The Gods’ tears fell in streams, bouncing of the street and soaking my boots. Even the short distance from the taxi to the front door of the large Georgian house left their leather dull and wet. I was glad I’d worn them and had my court shoes in my bag. The door was answered almost as I banged the huge brass knocker shaped like a ship’s anchor. Gina opened it.
‘My God, Emma, what a night. Come on in before you drown.’
I was late, as always. Gina was celebrating her fortieth birthday with a large group of friends; workmates, members of her amateur players group for whom I occasionally wrote pieces and others. The invitation had read “posh frocks and dinner jackets – let’s sparkle!” I wore a long, gunmetal grey dress with a tight waist and tiny straps. It was, of course, silk and lined with more. My chestnut hair was loose under the hood of my long waterproof which I shed and Gina hung for me.
‘I need to get these boots off,’ I smiled at her and then we kissed each other, once on each cheek.
‘Leave them in the loo, darling, and come and join the throng.’ She pushed my hair back behind my ear. ‘You look good.’
I didn’t feel it at that moment. I felt decidedly bedraggled but hastened to the toilet and slipped off my boots and replaced them with the three-inch heels that meant I could let my dress fall to its natural length without tripping me up. Its skirt was full and swayed, I thought, rather nicely, from my hips. I straightened my hair, touched up the lippy and made my way through to join the fellow celebrants.
They did glitter. The women were all in evening dresses of a variety of hues and styles but all expensive, far more expensive than my charity shop find. I wondered if any of the other guests would look at me and think that was the dress they’d given to Oxfam. As if I care. Well, perhaps a little, I do care but too late now. The men were all in black tie and all looked smart, even the least attractive who happened to be Gina’s boss. Her law firm is large and she is senior. I thought they probably paid their secretaries more than I earned from researching and writing travel pieces for the regional newspaper. At least, though, I got to travel at the rag’s expense rather than my own.
Familiar faces smiled and said hello as I passed through the crowd of perhaps forty people. People had formed into smaller groups, all holding glasses and talking, exchanging gossip about work and neighbours. I poured myself a glass of champagne and wandered over to a group of the amateur thespians whom I knew best. Glen, the director, turned to me as I approached, kissed me on the cheek and welcomed me, easing aside to let me join them. He introduced me to those I did not know and they were, as amateur actors always are, welcoming and friendly.
The room was warm but not oppressively so and I enjoyed the conversations. I found myself, after about an hour, standing beside the tallest woman in the room. She didn’t exactly tower over me but she was a clear half a head above me. Her short, ash blonde hair was cut tight to her scalp and her eyes were blue and bright, the white’s clear. She had what I call lazy eyelids, the sort that make a woman look sultry. She wore little makeup, and a long, pale blue dress that covered one shoulder and fell like a sheath down over her slender frame with a slit up the left hand side. I barely noticed her. Okay, to be fair I found it hard to take my eyes off her but with my entirely unreliable ‘gaydar’ I was not going to make the same mistake that I had often made in the past.
‘Keep sober, keep your hands to yourself and no social gaffes, Emma,’ I told myself firmly.
She looked down at me. ‘I’m afraid I don’t know your name. I’m Lana.’
‘What’s your connection with this lot? I work with Gina and she told me to get to know the drama queens, as she calls them, because she knows I’ve done a bit of acting and they need all the help they can get.’ Her eyes smiled mischievously.
Lana was, it transpired, new to Gina’s firm and the city of Bath, my hometown. She had come from London where she’d tired of the hectic and pressured life of a city solicitor. She’d bought herself the house next to Gina’s and loved the city and her new job.
‘I write but never, ever act. I have the acting ability of a brick.’ She laughed at my small joke.
I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced anything like this but I became utterly unaware of anything or anyone else. I was captivated by her and decided after a while that I ought to break away from her before I made an ass of myself. I told her I needed to get a drink and she emptied her own glass hastily and asked me if I’d get one for her too. My plan thus scuppered I walked away to the bar and poured two drinks, rather slowly and then made my way back to her, stopping to talk to a few people on my way. She was talking to Gina when I got back to her so without interrupting them, I handed her the glass and moved to step away but she restrained me by putting her hand on my shoulder although her eyes never left Gina as she did so. There was something peremptory about the gesture and I had a moment’s sense of indignation which passed as her hand made a sort of gentle caress of my shoulder. Gina touched my arm.
‘Don’t you think Lana would love the players?’
‘I think the players will love her.’
Lana said she needed the loo and asked me to hold her glass. I obliged and watched her as she walked to the door.
‘Down, girl,’ said Gina with a huge smile on her face.
We had been friends forever and she knew me all too well.
‘Don’t worry, Gina. I’m not going to spoil your party by making a fool of myself and getting my face slapped.’
‘I’m not sure that would spoil it,’ she smiled. ‘I think Lana would probably not slap your face though.’
‘She’s another lawyer. She’d probably sue me.’
‘I doubt it, darling, she’d probably appreciate it.’ I looked at her with a question in my eyes. ‘Gay as a carnival darling. And makes no attempt to hide it.’
Unknown to me Lana had returned and was standing behind me. The first I knew was when her hand touched mine and took her glass from me.
‘Don’t take any notice of Gina, Emma. I may be gay but I don’t wear it like a badge.’
Gina laughed. ‘The first words she said to me when she joined the office was that they’d hired her as the token dyke!’
‘I may have said something like that. I always find it’s best to get that out and over with before speculation starts, don’t you?’
I looked at Gina who said, ‘I have said nothing!’
‘She didn’t need to. But if I’d thought she had I wouldn’t care, would you?’
The subject was dropped and I managed to get away from her for a while because her senior partner had dragged her away to discuss something or other. I fell in with the players and we talked, laughed and drank. I never eat at stand up parties mainly because I always manage to drop something and also because I find it hard to hold a glass and a plate. I did manage a couple of vol au vents as they were passed around but I’d had a good lunch knowing I should eat before I drank.
The party started to wind down about 1 in the morning. I felt a hand on my shoulder and turned. Lana was looking down at me.
‘Fancy a coffee?’ I nodded. ‘Let’s go next door, we could have a brandy too. Have you been avoiding me?’
‘Oh, God, no, not at all. It’s just,’ she shushed me with a finger to my lip.
‘It’s okay, I was joking. Let’s grab our coats and go.’
We did. I forgot my boots and found myself feeling excited as we left and walked into the now dry air but still wet pavement. Her house was immediately next door to Gina’s and she opened her door and guided me into the spacious hallway.
‘Have a seat in there,’ she pointed to a snug front room,’ and I’ll get the kettle on. Pour us a couple of drinks; brandy for me please.’
I stood taking in the quietly elegant décor, the soft-coloured chairs and the deep cream carpet. I found the decanter and poured two sensible measures of brandy and held the snifter to my nose, taking in the delicious scent of the spirit. Lana joined me.
‘I love the room.’
‘Thank you. You needn’t have worried about making an ass of yourself.’
‘Oh God, I’ve made so many gaffes I am always extra careful these days.’
Lana’s hand slipped up to my shoulder under my hair and behind my neck. She eased me to her and kissed my mouth.
‘I’ve made a few too but I knew I wasn’t going to with you.’ She kissed me again and I responded, opening my mouth and letting her in, almost urging her in. She put her free hand on my shoulder then slowly, as we kissed, it ran over my upper arm and then across to lie flat against my breast. I could feel her palm on my now hard nipple and it stayed there, not moving but I moved against it, longing to feel it on me. Her knees bent a little and she pressed her thigh between my legs. I put my glass down awkwardly, not breaking the kiss and let my hands go up to her neck. My pussy pressed down onto her thigh.
Her hand moved from my neck to my throat and she gently pushed me away from her, holding me almost at arms length. Her other hand left my breast and went slowly down over my belly and rested for a moment on my mound. Holding me away from her she gathered up the skirt of my dress until her hand could slip under it and she cupped me. I knew my knickers were wet. She released my neck and held me still away by the hand that cupped me and her finger slithered up the loose leg of my knickers until it was stroking between my lips. I wanted to move but she kept holding me like that, her eyes locked on mine. Her finger entered me slowly and I know I gasped. Lana’s eyes held mine as she continued to move her finger so beautifully.
‘Please, don’t move.’ Her voice was low and husky and I was transfixed.
One finger was now the centre of my attention. It didn’t go deep, but slowly and gently moved inside me then slipped out and between my lips, circling around my clit and then sliding back in, deeper this time. Her thumb took up the challenge and rolled lightly over my button. I wanted to settle onto her hand, to feel her deep but she didn’t allow that, just teasing me. I touched her arm and looked down at my dress as it fell across her forearm then back up to her eyes.
‘Just look at me.’
How could I not? I felt a second finger join the first and now they went deeper but never fast, never hurried. She moved closer and her left hand went again to my neck as her mouth closed on mine and we kissed again. I think I may have said, ‘please’ or something like that because her tongue came deep into my mouth. She was holding me up now, I could barely keep myself upright. To my horror her hand left me and my dress dropped back to my ankles. Somehow she turned me and her mouth was on my shoulder and her hands around me to cover my breasts then liberate them and hold them, squeezing my nipples. I leaned back against her and she bit my shoulder lightly. One hand left my breast and ran down to my mound again.
She pressed her hand through my dress to my core and I was trembling. I felt her tongue on my ear, on my neck and on my shoulder again and then she turned me and kissed my mouth, harder now, firmly. I ran my hands up her arms to the side of her breasts. I wanted to uncover them and love them but her mouth held mine.
Suddenly she broke the kiss.
‘I need that brandy now.’ She moved away from me, her eyes like a cat’s watching a pigeon. She sat and the slit in her dress opened to reveal a glimpse of stocking top. I could see the clasp of her suspender. I picked up my glass and took a sip then, slowly, I moved in front of her and dropped to my knees, my hands on hers. She smiled and opened her legs. I leaned in to bury my face between her breasts and lick her cleavage. Her hands went to my hair and her fingers ran through it. I let my hands find the strap over the shoulder of her dress and ease it aside and her two breasts were suddenly there, visible, the nipples hard and erect – dark against the pale skin. I suckled at each in turn. Squeezing them with my lips, rolling them between my teeth gently.
I licked underneath each breast and kissed the crease beneath each. Her hands never left my hair but never urged me on – she knew I was entirely self-motivated now. I licked her exposed thigh and kissed the skin above her stocking top. I nuzzled against her dress where it covered her pussy and she pulled her dress up. I remember feeling a little surprised that she was naked under her dress.
I looked up at her and she smiled. ‘I took them off in the kitchen.’
That somehow fired me and I bent to her untamed but sparse triangle, kissing it before letting my tongue open her and find her clit, sucking it firmly. She lifted her knees onto my shoulder and with my hands caressing her legs and buttocks I sucked and kissed and licked. Her arse lifted off the chair and she began to groan, deep and quiet but I knew she was nearly there. I kept my relentless assault on her going at the same gentle pace and was rewarded with the arching of her back and a sudden awareness of her juices flooding from her in a copious but steady stream. Her orgasm seemed to go on and on. I didn’t let up but kept at her until she suddenly gripped my hair tightly, almost painfully and a long, keening whine came from her and her body tensed, held itself taut and then subsided under me. I licked her clean.
We stayed like that, me on my knees, my face buried between her thighs; she splayed wide, her hands in my hair.
All she said was, ‘Oh, sweet Jesus.’
I felt myself smiling into the damp hair under my nose.
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