~ Scents of Heaven ~
by Penelope Street 2005


Disclaimers:
This story contains no violence.
This story does contain explicit sexual descriptions and is intended for mature readers. The characters in the story are entirely the creation of the author.

Contact Information:
Until such time as the address is spammed into obsolescence, the author may be contacted at
Penelope-Street@Mustangs.com

I shall always look at the simple metal box and its supporting post with something resembling awe. It is just a mailbox, after all. I cannot help but marvel how such simple items can be the centerpiece to events that change our lives. I shall be ever thankful of the manner in which my humble letterbox changed mine.

Everyone remembers their first true love, and all that comes with it. I suspect most recall something less than an example of supreme bliss or the start of a romance for the ages. That was exactly my recollection until a cool spring day not so long ago, when an unplanned encounter led me to reevaluate everything about my life, my heart, and myself.

Before then, I wasn't even sure whom I would have named as my first true love. Was it the first boy that held my hand? Or kissed me? Or fucked me? Or would I have been sentimental, as well as dishonest, and tried to pretend it was my husband?

In my late teens, I was never lacking for opportunities for male companionship. As a girl, I was cute, sporting a chiseled face framed by shoulder-length locks as straight as they were black. My figure was similar to my hair; sharp, short, and straight. I was cute, nothing more, but that's enough to turn the heads of boys at a time when their heads aren't used for much more than turning.

Though I was of interest to the boys, I did not find them similarly appealing. At the time I figured I was simply young and accepted that one day I would look at males in a different manner, even though I could but imagine what the experience would be like when I did. It never quite happened the way I had envisioned, but I did have boyfriends.

The boy I now consider to have been my first beau was Michael Anderson. He wasn't much bigger than I was then, though he was a senior and I was a sophomore. My earliest memory of him was playing on the same co-ed intramural soccer team. During one particular contest, a rather large boy on the other team kicked me twice and then knocked me to the ground. Before I had a chance to regain my feet Mike had tackled the other lad.

Of course, Michael got a pounding for his trouble, in addition to a red card, but he was still my hero. We held hands throughout the school corridors for all of three weeks. I even sat up at night in my bed and practiced signing "Grace Anderson."

Then he asked if I would be his girlfriend.

I panicked, thinking that being his girlfriend meant doing more than just holding hands. Looking back, I doubt he wanted more than a confirmation of what we already shared. In spite of fantasizing about being his bride, I was not yet ready for kissing, let alone more. I dumped him in the indurate fashion that is all too common to teenagers.

Only years later, as more serious boyfriends came and went, did I begin to regret the haste, foolishness, and callous cruelty with which I treated a very nice boy. I have often thought to seek him, if only to apologize. Although I am sorry for how I had treated him, I have never regretted not having become Mrs. Anderson. However, I do hope that, wherever he is, he still thinks of me as his first girlfriend, though I know it to be a title I do not deserve.

After high school, I went to college, but never graduated. It was the late sixties and there seemed to be more important things to do than study, including having far too much sex with boys I knew far too little about.

Looking back, I feel fortunate. When I did get my stupid ass knocked up, it was at least by as close to a gentleman as one could hope to find in that age group. He offered to do the decent thing, and I accepted. Thus I became, and have since been, Mrs. Andrew Myers.

As fortunate as I feel, I feel just as guilty. I have never been as good a wife to Andy as he has been husband to me. The one simple, unshakable truth is, he loves me, but I have never quite felt the same way. I have tried, but the task is impossible, none of us choose whom we love. Like all those who have contemplated that bitter irony before me, I know not why. I have spent entire days wondering if love is the most simple thing, or the most complex. The more I wonder, the more I am convinced it is the latter.

Thus I lived what most would expect to have been the best years of my life, those early times when the spirit and body both feel young. Though my daughter was an accident and my husband a convenience, I cannot say that I suffered. Andy was a good provider. Colette was a model child. I did my duties to both as I saw them and, in hindsight, I did an acceptable job on both fronts.

Yet, though I did not suffer, neither was I joyful. I knew my life was a shell of the dreams I had had as a child. When Colette went away to college, the abject emptiness of my own existence became apparent.

I considered seeking a separation, but I could not see myself happy with another man anyway. In spite of the fact that I did not love Andy, I at least liked him, trusted him, and respected him. I felt like a mercenary, or even a harlot, for choosing to stay with him for practicality rather than passion, but I stayed just the same. The prospect of being unemployed, unloved, and alone seemed far more daunting than maintaining the sham that I was a contented housewife.

The story of how that sham became a reality begins the autumn day the "For Sale" sign appeared in the yard next door. When I first saw it, the sight caused me some distress. Though I had no great affection for the couple that lived in the adjacent home, they were quiet neighbors and the risk of having some hooligans in their place was, at the very least, disquieting.

I need not have worried. The young couple that purchased the house turned out to be even more reclusive than their predecessors. Andy greeted them the day they arrived, as the movers unloaded their truck. In spite of the pleasantries exchanged, they essentially ignored us afterward, and we reciprocated.

Over the winter, I caught an occasional glimpse of the couple and their two boys. Once I saw the mother and her sons in the backyard building a snowman, but I never gave them a second glance.

Thus my neighbor and I were essentially strangers come early spring when I stood by my mailbox, flipping through the envelopes, hoping to see something other than a bill. I got my first decent look at the woman as she conducted her boys along the walkway from her house. She was a shade on the stocky side, though hardly fat. A short mop of ruddy brown capped the head that I judged to be an inch or two above my own.

A smirk crossed my features as I noticed the young lady wore her nightclothes. My head bounced once as I issued a snigger; I at least bothered to wear a sweater and slacks, even if I was just getting the mail. When she caught my gaze and returned an honest smile, my sneer melted along with my contempt.

Such a happy smile, I thought, returning a polite, but aloof, nod. And just walking with her boys in her pajamas, how can she be so happy? Have I ever been that happy?

Wearing a scowl, I continued to sift through the post, but my focus was beyond my hands. When the woman reached the sidewalk not ten feet distant, she bent over to kiss each boy on the cheek. As she did so, her loose top fell away from her body. My gaze jumped, forgoing any pretext of examining the parchment, to stare straight at her exposed bosom. So wonderfully large and full were her breasts, perfect of symmetry, uniform in hue, enticing in their apparent softness.

My eyes bulged as my tongue felt the moistness within my mouth. With a gasp, I glanced first left, then right, then back to my mail. What is wrong with you? I scolded myself. Checking out another woman's breasts. In spite of my internal reprimand I found myself looking again a moment later. I could not recall having ever seen anything so alluring.

My focus dropped to my own modest bosom, obscured as it was by my sweater. When I looked up again, I inhaled a quick breath. My neighbor, her face aglow, had covered half of the distance between us.

Her smile, I mused. It's every bit as lovely as her breasts. Her baby face and those freckles, how dare she look so good without a shred of makeup! I snapped my head in a pair of brisk pivots, as if by shaking it I could expel the thoughts I judged to be unnatural and wrong.

"Hi," she began. "I'm Cheryl. Cheryl Dobbs. But my friends call me Sherry. You must be Grace?"

She knows my name! My jaw fell and hung idle for a full second before I recovered enough to speak. "Yes," I managed to mutter. "I'm Grace. Grace Myers. Pleased to, uh, finally meet you; Sherry?"

"Yes," the woman nodded. "Sherry."

My eyes roamed in the silence that followed, dropping with some haste to her chest and the perky nipples that stood out clearly through the lean fabric in the crisp morning air. Shocked by my own fascination, I snapped my focus back to her face, where I found her eyes sparkling every bit as much as before.

"Aren't you, uh, cold?" I inquired. "Being outside in just your PJs, I mean."

Sherry shrugged. "A bit, but I wasn't planning to be out long. You?"

I shook my head. "No. I'm not cold."

Sherry grinned as her head fell to a tilt. "No. Were you planning to be outside long?"

"No. Just getting the mail."

"Oh, has the postman come already?"

I shook my head. "No. I just forgot to get it yesterday."

"Busy day then?"

"What?"

"You must have had a busy day," Sherry said. "Yesterday, I mean."

"Not at all. I just forgot."

"What about today? Are you busy today?"

I shook my head again. "Not really."

I did not imagine that Sherry's smile could get any bigger, but it did. "Then we should get to know one another a little better! Would you care to come over for a bit?"

My brain screamed No, but my nodding head and my treasonous mouth both said, "Yes."

"Great! Do you take coffee?" Sherry's smile did not seem to leave her face, even as she spoke.

I nodded again. "Yes."

"Great!" Sherry repeated. "See you in a few then?"

"A few?" I queried.

"A few minutes."

"Sure," I agreed with a nod. "See you in a few." I allowed her to take two steps before I turned and scurried toward my own door. Tossing the mail onto the coffee table, I headed for my washroom.

I already had my cheek turned to the mirror as I reached for the light. Examining my reflection as my face sprang into view, I caught myself pouting. "Relax," I instructed the woman in the mirror. "Who cares if the neighbor lady is pretty? Not as if she's trying to steal your husband. What are you worried about?"

I gave my face a good scrubbing and found a pair of earrings that matched my sweater before striding with imagined confidence across the lawn to Sherry's door.

I watched my hand quiver as I reached for the bell, unable to identify the hollow feeling in my abdomen where my stomach should have been, a sensation that tried to climb into my chest with every breath.

My heart bounced as the door separated from the threshold to reveal Sherry's beaming face. "Hello!" she cried, standing to one side. "I was starting to think you were going to stand me up!"

I issued a polite nod as I stepped into her home. "I was just freshening up a bit. I didn't mean to keep you waiting."

"Freshening?" Sherry queried. "You're positively radiant! I'm the one that looks like a dumpling."

At once I knew how I wanted to respond, yet it was anything but how I felt I ought to respond. As much as I wanted to tell her just how beautiful I found her to be, I dared not. After fumbling for some seconds in an attempt to find an acceptable compliment, I settled for a simple, "Thank you." Before my mouth had finished moving, I regretted not having said more.

Sherry's smile subsided to a forced grin. "Well, I have the coffee ready in the kitchen. It's this way."

I don't recall much of what else we said the remainder of the morning and into the afternoon. What I do remember is discovering that Sherry was as charming as she was pretty; and how fast the hands on the clock can sometimes move.

Too soon her children returned home from school, sending me reluctantly back across the lawn. But my mind did not travel with me. I had left it somewhere in the house next-door, still mesmerized by the unpretentious, yet captivating, woman who lived there.

I retired that evening with Mrs. Dobbs still on my mind, and awoke no different. Rising from my bed, I stretched and shook my head. Still groggy, but certain my memories of the previous day were true, I made my way to the washroom.

What is wrong with you? I asked my reflection. Can you be so lonely that anyone's company seems divine?

Reluctant to appear needy, I decided I would not contact Sherry again right away. As the hour approached when the Dobbs's children would depart for school, I sat in my parlor with a cup of coffee, my eyes locked on the neighbor's lawn.

To my surprise, and disappointment, the boys emerged from the house without their mother. As I watched the youngsters waddle along the concrete path, I searched my brain, trying to recall if I had ever seen Mrs. Dobbs walk her sons to the curb before. My brow dropped as I realized I had never seen her walk her children to the street prior to yesterday.

What a coincidence, I mused, that she should happen to walk her children to the sidewalk when I was at the mailbox. My thumb moved to my chin, my index finger to my lower lip. Or was it a coincidence?

When the postman did arrive in the early afternoon, I decided to test the question. I deliberately waited an hour before making my journey to the mailbox. Somewhere in my heart, I felt confident Sherry would emerge from her house to meet me once again by the street. I walked as slowly as I dared to give her every chance to both notice and join me.

She did neither. A sense of despair poured over my soul as I made the long and lonely trek back to my front door. A sulk had seized my face by the time my fist seized the handle. I paused to look back to the street, and my mailbox. I shook my head, disparaging my own foolishness. Did you really expect her to rush out of her house to meet you? Why did you expect that? Why did you want it so?

My eyes moved from the street to the gaunt hand that grasped the handle of my front door. Unable to answer my own questions, I turned the knob and retreated into the safety of my home.

The next morning I again watched the Dobbs children depart for school. And the following morning as well. On both occasions, the boys made the journey alone. I sat in my parlor and chewed my lower lip. It's Friday, I reminded myself. There's no school tomorrow and no mail the next day.

I clamped my lips together over my clenched teeth. My soul was seized by a grim determination; if she would not come out to meet me at my mailbox, then I would go out and meet her!

The sun crawled across the sky until the postman arrived. From that moment I sat on my couch and made ready my ambush. My nose perched on my intertwined fists, I waited. And waited.

The only time my eyes left the street, they strayed to the clock, where the time advanced at pace to make up for the sluggishness of its morning passage. In a moment, it seemed, the hands found the hour when I knew the elementary school let out.

My shoulders sagged as I stood. I paused at my door and blinked back an unexpected tear. What? I wondered. Are you crying now? Why? Just because the neighbor lady didn't check the mail today?

In that moment, I felt more despondent than I could ever recall. The hollow feeling in my abdomen had only intensified as the days passed. Now it was worse than ever. I could not recollect having felt such misery, though surely there was no identifiable pain involved.

I trudged out into the daylight. The air was warm, yet I still felt a chill. With my eyes to the concrete, I made my way along the walk.

My shoulders sprang upward and my gaze with them as I heard a creak to my right. I kept my wide eyes fixed forward for three paces before I dared move them to find the source of the sound, so fearful was I that I would see anything other than Sherry.

When I did see her, I snapped my view away from her at once, focusing again on the mailbox that was still my ostensible destination. A dozen steps later, the hollow sensation had moved from my abdomen to my torso. What is this feeling in my breast? I wondered. One minute it feels empty, the next as if it is on fire. I looked down at my chest. The threads of my sweater bounced with each thump of my heart. This makes no sense. What can... oh, you fool! You forgot to breathe!

An unfamiliar giddiness seized my spirit as I arrived at the mailbox. Retrieving the post, I dared to take a long look at my neighbor. She'd combed her short locks straight. Instead of pajama's, she wore a pleasant lavender sweater and loose-fitting jeans.

"Hi!" I called as her eyes found mine.

"Hi!" Sherry replied, bypassing her own mailbox to stroll my direction. "How've you been?"

My face aglow, I moved to meet her. "Fine. You?"

"A bit lonely," Sherry sighed. "Having you over made me realize how quiet the house can be, especially with both boys in school. Do you ever feel the same way?"

"Yes," I nodded at once. "Is that why you're going out?"

"Going out?"

"Surely you didn't get dressed up just to go to the mailbox?"

Sherry looked to her outfit, then to mine. "I'm wearing pretty much the same thing you are."

My eyes dropped, confirming her claim. "Oh. I guess you're right," I admitted. "It's just that you look so, uh, ... " I paused, reluctant to finish what I had begun, floundering as my jaw hung limp. Sherry's smile melted into a pout while I pondered how I could complete the sentence in a tactful manner. After several disquieting seconds, I tossed a portion of my discretion to the wind. "You look quite lovely."

Sherry's eyes brightened. Her smile blossomed. "You look pretty too, especially in this blue." She moved her hand to touch the fabric of my sweater upon my left forearm. I watched her hand slide down the sleeve as if she was caressing the cloth. When her fingers reached the cuff they continued straight onto my bare flesh, pausing where my thumb joined my wrist.

I swallowed, shifting my gaze from our adjacent hands to my neighbor's face. I found her eyes locked upon mine from amid an impassive countenance. I swallowed again before replying, "Thank you."

Sherry's fingertips moved again, tracing the contour of my thumb until they strayed off the end of my digit. "I know we parted quickly last time when the boys showed up," she recalled. "I should have gotten your number. Here's mine." She reached into her pocket and produced a slip of folded paper.

"Thank you," I said. "I'll have to get you mine." I tilted my head as I accepted the note. Surely, I thought, she does not wander to the mailbox everyday with her phone number in her pocket. My eyes widened as my brain scrambled to a startling possibility. I wasn't sure what I ought to make of the thought, but I knew I liked it. I liked it a lot.

"Please do," Sherry insisted.

"Shall I call you Monday then?"

"Oh, yes. That would be great."

"I will then," I affirmed. "Perhaps we could visit again?"

"Yes," Sherry agreed. "We should do that."

I swallowed. "Monday? Would you like to come over Monday?"

"Yes!" Sherry gave her frame the slightest, yet somehow the most charming, wiggle. "I'd like that very much."

I nodded my agreement. "Why not just stop by after you get your boys off to school?"

Again I felt Sherry's hand on my forearm. "It's a date!" she exclaimed.

"A date it is," I agreed, my eyes locked upon hers.

We paused and just stared at one another. I couldn't think of anything else to say, yet I did want not the conversation to be over. "Well," I said. "Guess I better get back to what I was doing."

Sherry nodded as her eyes fell to the concrete walkway. "Me too."

With that I turned to walk back to my door. I traveled at the most lethargic of paces, hoping to think of something to say as my neighbor crept slowly down her own walkway to my left. Neither of us said a word.

The intervening Saturday and Sunday were among the longest of my life. As best I can recall, I spent the majority of both days staring at Andy and wondering what I had ever seen in him. My guilt over judging him in such a fashion only added to my disquiet. Not like a suburban harlot warrants anyone better, I reminded myself.

When Monday came, I could hardly wait for Sherry to arrive. When she did appear at my door I found myself shaking as I walked to answer it. Although we did nothing more than chat, her visit proved every bit the joy I expected. We talked of everything. And just as often, of nothing. Too soon, her boys were returning home from school, but not before we arranged to visit again the following day at her house.

Wednesday morning found us back at mine. By the end of the week, we didn't even bother to set a day for the next visit, it was always tomorrow, just after school started.

We had breakfast together one day the following week, and the next day was well. After that it was lunch and, finally, movies and shopping. By the end of second week, we were all but inseparable during the morning hours. For the first time in my life, weekdays evaporated and weekends crawled.

Within a fortnight, Cheryl Dobbs was the focus of my very existence. I didn't analyze that truth, much less admit it, but it was true nonetheless. Even when we parted company, my mind refused to let her go. I told myself I was just lonely, or bored. I told myself Sherry was merely a convenient friendship. I told myself it was natural for two idle housewives to find so much to talk about, to have so much in common, conveniently ignoring the fact that I cherished her countenance as much as her conversation. The one thing I never told myself was the truth.

One night, after I had afforded Andy his weekly privileges, I listened to him snore. I wondered what Sherry was doing at that moment. Does she snore? Might she be thinking of me just now? What would it be like to sleep beside her instead of my husband? I scolded myself for such thinking, but I went on thinking it just the same.

April arrived and spring took full hold. Sherry started a modest flower garden. I did the same, though my thumbs had never been anything near green. One day per week in each yard we spent, helping each other with the simple work required to keep our little plants healthy. Never had I imagined pulling weeds could be such a pleasure!

As April waned and the weather warmed, we wore less and sweated more. But it was a different kind of heat I felt as I looked upon my neighbor with a curiosity that thrilled me as much as it troubled me.

On the days we did not work outside, our primary activity was the simple pleasure of conversation. At first, we discussed innocent topics, but as the weeks passed we became more comfortable with one another. Eventually, I felt I could tell her almost anything. Almost.

In its natural course, our topic of discussion eventually strayed across our husbands. After telling me over coffee the story of her own rather traditional courtship, Sherry inquired about mine. I sat for a minute, unsure how much I should divulge, and if some fibbing was in order.

"I met Andy in college," I began. "It was in the late sixties and, well, things were a bit freer then, or at least they seemed that way. I got pregnant and we got married." I sighed as my eyes fell to the carpet. With some force, I pried them upward to meet my friend's gaze. "That's really about all there is to it."

"Surely," Sherry said, "that can't be all?"

"Seems like it."

Sherry twitched her tightly clamped lips. "Are you happy with him?"

I stiffened at the unexpected inquiry. "Yes."

"How so?"

"Well, he's taken care of me. And our daughter."

"But don't you want more?"

"More?"

"You know," Sherry said. "Fun. Thrills. Romance. What does Andy like to do?"

"He's a good man, but a simple one. He goes to work, comes home, and watches TV."

"That's it? What do you two do together, you know, for fun? There must be something."

"I've done my best to accept the man I married for what he is and not expect more."

Sherry nodded in a thoughtful, almost condescending, manner. "Whatever attracted you to him in the first place?"

"He had a cute butt."

Sherry began a snicker that I found contagious. "He still does have a cute butt," she noted as our giggling subsided. "If you don't mind me saying so."

"No." I smiled as I shook my head. "You're right, he does still have that."

"But, surely there must be something else. What does he like to do besides watch TV?"

"Play pinochle."

"Really?" Sherry replied with a smile. "So does Larry."

"Andy tried to teach me a few times," I related, "but it seems a bit boring."

"We should try it sometime," Sherry suggested. "As a foursome. Who knows, it might be fun."

I nodded. "Yes, we could try that."

"How's next Wednesday? You and me against them?"

I ran my schedule through my head, as if I had one. "Wednesdays are free. But I'm not very good."

"It doesn't matter. We can play to have fun even if they play to win."

I smiled at once. "Ok."

Sherry sat upright. "See! That's at least something. What else does Andy like to do?"

I considered the issue for some seconds, enough to imagine that I had thought about it for far too long. "Mostly," I began after I could conjure no other answer, "I think he just likes having me around for regular sex." I'm sure my eyes swelled as I realized I had made such an indiscrete admission.

"You already said that," Sherry replied in the most matter of fact way.

I tilted my head. "I did?"

"Sure." Sherry bounced her eyebrows as her smile blossomed. "You said he's a man, didn't you?"

My eyes wandered for the second it took me to absorb her jest. Then a grin graced my face as well. "Is Mr. Dobbs the same way?"

"Larry? Of course! Men have always been that way. You know that old joke about women belonging in the kitchen or the bedroom?"

I smirked as I nodded. "Yes."

Sherry winked at me. "Well, it's a very old joke, but a very true one so far as what men really want. They're simple creatures, much like you said. And you have the right idea, we shouldn't expect too much of them. But look what they give us for attending their simple needs."

Mrs. Dobbs paused to make a sweeping motion so as to indicate the house and its contents. "And for what? A meal or two per day, a little cleaning, and thrice per week sex? Not a bad deal, if you ask me."

"Three?" I queried.

"Three?"

"Three times per week?"

"Oh," Sherry said with a wry grin. "I was thinking every other day on average. Not like we have a schedule!"

"No," I replied. "I guess not."

"And you?"

"What?"

"How many times per week?"

"Oh," I said. "I, uh, guess I'm down to maybe twice per week." I hoped my friend could not read in my features that this was an exaggeration.

"Oh," she scolded. "You really must do it more often than that!"

"What?"

"Your husband deserves better," Sherry explained. "It's not so much to ask, really. Is it? How long does it take, fifteen minutes, thirty if you bathe afterwards?"

I shrugged. "I hadn't thought about it."

"Do you not enjoy it any more?"

I twitched my head from side to side. "I'm not sure I ever did."

"Oh, I think you must have."

"No," I insisted with a shake of my head. "Sure, I tried a lot of different boyfriends back then, always hoping to find the right one. But the only reason I'm with Andy is because I got pregnant. If that hadn't happened, I'd probably still be alone."

"Oh, I doubt that, but it doesn't matter now. There's no reason not to make the best of the situation, right?"

I shrugged. "I guess not."

"Do you ever make the first move?"

"What do you mean?"

"You know. If you think someone wants you, and you want them, do you make the first move?"

"You mean sex?"

Sherry's brow bounced skyward. A smile spread across her face as her head bobbed in a brisk nod.

"No," I said with a simple shake of my own head. "I never start it."

"Well, you should!" Sherry declared. "Maybe you've gotten into a rut."

I nodded my accord. "Maybe so."

"Then again, maybe we're both in a rut," Sherry said. "Sometimes I think I could go for a serious change of pace, if you know what I mean."

I didn't know what she meant, but I knew what I wanted her to mean. I tongued my lips and swallowed. Looking down, I found my thumbs rubbing circles on the ends of my fingers. I steered my eyes back to those of my friend. My mouth fell just as I started to say what I thought she wanted to hear, but my courage wavered. I just sat.

Sherry broke the silence with a token giggle. "Well, that takes care of the bedroom. Now what about the kitchen? What are you planning for dinner?"

"I don't know."

"Me neither," Sherry lamented a moment before her face erupted with delight. "I know! Let's cook something together. It'll be half the work and twice the fun!"

"You're right!" I agreed without a second thought.

And right she was. Once in her kitchen, we were as two giddy schoolgirls. We discussed recipes for a quarter-hour before settling upon one. Then we went about collecting and organizing the ingredients. My mind was on the task at hand until Sherry needed a measuring device.

"Grace," she began, placing her fingers on my right forearm, "would you be a dear and reach me the one-third cup please?"

As I extended my left hand for the item, I felt her fingers begin to stroke, even pet, my other arm. I tensed, pausing with my hand still in mid-reach. I looked to my right arm where Sherry's now idle fingers rested near my wrist.

Looking to her face, I opened my mouth, but words still eluded me. My eyes wandered down to her hand, then back to her face. What is she doing? I wondered. And why? Should I ask her to stop? Do I dare even mention it? Do I want her to stop?

This final question required no thought. I tongued my lips a single time before inquiring, "One-third cup, you said?"

Sherry nodded. "Yes, please. One-third."

As I reached for the measuring device, her fingers resumed their delicate caress, petting my arm until I handed her the cup.

She smiled as she moved her hand from my arm to accept the scoop. "Thank you."

"Anytime," I assured her in a whisper. "It was my pleasure."

We went back to what we had been doing. Soon, planning and cooking dinner as a duo was just another part of our routine. Working in close quarters we found many an occasion for bodily contact. Soon, I came to covet the touch of Sherry's hands upon any exposed surface of my skin. Of course, I took every opportunity I could to reciprocate. What had previously been a chore was now another of life's joys. Our husbands did not mind in the least, as the resulting meals were a pleasure as well, albeit a lesser one.

* * * * *

Our husbands were also agreeable to the card game. I was less comfortable myself. As the day of the match approached, my anxiety deepened although I could not find any reason for such an emotion.

I felt like such an idiot as I stared at my first set of cards having no clue as to their value. The arrival of the next hand did not make me feel any brighter. I passed in the bidding on both occasions and the men cruised to a lead.

My eyes were on the wood of the table as Larry dealt the third hand. You're letting your friend down, I scolded myself. You should never have agreed to play this silly game! I raised my gaze across to my partner and tried to apologize with a pout for my inferior performance.

Sherry tilted her head as our eyes met. "Grace, are you feeling ok?"

I shrugged, twitching my shoulders. "I don't know. Maybe I'm just feeling a bit tired."

"You should take off your shoes."

It was my turn to tilt my head, and drop my brow as well. "What?"

"Take off your shoes," Sherry insisted. "And your socks. You might be surprised how fast having your feet bare can perk you up."

"I don't know," I began.

"Go ahead, Hon'," Andy suggested while arranging his cards. "Maybe you're just feeling stuffy. What can it hurt?"

"Ok," I muttered with a nod. Pushing my seat back, I removed my socks and shoes before placing them neatly beneath my chair. That is a little more comfortable, I concluded. But I doubt it'll make me play any better.

I was correct on the latter account. The men continued their winning ways. The outcome of the game was never in doubt. I looked to the clock, thankful the slaughter had taken but three-quarters of an hour.

"Well," Sherry began with a grin. "That was fun. Quick too. The evening's still young. You up for another?"

"I'm game," Andy replied. He looked to Larry, who gave a casual shrug. My husband then turned his eyes to me. "What about you Hon'? You still feeling tired?"

"A bit," I said.

"Oh, do stay," Sherry begged. "I thought we were just starting to get the hang of it."

I looked to my friend and gave a shallow nod. "Ok."

I was immersed in sorting the cards from the first deal when the silence got my attention. I looked up to my partner with a start. "Is it my bid?"

Sherry smiled back across the table. "No. It's my bid. I was just trying to think how daring I should be."

I tensed as I felt something touch the top of my bare foot. Even before my body relaxed, I realized it was my partner's big toe. With a delicate pressure, she ran her digit down the length of my foot and off the end.

Sherry then issued a thoughtful nod. "No. I think you can play this one. I pass."

"Twenty," I heard Larry say to my right, but my eyes we still fixed on the smiling redhead across the table.

I tongued my lips before moving my stretched toes across to pet her foot. "Thirty," I hissed as my flesh met hers.

Andy dropped a few of his cards. "Thirty? Did you say thirty?"

I kept my eyes on my partner's as I stroked her foot a second time. "Yes. Thirty."

"I pass," Andy snorted.

"Me too," said Larry. "What's trump?"

"Hearts," I whispered, though I had forgotten every single card I possessed. Still sporting a grin, I picked up my hand to find I had but a pair in the red suit. Oh, well, I thought. Not like we were going to win anyway.

"Hey!" Andy said. "What gives? Are you two talking across the table?"

I looked up to see my partner grinning through a blush. In front of her on the table she had aces around and a run in the suit I had named. "Who, us?" Sherry asked in a sharp tone of feigned innocence. "We're definitely not talking," she paused for effect, "across the table."

I twisted sideways in my chair as if to face Andy, but I was really gaining the reach I needed to move my curved foot beyond Sherry's ankle to stroke her calf. "That's right," I said in the most placid voice I could manage. "I guess it was just beginner's luck."

We scored big that hand, but soon neither my hostess nor myself could concentrate much on the game. We both sent our feet on increasingly daring missions, each seeking to discover every inch the other's lower limbs. The men won the second game as well, albeit by a smaller amount. Too soon, it was time to head home.

"This was fun," Andy noted as he and I rose from the table. "But maybe we should switch partners next week?"

"No!" Sherry and I cried at the same moment. We looked first to each other, then to our husbands.

"I think we'll learn the game faster this way," Sherry offered. "Even if we won't be much competition in the short term."

Brows high, Andy looked to me. "Are you sure?"

I beamed, my eyes still focused on the queen of my heart. "Yes. I'm sure." That was the instant I finally admitted to myself how I really felt about Cheryl Dobbs. I sensed that hollowness settle in just below my sternum as I wondered if she harbored anywhere near the same feelings for me.

Our husbands did not seem to mind the decided lack of competition the following week with the same teams. The men rolled to another victory that Wednesday, and the next one as well, completely ignorant that there was as much scoring under the table as atop it.

* * * * *

May arrived. Some of our flowers began to bloom, but there were always other plants in our garden, the ones we didn't want. With summer looming, the weeds proliferated. We found ourselves outside nearly every morning tending one garden or the other in the few hours before the heat became unbearable.

"Looks like another scorcher," Sherry predicted, peering out of her window as she sipped her coffee. "Do you ever want to just give up on the flowers and let the weeds have them?"

"Never," I replied, joining her at the window.

"Why?"

I shrugged. "I guess I'm not a quitter."

"Is that all?"

I shifted my focus from the blue of the sky to the green of my friend's irises. "I enjoy working with you."

"But we'd do something else," Sherry began, "if we weren't gardening, right?"

"I suppose."

Sherry smiled. "I thought so."

I tilted my head. "Did you have anything else in mind?"

"Maybe. But we best get to the flowers now, before it gets too hot out."

We finished our coffee and journeyed outdoors. Walking from her house in the humid morning air, I felt like I had entered an oven. An hour of toil in the dirt left me certain of it.

I was literally dripping with sweat. Had I been alone, I should have given up long before, but I did not want to let my friend down, and I had claimed to not be a quitter. But quitter or not, I found myself taking frequent breaks, removing my broad brimmed hat and fanning my face with it.

After one such pause, I donned my headgear and blew the droplets of sweat from my end of my nose, smiling as the miniature fluid missiles struck the wall beside our garden.

I had just finished my chuckle and stooped to resume my work when Sherry reached to pull a weed near me. In doing so, she afforded a good whiff of the odor emanating from beneath her extended arm. At first, I recoiled out of instinct, but within a second I realized I found nothing repulsive about her scent.

It was an animalistic aroma to be sure, but an enticing one. I found myself edging towards my friend taking deeper breaths as I did so. Within a second, a sound reached my ear. The sound of someone breathing deeply, but it was not me.

My chest froze in mid-breath as my head turned to find Sherry's face not half a foot distant. Her skin glistened with the same coating of perspiration that covered my body. Droplets fell from her chin and nose as she met my gaze. Her eyes were as wide as my own.

I tried to swallow the knot in my throat, but it would not budge. Was she smelling me too? I wondered. Did she like it? How can I find out? Stiffening my resolve as well as my spine, I leaned but an inch toward her and inhaled in the most obvious fashion a single deep breath.

Sherry moved her head a tiny, but noticeable, amount my way and filled her lungs, her majestic bosom expanding as she did so. "Do you suppose," she asked in a slow, soft tone, "we need a shower?"

"I suppose we will," I whispered in reply. "But I don't think we need one just now."

"It's getting awfully hot out here," Sherry noted. "And redheads do burn easily. Perhaps we should go inside where it's cooler."

My mind wandered to the air-conditioned interior of the Dobbs's home. I closed my eyes and took another good sniff of her intoxicating aroma. "I don't mind the heat. But we can go inside if that's what you want."

My eyes snapped open as I felt a breeze upon my nose. I saw at once Sherry's nearly adjacent face, her lips pursed as she directed a waft my way. I inhaled again, sampling the pleasant muskiness of her breath. How can her breath smell so fresh? I wondered. Mine cannot possibly be as sweet. Her face was so close. How I longed for it to be just that little bit closer.

"I suppose there might be some heat inside as well." Sherry said. "If that's what you want."

My eyes roamed her facade as I tried to read whether she wanted the same thing I did. Her lips were only inches away, yet they might as well have been miles distant until I knew. I had to know. Almost knowing was not good enough. "I might want that," I ventured.

"Ok." Sherry leaned away. Putting her palms to her thighs, she stood. "Let's go. I've had enough outside work for one day. Maybe we can finish these weeds tomorrow, if you don't mind." She extended her hand to help me to my feet.

"I don't mind," I said as I grasped her palm.

The woman pulled me upward, then issued a second, gentler, tug as I gained my feet. I inhaled a sharp breath as I felt my body pulled adjacent to hers. I caught my eyelids drooping as I again smelled her succulence. My eyes fell to her fingers, still wrapped about my palm. Her thumb moved just, rubbing, caressing the backside of my hand.

I snapped my gaze to Sherry's face and found her expression blank. I glanced at the other houses in the neighborhood, half expecting to see a face peering out of every window. "Perhaps we should go inside," I suggested.

Sherry released my hand. "Yes," she whispered. "I think we should."

I followed my friend around the side of her home. My eyes followed as well, admiring the way the muscles in her legs flexed with every step.

We passed through the exterior door without a word, then stood in her foyer amid the same shroud of silence. Our damp bodies accentuated the coolness of the home's interior, yet I still found myself panting through parted lips.

"You sure you don't want to shower?" Sherry asked.

"Not just yet."

"Do you remember gym class in high school?"

"Yes," I replied.

"Did you take showers there?"

My mind drifted back to the days of my late teens, to a time when I had showered with other girls; an anxious, embarrassing, and somehow exciting time. "Yes," I whispered. "You?"

Sherry nodded. "Yes."

"When you were in gym class," I began before my cowardice could rear its unwelcome head. "Did you ever look at any of the other girls?"

Sherry swallowed as she shifted a half-step closer to me. "Yes," she whispered. "I used to like looking at the small ones. There was one I really thought was pretty. Five foot tall. Chocolate brown eyes. Perfect little perky boobs. Long, black hair. Face like an angel." She leaned closer, so close I swear I could feel the heat from her body. "I couldn't take my eyes off of her."

My jaw fell as those eyes locked on mine. I cycled a breath through my open mouth before I dared reply. "I liked to look at this one gorgeous redhead," I declared, pausing for another breath. "Little over five foot tall. Emerald eyes. Breasts to die for. Face like a goddess." My gaze dropped to her figure before I added, "Body to match."

Sherry remained all but motionless as I brought my eyes back to her face. She looked back to me, her chest heaving, her nostrils flaring with each breath. I swallowed as I realized that the next move was mine. She had moved as close as she would, near enough there could be little doubt she wanted me to close the remaining distance, yet far enough away so that I might still retreat and we could each pretend nothing had happened.

"I love you," I announced. A shudder radiated from my soul, shaking my entire body as I realized the extent of my confession. My throat sought to swallow as I waited for her reply, but the words seemed to have taken every trace of moisture with them as they left my mouth.

Sherry's eyes throbbed, as if in time with her pulse, and mine. "I love you too."

My body sagged, withdrawing but an inch, but what a long inch. We had both said it, those three words that make us each so vulnerable, so human. Does any other creature say them? Such powerful words they are, yet so vague. How does one ever know what they really mean? Neither of us could be certain what the other meant or what to do next, so we but stood, stared, and waited.

Sherry finally moved her hand to my forearm, running her fingers over my skin in a familiar, yet wonderful, way. "Are they really to die for?" she asked, her palm sliding down to grasp the back of my hand. My gaze dropped as I felt her began to move that hand. Drawing it upward, she placed my open palm square upon her bosom, then eased it into her supple flesh.

I stiffened, inhaling in a sharp breath. My fingers at once sensed and savored the softness of her breast contrasting with the hardness of her nipple. Is she just chilled? I wondered. Or excited? My eyes dropped to my blouse and the two nubs plainly visible through the fabric.

"Are they really to die for?" Sherry repeated.

My head moved in a shallow nod. I blinked, as if to clear the sleep from my eyes. But this was no dream. "Yes," I muttered. "They're lovely."

"How do you know?" Sherry whispered. "You haven't seen them."

I tongued my lips. "Yes, I have seen them."

"Really? When?"

I nodded as I gulped. "Every chance I get."

"Well," Sherry purred. "I bet you haven't seen this." Without breaking eye contact she eased my hand away from her chest, carrying it down her abdomen and beyond. She flattened my palm before pressing it to the inside of her thigh and then clamping both legs together. With a bounce of her brow, she pulled my hand upward, then released it.

I gasped as I felt the warm moistness of the fabric between my hand and her womanhood. Fascinated, I pushed the edge of my palm farther into her softness. I was amazed to find her shorts damper the deeper I pressed. She's soaked! I realized. Can that be sweat? Or is it something else? Am I that wet too? As desperate as I was to know, I was even more unwilling to touch myself and find out.

"I think it's time for that shower," Sherry whispered.

I nodded, though I did not want to leave. I had never gone home so soon on any prior day. Perhaps, I thought, she finds my odor offensive. The pace of my nod increased as this fragment of doubt expanded within my psyche.

"I suppose it is," I replied. I stood for some moments, hoping that she would change her mind but my hostess did not move. I shifted my hand from her body to the nearby doorknob. "Same time tomorrow?"

Sherry's eyes widened. A droplet ran down her cheek, though I could not tell if it was perspiration or a tear. "I guess," she muttered.

"Ok," I repeated. "See you then."

I had barely cleared the door before I stopped and brought my right hand to my nose, inhaling the deepest breath of my life. Her scent permeated my sinuses, and it was not perspiration! I could feel my heart pound in my chest with the very thought that I had so excited the woman I adored. I looked at my fingers with awe, envying where they had been.

Oblivious to the possibility of onlookers, my left hand darted to my own crease. I smiled as I found it just as damp. I began to walk again, bringing each hand in turn to my nose, savoring her aroma, then mine, then hers again.

I took my shower, but my right hand I would not wash. Throughout the rest of the day and into the night I often found it close to my face. Each time I closed my eyes and wondered if I would ever smell anything so wonderful again.

* * * * *

I wore the skimpiest outfit I could find the next day as I made the short walk to Sherry's home, prepared for another morning of steamy toil in the dirt of her garden, but hoping for something else entirely.

My neighbor answered her door wearing a smile and little more. "Hi, Grace."

I beamed as I saw her attire so similar to my own. "Hi, Sherry."

My eyes fell from her face to her loose fitting pullover. No bra again; same as me. I forced my eyes upward again. "Ready to finish the weeds?"

"I was thinking we should finish what we started, yes; but I'd rather stay inside today, if you don't mind."

I tilted my head, looking into the bright blue of the morning sky "Why? Is it too hot?"

"No. I'm just more in a talking mood." She stepped backward, taking the edge of the door with her.

I accepted the implicit invitation, entering her foyer. I turned to my hostess as she closed the door behind me. "Did you want to talk about anything particular?"

Sherry nodded. "Yes. Did you eat breakfast yet?"

"No. I thought we might have brunch together after we took care of the garden."

"Coffee then?"

I smiled. "Yes."

I trailed Mrs. Dobbs into her kitchen. She whirled as we reached the tiled surface, startling me. "Is coffee what you really want?"

I licked my lips, then shook my head. "No."

"Me neither," Sherry said. "I want an answer. One answer."

My chest heaved as I inhaled an extended breath. "What?"

Sherry moved closer. "When you said you loved me, did you mean like a sister?"

I moved my head toward my right shoulder, then snapped it back in a brisk shudder. "No."

"What then?"

I smirked. "That would be two answers."

Sherry scowled and shook her head. "Fine. I want two answers. How do you love me?"

I wondered for a moment if she was giving me a chance to say that yesterday was a mistake. Then, somewhere in the back of my brain, a few stray synapses fired, igniting others until a cascade of resolve rolled across my consciousness. The wave rolled over the last shreds of reluctance my psyche harbored. I would pretend no more.

"Like this," I said. I eased my face forward with the same caution one uses when moving a hand toward a potentially hot stovetop. I knew there was plenty of heat where I was going, and I wanted it all.

Sherry did not move until our noses touched in a gentle rub. With some trepidation, I realized we had crossed a boundary. The second time is always the confirmation. We could never go back.

Just as certain I would never want to go back, I moved the tip of my nose along her cheek to her ear and gave her lobe the most gentle of nuzzles. I stiffened with a start as I sensed her breath upon my own outer ear.

"I want you," she whispered. Her soft words seemed to hang in the air like the fragrance of some exotic perfume. She moved her lips to the lobe of my ear and suckled upon the fold.

My breath again came in pants. "I'm yours," I assured her. "All yours."

As mustangs loosed from a corral, Sherry's hands bolted, finding my back, pulling my body to hers. Her grip was like her body, strong yet supple. I went rigid as I felt her warmth through the scant layers of fabric that still separated us. Too many layers of fabric, I noted. Too many

Sherry pushed her face against my cheek, rubbing, almost rutting, until she had worked her mouth around to mine. Our lips just touched one another, teased and tested, then moved away.

"I've always found women attractive," Sherry admitted. "But there's something about you that makes my heart race like none before. It's not just that you're pretty, I mean, that's all it was at first and you are that, but you're so much more!"

My mouth opened, but I hesitated to use it for speech, so afraid was I to say the wrong thing. Even knowing the truth, I found myself reluctant to say it. I licked my lips as I closed them, then steered my gaze into her eyes. Three blinks I took to build the courage to say what my heart knew to be true.

"I love you," I gasped, "like I've never loved anyone one else, like I never thought I could love anyone else. I love you as a friend, but I also love in the way I am meant to love a man."

I exhaled a long breath through my still parted lips as I awaited my love's reply. She but stood for what seemed like the longest of times, her chest rising and falling with each breath.

"Oh, Grace," she whispered, "Sometimes I think I could just melt every time I see you. Even when I don't see you with my eyes, I see you with my mind. I don't know what it means or what we should do, or not do."

"I don't know what we should do either," I admitted. "But I know what I want to do. Tell me, when you see me with your mind, do I ever do this?"

I moved forward, stretching my neck to bring my mouth again to hers. I inhaled a crisp gasp as the edge of her lips grazed my own. It was the last breath I would have for the better part of a minute. The next moment our mouths were as one. There was no more testing. We were no longer timid. Each poured into the other the adoration we had so long wanted to share.

I felt her inhale, sucking the air from with my mouth. Then she pressed our faces together. Our meshed lips began to investigate, experiment, confirm. I whimpered through our clamped mouths as I at last tasted my beloved. Closing my eyes, I sampled her flavor. It was like her scent had been the prior day; salty, sultry, thick, and oh so primal.

I leaned into her as if we could possibly be closer. My legs twitched as I felt an unknown excitement build within me. I felt a firm, burrowing softness between my lips. My eyes bolted wide as Sherry's tongue invaded my mouth. My eyelids dropped just as quickly. I began to suckle the trespassing appendage. Our lips and tongues explored one another. Soon our hands likewise roamed our bodies.

My courage buoyed, I thrust my hand beneath her shirt. It was no bashful venture. I knew what I wanted and, at long last, I knew she wanted it too. I moved my flattened hand across her fleshy abdomen at a deliberate pace until I brought my cupped palm upward beneath her breast. I found her flesh soft, pliable, succulent; pleasingly similar to the feel of my far smaller bosom. My thumb found her already hardening nipple. At the same instant her hands found the bottom of my blouse and began to lift the garment.

Sherry's disrobing of my torso brought a temporary end to the embrace of both lips and body. As the fabric cleared my extended arms, she dropped, tossing my blouse aside as she knelt. Her hands found the small of my back, pulling me toward her. I felt the cool of the air upon my bare torso. Looking down, I thought I could feel her eyes as well.

A host of questions rolled across my timid mind. Are my breasts too small? Am I too skinny? My ribs stick out too far, don't they? Oh, those moles on my right side, what if she...

My self-doubt evaporated in an instant as Sherry's mouth found the shallow central cleft of my abdomen. The muscles of my stomach flexed for a second, before I compelled them to relax.

Sprinkling tender kisses that tickled much more than my skin, she moved her lips up my body, onto the tender flesh of my bosom. There her tongue joined her lips, kissing a spiral pattern around my tiny areola. Though her mouth moved ever closer to my nipple, her route was indirect. My hands moved to her shoulders, exerting a slight tug, urging her onward.

When, after three excruciating circles, he lips at last engulfed my swollen nub, I emitted a long moan. My back arched forward, begging her to suck more of my softness into her loving mouth. My hands slithered from her shoulders to her neck and then upward, into her carroty tresses. There, my digits writhed within her hair as my body began to writhe within her arms.

Sherry brought her hands around, beneath my breasts, cupping them, petting them, as she alternated her loving mouth from one to the other and back. My head fell onto hers. I nuzzled her scalp through her orange locks, gasping and groaning as I did so.

"I want to taste more than your breasts," Sherry hissed, snapping me from the selfish stupor.

I ran my tongue along my upper lip. "Me too."

She stood. "Let's go upstairs."

"Yes," I whispered. "Let's."

My hostess kicked off her shoes. I did the same. With a smile that said more than words, she took my hand and led me to the stairwell.

A minute later, Sherry turned to face me as we entered her bedroom. Her hands moved over her back, grasping the fabric over her shoulder blades. In a motion, the pullover was gone. As she tossed the garment aside, her breasts bounced with a splendor I had but imagined, before coming to rest in their full, feminine majesty.

For several seconds, I could but stare as she stood near her footboard. I had indeed seen her breasts, but only glimpses. Now I could see all of them. Now I could do more than see them. Yes, much more.

Sherry's head dropped, but her gaze did not. "Do you think I'm too heavy?"

My eyes widened. I swallowed, recalling my own insecurity in the parlor only minutes before as she had first viewed my partially exposed form. A dozen answers vied to find my tongue, and I rejected them all. I knew words alone would not do.

Moving forward, I moved my hands to her full, womanly hips. Resting with my palms on her widest point, I stretched upward to kiss her again. As I felt her arms wrap around my body I returned the embrace. I leaned into her. She took the cue. We fell as one onto her bed.

Landing with me on top, we rolled once across the mattress before our lips parted. "Face like a goddess," I whispered. "Body to match." I kissed her again and we rolled whence we had come.

We came to rest this time with Sherry atop me. Withdrawing her face from mine, she looked into my eyes. A lips-closed smile graced her face. I knew her confidence was back. Her hands found my waistline, and the seam of my shorts. Nimble fingers found the garment's button.

My body stiffened as I realized she was about to undress me completely. I gasped, then licked my lips, both in anticipation, and anxiety. I was petrified for three breaths before I moved my shaking hands toward my lover's shorts as she continued to remove mine.

Sherry's lips kept their graceful curve, but parted to reveal her teeth as I fumbled with the fastener. With a wiggle of her shoulders, she left my shorts partway down my thighs. She crawled up my form, granting my hands access to her zipper and my mouth access to much more.

Her beautiful mounds hung over my face for but a second before my lips found their apex. So long had I dreamed of having my mouth upon her bosom, I made no pretext to tease or caress. Forcing my lips wide, I drew as much of her soft, womanly flesh into my mouth as I could manage.

I played my tongue over the bounty within my mouth while my lips worked a steady, sumptuous massage. Forgoing any attempt to undress my lover, I moved my hands up her form, to caress that part of her bosom my mouth could not.

"Oh, yes," Sherry hissed. "Suck them, Grace. Love them. That's so good. Yes, just like that."

Where I was a moaner, my lover, I soon discovered, was a talker. She continued her wanton encouragement while I lavished my long-contained love upon her breasts. Her heartfelt praise enchanted me ever bit as much as her body. I was lost in the passion of giving. It felt so good to please another because I loved her, because I wanted to make love to her, and not because I felt bound by any obligation to do so.

I rode this state of euphoria for untold minutes, alternating my love between each of Sherry's beautiful breasts. So enthralled I was to finally be able to express my love for this woman that I think I should have continued to do so until time itself ended.

Thus I suckled, eyes closed, fingers caressing, oblivious to all the universe except my beloved Sherry, until I felt her fingers contact my flesh just below my breasts. I kept nursing, but my eyelids opened, the orbs beneath them wandering as she traced with one finger a tantalizing path down the center of my abdomen.

"It's your turn," my lover whispered as her finger skirted my navel on its southward journey.

With reluctance, my lips released their treasure. Allowing my head to fall upon the mattress, I steered my eyes into Sherry's. Will she just pet me? I wondered. Or more? Oh, how I want more!

I felt her hands move my shorts below my knees. Assisting the movement, I wiggled my legs, completing my own disrobing as I kicked the garment to the floor.

"I love you," I whispered.

"I love you, too," Sherry replied in the same hushed tone.

This time, we each knew what the other meant.

Sherry crawled up my form and brought her lips again to mine, kissing me as that single extended finger returned to lower abdomen, making its way through the upper reaches of my furred patch.

My hands returned to her breasts. I began to fondle her softness as that blessed finger at last found my folds. Lightly she ran her digit along the edges of my still closed nether lips. My hips moved upward to meet her finger as it reached the lower limits of my sex. With a firm grip on her bosom, I began to rub her nipples over my own. She whimpered at once.

Our mouths ceased their caressing and began groping instead. Sherry brought her digit northward, applying a gentle pressure as it again traversed my crease. On the third such passage, my moistening lips parted, allowing her finger access to the smooth valley within.

My hands left her breasts, flying to her head. Pulling her face to mine, I pushed my tongue between one pair of lips as she slid her finger between another.

My hips bucked again. Sherry's fingers ran the length of my sex, preceding a shiver that ran the length of my spine. I gasped through the kiss as our tongues danced with one another. Sherry must have sensed my readiness. Her finger lingered at the lower limit of its succeeding circuit, tracing tiny orbits in the tender lobes of my entryway.

I whimpered my want through our writhing lips. A moment later Sherry's finger penetrated my passage, twirling slow circles within me as it moved. My thighs clenched, hugging her arm. With another whimper I terminated our kiss, bringing my teeth to nibble her lower lip.

Sherry pressed her probing digit until she found its maximum penetration. Then she began to explore, petting the moistness of my inner passage. My teeth slid from her lip. My head fell to the pillows even as she moved her finger upward within me, as if to lift my hips from the mattress. At the same moment her thumb found the apex of my external folds. The two digits moved in concert, the exterior one in a gentle caress, the interior one providing a courser massage.

I felt a strange sensation begin to build within me, inviting in its promise, alluring in its mystery, alarming in its intensity.

"Stop," I heard myself beg.

Sherry's fingers did not alter their motion. She leaned, then slid off my form to lie beside me, bringing her mouth to my ear. "Let it happen," she whispered. Then she began suckling my lobe.

I closed my eyes. I didn't know what to do, but my body seemed to, and I let it.

A quarter minute later my mouth flew wide. My hips bucked upward, pushing hard against my lover's hand. I heard a shrill cry, and knew it was my own, though I had not intended to emit such a wail.

My body shuddered, all of my muscles contracting at once. The next instant those same muscles released, seemingly taking with them every care I had in the world. I collapsed to the bed.

"How was that?" Sherry whispered between breaths.

I lay wide-eyed, my modest bosom but bouncing as I panted. I sensed my thighs churning slow circles, as if they somehow joined me in savoring the aftermath of my climax. "Good," I gasped. "But, I, uh, think I peed myself."

Sherry shifted to look me in the face. She smiled as she brought her glistening hand into my view, wiggling her soaked fingers for emphasis. "I'm sure of it."

"I'm sorry," I offered. "I didn't know that was going to happen."

Sherry ran her other hand through my hair. "I told you to let it happen, didn't I?"

I nodded. "But the mess?"

"It's ok," she insisted, still combing my locks with her fingers. "I'm a squirter too. I think it's very sexy."

"Really?" I queried. "With Larry?"

"Larry?" Sherry chortled her amusement as she dropped her brow. "He doesn't know how to make me come. No, this is what makes me squirt." She rolled away from me and reached into her nightstand, removing several books before finding the object of her quest.

My jaw dropped as she held aloft a neon pink phallus. "A vibrator?"

Sherry shrugged, then rolled back to me. "What else? Have you never used one?"

"No."

"Then you are in for a treat!" She began to slide down my form.

I moved my hand to her shoulder. "It's your turn."

"No," Sherry replied, continuing her movement, "You know you want more."

"I do," I admitted. "But I want to do you too."

She smiled. "At least let me look at you."

"Ok," I agreed at once, though my conscience knew she was going to do more than look, and I was going to let her.

My thighs parted as she reached them, like the curtain opening on a theater production. Accepting my wanton invitation, she crawled between my legs, her face mere inches from my womanhood. My breathing changed from a shallow panting to a deep rhythm as I felt her eyes on a part of me viewed by doctors when it was viewed at all.

"Oh," Sherry hissed. "You have such a pretty little pussy. All nice and furry. Have you ever shaved it?"

"No." I dropped my brow into a shallow chevron. "Why would I do that?"

Sherry's gaze shifted to my face. "I don't ever want you to shave your hairy little pussy. I love it just the way it is."

Her eyes moved to my left thigh and her lips followed it. I squirmed as I felt her envelop a fortunate portion of my flesh in the warm moistness of her mouth.

"That's not looking!" I scolded.

"My eyes are open," Sherry countered before planting her mouth back upon my leg. She ran her hands, one each side, along the bottom of my thighs, as her lips made love to the exposed upper portions. I squirmed as her mouth made its way northward, kissing and suckling as it went.

Without a word, the hands that had been caressing my thighs moved them, steering my legs into a sharp upward angle, then pushing my thighs to my chest. Putting some of her weight on her forearms, she held my limbs in that position.

My eyes bulged as I realized she had fully exposed my most private places. "Have I told you how much I love your hairy little pussy?" she whispered. "I have, haven't I? I just love the sound of it. Hairy little pussy. Don't you?"

My mind did not long linger on whether I liked the sound of those three words, which is just as well since Sherry did not expect a reply. She moved her face downward until I could feel the warmth of her breath.

"It's so pretty," she continued. "I love how your hair goes all the way 'round your butthole. The little tufts on your ass are so cute."

My lips formed a tight circle as I imagined what Sherry was viewing, a portion of my body that I myself had never seen. I felt so terribly excited that she could look upon what I thought to be the nastiest, most repulsive, portion of my being and still find beauty.

An inch away from that beauty, Sherry pursed her lips and blew. My butt cheeks flexed. My mouth opened, inhaling a sharp breath as I felt the gentle jet of air play across my delicate puckered star.

My lover inched her lips upward, blowing as she went, shifting her focus to my sex. I could feel the hair moving under her breath, tickling me in the most benevolent way. I could not wait to feel more than her breath upon my person.

But wait I did. Sherry leaned to one side, resting her head upon my thigh as if it was a pillow. For a handful of maddening minutes, the only sound she emitted was that of her breathing; long, deep, almost labored. I slid my hand down my side, over my leg and into her hair. I began to comb her locks with my fingers, but still she did not stir.

Just when I began to wonder if this was all my lover intended, she lifted her head. "I knew your pussy was going to smell just like this."

I glanced downward into her lovely green orbs. "Like what?"

"Like heaven," she whispered. "I bet it tastes just as good."

My mouth opened, but a gasp emerged instead of a word as Sherry ran her broad tongue along the heart of my already moist crease. "Mmm," she purred before moving her mouth down for a second pass.

"Oh, oh my!" I whimpered as the warm wetness of her tongue conveyed unto my body a heretofore-unimagined bliss.

"Good, huh?" Sherry paused to inquire.

Shut up and lick! My mind screamed, but my mouth managed to only grunt, "Uh huh." My lover blessedly listened to my mind, her tongue bathing my sex even as my hips began to wander up, down, and sideways across her bed.

Just when I was ready for something else, Sherry sensed it. She buried her tongue in my core. My hips sprang to meet her thrust. Her tongue swirled delightful circles within my entryway, much as her finger had so recently done. But how much better was her tongue! So much warmer, softer, wetter, so much more personal!

"Hold your legs," she demanded.

Without hesitation, my palms found the back of my knees, holding my thighs to my chest. Sherry fidgeted for a few moments. I heard a low hum, then a soft rubberiness at my entry. My eyes widened as I realized what my lover had in mind. Sherry eased her toy into my waiting and welcome core, then cranked the power setting, and my pleasure, to maximum. In short, slow strokes, she began to move the device back and forth within me. The gyration of my hips soon matched the rhythm of her wrist.

The tingling in the toy soon found its way into my body. A second fury began to manifest itself within me. This time I welcomed the feeling, savoring it, reveling in it. I began to issue soft irregular moans as my hips bucked in a fashion not of my choosing.

My body was as a loaded cannon waiting to fire. And Sherry moved her mouth to my trigger. She swirled her tongue once around my clit before sucking the enraged nub into her mouth, playing her tongue across it again in a rhythmic caress.

"Oh, yes," I moaned. "Yes!" I bit my lip. The surge of passion exploded from within me, manifesting itself as a contraction that expelled the toy from my passage. An instant later a wave of moisture followed. My eyes flew wide. I felt the wetness upon myself and knew there must be as much, if not more, upon the face of my lover. I held my breath as I awaited her reaction.

My worry was for naught. Sherry did not seem to notice. She eased the toy back inside of me and resumed loving me with long, broad strokes of her tongue. Soon another swell of rapture began to develop within my being. Again my lover moved her lips to my clit at just the right moment and another wail of passion filled the room.

Only after the fifth such seizure did my body begin to relax. Sherry continued to lick until I released my legs and eased my hips upward. A second later, my ass fell back onto the bed, but Sherry's face remained where I had pushed it. My juices shimmered over her freckles. She looked much as she had outside the previous morning, except it was something other than sweat that now dripped from her nose and chin.

"Your bed!" I gasped, bolting upright.

Sherry rose to her haunches and scooted next to me. "It's ok. I'll just need to wash the sheet."

"But the mattress!" I protested.

Sherry patted the bedding. "I've a liner beneath the sheet. I'm a squirter too, remember?"

I flashed a full smile. "You'll have to show me." I put my hand to the softness of my lover's shoulder, urging her to lie down, but she did not budge.

Sherry chuckled through a broad smile, then closed those lips and brought them to my own. I tasted myself upon her. The flavor only made me want to kiss her longer, and deeper. I did both.

As our lips parted, Sherry ran her tongue to the corner of her mouth. Her brow fell. Her head leaned to one side. "I think your lip is bleeding."

I brought my hand to my lip where I had bitten it. Pulling my fingers away I saw the tips stained red. My tongue found the injury, examining the roughness of the puncture. I grinned as I tasted my own blood. "Guess I got a little excited."

Sherry chuckled, "I'll say."

My grin widened to a broad smile. "Let me see if I can do the same for you."

Sherry shook her head. "You don't have to..."

"No!" I pledged. "I want to." I leaned and shoved. At the time it seemed that I pushed her to a prone position upon the bed, though, in hindsight, I suspect she simply relented to my wishes, and her own.

Trembling with excitement, I picked up her toy and started to crawl toward her feet.

Sherry put her hand to my arm. "No," she insisted. "I want you. Just you."

I took two seconds to comprehend her meaning. Smiling, I dropped the toy and sprang across the mattress until I sat between her soft thighs. Even from my haunches, I could smell her excitement. With a shiver of anticipation I bounced upon my stomach, bringing my face within inches of my lover's still-clad nether regions.

I whimpered a sigh as I inhaled her aroma. Eyes closed, I pushed my face into the damp fabric, taking deep breaths, sampling the subtle, and not-so-subtle, facets of her scent. It's the same smell as yesterday, I noted. How many times must I have already excited her? She really does feel the same way about me! I breathed again, certain that somewhere in her musky bouquet there must be pheromones. No, I concluded with a second breath. Sherry is a pheromone!

I leapt to my knees, my fingers finding the zipper of my lover's shorts. Sherry's hands moved to her waist, pushing the garment as I pulled it. Seconds later, I held the last shred of her clothing in my hand, but not for long.

I tossed the shorts aside without a second thought. Bouncing again to my stomach, I eased forward, my eyes never leaving the rusty pelt that lay at the union of my lover's thighs. For a minute, maybe more, I rested inches away and but admired her beauty, inhaled her fragrance, and told myself over and over again that it not just another dream.

Eventually, I shook myself from my trance. My head popped upward, so that my gaze played along the surface of her soft tummy. "Sherry?" I began in a firm, leading tone. I waited for her head to appear between her splayed bosom before I whispered, "I love you."

That familiar, yet ever-welcome, smile adorned her freckled facade. "I know," she said with quiet confidence. "I love you too." Her head fell backward upon the mattress. Mine fell as well, onto a softness of a different sort.

I rubbed my face into her wetness, marking every inch of my features with her scent, as if I meant for all the world to smell me and know that I belonged to her.

With a final deep breath, I pulled her fragrance into my nostrils and held it there as I put my mouth to her pudgy folds. She was so soft, so sexy, so feminine. I loved her smell, her taste, her texture. I loved all of her, and I let her know it as I explored her with long, loving licks.

"Yes," Sherry coached. "Like that. Nice and slow."

With each pass of my tongue, her flavor increased, and my thrill with it. My novice appendage probed every possible portion of her loveliness, treasuring each new flavor and texture.

Soon the target of my affection began to move beneath me. So selfish had I been in my thoughts that I had forgotten my goal ought to have been giving pleasure rather than taking it, yet it seems I had been giving it nonetheless. Though my tongue stretched between my lips I still managed a smile as my appendage strayed to the southernmost reaches of her vulva.

"That's it, Grace! Yes! Inside. Put it inside!"

I did that, and more. Sherry continued to provide instructions, and I followed them with wanton abandon. True to her word, she was a squirter. The briny fluid stung my split lip, but my arousal made the pain a trifle. I was thrilled, honored, to wear her juices, and to consume them as well.

My lover's sating reached a crescendo, during the height of which she must have climaxed several times per minute. Her passion subsided much slower than it had developed. I lessened the pace and force of my licking as I continued to bathe her womanhood throughout her descent. Her thighs stroked the sides of my head in a petting rhythm near the end, as if they were congratulating, and thanking, me for a job well done.

"You're the best, Grace," she said at last. "Come, hold me."

Wearing the broadest smile that had ever graced my features, I crawled up her body and lay atop her. We began dragging our noses over the other's face, each sampling the fragrances we had left upon the other. Soon our lips met. I whimpered through our pressed mouths. I could love her like this forever! I realized. She's right, this is like heaven, but better. Heaven cannot be as good as Earth, for Sherry is not there!

My beloved ran her hands through my hair as we parted. "I love your hair," she whispered as her digits continued to work the seductive magic within my tresses. "It's so soft. I love the way it shines against your light skin. All of you is beautiful, Grace, but I'd love you even if you were ugly."

She kissed me again, and I her. Her lips and their taste were familiar now, yet still fresh. I knew they always would be.

"I'm not sure I'm as noble as you," I admitted a minute later when my mouth was again free.

Sherry tilted her head. "What?"

"Maybe I'm shallow," I explained. "I'm not sure I'd feel the same way about you if you really didn't have a face like a goddess and a body to match." I paused to smile. "I doubt it matters though, I can't imagine ever looking upon you with anything other than a worshipper's eyes."

Sherry smiled. "I know how you can worship me for the next couple of hours."

"How?"

Sherry rolled from beneath me, across the bed to her clock, clicking the buttons until the alarm time read a half-hour before school would let out. With a sly grin she rolled back across the mattress and atop me. "We can nap until them. We'll have time for that shower you still owe me before the boys get home."

I smiled, but not for long. Soon my mouth was busy with better things. We kissed again. And again. And again. Each exchange was briefer, subtler, than the previous one until the bliss of slumber wooed us both. For the first time for either of us, we fell into that bliss in the arms of another woman. It would hardly be the last.

* * * * *

Weeds have long since claimed the flowers in our token gardens. The fascination we discovered in the dirt there had everything to do with animals, and nothing to do with plants. We've since found better toils to raise a sweat over, better things to cultivate, better scents to savor.

I suppose Sherry and I would have gotten together eventually anyway, even had we not met that one morning by the mailbox. Still, who can say for certain? Life is so peculiar, so special, so amazing; much like my first true love, my last true love, my only true love.


THE END
Scents of Heaven
Copyright 2005 by Penelope Street
Posted with permission at the Athenaeum
All other rights reserved.



This is a work of fiction. To the best of the author's knowledge, none of the events depicted ever occurred. Grace Myers and Cheryl Dobbs are fictional characters. Their views, opinions, and experiences are invented as well and are not meant to promote anyone's personal beliefs or agenda. Grace's imperfect narration is presented in the manner it is to add to her character and, hopefully, to enhance the reader's enjoyment. This story exists for primarily prurient purposes and should not be construed as an endorsement, or condemnation, of any particular lifestyle.




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