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I looked up from the computer and stared at the wall. My job sucks. I have been doing the same thing for twenty years. For the last ten, I have been bored out of my mind. Somehow I managed to lessen my workload to the point where I almost felt guilty accepting my paycheck. My lunch hour has stretched into two and I have a tendency to leave early on many occasions. Being a director of a small IT department in a medium sized company allowed me the leeway to be lazy.
Unfortunately for my company, I am a difficult person to replace. My early years were packed with motivation. I was given free reign over the network and the software that the company used. In many cases, I ended up coding solutions that just couldn’t be purchased. My contributions are now an integral part of the company. I am not so naive to think I couldn’t be replaced but, it would be very painful. The only manuals and documentation for my software are in my head. I didn’t plan it that way, it just evolved as the company grew.
I went from a one man shop to a department of five. Now most of the day to day is handled by subordinates and I just worry about my databases. Strangely, my paycheck grew as my duties began to slack. My biggest issues are making sure my people are at work on time and the occasional ad-hoc report that only I can build.
I have close to a hundred days of vacation saved. I rarely use it since I really have no place to go. My wife passed seven years ago and even before that we weren’t big travelers. I now considered the cached days as a retirement bonus. Eventually I will get it all as a lump sum and do something wild. I am, of course, fooling myself. I haven’t done anything wild since my stint in the army many years back. I am just plain vanilla boring. The only excitement I get these days is finding a new episode on my DVR.
I looked at the clock again and saw it was just past eleven. Time for lunch. Most of the people in the company have grown used to me not being in the office between eleven and one. I am sure they suspected my extended lunch but, they never broached it to me. I had inadvertently trained them over time.
Lately I have been going home for lunch. I only live ten minutes away from the office. My normal routine was to make a sandwich or zap a frozen something and game on my computer for two hours. Turn based strategy games are my cocaine. I can still sometimes find myself at three in the morning taking one more turn. Today was different. For some reason, the thought of my empty house turned me off. I figured I would go to the local greasy spoon and let someone else cook and clean the dishes.
I arrived at Marty’s well before the main lunch crowd. Susan, the waitress that ran the counter service knew me by name. She was an older woman with a jovial smile. I think she may have been working at Marty’s when I was in diapers. I envied her perceived happiness and wondered how she maintained it.
“Hi Tom, haven’t seen you in a while.” She gave me her grandmotherly greeting. You couldn’t help but warm up to her.
“Got a new Civ game. I was busy trying to take over the world.” I had made her privy to my passions over many conversations. For some reason I felt the need to have an excuse. She just had that type of personality. Someone you didn’t want to disappoint.
“Well we kept your seat warm. What can I get you today?” Business first. I knew she wanted to get my order in before the place got crowded. She knew how to treat the regulars.
It wasn’t long before I had a stacked reuben with fries in front of me. I grabbed one of the papers from the counter and tried to catch up on current events. I was distracted by a conversation Susan was having with a skinny girl down the counter. The girl sported a kind of punk look. The left side of her head was shaved to stubble and the rest was let to grow. There were two purple streaks that started about an inch from her scalp and ran to the ends on the long side of her brown hair. Her exposed ear sported a few more piercings than I thought attractive. She wore way too much mascara and her attire tended to the black. Looking at her structure, I thought there must be a really pissed off father somewhere. If you could ignore the costume, she was a very pretty girl in her early twenties.
The girl was trying to negotiate a meal out of Susan for four dollars. Looking at her more closely, I noticed that she did look a little emaciated. Susan was trying to tell her that half a sandwich and water was all that the four dollars would get her. The girl relented and handed over what looked like the last of her money. A rather sullen expression crossed her face.
In the past I never really felt sorry for nonconformists. They decided to look and act differently and paid for it with lower prospects. But, as I got older, I mellowed. People are people and we all have to find our way in the world. I may not agree with the girls choices but, she has the right to make them. Hell, I made many canlı bahis bad choices when I was young. Still make a few today. I fished in my wallet for ten bucks and signaled Susan for a coffee refill. When she came for my cup I leaned in and said as quietly as I could, “Get that girl a full meal.” and I slipped her the ten.
Susan gave me that ‘what are you a perv’ look. “No, no. Just tell her the kitchen made a mistake. Don’t tell her it was from me.” I defended my honor the best I could. Susan smiled like a proud grandmother and nodded her head. I went back to my paper figuring I did my good deed for the day.
When the food arrived, I glanced over as Susan explained that the cook accidently made the full lunch basket instead of the the half sandwich. They didn’t want to throw it away and certainly couldn’t serve it someone else. It looked like the girl won the lottery. She had a pretty smile that didn’t fit the rough image she tried to portray. She started eating like she hadn’t had a good meal in a long time. I was pretty happy with myself. I settled up with Susan who smiled and winked at me then tilted her head to girl. I smiled and walked next door to the pharmacy to grab some blades and shaving cream.
When I exited the store the punk girl was waiting outside. “You bought me lunch. Didn’t you?” She said in an accusatory fashion.
“I’m not sure what you’re talking about.” I feigned ignorance and continued to my car. This was a bit more intrusive than I desired. Maybe it wasn’t such a good idea in the first place.
“I saw the waitress wink at you. The kitchen didn’t make a mistake did it?” She seemed a bit angry. It came off insulting. Well, no good deed goes unpunished.
“Look, I’m sorry. You looked hungry. I guess I made a mistake.” I made it to the car and opened the driver door. I figured a quick exit was in order.
“I don’t need your charity. I don’t need anyones charity.” She was very angry and almost shouting. I was never good at getting yelled at. I have a tendency to get defensive and say stupid things that only inflame the situation. I whipped my bag of shaving supplies across the front seats and turned back to her.
“Look I don’t know what you want from me. Just puke it back up and don’t bitch at me for trying to be nice.” It came out a little nastier than I expected. I emphasized ‘puke’ and ‘bitch’ while narrowing my eyes. She took a step back a little shocked at my response. Her pause gave me the out I needed. “Shit” I said as I shook my head and hopped into the drivers seat and slammed the car door shut. I took a deep breath before starting the car. I didn’t feel good as my body spiked adrenaline.
I heard a lite series of taps on the door window. “Fuck Me!” I yelled to myself as I rolled down the window ready to let loose with a tirade. I looked up and saw wet eyes. “I’m sorry.” she said sincerely and turned and walked away. “fuck me,” I whispered to myself. I opened the door and stood out of the car.
“I’m sorry too. You weren’t supposed to know about it.” I was trying to sound contrite. It was a feeble attempt.
“I was hungry. I am just not ready for help.” She had stopped moving but, she didn’t turn back to me. I had the distinct impression she was crying. I got myself in way deeper than I desired.
“Look, I got some time before I have to get back to work. You want me to drop you off somewhere.” I was hoping for a no so we could part on decent terms. All I got was real tears.
“I don’t have anywhere to go anymore.” She wouldn’t look at me and I didn’t feel right turning her around. I sensed she needed a hug but, I didn’t know her and the thought felt kind of creepy. I closed the car door and sat on the hood of the car figuring it would make me more neutral. I couldn’t leave her crying in the middle of a parking lot.
“Parents?” I decided she needed some analysis. Programming was my forte and calculating best methods of execution was second nature to me.
“I won’t go back there. They wouldn’t let me in anyway.” She turned and I saw crooked black stripes running down her cheeks. Seems mascara was given a higher priority than food.
“Friends?” I was trying to get her to think clearer. Everything is dismal at the bottom of the pit but, if you look up you see light. She wasn’t moving any closer to me which I thought was good thing. It was a little weird talking privately with someone who is ten feet away.
“I used them all up. Some of them never want to see me again.” The crying was starting again. Never having had any children this was kind of foreign. Whenever my wife cried I could just hold her. I had no idea how deal with this girl.
“By the way, I’m Tom, and you are?” I tried to get off subject a bit to stall the crying. I was really out of my element and the tears made it worse.
“Natalie. Most people just call my Natty.” Natty fit her more than Natalie. Natalie is a pretty name and she looked a bit too ridiculous to be Natalie right now.
“Natty, bahis siteleri you do know there are agencies that deal with … this type of stuff.” I was about to say homelessness but figured it would sound like a bad word at the moment.
“I know. I mean, I don’t know where but, I know there are.” She didn’t sound too excited about the proposition. I guess I wouldn’t be either if I were in her position. Her clothes had that lived in look. I decided to be a bit more probing.
“Where did you stay last night?” She seemed hesitant to answer. Maybe more embarrassed than hesitant.
“I hid in the library till it closed.” She started tearing again. Damn, she had really hit rock bottom. I knew I couldn’t leave her standing in the parking lot.
“Look, if you want, we can call up a few agencies together and I can take you to the best option.” I wanted to at least get her started. The way she was going, she would be a statistic in no time.
“I guess I need the help.” She sounded and looked distraught. I hate when people look defeated. It makes everyone around them a little depressed. I still felt weird about helping. I pulled out my wallet and grabbed my license. I held it out with my phone to Natty.
“Why don’t you call someone and let them know you’re going to my house for a bit.” I would feel better if this wasn’t private. It just didn’t quite feel right but, it was better than leaving her here. She stepped forward and took them both. She looked at them for a minute then handed them back.
“I have no one to call.” No tears this time. Just a sad realization that she had run out of safety net. I was not very comfortable with the situation. She was an adult but, I would have felt a lot better if someone else was looking out for her. I called the office and took the rest of day off.
We arrived at the house about ten minutes later. I showed Natty the guest room with attached bath. I got fresh towels and clean robe. The robe will swamp her small frame but, it was all I had. I left her to clean up while I got started on finding the appropriate agencies.
There was only one shelter in the area and it was full. I didn’t even know that they could fill up. The manager said that room assignments were day to day. If the weather was bad, they would be full up by noon otherwise, it would fill up by four or five. There were storms forecasted for tonight so it had filled early. Wow, it would really suck to be homeless.
I never thought there would be a problem in getting Natty situated. I was starting to kick myself for offering to help. I couldn’t send her out into the night but, it was really uncomfortable to have her stay at the house. For all I knew, she could be some kind of crazed psycho. Well, what’s done is done. I would just have to live with my decisions for one night.
I headed to the guest room and no longer heard the shower. I knocked lightly on the bedroom door and she didn’t answer. I tried again with the same response. I opened the door calling her name and still no response. I found her sound asleep on the bed. She had mummified her hair in a towel and double wrapped herself in my robe. It looked like she had just laid down for a moment and passed out. She looked so peaceful, I decided to let her be. I guess when you are on the street, sleep is a premium. She wasn’t going anywhere tonight anyway.
She slept through dinner and I began to expect she wouldn’t wake up till morning. I put a sign on her door so she wouldn’t freak out; ‘Shelter full tonight. Food in fridge if hungry. See you in the morning.’ I then crawled into bed. Even though my wife had been dead these seven years, I still slept on the right side. It was a king sized bed and anyone in their right mind would just spread out. I just felt more comfortable on the right. I made a mental note to flip the mattress around next time I changed the sheets. Don’t want a one sided dent in the mattress.
They weren’t wrong about the storm. It hit around two AM and woke me from a dead sleep. The lightning was constant followed by the roar of thunder. I sensed the power was out. The house was missing some of the glow from the little vampire LEDs in the appliances. I briefly wondered if Natty was going to sleep through this racket. I got my answer about two minutes later. I felt a body quickly run past the end of the bed and slip into my wife’s side. I was pretty freaked until I felt her pull the covers over her head. I feigned sleep and smiled. Natty was so afraid of the lightning she risked my bed. My wife was the same way. Good thing I didn’t put her out into the night. As silently as I could, I scooted to the right edge. I didn’t want any accidental contact to occur.
My alarm went off at six as it has for the last twenty years. I remembered I had a guest so I didn’t hit the snooze. I sat up in bed and rubbed my eyes. I really hated waking up to an alarm. It always seemed to catch me in a deep sleep. Sun was peaking through the curtains with bahis şirketleri no sign of last nights storm. Natty didn’t seem to hear the alarm. She was still out cold though the covers were no longer over her head. Part of the robe was pulled open and most of one breast was exposed. It looked so soft I almost instinctively reached out. I caught myself quickly and thought that I should pull her robe closed. Visions of her waking with my hand at her chest stopped me in my tracks. I let her be and grabbed a shower.
The water wasn’t cold enough. Somehow that partially exposed breast had become the only thing I could think about. It hadn’t been with anyone since my wife passed and my dick was thinking it was about time. I tried to move on to work subjects but, I kept coming back to that breast. It was so young and soft looking. I did the only thing I could. I grabbed my cock and rubbed one off. It usually took the internet to get me going but, this morning the vision in my head was all I needed. It was an especially powerful climax and brought back memories of my youth. At least I wouldn’t spend the morning with a hardon.
I toweled off, robed up and snuck back into to the room. The damn breast was still there. I quietly opened drawers and grabbed the days clothes. I succeeded in not waking Natty so I headed to the hall bathroom and got dressed. I have lived in privacy since my wife died. It had become a habit to sit and eat breakfast in just my underwear. There was never any need for modesty. I needed to find a solution for Natty so I could return to the lonely order of my mornings. The change was uncomfortable.
I needed to get Natty up. I didn’t want to wake her physically with her being partially exposed like she was. It would be embarrassing for her and a little too intimate for me. I decided to set off the nose alarm. I cooked some bacon. I really like bacon but, didn’t eat it often. With only one person at home, I ended up throwing away most of it and good bacon is expensive. As the smell of bacon began to permeate the house, I grabbed some Bisquick and a bowl. I had decided that pancakes would go good with the bacon. A much bigger breakfast than I usually made but, having a guest allowed me some leeway. I guess it wasn’t so bad having her here for one night.
As expected, Natty’s head poked out of the hallway following the heavenly smell. Her hair was a mess. Never fall asleep with wet hair wrapped in a towel. I smiled, “Good morning Natty.” and gestured to a stool at the kitchen counter. She smiled back and quickly took the seat. Thankfully she had reset her robe more conservatively.
“Sorry about last night. Lightning kind of freaks me out.” She didn’t sound embarrassed. She was simply stating a fact. I guess the fear ran deep and she saw no problem in sharing it with me.
“I’m used to it. My wife was the same way. Pancakes and bacon okay?” I went back to stirring up the mix.
“Perfect, I’m starved.” Ah yes, the smell of bacon works its magic again. She glanced around the room with her eyes stopping at a set of pictures on the credenza in the hall. She rose and carefully picked up one of my favorites. “Is this your wife.” She was looking at it closely.
“Yes, that’s Mary. She died a few years back. Cancer.” I stated matter of factly. I was past the emotional loss of her death and I kept myself that way by making sure all my statements about it were clinical in nature.
“She was pretty.” She was running her finger slowly across the face of the picture.
“I always thought so.” I felt a tinge of the old wound. I didn’t want the conversation to continue down this path. “I think I have some strawberries. Should we top off the pancakes?”
“Yes please, that sounds wonderful.” She carefully placed the picture back down and excitedly returned to the stool. I had to admit to myself that it felt good to cook for someone else. Especially someone who seemed to really need a good meal. I grabbed the cutting board, knife and pulled the strawberries from the fridge. I placed them in front of Natty.
“You cut and I’ll cook.” The statement brought back memories of my wife and I sharing the kitchen duties. I strangely felt comfortable again. She was adorable as she attacked the strawberries. Everytime she made a cut, she would stick her tongue out slightly in concentration. I retrieved the first batch of bacon and placed in some paper towels to soak up some grease. Loaded the last batch and dolloped the pancake batter into the frying pan. We were a well oiled machine. I suddenly had absolutely no desire to go to work today.
As far as I could tell, it was the best breakfast Natty had ever eaten. She cherished every bite and didn’t even leave a syrup stain on the plate. She looked so contented when she finally pushed her plate away. I sensed she felt at home. I just stared at her half smile, rather pleased with myself.
“What?” She startled me. I didn’t realize I was staring.
“Sorry, I was kind of enjoying you enjoying breakfast. Don’t have guests very often.” I think I was blushing a bit. I looked away and starting gathering the dishes. I caught a smile from the corner of my eye so I figured no harm was done.
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