© 2003 Kenny N Gamera
She was young. She was pure. She was new. She was nice.
Erin stepped from the bus and ran through the early evening rain to the coffee shop where Mr. Wheeler was waiting. Being late, she hoped she hadn't missed him as this meeting had taken her some time to set up. She hated to think that he would have left, but Dr. Ward's biology class was too important for her grades; she had no choice but to stay when it ran over.
With one hand, she held a copy of The Daily over her head to keep the rain off. She carried her satchel in the other, trying to hold it stable against the pounding of her dash. The latter was successful, but the former failed somewhat miserably. By the time she reached the door and entered the noisy coffee shop, her short, blond hair which she normally wore spiky, now lay flat against her head. Her wire-framed eyeglasses were dotted with countless drops of water. Her white blouse had become translucent from the moisture.
Denny recognized her before she did him. He took his time before calling her over, however. She was just as she had described, he thought to himself, as he studied the curve of her calves to the hem of her skirt just below the knee. She wore no hose, so one could easily see the pink pastel polish of her toenails through the flat-heeled sandals she had on. He smiled when he noticed the thin straps of her bra beneath the drenched material of her top.
"Erin!" he finally shouted to the girl as she tried to dry her glasses with the cheap paper napkin she had picked from the central creamer station.
She looked up at the man in the corner nearest her, slowly rising from a tattered old chair. He wore a gray tweed jacket with leather elbow patches over a white turtleneck and a pair of faded blue jeans. He reached for the cane at his side and hobbled over. His full beard and full head of hair were each a salt and pepper mix, but with maybe a little more salt than pepper. He smiled a big open smile and reached out with his free hand.
Erin all but squealed in excitement, "Mr. Wheeler." She tried to keep herself under control but still felt herself failing to come across as the mature women that she had planned to be. "I'm so glad to finally meet you in person."
She cringed as she thought how stupid she was coming across; she worried about what this virtual friend, but real stranger, was thinking about her. He smiled at the very reality of her youthful charm and, stealing a glance down the front of her shirt, her youthful charms.
"Come over here. I've been saving you a seat, but I don't know how much longer I can keep it." He led her to another beatup easy chair next to the one that he had been in. "I also had gotten you a caramel cappuccino, but it is probably cold by now."
"Oh, thank you, Mr. Wheeler. I'm so sorry that I'm late."
"My name is Denny; only my clients call me Mr. Wheeler. And you needn't worry about being late; I've lived a student's schedule before..."
"Yes, sir," she replied before quickly adding, "Denny."
"Now, why did you want to meet me?" asked Denny as he discreetly watched her tongue clean the whipped cream residue of the first sip of her coffee off her lips.
She reached into her satchel and removed a short stack of papers from it. She handed it to the older man.
"I would like for you to edit my story. Denny."
"I already told you that I have more projects than I have time for, right now. Otherwise, I'd be more than happy to work with you on it." He watched as she lowered the tall mug of her drink, noting the fresh manicure of her fingernails matched those of her toes. "I'm sorry."
Erin bit her lower lip.
"Still, if you can just look at it right now, Denny. It won't take too long and you did say you had time to see me," her voice stuttered with her nervousness, "and we could do it together right now, here in the coffee shop."
He slyly finagled her up to his flat to view his collection of stamps.
Denny agreed, and they moved to a just emptied table. It was a small one, square shaped and surrounded by four chairs. They had just enough room for their drinks and the printout of her story. He sat down next to her rather than across, to ease the comparing of text as well as to gain a view of her now exposed knees.
Using a pencil that Erin produced from her satchel, Denny slashed at text and grammar, adding commas here and removing them there. The pencil danced across the pages with the ease of a practiced proofer. As he made his "suggestions," he told her why he felt they needed to be made. She paid careful attention to his advice but never noticed the careful attention her editor paid to the gap in her shirtfront.
He offered to buy them each another coffee. She suggested that she get it, because of his leg. While waiting for the overworked staff to make her cappuccino, she thought about what a sweet man he was and how guys her age would have been drooling all over her at this point. Denny sat in his chair and studied her ass as she walked away and the jiggle of her chest as she returned to the table with the refills. They quickly finished the last details of the proofing.
"Well, young lady," Denny announced, "that's it."
"Thank you, Denny. Now I know what I need to do to get this right."
"Next time, though, get yourself another editor," he said with a smile. "But I wonder, how old are you?"
"Seventeen," she replied truthfully before realizing what that meant. "I'm a freshman at the University; I'll be eighteen in a few months."
He gazed at her over his mug of hazelnut coffee. "You're not very experienced are you?" She glanced away shyly, not wanting to admit the truth. "So how did you get interested in sex stories, Erin?"
"I found some on the 'net one night in the computer lab. When I found ASSM and read some of the stories there, I knew I could write something like that."
"Well, I found your story very sweet. I can't wait to read the finished product."
"So, what do you do when you don't write about blushing brides on their wedding night?"
"I'm an education major. I want to become a special education teacher. What do you do, Denny?"
"Oh, make money working for the man. Read. Collect stamps."
"YOU collect stamps?"
"Yes, I have a nice collection of early American stamps that I inherited from my grandfather. Would you like to see them?"
"Yes, when can I?"
"How about now?"
"Sure, I don't have class till late tomorrow, so I don't have to go back to campus right away."
the fate of a maiden who topes
The drive to his apartment occurred without significant conversation. At his request, she described her classes and the various personalities who professed them. She asked about his limp and he confessed to stepping on a land mine during the war. He did leave out that it was in Georgia and that the land mine had been placed by a cocker spaniel in his path of escape from the room of the wife of the dog's general.
That dog was the reason he now had a cat, which he deposited outside in the hall as they came into his neat little apartment. Denny led Erin to a leather recliner and offered her the seat as he went to the bar to pour them each a drink.
He smiled to himself as he said, "Have some Madeira, my dear..."
"What is it?"
"It is a sweet wine. You shouldn't take spirits at this time of night, and it's ever so much nicer than beer." He poured a generous amount for her. "And personally, I don't care for sherry, and port is a wine I can well do without."
"I don't know. I really don't drink that much."
Denny barely, but successfully, contained an evil grin.
"Oh, you have nothing to fear. I'm not trying to tempt you (that much, he added mentally). It wouldn't be right."
As Erin raised the wineglass to her lips, Denny felt his hopes for the evening rise. With her lack of experience, she quickly gulped down the liquid. Denny took the glass from her hand and refilled it for her from the bottle he had brought with him.
"Please, have another glass. It won't keep well once it's been opened."
She took the glass with an uncertain hand. Seeing that she was wavering, he added, "if it were... say... gin, you'd be wrong to say yes. The evil gin does would be hard to assess."
Erin again lifted the glass to have a sip. Though feeling light-headed, she started to drink. At the second swallow, she remembered her mother's warning when she left home for college. "Whould you look on the wine that is red, be prepared for a fate worse than death."
Popping from her chair, she released the glass. Under the relentless pull of gravity, it fell tumbling to the floor. As the glass fell, the wine sloshed out and spilled across her blouse, her skirt, and the carpet. She looked down towards the spreading stain and the unbroken glass.
Erin took a step back as if retreating from the mess she had made. Her brain buzzed from the effects of the alcohol already in her system. Covering her mouth with her hand, she looked up at Mr. Wheeler.
"Are you all right, Erin," Denny asked, truly worried about her apparent distressed condition.
While she didn't look to be drunk yet, he knew that Erin must not have had much experience with the wilder side of college life. He began to wonder if he would need to drive her back to her dorm then instead of later, and continue this at a later date.
He stepped towards her. She backed away as if she was a British diplomat and he was her Italian counterpart. Otherwise, she stood paralyzed, staring at him with her hand across her mouth. He froze himself.
"I need to go," she said suddenly with a hurried voice.
"Let me get my keys. I'll..."
"No..."She stopped, about to say something. She took another backward step.
"I..." she tried again. Then, without preamble, she rushed by him.
In just a few steps, she was through the door and in the hall, leaving her satchel behind her. She ran down the hall to the elevator. She pushed the down button repeatedly and rapidly like a Western Union agent on a telegraph key. When the doors did not open immediately, she turned and headed to the emergency stairs.
The soles of her flats clicked against the cracked linoleum of each step on her way down. By the time she reached the first landing, the door above her shut with a rumbling boom that echoed through the stairwell. The bouncing sound covered that of her labored breathing; though, Erin could still hear the pulsing of her heart, which the blood carried through her ears.
With unsynchronized rhythms, her shoes, her breathing, and her heart filled her mind with a confusing mix of noise that kept it distracted from the events of the last few moments. This emotional respite ended when she found herself standing on the puddle-covered sidewalk outside the apartment building.
While the rain had stopped, the sky had not cleared. The omni- present clouds blocked both the moon and stars and left only the illumination of the streetlight. She stood in its glow, alone on the street, which was empty of even car traffic.
Erin looked up the side of the building she had just exited. She scanned each of the lighted windows until she found the one that she guessed was Mr. Wheeler's apartment. She stared up at it.
Was Mr. Wheeler trying to get me in bed? Erin thought.
Guys did things like that; she didn't need her mother's words to know that, and it had only got worse in college. Still, those were just a bunch of boys. Mr. Wheeler, Denny, was a grown man and old enough to be her father.
For an older guy, he was... okay looking... maybe better than that... she guessed. She hadn't saved herself, either. She just wanted to be with guys who weren't complete jerks. Mr. Wh... Denny had treated her with more than some respect.
Denny looked down at the figure standing in the circle of light on the wet sidewalk. He waited several long minutes during which she made no motion. At last, he turned and shuffled to his living area to pick up her satchel from where it leaned against an easy chair.
The door shut after him with a click as it latched. A short walk and a slightly longer wait later, the elevator arrived with a ding. The door slid opened to allow for his egress from the hall. He entered and selected the button for the lobby