I was Adelle's diversion. Her life with her husband was stable. Stable and dull. They had married right out of high school and were working towards their eighth anniversary.
I had only played with other women. A first kiss at a club in Chicago. Cindy with the U.S. Army that came with her lesbian U-Haul. Mandy on scaffolding at a rave. Claudia on the floor of my apartment. I had had the pleasure of kissing several women. Kisses with women were an intense experience. The way they smelled, how soft they were and the knowledge that they wanted to kiss me too But sex? Actual orgasmic sex? Never.
I let anyone who asked believe that I had days upon days of experiences. Somehow, if I had kissed a woman, she became one of the numbers. And the divine idea of women and my pathetically limited experience... well, I just added the kisses to the list. If you asked me today how many women I've slept with I would answer honestly, two. But I had told so many tales in the days of exaggerations, that sometimes it was six and sometimes seven.
I was introduced to Adelle in a dive bar that had a great band. Adelle was a good friend of my fiancé. They had known each other since school. I sat across the booth from her and her mismatched husband, a big man who made her seem tiny and breakable.
I remember her bright eyes and deep mahogany hair. She smiled with a vibrancy that was so opposite of her subdued, potato husband. We got drunk on malt drinks and wine and laughed and danced. So many years later, I remember that she had just lost her wedding ring while camping. I think, if pressed, I could tell you what she was wearing.
We came to do everything with each other. We met and walked every morning. She was at my wedding. When my daughter was a baby, she would go as easily to Adelle as she did to me. Adelle and I would fall into each other every so often in the bathrooms of bars, but not so much that it could be called anything besides drunken mischief between friends. We would sit in the back seat and hold hands while the guys talked up front.
We knew everything there was to know about each other and we could always talk. We loved each other. We joked that we would be old ladies together after the men had passed on, that my daughter would always wonder about Mom and 'Aunt' Adelle living together at eighty-five.
Eighty-five. Our relationship didn't even make it to thirty-five.
Adelle's husband was a good man. Hard working, devoted. He was Adelle's biggest fan and dull as stale toast. He was so afraid of losing his greatest possession that he exerted strange little ways of controlling her. But I allowed everything. He saw me as a bad influence. I found it funny and Adelle and I laughed and laughed.
We laughed as our men played pool and we escaped to the ladies' room to kiss. But only to kiss, and to brush our hands along the clothes that hid each other's breasts and curves. We laughed at everything as we took our long walks and discussed the intricacies of her family, my past, and our all-important views of the world.
My husband was well aware of my uninhibited bisexuality from the beginning of our relationship. He amazed me by being the first man I had been with that didn't ask me to bring someone home to share. He allowed me my kisses, when I was lucky enough to meet someone undeniable. I would tell him all about my moments alone with Adelle. He would distract her husband as we drove from bar to bar so that we could fondle each other in the back seat.
Adelle and I were rarely alone. The only times we were able to be on our own were during our walks around town, a few lunches and the occasional girls-only party. And we found particular enjoyment in the sex toy party that we went to one winter evening.
We passed around dildos and vibrators, whips and oils, indulgences for the body. As Adelle and I sat pressed together on a too-small couch with too many people, I felt her hand caressing my lower back. I shivered as she reached beneath the back of my sweater. I looked at her and she smiled so sweetly that anyone watching would not have had the slightest idea of what she was doing.
I slid my hand behind her and mimicked the soft touches on the curve of her back.
A new toy was passed our in direction and I felt chilled as Adelle removed her warm fingers from my body to examine it. As she handed me the vibrating rabbit, she secured her hand in the small space between our thighs, and waited for my hand to join hers. I brought my fingers to hers and we sat there in silent enjoyment.
In the car, we held hands like schoolgirls. We were on our way to have a few drinks with friends, and Adelle wanted to stop to pick up cigarettes at her office. She couldn't smoke around her husband. She liked to believe that he didn't know that she smoked. No one is that dim.
Adelle let us into the unlit office. Street lights and passing cars gave stark, shadowed light to the chairs and reception desk. I sat as she shuffled around her work space for the hidden cigarettes. She joined me in the closest chair and slowly enjoyed her smoke.
She asked me how many women I had been with. I honestly couldn't remember how many I had told her and stumbled over my answer. Adelle noticed my blunder, and pressed for clarification. I tried to find a way to back step. It was time to admit my fertile imagination. We began talking of past lovers and escapades.
Adelle told me that as a very young woman, she had had her first female lover. Youth and inexperience drove them to fumbling acts. First in a barn, Adelle's young neighbor pawed her developing breasts. Later, Adelle had her first feel of a girl's mouth between her legs.
We began kissing as we always did when we were drunk and alone. Beautiful, long kisses. Everything was warm and wet. Adelle's lips were full like mine and they mingled deliciously, even through the shadow of cigarette taste in her mouth.
Adelle grabbed my hand and pulled me to the carpeted floor of the adjacent meeting room, flooded with moonlight through a large window. If anyone were to come to the office, we would be found, but I only remember being vaguely aware of it. All I could do was hold onto her, tasting her kisses, feeling her lips.