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“Hi, I saw your ad?”
She was all smooth bare legs, tight shorts, and a cute Asian fringe cut.
Nick couldn’t but help stare, but he guessed she had to be used to that.
He said, “Yeah, come on in,” and stood aside, her scent making him think of tropical fruit as she passed. He watched the undulating movement of her round ass and she glanced back and flashed him a pearly-white smile.
“I’m Lucy,” she said.
“Nick,” he said. “Drink, before I show you around?”
“Let’s take a look first. If I like what I see, we can talk. Okay?”
“Fine with me. Upstairs then. Ladies first.”
“If you were a gentleman,” she grinned, “you would go first.”
He was not a gentleman and he enjoyed the view as he followed her up the stairs.
“Bathroom here,” he said when they reached the top floor. “My bedroom over there, box room at the end of the landing, and,” he swung open the adjacent door, “here’s where you will be sleeping.”
“Maybe,” she corrected.
Nick had already convinced himself that she wouldn’t take it, but he felt giddy just watching her. She wasn’t tall, but her figure was beautifully proportioned, with jutting breasts, a wasp-waist which flared out into broad hips, an ample behind, and shapely thighs and calves She stood in the center of the room and turned full circle on her four-inch heels.
“It’s nice,” she said. “Can I see your room?”
That took him by surprise, but he found himself opening the door and she peeked inside.
“You should make your bed,” she said.
“I’m a lousy housekeeper.”
“The bathroom’s a mess too.”
“If you move in, I promise to keep it clean.”
“I’m glad you’ve got a tub. I love to soak.”
Nick tried to visualize her soaking as they went down to the kitchen.
“Coke? Or something stronger?” he asked.
“Diet, if you’ve got it.”
He opened the back door to let in the warm, early summer breeze. They sat at the kitchen table and she brushed back her hair with slender fingers.
“So what do you do?” she asked, wrinkling her stubby little nose.
“I’m a carpenter. I work for a company that restores old buildings.”
“Sounds pretty cool. Do you own this house? The real estate’s outrageous around here.”
“I inherited it, but I’m not rich. That’s why I placed the ad.”
“I can’t afford a lot,” she said.
He had already decided that he would let her stay for free if she wanted, but he said, “Well, if you’re interested, I’m sure we can work something out.”
She thought about that, then said, “I’ve got a friend who might want to double up.”
“Would that be a problem?”
“I’m kidding. I have a classmate but we’re in a dorm and it’s pretty crowded. I’ll talk to her if you like.”
“So you’re at college?”
“Yeah, MassArt,” she said dismissively. “So look, I’d like to move in here if the price is right. I can go to one-fifty.”
“Well,” she blinked, “that was easy. Do you have any house rules?”
“Let me think about that,” Nick said. “I don’t smoke but I don’t have any problem with it.”
“Neither do I. Smoke, I mean. I play music when I work.”
“I like music. Do you have any dark habits?”
“Maybe I’m making a mistake.”
“Don’t worry, I’m tame, and your door locks from the inside.”
All this time Nick was covertly checking out her smooth legs, and the swell of her impressive bust, and noting the way she appraised him with her dark oval eyes and the way she tugged at her hair. He was also thinking all of this was kind of freaky because this sort of thing - a hot girl moving into his house - doesn’t normally happen to a guy like him.
“How about a beer?” he asked.
“Okay, just one.”
He got a couple of Heinekens from the refrigerator and they moved to the living room, sharing the couch. Nick learned that she was twenty years old and from New York, where she had been living with her father.
“He’s Japanese, my mom’s ethnic Korean. Zainichi. I don’t see her anymore.”
She didn’t elaborate, so Nick said, “Well, I must say it’s a lovely mixture.”
“Long story. They came from Kobe. I was born here but I can speak Japanese thanks to my dad.”
She was studying illustration and animation but her special passion was Japanese manga art. She worked mostly in acrylics and woodcuts but enjoyed the simplicity of pencil sketching.
“My main influence is Tezuka, of course.”
“But I’ve recently been studying the works of the Year 24 Group.”
“Well, I guess you should.”
“Sorry. I’ll show you some of my stuff later if you want.”
“I’d like that.”
She practiced Tantric yoga and Vipassana meditation, during which she’d once had an out-of-body experience. She rode a mountain bike to college. She was reading Haruki Murakami, Yukio Mishima, Truman Capote, Don DeLillo and Raymond Carver and she was studying the photography of Nobuyoshi Araki. She was currently listening to Kumi Koda, The Gazette, Lady Ga Ga, Jessie J, Bad Meets Evil, and Rihanna, but also Mozart, Bach and Beethoven.
She kicked off her shoes and sat cross-legged on the couch. Nick fetched two more beers and turned on the lights.
As she took her beer, Nick noticed a series of thin scars on the inside of her wrist. She saw him look but offered no explanation.
She said she believed it was possible to influence the world around you with your thoughts. “We all come from the same source energy and our thoughts have energy frequencies. So you have to be aware of what you’re thinking, because you’re actually shaping the universe through your own consciousness.”
“Haven’t you ever wondered at the miracle of how everything is inter-connected? Every time you take a simple breath, you are actually exchanging gasses with our planet.”
She said she was not interested in politics and had no real religious beliefs although she wore a gold Buddha amulet around her neck.
“It was a gift,” she yawned, and lay back on the couch, stretching her bare legs over his. Nick stayed motionless while she slept, marveling at the rise and fall of her breasts, her plump, parted lips, the delicate arches of her feet. She had a small butterfly tattooed on the inside of one ankle.
When she woke, she looked momentarily confused, and when she felt his legs under her calves, she swung upright and rubbed her eyes with the backs of her hands.
“How long was I out?” she asked.
“Half an hour.”
“I should go.”
“It’s dark out. You can stay if you like.”
She stepped into her shoes and fastened the straps. “I have morning classes.”
Nick opened the front door and she turned to face him. He could feel her warm breath, slightly sweet from the beer.
“I’ll call you,” she said. “I’m sorry I took up so much of your time.”
“I enjoyed the company.”
She looked up at him, eyes probing, and then without warning, kissed him on the cheek and went down the steps.
He stood in the doorway watching her go, and when she reached the corner she turned and waved and then she was out of sight. Nick stayed where he was for a while, still feeling the warmth of her lips upon his cheek.
Eventually he went inside, got undressed and laid on the couch. Inhaling the sweet aroma of her hair on the cushion, he slowly masturbated himself to sleep.
He heard nothing for a week.
There were other inquirers but he turned them away. Work became tedious, the hours passing slowly. He bought a manga art book. He cleaned the bathroom, disinfected the tub, mowed the lawn. He searched for her on Facebook. He drank.
On the weekend, his best friend, Sid came over.
Sid said, “So she’s changed her mind. No big deal, there’ll be others.”
“You should have seen her,” Nick said.
“Why does it have to be a chick anyway?” said Sid. “I thought you were looking for a roomer, not a girlfriend.”
“So did I.”
“And let’s say she had moved in. What makes you think she’d have let you fuck her?”
“We talked for a couple of hours about all sorts of stuff. She seemed. . . keen. It wasn’t so much what she said, it was her body language. And she kissed me.”
“She was fucking with you.”
“Maybe. I can’t stop thinking about her, though.”
“Well get over it, my friend,” Sid said. “Doesn’t look like she’s coming back. Are we going out for some beers?”
Nick’s cell rang.
“It’s Lucy. I looked at your house last week?”
Nick’s could feel his heart thumping.
“Yeah, I remember. How are you?” he said, gesturing to Sid.
“I’m good,” she said. “Look, I had to go to New York last week but I’m back now. So are we still on?”
“Well there’s somebody else interested,” Nick lied, “but as you were here first, I could probably put him off.”
Sid rolled his eyes and shook his head.
“Oh, I don’t want to mess anybody around,” Lucy said.
“No, really,” Nick said, backtracking fast. “They haven’t put down a deposit yet. If you want it, the room’s yours.”
“Well, that’s great! When will it be available?”
“Whenever you’re ready.”
“So like, will tonight be okay?”
Wow, that was quick!
“Well, I’m going out later,” he said, “but I can wait in for you.”
Sid slapped his own forehead and Nick gave him the middle finger.
“That’s really sweet of you,” Lucy said. “Sorry for the sudden panic, but my week’s been a mess and I’ve got some catching up to do. Would seven be convenient?”
“Sure, no problem.”
“Thanks again. See you later.”
She hung up and Nick grinned at Sid, “Well, what do you know?”
“Fifty bucks says you don’t get to fuck her,” Sid said.
They hung around until seven, then seven-thirty. There were some drinking buddies waiting at Jenny’s Tavern so finally Sid went ahead without him. At seven-forty-five the doorbell rang.
Lucy stood in the doorway holding a cardboard box, and behind her, a tall blonde girl was carrying another box across his yard.
“Hi,” she said.
“Let me take that for you,” said Nick.
“Thanks. This is Summer.”
Summer smiled tightly but didn’t reply.
“Summer’s not staying,” Lucy explained, handing him the box. “She’s just helping me move.”
He watched Lucy head back towards a waiting taxicab. She was in shorts again, and why not? She certainly had the legs for it.
Summer cleared her throat. Nick had been so busy studying Lucy, that he had forgotten to stand aside.
“Sorry,” he said.
“Where should I put this?” Summer asked.
Nick showed her up to Lucy’s room and they placed the boxes on the bed.
“It’s nice,” Summer said. She looked at him thoughtfully, then asked, “Where’s your room?”
“Down the passage.”
She stood and looked out of the window, and he took the opportunity to check her out. She was dressed in faded jeans and a white halter top, and wore her blonde hair in a pony tail. She was leaner than Lucy, with longer legs, a smaller bust, and a tighter ass, and had a trim, athletic look about her.
“Lucy said you might be interested in taking the other room,” he said.
“I’m thinking about it.”
She came back and sat on the bed. “You don’t have a girlfriend?”
“You’ll be nice to Lucy won’t you? She likes to act cool but she’s a little naïve.”
“Should you be telling me this?” Nick grinned.
Summer gave him a long look. She had pretty, but intense brown eyes. “Maybe I should move in,” she said.
“The more, the merrier.” Nick had no idea where that came from, but it was too late to take it back. When Summer continued to stare at him like he was some kind of pervert, he added, “I’m joking.”
Lucy came in and dropped two bags on the bed and again, Nick’s eyes were drawn to her legs. Nick wondered if she wore shorts even in the winter.
“Hey, come on guys,” Lucy said. “Do I have to do this by myself?”
When all of Lucy’s gear was unloaded they went downstairs for a beer. Summer and Lucy sat together on the sofa and Nick sat on the floor, amazed at his good fortune. Here he was with two hot college chicks and his imagination was running wild. He tuned out as the girls chatted together, sipping his beer and fantasizing about the three of them naked in bed together.
Sid should have been here for this, he thought dreamily.
Both girls were extremely good looking, but in different ways. Lucy was all casual movements, totally at ease with herself, and her almond eyes oozed sensuality. Summer appeared somehow harder, with a tempered edge and a tightly coiled demeanor.
Lucy had one bare leg draped over the side of the sofa and Nick was gazing at her shapely thigh when he realized they were both looking at him.
“…would you, Nick?” Lucy said.
“I’m sorry, would I what?” Nick stammered, his face turning red.
“Try to take advantage of me.”
With the lewd thoughts that had just been running through his head, Nick nearly choked on his beer. “Absolutely not! I mean, it’s not that I wouldn’t want to… I didn’t mean that. But, you know, under other circumstances…”
Summer was watching him intently, but an amused grin spread across Lucy’s face.
“What I’m trying to say is,” Nick continued, “I think you’re very beautiful but you’re perfectly safe here, I promise.”
How dumb was that? His cheeks were seriously burning now.
“That’s very sweet,” Lucy said for the second time that day.
Actually, Nick thought. I’m not sweet at all, but maybe that’s the best way forward with her.
Summer then said something that caught him completely off guard. “Lucy thinks you might be batting for the other team.”
“Summer!” Lucy laughed.
“Whatever made you think that?” Nick asked, nonplused.
Summer replied, “No girlfriend, living alone. Women have an intuition about these things.”
“I had no idea I was sending out those signals,” Nick said.
“I just wondered about it, was all,” Lucy said.
“Is that why you decided to move in?”
“Maybe, I guess. I’m not sure,” Lucy shrugged.
“So now that I’ve told you that I’m straight, does that change things?”
Lucy paused, glanced at Summer, and said, “No.”
Nick thought he detected a brief expression of disappointment pass across Summer’s face - and wondered if he had hit upon the reason for her veiled hostility.
“Actually,” he said, “I was having a similar thought about you two.”
“What do you mean?” Summer asked him.
“Well, you have been sharing the same room…”
Lucy put her hand to her mouth and tittered, but Summer didn’t seem amused.
“Is that really what’s on your mind, Nick?” she asked.
“Hey, come on,” Nick said. “You started it.”
Lucy stood up, yawned and stretched, raising her arms and standing on her toes. “Time out guys,” she said. “I’m beat. Do you mind if I go up?”
“Sure,” Nick said. “I’ve got to meet some friends.”
Lucy saw Summer out and when she came back, she said, “Don’t worry about her. She’s got a good heart, really.”
Nick shrugged. “I’m easy.”
They stood facing each other for a moment. Lucy rubbed her cheek and shifted on her bare feet. She really did look tired. Nick was kind of hoping for another peck on the cheek, but when none came, he said, “I’ve got to go. I’ll try not to make any noise when I get in.”
“The way I’m feeling right now, a brass marching band wouldn’t wake me.”
That didn’t sound like an invitation to stay, so Nick said goodnight and went out to meet Sid.