CHAPTER 1: MONDAY
"So then I said, 'Darlin, if you want to see the whole thing, you'll need to take a bus to the next city'!" The man's sudden braying laughter startled the couple at the table next to him. His face was flushed from the martinis and he seemed to have no idea how loud he was talking. The clear liquid of his drink sloshed over the glass and onto the table while he tried to catch his breath.
Victoria had to run the last bit of the conversation in her head a few times to get the joke. Weren't they just talking about his money? No, his wallet. So then what...? Oh. Huh. He was trying to make a joke about his dick, wasn't he? Some feeble attempt at sexual innuendo. She spared an apologetic glance at the man and woman next to their table. The lady gave her a look of commiseration back.
The man's laughter died down to chortles before his eyes focused on his drink again. He took a loud slurp before talking. "What kinda name is Victoria Resta, anyway? Is it Eye-talion?" His eyes wandered from his drink to stare openly at Victoria's chest, as if he could see through the cream colored button-down shirt she was wearing.
"No, it's not Italian." She took a breath, wanting to end this. "My..."
"Can I call ya 'Vicky'?" He slurred, spilling the rest of his drink on their table.
"I don't think so. Look, John, I appreciate the dinner but I'm going back up to my room now. I can't say it's been a great evening." Victoria stood, gathering her small clutch purse in her hand.
"Well, hey! Hey, wait! Don't just..." He stood and grabbed at her wrist. "Don't just leave me here, dammit. Have a drink. Talk with me." Victoria could see the broken veins in his nose and cheeks. He wasn't even forty years old yet but he was well on his way to drinking himself into a grave.
Victoria brought her eyes slowly down to the man's hand on her sleeve. This was her favorite shirt. Silk. She saved up to buy it. The man looked down after a moment and he stared at his own hand, stupidly not understanding the problem.
Thankfully, their waiter seemed to sense the mood and drifted over to their table. He was well dressed in his white shirt and black pants with his hair cut short. "Is there anything I can help with?" He asked, politely. He was trained too well to make a scene in the restaurant and John had thirty pounds and five inches on him. Of course, the extra weight wasn't muscle but it still made a small difference.
"No, thank you. I was just leaving. John here will take care of the bill." She placed her hand on John's hand. He looked back up at her, still not comprehending. Victoria sighed and tugged his hand off of her. She almost screamed when she saw a faint smear of steak sauce on the cuff.
Barely controlling her anger, she turned and stalked off. She received a few approving glances from the men around her as she left. She wasn't a beauty but she was attractive and her heels showed the nice definition in her calf muscles. Unlike a lot of the scarecrow women around her, she seemed to gain weight quite easily so she worked hard at her shape by jogging daily. She swore her hips laughed at her attempts to stay lean. Her mother told her they were good "child bearing hips" and Victoria reminded her every time that this wasn't the 1900s. Being five feet, three inches didn't help her self image, either. She always wanted to be taller even though quite a few guys told her she was beautiful the way she was. They all say that. It's easy for them to say.
The restaurant was attached to the hotel she was staying in so the walk back to her room was brief. Her heels came off her feet as soon as she was inside her room. She appreciated what they did for her legs but her toes wept every time she wore them. After making sure the curtains were shut, she stripped down to her panties and bra - sensible, inexpensive, comfortable and black.
She padded into the small bathroom with her shirt in one hand. The hotel used liquid face soap, so she filled the sink with hot water and mixed in some soap, swirling it around. She gently laid her shirt on the counter to let the sleeve soak in the water.
She looked at herself in the mirror. "Oh, Victoria. What are you doing?" She asked herself. At 28 years old she was showing small wrinkles at the corners of her large, dark brown eyes. Her curly hair hung loose behind her and she pulled back some strands from her face. She prided herself on her thick, dark red curls. Her hair was almost brown but when the light caught her right, the red came through like dark copper. Her heart-shaped face stared back at her, lips full and dark brown from the lipstick. She fingered the small cross on her necklace as she studied herself.
It was Monday night, the first night of the conference. She worked in a real estate office in Arizona and her company had sent her to Seattle for a conference on the housing market and its future. She'd done well supporting the real estate agents so they were prepping her to take over a junior member's accounts. It was a great opportunity for her and she hoped it'd help her afford more than ramen noodles every night.
Being in a strange city threw her off. What was there to do in the evenings in a city she didn't know? She couldn't get over how cold and dark it was, even at 4 pm when the conference ended for the day. And the rain. Dear God, the rain. Didn't the city know it was January? She wondered. What started as a drizzle in the morning turned into a steady rain of fat raindrops. It wasn't even respectable hard driving rain like you'd get in a rainstorm. No, this was a lazy rain that seemed like it could go on forever.
Victoria sighed and grabbed her toothbrush. She scrubbed gently at the spot on her sleeve to try and get it out.
She didn't have the energy to go out in this dark, dreary rain so she'd haunted the hotel bar. When John offered to buy her a drink, she'd accepted. He seemed okay at the time and was dressed well enough. She let him buy her dinner because her per diem was small and prices were crazy. Also, McDonalds didn't deliver and packs of noodles took up a surprising amount of suitcase space so she didn't take food with her.
Hah. The stain was coming out a little. That was a small victory, at least. She told herself.
She had thought maybe it'd be fun to live a little by meeting a stranger in a bar for a drink. She'd been shy growing up so she mostly kept to herself. Now that she was in a new place for a short time why shouldn't she meet some guys and let them pay for her dinner? She wasn't dumb enough to get drunk or sleep with them and it beat just staying in her hotel room the entire time. Unless they were all like this John guy, of course.
When she finished with the sleeve she could barely see the stain. The damn shirt had cost her over $300. She had to save up several paychecks just to make sure she could afford it with her bills. She was immensely glad her mother taught her how to take care of herself; dry cleaning was absolutely out of the question with her income. She laid out the shirt with the cuff on a hand towel to dry.
While she washed off her toothbrush she noticed some dry skin on her right hand. How in the world did she go from Arizona to a wet city like Seattle and get dried out? She wondered. The dryness started near her thumb, ran up to her index finger and around the side of it. She made a mental note to buy some cheap lotion on her lunch break tomorrow. The TSA had confiscated several of her containers at the airport in Phoenix even though she was sure they were the right size.
She stopped herself from scratching at her hand and worked at removing her makeup. She shook her head. What a waste. I might as well have gone without makeup for all the good it did me tonight. I even used my good lipstick. She tsked at herself.
Finally, she brushed her teeth with the complimentary tooth paste. It still tasted like soap but even soapy breath was better than having pieces of salad stuck between her teeth. At least, that's what she told herself.
For a reason she could never quite figure out, she hated sleeping in just a bra and panties in bed. The hotel bed was no different -- she wore a plain t-shirt over her bra. She tucked herself in bed and tried to arrange the pillows to work better. All of them were much harder than she liked but they would work. She propped herself up to watch some television but it was mostly crap. Even HBO was just showing some old Adam Sandler movie. She tolerated it a bit before clicking it off.
Victoria turned off the bedside lamp and laid her necklace near the alarm clock. Lying down, she pushed the blankets down to her thighs. She'd need to shave again, she thought. Her legs felt a little rough and she really wanted to try out some miniskirts tomorrow.
Victoria pulled her panties down a little to expose the smooth, shaved skin of her crotch. She reached her fingers down and gently played with her labia and clit. There was another dry area on the skin of her left thigh, running close to her pussy.
She ignored the dry sking and rubbed herself slowly - it was early and she wasn't in any hurry. She brought her shirt up over her breasts - nice c-cups with big fat nipples. She'd been teased about them when she was a young girl but her breasts filled out and now they matched her shape. She caressed her left breast with her left hand, trailing a finger over the nipple and around the aureole. The nipple stiffened lazily.
She could feel her own arousal and she teased herself by dipping two fingers inside the warm wetness between her legs. She bit her lip and twisted her feet against the feeling. The heel of her hand settled against her clit and she rubbed it up and down as she brought her fingers slowly in and out of herself. The rough, dried skin on her right hand actually made the feeling more intense and she found herself rubbing the side of her index finger against her pussy lips. She wasn't quite as wet as she liked but the roughness felt different to her -- different in a way she liked.
Her breathing quickened. She pinched and rolled her nipple, kneading the soft flesh of her breast over and over. She brought her right hand to her mouth and sucked on the fingers, wetting them and tasting herself. She pulled her nipple hard and moaned, stretching her feet. Her right hand found her pussy lips again and she almost didn't need to use her mouth on her fingers. At first she rubbed the lips gently in circles but her speed increased and soon she was rubbing faster and faster, pressing hard against herself. Every time she rubbed her clit, a jolt of pleasure shot down her left leg.
She twisted on the bed, pulling, squeezing her own breast and rubbing herself furiously. Close, so close! Her fingertips worked inside her and she could feel the orgasm building. She turned her hand so the rough skin pressed into her and worked it up and down inside her cunt. She conjured up the image of a faceless man fucking her - biting and sucking on her nipples. Minutes later the orgasm hit and she turned her head to shriek into her pillow while her legs and hips bucked. The hand that was torturing her nipple grabbed a handful of bed sheet as her body shook.
Maybe there's an upside to all of this crappy weather, she thought. That was one of my best orgasms outside of sex with a guy.
CHAPTER 2: TUESDAY
Her dreams were dark and she woke up several times during the night with a general sense of dread. All she could remember in the morning were pitch black shapes shifting and rolling over and over and something almost like speech but then it was gone. It left her feeling uneasy.
Just as she was about to shower, she noticed the dry patch on her hand was worse. It now covered the top of her right hand and even her left hand had a small spot of dryness. Her left thigh was half covered and now her right thigh had a patch of dry skin as well. Even her belly was itching. The skin wasn't red and she didn't see any bumps or anything to make her think it was a rash. It was just... the skin was thicker and itched fiercely when she paid it attention. Twice she had to stop herself from scratching.
The hot water from the shower was luxurious. Normally she was fast in the shower but since she didn't have to pay for the water, she enjoyed herself. A part of her felt like she'd been out in the cold a long time; as if she'd always been cold. The hot water soaked down into her core. She spent at least 10 minutes just standing under the water and steam, turning this way and that.
The hotel soap was substandard but worked well enough. She made a lather with her hand and rubbed herself down. Her breasts were especially soft and she made sure to clean them well. She rubbed slowly over her nipples, around the sides and under the breasts, lifting them up as she did. They seemed heavier this morning and it felt like a nerve ran directly from her nipple to her crotch and then her toe every time her hand rubbed one of her nipples.
She worked her stomach next, sliding her soapy hands around her body. She was pleased to find that all the crunches she'd been doing at the gym might finally be paying off - she could feel some muscle under a thin layer of fat. She made a mental note to try out the little gym downstairs later today to keep it up. She'd only ever been able to get muscle tone in her legs before. Well, her ass did okay too but she could still stand to lose a bit there.
Victoria found another rough patch of skin on the bottom of her left ass cheek. When she let the water run over it, the skin felt a little softer. She added another mental note for a soak in the bath before bed.
She gave extra attention to her left leg and the combination of the heat, water and soap felt good against the rough spots of skin. The urge to scratch her skin was insane so she finished as quickly as possible.
After she washed the soap from her body, she leaned back against the wall of the shower with her legs spread. She teased the lips of her pussy with one hand while another massaged her breast. Victoria rubbed herself slowly with her eyes closed, enjoying the feel of her rough fingers against the smooth skin of her pussy. When her legs shook a little from the intense feelings, she stopped. She thought briefly of continuing but she knew she'd never be able to stay standing up once she really got into it.
After drying off, she found a nice dark brown blouse that went well with her hair. Her skirt was out since the rough patch of skin went down to her knee so she picked out some simple slacks and a pair of dark red flat shoes. She put on some light makeup and a dab of perfume, just in case.
The meeting room was half full of people and Victoria was feeling self-conscious about the rash so she sat in the back. She knew almost everything she needed, anyway. One of the reasons they were promoting her was because she paid attention and learned fast. She took some notes in the class but day dreamed most of the time. She snapped out of it a little before noon when she found herself making long scratches up and down her left leg. Good Lord, she thought. Next I'll be sticking my hand down my pants to scratch my crotch like some hick. Although... it is feeling a little itchy down there.
To distract herself from scratching she tried to focus on the meeting. That went fine until her mind wandered and she found herself rubbing the base of her hand on the edge of the table in front of her, over and over. Thankfully, it was almost lunchtime so she snuck out of the back of the room early.
A quick stop at her room allowed her to drop off her notes and then she left to find the nearest drug store. She told herself that there had to be something to help.
The rain had actually stopped last night so she was treated to an overcast day rather than just rain. She missed the sun - she felt sluggish and cold without it. How did these people live here without going crazy?
A Rite Aid store happened to be the closest one so she stopped in to find some products. She wandered around slowly until she finally found the lotions. An elderly store employee asked if she needed help as Victoria looked through the different brands. Figures, she thought. Just as I found what I was looking for. She told the lady, 'no' politely and went back to digging through the bottles. She found one and popped the top to smell it.
"Oh, honey. You don't want to taste that." The old lady was at her side again.
Victoria snapped her eyes open and noticed her tongue was out, inches away from the top of the lotion's cap. "I... what? No, of course I wouldn't." The lady opened her mouth as if to say something else but finally walked away without another word.
Checking a few more products, she found the first one was the best - or at least it didn't smell as strongly as the others. The last thing she wanted was to smell like a chemical factory.
"There needs to be better truth in advertising." Victoria told the checkout girl. "I just noticed this thing says unscented on the label but here try it, it smells like someone ran a bouquet of flowers through a blender."
The girl sniffed at the bottle but swore she couldn't smell anything. Victoria was not surprised - with all this rain people probably walked around with a perpetual cold. And it was cold. She wished she had a larger coat but who needs one in Arizona? What started as a shiver turned into her scratching her left arm and it took a few seconds for her to notice. It just felt so good to scratch the dry skin. This lotion better work, she thought.
She ate a light meal at a nearby Subway, being sure to keep the receipt for her expense report. She started with a six inch sandwich but bought another one when she was done. Hungrier than I thought. She told herself. I'm definitely going to hit the gym tonight and work this food off on their cheap treadmill.
By the time she was finished with lunch, she still had twenty more minutes before the conference resumed. Victoria made time to stop in her room and put some of the lotion on. In the brief time since this morning, the rash had spread to cover her right thigh, her left calf and her left hand. Her left hip and part of her ass was also rougher to the touch. She used nearly a quarter of the bottle to cover herself.
While she worked the lotion on her skin, she sat next to the heater and turned up the heat. She was definitely staying inside the rest of the trip. Of course, it'd be her luck if it was something in the room making her break out. That would be great - caught between freezing to death outside or breaking out in hives inside.
Victoria sat in the back of the conference room again when the meeting started. The lotion helped somewhat but the rest of the meeting crawled. She found herself doodling squiggly lines all over her notebook. Sometimes they were thin lines, sometimes thicker and filled in. She had no idea she'd even been drawing anything.
She was the first out of the room at four when they were done for the day. She longed for the heater in her room. The coordinator for the conference had refused to turn up the heat in their meeting area. He'd taken a poll and everyone else said they were warm enough.
Back in her own room she stripped to her underwear and crawled under the blankets. She twisted and turned under the covers, enjoying the way the sheets rubbed against her skin. When she realized she was basically scratching herself with her blankets, she stopped and tried to take a nap. It didn't take long - the warmth from the heater and blankets put her out quickly.
She had the same kind of dream again - indistinct figures moving against each other and all of them trying to talk at once, except she couldn't hear them. Their strange voice grew louder and louder until it was almost a roaring in her ears and it startled her awake. She was clutching her hands to her head as if to cover her ears.