Aggie examined her reflection and sighed. "I look huge in this sweat shirt." Defeated she put her hand to her forehead and leaned back and fell onto her bed. "Oh God this isn't good." A frustrated shout erupted from her lips. Slapping her hands against her eyes she took a deep soothing breath and lowered them. "I can do this." She said.

Joe had told her that she shouldn't worry that Duncan had sought her out at the movie theater so he had to find her attractive. So she should just be herself and enjoy the evening." She smiled to herself as she heard Joe's gruff voice say, "Aggie if he hurts your feelings I'll kill him." Joe was always there for her. She sat up and fortified herself. Standing she brushed out her hair, looked for her shoes, and once found she laced up her gym shoes and headed for the door. She put on her coat and she felt the butterflies swarming in her stomach. Some of those butterflies, she noted, felt like they were trying push their way out of her stomach through her navel, some felt like they were trying to rush their way up her throat and out her mouth, and some felt as if they were exploding with excitement and fear.

She followed the directions that Duncan had provided for her. It wasn't difficult to find the Dojo. It was called "DeSalvo's Martial Arts" His mother must be Italian she thought. She parked her car in the parkinglot behind the building. Getting out of the car she surveyed the back of the building and the butterflies, which she thought she had calmed down with some Tums that she had found in her car, began their frantic dances again. Clamping her mouth and swallowing hard in an effort to keep the butterflies firmly in her stomach she forced her feet to move forward towards the building. Walking slowly at first she kept her eyes to the ground and tried to avoid the pools of standing water that had been left by the winter rain. She pulled her brown coat tigher around her and pushed her gloved hands inside her pockets. She hesitated at the stairs that led to the door of the dojo. Digging more courage, more courage than she had ever known she possessed, she climbed the stairs and opened the door.

Pulling the door open the smell of sweat and work wafted towards her nose. She found herself giving a nervous smile. Looking around she saw a few people here and there and she found herself pondering how exactly she was to get to the top floor. Tentatively she stepped forward and her white Keds squeaked a little on the hardwood floor. Cringing inwardly at the noise she continued inside. It seemed as if every person in the dojo stopped their work out and looked at her. They must be thinking I'm an idiot. she thought self-deprecatingly. A young man with curly blonde hair separated himself from the crowd. Approaching her with a smile and all of his clothes on she felt herself relax ever so slightly.

"Hello." He extended a hand to her and she took it. "You must be Aggie."

"Yes." She said and was frustrated that her voice was shaky. "I'm Richie. Mac told me to escort you to his loft." Richie put his hand on her back and escorted her towards the other end of the lengthy dojo.

"That was very kind of him." Her voice was still a little shaky. Why can't I be stronger than this? she chastised herself. I've gone running with him twice this week. I should not be this weak. She felt tears stinging the back of her eyes. She did not want to cry in front of Duncan's friend. She did not want to have tears in her eyes when she went up to his loft and met him either. Richie opened the gate that was at the far end of the of the dojo and he stepped inside with her. He closed the gate when both were inside and put a key in and turned it. His wide blue innocent eyes turned to her.

"Mac says that you are a school teacher."



"Huh? Oh...Seacouver North." Richie smiled at her distractedness. They spent the rest of the ride in silence. Suddenly, a burning sensation rippled down from her forehad and settled inside her belly. Oh God what if Richie tells Duncan how weird I'm being and he decides that its' not worth being with a scatter brain? Irrational fear plagued her as they rode the noisy freight elevator to the top floor.

They arrived on the top floor and Duncan stood there sans shirt. Aggie felt her eyes burn at the sight of him without his shirt on. He was so beautiful. Dark rich toned skin, lightly sprinkled with dark curly hair, and a body that she had thought only existed in the movies and in magazines. His hair was hanging loose around his face and shoulders. He was so much of a man and she was nothing more than a little girl trying to play the part of a woman. She would never live up to this man's expectations nor would he care for her company long. I'm just not that pretty she thought.

"Richie..." Duncan said as they approached. He saw Aggie and smiled. "Och aren't you a bonny lass." Duncan said to Aggie as she stepped out of the elevator. A small cold wave of relief flooded over her mind and body and then the normal thoughts replaced the relief. The same questions that ha plagued her for her entire life shouted in her mind. Are you good enough? You aren't pretty enough? What does he want? Is he playing with you? Is he leading you on? She tried to push those thoughts completely out of her mind and forced a smile through her fear.

"Hi Duncan. Thank you for the compliment."

"Thank you Richie." Duncan said over her head. Richie put his hands up and with a mischievous smile said "Okay Okay Mac I can take the hint. I'll leave you two love birds alone." Aggie's cheeks burned with embarrassment. Richie, receiving the desired effect, pulled the gate down and started the decent back to the dojo.

"He has a tendency to think he's funny. I hired him to work a couple nights a week helping to keep the books and he's here all of the time." He laughed.

"Let me go and put a shirt on and we can go." She nodded. He took one of her hands and kissed the back of it. She felt the kiss burn through her skin and tingle every inch of her body. She had never felt like this before. Duncan, this dark gorgeous Scot, had actually chosen to get to know her and was interested in her. She didn't know how to act or how to feel. The nagging voice in the back of her head decided to supply her with an answer, He'll be interested until he gets to know you...until he finds out how borring, selfish, and weird you really and truly are. She felt her smile falter and her eyes began to sting again. Duncan, seeming not to notice, said "I will be right back. Make yourself at home." Not trusting her voice any longer she nodded. He smiled warmly and went towards the black door at the back of the loft.

She looked around the one room loft, the kitchen was to the right and it was done in sort of a modern metal motif. There was a warm sitting area just in front of the kitchen. The leather couch looked warn and like Duncan entertained many friends on that couch. She noted that the walls were covered in antiques most of which she was afraid to touch for fear of damaging the priceless items. Scnanning the book case she saw books that had to be at least a century old, the desk that she passed was a real wood and again it looked to have been made years before. Man he must have a lot of money she thought.

She walked towards the other said of he room and started to pass a metal shelf when she saw a picture frame. She stopped and looked at it. Duncan and a beautiful blonde woman with azure eyes looked back at her. The blonde had her arms wrapped around Duncan and her face was pressed up against his. She was smiling so big that it looked like it should hurt. That's what it must be like to love or be loved by someone. she thought and she stood on the sides of her feet. The blonde woman was everything that she wasn't. She looked to be tall, slender, blonde, and she had an air of sophistication that added to her beauty. Why is he with me? she wondered as the bathroom door opened and Duncan's hard footfalls startled Aggie. She made a small involuntary startled noise. He was now wearing a blue button down shirt and a pair of faded blue jeans with brown boots. He looked even more beautiful than he had without his shirt on. He grinned at the startled noise that she had emitted at his presence.

"You have such a beautiful home." She said deciding that she wouldn't ask about the woman in the photograph. She didn't want to know if she was somewhere waiting for him. Aggie didn't want to know that she was just a fling and would be discarded as soon as this beautiful woman returned. The one thing that she didn't even want to think about was the possibility that Duncan had the capability to cheat on someone who obviously loved him so very much.

"You're the first to say that." He said as made his way over to her.

"I certainly don't know why." She looked around. "Most of the things in here must be worth a fortune." He smiled. "My grandfather and I have a weakness for old things. Now come on. You have to give me directions to this school of yours. I havenae been to an American sports event. She laughed.

"Well it's not exactly typical American sports. It won't be like the TV. These are high school kids hoping to get scholarships to go to college. Some are really good....some aren't so good. Most of the time people just come to socialize."

"Well then it seems that we are going to be having a grand time." He put his large hand around her waist and he escorted her out. They made small talk all of the way out to his car. She got inside the Thunderbird and he began to drive. He turned on the radio and classical music spouted from the speakers.

"You like classical?" she asked tentatively.

"Yeah I do. Do you?" he asked.

"I've never really listened to it much. I played the violin for a while. It's hard to play classical that much I know. Take a left here."

"Aye, well if you've played it then you must know if you like it or not. " He smiled over at her. His long hair, which was laying loose about his shoulders, moved over his shoulders as he looked at her. She longed to touch that hair, but he had not invited her to touch. One wish that she had had for some years now was that a young man, such as Duncan, would invite her to touch him, small touches, hand holding, and eventually the large touches that would initiate her into the world that all of her peers had been living in since they were 16. her eyes fell to her hands, she didn't want him to see the lust in her eyes.

"I suppose. I've never just listened to it. Take a right here." Duncan followed her directions. "It's right there." He parked in the lot. She was out of the car before he could open it.

"You make it difficult for a man to follow his mother's directions." He said and took her hand. Her world narrowed when she felt his warm strong hand take hers and she fought to hear what he was saying.

"I don't understand."

"My mother told me that I had to open doors for the young women I went out with. You make that very difficult." She blushed.

"I'm sorry. I'm not used to someone doing things for me."

"Well you better get used to it." She shot him an odd look and he smiled.


"So that is an American high school." He said with some amusement.

"Yup. Those are my students." He shot her a helpless look. She laughed. "They have a tendency to get rowdy when they are with their friends." She said by way of apology for how six students had come over to the two of them and asked embarrassing questions such as; "You got a date Miss. Maron? Has he kissed you yet?" Then there was the statement that several girls had made rang in her ears and danced in his head, "Miss. Maron he is soo hott!"

"They are an interesting bunch." He said as they walked towards the T-bird. He opened her car door and she blushed.

"Thank you." They were on their way back to the dojo. He watched her out of the corner of his eye as they headed back the short distance back to his home.

"I had a really great time tonight." He said and grabbed her hand. She found herself smiling.

"I had a great time too." She smiled.

"Would you like to come up?"

"I would love to but I need to get home and to bed I have to be at an English conference tomorrow at 9."

"Och that's no fun."

"It can be." He walked her to her car.

"Can I see you Sunday?"

"I'm going to church but it would be nice if you went with me."

"Then it's a date." She watched her feet as they walked the few feet back to her car. "Thank you for a wonderful evening." She shrugged.

"I'm glad you had a good time." She turned to he car and unlocked the door.

"Before you go, I have a question for you."

"What is that?"

"Can I have a kiss?" She nodded.

"Yes." He leaned down and gave Aggie the first kiss of her life.