She was well-prepared for his arrival. Dinner—not a meal, but a complementary pleasure—was already chilling in the fridge. Jumbo shrimp cocktail soothed down by a chilled Riesling; light, but nourishing—no heavy stomachs pining for naps. It could be eaten any time it was the right time; no adjusting schedules for meals from the oven. She had thought of all that.
She made a final check of the food she'd prepared. It looked just right—perfect. She thought of her husband and scoffed to herself. He'd never appreciate how the light repast would aid in quest for sensuality. He could go on his fishing trip; she had better things to do.
There was a gentleman whom she'd come to know; who worked on the third floor in the same building as she did. She felt certain that he understood how she yearned to squeeze the last ounce—the final drop of perfection from what had become, to her, so mundane. He would be her dance partner for the stolen weekend and she hoped that ho would please her...
She'd raised the garage door earlier in the day and he drove right in. It had been prearranged between them. Who visited on her long-awaited weekend with the house to herself was her business, of course. It was pointless to pique the neighbors' curiosity. She meant to be watching for his car. Somehow, she missed it. The sound of the garage door closing made her gasp. He was right on-time.
It was starting. Her heart pounded a beat to drive her racing pulse—too late to call it off. She could have called it off, of course. It would have been cowardly and humiliating—and such a disappointment. Convention dictated that she, somehow, come to her senses and send him on his way. She was beyond convention at her point of mid-life. Convention was what had worn her out.
She shook off her surprise and stepped toward the door so she could greet him as he entered the house from the garage.
"Don't look too eager."
She clutched the countertop in desperation and barely held herself back. She remained composed in the middle of the kitchen; it would be a better presentation that way. He would behold her, standing serene, waiting for him; and then, he would rush to her. He'd wear his eagerness, overflowing, on his sleeve. She'd accept the offering, measuring ardor with each step as he ran to her.
A knock—it threw her plans out of kilter from the start.
"He didn't have to knock; he should have known better."
Yet, his politeness pleased her. She could adjust. Another knock came, more insistent than the first one, demanding action. She fluffed her hair.
"C-come..." She was hoarse and cleared her throat. "Come in."
She watched the slow turn of doorknob, as if he was fumbling with something. The door opened. He stepped through it, a single step, and gave her a shy smile. He brushed his hair back, as though it had been in his face, which it had not.
"Good, he's a little bit insecure. He's not the only one."
He carried a leather duffel bag slung over a shoulder. There was a paper bag containing a bottle of wine in one hand; a bouquet of flowers occupied the other. She waited for his first words.
"Well, here we are—finally," he announced.
The last added word, 'finally', also pleased her. It signified anticipation. She wondered if anticipation might be prelude to disappointment. She knew how easy it was for even the most perfect plans to come to that.
What she saw pleased her, too. He wore brown corduroys and a plaid, wool shirt. There was no attempt at impressing her with chic wear. Comfort clothes showed his intent to settle in for a while. He'd have a chance to impress later—in other ways.
For her part, she had on her white peasant blouse with the neckline that dripped slightly off her shoulders. Her shoulders were still delicate, with perfect lines. She liked to show them whenever she could. She wore her loose cotton pants held up with a drawstring. They were navy blue with a fine, white print.
They revealed nothing, unless he noticed that a tug on the bowknot of the drawstring could send them cascading to the floor in an instant. He couldn't have known that there were no panties. He might he get a hint of it if he saw her from the back, especially if she was walking. How might she arrange that?
"As he follows me up the stairs—perfect!"
It amazed her that so much of the operation of her plan had to be impromptu. She had been so elegant and thorough in her planning.
"Yes, we're finally together," she answered in a voice in which she tried to portray optimism, and not worry.
It wasn't easy.
He set the wine and the bouquet on the kitchen counter. He should have run to her and swept her off her feet like Rhett did to Scarlet, but he did not.
"I'll run to him, throw myself at him, make him hold me."
Instead, she poured some water into a vase that she pulled down from the cupboard. She sank the flowers in it and stashed the wine in the refrigerator. She felt strange; they should be kissing now.
"How thoughtful!" she cooed.
"It's nothing," he mumbled.
She took a long look at him. They were much closer than when he'd walked into the house. She noticed that her heart had stopped beating so fast. Was the excitement gone already? Had they become bored with one another before even getting started? Boredom had ruined her plans more than once. Perhaps age had eroded away the spaces inside her where excitement used to dwell and blossom as resolve. She wasn't ready to give up quite yet.
"You didn't bring much," she said, glancing at the leather duffel slung over his shoulder.
"It's only for the weekend. I didn't think I'd need many clothes."
"Didn't need many clothes? Was there a secret entendre in the simple words?"
Perhaps so; excitement began to grow again and, as usual, patience paid off.
"I'm glad you're here," she said and kissed him.
It was only a light kiss, an ice-breaker without embrace or passion, but she let her lip linger on his just slightly longer than necessary. He said nothing, but seemed to like it. He could have moved away after the moment of a polite kiss had passed, but he let it continue, and that was a good sign.
"Yes, it will take some time, but this pot will boil."
Her pulse quickened with the thought and she was reminded that she wasn't wearing panties.
"Follow me," she whispered, "I'll show you where to put your things."
She led him to the landing of the stairs and set a foot on the first step and then abruptly wheeled to look at him. She was searching for a sign that she couldn't quite define. There it was; a look unique to her understanding. Perhaps it was the dilation of his pupils, or some color rising in his cheeks. She thought that she might have seen throbbing in that vein in his neck. Whatever it was, she felt sure; excitement was bubbling stronger in its space inside her. She turned back around.
"Should I take his hand?"
No, it would be too romantic; she preferred desire. She began her swaying march up the stairs with him several steps behind. The position accomplished her to wish that he see all that she wanted him to see. Holding hands would have ruined it.
The master bedroom awaited down the hallway from the top of the stairs. It was dark; maneuverable only because of a light shining from inside the master bath. She took the bag from his shoulder and dismissed it into a corner, ending the preliminaries. She took his hand and stepped into the bathroom.
"I was hoping we could do this first," she said. "I've been kind of dreaming of it."
She hoped her voice wasn't quavering. She needed that dream and his acceptance of it.
"I hope you don't mind."
"I think it's perfect," he replied.
His approval more than pleased her.
She had filled the bathtub. A sweating ice bucket held a bottle of champagne and two flutes stood guard on a small pedestal table nearby. Steam rose from the water; she had poured perfume in it.
"Your bouquet would be perfect here," she said, pointing at the counter. "Shall I run down and get it?"
"If you must, but I'd greatly prefer that you stay here with me."
She blushed; his words were even more beautiful than flowers. She would do without the bouquet.
He placed his hands on her shoulders where the peasant blouse—selected for the occasion—met her bare skin He leaned forward, first to kiss her, she assumed, and then push the blouse down to expose her—or to free her. But, she had exposed herself already.
She stopped him with a gentle push.
"You first," she whispered, "please?"
It was part of her dream.
He nodded. It was done without ceremony. In less than a minute he was nude. She looked at him. It made her glad that he had a little spare tire. It helped make her imperfections acceptable. There was hair on his pale body, from his chest to his ankles. She took a look at his most important part. He stood still, allowing her to view it. His excitement was beginning to show. She had little experience for comparison. However it might rank, she believed that at the critical moment it was going to please her.
It was her turn. She desired delay, not due to fear or second thoughts. There would only be a single first unveiling—and so sad to be over so quickly.
"Let me have your things," she ordered, holding out her hands.
.... There is more of this story ...