I found her in the arrivals area. A handheld black board stated: “RUSS”
“What are you doing with that sign, sweetheart?”
She was giggling.
“I was waiting for you, Russ.”
Paula handed the board back to the limo driver she’d borrowed it from and shifted into my arms.
“You came to see me, Russ.” Her whisper.
“Yes, baby. I came to see our girl.”
She quickly melded back into my arms as we drove thru the streets.
“I couldn’t wait to see you, Russ.”
I laughed softly as we traversed the area I recognized as Old Town forty years prior.
“The hippies were all thru this section, Paula.”
Now, now it was still. The “years of lightning day of drums” had finally ceased.
“The who, Russ?”
I smiled. “Yes, baby, ‘The Who.'”
She was humming softly, contently.
“Where’s your teddy bear, Paula?”
“It’s back at the apartment. We’re almost there, Russ.”
“Did you go on today, angel?”
“Just a little. I was mostly getting ready for you.”
She held my left hand and played with my rings, running her warm fingers around the soft gold. Her scent, something unfamiliar filled the time.
“You smell good, baby.”
“That’s my Tommy Girl. I’m glad you like it, Russ. Stop here, cabbie. This is it.”
“This is where I live now. This is my place.” She was standing in the kitchen galley, her eyes glistening ever so beautifully.
“Can you stay the night, Russ?”
“I want to show you my teddy bear. He’s in my bedroom.”
“Come, Russ, come with me and I will show you my bear.”
She’d moved and was standing by the couch, interrupting my view of her CPU, the screen emblazoned in a familiar logo, upper left. The dozen virtual roses, plus one I’d sent her that morning present and accounted for on the page, lower right.
“This is my bedroom, Russ. And here he is. I sleep with him every night. He keeps me company when I get lonely.”
“Are you lonely a lot, sweetheart?”
“No. But, sometimes, I am.”
I woke in darkness. Her candles extinguished. I discovered myself clutching Paula’s bear instead of her. I softly chuckled as I shifted to sit up. My feet touched her top where she’d tossed it so adorably to show me. So I could see. So I could touch. So I could taste. And now so I could smell. Her Tommy Girl. I set her top next to her bear.
She’d been excited and warm and so very wet. And she’d kissed, and purred and sighed and then we each found our rapture, together.
The fast clicking of key strokes penetrated the stilled darkness.
Paula was bare-breasted. White and new and very intent.
She finally saw my reflection looming behind her and tapped out of the screen.
All went black.
Her tiny scream.
“Who was that, Paula?” I laced long brown hair thru fingers.
“I won’t tell you.”
“Are you mad at me, Russ?”
“No, baby, I’m not mad at you.”
“What did he want you to do, Paula?”
“I can tell you that, Russ. Do you want me to tell you?”
“He wants me to use my fingers and his fingers.”
“Will you show me, Paula?”
“May I use your fingers, Russ?”
“Yes, you may, angel.”
“How many more, Paula?”
“How’s that, girl?
“Lot’s more, Russ.”
“Like that, baby?”
“Everywhere, Russ. Don’t stop. Okay?”
Her head in my lap, our girl so sleepy now. The sandman was coming for her and that right soon. I’d retrieved her blanket from the bedroom to keep her warm and then went back for her bear to keep her from loneliness. I neatly folded Paula’s top. I took it so I’d always remember. And so I would never forget.
“Will you be here when I waken, Russ?”
“No, baby, I won’t.” I prayed her eyes were closed.
“Can I come and visit you, Russ?” My prayer answered.
“No baby, you can’t.” I prayed the sandman would hurry.
“Will you come back, Russ?” I closed my eyes.
“Paula.” Her breathing had leveled. She was in her dreams now.
I logged in & PM’ed her:
Her top tossed
In the mirror we watch
Her bear clutched tightly
Her fingers move–warm and wet from her mouth
“Look, Paula, look at the little girl.”
“That’s you, sweetheart. Our little girl.”
“ssshhh, little girl. Watch.”
“ssshhh, baby. Watch.”
“How bout those Sox, eh?”
I leaned forward, peered thru the scarred Plexiglas, then eased back.
“Eddie, we’ll take it in silence.”
Eddie threw the meter-cut the switch-the music died-the interior went black.
Russ, at 50.