Tem 26

Rooming With RoseAnn Pt. 10

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Big Tits

Barry encounters Gloria at a welcome party

I was weary with trailing after RoseAnn while she shopped for a new dress for the evening’s party. But she chose an attractive number that ended well above her knees and showed cleavage in front and shoulder blades in back. She called it the ‘all-purpose little black dress’.

“They say every woman is supposed to have one of these when she needs to look sexy.”

Back at the apartment, I made coffee and set out two cups while she changed into the dress, plus black nylons and three-inch heels. When she twirled in front of me, she literally took my breath away.

I blinked to break the spell, and made a wolf whistle. “You are so gorgeous, and so wonderfully tall!”

“You like me tall, don’t you?” She smiled for me.

“Absolutely. You look terrific. But why are you dressing so sexy for an office party? I thought you said you want your co-workers to take you seriously,”

“My boss has the hots for me. It’s useful to tease him a little.”

“Is he someone I should worry about?”

She barked a laugh. “Not really. He’s married with kids. I’m only his fantasy. If I made his dreams come true, I’d be gone in a month. Someone would let it slip to his wife, and he’d have to fire me.”

“Hm-m. I see why you don’t want me at the party. Messing with his fantasy could be risky.”

She looked down at her coffee and nodded. “It’s a tightrope between fostering his imagination and being able to work with my co-workers. Naturally, they think I only got the job because of my influence on the boss. The worst thing is, they’re probably right. I’d like to be known for my work as an engineer. It’s more gratifying and less risky than being an office wife.”

I made us an easy supper of salad topped with cold shrimp, with cottage cheese on the side. I wasn’t accustomed to rabbit-food diets. Perhaps there’d be food at the party. I washed the dishes while RoseAnn watched television. Afterward, I dressed for my own party. I hoped that a clean new shirt, tan slacks, and my all-black New Balance walkers would be right for this group. I’d take a tie and jacket in the car just in case.

* * *

At eight o’clock, we left in separate cars. I drove to a street full of ageing fraternity houses. It wasn’t easy to find where the biochemistry party was being held. The street was choked with cars. Most of the houses had parties going as fraternity brothers and sorority sisters moved back in for the new academic year. casino siteleri The right house, when I found it, had its own group of people on the front porch talking and sipping beer from plastic cups.

Inside the door, a gray-haired woman sat at a table with a list and three boxes of name badges. She checked off my name and gave me a blank red badge and a marker pen. “Red badges for freshman and transfers,” she said, “so people will know who the new folks are.”

I wrote ‘Barry’ on the badge and pinned it to my shirt. As soon as I turned toward the room, I saw that a hierarchy had formed already. A cluster of red badges had formed in the corner next to the staircase, each one holding a plastic cup of beer or soda and looking hopefully around as if seeking friends, or a convenient place to hide. Knots of people with green badges had formed around a small number of older men and one woman wearing blue badges. I guessed the blue badges were professors.

I wasn’t inclined to lose myself in the red badge ghetto. I walked through the house, looking for Gloria, or failing that, Arnie, the only two faces I knew. As I poked my head into a small room lined with books, I came uncomfortably face to face with a slender, almost emaciated man with wispy white hair and wrinkles. I glanced at his blue badge. ‘Gruendlich’, it read.

He was engaged in a conversation with a handful of green badges and a blue badge, but he turned to me as I approached.

“Dr. Gruendlich,” I said, smiling. “I’m pleased to meet you. I met your daughter yesterday at registration. Until then, I didn’t know you were at Stanford.”

“Well, I’m not here all the time. I split my time between Stanford and Lawrence Berkeley Lab, across the Bay. Most people think I work full time over there.”

“I guess being famous must put a lot of obligations on your time,” I said.

“Some say the Prize is a career-ender. That’s almost true.”

The other students in the group were glancing daggers at me for interrupting their conversation, so I said, “I hope we’ll have another opportunity to meet when you’re not so busy. If you don’t mind, I’ll just stand here and listen, and maybe soak up some erudition.”

He laughed at that, and I wondered if I’d used the word properly. I knew ‘erudition’ had something to do with deep knowledge, but had I just made him think I was an idiot?

“I was just telling my friends here about post-translational modification of proteins.”

I gripped my güvenilir casino cup of soda and attempted to listen while Gruendlich held forth on an obscure discussion about proteins that stick to DNA, and transcription, and translation, and frameshift mutants, and other jargon terms, none of which I understood. But I held an expression of extreme interest.

Suddenly, he turned to me and said, “What do you think?”

I drew back in shock, and sputtered, “I have no idea what you were talking about. I wouldn’t know a DNA if it bit me on the ass.”

Immediately, I regretted my outburst, but he laughed, and the others laughed, so I made sure to laugh, too. Whether they were laughing at my ignorance, or if they thought I was making a joke, it was too late to pull it back in any case, but I made a shot at it. “Perhaps if I come back here in two or three years, I can listen to you then, and understand it.”

Gruendlich smiled in a wistful sort of way, and he turned away to resume his conversation. A large hand gripped my arm, and a male voice hissed in my ear, “He’s dying, you idiot! Didn’t you know that?”

I didn’t turn around to see who spoke, but now I knew it was time to shut up. Perhaps I should have stayed with the red badge wallflowers after all.

A smaller hand gripped my other arm. It was Gloria, wearing a tight kelly-green tube top and matching shorts. Together, they made her eyes an even brighter green. My eyes were level with her lips, which made it easier to enjoy the view of her slender figure.

“I was looking for you,” she said, “but I see Father snagged you first.”

“You were looking for me?” Now there were more daggers coming my way from the elder Gruendlich’s acolytes.

“Sure. I wanted to make sure you were here and finding your way around.”

“Oh, yes, I’m fine, but thanks for worrying about me. Can I get you something to drink?”


“No beer,” warned Dieter Gruendlich, who’d watched the exchange.

“Oh, Father,” she pouted, “you’re such a spoilsport.”

She asked me for a Diet Coke, and I went to fetch it. While I was scooping ice from a pail into a cup, she watched me from across the room. When I returned, she led me outside into the near-darkness, still followed by the icy stares of the green badges.

“So where are you from?” she asked.

“Chicago. My folks are both surgeons. I guess that’s why the plans for the MD before grad school. I think they hope I’ll change my mind and go canlı casino for clinical work.”

“Cold there, isn’t it?”

“Only in winter. At this time of year, it’s hot and muggy. The good weather is about two weeks in the spring and two in the fall, in a good year. I’ve only been here a week, and I think I’m going to like California weather. I guess that’s why so many people live here.”

“I think you’ll like more than the weather,” she said. “California is crowded and hectic, but it’s full of creative energy, and the area here, around Silicon Valley, is the most energetic of all. Something exciting happens every day. Chances are, you won’t want to leave when you graduate.”

A volleyball net had been strung in the large yard, lit by two bright floodlights mounted at the top corners of the house. Only five people were playing. Gloria put down her diet Coke and dragged me by the hand. “Let’s see how well the Chicago boy plays night volleyball,” she said.

We played for about an hour. Her height gave her an advantage over the other players, including me, but no one was keeping score. When we went back inside, most of the blue badges had gone. Dr. Gruendlich sat on a sofa looking very tired, while two green badges talked at him.

“I think it’s time to take Dad home,” said Gloria.

“I heard he’s ill.”

She stared at me for a moment, and answered, in a flat voice, “Yes.”

“I guess I’ll see you around campus,” I said lamely.

“Don’t you take ‘Intro to English Literature’?”

I nodded yes.

“I take it too. Same section as you, so I’ll see you Tuesday morning.” She took my hand. I squeezed it, and she pulled me against her and gave me a brief hug. I could smell her sweat and the remains of a floral perfume.

“On second thought,” I said, “I think there’s a Starbuck’s near here. How about coffee or lunch on Monday?”

“Too far. Axe and Palm in Old Union? One o’clock good for you?”

I was driving home when I remembered her comment that she was in the same English Lit section as me. Apparently, she’d taken the time to look up my class lists, which I suppose were posted on a bulletin board somewhere.

I lifted my arm and sniffed my sleeve. Sure enough, her perfume was on my shirt. I’d better think up a story for RoseAnn, or perhaps find a friendly skunk who wouldn’t mind giving me a spray.

When I entered the apartment, it was past midnight, and quiet. I checked the rooms. Finding them empty, I took off the incriminating shirt and undershirt and stuffed them in the wash. There were no messages on the answering machine, so I sat down to watch television, but I worried about RoseAnn, and wondered about Gloria. An hour passed, and I finally wandered into our bedroom and lay down.

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