by Jean Roberta
Sexy stories about first-time hookups are exciting not in spite of, but because of the possibility that something could go wrong: two people who don’t know each other well could misread each other’s signals (hence the need for safewords), or one of them could have horrifying intentions.
Even when two potential playmates are introduced by a mutual friend, that doesn’t guarantee that they will be compatible.
Here is the opening scene from “A Bushy Tale,” my lesbian story from Best Lesbian Erotica 2004.
“Louanne and Thomasina (who could stand being called Tommy but not Tommy-girl) were getting acquainted over leisurely cups of coffee on the patio of Café Mocha. They had been introduced by their mutual friend Mick, a dyke d.j. who enjoyed watching women on a crowded dance floor, and occasionally tried to match them up.”
Tommy explains that she rescues injured animals. Louanne says she can understand why that would be satisfying.
[Louanne says:] “I’ve been a volunteer counsellor on the sexual assault and abuse line for a few years. Dealing with women who’ve been abused is hard, but it’s good to see them getting their lives back, little by little.”
Tommy responds politely.
“You sound like a good counsellor,” remarked Tommy, thinking that some delicate flirting would not be taken amiss. She noticed that Louanne’s face was classically beautiful, and almost innocent of makeup.
Louanne looked charmingly abashed. “I just listen,” she explained modestly. “That’s all we can do. I just wish there wasn’t such a need.”
“I bet your clients are glad they have you to talk to. Do you have any other job?” Tommy persisted.
This implication that Louanne had no income and was looking for a Sugar Mama made uncomfortable prickles rise up her neck. “I’ve worked in the library for eight years,” she snapped, sounding colder than she intended. “Books are my life,” she added. “I love helping people do research. You never know what you’ll find when you start digging for information.”
“I’m sure,” laughed Tommy, stretching. She had an easy, contagious laugh which she sometimes used to hide her quick, contagious temper. She had heard the chill in Louanne’s voice, and wondered if the book-lover thought the animal-lover was stupid. Tommy hated being patronized.”
Notice how easy it is for both women to hear negative subtexts in each other’s comments.
“She [Tommy] reached for the front page of the local newspaper, which lay neglected on an adjoining table. “What do you think of this?” Tommy asked Louanne, referring to the headline about government cutbacks to libraries and educational institutions.
Louanne took the paper from Tommy’s hand, letting her fingers linger. Tommy was slightly surprised, and looked thoughtfully at the other woman’s dark, clouded eyes.
Louanne was looking at the front page. “Aggh,” she sputtered. “The case of the South End Rapist. He’s only being tried for the latest one, but we’ve heard about him for years. The cops are idiots.”
“Have you met the victims?” asked Tommy. This was getting so interesting that she was only vaguely aware that her words might be politically incorrect.
“Not the one he’s being tried for,” sighed Louanne. She couldn’t take her eyes off the article. “Who writes this stuff? Everything he did is described. He tied her up and forced her to – there was vaginal and anal.”
“Male bastard,” Tommy remarked calmly. “Why they like to do it without consent is beyond me.” Louanne noticed that she had the bright blue eyes and freckled face of a healthy farm girl, but her energy was edgy and urban. Louanne decided not to think about consent.
“She’s a teenage girl who met him in a chat room on the internet,” Louanne pointed out. “When will women and kids learn how dangerous that is?”
Tommy decided to play the devil’s advocate. “Do you really think that’s more dangerous than finding a pen pal through a club that’s been set up to bring people together, or even meeting someone at work or through a friend? Reaching out to a stranger always involves a risk because ya never know. And no one can promise you that someone else is perfectly safe.” She paused. Everyone wants something,” she mused.
“Everyone,” asserted Louanne. Tommy noticed a trace of bitterness in the set of her mouth. “But not everyone is an asshole.”
“Doing it to someone who doesn’t want it seems stupid to me,” she assured her companion. “I can’t see what guys get out of that. But desire isn’t a simple thing. Sometimes people don’t know what they want until they see it, feel it, taste it.”
The two women looked at each other for a heartbeat. Tommy reached for Louanne’s hand, and it was not pulled away. Tommy heard a soft, answering sigh. “But don’t some things, uh, hurt no matter what?” asked the librarian. She wanted to know.
“Some things,” agreed Tommy. “But some kinds of pain are good, you know? And some – activities just need lots of good will and lube.” She licked her lips. “And natural wetness. Encouragement. You gotta be willing and eager.”
Louanne’s eyes flashed, showing a mixture of feelings. “Eagerness isn’t always appreciated,” she countered. “Willing women get called some ugly names.”
Tommy turned and squeezed Louanne’s hand. “I have the greatest respect,” she assured her, “for sluts.”
Louanne boldly asks Tommy to take her home, where the surroundings aren’t exactly welcoming.
“Tommy drove Louanne to an old brick apartment building that had a certain period charm. Tommy parked in her space in the parking lot. She helped her date out of the car and herded her, with a warm hand on Louanne’s lower back, up a short flight of concrete steps to a heavy wooden door with the name “Fairfield” on it.
In the tile-floored entranceway, Louanne faced a flight of wooden stairs which were graced with a curved black banister. Grasping it for support, she found it slick with layers of old shellack. Louanne was reminded of the 1940s detective novels that she had read as a teenager.
On the first landing, Louanne paused to catch her breath. Tommy circled her waist and pressed her crotch into Louanne’s jeans-covered butt. “Need a rest?” Tommy chuckled.
“Just – for a minute,” gasped her guest. Embarrassed by her weakness, Louanne moved forward as soon as she felt she could tackle the next flight.
Tommy’s apartment was on the third floor, and Louanne was relieved when the number on the door came into her view. She stood still, trying not to gasp for air. She didn’t want to give the impression of being helpless or out of control.
“Why, babe?” Tommy asked. She smiled coolly. “Why did you climb up all these stairs with me?”
Louanne was taken off-guard. “You asked me,” she exhaled.
“So do you accept every invitation you get from people you hardly know?”
Louanne filled her lungs, clutching the railing. “Well, you don’t seem dangerous.” With alarm, she noted the common sense in Tommy’s question. Louanne didn’t like to consider herself a risk-taker.
“Because I’m a woman? Does that make me trustworthy?” Tommy barked with laughter. “Is that what you believe? Or maybe you think you’re safe here with me because it was really your idea.”
Tommy stayed behind Louanne, holding her by the waist so that her guest couldn’t see her face. “How many times have you advised other women to avoid rushing off into the unknown?” she taunted. “Are you sure you could outrun me if you wanted to?”
This question sounded rhetorical, and Louanne didn’t answer it. “Now you’re here,” Tommy reminded Louanne, her mouth close to her guest’s ear. “You’ve worked so hard to get here that I bet you’d like to stay awhile. Welcome to my cave, honey.” Tommy smoothly unlocked her door with one hand and pushed Louanne forward with the other.
Tommy closed the door behind her and ran a hand through Louanne’s silken hair. “I like reckless women,” Tommy purred. “They’re usually bitches in heat.”
Of course, things heat up from that point on. Louanne and Tommy discover that they share a common interest, something which is probably not quite a fetish. Tommy loves working with real animals, and Louanne, the librarian, loves children’s books about anthropomorphic animals who usually appear in charming illustrations wearing clothes from a bygone era.
Louanne consents to be Tommy’s bitch, so to speak, at least for a day. It’s a new experience for both of them, and they’re both surprised and thrilled at how well their role-playing works.
Role-playing is something we all do so often that our roles seem to merge with our personalities. Several of us here at the Grip play the role of teacher when we’re not writing. We also play roles in our relationships: parent, son or daughter, sibling, Significant Other.
Wanting to be free of our usual real-life roles and try on different ones is probably a major motivator for actors as well as writers. In our imaginary worlds, we can be anyone. We can try on different names, and see if they make us feel like different people.
Underneath our social trappings, we’re all really Anonymous.
NOTE: "A Bushy Tale" was illustrated when it appeared in an on-line subscription website, and the artist gave me permission to reuse his drawing in any way I want, but it's a PDF, and therefore it can't be posted here.