Another Friday Nightbyfazza91©
It was a year ago tonight. Just another Friday night in theory, but she could recall it as though it was yesterday.
Julia had been really looking forward to it three days earlier when she stood to bowl out her final frame. She looked overhead at the score. It was still very close. A strike would put their team that little bit further in front with only the last pair in each side to square off. Mentally she rehearsed a strike shot. Then calmly her legs started a graceful march towards the pins.
Damn! The 3 and 6 pins were still standing. She'd have to get a spare for them to stay in the match. As the fallen pins were swept behind, she recalled being unable to stop thinking about Friday. She was overjoyed that it would be the first chance since the wedding a year ago to spend longer than a fleeting amount of time with Rachel and Tim.
Releasing her next ball, she was relieved to see both pins fly. It was up to Sally's beau who she'd nicknamed Mr Pinball to play the shots that would win, draw or lose the game. She exchanged a high five as she strolled to the back seat to watch.
Her thoughts strayed to Tim. She had always adored Rachel's husband from the first moment her best friend introduced him. Julia enviously recalled a number of times when, without prompting, he had been so considerate and affectionate towards Rachel both in public and private. Tim knew how to make someone he loved feel special, unlike Brian.
She snapped out of it to see the opposing captain walking tall. Julia realised she had missed the girl's shots, but her team were dancing around her and the two big crosses overhead confirmed their team must lose. Mr Pinball lined up for his spare but it wouldn't be enough. Julia readied herself to spring up and give him a consolation hug.
As she detached herself, she realised how much her friends' honeymoon, their new life together, her own breakup with Brian following accusations of frigidity, and the aimless overseas holiday she'd then treated herself to had all kept her from seeing them. And of course Rachel's baby being born five months ago hadn't helped.
So she had jumped when Rachel rang and offered a leisurely meal, a DVD and the chance to stay overnight in their spare bedroom.
Since Tim and Rachel had married, their Four Musketeers bowling team had almost become the Three Musketeers. The original pair, Sally and Mr Pinball, were a quirky couple she really liked. They had a hilarious, mutual and obsessive love of the latest gadgetry and Sally would often call to chat. But Julia's relationship with Sally wasn't in the same league as the one with Rachel.
Rachel's place on the bowling team had been taken by a girl from Sally's work. Vanessa was a better bowler than Rachel and also Sally's best friend. And it would be almost true to say Julia had a non-relationship with Vanessa. Something about the girl niggled at Julia, preventing them becoming friendly let alone becoming friends. There was just something about Vanessa that Julia couldn't put her finger that was a deep concern.
The young woman was pleasant and pretty enough. No, Vanessa was downright gorgeous she had to admit. But she seemed rather quiet and introverted most times. It wasn't that Julia wasn't open to getting to know her. But little glances from Vanessa from time to time plus her social awkwardness put Julia a little on edge.
While Sally's boyfriend went off to a far corner to play his usual dozen or so games of pinball, the three female teammates sat nursing consolation coffees at the cafe in the bowling alley.
"This is so cool!" Sally had suddenly come out with, frantically fishing a fluorescent phone out of her purse. "Watch, Julia," she excitedly added. As it lit up, an apologetic Julia delved into her own purse to silence the dreadful phone ring that was already attracting glances. One that Mr Pinball had installed after the last game.
There was nobody on the line but she could hear bowling alley noises echo in the background. Sally's ear to ear grin gave her away.
"Voice Recognition dialling," Sally guffawed. "All I have to do is say your name, and this phone automatically rings you. How about that?"
Julia shook her head amidst helpless laughter at Sally's glee, and exchanged a glance with Vanessa. There was one of their rare shared moments. In one of the few times the pair had actually spoken in sentences to one another, they agreed Sally would always be Sally and was so suited to Mr Pinball over yonder.
"So, what are you and Rachel up to this Friday," Sally asked. "Is Tim babysitting while you two go out clubbing?"
"Not that he wouldn't if we wanted, but no," Julia sighed. "At twenty eight, I'm getting too old for the types that hang out in them now to enjoy that. Plus Rachel would worry about little Douglas all night. No, Tim is being given the night off. He's off fishing when his mate finishes work about ten. Before that, we'll get a take-away dinner, hire a film, then enjoy time together. Just me, her, Tim and the bub before he heads off. Then Rachel and I might get into a glass of red or two."
"Are you allowed to drink if you breast feed?" Sally asked looking from Julia to Vanessa with raised eyebrows.
"I don't know," Julia said as both girls shrugged. "But Douglas has been bottle fed from an early age. What worries me is that Tim is choosing the DVD and he used to go for horror or vampire movies. That could mean Rachel and I will be huddled together on the couch looking sideways over chewed fingertips for much of the night. What are you doing Friday night, Vanessa?" she added, deciding to try to include the girl.
"The usual. Working four hours until 10.30 or 11 at Swains, then home," a surprised Vanessa hastily answered.
"Swains! I didn't know you worked at Swains?" exclaimed Julia. "You're so lucky. The seafood there is supposed to be legendary."
"I only work there because it's just around the corner," came the shy reply. "I can walk to and from my unit in three minutes."
The girl's face was filled with that lovely but haunting smile as she seemed pleased at being included, but was struggling to continue the conversation.
"I'm just the meet and greet, not the chef," Vanessa eventually added. "And to be honest, I've never tried our food." She looked at her watch and stood, easing on her coat. "I'm due home, I guess."
That would have been the signal for Sally to go as well, but Mr Pinball still seemed to have a free game or two to go. Both girls watched the tall young figure floating through the glass automatic doors.
As they closed behind her, Julia leaned across the table.
"She seemed even quieter than usual tonight?" she queried.
"Love problems. And too much time spent living alone," Sally replied with raised eyebrows. "Do you like her? She keeps saying to me she thinks you don't."
"She's fine. She seems so hard to get to know. I guess I should break the ice and try to get to know her better," came Julia's non-committal reply.
"Give me your phone," Sally insisted. She fiddled with the keypad then passed it back. "There, if you scroll backwards, she's the first. Give her a call maybe? After all, you're both single and unlike Rachel, she's only minutes from your unit."
But her thoughts weren't concerned at all with Vanessa over the following days.
The first sign it was going to be a different Friday from any other came as Julia was having her usual quiet sandwich alone on the lawn in the park. She dived for her purse to shut up that weird ring tone that had everyone around glaring. Cringing, she turned away from the stares and looked at the display. She promised herself to get Mr Pinball to change it back next bowling night.
Sally! She waited for the girl to return her hello.
But at the other end, Sally seemed distant and distracted. And Julia could hear someone else there, crying. Finally, she heard Sally's voice, not talking to her but trying to soothe someone. Vanessa? Listening between the sobs, Julia could tell it was indeed Vanessa.
She hissed "Sally!" repeatedly into the phone then called slightly louder without success. As she waited for a quiet moment to get her attention, Julia realised that Sally's phone had automatically called her, not Sally herself. They must be talking about her. Curious, she listened in.
"Just because Julia let you kiss her once doesn't mean she's in love with you too, you know," she made out Sally's unusually serious tone.
Julia just froze, trying to digest what she had just heard.
"Vanessa, you have to forget these romantic notions you have about her," a firm Sally continued. "True, she did sound interested about you working at Swains, but it's not as if she's ever likely to turn up outside your work and ask you to take her back to her unit and sleep with her. You have to be realistic. Why don't you ask her out to Swains on one of your nights off? She'd probably say yes."
"I can't," Vanessa sniffed. "She's so beautiful. I just get so tongue-tied when she's around and everything becomes clumsy. And I couldn't bear it if she said no."
Julia turned her phone off and just sat there, head spinning, open-mouthed. So much fell into place about why Vanessa seemed so coy about her. It also made sense now why Vanessa seemed so confident whenever she'd seen her in Sally's company. A kiss? She recalled that brief, non-committal kiss after trading Easter eggs at bowling one night. God, that meant Vanessa was in love with her four months ago? A girl in love with her? No one had said 'love' about her since Brian. A girl wanted to have sex with her?
Her thoughts were still racing. If that was ever likely to happen, surely it would have been with Rachel. After all, they had had few inhibitions whenever they were together right from the moment they met at Rachel's twentieth. They instantly clicked after tipsy 'truth or dare' confessions found they both slept nude whenever they could. Chatting after, they found they both worked close to one another.
Lunchtimes together in this very park became the norm. Being long before Tim and Brian were to appear, girly talk about their next Mr Right led to a surprisingly delicious kiss goodbye on the nearby corner at the end of one lunch time. Despite enjoying it, Julia's attempt to apologise profusely on the phone that night was not only dismissed by Rachel; next day, she took Julia's hand and steered her to a more private part of the park.
An unsuspecting Julia was about to start her salad roll when Rachel eased her back onto her elbows and initiated their first French kiss. More followed from her friend then the lightest facial stroking. Soon Julia was enthusiastically retaliating, holding the lovely face to hers and tongue-kissing Rachel.
When both found they loved the feel of caressing the other's bare skin at a secluded beach two months after, they became quite uninhibited about taking turns at caressing and touching one another in private. Shoulders, arms, backs and chests came to include breasts, then even nipples. Yet there were boundaries. No body parts were kissed, and no hands strayed into the curls between anyone's legs, even on the occasional weekend trips they began to take together. On these, naked on the inevitable motel double bed, they would take turns to massage or fondle the other as they chatted at day's end.
They both loved the thrill of kissing combined with touching, and came to know one another's favourite places. Yet whether they ended up soothed or titillated, it never progressed any further nor did they talk much about it except to comment on how nice it felt. And their appetite to kiss and touch never waned. If sleeping together, the first awake generally rolled over and united by spooning or draping an affectionate arm or leg over the other's nude body.
It had been their secret, even from Tim Julia suspected. But about the time he and Brian came on the scene, she had been having thoughts about daring a kiss near a taboo area and seeing what reaction came from Rachel. Or wondering what she'd have done differently in hindsight when Rachel's hand had almost strayed too far south once.
It was silly thinking about it now anyway. Rach was married now. That was part of Tim's role now and God bless him, he did it very well according to constant feedback from her best friend. But surely sharing this Vanessa was something different.
Back in the office, she had to go to the bathroom three times to throw cold water on her face. She had daydreams of the slender Vanessa, prowling naked on all fours down her prone nude body, almost feeling fer brown tresses land on both sides of her quivering belly as the girl's beautiful face hunted the hidden erect bud tingling between her slightly parted legs.
The evening she had been looking forward to started famously. Rachel almost cried when Julia passed over the bouquet of flowers. Holding the gorgeous baby as Rachel prepared them for a vase, Julia kissed his face and drew the cutest smile. Maternal pangs started to go through her. God, Douglas was so like Tim.
From the kitchen came the delicious odour where Tim had decided to replace takeaway with his salt and pepper squid dish. Fifteen minutes later, they were tucking into it with the Asian salad Rachel had tossed. Everyone was content and happy. Even the baby seemed to be laughing in his high chair as the girls polished off the first Julia's two bottles of wine while Tim put the dishes into the dishwasher. Listening to him whistling in the kitchen, Julia was both envious of her friend and pleased for her. And she guessed all his offspring would probably inherit his easy going, amicable nature.
A final bottle for little Douglas then he let himself be contentedly whisked off to bed. Tim threw on the DVD, a romance selected for them rather than the expected vampire horror flick, and sprawled on one lounge. Rachel returned from Douglas with a blanket for him and one for them both on the other lounge just as the story started.
The quick glancing smile from Tim as the opening credits finished was one of complete acceptance as Julia lay leaning back against Rachel's chest. Comfortably propped between her friend's long outstretched legs, she nuzzled her cheek affectionately against Rachel's, broadening Tim's warm grin. Smiling into his eyes as she drew the blanket up to her chin, she felt a sense of delight as Rachel's soft lips nibbled her ear.
When Tim looked away, she realised she felt so at home, so close to the old days that she found herself unable to resist stroking the trousered knee alongside her. She was rapt when Rachel sought and held her hand under the blanket.
"Tim knows," she felt rather then heard Rachel's whisper under the film music. "It doesn't worry him in the slightest about our private brand of closeness. Not that we'll be putting on any shows right in front of him like kissing or anything. But he understands our type of closeness."
She leaned back to Rachel's ear. "Really? Brian would have had a fit if I'd ever let on to him. You've got yourself a real catch, Rach."
"Sure have," she heard her best friend's breathy murmur into her silky hair.
Even so, despite the blanket, it was a bit hard having Tim just two metres away in the flickering light as five fingers spidered and slid teasingly up the bare skin under her T-shirt. Julia tried to stay calm when they came to rest on her bra cup. When they slid inside, Julia's joy was profound.
She closed her eyes in wonder as a thumb with an excellent memory slowly dusted her aureole. God it had been so long since she'd enjoyed anything as pleasurable as this. Tim smiled across every now and again at the affectionate couple, and she relaxed while her whole breast was cuddled and massaged, especially in the more romantic bits of the film. The final credits started.
"Ladies, I'm off," Tim announced, getting to his feet. Julia was so close to their lips lingering fondly beside her face, and she felt a part of it when he broke and lingered as he kissed her brow fondly. She was amazed to realise that her breast had remained snug in Rachel's caring hand throughout.
"Should be back about five or six hours unless they're not biting, Rach," he smiled into her adoring upturned eyes as he palmed the keys.
By the time the car headlights had turned, Julia's upper clothing was around her shoulders and Rachel's lips were tenderly melding with hers. It was almost like a year of being apart had never happened. But a thought started to nag at Julia. She wanted to again lie naked with her friend like the old days. But as accepting as Tim was about their affectionate ways, she didn't fancy spending that time in their bed. After all, that was their shrine.
"Let's share your bed until Tim comes home?" came Rachel's welcome suggestion. Julia's response was to silently reach behind the warm back and unclip her friend's bra strap.
Both jumped when the unit doorbell rang. After adjusting their clothing, Rachel made for the peep-hole.
"Mum!" she said tersely, pulling open the door. "What on earth are you doing here?"
"Your father and I have had a fight," the short plump woman picking up her carry bag grumpily replied before pushing past Rachel."Oh, hullo Julia," she added. "Are you visiting?"
"Just a minute Mum," Rachel called after her. "Julia, can I talk to you for a moment?" But Rachel's mother was already in the spare bedroom as the young women huddled in the kitchen.
"She does this every month or so lately," Rachel softly exclaimed. "I'll have to give her the spare bedroom. Would you like to move into my room? Tim won't mind sleeping on the couch when he comes home."
"No, I'll go," Julia began watching Rachel's mother already unpacking in the spare bedroom. The look on Rachel's face and the softest kiss made her waver.
"Wait until Tim returns then at least," Rachel said stroking her face. "I can't get enough of the type of affection I get from you and Tim. Please?"
Relenting, Julia grabbed her change of clothes just before Rachel's mum abruptly closed the door, the inconvenience of her unannounced visit lost on her. Rachel's mum was still as remote, selfish and ungrateful as ever.
"Goodnight Mum," Rachel called loudly from the master bedroom as she eased the last item of Julia's clothing off her. There was no answer as expected, the pair standing naked body to body holding one another close, Julia starting the first of a series of deep kisses into her friend's soft upturned neck.
An hour later, the light off, Julia lay passively on her back feeling the quivering in the hands roaming her breasts and stomach. This time was a bit different though. There had always been the welcome feeling of her delicious juices trickling between her thighs.
But tonight, the new experience of Rachel kissing one breast near its thrusting nipple in the dark induced a relative flood. And the fingers circling her heaving navel were straying so close to the top of her mound at times.
Hesitantly, Julia raised her hand and daringly guided the loving fingers to touch the dampness between her shaking thighs. Just as she freed them there though, the baby started crying.
"Damn," Rachel muttered. "Sorry Julia. He can sometimes take ages to feed and put back to sleep. I may have to nurse him for a while until I can catch up with you. Tim's almost used to me freeing myself from under him to dash off at the most passionate of moments. That's motherhood at times, I guess." Grabbing a robe, Rachel closed the door quietly. Julia turned off the dim lamp and pulled the quilt up over her head for more warmth.
It seemed like only a quick ten minutes later when she heard the door ease open in the dark then close. She was still extremely stirred. A searching hand found her feet at the bottom of the bed. She was about to quietly ask how the baby was when the far end of the quilt was gently lifted. Rachel's unexpected moves and the sudden feel of cool air on her exposed feet were the first surprises.