An Emerging Pt. 01byModernmenelaus©
First, a warning - this story is based around a "Loving wives" theme. If that gives you issues, you are going to have to grind your way to the end, some 50,000 words away before you can grumble. Ask yourself, is it really worth the effort?
The second warning is, the first 2 1/2 sections are substantially the same as an earlier submission of mine "Emergence".
Thanks to "Blackstallion21" for editing support.
"OK, any other business?"
Rachael waited with mild trepidation; surely, just for once, there was a chance that they'd end the meeting on time? The knot of tension in her stomach tightened.
"No? Good. We'll reconvene at nine tomorrow for the team building event. Have a good evening, all."
For the first time ever, Rachael felt a rush of affection for Jeremy, the Chairman. Now, all she had to do was get out without getting dragged into anything else.
She began to pack her papers into her briefcase, avoiding eye contact with any of those around the table. Now, the plan had to be straight out of the meeting room, through the office outside, walking briskly and facing straight ahead. Maybe, just maybe, it was going to work. Her mind began to dwell on the evening ahead of her...
She was suddenly aware that she was being spoken to.
"Gah -- you were miles away," Jeremy spoke with amused tolerance. "Do you want a lift to the hotel, with the rest of us?"
She flushed slightly.
"No, I'm not staying over -- I need to get home. Babysitting problems."
"Ah. Sorry to hear that -- it'd have been good to have got you along to dinner, with the team." He smiled. "Maybe we'd have seen a less formal Rachael after a drink or two?"
She returned the smile, but held her silence. She was aware of her flushed cheeks, suddenly concerned that all present would know that she was lying. Turning away to snap shut the briefcase gave her a chance to break the moment. She turned for the door, but as she reached it, she had to pause, as the caterers removed the leftover lunch plates. Stepping through, she half heard the muttered comment from Frank, one of the "old hands".
"You'll never melt the Ice Queen, mate"
"Idiot," she thought. Frank and his cronies were part of the reason why she wouldn't be staying over, even if she didn't have better plans for the night. The drinking would start as soon as they arrived at the hotel, continue through dinner, and culminate with stupid games - not to say some vomiting - in the small hours. Inevitably, at some stage, she'd get loudly and publicly propositioned by one or another of the idiots, and perversely, her response would be taken as evidence of frigidity.
There was laughter in the room behind her.
"Pity. I reckon she's got a pretty good figure. Her arse looks good in that that skirt, at the very least."
She walked out through reception fighting an urge to sway her hips to draw attention to that part of her body. That could wait. The skirt was tightly cut over her thighs, restricting her step. Involuntarily she glanced down, pleased with the way it outlined the long curves of her legs and hips. She noted the small bulges caused by her suspender clips. It amused her to think that Frank and the other middle aged adolescents at the meeting were too unobservant to have noticed them; God knew what effect the idea that she was wearing stockings would have had on their overheated imaginations.
Not that she'd ever thought before that this should be an issue; she simply hated the constriction of tights. A lift was waiting, its door open. She slipped in and pressed the button for the ground floor. The doors closed, leaving her alone in the mirrored box.
Leaning back against one wall she took a deep breath, hoping to quell the butterflies gathering in her stomach. A sense of apprehension fought with rising excitement. She sighed. For someone who normally prided herself on her equanimity, she was becoming used to what seemed to be huge swings of mood oscillating from excitement to apprehension to guilt to mild euphoria, sometimes in a matter of minutes. At this moment she was sure that she was growing moist between the legs. Part of her mind, however, remained preoccupied with iniquity, and with fears of the many things that could yet go wrong.
She looked at herself in the mirror opposite. She supposed the "Ice Queen" remark might have some justification. Her business suit was cut as the picture of respectability. Slightly longer than knee length, grey wool, the jacket buttoned to her collar bone. She'd not removed it at any stage, despite the stuffiness of the room or the length of the meeting. Under it she wore a crisp shirt of masculine cut. Although no less restrained than the suit, it had a tendency to pull tight across her breasts. Past experience had taught her that anything that drew attention to her full breasts, contrasting them with a slender waist, caused unnecessary attention. Around her neck was a single strand short necklace, of large square black stones, matched with onyx pendant earrings.
The only thing, she supposed, that might have suggested anything other than complete professionalism and modesty, were the seamed black stockings. She twisted her calf to see the seam in the mirror, pleased with the way it emphasized her slender muscularity. The low heeled pumps would have to go before the evening though. Not at all the effect she hoped to create...
The lift halted, and she stepped through into the lobby. She acknowledged the security man with a brief smile, slid quickly through the revolving door, and out into the car park.
The early evening air was fresh and crisp, fitting the season. Its coolness felt good on her heated cheeks. As she walked towards her car, she found that her gait changed spontaneously. Her usual purposeful stride - at least as much of a stride as the confines of her skirt permitted - changed to a sensual glide, her hips swaying. At the same time, she felt her nipples tighten. She ruminated that she was drifting into the mood for the evening. That, or the cold was getting to her!
Once in the car and pulling out into the traffic, she came to the motorway slip road within minutes. The point of no return.
Rachael could take the left, and return home, where her husband and child would be surprised, but pleased to see her. They'd doubtless question why she wasn't away at the social evening, ahead of her much anticipated team building day, but they'd eat together and settled down for another evening of quiet domesticity. Suddenly, taking that safe option seemed very attractive.
Or did it? Idiots though they were, Rachael couldn't empty her mind entirely of the sorts of remarks made by Frank and the others. Not when there'd been so many similar ones over the years. Always shrinking into the background, always avoiding attention. Even when she'd married, despite Alistair's obvious delight in her body, she'd never found it possible to believe in her own desirability. There had been occasions when he'd persuaded her to wear something daring, that showed off her figure; when she had, she'd dismissed the reactions of men to it as just proof of their stupidity, not of any merit on her part. She'd felt tawdry, and after a while he'd given up.
In bed, he lavished praise on her form. In that context, she found it arousing, but when he'd moved on to using it as the basis of fantasy concerning her in situations where she'd aroused men, she'd refused to participate. In truth, she thought she simply found sharing such thoughts uncomfortable even if they turned her on. Sex was purely an issue of love within marriage, wasn't it? And even if that could be simply put to one side, she found it impossible to envisage herself that way. The odd thing was, when he'd stopped, she'd found she quite missed it.
She could take the right. Just ten miles or so, a safe distance from anywhere anyone was likely to know her, was the hotel she'd booked when this wild idea first occurred to her. As she sat waiting for the lights she knew this was where she had to make the choice. If she didn't take the opportunity this time, she'd never summon up the courage for a second attempt. Conversely, she was risking so much.
The lights changed. She made up her mind. Left, and home.
The first two cars in the queue moved away smoothly. She lifted her foot from the brake and, with a sense of relief, began to move forward... and stopped, as the ancient hatchback two cars in front of her stalled. As its driver churned the starter motor the light turned red. She was about to start cursing the incompetent. Instead, she was suddenly struck with a further wave of indecision. The mental images she'd formed of the evening came to the forefront of her mind, and she felt her body respond.
Her breath quickened as she felt herself become slick, her nipples crinkling, and blood rushing to her labia.
Rachael's mind returned to her previous train of thought. In reality, she'd never, in her heart of hearts, disliked the tales of her imaginary misbehaviour; she just couldn't feel comfortable with them while she disbelieved that anyone would have found her so tempting, or that she could allow herself to behave that way. But, as time had worn on, the frequency with which such tales were brought to the marital bed declined. Her fault, she supposed. She'd tacitly discouraged them. On birthdays and anniversaries he still sometimes bought exciting lingerie and she enjoyed wearing it, seeing the response in her husband's eyes. Even though some of the outfits were hugely more tawdry than she'd have ever bought for herself, there was still an inner stimulation in presenting herself. Rachael couldn't bring herself to admit that to him, though. And over time, those presents too had become more sporadic.
It had been impossible not to start to think that life was passing her by, that she was being deprived of a gratification that others took for granted. That conjecture had become more concrete six months or so ago. On hearing the admission from a friend -- one of the other mothers who waited each day to collect their children outside her daughter's school -- of having had an affair, she'd been at first stunned, and then intrigued. The friend was a decidedly "yummy mummy" Rachael admitted, but it still had been a huge surprise when, both slightly drunk on a "girls night out", she'd confessed.
It wasn't the fact of the affair that had discomfited her but the lack of regret, and the relish with which her friend had described its invigorating effect. The feeling of becoming desirable again, of being able to cast off the shackles of propriety had rekindled her love of life, it seemed. And even though the affair had been short lived, as she'd claimed, it had rejuvenated her sex life with her husband. He, it appeared, was puzzled but grateful at the change in her.
Then, more recently, less positive events had conspired. Discovering Alistair's secret store of pornographic magazines was no great surprise -- most men had one, she surmised. It was that it was not all of lithe young bodies. Often it featured women of her own age, who apparently had no problem both displaying themselves in the most lewd way, as well as apparently taking pleasure in an active - and wide ranging - sex life. She'd been furious.
Angry and frustrated at work that following day, she'd heard about the "Ice Queen" nickname for the first time.
Rachael found in herself a small core of anger. How dare they presume to know about her inner drives? How dare her husband not recognise his good fortune. Also, though, was a nagging guilt; it was she herself who'd created this situation, through her inability, or unwillingness, to set aside her inhibitions.
Beyond the anger, though, a new need was emerging. She had to know. She had somehow to prove to herself that she was capable of being alluring, of provoking lust in men. And that she could herself take pleasure in the sex act itself, unconstrained by circumstances. She found herself imagining situations where she did just that. Imaginings, though, didn't settle any of the questions. Worse, they just contributed to a longing to experience truly passionate sex.
Then, opportunity had offered itself. As soon as the instructions for this event had appeared in her e-mail inbox -- a day of tedium setting budgets for next year's operations at an office miles from home, a night in a hotel, and a day running around a muddy field with fools she mostly despised - a plan had germinated. Provided she attended the day events, no-one from work would be surprised if she had to rush home in the evening; none would expect the Ice Queen to unwind socially anyhow. Equally, at home, she'd be able to show good cause for being away, and even largely unreachable.
She'd been planning the night for weeks, surreptitiously buying the items she felt she'd need. This was her chance to know once and for all what she was capable of.
As the light again changed it was near automatic that she swung the car to the right. Rachael forced herself to concentrate as she joined the stream of traffic, suppressing her imagination in order to concentrate on safety. By the time she was ensconced in the outside lane, there seemed to be no more space for indecision. In fact, she found herself driving with unaccustomed speed, eager to reach her destination. Turning into the hotel drive, she had to make herself slow. The car, her pride and joy, was low slung as befitted a sports car. It had to be taken slowly over the speed bumps, respecting its age.
Pulling into the car park, she contemplated the hotel building. It seemed well chosen for her purpose. A large country house, converted to its current purpose in the last few years, it was large enough to be anonymous, but retained character. That wasn't why she'd chosen it, though. That was more to do with it's proximity to a number of military training establishments. She'd always had a weakness for the sorts of men who became officers and she felt few of them would turn down the offer of a night of uncomplicated sex.
As she stepped from the car, bending over to extract her overnight bag, she felt herself being watched. A surreptitious glance showed her a group of men standing at the window of what she guessed to be the bar, observing her with frank interest. Rachael was pleased to think that her position would show the curves of her backside to advantage. Her only regret was that she was still wearing the flat pumps rather than footwear more suited to her plans for the evening.
Her path to Reception took her out of their line of sight. Check in was quick, efficient, and nonetheless frustrating.
Her original intent had been a long, slow, scented bath, followed by leisurely preparation, a light meal, and then to allow events to take their course. That didn't fit her mood. Arriving in her room, she decided a change of plan was in order. Yet more anticipation was that last thing she wanted; all doubts now seemed gone. For the first time in her life, she thought, she felt just plain lascivious. She wanted to make herself as provocative as possible, to go downstairs, and to see just how much attention she could attract.
She quickly stripped and showered. From her overnight bag she took the short, tight dress that she'd selected with such care. Pulling it over her head, she smoothed it down over her naked body. She'd never ever before owned a piece of clothing under which it wasn't possible to wear a stitch of underwear. She reached into the bag to bring out the broad elasticised belt which she'd decided to wear. Did she need it, she wondered? Normally, she was convinced child bearing had left her with a waist a little larger, and stomach a little slacker than in her youth. Inspecting herself in the semi-sheer black dress, she admitted that that was really self deprecating. Her frequent gym sessions had, in reality, left her waist and stomach tight and toned.
Still, the broad belt did add a raunchy quality. She clenched it tight. Her image in the mirror was starting to look very good indeed, she decided, especially for someone past forty. Her breasts were held firmly by the cups formed into the dress, although they could have been presented a little higher, she thought. Against that, her nipples were clearly delineated, giving a voluptuous effect. She succumbed to the urge to run her hands over them, then to tease them with her fingers. It felt good, sensual, and, of course, it made them even more prominent. Her hands were shaking, she realised. Perhaps a drink would help.
She was prepared. In the bag was a bottle of champagne, but it wasn't chilled. She called Reception, and ordered an ice bucket. Investigating the mini-bar, she found a quarter bottle of white wine, which she opened and poured.
Sitting at the dressing table and sipping at the wine, Rachael snapped the seal on the packet containing the stockings she'd selected to go with the dress. Unusually for her, they were "hold-ups"; although her thighs were firm enough that they didn't cause an unsightly line, she disliked the sensation of the gripping welts. However, this time, the clinging nature of the dress ruled out a suspender belt, so she'd chosen these -- dark, in fact near opaque, with a faint lattice design picked out in silver -- as the most erotic option available. Drawing first one, then the other, up her legs, she was relieved to see that they were long enough to reach almost to her pelvis. That meant that any flashes of thigh she offered would be intentional. Moreover, she contemplated, they'd make her already long, slim thighs look endless.
That concept engrossed her. Rapt by the idea, she reached again into the bag, drawing out the shoes which she'd wished to be wearing earlier. Four inches high, with a thick ankle strap, they'd been bought with the intent of exhibiting her shapely legs, of giving her walk a libidinous sway, and -- most crucially -- sending a not very subliminal message. Rachael had never owned a pair of "fuck-me" heels before. She certainly did now. She bent to fasten the ankle straps. The buckles were stiff. Sufficiently so, she thought, they'd only be coming off in extremis; and in her mind, she formed another vision of herself, naked but for stockings and heels.
She'd fantasised such a scene often enough recently, and even - at Alistair's request - dressed this way in the privacy of their bedroom, albeit lacking the heels.
The night she'd found those magazines, he'd been away on business. Probably just as well, as her first instinct had been to confront him with them and demand that he not bring any such material into their home again. Instead, events took an unexpected turn. Having settled their child, while sitting quietly she found some of the images returning to her mind. Then, having gone to bed early, she found herself waking in the small hours, uncomfortable in churned covers, and perspiring. Her body showed all the signs of arousal, and she knew her dreams had consisted of vague, but undoubtedly sexual images. Settling back to try to recapture sleep, she found herself consumed by an urge to compare her own body to those in the magazines. And thus she found herself in what she thought was the bizarre position of standing in front of a mirror contemplating her strengths relative to the models in the magazines strewn around her feet. She'd felt, in the main, she compared well. Why did he feel the need to look at them when the real thing was available?
The following night, when he returned, she'd attempted to initiate sex. Claiming tiredness, he'd declined. As he slept, she found her mind churning. Was it something wrong with her? Was she genuinely so undesirable? If so, why? She thought that objectively, her body stood well in comparison with those he wanted to look at. She wanted very much to be sure of it now. This was the first time she'd contemplated being seen like that, by some yet-unknown lover. She found the prospect exquisitely sensual, and at the same time daunting.