It was a beautiful greenhouse. Hundreds of plants, some exotic, some not, filled the air with the perfume of growing things. Alan looked around and smiled as he took in the beauty that he'd nurtured. Professional botanists would take a great deal of pride from having created something like this, but not Alan. From his point of view, all he'd done was provide the plants with good growing conditions and let them do the rest.
Today he was feeling somewhat restless. Not uneasy -- at forty-three years old, he had a confidence in himself that few men his age possessed. He had a successful career (although not in botany -- that was a hobby), was well off and, he'd been told, wasn't bad looking either. At least, that's what the occasional lover told him. He never stayed with anyone too long because there had always been something lacking in those relationships. Something he couldn't quite define.
"Hey, you going to stand there all day and make me do the work, or are you going to help? This show was your idea, you know."
Alan turned and quirked an eyebrow at Beth, a woman he'd hired some months ago to help out after he'd volunteered to donate flowers to a new hospital wing. While no supermodel, Beth was quite attractive, even with the addition of potting soil smeared here and there. Her long brown hair was tied back in a pony tail, and her thin tank-top and short cut-offs displayed her long, lean body very nicely. Sweat dotted her top, and he'd found himself inhaling deeply when they were working close. He hoped she hadn't noticed the several times he'd gotten an erection.
When he'd hired her Alan had made it clear he didn't need a permanent helper. Beth had said that was fine, since most of her time went into her doctoral work. Despite those stipulations, he hadn't asked her to leave yet, nor had she offered to go. There was a... tension between them that neither would acknowledge out loud, but was expressed in other ways.
They would often stand close together, while working on this or that plant. He would slide his fingers slowly over a leaf, damp with the moisture she'd just sprayed on it. She would grasp a thick branch in her hand, running her thumb over it to brush away some dirt. It was a subtle, sensual play, but one they never acknowledged by actually touching each other. Oh they got close, close enough to feel the heat coming off their bodies as they sweated in the hot greenhouse, but that was all.
"How did you manage to get potting soil on your face?" he asked, reaching out to brush it off.
This didn't work too well, since his hands were covered in it, too.
"Hey!" she protested with a grin.
Her hands were also dirty, and she deliberately ran one down his arm, smearing it with dirt. Alan looked at her in surprise, but she just stood there, a challenging smile on her face.
"It looks like you've got some on the other side of your face too," he said, his voice level but with a gleam in his eyes.
Still smiling, Beth backed up a step to stay out of reach. Then another. However, she was so focused on Alan that she actually fell into a large mound of potting soil. Alan started laughing and held out a hand to help her up. She smiled and took it, then pulled him down with her.
.... There is more of this story ...