She pulled on some clothes at the first hint of dawn and tiptoed downstairs for a smoke in the garden. She was leaning on the wall watching the mist burn off when she heard the steps behind her.

"I am sorry, Kat. I heard some banging about and ..."

"I think perhaps I should go."

"Why on earth for?"

"I'm not a very good guest. You can't be sleeping any better than I am."

"I thought you said we were friends."

"There are limits, Pam. I'd understand."

"I wouldn't. I'm not turning you away like this."

"I can't be easy."

"Do you think you ever were?"

Kat offered her a Craven but she shook her head. It's not six in the morning yet, Kat, normal people don't need to smoke at this hour.

"Thank you."

"I really didn't mean to embarrass you like that. Forgive me?"

"It's fine. I should apologise to you for not being a little more discrete."

"I miss ..."

Sudden stop. So typical of the last few days: old friends who no longer quite knew each other; comfortable and yet nervous in each other's company.

"... your hair is such a mess. Come inside for a cup of tea, and then I'll brush it for you. I don't see how you could possibly enjoy breakfast with it feeling like that."

It made Kat smile. Part of her wanted to laugh, as if a little tangled hair could compare to all the other things; and yet she knew that it was true for all that.

It was only when they got back to the kitchen and Kat sat down that Pamela realised she had been outside barefoot.

"Heaven's sakes, Kat, look at you. You've been standing on gravel."

She knelt down and reached out for them. Kat pulled away.


"What's wrong?"

"Please. Just don't touch them."


Moonlight on Pearl's skin, making her shoulders match her name as they lay in the dark of the hotel room with the blackout curtains open.

Kat reached out and took a Camel from the packet beside the bed. It made her smile: yet another English girl seduced into bed by the American soldier with their good cigarettes and fancy gifts. Not that Pearl had ever offered her nylons. And she herself, in perhaps the most irresponsible act of her life, had more than paid her own way. She had given Pearl a bottle of perfume. Pearl had raised an eyebrow and said 'Uh-huh', and Kat had flustered at her own stupidity and mumbled that it was something from years ago she had been keeping to celebrate the end of the war. She had bought it in Paris seven months before.

She offered the cigarette packet to the head nestled against her breasts.


How that voice thrilled her. Pearl varied from terse to monosyllabic in her conversation, but each clipped word was an exotic delight. She sounded like Hepburn in the pictures. If anything, Kat thought she was more attractive, there wasn't that slightly superior air to her. The hint of danger was there though, it wouldn't be all that surprising to find Pearl had a leopard prowling about her house.

"Do you mind if I do?"

"Go ahead."

Pearl's hand ran down Kat's belly, fingertips brushing lightly through wiry hair; her head bobbed down to plant the lightest passing kiss. She caressed down Kat's legs, turned herself round to rest her feet on the pillow and kiss Kat's shins as she moved further down.

Kat lost interest in her cigarette as Pearl's nose and cheek brushed lightly over her feet. She pinched it out and raised herself up on one elbow to watch. This was their fourth time together; she had never seen Pearl behave quite like this.

"Like it down there?"


"Come back up here with me then."

"Tell me."

"Tell you what?"

"Please Kat. Tell me."

She didn't exactly need to be told more. It had always been there, guilty and hidden. Even more hidden than girls instead of boys, Had she given some sort of clue, or did Pearl feel it all of her own?

"Kiss my feet, Pearl ..."

Light, hesitant kisses fluttering on her ankle, dancing down onto the foot itself. The sight of that angular face at her feet was disturbingly beautiful, but as the physical pleasure washed up her legs it made her arm feel too weak to hold herself up. She sank back onto the pillow and heard her own voice getting harsher.

"... Kiss them. Kiss my feet for me."

Teasing tongue-tip licks on her skin, exactly the same licks that Pearl gave so pleasurably elsewhere. Kat had to bite her lip to stifle a moan. That felt important to her; she wanted to be silent, not to respond too easily to what Pearl was doing. Pearl pulled herself up and straddled Kat. Instead of the small delicate licks, she put her tongue to Kat's ankle and slowly lapped to the end of her big toe.

Kat's back arched, she couldn't suppress the noise any longer; she felt that mouth everywhere. Somewhere far away at the foot of the bed, Pearl's mouth and face gave Kat pleasure, but all she could see was the moonlit white of Pearl's backside and thighs presented to her, the sex between them. Pearl was a handsome woman with a good body; Kat had long since stopped feeling guilty about her own tastes -- what they did together was a beautiful thing, not a sordid compulsion. Yet for a moment the sight of Pearl was vulgar and ugly, and that thrilled Kat in ways that beautiful did not.

She put the flat of her palm possessively between Pearl's legs, stared at her fingers spread across Pear's buttocks. Pearl pushed back onto her. Pearl lapped harder at her feet.

Pearl's sex under her hand, that she had kissed and stroked as they lay in each other's arms as lovers. All the hidden things came back; things she could never imagine doing to Pamela or even Emily; things she saw no point in doing to someone she barely knew. Sex available to her, a thing to be used. She thrust her two middle fingers inside, pumping into Pearl's wetness. She felt Pearl's mouth engulf her big toe, stared at the submissive and vulnerable cunt stretched round her hand as she felt Pearl sucking desperately on her

"Kiss my feet. Take my foot in your mouth and please me. Do it, Pearl, or I'll hurt you."

Pearl pushing back onto her hand, grunting over her feet, pushing herself down onto Kat's body. Mound grinding against mound, gaping sexual display and bent back shining pale in the moonlight, Pearl's shoulders moving as she bobbed her head frantically on Kat's toes. It was not enough. Whatever they could do would not be enough, but Kat had to try: more sensation, more contact. Her hand thrust into Pearl's sex, perched above it was that dark and irresistible other temptation: oh so visible but oh so forbidden. Kat drew out one slick finger and pushed it deep inside. Pearl's deep animal moan was the most arousing thing Kat had heard in her life.


Kat struggled to write throughout the Saturday morning, but it was too jumbled in her mind to form a clear story. When she let the wartime memories out of their prison, all the other thoughts escaped with them. She closed her eyes and tried to remember how it felt falling slowly through the May night under a silk canopy, but the only image that came to her was the fantasy of Pamela crouched before her in the kitchen; bending her head to kiss a foot; Kat's other foot tracing along her shoulder as she did so; bare toes caressing the back of Pamela's neck in soft but unmistakeable ownership.

It was last night that had changed everything. She knew as well as anyone how time could stretch, but that surely had been real. Standing there in the sudden light, drops hanging at her nipples, water running down her belly and into her hair like rain on a window. Pamela had stopped and looked. Not for long, not for long enough, but she had not turned her eyes away the moment she saw Kat. For the first time, Kat had felt Pamela's eyes on her naked adult body; and it bought everything boiling up as she sat in the garden and stared at the blank sheet in her typewriter.

Pamela made some lunch and then asked Kat if she would mind helping her with the tractor. Kat was a trained driver-mechanic after all; much as a Fordson N wasn't an ambulance and only Pamela knew its idiosyncrasies, another pair of hands would be welcome. So Kat found herself standing beside the toolbox and feeling like an assisting nurse as Pamela operated. Except she hoped that nurses did not always find the surgeon quite so disconcerting.

She had, at least in her conscious mind, wanted to kiss Pamela for as long as she could remember. As they had both grown, the kissing had moved to places other than Pamela's mouth. Her throat, of course; and then her breasts; her back and her legs. Almost as soon as she fumbled her curious way to her first solitary orgasm she had imagined kissing Pamela there as well, giving her that pleasure with a soft loving tongue. That had always been Pamela in her mind: gentle, soft; kissing and holding; arms around each other and mouth to mouth at the moment of ecstasy. The other dreams, the thoughts she had found in her imagination for almost as long, had never been about Pamela. Those had been impersonal, even faceless. Those, in some sense, were not even women at all, but merely bodies. She had never felt that way towards Pamela.

Pamela wiped the back of her hand across her face, oil smudged across her cheek. It spoilt her always pretty face, it looked ugly on her. Kat looked away and tried to remember how she wanted to slowly undress her best and oldest friend; kiss and caress her breasts as she sat her down on a soft bed and they made slow love to each other. That was what she wanted, had always wanted. Just that. Not ...

Pamela working away in trousers and wellingtons and that old BD blouse. Kat took her by the shoulder and spun her back against the tractor, pulled open the blouse and found nothing beneath it. Pamela's heavy womanly tits spilling out, nipples already red and engorged from the scratchiness of the wool serge against them. Spilling that oil can beside them over her, rubbing it thick and slimy into her tits; bending her over and pushing her down onto hands and knees. Tugging away the trousers and thrusting hard into her with one hand as the other kneaded that oil in. Pamela's voice loud and wanton: fuck me Kat, sit on my face, let me lick you out ...

"Are you alright?"


"Oil can please."

"Of course."

What was wrong with her? Was she finally losing her mind? Why there and then?


Early in '46, there had been a woman. It was not quite love, but at the time it felt like friendship. Kat had told her things, about the war and what had happened. That was unusual, mostly she muttered something about driving ambulances and left it at that. Time had passed, at length they found themselves in bed. The second time there was drinking, Kat woke suddenly from a bad dream, comforting turned to something else; Kat had not meant to hurt as much as she did. There had been tears in the morning, and parting. There had been 'I don't hold it against you, Kat; not what with all the things that happened to you'.

She was grateful, the woman had every right to go to the police. But on top of that she could not help feeling insulted. She had been wrong to do what she had, but that was drunkenness and confusion; honest misunderstanding about who she had always been and what the other woman was not. It was not something new in her since Fresnes. She could not imagine that anyone else would ever understand that. But surely it must have changed you?

Rape had not been pleasant, but in the end it was simply another way to hurt her. She felt sorry for the other women, the ones for whom it was a beautiful thing made ugly and obscene. To her it had been more to withstand, as simple as that. Of course in Fresnes it had been one man at a time, and they wanted her in a state to talk at the end of it. Much later, after the escape when she had joined the mass of refugees fleeing westward to escape the Russians, that had been an altogether more terrifying prospect.

Prison had changed her, of course it had. It made her understand that she could survive if she was determined enough; that there are very few limits to what people can do for good or ill. It had not changed what she wanted from someone in her bed. She treated that woman no worse than she had Pearl, the only difference was that Pearl understood and desired it.


After supper, Pamela got out a fresh bottle of single malt and two glasses. She drank and talked about Duncan and politics while Kat had just enough to keep her company. As the evening wore on she became steadily more bitter. Kat admitted quietly to herself that she was slightly surprised at how disillusioned Pamela seemed -- the government was so detested by her parents' county set friends that she had naively imagined Pamela must have some use for it. She listened and muttered the odd agreement here and there, and resisted any temptation to repeat any of the stories she had heard about the Russian army. Pamela paused for breath and a refill. Kat was becoming concerned for her.

"You're new at this, aren't you?"


"Trying to drink your way out of it."

"Just birthdays and Christmas. I don't cope then."

"Doesn't work, does it?"

"How would you understand?"

Because it was Pamela, her dearest and oldest friend, she swallowed the unintended insult and said that perhaps she didn't. At length she helped Pamela upstairs and into bed, gave her a gentle kiss on the top of her head as befitted an old school friend, and told her to get some sleep. She went to her own room, took off her clothes and washed herself down in the basin. Yet another night that was too hot, her hair was feeling sweaty again. She climbed into bed, then thought back to the morning and Pamela brushing her hair for her. She was as desperate for release as she could remember, but it felt simply wrong to do it here in Pamela's home, with Pamela lonely and distressed on the other side of the wall. The thought of Pamela in bed tormented her. The thought of Pamela opening the door and seeing her pouring water over her neck. It would be wrong; she was terrified that the images in her mind would change into those from this afternoon. She so needed ...

"Kat ..."

A quiet knock at the door. Kat pulled her hand quickly from under the covers and sat up.

"... Kat, can I come in?"

"Of course you can."

Pamela sat on the edge of the bed in her nightdress as she struggled to find the words.

"I'm ... I miss ... I'm so lonely, Kat."

"I know."

"Would you mind ... Can I ...?"

What could she say? For this person, of all people, only the truth. She shrugged her bare shoulders and grinned sheepishly.

"I'm not wearing anything."

Answering smile from Pamela, quick little nod of the head in acknowledgement. She stood up to let Kat pull back the covers. A moment's hesitation, Kat's breasts and belly under Pamela's gaze. Pamela pulled the nightdress over her head and dropped it on the floor.

Life, as Kat had learned, cannot be anticipated; it can only be seized upon. The culmination of a dozen years' desire came to her out of the blue, it would be cruel and stupid to beg Pamela to stand a little while in the dim starlight so Kat could take in the sight of her body. So instead she spread her arms to enfold her best and oldest friend as she climbed into the bed. Pamela snuggled in and Kat once more kissed the top of her head, as innocently as she had before. She stroked Pamela's hair, and felt an arm hesitantly encircle her, and crooned away to her that everything would seem better in the morning. She rocked and stroked, and found it such a soothing thing to do that she herself fell asleep from it too.

She didn't know how much later she woke up. It was not the startled shocking start up from nightmare she was too used to, but it was sudden. Without warning she was wide awake from deep sleep. For a moment she was unsure what had woken her, and then she felt Pamela's tongue lick a second time at her nipple.

"It's alright, Pam, you don't need to do that."

"Don't you want me to?"

She felt the hand sliding softly over her belly, tracing down into the all too obvious damp between her legs.

"I'm sorry."


Because that's not why you wanted to sleep in my arms. Because I should be enough of a friend not to react that way when you need comfort of an altogether different sort.

Pamela's finger brushed against her lower lips, opening her up like the petals of a flower. She put her hand as gently as she could under Pamela's chin and tilted her head back. Lips on lips at last, tongue to tongue and her hand cupping that cheek the way she had so often imagined. She pushed Pamela's shoulder lightly down to the mattress, slipped her mouth off of Pamela's and down Pamela's throat. She stroked her face over Pamela's breasts and felt them soft and giving to the slight pressure of her nose and cheek and closed eyelids. She found Pamela's nipples hard and tender at her lips and kissed them. She stroked her hand down Pamela's belly to mirror what Pamela's was doing to her. She felt resistance part easily to her fingertip and slid inside as gently as coming home at last. She heard the sigh in her ear that she had imagined since she was a girl.

There are times when there is no greater luxury imaginable than to lie quietly in the dark with your lover and take as long as you can in slow gentleness shared. There are other times, when passion is too high for slowness. Kat pushed herself down the bed, ran her tongue down Pamela's body until she dived into the hair and heat she needed. She kissed. She licked. She was rewarded by Pamela's 'Christ, please!'. The angle was wrong, the sheets too tight. She pulled them roughly off and slid to the foot of the bed, dragged Pamela's hips to her face and buried herself where she had always belonged. Her tongue thrust inside as Pamela thrust back onto it, and then her hands behind Pamela's knees pushed up and out, and she lapped upward to finally feel Pamela's clitoris on the tip of her tongue and hear Pamela's base sexual gasp at the first touch. Face down in the scent and taste of the woman she had always loved, bowed in worship between Pamela's wide-splayed legs as the breathing grew shorter and louder above her. Pamela's hand possessively on the top of her head, her own fingers sliding down and dipping inside to feel Pamela's tight sweet grip throbbing around her as her tongue lapped and lapped; until she felt everything tense and shudder against her face and heard that endlessly drawn out 'ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh Kat!' echoing into the night.

She crawled up the bed, into Pamela's waiting arms; kissed Pamela's mouth and smiled as she pulled a face at the taste.

"Let me ..."

"You don't have to."

"I want to, Kat. Please let me do it for you."

She lay back to let Pamela do what she wanted to, and felt that strange conflict that can come over you when you truly love a woman. There is nothing in the world that you can imagine giving you more pleasure than her mouth down there, but how you miss it against your own when she does.

The rest of the night was not, perhaps, quite as gentle as the fantasies that had haunted Kat's mind for a decade. There was more than mere kissing and caressing. There was Pamela's face to the pillow and Kat pressing against her back as she chewed at the back of Pamela's neck and her hand reaching down in front to take what it wanted. But it was not how she would have been with Pearl or any of the others; it was certainly not what she had imagined over the tractor the previous afternoon. It was sex, passionate but giving; it was making love more than it was fucking. And eventually, after hours of giving and taking, it was sleeping exhausted tangled in each other's limbs.


Waking to sunlight and the welcome discomfort of their bodies jammed together; to the sight of Pamela's face on the pillow beside her. Pamela's arm still lying across her; the scent of each other still on them. She reached out and brushed her hand on Pamela's cheek. She saw Pamela's eyes open and realised they were as beautiful as anything she had ever seen.

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