Paradise Fought: Abel

By: L. B. Dunbar

“What would I owe you?” Her eyes narrowed. “Besides the money.” Blue beams of distrust pelted me, but I didn’t immediately respond.

“Think of it as a loan. Just pay me back when you can,” I said, shrugging.

She didn’t believe me. It couldn’t possibly be that simple, her narrowed eyes said as they continued to stare.

“You must want something in return. Some sort of interest or guarantee that you’ll get your money back. Get your money’s worth,” she snipped.

I was shocked. Did she think I was buying her? Did she think I’d pay her for sex? I’d already paid for that experience, and my body shivered to recall, momentarily, the embarrassment.

“It’s just a loan,” I replied again, hoping to sound earnest. I didn’t want anything from her.

“It can’t be that simple,” she stated again, peering over her shoulder to see that the older woman had her eyes on the computer screen but her ears on our conversation. I dragged her closer to the main door.

“I’d have to repay you somehow,” her voice shook. It implied that she might do anything I asked, albeit unwillingly. Her head wasn’t into the game her body of sin was able to play. Slowly, a plan came to me.

I did need help. I had no pertinent experience with women, and I needed to learn what made them tick. I wanted to know what they desired. How they liked it: how to flirt, actually. It was all part of a persona I was developing. I didn’t have the smooth moves I’d seen others use. I didn’t have the charisma of my older brother. I’d been in the shadows, but I hadn’t been observant. I needed an instructor. Popular, pretty Elma Montgomery, who was rumored to have her share of sexual experience, would be the perfect tutor.

“Actually,” I responded, drawing out the word.

“I knew it,” she muttered, looking down at her worn boots. Her hair fell forward, and she released the hand on her bag to push back wisps of blonde near her face.

“I need a tutor.”

Her head shot up. Bright blues glowed in puzzlement.

“What kind of tutor?” Her questioning eyes narrowed again.

“Someone in the ways of biology or chemistry.”

Opening wide, her eyes didn’t blink.

“Weren’t you like the brightest guy in my biology class, freshman year?”

Huh? So she did remember me, just not the me from the beach, and that’s why I needed help.

“Well, it’s more like personal biology.”

“Oh.” Her lips twisted into a knowing smirk, and her shoulders fell. We were back to step one, where she would give in to me, but didn’t exactly want to. This wasn’t what I was asking. While my fantasy would be for Elma to fall at my feet, the reality was that would never happen. I needed her help to attract other women.

“Look, this isn’t coming out right.” I paused to peek at the woman behind the counter. She’d been staring too long at her screen without movement, giving away the obvious nature of her eavesdropping.

“Maybe you could just agree, and I can promise there’s no funny business. I could then pay for our classes and we could get out of here.” I tweaked an eyebrow in the direction of our nosy listener. A slow smile captured Elma’s rosy lips. She bit it as she contemplated what I suggested, then gave me the slightest nod.

“Really?” I responded too eagerly. Her shoulders slumped again and her eyes questioned me. “I mean, really. Okay. Hang on.”

Walking over to the counter, I handed the woman the gold card.

“Elma Montgomery,” I stated sternly. She stared at the card then looked up at me. Her eyes slit behind her glasses. She took the card briskly out of my hand and swiped it through the machine attached to the computer.

“And Abel Callahan,” I added in a whisper, motioning for her to swipe it a second time.

If I thought I was going to make a speedy getaway, I was wrong. My savior caught up to me, half way down the walk, outside the finance building. He was quick and a large hand wrapped around my upper arm.

“Whoa, sister,” he said, slightly out of breath. “You almost got away from me again.”

“What?” I questioned. I had no idea what he meant: again.

“Never mind,” he muttered, his hand still on me. I looked down at it and he immediately released me. My eyes pinched as I realized I didn’t mind his hand on my skin. There was something nonthreatening about him. He seemed rather innocent, studious, actually. His shirt was buttoned almost to the top and tucked into his pants. The sleeves secure at the cuffs. His jeans were snug and hugged him well. He wore dark rimmed glasses that screamed smart. Brown boots looked too new on his large feet. It was like he had the right parts but the wrong combination.

His blue eyes were soft and easy to look into. They practically spoke to me, but I had no idea what he was saying. His dark hair was disheveled, a bit shaggy, but cool looking. He kind of looked like a pop star, which was a little too sugar sweet for me. His form was questionable. It was hard to tell what kind of body he had under those clothes. He looked rather preppy, like half the guys at this university. I didn’t want to think about it. I’d just sold my soul for another semester.

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