Stroked long, p.15
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       STROKED LONG, p.15

           Meghan Quinn
 

  “In my defense, I was riding the crimson tide.”

  “Ugh, gross. Ruby, don’t say that. You’re not an eighty-year-old woman. Just say you were bleeding out of your vagina.”

  I push my cart around a huge display of chips in the grocery store and say, “Yes, because saying I’m bleeding out of my vagina is so much more appropriate.”

  “Watch it,” an elderly woman says as she bumps into my cart. “And watch your mouth, you harlot.”

  “Gosh, I’m so sorry,” I apologize profusely, but the little wrinkle sac doesn’t even give me a second glance as she continues to bump into other shoppers on her way to the Poise Pads.

  God help me if I ever accost people while trying to buy products for my leaking bladder.

  “What was that?” Andrea asks.

  “Some old bird needing Poise Pads. Remember that time you tried on a pair of Poise Pads underwear and peed in them?”

  “Can we not bring up my past indiscretions? I’m trying to make it as a kindergarten teacher here. I don’t need people knowing I would get drunk, pull on some Poise, sit on the toilet, and pee.”

  “But those are some of my fondest memories of you.” I laugh, throwing some shampoo in my cart.

  “And that’s why I’m coming over tomorrow, so I can create some new memories, ones that won’t have me committed.”

  “I wish I could say everyone was doing it, but you were the only one brilliant enough to want to pee your pants.”

  “It was for science!” she shouts in the phone, making me laugh.

  “Thank God for science or else we would never know the capacity of pee a Poise Pad could hold.”

  “You’re just having too much fun with this, aren’t you? How about you tell me why you have a need to watch the Olympic trials, huh? Does this have anything to do with the sexy Bodi Banks?”

  She knows me all too well. Normally, I would have no need to watch the trials. The Olympics, yes of course, I’m an American, but the trials, eh, I could take it or leave it. But with being Bodi’s friend now, I want nothing more than to see him succeed. It has nothing to do with seeing his sexy, wet body emerging from the pool. Nope. Not. At. All. Liar!

  His friend. The thought makes me giggle. How cute was he, giving me flowers and asking me to be his friend? It made my heart melt into a puddle. He does that quite often actually with his boyish charm. Here is this two-, soon to be three-time Olympian, with the most amazing body I’ve ever seen, a voice so husky it makes your toes curl, and a smile that will make you orgasm right on the spot, toeing the floor shyly and asking if I can be his friend. Holy hell, how is someone supposed to say no to that?

  Do I want more? Uh yeah, I really want more between us, but I will take friendship right now because now more than ever, it looks like he needs one.

  Not wanting to confirm or deny my obsession with the reigning gold medalist, I say, “I’ve just become very interested in swimming lately. I took a class the other day, and I’m fascinated with the sport.”

  Andrea guffaws into the phone, not accepting my blatant lie whatsoever. “Okay, Ruby. Whatever makes you sleep better at night.”

  “I really am . . .” Everything in my brain shuts off as I turn the corner and make eye contact with the one and only Reese King. Three time Olympian, Reese King. Underwear model, Reese King. Voted as the Sexiest Man Alive, Reese King. Man with gorgeous tattoo, Reese King.

  Oh my God. Oh my God. Oh my God.

  “Uh, hello? Are you there?”

  In a wave of one sentence, I say, “Can’tTalkGotToGoReeseKingHereHotTattooInMyFaceCallLater.” I press the end button and stand still as he walks past me, not choosing to acknowledge my gaping mouth.

  Because I’m a nosey creeper, I glance in his cart and see shaving cream, dial soap, Swedish Fish—at least he eats sweets—and some naturally roasted almonds.

  Fumbling with my phone, I pull up Bodi’s name in my contacts and text him.

  Ruby: You will never guess who I made eye contact with at the grocery store.

  Putting my phone on top of my purse, which rests in the front seat of the cart, I wait for him to text back while I contemplate stalking Reese behind a stand of pickles.

  I don’t have to wait long because as I’m scooting closer to the next aisle to see if Reese is down there, Bodi texts me back.

  Bodi: Madonna?

  What? I laugh out loud, by myself, next to a shelf of dill pickles.

  Ruby: Why would you say Madonna? How does that even come to your mind?

  Bodi: I heard she was in town.

  Ruby: Yeah and I’m pretty sure she has assistants do her shopping for her.

  Bodi: You never know; she seems down to earth.

  Ruby: Well it’s not Madonna, sorry to blow the wind out of your sails.

  Bodi: And here I was going to ask you to have her autograph something organic for me.

  Ruby: I would have had her sign Oreos. What a treat that would have been for you.

  Bodi: Can’t let the Oreo thing go, can you? Okay, I give, who did you make eye contact with?

  Ruby: Reese King!

  He doesn’t respond right away which makes me nervous. I’ve always heard about their rivalry but I didn’t really buy into it. Whenever you see them on the pool deck together, they seem to act normal around each other. No glaring eyes, punches to the face, or kicks to the shin. But now I’m second guessing that thought.

  Making my way slowly down the aisles to see if Reese is still in the store, I stop abruptly when I see him standing in front of a stack of coloring books, hands on his hips and a scowl on his face.

  Does he like coloring? Adult coloring books are all the rage right now, and I have about five in my apartment at the moment. Maybe he wants to have a coloring party with me.

  Disguising myself next to a pile of two-liter Coke bottles, I stare at him, wondering which coloring book he’s going to choose, when my phone vibrates with a text.

  Bodi: I thought he would be here in Omaha already but his schedule doesn’t call for him to arrive until later. Go say hi.

  Ruby: Are you insane? I’m not going to go say hi.

  Bodi: Why not? He’s chill. Tell him you’re friends with me.

  Ruby: Yeah, because I’m sure people don’t lie about that all the time.

  Bodi: Why are you so nervous? You’re outgoing. Just say hi.

  Ruby: I don’t want to disturb him. He seems to be in deep thought.

  Bodi: Over what? You’re at the grocery store, what can be so consuming?

  Ruby: Coloring books. He can’t seem to choose one he likes.

  Bodi: Even more perfect. You know about art things. Just go say hi.

  Ruby: I can’t.

  I feel a blush creep up my cheeks from the mere thought of going up to him. I can fangirl—believe me, I know how to fangirl like a professional—but I fangirl like a professional to myself, never outwardly. I’m too much of a coward and honestly, I’m too concerned with bothering people. I don’t want them to get annoyed with me. If it were me who was famous, I would wear a sign that would say, I don’t mind, come hump my leg. That way no one would ever feel nervous to approach me.

  Looking over the soda, I scan Reese’s body for any kind of “hump my leg” sign but don’t see anything. Damn. Would he get mad if I approached him? Would he think I was insane if I ran up and said I was friends with Bodi Banks?

  Scanning my outfit, which is a purple dress, red cardigan, yellow flats and a green belt cinched around my waist, I can almost guarantee he would slink away, praying to the gods that I don’t try to pluck a hair from his head for a Voodoo doll.

  My phone beeps.

  Bodi: Are you really not going to say hi? I’m going to text him.

  That little comment shoots panic straight through my fangirling body.

  Ruby: DON’T YOU DARE BODI BANKS!

  Bodi: Lol.

  Lol. If only I got to see that in person. Did he really laugh out loud? A part of me thinks he did. And why do I find i
t so cute that he wrote “Lol”? Do guys usually write that?

  Ruby: Seriously, did you text him?

  Bodi: No, do you want me to?

  Ruby: NO! God, that would be humiliating. I’m trying to get a picture of him for you.

  Bodi: I know what he looks like.

  Ruby: Yes, but you’ve never seen him contemplating the multiple options in the coloring book world.

  Bodi: Something I’ve always wondered . . .

  Bodi Banks is a smart-ass in text messages. I kind of like it. Actually, I’m pretty sure I love it. Seeing him come out of his shell little by little is a small victory in my book.

  Angling my phone over the cap of a diet coke bottle, I zoom in on Reese who is running his hand through his hair, that distinctive tattoo bright as day, and I snap a picture.

  Ugh, it’s blurry.

  Trying for a better angle, I scoot a little closer. I lean on the bottles and poise my camera just as the bottles tilt, shooting me forward and straight onto the floor. Two liter cans whiz around me, one of them spurting out dark liquid and coating the floor, me, and to my horror, Reese.

  “Bloody hell,” I murmur as I scramble to find my feet, trying to get away from the screaming Coke bottle twirling around on the tile.

  “Hey, are you okay?” Reese asks from afar, dodging the Coke vomit with precision.

  “Good.” I wave him off, hiding my face and cowering next to my cart, trying to push it out of the way. But, of course, it’s stuck on the corner of the display.

  “Are you sure? Want me to call someone?” he asks, coming closer.

  “Not necessary,” I call out. Humiliation must be written all over my face. “Just getting some soda and, uh,” I look around at the displays near me and toss some Matchbox cars in my cart as well, “and some Matchbox cars. Can’t get enough of the little things. Zoom zoom,” I say with a shake of my fist. Stupid coloring book section. Not only am I creeper, stalking Olympic swimmers around the store, but now I’m a creeper with toy cars and a bottle of soda drenching my dress.

  “Can I at least call for a clean-up on aisle five?” His voice is jovial and all it does is make me blush some more.

  Waving him off, I ignore his question as well as his chuckle and take my cart to checkout. That’s what I get for creeping on a celebrity in the grocery store.

  I blame Bodi.

  Once I’m checked out and sitting outside my car, which was recently fixed, I pull out my phone and see a few texts from Bodi.

  Bodi: Did you do it? Did you say hi?

  Bodi: I’m assuming from your delay in response you must have introduced yourself.

  Bodi: Please tell me you steered him toward a My Little Pony coloring book. Knowing you, I have no doubt you would be able to convince him.

  The last text makes me smile. He’s right. Out of everyone, I’m pretty sure I would be the person who could sell a My Little Pony coloring book to a rugged, tattooed, and very handsome man.

  Well . . . not as handsome as Bodi. When it comes to the looks department, there is no doubt in my mind that Bodi Banks, oozing sumptuous man meat, takes the cake. Because, ha-cha-cha-cha *cue shimmy*.

  I don’t answer his question about My Little Pony. I do take a selfie of my drenched outfit which clings terribly to my body. Crap. I look like a used condom. A grape-flavored, or maybe cherry-flavored used condom. Well, that’s at least how I feel. Wet, deflated, and floppy.

  Pressing send, I wonder why I feel so comfortable with the man that I don’t mind sending him a picture of myself portraying dick plastic? Hmm . . . either I have no self-respect or I’ve come to the point in my relationship with Bodi that I believe he won’t run away screaming from my quirky behavior. I think it’s a little bit of both. My self-respect quota is lower than the average human, after all.

  Just as I start my car, a text beeps back from Bodi.

  Bodi: Should I even ask?

  I smile to myself, connect my phone to my Bluetooth and dial Bodi’s number. He answers on the first ring.

  “Do I even want to know?”

  “Depends. Are you interested in hearing a story about how I embarrassed myself so much I may never be able to show my face to Reese King ever again?”

  “I’m very interested.” There is lightness in his voice, causing my heart to leap in my chest.

  Baby steps. All it takes is baby steps.

  “Remember how I said I wanted to get a picture of him for you?”

  “Yes,” he sighs. “You know I see him all the time, right? I’m well aware of what he looks like.”

  I switch my blinker and turn right out of the grocery store’s parking lot. “Yes, but do you know what he looks like in his street clothes? Have you seen him in anything other than a crotch-hugging piece of Spandex?”

  “Nylon and Lycra.”

  “What?” I ask, slightly confused by his response.

  “Most suits are made of nylon and Lycra, not so much Spandex.”

  “Ugh,” I breathe into the phone, exasperated. “Technicality. Who is going to say nylon and Lycra when Spandex sounds so much better?”

  “Swimmers.”

  “You can be a real smart-ass when you want to be, you know that?”

  “I do. Want me to continue?”

  “No.” I chuckle. “Back to my story. Have you seen him an anything other than,” impersonating Bodi, I say, “nylon and Lycra?”

  “I have.”

  Blowing up my reasoning, I start to get slightly annoyed. “Of course you have. I’m going to assume you’ve seen each other’s penises as well. Tell me, have you kneeled in front of a bench with him, pant-less, cocks out, and laid them on top of the wood to compare girth and size?”

  There is silence on the other end and I wonder if maybe he hung up. I mean, asking someone if they’ve laid their dick on a bench with another naked man might be going a little far, but if I was to be honest, I think it might feel nice. A little dick shelf while you examine your skin flute. Who doesn’t want that? Add that to my list of things I would do if I ever grew a penis. Lay dick on wooden bench. What a delight.

  Bodi finally clears his throat and answers. “Can’t say we’ve ever benched our dicks together.”

  “Have you done it alone?”

  “Not so much.”

  “Are you thinking about doing it now?”

  A pause and then, “Kind of.”

  A deep laugh bursts out of me from Bodi’s confession. Never in my wildest dreams could I ever envision Bodi letting his dick loose and resting it on a locker room bench just for the hell of it. First off, it would never be clean enough for Bodi. I mean, would any normal person do that? I can hear him chuckling.

  “I would say take a picture for me but that crosses the line of friendship and goes into porno pals, and even though being porno pals sounds exciting, I don’t think we are there yet.”

  “Yeah, not much of a sexter.” Clearing his throat, he says, “So, we’ve covered porno pals, penises on benches, and seeing Reese in his normal clothes, but how did you get soaking wet?”

  “Oh right.” I stop at a red light and check my mascara-smeared eyes in the rearview mirror as I recollect my travesty in the market. “So I was trying to get a picture for you, you’re welcome by the way, when I leaned forward just a little too far and knocked over a display of two-liter bottles. Then they exploded all over me. The worst part, while they were whizzing carbonated liquid all over me, Reese had a front-row seat to my misery. He offered to call for a clean-up but I blew by him and ended up buying a box of Matchbox cars. You don’t happen to play with them anymore, do you?”

  “Matchbox cars?”

  “Yeah, you know, the little cars that are practically indestructible, the ones that are second to Legos in the old feet-crushing department.”

  “I know what they are. I’m just wondering why you bought them.”

  “Why else? Pure panic. I didn’t want it to look like I was staring at him. I had to keep my creeper status on the down-low.”
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  “You destroyed that status the minute you tumbled over the soda display. He no doubt knows you were creeping.”

  “Why do you think that?” I ask. There is no way he knew I was creeping. I bought Matchbox cars, for crying out loud. If that isn’t a good cover-up for being in that aisle, I don’t know what is.

  “Because he sent me a text about some girl who was creeping him in the grocery store.”

  My stomach drops and my entire body heats up. I can feel my cheeks blazing with embarrassment as I swallow the notion of Reese texting Bodi about my idiocy. Shit. No. Shit!

  “Are you kidding me? Oh my God! What did he say? I feel like puking.”

  A low chuckle starts on the other end of the phone, but it’s so low I almost don’t hear it.

  “Bodi? What did he say? Did he call me a freak? He did, didn’t he? I’m very colorful today. Oh God, he thought I was some kind of clown practicing their soda whizzing act, didn’t he? Was he waiting for me to pull a bouquet of flowers out of my sleeve after? Maybe do a card trick?”

  “None of those.” Bodi laughs some more. “I was only kidding; he didn’t text me.”

  “What? Bodi Banks, that’s not even funny.” From his laughter—that sweet, sweet sound—I can tell he thinks it’s funny.

  “Pretty sure it was funny.”

  “Pretty sure that was really low of you, Mr. Banks.”

  “Pretty sure you’re going to forgive me.”

  “Pretty sure you’re going to owe me big time.”

  “We will see about that,” he answers. Even though I can’t see him, I know there is a smirk on his face. And how I wish I was by his side right now. Just talking to him, having fun with him, being laughed at by him . . . it makes me yearn for him. More than I already have.

  Chapter Twelve

  BODI

  I’ve never felt like this before, like I’m missing something. I can’t quite put my finger on it. It’s day two out of six of the Olympic trials and I’m lying in my hotel room, staring up at the ceiling, trying to pinpoint the empty feeling that’s coursing through my stomach.

  Coach and I did some stretching and massage this morning in preparation for my heats; my muscles are feeling loose and ready for my upcoming races. Eva called this morning, letting me know she and Lauren would arrive tomorrow, and to let me know how proud she is of me. Despite my sordid past, she’s still proud of me for being the goal-driven man I am today.

 
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