That damn superwoman complex got me again. I stood behind my car in the blazing July heat, both arms covered from elbows to wrists in sweltering plastic as I successfully loaded all of my grocery bags onto my arms, refusing to make multiple trips. I smiled at my brawn for a full three seconds before looking up and noticing my car's tailgate high in the sky, gleaming in the brazen sun. My right hand began to raise but stopped at my wrist. The left was the same. Loading the bags onto my arms was doable but lifting even one to close my trunk required the strength of ten men.
"Shit," I murmured in defeat.
I looked around me and considered putting the bags on the ground but my stupid stubborn pride just wouldn't let me. Okay, a bit of pride mixed with a bit of laziness as I had no intentions of unloading all of these bags off of myself only to load them back on again after closing the truck.
"Shit." I murmured again.
I was stuck.
For half a second I lifted my foot in the air, delusionally believing I could possibly reach the top of the trunk with my toes and slam it shut. With my tennis shoe only half a foot off of the ground, I quickly realized what an idiotic idea that was.
That's when I heard the laughter.
I swung around to find its source with all intentions to scold my mocker but when I saw his face all hope for speech was lost.
He was sweatier than I was under this sun. He wore black basketball shorts, blue running shoes and nothing else but a string of ear buds that rested around his neck. His sweaty, olive-colored skin called out to me with each reflective glisten in the sun. His hair was thick, a beautiful black and his face was almost as blinding as his body.
"Do you need some help?" he asked with an amused smile.
"With your tailgate, I could get that for you."
"Oh, um..." I stuttered, completely lost for words. What was a tailgate? What was help? What were words? What?
"Here, let me."
Penetrating my bubble ever so slightly, he reached his hand in the air and closed the trunk with ease. My eyes stayed fixed on his pulsating bicep.
A faint, "thanks," escaped my lips, or at least I think it did. It was hard to know anything for sure in this moment.
"Where are my manors?" he asked himself, "Let me take these bags for you."
One moment my arms carried the weight of the world and the next I felt as light and free as a bird.
"Lead the way?" he asked, with no regard for the fact that we were strangers and he was asking for directions to my townhouse, my home, where I live, where he should not be aware of because he's a complete stranger.
"Right this way," I responded without hesitation.
Pulling my keys out of my pocket, I led him to my unit and thanked God I decided not to be lazy this morning and cleaned up. The air should still smell like the vanilla candle I was burning this morning too.
We stepped inside and I was right, the room's aroma was warm and inviting.
This sexy, half-dressed stranger walked straight into my kitchen and placed the grocery bags down on the table with ease.
"This is the same one we have?"
"My wife and I, this is the same layout of our townhouse."
"Oh," I replied, desperately attempting to mask my crushed soul.
He didn't have a ring on. I guess a lot of people took those off while jogging. Damn, jogging!
"Don't do that," he said.
"No need for your face to drop."
"I don't know what you're talking about."
"I don't mean to be so forward but, hell, maybe I do. You should know that my wife and I, we have an open marriage."
Instead of my face dropping, this latest revelation almost led to my eyes bulging out of my head and skipping out the room. I tried to keep my cool.
"Well, that's great for you and your wife and all but I, um, I..."
"Find me attractive?"
"Excuse me? I don't even know you!"
"My name is Dallas and you are?" he asked extending his right hand out to me.
I looked down at it hesitantly before offering up my own.
"Claire, I'm Claire."
"It's very nice to meet you, Claire."
"Likewise, I suppose."
"Now that we know each other, may I be frank?"
"I get the feeling that's the only way you operate."
"I promise you, I'm not usually this brash but when I saw you outside, I knew I had to meet you."
I had to look away from him as the blood flooded my reddening cheeks.
"Why is that?"
"You're beautiful, Claire, but you must know that."
"I do. I didn't know I was beautiful enough to make strangers want to cheat on their wives but I guess this information is good to know."
"It's open. It wouldn't be cheating."
"What exactly wouldn't be cheating?" I asked coyly, knowing exactly to what he was referring.
This was wrong. This was all wrong. This man was probably a rapist and a killer and I'd just led him into my home freely! What was wrong with me?! This was wrong. But God, did it feel so right. It was like a fantasy. Granted, the men in my fantasies usually weren't married neighbors of mine but mphf, the way he looked at me. He had me powerless. Even if I did feel power in this moment, I'd hand it over to him willingly. God damn, what was happening?
"If I came back here," he started, answering my question while capturing my eye contact, refusing to let it go, "with your permission of course, and made love to you. That would not be cheating on my wife. That would be me making love to you. She wouldn't have a problem with that."
"How do I know that?"
"Would you like to ask her? You can. She's at home right now, not too far away."
"No, thank you."
"Well then, Claire, if you'd let me, I'd ask if I could come back here. I'd ask you to wait for me with all of your clothes off, seated on your bed, feet tucked under your behind, waiting for me to come find you and make love to you. We live in the same home, I'd find your bedroom easily."
"And...make love to me?"
"Not fuck? You wouldn't fuck me?" I asked.
"Would you like me to?"
I didn't know what to say. I liked being the one asking the questions. I was too afraid to admit how much I wanted all of this just yet. Maybe I'd wake up from this dream before having to.
"I'm not sure."
"I don't want to fuck you. I want to come back here and make love to you."
"And if I were to allow this, when exactly would you come back here?"
"Tomorrow, at this exact time."
I looked over at the clock on the wall and made a mental note while his eyes remained steadfast on mine.
"Alright," I whispered in silent terror.
I had no idea what I was doing or saying or thinking or feeling.
I nodded my head.
"You'll wait for me? Exactly as I asked you to?"
"I will," I said louder.
He was powerful and I wanted to match his energy as much as I could, whether I was believable or not, I couldn't know but figured I'd try.
"I very much look forward to seeing you tomorrow, Claire."
He took my hand, kissed it simply like a gentleman, a grand juxtaposition against the bold, dominant aggressor I'd just met.
And he was gone.