"Come on Cheddar; don't leave me stranded out here!" That is Jill yelling at me from third base. I readjust the Velcro on my batting gloves as I walk toward the batter's box. I can hear the rest of my teammates and a few people in the stands cheering me on as I wait for the pitch. "Base hits now, base hits!" I take two breaths, a practice swing and step up to the plate. I'm in the zone and I'm not worried at all. I let the first pitch go by then two balls. The rules of our busy city league put me at a count of two strikes and three balls. The next one comes in about waist high and a little outside. I mentally talk myself through it. Wait, wait?now!
I swing and connect, sending the ball between right and right-center field. As I round second base I can see my base coach waving me toward third. Yeah right, as if I wouldn't run!
I stand up on third, perfectly safe. The other team, Sudsations, is one player short but I still feel pretty good about my triple. They have four outfielders; they're just missing their second baseman. With my hit and speed, they weren't going to stop me. I'm not cocky, just confident. I'm the Cheddar.
So, this is our first game of the season and I'm pretty proud of my girls so far. Granted, it's only the first inning of the first game but hey, we'll take what we can get. My name is Ann Elizabeth Vandercheddan. Yeah, what a name to get saddled with huh? My friends and teammates all call me Cheddar. That's better than Annie or Bethie, which is what my parents call me whenever I find time to visit. For better or worse, this is my team. We are Milligan's Pub and we've been playing together for years. We're not terribly serious, we win and lose our share of games but we almost always have fun.
Our next batter, Lynne, hits some corn to make our first out. Then Angie brings me home with a nice base hit up the center. As I slap palms, heading toward my team's bench I see a woman jogging toward the other team's dugout. Ooh, looks like their missing player arrived. I'm instantly attracted to her, definitely my type. I look up as Vicky, our pitcher, calls my name. "Hey Ched, who's the new girl?"
I shake my head. "Don't know, I've never seen her before." The other team is batting rocket, so I grab my book and make my way over to add her to the batting roster. At this point, I'm only half paying attention to the game. I know we only have the one out still, so I'm not too worried. I'm actually more worried about the fact that I can't keep my eyes off the latecomer. She has her mid-length dark hair pulled back into a pony tail and she's really tall. Once I get closer, I realize she's at least five inches taller than I am, probably about five foot nine. Heh, that puts my eyes at just about the perfect level. I'm such a perv! Two minutes later I'm heading back to my team and she's running out to take over the short stop's position. This shifts the previous short stop over to play the empty second base spot. I can see the dark looks from the rest of my team as I approach. I know exactly what they're thinking. A girl that tall will surely suck all the balls into her glove like she's a freakin' vacuum cleaner. Hell!
True to my predictions, she scores the next two outs and ends the first inning. Lucky us, we're home team and we'll get the last at bat. As we file toward the field, I follow Vicky out. I say to her, "Her name is Jen Brower and keep an eye on her."
Vicky winks and taps my glove with her own. "Will do coach!"
I sprint out to left center and call out to fire us up. "Let's go ladies, three up, three down!" Just for fun, I added, "The first person to make all three outs in an inning will drink for free at Milligan's tonight after the game!" The girls all love that challenge, of course I've only had to pay out once. The first person to do it was June, our shortstop. The second time, I did it. Everyone chipped in and bought me drinks, not that it ever takes much for me. You see, I'm pretty small. I have short blond hair, I'm five foot four and nothing but speed. In high school and then college, people used to joke that I had short fuzzy hair like Big Bird and ran like the Roadrunner. They would call me little bird just to be funny. I prefer Cheddar, or Cheddy. Everyone takes their places and the second inning starts similar to the first. The first batter hits a grounder to second and is easily thrown out. The next two make it on base because of a really good hit over the first baseman's head and an icky error. Suddenly the new girl is up to bat. Jen Brower, where are you going?
I always try to puzzle out where and how the opposing team is going to hit. I shuffle back and warn Julie, our left fielder, to do the same. Julie, as usual, doesn't pay any attention to me. We're friends but she's always been a little put out that I won't let her play left center. Truth is, I'm faster and well? I'm the coach. It's my choice. Sure enough, I watch in equal parts awe and dismay as the tall shortstop sends the second pitch sailing over Julie's head, toward the fence. I'm already behind her backing her up. I rifle the ball directly to third base, bypassing the cut off. My arm and my aim are dead on and even though Jen is safe at third, I manage to stop her from going home. Two runners home is bad enough. When the dust clears and the ump calls time, I head back to my position. I look up and see her staring at me from third. I smirk and wave, this time I am cocky. Yeah girl, I got your number. Watch out!
This was going to be a good game.
The innings move forward and things keep heating up between the teams. Defense is extremely tight, which is keeping the score low. We are up, six to four, at the top of the sixth inning. They manage to score two runs before we are able to head in for our second to last at bat. I had been lucky so far, avoiding the Jen-monster at shortstop. Only because I can place the ball and I'm very fast off the bag, but the others weren't so lucky. Thanks to hot stuff Brower, we went scoreless in the sixth inning. That woman made all three outs on her own. I was fuming as we trotted back to the field. "Come on ladies, three up three down!" They had one runner on third when Jen came up to bat. I could see her looking my way and I immediately called a warning to Julie. This time she listened. I guess she got tired of being burned by the tall brunette. With two balls and a strike on her, she connected. I took off top speed, running in. She played us and totally dinked the ball. I could see it dropping in front of me and with a last burst of speed, I dove for the ground with my glove held out as far as it would go. I caught the ball but there was no way I could get up and get the ball in to prevent the woman on third from tagging up and making it safely home. The next batter was called out on an infield fly but the damage was done. It was the bottom of the seventh and we were down by one. Two outs and no runs later, I was not a happy camper. I glanced at our one runner on third base then at Jen the 'vacuum' as I adjusted the Velcro on my batting gloves. She gave a little smile and salute. I did my usual deep breaths and practice swing before stepping into the box. I had a plan, and I was ready. I could hear my girls yelling in the background. Things like, "Base hits Cheddar!" Or "Come on Ched, get us going now!" I ignored them. I like to base hit and run. It's challenging beating the throw to the bag. But I can
hit. That's exactly what they weren't expecting. It was a beautiful pitch and I nailed it deep into left field. As I rounded third base, the base coach was waving me home and yelling slide. I just poured on the speed, and at the last second went low, taking the slide on pad I wore on my right leg. The catcher missed the tag and as the dust cleared the ump called me safe. Yes!
Everyone rushed out of the dugout at the end of the game. I was picked up and swung around and slapped on the back a few times before we lined up to slap hands with the opposing team. By some strange circumstance Jen Brower and I were the last two in line. Instead of slapping her hand I clasped it, like a show of sisterhood or something. "Great game Jen." I laughed, then joked, "Let me know if you want to sign up with a new team next year!"
She winked at me and smiled. "Nice hit, and thanks, I'll keep that in mind."
I collected my gear as the next game's teams were filing in. My girls, with the exception of one or two who had to get up for work really early, were already on their way to Milligan's to celebrate. I had a feeling it was going to be a good season. As I was putting my stuff in the trunk I could hear Jen talking to one of her teammates, one car over.
"Are you sure you don't mind taking me? It's kind of out of your way?"
Robin, the catcher for the other team just shook her head. "No, it's ok. Maybe I'll stop in at the book store in Eastown after I drop you off."
Robin and I went to the same northern college years ago and we both ended up living back in my home town. Of course it was the first really large one south, after you cross the bridge so it was really a no brainer. Anyway, we had remained friends over the years. I don't see her as often as I'd like anymore, we both just seemed to get busy. We ended up running in different circles, but she's one of the coolest people I know. She lives on the opposite end of town so I thought I'd offer my assistance. I walked over and Robin smiled. We hugged and she said, "Hey Little Bird, nice game today."
I smiled back. "You too!" I shook my head ruefully. "Definitely closer than I like though. You know I hate working that hard!"
She laughed. "Whatever! You just like to show off."
I smiled and looked from her to the Jen. "I couldn't help overhearing, but did you need a ride to Eastown? I'm heading that way."
Jen sighed and frowned. She got a cute little crinkle right between her eyebrows, indicating she wasn't happy about something. "Yeah actually. My car wouldn't start tonight, that's why I was late. I talked my neighbor into coming early and giving me a ride but now she's playing and I'm kind of stuck."
I nodded knowingly. "That really sucks. Well, I'm just heading to Milligan's to meet my team, so if you want you can ride with me."
She looked grateful. "Actually, that's perfect. I only live two blocks from there."
Robin smiled. "Hey, awesome! What are the odds of that huh?" Then Robin got a little gleam in her eye that I remembered from our partying days. She looked at me then back at Jen with an evil smirk. "You know Jen, you should probably go to Milligan's with her and crash their little victory party. After all, you made three outs in one inning and I think she owes you some drinks!"
My mouth dropped open in shock. That little skunk, I will get even!
Technically she was right. I never specified a team. I looked up at Jen's suddenly red face and replied. "Well, she's right. I do seem to owe you some drinks." I looked back at Robin's grinning face. "You know Robin? we haven't hung out in ages. Why don't you blow the dust off for once and come too?"
Jen looked a little lost and Robin seemed thoughtful. The catcher looked at her teammate. "What do you say Jen? These girls are a riot, are you up for a few drinks?"
The tall shortstop gave me a little grin and shrugged her shoulders. "Sure, why not."
I slapped then both lightly on the shoulder then grabbed my cell phone. "Great, let's go! I'll just call and have them save us a few more seats."
When we arrived, the three of us walked in together. I could see appetizers on the table already as well as a few giant draft beer pitchers. You know the kind with an area for ice in the middle and a spigot on the outside. As I walked up, everyone yelled "Cheddar!" Then a few more added "Robin, and the vacuum!" Robin laughed and Jen blushed then laughed as well. For those who didn't pay attention to the roster, I introduced Jen to the team then the three of us found seats at the end of the long table. The next two hours were more fun than the even the game was, and they flew by. It was about nine-thirty when Robin and a few other girls stood to leave. Jen and I had been talking and she didn't look like she was ready to leave so I offered to give her a ride home.
She looked up at Robin and the catcher smiled. "If you want I can just bring your gear to the next game for you."
Jen stood and gave the other woman a hug. "That would be great, thanks. I don't have anything else in that bag that I'll need until then."
Robin turned to me and I gave her another hug and tweaked her earlobe. "You need to come out and play with us more often. This was fun!"
She smiled and laughed at me. "I know, but some of us have to get up early in the morning. Not everyone can have nice office hours and work six blocks from home!"
I looked at her affectionately; we've been friends for a long time. "Yeah, yeah, you're such a whiner!" She walked away to a chorus of "Bye Robin!" from the remaining four of us, including Jen.
After Robin and the other girls left, Jen and I continued to talk. The first thing she told me is that she is Robin's second cousin. And, of all the small world stories, it turns out that she is a physical therapist and we work in the same medical office complex. As for me, I actually do work for a living, contrary to what many of my so-called friends would say. I am a registered nurse working for a surgeon in the private practice wing of the complex. The place is like a mausoleum but I still can't believe I'd never seen her around and said as much. She laughed and cleared up the mystery.
"I just moved here two weeks ago from leonard. That's about an hour north of here."
I laughed. "Yeah, I know where it is. Is the Doghouse Bar and Grill still as fun as it used to be?" She gave me a surprised look so I explained. "Robin and I actually went to the college up there at FSC." I gave her a little smirk. "Really small world, huh?"
She burst out laughing, startling a few smiles from the last few of my teammates seated at the long table. "Oh my god, that is too funny!"
I grinned. "So how do you like our fair city of Grand River?"
She leaned over conspiratorially. "It's pretty nice so far but the one time I went out with Robin, I ended up feeling a little like fresh meat."
I leaned over in return. "That's because darlin', you are!"
The other two girls moved down the table when they heard the ruckus and we filled them in on the humor. Sally, our first baseman looked at the time on her cell phone and groaned. "Oh shit, I've got to go girls. I promised my boss I'd write a quick proposal for her tomorrow and I still need to get online and download some information." She stood as did the rest of us. Vicky also piped up.
"Yeah, I need to go too, gotta get my beauty sleep."
I quipped, "Then you should have left hours ago Vic!" She slapped my arm and the four of us laughed.
She said, "Yeah, yeah, smartass!"
After hugs all around and a 'nice to meet you for Jen, the girls left. I looked at the last woman left and felt a goofy smile start. "Well, are you about ready to go?"
She smiled too. "Yeah, let's flag down the waitress so you can hit the road."
We walked out a few minutes later and she walked me over to my car. I was worried about her walking home, even if it was only a few blocks. You just never know what could happen. "Come on, let me give you a ride, it will ease my conscience a little." Truthfully, though I hated to admit it to myself, I had so much fun with Jen that I didn't want to see her go. It was so weird, even though we are practically strangers; I feel a connection with her. It's kind of like when you meet someone new but you feel like you already know them from somewhere. I'm pretty sure she feels it too. Of course, there is also a big case of lust rolling around in my pants but I could keep that under wraps. I know she's family but there's no sense pouncing on the woman when she's so new in town. I just want to hang with her and get to know her. My little mental musings lasted only a split second, long enough to unlock the doors and start the car.
She gave me a shy smile after she buckled up and apologized. "I'm sorry you got stuck taking me home. It's only a few blocks and I hate to make you go out of your way?"
I waved away her complaints. "It's no problem really; I live up this way myself." I grinned to so my sincerity. "So, where to milady?"
She cocked her head and gave me an odd look for a second then shook it off. "I'm in one of the big mansions that were converted to apartments, up on the hill."
I giggled a little. Of course she is!
"Um? is it the gray one with the lions by the front door?"
Shocked again, her mouth hung open. "Okay, how did you know that?" She laughed as it dawned on her. "You live in the same one don't you?"
"Yup, small world again!"
I pulled the car into my parking space and, after locking up; we made our way to the front door. I scanned my electronic key and asked, "So, how do you like living here so far? It's a great old place isn't it?"
Jen slipped in as I held the door. "Yeah, I really love it. I think what caught my attention was the vaulted ceilings and the hardwood floors." She frowned and continued. "My only complaint is that the toiled keeps running. I've tried everything but I can't seem to fix it. I have to remember to call on that tomorrow as well as make arrangements to get my car fixed."
I gave her a 'cheddar' grin. "Well? I can't do a thing about your car but I can fix the toilet. That one's kind of tricky." Jen gave me a curious look so I explained. "I knew the girl that lived there before you." Very well and on more than one occasion? Heh, Heh. I'm such a dog!
She smiled, taking my explanation at face value. "Oh, ok. Do you mind taking a look at it tonight for me? I know it's kind of late?"
I nodded and stopped in front of my apartment door on the second floor. "Sure, just let me grab my pliers and drop off my softball bag.
Less than ten minutes later I was putting the lid back on her toilet tank, finished with the job. "See, I told you it was easy to fix. All I had to do was unscrew the bladder so it hung down a little further. That way when the water level rises, it will push harder on the little float to shut it off with more force." She looked pretty relieved and I could completely sympathize with her knowing how annoying a dripping faucet or a running toilet is.
She smiled at me as I tucked my pliers into my back pocket. "I don't understand much of what you just said but thanks for helping me out. You're a real life saver. You'll have to let me pay you back some day."
I fought bravely and managed to keep the lecherous grin off my face. Oh the ways that I could wish!
"It was no problem, really. I'm glad to help." I walked through her doorway into the hall and stopped when a thought hit me. "You know, instead of trying to find a ride tomorrow, why don't you walk to work with me? After all, we're working the same hours, right?"
She gave me a skeptical look with just one dark brow raised in an arch. "Walk?"
I grinned. "Well yeah, it's only six blocks. I walk to work every single morning. I found out a long time ago that, with the traffic and parking, it takes longer to drive in the morning."
The eyebrow stayed suspended. "Every single
morning? What do you do if it's raining?"
"Well, I've got a long yellow rain coat, an umbrella and a pair of galoshes. I end up looking like Paddington Bear but I make it to work nice and dry!"
She laughed and leaned on the edge of the door jam. "Well you've got the height right! Seriously though, that sounds great. The exercise will do me some good if your team is going to run us around the field any more this season! What time do you leave?"
"Well I don't have to be there very early or anything. It's about a ten minute walk and I usually leave at twenty minutes before eight." I winked at her. "That gives me time to punch in and do my mister Rogers routine." She gave me a confused look and I added, "You know, change my shoes and put on my sweater."
She laughed and swatted my arm again. "You're crazy! Ok, that sounds good. I'll meet you in the lobby down stairs then?"
"Yup, that's fine." I started down the first few steps while she was still standing in the doorway. I stopped and turned for a second adding, "By the way? you don't need the exercise, Vacuum!"
She laughed again. "Go on, get out of here! And don't be late tomorrow morning, I know where you live!"
Sleep hits me instantly when I slide between my sheets. I don't get a chance to analyze my thoughts of the day or my fascination with my new friend. I'll just have to wait and see. Tomorrow?
The next morning I felt invigorated, despite the late hour and alcohol the night before. It was strange how much I was looking forward to my walk to work with Jen. It was Friday and I was facing the day with equal parts excitement and dread. I was excited because it was Friday and ladies night. The dread is because it is my birthday. Oh well, at least I would get cake! When I got to the lobby, Jen was already waiting for me. She had a canvas bag with a strap that hung diagonally across her chest. She was dressed neatly in white scrubs, a jacket, and hiking boots. I raised my eyebrows and gave her a little grin at her un-matching choice of footwear.
She shrugged. "I keep my white tennis shoes in my locker at work; it's just easier that way. Are you ready to go?"
I zipped up my jacket because it was still a little chilly early in the morning and hefted the second strap of my backpack onto my other shoulder. "I am now!" I held the door for her on the way out. "Follow me, I know a short cut. I like to avoid the heavy traffic streets for a quieter walk."
She fell in beside me. "Makes sense?" She paused and I could see her look at me out of the corner of my eye. "? Can I ask you a question?"
I nodded and added, "Sure, anything you want."
"What is your name? Honestly, I haven't known you that long but I feel absolutely ridiculous calling you Cheddar, or even Littlebird like Robin."
I laughed so loud that I think I scared two birds and a squirrel. "My full name is?" I paused for dramatic effect. I know how stupid my name is. "? Anne Elizabeth Vandercheddan."
I glanced over to get a look at her face. Just as I figured, her mouth was opening and she was giving me an incredulous look. She stopped suddenly.
"You've got to be kidding?"
"'Fraid not!" I took pity on her. "If it makes you feel better, you can just call me Anne." I grinned conspiratorially. "Just don't let any of the girls at softball hear it, you'll get made fun of. I don't even think they remember what my real name is any more."
She laughed. "Ok, I'll keep it on the down-low."
At this point of the conversation, we were just arriving at the medical complex. I scanned my badge so we could enter one of the side doors. I slid the right strap off my shoulder again, once we were inside. "If you want, try Smithfield's Auto Body in the phonebook. They are a popular place with the insurance companies and they don't charge an outrageous amount to fix your car."
She smiled. "Hey thanks, I'll do that. We're still meeting here to walk home right?"
I returned her grin with one of my own. Who knew that walking with someone else would be so fun? "Of course! I may be a few minutes late but I'll be here."
"Ok, see you then."
Just like that, she turned on her heal and was heading down the hallway toward the physio wing.
Later that afternoon, I was having trouble arranging all my stuff. My coworkers had surprised me with a large cake and balloons and my mother sent me flowers. I didn't even have the option of leaving the cake in the refrigerator because office rules stated that anything left over the weekend was thrown out. Suddenly Jen appeared in the break room doorway.
She smiled shyly. "The receptionist told me you would be in here. Heh, you look like you could use some help." Her eyes narrowed when she saw what was written on the balloons and cake. With a swat to the arm she said, "You little brat! Why didn't you tell me it was your birthday?"
I shrugged my shoulders, mildly embarrassed. "I don't know; it's just not that big a deal I guess." I gave her my best puppy dog eyes and a sweet grin. "Forgive me?"
Laughing she took the cake out of my hands. "Yeah, I forgive you. But I am NOT carrying those!" She pointed to vase of flowers and the giant Big Bird and Roadrunner balloons floating near the ceiling.
I nodded, hiked on my backpack, and grabbed the rest of my loot. "Deal!"
By the time we got to the apartment building, I was carrying my own cake. Jen opened the door for me since my hands were full, and then held the cake while I checked my mail. "Thanks for helping me out, you didn't have to help carry my stuff."
She grinned at me. "I didn't mind at all. Besides, I know for a fact that you are nothing but a softy and would do the same for me in return. By the way, that was really sweet of you to give those kids your balloons."
I blushed. "Yeah, yeah, like I really had a choice. Besides, what was I going to do with them?" We both chuckled at the looks on the kids faces as they ran up to the fence. I have the misfortune, or maybe good luck today, to walk by a daycare center on the way home. I happen to know the woman who runs it. No, we didn't date, but we did hook up a few times. It was a long time ago and she's now happily living with someone. Blah, blah, blah? Anyway, she wished me a happy birthday and I told her she could have the balloons for the kids. End of story.
We had arrived at my door and I was itching to shower and change for my night out. I looked up into Jen's eyes, and noticed they were an amazing shade of blue. I must have zoned for a second because suddenly she was waving her hand in front of my face. "Hello, I said thanks for the walk."
I blushed, of course. "Heh, sorry about that; I just zoned out for a second. Yeah, any time. As a matter of fact, even when you get your car fixed, you are more than welcome to keep walking with me to work."
She gave me a genuine smile in return. "I may just take you up on that offer, thanks."
I was just stepping through my door way when I heard her call my name. I turned around and she was halfway up the next flight of stairs. "Yeah?"
She gave me a curious look. "How old?"
Recognizing the slight interest she had been displaying since we first met, I gave her a Cheddar grin. "Thirty-four."
Both dark eyebrows went up. "Really? I thought you were younger than me."
When I gave her a curious look in return she answered, "Thirty."
I chuckled and shook my head. "And not a day less than beautiful. See yah later darlin'." I could only imagine her blush as I stepped into my apartment and shut the door. I had things to do and people to see. Or maybe? it was the other way around. The night was young, and a girl can never tell.
The evening started when I met with my friend David and his new boyfriend, Brodi at a little restaurant in Eastown. After that I rode with them to another bar to shoot some pool before walking next door for ladies night. The boys like to go to Kipper's for ladies night because they can dance their asses off without getting harassed by the other guys for a quick hook up. I sometimes laugh at that because I go to Kipper's to dance my ass off and to look for a quick hook up! It was later that night when I thought I caught a glimpse of Jen and Robin out on the dance floor. I was up on one of the boxes with the dancers at the time. But the grinding in front and in back of me soon put it out of my mind.
I didn't go home alone, as a matter of fact, I didn't go home at all. I met this cute chick named Sandy and we went back to her apartment. She had the nicest smile and the best collection of toys. Oh yeah, we had a lot of fun. I was still sore as I was walking up to the front door of my apartment building the next morning. I had a cup of coffee and a box of bagels from the bakery down the street. I was starving and had to pee like crazy. I was still trying to balance the box and coffee while reaching into my back pocket for my electronic key-card when Jen jogged up.
"Need some help neighbor?"
I groaned. "God yes! I think I'm going to pee my pants if I wait much longer." She scanned the door and opened it for me. I burst through it, took one look at the winding staircase then turned right back and deposited my items in Jen's surprised hands. I yelled over my shoulder as I took the steps two at a time. "I'll be right back for those!"
After I finished my business, I walked out of my apartment and looked down into the lobby from the stairway. Because they wind in a circle, straight up the middle of the building, I could see she wasn't down there. So I headed up to her apartment, figuring that's were she went with my breakfast. Sheepishly, I knocked on her door.
When she answered it and let me in she was happily munching away on one of my bagels. The icing on the cake was when she took a sip out of my coffee cup. "Mmm? how did you know I liked Hazelnut with cream and sugar?"
I sighed and my shoulders slumped in defeat. So much for getting any coffee this morning. "Just a lucky guess."
She laughed and set the half-eaten bagel on a paper plate. "Poor you! Good morning Anne, have a seat and your breakfast will be served." She then placed another paper plate on the table next to the cream cheese tub. On the plate was a perfectly toasted bagel.
As I sat down and started fixing my bagel she poured a cup of coffee in a large mug, added cream and sugar and set it down in front of me. I looked at her then scowled down into, what was probably, an inferior blend. Cautiously, I took a sip and smiled in surprise. "Hey, this is the same stuff!" I took another sip and groaned when the flavor hit my taste buds. Oh yeah, come to mama?
She just laughed and sat down in the chair across from me to finish her own bagel. "See, I told you I liked that kind."
"Yeah, I guess you did. Thanks again for holding breakfast while I took care of my business."
She smiled. "No problem at all; thank you
for buying breakfast." My eyes were drawn, momentarily, to her tongue as she licked the last bit of cream cheese off her fingertips.
Oh, to be those fingers?
I was snapped from my musings by her question.
"So, did you have fun at Kipper's last night?"
I put down my bagel and pointed an accusing finger and grinned at her. "I thought that was you and Robin last night! Why didn't you come over and say hi?"
She gave me an amused look. "Well, you were pretty busy at the time and we left shortly after that."
I chuckled and explained. "Oh, are you talking about Suzy and Sheila, the box dancers? They're good girls. They're both straight and were just looking to liven up their night so they brought me up to play around a little bit. It gets the other women in the bar fired up which makes for better tips later." I shrugged my shoulders. "Besides, they know me and know its safe because I won't take anything they do too seriously."
She gave me a wry smile. Subtly pointing to her own neck, she said "Well you must have taken someone seriously last night."
Realization of what she was saying hit me and my hand immediately went to my neck, like I could actually find the offending mark by touch alone. "Aww, shit! No she didn't!"
By now, she was outright smirking and nodding her head. "Oh yes she did!" She winked and added, "So, was she any good?"
I immediately turned bright red and sputtered, "Bu? I? I can't talk to you about that!"
"Well, why not?"
Something told me that she didn't really want to know, that she wasn't the kind of person who would normally ask questions like that. "Well for starters, I don't kiss and tell! Second, I don't know you well enough to talk about other women with. And third?" I stopped, not really sure what the third reason was.
She looked at me seriously. Her blue eyes were making me a little uncomfortable. "What's the third reason?"
"I? uh, I don't really know. I just can't talk about that kind of stuff with you." I stood and took my coffee over to the sink, ending the conversation abruptly. "Thanks for the coffee and the company but I really have to go." She looked doubtful, and admittedly it did sound like an excuse to leave. "Seriously, I have to pick up my grandma from the nursing home, and we're spending the day at my parent's house for my birthday."
She gave me an unreadable smile and walked me to the door. "That's alright and thanks for breakfast." Once the door was opened she gave me a hug goodbye. "Happy birthday and I hope you have fun today."
"Thanks, you too." I smiled one last time and made my way back down the stairs. That was weird, what is wrong with me?
What was even weirder is that Robin called me out of the blue on Sunday. I'm sure it had something to do with Jen because she kept skirting around the subject. Finally I couldn't take it any more. "Just spit it out Robin; why are you really calling? I know it's not to see if I can give Jen a ride to the next game because she would just ask me herself."
I heard her sigh over the phone before she answered me. "Littlebird, Jen is my favorite cousin and I really don't want to see her get hurt."
It was one of those comments that later, witnesses would say, 'Left field, I swear it just came out of left field.' I was confused, and I had to make sure she knew it. "What the hell are you talking about? Jen's a good girl, I like her. What would I do to ever hurt her, huh?" I think I had a small clue where she was going but I thought she trusted me better than that.
"Anne?" Uh oh, she really is serious if she's using my real name.
"Come on Robin, I thought you knew me better than that."
At this point I really wished I could see her face. "I just don't want you to play around with her like you do all the other girls. Her last girlfriend was a real shit. She was lying, cheating, and verbally abusive. That's the reason I talked her into starting fresh and moving down here."
I ran my right hand through my hair while holding the phone with the other. "Robin?" I paused, trying to sort out what I wanted to say. "You don't have to worry about that from me. I have a line that I draw between my friends and anything else, you know that. I like Jen a lot and even after only a few days, I consider her a friend."
She sighed again. "Ok, I trust you Littlebird. You can't blame me for being worried though. I know you better than a lot of people, and I also know that she's exactly your type."
I laughed, "Oh yeah, she's definitely hot?" I thought I heard a little growl come from over the phone. "? but she's also my friend and you know my rule is not to date friends. That just causes too many problems later on."
She chuckled over the phone, completely aware of the usual drama involved with tight circles of friends when two end up dating then breaking up. "Oh yeah, I know all about it. I'm just saying to be careful, Ched. She's definitely interested, and I wanted to give you a heads up."
I grinned, even though no one else could see it. "Really, did she tell you that?"
"God you're incorrigible! No she didn't come right out and say it but she did ask around a hundred questions about you. Don't worry; I tried to warn her off already."
I immediately felt a little hurt and bitter at her comment. "Gee thanks, make sure you tell her I rob little old ladies and eat babies too. Make sure she stays away from the monster in 3-A."
Robin gave me attitude right back. "Damn it Anne, it wasn't like that and you know it! I was looking out for her and you! I just wanted to make sure she knew the score, so that you wouldn't have to do the uncomfortable let down that always comes at the end."
I rolled my eyes. "Ok, stop! I've got it already; you don't have to worry about me. Hands off the baby chick; I'll protect her like she was my own egg."
Robin laughed. "You're a nut! But thanks Anne, I was just worried, you know? After all, I've seen you go through half the eligible girls back in college and I know you haven't slowed down much since then. You can't blame me for being a little worried."
I sighed, a little sad at her words but knowing they were true none the less. "Yeah, I don't blame you for trying to look out for her. She really is a great girl. I'll keep an eye on her, who knows maybe we can set her up with someone nice."
"Littlebird? you are nice and don't let anyone tell you different. As a matter of fact, you are one of the nicest people I know. You're just not available like that, not in the monogamous way she needs right now."
"Yeah, I hear you there. Message received, now let me go wench, I need to get in the shower!"
She laughed. "Ok then, I'll see you Thursday?"
It was an odd conversation and I had to sit for a minute to digest everything that was said. I don't think I've ever had anyone warn me away from someone else before. It's not a very nice feeling, especially when it's coming from a friend. Not that I blame her, of course. If Jen were my cousin, I'd want to protect her too. Immediately her smile and bright blue eyes popped into my head. Yeah, nothing is going to happen to you on my watch Miss Brower!
Jen's car was finished by Tuesday afternoon; it was just a bad starter. So after walking home I gave her a ride down to the auto body shop so she could pick it up. She offered to buy me dinner for all the help I gave her but I had to decline.
"Sorry Jen, maybe another time. I've got soccer tonight. I've got to get home so I can get ready for my game."
She laughed and poked me in the side. "God woman, it's no wonder you're such a little thing. All you do is run around!"
I gave her a sheepish grin right before I hugged her goodbye. "Yeah? well? it keeps me busy! See yah later darlin'!"
Thursday rolled around again and Jen rode with me to her game. Luckily, our teams were still playing at the same time, just on adjoining fields. My team had a blast with our second win and her team had their first win so everyone was happy. Well, mostly happy. Jen rode with Robin to celebrate with her own team. I would never admit it to anyone, but I kind of missed her. It was an odd feeling, to be sure.
This was the way things continued for the next few weeks. Jen walked to work with me most days, if she didn't have any errands to run later in the day. Once in a while she would ride with me to games, if our game times matched. My next strange conversation actually happened at Milligan's after our first loss. It was a close game, but a still a loss and it kind of stung. After a few beers, I found myself sitting next to Vicky at the end of the table. She tossed a peanut at me to get my attention.
I raised a fair eyebrow at her and tossed it back. "What?"
She gave me a little grin. "So Ched, have you seen anymore of that sexy Jen Brower?"
Thinking about my new friend and neighbor always brought a silly smile to my face. "Well yeah, I see her just about every day. Why?"
Vicky's eyes went wide open as she drew out her reply. "Reeeaaalllly?"
I was slightly confused by her strange behavior. "Why, is that a problem?"
She gave me a sly smile. "Soooo, you been seeing her in the morning or in the afternoon, Littlebird?"
Apparently I can catch a softball but I can't catch a clue because I still had no idea what she was talking about. "Umm? well actually, most of the time I see her in the morning and
afternoon." I just barely had time to dodge the sip of beer that she spit out after I finished talking.
"Damn girl! I never thought I'd see the day someone had you pinned down. Morning and night, shit you're a lucky dog with that one!" She slapped the table and started laughing.
And there it was; I suddenly found myself figuratively standing in the grass and miraculously holding the white, stitched, ball. "Uh? Vicky? we're not an item." That got her attention so I continued. Unfortunately, by this time, we had acquired an audience of our fellow teammates who were diligently listening. "We're neighbors you nosy hound. And we happen to work in the same building so we usually walk to work together." I glanced down the table to make sure everyone heard. After all, I have a reputation to uphold. Not to mention, I didn't want it to get back to Robin that there was something going on between Jen and I when there really wasn't. She'd kick my ass. Once everyone but Vicky had turned back to what they were doing she leaned toward me and apologized.
"Hey, sorry 'bird. I just thought? you know."
I smiled again then added a little shyly. "It's ok; we have become pretty good friends over the last few weeks, who knew huh? I just don't want people to assume there is anything going on between us; she definitely doesn't need her name romantically linked to mine in this community. She's really a great person, Vic."
She cracked another peanut. "Yeah, she seemed pretty nice when she was here." She popped it in her mouth and ate it then gave me a serious look. "But let me tell you this kiddo, there is quite a long list of girls that would give their favorite ball glove to have their names romantically linked to yours. If anything, she'd have to deal with a bunch of jealous bitches."
I blushed. "Well, yeah, I guess? I just don't want to deal with the hassle you know." I'd known Vicky for a long time so I sighed and tried to put my reasoning into words. "It's just? I know how I feel, and I don't want anyone to get hurt because I don't feel the same way when they start to get serious. I'm just not interested in serious and even when I'm up front about it, women don't believe me. It's seems like most of them really believe in all that U-Haul crap. I only seem to hurt the girls I've went out with in the past just because they expected more than I could give.
She gave me an understanding smile. "I hear yah there; I got tired of all the dating drama a long time ago."
I turned the subject. "So speaking of you? anyone you're interested in?"
She gave me a sly look. "Oh, maybe? maybe not."
I tossed a shell at her. "You dog! Who is it?"
She wiggled her index finger back and forth at me. "Uh, uh, uh, I'm not telling. I don't want to jinx it before it has gone anywhere."
I relented. "Ok, but don't think this conversation is over. I'm going to want to know later if things work out, you hear?"
She laughed out loud and drained the rest of her beer. "Right back at you, babe! You better keep me posted too. Now I've got to get out of here before my car turns into a pumpkin."
I snorted her joke, thinking about the burnt orange monstrosity she drove. "I think it's too late for that. But hold on and I'll walk you out, I'm ready to leave too." After paying our bill and saying goodbyes, we walked out. I gave her a hug and watched her drive away before getting into my own car and driving down the street to my apartment. Half-way home I was already cursing her name and I'm sure she knew it. I'm as curious as a cat in a yarn store and I knew it was going to eat me alive trying to figure out who she was interested in.
The next morning, we spent the entire walk to work recapping out games for each other. She sympathized with our loss, and I congratulated her on their win. I thought for a second, right before we arrived at work. "You know, this means our teams are tied for first place." I wiggled my eyebrows up and down at her. "Are yah scared yet?"
She just laughed and scanned her badge to open the door. "Yeah right! Save all that bravado for the field Vandercheddan, you're going to need it!"
That little snot, she just walked off with a smirk and a wave. I chuckled to myself as I headed for my office. We'll see who comes out on top the next time we play each other!
That afternoon on the walk home we were laughing at something one of her patients had done. Suddenly she changed the subject. "So, you have any plans tonight?"
I just looked up at her and gave a Cheddar grin. She laughed, "Let me guess? it's ladies night again, right?"
"Yes ma'am. I plan on spending the evening getting acquainted with a little pool, a little beer, and a little dancing."
She laughed at the wistful look on my face. "Yeah, among other things I'm sure." Shaking her head at my sheepish look, she continued. "I'm glad Robin is finally available, I think we're going to hit Kipper's tonight too."
I perked up, though hopefully it wasn't too noticeable. "Really?" I gave her a little teasing poke in the ribs as we made our way up the winding stairs in our building. "You better come over and say hi to me when you get there."
She poked me back as I was trying to get the key in my door. "Whatever! I'm sure you'll be busy by the time we get there. You usually have enough girls floating around you that you probably won't even notice us."
I stopped and turned back toward her when I got my door open. I gave her an honest smile. "But darlin', none of those other girls will be you! So you better come over and say hi to me when you get in. Ok?"
She smiled back and got an unreadable look on her face. "Alright, but you have to promise me one thing."
She gave me a devious smirk. "I want one dance with you. And you better not be too tired either, because I can promise you're going to have a hard time keeping up with me!"
Even though her flirting seriously threw me for a loop, I valiantly tried not to show it. I leaned towards her, so close we were practically breathing the same air. I could see the look in her stormy blue eyes and I know she was feeling at least some of what was going through me. I lightly tapped her nose with my finger to cut some of the tension. "It's a deal. Oh, by the way, I think I can handle anything you dish out Miss Brower, so bring it on!" I winked at her and backed away through my door. "See you tonight Jen."
I don't know why, but I was nervous getting ready to go out that night. I even lingered in the shower, which is something I never do. And I took a long time to pick out my outfit; finally settling on a pair of low rise button fly jeans, a white tank top and a brown leather belt with a cool buckle I picked up in Texas the year before. I topped the outfit off with a pair of sandals. It was going to be a hot night, I could tell. I walked into the club a little later than normal; the DJ was already spinning the good stuff. After paying my cover and hugging Shelly, who was working the door, I wandered over to the bar for a drink. I turned around to face the dance floor while I was waiting in line, just to see who was already here. I exchanged nods with a few people I knew but truthfully there was only one person I was looking for. Not seeing her before it was my turn to order, I turned back around to pay for my drink. It was only when I saw Robin over at the pool tables that I knew for sure Jen was there. I was just taking a swig of my beer and scanning the dance floor again when I finally saw the tall brunette. I almost choked at the sight of her sensuous moves up on one of the dance boxes. More than a few women were checking out her jean clad ass and her baby doll t-shirt that was tight in all the right places. After seeing her I was torn. I didn't know whether or not to turn around right then and leave the bar, or go join her on the box. My choice was made for me when she opened her eyes and saw me. She gave me a sexy smile and beckoned with a single finger, mouthing 'come here'. I had a very bad feeling about the night, I knew that either Robin was going to kill me or the lovely Miss Jen Brower was. The first idea sucked but, oh what a way to go for the second. Needing the extra courage, I finished chugging the rest of my beer and set the empty bottle on a ledge. The DJ was just mixing into a sexy, grinding beat as I hopped up next to her. A few girls made room for me on the crowded cluster of dance boxes but I still found myself pressed up against my friend and neighbor. I tried to control my heartbeat as I smiled up at her. "Hi."
She looked down at me and smiled back. "Hi."
I raised my eyebrow at her, sensing she was just as affected as I was. "So, you ready for that dance?"
She just stared at me for a second and licked her bottom lip before answering. "Oh yeah!"
We started out slow, pressed together. Both hands were on each other's hips. Once we found the rhythm together, it was fan-fucking-tastic. I think we took dirty dancing to another level. After a few minutes the other girl on the tall box with us hopped down, leaving the entire space to ourselves. At one point Jen turned around and was grinding her ass into me. We were facing the mirror on the back wall and I could see the paleness of her eyes in the flashing lights. It was one of the hottest things I had ever done, but I knew I was crossing a line. We danced to three songs before we had to take a break. Both of us were thirsty and had sweat soaking our shirts. I offered to buy her a drink while she went to the bathroom. It was while I was waiting in line that Robin finally caught up to me. I could tell by the look in her eyes that she wasn't happy.
"What in the hell do you think you're doing up there?" She pointing toward the dance boxes, as if I didn't know exactly where 'there' was.
I ordered my drinks and paid for them before answering. "Well, I think I was dancing."
It was only because I was feeling slightly guilty that I let her drag me into a corner and chew me out. I finally had to interrupt her just to get her to stop. "Look! I know I crossed the line ok? Is that what you wanted to hear?" I sighed and set our beers down. "Listen, it was just supposed to be a dance, I don't know what happened. But I'm going to tell you right now; it's really hard to say no to that woman when she wants something."
Robin reached out and squeezed my arm. "I know Littlebird. And all she's been talking about for weeks is you. You see why I'm just a little bit worried here?"
I gave her a look, my eyes pleading her to understand. "Jesus, it's not like she doesn't know the score already. She's seen the different women that have come home with me. Hell, she knows I don't come home at all, at least once every other week. How much more honest can I get?"
Robin shook her head then picked up my beer and stole a swig. "I don't know; I just don't want to see either one of you get hurt."
I gave her a sad smile. "Yeah, and I really don't want to hurt her and I think that's where this is going." I mentally gave myself a shake then made a quick decision. "You know what, I think I better leave. Keep my beer and give Jen hers when she comes out of the bathroom. Tell her I had fun dancing but had to leave, OK?"
Robin gave me an unreadable look. "Are you sure?"
Once I made up my mind, I was fidgety. I wanted to be gone by the time she came out of the bathroom. "Yeah, it's for the best. I'll see you around Robin."
And though it was one of the hardest things I've ever done, I left. I knew she was going to be pissed at me and probably hurt, but it really was the best thing I could do. I walked to a small bar a few blocks away. It had been around practically forever, and though it was mostly older gay men I always had a good time there. I walked in and found a booth by the jukebox. Since no one had anything playing I loaded it up with money and went to town. I know what this crowd likes, and luckily I like just about everything. While I sat there listening, I drank chocolate covered cherry martinis and brooded. A little while later my friend Jonathan came in and we proceeded to get trashed and play darts until close. Since he was drunker than I was, I walked him home. Unfortunately he lives in the opposite direction from me so I didn't get home myself until close to three in the morning. The next day I slept in, nursing a slight hangover and still feeling sorry for myself. When I finally did get up, I only made it as far as showering and putting on some boxers and a t-shirt. I made myself a sandwich and watched a Tevo'd episode of South Park. It was only when I saw that her car was gone from the parking lot that I got brave enough to go check my mail. Yes, I was avoiding Jen. My plan was shot to hell when she walked in the door just as I was heading back up the stairs. I stared at her like a deer caught in the headlights of an oncoming car. I didn't know what to say to her, I didn't even know what exactly I was feeling. The spell was broken when she walked up to me, still standing on the bottom step.
I saw a hurt look flash across her face before she gave me a once over. "I see you're still all in one piece. You took off so fast from the bar that I thought maybe there was something wrong. That or maybe you got a better offer from someone else." She gave me a little smile that I don't think she meant and added, "Oh yeah, and thanks for the drink."
I winced at each comment. I deserved every one but I was a little pissed that Robin didn't bother to tell her anything. She didn't do me any favors, that's for sure. I knew at this very moment I could either lie to her, or just avoid the entire conversation. Those were my only two options because I sure as hell wasn't ready for the third. I went with honesty and avoidance, or at least I tried to. "I didn't leave with anyone else, I just left. I'm sorry Jen."
She stood there looking at me, obviously deciding what to say. One of our other neighbors came in the door and we backed away from each other to give her room to pass. When she was gone Jen looked back up at me and I was lost in her blue eyes. I almost groaned aloud at her next words. "Annie, we need to talk."
I just nodded my head in acceptance, conceding defeat. I tried to lighten it up a little with and joke. "Ok, my place or yours?"
She gave me a little smile acknowledging the attempt but otherwise remained serious. "We'll go wherever you feel more comfortable."
I lead her into my apartment; she followed and shut the door quietly behind her. We sat on the couch facing each other from opposite ends, like we've done many times before since we became friends. She began the conversation. "Why do you keep running away from me?"
I tried to deny it. "I'm not?" The look on her face stopped me cold and I sighed.
She finally chose the path that I wasn't yet brave enough, or honest enough, to follow. "I'm not going to beat around the bush. I like you, and I'm pretty sure that we've become good friends. I'm also pretty sure that you like me too?" She made the last part into a question and when I nodded she continued. "But I sense that you've been keeping me at arms length and I want to know if that's really what you want or if Robin has said something to make you stay away from me."
I looked away from her piercing blue eyes, not able to handle the stark truth staring back at me. Finally I admitted, "It's a little bit of both, and for the same reason."
"Why?" She wasn't going to let me off easy.
I finally looked back at her. "Jen, you know how I am. Why do you even need to ask me that?" I looked down at my clenched hands and said quietly, "I just don't want to hurt you."
She growled a little under her breath. "That has to be one of the lamest excuses I've ever heard! First of all, I'm an adult and I can make my own choices as to what is best for me. Second, it sounds more like you're protecting yourself than me." She gave me an unsettling look. "Tell me Anne, are you more afraid of hurting me, or are you afraid putting yourself out there and not having your feelings returned. Huh?"
I stood from the couch in anger, uncomfortable with the questions directed at me and lashing out. "Of course I'm afraid of hurting you! How can you even ask me that?" Energy and anger spent, almost instantly, I sat back on the couch a little closer to her. I whispered, "I'm afraid I can't give you what you want."
In a low voice she leaned toward me and asked, "Do you really know what I want?"
Fearfully, I could only shake my head 'no'. I sat frozen as she got closer still and ran a silky fingertip across my bottom lip. I could feel my heart rate pick up as I watched her with hooded eyes. Then before I could say or do anything else, she kissed me. It wasn't tentative in the least, it was hard and hungry. It was the kind of kiss that steals your breath away and makes your insides throb. We broke apart gasping for air only to find her hands under my shirt and my hands tangled in her hair. "Jesus!" I took a shaky breath and attempted to disentangle myself but she clearly wasn't finished. I'm not sure how long we were making out on my couch but I was going crazy. She was on top of me and the thigh between my legs had me on the verge of exploding.
She stopped all the sudden and leaned close to my ear. "Take me to bed." I was going to protest and try to slow things down until she raked her tongue up my neck and gently took my earlobe between her teeth. My undoing was when she whispered, "Please." I could only nod my head and wait for her to get up.
She stopped to use the rest room and I brought us each a glass of ice water. I was more than a little nervous by the time we both ended up in front of my bed. We slowly undressed each other, kissing and sucking different body parts as we went. At one point I tasted the inside of her belly button, tugging the cute little ring with my teeth. When she gasped I had to squeeze my thighs together to slow myself down. Little spots were dancing in front of my eyes and I paused to bury my face against the baby soft skin of her stomach. I could feel her shudder as she kept a maddening grip on my hair. When I was able to continue I took a deep breath to calm myself but that was also a bad idea. The unmistakable scent of her arousal hit me instantly and I found myself rushing to get her string bikinis off. I was going to taste her then and there, while kneeling on the carpet but she gently grabbed my wrists and tugged me to stand. She helped me finish undressing and we slowly climbed onto the bed, kissing and caressing.
When I finally settled myself on top of her I opened my eyes. I rose slightly and looked down at her. I couldn't help the smile and open admiration I directed her way. "Darlin', you are absolutely beautiful."
In a quick move she rolled us until she was on top. She gave me a look that said more than words ever could. When I attempted to gently stroke the nipples that were hanging above me, she shook her head no. She grabbed my hands and held them above my head. That single move made me hot, but the gentle stroking of her body against mine had me burning up. She moaned as I groaned out, "Oh god!"
Our pace had started to pick up even faster when suddenly she leaned over and took one of my hyper-sensitive nipples into her mouth. The feel of her tongue and teeth had me going off like a rocket. "Aahhh!" She kept riding me, and by the time she was ready to come I was going off again. She collapsed next to me and we both lay there panting. My sex was still twitching with the aftershocks. I closed my eyes and tried to slow my breathing. When I finally looked at her again, I was met with her gentle blue gaze. I laughed quietly. "Good god woman, are you trying to kill me?"
Jen propped herself up on one elbow and slowly traced a fingertip across my breast and around the neglected nipple. She gave me a sexy grin. "I would have never guessed you were so sensitive, but I think I'm going to have some fun with it." I watched her mouth move closer to the object in question and I could feel my heart rate start to pick up again.
When she closed her lips around the hard bud I could only use my hands to hold her head against me. I groaned and changed direction. I gently pulled her head away. "Oh no you don't sweetheart, it's my turn now." I lifted her up so I could kiss her, thoroughly exploring her mouth with my tongue. When she was panting as hard as I was, I slowly pushed her over on to her back. I started at her neck, while my hands were busy everywhere else. By the time I was sucking on her nipples, she was thrusting her center into my stomach. I knew what she wanted, and I was going to give it to her. I looked up at her face one last time after I positioned myself between her legs. She gave me a pleading look so I winked at her and obliged. The first taste was oh so sweet and she just about threw me off the bed with her reaction. However, it wasn't the nearly continuous groaning that had me thrusting my own center into the bed. It was the amount of wetness that greeted my fingers upon exploration. I circled her nub a few times before moving on to taste the source of her treasure. It was both tangy and sweet and the sound of her moaning had me wanting her to come more than anything else in the world. I pulled away and she whimpered. "Slow down there, not yet baby." When I looked up again, blue eyes were filled with insane arousal and more than a little desperation. That was the look that made me swipe my tongue from the back all the way up past her clit. On the second pass with the flat of my tongue, I buried two fingers into her soaked entrance. She rode me, making noises I don't think I've ever heard before. I finally took pity on her and started circling with my tongue slowly. I knew she was close when I felt her legs start to tremble. It was in that instant that I took her entire nub in to my mouth and started lashing it with my tongue and sucking gently. She crashed hard and with a yell that, I'm sure, left the neighbors wondering about our no pets policy. I just kept firm pressure on her clit and let her ride me as far as she wanted to go. Each contraction squeezing my fingers made my own clit throb. I don't think I've ever been so close to coming just from getting someone else off before. It was absolutely intoxicating. When she was finally still, I gently pulled my tongue away. I attempted to remove my fingers but she reached down and held them in place with her own hand. Shuddering she said, "Wait, please."
I relaxed and tried to ignore my own pulsing sex. My Cheddar grin was hidden in the soft skin of her thigh. A few minutes later I looked up at her and got a satiated smile in return. "Ready darlin'?" She just nodded and I slowly pulled my fingers free, getting more shudders in response. Sheepishly I whispered, "sorry" before crawling up the bed to lie next to her.
I was still throbbing and tense but when our eyes met? I don't know. Something just clicked in that instant. She gently cupped my cheek and leaned over to give me a deep, probing kiss. When she pulled back she ran pink tongue over her lips, tasting herself, I'm sure. "Thanks." She must have seen something in my eyes, or maybe she cold feel my body trembling from arousal, because she gave me a very naughty look. "I hope you're ready because I'm not going to let you off so easy."
I groaned and arched into her and she rolled on top of me, putting her weight squarely against my soaking wet center. Chuckling, she ran her hands across my chest before squeezing both my nipples at the same time. She began to thrust into me with the exact same rhythm that she was squeezing. At this point I was panting, barely able to catch my breath. "Oh god, oh god, oh god?" I trailed off as she suddenly released my nipples with a final tug and moved lower. She gently blew across my trimmed sex and I trembled. "Jen?" I called her name to get her attention. When she looked up I whispered, "I won't last long."
I knew I was in trouble when she got that evil little glint in her eyes. I watched as she reached out with the tip of her tongue and lightly touched it to the end of my clit. "We'll see."
I immediately thrust into her as far as I could but she was fast. Before I could even get anywhere she was urging me to turn over. Breathless and shaky I complied. When she had me on all fours she leaned her sex into my ass. I groaned but didn't start shaking until she started running her hands up and down my back and thrusting into me. Suddenly the pressure was gone and I could sense that she was right behind me. I swear my head just about flew off with the first touch of her tongue. Though I wasn't normally one to swear, I couldn't help the things that were coming out of my mouth. "Oh fuck! Goddamn it that feels so good?" When she pulled her tongue away I was reduced to pleading. "Oh god, just let me cum, please?" I was so close but she refused to touch me where I needed it the most. All I could do was bury my face in the pillow and clench the sheets in my fists. I think maybe I started to cry when she began rubbing my tight ring with her thumb as she nibbled and bit both my ass cheeks. I could feel her spreading my wetness, massaging it in with little maddening circles of pressure. By the time she turned me back over my entire body was twitching and I knew what was coming next. With slow licks to my clit, she worked the middle finger of her left hand into my back door. I know it was her left hand because she had two fingers from her right hand already filling the other hole. When she had worked her way completely in and both hands were moving in rhythm with each, other she began attacking my clit in earnest. I closed my eyes when the little white lights in my vision started but it didn't help. I was moaning and pumping, my body working its way into overload. When it happened, it was a complete surprise. Never in a million years have I ever felt anything so incredible. As a matter of fact, I think I went blind. Actually, I must have passed out because when I came to, she was coming back from the bathroom. I couldn't move, only look at her with a stupid grin on my face.
She smiled at me. "Was that OK?"
I looked at her in disbelief then grunted and mumbled some gibberish. Apparently my brain wasn't working yet either. Finally I stopped talking as I felt another aftershock roll through me. She lay down next to me and gently ran her fingers through my hair. She smelled like lavender hand soap and just a little bit like sex. A few minutes later I got my first words out.
"Jesus, you are trying to kill me!"
She laughed. "How do you feel?"
I laughed with her. "Like a limp noodle and fan-fucking-tastic!" I looked over at the clock. It was late afternoon; we had been going for a few hours. She gave me a lazy, half-lidded look and I said, "Nap time?"
She nodded and smiled at me before reaching down and pulling the sheet up over our naked bodies. Snuggling close, she whispered "Nap time".
A few hours later I woke up starving. She must have been awake too because she giggled when my stomach growled. We hauled ourselves out of bed then turned on the TV and ordered delivery Chinese. It was a strange feeling sitting there, laughing and sharing food like best friends. It had been a long time since I'd experienced that with someone I'd been so intimate with. It was nice, and at the same time a little strange. I felt a little scared and lost and it must have shown on my face because she stopped mid bite.
I sat my carton on the coffee table and looked at her seriously. "Where to do we go from here?"
She put her own carton down and moved closer to me. Giving me a direct look she said, "Well that depends on what you want." She gave me a gentle smile and caressed the palm of my hand with her fingertips, the sensation making me shiver a little. "What do you want, Annie?"
I looked into her beautiful blue eyes and squeezed her hand gently in mine. "I treasure our friendship, you know that?" When she nodded I continued. "But, I really like this too." I leaned over and kissed her gently, savoring the flavor of Mongolian beef on her lips. I looked down, a little ashamed of my next admission and trying to hide the tears that were gathering in my eyes. "I'm just not sure what I can offer you in the way of promises. And darlin', I? I don't want to let you down or hurt you."
She moved closer and took me into her arms, giving me a needed hug. "Shh, it's ok." She kissed me then pulled back to look at my face. "Let's make a deal right now, ok?" I nodded and waited for her to continue. "I need this to be just us, no fooling around. If for any reason you don't think you can do it any more, I need to know." She put her finger over my lips when I started to protest. "No, I'm a big girl. I'll worry about what I can handle and what I can't. You can't live your life worrying about what is going to cause pain, sometimes you just have to take that leap and hope you have a parachute."
I smiled at her bravery. "Ok, you have a deal." Chinese food forgotten, we sealed it with a kiss and much more.
Things progressed slowly for the next two weeks. We had stayed at each others places a few more times but we were purposely trying to take things easy. I hadn't told anyone about my new relationship status yet. It really hadn't come up until the next ladies night rolled around at Kipper's.
We were walking to work that Friday morning when I brought it up. "Hey."
She looked over at me curiously. "Yeah?"
I gave her a Cheddar grin. "Would you like to go out with me tonight?"
She gave me a serious look while we were walking. "Are you sure?"
I actually could feel my heart pound, worried she might say no. "Well yeah, of course I'm sure!" I reached over and took her hand to tug her to a stop. "I ready to kick up my feet on the dance floor and there is NO ONE I'd rather dance with than you."
She smiled and after quickly looking around, gave me a kiss on the lips. "Thank you, and the feeling is mutual." After we started walking again she said, "How about I make us some dinner before we go out? I think I have the stuff to make spaghetti, how does that sound?"
I was immediately hungry thinking about it and I had already eaten breakfast. If there is one thing I have learned for sure since we became friends, it's that Jen is a great cook. I licked my lips and gave her a lecherous look. "Oh yeah, I can't wait to taste your sauce!"
She laughed and gave me a little shove. "Oh stop it! Come up about seven, and dinner will be on the table. Sound good?"
I gave her a wink as we approached the entryway into the medical complex. "Sounds perfect darlin', it's a date."
Dinner that night was fantastic and later, at the bar, I was ready to dance it off. One of my favorite songs was playing when we got there so I gave Jen a pleading look. She smiled and took my hand, leading us onto the dance floor. One of the things I love about her is that not only does she know how to dance, she loves to do it as much as I. Did I just say love??
It's funny but even though I could see a few girls trying to make eye contact with me, there was only one person who held my attention. She was sexier than ten women put together and it was all I could do not to drag her out of the bar every time we finished a dance together. I'm sure my attention to Jen had a few tongues wagging but I didn't care at all. Let them talk; it saves me the trouble of spreading it around myself. Later that night, lying in Jen's bed, I think I saw fireworks. I don't know what it is but each time we make love, I feel that much closer to her. Sometimes I want to cry, it's so overwhelming. The scary thing is? I think she feels the same way.
The following weeks of summer passed much the same way. We continued dating exclusively, going out to dinner, dancing, movies, and even the occasional games of Frisbee golf. I finally introduced Jen to David and Brodi. Yes, he was still dating Brodi, which was a new record for him. We went to dinner at this little Mexican place on the south side of town. They all got along great and later David pulled me aside and told me how happy he was. It was a good feeling.
We were coming up to our last week of softball and as predicted, Milligan's Pub was slotted to play Sudsations for first place. I was nervous, my girls had been doing well all season, but so had the other team. Jen and I rode together to the ball game, earning a strange look from Robin when we came walking up together. I hadn't spoken with her since I left the bar over a month ago. When she gave me a questioning look, I just smiled shyly and shrugged my shoulders. She nodded and gave me a big grin. Jen was oblivious to the entire exchange, luckily.
She walked me into my dugout, and in the privacy of the wood shelter gave me a kiss that left me weak in the knees. With one last peck to the lips she said "Good luck!" then walked out across the infield to her own dugout. I was busy watching her tight black pants saunter away when the girls started in on me.
The blush worked its way up my neck and across my cheeks amidst cat calls and whistles. I took a deep breath and turned around, unable to hide the silly grin on my face. I laughed. "Oh knock it off! You've already met my girlfriend Jen." Of course after they got over the shock of my statement, they just hooted louder. I just grabbed my glove and trotted onto the field to warm up my arm. I called over my shoulder as I went, "I hope you ladies plan on warming up because I sure don't want to wind up in second place because we were throwing the ball around!" That got them moving, and every single one of them paired up to throw balls back and forth.
Of course Vicki came out to throw with me. After the first few lobs back and forth she called, "Girlfriend?"
I felt a little shiver at the word and had to purposely keep myself from glancing over to see her beautiful face. I grinned at our pitcher and joked, "Yeah, what's it to yah?"
She smiled back at me as she picked up a wicked grounder I tossed her way. "Nothing Littlebird, I'm just happy for you, that's all."
"Thanks Vic, I'm happy too. Now the only thing that would make me happier is first place!"
We both laughed at that as I trotted over to the dugout and she got our catcher to grab a few balls while she warmed up her pitching arm. After submitting our roster to the umps I gathered my girls together in a huddle. "Alright listen up ladies! They've got home team advantage, which means we have to play this game smart. We know they are tough, and they WILL capitalize on our mistakes! So we're going to keep the stupid ones down to a minimum, right?"
"RIGHT!" The resounding chorus of voices nearly left me deaf.
"Alright, the roster is hanging above the bats. Let's get this game started and hit them hard. Don't let up and don't let off! Let's go ladies, fire it up!"
We started off with Sally from first base, Bobbie from right center, Julie from left and Vicky. Their pitcher walked the first two batters, Julie had a base hit to knock them around and then Vicky nailed it to deep center to bring Sally and Bobbi home. Crystal, our second baseman, had a dribble hit and was thrown out at first, and Kara from right field nailed a tall infield fly and was call out by the ump. I had a solid base hit up center field, bringing in Julie in but leaving Vicky and I sitting on third and second base. Angie got a solid base hit to advance me and bring in Vicky. We had two outs but were sitting tidy on four runs. Unfortunately June, who is one of our power hitters, nailed it right to the left center for the third out.
We held them to two runs in the bottom of the first inning, mainly due to some good pitching and in-fielding. The next four innings, we took turns going back and forth for the lead. It was a close game, and more than a few people were getting testy. I have to give the umps credit, they had some really close calls and they were doing a great job being fair and impartial.
We were up by one run in the bottom of the sixth inning when it happened. Sudsations had two outs and the bases loaded when Jen came up to bat. I had a feeling, call it intuition I guess but I didn't bother worrying about a short ball this time. I yelled "Big Stick!" and even Julie backed up. In the end, it didn't do us a bit of good. I watched in awe as the ball sailed over my head, and over the eight foot fence behind me. I mumbled "Fuck me!" and threw my glove to the ground as all four of their players jogged home. I had to smile a little though as they all lined up to slap Jen's hand when she came around. After she touched home plate and the rest of her team went back into the dugout she turned and looked out toward me. She did that on purpose!
I gave her an exaggerated shrug so she could see it, and blew her a kiss. She's still my girl.
We managed to get the next player out to end the inning but that still left us down by three runs. Now, more than any other time this season, we needed our bats. Not only do we have to make up a deficit, but we also had to try to give ourselves a little buffer and hope they don't score too many runs at the bottom of the inning.
We found ourselves with two outs but we had managed to score five runs. This was point that I found myself on second base, with Angie right behind me on First. June finally came through for us and nailed a ball deep into left center. I put on speed as I rounded third base and headed for home. Through the noise I could hear someone yelling down and I knew the ball was coming home. I went down just as Jen's rocket ball hit the catcher's mitt. You would think that woman would have learned by now but she didn't tag me.
My girls went crazy when the ump yelled, "No tag, runner's safe!"
The catcher tried to protest saying she caught the ball and had her foot on the plate before I came home. I just shook my head as I walked away. I came all the way from second and since it wasn't a force, she had to tag me. I can only imagine what her team was going to say to that. I grabbed the bat that had been thrown off to the side and slapped Lynne's hand as she walked by to the batter's box. "Good luck Lynne, nail it!" Unfortunately, Lynne's ball got sucked into 'the vacuum's' mitt and we had to be content with only a three run lead. Our whole team was as nervous as cats in a room full of rocking chairs.
This time Robin started the cheer on the way out to the field. "Come on Milligan's! Three up, three down!"
I got the first batter out when she hit some easy corn. The next two batters got on base then they had another big hitter up. Sure enough, she nailed the ball deep to left field and Julie was camped out under it calling me off. She caught it just fine but not before the runner's tagged up and advanced to third and second. The next bat was a base hit that brought one of the runners home and advanced the rest. Their second out came with a line drive straight back at Vicky. It was the fast reflexes that not only saved her face, but got the out. We were still up by two runs and the other team had two outs. I was practically crossing my fingers in my mitt. The end of the game, when it came, was kind of anticlimactic. The final batter hit a fast dribbler right to first base. Unfortunately, the ball made it to the bag before the runner did. I think Sally was more shocked than the other woman. All of us in the outfield came running in, whooping and cheering. The win was great and so was the knowledge that a first place finish earns our team a one hundred dollar bar tab from our sponsor. Oh yeah, the girls were drinking and eating on the house tonight! The other team lined up and we all slapped hands. We have all been playing with and against each other for years so there weren't really any hard feelings involved. We've finished in second place to them before, so we know how it feels. At the end of our lines, Jen and I met in the middle of the field. I stared at her for a second, letting all my emotions show with a single glance. Then, not caring a bit who was watching, I pulled her to me and kissed her. When we finally came up for air, I gave her a Cheddar grin and said, "I love you, and I'll see you tonight!" I gave her a second to make sure she heard, and then I winked at her and ran off the field to join my teammates in celebration. But I'll never forget the look on her face when she heard those three special words come out of my mouth. Even through the tears that immediately spilled from her eyes; she looked radiant and every inch of beautiful.
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