Falling Off TrackbyCharlieGG©
In perfect monday morning fashion, the rain began to fall the moment Charlie stepped out of his car at the train station. With a heavy sigh, he pulled out his umbrella, but then decided it wasn't raining quite hard enough to open it... and instead walked quickly towards the station. He passed familiar faces, standing along the tracks, peering into the distance for signs of the soon-to-be-coming train that would take them all downtown, ushering in the beginning of their day.
Today, in particular, Charlie found himself wondering what each of their lives held. He saw many of them each and every day, standing in the same spots, waiting for the same train to rush them to the same job, the same standard day which would end with a walk back to the train. The very act of commuting via train contributed to falling into a daily rut and today Charlie was feeling particularly like he was in a rut.
It wasn't that anything was necessarily wrong, quite the opposite, things were pretty good. While Charlie was indeed one of those people routinely commuting downtown to a less-than-spectacular job, it was a job that paid somewhat more spectacularly than it probably should. That salary allowed him to live in the proverbial suburban home with picked fence with the loving wife and talented, over-achieving kids, even the faithful dog who he took running with him to help stay in shape. Weekends were full of baseball games and piano concerts during the day which gave way to barbecues with friends at night, complete with fine bottles of wine or perfectly quaint microbrews. One or two too many of those microbrews last night was almost certainly the cause of the pulsating headache plaguing him as he stepped into the train station to escape the rain.
In fact, life was so perfectly, well, nice, that it actually depressed Charlie more as he stood waiting for the train. In a few short weeks, Charlie would turn 38 and as much as fought the idea of a midlife crisis, it certainly seemed as if his psyche was intent on going through it. Rather than finding all of the good in his life (and there was so much good) he found himself increasingly longing for something, although he'd be damned if he could figure out what that something was. Sometimes he felt he wasn't doing anything of significance in his silly, high-paying job. Sometimes he found himself wishing he had been better about keeping in touch with his family. And sometimes he lamented the lack of sizzle in the bedroom.
As if on cue, one his co-commuters, a cute long-haired blonde stepped into station, her hair shone with the morning rain, her face seemingly glowed thanks to the flecks of water across it. He reminded her of the college girls who came bouncing through the office, wide-eyed and excited, experiencing the perfect mix of 'being an adult' with their important internship and 'being a kid' with their mindless fraternity keggers and giggling sorority socials.
"Ugh more cliche..." Charlie shook his head as he thought about how his sex life had gone from often and varied in his 20s to occasional and perfunctory as he approached 40. As it happened with most couples, the addition of children led to less one-on-one time with his wife Donna. And of course when that one-on-one time did occur she was often too tired or stressed to be 'in the mood.' So it was often left to Charlie to push the issue, like he was trying to convince a local congressman to support a bill the legislator didn't really feel any passion for one way or another. In fact, even the responses were typically the same, a shrug of the shoulders, a "sure okay" and then a post-event feeling of "why did I even bother?"
He checked his phone to see it was just a minute or two before the scheduled arrival of his train and pushed his way back into the rain, which still seemed to be deciding whether to sprinkle or come down steadily.
Some of his friends even confided the same loss of intimacy in their marriages. But while many of them seemed somewhat comforted, in a male-bonding kind of way, that others had the same problem, it just made Charlie all the more frustrated. In his mind, if they were talking about it, then their wives were talking about it too... which probably just reinforced in their minds that it was 'okay' not to be as interested in sex as they were when they were younger, that it was okay if they didn't initiate and just waited to be asked when their husbands felt it had been long enough. Women lost their sex drives as they got older, right? That was okay, right? Mars and Venus and all that crap.
Charlie looked around as he stood in his normal spot waiting. To his right, the usual group of four middle-aged men, talking and smiling. He always stood just to the right of this group, finding it was usually the spot where one of the train's doors stopped and opened, giving him the first shot at the remaining seats.
Yes, Charlie mused, as he stood there in the rain, that is what seemed to bother him more than anything these days. Ultimately, his job paid the bills and his hours were perfect. And he was always a phone call or quick flight away from his parents and siblings and aunts and uncles. But there was no simple cure for the lack of passion in the bedroom. For her part, his wife insisted she loved him more than ever before, that she found him as sexy as she ever had, that in her mind there was no problem, so what was there to discuss? His attempts to bring it up, whether casually or pointedly, usually ended in the same "we'll just try and make more time for it!" solution that either fizzled out quickly or never started in the first place. In fact, it was just two weeks earlier Charlie's wife insisted "I'm going to make efforts to spice it up, I promise!" They had not had sex since that declaration.
To be fair to Donna, the two did still share some amazing sexual adventures occasionally. They just happened a lot less often. Like, once-every-few-months a lot less often. It seemed to Charlie it was a lot like an endless round of golf. Every time you wanted to scream in frustration, you'd hit that one magical shot that convinced you it was all good. That with a little more work you'd be hitting those shots more often and the bad ones less so. But it never really worked out that way did it? Yes, the good shots happened sporadically. But mostly it was just one unsatisfying duff after another.
Another look around him revealed a young brunette standing behind him. She chewed her lip tentatively as she hugged herself, battling the chill of the morning rain slowly soaking her poorly-chosen fleece. You could often tell by someone's face and mannerisms if they were a daily train commuter, comfortable in the routine, and everything about this girl said she wasn't. She subconsciously tugged at her long hair, tied into a loose ponytail, pulling it forward and letting it fall onto her chest, then seemingly deciding better of that look and sweeping it back behind her. Seconds later, she pulled it forward again. Charlie thought for a brief second about offering her his still unopened umbrella, but that potential gesture seemed unnecessary as he heard the clang-clang-clang of bells and looked down the tracks to see the train approaching.
In stark contrast to the rainy morning and the swirling madness in his head, the train slowed to a perfect stop, the door settling in right in front of Charlie. After jostling his way aboard, Charlie was thrilled to find the first pair of seats on his train car, the one facing backwards creating kind of a booth like effect with the next seat which faced forward, completely empty. He slid in towards the window, taking the seat facing everyone else and then smiled politely at the ponytailed-brunette who took the double seat facing him.
She seemed not to notice his intended greeting as she set her backpack down next to her and slid out her laptop. For his part, Charlie retrieved a book from his backpack and settled in for the 45-minute ride downtown. If he had continued on his maudlin life evaluation, Charlie probably would've found it somewhat depressing that the book-in-hand commute was his single favorite part of the day, so much so that he was almost always the last person off the train when it arrived downtown. But instead, he was perfectly content to climb inside his book and let it wash over him.
Only he seemed to be having difficulty doing that today. Normally, his train-ride reading was his morning escape, kind of a battery charging to help get through the day, but now he was having a hard-time concentrating. Instead, he found himself peeking up to the brunette's fingers as they danced across her keyboard, his ears hearing the rhythmic rattling of her typing. Charlie thought her fingers were perfectly-sized, not too long, not too short, and then seconds later wondered what he could possibly mean by perfectly-sized. His eyes wandered upwards, noticing the cleavage framed by the V-neck top she wore underneath her now-unzipped fleece. The ponytail was once again hanging down over the left-side of her chest. When he moved his gaze up to her face, he saw her beautiful brown eyes concentrating intently on the screen, giving no indication that she noticed his evaluation.
As he looked back down to his book, he thought he saw her eyes shift towards him and he glanced back up only to find them once again focused on the laptop. So... maybe not.
Charlie did manage to lose himself in his reading for a few minutes before the three women in the seats next to him began to do a crossword puzzle together. One of the women would screech out the clue and then a long discussion would ensue as they tried to figure out the word. It seemed that no matter how simple the answer, the women were intent on debating the possibilities.
"South Dakota's capital!" the woman announced, with enough volume in Charlie's mind to bring the conductor into the conversation, and then the debate began.
"Oh that's Bismarck, right?"
"No no, silly that's NORTH Dakota!"
"Well, what's the capital of South Dakota?"
"I... I'm not sure. Betty?"
"You have to be kidding," Charlie muttered, glancing over from his book.
This time he definitely noticed the brunette's eyes move and looked over at her in time to catch her baby browns and the flash of a smile, before she returned to her laptop. The acknowledgement buoyed Charlie's spirits enough to allow him to ignore the droning of the three-headed crossword monster. With the after-effects of the microbrews from the night before still swirling in his head, he closed his eyes and let himself drift a bit.
Well, maybe drift quite a bit as he was surprised to find himself jarred awake by the sudden sway of the car on the tracks. Charlie's heart sank when the ponytailed, cleavage-baring, fast-typing brunette put away her laptop, gathered her things and got up as the train rolled into the station. Before Charlie could even think, she had pushed her way out the doors into the vestibule to await the arrival into Union Station. For a brief moment, Charlie considered throwing his book into his bag and following her out, but the logical side of him couldn't fathom what that would get him outside of maybe another awkward smile. So he stayed put and continued to read, past the time the train had stopped and its passengers had left the car.
With a deep breath, he finally pushed himself out of the seat and exited the train, walking out towards Massachusetts Avenue. He had his iPod ear buds in and his backpack across his back ready to trek to work when he saw the long-haired brunette studying her phone. She looked up and gazed down the street one way and then another before her eyes magically settled on Charlie.
"Oh! Excuse me," she smiled, grabbing her bothersome ponytail once again and pushing it behind her shoulder. "I'm sorry to bother you, I'm trying to find the Hotel George... and, I mean, I'm just not familiar with the area at all."
"Of course," Charlie smiled easily, his heart racing with an opportunity to speak to her, and noticed that she was even more attractive than he perceived with his cursory glance on the train. Her skin was virtually flawless and while she wasn't outlandishly gorgeous, she was downright adorably cute in a girl-next-door kind of way.
"You know what, I'm actually heading in that direction anyway, so if you'd like, I can walk you there," Charlie offered, unsure what prompted the out-and-out lie.
She stared for a second before nodding and saying "that would be great, actually" sounding relieved to have her problem so easily solved.
"I'm Alyssa" she smiled, moving the ponytail forward again.
"Charlie," he responded, quickly calculating in his head how much extra time his walk would take him now that he would head a few blocks in the opposite direction.
The rain had subsided, so there was no need for the umbrella as they strolled down Massachusetts and eventually turned left onto Capitol Street.
"So what brings you downtown?" Charlie asked, looking over at Alyssa, his eyes falling to assess the long, sleek legs emerging from her skirt before quickly looking back up.
"I'm here for an interview," she offered casually, flashing that innocent smile again, then added: "I flew in last night."
Charlie thought about asking why she had gotten on the train where she had but decided it would sound borderline creepy, especially coming from a man dangerously close to twice her age, and so instead he simply said "Ah, well good luck!"
It was another brief moment before they arrived on E Street which quickly became the front of the Hotel George. The glass-covered entrance way, which gave way to the glitteringly white foyer always seemed a bit too clean to Charlie for such an old part of the country, especially considering the hotel was built in 1929.
"Well, I'm glad I could help," Charlie smiled, looking up at the small "o" in the hotel's title above the entryway.
"I am too, thank you so much!" she gave that big smile again, bigger this time and gazed at him. "I don't really have anything to do now until this afternoon... I don't suppose you have some time to kill?"
"Me? I... um..." Charlie had no idea how to respond to the question. Certainly if he wanted he could clear his morning. On the flip side, he couldn't imagine how that could be a good idea.
"Sounds like it's at least a possibility," Alyssa beamed before he could continue his thought process. "Let me just check in!"
And with a turn and a bounce, Alyssa was through the glass doors and headed towards the front desk.
"I... but..." Charlie called after her pathetically, unable to pull together any coherent thought other than "wow, her ass looks great in that skirt!"
Right in that moment, the rain picked up again, so Charlie stepped inside the Hotel George doors and pounded out a quick email on his blackberry, letting his assistant know he would be running late this morning. No more than three seconds after hitting send, the blackberry screen lit up with an incoming call: his wife.
"Uh, hi hon!" Charlie gushed, immediately feeling like he had put way too much into his greeting.
"Hi sweetie!" Donna responded and Charlie's fear of sounding too enthusiastic receded. What was wrong with him anyway? He wasn't doing anything wrong. Right? RIGHT?
"I just wanted to call and say 'hi!'" his wife continued. "I feel like I was barely coherent when you left this morning... too much wine at the cook-out last night!"
"I know the feeling," Charlie said, looking towards the front desk but not finding Alyssa. "Listen hon, I have an off-site meeting this morning I kind of forgot about, so if you need me, hit me on my blackberry again..."
"Sounds good," she acknowledged. "I'll see you tonight!"
"Right, right," Charlie said, fully distracted now, believing Alyssa had second thoughts and bailed on him. "See ya tonight..."
When he hung up, it occurred to Charlie that it was still before nine in the morning. What hotel let you check in that early?
"Okay!" he heard and turned to see Alyssa standing behind him. "I'm going to run up and drop my stuff in my room, come on up!"
"Oh, well, I can wait here," Charlie said, and made some large gesture to indicate the lobby.
"Don't be silly, come on up, it'll just be a couple of minutes and then we can go grab coffee or something!"
At this point, Charlie's brain was just flooded with all sorts of bizarre thoughts. What the heck was he doing? What was SHE doing? Should he just be getting out of here now? WHAT THE FUCK WAS HE EVEN DOING HERE!?"
He found himself walking with her towards the elevators and finally blurted out in his stream of consciousness "How did you check in so early?"
"Oh," Alyssa smiled, pushing the elevator button. "I called to let them know I wouldn't be making it last night but that I'd like to be in right away this morning. The company I'm interviewing with actually paid for last night as well."
"Very nice," Charlie said, composing himself as the elevator closed and climbed upward.
Minutes later he was sitting at the desk in Alyssa's room, looking out the window onto the hustle and bustle below. He tried to organize his day in his head, rearranging his schedule, trying to figure out how long he could ride out this little escape from reality before he'd have to get to the office and get a few things done. He was in the midst of mentally pushing a couple of things back to Tuesday to free up more time when Alyssa pushed all of it out of his head.
"Charlie?" she said, causing him to turn his head away from the window and towards her. "I'm feeling a little grimy from the train ride and thought I might take a bath."
Charlie stared unabashedly at her. Alyssa had replaced her skirt, blouse and fleece with the Hotel George bathrobe. That indecisive ponytail had been removed and now her long brown hair flowed freely over both shoulders. It all seemed like a scene out of some bizarre teen B movie and Charlie suddenly knew the definition of speechless. Or so he thought.
"And I thought maybe you would join me..." Alyssa added and let the robe fall open.
Her body was perfect and if it wasn't, Charlie couldn't find the flaw. Her breasts were round and firm, her stomach flat and lean. Her legs reminded him of the female soccer players he often longed after as a high schooler, an impossible mix of muscular and skinny, with calves that looked as if they could hold 1,000 pounds but ankles so thin he feared they'd snap if she took a step.
"I... Alyssa... I don't understand..." Charlie spit out, his analytical nature taking over his head while something else entirely took control below his waist. "Why... why would you..."
Alyssa let out a laugh and in just a few quick steps she was sitting herself on his lap.
"I think you're thinking too much," she whispered and covered his mouth with hers. Without a thought in his brain, he returned her kiss, his hand sliding upwards to cover her breast, eliciting a soft moan from her mouth.
"Come on," she giggled, getting up and grabbing his hand.
She led him into the bathroom and he noticed, for the first time, that the water had been running for a while and the large marble tub was quite full and steaming. Alyssa shed her robe and turned to Charlie.
"Take this fucking tie off," she growled at him playfully and then sank to her knees and went to work on his belt and dress pants.
Charlie wasted no time whipping off his tie and tearing open his dress shirt and Alyssa kept pace on his bottom half. His shirt hit the floor at the same time his pants did... and the same time Alyssa's mouth collapsed around his rock-hard shaft.
"Mmm," she murmured as she slid him out of her mouth and wrapped her fingers around him. With a step she was in the tub and led him in right after her by his cock. She dropped down into the hot water and he lowered himself down, facing her and he had the strange thought that just over an hour ago he was seated opposite her on the train.