Read an Excerpt
‘Cassie?’ she asked me.
‘Hello, Sam.’ I nearly choked. She smiled and touched my arm gently, understanding.
‘Would you like a beer?’
I nodded and sat back in my seat to practise breathing before she returned. I had just started getting the hang of it again when she walked up with two tall glasses in her hand. I took mine and downed two huge gulps without tasting a drop. I hadn’t meant to do that.
‘Are you having second thoughts?’ She asked it with compassion, no clear sound of regret in her voice. I knew that all I had to say was I had changed my mind, and she would get up and leave, disappearing from my life for ever.
‘And third, and fourth,’ I answered. ‘But I’m still here.’ I smiled, feeling a little dizzy from the beer. I hadn’t eaten.
‘We don’t have to do anything if you’re not OK with it. We can just talk, right here, nice and safe.’ She hadn’t touched her beer. Since that first mad gulp, neither had I.
‘I don’t want to talk; I want you.’ The blood all rushed out of my head, and then back up again, leaving me dizzy and blushing. I’d said it. She leant forward and touched my hand. This was the touch I was prepared to throw everything away for. A woman’s touch. ‘I’m ready.’
‘Come on then,’ she said, offering me her hand. I took it, marvelling at the softness as we abandoned our sweating beers on the small table.
‘Your hands seem so small,’ I said.
Sam smiled at me as she held the bar door open. ‘No smaller than yours.’
I looked down and studied our hands, woven together like the reeds of a basket, intricate and beautiful. ‘I guess you’re right. May I touch your hair?’
‘Of course.’ Sam stopped right there on the sidewalk and bent her head toward me. I reached up with my free hand, unwilling to relinquish her soft grip, and ran my fingers through her spikes.
‘Funny,’ I said, ‘they don’t feel spiky.’
Sam laughed. ‘I use mousse instead of gel.’
‘I like it.’ Stirring her hair had brushed the scent of it toward me, and I inhaled deeply. It was the scent of a woman, and tonight she would be my woman. It was the most intoxicating thing I had ever known.
This time I was the one pulling her along toward her car. She opened the passenger door for me with a chivalry that was softened by her knowing wink, and smiled at me as she pushed it shut. I closed my eyes in the sweet solitude of her car and breathed her in. The car smelled like her hair, and like lavender.
She got in a couple of seconds later, and I felt surrounded by her as we drove to her apartment. ‘It’s still not too late to change your mind. I can drive you home.’
‘I want to go home with you,’ I said firmly, and for the first time tonight I was completely, absolutely sure. ‘I’ve been with my husband for 12 years, and I could never stand to have sex with him. I did my wifely duty, but now I need to know. I need to know what I’ve been robbing myself of for all this time.’
‘I know,’ she said, and her voice held all the same sadness and pain I knew was in mine. ‘I won’t ask again.’
‘You were the same way, weren’t you?’ It was hardly a question. Her knuckles were tight on the steering wheel.
Sam sighed. ‘I was married a decade. No kids, thank goodness. One day I got drunk in a bar and kissed a woman, and it was – magic. I never really knew what true arousal felt like before that.’
‘Life has gotten better since then. Let me show you what it can be like,’ Sam said