Caution: This Romantic Sex Story contains strong sexual content, including Ma/Fa, Consensual, Heterosexual, Safe Sex,
Desc: Romantic Sex Story: Chapter 1 - It started out as an innocent little volunteer project to help two women lose weight. But as usual, things don't turn out the way you expect them to.
More often than not, things don't work out the way you plan them. The unexpected pops up to surprise you. Such was the case with Molly and Marilyn and me.
The Pickled Pumpkin has a very nice new location. It re-opened a few months ago, nestled among the fir trees at the base of a mountain. It used to be housed in a dark, sprawling building across the street, but the owner wisely decided to take advantage of an abandoned site across the way and built a modern stone and cedar-faced timber frame building. His business has more than doubled since.
The first-time visitor can't help admiring the high cedar-deck ceilings, the long, polished mahogany bar, and the abundant mahogany woodwork. It's a much bigger establishment than its predecessor. Seating for at least a hundred, I would guess.
I have my favorite spot, a little two-place table in the solarium at one end where I can watch the patrons and have a decent look at several of the TV screens. The chairs are comfortable, it's not too noisy, and the serving girls are attractive. What more could I want?
It's my only true vice these days. My ex-girlfriend, Dana, preferred the club scene while I abhorred it. We finally decided we didn't have enough in common to keep our relationship alive and that was the end of that.
My name is Tory Payne. I'm a thirty-three year old bachelor with an eye for the ladies when the opportunity arises. Since I've been on my own again, I've fallen into the habit of stopping of at my local during the week for a pint before heading home to make my evening meal. I don't enjoy being alone, but I'm used to it and I'm very fussy about who I invite into my life.
My routine on Saturday is to quickly dispense with the necessary house-cleaning and laundry, and then wash the car. That done, I'm off to the pub for a leisurely lunch. A couple of pints, read the paper, and watch a bit of football or baseball. I've been doing this for over ten years off and on. Even when Dana was around, we would have a Saturday lunch and a drink before heading off to do our usual weekend shopping.
When you hang out at the same place for any length of time, you get to know the regulars, the semi-regulars and of course, the staff. I knew all the serving girls by name and they knew me. I would say hello to some of the older patrons as a courtesy, just to acknowledge them. They would sit together and tell the same stories over and over again.
I would usually nod or tip my cap to people that I saw often but didn't know. Almost always I would get a polite reply and a smile. Pubs are usually friendly places, especially at mid-day.
I first noticed Molly and Marilyn one Saturday early in the fall, a couple of months after Dana and I went our separate ways. The mid-day weekend patrons are quite different from the weekday regulars. Two different crowds altogether. Since I became a patron of both times, I got to know both groups.
The two young women arrived just after noon and found a table near my little nest. I couldn't help noticing them. These were two very beautiful young women. One, a blonde with long, wavy tresses falling halfway down her back, and the other, a raven-haired beauty with eyes that suggested Asian blood somewhere in her genetic makeup.
They were wearing very carefully applied makeup and were dressed quite nicely. I suspected they might be cosmetic sales girls from one of the local stores. I also noticed that both were easily sixty to seventy pounds overweight. The extra weight was distributed equally from head to toe, and somehow didn't detract from their fundamental good looks. I found them quite appealing, which surprised me. I never thought obesity could be attractive.
From that Saturday they became regulars for lunch and usually sat in the same area as I did. I began to look forward to seeing them and found I was disappointed if they were late or, as on a couple of occasions, didn't show up at all. It was part of my weekend entertainment.
I began wondering what they would look like if they were to shed that extra weight. It became a game at first. They would arrive and I would immediately start re-shaping them into another image. In case you're wondering, I'm a designer and it's part of my makeup to imagine how things might look if changes were made.
After a couple of months of acknowledging each other, I caught a break and finally got a chance to meet them properly. The place was full that Saturday noon. I was unable to get my usual table as two elderly women arrived earlier and took it.
I was sitting at a table for four when the girls appeared and searched for an open spot. There were none and seeing this, I stood and waved to them. They looked at each other, said something, then moved toward me.
"Hi girls," I smiled. "Looks like a full house. If you'd like, we can share this table. My regular was taken too."
I guess they decided I wasn't dangerous as I was known to them in a manner of speaking.
"Thanks, we only have an hour. I was hoping we wouldn't have to go looking somewhere else," the blonde said.
"I guess we've seen each other on Saturday fairly often. My name's Tory Payne."
"I'm Molly Ransom and this is Marilyn Lee," the blonde said. She seemed to be the spokesperson for the pair.
"Where do you work?" I asked after they seated themselves.
"At Elegant Evenings," Molly quickly replied.
I must have had a curious look because she smiled and explained.
"It's a women's lingerie store in the mall. I don't think you'd be in there much unless it's a gift for your wife or girlfriend."
"Oh ... you're right. I wouldn't be in there much. No wife, and currently no girlfriend," I explained.
"Oh goody, an unattached male," she enthused, clapping her hands together. "We're fresh out at the moment."
I laughed, but filed the information away for future reference. I turned to Marilyn, who was yet to say a word.
"You look very professional and very attractive." I made sure I addressed both of them when I complimented them.
"Thank you," Marilyn said softly. She seemed a bit shy, but perhaps it was because Molly was so outgoing.
"And what do you do?" Molly asked.
"I'm a designer. I design houses and apartments; both new construction and renovations."
"That sounds interesting," Marilyn said, surprising me with a comment.
"It is. It's a job I sort of created for myself when I was working at a lumber yard, and over the years it's grown into a nice little business."
"Do you work at home?" Marilyn asked. She was genuinely interested, I felt.
"No, not normally. I have an office at the yard and they pretty much let me do my own thing. I've brought them a lot of business in the past few years, so they're pretty accommodating."
"Lucky you," Molly jumped in.
"So, do you girls enjoy your jobs?" I asked, trying to learn more about them.
"It's not bad," Molly answered. "The pay isn't great, but we're a specialty store for plus-size women, so we don't feel like we're misfits."
I wondered if she understood just what she was revealing to me and I turned to Marilyn. She blushed and her eyes were focused on her hands on the table.
Happily, at that moment, our server arrived and we ordered our drinks and listened to the specials. The girls both ordered salads and diet colas while I chose my usual dark ale with the soup-and-sandwich special.
"I'll tell you, girls, I much prefer having lunch with you than on my own."
"I know what you mean. We see each other all day at work and we run out of things to talk about," Molly replied.
"Well, since all three of us are regulars at Saturday noon, why don't we make this a habit for a while?" I suggested.
Molly jumped at it before Marilyn could say anything.
"Great. It will be our own private little club," she laughed.
I looked at Marilyn for confirmation and was encouraged with a smile from her.
We finished our lunch and lingered over our drinks until it was time for the girls to return to work. I stood as they prepared to leave and told them I'd be looking forward to next Saturday.
I ordered another pint and sat back to think about the two women. Molly was the outgoing one and full of life from what I could tell at this early stage. Marilyn was quiet, perhaps shy, but she was the one I was drawn to. I couldn't be sure why, but I thought it might be those eyes. Mysterious, dark, beautifully highlighted with her makeup, they were captivating. A promise of smoldering sensuality? Perhaps.
Both women displayed substantial breasts as their dress made sure that an ample amount of cleavage was visible. I tried to imagine what one of these women would be like to have in my bed. I was thinking lascivious thoughts and smiling as I did so.
I enjoy my job and I am rewarded quite well since I produce a large amount of new business for my employer. I have thought a number of times about going out on my own, but the security and constancy of my lifestyle have outweighed the lure of greater income. I have everything I need and no burden to carry home with me each night.
If I lack anything, it is companionship, and I suppose, love. I don't think I've ever been in love. At least, nothing that I thought was that special feeling I should expect. I wondered what it would be like, and if I would know when it happened. I assumed, from all I read and heard, that I would.
So here I was, the following Saturday, anxiously awaiting the arrival of the two women. I was surprised at my sense of relief when I saw them drive up in their car and walk into the pub. They smiled as they saw me standing and made their way to my new table.
"Hi ladies. How's life at Elegant Evenings?"
"Good. How are you?" Molly enthused.
"Fine," I smiled as I looked at Marilyn and saw her careful smile.
We sat and within a few seconds Tish, our server, approached the table.
"Hey guys, good to see you hooked up," she said brightly.
I was about to say something based on my understanding of the phrase "hooked up," but decided not to make anything of the comment. I did notice Marilyn blush at the remark.
We ordered our drinks and lunch, settling down to wait for service. We chatted about our week until Molly completely changed the subject.
"Tory, how would we find out how much it would cost to have a personal trainer?"
The question caught me off-guard and I stumbled for a minute before answering.
"I don't know, but I might know someone who does. What do you need?" I was curious and wanted to know where this was going.
"Marilyn and I want to lose weight and get fit. We've been like this since we were teenagers and we need to do something about it," Molly said seriously.
"I can understand that. But I suggest it's going to include a pretty comprehensive lifestyle change as well for it to make a difference."
"I think you're right, but at our age, if we don't do something about it soon, we'll never do it." Molly had given this some thought and I saw Marilyn nodding in agreement.
I leaned back in my chair, the glimmer of an idea flickering in the back of my mind. No need to say anything now, but giving it a bit of thought, I might be able to help these women.
"I have an idea that might give us some direction for a plan that is workable and affordable. Can you give me until next Saturday to do some homework?"
"Sure," Molly said, looking at Marilyn for support.
"Yes, I think it's important that we do this now," Marilyn said. To that point, I think it was the most I'd ever heard her say. She had a lovely voice and I sensed a quiet determination that it was do or die, now or never.
I wasn't so sure about Molly. She was harder to read. She was enthusiastic today, but would it last when things got difficult? I was becoming excited that I might be able to help them get their life and their bodies in better shape. I would be making a worthwhile effort with possibly some personal benefits along the way.
I should explain. I haven't always been five-ten, a hundred and seventy pounds. Once I weighed well over two hundred and decided to do something about it. My twenty-fifth birthday present to myself was to get in shape. I succeeded because I did it the right way, a bit at a time. It took eight months, but I not only achieved my goal, I was able to maintain my new shape and lifestyle because it was just that, a lifestyle.
Better yet, my day-to-day wasn't one of a monk. I could enjoy a beer each afternoon and at Saturday lunch without undoing all my other efforts at staying trim and fit.
I have another admission to make. I'm a bit selfish. I often look at things for what it would bring to me. When I first thought of these two women, I wondered if I could work my way into their lives and enjoy the benefits of a closer friendship.
During the week I developed a plan for them. I thought more about them and what I could do for them. It was a different response than I expected. Maybe I could develop their friendship without taking advantage of them. Like I said, I tend to be selfish, so my thoughts surprised me.
That week I documented my own success story and modified it to suit Molly and Marilyn. They would not be able to adopt quite as rigorous an exercise program as I did. However, when I lost my weight I didn't have a "personal trainer," and that was the role I was prepared to take on with them. It would give me something to look forward to and keep me in contact with them regularly. I decided not to tell them about my own weight loss.
I wrote out a plan to give to them on Saturday, a schedule for exercise and diet that I knew would work without putting them under too much physical stress. I would be the "watchdog" and make sure they were sticking to the schedule. Beyond that, it would be up to them.
One of my most important roles was to be their cheerleader. They would need someone to remind them of the reward for their efforts. For one final piece of information, I contacted a fitness club and asked about the services of a personal trainer. It was quite costly I learned. Several hundred dollars at least, and that was just for the physical component. Out of their budget range I was sure. My role would be a good deal cheaper. I was willing to work for free.
We met as usual at Saturday noon and after our usual greeting, I passed them my program.
"What's this?" Molly asked.
"It's a personal program for each of you. It's designed to give you a day-to-day plan to achieve your goal."
"How did you get this? How much did it cost?" Molly continued.
"It's a modified program from one I developed for someone else some years ago. As for the personal trainer, I think the costs would be well beyond your means. So, with some research and help from various professionals, I have developed a plan that I'm confident will be what you need."
Molly looked at me suspiciously. "And just how much will this cost?"
"Nothing," I said quickly.
"Nothing? How come?"
"Call it a gesture of good will," I grinned.
"Yeah ... come on ... what's the catch?" Molly scoffed.
"No catch. I'm volunteering to help you and Marilyn meet your goal. Simple as that."
"Why ... what's in it for you?" Molly was exhibiting a deep suspicion of my motives.
I shrugged. "To tell the truth, not much. I guess it's a matter of getting some satisfaction from helping you help yourselves. I could have done what I originally planned and become a 'Big Brother, ' but this seemed like a worthwhile cause so I chose it instead."
That was only a little lie. I truly was thinking about Big Brothers, but I hadn't made up my mind.
Molly seemed unconvinced, but Marilyn was less suspicious and I saw a nod of acceptance, faint though it was.
"Look girls, if you're uncomfortable with my proposal, then I'll give you the name of the outfit that provides personal trainers locally and you can forget the whole thing. I can only tell you that what you see on that piece of paper will work for you. But ... suit yourself." I didn't want to argue any more. It was up to them.
"Are you sure this will work?" Marilyn asked seriously.
"Yes, I am."
"OK, then. I'll try it," she said softly.
Molly looked at her with a frown and then back to me. At that point, our lunch arrived and the three of us ate quietly. As far as I was concerned, the ball was in their court.
Nothing more was said about the program until the girls stood up to return to work. It was Molly who asked the important question.
"How do we start?"
"Meet me on the upper track level at the recreation center at seven on Monday evening. Don't eat a big meal or you'll be uncomfortable. We'll start with some simple things to get you into the right pattern. Can I assume you're willing to give it a try?" My question was actually directed at Molly.
"Yeah ... I'll give it a try. The price is right," she grinned. Marilyn nodded and this time, the smile was noticeable.
And so it began. I set out a two-stage program for the girls. One part diet and one part exercise. I wasn't worried about the diet. It was lifted from an existing, proven program and it was flexible enough that it could exclude foods that didn't agree with the participant. The main objective was managing the intake of carbohydrates, salt, and fat.
The exercise was a greater concern to me. I first needed to find out just how much exercise they got on a daily basis. Then I needed to find a starting level that wouldn't injure or frustrate them, but still produce some results. Rebuilding their fitness had to be carefully managed and progress according to their capabilities. Furthermore, it was unlikely that both of them would progress at the same rate.
Step one was almost a "deal breaker." I wanted to take their measurements. Molly was quite uptight about this. She was embarrassed and I think Marilyn was as well, but was less vocal about it. Finally we compromised. I had them take each other's measurements after having them solemnly swear they would record them accurately. I showed them what I wanted by demonstrating on my own body.
Everything was recorded on a spread sheet with a date heading for each week. The girls would measure themselves each week to see what progress they made. I cautioned them not to expect miracles. To keep them committed to the plan, they needed to believe they were making progress. My job was to get them over the rough spots and the flat spots when they either weren't motivated or couldn't see any progress. Both of those circumstances were likely at some point.
That first session was revealing. Neither of the girls had done anything in the form of exercise for months, if not years. To begin with, I walked with them around the track at a modest pace. Every four laps we would stop and I would give them a minute's rest before resuming the pace. They were fine for the first twenty minutes and then I began to see some fatigue show in both. Molly didn't last as long as Marilyn, but at the half hour mark, I called a halt to the walking.
We sat in the chairs by the snack bar and I went over the diet with them. It wasn't a starvation regimen, but it was going to require some self-control. I couldn't be with them all the time, so they were going to have to regulate themselves. I suggested they form a "buddy system" so that each of them monitored the other. Since they worked together, that would minimize the "cheating." In the end, though, it would be their self-control that would spell success or failure.
At the end of the first week, the girls took their measurements and recorded them. There was very little change, of course. I warned them not too expect much in the beginning. The good news was that they weren't terribly disappointed or in any pain as we moved into the second week of the plan.
I was recording their laps around the track and by the end of the third week, they were walking for forty-five minutes with only four two-minute breaks at about ten minute intervals. On top of that, they were walking more quickly and covering more laps. This was distinct progress and I made sure they were aware of it. They needed some positive reinforcement at that point.
At the end of the first month, the girls could see definite signs of progress. They both lost between six and eight pounds, with Molly losing the greater amount. Their measurements were still a tightly guarded secret, but I was pretty sure they were shrinking as well. It was at that point that I changed the routine.
We were getting together every day for that first month. I wanted to cement the routine and the best way to do that was for them to expect to see me each day. Now, a month later, I could make some changes that I had planned.
"Girls, on Saturday when we meet at the Pumpkin, I'm going to have a new schedule for you," I said Thursday evening.
"What are you going to change?" Molly asked immediately.
"I'm going to take some things away and I'm going to add some things," I grinned. "Until Saturday, you'll just have to wait and see."
"You're not going to take more food away, are you?" Molly moaned.
"Nope, but just be patient and you'll see. I don't want you getting bored and losing interest."
"I can't see me getting bored," Marilyn said quietly. "I can see and feel the difference your plan is making. It's working. I don't want to change just for the sake of change."
"Yeah ... she's right," Molly chimed in. "We're doing great. Let's not mess with it."
"Relax, ladies. This will be phase two. Now that you're going in the right direction, I want to move to the next stage," I explained patiently.
"How many phases are there?" Molly asked.
"Eight," I answered quickly. "But don't get uptight about it. They are all stepping stones and you don't move from one the next until you are ready to."
That seemed to mollify them and I breathed a sigh of relief.
When Saturday arrived, the girls were antsy and bugging me to give them the phase two plan. I allowed myself a bit of fun as I teased them before handing over their new sheets. There was silence at the table as they read. I could see both of them reacting to what they read. A raised eyebrow here, an O-formed mouth there.
At last, Molly put down the sheet and stared at me.
"How come we're cutting back to five days a week?" She was curious, not upset.
"All part of the plan. It's been pretty intense so far. It's time to get you moving toward a sustainable routine. You need a couple of days off each week, but not together. So, you can choose which two," I explained.
"What do you suggest?" Marilyn asked.
"Well, when I got to this stage, I took alternate Wednesdays and Thursdays off along with Sunday. That worked for me, but ... it's your call."
"You mean you've been on this program too?" Molly asked, surprised.
"Yeah. A few years ago," I said reluctantly, now realizing my mistake.
"You never told us that," Marilyn said, also in surprise.
"Would it have made a difference?" I asked.
That brought about a brief silence.
"I'm not sure. Maybe. It was about us trusting you in the beginning," Marilyn said thoughtfully.
Molly nodded, looking at me suspiciously.
"So, you're Professor Higgins and we're your Elizas, eh," she said with what I took to be a sneer.
I shrugged. "Are you disappointed in the results?" I asked evenly.
They looked at each other.
"No ... I guess not," Marilyn finally admitted.
"Then ... you're disappointed in me?" I probed.
"I asked you right in the beginning," Molly snapped. "What's in this for you?"
"And I told you right in the beginning ... nothing. Nothing but the satisfaction of helping you achieve your goal," I said directly.
"And we're supposed to believe that?" the blonde continued.
"I admit, I was attracted to you both when I first saw you. But ... I was imagining what you would look like without all the extra weight. Besides, I haven't so much as touched either of you. I don't think I've got anything to apologize for."
Molly wasn't buying my story. I sat there for a minute, watching them both carefully. Molly was annoyed, but Marilyn just looked unhappy. I guess I sagged as I let out my breath.
"OK, girls," I said, reaching for the sheets. "Maybe this was a poor idea, so why don't we just go our separate ways. No obligations for anyone," I said sadly. I picked up the sheets, left some cash for the bill and headed for the door. I was defeated in more ways than one. I fucked this up royally by not being completely open about it in the first place. Besides, what was my real motivation for doing this? I wasn't sure I knew.
I was out the door and on my way to my car when I felt a hand grab the sleeve of my jacket. I turned and looked directly into Marilyn's eyes.
"Don't! Don't quit on us. Don't quit on me," she pleaded.
"Marilyn, your friend has made it plain she doesn't trust me. She's fabricated her own ideas about why I'm doing this. You're better off without me if you have any doubt about my motives."
"Tory ... please. Don't go. I don't want you to even if Molly does," she blurted.
I stood there for a moment, trying to make up my mind. Could I still achieve something even if it was just one of the girls? Why not? One of them might have quit somewhere along the line just because it was too tough. I wouldn't have abandoned the other then, would I?
"OK, Marilyn. Just you and me. As long as you are sure," I warned.
"I'm sure. I guess I'm not as suspicious as Molly. Mostly because I haven't been burned like she has," she said cryptically.
I wasn't interested in Molly at that stage. I would focus my efforts on Marilyn.
We sat in my car as I went over the changes in schedule. We were going to add some new elements, including weights and upper body exercise. So far, the first month concentrated on lower body, from the hips on down. Now, I wanted her to begin to work on the upper body. After that, phase three would begin to include flexibility exercises and a bit harder push on endurance.
Marilyn accepted the changes after my explanation of the whys and wherefores. I gave her an outline of the whole plan for the next several months to let her know it genuinely was a progressive process and not a haphazard program. She nodded in understanding as I went over the various components and explained their purpose. I breathed a sigh of relief as I finished and she gave me a shy smile.
The next day was Sunday and the first of their "off days." Marilyn decided that my system of alternating Wednesdays and Thursdays was fine and we planned that. We were to meet again on Monday at seven at the rec center to begin the next phase.
You could have knocked me over with a feather when I walked into the fitness room at seven on Monday evening and found both Marilyn and Molly in their exercise wear.
"So, what's going on," I asked.
"I ... took some time to think about ... you ... and this," Molly said, waving her arm at the room.
"The last time we talked you had a pretty low opinion of me," I said. I wasn't acting very charitably.
"Yeah ... well ... I've got some history. I guess it was unfair to condemn you without a trial. Marilyn told me what you told her. I'm sorry. I shouldn't have gone off like that. I apologize. I'd like to continue with you and Marilyn ... if you'll let me."
I stood there, eye to eye with her for a moment or two.
"Apology accepted." I handed her my program sheet. "Let's get started."
The next five months seemed to fly by. The girls were committed to the plan and I never once worried about them following their diet outline. The results spoke for themselves. They were losing serious pounds and gaining strength and flexibility.
Molly lost the most weight, but I expected that. She was down fifty-seven pounds and was looking spectacular. You could tell she knew it too. She kept complaining about being "hit on," although I got the distinct impression she was happy as hell about it.
Marilyn lost fifty pounds, but I thought she wouldn't be losing a whole lot more. Perhaps another ten ... maybe fifteen at the most. There was a reason, of course. She was a much bigger-boned woman than Molly. She was never going to be runway-model size. She was always going to be solid and she would always have to work at keeping the weight off.
When I had the girls measure themselves, I instructed them to do their wrists and ankles as well as the width of their shoulders. When they finally relented and showed me their progress charts, it confirmed my suspicions. I knew from those measurements that Molly was capable of more weight-loss than Marilyn but I never said anything to either of them about my conclusion. I wasn't about to discourage them. It was important that they believe they were going to be more fit and better looking. On that account, they were both succeeding.
Molly and I got over the rough spot at the end of the first month. I believed that she was convinced I was on the level and not trying to put the make on her. I was scrupulously avoiding any physical contact with the girls that was in any way questionable. I had convinced myself that I was in the role of teacher and mentor and that they were "off-limits."
So imagine my surprise when Molly sidled up to me one evening and gave me the benefit of a nice brush with her breasts on my arm. We were just finished our workout and had showered and changed. At least, Molly and I were changed. Marilyn was still in the locker room.
"So when are you going to ask me out, Tory?" she asked in a suggestive, low voice.
"I thought we had that discussion?" I said in surprise.
"That was then, this is now," she smirked.
"Molly, I made myself and you two a promise. Hands off! Remember?"
"Yeah and you've been as good as your word. But what if I want to change the rules?" The look in her eyes told me she wasn't fooling. I was reading lust and there was no mistaking it.
"I thought you were the one who didn't trust me? I recall you being pretty upset that I hadn't been straight about where this program came from," I said firmly.
She stood there, looking at me intently.
"Yeah ... that was me alright. I guess I was reliving some of my past. Guys trying to take advantage of me because they thought I would be easy. You know, fat girl can't get a date. She'll be an easy lay," she said sadly.
"That doesn't change anything, Molly. I promised myself I wouldn't do anything improper while we were doing this program. That still goes. I'm sorry, but as lovely as you are, I'm still hooked on that promise," I said solemnly.
It took all my willpower to turn her down. I tried to do it with some sympathy, but I could see she was disappointed. I assured her that she wasn't going to be short of guys wanting to date her and she could have her pick of the ones she was interested in. It didn't work.
She phoned me on Wednesday evening. It was our "off day" and I was home watching TV when she called.
"Mind if I come over?" she asked in her most sultry voice.
"I don't think that's a good idea," I said.
"Aw ... come on Tory. Give a girl a break. I just want some company. I trust you, remember? No funny business, I promise."
I knew this wasn't a good idea and I knew what she actually wanted, but stupid me, I didn't want to hurt her feelings.
"OK ... no funny business. Agreed?"
"Of course." I could almost see the smile on her face. She didn't mean a word of it.
She arrived ten minutes later and I let her in.
"This is the first time I've been in your house. It's very nice. It doesn't look like a typical bachelor pad. Very modern and open," she said in admiration as she looked around the great room and kitchen.
"Can I get you something," I offered.
"How about a glass of wine? We can celebrate the new me," she smiled. She was in a bouncy, upbeat mood and it was contagious. She'd accomplished a lot in the last six months.
I poured her a glass of white wine from my cache in the refrigerator and opened a beer for myself. I chose to park myself on a bar stool at the counter in my kitchen, hoping to keep Molly at bay. She frowned at that move, but soon hopped up on the stool beside mine and we touched glasses in a toast.
"I just wanted you to know how grateful I am for all you've done for me," she said seriously. "I like what I see in the mirror these days."
"Good. I'm glad. I think you've both made tremendous progress," I said smiling.
"You still have me confused, though. I'm still wondering why you gave up all your time for us. That's a big sacrifice for a couple of women you didn't know."
I shrugged. "I told you at the time. It was one of those volunteer things. I thought I could make a difference if you two honestly wanted to make it happen. I was pretty sure Marilyn did, but to tell the truth, I wasn't so sure about you," I admitted.
"You thought I would quit when it got tough, didn't you?" she accused.
"Yes ... I did. I'm happy I was wrong. You've proven you were serious about achieving your goals."
"So there you are. We both were wrong. I thought you were in it to get to us and you thought I couldn't stick it out. So what do you think about us ... me ... now?" she asked. It wasn't an innocent question.
I considered my answer. There was something else going on here. Molly wanted something, I was sure.
"I'm proud of you both," I dodged.
"Do you find me attractive?" Another loaded question.
"Of course. I told you, I found you and Marilyn attractive when I first saw you."
"That's not what I mean. Do you find me ... sexually attractive?"
"I thought we agreed no funny business."
"I lied. You turn me on, Tory. You have almost from the beginning. I'm tired of being a good girl. I want you. I want you to want me. Is that clear enough?"
"Molly ... this is wrong. It's going to ruin what we have going. Don't do this," I pleaded.
"Do what? I'm just a horny woman letting a handsome guy know she's available," she grinned in an evil way.
With that, she slid off the stool and wrapped her arms around my neck and began a long, slow, soulful kiss that couldn't help but get my motor running. I was losing this contest of wills and she knew it. I could feel my erection forming while Molly was rubbing her hand over it. My hands just naturally found their way to her breasts and I began to respond. It was all over but the shouting.
We ended up in my bed and for the next three hours we did it all. I began with some careful tongue and lip and teeth work, starting with her mouth and ears and then down to her breasts. Her nipples were very sensitive, and I made the most of that. After that, I travelled down to her navel and finally her very wet center. She was highly responsive to my tongue.
When I finally entered her, she cried out and her whole body stiffened as I pushed slowly into her. She was having an orgasm just by my entering her. She was more than ready for this.
I knew I wasn't going to last very long that first time, so I made the most of what I could manage. I warned her that she would have to help me look after her a second time, but as it turned out, it wasn't necessary. She used her internal muscles to massage me and it didn't take long to come back to full strength. Molly was very quick to respond and she made it known how happy she was with my efforts.
We rested a couple of times before she used her mouth to bring me back to life. After three times, despite my fitness, I was done for the night. It was a memorable session, but I was also happy that there wasn't any expectation of more from either of us.
"You know this was a big mistake," I said.
"Bullshit. It was fun and we both needed it. When was the last time you got laid?" she chuckled.
"I don't remember. A couple of months before I met you, I guess."
"Shit, you're almost as pathetic as me. You're the first guy I've been with in a year. We're a real deprived pair," she laughed.
"You know this isn't going anywhere, don't you?" I said quietly.
"Yeah ... I know. But, I wanted it anyway. Kind of a way to say sorry for doubting you, and a thank you for sticking with me. My life is going to be very different from now on. I already know that. I've got you to thank for that," she said sincerely.
"Please don't say anything to Marilyn about this. I don't want her upset. She's going to need a bit of extra support."
"She is? Why?"
"Because she isn't going to show the same results as you. She can't. She isn't built the same as you. She's going to be very fit and very attractive, but she is never going to be skinny."
There was a silence between us as we lay on the bed. Then, Molly rolled toward me and propped herself up on her elbow, looking directly at me.
"You've got a thing for her, haven't you?"
"What makes you say that?"
"You're so careful around her. I've seen you watching her. You have a thing for her," she said, convinced.
"I think you're imagining things. She's just a friend I was able to help."
"Yeah ... sure! Who are you trying to kid. It was her all along, wasn't it?"
I said nothing. I lay back with my eyes closed, hoping this conversation would evaporate.
"I should have seen it. She's got a thing for you too, you know. I can tell. You two are made for each other. I guarantee it!" she grinned.
"I think you're jumping to conclusions," I said unconvincingly.
"Naw ... I know. I can tell. You just have to admit it to yourself."
"Well, if that's so, what am I doing here in bed with you?"
"I ambushed you. You never had a chance. But ... don't go getting all upset. This is a one-off. I wouldn't do anything to hurt Marilyn. She's a very nice gal. She deserves someone like you. You'll be good to her and good for her," she said confidently.
"You sound pretty sure of yourself," I said, looking her in the eyes.
"A woman knows, Tory. We know. Trust me," she said, falling onto her back.
I admit, I was interested in Marilyn. I wondered how she felt about me. Well, this wasn't the time to find out. We still had a couple of months to go on the program and Marilyn was going to need some moral support, I thought.
As we began the final segment of the program, I cut the girls back to four days per week and let them know that their lifestyle beyond my participation should include a schedule of exercise at least three times per week and that they would need to manage their diets to maintain their weight. It wasn't as daunting as it might have been earlier. Both Molly and Marilyn completely adapted to the regimen over the past seven months and it was now part of their lives, just as we planned.
Our last month was to put the finishing touches on their new lifestyles. We discussed how to keep to the plan even when they were travelling or when they went out for dinner. I gave each of them a custom-tailored exercise program that was designed specifically for their individual needs. I had lifted it from another source, of course, but the girls didn't need to know that.
I could see a change in Marilyn late in the seventh month. She was frustrated and irritable at times. It wasn't directed at me or Molly and I knew what it was. Her progress was slowing to a crawl and she could see she wasn't going to reach her target weight. The time had come for me to sit down with her and have a heart-to-heart talk. I would have to tell her the truth, as much as that might hurt.
Our new schedule now brought us together on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings, adding Saturday mornings for the fourth segment. I thought about talking to Marilyn on Saturday after lunch, but changed my mind at the last minute and decided on Tuesday evening. I called her just after seven and she answered promptly.
"Hi ... Marilyn ... it's me ... Tory," I began uncertainly.
"Hi Tory. What's up?" She sounded upbeat. Good.
"Uhhhmmm ... I was wondering ... would you mind if I came over? I'd like to talk to you."
"Uh ... sure ... when?"
"How about now ... I mean ... in a few minutes?"
"OK," she said carefully. "Tory ... is there something wrong?"
"No ... nothing wrong. I mean ... not that way. I just needed to talk to you about ... something," I evaded.
"OK ... I'll see you soon." She sounded a bit wary.
I was there in ten minutes and she answered the door almost immediately.
"Hi ... come on in," she said, a worried look on her face.
I nodded and walked into the small living room. I hadn't been in her apartment before and I looked around with interest. Neat, tidy, conventional furniture and decorations. A bookshelf with what looked like some family pictures and a couple of traditional landscape prints on the wall. Nothing remarkable at all and yet it looked very nice.
"Can I get you something ... coffee or tea? I'm sorry, I don't have any beer or wine."
"No ... nothing, thanks," I said as I sat on the sofa across from her. She chose a wing chair and was watching me intently, that worried look still with her.
"Marilyn, the reason I wanted to talk to you was because I can sense your frustration. I know you are upset that you don't think you are making progress. You couldn't be more wrong," I paused, taking a breath.
"You have made a complete change to your body and your lifestyle in just a few months. You have become a very beautiful and desirable woman and you should be proud of what you have accomplished. You are fit and healthy and I think you have the personal strength to make sure you live your life this way for a long, long time. Please don't be unhappy or discouraged because you don't make some target weight that you have set for yourself." I paused again.
She was watching me, her face now neutral. She was listening, but not making any response, verbal or physical. I pushed on.
"You are never going to weigh as little as Molly unless you starve yourself into an unhealthy state. It's not in your genetic makeup to be skinny. Your bone structure is larger than hers and as a consequence, you will always be bigger than her. Just like lots of guys are bigger than me. I don't want you beating yourself up about something that you can't or shouldn't achieve."
I waited for her reaction. At last, she looked at me with a sad smile and nodded.
"I know. I just didn't want to admit it. I'm never going to be as beautiful as Molly," she said quietly.
"No ... stop that ... stop it right now!" I snapped. I sat there for a minute with I'm sure what must have been a red face. I was angry ... no ... frustrated with her. She couldn't see what was as plain as the nose on her face.
"I don't want to hear you talk like that. You are a very beautiful woman. You are not Molly. You are Marilyn. You can't be Molly. You need to be Marilyn. I'm not interested in Molly, I'm interested in Marilyn," I blurted in a moment of irritation.
She looked up in astonishment. My inadvertent confession caught both of us by surprise.
"What do you mean ... interested?"
"Just what it sounds like," I sighed. "I suppose it's been growing on me since that first day we met. I found you fascinating then and nothing's changed. You may not believe this, but you are a very beautiful, sexy, exotic woman. That's how I see you. That's how I think of you.
"When this ... program of ours is over in a few weeks, I want to ask you out on a proper date. I want to get to know you even better than I do now." I waited for her reaction.
"But why me?"
"I don't know how to make this any plainer. I'm attracted to you, Marilyn Lee. You are beautiful, inside and out. You are someone I think I could spend a lot of time with and be very happy," I said evenly.
The look on her face was priceless. Shock first, then bewilderment, then, slowly, a faint smile. Risk taken, reward gained.
I got up and made the three paces to her side, squatted down and took her hands in mine.
"I'd like to find out if we can make that happen," I said quietly.
She nodded. I leaned forward and kissed her, a gentle brush with my lips across hers. She responded with a more forceful kiss that lingered.
We talked. We talked about our likes and dislikes and our backgrounds and we laughed. We were together on the sofa with her hand in mine. She knew all along that her target was unrealistic, but she was so committed to our plan that she thought it might be possible. When she could see that it wasn't and that she would have to live with who she was, she reacted.
She also confessed that she harbored a case of hero-worship when it came to me. In her eyes, I did it all, and all she needed to do was follow orders. She was convinced that only I made all this happen. As much as I would have liked to believe that, we both knew that it wasn't true. Her commitment and effort made it all possible.
She wanted me to acknowledge her in some way that she couldn't articulate. I reminded her of my promise of "hands off." Naturally, I said nothing about my one indiscretion with Molly. I told her what I was planning to buy the two of them for their "graduation presents." The tiniest bikinis I could find.
By the time she was over her laughing fit, she looked at me with wide eyes.
"You bet I would. On top of that, I would insist you wear them in public and I would take pictures of the both of you for my trophy case," I threatened.
"Never!" she shrieked.
"Oh yes. You can't deny me my pleasure now. After all I've sacrificed for you two, I expect a return on my investment."
"I couldn't ... I'd be so embarrassed. I could never... ," she said, wide-eyed.
"We'll see. I bet Molly goes for it," I taunted.
"That's different, she's skinnier," she pouted.
"Yeah ... but you're better looking ... more voluptuous."
"What's that mean?"
"Better curves in better places."
"Molly told me that you were interested in me," she whispered after a silent moment.
"Yeah. She told me about you too."
"I'm glad she did. Do you think we would have gotten together if she hadn't?"
"Yup. The minute the program was over I'd have been banging on your door looking for a date," I grinned.
"I'd have said yes ... but what kept you?"
"Good question ... except ... I made you girls a promise. No hanky-panky. Remember?"
"What do think will happen when Molly finds out?" she asked.
"I think Molly will be happy for us."
She looked up at me again. "Why are you so sure about that?"
"Because she's the one who saw what was going on between us even before we did."
"Yeah ... she did, didn't she," Marilyn smiled.
"Were you serious about the bikini thing?"
"Absolutely. If you're that uncomfortable with it, you can model it for me in private before you go public."
She was watching me to see if I was really serious about this. She guessed I was.
"Why are you so set on it?"
"Because you have something to prove to yourself. You still aren't convinced that I'm honest about your body being beautiful. The only way I can convince you is to let other people see you the way I see you."
I wasn't about to give up on this part of my plan. She needed to have a sense of her own self-worth. To do that, she needed to know just what others thought. Other people who didn't know her or have a vested interest in her.
"Marilyn, a few years ago I was in Cuba on vacation. I was on a white sand beach surrounded by beautiful women, almost all of them wearing bikinis. It was sensory overload. All I could do was sit and watch this endless parade of gorgeous women stroll by. But the woman who caught my eye wasn't like the others.
"She was older, late-thirties, maybe forty. She had the same jet-black hair, the same exotic eyes, maybe a slightly darker complexion than you. But she was built just like you. Maybe her breasts weren't as large, but the rest of her body was almost a carbon copy of yours. I took her picture when she wasn't watching and I've kept it. Don't ask me why. Maybe I thought she was my 'ideal woman, ' I don't know.
"I still have it. I brought it with me tonight. I hoped you could see in her what I see in you."
I pulled the photo from my shirt pocket and handed it too her. I watched her carefully as she looked at it. I saw her eyes grow wide in surprise. She looked up at me and then back at the picture.
"She's beautiful," she gasped. "The bikini ... it's so tiny ... she's almost naked." She paused as she studied the photo. She looked back at me.
"You think this is how I look?" She was seeking confirmation.
I nodded and smiled.
"I can see she's not skinny like the others," Marilyn admitted. The picture showed several other women in the background, all of them bikini-clad.
"She one hundred percent all female, Marilyn. Just like you."
"I could never wear anything like that. I'd die of shame," she moaned, shaking her head.
"Not even in private ... just for me?" I asked quietly.
She looked back up at me. I couldn't read her thoughts. Her face was a mask.
"I don't know," she said at last.
"Keep the photo, Marilyn. I don't need it anymore. I have my ideal woman right here in front of me ... in 3D," I smiled.
I felt I'd put quite enough pressure on her for one evening. I rose to leave.
"I'll see you tomorrow evening," I said as I kissed her lightly on the cheek. "Goodnight."
We resumed our new schedule for the final four weeks and I saw a noticeable improvement in Marilyn's attitude. She didn't seem to be obsessing about her progress and was more upbeat and smiling more as well. It took the pressure off me and I could enjoy this final month as the girls neared the end of the program.
It was designed to last eight months, each month a phase with a purpose. Surprisingly, I didn't have to alter the timetable to suit either of the girls. They were pretty much on the same progress schedule. That was a bit of good luck rather than good management. We decided to have a party to celebrate their "graduation" and we agreed we would have it on Saturday afternoon after our final session. It would be held at the Pickled Pumpkin, of course. After all, that's where it all began.
I found some artificial parchment paper and printed up a pair of "Certificates of Merit" on my computer and laser printer, using some fancy fonts. They looked great after some trial and error on regular paper.
I contacted a friend who drove limo on a part-time basis and we made arrangements for him to pick up me and the girls and bring us to the Pumpkin. I didn't want them driving that day. We were going to celebrate. I said nothing to the girls other than we would have our usual lunch on Saturday to celebrate their graduation.
I told the girls that since we might have a second glass of wine to celebrate, I would be picking them up at their place to take them to the pub. What they didn't expect was to find me in a long black limousine waiting for them. Molly squealed in delight and Marilyn just went wide-eyed when the two of us showed up at her door. There were good vibes about that day.
We arrived at the Pumpkin and I thanked my friend, Pete, for the limo service. I had reserved our usual table, just to make sure someone else didn't get there ahead of us. My girls were quite taken aback at all the fuss that was made over them. Charlie, the manager, and all his girls came by to congratulate my two and they were beaming. Wine was poured. A glass of sparkling white wine served as our champagne. The serving staff all gathered in a circle around the table and began to sing a song of congratulations, clapping their hands and dancing about. What they lacked in musical talent they made up for with enthusiasm.
Next, Charlie, using the house microphone, announced that Molly and Marilyn were celebrating their graduation from their special fitness class and while not mentioning the number of pounds they lost, made it clear that they had accomplished a major victory. They got a loud round of applause from the patrons at that point.
Molly was reveling in the limelight, but as expected, Marilyn was a bit embarrassed. I wasn't surprised, but I also knew she wasn't upset. She was just as proud of her success as Molly.
When things quieted down, lunch arrived. I ordered for the girls, knowing they might not want to indulge themselves if I didn't take charge. I ordered five plates of appetizers. More food than we could or should eat, but what the hell, we were celebrating.
We did a pretty good job of demolishing the food, but there was some left that we just couldn't manage. Molly complained that not only did her outer body shrink but her stomach as well. There was a lot of laughter at the table that noon. A number of the regular patrons who witnessed the progress of the girls over the past months stopped by to offer their congratulations. I felt very good about that.
When the girls got up to go to the washroom, it gave me a chance to gather my gifts and the certificates. I switched to my favorite dark ale and I was just getting started on my first pint when the girls returned. I stashed the surprises under the table out of sight. I pulled out the two "diplomas" and passed one to Marilyn and then Molly. I was standing and I congratulated them on their dedication and their accomplishment. I guess some of the patrons heard me and they applauded as I gave the girls their certificates.
They untied the ribbon and unrolled them. They both smiled as they read them and then Molly held hers up for the surrounding audience to see. Molly came around and gave me a big kiss and a thank you. Marilyn soon followed suit.
After they were seated again, I pulled out the two packages. I knew which one was which, and I handed the yellow package to Molly and the red one to Marilyn. Molly quickly opened her gift and with a whoop of excitement, held up a very small, yellow bikini for everyone to see. There was a card inside and she opened it a read it aloud.
"Now I know why blondes have more fun, signed love and best wishes, Tory," she read.
"Oh, Tory. I love it. Thank you for this. Thank you for everything," she said, her eyes glistening.
Marilyn was absently picking at the wrapping on her package, now sensing what was inside. Of course, it was another bikini. This one red. Just like the red in the photograph I gave her. Just like the red in her complexion when she saw it. She took out the card and opened it.
"Be brave, it's all in fun," I said quietly to her.
"Imagine yourself on a sun-drenched sandy beach, signed love and admiration, Tory," she read.
Marilyn looked at me and forced a smile. She leaned over and hugged me.
"Thank you, Tory. I couldn't have done it without you," she said, smiling through a few tears.
After a while, we started to talk about what comes next. We were different people from the three who embarked on this venture eight months earlier. That included me as well. I got an immense feeling of satisfaction from what the girls accomplished. I began to understand what teachers and other mentors got in return for their efforts. I did this for free and yet I felt I was rewarded more than I could have expected.
Both the girls planned to look for new jobs, primarily because they were no longer "plus size" and that was what their current job featured. Molly talked about going to night school and getting a certificate to allow her to act as a fitness trainer. I thought that was a hell of an idea.
Marilyn in typical fashion, hadn't decided, and was keeping her thoughts private at that point. She wasn't enthusiastic about any one particular thing, but was interested in my work and what it was about. She toyed with the idea of interior design work years ago, but that was shelved when practical considerations of rent and food became paramount.
Just before four that afternoon, I asked one of the servers to call a cab for us. We dropped Molly off first. She was still on a high, giggling and having fun. I was happy for her and I know Marilyn was too.
As we rode toward Marilyn's apartment, I leaned toward her.
"Are you too tired for company?"
"About eight. That will give you some time to rest. Don't say yes if you aren't up to it."
"Eight sounds fine. I'll see you then," she smiled.
When I got home I peeled off my clothes and flopped on my bed. I closed my eyes and before I knew it, I was asleep. I awoke just before seven. Luckily, I didn't have a lot to drink, so I was OK. I stripped my shorts and socks off and headed for the shower. It was the refresher I needed.
Just before eight I left the house and drove to Marilyn's apartment. I was wondering what to expect. I was a bit nervous about where our relationship might go now that we were finished with the fitness program.
She knew I was interested in her. The question was, did she feel anything for me? And then there was the challenge of convincing her of how others saw her. It wasn't just me with rose-colored glasses. A number of people mentioned how attractive she was that afternoon. The young guys all had their tongues hanging out for Molly. But a number of them were stealing looks at Marilyn and likely wondering if there was a chance. Not if I had anything to do with it.
I hardly finished knocking when the door opened. Marilyn stood there wearing the clothes she wore that afternoon. She filled that dress out magnificently. She was smiling and welcomed me in. Her hair was combed back and she was wearing that eye makeup that caught my attention the very first time I saw her. She was also barefoot.
"Did I tell you how good you look," I smiled.
"Thanks. It's been a special day. I didn't want it to end."
I turned to her and moved toward her with my arms outstretched. She slipped inside them and we kissed. It wasn't a long, passionate kiss. It was light and ... careful.
"You have the most beautiful eyes."
"A gift from my grandmother," she responded.
"It's a wonderful gift. The eyes, the hair, the lovely coloring of your skin. I'll have to thank your grandmother some day."
"I have some wine. Would you like some?"
"Yes ... please. That would be nice."
I followed her swaying hips into the kitchen as she took a bottle of red from the counter. It was already open and a half-full glass sat on the counter nearby.
"I had to test it," she said. "It might have turned to vinegar." She was nervous. I wasn't sure why.
We returned to the living room and sat beside each other on the sofa. I was just about to say something when Marilyn turned to me.
"Tory, you know how much I appreciate what you've done for me. I know you don't want to take the credit, but I know I wouldn't have succeeded without your help. I'll always be very grateful for that."
Uh oh ... this sounded very much like a prelude to a brush-off. My gut tightened as I waited for the "but."
"Molly and I have been looking for new jobs, as you know. Well, earlier this week I got a phone call. It was from an agency that represents a big retail chain store. They are looking for people to model their clothes for catalogue and flyer photos. I applied to them a month ago and sent them some pictures Molly took of me.
"They've accepted my application and they want to interview me. I'll be meeting with them next week." She seemed to be telling me this very carefully for some reason.
"That's wonderful, Marilyn. I told you all along that others would see how beautiful you were," I said with genuine enthusiasm.
"Tory ... that's not all. If I get the job, they want me to model at their stores around the country. I'll be travelling quite a bit. I may even have to move," she finished, unable to look at me.
"Oh ... wow ... that's ... something. Really something," was the best I could manage. "I can't imagine them not offering you the job. You're perfect for it. It will make you famous, too," I said, losing some of my enthusiasm as I went.
"I know we have ... feelings for each other. I feel like I'm letting you down. I didn't expect them to even reply to my application. It's all come as a big surprise. Molly encouraged me and now ... now I'm committed," she said with forlorn look.
"Did Molly apply too?"
She nodded. "They sent her a nice letter, but she wasn't chosen."
I sat quietly looking at the one woman I truly wanted in my life, realizing then that it wasn't going to happen. I don't think I'd ever felt quite this let down. All the air was gone from my balloon. That great uplift at the lunch celebration this afternoon had dissolved into nothing.
I took her hand in mine. "I'm happy for you, Marilyn. You deserve this. You're going to have a very good life, I know. Let's try and stay in touch if we can. I'm going to want to follow your career," I said with a forced smile.
We talked for a while longer, but I lost my focus and just wanted to go home and lick my wounds. My day went from great joy to misery in a few moments. A few moments that I wouldn't forget for a long time.
It didn't come as a surprise to anyone except Marilyn that she was hired. She phoned me Wednesday evening to tell me the news and I could hear the excitement in her voice. She was going to be living a life of glamour and fame and she could hardly wait to get started. We talked for a while, mostly her telling me about all the places she would be going and the events and sessions she would be involved in.
She would be starting the next week and already her employers were pressuring her to move to Chicago, their head office city and where the studio photo shoots would take place. It sounded to me like she didn't have a choice.
In a way, it was better that she did move. I wouldn't see her around to remind me of what might have been. It would be a clean cut and both of us could get on with our lives.
Molly dropped by to commiserate with me, knowing how I felt about Marilyn. I got the impression she was willing to act as a stand-in. You know -- friends with benefits. It wouldn't work for me and I politely declined. I think she was relieved. She admitted she let slip to Marilyn that she and I "hooked up" one night. She took all the blame, but I couldn't guess how Marilyn might have felt about that news. It didn't matter now.
I returned to my pre-volunteer life. Work, a pint, home, the usual. The girls regularly asked about Molly and Marilyn, but aside from the infrequent letter from Marilyn and an occasional phone call from Molly, I didn't have much news. Molly did mention that there was a new man in her life and she was hoping that he might be the "one."
Marilyn wrote me a couple of letters filled with the excitement of her new job and the places she had been. After a couple of months, the letters were few and far between. A post card now and then seemed to be her only communications.
I wasn't looking for a replacement. I wasn't sure anyone would measure up to my expectations. Oh, I went out on the odd date, but nothing happened, probably because I didn't let anything happen. The women I dated must have thought I was a total dud. I couldn't blame them.
I missed having lunch with them on Saturday. I went back to my little table for two in the solarium and my life resumed its previous course. I wasn't unhappy, just indifferent. My girls at the Pumpkin did their best to cheer me up and a couple of them came on to me, but like my dates, I just couldn't work up any enthusiasm. Besides, the last thing I wanted to do was piss in the pickles at my own personal place of worship.