"You're a real sport, Andrew; you know, helping me like this." Maya said. "Thanks so much." This last came out as a grunt. They were just settling the last piece of furniture, a fairly heavy couch, into place in Maya's new apartment.
"No problem. That's what friends do, you know." He flashed her a knowing smile, a kind of inside joke. Andrew had known Maya for just over seven years now, through most of which they'd been good friends. Maya considered him to be the closest thing she had to a brother.
"It's more than that, and you know it." Andrew shook his head at that, although they both knew it to be true. Maya's two roommates had bailed on her in as many months, each without fair warning, leaving her with the burden of paying three-thirds of the rent on the house they'd once shared. Despite a decent salary, that burden became too much for her. After three months of struggle, unable to find suitable roommates to share the load, Maya admitted to herself, and Andrew, that she needed a smaller space. The problem was all her stuff. She, Talia and Sheri had lived together for as long as Andrew had known them. Nine years' worth of furniture, clothes, appliances, art and knick-knacks had piled up in that two-story, three-bedroom house, most of it Maya's.
Since graduating college, most of Andrew and Maya's friends, mutual or otherwise, had moved away in search of jobs or cheap thrills, or both. They had been lucky enough to find good jobs in the city and remained behind, growing closer as friends (although Andrew often wished it were more). So when Maya was left with only a week to pack up and vacate the house, only Andrew remained to turn to for help. That he did so without question or complaint was a testament to their relationship, and the kind of man he was.
"Whatever." Andrew brushed aside her compliments with a grin. "It's no biggie. I'm just glad we got it all over here in time." Maya's prior landlord had threatened to change the locks and sell off her stuff if she wasn't out before the first of February. Considering the increasing lateness of the rent, Maya had no position from which to argue. "So, is everything where you want it?" Andrew stifled a yawn and flopped on the couch they'd just set down.
"Well, apparently it better be. Doesn't look like you're moving anymore." she laughed, then joined him. Despite her near exhaustion and aching muscles, Maya had the presence of mind to sit on the other side of the couch, with a cushion between them. The motion was unconscious, a triggered reaction she'd developed over the years. Andrew was a dear friend and would do anything for her, she knew. However, the sexual tension between them was palpable. It was clear in the way he looked at her sometimes, a glaze in the eye, or the way those eyes roved when he thought she didn't notice, that made it obvious to her. She didn't consider herself very pretty; heck, Talia had been prettier than her, and Sheri had gone to work for a modeling company in New York. But Andrew had only thrown them the occasional cursory look, as though it were expected. Sheri had even bitched about it one time, how he paid her no attention but fawned over Maya.
After sitting in comfortable silence for over ten minutes, Maya suddenly leaped off the couch as if something had stung her on the ass. Andrew, who had been dozing, jerked awake with a start. "What? What?"
"Let's get out of here." she said with a look around the cluttered living room. "I'm tired of looking at this stuff after hauling it all over here."
"Where do you want to go?" Andrew stood up and stretched, feeling every twinge prick at his shoulders and calves. Maya stretched and yawned, closing her eyes against similar pains he was sure she had to be feeling. He stared at her appreciatively. She might not think she's pretty, Andrew thought, but she sure looks damn sexy to me. Sweaty, smudged with dust, and hair askew, her arching form still drew admiration from him. A little too much admiration it seemed, from the sudden pressure on his fly. Before she could open her eyes again, he turned slightly, pretending to admire their handiwork.
"I'm too achy and tired to go out. Wanna grab drive-through and go to your place? Your TV is hooked up." She laughed again. "We could watch a movie or something. Sound good?" Andrew nodded, already grabbing his coat. He handed Maya's to her then slipped his on. "Mind if I crash there, too? If I wake up to all these boxes tomorrow I'm gonna get depressed."
"Yeah, no probs." Despite their platonic relationship, the two sometimes slept at one another's apartments, most often Andrew's. He lived single, and closer to all the restaurants and rental places. On rare occasions, usually when exhaustion took over, or the sleeping arrangements were limited, they'd even shared a bed. Andrew rarely slept those nights, unless he was really drunk, instead laying in silent agony, wanting so badly to just lay one finger on Maya and knowing he couldn't. Invariably, he'd awaken with a headache and blue balls.
Slipping into his pickup, he turned to Maya. "Want to drop by your old place and get your car?"
"Nah. Let it wait until tomorrow. I'm sure Mr. Langley won't mind. It's not as if anyone's living there right now." She snorted and buckled her seat belt.
"You know, he isn't your landlord anymore. You don't have to call him 'Mr. Langley'. Hell, you're an adult. Well, at least chronologically." She snorted again and slapped him on the shoulder. This was one of their tried-and-true routines, but this time Maya winced and gripped her shoulder.
"Uck. You got any aspirin at your place? My joints ache bad."
"Yeah, no probs." He keyed the ignition. "Let's get going. The faster we hit my place, the faster you can medicate yourself, you junkie." She snorted again, but refrained from smacking him.
"You know," he continued. "You really should learn to operate a stick."
"What?" She sounded shocked.
"Huh? What?" he answered. Then realization dawned. "Oh. I meant a stick shift. You know, standard transmission? Sheesh, I know I'm a pervert, but man... " Although not a prude, Maya was sensitive when it came to sexuality. She refrained from making or taking part in off-color jokes or conversation. Andrew knew she was just shy, a result of sheltering parents, and it wasn't really an adjustment to behave around her. But he was, in many ways, the polar opposite. He thought about sex often. He had a rich fantasy world, and indulged in some rather perverted sexcapades.
Andrew watched a lot of porn, but not just for the fucking, he had told their mutual friend Rodney one night after a few beers. It was the situation, the fantasy that provoked him. "I hate those fuckfests where they start out talking dirty for ten seconds, then end up stark naked and screwing. It lacks imagination."
"This is what happens," Rodney lamented that night, "When a pervert gets a degree in English and minors in Philosophy." They'd shared a laugh, and a couple more beers, and Andrew wandered home and masturbated feverishly, dreaming once again of Maya, lost in lust and throwing herself at him.
Once, after Andrew had proposed dating to Maya, she'd put him off gently but firmly. They had been friends for almost two years at the time, barely out of high school. Her reasoning had been simple, and true. She considered Andrew a good friend, and a physical relationship would probably undo all of that. "Besides," she'd added quietly. "I'm saving myself for marriage. I know it sounds old fashioned, but... "
If she'd thought that was a deterrent, she was damned naive, Andrew thought. He knew she wasn't a virgin, that she'd "gone all the way" as she put it, with a boyfriend when she was sixteen. Although she was squeamish talking about sex with men, she'd shared this snippet with Andrew later. They'd both had a couple wine coolers, and Maya was, admittedly, a cheap drunk. The experience had been horrible, not just painful as she'd expected, but disappointing as well. "Mom says sex is way overrated anyway." Andrew had wanted to ask how her mother knew, being married to the same fat slob for thirty-five years, but held his tongue.
In Maya's mind, her first time hadn't really happened yet, and Andrew understood. He also ached to be the true "first time".
"We're here!" Maya had dozed off, and Andrew, not wanting to lay a hand on her in case the motion was misconstrued, nearly had to shout.
"Whu? Oh, cool. Damn. Feel like I could sleep a week." Turning to open the door, Maya squealed in pain, clutching her arm.
"You okay?" Andrew asked.
"Yeah. No. Shit! I haven't worked that hard in years. My whole body feels like... like... I have broken glass in my veins instead of blood." Andrew cringed. He DID have an active imagination, after all.
"Let's get you upstairs and to that ibuprofen."
Once inside, Maya shrugged off her coat and the sweatshirt over it. For a brief second or two, the shirt underneath pulled up, revealing the thin sport bra underneath. It was cold outside, and her small nipples stood out in frank contrast to the full breasts barely contained by the cheap undergarment. Andrew stared, unable to help himself. When the clothes hit the floor and Maya had her garments rearranged, he was on the other side of the room, seemingly busy with his boots.
"Mind if I hit your shower? I feel like I haven't bathed in a week."
"Yeah, no probs. The hot water will do your muscles good, too. The ibuprofen is in the medicine cabinet; take a couple before you jump in." He smiled, trying not to stare at her chest, at the rounded points pressing at her battered old t-shirt.
"Thanks." She crouched down, untying her own snow boots. "Oh, wait. You must be achy and dirty, too. This is your place, you go first." He was already waving her away as she stood.
"Nah. I like being stinky. I'll take a couple pills before you get going, though, if you don't mind."
"Really?" She smiled. "You're too good to me." She dropped into that eerily good Beavis impersonation. "Yeah, heh-heh, you don't suck."
"Uh-huh-huh-huh. Shut up, asswipe." They shared a time-worn laugh. "Seriously, mi casa is su casa. You've stayed here enough times to know that. Just don't hog all the hot water."
She feigned an indignant look. "Never say the word 'hog' to a woman, if you value your life." It was Andrew's turn to snort. Tossing his coat on the couch, he brushed past Maya to the bathroom. Although the gesture seemed playful to her, he was, in fact, relishing the feel of an erect nipple tracing along his arm. After grabbing a couple ibuprofen out of the bottle, Andrew counted the three remaining pills, making sure she had some, then returned to the living room.
"All yours, Beavis."
He spent the next twenty minutes on the couch with his fly open, rubbing himself slowly, plotting ways to sneak the door open and peek in on her showering. He knew it was juvenile, that he had seen plenty of women naked, on film and in real life. But this was different. Maya was pretty, sweet, a good person all around. Plus, he'd overheard her admit to Talia, grudgingly, that she occasionally masturbated in the shower, and had once done so in his apartment. He stroked a little slower, savoring the sensation as he dreamed of Maya touching him, not really wanting to climax.
That's what many women didn't understand, the desire men had to see a particular woman naked. "Why?" he'd been asked by Maya after he'd rented an awful movie just to see a particular actress's one nude scene. He had a stack of pornos in the closet, full of naked women doing god knows what in every conceivable position. Why waste ninety minutes on a trashy movie he didn't enjoy for 45 seconds of gratuitous nudity?
He'd tried to explain. They were friends and spoke openly and frankly with one another. Yes, the women in the pornos were naked, and moaning and writhing; but, this woman had never done a nude scene before, and never again since.
"So?" Maya retorted.
"Well, that's different. She's more real than the adult actresses, more of a real person. That's what they do. It's more thrilling, more of a psychological turn-on, to see her," he pointed at the DVD case, "doing those kinds of things. I grew up watching her on TV. I had my first real sex fantasy about her. I... Hell, I can't explain it. That's the thing about fantasies; if you understand why they turn you on, they lose their appeal."
"That proves it: men are nuts." They'd laughed, but there was a strain underlying the laughter. Deep down, the conversation had rung too close to home. Maya knew very well that she could be the woman on the DVD cover, in Andrew's mind. She never asked about it again.
He almost didn't have time to react when the bathroom door opened and Maya stepped out. Barely stuffing his cock into his jeans, he stood up quickly, causing himself no end of pain. What he saw upon facing her only made the throbbing in his crotch worse. Maya, jet black hair shiny and wet, deep brown eyes fixed on him, full lips in a troubled pout, was wearing only a towel.
"I forgot to grab a change of clothes. You got anything I could wear?"
"Uh." He recovered quickly. "Yeah, I think there's a couple things that would fit you. In the back closet." He turned and hurried away. "Hell, you probably couldn't find anything in all those boxes anyway." he called over his shoulder.
"Too true." To his chagrin, she was following him. "Still, lucky I have a spare pair of underwear in my purse." That stopped him in his tracks. Being naive as she was, Maya sometimes had little to no concept of her effect on men. She was TOO frank, sometimes. She took in his confused look, returning one of her own. "What?"
"Why," he asked, "do you carry spare underwear in your purse? In case you're in an accident?"
"No. Duh! Sometimes my period is a little heavy, and the pad doesn't stop all of- What?"
"You talk too much, you know that Beavis?" He turned away just as a throw pillow lived up to its name. In the back closet, Andrew rifled through all the old clothes he either hadn't bothered or couldn't stand to throw away. He found a t-shirt that had shrunk in the wash, and a pair of jeans a couple sizes too small for him, a crappy gift from a crappy ex-girlfriend. He handed them back to Maya without turning. "Need anything else, buttwipe?"
"Heh-heh. No. Thanks Butthead." That impersonation was dead-on, so much so it was damned creepy. While he shuffled through the remnants on hangers, Maya slipped the shirt on, letting the towel slip.
"Hey, Andrew." He turned. She had the shirt pulled most of the way on, but the collar was still over her head, leaving just her face exposed. "I am cornholio! TP for my bungho-" She couldn't keep a straight face and burst out laughing, joined by Andrew. "I'll be right back. Just let me hit the bathroom and get dressed, and you can pick out a movie."
"No probs." He watched her shuffle down the hall, hoping against hope the towel would slip, just enough to let him see her sweet, round ass just once. He followed her as far as the living room, but nothing paid off. As he flipped through his DVD's, he called out. "Hey, did those aspirin help?"
Muffled by the door, "Yeah. I took four, though."
"Four? Geez, you are a junkie."
The door opened, and Maya stepped out. Both the shirt and jeans were loose on her. After about a dozen steps, she was tugging the waistband up. "Yeah. I know my limit. My arms haven't ached like that since I was in marching band in high school, and we were in that long parade in the rain. Remember that?" Andrew nodded. That was his first and last year with the band. "I kept taking aspirin and taking aspirin. Finally, after four the pain went away. I'm feeling pretty good now, although a wine cooler would go a long way towards my recovery."
"Four ibuprofen AND a wine cooler? You ARE a junkie." He flipped the DVD to her, then shuffled off to the fridge to get her drink.
"Oh, no. I'll get it. You take a shower. I'll get my own drink." Andrew opened his mouth to protest, but she cut him off. "No. NO. Go, go take your shower. You've seen this, right? I'll start watching this without... " She glanced down at the movie in her hand as she spoke. "'Poison Ivy II'? Oh for god's sake. Why would I want to watch this? I'm not hot for her, you are."
"Hey, a guy can try, can't he? Who knows, maybe you'll find her hot, too. I know there's some deep seated lesbian desires buried deep in-"
She popped him on the head with the case. "Hey, that cost good money, you know."
"Yeah, yeah. Tell it to the judge. Go, take your shower. I'll find something else." She was all but shoving him down the hall. "You smell, anyway."
"Thanks. Look, we've watched all of these. Why don't you find something on pay-per-view?" It was her turn to protest, and he cut her off. "No, it's no big deal. I spend more on renting porn in a week. Pick something good." With that he closed the door and turned the shower on.
He hoped Maya left him enough hot water, because it was going to be a long shower. He felt grimy, and incredibly horny. Both involved a lot of scrubbing. Why did he do this to himself? Making suggestive comments and suggestions around her? Was he no better than some flasher, getting a contact thrill from what he did? Fuck it. She never got pissed, and it did give him a little thrill, cheap or no. He just wished something he said or did would crack that shell of hers.
Getting off didn't take near as long as he'd expected. As a result, neither did the shower. He was in and out in under fifteen minutes. Standing naked in the cramped bathroom, Andrew realized he, too had forgotten to grab a change of clothes. He doubted the chances of getting away with wearing only a towel out into the living room. Funny what a woman had the grace to do that a man looked crass doing. If a woman told Andrew she wasn't wearing any underwear, he'd get turned on. But try telling your girlfriend YOU aren't wearing any. She'll cringe, Andrew thought.
He could hear the TV playing low when he came out, dressed in the same grubby clothes. "Hey, I gotta grab some garment-age from the closet." he called down the hall, still toweling water from his longish hair. "I'll get changed in my room. You find anything?" He slipped the towel from his head and glanced up, surprised she hadn't answered. His first notion was that she was asleep; not surprising considering the day they'd had.
Maya was slouched on the couch, remote in one hand and a near-empty wine cooler in the other. Andrew glanced at the screen, noticed the pay-per-view menu was up, but nothing was selected. Underneath, voices droned on about a remarkable new diet pill that blah blah blah. He stepped over to take the remote from her hand, figuring he'd just shut the TV off and let her sleep it off. As he tugged at the remote, she stirred.
"Huh?" she muttered. Although her speech was slurred a little, she sounded somewhat aware, not like someone roused from sleep.
"Maya? You wanna get some sleep?" She released the remote. Andrew took the bottle as well. Only a sip remained. He was about to ask again, or try to shake her awake, when she answered in that same here-but-not-here voice.
"Yeah. Sleep." She stood slowly, then began shuffling towards his bedroom. Andrew noticed the gangly way she swung her arms and legs and decided to risk laying a hand on her, slipping one arm around her waist. "Thanks. Sweet."
When they reached his room, she turned gracelessly and dropped into his bed. He tried to slip the covers over her, but she was already dozing, and he didn't dare try to raise her hips off the corner of the blanket. If she woke up all the way and found his hands on her ass there would be hell to pay. Andrew slipped back into the living room, closing the bedroom door behind him, and turned up the thermostat. In truth, he didn't mind letting her sleep in his bed. The couch was comfy enough. Hell, he crashed on it every now and then, too worn out from a long day at work or a marathon porn-and-polish session to drag himself off of it. Besides, he now had the TV to himself. She was sleeping soundly; he could watch "Poison Ivy II" in peace, marveling at how much Maya looked like his favorite actress and didn't even realize it.