Vince Taylor had been at work for not more than half an hour, and had barely drunk enough coffee to be sure that he would stay awake, when the new employee was brought around to be introduced.
This was usually a very fast introduction, a fast handshake and an attempt on both sides to remember the name a minute later. If things went well, the nameplate was ready when the new employee came in, and that helped more.
In this case the name stuck with Vince: Gail Mari. The last name was spelled for him, and his immediate thought (which he kept from speaking) was that "mari" was French for "wife" and whoever got this one for a wife was very lucky. Nobody yet; he glanced at her left hand. She was a tall light-skinned black woman, with large eyes and a slim beautiful body. And a smile that Vince thought he could easily dream about.
His second thought (which he also kept from speaking) was that he would want very much to spend a night, or many, making love to this woman over and over. She turned him on for reasons he could not totally understand, and in more ways that he wanted to think about.
But the introduction went quickly, and he eventually got back to work. Though the image of her standing there and beaming at him did keep coming up. As did something else, which kept him from getting up any more than he had to.
At ten-fifteen, which was his usual time to refuel with coffee, he was waiting out at the elevator when Gail Mari came out and stopped.
She looked a little uncomfortable as she looked at him and said, "I know they told me, but I don't remember. You wouldn't use it, of course, but do you know..."
"The ladies' room is down there and around to the right," he said.
"Oh! Thank you!" And she smiled again.
And Vince was glad she moved past him quickly, for two reasons. Firstly the physical effect of seeing her smile and her body, and then the sight of her beautiful behind as she moved down the hall. God, he would love to be between those legs!
When twelve o'clock came, he went down in the elevator with Gail, and they moved to the exit together. He learned that she also was heading to the strip of eating places across the street, and she was happy to take his recommendation of somewhere to try.
He found himself eating with her, which was not much more of a step, and found that much more was bright about her than her smile.
Gail Mari was not a wife, but quite single. She did not even have a boyfriend at the moment, she said, and had only just moved out of her parents' home. She was also freshly graduated from the state college, which she had attended while living at home. She was witty, enthusiastic about many things, and utterly enchanting. Vince Taylor really did not want to go back to work. Though it would not do to tell her what he would like instead.
Late in the afternoon, he walked by Gail's cubicle and she stopped him to ask a question about procedure on the task she had been given to look over and begin working on. The opportunity bought out the pedant in him, but she seemed to enjoy his detailed explanation. Unquestionably he talked to her longer than was necessary, but he loved talking to her.
When Vince went to the time-book to sign out, he noticed Gail's signature above his, signing out fifteen minutes before him. Normally, he would not have remembered such a thing, and indeed did not know that he had until he saw Gail standing on a bus stop as he drove by.
He stopped and called out the window to her, "Is there a problem?"
"Yes," she said, "the F4 bus either ran early or didn't show at all. Though it shouldn't be long until the next one."
"The F4 bus has trouble on the first of the month, or at least it used to, though I don't quite know why. I follow it for most of its run. Would you like a ride?"
"Oh, yes! I'm just off Longmeadow Road at Emerald Street. Do you know where that is?"
"It's about a block from one of my favorite restaurants."
"Palermo's? Do they have carryout? I've never been in there, but it looks good. I hate to spend the money before the first paycheck comes in, but this first day on the job has made me so nervous and excited that I feel too tired to cook."
"Yes, and yes," he said. "Actually, if I'm not being too forward, I would like to invite you to have dinner with me there. You can pay with your conversation."
"Oh. Yes, I'll take that!" And he watched as those long beautiful legs put her trim behind into his car.
The conversation went much further afield this time, and ran on longer. In fact, the dinner and two glasses of wine each ran on from five until eight-thirty.
Gail began to apologize to Vince for keeping him so long, but he admitted to her that nobody was going to notice that he wasn't home yet, and time spent with her was much better than that spent alone.
Perhaps because of that comment, perhaps because of the wine, she moved one hand to cover one of his. He held it, and it stayed there for a while.
When he drove her home, she invited him in. This was, she said, the first time she could show the place to anyone outside her family.
Gail sat him down on a couch and disappeared for a few minutes, re-emerging in jeans and a t-shirt. Vince noted with great approval (more than he said) how well the jeans fit her and how the t-shirt gave the perfect loose sensuousness to complement her somewhat small breasts.
She did, as promised, actually show him around. Her bathroom was small, as they often are in apartments these days; her kitchen also was, though the space was well used. Her living room was a little on the spare side, and one framed print almost reminded Vince of something to say, but not quite. When she gestured at her bedroom timidly, he saw a wide double bed with quite frilly covers on it, and had a sudden picture of what it would be like being on it with Gail, her knees on either side of him while he plunged deep into her, her mouth gasping as she built to a peak of perfection.
He turned away quickly.
They talked until ten in the evening, and when he stood to leave she kissed him timidly on the lips and thanked him for talking and listening so patiently. He was amazed at her all over again. And he barely restrained himself from taking her body in his arms and giving her a deep soul-kiss, seeing how far down her throat he could entwine their tongues.
The next day Vince ate with Gail at a different shop than on Thursday, and they got back to the office a few minutes late. Not seriously so, though.
As they came back up on the elevator, he asked her if she would like a ride home tonight, since she was on his way and would probably get home earlier than taking the bus even with waiting the extra fifteen minutes. She hesitated, and then accepted.
In the car that afternoon, Gail asked Vince if he had any plans for the evening. He raised one eyebrow and said no, and added that he was surprised that a woman as attractive as Gail would have to be so aggressive as to ask men for dates.
Gail became flustered, and she denied that was what she had in mind. Then she was quiet for a while and admitted that it had not occurred to her that her question might be taken that way. After another pause she said quietly that she had never been in the habit of thinking of dates, because from high school through college she had always felt too busy and pressured for much of that -- and she had never felt easy in getting to know people anyway.
In fact that was why she was asking, she said. She wanted to cook a dinner for the two of them, because she wanted somebody to talk to. Her old girl-friends were busy right now, and Vince seemed to be a man who could be trusted to be alone with a woman, and not want to put his hands all over her.
Vince thought quickly and decided not to be completely candid in replying to that.
"You should not judge a man by whether he wants to put his hands on you, or even to go to bed with you," he said. "The question is always what he really tries to do, and under what circumstances. If you are interested in men, as I hope you are," (and she nodded) "it is all a matter of negotiation.
"The man who tries to undress you the first time he is alone with you is on one extreme; the man who unhooks your wedding dress is another."
Gail thought for a moment, then laughed and said that in that case she didn't mind if he lusted after her as long as he stayed polite about it and moved slow enough.
"Good, I'll try to," he said, and she thought he was joking.
It took her only fifteen minutes to actually prepare a stir- fry dinner for them, plus another five or so to change into the same jeans and a different t-shirt from last night's, but it was in all ninety minutes before they ate.
That half-memory stirred by looking at her framed print last night had its other half supplied by checking the newspaper late last night after leaving her. There was an exhibit of the work of the late David Prosser showing downtown. When he asked Gail if she had gone to it yet, she became very animated and said that did not know about it, that she had not known of anything else he did, and she wanted very much to go to it.
"Would you like to meet me at noon and go to it tomorrow? You would be a fun person to see it with. And by the way... I do mean this as a date," Vince said.
Her face grew thoughtful at the last part, but she agreed. And after some more conversation, she went into the kitchen.
She had a glass of wine with dinner, saying somewhat shamefacedly that she didn't normally, but she felt a little nervous about being alone with a man in her own apartment, not that she didn't trust him. He mentally sighed at being considered harmless. But knew that it was better than being thought of as a rapist.
They talked until rather late, exchanging a lot of information about each other's fondnesses and dislkes, and ended up watching the eleven o'clock news together. And
that started a discussion which ran until midnight.
Somewhere after dinner his arm had crept around her, and her head rested on his shoulder as she dozed during the commercials during the news.
When they kissed goodnight, he took a long chance and nudged her lips apart with his tongue. She was plainly startled, but after freezing for a moment she reciprocated and did not pull away until both of them were noticeably out of breath.
When Vince met Gail at noon on Saturday outside her apartment building, he remembered that and had an instant erection -- luckily, he did not have to get up to let her into his car.
They chatted happily through the museum, and a walk through the park and the shopping district. They shared an early dinner, leaving as the real rush arrived, and she invited him into her place again.
They kissed deeply when they arrived at her living room, and later from time to time. But she gently told him that she had to go to sleep fairly early tonight. Her family expected her in their church tomorrow morning, and they were going to bring some furniture to her apartment after that. He considered for a moment before asking when she would be back; if he could be useful, he would be willing to help move her in.
Gail blinked and said they would be here at three in the afternoon. Which Vincent was. He met her mother, a dark short stout woman who had a dour expression at first. But also he met her older brother, who obviously took after the father as Gail did, in height, build, and attitude. (The father decided he wasn't needed, with two men already there.) The brother liked Vince at once, and the mother seemed to decide in time that Gail could probably do worse, at least for somebody to work with and date once.
Vince had the chance to see that Gail was rather strong and athletic, and he had to work at not showing the effects of what that suggested to his mind. Those legs wrapped around him, those arms drawing him in, that sleekly muscled frame under him...
He left her before her family did, and was in her apartment only once in the next week. But they ate lunch together every day, and now he came by her apartment fifteen minutes earlier in the mornings to pick her up. But he asked her about dinner and a movie on Friday and she accepted, a little nervously he thought.
The dinner went well; she liked the movie very much; he thought it so-so but liked the company quite a bit. Gail removed his hand when it began to wander, but smiled and kissed him on the cheek. Their kiss on entering her apartment was stronger than before. She did not drink wine tonight, but he suspected that she may have taken sips of something stronger in her kitchen later on; she seemed to loosen up, though there was no odor on her breath.
When she returned from her third side trip to the kitchen, at eleven at night, he met her with his arms open. This time when they broke the kiss, she was trembling, and he raised the back of her blouse from the waist of her skirt. The brown skin of her back was warm and very smooth. His hand slid up after a moment to the fastening of her bra, and her head dipped in uncertainty when he undid it.
But when he took the rest of the blouse bottom away from her skin and raised the front of her bra to cup her breasts, she gasped and became eager for more.
"I had hoped for this," she whispered to him.
"Oh, so have I!" he replied.
Soon her twin mounds with their sharp little peaks were exposed to the light, and to his lips as he bent to them. He drew on them and mouthed them until she was finding it difficult to stand upright.
Slowly he drifted with her into her bedroom. She may have been hesitant about going that far, since when they stood by her bed and he began to open the top of her skirt, she looked around and said, "Oh, I'm not sure..."
But he silenced her with another kiss.
Her blouse and bra were somewhere in the living room, and his shirt went beside the bed. His chest hair contacted her rigid nipples, exciting them both a little more. Her skirt was opened as soon as she lay across her bed, and she was now only in panties and sheer stockings. (Her shoes dropped off when she left the floor, as did Vince's loafers.)
"I want to think that we are moving too fast, but at the same time I have always wanted this. I feel that you are somebody I can trust all the way, to be good and kind and look out for my interests," Gail said.
"I would like to think so," he replied. "I promise that I will not hurt you by deserting you. You are too valuable a prize, we have too much in common, and I really feel that if anyone breaks up our relationship it will have to be you. I am stubborn and slow to change about such things."
She looked into his eyes and tears began to form in hers. Her hand crept down to his belt.
The two of them removed his remaining clothing, and then Vince lifted her hips to delicately slide her panties down.
She reacted sharply to his first touch of her secret parts, with a cry so sharp that he wondered if he had hurt her. But she reassured him when he jerked his hand away. He returned, and found her very wet, but very responsive to his touches and rubbings and stretchings.
Her fingers found his rigid manhood and circled and caressed it. He thought then that she seemed unsure how to touch him. She helped to slide the condom on that he took from his trousers.
At last he opened her legs and raised them, and got above her to touch his aching erection to her entrance. The first inch slid in easily as did the second on the second stroke.
Then he paused and looked into her eyes again and kissed her before he came down again. He reacted in shock that matched the drawn eagerness on her face when he met the barrier.
He never in a million years would have considered the possibility that so beautiful a woman would have been untouched in this day and age. But so it was, as the maidenhead burst under his stroke and he entered her newly-opened tunnel. Her walls spread apart before him, but barely enough for his passage and clinging very tightly.
Her face became drawn in ecstasy almost immediately, and again and again until they met at last in a shattering climax that drew out his seed for a very long time.
They fell asleep together, and in the morning worked around her soreness to make love again. And that evening, and Sunday morning, and most nights until they married. And then it was more often.