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.
His manhood stirred and started to swell. That was something that hadn't happened, with just a kiss, for a long, long time. When their lips parted, Ben stepped back, reached out and grabbed the building to keep his knees from buckling. Natasha reached out and touched his face with her hand. "That was very sweet. Thanks for a great evening. I want to see you again. OK?" Before he could even gather his thoughts, she slipped inside the shop and was gone. Ben found himself standing in front of her door nodding his head that he wanted to see her again too.
All the way home, the feeling of her lips was branded in his memory. Twice he reached up and felt his lips ... the memory so strong from their kiss. He was sure that his lips were blistered from the intensiveness of her kiss. He tried to recall another woman who had made him feel so comfortable and yet so excited at the same time. There weren't any that came to mind.
That night his dreams were filled with Natasha and strange erotic scenes. When he awoke, he found his hand and the middle of his bed was wet; he also found he was developing a burning need for her, a need like which he had never felt for any woman before.
The next day as he passed by the window of her shop, he looked in and she was sitting at the counter. She looked up and blew him a kiss. When he arrived home that evening, he realized after she had blown him the kiss, the rest of the day had just been a blur.
While they kissed at her door at the end of their last date together, Ben asked if she would like to come over to his place for a drink, the invitation obvious as to "it's" intent. Natasha smiled, touched his face in that special way of hers and told him as much as she wanted to, she would not be able to that evening. Changing the subject, "I have something for you." She said. Natasha reached into her pocket and pulled out a chain with a strange pendant dangling from it. She motioned for him to bend down and then slipped the chain and pendant around his neck.
As she slipped the chain around his neck, she asked, "Do you mind I'm giving this to you? It will protect you when I'm not with you. This also tells others that I consider you to be mine! Do you understand exactly what it means?"
Ben shook his head negativity as he held the strange charm before his eyes and looked up at it in the streetlight. There appeared to be a dark green glowing jewel within. The glow was encased in silver wires twisted to look like a set of hands holding the lustrous gem between them. He found the shape of it intriguing and he was pleased with the gift. "Thanks, and no, I don't mind you gave me this. What exactly does it mean?"
"As I said, it tells others you're now mine. All who understand it, and recognize it, will not cross me, nor will anyone harm you. You are under my protection." He smiled broadly at her. He found it endearing she would think that some trinket she gave him would protect him in any way. She continued on, "Those who understand what it is, know I find you desirable and I will some day take you to my bed ... if I have not done so already."
Her last words created a huge surge of lust within him. At that moment, Ben wanted her desperately. Passionately he pulled her into his arms and kissed her with the entire fervor he possessed. Natasha responded and when they parted, his breath was short and ragged. "I want you ... I want you now!" He gasped.
"Oh Ben ... you have no idea ... I want you as well, but this is not the time, or the place. Next time, you will come and have dinner here ... at my place, and I will explain a few things. You want me now ... but I need to talk to you first." She sighed regretfully.
"I do not care what you have to say ... I find you the most desirable woman I have ever known. I want you ... now ... right now. You seem to feel the same way ... why do we have to wait?" Her deep chuckle and again the caressing hand to his cheek greeted his question.
"Wait darling ... please ... please do this for me and just wait." She reached up, kissed him and then slipped quickly through the door into her shop.
Once inside his car, Ben examined the pendant more carefully. Inside the silver strands, the odd little ball still glowed dark emerald green as if there was a light inside of the small orb and Ben noticed there also seemed to be a peculiar smell to it. He held it close to his nose and sniffed and found the smell to be not unpleasant, just different, and very unique. He really didn't believe in such things as amulets for protection and all. Yet, she had spoken with such fervor Ben felt he should at least hang the pendant on the mirror. As he hung the charm over his rear view mirror, he knew each time he looked in the mirror he would be reminded of Natasha. On the drive back to his condo he puzzled, "What could be so important she wouldn't come with me tonight? I am positive she wanted me as much as I wanted her. What could she possibly have to tell me that's so significant?"
Tonight would be their fourth date and Ben hoped tonight would be "The Night". She had invited him up to her apartment above the shop for dinner and Ben found the day dragging on forever; he was really looking forward to seeing her tonight. Constantly he kept looking at his watch, until finally it was time to go home and get cleaned up for his date. On an impulse on the way over to her apartment, Ben stopped at a flower shop and purchased a large bunch of colorful fall mums and dahlias. He arrived at the appointed time and pressed the bell next to the door, which led upstairs. Deep within the building, he heard a sound as he held in the button. The door opened and Natasha stood before him.
Ben was speechless! Her outfit was extraordinary. Natasha wore a skin tight, tightly woven, mesh body suit almost the same color as her hair. The pattern appeared to hide most of her nipples and the rounded high point between her slim thighs; yet the outfit also seemed to make those areas appear totally exposed. Because it was so different from her normal apparel, Ben just stood staring at her, his desire and lust flickered across his face. Finally, he remembered the flowers and he thrust his arm out towards her, "Here!" Ben felt like the dumb kid again as he realized how abrupt his actions were.
Natasha took the flowers from his hand, reached up, and kissed his cheek. "Flowers! Ben, you are a very special man. Thank you dear."
She turned and headed up the stairs and he followed her. Ben watched her bottom swing back and forth in front of him as she moved up the stairs. "She moves just like a cat." He lusted, "Her form is magnificent. I could follow her up these stairs forever."
The room was large and warm. Natasha sat him in a large, leather, overstuffed chair in the corner of the room with a table beside of it, which held a lamp. The base of the lamp was a free-from statue looked like two lovers entwined in a sensual embrace ... he found the lamp very erotic. While bed settled into the chair, she got out a vase and arranged the flowers in it. Once the flowers were carefully arranged, she placed them on a side table and stepped back. The colorful flowers brightened the room and rekindled her joy at his thoughtful gift. With a little cry of delight, she ran over and kissed him once more on the cheek. "Thank you, it wasn't necessary. They are so beautiful."
Ben looked into the green eyes and told her, "Anything that brings you joy is necessary. You do know, I adore you!" He reached up took her chin in his hand and kissed her full on her lips. Their lips touched and once again, the electricity surged through his body. His mind buzzed and a wave of lust washed through him. He took her face in both hands and kissed her ... feeling the now familiar rush vibrate through his body. When their lips parted, he softly informed her, "I feel things for you I have never felt before. I find you are in my thoughts each morning when I wake up and continue to stay there all day. At night, the last thing on my mind as I fall asleep is you. All I can think about is the next time I will get to see you. I think I am falling for you in a really big way."
Natasha hung her head for a moment and when she looked up at him Ben thought he saw a tear. "You are a very sweet and special man ... I find I have ... well ... very strong feelings for you as well ... but..." The silence grew for a long time before she continued, "Oh my darling, there are things you don't know about me ... things that may change your feelings about me. After dinner I will tell you all and then we will see if you still feel the same way."
Ben kissed her enjoyable lips and told her, "There is nothing ... absolutely nothing I can imagine you could tell me which would change the feelings I have developed for you." He declared passionately.
"Later dear ... tell me, what would you like to drink?"
She listed a choice of beverages, none of which he had heard of. He finally settled on a special drink she assured him he would like. When Natasha brought him the drink, he held it up to the light. It looked like a small sunset right inside of the glass. He carefully took a sip and was amazed how wonderful it tasted; he took another sip and it tasted totally differently than the first sip. He looked up at Natasha, informing her how much he liked it. He continued to sip at his drink, each sip tasting differently than the last one and each one just as magnificent. As he slowly savored his drink, the room seemed to come alive and he leaned back in the large comfortable chair. Candles danced and flickered in various places around the room ... he really liked the feeling of the room. He placed his feet up on the ottoman, which was arranged in front of the large chair, and as he sipped his drink, the leather chair felt as if it too was alive; that the huge chair was enveloping him and protecting him. The drink made him feel splendid and magically it seemed, he found his glass empty and Natasha took his glass and brought back a re-fill, telling him dinner was ready. As he stood from the chair, he realized just how powerful the drink had been.
Dinner was made up of several different dishes. Some Ben recognized and some he had no idea what they were. Since he did not wish to offend her, he tried a little of each and every dish. Each bite of the dinner was new and different. A few were very exotic and he enjoyed them with gusto. One was very bitter and Ben considered that the room had changed colors and had spun slightly with each bite of it. Ben ate very little of that dish. By the end of the meal, he was very content, and very full. He found himself wondering, "Were there some of her witches potions in any of those dishes? I feel so excellent and very stimulated."
Ben told her, "Your choice of menu was most remarkable. Each dish was so distinctly different from the others. Thank you for a lovely meal." She smiled and bent her head in acknowledgment of the complement and then took his hand and led him back into the living room where they sat down on the couch. Ben pulled her over towards him so she now laid on the couch and he her put her head in his lap. He gazed down into her soulful eyes, and then kissed his finger, transferring the kiss to her lips. She kissed his finger in return.
"OK now, you have wined me and dined me ... and I am in a very fat and happy state; what is it you feel you have to tell me that will cause me to run screaming into the night?" He inquired jokingly.
Natasha's beautiful eyes quickly glistened with unshed tears. She turned her head and in a barely audible whisper said, "Please, don't make fun of me. Ben, I've only shared what I am about to tell you with one other man ... just one man!" She sighed deeply. "After I told him, and showed him ... everything ... he got up and left ... and I never saw him again." It was obvious to Ben the telling of her tale was a very painful ordeal. "I've had a very difficult time trying to decide if I wanted to become involved with anyone again, especially you. I watched you, day after day, go by my shop and I contemplated if I wanted you to come in and talk to me. Finally, I decided I wanted to talk to you in person and I put a spell on you so you would come into the shop.
'Now..." She reached her hand up to caress his cheek, "Now, I find I care for you darling ... I care for you way too much for my own good." Again she sighed deeply, "Ben, I do not wish to be hurt again; yet, somehow I feel you are different than most of the men I meet. I feel perhaps you can accept me as I am. Just maybe ... perhaps you can care for me ... want me ... desire me after I tell you and show you ... all that I'm going to reveal."
Natasha folded her arms across her chest, closed her eyes and whispered, "All I ask is that if you can't accept me as I am, don't be cruel ... just leave ... don't hurt me any more than you must..." Her voice trailed off as she paused uncertainly in her story.
Ben watched as tears slid down her cheek in little rivulets. He brushed at the tears as he spoke, "Hey ... hey ... please stop. Natasha, listen ... darling ... how can I begin to tell you what you mean to my life? I will admit I don't totally believe you were responsible for me walking into your store. It's really endearing that you believe you caused it. I also have to tell you, I don't believe completely in spells ... but I do know, even though this is only the fourth time we've been together, my God, I adore you ... and ... physically I desire you so much.
'But more than that, I think the world of you. I love being with you ... listening to your stories ... just looking at you. I can't believe my luck, that someone as beautiful ... as sexy ... as erotic as you are ... how is it that you would find someone like me desirable. You are so out of my league, my beautiful friend. Women as attractive as you don't cry over me, or worry I might get up and leave them. I told you before and I am telling you again, I can't begin to imagine anything you could tell me, or show me, that would drive me away."
"Wow, you sure do know how to make a girl feel good." She sniffed. "Well, to start with ... God, this is hard to talk about ... well, for some reason..." Natasha sat up on the couch and then stood. Stepping a few steps away from Ben, she turned and stared at him, the decision to continue with her revelations played across her face. A long pause ensued before she finally whispered, "I ended up with a lot of hair."
He looked admiringly up at her long, voluminous, strawberry blond tresses. She noticed where he was looking and replied, "No, I mean all over my body." He looked at her quizzically as she started to pull at one of the sleeves of her tight fitting body suit, she said to him, "Here! I'll show you." She kept pushing the arm of the suit up until she had managed to shove the tight sleeve up past her elbow. Ben could now see her exposed arm was completely covered with very fine hair the same red-gold shade as on her head. Her arm was totally covered with a thick pelt of hair about half of an inch in length.