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Part I – Reunion
Alyssa stared quietly into the mirror. She took in how her naturally auburn hair was braided to create the effect of a crown on her head before cascading down her back. The make up was delicate, he had called in a favor from a friend who was a makeup designer who had done a fantastic job, accentuating her creamy white skin. Alyssa loved how the ruby color of her lipstick matched her emerald eyes.
The dress was the same black dress she had worn to the first event they’d gone to ten years before, off one shoulder and making her chest look perfect. Honestly, she couldn’t help but admire that her 28 B-cup breasts had stayed perky enough to hold themselves out like that. But yoga, exercise, mostly healthy eating, and regularly not wearing a bra had contributed in that process. The full length mirror showed off her toned calves and she loved the strappy black high heel shoes she wore.
Her mind wandered. It had been almost ten years since they’d broken up. Six months before, they’d met for lunch and coffee, the first time they’d even seen each other in about eight years. Alyssa didn’t regret this choice.
**Six months before**
“Hey there,” Dan said as he walked up to her in the coffee shop.
“Hi you.” She smiled back at him as she wrapped her arms around him. “I was sorry to hear about your wife. From the news reports from the accident, it sounded like a lot of people owe their lives to her heroism. What was she even doing there?” They sat down as he spoke.
“Beth was the senior project manager for what was going to be a new shipping company’s facility there in Kansas. The storm was a lot stronger than predicted that created the EF-3 tornado that hit it. She realized it in time to get about 30 other people to safety, but it wasn’t enough to save her or the five others she was trying to get out of there.”
“How long ago was that?” Alyssa asked. Since the time they had broken up, the few times they’d spoken she wasn’t sure if he was interested or not in getting back together. Even though she knew it had been a while, the last thing she wanted to do was interfere with grieving or be a rebound if there was even a remote possibility of anything beyond friendship. But she knew he needed someone to just talk with. That’s why she had given it some time and reached out to him about six months after that to offer comfort as a friend. They spoke from time to time on Facebook messenger, but it was rare.
He happened to be coming through Albuquerque where she lived this week and asked to meet.
Dan answered, “Just over two years ago. It’s been rough, but I’m finally settled at the new house in Texas. Not that I’m there often because of travel for work. But it’s great when I can be back. I call it new, I’ve lived there about a year.”
“What brought you through here?” She wondered aloud.
“I was in California for work on a job and to take some vacation time. I have my own plane, so I decided to stop here to see the town on my way home. Thank you for being willing to take the time to see me.”
“Certainly.” Alyssa had no idea what else to say.
“I also wanted to say thank you for reaching out to be a friend after everything. A lot of friends and family tried hard to help, but they always wanted to help how they wanted to. Not always what I needed. A lot of it was just needing time to rest, to think, to cope privately. Having you there to vent to or even just to say hi was what I needed since you weren’t trying to drive my life going forward the way you thought it should be. Even when we were dating, you were the least judgmental person I knew. It took years for me to learn what you taught me.”
Her mouth dropped open slightly from how open he was being. Even dating he hadn’t been this direct with her about his feelings, something she always attributed to the culture of him being in the Army. He went on.
“It was just comforting. Especially during the really hard period of learning to go on without her there. No couple gets along 100% of the time, but they love each other. Thankfully right before the accident we had just been on vacation. We were just enjoying everything.”
“That’s good. At least there wasn’t any major stress when it all happened.”
“Well, there’s always the ‘woulda, shoulda, coulda’ of things to be said or done differently. But no, major regrets were thankfully not a problem. I still had to deal with some thoughts on it, but over time as the shock wore off, I was able to completely process them. Getting back to work helped a lot. I’ve been so busy since then with building the new house, moving out of the rental we were in at the time, and working that I’m taking some time off to recover. My doctors are recommending it because my digestive condition started acting up again.”
“That’s right, you ended up with Crohn’s while you were serving on what, you’re third deployment?” They had dated during the run up to the first one. It made him a complete asshole and was a toxic environment. She had tried to stick with it, but couldn’t tuzla escort stand him at the time. He was here, but she felt like this was the true Dan that she saw even through his frustration and struggles.
“Yeah. I try to live life as much as I can now. But to keep it from coming back and really sidelining me to the couch, I need to put myself there for a while.”
“That’s understandable. I really enjoyed the last movie you were in by the way.” Acting, it seemed, had given an outlet for him to truly be himself that the military never afforded. A lot of her friends who were veterans seemed to be the same way if they went into the arts. Seeing Dan this way made something shift inside of her, the same spark that drew her to him the first time but it was also different this time around from what she felt. It was stronger.
“Thanks, it was a fun one.” His smile wasn’t huge, but appreciative and caring.
“So when do you head home?”
“Tomorrow morning. It’s not a long flight, but I’m looking forward to sleeping in my own bed again.”
“Well, I know you’re probably needing to get back to work. I appreciate you coming to meet me. It was good to see you again,” Dan said as he stood up.
“Of course. I’m glad to see you again too,” she smiled almost shyly. She also questioned why she had said she was glad to see him again. It was just the natural reaction, but it was a surprise to even her in saying that.
They hugged and headed out the door together. By chance they had parked next to each other.
Alyssa stopped right before opening her door.
“What are you doing for dinner tonight?”
He thought for a moment. “I was just probably going to order room service and watch a movie. Try to relax some. I know it’s Friday, but I’m also tired.”
“Would…” she hesitated. “Would you want to come over for dinner? My roommate is gone for the weekend and it would be quiet. Maybe be there about 7?”
“Sounds like a plan. I’d really like that.”
“Cool. I’ll…uh…text you the address.” They smiled at each other and got in their cars. Alyssa couldn’t believe how bold she had been in saying any of that. For whatever reason, both the first time they’d met and now today, just something about his presence made her feel like she could take bigger chances and risks emotionally. Now that she was in the car, her mind couldn’t focus on anything else during the drive back to the office.
Emotions flipped back and forth. Thankfully she didn’t have anything time sensitive to be done that Friday as she looked through food recipes. She was trying to use that to distract from the attraction she felt for him, even now as she tried to suppress it.
Did he want to sleep together again? Was he looking for another relationship? Or was he set on friendship? He’d been through a lot of trauma, she didn’t want to be an emotional recovery. But maybe between health and life events, he really had changed. Wait…she thought to herself…when was the last time I got tested? Oh yeah, that was a year ago and I’ve not really dated anyone let alone slept with anyone since.
Her mind was racing. It was quiet in the office and when it got to 4:15, she was one of the last ones left.
Thankfully Alyssa could come and go whenever she wanted and she was ahead on her work. At 4:16 she stood up and walked out to go to the store. From there though, time seemed to slow down. The store and traffic getting home seemed to move impossibly slow. Why again had she let her job move her here? She missed some of the other places she’d lived like Denver when it came to this traffic.
A shower and, if for no other reason than making herself feel both sexy and cute, she made sure she shaved. Getting dressed she put on a paid of cute green panties with little red hearts on them and a matching bra. Over that she wore a pair of relaxed blue jeans that really showed off her ass and a dark long sleeve shirt that hugged her breasts the right way, but not too tight. The fabric of the shirt was a warm jersey cotton. One thing she always adored about him was that he always encouraged her to dress however was comfortable, it was her as a person that he found sexy. He’d always been true to his word on it. Oh, and a little make up just to help it out.
She was also comfortable cooking in those, so messy wasn’t a concern.
Dinner wouldn’t take long, but when she looked at the clock after pulling her socks on to stay warm in the kitchen, she realized it was 6:40. It was a lot later than she had planned on starting cooking the chicken she had planned, but that would give them time to talk while she worked.
Dan arrived right at 6:58. He was always early or exactly on time, it was just part of his nature.
What had changed is that he was in tan slacks and a teal polo shirt with a suit jacket. He was never one to dress up quite like that unless there was a special occasion. He had a bottle of white wine.
“Sorry, not sure if you still drink or not. And yeah, I know it’s from tuzla escort bayan Costco, but it’s got an amazing flavor. And I felt wrong showing up empty handed without anything to contribute.”
“Don’t feel that way at all. And yes, I still drink from time to time. I actually really like the Kirkland brand for those.”
Alyssa felt a tingle between her legs seeing this man who had changed so much and yet was still the strong presence she had remembered for so long standing in front of her. He’d dressed up…for her. Just to have dinner with her at home. It was an incredible experience of déjà vu while being equally something entirely new. He may not have the intent of sleeping with her, but she was almost ready to jump him right there in the doorway.
Doorway. After what felt like an eternity, she realized they were still standing at the door.
“Uh, please come in.” Awkward, but hey, he was here. There were very few surprises this time around.
Still a lot of butterflies though.
Stepping in, he realized she didn’t have shoes on and took his off, setting his sneakers next to her shoes. His styles really have changed, she thought to herself.
The rest of dinner prep went easily. They talked and there were hints of flirting, but it was just a casual conversation. They really were two friends catching up…it felt like it had only been a couple of weeks or months, not almost ten years.
They laughed and enjoyed over dinner. Somehow, he had just known how to pick the perfect bottle of wine to share over her chicken. She hadn’t known anything like this before or since him.
And yet here they were back together. Being friends, flirting, and just being content.
Wait…did she just use the word ‘they’ in her thoughts? She realized that her feelings were taking over after only just an hour back in the same place as him. Hopefully it was just the fact that she hadn’t gotten laid in a while, she wished, but it didn’t feel like that at all.
After dinner dishes were cleared, she invited him over to the couch. “Would you like to watch something?” “Sure. What have you got in mind?”
“Not sure,” she laughed. “Let’s check out what’s on Hulu.” In her emotional and sexual focus, she forgot until it came up on the screen. Both she and her roommate had Roku and just shared things like Amazon and Netflix on there for what they wanted to pay for. They had one in each bedroom and one in the living room. Alyssa had guys over, but they never really stayed over or watched TV with her. She’d come close to having sex a few times, but she decided against it.
So she didn’t think much about the Roku. As the screen came on, at the top was the Pornhub channel.
Her stomach sank with embarrassment. It didn’t help when he chuckled until he spoke.
“I like your choice of channel. I have the same one on my Roku at home. My late wife enjoyed it too both to get off to if I wasn’t around or we’d watch together to enhance the experience or get ideas.”
“I’m so sorry though. You must think I did that on purpose.”
“We dated ten years ago, remember? When you get focused, you’re focused. I figure you were busy at work, then stopping at the store, and then trying to get back here in a rush to make that great dinner. My guess is it’s generally on there and you forgot about it altogether. Besides, I know you weren’t big on porn at that time unless you were really horny or sending me nudes.”
Somethings had changed, even for her. She loved watching porn now. And the nudes…
“Wait…you don’t still have them, do you?”
“Uhhh…ahh…possibly,” he said. She could tell through the smirk that he had them and knew where to find them. “And no, my wife never saw them or knew about them. I never thought about getting rid of them after you had emailed them to me. Also, when I would sit down to look at emails, I wasn’t thinking about them being there, even though I knew I had them.”
Alyssa was equally flattered and disgusted. She hadn’t asked him to throw them away, and it was disrespectful of him to have kept them. But could she blame him? She knew she was attractive.
With him sitting here now, maybe this wasn’t a bad thing.
Helping to diffuse the tension he felt thinking he had said something wrong, she answered, “Not what I was expecting. But can’t say I can complain since you’re sitting here.”
Dan relaxed as she smiled.
Out of reaction she surprised herself by saying, “Well, now that you’re single again, maybe I should send you some more to help you when you get lonely.” Internally she was screaming at herself even as the words came out of her mouth. WHHHHYYYYY did I just say that?
But he proved himself again by not missing a beat.
“Sounds like I should send you some too. You never cease to amaze me with how bold and forward you can be. You remember our first date? You leaned across the table and kissed me, even though you said you were afraid you couldn’t help but take the chance.”
“I do remember that date.”
“Good. Now escort tuzla it’s my chance to return being bold.”
He leaned in, and his right hand came to her cheek. Gently and softly he kissed her on the lips, letting the sensual feeling and electricity linger between them. When their lips separated, he only pulled back about an inch while his hand caressed the side of her face.
Suddenly she was acutely aware of the rugged features that had only become clearer in the last ten years, now framed by a slight hint of stubble as he was starting to grow out a beard.
She pushed back, breathless.
“I needed that. You have no idea what it’s taking to hold back from jumping you right here and now.”
He smiled, “I figured.”
“I don’t want to be a downer…gods, I don’t want to be a downer because I really want you right now. But what are you looking for. I’m confused.”
He smiled, but hesitated.
“I want to build a friendship with you, the kind that leads to more. Not a one night fling. Not a short term affair. I promised myself after I lost you the first time that if the chance ever came back up, I’d do it right. I’m sorry if I moved too fast.”
“No. I’m flattered.”
“Even if it’s long distance, I want us to start dating again. Explore a relationship deeper this time. To be honest, I want it to be long term if not for the rest of our lives,” he answered. But then something made him hesitate. “There’s something you need to know.”
“No. That’s pretty straight forward.” He breathed in and then sighed. “I think you saw the traits when we were dating ten years ago. I just don’t want to lie to you or scare you off. You of all people I want in possession of the facts before we start down that path.”
She sat, uneasy, listening.
“The bottom line is that I figured out a few years ago that I wasn’t entirely straight sexually. It took a while to figure out, but I’m bi. Internally, under the rather large umbrella of that, I personally define myself as heteroflexible. It started when I was eighteen. A friend of mine that I’d grown up with…we were messing around in my bedroom one day after school while playing video games. We got to fooling around tried to stay quiet with the door closed so my parents wouldn’t hear us. It was an incredible experience with getting to suck his cock and him sucking mine while we played with each other. That and rubbing our cocks together. Neither of us knew how to kiss, so I didn’t consider it my first real kiss. But both of us enjoyed it. Unfortunately, my mom had heard something and realized something had happened. She and dad were incredibly strict conservative Christian, which you know having met them. We weren’t allow to ever hang out together again and I suppressed the feelings and even the memory of it ever happening until years later.”
Alyssa sat in stunned silence. She was shaken with how hard he had worked to suppress those feelings for so long. Thinking back, she had known something was different. That and the toxic culture of the unit he’d been in, which she remembered as very afraid of anything non-traditional, no wonder he’d been so difficult to deal with. He continued on while watching her face, which had become serious and locked.
“I know you’re not homophobic or bi-phobic. A few years after I started undergoing treatment for Crohn’s and had surgery to remove a small piece of my intestine, which thankfully was all they had to do, I began questioning because it was so different. It was emasculating at first with having the colonoscopies at such a young age. In trying to understand the impacts of being diagnosed, I found out that there’s a higher risk of prostate cancer and it needs to be stimulated and even helped my sex life with my wife. She learned to finger my ass and I also had a toy to help out when she couldn’t. Even before that though, I was already questioning my sexuality very secretly.”
She nodded and stopped him. “Did she know?”
“She might have suspected, but no, I didn’t tell her. We were already married. She was also incredibly conservative even though she liked to think she was more open to things like that. I never would have cheated on her or acted on it. I always thought it would have broken her heart to the point of ending our marriage just because of having those feelings. So I never told her to protect her. It sucked suppressing it, but that’s how much I loved her.”
“I know it’s a shock. When she died, I stayed focused on work. I’ve talked to some people online, done some phone and skype stuff. But I wasn’t ready even to hook up with anyone. Kissing you just now…you’re the first one I’ve kissed since the day she died. One friend who came out as gay years ago knows, but never said anything and held my secret.”
Alyssa sat, still stunned at this entire revelation and trying to take it all in.
“I like you. Like I said earlier, I want to continue rebuilding our friendship with the possibility of more. But you need to know before hand that there’s a part of me I haven’t explored. That being said, your friendship and care for me to just be there to talk has been worth more than anything else. I’d rather have you in my life than explore parts of who I am.”
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