Sam

I hate doing laundry. When I was with a lady friend, I didn't have to lift a finger to do it. But now that I'm alone, looks like I'm stuck machine washing all my Tommy Bahamas, one hundred percent silk, baby. They deserve the best care. But not just any laundromat will do. This place is perfect, in a better neighborhood with better machines and a better class of people. But the best thing about this laundromat: the bar with a big screen tv. And they make some terrific mojitos!

One day, as Sam sorted out his laundry into three machines, one for lights, one for the shirts, and one for darks, the most beautiful woman in the world walked in. She was slim, blonde haired and blue eyed, with a peaches and cream complexion, and ruby red lips that begged to be kissed. To his delight, she selected three machines next to his. She didn't even leave a machine empty between them like most people did.

She separates the lights from the darks. She separates the whites from the lights. She even uses the same detergent and fabric softener that I do. What are the odds?

He watched her put the quarters into the slots on the machines, one a time, starting up one machine before moving on to the next. A satiny panty lay on the floor near her feet, so he reached down and picked it up. "I think you lost this," he said with a smile as it dangled from his fingers.

"Oh! Thank you." She smiled and her cheeks flushed as she hooked an index finger under the material, pulled it from his fingertips, and opened the washer to throw it inside. The cover banged down.

Still smiling at her, he sat in his seat and paid half attention to his magazine, and half to her. Then it happened. She reached the last machine and was two quarters short.

"Oh, drat," she muttered as she dug into her purse. She pulled out her wallet and searched frantically through the change pocket, then looked into the cash. Her eyes closed and she shook her head.

"Is everything okay?" Sam stood beside her as he jingled the change in his pocket.

"I ran out of quarters, and...you wouldn't happen to have change for a twenty, would you?" She looked up at him with hope in her eyes.

"Uh, sorry, no. But I do have extra quarters," he replied as his hand came out with two of them, which he stuck into the slots and pushed the slider into the machine. "This one sticks. You gotta wiggle it a little or they don't go in."

"Wow. Thanks! I'm glad I ran into you, or I'd probably be frustrated with this machine."

"No problem." Sam took a step back, because when he reached past her to get the machine started, his chest brushed against her shoulder. She smelled like a tropical flower garden, and she was just as beautiful close up. He held out his right hand. "My name's Sam. Sam Axe."

She took it in hers and smiled in gratitude. "Nice to meet you, Sam. I'm Desiree. Desiree Kemp."

"I've never seen you here before."

"I just moved to the Miami area for work. I'm a VP of Communications."

He grinned and leaned against the machine. "I'd think with a title like that you could afford to hire somebody to do your laundry."

"The title may be big, but doing my own laundry helps keep me humble." She turned away and checked on the machines. They were all running and doing their thing. "So, do you have time for a drink?"

"Yeah, sure!" He glanced at his machines. "I'm in the second rinse. Plenty of time."

"Great! You can help me break a twenty for the dryer money."

Now that's what I call doing laundry!

After drink number one and some good conversation, his wash was ready to move to the dryers. He was surprised when she followed him into the laundry area and helped transfer the clothes.

"You had one load with just your shirts?" She held up one of his favorites and crushed the fabric in one hand. "Nice material. Smooth. I bet these are comfortable."

"They are. Can you throw that into this machine? I want to dry those separately too. I follow the label instructions."

"I can't blame you. Anything less would ruin them, or make them lose their softness." She tossed it in along with the others, emptied out the washer, and held out her hand. Inside were two quarters. With a sweet smile she said, "I owe you for this."

"You don't have to..." It was too late, the quarters were inside the machine and the shirts flipped and danced around with a dryer sheet. "Thanks."

"Any time, Sam."

With the dryers loaded, her machines completed their cycles, and they worked together to put her things in another set of dryers. She was just as meticulous as he when it came to temperatures. He was impressed. They went back to the bar for drink number two until the shirts were dry. Desiree watched him slip them onto the hangers, and she buttoned the top button to keep them in place.

"You do that too?" He grinned.

"Always. Nothing annoys me more than to go home with a newly laundered blouse on a hanger and have it slip off just as I'm fumbling with the door lock. Especially if it's been dry cleaned!"

Folding the more intimate pieces of clothing in front of Desiree was a little disconcerting. Why should it bother me? I do it all the time with other people here. But this is different. We've connected on a more intimate plane, and now it's not so impersonal. When her whites came out, she folded them on the table next to his, sneaking glances at his boxers, undershirts, and socks. He caught her watching, and she turned away. Then he locked on her tiny panties and lacy bras mixed in with sports bras and socks. She takes care of herself. Not that there was any doubt with a body like that. She's not some young thing, close to my age, and yet she looks like a woman in her 20s. Oh, baby!

Sam tore his attention away from her because if he didn't, he would make a mess of his own folding, and he was very particular about how his laundry was folded. You could take a man out of the Navy, but you couldn't take the Navy out of the man. He still folded his clothes as he was trained many years ago. Everything was precisely creased in the right places so that it lay flat and wrinkle free. T-shirts lay stacked straight one on top of the other. The boxers were a little tougher, given that they were also silk like the shirts, and they had a tendency to slip around. But he'd learned how to tame them, and they lay in a neat stack next to the other things in the laundry basket. The socks were folded in half, never turned into a ball. It drove him nuts when people did that.

"Sam, you and I have a lot in common, at least when it comes to our laundry," Desiree said as she looked at his basket and pointed to hers. Everything in it was folded exactly like his.

He narrowed his eyes at her. "You must have been in the military."

Desiree chuckled. "I was a Lieutenant in the Navy, a communications officer on a couple of carriers."

"Really. I was a Commander in the Navy. And I was a SEAL."

"I should have known." Their eyes locked, and Desiree self-consciously dropped her gaze and returned to folding. "I, uh, have a couple things that are still damp, and I see you have some too. Let's put them together in one more run."

"Sounds good." Sam's hand closed over Desiree's as she put quarters into the machine and he led her back to the bar. "One more?"

"Sure."

At the bar they both had a mojito, their bodies turned at a forty five degree angle toward the bar, their knees touching.

"So...Sam. Will I see you here again next week?"

He sipped on his drink and smiled at her in a way that told her he wouldn't miss it for the world. "I'll be here, Desi."

"Not many people call me that," Desiree said as she leaned closer. "Do you think that it'll be an issue that I'm below you in rank, Commander?"

"Not in the civilian world," he answered, hoping she wasn't trying to make an excuse not to see him again.

"Oh good." Her smile widened. "We better check on that wash. I don't like my work pants getting wrinkled."

"Me neither."

When the last of the laundry was folded and the mojitos were a lukewarm, watered down mess, Desiree hauled her baskets out to her car, a navy blue Mustang. Sam was almost embarrassed to put his into the back of his car, and older Buick sedan. She noticed his ride, but with the smile she gave him, he knew she wouldn't hold it against him.

"See you next week, Sam." She stood with the door between them.

"See you next week, Desi."

Her smile faded to a serious expression as she got up on her toes and lightly pressed her lips to his cheek. It was just a feather light touch, but it was enough to remind him to not miss their date next week. Then Desiree got into her car, pulled out of the space, and waved before shifting the car into first gear..

Now, why did I ever hate doing laundry?