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‘Oh my,’ Victoria sighed, lying flat out on Heather’s king-sized bed. ‘I’m glad we didn’t wait for that.’
Heather untangled their legs. They were both drenched with sweat and passion but the smell of them wasn’t unpleasant. She’d always liked the smell of urgent sex.
Not to mention the salty-sweet tastes with their undertones of honey.
‘What’s with you, Vic?’ she ran her fingers through the other girl’s damp but still spiky hair. ‘Have you had enough already?’
‘Vic now, is it? I must have been all right.’
‘Better than all right, you’re my Hot for It Girl of the Month.’
‘Me hot for it,’ Vic laughed, ‘I hardly got to do anything.’
A brief but awkward silence ensued.
‘Did I get carried away?’ Heather asked finally.
‘Yes, just ever so slightly. That was like being fucked by Taz the Tasmanian devil. God knows how Joanna came up with “Snow White”.’
Heather scrunched defensively. ‘Joanna isn’t to know how depraved I am, is she.’
‘I should hope not. If you went at her like that she’d be begging the huntsman to cut out her lungs.’
‘Sorry. I . . .’
‘Shush, shush,’ said Victoria. ‘I’m not complaining. Not in the least.’
Heather brightened at that. ‘Aren’t you really?’ she asked.
‘No, not really,’ Victoria kissed up at her forehead, ‘not really, really, really.’
Heather was relieved. She’d been starting to think she’d given it too much oomph.
It wouldn’t be the first time.
‘You surprised me,’ Victoria went on, almost-but-not-exactly accusingly. ‘In my experience, the heroic white knight usually gets to ravish the damsel in distress. It’s exceptionally rare for the knight to be on the receiving end.’
‘You should have said.’ Heather tried to seem demure. ‘I’m always open to being ravished. Or equal shares. I’m very adaptable.’
‘Oh I see. I should have spelled it out in advance, shouldn’t I?’
‘It would have helped. You’d better give me a list of does and don’ts before we resume.’
‘That’s right. I’m not nearly done yet.’
There was another brief silence, each of them studying the other.
‘Honestly,’ Heather said. ‘Just let me know and I’ll be up for anything you want.’
‘Equal shares sound good.’ Victoria broke into a welcome and dazzling smile. ‘Although I must admit, being overwhelmed like that made a pleasant change.’ She chuckled. ‘It usually goes without saying that I’ll be the ravisher. Comes with being a bossy cow, I suppose.’
They studied each other again, the high-flier still wearing her snazzy specs.
How’s she managed that? Heather wondered, remembering a flurry of limbs, clothes flying off in all directions. Had she kept them on when she’d . . .
It was no use. The details were fuzzy, as if they’d had a whole night on the beer and not just a couple of pints.
And how did she know about Snow White? Was the grapevine really as good as that?
‘Haven’t you got a cat to see to?’ Victoria asked eventually.
‘It’s a fat ginger tom who keeps late hours. He’ll be okay.’
Victoria (Vic from that moment ever onwards) pulled Heather closer and they shared a lingering kiss, hands steadily touring now familiar sections of body.
No, make that their hands touring hot, moist and very receptive sections of body.
‘Here’s the deal,’ said Vic. ‘I’ll let you tell me about yourself: your life in fifteen minutes. Then you sort out Ginger Tom while I make us a snack. Then we come back here, turn out the lights and see who can stay awake longest.’
‘Don’t you like it with the lights on?’
‘Of course I do. But I like it in the dark as well. It stimulates my imagination.’
‘I’ll stimulate more than your imagination.’
‘You’re doing that already.’ Vic laughed. ‘But my tummy just rumbled. And I’m worried about that cat.’
‘Okay, okay. You win. You might be disappointed on the snack front, though. I could clothes shop for England, but I’m useless at shopping for food.’
‘I’ll find something.’
‘I wouldn’t bank on it.’
‘And I had you down as Little Miss Perfect.’
‘I’m far from perfect,’ Heather grinned, ‘as you will discover when you visit my fridge.’
‘Does that rule out breakfast in bed?’
‘I’m afraid so. It’ll be breakfast in Mario’s down in town, not bed.’
‘How about coffee and toast in bed?’
‘Coffee shouldn’t be a problem.’ A thought struck Heather. ‘Talking about tomorrow, whatever are you going to wear? I won’t have anything that’ll fit you.’
She squeezed Vic’s bazoomas to prove her point.
‘I doubt anyone will notice the same suit. If they do, I’ll say I got carried away shagging. Never went home.’
Heather’s heart started pounding for the zillionth time, although less excitingly now.
‘You don’t gossip after one night stands, do you?’
‘Didn’t Hot Lips tell you? The Ice Queen never gossips. And she doesn’t do one night stands with any of her colleagues either. And she hasn’t made an exception for you because . . . hopefully . . . this is just the first of many stands.’
‘Oh,’ trabzon escort said Heather, ‘so my behaviour hasn’t scared you off.’
‘Not in the slightest.’ Vic giggled like the schoolgirl she once was. ‘If I’ve any say in the matter, I’ll be sleeping here a lot.’
All semblance of awkwardness left with that giggle; at least it did for Heather.
‘Oh yes?’ she pushed Vic onto her back and climbed aboard, not particularly carefully. ‘Would that be for gentle, equally shared lovemaking? Or do you secretly want to be overwhelmed again and again by an insatiable marsupial?’
Vic smiled up at her. ‘I haven’t tried whatever passes as your gentle lovemaking yet. But I’m sure we’ll get round to it at some stage. In the meantime, feel free to keep overwhelming me.’
‘Don’t worry, I will. And knickers to Joanna and the grapevine; feel free to break the habit of a lifetime and gossip away.’
Suddenly Vic seemed serious. ‘You honestly won’t mind if people find out we’re shagging?’
‘No. As I said in the pub, I’m not ashamed of me. And I’m certainly not ashamed of being here in bed with you.’
They had another lingering kiss, hands touring again. Heather finally broke off and moved so that her mouth could get at Vic’s chest, smiling as she immediately made her nipples go bullet-like. How sexy was that! Hard nipples getting even harder against her tongue!! Sadly, Vic didn’t give her long before crying, ‘Enough,’ and dragging her off.
‘Spoilsport,’ said Heather. ‘Here I am, risking my career. About to become an airhead . . .’
‘No you are not,’ Vic countered. ‘I’ve a brand-new blouse in my travel bag, and I’ve got a brand-new neckerchief. Five minutes under your shower and I’ll look like I’m freshly changed. No-one will ever know. Apart from us, of course, and we don’t have tell if we don’t want to.’
‘You do this regularly then?’
‘What? Pass the night being fucked senseless?’
They exchanged glances a second, Heather disliking the swearword, Vic unrepentant.
‘Well I don’t, actually,’ Vic at last resumed. ‘I carry spares because I never know if I’m going to be sent somewhere overnight. I often have to rush off to London Bridge at the drop of a hat.’
‘Naturally it’s a good answer; it’s true. I haven’t done anything like this for ages. In fact it was more than two years ago. And it was with a bloke, so it doesn’t count.’
‘So you do like men?’
Vic shrugged, ‘From time to time.’
‘Hmmm,’ went Heather.
‘I do. I’ve just been avoiding them.’
‘For over two years?’
‘Have you really?’
‘Yes, I really have.’
‘Wow! I went two and a half months before Graham. By then even Tibbles was starting to look hunky. How’ve you done it? Have you had dozens of girls instead?’
‘No. I’ve had a few flings, but nothing nearly as wild and impulsive as this. Mostly I’ve stuck to one woman.’
‘One woman,’ Heather said slowly. ‘Is she your significant other?’
‘I suppose she was,’ Vic replied.
‘Am I aiding and abetting something here?’
‘No. Note my use of the word “was”. She’s not in my life anymore. I’m quite unattached.’
‘Yes, honest Injun.’
‘Okay,’ said Heather, relaxing a little. ‘Are you going to tell me about her?’
‘I don’t usually pour out my heart on a first date. Or ever, come to that.’
‘Go on. You know you want to.’
‘There’s not much to tell.’ Vic’s smile became wistful. ‘She is called Karen. She was my neighbour in Headingley. We had a long, uneasy courtship after her husband took off. Then we finally got together. Then she left.’
‘Left as in permanently?’
‘Yes, left as in very permanently. Not to mention very recently.’
‘I’m sorry it went wrong.’
‘Don’t be. It was basic instinct . . . it was as far as I was concerned, anyway. And the most basic part of it wasn’t happening a lot. Karen blamed me. I was away at work too much. She wanted me there all the time or not at all. And although she never admitted it, she hated being often referred to as “That Lesbian at Number Nine” . . . with me being “That Lesbian at Number. Seven”, naturally.’
‘Naturally,’ Heather agreed, grinning as broadly as ever.
(Being called “The Lesbian” at any number wouldn’t have worried her at all. Well, “That Lesbian at Number Thirteen” wouldn’t go down well, but she’d never live at such an address anyhow.)
‘That’s all, really,’ Vic continued. ‘She sold up and went back home to her roots in Southampton. We promised that we would keep in touch, but we haven’t. And we know we won’t.’
‘So that’s it, you really are a free agent? No heartache or regrets?’
‘I regret dropping a couple of other lovers. I had a fairly good thing going until I got this crazy impulse to woo her.’
Heather grinned yet again. ‘Did she take some wooing?’
‘You bet she did.’
‘And you gave up two lovers to do it?’
‘Arguably three,’ said Vic. ‘I told you it was a crazy impulse.’
‘You’ll fit in trabzon escort bayan well with me then,’ said Heather. ‘I’m good at crazy impulses. But I’m useless at those long, uneasy courtships.’
‘I presume long, abstinent courtships are right out.’
‘It took half a day between us meeting and ending up here, in my bed. That’s long enough, isn’t it? Anyway, if you wanted abstinence, it’s too late.’
‘I didn’t want abstinence, which is just as well. Seeing what you’re like.’
‘What do you mean, what I’m like?’
Vic just chuckled in reply.
‘Personal question,’ Heather said after a pause. ‘Tell me to mind my own business if you want.’
‘Did you quit men for Karen? Or had you already made the decision?’
‘No, that had nothing to do with Karen. I quit men every now and then. Always have done.’
‘Care to expound?’
Vic looked up at her for a few seconds before answering.
‘Yes, Vic. Honest Injun.’
‘Okay, here goes. I wasn’t too bad when I was at St Helena’s. I got plenty of offers from guys at St Joseph’s, the local boys’ school, but only took a few up. I didn’t start binging until uni.’
‘Binging on men?’
‘Yes. I was almost out of control while I was in halls. And I lost it altogether in the second year.’
‘You mean when you got your own place?’ Heather laughed. ‘Been there, got the wet T-shirt. Do you want to hear my excuse?’
‘Sheer bad luck. Until I was thirteen nearly all my friends were boys. Then, literally days before I got properly interested, I was sent off to the Land of Girls. By the time I got to uni I’d nibbled away at far too many fannies. It was time to catch up. Well, it was after I’d introduced myself to every lezzie and bi girl in LGBT.’
‘Introduced? Don’t you mean “slept with”?’
‘Yes, in many instances. But a lot of them were in relationships. They didn’t all want to play.’
‘I don’t know about you.’ Vic pulled a face. ‘But I really was wild. At one stage I’d have a different guy every night, then wake up in the morning hating myself.’
‘Don’t get me going on that old chestnut. Every man on the planet’s a far bigger tart than the tartiest of women.’
‘It wasn’t me being a tart. It was me being reckless. Never mind the risk of STIs or AIDS. Sometimes I wouldn’t remember the latest guy’s name. Sometimes I never even asked.’
‘Do you mean before or after?’
‘Both. God knows how I never got beaten up or murdered.’
‘Did something bad happen?’
‘No,’ said Vic. ‘I never even got shouted at, never mind punched or slapped or anything. It was only my self-esteem that suffered.’
‘In that case your judgment must have been sound.’
‘My judgment never came into it. I’d just get the urge and grab the nearest erection.’
‘That’s Jiminy Cricket speaking,’ Heather said sagely. ‘Your intuition would have made its assessment before you grabbed anything. Subconsciously, I mean.’
‘I probably don’t have the same faith in my intuition that you have.’
‘Mr Carmichael seems to admire your abilities.’
‘That’s work-related,’ Vic said. ‘It’s totally different.’
‘No it isn’t. Not on a subconscious level.’
‘Well whatever it was, it scared me. I knew I couldn’t carry on behaving like that.’
‘So you went for celibacy?’
‘I did as far as men were concerned. That first time I managed three whole months without anyone at all. Then I had a supposedly steady boyfriend for a while. And then he betrayed me and I was celibate again for six months. Then I had another boyfriend and . . . Well, you can see the pattern developing.’
‘This latest celibacy is up to two and a half years?’
‘It almost is. It’s my longest yet.’
‘How close are you to your next relapse?’
Vic’s face scrunched up sexily. ‘Not very,’ she said. ‘I’m not even looking at men at the moment, never mind planning a relapse.’
‘I’ve heard this sort of thing before, Vic. It ties in with my bisexual theory, but I won’t bore you with all that. Not on a first date.’
‘Did something bad ever happen to you?’
Heather blinked in surprise at the unexpected question. She’d been revelling in her role as confessor-cum- inquisitor. ‘No,’ she said. ‘What makes you think that?’
‘You said you went a few months without a man. Was that yet another exaggeration, or was there a reason?’
‘I’ve told you a million times; I never exaggerate.’
‘So there was a reason?’
‘Not the sort you’re imagining.’ Heather pecked Vic on the nose. ‘I’ve always liked men per se. One or two individuals have annoyed me immensely, but that’s par for the course, isn’t it? I’ve never developed a phobia about them.’
‘They don’t physically intimidate you?’
‘Ha! I can hold my own.’
‘In all other ways, maybe . . .’
‘No, I can hold my own physically too. Okay, so I would need a prop if you wanted me to give you an authentic, realistic manly shagging, but I can do everything else unaided, and I can do it better than any bloke. And I can escort trabzon do plenty of things no bloke could ever do.’
‘But could you fight one off?’
‘Yes I could. I’ve done all sorts of self-defence. If a man ever attacked me I’d scare him away long before it came to an actual fight. And that would be good news for him, believe me. I guarantee that he wouldn’t like an actual fight.’
‘Perhaps theoretically,’ said Vic, obviously not convinced. ‘But in real life women freeze when faced with violence.’
‘That’s a subject we discussed a lot. Some girls doubted themselves, but I never did. There again, I faced off Brutus, so I know I’ll never freeze.’
Vic blinked. ‘Brutus? Who on earth is Brutus?’
‘He was my dad’s prize bull. Back when we were at Hunters Farm.’
‘I sense a story coming on.’ Abandoning her increasingly serious expression Vic had a fit of giggles. ‘Hopefully it’s not one full of bullshit.’
‘It’s a true story,’ Heather protested. ‘No exaggerating at all.’
‘Is this instead of confessing your binging history?’
‘My binging history is probably very similar to yours, so I’d hardly be telling you anything new. But I’m prepared to bet you don’t have many escaped bulls on your résumé.’
‘You are correct. Please proceed.’
‘Okay,’ Heather began. ‘Brutus was the only bull on the farm. And he was a whopper, weighing in well over a ton. He looked magnificent but had an awful temper, even for a bull. He was famous for it. Just about everyone was afraid of him. There was no need to put a notice up in his field. Whether you had been told about him or not, one glance was enough.’
She chuckled. ‘My dad wasn’t afraid of him, because he was the farmer. And some of the local kids saw him as a challenge. The dare was to run across the corner of his field, covering as big a diagonal as possible. We put chalk marks on the wall to show the best efforts.’
‘We?’ said Vic. ‘Does that mean you were involved in such a rash, foolhardy challenge?’
‘Of course I was. I invented it. And I always had to beat anyone who broke the record . . . which I still hold to this day, incidentally.’
‘Did Brutus ever get you?’
‘No, but I had a couple of near misses. And he “assisted” some of the other kids over the wall with his horns.’
‘He does sound bad tempered.’
‘He was. And I could never work out why. Back then I was only a slip of a lass, but I could see that he had it good. No real work to do, just a few dozen cows to take care of. The way I saw it, he lived life like a sultan with an enormous harem.’
‘How old are you in this tale?’
‘I was eleven and three-quarters.’
‘So you were still innocent, then.’
‘Still with years and years of virginity left,’ Heather agreed. ‘Although I already knew only too well what beasts did to procreate. I saw them at it every day. Anyway, it happened one Monday, during the summer holidays. I’d been up on the moors, rabbiting . . .’
‘That means shooting rabbits. But only for the pot . . . I wasn’t sadistic or anything. I only took what we needed.’
‘Ye gods, girl,’ Vic rolled her eyes, ‘is there no end to your surprises?’
‘I can usually produce something when the occasion demands. Anyhow, I was on my way home when I saw that the gate was open and Brutus was gone. I knew he couldn’t be with Dad because it was market day. And nobody else could do anything with Brutus. When I got a bit closer I realized exactly what had happened. The farm lads had been in to feed him and hadn’t shut up properly behind them.’
‘Couldn’t it have been the local kids fooling around?’
‘No. They wouldn’t do that. Besides, Brutus knew them and had a grudge. They couldn’t have opened the gate and got away fast enough.’
‘Okay. Please continue.’
‘I ran back to the farmhouse to find out they already knew. My mum had had a phone call to tell her that Brutus was stampeding through the village. She was busy berating the farm lads. There were only two of them and they were blaming each other. Mum had obviously heard enough. She told the three of us to go fetch Brutus while she skinned my rabbits.’ Heather laughed heartily. ‘Mum has always been so unflappable.
‘Well, it was quite an adventure at first. We went down the hill . . .’ she broke off. ‘Do you know much about Micklethwaite?’
‘I know where it is on a map,’ said Vic, ‘but I’ve never been.’
‘It’s like a long, uphill lane, with farms grouped at both ends and a village in the middle, and with lots of new houses going up these days. Back then there weren’t so many. Our farm was up the steepest bit of hill. When we got to the hairpin bend we could see a police car blocking the road below us. That was when it started to feel more like an emergency.’
Miss Efficiency was still lying under Heather, staring up at her, seemingly rapt.
‘There were two policemen,’ Heather said, seeing them clearly in her mind’s eye. ‘They’d stopped Old Jack and he was out of his Landy, wanting to know what was going on. Old Jack owned the next-but-one farm to us and he was a bit hard to understand. Normally he let Young Jack do the talking to townies, but Young Jack wasn’t about on that particular day. He must have been back at the farm with Baby Jack.’
No way could Vic resist. ‘Baby Jack?’ she echoed.
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