CHAPTER ONE: A SEXY MYSTERY LADYIT STARTED AS AN ORDINARY day at the grocery store. Boring as usual. Mrs. Miller came for her pills and footpads at eleven. Mrs. Chambers dropped in at twelve-thirty and poked around as usual, hoping something would happen to give her something to gossip about.
And Amy sat at the front counter, watching all of this nothingness unfold, fighting off the urge to take an eight-hour nap. But at 12:45 something happened to wake her up and give Mrs. Chambers an actual reason to gossip. The mystery lady strolled in. Amy snapped at attention, watching her every move with wide-eyed curiosity.
The lady’s petite but curvy frame was wrapped in black leather and lace. Her boots climbed nearly to her knees while her miniskirt didn’t quite get that far. Amy noted a bright red shade of lipstick on her full lips and hair that curled almost halfway down her back. Her look was racy for so early in the day. And for Crimson Valley, South Dakota, it was downright scandalous.
She strutted through the breakfast aisle, whistling to herself like somebody without a care. Then she studied the ingredients on some pancake batter, giving Mrs. Chamber the perfect chance to slip over to Amy, eager to share the latest from the grapevine. “Have you heard about that one?” she asked.
“No! What have you heard?” Amy asked.
“Well…” Mrs. Chambers said. She leaned in closer, as if guarding potentially explosive information. “Word around town is that she’s a… lesbian,” she said, mouthing the word.
“No!” Amy gasped.
Mrs. Chambers nodded her confirmation. “I was shocked too.”
This made Amy stare even harder, more intently. So that’s what one looks like!
“Her name’s Cicely Rossi,” Mrs. Chambers then shared. “A musician from New York City – so you know what that means, don’t you?”
“She’s going to rob me?” Amy asked.
“Maybe. But I was thinking it means this…” she put a finger on a nostril and mimed a sniff, indicating drugs. “But we better be careful when she comes to the counter anyway.”
Amy’s body grew tense as the lady strolled to the counter. With a gentle smile, Mrs. Chambers backed away.
“Hello, there,” Amy chirped. The lady smiled back, but had no words. She was cool, like somebody you’d see on TV or something. When she placed a box of pancake batter and a half-gallon of milk on the counter, the tension slowly floated away. The lady was not a robber. But she was still a mystery. Amy wanted to know more.
She rang up the lady’s order, then said. “That’ll be nine-fifteen, please.”
With another easy smile, the lady reached into her purse and pulled out a twenty-dollar bill, then she made Amy blush when their hands made accidental contact.
Amy gave the lady her change, watching her coolly step away after a coy wink.
“She gave me wink!” Amy gasped to Mrs. Chambers. “What does that mean?”
“I don’t know, but it could be pretty dangerous. I’d stay away if I were you.”
But Amy had no plans of staying away. She needed this mystery to be solved. Who was this woman? What was she doing in Crimson Valley?
She wrote the name Cicely Rossi on a scrap of paper. She tried to reflect on everything she knew about lesbians, but she couldn’t come up with anything. People had whispered things about them, but she never met one. Except Diana Harper. Maybe. And that was just a rumor.
The rest of the day was pretty uneventful compared to that. Only four more customers. But that gave Amy plenty of time to think of this mysterious Cicely. And she thought about her a lot.
At the dinner table, Amy’s husband was his usual quiet self. Not much to say except a few grunts. But Amy had plenty of questions for him.
“You heard anything about this new lady in town?” she asked him.
“I hear she’s from New York City.”
“Haven’t heard that.”
“Not only that, but she’s a… lesbian.”
Michael wrinkled his brow, looking like he wasn’t sure he’d heard her correctly.
“That’s right! That’s what Mrs. Chambers says anyway. I’m going to look her up on our computer and find out for myself.”
Michael put a loving hand on her wrist. “Honey, I don’t think you want to go poking around this lady’s personal business like this. Some folks can get a little… touchy about such things.”
“Not this lady.” Amy said. “She was out in the open about everything. I mean, she just let it all hang out. You should have seen what she was wearing!”
“Uh-huh,” he grunted.
“So I’m wondering… if I looked her up on the internet, where would I be able to find out where she’s from? I was thinking I could try to find her on f******k but –“
“Look, Amy,” he said, firmer this time, jaw clenched in anger. “I’m afraid I’m going to have to insist you leave this lady alone.”
“I don’t understand why.”
“Because it’s an ungodly lifestyle and I don’t want you getting all wrapped up in it, that’s why!”
“I wasn’t going to get wrapped up in it. I just wanted to find out about it.”
“It’s wrong!” he shouted. “That’s all you need to know! If you go poking your nose into this lady’s business, folks may start to talk about you. Do you want to wind up like Diana Harper?”
Amy respectfully lowered her gaze. “No, Michael,” she whimpered. “I don’t.”
“Then leave all this lesbian talk alone!” he yelled, throwing down a napkin and stomping away.
Amy’s eyes stayed down until she heard the bedroom door slam. Then she could breathe again.
In two years of marriage, she’d never seen him like that before. She knew he was a man who took God’s word very seriously – and insisted that she do the same. But never before had his views about sin erupted so violently.
Still Amy found curiosity itching away at her. So she tiptoed to the living room and turned on the computer, keeping her ears alerted for Michael’s return from the bedroom.
She Googled the name Cicely Rossi and watched the computer screen explode with glorious images. Cicely had something about her that brought Amy’s smile out. There was a bravery to the way she teased the camera, long hair dancing down her back, giant boobs threatening to spill from her blouse’s lacy trim. This lady’s temping ways make Amy’s mind rattle with thoughts and ideas she’d been warned about.
In the past, the warnings had always kept her away. The stern glare she’d get from Mom and Dad whenever she expressed anything unacceptable was usually enough to shove naughty deeds to the back of her brain.
But there were always moments when Mom and Dad weren’t around. Carving out private time was never easy with three big sisters and a little brother, but sometimes she’d get home early from church and stumble across Dad’s secret magazines in the shed. The ones that were very different than the sports magazines he kept in the living room.
The ladies were so glamorous, so free. They didn’t care what anybody thought about their naked bodies or the scandalous poses they twisted themselves into. They wore satin and silk with stockings that didn’t cover up their private parts as well as frilly bras and six-inch heels that Mom would never let Amy or her sisters wear. And they made Amy tingle in a place she couldn’t tell anybody about.
So she’d sneak off to bed, pretending she wasn’t feeling so good. She’d lie on the bed, face down against the pillow, hips pressed to the mattress until a quiver would overtake her. This started a year or so after she was out of high school and kept going on until Mom and Dad started talking about this handsome young man from Eaton springs who they’d like her to meet. His name was Michael and he was just what she wanted: a good church-going man who could provide for her.
A year later, she married Michael because that’s just what girls like Amy were expected to do. She figured sooner or later, she’d wind up doing things with him that felt as good as that tingle she’d get on Sunday afternoons alone. Two years later she was still waiting. But every once in a while, she thought about those girls. And she wished she could have the courage to be like them.
Today she at least had the courage to look up Cicely’s information. She stared for a while at her webpage, reading the opening paragraph over and over again.
Cicely Rossi is an avant-garde musician from Brooklyn whose music bravely defies the barriers of convention category. She describes herself polyamorous and polytheistic. She’s currently taking a break from touring while spending a year in a tiny rural Midwestern town called Crimson Valley.
Amy didn’t know what polyamorous and polytheistic meant but everything about that opening paragraph sounded strange and dangerous and thrilling. It was everything that her life wasn’t.
And it was also sexy. The itch she’d experience on Sunday afternoons seemed to be crawling back into her life – and into that delicate spot between her thighs. It was warm there and getting warmer. She wanted to shove a hand up her dress to touch herself, but Michael was only a hallway away.
Then she clicked another page on Cicely’s website – the one labeled pictures. Cicely was there, sprawled across the carpet, pouting at the camera, a giant boa constrictor around her shoulders. Her legs were playfully crossed, but a sliver of her dark bush could be spotted.
Amy wondered how’d she feel with this goddess in her arms. Those long curly locks spilling over her own body, those full sensual lips, moistening her arms, her legs. She couldn’t imagine anything sweeter.
Her breath rushed away from her. A light tremble crept across her body. The spot between her thighs soon raced from warm to white-hot. With her legs gently eased apart, she wanted more than ever to tough herself. But Michael…
She took a furtive peek down the hallway. Not a sound. The time was right. So she dared…
First she marveled at the way it felt. She’d touched the area while bathing, of course, and dressing herself. But this was altogether different. She was heated down there now, sensitive to the touch. Even a gentle brush upwards, sent her knees into a violent clank. Then she slowed down, settling into a gentler rhythm, one that pulled a gasp from her.
As the itch slipped further up her body, her eyelids fluttered. A second hand landed on her mouth, just in case an incriminating moan fell from her lips. She clicked on a second picture, this one a close-up of Cicely’s face, her pouty lips puckered and her eyes half-shut. The photo’s intimacy riveted Amy. This goddess seemed only inches away, her skin close enough to touch, to smell, to taste. With her hand angled toward her crotch, Amy wondered if, at the time the photo was taken, this lady was touching herself as she was, stroking her hot p***y into a glorious inferno.
The thought of such a connection sent lightening bolts of passion through her. Sweat flooded from her forehead. She tossed her head back, gazing into the ceiling fan above, watching it spin and spin as her body climbed closer and closer to a perilous peak.
She could feel herself getting closer to something, edging into a light, a warm cloud that promised unending joy. But instead, she heard footsteps, stomping closer and closer. Oh no! Michael!
She snatched her hand away, clamped her legs shut just as he entered the room. But the images on her computer lingered...
She reached for the keyboard, hoping to snap them away, but it was too late.
“What in God’s name is this!?” he demanded.
Amy had no words. Her body remained disheveled – hair a mess, face flush, clothes disturbed. It was too late to pretend it wasn’t happening. But she tried anyway. “Can you believe this kind of filth is available on the internet!” She yelled, rising to her feet. “Can you?!”
Michael stared at his wife. “Exactly!”
“I was just going to write these people an angry letter for sending me this depraved stuff in my email!” Amy was pacing around the room like a penned bull. “This kind of thing just gets me all…”
It was a fine performance. Her husband’s softening face suggested he bought it. “Amy, how about if you take a seat and settle down here.”
“Settle down!” she yelled, feigning an eruption. “Here I was just strolling through the internet, hoping I could find some information that might help me get…” She curled into a shaking ball, wetting her face with fake tears.
“What is it, honey?” he asked, stroking her long hair. “Might help you get what?”
“Pregnant,” she whimpered. “I was feeling so bad about not being able to bear you a child.”
He roped her into a clumsy hug. Intimacy was never easy for him. Then he tucked her head on his shoulder. “Honey, don’t you worry about that. I’m sure when the time is right, the good lord will reward you for being a wonderful wife. Provided you stay true to his word.”
“I will,” she said, voice shaky now.
Michael studied her face. “Wow, this thing has got you really upset. When I walked into the room, your face was all red. You were sweating and breathing heavy. I’ve never seen you that worked up before.”
Amy lowered her eyes, unable to explain the true source of her hot and bothered state. She discreetly clicked off the computer screen, hoping he wouldn’t notice that the star of these filthy photos was also his neighbor – and the woman they were talking about minutes earlier.
“I think I’ll be going to bed a little early,” Amy said, trudged out the room and down the hallway.
“Sleep well, darling,” he said.
When she reached the room, Amy perched herself on the bed, lost in thought. It was a struggle to stifle her laughter. He’s getting so easy to fool. Two years of marriage to Michael had made her very skilled at lying. Thanks to her skill, she had dodged a bullet. But this didn’t dampen her curiosity or desire. Amy didn’t sleep at all that night. Instead she gazed at the ceiling, wondering how she’d react to another woman’s touch. But she didn’t dare poke a naughty hand inside her pajama pants. Michael was a light sleeper. And he wouldn’t be happy to wake up hearing his wife moaning another woman’s name. But this didn’t stop her from thinking about it – all night long.
When morning came, Amy watched as her husband went off to work, stoic and unmoved as ever. It occurred to her the previous night’s cry wasn’t entirely performed. She did feel bad about not having produced a child. In the marriage’s opening weeks, she thought a child might make them both feel whole, like a real couple. Two years later, she still clung to the hope. But for now she needed something else. She stepped out of her pajamas and get into the shower, her mind fueled by plenty of mischief.
First she let the water wash over her, soothing her, bringing her body and mind to someplace else. Someplace where she faced no danger, no judgment. There was no rumor mill to document her misdeeds. No husband’s unhappy glare when a naughty hand dipped south.
Amy floated away, thought of distant clouds and a sky so blue it sent ripples of elation through her body. She lathered her breasts with soap, taking her time. She didn’t want to miss a single spot. And, of course, she lingered on her n*****s, something even Michael never did. He complimented her breasts once, calling them “boobies” – which made Amy laugh. But he seemed afraid of them, only intent on staring from a safe distance. His touch there – or anywhere – felt like jabs from a nervous rodent, too quick, not loving, not warm.
Cicely would be different. Amy just knew it. She knew that Cicely would welcome her into her own bosom, tugging their bodies into a sweet, soft tangle of flesh. There’d be no hesitation with her. She was a loving woman, not a man taught to be stoic and cold.
Amy then let her mind race to Cicely’s mouth. It must have been warm and wet, gushing with love. The thought of a single kiss sent a quiver down her thighs. Growing dizzy and weak, Amy reached for a wall. With one shaky hand rested against the soap dish and the other crawling past her breasts and belly, the moment threatened to become something dangerous. Amy couldn’t wait.
She touched herself, gasping and pushing out a desperate breath. Soon her back found the soapy wall, pressed against it hard and her hand probed further inside, slipping, slithering, chasing after the unknown source of her joy.
Her knees met with a hard snap. The back of her head went flat against the wall. Something was happening. It reminded Amy of those Sunday afternoons spent in a lonely bedroom, thinking of girls with lingerie. Or girls in bikinis. Sometimes she’d think of boys too, but never boys alone. She imaged oiled muscular bodies of men pulling sexy ladies into passionate embraces.
And sometimes she’d think of Diana. But that was a problem.
It was a problem on this day too. The moment felt like a faucet of piping hot water being shut off by an angry parent. Diana’s story wasn’t a good one. It was a warning against what could happen if you got too free, too unrestricted.
Amy hand went flat. She pulled it away from her private parts, then stared at it. It was unclean, needed to be washed. She spent another thirty minutes under the water, every second spent wiping her fingers clean. She emerged from the shower no longer thinking of Cicely. It was time to get dressed and get her day underway.