"So would you like a happy ending with your massage?" Annette Brite asked in that sexy posh voice of hers.
"Uh, doesn't that involve you ... uh ... jerking me off?" Clive Little asked.
"Yes, Mr. Little," Annette laughed. "It is indeed a euphemism for hand relief."
Little was at a loss on how to respond. He was still trying to work out how he'd ended up here, in her little shop, at seven in the evening.
Little had been looking for a last minute birthday present for his wife when he'd noticed the New Age shop on the corner of Bachman Road and Matheson Street. He hadn't really noticed it before so he thought it must be new. He tried to remember what had been here before. Wasn't it a sex shop or something like that? Something boarded up and poky anyway.
The new shop was a complete contrast. It was light and airy with big wide windows. 'Crystal Soul' was painted on the glass door in bright pink crystalline letters.
It was a long shot, but Little was completely out of ideas at this point. Maybe he'd find something here. You never knew.
As he was debating on whether or not to enter he nearly collided with a tall, strikingly beautiful blonde girl. She was continuing a conversation with someone inside, looking back over her shoulder and not spotting Little until she almost bumped into him.
"I'm sorry," Little said, stepping out of her way.
The girl smiled back at him, brightening Little's day as her clear blue eyes flashed with a hidden promise.
Wow, now here was a stunner, Little thought, unable to look away as she walked down the street, long blonde hair swishing as her hips swung provocatively. Easy Clive, Wifey would not be amused if she was here now.
No harm in looking though, he thought, smiling as he turned back and entered the shop.
The girl behind the counter was also attractive. She had long black hair that cascaded down onto her milky-white shoulders in a waterfall of ringlets. Her face was so pale and flawless it might have belonged to a precious porcelain doll. Her dress sense was a little unusual though. She wore a heavy black velvet dress that looked as though it belonged to some other bygone age.
It showed off the creamy white expanse of her cleavage to good effect though.
"Hello, can I help you?" She spoke perfect Queen's English without any trace of an accent. Somehow she managed to pull it off without coming across as haughty.
Little was a little embarrassed to realise he was staring at her cleavage. He looked up to meet her eyes, hazel orbs that flashed with amusement.
"I'm looking for a gift for my wife," Little said.
"What kind of gift do you think she'd like?" the shopkeeper asked.
"Um, you know, I actually don't have the foggiest," Little replied.
"Men," the shopkeeper laughed, rolling her eyes.
When Little had first saw her face he'd been put in mind of a doll, perfect yet cold. He supposed it would be the same had he seen her face in a picture or photograph. It only took a smile to dispel that impression. Her face took on a real animated quality and radiated warmth when she smiled.
She seemed like fun.
"We're not very good at this type of thing are we," Little said, smiling.
"Let me help," the shopkeeper smiled, coming out from behind the counter with a swish of her long velvet dress.
"These crystals look pretty," Little said, looking at a shelf that glittered with shards of refracted light.
He immediately regretted his comments. He felt like the idiot who'd walked into Samuel L. Jackson's comic book art shop in Unbreakable, looking to buy a cartoon for his kid when Jackson's character was selling art. He tried to rescue.
"But I suppose they also have some other important function like ... uh ... healing or something."
Little suspected he was just making it worse. He didn't understand this New Age stuff at all.
The shopkeeper saw he was floundering and laughed. She picked up a crystal off the shelf and stared into its dancing depths.
"The crystals are many things to many people," she said. "To some they have healing properties. Others think they are just pretty. There is no harm in thinking that. Sometimes the healing comes from owning something beautiful."
To Little it seemed like the lights in her hazel eyes danced like the lights in the crystal.
"And then to some they're just rocks," she said, plonking the crystal back down on the shelf. "I don't think your wife would be impressed with a pretty rock do you."
Little's wife, Melissa, was a practical girl. It was what had attracted him to her in the first place, although sometimes he wished she'd show a more whimsical side, especially in the bedroom. The shopkeeper was right. She was unlikely to be impressed with a pretty rock. Oh well, it had been a long shot.
"Hmm, this isn't quite as flashy, but she might appreciate it more," the shopkeeper said, pulling out a flowery wrapped box set of bath salts and oils. "A good relaxing bath works wonders for rejuvenating the body."
Little took the box from her. Yeah maybe Melissa would appreciate this more, provided he got her to put the damn stuff in the bath first.
"You should treat yourself as well," the shopkeeper said. "You look a little tense if you don't mind me saying. Do you spend a lot of time in front of a computer?"
"Is it that obvious," Little smiled, visibly moving his shoulder joint.
"There's a certain tenseness that creeps into the shoulders from spending too much time hunched up in front of a computer screen. Here." She put her hands on his shoulders and gently began to knead the muscles beneath.
That felt nice, Little thought, feeling a warmth spread across his shoulder blades. His and Melissa's careers kept them both so busy they no longer had the time to be as intimate with each other as they used to be.
"As, I thought, all knotted up," the shopkeeper said. "We need to give you a good massage to work out all this tightness."
"Oh don't worry, I'm fully qualified," the shopkeeper said, handing him a card, "I work evenings, after the shop is closed."
Little stared at the card. The name on it was 'Annette Brite'.
"Tell you what, let's make the first session free. A taster," the shopkeeper said. "I could do with the business," she whispered behind her hand.
Little looked at the smiling shopkeeper — Annette — in front of him. She was very attractive — damn it, stop staring at her cleavage, Little thought — and the prospect of receiving a massage from her was very appealing.
"Now it just so happens I have a session free tonight, seven o'clock." Her eyes twinkled. "What do you say?"
"Why not," Little smiled. "It can't hurt to try."
"That's the spirit," Annette said.
And that was how Little found himself back at her shop later that evening.
"I'm not sure about the ... uh... 'happy ending'," Little said. He wondered what he was doing here and why he'd felt the need to tell Melissa he was playing squash with one of the guys from the office instead of the truth. "It sounds a little too intimate."
"That's perfectly understandable," Annette said. "You can always change your mind later if you wish."
"It doesn't bother you?" Little asked. "Having to touch other men's ... uh..."
"Penises," Annette finished for him. "Not at all. It's a perfectly natural way to release stress and tension from the body. Now follow me."
Little was a little hesitant. He knew he was in very murky waters here, but he followed the strange woman into the back of her shop anyway.
"What sign are you Mr. Little?" Annette asked as she took him back through a small narrow corridor and then up a narrow flight of stairs.
Oh, she meant star sign, Little thought. Obviously. What was he again? He didn't really pay much attention to horoscopes. What was late February, the fishes wasn't it?
"Pisces, I think," Little replied.
"A water sign, as I thought," Annette said. "That's perfect. The Asian soap massage will be ideal for you."
Asian soap massage?
Bewildered, Little followed her into a clean bathroom tiled with white tiles. The bathroom was a lot larger than Little expected. There was a shower cubicle in the corner and a large Jacuzzi bath to the left of the entrance. What surprised Little was the amount of floor area.
There was an inflatable blue mattress propped up against one of the walls. Annette picked it up and laid it flat on the floor.
The bath was half full and covered in thick heaps of creamy foam. Humming to herself Annette selected a small bottle from the confusing array of oils and lotions on the shelves and emptied the contents into the water. She ran the tap and a pleasing herbal aroma filled the room.
"Okay Mr. Little, I'm guessing you haven't had this type of massage before so let me tell you a little about it before we get started. The Asian soap massage is a very popular Thai technique where the masseuse uses all parts of her body to massage the client. It's a full body-to-body service and we'll both be naked. You will find it very relaxing and I daresay a little erotic. Don't be ashamed if you find yourself becoming aroused during the massage. It's perfectly natural. The build up and release of sexual energy is a healthy way for the body to get rid of stress and tension. If you would like any help with this release please don't be afraid to ask. It's what I'm here for.
.... There is more of this story ...