Gazing at Miss B. I couldn’t help but think of the lyrics on an old Eagles song, *I like the way your sparkling earrings lay against your skin so brown*, dangling or hoop earrings had always been the trademark of Miss B. This would be the last time we made love, she was 54 and interested in an older gentleman at the coffee shop, I was 27 and ready to settle down with a woman I wanted to marry. We had determined that once we reached the stage where we would move on with lovers nearer our actual ages there would be no more extra curricular activities. There would be one woman in my life, the one I married, and there would be one man in her life, not two.

It was a bittersweet moment as she led me down the hallway of her simple three bedroom ranch one last time, like all the times before she grasp my hand and walked a half step ahead of me. As we entered her bedroom she closed the door, drawing me in, kissing me passionately, her soft plump lips tasting like cherry lip balm. Pulling away from me she stated as she had so many times before.

“Take your clothes off Anthony, you’re not going to make love to me dressed, hurry on now boy.”

I was ten the spring we moved into the older three bedroom ranch next door to Bea and Oscar Waverly, he was 44, she was 37, they had one child, a lovely daughter going into her junior year of high school. I soon found out Miss B, which everyone referred to her as, taught Biology at the high school, her husband Oscar commonly referred to as Ozzie was a diesel mechanic at the local county shop. Mother and I had moved from Boston, my dad having been killed in an industrial accident the year before. Mom wanted a new start and I agreed, I just didn’t know it would be twenty six hundred miles away near Burley, Idaho.

The day we moved in Miss B knocked on our door with a loaf of bread, a dozen eggs, a gallon of milk and a plate of fresh cookies. That’s how it was then, now a days you’re lucky if you ever meet your neighbor, much less welcome them to the neighborhood. Mom put the coffee pot on, poured me a glass of milk and we sat at the table visiting with Miss B for over an hour. I was enamored by Miss B, I’d seen many black people before, but none as pretty as her, she exuded natural beauty. Her hair was straightened and had delicate waves cut at shoulder length, dangling earrings, a crisp floral print cotton blouse, flowing cotton skirt and a wide belt accentuating her thin waist.

I was only ten, (almost eleven) but I knew a pretty lady when I saw one, and this was a very pretty lady. Her skin had a dark chocolate hew that almost seemed to shine, a bright white and infectious smile topped off with the greenest eyes I’d ever seen. I learned later in life that green eyes in a black person are not common and only found in about seventeen percent of the black population. I had no idea what color Emeralds were at that time, as I aged, I realized her eyes were the color of Emeralds.

My daddy had insured himself heavily, I remember he and mama argued about the amount of money he’d have coming out of his pay each time. Now, my mama was glad he did, at the same time wishing he were still here instead of the money. An insurance policy of one million dollars was a huge amount of money in 1995, we could have lived high on the hog for a long time before that money ran out, but that’s not what my mama was about. She bought a late model used Dodge Caravan with all the bells and whistles she wanted, set up an education fund for me and purchased our house outright.

We ended up here because she was a court stenographer and the local lady was retiring, mom answered the ad for a replacement and was hired after one interview. Ozzie became a surrogate father to me, teaching me how to throw a baseball and football, he played street hockey with me and the other boys. By the time I was thirteen I was playing little league baseball, Ozzie, Miss B and mama were at nearly every game. Katrina, the Waverly’s daughter, had tried to help me fit in, but no matter what I did or accomplished I was always the new kid. I wasn’t a cowboy, hadn’t grown up around horses and in the eyes of most kids my age, I was a geek, other than in sports. Though I was congratulated for my prowess on the ball diamond, in reality I was tolerated, but never accepted.

Ozzie hired me to take care of his yard the summer I turned fifteen, soon several other neighbors had hired me as well. In my eyes I was swimming in dough, mother put a cap on that after my second week, she’d allowed me to waste the first two weeks of wages, the third week she laid down the law. Half of everything I was paid went into savings, another twenty five percent went into a school clothes account, ten percent went into the offering plate at church and the rest was mine to, as she put it, *piss away*. It sounds restrictive, but at fifteen I had plenty of money to waste as I watched my savings accounts multiply.

The summer I turned eighteen was also the summer my view of Miss B went from seeing her as the wholesome school teacher/worship leader next door to the sexiest creature I’d ever seen. She was well respected about town, known as a dedicated teacher and a power house as worship leader in our church. I’d never been to a non-denominational church before we moved, Miss B and Ozzie had invited us the first week and we’d been there ever since. She had a voice that beckoned you to sing with her, mama said it was like listening to Ella Fitzgerald, whoever that was. I only knew that soft husky voice could draw me into the worship service and have me ready for the preacher’s message.

On the evening I would begin to view Miss B as not only pretty, but sexy as well she had inadvertently left her bedroom curtains open at dusk, normally the glint of the sun shown off her window and I couldn’t see in. That night would be different, the sun had set enough that I could see into her bedroom as clear as day, my overhead light was not on as I stood back in the shadows watching Miss B undress.

First the blouse, when the skirt which exposed her full slip, no big deal, I’d seen my mom in her slip hundreds of times. What happened next made my young dick stiffer than it had ever been, her arms grasp the bottom of the slip and pulled it over her head. Standing on the other side of the room I could see Miss B in her bright white cotton full briefs and a simple white cotton bra. With her back to me she unclipped the bra and let it fall, cupping her hands under her breasts sort of scratching and rubbing underneath them after shedding that restrictive harness. Turning around with her thumbs in the panty waist she realized she’d left the curtains open. As she walked toward the window, I could see her staring into my room as though she were looking for my yes.

Her breasts didn’t hang like my grannies did, they were sticking straight out with nipples dark and round, kind of like a pencil eraser. They jiggled and swayed as she walked, at that point in my life I was too inexperienced to know the nuances of such a notion but I imagined my lips sucking her breasts like I’d read about in one of the romance novels mother kept hidden in her panty drawer. (Don’t ask how I knew what was in my mother’s panty drawer.) The bright white color of the underwear against her chocolate skin made it all the more erotic and drew my eyes to the prize, was I actually going to get to see a real pussy tonight? Her hips were not oversized and looked as if they flowed directly into her slim torso. Her butt wasn’t pronounced as some I’d seen, it was nice and puffy looking, as though it was there to be caressed and squeezed. Her face was to me angelic, soft features, inviting lips and always a pair of earrings.

Pulling the curtains closed the show ended, once again my dreams were dashed, I was left with only one option, pull my dick out and stroke until it erupted. I came so hard I cried out, then heard mom knock at my door asking if I was alright. I told her I was fine, it was only a Charlie horse in my calf. Charlie horse indeed, my dick was hard again as I considered stroking a second time. From that day forward I never looked at Miss B the same way, I didn’t leer, but I didn’t look away either. If she wasn’t looking I drank in all the beauty and sexiness she exuded.

It was later that year tragedy struck the Waverly home, like so many men do, Ozzie had ignored the signs of not being well for so long he was in stage four cancer before it was found. In April I stood next to Miss B as they lowered Ozzie into the ground, she silently took my hand and kept it all the while people greeted and talked after the ceremony. Katrina was with her part of the time, but she also had a husband and new baby that needed her attention. I knew some of the people but not all, if I knew them, I greeted them, if not I simply stood with Miss B holding her hand. If she moved, she pulled me with her, to the point of asking me to wait for her outside the ladies, I took advantage and emptied my bladder as well.

The reception afterward was at the church, by four it had basically cleared out, mother asked if I would mind driving Miss B home while she and the others cleaned up, to which I readily agreed. As I drove her home Miss B. and I joked around about how we were the black version of Driving Miss Daisy, with me being the driver and she being Miss Daisy. It was one of the few times I saw her smile that day and the only time I’d heard her laugh. Katrina and family would be staying a few days before flying back to Connecticut. I chose to stay clear unless Miss B summoned me.

In the weeks and months that followed I became almost like her handy man and helper. With Ozzie’s life insurance and the pension she would get from the school system she decided to stop teaching altogether. I would take her to the grocery store every week, every other Saturday she’d have me drop her off at the beauty shop and pick her up an hour later. Mom had been dating a deputy sheriff and my time was pretty much my own. Miss B and I went to supper every Friday night, usually fish fry at the VFW Hall, then Sunday after church she, mother and I would go for brunch. When we were out and about she would hook her arm through mine and tell me the same thing every time, *okay, you’ve a lady on your arm, be a gentleman*. If folks would ask about me, she’d always reply.

“Surely you remember Anthony, he’s lived next door to me since he was a tike. He’s my helper now that Ozzie is no longer with me, I’d be lost without him.”

I was now doing all her yard work as well as carting her around here or there, none of which I minded at all. One evening as we sat on the patio I sought some advice from her.

“Miss B, my grades were good enough to get into state and I’ve been accepted if I go there, but I don’t want to leave you or mom. I could use some words of wisdom right about now.”

“What do you want to go to school for Anthony? That will make a difference in where you choose to go, the local campus offers nearly everything the state campus does, just not all of it is available every year. Sometimes a course is every other year.”

I pondered what she’d said, then answered. “I love anything mechanical, old Mr. Morris taught a small engine repair class as part of metal shop this year. I did well and got to know him, he’s going to retire in two years and is looking for someone to buy his small engine repair business. He told me if he was fifteen years younger he’d nail down a dealership for one of the major brands, most folks are tired of buying out of town at the big box stores with little or no service afterward. That’s kind of what I had in mind, but I don’t know if it’s the right thing to do.”

“Do tools fit in your hands Anthony? Ozzie always said if the tools don’t feel comfortable in your hands, you’ll never make a living with them.”

“They do Miss B, it’s as though they’re a second set of fingers sometimes.”

“Well Anthony, I think you answered your own question. The local tech school has a two year program for small engines which includes a six month class in business management. If you did that you’d be here to help your mom and me, if you talked with Henry Morris and told him of your plans I bet he’d hire you after you completed tech just to train you and get the customers comfortable dealing with someone new.”

I grinned, “The tech school, of course, I’ve heard nothing but college for three years and had it in my head that’s what I needed to do. I like that idea.”

“If you need some money to start up, I can help you sweetheart.”

Sweetheart, she had never called me anything but Anthony before. That word of endearment was music to my ears.

“I’m okay Miss B, I have money set aside for my education fund, what I don’t use for school mom says is mine to start out with. I can buy a house, or a business, whatever I want.”

As I was leaving she had ahold of my elbow guiding me toward the door as she always had. I turned to face her.

“Miss B, you called me sweetheart earlier, you’ve never called me anything but Anthony before tonight. What gives?”

“That’s because you are a sweetheart Anthony, a very special sweetheart to your mother and me.”

Young inexperienced boldness took me somewhere I’d never dared before. “Miss B, if I’m your sweetheart can I get a kiss from you?”

She stared at me for the longest time, those emerald green eyes looking deep into my soul. “You really want a kiss from this old lady? I’m in my forties Anthony, you can’t be serious.”

“Ah but I am Miss B, I find you attractive and fun to be around.”

With both hands on my chest she leaned toward me, pecked me on the lips and pulled back. I was disappointed and told her.

“Geez, I used to get kisses like that from my gramma, and you aren’t my gramma.”

The words had no more than left my lips when her hand went to the back of my neck and pulled me to her full cherry tasting lips, holding me there for at least five seconds, softly molding her lips to mine.

Pulling back flashing me one of her award winning smiles she asked, “Is that better Anthony, did that rock your boat?”

“Is one all I get?”

She thumped my chest, “Get your scrawny behind out of my house young man, and make sure you’re here by nine for my hair appointment. Goodnight sweetheart.” I could hear her laughing as the door closed.

Life went along as it had been, she would kiss me goodbye from time to time, no set pattern, always a nice surprise. Together we filled out all the applications and paperwork for tech school, convincing mom it was the right thing to do, that college wasn’t necessary for everyone to make a decent living, in spite of what guidance counselors pounded into student’s heads. I was nearly through my first year of tech when I noticed mother wasn’t doing well, she looked sickly and had no energy. Cancer had taken her mother’s life, sadly, it was also taking my mother’s life. Mom had watched her parents go through all the ravages of chemo and radiation and made the hard decision she was not going through that agony. Her pain could be managed, she wanted to die in her own bed, not some damned nursing facility full of chemicals.

In October of that year it was Miss B who stood with me holding my hand as I greeted guests and well wishers. I’d held it all together up until that evening at Miss B’s house sitting next to her on the couch. The tears flowed as she held me to her body, not saying a word, simply comforting me. It was well after midnight by the time I’d composed myself, I bid her goodnight and trudged across the back yard where I sat in the dark looking over the valley all night. As first light peeked over the horizon I went to bed and slept until three in the afternoon.

It was Wednesday and I was late taking Miss B to the grocery store. I rushed to her patio doors and knocked, as she spun she beckoned me inside.

“Anthony, sweetheart, what are you doing here?”

“It’s Wednesday Miss B, grocery shopping. Sorry I’m late.”

Walking up to me she put her hands on each side of my face, “Such a sweet boy you are. Shopping can wait.”

“No Miss B, I need to maintain our schedule, if I sit in that house I’ll go nuts, I have early classes tomorrow which will keep me busy, but today I need to be with you doing what we always do.”

She leaned in and kissed me, soft, delicate, then patted my chest and stepped back. “Then I guess we’d better go grocery shopping, oh, and you’re eating supper with me from here on. Don’t give me any shit about it either.”

It was the first time I’d ever heard her use what she referred to as vulgar language. It was obviously said to show how serious she was, I received the message loud and clear. At the store she pushed the cart, pointing to this or that telling me what to get. If I was next to her, she would snake her hand through my arm and softly squeeze the inside of my elbow. This was a new Miss B and I liked it. I had no idea if it would ever go further, but I liked the attention she was showing me. Having supper with her each night was therapeutic for me, within a few months I had adjusted to mother’s demise and gotten through all the probate trash. One evening at supper Miss B asked what I was going to do about the house. Not knowing what to do I shrugged my shoulders. While we did the dishes, she told me to put on a pot of coffee, we needed to talk.

“Anthony have you considered selling the property. It’s a seller’s market right now, I think you could get top dollar, put that money in the bank to purchase Henry’s business and leave the rest of your savings where they are.”

“But, where would I live? I’ve been there the better part of my life, I certainly don’t want to be that far from you in case you need me.”

“Well Anthony I’ve thought about that a lot. We have the loft apartment above the garage, it’s heated and cooled, has a bathroom with shower and a mini-kitchen. We used to rent it out before you folks moved in, it’s been a catch all for a long time. You could live there, you’d be close with your own privacy and not in the house with a widowed woman, the gossips would have nothing to talk about.”

“That sounds okay, why did you stop renting?”

“When Katrina began to mature we had a single man living there, long story short he started making advances with her, she was young and easily impressed. Thankfully Ozzie and I figured it out right away and evicted him, we simply never rented it again.”

Miss B was correct about the seller’s market, I had three people bidding on it and sold it for eleven thousand more than listed. I had a yard sale for most of the furniture and household items keeping the family heirlooms and antique pieces mom had collected. I had made enough money off the yard sale to afford a three year old Toyota Tacoma pickup. Perfect transportation for an almost 21 year old. I moved all my belongings into the apartment on a Saturday, the house closed on Monday.

I was having supper with Miss B every evening, usually retreating to the apartment to do homework or research new equipment. At times I would stay, Miss B would sometimes cuddle next to me on the couch, nothing romantic, something I would have done with mom. She would ask how school was going, had I spoken with Mr. Morris yet, when did I graduate, normal caring adult topics. I dated very little in high school and not at all now that I was at tech, I didn’t feel like I needed that distraction in my life. I’d put my hormones on hold, if you do that long enough the desire sort of goes away unless you’re stimulated in some way.