For those of you who read my work you know what I'm going to say, for the virgins to my work; there are no graphic sex scenes in this story.
There are only so many things that can go on between two people or three people or more. After reading or writing once about those things you're just doing reruns, so why bother.
I enjoy writing about the characters, the evil or good that happens to them and how they react. Along the way if I'm lucky a good story grows, if not I've still enjoyed myself.
So I hope you enjoy this tale; all constructive comments and/or emails are appreciated and looked forward to. Your critiques help me to grow and learn.
Thanks for taking the time to read and/or comment on my work.
He was sitting on a stool at the end of the bar with his back against a wall watching a baseball game on one of the TVs above the bar. Not a little guy at around 6' or 6' 1" and about 190 pounds, he was still quite a bit smaller than my 6' 4", 255 pounds. Never the less I was going to be careful around him. I hoped he would listen to what I had to say without going crazy on me.
"Are you Jack Wilson?" I asked as I walked over to him. He nodded and I said, "Can I buy you a drink?"
"Who are you? I don't know you and I don't want another drink, I'm meeting my wife soon," he replied.
"My name is Steve but that's not important. You need to know what's been going on with Julie while you were on your sales trip," I said hoping to arouse his curiosity and not his anger.
"My sales trip, how did you know I'd been on a sales trip? And how do you know my wife's name?" There was a bit of anger in his voice.
"I ... I..." I faltered and stuttered for a few seconds. This wasn't a good situation and it could go bad very quickly. "Oh hell, there's no other way to say it Jack. I know your wife's name because I just most of tonight screwing her brains out at my place."
That's when the fight started; well it wasn't much of a fight, he hit me and I hit the floor. For a smaller guy he sure could punch hard. It happened so fast that I didn't realize he had hit me until I found myself on my ass on the barroom floor. He was standing over me yelling at me to get up so he could knock me down again. I sat right there and looked up at him trying to think of what to say. I owed him that shot at me but I wasn't going to be his punching bag.
Why would I tell a man that I'd been screwing his wife? It all has to do with payback.
My name is Steven Harrow and I'm a moron, well not really but I feel like one. You see only a moron or a husband, and I'm both, wouldn't have seen what was going on behind my back. I didn't see it or even suspect it until cliché of clichés I saw my wife somewhere she shouldn't have been. She told me that her sister had broken up with her fiancé and needed cheering up. Apparently my wife was the designated cheerer upper and went to console her distraught sister.
She called me at work and told me about visiting her sister and that it would probably be late before she got home. There was a casserole in the fridge and I could heat it up in the microwave for my dinner. I decided to hell with some stupid healthy tuna shit casserole, I decided to grab a beer and burger at a new place I had heard good things about. It was about 10 miles from my office in the opposite direction to my home. When I walked into O'Toole's it only took a few seconds to spot the two of them.
The man she was sitting next to in a booth at the back of the bar might have similar features as her sister but he had the wrong fixtures; if you know what I mean. In addition, I've never seen my wife kiss her sister the way she was kissing this guy. It was full blown let me check you tonsils type of kiss, complete with breast fondling and crotch grabbing.
I wasn't really that surprised; I guess I'd been expecting something like this for the last three months.
My future wife Stella (Estella) Rodgers and I met in high school dated a few times and then went off to different colleges. We weren't in love or anything and there were no sad goodbyes; we'd had fun together and then went on our way.
Stella was not the most attractive girl at school, in fact she was a little on the homely side. She wore glasses, was still carrying around some of her baby fat, and she had no grooming or fashion sense at all. What she did have was a satirical sense of humor, a quick mind, and man she could really dance. Stella transformed on the dance floor, leaving the rest of us in her wake.
She and I were a perfect match of two, if not ugly then less than attractive people. I was tall, skinny, and uncoordinated with a more than average acne problem. If you looked in the dictionary under the word geek, you would have seen my picture. But put the two of us together and we were good for each other.
It was almost six years later that I saw her again. I was taking some post graduate classes and took a break from my studies at an off campus bar. It wasn't a place I normally went to but that night I needed to decompress and relax. The place wasn't really very loud, just the normal ebb and flow of conversations going on but then a sort of hush fell over the room.
I was staring into the one beer I allowed myself and wondering how I was going to get through one of my classes without kicking the professor's ass. He was a liberal somewhere to the left of Karl Marx and I was just a bit right of John Wayne. It got very quiet in the bar and I looked up to see why. That's when I saw Stella.
At first I didn't recognize her, it wasn't until she smiled and then laughed that I knew it was Stella. Man, she had really changed and for the better. Stella had grown, evolved, or metamorphosised into a stunningly beautiful woman. Gone were the glasses, gone was the baby fat, and gone was the homely girl who didn't know how to dress or groom herself.
In that girl's place was this woman who was dressed to the nines, this woman with long, long legs and a body you could bounce quarters off of, this woman with long golden hair and perfect makeup, this woman that made everybody stop and stare. Stella was so beautiful that when she walked across the bar room even women would watch her and say, "I'd do her."
I couldn't believe the transformation in Stella. Man I blew it when I let her go I thought, and then laughed at myself. That had been back in high school and we wouldn't have stayed together all this time anyway. Of course I had changed also. I was still tall but I had filled out; the result of better nutrition and playing tight end in college. Playing football also improved my coordination and I outgrew the acne problem.
As I turned and started to leave the bar I heard this melodious voice that I remembered very well, call my name. I turned and there was Stella right in front of me.
"Hello boyfriend, what's it been about six years now?" As she greeted me she leaned against me, stood on her tip toes and kissed my cheek.
"Hi Stella, good to see you," I answered when I got my tongue unstuck from the roof of my mouth. I was the envy of every male in the joint If only for a moment.
"Come join us and have a drink. We've got a lot of catching up to do," she said pulling on my hand and leading me over to her group. "Hey guys, pull up another table so Steve can join us."
I watch as three or four people jumped to do as she asked. It was ironic, the girl I had known was so shy that I was about the only one she talked to and here she snapped out orders like a drill sergeant. Stella had definitely changed.
One of the guys from the group asked what we wanted to drink and went to fetch them. It must be nice to have servants, I thought. Stella and I played catch up for several minutes. After several how are yous, what's happened in the last six years and what are you doing nows; I had to address the 400 pound gorilla at the table. I know Stella was waiting for it and I couldn't resist.
"Damn Stella you look great. I almost didn't recognize you. You're a lot different than back in high school," I said paying homage to this lovely creature.
"Yep, I have changed and it's all because of you Steve," she said chuckling at the puzzled look on my face.
"Me? Me? What'da you mean it's because of me? I didn't do anything."
She giggled and then laughed out loud. I've never liked a grown woman of 23 or 24 giggling, she should have outgrown that phase but in Stella's case it was cute and sexy and made me want to hear more. I was staring at her waiting for her to tell me how I'd made her change.
Stella then explained why she blamed me or maybe it was better to say gave me credit for her development. She said that when we parted after high school, she was crushed. Her looks, her personality, her shyness made me turn my back on her; at least that's what she thought.
I started to deny the things she said but before I could say anything she held up her hand to stop me.
"You, we, had never talked about love or commitment but that didn't affect what I thought. We were going to different colleges and it was natural that we would part. I didn't want to think about the logic or facts of our break up, just that if I had been prettier, slimmer, and more polished you wouldn't have left me," she told me, again that little laugh that in a younger female would be a giggle.
"That's not the reas... ," I started to say, but Stella interrupted me.
"I know it wasn't true but that's the way I felt at the time. So I decided to take action, to change myself into someone you would want. I went to college and immersed myself in "Project Stella". I began to eat healthier and started an exercise regiment; I worked out in the school gym almost daily, I ran three times a week building up to a five mile run, and I joined the drama club to get over my shyness."
Stella stopped to finish her drink, lifted her empty glass, and waited while one of her minions brought her another.
"I even took a beauty course at a technical college to learn how to use make up and style my hair. Next I read all I could find on grooming and fashion. By my junior year, the change was almost complete; I still had to put everything I'd learned into practice. I began to flirt and interact with some of the men in my classes; I needed to see if I could get over being an introvert." She paused as if to gather herself before continuing.
"Stella, I had no idea you felt that way in high school," I stepped in. "You have to remember I was a geek, a male version of what you felt like. I liked you and ask you out not because of how you looked but because you were interesting to be with." I paused for a few seconds and said, "There was another reason that I asked you out, you know."
"What was that?"
"You said yes. You were the only girl that ever said yes when I asked for a date. At first that was the main reason but by the third date I wanted to be with you because of you. We seemed to fit together. I regretted us having to say good bye but I was only 18 and had never thought beyond going to college."
I hadn't intended or even thought that sitting and talking to an old friend would lead to "True Confessions". Stella gave me a warm smile, took my hand with both of hers, and leaned against me for a few seconds.
"As good as you look, as confident as you seem, you must have men falling all over themselves to be with you," I said with a big smile.
"No, there's nobody special Steve. Oh I've had two "serious" relationships since college but something was missing so we broke up," she replied. I motioned and indicated the others at the table, asking a silent question.
Stella leaned closer so no one would hear her and said, "These people are just friends; well not even friends, more like companions. That's Kyle fetching drinks, he's asked me out at least a dozen times; I enjoy the attention so instead of saying no, I smile say maybe and he keeps coming around. Two of the three girls I'm helping change themselves like I did; in the mean time they catch some of my rejects."
She giggled, again, at the expression on my face. "C'mon you know that less attractive girls pal around with a pretty girl; it's not always for the friendship, it's to latch on to guys that they might never have a chance at."
"That doesn't say very much for them does it?" I was surprised at her revelation.
"It says they are smart enough to make the most of an opportunity," she replied.
"What about the other two?"
"The other two are going together; I used to date Brad and when we stopped Sherry caught him. They seem to be happy with each other and that's a good thing. Sherry is one of my success stories, don't you know."
I had to smile grimly at the change in her personality; the girl I had known was shy, less than confident, almost withdrawn with everyone but me. The new Stella was confident to the point of being cocky or even overbearingly conceited. I think I liked the old Stella better; there was a hard shell around this new one.
"Guess I better go, got classes tomorrow morning. It's been ... maybe interesting is the term, seeing you again Stella. Good luck with your projects," I said standing to leave.
She stood, hugged me, and kissed my cheek again. The hug wasn't one of those A-frame hugs that woman use, you know hug you but keep their body away from you, this was a full body hug meant to show off how a woman feels. By the way, Stella felt damn good.
Stella handed me a card and said, "Here's my home and cell numbers, give me a call and we'll talk some more." It was just short of being an order; Her Majesty, Stella the First had spoken.
Again I couldn't believe the change in this woman. I had spent less than two hours with the new Stella and I wasn't impressed. There was absolutely no doubt that her appearance and her confidence was improved but she had lost the sweet, kind, thoughtful girl she had been. I didn't think it was a good exchange.
Handing the card back to Stella I said, "There's no need to talk again, we've went over our lives between then and now. You've moved on and don't need another member for your entourage. I'm glad you're happy Stella. See ya." I walked away before she could respond or argue; I'd had enough of Her Majesty to last me.
Just before I got to the door I heard Kyle say, "How dare he talk to you like that. Want me to drag him back here and make him apologize?"
Stella laughed out loud, "Do you actually think you could make him do anything he didn't want to? Look at the size of him, you idiot."
It would have been interesting and I was almost sorry that good old Kyle didn't try to "drag me back" because I was a little upset; I would have liked to share that feeling with someone. I was upset that my friend from high school had turned into such a conceited bitch.
After Stella and I parted after high school to go to different colleges, I thought about her a lot. My first Christmas break I went home to visit my folks and tried to reconnect with her but her parents had moved. I tried to get her address from the college she attended but of course they wouldn't give out any information or even verify that she was registered; I found out later using somewhat devious means that she wasn't attending the school I thought she was.
I lost her trail and had no idea where she had gone; it made me a little sad. It wasn't love but when I thought about that young girl it was with fondness and appreciation; we had been good for each other back then. Maybe that's why the change in Stella made me angry; my good friend was gone.
Three weeks later I had just finished a nutritious dinner of pepperoni pizza and a beer when someone knocked on my door. When I opened the door, who else but Stella stood there door; as if I didn't have enough on my plate.
"Aren't you going to invite me in?" She asked, smiling.
After I waved her into the apartment she looked around and commented a little sarcastically I thought, "Nice place Steve."
I lived in a second floor walk up; it was a basic studio apartment with one big room which combined a living room, dining room, and a small galley type kitchen, with a bathroom through a doorway. My goal was a post graduate degree, not entertaining guests so it suited me. I worked for two years after getting my bachelor's degree and was able to save enough money to go back for post grad classes. It helped that I was in Information and Systems Analysis so I could schedule my work and my classes around each other; basically I worked part time about 25 to 30 hours a week.
"It's a place to sleep and study; all I need really. What do you want Stella? Wait, how did you find me?"
"You're listed in the phone book."
"Bullshit, the only phone I have is a cell. How did you find me?"
Stella paused smiled and said, "It was obvious that you weren't going to call me so I tracked you down. One of my girls works in the registrar's office and I had her check the files for your address."
"I repeat, what are you doing here?"
"I wanted to see and talk to you without the "entourage" as you call them."
"Why? It's not like we've been close for the last five or six years, we were friends a long time ago when we were both young. I don't understand you're need to have a "heart to heart" with me."
"Remember that night at Kelly's I told you I'd only had two serious relationships and that something was missing? When I saw you, I realized what was missing was you."
I started to say something about how idiotic that was but she stopped me.
"Wait, let me finish please," she asked. "I told you that I wanted to change because you left me and yes I know that's not what happened but that was my motivation. Shortly after I began "Project Stella", I became a little more confident and realized that you hadn't left, you'd just gone on to college the same as I had. But by then I was seeing results and continued working on myself. This is the finished product but now I'd like to get to know you again."
I interrupted her by asking, "What do you see happening here Stella?
"Maybe we could go out a few times, perhaps we could get back to being friends, and maybe we could be more than friends. I don't know for sure, but I do know I want to spend some time with you."
"Why? You obviously don't lack for company. Why me"
"Steve you were the only boy that asked me out back in high school. You didn't mind that I was chubby, you didn't mind that I didn't wear makeup or styled my hair or dressed funny and you were always nice to me. You're right I don't have any problems getting dates or whatever now, but they look at the package and not what it contains."
A man would have to be total idiot not to want to spend a few evenings with this stunningly beautiful girl, unless she was a total bitch. I may not be the sharpest tool in the shed but I'm no idiot and she hadn't been bitchy to me only to Kyle. The deciding factor for me was the friendship we'd had in high school; if I could discover that girl inside of this beauty this could be interesting.
"I'd like to be friends again but I do have a few conditions," I told Stella.
"Like what?" Now she was smiling.
"When we get together to hang out or date or whatever, I have to be your main focus. No posse, no entourage, and no group, just us. I scrimped and saved for two years so I could come back to school for my masters and I don't have a lot of extra money; so we won't be going to any five star restaurants or over the top type places."
Stella listened and looked at me and nodded. Before she could say anything I continued.
"One more thing, the amount and number of times together will be limited; I'm here to continue my education not be a social butterfly."
"Is that it?"
"Yeah, that's it. I know I sound like a sanctimonious jerk here, making demands and setting conditions; but I'm making an investment of my time in you. Time that I could use to study and get some extra work done so that's why all the conditions. I would love to rekindle the friendship with the girl I knew back then, I'm not sure about this new Stella. If you don't want to do this I understand."
"May I ask one question?" I nodded and she asked, "Could we go for pizza tomorrow night?
We went out for pizza the next evening and so began our "quest" to reconnect. Stella and I went places and did things that you would expect friends to do. We went on hikes and picnics, attended free outdoor concerts, explored the art museum, and just generally got to know each other again. It was fun and we enjoyed ourselves.
A couple of evenings at Kelly's or one of the other off campus bars we ran into Stella's entourage. It wasn't planned and Stella suggested we go somewhere else. It was my decision to stay and to join the group; I couldn't expect her to give up her friends entirely. I have to admit I had a good time and contrary to my first thoughts, these people were interesting and a lot of fun.
The first time we joined them, Kyle immediately jumped up to get drinks for Her Majesty and her consort. I pushed him back into his chair and asked the group if anyone wanted another drink. Kyle followed me to help carry the drinks back to the table.
"Kyle, what the hell are you doing? I know you'd like to be more than a friend to Stella but she'll never give you a chance if you keep acting like a love sick puppy. Stand up and be a man," I told him. I couldn't resist; I hated to see any guy being treated like a doormat. Don't know for sure but I think he took my advice; I never saw him with the group again.
On one of our "off" nights, I went to Kelly's for a burger and saw Stella dancing with a man. Her "posse" was sitting at a couple of tables near the dance floor. No big deal, we weren't exclusive and I couldn't expect her to sit at home breathlessly waiting for my call. But I have to admit that seeing her with another man bothered me.
Maybe I'm starting to think of Stella as more than just a friend, I thought. Maybe it's time to make a decision about Stella and me. Maybe it's time to take the next step; to be more than just buddies hanging out together.
But the last thing I needed was a full blown romantic relationship, at least until I got my post grad degree, so maybe it would be best to dial this friendship back a notch. On the other hand I was enjoying our "dates" and didn't want to go back to spending all my time studying and working. Man, I was really confused.
Stella saw me as they finished their dance, smiled and motioned for me to come to her table. I waved at her, smiled, and shook my head. I finished my beer wrapped the burger to take with me and went back to my apartment. Less than 30 minutes later someone knocked on my door.
Surprise, surprise, it was Stella. First she smiled at me, then she frowned, and then she walked past me into my apartment. "Why didn't you come over and join us?"
"Looked like you were on a date. I don't think your guy would have liked my interrupting."
"He wasn't my date, he's just a guy that started hanging around with us after Kyle left," she explained. "Why didn't you come over, you've spent time with our group before."
"So good old Kyle left the group did he?" He wasn't a bad guy and I was glad to hear that he had developed some backbone.
"Yeah, funny thing, he hadn't been around for two or three weeks and I ran into him at a coffee shop one day. I asked him where he'd been and he said that he was tired of acting like a love sick puppy. He told me if I wanted him I knew how to get in touch with him and walked off. Strange behavior, very strange."
I had to laugh; Kyle had basically told Her Majesty Stella to shove it. Good for him, I thought.
Stella saw my grin and heard the laugh and asked, "Did you have anything to do with Kyle leaving?"
"I told him that you'd never respect him or go out with him if he didn't quit jumping every time you told him too. I guess he got the message."
She shook her head and smiled. "Now what's the real reason you didn't join us?"
I took a deep breath, held it for a few seconds and let it out. Time to confess, I thought. "I didn't like seeing you dance with another man. I know, I know," I said before Stella could say anything. "We are supposed to be just friends or buddies.
Stella smiled again took my hand and led me to my sofa pulling me down beside her. "Go on," she prompted.
Taking another deep breath I continued, "We never talked about being exclusive; I mean why would we talk about it, being just friends and all? But I think I've gone beyond that and rather than cause a problem I came home."
She crawled onto my lap and said, "I've gone beyond that friend stuff too. I was waiting for you to take the next step. But I guess I'll have to do it." Then she kissed me.
So began the next step in our "relationship", now we went on dates, not just hanging out together. We were exclusive or going steady or whatever it's called. Stella's entourage became her friends rather than her minions and she spent a few evenings with them when I was working or studying. Any men in the group was told bluntly that she wasn't available so don't bother asking her out or playing up to her.
The queen bee that she had been disappeared and that person wasn't missed. Instead I had a woman closer to the old Stella and was happy to have her back. We continue seeing and being with each other until I finished my post grad work. The day that I finished I asked Stella to marry me and she accepted. We had a quickie wedding in Las Vegas over a four day weekend and I started my new job.