Chapter 1

Caution: This Romantic Sex Story contains strong sexual content, including Ma/Fa, Consensual, Heterosexual, Fiction, Spanking, First, Oral Sex, Petting, Safe Sex, .

Desc: Romantic Sex Story: Chapter 1 - First of nine parts; this is a tale of love lost and found. This is my second favorite from among the stories I've written and posted. I really my main characters here.

Two young men are in one’s backyard in heated discussion. Their exact ages, and precise occupations aren’t relevant. Both are well paid, upwardly mobile, and disgustingly healthy.

Warren scolded his friend, “Cal you’re not a kid anymore. It’s time you stopped frittering your life away and found a woman and settled down.”

Cal, whose full name is Caleb Burkheim, answered, “Cut it out Warren, I’m happy the way things are. I don’t need any woman around telling me how to live my life. It’s the solitary life for me.”

Warren, that was Warren Kaminski, Cal’s lifelong friend, wouldn’t let up, “You better start thinking about your future. No man is happy living alone. You need a good woman, a warm body beside you at night, someone to help with the cleaning, cooking, and the wash.”

“Look I have a maid. She comes in twice a week, cleans, and does the wash, and I like to do my own cooking thank you.”

Warren retorted, “Yeah, but what about that warm body at night.”

Laughing Cal snapped back, “I have Maggie.” He leaned down and patted the head of his six year old black lab retriever. “I have Maggie here. She sleeps in the bed sometimes, and she never nags except to go out and when it’s time to eat.”

Warren gave Maggie a scratch, “You’re hopeless buddy. Isn’t there any way I can get you meet a girl.”

Cal who was working on his lawnmower, answered, “I’d be interested if I could find a girl who wouldn’t end up being a warden.” He tightened a bolt on the belt that held the lawnmower blades in place, “You know anybody like that?”

Warren, squatting on his haunches next to his friend answered, “As a matter of fact I think there might be just such a girl.”

After tightening another bolt Cal tossed the wrench in the toolbox, he responded, “And she’s not somebody’s pet dog?”

“I wouldn’t kid Cal.” Scratching Maggie again, “You’ve got a dog. You need a babe.”

Cal, “And you think you’ve got one.”

“I do.”

“She weighs less than two hundred pounds?”

“A slight, slim young thing with a delicious figure,”

Cal inquired, “She doesn’t have one of those high pitched screechy voices?”

“This girl’s a perfect soprano.”

“No diseases?”

“Clean as a whistle.”

Cal stood up, having given up on any chance at fixing his lawnmower as long as his friend was around, “So you’ve found me a girl. She’s pretty, smart, well-shaped, and she doesn’t shed.”

Warren laughed, “And she’s dying to meet you.”

Cal laughed too, “That I doubt. OK, you want me to meet a girl. I’ll meet a girl. When and where?

Warren grabbed his friend by the shoulders, “I’ll pick you up tomorrow night at 7:00. We’re headed for the tavern.”

Cal answered, “No, I’ll meet you there at 7:00. I prefer to have my own transportation on the offhand chance you’re playing a joke.”

Warren answered, “OK, fair enough. Tomorrow night, 7:00 o’clock, at the tavern.”

The next evening Cal was predictably late. He’d never been very adept at dating; always finding a way to slide his foot in his mouth at the most awkward moment. A healthy happy guy, just a loser with girls, he only went this evening to appease his best friend.

Cal walked in. The tavern was reasonably well lighted by bar scene standards. He was able to see most of the way across the room.

The front of the tavern was home to a nice respectable restaurant. Here one could get a pretty decent home cooked meal at a halfway decent price. Sure it wasn’t a Denny’s with all you can eat pancakes, but they made good eggs in the morning, pretty good club sandwiches at noon, and great steaks to order at night.

The restaurant waitresses were mostly old timers; the kind who knew everyone’s parents, and weren’t reluctant to drop the, ‘hey you should have seen your kid the other night, yeah drunk as a skunk.’ Every small town has the type; home grown, honest, hardworking busy bodies who did their damnedest to keep everybody’s children off the streets when they were young and out of the calaboose when they were older. Cal had to admit he loved them.

Cal went through the restaurant and on back to the bar. The bar had a name. It was called ‘Aunt Sal’s Saloon’, after the owner. She’d even had a sign made up so everyone would know. As bars and restaurants went, it was a great place to hang around, lose at pool, foul up at darts, and stay unlucky with girls, at least that was the case if you had a name like Cal. He walked on in. The place hadn’t changed much. Hell, he’d only been away about three days.

At the far end there were two pool tables. He’d played on them once in a while. They were too close to the walls, and neither was correctly balanced; one good shot usually got most of the balls in one of the corner pockets. Even so, Cal wasn’t very good. He had a slight stance in one eye, and was a little bit myopic. That meant glasses and reliable inaccuracy. His pool playing was always good for a laugh, or as was the case with Warren, he was a good set up man to draw in some fish. Warren was a real ‘Minnesota Fats’ when it came to pool.

Warren was good at darts too, and at baseball, and football, and at just about anything that required anything approaching athleticism. Cal, well Cal was Warren’s unofficial cheer leader. Ever since they were in grade school the dialogue had stayed pretty much the same; ‘How did we do Cal, Way to go Warren.’

Cal didn’t care. Warren was his best friend. No the saloon never changed.

A teak wood bar extended the length of the back room on the south side, not that anyone else knew it was on the southern side. Two women, both middle aged, usually tended the drinks. A person was able to buy most anything; a simple domestic beer or almost any of the more exotic hard drinks.

Cal wasn’t much of a drinker. He had a weak stomach when it came to alcohol; two or three drinks in, be it beer or something hard, and he was ready for the porcelain throne. He liked the taste of whiskey; it just didn’t like him, so he and it agreed to stay mostly apart.

It was a clean place, at least clean for a tavern. There were numerous tables, most of which had at least one, maybe two legs a little off center, meaning they were easy to rock. Cal thought, ‘nothing like a table that turns over drinks.’

All the tables were covered with some kind of cloth, red and white checkers mostly but some were more simple. It was a good idea to keep the table tops covered. There were so many sets of initials, drawings, and phone numbers scratched in them Sally wouldn’t make any money. Everybody would spend all night reading.

Most of the tables had five or six chairs. But that more often depended on how many people were at a particular spot. One or two really popular people could draw twelve or fourteen chairs, while a nearby table might by the habitué of a single lonely seat. Regardless, one could rest assured at least some of the chairs were wobbly; always a scenario for an accident.

Cal liked people. In fact he’d always liked going to the bar. The only problem he had was he’d probably be at the table where the chairs disappeared to other places. It wasn’t that he was a stick in the mud, it was just that he was a stick in the mud; a great listener but a noncontributory block of wood when it came to conversation, and he thought he had about as much sex appeal as a slab of bacon, not that he was fat.

Cal wasn’t a fatso. He wasn’t especially skinny either; at least he didn’t think so. At six feet and one hundred seventy pounds, he thought he was pretty OK. That was Cal, pretty OK.

He looked around and spotted Warren. He thought, time to go get overlooked. Cal liked girls, he liked them a lot. He was just that perennial second place kind of guy. He couldn’t count how many times he’d heard the fabled phrase, “If I didn’t like so and so more, I’d want you to be my boyfriend.”

Well he considered, ‘time to go lose another round.’ He sidled over to Warren’s table.

Warren had his arm around his girlfriend Annie, “Hey Cal, I was getting worried.”

“I was a little late getting started, couldn’t decide what to wear.”

Warren looked over what Cal had on. He was wearing pretty much what he wore all the time, a pair of faded jeans, gray T-shirt, and tennis shoes, not exactly the debonair cavalier.

“You look good.” Warren kissed his girl on the cheek, “When are the girls coming?”

Cal looked confused, “Girls? I thought you said a girl.”

“Oh I did, but the girl we want you to meet has a friend staying with her, so we had to ask both.” Warren smiled, “Hey, you get a choice.”

Cal sat down. Laughing he said, “You mean I get to be told no twice.”

“That’s what I love about you buddy, always the optimist.”

Annie looked up, “There they are!” She waved at two girls who’d just come in the bar, “Over here!”

Cal had his back to the girls. He peered around, ‘Holy shit!’ One was drop dead gorgeous, and other was no loser. He figured he might as well pack up and go home now.

The girls sauntered over and sat down.

Cal and Warren looked the girls over. The girls looked Cal and Warren over too.

Annie broke the ice, “Sandy you know Warren. This other one is Cal. Cal this is Sandy.”

Sandy put her arm on her girlfriend’s shoulder, “This is Maureen.”

Maureen looked from Warren to Cal and back. She had that look on her face like she was wondering why she’d bothered to show up. She said, “Hi.”

Cal answered, “Hi.”

Warren gave the girls a generous smile, “Sandy you look terrific, and so do you Maureen.”

Cal thought, ‘They did look terrific.’

Sandy was clearly the extrovert. She looked it. Bright smile, clear complexion enhanced by a bucketful of freckles. She had beautiful blue eyes. She had on just enough eye make up to make her look really fresh and clean. She was wearing a snow white blouse, peter-pan collar he thought with dark blue piping around the collar and short sleeves.

She was wearing a short, and he thought really sexy, plaid mini skirt. It was pleated, and looked really hot, like in extra hot. She was wearing white tennis shoes and white socks.

She had small hands, smallish breasts; Cal guessed maybe a B cup, and the whitest straightest damned teeth he’d seen.

She had honey colored blond hair. He could tell it had a rinse or something in it. It looked great. It was combed out straight, and hung invitingly down around her shoulders. This was some high school’s prom queen once. He knew he’d never strike out, because he’d never get to bat.

Cal checked out Maureen too. Right away he knew she knew what he was doing, and he could tell she was put off by it. This one didn’t like male scrutiny. Maybe she didn’t like men? She still looked damn good.

Maureen had dark hair, dark brown, almost black. No rinse there. She had it in a kind of sloppy looking; I don’t care what I look like, bun. He bet she didn’t care what she looked like too.

She was wearing glasses, black horned rimmed glassed. Normally that would have been a turn off, but they looked good on her. She looked smart. He guessed between the two girls, Maureen was the brain.

She had a white blouse on too. Hers was a more a classic V-necked collar. The top three buttons weren’t buttoned, and he could see she had a nice pair. Her boobs were bigger than Sandy’s; maybe a C cup. ‘Nice set, ‘ he thought.

She had a kind of a short sleeved vest coat thing over her blouse. It looked good on her.

She was wearing a pair of loose fitting black knee length slacks. They matched her vest, and a pair of black leather lace up shoes with a slightly elevated heel, and black knee length socks.

Cal thought he liked them both. He was supposed to be with Sandy.

Maureen gave Cal a tired, slightly irritated look, “Seen enough?”

Cal was flustered. He knew he’d been looking. Wasn’t that what he was supposed to do? He didn’t know what to say, “Well I guess so.”

Maureen exuded a minimalist grimace. Looking at Sandy, “Not exactly a barracuda, huh.” She looked at Cal, “I bet you drive a pick up.”

“As a matter of fact I do,” responded Cal.

Sandy slid over close to Cal. Cozening up she looked at Maureen, “He’s my date. You go get your own.”

Maureen looked askance at Sandy and with undisguised contempt at Cal, “Think I will.” She got up and walked toward the bar.

Cal knew he’d been put down. He was used to it, but he didn’t like where Maureen was headed. All saloons had bars, and all bars had their hierarchical placements. Maureen was headed straight toward the lowest end of the tavern food chain, “Someone should warn her, not all the guys here are the greatest.”

Sandy had her arm on Cal’s wrist, “Maureen’s a big girl. She’ll be all right.”

Cal blushed when Sandy touched him. He wasn’t the type that got touched much. He watched Maureen walk off. He recognized the guys she was headed for, and didn’t like them. It concerned him a little.

Sandy took his chin and turned his head, “Hey, you’re with me.”

Cal blushed some more and smiled, “Oh yeah.” He still had Maureen positioned out of the corner of his eye. He thought, ‘I hope she knows what she’s doing?’

Sandy watched the expression on Cal’s face. She considered, ‘This one’s really backward. Not her type at all.’ She smiled inwardly, ‘Maybe she’d have some fun. It was late in the summer, nothing much going on. Her boyfriend wouldn’t be back for several weeks anyway.’

She discreetly looked him up and down. ‘Not bad looking for a dope. Brown eyes, thick brown hair, messy though. Probably doesn’t own a comb. Calloused hands, nice tan, really works for a living she guessed. Sort of muscular in a skinny kind of way; not the greatest build, not the best looking either, but for an August tryst he’d do.

“So what do you do Cal?”

Cal looked back from the bar. He still didn’t like Maureen’s choice of new friends, “Oh I work for the government.”

“Really like what, you a carpenter or something?”

“No, actually I’m a researcher for the Federal government.”

“What do you research?”

“Ideas mostly, they pay me to study new ways to do things. I scour the Internet for inventions and inventors, and then I track them down and see if they need any help.”

Sandy was bored already, “Really, I thought by your tan and your muscles, you’d be someone who spent a lot of time outside.”

He liked the flattery, “I do try to get out when I can. I like to build things.”

“Like what?” She thought this wasn’t a guy; this was a nerd.

“Oh I try to build things out of wood. I built a boat this summer, a runabout, twenty-footer, hybrid style, but it’s my design. I like to build furniture too, built a rocker this summer.”

Sandy realized they’d found her a turkey, “Oh how interesting. Do you like to go swimming?”

“I love the water. That’s why I built the boat. I go fishing and swimming all the time.”

‘Crap, ‘ she conjured ‘worms and shit like that, ‘ “Oh how interesting. Would you take me out on your boat?”

Cal perked up. She liked him, “Sure I’d love to. You name the time.”

Sandy responded, “How about the day after tomorrow?” She looked around the tavern. The bar had a band; it had shown up, and they were about to play, “Do you like to dance?”

Christ thought Cal. He never danced, two left feet, “Gee Sandy, I’m not sure.”

“Come on, it’ll be fun.”

They both got up. The band had started to play an old Robert Palmer song. Cal liked Robert Palmer, but had no idea what the beat was.

They got on the floor and started to dance, or at least Sandy started to dance. Cal stood there stiffly and tried to pretend he knew what he was doing. Sandy had some moves. She danced all around him. She slid in real close, then slid away. She liked to dance, and she liked what she was doing. She was teasing the shit out of him.

Maureen was talking to two biker types at the end of the bar, but she was watching ‘Stupid’ out of the corner of her eye. She decided ‘Stupid’ was a good cognomen for Cal whatever his name was. He was out there making a fool of himself, or more accurately Sandy was making him look like a fool.

While Maureen spied on Cal one of the greasy bike guys grabbed her arm, “Hey pay attention to us.”

Maureen yanked her arm away, “Back off Jack!” She was surprised by the guy’s audacity. She didn’t like being touched, and especially not by guys like him.

The biker guy got off his stool and reached for her arm again.

Maureen backed away, “Get off.”

The two guys and Maureen were causing a small scene, not much of a scene, but enough to start to attract some attention.

Cal saw the guy grab her. He knew someone should have warned her. He smiled at Sandy, “Excuse me a moment.”

Cal was no hero, and when it came to any kind of fighting he was the last man anyone would want on his side, but he was still a gentleman, and Maureen looked like a damsel in distress. He slowly walked toward the two guys, “Hey let her go.”

Across the room Warren saw the scene develop. Cal wasn’t a fighter, never had been. That was Warren’s specialty. Everyone in the bar knew it too. Watching his buddy Cal, he knew he was in way over his head. Those biker dudes were tough hombres. Warren stood up; making certain the biker guys saw him.

The bikers weren’t impressed at all by Cal, but they saw Warren. It wasn’t worth risking a black eye over some girl. The first biker put up his hands, “Hey, we were just kidding.” Turning to his friend, “Come on, let’s head up the road.” They got up to go. On the way out one looked at Warren, “See ya.”

Everyone in the tavern knew why they’d backed down. That was everybody but Cal. He thought he’d done something special. He looked at Maureen, “Sorry, I didn’t mean to ruin your fun, but those two aren’t the greatest. I guess someone should have warned you about which end of the bar was best.”

Maureen had watched the whole thing. She, like everyone else, had seen Warren stand up. She knew what was what and who was who. She could have said something but didn’t, “Thanks Cal.” She walked away toward the more respectable end of the bar.

Cal strutted back to Sandy, “Sorry for the interruption. Where were we?”

Sandy put her arms around Cal’s neck, “My hero.” She kissed him on the cheek.

There was a smattering of laughter around the bar, but Warren was still watching out for his buddy. The laughter quickly died, and everybody went back to doing what they’d been doing before.

Cal hadn’t noticed the laughter. He’d been kissed. He was a hero. He felt like George Clooney.

For the next several minutes he and Sandy danced, or at least she danced while he mimicked what he thought was dancing. They did their routines through three more tunes; until at last, flushed and a little excited Cal assisted the cool and confident Sandy back to their table.

For another forty minutes or so Cal rambled on and on about boat building, rocking chairs, and miniature wooden windmills. Sandy gushed and simpered.

Meanwhile Maureen had had just about enough of the pigeons at the bar. She wanted to do something a little more entertaining. Slipping back to where Sandy, Warren, Annie, and Cal were she asked, “Does anybody shoot pool here?”

Cal laughed, “At those tables?”

Warren chided, “Oh come on Cal, there no that bad.”

Cal looked at Maureen, “The tables are a little shop worn; not exactly true.”

Maureen pinched Cal’s arm, “Come on show me.”

Cal wasn’t much at pool, but agreed to at least get Maureen started. Sandy and Annie tagged along. Warren wandered off in the direction of the men’s room.

One of the tables was in use, but the other one, the older less stable one, was vacant. Cal asked Maureen, “What do you want to play; some eight ball?”

She answered, “Sure why not.”

Cal set the balls up, and Maureen broke. The first game they played went to Cal. He was a little surprised. Maureen wasn’t very good, and he’d made some shots he never ordinarily made. He got the second and third games too.

After three games Maureen asked, “Want to make this a little more interesting?”

Cal knew he was a lousy pool player, but Maureen was worse. It wasn’t in his nature to take advantage of any one, especially a girl. He wasn’t built that way, “No. It wouldn’t be fair.”

Maureen insisted, “Oh come on, just a dollar a ball.”

Cal was not only poor at pool, he wasn’t a gambler. He’d have felt funny playing for a nickel a ball, “No Maureen let’s just play for fun.”

Maureen answered, “OK.”

Cal and Maureen knocked off two more games. Cal won both of them.

All the while Warren, Sandy, and Annie were partly watching, partly talking and arguing, and partly listening to the band.

Maureen asked again, “Let’s play a buck a ball.”

“Cut it out Maureen. I feel like I’d be cheating or something.”

Maureen contributed a different idea, “Look, you get a ball I’ll pay you a buck. If I get a ball you pay me two. That’s more than fair.”

Cal hesitated. It sounded better, but he’d won every game, and the last game he’d won by five balls. He wanted to be fair, “Look let’s make it one for me and three for you. That’s fairer maybe.”

Maureen answered, “Sure, I get a ball you pay three dollars, you get a ball I pay one.”

Cal kept trying to offer Maureen a chance to back out, “Well maybe, but that’s the only way I’ll play you for money, but I’d really rather not try to take advantage of you.” He didn’t want to do it; he sort of liked Maureen. It wasn’t fair to her.

Maureen laughed, “Don’t worry, it’s only money. How I piss it away is my business.”

They played another game and Call won by four balls. He was deeply chagrined having to take Maureen’s money, but she insisted.

They played another game and he won again.

Maureen volunteered to up the ante, “Look let’s make $5.00 a ball, even Steven.”

Cal answered, “Certainly not, but I will agree to pay out $5.00 for every ball you get, but I’ll only take $1.00 for mine, regardless of the difference.” Then he added, “Look Maureen, I’m not very good at this, but you’re worse. I don’t want to cheat you. Come on, let’s just play for fun.”

Sandy, Warren, and Annie had been watching a little more closely. Warren was a little worried about the direction of the betting, but Sandy thought it was fun.

In fact Sandy offered to change the stakes again, “Why don’t you make it $10.00 a ball Cal?”

Cal listened. This was Sandy, the girl who’d been his date. She’d kissed him when he’d protected Maureen her friend. He thought if he let the stakes go to $10.00 for each of Maureen’s balls, that would really impress her, “OK,” he said, “Maureen, for every ball you make I’ll pay out $10.00.”

Maureen giggled, “OK Fast Eddie, rack the balls.”

Cal, gentleman extraordinaire, racked the balls. He insisted that he break so Maureen would get the second shot. He even made it a loose rack so the balls would spread around more easily. He racked and took his first shot. The balls, just as he hoped, rolled all over the table. None went in.

Cal looked the table over. Maureen would have a clear field. He felt a keen sense of true nobility.

Maureen looked the table over too, “I think I’ll try the low balls.” She started shooting. It didn’t take long before a pretty nice crowd was around the table. Maureen wasn’t a lousy pool player, she was a pro. It took her about five minutes to clean the table; all seven low balls, plus the eight ball. She didn’t miss a shot.

Maureen smiled at Cal, “Let’s see that’s eight balls, at ten dollars a ball, I think that comes to eighty dollars.”

Cal was stricken. He’d been hustled! He’d seen it happen to others, but never to him. He looked around the tavern. People were all laughing, laughing at him. He reached in his pocket, pulled out his wallet, and counted out the money. He handed it to Maureen, “Here you go. You won it fair and square.”

Maureen took the money, “Thanks Cal, want to play again?”

He answered, “No, that’s all right.”

Everybody in the bar had a good laugh. Call looked around. Maureen had made a fool of him. No, actually, he’d made a fool of himself. This was his fault. He’d remember in the future to trust his initial instincts, “I think I’ll go have a beer.”

Sandy sidled up and put her arm around him, “She took advantage of you. I’m sorry.”

Cal looked down at her. She was so gosh darn pretty, and so sincere, “That’s all right. That’s how we learn. It was only money after all.”

Warren didn’t think it was so funny. He watched Sandy and Maureen. They were both in on it. He was sure.

They retreated to their table, all five of them. Maureen used Cal’s money and bought everyone a round of drinks.

Everyone at the table was having a good time, everyone but Cal. He knew he’d been swindled, and he knew he was made to look like a fool, by a girl even. After a polite interlude he quietly announced it had been a long day, he was tired, and needed to get to bed.

Maureen watched Cal leave the tavern. She thought of the Broadway play Chicago and one of its better songs, ‘He had it coming’.

Sandy walked him to his truck. When they got there she handed him a piece of paper, “Here’s my number. Don’t forget you promised me a boat ride.”

He was surprised she remembered. He figured she’d had enough of him, and would want to find another guy, a winner. He answered, “Sure, I’ll call you tomorrow and we’ll set up a time.”

Sandy reached up, put her hand on the back of his neck, and kissed him, “Don’t forget.” She turned and skipped away.

Cal got in his truck, a dark blue Dodge diesel, started the engine and pulled away. He thought, he’d lost a lot of money, but things hadn’t turned out too bad. He’d met a nice girl and her shitty friend. Maybe something will come of it? He drove home, a little depressed but hopeful.

Later that evening after Annie and Warren left, Sandy and Maureen got in Sandy’s car and drove off.

Sandy said, “That guy Cal is a real fool isn’t he?”

Maureen answered, “Why do you say that?”

“Look Maureen you got him for nearly $100.00.”

Maureen answered, “No you got him for nearly $100.00. He wanted to be a gentleman, but he wanted to impress you with what a nice person he was. He knew he was lousy at pool; he just thought I was worse. I may have set him up, but you lowered the boom. He didn’t want to bet.”

Sandy replied defensively, “That makes him a real asshole doesn’t it. Any normal man would have seen the chance to make a quick dollar, but he was too sappy to see the chance.”

Maureen rebutted, “Oh he saw the chance. He was just too nice a guy, at least until you backed him into a corner. He only did it to impress you.”

Sandy changed the topic, “Did you know I made another date with him?”

Maureen responded, “Really?”

Sandy, “Yeah, he has this homemade boat. He wants to take me out on the water.”

Maureen chided, “You better watch it. He probably likes to fish.”

Sandy laughed, “Don’t worry; we know who the fish is.”

The two girls drove off into the night.

Chapter One, Part Two

Cal had everything planned for their first real date. They’d use his boat and go fishing. He called her up, and the first thing she said was, no fishing. Well OK, they could just go out for a boat ride, he’d pack a lunch, and they could pull in at a spot he knew. She said that was great, but she’d meet him at the public put in. They set a time, and Cal was on his way; a date with a great girl, a girl who really liked him.

Around mid-morning Sandy called Maureen, and told her where she’d be, and who she’d be with.

Maureen asked, “Are you sure he’s ready for you?”

Sandy laughed, “Is he ready for prime time? No I don’t think so, but I’ll have some fun.”

Maureen admonished, “OK, just remember he’s Annie’s and Warren’s friend. Have fun, but don’t let him down too hard.”

Sandy giggled, “Don’t worry, this one’s too stupid.”

Maureen wasn’t so sure. She thought ‘Stupid’, her name for Cal, was too much of a gentleman, too much of a romantic, for the likes of Sandy.

Sandy found the boat put in. Cal was already there, and he had his ‘vessel’ already in the water. He looked good, she thought. Better than she had a right to expect. He was pretty muscular, no Adonis, but pretty well built. He still hadn’t found a comb for his hair, but out in the sunny sky it didn’t look half bad. He had on a wrinkled white T-shirt, a pair of equally wrinkled up khaki shorts, and of all things a pair of work boots, at least they were low cut; a real Beau Brummel.

She took one look at the boat and nearly gave up. He’d said it was homemade and a hybrid and he wasn’t kidding. It was a very homely looking glorified rowboat with an outboard motor strapped to the rear, or aft, or whatever they called the back end of a boat. It did have a small windshield, and he’d fashioned some sort of stupid looking umbrella thing to the middle, but otherwise it had more the look of a miniature Titanic, something ready to sink.

She smiled as she got out of her sports car, “Hi, are we all ready?”

Cal beamed, she’d actually come, “We sure are. Since you didn’t want to fish, I made a picnic lunch. How do you like fried chicken, potato salad, and beer? I brought a bottle of white wine just in case you didn’t like beer.”

Oh great she thought, grease, starch, and a carbohydrate drink, “Sounds wonderful,” she said, “I just love it.”

He helped her climb aboard. She looked marvelous, but a little under dressed. She had on one of those tight fitting summer T-shirts. It was a beautiful pale blue that matched her eyes. She had on a neat looking pair of white shorts, and tennis shoes, “Do you have any sunscreen? It could be a hot one today.”

Shit she thought, “No I forgot.”

He grinned broadly. He figured she’d forget, “Don’t worry I have mine.”

He settled her in the front of the boat. Gave her his bottle of Coppertone, and scampered aft to the motor, “I’ll get us started, and we’ll ride down the bay. I know a great place where we can stop for lunch. He reached down and pulled up a big plastic bag, “Look I brought a blanket!”

Great she thought; I’ve got WalMart sun lotion, and a scratchy army blanket to look forward to. He’s going to pay for this, “This is terrific Cal!”

He started the outboard motor, untied the rope that held the boat to the landing, and started down the channel. In no time they were cruising along at a terrific clip. He knew how fast the boat could go, and he knew the places in the water to avoid. Sandy sat up front, and as he powered the boat to go faster she got a good whiff of spray and a real taste of the breeze.

In a few moments Sandy forgot she was with a jackass on a stupid old homemade boat. The wind and the water were delightful. Soon she was soaking wet, hair flowing outward, and cheeks aflame. She was enjoying every minute of it.

True to his word Cal knew a great place. It took them about thirty minutes to get there. He drove the boat right up on the beach, hopped out, and plopped the metal anchor on the sand.

He ran back and held out a hand, “Here Sandy let me help you out.”

She eagerly took his hand. The boat ride was more fun than she expected. Most of her past boat trips had been on much larger and much more elaborate craft. She never imagined she could have this much fun on anything this cheap.

“Want to go for a walk?”

“Sure,” responded Sandy, “is there anything around here to see?”

Cal answered, “It’s a surprise.”

He held her hand and together they walked along the short beach till they came to a path, “This way,” he said.

Sandy followed, but wasn’t much impressed.

He walked her around a short bend and pointed, “Look.”

“What,” Sandy asked?

“Look there,” he said.

All she saw was an old graveyard, “That?”

“Come on over and look,” he said.

Sandy walked over and checked out the headstones, “So what.”

“Look how old they are,”

There were four stones, two were large, and two were much smaller. She read the dates and the inscriptions. It was obviously a mother and father and two children. The dates on the graves placed them in the mid Eighteenth Century, “Yeah,” she said, “I see four graves from the 1700’s.”

Cal was looking at them like they were sacred treasures, “I found these graves when I was a boy. You’re the first person I’ve shared them with. I don’t think anybody else knows they’re here. I think it’s kind of sad, two children and two parents, and they’re so old.”

She looked at the stones with no interest, “Yeah sad, and old.” Was this supposed to be something special? Sandy had been all over Europe, a place Cal had obviously never visited. It wasn’t unusual to find graves eight even nine hundred years old in the cemeteries in Europe, “I’m hungry. You said you had chicken?”

Cal was a little disappointed. He thought for sure Sandy was the sentimental type, and she’d be impressed by the graves. He guessed she wasn’t as sentimental as he’d thought. That was OK though, “Sure come on back to the boat. I’ll get the grub out, and we can chow down.”

Sandy was incredulous, did he say grub? Did he say chow down?’ She smiled, “Yeah, let’s eat some grub.”

Cal’s smile covered every inch of his face. He led her back to the boat. Spread the big brown army blanket, and placed the picnic basket and cooler in the middle.

Sandy looked at the spread; unbelievable! She saw a picnic basket. She thought of the musical Oklahoma. She was with Judd Fry, “Great, you brought everything but the ants!”

Cal whispered. He put his finger to his mouth, “Careful, don’t let them know we’re here.” He smiled.

Jesus thought Sandy, “Oh boy real paper plates, paper napkins, and plastic forks. You brought the works. Let’s dig in!”

Cal was so proud of himself.

Together they ate the chicken, potato salad, and both had a beer.

Sandy thought, in spite of everything the chicken was really good, not greasy at all, and the potato salad had just the right mixture of mayonnaise, mustard, and sesame seed. The beer was icy cold, and a great domestic brand, “This is great Cal. Where did you buy the chicken?”

“I didn’t buy it. I cooked it myself last night.” He was so proud. He’d done all that for her. He didn’t understand why she only ate one more piece.

Sandy acknowledged how good everything tasted, but to think his fingers had been handling everything she ate was a turn off. Though it wouldn’t have been as good, she’d have preferred some greasy KFC, “It’s delicious Cal, but I have to watch my weight.”

He looked her over. Her clothing had dried. Earlier he was able to see everything she had, her boobs, her brown aureoles, even her puss had shown through, “You look great to me just the way you are. I wouldn’t try to lose any weight.”

Sandy hoped she looked great. She spent enough time and money at the spas, “Thank you Cal,” she said sweetly.

They sat side by side on the blanket. She talked a mile a minute about anything and everything. He had trouble keeping up. Half the stuff didn’t make any sense anyway. He stretched back on the blanket, putting his hands behind his head, “I really like it here.”

Sandy leaned down beside him, “I do too.” She started kissing him. While she kissed him she took her hands and started playing up and down his body, down around his legs, on the insides of his thighs, around the nape of his neck and along his rib cage.

Almost immediately he felt his manhood stirring. He returned her kiss, but felt self-conscious about the condition of his pants.

Sandy saw what was happening, and started moving her fingers closer to the site of his embarrassment. How backward could one man be she thought? She crept her hand closer and closer to his crotch.

Cal rolled on his side facing her and tried to touch some of her body parts. He wrapped his arms around her, but every time he got anywhere near her breasts or inner thighs, she pushed him away. It pleased him immensely that she fended him off. It confirmed his earlier impression that she was a very good girl; probably a virgin even. He’d known she was a good girl all along.

They kissed, giggled, and laughed for quite a while. Then, like an alarm going off Sandy sat up, “What time do you think it is?”

Cal looked around, “Maybe 2:00, why?’

Sandy stood up, “I have to get back. My mother will be expecting me.”

What a great girl Cal thought she was concerned about her mother, “OK, You tidy up while I pack up the debris and get the boat back in the water.” In no time he had everything stowed away, the boat in the water, motor running, and powering back up the bay.

All the way back Sandy sat under the makeshift umbrella, glad it was there.

When they got back Cal helped her out, “Can I see you again?”

Sandy answered, “Sure, call me. We can go to a movie.”

“Great,” answered Cal, as he hoisted the boat back on its trailer, “I’ll call you tomorrow.”

Sandy was already halfway to her car, “Don’t call too early,” and zoom, off she went.

Cal drove home the happiest man alive. He and Sandy had had one great day. She liked his boat, ate his chicken, and they’d made out. What could have been better? When he got home he went straight to the newspaper to see what was playing. Cal was falling in love!

On the way home Sandy called Maureen on her cell, “Maureen you’ll never guess.”

Maureen responded on the other end of the line, “No tell me.”

Sandy went on about how the fool had made his own chicken and salad, taken her to look at some stupid graves, and how they’d played like two teenagers on the beach. It was all too surreal!

Maureen listened. She laughed at the appropriate times. She thought what a fool the man was, wasting his time on Sandy. He must really like her, and that was too bad. He sounded pretty backward, but pretty damned sincere too. He might not know what he was doing, but she figured some girl was going to find him. Whoever it was they’d be pretty lucky. She knew one thing, that girl wasn’t Sandy, and it sure wasn’t going to be her.

Two More Dates!

Cal got the newspapers and found the entertainment section. He checked out the movies, found a pretty good PG-13, and called Sandy the next day. She was ecstatic!

He picked her up at the tavern in his freshly washed and waxed truck two evenings later. They went to the movies. She wanted popcorn, and insisted he put the container between his legs on the seat. All through the movie she ate popcorn, breathed in his ear, and rubbed up and down the insides of his legs. Three or four times she found his manhood and rubbed that too.

Sandy seemed to enjoy the movie. It was a romantic comedy starring Paul Rudd, an honest hardworking kind of guy, and Reese Witherspoon a rich babe who fell in love with his honesty and sincerity. In the end everyone knew they were meant for each other.

He dropped her off back at the tavern, and asked if she’d like to go out again. She said sure. He asked if she’d like to go out to eat. She thought that would be a great idea.

Two nights later he was with her again in his truck. He’d made reservations at one of the nicer restaurants in town. They drove down, and after a brief wait were seated.

Sandy ordered lobster, so he had to stick with something on the less expensive side of the menu. She asked if the lobster was too expensive, but he decried the cost. He said he had plenty of cash. Actually he was strapped. He was on a tight budget owing to some college courses he was planning to take in September, and Maureen’s fleecing had left him kind of dry.

Still it was a great meal. Sandy took quite a few liberties with Cal’s thighs under the table. He worried if this kept up he’d have to give his little soldier a dishonorable discharge one of these nights.

Once dinner was over, though Cal had hoped they’d sit and spoon in the truck a while, Sandy insisted she had to get home early. Her mother needed her, so Cal got her back to her car at the tavern by 9:00, and drifted on back home alone.

As soon as Cal dropped Sandy off she called one of her other boyfriends, a fellow named Skip. There was a party at the club, and she didn’t want to miss it. Besides all the fawning and mooning over Cal had left her horny, so she thought she’d give Skip a treat.

Of course, she called Maureen, and told her to meet her at the country club. Maureen asked about her date with Cal. Sandy said it was great, but he was her early boy, she needed a late night with somebody else.

Maureen was amazed at Sandy’s cheek. She knew that ‘Stupid’ was all cow eyed over her. She only hoped Sandy would let him down easy. She got up, pulled herself together, and drove off to meet her girlfriend at the country club.

The girls met at the club, where they hunkered down over glasses of wine. Sandy wanted to keep Maureen informed about what she intended to do with the idiot Cal. Maureen thought the whole thing was a joke; not worth the time to tell the story.

Sandy explained, “Cal makes stuff. He makes boats, and chairs and shit like that, all very stupid. I don’t really like him, but he’s good for a few trips to the movies and some free dinners.”

Maureen chuckled, “Sandy you’re a bitch.”

Sandy added, “You know what else is fun? He gets so excited every time I touch him. I wiggle my finger at his scrawny ass and he gets turned on. I don’t think he’s been with a girl in years. For all I know he might be virgin.”

Maureen laughed at that, “A twenty something college educated virgin; that I’d like to see.”

Sandy yawned, “You can have him when I’m done.”

Maureen smiled, “He won’t be a virgin then.”

Sandy answered, “Oh yes he will.”

Maureen, “You mean?”

Sandy, “Right, he’ll get nothing from me.”

Maureen laughed out loud, “You really are a bitch.”

Sandy looked across the hall of the country club and saw Skip, “Look I’ve got to go now; kind of horny you know, and I owe Skip one.”

Maureen smiled, “See you later.” She watched as her friend walked off. She thought about ‘Stupid’. She was almost certain he wasn’t a virgin, but she bet he hadn’t had much experience. Shit, neither had she; there had been the backseat of an Explorer in high school, and one time at her old boyfriend’s Frat house when she got drunk. That was it.

She reflected on ‘Stupid’ a little longer. What was his real name, Cal something? He liked to fiddle with carpentry. Her father was out of town on business, and she’d wanted to surprise him with something. Maybe ‘Stupid’ could help her out.

Chapter One, Part Three

Cal had just hung up from a short conversation with Sandy. She agreed to meet him at the tavern that evening. They’d plan to have a drink or two, and then slip out to the lake. The town was holding its annual fireworks display, and if they used his boat, they’d get a great view of the ground action from the water. It wasn’t the Fourth of July or anything like that. It was August, but the anniversary of the town’s first settlement was in August, and the American Legion always had a carnival and there was always a big fireworks display the first night.

He got to the Tavern at 5:30 just like they’d agreed. He walked in; the place was only about half full. He didn’t expect to find a big crowd; he was only looking for Sandy. He sidled over to a group of her friends and ordered a coke, and he waited around till 6:00. She was late.

One of the guys asked, “You waiting for Sandy?”

Cal answered, “Yes, have you seen her?”

All the guys and girls around the bar had seen her. She’d stopped in a little ahead of Cal and met another boy called Skip. They’d left just before Cal got there, but no one told him any of that.

The guy who asked if he was there to see Sandy told him, “No, no one’s seen her today.”

All the others sitting around sort of looked back and forth or nodded their heads at each other, but no one had anything more to say.

Cal figured he’d wait a little while longer, “She said she’d meet me here. We have plans to watch the fireworks from my boat.”

One of the other men said, “She’s a great girl. You’re lucky.”

Call smiled, maybe he stuck his chest out a little, “Yeah, I like her a lot. We’ve been out several times.”

A couple of the men chuckled. One said, “She talks about you all the time.”

That made him feel even better, “Nice things I hope.”

One of the girls said, “You’d be surprised.”

Cal was glad to hear these things. It tended to confirm what he already thought, that maybe she was getting serious about him. He knew he was serious about her. Then, to his discomfiture Maureen walked in.

Maureen knew he’d be there. Sandy had stood him up for the chance to watch the fireworks with another guy. Sandy sent Maureen to make excuses. She walked over to where he was sitting, “Hi Cal. I have some bad news.”

Cal knew. Here it comes, “What Sandy can’t make it.”

“No she’s staying home with her mother.”

He grew concerned, “Hope it’s not serious” He overheard some of the other people laugh. Pretending not to hear he asked Maureen, “Maybe I should go over?”

Maureen put a stop to that, “No don’t do that. She’ll be too busy. Besides I have something I want to show you.” She pulled out a couple scraps of paper, “Sandy said you’re sort of a handyman, a do it yourselfer when it comes to carpentry.”

“I’ve done some things. Why?”

Maureen showed him the little pile of papers, “My Dad’s away on business, and I thought I’d make him something as a kind of surprise for when he came back.”

Cal wasn’t sure he especially liked Maureen. She’d taken him at pool, but this interested him, “Yeah, what have you got in mind?”

Maureen opened the wad of papers, “I thought I’d build him a gazebo.”

Cal refused to take this seriously, “Like a model he could put on the mantle.”

“No,” answered Maureen, “like a real gazebo he could sit under in his back yard.” She pushed the papers at him.

He took them and looked them over. He could see she or someone had taken some time to put it all together, but he could also tell the planner didn’t have a clue what they really wanted. He didn’t want to hurt this girl’s feelings, but he had to be honest, “This looks like a good start, but to tell the truth, the way this is laid out the thing won’t work.”

Maureen had put some time in on the gazebo idea, and was a little put off, “What do you mean it won’t work?”

Cal opened the papers out further, “Here see this, that’s not right, look this here won’t work, and that’s wrong and needs to be changed.” He saw the hurt on her face. He realized they were her plans, “Look let’s sit down and reexamine what you’ve got.” He wanted to be nice, “I think it’s good as a kind of embryonic concept. With a little nip here and a tuck there I think we could come up with a pretty good plan.”

Maureen had been on her way to telling him off, but maybe, by what he said, it wasn’t all that bad an idea, “You think you could tidy it up a little.”

“Sure,” said Cal. He looked at the barmaid, “Could we have a couple sheets of computer paper and a pencil?”

The waitress brought over what he requested. Maureen and Cal walked over to a nearby booth where the light was better and sat down. For two hours all anyone could see from the bar was two people intensely discussing and arguing about how to build a gazebo.

Around 7:30 outside the sun was setting. Cal suggested, “Why don’t we put this stuff aside for a while?”

Maureen was worn out, “Good idea.”

He said, “I’m sorry Sandy couldn’t make it, but you’re here, if you don’t have any plans maybe you would like to watch the fireworks from my boat?”

Maureen had nothing better to do, she felt guilty about robbing him the other day at the pool table, and she felt bad about lying to him about Sandy. He wasn’t exactly her cup of tea, but she could write it off as her good deed for the day, “Sure, why not.”

Cal looked her over. Immediately he knew he was being stupid. This woman was alert to that sort of thing, still he noticed her, how she looked, what she had on. She was pretty, prettier than Sandy in a lot of ways, and she had a better shape. Not only that, she was brainy. She was really into the gazebo thing, and she picked up on everything he said. She had a serious mind. He was crazy about Sandy, but she was a little flighty at times.

Maureen’s antennae went up. She knew instinctively when she was being sized up, and Cal had about as much subtlety as an elephant. She stretched just enough to let her bosom press out against her blouse. She pulled her stomach in. Wait a minute she thought. She wasn’t into showing off, and she certainly didn’t want to give ‘Stupid’ here a show.

She got up and dropped a $5.00 on the table, “I’ll pay. I owe you anyway.”

Cal took her $5.00 and pushed it in her hand, “No you don’t. I’m the man, it’s my treat.”

Maureen sighed thinking, stupid is as stupid does, “Suit yourself.”

They walked out and got in his truck.

Cal and Maureen rode down to the put in where he worked to get his boat in the water. To his surprise she pitched in and helped.

He watched her work the hoist. The blouse she had on was navy blue, and she kept it outside her knee length shorts. She had shapely, muscular, legs, and overall a very well built frame. Comparing her to Sandy he knew was a mistake. Sandy was his girl, and he really liked her, but Maureen’s shape certainly had it all over Sandy. Maureen had thick dark hair. He liked that. Shoot he thought, one girl at a time. Still he liked the idea that Maureen was somewhat intellectual.

He powered the boat to where they’d get the best view of the ground display and the pyrotechnics. He’d collected pillows and several blankets in order to make the boat as comfortable as possible.

They squatted down in the bottom and got ready for the show. It was a little tight, and Maureen found her best position was to lean up against Cal and rest her elbow and forearm on his lap. She was careful not to get too close to his crotch. Sandy had warned her about this guy’s proclivity to get hard at the drop of a hat.

The ground display started, and they both had a good time watching the picturesque scenes made by the works. When the sky works started both were warmed to the idea of a good show.

Maureen was enjoying the displays. Cal didn’t have a lot to say, but what he did say almost was always interesting, and he behaved like a gentleman. Still, she was tired, it had been a long day, and she was by nature an early riser. Some people she remembered were owls and some were larks. She guessed she was a lark. By 8:30 she was ready to go home, but she didn’t want to spoil the evening for him. She figured it was the least she could do. Even so it was tough to keep her eyes open.

Cal could see she was tired, “Here let’s relocate.” He moved around a little, shuffling the pillows and blankets into a makeshift bed. He laid his body on the harder flooring of the boat, “Lay on top of me, it’ll be more comfortable.”

Maureen was pooped. She readily agreed. Together they lay in the boat, he in the hard wooden bottom, her a little atop and beside him.

Cal lay there feeling physically schizophrenic. Everything touching the floor of the boat was in agonizing pain, but everywhere he was touched by Maureen he was in a state of heavenly bliss. The damn boat was hard and uncomfortable, but she was so soft, warm, and wonderful. He kept his arm around her for support, and sucked up the pain for the joy of her warm presence.

Maureen snuggled in close to Cal. She figured he was a little uncomfortable, but didn’t especially care. She was so relaxed and so at ease. She liked the situation. She rested her head on his chest. He was so comfortable to be with. For want of a better descriptor she thought she felt sort of kittenish. After a few minutes she dozed off to sleep.

Cal sat, or lay semi-prone, immobile, uncomfortable, stiff, and sore for nearly two hours. The fireworks display was stupendous, and if he wasn’t so damned cramped up he might have enjoyed it. He dare not move, one false move might awaken Maureen, and he didn’t want to do that. She might want to leave, and he liked being with her.

She looked so damned peaceful all curled up on him. Every now and then she squirmed. Damn she had some hard elbows! He discreetly brushed his hands through her hair. Wow was it thick, soft, and it smelled good too! Crap! Every time she moved he experienced a shaft of pain somewhere.

By the light of the exploding fireworks he could see her face. She was terrific! She had long eye lashes, and little round ears. Each ear had a tiny gem stone in it; they looked like little emeralds. She had a pretty little turned up nose, and a great heart shaped mouth. Her lips looked damned kissable, like they were all puckered up.

Cal swore he never saw a mouth that looked like hers before. That was definitely one kissable mouth. He did something stupid. He took his fingertips and touched her lips. She wriggled around. It must have tickled. He really liked it. He didn’t do it again though, too dumb he thought.

Finally, close to 10:00 he decided he couldn’t hold out any longer. He nudged her head slightly, “Maureen.”

She didn’t move.

He nudged her again, a little harder, “Maureen.”

She grudgingly started to move, “What?” She nodded her head, “Where are we?”

Cal told her, “The fireworks are over.”

Maureen stirred around. She fumbled around with her legs and arms, feeling stiff, she asked, “What fireworks?” Then she remembered, “Oh them, what time is it?”

Cal answered, “It’s past 10:00.”

Maureen was coming awake, “Oh shit. I’m supposed to meet Sandy at the club.” Then crap she remembered; it had been her job to lie to Cal. She hoped she hadn’t given anything away.

“Isn’t Sandy with her mother?”

Maureen had to think of something, “She was, but a nurse was supposed to be on the way to relieve her. I was going to see her at the club to find out if she needed anything.”

It sort of made sense to Cal, but only in that odd convoluted way things made sense to women, “I’ll drive you over.”

Cal wasn’t a country club type of guy. He’d never been there, never been invited by anyone, never been asked to any of their dances, had little to do with most of the people who belonged, and fully understood why. He just wouldn’t have fit in.

Maureen was sitting up and stretching, “No that’s all right, just take me back to the tavern. I’ll drive from there.”

Cal asked, “You sure? Do you feel all right?”

Maureen answered, “Yeah, just get me to the tavern.”

Cal got the motor going, powered back to the put in, helped Maureen out of the boat and into his truck. He could tell she was at least as stiff and sore as he was. As they drove to the tavern he asked, “You’re sure you’re all right?”

Maureen responded, “Oh yeah.”

Once at the tavern she got out of his truck. He walked her to her car. Before she got in she put her hand on his neck, reached up and kissed him. Even in the dark she could see him blush. She thanked him for the fireworks, got in her car and drove off. As she left she recollected how Sandy said he acted like he was a virgin. Maureen wondered if Sandy wasn’t right.

As she sped away he yelled, “My pleasure!” He decided he liked Maureen in spite of the pool hustle.

Cal decided to go in the tavern and get a beer before heading home. He was tired, but believed he needed something first. When he walked inside it was like everyone in the room stopped talking and turned to look at him.

There was some hushed laughter, and a few giggles. One of the girls asked if he’d had a good time. He told them he and Maureen had watched the fireworks from his boat. Someone said something about fireworks to come. He didn’t understand what they meant, and paid it no attention. He got his beer, quaffed it down, and went home.

Chapter One, Part Four

The next day Cal was off from work so he had some free time. He made two phone calls.

First he called Sandy. He wanted to find out about her mother, and to see when they could go out again. When he reached her he asked, “Hi how’s your mom?”

Sandy answered, “About as well as can be expected.”

Then Cal asked, “If it’s OK could we go out again?”

“Sure when,” responded Sandy.

“How about tonight,” asked Cal?

Sandy answered, “Tonight’s not good, how about tomorrow night?”

Cal replied, “A movie sound good?”

Sandy answered,” yeah sure, and hung up.”

Sandy rolled back over in bed.

Skip, the guy with whom she spent the night asked, “Who was that?”

She answered, “Nobody just Cal. Go back to sleep.”

Cal was satisfied; another date with Sandy, his new girlfriend. Now he had to make his second call. He dialed Maureen’s number; after four rings Maureen picked it up. He asked, “Hello is this Maureen?”

She recognized Cal’s voice, “Now who else would answer this line?”

Immediately flustered and on the defensive he replied, “Sorry, I just wondered, if you weren’t busy, maybe we could look over your backyard to see where the gazebo could go.”

Maureen asked, “You know how to get here?”

Cal answered, “Yes.” He started to explain the route, but she cut him off.

“Just shut up and come on over.”

Cal laughed, “Sure I’ll be there in a jiffy.”

Maureen scolded, “Cut out the jiffy. I stopped being a jiffy when I was eight. Just get over here.” She didn’t know what to do about Cal, or where she stood with Sandy. She’d had a good time the night before, but felt a little queasy about the lying.

Earlier that morning Sandy had called, and given her an earful. What Sandy was doing was becoming unconscionable. She didn’t know whether to tell Cal or let him find out for himself.

Cal corrected himself, “Oops, I mean I’ll be right there.”

Maureen answered more gently over the phone, “That’s better. I’ll put some coffee on.” Sandy was going to hurt this boy, she was becoming a part of it, and she felt guilty.

Cal was over about an hour later. It had taken longer than he planned. He ironed a clean T-shirt and had to load several tools in his truck. When he arrived he went up the front steps of Maureen’s parent’s home, which was where she was currently living, and rang the bell.

Maureen answered.

She opened the door and Cal stood there with his mouth agape. She was wearing a summer jumper; not exactly a sundress and not a romper either; more a loose fitting dress with attached shorts. Her hair was done up in loose pig tails, and she had on white tennis shoes with thick white socks. Cal saw her and thought she looked very fetching; a lot prettier and a lot more feminine than he’d remembered her.

The expression on his face was just what she wanted, “You to coming in, or just going to stand there all day?”

Cal walked in the front door, “You want to check on where we can build a gazebo?”

“Yeah, but let’s talk first.”

“OK.”

Maureen led the stupefied Cal back to the kitchen where she poured each of them a cup of coffee,

“Cream of sugar?”

Cal answered, “Yeah, OK.”

“OK what?”

Cal recovered, “Oh just some cream thanks.”

Maureen handed him a cup of coffee, “Let’s get a couple things straight.”

Cal was still staring at her dress, how it wrapped around her breasts and her hips, “Yeah.”

She went on, “I’m not hiring you. I can’t pay you anything. You’re only doing this as sort of a friend. You’re just here to help out. I can buy the wood, nails, and so forth, but you’ll have to work for free.”

Cal couldn’t take his eyes off her. He was having a libidinous reaction. She was so pretty. He couldn’t help himself. She had red lipstick on, and her eyes, the way they were made up, looked so exotic and so big. She had dark hazel eyes, and they were enormous, but beautiful enormous. He thought about the emerald studs she’d had on the night before, how they matched her eyes.

Maureen stopped, “What are you looking at?”

Cal stumbled, “I’m sorry. I never saw you in the daylight before.”

She gave him a disgusted look, “Come on, let’s go out back, “She took his hand, “Come on.”

Like a puppy, he followed along.

They walked all around the yard. She held his hand, and showed him the different places where she thought a gazebo would work. She talked about each potential site, trying to give him some clues about what she thought would work best in each place.

After showing him several places she asked, “Well what do you think?”

He’d been day dreaming, “About what?”

“About where to put the gazebo?”

He’d already made up his mind about that. The first place she picked was far and away the best location. He didn’t mention that, “Would it be too much trouble if I asked you something?”

Maureen was getting impatient, “What?”

Cal stood there for what seemed like an hour; actually it was more like fifteen seconds. Even then he thought he was going too fast. He was scared. He looked at her. He looked at her lips. He wanted to kiss those lips. Jesus, he felt like a complete fool. What kind of dumb ass was he? How stupid, “You have a boyfriend?”

She laughed, “Don’t know, haven’t decided.”

“Decided about what,” he asked?

Maureen thought, like clay in my hands. She stepped forward, put the fingers of her left hand to the nape of his neck. She leaned forward and kissed him, “Just don’t know yet.”

He was breathing heavily. He hadn’t felt like this since he was in the ninth grade and he was with Carolyn Marcum. He put his arms around her, and he kissed her again, “Thanks,” he said.

Maureen looked at him like he was some kind of asshole, “Thanks for what?”

He tried to pull her close again.

She pushed him away, “Down boy, ‘ she was a little nervous, “have you picked a location?”

Cal did the best he could to recover,” Uh, I think the first place is the best, has the flattest hardest ground. We can sink some footers, and build the floor on them.” He kept watching her facial expressions. God she was pretty.

“How long do you think it will take you,” she paused, ‘to get the whole thing done I mean.”

He came back to earth, “A week, maybe ten days if it doesn’t rain.”

She asked, “Where are you going to get the supplies?”

Beautiful cheeks he thought. She has dimples, “Lowe’s I guess.”

Maureen proffered, “You go ahead order the stuff, and pay for it, and I’ll pay you back.”

He’d already decided, no matter how much it cost, he’d cover everything, “No I’ll get it.”

She responded, “Yes, you get it and I’ll pay for the materials.”

“No I’ll do it all,” he said.

She put her hands on her hips, “You’re really stupid Caleb Burkheim. You do the work. I’ll help, but I’ll pay for the materials.” She caught herself. She’d used his full name. She hoped he hadn’t noticed.

He’d noticed. She’d called him by name. How could she have known, if she hadn’t asked around? He stepped over close like he was going to kiss her again, but she pushed him away.

“Oh no, big boy, you’re Sandy’s boyfriend,” She knew that wasn’t really the case, but she was having trouble with her emotions. She liked him.

He stuttered a little, “Gee, it’s really nice you said my whole name. I was beginning to wonder if you knew it”

“Oh just shut up. Let’s figure what supplies we’ll need.”

After calculating their supply and equipment needs, and calling them in to Lowe’s Cal suggested they go to the carnival. Maureen had nothing else to do, and so she agreed.

At the carnival they visited the American Legion stand first and made a donation. Then they wandered around checking out the rides, the concessions, and all the gaming sites.

He bought her cotton candy, pizza, and they shared a coke. It cost him a little money but he managed to win her one of the smaller stuffed animals. Maureen took it, but declaimed his efforts as silly and unnecessary. They took a turn on the Ferris wheel, but declined the Octopus.

While they were strolling near the music stand Maureen saw Sandy with a group of men. One of them was the guy she’d decided to reward the other night. Maureen turned to Cal, “This has been very nice, but,” looking at her wristwatch she added, “I need to get back now.”

Cal had been having a good time, but deferred, “Sure, besides,” he said, “I’d like a second look at our gazebo site before the wood and everything gets there.”

They drove back to Maureen’s and walked around rechecking her parent’s backyard. Maureen thought about the fun they’d had at the carnival, the fireworks the night before, his determination to build her a gazebo even after she’d ripped him off. This was a nice boy. Actually boy was the wrong term. Regardless of some of the backwardness, he was every bit a man. She didn’t like what Sandy what was doing. She liked her part in it even less.

Near the end of the backyard recheck Cal made another blundering attempt at a kiss. Maureen pushed him away, “No way bonehead, you’re Sandy’s meat.”

Cal retreated. Yeah he thought. He was Sandy’s boyfriend. Not completely certain of her last answer he asked again, “You say you don’t have a boyfriend.”

Maureen gave him the same response, “I said not yet.”

“Have you got anybody in mind?”

Maureen smirked, “I’m not sure.”

Cal was a little disappointed, “Let me know when you decide.”

“I might,” she answered. She walked him to his truck, opened his door for him, and saw him off. Watching him pull down the dirt road she gave herself a little hug. As the warm afternoon breeze whispered through her hair, she murmured, “I’ve got to stop her.” She went inside to get fixed up.

While Maureen was inside showering, selecting a different dress, and picking out the makeup she’d need for the showdown, Sandy was busy with Skip and her other friends. They’d left the carnival and gone straight back to the tavern; the plan was to have a few more rounds of something alcoholic, a nap at home, a late night at the country club, followed by another something special for Skip.

On his way home Cal decided to stop off at the tavern. He hadn’t seen Warren in a couple days, and hoped he’d catch up with him. One of the things he had on his mind that needed Warren’s attention was the gazebo. There were some situations where another set of man’s hands would be needed. He couldn’t think of a better set than Warren’s.

As he pulled into the lot at the tavern he saw Sandy’s car. Great, he thought. He could find Warren, set a day for him, and do a reset on his date with Sandy the next evening.

Walking in the bar he saw her. She was with that Skip fellow and some of his cohorts. He didn’t especially like Skip, not just because he seemed always be hanging around Sandy, but because the guy had a reputation. The closer he got to their stools the less comfortable he felt; it looked like Sandy was doing the hanging. In fact she had her arms draped all over Skip’s shoulders.

When he got close enough he said, “Hi, everyone having a good time.”

Sandy twirled around, if she was surprised she hid it very well, “Cal, where have you been. I thought we had an afternoon date.”

“No, we’re up for tomorrow night.” He looked at Skip, “How you doing?”

Skip replied, “Just great old buddy.”

Sandy moved to Cal and wrapped her arms around him, “I’m sorry about the fireworks. Maureen called me, said you and she were quite an item last night.”

That was news to Cal, “Not exactly. We watched the fireworks from my boat, but she went to sleep. I took her home when they were over.” He wanted to get off that subject, “I’m going to build her a gazebo.”

“A what?”

“A gazebo, you know a sheltered structure. She wants one for her father, and I agreed to build it for her.”

Sandy smiled, “I know what a gazebo is. Why do you have to build it? Can’t she get someone else?”

“She sort of asked me.”

“What now she’s your girlfriend.”

Cal was baffled. It was just a gazebo. “No she’s not my girlfriend. You are.”

Skip and the guys chuckled.

Sandy acted like she was hurt, “You could have offered to build me a gazebo.”

Cal was completely duped, “Come on. She asked, and I said I’d help. That’s all.” He added, “Heck, she even had some plans she’d worked up.”

Sandy laughed, “I don’t care. Maureen’s Dad deserves one.” She did another pirouette, “I have to go now. There’s a dance at the country club tonight.” She looked at Cal, You’re not a member are you?”

Cal sheepishly answered, “No.”

Sandy smiled, “Too bad. We’ll have to go.” She turned around and gave every man there a kiss on the cheek. Last to be kissed was Cal, “Bye now. See you tomorrow.”

Cal watched her go. He wondered why she didn’t invite him to the country club, but then again he knew why. He paid for his beer. Said good bye to all the guys standing around, and left.

Later that night Maureen found Sandy at the country club, “Sandy we need to talk.”

“You bet we do,” responded Sandy.

Maureen started first, “I’m uncomfortable with what going on with you and Cal.”

“Really,” responded Sandy.

“You shouldn’t be taking advantage of him like this. He really likes you, and he thinks you’re his girlfriend.”

“Well he is Maureen.”

“No you’re not. You’re just using him. What’s going to happen when he finds out the truth?”

Sandy was a little tired of Maureen’s involvement with what she was doing with Cal, “What’s the difference to you Maureen? I’ll be back in school in a few days, and you’ll be off doing whatever it is you do. Cal will have had a little fantasy, and no one will be the wiser.”

“That’s not true and you know it Sandy. He’s falling in love with you. He’ll be hurt.”

Sandy wasn’t moved, “Oh so what! What do they say? Into life a little rain must fall. So he gets hurt. He’ll survive.”

“Look Sandy, let this one go.”

Sandy gave Maureen a suspicious look, “What’s your interest in this guy. You afraid if he finds out he won’t build your gazebo?”

It had been evolving over the past several days, but Maureen finally realized she no longer liked her friend Sandy, “I could give a shit about the gazebo. Cal’s a nice guy. He deserves better.”

Sandy laughed, “Just think of all the fun you’ll have consoling him after I’m gone.” She walked away, leaving her girlfriend to stew.

Maureen didn’t stay. She didn’t feel like dancing anymore. She looked around the country club. Mostly they were a pretty nice bunch, but she knew there was an element, a tiny contingent, who got off on hurting people like Cal. Skip was one of them, and too late, she realized so was Sandy.

When Maureen got home she found there was a phone message on her family’s house line. It was Lowe’s. They’d be dropping off the lumber sometime in the morning the day after next. She knew she needed to be there to sign a receipt.

Cal felt guilty about having taken Maureen to see the fireworks and then to the carnival. True he’d had a great time, and sure he and Sandy weren’t officially boy and girlfriend yet, but they were pretty close. He stopped in at Waxman’s Jeweler’s and picked out a locket. It wasn’t real expensive, but it was still pretty nice. He had them wrap it up and put a bow on the box. He’d give it to Sandy when he went to meet her at the tavern the next evening. He still didn’t know why she kept insisting on being picked up at the tavern, but if that’s what she wanted, that’s what she’d get.

Chapter One, Part Five

The next evening rolled around. Cal had worked at the office all day, and though tired, was still excited about his date with Sandy. He planned on giving her the locket right away, sort of show off, then they’d go to a movie, and perhaps later pitch a little woo. He dressed up for the occasion. He ironed a fresh button down shirt, and slipped into a pair of khaki trousers he hadn’t worn in six months. There was a small horizontal crease across the tops of the legs, but he figured no one would notice. He shaved closely, and slapped on some Old Spice aftershave, hopped in the truck, and rolled off toward town.

Sandy got to the tavern early. She’d gotten a call from Skip who told her he had tickets to that night’s college basketball game between their local heroes and the big crosstown rivals. Crosstown was nationally ranked so everyone expected it to be an exciting match. She was kind of sick of Cal’s obsequious fawning and doting anyway. Let Maureen have him. If she was worried about him so much, let her hold his limp dishrag hands. She was off to the basketball game.

Maureen decided to wait till everyone was there before she went to the tavern. She’d bought a new dress. It was a dark blue mini with a plunging neckline that prominently displayed her well-endowed chest. She didn’t exactly know what she would do, but she had it in her mind to snatch Cal away from Sandy. Her woman’s intuition told her Cal was cooling toward Sandy a little anyway. If she played her cards right she might get Cal out of Sandy’s clutches before he realized what a fool they’d made of him. Maureen had figured it out. She wasn’t doing this out of guilt or pity. She really wanted the guy. Maureen considered; if he was stupid, it was stupid in a good way, a way she liked.

Sandy was standing at the bar with her arms all over Skip when Cal walked in. His heart jumped in his throat, and his bowels turned to ice. He knew it had been too good to be true. No girl like Sandy would have anything to do with him for long. Why had he been such a fool? He should have remembered to have worn a hat, then no one would see the big sign on his forehead; the sign that read loser in big capital letters.

He walked over to the bar. His whole life was passing before him. He would have cried, but he was still holding out, hope against all hope, “Hi Sandy. You’re here early.”

Sandy still had her arm around Skip. She acted real innocent, like nothing was out of the ordinary, “Oh hi Cal. How’re you doing?”

“We have a date, remember?”

“Oh that, well I’m going to have to cancel,” she looked up at Skip, “Skip’s got tickets to basketball, and I’m going with him, She smiled sympathetically, “Why don’t you call me tomorrow?”

Cal heard the soft laughter, the chuckles, the giggling. He’d been right all along. He was a fool, an asshole, a sucker, “That’s OK. I think I have something to do tomorrow.” Though tricked, trapped, and humiliated, he was still too much of a fool to just walk off, “Anyway, I bought you this.” He handed her the package.

Sandy took it, “Thanks, do you want me to open it now?”

Cal wasn’t that big a fool, “No open it later,” he paused just long enough to look at the smug expression on Skip’s face, “Wait till after the game.”

Sandy held the package in her hand, turning it this way and that.

Cal said, “I’ve got to go, catch you all later.” He waved and left the bar. Laughter and giggling followed him all the way out the door.

Cal stepped on the lot outside the tavern just in time to see the two biker guys from earlier get off their cycles.

One looked at the other, “Isn’t that the guy who?”

The other looked at his buddy, “Yeah.”

They went straight for Cal.

Cal figured, oh hell why not. Let’s get the shit kicked out of us tonight too. Nothing else could go wrong.

The two guys closed in.

Cal stood stiffly. He hoped it was a sufficiently manly pose. It was about all he had.

One grabbed him by his just ironed shirt, and started pushing him against a dirty late model car.

It never happened. No one hit him. Cal was spared. From out of nowhere a swift karate chop descended on the guy who’d grabbed his shirt. Cal looked down and saw him writhing in pain. His buddy was already in full retreat. It had been a one shot conflict, and it was over.

Standing in front of him was Maureen. She looked like Chuck Norris, poised to rip somebody’s head off, “You OK Cal?”

Oh Jesus H. Christ thought Cal. The girl he thought he was protecting several nights back was a karate expert. He hadn’t, couldn’t, didn’t protect anybody. She was ten times the man he’d ever be. There he stood, wrinkled up shirt, grit and dirt all over his horizontally creased pants, having just been rescued by a girl. Not just any girl, the girl who wiped him up in pool.

He looked at her, “You know karate?”

Maureen answered, “Actually I’m a karate instructor. I teach it to the kids at my storefront, and offer additional instruction at some of the colleges.”

Cal was absolutely, totally, irrevocably crushed. He’d never been so thoroughly and completely humiliated, “The other night. You didn’t need me.”

Maureen saw the confusion, then the humiliation on his face. This was the last thing she wanted, “Cal!”

He was down, but not inert, “You knew about Sandy too.”

“Cal I’m sorry.” She started toward him; if anybody ever needed someone, it was him.

He held up his hands defensively, “No. Leave me alone.” He turned. He didn’t run, though he wanted to, but he strode as fast as he could to his truck, got in, slammed the door, and spun out. He drove off as fast as he could. He turned up the radio as loud as it would play. He smashed his fist into the dashboard. He found a side road, a road hardly anybody knew and turned off. He drove maybe a mile up the road, pulled over, and had one hell of a good long cry.

He told himself over and over, ‘You knew it would happen; it always happens. Girls don’t like you. They never take you seriously. Why are you so stupid, and why does it always have to hurt?’

Maureen didn’t bother going into the tavern. She knew what had happened. Sandy had told her over the phone she was ditching Cal for a basketball game. Maureen wanted to cry, but knew it wouldn’t do any good. She was angry, but she was only angry at herself. She couldn’t just blame Sandy; after all they’d been in it together, maybe not exactly, but Maureen had known what Sandy had been doing, and she’d done nothing about it. Now a nice guy, a really decent guy, maybe the only real man in the area had been made to look a fool. Sandy had done it, but she’d done it too.

Maureen drove home in a funk. She had to make this right. Hell she liked the guy. To be honest, she wanted him. By the time she’d gotten home she had it figured. He was building her gazebo. The wood was on its way. She help, she’d be ‘Miss Helpful’. She’d fix lunch every day. They’d talk. Hell he was interesting. She’d make him fall for her. He’d be her boyfriend. She’d work it out.

When Maureen got home she saw her parent’s home answering machine light was flickering. She clicked it on, “Hello, this is Cal. I’m sorry, but something’s come up at work. I won’t be available to do your gazebo, so if you would just cancel the wood order we’ll call it even Steven.”

‘Oh no, ‘ thought Maureen. ‘It’s worse than I thought!’

The next morning, bright and early the Lowe’s truck pulled in the driveway and dumped off the wood and supplies. Maureen looked it all over. What was she supposed to do? She hadn’t bought it. Cal had insisted that he buy it. She was fully ready to pay him back once the damned thing was built, but now what should she do? She was stuck; a mountain of wood, a ton of nails, heaps of bags filled with concrete and sand, and box after box of metal kinds of things she’d never seen before.

Maureen checked her watch. It was early. She bet Cal; though also an early riser probably wasn’t up yet. She bet he’d hang around in bed or around his house most of the day. She called him on his home phone. It rang the usual four times, and she quickly left a message, “Cal you have to get over here right away. I need you. Lowe’s dropped all this stuff off, and I don’t know what to do. I need you.” She added for emphasis, “Please come over.” She hung up right away. She didn’t want to get into a phone conversation; that would be a discussion she’d be sure to lose.

Cal heard the phone, and he heard the voice mail. It had been a long night. After his initial crying and reckless driving jag, he spent much of the rest of the night at home flicking through the television channels trying to find something appropriately violent to assuage his anger. By 4:00 a.m. he’d come to the conclusion most of what happened was his own fault, and even then the worst of it wasn’t that big a deal. He knew from the start he’d end up the loser; so where was the big surprise?

One thing, actually the only thing, that really hurt was Maureen. Thinking back on Sandy, she hadn’t really been serious, and if he’d been at all discerning he would have seen it. Shit, he’d never gotten any closer to her than the tavern.

Maureen was another story. Maureen had known what Sandy was doing, Maureen had made a fool of him at the pool table, and Maureen knew she was never in any danger from the bikers. He’d spent the better part of the morning being angry with her.

Later, near sunrise he realized what really bothered him. Why was he so angry at Maureen and had already forgotten Sandy? That’s when it finally hit him! He was angrier at Maureen because he expected more. He expected more because he wanted more. Sandy was cool. She was pretty, and she was incredibly popular. But there was one thing that Sandy wasn’t. Sandy wasn’t Maureen!

All this time he’d diddling and fiddling around thinking about the one girl, while he was seriously falling in love with the other one. He was in love. Old stupid Cal had fallen in love! He was in love with pool hustling, sharp tongued, karate chopping Maureen!

God was he glad he didn’t get to the answering machine. He might have said something he’d regret. He got up off his ass, took a shower, slipped on an old faded gray T-shirt, a pair of old sweaty smelly jeans, and his work boots. He was a man with a mission!

Cal got to Maureen’s parent’s place a little after 10:00. Her car was still parked out front. He didn’t bother to go to the door. He figured he better check what Lowe’s had dropped off.

Walking around the corner he saw her. She was sitting on a lawn chair. It looked like she’d been crying. He quietly walked up behind her, “Did you check the product list?”

Maureen turned around, “Cal, I’m so sorry.”

He ignored the comment, “I said did you check to make sure everything’s here?”

She answered, “No, I...”

He reached out his arms and helped her out of the chair, “If I tell you something, will you promise not to beat me up?” He was smiling.

Maureen was fumbling around trying to think of something to say, “Cal, I.”

He wrapped his arms around the woman he loved, pulling her in as tight as he could, standing a cool eight inches taller, feeling very manly, He asked, “May I have a kiss,” he hesitated, “please?”

Maureen reached up and clasped her hands around the back of his neck, big hazel eyes awash with as yet unshed tears of happiness, bright red rosy lips puckered up, she whispered, “I love you Caleb Burkheim. Oops! What am I saying? I hardly know you. I must be crazy!”

Their bodies pressed together, eyes closed, their lips touched...

A Postscript...

This is the first of nine parts. I hoped you enjoyed this beginning. Please vote, but consider a vote at this point more a progress report. And please, comments are greatly appreciated.

Jedd Clampett

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