As I slung my backpack over one shoulder, I turned and saw myself in the large mirror. I was wearing a pair of black Lululemons and light grey sketcher sneakers. I had on a white t-shirt and a bright blue hoodie. My long hair was a mass of waves and ringlets from being half dry, cascading well past my shoulders to the middle of my back and over my shoulder.
I had lotioned myself with spf 45 after my shower, but I had not brought any makeup to the gym and so the only thing on my face was the healthy flush that comes from exercise. I pulled my ever present chapstick out of my pocket and applied it distractedly as I walked out through the locker room door and turned the corner towards the gym lobby.
“Here, let me help you with that”.
Startled, I jumped back as the “Alpine guy” reached towards my backpack strap.
“Oh! I didn’t see you! I thought you said to meet in the lobby.”
“I hurried to get out, since I didn’t want to risk missing you. I only just got here.”
“Did you want to put that away before I take your bag?”
“You’re chapstick. Did you want to put it in the bag?”
He was grinning at me, teasing me.
“No, it’s fine. I can carry my own bag, that’s ok. Thanks for the offer, though”.
Even as we started the conversation and I was saying the words of refusal, he had already taken the bag from my shoulder and swung it over his own. “Well, I guess I should say thank you for being so bossy?”
We both laughed as we started walking towards the exit, with him slightly ahead of me, inspiring me to follow. My impression was that he was nothing if not exceptionally straightforward and assertive. He introduced himself and we exchanged names. He let me know he had been looking for me at the gym over the last month, had looked for me but had never had the chance to talk to me until today due to his changing schedule.
Once outside he turned to the right, so I knew he was headed across the parking lot, towards the beautiful parkette behind the city municipal buildings. It was a professionally kept garden, filled with a variety of showcase plants and shrubs all beneath a canopy of oak, maple and birch trees, filled in strategically with evergreens. It was a beautiful 10 acre oasis, directly in the middle of the city. Wide paths were designed to bring you through the entire garden, past a small pond and leading you to semi private enclaves made up of the gentle topography of open space, small knolls and boxwood hedges.
We made small talk as we went, stopping briefly at a huge black truck, where he opened the door and tossed his bag into the back seat of an extended cab before we continued across the street and grabbed a couple of cappuccino’s from the Starbucks. He had moved here 2 years ago, after his divorce, so he could be closer to his retired parents. He had no kids so there was really no reason for him to stay out West once he split up from his ex-wife and so he put in for a transfer. He had bought a condo, down by the waterfront, but ended up spending 6 months of the year at his parents place, looking after it when they did their annual migration to Florida for 6 months every winter.
I simply listened, really not saying much at all, as he provided a monologue of information, taking my sunglasses from the top of my head to shield my eyes against the bright glare of late morning sun. His voice was deep and modulated and he spoke with affection of his parents.
“So, did you grow up here?”
“I did, so it was nice to come back and re-connect with all my friends and family. I have an older sister who has three kids, but they live out East. So at least being here brings us closer so I can visit more often. We always end up staying at Mom and Dad’s in Florida every winter for March break and I go to Disney with them and the kids. Plus I can babysit for them so it gives her and her husband some alone time.”
As we were walking and sipping our coffee, we had made our way deeper into the garden and had come to a small, protected enclave, surrounded by thick boxwood and weeping mulberry trees.
“Here, let’s go sit down.”
We went over to the wrought iron park bench and as I went to sit down, I pulled one leg up to go underneath me. I winced and made a little noise of discomfort, feeling my muscles protest the movement after spending so much time on the treadmill earlier. He looked at me immediately, concern and amusement on his face.
“Ohhh, maybe just a little bit! You may not have noticed but I was pushing it today.”
“Well, now that you mention it, I noticed, but I am positive no one else saw you on the floor.” With this he cracked up laughing. “Here, put your feet up and I’ll rub your calves.”
He reached over and lifted my foot, which swung my entire body around, so I was stretched out on the bench, my back against the armrest, with one foot on his lap, the other still tucked underneath me.
“Can I?” he asked with a small smile and raised eyebrow, as he slipped my sneaker from my foot, so that it lay bare in his hands.
With the first firm brush of his thumb up my bare sole, I groaned in pleasure as my head fell backwards. He grinned at my response.
“Ohhh, you like your feet rubbed, do you?”
I could barely think, let alone speak. He had taken his other hand and proceeded to work my foot over; stretching tendons, massaging my arch, spreading my toes, digging his thumbs into widest part in circular motions and then long sweeping strokes, dragging his fingers down to massage my heal. He slid one hand up to my ankle to hold it and then he started to rotate my foot, first in one direction and then the other. It felt glorious.
Holding my heel in the palm of one hand, he started sliding the broad palm of his free hand up my calf, digging his fingers along the bunched tendons and massaging the sore muscles. As I melted into the bench, sliding down in a slouch of contentment, my eyes closed and I believe I made some incoherent noises of pleasure that may have sounded something like a yes or more precisely a “ohgodyessss” because he laughed and then started using both hands to work over the lower half of my leg, lengthening each stroke until his hands were sliding from ankle to knee and back again. He continued until I became like putty under the ministrations of his strong hands, enjoying the heat of the sunshine and being touched by this handsome man.
“Here, give me your other foot.”
As I un-tucked my leg, straightening it towards him, I had no thought of denying his request. I was eager to have him start on my other foot, especially now that I knew the magic of his hands. As he placed my bare and massaged foot onto his lap to take up its companion, my eyes flew wide open, my entire body tensed in awareness, as I felt the unmistakeable evidence of his arousal, his apparently very large arousal.