Equal Shares Ch. 27bysteveh11©
Denise sat in her living room, trying to collect herself.
Tom. He'd made love to her -- no, he'd fucked her, skilfully, but it wasn't making love. So he'd fucked her and then he'd left.
Denise walked slowly, a little carefully, up the stairs to her room. She put on her bathrobe, and sat on the edge of the bed.
Denise began to cry, softly at first, then with increasingly loud and violent sobs, as she threw herself onto her bed, grabbing a pillow and howling into it. Her mother hadn't raised an idiot. Denise knew without the need for further proof that Tom had played her beautifully. He must have been overjoyed when she'd thrown herself at him like that.
He'd made her feel good, she'd been willing and had taken her full part, she reflected once the crying jag had finished. She actually felt a tingle in her belly when she thought back to the physical act, but Denise knew there was no relationship there. 'At least he'd used a condom,' she thought.
Denise sat up, wiped her eyes and considered. 'Maybe after a bath, I'll feel better.'
So, she ran a bath, put in some bath oil as the last of the water was entering and lit a scented candle by the side. Denise eased in and sighed, luxuriating in the hot water. For a while she simply lay there, not thinking, just feeling the tension run out of her body as she lay in the water.
Finally she refocused her mind. Tom. What to do about him?
'He's skilful, he got me off fine,' she thought, one hand idly playing with her pubic hair under the water. 'What was it he said? I can do more than just casual. Then he just about made me explode, and ran off... what do I do now?'
'Why'd he run off? Just some sorta I don't do after sex cuddles reaction?' she wondered. 'Could there be more to it? Was it just I've had what I wanted, now I'm outta here!' the thought continued.
Well. In theory, she had another date with him, she remembered. She could keep the date, and see how it went from there.
But in her heart, unacknowledged but there, she knew. Tom was a mistake. Now, she had to get to the stage of admitting it to herself.
- - - - - - - - - -
The following morning Anne drove Stan to work, and they walked through into reception together. Elaine was there, as usual, and she smiled when she saw the couple walk in together.
"Hi you two! Seems like you're really over your troubles!"
Anne glanced at her hand, fingers entwined in Stan's, and then looked up and gave him a peck on the cheek.
"I decided that he was wrong, he agreed with me, now we're okay!" she told the blonde receptionist with a smile. Elaine giggled and told her "Well, he's a slow learner, but I'm sure you'll have him trained soon!"
"Humph! I've got better places to go to be insulted than here..." grinned Stan. "You lot gang up on a poor fellow like that, he doesn't stand a chance!"
"You better believe it, buddy!" called Elaine as Stan left for his office after giving Anne a final peck on the cheek.
Once in the office he was a little surprised not to see Elizabeth, but was reassured by the fact that her PC was switched on. Stan turned on his own machine and went to get coffee.
On his return he found Elizabeth just coming back into the office from the test area with a sample of devices. She saw Stan, took in his bright, sunny expression -- so different from last week -- and exclaimed "Oh! You and Anne?"
Stan couldn't help but smile. "Yes, we're over that patch. We each know we love the other, and that's the main thing, all else fades in comparison."
Stan sat and thought for a moment, smiling a little. Elizabeth watched and waited for him to continue, a slight smile on her own lips.
"Have you ever danced the Tango, Elizabeth?"
"No. Remember? I told you before, my Mum & Dad did, but I never learned ballroom."
"Well," he said, his smile widening, "let's just say that, knowing you, you'd have enjoyed it. It gets the juices flowing..." he said with a wink.
"Oh, I can believe it -- but I do believe that some good Rock'n'Roll can have the same effect, Stan!"
"Now," she went on in a more serious voice, "about these test results..."
The two got on with their work.
- - - - - - - - - -
At lunchtime, Elizabeth and Denise once again ate together. Denise had been looking forward to being able to talk to her older friend. She felt she needed to talk through her situation.
At first however, she was somehow reluctant to start. Elizabeth, sensing that there was something on the younger woman's mind, waited while the remaining salad disappeared from their plates, as she obviously thought through what to say.
Finally, Elizabeth's patience ran out.
"Denise? You obviously want to say something, but not a word...?"
"Mmm? Oh! Oh, yes. Um." Denise drew a deep breath.
"It's Tom. Last night we made love, well after the dance we were sort've fired up, you know?" Elizabeth nodded, thinking of Stan that morning, but letting Denise continue.
"Well, one thing lead to another last night, and it happened. He's pretty darn persuasive, and he certainly knows his way around a woman's body, but when we finished he... he just simply got up and left, after telling me we had a date on Friday.
"I mean, I really enjoyed myself with him, he's got plenty of skill, and is obviously experienced. No coercion or anything, we knew what we were doing, but that thing of just leaving... I just don't think he's in it for the long term."
"Well, it's not a good sign, Denise, is it? I suppose there could have been other reasons -- did he say he had to be somewhere else, or anything?" Elizabeth answered.
"No. He just got dressed and left."
"He told you that you had a date on Friday?"
"Well," considered Denise, "it wasn't quite like that. He asked, but in a way that made it sound like I'd already agreed."
"Are you going to meet him, then"
"I don't honestly know, Elizabeth. I just don't honestly know."
Denise took a sip of her fruit juice, then continued, soberly, "But probably yes. If only physically, he made me feel good." She smiled at Elizabeth and finished with a saucy grin, "Tingly."
"Well, if he thinks he can use you, he may find that the tables are turned, then!" answered Elizabeth with a widening smile.
The two giggled and finished their meal.
- - - - - - - - - -
After her lunch, Denise went to see Elaine in reception.
"Howdy!" she said to the younger blonde.
"Hello Denise -- how are you getting on?" asked Elaine.
"Oh, I'm fine, fine. I'm just mulling over man problems."
"I don't have those!" grinned Elaine.
"No, but you have to put up with your own hormones and those of another woman!" giggled Denise. They both laughed -- it had been a constant refrain between them while they'd been together, how it was either twice the fun or...
"So, what's the man problem then -- aside from acute testosterone poisoning?" asked Elaine.
Denise outlined the night before to Elaine, in the same way that she had to Elizabeth.
"So, I've got a date on Friday. He's coming to pick me up -- unless I cancel him," she finished.
Elaine was quiet for a moment or two. The she said "Well, you can use him to scratch your itch for the time being, but it seems to me that you've already made up your mind that he's not going to do for you in the longer term."
"You're right, of course."
"Actually, I think you need to be thinking hard about whether you want to see him at all. What do you know about him?"
"Only that he goes to the dance classes, he's funny, charming, experienced and skilful in bed -- though we never actually got to bed! -- and not that much else."
"Just be careful, Denise. That's all I'll say. I don't know him at all, but the impression you give is that you trust him as far as you can throw him. Make sure that if you're going to keep seeing him, it's on your terms."
"Oh, I will, Elaine, I will!"
Just then the phone rang, and Elaine had to answer it. Denise went back to her office and prepared to get back to work.
- - - - - - - - - -
Denise had made good progress on the documentation project, and now needed to show Stan the early working prototype of the interface she'd developed. She noticed that Stan was less nervous around her than before, and also that she felt more at ease around him. She wasn't sure why, but perhaps it was to do with his protectiveness, and the way she now felt about Tom?
They'd been working quietly together for about half an hour when Denise heard a soft sound as someone coughed gently behind her. She looked back, to find Anne standing there, with a slight smile on her face.
"Don't mind me, I just wanted to check something with Stan," she told Denise. "Stan, d'you fancy some Sea Bass tonight? I thought it would make a change."
Stan had turned in his seat, and answered, "Yes, I'd like that. Round yours?"
Anne had tilted her head back a little and laughed, "Yes, Stan, unless you fancy cooking? Actually, strike that... I don't fancy your cooking!"
She'd looked back at Denise. "He's a really rotten cook you know. Hopeless in the kitchen!"
"Really? He seems so... competent. What other little faults have you been hiding, Stan?" Denise asked with raised eyebrows.
"Well, let's just say it's a good job you haven't asked me to maintain your car, shall we?" Stan grinned.
"Hey! You never told me about that one!" cried Anne.
"Well, it's not in my contract..."
"What contact!" she'd cried, louder.
All three had burst into laughter.
- - - - - - - - - -
While working together the next day, talk had come around to going out that evening.
"Anne and I are going to Tennants tonight. We felt like eating out."
"You mean, she didn't feel like cooking all the time, because you're too lazy to cook, don't you!?" replied Denise.
"Believe me, Denise, you don't want to eat my cooking unless you're really hungry!" he'd told her.
"Oh, you poor, helpless man, you!" she'd said. Then she patted him on the shoulder. She went on, "I guess I ought to go to the Mitre, and meet up with Susan and Elaine. It's been a while since I've had a Wednesday night there."
"I think that's a good idea -- you look like you need to relax a little."
"Huh? You stopped passing out the compliments and begun on the insults, now?" she'd asked, archly.
"Um. Can I have another go at that? Please?"
Denise had then, with great and exaggerated dignity, nodded assent.
"I meant that, despite the fact that you and I are getting along better than we have since, well, since your holiday," he'd said, tactfully not using the word 'Anne', "You seem a little, well, edgy at times. A night out and a drink would probably do you good."
"Well done Mr. I-can-see-the-bleedin-obvious," she told him a little more heatedly than she'd intended. She went on more gently, "Sorry. I guess I'm a little distracted."
"Um. Is it the-subject-that-shall-not-be-mentioned?"
"Probably!" she told him, now smiling. "So let's not mention it any more, or we'll get into trouble again. Now, Let's get back to business. You asked for access to the system from from outside the company..."
'Back to work,' groaned Stan, inwardly.
- - - - - - - - - -
That evening Denise, wearing a quite sexy low-cut white top and a fairly short matching skirt, entered the Mitre and looked around. Sure enough, Elaine was there with Susan.
Susan spotted her first, and waved her over. Denise nodded, and indicated the bar with a questioning look. Susan mouthed "Cider, Two" and Denise nodded.
She bought the drinks, including a bitter lemon for herself -- driving -- and went over to sit with her friends.
Elaine was feeding peanuts to Susan, teasing her with them. The two girls were giggling and obviously enjoying themselves. Denise joined in, and the three of them were tossing peanuts, feeding each other drinks and generally having great, but slightly messy fun with each other. Denise was pleased as punch to see her friends relaxed and having fun this way.
"Who's there?" chorused Susan and Denise, wide grins plastered on their faces.
Denise was already groaning, but she and Susan looked at each other and, together, said "Abby Who?"
Denise sang, "Abby birthday to yoooouuu!"
The other two both threw peanuts at her.
"Your turn!" she said, pointing at Denise, who frowned a moment, the came up with one.
"Who's there!" the two lovers said, looking at each other.
"General Lee who?"
"Generally, I don't tell jokes!" Denise finished, with a punch in the air.
"And we can see why!" laughed Susan, with a pronounced groan. "Why do we tell knock-knock jokes, they're all awful!"
"Oh, because as bad as they are, they're fun, too!" said Elaine.
Susan said, "What did King Kong say when he got a wrong number?"
Denise and Elaine said together, "I don't know, what did he say?"
"King Kong Ring Wrong!" Susan announced, and Denise hurled a napkin at her while Elaine pounced on her and told her to "Stop, stop, please stop, I'll do anything, but make the pain go away!"
"Okay, I know how to do that," smiled Susan. Elaine looked at her lustfully, but Susan told "Later, you naughty girl. I meant drinks! Denise?"
"Just a bitter lemon please, Susan," Denise answered. "I've got to drive."
Just then Denise looked towards the bar where she saw a new arrival and his date. His back was to her, but he looked familiar...
The man turned, and yes, it was indeed Tom. His eyes widened in recognition at the same time as the slender brunette on his arm turned to look in her direction.
Denise was moving. She hadn't even noticed she'd stood, and just barely heard a buzz in her ears from those around her. She came towards Tom, who was smoothly trying to talk to the brunette while moving away from the bar, but a crowd had walked in behind him, and he had difficulty getting away.
Denise reached him, looked him in the eye, then glanced briefly aside at the brunette.
"So, long-term for you is all of two days, is it?" she asked him.
Tom ignored the jibe. "Denise, how nice to see you. This is Samantha. Samantha, Denise."
"Er, Tom, who is..." the girl started to ask him.
Denise, having reached the bar, with scarcely a glance picked up a drink that the barman had just placed there and threw it in Tom's face, then calmly replaced the glass back on the counter. She turned back to the tall brunette and her spluttering escort, now with fury contorting her face. She told her, "I'm just the girl he had SEX with Monday night, that's ALL!" and slapped him around the head. Tom's head snapped to one side under the blow. Denise's face was a furious mask, but then it broke and she started to cry, slapping at Tom's arms with both hands.
"You bastard! You even made a date with me for Friday! You fuckin' bastard!"
Elaine and Susan had reached her at this point. Samantha took one more look at her, looked at Tom and hissed "Goodbye, Tom!" and then turned on her heel and left. Susan took one arm, Elaine the other, and they held her. Tom, with a pint of beer all down the front of his shirt and staining his jacket and trousers, with a clear mark on one cheek and an expression of utter bewilderment on his face, turned and fled.
Elaine looked at the barman who'd started to replace the pint, and said, "I'll get that." The guy who's beer it had been told her "No, that's fine, I think it qualifies as a good cause!" and Elaine nodded, gratefully. Between them Susan and she steered the now sobbing Denise back to their table.
Elaine looked a question at Susan, who nodded assent, and she scooted around and sat next to Denise, holding the girl's head against her shoulder as she cried. Susan looked a little shocked, Denise was inconsolable, but Elaine was furious.
"Bastards like that make me glad I don't fancy men!" she snapped at Susan. Susan, however, though shocked still kept her equilibrium a little better.
"There's some in the sisterhood just as bad, Laney," she lamented. "We both know that."
"Yeah, well, I'm right about him being a bastard, though!" Elaine countered, rubbing Denise's shoulder as the redhead wept. This went on some time.
Denise pulled herself together... finally. She sat up, looked at Elaine, then across at Susan. Both ladies looked at their friend with concern in their eyes. Denise's face was puffy and red and her cheeks were wet. There was what Susan thought was a cute little bubble on her nose.
Denise sniffed a couple of times, and then said, "God, I must look a mess. I'm going to the ladies to freshen up. I'll be back in a minute."
Elaine offered to go with her. Susan said she'd stay and watch the drinks. They were gone a while before Susan saw them coming back. Denise looked a little better, at least she was smiling, but Elaine was obviously concerned about something.
She asked Susan, "Suze, Denny asked me something, and I said she'd better ask you. I said I couldn't decide this one for you. Denise?"
Denise looked embarrassed. Susan couldn't quite work out what about, plus there was something else behind her eyes that she couldn't identify.
"Susan, can I come over and stay with you guys tonight? And maybe longer? I really don't want to stay alone in my house."
Susan focussed on Denise, her face becoming neutral.
"Spare room, or even on the couch. I just don't want to be alone, is all."
Susan looked at Elaine, whose face was carefully schooled into as neutral an expression as she could manage. Nonetheless, she could see that Elaine wanted her to say yes.
"Okay, Denise. You know where?"
"Not really, I know you live on the Waterwood estate, but not your address."
Elaine had moved in with Susan after Denise had split with her. Denise knew the phone number, and had Elaine's cell number, but had never learned exactly where she lived.
"Right. Well, let's go. You can drive us to your house and pick up some overnight stuff, and then we'll direct you to our place." Finally her expression softened, and she looked at both of the other women in turn. "You, Elaine, will be the death of me, I swear. And you, Denise, are welcome into my house. You can have the spare room and we'll sort everything else out later. Okay? Both of you?"
Elaine gave Susan a tight hug, and a kiss. Denise watched, seeing the two women embrace. She still felt angry and betrayed by Tom, but at least, she thought, 'I can get through this. One night at a time.
'I can do this... one night at a time.'