I Just Don't Know . . . Ch. 02byBarelyJust©
Speaking the obvious: It would help greatly if you read the first part of the story before getting into this one. This is for Donna – friend, adviser, editor, muse.
A few days passed before I heard from Margaret again. She filled me in with the information about the New York conference. I would be flying to New York on Tuesday of the following week and staying with Caroline at a very nice midtown hotel for two nights. There would be a short meeting the first afternoon and both morning and afternoon sessions the second day. Both nights would be free for dinner, a show, or whatever we wanted to do in The Most Exciting City in the World, as the mayor of New York would put it. Margaret was unsure whether Caroline would be flying with me. She did say that my fellow traveler would be calling me in the next few days.
I found myself thinking about this situation almost non-stop. What was I hoping for? Did I want to further involve myself in something heretofore entirely out of character? Was I willing to admit that the memory of that day sent chills – excited chills – running through my body? I happened to be deep in thought about Caroline one afternoon when the phone rang and it was she.
I was disappointed when Caroline talked to me as though nothing had happened between us. She immediately talked about the conference and members of other charity groups that she hoped to meet. I felt guilty as she brought up ideas about fund-raising and ways to increase our membership. Could it be that she had just forgotten about the day on her deck? Was it an everyday occurrence to her? I felt shallow, self-centered, and more than a little bit embarrassed that all I could think about was the day that I had pleasured my body with this woman.
"So, are we going to be taking the same flight to New York?" I asked after Caroline seemed content to move on from conference ideas.
"No. I have a contractor that's going to be starting some work in my kitchen here that morning so I have to come in a bit later. I should be getting to the hotel by early afternoon. You should probably have lunch and then we can get to the conference center for that initial meeting."
"Okay," I replied. "I know some nice places for dinner, if you're interested."
"Great. Me, too. There's so much to choose from in the city. I'm sure we may meet some women there who might want to join us." Caroline was so at ease and matter-of-fact. If she only knew how agitated I was at the thought of spending time with her.
"Well, I guess I'll see you next week." It was time for me to admit that I had built up this 'relationship' into something she wanted to forget or at least bypass.
"Great, I'm really looking forward to it. I'm sure we'll have a blast," Caroling responded. Then, with one sentence, she set my heart to fluttering. "I'll bring the vodka, you bring the baby lotion." Her voice betrayed a stifled grin.
"I . . .," I began, but heard a giggle and a "Goodbye, Sweetie," from the other line before a click and a dial tone.
* * *
The plane flight was happily uneventful. I arrived at LaGuardia mid-morning, got a shuttle into Grand Central, and a taxi to the hotel. I was at the desk checking in at 11:00 o'clock. Somewhat shockingly, our room was ready right away.
I found it on the 17th floor. It was spacious and sleek, with minimal design elements in muted tones with bits of color found in wall hangings and flower arrangements. The view from a large double window was of a busy street hemmed in by buildings that blocked any distant views. Two nice-sized twin beds were separated by a small night table. I immediately headed for the large, well-appointed bathroom for a shower, much needed after the grimy process that is air travel these days.
The shower was wonderful. Large, with room even for a small bench upon which to sit, and boasting multiple shower heads that pulsed, throbbed, jolted, spanked . . . whatever you were in the mood for. I was happy with a gentle rain forest effect that soothed me for several minutes before I tore myself away. I put on a pretty, mid-length robe I had brought, happily neglecting to use any under garments. There's nothing like the feel of good quality silk gently rubbing against your naked body as you slink around a room. I then ordered lunch from room service and tried out the television channels as I waited for it to be delivered.
A handsome young man, appearing to be of Mediterranean descent, delivered my lunch. He flashed his pearly whites at me as I fished in my purse for a tip. I behaved myself, keeping the neckline of my robe tightly closed (Perhaps too tightly – those pesky nipples of mine were surely making a guest appearance.) and making sure not to show too much leg as I approached him. I was somehow reassured that I found myself a bit turned on by his masculine beauty. I love men, after all. That is never going to change, regardless . . .
I finished my lunch and saw that it was almost 12:30. Our keynote meeting was scheduled to begin at 3:00 in a conference center only a short walk from the hotel so time wasn't yet a concern. But I was wondering when Caroline would show up. She had said early afternoon so anytime now was possible. I found the doubts and nervousness coming back. I mean, we were going to be in a hotel room together. The possibility of embarrassment or discomfort was truly more than a possibility. It was a distinct likelihood. Surely the flip comment she had made over the phone was just a joke. Oh, my, I thought, what was I doing here?
I called my husband at his office to let him know I had arrived safely. We spoke briefly and as he was signing off, he quipped, "Now don't go picking up any men in New York." I assured him that I wouldn't.
* * *
I had barely sat down with a magazine when I heard some fumbling with the door lock. There was a light tap as the door swung open and Caroline was revealed. She stepped into our room, put down her piece of luggage, took one look at me, and said, in a very disappointed tone, "Oh . . . you're not naked!?"
For once, it took me less than a second to realize that this was just Caroline being Caroline. She had apparently decided to defuse the situation with her one-liner. So, to my infinite pleasure, I responded, "Almost, dearie. I'd be in big trouble if this were strip poker because I'm at one garment and counting."
"And a very nice garment it is," Caroline responded admiringly. Then she took a big sigh and simply said, "Hi, Emily."
"Hello, Caroline," I responded. "Come on in. Let me help you with that. How was your trip?"
"Not bad, thanks. I'm here and I haven't given back the delightful food they served on the plane, so that's a plus. And how are you?"
"I'm fine. I highly recommend the shower if you'd like to freshen up. It's got more speeds and nozzles than a 747."
"Oh, yes, that sounds wonderful." Caroline paused and looked me hard in the eye. She added, "When I'm done, I'm guessing you'd like to have a little talk. Am I right?"
I returned her gaze, nodded, and said, "Yes. Yes, I think that would be a great idea."
I helped Caroline unpack a few things and as she unselfconsciously started to unbutton her blouse, I realized I had no place to go to give her some privacy. Of course, she could have undressed in the bathroom had she so chosen. So I resolved to be casual as well, sitting on the bed nearest the window and chatting about the upcoming conference. Caroline was down to her bra and panties in no time and never missed a beat in the conversation. She grabbed a robe and turned into the bathroom, still talking over her shoulder about a speaker she not only looked forward to hearing but hoped to invite to our big fund raiser social. Then, I heard the shower and took a deep breath wondering how our little post-shower chat would go.
Caroline emerged several minutes later, looking tousled, scrubbed, and refreshed. And beautiful. She looked beautiful. She smiled as she shook her damp hair and sighed, "That was heaven. It was real work to tear myself out of there." She walked over and sat on the other bed, directly across from me. Our knees almost touched as she ran a towel across her hair, separating strands with her long fingers. She smiled and said nothing as if inviting me to take the lead. I bit.
"Okay. That day – on your deck (Like she didn't know the day I was talking about? Geez, come on, Em!)– was wonderful." Every word I spoke was labored. I so wanted to say the right thing. "I just never experienced anything like that before."
"And you're wondering if I had." She didn't pose it as a question. It just lay there. "You also want to know if I planned the whole thing, a big, thought-out seduction fueled by alcohol and baby oil. That about right?"
I was flustered by her forthright approach but managed a slight nod. She had, after all, hit it right on the nose.
"Well . . . second things first. No. I had no idea that anything was going to happen. I just really wanted to talk with you, have a conversation with a nice lady my age. What happened just seemed to happen. And, to be fair, you seemed to want it as much as I did."
After a moment's hesitation, I admitted, "I did kind of ask a lot of leading questions, didn't I? And, yes, once it started, I didn't want it to stop."
Caroline's eyes crinkled and she said, "I'm glad. It was one hell of an afternoon."
I widened my eyes in agreement and admitted, "I'm sorry I ran out on you. I just . . . I was really confused."
"Totally understandable. Which brings us back to your first question. While it was pretty obvious you were doing something you had never done before, in my case . . ." she looked off to the window and seemed to fight to regain her focus.
"You don't have to tell me anything," I offered.
"I don't mind. It's actually an interesting story, I think. You know that I went to an all-girls college. It was pretty remote and I was thrown in with a group of housemates that I got really close to. There were six of us, two to a room, and we shared a large common room that had couches and a tv and work tables. It was a place to hang out together which we did all the time. We were all gung-ho liberal arts majors anxious to share our ideas, particularly in the arts. We actually sat in that room, usually in our nightgowns, and read poetry to each other and listened to Chopin and . . . God, we were nerds!" She laughed in reflection. "Anyway, one evening, we decided to sketch, probably because of some art class one of us had. We enjoyed it and it became a regular activity. Eventually, we decided that one of us would model while everyone else would draw. Our ringleader - you know how every group has a dominant character - was going to model one night. I'll never forget it. She stood on a little bench we had in the middle of the room and announced, 'Tonight, ladies, I am going to portray the famous Venus de Milo . . . with arms.' With that, she worked her nightgown off her shoulders and lowered it to well below her waist, bunching it up so it stayed in place. She then struck a classic Grecian pose and said, 'Okay, make me look good.' We sat there with open mouths marveling at her chutzpah, but one by one, we got down to our sketches. She had great breasts and we regarded them with serious admiration. After that, art time was never the same. Every Wednesday night, we would bravely take our turns as figure models, eventually becoming comfortable in different degrees of undress, including totally nude. I know I found it exciting and my roommate admitted the same when I asked her." Caroline's eyes lit up as a memory appeared to pop into her head. "You won't believe this, but one of the girls actually snuck a guy she knew into our dorm one Wednesday. She had told him about our figure drawing and he had volunteered to model! We were freaking out but he was a confident thing. He stood there, stripped in a trice, and posed like Michelangelo's David. He had a beautiful body and seemed not at all embarrassed to be showing it." Caroline stopped and said, "This really isn't what we were supposed to be talking about, is it?"
"Stop now," I replied, "and I will be forced to kill you."
She giggled and went on. "Well, there we were all serious with our charcoal pencils at work when our model apparently remembered exactly where he was and what he was doing. His very nice little penis began to . . . change its attitude. You couldn't miss it. Millimeters turned into centimeters and it began to rise like a flagpole. Six young women, mouths open, pencils stilled . . . what a sight!" We both laughed at the thought. Caroline continued, "The poor guy stammered something about having to take a break and grabbed for his jeans but the memory was made. He could never look us in the eye after that and we could only look him in the crotch!"
We laughed a bit more and Caroline got back on course. "The longer our group stayed together, the more we shared and opened up. It became common knowledge that a couple of roommates were doing more than sleeping in their room and eventually we all experimented a little bit - kissing, touching, and, in some cases, more." Her tone was suddenly serious as she thought back to what were apparently happy memories. "It was never anything really . . ., I mean, we all loved each other, you know? But, the physical stuff was just . . . I don't know, part of experiencing. I guess it taught me to love and admire the female form and I've certainly never lost that feeling." She looked at me and smiled. "Our day together sort of rekindled something from way back, I guess."
I let her words hang on the air for a moment before responding, "Thank you for telling me that. You were lucky to have those moments." I returned her rather intense gaze with one of my own and said, "I feel equally lucky even if it was just one day."
Caroline reached out her hands and I extended mine to her. "I'm glad we're here, Emily," she said. "Let's just relax and have a great two days."
"Starting with that keynote address," I said, somewhat sadly, "We're going to be late if we don't get going."
"Oh, gosh, you're right," Caroline said, glancing at her watch. "Hope that speaker doesn't go on too long. I think we should come back here for afternoon tea. Agree?"
* * *
The speaker was actually mesmerizing and mercifully succinct. Caroline and I mingled with other attendees, sometimes together and sometimes going our separate ways. It was almost 6:00 before we knew it and by then we had made dinner plans with four other women, two prior acquaintances and two we had just met. Our reservations weren't until 8:30 so we did have time to return to our hotel.
Room service (same Mediterranean Adonis, I was happy to see) delivered a pot of tea and some sweets which we devoured. Caroline suggested we get more comfortable and so we both got back into our robes. This time, I left on my underwear, causing Caroline to comment. "Hiding those incredible nipples . . . so sad. Tonight, you've got to go braless, show the Big Apple what you've got."
I sighed. "You're incorrigible. Actually, they're a pain in the neck. They show up at the damnedest times: PTA meetings, church services, and, of course, in the frozen food section. The boys at the Shop Rite are big fans."
"So am I," Caroline purred. Aha, thought I, I see where she's taking this and we are both sober as judges. I decided to call her bluff.
"Okay, just for you," I said as I untied the robe, let it fall to my waist, and unhooked my bra. My breasts spilled out and all it took was a quick pinch from my fingers to get their tips standing at full attention. I returned the robe to its original position and tightened the tie. My nipples stood firm and hard against the silk dressing gown. Throughout this naughty little show, Caroline maintained rapt attention. Then, she stood and walked over to my chair. The room had become very quiet.
Caroline slowly raised her hand and cupped my breast through the material. She used her thumb to stroke the nipple. At this, I felt my knees start to click against each other. "Emily," she asked, ever so softly, "may I kiss you?"
As an answer, I stood up. We were eye to eye and I slowly moved into her. She moved one hand behind my neck, gently held me there, and brought her lips to mine. Soft. Very soft. And sweet. A lipstick-sweet kiss, a first for me. Our lips parted just a bit and the very tips of our tongues met. This was so nice and so different. I was floating as Caroline opened her mouth a bit more, bringing mine willingly with it. Our tongues began a very gentle, rhythmic dance and I heard light moaning from this woman: my friend and, a bit shockingly, my lover.
The kissing went on for minutes and I would've happily stayed in that spot for hours. Caroline, however, had other ideas. "Come. Let's lie down," she said.
"No," I answered. Her look was one of great surprise and disappointment.
"Not now, not yet," I explained. "I want to anticipate this. I want to sit in the restaurant and look across at you, with our own little secret. And then, I want to say goodnight to our friends and find some little place where we can sit, maybe listen to some music. And then, I want to come back here and spend the night with you, totally, with you. Can you wait for me?"
Caroline slowly dropped to her knees, put her arms around my waist, and put the side of her head to my belly. "It will be torture," she said, "exquisite torture. But tonight, it will be worth it. For now, dare we trust ourselves to lie in each others' arms?"
And we did. We lay side by side, breathing in our scents, listening to some of Caroline's beloved Chopin (she never outgrew him) on her iPod. I had seldom felt so comfortable and safe. In what seemed like minutes, it was time to get ready for dinner.
* * *
We ate at an Asian fusion place that one of the other women recommended. The food was interesting and the conversation never flagged. If any of our friends noticed my bra-free breasts, they had the good grace to keep it to themselves. I know I saw Caroline glancing at them more than once as we sat across the table from each other. Sadly, our positions meant there were no opportunities for playing footsie or caressing knees. We did however pass knowing looks as we anticipated what we knew was ahead of us.
It was almost 10:30 when we said goodnight to our friends. We turned down their invitation of drinks somewhere claiming we were exhausted from our day of travel and meetings. So we hailed a cab and set off, supposedly, for our hotel. Instead, we headed way downtown to a club my husband and I had discovered a few years earlier. There, we sat at a small table in semi-darkness, listening to a trio who found a way to take Bach pieces and turn them into moody jazz variations. We sipped our drinks and sent little signals, physical and verbal. Our fingers touched and it was like a gentle electric shock. Caroline leaned over and whispered, "Those bass notes are hitting me right between my legs. Can you feel it, too?" I slipped off my shoe and slowly ran my toe up her shin. Basically, we were driving each other nuts.
The trio took a break and we decided it was time to go. We behaved ourselves in the cab ride uptown and soon found ourselves in an empty elevator heading to our room. Caroline moved toward me and placed her hands on the rail on either side of my hips. Without a word, she kissed me and slowly moved her body forward into mine. The kiss felt like an orgasm. There was a rhythm to it, a pulsing, rolling movement. The muted bell announcing our arrival on the seventeenth floor broke into a moment so sensual that my head was spinning and I was gasping for air. On shaky legs, I followed my companion down the corridor to our room.
Caroline immediately moved toward one of the beds and threw back the spread and covers. I stood there trying to catch my breath. When she turned toward me, I moved forward and said, "More kisses. Please." Caroline happily complied and we greedily kissed, our hands actively caressing shoulders, necks, and faces. Kissing her was incredible. I had a conscious awareness of how incredibly pleasurable this was, like nothing I had ever experienced.