To counteract boredom, I held a long "brainstorming" session this morning. Attendance optional, informal, unstructured. Most of the group chose to attend, probably because I told them they could arrive and leave at any time. Generally, they hate meetings at least as much as I do.

We started slowly, with lots of pauses, but once someone hit on an interesting idea they started to build on it, then offer alternatives... by lunchtime I ordered in pizza and drinks so we could keep going. We didn't end until after two, and I have a whole sheaf of notes to present to Terry and Ken.


It was cold this morning, so I wore a green sweater for St. Patrick's day.

I'm meeting Clarice and Rob at Bennigan's in a few minutes. I'm sure it will be worse than standing room only, and Rob will have to do most of our drinking for us, since I'm staying sober for the drive to the airport to collect Jill, who's scheduled to arrive close to midnight.


With a delay in arrival times followed by what seemed hours until the first bags arrived on the conveyor, Jill and I didn't get away from the airport until after midnight. She must have slept on the plane; she was disheveled, but her eyes were bright, and she seemed pleased to see me.

We stopped at an IHOP for a late night snack / early breakfast, and for a chance to talk. She's been looking forward to a break from her studies.

"Do you usually go home for breaks?" I asked.

"Sure," she said. "I just wanted a change. I had the flight coupon, I figured this would be a good way to use it."

"You could have gone down to Florida, done the Spring Break thing."

"Yeah... I don't think so."

"Well, if you're not totally allergic to partying," I said, "we have a company party Tuesday."

"Allergic? Me?" she grinned.

Before we were through eating, she named a nearby college, and asked how hard it was to get there. I told her it was very close, and an easy drive, and asked why.

"There's a professor there I'd like to see. He taught me last year, then moved, and I didn't have the chance to say goodbye."

"Ah, now I know why you came here," I said.

Jill shrugged. "Not really, but as long as I'm here, I should look him up."

"He'll probably be in the phone book."

"It would be better for me to find him at the school. I don't think his wife would understand."

"Ah," I said. "Won't it be closed for spring break?"

"No, theirs was two weeks ago. I checked."

We were both worn out when we arrived home. I helped Jill with her bags, showed her briefly around, and found my bed and crashed.

The phone woke me far too early this morning. It felt like the crack of dawn, but it was actually almost ten.

"Yeah, what?" I said.

"Sounds like my little sister is hung over," came Rob's voice.

"You know I'm not, you were with me. Just a late night."

"I'm sorry to wake you," he said, "but I wanted to be sure you wouldn't have left the house. I have tickets from work for tonight's Stars game if you and your friend are interested."

"We might be," I replied. "I'll check with her, but we don't have any plans yet. I'll call you back?"

So, being awake, I brewed coffee and took it to Jill.

"Do you want me to make breakfast?" I asked. "Or would you like to go get lunch? It's nearly time, and there's an Italian place Brian and I like."

"Let's do that," she said. "I don't want to put you to any trouble."

"Wouldn't be," I said, "but I would prefer to go out."

"This coffee's good," she said. "Thanks."

"I figured we both would need it. You look like I feel."

Jill grinned. "I'm sure I look like I feel, too."

"My brother invited us to tonight's hockey game. Do you want to go?"

"Sure, why not?" she said.

Jill was whole lot more alive after showering and dressing, and looked great in black blouse and pants. We both flirted with the waiter at the restaurant (who was a genuine Italian, not a college kid in a penguin suit), and giggled as we left.

We spent the afternoon at the mall. It felt like being a teenager again, sitting at the food court, drinking Dr. Pepper and criticizing the guys. Except that they all seemed so much younger. I'm sure the guys were older, ten years ago :-)


The hockey game was great. Hockey is a sport I enjoy watching in person; if it wasn't such a long way to drive, Brian and I would probably be regulars at the arena. Jill got into the spirit of the game, and Rob was rooting for the San José Sharks, since that's been his home until the last few months.

The Stars won, of course :-)

Well, I shouldn't say of course, the Stars have lost to the Sharks three times this season, according to Rob, but they did win last night.

The only disappointment of the evening (except for Rob's cheerful acceptance of the Sharks' fate, that is) was for Clarice, who wasn't feeling too good, and who found the seating uncomfortable. At this point, she's beginning to find discomfort often. She's gained a barely-measurable amount of weight, but her shape is noticeably different, and she says that simple things like standing and sitting in a normal position just feel wrong. And of course even before the game, she suffered the long drive...

Still, she did her best, and claims that she enjoyed the game. I don't think she'll be going to any more for the next five months.

Today, perhaps to atone for her mood last night, Clarice insisted on taking Jill and me out to the arts / eclectic / whatever area for lunch. Maybe half a block from the building which the Terrible Trio of Rob, Clarice and Brian had hired for my birthday party, the night Brian proposed. I hadn't been back down there since then.

Clarice drove, our temporarily permanent designated driver, and we sat at an open-air café drinking wine and eating Thai food. Without Rob around, she didn't feel any need for restraint, and I'm sure anyone walking by would have gotten the wrong idea about which of us were drinking.

Jill and I had very spicy meals, while Clarice had to ask for a mild dish. She explained that she loved Thai food, but the baby had other ideas.

"You don't look pregnant," said Jill.

"She does," I disagreed. "Enough for us to be offered seats in Bennigan's Friday. And she's definitely outgrown her tighter tops."

"And jeans," agreed Clarice, plaintively. "And bras. And bigger bras don't help much, because my boobs are always sore."

"In a couple of months, that will be the least of your troubles, as you waddle down the street," I said.

"Thank you very much, Helen, I'm sure I really need reminding just how bad it's going to get."

I told Jill about her job, and how Clarice would at least be fixed for baby toys.

"No way," she objected. "I am not having those creatures in my house. It's bad enough having to work with them. My kid is going to have traditional, healthy toys, like fashion dolls or Uzis."

"Don't get her started," I cautioned Jill, as she raised her eyebrows. But somehow we got onto the subject anyway. At least on that one topic Clarice is guaranteed to be her old sarcastic self.

Today has been sunny but cool. Jill helped me to get the spa into shape. If the weather holds, it should be usable, at least if the water temperature overrides the air temperature. Clarice is coming over, again without Rob, and I'm looking forward to a relaxing evening.


As much as Jill and I drank yesterday, I'm surprised how good I felt this morning. I guess we were never more than tipsy, but it lasted from the lunch throughout the afternoon until late, out in the spa. Clarice left at about ten, but I think Jill and I were out there until almost midnight. It was pretty cold even at ten, and we were shivering when we ran to the house.

Actually, it was cold at nine, when I turned all the lights off. The moon was close to full and the night was clear.

Jill wanted to know what I was working on yesterday afternoon on my notebook. I evaded the question, but I actually considered telling her. It would be nice to have someone else I could talk to about my site. But I made the (probably wise) decision to wait, knowing that I was a little tipsy, and likely to regret a decision like that. Now, thinking about it, I may change my mind and tell her anyway.

All of the engineers, both software and hardware, seem to be taking it easy today, after last week's push. I think I may even leave early. I don't know if Jill will be home; I gave her the keys to my car, and I'm driving Brian's. We might go see a movie or something.


We didn't do a movie last night, we went to Friday's, instead. A couple of guys tried to pick us up - we let them sit with us after we'd made it clear that they wouldn't get anywhere. They were fun, but they clearly thought they could change our minds, and tried very hard to persuade us not to leave. I wouldn't give them my phone number, but Jill gave them hers.

So I thought.

When we were in my car, she explained that it was a number she'd memorized for exactly that purpose... of a gay club in New York City.

I love her sense of humor.

Since I was driving, I wasn't drinking, and Jill suggested that was unfair, and we should go out to the spa and finish off a bottle of wine we'd opened Sunday night. So we did, and we called Brian from there.

He was in his hotel room. Jill talked to him first.

"Ask him about Julie," I told her.

She frowned. "Helen says I should ask you about Julie." After a pause, she said to me, "He says you'll be pleased to know that he's spending a lot of time with her. Whoever she is."

"Pleased?" I yelped. "Let me speak to him."

Jill handed the phone to me. "Why would I be pleased?" I growled.

"I knew that would get a rise out of you."

"Oh, so you lied to your sister?"

"Uhh... no, actually. It's true. But it isn't what I'm sure you're thinking."


"No," he said, firmly. "See, there's a guy here who has latched onto her. He's a very strange character, never seems to do any work. Newer to the company than we are, I think. Anyway, he follows her around the office. Leaves when she does. He has even show up in the hotel bar. So, yeah, I'm sticking with her, looking out for her."

"You're playing bodyguard?"

"Pretty much. Just as an observer, warning the creep off."

"Well, I'm sure you're having a great time observing Julie. Oh, and that was sarcasm, not jealousy."

He laughed. "Sure, Helen. Whatever you say. I miss you."

"Yeah, you too. Your sister's great company, but she can't replace you in some ways."

"Ask her, she might be willing to try."

"Damn you, Brian," I said, laughing. "I can't believe you said that. Do you know how much you've changed over the past year?"

"Whose fault is that?" he asked.

"Point. Anyway, I've gotta go, I'm neglecting my guest and my glass of wine."

"Yeah, okay, and I told Julie I'd meet her for dinner five minutes ago. Love you."

"You too, even if you are guarding her body instead of mine."

Today has been strange. Yesterday was a lovely spring day, the first this year that felt like spring (it was the first or second day of spring, wasn't it?), cool, southerly wind, air scented of wildflowers even in the city. Today, though, it has been dark all day, almost green sky. Storms in the distance, I could see the lightning from my window. Here it was just dark and wet.

I don't think Jill was concerned with the weather. She saw her professor today, after managing to contact him yesterday. She won't tell me what happened, but she looks like the cat that ate the cream.

Anyway, I need to go get changed for the party.


Interesting doesn't cover last night, and I doubt the ripple effects are yet over. Looking back on it, yesterday's weather seems like an omen. Certainly the sky had a threatening feel to it. Even in the dark, when we arrived at the party, there was a low, background rumble of thunder, and constant large raindrops, even though it wasn't raining heavily.

We were late to the party, and it was in full swing when we got there. Jill was in the same black outfit she wore Saturday. I introduced her around.

At some point we got separated. She was talking to Larry, and I had been drawn into other conversations and was some way away from her.

I guess at some point Larry had left for the bathroom or something, and Jill was alone. When I noticed her, Darrell had her trapped between two tables, invading her space, and not letting her past. I could tell from the look on her face that she was unhappy. I immediately excused myself from my conversation with Ken and Terry, and started back towards her.

Which is why I was looking in the right direction when Jill took a swing and hit Darrell so hard in the face that he staggered back and tripped over a chair.

Within five seconds, everyone was watching, and the only sound was the background music. Then someone - Mary told me later she thought it was Larry - started clapping, and immediately several people joined in with cheers and applause. I guess I hadn't realized until that point just how little Darrell was liked in the office.

I went straight over to Jill, putting myself between the two of them, and Terry was close behind, helping Darrell to his feet. Darrell's nose was bleeding and his eyes were screwed shut. It didn't take Terry long to decide that Darrell needed to be at the emergency room, and they left the party.

Meanwhile Jill was becoming the center of attention. She wasn't enjoying it, though everyone was very sympathetic. So pretty soon, I put my arm around her and steered her out of the party.

In the car, she told me what had transpired.

Darrell knew who she was. I guess he'd asked around, seeing her with me, and being obsessed with me, he'd wanted to know who I was with. When he cornered her, he stuck to his modus operandi, beginning pleasantly, but quickly becoming personal and offensive.

He told her Brian left because I was screwing his boss, Andy. That I was causing the company all kinds of trouble by sleeping my way to the top. Then he said he knew why Jill was there, that it didn't surprise Darrell at all that a wuss like Brian would fuck his sister in a three-way with me...

That was when she hit him.

I was pretty relieved at that. I was concerned that there might be legal consequences, but if Darrell would try anything after that, we could very easily counter with sexual harrassment. And I've got my own testimony to back that up, plus Brian's account of the Christmas party, and likely others in the IT group.

All that remained was to make Terry see it my way. And I already knew he was aware of what Darrell was like.

So, we sat in the car for a while, both pretty hyper, watching the occasional fat raindrops splat on the windscreen.

"I've never done anything like that before," said Jill.

"No? You looked pretty good."

"Damn. I felt good. Damn. I'm still wired."

"Me too," I said. "What do you want to do?"

"Let's find somewhere loud."

Somewhere loud was a Country and Western bar. I figured that since this was Jill's first time in Texas, she should at least visit a Texan honkytonk. With the storms, and being a Tuesday, it wasn't very crowded.

I worked with her for a while on the two-step, she thought she knew it, but I guess she knew some Yankee version :-) After a couple of minutes, a tall cowboy offered to take over. Sometimes Texans can surprise you. This guy must have been at least six-two, even without his hat and boots. Probably about my age. I guess I just immediately assumed he was trying to pick her up. Why else would he be there, right?

But it seemed that he sensed she was shaken, he was a perfect gentleman with her. Didn't try to chase her, didn't even ask for her number. Like he knew she just needed a break.

He did buy her plenty of beer, though...

We left around midnight. Jill wasn't too steady on her feet, but she seemed much happier than she'd been after the party.

This morning, Jill was sick and hung-over. I left her trying to get back to sleep, and got into work late. Mary told me that someone had stuck a drawing on Darrell's door of a face with a nosebleed, and that Darrell come in late with his nose bandaged.

There was email waiting for me from Terry. Of course, he wanted to see me soonest...

"So, what happened last night, Helen?" he asked.

I explained what had happened as accurately and as unemotionally as I could. Including Darrell's exact words, as much as I knew them. I felt that glossing over the language might make Jill's provocation look less than it was.

It turns out I told Terry pretty much what he expected to hear. Not what Darrell had said when he took him to the hospital, of course. He had claimed that he had no idea why Jill would wallop him like that. But Terry had been hearing more about Darrell since our last conversation on the subject, enough, he felt, to give him grounds to fire Darrell for sexual harassment. But that's a difficult call, especially when he could countersue for wrongful dismissal.

There's also the job performance issue. No-one is happy with the IT group now, least of all the IT group. But there, it's hard to figure just who is screwing up. Hard for Terry, at least, though I have no doubt about who is causing the problems. And the attorney who advises Human Resources said to keep the issues separate.

That made me take notice. If Terry was sufficiently concerned to have talked to the HR lawyer about it, he was obviously serious.

Of course, the difficulty with using last night as an excuse to fire him is that it was outside the company and outside working hours. Of course, it was a company-sponsored event, but the waters are muddy. Terry said he planned to talk to HR again, but one way or another Darrell was on his way out.

For the rest of the day, co-workers made wisecracks to me about the incident, most having to ask who Jill was. There was a note of admiration, for want of a better word, in much of the teasing. It seems that the popular view is that Jill did the right thing - and that she wasn't the first to want to do it.

Something else that bothers me about Darrell. If (when, I think) Terry fires him, there's a danger he'll do something stupid or violent. His behavior when he's drunk is pretty near the edge of sanity. I hope the HR people who get the job of terminating him consider their tactics carefully.

Jill should be okay, she'll be going back up north. But it's me he's fixated on.

Thing is, Monday, not far from here, a fired car wash employee apparently went back to where he worked, killed 5 of his former co-workers and critically injured a sixth. This terrible tragedy happened in Irving, Texas, not far from me.

The car wash employee was fired for exposing himself to customers. Is that so much different from telling a stranger that "he knows she's fucking her brother"?

We have a quiet evening planned. Jill is feeling much better.

It's strange how things work - Brian is playing bodyguard to a woman who's being harassed in California, while his sister is here being harassed by a jerk at my office. I hope he doesn't solve his problem the same way :-)

Hmmm... maybe I should get Brian and Jill to trade places. I'm sure Jill and Julie together could handle the idiot out there... :-)


I guess yesterday's entry was way too long. I was sitting thumping keys on my notebook for a long time. When I was through, Jill wanted again to know what I was doing.

So I told her.

I told her everything, about the site, the stories, the diary. She was fascinated.

But she wasn't the one surprised. A little, maybe, though I think she'd probably guessed something about what I was doing...

...because Jill also writes erotica!

"Only a few stories, so far," she said. "They're very different from yours."

"May I read them?" I asked.

"I don't have them with me, but I guess I can send them to you."

"Have you published any? Put them on the net?"

"No," she replied, "hardly anyone has seen them. Just some very close friends." Then she hesitated, her face coloring. "Oh, and one of my teachers."

"A teacher?"

"Yeah. I'd been working on a very early story, I must have turned it in with some English homework. He recognized my writing, gave it back to me. He said it was very good."

"You were lucky."

"I know. God, if it had been..." she shook her head. "If it had been any other teacher, really... I'd have been in trouble. It was mortifying enough as it was."

"Yeah, I'd imagine. I'd be horrified if anyone discovered my guilty secret."

"Does Brian know?"

"He does."


"No," I said, "not even Clarice. I don't know why I told you, to be honest. I guess I just had a feeling that you'd understand."

Jill nodded. "Thank you. Do you mind if I look it over tomorrow, when you're at work?"

"Actually, I figured I'd take the next couple of days off. There's nothing going on at the office. But sure, you're welcome."


"Hey," I said, after a moments thought, "I have an idea. Are you interested in putting your stories online?"

"Oh, no, I don't think I could. If anyone ever found out..."

"But they wouldn't. Not if you let me host them for you. Let me make a 'Jill' tree. You can send me the stories, and I'll web them."

"I don't know... I write them for me, and maybe for one or two others."

"The idea of turning on tends of thousands of readers doesn't appeal to you?"

"Does it to you?"

I thought for a moment. "Maybe, a little, but I tell you what I really love is the email I get from a regular reader about how a story made her feel, or from a guy who reads the site with his girlfriend. Follow the link to Rose McCaine's site, and see how she and her husband have reacted to some of my stories. She likes them so much she has started writing her own."

"I'm not putting my email address on the web."

"So I forward email to you," I suggested. "I think my host can make go wherever he likes. No-one would need to know."

She thought about it. I could tell that the idea interested her.

"What about Brian," she asked at last.

"Ah." I hadn't thought of that. "He'd have to know. It would be too weird if I added a section for a new writer and didn't tell him what's going on."

"I don't know," she said again. "It sounds... intriguing, but I'm not sure how I'd feel about Brian knowing about my writing."

That's where we left it. She's still undecided.

If y'all want to write to encourage her, email me, and I'll bundle up your suggestions and pass them on :-)

The weather has changed again. Cool and humid to warm and humid, not much difference through the day. Pleasant evenings. We drove around a little today, saw some of the wildflowers, some of the sights.


We decided to go see a movie yesterday. "The World Is Not Enough".

I know, I know, it has been out for months now, but somehow Brian and I never did get to see it. We've been so busy, and our paths didn't cross often enough. And Jill hadn't seen it. It was playing at the low-price movie theater.

Pierce Brosnan is great. I think he's the best Bond yet. This is, what, the third movie he's been in? The best, too, I thought. Hmmmm.... maybe I should do this:

Skip to the end of this section of you haven't seen the movie.

* * * * POSSIBLE SPOILERS * * * *

The most interesting woman in the movie is not the "Bond Girl", Denise Richards, it's the villain, Sophie Marceau. She's a strong person, and gorgeous. And although Bond always has to rescue the beautiful women, he executes this one. I don't recall that twist in a Bond movie.

Jill liked it okay, but with some real reservations.

"Why is it," she complained, "that a woman has to be either a villainess or a damsel in distress? Where do the heroines of the world belong?"

We were in the coffee shop just next to the theater. They're open late and have good cappucinos.

"They have a nuclear physicist who's an airhead and think that it's enough just to have a woman with a high IQ."

"M's good," I said, defensively.

"M's cool," she agreed, "but why can't they have more women like the Chinese agent in the last movie? She could have taught Bond a few things."

"Maybe they'll bring her back," I said, and we agreed that would be a good idea.

* * * * END OF SPOILERS * * * *

Today we lounged and talked. Jill's pretty sure she's going to take me up on the web site. She'll look through her work when she gets back home, decide if she wants to web the stories she has, or write something new.

And I've got to broach the subject with my site host. I made the offer without thinking through all of the consequences. He has been very generous with the space I have, but he has certainly never agreed to host anyone else's work on my site. I'll give him a call later. I'm sure I can find a way to persuade him :-)


Clarice, Jill and I went out with some of Clarice's friends last night. I saw Bev for the first time in months. Well, I guess, I've seen her in passing, but not to spend any time with.

She seemed depressed. She and Carrie have been having problems, though they're still together. I really should stay in better touch with her, I wanted last year to not to drift away from her, but I guess I let things go. I invited her - and Carrie - over tonight, I don't know yet if they'll come. Clarice, too. Rob can stop complaining about me monopolizing Clarice's time after Jill leaves tomorrow.

Today I've been writing. Perhaps it's the idea of potential competition :-) but I started on a new idea, and it seems to be coming along better than the last did. Though I do think the last is salvageable. This story's taking different turns than I expected.

Sometimes I wonder about that. I have an idea, and in my mind it goes A-B-C. I write A, then the story grows on its own, and ends up with X, Y and Z. But I still have the original idea, that I'd like to do... but now I've given away the premise. Since this isn't the story I started to write, is there still one left that I can work on later? Or will I only end up plagiarizing myself if I try?

So far I haven't tried. Maybe one day. Meanwhile, I actually like the way this one is working out. Look for it in the next week or two. Currently it's titled "Expectations".

Called Brian a few minutes ago. He's been hard to find, but he was in his hotel room, and seemed subdued. I guess they've been working long hours.


Carrie and Bev did come over. And they seemed pretty much okay. Clarice came, but didn't stay too long after food. Apparently as good as a hot spa feels to her right now, it isn't good for carrying a baby. She's very noticeably pregnant now without her maternity clothes, even if Jill doesn't agree.

Today has been beautiful. All the time Jill has been here it has been either dull or cold. Mainly just dull. But today she leaves, and the sun came out. I'm going to miss her.

But she said I'll be hearing from her soon with material. She thinks. She hasn't actually committed to writing for the site, but if she finds time to get one story together she's sure she'll be able to do more.

She wanted to know whether my site had a mainly or largely female readership. I'd say not mainly, but probably a higher percentage than most erotica sites, given the balance of the sexes of readers who email me. Apparently that's good for her, because she thinks her erotica might appeal more to women than to men. It looks like I'll have to delete the comment I have about my site only having single partner male/female heterosexual stories.

On the other hand, if I ever do publish the last story I wrote, single partner is already out the window.

Whatever, I haven't seen her work yet, but it sounds intriguing. It's odd, too, for me, that I'd encourage her to put work on my site without seeing any, but you can judge a lot from the person, and I like Jill. And when y'all judge Jill from her stories, I think you will too.


It wasn't exactly a tearful farewell, and I don't miss her like I do Brian, but Jill was fun to have around, and I'm sorry she had to go back to college. She has become a good friend very quickly.

And I have to be careful what I say, because she'll be readig this. I didn't extract the commitments from her that I have from Brian about avoiding my life's details.

Which reminds me. I spoke with my site host, about adding space for Jill. He wasn't hard to persuade... but I'd better not say too much about that, either :-)

Of course, Jill left on Sunday afternoon just as the weather was improving, and on Monday, Texas returned. Beautiful cloud-free skies, temperatures into at least the seventies for two days. Then tonight driving rain and thunderstorms. I'm sitting outside writing this watching the lightning show. The storm has passed into the distance, but it is still lighting up the sky.

I have found three house finch nests. One is ready for occupancy, one is home to 5 eggs, and the third has four or five little furry beaks. I'm sure they're babies, really, but all I see when I peek inside is open beaks with gray fluff beneath them.

Brian's classes are over Friday. I don't know yet if he flies out Friday night or Saturday.

"Expectations" is largely finished. There are some inconsistencies which I need to put right, but I'll probably have it uploaded before the end of this week. And "Neighbors", the long story that I wasn't too happy with, seems much better on a re-read. I may go with it.

I was just about to go to bed a few minutes ago when the phone rang. It was Brian, wanting to know that I was okay. I had no idea what he was talking about.

He told me about the tornadoes which have made a mess of downtown Fort Worth today. Downtown buildings are missing windows, parts are unsafe, there are crushed and shattered cars all over. Houses have been destroyed all over the area, freeways shut down.

I had no idea this was going on. I've been working on my story and on the house. I haven't turned on the radio or TV at all. All I knew was the one brief, strong storm we had here. I don't think we had any tornadoes or severe winds.

I reassured Brian that I was fine, but I turned on the TV, we're still under a watch, and there are dangerous storms still in the area.


Dentist's visit this morning. Just a checkup, but I have a cracked filling. I'll need to have it replaced. Ugh.

The dry line has moved to the east, so no more storms in this area at the moment. Things are a mess in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, though, after last night.

I decided to put Expectations online. As always, let me know what you think.


Feedback on Expectations has been uniformly good, with one caveat. More than one person who read it found Carolyn's promiscuity jarring... but on re-reading saw it as an essential part of the way Tim saw her. Which was the point, really, his reactions being based on what he expected of her, while hers were a more genuine response based on how she felt about sex, about Tim, and her own experience.

So if Expectations doesn't work for you, consider at least skimming it again, you might like it better on re-reading.

Brian doesn't return until tomorrow :-( I'll pick him up from the airport around two.