Spring 2011

"Would you excuse me for a moment," Bette got up from the table and Peter stood too out of courtesy.

"Of course. The bathroom is upstairs, first door on the left."

"Thank you." She ushered herself from the table. The board game they had played all evening was at a stalemate. She hurried up the stairs and shut herself in the bathroom. Lights on, fan humming, she finally had a clear moment to herself. She stared at herself for a moment. Her black hair had fallen limp, the minimal makeup she had been wearing was nearly gone. She didn't love wearing it, but she found when she did, she had better tips at work, and a bigger paycheck never hurt. She ran her fingers over her eyes, for a moment, she was tired, but she shook the feeling, she knew she had to drive, she'd probably leave after her next turn of the game. She had worked all day, now it was one in the morning. It had been a long day and a longer week. She reached in her pocket and pulled out the small pill. She popped it in her mouth, turned on the sink, and cupped her hands and swallowed the pill with the water. Bette coughed as the pill went down sideways. Her eyes watered and her face flushed. She drank more water and wiped her face clean. The redness in her eyes did not compliment the green of her iris, and for a split second, her insecurities got the best of her. She was 25 now, and for a moment, she wanted to go back to the time when she was 20 and still in college. She remembered the girl she was and dismissed the thought. She ran her fingers through her hair one more time and went back downstairs. When she got there, Peter had put the board game away, the others were gone, and he was on the couch.

"I hope you don't mind I called 'game over.' I couldn't focus anymore." She sat on the other end of the short couch. They leaned into the corners and their knees were almost touching.

"No, it's fine. There was no foreseeable winner anyways." She leaned her elbow on the armrest and leaned her head into her hand. "It was fun though, I can't remember the last time I had that much fun gaming. Where did Jon and Amber go?"

"Back to their half of the 'plex. They 'Irish exit', you know?"

"Oh." She glanced at the clock on the wall. "Did...you want me to go, bec-"

"No. I'm up. Were you feeling okay? I heard you cough."

"I'm fine. I was taking my meds," she dismissed her ailment. "Thyroid. Graves disease." Peter's eyes got really wide with concern. "Oh God, no! No. It's the name of the condition. It's not going to kill me. I just have to take a pill."

"But you're fine otherwise? You don't need to take them with food or anything?"

"No. I'm fine. I swear. The only problem is my thinner hair and slightly buggy eyes. The weight loss is nice though."

"How long have you been taking the drugs?"

"About a year. I'm feeling better. It helps, but I wish I could hurry up and get better." She held his gaze. Peter was older by 10 years, but he only looked older than her by about five. Though his grey hairs were few, his teeth were pristine, she could see his age in his eyes. They were crystal blue, and when he smiled, the wrinkles finally appeared.

"Put your feet up," he sat up straighter.

"What? Okay." She pulled her dangling foot off the side of the couch and Bette was nearly a neat little ball on the couch.

"That's not what I meant. Give me your foot," he gestured, waving her welcoming.

"Seriously?"

"Trust me."

She did trust him. They had worked together at the restaurant for over a year. Though she would call them friends, they hadn't socialized outside of work events until he had invited her to game night with his neighbors that night. "Alright." She extended her leg and he took her foot in his hand. "You don't have to do this."

He became really quiet, keeping her gaze, feeling the ball of her foot with his finger. It didn't tickle or even feel awkward. When he spoke again, his voice was barely more than a whisper. "Reflexology. There are nerves that connect everywhere in the body, and they end in the hands and feet. The control your stomach, eyes," he pushed on a spot and she reacted.

"Ah," she exclaimed.

"Thyroid. I do this to myself. Massage a couple spots a day on a rotation."

"You're saying that hurt because of my bad thyroid?"

"This can help." Peter kept rubbing the tender spot on her foot. Bette reacted when particular pressures were more effective, reacting with occasional 'ahs' and 'oofs.' He eventually had her switch feet, and he did the same to her other foot. Though what he did was visceral, warm, and extremely personal, it didn't feel out of bounds or aggressive.

She finally spoke, "Who taught you that?" She tucked her legs back under herself.

"Read it in a book. She gave it to me." Peter occasionally mentioned the woman who had lived with him up until two years ago, but he never told Bette her name. He would bring her up when someone asked, but not when unprovoked. When he spoke of her it was fondly, and with a broken heart.

"You miss her?"

"All the time." He laughed a short breathy laugh and ran his hand over his face and rubbed his chin. "You're going to make me cry."

"I'm sorry. I shouldn't have brought it up."

"You didn't, I did."

Bette knew Peter enough to know he was uncomfortable, even for a moment. Though most people saw him as stoic and quiet, they had been friendly since the company picnic last spring. Seeing his discomfort, she tried to rewind the conversation. "So you said the connections are in the hands too, not just the base of the feet?"

He looked at her, seeing the look of kind concern on her face, it wasn't pity. "Yeah." He turned to her and she scooted slightly closer, and their legs touched. He took one of her hands in both of his and touched his fingertips to her palm. This time, he didn't press, he didn't find a nerve that caused her discomfort. He just looked at her hand, and gently touched it. He slowly stroked her hand. Her nerves were moved in a totally different way, as if they all slowly came to the surface after having been buried for a long time.

"What, are...um, uh. I...I seemed to have lost my train of thought." Bette turned her hand in his and moved her fingers between his. She could feel how strong his hands were, but there wasn't even a hint of anything threatening about it and she looked back at him.

"You have soft skin." He looked back at her. "And you have nothing to worry about your hair." He reached to her and ran his fingers through her hair. She closed her eyes and conscious of it or not, she leaned closer to him. He ran his hands through her hair a few times, and she sighed to the comforting feeling. What happened next caught her off guard, Peter leaned into her, but he did not kiss her, he touched his cheek to hers and moved slowly against her. He touched her, he slid one arm over the back of the couch and ran his other fingertips over her arm and back. It felt so good, Bette couldn't help but reciprocate. She put an arm around him and touched him back. For a while, all they did was brush one another with their fingers front and back. When Peter ran the back of his fingers over her breasts, she didn't recoil, she gripped him tighter. As their breaths became slow and heavy, they shifted. Their cheeks separated, and she expected him to kiss her, but he didn't. What he did, it wasn't what she would even call a kiss. Though her lips were poised to receive one, he barely brushed his lips against hers individually, and she inhaled sharply in anticipation. As he slid his cheek back against hers, she could feel her heart race, and she touched her finger tips to his heart to feel if it raced as her did. Her body, so focused on the pleasurable feeling he caused, she could barely feel his heart beat.

His tender touch continued over her. He touched her breasts, but she could tell it wasn't for his own gratification. He touch was thoughtful and purposeful and it delighted her. As she shifted them again, the desire to kiss him was incredible. He touched his forehead to hers and she peaked at him, his eyes closed, but the focus in his hands were clear, and did all the seeing for him as she glanced. By now, he was breathing as heavily as her, but his breaths were more controlled. Her whole body felt like it was glowing from how he caressed her. He ran a hand through her hair again, and it relaxed her. Then he kissed her; lightly, softly, innocently, and moved his cheek to hers again.

As he touched his lips and nose to her neck again, he kissed her more. His lips glided across her neck and collar bone, and only once, and just barely, he nibbled her skin. Bette's back arched, holding him tighter by the collar and back. She kissed his neck and took his earlobe in his mouth. She moaned in his ear and he reached under her legs, and pulled her over his lap; her legs draped over his. As they adjusted in each other's arms, their eyes met again, and Bette couldn't wait any more. She grabbed his collar and kissed him. Her tongue ran over his lip, and he kissed her back and his tongue met hers. He kissed her deeply; in a way she hadn't been kissed since she was a teenager, he ran his tongue under her lips, and it aroused her further. Peter ran his hand up her thigh and his thumb ran over her groin. And in that moment, she realized that everything that happened so far, he did for her pleasure, and it worked. Wanting to return the amazing feeling, she pulled herself from his lips and whispered, "What do you like?"

His thumbed her clitoris through her tights and it made her moan. "That," then paused. She held his face and they stared into each other's eyes. Seeing the thrill on her face, he continued. He moved in a way that made her body tense and relaxed at the same time, and her skin tingled all over her body.

"Wait." Her hand pounced to his. She reached it up to her waist line, lifting her dress in the process. She placed his fingers into the waist band of her tights and pushed. "Keep going," she whispered. She braced herself on the arm of the couch and lifted her hips from the cushion and he moaned as they pulled her tights down and past her knees. She pushed her panties aside, took his finger tips, and put them in her so he could feel how wet he had made her. He touched her and rubbed her in a way that was totally new. It was different than how she had touched herself and completely different than any other boyfriend had, and she came. She suckled at his ear and she came again. She kissed his neck, and came again. She reached her hand under his shirt, ran her fingers through his chest hair, and came again. She couldn't remember the last time she had been touched in a way that made her cum so many times and yet not orgasmed. "Wait." She pushed away from him, pulling his hand off her.

"You want to stop?"

"No. I just need a minute." She rolled off him, turned them about on the couch, and was kneeling between his knees as he sat back on the arm of the couch. Bette reached for his thighs. She ran her hands up his legs and felt his firm loin in his jeans. When their eyes met again, she unbuttoned the top of his jeans. He adjusted and let her shimmy them down and expose himself. Bette leaned into him bracing herself, kissed him, and began to stroke him. He held her face and kissed her. Though it was just as passionate, it was slow and methodical. He moaned as she touched him. Soon, he pulled his lips off hers, "There is something I would," he groaned to her touch, "like."

"Yeah?"

His lips lingered over hers, "I want to know how you taste." His eyes lingered down, and hers with him and her and their foreheads touched. He reached out and began to massage her again.

"So do I." He pulled himself from the couch and sat on the floor. She kissed him as she slithered off the couch and to his side. They finally pulled away from one another and lay on their sides. And simultaneously, their mouths began to pleasure each other. His lips, tongue, and nose moved deftly over her wet skin. She found the best angle to suck, and both made the other moan repetitively. Bette alternated her hand from stroking to pushing on the nerve behind his genitals, listening for which one gave him more satisfaction. But she had a hard time focusing. And when she could feel her climax building, she rolled to her back and he moved with her. He leaned across her side and hips, focusing on her. He gripped her twitching thigh and all at once, she orgasmed. She couldn't help but vocalize her gratification. Writhing in enjoyment, he kept going, matching his tempo to her reaction. He lead her to a slow down, and kissed her one more time as she exhaled in relief.

As they sat up, she gripped his wet chin with her fingers, and kissed him, not caring that he tasted of her, or she of him. He wrapped his arms around her and she reached for her handbag on the floor. From the bag, between two fingers, emerged a condom. He stopped for a second to see what she had grabbed. He held her tightly, she tore the wrapper, and rolled it on to him. She sat back up on the couch and he tossed his jeans aside. Peter knelled in front of her, between her legs, gripped her by her haunches and moved to her. She closed her eyes and grazed her lips over his, and let him into her.

She tightened her legs around him and he moved. They moved slowly at first, finding more comfort in each other's embrace more than the act itself. Surely, they began to increase their speed and fervor. She peeled his shirt off him, then he pulled off her dress. He carefully plucked the straps from her bra off her shoulders and unhooked it from her back. Her lips danced across his shoulders and he massaged her hard nipples. He moved in and out of her, and they both moaned and groaned in pleasure.

Their eyes met, and mid pant, Bette looked down, "Floor." He wrapped his arms around her back, lifted her and rolled back. In one swift movement, she was on top of him moving primarily for the both of them. She didn't care that her knees burned as she moved them against the carpet. He drew her close and he began to thrust, and she let her moans be heard. He grinded and groaned and with a pair of low indulgent shouts, he came. She kissed him deeply again before removing herself from him. She flopped to his side. He pulled off the condom and tossed it into the garbage. They lay on the floor panting, then Bette started laughing. Peter laughed too, though he was unsure of why.

"What is it," he laughed.

She laughed harder, "You're going to need a new couch." She covered her red face, "And area rug." She peaked out from between her fingers, and they both looked at the marks and spots they left.

Peter laughed. He took her hands off her face and kissed her. "I wanted a new couch any ways. Totally worth it." She kissed him again. "Are you hungry? I'm famished!" He hopped to his feet and helped her up. "Give me five minutes." He kissed her again and went to the kitchen. Bette went upstairs to the bathroom, cleaned up, and re-emerged downstairs. She saw their strewn about clothes and picked up her dress. She held it in her hands and tried to decide whether or not to put it on. She looked up at the clock and saw it was nearly 4:30 AM. Three and a half hours. She couldn't believe they had been at it that long. Peter came out of the kitchen with plates of sandwiches and chips.

"Turkey with Swiss or ham with Muenster?"

"Ham." They sat there on the couch, surprisingly comfortable sitting together, snacking naked. "It's late. Or early. I should go."

"Sure. Long day." He put on his shorts and she threw on her dress and panties. She wadded up the tights and stuck them in her hand bag. He opened the door for her and she kissed him again.

"Just so you know, I won't tell anyone at work."

"Tell or don't tell. I won't say anything."

She looked at him, across at the empty plates, his clean living space and thought about how polite he had been all evening. He had always been kind, respectful, thoughtful, generous, and listened. "You really are a gentleman."

He leaned his head against the door. "Hey-I- Thank you."

She kissed him once more, "Good night, Peter."

"Good night, Bette."

Bette got in her car and went home. As she lay in her bed, the last several hours played and replayed in her head. She couldn't tell anymore what was a dream and what was a conscience thought. When she woke in the early afternoon, she picked up her dress, smelled it and the small scent of him that remained, and thought of how great the night before was.