Life's What You Make It - Rob's Story Ch. 1
Emmy and Robbie seemed doomed to loneliness until by chance their fates collided.....
This novella is an experimental writing collaboration by TheGulfCoaster and runnergirl. The story has two perfect halves, a male and a female side, which fit together as one. Runnergirl will reveal Emmy's feelings and tell the tale through her perspective, whereas TheGulfCoaster writes from Robbie's. The two stories share mutual dialogue and action where the characters intersect and thus this is a unique venture. Only by reading both parts, will the reader get the entire story. We sincerely hope that you enjoy our efforts and please look forward to future installments!
It seemed I was no closer to finding my Miss Right than I was when I moved into my new house over a year ago. I have to refer to it as a house; it will never really feel like a home until I find my soul mate. While lamenting about that during a phone call with Pam, an old, now completely platonic, former fuck-buddy of mine, she began to suggest new ideas I might give a shot since my ideas clearlyweren'tworking. I was never shy, but I did lack a certain amount of confidence when it came to interacting with beautiful women when meeting them for the first time. One of her ideas seemed to make so much sense; I’m surprised I hadn’t thought of it myself.
Pam said, “Why don't you take a cooking class at the Cultural Center ? You’d probably be the only guy in a classroom full of girls.”
After we hung up, I went online and looked at the class offerings at the community facility and they had several cooking classes with openings all starting up in roughly a week. Right away, a seafood class offered caught my eye. I have always loved fresh seafood, but had never been able toduplicate the efforts of my favorite restaurants. The class met two hours a night, two nights a week for six weeks. If Pam’s idea panned out, I just might meet a girl with similar interests; at the very least, I'd learn how to prepare some of my favorite dishes.
I called Pam back and said, “I did it.”
“I signed up for a cooking course at the cultural center called ‘Delights of the Sea’. Maybe I’ll finally learn how to prepare Broiled Yellow-Fin Tuna steaks with Wasabi like they serve at Melanie’s on the Water.”
She said, “That is the best Tuna steak I’ve ever had! You sound like you’re finally getting out of your funk, too. I really hope you meet someone you can fall in love with, Robbie.”
“It’s just been so long since I’ve been in love with a girl; I miss not having romance in my life.”
“She is out there, Robbie, you just haven’t found her yet.”
“I keep finding girls I hope might be the one but they’re unavailable, lesbian, not interested in me or not interested in the kind of relationship I so desperately want to be in. I mean, having you for a fuck buddy was great but I want the kind of relationship found in Chick-Flicks. I also believe being sexually satisfied by you was taking away my ambition or drive to find Miss Right.”
“Well you know if you’re every sexually frustrated and want to get laid, need a shoulder to lean on or just need a hug, I’ll be there for you but more than anything else, I want you to be happy so I hope you find her, and I hope she’s everything you hope for and more. I love you, Rob.”
“Yeah, I love you too, Pam,” I said before hanging up.
The days until the first session passed quickly. Pam told me to make all my usual ‘date’ preparations for the class. She said, “Wear nice clothes, shave, brush your teeth, and for God’s sake, don’t forget to brush your hair. The little things count, Robbie. I bet you see a girl there tonight that you fall head over heels in love with. Keep a positive attitude and have some confidence. Say it Rob, ‘I’m gonna meet a great girl tonight’.
I said, “I’m gonna meet a great girl tonight.”
She said, “Really? Now, say it as if you mean it. I’m gonna meet a great girl tonight!”
I said, “OK, I’m gonna meet a great girl tonight!”
She said, “There you go! Life’s what you make it, Robbie. Now, go enjoy your class, meet a great girl and I expect a full report tomorrow.”
I said, “I’ll call you tomorrow and let you know what happens.”
I showered, dried off, got dressed and did my usual predate routine, I even put on some dorky non-slip kitchen shoes. I got in my car and headed over town to the Cultural Center . I followed the signage leading me to the cooking class and looked through the window at all the people who seemed paired off at workstations. I said to my self, “Great, I either end up working alone or stuck with some freak of nature.”
I took a deep breath and opened the door. A lady was there holding a clipboard with a computer print out on it. She said, “You must be Robert.”
I said, “Yes I am.”
Most of our students signed up in pairs,we'vegot one lady here who also signed up alone. Would you be willing to pair up with her for the course? The class is designed for pairs of students and is much easier with a partner.” Remembering Pam’s words, I said, “Sure, why not, it will be fun.”
She had me follow her over to a workstation and the girl there made my heart skip a beat. Even wearing a somewhat conservative burgundy dress, she was awesome. She had dark almost black hair down well past her shoulders, a young looking, flawless face with full lips a perfect little nose and wide-set, dark brown eyes. I did my best to avoid leering at her, but even my quick glance told me she had a great body, too.
The instructor said, “Emily? This is Robert; he’s agreed to be your partner for the class. OK?”
I flashed my nicest smile and extended my hand. Emily responded with a brilliant smile and reached for my hand. I said, “It’s a pleasure meeting you, Emily.”
Emily put her soft hand in mine and replied, “Since we are going to be partners for the next few weeks, why don’t you call me Emmy? That’s what all my pals call me. And how would you like me to address you?” She inquired.
Emily was even more beautiful than I realized with my first assessment, I found myself stammering a bit. "“Oh... um... well... Robert is a little too formal for my taste. That’s what my mother always called me when I got into trouble,” I said with what I suspected was rather stupid look on my face then added, “So how about Robbie?”
Emmy made me feel a little better, when she said, "“Robbie will do fine, and a little trouble can be a whole lot of fun sometimes.”
That feeling changed to the undeniable sensation that I was blushing, and I wondered if what I took as a little flirting was just Emmy's delightful personality or real.
The instructor called for everyone's attention, introduced herself as Melanie Prescott and went on to provide her history and credentials. N ow finished with her ‘curriculum vitae’, she had each of the students stand one at a time, introducing themselves and stating their interest and reason for signing up for the class. It seemed most were people only interested in improving their home cooking skills, one couple was newlywed and took the class as a ‘couple’ activity, several were already employed the food service industry hoping to improve their skills for advancement. I was next. The instructor called for everyone's attention, introduced herself as Melanie Prescott and went on to provide her history and credentials.
I could feel Emily gaze upon me as I prepared to speak. Either I crazy or was she actually checking me out once I stood and said, “Hi, my name is Rob Larsen. I’m here because I love good seafood and want to learn how to prepare my favorites at home with restaurant quality results. I also figured a class like this would be a good way to meet some people with similar interests.”
Emily was next. She stood and said,“Hi, I am Emmy and I have an uninterested husband so I am here to run away from it all.”There was a bit of laughter following that statement and when the class quieted, she went on, “But seriously, I am thrilled to be here and I am open to all sorts of new opportunities.” She sat down then, but I couldn't help but to look at Emmy and soak in as much of her beauty as I could, without trying to be obvious about it.
The entire time Emily was talking, I watched her and found myself infatuated. I was thinking to myself, “Yep, tonight I met a great girl - one I could easily see myself falling in love with, but somebody beat me to it, fell in love with her and married her already. Oh well, the class won’t be a total loss, I get to learn how to cook from the chef of one of my favorite restaurants.”
I hoped no one else in the room was able to detect me constantly stealing glances at Emmy, but I hadn’t been in such close proximity to such a beautiful woman in ages. Now my friend Pam was a beautiful girl as well, but Emily’s beauty reached into my soul and made me long for her, want to spend time with her and be the woman I wanted to make passionate love to, not just fuck. “Damn,” I thought to myself. “I wish she were single.”
Once Emily finished her story, Melanie took over again; she went down the syllabus of the course, from seafood cooking basics, to the importance of food safety, ingredient measurement and adhering to the recipe, cooking method and cooking times.
Melanie told us what her mission was, as far as teaching the course went. While Melanie spoke, her assistant was moving about the classroom leaving a stapled 30 to 40--page document with each student. She said, “These packets have the recipes we’ll be covering over the next 6 weeks. We’ll start out with seafood appetizers, your oysters, shrimp, scallops, crab, mussels and calamari, then move on to seafood entrees, grouper, cod, halibut, Mahi-mahi, swordfish, snapper, salmon, tilapia and finally tuna, maybe rainbow trout if we can get it fresh. I will show several preparation methods for each and I promise no one will leave our classes hungry. If we have time, I’ll show you some chowder, soup and gumbo recipes too.”
Emmy and I looked through our packets of information and both zeroed in on the Tuna page.
“I’d be in heaven if she shares the exact recipe she uses at her restaurant for the Mesquite Grilled Yellow Fin Tuna with Wasabi,” I said, “it’s my favorite menu item there!”
“Oh wow me too!” She exclaimed. She then leaned a little closer and whispered, “I was already thrilled to take this class and then when I found out whom the instructor was... oh WOW I couldn’t believe my good luck!”
As I turned my attention back to the class, Emmy hesitated before leaning back to her former position and I sensed her continued gaze upon me. I tried to decipher her intentions. While hoping it was adulation, I realized that was a feeling I had no right to expect from a married woman. Could it be longing… or lust? Perhaps she saw some feature in my face that simply caught her attention; I hoped that it wasn’t a grooming error. Whatever the cause of that gaze, it warmed my soul and I immensely enjoyed it. She shifted her attention back to Melanie and I stood a tiny bit prouder.
Melanie had her assistant distribute the ingredients and supplies for tonight’s dishes, then showed us the proper cooking vessels and utensils to use and all the other details needed to create the perfect dish. Melanie then showed us the idiosyncrasies of preparing each appetizer. She said, “For Oysters, I’ll show you how to inspect them, open the shells of fresh ones and serve them raw. Over 90% of the oysters I sell are raw. To cook oysters, you simply put them in a stockpot, cover them with cold water, bring to boil, then remove from heat and cool them. Your packets include recipes for Oysters Rockefeller, Oysters Mornay, Angels on Horseback and Oysters au gratin if any of you are interested.”
Melanie called everyone up to her workstation, showed us how to clean and inspect the oyster, hold it in a kitchen towel, how to hold the shucking knife, where to insert it in the shell to crack it open and how to sever the muscle holding the shell together without spilling the liquid inside, finally ‘trimming the beard’ of each oyster body. We each had three oysters to practice with at our own workstations and were invited to enjoy them following approval. Emily seemed to follow my lead and thanks to Melanie’s excellent tutelage, we both shucked our oysters quite easily and set them on the small appetizer plates, which had a bed of crushed ice on them, until inspection and approval before we consumed them .
Emmy offered me a high-five for ‘our team’ completing the task without any mistakes or accidents once we were told they were “perfect”. The ‘high five’ seemed to linger a bit – instead of a quick slap of our palms, it seemed, no it didn’t seem, there was definitely a moment where we were almost holding hands. I’ve never met anyone who didn’t instinctively know how a high five was done, in that split second, I found myself thinking of the earlier gaze, of a couple other things I either noticed or felt and began to think that, just perhaps, Emmy was starting to feel about me the same way I was coming to feel about her, yet that dread lingered since there was no hope for us due to her marriage and brought me back to earth each time.
“I’m really glad I was partnered up with you Emmy, I believe this is going to be a fun six weeks.”
“Yeah, I’m pretty sure we’ll end up having fun too, Robbie.”
The rest of our first class went well, I came to know Emmy a little better, I had the distinct impression that she was keeping a lot of emotional baggage hidden, and I had an idea it had something to do with her introductory statement to the class . I thought she was just making a joke at first, but the more I thought about it, the more certain I was that she was not happy in her home life. My inner ‘gallant knight’ was aching to come to the rescue, but I decided the best thing I could do was to just be a friend and offer her positive encouragement at every opportunity.
I told her I was a computer programmer, working indoors of course, a job necessity that made me tend toward ‘outdoor activities’ during a majority of my off time and this cooking class was a rare exception. Ordinarily a nice long bicycle ride would be my after work activity, weather permitting, and weekends I might be found distancing myself from the shackles of technology; hiking, camping, picnicking; actually anything that kept my mind off my weekday drudgery and kept me from thinking about lines of code and computer hardware.
Emily also shared a bit of her life outside the cooking class. She was an R.N. at one of the local hospitals and appreciated most of my favorite outdoor activities when she wasn’t working. I also discovered that the emotional baggage I sensed earlier was indeed a troubled marriage. I got no indication that she was waiting for or expecting it to end but she had pursued counseling in an attempt to save it, I couldn’t ascertain what felt the marriage’s chances were and I didn’t dare ask. It seemed as though she had shared with me all the information she was comfortable with at the time and my upbringing prevented me from prying. Still with every passing moment, I felt closer to her and liked her more and more.
Melanie seemed to be ‘holding court’ at her workstation with several of the students and Emmy and I wandered over to join everyone. One of the students, a guy who went by the name ‘Vito’ said, “I can’t imagine working in a restaurant like yours. I’m the line cook at ‘ Olympia ’ right now, but I want to become a serious chef someday. What’s a kitchen like in your restaurant, Melanie?”
She said, “Well it’s still fairly new so it has all state of the art appliances. I’m a real stickler for cleanliness, so once we close each night, I’ve got a two man crew that make it look like the day we opened before we begin our prep-work everyday. Being new, we also had the advantage of all the design technology available and it’s laid out to enhance productivity. I’d be happy to offer you a tour one of these days.”
Melanie checked her wristwatch and said, “As a matter of fact, I’m stopping by there on my way home from here. Vito, and actually any of you who want to, can stop by as soon as we leave and I’ll give all of you the tour.”
About half of the students expressed interest.
Emmy said, “I’d like to see it, too.”
I was somewhat interested, but undecided until that moment. Emmy looked at me with those deep amber eyes, and almost as if I had no will of my own, I said, “I’ll come too, it sounds like fun.”
Glancing out of the corner of my eye, I noticed my statement caused a big smile on Emmy’s face. I thought to myself “A girl this beautiful couldn’t possibly be lonely,” yet I had the impression there was a tremendous loneliness hiding behind that beautiful face. We gathered all our things and filed out to the parking lot and Emmy had parked near my car, giving me an opportunity to walk with her for a while.
When we got to her Midnight Blue Nissan 350ZX, she used the remote on the key to unlock her trunk and I opened and held it for her while she put her belongings inside. I then held her driver’s door while she got in behind the wheel and she said, “My, aren’t we the gentleman?”
I said, “I blame my mother for raising me that way. I find a lot of female friends who find that an admirable quality, but it sure hasn’t helped me find my Miss Right. By the way, nice car!”
She thanked me as I closed the door for her once I was certain her dress had been pulled in and went to my Black Dodge Challenger SRT8. I tossed my stuff in the passenger seat then got behind the wheel and started the car. I looked over to Emily’s car and she was sitting there, hands on the wheel and appeared to be waiting for me to move before she backed out.
I went ahead and backed out then headed toward the exit of the parking lot, headed in the general direction of Melanie’s. I drove rather slowly until I noticed Emily made it directly behind me, and then sped up to a couple miles over the limit. We made our way to Shore Drive and the block or two to Melanie’s, where I noticed a couple of our classmates milling around in front of the entrance.
I pulled into a parking space and Emmy pulled in right next to me. I got out of my car and planned to help her out of her car, but by the time I made it to her door she was just getting ready to shut it after getting out.
I said, “Do you realize if anybody saw you get out of the car before I opened the door for you, I could get kicked out of the Gentleman’s Union ?”
Emmy chuckled at the remark and said, “I’m sorry. There are so few gentlemen left in the world these days, I didn’t really expect to meet one tonight. I’ll try to remember though; I don’t want you kicked out of the union. By the way I like your car, too!”
We walked, talking and joking around with each other, to the rest of the group where a few of them greeted us my name. We all talked about the experience of the first class until Melanie pulled up in a brand new Corvette. Emily and I nodded to each other, sharing an admiration of Melanie’s sexy ride.
Instinctively, I went over to help Melanie with her door partly to show Emmy that being a gentleman was a genuine character trait of mine, not just a empty gesture and Melanie said, “Why thank you, Robert.”
I said, “You’re welcome.”
Melanie led us all up to the door and we all walked inside. Dinner service had ended and there were only a handful of straggling customers left at a couple tables in the dining room. She led us down a service hallway through the pantry pointing out the various food and supplies stored there, then down a hallway toward the kitchen, past the walk-in freezer and two huge coolers.
Vito said, “Why do you have two walk in coolers?”
Melanie said, “Each cooler has different groups of foods or perishables in it to prevent odor migration. We also keep the cooler with the seafood in it a few degrees colder.”
She led us into the kitchen where her clean up crew was already busy cleaning the stainless steel hoods over the cook stations and Melanie explained top-down cleaning works best when doing this type of cleaning, bottom-up cleaning creates messes in areas you’ve already cleaned, making you do things twice.
We spent most of the balance of the tour following the crowd and I don’t know how much of it Emmy was absorbing, but I might have just as well not even been there. The only thing on my mind was Emily. There was no doubt about it; I was developing a major crush on the girl I had only met two hours ago.
At one point in the tour, I heard Melanie say, “Anyone have any questions or is there anything else any of you would like to see?”
Everybody seemed more or less satisfied with the tour and began following Melanie out to the entrance. She said goodbye to everyone as they walked past her and out the door.
Emily and I were the very last two out the door and Emily said, “Thanks for the tour, Melanie.”
I said, “Yeah I enjoyed it, too.”
Melanie said, “Well you guys have fun. I’ll see you Thursday night.”
Emmy seemed to be walking very close to me and I was trying to think of some excuse to keep her from having to leave, but I realized I had absolutely no reason to expect that she wasn’t anxious to go home to her husband.
As we approached our cars, Emmy walked toward the drivers side of her car, but before I could get to her door to open it for her, she turned and planted her butt over the handle in an obvious tactic to prevent me from letting her into her car, so I leaned against my passenger door facing her.
I said, “I’m looking forward to class Thursday.”
Emmy said, “Yeah, me too. It’s nice getting out. If it wasn’t for my friend Jenny, I wouldn’t have taken this class.”
“Me too,” I chuckled, “well not because of Jenny but because of my friend Pam.”
“Pam, huh? Is that your girlfriend?”
“She is my best friend. We tried dating, but we didn’t have enough in common to make it work. She was the one who suggested that I try something like an evening course at the cultural center as a way to meet new people.”
“I think Jenn got tired of listening to me complain about the rut my home life has become.”
“Well, I hope this class improves your outlook on things.”
“In a way, it already has. I was pleased when you helped me with my trunk and car door. I can’t remember the last time anyone treated me like a lady. It was quite refreshing. I was quite impressed when you helped Melanie with hers as well.”
“Every woman deserves to be treated like a lady. I hate to see women mistreated, taken for granted or neglected. My chivalry is often wasted, though. It seems all the girls I meet are looking for bad boys and I’m sorry, I just can’t go against my upbringing.”
“Well, some guys apparently can. My hubby used to help me with doors, seats and my coat, but now if I waited for him to open my car door, I’ll still be sitting there. He doesn’t even compliment me any more.”
“You’re a beautiful girl, Emmy. The man lucky enough to be with you ought to treat you like a princess, showering you with compliments and helping you with doors, seat and coats at every opportunity. I wish I could find a girl like you.”
Emmy’s eyes were locked on mine, but it seemed like she were looking through them, into my very soul. She then stood up, took the two steps toward me and lightly kissed me, on my right cheek. I continued looking into her eyes hoping it might lead to more.
“I suppose should get home soon,” she lamented.
I nodded yes then moved between her and the door and opened it for her. Just before getting in, she again locked eyes with me and gave me another quick kiss, this time on the lips. She got behind the wheel of her car and said, “See you Thursday, Robbie.”
“I wouldn’t miss it for the world. Good night, Emmy.”
“Good night, and thanks again for being such a gentleman.”
“I couldn’t be anything but.”
She pulled her dress away from the door jam of the car and I gently closed the door behind her, I then put my left palm flat against her driver’s door window and she lined her right palm up with mine against the inside of the window. She started the car and I pulled my hand away. As she shifted the transmission into reverse, she gave me a little wave. I returned the wave and watched as she let out the clutch, backed up and pulled toward the entrance of the parking lot. I walked around to my driver’s door, got in and fired up the throaty sounding Hemi, backed up and drove out of the parking lot on my way home.
I was giddy with excitement all the way home. I did feel a tinge of guilt, even though I didn’t initiate the kiss, I enjoyed it very much and I knew it was wrong. I convinced myself that it was just a platonic kiss. After all, there was no embrace and neither one of us opened our lips.
I drove the rest of the way home and could not stop thinking about Emily. I pulled into my garage and made my way up to my bedroom. I didn’t think there was any chance I might sleep, but still I stripped down to my boxers and climbed between the sheets. I actually prayed I might dream about her as I drifted off.
I woke up without dreaming about the angelic Emily, but with her image firmly embedded in my mind and I knew it was going to be a long two days until I saw her again. As I showered and prepared for work, I began to wonder what was going through Emily’s mind. Was she OK with what happened? Did she feel guilty about initiating the kiss? How would things be Thursday at class? Was that kiss the end of things between us – or a beginning? I had all these questions and no answers. I began to wish she hadn’t kissed me at all, even though when it happened, it was exactly what I wanted.
I finally got ready for work, ate a bowl of mixed fruit with a glass of OJ while I watched the weather channel. The forecast was for pleasant weather so I decided to take my motorcycle to work. When it was time, I got on the FLH and fired up the big V-twin. The ride helped clear my head and the rest of my workday went fine, although when I wasn’t busy, my mind kept wandering back to Emily.
“Geez,” I thought, “I’ve never met a woman that affected me this way before. Maybe this is what they mean by love at first sight.”
As quitting time came and I was getting ready to head home, I called Pam from my cell phone.
“Hi, Sweetie,” came the answer.
“Are you busy?”
“You know I’m never too busy for you. What’s up?”
“I’ve got to talk to you about last night.”
“Oh, yeah. The class. So did you meet any girls?”
“That’s what I want to talk to you about. Feel like stopping by? I’ll order us some Chinese food or whatever you want for dinner while we talk.”
“OK, I’ll see you in about an hour, then.”
The short ride home went by quickly and it gave me plenty of time to change out of my work clothes and into some shorts and a tee shirt before Pam made it by. I heard my front door open and Pam’s voice yell, “It’s just me.”
Pam came up to me and gave me her little platonic hug and kiss then said, “So why all the suspense? I take it you did meet a girl last night.”
I said, “Yeah I did, but there’s a problem.”
“What is it?”
“I was infatuated the moment I saw her. She’s a goddess, Pam.”
“Well what could it be then?”
“She’s married. But apparently not too happily.” I went on, “Melanie Prescott from Melanie’s on the water is the instructor and when I got there, her assistant asked if I’d be willing to be the partner of another lady who also signed up alone. She led me over to her and introduced us. My heart skipped a beat, but I managed to offer my hand and say ‘i t’s a pleasure meeting you, Emily’. Pam, she is beautiful. Long dark hair, wide-set amber eyes and a body that couldn’t have been any more perfect.”
“Does all that matter? You said she’s married.”
“After class, most of the students including Emily and I went to Melanie’s at her invitation to tour the kitchen. When we finished, Emily and I were the last ones out the door and we leaned up against our cars and talked for a while. She ended up telling me how her marriage wasn’t so good anymore. I told her how I treat the women in my life and that a girl as beautiful as her should be treated like a princess. I told her that I wish I could find a girl like her. I guess acting like a gentleman and treating her as a lady had a major effect on her. She looked me deep in the eyes and kissed me – not a passionate kiss, more like the one you just gave me, but without the hug. She said she should get home and as I opened her door for her, she gave me another little kiss and said, ‘see you Thursday, Robbie’ and thanked me for being a gentleman.”
“Wow, Rob. So what are you going to do?”
I said, “Why do you think I called you up and invited you over. You got me into this predicament; I’m hoping you can help me deal with it.”
“Well, I know that your ‘inner gallant knight’ wants to rescue her from her unhappy marriage, but I know your inner gentleman won’t let you take advantage of a girl in a vulnerable situation. I think your best bet would be to simply be a good friend to her, continue treating her the way a gentleman should. I love you Robbie and I know how much it could hurt you if things didn’t work out. I’m hoping you provide the contrast between what she has and what she deserves until she realizes exactly how special you are. It may take you several attempts to find Miss Right but when you do, she’ll be the luckiest woman in the world.”
We talked about the class for a while and I showed her the paperwork we handed out for the course. I showed her the tuna recipe included in the packet.
Pam said, “That’s the same recipe they use at Melanie’s?”
“Supposedly, all the recipes in the packet are from her restaurant.”
The doorbell rang and I went to get the food while Pam looked through the rest of the packet. We sat down and stuffed ourselves with the more than abundant servings of Chinese food the Panda House delivered. Once we finished eating and cleaned up, Pam asked me if I wanted her to spend the night.
“Pam, you know I love you and honestly, the sex is great, but I still can’t have sport sex with you while I’m trying to find my Miss Right. Thanks, anyhow.”
We hugged and gave each other a little kiss before I walked Pam out to her car and helped her in. I waved as she drove away. I went back inside and watched TV until I was ready for bed.
After work the next day, I rushed home to have the extra time to get ready for the class. I showered and did all my typical grooming then put on some jeans, my boots, a nice tee shirt and got my sneakers out of the closet to take with me. I put my stuff in the saddlebags of the bike and left early enough to insure myself 10 or 15 minutes to change my shoes.
I made my way to the Center, and parked about where I had parked my car on Tuesday. I had just finished changing my shoes on the bench near the bus-loading zone and put my boots into my saddlebag when Emmy pulled up and parked next to my bike.
I went over to let her out of the car and she said, “Ooh, biker, huh?”
I said, “Not a die-hard biker, let’s say I’m a motorcycle enthusiast.”
Emmy and I looked at each other and I went on, “We’re good, right? When we were leaving Melanie’s, there was that ‘awkward moment’ just as you were leaving.”
My stomach knotted up as I awaited her response. All I know is that despite her being in a lackluster marriage, I was enthralled with Emmy and I desperately wanted even more.
She began to speak and I did my best to hold my emotions fast, not wanting to show disappointment in the event she decided we had overstepped a boundary, “I have gone over our goodbye over and over and I think that it was only awkward because you are single and I am not,” she explained, then went on, “Honestly, I WANTED to kiss you and I don’t regret doing it. But if I made you feel uncomfortable then I apologize and maybe we can switch partners or something. If that’s what you want, that is.”
Feeling a great deal of relief, my stomach knots disappeared, my apprehension and fear of her response faded away. I smiled with relief and said, “I’m so happy Emmy, I haven’t been able to get that fleeting kiss out of my mind. I have no regrets either. The only discomfort I felt was the apprehension of how you must have felt. I want to remain your partner through the balance of the course and even if it goes no further, I can be happy knowing that somehow, our souls have touched each other. I only wish there were no barriers to pursuing something that seems to have made us both happy. I know you've got your best friend, Jenny, but I also want you to know that if you ever need or want to talk, I'd be thrilled to be there for you. I don't want our only communication to be this cooking class and I don't want the end of this class to be the end of our friendship."
She looked up at me and I knew she felt the same way. I guided her inside with my hand on her lower back and under the brighter lights, I appraised her look tonight and thought to myself, “I wish I was taking her out to dinner instead of a cooking class.” Her snug black skirt and wedge shoes made her legs and butt look great and I could just barely make out the lacy bra she wore through her translucent blouse. I leaned over to tell her how beautiful she looked tonight and detected a mesmerizing scent. I don’t know if it was a perfume or perhaps just a scented shampoo or conditioner but it was stimulating. With nearly 15 minutes until class was due to start, I lowered my guard and took a chance to talk about my real feelings, the way Emmy just did.
I said, “Emmy, you look so beautiful and smell so nice tonight. I almost wish we were going out for dinner instead of learning to cook one. Is it reasonable for me to assume that, at least in part, you went through some of those preparations for me?”
Emmy said, “If I’m going to continue to be honest with you, I’ve got to admit that you made me feel really good Tuesday. You made me feel like a desirable woman for a change, you called me beautiful and I could see in your eyes you really believe that, it wasn’t just a come-on. You treated me like a lady and when you did the same for Melanie, it told me that it was the real you, that you weren’t just putting on a show for my benefit. You are the polar opposite of my husband and yeah, I was thinking of you as I prepared for class tonight. I wanted to be the woman you saw in me last time we were together.”
I said, “Emmy, you’d be beautiful and desirable regardless of how you dressed and I would treat any woman as a lady, the way I was brought up as a gentleman. The big difference is that I feel a connection with you – one I can’t quite put my finger on – but a connection, nonetheless and you’ve touched my heart. I believe you deserve a lot more than you’re getting out of life at the moment. No woman, especially one as beautiful as you with so much going for her should ever settle for less than being treated like a princess. All I can say is that I think your husband is being a fool and has no idea what he’s missing out on by not treating you the way you deserve.”
“You know, Jenn tries to tell me all those things, too. But that’s coming from a best girlfriend’s perspective. Somehow, coming from a man, no, coming from a gentleman it all seems so sincere. You barely know me, but somehow, you seem to really understand me and the things going on in my life. When I talked with Jenn yesterday, I told her all about Tuesday night and she played Devil’s advocate, making me think about the ramifications of responding to my feelings. I guess I decided you touched my heart, too. I like you Robbie, I like you a lot and I wish my life wasn’t so complicated but somehow, I want to hang on to what we found in each other. I don’t want this friendship to end when this class ends, either.”
The rest of the class was now in their places and Melanie walked in, stopped at our workstation a moment, and said, “Hi, you guys.” Emmy and I both chuckled, I think realizing the phrase had a special connotation for us. She went on, “Tonight, we’re going to finish the appetizer unit of the course, shrimp, scallops and crab legs. Can I ask you two something?”
Emmy, thinking certain it was course related, said, “Sure, Melanie.”
I nodded in agreement.
Melanie said, “I might be wrong, but I can’t help but think that I’m sensing a little something between you two. I know it must be complicated but I just want to say, you guys look like you belong together. I’m happy you got more out of the course than a couple recipes and cooking tips.”
I don’t know if I was blushing, but I do know Emmy was as she said, “We are becoming very good friends – but you’re right, it’s complicated. I do hope Robbie and I are still friends long after this course ends. He’s the first guy to act like a gentleman toward me in ages.”
Melanie said, “I think he is a rare find, too. I was shocked when he opened MY door for me the other night!”
I added, “It’s the way I was brought up, Melanie and I’ve got to agree with Emmy, I don’t want to see this friendship end when the course ends. She’s a very special girl.”
Melanie smiled and I could have sworn I saw Melanie ‘wink’ at Emmy. The class started and Melanie’s assistant once again distributed the supplies for tonight’s class from a big roll-around cart. We learned how to prepare the food covered in tonight’s lesson, then Emmy and I took our time cleaning up after ourselves at the end of the class. I’m not sure what Emmy’s motive was, but I wanted to make our time together last as long as possible.
We finally finished and walked toward the parking lot.
Emmy said, “Would you like to talk a bit or do you have to go? By the way, did you forget your glasses tonight?”
“Nope, I didn’t want to look quite so much like a nerd tonight. I hate putting them in, but I’m wearing my contacts tonight. Been thinking about Lasik surgery, but I’m still a little concerned – these are the only eyes I’ve got!”
“Well, I can tell you from a medical standpoint, it’s safe and has a very high success rate. You’re still handsome with or without them.”
“Thanks, actually, I’d love to spend some more time with you before I head home. I haven’t got a car to lean on tonight, how about we sit here on the park bench?”
We took a seat on the bench and I said, “Was it my imagination or did Melanie wink at you earlier after she talked with us just before beginning the class? What do you suppose that was all about?”
Emmy said, “Yeah, she did and it wasn’t the first time. She winked at me when she was saying good bye to us at the restaurant the other evening, too. I think she might have caught on to our flirting before either of us did.”
“I admit I’ve been flirting with you, is that what you’ve been doing with me, too?”
“Yeah, but I’m not entirely sure why. I know I enjoy flirting with you and that I love the way you flirting back makes me feel, but I’m not sure what might come next. Fourteen months of couples counseling hasn’t made things any better at home, I’m just not sure what the future holds, but whether or not things work out with my marriage, I know I never want this friendship to end.”
“Well, I’d be sad for you if things don’t work out, but I pledge to remain friends with you through whatever happens and if you decide your marriage has run it’s natural course, I’d be overjoyed if we explored the idea of seeing where our friendship might go. I’ve been looking for Miss Right for a long time and if she was just half as beautiful as you and had only a fraction of your personality, I’d be thrilled.”
“I wish we could talk outside these circumstances. It would be nice if we could have lunch or dinner outside of class. Spend some time really getting to know each other. We’d have to be careful if we got together around here, though. My husband is a fairly well known guy because of his business connections."
“I’d be happy just talking with you on the phone, and I’m sure at some point we could figure out a way to enjoy a lunch or dinner together with out getting in trouble.”
Emmy pulled a tiny spiral notebook out of her purse and wrote down her cell phone number and her private email address on a piece of paper. I looked at it and said, “It’s safe to send you messages or call your cell phone?”
“Luckily, my husband is so uninterested, he never looks at my cell phone and I’m the one that takes care of bills, so he’ll never notice a strange number pop up on the invoice. The email account is one I set up for myself and he doesn’t even know it exists, so there’s no chance he could hack into it. So I’d say they are both safe to contact me through.”
I took the piece of paper and put it in my wallet, retrieved a business card that contained all my contact information, my address, my email, my house and cell phone numbers along with my work phone and email address. I said, “There is no one to scrutinize any of my mail, phone calls or email, so feel free to contact me anytime you like. A phone call or email from you could only be eclipsed by a personal visit from you. She looked at the card and smiled.
“My Lord do you have a lot of accounts! Are you sure that you can fit me into your busy schedule?” She hit me playfully on the arm as chortled at the joke. Continuing to read all the printing on the card, she added, “ Riverside Drive, huh? I know where that is. Maybe you’ll get that personal visit some day!”
I said, “You’ve got no idea how much that would thrill me."
We continued talking there on the park bench and when we saw Melanie’s ‘Vette leave the parking lot, Emmy said, “As much as I hate to go home, I suppose I should probably get going.”
I stood up and offered Emmy both hands to help her stand. She pulled herself up from her seated position to a spot standing directly in front of me, gave me another little kiss on the lips, and said, “Thanks, Robbie. I haven’t been treated this way in years!”
I said, “That’s too bad. I don’t get it – your husband is a guy who managed to get a beautiful woman to be with him that he doesn’t even come close to treating the way she deserves and here I am longing to find a woman I can treat that way and all I can find are girls looking for guys more like your husband. I guess it’s true, good guys finish last.”
A moment later, Emmy’s arms were around my neck, she pressed her body up tight against mine and we kissed – passionately. I put my arms around her, placing my hands on her lower back pulling her close to me in the hopes it might keep her from backing away quickly. The kiss went on long enough for me to sense the beginnings of my arousal and thank goodness, it stopped before Emmy noticed it or so I hoped.
As we pulled away from each other, we both said, “Wow” simultaneously.
Emmy said, “I better go home before I decide I don’t want to at all.”
I said, “Probably so. You are an amazing woman, Emmy. I haven’t shared a kiss like that in ages – did you hear the music, too?”
She nodded and said, “I haven’t been kissed like that in ages myself. I forgot what true passion feels like.”
I walked Emmy over to her car and opened her door for her, but before she got in, I saw that look in her eyes again. Once again, we embraced in a long, passionate kiss. With our bodies pressed against each other’s, there was no way she didn’t feel my state of arousal. As we pulled away, I noticed she now had nipples that were hard enough to be apparent through the lacy bra and sheer blouse she wore tonight. She quickly sat down in her car and just before I closed her door, she asked, “Would I be able to call you Saturday afternoon to talk? In all likelihood, hubby will be somewhere, off with friends.”
I said, “Of course. For you, Emmy, I’ll take a call anytime. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week – even at work. I don’t have any immediate supervisors. I may not be able to talk for extended periods at work, but five or ten minutes would be no problem.”
She smiled broadly and said, “I’ll talk to you Saturday sometime then. I don’t want to wait until next Tuesday to talk with you again.”
I said, “I’d just as soon not wait that long to talk to you too, Emmy.”
I leaned down and gave her a little kiss on the lips and said, “Talk to you soon?”
She said, “Count on it!”
She started up her car and backed out of her spot. I got to thinking that I was so happy, I didn’t even bother putting my boots on before climbing on my bike, firing it up and heading home. I put the bike away and went inside. A quick glance at my answering machine let me know I had new messages. I checked the caller ID first and the only call received was from Pam and it had only been a few minutes earlier.
I dialed her number and she answered on the first ring, “Hi Rob. I figured you would have gotten home before now.”
I said, “I stayed after class talking with my new friend.”
“The ‘girl’ you told me about?”
“Yep, Pam, she’s amazing!"
“It sounds like you got another kiss.”
I said, “A few of them as a matter of fact – two of them so passionate, I started to become aroused, one of them gave me evidence she was becoming aroused, too. The last one was a quick peck on the lips as she got ready to pull away.”
“What are you going to do about her being married?"
“She’s been in couple’s therapy for 14 months now and claims her marriage is no better than when she started it, so it’s not much of a marriage. That fool has no idea what an amazing girl he married. To answer your question, I’m going to try to respect whatever boundaries she puts up and be a good friend and gentleman to her.”
“If you’ve been kissing the way you say, I’d say boundaries are rapidly falling away as we speak. You won’t have any trouble being a gentleman or a good friend; both traits come naturally to you.”
“She gave me her phone number and email address, too. I gave her one of my cards with all my information on it. We told each other we didn’t want to wait until next Tuesday night to talk to each other.”
“That’s all great, Baby, but be careful, OK? I don’t want to see you get hurt.”
“I don’t want to get hurt either, but I have a feeling this won’t end up that way.”
Pam and I talked a bit longer before hanging up.
I went to bed and fell asleep quickly. The rude beep-beep of my alarm clock woke me with a start and disappointed by a lack of a dream including my beautiful Emmy, I lay there for a moment before realizing the morning wood I woke up never looked quite so impressive before. I convinced myself; it was a result of my desire for Emmy and stroked it a few times with my eyes closed, recalling Emmy’s image in my mind. I then got up and stumbled into the bathroom where I completed my morning routine.
As I ate my typical breakfast, I did a bit of daydreaming.
“Friday,” I thought. “Eight more hours of work and I’ve got two days in a row off. It would be so great if I could whisk Emmy away and spend the weekend in scenery as beautiful as she is.” I took what most likely was a risk and picked up my cell phone to send Emmy a text message. I wrote, ‘I don’t think I can wait until tomorrow to talk with you, Em. Would it be safe to call you around dinnertime tonight ( 6ish )? Have a great day and think of me, I know I’ll be thinking of you! I also want to thank you for everything – you’ve lifted me to a better place. Rob ’.
I wished I could talk to her, but I didn’t dare take a chance calling her number until I found out more about her hubby’s schedule and habits. I secured the house and took off for work. About half way there, I got an incoming text message alert. I pulled into the convenience store on the next corner. I pulled the phone out and opened the message. I smiled when I saw it was from Emmy. She wrote, ‘Sixish is fine. I didn’t want to wait until tomorrow either. xoxox’
I was smiling as I put the phone back in my pocket. I finished my drive to work, feeling happy. The anticipation of the phone call with Emmy made time drag by and I had trouble concentrating on my job. As my quitting time approached, I cleaned up my workstation and straightened out my desk, satisfied that I gave the company eight hours worth of my time, even though I had to bust my ass a bit to make up for the time I spent daydreaming about Emily.
I stopped on the way home to get a few groceries since I had no intention of going out tonight. Until now, my typical Friday night routine involved eating out, ordinarily at a sports bar hoping I might meet a girl, but with Emmy in my life, I didn’t have the inclination to look for other girls. Deep inside, I was hoping that her marriage was over and I might just happen to be the gallant knight she hopes will rescue her, the damsel in distress.
I fixed myself a nice Reuben sandwich and put it on a plate with a handful of chips and a pickle spear, grabbed myself a glass of grapefruit juice and headed out to the lanai to eat. It was going on six o’clock and I was trying to think of things I could do to kill the next few minutes. As soon as the display on my clock changed from 5:59 to 6:00 , I pressed the talk button to Emmy’s number, which I had selected on my contacts list probably five minutes earlier. One ring, two rings, I began to wonder if she was going to… three then four rings… or even could answer. Five rings, what if her hubby answered?
Six rings, “Hi, Rob.”
“Hi, Emmy. I was starting to worry you might not answer!”
“Actually, I was on my house phone with a girlfriend. It took me a minute to get her to say goodbye. I’m so happy to hear your voice.”
“Me too. I can’t begin to tell you how much you’ve done for my life, Emmy.”
“You know I almost stopped by your work today I was so anxious to see you and talk to you. But I got to thinking there was a chance someone you work with might know me or my hubby.”
I said, “It’s best to be safe. As much as wish I could be the man in your life, the last thing in the world I want is to cause you any problems in your life. I’ve got to be honest with you, Emmy, I could easily fall madly in love with you – there’s a good chance I already am. But I also have the utmost respect for your efforts at preserving your marriage. I’ll gladly back off and just be a friend if that’s all I’ve got to look forward to.”
“Understandably, I’m confused, Rob. I think it’s obvious I want you as much as I know you want me. Frankly, I’m surprised I’m still in a marriage. There’s no love and practically no sex, and if there is, it is without passion or an emotional attachment. At this point I think the marriage has run its natural course, but I’m not sure enough to break my vows. They don’t mean much now, but I took them very seriously when I made them.”
“Like I said, I’m willing to just be friends until you’re certain, but you’re right, Emmy. I want you more than I’ve ever wanted another woman. It’s probably a good thing I’m a gentleman.”
“I would have never kissed you if I wasn’t sure of that,” she said in her sultry voice. “So Rob.... I have a confession to make.”
“What's that Emmy? You can tell me anything.”
“Well, umm, I don’t know how to say this but... I’ve been having dreams about you, and not just fun dreams of us going on your bike or cooking but ahhh... well... sexually charged, lusty dreams.”
I confessed, “I've been going to bed wishing I might have similar dreams about you, too Em. You’re in my mind all my waking hours, I keep praying I'll wake up remembering an erotic dream about you.”
“Awwwww Robbie, you have? I had a vivid one last night... would you mind if I shared it with you?
“No, not at all. Maybe it will make me have one about you, too!”
She started, “Well this one started like they usually do...”
To be continued…