A Perfect Worldbysubtleperfume©
What, in God's Name, was happening to me!?
I would have to sort it all out (if possible) tomorrow. Post coital bliss settled in and tension melted away. For what remained of the night, I fell into a deep and restful sleep.
The next morning I was staring blankly at my computer monitor when Cindy stepped into my cubicle entrance. "Hey, Jen. How's it going this morning?" That irresistible smile graced her features.
"Oh, a little bleary eyed, but otherwise okay." I replied. Just seeing her made me a bit giddy. I felt like a school girl with a first crush.
"Good. I mean, good that you're okay, not good that you're bleary eyed." she chuckled. "Well, I've got some unforgiving deadlines that are gonna keep me occupied all morning, but I wanted to make sure we're still 'on' for lunch."
"Absolutely." I suddenly had a vivid image of myself kissing each faint freckle that adorned her nose and cheeks. I nearly had to shake my head to rid myself of the picture. Cindy looked searchingly into my eyes for an instant and I briefly wondered if she could read my thoughts.
Then, with a "See ya soon" and a quick wave, she was gone.
I tried valiantly to clear my desk that morning so I could afford the long lunch break. Thoughts of Cindy intruded over and over again. I wondered what was wrong with me. Was this due to some post-partum hormonal imbalance? How in the world had I ventured so far in such a short time?
Distracted or not, phone calls were made, papers were shuffled and computer entries were logged. Before I knew it, Cindy was ringing my telephone. "I am almost, but not quite, done here. Would you mind coming down to my office and leaving from here so I'll have time to tidy up a couple of details?"
When I arrived in her doorway, Cindy looked up from her monitor, beamed at me and gestured for me to come in. "Would you shut that, please?" she pointed at the door and then patted the guest chair next to her desk. "I'll be done in a jiffy."
Her gaze was intent on her computer monitor as her fingers danced across the keyboard. While she was occupied, I took a good look at her: the arc of her eyebrows, the clarity and color of her eyes, the slope of her nose, the curve of her cheek, the fullness of her lips. I felt the urge to reach out and let my fingers travel where my eyes had just been, when I realized I was staring.
Cindy was either too focused on her work to notice or too gracious to let on that she had.
Within a couple of minutes time, she closed several windows on her screen and stood up. Raising her arms victoriously, she grinned, "Free at last! Thank God Almighty, free at last!... well, at least until after lunch."
Reaching down and taking my hands, Cindy pulled me out of the chair. "I asked you to drop by here first, because 'A': I wanted, no, make that 'needed' a hug... " she drew me into her embrace. "And 'B': I wanted a chance to talk to you privately before we go to lunch."
Still holding me in her arms, she continued, "You know, you cost me no small amount of sleep last night." Before I could respond to that, Cindy went on, "I went around and around, thinking about you, me, us... our friendship."
She stepped back slightly, out of the embrace, but with her hands still holding my arms, "And I'm pretty damn proud of myself." she grinned. "Because I actually got it all sorted out."
"Oh, really?" I replied. "Care to share any of that insight with us mere mortals?"
Well, since I am feeling generous today, I might be willing to shed some wisdom on the masses." She couldn't suppress a giggle.
When I mock-curtsied, she pushed me playfully back into the chair I'd recently vacated. But, then her luminous smile was replaced by a pensive expression. "I run around madly every day, trying to keep up with an impossible schedule: work, home, husband, son, and all that those things entail."
"Oh, I know I'm hardly the only one." Cindy went on. "You're in the same boat, and so is nearly everyone I know. I only bring it up because it means that there are too many things in our lives that aren't given due consideration before we have to move on to the next thing."
Cindy walked slowly back and forth as she spoke, "But, that little kiss of yours sure gave the status quo a swift kick in the pants. You forced me to do a lot of overdue soul searching."
"For one thing," She stopped her pacing and gazed keenly at me, "I thought, for the first time, what my life would be like without your friendship."
Cindy paused for a moment, as if to let that sink in. "Or... how my life would change if that friendship was diminished. It happens. It's happened to me. A word, spoken in anger, that can't be unsaid or unheard. A careless remark that's misunderstood or taken out of context. And, before you know it, the entire chemistry of the relationship alters. Exchanges become guarded, coolness sets in and levels of intimacy disappear."
With earnestness shining from her eyes, Cindy knelt down in front of me and took my hands in hers. "You are the truest friend I've ever had. When Andy (that's her husband) had his fling a few years back, I might have flown to pieces without you. You were with me every day, listening to me rage, wail and babble. And every day, you came back for more, giving me comfort, patience and love."
"When Andy Jr. was born, the hormonal storms nearly cost me my mind. And again, there you were, holding my hand, keeping me on my feet until I was strong enough to stand on my own."
Cindy leaned over and kissed one of my hands, and I was moved nearly to tears. When she looked up at me, I saw that her eyes were brimming, as well. "It takes time to truly know someone, to see how they carry themselves in different situations. I've been fortunate enough to have been granted that time with you."
One of her tears spilled and I brushed it away as she continued. "I'm always at ease in your company; not merely because I know with absolute certainty that you would never betray my confidences. I'm also secure in the knowledge that you love me as I am, warts and all."
Smiling up at me, Cindy continued, "Now, I'm not a complete idiot. It's not as if I didn't already realize I was lucky to call you friend. It's just that yesterday's events brought things into sharp focus for me. And, I'm just smart enough to know what a rare and precious gift I've been given."
Our eyes met and held for a moment, then impishness suffused her lovely features. "But, as you well know, greed is one of my gravest character flaws. I want more." Her expression now became reflective, "Years more. I don't want what we have to go away. Ever."
Cindy gazed at me expectantly, but I was stunned into silence. Finally, I managed the feeble reply, "No fair."
"What do you mean, 'No fair'?"
Several tears had escaped and were flowing freely down my cheeks. I took tissues from a box on her desk and tried uselessly to stem the flow. "No one has ever spoken to me like that. That was like something from a book. And it's hard to believe... all that eloquence... all that loveliness... was for me."
"So, how is it 'No fair'?"
"Well, you've obviously put a lot of thought into what you were going to say, and here I am, flat footed, unprepared."
"Sweetie, I'm not looking for any kind of declaration from you. This was simply what kept me up last night and I needed to share it with you."
But, since you mention it," mischievousness lit her face again, "there is something you can do for me."
"What's that?" I asked warily.
"Since I've just laid my heart bare for you," Cindy said coyly, "I was hoping you might elaborate on what happened yesterday."
I felt the first flutter of butterflies. "I told you, I... "
"Yes. I know. 'Loneliness. Horniness. Caught up in the moment'. And if that's all there was to it... fine." I was still seated in the chair beside her desk and she was still kneeling in front of me with my hands clasped in hers. Leaning forward, she pressed her forehead to mine and lowered her voice to match the intimacy, "But, if there's anything more, you should tell me now. You wouldn't send me into a minefield without giving me the lay of the land, would you, hon?"
I rose from the chair while helping Cindy to her feet as well. Moving across the office, I stood facing the wall and away from her. What, in God's Name, was I supposed to do here?! She was right. She had just 'laid her heart bare'. I certainly owed it to her to do the same. But, at what cost? Honesty was supposedly the best policy, but, in reality, the truth could often do more damage than a lie. I was feeling lost in an uproar of conflicting emotions when I felt Cindy's hand on my shoulder. Her other hand came over my other shoulder with a finger extended and a penny resting on it. "For your thoughts."
It was then that I made the decision to trust in the love she had just proclaimed. Taking the penny from her hand, I asked her to sit down again. "Close your eyes." I requested.
"Please. I know it sounds ridiculous, but this may be the only way I can get through this. And I better start now, before I lose my courage."
Cindy returned to her seat and shut her eyes. A trace of anticipation showed in her face, which was otherwise serene.
I took a deep breath and found my voice. "I have always thought you were lovely; in fact, the most beautiful woman I've ever met."
"Thank you." she interjected quietly.
"I have, on occasion... " anxiety shivered through my words. "Oh God, I can't even believe I'm saying this! I feel like I'm walking the high wire without a net."
"I'm your net." she said simply.
That gave me the nerve to continue, "I have, on occasion, even felt a glimmer of attraction, which I never really gave any thought. I mean, before the idea even formed, I would brush it away as a fleeting impulse, nothing more."
"Yesterday, one of those impulses seemed to arise just when I was most vulnerable to it. Even so, it might have resulted in nothing more than that kiss... one of those awkward, embarrassing moments that we would've laughed about later."
I glanced over at Cindy, but her expression was inscrutable. "But, after last night," I went on, "I doubt that I'll be able to sweep away those feelings so casually again."
"What happened last night?" Cindy's voice was soothing and calm.
"Well, when I went to bed and the house was quiet, I couldn't help thinking about what had happened here. You can believe I suffered some pretty fierce pangs of humiliation. But the more I thought about it, the more the embarrassment faded and I began to get... um... well..."
When I finished the thought, it was barely above a whisper, "I began to get turned on."
There was no apparent reaction from Cindy to this. She did not move or even fidget and her eyes remained closed.
"I was tormented by that kiss... and the fervent wish that it had gone on longer... until... "
A moment passed while I gathered myself, then, " ...Until I began to fantasize that it had."
Having said that much, my nerves quieted, allowing me to continue less haltingly, "Cindy, dear, you and I have had some pretty steamy discussions about sex. We've never been shy about the details, either. But, this is different and there is no way in hell I'm gonna get into the specifics. I will simply say this: I had the most mind-blowing orgasm of my life last night while I was imagining making love to you."
Cindy's cafe au lait complexion deepened by several shades. But, as terrifying as it was for me to say them, it was a relief to get the words out. They hung in the silence for a moment, until Cindy asked, "Is it okay for me to open my eyes now?"
"Oh, I'm sorry. Of course it is. I got so caught up in what I was saying, I forgot."
Her lashes lifted and the eyes that had sparked my passion last night were now fixed directly on me. Rising from the chair, Cindy extended her arms in my direction.
Gathering me in her arms, she whispered in my ear, "Thank you. Thank you. Thank you."
She clutched me tighter, "Thank you for sharing that with me. I am... dazzled... by your bravery... and grateful for your faith in me. I'm trying to find the words... but I don't think there ARE words... to say how moved I am that you trusted me so... completely."
I turned my head to murmur in her ear, "But I DO trust you completely. And I'm going to ask you to do the same for me. Don't fret about 'the minefield'. You have 'the lay of the land' now. Have faith in me to bring you through it unscathed. I won't allow those feelings I just revealed to damage this friendship. But at least I don't have to hide them, which would probably just make a mess of things. Trust me?"
"Always." she replied with a squeeze and a kiss on my cheek.
Cindy had always been a tactile person. It was common for her to lay her hand on the shoulder or arm of the person to whom she was speaking. And, as you've seen, she was prone to hugs and other physical displays of affection. So, I can't be sure if it was my imagination or if she did become even more 'hands-on' in the following weeks. It was my guess that she simply wanted to make sure that she didn't appear to be uncomfortable or stand-offish after my recent revelations. Or, maybe it was only my perception of it that had changed. I don't know. I do know that I had certainly always enjoyed the easy intimacy between us before the recent turn of events, so I certainly didn't object now.
During that time, I had increasingly intense fantasies about Cindy at night, but, surprisingly, I didn't let them interfere with our relationship during the day. In retrospect, I don't know how I managed to compartmentalize so well, but I'm grateful I did, as things between us seemed to return to normal.
We still went to lunch together three or four times a week, as our schedules allowed. Our usual relaxed and playful banter was restored and even our frank (and sometimes downright raunchy) discussions of sex continued. My 'crush' was not really a topic of conversation though, besides a few quips and wisecracks that one or the other of us simply couldn't resist.
During that time, Cindy began to make occasional jokes and remarks that hinted at a growing sexual frustration on her part. I finally asked if she and Andy were doing okay. Nearly a month after our heart-to-heart, Cindy and I were having lunch in my favorite restaurant. She had been grousing about Andy again. Apparently, he had been required to do so much overtime of late, that his work on his thesis had all but halted and he'd had little time for Cindy or Andy Junior. This had been going on for a couple of months now and she was getting lonely and more than a little randy.
This was becoming increasingly evident in her conversation: "It's been more than a month since I've had anything between my thighs that wasn't run on batteries."
That was an image I really, really didn't need in my head right then, though I was sure I'd be using it to good effect that night. Before I could comment, she was at it again.
"You know, since I'm not getting any at home, am I at least having fun in your head at night?"
I nearly choked on my salad and Lord only knows how many shades of red I must have turned.
"Ooooohhhh!" Cindy cooed. "Apparently so! Care to give any details?"
I struggled to keep my voice down, so as not to be overheard by the other patrons, "I can't believe you just went there! Are you TRYING to be cruel?"
"No." Contrition was written on her features. "No. Of course not. I'm sorry. I guess horniness just makes me bitchy."
Then, with an exaggerated look of remorse, she asked, "Forgive me?" But she couldn't hold the expression and instead began to giggle. I couldn't help but join in.
Later that night, my husband James was in a terrible mood and began a bitter fight with no real provocation. Every attempt I made to calm him, only seemed to exasperate him further. When I couldn't take any more, the baby and I retreated to the master bedroom. I locked the door and he actually stood outside it for several more minutes railing at me. At last, he gave up and stormed out of the house. James didn't return until the small hours and didn't speak to me when he came in.
The next morning, I was at my desk, trying unsuccessfully to work despite a killer headache. I buzzed Cindy to see if she had aspirin or some such. She offered to bring it to me, but I asked if she minded if I hid out in her office for a short while. My cubicle afforded no privacy and I really needed to put my head down for a bit.
When I arrived at her office, she shut the door behind me and turned off the top light, leaving the windowless room only dimly lit by the lamp on her desk. "I thought that might help." She handed me the aspirin and a small cup of water. "Would you rather I drove you home?"
"Thanks," I smiled weakly and swallowed the medicine, "but, I should be okay, if I can just lay my head down for a few." Cindy made a makeshift pillow from her jacket and placed it on her desk. She insisted that I occupy her chair so that I could put my legs comfortably under the desk while I rested. "But, where are you?... " I began, when she held up the key to her office and grinned. "I'll be back in a little while and I'll make sure you're undisturbed for the duration." With that, she turned and left, locking the office behind her.
I must've fallen asleep pretty quickly, because I have no idea how much time had passed when I heard Cindy turning the key in the lock again. "How's my sleeping beauty doing?" she asked as I lifted my head gingerly.
"Ha! I know I must look a rumpled mess, but keep it up. Flattery will get you everywhere."
"Better be careful what you say or I may just try to find out just how far it will get me." She spoke in the playfully seductive tones she often adopted when flirting with some of our male co-workers. They had even been facetiously used on me a few times. But that had been before I 'came out'. It was encouraging to think that she really was settling back into our old comfort level.
"How long have I been out?" I queried.
"'Bout half an hour."
"Oh. Well, I'd better get back... "
Stepping behind me, Cindy placed her hands on my shoulders to keep me seated. "Not just yet. Let my magic fingers do their work first." Bringing her middle and index fingers to either side of my head, she applied them to my temples. "Close your eyes and lean back." she gently commanded.
My head lolled against her body and I became aware of the tantalizing weight and volume of her breasts pressed against me. All I could think of was turning my head, taking one of those treasures between my lips and suckling like a babe. I tried my damnedest NOT to dwell on it, but that's like being told not to visualize a pink elephant. It takes one helluva distraction to get that image out of your head!
Luckily for me, Cindy's fingers were indeed 'magic'. The steady circular pressure at my temples was wonderfully soothing. She eventually had me on the verge of sleep again and I let a sigh of contentment escape.
A subtle change occurred when her fingers left my temples to brush the hair on either side of my head behind my ears. Her fingertips caressed the sides of my throat while her thumbs applied a little more force to the back of my neck. I wore a collarless, close-fitting knit blouse that didn't impede her progress.
A couple of years prior to this, I had revealed a weakness of mine to Cindy. We'd been engaged in one of our frequent, sexually-themed gab fests. I told her that if James wanted to 'put me in the mood', all he had to do was start to give me a massage. "Just a few well executed strokes and I'm putty in his hands. Achilles had it easy. All he had to worry about was his heel. Me? You can start on my heel, knee, elbow, back or shoulders. Give any of them a good rub, and they're all erogenous zones."