Her mom would kill her if she knew where she was really going today. Brenda was covering for her because that's what best friends did for one another. Chris figured Brenda owed her a few coverings for last weekend. Chris dropped her long-time friend off at the mall where she'd do some shopping and catch a movie if she wasn't back by six fifteen. Their parents would ask for details since it was a school night, so one of them had to see a movie if it got late.
Chris hadn't told Brenda everything about that night last weekend. Like how close they'd come to not getting her mom's car back. Never mind if it wasn't for Joe Gipp she and the kids probably wouldn't be breathing today. Brenda felt bad enough Chris knew, so there was no sense adding to it. One thing she was fairly certain of, Brenda was never going to try to run away again.
She drove there, hoping he'd still be open. She'd had to look the address up in a phone book at the library because they'd been all over the place that night she wasn't exactly sure what the best way to get there from home was. She thought she'd be there before five o'clock, but the traffic was bad enough that she would cut it close. The neighborhood wasn't quite as scary when it wasn't eleven o'clock at night. Not being chased by mobsters probably helped, too. She knew it wasn't a neighborhood she wanted her mom's car to break down in, though. She'd given Brenda the address, too, just in case anything happened to her on the way.
She parked on the parking lot outside the garage and stepped out of her mom's car. She lifted the collar of her grandpa's coat closer around her neck, bundling her scarf around her a little tighter. Was it ever going to warm up? It didn't seem like it. Just last weekend she'd been worried about it being nice by prom so she and Mike could do something fun afterward. She was trying to push thoughts of prom and the fact she likely wouldn't be going now out of her mind. Never mind thoughts of how stupid she was. She still couldn't believe she'd fallen for his lines hook, line, and sinker. He had more experience where she had virtually none until him, so she was probably a pretty easy target.
She opened the door, glad it was unlocked. That had to mean he was still open. She went inside. Just like the other night there was no one there.
He wouldn't leave the door unlocked if he was gone. No one in their right mind would do that.
His entrance wasn't nearly as dramatic as it had been last weekend. He just walked toward her from somewhere else in the garage. God, she'd thought for sure they were doomed when he'd refused to accept their forty-five dollars.
"Can I help you?" he asked. He wiped his hands on a towel, sliding it into his back pocket or maybe the waistband of his jeans when he'd finished. "Oh, it's you again. You got another flat tire you need fixed or something?"
"What?" she asked. "Oh, no. The car is fine. My mom has no clue anything happened, not even that the windshield is new. So, yeah, thanks."
"You're welcome. Feel free to send any friends my way."
"Uh, yeah, sure," she said.
"So, what is it you want then if you're not here with a car problem? This is a garage, you know?"
"I just wanted to give you this."
She walked toward him then, handing him the envelope she was going to slip under the door or put in his mailbox if he wasn't there.
She'd noticed how large he was the other night. It was hard not to really, but until now when his fingers touched hers more than a little to grab the envelope she realized he could have really hurt them had he been so inclined. His hands were huge, huge enough to have beaten any of them to a pulp. She swallowed. He'd done nothing to hurt them. He'd scared them and been a jerk, but he hadn't threatened them or anything.
"What's this?" he asked with a frown. He opened the envelope. The ten dollar bill drifted to the floor as he unfolded the piece of paper she'd written a note on.
"This is you? Chris Parker?"
"I told you not to worry about the balance," he said. He glanced at the floor. "And it was only five dollars. That's a ten dollar bill. You're from the suburbs, certainly your schools teach you how to count if the Chicago Public School system taught me that much."
"Uh, yeah, I know. You didn't actually say not to worry about it, though, and I figured a little extra was called for. You have no idea what you saved us from."
"Oh, I have some idea what I saved you from. Or rather who. They came here after you got away from them."
She noticed now that he'd been beaten up pretty badly.
"I'm sorry. So sorry. They did that to you that night?"
"Some of it. Some of it came the next day when they found out the license plate number I gave them was bogus."
He shrugged, glancing at her note again. It wasn't that long to warrant reading it a second time. She'd simply said thank-you and if he ever needed something to call her. Not that she had anything to offer him, but he'd done them a huge favor and who knew what the future would bring. Her father taught her that you never let a kindness go unacknowledged.
He shrugged. "They were pretty bad guys, you obviously weren't. I wasn't going to hand you to them on a silver platter."
"Well, thank you. Again. Are you all right?"
"Well, if there's ever anything I can do for you. Clearly, five extra dollars isn't enough for saving our lives and getting beat up in the process. My number's on the note. "
"I saw," he said, sliding the paper back into the envelope. He put it into his back pocket then. He still hadn't picked up the ten dollars.
"Okay. Well, that was all. Thank you, really, for everything, but especially giving Sara her helmet back. You let her believe for a little longer heroes are real. Good night," she said.
It was entirely too quiet in there. The night last weekend she could understand why it was quiet. It was late; he was obviously closed beyond their car. He'd waited for them, as a favor to Mr. Pruitt, but he'd waited until almost midnight.
Now, though, well, she just always assumed a garage would be noisy. Tools and machines.
"Hey Chris Parker," he said when she reached the door.
"Yeah?" She turned to face him.
"Have some pizza with me."
She laughed. Surely he was joking. "What?"
"It's dinnertime for most people. You drove from the suburbs. Have some pizza with me."
"For real?" He was being serious?
"Erik. I don't think…"
"I have to pick my friend up. She helped me get here today by going to the mall by herself."
He smiled then. "So, your mom thinks you're at Saks Fifth Avenue with your friend?"
"Yes. Well, not Saks, but the mall."
"How much time do you actually have?"
"Not a whole lot. It took me almost an hour to get here and traffic will be worse leaving the city this time of day." That wasn't entirely true. If she wasn't back at the mall by six fifteen, Brenda was going to go to the next movie that started.
"Better not waste it arguing with me. Besides, take an hour, have pizza with me and the traffic will be lighter. You'd probably be at the mall about the same time as if you left now."
"Erik. I'm not sure…"
"Yeah, but, why?"
He shrugged, stopping to pick up the ten dollar bill finally.
"I have to have a reason to invite you to pizza? Maybe I don't want to eat alone."
"But you don't even know me."
"I know you're someone I'd like to know better. Believe me it's not every day someone pays me back when I let them slide on a portion of their bill. That's why I don’t do it for anyone I don't know."
"That's why I paid you back. I didn't want you to think I was trying to cheat you out of the money. And maybe the next person like me you'll remember that I did pay you back and believe they will, too."
"Yeah, well, I wouldn't count on that happening too many times. I'm here running a business to make money not give people their cars for discounts."
"I know and that's why I felt I had to pay you."
"Fair enough. So, pizza? I know a real good place."
"I don't think…"
"I'd just like to hear just what it was I got beat up over."
When he put it like that, how could she say no? He could have led Joe's boss right to her house. Her parents could be dead right now!
"Okay, then, I guess I owe you that much."
"Give me about ten minutes to clean up and lock up."
"Sure. I can wait in my car."
"You'll wait right here. I don't want anything happening to you out there."
"It's only a few minutes."
"Gang bangers don't need long to see a pretty woman and decide they want to have fun with her."
"Oh," she said.
"Life's a little different here, but I'll be back in a few minutes. You can sit in there," he said, gesturing to a room toward the front of the building.
"Thanks," she said. She assumed it was a waiting area until she walked in and realized it was his office he'd told her to wait in. She sat on the chair at his desk. There was another one in the room, but it had stuff on it. She wasn't going to move his things.
What was she agreeing to exactly? And why? She should get in her car and go back to get Brenda. Only, he was right, there was no telling she'd be back by six fifteen at this rate. It was crazy that it could take over an hour to drive less than twenty miles. If there was an accident or something along the away, forget about it.
"Questioning my motives?"
"More like my sanity," she said, watching him curiously as he shrugged into a coat.
"I enjoy hearing interesting stories and you have to eat, right?"
"Don't you like pizza?"
'Well, sure, who doesn't like pizza?"
"There are some."
She waited for him by the exit as he shut off lights, checked the stall door, and set an alarm. He locked the door behind them once they went outside.
"You really are from the suburbs, aren't you?" he asked.
"You just assume you're going to ride with me?"
"Well, I have no idea where we're going."
He set his hands on the hood of his car. "You don't know me from Adam yet you're willing to just get in my car with me. I could be anyone."
"Well, my friend knows I'm coming here."
"And that means what? That you're safe?" He shook his head.
"I could follow you, but I could get lost in traffic. I really don't know the city that well. Not areas like this anyway. I was lucky my library had a current map that showed me how to get here. I'd never find my way back here from anywhere but the expressway, and then I'd have to get out and ask for directions. That would put me in danger, which just a few minutes ago you were trying to avoid."
"Yeah, all right, get in," he said, opening his door. She heard the familiar click of automatic locks being worked and opened the door.
He took her to a place she had never heard of before in her life and likely would have gotten lost leaving from if she'd driven herself. The pizza was great, though. She told him about that night, everything from Mike standing her up to Brenda's phone call, which lead to their adventure downtown and ultimately his garage.
"She doesn't really think I'm Thor, does she?" He took a sip of root beer. He'd gotten them a pitcher, which surprised her. She figured he'd order a beer, leaving her to look like a kid having to order a Coke.
"I don't know," she said with a shrug. "I would assume not, but she does like Thor a lot. You should see her bedroom. Thor pictures everywhere, some she's drawn herself. She's actually not bad."
"Like Thor? I guess I don't really know much about him. I mean, he's a god."
"The God of Thunder."
"What's not to like about that?"
"I don't know."
"Not a comics fan?"
She shrugged. "Not really."
"And none of them introduced you to comics?"
"I just have one and don't think he really read them either. I don't remember it if he did. He was an athlete, even as a kid."
"Huh," he said, taking a bite of the pizza. It was loaded with just about everything, except anchovies. You couldn't take a bite without getting a piece of one of the ingredients.
"So, has the guy called yet?"
He chuckled a little at that. "The one you were supposed to have a date with that night?"
"Why would he call me?"
She laughed. "I don't think he's the groveling type."
"I think for the right woman any man is the groveling type."
"I'm not the right woman for him."
"Because I wouldn't sleep with him."
"I suspect he would've been a dick even if you had slept with him."
He shrugged, refilling their glasses. The place was pretty packed for a Wednesday night. She was surprised, but it was dinnertime. It was obviously a neighborhood place so people probably came here on their way home from work. Their waitress knew him that much was obvious. She was friendlier to him than her anyway.
"He was setting you up, wearing you down until you would give in."
"I thought about it, too."
"The other night?"
"No! Nothing specific, I guess. Just him like that. Prom, though, maybe," she shrugged.
"Why do high school seniors all think they need to get laid as part of that stuff?"
"I don't know. It's just normal, I guess. I hadn't made up my mind, and he probably wouldn't have gone with me anyway now that I think about it."
"Not unusual for chicks to date older guys."
"Now that I know he wasn't seeing just me, well, he would have had to worry about seeing one of his other girlfriends there."
"Yeah, that does get to be problematic when you're a two-timer."
"I really never saw it coming. I mean, I knew he was experienced and everything. And Darryl said Mike beat him up last summer. I didn't believe it when he said it, but now. Well, I just wonder if I knew him at all or if he was just that good at hiding who he really was."
"At least it sounds like he could have afforded better than the backseat of his car."
"It was a Camaro, we wouldn't have fit."
He chuckled. "You'd be surprised what people can accomplish in cramped spaces if they're so inclined. It wouldn't be my choice, but I guess if you have nowhere else to go."
"I'm not sure you'd fit in the backseat of a Camaro."
"Front seats recline," he said.
"Oh," she said and knew she was blushing terribly then.
"Thanks, Shelly," he said when the waitress brought them another pitcher of root beer.
"How often do you come here?"
"At least once a week. They make the best pizza in town."
"It was great."
"I've eaten my share of pizzas to know."
"You always eat here?"
"Usually. Sometimes I take it to go, but pizza is best hot so why let it get cold? I suppose it's about time to get you back to your car."
She glanced over her shoulder to look at the clock on the wall there. It was after six o'clock now. Brenda should be picking out a movie about now.
"I have a little more time," she said.
"Is that right?"
"Yes. I didn't want to make her sit there for hours, so she's going to go see a movie if I'm not back there to pick her up by six fifteen. I figured a little over two hours should have been enough time."
"Cutting it close, though."
"Yeah, I know. I don't drive down here much at this time of day."
"So after you graduate what then?"
"I'm not sure. I kind of thought I knew, but now…" she shrugged.
"You thought you were going to marry the two-timer?"
"The thought crossed my mind. I fell for him."
"I guess so."
"My parents want me to pick a college."
He frowned a bit at that. "Why on earth not?"
"So you can get a good job."
"You seem to do just fine. You have your own garage, a wrecker."
"Yeah, well, I didn't have a choice. I didn't have parents who were willing to send me to college. So, unless you have some awesome manual labor skills that I'm guessing aren't there I'd say college is your best bet."
"Everyone says that."
"Maybe you should listen."
"Why do you care?"
He shrugged. "I don't, but you drove all that way to give me five dollars. You did everything you could to be sure those kids got home safe and sound the other night. That tells me you're a good person. Good people deserve better than working fast food restaurants."
"I," she shrugged.
"I get it, you thought you were going to marry the guy and wouldn't have to worry about things like a job."
"I thought, maybe, yeah," she said softly.
"And what about if he got hit by a bus three years from now and you had two kids to support?"
"What are the odds of that happening?"
"Getting hit by a bus? Okay, maybe not so likely, but living in Chicago there are a lot of ways to die. Why would you want to leave yourself and any kids potentially destitute?"
"You sound like my mother."
"Just someone who's been on the other side of high school for a while and who sees a lot of stuff in my line of work."
"I suppose you get lots of excuses for why they can't pay."
"That and I get some pretty interesting offers to pay off the balance."
She scrunched her nose at that. "Really?"
"I would never have thought about doing that."
"I didn't think you would have."
"I wouldn't be sitting here with you right now if you were that type."
"Thank you. I still say it's weird, though. Using sex as a bartering tool, thinking that would even work."
"Not really. People are desperate and look at me and probably think I'm simple – and desperate enough myself - to take them up on their offers. There are those out there who don't make a habit of saying no to those offers."
"You don't seem desperate."
"Yes, because I'm sure you always get invited to pizza with virtual strangers every day."
"Well, no, not every day. That's not desperation, though."
"Why did you ask me to have pizza with you?"
He sat back a little on his chair, regarding her. "I think you're pretty."
"Thank you," she said, knowing she was blushing again.
"You're welcome. I figured maybe you showing up like that today. Well, it couldn't hurt anything to ask you."
"Hey, it's just pizza. Don't worry."
"I'm not worried, I just. Thank you."
"Let's get you back to your car so you're not late picking up your friend."
"Okay," she said, standing to put her coat on.
They were pretty quiet on the ride back to her mom's car.
"So, which suburb do you live in anyway?"
"Oak Park," she said.
"That's not too far."
"No, it's not."
He left his car on as she got out, doing the same.
"I can walk to my car myself."
"I'm sure you can. Just making sure," he said, opening the door for her. "You come here again, lock your doors."
"Oh, yeah, I wasn't expecting."
"Got it. It's just really not that great of an area. I'm good with cars, but even I have my limits on what I can undo to your mom's car."
"Well, thank you for the pizza. It was very good."
"Thank you for coming with."
"Sure. I'm glad you're okay," she said, reaching hesitantly to touch his eye where the worst of the bruising was on that side of his face. "I can't say how sorry I am."
He shook his head. "Forget it. Part of the job."
"Getting beat up is not part of your job."
"I guess when you want a little girl not to get hurt it is."
She wasn't sure what to say to that. She started to say something but he stopped her with a kiss. Her hands went to the front of his coat, her instinct to push him away. He leaned into her, backing her up against the side of her car. God, he kissed her like he really wanted to kiss her. She slid her arms around his neck then, drawing him deeper into it.
She broke away first. She had to. She had absolutely no business kissing him. She was supposed to go out with Dan this weekend. Kissing someone else shouldn't be on her mind at all.
"So the other guy?"
He chuckled lightly. "The guy who drove all the way out there to return the little girl's roller skate."
"You going out with him?"
"Friday or Saturday?"
"I'm not sure yet."
'That number you gave me."
"I'm going to use it tomorrow."
"Yes, to ask you out for whichever night you're not going out with him."
"Have two dates on the same weekend? Why not?"
"Because it's not right."
"Well, if you'd been seeing him I'd agree with you, but it's a first date. I doubt he's expecting you to be committed to him before that even happens."
"I've never done that."
"Is that the only reason?" he asked, grazing her jaw with his lips.
"I don’t know you."
"Seems to me that's the point of dates, and you can't know him any better than you know me."
"I don't know. My mom would probably freak out."
"Maybe. Maybe not," he said, finding her ear with his mouth.
"Okay," she said softly, not at all sure she should be feeling the things she was just from his kissing her ear.
"Okay you'll go out with me?"
"Yes," she said softly.
"Since I actually asked first do I get to choose the day?"
"He asked first."
"Seems to me if he really wanted to make plans with you he wouldn't wait until Thursday to make them."
"Are you saying he doesn't? He's busy. He has classes and stuff."
"I want Saturday."
"Okay," she said with a shake of her head.
"Questioning your sanity again?"
"Yes," she said with a soft laugh. "This is crazy. I can't go out with both of you."
"Sure you can. Tell him about me, I know about him. There shouldn't be an issue as long as you're honest."
He took her note out of his pocket and showed it to her. "Write down your address for me."
"So I can pick you up Saturday. Early."
"Noon? For a date?"
"Okay," she said, reaching into her purse for a pen. She put the paper on her window and wrote her address down, not easy to do given the window was cold.
He tore a part of the paper off, wrote something on the piece he tore off and gave it to her.
"Call me when you get home tonight so I know you got home safely."
"You're not serious?"
"I think I am, yeah."
"Okay," she said.
"I'll talk to you later then, Chris Parker."
She smiled a little, reaching up slightly to kiss him one last time. "Thanks again, Erik."
"Anytime," he said, opening her door for her.
He stood there while she let the car warm up, watching as she drove out of the parking lot.
"What have you done, Chris?"
Word Count: 2,453
"So, do you feel cheap?" Brenda asked.
"Well, two dates with two different guys in less than twenty-four hours."
"Does Dan know you had a date with someone else yesterday?"
Chris shrugged. "Not directly, no. I told him I had plans with someone. I figured there was no sense saying anything for a first date. There's no telling I'll see either of them a second time."
"You don't think so?"
"Who knows? Erik knows why Mike and I broke up, I didn't tell Dan. I didn't want him to think I was a complete idiot."
"You don't care if Erik does?"
Chris sighed. "He got beat up because of me, Brenda."
"You mean because of me."
"It doesn't matter. That night. You. Me. Either way. I guess I owed him the truth. I could've left some of it out, I guess, but without telling him why we stopped in the first place he wouldn’t have understood how Sara got out of the car to begin with."
"I suppose you have a point. At least he knows you're not easy."
"I'm not sure that's a selling point."
"Maybe it is," she shrugged. "Not all guys are like Mike Toddwell, Chris."
"Speaking from your vast amounts of experience."
"Well, okay, no, but I listen at school. So do you. You have to. Not all guys pressure their girlfriends to have sex."
"Do you listen to the same conversations I do, Brenda? Because most of them seem to revolve around partying and getting laid."
"Well, sure, if you listen to the guys. It's their girlfriends you have to really listen to. Unless they're all lying and doing it. Sesame I can believe."
"God, I still can't believe he was with her. And he fed her the same lines! Really? He saw me as no better than her? Last week I was mad, but now that I've had more time to think about it I'm not mad."
"Well, no, I'm insulted. Come on. Okay, maybe thinking he was the one was the wrong thing to do so fast, but it's not like I just met him. I'd seen him around Aaron for years. I guess I figured he wouldn't do anything wrong with his friend's sister. He has a little sister, you know?"
"Right," Brenda agreed, seeming to see Chris' point.
"God, I'm lucky I didn't sleep with him, I probably would have caught syphilis or something. Can you imagine?"
"Well, just take it slow with Dan and Erik. It's our senior year and our last summer before college. Have fun, you don't have to make a choice between them, or either of them, right away you know."
"I know. I'll see what happens. If I learned anything from Mike that's it, I was too quick to fall in love."
"Do you think you really loved him, though?"
"I loved the guy I thought he was not the jerk he is, but I see how easily I was fooled. I'm not going to let that happen again."
"Good. Whoever it is, Erik and Dan have their work cut out for them it would seem."
"Maybe it's you who owes me for last weekend not the other way around."
Chris laughed. "Maybe you're right."
"I'm just glad you're not moping about Mike."
"Good. I told you he wasn't all that."
"You did. I'm just sorry I wasted so much time on him."
"I know. You had to listen to me talk about him. Did you know about Sesame?"
"Not about her specifically, no, but I heard things," she shrugged.
"Why didn't you say something?"
"I wasn't sure. What was I supposed to do? Tell you I'd heard he was a playboy. What if he wasn't? What if they were just rumors? You wouldn't have listened if I didn't have proof and I didn't want to be the one to break your heart."
"I guess I understand that."
"At least you're talking about college again."
On the way home Wednesday, Chris thought over what Erik had said while they were eating pizza. Her parents assumed she would go to college and Chris had sort of, too. Until she started dating Mike and then she started wondering what the point was. Erik had a valid point, though. She had to be able to support herself because, well, anything could happen.
"I looked through some catalogs Thursday with Mom."
"If you go to Lake Forest we could request one another as roommates."
"It'd be better than a total stranger."
"I don't have any doubts about having you as my roommate. I just don't know what I want to do, Brenda."
"What did you want to do before Mike? Besides, that's what your freshman year is for. You take classes that interest you and decide on your major from there."
"Mom called on Friday about taking a tour."
"Of Lake Forest?"
"And you waited until now to tell me?"
"I've been kind of busy."
"What does your mom think about you having two dates in one weekend?"
"She didn't say much. I think she's happy to see I'm not moping about Mike, too."
"I'm not sure he noticed."
"He didn't notice two different guys picked you up?"
"You know Dad," Chris shrugged. "He just doesn't pay attention to things like that. He met Mike once or twice, but that was only after he'd picked me up a few times. I'm not sure what he thought of him."
"So, you had dinner with Dan."
"No," she said with a shrug. "We went to Baskin Robbins for ice cream afterward and then to a park and sat on the swings for a while and talked."
"You went to Baskin Robbins twice?"
"You'd better be careful; you'll gain fifty pounds if they both keep taking you there."
Chris laughed. "I know! Although Erik and I walked around the zoo so much Saturday that I don't think the ice cream mattered much."
"I haven't been to Brookfield in years."
"I hadn't either. It was fun."
"A little cold."
"Hmm, he didn't offer to keep you warm?"
"Well, he held my hand."
"Surprised me, too, he doesn't seem like the hand holding type. The thing that was so nice about it, it wasn't so crowded. I remember going there as a kid during the summer and it was packed so you never got to see the animals or exhibits very well. Or if you had a good spot you were pushed out of the way after like two minutes."
"So, plans to see either of them again?"
"He said he'd call this week."
"At least neither of them was a jerk."
"No. They were both very nice."
"Who's the better kisser?"
"Well, it's a natural question. I know you kissed them both at least once."
"I don't know yet."
"You don't know yet?"
"No! It's not something I want to talk about."
"Because I don't know!"
She did kind of. Dan was a good kisser, but he was so polite about it. Not that there was anything wrong with that, but after Mike she was a little unsure about someone seeming so polite. Clearly, Mike's politeness was all an act. To what end, she wasn't sure beyond getting her to have sex with him. Erik was probably right that he was softening her up until she caved in, believing he was too good to be true. Truth was she'd kind of had a crush on Mike as a little girl when Mike and her brother Aaron were on the same baseball team together. When he'd asked her out she couldn't believe it because as they'd grown up and gone to high school and college Mike and Aaron hadn't really stayed friends.
Erik kissed her like he really wanted to and maybe wanted to do more. It should bother her that he wasn't afraid to convey that attraction in his kiss, but she kind of liked it in an odd way. He didn't try anything else, but there was something about it. Letting her know that things were in her hands but he had no qualms about tempting her a little bit. More honest.
He hadn't kissed her ear or anything last night as he did on Wednesday. His hands hadn't even gone anywhere but her face and neck. He hadn't worn gloves, even when they were walking around the zoo, and she couldn't help but notice in addition to how large his hands were they were kind of rough. She'd never been close to anyone who did things with their hands so it had been a first for her.
"You really don't think I'm a bad person?"
"Chris, you're not a bad person. You just broke up with someone who lied and cheated. You have two guys interested in you. I don't think either of them would blame you for seeing what was out there for a while before you decide."
"I guess. I've just never done anything like this."
"You never had the chance to before! Take advantage of it, Chris. God, two guys competing for you. Enjoy the attention."
"Aren't you seeing Aaron Parker's younger sister?" Chad asked Mike.
Mike popped the top on his beer and shook his head. "Why?"
"I saw her over the weekend."
"And your point is, Chad."
"She was with guys."
"She has friends."
"No, she looked like she was on dates with them."
"Yes. I was visiting Cin at work and she came in both nights."
"Yes, is that not just what I said?"
"I'm not really sure what you said."
"I'm telling you, man, she was on dates with two different guys."
"You obviously saw wrong."
"So you are seeing her then?"
"I was," he said softly.
"I thought so."
"Yeah, she, uh, saw me out with someone else."
"When was this?"
"Well, she's obviously recuperating quickly."
"And I'm telling you that you saw wrong. Chris Parker would never go out with two guys at a time. She'd probably think she was going to burn in hell just for thinking about something like that. Judging by her reaction to seeing me with Sesame, there's no way it's occurred to her that settling down isn't the normal way of things. We're animals, Chad, we're not supposed to be monogamous. One man, one woman. Whoever thought of that crap is a sadist."
"You're lucky she didn't tell Aaron."
Mike scoffed. "As if Aaron could do anything about it."
"Oh come on, you had your eye on her for years. I remember the few times we were at parties at his house. You telling me someone did that to your little sister you'd just sit back?"
"Leave her out of this. Aaron doesn't know. Chris and Aaron don't talk much. Besides she's hot, I'm not blind. I had no way of knowing she was a prude. Believe me, I tried, too, nothing worked with her."
"She didn't seem very prudish this weekend."
"In the middle of Baskin Robbins?"
Chad shrugged. "She seemed like she was having a good time both nights. I don't know. I paid more attention than I probably should have because I thought she was with you. She didn't recognize me I guess, because she said hi to Cin but nothing to me."
"Anyone we know?"
"No, never seen either guy before. The one on Saturday night sat next to her, had his arm around her chair and everything. They shared their ice cream."
"How romantic," Mike said.
"What's so wrong with her?"
"Nothing, Chad. I'm not the type to settle down. I swear she was ready to pick out china patterns. It wouldn't surprise me if she was already paging through bridal magazines."
"There are worse women to think about settling down with than her. Man, did you see this month's issue of Playboy?"
Mike chuckled. "Yeah, I've seen it."
"I couldn't believe it. If I didn't know she wasn't eighteen I'd swear it was her."
"Christ, Chad, I couldn't get my hand under her shirt and you think she's going to take her clothes off in front of a camera."
"Well, I just thought I'd tell you I saw her I didn't know you weren't still with her."
"Nah, it was over last weekend. I'm still not sure how she caught me. She showed up with these kids at the restaurant I was supposed to take her to downtown. I never pegged her for the type to do that. Talk about clingy and crazy."
"Maybe she suspected you were lying?"
"Yeah, well, still more than I need to deal with. Too much baggage and emotional investment for little to no return."
"Come on, she's seventeen."
"When was the last time you had a case of blue balls, Chad?"
"Well, I've been with Cin forever so I don't remember."
"Try going weeks with no action. I shouldn't have to deal with that. Believe me Sesame made sure that wasn't a problem for me that night. I wasn't ready to call it quits with her, but I'm not a monk. If she wasn't going to put out I had to find it somewhere."
"You know not everyone has to have sex all of the time."
"Yeah, well, maybe they just don't know what the equipment they have is meant to be used for. If we weren't supposed to have sex we wouldn't get hard-ons."
"You're unbelievable sometimes, you know that?"
"So I've been told. She's nice, pretty even. She was just too serious for me. And the no sex thing. Christ, dates at nice French restaurants. Prom. All this shit she wanted to do with no reciprocation."
"But if she hadn't caught you out with someone else you'd still be seeing her."
"And this happened last weekend?"
"Well, I'm just wondering. Has it occurred to you that maybe you weren't the only one looking elsewhere."
"You think she was cheating on me? Don’t be ridiculous."
"Well, maybe not seeing anyone else, but her eyes had to be open in other directions. How else does she come up with a date with two different guys the weekend after breaking up with you? She had school all week, neither looked as if they're in high school. You say she was serious about you."
Mike shrugged. "Who knows? I don't know what women like her think. Good luck to those guys, though. If I knew who they were I'd warn them away from her. Biggest waste of my time."
Word Count: 5,447
"You look nice, Christine."
"Thanks, Mom," she said, brushing her hair.
"Where are you going today?"
"To the Shedd Aquarium"
"Yes," she said.
"He knows about the other young man you've been seeing?"
"Just making sure you're not turning around and doing what you accused Mike of doing."
Chris had to lie to her mom as to how she found out Mike had been out with Sesame Plexer on Saturday night instead of her. She'd told her that a friend of hers happened to be at the restaurant that night and saw him. Since she was supposed to be at the Anderson's babysitting it was the only way she could've found out. Her mother never asked for specifics as to who the friend was, so she hadn't had to drag someone else into the lie.
"I didn't accuse him, Mom. I caught him in a lie! And I'm not," Chris said. One date with both of them had turned into a month of dates every weekend. And a month of meeting Erik for pizza downtown one evening during the week. They'd figured out a train stop close to the pizza place where Erik could pick her up, letting her avoid bringing her mom's car into the city any more than she had to. Dan had yet to ask to do anything with her during the week. He didn't call her as much either. Erik called her before he was going to sleep most nights. He went to sleep early during the week, but that was because he woke up before sunrise every day.
"I'm just seeing, I guess. I jumped in with both feet with Mike so fast. I don't want to do that again."
"It probably helped that you'd known him for years however distantly. I remember you had a crush on him when you were younger. So, there's nothing wrong with what you're doing. Mike was the first serious boyfriend you had, I don't blame you. I just want to be sure you're being honest."
"I am. Erik wanted me to."
"Erik told you to tell Dan about him?" Her mom took a seat on her bed, so Chris realized they were probably going to talk for a while. Her dad was at the club, golfing. It was too cold as far as Chris was concerned, but she suspected it was the drinking afterward that her father looked most forward to this time of year.
"You seem to like him a little more than Dan, or am I misreading things?"
"I guess. He's certainly more attentive. He wants to see me during the week. He calls more and he actually wants to talk to me not just to see if I'm free on Friday night."
"But nothing, I'm just not trying to rush."
"There's rushing, Christine, and there's being foolish. If you have already figured out you like one of them better there's no sense leading the other one on. Perhaps Dan's figured that out as well, which may be why he's not as attentive. They're quite different physically, too. Erik's much taller than both of them, and neither of them is short so that's saying something. Dan resembles Mike more, too, wouldn't you say?"
"Did you have fun last night?"
"You were home pretty early."
"Well, I don't like to push my curfew for something like that."
"I'm not sure I'd extend it for a frat party, no. Erik seems to like to monopolize your time more than Dan."
"What do you mean?" Chris asked, though she'd sort of noticed that, too. Erik was more than willing to spend an entire day with her. The zoo was just the first of things they'd done that required spending hours together. He'd taken her to the Field Museum and the Museum of Science and Industry. She'd been to both before on field trips with school and with her family, but he'd never been to either of them. He'd particularly liked the Coal Mine tour at the Science and Industry. He'd included Brenda in their dinner afterward last Saturday, which he certainly didn't have to do.
Dan, however, seemed fairly content with doing things on Friday evenings and he'd never expressed any interest in meeting Brenda. They'd had dinner together and seen a couple of movies over the weeks. Last night it was a party at his frat house. She wasn't too thrilled about going, mainly because so many of the guys there had seen that Playboy centerfold layout and she didn't really want to hear herself being called Miss March again anytime soon. He promised her no one would give her a hard time. No one had and she kind of had fun, but she felt uncomfortable. Drinking really wasn't a priority of hers. Everyone who was there as part of a couple were all over each other and she was very glad when Dan suggested they get out of there after a while. He'd driven her around for a while before taking her home well before the one o'clock her mom expected her home.
"I don’t know. Dan picks you up and always has you home a few hours later. You've done some pretty nice things with Erik that involve spending lots of time with each other, talking about things that interest and appeal to you. I assume so anyway since you've gone to the zoo and museums."
"Yes," she said. "I feel comfortable with him. I can walk around the zoo with him holding his hand and not think he's going to assume it means more than that."
"You don't feel that way with Dan?"
"We've never held hands," she shrugged. "So I don't know. Honestly, I think he doesn't like that I'm choosing to go to Lake Forest."
"Versus where? University of Chicago? You can't choose a college for a man, especially one who's graduating this year."
"I know that, Mom, and I wouldn't. I'm not sure why, really."
"What's he going to do after he graduates anyway?"
"Ah, so he'll still be in town, able to see you but busy with law school so a drive to Lake Forest may be out of the question some weekends. That's still no reason to choose a school."
"I know that, and I haven't even suggested I wanted to go there, but had mentioned Northwestern to him."
"It's not as if Lake Forest is a huge distance. I mean, it's not insurmountable. It's an hour to the city, maybe more if traffic is bad."
"I know that, too."
"The party last night was at his frat house?"
"And you had fun?"
"It was all right."
"Just all right?"
"Parties like that just aren't really my thing. I'm still in high school and they're all college students."
"You felt out of place?"
"Erik's older than Dan."
"I know, but it's different. I don't feel as though I'm being measured up against anyone else. And if he's seen that Playboy centerfold he hasn't said one word about it to me. Dan's friends all look at me as though they want to undress me."
"No," Chris said. While she was glad about that there was a part of her that wondered what was wrong with him that he never seemed to. Erik didn't look at her like he wanted to undress her, but he looked at her as though he liked her enough to think about doing that. She liked that look there without him pushing her to let him. She liked that he wasn't afraid to let her know he was attracted to her; she just never got that feeling from Dan. Not in the same way at least.
"Plus, you know I don't really drink or anything."
"That's good to know."
"I'm glad to know you keep a clear head about you and that you won't do something life changing because you've had too much to drink."
"No, if that's what I was going to do I would have with Mike. He probably wouldn't have gone out with Sesame then."
"Is that what you think, dear?"
"I don't know. Maybe. I mean, sometimes at school I feel like Brenda and I are the only ones out there who haven't."
"There's nothing wrong with it. I told you when you started seeing him if you needed me to make an appointment I would. That wasn't me telling you I advocate you going off and becoming sexually active, but he was older and I know things are different now than when I was your age. Things were a little easier with Aaron."
"They were, really?"
"Well, your father got to have the conversation with him. I'm sure the extent of the conversation was to know where to look at Walgreen's for what Aaron would need."
"Oh," Chris said, blushing at the thought of her brother needing condoms in high school. He'd dated the same girl from sophomore year of high school until junior year of college when they broke up. Chris still wasn't sure why, but Aaron was seeing someone else now so Chris would probably never know.
"The problem was with him, Christine, not you. No matter what you would have done the end result would have been the same. I've seen him around town, his car is difficult to miss, and he never lacks for female company. Already, since you I've seen him with a few other girls your age. And you know why?"
"Because he's not stupid. Girls your age will give in and he knows that, there's a reason he doesn't play his games with women his own age. A little sweet talking, show them a good time, make them feel special, flash a little money around, and say sweet things. He's good looking, has a nice car, comes from a nice family, and is very charming. Closer to his age and they'd see through it all. You're one of the few I imagine who didn't give in and you should be proud of that not sad. It hurts I know, though you do an exceptional job at not showing it does. Just think how you'd feel if you'd given him something that should be reserved for someone you love and who loves you."
"I know, Mom."
"I know it's unrealistic these days for me to expect you to be married first, but love still should still play a part in it. Not only did he not love you, but he certainly didn't respect you or he wouldn't have flaunted going out with a schoolmate of yours when he'd been seen with you."
"Just have fun, Christine. You're only young once, the right one will come when it's time. You have plenty of time. I felt with Mike you were in so much of a hurry, I hope that instinct is gone. Choosing a college tells me it is."
"It is. Thanks, Mom," she said. She stood then and sat next to where her mom had sat on the bed, giving her a kiss. "I love you."
"I love you, too, dear. Have fun at the aquarium. I'm glad he likes those sorts of things. Chicago has so many wonderful things to offer, but they're much more fun to do with someone special over going alone."
"I suppose now that Aaron and I are older…"
"Not much reason to go to them anymore, no. Your father went, of course, but not now."
"I'd still go with you."
"I know, but you have someone to go with for now so enjoy it. If he won't go to the Art Institute with you, let me know. I haven't been there in so long."
"I'm not sure how into art he is, but I'd go twice even if he did take me."
"He's not a very well-educated man, is he?"
Chris shrugged. "He graduated high school, but nothing beyond that. He's not dumb, Mom, give me more credit than that. He's very nice and he works hard. He can hold a conversation and everything. He just didn't have the money to go to college. He's actually the one who made me rethink college."
"Yes, he just made me see that I really need to have a degree so I can support myself."
"Well, I guess he's all right then. Funny, the one I'd probably tell you to forego is the one who is encouraging you to move away from him and the one who I'd probably tell you to pursue wants you to limit your choices."
"You don't like him?"
"I didn't say that, I hardly know him. He's been polite to me when he's come inside to pick you up. He doesn't honk when he pulls onto the driveway as Mike did, expecting you to be at the door ready to go as soon as he rang the bell. I gave him some credit at least for coming to the door; I've heard some mothers talk about their daughters having boyfriends who won't even do that much. There are worse jobs out there than being a mechanic and you said it's his garage."
"Well, who can argue with someone being in business for themselves?"
"Nobody, I guess."
"You could invite him for dinner some Sunday if you'd like."
"Why on earth not?"
"I don't know I've just never done that before."
"You certainly don't have to, but just so you know our dinner table is always open to a guest, honey."
"Thanks. I'm not sure I'm ready for that."
"When you are you'll know because it sounds kind of like you have your answer whether you're ready to admit it or not. I think Dan is very nice and you want to like him because he's who you know your father and I would envision you with. However, if he doesn't make you happy and if there's no attraction there, there's really not much point. You can't make feelings like that appear. They're either there or they're not."
"I know," Chris said. She'd been avoiding thinking this deeply on it yet because as much as she hated to admit it, it was kind of nice to have her weekends full for the past month. Sunday was always church with her parents, lunch at the club, and then she and Brenda did something for a while before Sunday dinner.
"Well, I have laundry to fold. You finish getting ready."
"I am ready."
"Well, you're welcome to come keep me company until he gets here."
"Okay, I'll be down in a bit," Chris said. It'd been a long time since she'd sat with her mom and watched her fold laundry. Her mom never let her help either.
She looked at herself in the mirror above her dresser one last time. The picture of Mike she'd had there was gone. She'd thrown the picture away when she got home that night and given the frame to her mom. Her mom would find something else to put in it, but Chris didn't want it. Today, there were postcards from the places Erik had taken her around the edge of the mirror. She'd add another one tonight when she got home, no doubt. He always offered to buy her something from the gift shop, but she didn't need things. At the zoo she'd picked a postcard because he'd insisted she get something and the other postcards had followed.
The two movie stubs from the movies she'd seen with Dan were on the dresser, but not on the mirror like the postcards. She hadn't bothered putting them up. They weren't pretty to look at like the postcards she'd told herself. Her favorite had been Lethal Weapon, but Blind Date had been okay. It got sort of ridiculous after a while, though.
"Why haven't we seen a movie?" she asked Erik as they were walking around the Lake Forest College campus. He'd driven them there from the aquarium.
"What?" he asked. He tugged on her hand to pull her toward him a little, sliding an arm around her. She had to admit she liked when he held her hand, but when he put his arm around her she liked it better. He didn't do it real often either.
"A movie. We haven't seen one."
"I don't know. Why?"
"I'm just wondering if there's a reason."
"I'd rather talk to you during the time I get to spend with you. I enjoy watching you as you see the different things at the places we go. Why? You'd rather see a movie?"
"No, I just wondered."
"Hmm, Dan takes you to movies I suppose?"
"Yeah, we've seen a couple."
"Not a dumb idea I guess if it lets him sit with you for a couple of hours in a darkened movie theater."
She rolled her eyes a little. "I'm sure that's not why."
He chuckled softly. "Maybe not. I don't know what to tell you. Do you want to see a movie?"
"No, I just wondered. It seems like a pretty common thing to do on a date."
"I'm common enough without doing something with you any guy in the world could do. Maybe I don't want to be common with you."
"We'll eventually run out of things to do."
"Bite your tongue. There's plenty to do around here. And it's not like you can't go to something like the zoo twice."
"I know. I'm sorry. I shouldn't have brought it up."
"You can ask me anything, Chris."
"I know. I do. I was really just curious."
"So, I was thinking," he said.
He shrugged. "You've picked your school."
"Yes," she said.
"This one, right? It's the one I've heard you talk about most."
"You think so?"
"And it doesn't bother you?"
"Bother me? If you were going to college in Hawaii it might bother me, but no, this doesn't bother me."
"Days like this, Hawaii doesn't sound so bad."
He chuckled a little at that. "True enough, but I just wanted to show you how close you'd be. It took a little over an hour to get here and that wasn't taking 94. The drive was nice, and it was a good excuse to spend more time with you, but it's not out of the realm of possibility to see you from time to time."
"Your friend Brenda is going to go here, too?"
"Well, that's good then. It's a nice campus."
"I thought so."
"You'll have to show me around when you get settled in."
"I'd be happy to."
"You hungry yet?"
"A little," she replied as they headed back to his car.
"So, this movie thing. Why are you asking?"
She shrugged. "I was just curious."
"Is this a he's doing something righter than I am thing?"
"No, it's not that at all."
"Hmm," he said, stopping her from getting into the car. "Would you tell me?"
"Tell you what?"
"If he was doing something better than I was?"
"He's not, Erik. It was just a question. I was curious."
He was looking at her pretty intensely and she knew somehow he was going to kiss her. She sighed softly as he did just that. She hated to admit it, tried to avoid saying so to Brenda, but she really did prefer kissing him over Dan. She wasn't sure why exactly. When Dan kissed her she didn't feel much of anything. His kisses were always nice, but Erik's made her heart pound in anticipation. Anticipation of what exactly she wasn't sure. She just knew that she never wanted them to end and a few times wanted more.
He nipped at her lower lip, drawing away a little to kiss her jaw. He slid his lips lower to her neck, nipping the pulse point there causing her to groan softly. How embarrassing except he didn't seem to mind. Her heart was racing, her body was positively humming and she knew she had her answer. She'd hoped to avoid one for a little while yet, but it was obvious to her. This … whatever it was he did to her, Dan just didn't do it. Not once had his kisses made her feel weak in the knees or crave more.
"You'd really come see me?" she whispered, tilting her head a little so he could keep kissing her neck. Right there. Oh God, she groaned again and felt things in her breasts and lower that she'd never felt before.
"Assuming you don't have a car to come see me, yeah."
"Yeah, about that. You know those auctions I go to?"
"I've been thinking of buying one for you."
"Erik, you can't buy me a car."
"Why not? I'd fix it up for you; do all the work so I know it'd be street ready and dependable. And, hey, it's not like you don't know someone who can fix it."
"That's too much."
"I don't think so," he whispered, finding her ear just then. "Then you could come see me sometimes. I think Shelly is finally getting used to my bringing you in with me. You stop coming in and she's going to wonder where you went."
Chris laughed a little at that. "I think Shelly likes you and doesn't like me so much because you bring me there. If I stopped coming in with you she'd probably hit on you."
"Sadly, you might be right, but I don't like Shelly like that. She's nice and all, don't get me wrong."
"I don't know what to tell you there. The heart knows what it knows I can't change it."
"You think so?"
She brought her hands to his face, tugging him away from doing the wonderful things to her ear he was doing.
"What? Too much? I figured out here where it's clearly just teasing would be okay."
"No, you're fine. It feels nice."
"Nice? Sweetheart, I hope it's feeling more than nice."
"Okay, very nice," she said.
He chuckled a little. "And don't worry I'm not leaving you any hickeys."
"That's good. My mom would have a fit."
"God yes. My brother came home with one once. He'd been dating Jen for like three years by this point. My mother was livid. She said that they could do whatever they wanted to do but to bring home visible evidence of it was just rude."
He chuckled softly. "Valid point. I bet Jen just learned to leave them places your mother couldn't see after that."
"Oh God," Chris said. "I hadn't thought of that."
"No. I mean, really?"
"As tempting as it is to say I'll show you, here and now isn't the time."
"It's okay. Some other time maybe." He looked at her, tilting his head a little against her hand. "What? You look so serious. What's wrong?" He sighed softly, looking suddenly sad. "More questions about movies? Or was mentioning the car too much, too soon?"
"You just have this look in your eye like you're about to say goodbye. Or kick a puppy and since I don't see you as the type to kick puppies, I'm guessing this is where I get off."
"No," she shook her head. "You think I'd do that. Just tell you goodbye?"
"I don't know how else this is going to end for one of the two of us. Neither of us was friends with you beforehand and I can honestly say I wouldn't be too thrilled with him hanging around you if we were supposed to be dating exclusively. So I can't imagine he'd feel any different if the shoe was on the other foot."
"Because he likes you."
"Not because you don't trust me?"
"Trust you? You've never said or done anything to make me not trust you."
"Dating you both?"
"No," he said. "You haven't lied. I hate it, I won't deny that, but after what that douchebag did to you I can't blame you for not wanting to jump into something with another guy."
"Yeah, it's a little scary."
"No one blames you for being scared, Chris."
"So is that it?"
"Actually you just made me decide. Well, my mom did earlier, too, but I didn't want to admit it until now I guess."
"I did? How?"
"You kissed me."
"Well, yeah, I like kissing you, I've been pretty clear about that from the day you came to my garage."
"I know, but I like it."
"Well, you're supposed to."
She laughed softly. "I really like it."
"Okay," he said cautiously.
She pushed on his chest a little and he stepped back from her. "I'm not saying I'm ready for more, okay, so don't take this to mean anything it doesn't yet. You kiss me and I want more."
"You're supposed to."
"I've never felt that before."
She shook her head. "No."
"So you're saying with Mike the temptation wasn't even there?"
"But you said prom?"
"Well, sure, I didn't know until now that I was supposed to feel anything from a kiss."
"Oh," he said. "Really?" He shook his head, apparently not believing her.
"Yes, I'm really that naïve. I mean, my mom educated me but I guess there are some things you just have to learn by doing them."
"I wouldn't say naïve. Innocence isn't always a bad thing, Chris. I just, wow, all right. So, what does that mean?"
"I want to feel that every time I get kissed."
"As you should."
"So I don't think I want to kiss anyone else."
He exhaled sharply and leaned toward her again, kissing her once more. He deepened it immediately, tongue finding hers and she met his boldly. She'd always held back a little, but she didn't tonight and he seemed to sense that.
"I have to tell him, you know," she said over their Chinese food.
"Yeah, I figured that would be the case. You're too nice to just not talk to him again."
"I think he's kind of expecting it anyway."
She shrugged. "I don't know, I think he knew before I was ready to admit it."
"Hmm. And he didn't turn the charm up a notch?"
She smiled a little at that, taking a sip of her tea. "I'm not sure it would've mattered."
"It's the car, isn't it? That pushed me over the top." He was teasing her; she could see it in his eyes. She never in her wildest dreams would expect him, or anyone but her parents, to buy her a car.
"Yes, that was it."
"So, another weekend of just getting Saturday with you then I take it."
"Just Saturday's? You want more?"
"Well, yeah," he said, looking confused. "You don't."
"I don't know. I mean, I just assumed you have other things to do."
"Well, sure, I do, but I can do them during the week when you can't see me."
"Oh," she said.
"That surprises you?"
He frowned. "Isn't that the point of dating someone? I'm not overly experienced either in this area believe it or not."
"No, no time."
"Yet you have time to see me."
"Oh, I have time to see someone. I don't have the time to meet someone I want to see, but I just assumed if you're dating someone you see them as often as you can."
"You don't sound so sure."
"My mom invited you for Sunday dinner."
"Your mom did?"
"Today's not Sunday."
"Oh, no, you're right. She mentioned it today, kind of an open invitation whenever I want to invite you."
"No invitations for Dan?"
"No, you're not going to hold the last month over my head forever, are you?"
"Forever? No, a little while at least, yes. It's kind of frustrating having to compete with someone who is the ideal partner as far as your parents – and probably you – are concerned. He gave you the forty-five dollars you gave me for the car and I was going to turn you loose close to midnight in a bad neighborhood without the car. That would point to his favor from the get go if I were keeping track of things."
"You weren't competing."
"No? What do you call it then?"
"I don't know. And you didn't turn us loose, you gave us the car."
"That's me, the mechanic with a heart of gold. Or who's just a sucker for little girls who think he's Thor. So you changed the subject on me. Just what is it you expect from me?"
"I don't know."
"I mean you just want Saturdays is that it? That doesn't seem like much of a relationship."
"I just don't want to be pushy."
"Pushy? I'd say you've been anything but pushy, but all right. We'll get through the next week then you can tell him and we'll go from there."
"Well, with Mike…"
"Mike was a jerk. If I ever saw him I'd probably punch him not for what he did to you necessarily, though that'd be top of the list for sure. Just because he gives guys a bad name and makes nice girls like you question what they should be doing."
"Don't beat him up."
"No plans on it, no."
"I'll come to Sunday dinner."
She laughed. "Really?"
"Really. Just tell me when and I'll be there. I'll even shave."
She smiled at that. "I don't mind when you don't shave."
"Yeah? You like the lumberjack look? I'm sure your parents would love it."
"My mom's seen you."
"Something tells me I don't have to worry about your mom so much as I do your dad."
"He's not a bad guy."
"You're still his little girl and if he has a clue what Mike did to you he's going to think my coming around is suspicious."
"My dad knows me well enough to know I didn't sleep with Mike."
"That doesn't mean the next guy won't try to succeed where Mike left off."
"Trying to succeed where Mike left off?"
"Well, now, that's a difficult question to answer. If I say no you'll think I'm a liar. If I say yes you'll think I'm just trying to get you out of your pants."
"So there is no answer?"
"Not really, no. My goal here is not to get you into my bed as soon as possible."
"Well, that's good."
"So, I have to ask," he said once they were on the way back to her house.
"Why not you?"
"I've kissed you before tonight and yet you didn't rush out and cancel on Dan before." Dan didn't know Erik's name, she wasn't one hundred percent certain Dan realized there actually was someone else. He never really asked who or what she was doing when he called her on Tuesday or Wednesday to see about plans for the weekend. He never questioned why her Saturdays were always busy.
"It's only been a month!"
"That doesn't answer my question."
"You don't think it should be you?"
"I think logic dictates the future lawyer would win a contest between the two of us."
"Good thing hearts aren't logical then."
"That's it? Your heart?"
"I guess. Whatever it is, it's not wrong. Dan's nice, but I suspect I bore him."
"Bore him? Why?"
"I don't know. He's surrounded by his frat brothers who have girl friends who I'm sure sleep with them. I hadn't told him about Mike or what happened so he probably assumed…"
"You'd be so grateful he gave you money and returned Sara's skate that you'd sleep with him?"
"Something like that. I think he's realized that I'm not Chaylene in any way, shape, or form."
"That's the first time you've mentioned that."
"What? My pornographic doppelganger?"
"Uh, yeah, that."
"You saw it?"
"Sweetheart, I don't live under a rock. Of course I saw it."
"You didn't say anything either."
"Well, what's to say? It's obviously not you."
"You're not eighteen first of all."
"There's a second of all?"
"Yeah, you're prettier."
"Shut up," she said, thinking it was kind of funny he'd say that because Joe Gipp had said something similar.
"Erik. She's a Playboy centerfold."
"Doesn't mean you can't be prettier. Put it this way, if I had my choice to be here right now with you or her I'd choose you in a heartbeat."
Word Count: 3,758
"It's a good night for a drive-in," her mom said.
"I know," Chris said. "I can't believe how nice it was out today."
"You even got some sun," she said. As soon as the temperature had hit seventy at about ten o'clock, Brenda came over and they laid out in the backyard all afternoon. "It looks nice. Just be sure not to overdo it tonight."
"Mom. It's just a couple of movies. We're not doing anything else."
"Do you need money?"
"I have some, but Erik's never let me pay for anything anyway."
"Okay, well, just making sure."
"I've got it covered."
"Have you picked out a car yet?"
"No," Chris said frustrated.
"You'll find one. Your father trusts Erik will pick one out that is reliable."
"I know. I'm glad Erik talked to Dad because I know Erik buying me a car wouldn't have gone over well."
"No, it wouldn't have. He said he comes across some good cars, though, that have been impounded for various reasons."
"Yes, usually he buys cars that need some work that he can do for cost and sell at a profit when done. So this is kind of new for him."
"Well, he obviously enjoys doing it."
"Well, I'll see you in the morning," she said as the doorbell rang.
"Thanks, Mom. Have a good night."
She answered the door, eyes widening at the car on the driveway. It wasn't his usual car. "Wow," she said at the impressive Mustang convertible.
"Where'd you get that?"
"I stole it," he said with a chuckle. "Where'd you think I got it?"
"I don't know. I didn't know you had more than one car," she said, shutting the door behind her.
"I only drive it on days like this."
"I figured it'd be great at the drive-in."
"It might get chilly."
"Well, then I'll just have to do my best to keep you warm, unless you'd rather wear that jacket."
"No, I wouldn't. I just brought it in case."
"Besides, the top isn't that difficult to get back up. I could just put it up before the movies start if you're worried."
"It's gorgeous," she said once she'd gotten to it.
"Yes! I love the interior."
"Really? I've gotten more than a few laughs at the red."
"No, it's beautiful compared to the black paint."
"I slaved over her."
"You did all this?"
"Yes, not that it needed a lot of work. I found it at an estate sale. Old widow had no idea what she had. You wouldn't believe what she was willing to sell it to me for."
"You didn't let her?"
"No, I paid her a fair price. It was pristine. It really just needed a new paint job from sitting in a garage for fifteen years, a little buffing out from a couple of pings, things being dropped on it over the years, and a tune up and stuff."
He opened the door for her and she slid onto the passenger seat.
"You didn't even update the radio?"
"No, it's WBBM, WGN, or WLS. Or talking to one another," he said, getting in and starting the car.
"Talking to you is fine."
"You laid out today?"
"How did you know?"
"Sweetheart, I don't think you realize how much about you I pay attention to. I see the sun on your cheeks and arms," he said, grazing a finger along her forearm. "It looks nice, glad you were able to relax."
"What did you do?"
"Mowed the lawn, did some laundry, washed my dishes."
"Wow, sounds exciting."
"It is what it is when you're a bachelor who owns a house."
It took them about forty-five minutes to get to the drive-in that was playing the double feature of Creepshow 2 and The Gate. Chris wasn't huge into horror movies, but she didn't mind them, and The Gate actually looked kind of good. The other option was a drive-in that featured Ishtar and neither of them had any desire to see that. She'd never ridden in a convertible before. It was a great way to ride around on an eighty degree day.
He got them some food from the concession stand, kind of surprised when he got back to the car she was talking to someone. There weren't that many drive-ins around anymore, so he imagined it wasn't that out of the ordinary for her to know someone who had the same thing on their mind on a day like today.
'How is Aaron anyway?" Erik heard the guy ask.
"I heard him and Jen broke up."
"Yeah, a couple of years ago now."
"That's too bad. I liked them together."
"I guess they started fighting a lot or something, I don't know."
"I saw you at Baskin Robbins, didn't I? You're visiting Cindy, right?"
"Yup," he said. "I'm surprised you remember."
"I didn't recognize you at the time. It'd been years since I'd seen you, but now that you're talking to me tonight I remember."
"Hey," Erik said when he got to them.
"Nice car, man."
"Thanks," Erik said. "I came over to compliment it and realized it was Chris standing here."
"You know Chris?"
"I went to school with her brother, Aaron."
"Sorry," Chris said. "Chad this is my boyfriend, Erik."
"Chris said you did all the work on her."
"Yeah, she was in pretty good shape, so not a whole lot needed to be done. Just some TLC. She hadn't been driven since seventy-three or seventy-four."
"I bet she hauls."
"She does at that. Great thing about being a mechanic, I have access to all the goodies."
"Well, I'll see ya later. Say hi to Aaron for me."
"Sure," Chris said.
"Right?" Chris said.
"He seems all right," he said, holding out the carrier to her so she could take a dog. He set the carrier on the hood.
"No pop in the car?"
They ate their hot dogs, watching as people arrived and walked around the area.
"So, is popcorn in the car out of the question?"
"Maybe I could be persuaded."
"Hmm. How much persuading are we talking?"
"Sit in the backseat with me?"
She glanced at the seat in question. She'd fit just fine. He on the other hand was like a foot taller than she was.
"That won't be very comfortable for you."
He stepped toward her, sliding a hand to her hip and tugging her toward him a bit. He leaned down and kissed her. "Let me be the one to worry about my comfort."
"I didn't say no, I was just saying."
"You look nice by the way," he said.
She laughed lightly. "I do? I don't look any different than I do any other night."
"The sun, it agrees with you. Some color on your cheeks and arms. Now that you're standing and with the skirt you're wearing I can see you got some on your legs, too."
"Well, sure, I wore my bathing suit."
He shook his head slightly.
"What?" she asked. "What's wrong with that?"
"Nothing, just envious."
"Of what? The bathing suit?"
"Well, that, too, but just that I missed it. Next time you get a desire to layout you should come to my place."
"I'd have to know where you live."
"That can be easily arranged. You're the one who's avoided getting that information."
"I know. I just thought it was too soon."
"I understand. Notice I haven't mentioned it until now."
"Yes," she said, shivering lightly as he ran a thumb across her thigh just under the hem of her skirt.
"I like the color, too," he said.
"Yeah, I kind of match your car, don't I?" she said.
"You do," he said with a bit of a chuckle as he heard the song The Lady In Red playing on a nearby car radio. "Nothing wrong with black and red."
"I probably would have rethought the top if I'd known."
"You're beautiful," he said, leaning in to kiss her. She slid her arms around his waist, keeping him from pulling away from the kiss. She didn't have to hold him too tight to keep him close because he had no plans to go anywhere.
"So is that a yes to my proposal?"
She slid an arm out from around him and took his hand in hers. He loved when she touched him, reached for him. She wasn't real comfortable doing it, so it always made him feel extremely good when she was assertive like that.
"I think I can do that."
"Positive. So be sure to get lots of napkins."
"Well, isn't this cozy."
"No way," she whispered, resting her head against his chest.
"Chad said he saw you here, but I couldn't believe it. Chris Parker coming to a drive-in on a date has to be the eighth wonder of the world."
"Let me guess," he whispered back.
"What do you want, Mike?" she asked.
"Just verifying with my own eyes that you're actually here. Who's this?"
Mike took him in. Erik did the same. There wasn't much resemblance between them. Actually hardly any at all, and that made Erik wonder a little about her swaying so far from a type between the two of them. Not everyone had types, he imagined.
"You two look pretty close. Am I interrupting?" Mike said.
"What do you want?" Chris asked. She hadn't stepped away from him or stopped touching him. In fact, her grip on his hand had tightened a bit.
"I was just wondering who you were with. Chad said he saw you with a couple of guys a few weeks ago, I found it hard to believe you would do something like that."
"Go out on dates? That's not a crime."
"So, how'd you two meet?"
"That's none of your business."
"So secretive. Hair's a little long. I can imagine what your dad thinks of that."
"Leave my dad out of this."
"Have you met Mr. Parker?"
"I have," Erik said.
"Wow, she's moving pretty quickly if you're to that point already."
"Actually, not that it's any of your business but I sought him out when I saw a car I thought would be good for Chris."
Mike took in Erik's car and Erik couldn't help but chuckle. "No, this one's mine. She does look pretty good riding around in it, though."
"Who is this guy, Chris?"
"He's my boyfriend. What more does it matter?"
"You know, she's not nearly as good of a catch as she seems to be."
"Come again," Erik said.
"She's about as clueless as they come. Be careful if you try to move past first base she might just pass out on you."
"Mike," Chris said, but Erik squeezed her hand.
"Funny, I have absolutely no complaints on anything to do with Chris and I can assure you she's never passed out on me."
"In less than two months? No way. I don't believe it."
"Nothing for you to believe or not."
"What was her price?"
"You know how much money I shelled out on her and got nothing, barely a peck on the cheek."
"Maybe it's not about money, did that ever occur to you? Now why don't you go back to wherever you came from and leave us alone. The sun's about down so the movie's about to start."
"So, I guess it's my turn to say I thought you loved me. You move awful quickly for someone so hopelessly devoted to me."
"You lied and cheated, pretty easy to get over someone who does that." She drew away from Erik, reaching for the car door. "Good bye, Mike," she said, climbing into the backseat.
"Enjoy the movies," Erik said to a retreating Mike. He saw her take off her shoes and get comfortable on the seat before he turned away, though.
"You know he's going to think…"
"Let him think what he wants, I don't care. Maybe he won't be so cocky all of the time if he thinks he actually did something wrong that prevented him from getting laid."
"What?" she asked.
"It's just very wrong hearing those words come out of your mouth."
"Because I've never heard you say something like that. Hell, you still blush when I kiss you."
"Maybe I blush because I like when you kiss me."
"I think you'll like everything I do to you, Chris."
"I think you might be right."
"So, he's not going to come back here with his friend and threaten me or anything, is he?"
"No, he doesn't really care about me."
"Just that I might accomplish what he couldn't."
"Now who's being cocky?"
"From his viewpoint, that's what he's going to see."
She settled against him so he could put his arm around her. And he loved that she did that. He was no randy teenager, but her being this close to him for the next four hours or so alone was a bit of a turn-on.
"Besides," she said.
"Yeah," he said.
"I have to admit it doesn't bother me he might think that."
"No?" Erik asked.
"No, not with you."
She shrugged. "I need a reason."
"No, just curious."
She leaned in to kiss him, catching his jaw instead of his mouth because he wasn't expecting the kiss.
"You ready to get scared?" she asked.
"You still want popcorn?"
"Maybe later," she said, settling her head against his shoulder. He arranged the blanket he'd brought along around them. It was still pretty warm out, but now that the sun was down he knew it would get cool pretty fast. He'd probably have to put the top up in between the movies. She said she wanted it down for now, though, so he'd left it down.
"Does he come here often?"
"How am I supposed to know? I wasn't dating him last summer."
"Just seems strange."
"They probably picked this one for the same reason we did, it had the better choices in movies. I guess I didn't realize Mike and Chad were still friends, but if they're both here chances are there's a group of them here together so it's just a coincidence."
"He's not following me."
"I wasn't suggesting that, just seems strange. I do have one question," he said, kissing the top of her head.
"I probably have an answer."
"Just how close did he get to getting beyond first base?"
"You expect me to kiss and tell?"
"I'm just curious how close that slime ball got to touching parts of you he obviously doesn't deserve being able to touch."
"Hmm. Any touching?"
"I take that as a no."
"Once," she murmured.
"Once, over my shirt, but it was only for like thirty seconds and I pushed his hand away."
"Because it didn't feel good."
She shrugged. "I don’t know, it didn't. He groped me too hard out of nowhere, it just didn't feel good."
He sighed softly.
"What?" she asked.
"That's all he did?"
"Yes. He never tried again after that."
"I'm sorry, I shouldn't have asked. It's none of my business."
"If you think I'm lying about what I let him do to me it is."
"I know you're not lying, I was just curious I guess what you have to compare me to."
"I don't compare you."
"You say that, but now that I've met him. I just wondered."
They stopped talking as soon as the trailers stopped running and the first movie started. She sat with her feet sort of curled under her on the seat so he could stretch his legs out by the other seat. She was right, it wasn't too comfortable back here, but it beat sitting in the front seat with her with the bucket seats and everything.
She reached across him, gripping the hand not around her pretty tightly a couple of times during the movie. After the third or fourth time she didn’t let go of his hand and he couldn't say he minded. She stopped watching to kiss him once in a while, which he definitely didn't mind. And then she did something with maybe fifteen minutes left in the first movie that he knew he'd never forget. She took his hand that she'd been holding and settled it over a breast.
"Chris," he whispered.
"Shh," she whispered in return. He wasn't quite sure what to do or what she was inviting him to do exactly. He left his hand where she'd put it, not daring to move it. Except his thumb. He couldn't help it. She'd set it over herself in just the right way that his thumb was right over her nipple. He didn't even bother trying to resist the temptation of finding out what she'd feel like.
She gasped softly. He loved the sounds she made. Until now it'd always been when he was kissing her, but she made some very arousing ones just from his kisses. It made him wonder what she'd sound like otherwise.
The movie ended and he moved his hand away begrudgingly. It was dark and they were covered by a blanket, but it wasn’t pitch black to where people couldn't see into his car as they walked to get food or to use the bathrooms.
She leaned up and kissed him, stopping him from asking what that had been about. Maybe he shouldn't ask. It was the first time they'd been alone like this since they'd been dating so maybe she was feeling daring. He didn't take her to public places to avoid being tempted, but it was helpful to be around people most of the time to keep temptation at bay.
Tonight, though, it'd been too nice not to agree with her that a drive-in would be the perfect thing to do.
"Warm enough?" he asked.
"I'll put it up before we leave, though, for sure."
"That's fine. Can we do this again?"
"Uh yeah," he said quickly. "All of it?"
She laughed softly. "Maybe."
"Maybe she says."
She didn't wait long into the second movie to put his hand back where it'd been. He liked it there, so he certainly wasn't put off by her assertiveness. He got a little bolder this time, moving his hand between both of her breasts. She was way shorter than him and pretty thin, but there was nothing lacking at least for him in her chest. She wasn't huge, but she had more than enough to give him pleasure when he touched her.
She made no effort to touch him, which he was okay with. It would've been nice, but he realized this was a huge step for her. There were certainly worse things he could think of doing than spending close to ninety minutes feeling her up.
She drifted off to sleep somewhere near the end. He wasn't sure how he knew she had, but he did and he slid his hand away once he realized that was the case. Even though she'd been awake when she initiated the contact it felt wrong somehow to keep doing it when she wasn't awake to enjoy it with him.
"Chris," he whispered once the movie finished. He couldn't wake her up, but the sound of hundreds of car starting up simultaneously woke her up pretty quickly.
"Oh my God. I'm so sorry."
He chuckled. "It's okay. I don't mind. You can fall asleep on me anytime."
"But that's rude."
"Maybe, but I take it to mean you're comfortable around me or you wouldn't let your guard down enough to drift off. I could think of better places for you to fall asleep on me, though, than back here."
"Mm hmm," he said, kissing her ear, which she really seemed to like a lot just then. She usually did, but she got all giggly from it this time.
"Let me guess. Your house."
"My parents would kill us."
"I'm not talking clothes off or anything, though I wouldn't say no to that as an option."
"You wouldn't huh?"
"No, and on that note before I say anything to get myself into trouble I need to put the top up so I can get you home before you turn into a pumpkin."
"I think it's the car that would turn into a pumpkin. My clothes would just turn into rags."
"It's been a while since I've read Cinderella, so I'm pretty rusty."
She got out and walked toward the concessions area. He'd have to use the bathroom too before they left. He put the top in place and started the car, letting it warm up for a bit while he waited for her. She could wait in the car while he used the bathroom.
"What are you doing tomorrow?" The question at her front door surprised him because Sunday's were usually out of the question as far as seeing her.
"Tomorrow? I don't know. Why?"
"I don't know."
"You don't know. I guess I don't plan on seeing you on Sunday's. You go to church and have your brunch and then it's only a couple of hours in between that and your sit down dinner. So, if there's something going on or you had something in mind you'd better fill me in."
"Want to come pick me up in the morning?"
"I can, sure. What time?"
"Around ten o'clock."
"Okay," she said, leaning in to kiss him. "I had fun."
"So did I, I'm still not quite sure if I should ask about what you did there or just enjoy it. You're okay, though, right?"
"Yes, do I seem like I'm not okay?"
"I'm just making sure."
"I'm fine, Erik, thanks. I'll see you tomorrow."
"Okay. Are we doing anything I should dress for? You're not surprising me with eighteen holes of golf or anything, are you?"
She laughed lightly. "No! Maybe sometime this summer we can do that, but I wouldn't surprise you."
"You'll find out tomorrow." She kissed him again as a light inside the house went on. "Good night, Erik."
"Good night. See you then."
"Yup," she said, opening the door. She closed it, but he knew she'd go to her bedroom window and wave to him so he waited to pull out of the driveway until he saw her in the window there.
Word Count: 3,611
She opened the door after a few minutes when he got there the next morning. He almost thought it'd been a joke or something because she went to church Sunday mornings. There didn't seem to be any activity in the house, her mom's car was on the driveway, but he believed they took her dad's car to church. So he wondered if she'd forgotten and went to church anyway.
"Hi," she said. She clearly wasn't dressed for church. She wore some shorts and a T-shirt, which he could honestly say he'd never seen her wear before. Even when they met for pizza downtown during the week she always wore nice things. "Sorry."
"It's all right."
"Come on in," she said, walking back toward what he knew was the kitchen. "I was just finishing my bagel, and I was reading the Tribune so I wasn't paying attention."
"No worries, Chris," he said.
"Where is everyone?"
"Everyone? You mean Mom and Dad? They're at church."
"And you're not."
"I told Mom and Dad I probably won't be home for dinner either."
"I see. Are you going to let me in on what we're doing?"
"Part of it, sure. Part's a surprise."
"I'm not much of a surprise person."
"I think you'll like this one."
She moved to the sink where she rinsed off her plate and a glass, which presumably had milk in it until a few minutes ago.
He walked toward her; sliding his arms around her once she'd finished and turned around.
"Hi," he said.
"You already said that."
"I did, but that was outside and I can't remember a time when I've picked you up with no one here but us."
"I don't think you have. Mom's usually here."
"So it occurs to me that I can actually kiss you hello like I've wanted to for months now."
"You pick me up at the train station and Mom's not there."
"That's different. There are people around."
"You can't kiss me with people around?"
He leaned down and kissed her. He couldn't explain to her what the difference was. There was a reason he'd never brought up her coming to his place. It was safest. There was no temptation if they were never truly alone. Even the drive-in last night he didn't count. Certainly no one would have made a big deal about it if they'd seen him have a hand on her shirt, but that was about the most he would've done there even if she'd encouraged him to do more. More than likely there were people doing more than that in other backseats.
He'd gone home wondering just what she may have let him get away with. He'd never dated someone this much younger than him and he couldn't say for sure he'd ever been involved with someone as inexperienced as she was. Some girls in high school, he supposed, but he hadn't gotten to the point with them of finding out if they were or not. Chris just happened to be one of those people who were open about it. Then maybe she wouldn't have been if the reason they'd met had been different. She told him as part of her story about the night they'd met, so it may not have come up ordinarily.
He hadn't slept all that well. A little worried she'd wake up this morning and feel guilty or realize that she'd done it as some sort of fuck you to Mike. A little wondering why he was the one that got the privilege to touch her that way. He didn't think he'd done anything overly special to stand out above anyone else, but he certainly didn't know how women thought.
She didn't act embarrassed when she opened the door. She was certainly kissing him right now as if she had no regrets. His hands slid lower, along her hips and behind her to cup her ass to tug her toward him. She made the most amazing sound when he did that and it aroused the hell out of him knowing she was getting to that point, too.
He broke the kiss for a minute. She squealed a little as he lifted her up to set her on the counter. Much easier to kiss her when she was higher up like this, she obviously agreed because her arms went around his neck and her legs latched onto his thighs to keep him closer. He wasn't going anywhere just yet so she didn't have to worry about that.
He slid his mouth along her jaw, lower to her neck, and pushed the neck of her shirt aside a little to get her shoulder. She moaned softly as he licked and sucked her skin there, taking a small portion of it in between his mouth and teeth. She was wrapping her fingers around his hair while still somehow letting him know she didn't want him to stop.
"No," she whispered when he drew away.
"I keep doing that much longer and it's going to look like I hit you or something," he said, running a fingertip along the spot. "I like these kinds of hello kisses better."
"Me, too," she said softly.
He chuckled. "I certainly don't want to encourage you to not go to church."
"Yeah, I know," she whispered.
"So what are we doing today, Chris Parker?"
"Mm, I'm still not telling you everything." She opened her eyes then, glancing at him. "You do have a grill, right?"
"A grill? As in the outdoor cooking thing Weber makes?"
"Am I cooking something I don't know about? I don't have anything at my house."
"That's why I went to Jewel this morning. I didn't get back too long before you got here, that's why I was still eating."
"I see. What time did you get up anyway?"
"Um, like eight o'clock."
"I couldn’t sleep. I kept having these dreams last night."
"Was I in any of them?"
"Maybe," she said with a laugh, pushing on his chest a little. He stepped back, helping her off the counter in the process.
"No details, huh?"
"So you got up and went to Jewel."
"Well, not right away, no. I got ready and made my list and stuff and then went. Mom usually does the grocery shopping and I don't know what all you have."
"I think you'll find I have everything you need, Chris."
"In the kitchen?"
"Well, there, too, sure."
"Cute," she said.
"So, we're going to my place I'm assuming by these questions."
"Is that all right? I guess I sort of invited myself, so if you don't want to. We could grill here. Mom and Dad won't be back for a while, so we could make an early lunch."
"Hey, I never said I didn't want you there. You can invite yourself anytime. I haven't brought it up because I don't want you thinking my goal is to get you to my place alone where it'd be much easier to try and take advantage of you."
"I know, but it's too nice of a weekend to do nothing."
"Your parents aren't mad?"
"I don't blow off church often, so they were okay with it."
"Do you go?"
"Sometimes, not real often. I try and go on Christmas Eve and Easter, but Sunday is the one day I never work at the garage so I tend to stick around the house."
"Oh, and I made you come here. I'm sorry."
"You didn't make me do anything. I could've said no. I was surprised you mentioned it. You usually hang with Brenda Sunday afternoons."
"Yeah, she'll have to get away from her parents some other way today."
She handed him a paper sack from Jewel, which he took. "I have a bag, too, in case the weather changes."
"I don't think it's going to, but that's fine. Bring whatever you want."
He waited for her at the car as she grabbed her stuff and locked up the house. He probably shouldn't have kissed her like he did because now he had things on his mind that were better not being there.
"Ready?" she said.
"Yes. I should ask you that."
He let her in the door once they got there, wondering what she'd think. His house wasn't nearly as big as hers, but it was a decent house. He'd scrimped and saved to come up with the down payment. He was fixing it up as best as he could. He'd lived here two years now and she probably would've run away if she'd seen it then. The people before him had divided the upper floor and main floor into two separate apartments. There was also a basement apartment, which he'd left untouched. He had no desire to get a tenant, but it was nice having the option open if he got needy sometime. He'd worked hard, though, getting the place in good shape. The main floor hadn't been bad, but the top floor that had been a rental had needed a lot of work.
"So, this stuff needs to be refrigerated I assume?"
"Yes, unless you want to eat it for lunch."
"You're going to stay the afternoon?"
"Unless you had other plans. I didn't really ask."
"Stop sounding so unsure of yourself."
"Well, I don't know what you do on Sunday's. You might have friends that you hang out with, watch baseball games with."
"I might, but they're not nearly as pretty to look at and I don't get the same experience kissing them as I do you."
She laughed. "Is that right?"
"Uh, up the stairs on the right."
"You look like you're not sure I should go up there."
"Just going over in my head whether I hung my towel up this morning."
"I won't say a word if you didn't."
"I'll put these things away then."
She came back a few minutes later. She'd bought quite a meal. Steak, mushrooms, lettuce and fixings for a nice salad, corn on the cob, and baked potatoes.
"You trying to get to my heart through my stomach?" he asked.
"Would it work?"
"Keep bringing me food like this every week and it just could."
"You don't eat steak?"
"Sometimes, but these are pretty good cuts of meat." They weren't cheap at all, he noticed.
"Those are what my dad likes."
"I'll bet," he said, turning to regard her then. "Wow."
"You have shorts, I assume?"
"Yes," he said, hoping he wasn't making her completely uncomfortable staring as he was. He couldn't help it. Two piece bathing suits were made to make guys look. And she was something incredible to look at.
"You positive you aren't really eighteen and Chaylene?"
"Shut up," she said, but she laughed so she wasn't mad at him.
"So, this was your plan?"
"Yeah, I brought beach towels in case you didn't have any. You said you were jealous yesterday."
"Well, yeah, I didn’t mean you had to come here…"
"I can go back up and change if you want me to."
"No," he said quickly and she laughed again. "I have no qualms about admitting that I want you just like that for the rest of the day."
"Just like this, huh?"
"Yes. Wow. I mean, my imagination didn't even come close."
"You imagined me?"
"Well, yeah, your girlfriend mentions wearing a bathing suit and you sort of wonder, I guess."
"You probably pictured something more conservative."
"I did," he admitted. "But this is very nice."
"You're way ahead of me on tanning."
"I work in my yard a lot."
"I can tell. Without a shirt?"
"Now I think it's me who's jealous."
"Mm hmm," she said, looking very much as though she might just be picturing him without his shirt there and then.
"I have a couple of reclining chairs in my garage. I'm not sure I've pulled them down yet, but you can look while I change. The garage is open."
"Okay," she said heading outside.
Yeah, bringing her back here was probably very dangerous business.
She didn't have the chairs when he got outside, so he imagined he hadn't taken them down yet. He hadn't had any need to. In fact, he couldn't remember the last time he'd had to take them down. He wasn't a social butterfly, so entertaining just wasn't something he did often. Usually if someone came over they just sat at the table on his patio and drank beer. The table and chairs he'd brought out from the garage as soon as the snow was gone for good.
"So, what kind of music do you like anyway?" He asked from the doorway.
"What radio station do you listen to most?"
"The Loop or WJMK."
"Just surprising is all."
"You asked what I listened to most, I listen to everything, but those are the two I listen to most."
"Fair enough," he said, turning the stereo on he had wired outside on his patio. He hadn't used it in a while, so there was no telling it would actually work. He had a problem with squirrels chewing through wires once in a while, but it turned right on so he found the oldies station she said she liked and stepped outside.
It was her turn to stare. He was one of those people who tanned easy and got dark real fast. A month of decent days scattered throughout allowing him to work in his yard had given him a head start on most people who probably hadn't thought of starting yet. He wasn’t as dark yet as he would be in another couple of weeks, assuming the weather stayed as nice as it was this weekend. She evidently liked what she saw as much as he did.
"So, uh, you want to do my back?" she asked once he'd sat on the towel next to hers.
He closed his eyes with a shake of his head, knowing she couldn't possibly have any idea what that question brought to mind just then. He spotted the tanning lotion she'd brought and realized that had to be what she was talking about. He also noticed close to her like this that the little hickey he'd thought he was giving her at her house earlier wasn't that little at all.
"Sure," he said finally.
"You like oldies?"
"Sure. Good music."
"Me, too," she said as she moved onto her stomach.
He applied the lotion liberally. She probably thought he was doing her a favor, but really she was the one doing him the favor. Until this moment he really hadn't had the ability to touch her all that he wanted. He was still sort of limited, but the back of her from neck to toe was fair game. And he took advantage of the invitation.
"Feels good," she whispered.
"Yeah?" he asked. He'd never really been self-conscious about his hands, but he worked with them every day. Sometimes he wore gloves, but not all of the time. When he wasn't at the garage working on a vehicle he was here doing something around the house. They were rough and calloused with cuts and scrapes everywhere.
He ran a fingertip along her spine, no longer even bothering to pretend he was touching her for the reason of rubbing the lotion in. She shivered a little, but didn't tell him to stop.
"You're gorgeous, you know that?"
"Stop," she murmured.
"I won't stop. You are. Why'd you say yes to pizza with me that day?"
"You'd been beat up because of us. Me. You wanted to hear why."
"I guess I'd just been hurt and it felt good to have someone randomly ask me out, even if I didn't understand what your angle was in doing so."
She shrugged a little and he slid his hand up higher to her shoulder blade.
"You were kind of scary, Erik. I wasn't sure why you were asking me. I mean, you're a good looking guy you could have pizza with anyone you wanted."
He scoffed softly. "I could say the same for you. I saw that Chad guy and Mike. I don't know Dan, but I'm betting he's more of the Mama's boy type, too."
"What do you mean?"
"I don't know."
She turned onto her back then and he had to act quickly to settle his fingers against her stomach. "They're cute, but so are you. It's different. You're different."
"And you like different?"
"I guess so because I'm here."
She settled her hand over his at her stomach, eyes never leaving his as she slid his hand up higher along her body. Touching her back and stomach was already bringing on the beginnings of a hard-on. He had no idea what touching her like she was inviting him to do just now would do. He didn't quite care, though, so he let her lead his hand to the top of her bikini.
She exhaled sharply, her eyes fluttering closed as he used his thumb to graze her nipple. He'd done the same thing last night but she'd had a shirt and bra on, the top wasn't a whole lot of material so it had to be pretty much like he was touching her directly.
"Open your eyes, Chris," he murmured.
"Why?" she said softly.
"Because I like your eyes and I suspect I'll like them even more watching them while I touch you like this."
She blushed and with the bathing suit on he could see that it was pretty much everywhere on her that turned red. She opened her eyes, though.
"Sure," she said. She groaned softly and they fell closed again as he reached into the top to stroke her nipple skin to skin.
"Are there rules here, Chris?"
"Well, I'm not sure what your limits are."
"I'm not sure either."
"Fair enough. You trust me to stop if you tell me to stop?"
"Mm hmm," she murmured.
He reached to her neck then, untying the strings there. He drew them down slowly, watching her for any sign he was going too far as he got to the point that much lower and she wouldn't be covered at all anymore.
He kissed her, working his way lower to her now uncovered breasts. He kissed, licked and nipped the swell of each one in turn. He reached around to her back, pulling on the strings there, too, so he could get rid of the top entirely. Her nails were digging into one of his biceps and her chest was rising and falling much quicker than it was a few minutes ago as he moved lower to the underside before finding a nipple and taking it between his lips.
She called out his name as he licked her peak, circling it and sucking it deeper into his mouth. His other hand was attentive to the other one, keeping her erect and excited. She was flushed and making the most arousing sounds he could remember hearing. He glanced at her; her head was tilted back now so he couldn't see her face at all. He spotted the hickey from that morning and worked on adding one or two more here. She liked that part a lot. So did he. He couldn't remember getting so aroused from just this amount of foreplay. He swore if she touched him in the right way he'd get off immediately. Probably a good thing she wouldn't be doing that today.
He lifted his head, kissing her stomach as he reached for the sun lotion.
"What are you doing?" she whispered when he set his hand on her and started rubbing it in on her breasts.
"Putting lotion on you."
"Don't want sensitive parts on you to burn."
"Sure you can. No one's going to see you. Except me anyway."
He chuckled. "You were expecting more?"
"I don't know. You asked if I trusted you to stop when I told you to."
"Yeah, well, as much as I'd enjoy seeing what I might be able to get away with before you said stop I figured I'd be a good guy about it and stop before you got to that point. Believe me I would really, really enjoy it but I'd prefer you know I have some restraint, too. I don't want you thinking everything has to lead to sex because it doesn't."
"Oh," she whispered.
He eyed her, leaning on his side and running a fingertip along her side. "You were expecting more?"
"I just assumed."
"That I wouldn't be able to control myself? Obviously," he said, gesturing to his shorts. "I enjoyed doing what I was doing so that's not an issue I assure you. So just enjoy the sun for a while."
"You know Mike would've…"
"I'm not him, honey. Christ, you're wearing next to nothing; it wouldn't be difficult for me to push you. You liked what I was doing. A while more of doing that and you might have been willing to let me do anything I wanted, but I'm not that kind of guy."
"You won't be able to lay out in front of your mom for a few days."
"I saw," she said, running a fingertip over one of them. "You like doing that?"
"I like having my mouth on you, yeah."
"Well, that's very good for us both then."
Word Count: 4,157
He either was the nicest guy in the world despite most thinking otherwise. Or he was the biggest fool in the world. He couldn't quite decide which was true. Not really, he knew he wasn't a fool, but Christ was this not pressuring her thing starting to wear on him.
Now that she'd been to his house she started coming more often. That was great. He loved having her there and their time together there was always better than a date out somewhere. He didn't want to push and she never seemed to take the incentive to move them past him touching her without a shirt or bra on.
He was, however, on the verge of getting upset with her for the first time since they'd been seeing each other. She hadn't done anything up until now to warrant him getting angry.
"I'm sorry, you're what?"
"Brenda and I are going to prom together. I mean, by ourselves, but together."
"Why would you do that?"
"Come on, Erik, you don't really want to go to my senior prom."
"Why not exactly?"
"Because you're like twenty-five."
"Yeah, so? I thought you said all it took was your dad signing some permission slip or something with Mike."
"Well, yeah, he would've I'm sure."
"I see, but I'm not quite the catch Mike is so why should your dad sign off on something like that for a mechanic. Is that about right?"
"What? No, you're being ridiculous. I didn't even ask him. I didn't with Mike either, I just assumed he would because he'd know I wanted to go."
"And you're daddy's little girl, right? He can't say no to you."
"Something like that, yeah."
"So, what's the problem?"
"I honestly didn't think you'd want to go. I bought the tickets back in February and Brenda paid me for the one."
"You bought a dress and everything?"
"So, you're going to get all dressed up in your fancy dress, get your hair done, and go with your best friend?"
"And there are presumably going to be guys there going stag as well, right?"
"Yes, I would guess so. I don't know. I didn't go last year."
"One of them asks you to dance you'd what?"
"I don't know."
He never knew he had a jealous bone in his body until that moment.
"You'd say yes."
"It's just a dance."
"Yeah, with some guy who won't know about me."
"Well, probably not. I don't know. I mean, there are a lot of guys in my class, it could be anybody. That's assuming any one of them is going alone, Erik."
"Oh, they will, hoping to latch on to a chick desperate."
"Well, that rules me out, I'm not desperate."
"I don’t exactly see you going out of your way to bring me around either."
"You've had dinner with my parents."
"Not the same thing. Other than Brenda, I've met Mike and whatever his friend's name is. That's it. None of your other friends."
"I don't have a lot of friends, Erik. I'm not Miss Popular. Brenda is my best friend and I have a few others that I talk to, but they're not really as important."
"They aren't? Or I'm not?"
"What are you talking about?"
"I offer to take you swimming, you come up with a pool away from Oak Park."
"Sure because I could take the train to meet you."
"I don't recall ever once hearing me complain about driving to see you. I've offered to pick you up from school a couple of times when it's slow at work."
"Well, no, I guess you haven't, but I try to be considerate. I'm certainly not going to tell you to close your garage for me."
"Sometimes I wonder."
"What's to wonder?"
He shrugged. "When I met you, you weren't even going to go to college. Now you are. Maybe those aren't the only changes you see coming for yourself."
"You drove me out there to show me how close it was. You found a car for me so that I can come see you. My dad let you pick a car out for me. Do you have any idea how big of a deal that was to him? He trusts you, Erik."
"Maybe I don't want him to."
"Maybe I want him to wonder about what we're doing on prom night."
She frowned. "What are you saying?"
"You didn't even ask if I wanted to take you."
"You never said you wanted to."
"Because I was waiting for you to ask me, Chris. Your school, your prom, not really my place to invite myself. Seems you'd rather dance with a virtual stranger than me all night."
"No, that's not it at all. I wanted to ask you, but I thought about it and realized how utterly ridiculous it would seem to you."
"But it's important to you."
"Well, sure, but…"
"Then I'd do it."
She glanced at her feet then.
"Brenda doesn't have anyone to take her, Erik."
He paused at that revelation. "Really? No one?"
"No," Chris said. "I thought about it, asking you I mean, but I realized she deserved a prom night, too, even if it's with me."
"But why is it up to you to give up what you want?"
"That's what best friends do for one another. Like I said, I thought about it, hard before I offered her the ticket. I'd love to go with you, I bet you look gorgeous in a tuxedo, and I hate that I won't find out. I also know that if I went with you I'd spend the whole night worrying whether you were having an awful time. I'd rather spend all day Saturday with you. I was going to ask if you wanted to go to Great America or something."
"I'd love to go to Great America with you, but I don't get to see you in the dress, though."
She laughed lightly. "It's not that big of a deal."
"To you," he said, gathering her to him. "I want to see my best girl in a gown."
"Well, maybe you could come to the house beforehand."
"I don’t think I'd handle that well, seeing you before you go off to where other guys are going to hit on you. It's probably best I stay away. Maybe you could come see me afterward."
She scrunched her nose a little, but she didn't say no.
He lowered his mouth to hers for a kiss, lips parting at the same time as he deepened it. He pressed her into the wall she was standing in front of. She had barely gotten in his door when they started their discussion. She must have known he was going to get upset. He didn't care about prom; he just cared about seeing her and other guys thinking she was single.
He made quick riddance of her shirt and bra. It'd been pushing ninety today so he'd shed his hours ago. He was long past the point of putting one on just because she came over. She certainly didn't mind looking at him shirtless and she was getting much, much better at touching him.
Like right now her hands were skimming his chest and arms, nails running along his shoulders a little as well. His hand was cupping her breast, his thumb sliding along her peak lightly. Even kissing him she made the sexiest sounds when he touched her like this.
Her hand slid lower along his torso and he stopped breathing for a minute when she slid her fingertips inside the waist of his jeans.
"Chris," he murmured against her lip.
"You probably don't want to do that right now."
She gasped softly as he kissed her neck, lower to her shoulder and the spot on her there he loved to leave marks on. So close to being visible but not quite. She said one of her friends had seen one by accident one day when she'd leaned forward to grab something from her purse. It had turned him on some kind of crazy for whatever reason.
Fingernails were running along his skin there, so close to things he should be telling her to stay away from. She showed no signs of stopping.
"Chris," he said again.
She reached with her other hand, finding the front of his jeans and unfastening them.
He stilled her hand before she could reach inside of his jeans. He had to, as much as it pained him.
"Chris. This isn't some sort of apology for our argument is it?"
"No," she murmured.
"Why?" he asked. He had to know.
"Because I want you to feel good."
"I do, honey, I do."
"Well, yeah, but just touching me…"
"Is fine for now if that's what needs to be done."
She moved her hand under his. He was stronger so could have prevented her if he wanted, but he was a little curious to see just how far she'd take this. She'd been over yesterday and had barely touched his chest at all so it was a bit surprising. Her fingertips slid lower into his jeans as he went back to kissing her shoulder. He groaned softly when her fingertips grazed his shaft. Her hand withdrew a bit and he was immensely surprised when she touched him again. On purpose this time.
"You can do whatever you want to do, Chris," he said quickly. "There's nothing wrong you could do, I promise you."
She giggled softly and he realized that there certainly were things she could do that were wrong when it came to that part of his anatomy. She wasn't a hurtful bitch, though, so he wasn't worried.
She grew bolder, running her fingers along his shaft until she came into contact with his head. She slid a fingertip along it. He hissed softly as she grazed the tip and the opening there.
"Did you?" she asked.
"No, not yet. It's not quite that easy," he said with a chuckle. "Though I don't know with you it might be that easy so I guess I shouldn't presume, but no. It just happens. Lubrication and, uh, well, to reduce any acid left from a guy having used the bathroom so the little swimmers can survive when they do come out. I guess they don't last too long in that type of environment."
"Oh," she said. "There'd be more?"
"Uh huh," he said, nipping at her shoulder and the mark there.
"A lot more?"
"Because it's been a very, very long time."
He frowned at that, regarding her. "Why does that surprise you? I've been seeing you for over two months."
"Yeah, but I was seeing someone else for a month."
"You weren't having sex with him."
"Sweetheart, a gorgeous woman shows interest in me I'm not going to fuck it up by letting that part of me control my actions. I knew I wanted to go out with you. I certainly wouldn't have sex with someone else if for no other reason you would have gotten mad. I kind of figured he and I would've had the right to do with someone else what you were willing to do with us, nothing more. So, that would've consisted of dates, which I didn't do much of before inviting you to pizza."
"But what about…"
"What about what?"
She shook her head, blushing terribly, which he loved when that happened.
"No, no. You wanted to know something. What were you asking?"
"Well, you don't have to have sex for that to happen."
"You asking me if I've jacked off in the last couple of months?"
"Not in a while, no, I can't say it's been longer than months I guess I don't keep track. It's been a while, though, I know that."
"Why? I thought…"
"You thought you turned me on?"
"Then why wouldn't you?"
"Because I'd like the first time I achieve that with you to actually be with you not just thinking about you."
"Oh," she said. "Am I doing it right?"
"Uh huh," he said. "There's not really a wrong way. You're touching me, it feels good so it's right."
He chuckled a little as he watched her watching her hand. She wasn't shy about using her thumb to spread the lubrication around his head and shaft. She kissed his chest, which she'd never done before. He didn't dare touch her back, too afraid she'd stop and Christ but he didn't want her to stop what she was doing at all.
He didn't finish from hand jobs easily, but there was something about the fact she was giving him one that made him think he might just achieve that pretty quickly. He groaned when she used her free hand to push his jeans down a little further along his hips. His boxers soon followed and he sprang free. She was still watching so she wasn't shocked or put off by it.
She found one of his nipples then, kissing and sucking on it before she moved a little to the side of it. She kissed and sucked there, too, leaving him a mark of his own while her free hand reached lower to the base of his shaft and his sac, cupping him. A fingertip grazed along the crevice there, inadvertent or not that was his undoing.
Her hand and her stomach bared the brunt of it. There was some on his stomach, too, but not nearly as much. She was still sucking on the same spot on his chest. Evidently she wanted to be sure it was good and dark so it'd show easily despite how dark he was currently.
She didn't stop touching him either, though it was different now. She ran her fingertips along his shaft, still seemingly curious at the feel of him. Her other hand she used those fingertips to slide through the evidence he'd left on her of just how long it'd been since he'd done that.
"I'll get you a cloth," he murmured.
She didn't stop anything she was doing, though, with her mouth or her hands. Obviously she didn't want him to do that just then so he stayed where he was. No hardship because what she was doing felt good. And then she stopped sucking on his chest, drawing away slowly. She raised a finger from her stomach to her lips and licked the tip of it.
He watched her do it a second time rather entranced with what she was doing. No one had ever done that before. Sure, he'd had girls swallow while going down on him, but not deliberately seek out tasting him as she was.
He cleared his throat then not really sure what to say after that.
"That was unexpectedly nice," he said.
"It was," she agreed. "Am I supposed to…"
"Supposed to what?"
She blushed again, which was really arousing considering she was currently running a fingertip coated with evidence of his climax along her lips very suggestively.
"Get excited by that?"
"Why wouldn't you?"
"I don't know. I told you this was all new to me."
"Well, I'd hope you enjoy doing that and it would arouse you, sure. I get aroused doing things to you."
"Yeah, but you know what to expect."
"And you think because you don't it shouldn't turn you on? Obviously, your body doesn't care what you've experienced before it knows what it likes."
"It does, huh?"
"Yes, and obviously it's me."
He pulled his jeans up but didn't fasten them and grabbed her hand, leading her upstairs.
"Erik," she said, sounding panicked.
"Relax," he said with a chuckle.
She followed him as he led them to his bathroom. It was one of the rooms in the house he loved because he'd taken a lot of effort to renovate it when he'd converted the upstairs back to a second floor rather than an apartment. There'd been a linen closet in the hallway, which he sealed up access from the hallway to and had it open up into the bathroom instead. So all of his toiletries, towels, and things were right there where he needed them.
He grabbed a washcloth, wet it with warm water and sat on the toilet. He brought her to him so she was standing in front of him. He grazed his thumb along her skin there, feeling himself stirring a little upon seeing his spunk on her like this. There was something very arousing about it.
He washed it off gently, not wanting to rough up her skin with the towel. He kissed her stomach lightly not caring at the moment if he'd washed it all off or not.
"I absolutely don't want you dancing with anyone else, Chris," he said softly.
"There's got to be a ticket available. Find out. I'll take both of you."
"What?" she said with a laugh. "You can't be serious."
"I'm very serious. I'm not going to go to her house and get pictures taken with her like your mom would do with us, but I'll take you both."
"People are going to think…"
He shrugged. "They're not going to think we're a threesome or something perverted, Chris. Come on, these are people who supposedly know you and have for most of your life if not all of it. Besides, do you really care what they think? When are you going to see the majority of them again besides reunions? They know she's your best friend."
"But a tuxedo."
"I can swing that."
"But it's only a few days away."
"I'm telling you I can swing it."
"All right. I'll find out tomorrow."
He set the washcloth behind him on the tank of the toilet. He tugged her onto his lap, arms going around her.
"So, do I get to, uh, repay you for that nice surprise?"
"Yeah," he shrugged, grazing a nipple gently with his teeth. He tugged on the waist of her jeans lightly. "You said it aroused you to do that."
"Well, seems only fair you saw me to my end I could do the same for you."
"You could huh?"
"If you wanted me to."
"In my bathroom? Well, no, I had my bedroom in mind, but if you meant my house in general, yes."
She laughed lightly, leaning down to kiss him. He returned the kiss enthusiastically.
"Do you expect me to do that again?"
"Expect?" he blinked. "Wow, did you really just ask me that? When have I ever expected you to do anything to me, Chris? Is that why you did that? You thought I expected it?"
"That's not what I meant," she said. "I meant, uh, you know, now that I have once."
"Oh, you mean, like every time you come over?"
"That's a much better question than what I thought you were asking me. The answer is no. If you want to, I won't complain. I mean, I hope you'd want to eventually, you know because it felt good and I clearly enjoyed you doing that to me."
"Clearly," she whispered.
"Hey, there's nothing to be ashamed of. We're in the privacy of my home. What we do that makes us feel good is our business."
"I know, I just, after I…"
"You were curious about it, no big deal." He lifted her chin to look her in the eye. "It turned me on, you doing that."
"But you'd just…"
"Just because we can't again immediately doesn't mean the desire goes away. Women have the advantage there, I guess."
"Sure, honey, you don't have parts that need time to recuperate."
"Oh," she said.
"So, is that a no to my offer?"
"I'm afraid," she said softly.
"Afraid? I'm not going to hurt you, Chris. Nothing I'd do would hurt."
She shook her head. "No, I'm afraid I'll want to do more."
"Why does that scare you?"
She sighed softly. "It's only been a couple of months."
"God, I've never been tempted before."
"What if I promise not to do more?"
She laughed again. "You could do that? And I should trust you?"
"Yes, I could do that, and yes you should trust me. I've never done anything you didn't want me to do before now."
"But you'll get excited again."
"If I don't…"
"It'll go away on its own eventually as it has before when we're together."
She sighed softly.
"Why do you put up with me?"
It was his turn to laugh.
"Put up with you?"
"Yes, you could have any girl you want who'd have sex with you without having to think about it. Shelly, for example, I know she likes you and I know she despises me because she thinks we're having sex. She'd probably be in your bed right now with her clothes off."
"Well, sure, if I just wanted sex that'd be great. Not to say I haven't had sex just for sex's sake, but I've outgrown that need. I need more than just sex, and you give that to me. And trust me, you in my bathroom with your top and bra off is much more exciting to me than the thought of Shelly being anywhere in my house with or without clothes on."
"I'm still not sure I can believe you."
He shrugged. "I get that. I get that I have to make up for some jerk's mistake. Let's go out somewhere."
"What?" she asked.
"Pick a place. Let's go. Anywhere. Get out of here and away from you thinking we need to do things you're not ready for."
"But you just wanted to…"
"Sure, but clearly if we have to talk about it this much you're not ready, and that's fine. So, pick some place and we'll go out."
"Erik. I'm sorry."
"Geez, Chris, you have nothing to apologize for. You just gave me a hand job in my living room. I don't know the last time I finished from a girl doing that so please don't apologize to me for anything."
"But you wanted to…"
"I want a million dollars, too, but it is what it is."
"Are you comparing the likelihood of having sex with me to getting a million dollars?"
"No, just that I'm not always going to get what I want every second of the day. Yes, I would love to please you similarly to how you did me. You're not ready, so let's get away from it for a while."
"You are going to find out about the ticket tomorrow, right? You're not just placating me?"
"Because I swear if I have to spend Friday night thinking about you dancing with anyone else I'm liable to go get drunk and start a fight with someone out of sheer frustration."
"Because you're mine." He grazed the mark she'd left him on his chest. "Obviously you have similar thoughts."
"I never much liked them before."
She shrugged. "I thought they looked cheap."
"Well, maybe it's because you don't leave them where they actually show but I don’t mind them."
"Don't mind them huh?"
"I like the feeling I get when you give me one."
"That is very good to know, and I do love leaving them right there," he said, sliding a finger over the spot at her shoulder he was fond of marking.
"I know. I'm not as careful about hiding them as I was the first one."
"Except Mom and Dad, of course, but no," she shrugged. "We're not doing anything wrong."
"Definitely we're not."
"Then what's to worry about?"
"I couldn't agree more. Certainly no one cares if I show up at work with one on display."
"No one cares? I'll bet a few do."
"Yeah, well, it's probably good for them to see them then."
She laughed softly, kissing him. She slid off his lap and offered him a hand, which he took. He looked a little puzzled, but he followed her out of the bathroom. She knew which bedroom was his.
"Chris," he said when she opened the door.
"You said I can choose where I want to go."
"I don't want to go anywhere. I'm not sure I'm ready for what you want to do."
"I understand that, that's why I asked and didn't just do it."
"It doesn't mean we can't still touch one another, though."
"Yeah," he said cautiously. "You sure you want to do that in here, though? Downstairs would probably be safer."
"It would be if I didn't trust you, but I do," she said, letting go of his hand and walking the rest of the way to his bed.
Word Count: 3,595
September 1987 (Labor Day Weekend)
Chris opened the door to her room, startled to see Brenda there. Brenda was obviously just as surprised. Her hand was still in the air, ready to turn the doorknob that wasn’t there anymore. Chris admittedly was trying to leave before Brenda got back, which wasn’t being a very good best friend.
“Brenda, hi,” she said.
“You’re leaving?” Brenda asked.
“Yes,” Chris said.
“But it’s our first real weekend here.” That was exactly the reason she was hoping to be gone before Brenda got back from her last class of the day. Chris didn’t want to spend her first real weekend as a college student on-campus. There was only one place she wanted to be this weekend. Her dorm room or her parents’ house was not it.
“We were here last weekend, Brenda,” she said.
“Yeah, but we were still setting up our room and everything.”
“Brenda,” Chris said.
“There are parties everywhere.”
“Well, then go to them. You don’t need me for that.”
“I figured you’d go with me.”
“What about Becky?”
“What about her?”
Becky lived next door to them and seemed like a nice person. She was from somewhere south of Chicago that was rural and had never been to Chicago before. Chris and Brenda had both offered to show her around and she’d seemed genuinely receptive to their offers.
“Ask her. I’m sure she’d love to go. She seems like more of the partier type than I am anyway. You know, first time away from Mom and Dad and the farm.”
Chris sighed softly at the expression on Brenda’s face when she noticed Chris was taking her overnight bag with her.
“You’re not coming back tonight either?”
Chris laughed. “Brenda, come on. What are you my mother now?”
“Well, no, but I didn’t think…”
“I don’t know if I’m staying there, but I don’t want to have nothing with me in case I do.”
“We’ll do something during the week, I promise. We can go to a movie or something.”
“You’re fine,” Brenda said.
Chris knew Brenda was disappointed and she wasn’t thinking Chris was very fine right now. Chris wasn’t going to be guilted into staying, though. She’d been looking forward to this weekend for months.
“You say that, but you’re mad I can see it. You knew I’d go see Erik. I mean, come on. Wouldn’t you? No curfews, no parents. You can’t tell me you wouldn’t do the same thing if you were me.”
“Probably,” she said.
“If I stay the night and we do something tomorrow you could come out to his house.”
“I don’t want to get in the way.”
“Brenda, you’re not in the way. Erik likes you. He wouldn’t mind at all. You could even bring Becky and we could do something with her. I’m sure Erik wouldn’t mind doing a museum or something. We could even grill something later on.”
“Well, call me and let me know.”
She thought about Brenda on her way to Erik’s. He knew what time she was done with classes for the day so could make a reasonable guess on when to expect her. It was difficult to tell with holiday traffic headed into the city.
They’d had a surprisingly good time at prom. Brenda hadn’t wanted to go at all once she found out Erik was taking Chris. Chris insisted, though. Everyone deserved to go to prom and Erik had danced with Brenda a couple of times and everything. How he’d managed to come by a tux in less than a week she’d never know, but he’d looked as good as she imagined in it.
Summer had been good, too. Erik never balked at including Chris’ best friend when they did things. He even paid for her a couple of times when they did things like go to a Cubs game. Chris understood why Brenda was uncomfortable with Chris having a boyfriend when she didn’t, but certainly her friend didn’t expect her to stay on-campus every weekend.
She almost missed the exit to his place she was so deep in thought. She hoped Brenda had a good time tonight. Becky was pretty nice and would have way more fun. Chris wasn’t a big partier and now that she had a boyfriend she had even less interest in standing around getting hit on. Becky spent more time in Brenda and Chris’ room than her own because she’d lucked out and gotten a very strange roommate.
His porch light was on and the front door was open. It was going to get cool tonight, but it had been a nice day so he would leave the doors open as long as he could to let fresh air into the house. He never went to sleep with them open she knew. He wasn’t that trusting of the people in his neighborhood. His house had one particular perk, though, that Chris absolutely loved. He had a small balcony off of his bedroom. Small in that he was able to fit two chairs out there. He’d had a table out there before she started hanging around at his place over the summer and discovered she liked sitting up there so well when she was waiting for him to get ready or something. A definite bonus was that it was screened in so they could sit out there for a while and not get a mosquito bite or a fly buzzing around them. So, he’d replaced the little table with another chair so they could both sit out there. He left those doors open all of the time when he was home she knew.
“You made good time,” he said when she opened the screen door.
“I did. Traffic wasn’t too bad.”
“Good,” he leaned in and kissed her, lingering a bit as if he didn’t want to stop. She didn’t want him to, so they were in agreement there. She loved kissing him just as much today as she did back in March when she was so excited by his kisses. She still didn’t quite understand why his kisses elicited the response in her they did, but she enjoyed it just the same.
“How was your day?” she asked.
“Oh, you know, a day. Yours?”
“About the same.”
“They were fine.”
“It’s a holiday weekend.”
“So that means they let you skate on homework?”
“Well, I have reading to do in my English and Biology classes, but it’s nothing I’m going to be tested on Tuesday.”
“I see. What’s in the bag then?”
She shrugged. “Just in case I decide not to go back tonight.”
“Oh,” he said.
“I don’t have to stay. I mean, I didn’t ask I guess, I just sort of assumed…”
“Chris,” he said, leaning down to kiss her again. He drew her against him, sliding his arms around her. “Honey, you’re fine. I just sort of assumed you wouldn’t want to do that. At least not yet. It’s fine with me.”
“Why wouldn’t I?”
“I don’t know,” he shrugged. “I sort of figured I’d leave that decision up to you.”
“Along with all of the other decisions, you mean?”
“Well, yeah, the decisions that are yours to make, sure. Sleeping here, with me…” He drew away a little, glancing at her. “You are planning on sleeping with me, right?”
She laughed. “Yes. Where else would I sleep?”
“I don’t know. Maybe you were thinking my guest room.”
“No,” she said with a frown.
“Well, that sort of implies intimacy.”
“We’re not intimate?”
“Well, sure, but you know, to your friends at school. People you’re just meeting who haven’t met me and don’t know you real well. They’re going to think, presume, we’re doing more than sleeping.”
She shrugged. “I don’t care.”
“You don’t care? A couple of months ago you were worried what people would think when I took you and Brenda to your prom.”
“Sure, but that was different.”
“Okay, I’ll pretend to understand. You’re welcome here any night you want to be here.”
“I don’t have to call first?”
“Uh, no. Why would you have to?”
“I don’t know.”
He scoffed. “Come on, Chris,” he said, tilting her face up a bit to look her in the eyes. “I don’t have people here I worry about you seeing me here with.”
“You say you know, but your eyes tell me you’re still not sure you believe me. Shit, Chris, all summer you came here anytime you wanted. Did it ever look or did I act like I was hiding something?”
“No,” she said.
He kissed her, rubbing his cheek against her jaw before finding her ear. “I’ll say it again, honey, you can come here anytime you want. You don’t need to call first. You don’t need to knock first.”
“Okay,” she said.
“So you want to go out to eat? Order something in? I could cook, too.”
“You mean you have food?”
“I do. I wasn’t sure what you’d be in the mood for tonight. I’ve been better about making sure there’s always something edible around here for you.”
“You have,” she said. She liked to cook for him. There’d been a time or two over the summer that she’d gotten here before he was home from work so she’d let herself in with the key he’d given her and had dinner waiting for him when he got home. He’d liked those evenings. She had, too, for that matter.
“Let’s go out.”
“I kind of like the sound of pizza.”
“Yes, but later.”
“Okay,” he said.
She took his hand and tugged on it. “First, you need to show me where to put my things.”
“How many things do you have?”
“Oh, you know, a toothbrush, some clothes, makeup, and stuff.”
“You know, the toothbrush could stay here.”
“I need my toothbrush.”
“Well, I meant, if you’re going to do this, come stay the night you may as well keep one here.”
“Oh,” she said almost shyly.
She sat on his bed, setting her backpack on the floor by her feet.
“You don’t really need me to show you where to put your things, do you?”
“What’s going through that pretty head of yours?”
She reached for the front of his jeans, unzipping them carefully before reaching inside.
“I was thinking of letting Shelly know you’re very happy.”
He slid his hand to the waist of his jeans, pushing them lower along his hips as she touched him. She’d gotten pretty good at this, touching him. He hadn’t come as easily after the first time, more than once she’d had to ask him for help. He’d helped, whether he was embarrassed touching himself in front of her (even if she was touching him, too) she had no idea.
“You don’t need to make me come for me to be happy, Chris.”
“She knows I’m with you.”
“I know,” she said. She shifted on his bed and he joined her as she hoped he’d do. She stroked him, using her hand to run along his shaft as she kissed his neck.
“You want to be sure she knows, huh?”
“Yes. She’s still interested in you,” she whispered before sucking on his neck on a spot that would clearly show.
He reached between them, helping her a bit touching himself. She had to admit it excited her when he did that. She wasn’t sure why or if it meant she was weird or not, but she liked feeling his own hand against hers, rubbing his shaft together.
“How many changes of clothes did you bring?”
“Two,” she whispered. She slid her top up, uncovering her stomach and he groaned softly, knowing what she was inviting him to do.
“Shelly’s not going to see that, you know,” he teased.
“No, but I’ll know you finished where you like to finish.”
“You know I do. It sort of bothers me you like it.”
He shrugged. “I don’t know, it just seems so…”
He chuckled softly. “Yeah, kind of, not that there’s anything slutty about you. Don’t get me wrong and it turns me on like crazy that you let me do that. I just would never have expected you to like it.”
She shrugged, her eyes falling closed as he started doing most of the work getting him off.
“Don’t close your eyes,” he whispered.
“Erik,” she whispered. He liked it when she watched, seeing her hand with his working together to bring him off.
“One of these days you’re going to let me lower your pants a bit.”
“Why she asks,” he whispered, groaning softly as she grazed the head of him with her thumb. “So, I can finish on you a little lower.”
“Oh,” she said.
“No rush, I’m not pushing, just saying I’d like to do that.”
“I know,” she whispered. She stopped touching him then, knowing he was close and let him take over and do the last of the work. She liked watching his hand slide along his shaft faster and faster until he finished on her stomach. She tasted some as she’d gotten into the habit of doing the couple of times he’d finished on her like this. The rest he went to the bathroom and came back with a washcloth to clean her off with.
“So, it occurs to me,” he said, sliding a fingertip along the spot on her belly he’d just finished cleaning off.
“You left me a hickey.”
“A visible one.”
“Because of Shelly.”
“I don’t have to worry about your parents seeing them anymore.”
“No, you don’t,” she whispered as he prompted her onto her side so he could slide up behind her. “What are you doing?” she asked.
He chuckled softly and started working on giving her one that would show toward the back of her neck. He slid a hand to a breast, stroking her through her shirt as he sucked. He groaned as she pressed her ass against him and she knew he’d get hard again if she kept doing that.
“You liked that I guess,” he whispered when he’d finished.
“Why? I’ve given you one before.”
“I don’t know. It was just different, the way you were sucking was more intense.”
“Yeah, it’s going to be pretty dark and noticeable.”
“Only if I pull my hair back.”
“You have a ponytail thing with you this weekend?”
“Yes,” she whispered.
“Put it in.”
He chuckled, sliding a fingertip along the spot. “You think you’re the only one that likes to show off that you’re happy?”
“Oh God, she’s going to think…”
“She’ll probably think all kinds of things when she sees we both have one and that you’re wearing my shirt.”
“You will be, because I wasn’t super good with my aim this time. Sorry.”
“Oh,” she said, glancing at the shirt and realizing he’d gotten some on her shirt.
“I’m sorry, honey.”
“It’s okay.” She turned to face him then. “I like wearing your shirts.”
“Mm hmm, they smell like you.”
“I assume that’s a good thing?”
“All right then. You ready for pizza?”
“Okay then, let’s go.”
“She’s never going to like me, you know?”
“Yup, I know. If I could find better pizza I’d stop going there, but until that happens you’re stuck with her giving you the evil eye every week.”
“Did she ever ask you out?”
“Nope. She hinted, flirted but I never did it back.”
“I’m so glad.”
“I was holding out for someone way better.”
She laughed, shaking her head. “Thank you.”
“You’re welcome,” he said, standing from the bed. “Pick out whichever shirt you want, you know where they are.”
She did. He’d let her wear one a couple of times over the summer when it had gotten cooler in the evening than she’d thought when she’d come over for the day. One time she’d gotten a little too much sun and her shirt made her itch like crazy because his were a little bigger it didn’t bother her as much.
The pizza was great. Of course Shelly was there with her dirty looks. It was the first time they’d both come in with visible hickeys, Erik had a couple of them over the summer but Chris hadn’t since she had to go home to her parents’ house until last week.
They watched some TV when they got back to his place and eventually made it up to his room. He drew the bedding back while she used his bathroom to get ready for bed.
“I’m very glad you’re wearing shorts.”
“Why?” she asked.
“Because I swear if you had something, you know, uh girlie I’d make you get dressed again.”
“Yeah, you know, uh lingerie.”
“Oh, this is as brave as I’ve gotten.”
“It’s pretty brave for you,” he said.
She frowned a little at that, but walked to his bed to get into it while he went to the bathroom to get ready himself. She laid there, staring at the ceiling and sighed softly. She was nervous and excited, a little worried that this may be too much for her yet. She wanted to be here, though.
“Hmm, planning your escape route?” he asked when he slid beside her. He turned onto his side, gathering her against him and sliding his arm around her.
“No, just thinking.”
“That this is nice.”
“It is. I’m going to warn you in the morning, men have this habit of waking up in the mood.”
“Well, it’s just a thing, natural and normal and I have no control over it and if you’re pressed against me like this you’ll feel it. I don’t want you thinking it means I expect anything.”
“It’s okay. I understand and I knew that.”
She laughed a little. “Yes, I have older friends who are at college with their boyfriends.”
“What else did they tell you?”
“That once I start doing this I’m not going to want to stop.”
“I don’t want you to stop. Remind me tomorrow to get you my spare garage door opener.”
“Erik,” she whispered.
“You should have it. Your car shouldn’t be parked on the street overnight.”
“Besides, I would’ve given you one earlier but I knew your mom and dad would freak out if they saw an opener in your car. The key I’m not sure how easily you could explain that if they ever saw it.”
“They didn’t see it, but yes they would have freaked over a garage door opener.”
“Mm hmm,” she said, turning to face him and kissing him. She pressed against him a bit. “Thank you for pizza.”
“Thank you for sleeping over with me.”
She giggled softly.
“Can I sleep over tomorrow night too?”
“I don’t know. I better ask my mom first.”
“Mm, is she strict?”
“Then I may have to sneak in through your window.”
He kissed her then, lingering a bit. “No sneaking necessary, honey. Ever where I’m concerned.”
She turned back onto her other side, facing away from him. His hand was at her stomach, touching her but not doing anything else. She closed her eyes, liking the feel of the warmth of his hand there.
“Can I ask you something?” he asked softly.
“You’re not really concerned about Shelly, are you?”
“Concerned? I don’t know.”
“Really? You think I’d do that to you? Take you to eat some place where the person I’m cheating on you with works?”
“You mean unlike my ex-boyfriend who took someone from my school who knew everyone I knew and could walk around telling everyone what a frigid bitch I am?”
“There’s nothing frigid about you, Chris.”
“If you say so.”
“Hey, I say so. Not wanting to have sex with every guy you go out with doesn’t make you that. You want me to tell you again what you did for me when you got here today?”
“No, I know what I did.”
“Well, then. Obviously, deep down somewhere you knew he was a bad guy. That’s what stopped you not being frigid or anything else.”
“You don’t have to thank me.”
“Well, thank you just the same. And no I’m not really worried about her, but it bothers me I guess if she were to find out that nothing has happened between us.”
“Things have happened between us.”
“You’ve never touched me below my waist.”
“It’ll be worth the wait, and Shelly doesn’t know that. I don’t talk to anyone about what I do with you least of all her. I swear to you I have no interest in her, I never did. She’s a nice woman, but like I told you back in the spring I just don’t like her that way.”
“I know. I want to believe you. I just worry, I guess, that because I’m still hesitant.”
“You’re fine, Chris. You doing what you’ve done so far is more than I expected honestly.”
“And I can’t help but think you deserve more.”
“More? Honey, you’re fantastic and when we get to the rest of it it will be fantastic and more than worth the wait.”
“I’m sort of tired of waiting.”
“When it’s no longer sort of you let me know.”
“Good night, honey,” he whispered, kissing her ear.
Word Count: 4,173
“You get so many kids,” she said as another group of kids left from his house. “I’m surprised. We never went to single guy’s houses when I was young enough to trick-or-treat.”
“I think it helps that it’s a Saturday and it wasn’t freezing, raining, or snowing. That and I give out the good candy every year.”
“I suppose,” she said. “Though anyone who knows you would be surprised about the good candy part.”
“You met me at work. It’s my livelihood. I can’t let every pretty face think they can sweet talk their way out of paying for their car, sweetheart.” He smirked a bit, evidently catching on. “You’re teasing me.”
“I was. I kind of miss it. My brother used to take me when I was real little. He hated it, too, and usually took some candy as payment for taking me around.”
“Why didn’t you wear a costume tonight?”
“Because I’m not a kid.”
“There are some pretty nice not kid friendly costumes. I’m sure you could’ve thought of something.”
“I knew I was going to be with you, handing out candy. I couldn’t wear something that wouldn’t be good in front of kids.”
“Hmm. That means I don’t get to give you a treat, though.”
She laughed softly, running a fingertip along the thigh of his jeans. “Well, you still could,” she said, sliding her hand up to his side. He loved when she touched him, and she knew that, too. Even the littlest touch like this was not just nice but welcome. It meant she wanted to and there were times despite the months they’d been together he wondered why exactly she wanted to be with him. Now that she was in college especially he wondered that.
“Nuh uh, the rules say I can’t.”
“That’s too bad,” she murmured.
He slid an arm around her, tugging her closer against him. “It’s a crime.”
He lowered his mouth to hers, kissing her. He deepened it eagerly because she seemed just as anxious as he was. He loved when she pressed against him like this, wanting to be as close to him as she could get. The heat of her against him turned him on and he groaned into the kiss as he slid a hand to her ass, cupping her there. She brushed herself against him and he responded in kind unable to resist.
She whimpered softly at the sound of the doorbell. He should have known better than to start kissing her like this so early. He knew it’d be a while yet before the kids stopped coming to the door. He could turn off his light, lock the door, and take her upstairs but she seemed to like seeing the costumes.
“I’ll get this one,” she whispered.
“Thank you,” he said.
“Don’t want to scare the kiddos.”
“I think we need to have a talk if that scares you.”
“I didn’t say it scared me! I’m also not nine years old.”
“You want to find a movie or something?” he asked once she’d handed out the candy to the latest batch of trick-or-treaters.
“We can, sure.”
He joined her on the couch where she was flipping through the channels.
“So, I actually do have a treat for you,” he said.
“Even though I didn’t dress up?”
“Erik,” she said.
He reached into his pocket then.
“So, I was noticing the other day when we were out that it’s not so obvious we’re together.”
She looked very confused by that. Of course it was obvious when they were together that they were. He liked to hold her hand, but it was the times they weren’t together that it wasn’t so obvious. The hickeys he’d gotten into the habit of leaving on her neck now that he could only lasted so long. She didn’t mind them, but he imagined once the newness of being able to have visible ones wore off she’d get tired of him leaving them there.
“Well, yeah, you know, when you’re at school and not here.”
“Oh,” she said.
He took her hand, sliding the ring he’d bought onto her finger.
“Erik. It’s beautiful.”
“Yeah? I was looking for something different. You’d think no one ever goes into a jewelry store to buy a ring for a woman that’s not an engagement ring.”
“They kept steering you towards the diamonds?”
“Uh, yeah, and shit do they make you feel like crap for not thinking you should take a mortgage on your house in order to buy one.”
She laughed softly at that.
“This is beautiful. Thank you.”
“Yeah? It’s the birthstone for March. Since we met in March,” he shrugged. “They had a real nice ruby one, but I don’t know. I liked this one.”
She leaned in and kissed him. It’d been a while since his doorbell rang so when she shifted as if she might like to lay on top of him he maneuvered them that way easily enough. She slid her hands under his shirt, sliding it up a bit before she reached for the waistband of his jeans.
He groaned a bit as she worked the fastening and zipper before sliding her hand inside of them. She was much, much better at this now. There were times he felt guilty about that, that their relationship was giving her experience that seven months ago she didn’t even want. Tonight was not one of those times. Tonight he sat back and enjoyed her touching him and wanting to touch him. There were times he thought she did it, touched him, out of some sense of obligation or feeling as though she needed to. He never pushed her, very rarely initiated anything like this between them. To this point, he’d been the only one that got touched like this and he didn’t want her to think he was incredibly selfish or totally taking advantage of the situation.
Not many guys would complain about their girlfriends giving them hand jobs without any expectation of doing anything in return. He didn’t mind certainly, but he felt kind of guilty about it just the same. In part because John knew and liked her. When their relationship had gotten more serious once she’d stopped seeing Dan, John had in a roundabout way threatened him with bodily harm if Erik hurt her. He wondered if she comprehended that she’d managed to ensnare four men that night. One was old enough to be her dad, the other a criminal who likely stayed away for that reason. Erik wasn’t so sure he’d be here with her right now if that guy had pursued her. Erik had done shit to help them that night that guy had pretty literally saved their lives. For whatever reason, Dan hadn’t made the cut. Erik didn’t understand the why of it, he just knew that he was here with her now.
And he wasn’t going to fuck it up. He’d been very tempted to accept the woman’s guidance at the jewelry store when she tried to prompt him into looking at the engagement rings. He never envisioned wanting to propose to someone, but he could with her. It was too soon, though. For her. So, he’d settled for something different.
Eventually she stopped kissing him, her head against his chest as she touched him. She wasn’t touching with the intent of making him come. He could always tell when she just felt like touching him. The first time she’d done it had been a little frustrating to say the least, but he’d been getting used to it. He wasn’t sure what that said.
“It occurs to me,” he whispered. She lifted her head to look at him.
“I’m not the greatest with words or saying the right things.”
“Erik, you’re fine.”
“Well, no, because it occurs to me I’ve never told you that I love you.”
“What?” she asked. She looked genuinely surprised. A good surprise?
“I know you heard me.”
“I did. I just wasn’t expecting…”
“Really? After almost seven months of seeing you?”
“Well, yeah,” she shrugged.
“Hmm,” he said. That wasn’t really the reaction he was hoping for. And then she moved as if to get off the couch and he wondered if he’d just inadvertently fucked up.
“I’ll be right back,” she said.
“Okay,” he said, confused. He was fine with her not saying it back. He knew she’d been hurt and wasn’t going to trust him in a heartbeat. It was just two months ago she’d been adamant that they go to get pizza having fooled around first. Her idea, not his. Her uncertainty he guessed because there was a face to go with the name of someone who liked him. He didn’t have faces and as far as he knew Dan hadn’t contacted her once since she’d told him whatever she had said about not seeing him anymore.
“Hey, Erik,” she called from upstairs.
“Can you come here for a minute?”
“Yeah, sure,” he said, working the fastening on his jeans again before getting off the couch to go upstairs.
He almost wondered if she was upstairs, putting her shit together to leave for the night. He’d gotten very used to her being here every weekend. She came Fridays as soon as she was done with class and very rarely left until she had to Monday morning. A couple of times she’d gone to a party with Brenda on Friday night, but she’d always come to his place afterward. Almost two full months he’d had her here every weekend and he was finding it very difficult to sleep well the four nights of the week she wasn’t here.
He didn’t know what it meant that he told a woman he loved her and she wanted to leave. That probably wasn’t a very good sign.
“Listen, if I said something wrong downstairs,” he said before noticing her on the bed. He’d even gotten into the habit of mentally calling it their bed because he really liked having her in it.
“Oh,” he said, noticing she wasn’t wearing what she’d been wearing downstairs. He’d teased her the first weekend she’d come here about having something girlie to sleep in. She hadn’t, but she sure did tonight. “God you’re gorgeous,” he whispered, unable to screen his thoughts.
She laughed softly. He knew it was a defensive thing with her, lack of confidence or something. She had every reason to be conceited and yet she wasn’t in the least.
“And I’m severely overdressed if you’re wearing that.”
“Well, you could change it.”
“I could,” he said, sitting on the edge of the bed. “Just want to be clear on something. I didn’t say I love you for any purpose or to gain something.”
“I know,” she whispered.
“You do? You’re sure because the timing of this seems to kind of go with my saying that.”
“No, you just made my decision for me saying it.”
“I see,” he said. “So, this was in your bag when you got here last night?”
“It’s actually been in my bag the last two weekends.”
“Hmm. You bought it and had second thoughts?”
“No, I bought it and chickened out.”
He shifted a bit, resting a hand at her calf. He stood then, though.
“Save my spot,” he whispered.
“What?” She sounded absolutely petrified.
“I’m not going anywhere other than downstairs to turn off the light and lock up. I don’t want the older ones coming by an hour or two from now.”
“Oh,” she said.
“You stay right there. I swear I’ll be right back.”
“Okay,” she whispered.
He leaned down, kissing her before going downstairs to do what he needed to down there. He couldn’t recall a time he’d ever locked up the house so quickly. Usually he was much more careful. He was really mostly concerned about the front door and the outside light being off. Someone coming to his backyard would have to get through a locked gate to get in so he wasn’t as concerned about that.
He worked the buttons on his shirt undone as he made his way back up the stairs. She was right where he’d left her and he smiled a little at that as he slid his shirt off once he joined her again in the bedroom.
“Hi,” he said.
“You made it.”
“I’m not sure there’s anything that could’ve stopped me from making it back here.”
“I think so,” he said unfastening his jeans once again. He liked her doing it much better, but he wanted them off now.
“I realized something laying here.”
His heart sunk a bit at that. She realized she couldn’t do this, didn’t really want him to see her like this after all. He couldn’t blame her, he supposed, but God he’d been more than incredibly patient and understanding to this point. He’d continue to be if necessary, of course. Man, seeing her in his bed dressed like that, though. He didn’t want it to be necessary any more.
“You said you loved me.”
“You just realized that?”
“No, I realized I didn’t say it back.”
“I love you, too,” she said.
“You’re not just saying that so I don’t feel like an idiot for saying it?”
“No, I wouldn’t do that.”
“You wouldn’t, huh?”
“No,” she said, shaking her head.
“Well, since we’re being honest.”
“I love you in my bed like that, too,” he said, joining her on the bed.
She shifted a bit so he could settle on top of her comfortably.
“I’m glad I was a little nervous putting it on.”
“Really? Why? You’re gorgeous whatever you wear.”
“I don’t know. I just don’t feel very sexy.”
“I don’t see why not.”
“Because I don’t know what I’m doing.”
“Well, you’re doing just fine, trust me.”
He slid a hand along her hip, groaning softly at the feel of the satiny material under his hand. His hands weren’t smooth or anything. Far from it so the fabric was a little lost on his sense of touch. Callouses and scars on top of scars dulled it a bit. He could still appreciate her, though.
She gasped when he found her thigh. He kissed her then, capturing the sound as he slid his hand over a bit. God, he was harder than he’d been in months at the mere thought of being this close to her naked. He had no idea what she had in mind for tonight but he just hoped he lasted long enough so she didn’t think he was the one who didn’t know what he was doing.
He found her nub, grazing it lightly with the pad of his finger through the panties she wore. They were silky, too, he could tell that much about them. She groaned, spreading her legs a bit and he fought the urge to slide his hand into her panties right now. He wanted to take his time and enjoy everything about her.
She pressed herself into his touch, prompting him to touch her harder so he did. Her hands at his forearms were gripping him for dear life as he let his hand slide a little lower, pressing a fingertip along her opening through her panties there.
“Erik,” she murmured.
The way she said his name was his undoing. He slid his hand into her panties, touching her there. He dipped a fingertip inside of her, groaning at the wetness that surrounded him when he did that. He alternated between rubbing her nub and sliding along her slick opening before he finally had to stop kissing her and settle his curiosity about the taste of her.
He chuckled softly as she called out a very not lady-like word when he slid his tongue over her nub. She didn’t cuss much, so it was a bit of a turn on that he could make her do it under these circumstances.
He was pretty sure he could do this all night. She came so easily. She was very shy about it the first time or two, but after that seemed not to care anymore. She tasted every bit as good as he imagined. He slid his mouth up along her abdomen, sliding the nightie up as he went so he could pay attention to her breasts.
She slid a hand into his boxers. He wasn’t expecting her other one to join it and for her to push them down. He reached down to help her, sliding them down and off, tossing them to join her panties on the floor next to the bed. She reached between his legs then, touching and stroking him before settling him against her opening.
“Just a second, honey,” he whispered. “I need…”
“Chris,” he said, drawing away a bit. “I can’t do that tonight.” There was no way he was going to last long and he wasn’t going to take the chance that even a drop came out before he pulled out.
“I went on the pill.”
“You did that?”
She blushed then, which he found rather amusing considering she was essentially naked underneath him.
“Is that bad? Should I not have done that?”
“No,” he said quickly. “Not bad at all.”
“Good. I just thought you’d like it,” she shrugged.
“Oh, I do,” he said. “I’m a little surprised you thought about it before we needed it.”
“I knew we’d need it a while ago.”
“You did, huh? Should I be insulted you thought I was easy?”
She gave a giggle and he kissed her.
“Yes, you should,” she said. “I’m sorry.”
“You are not. That’s a worthless apology if I’ve ever heard one.”
“I know. I’m lying. I’m not sorry at all.”
“Now I believe you.”
“You believe I love you?”
“Honey, I should be the one asking that right now, not you.”
“I know you do.”
“Good. And you’re sure?”
“Do I seem like I’m having second thoughts?”
“Well, no, put like that, but it’s kind of a huge step to go from where we were to everything.”
“I’m ready for a huge step.”
“It was the ring, wasn’t it?”
“No, it was just you.”
“It didn’t help at all?”
“It helped me realize I didn’t need to wait any more.”
She was surprised when he slid himself lower along her body again he could tell. He wasn’t quite ready yet to be inside of her. Oh, he was ready, readier than anything he’d been ever in his life. He didn’t want to rush it, though. He wanted to be sure she enjoyed herself, was pleased beyond her imagination.
“Erik, please,” she whispered later.
He drew away a bit then, stopping at her inner thigh to leave a hickey there. He almost came just from doing that. He wasn’t sure what that said.
He slid inside of her then, mumbling more than a few curse words under his breath at the feel of her around him. Knowing until tonight no one, nothing had been inside of her before was a crazy turn on for him. He was slow, gentle, easing into her at first. Then he couldn’t resist, he had to thrust inside of her. He couldn’t fight the urge to be completely inside of her any more than he could go without breathing. He had to be, “there,” he murmured.
Her nails at his forearms eased up after a bit so he started moving inside of her again, building momentum as she grew accustomed to him inside of her. He used his mouth at her breasts, enjoying the feel of her peaks hard in his mouth.
She moved under him and that was his undoing. She hadn’t exactly laid still before that moment, but she hadn’t moved against his thrust, taking him deeper into her as she’d just done.
He moved to slide off of her.
“Where are you going?” she whispered.
“I don’t want to get too heavy,” he answered.
“Not yet,” she said.
“Okay,” he said. He was a big guy, taller and bigger than she was by far but if she wanted him to stay put he wasn’t going to argue with the lady.
“Are you okay?” he asked after a few minutes.
“Yes, I’m fine,” she answered.
He wasn’t sure fine was a good response or not.
“I just,” she shrugged. Fuck. Here it came. He should’ve known better. Her change in heart was so drastic of course she was going to second think herself when they were done. “I don’t feel any different.”
He chuckled at that.
“What were you expecting? To be branded with a scarlet letter or something?”
“I don’t know. I just expected to feel…different.”
“Oh, I imagine tomorrow morning you’ll be sore enough to realize something’s different. I’m sorry about that.”
“You have nothing to be sorry for.”
“I wasn’t nearly as slow as I should’ve been.”
“It felt good!”
He always thought of himself as kind of a brute of a guy. He’d never had a long-term, meaningful relationship so he always felt kind of clumsy when it came to sex. Women never complained, but he didn’t see them real often after they had sex for him to know if they did or not.
“Yes. You felt very good.”
“So did you,” he whispered.
“Good,” she answered.
He slid off of her eventually, drawing her to him. He’d never been inside of a woman without a rubber before. He probably should’ve asked her for proof she was actually on the pill. He trusted her, though. In fact, it wouldn’t make a difference if she did turn up pregnant other than he’d ask her to marry him instead of move in with him.
“So, I was thinking,” he said, staring at the ceiling.
“Next spring when you’re done with classes?”
“I don’t want you to go back home.”
“I want this to be your home. You know, with me.”
“Erik,” she said, clearly surprised.
“I know women like you deserve proposals, but you’re so young yet I don’t want to do that to you.”
“Moving in with you is better?”
“You’d rather I asked you to marry me? Believe me, I want to. I’m not letting you go.”
“You want me here?”
“Every day. Every night. You and Brenda could maybe get an apartment off-campus next year so you had somewhere to stay during the week if you thought you had to. The distance isn’t insurmountable, though. People drive that commute every day for years.”
“You can think about it.”
“I don’t have to think about it, Erik. I’d love to live here.”
“And your parents?”
She shrugged. “What can they do? I’m going to school like they wanted me to.”
“They could demand I marry you.”
“They could. I’ll just tell them we’ll get married when we’re ready to.”
“I guess I should take that ring back then,” he said, running a fingertip along it.
“Not a chance.”
“Man, I have to buy another one?”
She laughed softly. “You would have to, yes.”
“Well, we can wait to tell your parents until I’ve done that then.”
She leaned over him, kissing his chest.
“Can we get a dog?”
“I don’t know, honey, I’m not home so much. You’ll be gone possibly three nights a week that’s not a real good or fair life for a dog.”
“If I’m living here you’re not going to work so late every night. You could also take him to work with you.”
“I suppose. I can’t say no to you. What kind of dog did you have in mind? Please tell me it’s not a poodle or something that I’ll be embarrassed to take to work with me.”
“No. I’m sure we could find one we both like.”
“Yeah, like a German shepherd. Or a Doberman.”
“Good guard dogs. I’m surprised you haven’t gotten one already as late as you work.”
“No one messes with me, honey, haven’t you figured that out yet?”
“Except you. And there’s a reason for that as it turns out.”
“Did you ever think that night that we’d end up here?”
He scoffed. “No. I thought you were pretty and insanely hot, but you giving me the time of day never in a million years entered my mind.”
“You asked me out for pizza.”
“You made me feel bad, telling me you wanted to know what you got beat up for.”
“I didn’t care. I just wanted you to say yes.”
“Honey, I’d do it all over again if I had to.”
“Even if I didn’t come back to give you your five dollars.”
“Even if. I think I would’ve found you anyway.”
He shrugged. “I don’t know. I just do.”
“I think I would have liked to see that.”
“I’m glad I didn’t have to.”
Story ©Susan Falk/APCKRFAN/PhantomRoses.com