I didn't see her as sexual, or attractive the first time we met. She was a simply a friend of a friend, the sister of a brother, the daughter of a woman. Her smile was happy and alive and I reveled in it, happy to have someone so buoyant in my small circle of friends. Jo Ruth, such a strong name. It fit though, and I said it over in my head a few times, as Julia introduced us. Jo. Jo Ruth. Joooo ROOF.
I reached to shake her hand, and smiled into her eyes, reciprocating the proper amenities. "Jo Ruth. It's a pleasure to finally meet you." I enjoyed the way her name felt in my mouth. But what happened in that next two seconds changed my life forever. Jo smiled back, revealing the whitest teeth against the darkest skin I had ever seen. My skin sizzled as she turned to speak to my husband and had to pull her hand from mine. I saw in slow motion, an instant of recognition as her eyes darted from my husband's to mine.
Later that morning at Julia's coffee house, John, Julia, Jo, and I sat across the table from one another making small talk. I smiled when I needed to, spoke when spoken to with no one the wiser that my mind was tripping fluidly over its own thoughts and scenarios. Julia was discussing our internet support group. John commented, I smiled, and Jo sat quietly watching each person's face, responding when needed. Assured I was the epitome of decorum, I sat there knowing beyond a doubt how Jo would feel under my hands, smell and taste to my hungry senses. I smiled cautiously at jokes running around the table. My tongue teased the thick topping of my hazelnut cappuccino with lady-like finesse. Halfway through the brunch, I blanched. I felt the sweet biscuits Julia had served knot in my throat, threatening to choke the life from me as a thought passed my mind. Oh dear God. I had invited the whole gang to our house for a bonfire in two weeks. My eyes shot to my lap and I fumbled with my napkin, fussed with my dress hem, and tried desperately to dislodge that biscuit that refused to move.
Five women, all of varying ages and occupations, all survivors of child sexual abuse, all members of the online support group I helped to run, all lesbians, save one, who primly sat in her seat with her insipid smile pasted to her pale face. I grinned when I thought of her. How sad her life must be for her to be so cold, so lifeless. But soon my thoughts trailed once more. Jo. Jooooo ROOF! Oh my dear Jesus in heaven. How would I ever talk to her on the phone again? How would I ever lie next to John again and NOT be able to fake? What if the fantasies went too far? What if he came home from work and caught me, and I happened to scream out her name? A thousand thoughts raced and rumbled in my head. Ok, Cynthia. You're just over reacting. She doesn't even know you are alive.
Calm down, get your breath, and relax. She is a friend, nothing more, nothing less.
So, I attempted to sit up tall, smile again, retain some semblance of feminine decorum as the afternoon chatter turned into dusk discussions. "John." I whispered. "we need to go. it's five hours up the road and 6 am comes early for you." I smiled, touched his arm, and felt satisfied that once again, I had maintained. Once again I had met someone that could moisten the center of my body, and I didn't give my secret away. Once again, I had managed a lie that would go with me to my death. I was proud, and held my head high and I took John's proffered hand and stood to say our goodbyes.
The drive home was long and quiet. I feigned exhaustion, and lay with my head on his ample shoulder for the next 5 hours. The next two weeks flew by, and with nervous jitters, and anticipation i cleaned and scrubbed that house from one end to the other. John mentioned it seemed to have done me so much good to decide to entertain at home. I laughed and said it was nothing I wouldn't have done anyway as I took the ceiling fan apart and scrubbed each screw and bolt with a toothbrush.
Saturday arrived, and the food was nearly prepared. I flitted from project to project. I placed the dessert in the refrigerator while I warmed the oven, cranked out enough ice to cool China, and put the finishing touches to my hair.
The hour finally arrived. It was time for the bonfire to begin. John was wearing his best sweats, tennis shoes, and wooly socks. I had decided on a sweater I had had for so long it was tattered. My old, faded jeans would suffice, with those yellow work boots men wear in construction, and my hair was down across my shoulders. I had changed at least ten times, telling John I didn't want to wear anything too "good", for fear of the bonfire ruining it. In all truth, I wanted to look relaxed, but not scrubby. I had opted for the natural look in my make up and hair, which took two hours to complete. But for some reason, every hair had to hang perfect; every brush of eye-color had to appear to be given from God. A loud knock boomed through the house as the first of our guests arrived. I had no idea who it was, but felt my heart racing to sit atop my head as I took each step with care, one foot in front of the other, and forced myself NOT to run. John intercepted and said, "I'll get it Cynthia. Check on the snack foods in the oven." And I did. Mechanically, praying to God my breath would slow down, and swearing to heaven I was only nervous at the thoughts of having friends to my house over night for the first time in three years.
John reached the door first and swung it wide. A cool nip of night air rushed into the room, greeting my braless upper torso with glee. Yes, that's what it was. The night air was tweaking my breasts, and certainly not any thoughts I might have had, or would have about anyone that might possibly be walking through....
"Cynthia!!" Julia cried and ran to grab me in a bear hug I thought would crush the air from my lungs. "Julia!" I laughed and scanned the living room for more faces. Julia then crushed me to her harder, and I used that excuse to blame my loss of air when over her shoulder I saw Jo rumble into the house, stomping her feet, dropping suitcases and bags at the door. I watched while she grabbed John in a hug as equally as intense as the one I had just endured and thought, "Please, God. Let her hug me like that."
Jo took her time, painstakingly making her way across the living room where I stood pretending not to care. Another loud "Bang! Bang! Bang!" on the door resounded and I thanked my angels for the distraction as Jo reached for me and I felt my body fall into hers. Every cell of my face, my arms, my neck, my breasts, every inch of skin heated up and I felt the seam of my jeans grow and thicken between my legs as she whispered next to my ear, "It's good to see you again." I nodded and felt her hug deepen. She was so tender, so intense and I was silently thankful she hadn't grabbed me in a bear hug as she had John. My mind savored the moment as I breathed raggedly trying to keep my hands from roaming her body. For interminable seconds that screamed through my lower body, I felt the tiniest caress at the small of my back. Her other hand quickly discovered I wore no bra, and I blushed. As the other guests filtered in, hugging and kissing John, I pulled away. God how I longed to stand there smelling her scent, tasting the air around her mouth. But I knew if one of us didn't pull away, in one more second, I would humiliate the only male person I had ever trusted and loved as I did John.
I took tremulous, comical steps in the general direction of all the good natured lesbian (save one) hugs, and allowed them to envelope me. I couldn't hear their words. I couldn't even look at their lips and figure out who was saying what as Jo's voice continued to caress my inner core. The whisper that was meant only for me, kept repeating itself in my head. For the first time in my life, a voice had been able to entice the feminine silkiness between my thighs as no man's hand, heart, mouth, or manhood could ever do. I laughed when the others laughed, assured I was responding appropriately to something said, as I continued to allow the memory of Jo's whisper, her hair, her neck and her aura to silently swim over my body. As everyone made their way into the house, I excused myself to the bathroom. I hastily undid my jeans as if a trapped monster had been awaiting freedom into the night. I dropped, rather than sat, on the toilet and let my face fall into my opened hands.
I sat frozen for a few moments, reveling and smiling at the thoughts growing and swimming through me like a gentle tsunami. My mind enjoyed free reign for the few minutes of solitude I had given myself away from prying eyes and minds.
Oh my God, how did she taste? What was her most sensitive spot? Had she ever experienced sex the way I just knew it had to be? Had she ached and felt her body weaken for my mouth? Would I be able to take her there? Would she allow me to touch her? Was she stone, or would she melt against my touch? Would her lips melt into mine for hours? Did I ever remember being so moist in such a short time, without having to close my eyes? I laughed shakily at myself when I heard someone walk down the hall. I recognized John's gait and allowed my bladder to release. He rapped gently on the door. "Come in." I smiled, and unrolled the paper I had so painstakingly arranged like those in fancy hotels. John opened the door, stuck his sweet smile inside and said, "Is it too much for ya, babe? That's a lot of people all at once." I smiled and touched his outstretched hand. "No, I'm fine sweetheart. Just a bit tired I think." He kissed the air in my direction and ducked back out. I could hear his loud voice boom through the house as he asked, "Who's ready for a drink?"
Geezus murphy in Georgia! What was I going to do? John was the most tender, loving man I had ever known. His eyes sparkled with the impish laughter of a child, yet his mouth could soften into a warm smile that would instantly quell any fears I might be facing. He was generous and giving and never once took himself into consideration as he opened me up to a world of light, fun and joy.
I smiled at how much I loved him and folded the toilet paper into a perfect square. When I reached between my thighs to dry myself, my eyes widened and I stood, amazed at what my Dr's had been telling me was my fault for years! After all the years of heartache and disappointment, personal anguish and feeling I had failed as a woman, there it was. Moisture, silken rivers of feminine desire that I had never been able to produce in all the years I had been sexually active! So much so that I thought, I had urinated again and didn't notice.
I knew I could NOT go back out there and face everyone as if nothing had happened. How was I ever going to make it through this realization?! This wasn't just an orgasm to fake, or making sexy noises and writhe in rhythm on my back. No, this was real. This was the MOST real I had ever known in my life. After several calming breaths and a few self-believed lies, I re-entered the living room to voices and laughter. I felt some better then, and thought 'I can do this. I can make these people comfy in my home and not humiliate myself in the process.' The many years of training as the perfect hostess, mimicking my mother's social behavior, was paying off as I made rounds with the drinks John had prepared, and handed trays of fresh vegetables and cheeses around the room.
The soft, sensual scent of my candles, jasmine and sandalwood, floated through the air, tickling my nostrils every now and again as I sat and nibbled, listened and laughed, rose to retrieve from the kitchen, and pretended Jo was just a person. I made her neither woman nor man, just a friend.
Soon it was time to get ready for the fire. John donned his uglier than mud flannel, plaid jacket, grabbed his mug of ice water, his trusty 'stash', and headed out the door with promises of the "biggest bestest bonfire ever".
The women stayed inside with me as my feet took me into the kitchen to get the buns, wienies, and mustard for the midnight bonfire. Some retired to change into clothing that is more appropriate. Julia grabbed her coffee and headed out the door. I could hear her calling across the vast yard to John, and his jovial reply that echoed through the trees. Suzanne got up to get her bags and follow the other two into the guest room to change. My mind reeled at the thought. What must it be like to be a lesbian, in a room of lesbians, changing clothes, allowed to "look", allowed to make jokes, and it be accepted?! I had known a longing all my life, one never explained by clergymen, friends, or family. But surely, it wasn't that? I mean, I was a mother, a wife, an upstanding, church-going, 'Donna Reed' housekeeping, Wal-mart shopping, woman. Oh yes, many times I had thought about it, fantasized about it, and even wrote secret poems referring to it. And, if you don't count that one steamy, hot, intense sexual encounter at 18, then I have never even been with a woman! How would I know what it was I wanted, if I had nothing to compare? Oh well, I thought, as I continued preparing things in the kitchen. Again, my ears would prick when a sound drifted to me. Oh how I envied them as giggles and guffaws vibrated to my thrumming ears. Since I certainly wasn't a lesbian, I would never know the thrill of belonging to that exclusive club. But, they were lesbians, not me, and that was their world.
I grabbed the hand towel and dried my hands so hard I thought the skin would blister. As I turned from the refrigerator toward the counter, there she was. Her upper body was leaned against the counter, one foot propped on it's toe as it crossed her other leg, and she was lazily nibbling a piece of cheddar cheese. My mouth hung open as I wondered silently when cheese became so sexy. When she chuckled under her breath, I jumped. Possibly more than I should have since I spent the next few hilarious moments retrieving rolling wienies and bouncing buns from across the floor. We started cracking up which gratefully eased the tension that had built all night as I washed the franks, wiped the buns, and restored them to the tray.
My hands went through the motions as if I wasn't in control. Moving mustard, ketchup, and relish to one side to make room for the festive napkins I had artfully arranged on an ice pick to keep them from blowing away. Jo offered to carry the load, and I conceded saying I would grab the sodas, and extra drinks from the fridge. As we turned to go, we realized both of us had our hands full and couldn't open the door. So carefully I propped my body against hers, telling her NOT to move an inch as I wedged the items between the wall and me so I could reach for the knob. My God, I felt the blood pumping in her veins through the thin fabric of my old jeans, against my thigh, as she moved her leg ever so slightly against my own. My eyes darted quickly to hers, back to the door, down the hall, as the laughter from the guest room grew louder. "Stop that" I said and couldn't stop the blush that crept from my inner thighs to my cheeks in two seconds. "Stop what?" she grinned and slipped through the door so suddenly I almost dropped everything in my arms. My breath was caught, and once again, I blamed the night chill in the air for the turgid flesh of my nipples beneath my old faithful sweater.
The bonfire went off without a hitch. I have never seen a 20-foot flame, and watched with delight as the "fire faeries" danced on the gentle autumn breeze. The trees seemed to bend toward the heat, warming their cool limbs in preparation for the winter to come. I could hear distant night sounds when the crowd would grow silent then someone would say something funny and voices would chime in, laughing and adding to the tale until it was one of massive comedy. All night I sat by my doting husband, taking his hand from time to time, looking into his eyes, and feeling the icy hands of guilt and shame squeeze my soul. How could this be happening? I wasn't a lesbian!! I was mostly happy with John. No, he had no idea how to kiss me, and no matter how careful and loving he was, I always had to close my eyes and fantasize to reach an orgasm. But we were happy together. He was the "perfect man" for me. The perfect man....perfect man. Oh my dear heavens. It had never occurred to me in the years we were together. He WAS the perfect man for me. But I would never be the perfect woman for him. Tears burned against my lashes and I blamed an errant wisp of smoke and one too many lemon drops.
Suzanne, totally drunk by now, stood up to challenge me to a drinking game. I laughed and said, "One ought never to challenge a suthun woman to a drinking contest!" The crowd roared with glee as I turned the first of many drinks to my lips. By the end of her third shot of lemon drops, I was hooting with laughter as Susanne fell to her bottom on the dewy grass. She looked at me, without even a snicker and said, "Ok, never mind." and once again, we all laughed until tears were rolling down our faces.
John reached out and rubbed my back just as Jo looked at me across the slowly dying fire. The flames, after three hours, were finally to about 5 feet, and she was standing on the other side. I tried not to look as she watched me like a hawk ready to capture its prey. John was pleasantly drunk, paying no attention to anyone or anything, allowing me the precious opportunity to cast a glance to the opposite side of the flames. She seemed so primal, so dark, and I watched her watching me as if I were a snack. I was once again aware of the warm moistness that soaked into the thick seam of my jeans and smiled, enjoying that gentle pull of my senses until it was time to go inside.
The night air had grown very chilly, and Suzanne needed to be put to bed. One by one everyone trailed back inside. First Julia went toward the house, then Pam, Heather, Jo, and me. Suzanne trailed behind. She was singing to the top of her lungs and everyone rolled with laughter. About halfway to the back door, the words of her very loud song finally made sense to my brain.
"I'm naked and drunk in Moon's backyard! I'm naked and drunk in Moon's backyard!" I laughed and squealed, turning just in time to see her toss her sweater into the night. "Suzanne!! No!!" I laughed and raced back to grab her. Unknown to me, the lemon drops had done much more damage to my inhibitions than I realized. Suddenly, instead of trying to get her dressed again, I thought it made perfect sense to go topless in the middle of the night, in the middle of the yard, in the middle of fall. So here we were, topless, singing, and dancing like wood nymphs in May while the fire silhouetted our bodies behind us.
Jo ran back, grabbed us both, and herded us into the house. Once inside, she wrapped jackets, towels, anything she could find, around us to shield us from the others craning their necks to see.
After we were inside, Jo ran back out to get our clothes. While she was gone, Suzanne made the remark that her breasts were prettier than mine. Well, any woman that worth her salt will defend her own supple mounds! So, driven by the lemon drops we walked to the half-length mirror over the sink in my bathroom and compared. We were pointing, discussing and laughing about our anatomy as Jo walked up behind us. I could feel the molten touch of her hand against my back and heard my lungs gasp for air. Suzanne heard and turned to me. Are you sick? she asked and I declined and said Jo scared me. I looked briefly into the black eyes in the mirror over my right shoulder and felt a jolt of pure fire streak from my mind, through my soul, to settle between my now trembling thighs. I had never known anything so intense, so pure, and so sensual in my entire life. How could this be? Where was it coming from? Surely not me...surely, it was just my never-ending hunger for sexual satisfaction. My body trembled slightly and Suzanne mumbled, "You're cold. Put on my sweater'". Her drunken slur was comical and I started laughing as Jo made her way around to the little alcove to use the toilet. Like a naughty errant child, my eyes wandered. I couldn't see anything but her feet, but that was enough. The pent dam of desire burst forth again and this time, with the help of my trusty lemon drops, I actually felt my body respond. I could feel the tingling pleasure as the moisture seeped into the folds, the soft curls, and the still burgeoning seam of my jeans. Ragged breaths escaped my lungs as I argued with myself to look away. Thank God Susanne was inebriated and needed help.
After much cajoling, we were able to coax Suzanne into her jammies. I went to the other room to change into my gown and robe. My body was alive with molten desire and I imagined I could hear her heart beat pounding against the air as Jo changed into her sleep pants and shirt.
John came into the kitchen as I was trying to regain my composure from the lemon drops and sexual fires that burned heartlessly inside of me. I was attempting to clean some of the mess, and he put his arm around me and said, "Honey, we don't have enough beds."
Okay, John had just told me we didn't have enough beds and I was in shock. What would we do? There were five females in my home; we only expected three to stay. But Pam and Heather were riding together and both were too drunk to drive. So, John told Pam and Heather to take the guest bed, Julia to take the sofa, he would sleep in his sleeping bag in my office, and Jo, Susanne and I would take the king sized bed in our room. I visibly shook and he felt it. He looked at me and asked me if I was going to be sick. I almost laughed aloud as my ovaries jumped with glee. Suzanne, still singing silly songs concocted from her inebriated state, wandered through to my room, and crawled between the sheets. Her eyes closed instantly and a gentle rumble echoed over to my ears.
Oh sweet mercy in heaven. Jo, Susanne and me were to sleep in one bed!! How was I going to do this when since I first met her I wanted her fingers deep inside my hungered body! Come on, Cynthia. You can do this. This is your home and these are your guests. With courage I knew was a lie, I reached for the lamp switch. I was bound and determined nothing would happen, I could maintain, I could be the lady I knew I was.
I pushed Suzanne over to the middle and I intended to sleep next to the wall while Jo took the front. I padded barefoot into the other room and kissed John's cheek goodnight, locked everything down, and brushed my teeth. I turned to crawl in bed only to see Suzanne had rolled back to the front. My soft whisper hissed through the silence. "Sweety, you need to move over so I can get in." She mumbled something close to ".....hotdogs bleckie fro up, close to tolett....so sick m-moon." and I left it at that.
I was a grown woman. There was nothing that could make me betray my marriage, myself, nor the friend that lay next to me, passed out and trusting. As I crawled over Suzanne's now limp body, I sensed more than heard Jo come into the darkened room behind me. Her feet beat a rhythm as primal as hunger as she neared my bed. I could feel my heart exploding as thoughts, scenarios and wonderful stories of erotica milled around in my head.
I wondered how she would look, standing at the side of the bed nude. inviting. I wondered how her wet skin would feel in the shower, towering over me, looking into my soul. I wondered how she smelled, inside the creases of her body, under her arms, in her neck. I smiled unknowingly at the idea of my tongue dipping...oh my God. How could I expect to?.what was I going to??HOW in the name of Murphy was I going to do this!?
I lay perfectly still. My arms were suddenly the heaviest part of my body as I pretended to sleep. I tried to match my breathing to Suzanne's, but the constant jagged intake prevented it, so I breathed slower, quieter. I felt her knee touch the mattress, and then her hand as she crawled up beside me. My eyes were wide open in the near total darkness as she pushed her feet up and under the covers and pulled them to her neck. My mind resembled the bonfire at this point, not to mention the silky softness oozing between my thighs. Closer to my ears than was comfortable her throaty voice seemed to nibble at my breast as she whispered, "I might snuggle with you in the night by accident. Is that okay?" I couldn't answer, and nodded my head instead and mumbled something close to sure, no problem. I'm sure it sounded like some sort of Chinese/Southern slang and turned back to face Suzanne's posterior.
I felt the liquor warm my senses, loosening the restraints of all I held dear. My lips began to move in silent prayer, reciting every thought, every pure sentence I could muster just as Jo's hand warmed the cool skin of my back through my nightgown.
"Pl-please...please Jo." I managed to eek out and she pulled away. My God, the sudden disappointment that she had complied left me feeling deflated. Moments passed that took eons. I wished she would try again to touch me, yet I argued with the little devil on my shoulder that married women don't do these things! After many more arguments I didn't seem to be winning, my toes snaked out, parting the sheets between us like a hot knife through butter. I smiled when my foot found hers. I think that's the first time I ever realized making love could be accomplished with nothing but your feet, your mind and your soul. In a few minutes, when I didn't resist her feet seeking mine, her fiery hand reached out again and I heard the sharp intake of my own lungs. How could this be happening?! My beloved John lay slumbering in my office, and I was in bed, mentally making love to a woman that was supposed to be my friend!
Why didn't I say no? Why didn't I stop her? Why didn't I say, Jo, that's wrong? But nooooo!!! Miss "I'm no Lesbian, but?" reached for Jo's hand, pulled it across my body and nearly died five deaths as she cupped my breast with those delicate, strong fingers I had watched all night. I let my fingers trace their lines, feeling the smooth, yet roughened skin. I allowed my mind to wander as I realized I was caressing her hand, her exquisite lesbian genitals...her tools of pleasure and pain, without a thought or remorse. Oh dear God where had my morals gone? Why weren't the lies and walls working now?
I will never forget how she seemed to scoop her one arm under my body, and without any effort flipped me to face her. That was too much and I pulled back, turned back over and said "Please...Jo." In an interminable moment of disappointment and regret, my thrumming breast felt suddenly cold where her hot hand had just been. The little devil on my shoulder screamed into my ear. Stupid, stupid stupid! Stop telling her no!
Soon, as if she read the inner most creases of my mind, she reached again and cupped my wanting flesh in her hand. I pushed back against her without a fight. How did I know what I even wanted? Fantasies for an entire lifetime were one thing, but actually making love to a precious, beautiful, magically virile woman was a place I never thought I would go. To me, in my world, that was a pleasure I must never know! It could only be imagined and envied in others. But here I was aching, throbbing, melting in places I didn't even know I had. I felt that special tiny place deep inside of my body throb. I didn't even KNOW the G spot was real until that night; much less know where it was. As her hand snaked slowly down my body, pressing firmly, yet tenderly, I don't know the moment she lifted the carefully tugged down hem of my nightgown. I can't tell you when or where my arms and legs were, but I can tell you the time, the air I breathed, and every thought that went through my head as her fingers first dipped between my legs into the wet, starving portal of my body. Every breath I took labored to be delivered back into the room. I felt her fingers, so deep and prying, as they pulled a fire from within my core that I thought frozen for all time. No one had ever touched me, looked at me, or "saw" me this way. I opened myself to her as she stroked without sound, without effort into the moistened, flowing lips of my body. As I rode her hand, it seemed like an agonizing eternity before she allowed me release. In minutes, without sound, without kissing, without saying a word, I gave myself completely to someone for the first time in my life.
She sensually dipped her fingers into my mouth to suckle. I had never tasted my own juices until that night. I had never known such exquisite, sweet pain in my entire life. We didn't kiss, didn't exchange lover's pillow talk, nor did we scream into the heavens with the pent release. In silence I became the woman I was meant to be, the woman I had always known I was. In the peak of night, when the moon smiles and the stars dance in rhythm to a silent tune, I became myself. No sounds or words were needed as she held me against her and tears of honeyed pleasure traced slowly down my cheeks onto her neck.