The Erotic Mind-Control Story Archive

Quick Summary: Hillsboro is a quaint little town, the perfect place to raise a child. Adjusting is a little hard, but thanks to her very nice neighbors, Lauren manages.

Quick Notes: Even women over forty are allowed to have some fun. ;-) Comments, as always, are welcome at .

Silver Siren

by Bad Penny

Judging from the number of station wagons in the parking lot, ten thirty on Wednesday morning was prime shopping time at Bluebell Grocery. Lauren sighed and let the engine idle. She could drive out to the box grocery store out on Route 30—Stop n’ Shop? Or was it Bag n’ Save?—but Kelly let out a piercing wail, and that settled that. Poor kid. She wasn’t having an easy time adjusting to Hillsboro, either.

Lauren sighed again. No, that was a lie. She was picking up on Lauren’s nerves. Kelly hadn’t even lived in Seattle. Not really. The house had already closed when Lauren went into an early labor. Brian had hoped they’d make it to Hillsboro before Kelly came, but Lauren was secretly glad she’d gotten to give birth in Seattle, in her hospital under the care of her doctor. So what it if meant having to drive cross-country, alone because Brian couldn’t push back his start date at Chase, with a newborn and the last few boxes from the house. It was better than giving birth in a strange place, even if that strange place would (hopefully) become home.

“We’ll be quick,” she said, glancing in the rearview mirror. She winced at the quick glimpse she got of her reflection. Haggard. Unkempt. Nothing at all like a proper Hillsboro woman.

She shoved the car—a Passport, thank you very much, not some throwback to the...hell, when had station wagons been popular? The sixties? The seventies? The fifties felt too far back, even if the rest of Hillsboro did have a distinctly fifties feel—into park. She held the steering wheel tight for a long moment before finally turning the key to cut the engine.

Kelly was still crying. Lauren cooed as she got her out of the car seat. “Poor baby girl. But we’ll have fun, right?”

Kelly settled down after a couple of minutes. Lauren signed yet again and got her positioned in the baby sling. God, this was going to be painful. And pitiful. She was forty-four, a grown woman and more than the sum of her husband and kids. Hell, she even had a fucking PhD in mathematics, one she got back in the day before girls were “encouraged” to like science and math.

There was no reason, absolutely no reason, why she should feel so self-conscious about going grocery shopping. So her shirt had a little spit-up and her hair looked a little...well, she hadn’t gotten more than a five-minute shower in a couple of days. At least she was wearing clean underwear and deodorant.

But that wasn’t enough for a proper Hillsboro woman. A proper Hillsboro woman was always cool and immaculate, her dress—and it was always a dress, some flouncy number with bright floral prints, polka dots, or cherries with matching gloves and tiny purse and maybe a pillbox hat—clean and crisp, her shoes conservative heels. Oh yes, and she never left the house without her pearls—necklace and matching earrings, a gift from the Darling Husband—or her makeup. Her skin was flawless, cheeks lightly rouged, lips red and luscious.

She hated it here. Abso-fucking-lutely hated it here. And she was beginning to hate Brian for manipulating her into coming here. Because that was what he did. “Oh, can your job pay the mortgage? Remind me again how much a community college instructor makes?” And: “The economy’s shit, honey. Chase will pay for our move, and with the lower cost of living, my staying at the same salary will be like a raise.” And: “Look at how cheap the houses are! Hell, even if we have to lower our asking price by 20K, we’ll still be able to put more than half down once the house here sells.”

There was never, of course, any mention of Kelly. Except, “We’ll make it down there plenty of time before your due date.”

It wasn’t really that he was callous. Okay, it was. He hadn’t been so bad before, when they had the twins. Then again, that had been twenty years ago when they were both practically fresh-faced kids. Kelly had been a surprise, and the news...hadn’t come at a good time. Brian’s job was unstable, there were talks of budget cuts at her community college, and fuck, they had kids in college now. They were too old to be parents again.

And God, she was too old to be nursing again. She looked like...well, at this very moment, she looked horrible. Though she was actually thankful for her lingering pregnancy pudge. It made her breasts look less obscene.

She was sweating by the time she made it across the parking lot. That was the other thing she hated about this town. Well, about the Midwest, really, since the weather wasn’t unique to Hillsboro. Back in Seattle, they’d be lucky if it was seventy and sunny. And if there were any humidity, it would be in the teens. Maybe the twenties if it was a bad day. Here, it was already summer, the sun bright and unwavering, the humidity already past eighty percent, and the locals kept commenting on how dry it was this spring.

Spring! They called this spring! And they said it was dry!

The air conditioning in Bluebell was a wonderful, welcome relief. Even Kelly seemed to like it, her cries trailing off to tiny whimpers.

“We just need green beans. And gin.” For Brian, of course. God, what she wouldn’t give for a martini! But she was nursing. And...and she wasn’t sure she’d stop at one. She was going a little batty at home. It was exhaustion, she knew, and Brian’s little frowns of disapproval when he came home every evening to the same half-unpacked boxes didn’t help. She just...well she was making slow progress, but there was so much.

And she was exhausted.

So exhausted she made it past the produce department before she remembered she was here for green beans. Oh, fuck, she was not going to cry. Not over green beans, and not while she was still inside the grocery store and could easily backtrack.

“Your mom’s losing her mind, kiddo.” She stroked Kelly’s peach-fuzz head. She was such an adorable baby. But Lauren was having trouble connecting, and she kept telling herself it was the exhaustion, the move, and...well, and whatever bothered her most about Hillsboro on any given day.

But at night, when Brian was asleep and Kelly woke up to nurse, Lauren wondered if maybe she resented the baby. “Our little surprise,” Brian called her, and when they were entertaining company, he managed not to sound sarcastic.

Ah, but she wasn’t being fair, projecting on him like that. She stroked Kelly’s head again. “I do love you, sweetie.”

She really should have called and asked Brian to pick up the green beans and gin. But she liked having dinner ready. And God helped her, she liked having his martini ready. She wasn’t anywhere near the image of the perfect housewife, but once they got completely unpacked, once she got some sleep (or used to not getting sleep), once she could shower without zoning out under the spray, she’d...what? Greet him at the door in heels and pearls and perfectly coifed hair?

Yes, that and nothing else.

She giggled at the image. Maybe she better add after she’d lost the pregnancy pudge, too. She kissed Kelly’s head, inhaling the baby scent as if this time, it would awaken all those maternal feelings she should be experiencing. “Your mom’s really losing her mind.”


She looked up, startled. One of Hillsboro’s proper women was striding towards her, the handles of one of the store’s blue baskets tucked in the crook of her arm. She looked familiar, but all Lauren could focus on was her pristine white dress dotted with pairs of cherries. Lauren blinked at her.

“I’m sorry,” Lauren finally managed. “I don’t remember...”

The woman smiled, and Lauren had to blink again to make sure she wasn’t imagining how honestly friendly it was. She’d expected...well, she had come from a small town. Not a Midwestern small town, but still, a small town. And women in small towns...they were quick to condemn other women who did not conform. Lauren was certain the women in Hillsboro said awful things about her—that she was a liberal elitist, a tree-hugging hippie, a city girl too good for a small town.

Maybe post-pregnancy hormones were making her a little too paranoid.

“Ilene Jackson.” She held out her hand.

Lauren stared at the gloves, felt the grubby sweat on her own palm. She didn’t look to see if she left a smudge on those white gloves. “Oh yes. From across the street.”

“Yes. This is the first time I’ve seen you outside the house.”

“Oh, well, you know. Still settling in.”

Ilene clucked her tongue. “And with a newborn.” She reached out and caressed Kelly’s cheek. “How old is she now?”

“Six weeks.”

“Oh, she really is a newborn!”

Lauren nodded.

“My Donald works with your Brian. He said the two of you have...older children?”

“Yes.” Lauren’s thoughts were fragmented. She couldn’t gather them quickly enough. “Twins. They’re both at UW. Um, that’s the University of Washington. Finishing up their sophomore year.”

“It must be hard for you, being a new mother again.” Ilene took her arm, guided her back into the produce section. “I was fifteen when my youngest brother was born. Before that, I had been the baby.”

Lauren nodded. Her head felt hollow. The rest of her felt buzzy. “I’m...I’m sure, once I get settled, it will be easier.”

“Oh, yes. And I’m sure it doesn’t help being in a new town with a new baby. And I know it doesn’t help being alone in the house all day with no adult conversation.” She leaned in closer, and she smelled so delicious, like and old-fashioned soda shop, all sweet and syrupy. Lauren felt dizzy. “Mothers never tell their daughters how lonely it gets taking care of kids.”

“I think they forget.” Lauren shook her head, and it knocked some of the cottony feeling loose. “I did.”

They were at the green beans now. Ilene scooped some up, reached up and snapped loose one of the twisty ties, closed the plastic bag. “Until now.” She gently set the green beans down in Lauren’s cart. “Here you go.”

“ did you know I needed green beans?”

“Hmm. You told me, didn’t you? The gin’s next, right? My Donald likes his evening martini, too.”

“I did?”

Ilene guided her towards the liquor aisle. “I run a weekly book club. It meets on Wednesday afternoons. You’ll have to come. It will be good for you. You’ll meet some new people, have some adult conversation, and we’ll get to coo over an adorable baby.”

Adult conversation. Adult conversation that wasn’t a curt recap of Brian’s day, a dinner full of disapproving silence, and evening in front of the TV with awkward pauses and Kelly’s interruptions. Lauren wanted it so bad she could feel it, something akin to lust uncurling in her belly. “But I haven’t read the book.”

“Oh, sweetie.” Ilene laughed. “We never really talk about the books!”

“Oh. Well.” She’d forgotten what kind of gin to get. She could almost see the bottle at home, but the label was a blur. She reached out quickly and grabbed one before Ilene could pick for her.

Kelly started crying again. Lauren freed her from the sling and held her. “She’s not used to new things,” she said. Her breasts felt heavy, and she could feel her milk leaking. “And it’s getting close to feeding time.”

Ilene smiled. “Is that a polite way of saying no?”

“No? Oh, no. I’ll come. It’s just across the street. If she gets too fussy, I can take her home.”

“Excellent. We meet at one.” Ilene continued down the isle. “I’ll come get you if you’re late,” she said over her shoulder.

Lauren blinked after her. “I think,” she said, when Kelly finally settled down, “that I really am going crazy, kiddo.”

* * *

Ilene’s house was dazzling, a level of clean that Lauren would never be able to match. She and Brian were both packrats. When they got unpacked, the bookshelves would be littered with little knickknacks to accent the books, and no way would Lauren be able to keep up with the dusting.

Ilene’s hardwood floors gleamed in the sunlight. The curtains and drapes were artfully drawn back, like something straight out of a home magazine, and the place smelled like vanilla and cookies, real vanilla and cookies, not some plug-in air freshener.

Kelly felt a little intimidated, especially since by the time she walked across the street, there were three cars outside the house, and she had seen a few other women from the neighborhood wander over. And they were all dressed in their perfect flouncy tea dresses.

She had changed into a clean shirt and put fresh diapers and burp rags in Kelly’s diaper bag. And she had combed he hair, pulled it back into a...well, in comparison to Ilene and the other women, it was a messy ponytail, but less messy than before.

Full makeup was beyond her, but she had managed a quick swipe of lip-gloss.

And then she felt a little silly, like she was suddenly back in college trying desperately to impress the cool girls. She had no chance in high school—small town, small school, and since she hadn’t proven herself cool in kindergarten, high school was a lost cause. It had to be her crazy hormones and this need for real conversation.

Ilene was still warm smiles and friendly touches. She gave Lauren a brief tour of the house with light touches on her shoulder and small of her back. Kelly gurgled happily, so apparently, this new environment didn’t bother her. Or maybe she just liked being the center of attention.

Ilene introduced her to the other women, but Lauren promptly forgot their names, and they all sort of blurred together. There was blue polka dot woman, another cherry dress, gingham lady, red polka dot woman, sun yellow, and lavender. They all looked like they belonged in an old-fashioned studio film, gingham lady like the country girl new to the big city, and Ilene! Put her in a pencil skirt, a white blouse, a dark jacket, and wide hat, and she’d look like a femme fatale ready to slink into Sam Spade’s office.

“We’d been plotting how we were going to get you to come,” Lavender said, flashing Lauren a sly smile.

“We all know what it’s like,” Second Cherry added, “being new here. Well, except Ilene, who was born and raised her and only thinks she’s ‘new’ because she escaped to college in,” she lowered her voice and gave an elaborate shudder, ”California.”

“All right, before we start that conversation, important things first.” Ilene breezed into the living room with a tray of tiny sandwiches. “How does Lauren strike you? Chocolate cherry?”

“Ilene inherited the soda shop on Main,” Blue Polka Dot said at Lauren’s quizzical look. “She’s, uh, pilfered some supplies.”

“My Donald has his bar and I have my fountain,” Ilene said, her lips quirking up in a sarcastic little smirk. “In the kitchen, of course.”

“She makes the best fountain drinks.” Blue Polka Dot stepped back and gave Lauren a frank once-over. “And yes, you do look like a chocolate cherry.”

“That’s a drink, I take it.”

“If you don’t love it, I’ll make you something else.” Ilene headed back to the kitchen. “Sonia, Joy, come help me carry the drinks.”

Sun Yellow and Lavender followed Ilene into the kitchen. Lauren held Kelly close, her gaze flickering from one woman to another. They stood in a loose semi-circle around her, and she felt...well, she felt less wary.

“So, you’re all transplants?”

They nodded in unison.

“Allison,” Blue Polka Dot gestured to Gingham, “is the most recent. Another Chase wife like you.”

“From Seattle?”

“No.” She shook her head, and not a strand of her platinum blonde hair fell out of place. “My Brett’s always worked for Chase. Just a normal transfer. We came from New York.”

“Ouch. That’s a hard adjustment.”

“I know! I really miss Indian food.”

Lauren smiled. “I miss pho.”

“Oh, don’t remind me! We had this Vietnamese place down the street from our apartment, and...I’m sorry, ladies. I’m moving back to New York. Lauren and I are going to run off together.” She wiggled closer and tickled Kelly’s chin. “As soon as Kelly’s old enough. That should be in two days, right?” She winked.

“Allison! It will be the scandal of the town! Two women running off together,” Second Cherry chided. The expression on her face was wicked. “So do it in eight hours. Sneak out under the cover of night. Give us something to talk about for the next twenty years.”

They all laughed, even Lauren. And Kelly’s gurgles sounded a bit like laughter. Lauren suddenly felt much less frumpy.

Ilene and the others returned with the drinks. She’d even pilfered the glassware and straws from the soda shop, apparently, because the glass Ilene gave Lauren was tall and ribbed with a red straw bobbing in the trickle of bubbles.

“Oh my God,” she said after the first sip. It was a real fountain drink, flavored with syrup, and the chocolate and cherry was an amazing combination.

“I thought you’d like it,” Ilene said, and she guided Lauren to the couch. “Now, we can settle down to business. I believe the conversation was how we’re all transplants?”

“Except for you.”

“I ran away to California and majored in Women’s Studies. As far as my family is concerned, I did come back an entirely different person.” Ilene sipped her soda.

“Lauren and I are running off to New York,” Allison said. “We miss pho.”

“Good. It’s about time we get a new town scandal.”

“Ilene’s radical major is the most recent town scandal.”

“My parents worked their hardest to marry me off as soon as I got home. To prove I wasn’t lesbian.” Ilene smiled, and it was sharp and bitter. “I was pretty lost back then, but my Donald is a good man.”

The women all nodded, and there were murmurs of “So is my...” Lauren fought a shudder. She...well, when it just Ilene, she thought “my Donald” was just one of her verbal tics. But now that the other women were referring to their husbands in the same way? She wondered if the men did the same thing. My Ilene. My Allison. My—she did shudder then—Lauren.

It was disgustingly possessive.

Kelly, no doubt sensing her mood again, began to fuss. And that shifted the conversation to families and babies and invited a chorus of, “Can I hold the baby?”

They all asked the question in unison, flashing her the same wide, desperate smile. And they were all wearing startlingly white gloves, and the way their fingers twitched reminded her of spider legs. Lauren blinked. No, that was her hormones making her loopy. When she looked again, their smiles were warm and inviting. And Kelly was quiet.

* * *

The book group seemed to revitalize her. And it seemed to wear Kelly out. When they got home, Lauren put Kelly down for a nap, and she fell asleep immediately. And she stayed asleep, so by the time Lauren finished preparing the meatloaf, cubing the potatoes, and washing the green beans, Kelly was still asleep.

She actually got the meatloaf in the oven, the potatoes boiling on the stove, and the green beans ready to steam without interruption. And instead of being so exhausted that she collapsed on the couch, she had enough energy to tackle an unpacked box.

Kelly slept through the entire thing. Lauren kept peeking in on her, not quite trusting the baby monitor. Kelly had never slept for such a long stretch. Poor kid had to be tuckered out from all the attention.

She was elbow-deep in her second box when Brian walked in. “Wow,” he said, and Lauren closed her eyes and tried not to grit her teeth at the tone.

“You’re a little early, aren’t you?” She wiped her forehead and glanced at the grandfather clock. Five forty. Nearly twenty minutes early.

“Jackson and I are carpooling now. Cuts nearly an hour off the round-trip commute.”

“They have carpool lanes here?”

“Yeah, in closer to the city.” He hung his hat—it wasn’t, Lauren suddenly realized, just the women who molded themselves to the fifties model; Brian, who had always had to wear a suit and tie, even in casual Seattle, had taken to wearing a fedora—and came over to her. He hesitated, then placed his hand on the small of her back.

She was sweaty, and Lauren knew she was projecting her own insecurities, but she could feel Brian twitch, wouldn’t be surprised if he grimaced at her damp shirt. But he leaned in and kissed her cheek, then, after another hesitant moment, the back of her neck.

This time, the feeling unfurling in her belly was definitely lust. Her first real bout since...well, since Brian informed her he would be taking the position Chase offered him. The alternative was unemployment—goddamn buyout—and Brian was...twitchy about being unemployed.

“I have to go mash the potatoes,” she said. She twisted to...well, her hands were filthy, so she didn’t quite stroke his cheek. But she did rise up on tiptoe to kiss him. “But I really wish—”

Kelly started crying then. They both froze, and Lauren was sure she looked as exasperated as Brian.

“I’ll mash the potatoes,” he said. “She...probably wants to be fed.”

“Y...yes.” Lauren broke away. She stopped to wash he hands in the bathroom at the top of the stairs, then went to feed Kelly.

She brought Kelly down with her. Brian had shed his jacket and had the cuffs of his shirt unbuttoned, the sleeves rolled up past his elbows. And his tie was loose, the top button of his shirt undone. Lauren felt another bolt of lust. Her Brian—oh God, was she already adopting that tic?—was still a very handsome man. Tall, lanky, elegant hands, his hair just beginning to go gray at the temples. But he still had that boyish grin, though she hadn’t seen it for a while.

Well, the past few months hadn’t been easy on either of them.

“I met Ilene Jackson at the grocery store today. She invited me over to her book group.”

Brian looked up from the potatoes. “It’s probably good for you to go.”

“I did. It meets every Wednesday.” She bounced Kelly. “This time, I think they just wanted to meet Kelly.”

Brian sighed. “I’m sure they wanted to meet you, too.”

“Yes. I didn’t mean it like that. Not entirely. neighbor with a cute new baby. Of course you’re going to coo over the baby. It...” She shifted and rubbed Kelly’s back. “It takes the attention off the mom. Makes her feel comfortable. The baby’s a safe topic, and if you fuss over the baby, the mom doesn’t feel so...I don’t know.”

“Frumpy?” Brian offered.

“It’s harder losing the weight this time.”

He grunted.

“Did you want her?” She asked the question quickly, covering Kelly’s ears.

He didn’t answer right away. “If neither one of us never wanted kids again, we could have taken more foolproof measures. But. We are in our forties. I hadn’t intended our,” he smiled faintly, “little surprise.” He finished with the potatoes. “Just like I hadn’t intended this move.”

“Do you miss Seattle?”

“Oh hell yes. You know, there’s this little Vietnamese grocery down the street from the office, and what I really wish was that it was a pho place.”

Lauren groaned. “That’s an evil reminder. One of the women at the book group moved here from New York. We bonded over all the foods we miss. Pho, tandoori chicken...” she sighed. “We joked that we were going to run off to New York together.”

Brian chuckled. “New York? I think her husband’s my VP. What’s her name?”

“Allison. I...forget her last name.”

“See, at least you can blame the pregnancy instead of age.”

“You know, before the baby, I looked pretty damn good for my age.”

He made a show of leering at her breasts. “Before the baby, you didn’t have such amazing tits.”

“Pig. They were double D’s before!”

He shrugged, and there was that boyish grin. “What can I say? I like ‘em big.”

* * *

They made out like teenagers that night. As horny as Lauren was, she just didn’t feel up to penetration. And she was worried she’d miss hearing Kelly’s cries. They were in what would become Kelly’s room—neither of them felt right making out in their bed with Kelly in the crib three feet away—and Lauren felt a little dirty straddling Brian’s lap in the nursery’s rocking chair.

But that didn’t stop her from getting her hand down his pants to jerk him off. And it didn’t stop her from bucking against her wrist so she got both of them off. Or at least tried to get them both off. Her body was acting funny, raging with lust and absolute need one moment, then flipping all those feelings off. So she’d almost come, then suddenly go dead, then in the next moment, be oh-so-close again.

Brian, at least, was consistently hard. So she focused on that. On him.

He unbuttoned her shirt, tongued he breasts through her nursing bra. And then he unhooked the flap and—oh, God, yes he was actually —closed his mouth over one nipple. And it was nothing like when Kelly nursed.

Lauren moaned, low and needy, and then she came, hard. So hard that she had to fist her free hand in Brian’s hair to hold herself steady. Which meant he couldn’t pull away from her breast, and, well, he seemed pretty satisfied where he was, so he probably wouldn’t have pulled away even if he could.

She came again, and this time Brian moaned, and she felt it strum through her body. And then he came, hard and sloppy. His come splattered both of their shirts, and she felt some hit her chest just under her bra.

They came down off it, panting. Lauren put her foot down to stop the chair’s rocking, but she didn’t pull away from Brian even though the position was awkward, and it had to be hard on him.

“Damn,” he said, swiping his thumb through the come on her chest.

Her breasts were heavy and leaking. She should pump, but she still didn’t want to pull away. It had been a long time since Brian touched her. He’d probably been waiting for her to show interest. He’d followed her lead after the twins, after all. They had their tense moments, their frictions, but beneath it all, he loved her, respected her.

“I don’t think we’ve done that in...what, twenty years?”

“Longer, I think. You were big on blow jobs after Paula and Nat.”

“You mean there was a time I was not big on blowjobs? I seem to remember giving head on the first date.”

“Yeah.” Brian titled his head back, and his grin was a cross between his boyish one and a dreamy one. “Parking lot of Las Margaritas. That was a really good date.” He focused on her. “You know, rumor has it there’s this great Mexican place over on Red Barn Road. You, uh, meet any people willing to baby-sit at that book group?”

She laughed. “Pig.” She forced herself to pull away and tuck herself back into her clothes. “I bet there’s one or two willing babysitters.”

* * *

With the twins, her mother, and then, six weeks later, Brian’s mother, insisted on watching the girls for the night so mommy and daddy could have a break. Their first date, when the twins were about five weeks old, had been a night at a hotel, which, upon reflection, had probably disappointed Brian. But a shower and eight full hours of sleep had done wonders for her, and the next morning, after room service dropped off their breakfast, she had ducked under the table to suck him off as he ate, the rising sun spilling over Seattle and making the city sparkle.

Their second date had been a real one, dinner and a movie, though she couldn’t remember where they ate or what movie they saw. But Lauren did remember their quick, heated kisses in the car in the driveway, then quiet, frantic sex in their bedroom. Their first sex after the babies, and it wasn’t the best sex—she hadn’t come—but it had felt good to feel whole again.

Kelly was now eight weeks old. Lauren made her wave through the window as Ilene came to answer the door. She still joked with Brian that the ladies just wanted to fuss over the baby, but they also fussed over her. Especially Ilene, who seemed to find an excuse to have Lauren over three times a week. And they always ended up in the kitchen drinking old-fashioned fountain sodas like giggling teenagers.

She’d told Ilene about her first date with Brian, and oh, how Ilene’s face had lit up. “Right there in the parking lot?” She’d laughed. “No wonder he married you!”

“Well, it’s not like he proposed on the first date.”

“The second?”

“More like the six hundred and sixty-second.” She’d swirled her soda. “We dated a long time. All through college. Then...halfway through grad school, I realized I didn’t want to leave Seattle, didn’t want to leave him, so we got married.”

“Donald and I had gone steady in high school. We parked, and I followed the strict unspoken dating rules. Nothing on the first date. A kiss on the second. That sort of thing.”

“No sex until marriage?”

Ilene had winked. “If my parents are asking, yes. But come on! Who can wait that long? In the proud tradition of all Hillsboro women, I gave it up in the backseat of a car. I miss those days sometimes.”

Times always looked easier, better, through the lens of nostalgia.

She felt like she’d known Ilene forever. The woman had a knack for putting people at ease. And the rest of the ladies were nice, too. Lauren hadn’t had such a large circle of friends in Seattle.

“So,” Ilene said, holding out her arms for Kelly. “Tonight’s the big date night? You won’t regret leaving Little Miss Adorable,” Ilene blew a raspberry at Kelly and tickled her belly, “with Tina. She baby-sits all the kids on the block, and if there’s a problem, her mother’s home to help. And I’m here, of course.”

“She did such a good job with Kelly yesterday.” She’d given the girl a trial run, and she’d been impressed. Tina had shown up ten minutes early, a bright-eyed fifteen year-old in the middle of her coltish stage. Her legs were long and spindly, and she was a collection of angles—knobby knees peeking out from beneath the hem of her skirt, sharp elbows, pointed chin, high cheeks. The end result, when she finally grew into her features, would be striking, especially when she had her braces removed and her smile was dazzlingly straight, dazzlingly white teeth.

“I knew she would. Now come on in. It’s makeover time.”


“You think we’re going to let you out on a date without prettying you up? It’s a special night.”

She...well, Lauren didn’t know what to think of that. Their intentions were good. She focused on that.

“We’re going to do your nails, give you a pedicure, that sort of thing. But first,” she guided Lauren towards the stairs. “A bubble bath. I know it’s been ages since you’ve had one of those.”

“Oh my God.” Suddenly, she wanted all this pampering, even if there was an underlying current of...of what? That she didn’t measure up? No. That was just her paranoia.

Ilene laughed. “Go get it started. I’m going to hand Kelly off and bring up a special drink.”

Ilene had laid out a scrumptious bathroom spread for her. Black cherry bubble bath, shampoo, and conditioner. Scented candles—a mixture of black cherry and French vanilla—and tiny shell-shaped soaps. Thick, fluffy red towels, a deep garnet red, and matching terry cloth robe. And her bathtub...oh, Lauren coveted the bathtub, a deep, claw-footed monstrosity that would let her sink down in water coming up to her chin.

“You like?” Ilene had another fizzy drink on a small silver tray. The liquid pale, tinted pink by—judging by the theme— cherry syrup. “Take your time and enjoy. We’ll need at least a half hour to set up. Actually, more like forty-five minutes to an hour, since I’m sure we’ll need to take liberal raspberry breaks to entertain our most adorable guest. So really, take all the time you want.” She winked and set the tray down on the sink. “We all understand.”

Lauren swiped away tears. “Thank you.”

* * *

After the bath, she looked at herself, naked, in the mirror for the first time in...well, since before Kelly was born. She...holy shit, she had lost more of the pregnancy pudge than she thought. Her hips were still too wide, but her belly didn’t droop as much as she remembered on the drive to Hillsboro. Considering her age and the fact that she had just had a baby, she was looking pretty damn good.

Not quite as good as she had looked eight weeks after the twins, but she’d been much younger. A few more weeks, maybe sooner if she actually dragged herself to the gym—Paula would be coming out after her quarter ended; maybe she’d baby-sit a three days a week—and she’d be...hell, she’d be smokin’. Sultry.

She’d never been sultry. Maybe the humidity was good for her. Or the good old-fashioned small town air.

She slid into the robe and opened the door. She could hear laughter downstairs, a happy shriek from Kelly.

“There she is.” Ilene pressed another drink into her hand as she reached the bottom of the stairs. “Pedicure time.”

Ilene and the others sent her home with ruby red nails. Her makeup was flawless, her eye shadow a rich, smoky brown, her lashes thick and full, and her lipstick—the tube was in a special pocket of the diaper bag so she could transfer it to her purse—matched her nail polish. And her hair was set in a gorgeous wave. She was under strict instructions to wear her best earrings and her favorite necklace.

Allison had even cleaned her rings so her engagement ring and wedding band sparkled in the sun. And Ilene had given her a dress and cute little kitten heels. The dress was a little too tight over her breasts and stomach, but everything was a little too tight over her breasts. Lauren hadn’t bothered upgrading her wardrobe yet. She’d been avoiding that task, but it was getting to be time to accept that her breasts would be monstrous while she was nursing Kelly.

She felt sexy, truly and honestly sexy. Like...well, in the dress, like a naughty housewife. But what she really wanted was to look like a femme fatale, something out of a noir film. The kind of woman who knew how to own a room, how to own men, whose power was her sex.

“Woah,” Brian said when he stepped in. He froze in the doorway, letting it gape open behind him.

“Ilene and I are almost the same size. It’s a little too tight, though.”

Brian’s eyes were fixed, of course, on her tits. “I’m really not complaining.”

“That’s because you’re a pig, darling.” She glanced over at Tiffany, who had arrived ten minutes early again, and winked.

Tiffany grinned. “You make sure to have her back by ten o’clock, Mister Jamenson.”

Brian startled. “The babysitter?”

“I managed to talk her out of being our chaperone.”

Brian chuckled. “Glad to see you back to normal.” He stepped inside and moved to introduce himself to Tiffany.

Lauren left him to it. She hurried back upstairs for one last check on Kelly and a quick touch-up to her makeup. Her stomach felt jittery, just like it had on their first few dates. It was silly, but...well, it was the hormones.

Her breasts throbbed. Lauren sighed. She’d just pumped! Then she actually paid attention to the sensation. Lust. Low-level lust. Naturally. She looked sexy, he looked sexy, and they were going out. Of course her body would get a little excited from the anticipation.

* * *

The restaurant was excellent. They stuffed themselves silly on nachos and carne asada and split an order of flan. And throughout the meal, they kept touching each other. Brian’s hand was hot on her knee, her thigh. She slid one foot out of its shoe and tickled his ankle with her toes. And they’d laughed. A lot. More than they had in years, it seemed.

They’d parked at the far corner of the parking lot. Perfect for making out. Or recreating their first date. Lauren was salivating for his cock before they even made it to the car.

“You don’t have to—” Brian started when she broke off their first kiss and reached for his belt buckle.

“I’ve been fantasizing about it all day.” She’d actually been fantasizing about day spas and massages while Ilene and the others worked her over. But once her little white lie tumbled out, it felt true.

“I, uh,” he said as she unzipped him, “wouldn’t want to stand between a woman and her fantasy.”

He was already half-hard. She stroked him. “Oh, really?”

“Well, you know. I am a pig.”

“My pig,” she said, leaning down to take him in. His cock was thick and smooth, a perfect fit for mouth. And like always, he tasted salty and sharp. She moaned.

Brian curled his hand in her hair. “Uh huh.” Then, “Holy fuck.”

Then she took all his words away.

* * *

Lauren smoothed the skirt over her thighs, then turned to see how it looked from the back. Or maybe she just wanted to see the dark seam of her stockings running straight up her calf, emphasizing the curve.

“Very nice,” Ilene said.

Lauren was finally updating her wardrobe. Pencil skirts and fitted jackets in black, charcoal, and chocolate. Blouses with wide collars. White Or ivory. And the occasional splash of color made it in. Scarlet, emerald, bright yellow. Things that made a striking contrast with the skirts and jackets.

It felt good to look as sultry as she felt. She stroked her stomach, finally smooth and flat, smoother and flatter than it had ever been, in fact, and without once hitting the gym. When she thought about it, it bothered her. So it was easiest to accept it, write it off as the result of the move, the slower pace of life, all that unpacking.

She glanced back at Ilene. The woman smiled at her, hard and sharp. No. Lauren blinked. Warm and friendly.

And then Ilene was at her back, reaching around to drape a blood-red evening dress over her frame. The hook of the hanger lightly brushed Lauren’s cheek, and she shivered from the cold.

“My Donald and I will be hosting a midsummer party. A formal affair. You’d look divine in this.”

Lauren reached up and touched the fabric. Silk, cool under her fingers. “It is pretty.”

“And your Brian will love it.”

Yes, he would. He always liked her in red. Lauren shook her head. “We might...well, the girls are coming. Natalie for a quick visit—she’s got an internship back in Seattle—and Paula for the summer. To help us finish settling in.”

“She’s old enough that she could come. I’ll send an invitation for her, too.”

“I’m not sure she’d feel comfortable. Hillsboro is...well, it’s not what she’s used to.”

“A little too Stepfordian?” Ilene backed away, leaving the dress draped over Lauren. She smiled into the mirror.

Lauren returned the smile. “Yes. That’s it exactly.”

“You know, it used to be.” Ilene sat on the dressing room’s couch and picked at one of the buttons. “It still is, I suppose. Still,” she looked up and smiled again, “even within such a rigid framework, there’s room to make small changes.”

Lauren turned. “What do you mean?”

“Try on the dress.”

Lauren sighed. When Ilene gave her that look, it was best to do as she said. She wasn’t going to say anything more, even though it felt like Ilene was on the verge of some big confession, something that would shake Lauren to her core.

The dress was a perfect fit. And amazingly priced. Lauren didn’t feel guilty about adding it to her growing armload of clothes. Brian had encouraged this spree after all, said he wanted her to feel comfortable in her clothes.

She bought the blouses and jackets a little too small, remembering her pre-pregnancy breasts. And she found that she liked the tight press of fabric, the way the jackets emphasized her narrow waist even though the overall effect was some silicone starlet playing in some porn parody of The Big Sleep. Brian wouldn’t complain, though. As he said, he liked ‘em big.

They hit the shoe department next. She didn’t actually need anything. She actually had a pair of black stilettos that were the perfect match for the dress, but Lauren wanted something...something more. Something special for—she couldn’t believe she was thinking about sex while out shopping with Ilene—the bedroom.

Last time, she had seen these gorgeous black leather boots. Knee high, a modest heel, buckles up the sides instead of a zipper. They were the kind of boots made for worshipping, and she’d been trying to resist, but she wanted them.

Ilene seemed to know exactly why she wanted them. “I’m sure your Brian will love them,” she said as they exited the store. “I shouldn’t keep you from hurrying home.”

Lauren blushed.

Ilene leaned in to kiss her cheek. “I have the same pair. Never wear them out of the bedroom.”

Her blush deepened. She couldn’t meet Ilene’s eye as she said a breezy good-bye.

* * *

Kelly was finally sleeping through the night. They still had her crib in their bedroom, so Lauren and Brian took their antics to the nursery. Lauren kept telling herself it was the setting that changed the nature of their play. They’d always been willing to try new things, but neither of them had been particularly dominant or submissive.

At least, not until now.

Lauren sat in the rocking chair, naked except for her new boots. Brian was naked, too, kneeling before her. “Please,” he begged, keeping his hands clasped behind his back like she’d instructed.

His cock was hard and flushed, its tip gleaming with precum. Lauren lightly ran the toe of her boot up his shaft. He closed his eyes and whined, catching his hips before he bucked against her.

She pressed his cock back against his belly. “Good boy,” she purred.


“All right. The left.”

He opened his eyes. “Thank you.” He leaned forward, hands still clasped at the small of his back, and began licking his way up her left boot, his tongue tracing every buckle.

She barely felt the pressure, but the sight of him too her breath away. Why had they never tried power play before?

Because before, you were in Seattle.

The voice sounded a bit like Ilene’s. Lauren trembled. Yes, that was true. Hillsboro had changed them. It was the town was alive and bent people to its will.

Yes. But there’s still room to make small changes.

Like a flipping of roles in the house. The husband submitting to the wife. The woman’s pleasure taking priority.

“Please,” Brian said, and he tongued the top of her boot.

Lauren shifted and slung her legs over the arms of the chair. “The right now.”

His eyes were locked on her cunt. Lauren reached down and fingered herself, parting slick folds so he could see how wet she was. He moaned, then lavished his all his attention on her right boot.

“Good boy,” she murmured, still stroking herself.

He stopped at the top of her boot, and she could feel the moist heat of his tongue almost touching her skin. He glanced up at her, begging with his eyes.

“Go on,” she said.

He dipped his tongue beneath the leather of her boot. Lauren shuddered and let out a low moan.

“Very good boy.”

He smiled against her knee, then slowly worked his way up her thigh, teasing her with his tongue. Lauren offered him her fingers, and he sucked them clean one at a time.

“Now here,” she ordered, guiding his face to her cunt.

He rarely went down on her before. And before, she’d always enjoyed being on the giving end of oral more than the receiving. Now, though, Brian acted as if he could spend all night like this. And she really liked it. A lot. She didn’t last long under his ministrations. She bit her lip to keep from screaming when she came. It wouldn’t do to wake up Kelly.

She reached down to stroke Brian’s hair. No, it wouldn’t do to wake Kelly at all. She hadn’t let her good boy come yet. And she didn’t intend to until he made her come again.

* * *

The girls were silent as they drove through the center of town. Lauren knew they were taking in all the women in their tea dresses, or the occasional skirt and jacket like Lauren’s. “Wow,” Paula finally said. “Um, mom?”

“Hmmm?” Lauren glanced in the rearview mirror.

“So, we’re like, happy and stuff that you look so great and that you’re not miserable. But,” Paula exchanged a quick glance with Natalie. “Don’t you think it’s a little creepy?”

“The women, you mean.”

“Well, and the men. I mean, I saw how that guy at the grocery store stopped to watch the women walking in.”

There’s still room to make small changes. Very small, but they were enough. And maybe they’d multiply over time.

“And you’re kind of,” Natalie said, absently wiggling the finger Kelly clutched in one chubby fist. “Conforming.”

“Well,” Lauren turned off Main and guided the Passport onto Stewart. “You know the saying.”

“There are lots of sayings, mom,” Paula said.

“’When in Rome...’” Lauren said.

“It’s still fuc-freaking creepy.”

Lauren pulled into the driveway. “I thought so, too, but it’s kind of grown on me now.”


Lauren sighed and turned off the car. “Think of it as a survival tactic. I’m here for as long as your father has his current job.” The girls looked uncomfortable, which was understandable since it was an uncomfortable truth. “Now, let’s get your bags upstairs, and then we’ll pop across the street for you to meet Ilene. I promised I’d bring you over first thing.”

“That’s your friend with the soda obsession.”

“I think I did call it that, didn’t I? Well, you’ll love her creations.” She turned to face her girls, smiling brightly. “And I’m sure you’ll love the town soon enough.”

Even if it was just for a couple of weeks before Nat had to go back to Seattle, it would be nice to have her whole family home. And it would be nice to show her girls how lovely Hillsboro was. By the time Nat left, she wanted them both to see it as home.