War And Peace On 22nd Street

Info silverhawk
28 Sep. '19

22nd Street isn’t much different than any other street in the older part of any city.  There are big maple and oak trees lining the street and shading the houses.  Those houses sit on half-acre lots.  The lots are that big because when they were built, there wasn’t any city sewer yet and the zoning code said half an acre was the minimum size lot for a septic tank and proper drainage of the drain field.  There usually aren’t any trees in the back yard.  Those would have clogged the drain field pipes.  Several of the houses have flower beds in back though, along with a tiny patio.

All the houses now have city sewer connections so the septic tanks and drain fields lay unused a few feet under the grass of the tiny back yards.  Each house has a one-car garage in back, and the drive to that garage goes between the houses, so there’s really no side yard to any of them except what grass grows between the two, foot-wide strips of concrete that serve as a driveway.

Between the lots, in back, is an alley.  That’s where everybody keeps their trash cans.  Once a week, the city garbage truck comes by about five in the morning and dumps the trash cans.  The alley is also where the kids played when there were kids in the neighborhood.  The kids are all grown now and have moved to the suburbs where they have an acre or so of yard, concrete drives to two car garages, and fences to keep their neighbors on their own property.

Like most of these older neighborhoods, on the corner of 22nd Street and Walnut are a couple of businesses.  One used to be a grocery store before Walmart built a huge store five miles away.  It’s now an antique shop.  The other is “Dick’s Bar”.

Dick’s Bar isn’t one of those fancy places where you can order a pomegranate vodka martini and the bartender won’t say anything except ask if you want Luxsosowa, Absolut, or just the bar brand.  You won’t find any craft beers on tap or in the coolers.  Dick’s Bar doesn’t have little crackers with cheese, and you won’t be waited on by a young waitress with her breasts spilling out of her top.

Dick’s Bar is a quiet place now, except for the bell on the door that dings anytime anybody comes in, and the taps have handles that say Busch, Miller, and Budweiser.  If you like your beer in a bottle or a can, Mary will get you a Pabst or a Hamm’s or a Corona from the cooler down at one end.  Mary can pour you a shot of Wild Turkey or Jack to go with that beer if you want, and she can mix most drinks though she’ll probably have to look up the recipe for anything that’s not common.

Liz will fry you up a hamburger and fries if you’re hungry, and on Friday night, you can get a fish sandwich instead of a hamburger.  Trudy will bring it to your table and ask if you need another drink.  Trudy’s breasts aren’t spilling out of her low cut top.  They’re big enough to do that, except she wears T-shirts.  

Mary actually owns the bar.  It became hers when her husband, the “Dick” of Dick’s Bar, was killed in a car accident.  Trudy doesn’t get rich, but they’d live upstairs over the bar, it was paid for, and she didn’t want to move, so she kept it open.  She’s not getting rich, but I guess she makes enough to keep herself in what she needs.  

If you ask her, and several men have hinted that they’re interested, she’ll tell you one of the things she doesn’t need is another husband.  I didn’t know this for a while, but Trudy lives upstairs with Mary.  I guess they’re happy with that arrangement.  She never said why, but Trudy once told me Mary wanted to experience what she’d always fantasized about but never got the opportunity to try until Dick was killed.  Apparently she liked the experience a lot.

I started going to Dick’s Bar two years before because my wife had divorced me.  “Incompatibility” she said.  That was after we’d been married for twenty years.  What had really been “incompatible” was me wanting to fuck her a couple times a week.  She came up with this shit that her body was hers and not mine and if and when she decided she wanted me to fuck her she’d tell me.   

There are always two sides to any divorce, and I probably wasn’t the same guy she’d married.  Time can do that to people.  They get married and they’re happy and start living life together.  They have kids, and the kids keep them happy and together.  When the kids are grown and move out, it’s just the two of them again and they find out what they used to like they don’t like anymore.  I probably was the asshole she said, but she was the bitch I thought she was too.  

Anyway, after one fight over why she insisted on wearing long pants and a long sleeve shirt to bed every night, we came to the conclusion that we couldn’t continue to live together.  I let her divorce me because she didn’t have much of a job and I did.  I paid both lawyers, we each kept our cars, and split everything else down them middle.  She moved a little over three hundred miles into a duplex our daughter owned, and I moved to 22nd Street because the houses in that part of town are relatively low in cost and that’s all the house I could afford.

I usually spent a couple hours down at Dick’s Bar on Friday and Saturday night.  I’m no big drinker – hangovers seem to hurt a lot worse when you’re forty-eight than when you’re twenty.  I’d just go down about six, have Liz fix me a hamburger and fries, and drink a couple of beers.  After a month, I knew some of the regulars, and we’d talk about what we’d done in the military or what we did at work and how fucking crazy the world was getting.

It was after I’d been going to Dick’s for five years, I got a new neighbor.  The Madison’s, a couple in their seventies, had decided to move to an assisted living home and put their house on the market.  It took it forever to sell because it wasn’t in the best of shape, but one day when I came home from work, the realtor’s sign out front had a “sold” sign on top.

I watched that house for a week before I saw the new owner, and I was surprised to find the new owner was a woman about my age.  That Friday, a small moving van pulled up in the drive and two guys unloaded a bed, a couch and a couple of chairs and end tables, and a small dining table with four chairs.    On Saturday, she pulled into the drive and started carrying boxes from her car to the house.  Just to be neighborly, I walked over to welcome her to the neighborhood and to ask her if she needed any help.

Well, if the truth be told, I walked over because she was a pretty good looking gal and I wanted to meet her.  I didn’t have any illusions about doing anything with her.  I’d just not really talked to a woman socially in five years and I missed that.  Sure, I’d talked to women at work, but that was just about work.  Saying anything different than something about work would probably have gotten my ass fired because women today don’t seem to appreciate the fact a man might find them attractive and think he should tell them that like Harry told Marilyn.  

Harry got fired for saying Marilyn made his day brighter when she wore a particular dress.  Marilyn made my day brighter when she wore that dress too, because the neckline was pretty low and her cleavage showed.  All Harry said was “Marilyn, you should wear that dress more often because you look like a movie star in it”.  Marilyn went to Personnel and demanded some sort of action because Harry was making sexual remarks about her body.

I was standing beside her car when the woman came out of her house, and she frowned when she saw me.

“Who are you and why are you here?”

I hadn’t expected that so I stammered a little getting out what I said.

“I…I’m Rick Harrison, your neighbor…that house over there next door.  I just…well, I thought I’d say hello and ask you if you needed any help.”

She was still frowning.

“No, I don’t need any help, thank you very much.  I’m busy, so go away.”

I really hadn’t expected anything like that.  She was more of a bitch than my ex.  At least my ex had been civil most of the time.  I turned to walk away when she said, “you can answer me one question though.  Is there anyplace close to get a drink around here?”

I smiled, hoping she’d at least stop frowning, but she didn’t.

“Yeah, Dick’s Bar, down on the corner.”

“Any young kids go there?”

“No, just people my age or older.”

She just said, “OK, thanks”, picked up another box and started walking up her walk.

As I walked back to my house, I was wondering if she was going to always be like this, or if she just had something bothering her.  If she was going to be that kind of neighbor all the time, life on 22nd Street wasn’t going to be much fun.  I hoped she’d get over whatever it was and be at least a little friendly.

That night, I made my usual walk down to Dick’s Bar for a burger and a couple beers.  The normal crowd of six older guys was sitting at the tables on one side and talking.  I walked to the bar and took the stool I usually used.  A few seconds later, Mary sat a frosty mug of Millers in front of me and smiled.

“Trudy is sick, so I’m your waitress tonight.  You want a burger like always?”

I was waiting on my burger when I heard the bell on the door ding.  I looked at the door, and there she was, my new neighbor.  She looked around for a few seconds and then took a seat at other end of the bar from me.  Evidently she hadn’t gotten any happier.  She was still frowning.

Mary walked down and took her order, then came back and reached for the bottle of vodka on the back bar.  She poured two shots into a glass, stuck a slice of lime on the edge and then took it to the woman.  When Mary came back with the four ones, she leaned over the bar in front of me.

“You know her?  I’ve never seen her before.”

I nodded.

“I don’t really know her, but she just moved into the house beside mine.”

“Well, she’s upset about something.  She wanted a double vodka, neat.  I think she’s looking to get herself drunk for some reason.”

I looked down the bar, and figured what Mary thought was probably the case.  The woman’s glass was already down about a quarter of the way, and while I was looking, she took another healthy pull, swallowed, and then made a face.

I was finishing my hamburger when Mary took the woman another double vodka.  I was finishing my second beer when Mary took the woman a third.  When Mary came back, she frowned.

“That’s it.  I’m not serving her anything more.  She just tossed a handful of bills on the bar and said for me to count out what I needed.  She’ll be lucky if she can walk out of here when she finishes this one.”

I’d been talking to the guys at the table for about ten minutes when I heard a screech and a thud and looked back at the bar.  Mary had run out from behind the bar and was trying to help the woman get back on her feet.  I went over to see what was wrong.  When I got there, Mary looked at me and grinned.

“Told you, didn’t I.  She said she had to use the restroom and asked me where it was.  When I told her, she slid off the stool and fell on her butt.  I’ll take her to the restroom if you’ll help me.  I don’t think she can walk there by herself.”

Between Mary and I, we got the woman to the restroom and inside a stall.  Mary said she could take it from there, so I said I’d wait outside in case she needed help again.  About ten minutes later, Mary opened the door with the woman hanging on to her shoulder.

“Rick, she’s pretty out of it.  It seems like a waste of money to call a cab to take her half a block, and since Trudy’s sick and Liz can’t tend bar, I can’t leave.  I’ll go get her purse. Since she’s your neighbor, could you take her home?”

That half a block walk was interesting.  The woman could barely walk by herself, and didn’t do much better with one arm over my shoulder and my arm around her waist.  She did say a few things on the way to her house though, but what she said was more like just rambling than anything else.

“He’d like see’n me now, would’n he.”

I said I didn’t know.

“Well, he would.  Would’n do him any good though.  I hate him.”

I stopped to lift her back up a little and she wasn’t happy I’d done that.

“Stop grabbing my boobs.  Wo’n do you any good either.  I hate men.”

I was getting tired of this.  

“Well, you could help a little more, you know.  If you didn’t keep falling down, I wouldn’t have to keep pulling you up.”

She straightened up and pulled her shoulders back.

“I’m fine.  Let me go.”

It was cruel, I know that, but like I said, I was getting pissed at her.  I pulled her arm from around my shoulder and turned loose of her waist.

“Suit your self.”

She took one step and fell flat on her face.

“Ow, that hurts”, she whined as she rubbed her forehead.

“Well, you wanted me to let you go.”

“Well, don’t just stand there like an asshole.  Help me back up.”

She wasn’t that heavy but she was mostly dead weight, so getting her back on her feet was one hell of job, but I finally managed.  I put her arm around my shoulder again and put my arm around her waist.

“Look, we’re two houses away.  Try to at least help a little.”

When we got to her door I asked her for her door key.  She rummaged around in her purse and then looked up at me.

“I can’t find it.  I know I put it in here, but it’s gone.  You probably took it so I’d have to go home with you, didn’t you?”

That was the last straw.  I didn’t mind helping her get home, and I didn’t mind her falling on her face and then accusing me of touching her when I picked her back up.  That was just a drunk woman talking.  This was basically accusing me of trying to get her into my house so I could molest her.  I leaned her against the door and then held her there with my hands on her shoulders.

“Look, Miss or Mz. or whatever you call yourself, never in my life have I ever done anything like you just accused me of doing.  You have two options.  You can give me your purse and I'll find your damned key, or I can go home and leave you sitting here on your ass.  Right now, I don’t really give a damn which.”

She looked at me a little funny, but she handed me her purse.  I found her keys in an inside pocket under her billfold.  After putting my arm around her waist so she wouldn’t fall down, and then pulling her away from the door, I tried two different keys before I found the one that worked.  I pushed the door open and pretty much dragged her inside her house.  The closest seat I came to was her couch, so I dropped her ass in the middle of it and then tossed her keys on the coffee table.

“I’ll lock the door on my way out so you won’t have to worry about me doing anything to you tonight, not that I would. I liked my ex a lot more than I like you right now.  Have a nice night.”

I was still pissed at the woman when I went to bed.  I could understand that she must have had problems with men, but she didn’t know me well enough to lump me in with all the rest, and she sure as hell didn’t have any reason to think I’d have done anything to her.

It was a shame, really, and I felt a little sorry for her…not much, but a little.  Like I said before, she was a nice looking woman.  She didn’t seem to dress up much – she’d been wearing jeans and a T-shirt at her house.  At Dick’s she was wearing jeans that were a little dressier and a nice blouse.  Both told me she had a pretty nice ass and more than ample breasts.  Her face was pretty too, but then I like blonde hair and a round face with pretty eyes.

I saw her again on Sunday afternoon and she was a wreck.  There was a red scrape on her forehead she’d tried to hide with her hair, but it still showed a little. It looked like she’d sort of piled her long blonde hair on top of her head, and she wasn’t wearing any makeup at all that I could see. She had her eyes squinted almost shut too.

When she got in her car, I wondered if she could see well enough to drive, but I wasn’t about to ask her if she needed help.  She turned too soon when she backed out onto the street and ran over the curb, and when she drove off, she wasn’t going very fast.

I knew she must be hung-over like hell, but it served her right.  If I’d helped her get home and she’d acted like she appreciated it even a little, I might not have felt that way.  As it was, I hoped her head kept aching until at least tomorrow morning.

I didn’t see her for the rest of the week and since I was still pissed, that was fine with me.  Her car was always in her drive when I left for work, and it was always gone when I came home, so I figured she must have a job of some sort that started later than mine.  I’d usually see the flash of her headlights in my living room windows about seven or so when she came back home.  I never went to look then, because I really didn’t want to see her frowning face.

That Friday night about six, I walked down to Dick’s Bar.  The fish sandwiches at the fast food places usually suck, but the fish sandwiches Liz makes are actual fish fillets and they’re pretty fantastic, and on Friday’s that’s usually what I’d have.  Mary sat my beer on the bar a minute or so after I sat down and then smiled.

“You get Blondie home OK last Saturday?”

“Yeah, I guess so.  I left her in her living room on her couch.”

“You didn’t try anything?  Most men would have.”

I shook my head.

“No, and if you’d been there, you’d understand why.  When she couldn’t find her house key in her purse, she accused me of taking it so she’d have to come home with me.  I never gave her any reason to think something like that and it pissed me off.  I wouldn’t have done anything then if she’d begged me.”

The bell on the door dinged again, and after Mary looked up, she looked back at me and grinned.

“Looks like you might get another chance tonight.  She’s back.”

When the woman walked to the other end of the bar, she glanced at me and then quickly turned her head, but not before I saw the scowl on her face.  Trudy brought my fish sandwich then, so I didn’t keep looking, but I did see Mary roll her eyes at me when the carried a double vodka, neat, down to the woman.

That night, she only had two, and though she looked a little unsteady, she made it out the door by herself.  I had a couple more beers and then headed home myself.  Dinner had been great like it always was, the company better, like it always was, and I was ready for a little TV and then bed.

Most of Saturday, I worked outside.  I mowed my grass and then did a little fixing up on some siding that had come loose on my garage.  I finished up the siding fix about four and I was ringing wet with sweat because it was hot as hell outside.  

I was thinking it I was probably going to have to put new siding on my garage this fall when it cooled off a little, when a guy on a riding mower drove into her back yard and started mowing.  That seemed a little odd.  I mean, it only took me about fifteen minutes to mow my backyard with a push mower and the front only about ten.  Paying some guy around fifty bucks to do that seemed pretty wasteful.  I figured she must not be strapped for cash if she was doing that.  

The guy got done in about five minutes and drove his mower around to the front.  After he left, that was no more activity from her house, not even her looking out her window.

About five, I took a shower, dressed, and walked down to Dick’s for a burger.  I was a little tired but feeling pretty good.  My siding fix looked like it would hold for a while, so I wouldn’t have to spend the money to re-side my garage that year.  Mary sat my beer on the bar, said “Hey”, and a couple minutes later Trudy walked up and asked me if I wanted a burger like always.  When she brought it from the kitchen, she grinned.  

“Liz put extra cheese on this one.  She said you’d probably need some extra energy when you take that blonde home again tonight.”

I grinned back.

“Well, I took her home, but to her house, not mine.  She said she hates men, so I doubt she’d interested in anything like that, even if I was.  She’s pretty much a bitch.”

Trudy winked at me and said, “You never know”, and then walked away.  About that time the bell on the door dinged and the woman came in, walked up to the bar, and sat down.

She was dressed about the same as the night before except it looked like she’d decided it was too hot for a blouse.  She was wearing a tank top that hugged her breasts like a second skin, and I didn’t see any bra straps, so it must have had a built-in bra.  Her jeans were about the same, tight enough I could see she had a nice ass.  

She saw me looking at her and walked up to me with a scowl on her face.

“Why are you looking at me?”

I shrugged.

“I usually look at women, that’s all.  It doesn’t mean anything.”

“You’re looking at my boobs right now, and I don’t like the look on your face.  Stop it.”

I’d thought maybe, just maybe, she’d changed a little but she hadn’t.  I was only half way through my burger and she’d already fucked up my night.

“Look, I’m looking at you, not your boobs.  They aren’t that great anyway.”

The look on her face told me I’d hurt her, and I was sorry for that, but I wasn’t going to apologize.  She did look hurt, but she was still frowning at me.  She didn’t say anything then.  She just turned and walked down to the other end of the bar, climbed up on a stool, and motioned for Mary.  

I went back to my burger, but I was pissed at both her and me.  I was pissed at myself because I’d pretty much insulted her and I never do that.  I was pissed at her for being such a bitch when in actuality, she did have nice breasts and her ass looked pretty great when she walked away.

I’d finished my burger and was on my third beer and talking with Jerry about what we’d done in the Army, when Mary tugged on my sleeve and then pulled me to the side.

“Rick, she made it to the restroom by herself, but there’s no way I want to let her walk out of here by herself.  Can you take her home again?”

Mary and I walked to where the blonde sat on her barstool.  She looked at Mary and said, “I’ll have another, thank you.”  Mary just frowned and shook her head.

“Honey, you’ve had enough for tonight.  If I give you another, somebody’s going to have to carry you home.  Rick’s going to walk with you to make sure you get there safe.”

The blonde looked at me and frowned.

“You gonna grab my boobs again?”

I sighed.

“No, and I didn’t the first time.  If you don’t want my help, just say so.  The only reason I’m doing this in the first place is Mary asked me to.”

The blonde said, “I don’t need anybody’s help”, and slid off the barstool.  If I hadn’t caught her, she’d have ended up on the floor.  As it was, she ended up with my arms under her armpits and her breasts pressed against my chest.

She pushed on my chest until I let her go, and then said, “See, you did it again.”

Mary put her hand on the blonde’s shoulder.

“Honey, all Rick did was keep you from falling on your butt again.  Now, let him take you home so you can sleep it off.”

Taking her home was a little easier because she was walking fairly well, though I had to keep my arm around her waist to keep her on the sidewalk.  We were half-way to her house when she said, “my boobs aren’t bad like you said they were.”

I thought she was probably so drunk she couldn’t remember anything, but that made me feel like an ass.

“I didn’t say they were bad.  I just said they weren’t that great.  If you weren’t such a bitch all the time and you didn’t get so drunk, I might not think that way.  What the hell is it with you anyway?  Did somebody pull your bitch chain and make you this way?”

She muttered something I couldn’t hear.  I figured she was saying something about me again, and if she had, I was going to leave her ass on the sidewalk and go back and have another beer.

“What was that?  I couldn’t make out what you were saying.

“I said, you wouldn’t understand even if I told you, which I’m not.”

“Well, suit yourself, but being a bitch all the time and getting drunk on your ass on Saturday night isn’t going to help you fix anything.”

She shut up then.  This time, she found her keys and let herself into her house.  She didn’t slam the door in my face, but she didn’t say thank you either.

Sunday afternoon, about one, I’d finished a turkey sandwich for lunch and was looking forward to a movie on TV I wanted to see for the fifth time when there was a knock on my door.  When I opened it, there she stood.

“Can I come in?  I need to talk to you.”

She was wearing the same clothes as the night before and they looked like she’d slept in them.  She’d evidently used the bathroom at some point, and she hadn’t gotten her jeans zipped up.  I could see blue panties through the open fly.

“Sure.  Come in and have a seat.  You look like you could use a cup of coffee.  Want some?  It’ll only take me a couple minutes to make a fresh pot.”

When she nodded, I led her to my little kitchen, sat her down at the table, and then started my coffeemaker.  She was sitting there with her head in her hands when I sat the cup in front of her.

“Cream and sugar?”

“Just cream”.

I got the carton of half-and-half out of the refrigerator and sat it down in front of her.  Her hand was shaking when she poured some into the cup.  After she stirred it in, she took a sip.

“God, this is strong.”

I chuckled.

“Yeah, well, as I remember hangovers, strong coffee helps about as much as anything.  What did you want to talk to me about?”

She sat there staring into the coffee cup for about half a minute before she looked up at me.

“I keep trying to keep you away, but you keep helping me.  Why?”

I shrugged.

“The first night, you looked like you needed help.  I’ve been in that situation before, so I knew you’d never get home by yourself.  When Mary asked me to help you, I was happy to do that.

“I didn’t expect to be accused of trying to do anything with you though.  Hell, I don’t even know your name, and I’d have to know at least that much about you before I'd consider asking to get to know you even a little better.  Last night was only because Mary asked me to help you again.  If she hadn’t asked, I’d have let you get your bitchy ass home by yourself.”

She took another sip of coffee, made a face, and then murmured, “Cheryl…my name is Cheryl.”

“OK, so you’re Cheryl.  Cheryl, what did I do to you that makes you think you need to keep me away, not that I’ve ever tried to get close to you?”

“Nothing…you didn’t do anything to me.”

“Then what’s wrong?”

I hate it when women cry.  There’s not a damn thing you can do to make them stop, so you have to just sit there until they cry themselves out.  That’s what I did until Cheryl asked if I had something she could wipe her eyes with.  After I handed her a paper towel, she dabbed at her eyes, then wiped her cheeks, and then looked at me.

“I don’t think you want to hear what’s wrong.  I should just go home.”

When she started to stand up, I put my hand on hers.  It wasn’t really something I thought about doing.  It just happened.

“I think you should tell somebody or your drinking is going to get you hurt one of these days.”

She sat back down and then looked at me like she was trying to decide if I was serious or not.  I tried to tell her I was.

“Cheryl, if you don’t want to tell me, that’s OK, but you really need to get this off your chest.”

She looked at the table then.

“You couldn’t understand because you’re a man.”

“Well, I sure as hell can’t if you don’t tell me.”

Cheryl took a deep breath then.

“I got divorced a month ago.”

“OK, I did that two years ago, so I understand more than you think I do.”

“No, you don’t.  It was the reason I got divorced you can’t understand.”

“I might understand if you tell me what the reason was.”

She took another sip of her coffee, sat the cup down, and then looked at me.  I saw another tear stream down her cheeks.

“Do I look alright to you?  I mean, do I look like a woman you’d like to have sex with?”

That was a weird-ass question coming from a woman who’d accused me of wanting to do the same thing.  I did answer her with the truth though.

“Well, sure.  You’re pretty, well right now you look a little rough, but you’ve been pretty the other times I’ve seen you.  You have a nice figure too.  What man wouldn’t want to?”

She shook her head.

“No, I mean really have sex.”

“Well, I thought that’s what you meant…really having sex.”

“That’s not what my husband thought sex was, not for the last two years.”

“Oh, and what did he think sex was?”

She looked back at her coffee cup again.

“He thought it meant doing things to me I didn’t like.”

Well that was more information than I thought I needed to know, and I sure as hell didn’t want more.  I couldn’t just say nothing though.

“Well, if he did that, I can understand why you divorced him.”

She sobbed a little.  

“No you don’t, because you can’t imagine how he was.  He’d tie me up and write things on me and then take my picture and send it in to one of those websites.  He’d write things like, “bite my little tits until I scream” on my boobs, or put an arrow on my tummy pointing down and the words, “my big sloppy…”  well you know what he called it.  Once, he even wrote, “stick your”…I can’t even say the word he used…”stick your thing in here” and then drew arrows pointing to my bottom.  

“I didn’t like any of those things but he wouldn’t stop.  He’d say those things to me all the time too, how my boobs were too little or how I wasn’t tight enough and how when he did it in my bottom it still wasn’t great but it was a lot better than the other way.  He said there was something wrong with me if I didn’t like what he was doing.”

I kind of understood now, and I was more pissed off at her ex than I’d ever been with Cheryl.

“Cheryl, there wasn’t anything wrong with you.  He was just an asshole.  Why the hell did you marry him in the first place.”

“He wasn’t like that at first.  We just did it like normal and I liked doing it.  Then he found this website and started to change.  I don’t know why he changed, but he did.  After two years of that, I started to feel like maybe what he said was right and that made me really depressed.  I was starting to hate how I looked and what he said about me and I couldn’t live that way anymore.  That’s why I divorced him.

“I know he was wrong, but when I’m at home by myself, I start thinking about it and I wonder if I was wrong too.  A wife is supposed to do what her husband wants.  I did try to like what he did to me, but it was just so…so…it was just something I just couldn’t make myself like, so it was my fault as much as his.”

I put my hand on her shoulder and squeezed gently.

“Cheryl, if he couldn’t see what he had and be happy with that, there was something wrong with him.  From what I understand, there are some couples who like that sort of thing, but it’s both people who like it, not just one.  It sounds like he didn’t have any respect for you at all, and I can’t tolerate men like that.  If he walked in the door right now, I’d punch him in the face.”

Cheryl looked up at me and I saw the first little smile I’d ever seen from her.  It wasn’t much of a smile, just a little lift of the corners of her mouth, but it was a long way from a frown.

“Do you really believe that, or are you just saying it to make me feel better?”

I had to laugh.

“You’ve accused me of grabbing you, and you’ve accused me of taking your house keys so I could take you home with me.  Last night, you said I was staring at your chest when I wasn’t and you told me to stop.  If I had a reason to do anything to you, it would be to kick you out of my house.  Why do you think I’d lie to you about what I think of your jerk ex-husband?”

Cheryl finished her coffee and then stood up.

“I think I should probably go home now.”

I walked her to the door, and then watched her go down my walk.  After I closed my door, I shook my head.  Cheryl was one messed up woman and since she hadn’t said anything to indicate otherwise, it didn’t look like I’d changed her mind much.  I hate seeing any woman think less of herself, and the only way Cheryl was going to change is if she realized there was nothing wrong with her and that she was only beating herself up for no reason.  

Like the week before, I didn’t see Cheryl all week.  Unlike the week before, I cared now.  The conversation we’d had let me understand a little about why she was like she was, but I thought that was just a reaction to what had happened to her.  She must have been naïve as hell to believe her ex, and pretty submissive if she let him do that to her for over a year.  

On Friday night, I went down to Dick’s for another fish sandwich, and Trudy had just brought it to me when the bell on the door dinged.  

Cheryl walked up to the bar, but she walked to the stool beside me instead of the one at the end.  She smiled a little, just that same little curve at the corners of her mouth.

“Is this stool taken?”

I grinned.

“It will be after you sit down on it.  What brings you here on a Friday?  I thought Saturday was your night to party.”

“I saw you leave your house and walk in this direction and I thought you might be coming here.  I wanted to tell you thank you.”

I asked her if I could by her a drink and she nodded.

“I’d like that, but just a club soda.  I think I’m done with vodka for a while.”

When I flagged down Mary and asked her to bring Cheryl a club soda, she raised her eyebrows, but didn’t say anything.  I knew she was dying to find out why Cheryl was sitting beside me.  I just shrugged my shoulders, and when I did, Cheryl asked me why I had.  

“What was that for?”

“What was what for?”

“You just grinned at the bartender and shrugged.”

I smiled.

“Oh, that.  Well, Mary is probably wondering if when I took you home twice, we managed to get better acquainted, that’s all.  I’m kind of wondering why you’re sitting here too.  Last Sunday, it didn’t seem like you believed what I was saying, so I figured you be back here on Saturday night and I’d end up taking you home again.”

Cheryl shook her head.

“No, I’m done with that.  I did listen to you, but after hearing for two years that you’re not very good at sex, you start to believe that.  I thought about what you said all week, and I’m still not sure you really think what you said to me.”

When I put my hand on Cheryl’s, she pulled it away and put it on her lap.  

“Please don’t do that.  It makes me think you want to…you know.”

I looked at her and frowned.

“All I was trying to do was show you I was telling you the truth.  I won’t do it again.  Maybe you should go back down to the end of the bar where you’ll feel safer.”

Cheryl’s eyes looked really shiny, like she was going to cry again.

“You don’t want to…to do it with me?”

“I didn’t say that.  I said I was just trying to show you I wasn’t lying to you on Sunday.  Touching your hand was just a way to show you that.  It doesn’t mean anything besides I thought it would make you feel a little better.”

“Then you do want to?”

I sighed.

“Cheryl, sex isn’t everything between a man and a woman.  It’s just a way they show each other how they feel, but there are a lot of other ways too.  I don’t know why you’d think I was trying to get you to do something when I already know what happened to you before.  Even if I did want to, I’d never do that, never force you, and I’d never even ask unless I thought it was something you wanted.”

Cheryl slid off her bar  tool and said she thought she should be going home.  I watched her walk out the door and then swore under my breath at the asshole she’d been married to.  He’d fucked with her mind for so long, she didn’t know who she was or what she wanted anymore.  She’d seemed scared to death when I touched her hand, but hopeful when she’d asked if I wanted to take her to bed.  It must have felt to her like there was a war going on in her head.

Saturday I mowed my grass again, and then took my car to a car wash.  I didn’t see Cheryl all day except for a couple times when I saw her looking at me from a window.  That night I went down to Dick’s for a burger and fries.  Mary was setting my beer on the bar in front of me when the bell on the door dinged.  She looked up and said, “Well will you look at that.”

I was already looking and I couldn’t believe it either.  Well, I could believe what I was seeing.  I just couldn’t believe Cheryl ever dressed like she was.  In her jeans and tops, it was easy to see she had a nice ass and nice breasts.  The black dress that hugged every curve turned that ass and those breasts into sensuous lines that would have drawn any man’s eyes.  The black heels and nylons just completed the picture of a very desirable woman.

When she walked up to the stool beside me, she smiled sheepishly.

“Is this seat taken?”

I smiled back.

“I don’t know.  Who are you?”

She grinned.

“You know who I am.”

“Well, I thought you were Cheryl, but the Cheryl I remember didn’t look like this.”

Cheryl climbed up on the stool and when she did, the hem of her dress pulled up a little higher, high enough I could see those weren’t panty hose.  They were stockings because I could see a little of the lace top.

She wiggled a little and then told Mary she wanted a club soda.  Mary winked at me when she walked away and Cheryl saw it.

“Why did she wink at you?”

“Well, you being dressed like you are and me staring at you like I am probably makes her think I’m gonna get lucky tonight.  I can understand why.  You look great.”

Cheryl looked at the bar and I thought her cheeks got a little pinker.

“I just thought…I mean, I haven’t worn a dress in ages, and I thought maybe it would make me feel better if I did.”

I chuckled.

“Well, it sure makes me feel better.”

Cheryl put her hand on the bar.

“If you touch my hand, I might believe that.”

She did flinch a little when I put my hand over hers, but she didn’t pull it away.  Mary grinned when she sat the club soda down in front of Cheryl, but she didn’t say anything.  I felt a hand on my shoulder than, and turned to see Trudy standing there.  She grinned.

“I know you want a burger and fries.  Does your date want something from the kitchen too?”

I looked at Cheryl and gently squeezed her hand.

“Would you like a burger and fries?  Liz makes a great burger and her fries are just like I like, crispy on the outside and done on the inside.  It’ll be my treat.”

Cheryl smiled.

“I guess I could have a hamburger, but no fries.  They’ll just go right to my…well, you know.”

When Trudy bustled off toward the kitchen, Cheryl leaned toward me and whispered, “Did she call me your date?”

“Yeah, but that is what it looks like.  You’re all dressed up and you’re sitting beside me.  What else would she think?”

“I don’t know.  You didn’t ask me to come here.  I just wanted to talk to you some more.  I didn’t think that would mean we were having a date.”

I squeezed her hand again.

“Well, that’s what it looks like to Trudy.  You’re sitting here and I just bought your dinner and drink.  That sounds like a date to me too, even though it didn’t start out that way.”

We talked a little more while we ate.  I found out why Cheryl’s hours were a little strange.  She worked as a manager in a department store and they didn’t open until ten so she didn’t leave home until nine.  She had to stay there to tell the night clerks what to do, so she didn’t usually get off work until about six.  The only reason she’d been at Dick’s on Friday night was she’d taken the afternoon off.  

When we finished eating, Cheryl said she should probably be going home so I could do what I usually did on Saturday night.  I had to laugh.

“Well, what I’ve been doing the last two Saturday nights is taking you home, so that’s become what I usually do.  I’ll walk you home.”

We were at her door when Cheryl touched my arm.

“I thought a lot more about what you said.”

“Oh, and what did you decide?”

“I decided I was really confused.  That’s why I went to Dick’s last night.  I wanted you to un-confuse me, but you just made me more confused.  That’s why I came back tonight.”

“How did I make you more confused?”

Cheryl frowned.

“It’s just me.  I’m so messed up I can’t think straight.  When you touched my hand on Friday, it made little tingles run through me, but I didn’t think I was supposed to feel that way.  I’d been telling myself for a long time to just ignore what I felt because it never happened anyway.  When I said you just wanted to have sex with me and you said you didn’t, and then said there was more between a man and a woman than sex, I got really confused.  You were saying you didn’t want to but you did want to.  That’s what got me confused.”

I took Cheryl’s hand and held it in mine.

“Cheryl, you need to understand something about me, well, about most men in general.  I’d like nothing better than to take you to bed with me tonight, but I can’t for two reasons.  I remember how I felt right after my divorce.  It was like I wasn’t enough man for her and I wanted to prove I was with another woman.

“I think you might be feeling like less of a woman because of what your ex kept telling you and now you want to prove him wrong.  You don’t have to prove that to me.  I can see it for myself, and I’m not going to let you do something just because you want to prove it to yourself.  

“You don’t have to do that either.  All you need to do is look in a mirror to see that you’re a very desirable woman, and all you have to do to convince yourself that you’re not the woman your ex thought you were is remember how you felt about yourself before him.”

“I also can’t because I don’t know you very well yet, and I think you’d be letting me have sex with you instead of wanting me to make love with you.  For me at least, there’s a big difference between letting and wanting.  It would be me making myself feel good and not us sharing anything.    

I chuckled then.

“Besides, this is our first date, and I never take a woman to bed on the first date.”

Cheryl looked up at me then.

“What do you do one a first date then, just say you had a good time and leave?”

“It depends on the woman.  If I like her, I might try to kiss her.”

“How would you try to do that?”

I put my arms around Cheryl’s waist and then smiled.

“I’d just hold her like this and then lean down.  If she turned away, I’d know not to do any more.”

Cheryl put her arms around my neck and moved toward me until her breasts were touching my chest.

“I’m not going to turn away.”

For the next two Saturday nights, I met Cheryl at Dicks, bought her a burger and a club soda, and then walked her home.  Each night, she stopped on her door step, put her arms around my neck and kissed me.  That first Saturday night, I didn’t want to let her go, but I told myself she wasn’t ready for anything else.  The second Saturday night, after she kissed me, she looked up and smiled.

“I’ve been thinking some more about what you’ve been telling me.”

I grinned.

“You always tell me that when I walk you home.”

“I know, but I really have.  I decided you were right that first night.  I was just trying to convince myself a man could like me without doing all those things to me that I didn’t like him doing.  I thought if I let you have sex with me, I’d know it wasn’t me that caused my divorce.”

I hugged her a little.

“Like I told you, I felt the same way.  It’s just normal.  I’ve known a couple other guys who thought that way and found a woman who would let them.  It made them feel good for a while, but since they didn’t really have any feelings for the woman, that feeling didn’t last.  It’s sharing each other that makes it last, not just having sex.”

Cheryl stroked my cheek.

“I think I understand that now, at least a little.  Is a third date enough for you to help me understand it more?”

“Are you sure that’s what you want?”

“Yes.  It’s the only way I’m ever going to know if I’m like my ex said I was, or if I’m like other women and he was wrong.”

“That sounds like you’re still trying to prove something to yourself.”

Cheryl smiled.

“I am, I suppose, but I’m not trying to prove I’m still sexy.  I’m trying to prove to myself that I’ll feel good about sharing something with another person…really sharing instead of just being there until it’s over.  I want to share myself with you if you’re ready to share yourself with me.”

Cheryl seemed fine when she led me into her house, locked the door behind us, and then led me to her bedroom.  As soon as we were there though, I could see her getting more nervous by the second.  Her hands were shaking when she tried to reach behind her back for the zipper on her dress.  I took her hands in mine and smiled.

“I’ll do that for you, Cheryl.”

When I pulled the zipper down, my cock started to stiffen.  Her smooth back was pale white in contrast to the black bra band and knowing I was going to see more of that creamy, soft, skin was exciting me.

That zipper went almost down to Cheryl’s round hips, and I couldn’t help but slip my hands inside to her waist once I had it down.  Cheryl shivered a little and then turned her head over her shoulder and whispered, “It won’t come off over my butt.  It’s too big.”

She turned to face me then and raised her arms, and I took my time lifting the dress up and over her head.  When the hem exposed her stockings, I felt my cock stiffen a little more.  She was wearing those stockings with elastic tops that don’t need a garter belt.  The tops squeezed her soft thighs and accented the smooth, soft skin that sort of swelled out above them.

Her panties were black and made of lace that was mostly transparent and the curly blonde hair on her mound made little bumpy places on the surface.  The thin material had also pulled in between her pussy lips.  They looked a little puffy and I like that.

From the thin string of her panties to her bra was more silky skin, and the bra itself was more black, almost transparent lace.  I could see the faint outline of her nipple beds and the small bumps in the centers that were Cheryl’s nipples.  As I lifted the dress over her head, I let my thumbs brush those small bumps and Cheryl caught her breath.

Once I had the dress off and lying in the chair behind me, I reached around Cheryl’s back for her bra hooks.  She frowned and put her arms around my neck.

“I hope you’re not disappointed with my boobs.  They sag a little without the bra.”

I pulled Cheryl a little closer, leaned down and kissed her, and then smiled.

“That’s not going to make a difference to me.”

Actually, that little sag did make a difference to me, but it wasn’t that her breasts looked saggy.  I was that when I slipped the bra cups away from Chery’s chest, than moved down a little but formed round globes with small nipples I wanted to stroke.  I tossed the bra on the chair, then cupped her breasts and stroked my thumbs over he nipples.  Cheryl caught her breath again, and then murmured, “Are they OK.”

I didn’t say anything.  I just bent my head down and kissed each nipple softly.  I felt them begin stiffening and getting a little longer, so I kissed them again, then raised back up and smiled.

“They’re a lot more than just OK, Cheryl.  They’re beautiful.”

I didn’t take off her panties then.  I wanted to do that when we were on her bed together.  I don’t know why I like to do it that way, but I do.  Maybe it’s the way panties hide a woman’s sex and that’s erotic, I don’t know, but I wanted to cup Cherly’s pussy lips through the lace and feel the crinkly hair before I took them off.

Instead I pulled off my shirt, kicked off my shoes, and then let my pants fall to the floor.  Cheryl just stood there watching me until I pulled down my underwear.  She smiled then.

“I think you do like me.”

I took her in my arms, pressed her big breasts into my chest, and then kissed her.  Cheryl purred a little moan into my mouth when I cupped her ass cheeks and then squeezed.  She was smiling when I pushed her gently down to sit on the bed and then lifted her legs to get her to lie down.  I climbed in beside her then and stroked from her breasts down to the triangle of her panties.

Cheryl didn’t spread her legs when I stroked her mound, so I moved my hand from there to her inner thighs.  I felt Cheryl’s body stiffen when I stroked up that soft skin and touched the top of her pussy lips.  I figured she was still nervous about this, so I kissed her again.  When my tongue traced her lower lips, she sighed and opened her mouth.  When my tongue found hers, Cheryl moaned and put her hand on the back of my head.

She didn’t open her thighs until I’d kissed each nipple again.  They were stiff now, stiff and covered with little ridges on the sides and I could feel little dimples in the tips with my tongue.  Once I’d closed my lips around one, Cheryl murmured, “Oh my”, and eased her thighs apart until I felt her pussy lips under my fingers.  I gently massaged, then slipped one finger under the lace of her panties.  Cheryl moaned when that finger traced the edges of her pussy lips, and her thighs opened a little more.

I sat up then, and when I pulled on the string around Cheryl’s waist, she lifted her hips so I could take off her panties.  I slipped them down until I saw her bush, then bent down and kissed her mound.  Cheryl put her hand on my head and whispered, “No.  Not that.”

I stopped and nibbled my way from her bush up to her breasts, mouthed each nipple, and then whispered, “Why not?”

“Because I’ve never done that before.  It’s not…not right.”

I grinned.

“We’re sharing each other, remember?  I want to share you there and I promise you’ll like it.”

I didn’t wait for her to say anything.  I just kissed down over the swell of her right breast, smiled when I sucked that nipple a little and Cheryl moaned, and then kissed her mound again while I pulled her panties down her legs.  As soon as she raised her legs, I slipped them off and tossed them behind me, then slipped my fingertip between her pouting pussy lips.  Cheryl caught her breath when I stroked her inner lips, and then moaned when I moved that finger down to her entrance.

Cheryl didn’t really open her thighs until I kissed up each one from her knees to her mound and then lightly brushed my tongue over the top of her slit.  She did then, so I knelt between them.  I nibbled up her right inner thigh then, and she opened herself a little more, enough I could part her pussy lips enough to slip my tongue between them.  

At the first lick, Cheryl gasped and tried to close her legs together, but since I had my head there, she couldn’t.  I licked again, this time pushing my tongue deep enough I was licking the folds of her inner lips.  After a few more licks, Cheryl sighed and spread her legs apart far enough I could stretch out no the bed.  When I separated her pussy lips with my thumbs and then licked her from her entrance to her clit, Cheryl moaned and her hips lurched up a little.

I didn’t intend to make her climax with my tongue, not that time anyway.  I was going to do that, but when she said she’d never done it before, I decided to just use my tongue and fingers until she was ready for my cock.  I hoped there would be other times I could lick her until I had to hold on to her ass to keep my tongue in place when she came.  For now though, just a taste, so to speak, would introduce her to how great that can feel without making it seem like I was forcing her to do it.

It only took me sliding my hands up her sides and then fondling her breasts, stroking her nipples, and then pinching her nipples gently to make Cheryl begin rocking her hips and breathing hard.  Once she was, I slipped a finger inside her entrance.

She was slippery, slippery and a little sticky feeling inside, so I knew I wouldn’t hurt her when I entered her.  A moment later, I raised up and moved my stiff cock to part her pussy lips.  

Cheryl gasped and then held her breath while I probed for her entrance with my cock head.  I found the spot, pushed in a little, and then pulled back when Cheryl sighed.

It took a lot of short strokes before I slid my cock all the way inside her, little short strokes at first to tease her open, then deeper strokes that massaged my cock with the snug place just inside her entrance.  When I finally pushed my cock inside Cheryl until her pussy lips were flattened against her inner thighs, she murmured, “Oh God, it never felt like this before”.  She put her hands on my back then and when I started stroking my cock in and out slowly, she sighed and stroked my back.

I wanted to make it last, and at first that was pretty easy to do.  Cheryl wasn’t very vocal about what we were doing, and that was good.  I’ve always thought women who talk all the time during sex do that because they think the guy wants them too.  I’d rather they just relaxed and did what they feel like doing.  That’s how Cheryl was at first.

I was stroking just fast enough I was enjoying the way the ripples of her passage massaged my cock and the way she was breathing deeply.  Once in a while, she’d moan a little and I’d feel her hands tighten against my back.  A little later, she started rocking her pussy up into my thrusts, and that was great too.

Cheryl sneaked up on me though.  One minute she was lying there with her eyes closed and her face turned to the side.  Once in a while, I’d see her smile.  The next minute, she gasped and arched into my stroke, then held her breath and sort of quivered.  She fell back down on the mattress then, but a second later, she arched up again, dug her nails into my back and murmured, “oh – oh – oh”, then arched even higher.  

I felt her passage contract around my cock and that made me start to lose it.  I stroked a little faster, and Cheryl’s thighs began to shake.  A second later, she gasped, “Oh God”, dug her nails into my back, and then cried out.  The contractions in her passage took me away and I pumped three spurts deep inside her while she writhed under me.

Cheryl eased back down on the bed, then arched up and moaned, “Oh”, when I kept stroking my cock in and out.  I was still feeling little contractions around my cock when she sighed.

“Is it always supposed to feel like this?”

I kissed her on the forehead and then whispered, “No.  This was really good for me, but it always gets better.”

“Mmm…I don’t know how I feel except I’ve never felt like this before.”

“I know what you mean, Cheryl…I know what you mean.”

I woke up the next morning alone in Cheryl’s bed.  I thought maybe she was in the bathroom, but when I checked, she wasn’t.  It was then I smelled coffee and bacon.  I got dressed and then followed the smell to the kitchen.  Cheryl was standing there with an apron on and nothing else.  I walked up and stroked her soft ass cheeks.

“Is this how you fix breakfast every morning?”

Cheryl turned around and put her arms around my neck.

“No…usually I get dressed first, but I thought…well, it felt good last night and I wanted to stay naked in case you wanted to…If you don’t, that’s OK.”

I chuckled.

“Oh, I want to, but if we do, you’ll burn the bacon.”

Cheryl smiled.

“Then we’ll have breakfast and then see if you can make me feel like that again.”

We were in bed and relaxing after that second time when Cheryl stroked my chest.

“I think I understand now.  It was him, not me, just like you said.”

“Yes, it was him.  If he’d known what he had…well, I suppose he didn’t stop to think about that.  He just wanted to make himself feel good.”

Cheryl snuggled her breasts into my side.

“Did I make you feel good?”

I stroked her hip.

“So good it’s going to be really hard to go home.”

Cheryl smiled.

“What if I went home with you?”

“You know what will happen if you do, don’t you?”

Cheryl nibbled my earlobe and then whispered, “That’s what I’m counting on.”

Cheryl did come home with me that night and she kept coming over every night until Friday.  On Friday we went down to Dick’s for a fish sandwich.  When Mary saw us walk in together, she smiled.  While Liz cooked our sandwiches, I went over to say “hi” to the guys at the table, and when I came back, Mary was bent over the bar and talking to Cheryl.  They stopped when I got close.  I’d just sat down when Trudy brought our sandwiches and fries, so I didn’t get to ask her what they’d talked about.

I did get the chance while we were walking home.

“What was Mary telling you?”

Cheryl chuckled.

“She said if I knew what was good for me, I’d never let you go.”

“That’s all?”

“Well, no, but the rest was girl stuff.  I can’t tell you that part.”

“Why?”

“Because I’d be giving away my secrets if I did.”

“You have secrets?”

“Sure.  Every woman has thoughts she doesn’t tell anybody except another woman.”

I squeezed Cheryl’s hand.

“How about a hint?”

Cheryl stopped, put her arms around my neck, and then kissed me.  When she pulled away, she grinned.

“That was a hint.”

I grinned back.

“I’m sure you talked about more than wanting to kiss me.”

“Well, we did, but I don’t know if you want to know the rest.”

“Give me another hint.  You might be surprised.”

Cheryl put her cheek against mine and whispered in my ear.

“I’d be happy if your house was my house.  Is that enough of a hint?”

Well, things are pretty quiet on 22nd street anymore.  Cheryl and I go down to Dick’s Bar on Fridays for a fish sandwich and on Saturdays for a burger.  Mary always smiles when she sees us walk in and so does Trudy.  They still live together upstairs, and I doubt that’ll ever change.  I know Cheryl and I won’t ever change.

Cheryl moved in with me the Saturday after that night, and she sold her house a month later.  An older couple live there now, Mr. and Mrs. Jenkins.  They keep pretty much to themselves, although Ted and I do share a beer once in a while after we finish mowing on Saturday.  Emma and Cheryl talk over coffee while we’re mowing, and they get along fine.  

It was about six months after they moved in that Cheryl snuggled up to me one night and said, “Emma thinks we’re married.  I didn’t have the heart to tell her the ring I wear on my ring finger is to remind me how much I didn’t like being married before.”

I’d been thinking a lot about that, but I didn’t know if it had been long enough since Cheryl divorced her husband to ask her.  That night, I did.

“We could make it so you don’t have to lie to her…if you’d like that.”

“You mean you’d like to marry me?”

“What else would I mean?”

Cheryl giggled.

“It would mean you’re stuck with me.”

I stroked her breast and tweaked her nipple.

“I can’t think of anybody else I’d rather be stuck with.”

Cheryl shivered a little when I pinched her nipple again, and then sighed.

“If you keep doing that, you know what’s going to happen.”

“Yeah, I do.  I’m going to end up stuck in you.”

Cheryl stroked down my belly until she found my cock.

“I like being stuck with this.  Think you could stick me tonight and then again tomorrow morning?”

“I think I could manage that.  I don’t think I’ll ever be able to stop.”

“Even if we were married?”

I smiled and slipped my hand between Cheryl’s soft thighs.

“To find that out, you have to say you’ll marry me.”

Cheryl kissed me and then smiled.

“I thought you’d never ask.”

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