Fun With Your Clothes On One-Shot Contest
Title: A Morning Run
Your pen name: rameau
Disclaimer: All recognizable places and names belong to their respective owners. Only the games I play with these borrowed toys belong to me.
To see other entries in the Fun With Your Clothes On Contest, please visit the C2 page:
Summary: A new job, a quiet life, nothing to challenge him but his morning run in the thick white fog. Will the daily routine ensure him physical satisfaction?
Author's Note: I apologise to any and all locals for every mistake I've made describing Gambier village and Kenyon College. It's a beautiful place, but pretty pictures only feed my imagination. Please suspend disbelief for the duration of this short fic.
 [√] 
There's something oddly satisfying in the slightly burning pressure on my feet as I fasten the laces of my running shoes. It's how I know I'm awake each morning.
My eyes open like clockwork every day at 5:55 AM. I splash cold water on my face, I consume a muesli yogurt, and I am fully clothed and ready for my early run less than ten minutes later. I try to tread carefully on the stairs should Mrs.. Swan still be asleep, but somehow she's always up and busy in the kitchen by the time I make my way to the front door.
"Good morning dear," she calls with a clear voice and I can't help but smile in return.
"Good morning ma'am."
"Oh, really Jasper. You know it's Marie, for you." She reminds me, as she does every morning.
"Mrs.. Swan," I aim for an appropriately scandalized tone, "What would the neighbours think?"
"They would think that I finally found myself a fetching young replacement for the late Mr. Swan." Her brown eyes twinkle mischievously under the greying coiffure. I walk to her, grab her left hand and brush my lips against the dull golden rings.
"In that case, I need to start looking for a ring."
Her bubbling laughter escorts me to the side door as I slip out into the blizzard. I guess, technically the locals would call this light snowfall, but for someone who has never before in his twenty-seven years seen snow it's a blizzard.
I jump up and down few times, roll my shoulders and back, and stretch quickly. As I start to paddle through the snow, I find myself missing the sound of my feet hitting the asphalt back home.
It's been two weeks since I moved to Gambier, Ohio from Roma, Texas, and I'm still trying to acclimate to the change. I'm used to sticking out like a sore thumb in the crowd of dark and fiery Latinos, but here I actually blend in. A blond, curly mop of hair and bluish eyes are commonplace instead of the rare exception.
It actually feels good to be ignored as I sprint along the quiet Middle Path that runs through the campus of Kenyon College, the place of my new employment.
I snort as I mentally hit the brakes and stop to think about this particular turn of events. Who knew I would end up in the cold North teaching history to art liberals more interested in the evolution of brush strokes than in the political events that inspired the pictures those strokes depict? Not I, not my Mama and certainly not Maria.
She had actually whined when I told her I would be moving. "Isn't there enough history in Texas for you to bury yourself in?" She had asked and I had had to admit she was right. Everything from Matagorda Bay to the Alamo and beyond intrigued me, but the problem was that there were other more qualified historians perusing those same details. I needed to earn my spurs somewhere else.
One of my countless resumes had ended up on the desk of the Kenyon College President by some fluke and my good luck had carried me through the job interview. For the spring term I would have my chance to show them and the world what I am capable of and I intend on making my Mama proud.
My heavy breathing tears me back to the present and I realise I am nearly at the end of my trail. I need to start slowing and cool down. As the thought passes through my mind I stumble and nearly crash into a tiny black flurry that disappears behind the corner like a bolt of heat lightning. I hasten my steps in effort to catch the girl to apologise and to make sure I haven't harmed her in any way. She's speeding down the street by the time I turn the corner and I'm not in any shape to catch her, not after the five miles I've already covered.
Turning back, I make my way back to Mrs. Swan's house in moderate pace. The college had put me in touch with her after I had accepted the job and I would be living with her through my probationary period. Marie Swan is one of the first female alumni of the college having entered the college soon after it opened its gates to women back in 1969. She was a mother of a young boy, Charlie, but nothing would stop her from quenching her thirst for knowledge in the place where she had grown up. Now she works to help new students and at times offers housing to new faculty members.
"How was your run?" She asks as I enter the house.
"Good, but for the fact that I nearly toppled a girl who crossed my path."
"I hope nothing happened."
"I tried asking her, but she took off in such a hurry that I didn't have the chance."
"Sounds like she's alright then."
"Yeah," I mutter distractedly.
"Breakfast is ready when you'll come back down."
"Thank you, ma'am, you spoil me."
"Just making sure you won't run back to the Texan sun before you have the chance to see ours."
I nod more out of habit than for agreeing with her. As much as I miss home, I'm not a quitter and two weeks of white hell isn't going to drive me away with my tail tucked between my legs. I run upstairs and get ready for work.
 [√] 
On the following day I find myself slowing by the scene of the near collision and searching for something, or someone. The street is empty, but I continue running up and down the length of it in hopes of getting my chance to apologise. At least that's what I tell myself. I chalk it up to the upbringing my Mama gave me and to the deeply ingrained respect for all members of the fairer sex.
When it becomes evident that I won't have the opportunity, I return to Mrs. Swan's exhausted for the extra exercise. She looks at me with an arched brow and starts talking about her granddaughter who is about to come for a visit. I smile and nod as I listen to her until it hits me that Mrs. Swan is setting me up for a blind date. I excuse myself and make a narrow escape before committing myself into anything.
 [√] 
I tell myself it's because I want to get into a better shape when the length of my morning run slowly doubles, but it's a lie. I'm spending more and more time searching for the mystery girl and perusing the neighbourhood streets. It's in vain though, because the closest I come to her is the neon coloured stocking cap I spot on a tall man running the opposite direction one morning.
Mrs. Swan grows quieter as I have less time to spend chatting with her in the mornings. She starts insisting on watching me eat to make sure I won't wither away from the excessive running. There's something else there though, but I can't put my finger on it until a month later when she asks point blank if I'm gay.
"Excuse me?" I sputter and nearly choke on the rye bread.
"Are you gay? A homosexual? It's quite alright dear, you can tell me. It won't make a bit of difference to me if you are." Mrs. Swan is sitting opposite me with her fingers loosely laced together. Her eyes are soft and encouraging.
"No, I'm not gay."
"Are you sure?"
"I'm quite sure," I grin widely and shake my head at the idea. Not that I have anything against gays, but I'm a git too fond with softer curves to entertain the notion of crossing swords with another man. "Why would you think that?"
Mrs. Swan sighs at my question and quickly looks around the room before training her eyes on me again. "Because you started avoiding me after I mentioned Bella and how much you'd like her if you two met."
My jaw drops and it takes me a second to realise she's right about the timing but wrong about the reason. I grab my tea and sip it trying to buy time. How much should I tell her? Mrs. Swan is closest thing I have to a family here and my best friend. I hedge and settle for a half-truth.
"It's not that. I would love to meet your granddaughter and I never meant to make you think otherwise. It's the work. I want to do my best and show everyone that I'm worth the risk they took hiring me."
"I understand dear, but I have a feeling there's more to this preoccupation than that." She gazes directly at me like she can see right through me.
"Well, there is this girl," I gulp, "but I don't even know her name." Or what she looks like.
"That's easy enough to fix. All you need to do is to ask her." Mrs. Swan announces cheerfully and leaves the table to get more tea.
"I would, if I could find her."
 [√] 
A week later I'm running through the campus again when something short and dark breezes past me. I'm shaken when I recognise the tight little frame putting distance between us. It's her, the girl I nearly bowled over two months earlier.
I pick up pace and gain on her. For few moments we're running side by side and from the corner of my eye I see a wry smile. It's all I have time for though, because we hit on some ice and my unprepared ass has a close encounter with the ground while she speeds off to the distance.
 [√] 
The next time I spot her, she doesn't even notice that I trail her and I spend the lull committing to memory the details of her ass and neck, since those are the only parts really visible under the layers of warm clothing. I'm hoping she'll glance over her shoulder back at me, so I'll finally know what her face looks like, but in the meantime I'm content with fantasizing about other things. Maybe I shouldn't be; I realise as I'm faced with a new dilemma.
Slowing down, I try to calm down enough to finish my run without humiliating myself in front of the other early risers of Gambier Village. She uses my moment of weakness to escape into the mist.
Deflated but light-hearted I make my way back home and greet Mrs. Swan more enthusiastically than I have in months.
 [√] 
As the snowdrifts shrink and the temperature starts to rise, I see her again. Two mornings a row she passes me on the Middle Path and it's like she's egging me on to follow her. I get the feeling that she's competitive and wants me to challenge her into a race, but by now I'm too fond of the view to spook her again.
Those curves have made several appearances in my dreams as of late and I'm shamefully excited to learn that she has the most delicate narrow waist I've had the privilege of seeing. That and the dark colour of her hair peeking from under her cap are enough to fuel me for several weeks until I see her again.
 [√] 
The true meaning of summer dawns on me the first time I spot her running in her summer attire. The few sizes too small tracksuit leaves absolutely nothing to the imagination; she might as well be prancing around nude. Not that I'm complaining. I might or might not have been late for work few times after that encounter and Mrs. Swan might or might not have a surprise in her next utility bill considering how much time I've been spending in the shower recently, but nothing can make me gripe about this. Not even the fact that I'm too incapacitated to follow her for any decent length of our run.
Yes, it's our run now. I've finally figured out the street she emerges from each time she decides to grace my morning routine, but I'm not a stalker and I refuse to hound her at her home steps. Everyone needs their space and privacy as scanty as the concept is in a community this small.
Instead of speeding off every time she sees me, she now lingers on the same paths longer and the distance between us is practically nonexistent at times. She's probably noticed my attempt to stay away at least I hope that's the reason for the change; this is one occasion I don't want to be ignored.
I've also leaned that she prefers braids to ponytails, which is a shame because the braids hide the freckles on her neck. A few times I've even got close enough to discern a uniquely feminine scent that makes the summer flowers shrink with envy. I'm relatively sure it's her essence and not an artificial fragrance, although I'll probably never find out for sure.
I've resigned myself to the fact that every time I try to approach her, she'll take off and leave me in the dust. So I hold back and watch. I've tried looking for her at the campus during the days, but her erratic running schedule tells me she's probably not a student at here. If she were, she wouldn't be running in front of me right now.
The semester ended almost two weeks ago and today is the last day to turn in the grades. It was a long weekend for me, but I had everything done before Monday afternoon. Next week I'm going home to see Mama and my friends. Hopefully by then I'll get the final confirmation about the fall semester. I don't know what the problem is, but they refuse to tell me anything until all the i's have been dotted and the t's crossed.
I'm so far deep in thought that I don't even notice her taking off and disappearing into the heavy mist. A sigh escapes me as I scrap the dream of saying goodbye to this mystery girl I've been obsessing about for months.
Following the Kokoosing Gap Trail I continue my run until I hear a distinct shriek of pain beside the trail. I stop to stare into the fog, but I can't hear anything beyond my own heavy breathing.
"Hello?" I try calling out, but no one answers. I'm contemplating on taking off when a twig snaps and a soft thump carries through the haze. "Is something wrong? Do you need help?"
A nervous giggle reaches my ears and beckons me to step of the trail and behind the tree line. It takes me a moment to locate the correct tree and the shivering mess leaning on it.
Her head swivels until our eyes meet and finally I see her lovely face. The dark hair frames her delicate features, twinkling eyes and a tentative smile. A lock of her hair dances by the rhythm of her breathing under her chin and lures my eyes south of her clavicles. I'm stunned but not speechless.
"Miss? Is something the matter?" I utter the words carefully with a low voice. I feel like I should clear my throat, because I don't normally use such threatening tones, but luckily she doesn't seem scared. She just shakes her head and keeps staring at me. I take another step and stop just beyond her reach to wait.
I should say something, but the plump lover lip trapped between her teeth entrances me. She notices and grins impishly. I'm standing at attention, in more ways than one, trying to wrack my brain for something semi-intellectual to say when she pounces. Technically I can't call it a pounce since I see her clearly pushing away from the tree trunk and taking a stride towards me. My brain also registers the feel of her hand against my sweaty shirt as she grabs and squeezes the fabric pulling it down and me with it.
Her lips latch onto mine and I'm assaulted with a multitude of tastes. I shut my eyes and the world away. Her scent envelops me and her touch burns me. I'm breathless as she brushes her lips back and forth against mine. I'm drowning and when I come back to the surface for a gasp of air, she sends a lifeline by licking my lips and tickling my tongue with hers.
I groan, she whimpers and my hands wrap themselves around her neck pulling her closer as I take over with soft pecks and languid licks. I feel her fingers burrowing into my hips and yanking me closer. There's no mistaking my arousal pressing against her stomach. Instead of balking though, she tries to get even closer and we fall.
My left arm twists around her while I catch a low hanging branch with the other and steady us. I hold her up and back her to lean against the tree trunk once again. My fingers travel to her cheekbone and brush aside the hair shadowing her eyes.
"Are you okay?" I ask and she nods again. A frustrated moan escapes me and suddenly her hands are soothingly touching my neck and temple.
"Say something," I whisper my request. Her expression softens and her posture relaxes. She shakes her head and pulls me by the neck but I resist. Her eyes register my determination while her body moves impossibly closer. As she hangs to me I feel her thighs press against mine, her chest moulding against my torso, and her breasts forcing into me.
Her lips move, but the air barely moves. My lips tingle. She repeats the silent uttering and I shake my head. I don't need to say the words; she understands I need to hear her voice.
"Kiss me." It's like chiming bells when I give in. I reclaim her mouth and trap her between the tree and my body.
"Oh, god," she whimpers as I move to nuzzle her throat. "Touch me."
I lean back to make sure I heard her right and she repeats her plea. I snake my arm from around her and trace my fingers along the waistband of her track pants. Her chest heaves as does mine. My touch travels up along the rough zipper of her jacket carefully avoiding the softer bumps along the way. I grab it and drag it back down letting the sides of the jacket fall open.
Flattening my palm against her stomach I massage her through the yellow tank top. She arches her back pushing her chest towards me and a small smirk twitches my lips.
"Touch me," she demands and I comply. My hand travels up to the valley between her breasts as she whines exasperated. I lean to rest my forehead against hers and palm her. The weight of her feels so good in my hand. I squeeze her gently and let my thumb jump over her nipple straining the fabric of the top.
She turns her head and starts to nibble along my jaw while I play with her curves. Her hands slip under the back of my shirt and drag it up while she measures the flesh there. Just as my hand travels up and over her breast to slip in her neckline, her nails drag long lines from my back and underside my arms to my nipples. I twitch as she flicks them and grazes my neck with her teeth. I retaliate by tweaking her hardened nipple under the top.
"It's not enough," she repeats somewhat breathily. While I try to capture her gaze she throws her right leg around mine and lets her calf rest against the back of my thigh. Instinctively I pull my hand from inside of her top and grab a hold of her leg. My hips shift and press against her pelvis. It feels too good not to do it again and suddenly I'm grinding against her. I try not to let my eyes roll back in my head while she looks vexed. It hits me that she's not high enough for me to reach the right spot.
I let go of the branch, lower both my hands on her hips and ease them over to her ass. She moans as my grip tightens and I hoist her body up trapping it against the tree trunk again, but with a new vantage point. Her legs lock around my waist and I tilt my hips experimentally. She reaches up and entwines her arms with the branches as we sway little to the right.
Her breath hitches and I feel like I've just reached the end of the rainbow.
I look up to her face as I rub myself to her with long strokes. Her eyes are on mine while I fight to keep myself vertical despite my shaking legs. We breathe heavily and her eyes begin to droop. Cautiously I start to squeeze and massage her buttock while my fingers reach further and further. I can almost feel her engorged lips and dripping wetness through the fabric. She mewls as I tease her with light touches and try to ignore the growing pressure in the pit of my stomach demanding for more friction.
My arms are strained and my back is aching when she arches her back again. I lower my mouth on her neckline and nuzzle her breast. A sob escapes her lips when I breathe hot air through her top onto her nipple. Two forceful strokes and a pressing touch on her heated lower lips later she starts to wail and I'm in a hurry to swallow her cry.
She slumps down barely holding herself up by clinging to my shoulders. I'm barely standing, but I'm still aching with no relief in sight. Her lips press little kisses under my ear and I hear her chant something indiscernible. A gentle sway of my hips alerts her to my problem. Wordlessly again she asks me to let her down to stand on her own to feet. Pushing myself far enough from the tree to let her slide to the ground is a feat I'll be proud of accomplishing years to come.
It's her turn to lavish me with gentle touches and teasing brushes. Or so I think right up until the moment I feel her hand slip between my sweats and my briefs. Her hand moves down to cup my balls and with a gentle roll of her fingers I embarrass myself.
I'm ready to keel over and sleep until my flight leaves for Houston.
Shyly she pulls her hand away and wraps her arms around my midsection. She doesn't care about the sweat or other secretions as she embraces me. Somehow I lean far enough back to keep myself standing as my arms envelop her. I place a kiss on her hair and rest my chin on top of her head.
"I don't even know your name," I whisper to her and to the mist shielding us.
I'm still fighting to steady my breath when she pulls away with a sigh, reaches up and gives me a sweet parting kiss. I can feel her saying goodbye and I want to be at least able to say the words to her, but my throat rebels and I choke. She dashes off disappearing yet again in the thick white fog. My legs give and I fall to the ground attempting to wrap my head around what just happened.
It takes me a while to gather enough strength to drag myself back home to Mrs. Swan's. All the way back I keep replaying the events of the morning in my head. If it weren't for the load in my shorts, I'd swear I had imagined it all.
Mrs. Swan opens the door before I reach it. She rushes me in with a good-natured frown adorning her face.
"Where have you been? They called from the college asking for you and we've been waiting for you."
"I just took a different route and got lost for a while. Took some time to find my way back," I rearrange my face to hide the grimace and dance around the woman who has become a second mother to me. She doesn't need to know just how true my words are.
"Well you're here now. Go wash up quickly. Bella and I'll be waiting in the living room."
"Bella?" I ask stupidly.
"Yes, Bella. My granddaughter. I told you she would visit, didn't I?"
"You did. I better go."
I make an effort to hurry, but my legs protest as I ascend to the second floor and find my room. Undressing is slightly humiliating with the evidence of my chagrin still clings to my skin. I vow to take care of my laundry before Mrs. Swan gets any ideas in her head about helping and step under the shower to wash away my shame.
Despite all this discontent, I can't regret what happened. I wish it could have been more. I dream that after the summer I could come back to a promise of something new and lasting, but if this tryst is all I'll ever have with that beautiful flurry, I'll take it. I'd rather have one lasting memory than nothing at all.
After towelling myself dry, I find my old, well-worn jeans and a dark blue button down shirt. I almost forget the socks, but since I'm not particularly tickled by the idea of toppling down the stairs I linger few moments longer in my room.
I manage it somehow and find my way to the two Swans having a lively discussion. I see her long brown hair, brown eyes and a lovely face as she explains animatedly something to her grandmother. Bella makes it easy to imagine what Mrs. Swan must have looked like in her youth.
"Jasper, come on in. Bella was just explaining how she'd like nothing more than to transfer back to Kenyon."
"Grams, that's not what I meant. I just said it would be easier all things considered."
"That means she can't wait to meet a certain young man who lives in Gambier."
I chuckle and walk to Bella extending my hand to her. She grabs and shakes it as I grin. "Do you have anyone in particular in mind?"
Bella's blush couldn't be deeper. Then she seems to steel herself against the embarrassment and sits up a little straighter.
"There is someone, but he doesn't even know I exist."
"That makes two of us." I comment dryly and take a seat next to the elder Swan. Bella exchanges a look with her grandmother and Mrs. Swan explains the situation.
"Jasper here has been literally running after a girl, who won't give him the time of day."
"That's enough about me. Does this oblivious man have a name?"
"Edward Cullen. He-"
"Works at the Fine Arts department in the Music program, doesn't he?" I enquire quickly remembering the few times I've crossed paths with the moody composer. I'm helpless to stop the smirk unfurling as I recall the title on Cullen's notes.
"It looks like I don't have a rival after all." I laugh again.
"What do you mean?"
"After seeing the title To my Beautiful Swan on his notes, I thought Cullen might be thinking of wooing your grandmother away from me." I reach over and take Mrs. Swan's hand in mine to give her a kiss. Bella looks like she doesn't know what to make of the situation, but her grandmother only shakes her head lightly with a smile stretching her lips.
"What happened to the ring you promised me?"
A knock on the door stops me from answering. Thank heavens for unexpected visitors.
"Maybe that's it and they are finally home-delivering it." I get up and walk to the front door just as Bella's voice carries over.
"It's probably my friend Alice. She's staying with her parents again and she promised to stop by."
The door handle beckons to me and I open the door preparing to invite the visitor in. I'm not prepared to find myself staring right into the same blue eyes I saw clouded with lust only few hours earlier.
She nods. I feel the familiar sweet burn as she laces her fingers with mine. Her lip is between her teeth again until she releases it and says looking up from under her lashes:
"I'm ready for you to catch me now. Please."