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Sweet Tea

#1 Love at First Sight

It was an ordinary day of no expectations. I stood in line for coffee at the local place where everybody knew everybody most days.

"Ice tea, please," the stranger placed his order.

I noted he wasn't much taller than me as I stared at the back of his neck. His solid shoulders led to strong arms with tattoos peeking out under his t-shirt sleeves. Strange symbols. He paid his money, took his tea, and walked away without ever facing me.

I had just placed my order and made pleasantries with the barista when the stranger appeared next to me. Close enough to breathe in the smell of him, like the forest, trees and grass and animals and a little something else that was just his alone. Earthy. Manly.

"I'm sorry hon, I meant sweet tea" said the stranger with an apologetic tone so sweet I wasn't sure he needed anymore sugar.

The barista smiled and blushed a quick and breathy "Sorry" at the the handsome stranger from someplace where "tea" meant "sweet tea".

"Hey pretty", the stranger smiled at me.

I raised an eyebrow and smiled back. His eyes were blue like swimming pools on a perfect, hot summer day with shimmering water that begs you to strip down and dive in. So I did.

With our drinks now in hand and "Thank you's" and "Have a nice day's" exchanged with the barista we walked across the street to stroll down the shady path in the park where he proceeded to spill his whole life story with very little prompting at all.

Peppered throughout were tall tales and sob stories that I was much, much, much too old to fall for no matter how young and eager and sympathetic I looked.

My place was nearby so we stopped at the liquor store on the way and carried back a large bottle of rum. A tabby the size of a small dog sniffed him curiously. The cat purred approvingly when the stranger scratched him and then sauntered off to do what cats do.

"That cat is huge!" he called out.

"You should see the other one." I said mater of factly from the kitchen while I mixed us some drinks.

Until early the next morning we drank. He talked and I listened. The spirits seemed to ease confession, he kept saying "I can't believe I'm telling you all this." His ocean blue eyes betrayed a genuine fear a tough guy like him could merely hint at. I did my best to make him feel as safe as I felt with him near.

We took breaks from talking to give kissing our full attention. I howled like a wolf when he touched me and begged for more like an undisciplined puppy when he pushed me off his lap so that he could tell me more of his secrets.

And then it was morning and the sun was as blinding as the night had been intense. We fell asleep in each other's arms for a few hours and I kissed him goodbye sometime early afternoon.

# 2 Lust at First Sight

I pulled off the highway at an exit for a small town I'd never heard of and parked my truck at the first little coffee shop I saw. I was thirsty for something, though I didn't know what.

I ordered an "iced tea" and upon taking a cold bitter sip I remembered I was somewhere that "sweet tea" wasn't a given. I wasn't bothered though, I had found what I was thirsty for.

I drank in her coke bottle curves and licked my lips at the milky mounds like two scoops of ice cream. I had to know her.

I put on my most disarming of smiles and said, "Hey pretty."

She raised an eyebrow at my compliment but smiled back with juicy strawberry wine lips. Her eyes were like warm comforting mugs of hot chocolate and she looked deeply into mine without blinking.

She was familiar and mysterious at the same time. We walked out of the coffee shop together like old friends who'd planned to meet there and go for a walk through the park across the street. Before I knew what was happening I was telling her every solitary thought that had rolled through my head over the last thousand miles of lonely road. I couldn't believe I was telling her all of this. It scared me but I didn't want to stop.

I needed a drink stronger than sweet tea and so we found some and wandered to her place. We drank and I confessed. She listened with her whole body and soul. She kissed like she listened.

When the sun came up we wrapped ourselves around one another and I slept unburdened like I haven't in years. I left her a few hours later refreshed.

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