I should have known better. I should have remembered that old saying, "If it looks too good to be true, it is."
I was in love. She was damned near all I thought about with the exception of my studies and it didn't make sense to me. I prided myself on my intellect and my ability to think logically, but there wasn't anything logical about the way I felt about Althea. She was beautiful, smart and very popular and I was not. I wasn't a bed looking guy, but I was nothing exceptional. I was smart, but popular was something I had never been and probably would never be. Not that I didn't want to be, but for some reason shy, nerdy types like me were avoided. I didn't play sports; all I did was study and concentrate on my passion — computers and the wondrous things that you can do with them.
Althea changed boyfriends like I got haircuts — every couple of weeks. She went from guy to guy — all jocks and all what I have heard girls refer to as 'hunks' — like a honeybee flitting from flower to flower. At the time it didn't occur to me to wonder about the fact that maybe two-thirds of them were black. Outside of a couple of shared classes I had absolutely nothing in common with Althea so it was totally illogical of me to even waste a minute thinking about her. Still, for my sophomore and junior years I watched her and wished that I could be one of the guys she spent time with.
It was the start of my senior year when the miracle occurred. I was at the library doing research on a paper that I had to turn in. I was sitting at a table pouring over reference material when Althea walked up to the table and asked me if she could sit down. I was so surprised that I was tongue tied, but no way I was going to say no so I just motioned to one of the chairs.
"We hardly know each other" she said, "So you probably are not aware that I can sometimes be blunt almost to the point of being insulting. This is probably one of those times. Are you gay?"
I was caught totally off guard by the question and I just sat there opened mouthed and started at her. After an embarrassingly long silence she said, "Not a hard question, a simple yes or no would do."
"No, no I'm not" I managed to croak out.
"Next question. I've watched you watch me for the last couple of years now yet you have never any attempt to get to know me. Why is that?"
The situation was just so totally bizarre that I just sat there.
"Not much of a conversationalist are you. Well, let me give me my thoughts on it. I figured that it was one of two things. One, you were gay and you were watching me running around with the hunks that you wanted for yourself, but you say that you aren't gay so that takes me to number two. You are shy, shy and unsure of yourself. Shy with maybe a touch of an inferiority complex. Is that it? Too shy and afraid that you wouldn't measure up against football and basketball players?"
It was too much, too fast, and I was overwhelmed; the words just would not come out.
"Come on Herb, help me out here. Don't make me do it all."
"Do it all?" I managed to blurt out.
"Yes, do it all. You won't come to me so I had to come to you. I'm sitting here giving you opportunities up the kazoo to jump in and say something, but you are just sitting there like a lump. You are not doing my ego much good here Herb."
"I'm sorry, I... I... just don't know what to say."
"Not used to forceful, assertive women Herb, or just not used to women at all?"
"I... I... I haven't much experience with women."
"Okay, I guess I will have to do it all."
She slid a piece of paper across the table to me, "That's my address. Pick me up at seven. I have a party to go to and I need an arm to hang on."
"I... I can't. I have a paper due and I need to finish it tonight."
"Bullshit Herb. Your GPA is a solid four point oh and you are the darling of every professor whose class you take. You could turn in a paper that simply said, "I hate this class" and you would still get an A on it. Seven Herb" and she stood up and gathered up her purse and her books. She turned to go and then she turned back to me.
"And Herb? Wear a tie. First dates need to be just a touch formal, don't you think?"
I watched her walk away and wondered just what in the hell had happened.
I was there to pick her up at seven and I did wear a tie. We went to the party and I spent four hours being stared at by people who were just as curious about what was going on as I was. A couple of times a guy tried to separate Althea from me and get her to leave with him, but she just said that she didn't think that her boyfriend would like that. Boyfriend? I was absolutely lost about what was going on.
The party over I took Althea home and walked her to her door. She smiled, patted me on the cheek and said, "I don't kiss on the first date Herbie; it gives the guy something to look forward to on the next date. For us that will be day after tomorrow. Dinner and a movie. Pick me up at six" and she went inside.
Since it was only Wednesday (Thursday early AM actually) I had a day and a half to try and figure what was going on, but by five o'clock on Friday evening I still didn't have a clue. I suppose that I could have just come out and asked her, but why should I do that? For years I had watched her with no expectation of ever even speaking to her and here she was telling people that I was her boyfriend. I was going to jeopardize that? No way. I might only last a week or maybe not even that long, but I was going to take what I could get.
I was there to pick her up at five-fifty and her hello was accompanied by a bemused smile.
"A little eager are we?"
"No, I just hate to be late."
"It's a good trait Herbie, being eager I mean. I've made reservations at Lascars and I hope you like 'chic flicks' because I'm dying to see First Wives Club."
She looked at her watch and then at me and smiled as she said, "Don't worry Herbie, I didn't order your entrée too."
Dinner was nice and we used the time to find out more about each other. The movie wasn't my cup of tea, but I would have happily sat through a foreign film with sub-titles as long as I could be with Althea. When I took her home and walked her to her door she thanked me for a lovely time, gave me a kiss that turned my bones to jelly and told me to pick her up at one on Saturday. I drove to my place with a head full of thoughts and questions and the only thing I was sure about was that I was totally confused. The girl of my dreams had taken me out on two dates and had just set up a third one and I had not even asked her out for the first time. What's more, as I recall it, I never did ever ask her out. Althea ended every date we had setting up the next one. She took charge of my life and I was so happy that I never said a word, never questioned it, not once.
The next four dates ended with kisses on her front porch, each one just a little longer than the previous one. The next dozen or so ended with necking sessions in the car that seemed to get hotter and hotter until one night she unbuttoned her blouse to show me that she wasn't wearing a bra. She took my hands and carried them to her breasts, "Show them that you like them Herbie." I played with them for a while and then Althea pulled my head down to them.
"Work the nipples Herbie, lick my nipples."
I did and she started moaning and her hands grabbed the back of my head and held me to her. I moved a hand up her leg and she slapped it away, "Don't get greedy Herbie, all in good time."
The next three dates ended the same way — I got to pay homage to her tits — but the next one, when I reached for her breasts, she pushed my hands away. "No Herbie, not tonight. Tonight it is your turn" and her hand went for my fly, she pulled down the zipper and reached inside for my cock. Things moved quickly after that. I got a hand job on that night and on the next two. Then one night I picked her up and as we headed for the car Althea asked me for the keys.
"I'll drive tonight Herbie."
Fifteen minutes later we were in a motel parking lot. I looked over at her and she looked back at me and smiled, "It is called escalation Herbie, moving on to bigger and better. You aren't a virgin, are you?"
The look on my face answered that one only too well.
"Good! I love taking cherries and teaching guys the right way to do things."
I don't know why, but those words and the tone of voice she used in saying them made me finally ask the question that had been waiting to be asked since that day in the library.
"What is going on here Althea?"
"It is a compatibility check Herbie."
"Compatibility check? I don't understand."
"In almost all areas you are a perfect fit for me Herbie. The only thing left for me to check is whether or not we are sexually compatible."
"And if we aren't?"
"Then obviously I won't marry you."
She opened the door and started to get out of the car, "Come on Herbie, let's see if we have a future."
We were married two months after graduation.
Almost everyone who knows Althea and me considers me pussy whipped. It is true, but at the same time it isn't. Yes, I do appear to be subservient to Althea's wishes and desires. "Yes dear" and "Of course dear" play a large part in my conversations with Althea, both in public and at home, but it is not because I am pussy whipped, it is because I just don't care or because it just doesn't matter. I was in the market for a new car and Althea picked out the one that I bought.
.... There is more of this story ...