Rick Barnes paused a moment after walking into Tony’s Cafe, taking in the still familiar surroundings. Despite the six long years since he’d last walked though the door behind him, very little appeared to have changed. The decorations on the wall were still much the same as he remembered, as were the glass display cases behind the counter and the large chalkboard that announced the day’s specials. His eyes glanced to the rear of the restaurant and he saw that even his old booth was still there, tempting him to head to it as if it was just another day. But then he decided that he wasn’t going to be here that long and opted for a seat at the counter instead.
No sooner had he climbed onto the stool at the end of the row than the trim young man was instantly met by a pretty, seventeen year old blond on the other side of the counter. She automatically set an empty cup and saucer in front of him and with a gesture of the carafe in her hand, nonverbally asked if he wanted coffee.
“Yes, thank you,” Rick said, pausing just long enough to read the name tag on her blouse that identified her as Emily.
As she poured, Rick took a second, more critical look around at what had once almost been a second home. This time he noticed the same sort of unrepaired wear and tear that he’d seen in other parts of town earlier in the day. A sign of the times, he thought.
“You’re not from around here, are you?” Emily asked after she’d finished filling his cup.
“No, I guess not,” Rick replied, thinking but not adding, anymore, “but just out of curiosity, what made you think that I wasn’t?”
“Well, you’re dressed a lot neater than most of the guys that come in here,” she said, making note of his light blue golf shirt and tan slacks, “and besides, I’d remember a cute guy like you if you’d been in here before.”
As he returned her compliment with a smile, Rick took a moment to do the math and decided that the last time he’d been in Tony’s, Emily was probably just about getting her first training bra.
“Can I get you anything else?” Emily asked, matching his smile with one even more inviting.
“No, this will be fine,” Rick replied as, after a tentative sip of the hot brew, he noted that at least the quality of the coffee hadn’t changed.
“Well, I’ll be right over there if you change your mind,” Emily said, a barely noticeable touch of disappointment in her voice.
Sitting quietly with his coffee, Rick allowed himself the luxury of getting lost in his memories for a minute or two. Thoughts that were interrupted when he sensed, rather than saw, someone step around from behind him and place an oversized slice of pumpkin pie, generously covered with whipped cream, on the counter next to his coffee.
“Excuse me, I didn’t order this,” Rick said before he even turned his head to see who had put it there.
“Now don’t you go telling me that you still don’t love pumpkin pie,” said a woman wearing the same uniform as Emily, “especially one that I made with my own little hands.”
The woman that came into view when he turned all the way around was more than twice Emily’s age, with short, reddish-brown hair that came to rest just above the cut of her neck. She might have been wearing the same white blouse and black skirt as the younger girl, but Emily’s blouse hadn’t been straining against the bust beneath it, nor did she wear the top three buttons open to give a good view of what it was supposed to conceal. If Rick had been standing instead of sitting, he knew that he would be two inches taller than the woman as well as a good ten to fifteen pounds lighter. Not to say she was overweight, because even a casual glance told you that whatever extra pounds she had where all in the right places. Although she also wore a name tag, Rick had no need to glance at it to know her name.
“Oh my God,” he exclaimed in surprise, “Mrs. Davis. I had no idea that you still worked here.”
“Mrs. Davis was one ex-husband ago, sweetie,” the woman said with the broadest of smiles, “and as I recall, you’ve been calling me Cory Lee since you were old enough to walk. So don’t let me hear any of that Mrs. whatever nonsense.”
Rick had barely risen from the stool when Cory Lee, wrapping her arms around him, hugged him like a long lost son. In a way that was almost true. Not a son of course, but certainly an honorary nephew at least.
“Damnation,” Cory Lee said as she finally let him go. “If I had to make a list this morning of the last people I ever expected to see in this dump again, I do expect that you’d have been on the very top of it.” She paused to look him over again, comparing the young man with the boy she had known. “But whatever the reason you’re back here, I’m damned glad to see you again. Why didn’t you call ahead and say you were coming?”
“It’s good to see you again too, Cory Lee,” Rich said leaning back against his seat as he realized that calling her that did indeed seem more natural. “But like I said, I didn’t know that you still lived in Jackson Springs, and my being here at all was a spur of the moment decision.”
“Well, I’m here and you’re here and for the moment that’s enough,” she said, “and don’t you go thinking that I’m going to let you run off until we’ve had a chance to sit and chat. I want to know all about what you’ve been doing since the last time I saw you.”
“That wouldn’t take long,” Rick grinned.
“Be that as it may, you’re going to tell me all about it,” Cory Lee insisted. “So why don’t you take your coffee and pie back to your old booth and I’ll be back there myself in a minute.”
As Rick picked up the plate and rested it on top of the cup and saucer, Cory Lee caught Emily’s attention and told her that she’d be in the back for a bit. From the look on the younger woman’s face, Rick got the impression that she was disappointed that she wasn’t going to get the chance to strike up a longer conversation with him herself.
Sitting down in the very last booth, Rick couldn’t help but remember the many nights he’d sat there, homework spread across the table, waiting for his mother’s shift to end. Janet Barnes had started working at Tony’s a year before she’d barely graduated from the local high school, and had continued to do so until she married Doug Barnes, a long distance trucker ten years her senior, just before her nineteenth birthday. No one really bought that story that she’d come back from their brief honeymoon pregnant, but as long as Doug had done the right thing by her, no one counted the days too closely. Rick’s older sister, Doris, had been born seven months into the marriage, with himself following two years later. When he was three, a drunk driver had left Janet a much too young widow, and with few skills to call on, she had gone back to work at Tony’s.
During those later years, Cory Lee Davis had been his mother’s best friend, despite the age difference between them. Rick wasn’t ever exactly sure how much that difference was, but he guessed that Cory Lee had to be near fifty at least by now. In actuality, she had passed that milestone four years past.
“Before you say anything,” Cory Lee said as she sat down on the other side of the booth, her own cup of coffee in hand, “I want to say how devastated I was when I got the news that your mom had passed away. If I’d had a sister, I don’t think she would’ve meant more to me than Janet did.”
“I know how much she meant to you,” Rick replied, “and you to her. Doris and I really appreciated that nice letter that you sent after the funeral.”
“I wish I could’ve been there,” Cory Lee said, regret in her tone, “but I was away on my honeymoon and didn’t even find out about it until we got back.”
Five years before, when she had first taken ill, Janet Barnes had moved to Blue Ridge Falls to live with her daughter. Despite the better medical care available there, the disease had progressed rapidly and within a year she was gone.
“We know you would have if you could,” Rick said reassuringly. “and Mom knew it too.”
“She was really proud of you,” Cory Lee said, trying to push back the sad memory. “We all were. I can’t tell you how many times she said her son was going to be a big shot engineer someday - and now you are.”
“Well I don’t know about the big shot part,” Rick said as he picked up a fork and started on the pie, “but I’m doing okay.”
“So what brings you back to this burg?” Cory Lee asked as he savored that first piece of pie.
“I was on my way to New Wayne, over in Grayson County,” he explained between bites, “I’ll be working on a project there for the next few months. When I got to exit 9 on the interstate, it occurred to me that I was only two hours or so north of Jackson Springs. Since there was really no rush to get to New Wayne, they aren’t expecting me until next week, I decided why not take a little detour and drive through town. See what’s changed since I left, if nothing else.”
“I’m sure you’ve already discovered that not much has changed, at least nothing for the better,” Cory Lee said as she sipped her coffee. “But regardless of that, I’m really glad you decided to make that detour. How long are you planning to be in town?”
“To be honest, I really was just planning to make a quick visit and drive on to Starkville tonight,” Rick answered as he finished off the last of the pie, “but I had a little bit of a mishap when I came off the bridge over Morgan’s Creek and broke a strut on my jeep. I barely got it to a garage and they said they wouldn’t have a replacement until Monday at the earliest.”
“You took it to Malone’s?” Cory Lee asked.
“Where else?” Rick asked, thinking that there hadn’t been another garage in town since before he’d been born.
“Just wanted to be sure,” Cory Lee said as she reached into her skirt pocket and pulled out her cell phone. “Just excuse me for a few minutes,” she added as she scrolled down her contact list until she found the number she was looking for.
“Hi Jimmy,” she said once someone picked up on the other end, “is Billy there?”
There was a short pause as Billy, whoever that was, came on the line. Once he did, Cory Lee’s demeanor changed radically.
“No, it’s not about the check being late,” she said, after having listened for a few seconds, “but since you brought it up, this is the third time this year that you’ve been late with it.” There was another pause as she listened for a few seconds. “But that’s not what I’m calling you about. You have a jeep with a busted strut that was brought in this afternoon?”
She waited a few seconds for an answer, and then the expression on her face told Rick that she wasn’t happy with whatever answer she’d gotten.
“No, that’s not going to be good enough,” she said in a strong tone. “I don’t care if you have to take your own sorry ass down to Cranston Junction and pick up the struts yourself, but I want that jeep fixed by tomorrow at the latest.”
There was another pause while Cory Lee listened to Billy.
“No, you can’t ask who the guy who brought it in is to me,” she said. “Just get it done, okay?”
There were a few more seconds while Cory Lee listened, then she closed the phone with a smile on her face.
“Ex-husbands,” she said with a look of annoyance as she put the phone away, “Can’t live with ‘em, can’t shoot ‘em, at least not unless you’re really sure you can get away with it.”
Then, seeing a small look of concern on Rick’s face, Cory Lee assured him that the jeep would indeed be fixed by tomorrow. She and Billy had an understanding, she added, not feeling the need to explain that while they were no longer man and wife, that didn’t preclude them sharing a romp under the sheets now and then. In a town that was getting smaller by the year, there wasn’t a preponderance of options for a woman her age and while their all too brief marriage had its problems, good sex hadn’t been one of them.
“So now that we’ve taken care of that, all we have to do is find you a place for the night,” she added.
“Is the Golden Eagle Motel over by the highway still open?” Rick asked. “I thought I might just stay there.”
“The hell you will,” Cory Lee said, “not when I’ve got a perfectly good pull out couch sitting unused in my apartment. Besides, it’s Friday night and the rooms over there will be filled with high school boys too cheap to take their dates to a real hotel and husbands taking ladies not their wives to a place where no one asks to see a marriage certificate. Between the two of them you’ll never get any sleep.”
“Don’t you have plans for tonight?” Rick asked, “It is, like you said, Friday night.”
“Nothing that can’t be easily canceled,” came her reply.
“I wouldn’t want to impose...” Rick started to say, thinking he had slept in worse places while on the road, but she quickly cut him off.
“It’s already settled,” Cory Lee said, her tone now highly reminiscent of the one his mother used to use when she didn’t want to hear any argument about a subject either.
“Okay,” he relented.
“I’m out of here in about an hour,” Cory Lee said as she started to get back up. “How about I fix you a little dinner while you wait?”
Knowing it was pointless to even suggest otherwise, Rick just smiled and agreed.
“Make yourself at home,” Cory Lee said as she led Rick into her small apartment over the television repair shop, “and just drop your case anywhere.”
On the way over, they had stopped at Malone’s Auto Repair so that he could pick up his suitcase and she could make sure that someone had indeed gone down to the Junction to pick up the needed part. Billy hadn’t really gone himself, not that Cory Lee had expected him to; it was enough that he had sent one of the kids that worked at the garage.
Cory Lee’s first husband had been long gone by the time Rick had begun hanging out at the diner, so he had been quite interested to meet husband number two, or more precisely ex- husband number two. He seemed a nice enough guy, although he did give Rick a sort of funny look when Cory Lee said that he would be spending the night at her place. All she had to do to allay his suspicions was simply tell him who he was, but for her own reasons she declined to do so. But that was between him and her, he noted, and kept any thoughts about it to himself.
“I really could use a beer,” Cory Lee said as she dropped her own smaller carry bag onto a side table. “Would you like one?”
“Sure, why not?” Rick answered.
“Then be a dear and get us both one from the fridge while I take a minute to change clothes,” she said. “I feel like I’ve been wearing this outfit all week.”
By the time Rick had gone into the kitchen and taken two bottles from the six pack on the top shelf, Cory Lee was already stepping back into the living room. Gone was the waitress uniform, replaced by an equally tight t-shirt and a pair of shorts. As he handed her the bottle of beer, Rick couldn’t help but notice that she was no longer wearing a bra.
“Oh, that hits the spot,” Cory Lee said as she upended the bottle and took a long drink from it.
Bottles in hand, the two of them sat down on the couch and made themselves comfortable. In Rick’s case that included propping his feet up on the ottoman while Cory Lee settled for just curling her legs up on the cushion beneath her.
She began the conversation by asking Rick a few more questions about both the jobs he had worked on as well as the one he was headed to, adding again how proud they all were of him. Then they moved on to the state of the town, and how every year there seemed to be less and less people in it. The old folk died off and the young seemed to want to be anywhere but here.
“How come you never had the desire to leave?” Rick asked as he finished off the bottle.
“Well, I really can’t just pack a bag and take off, as much as I sometimes would like to,” she said as she handed him one of the second pair of bottle that had come out of the refrigerator when she’d gone out to toss her own empty into the recycle bin a few minutes before. “I have a financial interest in the restaurant, not much, mind you, but enough that I really don’t want to just walk away from it.”
“I never knew that,” Rick said, genuinely surprised. “How did that come about?”
“It was about, ten, no, twelve years ago, when Tony Marinelli senior not the Tony you would know, ran into a bit of financial difficulty. Because of certain circumstances that are best not to go into, he really wasn’t in a position to go to the bank for a loan. I, on the other hand, had just inherited a good deal of money from my parents’ life insurance policy and was looking for a place to put it. I happened to overhear Tony talking about his problems one night and how he might have to lay some people off or possibly even close the place altogether. So it occurred to me that keeping this place afloat and all of us employed might be the best use of my money at the time.”
“Did my mom know about that?”
“No, she had enough problems of her own back then and I saw no reason to mention it. Tony and I had agreed to keep it just between us and the lawyers who drew up the agreement, and in hindsight I was glad we did. I didn’t want Janet to start thinking of me as her boss rather than her friend.”
Rick nodded his head in understanding, then asked her what would she do if the restaurant went under, which, given her earlier observations about the town, was a very real possibility. She replied that he needn’t worry about her, because she’d more than made back her original investment and had then reinvested that in more secure holdings. It was only for the other people who worked there that she kept trying to keep the operation in the black.
“So, anyone special in your life?” Cory Lee asked, changing the subject.
“Not at the moment,” Rick answered. “My job keeps me moving around a lot. Oh, I was engaged for a while right after college, but in the end she decided that she wanted more stability, location-wise, than I was going to be able to offer, at least in the immediate future.”
“Well, at least you found out beforehand,” Cory Lee noted. “I seem to have the bad luck to have it all come apart only after we’d said our I do’s.”
The second round of drinks was soon gone and for lack of any reason not to, they decided to finish off the six-pack. This time, however, Cory Lee brought out some snacks to go with the beers, slowing down their rate of consumption.
They spent the time it took to empty the last bottles reminiscing about the old days, bringing up names of people they’d known, as well as incidents that one or the other might have wanted to forget. It was after Rick had brought up one particularly embarrassing one about Cory Lee that she remembered one about him.
“Do you know what I always remember,” Cory Lee said, her inhibitions and speech both loosened by the amount she’d had to drink, “how many times I caught you staring at my tits back when you where a teenager. In fact, you’ve been staring at them pretty much the same way for the last hour.”
Rick turned a bright red with the realization that what she said was indeed true. He had been staring at her breasts, the nipples of which had gotten quite hard in the air-conditioned apartment and were pressing against the thin fabric of her shirt. He couldn’t help himself, he admitted, he’d been fascinated by those boobs since he’d been old enough to realize the difference between boys and girls.
“Oh, don’t go and get all embarrassed on me,” Cory Lee laughed, “I was just yanking your chain. If I didn’t want them looked at, I wouldn’t be putting them on display all the time. In fact, I should take it as a compliment that they’re still nice enough that a young man like you would want to look at them.”
Rick blushed a little more, but not only for what she had just said. His thoughts were flashing back to a night only a few months past his sixteenth birthday, when he got more of a first hand look at Cory Lee’s beauties than he’d ever imagined he would.
It had been an hour after closing time that he’d gone back to the diner to retrieve a textbook he’d inadvertently left behind. His mom had offered to drive him but he’d elected to walk, since she’d worked a double shift. She’d given him her key to the side door and he was about to leave after picking up his book when a loud noise from the back room caught his attention. Thinking that something might had fallen off one of the storage shelves he knew to be there, Rick decided to make sure that, if that had been the case, it wasn’t something that needed to be cleaned up right away.
Despite the fact that he was sure he was alone, Rick was quiet as he walked down the narrow hallway and equally quiet as he opened the door. He was just about to reach for the light switch to his left, that he remembered from the times he’d earned a few bucks stocking the shelves, when a shifting of shadows caused him to stop in mid-reach.
It only took a few moments for his eyes to adjust to the low wattage overhead bulb that had been left on, but once they did he indeed got an eyeful. There, only partially clothed and bent over the old desk that Tony used as his office space, was Cory Lee. Her dress was bunched up around her waist, with the top down far enough to expose her generous assets and the bottom hiked up high enough to provide access to the even more enticing charms below.
Even in the dim light, the recipient of those charms was instantly recognizable to Rick. During his own freshman year, Bobby Ray Thomas had been a halfback on his high school’s football team and he remembered him well. Not quite good enough to be offered a scholarship, Bobby also hadn’t been quite smart enough to get into college on his own merits. In the end it really didn’t matter, because his dad owned a wholesale food supply outfit that counted Tony’s Café as one of their clients.
Rick wasn’t sure how long he had stood there watching, but it had certainly been long enough for every bit of that image to be burned into his memory. A memory that had been recalled on many nights when he only had himself for company. Only when he recalled it at those times, it wasn’t Bobby Ray that was enjoying Cory Lee’s attentions.
“You know, I probably shouldn’t even tell you this,” Cory Lee said, causing Rick to snap back from the pleasant recollection, “but what the hell, we’re both adults now,” she said, a touch of the mischievous in her voice. “There was a time,” she said, “back when you were a senior, that you almost got the chance to do a hell of a lot more than just stare at my boobs.”
“What?” Rick said, wondering what she was talking about.
When Cory Lee did explain, Rick found himself more stunned than he could ever have imagined.
“It was a night back when you were seventeen,” she began to say, pausing just long enough to take another sip from her bottle. “I remember that because the thought was originally about what to do about your eighteenth birthday, which was coming up in a few months.”
Taking a drink of his own, Rick thought back to that time, remembering it well.
“Now I really can’t remember exactly what made the idea pop into my head,” Cory Lee continued, “but it suddenly occurred to me that it would make one hell of a memorable gift if I were to pop your cherry.”
“Pop my what?” Rick said, spitting out the beer he had just swallowed, sure he had heard her wrong.
“Well, I’m not saying it was the best idea that I ever had,” Cory Lee grinned. “It was just something that just worked its way into my head and I really couldn’t get it out of it. I will, however, also admit I was a bit drunk at the time it came to me.”
“Wow,” Rick said, his mind again flashing back to the remembrance of only a few moments before, an image that again brought a smile to his face.
Then, as he did with most things in his life, he considered the downside of such a thing, if it ever had happened.
“It’s a good thing you never said that to my mom,” he said. “She would’ve totally freaked.”
“Actually,” Cory Lee replied, a bit of hesitation in a voice now more clear, “she wasn’t as totally opposed to the idea as you might think.”
“She knew?” Rick said in disbelief.
“Well, she was sort of the person I was getting drunk with the night it came to me,” Cory Lee expanded. “Admittedly the subject didn’t come up until we were well on our second six pack. We were talking about guys worth screwing and it just sort of came out.”
Under other circumstances, Rick might have been more curious about what guys his mother might have thought worth screwing, as he remembered sometimes wondering what she did for sex back then. Cory Lee’s admission, however, compelled him to save that curiosity for another time.
“I can’t believe she would’ve been okay with it,” Rick said, trying to imagine what that admittedly drunken conversation had been like.
“Well, it never really got to the point where she had to be okay with it,” Cory Lee pointed out, “and to be honest, she did have her reasons for thinking it might not be a totally bad idea.”
“I can’t imagine what those could be,” Rick said, still somewhat staggered by the idea.
“Well, the way you totally kept to yourself back then,” Cory Lee began to explain. “I mean, you didn’t even have one female friend, much less talked about girls, and your mom had begun to wonder if you even liked them.”
“My mom thought I might be gay?”
“Well, lets just say it crossed her mind.”
“Well if it matters any, I never thought so, especially not with the amount of times I caught you staring at my boobs. I just figured that you were uncomfortable around girls, so, if nothing else, my idea would be one hell of a confidence builder. Especially since you would be going away to college come the fall.”
“And my mom was going to be okay with this?” Rick repeated, still unable to get that thought out of his head.
“Well, in the grand scheme of things, my taking you to bed didn’t seem the worst of options,” Cory Lee said, “assuming that her conjecture was wrong and you did like girls. I mean, you could’ve lost it to one of those school sluts who opened their legs to just about any guy who tried, or worse you could’ve gone down to Willow’s Point and bedded one of the professionals down there. Guys have been doing that since before I went to high school; it’s almost a tradition.”
Rick didn’t comment on either possibility, but knew that both had crossed his mind during his senior year. In fact, a few of the guys in his class did make one of those trips down to Willow’s Point and had invited him to come along. It was only at the last moment that he’d chickened out.
“But like I said,” Cory Lee concluded, “it never really came to the point where she had to decide if she was really okay with the idea or not.”
“Why not?” Rick heard himself ask.
“Why, because of Joyce Mitchell, of course,” Cory Lee said, surprised at the idea that Rick could’ve actually forgotten his first girl friend.
“Joyce Mitchell?” Rick repeated.
“Well, I’ll admit, pretty as she was, the both of us were really surprised when you starting going out with a minister’s daughter,” Cory Lee said, “but if nothing else, it was enough to convince your mother that you did indeed like girls and it was best to let nature take its course. After all, it was her father that was a minister, not her, and we were sure, teenagers being what they were, well...”
“Joyce Mitchell,” Rick again repeated, a touch of amusement evident in his voice.
“I was a bit disappointed, I’ll admit,” Cory Lee confessed, “but in the end it was probably all for the best.”
“Okay, so let me understand this,” Rick said, now openly if softly laughing. “You wanted to take me to bed back when I was seventeen, and my mom wasn’t totally adverse to the idea, but you called the whole thing off when I started going out with Joyce Mitchell.”
“Basically, yes,” Cory Lee said, still not understanding why he found it funny.
Unable to hold it back any longer, Rick then burst out laughing.
“I don’t get it,” she asked. “What’s so funny?”
“All of this,” he said, trying hard to bring his laughter under control. “That I lost my chance to play Mrs. Robinson with you because you figured that sooner or later, I’d wind up doing it with Joyce.”
“I guess that’s basically right,” Cory Lee said, wondering what it was that she wasn’t getting.
“That is so funny,” Rick said, “it really is.”
“What am I missing here?” Cory Lee thought, then, thinking she had the answer, she said, “I guess I wouldn’t be wrong if I assumed that Joyce was indeed the stereotypical minister’s daughter and not about to give it up until her wedding night.”
“Oh, she was willing it give it up alright,” Rick said, “it’s just that I wasn’t the one she was willing to give it up to.”
“I don’t understand,” Cory Lee said.
“You said that Mom was worried that I might like guys instead of girls,” Rick said, “Well lets just say that if I had been Joyce, you wouldn’t have had to worry about that at all.”
It took a long moment for it to hit Cory Lee; then it was like a curtain being raised.
“Joyce was a lesbian?”
“One hundred percent muff-diver,” Rick confirmed. “Not even one of those girls that like to switch-hit at times.”
“Then why in God’s name did you go out with her in the first place?” Cory Lee asked.
“Well, it’s not like she wore a sign around her neck that said lesbian,” Rick said, “and for the record, she was the one that first asked me out.”
“I’m still a little confused,” Cory Lee said as she accepted what she had just been told. “Why did she ask you to go out if she only liked girls?”
“Even back then, this was a small town and, like you pointed out, she was a minister’s daughter,” Rick explained. “Joyce figured that the best way to keep a secret was to at least look like she was just like everyone else.”
Cory Lee thought about it and agreed that was true. Her own sexual escapades hadn’t gone unnoticed back in high school or since, but since they fell into a more conventional if not totally acceptable mode, few bothered her about them.
“In hindsight,” Rick continued, “I guess she picked me because I wasn’t the kind of guy who would put a lot of pressure on her to go all the way. She was right in that respect, as frustrating as it got at times. Except for the occasional kiss and touch, I might as well have been dating my sister.”
Cory Lee was tempted to make a joke about some people having not so innocent relationships with their sisters but quickly decided against it. Instead she recalled something Janet had once told her.
“Wait a second,” Cory Lee said, “I distinctly remember your mother telling me that you reserved a room at the Golden Eagle for the night of the senior prom. In fact, I remember her making sure that you stopped by the drug store that afternoon, so that there wouldn’t be any unwelcome surprises a few months down the line.”
“Oh I rented a room all right,” Rick said, remembering how just about every room that night had been rented in advance by prom participants, “but once we left the prom Joyce said that she was sorry but her time of the month had come unexpectedly early and that she wasn’t feeling well because of it. So I dropped her off after the dance and just took a ride in the country by myself.”
“And no one noticed that you never showed up at the motel?”
“It wasn’t like anyone was taking attendance,” Rick laughed, “and the room was paid for in advance, so the owner didn’t care that it wasn’t used. Everyone just assumed that Joyce and I had been there and that we’d done it. I just never said anything to the contrary. Nor did Joyce; in fact she seemed sort of glad everyone thought we had.”
“That might’ve been her intent in the first place,” Cory Lee mused.
Rick didn’t comment, but that idea had later occurred to him too.
“So when did you find out?” Cory Lee asked.
“Well, Joyce went away to California to visit an aunt for the summer,” Rick answered. “So I didn’t see her again until the start of the fall semester at State. It didn’t take long to discover that she wasn’t interested in picking up where we left off, and then I later found out she and one of the other girls in her sorority were sharing a lot more than just a room.”
“Well, I never would’ve imagined,” Cory Lee said as she picked up the last of the empty bottles and carried them over to the kitchen countertop.
“That’s why I found your confession so funny,” Rick smiled as Cory Lee came back into the room. “If it wasn’t for Joyce, I might’ve gotten lucky back then. Opportunity was knocking and I didn’t even know it.”
“Well, you never know,” Cory Lee grinned as she approached the couch, stopping just a foot or so away. “Sometimes, opportunity knocks twice.”
Before Rick could even consider what she’d meant by that, Cory Lee grabbed the bottom edges of her shirt and pulled it up and over her head. The t-shirt fell to the floor unnoticed as she dropped her hands to her hips and stood topless in front of him.
“So tell me, do you think the view was worth the wait?” Cory Lee said with a broad smile.
For the first time in as long as he could remember, Rick couldn’t think of a single thing to say. All he could focus on was the silver dollar sized areolas now in plain view.
“The question was rhetorical anyway,” Cory said in response to his silence, the smile on her face growing even broader. “But what I do need to know is, do you really want to sleep on that old couch, or would you be more comfortable in my bedroom? I should warn you, however, if you pick the latter, you might not get as much sleep. Or would that not be a problem either?”
It didn’t take long for Rick to decide that no, that wouldn’t be a problem at all - not more than ten seconds at most. And it only took that long because he had to convince himself that this was really happening.
Once he did, he didn’t dwell on the question of whether Cory Lee had planned this when she’d first invited him to stay at her place, or if, emboldened by the drinks they’d both put away, she was simply acting on a combination of reawakened urges and reduced inhibitions.
The truth was, he didn’t care. The memories of the effect she’d had on him back in his teenage years had never really faded, or the thought of the number of nights he’d laid in bed thinking about what it might’ve been like if he indeed had been in Bobby Thomas’ place that night. Never could he have imagined that it might ever be anything more than a schoolboy’s fantasy.
Rick was far from being the virginal schoolboy he had been back then, that situation having been resolved during his first year of college. What no one knew, however, was that it hadn’t been a fellow student that had done the deed, or even one of the townies that frequented the off campus bars. While both would come later, his very first had been a woman more than twice his age that he had met in a bookstore, one that bore more than a passing resemblance to the half naked one standing now before him.
Although she didn’t say it, Cory Lee really didn’t expect an answer to her second question either, she simply took Rick’s continued silence as acquiescence. Climbing onto the couch, she positioned herself on top of him, with a bended knee on each side of his lap. Her naked chest brushed against his shirt as the older woman leaned down and kissed him.
A kiss far removed from those they’d shared in years past, the sort that Rick could only have dreamed about, filled with passion and desire. The press of her lips against his finally caused Rick to open his mouth to meet hers, their tongues quickly intertwining. At the same time, his hands came up and closed around the soft orbs that had also often inhabited his dreams, fingers rubbing against stiff nipples and palms coming to rest against warm flesh.
Despite the layers of clothing still between, the press of her crotch against his manhood caused it to quickly grow hard, a fact that didn’t go unnoticed by Cory Lee. Ever so slowly and drawing no attention from anything else she was doing, she began to gyrate back and forth against it.
They continued to kiss a while longer, the actions of their mouths becoming more intimate as hands explored other parts of their bodies. There was a brief pause as Cory Lee helped Rick out of his own shirt, but afterwards they went back to what they’d been doing without missing more than a beat.
Cory Lee shifted positions after a while, to allow Rick to bring his mouth down towards her breasts, meeting him halfway as she lifted them upward with her hands. Of all the thoughts that could’ve flashed through his head at that moment, the one that did was almost as unexpected as it was strange.
For one fleeting second, Rick thought, if only Joe Kirby could see him now. One of the few close friends he’d had growing up, Joe and he had spent many hours discussing the physical attributes of Cory Lee Davis, speculating what it might be like to actually see them with their own eyes. He never told Doug about the night he’d seen Cory Lee and Bobby; that memory had been for him alone. Then the thought faded as quickly as it had been formed, but while it had lasted, it had been vivid enough for him to later recall.
Cory Lee let out a soft moan as Rick worked his mouth down along her neck, licking and nibbling a path to her mounds. She arched backward, pressing her breasts into his face. An even louder moan spilled from her lips as Rick’s mouth closed around her closest nipple, his tongue quickly rolling around its hardness to send a shudder of pleasure through her.