Atypical Vacation – Sunday
Written by Spoonmaster :: [Friday, 23 August 2019 23:52] Last updated by :: [Monday, 26 August 2019 08:03]
Chapter 1 – Sunday
I woke up with a slight hangover. It could have been worse. It should have been worse.
I just graduated yesterday with my MBA. I really can’t believe I was finally done with school. After preschool, kindergarten, 12 years of grade school, 4 years of undergrad, and 2 years at the Wharton School of Business, I was finally finished! I should’ve gotten plastered enough to erase all memory of what happened.
Instead I was up at 6am on the Sunday after I graduated, starting a pot of coffee before jumping in the shower, hoping to drown whatever remnants of my hangover my shower couldn’t wash off.
I dressed in khakis and a button-down shirt, and then threw on a tie. Suits and ties weren’t required for weekend work unless you were seeing clients (and interns never sat with clients), but I wanted to leave a strong impression, which was also the reason I was going in two days after what was supposed to be my last day as an intern with Citigroup.
It wasn’t for nothing. Last week, Illumina announced it was buying Riverbed Technology. Normally I could care less, but Illumina was going public in a month and we were bringing it public. Nobody at Citigroup knew anything about Riverbed Technology, so I spent the past week preparing a briefing memo on Riverbed that Jack was supposed to share with the associates. It was a basic overview of the company history, its current infrastructure and its long-term earnings potential. There was little doubt the same info was being prepared by research assistants that worked for far more powerful men than Jack Mitchell, but none of those powerful men would be writing the recommendation that someone long on education yet short on experience would need to get his foot in the door for his first paying job.
My headache reduced to a dull throb, I got to the office an hour before the meeting and went over the presentation one more time. The call from Jack came five minutes late, which was no surprise, and I got right to it. I gave him a fifty-page briefing memo to go along with my 45-minute presentation. I patiently answered all of his questions, jotting down a few notes of my own. Knowing what things a guy like Jack Mitchell found important about Riverbed Technology would help me later when I was trying to dissect companies on my own.
My hard work and dedication had finally paid off. Jack thanked me on my way out the door, shoving a letter of recommendation into my hands as he was going through the address book in his cell phone. I didn’t dare look at it until I was well out of his sight and breathed a sigh of relief after I saw that it was exactly what I was hoping for. I made twenty-five copies before I left the office.
The first thing I did when I got home was to stuff a copy of the recommendation into the application envelopes I already had prepared. I had applications going out to Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan, Merrill Lynch, and Citigroup, as well as half-dozen local banks in Providence and Philadelphia. I was counting on getting a job at Citigroup -- I felt I made a very good impression there -- but I wasn’t hanging my hat on anything. I had another dozen applications ready to go in case my first batch was met by a bunch of ding letters.
I breathed a sigh of relief as the envelopes went into the mailbox. Finally I was done. Now it was time for the fun to begin. My friends had planned a great graduation celebration: a week in Hawaii! At first I was opposed to the idea. Money was tight, and I was trying to save up for the down payment on a condo or townhouse, but my friends surprised me by offering to cover my share. I was stunned at the tremendous display of generosity and instantly refused. We were talking thousands of dollars here, and there was no way I was letting anyone front me that kind of money. But my friends would not be denied and, after enduring months of pestering, I finally relented. Besides, I always wanted to go to Hawaii. It was going to be the vacation of a lifetime.
I had spent most of the last couple months doing whatever favor I could think of for my friends: mowing grass, doing laundry and driving the carless wherever they wanted to go. They seemed to think it was all very funny, but I needed to assuage my guilt somehow.
We got a Saturday-to-Saturday rental. I originally intended to fly out there with everyone else the day before, but then this thing happened at work and I had to change my flight to Sunday. That was one of the reasons my graduation day was pretty lame. All of my best friends flew out right after the ceremony, so I was stuck hanging out with acquaintances that I graduated with and my family.
But now all of that was about to change. School was over, my internship was over, and I was unemployed. It was time to party. I popped open a Corona to get me into the mood as I changed my clothes. A tee shirt, shorts and flip-flops wasn’t quite heavy enough for mid-May in Pennsylvania, but it would be perfect for Oahu.
My bags were all packed and I had all my documentation. All that was left was to call a cab to take me to the airport. There was a knock on the door as I whipped out my cell. I opened the door as I was dialing and nearly dropped the phone when I saw who was there. The tallest woman I had ever seen was standing there, and I mean tall! She was a head taller than me, and I’m 6’3”! I had never even heard of a woman that tall! She was dressed in a very formal looking chauffeur’s outfit. A dark gray skirt went down to her knees with black nylons that ended in high-heeled shoes. Her bright, white shirt and matching jacket fit tightly around her tall, trim form, bulging around her impressive chest. Her short-cropped brown hair stuck out under an official-looking hat and was pulled back from a very pretty face and twinkling hazel eyes.
“Are you Mr. Paul Fisher?” Her deep voice was surprisingly gentle for someone so big.
“I am indeed.” I gasped as I peered around her to check out the car she came in. The trip was bad enough, but the size of the limo waiting in front of my house was ridiculous. What did I do to deserve such amazing friends?
The tall woman gave me a warm smile. “My name is Mariana. I’ll be taking you to the airport today.”
“Sweet; just give me a second.” I went back inside, grabbed my bags, dropped them on the porch and turned to lock the door. By the time I had turned back around, Mariana had plucked my two bags off the ground and carried them easily to the limo. The carry-on bag was nothing, but my suitcase was right up against the 50lb weight limit. Mariana handled it with an ease that I found a bit arousing. Even more arousing was the sight of her walking down toward the limo. Most of her body was covered up in her conservative uniform, but her lower legs were bare, and impressive sized calf muscles bulged with every step. Not huge, but nice and defined, like a runner’s legs. Jesus, with legs that long she could probably run like a gazelle, if those large melons on her chest didn’t get in the way.
I had a very secret admiration -- hell an outright lust -- for strong, powerful women, though I took great pains to hide it. I found that most guys were either turned off or intimidated by powerful women, so I kept my own desires on the down low. Only Mike knew of my little fetish, and that’s only because I found out that he shared a similar fetish that I stumbled onto quite by accident. Still it made me wonder if it was just chance that my driver was a fit, strong, busty woman. I felt a little self-conscious that all my friends might be on to my secret, but quickly dismissed the thought. Mike was every bit as secretive of his desires as I was; there was no way he’d share our secret with my friends.
The inside of the limo was amazing: completely decked out with flat screen TVs, Sirius radio, plush comfy seats, and a well-stocked minibar. I nursed another beer on the way to the airport (I wasn’t sure if the drinks came with the car, and my friends had already shelled out enough) as I daydreamed about Mariana lifting me out of the limo and carrying me into the airport like a little child, or better yet, pressing me over her head like I was a pillow. It was a completely ludicrous fantasy, considering I weighed more than 240lbs, but a guy could dream.
We cut the arrival at the airport close, and my heart sank when I saw the line at the United ticket counter. I’d miss my plane by hours if I had to wait in that line, but Mariana had different plans. She had followed me into the terminal, carrying my luggage. It made me feel a bit like a douche, a big guy like me having a woman carrying his luggage, but she grabbed them before I could and made no move to hand them over to me. Besides, she was wearing a uniform, which I guess made it okay.
Mariana strode past the crowd without even looking at it and walked right up to the first class line, which didn’t have anyone in it at all. Before I could even tell her that my ticket was coach, Marianna pulled some kind of card out of her jacket pocket. The ticket agent took one look at the card and broke into a warm smile.
“Ah, one of our preferred customers. Well let me see your ticket and we’ll get you all set up.”
I handed my ticket over, impressed. Maybe that was part of the limo service. I was going to have to thank my friends profusely; they seemed to have thought of everything.
Things just kept getting better as the ticket agent told me, “Well, it looks like you’ve been upgraded to first class.”
My jaw dropped. A coach ticket to Hawaii was a nice present, but a first class ticket had to cost a fortune. I was going to have to mow a lot more lawns. I certainly wasn’t complaining though. It was a ten-hour flight, and cramming my big body in coach for even half that time would be uncomfortable to say the least.
Mariana handed over my suitcase to the ticket agent and then escorted me right up to security. The same card got me into some exclusive VIP line, and in moments I was ready to go through the scanner. Marianna finally handed me my carry on, politely refusing the tip I tried to slip into her hand. “Enjoy your trip, Mr. Fisher,” she said with a pleasant smile. And then she was gone.
First class was awesome. Not only were the seats roomy, but the drinks were free and the flight attendants were around far more often to keep them refreshed. I got through the long flight with my iPod, a new book, the in-flight movie and a lot of sleep. By the time we landed, I was ready to party.
I was a little surprised that none of my friends were there to pick me up at the airport, and even more surprised that they sent a driver, which seemed like an unnecessary expense. No tall, leggy chauffeur this time, just a middle-aged Hawaiian guy with a friendly smile and a Volvo station wagon. We threw my luggage in the back, and I played the part of the tourist as my driver headed out into Honolulu.
It was a pretty, if small, city that could have been anywhere if it weren’t for all the palm trees and the ocean bordering one side, but I gawked nonetheless. My parents were never all that big on traveling. The most exotic place I’d ever been was New Jersey.
As we moved away from downtown, a sweeping mountain range covered with lush, tropical trees dominated the scenery to the left. To my right, the road traveled along the ocean, showing miles of sandy white shores that were constantly assailed by moderately sized waves.
As we wrapped around the bottom of the mountains, the houses started to thin out and get progressively bigger and bigger. There were some truly gigantic places along the road here. Some butted right up against the street, while others nestled back a bit to offer some privacy. I was more than a little surprised when my driver pulled into one.
A large gate opened before us, leading to a winding driveway that meandered through a vast array of vividly colored wild flowers. The driveway crept down a hill that hid the house from the road and neighbors.
The house itself was spectacular: a sprawling tropical villa, beautifully landscaped with plants and trees. A babbling brook wandered lazily across the property, with tiny footbridges crossing it in several places. A stone path connected a three-car garage to the three separate buildings that made up the estate. The folds of the land hid the main road with the mountain looming behind me. I could see the ocean around the other side of the house, the twilight sky twinkling across its rippling surface. It looked like the kind of place rich people would stay in; much, much nicer than my friends could possibly afford. As nice as it was, it seemed kind of small for all eight of us. Not that it mattered all that much. We were young and in our prime. I'd happily sleep on the floor for the whole week to stay in an awesome oceanfront place like this.
I only saw one car in the driveway, an open-air Jeep Wrangler that looked brand new. That was cool. I’d always wanted to own one of those, but they got such terrible write-ups for quality in every car magazine, that I’d steered clear. Still, it would be pretty awesome to get to drive one around all week; especially with the perfect, 85-degree weather we were expecting. It did seem like an impractical car for our needs. The jeep had four seats, but the two people sitting in the back would be crammed in there pretty good, and we were all pretty big guys. I guess the other car was much bigger, but it was not out where I could see it. Everyone must have already gone out partying. I wondered who drew the short straw and had to sit around waiting for me.
I fished out some money to tip the driver, but was again refused. The guy said the tip was already covered and bade me to enjoy my stay before driving off. I took another moment to admire the beautiful place before picking up my luggage and heading toward the biggest of the three buildings.
The inside was as amazing as the outside. Plush, comfortable furniture filled the living area. The walls and tables were decorated with a smattering of tasteful and very nice art. I was a little stunned my friends would pick a place like this. We partied pretty hard and had caused our fair share of incidental property damage over the years. We'd have to be careful around here -- some of this stuff looked like it would be really expensive to replace.
The foyer led into a very open floor plan, with a large kitchen that looked like something out of the Food Network next to an awesome living room. A doorway on either side of the room led further through the house with only one closed door visible. The room only had only three walls. Where the fourth wall would have been was open to the outside, offering an amazing view of the pool, and the rolling waves of the ocean beyond.
The room was set up like someone was expecting a romantic evening, which was weird, because none of the guys were dating either of the girls that were coming. Nonetheless the place was immaculate, the lights were dimmed, a soft fire was crackling in the fireplace, and some quiet, tropical music floated through the air. Fresh cut flowers filled the empty spaces, providing a fresh, pleasant aroma. There wasn't luggage strewn all over the place like I'd expect, or loud rock music, or the sound of half drunk college kids partying like rock stars.
In fact, where the hell was everybody? There was still a car in the driveway, which meant someone had to be here. Yet I didn't hear anyone. I whipped out my phone, getting ready to call Will and see where everyone was, when a voice stopped me.
The sound was so soft I almost didn't hear it over the music, yet so unexpected that it made me jump a little bit. I turned around, and there was Jamie.
Now, I had done several things I was quite proud of. I graduated college Magna Cum Laude from the University of Rhode Island and gotten accepted to the Wharton School of Business, where I graduated with a 3.24 GPA. I didn’t think that was too shabby for all the partying I did. I had landed a well-sought-after internship that I beat a lot of people out for, and performed at a high level, if I do say so myself. I had built up a powerful physique through years of training in the gym and was one of the strongest guys I knew.
I could bench 365lbs for my max at a body weight of 245lbs. My body was lean and muscular, giving me a striking presence. I had learned to play the guitar pretty well, and had a decent singing voice. And to top it all off, I had managed to save up enough money for a decent down payment on my eventual house. But the one thing I was most proud of was Jamie Collins.
Jamie had been my neighbor for years before I we had ever met, but I can still remember that first meeting like it was yesterday. I was 11 and walking home during my first month of middle school when I saw her for the first time. She was sitting on her front step, all alone, crying. She was so tiny and thin and looked so frail, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for her. I felt compelled to ask her what was wrong. It turned out that her parents had separated several months earlier.
Her mom, in an effort to maintain herfamily’s standard of living (and perhaps keep herself so busy that she could forget her own problems), picked up a second job to make more money. The money was fine but it left Jamie, an only child and only seven years old at the time, home by herself far too often. She was also battling her own depression from being abandoned by her father. She was in no state of mind to be left alone.
My heart broke as she recounted her tale. I was an only child myself with two working parents, though I had a nanny to watch me when I came home. Right then and there, I promised myself that I would never let her be alone again. A strong conviction for a 6th grader, but one I made good on through the years.
I practically raised Jamie: helping her with her homework, getting her involved in after school activities, going to watch her plays and games and spending as much time with her as possible. I gave her my ear whenever she needed it, and even confided in her from time to time to help build trust between us. It didn’t take long before we became best friends.
It took awhile, but eventually we worked through her depression, and the shy little girl grew in confidence. Jamie was an amazing kid. She was crazy smart, and seemed to soak up knowledge like a sponge. I never had to tell her anything more than once before she had it committed to memory. Besides that first quarter, when I met her and she was going through her depression, she got straight A’s throughout the rest of middle school and high school. She was so damn smart she started helping me with my homework!
Not only was she smart, but she was an incredibly gifted athlete. She enjoyed playing softball, basketball and soccer and excelled in all three. She was an all-star all through little leagues, and made varsity her freshman year in all three sports. By her senior year, all three teams she was on were high school state champions, thanks in no small part to her amazing abilities.
And on top of all that, she was an incredibly sweet girl. She was very humble despite all of her talents. She was kind and considerate to all around her, helpful to those who needed help, and gave freely of her time to several charities. She was funny and personable, and was one of the most popular kids at school.
I was there to support her every step of the way and care for every one of her needs. At first I wasn’t ready for the time commitment. I tried to juggle school, my own extra curricular activities, a social life, and Jamie. I was completely unsuccessful. My grades tanked through middle school. It got to the point where I had to give something up to get into a good college.
Sports were the first thing to go. I had always been big, and a pretty good athlete, but I had no delusions that I would be making a living as a professional athlete. So I stopped playing sports, except for on an occasional basis. It helped, but it wasn’t enough, so once I started high school, I cut my social life almost completely out. Jamie wound up being not only my best friend, but almost my only friend.
I graduated high school with pretty good grades, good enough to get accepted to the University of Pennsylvania, my dream school, but I wound up not going. Jamie had hit puberty, and the petite scrawny girl had blossomed into a very attractive teenager. I had seen enough leering looks from her peers to fear moving too far away. Jamie needed someone to protect her, and I was the only one there was. So I turned down Penn, and instead accepted a spot at the University of Rhode Island, which was just down the street from our neighborhood in Kingston.
Those leering looks were also what drove me to start hitting the gym. The lack of physical activity over the last several years had turned my once athletic body lanky and gangly. I decided if I was going to be protecting Jamie from lecherous men, I should make sure I was capable of doing so. I bulked up pretty easily, and in a couple of years wound up with an imposing muscular build that made guys think twice before messing with my ward. Looking imposing wasn’t always enough. More than once I had to “convince” some high school kids that their attitudes toward Jamie needed to be “readjusted”. Luckily, I could be quite “persuasive”.
Jamie graduated high school top of her class and had her pick of colleges. When I heard she was picking Stanford, I instantly applied for Stanford Business School, but Jamie was having none of it. I had graduated Magna Cum Laude from URI, which was good enough to get me into Wharton. Jamie knew it was my dream school, and would have no part of me turning my back on my dreams. And so, for the first time in eleven years, Jamie and I were separated.
It was a blessing and a curse. At first, I was filled with worry for Jamie. I called every day to check on her, making sure she was okay. She apparently had adjusted quite well to college life. She had lots of friends, and was getting straight A's. Finally I relented, and gave more thought to enjoying my last couple years at school. It was a blast. I had spent so much time over the last eleven years taking care of Jamie, I hardly had a life of my own. It was refreshing to hang out and be a college kid, to just let go and have fun.
Not only that, but I could finally pursue romantic relationships. I had found over the years that potential girlfriends were unwilling to accept that they would always be the second most-important woman in my life. After a string of messy breakups, I had decided to just give up on women all together. Now with Jamie on the left coast, I was able to give other women more of my attention. Unfortunately, years of not dating had left me woefully unprepared for how to treat a woman once I got her. Consequently, my romantic relationships didn’t wind up being much better than they were before.
Between both of us being at school, my internship, and a plethora of extracurricular activities that Jamie had found for herself, I had actually not seen her for two whole years. She had been such a big part of my life, and I missed her tremendously. Now, looking at her standing in the doorway, I could hardly recall ever being so happy.
Jamie leaped down the three steps with a single stride and an exultant look on her face. She plowed into me so hard it nearly knocked me off my feet, before enveloping me in one of her warm, tight hugs. She had always been an excellent hugger. She latched onto me tightly, unwilling to let go.
I happily returned the embrace. Neither of us spoke for a long time, each of us caught up in the moment. My voice still broke up a little when I finally said, "Jamie, I’ve missed you so much."
She hugged me even harder, so hard it actually hurt a little. "I missed you too, Paul. I'm so happy to see you."
We held the embrace forever, neither of us wanting to let go. Finally, I pushed away, or at least tried to. She held me so tightly I actually couldn't pry myself loose from her grasp. "Easy there,” I murmured, “I'm not going anywhere, at least for the next week."
She looked up at me, a strange, dreamy look in her eyes. That was weird. I hoped she wasn’t doing drugs... not that I thought she’d do drugs in a million years. She was probably just tired. She gave me another quick squeeze before finally letting go and taking a step back. "I'm just so happy to see you! It feels like it's been an eternity!”
"It sure has. And wow, have the years been good to you. You look amazing!" Jamie blushed at the compliment, but it was the God’s honest truth. She had filled out even more since I last saw her, looking every bit a woman, and buffed up quite a bit as well. She had always been fit, but now she actually had visible muscle on her limbs. She was built like an Olympic gymnast, though a lot more top-heavy than you’d expect someone who was otherwise so lean to be.
I reached out and squeezed her arm gently. “Damn girl, you’ve been hitting the gym!”
She blushed at the compliment. “It’s nothing compared to you,” she replied, squeezing my own muscular arm, the dreamy look still on her face.
“Hey, don’t sell yourself short. You’re such an amazing athlete; I bet you’ll be giving me a run for my money at the gym in no time,” I offered in my most reassuring, big brother voice. She gave me an odd smile at the comment.
After hugging her and stepping back, I finally noticed what she was wearing. Jamie wore a slinky black cocktail dress that clung to the curves of her hourglass body. It showed a bit more cleavage than I would have thought proper, but she was 20 and I had no right to tell her how to dress anymore. Her hair and face were all done up, enhancing her natural beauty. She certainly was dressed to impress tonight. I felt a certain amount of pride in the job I did raising her. "Look, I could stay up all night and catch up with you, but you look like you're set to spend the evening with someone special. So let me get my stuff out of the way, and I’ll make myself scarce before your date gets here."
She bit her lip, and almost looked disappointed. "No, um, I actually don’t have a date. I was just lounging around, waiting for you to get here."
I took another look at her "lounging" outfit. She really had turned into a gorgeous woman, and that dress was certainly selected to highlight her every curve. I had to admit, she was going to make someone a very lucky man one day. "If that's your lounging outfit, I can't wait to see what you wear to get all dolled up."
I made my way over to the kitchen to get a beer. I was expecting to see a mess of food littering the counter, but it was empty except for a bottle of wine, chilling in a bucket of ice, with two white wine glasses sitting next to it. I looked around the place again, taking in the scene. It sure did look like someone was trying to get lucky tonight. Maybe that's why no one was around. "So where is everyone? It’s kind of rude that the guys left you here all alone to wait for me."
Jamie was giving me that strange look again. "No, that’s all right; I wanted to be here alone when you showed up." She was expecting something from me, I could tell, though I had no idea what.
Then it dawned on me... she was being polite! I had just gotten in after a long trip, and she didn’t want to rush me out the door. She really was sweet. "Well, I’m glad you were. It was really nice to see you. Now let me throw my luggage in a room, and I’ll go out and meet everyone else wherever they are." I'm wasn’t sure, but I thought I heard her sigh.
"Paul, why don't you come over here and sit down." If the tone of her voice didn't worry me, the look on her face did. She was sweating, and clearly nervous about something. I felt a lump in my throat. This was something bad.
"Paul," she began, clearly unsure how to continue. "Will, Mikey, and the other guys aren't coming."
My jaw must have dropped. I was stunned! "What happened? I just talked to Will this morning and he seemed fine to me." I reached for my phone, ready to call to make sure my friends were okay. "Is it just Will and Mike, or did something happen to all of them?"
Jamie grabbed my hand, stopping me from dialing, and made me look up. "No, Paul. Everyone is just fine. It's just... they were never coming. It was always going to be just the two of us."
I'm certain my confusion was showing plainly on my face. I was completely at a loss. "I... I don't understand."
Haltingly, she explained. "Here's the thing: Will and the guys were helping me to get you here, because I didn't think you'd come if it would just be the two of us." Her eyes were searching, expecting something. I couldn't for the life of me figure out what.
I still had a feeling of foreboding, though. Jamie was acting weird, and my "parent" senses were going off. It had to be something big if she went to all this trouble to get us alone. My mind was going through a list of all the things that could possibly be wrong. "Why wouldn't I want to spend time with just you? We've spent tons of time together just the two of us.” I grabbed her hands and scooted closer to her, then put on my most reassuring face. “Hey, Jamie, listen, this is me. Why don’t you just tell me what's going on."
She was getting really nervous. I could see her sweating. Her body trembled. She was trying to find the words, but her mouth didn't seem to be working. I gave her hands a gentle, reassuring squeeze. That dreamy look was back -- maybe she was sick. "Hey, it’s okay; you know you can tell me anything. I don't know what's wrong, but I’m here now. Whatever it is, I'm going to do whatever it takes to help you. You don't have to be afraid anymore. I'm here, and I'm not going anywhere."
Jamie let out a big sigh and leaned her head against my chest. I reached behind her and gently stroked her back, waiting until she was ready to talk. She finally pulled back and looked me straight in the eye. She took a deep breath. "Oh Paul, you are the sweetest, gentlest guy I ever met. You're funny and insightful, charming and honest, and wise beyond your years. And, you are without a doubt the most oblivious person I have ever met."
There was something I was supposed to be getting here, but I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what. "I'm sorry, what are you talking about."
With an exasperated sigh she said, "Paul, I love you." .
"I know, Jamie. I love you too."
"No, you idiot. I mean I love you! I see your face every time I close my eyes. Every time I breathe deeply I catch a hint of your scent. Every song I hear on the radio reminds me of you. And every day we're apart, a piece of me dies. My whole life, you've been the standard against which I've measured every guy I've ever dated, and they've all come up woefully short, because they're not you. They can never have my heart, because it's yours. It's always been yours. I love you, with every piece of my heart." Tears were streaming unabated down her face.
My whole body dulled as I started to realize what was going on here. "Oh," I mumbled, jumping up from the couch. My mind was racing. No one else was coming, just the two of us in this romantic villa on a private beach on Oahu. The soft music, the muted light, the wine with two glasses, the fire in the fireplace.... "Oh." Suddenly it was all so obvious. She had tricked me into coming to Hawaii for a whole week, so she could seduce me! “Oh!”
Jamie was watching me pace up and down the room. I was pacing! I stopped moving, and crossed my hands over my chest; no, I put them on my hips; no, I held them behind my back; no, I ran them through my hair. Oh god, I was acting like a freak! I had to say something, anything. "Uhhhh...wow, I... uh... don't know... um... what to... wow."
Oh god! This was the most uncomfortable moment of my life.
Jamie was clearly ready for this kind of reaction. She sat there patiently on the couch, her hands folded on her lap. Her eyes followed my every move. "Look, Paul, it's okay to..."
"No, I'm sorry. It's just... I mean... you just caught me a bit off guard was all. I mean, I had no idea you...." Realizing that I was babbling, I stopped and took a deep breath. I had to try to process what was happening. "Um... for how long have you... you know...."
She was staring up at me with that dreamy look again, and I finally knew what that look was: a look of pure love, absolute adoration. "For as long as I can remember." Her voice was calm and steady, and a bit cautious. "Honestly I've had a crush on you almost since we met. You were always so kind to me. And you were always there, whenever I needed anything, like my own angel." She smiled at the memory.
"But I first realized that I loved you after my first date with a boy: Daren Saunders. He was so handsome, and polite, and funny. He was very nice, and we had a great time, but there was something wrong. Something I couldn't place for a long time. We dated for weeks, and had a lot of fun, but every time we were together, I always felt that something was off. For the longest time, I couldn't figure out what, and then it suddenly dawned on me. The problem with Daren was that he wasn't you.”
She got up slowly and took a step toward me. Her eyes lost to memory, voice thick with emotion. "When I was in the seventh grade, I got so upset on my birthday because my mom got called into work at the last minute -- again -- and my dad sent me this stupid note. I thought it was going to be the worst birthday ever. But then you were there, like you always were. You gave me my first iPod, cooked me lasagna and bought me an ice cream cake. It wound up being my best birthday ever.”
Her eyes found my face then, as she continued. “A few weeks later, Sarah Chambers told me that you canceled your plans for Junior Prom with Laura Nilan at the last minute because you didn't want me to be alone on my birthday.”
She kept walking slowly toward me. Her eyes held mine with an intensity that was very familiar to me. It was the way she looked when she wanted something she’d stop at nothing to get. "That was the first time I realized how much you gave up to take care of me. Your whole childhood. I mean, you never got to be a kid, because you were always taking care of me. No one else has ever given up so much for me. I can't imagine that anyone ever will. But you never complained, never got angry. You always seemed so happy to see me, so eager to take care of me, so determined to make sure that I had a family."
I didn't realize I had been backing up until I felt my back bump into the wall. Jamie had followed me across the room, and finally had me cornered. I practically jumped when she touched me. I realized for the first time how fast my heart was beating. "Jamie, I... I don't know what to say. I mean, I'm flattered, and uh... surprised. I mean... you never gave me any indication you felt this way."
She giggled softly, patting my chest. "Oh Paul, like I said: completely oblivious. Starting when you were a senior in high school and I was in the eighth grade, I used to flirt with you constantly. I really didn't know what I was doing at first, but Mary Connors up the street showed me how to do it right. I practiced on other boys at school, just to make sure I was doing it right. I had them all eating out of the palm of my hand, yet you never reacted in the least. Did you never notice that the only time I wore shirts that showed off any cleavage was when I was going to be alone with you?"
The mention of her cleavage brought my gaze down to her chest. The front was cut low, showing several inches of the sloping crevice between her tits. I never really noticed how big her breasts were, how soft and inviting her cleavage looked. I looked away instantly, disgusted with myself. This was no way to act. God, she must think I'm a lecher.
"You don't have to look away, Paul. I wore this dress just for you." Her voice was getting huskier, a mere whisper. "I know you like girls with big breasts, most guys do. I always wore my best cleavage shirts for you, hoping that you'd find me attractive. Guys at school can't take their eyes off of them, even though I wear mostly baggy clothing." She leaned forward now, mashing her tits into me. I could feel the warmth of her body through my shirt, the softness of her chest as she pressed her flesh against mine. "You can touch them if you'd like. You can feel how big they are, how firm they are, how soft my skin is." She started gently rubbing her breasts softly around my chest. My heart was beating wilding in my chest. Was I was starting to get aroused? This couldn't be happening!
"No, no, no, no!" I tried to slide away from her, but her breasts were somehow pinning me to the wall! I must have been weak from the shock of what was happening.
It took a moment before she realized I was trying to get away. For a second, I wasn't sure she didn't intend to hold me against that wall forever, but finally, with a sigh, she took a step back, and I was able to slip away. "Jamie, we can't do this. It's wrong."
"Why is it wrong?" Her voice was soft, understanding, patient; like a parent teaching a child.
"Because, I knew you when you were just a kid. I raised you, you're like my own..."
"NO!" The softness and patience was gone. For a second, she seemed almost angry. "I'm not your daughter, or your sister, or your cousin; we’re not related an any way. I'm your neighbor. And it is perfectly fine for neighbors to be intimate with each other. We're not doing anything wrong."
"Maybe not, but it feels like it, to me." My mind was racing; I had to find some way to get control of this situation. "Look, Jamie, I'm flattered, I really am, but I just don't think of you that way. I've never thought of you that way. And I'd hate to think that something could mess up the relationship that we have." For the first time, I realized I was actually scared. I treasured my relationship with Jamie. Over the years of spending so much time together, I had gotten to know her far better than I knew anyone else, even my own family. And she knew me better than anyone else I knew. Now, at this moment, more than anything, I was afraid of losing that connection.
"I don't want to mess up what we have either, I want to make it better. Look, for as long as I can remember, you've been there for me, taken care of me, watched over me, and I love you for it. Now it’s my turn to take care of you. It’s my turn to be your angel.”
"I don't know, Jamie. I honestly don't know if I could ever look at you the way you want me to." I found it quite upsetting. I'd spent most of my life trying to give Jamie whatever she wanted. Now I couldn't find it in me to give her this most basic of human emotions. For the fist time, I started to feel as though I was letting her down. And that was a feeling I did not like in the least.
"I know, Paul. That's one of the reasons that it took me so long to say something to you. I knew how you thought of me, and that's fine. It's sweet. I knew it would be almost impossible for you to look at me as anything more than a little sister. It was clearly the biggest hurdle to us ever being a couple."
"I'm sorry, I wish it wasn't that way. You're such an amazing... wait a minute!" My mind was racing even faster now. I wasn't always oblivious, well, not completely. "You haven’t told me before, but you’re telling me now. What changed?"
She smirked up at me.
"What? What's different now that you would bring it up? After so many years, why would you suddenly tell me now?"
Her smirk melted into a look of seduction. "Because, Paul, I know you better than anyone else. I know your favorite movie, and your favorite thing to eat while watching it. I know what qualities you like in your friends, and which qualities you find irritating. I know where your favorite places to go are, and I know what things make you most happy in this world. But most importantly of all, I know what turns you on."
My jaw nearly dropped. Over the years, Jamie and I had many conversations on many different subjects. We certainly talked about relationships and I know we shared some intimate things. But there were some things that I found attractive in women that weren’t exactly... normal. Things that I had tried to keep secret for as long as I could remember. I certainly don’t remember sharing those things with her, but now I was starting to wonder, did I?
Jamie seemed pleased at my apprehension. She stepped backwards and told me, "The reason it took me so long to tell you how I felt about you, is that I knew that it would be impossible for me to talk you into dating me. But I also knew that if I became your fantasy woman, then you wouldn't be able to resist me. And so, for the last six years, I've been transforming myself into the woman of your dreams. And now, for the next week, I'm going to seduce you, because I've become everything you've ever desired in a woman. And I assure you, by the time this week is over, you'll want me as much as I want you." Jamie then turned and walked purposely into the kitchen.
I was so stunned I plopped down onto the closest chair, trying to wrap my mind around what she was saying. Six years! Becoming my fantasy woman! It's like something you'd read in fiction, more like the screenplay of a porno. I pinched the skin on my arm, certain this was some kind of dream.
"It's not a dream, Paul." She had opened the bottle of wine and poured two glasses. She walked back into the sumptuous living room and put a glass in my hand. "Look, I realize this is a lot to assimilate, and I know I sprung a lot on you. But we don't have to do it all tonight. We have all week. Let’s take it slowly and see where things lead us." Jamie took a step away and watched me intently.
My mind was racing so quickly I could hardly grab onto a thought. I just sat there, trying to come to grips with what was happening, well aware that her eyes were constantly on me. I just didn't know what to say, or how to react. There was really only one thought I was able to latch onto: this was impossible!
"What if I can't? What if, after whatever you've done, I still can't love you the way you love me?"
She shrugged. "Well, we have a week, so lets make a deal. If you don't fall madly in love with me by the end of the week, then we'll forget the whole thing ever happened and go back to the way things were." She walked over to me and plopped down on my lap. She held my gaze with the most intense stare I'd ever seen. "But I wouldn't worry about that, Paul. I know you, and I know you won't be able to resist me. It won't even take a week. Three days, and I'll be all you can think about."
She leaned over, and let her lips gently brush against my cheek, ending in a soft, gentle kiss. "But for now, you need some time alone with your thoughts. I'm going to go to my room for the night. Yours is out the door you came in, first building on the right." She stood up and walked out of my sight. I couldn’t bring myself to stand, or even turn to watch her go. My mind was somewhere else, off in its own little world.
I heard her receding footsteps, and then the sound of a door opening. Her soft voice drifted down to me. "Make sure you get a good night’s sleep. We have a busy week ahead of us." And then the door closed.
A busy week? That was an understatement. My eyes found the fireplace, and I watched the flames dance through the night sky without really seeing them. I watched it slowly burn down to embers, and then watched the embers fade away until the fireplace was cold and dark. And still I stared, hoping that somewhere in the ash I would find the answers that would somehow make this day make sense.