes checked the room number before she inserted the card in the lock and threw the door open, then stood to one side. "Welcome to our home." She paused to smile. "For two days at least."
"Thank you," I said, stepping inside and giving the room a once over. It was just a motel room- two beds, a TV, a table, a couple chairs, and a washroom. They'll probably look that same in a hundred years. I turned back to my companion. "You want either bed?"
Kayla shut the door behind us. "This one's mine." With that, she dove upon the nearer bed, face down, yet somehow she flipped over on the first bounce to land upon her back. She smiled back at my stare and clasped her hands behind her head. "Fetch me the remote, will ya."
Walking to the television, I found the device and picked it up, leaving my purse in its place. I turned, thinking to bring the control to her.
"Find some cartoons," Kayla demanded, stopping me before I had taken a step.
"Yeah. Cartoons. They always put me to sleep. I'm in the mood for a nap before dinner."
I looked to the clock, then back to my companion. "We've only two hours?"
Kayla shrugged. "Yeah. And?"
"The attire is semi-formal. I was thinking of getting ready."
"Go ahead," she said. "Just find the cartoons first."
I nodded, looked to the screen, and began pressing the channel button. Examining each offering, it was a few minutes later before I found Fred and Barney chasing their pet dinosaur. I turned with a smile. "That good?"
My mouth never closed after the last word. Instead my lower jaw hung limp.
During my channel searching Kayla had shed her biker's garb. Her lean form stretched the length of the bed, concealed by but a black lace bra and matching panties. My eyes roamed her physique, settling for a moment upon her taut abdomen where her ribs etched a shallow chevron unto the brown of her flesh. This pattern, combined with the cleft that ran the center of her abdomen, produced an arrow that my eyes followed upward to the lacey fabric and the two bountiful breasts therein.
With a blink and the quaking of my head, I realized I had been staring at her chest for far too long. I pried my eyes away and brought them to her face. There I found Kayla's lips curved in a subtle grin. "That's perfect," she said with a sigh.
Yes, you are! my brain screamed. "What is?" my mouth asked instead.
I smiled and glanced to the cartoon. When I looked back, my mouth was open with "Thank you," on the end of my tongue. But I said nothing. Kayla's eyes were closed. My eyes, however, remained wide as they strayed from her face, the length of her figure and back again, roaming for what may have been minutes until I snapped myself from my ogling with another shake of my head. Forcing my gaze away from my resting companion, I marched to the shower.
After bathing, I left my dress hanging in the washroom with the hot water blasting the bottom of the tub. Next, I set about arranging my cosmetics on the counter before arranging them on my face as well.
The Flintstones and Jetsons were both over by the time I donned my dress. Looking at the image before me in the motel mirror, I felt my pulse quicken, and my chest tighten. Appropriate that my chest should do so, since my breasts were the source of my anxiety.
Eighteen months prior I'd bought the low-cut, spaghetti-strapped, knee-length black dress for Jacob's company Christmas party. It was just after my boob job and I was most anxious to show them off. At the time, I imagined I was the talk of the office the following Monday. Now, I saw just how likely that expectation had been, though not in the way I had imagined.
I looked into the mirror at the still-dozing Kayla, then turned my head over my shoulder. What will she think of my dress? I wondered. Will she think I'm a slut? Another cartoon passed while I primped my hair and preened my make-up. Only then did I see my companion's reflection stir.