Creepy Stalker Guy or Knight in Shining Armor?
I am not sure which I am more grateful for, the weekend, or that I managed not to run into Jake since that fateful night. Certainly, I didn’t have the chance to run into too many people working past midnight daily and waking up at the crack of dawn.
The long hours and buildup of stress are starting to hit me. I am afraid that I have bitten off more than I can chew on this job. Jessica has full faith in me, now I just need some of that faith to rub off onto me. I can only handle so much stress if I can’t pound or beat it out of me; running or kickboxing keeps me sane. None have been options for stress relief this past week, I am so excited to finally get to run this morning.
The Promenade, with its amazing skyline view of lower Manhattan, makes the run go fast and easy. At this hour on a Saturday, most people are attempting “the walk of shame” or are still asleep, no other runners out so I get quite a berth to pound out my stress.
Towards the end of my last lap I sense footsteps, someone is going stride for stride very close to me. The runner is in my peripheral blind spot so I would have to turn to see who the runner is. Instead, I choose to pick up my pace. Not easy after running an hour already. As I notice that I can not shake the person I stop near the entrance to the Promenade off Montague street, hoping by now others are out and about on the Promenade. I don’t want to run home in case he follows me, don’t need him to know where I live.
Before moving here my paranoid mother made me take self-defense classes. For once I am glad I listened to my mother. Positioning myself to stop yet be ready to strike if I need to do so, I pretend to stretch along the backside of the benches, moving me away from the path. A little ahead the runner stops as well. I should have let my mother buy me the pepper spray as well.
As I stretch I do ease a bit as a few other runners head towards me. With more bodies around I feel safer.
“So, do you run here often?” A male voice asks.
Not offering this stranger the opportunity to step into my personal space I quickly offer, “my boyfriend prefers running here so I usually meet him here.”
“That’s funny, I don’t see anyone headed here to run with you.”
My danger alarm starts to siren in my head. I don’t want to completely blow this guy off in case he is a psycho, but I do need to find a way out of this exchange. I don’t even have my cell to pretend to take a call or better yet, to call 911 if it gets too scary. I need to start living smarter in this city, this is not the suburban Northern California neighborhood I moved from.
In the past, I ran with Benji on campus or Tommy around this neighborhood in Sausalito so I am not used to being so vulnerable. Time to trade in kickboxing with some real ring work and learn how to box. Trying to keep my cool even though my heart is beating in my throat, thank goodness my breathing is already heavy from the run because the stranger danger alert has me breathing rather rapidly.
“Sweetheart!” Shouts a familiar voice in my direction.
I look up to see Jake walking towards me with two coffees and a brown bag.
“Hey,” I manage nervously.
“Sorry I am so late. I wanted to stop off and get your iced coffee and protein for our post-run date.”
The stranger isn’t fully convinced yet so he just stands there staring at me. It might be because I am standing there with my mouth open in shock. Such is life, the one man that I am trying to avoid is the one that comes to my rescue.
“Sweetheart, are you okay?”
I manage a nod. Then in one swift sweep me off my feet move, Jake takes me in his arm and kisses me passionately. All without spilling a drop of coffee.
This man is even sexier than I remember. His eyes, a lovely shade of green this morning, dance with self-satisfaction for his Good Samaritan actions. His brown wavy hair worn too long for New York City standards, more California surfer boy. He is also taller than I remember. Although that might just be the difference in my height, sneakers versus three-inch heels.
My stranger disappears in the midst of it all, I am afraid I am no longer paying him any mind. Although with Jake here in front of me I am torn between being grateful and freaked out, was the stranger the creepy stalker guy, or is Jake?
“What are you doing here?”
“Your welcome is more along the lines of what I am looking for.”
“I don’t mean to be presumptuous, but are you stalking me?” Jake responds with a deep in the gut laugh.
“Chivalry will surely die in the hands of feminists like yourself. Just so you know, you ran past me when you left your building. I called out after you but you were tuning out the world,” emphasizing his statement by pulling at my earbuds.
“So I figured I would get coffee and breakfast sandwiches for us and strategically place myself to run into you, no pun intended. It is a casual bumping into and not an official date so we don’t break any one-night-stand rules. Then I saw creepy guy, now THAT is stalker material, bothering you and I could never abandon a damsel in distress.” Jake winks and hands me my coffee and sandwich.
“Sorry, weird morning. Thank you for the flowers, by-the-way. Creepy Stalker Guy, how did you figure out where I work.”
“007 never shares his agency secrets.”
“Well, so 007 knows in the future, I hate surprises, and when I don’t want someone to know anything about me, I prefer he doesn’t go snooping around.”
“Don’t get ahead of yourself, I didn’t have to snoop, I only paid close attention. Look, I know you said we can’t see each other again but I figure I would try to persuade you regardless. I am sorry if sending you the flowers scared you at all. I have never known any woman not to be excited to receive flowers as a thank you.” He is correct there.
All the women in the office were swooning over his courtliness.
“And to warn you, in advance, I have done a lot of stupid things in the past, I am not going to be dumb enough to let go of you without a fight, so flowers are just the beginning if you continue to say no to a date with me.”
Hearing those words trigger a flood gate of tears, or maybe it’s the strange feeling of fear and vulnerability this morning introduced me to. No matter, what kind of girl insults a guy one minute and then cries uncontrollably into his chest the next. This should make him rethink his pursuit but instead, Jake wraps me up in his arms and lets me cry.
“Oh God! I am so sorry. This is so embarrassing.”
Jake hands me a napkin from our brown bag breakfast. I have to say that I pegged him for a handkerchief kind of guy.
“It’s not good to keep things bottled up so tight. My therapist tells me all the time that one should cry when you feel like it. It’s not good to suppress feelings.”
Now I am laughing hysterically.
“Are you laughing at me?”
“You have to hear yourself to appreciate my laughter. Words of wisdom from your therapist is the last thing I expect out of your mouth.” I am trying not to laugh but I seem to have no control over my emotions at this point.
“Well, there is a new trend of French-Irish Cowboy Artists taking over the world. We are creative and emotional and ready to rescue any damsel in distress.” Now we are both laughing.
I sit on the bench behind me so that I can breathe and get my bearings.
“Sorry, the last several months have been so intense that it has required me to move on autopilot, not allowing myself to feel. No one in my entire life has made me feel so important and when you told me you were going to fight for me, it all hit me like a ton of bricks, I wanted Tommy to fight for me.”
Jake sits patiently beside me as I babble on, only pausing to take a few deep breaths to calm my erratic outbursts. He quietly hands me my coffee and breakfast sandwich. We eat peacefully together. Welcoming silence. This is too nice. I am so fucked.
After we finish our sandwiches Jake tosses our brown bag in the trash, “three-pointer! And the crowd roars.” Jake teases and smiles at me.
Then he places his arm around me so we could sit and snuggle, enjoying our coffee and the movement of the Staten Island Ferry before us.
This is all so surreal. It finally hits me: I am living in New York, I will never be loved by Tommy the same way again and I am about to lose myself in Jake. I hope his depth is as warm and cozy as it is at this moment and not filled with darkness. For it feels like I am falling deeper into his abyss.
Just then, as if he read my mind, “I started seeing a therapist a year ago. Valentina, my past isn’t pretty but I am working hard to right my wrongs. Please let me show you the man I have become. Have dinner with me tonight. Get to know each other maybe, no more impersonal questions and answering a question with another question.”
All I could do is nod. Anything else would be too much of a commitment. One day at a time with this one. Right now he is just a little too good to be true.
Tonight I give into Jake’s persistence. At eight o’clock sharp my intercom buzzes. He is punctual. I buzz him in and prop open the door so I can finish getting ready.
“There is champagne in the fridge if you want to pop it open and pour us a couple of flutes,” I scream from the bathroom as I hear him enter the front door.
The sound of champagne popping always sets my mood. It was Mark Twain who said, “too much of anything is bad, too much champagne is just right.” Jake hands me my flute as I emerge from the bathroom.
“Cheers!” I offer in delight. The sound of the crystal glasses meeting is musical. I take a sip and exhale. Allowing stress to disappear with each bubble. “Do you mind zipping me?”
I turn and pull my hair up so that Jake could access my zipper. Instead of zipping me though he starts kissing the back of my neck. I moan in approval for what is about to come. As his kisses tickle my neck his hands wrap me through the opening of my dress to grab a hold of my breasts. Instantly I am wet and pulsing for him. My body still holding onto the memory of the last time his hands caressed it.
I down my champagne and place the glass onto the counter along with my palms to steady myself. I can feel chills down to my knees, now I know what it’s like to have a man make me weak in the knees. His tongue plays in my ears as his fingers massage my breasts. Giving my nipples just the right amount of teasing and flickering. Making them perky and hard. With one hand he pulls up my dress and begins to massage around and under my black lace thong. Tugging at the thong so it runs along my clit. Sending my juice flowing down my leg. His hands forcing my legs apart.
I can’t help but moan as his fingers move in and out of my pussy. Playing with her wetness. My breasts full and aching for his lips. On cue he moves from my neck to my breasts, teasing them with suckling and nibbles. Then he kneels behind me, spreading my legs further apart. His free hand now massaging and slapping at my ass as three fingers pleasure my pussy. His five o’clock shadow scratches at my thighs as he eases his face between my legs. The feel of his tongue rapidly licking and delving at my clit sends my body shaking. His bass-filled moan vibrates my pelvis as I ride his face.
He takes such great pleasure in siphoning my libation, it only encourages my wetness. As his thumb begins to tease my ass, I can’t help but come. He drinks joyously from my cup sharing with me the sounds of his pleasure. And in one swift move, he was deep inside me, lifting me off the floor, my legs straddled back and around his hips.
Supporting myself against my counter I allow him to carry my weight onto him. Pushing himself deeper and deeper into me. Screaming his name and begging him to fuck me harder, he obeys. Slapping at my ass as he rides me hard deep and fast. We thrust into a perfect rhythm with one another. Enjoying the percussion of my ass landing on his hips. His hands steering my hips as he is lifting me onto him harder and faster. The feel of his cock pounding deeper and deeper, harder, and harder until we both finally come.
He wraps his arms across my chest and burrows his head into my neck as his cock continues to pulse inside me. Releasing all of him into me. I slowly untangle my legs from his hips and try to stand. My legs shiver from exhaustion. I didn’t realize I was gripping him so tightly with my thighs.
Realizing as he pulls out that he managed to undress himself and put on a condom without me noticing. That’s skills. Funny how that little gesture to protect us both made me smile.
“What’s the smile for?”
“No glove, no love!” I giggle. “It’s my motto. Thank you for wearing your glove.”
“Thank you for the yummy appetizer.”
“Well, I will need a few more minutes. it looks like I will have to choose a different outfit for dinner.”
“Oh, this is worth the wardrobe change.”
This time I choose a slip dress, no need for zipping. As is we are cutting it close to our reservation at the Gramercy Tavern, a reservation not easy to get and one you can not be late to. Another try at zipping a dress will run us late for sure.
Once seated with menus in hand, Jake wastes no time in getting to the non-impersonal questions.
“So Valentina, is there a reason you are so instant on a one-night-stand?”
I know that question has been on the tip of his tongue. It takes quite a man to be so vulnerable. Most men don’t admit to wanting to see me again, they play as if the one-night-stand is their preferred outcome as well.
“Well, as you know, I left a fiancé back in San Francisco. Mainly because right before giving myself to him, I realized that I didn’t know the version of myself that I was offering. At a moment when my future should have been so clear, the San Francisco fog settled into my brain.” I breathe,
Mikey was right, this honesty does feel freer. The mysterious vixen I have been playing is admittedly just a role. I am better at open and honest.
“And since I still have no clue as to who I am, I steer clear of distractions from myself. I may not know what I want, but I do know what I don’t want. I don’t want to lose myself again, before ever finding myself. I kind of owe it to Tommy as much as myself to take the time I need to figure it all out.”
“I get that. A year ago I would have been grateful for our amazing night and kept walking. Now that I DO know what I want, I am not letting you go until I have exhausted all my efforts. And I am not good at losing.” Sealing the warning with a wink and a smile.
There is still a very mysterious and dangerous note behind his comment that I can not shake. Just like when he didn’t answer my question about running drugs. I am glad he has a past, takes the “too good to be true” aspect off the table. But what kind of past are we talking about and how far away from his past has he come?
“Val, you have watched too much television and am too untrusting.” Val, stop talking to yourself and join the date.
“So, tell me more about yourself, since it’s your idea that we keep us an open book. You mentioned that you are not the proudest of your past behavior, do share.” I would make an awful detective, nothing suave about that approach.
“In time I will share with you some of my stories, it’s too early, I don’t want you to judge me by my past.”
“You don’t have to worry about that with me darling, I grew up Catholic, I know what judgment does to us, so I make it a rule not to judge.”
“There is always what we want to believe in ourselves and there is who we are, judgment isn’t something you just decide to stop, it’s innate in us.”
Oh great, now I am surrounded by enlightened men, first Nate and now Jake, who next? Tommy?
“Just as my gut tells me that this, you and me, are just getting started. And even though the chance of my heart being broken is very high, I am willing to take the risk. Thanks to the work that I’ve done, I have learned not to spend too much time second-guessing or living in fear of getting hurt, we lose out on so much. And between our first encounter and our latest, you are already worth my future tears.”
Listening to Jake, I think of Benji. From the moment Benji entered my world he has begged me to see the world from his eyes. I guess Benji was enlighted without a therapist. Because all this talk about seizing the moment and loving without fear was one thing he kept trying to drill into my heart.
The more Jake talks, the better he makes me feel about my quirks, like my obsessiveness to shower away my sins after sex is innate in me. At that moment, I realize that I did not need to wash away our last encounter. Maybe because we didn’t have the time, mostly because I enjoy the scent of us after sex and am loving every wisp of it right now as we dine.
“Oh, I forgot, you are one of the sensitive types that can cry,” I tease, attempting to lighten the mood.
“So you know, all this talk about being a better person only works against you. Remember, I am trying to focus on me and you would be a distraction. So I suggest that we go to our common love for 80’s music and MTV.”
With this detour of our conversation, we manage to laugh through a gorgeous meal. We manage to keep the mystery between us by avoiding our past so we can carve space for our future.
“So, how is it that you are so amazing in bed?
“Oh, and that’s not a personal question?” I tease.
“Well, since I have personally experienced your brilliance several times now, I figure it’s now public knowledge.”
“The Devo video, Whip It, tapped into interesting sides of me and made me curious about what sex feels like. Now I think it’s just an addiction, and as any good addict, I enjoy my drug of choice to it’s fullest.”
“Well, I think I am becoming addicted to you.”
“You know, lonely is over-rated.”
“Funny, I thought that when I first moved here, knowing that my bed will be empty has not been the best feeling.”
“So why punish yourself.”
“It’s not a punishment, it’s protection, my picker is broken. I keep an empty left side of the bed because it means that I am not picking the wrong men.”
And the fact that other than Tommy, I have never let any man stay the night.
“Well, good thing you didn’t pick me, as I recall, I stalked you.”
We both enjoy the laughter at my expense, yes, I didn’t pick him but doesn’t mean my radar is off. Plus, I can’t afford to lose myself again so soon, and although I have had personal growth in so many ways, my ability to lose myself in the lives of others is still very elementary.
Jake’s turn not to push the issue, “so, what is your favorite thing to do in this great city?”
“I love to spend my free time at museums.”
“Don’t be smart! I don’t just browse museums, silly goose, I like to draw in them.”
“I am going to put a pin in that silly goose part and address that later. With that being said, aren’t you meant to enjoy the art that’s already there and not try to trump them all with your version?”
“Now you went from being smart to being an ass.”
“And you completely missed the compliment in that conversation.”
“Why do you assume that my creation would trump the original?”
“Because you are a perfectionist.” Again, observant son of a gun.
“For your information, I have just started drawing again and am a bit rusty. Doing copy-cat work helps me to practice.”
“I’d love to see your work.”
“That falls into the too personal pile.”
“So back to public knowledge then?” Jake smiles and winks at me.
“So how did you figure out where I work?”
“I told you, James Bond never reveals his secrets.”
“Does this mean that just like Bond, you have amazing gadgets?”
“More like amazing toys.” He winks. He is good, I give him that.
“Well, if I tell you I will have to kill you with torturous pleasure.”
“You like toys?”
“I love creative play.”
“So I will have to prove to you that you are not the only resident artist in Brooklyn Heights.”
“Maybe we should play at your place then next time.”
“Sadly all my great toys are in Paris, so you will have to come to enjoy them there.”
“Don’t get any funny ideas.”
“I warned you, I will fight for you will all my guns blazing.”
“Well, I am from San Francisco and we are against the NRA.”
“Trust me, love, you will enjoy my stash of pleasureful artillery.”
“All jokes aside, how did you figure all that stuff about me? I kind of would feel better if I knew.”
“Photographic memory and great attention to details.” Jake taps his head for emphasis.
“The peonies were easy because they fill your room. Then there are all the Conde Nast Traveler magazines on your dining room table. Yet your bathroom has a mini library, cute by the way.”
One time when we were playing Pictionary, Jodi drew and toilet and Wynn guessed the word library. Explaining to me the pop culture reference. So I stole the reference and filled my bathroom with an array of pop culture reading. Which adds variety to my morning bathroom ritual.
“That’s how I figured out where you work.”
“Well aren’t we clever?”
“How did you figure my last name?”
“When I left your place after our amazing game of pool,” Again, the wink, which makes me giggle.
“That’s how we should always end a good pool game,” now the kiss that aches for us both to be naked.
“As I was saying, when I left your place that very early morning, there was a piece of junk mail on your doormat the neighbor left, must have gotten in his mail by mistake. I took note of who the mail was addressed to.”
“Ok 007,” I compliment.
“Told you I was the James Bond and not some creepy stalker.”
After an amazing dinner, we rush back to my place. I am so fucked, pun intended. I am becoming addicted to this man. The flow of our conversation and the many wine bottles seem like foreplay. Massaging his crotch with my toes under the table. Watching him enjoy my cleavage and hard nipples, you can’t hide any reaction in a slip dress.
We skip dessert since we can’t wait to feast on one another instead. I think someone even yelled to us “get a room” as we hailed a taxi.
Hours of sex awaits us. Neither of us needs to be up early this time so we play until the sun comes up. Testing every surface area of my apartment. Trying as many positions and we even manage to make a few new ones up.
Jake lives up to his promises of being an amazing lover as well as manages to keep up with me through the dawn. No guilt about missing my morning run. I have hit my cardio quota for the month.
“The sun is out,” Jake enlightened me. “Something tells me I should end this night perfectly by leaving you to sleep.”
“Thank you for the offer. But you are not getting off that easily. I remember a challenge for you to exhaust my pussy. She is still pulsing for you. So get your gorgeous ass back in this bed mister.”
Jake jumps back into bed and we play through what should have been brunch. Then Jake sneaks out as I head for the shower. A truly sinful night to wash away.