Authors: Jessica Gray
I stretched, my over-used muscles protested and a smile crossed my face as I remembered the activities that had made them sore. Peter and I had made love. It had been fantastic!
I rolled over, searching for him, my hand coming up empty. At the same time I opened my eyes to find myself the sole occupant of the room or the bed.
Flashbacks of several days ago came rushing back and I panicked, grabbing the sheets against my naked body, almost afraid to call out to him.
Had he left me too?
I climbed out of bed and had just finished putting my underwear and shirt on when the bedroom door opened and Peter stood there.
The relief upon seeing him was overwhelming and I quickly sat down on the edge of the bed.
He hadn’t left!
“Road’s clear. As soon as you can get yourself packed up, I want to head home.”
“Okay, give me a few minutes to make sure I have everything.”
Peter nodded and backed out of the room, closing the door behind him.
I sat on the bed for a few minutes, reliving the night before and sad that our time together was over. When I joined Peter in the front room moments later, he is silent and I begin to feel uncomfortable.
Did he regret having slept with me? Why didn’t he say anything?
We spoke very few words as we shut down the cabin and prepared to leave. We mounted his motorbike and headed down the mountain. Even if we had wanted to there was no way to maintain a conversation. The bike was noisy, and the headsets in the helmets didn’t seem to be working.
We traveled like that for 4 hours, until we reached the outskirts of Santa Clara. At a red light, Peter turned around and asked me for directions to my apartment. I told him and a grimace crossed his face.
“Where do you live?” I asked, wondering why my address had caused such a response. When he answered it was obvious. Peter lived in the upscale neighborhood, a couple of blocks from the country club. I lived across town in student housing. The drive would take no less than twenty minutes, one way.
I offered him to drop me off somewhere along the main road and I’d take a cab, but he insisted on driving me home. “Rachel, with all the complications you’ve attracted the last week I can’t risk dropping you off somewhere. Who knows what else will happen?” he teased me while heading in the direction of the college “It’s not a problem. Remember that I can’t just drop you off and make you walk home. You already tried that. Marilee would kill me if something happened to you.”
Oh my god, I had completely forgotten about Marilee and my stuff. She must be frantic by now!
Peter noticed the worry on my face and mentioned assuring, “Don’t worry. I called her from the cabin and explained the situation. You can pick up your stuff tomorrow.”
Relieved, I decided to enjoy the last minutes with him. During our ride I pressed myself against his warm back and pondered whether his bringing me all the way home was a sign that he had fallen for me. Or it was just because of Marilee and her wrath if he got me into a dangerous situation?
Still, I was getting more nervous the closer we got to my part of town.
Should I invite him in? Should I offer him my phone number? Would he ask for my number?
All of these thoughts were crowding my brain, making normal conversation scarce.
“You still with me back there?” he asked.
“Yes. I was just thinking.”
“Ah, that was the sound of wheels grinding away. What are you thinking about so hard?”
I shrugged and then answered, “Nothing much. Just a bunch of stuff I need to get done. Now that I’m home, that is.”
Peter nodded, “Yeah. I have a ton of stuff to get done as well.”
I lapsed into silence once again as he pulled onto the freeway. The traffic noise, combined with the bike noise, made holding a conversation impossible. That didn’t bother me, as I wasn’t in the mood for mindless chatter anyway. The last few days had been full of new experiences, most of which I would always treasure. Who would have thought that my much-needed break that started out so bad, would turn into one of the most exhilarating occurrences.
Coming to terms with the fact that most of them were one time things and would never be repeated was not something I was willing to consider. At least not yet.
I was so caught in trying to remember the last few days, that when Peter stopped the bike in front of my apartment complex, he had to call my name twice to get my attention.
I was extremely shy, wondering if I should invite him upstairs, or if that would seem too forward.
Would he take it the wrong way if I did invite him up?
These thoughts ran through my brain as I stood there on the sidewalk looking at him.
Peter seemed to be enjoying my discomfiture and a knowing grin spread across his face. I finally got up the courage to ask him upstairs, “So, would you like to come up for a few minutes?”
The smile left his face as he shook his head, “I don’t think that would be the best idea.”
“Oh,” I said, not knowing how else to respond.
“I enjoyed being with you, and last night was amazing. But I leave for Spain in two weeks. It wouldn’t be fair to either one of us to try and start something that has no hope of lasting.”
I nodded even though my heart wasn’t in agreement. “I understand. I…uhm…”
“Rachel, would you give me your number? I’d love to get together for dinner or something, after my return.”
I nodded and grabbing a pen from my backpack, I took his palm and scribbled my number on it.
He looked at the number before saying, “Thanks? I hope that wasn’t permanent ink.”
I shook my head, “No. It will wash off.”
“I’ll be sure to write the number on a piece of paper before I shower or wash my hands.”
“You do that.” I looked at him and he stared back at me before he cleared his throat.
“I should probably head home, myself.”
“Yeah. Thanks for the ride home.” I took a few backward steps towards my apartment.
“Take care of yourself! No more trips to the wilderness, just to be dumped there, ok?” He tried to tease me, but his voice was soft, caring and even a bit worried. Without another word, Peter got on his bike and rode off. I watched him until he disappeared from view, and then I entered my apartment.
After showering and checking my messages, I sat down to watch some T.V. hoping to take my mind off of Peter. But it didn’t work one bit. Everything I changed the channel to reminded me of our time together.
The Stallone movie about the climbers was one. The motorcycle building show was on another channel. A military channel was showing how to properly prepare rations. Every channel I turned to reminded me in some way of Peter and the last few days.
I finally turned the T.V. off and went to bed where I dreamed of Peter making love to me again. In my dreams, he didn’t wait until he returned from Spain to call me. He called me immediately and we spent every night together.
I awoke in the morning, grouchy, frustrated and confused. My dream had been so real, every time the phone range, I found myself hoping it was Peter.
By mid-morning I had tortured myself enough and decided that today would be an excellent day to clean the house from top to bottom. I threw myself into the task, straightening drawers, and re-organizing closets – all in an attempt to put thoughts of Peter behind me.
I checked online for more job openings, sent out a few electronic resumes and read my emails.
When evening rolled around, I had managed to clean the entire apartment, but still fell asleep with thoughts of Peter uppermost in my mind.
The next few days dragged by in slow mode. I busied myself with arranging to complete my internship and applying for additional jobs; even ones outside of the Santa Clara area.
Four days after returning from Yosemite, Michael called to speak with Karen. I was instantly furious with him, “What kind of person are you?” I yelled into the phone.
“Hey, don’t blame me. You were more interested in hanging out with that group of college kids than me so I arranged for you do just that.”
I couldn’t believe he was trying to justify his poor behavior! He wasn’t even decent enough to apologize or show some guilt!
“You know what Michael, do us both a favor, and don’t call here again. You have Karen’s cell phone, use it from now on.” I hung up on him, not waiting for a reply. The only bright spot to his call – I wasn’t actually thinking about Peter. I was thinking of ways to harm Michael. The man just didn’t get it! Perhaps when Karen returned she would give him a speech – I wasn’t going to waste my breath!
I was still fuming when the phone rang again. Not looking at the caller ID I grabbed the phone and growled, “You just don’t get it, do you?”
There was a slight pause on the other end and then a voice replied, “I don’t know. Would you explain it to me please?”
I recognized Peter’s voice and started smiling, “Sorry.” I hurried to cover up my mistake, “I thought you were someone else. Hi.”
“Hi yourself. You sure everything’s alright?”
“Yeah. It’s great now!” I didn’t continue, not sure what to say.
“Rachel, I know I said that we should move on with our lives since I was going away for a while, but I can’t stop thinking about you.”
I did a little happy dance around my phone. He missed me, he missed me! Yes! I tried to sound as cool as possible, “Same here.”
Was it just my imagination or did I hear as sigh of relief over the phone? “Would you go to dinner with me tonight? I know it’s short notice, but I would love to meet you.”
I nodded my head, grinning like a fool and then realized he couldn’t see me through the phone, “Yes! I’d love to!”
“Great!” he said the relief now evident in his voice. “I’ll pick you up around 6:30 if that’s okay?”
“That’s perfect.” I started to hang up only to hear him call me back to the phone. “Yes?”
“Wear something nice that shows off those gorgeous legs of yours, okay?”
I blushed but agreed. After hanging up the phone, I did another little happy dance and then rushed to my closet. Peter would be there in seven hours and I had to find something to wear. Something that would knock his socks off!
I went through my closet first, trying on dress after dress and ended up with a pile of maybes. Then I went through Karen’s closet; I loved having a roommate who wore the same size clothing and shoes as myself.
After several hours, I had narrowed down my choices to three dresses. I nibbled on some crackers and cheese as I tried the dresses on one more time. I was too nervous to eat, but I also didn’t want my stomach talking to me when Peter arrived.
What would be the one dress that made him drool over? My grandmother always said, “You have to impress the guys. Make them come back begging for more.” And this was exactly what I intended to achieve. If I could only decide which dress to wear!
This was nerve racking. My choices were a little black dress than ended several inches above my knees and hugged my figure like a glove. It had a sweetheart neckline and an opened back. It screamed sexuality and as I looked at it with a critical eye, I discarded it thinking it made me look too much like an over-priced hooker.
That was not the appearance was going for!
The next dress was in a neutral pattern with a full skirt that ended just above my knees and a form fitting strapless top. It did a good job of showing off my neck and shoulders, but the coloring seemed to be too bland for my purpose. I tried it on with different jewelry options, hoping to jazz it up just a bit, but nothing seemed to work. I discarded that one as well.
I looked at my last choice and grinned. The emerald green coloring contrasted spectacular against my honey skin tone, it brought out the blonde highlights in my hair and the fit was perfect. The silky material clung in all the right places, but the gathered fabric was draped in such a way that it still left the observer wondering if their eyes were seeing the real me. The dress draped over one shoulder and then the material fell in a soft wave down the back. As I turned to watch the effect in the mirror, I knew this was the perfect dress to impress. He wasn’t going to concentrate on his dinner, that’s for sure!
Gleeful that I had found an outfit, I screamed when I noticed that it was already 4 o’clock. I hurried through a shower and painted my toes and nails a deep purple color. I curled my hair and swept up the sides, leaving the rest to fall in gentle waves down my back.
When the doorbell rang, I had just finished putting on the diamond stud earrings my parents had given me for my high school graduation. I grabbed the small clutch I had placed the essentials in and hurried to answer the door in my most sexy black three-inch killer heels. Peter was 6’4” tall to my 5’7” and I loved the fact that I could wear whatever shoes I wanted to and he would still be taller than I was.
When I opened the door, my mouth dropped open. Peter stood on the other side, holding a handful of daisies and looking good enough to eat. His crisp white shirt, layered with a black suit and green silk tie, made him look like he had just stepped off the pages of a fashion magazine.
I let my eyes travel down and then back up to his eyes, which were doing their own appraisal. When he whistled low under his breath, I blushed and stepped back to let him enter the apartment.
Peter shook his head, “You are gorgeous, but I think we should avoid the temptation your apartment is offering and head to dinner.” His rueful smile indicated that he would rather stay in.
I loved the self-control he was exhibiting and quickly nodded my head, stepping outside the apartment and closing the door. He placed his hand on my lower back, just above where the material ended as he guided me to his vehicle.
I stopped and gawked at the sleek Porsche 911 sports car waiting for us. I had always considered cars a means of transport, not more. But the sight and sound of a real Porsche was different. The sheer elegance of the epitome of German cars impressed even someone like me and made my knees tremble.
The silver vehicle spoke of wealth, power and success. I briefly thought that I should have done some research on Peter; but then he opened the door for me and I decided I didn’t care who he was. He had invited me to dinner and this was just the beginning.
The restaurant he took me to was one I would never have chosen for myself. It was very high-end and as the valet assisted me from the car, I swallowed nervously. I wanted to make a good impression and show Peter that I could fit into his lifestyle.
Peter noticed I was nervous and leaned down to whisper in my ear, “Relax, or I’ll be forced to do something to help you out.”
When I raised my eyebrow in question, he elaborated on what exactly was on his mind. As he pulled his head away, I my face burnt and my breathing hitched. His suggestion, although scandalous, would definitely help me relax, I just wasn’t sure what he had suggested was legal in a public place.
I was caught up in those thoughts as the maître de led us to a secluded table near a window. I barely noticed the other diners, but Peter was very aware of the calculating looks he and I received as we made our way through the restaurant.
Peter was considered a great catch amongst the up-and-coming population of Silicon Valley. His past relationship with Lara Bishop, daughter of Stephen Bishop - bank president, city council member, and politician, had helped considerably. Lara attended all the important society events and loved to have her picture taken. That meant that her escorts made the tabloids and papers on a routine basis as well.
Peter helped me into my seat and took the chair closest to me, even though the waiter was standing at the opposite seat. “I’ll just sit here,” he told the man who nodded his head and quickly moved the place setting.
I smiled at Peter, “This place is nice.”
“I’m glad you approve. Do you want some wine?”
When remembering the outcome the last time I drank alcohol in Peter’s presence, I replied, “No. I guess I better shouldn’t.”
Peter also remembered the outcome and chuckled, “Sure? I promise to make you stop at one glass.”
Before I could reply, as a shadow fell over our table and then stopped. A stunning woman with perfectly coifed red hair and an expensive designer dress that would do a supermodel justice stood on Peter’s opposite side.
“I’ll have a glass,” she told the waiter, preparing to take the seat next to Peter.
I looked at Peter in confusion and was alarmed to see the fury in his eyes as he looked at the newcomer. “Lara. What in the hell are you doing?”
“Joining you for dinner, silly. I know I told you I might not make it, but,” she raised her shoulders and gave him a coquettish smile, “here I am.“ Not waiting for a proper introduction, she reached across the slight expanse of table, “I’m Lara Bishop. I’m sorry, Peter seems to have lost his tongue. You are?”
I couldn’t believe what was happening. Peter had made it sound like he and Lara were finished; yet here she was acting like she belonged. I was furious. I ignored her hand, saying tightly, “I’m just leaving.”
Peter spoke up, “Don’t. Lara is leaving. Now!” He stood up and taking her arm, pulled her to her feet.
“Now Peter, we don’t have to hurry off. I’m sure we could sit with your guest until she’s had some dinner.” Lara lowered her voice seductively, “I’m not going anywhere tonight.”
“Knock it off, Lara.” Peter turned to me assured, “I’ll be right back.” He escorted Lara towards a private alcove. I watched as he talked to her and she ran her hands down his chest, caring not in the least that they were the focus of most of the diners in the restaurant.
Peter shook his head vehemently and pointed back to me several times before rubbing his hand over his jaw in frustration. I stood up, almost knocking my chair over, noticing several other diners were observing my part in this scene with much interest.
Fine! Let them look!
Walking over, I addressed Peter, quietly telling him, “And you were upset that I might have a boyfriend? I’ll see myself home.”
“Leaving so soon? But I was hoping to get to know you. It’s not often I get to meet Peter’s little charity cases.” Lara was vile, but the smile she directed at me was sugary sweet and gloating.
“Shut up, Lara!” Peter said tightly. Turning towards me, he began, “Rachel, I don’t know why she’s here, but…”
“Save it! I don’t want to hear your excuses.”
Peter was frustrated, but so was I. “Look, let me walk her outside and then we can enjoy the rest of our dinner. I’ll be right back.” Peter grabbed Lara’s wrist and literally pulled her towards the restaurants exit.
I quickly made up my mind, watching them leave together. Whatever was going on, I wasn’t waiting around to be part of the ending. I made my way to the front of the restaurant, avoiding both Lara and Peter. While holding the tears of frustration and disappointment at bay until I was seated in the back of the cab. Once the tears started flowing, I couldn’t seem to stop them.
At home, I paid the driver and let myself into my apartment where I scrambled out of the dress, leaving it lying in a heap on the floor. I crawled in bed and cried myself to sleep, cursing Michael, Peter, and men in general.