Vicki Marie’s Sexy Summer Reading Series: One Chapter A Day
THE BACHELOR CHAPTERS: A THINKING WOMAN’S ROMANCE
I’d never been a football fan, but I knew the game from my childhood. My dad taught me about the significance of Vince Lombardi, the prominence of Bart Star, and the rise of Joe Namath. I understood the passion of sports fans, and the civic pride that infected a city during a playoff bid. I also knew it was good business to follow the team and talk ball with my customers. The year the Seattle Seahawks went to the Superbowl, I joined the playoff party and quickly became an enthusiastic fan of Matt Hasselbeck, Marcus Trufant, and the smoking hot Shaun Alexander. I was late to the table, but I came to love the series, with its breathtaking plays and high stake games.
There was also an unexpected sweet spot to the game: I had stumbled upon the televised peep show from heaven. There was an army of seriously sexy brothers on the screen, and nothing ignited my libido like the tight butt, the broad chest, and the thick bicep of a professional black ball player. I could suddenly relate to that favorite pastime of men when they enjoyed, without apology, an eyeful of women. The players were made to order for my taste buds, and I was primed for the fall kickoff in 2006.
As luck would have it, I would not have to wait nine months to reconnect with the multiple pleasures of my new hobby. A former defensive back, Lamar Taylor was not quite forty-seven years old when we met on Black People Meet, and from the look of his photos, it appeared he could still be a pro. Not unlike me, his profile was brief and to the point, saying that he was interested in meeting independent women. One photo in particular made me answer his email. He was bent over sideways, holding onto his belly, laughing so hard you could almost hear the fun in the room. Broad shoulders and massive biceps showed through his simple sweater, and unbelievably, he was wearing a cowboy hat. A black cowboy in Seattle?
“Yes,” I wrote back. “Let’s meet at the bar in The Mayflower Hotel. How’s Thursday night?”
On a wet Monday night in February, cold as only Seattle can be, I dressed in a simple knit top, and hip-hugging, black suede pants. I made a mental note: pants from Vancouver, boots from New York, and coat from Chicago. My wardrobe was a scrapbook of my travels. It was a great outfit, but I was not in the mood for a first date interview. I was seasonally sick. February funk is a disease in Seattle, where daylight barely penetrates relentless gray skies, and the best position on the planet is where the cushions are piled high in front of my fireplace. I had considered canceling, but this was already a reschedule. Lamar had called the previous week with the news that his son had been accepted at USC in Los Angeles with a full ride on a football scholarship, and their celebration had bumped our plans. Thrilled for his family, I threw in my congratulations, and we moved our date. While I painted my lips, I remembered Lamar’s happy cowboy photo, and began the pep talk: the guy is probably fun, I told myself. You could use a good laugh.
Lamar was at the far corner of the bar, and saw me come in. He got up from his stool, and popped a kiss on my cheek. I was surprised by his height; I thought pro players were larger than life, but this man was not even six feet. His autumn-brown sport coat covered his broad frame, and a sweater in the same hue. He looked classy and conservative, save for the sharp points of blue reptile that peeked beneath the deep indigo jeans. He was polite, but not warm; and barely looked me in the eye before sitting down. I was not in the mood for indifferent company, and I smelled disappointment. As the bartender stirred my martini, I promised myself next time I’d follow my gut and stay home.
I began with the usual questions. His answers were short, precise sentences, not even close to conversational, and he asked nothing about my life. Annoyed with the one-way volley, I remembered to ask about the scholarship party, hoping to warm things up with some papa pride. His reply was merely reportage: not even an attempt at a descriptive anecdote. The man wasn’t exactly rude, but he wasn’t giving me any reason to have sacrificed my warm fireplace for his cold shoulder. I took a long sip from my drink. At least the martini was perfect. Next, I asked what he did for a living, wondering what would be left to talk about once he reduced that answer to another conversation stopper.
“I’m a police officer.” He had my attention then.
“You’re a cop?” This could be good or bad. “What department?”
“Traffic,” he said, this time just a one word sentence, followed with his first attempt toward conversation. “I love my job.” I was no longer annoyed. I was officially turned off. Everybody hates traffic cops.
“You love writing tickets? Tell me why.” This I had to hear; it just didn’t make sense to connect love with traffic violations.
“Because drivers are assholes, and I get paid to call them out.” And with that, we established common ground because I agreed: drivers are assholes.
Immediately, the evening warmed up. Lamar reeled off one story after another, describing the maniacal theatre drivers performed when stopped by a cop. Gesturing with his large hands he shaped the story, imitating the indignation of driver’s and mocking the idiotic excuses and lies that justified their crime. In no time, he had me entertained and convinced. People weren’t merely assholes; they were self-righteous victims and delusional liars. In spite of my lousy mood, his chilly welcome, and my prejudice against ticket writers, I was warming up to the company of the brusque man with the big hands.
Unbelievably, we discovered we had gone to Eckstein Middle School at the same time; a year younger, he had been bussed north, along with my black, teenage boyfriends. He knew them all, and had even played high school football with my beloved Leon Davis!
“I’m going to check my yearbook when I get home, so I can see your middle school picture!” I laughed at the small world connection.
“So, do you still see Leon?” I asked, realizing that it had been at least ten years since our reunion.
“He died—four or five years ago. Diabetes—just like his dad. He didn’t make it to forty-five.”
The news came into my brain and pushed my memory into free fall. It seemed like it was just yesterday that Leon and I had hung out at that bar by his house in Madrona. We shared a bottle of wine, laughed at the past, and made fun of teenage sex. That’s when he thanked me, reminding me I’d asked him for oral sex when we were fifteen. He told me that had helped him overcome his teenage inhibitions, and had made him a better lover—a great lover, he said proudly—and that I’d changed his life. It was an unexpected revelation to hear after so many years, but it was clear that he meant it. Riding on the coat tails of his confession, we toasted the courage of fifteen year-old girls, and then the generous lovemaking of men closing in on forty. Then he told me about how much he loved his little girl, how he was going to be a much better dad this time around, how she was going to be smart and have a voice, like his mom, and his sister—and like me. She would be a teenager now, and his son would be almost thirty. Their dad was dead, his life done at forty-four. The same age I reinvented mine.
“Don’t you have to go to the Ladies Room?” Lamar brought me back to the bar.
“You want to watch me walk out of the room,” I said, calling him out on the obvious.
It was a bold request on a first date, and instinctively, I raised the stakes with a wordless reply. I slipped off my stool, and walked toward the lobby. Then I stopped. Slowly, I bent over from the waist, legs long, ass high, and brought my hands to the floor, freezing the provocative pose. It occurred to me I should feel self-conscious, but something had shifted. Leon was dead and I was alive. Who had time for fear?
“Here’s my hundred yard return,” I thought, holding the pose, certain of my silhouette in the soft leather. When I brought my torso up, I arched my back, pulled my hands through my hair, traced my body to my hips, then ended with a tender brush of my palms over my ass. Satisfied, I looked back over my shoulder, then set my gaze forward, and finally left the room. The awkward and irritating opening of the evening had expired. Officer Taylor had my attention. And he had the next play.
TOMORROW: Chapter 47
Copyright Vicki Marie Stolsen, 2014, Forever Forty-Four Publications, Publicity Rare Bird Lit, Tyson Cornell, Tyson@rarebirdlit.com, Distribution by Ingram, Available online and in bookstores in paperback, eBook, and audio format.