She was maxing out the treadmill in the small hotel fitness center. Her sneakered heels thunked like the beat of a large drum. I had not seen anyone go that hard. Sweat dripped from her on each impact and the track glistened from her moisture. Her tight briefs were full of well rounded hips and her butt curved out in a perfect "C" shape supported by long legs with clearly defined calves and firm thighs. Just right! Each impact lifted her sports bra to glory in motion. Her wet hair stuck to her clenched jaw, highlighting her frown.
When we exchanged nods, skin around her blue eyes glistened with sweat. I watched her bounce for the rest of my workout, wondering if she were angry with someone. I imagined her looks without the gym suit. I would remember that shape. After my relatively mild workout, I went into the hospitality room to get a drink before going up to my hotel room. She stood in the back of the elevator when I got back on at level 2 and I smiled at her and moved back. Then, the horde came. A bunch of high school revelers wanted to go up. Trying to get one more on, they squeezed us in to the back corner.
I smiled and said, "Sorry."
She remembered me. "It's OK. Wet or not, we can't defeat this crowd!" She still breathed noticeably and smelled of fresh sweat. Ahhhh... delicious.
I managed to get my glass above the crowd and had a sip. Her blue eyes looked first at the glass, then at me long enough to make my knees tremble.
"I hate to hold this under your nose."
I noticed that her sweating caused her makeup to run just when she pulled my glass to her lips, smiled, and had a drink. "Thank you! I like gin." Her eyes looked over the glass at me.
It's now or never I thought. "Go down with me to the hospitality room and I will get your very own."
Did I mention how potent she smelled? It was breathtaking. Going back up with our drinks in hand, I dared, "May I sit with you on your couch while we finish these?"
She smiled and paused, then replied, "I don't have a couch and I really need a shower."
Might as well give it a try. "I do have a couch. I like your smell. I'm in 3613 and I wish you would come see me, just as you are."
I returned to my room alone-how could I have succeeded? Inside, I removed the sweaty T-shirt and shoes, stood by the window, and looked into the Pacific for wisdom. Must have tuned to the wrong channel! A knock surprised me. I peeked through the privacy eye and saw her and then quickly unlatched and opened the door.
She stood in the hall and smiled at me. "If your couch is still uninhabited, I would like to accept your offer."
Somewhat shocked by her presence, I mumbled, "Please come in. No resident potatoes on it yet. What a pleasant surprise!"
She wore her wet gym clothes and held her glass. I put a towel on the couch and while we sat, I inhaled her awesome aroma. She had repaired her eyes and touched up her lipstick and dried her damp hair.
I gazed, "Uhhh, I'm Richard."
"I'm Autumn. Thank you for the sip and the drink."
"You looked awesome on the treadmill. I admired how furiously you worked on that treadmill and your divine smell on the elevator--that hot woman smell. I love it. Forgive me, but I may go crazy. "
"Are you attending the conference this week, Autumn?"
"I came yesterday. And you?"
"I got a lot done yesterday."
I refreshed the drinks from my mini-bar. "What about today?"
She looked distraught. "The meeting was fine, but I discovered some bad news." Her voice trailed off and she had a long sip of her drink. "I worked out hard to forget a dreadful conversation."
"Want to tell me?"
She tossed her hair away from her face, "You needn't be bothered with my personal problems. We don't know each other at all."
"You just let a strange man lure you to his hotel room for a drink and who knows what else. Given that, a little conversation should be OK."
She looked up meanly, "Did you ever have to redesign your life to save your marriage, Richard?"
I saw a tear forming, so I brought some tissues. "Yes, I did somewhat. Unsuccessfully. It was a while back." Now, tears were in both eyes. "Come over here."
"I just can't burden you."
Make something out of that opening. Quick! "Could you turn your shoulders around so that I can hold you?" I put my hands on her shoulders and started to knead all her tight, tense spots with my hard hands. Her silky skin gave way and created such a raw contrast to my strong grasp. After I had worked on her shoulders and neck for a few minutes, she let herself be turned and I put my arms around her as she lay on my lap facing me with her feet on the couch. "Now, tell me." Now, that's better. Much better!
"There isn't a lot to tell, really. Jeff and I have been married for five years. Two years ago, I was 'downsized' in a reorganization. The company made some bad business choices and many of us in my division had to be let go with a small severance package."
"Welcome to the national crisis."
I had pulled the talk cork and she went on intensely, "I was out of work for about three months, which didn't help our finances at all. Then, I found a much better position with enough higher pay to make up for my layoff. The catch was that I had to travel much more. He didn't like the fact that I travel so much; that there was not enough time for him."
She wiped her tears and seemed to look into her glass for an answer. "We argued about it. And I started looking for another job with less travel, although it would not be good for my career."
"Not yet. Waiting for the 'right' time."
As I held her, she let herself come closer. "That has to hurt a lot."
"Today, he called me and we argued again. There were no soft loving words between us."
I empathized, "The scene of a spouse's constant dissatisfaction has to be the worst time in one's life."
She retorted bitterly, "Welcome to the naïve club, Autumn!"
She leaned away from me and finished her drink. She needs a drink, but if you let go, she might not come back. Get the drink. I handed her a refill and resumed my position. She came right back. "You were saying?"
"Thank you. Between you and the gin, I feel better now than I have all day. You've really helped." She paused reflectively, "It took me a long time to find one that I liked-a man and a job-and now I can't have both. Life is tough." Another tear dropped. This time, I wiped it away with a soft trace of her beautiful satin face. "Thanks for listening."
"That's what I'm for. So, if you want to keep him, you have to get a local job?"
"That's what he wants me to do, but I'm not going to be a flunky."
"Hang in there!"
"It gets worse." Then she cried again. "I found out yesterday that he had slept with a colleague while I was out of town."
"'When the cat's away... ' How did you find that out?"
"It was so mundane. I was upstairs here doing our taxes and needed some information, so I called him, which I never do. No point. He's never there. He calls me. Anyway, Kelli answered, 'It's about time, Jeff. I miss you.' I recognized her voice and mumbled, 'Sorry, wrong number.'"
I could only mumble, "Oh, shit! It did get worse!" I hugged her closer.
I almost whispered, "While you were working out so furiously giving your brain an oxygen bath, did you decide what you were going to do?" I had deep eye contact, "How could anyone who looks and smells as good as you do be faced with that?"
To my utter shock, she kissed me with those full luscious red lips like we had lots of practice together. Then she pulled her mouth slowly away and smiled, "That compliment filled a large, long void. Thank you." She sipped her drink, looked again at the glass, and then back at me, "I'm sure that you know I'm a little off balance here. You may not be the only one who gets a little 'crazy'." With that, she began twirling my hair.
"That is my intention. You are only driving an elevator. I want to cloud your judgment and take advantage of you. I have many more compliments if you have any more of those intoxicating kisses."
"I have not yet decided absolutely for sure what to do with him. I have to decide if I could possibly forgive him, ever. That little bitch, Kelli, for God's sake!" Then, she smiled said weakly; "I'll bet you didn't expect a whining, crying bitch when I came in."
"I wanted to be with you when you came in. Now, I think I need to be with you for a while."
"Thank you. I will pull myself together." She paused and snuggled in my hug, "Hey, I'm too comfortable here even to think about it right now. I'm with you. Tell me about Richard."
"You'll need hours! No, I'm with a loosely associated group of consultants who have a common need for an office administrator. We work on business process improvements. I was unlucky and lost out on drawing straws and had to come to this meeting. I was grumpy about it until you walked into my room."
"Not for some time. She sought better pastures and I think she found them."
"Oh, I doubt that. In love?"
She kissed me again. This time, I didn't let her pull away so fast. "That was delicious! I noticed the shapely muscles in your legs as you were on the treadmill. Please hold one of them up so that I can feel what I've been admiring from a distance."
.... There is more of this story ...