Copyright, December 2011. All rights reserved.
Room for Improvement
“1-800-SPANK ME. I know that number.”
Georgia saw the expression on my face and her face quickly went from fascinated to sympathetic. “Oh, wow.”
I stirred my drink a bit too vigorously as I relived the last days of my relationship with Anne in my mind. Georgia stilled my hand and took my drink away before I got it all over the bar. “Sorry. It still makes me mad. I mean, we were together for two years. Then I find out she has this fetish.”
“Did she ever, you know?”
“Ever what? Oh. No. She never did. Apparently she thought it more prudent to ask total strangers for what she wanted than to broach the subject with me.”
“Wait a minute, sparky. Are you telling me that if she would have asked you to spank her, you would have?”
I shook my head vigorously. “No way. I’m not into that pain is pleasure thing. But she still should have confided in me.”
Georgia pulled some cash out of her wallet and tossed it on the bar. “Gotta go. I have an early meeting tomorrow.”
I sat there a few moments more before deciding that I could either remain alone in the crowded bar, or go back to my empty apartment and be alone in peace and quiet.
After a fitful night’s sleep, I thanked the higher powers today was Saturday, and I didn’t have to go to the office. Instead, I put on a pair of sweats and grabbed my purse and made sure that my gym membership card was in my wallet. Once assured, I left my apartment and found my car parked haphazardly in the resident’s parking lot. Thanks to the spillage, I hadn’t drunk enough booze the night before to be legally intoxicated. But I was pissed. On the way home from the bar, I kept replaying the last blow up that we’d had, Anne and I.
“For god’s sake, Margo, you’d think that I’d killed the pope and fucked his dog, the way you’re carrying on.” Anne shifted her position on the couch so that she had her back mostly turned toward me.
“You might as well have. What were you thinking?”
She shot me a perturbed look. “I was thinking that I’d like to spice things up in the bedroom. Honestly, Margo. You’re about as adventurous in the bedroom as…as…I don’t know. You just aren’t.”
I was getting exasperated with her. She’d seemed preoccupied lately, and when it came to making love, she seemed to want to get it over as quickly as possible. I didn’t understand what was going on, but I was too afraid to ask.
“You want to be spanked? I didn’t know you were into that S and M stuff. Why would you want that?” I sat down on the ottoman directly across from her. “Tell me, Anne. We used to love to be together. What happened?”
“Nothing.” Then she turned her cool gaze toward me and seemed to be considering her words. She opened her mouth, but nothing came out. Instead, she stood up and went back to the bedroom and quickly stuffed a few things in an overnight bag.
I followed her to the bedroom and couldn’t believe my eyes. She was leaving me. “Anne? What are you doing? Where are you going?”
She came back out of the bedroom and picked up her cell phone, wallet, and keys. “Nothing happened. I’ve been faking it.”
I followed her back to the living room and watched silently as she picked up her wallet, cell phone, and keys. She gave me one last look before opening the door and walking out of my life.
“I’m going to Trudy’s.”
“The girl on the phone? The “spank me” girl?”
“She’s expecting me. She said I had a lot more fire than her old girlfriend. So as soon as she dumped her, she told me we’d be together. She can give me what I need.”
I was shocked to the core. Anne walked out of my life. I lost a TV set when later that night when the 1-800 SPANK ME” girl’s commercial played and I picked up a chair and threw it at the set.
Before heading out to the gym, I called Georgia, waiting until sufficient time for her to wake up and not kill me for calling too early. Just before the call went to voice mail, she picked up.
“Better be important. I was having a threesome with Rizzoli and Isles.”
“Really? And you didn’t invite me?” I couldn’t resist teasing her. I’d known Georgia since we both came out as college freshmen.
“You expect me to share Jane Rizzoli? In your dreams. Well, in my dreams. Which you interrupted. Damn, woman! It was just getting good, too.”
“You’re a horn dog, George. But you can repent by going to the gym with me. I’ve had this membership for months and have never actually touched any of the equipment.”
“You’re delusional, Margo. But you can repent by buying a stack of pancakes, heavy on the butter and syrup, and a double order of bacon.”
I pretended to deliberate. “Heavy breakfast or weight lifting. Step aerobics or walking down to the car and then into the restaurant. Okay. You win. If I count to four while forking up my breakfast, I can count it as exercise.”
We waited a few minutes to be seated while the servers bustled around and fought over us. We were notorious good tippers, since it guaranteed us great service on subsequent visits. This morning, our favorite server, Sammy, was there, and we asked for her. Sammy was a baby dyke and looked to be on the verge of discovering her sexuality. Every time we came to the restaurant, she blushed to the roots when we paid her or the food compliments.
“Hi, Sammy.” Georgia gave the young server her best smile. Of course, Sammy reacted by blushing to the roots of her hair. She had a major crush on Georgia, and Georgia was a dog.
“Morning. Can I get you some coffee or juice to get you started before you order?”
Sammy was adorable. Georgia was irrepressible.
“I’d love some juice. It’s freshly squeezed, isn’t it? I know that each sip is delectable.”
Sammy looked like she was going to swallow her tongue.
“Two juices. And we can order now.”
“Yes ma’am.” She pulled out her order pad and looked expectantly between the two of us.
When I finished ordering a breakfast that would take any normal person an entire day to eat, I suggested that she may want to enlist help rather than try to carry such a full tray all by herself.
“Thank you, ma’am. Are you sure you’re not expecting anyone else?”
Georgia laughed. “No, but I imagine we might still be here during lunch service.”
I reached into my purse and pulled out my gym membership card, kissed it once, and tucked it away again. “Goodbye, gym. Hello, thunder thighs.”
We made it to the gym, just to look at all the imposing equipment and decide that we needed some Baskin and Robbins fortification. I was still focused on my ex’s betrayal, and Georgia was focused on getting every bit of enjoyment she could out of my suffering.
“It’s not like you two were destined to be together forever, anyway, right?” Georgia sucked the bottom of her ice cream cone until she was happily nursing her dark chocolate mint though the hole she made.
I reached over and caught a bit of the chocolate that was retreating down the other side of her cone and deftly smeared it on her cheek.
“Hey, stop that!” Georgia slapped at my hand and went back to her cone.
“You look like a baby nursing at its mother’s breast.” I sat there smugly as she made a face at me. Then she looked at her cone thoughtfully and then dropped it into the plastic bag I used for trash.
Georgia made a disgusted face. “Spoil sport. Now I’ll never be able to eat another ice cream cone without that image playing in my head.”
I grinned and said, “Well it doesn’t have to be your mother’s breast you’re sucking, right?”
True to my best friend’s form, she reached into the bag for her cone while lecherous thoughts danced happily in her mind.
“Awww, uck! Gum!”
There was a piece of recently chewed gum imbedded in the chocolate. A clump of hair I’d pulled from my comb this morning covered the candy sprinkles she hadn’t gotten around to eating yet. Georgia dropped the cone back into the bag while I laughed maniacally.
“Well now you can pay attention to me, instead of fantasizing. “
“Believe me,” she said, “Fantasizing was a lot more fun than talking about “Don’t-let-the-door-hit-you-on-the-behind-on-your-way-out-Anne.”
I had nothing to say. She was right. I mean, when you ask someone you believe to be your girlfriend to move in with you, and she says, “Well, I’ll have to check with my FWB, Laura,” I mean, what do you expect?
“She stopped seeing Laura, didn’t she?”
“Kind of. I asked Anne if she could commit to our relationship and I pretty much knew then that we were doomed.”
Georgia turned in the car seat to face me. “I thought she said, yes.”
“Why would you say that?” I tried to remember exactly what I’d said about it.
My friend punched me on the arm, right below my shoulder. “Maybe because that’s what you led me to believe, you idiot.”
“Well,” I scratched my chin while trying to figure out answer that wouldn’t get me punched twice. “Um, well, she, uh, that is, we, no, but she said, well, it sounded like—“
“God, you’re pathetic.”
So much for avoiding the second punch in the arm. “Aw, c’mon, George. Give it a rest. Give my arm a rest.” I did my signature pout. The one that guaranteed my safety, since I knew Georgia couldn’t resist it.
“OW! Why are you beating me up?”
“Your pout doesn’t work anymore.” Georgia took the last bit of my ice cream cone from me and ate it. “I think I’d make a great S&M type.” She straightened her back a bit and gave me a challenging look. I dare you to call 1-800 SPANK ME.”
“Are you insane?” I glared at my friend as if she had two heads and both had very snotty noses.
“My insanity has nothing to do with it. I still dare you to call them.”
I threw her challenge right back at her. “If you’re so interested, why don’t you all them?”
“Cause I’m not the one who just lost her girl friend to a bimbo from an R-Rated TV commercial.”
“You’re really serious about this, aren’t you?”
Georgia looked at me like the second head I’d just grown had acne. “Of course I’m serious. Do you want Anne back or not?”
“God, no! I’m lucky she’s gone. I’ve never had more peaceful moments in my life than the days since she left me.”
I guess the earnestness of my facial expression convinced her I was telling the truth. “Okay, so Anne’s gone and good riddance, right?”
“Okay.” Georgia was quiet for exactly five seconds while I swear there were really wheels in her head that were churning up a new idea. “We should go anyway.”
“Excuse me, but weren’t you with me this entire day and every time that ‘Spank Me’ place was mentioned, I cringed, begged off, and nearly had to threaten to kill you to make you stop talking about it this afternoon. Why is it, at,” I checked the clock just for emphasis, “9:33 pm you want to bring that subject up again?”
She was quiet just long enough for the light bulb to go on in my head. “You want to go, don’ t you? And you want me to go to give you an excuse! Georgia Freakin’ Abernathy, you fraud!”
I’ve never really been successful at backing my best friend down. She usually comes up with something to make me question my decisions, and eventually, my sanity. She smiled sheepishly at me and shrugged her shoulders.
“Okay, I’m chicken shit.”
Nothing to do there but agree with her emphatically.
“Yes, you are. Diddum need the big bad me to go wid you to make you safe?”
Georgia threw a couch cushion at me. “Stop making fun of me. So I’m curious. Aren’t you even a little curious?”
“About that S&M stuff? No. But at seeing you react to that S&M stuff, oh yeah.”
Georgia sat a little straighter on the couch and a smile spread from here to Cincinnati on her face. “Really? You’d go with me?”
I sighed in resignation. “Yes. But if you ever tell anyone, I’ll personally pee on your favorite pillow.”
I got up and started for her bedroom.
“Wait! Don’t you dare!”
“You daring me?”
“Yeah! No! Stop! Please?”
“Never dare me. It makes me do really stupid things when you do that.” I returned to the couch and picked up the TV remote.
“I’ll have to remember that.” She snatched the remote from my hand and turned on the television.
I leaned back and rested my head on the arm of her couch. “I’m staying tonight. Get the Tequila.”
The next morning, it being Sunday, we decided to cultivate our more spiritual side. I was worshipping at the porcelain god. She was invoking god’s name and damnation every time she moved her head in any given direction.
I finally finished losing everything I’d eaten that week, and looked forward to the coffee that I could smell brewing in the kitchen. Bless her heart. My friend. My savior. My caffeine connection!
We decided to forego breakfast since the only thing in her fridge was eggs and neither of us could stomach them due to our previous night’s binging.
We sat around and groaned for a few more hours until we were up to going out for food. I would really like to know how somebody who just a few hours before got visibly nauseous at the thought of scrambled eggs could sit down to a plate full of refried beans, pork tamales, and chimichangas. But I couldn’t help myself. I was starving.
Georgia ate one cheese quesadilla and dared it to come back up.
After making a quick run to the store for something to tide us over for the rest of the day, we stopped by my place to pick up my laptop computer and then headed back over to Georgia’s to do a little research.
She sent emails to a few friends that she didn’t want me to know she knew. I did a little ‘Googling’. I thought I should learn a little about the subject in general. After not too many minutes, Georgia asked, “Getting a little squirmy, wormie?”
“Cute. Real cute. Have you seen these sites? I’m not talking about the real trashy ones, either. I just read a story online that made me want to jump your bones.”
“Really? Send me the link.”
I sent her the link and a few minutes later I could swear that my friend was trying to resist the urge to touch herself.
“Hey! Stop reading that if you can’t control yourself.” My admonishment fell on deaf ears, though.
“I’ll be right back.” And she was off to her bedroom, slamming the door behind her.
“I don’t want to know, I don’t want to know, I don’t want to know.” At her first sound of the vibrator and her ensuing moan, I covered my ears and changed my web page from the current one that had gotten me all hot and bothered to one about quilting.
Finally, the noise stopped. Then there were the sounds of her washing up in the bathroom. Next, a very red-faced woman peeked around the wall into the living room where I was waiting for her. My arms were crossed and I gave her my best, “You are in such deep shit” glare.
“Need a nap?”
“Y’know, Margo, I could embarrass you a little too, just now.”
Sitting up with a superior air, I replied, “I’m not the one who had to take matters into her own hands just now.”
“So it wouldn’t bother you to know that just remembering that you were on the other side of the wall made sent my libido into overdrive?”
I must have looked as startled as I felt. My furious blushing didn’t help at all.
“Hah!” She took a generous swig from my water bottle. “Tease me, will you?”
“I wasn’t teasing you. I was mocking you. There’s a difference.” I returned my gaze to the quilting page on my screen and realized I was staring at a gorgeous woman who was holding an old-fashioned quilt. Heat began to rise and I finally stood up and packed up my things.
“You are such a bad influence on me, George. I’m going home and do something responsible, like get ready for work tomorrow.”
She hugged me goodbye and I could tell though her shirt that her nipples were still erect. I made a fast exit and headed back to my apartment as fast as the traffic would allow. Once home, I did a few responsible things and then succumbed to the urges that had been nagging at me ever since Georgia made a beeline for her bedroom that afternoon.
You know, she was right. It was much more intense having a face to put to the sensations the vibrator was making.
The week went by smoothly. I was busy with work, and Georgia was busy annoying her patients. Did I mention that my best friend has her degree in psychology, with a specialty in abnormal psychology? Wasn’t that a ‘duh!’ question. She’s rather successful at it, too, as her ability to pull my strings would attest.
I’m a network architect. One of those blazingly amazing fields that challenge me about as much as putting toothpaste on my toothbrush. It has, however, made me a much more spiritual person. My co-workers can testify that I am often heard saying, “God, I hope this works!”
We did touch base here and there to continue discussing our “Spank Me” plans. Georgia found out that there was number she could call to get an invitation to a party where things I normally avoid thinking about are the star attractions of the evening.
They invited us.
I threw up.
It was Friday night. The party would be in less than twenty-four hours and I was scared out of my mind. And today’s lunch.
Georgia held my hair back while I finished being sick. “What are you so worried about?” After I was done and had cleaned myself up, we went to her living room deposited ourselves on her couch to talk.
“Has it ever occurred to you that we are about to go to a place where we are total strangers to these people and are about to do things with them that nobody in their right mind would ever do and especially intimate things at that?”
“Yes. Isn’t it exciting?”
“This is insane!” I got up from the couch and began to pace while I ticked off the reasons this whole thing was a crazy idea. “Number One. We’re about to go have sex with strangers!”
“No we’re not. You have sex only with the person you came with.”
“Number Two. You and I would be having sex. Together!”
“What’s so bad about that? I thought we were friends?” Georgia pouted and gave me a pitiful look that was usually guaranteed to get me to cave in.
I wasn’t buying it. “Number Three. The reason we are not girlfriends is that we tried that back in college and it was awful.”
“It wasn’t that awful,” she countered. “You were just inexperienced.”
“Are you saying that it was my fault that we didn’t work out?” Oh, the steam was just about to escape from my ears.
“I wouldn’t say ‘fault’. It’s just back then, you were inexperienced. Didn’t know your ass from a hole in the ground. I’m sure you’ve improved over the years.”
“Not to hear Anne tell it.”
“Don’t worry about that bimbo. She has the IQ of an ice pick. I’ll never know what you saw in her, anyway.”
I thought about it for a moment, as I had been for the past several weeks. “You know. I didn’t really like her at all. Maybe that’s why I was so unresponsive to her. She proved me right. So, now she’s someone else’s problem.”
Georgia got off the couch and gave me a hug.
“What was that for?”
She stepped back and took my hand. “Because you needed it. Because you’re my best friend. And because you are going to rock my world tomorrow night.”
My mouth opened and closed a few times but no words would come. I was really going to have sex with Georgia after at least ten years of being friends. Our trial run at a relationship in college was a dismal failure, and we’d worked hard to cement the feelings we enjoyed as each other’s confident, playmate, and foil.
Tomorrow we were going to put all that on the line for something she wanted to try. I was still scared. What if everything went wrong and we couldn’t even be friends anymore? I don’t think I could survive that. She was much too important to me to lose.
“Promise me something.”
“Promise me that if things don’t work out tomorrow, we won’t let it come between us. I do love you, Georgia, more than anyone. You’ve been with me through thick and…all.”
“I promise. Just pick out a skimpy outfit because you have a killer figure and I want to— Ow! Why’d you punch me?”
“S&M, get used to it.”
I was having lunch with my parents and trying to take my mind off of tonight’s impending events. I did not see my mom and dad nearly enough. My mother had been a stay-at-home mom. My father was a dentist with a bad sense of humor.
Two of my father’s favorite lines:
“Hi, I’m doctor Mangione. This is your bib. And I assume you know the drill.”
“Spit and rinse, please. Oh, that’s really gross!”
His patients either love him or hate him because of his jokes. My mother is no wilting flower, either. Her best line is telling people that my dad has brought laughter into her life. In fact, her honeymoon was hilarious. When she starts to elaborate, my dad clamps his hand over her mouth and says, “Come, dear. Time for your laughing gas.”
I think that’s why Georgia and I are so close. We play together like my parents have all of their married life. I count myself extremely lucky to have a friend that is as close to me as she is. So, really, why am I so nervous? It’s just me and Georgia. We’ve traveled together, seen each other in our best and worst times. Nursed each other through colds and flu and her recent appendectomy. She knows what I look like naked and I know what she looks like naked. So what is my problem?
My problem is that for the last ten years we were never doing things with our naked bodies together and rubbing our privates against each other.
The more I thought about it, the more my curiosity started working on my libido. I started fantasizing about doing things with her that I’d never considered with anyone else. Well, anyone real, that is. The more I thought about it, the—
“Margo? Careful, you’re about to spill your drink, dear.” Saved by my mom. “Whatever were you thinking about? You looked positively lascivious.” Okay, not saved by my mom. Deeply embarrassed by my mom. Ready to jump of a bridge rather than explain things to my mom, but definitely not saved.
“That reminds me, I meant to ask if you’re still dating Anne?” Totally not safe. Just thinking about the can of worms this conversation could open makes me shiver.
“No, we separated.” Was that relief on my mother’s face?
“Are you seeing anyone else, dear?” How my angelic looking mother could zoom right in to the major events of my life was uncanny.
“No, just hanging with Georgia.”
“She’s a nice woman. I remember when you two were in college. It seemed like I detected something between you. But,” she sighed, “I was wrong.”
“She’s become my best friend over the years. She’s so much like family to me that sometimes I feel the need to check with you and dad to see if you gave birth to her when I wasn’t looking.”
“Well, she’s always welcome in this family, Margo.”
Okay, what did my mother know and what did she suspect, or what were her ‘mother senses’ telling her that I absolutely was not ready to discuss? “Thanks, mom. So, how’s your Canasta game? Ready for a challenge?”
If there is one thing that I’ve learned in the years of being her daughter, it’s how to derail my mother by appealing to her competitive streak. We played cards for a couple of hours, and then it was time to go.
“Here, take this home and you and our other daughter can split it between yourselves.” It was the barbecued ribs that were left over from lunch. And potato salad. My mom’s potato salad is to die for, whereas my potato salad is to die from.
There were a few more items that I was sure were not going to survive the trip home, because my mouth started watering the moment I peeked into the bag. “Thanks, mom.”
I hugged them both goodbye and got in my car and drove away.
I peeked through the rear view mirror and saw my mother whisper something in my father’s ear. His face lit up and off they went, slamming the door behind them.
“Geez, get a room you two.” And I happily drove down the street, momentarily distracted from my plans for the evening.
When Georgia opened the door, I stepped back and rechecked the number on the house. “Georgia? Is that you?”
She invited me in and finished getting ready for the evening. Had I overdressed? Underdressed? She was a vision and I felt positively inadequate in her presence.
“You look great!” she yelled from the confines of her bathroom. “I’ll be done in a second.” I heard the sound of gargling and then she was there, in front of me, in a leather outfit that made my mouth water.
I am persuaded. I don’t care if I were asked to dance in a nun’s habit and roller skates while they set my hair on fire. As long as I get to spend the evening in the company of the woman who was wearing the hottest outfit ever, and who happened to be my best friend and date for the evening, I didn’t care. Lead on, you beautiful leather goddess!
Eventually there was enough moisture in my mouth to speak. It seems that the moment my eyes filled with the vision of pure sexuality standing in front of me, I was ready, willing, and wetter than I ever had been in my life.
“You look wonderful, Georgia.” She blushed. She blushed! I’m the one with a clitoral hard-on and she is blushing.
She grabbed her bag and my hand and we were off. The drive over was interesting. Georgia never let go of my hand. That almost proved to be a problem when we had to avoid an eighteen wheeler bent on removing the right side of the car. The side of the car I happened to be sitting on. She squeezed my hand as she edged by and finally outran the idiot.
After a short trip down the interstate, a few guesses at right and left turns on rural roads, and the total failure of her GPS to give us correct directions, we made it there. We just followed other cars, figuring that they knew where they were going.
Georgia parked the car and finally let go of my hand. I subtly shook it out a few times to get the blood circulating again. “Sorry. I guess I was too nervous to let go.”
She was nervous? What the hell was she nervous about? I mean, after all these years of thinking of her as just my best friend, we were about to get down and dirty with each other and my sexual urges were about to cause a scene.
But I have to admit. Just her saying that made me feel better. And it made me really care about the evening at hand. I no longer questioned if I would be good enough and would I really be able to participate. I wanted to make the evening special for Georgia. I wanted her to remember this evening as the night her friend gave her every piece of herself. Not bumbling and stumbling like when I was nineteen years old. But with the caring and the touches of the woman who had loved her and was just now aware of how much.
Before we reached the front door of the majestic house where all sorts of sexual experiences waited for us, I pulled her aside and did something that it never had occurred to me that I’d be doing. I kissed Georgia. She was startled at first but then came back to me and held me so tenderly that it nearly made me cry.
“I love you, Margo. I’ve been in love with you for so long that I can’t remember feeling anything else.” She kissed me again and I put everything into returning her feelings.
“Can we…?” I didn’t want to ask, but I really didn’t want to be on public display.
“Let’s go home.” We went back to the car and got in. This time I held her hand all the way back to her place.
Just as we were pulling up to Margo’s house, her cell phone went off. She looked at it, puzzled for a moment and then grinned sheepishly. “It’s your mom.”
“Yes?” Georgia looked lovingly at me and then listened for a moment. “Like clockwork. Thanks. You really know your daughter.” Then, “Yeah, I don’t know how I would have explained ourselves if we’d gone in that house for their Tupperware party.” Georgia softly chucked, “Yes. She’s banging her head on the car window. Slowly. Deliberately. Well I don’t think she really wants to have a headache tonight.”
I sat up straight and glared at her for a moment, realizing that my mother and my best friend had been in cahoots in order to bring me to my senses.
Later, much later, we were recovering while Georgia sorted through her nightstand for something or other. I was in the happiest place in my life. Georgia was right. I had improved. Several times. Oh god, was she good. But finally her fingers gave out and her arm developed a cramp. I wasn’t worried, though. I knew that after spending a third of my life with her as my best friend, I’d gladly spend the rest of it as her lover.
“Aha!” She rolled back over and presented me with a battery powered object that we were about to share for the first of many times. “Say hello to my little friend.”