What do you get for the girl who has everything - and wants more? :-)

It's Clarice's birthday next week. (She'll be twenty-eight, which probably gives you a Major Clue to my age...) I have no idea what to get her. Suggestions appreciated on the storyboard or email. Might be fun to see what y'all come up with.

If I sounded like I was obsessing yesterday, I don't really think I was. I just started daydreaming - isn't that what this journal is about? - after I started the entry, and found myself thinking about Brian. In fact, throughout the day, there were probably some intervals as long as ten minutes when I didn't think about him at all... :-)

Seriously, he intrigues me. There have been several guys I've dated recently whom I like, but very few whom I find interesting. Larry's interesting, but off-limits. Though Brian seems to be somewhat off-limits, too...

Anyway, I emailed him today to ask if he wants to come over tomorrow evening to watch a video. I'm going to rent "Still Breathing", which I absolutely love. And which, I'm just realizing as I write this, is hitting a little close to home, perhaps. Joanna Going as aggressive, Brendan Fraser as gentle and artistic. Perhaps I'm not as demanding as she is, and Brian isn't as sexy as Fraser (though it might be a close call), and certainly I'm not trying to seduce him for money. Their relationship isn't even the same, she doesn't care for him at first... but still, the interplay of their demands rings true with me.

I love the drawing she leaves at the end; until then you didn't know whether she really was an artist or just a con, after that you know she'd suppressed her talent for the sake of her "career". And then you know that he means more to her than the money...

Anyway, I'm daydreaming again. It's just a favorite. "Helen-Bobbi says: check it out" :-)

Well, he hasn't seen it, and he's coming over tomorrow.

I managed to get home in time to get some yard work done yesterday, which I've been waiting for the last couple of weeks to do. It's cool right now, but nice to work in. I like to get mostly finished before the heat sets in. Today, of course, I'm aching a little, but it's a pleasant kind of pain.

I'm thinking about adding a hot tub. It shouldn't take too much space, but I don't know if I really have enough privacy. If I have to get into re-fencing the yard, it could get expensive.


What day does Spring officially start? It feels like it's already here. The evenings are cool, not cold; the air is so fresh in the morning; the male sparrow on the tree outside is flirting by fluttering his tail and wings. My squirrel hasn't been to his feeder in a few days, much to the disappointment of Selky the cat.

I'm done with the yard preparation. Brian helped. He called me just after I arrived home, to be sure we were still on for the evening. I was working outside, and he offered to come help. So we worked together doing the last of the digging and planting.

"Now I'll try to persuade you to come over for weeding parties," I said, when we were through. "You might be worth keeping around."

"I hope so," he said, grinning.

I made us dinner. Angel-hair pasta, 30 seconds in boiling water. Fresh Alfredo sauce ready-made in the plastic container, 4 minutes in the microwave. I can cook, but with ingredients like that in the fridge, and after working on the yard, why bother? Predictably, Brian pronounced it wonderful.

He loved the movie, and we snuggled close on the couch to watch it. We kissed for a long time afterwards. His hands were soft on my waist and back. When he played with my bra strap I whispered "Go ahead, please, I'd like that," and he unfastened my bra, which really turned him on.

He touched my breasts as if they were priceless ornaments, caressing them so gently I could barely sense his fingers. His eyes were closed, and he obviously had a rock-hard erection. He seemed overwhelmed with what he was feeling. I sucked on his tongue a little.

"You can squeeze a little harder," I whispered. "I like the way it feels." He did, though he was still gentle.

"Would you like me to take off my shirt?" I asked, and he nodded. His eyes were huge as I did so, and as I peeled my bra over my shoulders, he couldn't take his gaze off my nipples. He felt and fondled my breasts, fascinated with them.

He kissed my neck and the edges of my breasts. Though he seemed reluctant to get close to my nipples, when I moved around to present my left boob to his face he sucked on it greedily, then gave my right breast the same treatment.

"Hey, Brian," I whispered when he finally released them. He dropped his hands away from me, guiltily. "No, don't stop, please. I just have to ask, why are you so nervous with me?"

He looked upset, so I continued, "I don't want to pry, but I'd like to know, because I don't want to hurt you."

He giggled a little. "That's funny, because you know, I'm thinking I don't want to hurt you."

"You won't hurt me. I know what I'm doing, I think. If you were to want a little more from me, I wouldn't push you away."

That seemed to strike a chord with him. His hand didn't leave my breast, but he stopped stroking. "That's what you're afraid of, isn't it?" I asked.

He nodded.

"Was there someone else?" I asked him, and he nodded again. "What happened?"

"We were together for years," he said, "and she just tore me up. She'd kiss me, and encourage me, then stop me before I went too far. I would never know what too far was, sometimes it was just kissing, sometimes it was touching... it was wherever she said was too far."

"That's sad," I said. Then I asked The Question. "Brian, are you a virgin?"

He couldn't meet my eyes, and his face flushed. He nodded.

I hugged him. "God. How old are you?"


What a find, a twenty-five-year-old virgin. "Are you planning to stay that way?"

"Not forever, I hope," he mumbled. "Not by choice."

"Until marriage?"

He shook his head. "No, just until the time is right."

"When would be right?"

"Helen, if... if I understand what you're asking me, soon. Not yet, because I'm... scared. But soon."

"With me?"

In a very small voice, he replied "I hope so".

I kissed his ear. "Brian," I whispered, "I would love to be the first, if you want. I'd like to be sure that you're not going to regret it. You can only have one first time."

"I'm sure," he said. "If we were to make love, I couldn't ever regret that. I could regret not being ready, and chickening out, or disappointing you."

"You don't disappoint me, Brian, and if our first time needs work, I promise that we'll have a second, and a third, and however many we need."

We kissed again, and he finally released my breasts, and stroked my butt.

"Brian?" I laid my head on his shoulder, "You know what I'd like? I'd like you to stay with me tonight." I felt him tense. "Not sex. Not until you're ready. Just hold me, let me hold you."

And he did, and I did, climbing into bed together, stripping down to our underwear. I curled up against his back and resisted the temptation to touch his erection.

At one point during the night, we awoke holding each other, face to face, and started kissing. We must have come close to coupling right then, he had his hand on my ass, and I had mine down the back of his underwear, pulling at him, trying to get him closer, but we came to our senses before we went too far. "Not like this," I said, and he grunted agreement.

So we spent the night together without making love, and I'm surprised at how erotic an experience I found it, and how aroused I've been all day. And since he invited me to do the same at his place tonight, I think he liked it, too...


You know, until I started writing this diary, my life seemed fairly normal. I wondered even when I conceived the idea whether I'd be able to find enough of interest. Now I'm finding that I want to censor myself.

I've mentioned that before, but I don't think I've really said "it wasn't supposed to be like this", or "it was never like this before". Which makes me wonder: how does the act of sharing my life on the net affect me?

I mean, it has to. But other journallers are not anonymous, and not trying to disguise what they're doing. They name real names, tell you where they live, what they work at. If I'm doing this right, you'll never be able to identify me from my journal, so why should what I write here change how I live?

But something has, it seems. A couple of months ago, I had a fairly normal life. As much as a female techie who has a hidden hobby of writing erotica can possibly have, that is :-) I had a good job, an average-to-horrible commute, a small house in the suburbs, a live-in boyfriend who was, really, a nice guy, good friends. I guess I still have all of those except the boyfriend, but they seem almost irrelevant against the other things that are going on. My fling with a happily married man. Boozing with Clarice. Sleeping with (in the most literal sense of the word, at least) a co-worker.

I said just after I started writing this journal that I didn't intend for it to be about sex. I didn't, and I don't. I wanted it to be about me. But at this point, if "me" doesn't settle down, I'm not going to find anything else to write about, and at that point, I think I'll have to stop this experiment, because it will no longer be interesting.

What's strange is that I find myself wanting to censor what I write, but I won't... so you'd expect that I'd censor what I do instead. But it isn't working that way. I keep pushing the limits of what I do, and giving myself even more trouble when I come to write it up. Perhaps somewhere along the way, I became an exhibitionist.

Perhaps it was before I started writing, and that's why I went for erotica in the first place. And the more suggestively I write, the more it leaks out into the real world.

And then - perhaps not writing could be my problem. Think of it like this: I write some pretty outrageous sex scenes in fiction. Now that I'm not currently writing any fiction, perhaps I'm trying to act out the scenes so that they'll appear in this journal...

In which case, I'd better stop before I get to something like The Prince :-)

And in which case, I may be able to calm down soon enough, because I've started another story. It's about a writer (though of conventional fiction, not web).

All of this is a roundabout way of saying "welcome to another weird entry about sex".

Of course.

Brian's house, last night. He cooked. Something with chicken and mushrooms. We snuggled a lot while he was cooking, but it turned out okay anyway :-)

Took hot tea (that was a nice change) into the bedroom. More snuggly kissy stuff. Nice snuggly kissy stuff, while we undressed each other, including extra snuggly kissy stuff for my breasts. They didn't mind at all.

When we were under the covers, I slipped my panties off, too. Hey, it's not like I was raping him, or anything... I was just ready. And I wanted him to know it. (And yes, I had condoms in my purse.) We were kissing when he stroked my butt and realized I was completely nude, I thought he was going to lose his resolve right there, but no, his underwear stayed on, though they were getting a little sticky...

This morning, I woke lying against his back, pretty twined up in him, and with a lovely warm arousal in my belly. Before I woke, apparently I'd wrapped my legs around one of his, and was moving, stroking his thigh with my pussy. I wish I could remember what that dream had been.

Anyway, as I moved, I started fondling him, and as he grew hard, I ran my finger up and down the underside of his shaft, through his underwear. I knew he was awake when his breathing got heavy and caught a couple of times. His underwear was getting slightly sticky again...

"Helen, please stop," he said, and I was disappointed.


"Because you're going to get me to make a mess."

"So? Wouldn't you enjoy it?"

I felt him nod. "Yeah, but not enough to screw up what we have."

I was beginning to wonder what we did have. "Why would it do that?"

"When we were talking yesterday... whenever... about Carol? She did this once. Then, when I... when what happens happened, she was grossed out by the mess. She never did it again, and was always careful not to touch me there for very long. She complained that I couldn't keep myself under control."

"That's stupid," I said. "That's the point."

"Yeah, well... I just don't think that it's worth it."

I guess I'd had enough of my wants - and his wants - being screwed up by some repressed ex-girlfriend. I rolled off him, and pushed him onto his back. "Brian, I am going to show you for once and for all that I'm not going to be scared away when something gives you pleasure. OK?"

I crouched under the covers and pulled off his underwear. Hmm... nothing to be ashamed of, anyway :-) I ran my fingers around, stroked the head lightly, watching the small twitches I induced. Circumcised. Good. The argument about infant circumcision never includes what it will do years down the road for oral sex, but I have to say that I'm glad it was common 20+ years ago.

I was very, very gentle. Not because I didn't want to hurt or scare him, but because he was very turned on, and I wanted to make this last until he was begging for release. I wanted for him to get crazy with desire. This was a first for him, and I had a lot of points to prove, mainly that sex, desire and getting messy were all okay.

But if he ended up lusting for my body, that wouldn't upset me at all...

So I just tickled him with the tip of my tongue, only occasionally sliding his shaft between my lips. A couple of times he was on the point of coming, and I just held him, unmoving, between my lips while he gasped and calmed down. Much of the time I just nuzzled him with my nose.

After a time, he stroked my hair as I worked. That helped me - apart from just the nice, sexy feeling of knowing the connectedness he felt - because his fingers would tense when he was getting too close to coming. I could back off and start over.

Then his fingers tightened in my hair. I held my tongue stationary on the underside of his cock, feeling the tension in his thighs and fingers, and hearing his grunts as he tried desperately not to come, but he lost the battle. As his cock tensed to erupt, I plunged my head down, lips and tongue tight against his shaft, and dragged it slowly up and down. He whimpered as he came, and I kept up the movement, draining him dry before I released him.

As I stretched out beside him, I said "Remember this, the next time you think messiness and closeness might scare me away."

His eyes were bright, with tears, it looked like, though there were none on his face, and when he held me to him, my breasts squeezed tightly to him, it was with a closeness that almost didn't feel sexual, just full of need and warmth.

"Do you think you could... remind me occasionally?" he asked. I grinned and kissed him on the nose.

This afternoon, at work, a dozen roses arrived for me. There was no card and no signature, but I know who sent them. He doesn't want to sign them because we don't want co-workers to know.

Jack griped, but I think he was pleased for me. I'll take them home tonight for the weekend.


Damn him, damn him, who does he think he is?

And why would he do that to me? I just gave him the greatest sexual experience he ever had. The only real sexual experience he's ever had, if you don't include the little touching... he even sent me roses! :-(

I was going to throw the roses in the trash, but I dropped the vase on the floor, and it shattered, and when I saw them lying there in a pool of water and broken glass, I started crying. Really crying, like I haven't done since... since I saw "Paris, Texas", perhaps. So I picked them up, and put them in a big plastic cup, they look so forlorn...

So what did he do? There was a message on my answering machine when I got home. He wanted me to call... so I did, expecting that he'd want for us to get together tonight.

Instead, he said that he was feeling very uncertain about our relationship, everything was moving so fast, he thought he needed to back off... just for a couple of days, he said, but it sure sounded like a "Dear Jane" conversation to me.

I asked him about the roses. He said he sent them because he "really likes" me, and he wanted to give me something for as "wonderful" as I've been in the last few days, but that he still needed time away from me.

I shouldn't be angry, I really shouldn't. I spent so long myself wondering whether I should distance myself from him, for his sake - so I thought - and now that it's real I wish I had, for my own. I shouldn't be angry, I know, but it's probably not surprising that I am.

What is surprising is how upset I feel. I thought Brian was something of a "take it or leave it" for me. I mean, I know I was pushing him, that I really wanted to go further with him, but just because I like him, because I think he's sexy and attractive. Not because I had any great emotional involvement with him.

So I thought.

And maybe if I knew just how much he'd gotten under my skin, how much I liked him, rather than how much I'd like to seduce him, then perhaps I'd have taken everything more slowly, and I wouldn't be in this mess.

Then: if a guy had taken a friend of mine, and pushed her and pushed her to have sex with him, perhaps not rape in a legal sense, but kept up the pressure until she'd wilted and gone along with him, I'd hate him. It's despicable to coerce someone into sex, even if the coercion isn't physical force. But, really, what have I done that was any different?

That's the main anger, not towards Brian, but towards myself, I think. That I've forced him, and I'm paying the price. Because that won't be something when he works through this that he'll be able to forgive. He might manage infidelity, but not rape.

So Brian and I are through, almost before we even started, and I hate myself.


Again, I wonder about the wisdom of this damn, damn, diary. If I hadn't been so wrapped up in the emotional turmoil I've had since I started keeping it, would I have reacted differently to Brian? I'll say this: I am absolutely confident that I did not go too far with Brian for the sake of having something interesting to write. I'm not that crass.

But would I have acted differently if I hadn't been thinking everything through when I wrote up each entry?

I don't know.

Hell, I may never have dated him if I hadn't thought through how sweet he was while I was writing. So maybe it evens out.

But I'm still depressed.

I was remembering a thought I'd had yesterday. There's an "intimate apparel" store that Clarice and I go to occasionally. We usually just look at (or buy :-) jewelry, silk or such... after all, lingerie is much more fun when it's bought for you. Yesterday I was thinking I might go there for myself, and find something that would help bring Brian out of his shell.

When I remembered, I started crying again. Damn.

I may go there anyway... if I can't find something else for myself, at least I can wallow in self-pity.


So, how do I explain this one?

Today. God. Today... I went to the lingerie store anyway. I told myself I was going to the CD store a little ways down, but of course I had to stop and look around. There was a lovely pair of fake pearl-and-gold earrings... and then I decided I'd find something sexy they would go with. Sooner or later I'll have the chance to wear it. Not for Brian, perhaps, but as depressed as I was feeling, I knew there would be others...

I'm not into really outrageous clothing. Cutouts for bare breasts and such... to me, hinting is much more seductive. And gives the impression that there is still more to come, if you see what I mean... so an almost-transparent veil over breasts doesn't hide anything, but there's still something left to take off, to get even more intimate.

So that's what I'd found. Black, but so filmy it was almost transparent. Thin gold threads in a few places. Lovely.

I was still looking at it, not completely decided, when Chris, Clarice's Significant Other, walked in. I tried to hide the negligée, then realized how stupid that was.

Chris had decided that he was going to get lingerie for Clarice for her birthday. He asked if I'd help him choose.

Well, that decided me on the black piece. She wasn't going to get it :-) We're pretty much the same size, we both wear 8s, only if something is very tight on her or very short on me would we have any trouble with each others' clothes. With lingerie, it's generally just small or medium, and we definitely are in the same range.

I offered to help him find something, and together we scoured the store. He wanted something with a garter belt, which I probably wouldn't wear, but Clarice would. There wasn't anything I liked, though, but I found three-piece baby-doll pajamas in bright red, with a low-cut top and see-through robe. I held them against me for his approval. He approved.

"Will they fit her?"

"I'm sure they'd fit me, so yes, they'll fit her. Do you want me to try them on, to be sure?"

Well, they looked great on me, and red doesn't suit me as well as it does Clarice. I debated changing back, then thought what the heck, and left the safety of the changing room to show Chris. That he certainly approved. I had to grin at the hungry look in his eyes. I didn't know if it was for me, or if he was imagining the outfit on Clarice, but I liked it anyway.

"I'll get her that," he said.

"Are you sure you wouldn't like to look around some more?" I asked, mischievously. "I could model a few more choices for you."

"Uh... well, sure," he said.

So I changed out, and we put that outfit to the side, then found a half-dozen more, getting progressively more daring. In a couple of cases I could practically have stood there naked, and from the looks he gave me, he was thinking the same.

Well, we had fun with them, but he settled on the red pajamas, and I bought the black piece and my earrings.

"I'm going on to the CD store. Do you want to come?" I asked him.

"Sure. I was thinking about getting a new DVD. Any suggestions?"

I recommended "Dangerous Beauty", which I recommend to virtually anyone, even if the closing scenes are a little odd. Catherine McCormack has to be one of the best, most sensual actresses ever, and she is just perfect in that movie. So he bought the DVD.

Then he invited me over to his house to watch it.

At what point did we know what we were doing?

I don't know if I can answer that. In a way, how I felt this morning... I was pissed at myself, and at Brian, to a point, though I really do know that I can't fault him. And I've been turned on for days. I was hoping that I'd work off the excess energy with Brian, but since that wasn't going to happen, my frustration was looking for a release. So in a way, I was predisposed to seduction.

But Chris? If I were looking for a substitute for Brian, would I pick Clarice's boyfriend? I mean, I wasn't looking for him, it was only coincidence, but when I met him, my first thought was that he was "safe". He was firmly attached to Clarice, right? It was only when his eyes started drinking in the sight of me - which happened before I "modeled" the first pajamas - that I realized that he may not have been quite so committed to fidelity as I had expected. As Clarice had led me to believe.

And then I started wondering... well, could he possibly be as good as Clarice seems to think he is? And wondering what it would be like to find out for myself...

I didn't come on to him. Not much, not really. But I didn't deny him the opportunity to come on to me.

I could argue I was looking out for Clarice's interests. If Chris stayed faithful to her, I was safe. And if he didn't, she ought to know, and I might as well be the beneficiary. Except that how would she ever learn of it?

And the results, were I ever to be able to tell her, would be that Chris is not tied to the idea of one woman at a time. Once he realized that I might be "available", he used every trick - touching, flattery, arrogance, wheedling - he knew exactly what he was doing.

And along with the flirting, we watched Catherine McCormack seducing the male population of Venice, with nude scenes of beautifully understated sensuality. Whenever we saw one, I'd notice his eyes sliding over my body, as if he were imagining me in the same situation.

When it was through, he asked me to model Clarice's lingerie again.

"No," I said, to a quickly hidden look of disappointment, "that's for Clarice. It wouldn't be fair." Then after a brief pause, "Why don't I show you what I bought, instead?"

So he grinned, and I did, and I sat beside him in barely-visible black, and soon his hands were following where his eyes had gone, and his tongue inside my mouth was insistent... so I sucked it hard and started to undress him.

Clarice is right. He's very good. He obviously practices a lot, and, I suspect, with others than Clarice. Even on top, he could hold off coming for long enough for the very slow stimulation to build, and drag me through multiple climaxes before seeking his own.

This is probably what Clarice gets so thrilled about: he knows how to find a G-spot. Which is sufficiently rare that I didn't even recognize what he was doing when he got his fingers inside me. Then I recognized the feeling, and relaxed into it... until that back-of-the-head pounding orgasm that I've only experienced a couple of times. But Chris took me further than those few occasions; before I was through, he had his mouth on me, and pulled me up to a clitoral orgasm - yes, there is a difference, and when one builds on the other it's indescribable; if I were to try I'd have to say that there was no part of me, from the tips of my toes, to my fingernails, to the roots of my hair, that wasn't throbbing with delight. So intense that there was probably a field of pleasure radiating several inches from me.

All things considered, what he did to me was so far above "normal" sex as what I did to Brian must have been over his ex-girlfriend's fingerwork. I can understand why Clarice is besotted with him.

So I did what I could to make him feel as good as he'd done to me. When I looked up from my efforts, the expression on his face made it look as though I came pretty close.

Clarice called at one point, but he let the answering machine get it. At the time we were making love slowly, relaxed, me on top, mouths joined. He raised his eyebrows but didn't change the pace.

I didn't leave him until after nine o'clock, getting home just before ten. There were five messages from Brian on the answering machine, just asking me to call. It's too late now, though, and after today I don't feel like hearing his excuses.


9am. Doorbell rings. I'm aching and bleary. I throw on a robe. Whoever it is, I'm going to tell them to go to hell. No exceptions.

Except that it's Brian...

So that's how my day started.

I ask him in, of course, start a pot of coffee, and run back to straighten my hair and brush my teeth... I may not want to see him, but I certainly don't want to see him like this.

Coffee ready, I take us both a cup. He's sitting on the couch; this time I take the chair, putting distance between us. I'm feeling... well, I'm trying to come up with a metaphor about insides and blenders, but at the time this was happening, thinking about anything like that would have made me barf. Emotionally and physically I was a mess.

So, I'm feeling uncomfortable. I don't want to see him, but at the same time I'm wishing I did, and wishing that yesterday hadn't happened, if only because I'd really prefer for my emotional outlook to be a bit less confused. I wait for him to start.

"How are you doing?" he asks.

How the hell do you think I'm doing, I want to say. You tied me in knots, maybe you didn't know, but you did, then you pulled the string and let me unravel. "Fine," I reply.

"I'm sorry about Friday," he says. "I don't think I handled that very well."

No shit? I think, but stay silent.

"Thing is, I really did need to think. I should probably have just found an excuse and hidden for a couple of days, but I thought you deserved honesty. See, this was tearing at me, and I couldn't tell you straight out, because I didn't think you'd want to hear it, but I couldn't not tell you, and let you think everything was okay."

"What was that?"

"What I finally decided I had to tell you, whether you want to hear it or not. If I don't, it isn't fair to either of us."

He pauses for so long I'm not sure if he's waiting for me. "Go on," I prompt.

When he finally continues, his words tear me apart.

"I needed the time to be sure I was understanding what was going on, too. Helen, I'm in love."

Stupidly: "Who with?"

He seems puzzled. "You, of course."

Oh, shit. I don't say anything. I can't.

Apparently taking my silence as rejection, he continues. "You made it clear that there weren't to be any strings between us. I know you didn't want this to happen. I wondered for a while if I should just go away... but I figured you had a right to know why. If you send me away now, I'll... I'll understand."

I just stare at him, with his so serious, so concerned expression. I think about consoling myself with Chris, when it seemed that Brian was out of my life, and it seems so cheap. I think about the forlorn bunch of roses, still in the plastic cup. And I realize that I can't see him anymore, that everything is blurred.

That I'm crying, weeping uncontrollably, barely able to breathe. That he's kneeling beside me, cradling my head on his chest as I pour out my despair.

He finds me a tissue from somewhere, but my tears are soaking his shirt. I'm inconsolable.

He holds me, stroking my hair, until I start to calm down. I'm not sure how serious he is when he speaks. "I knew you'd be upset with me. I didn't expect it to be so bad."

I look at him and he's smiling, though still concerned.

"So, are you going to send me away?" he asks.

I grab him around the neck and hold him to me, pressing my face into his shoulder.

Eventually, he frees himself. "I got you something," he says. "I hope it's okay." He goes to the couch to pick up a small paper bag he had brought with him. He thrusts it at me. There's a small jewelry box inside. I look up at him. "Don't worry, it isn't a ring," he says.

I open the case. It is a necklace, gold and silver - no, gold and white gold. It must have set him back over a hundred bucks.

"I hope you don't mind," he says, "I wanted to get something nice that you'd feel comfortable with. No diamonds."

"It's lovely, Brian. I don't know if I should take it."

"Well, I didn't buy it until they told me I'd be able to return it. But I hope you won't make me do that."

I play with the chain, twirling it around my finger. "I don't want to, Brian." I put it back in the case and hand it back to him. "Keep it for me. You can give it to me later, if you still want to."

"I will," he says.

I shake my head, and start crying again.

"Come sit with me," he says, and leads me over to the couch.

He holds me while I cry myself out.

"Why do you think you love me?" I ask him, when I can speak again. I dry my eyes and wipe my nose, but my sight still blurs.

"What do you mean, why? Because I do. I like being around you. I just realized it was more than that."

"Because of... Friday morning, in bed? Are you confusing sex with love?"

"I don't think so," he says, quietly, "and as wonderful as that felt, it wasn't as good as waking up with you beside me. If we stay together, I don't think I want for us to hold back anymore, but I don't want to stay together for sex. I want to be with you. Making love would be a bonus."

"That call, Friday," I say, "I thought you were dumping me. The idea that I wouldn't see you again, that threw me into a tailspin. I hadn't known until then how much I didn't want that to happen. I know I said I didn't want to get serious, I wanted freedom and no commitments. When I thought you were out of my life, I realized that I'd lost the freedom to be with you, and it pained more than anything you could have done to tie me down."

"I'm sorry," he says, "I had no idea I would hurt you like this."

"This?" I respond, "this... reaction isn't your fault. This is something else."

"I don't follow."

"No, you couldn't. There are some things I need to tell you. Let's freshen the coffee first."

I take the opportunity to visit the bathroom and wash my face off a little. If he can say he loves me with my face puffy and red from crying, he must really be smitten...

With coffee replenished, I begin. "This isn't going to be easy, for either of us. You remember I said that I couldn't promise monogamy? That I may not be faithful?"

He nods, nervously.

"I..." I fight the urge to start crying again. "I wasn't." My breath catches.

"Oh." I see the tension in him. He's seriously distressed. "When?"


He hides his face in his hands. "Oh, God."

"I wish I didn't have to tell you. I wish I could just take you back and pretend it hadn't happened, but that would be even more unfair to you than you pretending you weren't in love with me. It happened, and if you get up and walk out of here now, I will hate myself for doing this to you - and to myself - but I promise I won't hate you."

There's a muffled noise, and I realize that Brian is crying. That starts me off all over again. We sit, each crying alone, until he reaches for me, and I throw myself into his shoulder. After a time, he kisses my cheek and my ear. I nuzzle his neck, kissing it. He strokes my hair.

"Helen, I love you," he says, whispering in my ear.

I feel a thrill. But "Don't say that," I tell him. "You can't love me after I did that to you."

"I love you," he says again, "and I don't have any right to be upset with you."

"You don't know what you're getting into," I say. "You should go away and forget me."

"I love you, Helen," he repeats.

I kiss him firmly on the mouth. His hands sneak behind my head and hold me to him. His face and lips are salty with our shared tears. I break away from him. "You shouldn't," I say.

"How about this, then," he whispers in my ear. "Helen, I want you."

I hug him close. "That I can live with," I say. I kiss his cheek and giggle. "I think that's the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me."

I take his hands and move them to the bow holding my robe closed.

I'm not going to go into detail about our first time. It was special, and private. It didn't last for long enough, and it felt, and feels, like it may last forever. He is a more sensitive, more giving person than I think I have ever been with. What he lacks in technique, he more than makes up for in, yes, love. And since he will return any moment from picking up clothes, toothbrush and razor, I'm going to stop this entry here, and continue tomorrow from where I left off.


Helen loses her ... uhh... anonymity :-)

Yesterday. We lay together on the bed. Brian had again professed his love for me, and I had hugged him, then we just lay together, drifting. At one point I was lying against his back, as I had slept those two nights. I was considering whether I should tell him the rest. It still ran the risk of destroying us, but also of making us stronger, and if he were to find out later...

So, "Brian," I said, "there's more."

He tensed. "More?" he asked.

I used another movie analogy. For some reason, romantic movies have been very much on my mind recently, and the 95-98 timeframe seems to have been especially strong for them.

"Have you ever seen 'Chasing Amy'?"

"Oh God, you're going to tell me you're gay."

I hit him and he chuckled. "No, you asshole," I said, "I'm not gay. But do you remember what it was that broke them apart?"

He spluttered. "Two guys at once? Are you sure you wouldn't prefer to tell me you're gay?"

I hit him again, a little harder. It made a satisfying noise. "That was only part of it. He couldn't deal with her past. Yes, including two guys at once." I stroked his chest. "I have some things in my past that could... upset you. Very seriously upset you. Some very recent. I don't know whether you can accept them, but it's worth the risk to me, because I don't want anything getting between us later, when it would hurt even more."

Cautious: "What kind of things?"

"I have a web site."

"I know, I've seen it."

"No, not that one. There's one no-one knows about. Well, no-one but a quarter-million visitors. And they don't know who I am. No-one has ever, ever known about this. I'm giving you the power to do me some serious harm just by telling you that it exists. I know I can trust you, but this isn't easy."

He rolled over to face me. "You can trust me," he says simply, "whatever happens. What kind of site is this? A quarter-million? It has to be a porn site of some kind."

"Well, porn's such a horrible word. I write erotic fiction."

"You do?" He was genuinely surprised.

"Yes, I have over a dozen stories online."

"I've read alt.sex.stories a couple of times," he seemed slightly embarrassed. "I can't say I was very fond of them. They were very crude."

"I hope mine are a little more sensitive than some."

"I can understand you not telling the world about this, but why would you think it would be a big deal to me?"

"Because of something else that is there. There's an online journal."

"A journal?" He was puzzled for a moment. "You mean like a diary?"

"Yes, my diary. I've been keeping it online for just about a month now, maybe a bit longer."

"Everything you do is online?" I couldn't tell if he was fascinated or horrified.

"Everything interesting," I replied.

He didn't say anything for a moment. Then, "Am I in there?"

I nodded. "Under an alias. Your name is 'Brian'. And no-one but you will ever know that. I... don't think you would be disappointed with anything you would read about yourself."

"But then... yesterday would be in there." When I nodded he shivered. "God."

"And... other times, too. Before we were dating," I added. "There are some days in there that I know would shock you."

"All in the last month?" He sounded incredulous.

I think I blushed. "It has been a strange month."

"God," he said again. "And I could go there every day and find that you've slept with someone else while I was thinking about you..."

"No," I interrupted forcefully. "No. That won't happen. I've changed, Brian. I didn't realize it until Friday. You're all I want now." I couldn't help myself. I started crying again. "God, I'm sorry. I hate doing this."

"It's okay, Helen, just let it out... but I don't understand, if you wanted only me, why - why did yesterday happen?"

"Because I couldn't have you!" I yelled. I tried to dry my tears, but it was a losing battle. He held my face to his shoulder.

When I had myself more under control, I said, "If you want me to abandon the journal, I'll do it."

"No, not if it's important to you. Should I read it?"

I thought about it, about him reading about Chris and Larry, about the night at Bennigans. "I don't know. I think perhaps you need to, because if you don't now, you may be tempted to later. I just need for you to know that it's there, and some of it is fairly explicit."

He grinned. "Should I look for advice there?"

"Oh, no," I said, "you won't need that. I intend to give you complete personal instruction."

"Oh, good. I'm a quick learner." He started tracing patterns on my breast.

"So I've noticed," I said, taking his hand and moving it lower.

Perhaps telling him about the site was a mistake, but I've been through this once with Jay, always having to hide what I was working on. Now the potential is for a much more dangerous disclosure if he finds out by accident. And he really does deserve to know, after what I did.

Besides, perhaps he will pick up a few pointers :-)

So we talked and made love, and Brian went home to get a change of clothes and came back to spend the night.

When he returned, he tried to give me the package he'd given me earlier. "I'd like for you to have this, Helen. I love you."

"Just a moment," I said. I sat him down, and started stripping. I took my clothes off slowly, watching him get excited. When I was completely naked, I leaned over him. "Now, put it on," I told him.

His fingers shook as he fastened the chain. When it was done, I fastened his mouth over his, and removed his clothes, while his finger traced from the necklace down to my breasts.

The chain the only item of clothing between us (well, and a condom, if that counts as clothing), I mounted him, and slowly brought him to release. Though I was only concerned for his pleasure, his excitement was turning me on, and we experienced our first mutual orgasm, mouths locked together, both groaning in that ache of shared joy.

"Oh, God," he gasped, "does that happen often?"

"With practice, yes."

"Then let's practice," he said.

"That's the idea, lover," I responded.

"I like the sound of that," he said, and as he kissed me I pushed myself against him, treating myself to a nice little freebie.

He didn't seem to mind.

"Look at me," I ordered, lifting myself up off his chest. "Remember this. When you see me wearing this chain in public, know that I'm wearing it just for you. And if you can reach out and touch it, you'll remind me of the time you gave it to me, and we can imagine being with each other, just like this."

"I like that," he said, and ran his fingers along the necklace.


I guess we can finally move on from Sunday...

Yesterday morning I drove us both into the office. We had talked about whether we should tell our co-workers that we're dating. The company won't care, but sometimes people can be touchy. On the other hand, people can be glad for you, too, and it can save embarrassments if the knowledge is very public. Like off-hand remarks to one partner about the other, not knowing that there's anything between them.

Then there are company functions and dances. It's almost impossible to attend a company event and avoid the personal aspect. I say almost impossible, because I've known it done, where a couple who were living together tried to hide the fact that they knew each other. It ended up destroying their relationship and costing him his job.

Aside: Office Romances

No, I wasn't one of the partners in this situation, but the woman was a friend of mine, and her pain was part of the reason I resolved never to date a co-worker.

She was a little older than me, and she tells me that in their early days many companies officially frowned on office romances. Now that asking "are you married" can be grounds for a discrimination or harassment lawsuit, there's no legitimate way to get relationship information into personnel files, so the situation usually can't be allowed to affect your career... and yes, I know that practically it sometimes does, but then so can just about everything you do.

It's ironic that these days, dating a guy at the office is rarely a serious problem, but asking for a date can land you - and the company - in court.

So, we had agreed to go public, at least when the opportunity presented itself.

Brian didn't know it, but I intended to create the opportunity. I drove him to the office, and dropped him in the parking lot with a kiss (if anyone we knew had been around to see that there wouldn't have been any need to tell anyone anything :-) telling him I needed to run an errand.

Which I did. I drove to the florist where he had ordered my roses, and got the exact same arrangement for him. Same vase, same Baby's Breath decoration. That's why I had to do it in person instead of over the phone. I wrote the card myself.

So that y'all will know that I really am a romantic at heart, I'll admit that I was watching for the flowers to arrive. I hid where I could see him when he went to the reception desk to collect them. I saw him open the card, and I saw his hands tremble as he sealed it back up. Back at his office, I saw him open the card up again, and sit staring at it, before taking a tissue and wiping his eyes.

The card said: "Brian, I love you."

That was for him. What was for me, and for everyone else around, was the recognition of those who know both of us that the flowers he got looked just like the flowers he had sent me (no-one knew where they were from, of course).

So from time to time, someone would stop by his office and say "Aren't those the roses Helen got last week?" or "Those look just like the flowers on Helen's desk on Friday." And Brian would turn bright red, and someone else would make the connection.

By the evening, even Jack knew. "Be careful, but be happy," he said to me. "I always thought young Brian had his head up his ass, but if he has such a good taste in women, maybe I'm wrong."

"You know, Jack, I think that's the first nice thing you've ever said to me."

"It is? Well, then, I take it back."

I like Jack.

(And I wonder: should I delete Jack's comment, now that Brian has the URL of this page? I'd hate to do that. Brian, if you read this, please don't hold it against him, you know he's that way with everyone.)

I stopped by Brian's office after five, and pushed his door closed. "Are you going to leave the roses here, or bring them home?"

He raised an eyebrow. "That's an interesting choice of words."

"I don't understand," I said.

"Well, if you'd said 'take them home', you'd mean taking them to my house. Where exactly did you mean by 'bring them home'?"

"Oh. You got me." My face felt hot. "My place. My home, I guess, since I hope you're not planning to see too much of yours for a while."

He took my hand. "It's okay. I'm going to leave them here anyway. I'm enjoying the attention. This," he picked up the card, "I'm going to take home, wherever that is, so that I can keep reading it."

"I want you to know that I really mean it," I said. "I..." It was hard to say the words. It's much easier to put them in the mouth of one of my characters than it was to voice them. "I love you, Brian." We held each other for a couple of minutes, then left for home. My home.


Brian had brought clothes enough for a couple of days, so yesterday (Tuesday) we drove to work together again. More comments on the flowers.

I joined Brian for lunch, with several of the engineers. We sat together and touched a lot, and none of his friends were left in the dark for long about our relationship. I'm enjoying this. I like the attention we both get. Of course, most of the engineers are young men, and though I have no interest in them, they flirt pretty openly now, knowing they're safe in Brian's company, and it's fun.

I like seeing the fleeting looks of jealousy he gets. They won't hurt him, but they do seem to think I'm quite a catch.

Most of all, I like being in love.

I've been in love before. Twice. The first time I thought I was in love was at fifteen, with a junior. Mark, his name was. What an asshole. I was lucky I didn't end up pregnant, or sick. I haven't ever again had unprotected sex, whether loving or casual.

The first time I did fall in love was in college, with Russ, and though I think it was real when we started, we drifted apart. We just started doing different things, making different friends... we had our share of arguments, no big fights... perhaps having nothing worth fighting about was having nothing worth sharing.

I lived with love number two for over a year. Ted. I really felt for a time that he was the one. That he just needed time.

What he needed was someone else. And he had her, regularly, throughout the whole time we were together. Of course, I didn't discover that until just before the end.

I don't think it's true that I had given up on love. I've written here about wondering for a time whether I was in love with Jay... but when it happened with Brian, I certainly wasn't expecting it. Certainly not in this short time. It has been so fast that I'm still suspicious... but in my heart I know it's real.

I mean, I'm not pretending that this will be for ever. Well, okay, maybe I'm pretending that, but I know that it's unlikely. I don't need to believe it. I need to believe it's real, but more than that... we'll see when it happens. What I have is better than I have had before.

And I think, almost even better than being in love is being loved in return. The others said they loved me, but didn't act like it.

Which leads me to wonder. Could I have put Brian in the same position? What would we have done if Brian loved me, but I didn't love him? Could I have pretended, the way they did?

I don't think so. I couldn't deceive Brian. I could have told him I'd stay with him anyway, I could have told him I'd try to love him, that perhaps it could happen eventually, but I couldn't have lied to him.

And now I'm wondering why I made this digression.

Being in love, that was it. Having that connection to another person which defines intimacy. Not the intimacy of physical closeness; that of spiritual completeness.

It's why simply making love to Brian, just straight, uncomplicated sex, thrills my soul more than the awesome feelings Chris induced.

I feel fortunate that Brian doesn't (yet) know how to do anything like that to me, because - I'm almost serious here - I don't know if I'd survive the experience. Of course, I hope he'll be willing to learn, and I can get acclimatized... :-)

So we left the restaurant holding hands, and hugged briefly in the parking lot before getting back to work. And even just that felt good.

After we got back home, Brian pleaded the need to pick up more clothes and take care of some business. I took the opportunity to shower and change into a tee shirt and shorts. I do dress up for work, and I don't like to sit around the house in a suit or business dress.

Brian didn't return until around eight, and he had a very strange expression.

"Jack thinks I have my head up my ass?"

"His exact words," I grinned, then it struck me. "Oh shit. You did it."

He sighed, and slumped in a chair. "Yeah."

"How do you...? How are you f...? Are we still...?"

"I brought my clothes," he said, smiling weakly, waving at his bag.

The relief that flooded through me was almost sexual. I knelt beside him and held his head to my shoulder. "Thank God."

I needed coffee. I was shaking. He came through to the kitchen while I started the coffee pot.

"I had to do it, Helen. Like you said, if I didn't, I'd always know it was there. I would have to do it at some point, and I figured I would be stronger now than then."

I nodded. "I know. I just... God, I don't want to lose you."

He put his arms around me. "You won't. I'm a little shaky, but I'm still very much in love."

We waited to take the coffee back to the den, then I sat with him on the couch. "Tell me."

"Some of it was hard to take. Thinking about you with Larry... at first it made me angry. Then I felt sick. Then... then it came to mind that one day, you might..."

I looked into his eyes. "Might?"

He grinned. "Well, the thought really turned me on." Then, "Tell me, do you regret what you did with him?"

I shook my head. I figured he needed the truth. "No. No, not as such. We had a good time, we both got what we wanted. Ellen and he both are benefiting, even if she doesn't know why. I don't regret it, but I wouldn't do it again, even if it weren't for you. Does it upset you that I don't?"

"Not really. If you regret it, it must have been bad judgement, and if you made a habit of having bad judgement, I'd be much more upset. You did what you did, what you wanted to do. It was your choice, and I hope you don't have regrets. Except maybe that he wasn't me."

I tousled his hair. "The night in Bennigans was pretty bad judgement."

"You didn't do anything then, though, drunk as you were. You waited until you could handle things."

"I guess."

"And Chris... I'm sorry, but that one does upset me. You must have been screwing him right at the time I was buying the necklace. That makes me feel very queasy. But I read about how you felt at the time, and how you thought we were through. I almost cried when I read the entry after I called you on Friday. God, I feel so bad about that, now. If I'd only talked to you instead..."

"Don't," I whispered. "If you hadn't pushed me away, I don't think I would have learned how much I need you. Then Chris may have happened while we were still dating. I wouldn't have known any better."

Brian shuddered. "I read about Chris, thinking that I should feel resentment instead of just nausea, but I couldn't. Then, again, I felt... Helen, what's a G-spot?"

I spluttered and poured my coffee on my tee shirt. "Damn, I can't bleach this one," I said, as the brown stain spread. "I'll explain later."

Brian refilled my coffee as I blotted my tee shirt with a paper towel. When we were through, I sat close to him on the couch.

"Anyway, I read your entry for Sunday, and it didn't matter."

"What didn't matter?"

"Chris. Larry. Whatever." He wriggled around and produced a scrap of paper from his pocket. "'He's a more sensitive, more giving person than I think I have ever been with.'"

"You wrote it down?" I kissed his neck. "It isn't true anymore." I continued. He frowned. "Not unless you add sexier in there."

He studied his paper. "'He's a more sensitive, more giving person than I think I have ever been sexier with.'"

"Close enough," I chuckled. "But it's true. You're better than I deserve. To have read through my journal and not been driven away. I can't tell you how relieved I am."

"Well, apart from love, I have... ulterior motives," he responded.

"God, I hope so," I said fervently. I turned my face to his, and we lost interest in finishing the coffee.


I think perhaps being younger and less experienced is perhaps not such a negative as I would have thought. Brian is a much faster study than Larry :-) But then, it helps that he knows I'm not going to send him home, that it's okay for each of us to show affection, that we will each return the pleasure the other gives. He's very good at responding to subtle clues, changes in my breathing, tension, etc. He's also very good at making me hurt for more, of holding me back until I can't stand it any longer, and then holding me back some more...

Moving to this from being almost afraid of contact in a week is amazing. I think it's largely the confidence of being in love, of knowing that I'm not going to walk out on him. And being willing to learn. So the end result is really special.

Yesterday morning, I was exhausted. So was he. And what we don't need at work, especially after making our partnership so obvious, is to be falling asleep at the same time... Perhaps we should try to take things easier on a weeknight. Thank God It's Friday will have a whole new meaning :-)

We were getting used to each other's routine, not bumping into each other so much in the bathroom, not taking quite so long in the shower (though I figure it will be a while before we can bring ourselves to shower separately). He was watching me as he soaped me down.

"Helen," he said, "I don't think we really need it, but I'd really like to see you in the negligée you bought."

So when I had dried off, I looked around for it. And looked. And finally started to panic.

"What is it?" he asked.

"I don't have it. Oh, God, Brian, it must be at Chris's."

He looked pained for a moment, then grinned. "I hope you left a name tag in it. He might try returning it to Clarice."

"No, I think he'll remember whose it was," I said. "I guess it's okay, though I should call and warn him. You and I can go choose a replacement. Are you doing anything for lunch?"

"Watching a sexy girl modeling lingerie," he said.

"Remember, it must go with my chain."

"And when you're standing there modeling for me, I'll finger the chain and leave you in do doubt what I'm thinking."

"I'd be in no doubt anyway," I said. "Just like I'm in no doubt right now." Since he was clad only in his underwear, there was little room for doubt.

Falling asleep at work is bad, getting in a few minutes late is not so bad. Even if Jack did see us arrive together, it was worth it.

I tried a couple of times to call Chris to let him know that he may want to look around for the negligée, but he wasn't there, and I didn't want to leave a message on his home machine. I don't know his work number.

At lunchtime we picked up sandwiches at the mall, and shopped. We bought two pieces: a negligée identical to the one I'd lost, and a white two-piece. I looked better in the black, but the white top ties in a bow at the stomach and looked much more fun to unfasten.

Was more fun, since we tried it out that evening...

We compromised on taking things easier. Look, this is too new to us. I know that in a couple of weeks we're not going to be spending every waking moment making love, but right now we're still at the make-the-most-of-our-infatuation stage. So we do.

We didn't want to put a damper on our mutual enjoyment, so rather than cut down on our activities too much, we just went to bed early.

Which is why when the doorbell rang after eleven o'clock at night, Brian was fast asleep, and I was getting there.

I untangled myself, found my robe, and headed to the front door. Peering through the peephole, I saw Clarice.

I let her in, and she paced the room for a moment, wielding a grocery bag. Finally she reached into the bag, pulling out a piece of filmy black material. Oh, shit.

"Do you recognize this?" Her tone was agitated.

"Should I?"

She recognized the evasion, but didn't challenge me yet. Reaching into the bag again, she pulled out another trophy.

"Or this?"

It was a Dilbert tee shirt, one I especially like and wear a lot. I sat quickly on the couch, shaken. I had completely forgotten the tee shirt; Saturday morning had been cold, and I wore a tee shirt and sweater. I must have come home just in the sweater.

"Where... did you get them?" I asked.

"Stuffed between the cushions on Chris's sofa, this one." She waved the negligée. "Then I looked around and found this behind it."

I was still dumbstruck.

"I found them Monday, and I recognized this," waving the shirt, "but I didn't want to believe it. Then today your number appears on his caller ID box. Christ, Helen, how could you?"

There was a noise at the door, and Brian entered nervously. Our noise must have woken him, and he had thrown on a tee shirt and shorts.

"Uh... hi," he said to Clarice. I waved him over to the couch, then introduced her - by her real name, of course, so he was blank, until I whispered "Clarice" in his ear. Then he knew what was going on. I felt for his hand.

"Clarice, I'm sorry," I said. My voice was weak. She glanced pointedly at Brian. "He knows," I said.

"Jesus, Helen, this is a really sick thing to do," she said. "How the hell did you talk him into this?"

"Uhh... Clarice, I didn't," I said. "You're right, it was sick, and it was wrong, but it wasn't entirely my idea. He got ideas about me very quickly. I just didn't stop him."

"Bullcrap. He wouldn't do that."

"I'm sure you don't think so, Clarice, but I'm perfectly serious. I hadn't gone out to get laid, but when Chris made it obvious that he wanted me, I decided to go along with him. I'm sorry. God, I'm sorry. Believe me, you weren't the most wronged here. Brian is the one who should be screaming at me." I squeezed his hand.

"You're really telling the truth about this? He came on to you?"

"Look at me, Clarice. You think I could rape him? We were both willing participants, and I feel sick about it, but what could I do when it was over? Call you and tell you your boyfriend's good in bed?"

"God, Helen, how could you? How could he?" She was calming slightly, but still very agitated.

My eyes had filled with tears, but I was damned if I would cry. Brian squeezed my hand more tightly.

Clarice finally sat down. She was still holding the tee shirt, wringing it in her hands. "So was he?"

I was confused. "Was he what?"

"Was he good in bed?"

I felt my face burning. I glanced at Brian. Of course, he knew the answer, but he'd never heard me say it. "Yes, Clarice, he was very good." I looked at Brian again. His face was pained. "But not as good as Brian here." He gave me a tight little smile; obviously he didn't believe me. I pulled myself close to him, and whispered in his ear, "I mean it, mister," and his expression softened a little. I pulled his arm around behind my back and snuggled against him.

"God, Helen, it isn't even as if I would care, if he'd be honest. It isn't like I haven't had a couple of men on the hook at once. But he said it was only me. Now I wonder what he's been doing in Oregon."

I shrugged. "All I can do is say I'm sorry, Clarice. On my part, I can promise it won't ever happen again. You too," I added, to Brian.

"God, what am I going to do?"

Then Brian made a very interesting suggestion.


No, you're not going to find out what Brian's suggestion was until after Saturday, when we try to put it into effect. As a hint: Saturday is Clarice's birthday, and she had invited us - well, me, actually, but Brian is included from now on - to join Chris and Clarice at her house, then go out to eat at the Japanese restaurant nearby.

Also, I got email from my host this morning which reminded me that Brian isn't the only one who can connect me to my site. That had slipped my mind, and I wasn't even aware that he was keeping up with what I was doing. So I've warned Brian, and if I ever get chance, I should introduce them.


Weekends are boring and I have nothing to write, or weekends are crazy and I don't have enough time. This was the latter. I did want to catch up with some more mundane matters, but there hasn't been time.

Yes, the idea worked... after a fashion :-)

We - Brian and I - arrived at five-thirty on Saturday. Chris was due to arrive at six. Brian felt very uncomfortable about meeting him at all, and I can't say I blame him.

[BTW, to the anonymous email correspondent who suggested that the current issue of Cosmo had a possible solution to any lingering concerns over Chris's greater experience: thanks, I picked up the mag, and it might be useful, when I have the courage to broach the issue with Brian :-) Meanwhile, I'm not disappointed with what we have.]

So this was the deal. Brian and I had spent a good part of Saturday finding giftwrap paper which looked like what Chris had used last weekend. Of course, I couldn't recall exactly what it was, but I knew I could come close, and what man ever recalls how he wrapped a gift?

Chris arrived a little before six. Poor Brian, my heart went out to him... I introduced them, then hung on to Brian as if he were the center of my world, making sure both of them knew that I had no doubts which held my affections.

Chris presented Clarice with her gift, which she casually dropped on the floor behind a chair, then did the same with the packages Brian and I gave her. A little later, she opened them... I had given her the new Patricia Cornwell book, "Southern Cross".

Brian had bought her a lovely silk scarf - a surprise to me, actually, but he confided that he really liked Clarice, the one time they had met, and felt something of a kinship with her.

Then the gift from Chris...

... except that it wasn't. It was the package Brian and I had wrapped earlier, which looked like his gift.

When she opened it, and removed the black negligée, Chris's jaw hit the floor. He tried to recover, but his eyes were huge and his face pale. He looked over at me to see if I understood, but I feigned confusion, giving him hard looks as though I thought he was playing games at my expense.

Well, Clarice gushed, told Chris she thought it was wonderful, and ran out of the room to put it on. When she was gone, I asked Chris what the hell he was doing. The poor guy was shell-shocked.

She returned wearing the negligée and Brian's scarf, making a point of kissing Brian thank you, and it wasn't a peck on the cheek. She left him with a big smile on his face, and a... complaint from his lover. "I'm the only one allowed to do that," I whispered.

"Helen, love, you have my heart. She just temporarily has the rest of me."

"Yeah, well, we'll see about that."

Clarice sat beside Chris, complimenting him on his good taste. Then she started twisting. "But black, Chris, do you really think black suits me? I'd think black would be... would look better on someone else, don't you?"

"No, it looks just perfect on you."

"Ah, I see... it looks perfect on me. It didn't look perfect on whoever wore it last, so you made her take it off?"

Chris made a strangled cry.

"Are you going to make me take it off, too? And stuff it into the couch for your next lover to find?"

This was further than Brian's idea had gone. He just suggested that she open up the gift to find the wrong negligée. Of course, we knew it couldn't end there, but we didn't know how Chris would react.

"Who wore it for you last, Chris? You told me you couldn't look at other women, did she force you?"

"No..." he finally found his voice. "No, she didn't force me."

"Who was she, Chris?" Clarice's tone was less hard now, almost sympathetic.

"I can't tell you, Clarice. It wouldn't be fair."

"Wouldn't be fair. Was this fair?"

He shook his head. "No, it wasn't, but I really can't tell you."

"Could you tell me if my friends weren't here?"

"No, I couldn't."

"Chris," I said, "she knows."

Clarice nodded. "Yes, I know, and Helen didn't tell me. You wouldn't have told me anything, would you?"

Chris shook his head.

"Would you tell me if there had been anyone else?"

"Would you want to know?" he asked.

"Yes, I would."

"Then yes, there were," he admitted. "Was. One other."

"Why the hell didn't you say? Don't you know what lying would do to me? Screw you, Chris. I hate lies. Helen, is he worth keeping?"

I hadn't expected the question. "I don't know, Clarice, I guess it depends what you want to keep him for, and if you can trust him."

"I never asked you to be exclusive, did I?" she asked him. "Did I? Didn't you volunteer that? Did you mean it?"

"No, I guess I didn't."

Clarice looked back at me. "I think you both better go. Maybe we can do dinner tomorrow instead?"

"Sure," I said, and Brian agreed. I clutched his hand as we left. At the door, I looked back, and Clarice was unfastening Chris's shirt. Whatever penance she had in mind for him, it looked like she intended to enjoy it.

Meanwhile, I took my man home, where I could show him how little Clarice really had to say about the rest of him.

I guess I may as well cover Sunday also; try to get caught up. Brian liked my idea of a hot tub in the backyard. So we were out shopping. I think we found something we like, and I can afford, but I need to think about it. He wanted to split the cost with me, but buying things for the home... I don't know. That may be more than we're ready for right now. Not that I think it's unlikely we'll get there, but I'd hate for us to feel later that we pressured ourselves into any kind of commitment.

"What kind of commitment do you need to share a hot tub?" he asked, missing the point completely, and when I tried to explain we had our first lovers' quarrel. When Clarice called to invite us back to the restaurant, we were still making up, and I had to call her back.

The four of us had a very pleasant evening. Something about Chris's discomfiture seems to have made Brian more at ease with him, and they joked with each other all evening, mainly at Clarice's and my expense. But including us in the humor, nothing offensive. So Clarice and I returned the barbs.

God only knows what Clarice did to Chris to keep him in line, but he was like a puppy on a leash.

Maybe she's been taking advice from the April Cosmo, too.


helen.org has gone away. I tried to upload yesterday's entry and the site was gone. Still out this morning. I called my host, and he doesn't know much more. He claims it will be back soon.

I hope so.

Cold and dull the past couple of days. Spring has temporarily sprung, but it will be back. We had cardinals and house finches on the feeder over the weekend. Brian and I were sitting watching on Sunday morning. And the fat squirrel, he came to his feeder, but as wide as he's getting, I think perhaps he isn't a he. He's very tame. She, whatever. I guess I just have to call her she... of course, there are probably more than one, but I can't tell them apart.

Anyway, she's very tame. Brian went outside to see her. I told him he'd scare her away, but I was wrong. He got to about five feet from her, she was watching him the whole time, chittering at him and chewing on sunflower seeds. She finally scurried off, but returned as soon as he came back in.

Saw a goldfinch too, but just the one.

Selky the cat isn't very happy with me right now. Partly because I won't let him out when he asks to go play with the cardinals :-) He doesn't like me ignoring him, and he doesn't like it when the bed shakes. But he seems to associate the movement only with me, so he glares at me and goes to sit on Brian.

I'm happy that Brian isn't allergic to cats. That would have really upset our relationship. I ain't giving up my fat ex-tom for anyone, even if he is ignoring me for now.

I've been more-or-less trying not to get too specific about what Brian and I do, except where it's relevant to what's happening, but this is one of those times: Saturday night, late, well after we had returned from Clarice's, we were well beyond the snuggly stage. Brian was on top, which is not our usual preference, but we'd been taking things slowly, and we were both ready to come, so close that we had stopped moving, just feeling each other, trying hard not to slip over the edge, not even daring to kiss because it would probably tip the balance... when Selky decided that Brian's butt was a good place to perch.

So all of a sudden, there was this great thump, Brian suddenly gained fifteen pounds, which startled me. Then we both started laughing, and that pushed us too far, of course, so we stopped holding back, and kissed, and went crazy inside each other, still laughing... That was really awesome. Truly joyful, and intense.

Selky the cat wasn't happy with us, though.


The site is back. There didn't seem much point in putting any more entries together until it was back up.

I had several emails from readers who were disappointed not to be able to find out about Clarice and Chris, and then Elizabeth's note on the storyboard about my keeping her in suspense... between them all, I think Brian's a little overwhelmed with the outside interest in his love life.

That's okay, I'll make it up to him :-)

Slightly later... Brian suggested I should give him an email account, so y'all can ask him about me. I don't know that I like that idea. I may just tell him to go read the storyboard from time to time.

See y'all in April...