I sat back in my chair, my heart pounding through my chest, my hands shaking so violently that I had to clinch them together to make them stop. "Holy Shit!" I said out loud to no one.
Rachael and I had been best friends since Junior High. We couldn't have been closer if we'd been sisters. We shared everything with each other, confided in each other, and helped each other through difficult times. Attending different colleges hadn't mattered. Even my marriage to Glen and our later move half way across the country hadn't dulled our friendship. Rachael eventually moved to L.A., in the opposite direction. We spoke on the phone several times a week and kept each other apprised of everything that was going on in our lives. For the last several years, we'd managed to see each other only two or three times a year, but we always looked forward to those times with great anticipation. This was one of those times.
It was a few days before Thanksgiving and Glen was visiting his family in Dallas. He'd graciously let me beg off and fly to L.A. to see Rachael. She was in Chicago on business, but would arrive home a few hours before my flight landed. That was the plan anyway—before her boss insisted at the last minute that she stay over an extra day. I ended up having to take a taxi from the airport to her high-rise apartment building. She arranged to have a key waiting for me at the security desk and assured me that she would be home the following day. That was the first in a series of events that led to my startling discovery. The next occurred no more than an hour after I walked through the door of her apartment.
My laptop wouldn't boot up. I tried everything, removing and reinserting the battery, plugging it into the electric outlet, and even banging on it more than I should. It simply wouldn't get past the boot up. It just kept restarting over and over. All I wanted to do was check my email. Finally, I went to her desktop PC and turned it on. Fortunately, it wasn't password protected, so I didn't have to call her for that—not that she would have minded giving it to me anyway.
I laughed when I saw her desktop background. It was a picture of us from high school. We were both red-eyed drunk at a party, her arm over my shoulder, her silky dark cheek pressed to my pale one, and both of us sticking our tongues out at Tonya, our other close friend who was taking the picture. Those were fun times.
Just as I was about to start her Explorer and check my email, an icon on her desktop caught my eye. Evidently, Rachael had started keeping an online diary. There was no way I was going to open it—no way—none whatsoever. I simply wasn't going to do it. It just wouldn't be right. Besides, we told each other everything anyway. We didn't keep secrets from each other, even when they were very personal and sometimes very embarrassing. But, in a moment of weakness, I double-clicked the icon anyway.
I decided to start at the most recent entry and work my way backward. I was in total shock before finishing her latest entry, but I read on, my jaw agape, barely able to breathe, and my hand shaking so violently, I could barely manipulate the mouse.
The bottom line is that Rachael, my best friend, was sexually attracted to me, and she had been since high school. Had it been Tonya, I wouldn't have thought that much about it. Tonya was fairly open about being bisexual, but not Rachael—and for sure not me. I had never had such thoughts, let alone been tempted to participate in such a thing. And from what I could tell from reading her diary, Rachael had never actually done anything either. She wasn't attracted to women—didn't want to do anything sexual with them—only with me. She hadn't written about "a woman's touch" or "a woman's lips" or "a woman's tongue" or "a woman's breasts" or "a woman's pussy". She had in each instance written "Beth's", always "Beth's", or "B's" as she often referred to me.
Her diary was replete with confessions about her thoughts and feelings during times when we were together. How could I not have known? How could I not have even suspected that while I was rambling on about some recent event or experience, Rachael was sitting there imagining what it would be like to kiss me and touch me and make love to me?
We had shared with each other our sexual desires, and even the most intimate details of sexual encounters—with boys and later men of course. And we'd had many discussions about Tonya's behavior, most often right after witnessing it or hearing her talk about it. Rachael's reaction had always been the same as mine, "To each her own." Never once had Rachael shown any indication that she felt differently—not even a single hint. Or had she? Had I simply been too naïve to pick up on it? According to her diary, that was indeed the case. She had put out little hints here and there over the years, but they had all sailed right past me unnoticed.
We had never been shy or modest about such things as nudity when together. It was nothing for one of us to be at the sink drying our hair while the other was in the shower. Often, we didn't even turn off the water, one stepping in as the other stepped out. Walking around naked or half naked was common. But those times weren't "nothing" to Rachael. Her diary made that blatantly clear. She had even masturbated while thinking of those times, sometimes with me right in the next bedroom. I had unknowingly provided the inspiration for her to take "Oscar" out of her nightstand and let him help her achieve multiple orgasms while thinking about me—my body, and what she would like to do to it—what she longed for us to do together.
There were little things mentioned too, many, many of them. They were often as innocent as a hand on a bare arm, or even one of us slightly brushing past the other while cooking in a small kitchen. Even those were important enough to Rachael to be worthy of mention in her diary. I simply had no idea.
How would I have reacted if I'd known? I'm sure now that my earlier reactions to Tonya's behavior caused Rachael to suspect that such a revelation would not elicit a positive reaction from me. That could account for her going to such lengths to hide her feelings. Was she right? Could it have ended our friendship forever? After all, neither of us had made special efforts to keep in touch with Tonya.
We were going to find out soon enough. Rachael had chosen this visit to finally make her move, and she had spelled out in her diary exactly how she was going to do it. She will take me downstairs to the exercise room for a good workout. That was normal. We both exercised religiously. It was more important for me than for her. She had never had a problem with her weight. I, on the other hand, being shorter and naturally a bit chunky anyway, had to constantly battle my weight. Hell, Rachael just liked the cardio for health and tone—not weight. I wasn't the only one who thought she could have done very well as a model. Her almond completion, long black hair and sleek body would have made her a natural. And being of Polynesian descent would have only held her in higher demand. But, she always sloughed off such suggestions, using her smallish breasts as an excuse. "And I will never get implants." She would say. Of course, she was the only one who thought they were too small. Any bigger and they would have drawn attention to themselves and detracted from her overall sleek look.
After working out, she will take me out for dinner, but that will require us to take a shower after our sweaty workout. Of course, there will be a stiff drink first—for courage on her part, and hopefully some loosening up on mine. She will let me get into the shower first, and then join me, making the excuse that the hot water tank has been running out too quickly, and she doesn't want to take a cold shower. We'd never showered together, except in the girl's locker room at school, but without having read her diary, I would not have given it a second thought. When my hair is full of shampoo or conditioner and my eyes closed, she will make her move. She even typed out and practiced what she will say, "B, there's something I've been wanting to do for years." And when I ask what that is, she will say, "This" and kiss me passionately. Then, she will let my reaction dictate the rest. Damn! She had it all planned out, right down to the smallest detail.
My problem was both obvious and overwhelming. It was no longer a matter of how I would have reacted, but how I was going to react. That question never left my mind for even a minute of that evening, and it was there each time I woke up from my fitful sleep that night. And yes, it was still there the next morning. By the time Rachael called to let me know her plane had landed and that she would be home shortly, the answer still eluded me. I just didn't know what to do.
* * *
So that's how Rachael and I came to be in the shower together. Yet, I still hadn't decided how to react to what was about to happen. I'd thought about nothing else since she'd gotten home. My first non-decision had come when she suggested we go work out. I hadn't yet made up my mind about anything, so agreeing to that just allowed me more time to think. And then there was the drink. At my suggestion, we had a second. I was both delaying the inevitable and hoping the alcohol would help me deal with the situation, regardless of which way it went.
But just as I began applying the shampoo to my hair, I had an epiphany. This wasn't fair to Rachael—not fair at all. I knew then what I had to do, so I wasted no time. I didn't want to take a chance on letting her say what I knew she was about to say. "Rach?"
"Will you do me a favor?"
I held out my hands, my eyes closed to protect them from the shampoo that was running down my face. "Give me your hands. There's something I need to tell you." When she put her hands in mine, I held them firmly. "Yesterday, I . . . I did something I shouldn't have done. My laptop screwed up, so I used your computer to--"
"You read my diary?" She asked in a panic.
She tried to pull her hands free, but I tightened my grip on them. After a long moment of silence, and in what sounded like total dejection, she asked "And?"
"I've gone along with things up to this point because I couldn't decide what else to do. And I'm still not sure how I feel about it all, but I have decided that it wouldn't be fair to let you do what you're about to do without telling you that I know. That's all."
"You don't hate me for--"
"I could never hate you, hon. I love you. I only have one request."
"Can I please rinse my hair first? This shampoo tastes like shit." And then a nervous laugh burst from me, and then another, and then Rachael started laughing. But as she helped me past her in the narrow tub and our bodies brushed against each other's, our laughter subsided.
My hair rinsed, I turned to face her and realized instantly that she was trembling uncontrollably. I held out a hand to her, "Come over here and get under the water." I turned sideways and pulled her toward the spray. "Just get warm first. Take your time and try to calm down. I'm right here and I'm not running away." But when she heard that, she threw her arms around me and began crying. For a long time, we just stood there hugging under the soothing spray of hot water. And then, in a moment of mutual consent, we kissed. At first, it was a soft brush of our lips, and then gradually with each pass, we both grew bolder until we were together totally, our hug more intense, and our tongues dancing tenderly together.
I'm not sure how long that kiss lasted, but I'm sure that it was a full minute or more. It was finally interrupted by Rachael's prophecy about the hot water running out being realized. That proved to be an effective mood breaker. There was a long awkward silence as we dried ourselves. It was eventually broken by Rachael asking me, "Well, are you all freaked out now?"
I reflected on my feelings for a moment and then said, "No. I thought I would be, but I'm not. Maybe I was too nervous to freak out."
"You? Hell, I was the one who was shaking so hard I was afraid my knees were going to buckle." And then after another short time, she asked, "So, what now?"
"I'm not sure. Maybe we should get ready and go eat and let it soak in a little, and then we'll see how we feel about it. Who knows? I'm sure I don't."
"Really? You mean you would consider . . ."
"Maybe, I'm not sure yet."
"Okay, then dinner it is . . . and lots of alcohol." She added with a chuckle.
I started laughing and finally managed to say, "Definitely lots of alcohol."
* * *
As I began to sort through my feelings, there was more of an evolution than a decision. By the time the food arrived at our table, I realized that I wasn't upset by it all. And then, during dessert, that rather benign absence of a negative feeling was replaced by one of my being okay with what had happened—comfortable with it. It wasn't until later, when we were back at Rachael's apartment and I was watching her pour our first drink that I became more than okay with it, more than comfortable with it. It had stimulated my imagination more than anything had in a very long time—years in fact.
All through dinner, and even during the drive back to the high-rise, I could sense Rachael's stare—no—not a stare—more of an examination. She was watching and listening for some clue as to what was going on in my brain. Of course, she did her best to disguise that she was doing it, but it was undeniably there.
As I watched her now, I wondered if she'd chosen to wear that particular dress for a reason. It clung to her in the sexiest of ways. It stopped short of covering too much of her long beautiful legs—mid thigh length at best, and it rode higher when she walked or leaned. The plunging neckline was tastefully daring, and the thin material allowed her unencumbered breasts to bounce and jiggle when she moved. She was the essence of sexy, and that dress in particular screamed it unashamedly.
We sat and sipped our drinks and made more small talk until I finally couldn't take it anymore. She deserved an answer. I sat my drink aside and got up. "Don't move." I said as I approached her. When I was near enough, I leaned down and kissed her deeply, my tongue quickly slithering in to find hers. After about fifteen seconds, I withdrew and stood in front of her. "Does that answer your question?"
"Wow!" And then she showed me a wide smile. "I should say so."
I went back to my chair then and took up my drink again. Before taking a sip, I said, "It was better that time, more relaxed maybe—something—but definitely better."
"You won't get any argument from me."
"Still, I think we can do better. This is only our first drink."
Rachael laughed, "Then drink up. I have plenty of booze."
When she returned from filling our glasses for the second time, she walked past me and sat them on the coffee table. Her meaning was clear. We were going to move to the sofa. "I'll go get out of this--"
"No." I stopped her. "Please."
She smiled, "You like it that much?"
"Yes, very much."
"Okay then." She sat down and patted cushion beside her.
The instant I sat down, she slid her hand around my neck and drew me to her, teasing my lips with hers for a long while before kissing me fully. When her tongue joined mine, she slid her hand down and gently cupped my breast. My body responded immediately, and that's when I knew for sure that everything was okay—everything that was going to happen between us was okay.
When we came up for air, I said, "I should go change into something . . ."
"Less." She giggled, "Much less."
"Less, yes." And I walked toward the hall, glancing over my shoulder once. She was taking up her drink, and her smile was ear to ear.
* * *
"Perfect" she said when she saw me reappear wearing only a button up nightshirt and panties. I had only buttoned the bottom three buttons. When I took my place beside her, fully expecting her to kiss me right away, she only handed me my drink and let her fingers trail over my neck, teasing at the ends of my short blonde hair. And then she cooed in the sexiest voice I'd ever heard from her, "We're going to have a lot of fun later."
I forced myself to look at her, "I do like the kissing."
"You'll like the rest of it too."
"Yes, I think I will."
"In the meantime" she purred, leaning over enough to give me a soft kiss on the lips, "This is nice—just being here like this."
I raised my glass to her and then took a sip. "Yes, yes it is."
* * *
It's difficult to describe the next two hours. Adjectives that come to mind are, "Slow", and "Patient" and "Sensuous" and "Erotic". We sat facing each other, our arms on the back of the sofa, our fingers mingling and teasing those of the other. Every once in the while, we would, as if on cue, both lean forward and kiss tenderly. Sometimes it wasn't even really a kiss, but more of a soft brush of our lips. Sometimes it was sillier, with our tongues meeting openly for a quick flick. Those times were most often followed by a giggle or wink. They were fun.
At one point, Rachael took my hand and guided it inside the V of her dress. She pressed it to her breast and let me watch as she tilted her head back and let out an appreciative sigh. I reciprocated, pulling her hand to me and urging it to find my breast beneath my nightshirt. When it was in place, I knew what she was feeling. We were feeling the same thing at the same time. Still, the looks between us—those looks of desire—of postponed fulfillment—those looks of trust and understanding—of love and need and passion delayed—those were too powerful to abandon for the sake of immediate physical satisfaction. It was, after all, a dance—a slow waltz, and the band would play until we signaled them to stop.
Explaining what the time spent on Rachael's sofa wasn't, is somehow easier than explaining what it was. It wasn't lust. There was nothing urgent or desperate or lustful about it. It wasn't about sweaty sex or fucking or orgasms. It wasn't even a prelude to those things. They were neither part nor parcel to it. They were neither objective nor motive. It was less than that, or more. I'm not sure which.
* * *
It was a very long time before Rachael finally slid her fingers under the hem of my panties. And it wasn't long after that before we retired to her bed. Prior to arriving there, I had been to bed with several boys and men. Some were short-term relationships, some longer, but none of them prepared me for what I was soon to experience.
As Rachael's lips, tongue, and fingers roamed over my body, the feelings were "nice". I won't lie to you about that. I will try to neither exaggerate nor downplay that part of it. But that wasn't the overriding thing that I took away from it. When her lips and tongue found my clit, she seemed to know exactly when to press on and when to back off. And she seemed to be able to read my needs, knowing when to nibble lightly and when to exert more authority, more command. But that wasn't it either. The ultimate difference was when she peered down into my eyes just prior to kissing me, and I could see in hers the understanding of what I was feeling. It was the way she seemed to know, the way she seemed to penetrate my very being and become part of what I was experiencing. That was the single most memorable thing I took away from my time with Rachael.
I did enjoy doing things to her that I thought I would never do—that I never imagined doing—that I never desired to do or dreamed of doing. I enjoyed the feeling of her large dark nipples between my lips and their texture as my moist tongue swirled over them. I enjoyed the way her body reacted to my touch and the way her back arched when I managed to do just the right thing at just the right time. And I thoroughly enjoyed the taste of her sex. I enjoyed hearing her deep guttural moans as my ministrations proved more beneficial to her need. And too, while the male climax is dramatic and very visual, it could hardly compare to Rachael's seemingly strained and agonizing surrender—her unbridled release of orgasm. I could barely maintain position as her thighs twitched and her body arched and shook and jerked and convulsed. It was incredible.