This little vignette is something unusual for me. Every once in a while I include parts of my own experiences directly into my stories. I'll leave you to figure out which part is real.
"... so watch yourself, little man. Got no problem with my Mandy here riding with you but my eyes on you; but she likes men, not runts. Still, you don't give her any shit! You understand me, shrimp?"
Startled and unsure where this diatribe was coming from, Dan nodded his agreement. Damn, that ape was 6 foot 5 if he was an inch; probably weighed something like 350 and the SOB wasn't fat. When the big ape took a step toward him, he mumbled, "Yeah, sure Randy. I'm only giving her a ride to work. If she had to take the bus Mandy would have to leave an hour earlier, and be two hours later getting home. No problem, OK?"
Apparently the ape necked Neanderthal's pea sized brain was satisfied he had put the fear of death in Dan. He smirked and stepped backward into the door of the duplex he and Mandy lived in, leaving Dan and her standing in the dark of a winter day. Mandy was clearly embarrassed, and Dan was thoroughly pissed. No way he was going to fight that bastard, but he'd show the son-of-a-bitch.
Mandy was a nice looking woman. Dan figured she was about 30, though it had been a hard 30. She was slender, moving with a slinky grace that exuded sex appeal. Her dirty blond hair was worn shoulder length, and her face held very little make-up. Actually, she looked pretty good in her tight jeans, blue and white checked shirt and waist length jacket. If a man were wearing it, Dan would have called it an Eisenhower jacket. The shirt and jacket seemed molded to a very attractive pair of boob. On her slim frame they were very evident, nicely rounded and firm.
Dan was sorry the woman seemed to wear a perpetual aura of fear. Her pale blue eyes were always darting around, looking for danger. The barely seen scar at the corner of her lip told Dan her history must give her good reason to be so fearful.
Dan himself was in his late forties, slim but still showing the signs of past athleticism. Hardly an imposing man at five foot eight inches, the woman he had agreed to let drive with him on his way to work was at least an inch taller. Dan was recovering from a nasty auto accident and just getting back to work. Being unable to put in a full days work he was working for Time/Life Library in their telemarketing department. His job was calling previous Time/Life customers to "call their attention" to products similar to those they had already bought from the company. In most cases they had responded to a late night TV ad, paying with a credit card.
In a word, he spent his working days selling CDs and VHS tapes to strangers. Over priced CDs and VHS tapes in his opinion, but they were quality products and he was often able to match up the customers likes with one or more of the things he was selling. He spent his working day sitting in a comfortable chair before a computer screen, wearing a telephone head set. His day was only five hours long, unless he put in overtime, and was as sedentary as they get. Both of which were necessary until he could get his strength and vigor back. And since he was careful to think first of the people he was talking to, only selling them things they genuinely liked he made an adequate income in those five hours.
He was good enough to be teaching new hires, like Mandy, how to go about the business.
And at the moment he was royally pissed! That meat head had gotten his juices flowing for sure. Dan always made a habit of not intruding on another man's claims where a woman was concerned. He figured if she was content to attach herself to whatever asshole she was with, that was her business. There were always women available who were unattached.
But he was mad enough at the walking pile of horse shit that had not only just warned him away from Mandy, but sneered at his manhood in doing so. It was enough to make him ignore his usual compunctions about trespassing on a relationship.
As he walked Mandy to the passenger side of his little sports pick-up he resolved to accept Randy the Fanny's challenge. His first step was simple; he opened the door for this hard used woman, and took her elbow to politely help her into the truck.
It was a little thing, but he was showing her consideration, something he guesses she had seen little of. At the same time, however innocent it appeared, he was making physical contact with her.
On the drive into town he chatted, drawing her out, telling her a little about himself and showing an interest in her by asking questions about her life; the usual, where she came from, what work she was used to doing. Generally he just encouraged her to tell him about herself.
That day at work he gave a class on the videos they were selling, with Mandy one of his pupils. He made sure to make plenty of eye contact with her. He did with all his students, but maybe a little more with her. And at break, he treated the small class of five students with soft drinks, taking Mandy with him to the break room to help carry them back. Along the way he placed a brotherly hand in the small of her back to usher her through doors and innocently crowded close as he was pulling the drinks out of the machine.
Back in the Training Room Dan picked a chair next to Mandy's as the small group took their break. In the repartee Dan made sure Mandy was kept at the forefront of the joking.
At the end of the day, he met her at the door. Instead of walking down to the basement garage, he escorted her down, holding the door and handing her into his small sports truck. Stopping at a light just before they turned onto the freeway he casually brushed imaginary lint off her shoulder.
They chatted desultorily over miscellaneous subjects. Pulling up in front of her half of the duplex he complimented her on her grasp of the videos and how to sell them, gave her a smile, then waited while she unlocked her door and walked inside. Smiling to himself he drove away, satisfied with the happy smile Mandy gave him over her shoulder as she shut the door.
Except that pea-brain's lecture was missing, the next day was very similar. Pea-brain didn't like to get out of bed early according to Mandy. She was walking happier by the time he dropped her off that afternoon and not only had become accustomed to his many "innocent" touches but seemed to be welcoming them.
Thus ran the week. Friday was the last day of Mandy's training period. And remembering shit-for-brains didn't come back from work until after five Dan stopped at a lounge across the street from the office and treated her to a drink. Mandy was very quiet as they left he lounge.
About halfway home she started talking in a low voice, "They took my babies away from me. I can't even go see them." Then she buried her face in her hands and sobbed quietly to herself. Dan wasn't sure how best to respond to that and instead of talking just reached over and took her hand. They held hands the rest of the way home with Mandy sobbing quietly.
Dropping her off at the duplex Dan gave her cheek a casual stroke with the back of his hand, the first time he had touched her in a way that was anyway sensual.
Monday morning it continued from where Dan had left off. The woman was now obviously looking for the little touches, smiling every time she saw him and he noted she was now initiating little touches on her own, reaching out and touching him on the arm when they were talking. As they settled into the truck at the end of the day Dan cupped the back of her neck for just a moment as he looked fondly into her eyes then turned, buckled himself into his seat and drove her home.
That afternoon Mandy told him the basics of her life. She had been an abused child, marrying while in high school to get away from home. Her first husband was as much a drunk as her father. On top of that he tried to get her into drugs. She resisted the drugs, instead giving birth to a boy first, and then a girl in the next three years.
Her husband was in and out of trouble with the law, and as his wife she was painted with the same brush. Without any education she was only able to get a job clerking at a convenience store. She lost that job, her husband and eventually her children because of her husband's behavior.
Mandy was working the night shift, from 11:00 PM to 7: AM. She was surprised to see her husband step into the store just after 3:00 AM. This scared her; he was supposed to be home tending to their children.
She was a whole lot more upset when her husband pulled a gun on her and demanded she empty the cash register. Looking in his eyes she saw a crazed man, and wasn't sure he even recognized her. When she had seen the gun she had automatically pressed the silent alarm with her foot.
A police cruiser was just turning corner when he got the word there was a robbery in progress in the store he was just passing.
.... There is more of this story ...