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Truisms
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Jennifer Green

Romantic Fiction

15




Truism [troo-iz-uh m] –noun
a self-evident, obvious truth.


Number 1: If after five years you have to ask yourself where a relationship is going, then the answer is nowhere.

It was Monday, and was a slow day at the garage. Mind you Tony wasn’t complaining. He’d worked his socks off the previous week, and especially the weekend just gone. Toyota had a huge national sales drive – TV and press advertising, the lot – and Tony had sold his fair share of Yaris’s, Auris’s and especially the hybrid Prius’s. Remembering, for some bizarre reason, his Latin classes from almost twenty years ago Tony idly wondered to himself if it should be Prii rather than Prius’s.

He was sat, well slouching if the truth were told, in the visitor’s chair at Claire’s desk – she was the franchise’s sales administrator – and she asked him what was making him smile. He shrugged it off with a “nothing really”, and grinned back at her.

“You look nice today.”

“Why thank you, kind sir!”, she responded with a smirk, and wondering if that meant she usually looked a bit rough.

“Not that you don’t always, of course!”

Nice recovery, Claire thought to herself, as he looked across at her. He couldn’t see the blue, pencil knee length skirt below her desk. But he could see the white lambswool “V” neck sweater which showed off her cleavage really nicely. But best of all, she had a long chained necklace with a pendant. He could pretend to look at that and actually be looking at her ample breasts.

She’d say the same back to Tony – that he looked good, but in truth he looked really tired. She’d worked hard as well last week, and she had two teenage boys to keep her busy. There had been little time since the divorce five years ago for anything other than work, the home and the boys. But Tony, well although in a long term relationship had little else to keep him busy.

“So what’s the matter with you, you look a bit knackered?”

Tony said it was because it had been a pretty crazy week, but Claire knew that wasn’t the whole truth.

“Cheer up, office Christmas Party on Friday. You bringing Steph?

Tony said that it was Steph’s party too, so she wouldn’t be there. And as hers was staff only, he’d be alone. For some reason, Claire was pleased to hear that. When Claire said that that was a shame, he looked at her with his dull blue, tired eyes.

“Dunno, Things are a bit weird between us at the moment,” and before Claire could even ask why he went on.

“You know five years ago I was just bowled over by her. She was everything I thought I wanted – good looking (Claire nodded and smiled), good job and good fun. Sex was great in that first year (Claire’s eyebrows went up, but she kept quiet), but I suppose it’s like that for everyone. You know, overcoming the shyness, exploring new things and just doing it every opportunity you get.”

Tony stopped and looked for a moment at his colleague. “You know I asked her to marry me back then?”

Claire was a bit taken aback. She shook her head, a bit unsure if the question had been rhetorical. Tony went on talking about life with Steph. She liked Tony, liked him a lot if she was ever honest enough to admit it to herself. But although they often sat and talked when things were slow, the conversations had never got onto sex, or the inner workings of Tony and Steph’s relationship. Claire had learned a lot in her forty plus years, and certainly knew the signs of someone whose personal relationship was in trouble. If only she’d spotted it in her own husband, maybe he wouldn’t have left her for the younger model he’d chosen.

Claire listened as Tony talked about how his and Steph’s relationship had changed. She smiled and nodded in all the right places, and recognized so much of what he’d been saying. How relationships change after the honeymoon period of the first few months often determines if they survive long term. The worst thing was when the whole relationship becomes a habit – something that is, just because it always has been. After a while it just becomes easier to stay where you are and do what you do rather than take a risk, survive the agony of the breakup of a long term relationship, and start over.

In her own marriage they’d then gone on to commit an even worse crime – having children in the hope that would bring the sparkle back into their lives. Children of course almost always bring a sparkle, but not necessarily into their parents’ relationship. That had been the case with Claire. But that was history now, and she was content with her life. The boys were everything to her, but having a man around would be a nice bonus. Claire recognized that although she was never big into the physical side of their marriage, and that had been a problem, she did miss the physical, touchy-feely side of a relationship. She and John had always looked affectionate to the outside world, and they were – but for some reason they had never really ignited in the bedroom. Like Tony and Steph, sex was great at first – then it just got a bit too routine and frankly, a bit dull – and John obviously thought so too – hence Clare (Clare without an “i”) the new “go faster” model. She knew the breakup was both their faults, she should have tried harder in bed, and not always relied on John to initiate the action. But running a home, running around after two boys and doing a part-time job – she was just too tired. And sexy Saturday or Sunday mornings were a definite no-no with a couple of toddlers around.

“You know you’re really great to talk to.” Tony’s comment brought her full attention back to him. “You’re just like the big sister I never had!”

“Great”, thought Claire, “big sister! Hmph!”
 
“Hmm, but I couldn’t look at my big sister’s tits or at the way my big sister walks in a tight skirt and think what I think!” was the thought that flashed through Tony’s mind.

The smile she gave him hid her thoughts of disappointment at being a big sister. Tony adored that smile, sure she had a few more lines on her face than Steph (why was he comparing her to Steph? Steph was his partner, and Claire was just a mate!). But her brown eyes framed  by wavy auburn hair always seemed to be smiling at him.

They pretty much spent the rest of the day together, going through the previous week’s orders. The chat was friendly and relaxed but steered clear of sex and what had happened to Tony and Steph’s relationship. Occasionally they would make eye contact and smile, and Tony found every opportunity to touch Claire’s arm or hand as they worked together.


Number 2: If someone is a good kisser, then they are also a good lover.

Tony spent much of the rest of the week thinking about the conversation from Monday morning. Where was the relationship going? Was it his fault that things had become stale? Should he be trying harder? The truth was he wasn’t sure he wanted to try harder. Somewhere deep down in his subconscious he was aware that, brilliant as Steph was, she wasn’t who he wanted to spend the rest of his life with. But that thought wasn’t something he wanted to face. They had bought a flat, a home for God’s sake. They had a cat. A DVD collection. No, he and Steph would have kids and settle down and things would be okay.

Friday evening found Tony and Steph putting on their glad rags. She looked great – little black dress, blonde hair, freshly straightened, with those few strands covering her left eye. The necklace he’d blown two months’ commission on for her last birthday complemented the low cut of the dress superbly. Four years ago he’d have grabbed her and they’d have shagged each other senseless before going out. But now, he knew if he tried, she’d just tell him to stop because she was late and had to get ready. So he didn’t even try.

“Ah well, I suppose I may get my leg over later, if we’re both awake and sober enough!” he mused to himself.

He gelled his dark hair and looked in the mirror. Not too bad for someone just the right side of thirty! His belt had expanded a notch over the last couple of years but he was in okay shape – five a side football saw to that. He wished he and Steph had kept up the Ceroc dancing. They’d gone a few times but she didn’t like the crowd – a bit “old” for her taste, but he had loved it.

The taxi came and they got in together. When they got to her venue, they kissed goodbye as she jumped out to be greeted by some colleagues, a girl and a couple of guys, who had also just arrived, and off she went. Tony looked at her long legs in the short dress, and for the millionth time realized how stunning she was, and how lucky he was.

Wasn’t he?

The taxi rolled on to his venue – a restaurant cum casino cum nightclub. As usual, all the Toyota and Lexus dealers from the area were there. A good bunch, fun people and some good looking girls it has to be said. Maybe tonight wouldn’t be too bad after all.

Tony was at the bar with a couple of people from his dealership, and was just about to take a sip of his drink when there was a huge slap on his back, followed by:

“Well, well, if it isn’t the supersalesman of the hour!”

Tony turned to his old colleague, already looking slightly the worse for wear but none the less, looking genuinely glad to see him. Tony hugged him and wondered what he had meant. Colin had done really well for himself. He’d left the dealership to take a position with the sister company that sold Lexus’s, and he’d been promoted to manager there within six months when his boss moved on. After a few minutes chat about old times and football and golf – the usual “men” talk, Colin paused:

“Look, I’ve got an offer for you. I’ve been poached by Lexus Head Office, and my boss says I’ve got to recruit my replacement before I go. I wanted to get someone really good, but they weren’t available, so I’ll have to make do with you.”

Tony looked at him, speechless. Was he serious, have I really just been offered a promotion?

“You serious?”

“No I’m not. There never was anyone else, you were my first choice”, Colin smirked.

“Jesus, you are serious, aren’t you? Look, I’m going to need a nano second to think this over. But yeah, if the deal’s anything like I’d imagine. Definitely!”

“Okay, look I’m too pissed to go into details now, and besides this isn’t the place. I’ll come over on Monday and we can talk, alright?”

“Deal!”

This was turning from a promising night to a very good night!

Dinner was served and Tony’s dealership were spread across two adjacent tables. It was just after sitting that he noticed Claire for the first time. Christ, she looked stunning! She might be more than thirteen years his senior, but tonight she’d give any woman in the place a run for their money. She wore a black cocktail dress, very low cut, which seemed to shimmer and sparkle in the light. Her glasses were gone - Tony knew that like him, she wore lenses sometimes, and she’d obviously spent a lot of time on herself. Come to think of it, she hadn’t been around this afternoon at all. Well it was time well spent, no doubt about that.

She was sat almost directly opposite him and he managed to catch her eye. He mouthed a “you looked terrific”, and she beamed back at him, almost shyly. He wished he were half a dozen places round the table, but she was flanked by the notoriously single Service Manager and the recently separated MD, both of whom were giving her plenty of attention. The dinner culminated in a couple of speeches and wards for Best Dealership etc. - the usual boring stuff. Names and dealerships were called out and there was a procession of semi sober people up to get their awards. Tony was sharing a joke with the salesman next to him when he heard his name called out. He found himself up in front of everyone getting a certificate and an envelope, not even sure what it was for. Looking at the certificate it seems he was the best performing salesman of the recent campaign. So that’s what Colin had meant. He celebrated in the time honoured fashion by ordering a couple of bottles of champagne for the table, and they all toasted him – Claire blowing him a kiss in the process.

The night had gone from an okay one, to a good one to a great one. Now, all he needed was … he looked at his watch, only 10:30, there was no way Steph would be home before one – at the earliest.  Ah well, time for a few more drinks.

As the evening went on he found himself talking, drinking and occasionally dancing with whole raft of people. He looked for Claire to dance with but she was having way too much fun – probably due to all the attention she was getting. There was no doubt she was definitely the most popular girl, well woman, at the party.

He spent more time with people he liked, but could never seem to get to talk to or dance with Claire, so he decided to go home and wait for Steph. He turned to leave quietly – he was sure no one would notice or miss him, and bang! There she was blocking his way.

“Funny, it looked like you were sloping off – and you haven’t even danced with me. What’s the matter, do you turn into a pumpkin at midnight? Don’t answer that, come and show me some of your Ceroc moves.”

“God, it’s ages since I went, I can’t remember them!”

“But I can, you enjoyed it so much that I decided to give it a try – I’ve been a regular for ages now – so come on, I’ll be gentle with you.”

Tony found it was like riding a bike – the moves came back, and Claire was easy to dance with. They laughed at their mistakes, and every time they trod on each others toes. But more than anything, Tony enjoyed the physical contact – holding hands, putting his arms around her and watching her dress fly out as she spun. She was a good dancer, and really good fun. Once again, Tony had thoughts about her he would never have had about a sister. He looked on admiringly as she flashed more of her thigh as she spun, and her breasts swayed invitingly as they moved. The best part of it was the eye contact – she hardly took her eyes off his as they danced, and the smile – God that smile was a killer. There was no mistaking the affection and the “come on” look. Tony found himself sweating after a few dances, and she suggested they go outside for a breather.

They’d been holding hands as they danced and so they naturally held hands as they walked out. Once outside, she let go and leaned into Tony with her back to him, grabbed his arm and put it round her waist.

“That was fun! Thank you.”

“It really was a pleasure, I think you’ve just inspired me to retake up dancing. Sod Steph if she doesn’t want to go.”

Claire smiled, and told him he should because he was good at it. Then she turned quickly towards him and asked what had been in the envelope? When he told her he hadn’t opened it, she looked at him incredulous.

“Well let’s find out!”

So Tony fished it out of his pocket at ripped it open…

“Bloody Hell!”

She moved round alongside him so she could see what had caused the exclamation.

“Christ! That’s fantastic – two weeks in Antigua for you and ‘a friend’! Steph will love it.”

Tony was a bit shell shocked and the next words tumbled out almost before they’d even formed in his head.

“It says a friend, and right now I think you’re the closest thing I’ve got to a friend.” Then with a smile … “At least, one I want to spend two weeks in the Caribbean with!”
 
“That’s a lovely thing to say,” and with that she reached up and kissed him briefly on the lips. Tony looked down into her eyes, and brushed back a few strands of auburn hair that had escaped across her face in the frantic dancing. 

“The thing is – I meant it!” He stroked her cheek and closed his eyes, and his mouth closed on hers. Locked together they slowly opened their mouths and their tongues met and all Tony could feel was an amazing exhilaration and excitement – like he hadn’t felt for years when he kissed Steph.

As they stopped, she looked at him and giggled.

“I haven’t felt like that since I was a teenager. You are nearly as good a kisser as you are a dancer.”

“Well I guess I need more practice…” and his lips met hers for an action replay. Her hands were round his neck and he had one hand stroking her back, and one gently caressing her left buttock. She moaned quietly, as the hand on her back moved round to cup her breast. But with a crash, the door opened and a crowd of happy, pretty drunk revelers fell out of the club in search of cabs.

“That’s probably enough excitement for one night!” she smiled, and with one peck on the cheek, led him back inside. They danced some more, but Tony’s head was all over everywhere. Coming up to the close at 1am, as the music got slower, he held her close to him and their bodies seemed to fit perfectly together. She rested her head on his shoulder and he once again gently stroked her back.

“Can I take you home?” he whispered.
 
“Do you mean to your place or to mine?” she asked mischievously.

He just tilted his head – there was an unspoken understanding between them now that Steph was not a topic for tonight. She smiled back, kissed him briefly and said that the boys were with their dad, so if he wanted to come back for coffee (that with a distinct smirk), then that would be nice.


Number 3: Best friends make the best lovers

The hot Caribbean sun had heated Tony’s body to the point where it was now either swim or shade. Staying where he was – despite the view he had – was no longer an option. He looked at the lounger next to him and sighed; the gorgeous tanned legs, the skimpy white bikini, her blonde hair tied in a pony tail to make sure it kept out of the way for her tan. She looked fantastic and would turn the head of any man here. The three months since Christmas had been difficult, but ultimately he knew he’d made the right decision. He thought back five years ago to the first few months with Steph, and how in the time since Christmas those feelings and newness had been reignited. From behind his sunglasses he admired the shape of her profile as she faced away from him; the smooth undulating shape of her thighs, hips, waist and upper back. He loved the way her light, European skin had assumed a golden brown colour in contrast to the white bikini.

“Excuse me, sir,” came the soft voice from his other side, “but I think you should cool down with a swim.”

Tony turned and looked into the brown eyes, smiled his best cheeky grin and said he was just thinking of doing just that.

Claire raised her eyebrows and shook her head. “Yeah right, you were indeed just thinking … probably about sliding that log you have between your legs between the breasts of Miss Bayern Munich in the white bikini.”

Tony sat up and faced her, she was lying on her side resting on one elbow with her head on her hand, and giving him a look that defied him to deny it, but with a grin that oozed confidence in their relationship. She knew damn well he’d had his fill of spectacular looking blondes. Tony had soon learned that with Claire, the best form of defence in these situations was attack.

“I know I can’t fool you – it’s all the thirteen years more experience that an old woman like you has over a young stud like me. And what’s more …”

… but he got no further. Moving much more quickly than he’d thought possible (but maybe those Pina Coladas had slowed him down), Claire had leaped up grabbed his arm and hurled herself backward into the pool, dragging him in after her. They surfaced together laughing like ten year olds – though the white bikini wasn’t laughing, she’d just got soaked.

Tony ignored the look because he didn’t even see it. His eyes were only for the wonderful woman he held in arms.

“I still can’t believe it took us five years to get round to kissing each other, then all of two hours after that to get round to shagging each other. Actually that’s not correct, it was making love, not shagging.”

“Yes, but it still took you two more months to propose.”

Tony kissed her, stroked some wet hair from her face and said that it was only because he was scared to death she would say no… or that her two teenage thugs would beat him up.

Claire shook her head and sighed.

“The boys think you’re brilliant. They think it’s great having two dads go and watch them play football. Besides, they’ve seen how happy I am. Come on, it’s been four hours since I last had you in a bed. We both know this will wear off, because it always does – but right now I want to capitalise on it. Are you and that log of yours up for it?”

She didn’t need to ask, she could feel the response against her abdomen.

“Listen, it doesn’t have to go stale, boring and repetitive after a few months. It will only happen if we let it. We’re both experienced enough to recognise it. But more than that, because we were friends first and lovers later, we learned how to talk about everything. So when it starts to happen, we’ll talk about it and sort it. If we want to, it will still be like this in thirty years time!”

Claire looked at him, and shook her head.

“God I love you, now shut up and let’s go to bed”







© Jennifer Green, 2008



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