All done now, . I hung up the phone in my hotel room for the last time. The airline had confirmed my reservation for an early departure, and the taxi is on its way. My bags are packed and waiting. I've already settled my bill with the hotel, although, theoretically, I would continue to occupy the room for the remainder of the week. Call it a parting gift. This wasn't the way I expected the trip to end.
We had both been to Hawaii before, on business, but never together. It was to be a celebration, an anniversary of sorts, and a new beginning. Mary and I began dating two years ago, a few months after my wife of twenty-two years decided she had extracted everything she needed from our marriage, and successfully sued for divorce.
Coincidently, at about the time I became single, Mary's husband, who was into outdoor sports, undertook an outing in the Rockies, involving extreme skiing. It seems that, on his way downhill, he tried unsuccessfully to pass through a space already occupied by a large boulder. The search party took a week to find his frozen body. His penchant for risk made Mary a beautiful widow at the ripe old age of thirty-six.
We worked at the same company, Mary and I, in the same department, even, but we didn't interact a lot. Business didn't require it, and up until the changes, we were both too involved in our own existing relationships to be interested in creating new ones. We did have friends in common, though, and almost immediately they began trying to bring us together.
We both resisted. We were still in mourning - her for her late husband, me for my late marriage - and not ready for anything new. Even ignoring that, we were aware of inflexible company policies discouraging fraternization. It took the combined creative efforts of all of our friends, as well as a good deal of simple coincidence, to finally bring us together.
So it was that, two years ago yesterday, we met in a restaurant, each in the company of another couple with whom we had been long-time, mutual friends. Those good friends hadn't planned the meeting, but weren't above taking advantage of the situation, thus we found ourselves sharing one end of the same booth.
Dinner and the companionship were wonderful, and went on late into the evening. Our friends eventually begged off further "fraternization," and suggested that since Mary and I seemed inclined to continue our conversation, and I had driven in separately, I should give her a lift home. That seemed like a good idea at the time, so we agreed.
We talked long into the night, leaving only when the staff began turning chairs up on the tables around us. Finally getting the message that it was time to leave, I stood and offered her my hand. Hesitantly, she accepted it, and stood with me momentarily, as we each pondered the color of the other's eyes. Calling for the check, I was surprised to learn that our friends had already taken care of the bill, so I left a generous tip, and we departed.
No, we didn't go to my apartment, and no, we didn't fall into bed at her house. She didn't even invite me inside, and I didn't expect it. We did share a nice first kiss (lips only!), though, and we agreed that we had a lot in common, and that we would enjoy spending more time together. I got her telephone number and promised to call in a few days.
I didn't sleep well that night - my mind was racing. I hadn't felt ready to begin all over again, playing the dating game, maybe falling in love, courting, but Mary touched something deep within me. Not just in a sexual way - though I did find her to be extremely attractive - but on a more emotional level as well. By morning, still awake and pacing the floor, I knew I couldn't wait anymore, so when I heard the alarm I called her immediately.
"Hello?" she answered, with an audible yawn.
"Hi," I said. "It's Jim. I hope you don't mind that I called so early..."
"No, no," she replied sleepily. " It's all right. I wasn't actually asleep anyway. I couldn't seem to drop off last night."
"I have the same problem," I responded. "My mind was in a whirl all night long, and I think it's your fault."
"My fault?" she exclaimed. "How is it my fault?"
"For being so beautiful, intelligent, and sweet," I stated firmly. "I couldn't sleep all night for thinking about you. I need to see you again. Have lunch with me?"
"Um ... I guess so," she agreed. "Where will we go? We don't want anyone at work to get ideas..." At that response, I knew I was headed in the right direction.
"I'll find something," I said. "Don't worry about anything, it's just lunch and talk, for the moment."
"For the moment? Sounds like you might have long-term plans..." she teased.
"Just fantasies and hopes," I protested. "I'll call your desk at lunch, and we'll arrange where to meet. Okay?"
"Okay," she agreed. "Jim," she added, hesitantly, "I really don't know you very well, but I already like you a lot. Just the same, let's not rush this, okay?"
"Believe me," I said. " I feel the same way about you, and I also feel the need to proceed slowly. It's just lunch, I promise."
Reassured, she agreed, and we broke the connection.
The morning dragged on, until time came to make good on my pledge. It was almost as difficult to pick up the phone and dial her extension as it would have been to invite her to a motel room, but I managed. I suggested that we meet at my car, but she demurred, on grounds that we might be observed. After a short discussion, we agreed to meet at her home, a little later than we usually took our lunch hour, to avoid unwanted attention.
Knowing that I would be unable to concentrate on my work afterward, I signed out for the afternoon, figuring to spend the time after lunch working on my sailboat. Leaving work behind for the day, I killed a little time shopping, and arrived at her house at the appointed time.
She met me at the door, looking as radiant as I remembered her from the previous night. She smiled nervously, and invited me in.
I had reservations at a nice seaside restaurant, but we never got to use them. As soon as the door closed, she moved into my arms. With both hands, she pulled me to her lips, and we began to kiss. My hands automatically began to caress her, from her shoulders to her buttocks, as she ground her pelvis against me. It wasn't possible that she could miss the pressure of my hardness against her belly.
The kiss seemed to last forever, and at the same time, it was over in an instant. When we broke apart, we were out of breath, but unwilling to end what we had started. So much for going slow. She took my hand, wordlessly led me to her bedroom, and turned to face me with tears falling from her eyes.
As she looked at me, pleading silently for me to take the lead, I tenderly took her into my arms again, and kissed her thoroughly. When we broke that second kiss, I began slowly, deliberately, undressing her, kissing each patch of perfect, delicate skin as it was exposed. Her body shook with anticipation.
When I finished, and she stood before me in her naked glory, I stepped back. She was surprised, I suppose, that I didn't just strip, throw her on the bed, and ravish her. I wanted to, but instead, with a gesture, I indicated that she should undress me. It was her choice, and not an obligation. For us to go any further down this road, she had to take positive action, at least the action required to get me undressed.
Understanding showed in her eyes, and almost immediately turned to gratitude. She moved quickly to disrobe me, and then pulled me toward the bed. Once there, we joined in passionate embrace, and lost count of the number of orgasms we gave to one another.
Exhausted, near the end of the scheduled lunch hour, she realized that she'd be late getting back, so she called in and took the afternoon off. I never made it to the sailboat that day. We never left her house. In fact, I stayed the night. We subsequently began seeing each other regularly and exclusively, and we enjoyed each other immensely, both in and out of bed.
Three months after our first dinner together, she put her house up for rent and moved into my apartment. The arrangement worked well for us, and after much discussion, we decided to make it permanent and legal. We would be married.
The decision created certain problems, however, not the least of which was that it could get us fired if anyone else in our company found out, and it would be difficult to conceal from the Human Resources people. After careful examination of the options we decided that I would leave the company. The decision was a sound one, based on the facts that, at that particular point, she had the higher salary, and I had the greater marketability.
It took hardly any time for me to succumb to the advances of a new employer, probably because their offer was simply irresistible. Higher salary, better benefits, and a "golden parachute" as insurance against the potential for a major falling-out in the future. Yes, I was easy. My resistance crumbled, and I turned in my notice the next day.
I didn't really expect to work out my notice. I had observed that, in the past, our management demonstrated an instant, almost psychotic distrust of any employee who gave notice. I wasn't disappointed.