It was 3 weeks later that Tippi called.
‘Hi, it’s me, Tippi.’
I had not been expecting her to call. I’ve so often spoken words and then, as they left my mouth, wished I could have swallowed them back. I’d assume that was what she had done. Maybe she was ‘phoning to apologise.
‘Look, Tippi, I was being really stupid that night. Could we just forget it?’
‘We can forget some of it, sure. I wondered if you’d come to a party at my place next weekend, Saturday – my best friend is 40 and we’re giving her a big do. We’re calling it an evening dress party, we decided people look better that way than if they just assume it’s a come as you are affair.’
I hesitated. ‘I’m not sure I’d be good company.’
‘Just come. If you’re bad company you can piss off again.’ Tippi laughed and I couldn’t help doing the same. I’d always liked Tippi in a detached sort of way. She was not, after all, Jess and nor, so far as I had known, a lesbian. Maybe she is bisexual.
‘Will she be there?’
‘I asked her but she’s away.’
Relief. I still loved Jess and knew if she’d been there I’d have been unhappy, even though we’d spoken since her hen night and all seemed well. ‘OK - I’ll come.’
‘Great. See you then – 8.30 ish and bring a bottle of something you like.’
The only evening dress I owned at that time was a charity shop purchase. It was blue a very dark blue; long and full skirted with a top like a basque. I felt I had worn it rather too often, so I decided to indulge myself and buy a new one. Between the call and the party, I spent time researching and dragging round shops, looking for something appropriate. Eventually I found it. It is, I still have it, beautiful and simple. It’s a sort of sheath, deep red, with tiny straps and a chiffon outer skirt. So it was with that dress and the usual beneath it that I made my way, a little reluctantly, to Tippi’s house. I arrived late which is pretty standard for me. I parked my disreputable elderly Ford, grabbed a large bottle of gin from the boot and made my way a little unsteadily on heels that were a little higher than I normally wear to her front door.
Some man opened the door and ushered me into the already noisy party. Everyone looked lovely; the men in dinner jackets, the girls in their finery. I wandered through the throng having placed my gift bottle on the drinks table and grabbed a wine. I exchanged words with a few familiar faces, eventually joining a group of people whom I knew well. I still hadn’t seen Tippi.
The sudden feeling of two hands, one on each of my shoulders reminded me all too strongly of the night of Jess’s hen. I knew whose hands they were without looking. I turned and there she was, a big smile, so typical of her. We kissed cheeks and she slipped her arm through mine and joined the group I was talking to. As we chatted happily, I felt her hand squeeze my arm a few times and occasionally she leant against me.
Tippi is tall, slender and has lovely dark brown hair, which she was wearing that night loosely tied back. She was stunning, in a long, simple dress of blues and golds. She has surprisingly large breasts for a woman as slim as she is and their nipples showed clearly through the delicate material of the dress. Occasionally I could feel them touch my arm when she turned. Was it deliberate, I wondered.
Tippi did not stay with me all evening. She worked the rooms and I enjoyed myself, chatting and drinking and eating some of the excellent food on offer.
There is a time at every party where people start to leave. I was about to do the same when Tippi came back to me.
‘Don’t leave, I’ve hardly had a chance to catch up with you. I’ll see a few off then be right back. Love the frock.’
I refilled my glass and went outside onto her patio to have a cigarette. I’d started smoking at Jess’s hen and like most people, hadn’t stopped. The breeze was warm, the night still and quiet. I was suddenly very conscious of the silk of my knickers between my legs and the rub of my nipples on the fabric of my dress. I knew what was happening. Drinking and the knowledge that Tippi was interested in me was making me horny. I slipped away down the side passage of her house and stupidly climbed into my car, but ultimately got home safe.
I’d been in bed about two minutes when the phone rang.
‘Why did you leave?’
‘Oh, come on Tips, you know why.’
‘I honestly and genuinely don’t.’
‘I’d be no good for you. Not yet, maybe not ever. You know why.’
‘Look, you silly cow, Jess is Jess. She’s your first and only. But we both know she’s married. I wasn’t going to fuck you. I just wanted to chat.’
‘I wanted you to fuck me – that’s why I left.’
‘Well, I wasn’t going to.’
I paused. ‘Come round for lunch tomorrow?’
‘Yes.’ She rang off and I lay in bed thinking about her. I never sleep naked except in really hot weather. That night I had put on a pair of silk sleep shorts and a silk jacket that are loose and comfortable. My hand slid down to cover my mound, the other to my nipple. I stroked my lips through the soft silk and felt myself open and moisten. I let my finger slither under the silk and enter my wetness. I curled it inside me and stroked that special spot. My other hand left my nipple and went to stroke my clit through the silk. I came, suddenly and unexpectedly. Tippi’s face was in my mind’s eye.
The doorbell rang around 1 the next day. Tippi was wearing a long, dark green skirt and a white blouse. Her hair was loose and she looked as fresh as ever.
‘How can you party till nearly dawn and look so good?’
‘How can you drink until two then drive home?’
‘I wasn’t thinking straight.’ We had this exchange as I led her into the garden where I had set a small table ready for a light lunch. She sat and I fussed around a bit, bringing wine and food. We talked, ate and drank companionably.
We were facing each other across the table. Her hand covered mine.
‘Did you really want me to fuck you?’
‘Oh, God, Tips, I was pissed and..’ she cut me off.
I nodded, my eyes lowered in a sort of half shame. Christ, I thought, I am a woman of more than forty years and I am ashamed of myself for wanting someone to fuck me.
‘Listen, you silly cow. I told you I’d always wanted you. I wasn’t going to try to last night because, well, it’d have felt like I’d only asked you so I could. You asked me here today.’ She lifted her eyebrow in a questioning way and I nodded. ‘We are friends but there is no reason why we cant be lovers too, is there? I’m single and so are you. Let’s go indoors?’
Wordlessly I led her into the flat and, once inside, she took me in her arms and kissed my mouth, her arms enfolding me. Her kisses were soft, gently exploring my mouth, her hands moving slowly across my back and up to my face, which she held as her tongue entered me. I returned her kisses.
I have, as I said before, had women in my arms, in my bed, but this was different. I felt passion, not mere arousal. Is it because Tippi wanted me as I had wanted Jess? I was not asking myself these questions. I was lost in the gentle passion of the moment, no, moments for the kissing continued without respite, mouth loving mouth.
Tippi pulled away from me and my mouth chased hers unsuccessfully as she did so.
‘Not now. I want to grow with you. I want to feel us needing each other before we make that vital step together.’
I almost wept as Tippi collected her bag and her coat and I walked with her to my front door.
‘Because we both need to be absolutely sure. Call me tomorrow?’ I nodded and she closed the door behind her. I have never felt so empty. I almost opened the door and called her back. I busied myself clearing things away, noting the slight stain of her lipstick on a glass.
In my bath I lifted my knees and it was Tippi’s finger that stroked between my lips, opened me, found my clit and stroked her until I shouted silently her name.
Tippi’s name, not Jess’s was the name I called; and after, late in the night, I wondered if a ghost had been laid.
I called her at two in the morning.
‘Christ, what time is it?’
‘You said to call you tomorrow, well, it is tomorrow.’
‘What about Friday?’
‘Come and stay for the weekend?’ The question was implicit in the upward inflection at the end of the sentence. She rang off.
Quietly I said into the darkness, ‘That’s a whole week!’ I slept.
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