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The chapter below is the culmination of the Tale of Two Paramours series. Please be aware that this final chapter is longer than any of the previous chapters and does not contain any sexual activity for the first three-quarters of the chapter. For more information about the series and the future of the characters, please see the afterword.
In the aftermath of my relationship with Jessi, I threw myself into work and writing to the exclusion of everything else, including Jessika. For her part, my brunette lover gave me the space for which I asked. For over two months, our only contact was by text, and even those instances were mainly after she had reached out to see how I was doing.
During that time, there were several occasions when I thought about spending time with Jessika, but I always talked myself out of doing so because of the guilt I felt over Jessi. It was comforting to know that the brunette was there for me, as a friend, and that she cared about me more than as just a friend, but the thought of being physically intimate with her, or anyone else for that matter, was something I could not entertain. It was as if I was trying to cleanse myself of all sexual desire.
The end of the semester brought a change, however, and after I was done grading final papers, I asked Jessika over. But too much time had passed, or perhaps not enough, and we were tentative and clumsy with each other. Jessika worked hard to reassure me, and we tried a few more times during the following weeks, but it was obvious that something had changed between us. In mid-June, Jessika began dating, and I tried to do likewise.
Over the course of that summer, I dated four women and had sex with none of them. Jessika dated two men in that same time period, and I was quite sure she had sex with at least one of them, as they were together several weeks. But by the end of summer, we were both single again, and Jessika suggested we try to rekindle our friends-with-benefits relationship.
We lasted about five weeks of mediocre sex before she resumed dating other guys. I did not bother trying at all, so I was single as the Fall semester started. One of the students in my evening class initially caught my eye, but any interest I had only lasted a couple of weeks until Jessika and I took up again after she caught the guy she was dating with another woman.
The brunette and I stayed together as friends-with-benefits through that October, meeting up twice a week or so. Although friendly, our relationship was not as close as it had been before. And while the sex was better than it had been in the late summer, something was wrong for me.
In early November I went out on a blind date with Dana, an attorney just a few years younger than I was. To my surprise, we seemed to hit it off. Jessika took the news that I had started dating someone in stride—after all, she had done the same thing to me twice—but I was quite sure she was not happy about it. I must admit this annoyed me, as I thought she was being rather hypocritical. And my annoyance with the brunette led me to go deeper into the relationship with Dana.
That relationship lasted four months, which was about three months longer than it probably should have. Despite the fact that Dana was smart and attractive, as well as an engaging and energetic lover, I found it difficult to fully connect with her on a consistent basis. We often found ourselves in different places both emotionally and physically. It did not help matters that the anniversary of my first time with Jessika, and then that of my first time with Jessi, came and went during the relationship, as those memories led me to lapse into periods of melancholy over the holidays.
Around the end of February, I realized that I was thinking about Jessika more and more, even when Dana and I were intimate. Letting my thoughts wander to Jessika, or Jessi for that matter, was something I had tried to avoid when I was with Dana. But as the end of my relationship with Dana became inevitable, I could no longer stop myself, at least with regard to my brunette former lover.
During the time Dana and I were together, Jessika did not seriously date anyone. So, when I began thinking about her more and more when I was with Dana, I found myself wondering if Jessika and I might be ready to have a real relationship, something more than friends-with-benefits. It was at that point that I knew I was finally over everything that had happened with Jessi. I started texting Jessika more, and we even met for lunch—as friends only, no benefits—a couple of times. But that was enough for me to have a talk with Dana about our relationship. To my surprise, Dana agreed that we were not going anywhere together, and we decided to mutually part ways.
Even though my breakup with Dana had been easier and more amicable than any other breakup in my life, I still took a few weeks to make sure I was in a good frame of mind before casino siteleri I approached Jessika. Unfortunately, once I was ready to try with her, I learned that the curvy brunette had started dating a personal trainer at a fitness club that she had joined in early March. Since the trainer was a few years younger than Jessika, I thought it was probably just a fling, so I waited for it to end. However, by the time summer began, I realized the relationship was serious. Jessika and I still met for lunch or coffee every week or two, but I could tell that we were growing more and more apart as time went on.
It was also during this time that I learned that a spot in the Ph.D. program in the English Department at the university had opened up. I had applied in January, a bit too late for optimal consideration, and had been put on a waiting list. When the spot became available, I jumped at the chance of starting in the Fall semester, even though it was relatively short notice.
In order to enter the Ph.D. program, I had to go from a full-time instructor to an adjunct instructor at the community college. I also had to teach a couple of freshman writing classes at the university as a grad student. In effect, that meant that I would be teaching almost as many hours as I had as a full-time instructor at the community college but for considerably less pay, as well as taking courses myself. Still, that Ph.D. was something I had always wanted, and I figured if I could not have the woman I wanted, I could at least have the degree I wanted. Jessika was very supportive and encouraging when I told her the news and my decision, which made it even more difficult for me to accept that I had probably lost her for good.
To earn extra money before the Fall semester started, I picked up three summer classes to teach at the community college, which kept me quite busy up until September. Because of that, I ordered all my books for the courses I was taking online, and it was not until the first day of classes that I spent much time on campus other than in the English Department.
I had forgotten what it was like to be on a university campus. That first day, I sat and people-watched for nearly an hour. The students walking around the campus seemed to look very young to me. At first, this surprised me, as I was accustomed to being around college students, but then I realized that they were nearly all traditional-aged students rather than the wide variety of ages we saw at the community college. It also dawned on me that Jessi, who was by that point twenty-two years old, was older than most of the people I was seeing. That thought made me feel out of place.
The second day, I learned that one of the books I needed had not been included with those that I had purchased online. Having no other choice, I went to the campus bookstore in the student union building. As I expected, it was beyond busy, and it took me nearly an hour to buy the one book I needed. As I headed from the student union to the building where my office, I was feeling even more out of place than I had the day before. The young men and women with whom I had been waiting in line led very different lives than mine, and I worried it would be the same not only with my students, but with me fellow graduate students as well
It was at that point that something completely unexpected happened. I had just stepped onto one of the main walkways along the center quad of the university campus when I saw a slim, blonde figure who I immediately recognized. I stopped in the middle of the walkway, uncertain of what to do. My former lover was looking at the trees while she was walking, a smile on her face, and for a heartbeat or two, I considered turning around or to the side. However, before I could act, Jessi’s eyes locked onto me, and for the first time in nearly eighteen months, I found myself the subject of one of her intense, overlong stares.
“Mark!” she finally exclaimed as a huge smile lit her face. And then she was crashing into me, hugging me.
“Hi Jessi,” I said, not sure how to react. Nothing in the hug was overtly sexual, but a deluge of feelings, including many that were sexual, washed over me. I stopped myself from moving my hands down to her small but round bottom, or up to her breasts, although in that moment, I very much wanted to do one or both of those things. Then she broke our hug and those urges slipped away.
“What’re you doing here, Mark?” she asked, still smiling.
For a moment I did not answer and just looked at the young blonde woman. Her hair was longer than I remembered, falling well past her shoulders. And rather than being straight, it was wavy and framed her face in a way that seemed to partner with her minimal but obviously carefully applied makeup to bring out the natural beauty of her fine features. As for the rest of her, she was as slender yet shapely as I remembered, a fact that was apparent in that her tight (albeit not skin-tight) blue jeans showed off the shape of her slot oyna hips and legs very well. And her top, instead of being vastly oversized as she had once preferred, was a fitted t-shirt that sported the university’s colors and logo. Or in other words, she looked like many other college-aged women on campus rather than like the sometimes painfully awkward young woman whom I had known.
“I just started taking classes yesterday,” I finally said, still marveling at how poised and confident she seemed, and how that poise and confidence made her even more beautiful than I remembered. “I am working on a Ph.D. in writing.
“That’s great,” she beamed, reaching out to rub my arm in a friendly manner. “I’m working on a math degree. I wasn’t that excited about computer science anymore, and I didn’t want to go back to the community college, so I switched to math and started here last January. I’m thinking about being a math teacher.”
I had no idea how to respond to what Jessi was telling me. It all seemed so out of character with the person she had been when we had last seen each other. At that time, I had been worried that she could ever function in society, but here she was, going to the university, happy and outgoing.
“I work at the bookstore, I’m on my way there now.”
“I won’t keep you then,” I replied, not sure whether I was relieved or disappointed that she had to go. “Oh, I just came from there. It is a madhouse.”
“Yeah, it’s crazy the first couple weeks of the semester,” the young woman laughed. “Luckily, they don’t make me work as a cashier. I had a meltdown doing that last semester. I just help people find their books.”
“That is still pretty crazy, from what I saw today.”
“Oh, I can handle it, at least now I can. I wouldn’t have been able to when you knew me.”
“That is good to hear, Jessi,” I said, smiling at her but uncertain what else to say.
“Hey, would you like to get lunch sometime?” Jessi asked, her eyes locked on mine.
“Oh, I already have plans for lunch today.”
“No, not today,” the pretty blonde said, shaking her head. “I work at 11:00. But I don’t work tomorrow until 1:00. We could meet in that little cafeteria by the lake at noon.”
I was not sure what to do. I wanted to talk to her and find out what had happened in her life since we were last together, but I also was concerned that being around her might not be a great idea. But before I could make up my mind, Jessi rubbed my arm again and gave me what seemed to be a reassuring smile. She had clearly sensed my hesitation.
“Don’t worry Mark, it’s not a date. I have a boyfriend. I’d just like to catch up, I mean, if you want to.”
“That would be nice, Jessi,” I managed to say, both relieved and perhaps a bit jealous that she had a boyfriend. “I would like that.”
“Great! See you then,” she grinned before giving me another hug, this time along with a kiss on the cheek.
“Bye,” I said as she went past me toward the student union. I turned to look after her, and I was unable to stop myself from noticing how her small but nicely rounded bottom filled out her jeans.
Jessika was waiting for me at the table when I arrived at the small vegetarian restaurant that she had picked for lunch. I had not seen her for a few weeks, and I was surprised that she looked even thinner than the last time I had seen her. When she saw me, she stood to give me a hug and noticed that I could see her hip bones beneath the long, clingy skirt she was wearing.
“How were your first couple days back in school, Mark?” the brunette asked, her gray eyes sparkling. “Have any hot teachers?”
“Very funny, Jessika,” I replied, noticing the thinness of her face had turned her soft beauty to angles that, while still striking, gave her features a harsh cast.
“I’ll call the waiter over so you can order,” she told me, then she looked around to see where he might be.
As she turned, I saw her tan skin move over the shape of one of her breast implants. I had never seen the outline of her implants appear that obvious before, and I could not help but stare at her cleavage when she was facing me again. As with her face, the softness seemed to be gone from her breasts, which made them look as if two balls had been pushed together.
“I would think those would be such old news to you now, Mr. Warner, that they would not be worth such a long stare,” Jessika laughed, pulling my eyes back up to her face.
“Sorry, Jessika,” I said, feeling my face flush a little.
“Don’t worry about it, Mark,” the brunette grinned. “I was just teasing. Seriously, how was it being back in school?”
“Interesting,” I said, thinking both of the classes I had attended so far as well as seeing Jessi. “I am teaching my first two classes at the university this afternoon. Luckily, classes at the community college do not start until next week, so I have the rest of this week before I start teaching evening classes there.
“You canlı casino siteleri think you’ll be okay, with the time I mean?” Jessika asked just as the waiter arrived.
Realizing I had not looked at the menu yet, I scanned it quickly, deciding on a veggie burger, fries, and iced tea. Jessika ordered a garden salad with dressing on the side and water. As she ordered, I noticed the waiter kept glancing down at her cleavage, and I wondered if he was appreciating it or thinking about how fake it looked. But even as the thought crossed my mind, I felt bad that I could think such a thing about Jessika, so I looked away until the waiter had left.
When I turned my eyes back to her, the brunette stared at me and raised her eyebrows. It took me a few seconds to remember that she had asked me a question right before the waiter came over.
“I think I will have enough time,” I told her, making myself avoid looking down at her chest. “It is a good thing I am not involved with anybody. I would not have enough time if I were.”
A frown crossed Jessika’s face for a moment, then it was gone. However, neither of us said anything for several seconds. I broke the silence by saying, “Speaking of being involved with people, you’ll never guess who I saw today at the university.”
“Blonde Jessica,” the brunette responded almost immediately.
“How did you know?” I asked, staring at Jessika, whose eyes were slightly downcast.
“Who else that you used to be involved with are you likely to see there?” she replied with a shrug. “How’s she doing?”
“She seems to be doing very well. She is majoring in math and wants to be a teacher. Oh, and she is working in the bookstore. She seemed really upbeat and happy.”
“That sounds good.”
“We are having lunch tomorrow,” I added.
Jessika, who had still been looking down, snapped her eyes to mine, and this time the frown that formed on her face did not leave as quickly as the prior one had.
“It’s nothing like that,” I assured the brunette, presuming she was concerned that I might be making the same mistake with Jessi that I had made before. “She has a boyfriend. She said she just wanted to catch up.”
“That seems like a big problem for you these days, doesn’t it,” Jessika said, her tone oddly flat. “Having ex-lovers with boyfriends, that is.”
“Is everything okay Jessika,” I asked, not liking either her tone or her words.
“Yeah,” she replied with what looked to be a forced smile.
“You and Darren are doing okay?”
“Yeah,” the brunette nodded, but her smile still looked less than genuine. “Everything’s fine with Darren.”
“That’s good to hear, Jessika. You seem a bit down, that’s all.”
“Oh, that’s because I’m in the middle of a cleanse,” she said in what seemed to be a mere approximation of a light tone. “Just leafy greens and water. I should not have really ordered the dressing at all.”
“Oh, I see,” I said, nodding.
Jessika nodded back at me, then looked down at the table.
“I would have ordered something different had I known,” I continued.
“No, you’re fine, Mark,” the brunette assured me, meeting my gaze. “Well, I am just a little envious that you ordered fries, but I’ll be okay.”
“I could sneak you a couple, if you like,” I said in a low, conspiratorial voice. “No one would need to know”
Jessika smiled—a real smile—and laughed even as she shook her head. It was nice to see the smile, but it also confirmed for me that she was less than happy about something, and I expected that something was not just her diet.
“I’d know, Mark Warner,” she informed me, the smile still on her lips. “And how like old times this is, you trying to make me break my own rules.”
Her words made me smile, and on impulse, I reached across the table and ran my hand down her cheek. Jessika closed her eyes and seemed to shiver, then she leaned back out of my reach.
“So, any luck selling your novel?” she asked, her face and tone neutral as she changed the subject.
“Three for three on rejection letters,” I informed her. “I did have an agent call me, but he is still thinking about whether to represent me. He just wanted to know a bit more about me and asked how willing I might be to make some changes to the novel. I told him I would rather try to sell it substantially as it is than make major changes, and he said he would be back in touch.”
“Ouch,” Jessika winced. “How long ago was that?”
“Last week. I am still holding out some hope.”
“You should,” the brunette said, forcibly. “I thought it was great, and I am not even much of a Sci-Fi fan.”
“You might be biased, Jessika,” I laughed, but I was pleased with her defense of my novel.
“Maybe,” she said with a shrug. “But I really did like it.”
The waiter arrived at that moment, setting my veggie burger and fires in front of me and a small, leafy salad in front of Jessika, as well as a small cup of raspberry vinaigrette dressing.
“Have the dressing, at least,” I encouraged her. “I really won’t tell anyone.”
“That would be cheating,” Jessika replied, but I noticed her eyeing both the dressing and my fries as she ate a few mouthfuls of her salad.
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