Second Chances

That evening, Paul arrived, flowers in hand, scrubbed and clean. Clearly he was going the extra mile. I told you he was a nice guy.

I met him at the door to my apartment, and as we stood there in the doorway awkwardly, I had a serious moment of doubt. What was he going to think of me? Oh well, he was here now, so I had better at least let him in. Maybe I could just pour some wine and drop the whole idea, just spend a relaxing evening, watching a movie or something.

No, that wasn’t going to work. The basic problem still existed, still needed to be solved, and besides, I had dumped this guy once already. Either we tried something different or the whole exercise was pointless. Going on as we did before was not an option for me.

Well, the wine was still a good idea. I was pretty nervous.


He smiled broadly. “Hi. I, um, brought you these.” He handed me the flowers. I smiled and opened the door wider, ushering him into the living room of my tiny Queen Anne apartment. I nodded over at the bottle on the dining table.

“Pour us each a glass while I get these into some water.”

I pulled a vase out of a kitchen cabinet, filled it with water, cut the ends of the stems, and put the flowers into the vase. When I turned around, Paul had gotten the cork out of the pinot noir and was just pouring the second glass.

“We should let these breathe a little first,” he said.

I picked up one of the glasses and took a healthy swig. Paul just looked at me.

“What? The rest of it will breathe. I needed that now.”

“Are you ok, Olivia?”


“I don’t know, you just seem a little edgy.”

I took a second drink from my glass and looked him in the eye. How the hell was I supposed to do this? Well, only one way to find out if it was going to work.

“Come with me,” I said, then pointed at the bottle. “And bring that.”

Paul picked up the bottle and followed me into the bedroom. Now he was drinking from his glass, too.

“Um, Olivia? Are we even going to talk about, you know, the other night?”

I couldn’t quite meet his eye, so I just started unbuttoning my blouse. His eyes went wide and he opened his mouth but no further words came out. Having sort of thought this through earlier, although whatever plan I’d had was already shot to hell, I wasn’t wearing a bra. When I got the last button undone, I hesitated a moment, though why was beyond me. I mean, it wasn’t like we hadn’t already done it. He had definitely seen me naked before. Why was I so nervous now?

Before I could back out of it, I pulled the blouse open wide and slipped it off my shoulders. Paul’s gaze was firmly on my breasts now, the wine bottle in one hand and glass in the other all but forgotten. I blushed again, the heat spreading across the tops of my breasts, up my neck and onto my face, but I don’t think he even noticed. Moving quickly, nothing especially seductive about it, I shimmied out of my skirt and tugged my panties down. I stepped out of my heels, which frankly I had only put on for greeting him — I don’t usually bother wearing shoes inside the apartment — and stood there before him, naked as the day I was born, blushing even brighter red.

He didn’t say anything. His mouth was still open, and I wasn’t sure if he was shocked or excited. He was definitely surprised. I reached for my glass again and finished it off, then took the bottle from him, refilled my glass, and set the bottle on the nightstand.

“Well?” I said. “Are you just going to stand there?”

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