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A short story of a sugar relationship and where it can lead.
It’s a stand-alone tale but follows from and builds on earlier chapters.
I’d met my roommate in the library for a tea. If there’s one things girls can talk about almost endlessly, it’s new relationships.
I could see Marcy eying the diamond as we talked. She was impressed with it, perhaps a touch jealous, even though I’d told her it wasn’t really an engagement ring. It was, I don’t know quite what to call it — a commitment ring, maybe?
“So your, um, ‘arrangement’ stays the same?” she asked.
“Yes.” I dimpled a little at the thought. I was surprised at how happy I was with it — me, with all my principles.
“And you enjoy it? I mean, really? The no-clothes thing? Being a sugar-baby?” Her eyebrows were up, questioning. I could see she was still struggling with that. A fully-dressed older man expected a pretty young woman to be constantly nude for his visual pleasure would be well over the line for most women on campus.
I had struggled with it too and I had to think about how to best answer.
“Like I said, at first, no. I was totally pissed off at first. I was angry at Tony for not playing the usual boy-girl social-interaction games. I was angry at myself for having got caught doing something really juvenile and, yeah, I was furious at myself for agreeing to spend the whole weekend with him, knowing in advance that that meant my being naked the whole time.
“I mean, I didn’t have to agree to his ‘invitation’, but he’d just politely snickered at my ain’t-I-cute routine and pushed a big stack of black chips into the middle of the table. I could’ve stomped away, but Tony made me feel, in a really weird way, that he was treating me like a fellow adult, as opposed to a smug, entitled adolescent who’s just noticed she has tits.
“And, yeah, it was totally embarrassing having to leave my clothes in the closet once we got to his place. But, you know, I never felt threatened, Marcy. Not once. I always had an option, a way out. I could do what he expected or — totally my choice — he’d put me into a cab and send me home with no hard feelings. A boy our age would have been pushing really hard for me to go along, but Tony? It was like he didn’t even care.”
She nodded a little, took a sip of her tea.
“I guess it became much easier to accept when I realized that he wasn’t really perving out over me, Marcy. Yeah, I was starkers and, yeah, he spent a lot of time looking at my boobs and bum, but he wasn’t greasy about it like the boys on campus would have been. He was appreciating my body for the same reason he enjoyed my music — because he found me beautiful. It was totally different. I felt like a work of art in a museum or something.
“And there’s a difference between embarrassed and humiliated. I was really, really embarrassed at first, but he never humiliated me, never asked me to do something I’d feel ashamed of later.
“And when he did finally make his move, it was just amazing. I thought I’d die, Marcy. He’s good, really good.”
“Really good at what?” a voice said from behind me.
“I thought I saw a familiar face,” Tony smiled. “How’s my favourite lab partner?”
Typically, he was the best-dressed person in sight — nothing fancy, just a mostly-unbuttoned dark blue shirt with its sleeves rolled up, dark slacks and sockless black loafers. His white hair and beard were perfectly groomed. He looked like he was on his was to a GQ photoshoot.
“Tony,” I said, “this is my roommate, Marcy. Marcy, meet Tony.”
Tony sat down without being invited. I’m embarrassed to admit how pleased I was that he sat next to me and not her. Don’t be bitchy, Stephanie.
“Ah, the renowned Marcia!” he smiled. “We meet at last.”
He didn’t offer to shake hands.
“Stephanie tells me that you’re an accomplished artist,” he said.
“Well, hardly ‘accomplished’,” she replied. “I’m still learning.” She batted her eyes and I laughed inwardly. I’d just finished telling her that he didn’t play the usual boy-girl flirting games and she’d followed her hormones; I could see how this one would play out.
“Stephanie says you’re experimenting with watercolours. They’re supposed to be very difficult to learn.”
I looked at him out of the corner of my eye. Normally he was, if not exactly remote, then at least reserved. This was the most pleasant I’d ever seen him be to, well, to anybody but myself — and that was only after he’d shredded me for the same sort of cutsie routine. Was he being nice because Marcy was my friend?
“They can be,” she said. “I need to practise more. Stephanie tells me you have great views from your porch. And great sunsets.” Her smile was dazzling, perfect white teeth.
Was she angling for an invitation?
She batted her eyes again, licked her lips.
I waited for his response. His grey eyes suddenly looked positively flinty; he’d seen through casino siteleri her games, the same way he’d seen through mine. It was truth or consequences time; I waited to see how he would react.
“How to put it, Marcy?” he said. His voice had that still calmness I had come to recognize as controlled irritation.
He put his hands on the table, giving me an option of holding his or not, depending on how I saw my reputation.
I reached out, took a hand, squeezed firmly. He looked down at that, then at me, smiled warmly and squeezed back gently.
A little of the irritation faded from his face.
“Marcy, it’s going to depend totally on what my girlfriend here says.” My heart skipped a beat. It was the first time he’d used that word, the first time he’d publicly acknowledged our relationship. I’d always despised reading about women with ‘fluttering hearts’. I understood it now. Mine was.
“Stephanie visits my farm under some special… conditions.” His eyes shifted to mine, “Which remain in place, incidentally.”
Marcy’s eyes opened very wide. She knew what those conditions were — and now she knew that Tony knew that she knew. If you follow all that.
“So, it’s her call, Marcy.”
He looked at his watch, rose to his feet, adding, “Under the same conditions, of course.”
Marcy blushed and her jaw dropped a little. I loved Marcy, but a triumphant Inner Stephanie did a private happy dance. Thank you, Tony!
“Forgive me, but I do have a class. It’s been a pleasure to meet you, Marcy.” With that, he kissed my hand and was gone. I could feel the tingle all the way down to my toes. I saw a couple of people around us smiling at his old-fashioned courtliness.
“Wow,” Marcy said quietly. “I see what you mean.”
She shivered a little. “He’s pretty spectacular.”
Silent for a minute, she finished her tea, looked at the cup in her hands, turning it as if it might hold the answer to an age-old mystery.
“So?” she asked, “It’s up to you?” She wasn’t giving up easily, but at least she wasn’t batting her eyes at me. “Including the clothes?”
“I need to think on that, Marcy.”
By itself, I was OK with the concept of my BFF coming to paint on Tony’s deck.
And I trusted Tony and I liked him. Oh, crap, no — thinking on it, I realized that, despite our differences and despite the short amount of time we’d been together and despite our financial arrangement, I pretty much loved the man. Therein lay the complication.
Tony had just explicitly said his no-clothes-at-the-farm rule was still in effect, but how that applied to the tiny cutie sitting in front of me, I wasn’t quite sure. I didn’t want to be the only naked woman there, but if she had to go bare too, that led to ‘Tony plus bare Marcy’ and I wasn’t sure how that equation would play out.
I knew I wasn’t ready to share Tony.
All that took me maybe two heartbeats to work through. It left my mind no clearer.
“But here’s something for you to think on, Marcy. Being with Tony isn’t like going on a normal date with a guy — you know, he’s thinking about how to make his move before you even get to the theatre and you’re always wondering when it’s coming and what to do when it does. There’s none of that with Tony.
“I tried the ‘little bundle of sexy’ on him after class and he stared me down like I was a bratty child trying to butt into an adult discussion.
“And, honey,” I said, patting her hand, “you just tried the same cutsie routine I did.”
She flushed. I could see she was irritated by my having seen through it, honest enough acknowledge it, a good enough friend to not hold the truth against me. I hoped so anyway; I really didn’t want to lose Marcy as my friend.
My phone chirped. It was a text from Tony, a simple: ?
I shrugged, showed it to Marcy. She shrugged back. Over to you.
I thought, typed: we’re thinking — c u friday.
I looked at it, added: XO.
I hit Send.
I walked into my room with a smile on my face. It’d had been a good day. I’d even got a couple of assignments back with higher-than-expected marks. I was looking forward to spreading some of that joy around with a good roommate gossip evening.
I could see instantly that that wasn’t going to happen. Marcy was sitting on the edge of her bed, clutching her teddy bear as if it was the last friend she had in the world.
“Marcy?” I knelt beside the bed. “Honey? What’s wrong?”
“Oh, I just had another big quarrel with my sister. It’s the same old shit, every time.”
“Want to talk about it?”
“No. No point. It’s always trivial stuff. Denise is so opinionated, so narrow-minded.”
She sagged. “I just hate the fighting.”
She sniffed. I sat beside her on the bed, stroked her hair. “It’s OK, Marcy. It’ll be OK.”
I thought for a moment. “I don’t know what sisters are like, of course.”
I had three brothers and that dynamic changed güvenilir casino every time I saw them. They went from knuckle-dragging trolls to shining knights — and back again — about every ten minutes.
She gave me a wry smile. I put my arm around her shoulder and she leaned into me. At times like this, it’s all about just being there.
“What’s your mom say?”
“She has to live with Denise, at least until she finishes high school. She doesn’t want to rock the boat too much. And it’s half my fault; I could just ignore Denise’s crap, but she knows just which buttons to push to set me off.”
She needed to talk. I needed to listen.
“I know it’s going to happen every time I call home and I always light up at her shit and I’m still crying and it’s so silly.”
“No. No, it’s not. Not after Mark dumping you two weeks ago and everything else. It’s a lot happening all at once, a whole lot of stress.”
She needs a good cry, I thought.
“I probably just need a good cry,” she said.
I pulled her into another hug. “I’ve got extra tissue.”
“You’re off to see Tony again, right?”
I just looked at her. My having packed only my toothbrush and my flute for the weekend might have been a clue.
“Yup. I’ll see you Sunday.”
Marcy looked at me glumly. Her lip wasn’t quite quivering, but she was definitely not a happy camper.
“I’ll be back Sunday,” I repeated. “Why? Do you need me to stay? Tony will understand.”
She shook her head. “No. Don’t be silly. There’s nothing you can do.”
She closed her eyes, took a deep breath and then it all came out in a rush.
“I’m just sick of this place, sick of the same freaking routine every day. I’m down over my bitchy sister and still pissed about Mark and I’m sick of the crappy residence food and that idiot three doors down with the always-loud music and I’m sick of waking up to the same four walls here every morning.”
Whoops. I could see this one coming.
“And I’m jealous of you,” she whispered.
Now, that one I hadn’t seen coming.
Her eyes met mine. “You’re more confident since you met Tony, Steph. You’re getting it together. You seem happier now.”
I had no idea what to say.
“Tony said you could set the terms.” Her voice was barely audible even in the room with the door closed. She looked up at me with red eyes. “Just for an afternoon, maybe? Please? Just to get out of here?”
Oh, poop! Now what?
“Let me talk to Tony, hon.”
She nodded. I gave her a last hug and left her with her teddy bear. Thankfully alone in the elevator, I leaned against the wall, took a deep breath and let it out slowly, pondering.
Tony was waiting in his old Land Rover. He hopped out, dressed to the nines, as always. A couple of dozen kisses and hugs later, he helped me into the car and we were on the road to his farm near Watford, half an hour outside the city.
“You seem rather quiet tonight, Stephanie.”
“Sorry. Just thinking.”
He grinned. “That’s what your text said. A blonde ‘thinking’ for three days straight. It’s positively amazing.”
I gave him a poke in the short ribs. “That’ll be enough of the blonde jokes, mister.”
“Yes’m,” he grinned.
“What had you planned for dinner?”
“Well. I’d originally been thinking of frisky blonde, but that seems off limits now, so how about an omelette aux fines herbes?”
I reached over, took his arm in my hand. “I’d love an omelet, but I didn’t say that frisky blonde was off limits, sir.”
He laughed now. “A man needs to be sure, these days, Stephanie.”
“Well, frisky blonde is — for you — always on the menu, Tony.”
I knew my way around the farmhouse and, leaving my clothes in the usual closet, was in place on my stool, flute assembled and ready to play, before Tony had started to get dinner ready.
He surprised me, though.
He looked over the kitchen island, eying me appreciatively. His gaze locked on my bosom. He flinched, slapped his forehead with the palm of his hand.
“I’m very sorry, Stephanie!” he said and walking quickly into his bedroom. He reappeared seconds later with my — his — necklace. He stepped behind me and I lowered my chin to make it easier for him to fasten it around my neck.
He’d tried to give it to me after our first night together, only to have me refuse it as too valuable.
“It’s too much,” I’d told him. “Stephanie’s not for sale, not like that. I knew what the weekend was about before I got into your car, but I didn’t come here for this.” My fingertip had swept over the sterling links. “I’ll stay without it, Tony, but if you insist on my accepting it for what happened last night, then please call me a cab.”
We’d compromised. The necklace stayed at the farm and I wore it — and only it — whenever I visited.
Its weight felt good on my neck. I walked down the hall to the bathroom to look at myself in the mirror. The afternoon sun poured in through the canlı casino skylight, turning my hair into a beacon of light.
I am, in all fairness, a very good-looking girl. I’ve got the looks, the Playboy figure. I know I turn heads in class. Right now, wearing Tony’s heavy silver, the only head I wanted to turn was his. And that silver, I thought, was simply perfect for the purpose. I somehow felt complete when I was wearing it, as if both it and I had been created solely to enhance each other.
I went back into the kitchen.
“Before you start, Stephanie, what do you know about herbs?”
“They’re green and they come in bottles.”
He didn’t quite wince.
“OK, change of plan; we’ll do a quick cooking lesson before the concert, young lady. To start off with, a good omelet needs really fresh herbs.”
A small cup and scissors in one hand, he led me outside to a small garden, pointed to the various plants.
“The one here with the long, skinny leaves is tarragon.” He plucked one, crushed it slightly, held it under my nose.
“Chives are almost a weed; they grow like crazy. Parsley you’ll recognize, I’m sure, and this one here, with the funny leaves, that’s chervil. Those four are the classic herbs for a proper omelet.” He picked some of each, put them into the cup and took me back inside.
He sharpened the knife on a well-used steel. “A sharp knife doesn’t need as much force to cut, so you have better control. It’s less likely to slip and cut you.”
Finished, he put the sharpening rod away and laid the knife down in front of me.
“OK, here we go. Pile all the herbs on the chopping board.”
He came around behind me, his arms around my sides.
“Hold the knife with your thumb and forefinger on opposite sides of the blade, like this. It gives you better control. Rest the tip of the knife on the cutting board, like this, and work the blade up and down, pivoting on the tip. None of your fingers are anywhere near the cutting edge, so it’s quite safe.”
Demonstration over, he put the knife down, stayed pressed against me. “Your turn.”
I could feel the warmth of his body against my back, his breath by my ear.
The knife was much larger than I would have chosen, a little bit intimidating. I’d never used fresh herbs before and thought it would take quite a while. It was surprisingly easy; I had finished in less than a minute.
“Knife down, hands away.” I did.
“Or,” and I could hear his grin, “you can just put all the herbs in a cup and have at them with a pair of sharp scissors. It works about as well, but isn’t nearly as much fun for the teacher.”
With that, his hands, rose up my arms, slid over my shoulders, then down to clasp my breasts in a gentle squeeze. I squirmed happily as his fingers teased my nipples, rolling them gently, pulling them. They grew harder under his loving stimulation.
His hands dropped to my waist, pulling me in for a hug.
“Fresh herbs and knife control. How was the cooking lesson?” he whispered.
I leaned back, rested my head on his shoulder.
“I don’t think I’ll forget it anytime soon, Tony.”
I turned my face up, lifted my lips to his, felt a swelling in my loins and breasts.
“Good,” he laughed, slapping a butt-cheek gently. “Now go play your flute and let an old man work.”
I wiggled my bare bum against him for a moment and, smiling, took my place on the stool opposite the island.
“What would you like?”
“Do you know Bolero? Ravel?”
Aside from a soft snare drum, the piece essentially opens with a flute solo. It shifts to a series of woodwinds, then back to pair flute with a trumpet. I thought I did a good job of working through it with only my flute and Tony seemed to enjoy it.
As I played, he swept the herbs onto a plate, broke some eggs into a bowl, set out a frying pan and made a green salad. I was still playing as he sat down and watched me appreciatively.
When I finished, he came around to my side of the island and circled me, slowly, his eyes on my body. I smiled for him. It was in one sense so easy to please Tony.
Once around, into a second circle. This time his hand came out, trailed over my skin as he moved.
I shivered as it drifted over one breast, then the other.
“Spread your legs a bit, please. You’re too pretty to hide that.”
He’d said that the first night I’d been here, too, and I thought I’d die of embarrassment. Now, I merely complied. Being visible was part of our agreement and, like I’ve said before, if there’s a reason for women to be pretty, it has to be so that handsome men will notice.
He surprised me by kneeling in front of me. Strong hands spread my legs and he leaned in to lightly kiss my sex — just one gentle kiss.
“Beautiful,” he pronounced softly before rising to his feet again. My heart melted; no boy had ever said that to me before.
He returned to the stove, put a pan on it and called me over.
“Another cooking lesson, Stephanie. I’ve done most of the prep; you’re going to actually cook. Start off by putting a piece of butter about the size of your thumb into the pan. It’ll melt as the pan gets warm. Now, the eggs.”
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