The Challenge

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The opening move

I was never at ease at parties, the obligatory small-talk and the dress-code were usually enough to make me itchy, but right now I was a nervous wreck. Not that this hospital charity function was particularly scary event, I actually knew quite a lot of people here, it was what I was about to do that had my heart beating in my throat.

She was, without a doubt the most beautiful woman in the room, immaculately dressed, yet acting as if she was as comfortable as I would be in jeans and a sweater. I made a conscious effort not to tug on my necktie, (at least the all-black sneakers had gone unnoticed by the fashion police) as I waited for an opportunity to catch her alone. Once you have accepted defeat, I said to myself, you have nothing left to lose. After one last look over my shoulder at the teenager who was scowling at my back, I stepped up.

"Ah, Denise right?"

"Yes?", she made it a question.

"I'm Michael" I said, "I have a favor to ask you that sort of involves you sleeping naked in my bed."

She just tilted her head and lifted an eyebrow, "And this type of line actually works for you?"

"Well, it's a rather complicated pitch, so I thought I'd save us all some time and give you the punch-line first, just in case you wanted to throw your drink in my face and have me escorted of the premises by security."

She looked at the glass she was holding and then looked me in the eye again and said: "So you waited until my glass was almost empty."

I shrugged, "No point in getting too wet, or wasting a perfectly good margarita."

"I wouldn't call it wasting."

"Can't argue with that", I nodded.

"So, are you giving me the complete pitch or what? Assuming there is one."

"Oh there is one, and I think it's quite good, although I may not be the best judge..." I trailed off. "Anyway, here it goes." I took a sip of my beer and continued.

"I do volunteer work here at the hospital, mostly with kids, you know, burn victims, physical and emotional trauma, it's mostly just holding hands and reading stories, that sort of stuff"

"Now that's a great line, you should use that one."

"Yeah, I know, makes the girls go all gooey, but that's not the point."

"It's not?"

"No, told you it was complicated. So, I met this girl some time ago."

"At the hospital?"

"Yes, burn victim, not to bad, but, you know, teenager, impressionable age, peer approval is life or death, you have to help them build a little confidence. So we talk, hang out, she comes over to our house to babysit a couple of times."

"You're married then?" she interrupted.

"What? No. I..."

"But you do have a kid?"

"A girl 8 years old, adopted, her mothers dying wish was I take care of her, got sort of dumped on my lap suddenly, but it kind of grows on you..."

"Another great come-on, yet you insist in using the blunt object approach."

"She's a regular chick magnet, better than a poodle, but, again, beside the point."

"The point being, me naked in your bed, I don't really see the connection here."

"I'm getting there, I'm already giving you the CliffsNotes version here. Anyway she..."

"What's her name?"

"Who? Nevermind, Shawna, the girl's name is Shawna, my daughter is Rachel. Now, where was I?"

"Babysitting."

"Oh yes, so Shawna is convinced that I think she's ugly, hideous, that I can't stand to touch her."

"How do we get from babysitting to hideous?"

"I came home late, too late for Shawna to go home, that's OK, we have a spare bedroom for that, and her parents approved, so no problem, right? Only, in the middle of the night, she sneaks into my bed."

"And I doubt her parents approved of that."

"Exactly. So when she tries anything more than a brief hug, I turn her down."

"Very noble of you."

"Well, it didn't feel noble, because all this time I've been trying to boost her confidence by telling her she's still beautiful and sexy and boys would still want to date her and then the first time she makes a move, she gets shot down."

"And you loose all credibility with her, I see. How old is she?"

"Turned sixteen last month."

"That's not er.. all that young."

"Still it's illegal in this state, besides I have kind of an counselor/patient relationship with her, so that is just 'so' wrong, if you only think of the trust issues with the other kids and their parents, I mean frightened, hurting kids, you have to be able to hug them, comfort them, without any thought of... huu I shudder at the thought."

"OK, so no sex with Shawna. Where do I come in?"

"Shawna and I had some heated discussions on this, but what it boils down to is this: No healthy straight man could resist a beautiful, hot-bodied, willing, female in his bed, no matter what the consequences. Plus if she didn't tell anybody there would be no consequences, so there."

"She's got a point, but you and I having hot steaming sex, what would you prove with that?"

"I never said sex, I said you in my bed, hot, naked and willing, no consequences, no strings, and I would still turn you down, just you and I sleeping in one bed and no sex. That would prove her wrong, and restore her confidence and her trust in me."

"Ho, ho, wait a minute, you think you can resist me?"

"Yes."

"You got a pretty high opinion of yourself there, mister."

"I'm not saying it would be easy, but I think I can control myself."

"This sounds like a challenge, wait, you're not gay are you?"

"I would have used that line on Shawna, but she was babysitting because I went out with women, so she knows that's not true."

"I think I would like to meet this Shawna."

"She's here at the party, I'll introduce you." I said and turned to seek out Shawna.

"So where did you get the beer?"

"I brought a six-pack with me, they never have beer at these fancy parties."