Alex’s Story Ch. 02


He sat in front of her with a small smile on his face, teasing her stomach lightly with the thin strap of leather he held. She was standing, eyes closed beneath a blindfold, with headphones filling her ears with classical music. Every few minutes, he would lean forward and brush it across her chest, down her stomach, over her hips, and then slide it away, leaving her shaking in anticipation. It was a test of her resolve, her determination, and her desire to please him, no matter what the cost to her personal pleasure and needs.

It mattered little to her, for her mind was wandering back to the days when things all began. It all started that first moment on the subway, and went from there…

It had been four hours since she’d left the coffee shop and told him goodbye, but her eyes wouldn’t close and her brain refused to shut down. She’d learned so much from their hours-long conversation, but it wasn’t enough. She wanted more, needed to know more. Instead of satisfying her curiosity, the time they had shared only multiplied it.

A smile passed over her face as she relished the thought that she was not the only one to feel that way. Evidently, he had reasons of his own for wanting to see her again. He was to call her in the morning; that is, if she ever managed to fall asleep.

She lay in bed, remembering their conversation and his gentlemanly behavior. Smiling to herself, she replayed the last few minutes of their time together. She hadn’t known what to expect when the evening eventually came to a close. But when he took her hand in his and kissed her fingertips lightly, her knees went weak and only her reflexes kept her standing. He had laughed softly, and his words still seemed cryptic. “I only take what is freely given.”

Curling up against her pillow, she closed her eyes and willed herself to sleep. Her last thoughts as she drifted off were of the strange man she’d met, and the fact that she somehow still didn’t know his name.

He’d called the next morning, as he said he would, proving to Alex that not *all* men abide by the three day rule when calling after a date. The conversation was brief, and it sounded like he was in the middle of work, but she thought that she heard in his voice how pleased he was to speak with her. They made plans to meet that night, and Alex was especially excited because she was going to meet one of his good friends.

Before the call ended, she had asked in an embarrassed voice, “I feel silly for not thinking to ask before now, but what is your name?”

Chuckling, he’d replied, “Robert. My name is Robert Thompson. I was beginning to wonder if you were ever going to ask.”

They were both smiling when they finished the call, with plans to meet Kartal Olgun Escort at seven. Only after she’d gotten ready to go to the university, and was walking out the door, did Alex remember that she’d already made plans for the night with Emily. She spent the subway ride attempting to explain to her friend over the telephone why she was going to miss going to the theatre.

“What do you mean you can’t go, Alex?”

Alex sighed and tried to think of a proper explanation. “Em, there’s a man I met who I’m supposed to meet tonight. When I accepted, I wasn’t even thinking about the fact that you and I had made plans to go see the show.”

“I don’t understand. You express no interest in men in how long? And tonight, the night of the one play that I’ve ever actually wanted to see, you flake on me?” She was silent for a moment, and then continued. “Is this the same man you ditched me the other day to meet?”

Her friend’s harsh words caused Alex to wince, and she knew she’d never survive the guilt if she didn’t go to the show with Em. “I’m sorry, Em. I’ll call him and tell him I won’t be able to make it tonight.” To herself, she thought, how am I going to explain this?

Stepping off of the subway car and walking up the street to the university, she dialed the number he’d given her for his office. A woman with a brusque voice answered the phone. “Parker, Stevens and Thompson, this is Christina. How may I direct your call?”

“Robert Thompson, please.”

“He’s in a meeting. Is there something that I can help you with instead?” To Alex’s ears, the offer was as fake as a box of platinum hair color.

“I’d just like to leave a message, please.” Alex forced herself to remain polite despite the woman’s insincere tones. The connection was quiet for a moment, and Alex waited patiently. ‘The blonde’, as Alex had labeled her mentally, interrupted the silence with a harsh “Well??”

“You did have a message, correct?”

Swallowing a rude response, Alex replied. “Yes thanks, I do. I just wanted to make sure that you were ready to take it down.” To herself, Alex thought that even grandmother couldn’t find fault with those manners.

The woman was silent, and Alex took that as her cue. “Please tell Robert to call Alex St—”

“Miss Stone??” The woman’s voice had risen at least an octave.

Alex couldn’t help but be curious about the blonde’s sudden change of inflection. “Yes, this is Alex Stone. Alex is fine; there’s no need to worry with ‘Miss Stone’.”

“My sincere apologies for making you wait, Alex. If I’d known, I would have patched you right through.” Mind whirling, Alex wondered what Robert had said to this woman to make her respond in such a bizarre fashion. Kartal Sarışın Escort

“It’s no trouble, and there’s no need for you to get him out of a meeting. If you’d just tell him that I called, I’d appreciate it.”

A note of relief was evident in the woman’s voice. “Thank you, Alex. Does he have the number?”

“He does, yes. And thank you, for your help. I’m sure you have to deal with more phone calls in one day that I could ever imagine.”

They both ended the call smiling; Alex, pleased to discover that the woman wasn’t in fact evil, and Christina, pleased that she wouldn’t be in trouble with her boss.

Alex made it through her morning by forcing herself to concentrate on the work heaped on her desk. By midmorning, she had slipped off her shoes and curled her legs up under herself, reading a proposal one of the other graduate assistants had given her first thing that morning. When the Dean popped his head into her little office, she jumped in surprise.

Laughing heartily in response, he seated himself on one of the two bright red velvet chairs seated in front of her desk and looked around her eclectic little office. “Alex, I’m certain I’m not the first to tell you that you have the most bizarrely exceptional taste in furniture.”

She grinned, placed the proposal in its folder on her desk, and set it aside. “Why, thank you, Mr. Lucas. I’ll have to bring you a picture of my living room one day. But somehow I doubt that you found your way down here into my little corner of the university to discuss interior design.”

His face evened out, light banter replaced by a professional smile. “I know that we told you we would be able to give you time in making your decision about the semester abroad program.” He cleared his throat and laughed. “I’m just here to see if there’s anything we can do to help you in making your choice.”

A brief, sparkling smile flashed over her face. “Now, Mr. Lucas, do you really want me to take the surprise away from you?”

He laughed, and she continued, smiling. “All joking aside, I will call you with my decision within the week.”

Muffled ringing came from her purse and the Dean smiled. “I’ll let you get that, Alex, and I look forward to hearing from you.”

Still smiling from the pleasant encounter, she answered the phone call cheerfully.

Robert’s voice on the other end made her stomach flip. “Hello Alexandra. Christina gave me a note that you had called earlier. Is everything alright?”

She blushed despite herself, and her words tumbled out in a rush. “Everything’s okay. I made a bit of a scheduling flub for this evening. When I told you I was available, I neglected that I already had plans with my Kartal Şişman Escort friend Emily to go and see a play tonight. I’m so sorry. I wasn’t thinking. I hope you’re not upset, and I—”

He interrupted her rambling soothingly. “Little one, it’s okay. I’m not angry with you.”

The thoughts that had flooded her brain eased back gently, and she took a slow breath of relief. She refused to allow herself the time to wonder why his simple words influenced her the way that they did.

Robert continued, and she heard the smile in his voice. “I’d prefer it from now on if you would check your schedule before making any plans with me. Such a thing happening once or twice is understandable. More often, much less understandable.”

Despite herself, Alex couldn’t help but wonder if she was being gently chastised. Even more so, she was at a loss for why it didn’t bother her. Instead of expressing the disdain or indignation that would usually spring from something along the lines of what he had just said, she responded instead with a quiet, sincere “Thank you, Robert.”

She was forced back to the present by the sharp tap of leather against her thigh.

“Alexandra, I’d prefer to think that I’m wrong in this instance, but you’re not paying attention, are you?” Immediately, Alex knew that things had suddenly become unpleasant. He hadn’t called her Alexandra in ages. And the tone of his voice. It made her stomach clench. Calm, cold, empty of emotion.

She hesitated, and felt the leather hit sharply, higher on her thigh. “I’m sorry, Sir.”

He was quiet, and as the time lengthened, her worry worsened.

“Explain to me what was more important than focusing on our time together.”

She felt him untie the blindfold, and she blinked, focusing her eyes.

“I don’t want you to tell me what you think I want to hear. I want to know what you’re thinking, what you’re really thinking. What you’ve been hiding behind that pretty face of yours. Tell me, Alex. There are no choices this time.”

She opened her mouth, but no words came out. Thoughts flowed in rapid succession through her brain as she tried to shape them into words.

“Stop trying to make it sound nice, Alex. Just tell me.”

He watched her struggle for words, and after a few minutes, he broke the silence.

“Go upstairs, Alex. Dress. And wait.”

She turned on her heel to go upstairs, but his voice stopped her. “Alex?”

“While you wait, ask yourself what just happened. Ask yourself why you’re keeping this from me. Why it’s a struggle to be honest with me.”

“Yes, Sir.” She whispered.

“And Alex…one more thing.”

She raised her eyes from the floor to his face and listened. In a gentle voice, he continued. “Remember the three things I required of you when you first came here to be with me. And remember that they haven’t changed.”

She squeezed her eyes shut tight to keep hot tears from sliding down her cheeks, because she knew of what he spoke. Honesty. Openness. Trust.

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