Two Cats in HeatbyAchtungNight©
Smiling, she flipped back and forth through the document, renewing old acquaintances. Osterman was shocked at first that Reddick had such a file open on her computer, but quickly she pushed such feelings aside. She gets fantasies like everyone else, Osterman thought, purity ring or no purity ring. Maybe she reads stories like this to help her come to terms with her fantasies. Many girls I've known do that, including me. Then once I've come to terms, I get ideas from my fantasies, and I want to act them out, and next thing I know... She blushed, recalling all the fun things she had done.
I'm not like the girls in these stories, though, Osterman reminded herself. Not completely. I'm not a serious slut, I'm not into everything they are. Yes, I like guys and girls, and I like a lot of diverse things, but I'm not obsessed with sex the way these characters sometimes seem to be. It's nothing more than a part of life, something great to do at a particular moment. There are many things I'm better at, softball especially, that can be just as much fun.
I'm not the only one who feels this way about sex. A lot of people I know feel the same way. Many of them are among my circle of friends. With them I freely indulge in the things I love, rarely worrying about other people's reactions. We keep our relationships low-key of course, but we still don't worry.
The people I've gotten it on with include many of my teammates. Sexual activity enriches our camarederie, most of the time. Yeah, it's caused problems now and then, but nothing we can't surmount. I know I'll gladly keep doing what we've been doing, and so will they. I've been away from the Longhorns this year, thanks to the Olympics, but my friends back home have told me about some very hot new players I'm looking forward to meeting and hopefully seducing when I get back to Austin. My friend and fellow Longhorn Sanya Richards, who's here in Athens with me, is looking forward to the same thing. She's not just fast on the track.
Of course, Osterman added with a grin, neither of us are exactly waiting around to rack up new conquests. Sanya's gotten several here, and so have I. Among my current teammates, I've gotten close to Amanda, Tairia, Natasha, and Lovie. I also got with Jennie last weekend- that really surprised me when it happened. Casey wanted to see one of his fantasies, Jennie told me, and she wanted to live out one of hers too. I thought she wouldn't be into such a thing, Jennie's so much like Reddick, but then we...
Osterman paused, feeling a growing heat between her legs, brought on by her thoughts and the story she was reading. Damn it, she silently cursed, not now. I'm in another person's hotel room, reading a story that she probably wouldn't want me to know she has. I can't let myself react to it this way, that would be bad. I can't do that. I can't!
She shook her head to clear it, then paused, listening to the noises from the other room. Reddick was still talking to Heather, in a soft tone where Osterman could barely make out the words. Never mind, she thought, just get out of the story quick. You shouldn't be reading it right now, you've read it before anyway. So... She closed the file, trying to stave off her growing guilt.
A look back at the computer screen, and Osterman felt her emotion increase tenfold. The folder the document was saved in lay open before her. Dozens of icons were in it, representing the story Osterman had just read and several more chapters in the same series. Other stories of erotic couplings, both one-on-one and group, were also there. So were pictures devoted to such subjects, and videos. My gosh, Osterman thought, involuntarily scrolling through the folder and regarding it all. I didn't know Reddick had all this. I thought she closed her desire off, pushed it aside, but she doesn't. She still has it, she just puts it in here. And there's so much of it, and it's so diverse. There are things about men and women, normal sex and crazy sex, so many different things. Look, here's...
She stopped, staring at a subfolder of photographs that looked very familiar. They should, Osterman realized, opening the folder. They're all of me! Just about every publicity photo I've ever done is here. Why does Reddick have these in the same folder as...
She's fantasized about me, Osterman realized. Just like Jennie did. Jennie heard about my pitching skills, my good looks, my character, and she got attracted to me before we even met. Then we did meet, and we got to be friends, and last week we took things farther with her fiance watching us before he joined in. I was so shocked by it all at first. Then Jennie told me I shouldn't stereotype her based on some biased ideal I had. Yes, she has her devotions, but she still finds room for fantasies despite them, and therefore... Again Osterman blushed.
I guess Reddick's like that too, she thought, clicking out of the subfolder. Was I hoping she was? Is that why I came here tonight? I made a new friend, and found out a secret about her, and wanted to see if Reddick, a person like Jennie I knew before I met Jennie, had the same secret. Is that what I wanted? Did I want more from tonight than just to have fun with one of my friends?
Yeah, probably, she thought. I guess now I'm finding out my hope may not have been so far from the truth. But I need further evidence.
Searching for that evidence, she turned back to the computer. She looked at the stories again, and then once more at the collections of photos. There were many of them, Osterman found, and not all were pornographic. More numerous were publicity photo collections of celebrities like the one there was of her. There was another of Reddick's roommate Heather, one of Brandi Chastain, one of Jennie, and one of Keira Knightley. There were many of male celebrities too. Kevin Costner had one, and so did Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, and many other celebrity heartthrobs with whom Osterman was familiar. LL Cool J's in here, she smiled, regarding one of the folders. I'm quite an admirer of that fellow myself. I didn't think Reddick would be into him, he's so not like her, but now that I see this folder... She is like Jennie, Osterman thought. She puts up a public face, and people see it, then get the wrong impression. Then they exgaggerate and gossip and...
"What the hell are you doing?"
Osterman gasped, turning to see Reddick standing behind her with arms crossed. A strange expression was on her face, shock mixed with something else. Mostly she was glaring at Osterman agape. Oh shit, the brunette thought, overwhelmed with what she had done. I shouldn't have snooped. This stuff is private. I knew that, but I let myself disregard it. I looked at the folder anyway. And again, I got so into something I was looking at I lost track of everything else around me. I need to stop doing that. I didn't hear Reddick put the phone down, or come back in. She's still in her uniform, not dressed to go out yet. Maybe she wants to tell me something. And now she's seeing... Oh my God, what have I done?
"How did you find that?" Reddick stammered, pointing at the folder open on the screen. "I keep it hidden. I..."
"It was open," Osterman said quickly. Best to tell the truth, she thought. Reddick knows I like this stuff. We never talk that much about sex, I edit a lot of what I say to her out of respect for her character, but she knows how I feel about it. "It was open," she repeated. "I was getting on the computer like you said, and it was open, and I just looked at it. I'm sorry. I..."
Reddick cut her off. "Damn Heather! She left it open!"
Osterman stared at her friend. "You were letting Heather look at this stuff?"
"Yeah!" Reddick snapped. She threw up her hands, then sighed, looking directly at Osterman. "We've been exchanging our favorite stories. I'm reading the DaVinci Code because of her recommendation. It's a really good book, even if it's a little out there. Heather gave me the book, and this was the best I could do in exchange, and..." She blushed, dropping her eyes. "I didn't mean for you to see that. Any of it. It's..."
"It's okay," Osterman interrupted her, smirking and trying not to laugh. She glanced at the open folder. "I'm just really surprised you have all this. And that you showed it to Heather. I thought you were, well..." She held up her left hand, ignoring a sense of deja vu. Stop, she told herself. This is what you wanted. An opening, an expanded friendship. To let the cat out of the bag, for lack of a better pun.
"Right," Reddick said, looking at her ring. She grimaced, then looked back at Osterman. "Look, don't get the wrong idea about me, okay? I still have my beliefs, despite all that." She pointed at the folder with her left hand. "My beliefs are very important to me." She held her hand up. "This ring represents them. It's my anchor, a reminder to me to stay in control of my desires. Keep them secret, keep them safe."
Osterman smiled, recognizing her words. Others came to her mind. They seemed to fit, so she said them. "One ring to rule them all. One ring to find them. One ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them."
Reddick stared at her, mouth falling open. Then she giggled. "Exactly!" She pointed at Osterman. "That's why I wear the ring, it makes sense to me. It helps me do what I must."
Osterman nodded. "Right," she said. "You put your fantasies out of your mind, lock them away. Stick them in here." She pointed at the computer.
"No," Reddick shook her head. "You've got it all wrong."
Osterman frowned at her, confused. "Excuse me?"
"You've got it wrong," Reddick said, pointing at the computer again. "It's not just fantasy. It's stuff I like, things I'm interested in. A lot of what's in there is stuff I've already done. Other stuff is things I want to do but can't yet." She held up her ring. "I really am saving myself for when Robert and I get married, Cat. We've kissed, gotten naked, cuddled with each other, touched and sucked each other off, but that's as far as it's gone. That's as far as I've gone with any guy. I have to save myself. I was raised with these values and I believe in them. But still I..." She paused, then smiled. "I fantasize, I live. I don't let what I've done get around, though. It's really not anybody's business. That's another reason for the ring. I point it out to people, say a few words, and their curiosity goes away."
"I see," Osterman said. She turned her chair to face Reddick, regarding the other girl's face. She still looks shocked, Osterman thought, yet also happy. Maybe she's wanted to get this off her chest for a while. She obviously can't in public, it would cause too many problems. But here, now... She pointed at Reddick's ring, smiling again. "It's a strange fate that we should suffer so much fear and doubt over so small a thing," she quoted. "Such a little thing."
Reddick chuckled, then shook her head. "I know, but we do. It's a little thing, but we make it big. We obsess over it, it drives us to distraction." She sighed, again looking at the computer. "Have you ever read any of those stories?"
"I read them all the time. It's like with you, they're my fantasies. They make sense to me too, I've had many experiences like them. I've told you about a few."
"Yeah," Reddick blushed. "I've had some myself, though I've never told you about that many." She pulled out one of the table's other chairs and sat down facing Osterman. "I guess you're finding out now."
"Yes, I am. Like Heather did, right?"
Reddick nodded. "Heather and I have become really good friends since we met, she and I have... oh, God, you won't tell anyone this, will you?"
Reddick and Heather have got it on together, Osterman realized, smiling. Just like me and some of my past roommates. "I won't tell anyone," she assured the other girl, then pointed at the computer again. "I saw a lot of photos of Heather in there. Did you have those before you met her, or...?"
"Yes. I did have them before I met her. Heather's someone I've admired for a long time. Then we got on the same team and got to know each other, and..." She paused. "We did it. Heather and me."
"Good for you." Osterman grinned, glad her intuition was correct. "She was your first girl?"
"No," Reddick said, leaning closer. "I've been getting with girls since before I started playing on teams with them. You know the team I started out on was a boys' team, right? I got very close to a lot of the boys, on and off the field. I never let them touch me at first, but I could tell most of them wanted to. Then I thought what the heck, go ahead. Have fun, just keep control. Pretty soon there was nothing I didn't want to try- all at the proper time, of course, and all in secret." She paused, then started talking again. "I knew I didn't want to let them do everything with me, though, not till after I married one of them. So, to satisfy them, I would get it on with girls and let them watch. I still do that today. Heather and I have let Robert watch us, and AJ, and other guys. I've also done it with Angela, Cindy, and several of my other teammates. I like getting with girls a lot. I still have trouble coming to terms with it sometimes, but I keep doing it."
"And Robert's okay with it?" Osterman asked. She held up her hand at Reddick's expression. "I'm sorry, we've just never talked about this before, and now..."
"Right." Reddick paused again, then answered. "He's okay with it. His family's used to scandals. They have a lot of them in their history. They try to sweep them under the rug, but occasionally people have found them out. He decided a long time ago he didn't care. He tells me I shouldn't either, but..."
"But you do care," Osterman completed, frowning. "What kind of scandals?"
"Have you ever read the short story San Juan Romero?"
"Yeah," Osterman recalled, thinking back to a South American Literature class she'd taken that had included it. It was speculative historical fiction, with strong sci-fi and horror elements. A family named Whitehill featured prominently in the story, and in other stories by the same writer. Usually they were involved in some big problem, to the degree that readers might think they were an evil family. But the real Whitehills weren't like that, right? "Don't tell me those stories are based on fact."
"Partly." Reddick shrugged. "Every legend has a ring of truth. The story's fiction, but the way it and the other stories like it depict Robert's family... It's like fan fiction, almost." She grimaced. "I can't believe I'm talking to you about this. You were just a friend, and now..."
"We're still friends," Osterman said. She reached out and took Reddick's hand. "I'm not going to tell anyone about this. You can trust me. Look, you remember that book I gave you a while back? Peaceful Warrior?"
"Yeah. I read it. It's been a long time, but..."
"It's been a long time since I read it too," Osterman said. "I still remember the lessons, though." She squeezed Reddick's hand and looked into her eyes. "The only laws of this world are paradox, humor, and change. There is no problem you can't get around- never has been and never will be. You're here, now, in this moment. So deal with it. Do what you need to do. Regain your happiness. Release your struggle. Wake up. Don't worry, you're already free."
"Take out the trash in your mind," Reddick nodded. "Forget what everyone might think of you, just live. You really believe people can do that?"
"Yes," Osterman said. "I live my life by those words." She smiled, then paused, grimacing. Better clarify, she thought. "Of course, in the end, life really has no manual. Everybody's gotta figure it out for themselves. You think you know stuff, and then you get surprised." Really surprised, she chuckled to herself, thinking again of Jennie last week and Reddick now.
"Yeah," Reddick sighed, looking directly at Osterman. She stared at the other girl for a long moment, then spoke. "I'm glad I can trust you with this."
"Yeah, me too," Osterman agreed. Suddenly she blushed again, remembering what other photos she had seen in the folder. Reddick's fantasized about me, Osterman thought. I've had fantasies about her too. They're infrequent, but they have happened. Heather figures in my fantasies more prominently, because of the kind of person she is, but Reddick's also been there. I thought the fantasies were just that, though, they could never be anything more. But now that I know what I know, maybe... No, she decided, that might not be a good idea just yet. Reddick's still dealing with the fact that you know about her hidden side. Don't get too crazy, or you'll ruin everything before it even gets started. Never mind those photos, never mind your friendship. You don't want to take stupid risks. You should never have come here. But I did, she reminded herself. But I did.
"It's hard enough talking to Heather about it," Reddick said. "We have very different lives. I'm quiet, and she's a wild child. She's done things I would never even consider. Pose for FHM, run with the bulls in Pamplona, stuff like that."
Osterman returned her smile. "Yeah. Jennie does things like that too, you know. She poses in swimsuits all the time. She was even going to be in Playboy."
Reddick nodded. "Yeah, I know." She waved at the folder. "You saw the photos I have of her, right?"
"I did," Osterman said. Should I tell her about what Jennie and I have been doing? she thought. No, wait, bad idea. Just cause we're sharing fantasies now doesn't mean we'll share anything else.
"I don't want to do any of that," Reddick said, not knowing her friend's thoughts. "I just want to live my life, play soccer, and have fun. That, and marry Robert. That's all I want." She paused for a moment, then frowned. "But then I see people doing such daring things, and..."
"I know," Osterman cut her off, smiling again. "I know how you feel." And what I feel, she added to herself.
Reddick stared at her, then shook her head. "Look, I'm sorry, okay?" she said. "I'm sorry I kept this hidden from you. You thought I didn't want to know anything about sex, but I do." She took a breath. "I know a lot. I know full well about Maenads and what goes on there. Heather and everyone else have told me. I just wasn't sure I wanted to be part of... you know. And then you bring up the place and want to take me there and..."
"I wasn't planning anything like what you're thinking," Osterman cut her off quickly. "I just thought we could go there, dance, and have fun. I wasn't planning to take you into the private rooms, or anything else. I don't even go into that area that much. I have to be with the right person, and..."
Reddick stared at her as she trailed off. "I've heard you go in there with so many people, though," she said. "I... I guess I didn't know what to think."
"They're all people I admire," Osterman said. "They're all my friends. Whatever happens between us is just friendship. Nothing more and nothing less."
Reddick nodded. Then she paused, looking Osterman up and down before smiling again. "We're friends too," she said, "aren't we?"
"Yes," Osterman replied, feeling her heart hammer all of a sudden. "Of course we are."
Reddick's smile widened. Then she stared hard at Osterman, again seeming to debate something inside her head. Finally she stood up and looked down at herself, then back at Osterman. "Did you see those photos I had of you in there?" she asked. "Please tell me you..."
"I did," Osterman answered, hoping it was the right thing to say. "And I'm not mad about them. It's okay that you have them. Really."
Reddick let out a relieved sigh, then started speaking in a rush. "You're a very admirable person, Cat. Not everyone can set all the records you have, do things like pitch a perfect game in the Pan Am finals and go undefeated all season."