Grace Notes

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Chili met Grace during his last semester of college at a university in Maryland, a couple months before he would graduate in the spring of 1978. He met her at his dorm, or ‘mod’ as it was called, which was pretty much known as party central around the complex. It was a very modern dormitory for its time: it was co-ed and consisted of apartments housing four or six students in each. Chili’s housed six, with two double rooms, two singles, two baths and a kitchen and living area.

Chili’s five roommates that year consisted of Yakov, a Russian student who was seldom seen; Kenny, a pot head trombonist in the marching band; Mitch, a complete asshole no one could stand, but who fortunately spent most of his time at a Jewish frat house; Frank, a fruity bass player in a disco group; and Benny.

Benny was going to college on the five-and-a-half-year plan. Although he entered college a year ahead of Chili, he wouldn’t graduate until the following school year. Chili and Benny had roomed together for two years and had gotten along well. They both were sports fans and athletes and played on the dorm intramural football, basketball and softball teams together. They especially clicked in basketball because Benny was a gun and liked to shoot, and Chili was a good passer who would look for the open man.

Their mod was a popular place for several reasons. The music was always playing, the bar was always open, there was a bong on the table and usually somebody was ready to party. But the main reason was Benny: He was the local source of pot and drugs for many undergraduates.

The roommates would always know when a shipment of something was due because the wall phone would ring off the hook and the callers would be asking for Benny. Then before long Benny would come home at night from his part-time job at Safeway carrying a large brown paper sack with grocery items sticking out of the top. But beneath the groceries was the package everyone had been calling about.

Chili wasn’t really into drugs but did smoke a little weed now and then. As a graduating senior he was in party mode much of the time and it was free, there was always a shoebox lid of reefer on the table. Benny, on the other hand, would partake of his various products on a regular basis and although he usually had a buzz on, he managed to control his usage fairly well.

That final semester the dorm softball team made it to the playoffs and had a semi-final game scheduled for a Thursday afternoon after class—prime ‘Let’s get our heads up for the weekend’ time—and Chili, as team captain and shortstop, had practically begged Benny to please abstain and show up to the game straight. But Benny showed up to the game at the very last minute and took his position at third base with a joint in his mouth. Chili was pissed off initially but didn’t have to worry. In the top of the first inning an opposing batter lifted a pop fly deep behind third base in foul ground. Benny sprinted after the fly, barely reached it in time, and with his back to the field dove for the ball, caught it, rolled over and sprung up with the ball safely in his glove and the joint still safely clutched between his lips.

One day during Chili’s final semester he met Grace for the first time at his dorm. There was a small group hanging around, casually listening to music, talking and drinking beer. Since the complex was coed, there were always new girls around, friends of friends, guests, whatever, but Grace was a new face, and Chili was attracted to her immediately. She was slim and athletic-looking. She had long legs, medium-sized perky tits and shoulder-length auburn hair. Her jeans were tight on her butt and Chili wanted to peel them right off. He got himself a beer and introduced himself and started chatting her up. He could tell within minutes that this was a woman he wanted to get to know. But soon he was let down and backed off. Grace was with Benny.

‘Damn!’ Chili thought. He’d had relationships with girls throughout college, of course, but most occurred out of horniness and convenience and none had turned into anything even remotely serious. And here he meets this girl to whom he is immediately and intensely attracted—her looks, her body, her smile, her conversation, not to mention the tingle between his legs—and she’s off-limits.

Chili couldn’t remember seeing Benny with a real girlfriend, just a few sleep-overs here and there. And he didn’t know how he’d met Grace…was she one of his customers?…but he had to admit, at least he had good taste.

So he backed off, and admired her from afar as she came and went with Benny during the remainder of the semester, and pondered what might have been. And then he graduated and moved on and forgot about her. Or at least he tried to.

After he graduated, Chili travelled the U.S. in his Mercury Comet for a few months, finally settling in a medium-sized city on the southwest coast of Florida. He liked the laid-back lifestyle of living on the Gulf. He took a sales job for a direct marketing company selling canlı bahis direct mail advertising at the time when the medium was relatively new and growing by leaps and bounds. Within a year he was able to purchase the territory and had exclusive rights to sell the company’s products. Over the next several years he grew his sole proprietorship into a thriving small business and was earning over six figures for himself. He bought a waterfront cottage on a tributary that flowed into the Intracoastal Waterway. Life was good.

Chili had had a few relationships, and one even lasted a year, but nothing permanent. His business kept him very busy. He’d lost touch with Benny—as he had with many of his college buddies—but he thought about him once in a while. And he thought about Grace of course. He wondered if they were still together.

Benny had graduated a semester after Chili, and moved in with Grace. He started a landscaping business with a childhood friend: Ready Teddy, a druggie. Ted’s father owned a large nursery in the town where they’d grown up, which was only about twenty miles from the campus, and he helped them get started and acquire supplies and equipment. At first they’d rented a house in a subdivision and they gradually acquired more and more equipment—trucks, trailers, tools, tractors—and the neighbors started complaining about it. So he and Ted went out looking to buy a piece of property where they could park and store everything. They found a 1.5 acre parcel that was partially wooded and had a long dirt driveway leading to an old, broken-down, abandoned house. They paid $57,000 for it, parked everything there and got the neighbors of their backs.

In a once-in-a-lifetime stroke of luck, and unbeknownst to Benny and Ted, the whole surrounding area was soon being rezoned industrial and heavy commercial due to the expansion of the international airport a few miles away. Out of nowhere, in less than two years they were presented with an offer of $1.1 million for the property.

Benny and Ted took their cash and purchased homes on large properties in the semi-rural outskirts of town. There they had their privacy and plenty of space to park all of their equipment.

Chili’s parents were getting older and had decided to downsize, so he scheduled a trip back home to go through and clean out the house to help them prepare to sell. While he was there he bought a couple tickets for a football game at his alma mater and took his Dad to the game.

Chili was waiting in the beer line at the concession stand when he heard a familiar voice calling his name.

“CHILI….” boomed the voice from a few feet away. He recognized Benny’s voice immediately.

“Hey, Benny, how the hell are you, man?” Chili asked, and they hugged. Benny looked like he’d put on a few pounds.

The game was still in the first quarter but Chili could tell that Benny was already pretty toasted. He remembered going to the games when they were in college, the tailgating, sneaking in booze, and they were usually so drunk by halftime that they couldn’t even tell which team had the ball.

They chatted for a few minutes in line and they exchanged business cards. Chili mentioned his parents and that he might be coming north again in a couple months. Benny said to let him know when and he could stay with him and Grace at their new home. Be nice to have you stay with us for a few days, he said.

“Did you and Grace get married?” Chili asked.

“Nah,” Benny said. “We’ve talked about it but that’s about it. Permanently engaged I guess you could say.”

They got their beers and went their separate ways back to their respective seats.

The next time Chili came north he never even called Benny. It was getting close to the holidays and he thought it would be too awkward, plus he had his own family obligations. But a few months later, after his parents had sold their house and moved south, he took Benny up on the offer.

That spring Chili planned a road trip north. He would visit his parents at their new home in North Carolina, his sister in Virginia, and Benny in Maryland. He would stay with his parents one night—that’s about all he could stand—and with his sister and brother-in-law for a couple days, and then on to Benny’s. At Benny’s he would play it by ear: it could be a lot of fun or, after so much time, it could be like a weird scene from the movie ‘Pacific Heights’.

What attracted Chili most of all to the visit was his curiosity. How was Benny living these days after his windfall? He knew he had a successful business, but what was his life like? Was he still a head? Still dealing? Was he happy? And what about Grace? Was she?

It was late Friday afternoon and Chili had been in the car over five hours when he arrived at Benny’s house. It was a little hard to find. It was out in the countryside and he missed a turn and had to backtrack before finding it. He drove down a driveway through a tunnel of trees and then curved to the left. The house was bigger bahis siteleri than he expected, a brick two-story with a gabled roof, dormers upstairs and a three-car garage. There was a silver Toyota in the driveway. Chili heard a big dog barking nearby. He parked but didn’t get out of the car right away. He thought immediately that a large, ferocious dog would probably mean only one thing to Benny: protection.

“Wait a minute, Chili!” he heard a female voice call. He looked over to the side porch and spotted Grace behind the screen holding the collar of a white German Shepherd. “Let me take care of the dog!” Then she disappeared for a moment until the front door opened and Grace emerged without the canine.

“It’s okay now,” she said, walking toward the car, and Chili opened his door and got out. Grace gave him a hug, which surprised him. It was the first time they’d really touched and he felt the soft pressure of one of her breasts against his sternum. “Nice to see you, Chili. How was your trip?”

He ran down the boring details of his five-hour drive on rural two-lanes and the interstate and the miserable mixing bowl around the Virginia/D.C. line. He got his bag off the backseat and they walked inside.

“Benny’s not home yet, but he should be soon,” Grace said. “We’ve looking forward to your visit. Would you like something to drink?” They sat at the kitchen table and sipped cold drinks and made small talk.

Grace’s auburn hair was longer, falling down the top of her back with a hint of curl. Her body was still trim, tight denims snug against her long legs and cute butt and a soft red shirt. Somehow though, her face looked different than he remembered: still attractive, but in an older and more serious way. She wore an engagement ring with a large, oval diamond on her left hand.

“You look great, Grace,” Chili said. He gently squeezed her bicep and added, “Good shape, too. Have you been working out?”

“Thanks, Chili, yeah, I work out some. Plus I get plenty of exercise trying to keep up with Benny, that keeps me running.”

“Really, how so?”

“You know Benny as well as I do, Chili.”

They heard the diesel truck when it pulled into the drive. Then the cab door slammed and the front door of the house opened with a bang.

“In the kitchen, Benny!” Grace called out.

“CHILI!….” came Benny’s booming voice from the foyer and they heard him bounding down the hall. He walked into the kitchen, plopped a tray of steaks on the counter and gave Chili a bear hug.

“We need beer!” Benny yelled, and walked to the fridge and pulled out three bottles of Molson.

Benny looked like a landscaper. He had on dirty jeans, a yellow t-shirt with his company’s green logo on it, work boots and a Baltimore Orioles cap with his blond hair splayed out on the sides. They sat at the table and talked as they drank their beers.

“Well, I’m dirty and I smell, so I’m going to get a shower and then fire up the grill. I got us some big, fat juicy steaks,” Benny said. “You up to pace, Grace?”

“Yes, Dear. Baked potatoes and a giant salad.”

“All right!” Benny barked, and left the room.

Chili and Grace gathered the food and the tools and the condiments for the cookout.

They had more beers on the patio while the meat cooked, then ate at the picnic table under an oak tree. The food was delicious and the beers kept going down easy. Chili thought he now knew where Benny’s extra weight had come from. Grace’s body was fine and she was putting away the beers pretty well herself. The sun was going down and there was a lull in the conversation.

“Wanna get buzzed?” Benny asked. He looked at Chili and then at Grace.

“I don’t know,” Chili said. “I haven’t done that shit since college.”

“Ah, come on, for old times’ sake. Grace, should we show Chili the Vapor Room?”

“Uh, I don’t know Benny. Don’t you have to go to work early in the morning at that estate account you guys just picked up?”

“I just have to go out and get the crews started. Gotta make sure the knuckleheads know what to do and don’t screw anything up. And Teddy will be there.”

“Lotta help he’ll be,” Grace said sarcastically. “Maybe till the bars open.”

“Come on Grace, let’s show Chili a good time.”

Chili thought the look on Grace’s face was one of dubious anticipation. She looked at him and surrendered a resigned smile.

They went into a room behind the garage. It was a lounge with a large leather sofa and chairs and a wet bar. It had a tile floor and all the windows were closed and it smelled like weed. Benny took beers out of the mini-fridge and handed one to Grace and Chili, who were seated on the sofa. He placed a brick pad on the floor in the center of the room and then we walked out the side door.

“What’s he doing?” Chili asked.

“You’ll see,” Grace said. “Get ready to take a ride.”

Benny returned a minute later with a shallow metal bucket and a three-foot dried-out plant with thin rigid branches. He placed bahis şirketleri the bucket on the brick pad and then took out a pair of hand clippers and started cutting stems and stalks and twigs off of the plant and tossing them in the bucket.

“My own crop!” Benny said, as he clipped away.

Grace rose from the sofa and walked over to a small bookcase and turned on the stereo. This was back in the days when FM radio rock stations would play entire albums start-to-finish one after the other without interruptions for hours on end. Grace adjusted the tuner and the volume and ‘Nature’s Way’ from ‘The 12 Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus’ poured out of the speakers.

When the bucket was about half-full Benny struck a wooden match and tossed it onto the arid kindling. It caught fire in a flash, flaming up at first, but then it lowered to a slow, controlled burn as Benny stoked it and continued feeding more pieces onto it. The room quickly filled with a dense fog of smoke.

Grace noticed Chili’s bottle was empty so she took it out of his hand and retrieved him another from the fridge. She handed him the beer and sat back down beside him, a little closer than before.

“Let me get a picture,” Benny said. “Move a little closer.”

Grace scooted closer to Chili, her body now touching flush against his, and making his body inadvertently tense up.

“Don’t worry,” Grace said to him. “He always does this.”

Benny moved in closer with a Polaroid camera, focusing, framing a shot through the haze. Chili was already getting light-headed and he felt a dry burn in his eyes. But Grace’s body felt good next to his.

They kept drinking beers and absorbing smoke in their lungs and their clothes and their hair. Chili thought the stereo sounded like a symphony, even though it all was coming out of two cheap speakers. The radio kicked into another album, ‘Straight Up’ by Badfinger; Chili had heard the LP many times—it was one of his old favorites—but this time he swore he heard things in the music that he’d never ever heard before.

Vision was getting fuzzy. Between the smoke inhaled and the smoke in the air, focusing was like trying to land a small plane in a blizzardy windstorm. Chili wasn’t used to this, he hadn’t smoked pot in years. Benny was getting high, Chili remembered the signs, but was cruising along, okay so far. Grace seemed to be just going along for the ride.

“Hold hands!” Benny barked, camera back in hand.

Grace smiled and took Chili’s hand in hers. She leaned her head on his shoulder.

“Nice!” Benny said, and snapped the photo.

The mellow tune ‘Flying’ came out of the speakers and Chili thought to himself: I sure am!

Benny opened three more beers and cut up some more kindling for the fire and fed it all into the bucket and the flame kicked up and crackled.

“I better let Jojo out. I’ll be right back,” Grace said, and left to tend to their dog.

“How do you feel, Chili?” Benny asked.

“You mean when the room’s not spinning?”

“Ah, just like the good old days!” Benny laughed.

Chili could barely see the far wall of the room through the clouds. The beer was going down easy, tasting good and soothing his toasty throat. They had opened two more by the time Grace returned.

“Let’s take off our shirts,” Benny said, his voice loud and aggressive.

Chili looked at him. “Take off our shirts?”

“Benny, are you sure about this?” Grace said.

“Sure I’m sure!” he said, ripping off his shirt and exposing his gut. “Grace, unbutton Chili.”

She glanced at Chili’s eyes and started unbuttoning his shirt from the top down.

“What’s going on?” Chili asked.

“We’re gonna have some fun,” Benny said, and he plopped down on the sofa on the other side of Grace. She was now between them and Benny started pulling her shirt off as soon as she’d undone the last button of Chili’s shirt.

“What kind of fun?”

“We’re all gonna let laid!” Benny shouted, and gulped his beer. Grace’s top was off now, her thin, creamy bra barely surrounding her firm breasts.

“Unhook her bra, Chili!”

Grace turned so her back was to Chili. He did as he was told and handed the bra to Benny, who tossed it on the floor and picked up the camera. Grace took Chili’s beer out of his hand, took a big swig and handed it back.

“Grab her titties!”

“What?”

“Do it, Chili. You know you’ve always wanted to.”

Grace grabbed his hand and brought it to her breast. “It’s okay, don’t fight it,” she said. “Let’s go along with it.”

Chili thought to himself, ‘Grace seems resigned to the idea, so what the hell’. He gently squeezed and thumbed her nipple and felt it stiffen. Benny snapped another picture and the print slid out the front of the camera.

“Grace…”

Chili felt her hands unbuckling his belt, then unsnapping his jeans and unzipping him. She slid onto the floor on her knees between his legs in front of him.

“Lift up,” she said softly, so he lifted his butt and she pulled his pants and boxers down to the floor.

His cock was already half-mast. Grace stroked him with one hand and kneaded his nuts with the other and Chili sighed in hazy pleasure. Within thirty seconds he was hard and long.

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