This is the third chapter in a series of so far indeterminate length. Things are getting complicated, so I really recommend starting with Chapter One. There is no more space for TLDRs.
The club depicted in this story, while similar to one club in Atlanta in particular, is an amalgamation of several different organizations across the South.
As with all my stories, should you be looking for ‘Realism’, just move on. I aim for ‘Ridiculously Plausible’.
And thanks for all the favorites, follows and high ratings so far. I appreciate them, and your comments too!
Steff and I only reached full consciousness at the breakfast table, with coffee and tea respectively steaming in our noses. We sat and ate in companionable silence for a while, but my mind was whirling inside.
I suddenly was in the best position I could have imagined with Steff. We still felt like great friends, but the benefits had progressed like a drag racer from zero to awesome literally overnight. I did not want to do anything to mess that up. Except, I also could not get Meredith out of my mind. My first date with her was still supposed to be that night. I was picking her up at this same house that evening.
I didn’t actually owe Steff my exclusivity, did I? No. We’d been on one date, and she’d known I was going to go out with Meredith before she’d asked. But there had been the mind-blowing sex since then. And emotions didn’t give a shit about reason, if Steff was going to be jealous, then Meredith was a time bomb ticking between me and her.
I took a deep breath and looked at Steff, who still had not brushed her hair and looked like a million rumpled bucks. She cocked her head at me.
“About Meredith…” I hesitantly began.
“Oooh, yeah. She’ll be home soon. You better get out of here,” said Steff calmly. “It might feel a little awkward if she got home and you are still here in a post-coital glow. Besides, you’ve got to get ready for tonight, and so does she.” She peered at me with just the trace of a leer, “And you look a fright.”
I looked at her. “But you…”
“I am driving to Athens this afternoon to see some friends and to go to a party tonight, just as I’ve had planned for two weeks,” replied Steff firmly.
“Uh…” I said intelligently.
Steff shook her head and went on, “You are going to make us talk this through, aren’t you? That’s supposed to be the girl’s role, you know.” Her voice was calm and level-headed. I was almost offended at how self-possessed she was being, until I look into her eyes and saw the uncertainty there that matched my own. “We have sat here at this table together without saying a word to each other for a while… probably more silent time than we have spent cumulatively since we’ve known each other. I’ve been doing a mental and emotional self-inventory, and I’m betting… hoping, that you have too, right?”
I nodded, thanking my friend with my eyes for making this conversation easier. Easier, not easy.
“What do I know?” she said, laying out her appallingly organized thoughts, ticking them off on her fingers. My mind wasn’t holding still long enough for me to so much as hold one thought at a time, much less list them. “I know that we are damned good friends. I know that has not changed. I know that we are each sure now that the other has the hots for us. I know that we have discovered that we are very sexually compatible. We can agree on all that, right?”
There was just the tiniest quaver of doubt in that last point and she looked at me as if for some sign of confirmation. I nodded, wide-eyed, and that banished any doubt that it had been less good for me than for her. I mentally thanked her for having that tiny vulnerability. Right now she was too damned self-possessed for my comfort or my ego.
“So, what are we now? Friends with incredible benefits, or a couple?” she asked. I nodded. That was the question, wasn’t it? “Have we made any promises? No. But more to the point, do we feel the need to make promises right now? For me the answer is, ‘not now’, or maybe, ‘not yet’. Next, do I feel the need to be with you? More exactly, do I feel the need to be with you all the time? Do I want to drag you with me to Athens to show you off? Again, for me the answers are ‘not all the time’, and ‘not this weekend, maybe later’.”
I nodded thoughtfully. My emotions, seen in more focus through the lens of her little lecture, pretty much matched hers.
“For the record, I do not intend to hook up with anybody in Athens,” put in Steff, “in case you were wondering. Not because I think I owe you anything, but because I know most of the guys who will be there, and none of them particularly impressed me before, much less now.”
“In addition to other things, you know how to inflate a guy’s ego,” I observed with a smile, and Steff laughed. “But don’t despair, there are always a few new guys at any college party,” I added, as much asyabahis yeni giriş to hear my own voice hold steady and almost encouraging.
Steff pursed her lips and shrugged. Our options were our own. Each of ours.
I shrugged too. “I think it shows that our minds are kind of in the same place when my brain did not immediately get concerned about other guys when you mentioned a party.” I did not say out loud that what my mind had instead leapt to was the fact that Steff would not be in the house that night after my date with Meredith.
“Good,” said Steff. “If we don’t feel possessive or compulsive about each other, we aren’t a couple. When… if… when that changes for either of us, we need to tell the other, right?”
“Right,” I agreed with certainty. Chances were, if things evolved for one of us, they would probably be evolving for the other, and we would evolve together. It did not bear thinking on if only one of us changed our feelings on that in the future.
We sat there again for a few minutes, still taking inventory.
“Actually, I might would have invited you to Athens,” said Steff, in the first non-grammatical thing I’d ever heard her say, “If it weren’t for your date with Meredith. If I got in the way of that, she’d kill me.”
“Really?” I asked, more enthusiastically than was perhaps wise when talking to a girl whose brains I had just balled out, and whose brains I fully intended to ball out again.
Steff’s desert dry tone told me that however casual things might currently be between us, she was still a woman and I’d need to watch myself. “Yes, really. I don’t know what she sees in your mangy ass, but she certainly finds you appealing.”
I almost said ‘really’ again, in an even more enthusiastic voice, but I caught myself, because I am a learning machine. “What makes you think so?” I asked instead, possibly even more stupidly.
“Oh, maybe it was the way she ripped her shirt off and sucked your dick after she’d known you cumulatively for less than ninety minutes,” replied Steff lightly. She leaned forward over the table and stabbed me with her eyes. “You sometimes say I’m your best friend. You are not mine. Meredith is. Tonight, you are going to be her first date since my Dad died. She may or may not know what she is doing,” Steff added with finality, stabbing me with the first warning expression I’d ever seen in her eyes.
I met her gaze levelly for moment and bent to finish my eggs. Steff even made good eggs.
Once I had my last bite, Steff grabbed my plate and shooed me toward the front door. “Now get out of here. It would be bad form if I didn’t shower the smell of you off me before Meredith and I go out for lunch.”
As I shot back toward my dorm, my mind whirled in a combination of post-coital relaxed bliss, and eager, curious anticipation of what Meredith had in mind for this evening… during our date and, if my current spectacular luck held, after. But, productive conversation with Steff about Friends With Benefits aside, I still was clearly living in a mine field.
Even though I had just had breakfast with Steff, I ran through the lunch line in my dorm to load up on calories and protein. I was worn out. I also was unwashed, and I heard two girls right behind me in line trading whispers about my rumpled Walk of Shame clothes and my apparent aroma of Sex and Steff. I sat by myself, and thankfully was unpestered by Tony joining me. I suspected he had spent the night at Kimmie’s apartment. I really did not need to negotiate my way through a conversation with him about either Steff and I joining their improv team, or about whether Steff and I were joining each other, which had been about his only subjects of choice for a while now.
When I got back to my single room, I stripped down, grabbed my robe and shower kit and went to finally remove the aroma of Steff from my body. The day before, while prepping for my date with her, I had been nervous and scared as a cat on a hot tin roof. But this afternoon, I found myself actually pretty calm as I went about my ablutions, shaving my face smooth with ease and actually relaxing under the warm water.
It wasn’t that I wasn’t excited, I was. But I wasn’t afire with sexual ambitions, like I had been before my date with Steff. My mind kept focusing on having a good time with Meredith, getting to know her and enjoying her company. And I was full to the brim with curiosity about what she intended for us to do that night. All I knew was that I was driving, and I was to wear a suit. What the heck were we going to do?
After my shower, I sat in my underwear and actually found the concentration to do a couple of hours work at my desk. The semester was coming to an end soon, after all.
When it came time to dress, I actually had two suits to choose from, unlike virtually every other dude I knew in my dorm, who either had one or none. I never gave a thought to wearing the two year-old, boxy, blue, Brooks Brothers one. It was the corporate interview suit I had for internships asyabahis giriş and looking for a real job in a few months. Instead, I took down my charcoal grey Italian pin stripe and gave it a quick press with the iron. It was my ShowBiz, or Pitch, Suit. I had bought it a few months earlier in a fit of optimism about reaching the point where I could try to sell a script to Hollywood or Broadway. I was lucky enough to have the right figure, with broad shoulders, long legs, and narrow waist, to look sharp in the suit’s angular lines, and I had spent the coin to have it custom-fitted to maximum effect.
And until now, it had pretty much hung my closet.
I pressed a shirt as well, carefully but swiftly. The only choice I hemmed and hawed over was the tie. I like ties, and I had too many. I finally settled on a purple paisley, one of which’s secondary colors matched the single-thread purple line edging the pinstripes of my suit itself.
I looked at myself in the mirror as I touched up my hair with the brush, and flushed suddenly as I realized how much effort I was putting into looking ‘grown up’ for Meredith. But upon further perusal, I realized I had succeeded. Mostly. I still looked only twenty-three, but I looked damn well put together, and I looked like I knew it. That would have to do.
I rolled up in the front drive at seven twenty-seven. Three minutes early. Steff had been bang on ready the night before, so I didn’t want to make Meredith wait. I hopped out of my freshly cleaned Tesla and rang the doorbell with a suddenly evaporating confidence. Instead of the door opening, the speaker of the electronic doorbell awoke.
“Scott? Damn, you are right on time,” came Meredith’s lovely alto voice, delightful even through the tinny speaker. “I am running behind. Sorry. Just let yourself in, and help yourself to a drink from the bar, or there are bottled waters and Cokes there too.” I heard the door unlock itself.
I entered a little uncertainly, but I knew where the bar was. Since I was driving, I decided on some water. Of course, Meredith’s idea of ‘bottled water’ was not Dasani, but Perrier. I cracked open a bottle and sipped while I waited, a bit at loose ends on how to occupy myself.
Meredith was not long, though, and I heard the door to her first-floor master bedroom open. I turned and saw her.
Meredith may lack Steff’s sleek, hard-bodied perfection, but she is a stunner. Her firm, generous bust and her smoothly curvaceous hips form a classic hourglass figure with her narrow waist and firm, flat belly, and her long, smooth legs leave her very nearly as tall as I. Her shining natural golden blonde hair, which I had only ever seen flowing free in gently smooth waves, was done up in an elegant updo, piled up on her head to add even more statuesque height. The style left her long, elegant neck enchantingly exposed, caressed lightly by a few yellow locks that had artfully been allowed to ‘escape’ her perfect coif.
And that night, she was also dressed to kill. Most women swear by a Little Black Dress as the most sexy and most elegant garment possible, and this example was Exhibit A. At the top, a narrow band encircled the base of her sleek neck, sweeping seamlessly down over her shoulders to short, unadorned sleeves. The torso fit her figure perfectly, in that it closely followed her every delicious curve and contour without being tight anywhere. The fabric just seemed to float a quarter inch above her soft skin, following her every move without pulling or tugging anywhere. Below the waist, the dress flowed a tiny bit more loosely, but still fit close enough to show off her enticing hips and backside before flaring a bit more at the hem, which rested at a marginally modest point mid-thigh that nevertheless showed off a considerable expanse of her firm, sleek legs. Her black patent pumps had delicate straps running around her ankles and across the top of her feet, and had two-inch heels that were actually shorter than I had seen her wear home from work, but which left her eyes almost perfectly level with my own.
Meeting Meredith’s eyes in this dress was going to be hard for any man, however, due to the diamond-shaped keyhole cutout on the chest. The top point reached just to the band around her neck, while the bottom point ended between her breasts, presenting a view of cleavage that was all the more impressive because of the obvious lack of squeezing, lifting, or squishing. She wore a delicate gold chain under the dress that dangled a modestly sized, but elegant, sapphire in a simple setting resting right atop that cleavage in the middle of the keyhole. The necklace practically screamed to the onlooker, “Go ahead and stare, Mister. Just don’t forget to compliment the necklace so you have an excuse for looking.”
I was even more dumbstruck than the first time I’d laid eyes on this woman. And this time, I didn’t have conversation between Meredith and Steff to give me cover. I just stood there, drinking her in from feet to… face. Meredith isn’t what you’d call asyabahis güvenilirmi classically beautiful, but I also would never drop the dreaded ‘handsome’ on her either. Her face is striking, from her soft brown eyes, set a little wide atop her delicately raptor-like nose, to her elegant jaw, to her thin, wide, always uneven in their shape, lips. Her makeup was, as always, understated, but that night the lipstick was a shade redder, and her trace of eyeshadow a shade darker.
The uneven set of her mouth always seems to allow Meredith to have two subtly different expressions at the same time. At that moment, her smile was half the oddly (on her) vulnerable smile of a woman who waits little anxiously to see how her appearance is appreciated, and half amused grin at the fact that my current paralysis indicated good news on that front.
I wanted to compliment her on how she looked, to reassure her that she was amazing. I wanted to do it in a calm, cool, collected way that challenged her amusement at my dumbstruck look.
What I did, was woof.
“Woof,” just came spontaneously out of my mouth. Not loudly, or in a silly way, but plenty loudly enough to be heard, and plenty ridiculous, like I was a guy in some ’30s screwball comedy.
Meredith just cocked a blonde eyebrow and seemed satisfied on all counts.
The woof had at least loosened my mind and my eyes enough to realize that Meredith had been giving me a good visual once over as well. She pursed her fascinating lips and then said, “Well Scott. You do clean up well. Shall we go?”
“I’d love to,” I replied, glad to have a conversational hook by which to claw my way out of my stupor, “but I still don’t know where we are going or what we are doing!” I tried to sound both plaintive and like I was enjoying the mystery. I carried it off a whole lot better than my ‘reassuring’ woof.
“Oh, but I’m enjoying my mystery,” laughed Meredith.
“Yes,” I laughed in turn, “but I can’t enter ‘Meredith’s Mystery Destination’ into the car’s nav.”
“Fair point,” she said, with a little bow. “Let’s just head straight downtown. Get off at Williams. We are starting with dinner at the Capital Club.”
“Fancy!” I observed as I led Meredith to my freshly cleaned Tesla. I held the door for her and enjoyed the view as she slid in, folding her elegant legs into the spacious footwell gracefully.
I had been to the Capital Club once. My parents had driven us down to Atlanta for a wedding when I was ten. It is a huge, old, very exclusive social club in the heart, geographically, financially, and influentially, of Atlanta. I had been bored to tears at that reception. I doubted I’d be bored that evening.
As I reached the end of the driveway, I saw the road was clear and remembered that Meredith had said she had not ridden in an electric car before. “Do you like acceleration?” I asked, checking again for non-existent traffic.
“Hmm?” asked Meredith, caught at the non-sequitur. “Oh yeah, they say these cars are fast,” she went on in the confident voice of someone who drives a powerful Benz.
I pressed the accelerator smoothly but fully, and we shot out of the driveway and flew down the street, reaching a speed that was faster than I really wanted on that road in less time than it took her to yelp in surprise. Yes! For once it wasn’t me who was off-balance.
“I’m more happy with how quick it is,” I observed, letting the car smoothly drop back to a responsible pace for a neighborhood. “I doubt I’ll ever take it anywhere near top speed on a public road.”
“Well, aren’t you responsible,” she replied drily, but I detected a hint of disappointment. So she was a speed demon. Good to know.
Looking at me again as I drove, Meredith observed, “That really is a very fine suit. Armani? Boss?”
I smiled happily. “No, it’s a small label, though you nailed that it is Italian.”
“Hmmm. It is a lot more suit than I’d expect a twenty-one year old to have in his dorm closet.”
“I’m twenty-three, actually,” I replied, and winced again. To my ear, I sounded like a six year old proudly correcting an adult that he was ‘going on seven, actually!’
At that point, we hit the Interstate and conversation turned, as it does, to Atlanta traffic. At seven forty-five on a Saturday night, the navigation screen showed intermittent stoppages (one of which we were currently in) all the way downtown. Talk of traffic segued into talk about cars, and Meredith began peppering me with questions about the Tesla. I practically swooned. If you have never met a Tesla owner, we find few things sexier than an attractive person who will let us yammer on ceaselessly about our car. We are kind of like early iPhone owners that way.
The upshot was that we had pleasant conversation to fill the time until, at Meredith’s direction, I made the turn to the side of the Capital Club and pulled up to the valet. We got out and Meredith led us inside the huge doors.
Inside, there was a large counter, with a tall, elderly, but very handsome black man in evening attire that fit even better than my suit. “Good evening, Ms. Chisholm!” he greeted her in a voice that made James Earl Jones sound a bit screechy. “It is good to see you. It has been too long since you joined us on an evening,” he added with evident sincerity.