The Park

I've been back at work for a month now, and I still haven't learned to like running in the early morning. When I was working from home, I would run at around eight a.m. Six is just too early for my body to be fully functioning, and although this is a peaceful neighborhood, I'm still a woman running alone. By eight there were always others around. People walking, biking, or running like me.

I wish I could get another dog. An active one who would run with me. I'd feel a lot more comfortable. But I can't keep a dog when I'm out of the house for nine or ten hours at a time.

That gives me an idea, though. There are probably a few people at the dog park, even as early as this, and maybe I can get my canine fix. I'll need to run a little farther than usual, but I should still make it back in time to shower and head to work.

When I jog through the gate of the dog park I'm regretting my decision. I'd misjudged the distance, and it has taken longer to reach here than I expected. I'm winded, so I won't be running back as fast as I ran here. Although I guess it isn't really going to matter if I'm a little late to work. The office is still chaotic, with only vaccinated employees expected to return full time. So now that I'm here I'm going to say hi to a pup or two.

It must be large breed day today. There's a golden retriever who looks like he could use some exercise, a standard poodle and a husky with an especially dark forehead and dark bandit mask.

I make my way toward the husky. Actually, I make my way toward the guy sitting on a bench throwing a ball for the dog for an introduction to the pup. I wouldn't approach a strange man during my run, but there are other dog owners around, and my interactions with dog owners at the park have always been positive.

Still, I don't approach too closely. Especially since I don't want the dog to think I'm at all threatening.

The man is looking up at me, politely. He seems tall and lean. His hair is dark and curly, and his eyes are dark. He has a strong jaw, shaded by stubble. He's wearing a golf shirt with a paper mask in its pocket. The shirt isn't tight on him, but there's clearly some muscle development in his chest and upper arms. Maybe he really is a golfer. In another time and a safer place I wouldn't mind studying him more closely.

His physique isn't the reason I am approaching him, though.

"That's a gorgeous husky," I say. It has turned to look at me, dropping the ball it was carrying, and its jaw is hanging open in a happy grin. Its eyes are so pale they seem to glow.

"Isn't she?" the man says.

"Would she let me pet her, do you think?" I ask.

The dog has picked up the ball again and is trotting back to the man.

"Do you mind a little dog slobber?" he asks as he has a brief tug of war with his dog before she finally relinquishes the ball.

I laugh. "Not at all."

The man tosses me the very damp ball. I catch it, making a disgusted face, turning to the husky with the ball held gingerly between thumb and forefinger. "Eww," I say, for the dog's benefit, then grin at the man to let him know it's an act.

The dog is pacing before me now, waiting for me to fling the ball away. I do so and she bounds after it, then brings it back to me. I repeat the stranger's antics, trying to pry the ball away from the dog until she finally decides that running will be more fun than hogging the ball, and lets me take it. I crouch down until I'm at her eye level and give her a few friendly doggy words, then straighten up and toss the ball for her.

"Thanks," I say. "It's been a long time since I've been able to play with a pup. What's her name?"

I glance back over at the man. Something about him seems slightly familiar, though I can't place him. "Violet," he says as the dog trots back with the ball.

I duck down again to talk to her, calling her by name this time. She seems happy about that. She takes a little less persuading to part with the ball this time. I throw it as hard as I can.

"Is this your new running time?" the man asks. "I've been wondering where you'd gone."

I do a double-take. What the... "Umm. I'm sorry, do I know you?"

"Not really," he says. He points to the cars in the nearby parking lot. There aren't many. "Mine's the red one," he says.

I stare for a moment at the red Prius before recognition dawns. I've only seen him through the windshield, never clearly, which is why I only vaguely recollect him. He's one of the few men I don't mind seeing on my morning run. Well, I didn't mind, when I was running at a reasonable hour of the day. He'd always have a smile and a friendly wave. And he always seemed to keep his eyes above my neck. There's only so much a sports bra can do to conceal 36D boobs, and most male drivers seem to think that the anonymity a windshield provides justifies staring.

"Oh yeah! I know you," I say. "Well, I recognize you, now, though I still don't know you." Violet prances back. I rub her neck, but don't try to take the ball. "I'm Linda. And yeah, I'm back at work, so I have to run in the wee hours now. And being back at work, I need to leave. I made myself late coming here."

"I'm Brad," the not-quite-stranger says. "Do you want a ride home, if you're running late?" He sees my wariness and holds up a hand. "It's fine if you don't," he says, "but Violet vouches for me." The dog glances at him when he says her name. "Don't you girl?"

Violet turns and drops the ball at his feet, then opens her jaws wide and pants. He was right to invoke her name. She's sold me on the idea that Brad is safe. Dogs are good judges of character.

"Sure," I say. "I live about two miles away, I guess. I underestimated how far the park was."

"Alright," Brad says, standing. He picks up the leash from the bench and clips it on Violet's collar. "You'll have to sit in the back, though. The passenger seat is Violet's. Unless you want to share a seatbelt with a fifty pound lap dog."

"Aww, I wouldn't mind," I say, petting Violet's neck. "She's a good puppy. But I won't take her place."

"You have a dog?" Brad asks as we head for his car.

"Had," I reply. "A black lab. I lost him last year. I used to be a regular here at the dog park."

"Oh, maybe I should pick your brain. I've never had a dog before."

'Wow," I say. He has unlocked the car, and I open the back door as he coaxes Violet into the passenger seat. "A husky is a challenging dog for a first-time owner. And you got her as an adult?"

He laughs. "In a way, yes. She's not mine. She's my sister's. Jess is catching up on travel she had to miss during the pandemic, so I'm looking after her dog for a month or so. And yeah, she's challenging. She never tires."

"Yah, that's a husky," I say. I give him directions to my place.

"So I'm serious," Brad says. "I'd like to get some advice. I know which end of a scooper-pooper is which, but that's about it."

I laugh. "I'm sure you're fine, but if you like, there's a dog-friendly cafe downtown. They have a serving window with outdoor seating. I used to take Bruce there all the time. I can meet you after my run tomorrow, if you'll give me a ride home again."

"Sure thing," he says as he pulls up at my place. He reaches across to open his glove compartment. Violet gives him a suspicious look as he takes out a business card and hands it back to me. "My cell's on there. If there's a problem, or if you change your mind, text me."

"Thanks," I say, pocketing the card, and head in for a shower.


It's a pleasant feeling to talk to a friendly guy outside the office. I don't meet many I trust as easily as I felt that I could trust Brad. I'm uneasy around strangers, and for what I believe are good reasons. Though the harassment I've suffered is generally subtle - cat calls, comments, heads turning to watch my ass as I pass - it wouldn't take much for some guys for it not to be subtle, and possibly to be dangerous.

Not to mention Philip.

I don't dislike guys. Far from it. But it has taken a while for me not to be creeped out being close to a guy. I've started dating again, but only after thoroughly vetting profiles. My own profile uses the worst photo I have of myself, with uncombed hair, reading glasses and a thick sweater. I want nothing to do with anyone who'd date me for my body. Even with careful vetting I've rarely gotten beyond a first date.

I'll be on a rare second date tonight. I don't expect it to go anywhere.


When I jog up to the coffee shop the following morning, Violet recognizes me. She stands, turns in a circle, then sits again, tongue lolling as she pants. I lean down to cuddle her neck before I even glance at Brad. He doesn't seem to mind.

"What kind of caffeine would you like?" he asks, when I finally release Violet.

"Strawberry latte macchiato, please," I say. "You probably don't even need to tell them. Just say 'Linda's usual,' and that's what you'll get."

He's wearing a paper mask. I think I detect a grin behind it. "I'll try that," he says.

He doesn't have chance. When the serving window opens, the barista sees me. "Strawberry latte macchiato, right?" she says, handing Brad the regular latte he had just ordered.

Brad answers for me. "Yeah, she said you'd know." He waits for the woman to key in my order, then waves his credit card at the reader.

When I have my berry-flavored coffee, we move to a table a few feet from the window, and Brad finally takes off his mask. "I'm vaccinated," he says. "I'm not supposed to need this now, but I don't want to make anyone nervous."

"I am too," I say, "but I have a mask in my pocket. I don't use it when I run."

The stubble is gone today, but there's a dark shadow, even though his skin looks smooth. He smiles frequently. He has a good face. I always thought he would when he smiled at me while driving, but I couldn't see him clearly enough to be sure. I'm glad he lives up to my expectation.

In a first, I did agree to a third date last night. Trent, my date's name was. Sitting across from Brad, I find myself wondering if he has a dating profile. For all I know, he might have a wife. And I don't feel that I know him well enough to probe.

"You said you lost your dog a year ago?" Brad asks.

"Yeah," I say. Thinking about Bruce doesn't exactly upset me. Not anymore. But you never completely recover from losing a beloved pet. Bruce was my world, after Philip. "He was a good dog." That's the understatement of this day, for sure.

"Have you considered getting another?" he asks.

I shake my head slowly. "I couldn't look after a dog right now," I say. "The only reason I managed the last few months of his life was because I was working from home. After the divorce, when I went back to work, I..."

I blinked. "I'm sorry," I say. "I wasn't meaning to get into personal stuff. Suffice it to say I can't leave a dog alone for ten hours a day. I'm thinking of getting a cat. Or maybe two, to keep each other company. But a cat doesn't care, as long as you keep him fed."

"True," Brad says. "Well, if you'd like to spend more time with Violet while I have her, I'd be happy to let you. She likes you."

I reach down to pet her neck. "I might do that," I say. "She's an incredible dog."

"Hah!" Brad smirks. "She is. Incredible. The Incredible."

I frown at him, wondering if his head's screwed on correctly.

"The name!" he explains. "Violet. Parr? I think? From The Incredibles." He curls his fingers around his eyes, imitating a Lone Ranger mask. "They all wear these little black masks."

I look down into Violet's pale eyes in their dark masks. "Oh... the cartoon superheroes? Is Violet the mom?"

"The teenager," he says. "Skinny, like our Violet. Also withdrawn and invisible, completely the opposite of Violet the pup. But she does have a black mask."

"Right," I say, finally understanding. I scratch her neck. "How's it feel to be an incredible dog?" I ask her.

She cocks her head to the side as she studies me, but doesn't say a word.

"If you're not working Saturday, let me pick you up and drive you to the park.Then you can throw the ball for Violet for as long as she wants to play fetch." He frowns for a moment. "Well, maybe not that long. I don't think anyone has that much stamina."

I laugh and agree to the idea. Then I take my phone, find the business card he gave me, and text "Linda" to his cell. "Now you can contact me if anything comes up," I say.

"Sounds good," Brad replies. "Is it time to take you home?"

"It is," I say. "I still need a shower."


I'm lying on the bed, with my head propped on a pillow. Brad has already removed my bra, and his face is against my belly now, sliding down. He's still wearing a shirt. I feel the cloth on my thigh as he moves. His face is at my sex. I don't remember him taking off my panties, but I'm not wearing any. I'm completely naked with a guy for the first time in years, and his tongue exploring my sex is driving me crazy.

His tongue touches my clit, and I scream. Not moan, not cry out, but scream at the lightning arcing through my body. I feel my ass lifting from the bed, my thighs twisting....

My eyes open to a dark room, but the lightning is still inside me, and before I can even begin to understand what's going on, I moan as my sex tenses, then spasms in climax. I'm not able to think clearly for a good half a minute. Then, as clarity slowly returns, I find that I'm alone, in my bed. Judging by the darkness outside the window, it has to be after midnight, and I just had the first wet dream in...

In forever? In over fifteen years, certainly. Since I was a teenager. But I'm fairly sure I didn't actually come back then. I only dreamed what it might be like.

And with Brad? What the actual... I like him well enough. He seems like a genuinely nice guy. But I've only known him for a few days, and we're not dating.

My heart rate is returning to normal, but I'm not sure I want to drift back into sleep if there's a risk of me slipping back into the same dream, so I get up and check the fridge. There's a half bottle of white wine in there that I thought I'd either drink before it's too late, or maybe use for cooking. I pour myself a half glass, take it back to bed and sip it slowly. Only when the glass is empty do I curl up to sleep.


On Saturday Brad picks me up, as arranged. I'm wearing a crappy tee and shorts, ankle socks and old tennis shoes. Even scruffier than my running outfit. Either Brad understands or he's just polite, because his manner is as casually friendly as always.

When he parks up I ask if I can take Violet's leash. I walk her into the park, then remove the leash and sit beside Brad while he throws her ball for her a few times.

"I'm going to take her to the splash pad," I say.

Brad's eyes roam my body - a first, that I recall - and even though it's because he has just figured out why I was dressed so grungily, I get a flashback of last night's dream and have to turn away, feeling my face burn.

I don't give him a chance to notice the flush, jogging away and calling to Violet, who bounds along behind me. I swear her eyes grow large when she sees that I'm taking her to water, and she leaps into the spray by the wet slabs.

Several other large dogs are splashing, with good-natured yaps. Violet joins them, pushing her way through to get from one water jet to the next.

Being a dog, of course, shaking herself dry isn't enough. She has to run over to me first, then shake the water out.

"You are going to stink of wet dog," I hear from behind me. I turn to see Brad strolling up. "You might have to ride home in the trunk. I'm not sure I want you on the seat."

His tone and his grin make his teasing clear.

Violet catches sight of Brad, zooms over and shakes herself.

"You were saying?" I ask, with a chuckle.

Brad makes an exaggerated sigh, then says, "If she ever gets bored, there's a long trail we could walk."

"Give it ten minutes and bring her ball," I suggest. "We can probably talk her into joining us."

Violet yips, then goes haring through the gathered dogs, knocking down a very bedraggled looking standard poodle. "Maybe you should get the ball now," I say. "I think she may be getting a little too hyper."

Brad nods, then jogs back to pick up the ball. He tosses it to me. I call Violet, and when I have her attention, throw it away from the splash slab. She charges after it, water droplets flying everywhere, and by the time she returns it, Brad and I have moved well away from the water.

We take it in turns to throw the ball as we stroll along the trail. In spite of the doggy interruptions, we have the chance to talk.

Brad owns a software company that has something to do with surveillance video systems. He talks a little about wifi and body cameras and chain-of-evidence communication and storage. It's interesting, but it's work, and he's only telling me about it to explain why he's free to set his own hours. With his sister out of town and his temporary adoption of Violet, he's mostly working from home.

Normally when his sister travels, she takes Violet to a doggy daycare, but that's for one to two days, tops. This trip is much longer, because she's not been able to visit customers during the pandemic, and needs to catch up. She's a consultant, and has worked steadily, but she has had to postpone in-office meetings with a number of clients. So rather than let Violet pine away in a kennel - she's active enough and sensitive enough that even her familiar daycare would be hard on her - she asked Brad if he'd be willing to take her. He decided he'd be happy to, though he was concerned about his ability to keep her entertained.


"If this is a sensitive topic, feel free not to answer," Brad says, "but you mentioned a divorce as if it was connected with your dog."

I scowl. It isn't something I like to talk about, but I also don't feel like hiding my past. "I was married for eight years," I say. "I was working part-time before the divorce. Since I had to go full-time, I was having to leave Bruce alone at home. But then the pandemic hit, and I got to stay home with him, which was good timing. Losing him while I was at home and out of touch with friends and co-workers, that sucked. But he'd had a pretty long life. I brought him into the marriage and he outlasted it. And was faithful to the end, unlike..." I sighed and shrugged.

"I'm sorry for your pain," Brad says. "The divorce and your puppy both."

His tone is so sympathetic that I find myself choking up slightly. About Bruce, of course, not Philip.

"No kids?" he asks.

I laugh sharply. "No kids," I confirm, when Brad gives me a curious look. "We'd been trying for the entire eight years. Philip insists I must be infertile. When I find he has a mistress, my lawyer decides we need to depose her for the best ammunition for court. He asks her if she has unprotected sex. She says of course she does. She isn't going to get pregnant, since Philip had a vasectomy. And it's true. He had."

"Oh, jeez," says Brad.

"Well, his lies helped me," I say. "I got to keep the house. And my dog, of course. No child support, though."

"Isn't that called gaslighting?" Brad says.

"What is?" I ask.

"Convincing you that you're the one at fault, when he knows damn well it's his doing," Brad replies.

"Oh. Maybe. Whatever, it sucked."

"Well, I hope you can find a way to get another puppy one day," Brad says.

The sympathy in his voice seems so genuine that I feel like I want to keep listening to him. Then I get another vision of him sliding down my body. I look away, my face burning again.

"What about you?" I ask, without looking up. "Married? Divorced?"

"Neither," he says. "No real reason, it just never happened. I was something of a workaholic. Now that the business is doing well I've been figuring out how to relax, but no woman could tolerate me until recently."

I want to know what "until recently" means. Just that he became more laid-back recently? Or that some woman has started to tolerate him? He didn't say he has no girlfriend, just no wife. But my face is still flushed from the flashback. I can't look up, and I don't want to ask more personal questions.

Instead, I suggest that maybe we should head home. I have my third date with Trent tonight, though I don't mention that, of course. I need to take a long bath and get ready. I have plenty of time now, but I don't want to rush the day and find myself making any stupid decisions tonight.

Violet is drying off, and so are our clothes. We're more than halfway around the trail, so we finish the walk and head back to the car.


Third Date

I'm annoyed with myself that I didn't ask Brad if he's actually single or only legally single. I'm annoyed with myself that I had a wet dream about an almost-stranger. I'm annoyed that I couldn't work through the second annoyance to resolve the first.

I'm annoyed that I'm trusting him so easily. Because of the reaction of a dog, for God's sake. I'm ignoring eight years of Philip's gaslighting - I googled the term after Brad introduced me to it - and the constant background ache of being desired merely as an amusement to Philip, and later by the ass-watchers and oglers. All because Brad has a nice face and a pleasant smile and treats me with respect.

I wanted to start a family with Philip, but I couldn't, and he made it my fault because I wasn't able to get pregnant. And I believed that into my thirties, even when I was increasingly feeling that Philip wasn't father material - until I found out that there was literal truth in that statement. Now I'm thirty-five, and dating sites are the least-worst option to find a companion who won't treat me like Philip did.

There's nothing wrong with using dating sites to find a match, but using them for that reason makes me feel pathetic.

I wonder how old Brad is. He has to be at least my age, to have accomplished as much as he has, but from his appearance, I doubt that he's over forty. It doesn't seem possible that he could be thirty-eight-ish and not have had a number of serious relationships. Maybe there have been many, and he cuts them off before the woman starts to think about commitment. Or even after. That would seem to fit my expectations of men. The feeling that Brad could be any different is suspect to the point of delusion.

I haven't felt this disappointed in myself in a long time. It's tiring, and I decide to take a nap.

I wake mid-afternoon, shower, get my doggy-dampened clothes in the wash, and dress for my date.

It's time to ease back on camouflage. Even for my second date with Trent I was wearing a bulky sweater and a heavy skirt. Tonight I'll choose a light blouse, buttoned to my collar bone, a knee-length navy skirt, pantyhose and medium heels. Silver earrings and a touch of mascara. A deeper rose lipstick than I usually wear.

Trent has only seen me with my hair tied back. Today it's loose, copper waves just below my shoulders. I was a dark blonde when I was with Philip. Changing my hair was one of the first things I did to change the way I felt about myself. The coppery red works well with my green eyes. It's a shame I have to spend so much of the time hiding it.

I take a cab to Gino's, the restaurant where I'm meeting Trent. He glances at me, then looks past me, no recognition on his face until I get close and his eyes meet mine again. The startled look on his face pleases me. If this isn't what he expected, then it's not the reason he swiped right. I smile at him, and once his shock eases, we make pleasant conversation until our table is ready.

I'm considering whether to leave room for dessert when I look up and suffer my own shock. A waitress is escorting Brad to a table.

He's with a woman.

She's blonde, about my age. Her appearance makes me feel drab. She has a sheer wrap over an off-the shoulder blouse, short skirt, and heels higher than mine. She's beautiful. And she clearly has more money to spend on clothes than I'm ever likely to see.

I duck my head to avoid Brad catching my eye, but I track where the waitress takes them, then I surreptitiously study Brad. He's smiling and happy in her presence, and she's favoring him with a radiant look.

I knew it. Now I have another reason to be irritated with myself - because I was right. Brad has a girlfriend. This is Ms. "Until Recently."

Setting my fork down, I ask Trent to take me home. He calls for the check, then asks me what's wrong. I shake my head, but say nothing. He takes my arm as we exit the restaurant, holds it as he gives a ticket to the valet, then releases me to enter the car when the valet opens the door for me.

At my house, I invite him in. He looks around the living room, complements me on its appearance, then compliments me - for the third or fourth time - on mine.

Trent looks hopeful, then excited when I lightly brush my lips over his. He seems not to believe his fortune when I lead him to my bedroom and remove his tie. I begin to unfasten my blouse, but then his fingers take over. When he's done he slides the blouse off, and I stand before him in navy skirt and bra.

I take his jacket off, folding it carefully over the back of a chair. Then his shirt. When I unfasten his pants, he bends to unlace his shoes. Once they've gone he lets his pants fall.

My skirt is next. When I take it off, I take care of my shoes and pantyhose, too. Then he kisses me, having to bend his head further to meet my lips now that the heels are history. His kiss is pleasant, not inspiring, but far from awful. I haven't had sex in two years - give or take one recent erotic dream - and the familiar but almost-forgotten feeling in the pit of my stomach is making my heart race and my breath catch.

I feel Trent's fingers exploring my bra strap. Then it comes free, the heavy plunge bra peeling away from my body, and I groan as his thumbs touch my nipples. He lowers his face to them. They become erect and sensitive beneath his lips.

I move back from Trent. Taking a condom from my nightstand I hand it to him, my eyes on his. He nods, and takes the packet.

Slipping off my panties, I climb into bed. A few moments later, Trent follows, completely hard inside the condom.

His fingers trace my sex, and his lips on my breasts make me tingle. I feel myself getting wet. I gasp as he brushes against my clit. It's swelling as it becomes sensitive, and the touch spikes my need. I haven't had a man inside me in so long, and I'm becoming desperate to feel him enter me. I take his hips and move them over my thighs, then draw him upwards until his hard shaft touches my sex.

He uses his fingers to position himself inside me. I whisper that he needs to go slow, and he nods and lets me set the pace. The familiar / unfamiliar feeling makes me pant, as if I can't breathe deeply without my breath catching and forcing an exhale.

Lifting my hips slowly I move him another inch into me, then relax and do the same again until he's all the way inside. His face is too high now to be able to kiss my breasts, but my nipples are hard and sensitive. I move my hands to them. As I pinch them my sex tenses around him and a fresh wave of arousal hits me from his cock inside me.

We begin to move, gently. His shaft remains in about the same position for a time, then begins to move further out and press further in. He seems to remember my lips and joins them in a kiss. God, it has been so long since I've felt anything like this.

Trent's tongue penetrates my mouth. I respond with mine stroking it, and press my breasts against him, trying to feel him moving against my hard nipples.

We pick up the pace. Both of us are panting. He draws far back with each stroke, then plunges into me. I part my legs wider, welcoming his thrusts, then wrap my arms around him to hold our bodies close. Even with my body held against his, my breasts bounce wildly around the side of his chest.

My bed is creaking and thumping. I don't recall that happening before. Maybe it has stiffened up in the last couple of years. Like me. Or maybe Trent's more demonstrative than Philip used to be. Whatever the reason, I have to remind myself that no one else can hear it to quell my embarrassment.

I'm starting to rise to that place of fulfillment. My arms and legs are picking up the tingling from my belly, and I groan. Trent breaks the kiss, panting. I know he's nearly there.

Suddenly his body tenses. He presses hard into me, and I feel a twitching within my sex. That's exciting, but damn, he's not moving. "Don't stop," I plead. He tries to move again, but he's lost the rhythm, and, it seems, he's lost the drive to satisfy my needs.

"God, please don't stop," I try again, but the results are lackluster. I move my hands from his back to my pussy, wedging them between our bodies, and stretch a finger to find my clit. Rubbing it quickly, I thrust against him. I still feel him inside me, which helps.

It takes the best part of a minute, and I begin to worry that he's not going to be able to stay hard. Out of nowhere I get another flashback of Brad's dream tongue on me, and suddenly I feel the unmistakable, unstoppable climb. Panting, I press my sex hard against Trent as my climax blossoms. I moan softly, my finger still on my clit, and slowly relax back down to the bed.


When Trent withdraws, I say, "That was nice."

He smiles agreement, then ties off the condom and takes it to the trash. He asks if he should stay.

Shaking my head, I tell him not this time. Let's take things slowly. But I did enjoy myself, and it has been a long time for me. I want to do it again, but I'll call him.

He smiles again, dresses, then gives me a chaste kiss on the lips. I hold the sheets covering my naked body as he turns to go.



I think about what just happened. I wanted this, and it was okay, though I'd been beyond frustrated that he wouldn't move after he'd reached his own pleasure. If this ever happened again, we'd have to find a way around it.

But if it hadn't been for Brad showing up with his girlfriend, it wouldn't have happened at all. I had already made the decision that our third date would be the last. It was part jealousy and part frustration that made me turn to Trent for relief. As soon as I asked him to take me home I knew I'd be going to bed with him. I had fully intended to. The only way it wasn't going to happen was if Trent called a halt.

But to go from this "relationship isn't going anywhere" to "I need to go to bed with him" in minutes doesn't seem fair either to myself or to Trent. The potential for a meaningful relationship didn't suddenly improve because I was frustrated. Which means that I'd really just used a pretty okay guy to sate my own need for sex.

And I'm the one always anxious about guys taking advantage of me.

And although it was nice, it wasn't earth-shattering. Maybe I didn't give him chance, keeping foreplay short, but he didn't seem adventurous. Having to finish myself off was disappointing. And that damn flashback. I'm comparing Trent to a dream. To a guy that doesn't even exist.

It takes me a long time to get to sleep.


My phone bings a little after nine. I haven't slept well. I'd put my nightdress on a little after Trent left, and it's crumpled and stretched the way it gets if I've had a restless night. I pick up the phone and have to blink several times before my vision clears enough to read the small screen.

Brad: "Saw someone who looked like u at Ginos last night. Was it u?"

He saw me? I grin briefly, because he's seen me dressed up, which would have been a first for him. I wonder if he likes.... wait, no. Not compared to his girlfriend in the off-the-shoulder top and short skirt. My annoyance boils over.

Me: "Yes"

One word reply for the win.

Brad: "Saw u as u left but u were with someone or I would have caught u to introduce to Jess"

He wants to introduce me to his girlfriend? This is just getting better. I drop the phone onto the table, making enough of a thump that I pick it up again to check that I haven't cracked the screen.

I set it down more carefully, then turn away. I've gotten only a couple of steps before I need to find the nearest chair and sink down. Jess. I remember the name, now. Oh, no. Oh, God, no. Brad wasn't with a date. He was with his sister. Violet's owner.

I have just had consolation sex - self-pity sex, more like - with some guy from a dating site because Brad was with his sister. I close my eyes and lean back against the chair. Oh, God, I have screwed up. Badly. Because I decided that Brad, whom I thought I trusted, and who hasn't given me any reason to think he wants to take advantage of me, who hasn't even asked me out, was trying to mislead me. God, I am so stupid.

I have to respond to his text. I go back to the table, pick up my phone, then sit with it for a moment.

Me: "I'm sorry I missed her. Has she taken Violet?"

Brad: (almost instantly) "No, she's left town already. At least a couple of weeks."

I wait for a minute. Maybe he'll invite me to the dog park. But no, he won't. He saw me leaving with someone. He probably made an assumption - the correct one, in fact. Shit. I need to be the one to make a move, and it has to be a very careful one.

Me: "Dog friendly coffee?"

Brad: "Sure, be there in ten."

Me: "Make it an hour?"

I want to add a justification for the delay, but whatever I say might make him dubious. "I need a shower" - because I smell of sex. "I need time to get dressed" - because I'm physically spent and moving slowly. He'll have to take the delay as just me not yet ready to face the day, which happens to be true.

Brad: "Sounds good"


He's seen me out of my drab camo. I might as well dress a little better than I have been doing. I pick out a steel blue scoop neck tee, skinny jeans, a lightweight cream jacket and low heel casual strap shoes.

After it's all selected, I shower, spend a few minutes working on my face, then dress and drive to the coffee shop.

Violet recognizes me in spite of my change of attire. I sit on Brad's left at the circular table. There's a second coffee in that spot. I sniff the hole in the lid. "You remembered."

"I did not," he says, with a grin. "I just asked for 'Linda's Usual'."

I return the grin. "It works. I told you it would."

I feel nervous, and I think he senses it, because he looks at me quizzically.

"I did see you," I say after a moment. "I thought you were on a date, so I didn't want to disturb you."

"No, that was just Jess." He grins. "She's the only woman in my life, and we're not those siblings."

"She's lovely," I say. "She had to have been the best-looking woman in the restaurant."

Brad shrugs. "Actually, I thought that was you, but I admit I didn't see you close up. And then, she's my sister, and I don't see her that way."

I feel my face turning red. "I'm sorry. I wasn't trying to fish for a compliment."

"And I wasn't giving one where it wasn't due," Brad said. "You looked great. I was jealous of your date."

"Oh God," I said, and blinked. I couldn't keep this up.

"What's wrong, Linda?" he asks, his eyebrows lowered in consternation.

"I..." I began. Then I take a sip of my coffee, I set my cup back down, and move my hands under the table to rest on my knees. I lean forward, then look around to see if anyone's nearby, and clear my throat. I can't look into Brad's eyes. I stare at the coffee beside his hand. "I slept with him, Brad. I had him take me home, and I made love to him, because I saw you with a girlfriend. I... I kinda hate myself this morning, to tell you the truth."

"Do you think you did something wrong?" he asks, softly.

"I dunno," I say. I can hear that I'm on the edge of tears, and I don't want that. "Wrong by him, certainly, because it isn't going to happen again. It shouldn't have happened at all. He's just a guy from a dating site. I wasn't going to go to bed with him. I wasn't even going to see him again. I haven't ever done that before. Never. I haven't slept with anyone since my husband, and not even with him since months before the divorce."

Brad shrugs, and gives me a tiny empathic smile. "It sounds like something you may have needed," he suggests.

I feel myself coloring again. "It... was okay. But that isn't something I do. I could have gone without scratching that itch. Now I have to let the guy down and tell him I won't be seeing him. Unless he dumps me first, I guess," I add, with a forced laugh.

"If you enjoyed yourself, I don't think you did anything wrong," Brad says. "I don't think he will think that." I glance up and his expression seems just slightly flirtatious. "I would be very surprised indeed if he's disappointed. You're a lovely young woman. He will have a great memory, even if you do end things." He frowns. "Not that it's my business, but you did take precautions?"

I nod.

"Then I don't really see why you've any reason for regrets," Brad says.

I'm staring at the coffee again rather than Brad when I nod.

"Linda," Brad says, when I don't speak for a couple more minutes. "I have to ask." I don't look up. "Why did seeing me with a quote-unquote 'girlfriend' upset you enough that you did that?"

I take a deep breath. Then I let it out and take another, trying to find courage to speak. "Because I was kinda hoping that we were heading in that direction," I say.

Brad reaches out a finger to touch me very gently under my chin. He lifts slightly, not forcing me, but encouraging me to raise my eyes. I do, and he's watching me with enough compassion that I feel like breaking down.

"So was I," he says, softly. "So am I."

I blink. "You are? Even knowing what I've done?"

"You haven't been unfaithful to anyone," Brad says. "Even yourself, I think, though you might have a harder time accepting that. Why would it change my mind about how much I like spending time with you?"

I find myself smiling in spite of the way I feel. "Really?"

"One thing to bear in mind," Brad says. "I really suck at relationships. If I seem cautious, it's because my earlier attempts haven't gone well. Mostly because of my addiction to work, which I'm trying hard to overcome." He reaches down to scratch Violet's neck. She sits bolt upright, panting, with her tongue hanging out. "This one's helping some."

"She's helping me, too," I say. "Helping me with you, that is. I get nervous about men's motives. The way she reacts to you tells me I can trust you. Which is why it was so stupid that I..." I choke up and have to stop speaking.

Brad leans back until he can see my hands on my knees. Then he reaches out with his left hand, taking my right and moving it onto the table, where he holds it lightly. "Linda. I'm okay. We're okay, if you want to be. I know it's big. I'm not minimizing your concerns, or dismissing why you're upset, or telling you that you shouldn't be. If you feel that you need to come to terms with what happened, then you do. Take your time. But I would like to get to know you better. We both have baggage to work through before we know if there could be anything between us."

Turning my hand over, I squeeze his. "Thanks," I say, then add, "There's one thing, though... Young woman? How old do you think I am?"

Brad gives me a somewhat hesitant smile. "Before yesterday, I'd have said mid-thirties. Then I saw you looking so different at the restaurant, and now today, I'd have to say no more than thirty. Thirty-one at the outside."

I smile at his apprehensive look, then squeeze his hand again. "You were right the first time. I'm thirty-five."

He seems both surprised and relieved by that statement. "I thought I might have ten years on you. I've been concerned - since last night - that you'd see it as a negative."

"I'd guess thirty-eight," I say. "For you, I mean."

"Thirty-nine. The big four-oh in three months," he replies. "Five years doesn't trouble you?"

I shake my head. "Not in the slightest."

"I'd like to see you," Brad says. "But I think we should take things cautiously. Are you okay with that?"

"Yeah," I say. "Shall we keep meeting for morning coffee or puppy playtime for now?"

"Sure," Brad says, "but how about dinner and a movie on Wednesday? How does Godzilla versus King Kong sound?"

I laugh. "I haven't been to the movies since the divorce, and that sounds like it would be worth seeing on the big screen." Then I add, "Let's set it up by text. I need to head home for an awkward phone call."

"Last night?" Brad asks. There's no mockery in his tone.

"Yeah. Puppy park before work tomorrow?"

"Sure," Brad says.

I give him a quick smile as I leave.


I thank Trent for our dates so far and apologize to him that I don't want to continue them. He's upset. He wants to know if the problem is just that he couldn't make me come without my help. I tell him truthfully it's not that. I enjoyed myself last night, but I don't see a future together, and that's what I'm looking for. We talk for another ten minutes before we say goodbye. I wish him well.

Dinner and a movie on Wednesday goes surprisingly well. Violet is in her crate at home, and it's the first time I've seen Brad without the dog in tow - except for one time across a crowded restaurant, of course - and we're comfortable with each other even without Violet taking the spotlight and being an automatic conversation topic.

The movie is more enjoyable than I expected. Loud, silly, and great fun on the big screen in 3D. A couple of months ago I wouldn't have wanted to enter a movie theater even wearing a mask. Now I find myself hoping more movies are in our future.

He drives me home, since he picked me up from there earlier. We're not in his Prius. He's driving a white Porsche convertible, because he says he wanted a break from wet dog smell. I'm sure he also wants to make an impression. He does.

I invite him in. "Don't make me kiss you goodnight in the car," I say, when he looks unsure. "Unless you think it's too early for a first kiss? But only a kiss, I promise."

"I don't think it's too early," he says, his words sounding a little rough. "Okay," he concludes. He exits the car, jogs around to the passenger side and opens the convertible's door for me. I take his hand as I lead him to my house.

"I wasn't planning to offer you coffee or anything that might imply more," I say. "I'll brew some if you like, but I do want to kiss you after a great date, and I'm too old to neck like a teenager in the front seat. Especially in a Porsche with the top down. The car alone will have curtains twitching."

Brad laughs. "Yeah, maybe I should have stuck with wet dog. But I don't need coffee."

"Good," I say, "then I don't need to wait."

I tug the front of his suit jacket, drawing him close. I remember the feel of his tee shirt against me when... Oh, Christ, Linda, that wasn't real!

Right, I think, it wasn't real. This is. And I draw him close and move my mouth to his.

He kisses me delicately, pressing his lips to the side of my mouth, then, still closed, to each of my lips. When they touch my lips squarely, they are only very slightly parted, and I get the feeling of great restraint, which I find very sexy, and try to push him for more. He responds only by pressing his parted lips to my upper lip, drawing it in and caressing it with his tongue. That turns me on so quickly that I moan. Breaking the kiss, I lean against his chest.

"Thanks for a great first date," I say.

"Thank you," he replies.

"Coffee... Friday morning, maybe?" I suggest.

"Okay," he agrees.

I take both of his hands in mine and step back. "Goodnight," I say.

"Goodnight, Linda," he says.

His eyes hold mine for a moment, and before he has chance to turn away, I draw him close and press my lips to his again. His are parted, and move softly against mine. Drawing back an inch, he moves in to take my upper lip between his again, sucking it lightly. I shiver at the sudden spike of desire, and run my tongue over his lower lip.

On a whim, I lift his hands to my blouse, uncurling his fingers as I place his palms on my breasts. He seems startled, but squeezes my bra gently. Our tongues meet and I sigh into the kiss. Then I step back, ending it, and his hands fall to his sides.

I smile at Brad. He returns the smile, and turns to leave.


Violet's Owner

I dated a few guys before Trent. Very cautiously, since I had started using the dating site before I was vaccinated. The decision whether or not to go forward with a second date was usually an easy one - nope. One didn't even make it all the way through the first date. When he started ranting about mask mandates and how we shouldn't need to take an outdoor table, I just shook my head and left. Of the few who'd made it to the second date, only Trent went to number three, and that was with serious reservations.

With Brad, I have no reservations, and look forward to our occasional dates. Our next is at a jazz bar. After that is a late night ornamental garden walk, holding hands. Both end with a very pleasant goodnight kiss, though I don't move his hands to my breasts again. On the first night I'd wanted to show him that I was expecting more - when we were ready. I don't see any point in advertising the fact again. He knows it now, and drawing additional attention would be crude.

In addition, we see each other regularly for coffee or at the dog park. They're not dates, but they're a nice confirmation that dating isn't making us awkward with each other.

The fourth time we go out together, it isn't exactly a date. Brad's sister, Jess, is returning to town. She has caught up on her customer-focused travel, and wants to pick up Violet. Brad invites me to meet Jess with him at Gino's.

He picks me up from home. Jess is going straight to the restaurant. She'll go on from there to Brad's house to collect Violet. She doesn't want to see Violet beforehand because her dog will be upset to be reunited then immediately put back in her crate.

I recognize the startlingly lovely woman immediately. She gives me a broad smile and offers her hand. "You must be Linda," she says. "Brad talks about you."

"He does?"

My surprise must have shown. "We haven't spoken about you often," she says, "but when we do he's always telling me stories about how good you are with Violet, like how you don't back away from a dog playing in water."

I smile as I take my seat. "My Bruce used to love the splash pool," I say. "Brad complains about wet dog stink, but when she's happy, he's happy."

I find myself laying out Bruce's life history for her, which necessarily involves some talk of Philip, which makes me scowl. "I'll get another puppy some time, though," I say. "Life hasn't been the same without Bruce."

"I know what you mean," Jess says. "I've always had a pup. I think Violet is the smartest dog I've owned, though."

"You're going to let me say goodbye to her, right?" I ask Brad.

"Sure," he says. "If I take you to your place first, Jess will be free to roam my house unsupervised." His voice drops to a conspiratorial level. "She might steal all my precious vinyl albums."

"If you had anything worth stealing, I might," his sister retorts.


I still have no idea where Brad lives. When he takes the Porsche through the electronic access of a gated community I'm not especially surprised. I am surprised when I see his home. It's a sprawling two-story Mediterranean-style house at the end of a cul-de-sac. It's illuminated, and the front yard must be professionally landscaped.

Brad pulls the Porsche into the second bay of a three-car garage. A moment later, Jess comes to a smooth stop in the third bay.

When we're all inside, Jess laughs at the expression on my face. "I guess Brad hasn't brought you here yet?"

I grin at her. I'm partway through thinking of a reply that doesn't sound like I'm insanely jealous, but I'm saved from it by loud whining and the scraping of doggy feet as Violet spins like a Tasmanian devil in her crate after hearing Jess's words.

Jess opens the crate and spends several minutes getting reacquainted with Violet. Then she clips on her leash.

I'm going to miss the dog. I crouch down and tell her so. Jess says, "I'm sure you'll see her again soon enough." Then she gives Brad a quick kiss on the cheek, and, completely unexpectedly, hugs me. It takes a second for me to respond, so my return hug is very brief.

"I'm glad to have the chance to meet you," Jess says. "It's about time Brad found a girlfriend."

Then she heads out the front door, leaving me open mouthed.

I fix Brad with a stare after she leaves. He looks more than a little uncomfortable. "Your girlfriend?" I ask. It's ambiguous whether I'm asking if I am, or if he thinks I am, or if I'm asking whether that's something he's said to Jess.

"Well," he says, "we've been on dates, and if we're going to keep dating, I guess... yeah. If you're okay with that."

"I'm very okay with it," I say. "We've taken things slowly, but I think we both know that we're good together."

He smiles, his discomfort seeming to melt away. He holds out his hand. "Do you want a tour?"

Of course I do. Brad takes my hand and shows me around the house. I think it would take me a while to learn the inside layout and how rooms relate in position, given the unusual floor plan and sprawling nature of the place.

The main living room has arched French doors onto a stone patio. Brad turns on soft lighting, opens the doors, and leads me outside. There's a raised rectangular ornamental pond with a bubbling water feature at the far end of the patio. Releasing Brad's hand I wander up to it, finding a number of small goldfish in the water.

"See, I'm not completely pet-free without Violet," Brad says.

There are landscaped flower beds around the patio. Further out there's a high wrought-iron fence. It's too dark to see clearly what's on the other side of it, but given the regularity of distant lighting and a few small hills I am guessing that it's a golf course.

On one side of the house there's a large narrow hedge in a very straight line ending just short of the fence. I point to it.

"Pool and spa," Brad says.

Of course it is.

"This is a hell of a bachelor pad," I say.

"Finishing the house was the reason I gave up my crazy work schedule," Brad says. "It's partly an investment, but I do live here, and I realized that I'd rarely see the place if I didn't cut back. And if the company were to fail tomorrow - which isn't remotely on the cards - I could still retire here comfortably."

"The Porsche makes more sense now," I say. "But finding out that my new boyfriend is seriously loaded is a shock."

"Is it a problem?" he asks, carefully.

"It is if you start to think it's why I want to date you," I say.

"I don't think that at all, Linda," he said, then pauses for a moment. "It has been a factor in the past. My failed relationships weren't only due to my work hours. But I think the other experiences taught me what to avoid, and I don't see any signs of them in you."

"Good," I say, "because I literally had no idea." After a moment, I add, "And it also doesn't affect me feeling ready to move beyond goodnight kisses."

"You are?" Brad asked.

I study his eyes for a moment. "I think that you think you're protecting me from my own fears of being taken advantage of," I say, "but I don't have any fears with you, Brad. I trust you. I... have a feeling that you don't trust you."

"What do you mean?" he asks.

"You're not certain that you can have a relationship that won't go bad," I state. "And I think you're trying to protect me from that, too. But we both know we want to take the risk, and delaying getting involved isn't going to make the risk any less, is it?"

"No," he says, "I guess it isn't."

I move in to kiss him, and there, in the sound of the bubbling water, our inhibitions begin to dissolve. Brad's hands hold my waist as our tongues meet, the kiss becoming passionate.

When we break for air, Brad still looks uncertain.

"Are you sure?" he says.

"We've been on either three dates or four, depending on whether you count today," I say. "Since your sister didn't prevent us being open with each other, I'd count today as a date with family. So, four. And we've known each other for weeks now, and shared plenty of non-date quality time. We've bonded over a pup. Yes, I'm sure. I've even learned not to be upset with myself over... that one night," I add.

"That's good," Brad says.

"Mmm," I reply. "There's a distinct plus hidden in there. I'm not being led astray by three years of celibacy." After a moment, I add, "shall we go in? You'll have to steer me through your confusing house."

Brad smiles. He's still a little nervous, but says, "Of course."

I take his arm as he leads me back through the French doors, closing them behind me, and then on to what I assume is the master bedroom.



Beside the bed, I draw him close and we kiss again. The bed is beautiful. California king sized, I believe, longer and wider than my queen, but without the huge square look of a king. The footboard and headboard are upholstered, and there are fixed drapes on the wall behind the bed. No canopy, which I feel would be overkill. Although it wouldn't surprise me if one of the other bedrooms includes a canopy bed.

I move my hands to the back of his head, holding his face to mine. I feel him press his body to mine, my bra becoming a gentle stress against my nipples, the tension growing as they swell inside it. They're not the only things swelling. There's a distinct pressure against my lower belly. I want to open his pants and release the strain he's under. For now I slip off his jacket and unfasten his shirt.

Brad's chest is hairier than I'm used to. I've always considered hairy chests a turnoff, but somehow it looks right on Brad. I lick my thumbs and press them against his nipples, moving them in circles. I hear his breath catch.

Then in turn he's unfastening my blouse. I had chosen a nude demi bra with plenty of uplift, not to wear a low neck dress, but to give definition to my cleavage with just a couple of buttons of my blouse open. There are more than a couple of buttons undone now, and Brad's eyes smolder.

I set my finger under his chin and lift his face so that his eyes meet mine. "So much for the guy who always politely keeps his gaze above my neckline," I say, with a chuckle.

He grins at me. "The provocation was never so severe," he says, then leans down to kiss my neck, his lips moving to roam the upper edge of my breasts. I tingle at the sensual kisses.

"Brad..." I say, my voice sounding strained.

He looks up from planting a kiss at the top of my cleavage. "What is it?"

"Will you let me show you how much I want you?" I ask.

He frowns. "What do you mean?"

"I mean... I don't want you to think about making me feel good," I say, "because I know you will, and I like that about you, but tonight I just want to taste you. Will you give me that? And don't ask me if I'm sure. I am sure."

It takes him a moment to understand what I'm asking. Then he says, "If that's what you want, Linda."

I gently scratch his left nipple with my teeth. He shudders. I run my tongue over it, then kiss it before moving back. "I need a towel and tissues," I say. "I don't want to mess up your lovely bed."

He looks a little bemused. "They're both in the bathroom," he says.

The bathroom seems about the size of my master bedroom. It's all marble, including the sunken whirlpool tub. There's a box of tissues in a holder, but when I open the towel closet I find unopened boxes. I take one of those and a plain bath towel, opening the tissue box before I return.

I spread the towel along the bed, a foot from the edge. Then I kiss Brad.

He makes a small sound into the kiss as I unfasten his pants. After a little work, they fall to the floor, and I tug the waistband of his underwear over his erection. I stroke my fingers gently along the underside of his shaft before backing up and telling him to lie down.

Brad steps out of his pants and underwear, then sits on the edge of the bed. "I really think..." he tries to say.

"I'm not a controlling person," I say. "You know that. So if I'm asking you for this, you have to know it's what I want. Think of it as allowing me to exorcise one final demon, if you like."

At that, Brad shrugs. He lies back on the bed. His eyes roam my body as I open the last of the buttons of my blouse, letting it slip to the floor. Then I unzip my skirt and let it fall. I step out of my shoes, but leave my hose in place as I climb onto the bed beside him, then move over to lie down atop his body.

Our lips join in an intense kiss. Whatever objections Brad has to what I'm doing, they aren't cooling his excitement. Likely the opposite. He lifts his hands, but I push them back down to the bed, sliding down his body until I can lick his nipples.

His shaft pokes into my belly as I tongue his nipples. His breath catches, and I toy with them for a few minutes, feeling his excitement slowly build. Then I sink lower for the main course.

His cock is just below vertical. If he's as hard as this before I even start, he's going to be on a serious hair trigger. I crouch between his legs and barely touch the tip of his cock with my tongue. As I do, it rises a few more degrees. Damn. I hope I can even do this.

My eyes hold Brad's as I gently stroke the underside of his shaft with my tongue again. He shivers.

"How long has it been?" I ask.

"Years," he said.

"Tell me what you like, Brad," I murmur. "But tell me if it's too much, too. I want to make this last, and I know that's not going to be easy."

He nods as I part my lips and sink my face over the head of his cock. I hold his shaft lightly in my right hand. It's too dry to slide my fingers, but I can pump lightly as I slowly slurp along the upper three inches. I let him almost slip out of my mouth, then dip my head again. I do this slowly several times, then pick up the pace, rolling my head forward and back, my mouth sliding down his shaft and back up.

"That," Brad groans. "Oh, God, that."

Backing away I grin at him. "You like it, or it's too much?" I ask.

"Both," he says.

"I'll be careful," I reply.

I spit into the fingers of my right hand and run them around his cock. It's perfectly vertical, now. I moisten my fingers again, exploring further, lubricating the stretched skin. I draw them over the head, hearing Brad's breath catch, then caress around the midpoint before lowering my face again.

Now that the skin is a little more moist, I can let my fingers slide on his cock if I touch it lightly. That lets me move them farther, caressing the smooth, textured surface as my mouth moves down and back. My tongue is only lightly touching the surface of his shaft. I'm not suckling. At this point, I'd just make him come too quickly.

There's little positive that I care to recall from being Philip's wife and lover. But with him I learned how to torment a guy with oral pleasure. How to bring him to the edge again and again without letting him slip over, so that when I was ready, what I could give him would sear his soul.

At least, I could sear Philip's soul. I hadn't given anyone else a blowjob in over a decade, and I'm sure those early ones weren't very special. With Philip I learned to read all of his tells and knew how to manage him to best effect. In the last few years his desire for blowjobs was almost an obsession. When I learned that he'd been cheating I realized why. The girl he was with must not have had my skill or experience. So he might want to be inside her, but it was my mouth he wanted on him. I feel a vindictive pride in knowing that he's never going to know what that's like again.

I don't really know how well I'll be able to read Brad's tells. And even Philip had been hard to handle if he hadn't found relief in a few days. (Which, I realized a long time ago, should have tipped me off to what was going on, since he rarely needed careful treatment.) So I'm going to need to pay very close attention to Brad's reactions.

His eyes are fixed on me and his hairy chest is rising high as he breathes deeply. I suck just very slightly harder and bob my head rapidly, the fingers of my right hand matching my motion.

I can feel the tension growing within him. I back away, letting a little more saliva drop to the head of his shaft, and lubricate him all the way down to the base.

"Do you like that?" I ask, though it's obvious he does.

"God," he says, which is more of an answer than the question warrants. "Wait..."

He rolls over to stretch out his arm and grab a pillow and stuff it under his head so that he can watch me work without straining his neck.

I lick the head of his cock one time, then say, "I don't know which you like more," I say, "what I'm doing, or the view straight down my bra."

"The first," he groans, "but the second... adds to the feeling."

Laughing softly, I duck down. I slide my mouth down about two or three inches, pressing my tongue against the underside of his cock, and bob my head rapidly. "Oh God," Brad groans again.

His hips rise from the bed, and there's a slight salty taste at the back of my mouth. I learned with Philip that when I tasted his seed, that was a signal to back off and let him calm down. But also, the closer I could take him to release, the slower the next build up would be.

So instead of stopping immediately, I draw my lips back slowly, my tongue rubbing against him until he pops free of my mouth.

Brad's cock is now beyond vertical, pointing a few degrees towards his belly. Its skin is so tight I see thin blue veins within the glossy exterior. It twitches, and I sigh, thinking I've gone too far. But after a half minute or more, his breathing relaxes. His cock slowly dips back below the vertical. He's still hard, but no longer dangerously close to losing control.

There is a large drop of fluid at the end of his cock. I lower my face to it, add saliva to the mix, then spread it downwards using the fingers of both hands. I trace patterns over his shaft with both hands, drawing my fingers around, then up to drift over his glans. Brad's breathing begins to tighten again, though he doesn't seem to be in danger of overloading, and his shaft remains below vertical.

Circling my right hand around his shaft, I draw it to the tip, and over, as I circle my left around and do the same, alternating hands. The clear skin pulls forward a little, slightly over the head, then back as the next hand approaches. He feels so very solid within my grasp. He's a little bigger than I remember Philip being, both longer and wider. Straighter, too. I wonder if any of those will affect his reactions.

Lowering my face at last, I begin to lick all around the sides and base of his shaft. I part my lips and suckle in places. My right hand slides around his balls as I kiss the underside of his glans. Brad pants.

I lean back slightly. "Is this a good place?" I ask him, immediately extending my tongue and lapping at the underside of the head.

Brad's only verbalization is a strangled "Nnngg!" sound. I guess it is.

He's vertical again. I make a circle of my right finger and thumb around his shaft, sliding it from the midpoint all the way to the tip and back, then concentrate on the tip, moving my hand faster, a rapid up and down stroking.

Brad's body tenses. "Oh, Jesus," he groans.

I keep that up for a few seconds longer. From the look on his face and the tension in his belly it seems he thinks he's going to explode, but he isn't as ready as he thinks he is. Still, I let him wind down a little, slowly stroking him up and down.

Then I take him back into my mouth, moving my face with a slow rise and fall, both hands now lightly grasping his shaft and moving in counterpoint. His erection is well beyond vertical again. I reach for a handful of tissues, dropping them on the towel beside his balls for easy access. I know he's there, but I can't resist teasing him to the limit.

Brad's eyes are unfocused as they flick around my body. He's moaning softly as I slow my movements down even more. I hold him still in my mouth for ten seconds, twenty, thirty, I don't really know. Then I start to move my whole body, turning my neck to push my face firmly down and back, more powerful and slightly faster. I taste his seed as his hips lift.

Then he's flooding into my mouth. I relax my lips to let the fluid dribble back out, grabbing a tissue with my left hand to plug the leak so that I don't make too much of a mess of his towel. I keep moving, and he keeps spurting. His deep voice is making unintelligible sounds. When the flow begins to slow I suckle hard. Brad groans, overwhelmed, then sinks back to the bed.

"Never," he breathes, as I sit up. I grab a few more tissues and mop my face before patting his cock dry, the tissue becoming sticky.

I raise my eyebrows.

"You asked how long it has been," he says. "It's never been like that."

"I take it that's good?" I say.

"Beyond good," he says. "I want to make love to you."

"I know," I say, but I slide off the bed and reach down for my blouse. "I want that, too. But I'm going to leave you with the feeling. I want us to be awake and refreshed for our first time. Now that you know how much I want you, I think you'll agree that it's worth waiting for. Besides," I add, lightly flicking his deflating cock. He winces. "That's going to be worthless for a while, right?"

"True," Brad whines.

I fasten up my blouse, then step into my skirt on the floor before raising it and zipping it up.

"Do you want to pass me my clothes?" he asks. "I need to take you home."

Shaking my head, I say, "I'll get a taxi. You take the time to recover."

"Will you come back tomorrow?"

I smile. "If you want me to. Is your pool usable? Can I bring my swimsuit?"

"Sure," Brad says.



Me: "Should I bring breakfast"

Brad: "U coming over? I have english muffins & can do poached egg & coffee"

Me: "Should I bring anything"

Brad: "Swimsuit "

Me: "Have that ready"

Brad: "If u want to stop by coffee shop on the way I can't make ur strawberry coffee"

Brad: "Jess invited us for dinner & to say hi to Violet. U want?"

Me: "Love to. See you in an hour."

If we're visiting Jess I want another change of clothes and a few more makeup items with me. Best to give myself time to collect everything.


Brad has left the third bay of the garage open. I take it as an invitation and park there, rather than on the street. I carry my purse and clothing bag into the house, then return for my medium strawberry macchiato and Brad's large plain latte.

There's a look in Brad's eyes today that wasn't there before last night. It isn't lust, or hunger - not exactly. It isn't just affection, which has been in his smile for a while. It's something that includes both. Interest, expectation, anticipation - and not just for ten minutes between my thighs, if I have any ability to read him. He seems surprised. A thing that he was cautiously interested in has suddenly become a thing that he wants very much. A thing that I don't think he was trusting himself to want - that being a serious relationship.

I give him a chaste kiss on the lips as I present him his coffee. He has eggs still in individual poaching cups on the counter, and muffins in a toaster. When they pop up, we sit in the breakfast nook to eat.

"How did you sleep?" I ask, innocently.

He grins. "Great," Brad says. "Really, really great. How about you?"

"Good," I say. I grin at him. "I guess I might have slept better if I'd let you get your way, but I'm happy with how the evening turned out."

When we're done eating, Brad takes the plates to the dishwasher. I move up behind him and lean against his back, wrapping my arms around him. "Thank you for last night," I whisper into his ear.

He stops moving for a moment, then says, "I think it should be me thanking you." He stoops to put the rest of the dishes away, then lays his hands on mine, which are crossed before his stomach. Without turning, he says, softly, "I want you, Linda."

"I'm ready," I say.

I feel him exhale sharply. He turns to take my hand. I catch up my purse. It's unlikely that he doesn't have condoms handy, but I want to be sure. Then I allow him to lead me to the bedroom.


We're both wearing a tee shirt and pants, and neither of our shirts lasts much longer than a minute after we start to kiss. Brad lifts mine off first, but I work his out of his pants and get it over his head moments later, then lean down to kiss his nipples.

Brad's hands are on my shoulders. They caress the skin there, then slide down my back, his fingers tracing my bra strap. Then they're back on my shoulders, brushing the skin lightly.

I back away from his nipple and grin. "I like your hairy chest," I say. I stand upright. Brad's hands rest just behind my shoulders as I caress his chest with my fingers.

"Do you?" he asks. "I'm glad."

"It's sexy," I say, meaning it.

He draws my face to his. My hands are sandwiched between my collar bone and Brad's chest. He parts his lips and presses them to mine, then again, then again. Each kiss makes my belly flutter more than the last. Then he closes his mouth on my upper lip and suckles. I moan at the step up in sensation. I can feel myself getting wet.

He releases me, then smiles. "You're beautiful," he says.

"I'm glad you think so," I breathe.

"I don't think you have a hairy chest," he says. "Not from what I saw last night."

I chuckle.

"But there was a lot of shadow. Maybe I should check more closely."

I give him a cheeky grin. "Maybe you should."

He draws me back to him. His kisses feel so charged now that my heart has started racing. My belly twitches occasionally, making me exhale sharply.

Brad's hands take mine and move them from his chest, so that he has room to squeeze my breasts through my bra. The fire in my belly grows. Then he lifts his hands, popping the shoulder straps down my arm before reaching around my back to unfasten the bra.

I draw back to let him slide the straps all the way off. The bra falls, one strap catching my wrist before coming free. I wrap my hands around the back of his neck, and drive the intensity of our kisses even higher. His chest hair scratches my nipples. It isn't uncomfortable. In fact it's arousing.

Brad's tongue meets mine and dances with it for a moment. He's breathing heavily between kisses.

He takes my shoulders in his hands and moves me back. For the first time he can see my breasts, unobstructed. His eyes feast on my wide pink nipples, which are already swollen. The lust I saw there last night I see again now, stronger than ever.

Brad's breathing sounds labored as he lifts his hands, extending his thumbs to caress my nipples. Then he closes his hands on my breasts, presses his face to mine and devours me, finding my tongue and suckling it.

I can't wait any longer. I feel for the catch of his pants frantically, my haste getting in the way as I try to figure out how to open it. But his pants are coming off, and his underwear, and his cock is hard and raised, lifted high above horizontal.

Without waiting for Brad to take his turn I tear at the catch and zipper of my own pants. They fall to tangle with my shoes.

"Condom?" I ask, my voice showing my desperation. He grunts an affirmative, steps back from me, tugging off pants, underwear, shoes and socks, then grabs a condom and unrolls it onto himself.

I free myself of footwear, pants and underwear as he's doing that and climb onto the bed. I stroke my clit, gauging my readiness, and shudder. I'm wet, and I need Brad inside me.

Equipping the condom doesn't take long, and his body is over mine, lowering onto me. Last night had left me so frustrated with arousal that I almost took care of myself, but I knew that if I didn't I'd be much more ready today. And I am.

I rock my hips, my legs parted, as my sex spreads my wetness further along his shaft with each stroke. Then I lie down and let Brad finish the job, his full weight finally pressing his sex to mine.

"Brad..." I say, breathless, seeking his mouth. He obliges, and I writhe beneath him as the kiss inflames the already burning need within me. I wrap my legs around his thighs and begin to buck my sex against his.

I feel the fine, teasing hairs of his chest as it presses against my breasts, and I begin to moan, the sounds I'm making becoming more distinct as his movements become stronger.

I don't remember being so ready to come so soon after having a guy enter me. Not with early lovers. Not with Philip. Not with Trent. It's too soon. If I come now Brad won't be ready. But I can't hold back. His gentle strength moves against me, and I feel electricity like a thunderhead in my belly and in my sex.

"Nggg!" I groan into the kiss as I exert all my will in holding back the storm - and fail, as my sex collapses into shuddering, ecstatic spasms.

"Oh, God," I wail, breaking the kiss, my words emerging between tight breaths. "I'm sorry, Brad. I tried to wait, but..."

He laughs softly. "Isn't that supposed to be my line?" he asks. "And without last night, I think it would have been." He's still rocking against me, though he's eased off the power of his movements.

"Without last night I would probably not be so out of control," I say. "I wanted this to be good for you!"

"It is," he murmurs. "Or do we need to stop?"

"God no," I breathe. "You feel amazing inside me, now. I want to feel you come inside me."

Brad's breath catches. I guess I still feel good to him, too. I grip him around his waist and roll us over. Then I join my mouth to his and rock my sex against his, drawing as far back as I can without losing him. He groans into the kiss.

I lift myself onto my elbows, raising my chest above his, my breasts still touching his chest, caressing it, without being squeezed against it. I don't break the kiss, keeping my head lowered so that our tongues dance together as his hands close around my breasts and squeeze my nipples.

"Mmmhhh..." I moan. I may have already had my ecstatic moment, but damn, his hands feel so good on me, his tongue on mine, and the delicious movement of his cock within my body, they're all feeding into a growing arousal.

Brad's breathing is heavy, and I can sense his desire increase. I lift and lower my hips, sliding my sex around him. I don't want to rush him. I want him to experience me with as much power as he experienced my tongue last night.

The thought of him yielding to my lips and tongue last night sparks heat in my belly, and I realize I'm on a path to another climax. I'm so shocked that I break the kiss. "Brad..." I gasp. "I think I'm going to come again."

He just grins broadly and captures my lips, suckling my tongue until I moan with need. We've picked up the pace, and I can tell he's close.

Breaking the kiss again, I croak, "Kiss my breast!"

Brad obliges, fastening his mouth to my left breast. My whole body quivers with excitement as he suckles. I collapse onto him, not holding myself up. His face remains fixed to my breast, which molds around his chin, and vaguely hope I'm not suffocating him as I grasp his hips and slam my sex against his.

Brad makes a muffled cry, and another as I sense him give way to his orgasm. I keep thrusting against him, until seconds later the intensity of the feeling in my sex crests, and I begin to spasm around his hard cock.

"Oh! Oh! Oh!" I cry into the pillow as my face rests there above his head, while he suckles. Then I detach him from my boob and join my lips to his aggressively, panting into our shared kiss.

"God, Linda," he says, when he comes up for air. "After last night... I didn't think I'd experience something as powerful again." He grins. "I guess I was wrong."

I lift a finger to trace his lips. "That was our first time, too," I say. "I think we might even improve with practice."

"Where have you been all my life?" he asks, in an amused tone.

"Conveniently married, while you were unsuitable for female company," I chuckle. "Maybe some things just come together when the time's right." After a moment, I add, "Like we just did."

"We did," he agrees. "And you were so upset with yourself at first. I wanted to tell you that feeling you come was amazing, and I wasn't at all disappointed. Though the second time was the icing on the cake."


Our post-coital snuggle is warm and intimate. Eventually I ask Brad if I can use the shower. I want to put my swimsuit on, but I'd prefer to clean up a little first.

After my shower I squeeze into my bottle-green two-piece. I tug my hair into an inelegant tail. I'm going to take another shower before we go to Jess's, so I'll wash it later. I feel Brad's eyes on me as I bend to pick up my tee.

"Nice bikini," he says.

I grin. "Glad for a chance to wear it. It's been so long I was afraid moths would have left holes in it."

"I'll inspect it, if you like... while you're wearing it, of course," he says.

"I'll pass - for now," I say, slipping my arms into my tee. "It's around lunch time. Should we find something to eat before swimming?"

Brad gives me a shamefaced look. "Eggs and English muffins was the limit of my planning. And my pantry's not well-stocked. Do you want to go out?"

"Let me have a look first," I say. "I'd prefer not to eat anything heavy if we're going to your sister's."

"Sure," he says, "but if you don't come up with anything I don't mind to pick lunch up."


Brad comes through to the kitchen five minutes later, and does a double-take at the activity. I've located his spaghetti stash and found a usable (if somewhat dry) garlic bulb. There's parmesan in the fridge, and a handful of red pepper flakes from pizza delivery in the pantry. His olive oil is good quality.

"I wish you had some fresh parsley," I say, "but I think this will work for lunch."

"Do you need help?" Brad asks.

"I've got it," I say.

"Then can I stand here and stare at your legs?"

"Knock yourself out," I say, with a grin. My tee shirt mostly covers my bikini bottoms, which probably makes my legs appear naked.

Brad pronounces lunch a success, which is a good sign. I'm looking forward to his reaction to food that takes more than minimal effort.

We spend a couple of hours in or around the pool. The water temperature is perfect, and the pool is large enough that swimming laps isn't a bad workout. I don't run on the weekend - though I'm sure we burned a few calories in Brad's bedroom this morning.

Eventually I decide that I need to start getting ready. I wash my hair in the shower and spend some time drying and teasing my hair. I brought a change of clothes for the evening, and work on my face.

Brad watches as I finish up with my lip color. His eyes say he's pleased with the results, but he can't resist a playful comment. "You realize you're getting dressed up for dog slobber?"

"I know," I say, "but I like Jess, and I don't want her to think your girlfriend's a bum. Besides, I'm not going to complain about dog slobber, especially when it's Violet. Are we taking the convertible?"

"I'd intended to," says Brad. "It would be disappointing not to in this weather."

"In that case," I say, as I dig into my overnight bag again, "I'm going full Audrey Hepburn." I brandish the silk headscarf and sunglasses I've brought for the purpose, then arrange and tie the scarf.

Brad grins. "Perfect."


Jess is clearly pleased to see us, and gives me a hug. Violet is delighted, and begins barreling around the house until Jess has to tell her she's disappointed with her behavior, which makes Violet sad for about twenty seconds.

The dinner is excellent. Jess is a great cook. When she pours me a second glass of wine I glance up at Brad.

It takes him a moment to understand my concern, then he leans close and murmurs, for my ears alone, "You're not planning to drive anytime soon, are you?"

"I was hoping not," I reply, softly, "but I didn't want to presume."

"Linda," he says, "I think you can presume quite a lot."

I smile at him, then take a sip of the wine.

I'm happy to see the way Jess and Brad interact. They're very close. They obviously look out for each other. I find myself wanting Jess's approval, but I think I have it. Violet vouched for me, after all. We talk extensively about the meal preparation. It's a topic that makes Brad's eyes glaze over, and Jess's occasional glances at Brad show that she's deliberately teasing him. He knows it, of course, and is quite aware of my complicity.

After a meal like this at a restaurant I would have declined dessert, but it would be rude to reject Jess's offering, so I ask for only a half portion, which Jess agrees to, but if it's a half, it's a very big half.

My distress at the size of the serving vanishes as soon as I taste Jess's strawberry and cream cake.

"I think this is the last time I talk to you about cooking," I tell Jess. "I stand humbled."

"You're sitting," says Brad.

"Then I sit humbled," I retort. "Did Brad tell you how much I love strawberries?"

He gives me a surprised glance, then says, "Oh, your coffee flavoring? No, I didn't even think about it."

Jess grins. "I'm going to give Brad the leftover cake," she says. "I know his fridge will be empty, so there will be plenty of room. If he can't use it to tempt you to keep visiting for a few days, he's an even bigger loser than I think."

Brad scowled at his sister. "Are you meddling?"

"Of course I am," she says. "It's my prerogative."

I reach out to take Brad's hand. "I don't think he'll have any trouble persuading me to visit," I say, "if he wants to. If he doesn't, I might be tempted to dump him for his sister, if she makes desserts like this."

Jess laughs. "Nah, he can keep you. He'd just damn well better, is all I'm saying."

I hug Violet again when we leave. She seems to understand that we're leaving, and hangs her head, but I promise I'll see her again soon.


"I like Jess," I say, as we drive away. My headscarf is back in place, though the sunglasses would be too pretentious at this time of night. "I think she likes me, too."

"Figured that out, did you?" Brad asks, with a smirk. "She's met the failures. There weren't many, but she warned me about two of them."

"That they were gold diggers?" I ask.

"Yeah, pretty much," he agrees. "One of them I had already figured out. The other I thought had potential. It was only after Jess clued me in that I looked for the signs, and found them. You have no idea how much of a relief it was for me that you met me as a random guy with a dog."

"I could make a case that only a rich guy would adopt a such a classy high-maintenance dog," I say, "except that you told me she wasn't yours."

He laughs. "There have been a few other tells, I think, on both of our parts. I'm really glad we met."

"You know what I'd like?" I say.

"What's that, Linda?"

"I'd like for you to take me to your hot tub and show me how glad you are," I say.

"I think I could do that," Brad replies. "After we've put Jess's cake in the fridge. How else will I be able to entice you to come back over?"



French doors in a small den open into the hedged pool / spa area. I didn't consider earlier that this was more than a convenience, but if we'd had to walk to the pool through the lighted patio, anyone on the golf course would have been able to see us wrapped in towels. Using the side door we have complete privacy, and even the towels we're wearing could be optional.

Whether or not the towel is required, I feel oddly bashful about dropping it in front of Brad. It's strange, because it isn't as though Brad hasn't seen me naked and studied me pretty closely, but somehow being in the open, under the sky, makes nudity a little more intimidating.

I set down the toiletry bag I'm carrying, then uncoil the towel and drop it onto the bag before stepping into the spa without turning. The warm water fizzes around me as I sink down into it, and only when I'm submerged do I look around, to find Brad adjusting the lighting, still wearing his towel.

The lights on the walkway and those inside the house dim to complete darkness, and lighting under the surface of the pool begins to glow a soft blue. I turn away, then feel Brad sink into the spa beside me.

Once Brad's settled on the ledge of the spa I lean back against the dark hair of his chest. The day hasn't been stressful, but it's still good to relax. The sky is hazy, but a few brighter stars are visible now that the walkway lighting isn't interfering. There is no moon.

After a time I move away from Brad, sliding my butt off the ledge out into the deeper center of the spa, the water buoying me up so that there is almost no weight on my feet. I tug at Brad's knees to get him to join me. When he does, I position myself between his knees, my back to him, then take his hands, wrapping them around my body, placing them on my breasts. He kneads softly as I lean against him.

His shaft occasionally pokes a butt cheek. I can't be sure, but I don't think he's completely erect yet. I turn my face to the side, and when he moves his to mine I join my lips to his.

Our kiss is slow and sensual. I move a hand between us and hold his erection. He's harder than I realize, but when I slide my fingers up and down he very quickly becomes rigid.

"Sit on the side," I instruct him.

Brad releases my breasts, drawing back with clear reluctance, then eases himself out of the water to sit on the edge of the spa. I take a towel and pat his cock dry - sufficiently dry, at least. Then I open my toiletry bag, take out a condom, and carefully unroll it over him. I should ask him to turn the lights up, because it's awkward with only faint light from below, but I get it in place. I tease the tip with my tongue for a moment, making Brad squirm, then take a small pump bottle from my bag.

Squirting the bottle onto my fingers, I rub the fluid around, then smear it all over the condom. Adding another squirt, I begin to slide my fingers up, down and around Brad's length. He groans.

"If you keep touching me like that, I think it's gonna be counterproductive," he says.

I chuckle. "Yeah, you may be right."

"Isn't the water going to dissolve it?" he asks, as I rub in one more squirt.

"It's silicone," I say. "Good for underwater play - according to Google."

"You haven't done this before?" Brad asks.

"Have you?"

He shakes his head.

"That makes two of us," I say, then release his now very hard and very large shaft. "Do you want to do me?"

"Isn't that the point?" Brad says with a smirk.

The light breeze chills me slightly as I climb out of the spa and sit beside him. I press the towel against my pussy, briefly, then ask Brad to extend his fingers.

Squirting lube over his fingers, I say, "I'm sure you can figure out where to put it. Use as much as you think you need."

Brad strokes my sex with his lubed fingers. I lean back on my hands, lifting my hips so that he has clear access, even with me sitting. His fingers stroke my pussy, coating my lips, and just inside. His touch fires my arousal.

"Inside?" he asks, and I nod.

Brad's fingers slip into me, caressing deeply. Then he picks up more lube and strokes his fingers inside me again. My breath catches. He lowers his face to my breast and begins to suckle as he continues to work lube into me.

"Oh, that is so unfair," I groan, but he keeps stroking.

Removing his fingers, he takes more lube, rubbing some onto his thumb. Then he plunges his fingers into me, his thumb questing until he finds my clit. The feel of his thumb rubbing the source of my need, gliding around with lube, is incredibly erotic.

"Oh, shit," I breathe. I want to tell him to stop. I want his cock within me. But it feels so amazing, especially when he lightly tugs my nipple with his teeth, that I start to moan. Brad seems quite content to take me all the way to climax, and his touch is definitely going to get me there.

I'm almost at the precipice when I summon the will power to sit up, freeing my hands to grab his and move it away. "I want you inside me," I manage to say, then slide down into the water.

Waves splash against my breasts as Brad drops into the water behind me. I lean back against him, aligning my body with his, then reach between my legs to find his shaft, moving it to my sex. Then I roll forward, letting him slide into me.

Brad holds my hips, but I find I keep tipping too far, my face dipping under water. "Move forward," I tell hm.

When Brad has moved to the center of the spa, I can reach the ledge on the far side, and hold myself up. Brad begins to move within me, the lube allowing his shaft to slide freely inside me, even as my body floats. The feeling is like nothing I've known.

"Is this okay for you?" I ask Brad, my voice low.

"Oh, yeah," he says. "I'm weightless, and the feeling of being in you is intense."

He moves slowly, and my arousal grows. The connection between us is intimate, but in a way impersonal. The feeling is amazing, but I want to be closer to Brad.

Surrounded by water, all I feel are the gentle brushing of the currents, and Brad inside me, the pressure against my butt cheeks as he pushes home, the hold of his hands on my hips. I want his arms around me, his chest pressed to my back, but if I lean back against him now we'll probably both sink. So I use the touch of my fingers on the ledge to ease our combined bodies forward, then reach to take hold of the edge of the spa.

This lifts my body more upright, which rotates Brad backward, and he leans closer to avoid overbalancing into the water. With one hand I lift his grip from my hip to my breast, and he draws our bodies together. Once we're close, he moves his other hand to my breast.

My feet are not on the floor of the spa. Brad's are, supporting him, but I hook my feet behind his knees and draw them up, forcing him to float. He splutters for a second, then laughs. My hold on the top of the spa keeps our faces out of the water. Now we're both completely buoyed up, and the new angle gives Brad more penetration.

He makes use of the additional depth, using his hold on my breasts to squeeze my body to his as he pumps his hips, plunging deeply into me. His breathing is excited as his cock makes deep, delicious inroads into my body, making me moan softly.

Turning my face, I find his, kissing his cheek, then his lips. He groans as I nip his tongue, and moves more quickly.

There's a tingling in my sex that isn't caused by Brad inside me. A powerful jet of water is pressing against my right thigh. I move my grip on the edge of the spa to slide our merged bodies a few inches to the right, and the jet hits my clit directly.

I gasp into the kiss, but with my lips locked to Brads, it becomes an excited moan. "Mmph!" The stimulation of the jet together with Brad's presence within me is sudden and overwhelming, and I pant rapidly, barely able to catch my breath. Brad responds to my sudden desperation by pinching my nipples, which rockets me over the edge, and I come hard, whimpering into the kiss.

My fierce reaction infects Brad. I feel him slamming hard into my sex. As my climax finally begins to fade, his body shudders against me and he groans. Our kiss communicates deep satisfaction.

Brad grips the condom as he eases out of me, justifiably concerned that the water will make it hard to avoid accidents, but he lifts himself out of the water with the protection intact, removes it and ties it off.

"Well, that was a thing," I say, laughing softly, still winded.

"It was," Brad agreed. "I may never be able to relax in the spa again."

"Mmm, I think you will," I say, then lift myself out of the water.

"Will you spend the night?" he asks.

"I would like to, very much," I say, "if you're sure."

"Very sure," he says. He picks up the towel and dries himself off.

While I'm drying myself, he adjusts the lighting, bringing up the path illumination just enough that we can see our way to the house.

I return my lube to my bag, zip it up, tie the towel around myself, then take Brad's hand as we return to the house.

My sex still tingles from the underwater climax. Its strength left my senses overstimulated, and when Brad turns me to face him, beside his bed, and lowers his lips to mine, I wrap my arms around his neck and hang on tight, my arousal already rising.

He peels off my towel. The hair of his chest scratches my boobs as his hands slide down my back, over my ass. He squeezes me to himself, though his towel is still wrapped around his hips. I reach down to unfasten it.

"That's not going to be much use to either of us for a while," Brad says, with a chuckle, his lips leaving mine as the towel falls away.

"I'm sure I could coax it back into... usefulness," I say.

Brad shakes his head. "I thought I'd put the downtime to better use. But you're gonna have to give me guidance."

"What do you mean?" I ask.

In answer, he pushes me back onto the bed, my butt on the edge, and lowers himself to his knees.

Brad's fingers and lips trace my inner thigh, small thrills drifting from his touch into my sex. His tongue runs from just above my knee all the way to the edge of my pussy, then pursues the same journey on my other leg.

With his face against my sex, he speaks, the vibrations of his deep voice sending a charge into me. "You need to tell me exactly what you like," he says, before moving his lips to the side and kissing my thighs again. "This isn't something I've tried often."

"You're doing pretty good so far," I say, slightly breathless. He's gently touching his lips to the very upper edge of my thigh. I squeak at the spike of excitement one of the kisses creates, then lift my hand to my mouth in embarrassment.

"Well, there's one thing," I suggest. "My bag is probably down on the floor with my towel. I'm going to be a bit dry from the pool, so more lube would be a good idea."

He nods and backs away. A moment later he sets the small bottle on one of the towels beside me. "If it's silicone, is it safe?" he asks.

"Mmhmm," I say. "It has a slightly odd taste and texture but it's safe for oral.

Brad lubes up his fingers and rubs it in to my sex, his slick touch caressing my clit in passing.

"Nngh!" I groan, my hips twisting. "Oh God." After I catch my breath, I say, "Push your fingers inside."

Brad does that. He extends his tongue to my labia, stroking them with it, while his fingers move inside me. I reach out and caress the back of his head, my touch letting him know he's doing good. I remember the dream again. It seems like such a long time ago now. For the first time the non-hallucinatory Brad has his lips on my sex, and this feels better than my imagining did.

His tongue trails up to my clit, and I shiver with excitement, but say, "No need to rush," my voice sounding husky in my ears. He backs off, planting kisses around the edge of my pussy as his fingers continue to move.

In spite of his following my advice and taking things slowly, he's still stoking a fire within me. My heart is racing, and my breathing is labored. I reach down to his free hand, holding it in mine for a few moments, caressing his fingers. Then I lift it to my breast.

When he pinches my nipple I inhale sharply, my thighs tensing. I begin to rock my pelvis, pressing my sex to his face with each movement, and begin to moan softly. Brad takes that as his cue to begin running his tongue up to my clit.

This time I don't dissuade him. I'm getting deliciously close to climax, and though I would be happy for him to hold me here for as long as he can, the prospect of an even more delicious feeling when he carries me over the edge is calling to me.

"Kiss it..." I groan.

I feel his lips close on my clit. Lips and tongue are moving against me, sending electric pulses through me as his fingers keep moving inside me.

My back arches as the fire in my sex becomes a blaze. My sex seems to contract, my thighs tensing, and I cry out as joyful spasms erupt.


"I want you inside me," I tell Brad, as he lies down beside me.

"I don't think it's going to happen, Linda," he said. "Not after the spa."

I grin at him. "We'll see." I kiss him, languidly, then slide down his body and begin to apply gentle persuasion to the head of his cock with my lips.

It isn't easy, but after a few minutes he's beginning to swell beneath my lips and fingers. I plunge my head down over the head, rubbing the underside with the back of my tongue, seeing his belly twitch with arousal.

I run my tongue all the way down the underside of his shaft, then change tactics for a time. With a few drops of lube on the fingers of each hand I work it over his cock, then begin to alternate with each hand, grasping the base tightly before sliding my hand all the way to the tip and off, stretching and squeezing him with each pull. His breath catches and his cock gradually swells to its full length and width.

When he's almost completely hard, I grin up at him. "What did I say?"

"I'm starting to find you very scary, Linda," Brad says. "In a good way, of course."

"Of course," I say, parting my lips and covering the end of his erection, sucking, my tongue scrubbing at him as I bob my head.

"Unhhh..." he groans, and I figure he's ready.

After I've unrolled a condom onto Brad, I suckle the head of his shaft one more time until he's groaning again. Then I rub a good handful of lube over the outside, and impale myself on his cock as I lie down on top of him.

"God, you feel so good," he says.

"I do," I murmur, then silence him with my lips on his as we begin to move.

Our lovemaking is unhurried and tender. Brad may be hard, but that doesn't mean he's ready to come. We move slowly and smoothly. After a time we even stop kissing. I rest my head against his shoulder, focusing on the movement of my body over his. He caresses the edges of my breasts with his fingers.

When his thrusting speeds up, I match his motion. I didn't think I'd be able to come again. I only wanted to feel him within me, and the closeness of our bodies moving together. But I realize that I'm excited, and might be able to.

Lifting myself onto my elbows, I rock my pelvis, pressing harder against Brad. He's breathing heavily. So am I, I realize. His eyes are transfixed by my breasts, bouncing above his chest.

"Suck my breast," I beg him.

Brad uses both hands to take my right breast, lifting it to his lips, then kneading it with his left hand as his right moves to my other breast. I start to moan as he suckles, the stimulation flashing through my body, making my sex tingle and my arousal spike.

"You're going to make me come again, Brad," I groan.

He mumbles into my breast, then his teeth nip me and I begin to pant. My thighs tense and I slide into pleasure, pulsing around Brad's cock within me.

A few seconds later, Brad's body slams hard against mine and he groans. His movements slow, then his face relaxes to the bed, a broad smile showing his teeth.

I kiss his neck, then collapse against his body, not moving until Brad eventually has to roll me off to retrieve the condom.


In the morning, I wake tangled in Brad's arms. My toiletry bag does contain toiletries, in addition to the items we needed last evening, so I take it to the bathroom and clean up.

When Brad awakens we make love again. We're both sated when we move to the kitchen to replenish some of the energy we've expended on each other.

"What is it, love?" Brad asks.

I realize I've been daydreaming. My eyebrow twitches at his endearment, but I don't mention it. "I'm just thinking how far we've come from tossing a slobbery ball for your loaner pup," I say.

Brad smiles. "I think I'll be forever grateful to Jess for loaning her to me," he says.

I take his hand and squeeze it. "Me too."

Brad frowns in thought. "So, you're the doggy expert. If we were ever to get a dog, what should we get?"

My heart skips a beat. "We?" I ask.

"Uh.. oh. I mean me. If I were ever to get a dog," he says, flustered, "and you were to help me. Like you did with Violet."

"Right," I say, with a grin. "Because it's too early to talk about getting a dog together."

He gives me a relieved look and a brief nod. I squeeze his hand again.

"Lab," I say. "Golden lab or golden retriever. Not a black lab, not so soon after Bruce. They're easy-going, intelligent, and incredibly loyal. Much calmer than a husky, generally. And a mix would be fine. A retriever mix from the pound would be a wonderful dog for you." I put the tiniest emphasis on the last word. "And you know I love retrievers."

Brad nods.

"And a retriever is friendly, protective, and tolerant of the fickle moods of small humans," I add. "They're the perfect dog for kids."