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My Old Flame Ch. 02

Category: Lesbian Sex
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I had an uncomfortable few days after I ran into my former lesbian lover out at our village fete. I hadn’t seen her for 25 years, I hadn’t heard a peep from her in all that time, since I was 18, in fact. I’d married and raised an adult daughter, become a respected pillar of local society — and then one day she turned up out of the blue!

I tried to tell myself it was just coincidence; after all, she must have been in the village a few days, and she hadn’t exactly come and sought me out. So I pretended to myself I wasn’t interested in why she was back, and tried to simply forget I’d seen her at all.

The trouble was, in a place like Millgate Crossing it wasn’t that easy. When a strange woman turns up in a small, conservative, rural community like ours, dressed in a style that screams ‘Yes folks, I’m a raging dyke from the big city’, people tend to take an interest. Ernie Rossan, the local fruit and veg merchant, had heard me tell my daughter Hannah that Jack — that’s what she’s always called herself — was an old friend of mine, and within days the whole village knew. I got casual enquiries as to who she was. I became aware of animated conversations between locals abruptly stopping abruptly as I entered a shop, or the library, as people I’d known for years avoided eye contact with me in obvious embarrassment.

What made it worse was the discomfort I felt about the whole situation. I had always told myself I was in a happy…well, a stable marriage, and that what happened between me and Jack was just a teenage aberration, the sort of experimentation all kids get up to. I mean, my husband, Roger, the local Anglican vicar, was the only other person I’d ever slept with, and since the day Jack had left the village, and me, behind, I hadn’t so much as looked at another female in that way. Not really. There was a teacher at Hannah’s infant school who I was certain was attracted to me, but I never encouraged her and she moved away after a couple of years. But even though I’d tried to, through all the years of my marriage I’d never managed to forget Jack: how happy I used to be in her company, the way it made me feel when she touched me, the warmth of her lips on my skin, how it felt when she slipped down my body and buried her face in my…oh God, I felt so confused.

Of course, a few days after that first time, I met her again. It had to happen, in such a small place. I was behind the counter in the charity shop where I help out for a few hours a week when the bell over the door tinkled and there she was. She stood in the open doorway for a moment, silhouetted by the bright sunlight outside, as her eyes adjusted to the weak electric light which illuminated the shop. It took her a moment to notice me, then she gave a start of surprise and walked over with a smile. She was wearing a black sleeveless T-shirt, cropped to reveal her flat, skinny stomach, black jeans and a pair of yellow Doc Marten boots, which matched the colour of her short spiky hair. She had a sort of barbed wire tattoo running all the way round one bicep. I was vaguely aware of a couple of old ladies in one corner clucking to each other about a middle-aged woman dressing like a teenage punk.

I had previously noticed the piercing which adorned Jack’s nose, but now I saw another: a small silver ring in her navel, to which was attached a silver chain, which extended under the waistband of her jeans. Just as I realized, with a shock, which part of her anatomy the other end of the chain was probably attached to, she spoke. “Hello again Suze” — in my entire life, only she had ever called me anything but Susannah — “I didn’t realise you worked in here.” She paused, then, as if feeling the need to justify her presence, she added, “I’m just finding my way round the village again, just browsing, you know. I can’t believe how little the place has changed in all this time. I suppose just about every building’s got a preservation order on it.” She smiled. It was probably true — Millgate Crossing’s that sort of place.

I returned the smile weakly. “So, what are you doing back here after all these years?” I was desperate to know the answer, but I strived to keep my enquiry casual.

She shrugged. “Well, I had a couple of weeks free, and I thought it might be nice to come back and see the old place again. I never expected to see you though. I thought you’d have spread your wings and flown from this dump long ago.” Jack and her slutty mother had lived for a while on the council estate which is attached to Millgate Crossing — the bit the hordes of tourists who visit us never see. I asked if that was where she was staying now. “God, no, mum hasn’t lived here for years. I think she’s in Manchester now, but we haven’t spoken in ages. No, I’m renting one of the little holiday cottages in King’s Passage.” The street Jack mentioned, with its row of quaint whitewashed thatched dwellings, is one of the most photographed in the country. “So how are you?”

It was my turn to shrug. I gave the standard “I’m fine” response, then we stood gazing at each other awkwardly. Apart from the weather, we’d exhausted the usual range of polite small talk. I became acutely aware of the old women in the corner pointedly not looking at us, their ears swivelled in our direction like radar dishes. I cleared my throat self-consciously. “Look, you should come round for a cup of tea sometime, and we can have a proper chat.”

Jack responded almost before I’d finished speaking. “That’d be lovely Suze. When would be good for you?”

Shit!, I thought. Why the hell had I suggested that? I mentally debated whether it would be better to make it a time when Roger and Hannah were going to be around, as a safe buffer between us — or whether it would be better for Jack and me to be alone, whether we had real things to say to each other. Taking a deep breath, I suggested the following afternoon. Jack whipped a tiny Filofax out of her shoulder bag and noted down the appointment. Then she wandered round the shop for a few minutes, her friendly smile to the two old biddies being rewarded with suspicious frowns. She bought a couple of tatty Ursula Le Guin paperbacks, then left with a cheery “See you tomorrow.” As she left, I saw another tattoo in the small of her back, just above her low-riding jeans: a large blue butterfly surrounded by curly black lines with smaller butterflies flittering between them.

It felt as if I spent the entire next 24 hours cleaning and tidying the house. You know how it is — someone’s coming round to see you, not your home, but you’d feel mortified if they found a speck of dust. I employed a cleaner at one time, but it didn’t last long because I used to spend the entire day before she came brushing and dusting, so she wouldn’t find any dirt! Hannah could tell at breakfast the next morning that I was nervous. She’d already displayed an unwelcome curiosity about Jack. I guessed she suspected my hyper state was something to do with my old friend, but I ignored my daughter’s unsubtle probing as to whether I had any plans for the day and so on. She was home from university for the summer, and was heading into the local town for the day with friends to shop and see a film.

At two o’clock on the dot the front door bell rang and, my heart in my throat, I admitted Jack to my home. My father had occupied the vicarage before my husband, so Jack knew it well, but she’d never before been inside. She was dressed in a simple white sleeveless dress, with bare legs and platform rope sandals. I reflected that if she’d just dressed like that normally every gossip in the village wouldn’t be talking about her. I guided her into the front room and she perched on the edge of an armchair — the one Roger normally occupies. When I offered tea, she replied, “I’d prefer coffee if you’ve got it — black, no sugar.”

I took my time grinding the beans and making the coffee — we normally just drink instant at home. Then, placing our cups on a tray, I took a deep breath and returned to Jack. She was standing by the mantelpiece, studying the family photos. She turned and gave me a warm smile. “Your daughter’s beautiful — just like her mother.”

I snorted as I sat in my chair. “Rubbish, I was never beautiful. I don’t know where she gets it from.” I had had a pretty face but I was a big awkward girl, with a large bust, substantial bum and sturdy legs. The long chestnut hair I’d had when Jack knew me before was now cut sensibly short, with the first strands of grey beginning to appear.

Jack sat opposite me and lifted her coffee cup. She shook her head slightly. “You’re wrong Suze. You still are beautiful. You were — and are — the most beautiful woman I’ve ever…known. On the outside and on the inside.” I had never got used to receiving those kinds of personal compliment, and I felt my cheeks turning red. Jack chuckled. “You always used to blush when I said things like that. But I always meant it Suze — I’ve never lied to you, about anything.”

God, she was being up-front with me. My English sensitivities weren’t used to that sort of thing. As she gazed at me with her beautiful dove grey eyes it was as if the past 25 years had never happened. My mouth was dry, my heart racing, and my pussy twitching, exactly like it had been all those years before — when Jack looked at me just the way she was looking at me at that moment. Dragging my eyes away from hers, I tried to change the subject. “So what are you doing back here Jack — really? I mean,” I added hurriedly, “you said you didn’t expect to see me here.”

She sat back in her chair and sipped her coffee, staring at the ceiling. “No, I didn’t expect to see you. But I hoped I might. I had what they call a life-changing incident a year or so ago. I was diagnosed with the big C.” I couldn’t help gasping at that — she’d had cancer. Oh my God. She smiled at my reaction and continued. “Oh, I’m fine now, thanks to modern medical science, but for a while it looked like touch and go whether they’d caught it in time. They say your whole life flashes before your eyes when you’re drowning, and I suppose in a way that happened to me. I reflected on my life, and started to think about what had been important to me, what really mattered.

“I tried to contact my mother, through a relative, but she still doesn’t want to know me. And the other thing that really mattered to me, that always has — was you. I had no way of knowing where you were, but I thought if I came back here at least the place would remind me of the times we had together, and maybe I’d hear something about how you were, what you were doing, and where you’d gone.”

My stomach felt as if it had dropped through the floor. Jack had almost died, and now she’d come looking for me. She’d asked me to go with her once before, and I’d chickened out. Was that what she was leading up to again? My mind whirling I asked, as much for something to say as anything, “When you left here — where did you go?”

She gazed into the middle distance, her mind somewhere else. “I went to London at first. I hooked up with a German chick there and followed her back to Bremen. It didn’t last, and eventually I wound up in Hamburg.” I smiled. Jack had always wanted to travel. “I was in a band for a while — we actually had a couple of minor hits in Germany. Then I blew it by seducing the guitarist’s wife. It was his band, so that was that. I had some bad times after that. I ended up in prison for a few months for possession. Pot.”

She noticed me gaping at her in shock, and laughed softly. “Oh, I was never a dealer, and I stopped using once they let me out. These days, since the cancer, I don’t drink, I don’t smoke…I hardly indulge in any vices.” She flashed me a suggestive grin, then her face faded back into her recollections. “Anyway, I met a woman in the nick who set me up hooking on the Reeperbahn. Eventually, me and a few of the other girls bought a place, and we set up as a sort of collective.”

My head was reeling. “Jack — are you saying you were a prostitute? But I didn’t think you had any interest in men.” Jack used to hint to me in the old days that her mother was ‘on the game’, and Jack had seemed to despise her for it.

She grinned at my naivety. “I was a high class provider of executive relief services. My being English was a big selling point. I adopted this poncey upper class accent and called myself Lady Susannah.” She grinned at my reaction to her having used my name. “As for the blokes, you’re right, I’m 100 per cent dyke. But I didn’t make love to them, I just fucked them. Fucked ’em and sucked ’em.”

I just stared at her. I heard myself ask, “Are you deliberately trying to shock me?”

She looked crestfallen at that. “I’m sorry. You did ask, and I thought you wanted to know. Like I said, I’ve never lied to you. Do you want me to go on?” I nodded feebly. What Jack was describing was so utterly alien to me, so totally removed from my cosy little middle class life as a country parson’s wife, that I couldn’t even begin to really comprehend it. I couldn’t help wondering what road I would have been led down if I’d gone off with Jack all those years ago. Would I have ended up selling my body in some squalid red light district as well? Or, if we’d been together, would her life have been radically different, much better — in my eyes, at least.

I realised she was speaking again. “Okay, well, I carefully put my pennies away, and got lucky with some property investments, and eventually I decided it was time to get out. So I took my son and tried to build a new life for us.”

Jesus Christ, I thought, what’s she going to say next? Feeling faint, I asked, “Your son?”

“Yeah, Marc — Marcus, really. He’s 17 now. He’s a really good kid, and so bright — Christ knows where that comes from. He was a mistake, I couldn’t even say for sure who his father was, but I decided to go through with it and I’ve never regretted it for a day. Anyway, I found I enjoyed the property stuff, so I cleaned myself up, used a few contacts and got a job with an estate agent. Three years of that, then I was on holiday in Nice and got chatting with an English property broker there, and he offered me a job, selling luxury villas to ex-pats and rich Yanks. Then, about five years ago, he retired and a colleague and I bought out the business. I live in a place called Grasse, in the hills above Nice. It’s a lovely little town, with tiny old streets and a shaded piazza with open air cafés. You’d like it.” Strangely, I’d actually heard of Grasse. I’d read about it in some women’s magazine, because it’s a renowned centre of the perfume industry.

Jack added, “I actually haven’t worked much since my illness, but my partner’s been very good about it.” Something must have flashed across my face, because she qualified the statement. “My business partner. I haven’t been…close to anyone…for three or four years now. I discovered a talent for painting while I was recuperating, sort of post-Impressionist. A gallery owner in Villefranche likes my stuff, and I’ve sold a few works. That’s how I’ve been spending a lot of my time here — sitting beside the river at the back of my cottage, painting.”

We sat silently for a few minutes after that, sipping our coffee, both lost in our own thoughts. Mine were of a beautiful French village, and how nice it would be to stroll to a shady café in the heat of the Mediterranean sun. Jack finally broke the silence. “Well, what about you? I said you’d end up marrying a vicar, but I didn’t think you really would! As I remember it, you didn’t even believe in God.” I still don’t: I supported Roger’s work, but he was always aware I couldn’t share his faith. Jack carried on, “I expected you to have shaken the dust of this place off your feet years ago.” I tried to smile, but couldn’t quite manage it. A look of pain crossed Jack’s face. “Oh Suze. Are you happy? Truthfully?”

I gave a sigh, but it somehow came out ragged, almost like a sob. Summoning all my strength, I forced on my best professional vicar’s wife smile, and said, “Roger’s a good husband, a good provider, a good father to Hannah. He’s very popular in the community.”

Even to me it sounded pathetic. Jack stared intently at me, looking as if she wanted to cry. She half-whispered, “But does he make you happy? Does he love you? Do you love him?”

What was I supposed to tell her? That I’d never loved him, he’d just been kind to me when my parents were ill and she, Jack, had left me? That my 23-year marriage had been a sham, a waste of my life? That my older, balding, bespectacled, pipe-smoking husband was a cold, passionless man who didn’t understand the real meaning of the word love? That we hadn’t made love, if you could call it that, for over two years? That even on my wedding night, after Roger and I had had sex for the first time, I lay in the dark with tears rolling down my cheeks, wishing it was Jack lying beside me? That not a year had gone by when I hadn’t thought of Jack, and what we’d had together for those few precious months so many years ago? I felt attacked and cornered, and I’m afraid I snapped at her. “I lost any childish fantasies about the existence of happy ever after long ago. Look, I’ve got a comfortable, settled life, I have lots of friends, I’m very involved in the community, I’ve got a daughter I love with all my heart, and…yes, I’m happy, thank you very much.”

I felt quite drained after that. I was carefully controlling my breathing, because I knew if I didn’t I would lose it and start crying. Jack just stared at me in silence. Then she slowly shook her head, leaned towards me in her chair, and whispered, “It’s not enough. Not for you Susannah. You deserve so much more than that. You’re the sweetest, loveliest person I’ve ever known. You deserve someone who cherishes you, who dotes on you; who loves you with all the passion they’ve got.”

I couldn’t stop the tears then. As big drops trickled slowly down my cheeks, I snivelled, “Is that what you came here for? To tell me what a crap life I’ve got? That I’ve thrown it away while you’ve been gallivanting around Europe getting high and screwing half the population of the continent?”

Jack edged closer to me. I thought she wanted to come and hug me, but was unsure how I’d react. Her voice still barely audible, she said, “That day, when I asked you to leave this shithole with me, and I told you I loved you. I’m not sure if you knew just how much you hurt me when you said you didn’t love me, that you didn’t think it was possible for girls to really love each other. Even after that, I still thought you might change your mind and come with me. I sat outside this place for half an hour the day I left, waiting for you. When I did go I had to stop the bike just up the road, because I was crying too hard to see. I felt as if my heart had been wrenched out, and was lying in the gutter back in Millgate bloody Crossing. I tried to hate you for a while, but I never stopped loving you Suze. Never. If you’d said you loved me too that day, I might not have gone. I might even have come to East bloody Surrey with you, and watched you trot off to university every day while I sat on the checkout at Woolworth’s or something.”

I stared at her mortified, the blood draining from my face. We could have stayed together — had I not been such a coward, terrified to admit even to myself that I had what my hateful father would have called unnatural feelings for another girl. I started crying harder, but still Jack didn’t come to me. She continued, her eyes locked on my face. “When I was lying in hospital believing I’d got days to live, the one face I wanted to see, apart from my son, was yours. The reason I’ve always been shit at relationships is that I could never give myself completely to my lovers. They always knew that they were coming off second best to the girl in my past that I’d never talk about.” She paused, chuckled humourlessly and shook her head. “You know, I went to the East Surrey campus one day, a couple of weeks after you started there. I hung around all day, and just as I was giving up hope I spotted you, chatting with some of your friends. I very nearly went over to you and got down on my hands and knees and begged you to come with me.”

“I wish you had!” The words were out of my mouth before I could stop them. The floodgates opened then, and I buried my face in my hands as my shoulders heaved, and I released my pain and anguish in huge, gasping sobs. In a moment I felt Jack’s arms circling me from behind my chair, holding me, her cheek pressed to mine as she shooshed me, and stroked my hair, and kissed the tears from my face.

It took me probably ten minutes to calm down; then I felt more embarrassed than anything else. I snatched a paper tissue from the box on my side table, starting to apologise, but Jack shooshed me again, then squatted by the side of my chair, holding my hands in hers. “It’s not too late Suze. We’ve both made mistakes in our lives, done things we regret. But if I’ve learnt anything, it’s that you can reinvent yourself. I’ve started over loads of times. It’s never too late to start again. We’ve got a chance now to repair the biggest mistake either of us ever made.”

I pulled one of my hands from hers and wiped at my eyes again. Then, with a deep, shuddering breath, I replied, “Your wrong Jack. It is too late. We split up back then because I was a bloody coward. And I’m still a bloody coward. I despise myself for it, but there it is. I’ve never had your strength. I know my life’s shit, but I’ve got Hannah and I rejoice in her every day, even now she’s away studying for months at a time. I can’t just give up what I’ve built here over the last 23 years. I love you, I truly do, and I always did, but…I’m just not brave enough for what you’re suggesting.”

She turned, still in her squatting position, and stood with her back to me. Then she made her way to the door. When she turned back I saw that she was crying now. Her voice choked with emotion, she said, “Suze, I love you and I’ve always known you love me — I was just too proud and stupid back then to ignore your lie. We belong together. You wouldn’t lose Hannah, not necessarily, and you wouldn’t be leaving anything else behind that really matters to you. I’ll be leaving here in a couple of days, and I won’t be coming back. I’m asking you to come with me. Please Susannah, don’t do this to us — not again.” With that she fled, and I heard the front door bang shut. I slipped to the floor and lay on the carpet, in a foetal curl, sobbing into my hands.

I had barely pulled myself together when Hannah got home two hours later. My eyes were red-rimmed with crying, and she could see something was badly wrong, but I tried to dismiss her concern. Roger didn’t notice a thing when he arrived home. He left again barely an hour later for a parish council meeting. The moment the front door closed behind him, Hannah stood up and switched off the TV. Then she pulled me gently to my feet and sat me beside her on the sofa. Holding both my hands, just as Jack had a few hours earlier, she said, “Mum, I know something’s the matter, and I won’t leave you in peace until you tell me what it is. It’s something to do with that Jackie woman isn’t it, the dykey one. Has she done something to upset you?”

I shook my head, my throat too clogged with emotion to speak. Hannah looked close to tears herself, and there was a note of despair in her voice as she said, “Mummy, please, you’re worrying me. Please tell me what it is.”

She hadn’t called me ‘mummy’ in years. Even as my tears started again, I smiled at my daughter and stroked her hair. Croakily, I said, “It’s all right darling, I’m fine, really I am.” Then I started to tell her about Jack. I hadn’t meant to, not really, but once I started it all came flooding out: how Jack had befriended then seduced me, how we’d made love, the way we split up, my thoughts about Jack over the years, and some of what we’d said to each other that afternoon. The only bit I left out was Jack asking me to leave Roger for her. I would have expected to shrivel with embarrassment at discussing such intimate things with Hannah, but somehow it felt cathartic discussing it with a third party, even one who was my own offspring.

I’m not sure how I expected Hannah to react. Maybe incredulity and revulsion at her mother’s secret lesbian past. Perhaps derision at the idea of two sad middle-aged losers mooning about each other halfway across Europe for years. Possibly even outrage at the fact that I’d been thinking about Jack when I should have been giving Hannah’s father my love and devotion. I certainly didn’t expect what did happen. Hannah’s cheeks were damp with tears, and, in a very small voice, she said, “Mum, that’s such a sad, beautiful story. How does it end?”

I stared at her, slightly bewildered. “I told you Hannah, it has ended. Jack’s leaving for home in a couple of days. We’re never going to see each other again.”

She shook her head vehemently, lips pursed like a little girl ordered to eat her greens. “No, it can’t end there. There’s another chapter to be written.” I looked at her uncomprehendingly. What on earth could she mean? She spoke to me slowly and carefully, as if explaining to a small child why the injection it didn’t want would be good for it. “Mum — you and Jack obviously still love each other. I love you and I love dad, but it’s equally obvious that you don’t love each other. You’re like two people who exist in different dimensions that just coincide occasionally. There’s no emotion between you — I mean, you don’t even argue, at least that would be something! I sometimes wonder whether you even notice each other when I’m away at uni.”

As Hannah’s voice steadily rose I couldn’t disagree with anything she was saying, but I couldn’t see where she was going with it. She smiled and her voice softened as she said, “From a purely selfish point of view I’d hate it if you and dad split up, I want you both to be here for me when I come home. But you only have one life, and I’d hate it even more if I thought you were going to spend the rest of yours unhappy because you weren’t with the person you really love, especially if it was for my sake. I’m still young and uncynical enough to believe in romantic love, and that’s what you and Jack have. At the moment you’re making two people in this story desperately unhappy — three, if you count me. If you and Jack got together that number would be reduced to one — dad, and my guess is he’d get over it, and I’d help him. Please Mum, don’t do the sensible, responsible thing this time. Do the thing your heart tells you to, like you should have done before.”

I couldn’t believe it. My own daughter was sitting here, giving me permission — in fact begging me — to desert her father in favour of my lesbian lover! I didn’t point out to her that if I had done that before we wouldn’t be having that conversation, because she wouldn’t exist. Instead, I hugged her and told her I loved her, and that I would think about what she’d said. That night, as Roger lay beside me in bed snoring, I felt very confused. I knew what my heart was telling me to do. Jack had said it was what she wanted. Even my own flesh and blood had told me to do it. To be honest, I thought, Roger would probably barely even notice my absence. So what the hell was stopping me? After all, all it meant was tearing up the last 20-odd years of my life, abandoning my marriage, and leaving my friends and the village I’d always lived in to move to a country I’d only ever once visited on a day trip, as the lover of a woman I had only spoken to twice since I was 18 years old!

I barely got a wink of sleep, but I finally reached a decision as the local birdlife greeted the dawn. I chose my prettiest dress, a cream cotton one with a button top and a pleated skirt. I avoided Hannah’s questioning looks at breakfast. I was on tenterhooks in the charity shop all morning. At the Women’s Institute lunch I attended I drank a rare second glass of wine to steady my nerves. Then I made my way up King’s Passage and tapped lightly on Jack’s door. There was no response, and I couldn’t see her when I peered through the lounge window. I quickly looked behind the cottages, but she wasn’t painting on the riverbank. There was a hire car parked outside, but no sign of Jack. I nearly backed out at that point, but I was determined. I was going to speak to Jack once more, and try to convince myself that going away with her was a stupid idea.

There was a recreation ground at the end of the street, with a set of kids’ swings. Listlessly, I sat on one of the swings and gently propelled myself back and forth, attracting the odd curious glance from dog walkers and mothers with toddlers, while I kept watch on Jack’s home, assuring myself that she couldn’t be far away, not if she’d left her car. After perhaps ten minutes I saw her — but she wasn’t alone. Walking beside her, her arm linked with Jack’s, was Alison, Hannah’s closest friend in the village. Short, a bit chubby, and ruddy faced, Alison looked as if she might be slightly tipsy.

Before I thought it through I tried to attract my friend’s attention, but she didn’t see me. As they turned up the short path to the cottage I started to hurry towards them; then I stopped as if I’d run into a brick wall. Why was Jack taking Alison into her cottage in the middle of the day? With their arms intertwined. Oh my God, surely not! I walked slowly towards the cottage debating with myself. If the two of them wanted to fool around together it was none of my business. But Alison was Hannah’s best friend, and her mother was a good friend of mine. She wasn’t the brightest bulb in the room at the best of times, and she definitely looked as if she’d had a drink or three at lunchtime. Whatever else she was, I was quite certain from the string of boyfriends she’d had that she wasn’t gay. If Jack was about to take advantage of her…so much for her tearful declaration of undying love for me, the conniving bitch!

With no idea what I intended to do, if anything, I found myself trying the knob of the cottage door. It swung open — clearly Jack had had other things on her mind than locking it behind her. I could hear Alison snivelling from a room on my right. Even as I continued to tell myself it was nothing to do with me, I found myself tiptoeing down the hallway. The door to the room was ajar, and there was a mirror hanging on the wall, at a perfect angle for me to see Jack and Alison settled on a couch, Jack with an arm around the young girl’s shoulder and stroking her hair as Alison wept quietly. Then she groaned, “Fucking bastard! How dare he call me that? How can it not be my business what he’s doing with Julie Cowan at one in the morning?” I guessed that Alison has had yet another row with her latest bloke. He was a bit of a yob from the council estate, and I had little time for him.

Jack continued to stroke Alison’s hair, and nuzzled the girl’s cheek, glancing down her blouse at her substantial cleavage. Soothingly, she crooned, “I know love. I’ve been there, men are all the same. They’re all shits. A beautiful, sexy girl like you shouldn’t have to put up with that.”

Alison turned her face to Jack’s. Their noses were actually touching. Nervously, she said, “Do you really think I’m sexy? I think you’re nice too. You’ve been very kind. Is it true what folk say about you, that you…”

The rest of Alison’s question was cut off as Jack’s lips adhered to hers. Alison’s eyes widened and her jaw dropped, and for a moment her hands bunched as she tried to push Jack away. Then she began to moan as Jack, I thought, slipped her tongue into her conquest’s mouth, and wrapped a hand around one of the big boobs. Alison’s hands uncurled and her arms stole around Jack’s back. I fell back against the wall of the hallway, squeezing my eyes closed against the tears which were forming. And I had actually thought of leaving my marriage for that cow! I heard Alison murmur, “Look, I dunno about this,” but her voice faded as I heard another sloppy kiss.

I wanted to rush in there and stop Jack seducing Alison — just as she had seduced me. I knew I should leave — I had no business there. Instead I stood rooted to the spot, an uninvited voyeur, watching their reflection through my tears. Alison had clearly abandoned her token resistance, and was straining her body up into Jack’s. As my former lover began to unbutton the girl’s blouse, Alison’s hand slipped under Jack’s T-shirt, and edged up towards her bare unfettered breast. With her other hand, Alison wrenched down a cup of her bra, exposing herself to Jack.

Then Jack sat up and dropped her face in her hands. I was as stunned as Alison by the sudden turn of events. Jack mumbled, through her hands, “I’m sorry, this was a mistake. Can you go now please?”

Alison struggled half upright, staring at Jack. “But I was just starting to get into it. Come on, no-one knows.” She tentatively cupped a hand around one of Jack’s boobs, outside her shirt.

Jack sighed, detached Alison’s hand and, turning to the girl, began to button up her blouse. “Look, Alison is it? You’re a nice girl, but this isn’t right for either of us. You need to sort things out with your bloke, one way or another, and having a quickie with a dyke old enough to be your mother isn’t going to help you do that. Now go on, be a good girl and just piss off, okay?”

A curtained alcove containing coat-hooks was behind me, and I ducked into it as Alison rushed from the room, her face reddening in humiliation. As the cottage door slammed Jack sank back into the couch, her hands covering her face again. I jumped as she screamed, “Oh fuuuuck!” then burst into tears. I knew I should leave, but I couldn’t. I still wasn’t sure what had just happened, but my heart ached for the anguish my friend was so clearly feeling. I edged into the room, and said her name. It was her turn to jump then. Wiping angrily at her face, she said, “Oh Christ Suze, you nearly made me shit myself. What the fuck are you doing here?”

Instead of answering, I posed my own question. “What was all that about, with Alison?”

She stared at me, mouth agape. “Oh God, you saw that, did you? What that was about was a stupid old cow making a complete fool of herself. You haven’t answered my question yet.”

I placed my hands on my hips, angrily. “I came to talk to you, about what you said to me yesterday; but I can see now I shouldn’t have bothered. Have you been thinking much about me, between seducing drunken kids? Kind of a habit of yours, isn’t it.”

A look of total misery formed on Jack’s face. I turned to storm out, but the pain in her cry of ‘Suze! Please don’t go like this” stopped me cold. I turned and, glaring at her, sank slowly into an armchair across the room from her. I raised my eyebrows in silent enquiry. She was crying again, and gulped in an effort to be able to speak. “Suze, I am so, so very sorry you saw that. I have never felt so stupid in my entire life. What it was about was that I’ve been wallowing in misery since I left your place, and I felt old, and lonely, and unloved. I went to the pub today for lunch, and I wanted a drink, a real drink I mean, so bad it was like a kick in the guts. She” — Jack jerked her thumb after the long departed Alison — “was having a huge row with some shifty looking bloke, and I started listening in to take my mind off the idea of booze. He went off in a strop, she was in tears, and I genuinely thought she needed a shoulder to cry on. Well, one thing led to another, and…look Suze, I haven’t been with another woman since I got ill, and if I couldn’t get drunk I decided I might as well get laid.”

She peered at me eagerly, as if she was trying to see whether I was buying the story. Coldly, I asked her, “Why didn’t you go through with it then? You couldn’t have known I was watching, and Alison seemed up for it.”

Jack took three deep gulps of air, then cried, “Because I didn’t want her! I only did it because I was so miserable because I thought you’d rejected me — again. I don’t want anyone anymore — except you!” She fell sideways on the couch, her entire body racked with sobs. I didn’t even think about it: I was beside her in an instant, cuddling her body to me, holding her, rocking her, making soothing noises, stroking her hair, as I used to do for Hannah when she was small. I knew then that I had made my decision. Gradually, Jack’s crying eased to no more than a whimper. Her face pressed into my shoulder, she mumbled pitifully, “Suze, I can’t bear the thought of going away from here and never seeing you again. I don’t know what I’ll do.”

I kissed her hair, and whispered softly, “Oh my love, you don’t have to. I’ll come with you.”

Jack froze for a moment, as if she’d been turned to stone. Then tearful grey eyes swivelled up to meet mine. Barely whispering, she said, “What? You mean it? You’ll come back to Grasse with me?”

I nodded, tears forming in my own eyes again. “Yes Jack, I’m coming with you. Oh Christ, I’ve wanted you so much, so very often.” Laughing and crying at the same time, Jack raised her face awkwardly to mine, and we kissed, hard, her tongue thrusting into my mouth. I responded eagerly, feeling as if I was finally being honest with myself, and the rest of the world, for the first time in my life.

We sat, both laughing, both crying, kissing and cuddling, for I don’t know how long. Then Jack rubbed my nose with hers, and said softly, “I don’t suppose you’d like to…” The words trailed off, but her eyes swivelled upwards, towards the ceiling and the bedroom above it. Wordlessly, I nodded and, hand in hand, we climbed the stairs of the cottage.

Sitting on the bed we undressed each other slowly, reluctant to break off for log from kissing each other. Jack’s boobs were still small and pert, her nipples very erect. Mine are the same size as they were when I was 18, but they’ve surrendered to gravity a bit over the years. When Jack lifted each of them in her palms, and sucked and nibbled my nipples, my stomach began to flip-flop in aroused anticipation. She breathed, “Oh Christ, your body’s even more beautiful than I remembered.” Still kissing my breasts, she lifted her backside from the bed as I slipped her black thong panties down her legs. The tufty orange pubes I remembered were gone, and in their place on her pubic mound was a tattoo of an Egyptian symbol, an ankh. I winced inwardly at the thought of having that done to such a sensitive part of the anatomy. I saw I was right about her navel chain — it was clipped to another silver ring piercing one of her labia. She carefully removed the chain, stood and placed it on a cabinet, while I studied her slim buttocks and that butterfly back tattoo.

Jack returned and pressed me back into the bed, then I rested my weight on my shoulders and heels as she pulled at my sensible Marks & Spencer briefs. Then she lay full length on top of me and we kissed again, her hand brushing across my pubes. She giggled, “Mmm, I’m glad you don’t shave, I always loved your fur.” I tensed in anticipation as she began to kiss her way down my body. My husband was a strict missionary position man who would never have dreamed of kissing my pussy. My most vivid memory of Jack had always been the ecstasy I felt as her tongue probed my insides, and I was desperate to feel it again. When I pressed my hand to the top of her head and pressed it downwards she chuckled, and squirmed into position.

I almost came just at the feel of her warm breath on my gash. Then she dabbed at my pussy with the tip of her tongue, teasingly. I squeaked and wriggled my hips, trying to push myself onto her. She whispered, “Okay, tiger”, and a moment later I groaned loudly as her sweet tongue pressed into me and began swirling the length of my snatch. I stretched my legs as wide apart as I could on the bed, giving her maximum access, as her hands joined in. With one she stroked my insides around her busy tongue; with the fingers of the other she tweaked my clit and caressed my labia, driving me wild with lust. Within moments stars burst before my eyes and I felt my pussy flood as I experienced my first real orgasm in a quarter of a century.

Jack wasn’t finished, and neither was I. I struggled into a sitting position and, without ever losing contact with my yearning vagina, she twisted onto her back, so that by shuffling forwards I was effectively sitting on her face. She continued to lap at me, and I leant forward, stroking her tits, rubbing my hands up and down her tummy, easing a finger into the top of her pussy and jabbing her clit. She moaned at that, and twitched her hips to encourage me. Then I felt her tongue leave my pussy, work across my perineum, and into my bum crack. Before I knew it, Jack was gripping my buttocks, pulling them wide apart and thrusting her tongue into my bumhole, licking hard at me. Even she had never done that to me before. It was something I wouldn’t have expected to enjoy, but in fact the muscular wet warmth felt wonderful inside me and I heard myself whining like a small dog begging for a treat. Jack ran her tongue back into my pussy for a while, then back to my bum again.

With the combination of Jack see-sawing between my love holes, and my fingers exploring her pussy, I naturally started to incline forwards, until I was effectively lying on top of her, my face inches form her tattooed Mons Venus. When we had been lovers before, when I was just a scared little girl, I had never been able to bring myself to give Jack the oral pleasure she gave me. Now I ached to take her to the same level of joy I was experiencing, and it seemed the most natural thing in the world to drop my lips to her pussy. I kissed her tattoo, and I felt her stiffen slightly, probably in surprise. Then I stretched out and took a good look at her pussy itself. I thought it was really pretty, bald, pink and pouting invitingly, drops of moisture glistening between her puffy lips. I gently blew on it. Jack was so surprised that she actually momentarily stopped what she was doing for me, and murmured, “Suze? You never…oh God, Suze!”

I stroked my tongue firmly along her slit, from back to front, then wiggled it past her lips and into her boiling, sopping pussy. She moaned with pleasure and began slurping at me with renewed vigour. I slipped three fingers inside my lover, and began reaming them around while with my tongue I flicked her clitty, occasionally nibbling lightly at it. I had only ever tasted my own pussy, second-hand on Jack’s tongue. I revelled at how much I loved the full flavour of her on my own tongue, somehow sweet yet sour at the same time. We rolled onto our sides, and happily continued to feed on each other, our thighs locked to each other’s heads. After probably no more than two minutes of me probing Jack with tongue, teeth, nose and fingers I sensed an increase in the amount of liquid flowing onto my face, and a richer taste to it. I increased the pace with which I was caressing her, and she screamed into my pussy, her slim thighs tensing on my cheeks. Moments later I felt as if my entire body had caught fire, every nerve ending vibrating, as nuclear explosions erupted in my head and I threw my arms around Jack’s thighs, pulling her to me with all my might, cumming over and over for what seemed like hours of ecstatic release.

We were both a bit exhausted after that, and lay holding each other, kissing lightly and giggling like the teenagers we had been when we had last made love. Jack stroked my face tenderly, and whispered, “God Suze, that was the best ever. It was worth waiting half my life for! Thank you so much — I didn’t think you’d actually eat me out like that, not the first time at least.”

I smiled tiredly. “I didn’t know what I was missing. I loved it. Your cunt’s going to be exhausted from now on, I’m going to lick it so much.” She giggled with pleased anticipation and held me tightly to her, tears forming in her eyes.

I slept for a while after that, but I quickly woke at the feel of Jack’s tongue in my pussy again, and one of her fingers squirming deep into my bum. When we finally, reluctantly, left Jack’s bed it was early evening. We returned to the front room, but my departure was further delayed, as I ended up pulling her jeans down and going down on her again, thrusting my head hard against her while she sat in her armchair stroking my hair and whimpering, feet from the uncurtained windows onto the street.

I told Roger that evening that I was leaving him, and exactly why. I felt shocked at his reaction, although I don’t suppose I should have. He simply sucked on his pipe, nodded sagely as I explained the way I felt, wished me well, and went to his study to work on his next sermon. For all I know, he fell to the floor weeping there, tore the place to shreds, attempted to cut his wrists with a letter opener, or wrote an old-fashioned fire and brimstone address about Jezebel and the whore of Babylon; but I doubt it somehow. When I told Hannah she burst into tears, then hugged me, kissed me and told me how happy she was for me. Then I packed an overnight bag and returned to Jack’s cottage.

I love living in Grasse. It really is such a beautiful place, with the cool breezes altitude provides to temper the Mediterranean heat, and distant views of Nice and the azure sea on which it stands. Jack is back at work now, four days a week. She drives down into Nice every day, and I go to my job as a waitress at one of the pretty cafés in place aux Aires, with its flower market, and artists displaying their works. I’ve brushed up on my schoolgirl French, and pirouette between the tables flirting with the old men sipping their espressos and their pastis. I’ve shed more than half a stone in weight, I’m dressing younger and sexier, and Jack and I have a circle of close friends. There’s even one American movie producer, who bought his house through Jack, who wants us to let him make a film of her life story, well, our life story I suppose. Jack’s son, Marc, is very sweet, and drop dead gorgeous. I know he’s three years younger than Hannah, but even so I can’t wait to introduce them when she comes over to stay. You never know…

In the evenings Jack and I sit in our conservatory talking, sipping wine, and enjoying the late Autumn sun as we gaze out across the town laid out below us. Then we got to bed and make love. Jack’s introduced me to a toy of hers. It’s a huge strap-on leather dildo, decades old, and when we’re not sucking, fingering and licking, we can spend hours screwing each other. Marc’s bedroom is at the other end of the house to ours, but I’m sure we must still keep him awake some nights! At weekends we often go to the naturist beaches of Nice. They’re pebbly, like the one back in Brighton — but they don’t let you take your bikini bottoms off here!

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