Spirits in the Material World, Part 2 by storyteller0112
All persons are over the age of 18, and all characters and locations are totally fictional.
Alan awoke to his alarm at 6:30, the radio playing Sonny and Cher's 'I Got You, Babe'. Refreshed from a good night's rest, he performed his S3 tasks and dressed for work in dress slacks and a long-sleeved blue shirt (no tie), then headed down to the kitchen. As he approached, he saw the kitchen illuminated and heard some 80's classic rock, which brought a smile to his face with good memories.
Tom was up and had the coffee made and was working on French Toast at the stove.
"Coffee's ready, Dad. Do you have time for some breakfast before you have to leave?" Tom asked, noticing Alan's entrance.
"Yeah, son, I have time for a couple of pieces."
"Here you go, then," Tom said as he placed two slices on a plate and gestured to the kitchen table where there was silverware and syrup and butter ready. He then pulled out a coffee mug and poured for Alan, knowing he took it black.
"Thank you very much, Tom. Is this your penance for not having cooked yesterday morning?"
"Yeah, pretty much. What time should we expect you home tonight?"
"Today it's 8 to 5 with an hour for lunch, so probably 5:30ish. The menu for tonight is spaghetti and meatballs with garlic bread and a green vegetable. Any chance you guys can handle this for me, please?"
"Sure, Dad. Supper will be ready at 6:00. We'll take care of it."
"What plans have you made for today?" Alan inquired.
"I was going to take Julie out and show her around the downtown area, get outside for a while. Don't know what is on David's agenda, though."
"Probably not much. His car's in the shop, possibly non-resurrectable. I'll be expecting a call from Miller Auto Repair about their diagnosis. Worst case, he and I will have to do some car shopping this week."
Alan finished his breakfast, wiped the dab of syrup from his lip, and poured the remainder of his coffee into a "Go Cup" and filled it from the coffee pot. "Thank you, son, for making breakfast. I'll see you, folks, tonight. I love you and be safe while you're out." And Alan headed out the door to go to work while Tom returned to flip some more French Toast.
= = =
Julie awoke at the sound of Alan's departure and smelled the coffee, bringing a smile to her face. That's right, she thought, Tom is on breakfast duty today. She levered herself out of bed and pulled on the sweatpants and t-shirt from Saturday. She gave her hair a paltry 50 strokes of her hairbrush before deciding that Tom would just have to accept her as she was. Pocketing her cellphone and stopping by the bathroom on her way, she noted that her monthly visitor was still present but starting to ease. Mouthwash, toothpaste, and soap were applied in proper quantities and locations, and she lightly skipped down the stairs.
There was about half of the pot of coffee, still warming, and a platter of French Toast on the kitchen table with syrup and powdered sugar at the ready. After greeting Tom with a hug and a kiss while he finished up the breakfast preparation, she reached in the refrigerator for her creamer to "properly enhance" (some might say "pollute") her mug of coffee, or to at least render the brew acceptable to her palate. She plunked herself down in a chair at the kitchen table and forked some breakfast onto her plate.
"Tom are you about done there yet?" she inquired.
"Yep, this is the last round, hot off the griddle, right now." Tom added four more slices to the top of the stack. He then sat down in the chair across the table from Julie with his replenished coffee mug and began to serve himself. He chose to sit across from Julie rather than next to her because he loved to look at her. It satisfied something deep within him to watch her, to see her enjoy his handiwork.
"So, your dad's gone off to the salt mines for the day, I suppose."
"So, whatever are we going to do with ourselves today?" Julie teased.
"Well, I thought we might go downtown and just walk around and I'd show you around our fair city's shopping district if that would be acceptable to you," Tom replied.
= = =
David woke to sunlight inching across his bedroom floor. He was quiet, listening for any noises in the house. He heard some voices, probably Tom and Julie given the timbres, and smelled something having been cooked for breakfast. He arose, dressed in a t-shirt and shorts, addressed bodily necessities, and made his way to the kitchen.
"Look who's among the living," teased Julie. "I'm just teasing, David."
"Yeah, it's bad enough getting that crap from Tom; now I've got to put up with it from you," David answered with a smile.
"Hey, at least we saved you some French Toast, although you might have to nuke it for 30 seconds first," Tom joined in the scrum. "Did you have any plans for today? Your car's not available, you know."
"I haven't coordinated anything with anyone, yet. I might ask Andy, Will, and Jon to come by; maybe play some D&D or Risk," David responded. "Probably will just chill here for today."
"That's cool, bro'. Could you get the pasta and sauce going around 5:30?"
"I'll see if I can squeeze it into my hectic vacation schedule, bro'."
They finished up breakfast, rinsing the dishes, silverware, and pans, and placing the items in the dishwasher. The three then remounted the stairs and dressed for the day.
= = =
Alan's day was uneventful. So many people were taking the week off on vacation that little progress could be achieved with his project. He wondered why the whole shop didn't just shut down for the whole week, but then that would not be fair to customers. So, after canceling the standing weekly meeting for his project team, he did his best to appear busy and productive. Planning for a worst-case scenario (David's car being unrepairable), he started some research into quality used cars. He was dismayed that the entry price was going to be at least double what he had intended, so expectations needed to be reset.
Around lunchtime, another project manager came by his desk and asked him to lunch. Maria was a very attractive divorcee who had been hesitantly pursuing Alan. Today she was in a very nice cream silk blouse with a navy blue jacket and knee-length skirt and wore relatively short 2" heels. Two of the buttons on her blouse were unfastened, showing nothing but hinting at more.
Alan agreed, and they took her car to a nearby TGI Friday's restaurant. He was his usual perfect gentleman, opening her door, holding her hand as she exited the car, opening the door to the restaurant, and even pulling out her chair before seating himself. They talked about the dearth of populace in the office and the impacts of said dearth on their projects. They shared ideas about ways to improve sharing between projects. When they were finished with lunch, Alan again helped Maria out of her chair and on with her jacket.
She twisted in her seat, and her skirt slit gapped briefly, showing a lot of nylon covered leg, which caught Alan's attention. And then the gap disappeared, but not before Maria noticed Alan's interest. They returned to the office, and just before Alan opened his door, Maria allowed the slit to gap to show even more, including the dark welt at the top of her stocking and a little bit of tanned thigh. Startled, Alan fumbled for the door release lever, and a twitch occurred in his groin. Then he got control, exited the car, and helped Maria out of her side. Twisting her hips to swing her legs out of the car, she allowed even more of both nylon encased legs to be displayed, very deliberately teasing Alan. She intentionally stumbled slightly and allowed the back of her hand to graze Alan's groin, proving that her teasing had been quite effective.
"Alan, you are such the gentleman. Thank you for the lunch company," Maria said.
"Y- y- you're welcome, Maria," Alan stammered. "Thank you for gracing me with your company."
And they entered the office to finish working the rest of the day, each wrapped in their thoughts.
Alan reviewed what he knew of Maria Villamonte. She had been divorced for more than a couple of years, had two children in middle school and high school, and wasn't known for playing around. She was an effective project manager and today was the first day he could recall her wearing a skirt or dress. She had a nice figure, nothing too blatantly excessive, and pleasant voice, and had expressive brown eyes.
Maria, once she returned to her desk, thought about Alan's reactions. She had decided over the weekend to ratchet up her game of pursuit of Alan, hoping that this week would be abnormally quiet, work-wise. She smiled while reviewing his reactions to her self-display. It had been nearly a year and a half since his wife died, but he certainly wasn't dead.
At 4:30, she took her next steps. She rummaged in her purse, then headed to the ladies' room where she applied a dab of perfume on each wrist. She also unbuttoned a button on her blouse. Checking her makeup and fluffing up her hair, she decided all was as good as it was going to get for now. She then made her way to Alan's cubicle and desk and tapped her fingernail on the cubicle partition frame.
Surprised, Alan looked up and pushed back in his chair. Maria stepped into his cube and leaned/sat on his desk, her right leg planted and her left one crooked, opening up the slit in her skirt. Alan started to say something, but Maria placed her finger on his lips and shushed him. The newly applied perfume on her wrist smacked his sense of smell, and the sight before him was a bit surprising but very pleasing nonetheless. Her leaning forward to place her finger on his lips caused the blouse to open slightly, and her pale-yellow bra began to be displayed along with more hints of the treasures contained therein.
"Alan, I know you've been alone for over a year now, and I really would like to get to know you better, socially. Obviously, we cannot do ANYTHING here at work, but perhaps an evening out might not go amiss?" she inquired. She allowed the shoe on her left foot to slip and dangle from her toes. Alan's eyes seemed to be everywhere on her frame, and the dangling shoe dropped to the carpet, causing his gaze to focus there. He immediately fell to his knees, picked up the shoe, and caressed Maria's nyloned foot as he restored the shoe to its proper place.
His caress, all too brief in her estimation, sent a bit of a shock through her system. She did not expect him to do that, and the tingles in her sensitive areas surprised her greatly. They both groaned very softly, and then Alan returned to his chair. His erection bulged in his pants, and Maria was paying close attention. She stood up and asked, "Alan, would you please consider going out to supper with me? Tony and Ami are both over 13 and can be left alone for a few hours. Tomorrow, after work?" She pressed the issue, not giving him much time to consider, but insisting on an answer.
Alan blew out his breath, sucked in another, and responded. "Yes, Maria, I think I would like to go for supper with you tomorrow night. Do you like seafood?"
"Yes, I do like good seafood. Do you know of a good restaurant?"
"Sure do. The Bristol Grille has some of the best surf and turf in the area." The Bristol Grille was one of the priciest restaurants in the area, but the cost was well deserved for the quality and quantity of food and service provided.
"I've never been there, but I hear it's one of the best places around," Maria responded. "I'll need a little time to get home and get dressed then. Pick me up at 7 pm, please?"
"I'll try to get reservations for 7:30."
Maria stood up and reached out and dragged her fingernails gently along Alan's jaw and departed with, "I'm so looking forward to tomorrow night, Alan. Drive safely." And she practically skipped back to her cube.
= = =
David's friends Andy and Jon did come over, but they were lacking in the designated Dungeon Master, Will, so they settled on having a Risk marathon for about six hours. They ordered pizza delivered, and generally caught up with each other's lives since they split up and attended different schools. They texted Will and another friend, Larry, to be available to the group on Tuesday and Wednesday, and David did remember to start the supper preparations by 5:30.
= = =
After having had breakfast and separate showers, Julie and Tom dressed to be seen publicly and headed to the bustling commercial center that was downtown Middleburg. The weather was still pleasant, so they opted just for t-shirts, jeans, and pullover sweaters while they held hands and looked in all the windows of the six-block area that was downtown. They chose to have lunch at a corner diner and discussed late-minute logistics about their overnight journey to Centreville on Tuesday. The afternoon was spent wandering about the downtown area, hip to hip, and just enjoying the company and affection of the other. They returned to Tom's home just as the sun was going down.
= = =
Alan didn't realize it, but he had a grin on his face all the way home from work. Before he left the office, he called and made reservations for two at the Bristol Grille for Tuesday at 7:45. He parked his car in the garage and entered the house. The odors of pasta sauce with meatballs and garlic bread assailed his nose, and his grin became a full-fledged smile. All three of the younger set were in the kitchen and when they saw Alan, David informed him that supper would be ready in 10 minutes. Alan changed into sweatpants and a sweatshirt and joined the three at the dining table.
"Who cooked supper?" Alan asked.
"David did and we 'supervised'," Tom replied. "And thank you, David. You might just make somebody a nice little wife someday," he teased, a broad smile to indicate his teasing.
"Yes, David, thank you. Shall we pray?" Alan led in the asking of the blessing with the four having joined hands.
They dug into the food, and things were quiet as their mouths were full. Once everyone had had enough, Alan asked for their attention before clearing the table.
"I'm not going to be home for supper tomorrow. I'm having supper with one of the other project managers from work out at a restaurant. Tom, Julie, I recall that you will be with Julie's family tomorrow night up in Centreville, no?"
"Yes, Alan, we're taking off before 9:00 tomorrow and probably won't be back until 4:00 or 5:00 on Wednesday," Julie chimed in.
"Ok, so David I guess you're on your own for all of tomorrow. Any plans?"
"Well, seeing as I don't have any transportation of my own, I'm at the mercy of friends. The guys are going to pick me up around 10:00 and kind of play things by ear. Now that I don't have to cook supper tomorrow, we may have lunch and supper out."
"That sounds like plans for everyone then. I think I'll go read some until I get tired. Tom, would you please handle the cleanup duties?" Alan requested.
They went their separate ways for the evening. Julie helped Tom with the cleanup, and David disappeared to his basement studio for a while. With the cleanup done and the dishwasher running, the pair headed up to Tom's room for some couple time. Once there, she called her mother and placed her phone on speaker mode.
"Good evening, my daughter. Am I on speaker? It sounds like it," Rose inquired.
"Yes, I have Tom here and we're just doing some last-minute planning for tomorrow and Wednesday. Do you need us to bring anything specific?"
"I'll get the turkey breast in the crockpot tomorrow morning before I head to work, and Maggie can help get the rest of the food ready later. We'll eat around 6:00 if that works for you two. If Tom has anything that Thanksgiving can't do without, then I'd suggest that you bring that."
Tom joined in, "No, Mrs. Lawson, there's nothing that I have to have. Would you like us to bring a pie or two?"
"There's just the four of us, so one pie should be sufficient. A pumpkin pie with some Cool Whip, perhaps?"
"We'll bring it, Mom," Julie chimed in. "We're leaving here in the morning, so we'll be there long before you get off of work."
"Well, drive safely, dear one. I'll let your sister know to expect you."
"I'm so looking forward to meeting both of you," Tom said.
"And we're looking forward to meeting you as well, Tom. Anything else, Julie?"
"That's it. Good night, Mom. Bye," Julie responded.
"Good night, my dear. Bye."
Julie then turned to Tom.
"My period's all done now. Are you feeling frisky?"
"For you, my dear, always!" Tom replied.
And with that, they undressed, turned out the lights, put their phones on to charge, and enjoyed each other quite thoroughly.
= = =
David began adding colors, using pastels, to the foxy caricature of Maggie. First, he used a lot of orange, then blended in some light brown. Black for the cute little fox nose, and finally the green, purple, and red on the fox's tails. He would come back and work on the blending of the colors more tomorrow night. And with that, he called it a night, turning off the lights on his way to his room. Once in his room, he lay in his bed and imagined an intimate relationship with a girl, projecting first his memories of Rebecca Walsh from 9th grade and then shifting to imaginings of Maggie Lawson. With the pressure relieved, he then slept very soundly.
= = =
Tuesday of Thanksgiving Week dawned with nary a cloud in the sky. Alan's alarm roused him at 6:30, and by 7:00 he was dressed for another rigorous day of combatting ennui at his office. Reaching the kitchen, he had to make the pot of coffee, as none of the others were yet awake. He prepared some raisin toast with butter, then sat at the kitchen table and waited for the coffee brewing to complete. He poured a mug of black coffee and sat eating his toast and pondering about his date that evening with Maria. Why had he agreed to go out with her tonight? Had Laura pushed him psychically? He'd have to come home from the office and change into a suit and tie. If he went to the office dressed like that, somebody would ask if he had an interview. Or a funeral to attend. He sighed. The loss of Laura just seemed to permeate his life. Forcing himself to get going, it was now 7:20. He finished his toast, took a big slug of coffee, and poured a go-cup for the trip to the office. And off he went.
Arriving at his office, there seemed to be even fewer cars in the parking lot than Monday, and he was able to park much closer to the office door than usual. Alan fired up his computer and refilled his go-cup with coffee while he waited for it to boot up. While returning to his desk, he saw Maria entering through the office doors. She saw him and waved, which he returned. Alan noted that Maria was wearing a dress today, a sunshine, daisy yellow which seemed to convey the sun's brightness inside the office space. She turned away and headed to her workspace, and Alan just stood there, watching her and sipping his coffee. Realizing he was staring, he jerked his head and sat at his desk, ready to take on the dreaded email beast. Said email beast was very sparse this morning, and he made sure to cancel the standing project meeting for 9:00, as there were only three members of the project team in the office this week.
"Now," he thought, "how to look busy for the rest of the morning?" Yet again, he wondered why the office didn't just shut down for this whole week, then remembered the customer support team needed to be available. He recalled that he had not yet heard from the folks at Miller Automotive Repair, so he took his cell phone and stepped outside the office into the sunlight to call them.
"I'm very sorry, Mr. Harrison, that we did not call you yesterday. The old car is repairable, but the list of needed repairs will exceed $4,000."