I want to give a big thanks to the editor of this story, a very clever and patient lady called Bella Mariposa. Where this reads fluently and clearly, it is down to her. The rubbish bits are all my own doing.
I was thirty nine when I first stopped feeling young. I was sitting at a table in a pub watching a striking young woman I called Cat - a stranger until this day - walk to the bar to buy me a pint of Guinness. We had just played a game of pool and she had lost a wager for a drink.
Cat, or Mai, to give her actual name, was a twenty one year-old Asian/American student. She was just a tiny bit shy on the surface, but very feisty and sensual underneath. Cat was clever, quick witted and beautiful.
She was five feet, four inches of womanly curves, an hour glass stunner, with long black hair, brown eyes and the most gorgeous killer full-lipped smile I've seen it my life.
There is something so wonderfully alluring about seeing a really good looking woman wearing tight jeans, with shapely hips and a gently rolling ass, slowly walk away from you. And then there was her smile.
It could take your heart, that smile. It did mine, and in return, God forgive me, I think I snapped hers in two.
I'm Carl. Cat also sometimes called me Mr B, although she would never say why. I'm a white Englishman. I wouldn't be the ugliest guy in your local bar, but not the best looking either. I'm tall and slim, with grey eyes and dark hair.
From time to time, people tell me I look similar to an actor called Clive Owen, who starred in 'Sin City' and 'The International' among others, although I think we are only vaguely alike, and he is much more handsome. Maybe I could just stretch it enough to say I resemble Clive a little when he is tired and having a bad hair day.
It was a rainy Friday afternoon in Southampton when I first met her. She came into the pub to escape an early August storm. I was there having a couple of beers and games of pool with my friend Jeff.
The company I had worked at for five years in site management had just lost major contracts in the recession, and along with eighty percent of their workforce, I had been laid off. I hadn't really liked the job much, but the pay had been good. Fortunately, I managed to get similar employment lined up, but it didn't start until December. Jeff was a self-employed car mechanic, and work was slack for him too: hence, the afternoon drinking.
There were two pool tables there, and playing on the other one were two young women. One was a cute, slim blond, and the other a more curvaceous, golden skinned, black haired girl, a real beauty, who gave me a lovely little smile both with her mouth and her flashing brown eyes.
I slammed in the black ball just after the beauty had defeated the blond. "I'll take you on in a winner's game," I suggested.
"Ok, and the loser can buy the winner a drink," she replied, in what I assumed was a North American accent.
I racked them up, she broke, and we were away. She was good, better then I, and got to the black first. It was a hard shot, as is was tight on a cushion at an acute angle. She moved right in front of me and bent over to take the shot.
'Oh God, ' I thought as her fantastic shapely ass - which was full, firm and rounded, clad in very, and I mean very, tight blue jeans - moved into my admiring view.
I exchanged an awestruck glance with Jeff. She took her time and wiggled her cute butt a tiny bit just before the stroke. I felt warm in the face. The black stayed in the jaws of the pocket, and I managed to finish her off.
She nodded and asked me what I wanted. I drained the last of my current pint and handed her the empty glass. "A Guinness, please."
While she went to the bar, Jeff and I sat down at a table. She returned with a smile on her face, carrying two glasses. She beckoned her friend to join us. "This is Ashley," she said.
Ashley gave us an unenthusiastic "hi" as she sat.
I looked at the beauty again after she sat. She was wearing a very baggy, mostly white shirt, which had a picture of a cartoon cat on it.
"And you are Cat I assume," I said.
"No, I am Mai," she said, with the smile peeking out a little again.
"But Cat suits you."
"Well, whatever, I guess," she said, with a shrug and a bigger smile.
She looked so pretty sitting there, and we chatted more. Mai and Ashley were students at a local university, where they were doing a short summer preparatory course for foreign students. The bored Ashley was from Canada, and the lively eyed Cat from California.
I was getting a few little subtle flirting signs from Cat. She stroked her hair, and smiled at me, while maintaining nearly constant eye contact. She leaned back in her chair, opening her body invitingly.
'She just likes to flirt, ' I thought. 'There is no way I would get lucky enough to have any hope with an exquisite young beauty like her. You are way too old Carl, you have no chance.'
Ah, but I did have a chance, as it happened. Cat and Ashley had to brave the rain, and leave, to return for a part of their course. As we were saying goodbye, she took her mobile out and looked at it, and then me, rather meaningfully. I took the bait.
"Maybe we can do this again? You might even get to win next time Cat," was the best line I could come up with.
"Sure, that could be fun," she replied, smiling. We exchanged numbers and the girls left.
We went outside to the beer garden and smoked some cigarettes, hiding under a sun umbrella to escape the rain. "I don't believe that," Jeff said. "You've just been pulled, mate, by probably the best looking woman in this city ... fucking unbelievable. You can buy me a couple of pints on the back of that kind of luck." So I did.
My luck held later that day as well. I was rang by a company I'd had an interview with the previous week. I managed to get three months temporary work, covering sick absence at a big tool hire firm, doing some stock control and delivery arranging. It turned out to be a badly paid job with asshole bosses, but still, such is life.
Cat played on my mind that evening. I'd been, in one way or another, chasing after the opposite sex since I was about fourteen, and she had to be the best looking woman I had ever personally seen, let alone dated. It seemed absurd to me that I could be of interest to her.
I sat in my little second floor one bedroom apartment, which I purchased on a mortgage three years ago for far more than its current value. Even so, love it. It is by the waterfront. There is a sliding patio door, leading out to a tiny balcony overlooking a yacht marina and a small commercial quay. Sometimes, I like to sit there drinking tea and smoking, watching the boats return to their berths as the sun lowers and dies.
I tried to keep cool, and managed to hold off contacting her until the following morning. I texted her, asking if she wanted to meet up that evening. I went to a cricket game with Jeff in the afternoon. There was no reply from Cat all day, and I was thinking about phoning her tomorrow. I figured if I couldn't get hold of her, I'd assume she was ignoring me, and that I would be realistic and give the idea up.
I was just about to go out and find a few beers, when Cat rang me. She sounded a bit flustered. "Hi Carl, I'm really sorry I didn't get back to you, my battery had run dead and I didn't realise. I only just got the message you sent this morning. I hope you're not pissed with me?"
"No, of course not! It's great to hear from you," I reassured her. We arranged to meet in an hour at club near to the halls where she was staying. Cat looked great in a mostly black outfit and heels, with silver earrings and a chain. I suppose I looked dated, like some sort of dinosaur, with my straight jeans, black shoes, white button down cotton Oxford shirt and rumpled dark brown leather jacket.
It was crowded and noisy. Loud music of a kind I detested, but that Cat seemed to like, blasted out. Her soft, slightly parched sounding voice was especially difficult to hear. Yet we got on well enough that she didn't pull back when I leaned down to kiss her for the first time. In fact I got the whole arms around the neck and tongue in the mouth treatment in return.
We sat in a secluded corner of the club, me with a bottle of lager and Cat with a diet coke and Jack Daniels and necked like teenagers. Well, she wasn't far removed from being one, even if I long ago lost that excuse. She had a hungry mouth, and her brown eyes flashed dangerously.
"Cat you look fantastic. I think you are very beautiful," I told her. She must have heard that a good few times, but she liked hearing me say it, judging from her smile. The evening rolled into night, and I had some more beers and she a few more diet coke's minus the Jack Daniels.
"You look almost as hot as the actress Carla Gugino did when she walked across her apartment in the film Sin City," I told her. I was rewarded with a giggle and a little play punch on my arm.
I figured it was time to bite the bullet. "Do you want to come back to my place for a coffee Cat?"
"Yeah," she said, and kissed me again.
We got into a taxi to go back to my apartment. In the back seat, my arm was around Cat's shoulders and my mouth was stealing a few kisses. I only noticed the relatively short journey had ended when the driver coughed loudly. I slipped him a note and didn't take the change.
.... There is more of this story ...