Mrs. Feinman Steps OutbyMarciaRH©
Based on the short story:
A Very Hot Sauna
by Sweet Peril
Used by Author's Permission
"Oh, Eddie. I didn't know you were here!"
Ellen had just stepped into her cedar-lined sauna, surprising her son's eighteen-year-old friend, who had been lying quietly on one of the benches.
Eddie sprang upright on the bench, his face flushing with embarrassment. "I'm sorry, Mrs. Feinman. I guess I should have asked if I could use your sauna."
Ellen laughed and waved her hand dismissively. "It's absolutely okay. I've told you before: the two weeks you're here with James and I, my house is your house. And that applies to the sauna as well," she added, reaching for the doorknob. "I'll just come back when you're finished."
Eddie jumped to his feet. "No, please, Mrs. Feinman! Don't let me put you out." He rubbed his palms up and down his shorts in a way that made Ellen want to laugh. She so liked this young man.
"Thank you," she said. "It's nice to have someone to talk to while you're working up a sweat. James prefers his privacy."
"Not me," Eddie answered too quickly. It was obvious that he'd not anticipated company, wearing only a pair of baggy gym shorts. Ellen felt a bit of embarrassment herself. This young man obviously worked out, took pride in his sculpted chest, his ridiculously narrow waist and powerful arms. Ellen thought he might have the broadest shoulders she'd ever seen, despite their being hunched slightly in embarrassment.
She laughed, shaking out the brightly colored towel she'd come in with tucked under her arm. "Well, good. I'll be glad for the company."
While Eddie stood politely aside, Ellen laid out her towel beside Eddie's on the bench. There was no denying her interest in this boy, she realized, not with her elevated heart rate and her difficult breathing. She had to force herself not to gulp, nor to bite her lower lip. Self-consciously reaching for the belt securing her terry-clothe robe, it occurred to Ellen that maybe her choice of bathing suit had been a bit shortsighted. An encounter like this should have occurred to her. Her face reddened even more.
Resolutely, refusing to display embarrassment before this boy, she nonchalantly turned toward him and drew the robe back over her shoulders and brought it around and draped it over her right forearm. Her heart stuttered and a shiver ran up her spine seeing Eddie's reaction. And traitorously, her nipples began to harden.
"Excuse me," she said, turning hurriedly away and walking stiffly toward the row of pegs by the door. Slowly hanging up the robe, seething with embarrassment, she discreetly rubbed her nipples through her bikini top and begged them to go away. The rough kneading worked; when she turned back, her nipple erections were almost gone. It didn't stop her from feeling almost naked, however.
At thirty-seven, Ellen was not your typical soccer mom. For one thing, she worked out religiously at the gym, ate a balanced diet, stayed away from soft drinks and red meat, drank rarely and never to excess. She rode a bicycle or swam every chance she got. Consequently, she looked more twenty-seven than thirty-seven--especially in this skimpy bikini.
Oh, God, she berated herself crossing to the bench, why hadn't she considered this?
"Is that tan real?" Eddie asked unexpectedly.
Startled, halfway through her turn to sit down beside him on the bench, Ellen hesitated. "Why, yes. If you call a tanning bed tan real. I normally go three times a week at the gym."
Eddie's face had grown a bright red. Obviously, he'd blurted that question during what her son derisively called a brain-fart. He looked away, which added to Ellen's embarrassment, rather than easing it.
"Sorry. That was impolite," muttered.
Ellen swallowed audibly before answering. "It's OK. James comments on my tan all the time. He thinks I'm inviting skin cancer."
In truth, it was one of the few evils Ellen allowed herself, beside the occasional bite of chocolate or sip of Diet-Coke. She was aware of the dangers, but couldn't seem to control herself faced with a bed with ultraviolet lights. Her payback would come in her later years, she knew, in the form of wrinkles and an increased risk of melanoma. It was less risky than smoking however, and how many people did that?
Obviously grateful for her attempt at levity, Eddie turned back and grinned, rather bashfully Ellen thought. It was only too obvious that this boy was as dazzled by her outward appearance as she was by his.
I bet he wonders what touching my breasts would feel like, she mused distractedly, just as I wonder what his muscled chest would feel like under my hand. The thought made her turn her head away and grin.
"Can I ask you a question?" Eddie asked.
"Do I have to answer truthfully?" she answered teasingly, hiding her self-consciousness.
What if he asks me my measurements, she thought, a little panicky. What if he wants to know if I go out with younger men, or if I like to dance, or what's my favorite color? She had to concentrate a moment to retrieve that answer: yellow, of course. Just like her ridiculously tiny yellow string bikini.
She nervously fingered her short black hair, sweeping the right side behind her ear as she always did when unsettled. She wondered if Eddie suspected the color was out of a bottle. Not that she was horribly gray or anything. It was only that Ellen really hated that scattering of hair, which seemed to magically change from black to white overnight. She hated the vanity dying her hair implied, but was no more able to control the impulse than she was to stay out of a tanning bed. It occurred to her suddenly to wonder if the two activities were linked. She also wondered if Eddie knew that her sparkling brown eyes were courtesy of the contact lenses she wore.
Why are you wondering all this, she wondered mournfully.
"What was your question, Eddie?"
"Um . . . I wondered if you'd like me to rub suntan lotion on you or something?"
Ellen blinked. In a sauna?
"No, Eddie, but thank you," she replied, trying to keep the smile on her face grateful, rather than condescending. She knew his fas paux was the result of his extreme nervousness; nervousness she herself shared. Despite the sheen of perspiration coating her from head to foot, she felt the difference in her underarms and the palms of her hands, which both itched maddeningly.
Ellen lay down and placed her feet on the bench with her knees bent. Adjusting a smaller folded towel beneath her head, she then self-consciously adjusted her top and then the bikini bottom, aware all the while that Eddie was watching her carefully from the corner of his eye. Traitorously, her nipples began to harden again. This time, she could do nothing about it.
Oh, come on, she thought. Admit it. The boy turns you on.
While true, that was no reason to make a tart of herself, a tease. Their being in the sauna together was nothing more than coincidence. She hadn't planned it, and certainly he hadn't either. Normally, she'd be on her way to work right now; James would still be in bed, recovering from too many hours of late night video game playing (or, as she suspected, cruising Internet porn sites and masturbating to the wee hours of the morning.) Eddie had known about James's early morning appointment with the sport's doctor, and his afternoon appointment with the couch of the varsity football team, of which he was a special teams player, but no way could he have planned a liaison with her in the sauna. She'd made the decision to go in late only an hour ago, and the decision to work up a healthy sweat not ten minutes before. And no, she told herself, you most certainly weren't thinking, much less planning, a chance encounter with Eddie in the sauna. She was sure of that. Her surprise and resulting anxiety were proof.
You know, you could--
She crashed her mental foot down on the thought. I am not having sex with an eighteen-year-old boy, she thought viciously. I'm not even going to consider it! Her hands had clenched--her whole body had clenched--at the unexpected metal conflict; she forced herself to relax and placed the palms of her hands flat on her belly.
God, it was so hot in here. God, she was sweating. It bothered her immensely that the combined heat and humidity, along with her anxiety would very soon cause her anti-perspirant to fail in its battle against her pores and she'd begin to stink. To avoid this, she adjusted her arms--rather uncomfortably--so that her underarms remained open.
Why the fuck didn't I go to work, she thought.
Neither spoke a word into the anxious silence for the next ten minutes. Eddie had returned to his own towel, his feet also planted on the not-long-enough-bench. Because their combined lengths took up most of the bench's length, less than a foot separated his head from hers. Like Ellen, he lay with his palms cupping his hard-muscled stomach.
What would he do, she wondered, if I took off my top? The thought, ridiculous as it was, sent a thrill of horrible excitement down her spine. She shivered convulsively, instantly panicked that he'd felt it through the bench and had guessed her thoughts.
Don't be stupid, she railed at herself, followed immediately by: Should I?
She very nearly, disastrously, groaned out loud.
The truth was, she never wore her suit in the sauna. An unspoken agreement existed between she and James that sauna time was sacrosanct for Mom, and that he wouldn't barge in on her when the red Occupied light was on, knowing that Mom would be laid out on a towel naked, with every pore on her body oozing sweat. A few screw-ups had occurred, of course, as they always did, but they were always accompanied by "Oh, my God, Mom, I'm sorry!" followed by a hasty stumble back out the door and a modicum of embarrassment on both parts afterward. James had seen her bare body often enough, therefore, to render a pretty good description of it to his friend Eddie. And to anyone else he was interested in telling. Ellen wondered if that were really true. She also wondered if James was a sexually attracted to her as she thought he might be.
Well, isn't that a wonderful thought, she queried herself wryly. Planning on fucking your son? The idea did nothing to improve her state of mind.
"What did you really want to ask me, Eddie?" she found herself asking. The question took her as much by surprise as it evidently did the boy.
"Um . . ." he uttered, embarrassed. "What do you mean?"
"I mean--" Please shut up before you make a complete fool out of yourself, she thought angrily. "Nothing. Never mind. I just thought . . ." Again, she fought to overpower a most unwelcome groan. Why did she always stick her foot in it?
There followed an uncomfortable silence where Ellen wanted more than anything to jump up and run out of the sauna. She laughed at herself derisively, imagining how that would look. Why, oh why, hadn't she gone to work?
Eddie suddenly sat up. Ellen, alarmed by his movement sat up also. The tension was so thick that you could almost swim in it. Looking at the stack of river stones piled high in the center of the sauna--heated electrically, water could be poured over them to increase the volume of steam--the teenager muttered: "James says you lay in here in the nude. He says that you like your privacy. I really am intruding, Mrs. Feinman. I should get out of here."
Nod, Ellen, she thought. Let him know what a good idea this is. Instead, she made things worse by saying: "Don't be ridiculous. It's not like I have exclusive rights to this thing. I barged in on you, not the other way around. I shouldn't even be here right now. If anyone should leave--" Red-faced, half-rising, she began to gather up the laid-out towel. Eddie objected immediately.
"No! Wait." He was on his feet again. "Don't be ridiculous, Mrs. Feinman!"
"Ellen," she objected automatically. Her mother was Mrs. Feinman. Objecting, however, made her feel even more stupid.
"The point is," he went on, snatching his own towel and headrest off the bench, "this is your sauna, which I didn't even ask permission to use. I apologize and won't do it again."
His face was a mask of frustration. Ellen felt even stupider now. She didn't have a clue what to say. But as Eddie turned for the door the words blurted out of her mouth: "Would you please, Eddie! Just come back here. This is absurd. We're acting like a couple of kids. What possible difference does it make how I lay out in the sauna? I'm not going to lay out nude with a stranger, but I'm also not going to kick him out just to indulge in a practice, which is, at the very least, questionable in the first place. Let's be adults," she added, feeling anything but an adult.
Eddie didn't turn back, but neither did he continue toward the door. After a moment's further hesitation, he grudgingly turned around. "Sorry," he muttered. "This is . . . I could have handled this better."
Ellen felt sorry but him, for them both. "Can I be honest, Eddie?"
Eddie's shoulders hunched just a bit, defensively. He kept his eyes on the floor, making it both easier, and more difficult for Ellen to continue. At least if he met her eyes, he'd know she was sincere.
"Go ahead," he said gruffly.
Ellen took a deep breath. "Our problem, right now, is sexual tension. We're two relatively attractive people, alone in a sauna with no one else on the property, wearing, um . . . admittedly skimpy clothing." Ellen's face felt like it would sear the cedar paneling. "Add to that the fact that James has obviously told you that I lay out in the nude--" She felt an uncharacteristic blaze of anger at her son for contributing to this. "--as well as probably regaling you with accounts of how he's walked in on me naked, and well . . . I guess sexual tension is unavoidable."
She was not the only one with a blistering red face, Ellen saw. Eddie looked on the verge of combustion. Clearing his throat, making a false start before he managed to push out the words, he mumbled, "You are not relatively attractive, Mrs. Feinman. You're absolutely beautiful. Your body is perfect. You're like an Egyptian goddess come to life. James is so lucky to have you for a mother. "
Ellen wanted to crawl under the bench. Her face had gone beyond scorching and was now in danger of melting off. "That's so not true, Eddie. And believe me, I am more embarrassed by my body than I am proud of it. Take my word for it: Had I known you would be here, I would not have worn such a thing." I would not have been here period, she did not tack on. "I feel like every ounce of fat on my body is hanging out. I feel like Kirstie Alley," she moaned, self-mockingly.
Eddie looked almost horrified, his eyes popping wide and his eyebrows raising, almost comically high, Ellen thought, though she had never been less in a mood for laughing.
"Are you kidding me? You look phenomenal! You look better than Demi Moore did in that Charlie's Angels movie!"
Ellen tried to hide her flinch at the comparison. Her personal opinion was that Demi Moore had looked horrid in that black bikini, a 40-year old masquerading as a teenager. Despite her son's obvious enthusiasm over the scene--they'd watched the movie on the big plasma TV in the family room--it had made her shiver with revulsion. Now to be compared with that . . .?
Eddie barreled on unknowing. "Yeah, James told me about barging in on you. He also told me that it had never been an accident, and the only reason he didn't do it more often was that he didn't want you getting wise. He doesn't want you knowing he's infatuated with you. Oh, God, he's gonna kill me for this. Please, Mrs. Feinman!" he pleaded. "Please don't tell James I told you any of this!"
Stunned, Ellen stared at the boy's imploring face. Not an accident? He'd spied on her? Barged in on her naked on purpose? What other seemingly innocent events had not been innocent at all? Her racing thoughts ground to a halt. Two weeks ago, she'd come out of the shower to discover the bedroom door cracked open half an inch. Though positive she'd heard the click of the latch as it engaged, she hadn't given the occurrence much thought. Now, in her mind, she clearly saw herself through the clear glass shower doors, shampooing, washing herself, shaving her legs . . .masturbating, she realized with horror.
Fuck, she thought vehemently. She'd hated those doors since the day they were installed, complaining to Robert, her ex, before they even came out of the box.
"What happens if James blunders in while I'm in the shower?" she'd fretted, pointedly, as it turned out, though now it appeared more ambush than blunder.
Needing to concentrate on this more immediate problem, however, Ellen pushed thoughts of the incident aside. James, and his little indiscretions, could wait.
"I won't tell James anything," she lied. "And though they are totally off-base, thank you for the compliments. You make an old lady blush in embarrassment." She grinned, cutting off his objections with a raised hand. "Enough. Can we get by the embarrassment, do you think, and just enjoy the sauna?"
Ruefully, Eddie grinned. "Sure. I'd like that. But, for the record--" He held up his hand this time to cut off a protest. "--I disagree with everything you just said. You are the hottest 'old lady' I've ever seen. And," he added, grinning at her embarrassed expression, "If you want to finish your session in the nude, I'll more than understand. I'll even lie down and put the towel over my eyes. Like this." Grinning, he placed the folded towel over his eyes, playfully letting the edge droop away from his right eye, which gazed at her brightly. Ellen couldn't help but laugh.
"That's exactly what you'd be doing too, isn't it? Sneaking a peek?" This time she enjoyed, rather than felt appalled at the blush in her cheeks.
"I certainly would not," he shot back, still looking at her with his uncovered, crinkled right eye.
"Mmm hmm." Ellen crossed her arms and canted her head skeptically. She also asked herself what the hell she thought she was doing.
Are you out of your mind? Stop flirting with him!
Eddie's grin widened. Obviously feeling emboldened, he quipped: "Of course, you could save us both the trouble and just go ahead and take it off now."
"What trouble is that?" she said, raising her arms as though to reach behind her neck to untie the strings. Eddie's crinkled eye widened in shock. His jaw dropped and formed a perfect "O". Ellen couldn't help but laugh. To her consternation, however, her arms remained positioned were they were, her fingertips dangerously close to the bikini strings.
Don't you dare do this, her voice of reason warned.
Giddily, she thought back: It's a tease! Nothing more. It's not like I'm really going to do it.
He thinks you are, VoR shot back.
Ellen assessed this idea. Yes, she realized, Eddie was in fact afraid she might do it, whether from impishness, playfulness, or an outright attempt at seduction. Her fingertips, evidently working under some plan of their own, tapped the bow-tied strings, awaiting further instructions
Why not, she thought. This young man obviously thinks I'm worth looking at--or professes he does, anyway. What harm would it do to let him see?
Because, another part of her insisted, a part separate from VoR and whatever part had commandeered her arms, he may not want like what he gets to see. You are no spring chicken, Ellen.
She decided to let Eddie make the decision.
"Tell me what to do, Eddie."
"Mrs. Feinman," he choked out "I can't--"
She made the plunge. "Would you like to see my breasts? If so, I'll remove my top. If not, please don't let me embarrass myself. I don't want to be embarrassed, Eddie."
Eddie slowly lowered the towel from his face. His mouth had closed, his shoulders had squared, and his face had taken on a look of dead seriousness. To Ellen, he suddenly appeared ten years older.