The Last Wingman
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An old-fashioned brass bell jingles when I open the door to June’s store. The narrow space is made even tighter by the floor-to-ceiling cubbies that line the two long walls. In the back of the store, a picture window frames a view of Saratoga Passage like a painting.
Tucked in the corner near the window is a comfy-looking wingback chair, and next to it, an oversized basket filled with balls of yarn. The shop is cozy and feminine, comfortable like a sweet grandmother’s house.
A grandmother who listens to “Sex and Candy” on low volume.
Not what I was expecting.
“Hello?” I call from my spot near the door. There’s no sign of June or anyone else inside. Double-checking the door for a Be back soon note and not seeing one, I step farther into the space. “Hello?”
A soft thump followed by more thumps comes from the desk area. Metallic pings and something heavy hitting the floor precedes a feminine voice yelping “Ouch” and “Fuck!”
June doesn’t seem like the type to drop f-bombs. Maybe she’s hired a ’90s-music-loving teenager with a foul mouth.
“Everything okay?” I follow the noise to the partially open door near the register.
“Fine. Fine! Nothing to see here! I’ll be with you in a second. Thanks for your patience.” What sounds like rapid-fire beanbags hitting a cornhole board contradicts her words.
As I see it, I have two options. I can ignore whatever is going on inside the closet and wait, or I can ignore her lie and step in to help.
I go with the second choice.
Swinging the door open, I’m greeted with a scene of colorful chaos. A box balances on its side on the edge of a high shelf, most of its contents now on the floor around June’s feet. She’s keeping the box aloft with both hands, but doesn’t have the height to shove it back into position.
“Here, let me help you.” I step into the small space behind her and reach above her head to stabilize the cardboard container before she ends up concussed.
“I don’t need your help.” Reluctantly, she releases her grip.
“Okay.” Disappointed and a little hurt by her obvious annoyance at my presence, I give the corner a final shove to guarantee we’re out of danger. “You’re welcome.”
“I said I was fine.” Continuing to face the shelves, she doesn’t turn her head to speak to me. In fact, she sounds downright angry.
“Got it. Well, I’ll get out of your way.” Resigned, I decide to abandon my mission and retreat to the safety of my own business, both literally and figuratively.
What happens next is more her fault than mine. Had she used a step stool and not tipped the box over, there wouldn’t be balls of yarn strewn across the floor, creating a minefield. Easily-tripped-over round objects that cause me to lose my balance and reach for the closest available thing to stop myself from landing on my ass.
Unfortunately, I grab June by the waist, surprising her. She’s not prepared to act as my anchor. Unstable, we both stumble backward.
Lucky for June, I break her fall. Unlucky for me, she lands on top of me.
We’ve never even hugged before this moment. I think we might have shaken hands once when Dan introduced us, but the memory isn’t clear. There wasn’t an electric shock when we first touched or met eyes, no love-at-first-sight zings upon initial contact—unlike now when my body is on high alert that we’re not only touching but lying flush against each other.
“I’m so sorry!” June wiggles, her movement drawing my attention to her clothes. How did I not notice she’s wearing a full skirt made of thin material? My imagination easily erases its existence altogether.
“Don’t apologize. This was completely my fault.” My words come out a grunt as I try to catch my breath.
My hands still grip her waist, making this position more awkward by the second. Unbidden, my fingers flex against her softness. Bad idea. Feeling my dick thicken, I tell myself not to move, not to even breathe. Oxygen is overrated.
Shifting on top of me, she bends her knees and gets her feet under her enough to stand up in a single, ninja-quick movement. Instead of waiting for me to stand or extending a hand to help me, she exits through the door and closes it behind her.
I’m left sprawled out on the floor, balls of yarn and possibly a needle poking me in the back. “No good deed goes unpunished,” I mutter to myself as I scramble to my feet. “Don’t worry, I’m fine.”