Close Encounter, a short story by StevenHunley. Date added: 2011-07-10. Times viewed: 2702.
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- Intro: A man and woman having an online affair finally meet
Outside the train things whipped by as fast as thoughts racing through his brain.
“What will she think of me? Will I be all right? Do I look OK? What is she gonna think?”
Rows of naked Almond trees. Stacks of white beehives. Whip. Whip. Horses standing like bronze statues in their corrals. Whip. Flocks of snowy egrets making wings for the picture-perfect sky. Whip. He was out of his element, a stranger in a strange land, riding though hill country as foreign to him as any flatlander. Out of his mind too, when he considered her beauty compared to his reflection in the train window. He wouldn’t be up to her standards. He remembered her telling him she was picky. She was going to put him on her no-no list, the dreaded no-no list. Not only bound for a first meeting with her, he was bound for miserable failure. Straight shot to purgatory. Whip. One way ticket to Palookaville like Marlon Brando in On the Waterfront. Whip. Brando once said in an interview he liked getting beat-up in pictures. Made the audience have empathy for his character. Feel sorry for the guy who was Wipped.
“I’m a hide-bound for destruction kind of guy.”
Yet he and the train pressed on, winding its’ way north past yellow rolling hills spotted with scrub oak. Finally there was a stop. Stockton. Then a bus. He sat in the back, the very back, like an inferior breed of man. With each passing mile he grew more nervous. With each kilometer more tense. Each inch closer was torture, sheer torture.
“Doomed to failure, that’s me.”
Finally Visalia. Only two people left. One guy made like a magician’s rabbit and disappeared. Now there was only him. He put his suitcase down on the sidewalk and looked around the alien environment.It was the middle of nowhere. The center of nothing. Unfamiliar as all get-out.
“Why do I do these crazy things? What’s wrong with me? Why am I so God-damn needy?”
She wasn’t there waiting. Everything was shuttered and closed.
“I should call her and tell her I’m here.” he said aloud. “No you can’t you *ss-hole. Her number is back in Long Beach in your telephone book, and you’ve got no cell phone, you fool!”
Growing impatient with himself was one of his specialties.
Minutes went by. It was getting dark . Silence and stillness ate up the landscape, leaving it as empty and hollow as the Grand Canyon.
“All my grand plans and schemes are so much you-know-what. Only good for the waste basket.”
Out of nowhere a van appears. It’s her van. He recognizes it from the picture. Her, in jeans, standing in front of her van, in sunglasses. Movie star sunglasses to match a movie-star face. He catches himself comparing her to a movie star. She’s not.
She possesses a sexy yet innocent face that’s hers and hers alone. Long dark hair past her shoulders. It reaches just where it should, which is over her breasts. Good for love-making kind of length. What he plans to do with that hair. He’s dreamed about it so many times it isn’t funny. The van pulls around and stops right in front of him.
Out steps a magnificent creature and walks straight towards him.
“What are the rules? What are the damn rules?!! I forgot the damn rules!! Oh yeah, it’s hands off for twenty-four hours. That’s what we agreed upon. In case it doesn’t work out. Twenty-four hours, but one kiss of greeting is allowed. Yeah, I remember now, we get one kiss. After all, what can one kiss hurt? Everybody kisses a kiss of greeting kiss nowadays. It’s the sophisticated thing to do! Charlotte is sophisticated! I’ll ready my lips for a greeting-like kiss.”
She opens her arms and approaches. He stands there like a fool but has the sense to embrace her. She’s wearing a blue dress and high-heels and the distance between their lips is closer than he pictured it. It’s the high heels. She tilts up her chin. Oh my god, her eyes are beautiful! The pictures didn’t do them justice. Then the first kiss. The all-important earth-shaking kiss.
Her lips press his. He breathes in her fragrance. She’s all soft and warm. It’s an incomparable embrace, an unforgettable kiss. Unique, sensuous, indefinable kiss, like nothing that’s happened to his mouth ever before. A one of a kinder. A promise between their lips is expressed that’s somehow stronger than any words.
She has an exotic taste straight from the Arabian Nights. Pure unadulterated nectar.
On the outside he appears to be cool but inside he’s shaking life a autumn leaf in a thunderstorm. He’s actually weak in the knees. He pulls himself together. She’s shows mercy and understanding in her eyes. Maybe he won’t make her no-no list after all. He relaxes at her touch, taking what’s referred to in dime novels as a sigh of relief.
It’s time for the drive back to her place. Then it’s up the stairs and in through the door for a sophisticated dinner at eight. Yummy, thou sensuous yummy.
They sat across the table from each other in her kitchen. Soon they would eat, but right now they were sipping white wine. It was probably as light and sweet as her thighs. Just as low in calories too. That’s what he figured.
“You know,” he continued nervously, “I’m always ready to play a few rounds of ‘get to know you’, I am! But I’m also prepared to wait for my desert. I’m one of those fellows who can push back his desert and save it for later.”
He smiled an increasingly ingenous smile.
Crossing her fabulous legs allowed her tight dress to ride up just a taste, the one she’d swore she’d never wear in public. ‘Too tight and revealing’ she called it.
“That’s good. I’m ready for that.”
It was only too obvious she was ready for anything, the little Spygirl.
“Here,” she asked, leaning forward, “would you like some more wine?”
Her cleavage? Enchanting. The passing years and gravity itself had shown absolutely no ill effects on her small perfect breasts.
He took note of this fact. She was always handing him facts to take note of. Intimate yummy facts. Always ready to hand over information too, for a price. Not for money you understand, but for something of value to her alone, the little Spygirl.
He cleared his throat nervously.
“Of course you realize, I’m keeping my distance on purpose. For your sake.”
He was trying to remain aloof, detached, uninterested, non-engaged. No never, not ever nonplused.
She was having none of it.
“And why is that?” she countered.
Taking a sip, she threw back her chin and swallowed, touching her throat lightly with her fingertips, then drawing them slowly down until they were lost, contentedly lost, in the comfortable shadow of her cleavage. He took note of her perfectly sculptured throat. She was ready to show him what was what.
He needed a phrase to reinforce his manhood. Show her who was in charge. Something strong and confident. Something with a little bravado.
“Because once we touch, it’s all over.”
She calculated him calmly. Face to face, eye to eye. She knew she had him. He’d reached the tipping point seconds ago. Now it was time to move in for the kill.
“My shoulder’s been bothering me all day. My physical therapist was too hard on me," she pouted properly, like a lady in distress.
She looked to him for his reaction, then placed her glass on the table and started to rub her shoulder.Damn, she had nice shoulders and arms.
“I wish I could reach it better. It’s so awkward doing it yourself.”
It was perfectly true. She was tired of doing it to herself. She wanted a man to do it to her, which was clear even to a slow-poke like him. So, ever the gentleman, he offered,
“Would you like a massage, Miss Charlotte May Applebee?”
Her name tasted like ambrosia when it spilled from his lips. Just saying ‘Charlotte’ excited him. He knew he was in trouble, some kind of wonderful trouble.
“That might be just be what I need. Let’s go sit on my baby-blue velvet couch where there’s more room. We’ll be more comfortable there.”
Her voice took on a silken quality, like that of a shy woman. Form loomed over content and devoured it. It’s not what she said; it’s the way that she said it.
“Yes, let’s,” he answered, trying to maintain authority, “I’m sure we will.”
He peered in the living room and saw, what was it? A divan, a sofa, a couch?
“Damn,” he thought, “It looks like a love-seat to me.”
Hand in hand the lady and gentleman walked into the living room. To Hell with the twenty-four hours.
Desert before dinner may not be proper but stimulates the appetite. Whoever thinks seduction is exclusively a man’s game doesn’t know the rules. Never a gender-specific sport, anyone can play and does.
She was the girl next door with a veneer of erotica so brilliant he could see his reflection.
He was the handsome angelic out-of-town stranger she just couldn’t resist.
And although she was a little Spygirl working for the Portuguese, it was he broke the code that was her.
Oh, how they danced.
And then he realized... like he was shot... like he was shot with a diamond... a diamond bullet right through his forehead. And he thought, “My God... the genius of that! The genius! The will to do that! Perfect, genuine, complete, crystalline, pure. Pure Kurtz, like Brando in Tahiti, so in love with Tarita Teriipi he finally felt at home, saved by the lady's graciousness.
Like Fletcher Christian he’d found his Maimiti. His Heart of Darkness faded away forever, just as it should, having spent the night with the sun.
© Steven Hunley 2011
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