Fumbling around on the nightstand, an awkward hand found its way to the source of the incessant beeping and repeatedly pressed, squeezed, slid, and prodded until the damn thing finally stopped. The hand dropped to the warm bed clothes for a few moments before joining its partner, rising upward in a long, tight stretch. He yawned and pulled both hands behind his head on the pillow. His eyes opened lazily, making a ritual assessment of the ceiling. Still there.

Chris sighed, then nearly bolted upright—he would be late! Thrusting the covers aside, he swung his legs toward the floor and headed for the bathroom. He would not skip a shower this evening for the sake of timeliness, not for this date. In his reverie he had forgotten that only a short nap was in order before their night out. There was to be no yawning tonight, not the slightest indication, however mistaken, of any degree of disinterest.

The water coughed and spat from the shower head: cold, lukewarm, burning, then corrected to steaming. A safe-cracker could find the perfect temperature, but Chris had given up long ago. The water brought him closer to reality. Oh, yes, there was interest; plenty of it on both their parts. He tilted his head back as the jets of water irrigated his scalp and ran down his neck, a few rebels escaping over his ears and his face.

She was exciting. And beautiful. Not in a thin, wispy, Audrey Hepburn, “who, me?” kind of way…but in a full, sultry, smoking, Marilyn Monroe, “yes, me” kind of way. She had it and she knew it. Just the thought of her seductive eyes made his sensitivity heighten under the water.

Working a small amount of soap into his short, dirty-blond hair, he thought about the night at the Back Room. Kate’s birthday party. And how they had ended up next to each other at the quieter end of the table. It was so loud; such a freshman bar, they could barely hear one another. Practically screaming in each other’s ears, the conversation, albeit a slightly inebriated one, ranged from the idiots on the dance floor, TAs who couldn’t make more sense of the prof’s lecture than the students could, to TV shows and music. They had opposite tastes in nearly everything, and had a fantastic time discussing all of it. Hot liquid streamed through his hair, silky with suds. He ran his fingers through, slowly and repeatedly.

Almost ignoring the birthday girl and the rest of the group, their repartee had continued all night. Eventually it turned from laughter to discovery, serious moments of opinion, and not a small number of interesting looks and glances. By midnight he and Rachel were the idiots on the dance floor. Dancing to music he didn’t like, surrounded by people he didn’t like, up later than he generally preferred…he was captivated by her. He lathered soap in his hands, rubbing his neck and down the length of his arms, underneath, and worked across his chest. Fingers glided through thin hair and scrubbed over modest but firm pecs. Taking a quick inventory, he was fairly satisfied with his build. A lightweight just north of a buck fifty, and about five foot nine, he was no dream machine, perhaps. But his sinewy frame was lean and his muscles knew real work. He got things done. He scrubbed down his stomach.

The two had danced like fools and returned to the table frequently to quench their thirst. A slow song came on, and naturally it was one Chris could not stand. Nevertheless he extended his right hand with the left behind his back, bowing gently, feigning a gentlemanly poise, totally anachronous to their surroundings. Rachel giggled and, in kind, made a curtsy before accepting his hand and following to the dance floor. Like a high school mixer he placed one hand on her left hip, and with the other held her right hand out, half extended, and straightened his back. With arched brows, he tilted his head and led her through a few basic steps. To call it dancing would have been generous, but the effort was notable and received humorous encouragement from the others.

Laughing, Rachel took his hand from her waist and placed it behind her back, pulling the other down to do the same. Her hands then followed suit, embracing Chris’ taller body. Leaning her face into his smooth shirt, they swayed gently to the music. Sensing her comfort, he squeezed lightly in a sort of hug, and she responded in kind. He let his gaze fall downward until his nose brushed the dark brown hair on the top of her head. It was smooth as silk, and cut rather short in a sort of pixie style. Her conditioner blended with the complementary scent of her perfume, the sweet smell of sweat on her brow, a dash of vodka with a hint of cranberry, and the passing aromas of other couples “waltzing” by.

Holding each other tightly, his hands grasped her back and shoulder blades as her soft bosom pressed into Chris’ chest and stomach. Oh, her breasts… The boiling water seared his back as he finished scrubbing his legs. His hands returned up his thighs and tenderly slid over what had become a growing erection. Rachel had skin smoother than fine chocolate, more delicate than tracing paper, though you might try tracing it with your tongue.

Milky white and supple, she was not large in any way, and yet you could always dig your fingers in…gently nibble…both of which elicited from her a shudder of slight pain along with sighs and moans of encouragement. That smooth skin reached its full potential as it journeyed downward from her tender neck, across her chest, rising and falling, and forming into a pair of perfectly shaped, perfectly sized, perfectly sensitive breasts. Yielding to the touch, and to exploration, yet firming along with her growing arousal.

He could still feel the close dance and the smell of her hair as his left hand slowly caressed his now full erection. Up and down, simply experiencing the sensation produced by the memories. That song had ended and, true to the form of the establishment, abruptly exploded into the pile-driving rhythm of the next Top 40 remix. As though in a trance, they had both pulled away slowly, a little unsteady from the embrace, and saw in each other’s eyes an unmistakable desire and longing. They slowly returned to the table, rejoining their companions, and managed somewhat normal conversation for the remainder of the night.

The last of the suds descended slowly down Chris’ legs and fled toward the drain. He stirred from his daydream and killed the water, reaching for his towel. It was winter, and the jab of cold, basement air upon leaving the steamy bathroom was most unwelcome. Almost enough to dislike showering entirely.

5:30. Picking her up at 6:00. He had time. For him anyway, it never takes too long to get ready. Lucky blue boxers, dark jeans, a gray, button-down shirt with the sleeves rolled up, brown leather boots, and a worn leather belt about his waist. A seldom-used full-length mirror leaned near the dresser, and Chris tilted it for a final view. Not that the image would prompt any change, but a little vanity before heading out on a date wouldn’t be a bad idea. Wetting his hands in his hair, he rubbed a little gel together and ran his fingers through again. A gentle part, and straightening it out, he chuckled at the tendency of most folk to estimate him 8-10 years older. The grays didn’t help. Turning a bit, all checked out okay.

Chris didn’t really focus on fitness as a routine, but his part-time renovation job kept him extremely active. His height belied his legs, which appeared longer than they were. Though he despised the trending “wannabe cowboy” look, his mild ruggedness matched his attitude and his inclination for the outdoors. He swiped his keys from the dresser as he stepped briskly out, chatting a moment with his housemates, and embraced the winter darkness as he fired up the truck.


“Trace, can I borrow your straightener?”


“Can I borrow your straightener?! My piece of shit just died and won’t heat up!”

“You don’t have to yell, damn…here,” Tracy conceded, handing over the vital appliance. “All yours. Though I don’t know why you’re bothering. Your hair doesn’t really curl, and do you really think he’s gonna notice?” Rachel rolled her eyes; she knew Tracy was right, but her own nervousness was enough to require the process, and she wouldn’t give her roommate the satisfaction of being correct.

“It never lays the way I want it to, it’s not my fault your eye doesn’t pick up that detail,” she replied wryly.

Tracy smiled: “Mmm, and you never lay the way they want you to, either…” Rachel laughed and stuck her tongue out in response. Each with their faults and grievances, the two were ultimately fond of one another and had become fast friends since college orientation a few years ago. They couldn’t appear more different, and yet they swapped clothes and accessories regularly. Rachel’s chocolate hair was in stark contrast to Tracy’s strawberry blonde. Her muscular frame made her a bodyguard to her friend’s thin features. The latter often commented with only half-feigned jealousy on her roommate’s voluptuous hips and derriere, which met Tracy’s standard of attraction: light enough to work with, and just a bit more than a handful to play with.

Indeed, she teased Rachel, “If your pants were any tighter, you might have to give him take-home bags for anything that spills out!” She snorted in laughter, then shrieked as Rachel dropped the straightener and lunged for her midsection, tackling her friend to the floor before Tracy could react. The defendant cried out desperately for mercy. “All right, I—ha!—stop!—I’ll—I’m gonna piss myself, fuck off!”

“Taught you to tease these hips, didn’t I?” Rachel gently queried, climbing off her roommate with a haughty expression. “Next time you won’t be so lucky that I should stop there.”

“Oooohh, and you’re all talk,” Tracy teased, rolling her eyes comically and catching her breath. “In fact, I ought to whoop your ass right now just for saying it, now it’s a fair fight and all.” Rachel was half tempted to instigate another round, for her own reasons, but turned her dark eyes toward the mirror to finish preening; hopefully before Chris arrived.

“You’ll just have to wait, missy,” she replied. “You can have whatever fight is left in me after tonight.” She smiled, sarcastically, with Tracy mirroring her expression before mocking disgust.

“Oh, yeah, great, because I really want to wrestle your sloppy seconds. Sounds amazing…” She turned toward the door: “Hey, call if you need a ride. Or, someone to be a stunt double when the lights go out.” She winked, and Rachel just laughed.

“You’re a true friend, Trace,” she replied, sticking her tongue out again and smiling. Spinning through their apartment doorway, she pulled the door shut with an echo down the bright hallway. The text just now read that Chris would be there in ten. Heading down the stairs, she double-checked for her ID, purse, keys, and phone. Not a minute at the door and a dark red Blazer swung its headlights across the building as it pulled alongside the curb. It took every ounce of restraint she had to keep her shoes glued to the tile floor, a childish agreement with Tracy to prove just how many men had no concept of chivalry.

But Tracy had no chance; the dome light came on and the door swung open just as the truck came to a lurching stop. The engine died and the headlights darkened, the glow fading from the bulbs. She pretended to be absorbed in a flyer on the building’s bulletin board so as not to appear so prissy as to be waiting for a man to escort her. Though, judging by the manner of his arrival, it seemed clear the type she was dealing with. Well, she thought, I hope he’s not too gentlemanly… The front door opened.

“Miss Jones,” Chris offered, extending an elbow.

“Good evening,” she replied, with a tilt of her head. Enjoying the small acts of outmoded chivalry, she placed a hand daintily into the bend of his arm, and walked out to the truck.

The two listened to music, talking over most of it, on the way to the restaurant. To be fair, it seemed more of an elegant dining room than a restaurant. They stood just inside the doorway next to a narrow podium, awaiting the maître d’, who approached quietly with a gentle smile.

“Good evening, sir, madame,” he bent slightly, with a mild Italian accent, “may I show you to your table?” Chris gestured with his hand to lead on, adding a nod to Rachel to proceed ahead. She felt a little self conscious; there were only about ten tables in the dimly lit room, most of them booths. But her anxiety eased as it became clear that not a soul paid them any mind as they strode past. A lovers’ dining room, she mused. The thin man spun on his heels across from a dark, candlelit booth, and bent sideways to invite them to be seated. This they did, comfortably, on plush cushions and gently reclined seat backs. Rachel realized they now could not see the other patrons, nor hear more than a low murmur of conversation. Quite the intimate setting, she thought.

The beginnings of a new train of thought were pushed from her mind as Madame Julia arrived to welcome them and offer libations. Even Rachel had to swallow and catch her breath, for this woman was simply gorgeous. A notch taller than Chris even, her arms were lithe, taut with muscle, and held a small menu describing the evening’s courses. Her long, auburn hair was pulled straight back, severely, in a tight, low ponytail. The remainder was full and thick, drifting downward from the back of her head in slow waves, falling well below her shoulders into darkness. The slightly angled shoulders held a simple, black blouse across a very square and well-proportioned torso. Rachel noticed the outlines of her breasts, a touch smaller than average, perhaps, but quite attentive. A single open button revealed a thin, silver necklace, venturing just below her collarbone, and nothing more. Nor did it need to. Rachel’s mind wandered a bit again, forgetting about the menu as well as her companion.

“Rachel?”She heard her name, and turned in a daze, seeing Chris and their waitress staring directly at her face, searching for signs of life. “Jesus, Rachel, would you like another glass of water, for your face, perhaps?” chuckled Chris. Rachel blushed red, and appeared to examine the brief menu. Julia blushed as well, breaking eye contact to study the abstract canvas on the wall.

Chardonnay. Merlot. Caesar salads. Toasted baguette. Garlic aioli. Shrimp and linguine. Steak de burgo. Refilled glasses. Giggling conversation in hushed tones over a mostly cleared table. Tiramisu to split. A half ration of gelato to accompany. Slowly the glasses surrendered their final drops, and the dining area felt quiet and close. A comfortable lull in the conversation allowed their eyes to introduce themselves properly. His warm and interested gaze held her face steadily, which returned a flushed and lusty smile. She blinked slowly, as if to briefly deprive him of the sight of her dark eyes, and searched his face for a reaction.

Fuck, he thought to himself, it’s like our eyes are making out. He smiled and shook his head gently. “You have very captivating eyes, Rachel. Do you know that?” She nodded and replied without breaking contact.

“Oh, yes. I’ve become quite aware just recently.” The bill was paid, and the front door closed behind them. Standing on the front walk, Chris puffed out his chest and appropriated a dodgy British accent.

“D’you know, dear, I believe we’ve rather missed our showing. Blast.”

“‘Ave we now, then?” she replied, placing her hands on her hips and doing her best to play at a working class drawl. “See, oy believe we’s a right good chance of ‘avin a foyn evenin’ if we was t’ battle on back to moy place, and pop in a pitcher of awr own.”

Outdone, Chris burst out laughing, extended his arm, and they proceeded down the walk.


Rachel’s apartment, on the second floor, was clean and quiet. She was impressed that Tracy had not only picked up as promised, but had left on a couple small lamps. There was glassware on the counter. She could imagine the inevitable interrogation to ensue the next day, regardless of what happened.

Glasses on the coffee table with a fresh bottle of Riesling, they flopped onto the couch, jostling shoulders for position. She started the film, something based on a true story about a family surviving the wilderness. It didn’t matter. She quickly made herself comfortable, leaning into Chris’ chest. Presently he yawned, and in comedic fashion lowered his outstretched arms around her shoulders, pulling her close.

Her hair smelled so good, and the weight and warmth of her body against him was pleasant and welcome. Eventually he allowed his chin to rest gently on top of her head. She responded with a sigh, indicated by the rise and fall of her chest against him. He saw her left cheek, faintly blushing pink, and remembered the make-out session from last week…


It was so intense. And passionate, which he couldn’t help but find interesting, as they had barely known each other. It had been just four months since the break with Mandy, which had not left him particularly desirous of a relationship, or any intimacy, really. However, chemistry is not a contrivance, but a law of a nature, and there it was. Soft, pillowy lips. So good to behold, so much better to explore. They were deep pink, as originally supplied, and the more their affections intensified, the more her lips took on a richer shade, almost to red.

He had leaned against her, pressing her shorter frame against the apartment door, their mouths totally connected. Tongues swirling, darting, exploring, the kiss refused to end. His hands moving up her sides, gently pressing in against the swell of her ample breasts. Her hands, digging fingernails into his back, crawled up and grabbed hold of his neck, desperately pulling his face closer. The taste of her lips. The smell of his chest and cologne…


He had lost the plot of the movie just now, in his remembrances, and focused now on his fingertips which had begun meandering up and down her forearm. Rachel’s skin bristled at the sensation on her arm, and relished his scent. She had requisitioned a pillow to place on his lap, and now lay comfortably across it, on the right side of her head. Her arm lay alongside his left leg while the other rested its hand on top of Chris’ thigh.

This did not go unnoticed by him, clearly, as she felt a couple times the slight shift of his hips in response to any movement or squeeze by her left hand. His breathing was just a touch deep, and Rachel wondered if he was even watching the movie at all. Not that she could judge. Her eyes had been mostly closed for the better part of the duration, simply enjoying the experience of being held and caressed. It was such a pleasant feeling, and a mix between gentle affection and sensual closeness. There was warmth in her, rising, and she very much desired this man; to be close…to kiss…to be experienced…to pleasure…

Rolling onto her back, still facing the screen, Rachel turned briefly to look Chris in the eyes, meeting his distracted gaze with a look not only of smiling contentment, but of pleasant desire. She turned forward again, only to feel a significant shift of the body beneath her. He bent far over to plant a gentle but lingering kiss on her left cheek. Electricity raced through her veins in search of escape, and her breath caught. His hand had, by necessity, moved to her stomach, and he had begun pressing the length of his fingers into her flesh, alternating, and moving his hand in various directions. She gave a firm squeeze to his thigh to affirm his activities.

He was encouraged. Allowing his right hand to stroke her hair, the other spread its fingers, palming and massaging her stomach. His thumb rubbed against the taut fabric of her underwire, detecting the unmistakable pattern of lace. Several light kisses graced her cheek before he tracked to the right, along the side of her face, and ever so lightly breathed across her ear. He could feel the goose bumps race across her skin, and let his lips caress the very edge of her ear. Closing them in a soft lip bite, he pulled gently. Opening and closing again around her tender earlobe. He could feel her shifting, yet not giving in and turning to him. He continued his torturous treatment.