Thunderous Night

by Bruce Alan Jensen

Before heading to bed, he checked the weather report on his multi-band radio. 'Rain and thunderstorms expected for the next few of hours to hit the northern part of the state.' The last time he checked the sky to the west, stars shone brightly.

I hope it passes by here, little girl.” He looked down to see his dog staring up at him like he was her best friend. Patting her head he smiled at her. “Okay, Molly time for bed.”

Several loud thunderclaps and torrential rain pounded the metal clad roof that woke him, the clock read three AM. As he attempted to go back to sleep, he thought he heard a hard knock on the cabin door. When Molly barked, he was certain.

He pulled on a T-shirt and jeans and rushed to the door. He turned on the outside lights and saw a woman dripping wet, looking desperate for help. Her drenched sandy-blonde hair, curled over and clung to her shoulders. She looked like a drowned cat.

Come in before you freeze.” The man opened the door wider allowing her to enter the doorway. The rain hitched a ride on a sudden burst of wind rushing through the entryway. He slammed the door closed to avoid his unexpected visitor from getting any wetter. “Please wait here. I’ll get you towels.”

Before she realized what she was doing, the woman shook her head spraying water all over the entry. “Wow! I’m sorry. Guess I’m acting like a mutt caught in the rain.”

His eyes sparkled with amusement as he headed to the laundry cabinet. The woman noticed the man's shoulder shake from the laughter he was trying to hide. With a few lights turned on, he grabbed two towels. His head was down as he opened one towel to wrap her. He raised his head to apologize for the smaller towels, not large bath ones and froze in his tracks. The unexpected visitor stood in a puddle clutching her soaked, and dripping clothes. Before him stood a five foot,  seven-inch naked woman with a pale complexion and a cute face looking shy and nervous. They stared at each other, both somewhat shocked.

He offered her a towel and she took it. Her left hand shook along with her body from the cold rain. Her teeth chattered as she let the wet clothing fall to the floor.

After a quick glance at her naked shivering body, with raised eyebrows and open mouth, he uttered, “Oh...Excuse me.”

He turned and noticed that Molly, his four-year-old Lab was dancing and whining. He let out a huge breath of both regret and gratitude to Molly for giving him a way to settle his heart from pounding. “I need to take care of Molly. She too doesn't like thunderstorms.” He placed the other towel on the chair next to the door and rushed to the kitchen alcove. He opened a cupboard, grabbed a bottle of doggie tranquilizer pills, took one and wrapped it inside a chewy dog treat. Molly gobbled it and strode to her bed.

Can I get you anything else?” He asked, allowing her to dry herself without his attention. He'd never been in this situation. What should I do next?

Yes. I'd like something hot to drink, if that's okay?” she asked, as her teeth chattered.

Okay, how about coffee or tea?”

Coffee's great,” she said as she continued to dry herself.

He placed a pod into his single serve brewer. “Do you take milk or sugar?”

Yes, both please,” her voice sounded weak.

He added milk and sugar to the coffee mug happy to help her.

Thank you for letting me in and your kindness.”

Startled he turned and noticed her standing near him shaking with a blanched expression. “Please, sit before you pass out. Take deep breaths; you're hyperventilating,” he said in a firm yet soothing tone. He motioned to the couch. He realized she wasn’t just freezing from the rain, no it had to be something else. For the first time, he saw how upset she was. What could have happened out there?

She sat taking a few deep breaths in spite of her shivers.

He set the mug of coffee on the end table and walked to the linen cabinet and pulled out a blanket. As he approached the couch, he noticed her breathing had slowed. Whatever had happened before she found his door caused tears to roll down her cheeks; her eyes staring at the floor. Without making a big deal out of her condition, he handed her some Kleenex without a word.

She looked up at him appreciating his sympathy as she wiped the tears away. “I’m okay for now, thank you.” 

He had never been in a situation like this; a strange, crying, naked woman wrapped in a towel on his couch. He was at a loss for words, so he said the first thing that came to mind. “Here's a blanket, or would you like something to wear?” Without giving an answer, she stood, pulled the blanket around her as the damp towel slipped to the floor.

He picked up the towel and tossed it onto the wet pile of clothes as she returned to the couch tucking her feet under her, the blanket forming a cocoon around her. She picked up the coffee held it to her face, inhaled the aroma, and sipped the brew. “Oh, this is good. Thank you.”

He faced her, his white teeth shining behind his smile. “I’m Hank Carson. And you?”

Michelle Harrison. Pleased to meet you,” she said forcing a weak smile. She sipped the coffee.

Pleased to meet you, Michelle. Too bad it's not a better situation. Where did you come from?” His tone was soft and concerning.

With a shake of her head, Michelle remembered the whole story and its unusual ending. “You know the yurt down the road?”

Hank nodded, wondering what had happened.

Well, I rented it and got here this afternoon, not expecting that I'd be facing this raging storm.” A loud thunderclap sounded making her flinch. Her hand went to her stomach, with fear in her eyes, she looked at the ceiling as if it might collapse. “This damn storm blew out the fabric sides. I came to you because there doesn’t appear to be anyone else around,” she said, took a deep breath, and sipped more coffee. “I needed this, thanks.”

You're welcome. It's the least I can do.” His eyes didn't leave her presence.

Michele's piercing green eyes emanated sadness. She set the mug aside and slipped the blanket from her shoulders and tucked it under her arms. She unwrapped the towel around her curly hair which fell just short of her shoulder blades. “Thank you for being so kind. I’m sorry for bothering you. I didn’t know what else to do.” Her drooping eyes contradicted her weak smile.

Hank wanted to assure her it wasn’t a problem. “You are not bothering me. It’s nice to have company during a thunderstorm. So, quit thanking me, Michelle. I'm glad I can help. It’s the least I can do.”

Do you mind if I stay here until the storm eases up?”

No, please relax. Are your clothes and stuff getting wet in the yurt?” Hank would be surprised if she said no considering a Yurt wasn’t as durable and secure as a cabin.

Oh, yes.” The thought of everything she owned in that Yurt would be unusable and possibly destroyed. “Everything is soaked. It’s a mess,”

Hank could see her distress filter through her eyes. The very idea of all the stuff she had in her place made him feel sympathy for her. He decided the best thing he could do was to act in a somewhat normal way to take her mind off of her losses. “Want more coffee?”

Yes, please. Hank, you're a dear.” He took her mug and then returned with a full one.

Thanks, you do make a great cup of joe.”

Hank smiled at her compliment and choice of words. “You're here for a vacation?”

Yes, I needed a break."

To follow through on his idea of acting normal to help her stay calm, he gathered her wet clothes and headed to the dryer in the tiny laundry area.

When Michelle realized what he was doing, she stood up to stop him. “Hank, you’ve done enough for me, I can throw my clothes in a dryer. Where is it?”

No, stay there.” He continued down the hall with the wet towels, jeans, flannel shirt, bra, and panties. As he loaded the dryer with the jeans and shirt, she approached him and grabbed her underwear and asked to use the bathroom. Hank pointed to the door, after all, a small cabin is designed to be compact.

As she disappeared behind the bathroom door, he hollered down the short aisle. “I have a long T-shirt, but no robe, and I don’t think I have any pants you could keep on your small frame, sorry.”

The T-shirt will be fine,” her voice muffled through the closed door.

Okay, the shirt is here next to the dryer. Help yourself to the shower, more towels, and anything else you need.”

Before the shower could drown out the noise, Michelle heard the dryer begin to whirl. She realized just how nice this man she had been fortunate enough to run into this stormy night.

Hank returned to the living room and used a rag to mop up the wet floor where she had stood. He tossed it onto the porch and noticed that the rain hadn't let up. He made a mug of coffee for himself and sat in the side chair wondering what he could do next. A few minutes had passed before she returned. He glanced toward the hall.

Oh, thank you. I'm warmed now.” Her eyes open and clear, her smile broad and bright, a very pretty woman, not cover girl beautiful, more next-door girlfriend pretty. She must still be cold, despite her declaration of warmth; her nipples pushed from behind the cotton shirt.

She sat on the couch picked up the coffee mug and took a long slow sip. “Would it be okay if I stay here until my clothes are dry?”

Hank noticed her voice was calmer and softer. It had a melodic sound to it now that the tension she walked in with was dissipating. “Yes, of course. Better yet, stay here for the night. You can take the bedroom, and I will make up the couch for me.”

No way! This is your place. I get the couch. I’ll leave if you disagree.” Her stern eyes focused on him.

Yes, ma'am.” He smiled. “I'll get you a sheet, pillow, and another blanket.”

That's sweet of you. There's no rush I need to unwind some more and finish this coffee.” Her eyes were clear with a hint of a mischievous glint.

He smiled and sat in the chair. Several minutes passed, and the crashing rain dwindled to a pleasant patter on the roof. He finished his coffee, stood, took his mug, walked to the sink and rinsed it. From the laundry cabinet, he grabbed the bed linen then placed them on the chair.

He grabbed a sheet off the chair intending to make up the couch for her. “Hank, stop. I can do this. I interrupted your sleep. Please go back to bed and have beautiful dreams.”

He nodded, turned off the lights except the one next to the couch. “Okay, goodnight Michelle. Holler if you need anything,” he said, walking to the bedroom.

Goodnight Hank, and thanks.” Her soft voice and slight smile contradicted her previous emotional state.

He rolled over expecting to drift off to sleep when another massive clap of thunder rocked the cabin. He heard a scream and reached to turn on the nightstand light, and there was Michelle, standing next to the bed looking at him with owl eyes.

Are you okay? Do you need something?” He noticed her standing, legs together, hands clutched under her chin, and her arms shaking against her sides.

No, I want in the bed with you. I hate thunder,” her voice chattered.

 Before he could reply, she lifted the cover. He scooted across the bed giving her room. The sensation of a female’s body, plus the slight dip in the mattress, brought back old memories for him. As he tried to block out those thoughts, he heard a soft, “Thank you. Good night.” A sense of relief and disappointment rushed through his body when she turned her back to him.

He adjusted his position allowing her free space in the queen size bed.

Within seconds, another distant thunderclap sounded. Fear rushed through her body again. Moving closer to him, she touched his side. “Please hold me. I can’t stop shaking.” Her terror was palatable, and he wondered if he should get her one of Molly’s tranquilizers. Not wanting to leave her side, rather than getting up for the pill, he laid there, his right arm under his pillow placing his other hand gently on her hip. She reached behind and covered his hand. She wiggled closer to him. Without a spoken word, she let out a happy sigh. She stopped shaking.

As much as he wanted to grope her, he remained still. The woman, without turning over, did something he never expected. Hank sucked in a breath when she pulled his hand off her hip and placed it between her ample breasts. He felt her beating heart. Having sex with this beautiful, vulnerable woman was a temptation he didn't know how to handle. He discovered it was a moot concern as her heartbeat and breathing steadied. Like a man who got a reprieve, he calmed himself and fell to sleep.

Hank awoke when Molly licked his exposed arm along the side of the bed. He eased from the bed, grabbed his jeans, shirt, boots, and entered the kitchen. After dressing, he fed Molly and made a full pot of coffee. As he and Molly exited to the porch, he noticed a pair of Michelle’s muddy sneakers, near the door. With a smile, he rinsed them off and placed them in the sun to dry.

Upon returning to the cabin, he poured himself a mug of coffee and sat at the table. He sipped his coffee then heard a patter of bare feet approaching. Michelle came to the table. Before he could turn his head, she hugged him from behind and said, “Good morning. I see the storm has blown over.”

He turned, smiled and gave her a once over, remembering last night in bed. “Morning, Michelle. You look relaxed and happy. Would you like coffee and breakfast?”

Coffee, please. But allow me.” She found the pot on the stove and an empty mug. She refilled his mug then poured hers. “Breakfast can wait awhile for me. Okay?” She leaned over his shoulder and kissed him on the cheek. “Thank you for last night. You saved me.”

Oh, it was the least I could do.” Thrilled at the sweetness of her kiss he wondered if she liked him as he does her. “I hope you slept okay.”

Yes, I did. I was surprised since I haven't slept in the same bed with a man in a few years. You were the perfect gentleman. Thank you.”

Molly rushed to her side. “Oh hi, Molly.” She patted the sitting dog's head, then Molly returned to her bed. “Molly is a very nice dog.”

Yes, she is. We've been together only a year. Why don’t you let me help you today? No telling how much chaos the storm caused in your campsite.”

I can deal with my mess, no need for you to have to do anything. Besides, I’ve imposed enough of my drama into your life.”

I don't have anything else to do and helping you would make me happy.” Hank got up and walked into the kitchen to start breakfast. “Hungry? I was waiting for you before I ate, so what would you like? Oh, also, your clothes are dry, I hope.”

Simple. I eat little, I'm not a vegan or have any dietary requirements, but I don't eat crappy stuff.”

My kind of woman, he thought. “How about a toasted bagel and scrambled eggs with cheese?” When she nodded okay, he set about making breakfast for two. The idea pleased him. Hank looked over to Michelle and felt like the scared woman from last night and the woman before him were two different people.

Hopefully, you didn't lose power and your food is still cold,” Hank sipped his coffee. “We can go find out whenever you want.”

Thanks. You're sweet. I guess we could drive down to the yurt and gather my crap. I bet I'll have to wash and dry the clothes and deal with the other stuff.” She wasn’t looking forward to seeing and dealing with the mess. “Guess I should get my stuff from the dryer and put on some clothes.”

Only if you're uncomfortable. I enjoy looking at you just the way you are.” He smiled noticing her blush.

Have you been staring at me?” Her eyes twinkled, “You aren't too bad to look at either. Okay, enough flirting, what can I do to help?”

He tried to hide his own blush before he answered. “I'll set-up a bowl and eggs for you to scramble while I slice the bagels and get the toaster and pan ready.”

Works for me.”

As they sat at the table with plates assembled Hank said, “I hope the next couple of days are rain and thunder free. I haven't been up here in the Coconino Forest before and never experienced a storm like last night's.”

This is my first time here, too. I hope to see more of the country and backwoods.” She took a bite of the eggs. “Ooh, yum. These are good. I didn't see you add herbs to them, and the cheese, it's sharp cheddar. Right?”

You caught me. I used a dried Italian blend just for variety. Where is your home?” He smeared cream cheese on the bagel and took a large bite.

She took a sip of her coffee to wash down her own delicious bite of food. “I was originally from Virginia but have lived in California for the last decade. I'm looking for a new career, so I may be moving. What about you?”

My ex-wife and I lived in LA for many years. Lately, after retiring, I've been searching for another place. I like the wilderness, but not so much during the snow season. I like the desert and beaches, too. These days, I can travel and visit many places. I recently bought a motorhome and I've been assigned to write about visiting this area, especially the Grand Canyon. What is your new career goal?”

Michelle tilted her head, a confused look on her face. “No, wait a minute. Why aren't you with your motorhome?”

Hank explained about the recent purchase and leaving it in Tucson for a complete check-up and installation of solar panels. They spent the next thirty minutes sharing career ideas and locales they each want to see. Hank explained his current freelance writing, mostly for campers and recreation vehicle owners, tourists, and vacationers. They washed, dried and put away the breakfast materials.

You didn't drive here did you?” He asked, not seeing a car nearby.

I was afraid to drive in the rain, so no.”

I'm ready to drive us there when you're ready,” Hank smiled and watched as she walked away to change. Nice lady.

She glanced over her shoulder and winked at him.

Holy crap! You're right the place is a mess,” he said as he stopped the SUV near the yurt entry steps. They took twenty minutes to gather and sort her wet clothing and other items. Fortunately, none of her apparel was damaged, only wet, which she loaded into her suitcases. Hank used the cooler he brought in from the back of his SUV. He loaded the food, except for the wet loaf of bread left on the counter. They surveyed the place making sure she left nothing behind. They drove separately back to the cabin.

Hank grabbed the suitcases from his vehicle and went into the cabin. Michelle followed close behind and noticed the rigged up clothesline between the porch posts and a nearby tree.

It would be nice to use your clothesline now that the air is clear,” she said as she separated her clothing.

There's a small container of clothespins in the cabinet above the washer,” he said, “Thanks.”

He went out to the car to bring in her food.

I want to call the rental place and tell them about the yurt. Do you get a cell signal here?” She asked when Hank entered the cabin. “I don't.”

No. We could go into Flagstaff; it's only fifteen minutes away. I can pick up a few food items while you make your call. How's that?” As he emptied the cooler she approached him to help. It took just a few minutes to sort and put the items into the refrigerator.

Good. First, I want to get another load of wash going and hang several items on that line. You are very thoughtful taking me to make a call, thanks.”

An hour later while driving back to the cabin, Hank asked, “What did the rental place say about the yurt. Are you getting a refund?”

They need to come out and see what the problem is, but if the evidence proves what I claimed, they will give me a refund. Now, what am I to do. I guess head back to my apartment in San Jose.”

If you want to spend some time here, you're welcome to stay. I can behave.”

She noticed his grin while keeping his eyes on the road. “Yes, I'm sure you can.”

He glanced at her broad smile and wondered what she was thinking. “I bought a chicken and thought I'd grill it. How does that sound?”

Great. Is there something I can do to help?”

Sure. I also got two ears of corn. I noticed you have coleslaw if you want to share it. I'll let you set the table and arrange things. But we can relax as the chicken and corn cook. I have chilled Chardonnay if that sounds okay.”

Delightful., and yes, let's eat the slaw. But first I have more loads of wash to finish, and I need to dress more comfortably. I'm tired of these clothes, besides it's getting hot.”

Hank cleaned and marinated the chicken with his secret ingredients, as he called it, a brine and spice rub over the chicken. He had changed into a pair of athletic shorts, sandals, and a tank top before he took Molly to play fetch. During playtime, he noticed Michelle hanging more items on the line. What intrigued him the most was her attire: sexy short-shorts, and mid-drift tank top and one-inch heeled sandals. Was she trying to get his attention? It worked.

Michelle, are you getting hungry?”

Maybe a little. When are we eating dinner?”

It's two-thirty now. I could start the fire soon, and we can eat by five. Or, we could eat later when it cools down, maybe around seven, and have a snack before then. What's your preference?”

I'm about done with this stuff. Let's have a snack and then go for a walk. I'd like to see more of the area. It seems the ground has absorbed all the rain. I hope little mud. Oh, look, is that a new flower?” she asked pointing at a yellow flower blooming in the sunlight.

Yes, but I'm not much on plant names. I appreciate them all. There are more everywhere.”

I guess the rain did some good.” She finished hanging shorts, pants, and shirts on the line and approached Hank and Molly. Michelle knelt down to rub Molly's head. Molly licked her hand then jumped away waiting for another ball toss. Hank obliged.

She's cute.”

Not as cute as you,” Hank said ogling her attire and smile.

Thanks. You aren't so bad yourself.” She placed her hand on his meaty chest; her eyes sparkled, her grin was knowing. “I have a few things I can prep for our snacks. Are you ready?”

Sure. Want my help?”

No thanks. Keep Molly happy.” She sauntered into the cabin.

Even as Molly barked for attention, Hank couldn't take his eyes off of her. Is she what I want in a relationship? I'm enthralled with her persona even more than her great looks.

After conversation, snacks, and lemonade, they walked along a path through the trees and foliage. Along the way, she snapped many photos with her digital camera equipped with a long lens. Hank stopped at a clearing. “Look there,” he said pointing to a group of deer with a few fawns.

She took several shots of the meadow and animals. “How cute. I haven't seen this in years. And all the flowers that are blooming, how cool. I miss this.”

Oh shit!” Michelle screamed as she fell on her butt. A deer had leaped from the tall grass and plants behind them and raced into the meadow. “That scared me.” She wiped her brow and giggled.

Hank laughed, reached down, and pulled her up into a hug. “You're safe now,” he said with a chuckle.

They laughed as she grabbed his hand and they continued along the path. She stopped to take close-up photos of a variety of plants and flowers. Hank noticed the mud smear on her butt due to her scare with the dear.

How can you photograph close-ups with a telephoto lens?” He asked.

Oh, it's a Macro-zoom lens, which does both.”

That's pretty cool. I'm not much good with photography, though I like it,” he said with a broad smile.

Don't you take photos for the articles you write?”

No, I provide snapshots with descriptions. The magazines provide the proper images.”

They spent the next hour each with their own tasks and shared talk about their backgrounds. They worked preparing the dinner meal.

This chicken is excellent. You are a great cook. I'm impressed.” She held her empty glass of wine up.

He poured in more and added to his. “Thanks. I enjoy cooking, but not nearly as much as this time we've been together.”

They touched glasses and smiled at each other.

I agree. I appreciate meeting you, even under a weird situation, and your kindness. You are a unique man.”

Thanks, but hardly. I sure enjoyed this time together. I hope we can stay in contact. I like you. You are a nice person. Today as we walked through the woods I felt you are very creative. Do you do artwork?”

That's funny. I took art classes in high school and college, but only as a release from my major. You are perceptive.”

You, too. I was an art minor but never pursued the craft. What was your specialty?”

I tried painting, sculpture but never had a talent for that. Lately, I've enjoyed photography. Fortunately, I keep my camera equipment in a water-resistant case so that rain didn't damage it. You mentioned that you had lived in Arizona for a while. Have you been to the Grand Canyon?”

Oh, yes two days ago. It is spectacular. Have you seen it?”

No. That's why I'm here. Can we go there? I've seen several issues of Arizona Highways magazine, and the photos are awesome.”

You got that right. It isn't that far from here. We could also stop in Sedona or Oak Creek Canyon. There are many places to visit around here.” He poured wine into her glass.

After dinner, they cleared the table and washed the dishes. While relaxing on the porch and discussing art, wilderness, and other places to visit. Hank opened the second bottle of wine. Michelle looked him in his eyes, “Hank, thank you for a beautiful day. Your help and hospitality have given me a new feel for life. I look forward to tomorrow and many more fun times together.”

They touched glasses again.

Wow, those stars are awesome. You don't see them like this in the Bay Area,” Michelle said.

Do you know the constellations?” he asked. “The big dipper is about all I can name. You?”

Not as many as I'd like. Looking at them is awesome, even without knowing them. They look like bouquets of flowers in bloom. This is incredibly relaxing.” She smiled and sipped her wine.

I feel the same. I have no expectations nor demands. I'm more comfortable than I've been in years.” He focused on her eyes, with a broad smile, and waved his arms wide, “It's a pleasure to meet you and share this time together.”

The next morning they arrived at the south rim of the Grand Canyon a few minutes after ten. With bright fresh air and the sun warmed the ground quickly as they walked along the various viewpoints. Hank took a few photos, while she took many. He pointed out the Havasupai Village below them on the banks of the Colorado River. When the temperature rose to uncomfortable, they entered the hotel and toured the gift shop. Michelle picked up a map and other literature before they stopped for a light lunch at the restaurant.

They drove back toward Flagstaff and he followed a Forest Service road leading to a fire lookout tower. “The view from here is incredible,” Michelle said as she took photos of the landscape and rock outcroppings. “This is a wonderful area. I'm glad I chose to visit the Grand Canyon. And, thanks for being a guide. Today has been a ball for me. I haven't had this much excitement in ages. Hank, you are so much fun. I am a lucky girl. Thank you for sharing.” She patted his arm.

He released his right-hand grip on the wheel, smiled at her and squeezed her hand. “I like being with you.” He returned his attention to driving.

The last two days have been a real inspiration for me to pursue a possible career in photography. Thank you for guiding me to these wonderful areas. I am so lucky to be here with you.”

I've enjoyed our time together and hope we can do this again. You are planning to leave the day after tomorrow, right? Could I persuade you to stay longer?”

As much as I'd like to I have a birthday party to attend for my aging aunt. It may be the last one for her. I must go. Yes, I want us to stay in touch.”

A few minutes later as they approached downtown Flagstaff, he asked, “Do you like fish?”

Eating or fishing?”

Eating. I'm not good at fishing. Usually, the only thing I catch is  cold.” He glanced at her then focused back on driving.

She noticed his smile and laugh lines. “Me, too, but yes I like some fish. Why do you ask?” She also smiled.

There's a fish market on our way back to the cabin that has a pretty good variety, and we could have some grilled, over mesquite charcoal tonight for dinner. How does that sound?” He asked.

Yummy.” She looked at him and patted his shoulder.

They arrived at the cabin half-past three o'clock. Molly raced out the door as Hank opened it. They both jerked aside and watched her run to the nearest tree to relieve herself.

They laughed.

Molly raced around the area then leaped onto the porch and sat facing them; her tail wiggled as happily as the smile on their faces.

Okay, Molly you deserve a treat.” Hank placed the package of fresh brook trouts on the counter. He took a doggie treat from the container and tossed it at Molly, who caught it chewed for a second and sat waiting for another. Hank tossed another. “That's all for now Molly. Relax. We've got things to do for ourselves.”

Michelle smiled and giggled at both Hank and Molly. “You are a good master, Mr. Hank. Your caring nature is incredible.” She approached him, put her arms around his neck and pulled him into a deep kiss.

After a few seconds, she released him, smiled and said, “I have enjoyed another wonderful relaxing and nearly complete day with you. You deserve another.” He met her kiss with his tongue jutting into her open mouth in a welcoming manner. This embrace and kiss lasted for a comforting moment. “Hank, oh, that was nice. I need to cool off, excuse me.” She walked to the bedroom.

He stood stunned and wondered what had just happened. He wanted to follow her but hesitated. Is she telling me something? I've never had a woman come on to me like that. I don't want to risk our friendship.

He took a deep breath, eased his body and proceeded to prepare the fish for the evening meal.

Michelle returned to the living room as he sliced lemons and made a Caesar salad dressing. She again wore shorts and a tank top. Hank noticed her immediately. “I see you got comfortable again. Do you have something in mind?” he asked.

Yes. I want to catch a few rays while the sun is active. Do you need any help?”

No thanks. Enjoy yourself. I'll join you in a couple of minutes. Does grilled asparagus sound good with the fish?”

Sure. So far I trust your skills and good taste.” She winked as she opened the door and stepped onto the porch with a towel over her arm. She removed her tank top and spread out, face down on the towel.

Hank stored his prepped meal in the refrigerator then followed her onto the porch carrying a pitcher of fresh squeezed lemonade, two iced filled glasses, a towel, and a tube of sunscreen.

He glanced at her half naked body and set the pitcher and glasses on a small nearby table. “Michelle I have some sunscreen that you may need at this high altitude. I doubt you want a severe sunburn.”

Yes, please.” She turned her head toward him, smiled, and spread her arms.

He applied the lotion and gently rubbed it over her back, arms and legs.

Oh, that feels so good. Your hands seem to massage me like a professional masseuse. Are you trained?”

No. I like to feel the softness of your skin and your firm body.”

Is that a come-on line?” She raised her gaze to his eyes and grinned.

Not intended, but if it works...”

Maybe soon. What did you bring with you?” Her facial expression welcomed him again.

Fresh lemonade. Want some?”

Yes. But give me a kiss.” She raised onto her elbows, lifting her face to his and puckered.

Hank focused on her breasts then to her face as they shared lip embraces.

She sipped her drink, smiled and said, “this is wonderful. Not too sweet, but almost as sweet as you.”

Hank's eyes widened and he laughed. He joined her lying on the porch, head to head.

Where is that music coming from?” she asked her head leaning toward the open window.

It's music from my computer. Is it okay? Do you have favorites?”

Oh, I like it. That's soft jazz isn't it?”

Yes, some oldies and a few contemporary.”

Nice and soothing.” She dropped her head down, closed her eyes and hummed to the music.

Only an hour has passed, but your back is turning pink. I should apply more sunscreen,” he said.

She rose her head, faced him and said, “Not needed; I'll just roll over?” She did, and he couldn't keep his eyes away from her nakedness.

Okay. Anything I can do for you?” he asked.

It looks like you want something,” she changed her gaze to his crotch and smiled wide-eyed.

Yes, I do.” He stood and took her hand, gently pulling her into his embrace and kiss.

She grinned, winked, and led him to the bedroom.

The beginning of a new life together....

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