You never know the future what the future holds. That’s what they say. It’s not true. Sometimes the future is easy to predict. But only when it doesn’t matter. When it’s so bland and boring and no one else would care about it. Most of the time, most peoples’ lives are so predictable, staid, dull, that it’s easy to guess what’s going to happen. But the times that it does matter, when you really want to know what’s lying there, waiting, that’s when you don’t know. When it’s so important that you know everything depends on what’s going to happen next. That’s when you can’t predict it. When the future is so uncertain, a great, dark, unknowable void, that you hesitate to take a step in case the floor isn’t there anymore.
Fear. Fear of what was coming, what the future might bring, that’s what Anne felt in the days after Simon’s suggestion. After Charlotte’s agreement. Of course, some things were predictable. She knew that she’d be going out with Charlotte, and with Chloe, but that hardly mattered. That she’d be going with Charlotte, to a, a, a, gay bar (she couldn’t quite manage the ‘l’ word). That she and Charlotte would be pretending to be a couple. Anne couldn’t believe that she’d somehow managed to echo Charlotte’s agreement to Simon’s plan. That she’d managed to appear calm. But somehow she had, how she didn’t know, been calm enough that Charlotte and Simon didn’t realise the emotions surging through her. At least she hoped that they hadn’t noticed. She felt ragged enough without having to worry about what they thought about her real reaction, the nagging worry that they might know was enough.
So yes, Anne thought she could predict that much of the future. That she’d be going with Charlotte. But after that, that was where the great dark place was. Could she trust herself not to reveal everything she was feeling to Charlotte? Surely her friend would have to guess. A hand that lingered too long, a quiver she couldn’t supress, or simply her heart naked in her eyes, silently pouring out what Anne felt for her friend. To the young lawyer it seemed impossible that she would be able to get through the night without some disaster ruining her life.
Not that what Charlotte would think of her when it was all over was the only danger looming on Anne’s horizon. There was Liam. If she was panting after her friend, her female friend, like a horny love-sick teenager, what about Liam? Not that Liam would have said, in the days before the point at which Anne’s future turned from predictable to frighteningly unknowable, that he had much to complain about. Except possibly exhaustion. Anne didn’t want to think whether it was guilt, a desire to prove that she wasn’t gay, or simply nervous energy. It was all those, tumbling together, and more feelings that she couldn’t name, let alone understand, Whatever it was, she threw herself at Liam like a woman possessed. As if a lack of sex would kill her just as surely as a lack of oxygen and almost as quickly.
“I’m only going to be away for a few days,” Liam managed to squeeze out as Anne smothered him in kisses. He’d only just managed to close the door before Anne had launched herself at him, clothes torn, buttons and zippers things that Anne seemed no longer to understand. That Liam would be away on the night she and Chloe and Charlotte would be, would be going where they were going, that he wouldn’t be back for days, only made the guilt worse.
Anne slipped to her knees, licking and slurping at Liam’s cock. She wanted him hard. She wanted him in her. Somewhere, mouth, cunt, it didn’t matter. Her body sang at the thought, the feel of him, the sexual bliss she felt easing her pain. If she was gay she wouldn’t want this. She wouldn’t want his oh so lovely oh so hard cock impaling her. She couldn’t be gay. Couldn’t be that other word she wouldn’t even let herself think.
Satisfied that her attentions had achieved enough Anne pushed her boyfriend onto the floor. Desperately she threw herself onto him, so wet he instantly plunged deep inside.
“I don’t,” the words spaced out by kisses that were attempts to drive her tongue as deep into his mouth as her hips were driving his cock into her pussy, “care.” Her hands gripped his arms, holding him tight. “I need you now”.
Liam had worried that he’d miss his taxi, with Anne fussing around him, kissing and caressing and not able to keep her hands off him. She’d convinced him to let her give him one last blow-job before he left. He’d have liked to have said that she talked him into it, but talking had little to do with how she convinced him. Anne was on her knees, deep-throating him, as the taxi pulled up outside.
“Anne,” Liam tried to get her attention, but she gripped his buttocks and forced his cock further into her mouth. Could the driver see them? Liam thought not, or at least hoped not. The driver shouldn’t be able to see enough to know what was going on, the windows were too high. He could probably only see Liam’s head and shoulders. But it felt, weird and hot and strange, having someone else see him while his girlfriend sucked him off. Transgressive. Erotic. The unfamiliar feelings, and Anne’s urgency, pushed him over the edge. He came, pouring his seed down her throat. He quickly rearranged his clothing. Anne was still kneeling on the floor, blissed out, eyes half closed. Liam bent down, kissed her on the forehead. “Goodbye. I love you.”
“Love you too,” she murmured, “take care of yourself.”
Anne wasn’t sure how long she stayed there, the afterglow of her own orgasm sliding through her. She’d come at the same moment Liam had. As she’d felt his cum spurt down her throat. She liked that. Being able to come from a cock in her mouth as well as in her pussy. She lost herself in the feelings. Told herself that someone who thought like that, wanted that, so much couldn’t be gay. She had to be straight. But then her feelings for Charlotte slipped into her awareness and a little thought told her that between straight and gay there was bi. And that left her shivering.
The next day, Friday, was almost bearable. It was almost good. Chloe was so obviously eager and nervous that it made Anne smile. She lost count of the number of times Chloe thanked her for agreeing to come.
“I don’t know if I could face it without you and Charlotte,” Chloe said, one hand fluttering around her cheek.
“You’ll be fine,” Anne said, reassuringly. She was sure that Chloe would be. At least the older woman knew why she was going out tonight, was honest about what she wanted. Anne’s mix of emotions gave her no such certainty.
“But I haven’t even decided what to wear. What if I don’t look right? What if I get it all wrong and no-one likes me? Should I try to look gay? I don’t think I have the clothes for that.” Anne didn’t think she’d ever seen Chloe so flustered. She fluttered behind her desk, picking up and putting down items at random. A pen moved from here to there, a notepad turned upside down and then right way up. Anne was glad that she was longer the target of Chloe’s ire, but when had she become the other woman’s confidant? Well, actually, Anne thought that she knew, but she didn’t want to think about that.
Anne forced herself not to sigh. She had to help Chloe. “Wear what feels right. I’m sure you’ll be fine.”
Anne had struggled to keep her own doubts in check while she was talking to Chloe. But every word reminded her of where she’d be going tonight. Every word was like the turn of a knife plunged deep into her heart. Each of Chloe’s worries found a twin in Anne. She wanted to turn and run. She wanted to cry. She just knew that something would go wrong. And what was she going to wear? Try to look gay, fit in? But how would Charlotte take that? Something sexy, that she would normally wear to a club? Look sexy while she was with Charlotte? She wanted that, but the fear of where it might lead, to the mistakes she could make, made her quail. Maybe something casual would be better. Dress casual. Act casual. Don’t be too serious. Maybe that would be best.
She was so relieved that she was seeing Simon. If Anne had ever needed stress relief then today was the day. But even a thorough fucking, face down on his desk so that she could feel her breasts squashed beneath her, hadn’t completely driven her demons away. Oh Simon tried, and silently she thanked him for that. Told her how good she was being to Chloe, as he thrust in and out of her. Told her it would be a fun night, out at a club. Told her, as they both came to a shuddering orgasm, that she could handle it. She appreciated the effort he was making, to reassure her. Simon was a rock. But it hadn’t been enough. Simon knew. He could tell something was still worrying her.
He looked at her, eyes boring into her. Anne looked away, looked anywhere but at Simon. She couldn’t let him know what was really worrying her. That her feelings for Charlotte were going to spoil everything.
“I,” Anne struggled out, “I just don’t know what to wear.” It sounded lame, even to her, but she’d had to say something.
“Hmm,” Anne could see Simon’s eyes narrowing, the look of concentration on his face. And then, in a way she could have, should have, predicted, “Why not have something to drink and tell me all about it?”
She couldn’t mention Charlotte. So Anne started listing off what seemed to her to be every piece of clothing in her wardrobe and none of it was right and the time seemed to stretch out and somewhere she lost track of the conversation but Simon was saying something and it seemed to be just the right thing. It made sense, whatever it was. And was he saying something about Charlotte? Anne was sure that he was. Maybe he was saying something about what Charlotte was going to wear. Had Charlotte told Simon what she planned on wearing? She could have. Because Simon couldn’t be talking about her and Charlotte, not as in her and Charlotte. That wasn’t possible. So it couldn’t be that. But Anne knew that whatever Simon was saying was important and if she couldn’t remember it now then she would remember it when she needed to.
Anne shook her head. She felt as if she’d been asleep. But that couldn’t be right, could it? She stretched, deliberately making as much of a show of her naked body for Simon as she could, drinking in his eyes as they wandered over her.
“So,” Simon said, pausing to finish fixing his tie. When had she missed him getting dressed? “I think you’re right. That red dress would be best.” Of course, that was what she’d thought in the first place, wasn’t it? Well, even if she hadn’t Anne was sure now. It didn’t matter what she wore, clothes weren’t going to keep her safe. They wouldn’t stop her doing something irreversible, that Charlotte could never forgive. That was up to her. She had to do the right thing. So she may as well take what might be her one chance. That even if nothing happened, because there was no way that she could let something happen, this was almost certainly her one chance to dress up for Charlotte. There would be other times, at a work function or some social event, somewhere Charlotte could see Anne looking as good as she could make herself look. But this might be the one time she was dressed up for Charlotte. For being with Charlotte. Even if it was only pretend. And Anne kept telling herself over and over that it was only pretend. She tried to make herself believe.
And it wasn’t as if the red dress was anything too risqué, too scandalous. She’d worn it to clubs before. Hell, it reached to just above her knees and the neckline wasn’t very low. But it was red and tight and showed off all her curves. Her wavy blonde hair spilled over the shoulders just right and she had heels to go with it that even Anne admitted did things to her legs that could stop traffic. And matching lingerie that would do more than stop traffic, if anyone saw her in them. But no-one was going to see her like that tonight, she told herself, not even Charlotte. Especially not Charlotte, a little voice warned her. Anne knew it was the outfit that she’d wanted to wear all along. She’d just needed Simon’s support to steady her nerves.
The hardest part of the day was when Charlotte called to confirm when and where they would all meet. Anne had to struggle to keep her voice even. She almost cried when the phone call ended. If it had been that hard talking to Charlotte over the phone how was she going to cope when she was actually with her friend? Anne didn’t know. But it was too late to back out now. So she gathered up her things and left and forced herself to give Chloe a cheery “See you soon” after letting her know where to meet up.
Anne was late. Not very late, only a few minutes. It didn’t surprise her. She’d spent so much time getting ready that she was surprised that she arrived only a few minutes after the time they’d agreed. She looked good. She knew it. She’d known it even before the taxi driver had hardly been able to take his eyes offer her for the whole trip. She put everything she could into getting ready, making her hair, her makeup, everything, as good as she could. She knew it didn’t mean anything, that it was all pretend, but she wanted to look as good for Charlotte as she could.
Just outside the small coffee shop where they’d agreed to meet Anne hesitated. Was Charlotte in there now? Wondering where Anne was? Angry because she was late? Giving her the benefit of the doubt? Running even later herself? Anne knew the questions were pointless. That if she just stepped inside she’d have her answers. That wasn’t the problem. Stepping inside meant something. That she was really going through with this. Going to go with Charlotte to a gay, no, lesbian, she made herself think, club. Anne knew it was going to be a disaster. That she wouldn’t be able to control herself and Charlotte would realise what Anne really felt for her. Anne thought about turning and running away. But she wouldn’t. She couldn’t. She’d promised. And she wasn’t about to let Charlotte go on her own.
“Hey, you ok?” Anne almost jumped out of her heels at the sound of Charlotte’s voice six inches behind her.
Struggling to catch her breath she turned and then completely lost her ability to breathe. Charlotte had been much more daring than she had. Her friend was wearing a little black dress that was so short that Anne could see the tops of Charlotte’s stockings peeking out from under the hem, was sure that she could glimpse just a hint of suspender. Like Anne’s dress it was skin tight and Anne had to struggle to not look straight down Charlotte’s cleavage.
She made herself look at Charlotte’s face. A face so beautiful that Anne just wanted to stay there forever drinking it in.
“Anne?” Even the slight look of worry on Charlotte’s face was just another way of looking fabulous. Anne was sure that the night was going to end in tears.
“Yeah, yeah, I’m fine.” Anne struggled to not let her voice catch, told herself to breathe,“I was running because I was a little late and then I was catching my breath and” do I have to sound so much like a stupid teenager? Anne thought.
Charlotte laughed. “Earlier than me. And if you know how to run in that outfit you have to teach me sometime.” Charlotte’s hair brushed over her shoulders, reached down to the top of her strapless dress. Anne wanted to reach out, stroke her friend’s hair. She pushed her fingernails into the palms of her hands, the pain helping her keep control.
“Come on,” Charlotte took her by the upper arm, “let’s see if Chloe’s here”. Charlotte was touching her. Touching her. And yes, they’d done more than touch before, when they’d helped each other with stress relief. But that had only been two friends helping each other out. This was different. Anne could feel it, down to the centre of her being.
Charlotte seemed unaffected, letting her go as soon as they were inside. “There she is”, Charlotte pointed to a table in the corner, where Chloe was huddled nervously. The older woman visibly relaxed when she spotted Anne and Charlotte, and waved them over.
Charlotte headed over immediately. Anne followed, just far enough back to see how good Charlotte’s legs looked in her heels. Anne’s premonitions of disaster loomed larger.
“Hi,” Charlotte said, taking a seat across from Chloe. “Sorry we’re late.”
Chloe shook her head, “Don’t worry, it’s only a few minutes. But please tell me you two are really going to act like a couple. You both look so fabulous no-one will pay any attention to me if you don’t look taken.”
“Oh we’ll manage, don’t worry,” Anne could hear the determination in Charlotte’s voice, “right Anne?”
Anne just nodded, dumbly. Actually, she thought, Chloe didn’t look that bad. Anne could just glimpse a pair of tight black trousers. Chloe’s top was a white blouse, well fitting, the material expensive, the top two buttons undone. Over that she had a dark blue jacket, the colour setting off her equally dark auburn hair. Chloe’s outfit might have covered a lot more flesh than the dresses Anne, and especially Charlotte, were wearing, but it didn’t hide the fact that Chloe had a pretty good figure. Anne had to keep revising down her estimate of Chloe’s age. Now she thought the older woman might be only half a dozen years older than she was. Admitting the truth about herself seemed to have helped Chloe. Anne knew that any confessions on her part would have the opposite effect.
Her nerves stilled momentarily by the coffee Anne had somehow managed to join in with Chloe’s and Charlotte’s banter. Well, mainly Chloe’s, her own nervous state obvious through her chatter.
Then, to Anne’s terror, Charlotte pushed her chair back. “We’d better get going.” Was that a light catch Anne heard in her voice? Nerves showing through? “Don’t want to take any time away from your big night Chloe.” Chloe nodded and looked down. Anne wasn’t sure if Charlotte was nervous. She had a right to be, at what they were about to pretend. And it was only pretend, she reminded herself. But Chloe’s uncertainty was clear.
Anne hadn’t really known what the club would be like. In many ways it wasn’t really any different from any of the nightclubs she’d been in before. It was loud and crowded and not very well lit. Most of the noise was the pounding music. Of course, the big difference was that there weren’t any men there. She’d felt the eyes of the door staff wandering over her, checking her out, as they’d come in. That wasn’t new either. Still, before it had always been men, at least that she’d noticed. This time it was women. Anne knew that something in her had changed. She knew that once, not long ago, being checked out be a woman would have felt wrong. Now it still unsettled her, but more for what her reaction said about her than anything else. In a way it made her feel good about herself. If someone felt she was worth checking out, well better that than not. She had nothing against other people’s sexuality. And now she felt more comfortable about getting appreciative looks form women as well as men. Sometimes it was irritating, she didn’t want to be thought of as an object, but she could live with it. Uncertainty about her sexuality, that was a different question entirely.
Even the dresses that she and Charlotte were wearing didn’t have them too out of place, though Chloe’s outfit was a better choice for fitting in. Anne had worried, deep down, that being in a dress might make her look too straight. She chided herself for giving in to her own prejudices. Sure, there were leather-clad women here, and others in tight pants, like Chloe, or jeans, and some who were burly and clearly butch. But there were others too. In a vast range of dress styles, from leather concoctions to vinyl pants suits to frilly lolittas and everything in between. Anne had heard the phrase lipstick lesbian and guessed that was what she might be labelled given what she was wearing. There were enough, though clearly a minority, that were dressed them same as she and Charlotte that she didn’t feel too out of place. Stereotypes, Anne told herself, were stupid.
Of course, she couldn’t be sure that everyone here was a lesbian. She wasn’t, Charlotte wasn’t. Maybe there were the curious, and the unsure and, just maybe a little voice whispered, the bi. Anne shivered at the last thought. As they moved through the crowd Anne couldn’t help but look at the other women. She’d had have to keep her eyes fixed on the floor to avoid seeing them. The butch ones did nothing for her. And that was ok, more than ok, and she tried to tell herself that what she felt for Charlotte was nothing, silly delusions, that she wasn’t really like that. But then a pretty girl or attractive woman would catch her eye, in a short skirt or another, in tight jeans, and Anne could feel her gaze linger on their curves just a moment too long. Could feel a stir of attraction. I’m not like that, she tried to tell herself. Insistence drowning out the sound of the music, I’ve never been like that. Girls don’t do anything for me. I’m straight. I’m straight. And then the words flared and broke in her mind as she saw a blonde, long legs encased in fishnets, spinning to the music. And Anne knew that she wanted to follow those legs, up under the girl’s short, short, skirt and … She tried to hold onto her protests, but they fluttered away, as hard to hold onto as ashes in the wind.
They’d found themselves a small table while Anne was occupied with her thoughts. After tearing her eyes off the spinning, dancing, girl, she’d fixed them on Charlotte. Not that it had helped. At least she hadn’t looked like a gormless tourist, staring. But her feelings were a mess. She felt guilty about looking at other women. But she should only feel guilty if that was betraying Charlotte, and Charlotte was the most beautiful woman here but that didn’t matter because she couldn’t have anything with Charlotte, didn’t want anything with Charotte liar!. And she could only want something with Charlotte, only feel attracted to other women, if she wasn’t straight. But she was straight, she’d always been straight, she’d never felt anything like that, for a woman, never. So why now? There was no reason, no explanation. Every time she looked at her friend, her insistent protests seemed more and more futile.
Their table was in a corner of the club, nestled in the curve formed by a lounge bending between the two walls. There were two chairs as well, between the table and the dancefloor. Anne had tried to take one of the chairs. That way she couldn’t see the women on the dancefloor. Wouldn’t have her eyes caught by any of the attractive ones. Wouldn’t have to deal with her treacherous thoughts. Doubly treacherous, as they betrayed her own self-image and the feelings for Charlotte that she so wanted to deny.
But Charlotte had whispered to her that it would be better if they could see what was going on when Chloe finally found the courage to explore. Anne couldn’t deny Charlotte anything. And having her whisper to her, have her mouth, her lips, so close turned Anne’s will to water. She did what Charlotte asked. She slid onto the lounge. Anything else was impossible. But not too far. Anne had to keep her distance from her friend. She didn’t trust herself if they were too close to each other.
And where was she going to look? She couldn’t look at Charlotte. She wanted to, so much. But she didn’t trust herself. So she swallowed, and summoned up her courage and looked at the press of people, of women, on the dancefloor. Tried not to be too wide-eyed. And tried to tell herself, with the music pounding and people dancing and obviously having a good time, that it was just like any other club she had ever been to. But the way her eyes lingered on some of the dancers, just some, but it was enough, made it so hard for her to believe herself.
She made herself look at Chloe. And that was ok. Anne could hardly believe that Chloe was the safe one, not after what they’d done, after what Chloe had. No, she wouldn’t go there. Chloe was safe. Anne knew that Chloe was here looking for someone else. And that made Chloe safe for her. And maybe Anne didn’t have to worry about looking too wide-eyed. Surely her eyes couldn’t be any bigger than the saucers Chloe’s had morphed into. The older woman gave a start as Charlotte reached across the table and nudged her.
“Go on,” Charlotte said, smiling gently “get out there.”
“Oh, I, I couldn’t,” Chloe raised a hand in protest.
“Yes, you can,” Charlotte was firm, but gentle, “You need to be seen. Go, once you’re out there it will be fine.” She wasn’t giving Chloe any choice, pushing her out of her seat. It was clear she’d lead the older woman to the dance floor if she had to.
“Oh, ok,” Chloe swallowed, her protests quickly dying, then she disappeared into the heaving mass of dancers.
Anne could feel her left hand shaking. She gripped the table to stop it. She was alone with Charlotte. At least as alone as you could be with someone in a club. Which was pretty much, really.
“You, um, you think she’ll be ok?” Anne asked, feeling the words catch in her throat. She’d have preferred if Chloe had stayed with them, but that wouldn’t have been fair to the older woman. She needed her chance to find someone for herself.
“She’ll be fine, look at her.” Charlotte pointed out into the crowd. Anne could see Chloe, just as the dancers swayed, parting. Chloe was smiling, the joy on her face clear. Anne could feel tears start to form at the corner of her eyes. It was obvious that Chloe had no doubts. She was exactly where she wanted to be. Anne wished that she had the same clarity.
“I could do with a drink,” Charlotte announced, already rising from her seat, “What would you like?”
“Um, a shandy please,” Anne replied. It was automatic, that was her standard drink out clubbing. Then she kicked herself. She hadn’t planned on drinking at all. It was already hard enough to keep control. She hadn’t wanted to throw alcohol into the mix. She was having enough trouble with her inhibitions as it was.
The minutes seemed to crawl as she waited for her friend to return. Part of her wanted to run. Part of her wanted to stare at the dancers, to linger on them as they danced, sinuous and tempting under the flickering lights of the club. Chloe was here now. Hadn’t Anne done enough? Another part wanted to hide under the table. But what would that achieve? Charlotte would find her when she came back. In the end she just sat there, her fingers intertwining in nervous jerks and fits.
At least she had something better to do with one hand when Charlotte returned with her drink. Although taking it meant she was almost on eye level with Charlotte’s chest. The black dress traced the outline of her friend’s breasts. Anne could imagine what it would be like to just reach out with her free hand and touch her friend. To gently and carefully trace the oh-so-perfect curve. To run a fingertip over Charlotte’s nipple. To lean over and plant a kiss…
“Penny for your thoughts.” Charlotte said, dropping back on to the lounge. Anne almost dropped her drink.
“Oh, umm, just stupid work stuff.” Anne wished that she’d been able to come up with a better lie.
“You shouldn’t think about that on a Friday night. But that reminds me.” Charlotte launched into an impersonation of one her fellow lab scientists and his hopeless struggles with procurement. Maybe it was something only someone who worked with scientists and office workers could understand, but Charlotte made it funny. Anne couldn’t help but laugh at her friend’s increasingly over the top impersonations of the exchanges. Anne almost choked at the end. “They delivered what?”
“You heard me. That’s what that idiot Hartcher gets for trying to order colours in chemical formula.”
“But what’s he going to do with a pink …”.
“Not my problem,” Charlotte smiled, “Your turn. You must know some funny lawyer stories.”
Anne was surprised that she did. At least, Charlotte thought that they were funny. And that was enough. She could hardly believe how easy it was to talk to Charlotte. Well, maybe she could, and that was part of the problem.
Anne sighed and looked at her friend. Charlotte was examining her empty glass. Then she looked at Anne.
“Come on,” the brunette said, “let’s dance.”
Dance? With Charlotte? She couldn’t. She wouldn’t. Anne could feel her throat constricting. Her skin was on fire.
“I?, no, we,” sentences wouldn’t form.
“Why not?” Charlotte asked, “We’re supposed to be a couple. What else are we going to do? Make out here in the corner?”
Anne was sure her eyes couldn’t get any wider. Part of her wanted to scream “Yes”. The rest of her just wanted to scream. Before she could do anything Charlotte had taken her by the hand and was almost dragging her out onto the dance floor. Charlotte’s touch on her skin was electric, setting off answering cries from other parts of Anne that wanted to be touched. She felt sick. She couldn’t do this, could she? Breathe, she told herself. You’ve danced with friends before. That’s all this is.
It was better, once they were in the middle of the dancefloor and Charlotte let go of her hand. The music pulsed through Anne. This was safe. No hands, no touching. She could feel the beat down to her toes. Feel her body moving to the rhythm of the music. Movement had never been this effortless before. The light, scattered and splayed like water thrown about by a child, illuminated her surrounds. She couldn’t take in whole people. A hand here, a shoulder there. Hair thrown carelessly around. People swayed towards and away from her. The crowd slipping by her. At one point she thought she saw Chloe, but then the older woman was lost again in the press of bodies. Anne was part of a heaving, gyrating, beast. It was lithe and lumbering by turns, taking her away from the cares that had gnawed at her. Only the music and the movement mattered. The one constant was Charlotte. There, in front of her. Here, on the dancefloor, Anne was allowed to look at her friend. They were out there together, lost in the music together. She could watch the sway of Charlotte’s hips, the graceful turn of her legs, watch her hands reach up and run through her hair. Her friend spun and then turned back to look at her. Charlotte smiled. Anne knew that she could lose herself in that smile. They were together, alone amidst the crowd. Dancing to the music. Anne could feel things moving, low, inside. But here she could keep them in check. Here it didn’t matter if she couldn’t take her eyes off her friend. With the end of each song they waited impatiently for the next. Anne never wanted it to end.
But dreams don’t deal in the stuff of real bodies. Charlotte was bent over, hands on hips. She looked up, smiled at Anne, “Sorry, no more. Can’t believe I lasted that long.”
The spell broken, Anne could feel the exhaustion in her own limbs. How many songs had it been? She didn’t know. All she knew was that it was a time she would never forget. Together they stumbled back off the dancefloor, looking around for somewhere to sit, their old table now taken by a group of women with short cropped hair and faded jeans, deep in conversation.
A waving hand caught Anne’s eye. Chloe beckoned them over to where she was sitting with another woman. “Hey, Charlotte, look.” Chloe was still waving at them.
All thought of Chloe left her as Anne felt Charlotte’s body close against her, pressing into her. She froze. Half of her wanting to press back, the other half wanting to flee. What was Charlotte dong? She couldn’t be, could she? This couldn’t be real, Charlotte couldn’t feel about Anne the way she felt about Charlotte? An arm slipped around Anne, coming to rest on her hip. She could feel Charlotte’s hair against her neck. Her thoughts fragmented.
“We’re supposed to pretend to be a couple,” her friend whispered in Anne’s ear, Charlotte’s breath on Anne’s suddenly sensitive skin sending sparkling waves running through her.
Something broke in Anne, impossible hopes dashed, but she could understand what Charlotte was doing. Why Charlotte held her so close, the arm around her drawing her into her friend. It was wonderful and terrifying and painful. She was so close to Charlotte, almost as close as she could be and Charlotte was holding her and leading her towards Chloe’s table. Anne wanted to cry. Being so close to Charlotte was wonderful but she knew that her friend was only pretending and it was hard. So hard to take. But, God forgive her, she was going to make the most of it that she could. Let Charlotte talk to Chloe and whoever she was with. Anne leant into her friend, drinking in the smell of her. She ran a hand through Charlotte’s hair. She wanted to drown in it. And Charlotte wasn’t objecting. And ok, it was just pretending and Anne knew she couldn’t push it too far. But it just felt so good to feel the lengths of their bodies pressing together. Parts of her were on fire It started low and spread out and there was a need that was hungry and warm and wet that she had to leash so tightly. Gentle movements of her head now, she could feel Charlotte’s hair rubbing across her face. It was a close as Anne dared go to nuzzling into her friend’s neck. She wanted to. She wanted to abandon the last of her resolve and rain kisses on Charlotte’s neck. When had her hands reached around Charlotte’s waist, joining on the other side? Anne wanted to never let go.
“Say hello to Kay, Anne.” Charlotte’s voice. It took a moment for Anne to process the words. The sound of Charlotte’s voice was enough for her. Anne turned her head, taking the chance to rest it on Charlotte’s shoulder.
“Hi Kay,” she said. She hadn’t a clue what the other women had been talking about. She didn’t care. Even though Kay was seated Anne could see that she was tall. Standing up she would have towered over Chloe. Her dark hair was short, her features sharp and her eyes were intelligent. But her smile seemed friendly and it reached her eyes as she looked between Charlotte and Anne. One of her arms rested easily around Chloe’s shoulders as the other hand played gently across Chloe’s stomach, just occasionally reaching up to brush the side of a breast. Anne could see Chloe shiver at those caresses, longing and need obvious in her eyes.
They made small talk for a little while. There were chairs, but Charlotte made no move to take one and Anne wasn’t going to break their embrace. She forced herself to take part in the conversation. All she wanted to do was drown in the sensations of being so close to her friend. She knew it wouldn’t last. Kay seemed nice enough and it was clear what Chloe wanted to do with the rest of her night. Where she’d be going once she left the club. And with whom.
Kay was bending forward, just enough to bring her head level with Chloe’s. The auburn-haired woman, once Anne’s nemesis, now perhaps a friend, started nibbling at Kay’s ear. It was clear to Anne that their task, here’s and Charlotte’s, had been accomplished. Their presence would soon be counter-productive.
Charlotte must have had the same idea. As the beat of the next song started up she said “Hey, I love this one, catch you on Monday Chloe.”
Charlotte broke their embrace, and maybe a part of Anne’s heart with it. Anne had to content herself with again being led by the hand back towards the dancefloor.
As the song ended, Charlotte leant in towards her “I think Chloe will be ok, yeah? Time for us to go?”
Anne wanted to cry, but she knew that Charlotte was right. And at least she had done nothing to upset her friend. To reveal what she felt for Charlotte. Her memories of the night would frustrate her, tear at her, but at least she had something to remember.
Outside the club, Anne started to say her goodbyes. It tore at her. She didn’t want the night to end. But she couldn’t think of anything else to do.
“Why are you in such a hurry?,” asked Charlotte. Even frowning she looked heart-achingly beautiful to Anne.
“Well,” Anne shrugged, trying to sound casual, “Chloe should be ok, so I guess it’s time to go home.”
Anne could see Charlotte looking at her, head tilted slightly to one side, her hair brushing over her bare shoulder. Anne wanted to cry, but she couldn’t let herself.
Charlotte shook her head, “No, Liam’s away, right?” She didn’t really wait for Anne to reply. “What sort of date would I be, even a pretend one, if I let you go home by yourself? It’s not that late. Want to come back to my place, have a coffee? Watch a movie?”
Anne wanted to say no. she knew that she should say no. It was too like a real date. Go back to her date’s place, have a coffee? She knew what that meant, what it could lead to. It couldn’t be what Charlotte meant. Anne couldn’t keep pretending this was a real date. It wasn’t fair to Charlotte. It wasn’t fair to Liam. And it was after midnight, Anne knew that much. But Charlotte didn’t have anyone and even as friend, only as a friend, Anne couldn’t send Charlotte home alone. If Charlotte wanted company, then Anne would give her some. She’d give Charlotte, anything, so how could she refuse this? A little voice tried to tell her that it was a bad idea. That if she went home now she’d be safe, she couldn’t do something that she’d regret. But she couldn’t leave Charlotte alone, not after her friend had asked.
Anne was bitterly regretting her decision as Charlotte let them into her flat. Anne hadn’t managed more than mumbled replies in the taxi they’d shared. Clammy fingers, full of fear and dread, had leeched through her mind. She was scared, scared that she’d do something wrong, say something, that would reveal her feelings. Perhaps Charlotte had caught her mood. Her attempts at conversation seemed forced, the brunette flitting from topic to topic, unable to maintain one for long. Perhaps she sensed Anne’s distraction, or resented her friend’s lack of responsiveness. Anne was sure that she’d done something to upset Charlotte. Her stomach felt as if it was full of ice.
Charlotte hadn’t said anything, though, to confirm Anne’s fears. “Sit down, I’ll get us some coffee,” Charlotte said, throwing her purse on a table by the door before turning on the lights.
Anne had been here before. She liked Charlotte’s apartment. It was small, but Charlotte had made it her own. There was a large photograph of a beach at twilight on one wall, footprints vanishing as the waves washed over them, more pictures on other walls. A few books, mostly classics, were on the shelves beneath it. On another wall, an entertainment system, sleek and black, a large TV and a collection of dvds and blu-rays, eclectic, interesting, all of them something to make you think. Anne liked it.
The chairs were comfortable, Charlotte had obviously chosen her furniture for form and function. Anne had very carefully made her way to one of the single seaters. She didn’t trust herself on the lounge, if Charlotte joined her there.
It didn’t take long before Charlotte returned with their coffees. She sat down on the lounge, resting against one of its arms.
“What are you doing over there?,” she asked.
“Well, I,” Anne wasn’t sure how to explain her choice.
“You know the view is from here.” Anne couldn’t help but agree, but she knew that Charlotte was talking about the TV. “That chair is too off to the side. This place is too small.” When Anne didn’t move Charlotte added “please.”
Anne’s heart leapt to her throat. Charlotte was looking straight at her. There was something vulnerable about her friend. At some point Charlotte had kicked off her heels. She sat on the lounge with her legs tucked under her. She could see one leg, thigh and calf pushed together, still ncased in the stockings. Anne could just see the top of the stocking, where the short black dress that Charlotte wore didn’t quite come down enough. Anne imagined running her finger around the top of the stocking, and then exploring a little higher and a little higher still and then … She forced herself to look at Charlotte’s face. Anne could see her friend’s eyes, wide, almost begging, over the cup of coffee she held in both hands. How could she refuse? Without knowing how she found herself seated on the lounge.
“Ok, what do you want to watch?”
“I, I don’t know, you choose.” Anne knew what she wanted to watch, but it wasn’t anything that she’d see on the television.
“Hmm, I don’t know if I feel like a movie. I’ve got a couple of new series. Fortitude? Penny Dreadful?” She rose, her legs gracefully uncurling, and retrieved a couple of boxes. “Have a look, see what you think?” Anne could feel their fingers brush as she took the proffered boxes. She studiously examined the summaries on the back, trying not to think of anything else.
“Do you think Chloe will be ok?” Charlotte asked, concern clear in her voice.
“Oh, I’m sure she will, Kay seemed ok.”
“You think so? You didn’t say a lot to her. I thought you were trying to hide in my hair,” Charlotte smiled.
Anne looked up, a sharp movement, like a small animal catching the scent of a predator. Had Charlotte guessed? Was she trying to confirm her suspicions?
“What? Sorry, no, it’s, we, we were pretending, right? Sorry if I went too far, I just thought I was playing along.” Anne was worried that she’d burst into tears. Had she ruined their friendship?
“It’s ok,” Charlotte smiled at her gently, almost sadly. She took one of Anne’s hands in both of hers, “We needed to do it for Chloe.” Charlotte looked down for a moment, drew a large breath and then looked back up at Anne.
“Do you think we had them fooled?” the brunette asked.
“I, I don’t know,” replied Anne, “maybe. At least no-one said anything.”
“True.” Charlotte tilted her head, just slightly, to the side. Anne was really beginning to like that mannerism, the way it made Charlotte’s hair brush over her shoulder. “It’s not like it took an awful lot though, did it?”
“No, I suppose not,” said Anne. She wasn’t sure what to feel. At least Charlotte didn’t seem suspicious. It was bittersweet, thinking back, on how they’d held each other. So close to what she wanted, but meaningless, a pretence.
“We could have done more, if we’d had to, couldn’t we?” Was Charlotte’s face closer to hers? Anne was sure that it was.
Anne smiled. “Yes,” she sighed. There was a lot more that they could have done. Did she wish they had? Even just pretending? She wasn’t sure.
“If anyone had said anything, we’d have thought of something.” Charlotte’s face was closer, Anne was sure of it now, Charlotte’s lustrous black hair cascading down, framing her features.
“Yes. We could, lots.”
Charlotte’s face was mere inches away now. “Like this?”
Charlotte moved to bridge the last small distance between them. Anne felt her friend’s lips brush against hers. She didn’t know what to do. Charlotte was kissing her. Kissing her. And while it started gently, questioningly, it didn’t end there. Anne didn’t stop it. She could feel herself responding.
The kiss became more forceful and she could feel her friend’s tongue, slowly, hesitatingly, pressing between her lips. And then, as if some dam broke, the gentleness became fire and passion. Anne could taste her friend. Charlotte tasted of cherries and roses and her arms were around Anne and Anne’s arms were around Charlotte and she was kissing her friend in return and their tongues were in each others’ mouths and Anne looked into her friend’s eyes and she could drown in there forever.
The kiss went on and on and it was desperate, like two love-struck teenagers, like lovers finally reunited after being separated by years and oceans.
But then it stopped and Charlotte wasn’t kissing her anymore, wasn’t holding her anymore, and her friend was crying and calling out, “Oh god, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have, I didn’t mean, I’m sorry.”
Anne couldn’t stop herself. She didn’t want to. She put her arms back around Charlotte and rocked her friend gently and said “It’s ok, Charlotte, it’s ok.”
Her friend looked at Anne, tears streaking her lovely face. “No it isn’t, I couldn’t help myself, I’m sorry.”
Anne paused, just for a moment. She could see the hurt, the fear, in Charlotte’s eyes. She did the only thing she could. Gently she kissed her friend’s cheeks, kissed her tears away.
“Anne, don’t, not unless you mean it.” Charlotte’s breath was coming in short gasps, her hands trying feely to push Anne away. “Please. I won’t be able to stop if you don’t.”
Anne pulled back. Had Charlotte said what she thought she’d said? Had she meant it? If Anne didn’t stop now, she knew where this would end. Or begin. Or something. They’d be kissing and touching and…
Was that what she wanted? It seemed a silly question, after what she’d been feeling tonight, for days, for what seemed like forever. But it didn’t make any sense. She’d always been sure that she was straight.
But Charlotte is so beautiful.
I know she’s beautiful, but I don’t feel like that about women.
Are you sure?
It was like Anne was hearing a conversation. One that she should remember. One that she’d been part of. But that didn’t make any sense.
Of course, I like men.
Never had a thought about a woman? Think about pretty women. Lots of girls have their doubts. Get aroused by a pretty woman. You sure that’s never happened to you?
Anne wasn’t sure. Had she ever thought about other women like that? Could she honestly say no? But what did it matter? She liked men. She loved how Liam’s cock made her feel. Women didn’t do anything like that for her. Of course, there’d been that time with Chloe. But that didn’t count.
The voice, the memory, was back again. Think how it feels to be aroused. Think of how sexy women can be. Think how sexy you are when you’re aroused. You like being like that. You like how look when you’re aroused. Yes, Anne?
Well that was right. She liked being sexy. She liked how she looked when she was sexy.
Other women can look sexy too. If you like how you look when you’re sexy and aroused you must like how other women look when they are sexy and aroused.
That didn’t make any sense did it? Anne knew that she had to trust the voice. But she was straight. She couldn’t, wouldn’t, feel that way about other women.
Think about it Anne. How desirable a sexy woman is. How desirable Charlotte is. How good it would feel to get aroused by looking at a sexy woman.
That wasn’t right. Anne was straight. Looking at a woman couldn’t make her feel that way. But she could feel? remember? the images coming into her head. Feel her arousal start to build.
A straight woman wouldn’t feel that way.
Anne snapped back. She could see the despair in Charlotte’s eyes.
“I’m sorry,” Charlotte said. She looked miserable. She must have taken Anne’s silence for rejection.
Anne silenced her friend with a finger on her lips. “I just want to know,” Anne paused, and drew a breath, “that you mean it.”
Charlotte’s eyes grew wide, hope shining in them. “I, I, of course I do.” She reached out to Anne, around the back of her head. Brought their lips back together. And they were kissing again.
Anne could hear that half-remembered, half-imagined conversation continue.
But I’m straight.
Really Anne? Are you getting aroused now, wet now, thinking of attractive women?
No, I’m not, I’m not.
It didn’t make any sense. She was kissing Charlotte and it was the most wonderful thing in the world and her arms were around Charlotte and Charlotte’s arms were around her and she just wanted to explore her friend’s body. A straight girl couldn’t want that.
And then they were separating, after Anne didn’t know how long. And Charlotte was rising off the lounge. She took Anne’s hand and Anne knew that she should stand up to. And then Charlotte was leading her through the small apartment and Anne could see a door and inside there was a bed and oh my God.
Just touch yourself there Anne, and there, and it’s a woman’s hands touching you isn’t? Just imagine if it was another woman’s hands. It would feel as good, wouldn’t it?
No, that’s, that’s not.
Imagine how good it would feel. Imagine if that other woman was Charlotte, how good that would be.
And Charlotte was there. And she was taking off her dress. And Anne was mesmerised. The most beautiful woman in the world was taking off her dress, right in front of her. Anne was fumbling with her own dress. Charlotte looked so sexy, so desirable, in her lingerie. And Anne knew what would happen next.
You want to make love to a pretty woman. You want to make love to Charlotte.
No, no, I don’t, I’m not gay, I’m straight.
Imagine Charlotte’s kissing your lips, kissing your breasts, kissing your pussy. And you doing the same to her. Imagine making love to Charlotte.
No, I don’t want.
But even in her memory she was so aroused. And she was so aroused now, she was on fire.
You want Charlotte.
I want Charlotte.
She wanted Charlotte. And it was clear that Charlotte wanted her. And they were on the bed and Charlotte’s lips and hands were everywhere and Anne had never felt like this. She thought she might start orgasming just from the kissing and fondling. And then their underwear was gone. But it happened slowly because, oh God, stretching it out like that felt oh so good.
And then Charlotte’s head was between her legs and she could feel Charlotte’s lips on her pussy and the delicate kisses were setting off fireworks in her head. And then Charlotte’s tongue was inside her and it felt
You can’t wait to make love to Charlotte.
I can’t wait to make love to Charlotte.
Charlotte is beautiful. Charlotte is sexy.
Charlotte is beautiful. Charlotte is sexy.
You’re a horny love-struck teenager for Charlotte.
I’m a horny love-struck teenager for Charlotte.
It felt divine, orgasm after orgasm crashed through her. She’d always thought Charlotte was beautiful, from the first day that they’d met. But Anne had never thought she’d get to worship that beauty like this. And then they swapped positions and her orgasms didn’t stop.
You’ll climax so many time with Charlotte.
I’ll climax so many times with Charlotte
Over and Over.
Over and Over.
You want Charlotte.
I want Charlotte.
You’ll have Charlotte.
I’ll have Charlotte.
She had Charlotte. And Charlotte had her. In more ways than Anne had ever imagined possible.
Anne swam back to consciousness. Even though she’d been asleep she was exhausted, like she’d run a marathon or swum the Channel or something. She rolled over, forced her eyes to open.
And looked straight into the eyes of beauty. She was inches from Charlotte. The memories of the night before crashed back. She gave a yelp and shot to a sitting position. Then realised she was naked. That her breasts were naked in front of Charlotte. What had she done? What had they done? Well, she knew one answer to that, her memories were giving her the answer in vivid, graphic and oh God arousing detail. That didn’t mean that she was happy with the situation. What had she gotten into? Why had she let it happen? What had she done to Liam? What was she going to do? The questions chased themselves around her head.
“Good morning,” Charlotte smiled, not lifting her head from the pillow. Oh God, Anne thought even with bed hair she’s gorgeous.
“Hi,” Anne managed to squeeze out in reply.
“We should probably talk, shouldn’t we?” Charlotte asked, a serious expression on her face, as she propped herself up on one elbow, the sheet slipping down to reveal her breasts. Anne struggled to keep her attention on Charlotte’s face.
“Um, yeah, we should.” Talking. Talking was good. Safe.
“Look, umm,” Charlotte struggled, “it was great, you were great, but I’ve never done anything like before, not with, you know, a” and then she stopped.
Anne knew what her friend had tried to say, “A woman?”
“Yeah, umm, no, umm, you know what I mean.”
“Me neither, well, not quite.” Images of Chloe swam through her mind. “But it was good, no really it was great, Oh fuck it was divine. You were, were.”
Charlotte silenced her with a look. One of her hands was sliding up Anne’s leg. “Do you want to go again?” the brunette asked her.
It was a few hours later before they surfaced again. They lay together on the bed, simply holding hands.
“I couldn’t help myself, last night, when we got back here,” Charlotte said.
“I’m glad you didn’t.”
“I’ve wanted to, for so long.”
“You’re kidding?” Anne let go, turned to look at her friend.
“Of course not,” Charlotte took a playful slap at her, “It’s been ages and I’ve been so worried that I’d do something stupid, and you’d hate me, and I just wanted to and I didn’t know what to do.”
“Then we were both?”
“Tying ourselves in knots?” Anne shook her head, “worried that we’d turn each other down? Tiptoeing on eggshells around each other and dying of frustration? When did it start for you?”
Charlotte told her. About all the times she had had struggled with her feelings for Anne. And every time that Anne could remember aching for Charlotte, deathly afraid of letting her feelings show, of what Charlotte might think, Charlotte had felt the same for her. They both dissolved into giggles.
“You’re still with Liam right?” Charlotte asked, as they both caught their breath. “I don’t want you to think I’m clingy or anything.”
“Yeah, I am,” Anne sighed, “although I don’t think I’ll ever be able to tell him about this. I thought I was straight, but last night, well, I think I’m very, very, bi.” She leant, started planting gentle kisses on Charlotte’s breasts.
“Yeah, me too, but how am I,I, sup, supposed to th-think, when you’re, you’re doing, that.” Charlotte screamed the last word. Anne’s kisses had slipped down her body, ending with her tongue circling her friend’s clit.
“Oh, really, are, you, sure, you’re, only, bi.” Charlotte didn’t respond. Anne wasn’t surprised. Between every word she’d slowly licked her way over Charlotte’s labia.
“Stop that.” Charlotte scooted out from under her friend. “I think Simon and I have something starting.”
Anne shimmied up the bed and hugged her friend. “That’s great.” She meant it. Even it meant this time was all she would ever have with Charlotte, it was ok. She wanted her friend to be happy.
“And you have Liam,” Charlotte said, “but I don’t want to lose us.”
Anne’s heart soared. Maybe this wasn’t the end.
“We can be each other’s little bit on the side.” Charlotte said. It sounded good to Anne. It seemed to echo something that she couldn’t quite remember. Something important. But not important enough to really remember. She could almost imagine what Charlotte was going to say next.
You being with Charlotte isn’t cheating on Liam. Being with another woman is ok. It’d only be cheating if you were with another man.
“It’s not like we’d be cheating. If it was other men it’d be cheating, but another woman, that’s ok, right?”
Anne nodded. Of course she agreed. Something had already told her that she would agree.
You and Charlotte can be lovers.
“We can be lovers?” Anne asked.
“Oh yes,” Charlotte replied and kissed Anne’s shoulder. “Lover,” she said, as if she was trying out the word. She kissed Anne’s neck. “Lover.” And then she was kissing Anne over and over and saying “lover” between each kiss. And Anne just melted inside.
“My beautiful, bisexual, lover.” Charlotte emphasised each word with a playful bite of one of Anne’s nipples.
“Anne,” her brunette lover asked at last. Her lover. Anne couldn’t believe that she was so lucky, “when is Liam due back?”
“Not until Monday night.”
“Well then,” Charlotte’s fingernail teased across Anne’s stomach and then slipped lower, “let’s see what we can do with the rest of the weekend.”