Push Me Ch. 02bydatedsoul©
** Author's note: This is an updated version of Part 2. Thanks to all the readers who voted so highly, and for all the wonderful comments. I told you the romance was coming. Please vote and/or comment if you like this piece. This is Part 2 of a series, and I recommend that you read Part 1 first, which has also been updated.
The next morning, I awoke to husky moans coming from my shower. I wasn't sure what to make it of. Apparently, they were insatiable, as I guess most college kids are, but they also appeared to have started without me, which definitely seemed like a nail in the coffin of this whole experience.
The moans reached their inevitable conclusion, although I only heard one voice. I guess I had already missed the first part. Maybe that's what woke me up. Resolving not to intrude on their time together, I hopped up, put on some clothes, and went to make coffee.
Beans ground, water boiled, coffee steeping, and there I stood. I had absolutely no idea what was going to happen next. I suspected it would be an awkward goodbye, maybe after a hastily drank cup of coffee.
"She's so slow," Moira said, coming into the living room, dressed again in my clothes. I literally jerked out of my ponderous reverie. "Sorry! Didn't mean to scare you."
"I was just...zoned out. You know how it is, pre-coffee." I think she knew I was lying, but the thought of coffee overrode any curiousity or desire to call me out.
"Ohh, I could really go for some... if...?" she asked, uncertainly.
"Of course. I was hoping you would at least stay that long."
"At least?" She smiled at me. There was still a timidness there that was so endearing, but at the same time, I saw the triumph in her eyes. Angler 1, Fish 0.
I basked silently in her smile for a moment before turning to grab some coffee cups. I had everything else already set out. I pressed the plunger on the French press, capturing the grounds at the bottom of the carafe, and then poured her a steaming cup. She wrapped both hands around the mug, held it to her perky nose, and inhaled deeply. She took a tentative sip. "Ohh, mi papi would be impressed. It's perfect."
"You're perfect." It shot out before I could even think about it, but I meant it, and I stood by it without trying to explain it away. She eyed me curiously, uncertainly, but there was an excited undercurrent to it. Could she have enjoyed last night more than I thought she did, and for reasons I never would have considered? If so, why did she turn me down at the end?
I had just excavated enough courage from the mountain of self-doubt to kiss her and find out, when Shelly wandered into the room. She was wearing a towel wrapped around her head, and nothing else. Moira turned when my eyes focused behind her. 'From the other bathroom?' I pondered. So, Moira was by herself in my shower this morning. That made me re-evaluate what I had previously thought about their relationship. Moira smiled and shook her head slowly as Shelly strolled across the floor completely naked, accepting her friend being herself. They didn't seem to be angry at each other, so, why had they split up this morning? Maybe they weren't as familiar with each other as I thought.
"Can I steal another change of clothes?" she asked.
"Sure. I won't even make you return them before you leave." She stuck her tongue out at me, and then assumed her trademark exaggerated hip sway as she sauntered past me. Moira reached out and slapped her ass, hard. Shelly yelped and jumped.
"Put some clothes on!" Moira scolded her in mock disgust. She got a tongue stuck out at her too. Then Shelly went right back to her slow swagger, disappearing into my bedroom. "That girl," she mumbled, grinning into her coffee.
"So how long have you known Shelly?" Two birds, one stone. I wanted to find out what their relationship was like, and I wanted any excuse to engage her.
"Since my freshman year. My roommate that year was, well, a complete slut. She would get wasted, and a parade of guys would take turns on her. After she tried to get me to join in a few times, and one of the guys tried to get his hands on me, I spent most of my time in Shelly's room. Donna, that was my roommate, got pregnant right after the start of my second semester. So, when we started back Sophomore year, Shelly and I arranged to be roommates. But dorm life suuuuucks..."
She giggled. "So we got a small apartment our junior year. Mi papi was only happy to help, once he heard a few dorm horror stories, and Shelly's dad is rich..." She clamped her hand over her mouth, her eyes wide in horror. "She doesn't like people to know that. Don't tell her I told you."
"She," Shelly announced loudly, coming back into the room, "just heard you tell him."
Moira paled. "I'm so sorry! It just popped out!"
Shelly's visage softened when she saw how upset Moira was. "It's OK. I'm not worried about him knowing. It's the snotty bitches at school I don't want to deal with." Moira took a deep breath and relaxed
"Your secret is safe with me," I told Shelly. "Coffee?"
She seemed surprised that I'd offered. Why the hell did they expect me to boot them out as soon as I had my boots on? I was the one relishing in this unwarranted attention. It made me curious, and a little angry to wonder how these two wonderful young women had been so mistreated that they expected me to want them to go. There was relief in her smile when she nodded at me.
Moira and I both shook our heads as Shelly created a one part coffee, one part cream, one part sugar amalgamation in her mug. We noticed each other's similar reaction, and started snickering. Shelly glared at us both, which just made us laugh harder.
Once we calmed down, Moira informed Shelly, "Craig says he'd like us to stay at least until we finish our coffee." Wordlessly, Shelly set down her mug with only a few sips taken, daring me with her eyes. So I one-upped her.
"Actually, you two can come by any time you'd like. I had a great time last night. All of last night," I emphasized. There was a feeling of life in my condo that I never remembered feeling. There are plenty of clichés about the difference between a house and a home, but I was struck by how different it felt there right then. I almost never opened my blinds in the living room. I had always preferred the dark. Now, I wanted light. Houses could be dark, because they were just buildings. Homes should be bright.
"Does this mean you won't be trolling for babes at the bar anymore?" Shelly teased.
That brought why I was at that bar that night back to me. I would have asked Moira in a heartbeat, but I didn't feel like that was an option right now -- not without potentially crushing Shelly. Knowing that I'd fucked Shelly last night, to ditch her completely...well, I just couldn't do that. I was quiet for too long, trying to figure out what to say, and the room got very uncomfortable. I decided just to be honest and see what happened. I wouldn't be at all upset with either of them on my arm, and I would completely understand if they both shot me down.
"Well, I go there fairly regularly to play pool. I talk to people, have fun, but I have never invited anyone back to my place." I paused for a breath. "OK, confession time. Last night, I was looking for a date for a charity dinner in a few weeks."
"Are you being honored or something?" Shelly asked me, eying me askance.
"No no, it's just a charity I really support, and the dinner is in Chicago, which I've always wanted to see. So I bought two tickets a few months ago, hoping to find someone to take."
"What charity?" Shelly asked.
"It's called 'Child's Play'. They raise money to put toys and video games into children's hospitals." Moira gasped, and I turned toward her. Shelly had already started in her direction, arms out. Moira's eyes were filling with tears, and she had both hands cupped over her mouth and nose. Shelly folded her arms around Moira as I stared with horrified concern. Moira wept quietly on Shelly's shoulder for a moment. I fetched a box of tissues. Shelly took them gratefully, and pulled one loose, handing it to Moira once she had calmed down. She whispered something to Moira, who shook her head.
"No, I'll tell him." She wiped her eyes and blew her nose. She steeled herself, closing her eyes and dropping her head slightly. When she regained her composure, she opened her eyes and turned toward me.
"When I was eleven, and my brother Julian was nine, he started getting headaches. My parents thought he was just trying to get out of doing schoolwork at first. Then they came more and more often. We had just moved to the U.S. maybe six months before that, and didn't have much money, but they knew he needed help. So we took him to a clinic. The doctors there didn't know what was wrong, so they ordered some tests. Eventually, they gave him an MRI. They found a tumor in his brain." My heart broke. I thought about going to her, but she had control of her emotions now, and I didn't want to interrupt her.
"They couldn't operate on it, but it was early enough to be treated with drugs and radiation. Those made him so sick that he couldn't go home. I spent a whole summer sitting beside his bed in the hospital. My parents were working even more to pay for the treatment, so they couldn't be there often, and most of the time they were there was during odd hours while he was asleep. One day he said he was feeling better, and wished he had his truck to play with. That's when I noticed how sad that place was. Sick children everywhere, children who desperately needed some joy, and only a few wooden blocks for toys, and some board games missing pieces. Several of the kids seemed to be in better health than he was sometimes, but they were usually so listless you couldn't tell. It seemed like they were all just waiting to die.
"I brought in his truck, and a few of his other toys. I swear I saw his color get better the minute he saw me. He stretched out his hand, and I went to hand him his truck, but he pulled my arm and hugged me." She took a ragged breath, but smiled at the memory.
"'Billy likes to play catch,' he told me. Billy was the boy in the bed opposite of him. I found out they had discussed how much fun it would be to have a ball to pass back and forth. He had this mini football he loved -- he was fascinated with American football the moment he saw his first game on TV -- and I'd brought that too. He was so excited, and so was Billy once Julian showed it to him. I'll never forget him smiling up at me and saying, 'Someone else can play with my truck for now. Billy and I have to practice being quarterbacks!'
"He seemed genuinely better after that. Several of the kids did, actually. Eventually, summer ended, and I had to go to school in America for the first time. He called me lucky for getting to go to school, and asked me about it every day. I loved telling him stories, even teaching him some of the things I was learning.
"One day, about a month after school started, I went to tell him about a new friend I'd made." She paused. "It's funny. I don't even remember her name now, just a vague memory of blonde pigtails. I was so excited to tell him about it, I didn't even think about being in the hospital. When I got to Julian's bed, he looked worse than I'd ever seen him. I remember how weak his voice was when he said hi. His truck was on the floor beside his bed. I picked it up and handed it to him. I started to tell him about my day. He fell asleep at one point. He didn't wake up the rest of the time that I was there.
"A few days later, the hospital called my parents. They had done another MRI after he'd gotten worse. The treatments hadn't helped, and the tumor was bigger. Almost anything they did from then on would be more likely to kill him than help him. He was in and out of consciousness for another month or so, but he always asked me where his truck was when he saw me, and if Billy had someone to play catch with. And then..." She broke down. I went to her quickly, crushing her against me as she sobbed. I wept along with her. Shelly enveloped Moira from the other side, tears sliding down her face. She knew the story. She hadn't been surprised at Moira's shock, but I wondered if she'd ever heard the whole thing -- not that a hundred repetitions would have protected someone from tears.
I stroked her hair and let her sob. I had no idea what to say. Shelly mumbled that Julian didn't hurt anymore, and that he never would again. Moira calmed down after that. Shelly passed out more tissues. Eventually, the chorus of nose blowing tickled her, and she started giggling. Moira looked at her confused, until Shelly put a tissue up to her nose and started to snot out a little waltzy tune. Through the tears, Moira let out a chunky laugh, and then embraced her friend and whispered, "Thank you."
"Stop. You'll make me start again." We almost all did anyway. Shelly threw the tissue box at me, yelling, "Not you too!" I almost caught it, bobbled it, and then dropped it. My comically bad juggling started a wave of infinitely preferable laughter.
The laughter eventually petered out, and we all caught out breath. The gravity of Moira's story hit me, and I looked at her, suddenly afraid she would hear me thinking about it and burst into tears. I knew what I had to do.
"Moira," I saw Shelly nodding to me as soon as I started, "would you do me the great honor of accompanying me to the Child's Play charity dinner?" She stiffened.
"I..." Shelly whipped her face around to Moira and gave her a stern look, nodding slowly. Moira turned to face me, trying to smile and hold back tears at the same time. "I'd like that. Yes. Yes, I'd love to go." I smiled at her, and took her by the hands, wishing the dinner was tomorrow and that I could fly away with her right now. We quietly wrestled the last bit of our composure into place. Shelly's stomach, as vocal as she was, broke the silence.
"Whoa, down boy," she said.
"I concur, actually. Can I take you two to breakfast?" I offered. They readily agreed, and in just a few minutes, we were in the basement parking for my condo. The girls ohh'd at my car. It was the only possession I was proud of owning. I took good care of it, and it shone like onyx in the sun as we headed to a Waffle House for brunch, at their request. They both sat in the back, Shelly taking the opportunity to refer to me as, "Geeves," so I played the dutiful chauffeur.
Bacon, eggs, waffles, hash browns and juice crowded our table, as we ate the meal of the semi-hungover and recently sexed -- not feeling ill, just depleted. Although, after three rounds, we told the waitress to leave the pitcher of water. The conversation was minimal, generally oriented toward the distribution of condiments, as we focused on refueling. They even had a small bottle of Cholula, my favorite hot sauce, which I proffered to the girls after drenching some shredded potatoes with it. Once I had enough calories in me to ensure brain function, I stopped for a moment to talk to the girls.
"I really do mean it that you're welcome at my place any time. I just have two simple rules: you need to let me know you're coming before you come by, and you can't bring people with you without my OK. I work from home sometimes. When I'm doing that, I will be working, and I can't have anyone there. I also have access to sensitive information for my job from there too; some of it is people's private health information, and I can't have people I don't know wandering around. That's it."
Shelly mumbled something around a forkful of eggs that sounded like, "Like we want to share you."
"What was that?" I smirked at her.
"I said, like we want to share your wine with other people!" She glared at me defiantly.
I smirked wider. Moira put her hand on mine on the table and smiled at me. My smirk evened out into a full smile, and I rolled my hand over to catch her fingers, giving them a brief squeeze.
Shelly pulled her iPhone out of her purse. "Shit! I have to be at work at noon."
"Work where?" I asked.
"Teaching beginning tennis to kids."
"Very cool!" I said. "Do you need a lift there?"
"No, I've got a car, but I need to get home and change."
"Me too," Moira said. "I usually call my parents on Saturday. They don't try to police me, but they get worried if they don't hear from me."
"Every Saturday?" Shelly asked. "I don't remember you doing that in like a year."
"That's because I started doing it while you were at work, so I could hear."
"What, Moira? What?! Whaaaat?!" Shelly cupped her hand to her ear, leaning right up against Moira. "Speak up girl!" Moira shoved her playfully across the bench seat. I chuckled.
"Well then, you two finish up. I'll take care of the check, and I'll give you a ride home." They nodded, already stuffing their faces with the remnants of their meals as I went up to the register. The bill taken care of, I turned back toward the table to see Moira and Shelly headed my way. They glided past me and out the door, headed toward my car. When they got there, they took up stations by the driver door. I smelled another plot, not that I hadn't been the very lucky beneficiary of their previous scheming.
Shelly grabbed my face as I got to the door, and shoved her tongue down my throat. The kiss was short, but intense. She released me with a ragged breath and a lingering swipe of her tongue, and then turned my face toward Moira. Moira glided up to me, and put her hands on my chest. She tilted her head back, eyes half-closed, lips half-open. The kiss wasn't as wild as Shelly's was, but it drew me in and shut out the rest of the world. I don't know how long it would have gone on if Shelly hadn't separated us, saying, "OK, break it up, tick-tock." I pulled back, smiling down at Moira. It took every bit of will I had to pry my fingers from her back.
I let them into the back seat before following Shelly's directions to their apartment near the campus. They explained en route that they both wanted a goodbye kiss, but not the questions that would have come from both of them kissing the same obviously not college-aged man. They hadn't seen anyone they knew here, but if a BWM started disgorging co-eds in front of their apartment -- co-eds who promptly made out with the driver -- someone would notice. I told them I understood, and was very flattered that they'd gone out of their way to ensure they'd gotten what they wanted. I almost ran a red light staring at the two smoldering sets of eyes in my rear-view mirror.
The ride from breakfast to home for them was disappointingly short. In almost no time, I parked the car outside their apartment. It was a quiet side street, lined with trees, with several old houses that had been turned into multiple apartments. We exchanged cell numbers, and, with a wistful clutching of fingers, Shelly and Moira slid out of my car, but hopefully not out of my life. Aside from the one future date, I had resolved not to intrude on their lives, and to be more like a sanctuary for them if and when they needed it.
That apparently would not be a problem. My phone was buzzing in my pocket before I got home. Once I pulled into my spot, I checked the message that had arrived. It was a picture of Shelly's ass, with a red handprint on it, and the caption, "Thinking of you." I shook my head and laughed. I climbed the stairs to my condo, went in, and passed out into a well-fed coma.
I exchanged a few messages with both of them over the next few days. Nothing serious or overtly sexual, just, "How are you?", "I had a good time.", "Hope you're having a good day." Although I did get "Jello is stupid," from Shelly. I found out later that, on a sudden craving, she had gotten a box and made it, in the loosest sense of the word. It was not a rousing success. She didn't get why two cups of warm water wasn't the same and one cup of hot and one cup of cold.