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A Bit of a Stretch

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At this stage in his life, Clyde McBride thought he was prepared to face just about any situation head-on and keep his wits about him.

Some might’ve branded his self-assurance as “foolhardy cockiness”, but what else was he supposed to do in the face of his independence? Deny himself the pride and fulfillment that came with living on his own? Call the past few months just one big “happy accident” that was just waiting to blow up in his face?

Pssh, fat chance; as if he’d turn down the fruits of victory just to be humble.

In this day and age, most twenty-one year olds were still living with their folks while trying to figure out their “calling”—needless to say, Clyde McBride wasn’t like most twenty-one year olds. It wasn’t too long ago that after years of saving up money from all his odd jobs over the years, he had managed to rent out a modest one-bedroom apartment in downtown Detroit and move out of his parents’ house.

Juggling the responsibilities of community college classes and part-time retail work wasn’t easy (it still wasn’t), but Clyde had finally found his rhythm after about four months. Now, he was able to make ends meet, retain a respectable social life, and keep his stress at bay all at once. At this point, nothing had the hope of knocking him off his stride—after all, what could be more daunting than handling his rent?

Apparently, as Clyde discovered on a warm March evening, a phone call from one Lynn Loud Jr. could make him sweat bullets more than his overbearing landlord ever could—though, it wouldn’t be fair to say that it was Lynn’s fault that Clyde’s thoughts were adrift the tides of promiscuous expectations, even if her request made such devious contemplation all the easier.

About a week ago, it was at the Fit for Fitness Gym that Clyde discovered that world was truly small—and the state of Michigan even smaller—for who should he spot cycling vigorously on one of the rowing machines but Lynn Loud herself. Their reunion, though chaste and brief, fermented the beginning of a newfound, less than high-minded reflection of her that came about from the first few seconds—Lynn, in no uncertain words, was...well, hot. Like, insanely hot.

Had he been the same high-strung, therapy-dependent boy of ten years ago, he would’ve dropped to the floor on the spot, blood gushing from his nose like a geyser. Instead, as they took a break from their exercise routines to catch up, he spent the vast reserves of his willpower not to ogle at her...everything; her baggy sweatpants and sweatshirt starved his imagination, granting him the tangible, luscious detail of every asset that extenuated the growth she had undergone since he had last seen her.

With the yearning to carry on their conversation for the sake of being a gentleman and a friend who was genuinely happy to see her again, he managed to end their small talk on a high note, along with the exchange of phone numbers and the promise that they could pick up where they left off. Even days after she had departed, his debauched impression of her had not, and they were soon accompanied by fantasies that kept him up at night (in more ways than one). He wouldn’t indulge them by asking her out, though; his guilt and sensibilities wouldn’t allow him to taint their friendship by trying to get in her pants when all she clearly wanted was to rekindle a strictly platonic bond that lost time had dulled.

Then why, for the love of Jesus, Joseph, and Mary, did her last phone call have to give his perverted mind the opening it needed to swarm his stern intuition and leave him a trembling, sweaty, pathetically horny mess over something that was blatantly innocent?!

Lynn, for reasons that both mystified and excited him, had decided that she needed his help to...stretch. She made sure to punctuate the importance of what a thorough session of assisted stretches of her muscles could do before she went out for a jog, something that she had hoped that she and Clyde could do as soon as tomorrow afternoon when she came over his place.

The...possibilities of such an afternoon only became apparent to him after he agreed and hung up the phone and they all involved Lynn wearing skin-tight clothing as he huddled over her, his fingers greedily sinking into her firm muscles as he contorted her into all kinds of flexible positions. She’d pant and moan as rivulets of beaded sweat glide across her flushed skin, coating her with sheen as they dripped down the valleys of her chest and into her cleavage.

He’d deify her beauty with rapt, lecherous attention, all while hoping that she’d find her sticky skin uncomfortable enough to halt his motions for her to strip herself of her sweat-drenched garments. He’d gaze in awe as her muscles flexed and twisted deliciously with each twist and tug of her body, intentionally igniting their bodies with tantalizing friction as she’d scoot closer to him and grind her curves against him with wild bucks—

Clyde groaned as he tossed and turned in bed, hoping to calm his libido and gain a sensible expectation of what was in store for him tomorrow. He didn’t believe in any god, but if he had to, he’d sink to his knees and clasp his hands together with a prayer that he could manage to rein in his hormones and keep himself from making a fatal mistake with Lynn, lest he earn himself a one-way trip to the flaming depths of Hell via a neck-snapping German suplex through his rustic coffee table.

Clyde was physically refreshed after a hearty breakfast and a soothing shower the next morning. His mind, on the other hand, wasn’t quite at that point yet—it was kept underneath the lock and key of steely determination, hardy vigilance, and good advice from his past. One of the gems from his times in Dr. Lopez’s office was the art of deep breathing—a relaxing, meditative exercise meant to soothe tense nerves—combined with mentally coming to terms with life’s circumstances, no matter how arduously taxing they could be. A brisk five-minute session of that had gone through a few important bullet points:

He was a healthy young man with hormones. ‘That’s fine.’

Lynn Loud Jr. was an attractive young woman that had caught his attention. ‘That’s also fine.’

Both of those things didn’t mean that he had to jump her bones like some perverse madman. ‘Oh, absolutely.’

He could get through this with his dignity, his friendship, and his bones intact. ‘Hey, better that than a trip to the hospital.’

That last thought, admittedly, had sounded like a bitter compromise rather than stalwart acceptance of what was supposedly obvious. It didn’t take much soul-searching to figure out why—the thought of settling solely for friendship, as morally acceptable as it sounded yesterday, tasted like repugnant, tart powder on his tongue now.

As...inviting as Lynn’s appearance was, her charm, her personality, her je nais se quois had shone through brilliantly through their conversation and captured his heart. Clyde had pieced together that those pleasant daydreams from the past few days weren’t meant to be regarded sins tucked away in the recesses of his mind in shame but thought of as one of many wonderful futures built upon the foundation of a relationship of intimate understanding, unbridled passion, and sturdy friendship. The latter was his goal for now, and he’d see it through by manning up and respecting Lynn’s trust by being appropriate.

His doorbell rang a quarter after one in the afternoon. Clyde sprung off the living room couch like a Jack-in-the-box, his heart and nerves pumping with nervous energy. Though resolute in his quest to calm himself down in time for her entry, he was too tense to think of his visitor as anyone but Lynn, hence why he didn’t even think to check through the door’s peephole once he approached it.

You can do this, McBride,’ he thought as he unlocked the door, gripped the doorknob, and pulled back. ‘Don’t spiral, don’t spiral, don’t spiral, don’t spi—’

Once the door swung back completely, his mantra sank into quicksand in the blink of an eye, swallowed up by the sheer heady glamour of the brunette knockout before him. It was all he could do not to stare with his mouth hung open from a brew of shock, captivation, and arousal.

As a boy, Clyde had learned that Lynn was full of surprises. Apparently, one of those surprises was a deliciously clingy pair of black yoga pants and a wine red sports bra that looked fit to burst (Clyde gulped when he felt a tingle in his groin and a fearful electric zip up his spine at the thought of his own sweatpants tearing through).

“‘Sup, Clyde?” Lynn greeted with a wide, dimple-birthing grin. “Ready to stretch or what?”