Ben's heavy work boots made hollow clumping sounds on the wooden stairs as he descended from his condo and continued as he crossed the bottom landing. Stepping down onto the pavement, he proceeded across the parking lot behind his apartment, the noise from his boots continuing as he trudged towards his waiting car. The morning was icy cold and his breath exhaled in white puffs, floating on the cold, crisp autumn morning air. His beloved older, low-slung sports car sat hunkered down in its assigned stall, waiting for Ben to come and wake it from its' night slumber. He paused beside the car as he fished in his coat pocket for a few moments, rummaging for his wad of keys, pulled them out and then pushed the button, unlocking and disabling the car's security system.
Sliding into the driver's seat, he felt the cold leather of the bucket seat against the bottom of his Levis and he gave a slight shiver. Even though his car sat under a covered parking area, the cold had invaded the car over the long night and his breath was still visible even inside of the car. Ben isolated the correct key on his ring and slipped it into the ignition slot. When he turned the key over to the start position, the motor turned for a brief second and then exploded into life, the bellow of the powerful motor splitting the cold silence of the morning. Ben waited a few moments before getting ready to move, allowing the engine to warm slightly.
As he moved the gearshift into reverse, he checked his mirror to back up and noticed for the first time that day, the strange pendant dangling from it. The inside of the pendant glowed deep green and it made him smile in remembrance. His current ... he paused in his thoughts, what was she exactly ... he finally decided and continued, his 'lady friend' had given it to him the last time they were together and when she handed it to him, she asked him to please take it, promising him it would protect him.
Swiftly, Ben's mind became totally consumed with pleasant thoughts of her. Natasha! Even her name excited him; everything about her seemed to be magical. Her long legs, which made her height almost equal to his, were spectacular. Natasha's very long, voluminous red-gold hair framed a face, which might not be considered classically beautiful, but he still found engaging to look at. He adored her interesting, vivacious green eyes ... eyes that seemed to peer into the depths of his soul. There were other qualities about her he treasured as well, such as her drop-dead figure, her sharp wit, and the strange bent in the way she seemed to view the world. All of these thoughts and more played in his memory as he finished backing from his parking slot and headed towards the street.
A window in the traffic appeared and Ben slipped the car into the opening, accelerating quickly to the speed of the traffic around him. The pendant swung from the mirror as he shifted gears and he recalled the other night when she had given him the charm.
There had been only three dates with Natasha, and Ben really enjoyed their time together. He knew by now he wanted to have a far more serious relationship with her; he believed he just might be a little bit in love with her.
Natasha's tales about witchcraft were interesting, a bit hard for him to believe at times, but somehow they just made her more precious to him and very fascinating. All in all, Ben thought if anything her stories made her more enchanting. As he continued to reflect about her, he decided he really liked everything about her, except perhaps she dressed a little too conservatively. "Probably trying to hide her fantastic shape," Ben had decided. And even that seems to lend an aura of mystery to her." He concluded.
Upon reflection, Ben couldn't remember how many times he had walked by her small shop without ever noticing it. Coming from the parking lot where he parked his car, and then walking to his office, he had passed right by, day after day without ever noticing the store. Every day he had walked right past the old storefront, which contained her shop.
One day on his way walking down the street, Ben happened to glance into the shop for the first time one day; this time giving it more than just the casual glance he normally gave to the various storefronts he passed, and this day he noticed a very interesting looking young woman sitting at the counter. As the days transpired, every day he found he would make sure and gaze in through the shop window to see if she was at the counter. On the days he saw her in the shop, he would continue down the street with a smile; strangely happy inside just because he'd seen her. On those days she was absent from her place at the counter, things just didn't seem to flow as well. Ben always thought it was just a coincidence.
Finally, one day he found the courage, stopped and went inside. The bell above the door signaled his entry and his nose was assaulted with a barrage of various and fascinating smells. He approached the lovely woman he had seen so many times sitting behind the counter and once he was in front her, she looked up at him, "Good morning, is there something I can help you find?" she asked in a lovely contralto voice.
"No, ahhh ... I..." Now that he was standing in the store, he found he didn't know what to say. "Ah ... I ummm ... just pass by here each day ... and I ... ahh ... see you in here. I've wanted to come in and talk to you! Somehow I found the nerve to come in today." Ben finally blurted out. Ben found he was angry with himself for being so nervous and seeming like such a dolt.
Her soft laugh seemed to comfort him, "I know, I have seen you too and was wondering when you were finally going to come in and talk to me." She grinned at him and a warm glow passed through him.
"Really?" he asked in disbelief.
"Why do you find that so surprising?" She laughed.
Ben knew he must have blushed. Finally, he started looking around at the odd variety of items spread through out the store. "What kind of shop is this? You seem to have a lot of out of the ordinary stuff!"
"I sell supplies for witches." She replied in a matter of fact tone.
Ben just stood there staring at her for a moment. Stunned by her comment, he was sure she was teasing him, "Are you serious? You are kidding me?"
"No, why do you think I would do that to you?"
"Well, to be honest, I really don't believe in witches. Are you one? Or should I say, do you believe you are one?"
"Yes, I am a witch." She smiled at him and winked, "No, I do not have a tall hat, nor do I fly on a broom. However, I do have a black cat!" Natasha continued to smile at him. "Actually, there are a lot of different types of witches. I know you don't have enough time for me to tell you all about them right now. Since you want to ask me to dinner, why don't you do that and then I can tell you all about it over dinner."
"How ... how did you know I wanted to ask you out?"
"Because I want you to ask me out, and I cast a spell on you so you would do just that." Natasha grinned at him and winked again, mischievously.
"Oh and what if I resist your spell?"
"You will miss out on a rare and wonderful experience." Her laughter at her own remark filled the small shop and he found himself laughing too.
"OK, since I don't wish to miss out on such an exotic experience like that, will you please have dinner with me?"
"I would love to. Pick me up tomorrow evening, here at the shop, at 6:30."
Dinner was wonderful; conversation flowed easily between them like water in a rapidly moving stream. Ben pulled out all the stops, told his best stories, trying his best to impress his lovely date. After dinner, they went for a long walk and Ben found himself telling her the history of his life. When they finally arrived back at her shop, he wondered, "Will she be offended if I try to give her a good night kiss?" Suddenly it occurred to him that he had never given any thought to getting a good night kiss from anyone else he'd ever dated. It never was that important before tonight. Somehow, a kiss tonight was very significant. For some strange reason he found that it was momentous, something he wanted very much and something he was afraid he might not get.
They walked to the door of the shop and he asked, "How are you going to get home?"
"I'm home ... I live in an apartment just above the store."
"Oh." He felt tongue-tied. He wanted to ask for a kiss but was still afraid.
Finally, it was obvious it was time for him to leave and he felt more and more like an inexperienced teenager on his very first date. Ben shuffled his feet and glanced at her quickly and then down at the ground. The kiss he wanted was so important and he couldn't bring himself to ask her for it. Finally, Natasha grinned at him and asked, "Are you going to kiss me good night?"
"Do you know I feel like some green, inexperienced kid or something? Natasha, you do strange things to me. Yes I want to kiss you ... I want to kiss you more than I have ever wanted to kiss any woman before and ... well; I find that I am a little frightened. Talk about feeling a little dumb." He laughed in embarrassment.
"Ben, I think you're sweet. You don't need to be embarrassed; I want you to kiss me too ... so..." She paused expectantly.
Ben took her in his arms and gently moved toward her lips. Their lips touched and he felt like a bolt of lightning had slammed through him. Lost in the heady experience of their first kiss, arms wrapped around her, he felt the curves of her body against his and the scent of her perfume filled his head. Lust for this incredible woman surged through his body and it was as if he'd never kissed a woman before ... it felt so good ... he wanted more and more.
.... There is more of this story ...