The Party 

by Lesley Summers

I awoke with a start, my head aching from a hangover. I kept my eyes closed. The sounds and smells weren't right, I thought, this wasn't my bedroom, not my home. I heard traffic rumbling nearby and smelt indefinable stale odours accompanied by a whiff of general decay. Disoriented, I slowly opened my eyes. I was naked, partly covered by a sheet and lying next to a woman's sleeping body.

The clinging fog of alcohol made recollection of yesterdays events harder than usual. From experience I knew that when the memories returned they would come unbidden, and probably unwelcome. Obviously I had not returned home the previous evening. In disjointed snatches, my memories emerged in montage: arriving at Chris' party with Dee and Sam, chatting to people, dancing, eating and drinking. Then, a vivid memory of squeezing between people writhing to pulsing, throbbing music in a dimly lit room. I had bumped into someone and pressed my mouth to her ear to apologise - she responded by kissing my cheek! Peering through the smoky haze I saw an attractive, muscular woman, slightly taller than my own 5'3'. I felt sure it was she who was next to me now.

My memory fractured again, recalling passionate kisses, embraces, caresses, more drinks and then sex. It was the startling memory of sex which had me wide awake and sitting up. Intimacy with anyone had been so infrequent since breaking up with Jenny over two years ago that each experience was easy to recall. Sex with a woman on a first date, let alone without knowing her name, was unthinkable. I was in shock.

Looking around I guessed we were in a cheap motel, probably the one two blocks from Chris' place. Swallowing hard I tried to come to grips with what had happened, what I'd done. I recalled my friend Dee's comments from early the previous evening, 'stop trying to find a relationship and just enjoy yourself, just get yourself laid and relax for a while'.

Dee and Sam had been in a long-term relationship for several years and I often envied their comfort with each other. I wanted that for myself, someone to spend time with, wake up with, even argue with.

The woman next to me woke and asked, 'What time is it?' I took in her short tussled sandy-blonde hair, deep blue eyes and angular face as I looked at my watch, casually replying 'Close to 9.30.' I wondered how messed-up my own light brown shoulder-length hair was - I had taken extra care in styling it before going to Chris', just in case.

'Shit, I'll be late for work!' said the woman as she started to climb into her clothes. She looked at me and smiled a lovely smile which lit up her whole face, softening the angles. 'Hi, I'm not sure we were properly introduced, I'm Stacy.'

'Leigh.' I replied, as she looked me over. Self-consciously I ran my fingers through my hair in an attempt to neaten it.

'Nice to meet you,' Stacy looked around, 'Chris certainly has interesting parties.'

'Yes, I guess so.' I was so embarrassed, and tried to look anywhere except at Stacy, but failed. 'I've never attended one before.'

Stacy enquired if I was single and upon hearing my answer declared herself unattached as well. She was now fully dressed and standing by the bed. I was still embarrassed. This woman was a stranger even though I spent the night with her, so held the sheet up to cover my ample breasts.

'Listen, Leigh,' she said, getting to her feet, 'I don't usually eat and run so to speak, but I really do have to go to work.'

I felt my eye's widen and my mouth form an O as a sharp memory intruded...in my minds eye I saw Stacy's head between my legs, felt Stacy's tongue on my clitoris...the memory felt almost real as my vagina spasmed, wanting more. I felt my face go redder...I was definitely in shock.

Stacy, looking slightly alarmed at my reaction, asked quietly, 'I hope I haven't offended you?'

'Nooo...' I stammered, 'I've just never had...sex before with...with someone I've not dated. I guess I'm a bit shocked.'

'Oh, er...well, look, I really do have to go...but I'll catch up with you later, OK? Bye.' Stacy disappeared out into the street.

Stunned and feeling slightly giddy, I slowly found my clothes and started dressing. My mind whirled in confusion with feelings, memories and thoughts. I had always disparaged one-night-stands and promiscuous sex and yet here I was participating, even enjoying it!

My mind kept presenting me with pictures and memories of Stacy: her smile, her eyes, her lean strong body, how she kissed, how it felt to be in her arms, every little thing. I found it hard to concentrate on anything else. I rubbed my eyes, took a deep breath and escaped out the door to find a taxi home.

Once home, I seemed to be moving in slow motion. I couldn't do anything much but stare into space, trying to sort things out. Finally, I remembered that it was Sunday and that I'd agreed to meet Sam and Dee for lunch. I dressed in a hurry, realising I was late.

Sam and Dee were sipping coffees when I eventually arrived. 'Where have you been?' Dee questioned. 'In fact, what happened to you last night? I saw you dancing, or something like it, with someone and then you disappeared.'

My cheeks reddened quickly...embarrassment was becoming a regular emotion. I signalled the waitress for coffee. 'I'm starved.' I answered, trying to ignore their stares.

Sam raised an eyebrow. 'So did you have a good time last night?'

With cheeks still burning, I mumbled that it was a different party to the ones I usually attended.

Dee snorted and then laughed, 'So what's her name?'

The coffee came and I ordered some food, then, not looking up, I replied, 'She said her name's Stacy.'

Good for you, you got yourself laid!' exclaimed Sam. 'I didn't think you would.'

'Stacy, is that the very butch looking one with all the muscles?' Dee wrinkled her nose.

I remembered how Stacy had looked as she was leaving. 'I didn't think she looked all that butch,' I mumbled again.

Dee, always quick to interpret other people's emotions, said quietly, 'Leigh, honey, you be careful now, don't you go falling in love with someone you may never see again.' I sighed and nodded, very aware that the danger existed. I was always too romantic, and too eager to become involved.

For the next few days my emotions oscillated between desperately wanting to see her again and anger at her, the world and myself. It took a while for the days to resume their usual pattern and my normal self-control to reappear.

Wednesday, two weeks later, found me wandering down the local supermarket isle struggling with a trolley which only seemed to have three wheels. Looking intently at a set of shelves for my favourite yoghurt, I was startled by a tap on the shoulder.

It was Stacy, carrying a basket. She smiled and said 'I didn't see you at Chris' party last Saturday.'

'No, I didn't go.' I gripped tightly on the trolley handle. My knees felt like jelly.

'I looked for you, I was hoping to see you again. You see, I didn't have your address and Chris wasn't sure were you lived.' Stacy was watching me closely trying to gauge the effect of her words. I've never been much of a poker face so my blossoming smile told her much. 'Are you doing anything tonight?' she enquired.

'No, I have no plans.'

'Dinner? We could go out somewhere, I'm not much of a cook.' Stacy pointed to her basket contents - mostly tinned soups and TV dinners.

I smiled again and took a deep breath to steady my nerves. 'I love cooking, I would really enjoy cooking for you. Do you like Italian?'

'Yeah, great, I'll bring some wine then.'

'Make it red,' I answered reaching into my bag to produced a pen and paper on which I wrote my address. Handing it over to Stacy, I said, '7 o'clock?'

'Great, see you then.' Stacy waived and moved away toward the checkout.

I suddenly felt as though the sun had just burst from behind a cloud. I realised just how down I'd been feeling and perhaps a little disappointed that I hadn't seen or heard from Stacy since... I started humming to myself as I retraced my steps and collected all the items for dinner. I started planning the meal, and hoping for a great evening.

I spent the afternoon cleaning, tidying and cooking. I'm definitely too domestic - I even fluffed the cushions on the sofa! 7 o'clock came and went and no Stacy. I started pacing the floor: what if she's changed her mind? The doorbell finally rang, close to 7.45.

'Sorry I'm late, I got caught up at work. Will you forgive me?' Stacy thrust a large bunch of flowers in my direction and then smiled that wonderful smile at me.

I melted, 'Of course I forgive you, I didn't give you my phone number so you couldn't call me could you.'

She produced a bottle of wine and looked around my living room. 'Nice, so many original paintings, where did you get them from?'

'They're mine, I paint as a hobby and most of my friends end up getting them as gifts.' I blushed, feeling like a teenager, goose pimples all over. 'So what sort of work do you do?' I asked as I found a vase for the flowers.

'I work as a physical fitness instructor at the mid town gym.' Stacy replied.

I took the flowers and vase into the kitchen saying, 'Take a seat, dinner won't be long, or you could open the wine, there's a corkscrew in the top drawer.'

Dinner went well, despite my nervousness. I probably talked a little too much but she didn't seem to mind. Stacy appeared to be the strong silent type who liked company as long as she didn't have to make conversation. I spent a large part of the meal explaining my work as a freelance graphic artist for several advertising agencies - why it paid good money and why painting lovely pictures didn't.

As I cleared the table I became really nervous, maybe even anxious. Stacy had turned on my radio and tuned in some soft music and as I walked back into the lounge she took me in her arms and we started swaying in time with the song. I felt her strong muscles under her shirt...no doubt she worked out regularly...I never did.

She whispered, 'What are you thinking?'

'How flabby my arms are, in fact how flabby I am all over...perhaps I should visit your gym and tone up.'

'Perhaps, but I like my women soft and cuddly, I wouldn't want you if you were hard like me.'

'Do you want me?'

'Why do you think I'm here?' We kissed, still swaying, but slower. The kissing got more passionate and the swaying stopped.

Expertly she undressed me. My mouth was dry. I tried to undress her, but was all thumbs. Stacy didn't seem to notice. She was kissing my neck, then my breasts, sucking my hard nipples, then softly biting one. I moaned, surprising myself with how aroused I'd become. My vagina was moist with anticipation, and I knew that standing up wasn't what I wanted. I bend down and kissed her neck, whispering, 'Come with me,' as I led her to my bed.

We finished undressing each other and slid between the sheets...even as we did, I mentally reviewed when I had last changed them. Chagrined I pushed all thoughts except those to do with Stacy from my mind.

In bed, she again took the lead, lavishing my body with more kisses and eventually stopping at the thatch of hair between my legs. She smiled, saying, 'This is what I remember,' as she ran her hands through my pubic hair. She pushed my legs wide apart and started with her tongue. I moaned again, surprised because I'd never been vocal during sex before. I climaxed quickly.

Stacy lay beside me, stroking my hair and face, 'I was surprised you agreed to see me.'

'Why?'

'The look on your face when I left the other Sunday - it was my reaction to what I'd done, not a reaction to you. I'm sorry if I upset you.'

I put my hand on her lips as she started to speak.

'I used to date men but found I couldn't relate to them and I was never really attracted to them. Then one day I walked around a corner and saw two women in an embrace, kissing, and I was suddenly aroused like never before. After that I would have dreams about women, fantasise about them, but it was never just about sex, it was also about a relationship. I eventually met a woman called Jenny. She was loving and patient and I thought she I and were made for each other, but I was wrong.' Tears started welling up in my eyes, remembering. 'She was a hunter and only interested in the chase and capture, never in anything long-term. I was shattered by her betrayal. I've tried dating other women since, but I've carried too much emotional baggage. I was in shock when I woke up and found that I'd slept with someone I didn't even know...it just wasn't like me.' The tears were in full flow now...I could barely speak. I closed my eyes to try to stop them, but to no avail.

Stacy kissed my forehead and wiped away my tears. She stroked my face and murmured, 'Shush, shush now, I'm here ...I won't let anyone hurt you...I'll protect you...I'll look after you ...shush now.'

I felt a lump in my throat, and swallowed. Stacy kissed me gently several times and slowly my body responded and I returned her kisses. In unison we caressed each other, hands between each others legs, gently at first and then quickening as our passion grew until we reached a crescendo, our lips locked together.

Stacy pulled the sheet and blankets from the floor and covered our naked bodies. She held me tightly in her arms until sleep over took me.

I felt good. I stretched, realising I'd slept well, but suddenly realised I was alone. Was last night a dream? No, I was naked...had Stacy left for work again? No, I smelt coffee brewing and heard sounds from the kitchen.

'So, sleepy-head, you're finally awake.' Stacy came into the bedroom wearing my dressing gown. She knelt on the bed, leant over and kissed me.

'Good morning yourself.' I was grinning from ear to ear. I was so happy. 'Do you have to go to work today?'

'No, I arranged to take today off. I figured I'd either be spending my morning with you or hung over after drowning my sorrows.' She arranged herself sideways on the bed facing me with her torso draped across my stomach.

I looked at her and knew I'd have to be careful. I could easily fall in love with this woman, but I still wasn't sure what she wanted, despite what she had said the previous evening. I had learnt through bitter experience that people can say things during moments of passion that they would never say otherwise. There was no point in scaring her away by being too intense or clinging.

'So what would you like to do today?' I tried to keep my voice light.

Stacy reached up and pulled the covers away from my body, exposing my breasts and caressing them. She looked into my eyes and said, 'I don't know.'

Just those few strokes were enough to get my nipples hard and my crotch wet. I shook my head, smiling, 'You're obviously incorrigible, so you'd better climb back in here with me.' She did and it was just as wonderful as before.

We showered and dressed. Stacy had an overnight bag in her car so she didn't have to borrow any of my larger clothes. I teased her about having expectations and she responded with, 'I was taught as a Girl Guide to be prepared.'

I made pancakes for breakfast and as she sat eating them she said, 'I didn't get around to telling you what a great cook you are and how beautiful you looked last night.'

'Thanks.'

'Damn this is more difficult than I thought.' Stacy was suddenly annoyed at something, and I was puzzled. Before I could ask, she went on, 'I'm not used to this relationship stuff and lovely lady you have got me thinking things I'm not used to.' She paused.

'What things?' seemed lame but expected, so I said it.

'When I first saw you I was dazzled by your boobs...I had to have you and I may have pushed you a little harder than normal to come across. I'm certain now that you wouldn't have spent the night with me at Chris' party if I hadn't, but your face the next morning!' She held up her hand to forestall any comment. 'I know you explained it, but I didn't know that at the time and I doubt it would have made any difference.'

I held my breath afraid of breaking the spell.

'I'm the original love them and leave them type, but at work the other Sunday all I could think about was you. I kept seeing your face...you looked so vulnerable. I felt that maybe I'd done the wrong thing by seducing you, and then I remembered your passion once you were aroused, so I had to find you and see if it was just the party or were you really that person. But no one seemed to know where you lived and you didn't show up the following week.'

For Stacy this was a speech of almost epic proportions but she obviously had worked herself up to this and I wanted to let her finish.

'I don't think you know what you've done to me. I went home alone from Christine's that night - me alone on a Saturday night! That hasn't happened in years. Then when I saw you in the supermarket, I could hardly breathe...I wanted to make up for using you the way I had...and you were so nice.'

I reached across the table and took her hand. She squeezed it and then finished with, 'I've never even considered making a commitment to anyone before but I'm going to give it a try, if you want to, that is?'

'I think I'd like that.' A sentence which seem totally inadequate for what I was feeling, but it seem to satisfy Stacy, because she said, 'Good, then,' and squeezed my hand once more before finishing her breakfast.

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