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Four Bidding For Love (a novel)

Part 24: A Very Surprising Surprise (10/27/12)

     To say her face registered shock would be a fantastic understatement. Grabbing her pillow to her bare frontside, she scrambled to turn the light off.
     "What are you doing here?" she demanded, and Robin was at a loss to grasp her outrage.
     "I saw the lights off in your part of town, and came by to invite you to dinner."
     "Then why didn't you?"
     "Because you invited me to give you a full-body massage. And why should I refuse?"
     Flushing a hot deep crimson of embarrassment, Kylie realized she'd assumed her visitor was the previously scheduled Simon Jordan, or whatever his name was; and after their banter about massage, Robin had every right to assume she'd suddenly agreed to the very massage she'd mocked at the cafe. The apology fell heavily to her, and thankful that the streetlight outside cast only the barest hint of light on her bed, she whispered, "My tennis partner paid for her masseur to come over and work on my shoulder. She said he's gay, and absolutely trustworthy, so I thought you were him."
     "I'm trustworthy, too," Robin said in a hurt voice, and Kylie shushed him. "Don't forget about my nosy neighbor Vonda."
     "Yes, Vonda," he whispered with evident frustration. "So you liked the massage but are angry that it was me who gave it to you rather than some gay guy?"
     "No," she said in a small voice. "I mean, yes, I liked it, and no, I'm not angry. It's just that, well, I don't want you to think I always let someone give me a full-body massage on the second date."
     Bubbling with an inflamed desire for more than merely touching her shoulder, Robin sought to repress his aggrievance. "I understand the confusion, but let's be clear about one thing. When you show up at my door, it means you've decided to make love with me, okay?"
     Holding the pillow to her midriff, Kylie whispered, "Okay."
     "And just so you know," he continued in a firm whisper, "I’m safe. I can show you the test results."
     "I'm safe, too," she said quietly. "I've only had one serious boyfriend."
     "And I’ve only had one serious girlfriend." Hoping to lighten the mood, Robin added, “Technically speaking, I think this qualifies as our third date.”
     The streetlights cast an eerie storm-tossed light through the curtains of her window, and Kylie’s expression softened. “Let’s call it two-and-a-half.” Gazing up at him, she whispered, "Since we're on the subject—have you ever been more than just a neighbor to Alexia? I know it isn't my right to ask, but I'd like to know."
     Robin's silence communicated volumes, and Kylie murmured, "Her sofa took a beating, I bet."
     Robin's tone mixed surprise, guilt and confession. "How did you guess?"
     Ignoring the question, Kylie coolly asked, "Was it romance or just payment?"
     Relieved that she'd offered him an escape route, Robin said quietly, "Payment sounds so cold, but it's as good a word as any. I'd done her a favor, which she repaid very unexpectedly."
     Kylie's whisper was testy. "You didn't know that about her?"
     "Not at all," Robin murmured, and the three short words mixed innocence with an equal measure of defensiveness.
     A frosty silence fell on the youthful couple and Robin said, "I don't expect you to understand, but I haven't had a girlfriend in a long time."
     "How long?"
     "Almost two years."
     "A few, but nothing clicked. Until you."
     Kylie made no reply, and Robin whispered, "So are you going to hold one time with Alexia against me? Is that fair? I'm not grilling you about your previous boyfriends, or what you might have done after two years of being alone."
     "You're right," she sighed. "It isn't fair. I guess I'm just worried that I won't measure up to sexy Alexia."
     It was Robin's turn to sigh. "If only you knew how much willpower it took not to turn you over and kiss you just now."
     "It was sweet of you to resist," Kylie whispered. Lowering the pillow, she felt around for her clothing on the rumpled sheet, whispering, "Have you seen my panties?" Sensing their golden moment of intimacy might abruptly end, Robin cannily slipped her panties and bra to the floor behind him while appearing to help look for the misplaced underwear. "Maybe they're under here," he whispered, pulling the pillow aside, and after a show of additional searching he edged so close their noses nearly touched.
     It was a wondrous moment, gazing into the liquid reflection of her eyes, and he murmured, "If only you knew how much willpower it takes not to kiss you."
     After a longish pause, she whispered, "In recognition of your honesty and trustworthiness—" and with that, she leaned forward and planted a very warm, rich kiss on his fevered lips.
     Perhaps if it hadn't been such a wind-stricken, forbidding night outside, and if they hadn't just spent so many hours chatting happily at the cafe, and if Robin hadn't been quite so thorough in his massage, and if Kylie hadn't felt quite so guilty about her unjustified reproach, and if he hadn't reassured her so convincingly of his safety, and if the angels of extravagant new love had not been cajoling them so ardently, and if Kylie hadn't been as bare as the day she was born, and if their first kiss hadn't been quite so wondrous, and if the faint opera playing above hadn't provided such a romantic soundtrack, then perhaps the enamored couple might not have made love so readily that night. But all the conditions aligned to perfection, and the angels of love at first sight were very pleased indeed; for they hovered above the entwined couple the entire time, much delighted with their handiwork.

Next: Fire!

To read the previous chapters, visit the "Four Bidding For Love" home page.

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My non-fiction books:

Resistance, Revolution, Liberation: A Model for Positive Change (print edition)
Resistance, Revolution, Liberation: A Model for Positive Change (Kindle edition)
An Unconventional Guide to Investing in Troubled Times (print edition)
An Unconventional Guide (Kindle edition)
Survival+: Structuring Prosperity for Yourself and the Nation
Survival+ (Kindle edition)
Survival+ The Primer
Survival+ The Primer (Kindle edition)
Weblogs & New Media: Marketing in Crisis
Marketing in Crisis (Kindle edition)

My other six novels and assorted stories: (sample chapters and the stories)

Claire's Great Adventure
Kama Sutra Cadillac
Of Two Minds
Verona in Spring
For My Daughter
I-State Lines

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