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I had moved out to the suburbs from the city, mostly to escape the hectic pace of the thriving metropolis. My doctor had said stress was taking a toll on me and that I should try and find new ways to relax. Simple activities that many of my associates enjoyed like tennis eluded me both in skill and interest. So I decided to move away from the thick, bumper to bumper traffic and loud white noise.
While the neighborhood was a warm slice of suburbian pie, complete with meticulously maintained yards and litter free cul-de-sacs, I soon discovered the commute to my office was nearly as bad as living in the city. Through the summer I worried my purchase of the three bedroom house was a mistake that I would regret by Christmas. But when the leaves turned gold and began falling I knew I had made the right choice.
The further into fall the year progressed, the more I felt at home. Living in the city had never allowed for the possibility of gardening, and to be honest I had never even considered the idea I might like it. But when I was charged with my own lawn and hedges I found myself enjoying the activity as much as I did going to the movies. There was something soothing in the yard work, a routine ease that didn’t require a whole lot of thinking.
The weekends became more than just a break from the deadlines and spreadsheets that ruled the weekdays. It became a soothing ritual that calmed my mind from a raging cauldron of stress to a placid pool of calm. To say that I had found an oasis in the middle of my own life would be an understatement. I suppose you might call the neighborhood and my newfound hobby a natural sedative with no side effects (save for a feeling of regret that preceded every return to the office on Monday).
It was a moderately warm day in the middle of September when I met my neighbor Cindy Martin. My morning had consisted of raking leaves and making several large mounds around the perimeter of the house. Burning wasn’t allowed in anywhere near my home, so I was faced with the unenviable task of scooping the dead foliage into several large black trash bags. My sinuses were a little clogged from the pollen I kicked up around me during the day’s work. By about three o’ clock that afternoon I had cleared my lawn of all the leaves and discovered I could hold three pounds of mucus in my sinuses without having my head explode.
I stood there in my jeans and t-shirt, my boots coated with dust and face grimy with sweat. I was twenty-seven at the time, and I suppose you could say I had done well for myself for being so young. I had skipped having a social life to make it this far, and while I enjoyed the perks of owning my own house and having a decent car, I had fallen short in the area of female companionship.
It wasn’t that women hadn’t been interested in me. I’m decent looking guy with a stocky muscular frame, blue eyes and a face that doesn’t cry for a bell tower. My hair had been falling out steadily since I was nineteen, so in response to this travesty I had shaved my hair down to near baldness. Strangely enough, the look worked for me (though my friends at the office had nicknamed me “Mr. Clean”). I guess what I’m saying is I turned down a lot of dates to pursue my career, a decision I applauded when my paycheck came in and lamented when I got into bed alone at night.
In retrospect, I think it was my growing realization that I lonelier than I had ever thought and the sudden breaks of clarity on Saturday’s and Sunday’s that opened my mind up to the idea of dating again. When Cindy showed up that day, her timing was impeccable and almost to the very beat of my own thoughts. I had been feeling the need to find someone, even if it was just a friendly ear to bend. All the success I had enjoyed, moderate as it was, came at a price.
“Hello?” came a soft feminine voice.
I jumped, almost letting my rake fall from gloved hand. I turned and saw a woman walking across the lawn towards me from next door. She had slipped through a break in the hedge that divided my yard from next door. The house next to me had been empty as far as I could tell ever since I moved in three months prior. A small gardening crew would come by and tend the property regularly, but otherwise it had been still and quiet. I noticed a large green suburban in the driveway as she walked over to me.
“Hello,” she said, a thick Texan accent lacing her words, and held her hand out, “My name is Cindy Martin.”
“Dennis Hassek,” I smiled, fumbling to remove my gloves and shake her hand.
“Just moved in?” she asked.
“No,” I replied, “I got here in June.”
“Welcome to the neighborhood,” she released my hand.
Cindy was beautiful to say the least. I guessed she was in her early to mid thirties from the quick once-over I gave her, trying my best to be as subtle as a sexually frustrated man can be. Her hair fell in golden red curls, hanging loosely about her shoulders and framing her delicate white skin nicely. The blue t-shirt and tan khaki sınırsız escort shorts she wore displayed her utilitarian attitude but did nothing to hide the natural curves of her body. In a fleeting moment of arousal I let my eyes rest on her full breasts as she turned to look back at her house.
“I just got back from my vacation,” she motioned to her suburban, “Three months in the woods with just a truck, fishing pole and shotgun.”
I smiled, the conversation leaving my area expertise rapidly, “Never a dull moment, eh?”
“Not with me anyway,” she said, “You here with your family?”
“No,” I replied, “I’m not married.”
“Oh,” she said and cocked a brow, “Well, maybe there’s something to be said for being single?”
“Sometimes,” I agreed.
“I was married,” she said, “And believe me, you’re not missing much.”
I could hear the slightest hint of bitterness in her voice as she talked about her own failed marriage.
“You like it here?” she asked
“Yeah,” I nodded, again sneaking a glance at her tits, “I moved here from the city for a little peace and quiet.”
“You came to the right place,” she said, “This is Tranquilville.”
“Just what the doctor ordered,” I said.
“Well, maybe we can get together for a drink or something? A proper welcome to the neighborhood?”
“That would be nice,” I nodded. It would be very nice. Come to think of it, with the exception of Cindy I hadn’t really gotten to know any of my neighbors. Truth be told, I didn’t really want to know of them beyond the perfunctory introductions and pleasantries. I didn’t want to involve myself in the lives of the people around me. I couldn’t manage my own life half the time. But Cindy Martin had managed to change all that. At least, she had changed it where she was concerned.
“Well,” Cindy turned, taking her leave of me and walking back across the yard, “I’ll talk to you soon.”
“I’m looking forward to it.”
As the afternoon became evening, I found myself thinking more and more about my attractive neighbor. I suppose it wasn’t very smart to have designs on the person living next door to you, let alone someone you just met. But I couldn’t really help it. My sexual dry spell had been allowed to go on for far too long, and simply by virtue of her being the attractive nice woman she was I had become incredibly horny at the thought of her.
After I showered, I tried to distract myself with some television.
It didn’t really help.
The phone rang around seven that evening.
“Hello?” I said sleepily, my television induced nap slowly wearing off.
“Hi, this is Cindy from next door,” came her pleasant voice.
“Cindy, hello. What can I do for you?”
“My sink is plugged up,” she said desperately, “It won’t drain and nothing is working.”
My eyes lit up a little, “Would you like me to come take a look?”
“I would love for you to come,” she said thankfully.
I was silent for a moment as my mind took the dirty interpretation of her words and ran with it like a sprinter on crack. I so desperately wanted her to ask me to come, but not in the way she meant.
“Hello?” she laughed into the phone.
“Sorry,” I stuttered, “I spaced off there for a moment.”
“So are you just going to stand there or are you coming?”
‘Yes and yes,’ I thought excitedly and then said, “I’ll be right over.”
I wore my blue sweat pants and white “wife beater” t-shirt over to her place. My sandals flapped against my heels as I crossed the yard, my mind playing out every single late night Cinemax sex scene I had ever seen, with Cindy in place of the many forgettable porn stars. I tried to keep myself under control, not wanting to pop a fresh growth of wood and embarrass myself in front of her. I suddenly began to wonder if I had been smart in wearing the sweats. They didn’t offer much cover for a horny guy on the make for his neighbor.
I knocked on the door and Cindy answered. She was dressed in short denim cut-offs and a green tank top. She smiled and opened the door wide for me. Her house was immaculately clean and decorated, a solid western motif defining the house as what I can only describe as being “pure country.” Her thick Texan drawl only added to the charm as she led me through the living room, the very faint scent of cinnamon hanging loosely in the air.
“Here it is,” she crinkled her nose and motioned down at the clogged sink. Bits of old food floated on top of the murky, oily water in the backed up basin. I winced at the smell a little as I placed my hands on the edge of the sink and frowned professionally, acting as though I knew what the hell I was doing. She stood next to me, her shoulder touching my arm. I wondered if she was intentionally touching me or just not aware of it?
“Well,” I eyed the funky water, “Did you use Drain-O?
She motioned to the empty solvent container sitting nearby on the counter.
“Right,” I nodded, “Uhm, did you try a plunger?”
Cindy taksim escort smiled and held up a wet, black-headed toilet plunger.
“Okay,” I took a deep breath, “Well, obviously this sink is clogged.”
“Obviously,” she grinned with thinly veiled amusement.
“So the clog must be down here,” I opened the cabinet doors under the sink and looked at the pipes below, which might as well have been the inner workings of the U.S.S. Enterprise’s warp drive. I sat on my haunches and peered into the clean and surprisingly stylish cabinet, running my fingers over the curving pipe assembly. I grumbled to myself and rubbed my chin thoughtfully.
“Well?” she asked quietly, leaning against the countertop.
“I’m no plumber,” I said, “But I think I can take this pipe apart and pull the clog out by hand.”
“Really?” she put her hand on my shoulder, her eyes already appreciative.
I was a moron, so naturally I said, “Of course. You got a pipe wrench?”
Cindy reached over to the toolbox on the stove and handed me the wrench. I put on my most confident smile and winked at her. Laying on my side and wedged into the small cabinet, I began adjusted the wrench to fit the pipe. Cindy stepped to one side as I began working the fastener apart.
“Uhm, Dennis shouldn’t you-” she asked, but I cut her off.
“Oh it’s okay,” I said reassuringly, “Nothing to fear.”
And then the pipe busted open, spraying water everywhere. I shut my eyes tight as cold water blasted my face in a torrential spray from the open pipe. I had forgotten to shut the water off. I fumbled for the small valve but couldn’t find it. I heard Cindy scream and jump back as water hemorrhaged from the line. I pulled myself out and took a breath, shoving myself back inside the cabinet.
I could feel my clothes soaking to my body as my ego sank to the place where Titanic rested. I was embarrassed beyond belief as I searched frantically for the valve, sputtering water out of my mouth. I could feel hot blood rushing to my cheeks as my error became more and more clear. Who the fuck had I been kidding? Finally, I found the small oval shaped valve and turned it.
‘Righty tighty lefty loosey,’ my grandfather had always said.
I turned the knob quickly to the right and finally the water died down.
I wanted to crawl into the small cabinet, fold myself into a small bundle and then die there. I couldn’t face her, let alone look at the damage I had wrought on her kitchen. I sighed and looked at the dribbling pipe. From the top half of the pipe connected to the basin came a thick wad of rotting food that plopped out before me like excrement. It smelled about as lovely.
“Napkin please?” I asked Cindy like a doctor asking for a pair of forceps from his nurse. I held my hand out and felt the coarse texture of a Brawny paper towel against my palm. I scooped the funky matter up and then pulled myself out of the wet cabinet. I stood up, not looking at her until I had the nasty little clog held out in front of me, like some sullen tomcat with a waterlogged mouse trapped in his paw. I was soaked from head to toe, my shirt transparent and showing off my body and hardened nipples, the heavy material of the sweats soaked and sagging. Water dripped from my nose and chin as I held it out to her.
“The clog,” I said quietly, my eyes finally meeting hers, “as promised.”
Cindy was partially soaked from the mistake I had made, her kitchen floor flooded with water. She looked at the ball of refuse in my hand and nodded, a small wry grin on her face. She looked at me, her eyes wide and asked, “What do I owe you?”
I sighed and looked around, “Let’s call this one free.”
Cindy took the paper towel from me and tossed the clog into the trashcan. The light was fading outside quickly, the hot yellow sun vanishing beyond the horizon. The last few rays of light streamed through the kitchen window and gave the room a fiery wet glow. Her hair was like liquid flame against her skin as she smiled broadly and shrugged, “Well, I needed to mop anyway.”
“I am so sorry, Cindy,” I shook my head, “I- I just thought-“
She put her finger to my lips and closed her eyes. She said, “Don’t sweat it.”
“I’ll pay for the damage,” I insisted.
“You’re not much of plumber,” she said and put her hands on her hips, “But you sure are cute when you’re embarrassed.”
I noticed her give my wet body a once over, casually and yet not so subtly enough that I didn’t notice. All of a sudden I felt very aroused and aware of myself. I wasn’t in bad shape, and the wet t-shirt only accentuated my muscular build. I smiled sheepishly and said, “Uh, well thank you.”
Cindy splashed the water on the floor with her bare feet for a moment and sighed, “I needed to mop anyway.”
I laughed nervously at this.
“Well, I better get going before I burn your house down.”
Cindy said, “Don’t beat yourself up, okay?”
“Okay,” I agreed, knowing full well I would never let myself live this down.
I tesettürlü escort sloshed out of her waterlogged kitchen, my fantasies of romance dashed and dissolved in a spray of water. I hadn’t felt that stupid or incompetent since I was a freshman in high school and trying out for the football team. I could blame that debacle on trying to impress the head cheerleader with bullheaded teen machismo. But this?
Oh, the dumb ass things we men do to impress women. I had no one to blame but myself though. The whole incident was so ridiculously preventable I felt I needed to go brand myself with capital “L” on the forehead.
I stepped outside and shook my head, my sweats weighing heavily on my legs. I sighed, “Smooth… real smooth.”
That next day, I sat in my chair alone and feeling like an ass.
The weatherman on channel seven was talking about an Indian summer and I was seized with the need to beat him senseless with my remote for even suggesting such a hellish notion. I was ready for the cool weather, and more importantly, the rain and the snow. The cold weather was my reason for putting up with spring and summer. The idea of having to endure another month of heat was about as appealing as bumping into Cindy again. I still hadn’t gotten over my bone-headed maneuver the night before.
It wasn’t that I didn’t want to see her. Far from it. She was all I could think about. Still, I found myself indoors on that Sunday afternoon, hiding out in front of my air condition with the blinds drawn shut, a toasted cheese sandwich in one hand a beer in the other. I hadn’t bothered to change out of my shorts from the night before and a healthy five o’clock shadow had spread across my face unchecked and unchallenged by my Mach 3 razor blade.
From the comfort of my recliner I watched a horrific cinematic suppository called “Dark Harvest,” a low budget flick about killer scarecrows in Virginia. I had rented it a few days back on the strength of its awesome DVD cover art. I had stupidly assumed the movie itself would be possessed of the high values it’s packaging promoted. Five minutes in, I realized I was deep into student film territory and that the next hour and a half would be the equivalent of a tall drink of warm gray water. But as I had nothing else to do and I didn’t dare step outside for fear of my sexy neighbor seeing me, I sat there and watched the wretched thing.
As the painfully clichéd dialogue and overwhelmed community theater actors reacted to their flimsy horror effects, there was a knock at the door. I sat up, the crumbs of my sandwich falling into my lap. I imagine I looked like some mental patient in my current condition, unshaven and eyes slightly bloodshot, covered in crumbs and lounging in blue boxers.
The door knocked again.
I leapt up from my chair and shuffled into the kitchen, trying to peer out the window at the front porch. To my delight and terror stood Cindy, dressed in what would become her trademark daisy dukes and a t-shirt tied into a knot, making a display for her sexy midriff. Her glorious auburn hair was pulled back behind her head as she rapped on the door again. I spun on my heel and darted for the hallway closet where I kept my clean laundry.
My toe stubbed against the closet door catch. I hissed, “Fuck me! Shit!”
As my big toe throbbed and I bit my lip in agony, I grabbed a white t-shirt and pulled it on. Hobbling down the hall, the doorbell rang yet again. She must have had something important on her mind to be ringing my doorbell this insistently. After what I had done to her kitchen, I was amazed she had even set foot on my property.
I unlocked the door and opened it, “Hello?”
“Dennis,” she smiled genuinely, “Hi.”
“Hi,” I leaned against the door, feeling like a lovesick high schooler.
“Listen,” she looked down at her bare feet, “I was thinking we might have gotten off to a bad start yesterday…”
“Is the damage bad?” I cringed.
“Oh no no,” she waved her hand dismissively, “The plumber came by this morning and checked everything out. It’s all fine.”
“Thank God,” I said, “I feel so bad.”
“Me too,” she said, “But that’s why I’m here.”
I know I looked as surprised as I felt.
“I like you, Dennis,” she said, her hands clasped together nervously, “And the fact of the matter is I wanted you to come over and spend some time with me last night.”
“Oh?” I asked, feeling suddenly very good.
“Yeah,” she smiled shyly.
“That’s good,” I grinned. God, couldn’t I just have one suave moment? Just one?
“Would you like to come over tonight?” she asked, her powerful blue eyes resting on mine, “We could sit in the hot tub for a while, have some wine?”
Hot tubs and wine sipping? This was not how people reacted to their kitchens being flooded out. Regardless, I was intrigued and unable to say anything but, “That would be great.”
“Okay then,” she smiled, “Grab your shorts and come around to the side gate.”
“All right,” I grinned and then watched her leave. I closed the door and ran up the stairs to my bedroom. As I yanked the drawer out and rooted around for my swim trunks, I was in the midst of a nervous euphoria. Something told me that Cindy was just as nervous I was, though she seemed to be playing her poker face with far more panache than I ever could.
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