A Sanctuary of One
Chapter 04 I Do Not Confer Praise Or Blame, I Accept
As Julie sat at her desk, she shook her head as she remembered the morning’s breakfast, with both kids up and about and she and Christopher being cordial and pleasant. At some point, sooner rather than later, the two of them needed to have a good talk. With children involved, it wasn’t just about their needs anymore.
Which was ironic, Julie considered, noting that her mind had been on Courtney frequently this morning; talk about needs. And she needed to text the woman and confirm ‘coffee’ for tomorrow.
Glancing at the clock she considered; it was nine-thirty; she would meet with Jasmine and then Bryce over the next hour, hour and a half. She would text Courtney before noon.
Dr. White took a final look at his stitching; it was his pride, one of the things that made his reputation; he didn’t like to leave even a hint of a scar. He nodded at Claire, assisting as usual, that she could proceed with the woman’s recovery. Their eyes locked for a moment; it had been a busy morning, starting with the prep for this lengthy surgery at eight-thirty. They had really had no time to even chat.
Julie regarded her message again; was it too ‘light’; had she left it too open-ended? She didn’t want to sound desperate, although that was remarkably how she felt; if something happened and the meet was not a go, she would be very disappointed. She sighed and sent the text.
Courtney looked at the young (twenty /twenty-one year-old) woman sitting across from her and sighed quietly. This was the woman’s third time back here; she refused to press charges against her abusive boyfriend and had returned to him each time after staying and recuperating at the shelter. “So, I’d like to know Kayla, what do you plan to do this time?”
Kayla regarded Courtney, the bruised eye and puffy lip making a strong statement. “Will you, like, kick me out or sumthin’, you know, ‘cuz of what I say?”
Courtney shook her head gently, “No, there’s no way we’d deny someone help. But part of our work is counselling, whether it’s poor work habits, or drugs or abuse. We’re not your mom; we’re not going to punish you. But we do want you to think about your life. Your face looks worse this time than last, Kayla, and I still want you to have those ribs looked after. I know you’re in pain.” She said quietly, but clearly.
Kayla looked away, “But I just does stupid shit, yuh’know? It ain’t all Ty’s fault, yeah? I makes him mad, right?”
Courtney looked hard into the dark eyes, “No, it’s not right Kayla. Violence is never right…”
Kayla looked away, fat tears oozing from the corners of her eyes. “But what I gots to do, Bitch? I only works part-time and it’s Ty what pays most udda rent, hey? What I’m goin’ do, Bitch, when he kicks me out. Come live wit’ you, hey?”
Courtney sighed again. It was times like these she wished she smoked.
It was just after one-thirty when Julie’s phone chirped with a response. “Hi J., nice to hear from you. I don’t have a car, so, pick me up just after four?” An address followed.
Julie took a breath, amazed once again at what she was feeling. Had her heart ever beaten before when answering a call like this? She tried to remember back to high school and college; nothing. She could not recall a person, any person, who had had this effect on her.
Certainly when she had first met Aaron, or Brad or Patrick, she had been aroused by their attractiveness and the promise of sex, heightened (Julie acknowledged briefly) by her submission to some dominant role play (something she would never do for Christopher)-but it wasn’t like this response. And this was just from a freakin’ text message!
But it was of course who the text message came from. The woman who had typed the message had something, was something, that Julie wanted and needed. The Bomb, Julie smiled, thinking back to her youth. She could analyze it all she wanted, at the end of the day it was there.
“See you tomorrow,” Julie typed, wondering if she should say more, realizing it would just be babble, and deciding to just press send, and let her heart pound away as it wished. OMG, she thought to herself, heading to the restroom to wash her face; OMG.
Courtney finished the file on Kayla, noting that at least the woman’s boyfriend, who Courtney thought to be a thug, didn’t appear to own a gun; for now. She sent the man’s name to a police officer who was a good friend of the shelter, asking for a little background, if possible. Violent people are rarely violent with just one victim, Courtney knew; if the boyfriend had a record that might help to convince Kayla to take some action.
In her heart Courtney doubted it, but you never know if you don’t try. She looked at her latest text message and smiled; she was looking forward to her visit with her new ‘friend’ tomorrow; Julie White had accepted direction without question. A smile appeared briefly, and then Courtney was back to her paperwork.
Christopher glanced at his phone and noted four thirty-five, just as a gentle knock came to his door. “Come in,” he said with a smile, confident with who was there.
Claire entered, dressed in her own clothes, the white uniform now away. She closed the door and leaned back against it as White settled into his office chair.
Slowly, her soft hands slipped each button on her blouse loose from its hole; then tossed the blouse to one side. Her skirt came next, and soon it was lying on the blouse; neither White nor Claire had uttered a word.
The woman now turned and lowered her slip and then her panty-hose. She unclipped her bra, then turned back around, her hands over her breasts, although the orbs were not completely hidden, soft flesh peeking out above and below the hands. Slowly releasing her breasts, Claire’s fingers gripped her large, pink nipples and she tugged on them, then twisted them, as Dr. White sat transfixed, his tongue slipping out to moisten his lips.
She turned her back on him again, and slowly lowered her black lace panties, then bent forward and spread her ass, before kneeling and arching her back.
White rose and came slowly forward, stopping a foot behind the crouching figure, eyes fixed on the brown, fissured ring, sitting for him like a bulls-eye.
As she knelt, Claire remembered the night her husband had forced her to service his friends, urging them to take her anally. She had not allowed him to touch her, willingly, since that night.
But she still very much had her needs. And she liked Dr. White; very much. “Please take a picture, then use me,” she said, before placing her face on the cream-colored Ege carpet.
It was past ten, and Christopher and Julie were once again on their couches, drinking wine this time. They had compromised and had Elton John playing as they lounged.
Not sure why she was making this choice, Julie sat up and looked across at her husband, asking in an even tone, “So, how’s Claire doing these days?”
Christopher’s eyes registered surprise and caution for a second, and then the calm demeanor returned. “Claire my assistant, why do you ask?”
They sat in silence, as Elton sang goodbye to the yellow brick road, where the dogs of society howl, before Julie continued. “Yes, of course that Claire. I, um…” she paused and grimaced, “snuck a look at your phone the other day and saw a picture of her, I think her, and the texts of course. I’m assuming you’re, um, fucking her?” Julie noted that this blunt exchange was producing some anxiety, yet her heart was still not beating as it had earlier when Courtney’s message arrived. So strange.
Christopher sat, quietly. For some reason nothing that Julie had just said surprised him. “Would it, well, matter much if I was?” He asked.
Now Julie considered this; it had been spoken without any rancour; it was just a question. “Well, what matters is what we have, here; do you have, mmmm…feelings, for her?”
Like this was a verbal tennis match, Christopher now paused mid-stroke, then delivered a smash. “Did you have feelings for, let’s see, Aaron?”
Julie looked up with some wonder, caught by surprise; how long had he known? Replying with a soft backhand she asked, “What do you mean?”
He smiled, “I, um, had you followed. You spent a weekend with him, at the Colonial.” Christopher regarded his glass, knowing his shot had her off guard.
“You had me followed?” Julie asked, quietly, on her heels and forced to scramble. “But why?”
He looked at her, his blue eyes mild and not accusing, yet his shot well-placed. “I needed to know.”
Julie sat. Defence no longer an option, she came to the net. “Why, um, why didn’t you say something, anything?” She asked, looking down and noting her hand shaking slightly.
Christopher sipped his wine and answered as he looked out the window into the darkness, “You came back. There was no need.” They sat again in silence. “As you said, what matters is what we have. I don’t believe anyone can completely satisfy another. Certainly, um, sexually, I am aware of that. I’m assuming this fellow was good for you. You seemed, relaxed, content…”
Julie suddenly felt a stab of intense guilt, then anger. Anger at Christopher, for being so understanding, so mild. So meek. Was this thing with Claire some kind of revenge; is that why he left things on his phone?” She asked him that, having lost the match and wanting to provoke a reaction.
One of Dr. White’s attributes was that he was essentially thoughtful. “I’m not a vengeful person, Julie. I know you know that. I didn’t delete the messages, etcetera, because I enjoyed them. I don’t love Claire, at least not love, love. But I do like her. And she arouses me, for some reason I can’t grasp. And I did think it was fair, though, that you have your secrets and I have mine.” He paused again and looked at her, directly. “I don’t want to leave you, or to have you leave me. I don’t want that.”
Julie sat in confusion, then went over and sat beside her husband, gently grasping his hand. They sat in silence.
Feeling strangely disconnected, Julie went through the morning rituals before leaving the children with Angel who would get them on the bus. The breakfast conversation with Christopher had been polite and surprisingly pleasant, considering their previous discussions. They had slept on their own sides of the bed through the night and there had been no touching.
As usual Christopher was up first and downstairs before Julie arose. Both children were also up when Julie came down, so ‘normal’ was what she had needed to be.
Now as she sat at her desk, her mind was on the discussion as well as her meeting later with Courtney; she was holding her phone in her hand, considering the bizarre idea that had come to her mind. What the hell, she thought, as she typed in the text for Christopher.
“Hi, Dear. Last night was heavy but…helpful. I think we both need to say ‘sorry’, probably several times. I don’t want to leave either. I don’t. We need to work through this.” She had no idea what his day would be like or when he would see this message; three minutes later however, a response chirped back; clearly he was at his desk.
“Hi right back at you. I know we both have been holding secrets and keeping things buried. But we have many years invested in each other and our life, and there is caring and love, I still believe. Maybe we just try for a little more honesty; both of us?”
Julie read this and could not push away her invasive idea. “Yes, I agree. Life is not a long, straight road, there are curves. Will you be with Claire later; I am not angry? I will not be angry if you say yes. This is me being more honest.”
“I could be. We were ‘together’ yesterday. Why?”
Julie sat. She realized with surprise that this conversation was actually moving her; her heart rate had increased as well as her breathing. Was she being turned on? She plunged ahead, “I want you to let her suck you tonight and I want you to take a picture of that and send it to me. I know how weird this sounds Chris, but the thought well, gets me going. Weird? Freakin’ weird.”
After she pressed send she felt light-headed, almost giddy. This was possibly the most explicit the two of them had ever been, even considering when they were actually, well, screwing.
“Wow!” Surprised face emoji. “That blows my mind. And kind of kinky, Dear. Well, very kinky. I don’t think Claire will object. I’ll try to pull this off; it’s not my style as you know but I do like it when you are happy, my love.” Sappy smiley face.
Julie laughed out loud, then texted, “OMG!” Blushing smiley face. “Maybe a little kinky is what the…doctor ordered.” Shy smiley face.
The summer class had finished with their exam and Professor Martel had invited the small group back to her Midtown condo. Although they were all under twenty-one, she had some beer and wine and it had been a pleasant evening; and now her guests were departing.
Courtney Farrell came out of the washroom and looked around for her handbag.
“You haven’t finished your wine, Courtney. You don’t need to rush off, you know. We can continue to talk,” Martel said quietly.
Courtney looked at the pleasant, middle-aged woman. She was small and business-like with her dark, brown hair, trimmed short and combed back, almost masculine. The two had somehow wandered into a discussion of Courtney’s past, somewhere she never went. Maybe it was the wine? Maybe Martel’s comforting voice?
Courtney had quietly told the woman of her rape, an event she had never discussed with anyone besides her mother, who hadn’t wanted to hear. This woman had been caring and had not asked any questions about ‘Courtney’s role’; unlike her mother. It had felt good to get everything out, but now Courtney felt embarrassed.
“Please, Dear, I know what it took to share your story. I would really like you to just stay for a bit longer. Please. At least finish your wine.”
Courtney smiled and sat back on the couch and picked up her glass. Martel came and settled beside her, stroking the long, elegant hands with her own short, soft ones.
“Do you play the piano?” Martel asked, quietly.
Courtney shook her head, “No, but I wished I did, sometimes,” she murmured.
As Julie sat now, emotions flowing, the comment Christopher had said about ‘kinky’ came back, and her response about ’maybe a little kinky’ returned as well. With sudden inspiration, she typed an email to Jasmine. “Hey, consider this ad for our new client. Picture a business woman, forties, smartly dressed, maybe sitting on a bench and she’s thinking, Maybe a little kinky is just what I need. And then below the text ‘Maybe anal.minds is just what you’ve been searching for’…”
She sent it off and sat back with a smile on her face.
Courtney had finished her glass of wine; her second, and was feeling mellow. It was past twelve and she and Martel had talked about a number of things. As she settled her head back against the couch, she was aware of Martel gently stroking her left arm; it felt very nice. When Martel leaned over and kissed her, her first kiss from a woman, at least on her mouth, she accepted it.
Martel turned Courtney’s face and kissed her again, deeply this time, her tongue reaching into Courtney’s mouth, with her responding warmly.
For Courtney, this had been the first intimate contact since her rape.
She did not resist as Martel undressed her; and then she sat and watched as the professor undressed herself, before taking Courtney by the hand and leading her into the bedroom.
Bryce and Julie watched as Jasmine moved some images around on her screen; she was using stock photos for now, but they would hire a model of their choosing when they moved on Julie’s idea; but for now they at least had something to talk about.
“I like it,” Bryce exclaimed. “I like it, and I think they’ll like it!”
Jasmine smiled up at Julie, who smiled at Bryce.
Dr. White looked across the carpeted waiting area to where Claire sat at her desk, “Could I see you for a moment, Ms. Butler?” He said evenly.
Smiling, Claire rose and followed the doctor into his office, closing the door. White turned, “Um, I was wondering if you needed to rush off after work today?” He asked, fighting emotions.
Claire’s smiled broadened, “Nothing urgent tonight, Dr. White. Is there anything you…need me for?”
White grinned sheepishly and looked down. When he raised his eyes Claire was looking directly at him, her hands massaging her breasts. “Well, there are a couple of things I might like you to, um, check on,” he murmured.
They both smiled.
Courtney sat at the strange kitchen table, the events of the night before turning in her mind. Kim Martel came up quietly from behind and put her arms around her. They kissed and Courtney chuckled; it was nice kissing someone and not having the feeling of entrapment close over her. She had not thought about kissing a woman, or anyone, for so long. It was like she had been living in a cave. But she knew one thing; she liked this.
“Please come,” Martel said, and then led the way into her living room. She sat Courtney down on a chair and then knelt on the carpet beside her, Courtney regarding the woman with some confusion. “Um, I really enjoyed last night, Courtney, and I’m hoping we can do some, well, other things.” Martel said quietly.
Courtney looked into the other’s dark eyes, “Uh, what other things?”
“Well, did you like what I did to you?”
Courtney smiled, “I thought you could tell,” she chuckled, remembering the moans and amazing (unbelievable) cries of joy.
Martel smiled too. “Well, I’d like you to do some things to make me feel good, too. I won’t push too much to start, let’s take it slow. Are you willing to try?”
Not sure what she was agreeing to, but feeling positive towards this woman, Courtney nodded. Martel stood and pulled off her sweater and lowered her jogging pants; she was wearing no under clothes. She lowered herself across Courtney’s knee, and placed her hands behind her back. “Please, Miss Courtney. I have been bad and need to be punished. Please spank me.”
Courtney sat stunned for a moment, but oddly aroused, looking at the lovely round flesh before her. Suppressing a giggle, she slapped one cheek. “Harder, please Miss Courtney, please,” Martel implored, beginning to grind her crotch against Courtney.
The next slap was harder, and the next. Five minutes later Martel, her ass reddened, was on her knees kissing Courtney’s feet, and the young woman’s life had changed course.
To Julie it seemed that the wall clock was broken. She had forced herself not to look at it as long as possible, and when she had, it was three-o-two. She had let time pass but was disappointed when next she glanced and it was three-o-seven. The hands had crawled along until now, past three-thirty, and she could begin packing things up. She had checked Google maps and figured at least twenty minutes to Courtney’s shelter.
Kayla signed the form and looked up at Courtney, “Yeah, thanks, hey. See ya’.”
“See ya’,” Courtney replied. She had received word from her police contact and Kayla’s boyfriend had a record but it did not include violence, yet. She watched as the young woman left, comforting herself with the thought that she had done what she could, and now she needed to focus on the other women under her care. She noted that it was almost four and that Julie White would be arriving soon. She was certain the woman would be prompt. She smiled.
“See you tomorrow,” Claire said to Danielle as the young woman smiled back before heading out the door. Chelsea came up the hall next a minute later and she too departed, leaving Claire as the last of the staff. She locked the front doors and headed to Dr. White’s office; it was only ten past four, she would have at least an hour with him, if he wished.
The coffee shop Courtney had directed Julie to was only a few blocks from the shelter and it had an outdoor patio, facing a fairly quiet side street. The two women sat now with a pot of Jasmine Silver Needle tea, Courtney’s suggestion.
Julie was trying desperately to make sense of the overwhelming emotions rolling through her. She wanted more than anything to put her arms around this young woman and smother her with kisses; she imagined burying her tongue in that lovely mouth, before burying her face between the rounded thighs of the long legs.
She had never felt anything like this before; she felt like a lit fire-cracker, about to explode. It was uncomfortable and disturbing, but exciting. “So, how has your week been, as you spin your stories?”
For a moment Julie thought Courtney might be referring to her marriage, but then realized it was about her job. She smiled, “We just try to make people aware; they are going to spend money on something, it might as well be on our client’s stuff.”
Courtney smiled in return, “And how have things been at home?” Julie shared the talk she and Christopher had had and what was revealed, and as Courtney commented, Julie’s cell buzzed.
Excusing herself, Julie opened the message, a photo that showed Claire Butler’s red lips encircling the shaft of her husband’s penis, buried almost completely in her mouth. It gave her an amazing jolt of desire, and she smiled into the green-blue eyes of her companion.
(End of Chapter 04)