The heavy rain continued to beat down on the windshield as Brian Brannigan drove his well-worn pickup down Montgomery Street. Running a hand across his crew cut, the sandy haired nineteen-year-old took a moment to glance at the clock on the dashboard. The clock read ten to eight and he knew he was going to be late for work yet again. That this time it was hardly his fault wasn’t going to matter a hill of beans to his boss.
Knowing it was supposed to pour this morning, Brian had left his parents’ house a good half an hour earlier than normal; just to give himself some extra time. How was he to know that the storm would uproot two of the large trees on Adams Boulevard, causing a major traffic jam that forced him and just about anyone else trying to get through onto the slower side streets.
Most of the diverted traffic had gone up to Dover Street, so he’d done just the opposite and cut down to Winchester Road instead. So far, that had proved not to be his best decision of the day as the rain was now coming down so hard that he could barely see more than two car lengths ahead of him. As a result, he had to come to a complete stop at every intersection in order to make sure it was clear in every direction. Being late for work was bad, he knew, but getting his truck smashed would be a lot worse.
Coming up to the intersection of Winchester and Parks, Brian saw a solitary figure standing under an oversized umbrella at the corner bus stop. Normally, he wouldn’t have given them more than a passing glance, except that the bright red umbrella that the woman was huddled under bore the logo of Harris and Son’s Construction Supplies – the same company that he drove a delivery truck for.
“Oh hell,” Brian said, feeling a little guilty that he was sitting there nice and dry while the woman was getting soaked, “I’m already going to get my ass chewed out for being late, might as well have something good come out of it.”
Slowing down to ease the truck to the curb without splashing the woman standing there, Brian rolled down the window on the passenger side and called out to her. At first, she declined his offer of a ride, saying she’d just wait for the bus which she was sure would be along any minute. It wasn’t until he identified himself, including showing his company id card, that the woman, who he still couldn’t recognize under the umbrella and rain gear she was wearing, had a change of heart. Even so, she paused a long moment before climbing up into the passenger side seat, going forward only when she was satisfied that she did indeed recognize his face from work.
After she pulled down the hood of her raincoat and turned in his direction, Brian finally recognized her as well. Her name was Harriet Lowell and worked in the payroll department. Actually, in a company the size of Harris & Son’s, she was pretty much the whole payroll department. As they pulled out back onto the street, Harriet explained that her car had refused to start this morning, forcing her to walk up to the bus stop, some four blocks from her house.
“You are a life saver,” the fiftyish, white haired woman told him as she used a kerchief she produced from her pocket to try and dry her short hair. “I’ve been waiting for that bus for over half and hour and I was beginning to think that it wasn’t ever going to come.”
Mentioning the traffic difficulties he’d encountered on his way, Brian further suggested that the bus driver might’ve had similar problems since he knew that route went along Adams too before turning down along Winchester.
“Then I’m doubly glad that you came along, Brian,” Harriet said, remembering his name from one of the few times he’d come into the main office for something or other. “I was actually contemplating giving up the ghost and heading back home.”
“Well if there was ever a day to just stay in bed, this is certainly it,” Brian remarked, reflecting his own thoughts when he’d first looked out the bedroom window this morning. If he’d had a better attendance record, it would’ve been a serious consideration.
“Don’t think that didn’t occur to me,” Harriet replied as she stuffed her now damp cloth back into a pocket, “but if I didn’t come in today and make sure the payroll was put in right, you, I and a lot of other people wouldn’t be getting paid at the end of the week.”
“In that case, I’m now even gladder that I saw you when I did,” Brian grinned, thinking how hard it would’ve been to stretch out what was left of last week’s check. Tactfully, he left out the part that if he hadn’t seen the company logo, he probably would’ve kept on going.
Having made that bad decision to head in the opposite direction that most of the traffic had gone actually turned out to be the best decision Brian could’ve made. Mr. Harris was so relieved to see Harriet walk in the door that he made no mention of the fact that Brian was almost an hour late. It had been many years since the businessman had done his own payroll and he wasn’t enthusiastic at the prospect of trying to figure out the computer program that handled it now. He simply told Brian to check the clipboard hanging in the outer hall for the day’s deliveries.
Doing so, Brian was relieved to see that just about every outdoor construction site had been shut down by the weather, which left only a handful of stops at places where the majority of the work had moved inside. As it turned out, his work day was done early enough for him to stop back by the office to see how Harriet had made out with her car. She had mentioned before he’d left that she was going to call her mechanic and see if he could pick it up at her house. The garage was only two blocks away.
Harriet thanked him for his concern but said she started to and then decided not to call the mechanic after all. That car had been on its last legs for a while, she said, and it seemed like it didn’t start more times than it did. Pouring even more money into it seemed too much of an iffy proposition. She’d been planning to replace it but was hoping it would last just a little longer so that she could find something more reliable and still affordable. The last thing she wanted to do was just trade one set of headaches for another.
Having bought a five hundred dollar lemon the week after he’d gotten his license back in high school, one that also spent more time in his driveway than on the road, Brian could well sympathize with her predicament. The only reason he now had the pickup, old as it was but with a rebuilt engine, was that his Uncle Alex had developed some vision problems and could no longer drive it.
“You know, I was just thinking,” Brian said as he sat on the edge of the desk. “Why don’t you ride in with me until you get your new car?”
Actually he hadn’t been thinking, but the words just seemed to come out of his mouth. No sooner had he spoken them than he wished he could’ve taken them back. It wasn’t that the side trip was really out of his way, but did he really want to commit himself to picking her up and driving her home for however long it took to replace her car?
Harriet didn’t answer immediately, the look on her face saying she was considering the proposal. Trying to keep his own expression neutral, Brian was frantically hoping she turned it down.
“That’s it really generous of you, Brian,” Harriet began, an opening that could go either way, “and I think I’m going to take you up on it.”
Brian felt his heart drop.
“But only on two conditions,” she added.
Brian felt his heart jumpstart, hopefully at least one of those conditions would turn out to be a deal breaker.
“First, that we give it a two week trial run, just to see how it goes,” Harriet said, “and if one of us finds that it’s too much of a problem, then that will be it.”
Nodding his head, Brian thought that was pretty sensible, especially since it gave him an easy out. Two weeks wasn’t that long after all.
“And secondly,” Harriet continued, “I’d like to contribute something to help pay for the commute, say the cost of what gas I would’ve used anyway getting from my house to the office and back.”
That definitely wasn’t a bad offer, Brian thought. Having someone else putting gas in his tank certainly did a lot to reduce his reluctance to his own hastily made offer. Doing a quick calculation, he figured her contribution would cut his travel expenses to work by over half if not two thirds.
“Fair enough,” he heard himself say.
“Fine,” Harriet replied, “I’ll see you in the parking lot at five-thirty then. Now you better make yourself scarce before Mr. Harris sees you and decides he’s not paying you to sit around and watch raindrops fall.”
Having been on the receiving end of Mr. Harris’s idea of busy work before, Brian was quick to follow that advice.
The end of the day finally arrived and Harriet was waiting for Brian by his truck in the company parking lot. It turned out to be a lot easier to chat on the way home, due to the skies now being clear and the ice between them now being broken. Harriet, much to Brian’s surprise, turned out to be quite personable. Not at all what he thought a woman her age would be like. Then again, it wasn’t like he knew a lot of women her age, other than relatives and friends of his parents, to make a comparison against.
Over the two week trial period, they learned quite a lot about each other. Harriet, Brian learned, had been with the company a little over ten years now, having started there soon after she’d divorced her husband of twelve years. She hadn’t mentioned why they had split, but did say that it had been her second marriage. Evidently, she had also married her high school boyfriend right out of school. An ill-considered action about which a divorce less than six months later said all that needed to be said about it.
She in turn learned that Brian had originally planned to go to Northern State University on a baseball scholarship, but had done permanent damage to his left ankle during the last semester of high school. His injury had pretty much healed, but the award had been withdrawn.
Brian also, somewhat reluctantly admitted that he didn’t have a steady girlfriend, preferring instead to date around. Harriet had laughing asked him didn’t he mean “sleep around”, a question that had left him too stunned to answer it. Still, she grinned, he hadn’t denied it either. Given his admittedly cute looks and athletic build, Harriet guessed he had no trouble keeping his dance card filled.
Brian had been surprised at the end of that first week when Harriet handed him a twenty dollar bill to cover her share of the gas. Even with the cost of gas rising as it was, that was overly generous. When he protested that it was too much, she countered that the rest was for his inconvenience.
Two weeks turned to four, and then six, until their daily trip had become so routine as to feel amiss on the few days that they hadn’t traveled together. Then, at the end of that sixth week, just as they parked in front of Harriet’s house, she told him that she was picking up her new, at least to her, car over the weekend. Even though he knew it was going to come sooner than later, the announcement left Brian with a keen sense of disappointment.
It wasn’t just the extra money in his pocket, although that had been nice when he went out on the weekend. He had genuinely developed a sense of affection, he guessed he would call it, for the older woman, looking forward to their daily commute. Having a woman to talk to, one that wasn’t related to him or wrapped up in the games that went with dating was a new experience. As hard as it might have been for him to have imagined on that rainy day, they had become friends.
Not that the friendship hadn’t come without some cost. It hadn’t taken that long for people to take note that the two of them came in and left together. Of course no one really believed that there was anything to it but car pooling, but that didn’t prevent a few jokes, some of them even off-color, to be made about the odd couple.
Most of them had been laughed off with a grin, but only two nights before, one joke went over the line. A driver on an earlier shift than Brian had come back to the parking lot to pick up his car after downing a few at a local tavern after work. Seeing Brian waiting by his truck for Harriet, who had been delayed by some last minute paperwork, the driver had made a raunchy comment that not even a few too many beers could excuse.
Reacting before he could consider the implications, Brian decked the drunk with a powerful right cross that carried all the force of his five foot nine, one hundred and eighty pound frame. Thankfully, his target was so inebriated that all he got out of it was a bloody nose. A friend of the drunk, who had been the designated driver for the duo was quick to get him up and into his car, telling Brian it would be better for all concerned if they just forgot what had happened. Evidently, the first man had gotten in trouble drinking before.
Of course an incident like that wasn’t going to stay private and by the middle of the work day, just about everyone had heard some version of what had happened. The only people not talking about it seemed to be the people that were actually involved. Harriet heard about it during lunch, but didn’t say anything to Brian until they were almost at the end of their homeward trip.
“I really wish you hadn’t lost your temper with Johnny Drake,” she said.
“I hadn’t intended to,” Brian said. “It’s just that every time I turn around, someone seems to be making one of those stupid comments, and this time what he was saying something that I just couldn’t just let go by.”
“Care to share what he’d said?” she asked.
“Not really,” Brian answered, actually turning a little red at the thought.
Harriet chucked at his embarrassment, saying that she didn’t know if he had noticed, but she was a big girl now and there probably wasn’t much that she hadn’t heard before. In fact, there was little that she probably hadn’t done before.
“So come on, spill it,” she said, sounding much like his mother did when he was a little boy and had done something to get himself in trouble.
“He, he suggested that you and I were,” he started to say, “he insinuated that there was an intimate aspect of our friendship, but he put it in a lot more graphic manner.”
“Is that all,” Harriet laughed.
“You think that was funny?”
“Honestly,” she replied. “I think some of those jokes are sort of flattering.”
“Well yes,” Harriet explained. “The very idea that a good looking young man like yourself would be interested in an old lady like me. It actually its also quite laughable when you think about it, I mean the idea that someone might seriously think that.”
“Why would you say that?” Brian asked in turn, not really seeing it as having been humorous in the least. “I think a guy would be pretty lucky to have a pretty woman like you interested in him.”
“I didn’t say that a woman my age wouldn’t be interested in an attractive younger man,” Harriet clarified. “What I said was that there was no reason for him to be interested in her. Not when there are so many other younger and more attractive women around for him to pick from.”
“You don’t think you’re attractive?” Brian asked.
“Oh maybe twenty or so years ago,” she replied, exaggerating her response.
Truth was, Harriet was still quite happy with the image that looked back at her when she passed a mirror. If asked to give a quick description of the woman in the reflection, the phrase that she looked good for her age was the first thing that came to mine. Harriet Lowell would never fall into that category of women who looked ten or twenty years younger than the calendar said they were, but that had never been her goal.
Standing a good six inches shorter than Brian, Harriet weighed less than twenty pounds more than she did in high school. Her hair had turned prematurely white between marriages, some said it was the result of that first misadventure. Rather than spend the rest of her life hiding it beneath a store bought substitute, she had instead embraced the change. Not everyone could’ve carried that off at such a young age, but she did. Wearing it cut quite short, the absence of color made her face look striking rather than old, a condition that had continued to this day. Men still looked at her when she passed by, but given who was usually doing the looking, she seldom looked back.
Their arrival at her house had cut short their discussion of the parking lot incident and by the next morning, it seemed best to leave it in the past. Now, despite her laughing it off, Brian couldn’t help but wonder if the incident had led to her sudden rush to replace her mode of transport.
“I guess that come Monday you’ll be riding back and forth by yourself again,” Brian said, more a statement than a question.
“Well, that was our agreement, wasn’t it?”
“I guess it was,” he answered, hiding his regret.
“Well then, that is that,” she said as she reached into her purse and handed him two twenty dollar bills. “I realize that I’m giving you short notice and you might’ve made plans based on having a little extra money, so I want to put in for next week’s gas too.”
“No, I couldn’t take that,” Brian insisted, refusing to accept either bill until she took one back.
“Are you sure?”
“Okay,” Harriet relented, putting a twenty back in her bag. “If I can’t repay you that way, then maybe I have another idea. Why don’t you come by tomorrow night and I’ll make you a nice dinner. I’ve lost track of how many times you’ve complained about the food at your house and believe it or not, cooking is one of the few things neither of my husbands ever had reason to complain about.” She paused a few seconds to let him consider the idea, then added, “That is of course if you don’t already have any plans.”
She could see he was considering the idea. If there was once thing she’d learned Brian loved, it was good food. It wasn’t that his mother was a bad cook, it was that the menu in his house was usually made up of the five or six simple dishes that his father enjoyed and no matter how good they were, having the same thing week in and out got old pretty fast.
“Dinner sounds like a great idea,” Brian finally said, ignoring the fact that he already had a date with Sally Quinn tomorrow night.
He knew that Sally would be really pissed off when he canceled, especially at such short notice. Most guys would’ve thought he was crazy giving up a night with Sally for some old lady’s cooking, but if there was one thing he’d learned in his short life it was that there was no shortage of girls who were great in the bedroom, but women who were great in the kitchen were a rare commodity these days.
“Would a quarter past six be okay with you?” Harriet asked.
“That would be fine.”
“Good, then I’ll see you then,” Harriet smiled as she got out of the truck.
Just over twenty-four hours later, Brian was pulling his truck back into the same spot in front of Harriet’s small house. Checking the clock, he was glad to see that he was five minutes early. Especially since he had been sure that he was going to wind up being at least ten minutes late.
He’d started the morning as he did most Saturday mornings, at the crack of nine-thirty. That was his usual practice even if, like in this case, he hadn’t gone out the night before. First thing on his agenda, once he visited the bathroom was to call Sally and cancel tonight’s date.
He’d honestly tried to call her last night, only to be told that she was out for the evening. Her parents were also out and it didn’t seem right to leave a message with the fourteen-year-old babysitter that was watching the two youngest Quinns. Of course he had her cell phone number, but calling a girl while she was on a date to cancel the one you had with her seemed pretty wrong. Texting it would be downright tacky.
To say that Sally was furious when he finally got her on the phone would’ve been quite the understatement. She spent the better part of ten minutes yelling at him, not realizing that he had the phone on speaker and was getting dressed while she ranted. Finally, she told him he could go fuck himself, a physical impossibility even though he was agreeably endowed, and hung up.
Hitting the disconnect button, Brian actually felt a little guilty about it all. Then he realized that there was no way that a girl like Sally Quinn was going to be sitting at home on a Saturday night unless she was gravely ill. Undoubtedly, she was already on the phone with one of her other admirers, telling him that her plans for the evening had unexpectedly changed and if he were free, she’d love to go out with him.
The odds were that Sally being Sally, and if the guy on the other end of the phone was anything short of engaged, he was saying yes and already trying to come up with a really good excuse to give when he broke his preexisting date. That he already had a date would be a given because if she wasn’t popular, she wouldn’t be looking to go out with him. No mercy dates for Sally Quinn.
Putting Sally out of his mind, Brian rummaged through his closet for a minute until he found his long gym bag. If Saturday nights were for partying, Saturday mornings were for getting together with the guys to play baseball. The former All-City might no longer be scholarship material, but he still loved to play the game. Of course the game didn’t start until noon since the Little League had the field until then. Which suited the guys that played just fine since a majority of them probably only got home a few hours ago themselves.
The Little League game had run late, as had the one between the older players, so it wasn’t until after three-thirty that Brian got back home. The long list of chores his parents expected him to take care of, which would’ve been a lot shorter if he wasn’t constantly putting them off until the weekend, took another two hours and it was all he could do to jump in the shower and change into a clean shirt and slacks before heading back out.
Standing on the small porch of the single story house, he rang the doorbell and waited for a response, thinking it funny that he’d sat in his truck out in front over the last month and a half and never thought to just come up and ring the bell rather than simply wait for Harriet to come out. Okay, she was usually very punctual and he was never waiting for more than a minute or two, but still it now seemed funny for some reason.
The door opened and there stood Harriet in a casual summer dress, a simple blue and white floral print with short sleeves and a hemline that stopped just below her knees. All in all, a lot more comfortable look than the outfits she wore to work every day.
“My don’t you look dashing,” Harriet said as she invited him in, having used the few moments that Brian had been looking at her attire to do the same to his.
Brian glanced down at the light blue polo shirt he’d tossed on and the tan slacks that went with it. It was his normal weekend attire and he didn’t see anything special about it. Then he realized that just as he was used to Harriet in the plain conservative outfits she wore in the office, all she had ever seen him in was t-shirts and jeans.
“I brought this,” he said, handing her the paper bag he suddenly remembered he had in his hand.
Taking the package, Harriet lifted a bottle of wine out of it, pausing to read the label.
“This was very nice of you,” she said, “but you really didn’t have to spend this much money. Any table wine would’ve been fine.”
The look on his face told her he had no idea how expensive a bottle he had brought.
“You did buy this, didn’t you?” she asked, worrying for a moment that he might’ve gotten it another way.
“Well,” he replied, his response a little hesitant, “I sort of took it from home. I can’t go into a liquor store to buy anything yet, at least not legally.”
That answer surprised Harriet, prompting her to ask him how old he was. The look on her face said that his answer wasn’t what she had expected.
“Really, I was sure that you were at least three or four years older than that,” she said, then again glancing at the bottle added, “Well, I won’t tell anyone if you don’t.”
Brian wasn’t sure if she was talking about his still being a teenager or his theft of the bottle of wine.
Leading Brian into the living room, Harriet told him to make himself comfortable while she put the wine on ice. Taking a seat on the couch, Brian glanced around the room; taking in its simple but comfortable décor. On a small end table sat a double frame, in each side of which rested photographs of a younger Harriet and a man. It didn’t take lot of thought to realize that the men in each were the former husbands that she had mentioned.
“I see you’ve found my rogue’s gallery,” Harriet said as she stepped back into the room, holding a small tray of sliced meat snacks and cubes of cheese.
“Your husbands?” he asked, just to confirm his assumption.
“That’s them all right,” she said, setting the tray down on the coffee table and herself next to Brian.
“The one on the right is Rick,” she explained as she popped a piece of cheese in her mouth. “We dated our last three years of high school and back then we thought we would be together forever. So much so that we got married before graduation year was over. People assumed that I was pregnant because of the rush, but the simple truth was that neither of us really thought it out. We just foolishly assumed that being married would be just like one never ending date.”
Also sampling the treats on the table, Brian listened in rapt fascination to her story.
“But real life is never like that we soon learned,” she continued, “especially when you have to come up with things like the rent, the utility bills and so on. Both of us were working, but with the jobs that we could get with only a high school diploma, there never seemed to be anything left over. We spent more time arguing over money than anything else.”
Brian nodded his head. Even living at home, with few bills of his own, he always seemed to be short of cash come the end of the week.
“And then,” she went on, “about five months into it, it looked like I might actually be pregnant. Back then of course, you couldn’t just walk into a drug store and buy a home pregnancy kit. The week while we waited to see a doctor at the local clinic was the longest of my life. Faced with the prospect of losing half our income, on top of the expense of having a baby, we finally realized what a mistake we’d made. When the test came back negative, we couldn’t get the divorce papers drawn up quick enough.”
As she had been telling her story, Brian couldn’t get over the thought that the Harriet in the photograph was actually a year younger than he was now. She definitely had been a hottie. Then again, shifting his attention to the second photo, taken about a decade later, he decided that if anything, Harriet had only gotten better with age.
“By the time I met and married Robert Lewiston, I obviously had grown a lot, both physically and emotionally, and we were of an age where we were also a lot better suited financially for setting up house together. And for the first ten years we did pretty well, with the normal bumps in the road that every married couple has to expect. Yet, after that, things began to change and to this day, I really couldn’t tell you exactly why. To say that we just fell out of love seems too simple an explanation. There wasn’t anyone else involved for either of us, it was like we woke up one morning and discovered that we were two people living together for no reason other than we’d been doing it for so long.”
That, Brian thought, could describe a lot of people he knew.
“Oh we gave it a go for another year or so,” she added, “but finally we decided what was the point? We never had any kids so it seemed better to just admit we were at an end and take it from there.”
“Wait a second, your last name is Lowell, right?” asked Brian.
“Yes, after the second divorce I went back to using my maiden name,” she explained. “A whole new beginning so to speak.”
“Did you ever hear from him after that?” a curious Brian asked.
“Actually yes,” Harriet smiled, as if recalling a pleasant memory. “He moved out west to start over and married a woman he met there. I still get a Christmas card from them every year.”
“But you never...”
“Married again?” Harriet said, completing the question. “No, twice seemed quite enough. Oh it’s not like I’ve been living a cloistered life, but I think I’m a little too set in my ways now to try it a third time.”
A timer going off in the kitchen brought the story to a close and Brian followed Harriet back into it. Living alone, she saw no need for a dining room so the plates were set out on the kitchen table, which was actually the sort of breakfast nook that you might find in a restaurant. The service was Correlle dinnerware, set out for two.
“Well, what do you think?” Harriet asked ten minutes later after Brian had a chance to sample her Chicken Marsala.
“This is incredible,” he managed to say between bites.
“Would you like some more?” she asked, seeing that he had already finished most of the portion.
“Yes, please,” Brian answered.
“It’s been a while since I’ve really had the chance to cook for someone, I’m glad you’re enjoying it so.”
In the end, Brian enjoyed it so much that there were only scraps left on the stove by the time he was finished. The garlic potatoes and sweet corn that had accompanied the chicken also disappeared just as quickly, as did the bottle of wine that he’d brought.
“I hope your parents don’t miss that bottle too soon,” Harriet commented as she drained the last of her glass, “but it was delicious.”
“It was a gift from my Dad’s boss last Christmas,” Brian replied as he soaked up the last of the gravy and mushrooms with a slice of bread. “He’d never even taken the wrapping paper off so I doubt he’ll even notice it was gone.”
“He doesn’t like wine?”
“Nah, he’s pretty much just a beer drinker.”
The meal over, Brian helped Harriet clear the table and put the dishes in the dishwasher. She commented that this was the first time in a while that she’d had enough dirty dishes to actually use the machine. Usually she just washed her plates by hand and left them to dry in the rack.
“I made dessert too,” she said as she turned and the closed the washer and set it for delayed start. “Do you want to have it now or would you like to wait a while?”
“Could we wait until I digest what I’ve already eaten?” Brian asked.
“Of course,” she replied, leading him back into the living room.
They talked for a while, covering a range of topic, which just reminded Brian just how much he was going to miss their conversations on the road. Few of his friends seemed interested in anything other than sports or the latest music. Dwelling on that fact, he didn’t notice when the topic of discussion changed.
“Excuse me?” he said.
“I asked how your game went this morning,” Harriet repeated. “You did play this morning, didn’t you?”
“Yes I did,” he finally answered, remembering telling her that he played every week. “I got a few hits but I had to drop out of the game after the fifth when I hurt my shoulder. I think I pulled something when I slid into third.”
“Oh you poor thing, does it still hurt?”
“A little,” he replied, trying to make light of it.
“My left one.”
Standing up from the couch, Harriet walked around it and came up behind Brian. She put her hands on his shoulders and applied a gentle touch to his left one.
“This one?” she asked as her fingers pressed against his muscles.
“Hmmm, it is a little tight,” she noted, applying a little more pressure.
Before Brian could say anything, Harriet brought both hands to bear on his sore spot and began to work her fingers around it. Quicker than he would’ve thought possible, it actually began to feel better.
“I guess I should’ve mentioned that Robert was a physical therapist,” Harriet smiled as her hands continued to massage Brian’s shoulders and back, moving outward from the area he had hurt. “He taught me a lot about it while we were married.”
“I think you’re wasting your time doing payroll,” Brian said as, with eyes closed, he leaned forward just enough for Harriet to reach his lower back, “your fingers are magic. This has got to be the best massage I’ve ever had.”
“Robert used to tell me I was a natural,” Harriet laughed as she worked her fingers along his spine. “He even used to say that he’d rather have one of my massages than a blow...”
She stopped herself just in mid-word but even though she’d substituted something more innocuous, her original meaning was clear. Brian felt himself becoming more and more relaxed, thinking that her ex-husband had certainly known what he was talking about.
“It seems like you’re really enjoying this,” Harriet said, bringing her head close to Brian’s.
“Oh yeah,” he practically purred. “This is really great.”
“Better than being with whatever girl you broke a date with to have dinner with me tonight?” she asked unexpectedly. “And don’t tell me you didn’t already have a date for tonight because I know better.”
“Okay, yes I did have a date,” he admitted.
“And you broke it to have dinner with me?” she repeated, pointing out the obvious.
“Yes,” he practically moaned, enjoying the massage too much to detract from it by talking too much.
“Was she cute?”
“I asked was she cute,” Harriet said, “although if she was going out with you I’m going to assume she was.”
A lack of response confirmed that as well.
“Well then,” Harriet whispered into his ear as she moved even closer, “anyone who made a sacrifice like that should definitely get the full treatment.”
“Full treatment?” he asked, his eyes opening at the words.
Rather than respond verbally, Harriet leaned forward and pressed her breasts against the back of his neck, her hands moving down his chest at the same time. That felt even better and never one to turn down a good thing; Brian just closed his eyes again and let his head rest against her soft flesh as if it were a pillow.
Pleased with Brian’s acquiescence, Harriet brought her hands all the way down to his waist, then skirted just below his belt for a moment, curious to gauge his response as she broached forbidden territory. Pleased when not a word was raised, she took hold of the bottom of his shirt and pulled it up out of his pants and then high enough to expose his lightly haired chest. Slender fingers worked their way across his skin, caressing the flesh and rubbing against his nipples.
“Mmmmm,” Brian moaned softly, enjoying the press of her fingers.
Harriet gently nudged him forward, just enough so that she could ease off his shirt. Then she began to work on his bare shoulders, moving down his back, then coming around to his chest once more.
“Oh man, that feels really good,” Brian said as she again let the tips of her fingers drop below his belt.
“You know, I could make it feel really better,” she whispered into his ear, her face practically pressed against his.
Brian had a good idea what she was suggesting, but hesitated in responding. On the chance he was wrong, the last thing he wanted to get out was that he’d made a fool of himself hitting on a woman old enough to be his mother.
Harriet, however, was totally sure of herself as she once more ran an outstretched hand down across his chest and stomach, again crossing the line of his belt. This time, her fingers closed around the now quite visible bulge in his pants, massaging it gently for a few seconds while she used her other hand to tilt Brian’s head just far enough to allow a kiss.
Much to Brian’s surprise, Harriet’s kiss was just as sweet, if not more so than any he’d gotten from girls his age. Then again, he realized as he felt her tongue brushing against his own, she’d been doing this before any of them had been born. What else, he wondered, was the white-haired woman better at?
It didn’t take long for him to start to find out as Harriet stood up from behind the couch and told him to follow her. Brian assumed that she was leading him into the bedroom. A prospect that excited him more than he could’ve imagined only a short time before. Instead, to his momentary confusion, Harriet guided him toward the bathroom.
The bathroom was on a scale with the rest of the house, with a commode, a pedestal sink and a phone booth sized shower. Standing alongside the metal enclosure, she instructed Brian to remove his shoes and socks, which he quickly did, placing them just outside the door.
As he turned back into the room, Harriet took hold of his belt and pulled him to her. She kissed him again, this time more deeply then before. The thought that she was more than twice his age no longer came to mind, only that she was a sexy and exciting woman. One that was making no secret of the fact that she wanted him.
Undoing his belt, she let his pants fall to the floor. After Brian stepped out of them, she picked them up and carefully folded them before putting them out by his shoes and socks. Now Brian stood only in his boxer shorts as Harriet stepped back for a second to admire his near naked form.
Then, with a broad smile on her face, she bent down and, with a quick jerk on his underpants, pulled them all the way down to his ankles. Abruptly free of restraint, Brian’s cock, already quite erect, bounced upward with surprising force.
“Oh my,” Harriet laughed as his cock bobbled only inches from her face. “You are feeling good aren’t you?”