Disclaimer : Characters and situations are all from my imagination.
Feedback : Constructive criticism and feedback, both welcomed at firstname.lastname@example.org
WARNINGS : I don't usually put this in bold, but I will this time. This story involves certain dark and disturbing elements. It has scenes of verbal abuse from a spouse, physical abuse, and a non-graphic scene of spousal rape. There is a scene of violence toward women near the end of the story. As they say, the harder the journey, the sweeter the victory.
Copyright © 2013 Geonn Cannon
"I can see her lyin' back in her satin dress, in a room where you do what you don't confess." Eva Alvarez moved her hips to the beat of the song, using the metal tongs to move the photograph through the developing fluid. She was barefoot and in jeans, her hair held back by a white band. The sleeves of her dress blouse were rolled up past her elbows so nothing would splash on them.
She knew the other techs laughed at her for taking the class, claiming it was like a chef taking a remedial cooking course, but there work was work. It was cold and methodical. This was art. This was finding beauty in the world and recording it for future generations. And this was more than just pressing a button and saving a bunch of pixels to a card. This took time and effort and dedication to make the picture turn out just right.
The picture was starting to appear like magic, and she bent forward to take a closer look. It was a candid shot through the open window of her truck, taken moments after she'd shouted out Kathryn's name. It was framed perfectly, showing Kathryn from the top of her head to just below her knees. She was caught mid-step, half-turned toward the camera to see who was calling her. Wind had caught her dark hair and tossed it across her face, her left hand gripping the strap of her leather satchel.
"Getting lost in her loving is your first mistake," Gordon sang.
"You got that right," Eva whispered wistfully. She let the picture finish the process so the colors would be just right, then she lifted it from the pan. She pinned it to the string running along the length of her darkroom and stared at it before she examined the other shots in the series. Kathryn was a decade older than her, elegant even in her J.C. Penney blouses and skirts, often showing up in jeans that were so worn that they seemed molded to the form of her body.
And what a form it was. Eva moved down the row and examined Kathryn in various states. Walking, sitting, staring out the window. There was a shot of her at one of the light tables in their classroom, bent forward from the waist to look at one of her photographs through an eyepiece. The shots of Kathryn's face ran the gamut of emotions, from surprise to amused irritation to shyly averted eyes.
She stopped in front of a photo where Kathryn was looking away, her features framed by the fingers of her extended hand. Eva remembered the conversation that followed the snap.
"I wish you wouldn't do that."
Eva lowered the camera. "I didn't think you minded."
"It makes me feel self-conscious. Like I always have to be aware of myself."
"You don't have to worry about that. You're always photogenic."
Kathryn looked at her. "You're sweet. But I'm no model. If anyone in our class should be posing, it would be you. You're young, you're beautiful." She looked away again. "I don't know why you're wasting your film on an old, married has-been."
"You don't think that. Do you? Kathryn, you're the most elegant, beautiful woman I've ever seen. I keep taking your picture because I just can't stop looking at you." She reached out and tucked a curl of hair behind Kathryn's ear. Kathryn tensed, but didn't pull away. Eva took advantage of the tacit permission and let the backs of her fingers brush Kathryn's neck. Kathryn closed her eyes and shivered.
"Well," she said softly. "It's your film to waste, I guess."
"I'll try be less paparazzi about it. I don't want to make you self-conscious."
Now there were photos of Kathryn pursing her lips to the camera, shyly ducking her head as she walked into the classroom with her arms tightly crossed over her chest. And then there was what she called Exhibit A. She took it down off the string and moved closer to the light so she could see it better. The picture never failed to make her mad, even though she'd never heard the conversation occurring when she had snapped it.
Kathryn was standing on the driver's side of her husband's truck, arms crossed over her chest, eyes cast toward her shoes. He was behind the wheel, his arm extended out the window so that his hand was resting on her shoulder. The grip seemed tight, and there was a tension in Kathryn's expression that had made Eva want to run across the parking lot and break the man's arm. Then break his fingers. Then his teeth.
Kathryn had looked up a moment later and saw Eva watching. She'd stepped away from her husband's grip, adjusted the sweater where his fingers had pulled it down to expose her shoulder, and she said something with venom before she turned and stalked away. Her husband had sighed and shook his head as he squealed the tires pulling away from the curb.
"Leave me alone, Eva. Please." She hadn't even turned around, moving quickly toward the restrooms at the end of the hall. She slapped her palm against the swinging door, pushing it open with her forward momentum, and she disappeared inside. Eva debated following her but decided she needed to be alone. She tapped her fingers against the shell of her camera and went into the classroom.
Kathryn had missed that class.
Kathryn returned at the next class two days later as if nothing happened. Eva tried to get information out of her with a few pointed questions, but Kathryn shut her down every time. Finally Eva had given up and moved on. After class, she found Kathryn sitting on one of the benches outside the community center. She had walked over and, after a moment, sat next to her.
"Do you need a ride?"
"Joseph is coming. He's on his way." She looked at her watch and almost whispered, "Should be on his way..."
"Do you want me to wait with you?"
"No. I mean, wait. Stay." She laughed and shook her head. "I thought you asked if I'd mind if you waited. And I don't. Mind, that is. Stay."
Eva smiled. "Okay."
They sat next to each other in silence. Kathryn looked at Eva's portfolio and smiled. "Are there any of me in there?"
"A few. Do you want to see them?"
"No. God. I can't believe you carry the hideous things around."
Eva's good humor failed her. "Don't say that about yourself." She sat the portfolio on her lap and opened it, flicking through the pictures until she found one. She slipped it out and handed it to Kathryn. "Look."
Kathryn glanced over, then gave it a closer look. It was a picture of her standing next to a tree and looking out over a duck pond, eyes squinted against the sun, the camera around her neck held up to chin-height in anticipation of snapping a picture. Her hair was back in a ponytail, and she wore a blue turtleneck that seemed to cushion her head. The blue of the turtleneck, the sky, and the water gave it a crisp, cool snap.
"You're so talented."
"I had good inspiration."
Kathryn looked up and met Eva's eyes. Eva felt like she should look away, but she couldn't bring herself to.
"You always look good in blue," Eva continued. "It brings out your eyes. You have such beautiful eyes."
"Take it. Next time you wonder why I'm always taking pictures of you, take that out. Look at it. I want you to understand why I can't stop looking at you."
Kathryn was quiet for a long moment and then finally whispered, "Thank you, Eva."
The moment was shattered by a honking horn. Eva jumped, and Kathryn quickly but carefully pushed the photo into her own bag. Her husband's truck pulled up in front of them and she stood up, hurrying through the headlight beams to get into the passenger side. The truck lurched forward as soon as she was inside, forcing the door shut. Kathryn hadn't even had time to fasten her seatbelt.
Eva watched the truck swing back around, speeding out of the parking lot. Terrible images of car accidents passed through her mind, of shattered windshields and bodies sprawled on the pavement, and her anger brewed. She forced herself to take ten long, slow breaths and then calmly closed her portfolio, stood, and walked to her truck.
She turned off the radio before she left the darkroom. It was set up in her second bedroom, separated from the master bedroom by the bathroom and a linen closet. She went through the house turning off lights and starting the dishwasher before she went to bed. She undressed and changed into an oversized T-shirt, crawled under the blankets, and opened the nightstand.
This was a photograph that she'd never show to Kathryn, a picture she would never actually admit she'd ever taken. They'd been at the park to take nature photos - their assignment that week - and Kathryn had wandered up a hill to see what the other side of the park had to offer. She was wearing a lightweight white sheath dress that stopped just above her ankles, something nice and conservative.
Unless, of course, she happened to be standing in direct sunlight. The sun was setting, casting beams like spotlights across the park to hit Kathryn at just the right angle to show off everything. Eva had turned and was treated to the outline of Kathryn's whole body, the silhouette dark against the creamy material. She'd brought her camera up without thinking and snapped the picture, then exposed the film until the dress was flimsy as a shadow. The final product appeared to be Kathryn posing nearly nude on a hill in a public park, a thin strip of white over her hips to indicate she was, indeed, wearing panties.
Eva moved a hand between her legs as she looked at the picture, feeling shame even as she began to massage her mound with the heel of her hand. She sucked in a ragged breath and closed her eyes, imagining what it would be like to really stand before a naked Kathryn. She touched her tongue to the corner of her mouth and pictured herself kneeling to slide the panties down, leaning forward to bury her face in the warmth, the wetness.
"Kathryn, I want you," she whispered.
She arched her back, bending her knees to tent the blankets as she bumped her butt against the mattress, thrusting against her hand, imagining it was Kathryn's. When she finished, thighs clamped tightly around her hand, she opened her eyes and looked at the picture again. She didn't know how anyone could look at this beautiful, sad woman and not want to do everything in their power to make her happy. She knew that if she was given the chance, she wouldn't squander it. She would make sure Kathryn knew she was treasured, every single day.
Eva put the photo back in the drawer and turned off the bedside lamp.
Kathryn finished washing the dishes. She did them by hand because Joseph didn't like the "ruckus" the dishwasher made. Beyond the wrinkled fingers she didn't really mind. She found it relaxing at the end of the day, washing the grime from the plates and silverware and then setting them aside to dry. She had an iPod dock next to the sink that she played quietly so it wouldn't disturb whatever game Joseph was watching in the main room. Usually she played classical music or indie music when she did chores, but the other day she'd noticed Eva humming a song. She'd asked what it was, looked up the singer, and she was currently listening to whatever she could find for free on the internet. Gordon Lightfoot, a Canadian singer with a mournful voice, sang about a man warning his wife's lover to stay away. The wife sounded like a temptress, and the narrator of the song seemed to understand it wasn't the other man's fault.
Kathryn knew how it felt to be enraptured, to be helpless in the face of attraction. "Sundown, you better take care, if I find you've been creepin' 'round my backstairs."
She shook her head emphatically as if trying to clear smoke. No. She didn't know what it was like to be tempted. Because that would mean she was tempted, which she most certainly was not. Not by a woman, not by Eva Alvarez.
She drained the sink and dried her hands on the towel. When she went into the living room, Joseph was asleep in his chair. She sat in her own chair across the room and read for a while, ignoring the television knowing that Joseph would wake up and harangue her if she dared to change the channel. She wasn't passive, and she wasn't a pushover, she just knew to choose her battles. ESPN was easy enough to ignore, and her book was very engrossing.
Kathryn had once read Harlequin novels almost exclusively, but soon she became bored with the formula. Women, no matter how independent, seemed to all subconsciously want some man to swoop in and rescue them. Even if she didn't want the "hero" at first, she usually ended up in his bed before too long. Kathryn read too many novels where the first "love" scene involved the man doing whatever he wanted on a "you'll learn to like it" basis for the woman. Kathryn didn't want that, even in a fantasy. She wanted to know what she wanted, without a doubt, and then take it. Or let it take her.
She rested her hand on her neck and let her fingers drift down her collar as she read. The woman in her novel was dark-haired and dark-eyed, with ruby red lips and a full figure that she took full advantage of. She dressed to tease, a slit in her dress to show her thigh or an extra button undone to show a hint of lacy brassiere. Kathryn realized in Chapter Two that she was picturing Eva in the role, and now in Chapter Ten the saucy character was getting a sex scene.
She pressed her shoulders against the wall, angling her hips forward in anticipation. His hand disappeared under her skirt and came back with her panties hooked over his thumb. Melissa watched his face as she stepped out of them, and he straightened so he could look into her eyes as he pressed against her. She could feel him against her hip
Kathryn wet her lips and stroked the V made by the collar of her blouse.
and turned her hand around to cup him. Her eyes were dark with lust as she traced the length of his manhood and then moved her fingers to the zip. She freed him, taking him into her hand with a gasp of surprise.
Kathryn glanced at Joseph to see if he was still asleep. She raised her hand to her lips and pressed her thumb against her teeth, the book laid flat against her thigh as she spread the fingers of her free hand over the pages to hold it open. She skimmed the rest of the scene, knowing her cheeks were red as she skimmed over mentions of penetration and thrusting, of Ev-- Melissa grasping the back of his head as she moved against him. She could almost hear them grunting, could feel the heat coming off their bodies.
She replaced her bookmark with a trembling hand, put it on the arm of the chair, and walked to the bedroom as casually as she could. She shut the door quietly and stood next to the bed to take off her pants and underwear. She shrugged out of her blouse and placed it in the hamper, determined not to hurry like some wanton teenager. She put on her nightgown, a sleeveless cotton thing with an embroidered window across the cleavage.
She sat on the edge of the bed and opened the bottom drawer of her nightstand. The small egg-shaped vibrator fit her palm perfectly, and she switched it on as she swung her legs up and draped the blankets over her lower body. Slipping her other hand under the pillow, Kathryn closed her eyes and tugged up her gown. She gasped when the trembling toy touched her sex, and she bit her bottom lip to keep quiet as she rolled her wrist in slow circles.
Her favorite fantasy was The Masseuse. After a day at the spa, swimming laps in the pool, relaxing in the sauna, getting mani-pedis, the whole works, she was stretched out on a table for a long, slow massage. She imagined herself there, facedown and naked except for a towel across her butt, her cheek resting on her hands as she waited for the masseur to arrive. She imagined his hands on her shoulders, carefully kneading away the knots of tension she'd built up over the last three years. Soothing the strain she had from cringing every time Joseph got into one of his tantrums.
As if thinking his name had summoned him, Joseph came into the room. "You already in bed?"
She shut off the toy so he wouldn't hear it buzzing. "I had a long day."
"You think you had a long day," he muttered as he undressed on his side of the bed. "I hate to see you after a real hard day, days like I have to suffer through."
"I know," Kathryn said.
The bed sagged as he joined her under the blankets. He pressed against her from behind, and she moved the vibrator to the mattress. It rolled and rested against her stomach as he guided himself between her legs. There was no discussion, no foreplay, and she closed her eyes and tightened her grip on the pillow as he was suddenly inside her. He sighed blissfully and splayed his fingers on her hip as he began to push against her.
Kathryn closed her eyes and bit her lip, hugging the pillow as she moved against him in an effort to get it over with. She focused on her fantasy, rebuilding the massage room. She smelled the oil, felt the smooth sheet underneath her naked body. She could almost hear the calming music piped through the ceiling as her ghostly masseur continued his work.
His hands moved down her back following her spine, carefully working each muscle individually until Kathryn felt like they weren't connected to her. They were just pieces, and she was adrift. And then she imagined the hands lingering over the towel. Then one touched the dimples just above her ass, and a soft voice asked, "May I remove this?"
The voice was Eva's.
Kathryn whimpered and bit her lip. Joseph pressed his lips against her ear. "You like that, huh?"
"Yes," she gasped.
Her response was to the fantasy masseur, now a masseuse, now Eva , and the towel was removed. Slender fingers, a hand different from the one that had been massaging her, pushed between her legs and covered her mound. Two fingers stroked her, and Kathryn began moving her hips faster. In her mind it wasn't her husband thrusting into her, it was a hand. A fine-boned hand, two fingers twisted together, and she imagined Eva's hand on her shoulder to hold her down as she lifted her ass to give her lover ( Eva ) a better angle.
Now she could see it all clearly. Eva, her hair pinned up at either side, wearing a white polo shirt and short, tight shorts. She continued massaging Kathryn's shoulder with one hand while the other thrust harder, faster between her thighs.
"Hold my shoulder," Kathryn gasped.
Joseph put his hand on her shoulder and squeezed roughly.
He complied, and Kathryn brought one hand up to her mouth. She bit the finger and whimpered. Her face was burning as she imagined that Eva was the one fucking her, as her mind told her it was Eva whose fingers were digging into her shoulder. She touched her tongue to her upper lip as she came, and Joseph pulled out to finish himself on her thigh even though it was impossible for her to have children.
She took the indignity of having his come on her skin, barely noticing as he rolled away from her with a satisfied grunt. When she could move without trembling, she used the tail of her gown to wipe his mess away, cupped the egg in her hand so he wouldn't see it, and walked to the bathroom on the balls of her feet. She closed the door and put down the toilet lid, spreading her legs and replacing the egg on her sex. She closed her eyes as she switched it back on, inhaling sharply as it vibrated against sensitive flesh.
She imagined Eva's smell, her touch, and pointed her toes to the ground, baring her teeth as she got herself off. She brought her free hand to her mouth to cover her moans even though she knew that Joseph was most likely fast asleep. She turned off the egg and let it rest between her legs and moved her fingers to cup herself. The whole hand was numb from clutching the vibrating toy and, for a blissful moment, she allowed herself to believe it was Eva's hand. She believed it was Eva's slender finger pushing into her, and her thumb circling her clit.
Kathryn bit the meaty part of her hand hard enough to leave teeth marks as she bucked against her hand, coming so hard that there were tears in the corners of her eyes when she finally sagged against the wall next to the toilet. She continued stroking herself, gasping as she rode the crest of her first orgasm to a second.
"Eva, Eva, Eva," she whispered.
She'd never had a woman touch her sexually, never even kissed another woman other than as a friend, but she wanted to come for Eva. She wanted to reward all those glances, all those searing stares. She loved the way Eva looked at her. She fought it, she complained, but only because she thought she should, but she'd be heartbroken if Eva ever stopped. To look up, to catch a beautiful woman caught in a helpless stare, to know that she was being admired... she wanted to reward the feeling she got from those interludes.
She wanted to make Eva come.
She whimpered at the thought, but it was true. She couldn't deny it, and she came again as she thought about how it would happen. Her heart pounded, her cheek against the cool tile of the wall, eyes closed as she cupped a hand over her sensitive sex and closed her thighs around it. She swallowed hard and tugged her nightgown back to her knees, standing on untrustworthy knees to examine her face in the mirror.
"You're wasting film again."
Eva smiled and lowered the camera. "It's my film. What do you care?"
Kathryn blushed and reached up to finger-comb her hair so that it fell across her face. Eva reached out and immediately pushed it away, tucking it behind Kathryn's ear. Her middle finger brushed Kathryn's neck when she pulled it away, and Kathryn tensed as a shock passed between them.
"Sorry. This stupid carpeting in here..."
"Right." Kathryn looked up. "Do you really think I'm beautiful?"
"I know you are." She snapped another picture. "And you have to believe me. I'm a professional photographer."
Kathryn chuckled. "You take pictures of dead bodies. I'm not sure if I'm particularly touched by your professional opinion."
"I take pictures of crime scenes. That's a different thing all together. Sometimes there are bodies. Or body parts."
"Topic change, please."
"Sorry. Yes." She stepped in front of Kathryn where there was nowhere to hide and snapped a picture. "I think you're very beautiful, Kathryn. Gorgeous, in fact. I can't take my eyes off you."
They stared at each other for a long moment until Kathryn looked away.
"Does your husband ever tell you--"
"Shit. Joseph." She stood up, nearly knocking her satchel off the desk. She corrected it before anything could spill, moving in jerky twitches as she grabbed her things and headed for the door. "He was going to be early picking me up. I have to go."
"If you missed him, I can give you a ride."
"No, it's... no. Thank you. No." She waved over her shoulder and ran from the classroom. She had missed him, spotting the taillights of his truck as they disappeared down a side street. She stopped her foot on the sidewalk, looked helplessly around the parking lot, and then began the long two-and-a-half mile walk home.
She took the long way so Eva wouldn't spot her and offer her a ride home.
She looked at the forty-six year old woman in the mirror, mentally projecting an image of Eva next to her. She had crows-feet, she had lines near her lips. There were traces of white in her hair. She kept in shape, and several people at the gym had told her she had a body they'd have killed for in their thirties, but she still thought it was the body of an old woman. And Eva definitely had the body of a younger woman. Firm breasts, flawless milky skin...
I wonder how it feels...
She cursed softly and rested her hands on the sink, lowering her head and closing her eyes. The class was only seven weeks. She could make it through the last half without going crazy, she knew she could. She had fought off temptations in the past. The fact the source was female this time would make it easier. She didn't want to be with a woman. She didn't want that label of "lesbian." Of course it hadn't hurt Meredith Baxter any...
"No," she said to her reflection. " No. "
She retrieved her vibrator, shut off the bathroom light, and went back to her husband's bed. She was under the blankets before she felt where her nightgown had been soiled. She didn't want to bother getting up to change it, so she just folded the material so it wasn't touching her skin and tried to remember not to toss and turn too much in the night.
To Be Continued...
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