Get Away with Martha Hall

Artemis Callaghan

Warning: there is some quite graphic sex in this.

Part 4

“I think your coat is probably dry by now” Jo and Martha were leaning against the gun metal railings looking out to sea. Martha’s wet clothes were in a plastic bag, her parka dumped on the ground between her feet. The blue and white hat had dried quickly and she’d pulled it on, tucking her hair up inside. She shook her head and tugged the top of the black jacket so it covered her chin.

“I like my new jacket better. It makes me feel like a tough girl”

She grinned against the material as Jo laughed. Down on the beach a man threw a ball for two small white dogs that chased after it and then after each other in a frenzy of barking and play fighting.

“Did you come down here a lot when you were a kid?”

“Yeah, all the time, especially in the summer. My mates liked it because it was a good place to pick up boys. This is the place I first saw – ”

“You first saw what?”

Martha shook her head. The tide had turned, exposing more sand as it retreated.

“Why did you come back?”

Martha stared out at to where a boxy container ship, more like a child’s drawing of a ship than a real one, was making for a port in Belgium or maybe Holland. She didn’t say anything for a moment and Jo was about to change the subject when she spoke.

“I was looking for a friend. She was here before but now she’s gone”

“Is that the woman from the bookshop?”

Startled, she turned to face Jo, and it was like she was seeing her for the first time. This close to, any resemblance to Lauren was slight: her hair was cut in much the same way, the colour was the same except for the occasional grey that threaded through her hairline, around her ears. She had the sort of face that was attractive without being conventionally pretty; when it was open, like it was now, Martha would even say she was beautiful. It was a face that knew itself and was happy with what it saw without being vain or insecure. Martha wanted to touch the tips of her fingers to where the skin crinkled at the edge of Jo’s eyes, brush down the freckles on her jaw to hold the pointed chin in her hand. She looked away, stuffing her hands into the pocket of the black jacket and kicking the toe of her boot against the bottom of the railings.

“Yes, her name’s Lauren. We used – we used to be very close”

“When I saw that programme of yours I did wonder”

Martha drew a sharp breath and glanced at her quickly.

“Was it that obvious?”

Jo shrugged

“Only if you were looking for it. I usually am. So why now, why did you come back this time?”

“I wanted to tell her I was sorry”

“What for?”

“I think I might’ve broken her heart”

Jo smiled

“The heart’s a surprisingly resilient organ”

“Not always”

They both fell quiet and were careful to look at the sea rather than each other. Martha shivered. The breeze coming inland was cold on skin that felt raw and exposed, as if the top layer had been taken off. Jo was a silent, solid presence, and Martha was drawn to her warmth, wishing the other woman would slip her arm around her like she had in the toilets. Jo seemed oblivious to Martha’s shoulder, hip and thigh pressing into her with a light but insistent pressure, unaware of Martha trying to exert her will using just the power of thought and suggestion.

“Martha – ?”

“Matty. You should call me Matty. Everyone in this place does”

“Does Lauren?”

“Yes, unless she’s angry with me, then she calls me Martha, if she calls me anything at all”


“Matty, can I ask you a personal question?”

Martha nodded but it took a couple of minutes to frame it. In the end she blurted it out with no finesse.

“Have you ever slept with another woman?”

Colour flooded Martha’s face.


O well done, Jo, nice one. But it was too late. The only way out of this now was to carry on what she’d started, however heavy handed.

“Have you ever kissed one?”

Martha stared down at her boots, her cheeks still burning, and nodded.

“Yes, once”

“What happened?”

She looked up at Jo, her eyes glinting.

“I ran away, and I kept on running”

“But you’re here now”

“There comes a time when you have to stop, when you’re too tired to keep on”

For the first time, Jo became aware of how close Martha had been standing next to her. A delayed reaction hit her body, responding to the other pressed into it only after its withdrawal. Blood was hurtling through her body, again unsure of where it wanted to settle. She thrust her hands deep into the pockets of her overcoat where they could flex and ball without Martha noticing. She cleared her throat in an attempt to make a voice she knew would be squeaky sound as normal as possible.

“So you came back for her?”

“That was the original plan, yes. But then you walked in and showed me more genuine kindness than I’ve seen in a long time”

Warm fingers were gently touching Jo’s face at the side of her eye before smoothing down the line of her jaw. Every nerve ending jumped, every tiny hair shuddered and sighed as Martha’s hand moved down her face until her chin was being held in the palm of her hand. Her eyes had gone from steel to fire in a matter of seconds.

“And that was when I stopped running”

“I don’t want to be an experiment” Jo’s voice was low and quiet. Martha found she was unable to stop touching her. Her senses were processing information at a dizzying speed: a light chemical fragrance made richer by the warmth of skin, deeper by the places she wanted to search for with hands and mouth; minute changes in breathing, the altered thud of unfailing muscle trapped inside its bone cage; hair at the nape of the neck softer, finer than the hair that marked the arch of an eyebrow. Her monkey brain screamed at her to take it further, to put her tongue where the blood throbbed at the base of the throat, to suck the delicate skin behind the ear, to find the salt taste of her, but shyness stilled her.

“You’re not an experiment. You’re a bright deed in a dark world”

She rested her palms against Jo’s chest: the brush of wool, the beat of a heart.

“You’re an unexpected gift”

There she was; see how easy it was to close the gap between breath and breath and feel that softness. Taste her taste her, the monkey insisted so loudly she thought Jo must be able to hear it. Blood was wowing in her ears, her vision sharpened, heightened. For a second, with absolute clarity, she could see the plain and purl, the vibrant dark green and deep blood red of Jo’s sweater, the ribbing at its neck and the edge of a white T-shirt underneath. And then her eyes closed themselves.

Soft, like she’d expected, skin smoother without the scratch and burn of five o’clock shadow, but firmer, more insistent. Her memory searched every detail of the time she kissed a girl, but the two experiences didn’t match up. That had been tentative, inexpert, and Martha had been overwhelmed by emotion rather than sensation. This was confident, knowing, and Martha opened her mouth in astonishment. Civilised thought was unplugged leaving her with the static of monkey chatter. Yesyesyesyes. There. Now. O. Everything silenced by the first touch of tongue against her bottom lip, against her teeth. Everything red-black as her eyes screwed tight better to concentrate on the live wire that sent electric shocks from mouth to nipple, nipple to clitoris, body juddering with each pulse. Was that sound her groaning or the rush of blood in her ears?

When Jo drew her mouth away, Martha felt the tear of it, and the separation was unbearable. She gripped Jo’s face with both hands and pulled her back, her own tongue slipping into Jo’s mouth, meeting no resistance. She became aware that she was wrapped around Jo, that there wasn’t a single part of her that wasn’t touching a corresponding part of the other woman: breast was pressed into breast, belly to belly, thigh to thigh. This time, Martha stopped the kiss and stood, resting her forehead against Jo’s, breathing so hard she thought her lungs would burst. It was Jo who spoke, her voice ragged.

“We should – we should take this indoors”

Martha nodded, burying her face in Jo’s neck, speaking against her scent and her warmth.

“My hotel’s two minutes from here”

“Then I think we’d better go, don’t you?”

Martha nodded again, slowly putting the space between them that was needed to move but hating it.

They walked the short distance to Martha’s hotel in silence. Martha stared at the pavement, willing her boots to keep putting themselves one in front of the other. Her mind was still blank; nothing had caught up with the kiss. It was as if a seismic shift had knocked everything out: light, power, processors. She was sitting in a cave watching the patterns flicker on the walls, trying to make sense of the pictures but seeing nothing, just wanting to feel the flame, against her better judgement, wanting to be a part of it.

They barely touched: Jo’s fingers rested lightly on Martha’s arm when they reached the hotel, Martha murmured an apology when her arm brushed Jo’s breast in the doorway. Jo stood apart from Martha when she collected her key card from reception, asked if there were any messages; she watched Jo out of the corner of her eye, she was standing with her legs apart, her hands deep in the pockets of her coat. She was tough, invincible: a tomboy. Martha straightened and looked at Jo properly. With a jolt and then a hum, her brain and body switched themselves back on and she knew what she wanted.

“Why don’t we have a drink in the bar?”

“Is that what you’d like?”

Jo nodded.

“Okay, find us a table”

Jo hadn’t expected this shift; Martha apparently so sure of herself, she suddenly nervous, feeling everything was going too fast. She wanted to slow things down, if only for a little while, have Martha where she could look at her, talk to her, before everything got out of hand. Which it would be the second Martha swiped the lock to her room. Once that door was closed behind them, there would be no going back, and for some reason Jo wanted to hold on to the moment before that, when everything was still possible. The kiss had scared her a little, not Martha’s reaction, even though it had been immediate and intense; her body still held the muscle memory of Martha pressed into it, the heat of her trying to merge them. What scared her was her own reaction.

She looked around the dimly lit room for a table that would be suitable. It was still early evening, the place half empty. This one was good: near enough to the fire to be warm but not so close that they would be lulled into a stupor by the heat. On one side of the table was a bench seat, an old church pew, renovated and upholstered, opposite it were two spindle backed chairs, like the ones she remembered from her Grandmother’s dinning room set, floral cushions strapped onto the hard seats. She sat on the bench and watched Martha at the bar. Even though she couldn’t hear what was being said, she heard the barman’s quick, delighted laugh and saw Martha’s dazzling smile. Something stupidly close to jealousy clutched at her stomach. But then Martha had turned away from the bar and those blue eyes had searched the room, not happy until they found Jo in her hiding place, and then she gave her a smile entirely different from the one she’d given the bar man: slow and intimate, starting off a little shy but becoming bolder. There was a thudding sound; Jo realised it was her heart.

Rather than sit on the seat opposite, as Jo thought she might, Martha slipped round the table and in next to Jo, sitting close enough for her shoulder, hip and thigh to press lightly into her own. This time Jo was instantly aware of it, the heat where denim touched denim, cotton touched wool. Martha placed two glasses on the table.

“It’s Irish whiskey, I hope that’s okay”

Jo watched the ice cubes as they clinked against the square cut crystal of the tumbler. The liquid was clear and caramel coloured.

“I thought about getting champagne but whiskey seemed better on a day like today – ”

Martha was flushed and gabbling. Jo raised the glass to her lips and let the hot fumes give her fair warning of the fiery assault to come. Martha fell silent, her eyes were huge, the blue irises dwarfed by dark pupils. She was staring at Jo’s lips where the glass touched them, willing Jo to take a drink. She did, letting the whiskey taste fill her mouth and charge down her throat, lighting everything up on its way down. A grin crept over her face.

“It’s perfect”

Martha’s mouth was slightly open, the lids of her eyes half closed. The tip of her tongue slipped out and ran, unconsciously, over her lips. She seemed to give herself a shake, smiled briefly, and picked up own drink. Now it was Jo watching as lips clung to the edge of a glass.

“Yes it is, isn’t it?”

Over in the fireplace, flames ate away at a thick slice of log, charring the outside, sending smoke up the chimney.

“Your eyes went that colour a moment ago”


Martha didn’t say anything, instead she reached out for her glass before leaning back. She didn’t take a drink, but moved the glass from hand to hand, the ice floating from side to side. The log spat, sending a shower of sparks out of the grate to hurtle, tiny comets, towards the stone hearth; an adventurous few burning themselves out on the Axminster. The carpet was pitted with similar burns. To put up a guard would ruin the bar’s atmosphere and that was obviously more import than ruining the carpet. The log shifted and settled in its burning; Martha took a sip of her whiskey. When Jo spoke her voice was hesitant but sincere.

“Matty, I know you said a lot of people have eyes like yours but you know that’s not true, don’t you?”

Martha shrugged, taking another drink.

“They’re the same as my mother’s, so that’s at least one”

Jo was surprised when she realised this wasn’t false modesty. Martha genuinely couldn’t take a compliment. She grabbed Martha’s hand, linking their fingers and squeezing hard. Martha started, and stared down at their joined hands. Jo relaxed her grip, covering their hands with her free one, dipping her head until Martha looked up at her. She held her gaze.

“I’m sure they’re similar but they won’t be the same. Hand on heart – ”

She pulled up their hands so that the palm of Martha’s was pressed against her chest.

“Mine might be like the rain at sea, but yours are like every single sunny day. There’s enough blue there to make the whole fleet a pair of trousers. I have never seen eyes like yours. And I’d tell you every day of your life because I don’t think I’d ever get over it”

July heat haze shimmered, everything in the distance was indistinct and a lake of black lay across the horizon.    

“Jo, would you come upstairs with me?”

No mirage.


It started well. Martha’s hands had been shaky but she’d managed to swipe the card and push the door open. Jo had let the door swing shut behind her and stood with her back to it looking at Martha with eyes that had gone from rain to smoke in the short time it had taken them to get to Martha’s room. The tug toward her was irresistible and Martha followed where her body urged her to go, and there it was again, the softness and insistence of Jo’s mouth. The forward momentum of Martha’s body pushed Jo into the wood with a thud, pressing itself into Jo who gasped and opened her mouth to take in Martha’s tongue.

It was still alright when Martha felt a hand in her hair, wrapping strands of it around fingers, the pull of it sending small shock wave messages that by-passed her brain and went straight between her legs to set up a throbbing that was building exponentially with every move of Jo’s mouth on hers. All of that was fine, better than fine, she’d never felt like this from simply kissing. Her conscious mind was blissfully blank, letting her pre-brain central nervous system deal with everything: her super-ego leaving her id in charge.

But then a hand, its palm hot as the sun, slipped up under the edge of her jersey, the thumb stroking the ridges and dips of her ribs and intercostals, and everything froze as both id and ego were hit by an oncoming train. Every muscle in her body went into tension; she was rigid with realisation.

“I need the toilet”

She blurted out before throwing herself into the bathroom, locking the door behind her. Martha started to shake, and sank down until she was sitting on the floor, propped against the side of the bath, her knees pulled up under her chin. Her heart was thundering, she could hear it in her ears. After five minutes, there was a gentle tap at the door; when Jo spoke, the door did little to filter the concern in her voice.

“Martha, are you okay?”

Martha didn’t respond. She covered her face with her hands and tried to slow her heart rate, settle her blood pressure, calm her breathing. When she spoke again, Jo’s voice sounded very close to the door.

“We don’t have to do anything, but please come out so we can talk about it”

“You’ll think I’m stupid”

“No I won’t. Please, Matty”

It was another couple of minutes before Martha twisted the lock and opened the door. Jo was trying to fight the worry on her face but it was still obvious, and that saddened Martha; she wanted to reach out and cup her chin but touching was still impossible. She dropped her head and stared at the metal strip where the weave of the carpet gave way to the vinyl of the bathroom floor.

“I’ve always tried very hard not to be a tease”

“A tease? Martha, I’m not some bloke who’s pissed off with you because you won’t wank him off”

Martha glanced quickly up at Jo, unsure of her tone of voice.

“But I kissed you, I – I – ”

Jo closed the gap between them and put a hand on Martha’s shoulder.

“It’s still okay if you want to change your mind, it’s not like I’m going to demand you go through with it, but I would like to know what happened”

Martha looked up into calm grey eyes.

“I don’t think I have changed my mind. It was just that – ”

“Reality hit?”

Martha nodded.

“Come on, come and sit down. I’ll get us something to drink”

Martha sat on the very edge of the double bed watching as Jo knelt down in front of the mini-bar. She rocked onto her heels, back still turned to Martha.

“There’s scotch, or vodka. We could even have a Bacardi and Coke if you don’t mind splashing out a little”

“That would be nice”

Jo straightened up, holding two miniatures between the fingers of her right hand. She leant into the fridge and took out a can of Coke before walking into the bathroom.

“It looks like there’s only one glass. They obviously weren’t expecting you to have company. Do you mind sharing?”

Martha shook her head.

“No, it’ll be like being a kid again”

“Well, that’s the beauty of Bacardi and Coke. It reminds me of being fourteen. We were on holiday in Spain with my Uncle Pete and Aunty Sharon. I’ve got a cousin, Nikki, she’s two years older than me and one night we sneaked into this bar. Nikki had a thing about one of the waiters”

There was a chink of ice in the glass and a hiss as Jo opened the can, splashing half of it on top of the rum. She handed Martha the glass before pulling the chair from behind the desk over towards the bed; Martha noticed that it was close but that she’d left a safe distance between them. She took a couple of sips of the drink before passing it over the Jo.

“So what happened?”

Jo looked into the glass before taking a drink.

“I thought I’d passed as fantastically grown up whereas I’m sure they knew damned well how old we were and just didn’t care. I was having a great time, but Nikki wasn’t. It turned out that this Carlos was something of a love rat. Not only did he have a wife, he also had six other girlfriends, all of them British girls on holiday”

“God, men can be such bastards at times”

Jo laughed at Martha’s vehemence.

“So it would seem. Anyway, Nikki didn’t want to hang around after that so we went back to the villa. My dad and Uncle Pete would always get loads of booze in as it was so much cheaper over there. We got stuck into the Bacardi and I had to spend the whole night comforting Nikki. We ended up in her bed, her crying on my shoulder, me stroking her back and telling her it would be alright, there were plenty of blokes out there and all that stuff. I know she had a terrible night but I was having the time of my life. I was holding her in my arms and she was so soft and pretty, even with her red eyes and all that snot. I was getting all hot from where I was stroking her”

Jo took another drink.

“It was quite an eye opener”

She leant forward to hand the glass to Martha, her fingers brushing the back of Martha’s hand. Martha felt herself blush at the first contact since she’d left the bathroom. She leant back a little on the bed, gazing up at the ceiling.

“First time I ever had it was with a boy from school called Billy. We were at a party and he got me very drunk. Well, that’s not strictly true; I got myself very drunk”

She took a pull on the drink, lost for a moment, remembering that night. She shook her head.

“I’m not sure I’ve drunk it since. I do remember being incredibly sick in someone’s garden. My dad went mental when I got home and I was grounded for about three weeks. What did your parents say?”

“They chalked it up to experience. My dad’s always said that alcohol has its own built in punishment. Shall I make us another one?”

Martha nodded.

“That’s the last of the rum, if we want another drink, we’ll have to make do with vodka”

“Why don’t you come and sit with me?”

Jo looked at her closely.

“Are you sure?”


Jo sat down next to her on the bed, careful to not let their bodies touch.

“Is this okay?”


Martha picked up Jo’s hand and held it lightly between both of hers, looking down at them. Her voice was soft.

“I’m sorry I freaked out on you”

The tips of the fingers of Jo’s other hand tucked a strand of hair behind Martha’s ear and then ran across her cheek.

“It’s okay, really it is”

Martha raised Jo’s hand until she could press her lips to it. She heard the change in Jo’s breathing, and emboldened, she let her tongue trace Jo’s life line until it was at the very centre of her palm, making Jo gasp. She dropped Jo’s hand and reached out until she cupped the back of Jo’s head, pulling her until their mouths were so close she could feel Jo’s warm breath on her lips and it was only a matter of closing that gap. She managed it easily.      

“You taste like a sixth form party”

“You’re a fine one to talk. You taste like a fortnight in Alicante”

“You taste like the night I lost my virginity”

“You taste like the night I found out what my clitoris was for”

“What is it for? I’ve always wondered”

Jo’s laugh was sudden and genuine and Martha grinned against her lips. Jo slipped her tongue quickly in and out of Martha’s mouth.

“Why don’t I show you?”

Martha reddened to the roots of her hair. Jo pulled away slightly.

“It’s okay, Matty, I was just joking”

“It’s not that I don’t want to. I’m just a bit – well – ”

“A bit what?”


“Shy about what?”

Martha was staring at the burgundy duvet cover. She was scratching at it with the edge of a fingernail.

“My body, I guess”

“Martha, I’ve seen you in a bikini that left very little to the imagination”

Shocked, Martha looked up.

“When – ? O I see what you mean. Thing is – it’s hard to explain. It’s like I can do that sort of thing because that’s not really me. Well, it obviously is me, a part of me, but she’s a different Martha Hall. It’s like I go somewhere else when I’m her”

“What about when you were standing in the toilets in just your bra and really rather clingy wet trousers? Was that her too?”

“To an extent, yes. She comes out when I need her. God, that makes me sound like a nutter”

Jo stroked her hair.

“I’m okay just kissing if you are”

To prove she was, Martha leant in and pressed her lips to Jo’s. Martha’s eyes closed and she felt the smoothness of Jo’s skin under her fingertips, the softness of her hair. Her tongue slid over Jo’s teeth as it went looking for Jo’s tongue and found it.

A liquid heat was now sweeping over her in almost continuous ripples; one would ebb just for another to form and slowly circle out. And the epicentre was Jo’s warm mouth on hers, her hands on Martha’s shoulders, gripping with increasing pressure but not moving. A ripple shuddered its way down Martha’s chest to wake against her breasts, hardening her nipples, making Martha gasp and momentarily break the kiss. She rested her forehead on Jo’s shoulder; Jo’s voice a whisper in her ear.

“Are you alright?”

Martha nodded, her head still on Jo’s shoulder, her hands reaching for Jo’s hips, pulling her until their bodies touched. She rested her palms on Jo’s waist, lifting her face to find Jo’s mouth again. She couldn’t help it as they kissed, she couldn’t keep her hands still: her thumbs brushed at Jo’s hips until they found their way under the wool of Jo’s jumper, the cotton of her T shirt, until they were on bare skin. Another ripple hit as Jo sighed and curled her fingers in Martha’s hair, drawing her closer. For a heart stopping moment, Jo’s breasts brushed hers, and a high up singing of blood started in the top of Martha’s head and worked its way down until it became a conscious thought, a conscious desire that she was as yet unable to put into words but needed to be acted on as urgently as breathing.

Her right hand slipped up increasingly hot skin and, in a move that startled them both, spread its fingers across Jo’s breast. Martha was momentarily distracted from the enormity of what she was doing by the realisation that Jo wasn’t wearing a bra; that her hand was in direct contact with bare skin; that a hardening nipple nestled between her middle and ring fingers. She looked up into eyes that had darkened considerably: a thin rim of silver around the black pupils; the breath heaved in and out of Martha’s lungs in something close to panic, but she didn’t move her hand. When she felt Jo cover it with her own, she waited for her to lift it off, already missing the contact, but it never happened. Jo held her hand in place, her eyes closing as her lips parted. Martha stared at her open mouthed. O my God.

The nerve sensors in Martha’s skin were sending too much information to her brain: it was in danger of overloading. A show reel of images flickered behind her eyes: girls in the changing rooms, showering after games; women at the gym, showering after working out. Running towels over naked skin and muscle, curving breasts and thighs; Martha unconsciously taking it all in for years only to let it spool out now, watching in hyperventilating excitement.          

Jo’s eyes opened. She took Martha’s hand, turned it over and kissed the palm the way Martha had her own. Then she tugged until they were both lying on the bed facing each other. Jo rested her hand slightly above Martha’s hip, her head propped up on her other hand, as she watched Martha’s face without saying anything. Martha wriggled closer, letting her hand slide back up under Jo’s clothes, this time cupping her other breast, enjoying Jo’s sigh and the tightening of her nipple under her thumb. Jo’s eyes met hers and held them. The grey of wood smoke; Martha couldn’t look away and didn’t want to. She could see the effect her gently stroking hand was having on the other woman; could feel the heat stoking between them. Jo’s voice broke.

“Will you kiss me?”

She was plaintive and Martha couldn’t refuse. She pushed her palm into Jo’s breast and reached up to kiss her. The kiss was fiery, spiked with Jo’s tongue electric in Martha’s mouth. Teeth bit down on her bottom lip, sending a power surge straight to her nipples. She wanted Jo to touch them but didn’t know how to ask.

Martha knew her breasts were considered small; Marco wasn’t the first to suggest enlargement, but she didn’t want it. It wasn’t simply a moral objection, although there was an element of that. She was afraid that surgery would change more than size. She’d had the sensitivity even before puberty had properly hit. It was an ache that couldn’t be relieved, one that would make her body shudder at the slightest touch; at other times would reach inside her until she wept. It wasn’t something she could easily explain; it was more than sexual.

Urgently she pushed her body into the other woman’s, gasping as her chest pressed into Jo’s. This, it would seem, was enough of a hint, and Jo ran her hand over the top of Martha’s jersey, letting it rest on Martha’s breast. It wasn’t enough; the touch was too light, too unknowingly teasing. Martha needed more. She sat up abruptly, stilling Jo’s look of surprised guilt with a press of fingers to her lips. Inside her jersey, she unhooked her bra, slipping the straps over her arms before pulling the whole thing out through a sleeve and throwing it onto the floor. Jo laughed softly.

“I haven’t seen anyone do that since school”

“It pays to remember a few tricks”

Her own voice, she noticed, was thick and slow as an estuarine river. She lay down, suddenly shy. Jo ran a hand through her hair, sifting, weaving it through her fingers, pulling Martha’s face towards her, her mouth brushing against her lips; slowly deepening the kiss, listening for the change in Martha’s breathing.

Martha’s eyes closed. The knit of the jersey was rubbing against the skin of her chest, her breasts, her nipples, and the sound like singing took up again high in the top of her head. A gentle hand slid up under the cotton and the singing intensified in a fontanel that was starting to split and crack open to let in the light, the hot sun of summer on the beach. She could see it pink on her eyelids; sunshine pouring down her face, her neck, down her chest, warming her body. Whispered breath in her ear.

“Is that alright?”

“It’s beautiful”

Jo took the edge of Martha’s jersey and pulled it up, exposing Martha’s bare skin to the air. She shivered, but not with the cold, a radiator ticked and banged quietly on the opposite wall, pumping out eddies of heat into the room. Jo’s hand closed around her breast and it was Martha’s turn to sigh; a sigh as if she was letting out a breath she’d been holding for years. A sudden intake of air rushed into her lungs and her heart stopped for a beat.

A soft warm mouth, a firm wet tongue, had found her breast, her nipple. The light in her head and chest was a supernova, radiating out to illuminate her veins and arteries, to super heat the marrow in her bones, the keratin in her hair. If she opened her mouth, it would come pouring out. She opened her mouth but everything stayed inside, even the scream that was increasing in volume. Sooner or later it would have to come out; it was getting too big for her thorax, too big for the wide open space in her head. But when it came, it came as a whisper.

“O my God, Jo”

Jo was trembling. That wasn’t unusual. Pent up energy and emotion shuddered her body but she ignored the shaking hand on Martha’s breast; she was too absorbed by what her mouth was doing and the very obvious effect it was having on Martha.

“Are you cold?”

Martha’s voice shook as much as Jo. Jo lifted her head for a moment and looked into intense, blue eyes.

“No, are you?”

Martha’s laugh was hoarse.

“I don’t think I’m going to be cold ever again. Do you – could you carry on doing that? It’s so nice”

Jo propped herself up on one elbow, her other hand skimming the exposed skin of Martha’s belly. She tugged at the jersey.

“Would it be alright to take this off?”

Martha nodded; sitting up she removed the jersey before lying on her back, her expression solemn. Jo smiled at her as her palm smoothed Martha’s neck and chest.

“You look so serious”

“It’s a serious business”

Jo sat up, gripping the edge of her own jumper, pulling it and the T-shirt underneath over her head in one movement. She glanced at Martha, whose face was flushed.

“Is this okay?”

Martha nodded, letting her wide eyes drift from Jo’s down to Jo’s breasts. Jo curled her body into Martha’s side, her hand stroking Martha’s stomach. She leant over and took Martha’s nipple into her mouth, a surge of excitement thrilling through her as Martha gasped. Her hand travelled the short distance to Martha’s other breast, and she felt the nipple harden almost instantly. She opened her eyes and watched herself as she rubbed it between her fingers. Another swell throbbed a definite message between her legs; she stifled a groan, pushing herself into the jut of Martha’s hip. She moved over Martha’s body, taking the other nipple in her mouth. Martha gave a shuddering sigh, her hand cupping the back of Jo’s head.

Jo’s resolve to go slow was being undermined by the heat coming off Martha, the fingers twisting in Jo’s hair; it was hard to imagine this was the same Martha Hall that had locked herself in the bathroom: responsive, passionate. Jo sucked hard on the nipple, grazing it with her teeth and then, at Martha’s guttural cry, took the sting out of it with her tongue. Martha was starting to arch her back, to stretch, and move against her mouth. This was too much for Jo: she straddled Martha, bending down to find her mouth. Martha’s fingers were in her hair again, pulling her in harder, deeper. Jo broke away to run her tongue along Martha’s jaw, to nip at her ear lob, and bury her mouth in her neck. Martha’s back arched again at the touch of Jo’s teeth at her neck and shoulder; Jo pinned her down with her hips. The throbbing between her own legs was intensifying, there was only so long she could ignore it, she knew. She raised herself up, unzipped her fly, slipping a hand in to feel the wetness that had soaked her knickers and was starting to work itself into the denim of her jeans. Martha was watching her, her mouth slightly open. Jo reached out and picked up one of Martha’s hands, sliding it down the front of her jeans. Martha drew in air, her pupils dilating even further. Jo covered the back of Martha’s hand with her own.

“Jo – I – o that’s incredible”

“I think you’re probably in a similar state. Shall we find out?”

Speechless, Martha nodded. Jo lifted herself off Martha and lay down beside her, undoing the buttons of Martha’s jeans, her hand inching its way down past the waistband to run her fingers over knickers made of the same lace as her bra. She could feel Martha through the material: hot and wet. Lightly, she ran the edge of her thumb against it, heard Martha’s moan, felt her thighs start to shake as much as her own. Jo let the tips of her fingers steal under elastic, over smooth, hot skin until they came to the brush of wiry hair. She stilled them for a moment.

“Do you want me to go on?”

“O God, yes. Please don’t stop”

Jo changed position slightly, her hand resting between Martha’s legs as she moved her mouth back to Martha’s breast, flicking the nipple with her tongue as her fingers dipped into wetness. Martha hissed out air through gritted teeth.

“Jesus Christ”

Jo closed her mouth over Martha’s nipple, sucking it until it was rigid, biting at it until Martha’s back stretched and lifted them both slightly off the bed, only to bang back down again as Jo pressed her finger tips against Martha’s hardening clit. It was red hot. Jo stroked it with the same rhythm her tongue stroked her nipple. A small cry escaped from the Martha’s throat as a quick spasm passed through her: a lightning orgasm that added to the tension rather than relieving it.

Suddenly, Martha rolled onto her side, her hand finding its way back into Jo’s jeans. Jo gave a startled yelp as Martha pushed her on to her back, her fingers finding her swiftly.

“Is this okay? Am I doing it right?”

“Fuck, it feels alright to me – but you don’t have to – o Christ”

Martha was uncertain what to do, that was obvious, but even if she was blundering around blindly, Jo was too far gone to care. Any touch was fantastic. Aware that her eyes had snapped shut, she opened them to look up into Martha’s face. Fuck, she’s beautiful. She always was, but at that moment her face was lit up from inside. Sex transforms a woman’s face, Jo knew, it was as if you saw them for who they truly were; all the masks and layers stripped off. She knew this was a Martha Hall very few people saw, and the intimacy of it stunned her. She sighed against Martha’s fingers curling in between her legs; she lifted her torso up so that she could kiss Martha, her tongue darting into the other woman’s mouth, a hand behind her head holding her to her.

“Matty – I want – I want – ”

“Yes, baby, what do you want?”

“Will you let me – ?”

“Let you what?”

“Put my tongue in you”

Martha reddened. Jo regretted saying it. The last thing she wanted now was to freak her out.

“I’m sorry”

Martha looked at her, her eyes burning hot.

“No, don’t be sorry. I want that. I was just too shy to ask”

“Lie down”

Martha lay on her back, the wide eyed solemn expression had returned. Jo sensed what a big deal this was to her, and understood why. It was a big deal, a woman going down on you, especially the first time. She kissed Martha softly on the lips.

“You only have to tell me to stop and I will”

“Thank you but I don’t think I’m going to want you to stop”

“Have you ever had this done to you before?”

“Yes, but only blokes who considered it a warm up act for the main event. They’d huff and puff and poke their tongues around a little until they’d decided that was more than enough foreplay”

Jo laughed.

“I promise I won’t huff and puff. Well, maybe a little. And remember, we can stop at any time”

While they were talking, Jo’s fingers had been gently stroking Martha. Now she kissed a line from Martha’s breast, down her stomach, stopping at the opened V of Martha’s jeans. She ran her tongue along the skin at the top of Martha’s knickers.

“Lift your hips for me”

Martha obliged, and Jo pulled her jeans down to her knees. She bent to kiss Martha through the lace, catching at it with her teeth, listening to Martha’s breathing as it shifted. She rubbed her thumbs along the tops of Martha’s thighs, hooking them under Martha’s knickers and pulling them to join her jeans, both of which she now drew down to Martha’s ankles where they were held fast by Martha’s boots.

“Should I take them off?”

Jo shook her head.

“Not just yet, I like the look of it; it makes you look dissolute”

“Perhaps you should take a picture”

“Perhaps I should. You’re beautiful, Martha”

Martha laughed.

“Even sprawled here with my trousers down round my ankles?”

“Especially now. You can’t see what I can see”

“What’s that?”

“Let me show you”

It wasn’t the best angle, going in from the side like that, but Jo couldn’t wait: she needed to taste Martha.

“O my God, Jo”

“Now we’ll take your boots off”

They fell to the floor with a double thunk, followed by the soft drop of her jeans and knickers. Freed of their restraint, Martha’s legs drew up, her knees falling open. Jo filled the space, her thumbs opening Martha further, she blew a soft breath that slightly ruffled her hair and made Martha sigh and laugh softly.

“Huff and puff. Like the Big Bad Wolf”

“Does that make you a Little Pig?”


“Which one?”

“The one who made her house out of straw, so the Wolf could have easy access and meet with no resistance”

“And end up eating her?”

“There are to be no dodgy jokes in my bed”

“I think you’re forgetting who’s in charge here”

“And who’s that?”

Jo sucked Martha and listened to her gasp.

“The Wolf”

Martha bent double and clasped Jo’s head until it was too much and she let herself drop back. Jo’s tongue swept over every part of her, tasting, feeling in minute detail, creating a relief map in her head. Areas of special interest: just to the right of Martha’s hood was a spot that if you touched it, even gently, it made Martha thrust and moan; labia that were perfectly symmetrical, something she’d never encountered before, and were the same shade of pink as Martha’s nipples, both of which darkened a shade with Martha’s arousal. Jo ran the tip of her tongue to the newly discovered sensitive spot and smiled as she felt Martha’s back rise. It was time to anchor that girl to the bed.

Two fingers glided easily into Martha; Jo didn’t miss a beat with her tongue flush to Martha’s clitoris. Martha cried out, raising her knees, silently urging Jo on.


“Yes, Christ, yes, Jo”

Jo introduced another finger and reached up higher. She propped herself up between Martha’s legs to give herself some purchase, a little balance, and a better view of Martha’s face. It was stunning: Martha’s eyes were shining star-bright and keenly focused, her cheeks flushed and her lips full and dark, pulled back in a snarl that changed instantly into a smile and then, along with her eyes, became beseeching. Everything around Jo’s fingers was smooth and wet.

She rocked forward, marking the rhythm, and bit Martha’s neck, pushing higher into her, deeper, never losing the pace. She moved her mouth to Martha’s breast and found the nipple, sucking hard, and she felt Martha open up, wanting more, taking more: wanting to be filled. Jo’s mouth was on Martha’s, her tongue plunging, matching the thrusts of her hand. Martha was delirious; she sucked hard on Jo’s tongue, grabbed her hair and pulled it. All Jo could feel was the gathering up of Martha’s muscles; what had been open was tightening up again, clinging on to her fingers as she pushed in harder, faster. A sound that started as a whimper grew in volume, became a cry, became a shout, became a scream that exploded out of Martha Hall and filled the entire room. Jo’s hand was trapped by gripping muscle that clenched vice like, holding her in. She bent to suck on Martha’s nipples again and the clenching continued.

The scream became a sob as Martha’s body slowly relaxed. Jo kept her fingers where they were for a couple of seconds, feeling as the after shocks rippled through Martha, but then she noticed that the sobbing hadn’t stopped. Worried, she looked up and saw that Martha was lying with her arm thrown across her eyes. She gently withdrew her hand, and lay down next to Martha, stroking her face.

“Hey, sweetheart, what’s wrong?”

Martha rubbed her eyes with her forearm and then turned to Jo. She held Jo’s face in her hands and lightly brushed her lips with her own.

“No, no nothing’s wrong. I – I just – ”

“Shh, it’s okay. Are you alright?”

She nodded. Jo put her arms around Martha’s waist and pulled into a hug.

“Good, that’s all that matters”



Martha buried her face in Jo’s shoulder.

“Thank you”

“You’re welcome”

Martha woke in the dark and knew she wasn’t in her own bed. A cheap clock radio sitting on a melamine bedside cabinet read 6:57 in fat red numbers; she watched as the digits flicked over to 6:58. Outside the window two gulls started to squabble and cajole. Someone in the next room had turned the shower on; hot water gurgled and rushed through the pipes between the adjoining walls. She knew she wasn’t in her own bed because an arm was resting across her stomach, a soft body was pressed against her back and there was no way that could ever be Marco. She took the hand between both of hers and held it to her chest. Breath was hot in her ear as the other person whispered.

“Are you awake?”

“It’s still early, you should go back to sleep”

“Hmm, maybe”

Jo fell quiet. When she spoke again, she startled Martha out of the pictureless dream she had drifted into.

“Have you got any plans for today?”

Martha sighed.

“I have to go back to London”

She felt Jo subtly disconnect from her; the small gap, physical and emotional, let in a thread of cold air. Martha shivered, clutching the hand tighter to her chest.

“I’ve got meetings I can’t cancel. It was hard enough getting away for these two days”

“You don’t have to explain”

“Things are going to be hectic for the next few weeks”

Jo’s hand gently, but firmly, slipped out from hers and the gap between their bodies widened. Martha wanted to pull the covers over her head and curl herself up into a tight ball; instead she rolled over so she faced Jo. She traced an eyebrow with the tips of her fingers, her touch tentative. The same finger tips brushed Jo’s lips. She replaced the fingers with her own mouth, kissing her softly. Drawing back she struggled to read Jo’s expression in the dark.

“Would it be okay if I called you?”

Jo let out a breath; Martha felt it warm against her forehead.

“Yes, I’d like that”

Continued in part 5

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