Friday, October 28, 2011

Beautiful Fall Day

It was the first fall like day of the season, and Amber decided to go for a bicycle ride along the river trail.  The sunlight filtering through the thinning tree leaves gave a lace-like look to the route and Amber was admiring the patterns as she rode.  Turning the bend, the trees no longer protected her from the full effect of the glaring sun, and she wasn’t prepared.  As she tried to maintain her balance she could hear epithets being spewed her way.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing?  You damn near hit me,” came an authoritative voice.

When she managed to get her bike under control before she ended up splayed out on the pavement, she was already giving her regrets.

“Well sorry wouldn’t have cut it if you had knocked me down.”

“Look, I said I was sorry.  What else do you expect.”

“I expect you would be a little more careful of pedestrians.  After all, pedestrians do have the right of way.”

“This isn’t a roadway, and I wasn’t prepared for the bright sunlight as I turned the bend.”

“Well you should be, it happens every day.”

Amber thought to herself this had to be the rudest man she had encountered in a very long while.  He was a real looker, though.  As she straddled her bike, she couldn’t help but notice his athletic build,  black hair that curled over his sweat-soaked forehead. Sunglasses hid his eyes, and his skin had the look of someone who spent a good deal of time outdoors.  All in all, she thought she might be able to overlook his rudeness.

“As I said, I’m sorry.  I was enjoying this glorious day and not paying as much attention. It’s been a while, and the sun isn’t as high in the sky as I expected, and it blinded me.   Can I buy you a coffee to make amends?”

“Is that all you have to offer?”

“Look, buddy, I’ve said I’m sorry, I offered to buy you a coffee, I’m not about to get down and grovel .”

“A woman with spunk, I like that.  It makes me want to tame that spunk.  I’ll meet you at the River Café as soon as I finish my run.  Should be about fifteen minutes, or so. By the way, my name is Blake Carstairs.”

“See you then Blake Carstairs.”

Amber got back on her bike and rode away.  The further she rode, the more she thought about that smug SOB and decided to stand him up. She’d buy a gift card for a coffee and leave it for him along with a note, and the hell with him.  ‘What did he expect. I’ll be there in 15 minutes.Give me a break.  Well good for him. I won’t.

Amber knew the barista on duty at the café and explained the situation, leaving the card and the note and left for the rest of her bike ride.  She rode until about noon and stopped back at the café for a snack before heading home.  There was a note waiting for her from Blake saying thank you and he was sorry she hadn’t waited for him.  The barista said he asked questions about her, but she had given him no answers.

‘So he asked about her.  Fascinating’  She thought to herself. 

The following week it was raining on Saturday, and so she didn’t ride.  It wasn’t until two weeks later that she had the opportunity to take another bike ride.  As she neared the bend in the curve where last they met,  she noticed someone standing by the side of the trail.  As she got closer, she realized it was Blake Carstairs.  He waved at her, and she slowed the bike.

“What are you doing here?” she asked.

“It is a public park, isn’t it?  This time, I was hoping I’d run into you,” he said with a smirk.

“Technically, I didn’t run into you.  It was a near miss.  Did you get your coffee?”

“You know I did.  However,  I wasn’t able to convince the barista to give me any info on you, so I’ve been coming here each week hoping to meet you again.”


“That’s exactly what I mean.  Because I like your spunk and style.I’d like to get to know you better and take you to lunch or dinner.  At the very least, I’d like to know your name.”

‘I’ll meet you for lunch at the River Café – say 12:30 today.  My name is Amber Wells.”

She waved goodbye as she took off down the bike path.  He shook his head and called after her “Are you going to stand me up again?”

“We’ll see, won’t we?” He smiled to himself.  It was just the kind of reply he should have expected.  This girl was so different from so many others.  He knew he was a good looking guy; it wasn’t conceit, only fact.  Many women fell all over themselves trying to get his attention.  He wanted a woman with substance, and he had a feeling Amber Wells was just that woman.

Blake Carstairs was born with a silver spoon in his mouth.  His family owned and operated a worldwide real estate development company, and he was educated and schooled in the family business since his early twenties.  Now, at 35, he wanted more than just business in his life.  His mother kept reminding him that work wasn’t what made life worth living and sometime within the last couple of years he began to understand what she meant. At family get togethers he envied his sisters who had husbands and families while he remained alone.  Knowing and finding what you wanted were two different things, though.  He had yet to find someone that intrigued him enough to even contemplate a long-term relationship.  Amber Wells might just be that someone, he’d have to wait and see.

Amber knew she would meet Blake for lunch.  Any man who went through that much to get her attention at least deserved some consideration.  Lunch in an open air venue was just the ticket.  She could leave at any time. After her bike ride, her curiosity had gotten the better of her, and she googled him.  Finding out all about Mr. Carstairs, she began to look forward to this luncheon.

 It never occurred to her he wouldn’t show, so she was surprised when she arrived and didn’t see him.  When she gave her name to the hostess, she was told her that Mr. Carstairs was delayed and would be there shortly.  She was seated, and as she waited, she wondered about Blake Carstairs and why he was interested in her.  From what she learned on Google, he had any number of women available to him, why her?

Fifteen minutes passed, and Amber was about to get up and leave when she saw him walking toward her.  He had changed from his running attire into well-tailored gray slacks, a light blue open-necked shirt and a camel colored leather jacket he’d thrown over one shoulder. He still wore his running shoes. She laughed to herself thinking he probably had forgotten to change them, and it reminded her of a scene in the movie, “The Aviator” where Leonardo diCaprio playing Howard Hughes always wore sneakers.  She noted that the heads of many of the female patrons followed him.  He took no notice, ‘one point for him,’  she thought,   as his eyes focused only on her.

He was apologizing before he even sat down.  “I’m so very sorry to keep you waiting.”

“I was beginning to think I was being stood up.”

“I don’t play those kinds of games.”  He told her, and his eyes conveyed his earnestness.  Amber couldn’t help but flinch under the scrutiny remembering that’s just what she had done to him.

“I usually don’t either.”

“Good to know because if it happened again, I would have to teach you a lesson in manners.”

“And I always thought Ms. Manners was a woman,” she replied snarkily.

He gave her a stern look.  “Let’s start again shall we,  this is not going well so far.”

‘Okay, a new beginning.  It’s a beautiful day today, isn’t it.”  He sat back, relaxed and smiled at her.  She noted his beautiful white teeth and that his smile reached his eyes that seemed to twinkle with mischief. 

“Agreed.”  They began looking at the menus when they made their selection and put down the menus; he asked her to tell him about herself.

Amber Wells had grown up in the midwest with her parents and an older brother.  She told him she lived an ordinary life, went to college and moved to the city for a job as a buyer for Belton’s.  She said she loved her work and the excitement of living in a town of more than 5,000 people.

He laughed at her remark and said he had never lived anywhere that only had 5,000 people and always wondered how that would be.   He told her about his childhood and adulthood to this point and never once would she have guessed his ancestry if she hadn’t read about him on the internet.  Although he was very low-key, his bearing and mannerisms spoke volumes of his background.

She was going to enjoy this date and hoped he felt the same. He surprised her because when she first met him she never guessed how much she would enjoy his company.  He was witty and smart and kept her laughing most of the afternoon.

On the other side, Blake loved her sass and sarcasm.  She was brave, outspoken, optimistic and unrepentant.  Words and thoughts flowed our of her unfiltered, and some of her barbs hit home.  For reasons he didn’t understand, most of the time he was amused but there were one or two remarks where he wanted to curb her tongue.  ‘Too soon to rein her in, all in good time,’ he said to himself.   

He looked at his watch and said he hated to leave, but he had another engagement but asked if she would like to join him for a brunch on Sunday.

“I’ll need your address.”

“Yes, that would be a good idea wouldn’t it.”  She gave him the address, and he told her he’d pick her up at 11:00.  He walked her to the car, and she was closing the door to leave when he told her to wear a dress.  She smiled and nodded. 

When she was pulling out of the lot, it registered what he told her.  ‘How dare he tell me what to wear?  I know how to dress appropriately.  I’ll wear what I damn well want.’ 

She had such an enjoyable afternoon with him even if he seemed a little too stiff and formal at times.  He had a very authoritative demeanor, but she figured it was a result of always being in charge in the business world.  She recognized the need for that sort of behavior, but he was not going to treat her like one of his employees. She knew just what she would wear for brunch and it sure as hell wouldn’t be a dress.

Amber was ready when Blake arrived. She opened the door dressed in a flowing silk pant outfit.  He wore an expression of disdain and it was very clear her outfit didn’t meet his expectations.
“I thought I told you to wear a dress.”

“Did you, I don’t remember.”

“I did.”
“Sorry, I guess this will have to do.  Do you usually dictate your dates dress code?”

Giving a small laugh, he shook his head no.  “I have to stop by to a baptism ceremony before brunch and I thought you might be more comfortable wearing a dress to the  church.”

“Oh,” was all she could manage to say.  He watched her reaction and knew she heard him ask her to wear a dress and was regretting her decision to be obstinate.  His request probably hadn’t registered right away because he was sure she would have made a sarcastic remark. He didn’t think she had a submissive bone in her body, and he was looking forward to the challenge.  He couldn’t wait to see her reaction when she realized they weren’t going to a baptism after all.

“I’ll go change.”

“There isn’t time.  Let’s go.  Maybe next time,  you’ll mind what I say.” He knew she was embarrassed because she didn’t react to his statement.  He started to smile.

‘Why are you smiling?” 

“You’ll see,” He told her. ‘The moment of truth will be coming soon when I pull up to the restaurant.’

He took a route that took them past several churches.  He would slow the car at every one and each time she would react.   He was enjoying himself.  When he finally pulled up to the restaurant, he watched her manner change from uneasiness to fuming.  He could literally see the steam building up inside and knew the explosion (okay maybe not an explosion but certainly a barrage of expletives) would be arriving any moment.  He continued to look straight ahead because he knew if he chanced a look at her he would start to laugh, and he wanted to get out of the car first. He pulled to the valet station knowing she would maintain until they were out of earshot of others.

“You bastard, you played me.”   He grinned but didn’t dare laugh out loud the way he wanted. 

“Yes, I did.  It was fun.”

“I thought you didn’t play games.”

“Everybody plays games, but I keep my commitments.  Standing someone up is rude, not a game.”

“So, what kind of game was this?”

“It was a sort of test.  You see I like a challenge, and I also like being in control.  You didn’t disappoint.  I would have been shocked as hell if you had worn a dress.”

“Then why go through all this?”

“As we get further along, I will periodically test you and if you, don’t obey, I get to punish your disobedience.”

“Who are you?”

“I’m a man who likes to have his way.”

“You can go screw yourself, Mr. Blake Carstairs.  I’m not ten years old.  I’m a grown woman, not a child that needs chastisement.”

“Oh, Ms. Wells,  you definitely need to be chastised.  There will come a time that you beg me to put you over my knee.”

“I hope you’re not holding your breath, Mr. Carstairs.”

“We’ll see.  Now are we going to go into brunch or shall I just take you home?” he asked, a grin on his face.  He knew she would choose brunch, he knew her well enough to know she also loved a challenge.  He knew he would win, but he didn’t like winning too easily.

Without answering, she walked into the restaurant.  He kept grinning.

They were seated at a table overlooking the harbor and handed menus.  Amber held it up obscuring her face from Blake’s view.  Her mind was going a thousand miles an hour.  She couldn’t possibly let him know how turned on she was by his conversation.  This was going to be more fun than she ever expected.  Most of her dates were men who usually fell all over themselves trying to please her.

“Amber, do you want to order off the menu or partake of the breakfast buffet?  It is one of the best in the city if you’re interested.”

Amber continued to hold the menu in place.

“Amber, I’m speaking to you.”

“Yes, I hear you,” and said nothing more.  The waiter came by to see what they wanted to drink.  Amber held the menu away long enough to look at the waiter to order a Bellini before she immediately put it back as if studying the menu.

A few more moments went by when she heard Blake ask her to put down the menu. She didn’t.

“Amber, you are acting extremely rude and childish.  If you don’t put down the menu and speak to me,  I can only assume that you want to be chastised.  I have no compunction about taking you over my knee right here.   You will be more embarrassed than I.  The reality is that most of the men in here right now would applaud my action.”

“You wouldn’t dare.”

“I think you know the answer to that.  It’s your choice, Ms. Wells.”

Amber put down the menu.  “You really are a bastard, you know.”

“No, you’re wrong.  I have two parents and a birth certificate to prove I’m not.”  He smiled at her and watched the fire blaze in her eyes.  At that moment, he wasn’t sure if it was longing or loathing but he’d find out soon enough.

She opened her mouth to speak, but the server took that moment to deliver their drinks.

“To us,” Blake said as he picked up his glass.  He only hoped when she picked up the bellini it wasn’t to throw it in his face.  If she did, he really would take her over his knee, he felt a tightening of his pants as the thought flared in his mind.   He watched her think about it for a moment before she clinked her glass against his.  “To us,” she said.

She downed her drink and immediately ordered another.  “So Amber, are you going to order off the menu or try the buffet?” he asked.

“I’ll take your suggestion about the buffet.”

“I think you made the right choice,”  he told her grinning.

“I think so too. Shall we begin?

Neither one of them were talking about the choice of buffet versus menu.

He winked at her and came around to hold out the chair.  “After you.”  He walked behind her looking at her ass kissed by the silk of her slacks and wishing it was his hands not his eyes roaming over that silky smoothness.  ‘Knock it off man unless you want to make a spectacle of yourself right here and now,’ he said to himself as he felt his pants tighten yet again.

Their conversation was like a thrust and parry sparring match.  Her tongue always sharp, surprisingly was not impaired by the many bellinis she drank.  He couldn’t remember the last time he had enjoyed a date quite so much. As they stood to wait for the valet to bring the car, he realized he had spent the better part of two days with Amber.  He had yet to so much as give her a peck on the cheek.  That had never happened before.  ‘Am I too much of a gentleman to take advantage of someone who had one too many bellinis. Will I have to wait for another date before I can taste those lips and nip at that sharp tongue?’
These were the thoughts going through his head as he watched her trying very hard to maintain her ‘ladylike’ stance. “I’ll see how it goes.’

On the way home, Amber fell asleep.  ‘Another first.’ Blake thought to himself.  When he pulled up in front of her apartment,  he gently touched her shoulder, and she woke with a start. 

“Wow, I fell asleep.  I am so embarrassed.”

“Don’t be.  The fact that you were able to do so tells me you feel comfortable with me. I think that’s a good thing.”

“I’ve never done that before.”

“Trust me, it’s never happened to me before either.”

“Oh yes, by all means make me feel even worse.”

“I didn’t mean it like that.  It’s definitely a lesson in humility, though.”

“Good then, you could use a few lessons.”

“Oh, she’s fully awake now and back to the snarky tongue.”  She laughed, and he couldn’t help but laugh with her.

“So, shall we do this again and maybe you could stay awake through the whole date?”

“Is this date over?”

“It doesn’t have to be, but it’s up to you.  You’re the one fell asleep. I’m not sure my ego could take you falling asleep again.”

“Trust me when I say, if I fall asleep while doing what’s going through my mind, you need more than lessons in humility.”

“You are such a brat.  In addition to a spanking, I think you need your mouth washed out with soap.”

“Don’t even go there buster.”   He threw back his head and roared with laughter.

He followed her into her place and noted how tastefully she had it decorated.  It wasn’t the usual frilly girls stuff.  A man could live here and not be overwhelmed by the femininity.  The muted taupe colors of the walls, the leather furniture, hardwood floors were interspersed with splashes of color in pillows, wall hangings and colorful rugs on the floor, giving it a very homey look and feel.

She kicked off her shoes as soon as she walked in and invited him to do the same.

“Do you want something to drink?”

“Sure, what do you have?”

“Over there,” she pointed to a breakfront.  “Open it and pick something.”

He was surprised to find an array of various liquors and cordials.  He grabbed a snifter and poured himself a brandy.  “Do you want anything?”

“No, I think I’ve had my quota for the day, don’t you?”

“And here, I was hoping  I could have my way with you while you were drunk.”

“Not happening.  If I thought that, I would never have invited you up.”

“Well, that’s something, anyway.”

He settled himself onto the couch, and when she came out to join him, she was wearing a short robe, tied at the waist and what looked like a pair of boy shorts.  She sat down next to him, and she began rubbing her hand up and down the length of his thigh. 

“If you’re not prepared to take this further, may I suggest you refrain.”

“Oh, I plan on taking this further, that is, if you’re interested?”

He slouched further down on the couch, straightening his long legs.  She undid his belt and unbuttoned his pants, sliding down the zipper and teasing his cock along the way.

“Whoa,” he told her.  “Slow down.”

She stood up, put her hands on her hips.  “Are you going to be directing this too?”

“Get over here, you. “ He yanked her arm and brought her down across his lap. “I’ll show you direction.”  He pushed up her short robe, and his hand glided over the silky shorts, covering that beautiful derriere.  He rubbed circles on her buttocks and up her back. Her skin was as silky as the fabric that covered her bottom. Her breathing slowed, he heard her sigh as she relaxed and gave in to his tender touch.  Keeping one hand rubbing her back, his other hand delivered a light tap to her bottom, followed by rubbing. He felt a slight upward movement, and he slapped her butt again, a little harder this time.  This time, she definitely arched her body to meet his hand.

“You like that?”  he asked in a voice as soft as velvet.

“hmmm.”  Moving his hand downward, she parted her thighs slightly, and he was able to feel the moisture that had pooled there.  He spanked her again, first the right cheek and then the left.

“More,” She told him.  He slid down her panties and gloried in the sight of a pinked perfect heart-shaped ass.

“Are you sure?”

“hmm,”  So he obliged, slapping each rounded cheek,  increasing the tempo and firmness as smack after smack landed on that reddening flesh. He felt her hand searching for him and he adjusted accordingly allowing her to reach the object she sought. 

She squeezed a little too hard causing discomfort, so he moved slightly and adjusted himself.  She did it again, and he slapped her bottom hard.  “Is this what you’re hoping for, sweetheart?”

As his one hand continued punishing her bottom, his other hand was busy fondling her labia. Fingers delved into her moistness as his thumb strummed her mons.  Her breathing became brasher, and her body was moving to the rhythm of his fingers.  He stopped spanking only to have her tell him she wanted more.  The harder he spanked the more she wriggled until her body began to tense, and he sensed she was close to orgasm.  He removed his hand from between her legs and just spanked until he felt her body let go.  Wave after wave of orgasmic pleasure swept through her body.

She lay across his lap until her breathing slowed, and he gently set he down next to him.

“Can we have our first kiss now?” he asked as his lips sought hers.  He nibbled and sucked and teased until his tongue plundered her mouth. She returned his fervor.
Their first kiss had led to a second, third and fourth kisses before they moved to Amber’s bedroom where they continued making love. 

After their first round of sex, they lay together, reveling in each other, sated and exhausted. 

“So, am I going to get kicked out or …”

She didn’t let him finish before she reached over, and lip locked him.  He pulled back, looked at her and said “Didn’t I tell you there would come a time when you would beg me to spank you?”  He laughed.  She got a scowl on her face and lip locked him again, but this time bit him hard.    He pulled her to him and smacked her bottom hard.  And so began their second round of sex.

Blake spent the night and they connected once more before sleep overtook them.  In the morning, Amber rose and made coffee while Blake dressed.

“When am I going to see you again?”

“I have a buying trip for the next couple of days, and I already made plans for the weekend.”

“Am I getting the brush off?” he asked.

“Hell, no.  But you’re going to have to work for it.”  He laughed.

“Do your worst, just know that you’ll pay.”

“I hope so,”  she replied.

Two weeks went by before they were able to sync their schedules.  During that time, Blake knew that he wasn’t going to let Amber get away from him  He missed her.  They called each other a few times, and her sauciness continued to delight him.  Blake invited her to spend the weekend at his country place.  She accepted. 

During the week, Blake lived in the city.  Whenever he could, though, he lived in a country house he inherited from his grandparents.  He loved the house and when he was younger always spent his summers there.  When his grandparents moved into an apartment closer to town, they gave it to Blake with the provision they could spend time there whenever it wasn’t in use.  In the five years since they had given him the house, not once had they been back.

Amber was ready and waiting when he picked her up on Friday night.  She dressed casually and luckily had her hair pulled back in a ponytail because he came in his convertible.
“I only packed casual clothes, hope that’s all right.”

“Darling, I figure we’re not going to need many clothes.”  He smiled at her. 

They stopped to grab a bite to eat at a little roadside in and it was almost dark by the time they got to the house.  Amber didn’t know what she expected, but this was not like any country house she’d ever seen.  They turned down a long windy drive and came up to six foot wrought iron gates.  The gatehouse stood empty. Blake punched a code into the security system keypad and the gates opened.  They drove down a road lined with evergreens toward an enormous brick structure. 

“This isn’t a house; this is a mansion. You better leave cookie crumbs, or I’m liable to get lost going to the bathroom,” she told him.

He laughed.  “You’ll be fine.”

“Will we be alone, or are there hundreds of staff running around to cater to our every whim?”

“No, no staff.  Just us.  There is a caretaker and a gardener on staff, but we won’t see them unless we ask for something.  We can run around naked, and no one will care.”

“Oh good.  Are there cameras everywhere?”

“No, you’re not going to end up on YouTube.”

Blake had evidently notified the caretaker they were coming.  The lights were on, and there was a low fire burning in the fireplace.  Blake brought in the luggage and set it down in the hall.  He took her a quick tour of the great room, the kitchen, and bathroom and then walked her out to the deck.  The deck led to a huge expanse of lawn ending at the lake.  The moonlight shining down through the trees lighted the path to the water. 

“Shall we.” They walked hand in hand down to the water.  There was a motor boat tied to the dock.  “Want to take a run around the lake?”

“In the boat?”

“No, I thought we’d take a run.”

“You’re kidding right.”

“Of course, I’m joking.  Just giving you back a little of what you give me.” In jest, she pushed his shoulder, he lost his balance and ended up in the lake.  She was so surprised, but not as surprised as him.  He popped up and swam over to the ladder on the dock. She was trying not to laugh but wasn’t doing a very good job of keeping it under wraps. 

“Girl, you are so getting a spanking for that.”

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean that.”

“You know I might have an easier time believing you if you weren’t laughing so hard.”

He started walking back toward the house and his shoes were squishing which led Amber to another fit of laughter. 

“Oh girl, you’re laughing now.  Wait until I get my hand on that ass.”

When they reached the house, he pulled her over his shoulder, firefighter style, and carried her into the bathroom.  He turned on the shower with one hand, holding tight onto Amber, and stepped into the shower with her still over his shoulder. He gave her a good swat as he put her down.    

“I can’t believe you’re doing this.”

“Deal with it.  At least this water is hot.”   His lips found hers, and as he was kissing her,  he started unbuttoning her blouse.  His hand caressed her breast while his other hand began unzipping her jeans.  He pushed them down, taking her panties along with them and turned her around.

“Place your hands flat on the wall.”


“Just do it.”

“Who do you think you are? Nike.”

“No, I’m the man who is going to whip your butt, starting now.” She heard his chuckle as he moved her against the wall.  Putting his hands around her waist, he pulled and positioned her hips where he wanted them. Then he spread her legs as far as possible considering her jeans were still around her knees and admired his work.

“Now I have you where I want you, are you ready?”  Amber heard the snicker.

“You have me hobbled; I’m yours to do with as you wish.”

“If only I had a recorder this minute.  I would love to have your statement recorded for posterity.”

“Get to it, man, before I change my mind and back you against the wa...”  She didn’t get to finish her statement because that first slap to her wet ass took her breath away.

“You were saying.”

“Damn, that smarted.”  Blake wasted no time in applying another hard smack in the same place.  The sound of his palm hitting wet flesh and her ensuing oooooouch reverberated in the shower stall. Blake began hitting his stride as he smacked her bottom again and again.  Amber was dancing on her toes.

“Stay still,” he admonished.

“How do you expect me to stay still when you’re whacking my butt so dang hard.”

“Do you want me to stop?”

“Did I say that?”

“No, you didn’t.  So be quiet and take your punishment, you naughty girl. You ruined a brand new pair of Italian Leather Loafers, and I’m going to take the cost out of your hide.”

“Oh, give me a break.  You probably have six more pairs in a closet somewhere.”

“That does it, no remorse at all. Obviously I’m not spanking hard enough.  I’ll fix that.”  He pulled down the bath brush and applied it to her backside.  “Yeoooooowza.”

“Finally, a little respect.  A few more of those and I should have you begging.”

He heard a grunt and laughed.  “Silence from the brat.  I’m keeping this bath brush handy.”

He finished spanking her, turned her around and took her in his arms.  They undressed each other, washed each other and, and, and…

The next morning Blake asked is she wanted to go for a bike ride.

“Only if you have a pillow to fit the bike seat.”  His laughter filled the room. 

Amber smiled to herself and wondered how she ever thought he was too stiff and formal.