Disclaimer: This is an original story. The main characters and the story are the product of the author’s imagination.
Rated NC17: For sex
Feedback: If you enjoy the story please let me know: email@example.com
Many thanks to my beta reader, Jan, for tidying up after me. Also thanks to Trish for her assistance with the plot. Apologies to both for my lack of a thank you for ‘Piper’s Serenade’; that was tardy.
"What news, everyone?"
Hilary looked around the table at her friends; they had all known each other since school. All eyes swung to her, recently divorced and now the only single one amongst them. They had been doing this for years, meeting once a month to catch up on gossip and discuss how great their lives were. The truth was usually far removed from the falsehoods they told each other. Sometimes the stench of disappointment and desperation was palpable, but it was never given voice. Discontented wives, cheating husbands, bratty children, the list went on, but once a month on these Saturday afternoons, they all presented an image of success. Husbands were loving, careers were thriving and the children achieving. Being divorced and childless, Hilary's wounds had been laid bare for the rest to feast over. There had been no appearances left to upkeep. She was single after five years of marriage. The plan had been to establish herself in her career and the children would come later. Unfortunately, Tom had changed his mind somewhere along the way. Hilary didn't really know why, he wasn't prepared to discuss the break up in any detail, he had found someone else, he was moving on.
"Hilary, I trust you have gotten Paris out of your system? Or are you planning another solo trip?"
Hilary smiled; Paris had been enlightening in so many ways. Her friends had scoffed at her plans to make the trip alone. They had been sceptical, looking at her in disbelief. No one holidayed alone. Well none of this group of friends did, they went together. When she had declared that she was choosing to go alone they were puzzled, insisting that one of them should accompany her. They didn't understand that she needed to go alone, even if just to prove to herself that she could. She had known what they were thinking. The newly divorced woman was having a meltdown. 'Someone has been reading one too many regency novels'. They all thought they knew what was best for her, a new hobby, a date, anything to fill the void left behind by Tom. Her priority should be meeting someone new and starting again. Hilary had other ideas, she saw this as a chance to sample things she had missed out on, and put on hold, like travel or playing the field. The latter was unlikely, but at least she could if she wanted to. It was hardly life changing, but she had decided to start her single life with a trip to Paris, alone. She had accomplished that and more, she hadn't yet decided what she would do next, but she certainly liked the idea that she was free to choose, with no one to answer to but herself.
They had asked briefly about her trip when she got back a couple of months ago. They had listened as she told them how fantastic Paris had been, with the highlight of her trip being a visit to the Palace of Versailles. What they had really wanted to know was had she met a handsome Frenchman and had a whirlwind holiday romance. Trying to explain that was not the reason for her trip had been met with disbelief, they still could not wrap their heads around the idea of her travelling alone simply to see a city, there had to have been another motive. A secret lover whisking her away for a romantic weekend.
"I don't know yet, I haven't made any more plans."
"There is a guy at my office, he recently broke up with his girlfriend. A little younger than you, but he is nice. I could arrange a dinner party and invite him along?"
"Thanks, Avril, but I'm not ready to start dating yet."
"Hilary, you could meet him at least."
Hilary sighed, Glenda was inferring it would be rude to refuse, but she wouldn't be bullied into doing something she wanted no part of. She was already wishing she had made an excuse not to come today; it was more out of habit than enjoyment. "No, I'm sorry, Glenda, but I'm not going to meet with him."
“It's fine Hilary, when you're ready you let me know. If he's still single, we can set something up then."
Hilary glanced across the cafe and inadvertently observed an intimate moment between two young women. Unfortunately, so did Glenda.
"Oh, for God's sake! Can't they do that in private?"
All eyes turned to where Glenda was staring as Hilary observed the look of disgust on her face.
"For goodness sake, Glenda, they are only holding hands."
"I take it you approve, Jacqueline?"
"Well I certainly don't disapprove. What harm are they doing?"
Realising she didn't yet have an ally, Glenda turned to Hilary. "And what about you, Hilary, surely you don't think that should be going on in a public place?"
Hilary turned from the couple in question, a dreamy smile upon her face. "I thought it was a beautiful, moment."
"What!" Glenda exclaimed rather too loudly for her companions. "Paris has clearly gone to your head. City of romance my backside. More like city of debauchery."
Hilary shrugged. "It was tender, intimate even, but not sexual."
Glenda looked at Hilary as if she was only seeing her for the first time. "What the hell has gotten into you? Hilary, this running off on your own and finding yourself malarkey is clearly clouding your world view."
Hilary simply favoured her friend with another smile, which was accompanied by a look of pure contentment. Jacqueline took a good look at her friend. There was a lightness to her, one that hadn't been there in such a long time. Her eyes narrowed as she caught Hilary's shy glance towards the young women who were now leaving.
"What the hell happened to you in France. You look, hell you look...What's the word?" She turned to her friends, "What does she look like?"
Her friends all turned to study her, really looking at her for the first time since her return. "My God, you look like you have been ravaged!"
"Oh my God, so she does!"
"Tell us everything, who is he?"
A raised eyebrow was Hilary's only answer, prompting another outburst from Glenda. "It was a woman!" she accused, before pointing to the table that was now empty. "No wonder you approve of that!"
"Shut up, Glenda." Jacqueline admonished, "Save it for the bigots at your Sunday service."
Glenda sat back in her chair, arms folded, clearly wanting no further part in the conversation. Everyone else leaned towards Hilary, waiting on her to confirm what they now suspected.
Hilary looked around the table, seeing excited anticipation in the eyes of her friends. They sensed she had a story to tell, one that was going to both shock and delight them in equal measure. Hilary made a split second decision, she had been desperate to let her secret out, bursting to tell someone and now she was going to.
"She was a horsewoman at the palace of Versailles." Hilary almost sighed as she said it, causing everyone to lean closer.
"We want to know every. Last. Detail." It was not a request, more like a threatening demand.
"She was tall, dark and dashing..."
Hilary stood in the courtyard at the palace of Versailles taking in her surroundings. It was busy with tourists, some already queuing to enter the Palace this early autumnal morning. She closed her eyes and was immediately transported back in time by using the senses of hearing and smell alone. Horses became the dominant image. The sound of their hooves connecting with the cobbles, a whinny and a snort. The smell of horse manure and food, but the most potent of all was the odour of the horses. Not a displeasing scent, but one of endeavour. Rapid commands in French brought her eyes back open and there a horsewoman stood in front of a tall mare, conversing with the playful horse. They were nose to nose, the horsewoman’s ponytail almost the same colour as the mare’s dark mane. Hilary watched enraptured by the scene. These two females knew each other well. The mare was playing up a little, but the horsewoman was patient and knowing, fondly admonishing her charge, as she settled her with some well placed patting and rubs.
Almost without thought, Hilary found herself drawn towards the scene until she was standing next to the horsewoman.
“What’s her name?”
“Jeune Fille Delicate.”
The horsewoman repeated herself but Hilary still could not catch the horse’s name. Instead the horsewoman smiled and replied in accented English. “Tricky Girl.”
“It suits her.”
“Oui, but I can handle her.” The horsewoman spoke in French to the horse, earning her an imperious nod from her charge. She turned to Hilary again, “She knows it too!”
Hilary stepped closer to the pair, drawn to them. “She is beautiful.”
“Yes, she is. “You would like to meet her? She will behave.” The mare shook her head and the horsewoman addressed her charge again. “N'est pas.”
Hilary moved towards the horse, which again shook her head.
Whatever the woman said, the horse complied. Hilary rubbed her flank. “Good girl.”
“I am Eloise.”
Hilary shook the offered hand, it was warm and rough. “Hilary.”
Hilary loved the way the Frenchwoman said her name. The ‘H’ almost silent. The smile roguish. The slight bow anywhere else would have been comical, but not in this setting. Hilary was completely charmed.
“She is three years old and eighteen hands high. The well-behaved mare over there is six years old and about the same height as this one. They compliment each other well.”
Hilary looked between the young chestnut filly and the older black and white mare. One playful, the other wise. She could see why Eloise would put them together. They were immaculately groomed; both bridled but not yet hitched to a carriage. They were being kept warm with rich, wine coloured blankets.
“Juene Fille Delicate is the jealous type, she will not behave for anyone else. Juniper is very laid back, she rarely seeks attention.” Eloise winked at Hilary, “but she knows she is loved.”
“She is very content.”
Eloise swung knowing eyes towards Hilary, contemplating her answer for a moment. “Yes, that is a very apt description of Juniper.” She favoured Hilary with a generous smile. The moment was interrupted by a tourist who asked Eloise a question in German, without hesitation she answered him easily in his native tongue, then turned back to Hilary. “Tourists, you are always getting lost.”
Hilary laughed, “It is a big place.” This woman was a lot of fun, Hilary could easily have spent more time with this friendly stranger, but she wanted to see inside the palace and Eloise was working. “Speaking of, I’d better join the queue if I want to see it all today.”
“Ah, enjoy your day, Hilary, perhaps we will meet again.”
Hilary found that thought comforting, she had no doubts being in Eloise’s company would be thoroughly entertaining. She smiled warmly at the horsewoman. “Goodbye, Eloise and thank you.”
With a wave to Hilary, Eloise returned to her charges. Hilary made her way to the queue for entrance to the palace and from there she was still able to observe all the activity of the horses in the courtyard. It was a beautiful scene with many of the horses ready to go, they were getting cold and fed up waiting around, they clearly wanted to be moving as was their nature; becoming impatient as the handlers started to hook them up to the carriages. Amongst all the activity, Eloise stood out; she dominated the scene with ease. Hilary watched her as she conversed with many of the others around her, she was clearly a popular figure, sharing jokes and laughing. It was all in French, but the joy around Eloise was evident. When she cracked her whip twice expertly, some looked on with envy at her. She did a cut a dashing figure in her Jodhpurs and knee high leather boots. Tall and willowy, her legs tight and toned, Hilary could see a white cravat peeking just above the deep red hoody Eloise was wearing. She idly wondered what would replace the hoody to create the ambience of Versailles.
The wait in the long queue for entrance was worth every second. Hilary was captivated from the moment she entered the Palace, it was like stepping back in time. Decadent was the one word that described it. In the king’s chamber she had been shocked at how small the bed was, but impressed with the giant murals and artwork that adorned the many rooms. Without a doubt, her favourite place within the palace was the hall of mirrors. Its timeless grandeur had blown her away. There was not a part of it that didn't impress. Hilary had wished the other tourists away, trying to block out their chatter and instead imagine classical music and an eighteenth century ball in their place. She closed her eyes and stood still.
"Isn't it just magnificent!" The accent was most probably German and Hilary turned to look at the woman. "Doesn't it make you want to dance?" she directed the question at Hilary.
Hilary nodded her agreement and smiled, as the woman's companion reached for her hand and led her in a brief waltz. Hilary watched their impromptu dance, thinking it fitting and when the dark haired man reached for her hand, she happily let him waltz her briefly in a circle. She was almost giddy at the unexpected turn of events; she could easily lose herself in a setting such as this. Dancing with a stranger seemed apropos to the surroundings.
As Hilary made her way through many rooms in the palace she was left with a sense of wonder and awe that didn't leave her for the entire day.
When Hilary finally left the palace, many hours later, she once again saw all the carriages in the courtyard; tourists were filling them for a trip around the extensive grounds. The temperature had become noticeably cooler and Hilary decided she would prefer one in a closed carriage. As she approached, the carriages were beginning to pull off as they became full; it looked like she may have missed her opportunity. The line of tourists she had seen was now depleted. She cursed inwardly, not sure that she wanted to wait in the cold.
"Oi! Oi!" Hilary looked to where the shouting was coming from and saw Eloise waving at her. "You want to get a tour?" Eloise was playfully putting on an English accent, making Hilary laugh as she made her way over to the carriage. She noticed it was full, although a woman was managing to squeeze into what looked like the last available seat in the closed top carriage. She shrugged and put her foot on the step, not convinced there was a place for her when Eloise stopped her. "No, no. You will sit up here with me."
"Oh, okay." Hilary was hesitant, partly because of the cold weather, but took the hand Eloise offered to help her onto the front bench seat. Eloise smiled as she joined her and bumped her shoulder. "This is a good view." Hilary noted that she no longer wore her hooded sweatshirt from earlier when she was working with the horses. She now sported a blood red riding jacket transforming her look, giving a timeless veneer. Hilary glanced at the dressage style top hat on the bench between them. Eloise followed her gaze; lifting the hat in her gloved hand she put it on her head. "Only for you, I usually leave it off." Hilary was delighted she had chosen to wear it, she looked handsome.
"Pardon, one moment." Eloise turned to address the tourists in the carriage, enquiring as to their nationalities. From what Hilary could make out, they were Belgian, French, German and Dutch. "And you, you are English."
"No, I'm Scottish."
"It is the same."
"It's no..." Hilary saw the glint in Eloise's eyes and knew she was being teased. Her shoulder was bumped again, "I know it is not."
A fond command delivered in French accompanied by a twitch of the reins and they were moving. As the carriage made its way through the vast grounds Eloise firstly spoke English to Hilary, giving her information about the places they were passing, before turning to the rest of the tourists in the carriage and delivering the same information in four more languages. Hilary was impressed in equal measures by the surroundings and her guide.
“How many languages do you speak?”
Eloise shrugged and made a facial movement that Hilary could only think of as quintessentially French. “I am fluent in six languages and passable in another four or five. It is one of my many skills.”
Again Hilary couldn’t help but be aware of the effect this woman was having on her. The smile and the emphasis on the word skills sent an involuntary shiver through her body. Eloise mistook the shiver for the cold and wrapped the deep red sweatshirt she had swapped for her riding jacket over Hilary’s shoulders. “It will help keep you warm.” Hilary was enthralled by the gallantry on display.
As the tour continued Eloise asked Hilary if she had enjoyed her visit inside the palace. Hilary had expressed her delight at the impressive surroundings and told Eloise of her impromptu dance with a stranger. The Frenchwoman laughed and shook her head. “The hall of mirrors can do strange things to people.”
‘It does seem to have that effect.”
“How do you say it in French?” Hilary had read the words, but she needed to hear them in French, especially the rich tones Eloise used.
“La Galerie des Glaces.”
Hilary repeated the words hoping to pronounce them correctly.
“You Scots, you are so harsh on the letters of the alphabet.”
Hilary laughed as Eloise did a passable Scots accent using the words, och and loch.
“I cannot even begin to describe what you do the poor letter ‘r’. It is sacrilege.”
Again Hilary knew she was being teased, but listening to the way Eloise caressed her words, she couldn’t help but concede that she did have a point.
“Did you enjoy the king’s bedroom?”
Hilary recalled being shocked at how small the bed was and impressed with the giant mural covering an entire wall floor to ceiling, depicting a fight scene in larger than life imagery. “The bed was so small.”
“They were very little in those days. He had to compensate in other ways.”
As they approached a smaller palace Eloise slowed the carriage to a stop outside the gold painted gates. She leaned in closer to Hilary and put an arm around her. “This is where he brought his lovers.”
Again Hilary shivered in reaction to the way Eloise had said the word lovers and this time she was certain the Frenchwoman was completely aware that she was the cause, if the intense knowing look was anything to go by.
When the tour finished Eloise asked Hilary to remain where she was on the bench seat. She watched as Eloise went to assist the tourists from the carriage, chatting comfortably with each of them in their native tongue as she indicated with a gentle nod toward her tips jar. After the last person was escorted from the carriage Eloise returned to Hilary and helped her down from the carriage with a bow and a click of her heels. Hilary thanked her and went towards the tip jar, but the Frenchwoman stopped her.
“No, please. It was my pleasure.”
Momentarily stunned, Hilary recovered in time to thank her.
“Please stay a little longer. Keep my horses company?”
Hilary did and watched on as Eloise posed for pictures with the tourists. Recognising the two horses were becoming impatient, she dragged over a bucket of oats and began feeding them. Eloise joined her a few minutes later, unhooked the horses and guided them over to the water. As they drank, Eloise began wiping the horses down with a curry brush. “What will you do now, sweet Hilary?”
“Go back to my hotel, have a nice relaxing bath and then get some dinner.”
“You will meet friends?”
“No. It’s just me.”
“A beautiful woman should not dine alone in Paris. You will have dinner with me, no?” Eloise made the word Paris sound like Paree.
Hilary was flustered. She hadn’t been sure how her day with Eloise would end, but never even considered dinner. Now that the offer had been made, she could think of no reason to refuse this fascinating woman. “I would like that very much.”
“Good.” Eloise indicated the horses, which were now covered with jackets. “I still have work to do, but I will pick you up at your hotel at eight o’clock?”
Hilary told Eloise where she was staying.
“I know it. I will take you to one of my favourite restaurants, you will enjoy it.”
Hilary didn’t doubt that she would. “I’m sure I will.”
“Bonsoir, Hilary.” Eloise took Hilary’s hand and kissed the back of it. “Until later.”
Hilary exited the lift into the reception area of her hotel. As she looked around for Eloise she saw a tall woman leaning against a marble pillar, the smile was instantly familiar. Eloise uncrossed her arms and walked towards her. Hilary took a moment to study the Frenchwoman as she approached. She wore a black fitted trouser suit with a black tape trim on the outside leg, the jacket open showing a crisp white shirt, the top three buttons undone to reveal a tantalising glimpse of tan flesh. The look was androgynous, but suited Eloise perfectly. Hilary hadn't imagined what Eloise would wear, but thought her outfit stunning. Her rich dark hair falling in waves around her shoulders left no doubt that this was beautiful woman. Even her flat leather Chelsea boots could not detract from Eloise's femininity.
"You look very beautiful, Hilary." Eloise said, as she offered Hilary her arm. "Your dress is exquisite. The dark blue shows off your eyes so well."
"Thank you. I like the way you look too."
Eloise led them out to her car, which she had parked right in front of the hotel. It was a lovely car, or it would have been but for several dents along the side.
"Your car is..."
"Full of bumps. Eloise saved Hilary from having to find a nice thing to say about her car.
"I'm sure it looked great before ah, the bumps."
"What can you do? It is impossible to drive in this city and not get bumps." Eloise shrugged, seemingly unconcerned with what had happened to her car.
The trip to the restaurant was reasonably short but Hilary learned that Eloise was probably responsible for most of the dents in her car. She drove it like a bumper car, with strong language and a lot of hand gestures. It reminded Hilary of an incident she had witnessed the previous day when a car clipped a man riding a Vespa scooter. The driver had gotten out of his car and looked at the man lying on the ground waving his hands around. Hilary's initial concern turned to bemusement as she watched the driver light each of them a cigarette, pick the man up from the road, then test the scooter was working. She continued to watch in rapt fascination as the pair chatted, shook hands and went their separate ways. As she told the story to Eloise, the woman had simply shrugged and said, "you British, you have too many rules."
Hilary could only describe the French Bistro as rustic. The walls and the floor were stone, she could not even guess at how old the building was. Nothing matched. The tables and chairs were old and worn, looking like each was randomly selected from secondhand furniture stores.
"Do not concern yourself with the decor, it is part of the charm. Reserve judgement for the food." With those words, Eloise had pulled out a chair for Hilary and she found herself seated at a small table for two, with a view out onto the street. Their order was taken quickly, it wasn't difficult to choose as there were only two starters and four main dishes on the menu. They had both chosen soup to start and as Hilary tucked into her chicken, Eloise was having a beef dish. The Frenchwoman had been right about the food, it was heaven. Hilary had never tasted a sauce quite like the yellowish one accompanying her chicken, there was lemon and dill, but that didn't even begin to cover the multitude of flavours assaulting her taste buds.
"Eloise, this food is incredible."
"Oui, much better than the hotel. The food always looks pretty, but it lacks real flavour."
As they sipped wine and relaxed, Eloise asked the first personal question of the day. "Tell me, Hilary, what is a good looking woman doing alone in Paris?"
Hilary thought about giving an answer that would be vague, but the way Eloise was looking at her changed her mind. "I'm recently divorced. So, after spending the last ten years as part of a couple, I suddenly find myself single and I realise I have a chance to do things that I missed out on. I don't have to convince Tom anymore, I can make my own plans. I intend to make the most of this opportunity. I've never travelled alone before, and I always wanted to visit Paris, so here I am."
Hilary shook her head, "We had decided to wait until my career was established. Then we were going to start a family. I'm glad of that now, it would have made the divorce more difficult."
"You have plenty of time for children, but your husband was a fool to let you go."
"Was there another woman?"
"More than one."
Eloise gave a look of disgust. "This Tom, your career is more successful than his?"
"Eventually, yes, but not when we got married." Hilary wondered what Eloise was getting at. "Why do you ask?"
"Why else would a man risk losing a beautiful woman? Was he a good lover?"
Hilary blushed a little, but she was becoming used to Eloise Frenchness as she had come to call it. "He was adequate."
"You have nothing to compare him to?"
Hilary shook her head; Tom had been the only man she had ever slept with.
Eloise took her hand. "Hilary, you must have lovers. You should really experience its physicality. Get to know your body and what you enjoy." Eloise sat back in her chair and shrugged. "Experiment, while you have this freedom to do so."
"You are advising me to sleep around?"
"It is no harm having lovers, Hilary."
There it was again, the way Eloise said her name, she could listen to her all day. "I will give it some thought."
"You do that." Eloise looked around the small bistro, which was quieter now than when they arrived. "Pardon me, one moment."
Hilary watched as the tall woman went to the bar in the corner, she had never met anyone like her. Interesting, witty, charming and extremely liberal with her views. Hilary didn't want the evening to end, but she knew it was getting late.
Eloise parked at the side of the hotel and opened the passenger door for Hilary. "I will walk you to your room."
Hilary saw no reason to object, she was a lone female in a strange city after all. "Thank you."
This time Eloise took her hand. Hilary noticed its warmth, despite the chill of the evening air. She knew the roughness of the skin was from working with horses every day. She felt bold as they entered the hotel lobby walking hand in hand with a woman. All too quickly they were standing outside her hotel room.
"I've had such a wonderful day, Eloise, I can't thank you enough."
"It has been my absolute pleasure. I should be thanking you for gracing me with your company."
Hilary swallowed nervously, hesitating only a moment before voicing the question she had been wanting to ask since they left the Bistro. "Would you like to come in for a drink?"
Eloise smile was gentle. "I would love to."
They entered the suite, and for the first time that day Hilary took the lead, putting on a lamp and taking Eloise’s jacket from her.
"What would you like to drink?" Hilary indicated the now open mini bar.
As Hilary poured the sparkling water for herself and Eloise, she noticed the Frenchwoman was looking at her iPod.
Hilary nodded, waiting to see what she would select. As the sensual tones of Julie London trickled softly from the speakers, Hilary thought it was the perfect choice. As they sat in the armchairs overlooking the city, it was the quietest they had been all day. Both content in each other’s company. Eloise looked relaxed as she leaned back in her armchair, her long legs stretched out in front of her.
"When do you return home, Hilary?"
"You have enjoyed your trip?"
"May I show you something?" Eloise asked, indicating the full-length window.
Eloise stood behind Hilary as they looked out over Paris. "The Tower is beautiful lit up at night. You have visited yes?"
"I have, luckily I don't have a fear of heights."
Eloise chuckled, "How many times have you looked out at this view?"
"Every evening after dinner."
"And which time will you remember most?"
Hilary didn't have to think about her answer. "Now," she whispered. She could feel the heat from Eloise' body on her back, she doubted the Frenchwoman could be any closer without touching her. As Eloise exhaled, Hilary felt the breath on her ear.
"You are trembling."
Hilary gasped when she felt the brush of lips on her bare shoulder. She then felt Eloise press her full body against her back, her arms encircled Hilary's waist.
"Do not be afraid. I can simply hold you for as long as you like."
They swayed gently together, Hilary enjoying the comfort and touch of another human being for the first time in many months. Her hands naturally drifted to rest on top of Eloise's. She knew all she had to do was turn around and the other woman would kiss her and that's exactly what she did. It was soft, so soft and slow, unhurried. Eloise took her time, savouring every moment of the exchange. When they broke apart, Hilary felt a little lightheaded. She leaned her head on Eloise's shoulder, appreciating the solid strength she found there, wrapped in her arms. It was both comforting and arousing.
"I love her voice." Eloise hummed along to the music.
Hilary nodded her agreement, thinking that she had never appreciated the singer’s voice more than at that very moment. "It's rich and sultry, like yours."
Eloise leaned back to gaze at Hilary. What she saw reflected in the other woman's eyes made her own darken with desire. She kissed her again, this time deeper. Communicating her need for Hilary; tracing her lips with her tongue, before seeking entrance. Hilary could feel her heart pounding in her chest. She didn't know the reason, if it was being in Paris or this woman in particular, but she felt alive and she wanted more. Eloise slowly moved them closer to the bed, she had no intention of rushing her time with Hilary, she wanted to savour every moment. Carefully she reached for the zip at the back of Hilary's dress, slowly easing it down, one tantalising inch at a time until her hand was at the base of Hilary’s spine.
Hilary gasped at the first touch of Eloise's hand on her bare back, the touch arousing and sure. She had never doubted that the Frenchwoman would be a skilled lover, but to be on the receiving end of this slow seduction was thrilling. As the rest of her clothing was removed effortlessly, she barely noticed Eloise had been undressing them both until she felt the full press of Eloise naked body to her own. It sent a shiver of need through her. Eloise slowly lowered her on to the bed, taking a moment to gaze upon her nakedness.
"So beautiful," she whispered, before lowering herself to Hilary, pressing a leg between her thighs as she kissed her deeply once more. Trailing a hand down Hilary’s arm to the outside of her thigh before raising her leg causing Hilary to gasp aloud at the increased contact. Eloise slowly ground her pelvis to Hilary's as she took a plump nipple into her mouth, her hand caressing the other breast. Hilary was surprised at how ready she felt to orgasm, but her need receded as Eloise moved her pelvis away.
"Not yet, mon cher."
Hilary felt her breath come quicker as the Frenchwoman trailed her tongue down over her abdomen, then paused and looked up at Hilary, before taking her with her mouth. Hilary's orgasm, when it came, was more intense than anything she had experienced before. She cried out and literally begged Eloise to take pity on her.
A short time later, Hilary found herself leaning back in Eloise' arms, as the other woman lay back propped against some pillows. The French woman's fingers tracing lazy patterns over her arms and torso.
"Have you had many lovers?"
Eloise did not hesitate to answer. "There have been lovers."
"No, but I prefer women. Very occasionally I take a male lover, but they never last long."
"Will you settle down with a woman?"
"Yes, when I am old and grey." They both laughed. "There are too many women in the world to have just one."
"Maybe one day you will meet a woman who will change that."
Hilary's breath caught as Eloise began to rub her clitoris, ending all conversation until she lay spent and quivering with Eloise murmuring words in French in her ear. She had no idea what the Frenchwoman was saying as she drifted off.
When Hilary stirred, she felt protected in Eloise's arms. As she turned her head to look at the other woman she found her smiling fondly. She wondered how long she had been asleep, but then realised it didn't really matter. Instead she had an overwhelming urge to touch the other woman. She turned in her arms finding herself unsure as to how to proceed. As she moved her thigh between Eloise's she noticed the other woman swallow hard, her jaw shut tight. Need written on her face.
"Please, Hilary, do not be afraid." Eloise's voice was breathy, her teeth biting her lower lip, encouraging Hilary to explore further.
Hilary kissed her, allowing her fingers to trail over the outside of a generous breast. A hand rubbing her back encouraging her, twitching as Hilary became a little bolder. She eased back and looked into Eloise's eyes, looking for encouragement.
"Touch me any way you wish, my body is yours to explore as much or as little as you like."
Hilary nodded and realised the gift she was being given. When would she have another chance like this, perhaps never? The trust in the other woman's eyes giving her confidence, she knew with certainty that Eloise would be with her every step of the way. She would not be rushed or pushed by this incredible woman. Just given time and opportunity to experience what she wished to. As she caressed Eloise's breasts she was fully aware of what it cost the other woman to allow her this experience. She felt the hunger that was being kept at bay by sheer will.
"Yes. Just. Like. That..."
Hilary rubbed between Eloise's legs amazed at the effect she was having on the other woman. The wetness coating her fingers, as Eloise panted getting closer to orgasm. As Hilary watched enthralled at her response, she knew she wanted it all. As she entered Eloise, the Frenchwoman came. The veins standing out on her neck; chest flushed as she gave a strangled cry.
"Mon dieu!" Eloise threw an arm over her eyes, she was spent.
Hilary studied her as she lay naked and sated. She looked incredible and for the first time since Hilary had met her, she looked vulnerable.
Hilary woke, to Eloise gently shaking her as she whispered her name. They had made love more times than she could recall. She thought she had six orgasms, but couldn't be sure anymore.
"I must go, I have work."
Hilary nodded and smiled, "Of course." but there were twinges of sadness with the realisation that her fairy tale was over. She was wearing Eloise's shirt, she remembered putting it on to use the bathroom. She began to remove it, but was stopped.
"No, you keep it. I like the way it looks on you."
Hilary watched as Eloise dressed. She simply put her jacket on over her bra and closed the button, causing Hilary to laugh.
"What is so funny?"
"You can't walk through the hotel like that, I can see your bra." Hilary reached for the silk scarf she had worn the evening before and blushed as she had a flashback of Eloise trailing it over her naked body. "Here, take this." She stood and arranged the scarf in a way that would mostly hide the fact that Eloise was only wearing a bra under her jacket.
"Thank you. I shall cherish this."
They shared one last slow kiss.
"Thank you, Eloise. I had such a wonderful time."
"It was my pleasure."
Hilary was unsure what else to say, "Well, goodbye, Eloise. I have so enjoyed your company."
"Au revoir, sweet, Hilary."
And then she was gone.
"So, what, you are a lesbian now?" Glenda proclaimed as several heads turned in the cafe.
Hilary sighed. "I'm not anything, Glenda, but I did sleep with a woman. I may or may not again."
"I'm jealous. I mean I've always wondered what it would be like, you know, with another woman."
"You can't be serious, Jacqueline! Don't any of you see what happened here? Hilary was seduced by a, a seductress!"
"Eloquently put," Avril muttered as everyone else giggled.
Glenda turned to Hilary. "That woman would have said or done anything to get you into bed, Hilary. She probably picks up dozens of women every month that way." She took Hilary's hand to offer comfort.
Hilary knew a woman like Glenda would never understand so there would be no point attempting to explain it to her. She carefully removed her hand from Glenda's, gently patting the other woman's hand as she did so. "All of that may be true, Glenda, I will never know for sure, but there is one thing I am certain of...I would do it all again."
Hilary heard a whispered 'touché' from Jacqueline. Glenda was not so happy. "You all know I'm right."
"Actually Glenda, we don't. I for one am delighted for Hilary and a little jealous." Jacqueline looked around the table, it seemed that the friends coffee meet was over for this month. "Well would you look at the time. Doesn't it fly when you're having fun. Hilary, share a cab home with you?"
"Thanks for speaking up for me, Jacqueline." Hilary had been quiet as they waited at the taxi rank, but now as they made their way to the west side of Edinburgh, she found her voice again.
"No need for thanks, sometimes Glenda goes too far. I don't think she realises how hurtful she can be. In her own way, she does care about us."
"I know her heart is in the right place, but sometimes I want to strangle her."
Jacqueline laughed, she knew the feeling well. "I meant it you know, when I said I was jealous."
"You're happily married to Euan."
"Of course I am, but what you experienced in Paris, that’s the kind of thing we dream about when life gets on top of us and we find ourselves staring out the kitchen window on a wet Monday afternoon."
"With a woman?"
"Okay. Maybe not with a woman, but after the story you told, I would be willing to reconsider."
The friends shared a laugh, then Hilary became quiet again, a thoughtful look on her face as she watched the city go by.
"Tell me one thing, Hilary, and be honest." When Jacqueline had her friend’s full attention she asked, "If you could, would you want to see her again?"
Hilary sighed, a sad smile on her face. It had been almost four months since her trip to Paris. She had spent less than twenty-four hours in the company of Eloise and yet she knew the impact of those hours would last a lifetime. "My mind drifts to her all the damn time. I set out with the goal of accomplishing a trip abroad on my own, to gain a sense of achievement. And I did, but Eloise...God I can't even explain it." Hilary shook her head. "I didn't even spend a full day with her."
"What? No, I couldn't."
"Why, what have you got to lose?"
"No, Jacqueline, I think Glenda was right in that respect. Eloise is very liberal and free; I mean her advice to me was to have lovers. To explore my sexuality to the full!" They both laughed at that. "I just couldn't go back there."
Jacqueline squeezed Hilary's hand in understanding.
As the taxi came to a stop outside Hilary's townhouse, she searched her handbag for her purse to give Jacqueline money for the cab.
"Oh, my God...it's her." Jacqueline whispered to herself, before she started shaking her friend. "Hilary. Hilary!"
"What." Hilary looked at Jacqueline; she was slightly annoyed that her arm was still being shaken until she followed her friend’s gaze. She could only stare as she saw Eloise bounding down the path towards them.
"Hello, Hilary." Eloise said, grinning as she held open the taxi door.
Hilary was frozen in her seat, speechless, but Jacqueline leaned past her to offer her hand to the Frenchwoman. "Hello, I'm Jacqueline, a friend of Hilary's."
"Pleased to meet you, Jacqueline. I'm Eloise." She shook the offered hand.
Hilary finally regained some composure, as Eloise picked up her shopping bags and offered her hand to assist her from the taxi. As she exited she turned to look at Jacqueline who was making a shooing motion with her hands.
"Go. I'll call you tomorrow."
Eloise said goodbye to Jacqueline and closed the taxi door, then took Hilary's hand and walked towards the house.
"Eloise, what are you doing here?"
"I needed to return your scarf."
"You have flown from Paris to return my scarf?"
"Also, I gave you some very bad advice."
They were now standing on Hilary's doorstep.
"I told you to take lovers, I have changed my mind. You only need one lover, but they must be very skilled."
"And...I really want to kiss, but your neighbours, they are very nosey. I would be happy to kiss you anywhere, but I'm not sure you are ready for such a display on your doorstep."
Hilary knew exactly who Eloise had met as she opened the door to offer them privacy. No sooner had the door closed and they were in each other’s arms. She didn’t have time to wonder how Eloise had found her and at that moment she didn’t care. They would have plenty of time for those questions later.
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