A quick note. A funny thing happened while writing this story. It started out to be a sex story with all the four lettered words and graphic descriptions you'd expect from a stroker. However my characters refused to co-operate. When I'd sit down at the keyboard they simply wouldn't do what I wanted. Gail decided she wasn't just an addle-brained hose bag with a sex addiction, and Bob, ever the class act, wouldn't treat her like one. I did it their way and what I ended up with was a quirky little romance. So, if you're looking for a lot of hot sex, turn back now, it's not happening today. But if you stick around to read their story, I'm sure my two little malcontents will be appreciative. Either way, thanks for stopping by.
If one were to see Gail Madison as she walked through March's Department Store they probably wouldn't be impressed with her one way or another. At first glance she was neither attractive nor unattractive. In her late thirties, she seemed slightly taller than average for a woman. She was lean, but not skinny, however the loose fitting slacks she wore to work exaggerated the thinness of her legs; actually, while slim, they were well formed and shapely. Her blond hair seemed relatively short, but it was long enough for her to wear it in a small comma shaped pony tail, with bangs in front covering her forehead. Light complexioned with pale blue eyes, her otherwise pretty face had a kind of washed out appearance. This, combined with the solemn expression she usually wore, gave one the impression she was aloof and unsociable. The fact is you might say that she had just missed being beautiful, however you have to know two things. First, just missing being beautiful isn't a bad thing, it means you're better than average. Secondly, her friends, the ones who'd seen her relaxed and happy, knew that she hadn't missed at all; she was beautiful in her own way. And now, unbeknownst to her, Bob Rice knew it also.
Two nights earlier, she and her friend, Marion from housewares, had gone to a local Christmas street festival. It was an enjoyable night, chilly but not very cold with some occasional snow flurries to add to the holiday ambiance. Local amateur artisans were selling their wares, food stands abounded, and a brass band played carols amid the abundant Christmas decorations. That's where they ran into Bob.
Bob Rice was manager of the Sporting Goods Department at March's. They all knew each other casually, nodding acquaintances. The store seemed like a large place, but if you worked there awhile, you became aware of everybody else that worked there. So when they stumbled into each other that night, it was like an unexpected meeting of old friends. They exchanged greetings much more warmly than they ever had at work. The spirit of the holiday was at work. It seemed Bob was there with a friend, whose wife was working at one of the stands. He wondered off on his own while his buddy stopped to visit her.
"And where's your wife tonight?" Marion asked.
"Ex-wife," he responded jokingly, "and I don't really care where she is, as long as it isn't here."
"That puts you and Gail in the same boat. Mine is working tonight."
He looked at Gail and smiled, "Another happy loser. How long have you been a member of our little club?"
"Five years and counting."
"I've got you beat, seven years. Look, there's a stand over there selling mulled wine, can I buy you guys a round? I assume you're both over twenty one."
Marion, who was a few months shy of fifty, chuckled and looked at Gail, "I think this one is gonna' try and get us drunk. But I'm game, how about you?"
"I think we can risk it. I'd love one actually."
So the three of them made their way down the crowded street to the stand where a large sign proclaimed it to be "The Wine Shoppe". The wine wasn't bad, nothing to brag about but it was warm and spiced and pleasant. One had the feeling they had taken every short cut in the book while making it. But one must expect this at a street fair. As they stood sipping the wine, Bob looked at Marion.
"OK, I've got your story, husband's busy." Then turning to Gail, "Now, what are doing here all alone? Nobody's snatched you up again?"
"Hey," Marion interjected her voice full of mock insult, "she's not alone, she's with me. And for your information, Gail's particular as to whom she lets snatch her up."
Far from angry, Marion knew he was fishing of answers and wanted to keep the conversation going. She raised her head theatrically with her nose in the air in a pose of wounded superiority.
"So, there." Then turning to Gail, "Tell him, sister."
Bob and Gail laughed at her performance. Grinning, Gail spoke up, "I think you put him in his place sufficiently."
Bob lowered his head in a sign of chastised humility. But when he looked up, looking at Gail's face, her cheeks flushed from the chill, the open mouthed smile, the lights from the decorations reflected in her eyes, he saw the true beauty in her. While Marion suspected it, Gail didn't realize that at that moment she'd stolen a piece of his heart.
As for her being alone, she had always figured after her divorce she would meet someone. All she seemed to attract however were men who were on the make; ones who believed all divorced women where easy. It was the old "once they've had it on a regular basis, they can't live without it" myth. She avoided these ones like the plague. But she didn't understand that the somber expression that she often wore gave her an unfriendly appearance. This tended to keep the type of men she was interested in away, until now.
Bob was tired of being alone also and now that he was aware of Gail he decided he had to move quickly. The more her saw of her, the more enthralled he became. He really couldn't believe she was unattached and available. Then he remembered, he hadn't paid any attention to her until he saw her that night. That was about to change.
So when Gail went into the stockroom and saw Bob talking to her boss, she was surprised. She'd never seen him in the Ladies Wear backroom before. But, figuring it was none of her business, she went about her work. As she was unpacking a shipment of blouses she heard him behind her.
"There's one half of the dynamic duo."
She looked over her shoulder and flashed him a smile. "Hi, what brings you to Ladies Wear?"
"Looking for a new girdle," he joked, "I put on some weight since Thanksgiving and I need a quick fix."
"Wrong department, foundation garments are next door in lingerie."
"Aw, wrong answer. You were supposed to tell me I don't need a girdle."
Again she flashed the smile, "Well, how would I know? You said you needed a new one, for all I know you've got a full corset on underneath."
"You've got me there." He didn't want to risk insulting her by offering to show her what he was wearing underneath. He changed the subject.
"It seemed to me the other night that you're really into the whole Christmas thing."
"Yes, I am," she turned to face him, "it kind of brings back memories of when I was a kid. Don't you like it?"
"Of course I do. Here's the thing; I've got two tickets to this Christmas concert, pageant, or whatever that the City Cultural Association is putting on and no one to go with me. I was wondering if you'd consider going."
She stopped and thought for a moment. A guy who she'd never have expected to pay her any attention had just asked her out for a date. You can't judge a book by the cover, but the little she'd seen of him, he didn't seem to be one of the horny clowns she'd been meeting, just out for a cheap, quick romp between the sheets, but then you never could be sure. Well, she thought to herself, she couldn't bitch about not meeting men if she didn't give them a fair chance.
"Sounds interesting, when is it?"
"Thursday, next week. Starts at eight"
"I think I'm free." Believing she sounded a little too casual, she added, "I'd love to go."
"Great, we can talk at lunch and work out the details. Now, I've got to get back to work." He started to walk away, paused, then called over his shoulder, "Thanks, I'm looking forward to it."
He had not only asked her for a date, but they were having lunch together. The million dollar smile on her face was replaced with one of pleased bemusement as he walked away.
"I'll be damned." She murmured to herself, "Who would have guessed it?"
Their lunch together was simple, he met her in the employees break area and they made plans. On the night in question, he would pick her up at six; they'd have dinner, and then off to the concert. Afterwards, that would depend on how they felt. In the days between, neither really spoke much about it. They were both eagerly anticipating it, but were both trying to appear nonchalant. It was time lost, it was foolish, it was also human.
The day of the concert, it occurred to them that neither knew how to dress for this thing; they decided casual would be best as long as they didn't go in jeans and tee-shirts. When Bob arrived to pick her up, Gail realized they had similar taste in clothes. Both chose sweaters and slacks but, then she thought what else would you wear this time of year? At least they weren't matching outfits. She always hated seeing men and women dressed alike. He had a Nordic print sweater over tan slacks; she'd chosen a black turtleneck over dark blue slacks. They had similar taste, but with a different touch.
They had dinner at an Italian restaurant, where over pasta and Chianti they finally began to get to know each other. She asked about his hobbies.
.... There is more of this story ...