*Ivy & Bernard- A Thorn in Her Pocket
“Did you really mean to wet me like this?”
“Oh no,” Bernard chuckled self-consciously along with her. "Well, not as much as this, for obvious reasons.” With a nod of his head, he indicated the appearance of her hardened nipples, literally naked through the sheer material of her thin white shirt. “Honestly, I’d thought a few drops would fall on you and then I could have played the hero and offered you drying materials, and afterward we would have a full conversation instead of the cursory ones we have inside the building. Unfortunately, when I turned the corner at breakneck speed, trying to catch you before you drove off, I stopped short at the sight of you on the bottom steps and the water sloshed out of the glass. Stupid me trying to keep it from tilting, dropped a book, reached for it, and the glass tilted anyway and here we are.”
Ivy, standing with mouth gaped, listened intently. She was infatuated. The fact he knew her name and had gone through such ridiculous tricks to get to know her better, made her care less how he met her, but extremely happy, he had finally taken the initiative.
“Are you okay? Are you in shock, Ivy?” Bernard snapped his fingers in front of her face. “You haven’t said a word or changed expression in the past two minutes."
"Yes, I’m fine. Kinda glad actually, I was sitting here trying to figure out how to ‘casually’ bump into you and now it’s done. We can’t go out for a cup of coffee with me looking like an advert of a bar contest. Can we set a date for a rain check?”
“Yes, of course. Give me your phone and I’ll put in my number. That way you can call me whenever you’re ready to set the date.” With an ease that kept her calm, Bernard took the cell from Ivy’s slack fingers, tapped his number in, returned her phone and was stepping back before she could react. “Now, remember, Ms. Ivy Gardiner, I’ll be waiting.” And with that he turned and walked away. Whistling as he went.
**Lillie-Rose & Nathaniel- In All the Right Places:
If it weren’t for the fact, just the thought of Nathaniel caused her to do something that made her look like a fool, she would probably try to get to know him better. She had no idea where she stood with him behind the occasional comment on her clumsiness. It seemed as if every time they happened to meet, she did something totally asinine. With a blush of shame she remembered their most recent encounter.
Just that very morning, she’d gone into the electronics supply store near her home to price a new flat screen television. While browsing and not paying attention to the people around her, she rammed the wheels of her basket into the heels of a fellow customer.
Totally ashamed and apologetic, she pushed the basket aside and grabbed the sleeve of the poor man’s shirt with the intention of showing immediate sincerity and comfort. And just as her luck would have it, she almost died of embarrassment when the man turned around and she found the scraped leather turned out to hold the bruised heel of Nathaniel Henry.
Remembering the pained look on his face made her want to cringe all over again. Feeling as if she were touching a flame, she’d quickly released the grasp on his arm and pushed her hands into her pockets. Nathaniel smiled, more like grimaced slightly, as he turned his foot to examine the wound on his heel before dismissing it as trivial.
“Do you have a vendetta to cause me as much pain as possible, Lillie-Rose?” There was just enough humor in his tone to make her relax.
“No, of course I don’t. I’m so sorry.” To gain a few seconds to compose her heart rate, she stepped back a few paces so she could see his face without having to lean her head too far back. “I didn’t know it was you.”
“I’m sure you didn’t. Is this the way you treat all of your male acquaintances? This is what... the fifth time we’ve run into each other? I’ve always gotten the worst end of the deal, let tell you, it’s unnecessary. You’re beautiful enough to get any man you want without stooping to maim the guy in order to get him to go out with you.”
She’d just made up her mind she would apologize to him for their previous accident ridden encounters and here he was causing a scene. Gritting her teeth, Lillie-Rose took a deep breath and swallowed hard to stem the retort that wanted to rush out of her mouth.
“Listen, Nathaniel, l-I’m not usually so clumsy,” She paused at the obvious sardonic lift of his left brow. “Well, okay, I must admit I have been having way too many incidents when it comes to you, but I can guarantee you if I wanted to date someone I would just walk right up to him and ask…. would you like to go out for coffee or something.” “And I would say yes, let’s go, though I would prefer the ‘something’. Are you finished here? I’m ready.”
“Wha….?” “Are you chickening out?”
“No, yes, I wasn’t asking you out, Nathaniel.” “Why not? You owe me.”
He turned his leg and slid his pant leg up so she could see the redness of his heel. Lillie-Rose closed her eyes briefly. Even the site of his sore, painful heel couldn’t douse the flame that was about to burn her alive. The man had gorgeous muscular calves and the flexing movements of his smooth flesh did nothing to stop her mind from wondering what the rest of his leg, his thigh, and his body would look like exposed.
She moved a step back and almost jumped out of her skin when he took one step forward and his hand snaked out and grabbed her arm.
“Careful or you’ll knock over those laptops.” Shaking his hand off, she stuffed her hands in her jean pocket, unaware the movement tightened her blouse and showed the telltale evidence of his effect on her. “Are you afraid to go out with me Lillie-Rose?”
“No, I have no fear, at all.” Nathaniel smiled and looked pointedly at her breast. “Then it definitely has to be something else.” Following the trail of his eyes to look down at herself, Lillie-Rose hurriedly removed her hands from her pockets and tugged at her blouse. “Geez, Nathaniel. So you have an effect on me.”
Deciding that bluntness was the only way to go, she sighed and threw caution to the wind. Nothing could happen in daylight and especially not in the middle of the electronics department of Gadgets and Geeks, she moved as close to him as possible without stepping into his clothes. Once their bodies touched she moved ever so slightly until her hardened nipples were rubbing against him.
Since she was shorter than he, this meant her face was aligned exactly with his breast. Using the same slow, gentle movements of her body, she turned her head and face from one cheek to the other and let out a deep breath. The movement of her lips and the heat from her breath against him caused his breast to mirror hers.
“I see I have the same effect on you.”
“No, this is the effect you have on me.” For a brief moment he pressed her backwards into the counter and mimicked the movements she had made by slowly twisting his hips. The hardness of his groin, making more of an impression on her in the millisecond they were close and caused more damage to her system than any molten lava of a volcano could do through a path of trees. She sucked in her breath sharply and thought she would pass out from the quick lack of oxygen. “Don’t play with fire little girl unless you’re willing and able to put it out.” Then he released her and strode away in the opposite direction as quick as he could.
Feeling chastened, she made her escape and had been sulking in her office ever since. One minute thanking God they had been in a public place and she hadn’t made a complete fool of herself and the next moment ticked off because she hadn’t made a complete fool of herself.
***Carmella & Franklin- The Cooking Class:
Entering the elevator, Carmella stood against the wall, crossed her arms and rested her back on its cool surface. She really wanted to spend more time with him, but hadn't gotten brazen enough to initiate the asking. Franklin stood facing the door, fiddling with his coat button and watching her in the door's reflective surface. He cleared his throat when he saw that she was watching him.
"So Franklin, why are you taking a cooking class?" He coughed. "Huh?"
"Why are you taking a class? You don't have a wife or girlfriends you're trying to impress, do you?"
"Uhm, no." "Then why take the class? It's not like you ever pay attention." She pushed away from the wall as the doors opened to the basement floor parking garage. "If you were acting like one of the other hundred guys who've taken the class, yet spent most of the evening trying to hit me up, I would think you liked me, but you say nothing." She walked through the door, pulling his sleeve as she exited. "Come on. My car is over here."
He followed her without telling her he knew her car, had known it for weeks before he’d decided to take the cooking class. For one thing it wasn't hard to remember her car; no one else he knew drove a little red Aston Martin, and for the past year they had attended the same church even though he tried to stay out of her way. "How can you afford this car teaching people how to cut onions and celery?"
"I cut a lot of onions and celery."
"You know, Franklin." She pushed the required tab on her key fob and opened the car's door. Sliding into the driver's seat she placed her finger near the button that would start the car and paused. "If you want to wait until you have gone through a few more classes before you ask me out it's okay. I won't tell you ‘no', but please ask before you cut your fingers off. You are lethal with a knife." She started the car. "Besides, I don't think it would be fun to date someone without fingers. You won't be able to use chopsticks." Carmella laughed, pulled the door from his hands, before slamming it shut and driving off. At the first stoplight she pulled out her cell, pushed her earpiece in her ear and made a conference call to her two best friends.