When the Swedish furniture and household goods store, IKEA, opened up a large warehouse two years ago in the South East of England Karen started work in the Purchasing Department. She was 30 years of age and many people had remarked on her likeness to the actress, Sandra Bullock. In other words she was gorgeous and this, added to the fact that she was also intelligent and sociable, made her extremely popular. One of the ways she had learned to put up the barriers against unwanted male attention in the workplace was to surround herself with her group of friends.
Her friends in the group numbered four: Jenny, Melanie, Trish and Sharmila. Both Sharmila and Trish worked alongside Karen in Purchasing while Jenny and Melanie worked on the floor as Assistant Managers. They were all very pretty with ages ranging between 25 and 40, Jenny being the oldest. Melanie, at 25, was an aspiring amateur athlete and in her spare time she trained hard to try and knock off the point five of a second for the 100ms sprint that would get her a trial for the Olympic team.
Once a month they made an effort to meet up in one of their houses on a Saturday for a meal and some drinks and maybe a DVD. Several times some of them had stayed over owing to the fact they had maybe drunk too much to drive. They were occasions to look forward to and usually they'd be talking about the menu and choice of DVD for a couple of days beforehand.
This time it was the turn of Karen to host the event. Yet, strangely, she had seemed very thoughtful all week as though there was something heavy weighing on her mind. Sharmila had said she would cook the dinner at her place if that was the problem but Karen assured her she was happy with it being her turn. She simply answered that she had to tell them something important on Saturday but she was working her way round it. Naturally enough the four women believed she was going to use the get-together to announce her engagement. Trish stirred the waters a little more by thinking aloud that she might announce that she was pregnant. The one announcement they didn't want was to hear that she was leaving work. Jenny, being the eldest and possibly the wisest, said it would be better to trust Karen and let her tell everyone on the Saturday.
The end of the week slowly came and it seemed that Karen's seriousness hadn't lessened. In fact, twice at lunchtime on the Friday Karen had been miles away when the others were speaking to her. On Saturday Karen sent a quick text to each of them to remind them of the time and to say she was looking forward to seeing them. She also let them know that she was providing the wine so they weren't to bring anything.
Sharmila and Trish arrived first in Sharmila's car then five minutes later Melanie and shortly afterwards Jenny. One of the rules of these nights was that casual wear was the only acceptable form of dress. So the women came in their jogging gear or loose cotton pants and cotton tops.
Karen had prepared a simple but delicious plate of roast chicken, baby potatoes, pear and polenta mash with a side salad that included avocado. It went down really well with a bottle of Chilean Sauvignon. The conversation during the meal wasn't strained but there was little said, in large part due to the success of the cooking. It deserved to be eaten in tranquillity.
"That was magnificent, Karen!" Jenny spoke for them all.
"Just excellent," smiled Melanie. "It's my turn next month and I'm sure I can't follow that!"
Karen smiled too, "Nonsense, Melanie!"
"So?" Sharmila looked enquiringly at Karen.
"Oooh. What is it?" asked Melanie.
"Pavlova or blueberry cheesecake."
They all made their choices and again ate relatively quietly. Then came the coffee.
"Shall we get started on the wine?" suggested Trish, with a wink in her eye.
They all looked at Karen because it was her home and she had to decide.
"Just before we do that," sighed Karen in a voice tinged with sadness, "I want to tell you all something. Something I should have told you before."
The look on the faces of the other women showed their concern. Melanie reached for Jenny's arm.
"And if any of you or all of you want to leave immediately after I tell you I certainly won't hold it against you. You're my friends and you're all very special to me and I won't begrudge your choice."
"God, will you get it out, woman!" Sharmila almost yelled.
"I'm a lesbian! There! I've said it!"
For a moment or two there was a deep, resonating silence and Karen couldn't lift her face to look them in the eyes.
"Is that it?" Jenny's voice was angry. "Hell, Karen, I thought you were going to tell us you had a terminal illness or something."
Karen glanced up to gauge their reactions and shook her head at Jenny's thought.
Melanie laughed, "On the way over I was thinking maybe you'd murdered someone in the past."
That changed the mood. Laughter broke out. Even Karen giggled.
"Anybody here want to leave?" asked Jenny. She was answered with a chorus of no.
"Thankyou! I really mean that. You've no idea. I've been worried all week since I decided to tell you."
"Sure we're your friends," Sharmila said and reached for Karen's hand.
"Why were you worried about declaring your sexual preference anyway?" enquired Trish and the others nodded too, as it was a valid question.
"Er, I don't know," answered Karen. "Maybe because it's the first time I've declared it to anyone. Even myself. I don't really take rejection well and I thought that was what would happen."
"Us reject you? You should know us better than that, Karen!" Trish spoke for everyone.
"We need wine!" Jenny stood up and fetched the tray with glasses and a bottle that had been left open to breathe. "Everyone scoot into the living room!"
Karen's living room comprised a three seater and a two seater sofa, from IKEA of course, and several large bean bags. There was also a standard-sized TV in one corner and a music system in the other. Melanie went straight to one of the bags and made herself comfortable while the others chose the sofas. Jenny sat next to Karen on the larger settee.
As part of the unspoken tradition too, Karen poured the wine and made the first toast. "To you, the best friends I've ever had!"
Melanie couldn't resist: "You haven't had us yet!"
Everyone burst out laughing. Loud and long.
The second toast ten minutes later, made by Jenny, praised Karen's meal and choice of wine.
"How many bottles do we have, by the way?" asked Trish with a smile.
"I got twelve in," said Karen
"Twelve? So many?"
"Well, you can never be too sure! And, anyway, I thought I might have to drink myself to death."
"Wow! That serious, huh?" commented Sharmila.
"Tell me something," Jenny looked into Karen's eyes. "How do you know you're a lesbian anyway?"
"Because I've slept with other women ...."
"Women?" said Sharmila and Trish in unison.
"As in the plural? How many?" Sharmila continued.
"Sharmila!" said Jenny in a mocking tone. "But yeah, how many?"
"Five," answered Karen, who was getting a bit tipsy and relaxed now after her worries had come to nothing.
"And men?" Jenny wanted to know.
"None since Dominic two years ago."
"Who's Dominic?" asked Melanie, sitting up.
"My ex-boyfriend. We lived together for a year before I joined IKEA."
"And what happened?"
"We became indifferent to each other. It happens."
"But the sex?" Melanie was proving very adept at breaking up any moments of silence or tension with a bit of humour.
"Good in the beginning, yeah, but after a while there was nothing new. Just bang, bang, thankyou ma'am, goodnight."
"Been there, seen it, got the tee shirt," announced Jenny. "But with my David there's just that stability and you get used to it and accept it."
"Anybody else here been with a woman?" asked Sharmila, filling all their glasses again.
Everyone shook their heads.
"You?" Karen looked at Sharmila.
"No!" she said. "I suppose I've thought about it though."
"Most women do," added Trish. "I mean, I read that somewhere."
"How did it start, Karen?"
"Go on, tell us!" Sharmila said. The others nodded their approval.
"You really want to know?" she asked with a smile, looking into all their eyes.
They nodded. "And leave nothing out!" Melanie laughed.
"It's not for the weak of heart," warned Karen.
"Go on. We're all fit and healthy and women of the world!" Jenny added with a smile.
"Well, then. About a year ago ..."
"Be precise!" Melanie pointed a finger at her.
"OK. Last April, my sister got a voucher for a free massage for her birthday. Someone out of her work gave it to her. So she didn't want it and gave it to me. I always wanted a massage so I went along one night ..."
"Oh shit, you going to say what I think you are?" Trish held a hand over her mouth.
Karen nodded before continuing. "There were different rooms and I think the receptionist made a mistake and sent me to the female masseuse. She was a stunningly beautiful Japanese girl. Mayu, you called her."
"Did you not realise the mistake?" asked Jenny.
"Shush!" said the others.
"To be honest I couldn't take my eyes off her. And I thought I was simply going to get a massage. So she told me to take my clothes off but I could keep my panties on if I wanted. So I did. Then I lay face down on the special table that they have and she began to massage me – legs first and then my back. It was just so good, you know. So relaxing. And she had this really soft, sexy voice. And then, I don't know, I just felt incredibly aroused."
"Wet, you mean?" sighed Sharmila.
Karen blushed and nodded. "Oh yeah. She went back down to massage my thighs and she used her long fingernails. Part of me was thinking 'get the hell out of here' but I couldn't move. And each time she went higher and higher."
"Did she touch you down there?" asked Trish, nodding in the direction of Karen's sex.
"No, not then. She told me to turn over so I did but I tried to cover my panties with my hands. She wouldn't have that though and took my hands and placed them at my sides. And she spread my legs a bit."
"She could see your boobs then?" asked Melanie.
"And I could see hers. I mean, she was wearing a thin white top but her nipples were sticking out. So I was lying there and she began on my feet. It was heaven, I can tell you. As I lay back and closed my eyes she lifted my leg up and started to kiss my toes while she ran her fingernails up and down the calf of my leg. She did each foot and leg and then started on my upper body. She eventually got round to my breasts and used her finger and thumbs to massage the nipples. By then I was seriously turned on, you know. She did everywhere: my neck, jaw, earlobes, shoulders, hands and fingers which she kissed as well. Then ...." Karen finished her glass and stretched back against the sofa. "Then she moved her hand slowly, so slowly, down my stomach and over my panties. Right over my mound. She pressed her hand there and then she gave me this amazing kiss. Her lips .... Her lips were just so soft and tender and tasted of something sweet .... and intoxicating. And her hand was slowly moving over my mound. Up and down. I felt her tongue come into my mouth."
Karen sighed: " You've no idea, girls. It was like one of those defining moments. When her hand started to move faster down there I knew I was going to climax. I tried to pull her hand off but she was strong and I couldn't do it in time."
"You had an orgasm?" mouthed Trish.
"I did. The best one I'd ever had until then. And the only one I'd ever had in my panties"
"Then what happened?" asked Melanie.
"I lay there while Mayu covered me with a large towel and told me to lie still for ten minutes. Then she took off my panties and cleaned and dried me down below. Anyway she just made me wet again. Then I thought she was putting my panties back on, only they weren't my panties. They were too dry. And then I knew they were thongs."
"Why did she do that?" queried Jenny.
"Well, when I got up she was gone but there was a card, like a business card, on top of my clothes. I looked at the back and she'd written: 'Want your panties back? Meet me at The Top Hat, Tues at 9pm. Mayu'"
"You went, I imagine?" asked Jenny again.
"I tried to talk myself out of it, tried to convince myself it wasn't normal but I couldn't get her out of my head. And the mind-blowing orgasm? Well ... well, I wanted another one to be honest. So yeah, I went."
"What did you wear? The thong?" asked Sharmila.
"A bit more than that, I hope!" Melanie led the others in a round of laughter.
"Go on! Go on!" encouraged Sharmila.
"Well, the thong, yes. It was one of those close-fitting white satin ones. I had a white satin bra of my own that went with it. Then I put on my black leather mini skirt and the blue satin blouse. It was a nice night so I didn't wear stockings or tights."
"And she was there?" asked Trish.
Karen nodded. "She was at the entrance and she looked ... well, amazing. She had an emerald green mini dress and black stockings. Her legs were fantastic. Very toned, you know, like Melanie's."
"Oh, so you've been looking then?" smiled Melanie.
"We've all seen you on the track, remember?" Jenny reminded her.
"Anyway, we went into this place and the first thing I noticed was all these people – women with women and men with men – dancing and holding hands and wrapped round each other. It was noisy too so Mayu pulled me closer and said in my ear that she wanted to dance with me. We danced for about half an hour. One time she held me close, looking into my eyes all the time, and pushed her thigh into my pubic area. We began to kiss too. Same as before. Really soft and gentle."
"In front of everybody?" asked Sharmila.
"Well, yeah. But lots of people seemed to be doing the same. Then she said: 'If you want your panties back you'd better come home with me.' So we left the place and got a taxi to her apartment. I think she just managed to close the door before she was all over me. She put her hands under my skirt and felt between my legs. 'You've got my thong all wet,' she whispered in my ear. Then she took my hand and put it under her skirt, up between her legs and said, 'See how wet you've made me? I'm wearing your panties and if you want them back you'll have to take them off.'"
By now nobody seemed to be drinking. Karen had put her hand loosely over Jenny's thigh and Jenny covered it with her own hand. Melanie had gone into a foetal position almost on the bean bag and her hands were buried between her legs, over her training bottoms. Sharmila lay close to Trish on the sofa while Trish stroked her arm. They all seemed oblivious to everything else except Karen and her voice.
"We went into her bedroom and she made love to me first, using her fingers and tongue in all the right places. She took off the thong and inhaled it and said: 'I love your smell.' Then she licked me and kissed me and bit me into the most shattering orgasm of my life. I honestly thought I'd passed out because next thing I knew she was kissing me on the mouth and I could taste my own orgasmic juices and then she was telling me to do it to her."
"Did you?" breathed Sharmila.
Karen smiled at the memory and squeezed Jenny's leg slightly. "Yes. My heart was beating loudly I remember when I took off her dress and saw her lying there with my pink lace panties under her suspender belt and stockings. The panties were really wet looking in the crotch. She was wearing a green bra too and her nipples were like tent poles."
"She must've been really turned on," whispered Trish.
"Yeah. Like us now," added Trish.
"So first of all I kissed her on the mouth. I used my tongue too. And I was feeling her boobs, squeezing them and trying to make the nipples stiffer. Then, after a while, I just did what she did to me. I lowered myself onto her, held onto her thighs and buried my face into her soaking wet panties. My wet panties I should say! I couldn't take them off without removing her suspender belt and stockings so I just pulled them to one side and, you know, I saw her clit. First clit I ever saw that wasn't my own."
"Was it big?" asked Melanie.
"Well, it was erect I suppose. Full. Engorged. Very pink and covered in her juices. And her vagina was opening up. I flicked my tongue over her clit and her body jerked. At that moment I lost all my inhibition and just wanted to give Mayu an orgasm she would never forget. So I took her clit in my mouth and sucked it and put my thumb into her vagina and began to fuck her, excuse my French!"
"She came, I imagine?" said Jenny, absent-mindedly dragging Karen's hand higher on her thigh.
"In spades! And she locked my head between her thighs as she came. Next morning ...."
"Next morning?" asked Sharmila.
"Yeah. I slept with her all night."
"Slept? You sure?" enquired Melanie, raising her eyebrows.
"We slept some. We made love one more time, about 3 in the morning, but there wasn't much energy left in us. Anyway, as I was saying, next morning she told me to take my panties. Mayu was still wearing them and I was still wearing her thong. They were both still very damp and heavily stained, as you can imagine. When I took my panties off her I saw that she was still wet."
"So that was it then?" asked Jenny.
"Yeah," nodded Karen. "She kissed me goodbye at the door and told me if I ever fancied meeting up again she'd be in The Top Hat most Tuesdays. But I suppose I tried my hardest to believe it had been a one-off, an experiment and nothing more. I tried to put it out of my mind."
"Wow," sighed Melanie. "One woman down, four more to go!"
"You're incorrigible, Mel!" laughed Jenny.
"Yeah, incorrigible but with toned thighs!"