I didn’t sleep at all that night; I was just so nervous. Just a few short months ago, I was a shy schoolgirl, yet here I was devising the boldest, riskiest plan of my life. I knew the implications if it failed—I could lose my best friend forever. Even success had profound implications. Would our relationship ever be the same? Could we still be friends? All those thoughts kept racing through my mind.
For some reason, the boys didn’t want to get out that day. When I opened the door, they would just stare at the yard, then look at me as if to say, "You go out. We'll stay right here thank you very much." And every time I put them out, they scratched and clawed at the door. Yet every time I sat down at my computer, they'd be at the door whining, only to stare into space when I opened it up. I began to wonder if God, or some higher power, was trying to thwart my plan. Still, I wasn’t going to be denied. I got dressed and went out with them, playing fetch and wrestling with them with their favorite towel. Before long, they were play fighting with each other, and I quietly slipped back into the house and locked the door behind me.
I didn’t strip. I simply walked into my room and fired up my computer and my word processing program and started to write.
You recently told me that you were proud of me for being brave enough to go after what I wanted, leaving home to go to school and follow my dreams. I hope when you finish this letter, you still feel that way. I wish I felt brave. Instead, I can’t stop trembling in fear, because this is the scariest thing I’ve ever had to say. In fact, I’m too scared to say it, so I’m writing you instead.
I love you Shelly. Throughout my entire life, you have been there every step of the way. Despite being so much older, you never treated me like the little brat I know I was. You never told me to get lost, called me a baby, or made me feel insignificant. I remember going to your house and playing school. You'd give me problems and tell me how good of a job I was doing. You made me feel proud of myself. I remember you coming over to babysit. You didn't spend the time on the phone like other sitters would; you actually spent time with me. You were like the big sister I never had. When I decided to leave home and go to college, you gave me a home--not a place to live, a home. You made that transition so much easier, coming home every night to a true friend.
Our evening chats have always been so special to me. Over the past few months, you have become my best friend. Honestly, you have always been my best friend; I just felt like I could tell you anything, and yet I held a long-standing secret from you. The only person in my life that knows that secret is my mother. She has been my rock and helped me understand that when someone loves you unconditionally, there doesn't need to be any secrets. Keeping secrets from those that love you shows you don't trust them, and is therefore disrespectful. I now understand that you are one of those people, and I'm sorry I disrespected you by keeping it hidden for so long. So as petrified as I am to tell you this, I know if there is anyone who will understand, it’s you.
While you were gone to Dallas, I disrespected you once again. While looking for some floppy disc in your closet, I started snooping through your stuff, disrespecting your privacy. I found your briefcase and the lockbox you keep your “important papers” in. I even sat there trying each and every number until I was able to open them both, and then sat there and went through the contents like a detective.
Shelly, I read your letters. I am so ashamed to admit it, but I did. I know about Nicole. I know about Natalie. And I know that’s where you are right now.
Please forgive me. You don’t deserve to have your privacy violated. But now that I know, I feel obligated to share my innermost thoughts with you.
I love you. I love you more than anyone in the world, and not just as my best friend, but because you are so much more. You are my comforter, my protector, my confidant. You mean so much to me, and I can’t imagine what my life would be without you.
As I read Nicole’s letters, I felt so touched. I could feel the love in them, as well as the pain. I realized then that we are so similar, and that the troubles and inner turmoil that I have only recently had to deal with, you have been facing for years. I realized that you gave up so much out of fear that you wouldn't be accepted. And while I may have helped as best I could to ease the pangs of daily life, I could not help you with what plagued you the most.
Well Shelly, I want to fix that. I don’t want you to be afraid to come to me for anything. I want to be here for you for everything. I want to be more than your best friend. I want to be everything you will let me be. Because Shelly, I do love you, and it wasn’t until I read those letters that I learned just how much.
About a year ago, I started having thoughts of other girls. Instead of coming to my mom or to you, I went to my guidance counselor. When that didn’t help, I went to the library. I started looking at pornographic magazines. For several months now, I have been visiting bulletin boards on the computer and reading erotic stories. The ones that turn me on the most have all been lesbian stories. That’s right Shelly, lesbian stories. Now the concept turned me on, but I have to admit that while I masturbated to it, I really never thought of you or anyone in particular. Rather, the girl in my head was just a nameless, faceless body. I guess I was just too ashamed of myself to allow you to take that role. Or maybe I was afraid that if I thought of you that way, it would detriment the way I felt for you as a friend, and I love you too much to lose that.
That changed when I opened that briefcase. I finally saw the side of you that I never saw before, that I refused to let myself see—the sexual side. I didn’t even think you had sex, or thought about it. But seeing that side of you didn’t change the way I feel about you as a friend or person. It didn’t make me love you less; it made me love you more. It made me appreciate you more. It made me realize all the things you gave up, how similar we are, and how I didn't want to hide it from you another minute.
And then I read the letters, all of them. And I saw the pictures. That did change the way I thought of you. No longer can I see you as just a friend, a protector, a confidant. I see the whole you, the sexy woman, the friend, and the lover. Now, when I close my eyes and imagine making love to a beautiful woman, feeling her body next to me, smelling her hair, touching her smooth soft flesh, now she has a name. Now she has a face. But Shelly, when I look up from my lover’s body and see her face, I don’t want it to be a fantasy. I want it to be a reality, and I want her face to be yours.
Yes, I know the implications. I understand that it could affect our everyday life, our relationship. I also understand that all that could change regardless of what we do. One of the posters in our high school gym said, ‘Finished last is always better than did not finish, which trumps did not start.’ I would walk into a burning building for you, so I’m not afraid of a few hurdles. The only thing I’m afraid of is losing you. Regardless of what you decide, please know that I am so happy you found Nicole and your secret is safe with me, even if it wasn’t safe from me and my prying eyes and lock-picking fingers.
Your best friend forever,
I looked up at the clock as the printer clicked and hummed out the words. “Damned, 2pm already?!” I couldn’t believe it had taken so long. I picked up all the used tissues thinking there would have been at least twice that many crumpled up pieces of paper had I had to write it all out. “Technology is such a beautiful thing,” I thought as I tore the sheets from my dot matrix, and then tore off the little guide tabs.
I addressed a large manila envelope to Shelly's post office box, using Nicole’s name and address for a return address. It was a little deceitful, but I wanted to make sure she read it, preferably when I wasn’t around. If she thought it was me, she’d wonder how I learned of her post office box and may confront me without ever opening it.
“Okay, that was the easy part. Don’t chicken out now. If you’re going to stick your toe in the water, you might as well just jump in,” I said to myself, trying to muster up the courage to take the next step. On wobbly legs, I walked back into Shelly's bathroom, then sat down at the vanity mirror and tried to make myself as beautiful as she was. Even after three coats of foundation, I still looked like I had just attended a funeral. So I gave up, at least temporarily. I took off my clothes and hopped in her shower, hoping the water would relax me.
It certainly changed my mood, but I wouldn’t exactly say I was relaxed. I had underestimated the impact of taking a shower in Shelly’s bathroom would have on me, of being naked in her room, of picking up her soap, of using her washcloth on my most intimate parts. It wasn’t long before the hand roaming over my flesh was hers, touching me. I imagined her fingers caressing my breasts, her fingertips pinching my nipples. I could feel her hand slipping down my tummy and down between my legs. I could feel my clit reaching out to meet her, as if to shake her hand. But instead of shaking my loving friend's delicate finger, it shook me—violently. My orgasm coursed through me like a tidal wave, the cascading water pushing me to the floor of the tub, unable to stand until the hot water tank was emptied and it angrily dumped its ice water on me to sober me up.
Freezing, I shut the water off and dried off. I wrapped my towel around me, I guess just to keep me from losing focus, and sat back down at Shelly's vanity. I spent the next hour on my hair, blow drying it, backcombing, scrunching, until finally, two cans of Aquanet later, it was perfect. Smiling and finally relaxed, I put my make-up on and did my nails. I rummaged through her closet for something sexy to wear, added my favorite earrings, and for once, I felt beautiful. Now no one was going to mistake me for Susanna Hoffs, but I certainly felt as sexy.
Reaching up onto the top shelf of her closet, I retrieved Shelly's Polaroid camera and every box of film she had. After loading the film, I took the camera over to her dresser and snapped off a few pictures of myself in the mirror, before remembering she had a self-timer. We had only used it a couple of times, usually when we were at the park so we could get a photo of us with Shelly's boys. It only took a few seconds to figure out how to use it. I set it down on her dresser and smiled into the camera for what seemed an eternity before it took my picture.
After a few playful poses standing up, I brought the camera over to the bed. I took a couple of pictures with me in my blouse and skirt lying on the bed in the most seductive poses I could muster. I sat cross-legged, letting my skirt ride up my thighs for the next, and then pulled my skirt up so my panties were clearly visible in the next. In another, I laid on my stomach, my skirt absent-mindedly raised up, exposing my panty-covered bottom. In that same pose, I took another picture from the front, angling the camera down my slightly unbuttoned top.
By that time, I could hardly breathe. Each time I waited for the camera to go off, I held my breath, which in my excited state, left me panting when the damned thing finally clicked. My breathing didn’t get any easier when I reached behind my back to unclasp my bra and pulled it out of the sleeves of my blouse, nor when I slid my panties off. At that time, I still had my blouse and skirt on, a pair of black stiletto heels, and my earrings. I looked completely dressed, but I felt completely exposed as I took the same poses again.
I unbuttoned my blouse, save the bottom button, and pulled it down over my shoulders, giving my best Debbie Harry expression as the camera flashed the next picture. As my excitement grew, I got bolder and bolder, exposing more and more. Soon I was completely naked, taking pictures of myself lying naked on the bed touching myself, of me bending over spreading my ass cheeks, even of my legs spread wide pushing Shelly’s vibrator deep inside my soaking cunt, and finally of my face in the throes of orgasm.
They weren’t quite magazine quality, but I knew my best friend would love and treasure them as if they were Picassos and Rembrandts. To be perfectly frank, looking at them turned me on, and part of me wanted to keep a few of them for myself. I arranged them in order, putting the tame ones on top, progressively getting wilder toward the bottom. I then secured them together with a rubber band and put them in the envelope along with her letter and got dressed.
I got to the post office just in time. That’s probably a good thing, since my race to get there before they closed kept my mind from second-guessing actually mailing it to her. As I walked out the door, the cashier closed and locked the door behind me, also a good thing, as it kept me from going postal and racing back inside to demand the letter back. Besides, they wouldn't be open again until Monday morning. I sat there in the driver’s seat wondering what I had just done, wondering if I had just destroyed my relationship with someone who loved me unconditionally. I mean parents always say they love you unconditionally, but do friends? I knew the answer to that, but I knew Shelly was no ordinary friend.
“Stop it, you’re being silly,” I told myself. I knew Shelly loved me, and after reading Nicole’s letters, I was pretty sure she felt the same way I did. Still, there was doubt. Fantasizing about something is one thing; actually doing it is altogether a different story. Even if she did feel the same way, would it impact our relationship in other ways? Would having to keep it a secret be too hard and too stressful? Was her love for Nicole the true love, and I was just a fantasy or a kinky taboo of sorts? Would actually touching her make me feel creepy or guilty? Would it make her feel that way? Well, what’s done is done, and there was no backing out of it.
As I started to back out of the parking space, I looked up in the rear-view mirror. My face was no longer radiant. The tears had already streaked my mascara, leaving me to look more like Alice Cooper than a Bangle. I pulled a tissue from my purse and cleaned up my face, then headed home. It’s a wonder I ever got there. I was so distracted I didn’t even remember stopping in at KFC for dinner.
Shelly knew something was up when she called me that night. I was even a bigger wreck than the night before and she had to repeat everything she said three or four times.
“Sweety, I’ll be home tomorrow. I know you don’t want to talk about it over the phone, but can you hold out until then?”
“I’ll be alright. Don’t worry, okay? Just tell me one thing, that no matter what, you’ll always be my friend.”
“Oh baby girl, how can you even ask me that? I love you to pieces. I’ll always love you. Nothing, absolutely nothing will ever change that. Do you understand?”
“Do you understand?” she asked, raising her voice just slightly.
“Yes, Shelly,” I giggled. She always had a way of relaxing me, saying just the right thing in just the right way.
“You better, I don’t want to have to put you across my knee. Your mom gave me authority to spank, remember?”
The thought of my mother spanking me had always struck fear. I’m not sure why, she never spanked me. But the thought of Shelly doing it sent a little current straight through me, starting in my ear and exiting out my clit. I almost moaned. Fortunately, I was able to hold back.
“Did you hear me? I said I don’t want to have to put you across my knee.”
“I heard you Shel,” I said, my voice quivering. “Sorry, it just shocked me.”
“You know I could never hurt you,” she replied, her voice filled with both love and concern.
“I know. I know you wouldn't. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
Dinner didn’t go so well that night. Every bite I took felt like it would come right back up. I couldn’t wait for Shelly to get home, yet at the same time I dreaded it. Danny and Mark could tell something was wrong too. They weren't their usual playful selves, just lied there with their heads on my lap with the saddest little looks on their faces. Having gone over thirty-six hours without sleep, I crashed on the couch, not waking up until little pups were licking at my feet.
Mark was barking, wagging his little tail and clawing at the door, in his own distinctive way that signaled Shelly's arrival.
I looked at the clock. It was only 10:00; she had to have left early. I walked outside, still in my bare feet, to help her unload the car.
“You're home early,” I said, greeting her with a hug. For the first time, I was aware of her breasts against me as we embraced.
“Yeah, an extra day was more than enough. I don’t get to spend enough time with you as it is.”
I knew she was lying. She was worried about me. Dallas was only a three hour drive, so she must have left around seven. It meant she didn’t get to sleep in. It meant she didn’t get to enjoy Nicole before she left. It probably meant she didn’t stay up with her all night either.
After helping her in with the bags, we sat in her room talking, putting up her clothes. I listened as she lied to me about the conference, how it was boring and about the made up people she supposedly met. She even told me about a few of the lectures she supposedly attended. I just smiled, hanging on every word. I guess there was a small part of me that felt lied to, but I completely understood. Nicole and Natalie were her secret life that I so desperately wanted to be a part of. I knew she felt compelled to keep that from me, from everyone she knew and loved, and I knew why. It was the same reason I felt compelled to keep my sexuality from her. No, that’s not entirely accurate. Hers was a much bigger secret, and she had far more to lose. Soon, she’d know her secret was out, that it was safe with me, and there was no reason for these silly little lies.
By the time we finished, the boys were playing outside and we had the house to ourselves. Of course she asked what had been bothering me so much. I told her I wasn’t ready to talk about it yet, but she’d be the first to know when I was. She’s so wonderful. That’s all it took for her to drop the subject and soon she was asking me if I wanted to go shopping. I know now it was just a distraction, the perfect distraction. She always knew exactly what to say and do, like she had her own "Becky Instruction Manual". So rather than worry about how she was going to react when she checked her mail, we spent the next several hours at the mall, trying on clothes, testing perfumes, and eating ice cream.
The next day, she woke me up early, dragging me out of bed kicking and screaming. She didn’t even let me know where we were going until she pulled into the park. Mark and Danny started whining as soon as they saw the sign, trying to jump through the windows to get to those lush green fields. That’s just how she was. She made every effort to spend time with us, to give us every bit of her that she could. Even the dogs could appreciate that.
I grabbed her hand and followed them, leading her over to the fence so we could watch them. As they ran through the fields, tackling each other, biting each other's ears, Shelly and I just laughed, talking about trivial things. And when the boys had finally grown exhausted, panting over to our blanket, she gave them each a bowl of food and water, scratching their ears. Then they were back at it, chasing squirrels as if they didn't have a care in the world. It was just a good day, and for that day, neither did I.
It was Monday, and I knew the post office would be open. I wasn’t sure if they would have delivered my letter to her box yet, or if she would check her mail or not, but there was a chance. That chance kept me on edge the entire day. It was back to school for me, but I might as well have stayed home. My brain was mush. So rather than waste my evening, I spent it cleaning. Sure, I cleaned every day, well, most every day, but I never cleaned like this, and I was amazed at how dirty it really was.
When I got home from school on Tuesday, Shelly was still in bed. I made her favorite dinner: jambalaya, to go with boiled crawfish that I picked up at a nearby restaurant. It’s one of our favorites during crawfish season, and back then crawfish were extremely cheap. When she woke up, we sat out back on the patio with the boys lounging by the pool. Trust me, you don't want to eat crawfish in your dining room. I even got her a six-pack, since it was her night off.
After Shelly and I cleaned up, we sat in the living room just sipping our beers. We didn’t talk about work, or school, or boys, we just talked. I had spent the whole day worried about her knowing, trying to keep busy to keep my mind off of it all. Yet the whole day, I felt at ease. She was just my best friend, nothing more, nothing less, just the best friend in the world.
“Time for bed,” she groaned as she stood up, “You have class tomorrow.”
I hugged her tightly, knowing that I’d be just as worried the next morning, worried this may be the last time she’d hug me. She turned out the light as I was walking down the hall toward the bedrooms, then followed behind me. As I turned and opened my bedroom door, she stopped me.
“Hey, I thought you were going to bed,” she asked puzzled.
“I am silly, are you so drunk you don’t remember where my room is?”
“No, I just thought you wanted to sleep with me,” she whispered, biting her lower lip.
To be continued...
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