by Ted Laramie

As Susan drove the last stretch home, she couldn't help but press the accelerator a bit deeper than usual.  Her car zipped passed the neighborhood houses, which were of mostly brick construction, with two car garages and freshly mulched islands of spring flowers.  It was Thursday, and the packages, when they came, always came on Thursday.  Approaching her house, she leaned forward and gripped the wheel tightly with both hands.  Her eyes searched the front porch.  It was there!

She didn't bother pulling into the garage; instead, she parked in the driveway and hurried as best she could out of the car.  She lumbered up the front walk, struggled with the few steps, and with a slight groan, picked the box up from the mat.  Her bad knees complained, but in her excitement she couldn't hear them.  The box was exactly like the others -- plain and smallish, neatly taped, her address hand written in block letters, but no return label whatsoever.  She shook it gently, listening to its rustle at its side.  It was light as a dream.

With both arms, she pressed it to her chest.  The afternoon sun had warmed the cardboard and it felt nearly human against her breasts.  Tucking it under her arm, she unlocked the front door and went straight to the kitchen drawer to retrieve the scissors.

With great care, she slid the blade down the box's center, cutting the tape without threatening the insides.  Beneath the flaps, was a sheet of gently tucked tissue paper, purple with a spiral pattern.  She shook her head.  What kind of man used tissue paper?  A sensitive one, to be sure.  She pulled it away and, beneath it, found a neatly folded tank top, yellow and soft.  Looping her index fingers under its straps, she raised it from the box, letting it unfurl in the sunlight that streamed through the kitchen windows.  How beautiful!  And just her size.  How did he know without asking?  He had an eye for such things.  He knew her style precisely.  She couldn't wait to put it on, but there was more.

At the bottom of the box lay a small card, blue with a line drawn flower on the cover.  A ten dollar bill peeked out from its edges.  She picked up the card, set the bill aside, and read the handwritten note:


The excitement of it all opened the flower deep inside of her.  The written words, spoken in her head with a deep, sure voice, filled her with dizzying delight - I LOVE YOU.  He'd never said that before.  This definitely made a difference.  Perhaps this Saturday would finally be the day, the day he approached her and made himself known.  It was all too much!

She'd been waiting for months, dutifully wearing the beautiful clothes he sent, to the places he told her, at the times he expected.  She'd followed his directions to the letter, hesitant and skeptical at first, but now with duty and longing.  Each Saturday had passed with her sitting at a bar, or a park bench, or a particular seat at a museum, but each Saturday passed without him.  The mystery of it all drove her crazy!  He had to know it.  He must enjoy the game of it as much as she did.  Why else would he drag it on as he had for months?

Some women might be afraid or annoyed or threatened.  She, on the other hand, felt special, chosen; her body flooded with want for him as she sat in the places he told her to go, no longer another face in the crowd, but a face for him, the only face he watched as he sat somewhere in the distance, wanting her too as she waited and wanted him.  Perhaps this time he'd finally show himself.  And if he did, she knew exactly how she'd repay him -- with the same slow and tantalizing kisses that he'd put in every box he'd sent her.

She took the little card to the mantle and set it up next to the others.  Then she went upstairs, stripped off all of her clothes, put on the tank top and the earrings he'd bought her prior; then, she laid down in the bed to masturbate.

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Her mother Helen had told her again and again that if she put a little effort into her appearance and actually went out to places instead of sitting at home, she'd meet someone, the right one.  She'd tried everything; now, at least, Susan seemed to be listening.