“Who’s Elle Shipley?”

     I froze, fork halfway to my mouth, staring at Mama. We were at the dining table having dinner. Daddy and my brother continued to eat, oblivious to my discomfort.

     Mama noticed my silence and looked up from cutting her chicken. “Well?”

     Carefully, I brought my fork down and cleared my throat. “Just a girl at school, Mama.”

     Across from me, Russell snorted. “One of the prettiest girls in the senior class. She’s smart, too. May even make valedictorian.”

     That impressed Mama. I could tell because her eyebrows raised and she got a little half smile on her face. “Really?” she said.

     I nodded mutely.

     “Well, she called for you today.”

     “She did?” I asked, heart in my throat. Except for the occasional knowing wink or charming smile, Elle hadn’t spoken to me since that sweet day at the river almost two weeks ago. I mean, I really didn’t expect much more – it’s not like we have the same friends, not to mention my reputation at school. People would start to wonder if she and I suddenly started hanging out together.

     Mama nodded. “This afternoon while you were at work,” she responded. “She said if you want tutoring in algebra, be at her house tonight around seven.”

     Algebra? I frowned as I considered. What’s she talking about? We haven’t talked about tutoring. We haven’t talked at all.

     “Elle Shipley’s going to tutor you in algebra?” Russell exclaimed, eyes wide.

     I blushed and glared at him. “What if she is?” I demanded.

     My brother scoffed. “Only that a girl that’s got everything going for her wouldn’t have anything to do with the class moron.”

     “Russell!” Daddy ordered. “Don’t talk about your sister like that!”

     Immediately dropping his head, Russell muttered, “Sorry,” though I knew he didn’t mean it.

     I nodded false acceptance and shoved my food around on the plate. Elle called about tutoring me in algebra? Surely she knows that’s a lost cause.

     “Eat your supper, Slow,” Daddy said.

     “Yes, sir.”

     Mama chided,”Don’t call her that, Leon.” She put on a false smile aimed at me, attempting to ease my non-existent hurt feelings. “Lisa’s a bright young woman.”

     Russell rolled his eyes though he didn’t say anything to draw attention to himself. I think everybody at the table but Mama knew that ‘bright’ wasn’t a word to use describing me. Or maybe she does know and just doesn’t want to believe it. I pondered that for a moment as I ate. Unable to leave the table until my plate was clean, I inhaled my dinner, barely tasting it. “May I be excused, please?”

     Daddy smiled and said, “Go ahead, Slow.”


     With a shrug, Daddy said, “That’s what she likes to be called, honey.”

     I scooted out of my chair and took my plate to the kitchen, ignoring the tired argument. Mama just couldn’t accept that I wasn’t the brain Russell was. Daddy and I were made of the same cloth, he said. Musically inclined, not mentally.

     Once my plate was in the sink, I headed out the back door. Flopping into the porch swing, I stared at the apple tree in our yard and considered what Mama said. Tutoring for algebra? I can’t fathom that. There are only two more weeks to school; no way I can pass algebra even with a tutor. Maybe she just wants to see me.

     Hoping this was the case, I rose and went back into the house. It was nearing five thirty and I had to get ready. My hands and face were clean enough for supper but the rest of me was filthy. After school I helped Franklin at the garage three afternoons a week and on Saturdays. There was good money to be had for decent mechanics and Franklin said I had aptitude. I had motor oil in places it shouldn’t be, however, so I took a shower.

     Wrapped in a towel, I stared in my closet, wondering what I should wear. I feel silly worrying about it but I can’t seem to help myself. Despite our wonderful meeting at the river two weeks prior, Elle still makes me as nervous as a long tail cat. It had gotten worse, if anything. When she was present, my mind was full of how her skin felt, how she tasted, the sound of her voice in passion. Even now I was blushing from head to toe.

     I frowned in disgust at myself, digging out a blue short sleeve button up that Mama always said looked good on me. Jeans and a sleeveless t-shirt finished it off. Not much different than what I wear most days, but I know I’d feel silly trying to be something I’m not. Back in the bathroom, I snuck a palm of Russell’s cologne and finger combed my nearly dry hair. I spent a few moments looking at myself in the mirror.

     “Hey, Elle. Long time, no see.” Frown. “Elle? You called?” Sigh. “Hey, Elle, how’s it going?” My watch said it was already six thirty; I needed to get going if I was going to be to her house by seven. I shook my head and decided to wing my witty opening when I got there. Clambering down the stairs, I hollered a goodbye to my parents and went out the door.

     The town we lived in was small enough that I was at Elle’s place in no time, even walking at my speed. She lived in a huge old house in the ‘good’ part of town. Her daddy’s a lawyer and makes decent money. I don’t know what her mama does; maybe she just stays home. I know my Mama would love to do that but we just can’t afford it.

     Loitering about at the picket fence, I eyed the house as I chewed my upper lip. I could feel the butterflies raging in my belly at the thought of going up to that door and I seriously considered returning home. It was one thing to see Elle, it was quite another to deal with her parents. The house was big and fine and I knew I didn’t belong. Before I could make a decision, the door opened and my heart thumped.

     Elle smiled in welcome, waving me toward her.

     God, she’s pretty. I was lost with that thought, surprised to find myself entering the gate and approaching the house with no other desire than to be in her presence. I am in so deep.

     Fairly humming with excitement, Elle grabbed my arm the moment I was near. Regardless of it still being light out, she gave me a peck on the cheek. “I’m glad you’re here, Slow,” she said. “I’ve missed you.”

     I swallowed against the immediate yearning to kiss her. “I missed you, too,” I mumbled, blushing.

     A wicked smile crossed her lips and she hugged my arm closer. “Come on inside. I’ll introduce you to my parents, then we’ll go to my room.”

     Frozen, I’m not sure which scared me worse – the dreaded parents or alone with Elle in a bedroom. The blood rushed away from my face and I seriously wondered if I would faint.

     I must have worried Elle, as well, because her grip on my arm tightened. “You okay” she asked in a concerned tone.

     Mouth dry, I croaked, “Yeah, fine.”

     She searched my eyes for a moment before becoming satisfied. Her perfume derailed my train of thought as she leaned close and whispered, “It’ll only be a few moments, Slow.”

     I felt like a zombie in the midnight movies as she tugged me into her house. The entry was nearly as big as my room and I found myself openly gaping. This is something right out of Dallas! Mama would be in heaven living here.

     We didn’t stay there long, Elle pulling me through an archway. “Mother, Father, I’d like you to meet Slow Phillips.”

     I’m not sure exactly what I was expecting. Her parents seemed nice enough and I could see that Elle took after her daddy just like I did. I guess it wasn’t what they were that caught my attention so much as what they weren’t. They were sitting on the couch, her mama reading a book and her daddy writing something on a yellow pad. My Mama was still in the kitchen doing dishes right about now and, when she finished, she’d probably be working in her garden or on a sewing project. Daddy would find something to occupy himself until the eight o’clock movie came on, then he’d camp in front of the television for the night. The only time my parents looked this crisp and clean were in the morning before work.

     Putting down his pad, Mr. Shipley parked his pen behind one ear as he rose and reached out to shake my hand. “Slow. Pleasure to meet you,” he said, his voice higher than I expected.

     Nervously, I wiped my hand on my shirt before taking his. “Thank you, sir,” I said.

     Elle’s mama raised an eyebrow when she heard my voice. I guess she was expecting me to be a boy. It happens often enough since I have short hair and next to nothing on my chest. “Slow,” she said with a nod. “That’s an interesting name.”

     “Yes, ma’am,” I mumbled, unsure of what to say.

     “It’s her nickname, Mother,” Elle said, gently squeezing my arm.

     Her daddy settled back onto the couch. “Our Elle tells us she’s tutoring you in algebra?”

     “Uh, yes, sir,” I answered.”That’s what I hear.” Still think it’s a lost cause, though.

     “Well,” he said with some pride. “She’s a whiz with numbers. I’m sure Elle can show you quite a few tricks.”

     I flushed, my thoughts diverting to some of the things she’d already taught me. “Uh…yes, sir. I’m sure she can.”

     Sensing my embarrassment, Elle pulled me through the archway. “We’ll be upstairs,” she told her parents before dragging me off.

     Blowing out a sigh of relief, I followed her up the stairs. Sidetracked from my discomfort, I found myself focusing on her lovely rear swaying gently in front of me as she led the way. Algebra! I’m supposed to be here for algebra!

     At the top of the stairs, Elle grabbed my hand, heading toward a doorway on our left. Pulling me through, she closed the door, leaned against it and drew me close. Settling my hand on her breast, she proceeded to kiss me senseless. After several long, blissful moments, she pulled away, panting, “I have been wanting to do that for two weeks.”

     Inhaling her perfume, I agreed. “Me, too.” Elle’s hand was still on mine and she squeezed it, causing me to grasp her breast. I could feel the nipple begin to harden beneath my palm. Before I could take advantage of the situation, I remembered that her parents were right downstairs. Blushing furiously, I stepped back. “Nice room,” I began with a cough, looking everywhere but at her. It was what I thought Elle’s room should be – white furniture, a vanity with a mirror that she could primp in front of, stuffed animals on a huge four-poster bed.

I should have known not to turn my back on her. Elle came from behind, running her hands underneath my shirt, finding my skin and scratching a long trail. Groaning, I closed my eyes. “Elle,”I warned.

     “What?”she asked, her voice full of false innocence. She tickled my belly, chuckling as the muscles twitched. “I’ve missed you. I want you to touch me, Slow.”

      Shaking my head, I forced myself to pull out of her reach. “Your folks are right downstairs, Elle,”I explained patiently, wishing that we were at the river. Memories of our mutual discoveries there made my mouth dry.

      Elle snorted. “So? They won’t come up, Slow. They never do.”She took a step forward and I took one back. Piqued, she stood, hands on her hips. “You certainly don’t think I asked you over here to tutor you?”

      My eyes roamed her room. “Uh…no…I wasn’t sure, but I thought you were smart enough to know it would be a waste of time.”My eyes widened as they fell on the most beautiful thing besides Elle I’d ever seen. “You have a guitar?”I asked, going over to eagerly study the instrument leaning in a corner.

      “Yeah. My father gave it to me a couple of years ago for my birthday.”She settled on the edge of her bed.

      My fingers fairly twitched in desire. “Mind if I…?”I asked, looking over my shoulder, a pitiful hangdog expression on my face.

      Elle tried to stay irritated but a smile broke through. Laughing, she waved at me. “Go ahead.”

      With something akin to awe, I gently scooped up the guitar. It was dusty and I wiped the edge of my shirt over its face, smiling at the beauty that shined through. “My Daddy’s got one but it’s near as old as he is,”I explained, looking for somewhere to sit. Elle’s presence was still unnerving so I elected to settle on her vanity bench.

      “Have you been playing long?”Elle asked, leaning back as she watched me tune the instrument.

      I nodded, a smile on my face. “About ten years. I found Daddy’s in the shed when I was goofing off. A day hasn’t gone by that I haven’t played a little.”Fiddling around, I found my place and rendered a bit of a blues song.

      Sitting forward, Elle smiled. “That’s good, Slow,”she said.

      “Thank you,”I said, flushing.

      “I could never get the hang of it. My father even arranged lessons but I really wasn’t interested. It’s just been collecting dust here.”

      A sense of mild horror washed over me. This guitar’s too…beautiful to leave in a corner! I began playing a song I’d composed, amazed at how well she handled. She’s much more responsive than Daddy’s. When I was finished, I looked up to see Elle watching with rapt attention.

      Seeming to shake herself, Elle said, “You’re really good, Slow.”

      “Yeah?”I asked with a pleased grin.

      “Yeah,”she nodded. “I’d buy your CD in a hot second.”

      The blush returned full force. “Thanks,”I said, the word not adequate enough to express how I felt. My heart was, simply put, soaring.

      “You want it?”

      What? Want what? I blinked at her.

      A smile grew on her face. “Do you want to keep the guitar?”she asked, eyes twinkling.

      Astounded, I stared at Elle, my thoughts short-circuiting.

      Impishly, she leaned back again. “Of course, you’ll have to pay for it. No freebies for you. Think we can work something out?”

      Pay for it? Work something out? The money I made at Franklin’s mostly just bought my essentials. I didn’t have anything to really work with. Sighing, slightly dejected, I rose and returned the guitar to its corner. “I can’t afford something as nice as this, Elle.”Gingerly, I sat back down on the vanity bench.

      “Oh, I think you can.”

      Her voice was throaty and reminded me that I was alone with her as she lounged on the inviting bed. I stuttered, “H…h…how?”

      Elle appeared to consider my question. “How much can you afford?”She leaned further back on one elbow, bringing her free hand down to draw patterns on her belly.

      “Not much, really,”I said. “Most of my money goes to Mama and Daddy.”I watched her hand, all moisture heading south as she traced along the buttons to the top of her blouse.

      “If money’s a problem,”she said, unfastening the top button, “we could always find another way.”

      The second button came undone and then the third. Her fingers slipped inside and I think I might have whimpered. “Like, uh, what?”I finally croaked.

      “Well,”Elle said in a matter of fact tone, “you can always come over here and make me scream your name.”

      “I could…I could what?”I whispered, eyes round.

      Her fingers dipped down and she half closed her eyes. “Mmmm, I think you heard me, Slow,”she murmured.

      Regardless of how interesting her activities were, my gaze slid towards her door. “But, Elle! Your folks!”I whispered.

      “I’ve told you that my parents won’t come in here.”She raised a lazy eyebrow at me. “But if you’re worried, you just sit right there, Slow. I’ll take things into my own hands.”Elle opened another button, the gap in her shirt spread far enough for me to see the lace of her bra. “We’ll discuss the cost of the guitar later.”

      My mouth worked but nothing would come out as Elle deftly opened her bra. Slipping her hand inside, I watched as she stroked her skin, noting where it appeared she pinched her nipple. She let out a soft moan, transferring her attentions to the neglected breast. By now I had leaned forward on the bench, elbows on knees as I longed to be the one touching her.

      It was quite some time that she alternated between her breasts, rubbing, pinching, moaning. I swear I was drooling down my chin and panting like an old hound dog on a hot day. Elle finally had enough of this and she rose to her feet. In response, I sat up, placing my hands on my thighs as I watched her, warily wondering if she’d try to get me involved again. This apparently wasn’t her aim, though.

     Tugging her blouse from the waistband of her skirt, Elle whispered, “I was waiting for you today, Slow. I prepared myself for you, wanting your touch.”She gave me a sultry look that nearly had me on my knees before her. Kicking off her shoes, she climbed onto her bed and knelt at the corner, using one of the posts to lean against. Her blouse was hanging open and she returned to touching herself.

      As her eyes closed I found myself leaning forward again, scooting to the edge of the bench.

      One hand continued its activity beneath her blouse, half hidden. After a particular rough pinch, she let out a groan that I echoed. My eyes darted to her door as I licked dry lips in consideration. Another moan and she had my full attention as her free hand began traveling down her skirt, grasping at her thigh. With excruciating slowness, Elle’s skirt inched upwards, revealing tanned flesh. In response, I leaned down further, eager to see the treasures beneath though I’d had a full introduction to them two weeks ago.

      Thwarting me, Elle’s fingers slipped beneath the cloth before she revealed anything. I couldn’t help but grunt in displeasure, receiving a lustful smile and wink in return. I blushed at being caught out, but didn’t look away as her eyes slipped shut in concentration. Her lower hand obviously reached its destination because she gasped aloud, arching.

      I sat up again, ramrod straight as I ached to jump up and approach her, feel her. Again, the thought of her parents assailed me and I growled, dropping my head into my hands. Maybe if I don’t look.

      “Slow,”Elle half whispered, half moaned. “Mmmm…”Panting. “Every night I touch myself, wishing it were you.”Sighing. “Oh, Slow, you felt so good.”

      This is not working! I squirmed where I sat, feeling exactly what Elle was – the memory of her kisses, her fingers inside me, her breasts in my hands. I am surely dying! I’ve got to get out of here! Swallowing thickly, I stood, intent on leaving the room. I had no idea what to say to Mr. and Mrs. Shipley, but I really needed to leave before I was lost. Things were going well in that I got two steps to the door, but I made the mistake of looking back at Elle.

      Her skirt was hiked up now, her knees spread and fingers busy. I was rooted to the spot as I stared, watching as she caressed her sex, realizing in a heart stopping moment that she wasn’t wearing any panties and hadn’t been when she first met me on the porch. The vision of reaching under that skirt as we walked up the stairs and what would have met me was my ultimate downfall.

      Elle was far too busy to notice my change of heart until I kissed her thigh. Startled, she jerked before freezing, eyes wide. Once she knew it was me, Elle smiled and licked her lips. Running my hands up her thighs, I helped her shift off her knees. She scooted closer to the edge of the bed, stuffing a pillow behind her head.

      This had to be one of the best places in the world to be. The soft skin against my cheek, hands caressing my head, the smell of a woman’s excitement inches away. I vaguely wondered if it was like this with all women or just Elle, but the thought flew off when she spoke.

      “Slow, baby, please…”she half moaned, half whispered.

      I needed no further urging. Nibbling her thigh, I teased her, taking my time. It’s only fair since she tortured me to begin with. Soon, however, even I couldn’t keep up the pretense, I wanted her so badly.

      Elle gasped as my tongue slid across her. I sighed in pleasure, relishing the musky / salty taste of her. No doubt about it. Heaven can’t compare.

      She was slippery with excitement and I took a long, leisurely taste. My hands caressed her skin, skipping over the skirt hiked to her waist and under her open blouse. Elle was playing with her breast and I interrupted, pushing her hand away.

      Squeezing firmly, I rolled her nipples between thumb and forefinger, nipping at her clit at the same time. Elle bit back a moan, clutching my head at the attack.

      I figured I teased her enough. Besides, I wanted to feel and hear her orgasm. Gentling my attention, I settled into an easy massage, dipping my tongue inside of her every so often. Elle began thrusting against me, urging me faster as she reached the edge. I obliged until we were rocking one another.

      After a blissful eternity, Elle stiffened beneath me, strong thighs squeezing my head as she climaxed with a strangled groan. I continued tonguing her, letting her ride it out before easing off.

      I undraped her legs, rising to my feet and rolling my shoulders. Elle watched with a measure of lustful satisfaction. My best friend, Jeff, calls it the ‘just been fucked look.’

      “Mmmm, Slow, that was more than wonderful,”Elle murmured, reaching for me.

      I sat on the bed, not giving a damn about her parents downstairs. She crawled into my lap and I held her for a long time, caressing her blonde hair.

      “I want you to have the guitar, Slow,”she said. “As a gift. It’ll go to waste here.”

      My heart, already happy, felt like it was going to burst. “Really?”I asked.

      “Yeah.”Elle sighed and stretched in my arms, reminding me she was partially undressed.

      Parents? What parents? I brought my hand down and cupped her breast. “I think I need more tutoring.”

      Elle chuckled, blue eyes sparkling. “I think you do.”She kissed me, a pleasant inspection of my mouth. “Shall we get started?”