GETTING THROUGH THE CRISIS:
The whole thing, all that followed afterwards, started with a semi-frantic phone call from Wendy.
She'd been out on her own, with her own apartment, for over a half year; she said that she really enjoyed her job and Christine Slater tried not to miss having her at home, under the same roof.
Now, however, Wendy was calling for a favor.
"Mom?" Wendy almost crowed into the phone.
"Yes, sweetheart," Chris said.
"I need a huge, huge favor!" Wendy began to explain.
Then she went on to tell Chris that there was a major office 'do' coming up and she'd been asked to attend by no less a personage than the COO himself, Jack Merton.
"How nice!" Chris said, just trying to wait and discover what the current crisis was for Wendy.
"Mom, I really don't have a dress at all, and no time to shop for one; may I please come and look your floor lengths over? Please?"
"Of course," Chris said, "Just calm down a notch."
"Oh, I know," Wendy said, "Jack is so nice; he's certainly nice to work for but I don't know that I'm really interested in him."
"Well, it seems to me," Chris replied, "That you don't actually need to be 'interested' in a man to have a good time on a date with him."
"I know that, Mom!" Wendy said, a bit exasperated.
"Come over here as soon as you can," Chris said, "And we'll search for a dress. They might be a tad big for you. I am, after all, bigger than you are." Chris giggled, when she said that.
"Yes," Wendy said, "You're me just larger than life!"
"Ha! Ha!, young lady," Chris said. "Are we angling here for no help from big, fat Mom?"
Then Wendy giggled and Chris joined her in the giggle.
"Mom, Mom," Wendy said, "We both know that you're a man stopper!"
"Yeah, right!" Chris said into the phone. "Haven't stopped too many lately, that's for sure."
She stopped herself then and said: "Okay, honey, I won't start my pity party; I know that you're looking for help and support. Why not come over here for dinner tonight? I will regale you and help you with the dress!"
"Lovely," Wendy said, "You're, as usual, a life saver!
"About six o'clock?" Chris said.
"Lovely!" Wendy said.
"We'll eat light, since you will want to make sure that you fit into one of my gigantic dresses!" They were both laughing, after that remark also.
(Chris Slater and her lovely Wendy were about as close as possible, more like sisters than Mother and Daughter. They'd been through a lot together. Wendy had been her Mom's support, when her Dad up and left with a much younger woman. And Chris had always, always been Wendy's advocate.
They looked uncannily like one another. It's just as they had said, Chris looked like a slightly large sized Wendy. They both sported the same dark, almost off redish auburn hair and were simply a picture of one another.
Wendy was 20 and just out into the work force, after junior college. She'd gotten her current job and was one of those who worked as an assistant, read 'gofer', for the big boss, the COO of the company, Jack Merton. At least that was the position at first. As time went on, it became apparent that Wendy was a valuable member of the management team in the business.
Chris was a blossoming, blooming 39 year old. Perhaps she could be viewed as a larger sized Wendy but she was, for all of that kind of comparison, simply gorgeous. She had larger curves than did Wendy, who still enjoyed the slimness of her youth. But Chris had moved into that period, that time of life, when a woman blossoms and becomes a rounded, soft and appealing beauty. Her breasts were larger than Wendy's, a fact that always made Wendy envious! Her butt was probably her best feature, even if she thought it was too big.)
Dinner was omelets and a big hit. They searched the cabinets of dresses to see if Wendy could find something. She did, in an off beige floor length, that she liked. She tried it on and it was only a little bit too big.
They sat and talked that evening, while Chris worked on the seams of the dress, to get it to fit just right. Her efforts paid off also; the dress did look just lovely on Wendy.
Wendy have her Mom a hug and said earnestly: "Oh, Mom, thank you, thank you! You're a life saver. This looks wonderful!"
"When is this magic night?" Chris asked, after the hug from Wendy.
"It's a week from Saturday," Wendy said.
"All tingly, are we?" Chris asked with a grin.
"Not entirely sure," Wendy said. "I mean he's nice, Jack, and great to work for but I'm not sure that he's exactly my type."
"I see," Chris replied, "You just be careful!"
"Yes, Mom!" Wendy said in a disparaging tone.
"Well, don't blame me for making noises like a Mom!" Chris said in return and Wendy hugged her.
"I know that, Momma," Wendy said, in the middle of the hug, "And you take such good care of me!"
"Well, sweetheart, I certainly try!" is what Chris said then.
They made arrangements for Wendy to come to Chris' house that night for her final preparations. Wendy said that she'd have Jack pick her up at her Mom's house. It was all arranged.
The time went fairly quickly for the two women, and on that particular Saturday, Wendy arrived in the afternoon. When the time for Jack to pick her up came closer, and Wendy had already bathed and had her hair done, Chris said:
"Look, honey, I'm going to give you a little time to gather yourself. I haven't had a chance today to do my running, and I think that a good mile or two might just do me good."
"I know, Momma," Wendy said, "And I love you!"
"I love you two, darlin'," Chris said and she got ready for her run.
Running in the neighborhood was one of the ways that Chris kept her weight in control. She had discovered early on, though it began for her as a reaction to Stan's desire for a younger, slimmer dolly, that she genuinely liked working out and the runs were a form of therapy for her. It presented her with a time to think and talk to herself. She looked forward to that time.
She thought that Wendy just might want a little time to herself before going out on this big date, and so she ran.
She had a tee shirt on and a pair of capri style running pants, that looked as though they were painted on her. She looked at her own image in the mirror and giggled:
"Lookin' good, girl!" she said. Then making a wry face she concluded: "Yeah, but no one's looking!"
She laughed and gave herself one last message: "Okay, go out and shake that thing anyhow."
Wendy just whistled at her Mom, when Chris appeared to tell her that she'd be back soon. She just wanted to get out and do her day's run and then she'd see about her dinner later, after Wendy and Jack had left.
She did her running, talking to herself about how pleased she was that Wendy was having the opportunities that she was having, and trying not to concentrate on herself at all.
She finished her run, as she normally did, with a sprint down the last two blocks of her 'track' and then she'd walk the last to cool down. She noticed, as she got close to the house that a strange car was parked there. She walked down the block and saw a man get out of the car. The car itself was some kind of lovely foreign kind. She noticed, as she got closer that it was a Jaguar sedan, a nice shade of bluish green.
As she got to the house itself, the man was standing in front of her house and simply staring at her. He had a look on his face as though he were totally non-plussed.
He seemed to be about Chris' age and had dark curly hair, with some gray interwoven throughout. He certainly was good looking and right then he looked like the most surprised person on earth.
As Chris got to where he was, he said, his voice showing his incredulity: "Wendy, the office party! Did you forget?"
Chris began to giggle behind her hand almost uncontrollably. But she saw how distressed the man seemed to be and said, extending her hand:
"You must be Jack Merton; I'm Chris, Wendy's Mom!"
Jack Merton was dumbfounded!
"Her Mom?" he said with the same incredulity.
She shook her head 'yes' and he looked at her again.
"Well, yes, I guess so; a little heavier, not very much! Just as pretty!" he commented.
Chris laughed and said: "You're making me feel as though I were on the auction block!"
She laughed, when she said that and he joined her in the laugh.
"Well, Mrs. Slater," he said then, but she interrupted him and said: "Chris, please!"
"Chris," he said, "Despite by total failure to recognize the difference between you and your lovely daughter, I am here to pick up Wendy for the office party."
"Yes, I know," Chris said, preceding him up the walk, "And I just came back from my run."
"So I see!" he said, smiling.
She held up a hand then and said: "No, don't look at the workout wreck!"
"Looks grand to me!" he said.
"Well," she replied, "Your manners are certainly up to snuff! But come on in and I'll get Wendy for you."
"Yes, thank you," he said, and only he realized right then that he was actually disappointed that he was there to pick up Wendy and not Chris. He pushed that kind of thinking down into the back of his mind quickly.
As she turned then to go into the house, she turned back to him and said: "No, don't you dare watch me walk into the house!"
He grinned and said: "Sorry, er, Chris, no promises here."
They went into the house and Chris called out: "Wendy, Jack is here!"
Wendy came down the steps then and said to her Mom: "You're not making a pass at my date, are you, Mom?"
Chris giggled and Jack actually reddened a bit, with Chris saying: "You mean Tugboat Annie straight from her run?"
"Tugboat Annie, I guess not! Chrissie the Siren is more like it!" Wendy said.
Chris and Wendy both laughed at that, and had a brief and careful hug, so that Chris didn't get Wendy all wet from her sweating. Then Wendy went to Jack, who was smiling at her, with Chris looking on.
Jack did sincerely apologize for having taken Chris for Wendy but both women got a laugh out of that and said that it was fine.
Once they left, Chris treated herself to a shower and pulled a frozen lasagna slice from the freezer for her dinner. She settled down to some tv afterward, not really sure if she should wait up for Wendy or not.
As she sat and had a glass of white wine to sip, she did let her mind replay the interchange with Jack Merton, when he was so surprised to find that 'Wendy' hadn't indeed got ready for their evening out at all. It sent her into a spate of giggles.
"Nice for you, Chrissie Slater," she said to herself, raising her glass to toast herself, "Being mistaken for your 20 year old kid!"
It certainly caused her to laugh.
"But he was so handsome!" she said to herself, after the giggles were all done. "Yes, he was that!" she answered herself.
AFTERWARDS AND A SURPRISE LUNCH:
Chris was in fact still awake, when Jack dropped Wendy off. She heard the door opening and went from the family room the stairs to greet her.
"Hey there!" Chris said, "A bit early?"
"No, it's fine," Wendy said. "We did have a nice time though!"
"I didn't want to be lurking up here and witness the snogging and thrashing around at the door!" Chris said with a grin.
"Snogging? Thrashing around?" Wendy said. "He's old enough to be my Dad, you know!"
"Yes, I realize that," Chris said. "But did you have a nice time?"
"Yes," Wendy said, hugging her Mom. "But it certainly felt like a 'one off' kind of evening. He never said as much but I could read between the lines. He just seemed to have his mind miles away."
"Oh, I so sorry, honey!" Chris said, giving Wendy a hug.
"No, Mom," Wendy assured her, "That's fine. It was a nice evening; he's good looking but there is no chemistry or anything else."
"Good to know," Chris said.
"Yes, good to know," Wendy agreed. "But what are you doing now?"
"Oh, some tv and a glass of wine!" Chris said.
"Good, pour me one and we'll schmooze for a while," Wendy called over her shoulder.
(They had made previous arrangements for Wendy to spend the night with her Mom, since she'd be there for the dress and all.)
Wendy came back in just a little bit; she was now wearing a kind of a large tee shirt night gown kind of garment.
"Ah, comfortable!" Wendy said, taking the glass of white wine from her Mom.
"Anything going on tomorrow?" Chris asked.
"No, not really," Wendy replied. "We can giggle far into the night and sleep late!"
"Goodie for us!" Chris said. "Giggle room?"
(The 'giggle room' was their mother-daughter slang for sleeping together. It invariably resulted in the two of them spending long periods of time giggling at things that they talked about. It was their agenda for the night.)
After they'd had another glass of wine each, they did traipse off to bed together. Chris too had a kind of a tee shirt night gown on, as they settled into bed with one another.
They talked then, once the lights were out. Wendy admitted that there was someone else at the office, a jr executive that she did have her eye on but she was so shocked and kind of pleased that Jack Merton had asked her to the office a shindig that she'd said a quick 'yes'.
"Maybe I should have waited," Wendy said.
"Maybe you should just give him some time," Chris answered. "If he's interested, he will be waiting, you can be sure of that."
"Yes, maybe you're right," Wendy said.
"Yes, Momma knows best!" Chris said. "When she knows anything at all."
Then Chris began to giggle.
"What?" Wendy asked, getting giggly herself, when her Mom started.
"I keep thinking of the look on Jack's face, when he thought that I was you and you had completely forgotten about the date!" Chris explained.
Wendy joined the laugh too. "Discovered too how much of a fox my Momma is!"
"Fox my shoelace!" Chris said.
But Wendy put her hand up to cover Chris' mouth and said: "Don't you dare contradict me! Momma, you are one of the most gorgeous around."
"Not everyone thought so," Chris said but Wendy stopped her again.
"No, we're not going to bring up the old man and spoil our party here; we're just not! You are Mrs Tits and Ass of 2013!" Wendy declared, and Chris' answer was to go into a raft of giggles and grab her daughter for a hug.
"You're so good for my ego!" Chris said.
"Speaking of ego," Wendy replied, "It must have been an inflation to discover that Jack Merton thought that you were me!"
"Oh, yeah, there is that," Chris said giggling. "But lot of good that'll do me!"
"Oh, Momma," Wendy said, kissing Chris lightly on the lips, "Your time is coming; I just know it. I can feel it!"
"Well, I hope it comes before I'm too old to enjoy it," Chris said, giggling again before she ended the sentence.
"I love you, Momma!" Wendy said then. "You're positively the best girl friend that I've ever had or wanted!"
"I love you too, sweetheart, you are the light in my life! And I want only the best and most joyous for you!" Chris said in return.
Chris woke the next morning and discovered that Wendy was looking at her and smiling.
"Hey, mornin'!" Chris said, stretching.
"Coffee? Breakfast?" Chris asked, "Or shall we get sirened up and go out for some breakfast, giving the men of the world a thrill?"
"Ohhhh," Wendy said, "Got any more of those man killer capri running pants?"
"Yep!" Chris said, "We'll make breakfast out a booty call!"
"Yippee!" Wendy said. "Showers or shall we go as dirty girls?"
"Dirty girls!" Chris said, "Let the world simply beware!"
"I guess!" Wendy answered.
They did receive a good deal of appreciative attention on their venture out for breakfast, and during their time together, they made arrangements for the two of them to have lunch the following week on a Wednesday.
Chris was there on time that following Wednesday for their lunch date. She told the receptionist who she was and that she and Wendy had an appointment for lunch.
In just a few minutes, Wendy came into the area. She looked a bit frazzled.
"Mom!" she said, smiling and giving Chris a hug. "I"m really, really sorry but I'm in the middle of a project that's taking more time that I thought and I can't, really can't take the time now to go out."
"No problem, sweetie," Chris said. "Shall I bring you something back? Sandwich or something?"
"Might be a great idea!" Wendy said.
Just then a voice chimed in: "Do you mind terribly if I take up the slack?"
Both Wendy and Chris turned their heads only to see that Jack Merton was the one who was offering.
"Slack?" Chris asked, not really sure of what he was asking.
"Mother!" Wendy said, "The man is asking you to lunch!"
Chris gave a shy smile then and said: "Ohhh!"
"Better listen to your daughter," Jack said, "She knows what she's talking about."
Wendy turned to Jack then and said: "I really can't leave this Polish thing that I'm working on. It's just getting into the shape that we'll want it it. Sorry."
"I appreciate that," Jack said, "And, if she's willing, I'll step in and take your lovely Mom out to lunch in your place."
Chris was still blushing.
"She'd love to," Wendy said.
"Wendy!" Chris said.
"Well, Mom," Wendy said with a grin, that was echoed by both Jack and Chris, "If the cat has you stumm, I'll speak for you."
"Yes, Ma'am," Chris said with feigned exasperation. She turned to Jack Merton then and said: "And I'd love to go to lunch with you."
LUNCH WITH JACK MERTON:
He drove and took her to a small, quiet place that specialized in Italian cuisine. When they were seated, he asked if she wanted a glass of wine.
"Oh, yes," she said, "But I won't because then I'll get funny."
He grinned at her and said: "Might like to see that occur!"
"Hey," she countered, "I'll tell my daughter on you."
He sobered a bit and said: "I'm afraid that her lack of availability for lunch with you is my fault. I gave her the task that she's currently working on. We think very, very highly of her and the work that she does."
"Thank you," Chris answered, "Music to a mother's ears!"
"And does the mother work outside the home?" he asked.
"Well, to begin with, I am the home," she said. "Wendy's Dad took it on the lamm, as they say; he simply up and left for a younger dolly. That was a few years ago, and I'm over it pretty much now!"
"The man had neither taste, nor sense!" he said, raising his wine glass to her.
She smiled and said: "Maybe I will have that wine after all. Something to fortify me!"
"Need fortification?" he asked.
"It's beginning to look that way," she said with a laugh. They toasted each other.
"But to answer your question directly," she said, "I am an ER nurse. I work the dead man shifts. It was my choice after Stan left. It kept me from having those lonely nights."
He just let her talk.
"Not that he was any great shakes as a husband," she said. "But there is always the question about what could I have done different to keep him."
"Different?" he mused.
"Oh, you know, sexier underwear? More ... well more of what I guess he wanted but I really never knew what that was. Oh, it was a comedy of errors, and I'm sorry that I'm going on about it. You were so nice to take me to lunch."
"No sorries," he said, "It's simply a part of who you are."
He talked about himself then, mentioning a bride to be that backed out on the wedding, having gotten, he supposed at the time, cold feet or something.
"Now it's my turn to be astonished!" she said, and smiled at him.
"Maybe that's enough about the painful stuff now," he said.
"Yes, maybe," she said, "Or I'll be crying in my wine!"
She giggled then and he laughed, joining her.
She went on then to talk about her devotion to her exercises.
"Keeps my bulk down!" she said with a grin.
"Yes, I remember that day!" he said.
She laughed. "The look on your face was priceless! Did you really--now be honest with me--think that I was Wendy?"
"Oh, I did!" he said. "I realize that on thinking about it later that you have a more pleasing shape and as much or more sparkle."
She giggled. "I won't tell Wendy that you said that!"
"Thank you," he said. "Oh, it's just that willowy young things are not my ideal!"
"Good news for us broad old broads!" she said and they toasted again.
"You're trying to get me drunk and have your way with me!" she said, giggling.
"Hmm," he said, "I need to think about that 'have my way with you part!"
"Don't you dare!" she said. "You don't want to end up in the ER with me having to take care of you, now do you?"
He held up his hands and said: "Christine Slater, Mrs Slater, I surrender!"
"Aha," she quipped, "Another man conquered by superior female fire power!"
They spoke then about their schedules. He admitted that he devoted much of his time to the business.
"But," he went on, "It has paid off, at least in terms of the success of the business and a number of side ventures. But even that gets boring after a while."
"No love life at all?" she asked, and then reddened and apologized for the question.
He held up a hand and said: "No, we're being honest here. After the debacle at the altar thing, it's been only business for me and kind of grand living, if you can call it that in my huge house."
Then it was Chris' turn. She spoke again about Stan and his desire to have a young and 'willowy' wife.
He gave a chuckle then and said: "You mean no hips or boobs?"
She giggled and agreed that that was precisely what it meant.
"Glad you're not that way!" he said.
"How do you know I'm not?" she challenged and giggled. "Maybe it's all padding."
"I'll so some research! I'm good at that!" he said grinning, and she just giggled again.
Then she went on to talk about her love of running.
"It really started, when Stan went off with his girlfriend," she said, her voice earnest now. He put his hand over hers and she smiled at him, grateful.
"I had done some running in school, track and all and was surprised at how much I'd missed it, once I began it again. I try to get out every afternoon for my run at about 2 PM. I do a couple of miles. That gives me plenty of time to get home and calm down, clean up and be ready for my next bout with the chaos and confusion of the ER at night."
"Every night?" he asked.
"No," she replied, "I work a regular five day week but I'm the charge nurse at the ER on my shifts."
"I'm not surprised to discover that," he said and she smiled.
The entire luncheon went that way. They alternated serious conversation with the same kind of thrust and parry. It turned out to be a pretty much delightful outing for each of them.
When the luncheon was finished, and he had paid, as he insisted, he said: "This was a rather fortuitous accident for me, Chris. I have to admit that."
"Well thank you, Jack!" she said in return, "I enjoyed it myself. I do admit that I have to do my run today to work off some of that extra wine."
"Work tonight?" he asked.
"Yes," she said, "At Mercy in the ER."
He drove them back to the office then and she said that she'd go to her car. "Please say 'hi' to Wendy for me, and, Jack, thank you for a lovely lunch!"
He smiled and replied and, obeying her instincts, she pulled him into a hug before letting him go.
The luncheon left Chris' mind swirling. She was conscious of a nagging feeling that she had begun to poach on Wendy's territory.
"What a terrible thing that is!" she cautioned herself.
But it wouldn't leave her mind, not for very long at least. She replayed their conversation and the way that being with him and talking with him made her feel so much at ease.
"Okay, Chrissie," she said to herself, severely, "Stop this right now. You're not going to get romance gaga over this, especially since it was with Wendy's Jack."
She, in effect, halted the whole issue at that point. She made up her mind then to go home and do her run. She thought that that might get it all out of her mind. She did struggle to keep her thoughts away from Jack Merton, as she ran. She also knew that she'd have to talk to Wendy about this some time and didn't look forward necessarily to that at all.
She was home later, when Wendy called: "Mom, sorry that I couldn't make our luncheon. I really needed to concentrate on the work that I was doing."
"No problem, sweetie," Chris said, "Your Mr Merton was very much a gentleman and took me to lunch. It was nice."
"Mom," Wendy said, "He's not my Mr Merton! I only work for him is all. Really!"
"Oh, okay," Chris said, "We need to get together soon."
"Lovely idea," Wendy replied. "Well, I'm going out with some girlfriends for dinner tonight. Plans, you?"
"No, I'm in now for the time and will just relax here until I have to go to work," Chris explained.
"Oh the angel of mercy!" Wendy said.
"Something like that!" Chris said with a chuckle.
"I love you, Momma," Wendy said to her then.
"I love you too, sweetheart, and I'm not poaching on your man!" Chris said finally.
Wendy laughed: "He's not my man, Mom!"
"Got it!" Chris said and they both ended up laughing about it.
It was the very next day. Wendy was working in her office, a smaller version of Jack's and not too far away from his, when there was a knock on the door.
"Come in," Wendy said. It was Jack Merton.
"Um, Wendy, may I speak with you for a minute or so?" he asked.
"Yes, of course, Mr Merton," she said.
He smiled and said "'Jack' please."
"Jack," she said with a smile and a nod.
She was surprised that he seemed to ill at ease, and began to wonder, if this weren't going to be the next chapter in a 'date Wendy' scheme. She began to feel a bit uncomfortable too. She was suddenly wondering how to let him down gently and still keep her job.
"Well," he began then, "Wendy, it's about the office party evening and all."
She only nodded, hoping for distance to help her out here.
"I don't know exactly how to broach this subject, so I might as well just jump right in here with you," he went on.
She only nodded again.
"Wendy, I'm ... um, I'm interested in asking your Mom for a date!" he said finally.
It struck her immediately. She was suddenly all smiles.
Her reaction wasn't really what Jack was expecting, though, to tell the truth, he wasn't sure what kind of reaction to expect. But she laughed.
"That's wonderful!" she said.
He look at her, the relief on his face showing: "It is?" he said, smiling back at her.
"Oh, Jack," she said, "I was so afraid that you were going to ask me out again and I like you but don't want to be romantically involved, you know!"
He nodded then and said: "You thought the old man was making a move on you!?" He smirked then, and she giggled.
"Yes, sorry, I didn't think that unkindly at all but the thought of you asking my Mom out is one of the greatest ideas in the world. It pleases me entirely!"
"Oh," he said, "Good; you see, I kind of wanted to, you know, ask your opinion, er ... and permission first."
She giggled again.
"I don't mind at all!" she said. "You need to mount a campaign; she was so hurt, when my Dad ran off with the dolly."
"Yes, we did talk about that, when we had lunch a week ago," he said.
"How was that?" she asked.
"Oh, the lunch and our talk was great; it's just that since then I've been trying to work up the courage to come in here and talk to you about this. There were simply so many possible ways that this could be a disaster."
"Yes, I know that," she said, "But it's really not a problem. But remember the campaign. I'll help, if I can."
"Thanks but I think that I need to try this one on my own merits," he said. "Just wish me luck!"
She was up and hugging him then. She said: "She's the most wonderful woman in the world!"
"Yes, Im sure that's the case!" he agreed.
"And she's a babe!" Wendy said then with a giggle.
"I have no doubt about that!" he said, "I remember seeing her in her running outfit."
"Cool!" Wendy said, "And thank you for talking to me about this."
He left then, and she was giggling about it and he was smiling. At home Chris had no idea really that a 'campaign' was about to get underway.
As a matter of fact, Chris was approaching the point of being relieved that she hadn't indeed inserted herself into Wendy's romantic life. She certainly, for herself, had some regrets, because she found John Merton charming but what was done was done. It was nice for the attention that she'd had from him for those brief few times. She wasn't, however, about to go brooding over him. Her brooding days were over. The brooding that she did after Stan the rat was gone had used up all of her brooding instincts.
These were the thoughts that were swirling around in her head as she finished her run that afternoon. She walked down the last block or so, her 'cool down' block and, as she got closer to the house, she noticed the Jaguar parked in the driveway, and then she saw him there leaning against the fender.
She broke into a grin, as did he, and said: "Mr Merton, are you stalking me?"
"Stalking?" he said in an innocent voice. "No, it's John, and what a good idea that is!"
"I think not!" she said, and he laughed.
"That's like the DesCartes joke."
"Oh?" she said, encouraging him.
"Well, it seems that DesCartes was on a plane and was asked by the cabin attendant--they are no longer stewardesses, I guess--if he wanted coffee or tea. He said 'I think not'. And he disappeared." He was grinning totally by the end of the story.
She started to laugh immediately.
"What a terrible joke!" she said.
"Yeah," he admitted, "But it took your mind off of my stalking!"
"Then you admit that you're stalking!" she said.
"I admit nothing!" he said grinning.
"Well, it seems that you have this penchant for finding me at the end of my runs, when I am grimy, and sweaty and generally messy," she complained.
"Lovely from where I am!" he said.
"That will hardly get you excused from your stalking!" she said with another grin.
"But I've brought espresso for us!" he said.
"Really?" she asked and he went to the car and brought out the small paper like cups of espresso, and offered her one.
"Didn't know how you take it!" he said.
"This way is fine," she responded, "Pull up a step and join me. We'll do this alfresco."
"Alfresco, lovely!" he said.
She sat next to him on the steps and they sipped their espresso. Then he leaned over to her and said softly: "And by the way, I like sweaty! Sweaty women! What a concept and better yet, a sweaty you!"
She giggled and said: "You're terrible!"
"But I'm being nice!" he protested.
"Well, once I've finished my espresso, I need to go in for a shower," she said.
"Is that an invitation?" he asked.
"It is not!" she said but he was grinning at her and she giggled.
"And also," he said, this time seriously, "I've had a talk with Wendy."
"Wendy?" she asked intrigued.
"Yes," he said, "I wanted to make sure that it was okay with her that I started to stalk her Momma!"
"Did you actually tell her that you were going to stalk me?" she asked, wide eyed.
He laughed, "No, the word that I used was 'campaign' actually."
"So, I'm your campaign?" she asked.
"Well, got you to have espresso on the steps with me! That's a beginning and maybe next you'll let me sit outside of your window and watch you shower!" he said brightly.
She giggled. "Terrible!"
"Yes, terrible," he agreed, "But remember I like you sweaty!"
She raised her hand to her mouth to hold back the bark of her laughter.
"John Merton," she said, getting up. "I need to go inside and take a shower, and, no, that is not an invitation!"
Then, having made up her mind, she surprised him by putting her arms around his neck and kissing him.
The kiss was lingering and wonderful. It developed into lips, and tongues and some heavy breathing from both of them.
"Campaign is making progress!" he said.
"I just wanted to make sure that you knew that I appreciate the campaign," she said. "And I talked to Wendy too. I didn't want to have an interest in her own romantic business."
"Nothing romantic between Wendy and me!" he said.
"So she said," Chris responded.
"I know," he said then, "Shower and I'm not invited to watch!"
"This time!" she said.
"Oh," he said in a joyful and hopeful voice, "This time!"
"Yes," she said, "But you can pat my fanny, as I turn to go in and shower. That is, go in and strip off my tee shirt and unhook my bra and shake my breasts a little, once they're free from the bra and then push down my running pants, going to the shower wearing only my beige panties..."
"Stop it!" he said in a whiny voice, "This is like cruelty to dumb animals!"
She grinned at him and said: "Keep that all in mind. Two can campaign!"
"Oh, is this boy in trouble!" he said, a she turned away.
"Remember what I said," she said over her shoulder. "One pat of my fanny!"
"One fanny pat coming up!" he said joyfully, and did it, as she was turned around.
"No shower watching--this time!" she said again softly.
"This time!" he said, "Maybe I should come back later?" he asked.
"Later!" she said.
"How about in five minutes?" he asked grinning.
She grinned back at him and said: "I'll be in the shower naked!"
"Okay, I give!" he said throwing his hands in the air.
"Yes, and don't give up!" she said, "I might be worth the effort!"
"Bet you are!" he said, "And I'll find out!"
"Bet you will too!" she said, blowing him a kiss, as she disappeared into the hallway of the house.
As he watched her about to close the door, she got a twinkle in her eye and pulled her tee shirt up and off, standing there in her bra and waving at him.
He put his hand over his eyes and simply shook his head, as he walked toward his car.
Of course, the campaign continued. It was a few days later, and Chris was once again ending her run, when she saw the Jag parked at the curb and him leaning against it.
She was grinning, as she came down the street, just doing the cool down part of her run.
"You know," he said, once she got close, "I'm not sure that you ever run. All I ever see is you walking down the sidewalk. Do you maybe go out for a walk and call that running?"
She just looked at him and snorted. She took of at a good clip across the street and up the other side on the sidewalk. She did it all in not time at all. She'd been running for years.
When she got back to where he was waiting for her, he said: "Run it is then!"
"You should try it, Mr Skeptic," she said, grinning at him again.
"Have you come back to stalk me? Bother me? Pat my fanny again?" she asked politely.
"Well, the latter of the three, actually; I'm operating on the principle that once progress is made, it never really gets to be unmade," he answered.
"Oh, is that the campaign's principle?" she said.
"Definitely," he said, "And since we've made such good progress, why don't I just come in and watch you shower?"
She laughed. "You are irrepressible!"
"So I'm told by some competitors!" he said with a smile. "But don't you think that the principle is valid?"
"Don't know," She said, "I'll have to think about it."
"Well, while you think about it," he went on, "How about if I take you to dinner tomorrow night? Are you free? Available?"
"Free," she said, "And currently sweaty!"
"Yes, but we've already established that I like you sweaty!" he said.
"Yes, we have," she said, "But the train is leaving the station now, so if you're going to get your usual fanny pat, it'd better be now!"
"Usual?" he said, "It only happened once!"
"Then this will be the time that makes it a habit; think of it that way," she said turning to go up the stairs, but not before he did get a hand on her butt. As soon as he touched her, she stopped and let him feel and rub his hand around.
"Hmmm, great progress," he said.
"Tomorrow night!" she said.
"Great! I was maybe thinking that I'd come back in about 10 minutes," he said grinning.
"I'd be naked and showering," she said.
"The very point!" was his reply.
Then she went into the house, but left the door ajar. He was staring, now in anticipation. She didn't disappoint him. She took her tee shirt off, while he was watching, and as he turned to go, she stepped one step back into the house but where only he could still see her. With him still staring at her, she shucked off her running shoes and then pushed the skin tight running pants down and off. She waved at him, standing there in her lacy white bra and thin, white, nylon bikini panties.
"Wow!" he said and shaking his head turned to go.
"Tomorrow night!" she said and he turned and grinned at her and shook his head.
He left then but in about nine minutes his phone rang.
"Hello!" he said.
"John?" she said.
"I'm just stepping into the shower; door is open; Chrissie is naked; you're invited!" she said.
"Whoopee for me!" he shouted into the phone. "How will I find you?"
"Follow the trail of sweaty clothes and listen for the shower; come quickly, I'm going to start in about a minute."
He did. He locked the door behind him and then followed the trail of clothes to the master bedroom. Then he could hear the shower. It was a plexiglass doored shower. She waved at him, when she saw him appear and began to giggle with her hands over her mouth, when she saw him taking his clothes off.
Then he was there with the towel and gathering her in it, rubbing and drying her all over.
"Nice, nice! Nice, John!" she said.