c1999 riffage

It isn't easy being a long hair lover in this day and age. I grew up with two sisters, both of whom wore their hair short from grade eight onward. All of their friends got haircuts at around the same age - that was around 1982 or so, a year I don't remember with much fondness. Ask any of my buddies and they'll all tell you that women look prettier and sexier with long hair. I sometimes wondered if the girls in my class cut their hair just to spite us. In any case it was never something I talked about much - I was enough of a geek in high school without adding to the problem. Even my girlfriends back then (both of them, thank you) never knew about my attraction to long hair. I bit my tongue whenever they came back from the salon sporting their latest disaster. Learning to lie convincingly was a relationship skill I developed early because of these situations. But all kidding aside, you get tired of lying, you know?

It was only when I hooked up with Annick that I was able to stop lying. I had finally found a woman who understood and shared my fascination for long hair (and took it to extremes I couldn't imagine at the time, it turns out,) and it's made all of the difference in the world.

Anyway, I'm writing this in 1992, so let me back up here and set the scene. In 1988 I got accepted at McGill University in Montreal - don't ask me how I managed it, I guess someone up there likes me - and I moved there to study Sociology. Compared to my hometown, Montreal is a long hair lovers' paradise, crawling with beautiful women with thick, cascading locks. Of course, my french skills back then were terrible, so I contented myself most of the time just pining for these goddesses from afar. Just sitting in a patio on rue St. Laurent, watching these gorgeous creatures going up and down the sidewalk, hair to their shoulders, hanging down their backs, swinging across their hips - you couldn't ask for a better way to pass a warm summer night.

I had a class in my second year at school - "Social Deviance," it was called (how could I resist signing up for a course called "Social Deviance?" Isn't university great?) There were about thirty people in the class, just your usual mix of rich kids, alternative hipsters and the like. There was also this rather frail-looking girl who sat at the far end of the aisle near the front - she was a strange one, never spoke up, never talked to the others in the class... she would come in for the lectures, take notes, and then scurry off like a frightened squirrel as soon as the lecture concluded. She was always dressed in heavy sweaters and ankle-length dresses, even on the hottest of days. Her dark chestnut hair, which usually was tied back in a severe pony tail, hung in a blunt end over the nape of her neck, with clips on her temples that held back what looked to be grown-out bangs. Over the first few weeks I took an odd liking to her; I found my eyes wandering in her direction du ring classes, but I never worked up the nerve to talk to her.

Around March, the professor handed out a group assignment, and I volunteered to pair up with this mystery girl, whose name was Annick Schenck-Beliveau. She was extremely timid, smiling a wide, toothy smile and giggling nervously whenever I talked to her. When she talked she spoke very rapid english, as if she was afraid of being cut off at any moment, and yet she talked so quietly you had to strain to hear her sometimes. Over the next two classes I got her to open up a little bit. We talked about our families (she lived at home with her Mom and Dad, her older sister was attending school in France) and our interests (she was a major bookworm, a fan of mostly french authors whom I had never heard of with the exception of Gabrielle Roy.) I got her to teach me some french swear words - every anglo needs to know them, you know! The poor girl almost had a nervous breakdown going through the words and how to use them properly, shushing me when I said them aloud in class when we wer e supposed to be working on our assignment. Afterwards she laughed and said I was a bad influence. Guilty as charged.

I asked her out for coffee after class one day. I got the sense that she wasn't too accustomed to dating - she was positively stunned when I asked her for her phone number. We met at an A.L. Van Houtte's downtown and talked over some strong Brazilian brew. She looked positively Victorian that day, wearing a long woolen dress and a high-collared blouse buttoned to the neck (it was the first time I could see how slim her waist was) and her hair was coiled up in a tight, shiny bun on the top of her head. I complemented her on it and she dissolved into giggling fits, and thanked me profusely. "I'm sorry, but you are the first person to say anything about it in some time."

I said, "That's kind of surprising, it looks like you have very attractive hair." I was squirming a bit as I said this, as I had taught myself a long time ago to avoid discussing hair with others for fear of looking like a freak.

"Thank you, Simon, I'm glad you noticed. No one ever says anything about it..." She looked at the table as she said this, her voice trailing off. "I think it's my only good feature, actually."

"Oh come on, don't talk like that! You're a good-looking woman, your hair is only one of your good features."

She looked up with relief in her eyes. "Thank you!" From the surprise in her voice I got the sense that she really hadn't heard a compliment like that in a long time.

* * *

We started dating regularly, going up to Mont Royal or catching a film at the cineplex. Our dates were very chaste, with little more than hand-holding and light hugs, very innocent and teenaged. I sensed early on that Annick was not overly comfortable with public affection, so I had to content myself with not rushing things. Still, she was a terrific conversationalist, very quick-witted and intelligent, and I always had a good time just hanging out with her.

Now granted, Annick was no supermodel, but she had a cute face and trim figure, and of course, her hair was very healthy-looking, and always immaculately tended. Hey, I'll be honest, I'm no Harrison Ford, and frankly I thought I was getting the better end of the bargain by far... though to hear her tell it, at her usual mile-a-minute patter, you would think she was a mess.

"My God, I have ugly skin, all pale like death... and my teeth are huge! I look like a horse!"

"You have a lovely smile, stop being so hard on yourself..."

"No, look, I do have a horse face! And I'm so skinny! Ayoye, I look like a skeleton!"

"You have a great body, come on!"

"No I don't! Stop lying!"

She would say all of this with a smile, but it wasn't easy listening to her put herself down all the time. I've had girls ask me if I thought their butts were too big, and well... like I said, I had learned to bend the truth before in my relationships with women! But honestly, Annick was a very pretty woman and had nothing to be ashamed of (and between you and me, her tush looked awfully promising, hidden though it was under those dresses she wore!) At least Annick didn't put down her own intellectual capacities - true, she was a bit scattered, but she was quick as a whip when she wanted to be.

The only thing about herself that Annick had any pride in was her hair. She would talk on and on about how she hated getting haircuts (her mother only stopped forcing bowl cuts on her a year before, and Annick was twenty years old!) and how shiny her hair was and how fast it grew (she claimed it grew an inch a month, which she attributed to her high-strung metabolism and a Ojibway grandmother on her mother's side of the family) and what shampoos she would use, and how she looked forward to growing her bangs out and so forth. I tried my best to look attentive and interested as opposed to painfully aroused when she went on these rants. Still, she would never let her hair down, even though I practically begged her several times. It was always tightly fastened or braided, always very neat and attractive. I kept wishing for a clasp to come loose or a tendril of hair to slip out of her barette, but it never happened. Why she wouldn't be showing off her hair, which she obviously th ought was her strong point physically speaking, was a mystery to me.

It took a whole three months before she would let me visit her house in St. Laurent where she lived. Her mother, Colette, was a tall, slender woman, though not as wiry as her daughter, and friendly enough. Serge, her dad, however, was a stern Austrian who never cracked a smile. Annick seemed cowed by both of them, barely raising her voice for someone to pass the potatoes at supper. Her mother had an annoying habit of putting down Annick absent-mindedly ("Annick, you should be getting some sun on you, you look like a ghost! It's a lovely day outside... and you should really get your hair cut so you don't have to keep tying it up like that...") and between her mother's barbs and her father's tight-lipped severity I got a better sense of why Annick was so withdrawn, though apparently her last boyfriend, Benoit, was also turning out to be a probable cause.

"Simon, I have to tell you," Colette told me as I helped clear the dinner table while Annick was in the other room, "it's so good to see Annick bringing boys home again; after Benoit I thought she was going to become a nun!"

"How so?"

"Oh Benoit, he was not right for her at all. More than once she came home crying because of something he said or did. He fooled around on her for the longest time, too... Serge was ready to break that boy's skull by the time he broke up with her. I do hope you give her a chance, Simon, she's a good girl, you know."

I didn't ask Annick about Benoit - he was studying medicine up in Quebec City and was well out of her life, and that was good enough for me. I wondered how much he had to do with her present shyness and insecurity. I spent a lot of time propping her ego and stating and re-stating the obvious: that she was pretty and that she had nothing to be ashamed about. When she finally stopped wearing her bulky sweaters in late May I considered it a major victory. Still, I was becoming seriously attracted to her, and I was getting a bit impatient for her to loosen up enough to go beyond friendly hugs and pecks on the cheek.

The turning point in our relationship came in July when her parents left Annick in charge of the house while they went on vacation. Annick invited me over for supper and cooked a delicious deviled ham and potatoes (apologising for the dryness of the ham, of course.) She seemed a little more relaxed than usual, which was a nice change.

"Gosh, this place is so quiet without Mother and Father here," she said as we sat ourselves on the living room sofa. "But it's nice to have the house to ourselves, isn't it?"

"It sure is." I put my arm around her and flipped on the VCR. She let her body slouch into mine, and we settled in for a movie.

A half-hour in I was feeling a bit randy, and I started lightly stroking her cheek. I could feel her skin grow warmer as she pressed her body backward into mine. I turned her face and kissed her lightly on the mouth. We started making out, running our hands over each others shoulders up until my hand slipped and cupped her breast. She stopped cold and pulled away, folding her arms over her chest.

"I'm sorry, I can't... I don't want... not right now..."

I rubbed my temples and tried to keep from losing my temper. "Annick, for crying out loud, what's the matter?"

"I just don't like, I mean, it doesn't feel right for me..." This sounded like about as good an answer as she could come up with. She slumped against the other end of the sofa, letting her head settle on the arm-rest. "I mean, why do you want someone like me anyway?"

If I had had a wall handy, I would have been beating my head against it at this point. "Annick, Annick, Annick, do I have to draw you a diagram? You're goregous, I'm crazy for you, okay? I want you so bad, but I can't hold out forever..."

"But what if I don't... OW!" Annick had sat up suddenly and her hairpin had caught under the sofa's armpad, pulling her bun apart. "Dammit, my hair..."

I paused the tape and got up to help untangle her hairpin from the snag in the sofa covering. Her hair was in complete disarray. "Oh god, what a mess..." Cursing, Annick pulled out the other hairpin and the two barrettes that held her bangs back and let down the rest of her hair, which fell in abundance around her shoulders, thick and bone-straight. Her bangs fell over her eyes for just a second before she pushed them away with the palm of her hand. "Simon, could you grab my brush, it's in my purse over on the counter."

I smelled opportunity. I rushed into the kitchen and fished out her hairbrush from her overstuffed purse and returned just in time to see Annick running her fingers through her thick locks, pushing them up and running her fingers overtop to smooth down the stray hairs. She turned and reached up for the brush. "Thanks, Simon."

"No, wait," I said, "let me brush it for you."

Annick flashed a skeptical look at me. "Are you sure?"

"It's not a problem, don't worry about it." I shrugged and tried to hide my anxiousness. "Please?"

She hesitated over my offer. "Okay, I guess..."

I sat on the sofa behind her, and she pushed her hair over her shoulders. It fell to about the middle of her upper shoulder blades, with her bangs curling slightly at the bottom of her chin. I had never actually brushed a woman's hair before, so I took my time and drew the brush carefully through her thick canopy of hair, scooping her bangs back to brush them over her crown, pausing to undo any snarls with my fingers. I had completely forgotten about her giving me the cold shoulder earlier.

Annick sighed softly. "It's very different having someone else brush my hair. Are you sure you don't mind?"

"Not at all, Annick, not at all." I started to part her hair down the middle, brushing her hair over her ears and working from one side of her head to the other. "I've wanted to see you with your hair down for a long time. You always talk about it but you never let me see it."

"I don't know, it gets in the way when it gets longer, maybe," Annick's voice was growing softer and her cadence slower as she grew more relaxed. "I would like to wear it down more often though."

"What's stopping you?"

"I'm not sure..." Annick turned her head towards the brush, so I had to adjust to keep from brushing her hair in her face. "I don't think I'm really pretty enough to, what's the word... justify wearing my hair loose."

I could only shake me head at this comment. I couldn't win with this girl. "Annick, you're beautiful. Your hair is beautiful. You don't have to justify wearing it down, for Pete's sake!" As I was talking, I kept having to avoid hitting Annick in the face with the brush - she kept turning in whatever direction I was brushing. "Geez, hold still already! I'll take an eye out if you're not careful!"

Annick giggled and paused, turning her head up to look at me. "Um, Simon, this is kind of strange, but can you do me a favour?" I didn't see why not.

"Could you... uh, brush my hair over my face?"

This one I didn't see coming at all. "I suppose so," I replied uncertainly. She rested her back on my shoulder while I slowly started drawing her bangs over her eyes. I looked over top of her head as best as I could, desperately wanting to see her hair envelop her face.

"Thank you..." Annick's voice grew softer yet. "I'm trying to get my bangs to grow faster, so they equal out with the rest of my hair..."

"Happy to help out, babe." I rested my left hand gently on her shoulder while I worked. I could have done this all night, it felt wonderful. "Anything to make you happy."

She quietly sighed. "Tell me how you like my hair."

I chuckled a bit - where to start? "Annick, you have the loveliest hair I've ever seen." I told her about how soft it was, how I loved being able to run my fingers through it and stroke her face and neck underneath, and how I wanted to see it grow even longer and thicker. I told her it was like a mahogany waterfall, tumbling over her nape and lapping at her shoulders...

I went on for a few minutes in this vein when I felt Annick's lower body start to quiver. I peered over her shoulder and was shocked to see that her left hand was sticking under the top of her skirt and she was rubbing herself between her legs. I couldn't believe it, she was masturbating while I was brushing her hair! Unbelieveable!

I didn't say anything about it. I just pretended I didn't notice and continued talking, letting my left hand slowly drift down her sleeve and let it rest on her wrist. She stopped rubbing herself with a start as soon as she realised I was holding her by the wrist, but I kept her from jumping up. "It's okay," I assured her, whispering in her ear. "Let me do that for you... just guide my fingers to where you want to be touched."

For a second she froze, speechless. She then grabbed my hand and pushed it under her hem and into her panties. With her directing my fingertips I found her clitoris and started rubbing in small, light concentric circles with my thumb while my index finger worked its way into her vagina. I continued brushing her hair with my free hand and describing her hair. "I've wanted to be able to run my hands through hair like this for a long time... so soft, flowing over your shoulders like a curtain, silkily caressing your beautiful porcelain skin..." Annick's breathing started getting shallower, and I could feel her vaginal walls contracting. She panted lightly, her back arching into me. I rubbed her faster, running the brush through her hair in broader strokes, burrowing my face into its soft texture. "So long, so straight and full... I picture it growing and lengthening, over your firm breasts and tight stomach, blanketing your body, a silky cocoon enveloping you..." Annick arch ed further, moaning and then climaxing with a sudden head-flicking spasm that threw her hair over her head, the brush being pulled from my hand and flung clear across the room.

I hastily withdrew my hand from inside her and turned her gently to face me. All I could see of her face were her gasping lips and the tip of her nose. She grabbed me by the shoulders and dug her fingers in, shuddering. "Fuck me, Simon!" she hissed, "Fuck, I want you inside me so bad..." She drove me down into the sofa and plunged her tongue in my mouth. I felt her long hair tumble over my head while her shaking fingers ripped my shirt open and snaked over my chest. Yep, it looked like I finally got Annick to come out of her shell after all!

* * *

For the rest of the weekend, me and Annick baisally humped each other silly. By Sunday afternoon I had gone though an entire box of condoms. We did it on the sofa, her bed, her parents' bed, the kitchen table... cleanup was a bitch, but man, it was worth it!

Over the next day Annick opened up to me about her hair fetish. It seems that ever since she had started growing her hair out she had taken to brushing her hair over her face when she was alone in her bedroom, and she was reluctant to wear her hair down because it got her aroused. In fact when she was a little girl with a mother-regulated bowl cut she had a shoulder-length wig that she had swiped from her aunt's closet. Annick would hide the wig in her dresser drawer and take it out to play dress-up with, brushing the synthetic hair over her face and watching herself in the mirror. She even intimated that her mother made her get the haircut in the first place when she found that her little Annick was devoting excessive attention to her long hair.

"I hope you don't think I'm wierd?" she would tell me. I finally admitted to her that yes, that was a little bit strange, but then again so was I. I told her all about my own attraction to long hair, and how I've always wanted to play with a woman's hair. It felt like a load off of both of our backs. From that moment on the two of us were inseperable.

Needless to say, I was more than happy to volunteer with helping out with her hair-grooming. I did more hair brushing in the next few weeks than I thought was possible. My wrists were sore, but who was complaining? Over the next few months I got used to having her hand me the brush to cover her face once the door to her bedroom closed. "Oh my hair is such a mess, Simon," she would say to me, running her fingers through her mane, "please brush it out for me?" It was a real turn-on being with her, with her hair over her face, her visor of brown hair shaking slightly while she talked. I learned how to manoeuvre my nose through those curtains of hair to find her lips - being able to bury my face in her thick tresses was something else, let me tell you! Of course once she left the room she flipped her hair back over her shoulders - it was our sweet little secret.

It was amazing spending the next year watching Annick's transformation. True to her word, her hair was very fast-growing, and I got to watch it grow out to her waist, bangs and all. Colette kept trying to convince her to get her hair cut - she even booked an appointment at a salon for her - but for what turned out to be the first time in ages, Annick stood up to her mother and told her she was not going, which stunned Colette completely. Her father said nothing, as usual, but I caught him smiling despite himself. I think Serge had been waiting for Annick to assert herself for a while, too.

Little by little Annick stopped tying up her hair (she tended to be more animated when her hair was down, for reasons that shoud be obvious by now) and she stopped covering up her body in heavy sweaters altogether, in favour of loose blouses and flowing skirts. She was still a little uptight about her body, so she took to doing sit-ups in the morning to tone what little loose skin there was on her stomach. I signed up for the gym myself, mainly because I was feeling self-conscious about looking like a fat schlub hanging on the arm of this gorgeous woman.

Her university life improved, too. She took a more active role at school and her grades picked up to the point where she was at the top of not one, but two of her classes. She was still giggly and gangly and hyper, but the shy, timid Annick was gradually replaced by a newer, friendlier, more confident person. It was like the longer her hair got, the more comfortable she was with herself and being around others. Her parents noticed this personality transformation and had nothing but kind words for me and my effect on their daughter. I didn't worry about taking credit, just as so long as I could be there to brush that beautiful hair and hold this amazing woman in my arms.

By the time I proposed to her in the fall of 1991, her hair was down to her hips. I had found my long-haired goddess, and I'd be damned if I was going to let her get away from me. She's transferred from Sociology to the Law department now, so I don't have classes with her anymore, but we share an apartment on the Plateau where we can hang out and enjoy as much hair-play as we want. This woman, who once was worried about not being attractive enough to sport shoulder-length hair, is now talking about growing it past her knees. As an advance payback for the extra grooming this will require on my part, Annick is helping me with my french so I can stay in Quebec after I graduate. Her dad has even offered to help get me a job at the pharmeceutical company where he works when I finish school. Life just gets better and better, don't you think?

* * *

Before I end this story, I should tell you about the time we went to her friend Isabel's party on the South Shore. It was about a week after our first anniversary, and about two months before we got our first apartment together. I showed up at her parent's house and was stunned to see Annick there, chestnut-brown hair hanging loose about her elbows, dressed for the party in a clingy white long-sleeved blouse undone to the third button and a short blue skirt with a slit up the side. Was this really my Annick, the hunch-shouldered little wallflower I met in that Sociology class?

"Come on, handsome, let's move it!" She strode to my car, pulling me like a wagon behind her up the hill.

We got to Isabel's parent's house at about 8:00 PM, just as dusk was lowering. Isabel was Annick's best friend in high school, and she hadn't seen Annick in years. She couldn't believe it was her. The two of them spoke in rapid, high-pitched french which I had no hope of following. Annick turned and pulled my in the doorway, and introduced me. "Isabel, this is my boyfriend, Simon!" She introduced me to all of her old friends, but most of them didn't speak english, so I had to settle for nodding my head and saying "bonjour" to most of them.

I let Annick flit around the room, watching her mingle with old friends and exchange gossip. A lot of them were touching her hair and smiling - no doubt Annick was trying to convert them to the wonders of long hair as she had recently begun doing. I hung out at the bar with a fellow anglophone, a guy visiting from Syracuse, shooting the shit. I pointed out Annick to him and his eyes nearly popped out. "Man, how do you hook up with a hot piece of ass like that, brother?"

I had to laugh. "Luck, my man... sheer, dumb luck!"

"Jesus, you know how many guys wish they had luck like that?" I sure did - I was one of those guys for twenty years, after all.

Midway through the party Annick came up, giggling like a schoolgirl as she brushed the hair away from her eyes. She had been letting it fall further into her face as the night was progressing. "Simon you should see this, I just convinced Lynnette to cancel her haircutting appointment!"

"The revolution is gaining recruits, Fidel! Way to go!" We kissed and chatted for a bit. "Simon, you should come out of this dingy corner and hang out a bit!" I told her I would after I finished my beer. "My big bump-on-a-log!" She laughed and kissed me again, practically skipping back into the crowd.

A moment later, one of Annick's high school pals, a big woman named Paula, came up to greet me. "So dis is the famous Simon dat Annick keeps talking about..." she said in heavily-accented english. "You made quite a change in dis girl, eh?"

"It's all her," I insisted. "I just try to encourage her, that's all."

We looked over at Annick, shimmying in the corner of the room to the dance beat. "Well, you sure did dat! I tell you, this is not the woo-man I know back in school. It's good to see she found a good man, for a change. She was halways being pushed around by her boyfriend back den, it was not nice to see I can tell you..."

I couldn't help but be a bit curious. "You're talking about this Benoit guy I keep hearing about, right?"

Paula snorted in obvious contempt. "Yeah, Benoit, the shit! I have halways hated that guy..." She paused when something near the door caught her eye. "Ka-lys... speak of de devil, en here he is..."

I didn't need to be told that the guy coming into the room was Benoit. He was pretty much as he had been described to me: square-jawed, not very tall, handsome in a frat-boy fashion. I figured I could kick his ass if I wanted to, and I was sorely tempted to do so.

I saw Annick try to disappear into the crowd as soon as she saw him. I left my barstool perch and made my way across the room to follow her. I caught up with Annick just as Benoit recognised her. "Annick? Tiens, toe-la..." He was very impressed with the new Annick, and was flashing a broad TV-quality grin. Annick was practically cowering against the wall, giggling uncontrollably. In ten seconds Benoit had managed to undo over a year of work - she was as timid and fidgety as the day I first saw her. I felt helpless to stop it, which made me furious.

Annick quietly said her greetings, and shyly introduced me in french to Benoit. Benoit nodded in my direction, and I greeted him in my broken french. Benoit grinned again. "No french, hah?" He obviously didn't consider me a contender, and turned his attention back to Annick.

I followed their conversation as best as I could, but it was useless trying to keep up. All I could tell was that Annick was progressively getting more and more upset. I saw Paula looking over by the fireplace, shaking her head in disgust. Benoit was breaking Annick down, little by little. I could only imagine what Annick was going through. He then reached up to stroke her hair, but Annick pulled away, looking as if she was about to cry. I thrust my hand forward and raised my voice. "Hey, whatever you're doing, stop it!"

Benoit angrily sneered at me. "I no talking to you, English!"

"Fuck you!"

Heads were turning. Benoit was assuming the tough-guy stance. "Aye, you go Toronto, English, fuck les filles la, osti!"

Annick shouted. "Arretez, toute le monde!" She turned and gave Benoit a shy smile, and pointed a finger up to Benoit, gesturing him to step forward. Benoit gamely leaned down, and Annick gently laid her palm on his shoulder, whispering something. I balled my fists impotently, waiting for something to happen, any excuse to pound the fucker trying to steal my Annick.

It turned out that Annick beat me to the punch, or kick as the case was - her knee shot lightning-fast into Benoit's crotch, catching him completely off-guard. His cheeks puffed out in anguish and he sunk cross-eyed to his knees. I stood there in amazement as Annick started screaming at Benoit, kicking the legs out from under him and delivering several painful-looking boots to the face. It literally took myself and two others to drag her off of the guy. She stood there shivering in rage, pushing her trembling hair off of her face. She briefly looked up at me and turned swiftly back at Benoit, yelling in english, "and if you ever insult my boyfriend again I'll cut your FUCKING DICK off, you shit!"

We all stood around Benoit, watching him writhe in agony on the hardwood floor. Annick gathered herself and grabbed me by the hand. "Simon, take me home please."

She led me through the crowd to the door. To our left were three of Annick's school friends, applauding and cheering her. To our right was my buddy from Syracuse, laughing deliriously and giving me a thumbs-up. However impressive our entrance was, you couldn't ask for a more spectacular exit.

Annick was very quiet for much of the drive home. She sat in the passenger's seat, running her hands over her hair over and over. Only when we got off the bridge and turned onto de Maisonneuve did she finally break the silence. "My God, Simon... what did I do back there?"

I rolled the window down to let some air in the car. "Well, if you don't mind me saying so, it looks like you made up for those years Benoit pushed you around."

She turned and smiled broadly. "Shit, I kicked his ass!" Her confidence was returning, as she laughed about the whole thing. "I've wanted to get back at him for so long for treating me the way he did... I still can't believe I did that, you know?"

We stopped at a red light, absorbing the unusual noiselessness of our surroundings. It was quiet for a Friday night. "Well, I don't think we'll be going back to Isabel's for a while... the night's yours to decide what to do with. Any suggestions?"

She paused and looked at her reflection in the side mirror. Her voice turned playfully coquettish. "Well, I'll tell you one thing..." She turned to face me, drawing her hair over her right eye and letting it fall seductively over her chest, and leaned back in her seat, her fingers playing with the buttons of her shirt. "After all that excitement, my hair feels soooo mussed... I think we should go straight to your place and give it a good, long brushing..."

My eyes widened as I saw her undo a button, revealing her bra strap. She ran her tongue over her pouting lips, which then dissolved into her trademark broad-mouthed giggle.

I was running stop signs all the way back to my apartment that night.

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