Equal Shares Ch. 23bysteveh11©
"So, Stan, how did things go last night?" asked Elizabeth on Tuesday morning.
"What's this, a progress report, Elizabeth?" asked Stan with a grin. "I have to say, it's pleasant to be giving one instead of being the subject of one!"
Elizabeth looked slightly embarrassed, but pressed on, "Well... How did things go?"
"Hmm. Things were a little tense in the car...Oh! You wouldn't know... Anne asked if I minded giving Denise a lift there. Well... No! Of course I didn't mind, and the two of them looked absolutely amazing. But things were definitely frosty to start with last night, I can tell you."
"Well, that's to be expected, Stan. But it was nice of Anne to make the gesture."
"Yes. Well, things did get better. The dance class was good. Denise is really quite good at dancing. She's also got a date for Friday night."
There was a flat quality to Stan's voice that Elizabeth noticed. She asked, with concern in her own tones, "What's wrong, Stan?"
"It's not what, it's who. The guy she's got the date with is a sleaze. I can imagine him in one of those old Noel Coward plays, in a smoking jacket, going from girl to girl. I don't trust him one bit. But, of course, Denise is delighted!" he finished with disgust.
"Have you warned her of this?"
"First thing I did. She just made a beeline for him, regardless. What can I do?"
Elizabeth muttered something that Stan didn't catch. Then aloud, she told him "I'll have a word and see how she feels about the guy. What's his name?"
"All right, Stan. I'll speak to her."
- - - - - - - - - -
Sure enough, Elizabeth and Denise ate together at lunch, again.
"I hear you have a date on Friday, Denise?" asked Elizabeth.
"Yes, I have! Stan's been interrogated, I assume?" Denise answered, with a raised eyebrow.
"Yes, I may have asked him about last night, now you mention it!" Elizabeth laughed. "Don't dodge the question!"
"All right, Elizabeth. Yes, I have a date on Friday. His name's Tom, he was at the class last night, he's a charmer. We're going out to dinner."
"What's he like?"
"Oh, he's about an inch taller than me, thick, dark, wavy hair, slight accent – Irish maybe? – and smartly dressed. Oh, his hands go everywhere I'm not supposed to let them, and I had to stop that a couple of times, but he's basically harmless."
"So, is this just a date for fun, or with something more in mind?"
"Oh, it's just fun, plus I get to see if I can make Stan squirm a little."
Elizabeth thought for a moment.
"Denise, you won't make Stan jealous, you know."
"No, probably not. But shaking my booty in front of him, and especially with Tom, seemed to get his attention. I just want to have a little fun, and if I can tweak Stan's nose a tiny bit, well, that's a bonus."
- - - - - - - - - -
Anne, on the other hand, had lunch with Stan. Today was much better than Friday had been.
They chatted about the weekend in general and then the subject moved on to James.
"I wonder what little scheme he has up his sleeve?" pondered Anne. "I knew him fairly well, but not that well, so I don't think I can guess at all. He's a materials physicist by training, a teacher by inclination. He knows an awful lot of people. Ah well, it might just be a new Golf Club or something for all I know."
Anne changed the subject.
"Seen anything of Denise this morning?"
"No, not yet," answered Stan. "I've got to see her this afternoon for a minute or two, though."
"She certainly moves fast once her mind's made up, doesn't she?" remarked the blonde.
"She's a grown woman. Not for me to judge." Stan replied.
"Oh, come on. She threw herself at that Tom. I hope she enjoys what she gets from him. I know you warned her, Stan, so she can't say she didn't know."
Stan felt uncomfortable.
"Well, Anne, it's her choice. But I don't think it's a good one, no. It's not my place to interfere, though is it?"
"No, Stan, it's not."
- - - - - - - - - -
The next day, Stan asked Anne if she fancied a drink down at the Mitre in the evening. "It became almost a habit, and I enjoyed it. I miss it, a bit," he told her.
"Sounds like a good idea, but I can't drink. I have to be on form first thing in the morning – there's that meeting with Sales about follow-up work on the chip first thing in the morning."
"That's okay, you can drive!" Stan answered with a sly grin. Anne glared at him, but then leaned over and gave him a kiss. "I love you, but you're a pig, you know? I have a better idea. We can cycle, then you can get some exercise to help work off the calories in those drinks."
Inwardly, Stan groaned, but all he said was, "I have a better way of working off the calories..."
"Well if you drank too much you'd miss out on that, too. So you see what a good idea I had?" Anne told him, smiling.
"I cannot deny the faultless logic of your argument."
"See? 'Berkeley is always right. I will listen to Berkeley!' " the taller blonde told him, with a smirk.
"That's the wrong SciFi show!" Stan told her in disgust, but he had to grin, as well.
- - - - - - - - - -
Later that evening Stan and Anne chained up their cycles outside the Mitre. Stan was still grumbling, but was keeping it quiet – besides, in his heart of hearts he knew Anne was right.
They walked in and found the place was quieter than normal. Stan asked the barman about this, and was told "Oh, it happens sometimes. You just never know," as he bought the half pint of beer for him and an orange juice and lemonade for Anne.
They weren't alone long, though. Susan and Elaine came in, spotted Stan and Anne, and came over to sit.
"You're a little early aren't you?" asked Susan as she sat next to Anne, on the opposite side to Stan.
"No, not really, it just seems that way," replied Anne. "Stan asked the barman, apparently it's a slow week. It happens sometimes, he said."
Elaine had overheard. "Yes, sometimes it can be really, really quiet in here, then another time it'll be really heaving. There doesn't seem to be rhyme or reason to it, it just works out that way."
She sat next to her partner, handing over her drink.
The four of them sat and chatted together for a while. Stan noticed Elaine pouring the last of Susan's bottle of cider into her glass, and got up to buy a round of drinks for them all, intending to have a mineral water for himself this time.
"Is this seat taken?"
Stan looked up to see Denise. He was surprised, but pleased to see her there with a smile on her face and indicating a fifth chair at an adjacent unused table. "Hi Denise. Pull one up. Want a drink?"
"Gin and tonic, please – I'm not driving!"
When Stan came back to the table he found Denise sitting at the end of the table opposite Anne, and next to Elaine. "You need to be able to get back in," she told Stan when he looked at her, quizzically, so he slid back into his seat next to Anne.
Elaine was snuggled in close to Susan, who was telling off-colour jokes.
"Here's one we can all relate to. Little Johnny and his two friends are sitting on the front porch one day.
"The first one says, "My Daddy is so cool he can eat four burgers at one meal."
"The second one says, "That's nothing. My Daddy can eat six."
"Little Jonny starts laughing and says, "My Daddy can eat light bulbs."
"The other two boys tell Jonny that he is out of his mind. They ask him why he thinks His daddy can eat light bulbs.
"Little Jonny replies, "Last night I was passing my parents room and my Daddy said, 'Honey, turn out that light. I want to eat that thing.'""
Everyone laughed, and Elaine gave Susan a kiss. Susan visibly preened.
Anne complimented Denise on her look. "That beautiful green top looks great with your hair, Denise. You really look attractive tonight. If I wasn't straight, I could be tempted."
Susan gave Anne a loooong look. Elaine noticed, grinned, and told Anne, "If you weren't straight, I think I'd have a rival!"
Susan smirked and told Elaine, "Well, I'm allowed to look too, aren't I?"
"Yeah, provided you pay attention to me – that's the agreement, I have to pay more attention to you, then you don't get as jealous when I look – so it works the other way around. Did I mention that I love you, Susan?"
The two women smiled at each other, then Elaine looked at Denise. "I hear you've got yourself someone new?"
"Yeah, I'm seeing him on Friday. He's taking me to dinner."
"Ooh, a traditional date! Are you going to let him woo you, Denny?" Elaine teased.
"Oh, you be quiet, or I'll start telling stories of my own, Laney!" Denise answered with a grin. Elaine smiled back, and then looked at Susan. Susan nodded slightly, so Elaine reached over to Denise, grabbed her head and gave her a kiss.
"I guess that's no longer a secret at all, then!" Denise laughed when they broke. Elaine turned back to Susan and gave her a hug.
Susan smiled at Denise. "We've talked a lot these past few days and nights. I was hurting us by being possessive. Elaine was hurting us by not paying me enough attention, or so it seemed to me. So we talked, and it turned out that there simply wasn't enough time in the day for Elaine to give me, according to me, but on the other hand each of us felt as madly for the other... "
"Yes, and Susan now sees that there's only so much time and attention, and I need some time to myself. I've managed to convince her that even if I look at another girl, I'm her girlfriend so we're both a bit more relaxed about our relationship," completed Elaine.
"So does that mean I can call, and talk to Laney without having to worry about the two of you?" asked Denise of Susan.
"Yes. If you need to talk, just holler!" smiled Susan. Elaine gave Susan a peck on the cheek, and Denise beamed.
Susan looked back at Anne. "Are you sure you're completely straight?"
"Yes, I'm afraid so," Anne told her.
- - - - - - - - - -
That Friday night, Anne and Stan went out for a meal together. Anne had booked a table for two at the same Indian restaurant that Stan had been to with Denise.
As they sat down to eat Stan remarked on this.
"Well, after all, we couldn't go to Tennant's, could we, Stan?"
"No, not really. I think Denise might object – and in truth, I think I'd object, too. I can't stand the thought of Tom hurting her, and I'm convinced that's what'll happen."
"I thought you didn't get jealous, Stan?" asked Anne, curiously.
"Not jealous. Not possessive, either. I guess... protective. I just don't like the thought of Denise being hurt again. She's been through a lot, what with Jim in Ibiza, then coming home to you and me."
Anne and Stan studied their menus for a minute.
"You think a lot of her, don't you, Stan." It wasn't a question, it was a simple flat statement.
Stan looked at Anne over the top of his menu. Anne was wearing a black silk top, with gold threads picking out an oriental design. With her hair tied back, she looked severe but beautiful. Stan felt himself in a minefield again.
"Yes, Anne, I do, as a very good friend would. I thought you'd got over the jealousy thing?"
"No, I told you that it would take time. Time to build up trust, time to let feelings settle. I think you instinctively trust more easily than I do, Stan, possibly because the trust you feel has never been broken with the shards of it raked across your skin. I have! It's taking time for me to let go of the feelings left from that experience."
"Ouch! I felt that. Still that bad, huh?"
"Well, yes. But it's better than it's ever been Stan. I do trust you not to deliberately hurt me physically, and now I'm sure you don't intend to hurt me emotionally, but there's a part of me that still says, 'He might not mean to do it, but that doesn't mean it won't happen.' So you see I'm still a little sensitive about it."
Stan reached over and took Anne's hand.
"Sweetheart, I'm in love with you. Completely, utterly, totally. I promise you, I won't hurt you."
Anne gripped his hand, hard. "I believe that's what you mean, Stan. But you might not be able to help it. Things happen. I need... time, Stan."
"You'll get it, Anne. I'm not going anywhere, you know."
- - - - - - - - - -
Stan was quiet that night. Anne noticed.
"Stan, what's wrong?" she asked him as they got ready for bed.
"Nothing sweetheart, nothing. I'm just tired, that's all. Let's get to bed, and I can cuddle you, and we can sleep."
They both slept nude. Anne reached for him, and Stan cuddled her, but there was still a distance between them. Anne rolled over, and they spooned for a while, then Stan moved back a bit to run his hand down her back.
Stan stroked her back, absently, almost mechanically. His mind was elsewhere. 'What more can I do to make you realize that I won't, can't hurt you?' he wondered while Anne made purring noises as his hands moved slowly and softly across her skin.
"Ooh, you can keep that up," she told him, relaxing even more as he moved just his fingertips gently up and down her back.
"That's all right Anne, I'll do this as long as you want me to," he answered, bringing his mind back to what he was doing. With featherlike touch he moved his fingers up and down, then in circles, then spirals in and out, all over from the small of her back right up to the nape of her neck.
As he moved his hands back down to start again Anne arched, groaning softly and throatily. She rolled over and told him, "I thought you wanted to go to sleep, Stan? Well you've turned me on, so now I want something..."
Anne kissed him, almost attacking him, tongue-duelling with him for territorial possession, almost crushing his lips. Stan gasped a little as she lifted up and off him for a moment.
She gave him a slightly feral smile as she moved over and down, taking him in her hand, stroking. Stan was mentally tired but still reacted physically, and Anne purred again as he stiffened in her grasp. Stan felt the wetness of her tongue as she bent her head and licked the head like a lollipop, around and around, before she plunged her head down to lick at the base, then ran her tongue up slowly, agonisingly slowly towards the tip again.
She did it again, then a third time, before Stan felt her hot mouth surround him, moving slowly down over his penis, hand gripping him before she started to bob up and down.
"Anne, I can't take much of that, you know!" he gasped. Anne didn't answer, and didn't stop. She did slow down a fraction however, taking her head off his penis for a moment to look back up at him with that devastating smile of hers, before beginning again.
Stan let his head fall back onto the pillow, simply enjoying the sensations for a moment. He lifted up again to see the blonde hair moving back and forth, as she fellated him, obviously loving every second.
Stan pulled at her hips and Anne shifted, straddling his face so they were in a sixty-nine with her on top. Anne had to bend her back a little, but now Stan was able to return the favour.
Stan had always enjoyed this. He loved the perfume, the taste and the texture, and he licked Anne slowly from the base of her labia towards the hidden treasure of her clit.
Anne was still licking, sucking, jacking at his penis. Stan was running his tongue in the crease between her inner and outer labia, first one side, then the other, running figure-eights, sometime lifting his head just that bit further so he could dip his tongue right inside her. But Stan was right, he wasn't going to last long, and within a short while he felt himself about to come. "Anne!" he warned her, and Anne moaned around him, sending him flying over the edge.
Stan came, strongly, into the mouth of his lover. His hips bucked up as he tried, involuntarily, to jam more of himself into her mouth, but Anne had her hand in place to prevent that, and she rode his movements, sucking and swallowing. Finally spent, Stan relaxed a moment. Then after his vision cleared, he lifted his head and began, once again, to play the beautiful pussy in front of him with his mouth.
Anne squeaked as he began again. Her juices were running freely, and Stan wormed a digit inside her, crooking to find her G-spot. Anne was soon making small, jerking movements of her hips, unable to hold still, moaning, while Stan played her like an instrument. Finally she squealed, jamming herself down onto his face, almost crushing his nose.
Anne collapsed onto him, falling forwards slightly. Both took a moment to catch their breath.
Finally she rolled off him and scooted back up to kiss him. The kiss was loving and passionate but less needful than before.
Anne laid her head on his shoulder and they just lay there and cuddled for a while. Finally she spoke.
"Stan, I want you to know that I love you," she told him, "You never need worry about that. I disappointed you earlier tonight, I think. What I said was true but I need you to know that I would never stop loving you no matter what. We've both been given second chances. I'll not spoil that."
"Oh, Anne. I know that. I trust you, completely. I know that you love me. Deep inside, I know it. I'll not hurt you, or stop loving you, and I think that you know that but are afraid of really letting yourself go enough to believe it. But you will."
He kissed her nose as she lifted her head up to look at him. "Thank you my darling," he told her. "Thank you for what we've just done, and for loving me, and for just being in my life."
"The same right back to you, Stan," she told him, before they fell silent once more.
They fell asleep, with her head still on his shoulder.