Challenge

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Babes

1.

Tom Jacobs punched his right fist into the heavy bag, and wanted more. Yeah, he savored the give of the bag as his arm extended out. The pure move pleased him, as his entire side moved with the blow and not just his arm. The effort electrified him. But it wasn’t his best.

The last several minutes he’d been spent. This was his body going beyond and doing more. Now if only his mind could be as true.

Or was it his spirit? Two, three more lunges at the bag, and the deep thuds put a small grin at his full lips. His soaked, thick hair flicked with his moves, but his eyes never let the black leather taking his fists. But something inside didn’t feel satisfied.

A few more pounding thrusts, and his workout ended. The ache deep in his shoulders actually felt good. The grimace on his face didn’t betray the appreciation he was taking in the exercise, as he passed the other men getting in their time in the musky gym. His shirt matted to him, and didn’t make it any easier as he tugged to get the gloves free.

The sounds of other punching and grunts echoed around him as he made his way to the locker room. Even spent from the workout, he had to acknowledge a restlessness inside himself. An hour and it’s still there.

The sweat-soaked shirt and the weary ache felt good, even if his mood didn’t match. The long days at the office and the brutal exercise weren’t calming him, so he’d just have to tolerate it. Maybe the steam room would help tonight.

After stripping away the wet tee and shorts at his locker, he shot over to the scales. His six-one nakedness balanced nicely and didn’t inhibit him at all as he noted one ninety-six tonight. He shrugged and got going.

Fifteen minutes of steam and a hot shower soothed, but they too didn’t quite quench him. The brooding stuck around. He’d just carry it. Or, perhaps another night of some porn and relief before going to sleep. It was something he was too used to.

One last look into the locker room mirror made him wince. His fit physique was okay, but the crooked nose never ceased to haunt him. One punch in the sixth grade had stayed with him for years. But deep inside he knew it’d probably been the best thing for him. He’d never let himself feel weak again.

On the way home, the Porsche responded like he wanted. No music tonight and the passenger window down let him take it in. No way could he articulate what it was about the car’s purr that moved him; it just did.

Upstairs in his dark high rise apartment, he got ready to wind-down. Teeth brushed, one last check on email, and he’d settled down with his phone ready for some reading, when it buzzed. The ID stopped him in his tracks. His mother. Well, at least it wasn’t his sister.

“Hey mom.”

“How’s it going?” Her words came quietly, like his own. Ambiguously muted. This call could be about anything, but it started calmly.

“Excellent. Getting home from the gym.”

“Excellent. Always excellent. Gee, I love the positivity. Tom, Tom.”

He couldn’t help but smirk. The tone had stayed even, but the sarcasm told him she wanted to tease. Her nice presence, five-foot-five and a hundred, twenty-five pounds of poise–that was what the rest of the world saw. But she treated him to a little rambunctiousness now and then. She must have known he liked it.

He teased back. “Ellen, Ellen.”

“Ha.” She sighed. “It’s so weird when you call me by my name like that. But you’re doing okay?”

“Oh, everything’s pretty good, I guess. You?”

She sighed on the other end before getting to it. “Fine. Well, I was fine before I heard from Sonya.”

This stopped Tom cold. He’d managed to relax some, but word that his recent ex had contacted his mother brought him to a halt. His mom cared about everyone, so having an ex call her started getting him pissed.

“What the hell? Why did she call you?”

“Hey, hey. Take it easy. I don’t want you going back and giving her a hard time.”

“She had no business calling you.”

His mother’s words sunk even lower to almost gravelly. Was she lying in bed already?

“She’s upset. She loves you. That’s why she called me. She can’t believe you broke-up with her.”

How could he possibly explain this to her? She saw goodness everywhere, and probably would even with a self-centered model-type like Sonya. Part of his problem was that he was heading in the exact opposite direction of how good-hearted his mother was.

He pushed himself to get relaxed again. Fuck Sonya. He pushed to extend his legs out. Took deep breaths. Five am would come early.

“It didn’t work out, that’s all. I’m twenty-six. I have a lot going on. I explained all that to her.”

“I’m worried about you.” Another sigh. “You get these girls thinking you’re serious. The next thing they know you’re leaving.”

“I do not lead them on. They believe what they want to believe. I am always honest. I’m getting established still.”

“My god, you just got a raise. You’ve got your own accounts now at work. A canlı bahis hundred-fifty a year. You’re doing fine.”

“I’m focused.”

“You’re alone.”

He’d be better soon as he could end this call and get to his porn stories, but he bit at his lip so as not to take a shot at the poised Ellen Jacobs. Don’t burst her bubble. Deep down maybe he doubted he could ever feel content. Anyway, that didn’t need solving tonight.

“Mom, I’m fine.” Mostly.

Some rustling on her end convinced him she had already turned in. This made a few times lately she had called at the end of her night. Good, he could keep this short.

She couldn’t help but chastise a bit more. “You’re not turning into a player, are you?”

He bristled, and struck back. “We can’t all be happy like you and Gary.”

The pause on the other end made him twinge a bit. Her boyfriend professor wasn’t all that for her, and he knew it. But he also knew she didn’t want to be alone, and his retort maybe landed too heavy.

For the only time during the call, her tone got tight. “Gary is very good to me. I… I… .”

“Yeah. You’re right. He is. I shouldn’t have popped off. I’m tired.”

“Well, get some rest. And, think about what I’ve said. You can’t just keep dumping these different women. It’s…bad. Bad karma.”

Quick thoughts of some smartass replies flew right by, and he let it go.

She added more. “You’ll find more satisfaction if you let yourself care deeply. You will.”

“Yeah, I’ll think about it. I’m sure you’re right. I’m going to do something different.”

She made a sound that sounded close to a giggle. “You are?”

He stretched his nude frame out again on his king-size bed. The high thread count sheets cradled him nicely. What’s she giggling about? Is that more sarcasm?

“Yep,” it was his turn to sound gruff. “I’m going to find someone who can challenge me.”

Her soft laugh back made him smile.

“Good.” She said.

“Goodnight.”

“Goodnight, I love you.”

“I love you, too.”

He half-tossed the sheet from his chest. In an instant, his hand latched onto his cock, and he was surprised it was already swelling for him. Perfect, he could knock this out, and slide into sleep in no time. His mind started trying to conjure just what kind of challenge might be best.

2.

Usually, having lunch with his sister was fun.

“Why do you have to be an asshole?”

Tom paused to let his sister’s words hang in the air, as he looked over the monitor at his desk. So much for a laid-back lunch. Typically, Beth was interesting when she came over to his office for lunch. This thing about their mom must have really irked her.

“Look,” he grabbed another bite from the roast beef sandwich she’d brought him, “I really didn’t say anything against Gary.” Not this time.

Beth wrinkled her nose in a way that made her cuteness fall away. The thick, honey-brown hair she got from their mother was pulled back. Her blue eyes, also from their mom, were mostly shielded by her glasses.

“Mom felt like you were being critical.”

“Yeah?” He couldn’t help a small smile. But she didn’t appreciate it. “I wasn’t.”

“She just wants you to be happy for her, you know?”

He watched her pick at her salad. Gave her some reality. “Deep down, you think the same thing I do about her and Gary.”

She shook her head unconvincingly. “I don’t know what you’re talking about. He loves her. She loves him.”

He didn’t hesitate. “She can do better than him.”

“What are you talking about?”

As he took his time to answer, a realization set in. Young women Beth’s age might have some attraction to them, but often they just didn’t have a feminine way about them quite like someone his mother’s age did. He flinched at having such a thought. Could that be it? Am I really starting to get into older women?

Beth noticed something had struck him. “What?”

“I’m just saying,” he had to be careful, “she’s smart, she’s attractive. There are men who would be more exciting for her. Make her happier.”

“Quit trying to decide what you think she should have, and just accept what she does want.”

“I don’t care what you say. I don’t think she really wants him.”

“Oh yeah? She’s thinking he’s ready to pop the question.”

He gulped. His gut clenched.

“And,” Beth delighted, “she wants him to.”

A mix of feelings rushed over him, from the memory of his parents divorcing years ago to the doubt he felt about Gary. He couldn’t help reacting with strong dread to what he was hearing.

“Listen, I’ve got nothing much against Gary. I don’t. I just think… . I think she should live a little. Have more excitement in her life.”

“More excitement?” She almost choked, and he had to admire that she never seemed to get any salad dressing on her sharp suit. Not a speck. “You missed all of that.”

“Huh?”

“You weren’t around. Admit it. You stayed off at college while bahis siteleri Mom and Dad divorced. And then, once she divorced, you buried yourself in starting your job, when she… .”

“She?”

“Dated around. Hung out.”

“Dated around? Mom hung out?”

“Yeah.”

“I don’t remember anything like that. I absolutely don’t. What are you even talking about?”

“I’m saying she’s already dated, and then she met Gary. And now for three years, he’s stayed right there. Loyal and everything.”

“And everything.” He couldn’t help some sarcasm.

Beth offered more. “See for yourself. Friday night after work we’re all meeting for drinks. Hang out and give it more of a chance.”

He downed some water to wash down his lunch, and he churned. Beth had to have all this wrong.

His mom dated around? What the fuck did she really mean? How much did she really know, and just not want to say?

And, this notion of his mom wanting to get engaged to Gary? Had she really sunk to this? Surely she wouldn’t make such a mistake.

Their lunch didn’t leave him lighthearted today. Today was different. It left him with a burning.

3.

Friday night’s crowd was lively, but fortunately they had a corner table to themselves. His mom sat there with Gary at her side, Beth sat across from them, and his mom’s friend, Chelsea, sat across from Tom.

This suited Tom fine. He and Chelsea chatted, and even though she was much older, there was an appeal to her he couldn’t quite put a label on. Femininity. It’s what he kept coming back to. A gentleness. And some unique confidence. The kind that comes from knowing yourself. His mom had it, too.

The music sounded energetic, and the beer was ice-cold, but he was only going to indulge with one. He planned to hit the office early Saturday morning. Tonight, he’d make his appearance, buck-up his mom, and then cut out.

Chelsea focused on him, and as she worked on her second chardonnay, he thought he saw her glimpse at his mouth a couple of times. She’d been friends with his mother forever, and from how she was responding, she too was with someone that didn’t excite her.

They were laughing back and forth when he noticed his mom watching them out of the corner of his eye. Glancing over, he saw Gary, chugging his beer and enraptured with whatever Beth was telling him. He smiled to his mom, and she grinned back. She made a weird look to Chelsea and then eyed him briefly. Afterwards, she made herself try to get interested in Gary’s conversation with Beth.

An older dance song started, and he noticed his mom’s shoulders start to sway. Surely, Gary would take her to dance; she was into the song. Gary’s attention never left Beth.

Tom interrupted Chelsea. “Excuse me.”

Up from his seat, Tom rounded the table. Ellen looked up at him just as he got to her. Her eyes widened.

His hand went for hers. “C’mon, let’s go dance.”

There was no hiding her surprise, but she didn’t hesitate. She accepted his hand and hopped to her feet. Off they went to the dance floor.

Once dancing, it was Tom who was trying not to betray his own surprise. He moved in time with the music, but she was unabashedly getting into its rhythm. And, not in some sloshed, out of control way, but in the smooth, instinctive way someone does who loves the song.

Her swaying and her arms lifting into the air captivated at least two other men on the floor. Tom watched her as some stranger might, and had to admit she was alluring. Thin, black blouse and designer jeans. What is this? He’d never seen her dance anything like this. Then again, how much had he really ever seen her dance?

In a strangely appealing way, she didn’t look all about at others or to anywhere else. She didn’t stay locked on his eyes, but she kept her focus on him. At times her blue eyes seemingly glowed.

Near the end of the song when it was reaching its peak, she synched her arms and legs in such a way that drew a long up-and-down gaze from him. He couldn’t help a pang of embarrassment when his eyes came back to hers. How would she show her disapproval?

Instead, her mouth slightly parted, and she slowly grinned. He chalked it up to her just taking it easy on him. And to her own chardonnay.

Walking back to the table, she pulled close to his side. In his ear, she spoke distinctly. “Thank you. I loved that.”

He politely smiled back. “Yeah? Me too.”

He figured everyone was indulging well enough without his help, so he said his goodbyes all around. Even tried to be nice to Gary. Gary reacted warily.

Heading to the door, suddenly Ellen was at his side.

“I’ll see you out. I need to go to the ladies’ room.”

When they reached the front door, she stood close, her hand pulled strands of her honey-brown hair behind her ear. She licked her lips in a way that signaled nervousness to him. He didn’t see any need for nerves on her part, but it was there nonetheless.

Their eyes held on each other’s a sustained bahis şirketleri moment, before she mustered something to say.

“Please don’t go seducing my friend.” Ellen half-grinned but also squinted her eyes. Was this a scold? Or maybe a dare?

“Me? Seduce her?” He feigned surprise.

“She’s happily married, Tom.”

“Then, there’s nothing to worry about.” He set his chin in a defiant way he was trying to stop doing with her. He worried it was too oft-putting. At least to her.

“She’s my close friend. I’d do anything to protect her.” This time she openly smirked. He liked the playfulness he saw on her face.

“Oh, is that right?” What is she even meaning?

“Even if it meant getting in your way.”

He chuckled. “So, you’d block me then?”

She made an exaggerated sigh. “You’re lucky you’re my son.”

“Well then, yes I am.” In an impulse, he used his hand to tilt her chin up at him, and he leaned to her and pecked right at her lips.

He couldn’t remember ever having kissed her on the lips as an adult, but the stunned reaction on her face was worth it.

Turning from her, he went on out of the bar. One last look over his shoulder pleased him. She still stared to him, wide-eyed.

4.

Throughout his Saturday, he kept wondering. There were work reports and back-up documentation for his trades he had to complete, but over and over, he came back to their banter from Friday night. Was she actually flirting with me?

They were at least daring each other. Why was he letting himself get so distracted by this? He had considered finding some new challenge, but this was ridiculous. My mother?

Yet, time and again, his mind wandered back to her dancing. Her arms waving about in the air, and the carefree expression beaming from her face. Never, ever had he seen this side of her. And around midday, his curiosity prompted a question that stopped him hard.

What else don’t I know?

Why? Why did this stay with him? Was he so restless, so damn bored, that his own mother was distracting and intriguing him?

It’s not boredom. She’s attractive.

By early afternoon, he was admitting he was enthralled. Sonya hadn’t derailed him like this. No recent woman had interrupted his thoughts over a weekend like this.

And what about her? What does she think? Is there any way in the world she’s thinking about me, like I’m thinking about her?

He decided he had to find out. It was likely she had messed with him to try to taunt him. He’d find out. The whole player thing. Or, maybe the Chelsea challenge. Not seducing her married friend. He had to see if there was a way to make her relent from teasing him back. Was that what he was doing? So much analyzing it repeatedly was clouding things for him.

There was one thing he could do.

He snatched up his phone, and he went right for her number. His stomach flipped some, so he decided he was doing the right thing. She had no idea how determined he could be.

She picked-up after the first ring. “Tom?”

“Hey.”

“Hey, how’s it going?”

“Good, good. Just been knocking out some work in the office.”

A soft laugh on her end. “Careful. Too much work and not enough play will make you dull, you know.”

Is this really my mom on the other end?

“Uh,” he stammered, “well, it hasn’t been all work. Been thinking some about last night, too.”

“Yeah?”

He gave it a moment. Expected she’d remark about their banter. Or, their dance. Or, his kiss of her. But… nothing.

“Yeah.” He rallied some. Decided not to shrink from what he wanted, which was to take his curiosity further. “I had fun with you last night.”

“You did?” The way she said it convinced him she was smiling. “Me too, Tom.”

Again he left an opening for her to add more, but nothing came. Doubt set in. But he was this far.

“I saw there was this cool exhibit down at the city museum. Let’s go. I can come pick you up.”

“Wow, how wild. You know I love exhibits.” She was slowing down her words, so he knew she was thinking things over.

“Great, I can head over.”

“Uh, geez. It’s after three, Tom. You’ll get here after four. Even if it’s just a couple of hours, that puts me getting over to Gary’s late.”

“Well–”

“We always get together Saturday night. We just do.”

Fuck Gary.

“No, no. I won’t get you home too late. I’m really wanting to see this, and I know you love going to them.”

“I wish I could.”

“I want to go with you.”

“You do?” The pitch in her voice said she didn’t believe him.

“I won’t have you home too late.”

Silence from her end prompted a jab from him.

“Guess I can call Chelsea.”

A giggle from her. “What time are you picking me up?”

He smiled.

5.

In the museum’s sparsely lit halls, he surprised himself. Though huge, expensive paintings hung from the walls, he spent more time taking her in. Undoubtedly, she had to notice, but she didn’t let on.

The rest of the crowd saw an older, elegant woman taking her time appreciating the art. The pink fit-and-flare midi dress. Discreet necklace and earrings. Unassuming.

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