The Close FriendsbyGale82©
"That is probably the most disgusting thing I've ever heard," I declared sternly, adopting a look of utter disdain.
My companion, my best friend for as many years as I could remember, looked totally distraught. She stared at the half-empty wine glass on the table in front of her, unable to meet my gaze and completely taken aback by my condemnation of the very personal secret she'd just shared with me.
"Really, Beth," I went on, struggling to keep a straight face, "No one... absolutely no one... has an extramarital affair with a bloke named Eric!"
She stared at me for a second or two, uncomprehending; then her face broke into a huge grin and she began to laugh. "You really are such a bitch, Sophie!" she told me, as tears of laughter began to seep from her eyes, "For a moment there, I really thought...."
"Oh, come on, Beth," I giggled, "Surely you know me better than that!"
If she didn't, then she really ought to have done. We were both in our late thirties, we'd been friends all the way through school, and we'd always shared secrets that we couldn't possibly talk to anyone else about.
In our teens, it had all been about our fantasies and ambitions; the careers we'd coveted, the boys we fancied, the music we liked and so on. Later, it had become more serious; the losing of virginity (she'd been a couple of weeks ahead of me on that one!), the first serious affair and, eventually, bridesmaids at each other's weddings.
As we approached the big milestone of 40 we no longer lived in the same town – and our social circles were very different – but we made a point of meeting for lunch at least once every month to catch up with things. It was harder for me to do, because my work involved long hours, while Beth was a 'lady of leisure.' That had been the main difference between the paths we'd chosen; Beth had married for wealth and security while I had chosen a much more romantic path.
As it happened, neither of us had managed to get what we were looking for. Beth's husband had lost a huge chunk of money from some dodgy investments and, while they were still a very long way from penury, the mansion had been swapped for a large cottage, the frequent holidays in the Caribbean had given way to a timeshare in Spain, and her Mercedes had been replaced by a Mondeo Cabriolet. In my case, although the love hadn't completely died, it had certainly diminished. My husband, Daniel, seemed to find it impossible to hold down a job for very long, always complaining that the ones he had weren't really what he wanted to do (even though he'd never been able to work out what that was!) and, with the passage of years, he'd put on an unhealthy amount of weight, smoked too much, and paid little attention to me as long as I continued to bring in the monthly salary from my job as a legal secretary.
If anything, it ought to have been me who was in the market for an affair, but I'd honestly never considered it. Unlike Beth, I was beginning to show signs of becoming middle-aged; lines on the face, breasts starting to sag, waist and hip sizes not quite as slim as they once were. Beth, on the other hand, was as slim and elegant now as she had been at 19; her figure was kept in trim with plenty of time spent in the gym, her hands and face had been treated with care and she seemed to have a permanent tan that showed no signs of being artificial.
A few months back, she'd told me that she was seriously considering a divorce – as long as she could be sure of a decent 'settlement' from it. She'd discovered that her husband was keeping a mistress and it was a case of the mistress being willing to do things that the wife wasn't; in his case, quite extreme bondage. Last time we'd met, she'd told me that, after a confrontation, she'd agreed to stay with him – although sex was completely out of the question – as long as he made suitable financial arrangements.
"So... is Eric the next millionaire on your list?" I teased.
"Not unless there's a lot more money in window cleaning than I realised!" she replied.
"What? You're having an affair with Eric the window cleaner?" and we both burst out laughing so loudly that several other customers in the small bistro turned to look at us.
"Behave yourself, Sophie!" she demanded, still grinning, "You're beginning to sound like my husband's stuck up friends!"
"Okay... sorry, Beth," I apologised, just about managing to be serious again. "So tell me, what's the attraction? How did it happen? Where did you meet him? What's he like? Is it serious? Are you going to run off with him...?"
"Whoa! That's a lot of information you're asking for," she grinned and then, after looking around as some customers began to occupy the table next to ours, she went on, "I don't think I can say too much here. Let's settle up and go for a stroll through the park, shall we?"
I agreed, even though I knew it would mean having to stay behind at work to catch up with what I was doing and, as usual, she snatched up the bill and paid it before I had any chance to object.
A little while later we found a bench in the park, sat down to enjoy the bright warm sunshine, and she began to fill me in on the details of what she referred to as her 'extracurricular activity.'
"We've had our windows cleaned by the same firm ever since we moved into the cottage," she began. "They're very reliable, very efficient and we've never had any complaints. Of course, with the kind of winter we've had, it hasn't really been possible for them to do very much so they were getting a bit grubby. The insides were okay because the cleaning lady does them of course."
That made me smile. I did my own housework, including the windows both inside and out – my husband washed the dishes occasionally and genuinely believed he was a real help to me.
"Anyway, there was that nice spell at the beginning of April," she went on and, sure enough, the window cleaners turned up. This time, though, the older one of the two wasn't there – apparently he'd had some stupid accident and broken his arm... or was it his leg? I don't know... something like that. Anyway, the bloke who replaced him simply took my breath away! He was gorgeous! He's thirtyish.... Don't look at me like that, Sophie! He's not that much younger than me!
"Anyway... he's got long dark hair and a sort of 'Mediterranean look,' if you know what I mean. Of course, that's shattered as soon as soon as he opens his mouth and speaks in a broad Yorkshire accent... but never mind.
"Of course, I couldn't keep my eyes off him. He's got a really great physique and a very handsome face. Apparently, he was making a living as a golf-professional but he had a bit too much to drink one day and disgraced himself. It seems that during an argument with some of the committee members, he lost his cool and ended up being thrown out. He hasn't played at all since then because his heart isn't in it any more.
"I learned all this on that first day because I made them a cup of tea and we had a bit of a chat. I asked Eric if he'd be interested in partnering me in a tournament that was coming up at our club – a mixed 'four ball, better ball' if you know what that means?"
I didn't, but she carried on any way, obviously delighting in the memories as she told her story.
"Anyway... he wasn't sure about it at first but, after a bit of persuasion he agreed to dig his clubs out and give it a go. Well, the day of the competition was windy and a bit wet... not the sort of weather that well-heeled members relish. For me, though, it was wonderful. He was careful not to make it look too easy... he even told me when he was about to deliberately fluff a shot... and we just about won it.
"I'll tell you what, though, he didn't half annoy me!"
"Oh, why's that," I asked, trying not to look at my watch because this was obviously going to take longer than I'd expected.
"Well... I'd introduced him as a family member from 'up North' and the sod kept calling me 'Auntie Beth' at every opportunity. I could've swiped him with a sand wedge!"
"No, you clown," she laughed, "A sand wedge... it's a lofted golf club that... oh, never mind! Anyway, after the tournament we all had a few drinks in the clubhouse. Eric was very well behaved and stuck to a single beer that he nursed very carefully. I'm afraid I had a bit more than that because I'd put one over on a certain lady who is quite prepared to cheat in order to win... which she normally does.
"So, by the time it came to leave, I gave the car keys to Eric and asked him to drive me home. We'd met at the cottage and he'd left his battered old Renault there while I gave him a lift to the club, so it wasn't going to be a problem.
"I suppose it's fair to say that I was a little bit tipsy, but I certainly wasn't drunk. On the way home, Eric started off by praising the way I played but, as we relaxed, I realised that he was slipping in a few ambiguous comments...."
"Such as...? I asked.
"Well... for example, he said he liked the way I gripped the shaft... don't laugh! And there was something about my ability to 'open my body' when I was 'swinging.' It's a game that lends itself to that kind of thing. Anyway, I gradually began to realise that he was eyeing me up whenever he could manage to take his eyes off the road... and it seemed as if he liked what he saw.
"So, when we reached the cottage, he parked the car and gave me the keys back. I mean, don't get me wrong, I was already fancying him... big style! But I wasn't about to make things as easy as that. I was polite and pleasant... we'd already arranged to partner each other in the next tournament... so I confirmed the arrangement for that one... gave him a 'thank you' peck on the cheek and left him to head for home by himself.
"A couple of weeks later the window cleaners came again... but Eric wasn't with them. The usual man was back at work and when I asked, in as vague a way as possible, what had happened to the younger one, I was told that he'd been moved onto a different 'round.' Well, I didn't know what to do. I hadn't bothered to take his number or anything, so I didn't even know if he'd turn up on Sunday! The truth is, I suppose, that it was the uncertainty that made such a difference. It wasn't just that I needed a partner for the tournament... I found that I was really dreading the thought of not seeing him again."
"You were smitten."
"Yes... I suppose I was. I mean... don't get me wrong, Sophie, I knew then and I know now that it wasn't anything serious. It was just lust... just one of those itches that you need to scratch... you know what I mean"
I wasn't at all sure that I did. To be honest, I'd never really understood all the fuss about sex. I mean, it was enjoyable enough, and sometimes quite exciting, but it wasn't something that engaged my thoughts very often... certainly nowhere near as much as when the hormones had been raging during our teens. But, to keep Beth's story moving along, I nodded and simply said, "Yes... of course."
"So, Sunday morning arrives and there's no sign of him. I'm sat there on my own – himself is spending a few days being handcuffed by his whore... or whatever it is they do... and I'm about to call the clubhouse and make an excuse for not being able to make it when, all at once, I hear the sound of a car horn on the drive and I look out of the window...."
"Your nice, clean window...."
"Don't be a bitch, Sophie! So there he is... large as life and looking absolutely gorgeous! Well, I just ran out of the house and, without thinking, threw my arms around him and told him I'd been afraid he wasn't going to arrive. Well, it definitely took him by surprise, I can tell you that! But before he could recover from it we were in the car and racing to the golf course. In fact, he said something about me being a much better driver on the course than I was on the road... but I didn't care. I asked him if he'd take it easy with the 'Auntie Beth' bullshit because it made me feel old... and he said it was either that or 'Sexy!' It took me so much by surprised that I nearly introduced the car to a hedge! But I think I think I recovered well... I told him it was definitely 'Beth' when we were at the club.
"Anyway, I know it won't mean anything to you, but it was a mixed foursome strokeplay tournament...."
"Hmmm... a foursome...?" I mused
"Cut it out!" she giggled. "Anyway, we won it quite comfortably and I felt totally elated! There was a real party atmosphere in the clubhouse afterwards and I had a fair amount of Champagne... quite a decent one as well... and I was really jubilant by the Eric drove me home. There was a bit of banter, just like the previous time... but this time I gave as good as I got. Anyway, when we reached the cottage, I said something about needing a few coffees to prevent a hangover the next day... and I asked him if he fancied one."
"You invited him in for coffee? My God... that is so clichéd!"
"I know... I know... but it was all I could think of at the time. Anyway, I did make coffee and we both did drink some... so there!" she laughed. "Eventually, of course, he said he'd better be off before my husband arrived and started wondering what a strange man was doing in his house alone with his wife."
"What did you say," I asked eagerly, guessing that we were finally getting down to the nitty gritty.
"I told him that I didn't think he was strange at all... and that my husband was away. Well, he didn't have any trouble taking the hint. He moved in, put his arms around my waist and asked if I wanted to discuss my swing. I told him no... that I wanted to practise it."
"Good grief, Beth!" I said, that was a bit... well...."
"Forward? Yes, it was, wasn't it? But I knew exactly what I was doing... exactly what I wanted... and I was pretty sure it was what he wanted as well! So, I reached up and put my arms round his neck... did I tell you he's over six-foot tall? I kissed him. He kissed me back and then we just started... what do they call it nowadays? Snogging? Necking? I think I prefer 'necking.'
All of sudden, I seemed to feeling much greater heat from the sun than when we'd first sat down on the bench, and I squirmed a little to get comfortable.
"Are you alright with me telling you all this, Sophie?" she asked in a slightly mocking tone.
"Beth! Stop asking stupid bloody questions and tell me what happened will you!"
"Nothing much, really," she said with a wicked smile, "We just went upstairs to bed and he stayed the night." I could see that she was teasing me by the wicked smirk on her face. She was perfectly well aware that her story was getting to me.
"Beth... I'm already late for getting back to work," I grinned, "If you don't make it worthwhile... I swear it's the last lunch we'll ever have together!"
"Okay... I know. You want all the grubby details, don't you?" she laughed, knowing perfectly well that my threat was an empty one. "Right! Well... we were in the living room and we were necking. He had a bit of stubble on his face... that's something I really like, I think it's so masculine... even if it does give me a bit of a rash. Then, after a while, he stands back a bit and he just takes hold of my top and starts to lift it...."
"What did you do?" I asked, breathlessly
"What d'you think?" she grinned, "It's an expensive one. I held my arms up so he could take it off without tugging at it! Well, give him credit, he put it down very gently on the coffee table... then he went to move in again. But I pointed at his top, letting him know I wanted that removed first.
"Do you like hairy chests, Sophie? I do. I can't understand this current obsession with smooth ones... I think they look a bit gay! Anyway, Eric has a lovely hairy chest and, as soon as I saw it, I whipped my bra off so I could press my tits onto it... I love the feel of that, don't you?"
"Mmm... yes," I answered vaguely. My Daniel had a hairy chest and I used to like the feel of it, but nowadays it just looked a bit sad because he was beginning to develop breast-like appendages and a rounded stomach.
"Well... we started necking again and it wasn't long before he had his hands on my boobs and... well, he has a wonderful touch! He stroked them, and he squeezed them gently... it was if he was really exploring them... you know what I mean?
"Sophie? Are you alright with this?"
"What d'you mean?" I asked, quite annoyed that she'd stopped her narrative to ask a stupid question.
"Well... you do look a bit... errm... flushed," she taunted.
"You're a bitch, Beth," I laughed, "You know perfectly well that I'm enjoying this... so just bloody-well get on with it!"
"Okay... but don't get too horny or you'll be having one of those cute lawyers over his desk when you get back! So... anyway, where was I... oh, yes, we had our tops off and he was doing lovely things to my nipples... making me shiver... when he suddenly stopped, scooped me up off the floor, and started carrying me upstairs!
"It was no effort to him... he really is very strong! When we got up to the landing, he asked me which room... and I pointed to the main bedroom. I know that probably doesn't sound very nice... y'know, the room and bed I share with Gerald... but it hasn't been used for anything but sleeping in for a very long time... and it's got the largest and most comfortable bed, anyway.
"So... he gently put me down next to it and then he stepped back. He started to unfasten his trousers... so I did the same. I was trying not to be too obvious about looking at the bulge in his underpants, but he knew perfectly well that I was... I could tell by the wicked smile he gave me...."
"Was it... errm...?" I started to ask, but she laughed and said;
"Oh... it was 'interesting,' Sophie! Believe me, it was very interesting! So I had my knickers off while he was still struggling with his socks!"
"I know," she giggled, "I was like a bitch on heat. Then he lifted me onto the bed laid me down on it, and spread my legs. I was wanting him to take his underpants off... to see what... well, you know! But he just went down between my legs and started treating my pussy to a fantastic licking. I mean... you know what that does to me, Sophie, don't you?"
For a second or two I didn't really didn't get what she was talking about but, when I did, my already-flushed face probably turned crimson and, instinctively, I looked around to make sure that no one could possibly overhear us.
"Beth!" I said, actually feeling a bit annoyed, "that was a very long time ago...."
"I know... I know," she said, looking delighted at my discomfiture, "but it was just like that was! All these years, I've thought it was only another woman who'd know how to do that properly! I've got off on the memory of that more than once... haven't you?
The truthful answer would have been 'yes,' but I certainly wasn't about to admit it... and I'd certainly never felt any desire to repeat it. It was just one of those things that happen when you're in your teens, when your hormones are all over the place and you're not entirely sure of your own sexual orientation.
Beth's parents had taken her kid brother to some football match that involved an overnight stay in London, so I'd been invited for a sleepover – I think her parents were happy about it because they knew I was the most reliable of her friends and there wasn't likely to be any damage done to the place. So... two 17-year-olds, both of whom had minimal sexual experience, settled down with a bottle of vodka that Beth had kept concealed in her room – with loads of lemonade from the fridge – and proceeded to get very drunk while they climbed into Beth's large bed and watched a video.
The video was one of several that were normally kept in a locked drawer in her father's study but, naturally, Beth knew where the key was kept! It wasn't a real 'porno' or anything like that... just a fairly adult movie called 'Desert Hearts' but, as I realised later, it became noted as the first one to show an authentic lesbian relationship – quite graphically -that didn't end badly.