Ashley and her best days

Or annoyingly immature. So, it had now been seven months since she had been with anyone. She had only been with a few boyfriends and, while she certainly had urges, she had never dated someone just to get laid. Even if she did end up having a one-night stand, she wanted it to be with someone she wanted to be with. Not that she needed to be in love with them, she just wanted it to be someone she liked, so that she wouldn’t end up looking back on the encounter with regret someday.

So, yea, someone like him. She thought, gazing out the window at Jim.

Yet, she doubted that would ever happen. Everything he said, and did, made it obvious that he was faithful to his girlfriend and only wanted to be friends with the mother and daughter. Even his comments about how nice they looked on any particular day didn’t come across as come-ons, an attitude that was refreshingly nice, yet confusing.

A puzzle that was amplified a few weeks later.

when she was sunbathing and got to talk to him with no one else around.

Sunbathing in the backyard, she experienced the now common tingle of excitement when her mother told her that Jim was on his way over to mow. Since he always did the front yard first, she didn’t bother moving and remained half-sitting in the lounge chair, reading her romance novel.

“Hey Ashley,” he said, walking through the gate.

“Hi.” Looking up, she thought she caught his eyes lingering on her in the fluorescent-green bikini for a moment. “I’ll get out of the way when you’re ready to mow back here.”


Ashley tried not to get caught looking as he shrugged out of his t-shirt and tossed it over the back deck’s railing. Settling his cowboy hat back in place, he disappeared into the garage and soon the sound of the mower filled the air. Listening to it, Ashley found it difficult to read as her mind kept wandering, recalling the image of his muscles flexing with the exertion of pushing the machine back and forth, stirring a familiar warmth inside her.

Going inside to use the bathroom, she caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror. Her dark hair was pulled back in a tight ponytail and her face was aglow from the sun.

A teasing hint of her full breasts’ sides peeked out from under the triangle tops of the bikini. The straps of the botToms rose high on her hips, the material diving down in a sharp vee over her crotch and running along the middle of her asscheeks.

The image made her remember how Jim’s eyes had momentarily lingered on her and she realized that this was the first time he had seen her in a bikini. Suddenly wondering about his seemingly friends-only attitude, she decided to give it a little test.

Grabbing a bottle of water from the refrigerator, she headed out and around to the front yard where he was just finishing at the far side. Seeing her coming, he killed the mower and kind of rested against it. While he didn’t stare, she could tell that he was admiring the image of her walking toward him in the bikini. Believing that this showed a crack in his “friends-only” attitude made it hard for her not to smile too obviously as she handed him the water.

“I thought you might be thirsty,” she said.

“Thanks,” he smiled.

As he downed half the bottle, she couldn’t stop her eyes from crawling over his sweaty torso down to the bulge at the front of his jeans.

“I don’t get many chances to talk to you without Mom, and I wanted to thank you for everything. Especially visiting with her. I know it means a lot to her.” She said, using it as an excuse to not simply walk away.

“I enjoy it. Really,” he shrugged. “She’s great to hang out with. And you are, too.”

The comment, typical for him, didn’t surprise her, but she did catch his eyes wandering after saying it and a little tingle ran along her nerves.

“And, like I said, I’m available if you need to talk,” he offered again.

“Thanks. I don’t know.” She couldn’t be sure, but she thought there was a tinge of something in his tone this time and she surprised herself by not knowing what else to say and quickly diverting her gaze down to the ground.

“Thanks again. I really should get the backyard mowed before it gets much hotter.” He said, downing the last of the water and handing her the empty bottle.

Following him to the backyard, Ashley found herself wondering what had happened while staring at his backside. While she had never been exceedingly bold, she also hadn’t exactly been shy.

Always before when a guy she liked had given her an opening like that, she would have said something to move things forward. Yet, she had frozen up this time. After putting up her lounge chair, she went inside where her mother was sitting on the couch.

“I saw you,” Linda chuckled, indicating the front window. “Does he like your bikini?”

“I think I caught him checking me out,” Ashley smiled, plopping down next to her. “But he is so…” not finding the right word, she let the sentence trail off.

“Gentlemanly,” Linda offered.

“Yea.” Agreeing, she wondered if she should share her moment of shyness. “Do you think it’s because of his girlfriend?” she asked, deciding not to at the moment.

“I’m sure that’s part of it. I do know a couple of the girls at work have tried being very forward, but he’s never done anything.” Although Linda had raised Ashley with a certain amount of candidness, since her diagnosis she had become more candid with the hope of sparing her daughter from making certain mistakes should the worst happen. And while she occasionally wondered if she was crossing some line, she didn’t often hold back. “Of course, none of them are as young or beautiful as you.”

“Thanks,” Ashley smiled.

That Wednesday, Linda texted her at work 30 minutes before she was due to get off to tell her that Jim had shown up at the house with stuff to make dinner.

Since it was only 30 minutes, Ashley didn’t bother leaving early, but she did make a bee-line for home after clocking out. Walking in, she discovered him setting dinner on the table. Although he had done this a few times, it always seemed to be when he was upset about something. So, when they were all seated, Ashley asked him directly what it was this time.

“Me and Liz broke up,” he shrugged.

“Wow. I’m sorry. What happened?” Her heart leaping into her throat, Ashley had to force her tone to remain sympathetic.

“I hate to admit it. It’s just so cliché,” he sighed and paused. “She got tired of waiting for me to make a commitment. Her birthday was last week and she thought I was gonna propose. But I guess I’m just not ready.”

“Oh. That is cliché.” Fighting to keep an excited smile from curling her lips, Ashley exchanged a look with her mother and saw Linda struggling as well.

“So, how was work?” Jim asked, clearly wanting to change the subject.

This moved the conversation away from his break up and, as they all ate, they talked about other things. After dinner, Ashley helped with the cleanup while Linda went and laid down on the couch. Then he wished both women a good night and left.

“So, now he’s available and I’m too weak to jump him,” Linda sighed when Ashley joined her in the living room.

“Mom,” Ashley laughingly chastised her.

“Maybe he’d like it if I just laid there and let him ravage me,” Linda smiled.

“Some guys are into that sort of thing.” Ashley chuckled.

“I haven’t been laid since New Year’s.” Groaning unhappily, Linda scooted up into a seating position.

“November,” Ashley challenged.

“I might be sick, but I remember New Year’s,” Linda retorted, misunderstanding.

“I meant me.”

“What? You haven’t been with anyone since November?” Linda stared at her daughter in surprise. “That’s like eight months.”

“Don’t remind me.” Sighing, Ashley told her about how she had come to find the guys asking her out uninteresting and her desire to wait for someone she liked.

Smiling with pride at her daughter’s level of maturity, Linda then gave her a piece of advice she hadn’t thought of until then.

“Sometimes you have to just be brazen and go for what you want. Why don’t you call Jim and ask him out.”

“You mean like a booty call?” This time it was Ashley who misunderstood and she couldn’t believe what she thought her mother was suggesting.

“No. Not that brazen,” Linda smirked. “I mean, actually ask him out on a date. Then… let things go where they do.”

“I don’t know.” Sighing again, she decided to share Saturday’s moment of shyness.

“Huh. That doesn’t sound like you,” her mother said.

“I know. But, don’t you like him?” Ashley asked, struggling to find a reason.

“You know I do. But I’m in no condition to do anything about it. If he’s still single once I get healthy again, I will.” Then smiling pointedly at her daughter, she added. “So, you should go for it before that happens.”

According to the doctor, Linda was indeed going to get healthy. But, despite her cavalier attitude over the idea of both women being with the same man, Ashley couldn’t find the same attitude in herself or bring herself to call Jim.

Yet, sometimes fate has a way of making things happen.

Two weeks later Linda’s sister surprised her by taking her on a long weekend to the beach. It being a last-minute trip, Ashley couldn’t get off work or start the new college semester. Since this left her home alone, Linda suggested that her daughter take the opportunity to ask Jim out. Although she saw the logic in her mother’s reasoning, Ashley doubted if she would be able to make that call.

The next night Ashley was sitting on the couch, watching TV, when the weather app on her phone alerted her to an approaching thunderstorm. It wasn’t long before the sky outside the front window grew dark, thunder rumbled rumbling in the distance, and torrential rain began pounding on the roof.

Not usually frightened by storms, the sheer amount of lightning splitting the darkness and its accompanying thunder making the house shake soon had her growing anxious.

As the storm continued, the emotion grew. So, when a bolt of lightning hit so near that it filled the house with light and its thunder made the couch vibrate, she jumped off it with a startled yelp. Accompanying nature’s explosion was an unnatural one and she landed on her feet in an entirely dark house. With her heart racing in her throat, she called the only person she could think of at that moment.

“Hey, Ashley. What’s up?” Jim answered with his usual helpful tone.

“Th-The power’s out. I-I think lightning hit som-something,” she breathed nervously.

“Ok. I understand. Calm down and I’ll be right over to make sure everything’s ok,” he told her, his tone reassuring.

Sitting in the dark, waiting for him, Ashley tried to do as he said. But it seemed to take forever for his headlights to flash through the window as he pulled into the drive. Moving to the window, she watched him walk past using a powerful flashlight to check on the house.

Ashley and her best days will continue in the next page.

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