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I sighed as I pulled my Red BMW into a narrow parking space near the entrance to the Grand Hotel, pleased that I wouldn’t have far to walk in heels. I hated these holiday parties, and Bessmer Insurance was famous (or infamous) for the most elaborate ones in town. Being one of the only women in my department, I would have to tolerate the catcalls and snide comments from the mostly male staff, particularly the idiots in sales. Gawd I hate those guys, I had half a mind to flirt with one of their pretty little straight wives and get my head between their legs in some dark corner, purely to get back at them. Just to irk them I dressed in a daring black cocktail dress, showing off my olive skinned legs and my cleavage, to tease them with what they could never, ever have.
As I opened the back door to the conference wing of the hotel, my ears were instantly assaulted by loud, poorly chosen music, no doubt all designed to get any woman there to gyrate their bodies all for the pleasure of male onlookers. ‘I will make an appearance, say hello to the executive team and get the hell out of here inside of the hour’, I thought to myself. Did I mention how much I hated these things?
I sauntered slowly in the direction of the music, knowing the entrance that I had chosen would allow me to approach by stealth and make my appearance on my own terms. As I rounded the corner, I smiled as I saw a beautiful lighted fountain in the center of the corridor, still a distance from the entrance to the ballroom, which was visible on the other side. The lights danced over the streams of water, changing every few seconds in a way that was hypnotic, calming my own anxieties about the evening and making me smile. I paused to watch the variegated light patterns glint off of the droplets of water and I stood still letting my body sway slightly to the music, lost in the colorful display, getting lost in the moment.
My reverie was broken by the movement of something red on the other side of the fountain, alerting me to the fact that I was not alone in my admiration of the light and water display. Stepping slowly to the left, I saw the source of the color, a gorgeous woman in a shimmering red dress. The fabric hugged her supple curves, with an opening showing her lower back displaying a lovely light skin tone with a small freckle just to the side of her spine. Her long, black hair cascaded over her shoulders, and even though I couldn’t see her face, I was mesmerized. Apparently my appearance wasn’t as stealthy as I imagined, and she turned slowly, with a warm smile that made the beauty of the fountain seem as bland as the copy paper we used in the office. I secretly took in the sight of her, both an amazing figure and a lovely face, lips that reminded me of red rosebuds, and her blue eyes which seemed to see into my soul.
“Hi, I’m Tamara.” she said when she finally spoke, extending her delicate hand to me, noting the red nail polish that matched her dress perfectly.
With my mind on autopilot, I slipped my hand into hers, feeling the warmth and enjoying it far more than i should have, smiling sweetly and replying, “Elena… so nice to meet you, Tamara, and damn I love that dress, you look amazing in it.”
As I regained my senses, it seemed a tad strange that a beautiful woman would be standing purposely a distance away from the fun of the evening. I leaned my head to one side, and with a crooked smile asked, “Not a fan of the Bessmer bash I take it?”
Tamara rolled her eyes and then broke into a grin that showed her perfect teeth, which just made my insides turn into jelly. Did she have any earthly clue how beautiful she was? “Wow, got it on the very first try! Yeah, when it first starts it’s ok, but the more drunk the guys get they go from ridiculous bullshitting to hitting on anything that moves and back again. Unfortunately my husband always seems to be the ringleader.”
My heart sank, shit, she was straight, and in fact one of those pretty little straight wives I had mused about earlier. In reality, I would never cross that line, either personally or professionally, and given how genuine Tamara was, even more so. I tried to think of something to say that wasn’t awkward, the last thing I wanted to do was scare her off. “Well, we’re in the same boat then. We girls gotta stick together, right?”
Tamara’s lips curved upward so much that I felt like I had just handed her a check for a million dollars, a sign that I had instinctively hit the exact note that I needed to. “Woo hoo, Girl power!” She lifted her hand up for a high five, and without so much as a second thought, I slapped my hand loudly against hers, making us both giggle.
Sensing I had earned the right to get closer now, I touched her forearm non threateningly and said, “I need a drink, how about you?”
“Oh, I am gonna need more than one, but there is no way in hell I will brave that den of assholes to get one,” Tamara said, her eyes rolling.
“No worries, love, I will go grab them for us, and go kocaeli escort all warrior princess on them if they get near me. Well, not that they would anyway,” I said, realizing at the last second that I had set myself up for a question I wasn’t ready to answer for her yet. Oh shit!
Tamara’s eyebrows furrowed and her lips pursed for a second, “And why is that?”
I had to come up with something clever or risk blowing it. Giving her a wink, I replied, “To make it in this business of mostly men? Gotta scare the hell out of them.” Her smile and nod told me that I had managed to answer to her satisfaction. I had no doubt I would tell her that a little later, but I wanted to craft that discussion perfectly. At that point I scurried off to grab some well earned libations for us, knowing that I had bought myself some time.
My red heels clicked on the pavement as I stepped out of our black SUV and the valet drove it away. I smiled as I walked arm in arm with my husband Alan into the ornate glass doors of the Grand Hotel, where his company always hosted its annual holiday party, or the ‘Bessmer Bash’ as everyone called it. I had mixed feelings about it, some years it was fairly tame, with dancing and fun, but more often than not turned into a drunken debacle, with the men hitting on anything that moved, myself included. Alan always had the tendency to flirt, strut, and brag but after enough drinks he became insufferable, often openly propositioning any woman within three feet of him. One year after the party, I called him out for his lewd behavior, accusing him of cheating, and he actually hit me. Not a tap or a warning slap, but his fist crashing into my face, causing me to fall back and landing on a glass vase. The vase shattered just before I hit the floor, the edge of the jagged piece ripping a six inch gash on my upper thigh, making me cry out. Twelve stitches later I ‘conveniently’ forgot about what happened, not reporting it to the police and blocked it from my memory. Needless to say, I was terrified of pissing him off again after that.
“Are you ok, hun?” Alan asked, as if pretending to care.
“Just fine,” I replied, pasting a fake smile on my face. “Can you… take it easy tonight? I know it’s easy to get carried…”
“Just drop it!” He snapped, a fierce look in his eyes.
“You’re right. Sorry,” I said, gritting my teeth to maintain some sense of control.
Once inside, a well-dressed middle-aged man approached us, his silver name tag reading Philip. “This way sir and madam,” he said with a smile, leading us to a brightly lit room filled with people and loud, pulsing music.
I could tell that the revelling was already well underway, remembering all too well what that often led to. Alan waved to a group of ten or so guys that I recognized as his team members, and he started to head over towards them. My stomach twisted, as if in warning, and I pulled back from him. “You go ahead, I don’t want to cramp your style. No worries ok? Go have fun.”
Alan frowned and then shrugged his shoulders, muttering, “Your loss, Tam.” I swear he did that out of spite, knowing I loathed being called that. I just nodded with another fake smile on my face, stepping back into the corridor, eyes darting around for some place to get away from everything.
Peering down one of the branches of the corridor, I could see lights, and figured out that it was some kind of decorative water feature. It appeared large enough to essentially hide behind, and seemed like a safe place to withdraw to, close enough to hear Alan should he start calling for me, but far enough away to provide meaningful cover. I walked as quickly as I could without drawing attention to myself, slipping behind the fountain until my view of the ballroom entrance was obscured. My only regret was not getting a good strong drink, my hands were shaking a bit, proving I needed to calm my nerves. I spent a few minutes doing some deep breathing exercises learned from Yoga and felt my heartbeat starting to slow to a calmer pace.
After a few minutes of solitude, I felt like I was being watched, and fearing the worst, turned to see who it was. I was relieved to see it wasn’t a drunk, predatory guy bent on harassing me, but rather a lovely woman around my age, in a short, black cocktail dress that was both simple and elegant, showing off her long legs and nice breasts tastefully. Her facial features were striking, feminine, slightly darker skin than mine, high cheekbones, and deep brown eyes. Something about her was magnetic, like I was somehow in her orbit now, and I felt compelled to introduce myself.
“Hi. I’m Tamara,” I said, extending my hand to her, feeling very relaxed now. There was no threat here.
“Elena. So nice to meet you, Tamara, and let me say you look incredible in that dress,” she replied, her hand clasping mine. I felt a sensation I couldn’t quite identify, but enjoyed it nonetheless, not making any attempt to release her grip. Elena’s expression changed a bit. “Not a kocaeli escort bayan fan of the Bessmer Bash I take it?”
Maybe she wanted to escape the insanity too, I thought. “Got it on the first try,” I said, finally releasing her hand. “Things start out ok but quickly winds up with guys getting drunk and hitting on any woman close by. Sadly, my husband is usually the ringleader.”
Elena’s lips tightened, and I thought maybe I had said something wrong. She wasn’t wearing a wedding ring, but maybe she had a guy that was in that circle and she didn’t like it any better than I did. Truth be told, I couldn’t interpret her expression, and I was about to say something when she blurred out, “Well we are in the same boat then. We girls gotta stick together.”
Wow, she gets it! She totally gets it! I giggled and replied, “Girl power!” I held up my hand for a high-five, and giggled as she returned the gesture with marked enthusiasm.
About a second later, I felt a soft touch on my arm, not sexual but just friendly – genuinely friendly – and I welcomed it. Being in a relationship with an insecure self-centered man had left me feeling pretty isolated, so it was refreshing and enjoyable to connect with Elena. Pretty, smart, funny, she had it all.
“How about a drink? I could use one,” she asked, smiling warmly.
“Oh, I am gonna need more than one, but there is no way I will go into that den of assholes to get it,” I replied, almost spitting the words in disgust.
“Don’t worry, love, I will get them for us, and go all warrior princess on their asses if they go anywhere near me,” Elena giggled. “Well, not that they would anyway,” she added, pursing her lips the same way she had earlier.
I froze, the statement setting off warning alarms in my head. What does she mean? Is she a lesbian? I wasn’t threatened by that, after all we were just talking like friends, but it did make me wonder. I opened my mouth, and asked, “Oh? Any why is that exactly?” My mind was in an internal debate, asking if it really mattered, if it was any of my business, or changed anything. I already liked her, we could be friends. Great friends. No, it didn’t matter.
Elena gave me a wink which made me smile and set me at ease again, saying, “You know the secret to making it in this business of mostly men? Simple, you have to scare the hell out of them.” With that response, she turned on to walk back to get us the promised beverages.
Alone for a few moments, I tried to take stock of everything I was thinking and feeling. First, I felt relief – relief that I wasn’t being accosted or harassed by drunk men, and relief that Alan was nowhere near me. I also felt happy, that I felt a connection with another human being in a way I hadn’t felt in a while. Finally, I felt pleasure. Pleasure? Maybe not the right word, maybe more like enjoyment. I was enjoying her presence, enjoying our interaction, and even the physical contact. Something I needed and was not getting. Wonderful sensations, pleasurable sensations. My mind finally relented, and I embraced the word pleasure, just simple pleasure.
I was practically giggling as I made my way into the raucous noise of the ballroom to hunt down some drinks for Tamara and me. Predictably, as soon as I started making my way through the noisy crowd, I could see lewd expressions and crooked smiles on the faces of most of the men there, and a few judgy looks from the women who obviously knew I was gay. Truthfully, I didn’t give a shit, I already had found a nice little oasis I planned to retreat to. I had alarm bells going off in my head because Tamara was clearly straight. She was married, had long fingernails, and gave off a clear men-only vibe. I just reminded myself that we were just talking, and that falling for a straight girl – especially one married to one of my coworkers – was definitely in the ‘no-no’ column.
Shockingly, the line to the bar was very short and I winked at the female bartender, who blushed in response. “Four rum and cokes, make them strong please.” I said with a smile.
She smiled back, not in a flirtatious way but in a friendly one. “Gonna be tough to carry all those without dropping them.”
I glanced around. There was no one waiting at the moment and the traffic at that small bar didn’t seem to be increasing any time soon. “Hey, if you carry them out with me I will tip you a twenty.”
She nodded, and after mixing the drinks, slipped them on to a dark tray and started following me out. I could feel her eyes on me, probably watching my hips or ass swaying as I walked, convincing me she was probably at least bi. So far my gaydar was pretty accurate, but I wasn’t getting a ping from Tamara. Well, a girl can dream right?
Tamara was looking at her phone when the server and I came closer, catching her off guard, but she smiled broadly when she saw the two of us, though I secretly hoped it was just me that triggered that reaction.
“Your drinks as promised, dear kocaeli escort lady,” I said, giving an exaggerated bow.
Tamara barely seemed to notice the blonde carrying the drinks, looking squarely at me instead. “WOW is that all for me?” she said, giggling.
“Why, do you have to drive later?” I answered, giggling in response, surprised she was making me feel giddy.
Tamara stuck her tongue out at me playfully. “In theory no, but Alan will probably be shit faced later. If I have to, I’ll get a taxi.” The bartender sat the drinks down on the marble surface of the marble rain encircling the fountain and quickly excused herself.
“Alan… as in Alan Reynolds?” I asked, trying to keep the attitude out of my voice. Alan Reynolds was the top sales rep at Bessmer, one that was a notorious asshole and someone I clashed with almost daily. Most of the snide comments I endured early on at the company came courtesy of him. Knowing that this beautiful woman was married to the likes of him made me feel infinitely sorry for her, and evoked even more animosity towards him.
Tamara blushed. “Ah, I can tell from your tone that you aren’t a fan,” she said, trying to sound casual, taking a large sip of the drink.
I could tell by her body language that there was a bigger story behind it, and none of it good. I didn’t pity her. I felt genuinely sorry for her, I could only imagine how difficult it was to live with a man like him. “Well if he ever lays a hand on you, let me know and I’ll kick his ass!” I said, without thinking.
Tamara smiled, but it was a pained smile that I could see right through, which told me that her husband had hit her, more than once I would have guessed. She nodded and just softly said, “Thank you.”
She appeared to be shaking a bit, so without thinking I hugged her, and to my surprise she just relaxed into me, communicating a trust that was unusual for someone she just met. Tamara’s hair smelled like strawberries, and her perfume filled my nostrils, her body lightly against mine, feeling her warmth. It would be so easy to kiss her right then, it felt right, but I reminded myself that she was straight. I knew I was headed for trouble when my mind wandered to how her lips would feel, how her skin would feel on mine. I gently released her, allowing her to get her composure back.
For the next forty minutes, we chatted about so many subjects, our mutual love of the outdoors, hiking, camping, fashion styles, favorite television dramas and such. As the drinks took effect, we both got giggly, and our inhibitions loosened up, Tamara’s in particular. I found myself touching her more, nothing sexual, just a touch on the arm or shoulder, a few times on her lower back or hip as I leaned in to whisper something, all of which she accepted without a hint of alarm or resistance. I fetched us both another round of drinks, which she eagerly accepted and started consuming.
“Oooo slow down there, babe, you don’t want to get so drunk you can’t walk,” I giggled, slapping her on the hip.
Tamara laughed, almost too loudly. “No, maam, this is the best time I have had in forever. You’re an angel,” she answered.
“Probably more of a fallen angel,” I quipped.
Tamara smiled, leaning in and playfully nudging on my waist with her elbow. “And she knows how to flirt too,” she said, with an open mouthed laugh that made my tummy quiver.
“Oh babe you are too gorgeous to resist,” I responded, assuming it was all in fun, but trying to be careful. I could tell we were inching towards dangerous territory, resisting the urge to get closer to her.
“Irresistible huh?” Tamara giggled. “Well we are far enough away from getting into trouble from the drunk guys.”
“Oh the drunk girls are just as much trouble, well the ones that like girls,” I said, instantly wishing I had kept my mouth shut. Well I blew it, that would send her heading for the hills, or her idiot husband.
Tamara broke into a grin. “Ah, I wondered if you… were… well…” she stammered, as if worried about offending me, which made me like her all the more.
“A lesbian?” I asked, laughing openly now. “Yes, never been with a man… ever.” I fought to keep from adding, ‘It’s absolutely amazing, you should try it.’
She smiled, no fear in her eyes, as if it was something as casual as where I was born or something. “That’s cool. Also explains at least one reason you aren’t keen on my hubby, he is pretty… narrow minded. More like flat out homophobic.” Just the way she said it, almost with disdain, told me she was anything but that.
As if on some sort of twisted cue, I heard the familiar grating (but obviously drunk) voice of Alan Reynolds calling out Tamara’s name, repulsed at how cheap he made it sound. She rolled her eyes and scowled visibly, as if she now trusted me enough to show a side of her she hid well. “Well I guess my first fun evening in forever is over now,” she said, sighing. I saw the fear creep back in her eyes, and the confident fun woman I had been spending time with retreat behind a composed exterior. Almost as if an afterthought, she reached into her purse and retrieved her business card, which read ‘Tamara Reynolds, IT Consultant’ and the name of the company she worked for along with contact information.
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