The ringing phone interrupted her train of thought as she reached out and snatched the receiver off the hook.
“Hello?” She wedged the phone into the crook of her neck, freeing her hands to once again dance over the keyboard of her laptop.
“Hey, it’s me. I heard a rumor that you were thinking of making fried okra for the BBQ tomorrow. If it’s true I’ll email you a rockin’ recipe and worship you forever.”
“Hmmm, that sounds like an offer I might not be able to refuse. I actually was thinking of making fried okra. My only issue is that I’ll have to cook it up at the BBQ instead of making it ahead and just bringing it. I don’t want to be stuck in the kitchen all day making it.”
“I really don’t think you’re going to have too many takers so I’d think one or two batches would be enough. The kitchen at Dean and Laura’s is awesome. They’ll have a big enough skillet for you to cook up two huge batches. Come on….I love fried okra.”
“Okay. If you hook me up with a recipe, I’ll hook up the fried okra.”
“Yes! You rock. I’ll call my mom for the recipe and email it to you. What’s your email address?”
“Uh, can you send it to my business addy?”
“Hey, Kelly says she already has your email. What’s that? Okay. Hey, she says she’s got your personal email. You want me to send it to your business email?”
“Yeah. Send it there, I’m working on a project right now on my laptop and it’s just a smidge easier to check my business account. Saves me the hassel of logging in to my Yahoo! account.”
“You got it. Oh, man! I can’t wait. It’s the Okie in me. So, see you tomorrow at three?”
“You got it. Say ‘Hi’ to my sister for me, Nate.”
“Hey, sure thing. Catch you later.”
“Yeah. Later.” She reached out, set the phone back on the base and continued working on the project proposal open in front of her. Half an hour later her laptop chimed, indicating a new email and the desktop alert popped up showing the email from Nate with the fried okra recipe.
Hey Dana- Fuck, hope I can find some okra.
My mom says she can't find okra consistently in the metro area, but I'm sure I've seen it around, even at Safeway in downtown I think...anyway, assuming you can find some here are her tips:
*okra cooks down big time, so get more than you think you need and pile that shit up in the frying pan, it will reduce at least 1/3 volume. Always chop off the tops of the okra to begin, and slice in med. circles
*use 1/2 flour and 1/2 cornmeal(if a whole box of cornmeal is pricey, a box of Jiffy cornbread mix will do) for the breading, no other moisture is needed because the okra is pretty slimy stuff when you start to chop it up. Lots of salt and pepper added to the mix. Use a big bowl or plastic bag to mix okra and breading
*use a combo of both butter and oil, they balance each other out as far as greasiness and flavor
*you don't need to totally submerge the okra when frying, treat them like hash browns by letting them fry a bit before stirring them up, but it takes longer than you think to keep turning them until they are all crispy over med. to high temp.
*then some serious paper towels to soak up all the yummy grease, have a red beer and enjoy the white trash(southern) delicacy.
Hope this is not overwhelming, let me know if you need any more info.....
She saved her project proposal and clicked the Firefox quick launch button, opening her internet browser. Fingers flying over the keyboard she quickly located the website for a high end grocery store in the next town over. A couple clicks of the mouse and she had the phone number for the store. Grabbing her cell phone off the table she muted the song playing on it and dialed the number. After wading through the automated menu she finally reached a real live person.
“Thank you for calling Bel Air Market. This is Michael. How can I help you?”
“Hi Michael. I’m on a mission and I’m looking for okra. Can you tell me if you have any in stock right now?”
“Well, I know we just received a load earlier last week and we had some on that load. If you can hold on I’d be happy to go see if there’s any still available.”
“Oh, great. That would be fantastic, Michael. I appreciate it since I’m coming from Windsor . I’m making a special trip just for the okra and it’d be nice to know you’ve got some before I make the trip.”
“Sure, hold on. I’ll be right back.”
“Thanks.” The line clicked and sappy instrumentals of classic rock songs flooded the line. He was gone less than a minute.
“Hi. I’m still here.”
“Okay. Yeah, we still have some okra available.”
“How much do you have? I’ve got 13 people so I need a pretty good amount.”
“There’s still a small basket left out on the floor.”
“Okay. Thanks, Michael. What time do you close?”
“All right. I’ll be down before then. Thanks again.”
“Hey, no problem.”
“Bye, Michael.” Her finger found the END button on the side of her phone, disconnecting the call. She worked for another half an hour before saving the file and closing it down. She pulled the rubber band out of her hair and pulled the brush through it and decided she needed to brush her teeth. When she was done she slipped her shoes on, grabbed her purse and her phone and headed out the door.
It took about ten minutes to make the drive to the Bel Air market from her house. The parking lot was almost empty because most of the people were already where they wanted to be on a Friday night. She locked the car and walked quickly from the dark parking lot into the bright store.
The automatic doors whooshed open with a stiff draft of stale air, blowing her hair back from her face as she entered the store. Going past the line of shopping carts and soda cases she turned left, heading for the middle of the store. When she reached the natural foods section she turned right and walked down the aisles of organic products until she reached the deserted produce section.
She walked up and down the main aisle twice before spotting the basket that contained the okra. Giving a quick sigh of relief she saw immediately that the “small” basket the produce guy had mentioned was more than enough for her needs. Reaching up she ripped a clear plastic bag off the roll and began stuffing handfuls of okra into the bag until it was almost half full. Giving the bag a spin she wrapped it around her hand, making it easier to carry. Before heading to the checkout she wandered the store searching for corn meal and tea bags.
The tea was easy to locate near the coffee section. The corn meal took a bit of searching. She found some in the baking section but it wasn’t plain corn meal. Heading back to the aisles at the rear of the store she noticed an employee pushing a cart out of the doors from the dim store room. It barely registered because she was on a mission to locate the last item on her list. Finally she located a section labeled ‘Mexican’ and found what she wanted. Hefting the bag she turned and made her way down the main aisle.
“So, you’re the one who called about the okra.” Dana stopped. Before her was the man she had seen coming out of the store room pushing a cart. She smiled at him, noticing at once his deep brown eyes and smooth olive skin. Mmm, would you look at that! But no, I’m only here for the groceries. I need to get home and finish that proposal.
He was dressed in the standard issue grocery store uniform, in this case, deep red polo shirt, black slacks and a black apron with the store’s logo on the front in red. He leaned his arms down onto the handle of the cart, resting against it. His shirt looked to be a size too small, hugging his well built biceps. The rest of him was hidden behind his apron.
“Yeah, that was me.” He looked at her and she watched as his eyes slowly lowered themselves from her face, lingering on her breasts before returning her gaze.
“Did you have a hard time finding okra? Is that why you called?”
“Actually, no. I called here first and you had it but my brother-in-law called me requesting the fried okra. See, we have our family BBQ tomorrow, our theme is Elvis and southern food and I mentioned to my sister that I might do fried okra. She said something to her husband and he called me begging me to make it. He told me that if I wanted to make it he’d email me a recipe so I agreed. His email mentioned that his mom has trouble finding okra so I figured I’d call around and make sure it was available before going to the store.” The words tumbled out quickly. Talking to him made her nervous.
“Was there enough?”
“Yes. Thank you.” She held up the bag, showing him.
“Is there anything else I can help you with tonight?” His voice carried a suggestive tone and his eyes traveled again to her breasts. She felt her cheeks flush, not used to having a gorgeous guy come on to her. She knew she wasn’t ugly but she was a total geek right down to her glasses, preferring time spent in virtual friendships comfortably anonymous behind the veil of the internet. You could be anyone and anything you wanted to be in that virtual world. She’d spent her share of time engaging in cyber sex and as satisfying as it was for a techno-geek, it always fell just shy of the real thing.
In the end, she chickened out.
“Uh, I…What I mean to say is, um, I’ve got everything I came for. Thanks for your help, Michael.” He stood between her and the aisle to the front of the store where the checkout counters were. The produce cart he was using took up most of the space around the aisle and she had to squeeze close to him to get past. He watched her as she approached, eyes gleaming, knowing she’d have to get within inches of him.
She let her breath out and held it as she slid by him, doing her best to keep from brushing up against him, although he wasn’t making it easy. He leaned her way as she went past him, fingertips lightly trailing along her arm.
“Thanks for shopping at Bel Air. I’m always here when you need something. You just have to ask.” He straightened up and pushed the cart forward, heading into the stock room at the back of the store.
Feeling lightheaded from holding her breath, she finally allowed herself a deep inhale. Her head filled with the light musky scent of him. Unable to stop herself, she turned and watched him walk away, trembling slightly from his touch. Damn! It’s a shame he has to hide that body under his apron.
From behind she was able to really check him out. His broad shoulders tapered down to a slim waist, too-small shirt stretched tight against his strong form. Tight black pants hugged his ass and thighs. She couldn’t take her eyes off his ass as he pushed the heavy cart. She was still staring after him when he turned around quickly, catching her looking at him. He smiled and winked at her.
Her face burned crimson hot and she spun on her heel, making for the checkout counters as quickly as possible. Embarrassment and excitement made it impossible for her to meet the checker’s eyes. She mumbled a few responses to his polite questions before hastily grabbing her grocery bag and making for the exit.
The doors made their familiar whoosh as she exited into the cool dark night. The cloak of darkness calmed her madly beating heart as she regained control of her emotions. As she was unlocking her car door her cell phone chimed with an incoming call. Glancing at the screen she saw it was her sister.
“Hey! What’s up?”
“Hi Dana. I tried calling you at home but you didn’t answer so I thought you might still be out shopping. You wouldn’t happen to still be at the grocery store would you?”
“Actually I just checked out but I haven’t left yet. Why? What’s up?”
“Well, Nate was going to do cilantro butter corn on the grill tomorrow but our grocery store didn’t have any corn with the husks still on. Any chance you could see if Bel Air’s got any?”
Dana’s heart resumed its pounding. She didn’t have any reason why she couldn’t look for the corn but it meant she’d have to go back into the store, specifically to the produce section. She briefly considered going to a different store but most of them were already closed.
“Dana? Are you still there?”
“Uh, yeah. Sorry, I’m a little distracted. I can go in and check for you. How many do you need?”
“If they have enough, get me fifteen ears.”
“Okay. See you tomorrow.”
“Bye.” Dana slid the faceplate of her phone down, disconnecting the call. She was breathing hard, butterflies swooping in her stomach. Fuck it! It’s just a little harmless flirting. You’re cool.
Sliding her phone into her pocket she strode back over to the brightly lit store. For the third time stale air greeted her at the entrance. The store seemed deserted. Even the checkout counters were empty. She quickly made her way back to the produce section, passing no one.
The produce section was just as empty as the rest of the store. She relaxed a bit, thinking maybe everyone but a checker or two had already gone home. Including him? Too bad.
She was surprised to find that she had been anticipating seeing him again, flirting back with him. She strolled up the aisle until she came to the bin that held the corn. Here too, the ears had all been husked. She picked one up absently, her mind working. Tossing it back on the pile she headed toward the back of the store where the stock room was. Where he had disappeared earlier.
She paused at the entrance trying to look beyond the thick strips of clear plastic that covered the doorway between the store and the stock room but it was impossible to see anything. She pushed a couple of the strips aside and walked into the back room. It was cooler here and dim.
“Hello? Michael? Is anyone back here?” It was quiet.
“Hello?” she called again.
He came around the corner, wiping his hands on the bottom of his apron, stopping short when he recognized her.
“So, you came back. Did you think of something else I can help you with?” He smiled slyly at her.
“Actually, I did.”
“Yeah? So what do you want from me?” He reached behind him, untying the strings of his apron so he could remove it. She watched him, unable to stop herself from thinking about how she’d like to watch him remove his shirt too, although she liked the way it clung to his chest.
“I’m wondering if you have any ears of corn with the husks still on them?” He came closer, closing the distance between them. She shivered a bit in the cool air of the stock room.
“Cold?” He asked, gazing at the peaks her hard nipples made against the tight fabric of her t-shirt.
She flushed. “Yeah, a little.”
“How many ears do you need?”
“Fifteen, if you have that many.” He reached out, taking her hand. It was warm and made her realize how cold her own hands had gotten.
“Come on. Let’s go see what I’ve got for you back here.” She let him guide her deeper into the stock room. He glanced back over his shoulder at her.
“What’s your name?”
“Well, Dana. It’s a pleasure to actually meet you. Now, let’s see. Where are those boxes? Ah, here.” He stopped in front of a large metal rack on wheels stacked with boxes of corn.
“You start picking out the ones you want. I’ll go get you some bags.” He whipped the top off the box and set it down by her feet leaving her alone. She could see small bits of ice clinging to the spaces between the ears.
She knelt down and began going through to ears, picking the ones she liked. He came back quickly with the bags. Shaking one open he held it out her way.
“Just slide the ones you want in here.” She looked up at him. He was holding the bag in such a way that she wouldn’t be able to put the corn into it without sliding it against his crotch. Excitement burst deep in her belly and shot through her body, giving her a false sense of warmth in the cold air.
His boldness gave her a feeling of confidence she didn’t usually have around men. She decided to go with it, play along. It beat the heck out of fingering herself to climax in the cold light of her computer screen.
She picked up the first ear of corn, gripping the end of it and reached out toward him. She hesitated, ear of corn poised over the top of the bag and looked up at him. His eyes blazed in the dim light.
“Go ahead, Dana. Slide it into the bag,” he said in a low voice. She slid the first ear lightly into the bag hearing him draw in his breath. Without looking away from his face she reached out and grabbed the second ear and slid that one in too, putting a little more pressure on it. His lips parted slightly on his inhale. By the third ear she could feel where he was hard and guided the corn against the length of him. He closed his eyes against the sensation. She slid the fourth piece in, filling the bag.
She reached out, taking the full bag from him and setting it down on the cement floor. He quickly opened a second bag, breathing hard, waiting. The fifth piece when in, the sixth. His chest was rising rapidly and he moaned quietly, pressing his hips forward to increase the pressure. She finished filling the bag and reached up to take it from his grip. When she moved the bag away to set it down, she took in the outline of his hard cock against the tight fabric of his slacks. Without even thinking about it, she laid her palm against the base of his cock and stroked up against the whole length of him.
He made a sound in the back of his throat, his head tilting all the way back while she kept stroking him through his pants. Looking back down at her, he reached out and grasped her wrist, pulling her up.
“Come here. I want to kiss you.” She let him draw her up, sliding her body against him, excited beyond anything she’d ever experienced before. He slid his left hand into her hair, fingers resting lightly against the back of her neck while his right hand slid around over her ass. He pulled her to him so he could kiss her, grasping her ass and rocking her against him.
His lips were soft and warm against hers. He ran his tongue lightly along her bottom lip before pressing his lips against hers again. She opened her mouth and felt his tongue slide in, meet hers before retreating. He tilted her chin up, kissing her throat, still pulling her against him. He kissed her mouth again, increasing the speed and pressure of his cock against her, knowing exactly where she needed it. Her excitement mounted quickly. She broke his kiss and clung to him, only able to focus on the feel of his cock. Her breath streamed hot against his ear as she approached climax.
He suddenly slowed his movement down.
“Don’t come yet, Dana. Hold it,” he urged. “I promise if you wait it’ll be worth it.” He rocked her slowly, trying to help her back from the edge. It took her entire will not to come but she held off.
“Perfect.” He kissed her again, brushing his thumbs over her nipples through her shirt.
“Come on.” Taking her hand he guided her around the corner into the back of the stock room. In the back corner, twenty pound fabric bags of rice and flour were stacked like pillows on the floor. He led her to the three foot high stack, indicating that she should sit on the edge.
Kneeling before her, he lifted the bottom of her t-shirt and began kissing her bare stomach. She reached her hands out, tangling them in his thick dark hair. His fingers found the button on her pants and slipped the metal button from its hole before slowly tugging the zipper down. Taking the free corners of her pants he pulled the two sides apart before leaning in to kiss her right above the low waistband of her panties. She was breathing hard still feeling close to the edge.
He reached his hands around to the back of her pants, gripping the waistband on either side and pulling down. She lifted her hips allowing him to get her pants clear of her ass and slide them off. Folding them neatly, he laid them off to the side. He laid his right palm against her bare belly and pushed gently against her. She lay back against the soft sacks of rice and flour. He rubbed his thumb against her clit. The silky material of her panties slid easily.
“You’re so wet.” He kept stroking her slowly through her damp panties listening to her soft cries of pleasure. She began shuddering with each stroke, just managing to hold off her climax, not wanting the feeling to end. He backed off, letting her come back from the edge again, simply kissing her trembling thighs until her breathing slowed just a bit.
When he felt she was in control again he went back in. This time he slid his left finger between the fabric of her panties and her skin near her hip bone, peeling them back as his finger moved down her leg to the right, baring her. His right hand came up and rested against her left thigh, pushing lightly, spreading her legs farther apart. He waited like that, letting her anticipation mount.
She lifted her head from the sack of flour it rested on, looking at him, eyes burning, face flushed hot.
“Please…” she begged him. Her back arched off the sacks when his tongue found her. He started off slowly, working from bottom to top before focusing in. He listened as her cries got louder, wilder, more urgent, waiting for just the right moment. When the moment came, he slid two long fingers inside while his tongue continued gliding against her clit. Her orgasm was immediate and strong, pulling his fingers farther inside. He pushed up against her, using her own contractions to find her g-spot, letting her come all over his hand and face.
Her whole body was still pulsing slightly as he let his fingers slip out. Rising up he leaned his own body between her legs supporting himself above her with his arms. Bending his elbows in a half push-up he leaned down to kiss her. She tasted herself on him and knew she wasn’t done.
She reached for the shiny brass buckle of his pants, fingertips just grazing it, arms not quite long enough to reach. Managing to hook two fingers into his waistband she pulled him close enough to get his belt and pants unbuttoned. He tugged the zipper down for her, pushing his pants off his hips. Excitement flared hotly again when she saw that he didn’t have any underwear on under his slacks.
He stopped kissing her long enough to roll her onto her stomach. Her tip toes touching the floor she lay with her cheek against the fabric sacks, bent at the waist. He grasped her hips with his hands, pulling himself into her. He pulled back slowly enjoying the feel of her tight against him before pushing back in. He tried to keep his pace slow but she felt so good that he found himself moving faster, pushing harder, using his grip on her to pull himself even deeper.
He could hear her breathing speed up in time with his own. She started thrusting back against him, driving him all the way in, pushing him closer. He fought to hold back the rising tide, slowing a little, wanting more.
She looked back at him over her shoulder, eyes glazed with the intensity of the moment and whispered, “Oh, God…I’m going to come again. Don’t stop, please don’t stop. You feel so good.”
He groaned, closing his eyes, unable to hold himself back anymore. He came so hard he had to bend and lay his chest against her back to keep from falling to the floor when his knees gave out. When he was done, he continued lying on her, slowing pushing himself back and forth, feeling her own orgasm slowly release her from its powerful grip.
They lay still for a moment, quiet. Finally she let out a low whistle.
“Wow,” was all she could say. He slipped out of her and got up off her. Reaching out, he helped her up, turning her toward him so he could kiss her softly. After handing her her pants so she could get dressed, he pulled up his own slacks and fastened them. When she was dressed he pulled her against him again.
“Wow is right,” he said back between kisses. “I’d like to see you again. Soon.”
She gave him her phone number before kissing him one last time and leaving the store. She was pulling into her driveway before she realized that she’d completely forgotten to bring the corn home.
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