A Story of Jane Ch. 01byblacknight99©
A Story Of Jane (In The First-Person Singular)
The most difficult aspect of the story I'm about to relate, its most unique feature, is one of tense. Now, don't get me wrong, I realize that the first person singular past tense narrative style has been around since well before Homer. That's not it at all. The problem is perspective.
I guess that doesn't make any sense to you. No, of course it doesn't. It's just that ....
Well, if you read this through to the end, I'll remind you of this paradox again. Then you'll understand. It all makes perfect sense ... once you can just understand the problem of tense.
And now, A TECHNICAL NOTE: Most of our modern-day Christian-based holidays share their roots with other celebrations based on pagan rituals. The word Easter is derived from "Eastre," the Great Mother Goddess of the all the northern Saxon tribes. The annual celebration in her name was held on the vernal equinox. Followers of Wicca (witches) also hold a great celebration during the evening of the equinox (or the night before), and there are at least five other religions that also share the equinox as a time of celebration. Easter is always the first Sunday following the first full moon following the vernal equinox (which falls on March 21st, in most cases). The earliest possible day to celebrate Easter, therefore, would be March 22nd, but this would mean that the equinox would have to fall sometime on a Saturday, and afterward, the full moon would have to occur on the same day. Rare, but it does happen. The Easter holiday has little bearing on this story. But, as it turns out, these dates were exceedingly important.
WEDNESDAY, the 18th of MARCH
I had seen her in the reading room before. It took me a moment to remember, but she had been there during the previous afternoon. I had thought when I saw her the first time that there was something profoundly familiar about her, and it struck me again now, as she approached me. The way her head and long neck turned as she slowed her purposeful stride, looking left and then right, seeing that we were alone in the large room, continuing toward me self-assuredly. It was that time of day when there were few people in the library at all, and it was not odd that there would be no one else in the main reading room. Later on a Wednesday afternoon, when the town's west-side high school let out, business would normally pick up a bit. School was out today, however, for the start of the Easter break; so for now, it was just the two of us.
Suddenly, it dawned on me why I had noted the familiarity. In a sudden moment of clarity, I realized that I actually had seen her face before: every morning in the mirror. She looked like me. Well, not exactly like me, of course. She must have been fifteen years older, in her late thirties, at least, but I thought with a pang of self doubt, that I could only HOPE to look that good in another decade and a half. She was much more shapely than I, much better proportioned. I'm a cow; my breasts much too large for the rest of my frame, and a constant source of distraction, both to me and whoever I'm trying to carry on a conversation with. She, more mature and sure of herself, seemed perfect in body and spirit. She had my sharp facial features, my eyes and brow. Our ears were almost identical in size and spacing. But we most definitely parted company in the hair department. Hers was short, thick, straight and very, very black; mine was long, curly, and almost bright red, a strong trait of my ancestry.
"May I help you?" I asked automatically, trying hard not to stare.
"Yes," she answered, lyrically. She paused, glancing about her again. "Are we alone here?"
"Donna's in the back," I answered, somehow disappointed that she might not want to speak to me. "She's the head librarian. She's back in the stacks. Did you want to talk to her instead?"
"Oh, no," she smiled. "It's you I want. I have something for you."
She produced a single long-stemmed red rose from her purse. It's a wonder I hadn't noticed it before. The stem must have been protruding at least a foot. The head of the rose was encased in a clear zip-lock plastic bag, which she removed to thrust the flower forward, holding it just below my face.
"Oh," I said, "it's lov ...." I choked into silence as I automatically inhaled the rose's fragrance. It was horrid. There was a vague rose-like odor underlying a mixture of scents which included sulfur, alcohol, rotting wood, and several other things I could not guess at. "Ugh!" I grunted. I tried to back up a step, but I couldn't seem to make myself move.
"Smell it again, please," she said, smiling.
I inhaled again. The smell was almost unbearable. "No, please," I whined. "It's awful!"
"Yes, I know," she agreed patiently. "It won't last long, I promise. Now, once more, please."
Again I breathed in the rancid fumes, shaking my head slightly, slowly in the negative.
"That's wonderful, my dear. Now, look directly into my eyes, please. Yes, that's it. Right into my eyes. Yes, perfect. What's your name, dear?"
"Molly Mahone," I answered softly, trying desperately to talk without inhaling.
"Who'd have guessed I'd finally find you and you'd be Irish," she said, wonderingly. "Now Molly, I'm going to say some things, and I'll thank you not to interrupt. Just keep looking right into my eyes, like you're doing now, and try to keep quiet. Okay? Do you understand?"
"Yes," I squeaked.
She began reciting something in a foreign tongue. It took me a moment to realize that she was speaking in Latin. Each word seemed to end in "ia" or "um" or "o".
"I don't understand Latin," I said, realizing immediately my indiscretion. She stopped abruptly. "I never took Latin," I muttered in a smaller voice, wishing I could undo the terrible sin of interruption. "I don't understand," I mumbled softly, tears welling in my eyes.
She gave me a stern look, then a patient almost-smile. "You won't interrupt again, will you Molly?"
"No!" I fervently promised, my voice weak and pleading.
She began again, and I at once realized that she was repeating, once more from the beginning, exactly what she had recited before. I felt absolutely terrible that I had caused her the inconvenience of repetition. In contrition, I decided I would breathe more deeply of the noxious flower being held under my nose, and I concentrated all my efforts to gaze exactly into the centers of her beautiful eyes. I wanted desperately to please her.
Suddenly, it was over. She stopped the recitation, stuffed the head of the flower back into its plastic bag, wrinkling her nose as she caught a whiff of her own weapon, sealed the thing up, and thrust it back into her purse. Then she looked back at me and smiled. I felt disoriented, to say the least. The whole thing was very strange to begin with, but the abruptness with which it ended left me staggered.
"Now, Molly, you did that very well," she stated. I felt a flush of bashful accomplishment. I had done something to make her happy. "When do you take your lunch break, dear?"
A frown. "Oh, my. That's almost another two hours."
"I could trade with Donna," I blurted. "She won't mind, I know. She takes her lunch break at eleven!"
A smile. I felt that wonderful feeling of shy pleasure again. "That would be wonderful, dear. There's a cafe right across the street. I'll be in a booth in the back. There will be some other ladies there I want you to meet. Eleven o'clock sharp. Don't be late, Molly." She spun around and walked toward the front door.
"Who are you?" I squeaked, before I could stop myself.
She halted and turned back to me, that awful look of smiling patience on her lips. A stern teacher placating a slow student. "I'm Josephine. You can call me Jo. All my good friends do." She turned again and walked out of the library.
Her good friend. I blushed crimson. I don't think I'd ever been so happy.
I looked at the clock. Fifty minutes to go.
I rushed into the Pink Pig diner across the street from the small downtown library at precisely eleven o'clock. For once, I ignored the garish porcine decorations that smiled pinkly from every corner, and spotted Jo seated at a corner booth all the way in the back. As promised, there were others there, and as I rushed grinning to meet my new best friend, I drew up short. They were all alike. Well, once again, not exactly alike, but so alike as to leave little doubt that they were drawn together by blood. All dark, all sharply beautiful, all with that intense intelligence smoldering behind their eyes. And once again, that uneasy familiarity. They all looked vaguely like me.
I was just regaining my equilibrium and was in the process of pasting the smile back on my lips, when Jo thrust me right back into deep confusion by making introductions and playing musical chairs at the same time. I tried desperately to keep up.
"Molly, I'd like you to meet my sister, Jan," she said, standing. Jan stood, too. They all stood. Jan shook my hand, trying to smile, but she was somehow gawking instead. As she shook, she sort of pulled me toward the booth. "You sit on the inside, next to the wall, dear, if you don't mind," Jo continued. I slid into the booth as another black-haired beauty slid in next to me, this one probably the prettiest (and I guessed, the youngest) of the group. She gave me a dazzling smile as she took my hand.
"I'm Jean, Molly," she cooed. "I'm very pleased to meet you."
Jo had pulled a chair up to the end of the table as Jan slid in opposite me. The fourth sat beside her, and at first I supposed her to be Jan's twin, but I began to notice subtle differences. Jan was older, I guessed, but not by much. This fourth sister had a small smattering of freckles on cheeks that were just a little higher. They dressed alike, though, and I got the impression that they liked to make people think they might be twins. Sisterly trickery.
"This is Jill," Jo completed the introductions. The other three were studying me intensely.
I couldn't help but laugh, if for no other reason than to try to draw attention in some other direction than myself. "Jo, Jill, Jan and Jean?" I asked with a giggle. But they were not to be distracted.
"Uncanny," Jill muttered. "Red hair and a little heavy up top, but my God! She's a perfect match!"
Jan was staring at me open-mouthed. "Jo, she's absolutely amazing! How in the world did you find her?"
I looked around at the faces without comprehension. Jo looked smug. Jill and Jan shook their heads in disbelief. "I don't understand," I protested weakly.
"It's okay, dear," Jean said softly beside me. "You just remind us of someone, that's all."
"Who?" I asked.
Again, they ignored me. "I'll tell you about all the legwork later," Jo told the assembly. "The important thing is that I DID find her. Now, our time is limited. Unless Jean relents, we need to come up with a plan and do it soon. The girl only has an hour for lunch."
As if on cue, a waiter in a grimy apron appeared. I hadn't seen him coming, since I was facing the wall in the last booth of the diner.
"Nothing for her right now," Jo said, waving him away. "We'll order in awhile."
"Yes, Ma'am," the waiter said, actually bowing and backing away. I felt a little disappointed, and not a little hungry.
"I'm not about to back down," Jean said, continuing the conversation. "We are not going to turn Black now, and what you're proposing for this innocent is about as Black as it comes!"
"How do you know she's an innocent?" Jan asked. I looked at her, dumbfounded.
"Black side, White side! You sound like a Star Wars movie!" Jill interjected. "Can't magic be Gray?"
"We don't have time for this!" Jo snapped. "We have to get her back! We only have an hour to figure out a strategy! We're obviously not going to change Jean's mind, and we can't do anything unless we act together. Now, I need some ideas!"
"I don't understand," I said, trying to break into the strange conversation.
"Dear, I need you to be quiet and let us talk, please," Jo said sternly. I felt terrible. I couldn't believe I'd interrupted her again. Not even answering, I simply nodded, put my hands in my lap, and lowered my eyes, which were threatening to overflow.
"Jean, what you're proposing is insanity. It hasn't been tried for hundreds of years, and even then it wasn't successful," Jill said pleadingly across the table to her headstrong younger sister.
"You'd sacrifice the life of your sister?" Jan hissed.
"I don't want to sacrifice anybody!" Jean said levelly.
"Ladies!" Jo said as loudly as she dared in the public place.
"Okay, okay," Jill conceded. She paused, thinking. "It's going to have to be some sort of exotic fantasy, of course. Something sexual. If it comes from her own background, it would be best." She looked across at me, and I looked up into her eyes, sensing a coming question. "Are you involved with someone, Molly?"
"Do you have a lover?"
I flushed. Who did she think she was? "That's none of your business!"
"Molly!" Jo chided.
My head snapped around toward her. "Oh!" I exclaimed contritely. "No," I lowered my gaze, blushing. "I'm not seeing anyone right now. Not ... for a long time...."
"Molly, I want you to look at Jill, please," Jo said. I complied immediately. "She's going to say something, and when she's through, I want you to say 'As with Jo, so with Jill.' Do you understand?"
Of course I didn't, but I nodded. Jo handed Jill a 3X5 card with some writing on it, which Jill studied for a moment, then read several words in Latin. When she finished, she looked up at me so I could gaze into her eyes. "As with Jo, so with Jill," I recited. I didn't feel anything. A little foolish, perhaps.
"And now Jan," Jo instructed, as Jill handed the card to the raven-haired sister beside her. "When she finishes, you'll say 'As with Jo, so with Jan," okay?"
I nodded, turned my eyes to Jan, and went through the little ritual again. When we were finished, I turned without being asked, and stared into Jean's dark eyes. She smiled, ignored the card, and recited the words. "As with Jo, so with Jean," I said clearly. Jean's soft smile was my reward.
"Are you a virgin?" Jill asked, without preamble.
I turned back to face her and blushed furiously. "No," I whispered.
"When did you first make love?" she continued cruelly.
"In college. Toward the end of my junior year. About two years ago." I couldn't force myself to meet their gazes. I looked down at the table helplessly.
"Tell us about it."
"Oh, no!" I pleaded. "Oh, please! It's really embarrassing. Please?" I looked frantically around the table.
Jean patted me on the leg. "Go ahead, dear. Just tell us. It's okay," she assured.
I looked back down. This was terrible. I'd spent two years trying to forget this. "It was during Spring break," I started weakly.
"Speak up, please," Jo chided.
"Everybody was leaving for Spring break," I said, only a little stronger. "My dorm was going to have the floors redone, so we all had to be out. Everybody else was going home, but my folks were in Europe, so I didn't really have anyplace to go.
"My roommate, Gail ... She was always trying to get me to do crazy things. She'd gotten me started on birth control pills, even though I wasn't seeing anybody. She convinced me it would make my periods easier. Then she kept fixing me up with guys, and "suggesting" that I should go all the way. She was always pushing me in that direction.
"Anyway, the day we were all finishing up our mid-terms and packing to leave, she came into the room and told me there was this guy I just had to meet. He wasn't even a student there, but he was house-sitting for a Prof. All excited like, she drug me downstairs to meet this guy. He was waiting in the coffee house across from the dorm. And right away, I fell for him. Hard. He said he was a poet. No kidding. That's what he did. He said he worked odd jobs, wrote at night, and had actually gotten a few things published. He was working on a book, but needed a new agent, he said.
"He wanted to go get something to eat, and I said I couldn't; that I had to pack and find a motel. But he insisted and said there'd be plenty of time that night. We ate burgers and he read some of his poems to me. I thought they were really good. We talked for a couple hours - there, and later as we walked through the park. He wanted to get a beer, and we wound up in a little bar. I didn't like to drink much, but he said there was a special drink he wanted to make me. He left me in a booth while he talked to the bartender, and when he came back, he gave me a drink that tasted a lot like lemonade. Well, the more of it I drank, the more drunk I felt, even though it was just that one glass. By the time we left, I could hardly walk.
"He had his arm around me, and I leaned against him and giggled almost continuously. I had no idea where he was taking me, but I just let him lead me, and of course, we wound up at this house he was staying at. As he was unlocking the door, I said 'You're trying to seduce me!' and he said 'Trying, hell! I'm doing it!' and I stopped giggling and thought: I can't resist him! He's really going to do it! This is it! I'm not going to be a virgin anymore!
"And then I just stood there as he finished unlocking the door. He took my hand and I let him lead me inside. As soon as we were in, he spun me around and kissed me. Kissed me hard. I didn't know what to do with my hands. I put them awkwardly on his arms, but he reached up and grabbed my wrists and lifted my hands up and around his neck. I left them there, and his hands roamed up and down my back as we kissed again, then my sides, and then my back again. As if by magic, the clasp of my bra let go. He put his tongue in my mouth, and I moaned. When one of his hands found my breast, my knees buckled. He laughed, then scooped me up as if I were Scarlet O'Hara and carried me off to the bedroom. I just buried my face in his shoulder, my arms still around his neck where he'd put them. I felt really weird; very drunk, and yet amazingly aware of what was happening to me. And God, I was turned on!
"I was only wearing a tee-shirt and shorts, and as soon as he put me back down, still shaky on my feet with my arms around his neck, he grabbed the lower part of my shirt, and in one easy movement I was naked above the waist. As the shirt and bra came free, I tried to lower my arms to cover myself, but again he grabbed my wrists and put them back around his neck. His hands moved over my body like his pen moved across a page; I was one of his compositions. He paid special attention to my breasts, which he'd been staring at all afternoon. His hands moved lower, and the snap of my shorts came undone. He was kissing me again, then a zip and a tug, and I was totally bare except for the sandals, which he took care of after he picked me up and threw me on my back on the bed.
"Then he was all over me! Touching and petting and licking and sucking and pinching and nibbling. The room seemed to be spinning, but I could feel everything! Everything he did! I gasped and moaned and tried to tell him that I hadn't done this before, that I wanted it to be good for him, to be special. I mumbled and groaned and stammered, and was really surprised when I found myself with my legs over his shoulders, his arms wrapped around the outside of my legs, his hands pinching and squeezing my nipples, and his tongue lapping wildly between my legs. No one had ever done that before. I'd never even been touched down there by anyone except – except – well ... me; and this feeling was an amazingly new experience. The orgasm hit me without warning. I didn't even feel it coming. I think I might have screamed.