Juniper Jones
Chapter 1

Caution: This Romantic Sex Story contains strong sexual content, including Ma/Fa, Romantic, Heterosexual,

Desc: Romantic Sex Story: Chapter 1 - Travis Horton could see for himself that the girl was sexy, vivacious, and very tall. But was she the kind of girl he could look up to?

I figured she had to be a basketball player because, Jesus, she was really, really tall.

I mean, not just tall for a girl, y'know? Tall for anybody. Tall for a basketball player, even.

I'd been sent by the Orioles to this spring banquet featuring jocks from all sports. There were men and women there from all the local colleges and universities as well as the pro sports organizations. One would expect to run into some tall, athletic-looking types of either sex.

She was a strikingly pretty thing, although skinny. Very skinny. Maybe just being as tall as that made a person seem skinnier.

Nope. This chick was, like, skinny.

Well, enough of this. I didn't want to get caught staring at her. I imagine it's not so great for a young woman, being as tall as that. People would probably tend to treat you like a freak. The really awful people (of whom there is no shortage) would make lame witticisms about your height, probably thinking that they were the first ones -- ever -- to think up those clever remarks like, "How's the weather up there?"

The only-fairly-awful people (like me) would just stare at you too long.

So, belatedly, I tactfully looked away.

"I know you," a voice behind me said. I turned and found myself looking at the silver locket dangling from The Girl's neck. The locket was just about at eye level when I'd turned. I looked up and there she was -- Miss Everest herself, standing right in front of (and a little above) me, much like an adult hovering over a child.

"Excuse me?" I said. She'd just said she "knew" me, but if she did, I didn't know from where. Granted, I was a major league baseball player -- albeit a little-known one. But I was especially anonymous here -- in downtown Baltimore -- only a few weeks after the trade that had brought me from the Oakland A's to the Orioles in exchange for a Triple-A catcher and a tired utility infielder playing out his string.

So, although I might be (barely) a big-league ballplayer, I was not exactly a household name in Baltimore. I hadn't been, even back in Oakland. But especially not in Baltimore, where I had yet to so much as play a regular-season game for the Birds. I had never even played in Camden Yards as a visitor.

Well, all these thoughts had shot through my head faster than it takes to tell you about them. It wasn't like the two of us had experienced this lengthy pregnant pause. The tall babe had declared that she "knew" me, and I had said "excuse me" and only a few nanoseconds had gone by between times. So it wasn't really quite as awkward as it sounds.

"I said, 'I know you, '" the young woman repeated. "You're Travis Horton, the Orioles' new outfielder."

Well, that was flattering. I figured if you had taken a poll of every single human being in that crowded banquet room, maybe three of them would have known my name. And this was a crowd full of fans at a sports-related event.

"Yes, that's right," I said, finally. "And you're... ?"

"Juniper Jones," she said.

"You mean like the old movie star?" said I. I had thought she'd said "Jennifer Jones."

"What movie star?" she said. "I don't know any movie stars named Juniper Jones."

"Oh! ... Juniper ... Sorry, I didn't understand what you said the first time. I don't think I ever met anyone named 'Juniper' before."

"Really?" she said. "Why, there were three other Junipers, just in my high school geometry class!"

"You're kidding, right?" I said.

"I'm kidding, right."

"Unusual name," I remarked. Brilliant conversationalist, that's me.

"It's a tree," she said. "Pretty appropriate -- don't you think?"

Hmmmm. Tall jokes, she's giving me now. Alarms went off. Don't join in. Stay away!

"So how is it that you recognized me?" I asked her. "I'm brand-new in town."

"You're a major league baseball player," she said.

"Well, yes. But I'm not exactly Roger Clemens. I'm surprised you recognized me ... Are you a player? Are you with Maryland's basketball team? Or UMBC?"

"Do you mean am I one of the guests at this jock concert?" Juniper said. "Am I a basketball player? ... You don't know basketball all that well, do you, Travis?"

"Not particularly, no ... Why?"

"You're assuming that because I'm tall, I might be a college basketball player. But if you knew anything about B-ball, you'd take one look at me and say, "With that body, I can't see her blocking out under the basket."

"Yeah, now that you mention it, I guess you're a little bit ... frail ... for a player."

"Frail. Nice word. Feminine-sounding. You could have said 'skinny.' ... Or even 'anorexic.'"

"So you're not ... an athlete?" I said, trying to get the conversation back on safer ground.

"Right. I'm not a guest at the front tables, as you probably will be. I'm just here with my dad. My dad is the Orioles' bench coach, Franklin Jones. I assume you've met him?"

Well, I had met Franklin Jones, but now Juniper had me confused again. Franklin Jones was a black man. He was not very tall and quite definitely black. Juniper, here showed no signs of being wholly or partially of black ancestry.

She read my mind. "Franklin's my step-daddy," she said. "That accounts for my pale-faced aspect."

"So you recognized me because you're Franklin's step-daughter and you hang out at the ballpark from time to time?"

"Not only at Camden Yards, but at spring training in Lauderdale, too. Mom and I were down for the whole six weeks this spring."

"Surprised I didn't see you while you were down there."

"Because I would stand out in a crowd, right?"

"Hey, don't go all sensitive on me. You said you were there for six weeks. I, too, was there for the whole six weeks. As the New Guy, it behooved me to demonstrate a little enthusiasm, so I showed up almost a week early with the pitchers and catchers. I still never saw you there."

"Well, maybe you didn't see me, but I saw you. You'd be surprised -- sitting down, I look pretty much like a normal person. Probably, you didn't notice me because down there, I wasn't in a dress-up dress and all spiffed up and standing up with a glass of cheap wine in my hand."

"You look positively regal with that wine glass in your hand. A person can't even tell it's cheap wine."

"It's a plastic glass, Dude. So you know, going in, it's gonna be cheap wine ... But thanks for the 'regal' thing. You're pretty smooth, for a ballplayer."

"Thanks for noticing. It's one of the reasons the Orioles traded for me. It's on my scouting report: 'Bats, fair; fields, fair; runs, fair; but in social situations, he's a smoothie.'"

"Were you surprised to find out the Orioles had picked you up?"

"Actually, I really was -- at first. I mean, the Orioles already had a hell of an outfield. I figured to be the number five man and that I might not even end up going north with the club. But when Cory Zane got released, the outfield suddenly didn't seem quite as ... crowded."

"The way I hear it, you're going to get into a lot of games."

"From your lips..."

"Pops says you're the real deal," she said.


"My dad. Step-dad ... Franklin."

"What'll happen to me if I call him 'Pops?'"

"I'd advise against it, although he's not likely to turn violent."

"Family stuff, huh?"


"You going home after -- with Pops?"

"You want to make me a better offer?"

"Well, I am new in town, and all. Don't know the best places to go."

"We won't need a restaurant. They're serving rubber chicken and peas here, in less than an hour."

"We could fake it with the chicken -- just push the peas around the plate a little and then go out for Italian later. I know a fantastic place."

"I thought you were new in town and needed a guide."

"I am, and I do. But I love Italian food, so I've already investigated that much. This town has a half-dozen fantastic Italian restaurants!"

"Let me guess: Sabatino's -- right?"

"Well, they're number one. I mean, Sabatino's is every bit as good as its reviews. But I've got this secret place. Off the beaten path. It's not even listed on the Internet. I know, because I've checked."

"You know, I've lived in Baltimore since I was a pre-teen. You're not very likely to spring an Italian restaurant on me that is (a) decent, and (b) unknown to me."

"Want to bet?"

"Aren't you the least bit concerned about what Pops will think? He takes his daughter out for a nice event-dinner and, poof, she runs off with an itinerant ballplayer. Couldn't that sort of thing go hard on you tomorrow at the Yard?"

"Listen, they don't come any more harmless than I am. I'm so boring I can't even score an interview for a paragraph in Roch Kubatko's blog in The Baltimore Sun, even."

"The last guy who tried that 'I'm so boring' line on me turned out to be anything but boring ... Not to imply that he was exciting, or that it was a positive experience."

"But he wasn't boring?"

"Not boring. He was memorable, even ... But for all the wrong reasons."

"So, do you want to try this Italian place I know?"

"How tall are you?" she asked.

"I knew we were going to get to that at some point. I'm five-eleven. Perfectly normal height. You going to tell me you only go out with guys taller than you?"

"If I only went out with guys taller than me, I wouldn't see much action, now would I?"

"But you've got your limits, right? That's why you want to know how tall I am? What is it -- you have a six-foot minimum?"

"Nope. No minimum. I just asked the question to see how oversensitive you might be to such issues. And you do seem a little defensive about it, at that."

"I can bear up if you can. I haven't seen you sitting down yet. Didn't you say you weren't all that tall, when seated?"

"I did say something to that effect," she said. "With me, it's mostly all in the legs."

"And fine, fine legs they seem to be, from what I can see from way down here," I said. It was true. The girl might be way too tall. She might have the breasts of a pre-teen. She might be rail-thin, stem to stern and mostly just stem.

But she had a pair of legs on her that were plain impressive. Sure, they were thin, too, but they weren't thin-thin, y'know? They were pleasingly slender and they just went on and on! ... And on!

I'd always been a leg man, first and foremost, and, Jesus-God! This girl's legs were the finest -- not to mention the longest -- I'd ever laid eyes on.

Maybe she would look less tall sitting down.

Maybe she'd look even less tall than that -- lying down.

No doubt she could read my mind. It didn't take any superpowers to read it, the way I was looking at her.

I was staring again. Wasn't even trying to hide it.

There was another long silence. She still hadn't committed to my offer to take her to my alleged super restaurant.

About that time, Franklin Jones wandered over.

"I see you've met Juniper."

"I certainly have!"

"She's somethin', ain't she?"

"You two gonna just discuss me as if I weren't standing here?"

"No way we could do that, Darlin'," Franklin said. "When you're standin', there ain't no missin'."

Well, that remark gave me a clue about the relationship between Juniper and her step-dad. It was evidently easy-going and affectionate.

"If it's okay with you," I told Franklin, "Juniper and I are going to blow this pop stand as soon as they've served the chicken and concluded the first round of speeches. We're going out for Italian."

"Sabatino's?" he asked.

"Nope. Hole-in-the-wall place I found, up by Johns Hopkins."

"She doesn't need my permission," Franklin said. "She's free and twenty-one."

"White -- even," Juniper said.

I was beginning to conclude that Juniper Jones had a smart mouth on her.

"I wasn't going to go all racial about it," Franklin replied easily. "But, yeah, she's that too. Gotta watch her though, Travis. I warn you: You got any problems with thinning hair, she's gonna let you know about it, right-away quick. She's got the angle on you, son."

"Shoot, Pops, I could spot your spot, even sitting down. You're really losing it up-top these days! Must have been all those years wearing those ball caps. I notice a lot of you guys lose your hair awful early."

"Not Travis here," Franklin told her. "Travis' pushing thirty, and been playin' this game for money -- man and boy -- for six or seven years already. And he's still got all his hair. Must be good genes -- or clean livin'."

"Gotta be the genes," Juniper remarked. "He doesn't look much like a clean liver to me."

"My liver is just fine," I said. "I've led an exemplary life, despite my constant exposure to bad influences."

"Exemplary, huh? ... Pretty fancy word for an outfielder."

"I went to college," I said.


"Well, no. But I went. Three years. Didn't flunk out, either. I even stayed in school --part-time -- after I signed as a pro."

"Why'd you finally drop out?" Juniper wanted to know.

"Major league bonus money. When I got that, I turned real serious about off-season conditioning, trying to make sure I could keep on seeing some of that green. School got to be one distraction too many, after a while."

"Seduced by the big money."

"Guilty as charged."

All three of us knew that I wasn't getting the "big money" -- at least, not by the current standards of Major League Baseball. I had been on big league rosters, off and on, for four years, but only consistently for the past two. I was making a very comfortable six hundred grand for the current season, but that put me well down into the bottom half of the Orioles' twenty-five-man roster.

Still, you wouldn't be hearing any complaints from Travis Horton. That kind of money still sounded awfully good to me, and considering the prospects I had for spending most of my time in the dugout, watching three other guys patrol the outfield at Camden Yards, I was just happy to be here.

"You'd best watch yourself, throwing those big words around with Juniper in the vicinity," Franklin said. "She's a librarian, out at Johns Hopkins' library."

"I'm not a librarian, exactly," Juniper said. "I help students and faculty with their computers, and keep the main library's system up and running."

"Come on," Franklin said to me, "Let's go sign some autographs. You and I are the only Orioles here so far. Gotta show the flag for the club. I've seen a couple of Raven players here, and some dudes from that indoor soccer outfit. And Zeke Taylor's supposed to be comin' to this, although I haven't seen him so far."

Zeke (The Streak) Taylor was our centerfielder and the club's most celebrated offensive performer. The guy was one of the two or three best hitters in baseball and was currently working his way up to Local Legend status right up there with Johnny Unitas and Cal Ripken.

Taylor's arrival in Baltimore two years earlier had been the greatest thing to happen to the club since Frank Robinson had come over from the Reds, back in the sixties. Thanks to Taylor, history was repeating itself for the Birds in the nicest possible way.

Me, I was destined to be a spear-carrier only, but in my brief period as an Oriole I was rapidly reaching the conclusion that there were worse places to warm a bench.

Sure enough, a short time later, while Franklin Jones and I were signing autographs for anyone who came near, I saw The Streak come into the big banquet room and immediately get mobbed by autograph seekers.

"There's Zeke," Juniper said. She'd been hovering while "Pops" and I tried to satisfy the customers. A lot of people who'd been waiting for my autograph took sudden flight toward Zeke Taylor.

I didn't take offense. I was used to it. Sometimes at a ballpark, autograph-seeking fans would first cautiously ask me whether I was a player. There I would be, on the field before the game and in full uniform. I figured they must have meant, was I a player -- or a coach? Or was I maybe the batboy or a trainer?

Nobody ever asked Zeke Taylor whether he was a player. He looked like God might have looked, if He was in uniform and could run down a low liner hit into the gap in right-center.

And if God could rap out forty-five homers in a season.

Zeke was sitting at the main table, up on a platform, and when finally the event got underway, he took a turn addressing the big crowd, along with a member of the Baltimore Ravens' starting backfield and a couple of other prominent guests from the world of local sports.

Franklin Jones and I were at a table close to the front but down on the same level as the banquet guests.

Lesser-light tables. I was used to that, too.

After the first round of speeches, dinner was served, and everybody went to work on it. "You can take off if you want," Franklin told me in a whisper. "At this point, nobody's going to ask you to stand up and wave or anything. Just go for it."

I got up as unobtrusively as I could, beckoning to Juniper as I walked past her table. When I reached the back of the huge room I could see that she wasn't far behind me.

We slipped out into the peacefulness of the wide hallway. "Did you drive here?" she asked. "I came with Pops."

"I drove," I said.

We found the hotel garage and waited while a parking attendant sought out my car. When he arrived with it, Juniper smiled broadly. "A Mini-Cooper?" she said. "And you a big hairy outfielder?"

"I'm neither particularly big nor particularly hairy," I protested. " ... and I'm afraid I've always been queer for Mini-Coopers. This is the second one I've owned, and the first one I bought new."

"It's ... small." she said.

"Lots of leg room, though," I said. "Don't worry, you'll be pleasantly surprised."

"I better be," she said. "It's a little early in this relationship for me to have my knees up against my chest."

In the car, her knees were high, but not in an extreme way, and Juniper had to admit that the Cooper wasn't any more of a legroom challenge for her than would have been any full-sized sedan.

"I didn't even pick at my chicken," she said. "You've got to feed me as soon as possible."

We got onto Interstate 83 for the short run northward toward the university neighborhood and my bragged-on restaurant.

When we got there, Juniper was disappointed. "Doesn't look like much," she remarked as we parked and walked the short distance to the restaurant. "It's in the neighborhood where I work and I've never even had lunch here."

I said nothing.

"Doesn't even look Italian," she said as we were escorted to our table.

"Doesn't smell Italian, even," she grumbled as we got our menus.

"This place isn't Italian," she protested as she scanned the menu. "This is a ... this is all American-style stuff. It's like -- McDonald's with tablecloths."

"This is an Italian restaurant," I insisted. "Wait a minute." I got up, whispered a few words to the hostess at the front door, and again took my seat across from Juniper Jones.

Presently, a large man in white shirt and a festive paisley tie approached our table and leaned over. "Good evening, Travis. Good to see you again."

"This is Ms. Juniper Jones, Anthony. Ms. Jones is the daughter of our bench coach, Franklin Jones. Perhaps you know him?"

"I do know Mr. Jones," Anthony said. "He has been a guest here from time to time."

"Tell me, Anthony, or rather, tell Ms. Jones, here. Are you the proprietor of this establishment?"

"I am indeed," Anthony said.

"And is your last name, by any chance, 'Ramizotti?'"

"It happens, yes, that 'Ramizotti' is my family name."

"That's an Italian name, is it not, Mr. Ramizotti?"

"It is indeed, undeniably, an Italian name," he agreed.

"And you did say, did you not, sir -- that you were the proprietor of this restaurant?"

"The sole proprietor, I am, yes."

"So wouldn't you agree, Mr. Ramizotti, that you are an Italian, that you are the proprietor, and that this is a restaurant?"

"All of those things are certainly true, Mr. Horton."

"Ergo," I said, but at that point Juniper interrupted me.

"Ergo?" she said.

"Ergo," I repeated, once again addressing our host, the estimable Anthony Ramizotti. "Ergo, this is an Italian restaurant. By any practicable definition of that term."

"This place serves hamburgers!" Juniper protested. I don't care if it has a whole board of directors who meet weekly in Naples! This is your basic, ordinary American-cuisine restaurant."

"Do you serve pasta dishes here, Anthony?"

"We do indeed," Anthony said, smiling now, joining the joke. "Although, to tell you the truth, our pasta is ... shall we say ... undistinguished."

"I've sampled your ziti carbonara and found it quite acceptable," I said.

"Oh, it is! It is, I assure you," Anthony said. But he looked at Juniper and with great seriousness said "but it's a bit ... ordinary. Take my advice, young lady. Try the barbecued beef ribs. They're magnificent! You'll swear you're in San Antonio."

Juniper was defeated. She just shook her head, smiled and ordered the ribs.

Me, I had the ziti. It was delicious.

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Story tagged with:
Ma/Fa / Romantic / Heterosexual /