Love is an enigma that can’t be fully understood. Poets and philosophers attempt to define it. Every race and culture throughout history embrace it and are willing to bet their very existence on it. Love seems to be the singular universal driving force of all mankind. The religious faithful claim love is a gift from God. However, science says love is nothing more than biological chemistry fueled by hormones and an overwhelming need to procreate.

As for myself, I’ve avoided the “L-word” like the plague, believing it would make me act as stupid as my loving friends have. I have watched time and time again how people I know dedicated their love to one another, only to end up bitter and broken. No thank you, I’ll pass.

People accuse me of being cynical. So be it. At least I’m not divorced—crushed under a landslide of child support and alimony. I approach every relationship for what it really is and never try to project more than what is actually there. No matter how passionate relationships begin, I believe they all eventually run their course. A guy I worked with for years recently asked me if I was ever going to settle down and get married. I told him, no. Actually, I told him, hell no! I think marriage is a great institution, if being institutionalized is your thing.

My name is Alex McKinney and I’m a thirty-two-year-old confirmed bachelor that resides in Silicon Valley where I work as a systems analyst for a major corporation. I live very comfortably in my two-bedroom condo with Grover, my one-year-old Labrador. Okay, I do believe Grover loves me, but that’s probably because I feed him… a lot.

Just recently I had broken up with my girlfriend of six months, but I wasn’t worried because the pond is always stocked with fish and I considered myself to be a very accomplished fisherman. Life was good. Let me rephrase that: life was fucking awesome! But… what I didn’t know at the time was that everything was about to change in ways I couldn’t have ever imagined.

 

***

On Friday late afternoon, the car dealership called to inform me that my Tesla was ready to be picked up. I made some lame excuse to leave work early and went to pick up my new ride. I could say I was buying the all electric sedan because I was a confirmed environmentalist and wanted to lower my green footprint, but the truth is I really bought it because Tesla’s are a huge chick magnet.

After driving a Shelby Cobra for years, I thought the lack of a roaring engine would take some time getting used to, but that wasn’t the case. When I pushed the throttle for the first time, those thoughts quickly disappeared. The acceleration was instant as the car lurched forward with incredible torque.

My saleswoman must have seen the huge grin on my face as she walked over to me and asked, “So, what’s the verdict?”

I looked up in her beautiful face and replied, “Hmmm… the verdict is… this car is almost as hot as you.”

“Corny, but still a very good answer. Remember, you can always call me if you have any questions. I included my cell number,” she said with a smile, handing me her business card.

I looked at her card, took out my phone, and seconds later her cellphone chimed.

She looked at the screen and said with a chuckle, “What is it I can I help you with today, Mr. McKinney?”

“You said to call if I had a question. Well, I have a question.”

“Are you always this confident in yourself, Mr. McKinney?”

“No, not really. I think it must be the car. By the way, my Dad is Mr. McKinney, you can call me Alex.”

“Are you hitting on me… Alex?” She asked leaning forward, making eye contact and giving me a nice view of her cleavage.

“Me? Hitting on you? Absolutely! You’re gorgeous!” I replied with a smile and a wink.

“Not that smooth.” She laughed lightly. “So… what’s your question?”

“How would you like to see the Kings-Warriors game tonight?”

“Are you kidding? That game has been sold out for weeks.”

I held up two tickets and said, “I just happen to have an extra ticket.”

“Are you asking me to go out with you, or are you trying to sell me a ticket?”

“I’m asking you to go of course—but the thing is, tip-off is in less than an hour.”

She thought for a few seconds and replied, “I’ll grab my purse and coat.”

I watched her in the showroom as she had a quick talk with her supervisor and rushed back. When she got in, I got a great view of her shapely legs. I put the car in gear and we quietly sped away in style.

I thought, Fishing is easy if you have the right bait.

 

***

“How did you know?” she asked as I maneuvered us onto the the freeway.

“Know what?” I said, feigning ignorance.

“How’d you know I’m a Kings fan?”

“I’m a psychic.”

“More like a psychotic.” She chuckled. “How’d you know? Have you been stalking me?”

“Nothing that sinister. When I signed the contract with you over a month ago, I couldn’t miss the Kings poster hanging in your cubicle.”

“Well, that kind of makes us even,” she replied.

I looked at her puzzled and asked, “Even? How so?”

“The same day you came in and signed the contract, I checked you out with our credit software. You’re single and have never been married… A graduate of Caltech in the top ten percent… and you earn a very good income. Plus, you own your own condo and have a perfect credit rating.”

“Hmmm. Did your sources tell you I’m also an intolerable bore and a notorious Warriors fan?”

“No, but nobody’s perfect. Did you really think I’d just hop into your car without knowing something about you?”

“Not at all, but remember, I’m a computer geek. I did my research too, Miss Abigail Perkins who graduated with honors in business management—from Stanford university, who has a passion for playing beach volleyball on the weekends. You’ve been engaged twice, but never made it to the altar either time… Should I go on?”

“No, that’s not necessary, but what does that prove? That you can operate a computer?” Abigail snickered under her breath.

“What does it prove? I think it shows that we are both cautious about relationships.”

“Is that what you think this is, a relationship? By the way, my grandmother is the only one who calls me Abigail. You can call me Abby.”

“Well, Abby, I don’t know. It’s way too early to tell, but things are looking good so far. I also discovered something else that’s critically important about you.”

“And just what is that?”

I pulled out my phone and held up a video of her playing beach volleyball. “You look amazing in a bikini.”

“God! men! You all have one-track minds. Okay, my turn to ask you something.”

“All right. Ask away.”

“Without looking at me, can you tell me the color of my eyes?”

I thought a few seconds, staring straight ahead, before answering, “Um, that’s easy. Your eye color is… 36 D?”

She playfully punched my shoulder and said, “Just what I thought. Actually, my eyes are blue and I’m a C. You missed badly on both counts.”

I pulled my all-electric car up to one of the charging stations provided at the Golden 1 stadium. Abby showed me how to plug it in.

This is great! I thought. This car even gets me reserved parking.

 

 

***

We walked sided by side toward the entrance. I wanted to take Abby’s hand but decided to play it cool for now and not be too pushy. As we made our way through the crowd, she bluntly asked, “Whose place am I taking?”

“What do you mean?” I answered.

“Just what I said. Who were you originally taking to this game? The date of sale on my ticket was long before we met.”

“Nothing seems to slip by you, does it? If you must know, her name is Betty.”

“What happened? If you don’t mind me asking?”

“I don’t mind. Nothing really happened. Our friendship just ran its course. It was a totally amicable break and we’re still really good friends.”

“Well, that’s great. I’ve never actually witnessed a friendly beak-up myself. So, where are we sitting? In the nosebleed section?”

I led her down to the lower level, where the premium seats were. We were located exactly center court, three rows back. She gripped my arm in excitement. My friends Randy and Marsha stood up to greet us as we found our seats.

Marsha beamed and said, “Who’s the hottie?”

“I’d like you to meet Abby. Abby, these are my good friends Marsha and Randy.” I used this opportunity to put my arm around her waist.

Randy’s eyes seemed like they were going to pop out of his head as he looked over my date.

Marsha smiled and apologized to Abby saying, “You’ll have to pardon my fiancé for drooling.” She laughed. “Wait… I recognize you. Weren’t you on the Stanford debate team?”

“Yes,” Abby replied. “But that’s ancient history.”

“Two years ago is hardly ancient history. I remember you defended the issue of affirmative action very well. I was with the USC team as an alternate.”

“Thanks, but all I seem to remember now is how we got waxed.”

We all chatted for a while, and watched the warm-ups, when seemingly out of nowhere, my ex-girlfriend appeared, pushing her way toward us, boiling over with anger. She grabbed Randy’s beer and tossed it in my face before yelling, “You’re a fucking asshole!”

Then, she turned and stormed off into the crowd, leaving me dripping wet with beer and feeling like an idiot. To add insult to injury, I saw myself on the crowd-cam big screen. Everyone howled at seeing my image.

Abby laughed hysterically and said, “Amicable? Still good friends? Let me guess, that was Betty? Geez… I like you guys. I haven’t had this much fun in a long time!”

 

***

When Randy and I went for refreshments at halftime, he said, “Dude, I thought Betty was a knockout, but my God, Abby is incredible! How in the hell do you do it?”

“Do what?”

Do what? Are you kidding? Look at her! What the hell makes you such a chick magnet?”

“I don’t know, I guess I’m just… lucky?”

“Yeah? Well, Mr. Lucky, you hit the lottery with this one, my friend. She looks like a keeper to me.”

The game was a blowout, but that happened a lot with the Warriors. Abby and Marsha chatted with each other almost nonstop since the middle of the first quarter. When the game was over, I suggested we all go out for something to eat, but Abby politely declined, saying she needed to go home because she had an early wake up call for work.

 

***

While in the car, I asked Abby where she lived, and she explained that she was temporarily living with her parents. She gave me the address and I typed it into the GPS. I’d thought things were going smoothly between us because our conversation had flowed so effortlessly. There was something about her I felt was special—besides her outrageous good looks and obvious intelligence.

When I drove up to her folks’ place, I was taken back by the enormity of the property on the harbor. All I could say was, “Holy crap! Nice digs!”

“Yeah, but it’s a bit ostentatious for me,” said Abby. “My folks think the bigger the better.”

I got out of the car and walked her to the front door, being as gentlemanly as possible.

“Thanks for a very memorable evening,” Abby said with a smile.

Feeling extremely confident at this point, I replied, “I enjoyed myself, too. When can we do this again?”

“Never!”

“That’s great. I was thinking that Saturday we might—wait… what did you say?”

“Never! But like I said, it was a memorable evening.” She grinned.

“I don’t follow.” I frowned in confusion. “If you had fun, why not a second date?”

“Alex, I’m sure we would have had fun times together and the sex would probably have been over the top. However, ‘fun’ was my priority when I was in my early twenties. Six months or a year from now, I don’t want to be the spurned ex-girlfriend throwing beer in your face. That’s not my style. So, good luck and… goodbye.”

She turned and walked inside, leaving me bewildered. A few seconds later the porch light went off and I stood there in the dark, pondering at what had happened. I didn’t think I was an egotist any more than the next guy, but that was the only time in my whole life I was ever dumped.

Well, fuck her! I rationalized. She doesn’t know what she missed. Who needs her anyway? There’s plenty more fish in the sea.

 

***

The next day at work, Randy came in my office with a shit eating grin on his face.

“Hey, boy wonder! How’d it go last night? I expected you to come stumbling in here half dead after tapping that fine tail last night.”

I frowned at him and said, “She’s just wasn’t my type.”

“What the fuck do you mean she wasn’t your type? Wait… did she kick your butt to the curb? She did, didn’t she? That’s hilarious!” He howled with laughter.

“Shut the fuck up! Don’t you have something more productive to do?”

“Nope! No way. In fact, this is a historic moment.” He walked over to the intercom.

“Randy!” I attempted to grab the microphone. “You asshole, you wouldn’t!”

He beat me to it and flipped the switch. His voice boomed on the loudspeakers.

Attention, all employees, Alex met his match last night. His date dropped his ass like a lead balloon. My faith in justice has been restored.”

The applause was deafening.

I threw my stapler at him. Even my secretary gave him a thumbs up. Everyone but me was laughing. Was I that shallow of a person that so many took such joy in my failure? Maybe it was time to rethink my life, I thought.

 

***

The rest of the week was a drag. I couldn’t believe how this woman had gotten under my skin. For some unexplained reason, I felt a desperate needed to save face. This was new territory for me. For the first time ever, my confidence was shaken. Who the hell did she think she was?

I knew that all I needed to do was to get back on the saddle (so to speak). I thought about dating and looked through my address book, but my heart wasn’t in it. I soon came to the conclusion that there could be no substitutes; only Abby could right my listing ship.

What I needed was a plan. After her brutal rejection, I knew I couldn’t directly contact her; that would have made me look needy. I needed to arrange a coincidental meeting, but that would have required more information. We had some very sophisticated software at work that I used to research her financial history. It showed me where she shopped, dined, and traveled. Exploring her social media was even easier. Within a few minutes, my research was completed. I was aware that what I was doing was borderline illegal, but without risk there is no reward.

 

***

Three days later, I was grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s, when Abby caught sight of me in the vegetable isle. I wondered how she’d react. She immediately made a beeline toward me. I acted as if I didn’t notice her. Her cart crashed into mine and I looked around.

“What are you doing here?”

I looked at her coolly and replied, “Even male chauvinist pigs like me need to eat.”

“Ohhh, that was harsh. For the record, I never said you’re a chauvinist pig—you did. How are you doing by the way?”

“I’m doing great. Why wouldn’t I be?”

“Well, seeing how we parted ways… I’m aware of how delicate the male ego can be and—”

“You thought that I was maybe… distraught or possibly even suicidal? Well, I did consider slashing my wrists with a razor, but that didn’t pan out because I use an electric.”

“Suicide jokes aren’t funny. Look, Alex, I know we each have different goals in our lives, and that’s okay. I like you, but when I’m around you, all my warning signals go off. I feel the need to protect myself.”

“Am I really that scary?”

“Actually, you are. Besides, we both know you’re not going to have any trouble finding someone else.”

“So, that’s why you wrote me off so quickly? I set off your jerk alarm?”

“No, you’re not a jerk, but I do think you’re dangerous.”

“Dangerous? What’s so dangerous about me? I’m a pussy cat.”

“More like pussy hound. What’s so dangerous about you? Well, first off, you’re way too polished in your approach and too confident about your looks. Then, it didn’t go unnoticed to me that your friends expected you’d bag me on our first date. That alone told me a lot. The only thing worse than having a reputation, is when that reputation is deserved.”

“I don’t deny I’ve dated a few women and admittedly I’ve made my fair share of mistakes, but that’s part of life. I’ve never lied to anyone or pushed them to do something they didn’t want to do.”

She paused and sighed before she said, “Alex, I have to run. I’m cooking tonight. It really was nice bumping into you.”

I watched her walk away, but I knew if she looked back, I still had a chance. When Abby got to the end of the isle, she turned and smiled at me. I gave myself a silent fist-pump. I’d dated dozens of women in my life, but none were like her.

 

***

Several days passed after our “accidental” encounter at the supermarket and my life was getting back to normal. My plan was to bury myself in work until all thoughts of her disappeared. It was during an important business meeting I got an unexpected text from Abby:

Call me! It’s important.

I couldn’t immediately return her text, but when I was free, I called. She answered on first ring.

“Alex, I really need your help.”

“My help? Isn’t that… dangerous?”

“What are you doing Saturday and Sunday?”

“I was thinking I might go on a date.” I lied.

“Damn! I really do need your help. Can you change your plans? I can even pay you for your time.”

“Slow down and explain. What could be so urgent?”

“My dad and mom are hosting a party for their thirty-fifth anniversary.”

“How does that concern me?”

“My ex-fiancé will be there. I need you to pretend to be my boyfriend. My folks are trying to hook us up again and I’d rather die first.”

“Can I ask, is this your first or second fiancé?”

“Just so you know, my first fiancé was killed in a motorcycle accident a week before our wedding—that was Jason. He was the love of my life. This is Todd, the two-timing bastard that cheated on me the night of our engagement party.”

“What do you expect of me?”

“Just be yourself and act as if we’re an item. That should satisfy my parents and keep Todd at bay.”

“Let me get this right… you go from no second date with me, to wanting to spend a weekend together? Why me?”

“Alex, I don’t want to puff up your already inflated ego. Let’s just say, you can appear charming when you want to, and I believe you could pull it off convincingly.”

“Be careful, that almost sounded like a compliment.”

“Look, smartass, are you going to help me out or not?”

“What’s in it for me?”

“Now you’re showing your true colors. Name your price. How much?”

“I’m not interested in your money, just you for payment.”

“You can’t be suggesting what I think you are. I’m no whore.”

Whoa, simmer down, filly! I didn’t suggest that.”

“Then what?”

“How about us just going on a legitimate date? A date without all this preconceived bull-crap?”

“I’ll give you this much… you don’t give up easy. Okay, you have a deal.”

I smiled and asked, “What time is the party?”

“Be at my folks’ house before noon Saturday. You remember how to get there? Dress nicely, but casual and bring your swim trunks.”

“I remember. Are you going to be wearing that skimpy bikini I saw in the video?”

“You have a one-track mind.” Abby sighed. “By the way, I know you being at the grocery store wasn’t accidental. No one drives thirty minutes for groceries—especially when they have a supermarket within walking distance of their place.”

I paused and said, “You caught me.”

“Don’t be embarrassed. I think it’s cute. There might be hope for you yet.”

 

***

I tapped on the front door, expecting Abby to answer. Instead, a much younger version of her opened the door. The blonde-haired young beauty smiled and asked, “Are you Alex?”

“Yep, guilty as charged. You must be Abby’s sister.”

She giggled and said, “I’m Pennie, but everyone calls me Pebbles. Come on in. Abby said she’ll be down soon. She’s doing her hair.”

I was pulled inside by the arm. At first glance, the interior wasn’t like I’d expected. The leather furniture seemed warm and inviting with a large amount of family photos on the walls. A middle-aged man approached me with a gregarious smile.

“This is Alex,” Pebbles said. “Isn’t he cute?”

Not knowing how to respond, I looked down, a bit embarrassed by her comment.

“Welcome! Abby has said some very nice things about you.”

“Thank you, Sir—and congratulations on your anniversary.” I handed him a bottle of wine.

He examined it and said, “Dom Perignon 2009. You know your wine. Thank you. Call me Frank.” Then he raised his voice and said, “Ginny, come in here and meet Abby’s boyfriend.”

Seconds later, a good looking, shapely older woman came in and walked up to me. She took my hands and kissed my cheeks on both sides.

“My, aren’t you cute!”

“Told ya,” Pebbles said, looking defiantly at her father.

I felt suddenly uncomfortable, surrounded by strangers.

Where’s Abby? I thought before I smiled and said, “Now I know where Abby gets her beauty from.”

“And you’re every bit as smooth as she says—but thank you. Every old lady wants to hear that, even if it’s not true.”

“I assure you that—”

“Quit while you’re ahead, young man.”

Just about then, Abby came bounding into the room and almost knocked me over with a hug. She kissed me on the lips; I hadn’t anticipated it at all. It wasn’t a friendly peck, but a full blown, toe curling, tongue probing, sensual kiss. If I wasn’t made of flesh and blood, I would have probably melted.

“Have you met the family?” she asked.

“Uh, yeah, we’ve met.” I shuddered, catching my breath. She’d almost reduced me to a blubbering idiot.

“I asked you to come early, Hon, so you can meet my family. I’ll show you to our room.” Abby pulled me toward the stairs.

Hon? Our room? What the hell!

I paused on the stairs and looked down at her family. They all smiled at me.

What in the fuck did she tell them about me? I wondered.

As soon as we shut the bedroom door, I held Abby by the shoulders and whispered, “What the hell is going on?”

“Alex, I didn’t tell you everything because I was afraid you’d say no.”

I sat on the bed and looked at her. “I want the truth, Abby. The whole truth and nothing but the truth.”

“Okay, but promise you’ll stay.”

“I’m not promising shit! Come on, spill it.”

“It started about three months ago when I told my parents I’d found Mr. Right, just to get them to stop trying to hook me up with Todd.”

“But we’ve only known each other a few weeks,” I noted.

“They don’t know that. I never gave them a name, until last week. They like Todd and I didn’t have the heart to tell them he’s a two-timing cheating bastard. My mom was starting to believe a boyfriend didn’t really exist, so I had to come up with a plan.”

“I have a feeling there is more,” I said, holding up her left hand that had a diamond ring on her finger.

“Oh… that! We were just recently engaged.” Her face went flush.

“Unbelievable! Well, I hope you’re not pregnant from all the wild crazy sex we didn’t have.” I stood up and walked towards the door.

“Wait! Alex, please don’t leave!” She started to cry.

I stopped and looked at her. I was always a sucker for tears.

Damn it! Why did she have to be so gorgeous?

Okay,” I sighed in frustration. “I’ll stay and play out this farce, but no more lies between us. It appears we have two relationships between us at the same time: the pretend and the real one. You’re acting this out so convincingly, even I’m not sure if you’re acting or not.”

“Good, then no one else does either. We need to get changed for the pool party.” She pointed to the bathroom and said, “You go first.”

“No, ladies go first. I’ll change in here. Remember, no peeking.” I grinned.

When Abby stepped out of the bathroom in her skimpy bikini, my jaw dropped.

“Holy crap! You’re absolutely beautiful.”

She posed with one hand on her hip and said, “You’re supposed to say that. We’re engaged, remember?”

“In that case, I can’t wait for the pretend honeymoon.”

She rolled her eyes.

“Can you really blame me while you’re wearing that suit?”

“You have a way of making your compliments seem kinda sleazy,” she replied, putting on her sheer beach covering that didn’t hide much.

 

***

Abby and I walked to the pool hand in hand where we were warmly greeted by a growing group of guests. I tried my best to maintain my composure in a crowd of half-naked strangers wearing bathing suits. I couldn’t help but notice how familiar and intimate they all were with one another. Abby’s Mom was wearing a bikini that rivaled Abby’s; it barely covered her mature but very sexy body.

I was startled when Pebbles came up to us and ran her hand over my stomach.

“You didn’t tell me he’s got abs!” she gushed, eyes wild with excitement.

“Ignore her.” Abby sighed. “She’s just a little pubescent pest,” she said, swatting her sister’s butt before adding, “Come on, dear, let’s mingle.”

I tried to focus on the guests, but my eyes kept wandering back to Abby. No one compared to her beauty. Her voluptuous body was etched in my mind. I started to imagine her as my real fiancé. Then I silently chastised myself.

This can’t be happening to me. I’m a happy bachelor. Get a grip on yourself.

Abby was giving me a tour of her parents very large and beautifully landscaped yard when I heard, “So… you’re the boyfriend we’ve heard so much about?” A big dark-skinned muscular guy was walking unsteadily toward us with a drink in his hand.

“Beat it, Todd.” Abby scowled. “You’re already drunk. Leave us alone.”

“You let a woman talk for you boy?” he said to me. “What, no balls?” He grabbed his privates.

I glared at him, ready to put him in his place, when Abby said, “Ignore him, Alex. He’s an asshole.”

“Hey, that’s no way to talk about your betrothed! I could break this pretty boy in half with one hand if I wanted to, and you know it.”

Even though we were in a private part of the yard, people were starting to take notice. The very thought I might get beaten up while pretending to be a boyfriend seemed to be a distinct possibility. I had never been in a fight in my life and I wasn’t about to start with a guy that had airborne tattoos on his bulging biceps. Fortunately, Abby’s dad saved the day.

“Come on, Todd,” said Frank. “Jump in the pool and cool off. The barbecue is about ready.” He pulled the staggering idiot toward the pool.

Abby met my gaze and apologized. “I’m so sorry, Alex. He’s never been quite that mean before. I didn’t want you to get into a fight.”

“Actually, it wouldn’t have been a fight, it would have been an execution. Even if you were my real fiancé, I wouldn’t fight him. I’m neither stupid, nor suicidal. I actually thought for a few seconds I might be spending the day licking my wounds, instead of visiting with your guests.”

She gave me a sexy grin and rubbed my crotch, whispering, “If you were my real fiancé, I’d be licking more than your wounds.”

Thinking about what she said, I stood there with a growing erection.

Fuck! I’ll never make it through this weekend alive, I thought.

I was either going to be plummeted to death by that muscle-bound creature or die from a severe case of blue balls.

 

***

We ate burgers and chatted with the guests. It seemed our little charade was believed by everyone. Well, almost everyone. Todd pouted in the recliner, giving me and Abby dagger looks. On the bright side, I was getting used to her affectionate hugs and kisses; as the evening approached, I wasn’t sure if they were pretend or real, or a combination of both. As much as I fought against it, I knew my feelings for her were growing exponentially as we spent more time together.

Later, while I was making drinks in the kitchen, Todd approached me. I assumed the worst and grabbed a long barbecue fork.

He laughed and said, “What do you plan to do with that, skewer me? I came to make peace, dude. I wasn’t going to do anything to you. Look man, I was pissed off at her, not you.”

“That’s good to know. I hadn’t planned on writing my last will and testament so soon.”

Todd chuckled. “You’re a funny guy. I could never make her laugh, but… I could make her squeal like a pig with my big black cock. Can you do that to her, pretty boy?”

I elected to choose self-preservation and just shook my head no.

“How do you like my name tattooed on your woman’s ass? Every time you stick it to her, you’ll remember I was there first.”

With Todd getting more and more confrontational, I felt it was time to exit.

“Well,” I said. “Nice chatting with you. I gotta take these drinks to the guests.” I picked up the tray and walked away from him as fast as I could.

As the evening wore on and people started to leave, I was relieved to see Todd disappear in an Uber. Trying to act the part of a perfect boyfriend, I helped with the dishes and spent some time with Abby’s family. After cleanup was finished, we watched a recording of America’s Got Talent. I liked this family a lot, even though Pebbles kept snuggling closer to me on the couch. I never had a real family of my own that I could remember. My parents were killed in a car wreck when I was three, and I bounced around from one foster home to another.

I was rethinking my life history when Abby stretched her arms and said, “It’s late. I’m going to bed. If we’re taking out the boat tomorrow, we need to rest. You coming to bed, Hon?”

Knowing all eyes were on me, I tried not to sound overly enthusiastic as I yawned and said, “I’ll be right up after I say goodnight.”

Abby’s Mom smiled at me. “It was nice to meet you, Alex. Sorry to hear about the incident with Todd. He’s not as bad as he appeared, he’s just jealous. My daughter hasn’t always had such good fortune picking men in the past, as you could see.”

“Yeah, I kind of noticed. Well, goodnight,” I said, stretching my arms above my head.

 

***

I tapped on the bedroom door and when Abby opened it, I stood there, stunned. She was wearing a semi-transparent nightgown that looked more like a negligée. She pulled me inside and shut the door. I looked at the bed and couldn’t miss the two pillows dividing the bed in half.

“That’s to keep us honest,” she said.

She was so stunning that I was a loss for words. When I looked at her, I couldn’t help but notice how her pointy nipples stuck out like a couple pencil erasers. I guessed my stare seemed to make her feel self-conscious as she crossed her arms over her chest. I didn’t attempt to hide my gaze.

Finally, I said, “Abby, I’m confused. What are we doing here? What’s going on?”

“What do you mean?” she replied, still trying to conceal herself.

“I have no idea what is real or pretend anymore. You’ve kissed and flirted all day with me, and yet, when we’re alone I’m supposed to become a ‘boy scout?’ I’m confused. We’ve either started something real or you are the best damn actress I’ve ever seen.”

She looked at the floor, saying, “What is it you want from me, Alex?”

I walked over to my travel bag and pulled out a condom, tossing it on the bed. “To start with…”

“Look, I’m as confused as you are. I didn’t think things would progress this fast, but they have.”

“Abby, I’m totally honest when I say that you’ve gotten to me. When I’m around you, I feel things I’ve never experienced before with anyone else. My mind is telling me things I’m unfamiliar with.”

“I know what you want, and I can’t blame you,” she said. “I have feelings and needs, too. I don’t intend to torture you. I just worry that if we have sex now, it might take away from the connection growing between us.”

“Damn it.” I sighed. “You could say the same thing tomorrow, next week or a year from now. I want you and I think you feel the same.”

“This is new territory for me, Alex. I knew there was something special the first time we met. When I said you were dangerous, I meant it. I feared you had the ability to break down the protective wall I so carefully built. I’ve had my heart broken too many times.”

“Turn around,” I told her.

“Why?”

“Never mind why, just turn around. There’s something I need to see.”

She turned, looking back over her shoulder.

I reached out and yanked down her night shorts. There it was, a tattoo of a heart with Todd’s name written in the middle.

“What the fuck are you doing?” She gasped.

“So, it’s true. He did brand you!”

“Oh, Alex. He didn’t brand me. That was my foolish mistake.”

“Abby, I’ll let you now up front that if for some reason you decide to be with me, I want that repulsive tattoo erased. There is no way I’m going to be looking at that.”

“You men are all alike. I do what I want to my body. Why don’t you just pee on me to mark your territory? I’m a free woman. No one owns me!”

“If that were the case then why the hell is his name inked on your ass?”

She glared at me and said, “Dammit, Alex! I don’t want to fight about this. I told you he’s history and just so you know, jealousy is unattractive on you.”

“How would you feel if I had an ex lover’s name tattooed on me?”

“It’s your ass, and it’s your business. What else did that bastard tell you?”

“He said his ‘big black dick made you squeal like a pig.’”

Her face flushed a crimson red and she looked beyond angry.

“Is that true, did he?” I asked.

Abby screamed, “What is it with you men, anyway? You turn everything into a pissing contest!”

“Look, I’m sorry. I was curious if it was true or if he was just bragging to build himself up.”

“You want details? Yes, he was good in bed, and yes he has a huge cock, but he was also an utter failure in all the things that really count—things like loyalty, love and honor.”

Softened by her sudden vulnerability, I pulled her to me and kissed the tears on her cheeks. Then I took the pillows that were dividing the bed and threw them in the chair.

“What are you doing?” Abby asked.

Not taking my eyes off her, I pulled off my T-shirt, dropped my shorts and crawled under the sheets.

“Going to bed. I sleep in the raw.”

Abby watched my impromptu striptease and said, “You are taking a lot for granted. The left side is mine.”

She turned off the lights. There was a faint rustling of clothing and I felt the bed give as her glorious body pressed against mine. Our lips came together as if to seal the deal.

She whispered, “Please promise me, you won’t break my heart.”

“I would die before ever letting that happen, but that goes both ways.” It was then I realized how vulnerable I really was.

Our touching became caressing and our exploring seemed to go on for hours. There seemed to be an urgency in our sexual union that became something more. We were making love. Abby’s body fit me perfectly as we lost ourselves in endless passion throughout the night. It was nothing like the outlandish positions that I used with past lovers. I felt no need to impress her with my sexual prowess. We connected in ways I never thought were possible. All thoughts of previous conquests melted away. All that existed was me and her.

I was quite sure everyone in the house was aware of our activity; one of the things I discovered was that Abby was very vocal. She didn’t quite “squeal like a pig,” but I think there were a few barnyard sounds. Sex with her was in a category of its own. We spent almost the entire night in our carnal pleasures, until we eventually passed out from sheer exhaustion.

 

***

The next morning, I reached out for her but quickly realized I was alone.

Was last night just a dream? Where is Abby? I rubbed the sleep from my eyes before noticing my swim trunks and T-shirt on the bed, freshly ironed. After a few minutes, Abby came through the door with a mug of coffee.

“Wake up, sleepy head! Drink this.” She held out the cup.

I took a couple sips. “Mmm, hazelnut is my favorite.”

She ripped my covers away and I reacted by covering my privates with my hands.

Abby giggled. “Don’t you think it’s a bit late for modesty? Get dressed, lover, they’re loading the boat. You do fish, don’t you?”

“It all depends what I’m fishing for,” I answered, pulling on my board shorts.

She walked over to me, shaking a bottle. “Better put on some sunscreen or you’ll fry your Lilly white skin.” Abby rubbed some on my back. I noticed her hair was braided in a long ponytail, giving her a schoolgirl look.

I rubbed some sunscreen on my legs and said, “Your turn.”

She didn’t hesitate, pulling off her shirt, revealing her bare breasts. In the light of day, she was magnificent. I squeezed some cream in my palms and cupped her globes of flesh.

“You might want to get my back,” she said. “My boobs will be covered.” She giggled.

“Awww, you’re no fun.”

Later.” She winked, squeezing my dick through my trunks.

 

***

We walked out to the landing where the family was already waiting. Frank noticed me and frowned.

“Good afternoon!” he cheerfully said. “We usually leave at dawn… it’s after seven.”

“Sorry,” I replied. “I didn’t know, otherwise I’d have set my alarm.”

“Don’t worry. I blame my daughter for keeping you up doing god knows what.”

God knows what?” Ginny giggled. “You know exactly what, you old fuddy-duddy.” She slapped his butt.

“Where’s Pebbles?” I asked.

“She’s at her friends place playing video games. This is an adult’s only excursion. We will be meeting some friends on the lake, later in the evening. You’re welcome to join us.”

“Mom!” Abby whined. “Please not Evelyn and Dane? Not today.”

“Oh, hush! I told them about Alex. They’ll behave.”

What the hell is that about? I wondered.

We cast off and motored out to the center of the lake. Frank offered each of us a fishing pole. Being a novice, I opted to share one with Abby. She showed me how to bait a hook and cast it out. Almost immediately we had a hit and reeled it in. I proudly held up the wriggling fish.

“Beginners luck!” said Frank.

“Actually, Frank, it was your pole, your bait and it was caught on your boat—so it’s your catch.”

“You’re wasted in the computer field, my boy! You should be a fucking politician!” Frank slapped my shoulder, handing me a cold beer.

I was having a really good time with them all. As the day went on, we were all getting to know one another better and were a bit drunk. With enough beer, even the stupidest jokes seem funny.

The more they all drank, the less inhibited they became. Gradually, the women were losing their bikini tops. I tried not to stare but that was virtually impossible. I was glad Abby remained dressed and stuck with me.

A little later in the day, Ginny came over to us, looking a bit nervous.

She glanced at Abby and said, “Honey, I need to talk with your young man before Evelyn and Dane and the rest of the gang show up.”

“No, Mom, I’ll talk with him. I just wish you hadn’t ambushed us with this.”

I was beyond curious and when I asked, “What’s all this about?”

Abby pulled me aside and said, “I’ll start by saying I didn’t think I’d develop such strong feelings for you, but I have, and It’s real. I’m sure we both have things in our past we’re not proud of.”

“That goes without saying, but what does that have to do with me?”

“What my Mom wanted to tell you was that the group that they’re meeting with later this evening are not your average group of friends.”

“Meaning what?” I asked, suspecting something outrageous.

“What my Mom was trying to tell you is that they are… swingers… and they get together on this boat—or at the house once a month. Tonight is one of those nights.”

“Abby, just so you know, I’m not judgmental. What they do is their business. How does that affect me?”

“I’m glad you’re so open-minded, Alex. I just wanted to say that there was a time I participated… but I haven’t for awhile.”

I stared at her in disbelief before asking, “Are you saying you had sex with your parents’ friends?”

“Yes, but I knew them all and I was very selective.”

I stared at her for a bit, thinking about what she told me. She looked uncomfortable at my lack of response and said, “Alex, if we are going to build a relationship, we need honesty. That’s what I’m trying to do.”

“I’m thinking that Todd fits in here someplace,” I finally replied.

“Yes, we met at one of these parties.”

“You’ll have to pardon me, but this is a lot for me to grasp… So, you fucked Todd at a sex party and then got engaged to him? You said you dumped him because he fucked someone else? Isn’t that what swingers do? Fuck other people?”

“I didn’t hook up with Todd right away—and when we did it, it wasn’t for over a month. He said he and I were exclusive, but he lied. He broke my rule and slept with other women.”

“Ahhh, you have rules? It pretty much sounds like there are no rules for swingers. The question I have is if you and I become a couple, do you still plan on swinging?”

“I decided a long time ago I wouldn’t have random sex with strangers. Alex, I’ll bet you had more relationships than I have and left plenty of women like Betty broken hearted.”

“It’s not the same thing as swinging.”

“Look, I admit I made a horrible decision with Todd. When my boyfriend was killed, I was in a bad spot in my life and was terribly lonely. I thought sex might placate my pain. I attended a few of my folks’ parties where I met Todd. I thought that we were meant for one another. I knew nothing about him other than he was extremely good in bed. Then, as I eventually got to know him better as a person, I came to my senses. That part of my life is over.”

“Abby, I thought I was sexually liberated, but all this has taken me by surprise. I think I need to sort out my thoughts.”

“I want to be truthful with you and warn you that Todd might show up on the other boat. I think my dad will control him, though.”

“How many?” I asked

“How many what?”

“You understand the question. How many men did you fuck?”

She was instantly angered and replied, “That’s none of your business. What difference does that make? We slept together once and you’re getting possessive. I don’t find jealousy attractive.”

Just about then, a boat horn sounded, and the other party boat pulled alongside. It appeared they were ready to party. Abby went to greet the arrivals as I sat there trying to process what she had shared, realizing my initial opinion about love was true. To think I was actually planning a future with her was a joke.

How could I be so stupid?

I watched as Abby mingled with the crowd. When she returned to me, I said, “Tell your folks thanks for a memorable weekend on my behalf. I’m going to pass on the party.”

Panic seemed to fill her eyes. She pleaded through her tears, “Alex, we can work things out, I know it! Please don’t go.”

“Abby, I had a good time, but I want to go home now. I have a lot to think about and I guess the engagement is off.”

I decided to swim the the thee hundred yards to the dock and dove off the side of the boat. When I pulled myself up the ladder, I hurried to get my things and was on the road within minutes. Almost immediately my phone started ringing. I shut it off.

I guarantee this will never happen again. Ever, I thought.

 

***

Abby eventually quit calling after about two weeks of me ignoring her. I even gave introductions to my secretary to tell her I wasn’t available if she came by. I buried myself in work and my life seemed to be slowly returning to normal. I was even thinking of testing the waters of the dating scene again, but for some reason I couldn’t find the motivation. My friends were constantly trying to set me up with blind dates, which I declined. As much as I tried, I couldn’t erase Abby from my mind.

Then, a couple months later while I was grocery shopping, someone crashed into my cart. I whirled around to see who it was.

“Howdy, stranger!”

Abby.

“What the hell do you want?” I asked with a frown.

“I was grocery shopping of course. Even female chauvinist pigs need to eat, right?”

“Screw you,” I said, trying to free my cart.

“Okay, your place or mine?”

“I don’t have time for these games. Leave me alone, Abby.”

“Alex, wait! Talk with me.”

“What is it you want from me?”

“What do I want? Everything, but I’ll settle for dinner tonight.”

“That’s not happening.” I was determined to ignore her, trying to walk away.

“You promised to never hurt me, but you did. All I want is a chance.”

I gathered my thoughts and studied her face before replying, “Okay, one date, but after that, promise me you’ll quit calling?”

She extended her hand. I shook it as she said, “Deal.”

Her touch was electric to me.

“By the way,” I said. “Where are we going?”

“It’s a surprise. Wear a nice suit and bring your dancing shoes. I’ll pick you up at six-thirty sharp.”

I was happy to bring this situation to some sort of resolution, one way or the other. I needed my life back.

What could possibly happen if I just go to dinner with her?

I needed closure.

***

Precisely at six-thirty my doorbell rang. When I opened the door, the very definition of loveliness was standing in front of me. Abby’s abundant cleavage was on full display. It was obvious she had pulled out all the stops. I suspected this beautiful dress was just for this date. I also thought I might be spending the night beating off the competition.

Abby smiled and said, “Your carriage awaits.” She took my hand and led me toward her car.

I stopped dead in my tracks when I saw it. “What the fuck? A Maserati? I thought you were a Tesla saleswoman. What happened?”

“Well, the Tesla dealership was my father’s. When I moved out and got my own place, I quit. I felt I needed something more challenging.”

She smugly opened the unique gull-wing door and I eased myself into the plush interior. When she pushed the ignition button, the engine roared to life with the deep drone of an expensive car. She grinned at me after seeing my reaction.

“How’d you find your new job?”

“Actually, I didn’t.” Abby smiled. “They found me. I had done some modeling in the past and my agent set me up with an interview. I almost didn’t go but decided to at last minute. They liked me and signed me to a four-year contract. I’m their new model and spokesperson. This car is a loaner—a company perk.”

 

***

We pulled up to a posh hotel and the valets helped us out. Abby handed him the key and said, “You scratch it, you own it.”

I handed him two twenties.

It was early but the maître d’ still made us wait. I hated it when restaurants did that. I realized he was waiting for his tip when Abby handed him some cash.

“Don’t worry,” she said. “I’m on an expense account. It’s the way the game is played.”

He seated us in a location next to a running fountain and handed us menus written in French. The waiter asked us what we wanted to drink.

Abby glanced at me and said, “Is a Manhattan good for you?”

I nodded as she held up two fingers at our server.

“I’ve never been to a restaurant that didn’t have prices on the menu,” I said, trying to decipher the French menu options.

Abby giggled. “Let me interpret for you. What do you like? Steak? Chicken?”

“You pick,” I answered. I was bit embarrassed being out of my element.

She signaled the waiter and said, “We’ll start with the taleggio cheese and mission fig tartine.”

“Very good, mademoiselle.”

“Then, for the entrée, we’ll have the sweet-tart duck breasts with fresh cherry sauce, along with the peas and carrots salad, with goat cheese and almonds.”

“Absolutely, a splendid choice.”

“Dessert will be your famous chocolate mousse.”

After the waiter left, I said, “About the only thing I understood was the word chocolate.”

“No worries.” She smiled. “If we’re together, I don’t care if we eat KFC. I only came here to show I care about you… and to try out my new expense account.”

“Abby, I’ll be up front and say that I don’t like the concept of swinging. If we’re together in any capacity, we are exclusive. I don’t want to know the details of your sexual history and I certainly don’t want to hear how many orgasms you had with Todd. I won’t be someone’s cuckold.”

“Scoot over close,” she whispered. “I want to show you something.” She looked around, twisted her body and lifted her skirt, showing me her smooth bare buttocks. The Todd tattoo was gone. There was only a pink blush where it used to be.

“I had it removed the day after you ran off.” Abby pulled her skirt back down.

“What is It you want from me?” I asked, meeting her gaze.

She held up her hand, showing me that she was still wearing her fake engagement ring. “What do I want? I hope you’ll some day exchange this with the real thing.”

“Abby, that’s a long reach from where we are now.”

She frowned and said, “But it’s not impossible, is it?”

“From where we were at… it’s going to take more than a dinner to mend this rift.”

“Well, the evening is young,” she said with a smile.

Two waiters brought our orders and I couldn’t help but notice their eyes were glued to Abby’s chest. I couldn’t blame them, but I also knew she did little to discourage them. I felt like I was invisible, but that happened often when I was with her.

Abby checked all the boxes on my girlfriend list and then some. As far as a long-term relationship was concerned, I was conflicted. She seemed ideal and was certainly the most beautiful woman I’d ever dated, when something suddenly occurred to me.

Am I intimidated by her? Inadequate? Was that what I felt?

We ate in virtual silence. The food was excellent, but I was more of a steak and potatoes kind of guy. Looking at her across from me, I noticed she even managed to eat sexy. The way she daintily poked and separated food with her fork was sensual.

“So,” Abby began. “What do you think?”

“Well… from where we are…”

“I meant the food.” She laughed.

“Oh. It’s delicious.”

“Yeah, I thought you’d like it.” She paused and said, “Alex, you asked for honesty and I shared my heart.”

“I’ll tell you the truth also. I’ve been on a roller coaster ride of emotions since I met you, Abby. I know it’s a cliché, but I think only time will tell where we end up.”

“What is it that bothers you so much about me?”

“Let me ask you this: knowing your recent history, could you ever be fulfilled in a monogamous relationship?”

“Yes, I believe I could—but let me ask you the same question. Can you?”

“I think the answer is obvious.”

***

After we finished our dessert, we headed to the lounge. It was dark inside, except for the spotlight on the band. We chose a booth close to the stage and ordered a couple Margaritas. The band was excellent, and the singer was better than average; she sang mostly oldies and did justice to a few Streisand songs.

I held out my hand and looked at Abby. “Shall we?”

There was only one other couple dancing when I took her in my arms. We moved across the dance floor effortlessly. I was taken back by how light she was on her feet. She even made me look good. We seemed to use the entire dance floor. In the past, most of my dance partners had been content to circle in a small area, but not so with Abby.

“You’re good,” she whispered in my ear.

“Thanks, but we both know it’s all you,” I replied before dipping her.

“It takes two to tango.”

Just then, the band went uptempo.

“How about it?” she asked. “Do you tango?”

“Not really, but I have a feeling I’m going to learn.”

While she was teaching me the steps, several other people lined up for impromptu lessons. I couldn’t remember having more fun. When we finally sat, Abby was besieged with dance offers, but she politely declined.

“If you want to dance with others, go ahead.”

“I don’t want to. If I did, I would.”

Suddenly, a guy that obviously had had too much to drink staggered up to our table and said, “Come on babe, just one itsy-bitsy dance…

He attempted to balance himself on our table and knocked Abby’s drink over; it poured off the table on her beautiful new dress.

He fell to the floor. I rushed to help her clean off with napkins in hand, angrily telling the guy, “Beat it, creep!”

I thought Abby would be pissed, but instead she laughed hysterically. Two waiters helped the guy up and the manager came to our table.

“My deepest apologies, Madame,” he said. “Have your dress cleaned and send us the bill.” He handed her a business card. “Plus, half your meal is comped, and all your drinks are taken care of.”

“Thank you, that’s very kind of you,” Abby said.

“What’s your plan now?” I asked.

“I suggest we go to my place so I can change. I don’t like smelling like a distillery. Also… I really want to show off my new condo.”

 

***

We drove toward the ocean along Harbor Blvd. and pulled into her three-car garage. She gunned the engine before shutting it off.

“I’m impressed,” I said, as I unfastened the seatbelt.

“You haven’t seen anything yet,” Abby replied, opening both our car doors with the touch of a button.

For just moving in, the place was clean and organized as if she’d lived there for years. It was decorated ultra modern in a monochromatic gray scheme with a splash of color here and there to keep it from looking too cold.

I walked over to her balcony that overlooked the harbor. “Wow! Don’t tell me this place is a perk too?”

“Nope, I bought it and I’m mortgaged to the hilt. I couldn’t resist it. Make yourself at home while I clean myself up. Pour yourself a drink. The liquor is in the island cabinet. The espresso machine is filled if you prefer coffee.”

She walked to the bedroom pulling off her dress. Her naked butt was something that was close to perfection. Abby was pulling out all the stops.

She could have had any man—rich and famous men, better looking men. So, why me? I thought. Abby had basically told me told that Todd was better in bed and ripped her with orgasms.

I needed to clear my thoughts, so I opted for coffee. Thing is, I couldn’t think straight around her. The thought of marriage never crossed my mind before, but she was pulling me in that direction and that scared the hell out of me.

Hey, that smells good,” said Abby, walking out in her terrycloth robe. “Pour me a cup.” Her damp hair was tied back and most of her makeup was gone; I realized this was the first time I’d seen her without it.

“How do you like your coffee?” I asked, looking at the selections.

“I like my coffee the same way I like my men, hot and sweet, with a splash of cream.” She giggled.

I wasn’t sure when it happened, but our evening culminated with us in the bedroom where we spent the next two days. The sex was unbelievable, but we also talked about everything from politics to religion. I was blown away by how compatible we were. There was no use fighting it, we were bonding in so many ways I never had in previous relationships.

I eventually moved in with Abby. I wish I could say I was suddenly cured of my jealousy, but I tried to control of it. She became a very successful model, very much in demand. At first, I went on location with her, but seeing her scantily dressed or partiality nude in front of others was more than I could take. It boiled down to trust. Did I really trust her? That question was answered when I slipped a two-carat diamond on her finger, and she said yes.

 

 

Epilogue

 

All of this happened over a year ago. We planned on a June wedding. Randy was to be my best man and Pebbles the maid of honor. Like every other couple, Abby and I have or good days and bad days, but what we have together I wouldn’t trade for all the wealth in the world.

You’re probably wondering if my philosophy about love has changed. To be honest, I would say a lot. I believe love is a living thing. People tend to treat it as indestructible, but I think it is like a fragile rose, needing to be nurtured daily, or it will weaken and die.

My love for Abby is the most precious thing I possess, and I will protect it to my dying breath.

The end… or is it?

 

This story is protected by International Copyright Law, by the author, all rights reserved. If found posted anywhere other than Lushstories.com with this note attached, it has been posted without my permission.

Copyright © Copyright ©2015 ChuckEpoo All Rights Reserved. This story is for viewing on Lush Stories only. If you are seeing it anywhere else it has been copied without consent.No part of this story may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior written permission of the author.

<a href=”https://www.lushstories.com/stories/love-stories/-love-is-a-fourletter-word-.aspx”> Love is a Four-Letter Word </a>





Source link

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here