Ginny Adams was very glad to be where she was, but she still woke up every morning wishing that she wasn't.
She had felt lonely when she was living on the family farm; the boys (and later men) around there went much too quickly from being too young to drive to the farm to having already moved out of the area. There was no future for her in working on the farm, at least if there was anything else she could do; the farm was clearly going to her older brother, who wanted it. Ginny didn't want to own the old place anyway, though being a farmer's wife she wouldn't rule out.
Living on the farm, also, things were a little cramped, with her older brother and her parents and the two younger children who were getting bigger all the time -- especially her 12-year-old brother. And it looked like her older brother's girlfriend was going to marry him and move there soon, though they would be going into an outbuilding, at least to sleep.
So Ginny took training in electronic bookkeeping and got a job at the Wayne Bank in Philadelphia, working on account problems. While she couldn't say that the work was interesting, it was more so than she expected.
In Philadelphia, Ginny had an apartment that gave her three times the room to live in that she had on the farm. While the place was spare when she moved in, she had spent the last six months finding furniture and odd decorations she liked, until she had to control herself and quit because it was getting cluttered.
She missed the rooster every morning. Neither the alarm nor the rush-hour traffic was quite the same, especially on weekends when she turned the one off and the other didn't arrive. While the city had perhaps as many odors as the farm, if they were noticeable they were unpleasant.
There was a future in working at the bank, if she wanted it. Job openings came regularly, and
there was no telling where they might go. So she should have been content, over all.
But Ginny was lonelier than before, in a way. There were young men around, certainly. Every one of the single women working at the Wayne Bank was attached to one, it seemed like. They all talked about shows and dinners and trips to the country with them. Ginny was more than a little shy about speaking to men whom she didn't know, and she didn't know any in the city. She wanted to make a start somewhere, but she couldn't see any way to.
If there had been more married women in her office who could invite her to parties along with unattached young men, it would be different, perhaps, but so would this story.
As it was, Ginny devoted herself to attending concerts and visiting museums and, especially, reading books from the library.
Christmas was coming up next Friday. It was a three-day weekend this year and half the single women were taking leave to make it last four days or more. Carla said that she and Robert were going off to Lancaster for a ski trip. Janine and her Matt were going to visit his family up in Connecticut. All around the room the talk was of romantic excursions and parties and big dinners.
Ginny herself had just talked to her parents the night before, on Monday, and had reluctantly agreed that the expected snow would make it not worth trying to drive to the farm on unplowed roads. So she was going to spend the weekend alone.
She had been sitting there being a little unhappy when Carla asked: "What about you, Ginny? What are you going to do?"
Before Ginny could think of what to say, she heard herself saying: "Oh, David and I have decided to stay in town and have a quiet Christmas together."
All around the room there was a silence broken only by the rustle of eyebrows raising and ears pricking up. Carla said: "Who is David? We knew you were a quiet sort, but have you been keeping him a secret from us?"
"Oh, he's my boyfriend," Ginny said blithely.
All the other single women gathered around, and a couple of the married ones as well.
"What's he like?"
"Where did you meet him?"
"Where does he work?"
"How serious are the two of you?"
Ginny had to think very fast. That last little sentence had gotten her in deep waters and she would have to paddle hard.
She mentally seized on a man whom she had seen walking on the street nearby, and then at a concert that she went to on one particularly lonely night.
"Well, he's not very tall, only an inch or so more than me," she offered. And they waited for more.
"He has broad shoulders, though," Ginny continued. "He works as a claims adjustor at Center Life." That was in the building across the street, and indeed she had glimpsed someone there through the window who might have been him.
Her flow of invention was running easily now. "He calls me his vegetable love, because we got to know each other slowly."
"He calls you a vegetable?" laughed Carla.
"From the poem. 'Vaster than empires and more slow,/ My vegetable love doth grow.' From 'To His Coy Mistress,' by Andrew Marvell."
"He calls you a vegetable and slow and you like him?" laughed Carla again.
"Not to mention saying that you are vast," said Martha, who was always on a diet.
"Not even half," threw in someone else.
"And he compares you to a mistress," said Janine teasingly. "How long have you known him -- or maybe I should ask how well? This might be a real secret!"
Ginny blushed and took a minute before she could speak again. "But he is very romantic, and playful, and nice to talk to," she said. "We aren't all that serious, but I have hopes."
One of the bank executives walked by then and the women quieted down. And the subject of David did not come up again that day.
But at times during that afternoon, and on the street-car going home, and especially that evening, Ginny thought about her half-imaginary boyfriend. She certainly did not know that his name was David; she only knew that he ought to be a David, that he looked like a David. He might really be an Ignatz or a Heinrich.
He might be married (no, she thought she remembered at the concert that there was no ring on that finger -- then again, maybe he didn't wear one).
He was very likely, she thought sadly, to be involved with someone, probably living with her. She felt a touch of envy towards the rival she had just imagined.
David might be gay! She turned away from that thought. That would be too much of a loss.
Ginny thought that it would be so nice to have David, her imaginary David, here in her apartment to talk to. She saw him at a symphony concert, so surely they could talk about music, and about life and... It would be so nice to have him hold her and maybe kiss him, and... And she dozed off thinking in that direction.
The Christmas weekend was quiet but very lonely. On the Tuesday after, Ginny was standing after work, waiting for the street-car to take her home, when the door of the Central Life building opened and David walked out.
Ginny was stunned that part of her fantasy was true; though since she had seen him walking in the area, and thought she might have seen him in the offices across the way, the wild guess was not so wild after all. She looked at her watch and saw that she would have to wait five minutes more for the street-car. Then she reflected that she had nothing to do tonight but eat dinner, and that would wait until she cooked it -- and if she ran too late to cook, sandwiches would do. So...
She set off following the man, crunching snow underfoot. He walked into a park and stopped to watch some children play, and she stopped beyond him to watch the same children. When he walked by her, she kept her face turned to the game of tag, but saw him in the corner of her eye and was sure that he looked at her and smiled.
He must like children, she thought. Maybe he is a child molester, stabbed another part of her mind, but she rejected that idea as she shuddered at it.
Ginny began to dream of being married to him, and raising their children, diapering and dressing and sending them to school, and she barely came back to the world in time to see David get on a bus that went uptown.
Besides, Ginny told herself on the street-car later, she was getting things out of order. A lot had to happen before children came into the picture, including speaking to David.
She saw him once more that week, when she dawdled in front of a department store window, looking at the still-up Christmas display. The window she picked was near the bus-stop that David waited at, and she saw his reflection as he also looked in it -- or was it at her?
On Saturday the second of January, Ginny woke up before she needed to, at least for a Saturday. Partly, of course, this was because of all those years on the farm where the cows and chickens didn't take weekends off. She never thought then she would miss the rooster.
She wished it were possible to keep a dog in this place; she wouldn't be so lonesome. Maybe she should get a cat, though her idea of a cat was a barn cat with a lot of room to run in.
Best of all, of course, would be to wake up with David's arm around her and his warm body beside hers, his subtle male smell coming to her. She thought she should be ashamed of that feeling, but she defiantly wasn't. But of course, she was getting things out of order again. To wake up in bed with David would require going to bed with him, which would require a whole lot of other steps which would only begin with speaking to him. Which she hadn't done yet.
She was too nervous to do that, let alone all the rest of it.
Besides, Ginny thought grumpily as she sat in her bathrobe and sipped a cup of coffee, that bed wasn't wide enough for two and was much too lumpy for comfort for -- what two people could do in it. Not that she had any experience at that. She had seen animals, of course, living on the farm as she had, but the attitude of the females varied a lot depending on the species. And she certainly wanted love to go with the sex, which it didn't seem to with animals.
She had some ideas from reading novels, also, especially paperback romances, especially some of the lines they had these days. But they made, well, going to bed with a man, sound better than it probably was -- though she couldn't say, could she?
The only part of that whole internal dialogue that remained in her conscious mind was the idea of looking for a new bed. Her present one was bought in a hurry, second-hand, when she moved in, and while it was a mistake it was one she could live with. And she had, about long enough.
A couple of hours later when Ginny saw a sign on a rowhouse reading "Bed $30," she remembered her decision. The doorbell was answered by a plump woman around fifty with a broad smile.
"Does the bed have boxsprings rather than just bare springs? And how much extra would you charge to take it over? Or would it fit on top of a Mazda?" Ginny asked in a rush.
The woman paused and slowly said: "It doesn't need springs, nothing, and it would go better inside.
"Though if you live close by," she continued, "I can put the whole thing in my shopping cart and walk it over with you."
Ginny was obviously very puzzled.
"It's a waterbed," the woman explained. "The frame and mattress are maybe 50 pounds altogether, and the frame comes apart."
Waterbeds were very comfortable, Ginny had heard, though that wasn't what was usually talked about with them. The naughty image was not one she had to live up to. It did not fit this woman, nor her husband who now walked into the room.
"We bought it when my husband hurt his back, since he could sleep much better that way," the woman went on. "But we have redecorated and bought a king-size one with dresser drawers built into the sides."
"It's a double bed?" Ginny hesitated a moment while her waking thoughts came back to mind, and she blushed a little. "But I'm single."
"That's quite all right," said the husband. "Someone like you should have no trouble fixing that situation, and that's one less important thing to buy when you do."
That decided Ginny, and when the woman's husband (Jacob, his name was) said he would bring it down in two trips, she offered to go up with him and carry it all. When she mentioned she was a farm girl, he gladly agreed.
Ginny and Rachel, Jacob's wife, kept up a string of chatter for the four blocks back to Ginny's apartment. Rachel made sure that she knew how to put the bed together and fill the mattress, and Ginny borrowed a hose from the janitor after her shopping was finished and spent the evening in sloppy clothes pumping water in. By the time she finished she was happy at the accomplishment but tired enough to appreciate the warm comfort that the waterbed gave her.
The next morning she was much less achy than she expected, but she had to confront the one major problem with waterbeds -- you don't want to get up.
She put her old mattress, springs, and frame in the basement for the janitor to dispose of.
That afternoon she went to the public library and spent an hour or so browsing in two or three departments when she spotted a face she recognized -- that of the man she called David. He was glancing at a popular book on housing problems, and when he took a seat at a table, she took some courage in both hands. She sat across from him and a little to one side. She pretended to be reading, but she was really looking at him as much as she could without being obvious. And imagining a long conversation with him, hours and hours of getting to know him, ending with a deep and satisfying kiss.
She was startled out of her reverie by the buzzer announcing that the library was closing at five. She checked out her book, and he followed her out the door. But they didn't speak.
On Tuesday Janine came by her apartment. Janine was probably her closest friend in the city, and the two often ate downtown and did some shopping together after work. Ginny had not thought about it much, and she would have been quite surprised to find out (which she didn't) about all the gossip after Janine reported back that Ginny had not only bought a double bed to share with her boyfriend, but a waterbed!
On Thursday, Ginny was waiting in the park as David left work and walked through it, and she took the chance of smiling at him and complimenting him on his tie. He was startled but pleased, and in her first good look at him close up when he was wearing his name badge from work, Ginny saw that he did indeed work for Central Life, and that his name actually was David! The last name began with a C, but she didn't want to stare at it and make out the name -- she was tempted to stare at his face, maybe, but not his name badge.
At least they had spoken to each other, she thought on the way home, even if what they said was inconsequential. But life's full of inconsequentials, it's all in how they add up.
Ginny sat in front of her television that night, the one with the tiny screen that she had in her bedroom back on the farm, and which she had not yet replaced because, well, she did not watch much television. There was a detective show which the TV critic in the newspaper had said was good and not getting the audience it should. So Ginny decided to try it and see if she agreed.
The plot was about someone threatening a dancer in a stage musical who had seen a murder and was going to testify. The police and chase portions were all right, but the couple of dance numbers that were thrown in were really well done. Ginny thought to herself that it was a pity nobody watched variety shows any more -- or at least that was what everybody said.
Ginny started to wonder if David liked to dance. She hadn't done much herself since high school, but that was in a way because she liked it too much. Being close to a man for hours, being held close to him, and getting lots of physical exercise would tend to make her mind (and body) dwell on other physical exercise she might have with the man, and she hadn't wanted to go in for that. Not before David anyway.
She pictured herself on a dance floor, her body pressed against his, moving gracefully to the music. There would be no words to the music, nothing to occupy the mind at all, only the body. The sound would often be at a volume that precluded conversation, so they depended on more basic language.
She would dance, not just to dance with him, but to move *for him.* His eyes would devour her, burning her with the fascination and wonder and desire she read in their depths. He would match her move for move, and when they were not touching each other physically, they were touching nonetheless.
He would be more attractive than ever with his face flushed from exertion and his hair curling from the humidity as he worked up a sweat. Doing it for hour after hour until she was thoroughly tired but very happy, knowing that her very tiredness, and presumably his, would act against the desire to spend a lot more time with him after they left the dancing floor.
But she knew, she imagined, that this exertion, once she had recovered and rested, would double back on her in the form of a great emptiness at breakfast the next morning, and a hunger of another sort that would be less easy to assuage -- at least without David.
That weekend, she drove back to the farm in central Pennsylvania. The snow had finally been cleared away enough (half by the sun, rather than the snowplows) for her to make it in only a half-hour longer than a good-weather time. Ginny missed her family, and that gave her a sort of melancholy even while she was with them. She was not at all convinced by Sunday night that anything was going right for her, that her dreams would not stay all in her mind.
The following Monday, Ginny was eating lunch at the counter in a diner a block from where she worked when David walked in. He sat behind her in such a way that she could watch him in the mirror behind the counter, and that he could see her as well. It seemed to her, though of course it could just have been coincidence, that he did watch her from both back and front. But in the nature of things, with the distance between them, she could not be certain. And in any case, he did not stare at her. Just glanced frequently.
On the other hand, she did stare, as much as she dared. Her lunch-hour was almost over when he walked in, regrettably, so she had to leave.
That night as Ginny tried to read, her thoughts turned to David once again. She looked around her apartment and wondered what the place he lived would look like. Did he still live with his parents? It seemed unlikely, if only because she wanted him to be independent enough to marry. He must live in an apartment; he was of the right age for that. But she could not picture what it would be like. She did not even know where he lived, just the direction that he took from downtown to get there.
If she could not imagine his apartment, then she could not imagine being in his apartment, so she had to imagine having him in hers. She imagined him returning here with her after a movie or a dance or a lecture of some sort, having coffee on her couch, and kissing her gently and then more aggressively.
Ginny imagined him holding her body to his, then holding her face while his tongue darted into her mouth before returning for a long visit. She would draw back after a while to catch her breath, with a strong light in her eyes and reflected in his. She would draw him back to her mouth as her body awakened, and after a while David would gently open her blouse and place his hand on the bare skin of her chest.
Soon, he would have moved his hand down and exposed one breast to his fingers and the light and his lips. Ginny would arch her back towards him and feel a strong desire running through her. As that feeling ran higher in both their bodies, they would draw apart, and he would prepare to leave before they went too far.
And here the vision grew unclear, because she was not sure if she wanted it to end that way.
She shook herself and went back to reading, but did not get much further. The echoes of her reverie stayed with her until it was time to go to bed. No, somewhat later than that.
On Friday, Ginny stayed downtown after work to eat an early and quick dinner at an Italian restaurant, then went home for a fast change into something prettier and back to the center city for the symphony concert that night.
She had been absorbing the music and drifting to it for a time when the intermission caught her by surprise, half dozing. As she returned she looked ahead down the aisle and saw David. When he recognized her face, he nodded and smiled. She began to worry.
When she had seen him before, it had been at the end of the show, and while she had not seen a woman with him then, that woman might have gone to retrieve her coat at that moment. And it was very possible that he was not alone here; his girlfriend (probably live-in girlfriend, she suddenly thought) might still be in the ladies' room and about to return.
So for the next ten minutes Ginny almost ignored the concert while she stared at the empty seat next to David, until it was filled -- by a middle-aged woman who talked intently to the middle-aged man on her other side. Then Ginny began to drift with the music again, with thoughts of a somewhat different and more sensual kind.
That sensuality stayed with her as she prepared for bed that night, since she selected a filmy negligée which she had bought on impulse when she first moved to the city but only worn once since. She normally preferred more practical nightwear, though she had a few times slept nude when she first got the waterbed. That had felt very good, though getting in and out of it was chilly.
That would probably be true tonight too, but she wanted the fabric next to her somehow. As she stood at the full-length mirror in her bedroom for a moment, she wondered if she would ever get to model the intimate clothing for David.
And that thought returned again as she got under the covers. Here was the one point that she had been reluctant to go over in her mind, because it was so dangerous. How would she feel about, in one sense at least, becoming a woman? Was she really ready to sleep with a man and give him her body and accept his? Did she want to have a man with her forever?
Oddly, perversely, the last answer was easier, though it included the other two.
Ginny began to fantasize about what it would be like as she drifted off to sleep, halfway between one sort of dream and another. She felt that she really should imagine David in a hotel room with her, carefully taking from her and hanging up an ornate wedding gown, but it was so much simpler and more natural to picture the two of them in this apartment, standing in this room, David holding her and kissing her and the two of them gradually turning the kiss from pleasure to passion.
He would drag his mouth away from hers, kissing first one satiny cheek, then the other. Then her eyelids. Then the hair at her temples.
His lips would linger at her earlobe, her throat. When his tongue created a hot wet swath along the length of her neck, she would moan softly, thrust her fingers into his hair and urge his mouth back to hers.
They would exchange swift words whose details would be swiftly forgotten but whose meaning would always be remembered, words of love and wonder and passion and need.
Then David would kiss her again, in a raw and powerful way that would shake her to the core, a core that wept for him. Her knees would weaken and she would fall if not for the grasp of his arms.
He would take down the back of the long tight dress she wore until she stood only in panties, because she had chosen to wear a dress that would not need upper support and would make things easier for David, if they got that far this night. He would hold her again and her hands would open her shirt as his mouth sought hers once more.
At his gentle urging, she would drop her white panties to the floor, and he would carry her the five steps to her bed and lay her down. He would stand beside the bed for a moment, looking at her, and she would lie on her back, gazing up at him with a combination of anticipation, trust and something else.
Fear? No. Not fear. Nor apprehension. But something very close.
He would sit beside her. His mouth would brush hers, at first lightly, as if seeking to reassure. Then deeper, to complete the seduction.
Her hands would slide inside his open shirt, pressing against his chest, skimming over the planes of muscled flesh. Putting aside her fears that David would find her lovemaking skills disappointing, she would kiss him on the chest.
And then he would almost force her back and his mouth would be on one breast. His fingers would caress, his mouth roam. He would kiss her breasts, her nipples. His lips would spark along her collarbone, her ribcage.
When David would place his palm against Ginny's mound, the heat inside her would be so great she could feel the flesh melting. And indeed there would be a flood of moisture. Her hips would rise involuntarily, seeking more of this moment, seeking relief.
She would murmur a ragged protest when he would release her and leave the bed to take off his own clothes. He would reveal his broad shoulders and sinewy arms, and his chest, dusted lightly with hair, would gleam in the light.
Her eyes would follow that arrow of hair down, and see his manhood stir with arousal, growing as she watched and he saw her do so.
He would return to the bed and pull her to him. She would cling to him, submitting joyously to whatever he asked, allowing him to take her wherever he would. She would rejoice in the touch of David's fingers at the nest of curls where her thighs met, the tug of his teeth on a nipple, the strength of his long legs as they tangled with hers.
When he could take little more and she was already drifting on a cloud of sensation, he would shift to lie on top of her, careful not to crush her. His lips would touch hers in almost a benediction as he reached between their bodies and stroked her clitoris until dampness flowed over his fingers. He would take his shaft in his hand and rub it against the nub of flesh.
"I don't want to hurt you," he would say.
Her hands would slow their journeys up and down his back. The tension inside her would build as he ever so gently slipped inside her. Just barely, but enough to send her senses soaring.
"That could never happen," she would reply.
When he slowly wihdrew, she would moan, from deep in her throat.
And then he was back, entering her by inches, pleasuring her beyond words. Her hands would frame his face. He would lower his head, touching his lips to hers as he withdrew, and then returned, repeating the tiny strokes until every pore in her body was screaming for release. It would be torment and paradise at once.
His movements, designed to coax her to orgasm, would arouse him also beyond his capacity, and his body would take over his mind as he surged the rest of the way into her.
There would be a pain as he entered her, she felt, first sharp, then sweet. Grabbing onto her hips, he would hold himself absolutely rigid, allowing her time to adjust to the unfamiliar invasion of her body and for him to gather his self-control back from its fragments.
And then he would begin to move, withdrawing almost all the way, then returning even deeper. Her legs would wrap around his lean hips, begging him with words and motions not to stop now.
They would prolong the experience such as they could, going higher and higher, until they crested and drifted back to earth with their hands clasped and lips touching.
And so Ginny slept, alone only in the trivial reality.
On Saturday, January 22nd, Ginny went downtown for no good reason but wanting to get out and walk around. She bundled up in a heavy coat because she intended to spend much of the day outdoors. Noon found her near where she worked, and she entered the diner where she had seen David once. This time she was in a booth, since the Saturday lunch traffic was much lighter, and she saw David as he walked down the street and turned in.
This time he sat at the counter and both of them (it seemed to her) prolonged their meals to watch each other. Maybe she was deluding herself about her interest, but she could hope. She finished first by a little, since her order had just been taken when she first saw him.
She paused down the block, knowing that his plate had been taken away before she left, and saw him emerge. She wondered what the police would think of a complaint that a woman was following a handsome man around, but that was what she did now.
David went only a few blocks before going into a second-hand bookstore. Ginny entered a little behind him, but circled around so that she was waiting at the first corner he turned inside. That way she had evidently entered before him and was only a little further along. She led him around, finding herself really interested as much in the books as in glimpses of David, but also finding that the really interesting books were too expensive for her. As for that really interesting man, he was within reach, but she was too chicken. A price of a different sort, perhaps. A pearl of great price, she was beginning to think.
But she found something she wanted and could afford, and was just coming out of the shop after an hour and wondering if this adventure was going to have to end when Ginny saw Janine coming down the street.
"Is that David?" Janine asked, pointing at the man just stepping to the sales counter.
"Yes," Ginny said truthfully but nervously.
"He looks like a good catch!" And Janine hurried on.
Ginny was very thankful for the shortness of the conversation, needless to say.
She walked into the park which lay between the building where she worked and the bus stop where David would be going home from. He *might* be heading this way now -- though she sort of hoped that she would see more of him today. She stopped to admire the pattern of icicles hanging from the trees at one point, and, yes, he was coming this way! But he stopped also, a little way from her, and also looked at the crystals hanging down.
She glanced at David from time to time, and she thought that he was looking at her. But the time spent standing still had almost gotten absurd when he walked by her and went to the street where his bus stop was.
But he did not go to the stop. He went to the window of the department store near it. Ginny followed him and also looked at the display, She looked some at the merchandise, some at his reflection. And the way he stood, his attention may have been similarly divided. But then he turned at looked directly and openly at her for several seconds before walking into the store.
He stopped at the jewelry counter, within sight of the door she now stood at. He quickly selected a woman's brooch, inexpensive but very nice. Ginny though that it was one she would like to own, that it would go well with the coat she had on now -- but she was certain that he was buying it for his girlfriend, that live-in girlfriend whom she was getting to hate without ever meeting her -- or being sure she existed. He seemed to be hesitant about buying it, however, and stood a while deliberating. When the salesclerk rang it up, Ginny walked on, her emotions mixed.
She wandered through the shopping district for another hour, only thinking about David every few minutes. Then she saw him walking down the street toward her. The attraction and disappointment combined made her unwilling to pass him, so she turned into a coffee-shop between them. It was, after all, four o'clock now, and her legs were tired.
When she sat, David walked in. But instead of sitting, he walked to the men's room. And when he returned, the cashier greeted him; evidently they knew each other from past years somewhere.
And then Carla and her boyfriend Robert walked by on their way out. Carla waved him on, saying she would be there in a moment. She dropped into the booth facing Ginny and said: "So, that's David, talking to the cashier. He looks like your deion."
Ginny nervously but silently nodded.
"I'd love to meet him, but we have to get going. Meet him soon, I hope!"
And Carla breezed on.
Then David turned from the cashier, who was busy with customers, now, and walked towards her. And he said:
"I hope that I don't offend you by being so forward, but I seem to be running into you everywhere lately, and I hate to defy fate, if that is what it is.
"You are not wearing a wedding ring, or an engagement ring, so I hoped that you are unattached..."
Ginny nodded in shock.
"And to compensate for disturbing you, and maybe bribe you into putting up with me, I would like to give you something that I thought would complement your coat." And he took out the box from the department store and showed her the brooch.
"My name is David."
"M-Mine is Ginny."
And it turned out a lot better than she had dreamed.