FIRST: THE APARTMENT BASEMENT
Ray Warton, usually called 'Coach Warton' or often just 'Coach', the head football coach at a mid western university, was a new resident of Blake Towers, a rather nicely kept and nicely run apartment complex in town. He'd moved there only a month earlier, having to get a new place for himself from the one where he'd hung his hat earlier.
He was currently, on a Tuesday evening at 8 PM, looking around for the person that many called 'the super'. This 'super' was supposed to have a special set of keys that he needed. The keys were for new locks that had been installed, the latest and all residents were informed that they needed to see 'the super' for their set. He'd been putting it off, having been busy for the past few weeks, with spring practice events. He was, however, determined that tonight he'd get it done.
He went into the basement, where he thought that he might just find this super. But when he entered the basement, after knocking, going into the mechanical rooms, he stopped dead because of what he saw.
Ray Warton was a hearty 44 years old. His life had only recently taken an auspicious, for him at least, turn. His wife of some 18 years, who'd spent a good 8 of those years in a mental institution, after having an irretrievable breakdown following the still birth of their long awaited child, had died only two months ago. Ray had been on his own, so to speak, for all or most of those past 8 years. The main sense that swept over him at the time, and since, was a feeling of relief. He'd lost Margaret truly after her mental retreat, at the death of the little girl, and she'd never, ever come home from that. Ray had known, of course, that Margaret came from a family that had such periodic problems, he'd grown up in the same small town as her but living through the tragedy and then the gradual decline and total retreat of Margaret had been, for him at least, costly. The relief at her passing, allowing him to remember the bright and bubbly girl she'd been, when they were first married, was, as they say 'palpable'.
So, the Coach was getting on with his life. He had this new apartment, and had a kind of new outlook. He had been universally, among colleagues, looked up to for his constant vigil for his Margaret.
And here he was searching for 'the super' of the building. He walked into that mechanical room and there she was, the super. She was at the moment hunkered down and attending to a joint with a large wrench. She wore gloves and seemed to know exactly what she was doing.
The super, in fact, was Ronnie Blake, that is Dr Ronnie Blake, the 'Eli Barnes Memorial Professor of Historical Studies', to be exact. Ronnie Blake, besides being a professor of history at the university, was a fiery haired, green eyed irish lass, who at 34 years was, as her father was so often inclined to say 'big breasted and big assed'. That is merely to say that Dr Ronnie Blake was tall, 5'101/2" and extremely well built.
She was often seen as a no-nonsense kind of woman, who'd taken all the time she needed for her PhD degree, with its specialty in the 'Underground Railroad' of the Civil War era. She also was adamant in her refusal to participate in casual sex with the number of married men who'd tried to put the moves on her.
Yet to her friends, Ronnie Blake was life and joy itself, quick to laugh and loving to a fault. Her care for her parents, who she had tended in their last illnesses with care and great love, and her relationship with her uncle certainly showed that.
She had other interests and responsibilities, as Ray Wharton was about to discover, among those were her interest in the upkeep of the three apartment buildings that her loving uncle Hal had given her. It was his way, he said, of taking care of her future. The apartment buildings were paid for and clear and provided Ronnie with more extra income than she actually needed or knew what to do with.
Ronnie had spent a good deal of her extra time over a decade to take care of her parents, who'd been in failing health. She'd been a late love child for a childless couple and between what her parents had left her, and what her entrepreneur Uncle insisted on providing for her, was in an extremely good financial position, which was a fact known only to Ronnie and maybe her best friend, Dr Joan Whalen, also history.
So, here she was in the basement hunkered down and working with a pipe wrench. Ray stood for a moment and just stared, when the woman hunkered down there asked, never leaving her task:
"Can I help you?"
He stared because Ronnie's work shirt had come out of her jeans and she was, at that moment, showing a large amount of bare upper backside and what is commonly known as a 'plumber's crack'.
"Um," he began, "I'm looking for the super to get my set of the new keys."
Ronnie recognized the voice right away. She said: "Coach?" and stood up.
"Dr Blake!" he said almost in a panic and immediately beating on himself for ogling at her 'plumber's crack'.
She noticed, first of all, his blush and stammer, and then she felt the coolness on the back of her waist, and realized that her jeans had indeed slipped down, while she was working with the pipe wrench.
"Oh dear!" she said, "I was showing you my plumber's crack!"
He grinned at her and she gave him a kind of shy smile in return.
"And a lovely... " was as far as he got.
"Now, Coach Warton," she said, her grin never leaving her face. "Why don't you just look at the next two steps ahead of you, where you're going right now with what you were about to say and see how deep the water is there, and ask yourself: 'Do I really want to go there?'"
He laughed and held up his hands as though to shield himself from the possibility of her fury.
"No, Ma'am," he said vehemently.
"Ronnie, please!" she said with absolute kindness, "And I apologize for not being aware of the way I looked."
He grinned and she said softly: "No, don't you say a word!"
They both laughed.
"But the keys," she said, "I'll get them for you."
She led him into a room with tools etc and there was a strong box kind of thing and it had the new keys in it. She gave him his set and had him sign for it.
"Um, Ronnie," he said, "I was just so surprised to see you here with the wrench."
"Oh," she said, "I love to putter with such things. For major jobs, I call the pros but my Dad and Uncle between them have taught me to be self sufficient."
"But here?" he said.
She laughed and said: "Well it's not well known but certainly no big secret. My Uncle, to take care of me, as he said so often, gave me three of these up-scale apartment buildings. So, I spend some time in each of them puttering."
"Do you live here?" he asked and put up his hands again, saying: "Sorry to pry."
She laughed and said: "No, I only growl in play, Ray; I'm not really a dragon, though right now I look like one. And, no, I only rent these out to people."
"No, no," he said: "Fiery red hair, green eyes, grease smudge on your nose and totally gorgeous!"
She blushed actually at what he said and gave him a kind curtsey and a thanks for what he'd said to her.
He took the keys then and could think of no better or other reason for staying and talking to her, though he realized that he wished that he did have a reason. So, with a smile and a 'thank you, super', he turned and walked away.
Ronnie watched him go, allowing herself a little sigh.
"And here I am looking like TugBoat Annie!" she complained to herself but the very thought ended in a giggle with her.
SECOND: THE TRACK
It was the following Tuesday. There had been an early spring practice today, and Ray was talking with some of the assistant coaches. They had a number of new candidates to assess and were talking about the veterans that were returning to play for the university.
They were in agreement that the prospects for the coming year looked fairly good.
They were standing in a kind of huddle, watching the players take a lap, when Ray's attention was taken by a solitary runner, who was not part of the pack of football players, who, after their run were filing into the large practice field.
"Who's that?" Ray asked.
"I thought it was the new quarterback!" one of the coaches said with a grin.
They all laughed and another said:
"That's Dr Ronnie Blake from the history department. I've seen her out here before. She seems to be pretty dedicated to her exercise program.
"She seems to be built like a brick..." another began but Ray cut him off:
"Gentlemen," he said, "A civil tongue for a woman colleague please!"
They all knew when he was serious and when he wasn't, and while he was certainly not a prude, Ray Warton was noted for his attitude about being respectful to women.
"Sorry, Coach," the aid said and they let it drop.
They all walked then toward the practice field, where the players had gone for the practice that was to ensue.
Ray himself stopped by the track and watched Ronnie, as she approached him.
"Dr Blake!" he said, inclining his head.
She waved at him and gave him a salute and one breathless word: "Ronnie!"
"Ronnie!" he said, as she ran past.
She was wearing a tee shirt that had some sweat streaks on the back of it and a pair of tight, black running pants that absolutely highlighted what her father had called 'her big ass'.
.... There is more of this story ...