Chili

byM J Lindsay©

Note: my personal belief is that nothing is as sexy as true love. If you like your stories to be about every body part except the heart, I'm not for you.

I was feeling pretty smug that beautiful March morning. I thought my life was arranged just the way I wanted it. All neatly separated into boxes that kept the whole me from being seen by anybody.

There was my public professional self, who owned a successful art gallery and was well known as an artist of popular still life paintings featuring colorful floral bouquets. My private professional self, hidden by a male name and phony biography, painted lush female nudes that sold as quickly as I could create them.

My public social face turned up regularly in the newspapers, hostessing at some posh party for my filthy rich father or attending a charity event on the arm of one of my favorite escorts, who used me as cover for their real lives, just as I used them. My private social life was spent with lovely ladies who knew I never had any intention of coming out of the closet or forming any permanent attachments.

It all worked just the way I wanted it to. Until the day SHE walked into my gallery.

Mid-week mornings are usually slow, and this was no exception. There were no other customers when she came in. I turned at the sound of the door opening and was surprised to see someone dressed in motorcycle leathers, boots, and a helmet. There was no mistaking the gender of the customer, because the tight jacket did nothing to hide a large set of tits and the pants caressed a decidedly female rear-end. She slid up the visor on the helmet and revealed a pair of large, copper colored eyes with the longest lashes I've ever seen that didn't appear to be glued on.

You know those moments in the movies when a girl takes off a helmet, or hat, or something and shakes out a thick mane of gorgeous hair that falls in a perfect frame around her face? Well, when she took off her helmet there was a thick mane, all right, and it was a gorgeous shade of auburn, but, of course, it was damp and sweaty and clung around her head in a sticky-looking tangle. Somehow the sight of it still made my heart stand still. I like to think I've always been an appreciator of female beauty, but I've never been as instantly mesmerized by the sight of anyone in my life. She was stunning!

"Hi," she said, unzipping the leather jacket and slipping it off. She was wearing a white tank top underneath than clung to her full, ripe breasts like a lover. I swear to heaven, I think I may actually have been drooling as I stood there and mutely stared at her. "Could I leave my jacket and helmet somewhere while I look around?"

I managed to say, "Sure," took them from her, and put them in my office. I used the few seconds I was in there to try to pull myself together. I put on my professional face and went back to her with my hand outstretched. "I'm Jessica Franklin," I said as I took hold of the hand she put out in return. Her grasp was firm and her flesh was warm. It sent a tingle all the way up my arm.

"My name is Judith Boardman, but everybody calls me Chili."

"That's an unusual name."

"My grandmother gave it to me when she saw my red hair. It seems there was a red-headed character called Chili in a comic book she read as a kid. A dumb-but-lovable type, I'm told. I'd have been insulted, but since I was only a couple of hours old, I suppose I just hadn't had time to impress her with my intellect." She was smiling at me and I was lost in those beautiful eyes, not to mention her deep, sexy voice. I have no idea how long I stood there before I realized I was still holding her hand!

I dropped it like it was a live grenade and asked her if she'd like me to show her around the gallery. "I'd love a personal tour," she answered.

What I was thinking was, "I'd like to take a personal tour of YOU," but I struggled to recover my professional demeanor. Ever since I can remember people have accused me of being an "ice queen" and never showing my emotions, but all of a sudden I had to fight for control as I never had before.

We chatted as I took Chili around the gallery and I discovered she had recently moved to town to take a job as the Humanities Librarian at the University. Her own undergraduate major had been American Literature, but she was interested in all the arts.

"The school is closed today so I thought I'd explore some of the galleries in town. Yours came highly recommended."

"I guess they are a lot more open minded at the U than they were when I went there," I said. "All our librarians wore shapeless black dresses and orthopedic shoes, not biker leathers."

"I think my wardrobe and the bike are probably among the least of my sins in the eyes of the more conservative administrators," said Chili, with a wicked looking grin. I was dying to ask just what her "sins" were, but I held back.

She showed interest in several of the artists whose work I carry and I felt she had a keen eye for talent. When we got to the area where my florals were displayed she said that she liked them very much. "Your colors are so rich and each blossom is so lovingly detailed. I can tell you have a great appreciation for beautiful things."

About that time I was very much appreciating the beautiful things I suspected were under her cute little tank top. I had never in my life been so preoccupied with a stranger's body. Not even in the juicy days in college when I realized just why I had never swooned over the teenage boys my friends all had crushes on.

When we got to my other paintings, the nudes, she stopped dead in her tracks.

"These are gorgeous," she exclaimed. She peered at the card with the phony name and biography I had created to hide my identity. "Bradley Jacobs? What a crock!"

I was totally blindsided by her comment. "What do you mean?"

"No MAN painted these. A woman's hand held that brush. I'm sure of it."

I'm sure I was blushing and I know I was shaking. "Nonsense," I stuttered. "I know Bradley very well. Besides, everybody talks about how you can tell the artist has a sexual appreciation for the female form. One critic even called him "the lustful Mr. Jacobs."

"Oh, sexual appreciation and lust, I'll grant you. But, the sensual way body parts that men seldom notice are shown, like that soft curve of her belly, the languid drape of her arm, convince me a woman painted it. I would say the artist is a lesbian with a strong appreciation for beautiful things."

She looked me right in the eyes then, as her choice of words sunk in. A flush of heat swept through my whole body, and when she saw how shaken I was, she grinned. "It takes one to know one," she said and then she grabbed me and kissed me.

I felt like every cell in my body turned to liquid in an instant, but I managed not to collapse in a heap. Chili let go of me and swept out of the gallery with a swing of her perfect hips.

I was still standing there with a pounding heart and a befuddled mind, when she came right back in.

"That would have been so much more effective if I'd remembered my helmet and jacket are in your office," she said with only a trace of sheepishness. "But, maybe it was meant to happen, because now I can ask you out to dinner instead of waiting and calling you later, as I'd planned. Are you free tonight?"

Don't ask me why I numbly nodded "yes," but I did.

"Good. I'll meet you here. You close at six?"

Again I nodded wordlessly. Chili went into my office and got her things and left again, blowing me a kiss as she shut the door.

Of course it only took a few minutes for my brain to start functioning again and then I panicked. What had I done?! I agreed to have dinner with a complete stranger who made me loose total control of myself and was apparently quite candid about her sexual orientation. If I was seen with her by someone in the know, my carefully constructed life could crumble in an instant. I had to get in touch with her and cancel our date! Just the word "date" popping into my head made me weak in the knees. Dates are romantic occasions and might end in sexual contact. Contact I wanted so bad I could taste it. "I've lost my mind," I said out loud.

"What was that?" asked a voice behind me. I turned to see one of my regular customers, a charming elderly lady named Mrs. Gibbons. I had been so disturbed by the exchange with Chili that I hadn't noticed her come in.

"Oh, just that I'm getting forgetful in my old age. I just remembered some paperwork I should have taken care of yesterday."

"Old age!" Mrs. Gibbons laughed. "Honey, I've got pantyhose older than you. What are you? Thirty?"

"Thirty-two," I told her.

"Oh, well then, that IS ancient."

I busied myself in showing Mrs. Gibbons the new items that had come in since she last visited the gallery and the day began to take on a normal rhythm. Customers came and went and before I knew it, it was only a few minutes to closing time and I'd done nothing about tracking down Chili and canceling the plan to have dinner. My fear of the changes she might bring into my life was great, but my desire to see her and be with her was greater. I waited with both dread and joyous expectation for her to arrive.

She swept in right on time in a silky copper-colored pant suit that matched her eyes. This time her lovely thick hair did frame her face perfectly. I took a shaky deep breath, ready to tell her I had to cancel dinner, when she smiled at me. All of a sudden I was rendered completely stupid again and found myself locking the gallery and heading up the street to a popular restaurant. Chili was talking to me, but I was wrapped up in inhaling the clean, fresh, slightly floral scent of her. I wanted to bury my face in her hair and breathe her in, the way I enjoyed the rich smells in my father's vast garden. Then I would move lower and nibble her lovely neck and then …

"Jessica, have you heard a word I've said?"

"No," I admitted. "I was just thinking about how wonderful you smell." Why was it I could deceive the whole world without a second thought, but I kept blubbering out the truth to Chili, with no notion of protecting myself?

Her smile could only be described as "wicked."

"I think this is going to be a wonderful evening," she told me.

It was wonderful. Chili proved to be as smart as she is beautiful and we discovered we had many interests in common. The conversation moved with ease from favorite books and favorite artists to the sports teams we rooted for and our best vacation memories. We kept away from personal topics until after we had finished out meal and were enjoying deep snifters of Grand Marnier.

"How did you know?" I finally asked her. She didn't pretend not to understand what I meant.

"My orientation is well-known at the U," she told me. "I've never hidden it. I have a charming, young assistant who is an addicted matchmaker. She's so in love with her husband that she thinks it's her duty to pair up everybody else in the world. Kind of sweet, really."

I actually felt a tinge of jealousy at the tender smile on Chili's face. I've never been jealous a day in my life, not even when I walked in on my college roommate, who was also my first sex partner, and found her with her face buried in a cute young freshman's snatch.

"I guess my taste in lovers posed a dilemma for her, since she only knows one 'out' lesbian besides me and that's her 80 year old great aunt. Still, she was determined to find me a 'soul mate.' One day she brought me a copy of the society page from the newspaper and pointed out a picture. She asked what I thought of the elegant blonde in the photo and I said I thought she was the most luscious looking thing I'd ever seen.

She got as excited as a kid on Christmas morning. 'I think she's one of you," she gushed. 'That's my brother's best friend with her. They go out a lot and I happen to know he's gay. He has a lover that I've also seen in the columns with her. I think she provides cover for them and I'm willing to bet they provide it for her, too. Why else would a gorgeous woman like that only date gay men?'

"I told her I could think of many reasons, but she was so sure of herself and so determined that we meet. I gently laughed it off, but I admit I was intrigued so I set out to find out more about the stunning woman in the picture."

"Me," I said. "Not that I think I'm stunning, but…" I trailed off.

"Stunning even in a black and white newspaper picture," Chili said, "and unbelievably gorgeous in person."

At that, the "ice queen" officially melted into a puddle at Chili's feet, never to freeze over again.

"I came into the gallery today just to get a look at you and the way you looked back at me told me my assistant had been right. I could hardly believe my luck. The most beautiful woman I've ever seen clearly finds me attractive, too."

This time her tender smile was for me. In that moment the lust I'd been feeling ever since I first saw Chili began to grow into something much deeper. At any other instant in my life that would have frightened the hell out of me, but now, looking into her eyes, it was just too right to be denied.

"How did you know I'd painted the nudes? Nobody else has ever suspected that."

"There does seem to be a common sensuality between them and your floral pictures, but I think it was the eagerness in the way you showed them to me. I had the same feeling when you showed me the ones you paint under your own name. That it somehow mattered to you that I like them."

"I seem to have been struck transparent today. That's never happened to me before, believe me. I've been as closed as a person can get my whole life. What the hell have you done to me," I asked her, truly perplexed.

"Not a thing," she said with a laugh, "but I have plans to do plenty, honey. You can count on it."

I haven't blushed since childhood, but my face was burning hot and so were several other sensitive areas of my body.

When we left the restaurant Chili walked me back to the gallery. I own the building and I live in an apartment with an attached studio upstairs. My voice was shaking when I asked her if she wanted to come in for a drink.

"I'd like that," she said. "I'd enjoy seeing where you live and where you paint, but let's not let things get out of hand. I want you so bad I'm burning up with it, but it would break my heart if we rush into bed and our emotional connection gets damaged. You, my lovely one, are the woman of my dreams and I want this to last."

How many times in my life had I told a potential sexual conquest that what I felt would NOT last, that I was incapable of loving anyone or staying faithful? It had been true every time and I honestly thought it always would be, but with Chili, everything was different.

I took her upstairs and showed her around my home and then my studio. I never brought anyone inside the studio because I painted all of my pictures there, including the nudes. I painted them from photographs I took of models. I told them that "Mr. Jacobs" preferred to work from photos because he had a jealous wife and none of them questioned the explanation. I had several dozen pictures pinned up of the model I intended to paint next. Chili spent a long time looking at them.

"You haven't made love to her, have you?" she finally asked me.

"No," I told her. "I keep my work and my sex life separate, but …"

"But?"

"Well, I've always wondered how it would feel to paint a lover. To make a picture of all the parts of her I've touched. Parts I've aroused and satisfied. Parts that have satisfied me." I don't think I'd ever said anything that let someone inside my naked soul like that before.

"Oh, God," Chili moaned. "I've never wanted to touch someone so much in my life. May I kiss you? Just once?"

I couldn't answer her because I had a lump in my throat the size of a grapefruit. She took that as agreement and pulled my face to hers and took possession of my mouth like nobody ever has before.

I'm a modern woman and I've never wanted the old traditional butch/femme kind of relationship, but I do tend to take the lead in sexual encounters. I'm rather tall, I'm strong from working out regularly, and I've always been sure of myself, so I tend to be the aggressive one, but Chili was absolutely in charge at that moment. I'd have done anything she asked of me and begged for more.

I couldn't tell if it was the one kiss she'd asked for or a thousand. It went on and on and I was lost in a whirlwind of feeling the whole time.

"I think I'm about to make a liar of myself," Chili told me, when she lifted her hungry mouth from my equally ravenous one. "I can't stop yet. I have to touch you. Not everywhere that I'm aching to touch, I still want to wait until we know where we're headed with this before we do it all, but I need to do this. Will you let me?"

I wasn't sure what she meant, but I'd have let her do anything as long as she kept holding me to her. I wrapped my fingers in her hair and pulled her back for another kiss. My head was whirling again in a second, but I was fully aware of her hot hand plunging down the front of my pants. She drove right for my clit and suddenly my knees were buckling and I collapsed against her. We fell to the thick braided throw rug I keep by my easel. I laid there in her arms, our lips locked, and let her insistent fingers take me to heaven. I exploded into an earth-shattering climax in only a few minutes.

"Oh, yes, baby," Chili moaned, gasping for air. "You come so sweet. I'm going to love making you do that for the rest of our lives."

"The rest of our lives," was a phrase that would have sent me screaming into the night from anybody else, but I suddenly could see myself as a very old lady in Chili's ancient arms, still crying out in ecstasy as I just had.

I reached for the button at Chili's waist, eager to give her the kind of pleasure she'd given me, but she pushed me away.

"Jessica, darling, please don't," she begged. "Let's wait. I want us both to go crazy waiting for the next time. I don't want you to be able to think about anything but me until we're together again."

I protested that she'd already reached that goal, but she persisted and I finally let her leave. She promised we'd see each other again as soon as possible.

"As soon as possible" proved to be far too long a time. There always seemed to be a reason why we couldn't see each other, but Chili called everyday on her lunch hour and every night before we went to sleep. The first night we talked for an hour. By the second night it was up to two and a half hours. I pointed out to her that we could have spent that time together and she admitted she was making excuses not to be with me.

"You know we won't be able to keep our hands off each other, Jessi. I want to get to know you first and I want you to get to know me. If I see you, even in a public place, I know I'm going to lose control, so let's just stick to the phone for a little while longer, please."

By this time it was important to me, too, to know everything I could about Chili and to let her into my heart and mind, as I never had anyone else. I decided to content myself with phone calls for awhile more.

I soon found myself telling her all about the most painful time in my life: the death of my mother when I was seven years old. It had happened so quickly. She had come down with a high fever and she was dead by the next night of a fast-moving bacterial infection. The antibiotics the doctors gave her came too late.

My father was as shattered as I was and at a complete loss about what to do with me. He hired several women to take care of me over the next few years, but he seemed to pick them because he found them attractive, rather than for any proven skills with children. More than one of them ended up meeting certain needs of his, instead of caring for me. Naturally when he lost interest in them they were sent away and I got a new "companion."

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