In his hotel room, Sam took a shower and washed his shirt, socks, and underwear and hung them up to dry. When he traveled, he usually took only two changes of clothes, which enabled him to travel with one bag and avoid the lines and waiting at the airport baggage areas. He had over half an hour before he was to meet Sue Harwell, so he lay in the bed and thought about the evening ahead of him. It had been a long time since he had much female company and he found Sue Harwell attractive. He had wondered, in the meeting, what she might be like in bed. Sam was old enough that he no longer believed that it was possible to seduce a reluctant woman; still, he toyed with the idea that his actions might be prime determinants as to whether he and Sue Harwell might, some day, end up sharing a bed. While I doubt that I can deliberately turn her on, he thought, there's little doubt that I can turn her off.
Back in Salt Lake City, there was a young next door neighbor, who seemed to have a different woman each night -he was a real expert. Sam once asked him, "Why can't I make it with women the way you do? What's the secret?"
His young friend replied, "No secret, man; you're just too horny. No woman wants to mess with a cat as hungry as you. All you gotta do is cool it; let 'em think you got all the tail you need. When they know that you don't need it, you'll get more than you can handle. It's like everything else, man, them that has, gets!"
It sounded like good advice to Sam and it was from a real expert, so he had every intention of following it. No matter what, he was going to act as if he had all of the loving that he needed. If the conversation turned to sex (not Epidemic E, but the personal kind), it was going to be at her initiation, not his. He kept repeating, over and over, "I don't need her, I have all that I want. I don't need......."
Sam dressed, and at 6:45 went down to the bar.
Sue Harwell started the bath water running and undressed. She looked at the large mirror which occupied most of the bathroom wall.
"Wonderful, these American hotels with their immense mirrors."
Drawing her shoulders back, she gazed at her firm breasts, then turned to inspect them in profile. She kept turning, pleased with what she saw. Her forty year old body had kept well and the only sign that she was the mother of two children were a few very faint striae on her thighs. Although the room was quite warm, she felt an inner chill. She stepped into the tub and lowered herself into the water, feeling her whole body relax in the warm water.
She thought about the past year and reflected that this was the only time in her life that she had been without a man. When she was a child, she always had her daddy, who was always willing to listen to her, or hold her when she was sad. She had met Alfred at the University, and they had gone together for almost five years before deciding to marry. They had been married for over twelve years when Alfred received an offer from Chicago at an exorbitant (by British standards) salary. Since he was at a post with no possibility of advancement, they decided to move to America. She had guessed that Alf was having an affair with his American technician. The real shock was when he asked for a divorce so that he could marry that cow. Back in England, it wouldn't have ended that way -but this was America.
After the shock of the divorce had worn off, she tried to make a new life for herself. There was a three month affair with a married man. All went well until she had a particularly difficult encounter with her daughter. Distraught, she turned to him for support only to have him refuse to listen because he "didn't want to become emotionally involved with her family." She angrily terminated the relationship and resolved that she would never again give her trust to a man unless she was reasonably sure that it was reciprocated. She returned to her old pattern of caution, shyness and, above all, propriety.
Here in Bethesda there was no one watching her; no colleagues, friends nor children. She thought that if that bastard of a year ago could use her body without getting involved, why couldn't she do the same; use a man's body without getting emotionally involved -take the pleasure and leave the pain?
Sam Michaelson was accessible. She would have preferred someone more urbane rather than this educated farm boy. Still, for a fling, he would be ideal. An Englishman would take forever to get started, and time was short. He was attractive, she thought, and, like most foreigners probably more sensual. She liked his candor; at least she would know where she stood -no surprises. During the meeting, she had fantasized what he might be like in bed. Now she was surprised to find that she was planning an affair with the same precision that she used when she planned an experiment.
She got out of the tub and dried herself. Wrapping the towel around her, she went to the phone and called her home in Chicago. She explained to the nanny and to the children that she would be gone a bit longer than she had expected, perhaps a few more days to a week. She told the children that she missed them and that they should mind their nanny.
Sue undid the pins that held her hair tightly to the back of her head and let her auburn hair fall about her shoulders. She brushed it until it hung smoothly. Then she laid out her clothes, including a silky black cocktail dress. She walked over to her suitcase and stared at its contents for a moment. Then, with a firm "Yes!" she removed a diaphragm and a tube of jelly. She lubricated the diaphragm, propped her left foot on the bed and deftly inserted the device. Then she finished dressing, dabbed a bit of scent behind each ear, picked up her coat and walked to the elevator.
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