Sam took a seat in the bar which gave him an unobstructed view of the entrance and ordered a beer. He drank the first one quickly in the hope that it might reduce his anxiety. To pass the time, he sipped his second beer slowly and played a little game in which he watched the people coming into the bar and guessed at their occupation and what they were doing here.
A middle aged man, immaculately dressed in a suit and carrying a narrow, expensive looking, attaché case. His movements seemed precise as he sat down at a corner table. Huckster, Sam thought, negotiating a government contract.
Then came an unhappy looking man in a rumpled tweed suit who looked as if he was in dire need of sleep. Scientist burning his candle at both ends.
It was a game which he couldn't loose. Since he never found out who the people were, he just assumed that he was correct.
A shapely woman in a black cocktail dress walked in. That's an easy one: expensive woman going to meet well-heeled business man. He gets her, and I have to settle for a dowdy female scientist and all that we'll do is talk shop.
The shapely woman was a few yards away from him when he discovered that it was Dr.Susan Harwell. He was so astonished at the transformation that he stammered, "mmmy, bbut you look lovely, Dr. Harwell.
"I'm pleased that you like it, Dr. Michaelson; my friends call me Sue," she said as she sat down opposite him. Her voice had a different quality --before it had been a piano and now it was a violin.
Sam rested his elbows on the table and, cradling his chin in his hands, fixed her with an ingenuous stare. "Sue, the transformation seems unreal."
"It's deliberate; I used to go to scientific meetings dressed as I am now. The result was that every man treated me as a potential bed mate. They fell over themselves trying to be agreeable with me and competitive with their colleagues. I decided that, much as I enjoy being attractive, I wanted to be treated as a scientist rather than as a decerebrate body. I bought the most business-like clothes that I could find and a pair of horn-rimmed spectacles, which I don't need. However, if the transformation disturbs you, Sam, I'll go back upstairs and change back."
"No, no, no, no, no; just give me a bit of time to get used to the new you. By the way, which one is the real you?"
Sue laughed a throaty melodious laugh; "Both," she replied.
"Are you hungry?" Sam asked.
In the cab, Sam said "Since we're going to be co-workers, I'd like to know something about you."
"What would you like to know?"
"If I've guessed your age correctly, you must have gotten your medical degree at eighteen."
"Twenty, I'm a bit older than you think. To save you the trouble of looking it up, I received my Ph.D. at Oxford at twenty four and have two children."
"Then you're married."
"No, I've been divorced for a bit over a year."
"I'm in the process of getting divorced now."
"I hope that it isn't as difficult for you as it was for me. There was a period of about six months duration when the only thing that I was able to do was proof read manuscripts, and my mind wandered when I did that."
"That's the way I've been feeling. Does everyone who goes through a divorce feel that way?"
"Everyone I've talked to."
They looked at each other in silence and an opening appeared in the invisible wall that stood between them. Through that opening, each could see in the other an end to loneliness. They talked with complete candor about very personal things; their feelings about their previous mates, their children and even past loves. Both had agreed to work on Epidemic E because it would give them something interesting to do and at the same time remove them from the prying eyes of their children and colleagues. They concentrated on one another with such intensity that they were barely aware that they had left the cab, entered the restaurant, eaten a delicious dinner, consumed a bottle of wine and an after dinner brandy.
Against her better judgment, Sue found herself becoming deeply involved with Sam. All of Sam's resolve went up in smoke when he said, "I would love to spend the rest of the night with you," in a tone of voice that indicated that he knew that it would be impossible.
"I would like that too," she replied, to Sam's astonishment.
"You mean you would? Tonight?"
"Yes; shall we return to the hotel now?"
Sam could feel his heart pounding as they rode back to the hotel. He had his arm around her and kissed her gently, while the voice of his young friend kept echoing in his head, "Cool it, man!"
The wine and brandy had its effect and they both staggered slightly as they entered the hotel and went to Sam's room. Sue's eyes glistened with excitement. Sam's mind wasn't functioning at all -he was operating on instinct alone.
In the room, Sam kissed her gently on the lips. She hesitated for a moment and then enveloped him with her arms and mouth.
They sat on the bed and started undressing one another. Sue's dress and Sam's shirt were off when Sam became dimly aware that his erection had disappeared. IMPOTENT, his mind shrieked in panic;IMPOTENT, IMPOTENT, IMPOTENT. The chance of a life time and I blow it. If I can't perform she'll hate me and I'll never get another chance. He tried to conjure up one of his favorite sexual fantasies -nothing. He finished undressing and began to caress Sue's body with his hands and mouth -still nothing.
Sue became aware of Sam's difficulties. Her breathing slowed as her mind, shifting from emotion to logic, analyzed Sam's difficulties.
"I'm afraid that I'm temporarily embarrassed," Sam whispered.
"A predictable response," she replied," A lot of
alcohol plus some performance anxiety. It's transient, so don't
let it worry you. A bit of sleep should cure it. I haven't slept
with a man in such a long time that I'll enjoy just being close
to you." She took his arm and placed it around her waist,
rolled over and nestled her buttocks in his loins. Then, almost
purring, she fell asleep.
Sam dreamed that he was busy erecting a house. He could see the plans clearly; they called for a slab foundation and tent-like walls, supported by a gigantic round center pole. He tried to place the center pole and every time that he got it erect, it would fall down. This is all wrong, he thought; I should have put up the foundation and the walls first and then the center pole. The materials for the walls were nowhere to be seen. He stepped back and looked at the center pole which now stood erect in the middle of the area. It has an interesting shape, he thought, maybe I could use it as a monument. Water started gushing from the top of the pole, giving it the appearance of a fountain.
He opened his eyes and saw that daylight was intruding around the drapes. He also had an erection and felt as if his bladder was about to burst. He glanced at Sue, then at his erect penis.
"Where were you last night when I needed you?" he mumbled as he staggered into the bathroom.
He slipped back into bed and lay there looking at Sue. His eyes went from her charmingly disarrayed hair and along the curve of her neck and shoulder. He slid the cover down and followed the curve to her hip and thigh. "Lovely," he murmured and gently kissed the back of her neck. She moaned softly and wiggled her body against his; taking his hand and placing it on her breast. Sam's manhood returned as his hands moved lovingly over her body.
When they were spent, they lay back in bed with Sue's head on Sam's shoulder.
"I was really worried last night. Thought I'd lost it forever," Sam said.
"I know. Now do you believe that I know my business. When Dr. Harwell says that something is a transient pharmacological effect, that's what it is. Not only have you recovered completely, but there might even have been a rebound effect -you're a very good lover."
"You're a very powerful aphrodisiac, Dr. Harwell." Sam looked at his watch; "We'd better start moving if we're going to get breakfast."
"Sure; aren't you?"
"No, I can handle only one libido at a time." she said, kissing the nape of his neck.
Sam's appetite for food yielded to a stronger drive.
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