This is from the opening to a story I’ve recently been working on. I’m fairly pleased with the character dynamics in this piece. I'm now having fun unpeeling the layers of Corinne's character and seeing how the story develops.
James thought Corinne looked like a woman on the verge of orgasm.
She stood alone and seemed determined to remain unnoticed. She was attractive in an understated fashion, wearing an outfit that seemed designed to blend in. Her jeans were neither too light nor too dark: only the wash-faded colour of a late summer sky. Her top was fashionable but unremarkable: a shapeless garment that concealed whatever figure she possessed beneath. Her unassuming hair; the light application of make-up; even her round-shouldered posture: all suggested she was going to great lengths to avoid being noticed.
James thought Corinne was probably disappointed that she hadn’t been able to wear camouflage for the party. He could imagine her dressing in clothes that were the same colour and pattern as the tiled walls of the Hudson’s kitchen. He guessed, thinking back to the conversational games he sometimes played with Liz and her pseudo-intellectual friends, if Corinne had been given the choice of a super power, she would almost certainly pick invisibility.
But he also thought she looked like a woman on the verge of orgasm.
Corinne stood in a carefully selected position in the Hudson’s kitchen. Her back was to the dishwasher and, James thought, it was the perfect place to stand and be seen to be at the party while being completely ignored. The kitchen was busy with the Hudson’s guests constantly milling through. Cherie Hudson made repeated appearances, snatching hot trays from the oven and transferring the contents to freshly emptied plates; Dennis Hudson occasionally brushed past Corinne, collecting empty beer cans for the recycle bins, fishing fresh four packs from the fridge or taking frozen sausages and burgers for the barbecue outside. Conversations started in the kitchen; meetings and greetings erupted around her; everyone passed through on their way to and from the bathroom: and Corinne stood alone and untouched by everyone and everything.
And, James thought, she looked like she was silently coming her brains out.
She shivered slightly, like a blade of grass caught in a summer breeze. Colour darkened her throat and décolletage in the same blush he saw on Liz’s neck and chest when she was close to climax. The ice cubes in Corinne’s highball tinkled with telltale tremors.
If Corinne had stood anywhere else, James thought her isolation would have been obvious enough to draw attention. Too close to the fridge and she would have been in Dennis’s path. Any closer to the oven and Corinne would have been in Cherie’s way. If she had positioned herself nearer to the sink she would have been a nuisance to those who gathered there to rinse plates and glasses and share kitchen confidences. If she had stood closer to the counter, which was laden with oven-warm savouries, she would have been an obstacle to the greedy. But, in front of the dishwasher, she remained a part of the party while being completely distant from everyone and everything around her.
James felt certain he had never seen a fully dressed woman so close to having a public orgasm. The thought made him instantly intrigued. The desire to know more was a sudden, inescapable impulse. She drew breaths in long, thirsty gulps. The hand around her highball was a tight fist. Even though her large dark eyes drank in every detail of the room around her, James could see her expression was glassy and distant with pleasure.