On Thursday afternoon, Greg Simmons threw his toiletries and damp bath towel into a duffel bag. Yesterday, he took the last exam of his sophomore year at Central Iowa State University. In the morning, he worked the last shift at the dining hall before it closed for the summer. Down in the street, his gray 1998 Chevrolet Cavalier was packed with all the other things that had cluttered his dorm room over the last year. He picked up his bag, and walked to the door of the room, noticing how his footsteps on the tile floor reverberated against the concrete walls of the now vacant room. He walked down the eight flights of stairs, and out the back door of the residence hall, and approached his car.
He had a four-hour drive back to Thomas Mill. He shoved the duffel bag into the only remaining space left in the car, on top of some books, between a laundry bag and the dashboard on the passenger side of the front seat. Greg jumped into the driver’s seat, buckled his seat belt, and left the Central Iowa State campus. Looking at the clock, he figured that he would be home by eight.
Greg had mixed feelings about going back to Thomas Mill. It had been nearly five months since he had visited his hometown. He loved growing up there, but things were different now. Taylor and Reed, had laid his father off. Having trouble finding another investment banking firm that was hiring, he took a job as a bookkeeper to make ends meet. His mother took a job at the library to help out.
Don and Nancy Simmons wanted the best for their children. Last summer, they sold the house that Greg grew up in and moved into a two-bedroom apartment. This allowed Greg to go away to college, and for his sister to follow to do the same. Greg admired the sacrifices that his parents made, and he studied hard while at school to make his parents proud of their investment in him.
Getting along with his sister would be a major challenge. Kristy was due to graduate from high school on Saturday, and she was going to follow her boyfriend Shane Bullock to the University of Nebraska, where he was recruited to play football. They were a sickening couple. She was the high-maintenance, nose-in-the-air, spoiled, bratty sidekick to the cocky star quarterback.
Greg thought about Thanksgiving weekend from a year and a half ago. He had a date with Lisa Wilson, a girl one year younger than him. The college freshman had a crush on the high school senior for a few years, and Greg had e-mailed her while he was away to let her know that he was thinking of her. They had planned to go out to dinner while he was visiting Thomas Mill. Greg has gotten ready to pick up the cute high-school blonde, and when it came time to leave the house, he could not find his car keys. After searching the whole house, his mother told him that Kristy had taken the car to go out with some friends. Embarrassed, Greg called Lisa to tell her the news, which Lisa did not take well. Lisa could not reschedule the dinner, and Greg’s opportunity had disappeared along with his Chevy Cavalier.
Greg contemplated the ways he could avoid Kristy over the summer. He planned to spend many nights sleeping on the couch in the family room, rather than share a room with Kristy. He would work days at the Thomas Mill Park District, doing maintenance and landscaping. With any luck, Kristy would go out most nights, and he would not need to deal with her.
Over his winter recess, something happened that gave Greg reason to look forward to coming home to the apartment. He met his neighbor, Dana Nelson. Dana was in Kristy’s high school class. Her parents divorced when she was young, and she had lived in the building as long as she could remember. Late one Friday afternoon, Greg was using the building’s laundry facilities when he met Dana.
“Umm, excuse me, but I forgot my Bounce upstairs. Could you spare a sheet for me?”
“Sure, here you go!”
Dana smiled, and handed a sheet to Greg. As Greg grasped the sheet, their fingers touched.
“Thanks. By the way, I’m Greg.”
“My name is Dana. I live next door to you.”
“Normally, I am away at school in Iowa. In fact, I am heading back there on Sunday. I haven’t seen you, are you away at school as well?”
“No, I was visiting my Dad in Chicago. I got home yesterday. I am still in high school. In fact, I go to school with your sister.”
“I am sorry to hear that.”
“Why do you say that?”
“Kristy and I don’t get along. Actually, I cannot stand her.”
“Oh, so she is like that to her family as well?”
“She treats you bad as well?”
“You could say that. We had a Public Speaking class together. We had to write a ten-minute comedy skit. She and I were assigned to the same group. We were going to do a take-off of American Idol. Kristy said that she could judge, and I could perform, and she would make fun of my weight and my glasses.”
“Dana, that is terrible. I am sorry. I hope that you don’t think that she represents my family.”
“It’s okay. It was hard at the time, since it happened in front of a group. I just try to stay out of her way.”
“That’s smart. But, I feel bad that Kristy escort kartal treated you that way. You seem like a sweetheart. Can I make it up to you?”
“How can you do that?”
“Let me make dinner for you tonight.”
“You’re not doing this for pity, are you?” Dana asked as she looked down to the floor.
“God, no. I am doing it because I think we have some things in common, and I want to get to know you better.”
“Hmm, I don’t know. Are you sure it isn’t pity?” Dana asked again, as she looked over the top rim of her glasses and showed a small smile.
“I also think you’re cute when you smile.”
Dana’s smile grew bigger. “Okay, my mom works second shift at the Safeway, so we can eat at my place. Why don’t you come over around six?”
“Great! I’ll be there. Is Italian okay for dinner?”
“Well, then, I had better get upstairs and start cooking.”
Greg threw his clothes into the dryer with the Bounce. He and Dana said good-bye, and he went upstairs to prepare dinner. He got out some lasagna noodles, ricotta cheese, and jarred tomato sauce, and layered a lasagna and put it in the oven. Then, he sliced a baguette, and spread garlic butter over it, and baked it as well. He then stripped off his t-shirt and shorts and jumped into the shower. He chuckled to himself how he would always get dressed up to go to parties at school to attract girls. Now, he was in a ratty t-shirt and shorts, making a date with a girl in blue sweatpants and a yellow sweatshirt.
He got out of the shower, threw his on his shorts and t-shirt, and ran down to get his load out of the dryer. In the dryer were a few button-down shirts, and some jeans. He grabbed them, and went upstairs, and put on a pair of jeans, and a red and black checked button down shirt. He took the pan of lasagna out, and cut it into quarters. He put on quarter onto a plate, and framed it with garlic bread. He did the same with the second quarter. The two remaining quarters, he put back into the oven, and set it to “Warm”. He wrote a note to his parents explaining that dinner was ready for them, and that he would be next door.
Grabbing the two plates, Greg walked out into the hall, and knocked on the door of the adjacent apartment. Wearing the same sweatshirt and sweatpants outfit, a smiling Dana answered the door.
“Hi, Greg! Come on in!”
Greg walked in and put the plates on the already set dining room table immediately to his left. Dana’s apartment was a mirror image of his own. The coat closet was to his right; the kitchenette was to the left beyond the dining area. In the back left corner was a small bedroom, and the master bedroom and bath were to the right of the living room, which lay straight ahead of him. Next to the small bedroom was a full bathroom. On the opposite side of the wall from the dining room, kitchenette, and small bedroom were the counterparts of Greg’s apartment.
“I am sorry that I didn’t change. I was trying to finish up the laundry, and I ran out of time. Anyway, I don’t get much prettier when I dress up, anyway.”
“Stop it. I think you look comfortable. That’s what really matters.”
“Well, you don’t look too bad, yourself,” Dana said, noticing Greg’s short brown hair, and almond shaped brown eyes.
“Thank you. Shall we eat, we don’t want it to get cold.”
“Okay, it looks wonderful.”
Dana and Greg sat down. Dana put a napkin on her lap, and took a bite of the lasagna.
“Greg, this is delicious.”
“Thanks. I just threw it together, it was easy.”
“Where did you learn to cook like this?”
“I took a cooking class my freshman year, as an elective.”
“What are you majoring in? The culinary arts?”
“No, nothing like that. I am studying finance. But, I figured that later cooking might come in handy if I want to raise a family and my wife wants to have a career.”
“Oh, isn’t that sweet. You seem pretty thoughtful,” Dana said, as she continued to eat the lasagna.
“Maybe I am thoughtful, but it the world has changed. Women should be able to go out and do what they want, whether it be working, or motherhood, or both.”
“I don’t know what I want to study yet. I don’t know what interests me. The business world seems so competitive, and that just isn’t me. I am not really into the arts. Maybe I’ll end up being a teacher. I am going to go to community college here in Thomas Mill next year, maybe I’ll find what I want to do there.”
“I sit in class, and I know that I am not any smarter than these women. You’re right, it is competitive, and to some degree it is a man versus woman clash. I would prefer that we all just get along and work together, instead of trying to prove that we can break out of the traditional roles. Women have already proven that they can succeed in the corporate world. It is time to move on. They don’t need to prove they are smarter than men. They already have.”
“I don’t know, Greg. You seem pretty smart to me. Or at least pretty sophisticated. My mother looked for a husband in high school and college, and look where that got her. It got her me, and a marriage that maltepe escort fell apart very quickly. If men and women thought like you thirty years ago, my life might be totally different.”
“Or, you may not have had a life at all. Perhaps your mother would have been driven to succeed in a corporate environment, and put off motherhood. So, who knows? It all worked out for you. Which is lucky for me.”
Finishing off her lasagna, Dana asked, “Why do you say that?”
“Because if things had not gone the way they had, I may not have met you here, and we may not be having this meal together.”
“Yes, you’re right. But, I am afraid the meal is over. It was very good; I have never eaten so fast. Thank you so much for cooking for me.”
Greg wolfed down the last few bites of lasagna while Dana was speaking.
“I am glad that you liked it. I am sorry that I didn’t have time to make a dessert for you.”
“Well, I can probably stand to avoid the calories. I need to lose some weight.”
“I think you look terrific, Dana.”
“I don’t know why you lie to me, but it is nice to hear. Have you ever seen An Officer and a Gentleman?”
“No. Is that a movie? I haven’t heard of it.”
“My mom rented it for me. She tries to get me into the movies that she liked when she was my age. I guess she thought Richard Gere was hot. Do you want to watch it with me?”
“Sure, I’d be up for that. But, there’s a problem.”
“What is that?”
“You look all comfortable in your sweats. Do you mind if I run home and change clothes?”
“Go ahead. But promise that you’ll come back.”
“Okay, I’ll get the VCR set up while you’re gone.”
“See you in a minute, Dana.”
Greg walked out the door, and over to the next apartment. He walked by his parents watching television in the family room.
“Greg?” his mother asked.
“Yeah, Mom.” Greg said as he scurried back into the family room.
“Thank you for dinner. It was delicious.”
“You’re welcome, I am happy to do it.”
“You are going to have to share the recipe with me.”
“I’d love to, Mom. But I have to run now. Dana and I are going to watch a movie, and I just came home to change clothes.”
“Slipping into something a little more comfortable, right?” his Dad joked with him.
“Yes, something like that. She is really a nice girl.” Greg said.
“Well, treat her like a lady,” his Dad advised.
“Oh, George, you know he will. Because we raised him to be like you.” Mom chimed in.
“I am going to leave you sweethearts alone. I don’t want to keep Dana waiting.”
“Have a good time,” his parents said together.
Greg went into the bedroom that he shared with Kristy, and stripped down to his boxers. He found a white t-shirt, and a pair of red plaid flannel pajama bottoms. He put them on, and walked out of the room.
“Bye, Mom. Bye Dad. I won’t be out late.”
“Goodnight, Greg,” his mother said.
Greg briskly walked back over to the apartment next door. He knocked on the door, and Dana answered for the second time tonight with a beaming smile.
“Welcome back. Nice jammies!”
Dana took a long look at Greg, noticing his tall frame. Somehow, he looked taller than the five feet eleven inches he really was in the flannel pajamas. The slimmer pajamas made his legs look longer. The t-shirt was also a little tighter than the button down shirt, and Dana could see the outline of his chest. It wasn’t overly muscular, but still stout and manly.
“Thanks. I was hoping you liked them.”
The living room was dark, except for the light of the twenty-five inch blue television screen. On the couch was a blanket, and two mugs of hot chocolate were sitting on the coffee table in front.
“I made hot chocolate. I hope you like it.”
“I love hot chocolate. Thank you.”
The couple sat on the couch, perhaps a foot apart from each other. Dana picked up the remote control, and started looking for the play button. Sitting next to her, Greg looked at Dana in profile. She had a round face, with long black hair that fell to either side of her cheeks. She had full lips, that she pursed as she searched the remote. A graceful sloping nose held up her narrow thin-framed glasses. Behind the glasses were two green eyes, which seemed to change colors in the light. She wore no make-up. Greg caught himself staring at her when Dana shouted.
“There’s the play button!”
A startled Greg said, “It was hiding, wasn’t it?”
“Yes, it was. It was hiding right in front of my face,” she said as she hit the button.
Dana put the remote control on the coffee table, and took a sip of hot chocolate. Greg took a sip from his mug as well. Dana put her mug back on the coffee table, and threw the blanket over their laps.
“You don’t mind the blanket, do you?”
“Not at all!”
Silently, Dana and Greg watched the film. After nearly forty-five minutes, Dana paused the movie.
“Bathroom break,” she said as she got up.
Greg watched her as she walked into the bathroom. He noticed pendik escort bayan that her sweatpants had slipped a little below her waist, and he could see the band of her underwear. In the light it was difficult to tell, but they looked to be a forest green color. Greg thought of Dana’s white skin contrasted against the red cotton panties. An image of Dana standing in front of him in her panties and a white bra filled his head. He lost his vision when he heard the toilet flush. Then he realized that he had started to get aroused. Hearing the faucet, Greg knew he only had a minute to get his erection under control. He started thinking of Richard Gere and Louis Gossett, Jr, while bunching the blanket over his groin.
Dana emerged from the bathroom, and sat on the couch. This time, she sat closer to Greg. Greg sat with his feet on the coffee table, and Dana was sitting cross-legged, and her knew was touching Greg’s thigh. She pulled the blanket over to cover her lap.
“No hogging the blanket!”
“I was just keeping it warm for you,” replied Greg.
“Thanks. You are too sweet. Are you enjoying the movie?”
“Yeah, it isn’t bad. Thanks for spending the evening with me.”
“Greg, thank you. I am having a great time,” Dana said, as she played the movie.
“So am I, Dana,” Greg said, as they caught themselves looking into each other’s eyes. Quickly, they both turned their attention back to the television, blushing slightly. In silence, they continued to watch the movie. Greg reached for his mug once again, and saw that it was empty. He placed the empty mug back on the coffee table, and set his hand on top of the blanket. He had put his hand over Dana’s knee.
In the movie, Richard Gere and Debra Winger were in a motel room. A naked Gere was sitting on a chair with an equally naked Winger sitting on top of him. Dana and Greg glanced at each other. Greg reached over and held Dana’s hand. Dana moved closer, so that her side was against his. He leaned closer to her, and gave her a soft kiss on the cheek. He then slowly moved his head back, so that he could see her entire face. Dana gripped Greg’s hand tighter. Dana was blushing. They moved towards each other, and their lips met.
Their kiss broke, and Dana gazed into Greg’s eyes, and she was slightly out of breath. Greg started to run his fingers through Dana’s hair.
“Thank you, Greg.”
“You don’t have to thank me for anything. I enjoyed it as much as you did.”
“No, you don’t understand.”
“What don’t I understand?”
“That was,” Dana sheepishly stammered, “that was my first kiss.”
“You’re kidding! You mean no one has,” Greg stopped his question before it turned into an insult. “I mean, you just seem like such a special girl. The guys in this town are fools if they don’t see that.”
“Yeah, they are fools. But who would want someone like me? I weigh like 175 pounds, and I”
“And you’re pretty to me,” Greg interrupted.
“You think I am pretty?”
“Yes, I do. And let me ask you something. Did you like it when we kissed?”
”Would you like to kiss me again?”
“More than aything.”
Greg and Dana started to kiss again. Greg wrapped both of his arms around Dana, and pulled her body close to his. Dana started to run her fingers over Greg’s back, and she could feel Greg’s breath on her cheek. She opened her lips slightly, and she could feel the warmth of his mouth against her lips and tongue. Greg slowly slid his tongue into her mouth. He felt the blood rushing to his penis, as their tongues made contact. The contact surprised Dana, and at first her tongue recoiled, before she relaxed and allowed it to frolic with Greg’s tongue.
Dana started to feel a stirring inside of her. She needed to be closer to Greg. She broke the kiss, and moved backwards on the couch. She was three-quarters of the way down the couch, kneeling.
“Greg, lay down.”
Greg did as requested. His head was on a pillow next to the arm of the couch. His legs wrapped around Dana’s thighs. His erection was sticking out, but he didn’t care to hide it anymore. Dana lay down on top of him.
“I am not too heavy for you, am I?”
“Dana, stop it. I guess there is only one way to get you to stop talking.”
Greg kissed her, and their tongues resumed their playful dance. Reaching down, Greg felt the sweatpants covering Dana’s butt. He dragged his hands up her back, feeling the waistband of her underwear, before stopping on a patch of bare skin. He ran his fingertips over he lower back, around the spine. Dana shivered.
“Does that feel okay, Dana?”
“It feels great, please don’t stop.”
Dana started to kiss Greg on the cheek, and then onto the neck. Feeling her breath on his neck and ear gave Greg shivers of his own. He went back to caressing her back, and he moved his hands further up, below the sweatshirt. Dana was still concentrating on the neck and ear of Greg, and he proceeded to slowly move his hands up her back. Suddenly, Dana stopped, and got back up onto her knees. She took her glasses off, and placed them on the coffee table. The then grabbed the bottom of Greg’s t-shirt, and started to push it up his stomach. Greg lifted his shoulders, and helped her get the shirt over his shoulders and head. Rubbing his chest and stomach, Dana started to lean back on top of Greg. She got about halfway before Greg stopped her.