A Sanctuary of One
Chapter 2 When One Touches Life, One Is Always Wounded
Focusing on work this morning was difficult Julie found, although she had come up with something for that challenging Aduval product. Making incontinence medicine attractive, or at least interesting, was headache-producing.
Into her mind kept flitting the young, attractive face of Courtney Farrell, and the events of the previous evening.
After the surprising kiss, the woman had smiled, stood, wrote her cell number on a napkin, kissed Julie again, on the cheek this time, and headed off.
Julie’s taxi ride home was short, but still filled with a mess of conflicting emotions. Upon arriving, she was suddenly concerned that it was almost midnight and she experienced a stab of guilt, which she shook off, preparing herself for bed in the small bath on the main floor.
Coming into the bedroom, she stood and regarded Christopher, sleeping on his side as he always did, away from her; which she was okay with; preferred actually. She slid in gently on the other half and turned on her side. Despite her efforts, that smiling, attractive face haunted her thoughts until she finally drifted off.
When she woke, Christopher was already up, although she was certain he didn’t need to go in until late today. She found him in the kitchen reading something on his laptop, his breakfast already finished; their daughter watching the cartoon channel in the family room beside them.
“Good morning, my dear,” he said as she entered, his eyes remaining on his screen, “there’s coffee and fresh orange juice.” As she poured a cup of one and a glass of the other, he added, “So how’d it go with the, um, ladies? What was it exactly again?”
Julie sat across the small kitchen nook table from him and sipped her coffee, “It was a discussion group, and yes, it was all women. There were two speakers and then general discussion for a while, and then a few of us went out for a drink. It was fun, well, enjoyable. I enjoyed it.”
She felt a stab remembering Courtney’s soft lips and the mild aroma, likely a body wash, not perfume, that accompanied the kiss. She would like to enjoy that scent again.
“I’ll see the kids off; I’ve a later start this a.m.,” he noted, closing his computer.
“Fine,” Julie murmured, regarding the calendar on the fridge. “Your folks have the kids tonight, right?” He nodded as he stood and picked up his cup. “What’s happening next weekend?” She asked.
He headed into the family room. “That symposium and conference in New Orleans, right. I go down Friday and come back Monday.”
Julie nodded, thinking briefly that it was his second trip this month. Looking at the clock she was stirred to action; he might have a late start today, but she didn’t.
Courtney held the cold pack against the side of the woman’s face, and gently brought the woman’s hand up to grasp it. “There, just keep that on for about ten minutes, I’ll start your paperwork.”
“My kids?” the woman asked, anxiously.
“My assistant is getting them some breakfast; they’ll be back up soon, then we’ll get you settled in a room. There’s a police officer coming to take your statement…”
The woman’s dark face showed alarm, “I don’t like talkin’ to no police,” she said.
Courtney nodded. This was not new or a surprise, but it was always disheartening. An hour later the woman was settled and Courtney slouched down with a cup of herbal tea and closed her eyes. The pleasant, striking face of Julie White suddenly came unbidden to her mind; she smiled. This might just work; there was definitely something there. But what?
Claire Butler joined Dr. White as he examined the breast work he had performed about a month earlier; he was always joined by a nurse whenever he had a patient unclothed. “How do you feel?” He asked, pleasantly.
Ms. Salinger, early thirties, attractive but sporting tiny breasts (before), beamed up at him, “I can’t believe it, Dr. White. I think it looks incredible; there has been so little pain, my husband is dying to get his hands on them, and I just grin like an idiot whenever I look in the mirror.”
The good doctor beamed back at her, and Claire Butler beamed at him.
The sounds of Mariah Carey’s ‘One Sweet Day’ alerted Julie to a call on her cell. “Hello, this is Julie,” she answered, not used to personal calls at work.
“So, how’s it goin’ today? No hangover from last night?” The voice asked, and there could be no doubt whose voice; Julie felt a shiver, which was highly unusual.
“Hi there yourself and it’s goin’ fine, thanks,” Julie chuckled. “No hangover, I didn’t really drink all that much. How about you?”
“Same. I’m not much of a drinker; two glasses of wine kinda does it, hey? I’ll sometimes hit a little bud but generally, I’m pretty boring.”
Without pausing to consider, Julie responded, “Oh, I wouldn’t call you boring.” She then felt a stab of conscience or something; this was totally new to her. She and Christopher had never needed to discuss much, they always seemed to have a sort of understanding, or something. Why was she feeling this excitement?
“So you don’t think I’m…boring?” The voice now held a touch of…something; was Courtney flirting with her? Flirting had never been Julie’s strong suit; she preferred the direct approach, at least in response.
October, 2016, Philadelphia
The final feature presentation of the day had been viewed and now dinner was over. A number of delegates had retreated enthusiastically to the hotel bar, which was now packed. Julie White, working on her second glass of Chardonnay, looked again at the attractive young man in the blue, striped shirt and he looked back, again. In a minute they had navigated to a corner table, bodies pressed around them.
Ten minutes later they were thrashing around on the King-sized bed in Julie’s hotel room. An hour after that they were showering. Half an hour more and they were snuggled under the duvet and slipping into sleep, the man’s arms enclosing her.
They would meet for sex three more times before the conference ended Sunday, and leave with each other’s email and cell number, and with Julie feeling more satisfied than she had been in months, though slightly puzzled. For the second time in a year she had allowed her hands to be tied behind her and had found it turned her on. A warning light should have appeared, she later mused; but it hadn’t.
Over the next year the two would hook up twice more in hotels, the last time a marathon weekend event. Thinking back on that affair now, Julie realized there had been no flirting, no coyness; just pure desire and …fornication, hungry mouths devouring genitals like animals, needs being filled, especially Julie’s with her on her knees, her preferred position.
The young man was Aaron, and Julie was not naïve about the fact she was something of a MILF to him, although he had not used that term. He possessed a marvellously muscled body, one he was arrogantly proud of, especially his rock-hard abdominal muscles that he put to good use. His favorite position also was dog-style, but it was so he could watch himself in the mirror. But then it had worked for Julie as well; he fucks me like a slut, she had pondered during one sweaty session, as he had made her beg, her hands bound again.
“Please, please fuck me.” She had called out as he slapped her round ass and called her his dirty, brown whore.
But no, there had definitely been no flirting, and now here she was, undoubtedly flirting with a young woman. Or the woman was flirting with her
“No, you’re definitely not boring, I can’t believe anyone would ever say that to you?”
There was a pause. “What are you doing tonight?” Courtney asked, her voice compelling, alluring.
Fighting rising excitement, Julie asked, “Em, why?”
Courtney chuckled, “Why do you think? I enjoyed talking with you last night; being with you.” She paused, then added, quietly, “Kissing you.” She chuckled again.
Julie hesitated, “You know I’m married.”
“Does that matter?”
“Not to me,” Courtney murmured.
May, 2004, Milwaukee
Courtney Farrell trotted behind the row of Townhouses as evening descended. This was the short cut she used most days, despite the warnings of her mother to stay visible on public streets; it was a quick run and saved her a couple of blocks of walking.
Coming around the bend in the alley she had no time to react as a gloved hand closed over her mouth, followed quickly by someone grabbing her by her ankles. She was lifted struggling off the ground as a scarf was tied around her eyes and she was bundled into the back of a van.
Fifteen minutes later she was naked and tied on a mattress in a park maintenance shed, as four high school boys passed a bottle of vodka around, leering and making lewd comments while occasionally stopping to force some alcohol into Courtney’s unwilling mouth.
Two hours later, clothed again but now passed out, she was carried into the back yard of her family home (the boys obviously knew her) and dumped on the ground.
Her mother would find her an hour later.
Although her memory was sketchy with gaps, Courtney knew she had been raped, including anally, by the four boys.
Her mother took her in the morning for an examination and the police did a rape kit. In the end, although the DNA results were something of a mess, two individuals were identified.
The harassment and intimidation of Courtney began the next day, with rumors of Courtney’s sexting and slutty behavior; the world of social media was ablaze with organized gossip. And as it turned out, the father of one of the suspects was a good and very close friend of the owner of the company Courtney’s mother worked for.
Three weeks after the assault, the Farrells, mother and daughter, moved to Buffalo with Mrs. Farrell accepting a promotion and transfer with a significant raise in pay and some ‘moving cash’.
No charges were filed. Courtney and her mother never spoke of the assault again, at least not for years.
The only sliver of anything positive was that she wasn’t pregnant and tested negative for the battery of tests she had for STDs.
“So I can get the kids to your folks, what are you up to?” Julie asked, fighting to keep her voice ‘normal’.
“Ummm,” Christopher replied, “I’m actually going to dinner with a couple, potential clients. The wife, late forties is looking into a number of things; upper arm lift, nose work, possible facelift. It could be quite the job, so we’re going to have dinner and discuss. I, um…” he paused, “didn’t think it was something you’d be interested in, Dear.”
Julie snorted; no, listening to surgical procedures made her skin crawl. “You got that right, Mister. No, you go and talk up a storm; I’m not missing anything.”
“Understood. See you later.” Christopher smiled into his cell.
Julie ended the call and also smiled; there would be no problem meeting Courtney for a drink after all, although what she might be getting herself in for, she told herself, was another story.
July, 2008, New York City
Claire Butler was making her second trip back to the living room carrying three beers. Husband George and his two buddies had shown up unannounced, smelling like the proverbial brewery, which they would, having spent much of the afternoon in a bar.
The three men, who would drink together at least once a month, occasionally at George’s place if the teenage son was out, were particularly raucous tonight, slapping Clair’s ample, round ass whenever she ventured within reach. Allan had even squeezed one substantial breast, amid all the mammary jokes, and both George and Lonnie had hooted at Claire’s response.
Managing to get away, Claire watched cautiously from the doorway as the trio now had a sports channel on and were yelling at the two boxers on the screen. After a few minutes, and after the second time George had bellowed for her, Claire ventured out to retrieve the empty cans. As she grasped the one near her husband, George suddenly reached out and pulled her over his knee, to hoots and shouts from his buddies.
As if planned, Lonnie then grasped Claire’s wrists and held them, preventing her from escape, with Allan holding her ankles. Despite her howls of protest, George pulled her skirt up and then yanked both her pantyhose and panties down, revealing a round, white ass. Not needing any encouragement but getting lots, George delivered several smacks to the quickly reddening flesh.
“Stay still woman, or we’ll paddle you harder,” George admonished as Lonnie released her wrists. They sat eerily quiet for a moment, Lonnie squeezing first one, then the other, reddened cheek.
“Find something to fuck her with.” George directed ominously, an odd look on his face, his heavy arm pinning Claire’s back. She begged him to stop, but her pleas fell on deaf ears as Lonnie soon returned, laughing, from the kitchen carrying a broom. Allan meanwhile had removed Claire’s under clothing completely and tied her wrists with her pantyhose.
“Suck it, Bitch.” Lonnie now commanded, bumping the end of the handle against Claire’s closed mouth, until she finally opened it and sucked.
After a few minutes the handle was removed and Claire cried out. “Please George, please. Please!” She begged as Lonnie now began to push the handle into her vagina from behind.
“Hold on, I need to get this,” Allan announced, grabbing his cell phone and finding the best vantage point. After several minutes and a number of photos later, Lonnie withdrew the handle and pressed it against Claire’s anus.
To her anguished howls of protest, Allan made a proposal. “Okay, Claire-baby, how’z this. We’ll spare your sweet ass if you blow us.”
When she didn’t answer, Lonnie began to push the handle into her tight hole. “Okay, okay, for Christ’s sake stop it. I’ll do it, you bastards!” She spat out, tears oozing from the corners of her eyes.
Lifting her head by her brown/blonde hair, Allan sneered, “Do what, Bitch?”
Claire hesitated, filled with anger and fear, but the fear won out. “I’ll, jeezus, I’ll blow you…”
With hoots of laughter and rude comments amid the sound of zippers unzipping, Claire was positioned on her knees. With a grimace, she accepted Allan’s cock first.
“Thank you,” Claire said, as the server topped up her wine. She was seated to Dr. White’s left, with Mr. Beck beside her and then Mrs. Beck completing the table. No one seemed to think it odd that the doctor’s main assistant would be involved in the dinner and surgical discussions.
Now, as the orders went out for dessert, Dr. White began to talk about bone structure and muscle alignment as it related to craniofacial surgery, to the rapt attention of the Becks, and Claire.
“So, you made this happen, I’m pumped.” Courtney smiled across the table at Julie. They were sitting in a very low-key bar, a piano playing softly a distance away.
“Yes,” Julie smiled as well, looking around. “I wouldn’t have thought you would come to a place like …this. Seems a little dull for you, no?”
Courtney sipped her wine and shook her head. “No, I like places like this. It lets me, mmmm, pretend.”
“Pretend what?” Julie asked.
Courtney shook her head again, “Nothing awesome. What is awesome is that you’re here. I can appreciate that this takes guts.”
Julie smiled. She felt very relaxed, and it wasn’t the wine as she was just on her first glass. She considered for a moment, then began. “I’ve had affairs…”
Courtney looked at the woman with renewed interest. “More than one, hmmmm? Hubby not makin’ it, um, happen babe?”
Julie studied the face of her companion; the woman really was remarkably attractive, even with her mass of red hair tied back today in a simple, casual way. Her skin was flawless; her face perfectly proportioned, her eyes compelling. With a stab of guilt, Julie realized she wanted to kiss those plump, pink lips. She really wanted to, but she gave her head a slight shake. “Marriage is complicated. I take it you’ve never been… married?”
Courtney gently shook her head no but was silent, as Julie continued. “Sex really becomes a minor part of things, especially after you’ve had, um, kids. Christopher and I have a great relationship, and I’m not going to leave him because of sex; but I have, um, needs.”
It was now Courtney’s turn to study. “How old are you?” She asked suddenly, then laughed, “Sorry, I’m a little ADD. You know, Squirrel!”
Julie smiled at the candor, “I’m thirty-six. You’re in your late twenties, I’m guessing?”
“Twenty-seven, yeah. But, ummm, what happens in an affair if you uh, like the dude or chick? You don’t plan on that, right?”
Julie considered; she had never worried about that; it had never been personal. “Could be, I guess, but that could happen anyway. With a co-worker; a neighbor. You never know where attraction, um, desire I guess, could come from.” She sipped her wine. “I on the other hand, was just looking for sex and that was all I found. There weren’t any…deeper feelings.”
They both sat, quietly. “What do you think you’d do, if there were…feelings?”
Julie looked into those light, green-blue eyes. Why was she asking this? She pondered. “Well, that would make things, um, more complicated, for sure,” she said, quietly; but her heart rate had increased.
Claire was moving her hand rapidly up and down Dr. White’s shaft as she continued to suck on the head furiously. She wanted him to come, it mattered to her. He mattered to her.
They were parked, like a couple of teens White had smirked, on a dark side-street a couple of blocks from her house. The only problem was the console shift on White’s BMW was in the way a little as Claire leaned over from the passenger seat.
With a grunt, the good doctor’s hips jerked and Claire swallowed down the warm gunk, sucking even after the ‘event’. As White stroked her head and his erection diminished, Claire continued to suck, holding his cock in her mouth as long as she could.
The two women had ordered a second glass of wine each and had shared stories from their youth, both finding the talking and sharing, comfortable. “So, you, um consider yourself strictly a lesbian?” Julie now ventured the topic that had been on her mind for a while but brought forward with Courtney’s last story of a relationship with a woman.
Courtney gazed across the table, ideas forming; she liked Julie’s face; it had a softness to it; and there was something in her personality that was drawing her strongly. “I don’t know. I don’t like, labels.” She paused. “I like being with women. I like how they feel. I like, um” she smiled, “pussies, a lot. I feel in sync, like, I guess, with a feminine body. But I so don’t, you know, like the label, lesbian.”
Julie now studied the younger woman; she had been part of surprisingly few conversations about girl on girl sex in her life, even though she used sexual imagery in her work and had for years; she simply hadn’t really discussed it on a personal level. “Why should a label matter?” She asked.
Courtney continued to gaze mildly at her companion; she sighed. “Well, I don’t know what you mean by lesbian; maybe you don’t even know, like, yourself, hey; it’s just a word that you can say and not think about. That’s your biz-ness, right?” She smiled. “It’s all about slogans, style, image, illusion, hey? Lesbian is a nice, neat word to toss out there, either to attack someone, or at least like pigeon-hole ‘em I guess. And then there’s no need to ask what they really, like, are.”
Julie nodded; she had never thought at length about that, although she was well aware of the shallowness of modern advertising, which she was successful at. She herself was very good at coming up with phrases that meant nothing but conveyed something. ‘A bright, bold taste’; what the hell did that actually mean? That was her ‘biz-ness’.
“That’s a point, but isn’t saying that you like women or you are a lesbian just the same thing?”
Courtney took a sip and shook her head. “No, not to me. When I say I like women, that’s like a clear statement. When someone calls me a lesbian, or asks if I’m one, I don’t know what they are meaning, for sure. It depends on, like context, right. And it’s like we’re living in a world where context is, well, um, so like removed from us, and all you’re left with is, like, emotion and labels. Yeah, labels, for sure. And bias. And that marginalizing thing; and of course, being, like, dismissed, or, shit-hit-the fan, cancelled.”
Thinking that this statement was pretty complicated for someone in her twenties, and then remonstrating herself for her bias, Julie pondered the words. Her tasks in advertising were to create the context she wished, and then tie that into some need or desire; if she was successful, a product would become well known, a slogan if you will, and much of her job was done.
The slogan replaced any need for context or explanation; but it was amazing to her that this young woman seemed to understand this at an advanced, and personal, level.
“You resist being boxed in? I get that. One of the labels I hate is victim. Makes me crazy.”
“Well, there are true victims, people who have been attacked, physically injured. They need that word. But it seems ‘victim’ is becoming a slogan, a word, like you say, to toss out there, and there’s no need to define it. It’s like even MSM news is just slogans and opinions.”
Courtney snorted. “Yeah, the old fossil has become like the great, wide Twitterverse, where with one hundred and forty characters you can destroy someone or define something. Or just pile on, like a mob. I understand, being attacked. I understand that very, very well, but I’ll be damned if I’ll label myself a victim.”
“A survivor?” Julie asked, quietly, wondering what was behind that last statement. Considering even as she said it that that word was becoming slogan-ized.
“Maybe. I’d go with that, but it still doesn’t, uh, replace, you know, explaining. And it still tries to box me in. Relationships shouldn’t be reduced to a word, like that word marriage. Like you said, living an actual marriage is complicated.” She took another sip, considering. “But it seems to be how our world is going; you know, quick, simple, so mindless. Groups of people just yelling at each other through their devices. Makes me sad sometimes.”
They sat in silence. Finally Courtney looked up, “I’d like to go somewhere, together.”
Julie returned the gaze, her heart rate suddenly increasing once again, an uninvited desire nudging her consciousness. “Now? Where, um, would you like to go?”
Courtney gently stroked the stem of her glass. “I don’t know. Just somewhere to be alone; together. A sanctuary, sort of. I guess.” She chuckled.
(End of Chapter 02)