Just a short bit of fun, trying something a little different. Hope you like it!
Sorting through the bottom of her laundry basket, Beth dropped the last of her panties in her small white basket. Her yellow tee in the larger blue basket. And a pair of shredded not really dirty jeans in the large grey basket. Sighing, she dropped the lid down on her hamper. Sitting back on her bed. Looking down at her three baskets. All filled, well sort of filled, with clothes which mostly needed to be washed.
What kind of loser does laundry on a Friday night. Stomping into her tiny bathroom, she carelessly pulled her hair up in a lopsided ponytail. Staring at her reflection in the mirror over the sink. I guess a loser like me. Shaking her ponytail loose. Dragging her fingers through her hair. Separating a small strand, she watched herself braid it. Fastening the bottom of the braid, she combed the rest of her hair into a neat ponytail. Adding the braid in on the side. Tying it with a bright red ribbon. Better. Leaning into the mirror, she stretched her mouth, checking her teeth. Then batting her eyes, she tipped her face from side to side. Before opening the cosmetic bag laying on the side of the sink. Rooting through the meager contents. Maybe a little mascara. Or blush. Oooh, lip-gloss. Staring at her reflection as she pinked her cheeks, and ran the pink wand against her lower lip. That's nice. Not that I'm going to see anyone at the laundromat. Unless…
Stacking her three partially full baskets, like nesting dolls, humming to herself. Beth headed out to her jeep. Tossing the baskets in back, she climbed in the driver's seat, checking her reflection one more time. Never know who you might see, isn't that what Mama used to say.
In a happy, humming haze, Beth made the fifteen-minute drive to the only laundromat in the small town she had settled in after leaving Atlanta three months earlier. When her relationship with Zach had blown up, no strike that. When she realized what an asshole Zack was. And their neighbor Andrea, who was all too happy to keep Zack company when she was out of town. Atlanta had always felt too big, too loud, and too busy for her taste. But, that was where Zack lived. Now, Atlanta was too big, too loud, too busy, and the place where Zack and Andrea lived. No way was she living in Atlanta now.
Schlepping her stuff, all four boxes and her cat, out of his apartment at 2 am on a Tuesday, she didn't really have a plan or place to go. She only knew she was not! Going home to Senoia. Or the Greene family farm. Or back to being daddy's little girl. Nope, she was too old for that. Instead, she googled small towns 50 miles from Atlanta. Looking for a place with a slower pace of life. And a couple carryout places that delivered. Where she could get a decent internet connection. Two days later, she found Fairmont. And Mrs. Murray's upstairs apartment.
It was small. It had a small living room, a smaller kitchen, a bedroom with a built-in dresser and just enough room for a double bed. And a teeny bathroom that barely had room for a litter box. All in all, it was just the right size for her and Tatters. Yes indeed. Small town. Small apartment. Small rent. And small love life. Very small love life. Non-existently small love life. She wouldn't change a thing. Well, maybe the small love life part.
Pulling up in front of the laundromat, she checked her face again in the rearview mirror. Because you never know. Then hauled her three nesting doll baskets inside. Glancing around the mostly empty tables. Well, well. Mr. Leather and Smoke is here. Again. Friday night is looking up.
The first Friday night she went to the laundromat, she had waited so long to go, she had to wear a too short, too tight tee shirt that said I pee in pools. An unfortunate souvenir left over from when she was thirteen. And a paint-stained pair of capris. It was humiliating. Especially when she spotted Mr. Leather and Smoke.
He was smoking hot, all kinds of badass cool. With that skin-tight black tee under a leather vest. Showing off his arms and shoulders, it almost made her drool. But what really did it, were his eyes. Made of steel, they seemed to pierce her soul. She was so busy not staring at him, she forgot to add detergent to her washing machine. By the time she figured it out, he was gone.
After a long week of definitely not thinking about her nonexistent love life, she was pretty sure she needed to go back to the laundromat. On Friday night. She didn't have as many dirty things that needed washing. But, no sense in letting things build up. Besides, she needed a break from watching movies with Tatters and eating pizza alone.
That was the night she got a whiff of Mr. Leather and Smoke. She was ready this time. She hustled her three baskets inside. Then filled her washers, including soap, before she risked looking around. There he was. His back to her. Those glorious arms on full display under his leather vest. Not even a hint of a sleeve to… Holy smokes. No shirt. Just thick, muscled arms and shoulders that stretched across... Oh my. She was so distracted, she managed to drop her delicates in with her darks. Squealing, she began to fish them out. Trying to get ahold of them before they turned grey. Her dripping, lacy, lilac bra in hand, she glanced up. Definitely not checking to see if Mr. Leather and Smoke was still there. He was. But now he was facing her. Pulling his dried shirt on over his head. Briefly revealing his delicious chest, with its tattoos and sparse, coarse hair. Dripping bra hanging from her hand, she tried not to stare. Tried and failed.
At the sound of her gulping a loud breath, Mr. Leather's head jerked up. His shirt came down. Their eyes meeting for a moment before he shifted his gaze. To the lacy, lilac bra that was still hanging from her hand. Gasping, she had plunged her bra back down into the grey water with her darks. With a grunt, he pulled his vest on and pushed his way past her. The smell of leather and smoke lingering in the air behind him. Oh yeah, it was a good night. Twisting to look out the windows. He was gone. And so was the big bike that had been parked out front. That's when she learned Mr. Leather and Smoke rode a motorcycle. A big one. She had never wanted to ride a motorcycle, but if it meant holding on to him, well...
The next week dragged. Working from her apartment, in her pajamas, she didn't dirty many clothes. But then... As she contemplated spending another night with the Avengers, Chinese carryout, Diet Coke and Tatters, her laundry called. Actually, the memory she had been playing with all week, called. The memory of Mr. Leather and Smoke putting on his shirt. The way he moved. And smelled. His eyes. And those amazing arms. Wandering into her bedroom, to put on something more comfortable than pajamas, she glanced down at the hamper. Popping the lid open with her foot, just far enough to see that there were only a couple of tees, a pair of jeans, and her delicates inside. Well, no sense putting off for tomorrow what you can do today. Her mama's words ringing in her ears, she started loading the baskets.
And now, here she is. And there he is. On the other side of the table. He had his back to her, but Beth would recognize those gorgeous arms anywhere. And shoulders. His shirt must already be in the wash because there was no sign of sleeves. Just delicious man meat. Man meat? Who am I? He's going to think I'm a crazy stalker. Dear God, save me from... me.
Gathering her delicates in one arm, Beth started around the table towards the dryers. Studiously avoiding looking at Mr. Leather and Smoke, well mostly avoiding. Okay, just trying not to get caught staring. She realized he had started shuffling towards the end of the table, then around the side. As if he was determined to keep a table between them. Oh my gosh, he does think I'm a crazy stalker. Stuffing her things in a top dryer, she quickly inserted a quarter and pushed the start button. Spinning on her heel, she stared down at her cute cowboy boots. Which she hadn't dug out of the back of her tiny closet special to wear tonight, with her tight jeans and denim jacket which made her eyes pop. Nope, not paying any attention to Mr. Leather and Smoke. Just going to walk back to where my baskets are sitting.
As Beth made her way around the side of the table, Mr. Leather and Smoke started his shuffling routine again. Keeping the table between them. Yep, he thinks I'm the crazy stalker cat lady, the way he's moving away from... Holy sharkies. Her eyes dropping to the floor, her mouth gaping at the sight of one booted foot between the tables. And no sock above the boot. No jeans, either. Just a strong looking, hairy calf. Clamping her mouth closed, she looked up in time to see Mr. Leather and Smoke's steely blue eyes drilling into her.
Grabbing the edge of the table to keep from melting into the floor. "Oh, um. I need more..." You. "Quarters." Smooth Beth, real smooth. She moved a little quicker around the table. Trying not to be obvious about her staring. At his solid chest across from her. Or his magnificent shoulders, that stretch all the way to Montana. Or his glorious arms. And definitely not thinking about his ass, which she couldn't see but now that she knew his pants were no doubt in the washer with his shirt, well... I wonder if he's washing his boxers, too. Or maybe he just goes commando. That vest isn't that long, maybe if I...
It's hard not to be obvious when you're plotting how you can subtly look under the table to see if Leather McHottie standing across from you is wearing anything besides a leather vest. A vest you'd be happy to help him get out of. And then smell. Your own thoughts turning your face the color of a tomato, a really ripe tomato. Times like that, all you can do is smile at those cuttingly sharp eyes, adorable mole, and those lips. Bet they're really soft and... Get a grip, woman. You've spent too many Friday nights ogling Chris Hemsworth. Even as you bump into the table so hard it skids four inches across the floor. Yep, nothing obvious about that.
Eyes to yourself. Nothing to see here, well... Nope, don't even think it. He's probably a bigger asshole than Zack. I had a look, now I need to just finish. Go home. And never do laundry on Friday night again. Oh my God. It only took a stray glance. No, less than a glance, to see him facing an open dryer door. His dark tee already back on. He was shimmying into his jeans. With a pair of her pink panties stuck to the back of his shirt. What do I do, what do I do. Leave them. Pretend you don't... No, I really like that pair. They match my pink lace bra. Maybe I can... Yeah, yeah. I'll just tiptoe around... And snag them before he puts his vest back on.
It was a dumb idea in the planning stage, worse when she plowed into the table again. Hard enough to make it slide into him. Beth let out a small choky gasp, her hands flying up in front of her mouth. As he took a giant lunge forward, catching himself just inches short of going face first into the dryer.
Rushing around the table, Beth clawed at his arm. "I'm sorry, I'm so, so sorry. I was just trying to..." Grab my panties off your back. "Quarters, put quarters in the..." He's staring at me. And not saying anything. Maybe he's mute. I wish I was mute. Or invisible. He must think I'm an idiot, because I am one. Should have stayed home with Tatters. Then my panties wouldn't be on his... "You have... Something on your back. I was just going to..."
Still not speaking, Mr. Leather's arm was reaching, oh man muscular And long, around his back. A finger catching on the edge and pulling.
Breathing suddenly much more difficult, Beth began swallowing deep breaths. Run. Run fast. Then move. To another town. White spots appearing before her eyes. Am I going to pass out? Need to stick my head in a bag. In front of... That's always a good look. Her eyes widening as he stuck out his hand, her panties hanging from one finger.
In seconds, his face went from confused to a mix of horror and anger. Mostly horror. He flipped her panties onto the table, like he was afraid they might bite him. His hand hooking around her arm, his fingers tightening. Preventing her from falling face first on the table as she passed out. Except her breathing had slowed and she was feeling clear headed.
"What the hell. Ya used my dryer for your... Girly shit. Gotta be 20 empty dryers, and you stuck your shit in with mine?"
Blinking, Beth tried to force her now gloss free mouth into a charming smile and extract her arm from his grasp at the same time. "I didn't notice there were clothes in it. I'm so..."
Snorting, his lip pulling up at the end. "It was runnin'. How'd you not notice that? And what the hell you doin', comin' back here week after week?"
Oh my gosh, that voice. Wait. "You noticed me?"
Looking less like he wanted to swat her, Mr. Gravelly Leather smiled. A tiny smile, but it was an honest to God smile. That was exactly like what she thought his smile would look like. "You're the only one in here but me. Nobody does laundry on Friday night."
"I did. I mean I do. I had dirty clothes." The first week. "And I could ask you the same thing. What were you doing here three weeks in a row? On a Friday?"
Nodding. "It's the only night it's empty, an' I can wash... Everything."
Everything, everything? "Oh. Well, seeing how we're both here, and our clothes are dry, you want to... You know what, never mind." I must be crazy. He is too perfect. Perfect looking. There has to be something seriously wrong with him. There's probably a serial killer in that killer bod. Yep killer, that's what's wrong with him. Curling her wayward panties up in her hand, Beth began backing away. Not taking her eyes off him. Until there was a table separating them. Again. Then, not bothering to fold her clothes, she shoved everything into one basket.
Her baskets stacked and under her arm, she was pushing at the door when she heard his voice again. Louder this time. "Coffee. Granny's Café serves coffee and pancakes all night."
Making a slow turn. He hadn't moved. "You asking me..."
With a one arm shrug. "Maybe. You interested?"
Beth propped her foot against the open door. "I don't know." Yes, yes, freakin' hell yes. "I sort of had a date with the Avengers."
Slow walking towards her, Mr. Leather and Smoke reached over her head. Grabbing the edge of the door. Holding it open. "You're in luck, I can tell you how it ends. Then you can tell me where you're from...?"
Her feet frozen. "Beth."
"Beth." Hearing him say her name, she almost dropped her laundry baskets. "You can tell me what brings ya to this shithole town, Beth."
Slipping past him out onto the sidewalk, pulling her eyes back in her head. "I don't know. You going to keep your clothes on...?"
"Daryl. If you keep your panties in your own basket."
"Hmm, Daryl." Best. Name. Ever. "Coffee, pancakes, we both keep our clothes where they belong. And you can tell me what keeps you in this shithole town, Daryl."
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