A Taste of A Life Less Monogamous – Chapter 5
Bruce Shepard loved to walk behind his wife. Watching her move through a room held such pleasure. The obvious, of course, her shapely figure, toned from exceptional gym discipline, the recognition that sexy didn’t mean stick-skinny, and great genes. Tone and curves from top to bottom. That was mere window dressing, however; the real reason Bruce loved to walk behind Paige was to see her effortless glide.
Truly she was better at owning a room than he, and it gave him something to aspire to, to work toward. Everywhere she walked, she belonged. He smiled. The first time he had laid eyes on her was in high school. Paige Norton, cheerleader. Cheering in the red and white pleats and pompoms of the North Bend Wildcats. Her hair was big then, everybody’s was, and it bounced in the flickering stadium lights, shining like a beacon.
A quarterback had watched the head of the squad, smiling and planning to ask her out that night, after the game, after a Wildcat win. Perhaps he’d throw her over his shoulder to take her out for a meal and then to the victory party. Paige had different ideas, and told the quarterback, whose name Bruce could no longer remember, that she really appreciated the offer, but had to decline.
After the Wildcats lost, and the team had left the field to support staff and cleanup, Bruce asked what she had planned for the night. “Well, I suppose whatever you’re about to ask me to do,” she’d responded with a gleaming smile, zipping closed her duffel bag. He still remembered the bits of pompom sticking out of the zipper. She’d been distracted. Flustered even. Or was he giving himself too much credit?
Their first conversation lasted for two and a half hours in the chilly Midwestern late October, on cold bleachers, until the lights of the outdoor stadium snapped off, drinking the unsold hot chocolate from the refreshment stand that Bruce ran for the extra credit that came with the job. Their first kiss had followed that conversation. Hard to believe that thirty years had slid by, almost as if by magic, unnoticed.
“You look proud of yourself,” said Paige, moving close to him.
“Nostalgic.” Bruce smiled. “And suddenly wishing I had some hot chocolate.”
“Perhaps the afterparty could have hot chocolate,” she suggested and kissed him on the cheek. “How’s your friend?”
“Jennifer?” asked Bruce. “She’s the kind of girl to make you wish you spoke a little French.”
Paige’s eyes sparkled. “Well then, cheers!” She clinked her glass with Bruce’s before turning pouty. “Barbara is furious.”
Bruce slung his arm over Paige’s shoulders. “Barbara is not furious, I assure you.”
“She’d like me to think she is.”
He shrugged. “She’s just concerned about her friends. I mean it’s not like you were plying this one with liquor.”
Paige leaned forward conspiratorially. “I think Barbara poured half a bottle of Moscato into her in the kitchen.”
“See, we’re entirely innocent, and Barbara has nothing to worry about.”
She lifted her eyes to his, and he saw the sparkle again. “Of course not. We don’t bite.”
“Much.” He kissed her forehead and held her in his embrace. Being nearly a foot taller allowed him to keep his lips pressed against her forehead, or nuzzle into her hair, which he did whenever, just to get a glorious whiff of this remarkable woman. “And what do you think of them?”
“She’s lovely,” Paige said.
Paige looked back up and smiled wide. “Yum. I’ll have to drag him away from the boys downstairs.”
Bruce smiled, seeing in her devilish face the girl who had suggested they make out in the refreshment stand after the next home game, and then suggested far more than making out. “Drag away, beautiful.”
They pulled apart to go their separate ways, but first, Bruce ran his finger alongside his nose and winked at her.
She smirked and nodded. “You’re a big dork.”
“Hey,” he replied. “It was cool enough for Newman and Redford!”
“They were too cool for school.”
“And me?” he asked.
She held her hand out and tilted it from side to side. “Eh…”