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Lonely Is The Heart

A chance encounter.
She sat alone. Stark naked, all huddled up with her arms wrapped around her knees. She sat on the chair with her face and head obscured by her shoulder length, unkept hair. A perfect picture of solitude, but nothing was perfect. Far from it, she had been crying for the past hour.

Susan had had a tough life. Being brought up by a single uncaring parent, she had more than her share of heartbreaks and hurdles over her thirty-two years. She never seemed to be able to get a break and now with the latest devastating news she figured it was impossible to sink any lower.

Two days before she had gone to the bank to withdraw some funds, only to find out her account had been cleaned out. Someone had hacked into her computer and virtually stolen her identity. She was not only left with nothing, but the day before that she had been fired from her job as a bookkeeper for a small clothing store.

The owners were very sorry but because of low sales and the state of the economy they were forced to file for bankruptcy, and as a consequence they would have to let her go.

So now she sat on that chair weeping.

Susan knew she had to act, and now. She pulled herself together, went in the bathroom and had a long hot shower. After fixing her hair and putting on a little make up, she headed out with the intention of heading down to the local job center. But fate has a way sometimes of intervening and so she never made it.

The city of Sydney is an amazing place. The oldest city in Australia, with a population of seven million people, has a vibrant and fascinating atmosphere at most times. But when it’s rainy, misty and the autumn winds of mid March chill you to the bone, it can be pretty miserable. Add to the mix that one is down on their luck and can’t sink much lower, like any major metropolis; it can be a very lonely place.

So, as Susan was walking through just such lonely, desolate fog, a car sped by a little too close to the curb, and as puddles had formed due to the previous night’s heavy rain, she got absolutely soaked from the tire’s spray.

The emotional dam that Susan had been working so hard to hold together finally broke and reflex action overtook her. Being on an emotional precipice, her body reacted in a flood of tears. She stood perfectly still and sobbed uncontrollably. It was just too much for her to handle and so she stood on that sidewalk a perfect picture of a lost and lonely soul.

While standing on the sidewalk in a state of despair, with her hands over her sobbing face, the car seemed to brake quite fast and pulled over to the curb, just ahead of where she had been walking. The driver got out, came around the end of the vehicle and approached her.

“I’m awfully sorry miss,” he said, and then as he approached closer, “I didn’t see you in time to avoid you. Please, let me help you.”

“No, never mind,” Susan said between sobs, “just let me be, just leave me alone.”

“But I can’t leave you standing on the sidewalk, soaking wet, Miss,” he insisted.

Then the stranger added, “At least let me give you something for your clothes, or drive you somewhere so you can change.”

Once, in some people’s lives, there occurs a moment when something inexplicable happens. When a person can’t recall why they chose a certain course of action, but looking back on it will admit that they acted purely on instinct, without any reason or thought process whatsoever. In that instant, that defining moment happened to Susan.

Her entire demeanour changed and she acquiesced to the stranger saying, “Well, if you really don’t mind, I don’t live too far and would appreciate a ride back to change.”

As the stranger reached over and opened the door for her, Susan noticed a warm smile appear on his face. She sat down and put on her seatbelt. Still a trifle hesitant about what she was doing, she looked around and for the first time noticed that the car was some kind of very expensive model. She also took in the fact that the gentleman sitting next to her was extremely well groomed and was wearing a suit that exuded the impression of wealth.

Taking her eyes off him, staring straight ahead and in a matter of fact tone, she said, “At the second light, just turn right. It’s the second apartment building on the left.”

He responded quite jovially with, “Right you are, Ma’am.”

Susan felt compelled to add, but with a little more warmth in her voice, “You know, you don’t really have to do this. I mean, it’s very nice of you, but I really could have walked home.”

“Nonsense,” he said, “I’ll wait for you in the car while you change, and then I will drive you to wherever it was that you were going before I so rudely interrupted your day.”

“Oh no, really, I couldn’t let you do that! I’ll be fine. Driving me this far is more than enough and I really do appreciate it.”

“I won’t take ‘no’ for an answer,” he persisted, “As a matter of fact, if you won’t let me drive you to wherever, then let me take you out for a bite to eat or a drink somewhere. Or at least, let my give you something for your clothes.”

At this point, Susan was beginning to warm up to the very charming and handsome stranger sitting beside her, and the idea of spending more time with him seemed to be a very attractive alternative to hunting for a job that she most likely wouldn’t get anyway.

But on the other hand, she dismissed it from her mind, realizing that he most likely wasn’t serious and in all probability would never see him again.

As the car pulled up to her building, she reached for the door handle and opening the door said, “Thanks a lot. I really do appreciate this,” then with a smile on her face, added, “now don’t go splashing anymore poor innocent ladies.”

At that, she closed the car door and walked straight up the walkway without turning around. It only took her a few minutes to enter her modest apartment, change into something dry and leave. As she locked the door on her way out, she smiled to herself and thought how nice it would have been to actually spend time with someone for a while.

She emerged from the building, walked a few steps down the pathway to the street, glanced up, and there, as it was when she had left it moments before, was the same car parked in exactly the same location.

As she approached the car, the door swung open and the stranger leaned across the front seat and very casually said, “Well now, feeling better? So where can I take you?”

With a moment of hesitation, Susan gathered her skirt around her and slid into the passenger seat, but then exclaimed, “You know this is silly, you really don’t have to do this and besides, I don’t even know who you are.”

“Mark Templeton, at your service, ma’am,” he answered with an even warmer smile than before. Looking intently at Susan, his expression changed to one of curiosity and doubt and said, “You look kind of perplexed. I’m sorry if I startled you but I did promise to take you anywhere and so here I am at your service.”

Then in a softer tone, he continued, “Look, if you can’t decide exactly where you’re going, why don’t I take you for a bite somewhere nice. It is almost lunch time and there are many restaurants in the area. That way you can relax and we can get to know each other a little better.”

“And why would we want to get to know each other a little better?” Susan blurted out. As soon as the words were out of her mouth she regretted saying them.

But Mark gave her a second chance by responding with, “Well, for one thing I have the day free and for an even better reason, I would enjoy the company of and some conversation with a beautiful woman for awhile, as opposed to doing some boring paper work.”

“Okay!” Susan said, “You have one hour and then I really do have things to take care of.”

Mark took Susan to The Duck Inn Pub, a pub on Rose St. just off Cleveland St. in Sydney’s North End. They chose a booth in the corner and nursed a couple of drinks for over two hours. While Susan gradually relaxed and loosened up, she let out months of pent up anger and frustration. She recounted all her misfortunes and disappointments while Mark patiently listened and responded with all the appropriate encouragements.

At the same time as Susan was spilling her soul, he clued her in to the fact that he was a high profile real-estate wheeler and dealer who had been very successful and had done very well in commercial real-estate.

They left the pub and Mark drove her home with the promise that he would be in touch.

“Sure,” she thought, as she walked up to the entrance to her building, “I know I’ll never see him again, but nevertheless, it was still fun for awhile to forget all my troubles.”

* * * *

The call came at 7:00 am. Susan had not had a good night sleep, so when she was startled out of a deep sleep that she had been in for only an hour or so, it was with resentment and anger mixed with a little curiosity that she answered.

“Hello?”

“Susan!”

“Yes, who is this?”

“Well, I’m crushed. You mean you’ve forgotten me already? I just dropped you off not fifteen hours ago.”

“Mark? Mark … is that you?”

“Well of all the nerve, and I thought I made a good impression on you. I guess that will teach me to not be so conceited.”

At that point Susan started stuttering and was at a complete loss for words. She tried apologising as well as drastically changing her tone of voice. But Mark would have none of it. He feigned being hurt and did his best to keep the charade going as long as possible, but eventually not being able to contain himself, burst out laughing.

With a grateful smile, Susan said, “You little devil. I’ll never forgive you.” And in a more serious tone, added, “But why are you calling me at this hour. Is something wrong?”

“No not at all. As a matter of fact things couldn’t be better; I have a proposition to put to you.”

Hesitantly, Susan said, “Go on.”

“Well, you know that yesterday you were lamenting the fact that you didn’t have a job and that these days there almost impossible to find. Well I have the answer to your problem.”

All at once, Susan’s heart began to race and her mood changed. She thought, oh my God, can this be happening. I’ll take anything. Please let this be good.

“A friend of mine,” Mark continued, “has just lost his private secretary and is in desperate need of one. With what you told me yesterday of your qualifications, you’d be perfect for the job.”

“Oh Mark, that’s amazing. Of course I’m interested, tell me more about it. Where is it? When does he want to see me? Oh Mark this is fantastic!”

The interview was set up and Susan made quite an impression on her new boss. So she landed the position and began work the following morning.

A couple of days later, while she was at her desk, Mark phoned and after chatting for awhile, they agreed to meet after work at the same pub they had gone to when they first met.

The pub was walking distance just across Victoria Park from her new office on Parrametta Road, so they met and once again spent the entire afternoon talking and discovering more about each other. Finally, looking at her watch, in a panic she exclaimed, “Oh my God Mark, look at the time. I’ve just started this job and now I’m going to get fired, oh I feel so awful. How could I have not noticed the time?”

To which, he calmly reassured her, “Don’t worry about it Susan, I’ll speak to John and tell him it was my fault. You needn’t fret about it, I’ll square it with him.”

The next few weeks were conceivably the best weeks for as long as Susan could remember. The job worked out far beyond her expectations and John and his crew turned out to be wonderful people to work with.

As for Mark, they continued to see each other on a regular basis. Sometimes they would eat out but more often than not, he would prepare supper for them in his condo on Walker St. where he had an amazing place overlooking the north end of the city as well as the harbour.

On this particular evening Susan was feeling especially content and pleased with herself. Everything had seemed to come together in her life over the past few days. Tonight would be extra special as the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra was performing at the Sydney Opera House and Mark had promised to get tickets for this Friday evening’s performance.

Susan had gone out specifically to buy a new outfit for the occasion as well as going all out and spending three hours of the afternoon getting a massage, a facial and having her hair done. So after the concert, as they exited the theatre, she was feeling pretty special.

They were waiting for the valet to bring the car around, when Mark put his arm around her waist, pulling her close he cocked his head toward her ear and said, “I don’t think I’ve mentioned it yet, but you’re looking especially gorgeous tonight.”

“Why, thank you, Sir,” she said, as she beamed up at him.

“I don’t think I’ve ever noticed how your eyes sparkle so, when you smile like that”

“Oh Mark, you say the nicest things.”

“Well, it’s true. You are absolutely lovely and …”

“Yes, what is it Mark?” Susan said encouragingly. But it was lost as his attention was diverted to the arriving car.

The drive, a few blocks to his apartment were spent in a very palpable silence. No sooner were they inside, when Susan turned to Mark and inquired, “Mark, what were you about to say just before the car arrived?”

Even though the subject was still on his mind, it would have been so easy for him to feign ignorance and pretend that he didn’t know what she was referring to. Instead, he turned to her and gently putting his hands on her shoulders, and with the softest of expressions in his eyes, said, “Susan, you must know how I feel about you.”

“Well … I …. “ Susan stuttered.

“Susan, tell me you don’t feel the same way.” He said, as held her close and looked deep into her eyes.

“Well, Mark …yes. I guess I do. I really haven’t given it much thought. I guess I’ve just been caught up in everything. The job and getting my life back to normal and all, I really didn’t think … I mean …. What I mean is.”

She never had the chance to finish the sentence before he cupped both hands on her cheeks, bent down and gently pressed his lips on hers.

With his touch, Susan completely melted. She was no longer in his arms but rather floating around the room. And as her body took flight, Mark sensed her complete and utter compliance to his touch. As she lifted her arms up to welcome and embrace his advance, he pressed deeper and separating her lips with his, he probed her mouth with his tongue until she responded in kind. They held the embrace by pulling each other closer and tighter, while all the while using their tongues to communicate what could never be said with mere words.

“Oh Mark, I …” Susan sighed as they broke away from each other.

At that, Mark didn’t say anything. He stared into her eyes for a few seconds and then took her by the hand and led her down the hallway to the bedroom.

The room was unlit, but every corner was bathed in the moonlight that had filtered in through the window. The window had been left open an inch or so causing the entire room to be flooded with the fresh scent of spring.

Susan lay down on her back and Mark lay down beside her on his side facing her. As he slid his hand over her stomach and around her back, he pulled her closer while kissing her on the lips. The kiss was passionate yet gentle.

As their lips and tongues rubbed and probed each other, Mark brought up his hand and with a gossamer like touch, slowly caressed her forehead and cheek while circling her lips with his finger.

Continuing the kiss, he tentatively floated his hand down her neck and coming to rest, gently began squeezing and massaging her breast.

Susan was somewhere in the room, but she wasn’t exactly sure where. She wasn’t sure whether the sound of her heart beating was inside or outside her chest. She wanted to speak but had no tongue.

She wanted to tell him to hold her, to wrap his arms around her and never let go. She wanted to demand of him to completely envelope her entire being with himself so that they melded into one. What she did do, that she had no control over, was to breathe in shorter gasps and emit little humming noises from deep within her throat.

Mark could feel her body tense beside him. He felt a slow undulating rhythm begin with the slightest movements of her hips. Yearningly, invitingly she shifted closer, pressing into him.

Grasping her even tighter, he raised his leg over her and as he pressed closer, snuggled into her shoulder and began kissing under her ear, around her neck and down to the exposed skin just below her chin.

With little moans and sighs, her response was immediate. They continued this foreplay for what seemed forever. Floating above the clouds where only thoughts, feelings, emotions intertwine; corporal existence had been drowned by the waters of ecstasy.

Releasing his hold on her, Mark turned Susan over and unzipped her dress and with hands guided by desire, slowly pulled the material over her shoulders and down her body revealing what appeared to him the most beautiful sight he had ever beheld.

The moonlight glistened off her smooth silky skin. He stared at her prone form and fleetingly wondered what had got him to this point in his life.

Mark had always guarded his privacy and kept his emotions in check. His one ambition was to be successful and rise out of the dung heap that had been his childhood in the West End. Relationships had always been more for the sake of convenience rather than fulfilling an emotional need.

And yet here, in this room, at this moment his world was turning, spinning so fast he had no reference point to comprehend what was happening. With dreamlike motions, he quietly removed all his clothes, then with external guidance, removed Susan’s bra and panties. She offered no resistance save uttering a few whimpering sounds that seemed to come from the moonlight wash.

He lay down beside her and taking her in his arms pulled the lightness of her being completely over himself. He reached up and beheld her face in his hands as her hair fell and washed over him. Her eyes shone dark, but luminous with the moonlight, as her gaze penetrated his soul.

“Tell me what you want,” she whispered, “Tell me what to do.”

That was more than he could bear. The innocence of the question, the willingness to completely give of oneself, overwhelmed him. He brought her face down to meet his wanting lips. The explosion that erupted from deep within them sent them simultaneously over the edge of consciousness.

They were aware of their own being, they were aware of each other’s presence. What they weren’t aware of was where they were in the cosmos of pleasure, emotion, gratification and contentment.

Without conscious action his hands came to rest on her buttocks. As he pulled her into him, she instinctively responded by positioning herself so that his throbbing member found the sweet moist opening to her inner most soul.

Craving the fulfillment that awaited her, Susan slid down to the impending impalement of true ecstasy. Magically, her vaginal lips encircled his expecting member and together they moved in natural rhythm until he was entirely engulfed by her.

The orgasmic explosion came almost at once. There was no voice, there was no signal, just an innate sense of two bodies moving to the rhythm of life and ascending into the celestial darkness as one.

They lay in that position for a long time, slowly descending out of the moonlit stratosphere. Eventually, Susan rolled off and ended on her back as Mark met her movement by positioning himself with his mouth over one breast while his hand played with the other one.

Susan began to stir. With her body not quite totally down from the recent high, the waves of hunger and desire, long time dormant, were being awakened once again.

He ran his tongue over her breasts, going back and forth from one to the other while he ran his hand up and down each inner thigh. Each time his hand ascended to her vagina, he would pause and lightly ring his finger around her outer lips. He reveled in the fact that his presence and actions had caused her juices to flow so freely.

For the next hour or so, they delighted in each other and in the wonderful exercise of completely exploring each other’s bodies. Mark guided Susan in the art of fellatio and gently indicated to her exactly what stimulated him the most. As well, while he performed cunnilingus on her he was acutely aware of each reaction and using that knowledge, gradually manipulated her to another intense orgasm.

Every different position brought them more delights and higher waves of ecstasy flowed through their bodies. Finally, Susan, with desperation in her voice, barely above a whisper, pleaded, “Oh Mark, Mark … love me … please … love me now.”

At that he caressed her completely and while kissing her neck, he held his erect, throbbing member and positioned it to the entrance of euphoria. Bringing his hands up under her shoulders and gently pulling down, he then arched his back and brought his hips upward, entering her.

The thrusts started slowly at first, but with Susan wrapping her legs around him, he lost all control and with one explosive thrust, they both cried out together. They were both racked with such sublime feelings that neither moved, nor uttered a single sound for what seemed forever. They had entered a place known to only a few. Places where dreams become reality and wishes no longer have to be wished.

* * * *

Susan woke first. She stirred to find herself wrapped in a cocoon of Marks arms and chest.

“Oh my God!” she said, looking around, “what time is it?”

As Mark stirred, he looked over at the clock on his bedside table and said, “It’s 8:30, why.”

“Oh shit, I have to get dressed and go to work; I’m going to be …”

“Calm down, take it easy, you don’t work Saturdays, do you?”

“What!” Susan exclaimed hysterically. “... Saturday? Oh geezes I forgot … oh yeah ….of course.”

Suddenly the realization of everything; the evening, the performance, coming back after … aw yes, coming back after. With her mind a little clearer now, she let out a long sigh, snuggled in closer to his warm body and pulled the covers up under her chin.

He wrapped his arms around her, looked down at her and said. “You know Susan; I think we should celebrate today.”

“Mmmm, and what do you suggest?” she purred.

“Well, I think we should go and get you a whole new wardrobe and then we should go over to your place and give your landlord one month’s notice of your leaving.”

“And where would I go?” she asked teasingly.

“Yeah, right!” He said, as he held her tighter, pulled the covers up over both of them and passionately kissed her on the lips …, the neck …, her chest …”

* * * *

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