Copyright belongs to the author, S.A. Ninian. Neither this story nor any extract of it can be reproduced in anyway without the author's consent.)
He saw her the minute she walked through the shop doorway and stood there shaking the rain from her umbrella. His hand was raised to wave but something made him hesitate. Later he was to wonder about this. Was it because he sensed something? Did she seem secretive even then, in the doorway?
Or had he just been lucky?
Standing, half-hidden behind one of the centre rows of bookshelves, he watched her pass, only a few feet from him. He saw she was still wearing the black tailored suit that she had worn at the departmental meeting.
The jacket hid those breasts that he'd fantasized about ever since he had seen her stretch herself one day last summer when he had spotted her in the park. She hadn't seen him then either.
The suit jacket concealed these objects of desire but the short skirt enticingly revealed her long nylon-clad legs.
'God!' he thought, 'I'd like to slide my hand up that leg and feel you.'
'Chance would be a fine thing!'
She had never responded to any of his banter, his mild attempts at flirtation. Oh yes, she was always friendly, always happy to talk, had even sought his advice. But that's where it ended. She was married. No kids. Her husband was something in banking. She never talked about him. Sometimes he thought there was sadness about her. A kind of wistfulness.
Once, he had come across her, unexpectedly, sitting with her back to him as he entered the staff-room. He could see her side-on and she had looked so down. But as soon as she noticed him she'd changed and became quite bright and chatty.
Now he watched her as she progressed along the shelves, turning round every now and then to glance around. Once, he was convinced she had seen him but her eyes moved past with no sign of recognition. Of course he was dressed much more casually than when she usually saw him.
She stopped at a section of shelves just across from him and he could see that her eyes were on books on the top shelf. She gave another rather furtive glance round, and reached up and selected a book. As soon as she had done so, she moved quickly down a section and stood with her back to him. He could see she was flicking through the book.
He walked across the intervening space and tapped her on the shoulder 'Hello, Elizabeth', he said in a cheery tone, 'found something interesting for the week-end?'
At least that's what he had intended to say but he hardly got any of it out, for she jumped as though she had been shot and dropped the book at their feet. He bent down and picked it up.
'The Sexual Life of Catherine M.', he said in a low tone. He gave a silent whistle. ' Gosh! What will they say about this?' He smiled, holding the book out to her.
She was as white as a sheet and trembling. He thought she was going to faint and he regretted his action and words.
'I'm sorry, Elizabeth. I didn't mean to intrude on your privacy. I've behaved like a boor. Forgive me. Please.' He stood holding the book out to her as her eyes darted all round the shop and then focussed somewhere near his feet. He let the hand holding the book drop to his side.
'Look', he said to the top of her bent head, ' here you are. No-one's seen us'. He held out the book. ' I'm going. This never happened. I wasn't here.'
'Please!' she looked at him. Pleading. Her dark eyes like liquid pools ready to overflow. 'You mustn't make fun of me. Not at work. Please!' She pushed the book away.
Without thought or hesitation he put his arms round her and pulled her into an embrace. She went as stiff as a board.
'For heaven's sake, Elizabeth', he murmured into her silky hair, ' I'm your friend. I care about you. I like you very much. I don't talk about you behind your back'.
For an instant she relaxed and he felt as if a wave went through her body and she gave a great sigh into his chest. Then she stiffened again.
He stepped back and held her at arms length. 'Look', he said firmly, 'it's pouring with rain, My car's just outside. Wait for me in the entrance'.
Before she could react he had walked away towards the shop counter, still holding the book.
He'd expected her to be gone when he returned but she was there in the doorway, sheltering from the downpour. She gave a shy smile as he approached. He handed her the little bag with the name of the bookshop emblazoned on it.
'Thank you, Daniel', she said softly, ' you are very sweet.'
'No, I'm not', he said jocularly, reaching out to squeeze her arm, 'I want to read it when you've finished!' And they laughed together.
He did not tell her of the scribbled note he'd slipped into the book while waiting in the short queue. It read,
I've thought for a while that you are very unhappy. I'm here for you if you ever need some one. No strings. You must know how I feel about you. I like you very very much. I'd never do anything to hurt you Phone me any time you need me.
I'll come running.
Love, D. xxx
He swung into the driver's seat beside her, took her umbrella and threw it on to the back seat. She began to thank him again but he cut her short.
'It's not every night of the week I get to drive an attractive woman home.'
She laughed at this: 'you are such a tease. All talk. One day someone will take you seriously and you'll be found out.' She was much more relaxed now, lounging back on the car seat, her long legs stretched out, and her short skirt revealing those delightful thighs.
'One day I hope you do take me seriously, then you'll see if I'm just talk.' He said it in the same bantering tone he always used. And he wished that he could sound more serious. She gave a 'Huh!' and smiled at him.
He was more than halfway into the five-mile trip to her house when the car in front braked suddenly. He stood on the brake and flung a protective arm out to hold her back in the seat. At the same time she was thrust forward and clung to him as the car skidded on the wet surface. They came to a halt partway across the road. The other car had vanished into the dark and rain.
'You ok?' He restarted the stalled engine and turned back on to their side of the road. She'd made no reply and he reached out and shook her knee. 'Hey? Are you o.k.'
'I'm fine, Daniel, Got a fright, though.' Her voice was a bit shaky.
He gave her knee a squeeze. 'Don't know what that silly bugger was playing at. Must have seen a rabbit or a cat or something.' He patted her knee and slipped his hand just inside her lower thigh. 'I'll drive a bit slower. Are you sure you are o.k.'
There was a pause. Then she put her hand on top of his. ' I'm o.k. Just a little bit shaky, Daniel. I know I'm in good hands. Just you carry on.' She reached across and patted his leg, high above his knee. She let her hand rest there.
They drove on in silence. When he removed his hand to change gear and turn into her street, she squeezed his thigh and whispered, 'Thank you, Daniel. That was nice.'
He kept his hands on the wheel but hers stayed on his leg, the long fingers gently kneading his thigh muscle. He felt the signs of arousal in his groin.
He turned into the private drive. 'This is what the world of finance gets you', he thought.
He stopped the car at her door. The big house was in darkness. He switched off the engine and turned towards her. She did not remove her hand. He leaned toward her, reached out and drew her to him. Her response to his kiss astounded him with its passionate intensity.
He slid his free hand under jacket and felt her breasts. Her heart was thumping. Abruptly she broke free, pushing him away.
'No, Daniel. No! I'm sorry but I don't want this. I need... more!' She spoke quietly but very intensely, her eyes bright with passion.
'More?' He was thrown and puzzled.
'Yes!' She held him at arms length, one hand pushing on his chest, but the other still grasping his thigh. ' I want more than a quick feel in the car. More than a one night stand with a married man playing Jack-the-Lad!'
He put his hands on her shoulders and stared into her eyes. She bit her lip and dropped her gaze. ' Open your parcel', he said quietly.
'What?' Surprise and bewilderment were written all over her face.
'The parcel from the bookshop. Open it. Please. It's important.'
She let him go and unclipped her seat belt then reached down between her feet for the little bag.
She tore the paper wrapping off and, as the book was revealed, she made as if to speak. He put a finger to his lips and shook his head.
'Open it', he instructed and put on the interior light.
.... There is more of this story ...