Tapestry Ch. 01byHLD©
Chapter 01: A New Love
The relationships we have are threads in a tapestry, each woven together to show the life we have lived and connections we have with one another. This is the first of an open-ended series that will feature characters from some of my past stories, and introduce some new friends for us to get to know. It picks up right after "McKayla's Miracle Revisited" left off.
In a bit of shameless cross-promotion, I suggest that you check out some of my other stories to learn a little bit more about Amberle, Kevin, McKayla, Melanie, Melinda, Nichole and some of the others who appear here. As with many of my tales, if you're looking for quickie sex, these are probably not the kind of stories you want to read. I love to hear from readers, so please leave me a comment or send me an email.
"I will give you fifty bucks to get on the bull and ride it," Melanie slurred. The music in the club was deafening and we could barely hear her.
The rest of us giggled. I was half covered in the champagne my friend had spilled on me earlier in the night, but I didn't care. We were all blitzed. It's a good thing that there was a limo waiting outside so none of us would have to drive.
"Not a chance in hell!" Nichole shot back.
"I rode it! You bitches can, too!" Melinda pounded on the heavy wooden table and put back a shot of straight tequila.
Perhaps against my better judgment, I had allowed myself to be dragged along with my good friend Melanie Westcott and some of her friends for a girls' weekend out. I had known Melanie for about fourteen years. She was married to my wife McKayla's old college roommate, Kevin. This was something she had planned with some of her girlfriends and they invited me along.
Melinda went to high school with Melanie and Kevin. She is an English professor and bestselling author of trashy romance novels that she writes under a pseudonym. Melinda was also the most outgoing of the bunch and some of the crazier things we did that weekend were her ideas. Like me, she was in a "non-traditional" marriage, only where mine was a lesbian marriage, she was in a plural marriage that involved her husband, two co-wives and 8 kids.
I had met Becky before when McKayla, Kevin, Melanie and our kids took a Disney World vacation a dozen years ago, and have run into her with Kevin and Mel a couple of times since. She was one of Melanie's friends from college, and she had stopped by with her husband for a few days on the way to a cruise ship in Miami. Becky was normally quiet and reserved, although I think she was one of those wild, freaky animals behind closed doors.
The fourth girl in our group was Lara, and if there was ever someone who should have been a spoiled princess, it was her. Both of her parents came from old money, Ivy League families. Yet, they were also good, old-fashioned northeast liberals in the tradition of the Kennedys. Lara never needed to work a day in her life if she didn't want to, but she spent her days as a public high school guidance counselor and volunteered at more charities than you could count, including Kevin's scholarship foundation. As I recall, she and her husband knew Kevin from graduate school. She was a fun drunk, and I don't recall ever seeing her without a glass of wine in her hand that weekend.
The youngest of our group was Nichole, who was the reason for our little soirée. She was slender and fit. Born and raised in New York, she had the sensibility of a big-city girl. She could be loud and boisterous, but also incredibly kind and compassionate. She had just turned forty a couple of weeks before and we were ostensibly out for her birthday. Melanie and Melinda were ten years older, and the rest of us fell somewhere in between. I found out later that Nichole spoke fluent Mandarin Chinese and Japanese, and she met Melanie when they both worked as translators for multi-national companies.
I also found out that like me, Nichole was a widow, having lost her husband to a car accident a decade and a half before.
"I'll give you another fifty to ride the bull!" Lara shouted.
Reaching into my purse, I drew out a Benjamin, doubling the pot. "Two hundred!"
Melinda waved to one of the hunky, young guys working in the bar. He came over and took Nichole's hand and led her to the center of the crowd. There were hoots and hollers as she adjusted the sparkling tiara on her head and climbed up on the mechanical bull.
Very quickly, she was back on the ground; I'm sure the alcohol played a considerable role in her incoordination. But she was laughing as she rejoined us, and laughed even louder as Melanie played back the video on her iPhone.
The six of us were staying in a beach house south of where I lived. It was on the other end of town, and not quite an hour from my house. I invited Melanie and her friends to stay with Maureen and I, but she said that I had to come stay with them. She didn't want me to feel like I had to be the hostess, keep everything clean or make sure there was enough food and liquor around.
"This is a vacation for you, too," Melanie said. And that was that. The house she got was beautiful and spacious. It had a private pool and hot tub. There were three big bedrooms, each with its own bath. Melanie had also made arrangements to have a driver on hand for almost the entire long weekend. Really all we had to do was have fun.
Lara leaned over and had to shout into my ear over the music. "That guy over there is checking you out!"
"He's my daughter's age!"
"I'll bet he'd rock your world," she giggled.
"Shit," I snorted. "I'd kill that boy."
When I was in college, I thought there was nothing more pathetic than seeing a group of old women out pretending that they were twenty-one again. Now that I was one of those women, it didn't seem so bad. Of course, over the past two decades, being a "cougar" or a MILF somehow became acceptable, and even desirable.
The six of us stayed at the club for another hour or so, and sure enough, that young man came over and asked me to dance. Despite the taunts of my friends, I didn't leave with him, nor did he get my number, but if I said he didn't make an older woman feel pretty for a night, I'd be lying.
All of us had kids and only Nichole and I were single, but we very quickly realised that we weren't in college anymore and 1:00 AM was definitely past our bedtime, so we piled into the limo, which took us back to the house.
Melinda, Melanie and Lara broke out the Captain Morgan's and started doing shots. Becky started up a pot of decaf coffee. I took a handful of ibuprofen, said my good nights, sent a text to my daughter letting her know that I hadn't been roofied and went to bed.
Some time later, Nichole quietly slipped into the room we were sharing and got in the big, king-sized bed.
When I woke up the next morning, I heard her rhythmic breathing and felt her arm draped around my waist.
And for just a moment, I realised how lonely I had been for the last six years.
The rest of the house slept in until almost noon. I have never really been a morning person, but I have a certain routine and I'm usually up by about eight, even on the weekends. Have I mentioned that I'm 44 years old, basically retired and that I only work when I want to?
I went out into the living room and turned on the TV, careful to keep the volume low. The sun was up and there were two empty rum bottles on the table.
Rummaging through the cabinets, I found some Diet Pepsi and cereal. I dug my iPad out of a bag and began scanning the news. I also read a couple of chapters about the Starks and the Lannisters on my Kindle app and snuck in some Angry Birds.
Although I have lived at the beach for the last 20-plus years, I still love the early mornings, listening to the waves crashing against the shore and feeling the warm breeze blowing through the open windows. As the day wears on, more and more people head to the beach and the temperature goes up. The sounds of boats and jet skis and four-wheelers interrupt the calm. The early morning hours are the time when it's just me and the ocean.
The only other person to wake was Melinda, who made a brief appearance to whip up two cups of chai latte tea in the Keurig, then she disappeared back into the biggest of the bedrooms.
I was out on the back deck when I heard Nichole rustling around in the kitchen. Going inside, I found her brewing up a pot of coffee and looking for something to eat. We had packed some snacky foods and a lot of wine, but there really wasn't much by way of actual food. Especially if you wanted to ward off a hangover.
The night before, I was plenty buzzed, but I knew when to quit, which was well before the rest of them. In college, I got into the habit of taking an ibuprofen or four before going to bed, and found that usually preemptively wards off a hangover.
"Good morning," she said with a smile.
"Sleep well?" I asked casually.
"Very well, thank you," she replied. She, too, found the cereal and poured herself a bowl. "I hope my teeth grinding didn't wake you."
"I didn't even notice." That much was true; once I get to sleep, nothing short of a tornado will wake me. McKayla used to tell me that I often slept through her molesting me and Maureen crying in the middle of the night, although in my defense, as I got older, I got better at listening for my daughter, especially when she was coming in after curfew.
"Do you know what the plan is for today?" she asked. We both had a little chuckle at that. Our friend Melanie is a planner. She used to be a commercial lender, but now is a loan officer at a credit union. If you know accountants, think of every organisational stereotype you know, multiply it by ten, and you have Melanie Westcott. Her husband bought her a shirt one year that said "Does anal retentive have a hyphen?"
I think her whole life is scheduled and planned. She has contingencies for contingencies. She can tell you at any given minute exactly what her checking account balance is (down to the penny!), how many more miles she can drive in her car before it will need gas, and when all of her bills are due for the next three months. That's not to say that she's rigid or inflexible, but she is compulsively on-time and is always thinking two events into the future. That is, unless she's been drinking, and then all bets are off.
"I'm not sure, but I'm going to go with hangover recovery from now until five, dinner some place nice, and then more drinking later," I replied.
In one of the other bedrooms, I heard the shower start up.
"I am so not in the mood for Cheerios," Nichole muttered. "Are you hungry?"
"Starved, actually," I said. "I know a nice little place up the road. They should be serving brunch right about now."
"I'm going to get cleaned up and let's go. I'm buying."
Not being one to argue, I poked my head into each of the other rooms. None of the other four were in any condition or mood for breakfast. I guess there's a reason why people in their forties eventually stop going out like we did the night before.
Nichole and I changed into something casual, then got into my convertible and went out for brunch.
"Stick shift, huh?" Nichole asked as we pulled out of the under-house parking area. Many of the houses at the beach, especially the rentals, are built up on stilts. We don't get many hurricanes where we are, but when we do, they're doozies and the storm surge has been known to wash entire neighbourhoods away. There was parking for four cars under the house, but there was only my car and Melanie's rental taking up the spaces.
"Yeah," I slipped off my shoes and drove barefoot. McKayla was a BMW girl. In the fourteen years or so that I knew and loved her, she only drove 3-series convertibles, and they all had three pedals. Maureen drives the last car her Mom bought, a red M3 with a retractable hardtop that we have lovingly maintained. After my wife died, I picked out cars I thought she would like. I guess that's one of the ways I try to hold on to little pieces of her.
Over the years, we've done so much business with the local dealer that I can call the sales manager on Monday and tell him I'm looking for a new car, and by Thursday, he will have the perfect candy-apple red car waiting for me in the showroom at a price that is a good deal for me, but still makes them some money. "They're too much fun."
"I can't drive a stick," Nichole admitted sheepishly. "There's no point in having one in New York. You'd burn the clutch out in three months."
"If you can ride a bike, you can drive a stick," I repeated the words my father had told me in the year or two before he died. Before he would let me get my driver's license, there was a list of simple automotive things I had to master: check tire pressure, top off fluids, jump start a dead battery, change a flat tire, change the oil, replace headlamps and taillights and drive a manual transmission. I made sure Maureen had to go through the same check list, too. "And if you can drive a stick, you can drive anything. If you were going to be around for more than a couple of days, I could teach you."
She just smiled.
The drive to the restaurant was quick. It was in one of the artsy communities on the intercoastal side of the main drag. We got a table right on the water and spent longer than either of us expected just talking.
Nichole had been married three times, but was now single. Her first husband was a dear childhood friend who was killed in an automobile accident. She didn't talk much about him and I didn't ask. She met another man a few years later and she remarried. They had a son, who was now nine, but they divorced after six years because he couldn't keep his dick in his pants. Her third marriage ended in annulment only a year before. Apparently, he has a gambling problem, and prior to their marriage, he failed to disclose his substantial debts and credit issues.
"In fact," she told me, "It wasn't until we were married for three months that I had a clue about his issues. I started getting bills for credit cards I didn't know I had and calls regarding credit checks for loans I was allegedly applying for."
This was very disconcerting to her because she was a fairly successful businesswoman in her own right and luckily had insisted that he sign a pre-nuptial agreement. She found relief only after doing a lot of digging into his finances, which she acknowledged that she should have done before they got married. The marriage was annulled due to fraud, but her credit had still taken a minor hit and she was gunshy about dating again.
I talked a little bit about McKayla and living at the beach. I found out that she was a Yankees/Jets girl, while I was Braves/Falcons. Since she was from New York, at least she came by her fandom honestly, and wasn't one of those hangers-on who jumps on a bandwagon just because a team wins a lot. We compared notes about our kids. She was funny and smart.
About halfway through the meal, I noticed just how pretty she was, too. She was neither drop-dead gorgeous, nor simply plain. Neither of us were young, hot things anymore, but Nichole had a certain kind of confidence that radiated vibrance and vitality. She had something of the girl-next-door appeal, but she was also very fashionable in the Sex-and-the-City-on-a-regular-person's-budget way.
As we drove back to the house, I felt something in the pit of my stomach, which I hadn't felt for many years: butterflies. They both scared and excited me at the same time.
After our big wild, Friday night out, we had a more subdued Saturday night. The other girls had come in on Thursday afternoon or evening, and they were all heading home on Monday. We went out to dinner at a nice, upscale local seafood restaurant (that's why you go to the beach, right?) and then came back to the house to talk and gossip and just hang out.
At some point during the day, Melanie had gone out and gotten some real food and a couple of bottles of wine, so we weren't starving.
I love hanging out with other girls. We talked about everything under the sun, from football to spouses to kids to cooking to vibrators to retirement plans and everything in between. Although I had just met some of these women only a couple of days before, they were a fun, non-judgmental group. Each was successful, confident and pretty. They were full of supportive words and witty zingers, sometimes in the same breath.
We swapped email addresses and friended one another on Facebook. I found myself sitting next to Nichole on the couch. My pulse raced when our hips inadvertently touched.
All the while, I wondered if it was my imagination, since she didn't seem like the type who would be in to girls. Maybe it had just been so long since I'd been intimate with anyone that my mind was playing tricks on me. Maybe I had been out of the dating game for so long that I could no longer recognise when people were attracted to me and when they were just being friendly.
Or maybe, she was genuinely interested in me.
I made myself cut back on the wine or I knew I'd probably do something I would regret later.
At about 10:30, the six of us were sitting around, still talking comfortably, when there was a knock on the door. Melinda went to answer it and soon two police officers came in, looking for Nichole. Apparently she was wanted for outstanding parking tickets or regicide or something silly like that.
They had us going for about a minute, and then Melanie started up some loud dance music on the house's stereo. Soon enough, the two (very good-looking) young men were peeling of their "uniforms", Nichole found herself wearing the "Birthday Girl" tiara again, and somehow a champagne flute found its way into my hand and it never seemed to empty.
I think the guys would have let us have our way with them if we had wanted to, but they settled for the fair number of large bills which found their way into their g-strings. The side effect was that when the show was over, there was a house full of six tipsy middle-aged women in various stages of menopause who were suddenly very horny.
After they guys left, Melinda excused herself to go Facetime with her husband and/or wives, Becky retreated to the other bedroom for some time with Mr. Rabbit and Lara found herself suddenly needing to take a bath that involved candles, champagne and the jacuzzi jets.
Nichole, Melanie and I stayed up talking for a little while longer, then we all went to bed. I needed a few minutes to sober up or I'd be paying for all of the champagne in the morning.
I changed in the bathroom, but Nichole came in after a few minutes as we brushed our teeth and pulled our hair back. Neither of us were particularly modest, but nor did we go out of our way to expose ourselves to one another. Since we had both been married, we weren't strangers to having other people in the bathroom while doing our business.
As she was finishing up, I plugged in my iPhone, tossed back some ibuprofen and climbed in to bed. Nichole shut off the lights and slipped in afterwards.
We lay there for a few minutes, not speaking. Her body jerked a couple of times, and then her breathing became regular.
I spread my legs and found the space between them to be surprisingly wet. Trying not to wake the other person in the bed, one of my hands found its way to my breast and the other began to gently stroke my clit.
Although it was the male strippers who had gotten my libido going, it was thoughts of women that fueled my fantasies. Usually when I masturbate, I think about McKayla or Jessica Alba or Salma Hayek or someone similar; you know: brunette, voluptuous and gorgeous (although Christina Hendricks somehow finds her way into some of my redhead fantasies).