Dressed To Kill Ch. 03byGRGrayson©
Noella had started to develop a routine. Monday and Tuesday she shuttled Emily to school and had the kids over for dinner, Wednesday and Thursday she worked at the legal practice, Friday was shopping and lunch with girls and she had the kids every other weekend. This weekend it was her turn, she had Emily full time but Marcus and Stephanie pleased themselves, sometimes staying over, sometimes just dropping by and sometimes never showing at all. When they wanted something they certainly made their presence felt and it wasn't unusual for Noella to spend a significant amount of her weekend buying clothes for a party, a weekend away or some other occasion that her kids were attending. Noella often spent significant amounts of money which she resented; it often felt like it was a competition who could spoil the kids the most, as Damien never missed an opportunity to ingratiate himself by opening his wallet.
Even on the weekends when she didn't have the kids, she always ensured she went to watch them play sport. When she was by herself she shopped and generally kept busy, often taking in a manicure or a spa treatment, some spoil time for herself. She realised after many years of putting the family first it was important to have some valuable 'me' time.
A couple of days after Noella had been to the wedding she bumped into one her neighbours at the letter boxes.
"Hi! I'm Julia, from number one"
"Hi Julia, I'm Noella. I've just shifted into number two."
"Yes. I saw all the moving vans."
"It was a bit of a production wasn't it?" laughed Noella.
"It certainly looked like it. Are you settling in?"
"I think so. Just a few small boxes to unpack, but I really do like the neighbourhood."
"I like it here too. I was thinking, we should have drinks to welcome you. Prue who lives in the back at number four is a doll and Janette and Steph from number three are great fun. I'm sure we'd have a great time."
"Sounds good, I'd love to!"
"Okay. A week Sunday week?"
"A week Sunday!"
"I'll tell the others. Now, if it's a problem, just pop around to number one and let me know."
"Will do! I look forward to it."
"See you then!" confirmed Julia.
With that, they both went inside their respective town houses.
The week ambled by as if to impede Noella from reaching the thing she desired. "Drinks". It went by full of the usual dreariness of picking up Emily from school, having the kids over for dinner four nights in a row as Damien had started to slide away from fulfilling his commitments. Noella filled this void more and more. She found it frustrating but the kids were more important than her grudges against Damien and so she put up with his slackness for the moment.
She did have one bright spot, a nice lunch with Jodie and Suzie at the Larder in Brighton, which is the kind of place where everybody went to see and be seen. They chatted about the goings on in their lives, both Suzie and Jodie were apparently solidly married to successful professional men, Suzie to a commercial lawyer and Jodie to a CEO of an import company. A large chunk of the conversation dwelled on Damien and his treatment of Noella. Noella also told them of the impending drinks invite from Julia. Suzie and Jodie were excited for her and couldn't wait to hear all the details next Friday. On the way back to her car she spotted a gorgeous pair of black suede shoes with crystal embossed heels, perfect for Sunday! Of course she didn't really need another pair shoes but she loved being able to indulge herself without ending up in World War Three with Damien over spending money on shoes.
You can't have too many shoes? Can you?
Sunday arrived and Noella felt excitement as she would finally be meeting the other "girls" who lived in the block of townhouses. It did strike her as being unusual that all the units were inhabited by unattached women. Maybe it was a sign that the women of today were becoming independent, but she didn't give it much more thought than that.
The previous night she took two bottles of Moet 2002 Grand Vintage, which she had stolen from Damien's cellar before he cleaned it out and popped them in the fridge. A small piece of revenge but it made her feel better and she was sure this would enhance the flavour. In the morning she had her hair and nails done before lounging around the rest of the day watching a video and catching up with friends on Facebook and e-mail. Also, she made sure the little black cocktail dress she was going to wear was ready to go. She laid it on the bed to match it up with the new shoes she had bought and was happy with how beautifully they matched.
Five o'clock arrived. Dressed, Noella carefully inspected herself in the full size mirror in her dressing room and was happy with the result.
"Mmmm. Classy but not overstated. Perfect!"
Feeling great within herself, she put the champagne into a leather wine carry, picked up her black clutch with diamante trim and headed off to number one with a spring in her step and a wiggle in her hips.
She rang the bell at number one and it was soon opened by a smiling Julia, a glass of champagne already in hand.
"Hi honey! Come in." she sparkled, standing aside to allow Noella to come inside. "We've already started, as you can tell!" she admitted, holding up her crystal champagne flute.
Julia was wearing a short, fuchsia coloured, figure hugging dress with a severe v-neckline that revealed an ample cleavage. It was highlighted with a gold belt and some towering gold heels with black straps Noella recognised from a magazine.
Julia was a statuesque woman. Five ten in the old, precisely cut strawberry red hair which always attracted the eye. She possessed a neat but tight bust and her slim hips lent down to lithe and long legs.
"I love the dress! And the shoes!" oozed Noella. "You look great!"
"Why thank you! And you look great too. I love the sparkles on the shoes; I'll have to try them on later!"
"Sure!" agreed Noella.
With that, Noella entered Julia's townhouse which was similar, but not exactly the same as hers. She followed Julia into the kitchen/family area.
"I've brought a contribution." she announced holding up the wine carry.
"You shouldn't have." replied Julia.
"I know. But I wanted to."
"Very nice!" exclaimed Julia as she removed the wine from the carry. "You didn't have to be so extravagant." She scolded, as she put the two expensive bottles of champagne into the refrigerator.
"I wasn't." Laughed Noella. "I stole them from my ex's wine cellar before I left."
"Marvellous! Will drink that next." announced Julia. "Now let me introduce you to the other girls."
She guided Noella over to where three impeccably dressed women were chatting at the end of the counter.
"This is Janette from number three" announced Julia moving towards a very statuesque blonde in her late 20's, whose perfectly coiffed hair dropped down in ringlets, framing a beautiful face with fine features. Her figure was the antitheses of the skeletons that inhabit most catwalks today, with ample, but perfectly proportioned breasts and hips. She was wrapped in a figure revealing vintage lace, thigh high dress with sheer sleeves and towering white heels with thick ankle straps.
They greeted by grazing each other's cheek with a soft peck of a kiss.
Julia now guided Noella to the end of the counter where a woman who appeared to be in her mid-forties was standing.
"And this is Prue from number four."
"Hi" replied Prue. "Lovely to meet you."
And as with Janette, they grazed cheeks with small pecks of kisses. Prue was wearing an electric blue low cut cocktail dress which highlighted a very shapely bosom. The dress was complimented by stunning matching suede tall heels. Prue's dark shoulder length hair was streaked with deep red highlights. Her slight figure carried her outfit beautifully.
"And last but least, this is Steph who shares number three with Jeanette."
Steph gave a little curtsy before planting a peck on Noella's cheek which was now covered by array of different coloured lipsticks.
"Lovely to meet you." declared Steph.
"And you." replied Noella.
Steph was tiny in comparison to the other women, in her monster black heels she looked average height, but in her stockings she'd was lucky to make 5' 1''. Steph had opted for a black stretch mini-skirt over fishnet stockings that accentuated her shapely legs. She wore a sheer white blouse that revealed a black laced bra underneath. Her shoulder length hair was dark and cut with a fringe. The whole effect was very sexy.
Noella was impressed by how stunning and beautifully presented the four women were.
"I must say you all look amazing."
"Why thank you." chimed Prue and Jeanette together.
"You're not looking too shabby yourself." confirmed Julia.
"Why thank you." replied Noella, feeling a little embarrassed, a flush of red filled her cheeks.
"Now we had better pour you a glass of bubbles." offered Julia.
"Yes please." responded Noella.
Julia opened the fridge and removed an open bottle of Veuve Clicquot. From the freezer she grabbed a chilled crystal champagne flute and gently trickled the French nectar slowly into the glass, showing the skill gained from pouring many glasses of champagne. She filled the glass three quarters full and passed it to Noella. Picking up her own glass that had been sitting on the counter, she proposed a toast.
"To new friendships and old friendships. May they last forever."
"Forever!" The others chimed in.
They clinked each other's glasses and sipped the bubbling liquid.
"Let's retire to the sitting room." Julia announced. With glasses in hand they moved to the sitting room where there were a number of platters laid out on a large rectangular coffee table. There was Julia's famous chicken, macadamia and celery sandwiches, a platter with hummus, guacamole and beetroot dip surrounded by fresh carrot, celery and zucchini and corn chips for dipping. As well there were macaroons and madeleines for the sweet tooth and a large cream and strawberry sponge cake took centre stage.
"Oh my goodness!" exclaimed Janette
"Wow. You have been busy." complimented Noella.
"Thank you, but it's not all my own work." admitted Julia.
"Do you want me to able to still wear this dress?" laughed Prue and they all joined in.
"I hope you enjoy it. Now take a seat everyone." indicated Julia.
So they all took a place on the large comfy sofa and chairs that circled the coffee table laden with food. On the wall a large gas log fire place was just trickling along to give some ambience, a large flat screen TV above.
The sitting room was large and comfortable with luxurious carpet and drapes, the dominant colour being a muted gold. In one corner was a large display case full of crystal glassware and ceramic figurines. The effect was an opulent and comfortable room, ideal for gatherings like this.
"I love the room." admired Noella."It gives me inspiration to do something with mine. It's a bit boring and dull at the moment."
"Why thank you. I love it in here. I often hole up in here, especially in winter. The fire is fabulous."
As the French champagne flowed so did the conversation and soon the room was filled with happy chatter and laughter.
"Ok ladies." called Julia above the animated chatter, quiet came over the room. "Since we're here to get to know Noella and Noella us, I propose we play a little game."
"Ooh! A game! I love games" giggled Jeanette.
"Well it's kind of a game. Everybody has a turn and the other four get to ask a question. If you don't answer the question, you have to skull your champagne. OK?"
"Well it's not really a penalty." observed Jeanette.
"Can I answer the question and skull?" asked Steph, everybody laughed.
"Well if you must." replied Julia. "But it's really about Noella getting to know everybody, but to make it a bit more interesting you have to tell everybody your work, family status and age."
There was a stir.
"Age!" exclaimed Prue
"Well you can lie about your age if you must."
Laughter filled the room once again.
"Alright who's going to go first?"
"I think you should." suggested Prue. "After all it's your game."
"Alright, I'll go first. My name is Julia Jones. Yes, some uncouth people call me JJ. I am 39 and the owner and chair of "Julia's Fashions". I am divorced from a cheating pig of a man, with an only son who is currently playing basketball in America for St. Mary's College. He is a small boy of 6' 11".
"6' 11!" Gasped Noella."
"He can eat enough for small army! Alright, who's got a question?"
"I'll go first." Volunteered Noella. "Do you get along with you ex?"
"What's your favourite thing in life?" Prue asked.
"Watching my son play basketball. Hopefully he'll be in the NBA one day."
"That would be amazing." suggested Noella.
"Yep it would" agreed Julia. "He's working hard and it's looking promising. Next."
"What's you biggest weakness?" questioned Jeanette, taking her turn.
"Ah. That's a hard one." She paused to think. "Can I have three?"
" Three? Ok . You can have three weaknesses." agreed Jeanette
"Ok. Number one is shoes. Number two would be chocolate. Number three? That would be men."
They all laughed.
"Men at number three?" queried Steph.
"Well the other two don't answer back!"
They all shrieked with hysterics.
"How many shoes do you have?"asked Noella.
"Three hundred." She mumbled, a little embarrassed.
"Three hundred!" shouted Noella. The others screamed. "I don't feel so bad about my 70 pairs now!"
"I'm glad you feel better at my expense. And number four would be champagne." she giggled as she took another swig from her glass.
"Have you had fun now?" Julia asked. "Ok. Who's next?"
"I'll go next." said Noella.
"Good." confirmed Julia.
"Ok." began Noella. "My name is Noella Howson. I'm 42 and divorced from a right prick of a man. I have three great kids who live with their charming father and I work part-time in a legal practice. First question please."
"Why did you leave you husband?" asked Prue.
"He left me."
"Ooh." They all gasped. It was Steph's turn.
"How come your kids live with their father?"
"Are you OK with that?" asked a concerned Prue."Because you know you don't have to answer it."
"It's ok." confirmed Noella "Shortly before he asked for a divorce, I inherited a lot of money from a maiden aunt. Damien ingratiated himself with the kids showering them with new cars, clothes, phones, i-pads, you name it. Because of this he was able to convince them life would be much more exciting living with him than boring old and strict Mum."
"What a prick." exclaimed Jeanette.
"Yeah he is a right prick." agreed Noella. "But it gets worse; because the kids are living with him he demanded the house and a chunk of my inheritance and maintenance!"
"He is big prick!" Blurted Julia.
"Well I had good lawyers so he didn't get all of what he wanted, but it did cost me $1 million, plus another $1 million in trust for the kids over which he has control."
"And maintenance?" Asked Prue.
"Yeah. I pay him $2000 per week, which really shits me because he keeps shirking on his responsibilities and I end up paying."
"I can see why you'd be angry." observed Prue.
"I try not to get angry. I just focus on the kids because they're the most important thing. Anyway, I am still pretty well off, even though the bastard stung me for a lot of money."
"I think you have every right to be pissed off." resolved Jeanette. "I'd be out for revenge! His balls would not be safe!"
They all laughed.
"It's tempting, but I've found it just eats you up. Better to move on."
"You really had to give him $1 million." asked Jeanette.
"Yep. And another $1 million in a trust he has access to."
"My God." Jeanette's exclaimed in amazement. "How does that stuff happen?"
"I think it comes down to greed if you ask me." offered Prue.
"Ok ladies, I think Noella revealed enough." interrupted Julia. "Whose turn is it next? Steph?"
From Steph they learnt that she is 26 and works in a large advertising agency. Her career is on a steep upward climb as her intellect and tenacity are bringing great success. She shares many clients with Jeanette, their paths having crossed a number of times, bringing them to sharing house. Steph has had a couple of steady boyfriends but has ended the relationships when they have become too claustrophobic, often resenting her partners apparent need for control. This has lead her on occasion, to sharing her bed with women instead of men. This elicited a small gasp from the Prue and Noella. Jeanette, who was well aware of her housemate's choices and Julia quietly admitted that there was a period after her divorce when she found greater comfort from women than men.
Prue divulged that she was 46 and a widower, having lost her husband to cancer. A mother of a grown up family, she is a student of the New Age and actively pursued her life's desire through engaging the Law of Attraction. She doesn't need to work full time thanks to her husband having a generous life insurance policy. She reads Tarot cards at a local New Age store and loves crystals and believes in soul mates and perfect love. She still yearned for partnership and enduring love.
Last but not least, Jeanette revealed she was 29 years of age, a publicist who was determinedly single. She really didn't have time for relationships or children as her professional commitments dominated her life. She loved to party and fulfilled her needs and desires through a number of "friends" to satisfy her strong and adventurous sexual needs. "Work hard. Play harder." was her life's motto.
"Jeanette. Can I ask one last question?" Asked Steph.
"What is that funny piece of furniture in your room?"
"You know what it is. You're just trying to embarrass me."
"Yes. That's right!" agreed Steph, cheekily.
Jeanette went onto explain that one of her "friends" was a carpenter who built her a "sex tree". It was a unique piece of furniture designed specifically for the enhancement of sex and catered for Jeanette's intrepid sexual engagements; a tall sculptured looking creation with a number of different seats, shelves, ledges, notches and tying points. It was designed to allow infinite sexual positions or propositions. Missionary, standing, sitting, sideways, backwards, upside down, bondage, you name it, the sex tree enabled greater satisfaction, experimentation and enjoyment. Jeanette went on to describe how her "friend" helped her christen it by tying her by her wrists to its highest point. He then proceeded to spray her with liquid chocolate after which he licked every last centimetre off Jeanette's naked body before they engaged in a fierce coupling.
"Really Jeanette. You're just a bit out there." scolded Prue.
"Just where I want to be! It was the best sex I've ever had!" replied proudly.
"It does sound kind of interesting." remarked Julia.
"It's great fun. Maybe you'd like have a try when I'm away."
"I'm tempted." confirmed Julia.
"Well I hope you don't make as much noise as she does!" attacked Steph.
"I'm no noisier than you!" retorted Jeanette.
Again, they all laughed.
"Ok ladies. I'm sure we all know each other a little better."
They all agreed.
"So Noella, I want to try those shoes."
"Alright, what can I try?"
"Well. Why don't you all grab your glasses and you can come upstairs and have a try of my collection."
"Three hundred shoes! I'm there!" confirmed Noella.
They all picked up their glasses, Steph and Jeanette also collecting a bottle of champagne each and headed upstairs to Julia's dressing room. It was adjacent to her bedroom which was large and dominated by a large sleigh bed made from a lovely red cedar.