Nissa: Second Glances

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Nissa sat behind the sales counter reading her book. She checked her watch, looked out the store window, then resumed reading her book, “A Journey Through Thailand”. It was a quiet afternoon in ‘Second Glances’. Then again, most summer mornings, afternoons, and evenings were quiet in the used bookstore. Once in a while a university student would come in looking to exchange their worn text books for other worn text books or an elderly matron would wander in and sheepishly ask for tawdry romance paperbacks that the store practically sold at fifty cents to the kilo. Other than those sporadic visits, Nissa only slid off her comfy stool occasionally during her shifts to rearrange stock on the shelves or to turn the “Back in 15 Minutes” sign around in the door window. Certainly for a post-graduate student on summer break there were more active and engaging places to work at, but she did appreciate the easy, relaxing pace of the small store. Never one for hanging out at those crowded chain coffee shops, nor did she have the chops to sell clothes to fashionistas or A.D.D teenagers at those high-strung boutique stores, the laid back intimacy of the small side-street bookstore suited her.The bookstore was the current iteration of the three-quarter century old unit located in the mid-town of the city. Once a small grocery, then a cafe, then an art gallery, and so on, it now sold books, used but with still stories to tell. Who knew how many layers of paint were underneath the current rich, forest green veneer? For current fixtures, two-sided dark-wood shelves were lined up in a row like soldiers from the front all the way to the back of the long but narrow space, each with one of their sides pressed up against the wall opposite to the sales counter creating short, enclosed aisles. Low wattage ceiling lights cast a haunting glow over the books at night. During the day, Nissa preferred the hazy shimmer of white light that filtered through the store from the large storefront window. The only things that remained untouched, it seemed, was the solid wood floor. Though waxed and refinished throughout the year, it continued to showcase its defiantly elegant natural wood grain. The lazy creaking noises that ebbed from the floorboards as people walked across them or shifted their feet as they read amongst the shelves was a surprisingly comforting sound to Nissa. It added to the serene ambiance of the place. As a student of dance, the floors also reminded her to stay light and graceful on her feet.The young storekeeper’s attire and style matched the store: simple, relaxed, classical. She preferred a natural, clean look forgoing too much make-up for just a light kiss of blush on her high, cafe au lait cheeks. Her shimmering mocha-hued hair was kept silky straight, its cascading length stretching down to the small curve of her back. A wheat brown skirt dropped over her slender legs to her ankles which were covered by white heel socks and black slipper shoes. She accessorized a simple white T-shirt with a light silk scarf wrapped lightly once around her neck. Comfortable and rarely intruded upon, Nissa had ample time to indulge in her love of reading — another boon of working in a bookstore. Summer time meant she could ditch the mind-numbing text books for some suspense, some enriching classics, some thought-provoking existentialism, and even some crotch clutching titillation, at least once in a while to keep the body stimulated as well as the mind. Currently it was a four-year-old travel guide to Thailand in her hands. Eventually, after graduation perhaps, she would visit the homeland of her parents for the first time, personal savings allowing, of course.It was the mid-afternoon. A sultry voiced French crooner sang his brooding songs of regret, temptation, and love through the speakers of the small CD player beneath the counter. Yet, Nissa could hear the ticking of the pendulum clock off to the side over his singing. She flipped through the pages of her book, becoming increasingly gaziantep rus escort detached from the words and pictures, checking the clock with increasing frequency. Her legs crossed, she bounced one over the other, a crinkling vibe of anticipation creeping between her gut and her toes.The fine line of her thin dark brows pinched together. He should have been here by now.Almost simultaneous to that thought, the little brass bells above the door tinkled like chattering fairies. For a moment, the sounds of the streets filtered in, only to be dulled as the door fell shut once more. Nissa sat up in her seat, facing away from the door for a moment. She inhaled, relaxed her face then spun her stool seat around.And there he was, at first a silhouetted figure with the halo of bright summer light sweeping behind him from the outside. As her slender, almond eyes focused, the handsomely symmetric, bold angled, dark figure of a man came into view. An easy, deceptively courteous closed smile slipped onto his full brown lips. The narrowed look in his marine green, crescent eyes was that more inviting. Nissa smiled and nodded, with a subtle, slow blink of her long lashes. “Good afternoon,” she said politely.”Ms.Nissa,” the man answered, nodding in turn, “Comment ça va?” “Bien, merci,” she replied, grinning. That was about all the French she knew but that brief exchange already represented about twenty-five per cent of what their few conversations had encompassed. His name was Leandro. In the two months since he had first entered the shop, that was one of the few significant bits of information she had gotten from him other than physical and surface characteristics. Oh, but those were attractive characteristics to be sure. That smooth as smoke voice laced with that rich French accent tickled at her ear. The clothes he wore were refined and fashionable; they hugged his running-trim frame as if everything from his jackets to his leather shoes had been personally tailored. Perfect combinations of a rounded, wide nose, full pink lips, high cheekbones, squared off jaw and dimpled chin were all pulled together by those eyes, electric and provocative, that magnetically sucked in anything in its viewing path.Finally there was his scent which implanted in Nissa’s head the vivid image of ocean waves crashing relentlessly and dying upon jagged rocks. This engaging musk was the enhancing sauce splashed upon his rich, roasted chestnut imbued skin. This was a creature built for seduction, or so Nissa’s burgeoning imagination had created.She placed her book on the table and folded her hands on her lap, legs remaining crossed. Quietly she watched as Leandro walked slowly through the store, deliberate tilts and turns of his head up-and-down, side-to-side, always as if it was his first time in Second Glances. There was a certain appreciation in his examinations as he scanned the books, the shelves, the store itself. That appreciation only seemed to intensify when his eyes crossed paths with Nissa. He would never stare though, never burn his glare into her. His looks were purposeful yet were only glances; enough for her to skip a beat or two. He moved his leather portfolio briefcase from one hand to the other as he stopped in front of a display of books by a shelf in front of the counter and picked up a hardcover. Nissa pushed herself upright in her seat to look over his shoulder, trying to see what he selected. However, Leandro just put it down and proceeded to stroll to the back of the store. He knew what he wanted.The first time Leandro had entered the store, he had asked where the art and photography books were kept. It was the only time he had ever asked Nissa for help. Instead of simply telling him which aisle to go to, Nissa had felt strangely compelled to come out from behind the counter and walk him to the back shelves. As she walked in front, leading him down the narrow corridor, she wanted to look back and see if he was watching her, appreciating her as he did the store. The books he sought were almost at the very back, an area dimly lit, beyond the reach of the natural light from the windows.Arriving at the row of shelves, she gestured towards the books. “Are you an artist? A photographer?” she had asked, feeling atypically curious about a customer.Leandro smiled. “I do have a certain…interest for the material, yes.”And that was it.Since then, Leandro always made his way to the back, just as he did now. His scent wafted past the storekeep’s appreciative nose.Nissa remained in her chair, she wasn’t going to chase after him or bother him. That wasn’t the type of play she felt she wanted to do with this person. She did, however, lean over the counter a little, angling her head towards the back though she knew she wouldn’t be actually able to see him.Instead, after turning down the CD player slightly, she listened. She heard the quiet creak of the floors as he shifted his weight while looking amongst the shelves. The sounds of books sliding off and on the shelves and pages being crisply turned. It stirred a pleasant vibe within her.This is how it always was, the two times a week Leandro would visit the store. Finally, after about fifteen minutes, she heard the click of heels once more as he walked back to the front counter. Nissa turned up the volume of the player once more.Leandro approached the counter.”Did you find anything today?” she asked.He shook his head politely. “No, but there is always something worth looking at in this store, I find.”Nissa smiled gently, trying to stem a blush she suddenly felt filling her cheeks.Leandro looked aside for a moment and listened to the music playing in the store. “Mario Pelchat?” he asked.Nissa grinned and nodded. “Yes…again,” she replied. As if sensing the apology in her voice, Leandro smiled and shook his head. The artist was actually from Quebec but the Euro-Francophone man didn’t show any sign of haughty disdain for the music. To Nissa’s pleasant surprise, he suddenly closed his eyes and listened. His dimpled, dark-stubbled chin rose up slowly and his whole upper body seemed to expand as he breathed and contemplated the song.Opening his eyes, he said, “The lyrics are very emotional, very enticing.”Nissa looked down sheepishly. “I really don’t understand the lyrics. I just like the sound of it,” she admitted, “It sounds very sultry, seductive.”Leandro tilted his chin downward, his thick, dark brows shadowing his cool green eyes. “If that is how the music makes you feel, then it transcends language,” he remarked confidently. He added, “It is better to feel than to tell, no?”A warm rush swelled from deep beneath her chest. “Absolutely,” Nissa spoke like the word was butter in her throat. Her look, her speech was unabashedly flirtatious. It was an unusual reaction from her for an unusually intriguing and attractive man.She mindlessly pushed aside a small pile of books on the counter and looked back up at him, fully expecting him to offer his usual genteel smile and nod before leaving. Today, when their eyes met, he remained unmoving where he stood. No courteous smile. No nod. Simply a long look from his darkened green eyes, a lingering gaze he held upon her. It wasn’t harsh or cold by any means. Nor was it unattractive or unwanted by Nissa. After two months of intrigue and flirtation, to suddenly see a look like this from Leandro erupted a mental storm in her head and a drumming in her heart.Under the stolid, seemingly intentful watch of Leandro, Nissa felt compelled to move and, just as nonchalantly as she had shifted the stack of books, she swept her long waterfall of hair back to her front over her shoulder, brushing it down gently with her hands and fingers as she looked off to the side, a touch of anxiety in her expression.”Au revoir, Nissa,” she heard him say. As she looked up, he turned and walked away. The bells above the door announced his exit from the store.”Good-bye, Leandro,” she said softly, too late. It was a delayed reaction, as if her whole being had to reset after that brief, compelling moment.Nissa looked ahead blankly and blinked, still absorbing the sensation she felt and the image of that persuasive gaze of his. As if her mind finally accepted that he was gone, Nissa sat upright, realization dawning on her face.She slipped off her chair and made her way to the back aisles to see what ‘present’ had been left today.Nearly two month’s ago, after Leandro’s second visit, Nissa had gone to the art and photography section, simply intrigued to know what he might have been reading. She always found a different book set aside at the end of the shelves. Looking at the covers, she recognized immediately that it wasn’t a book that belonged to Second Glances. The owner of the shop refused to sell erotica. It had taken her a moment to actually pick up and look at the first book laid out as a tempting offering. It was a pictorial filled with black and white images of nude bodies entwined and connected in shadowy and seductive sexual poses. Elegant, slender bodies melted together with bold, muscular figures. Rigid lengths of shafts of men were captured in photos sinking past the soft, rippling petals of women. Appetizing looks of ecstasy and rapture were prevalent in the rounded lips and the strained and satisfied brows over closed eyes. Nissa could almost hear the ghostly ebb of moans and groans whispering all around her as she stood in the quiet shop. As it was, when she swallowed to stimulate the saliva in her dried throat, it was like the thrum of a waterfall in her head.Each time Leandro left the store, he left a book like that behind for her to find like some sort of erotic Christmas present. Sometimes paintings, sometimes drawings, sometimes photos. Black and white or colour. Abstract, artistic, or explicitly pornographic. There was always a book left on the shelf and Nissa always pored through each one, enthralled, curious…aroused.She never asked him about the books. She knew to the bystander it could have been perceived as the equivalent to a dirty phone call, but it didn’t feel that way with Leandro. He was trying to stimulate a reaction from her, that seemed certain. Nothing that she felt made her wary of him, though. So she never approached him about the books, just waited to see what the next phase of the game was if there was one.She was definitely compiling quite the collection back home.As she turned into the row, a pleased smile curled onto her lips. He hadn’t disappointed her. It was another photographic pictorial this time entitled “Compulsions”. Arching her brow, she picked it up from the shelf and flipped it open.”Oh my God,” she breathed. Leandro remained present in the store and in her thoughts through the images in the book. Nissa’s prior attempts to imagine what the man looked like raw in the raw flesh crashed headlong into the stark reality presented within the pages before her. Uninhibited views of his sleek, muscular black-skinned body curved and strained off the pages. His searing, seductive eyes reached out and seized her by the collar of her shirt and held her fast, preventing her from even thinking of turning her sights away. His nude body was adored and inhaled by the camera lens and the white lights and dark shadows that curled and wended their way along and through his velvety chocolate skin.To her chagrin, what garnered her attention the most was the bold display of his handsome cock. A shade darker than the rest of his ebony body, and just as attractive as any other part of his sculpted frame, it was impressive in both length and girth. Yet it was how the man wielded it in the pictures that was most striking.His physical presence in the photos was matched by a curvy, long-legged pale beauty. Hair like an amber sunrise, skin toned to the perfection and delicateness of eggshell, and a dreamy body with ample, rounded breasts, she was a match for Leandro. She had to be, as the stark but captivating images showed her seductive body accepting Leandro’s substantial length deep inside.The glean of sweat Nissa felt at her fingertips made it easy to turn the glossy pages.

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