Chapter 7 - Cayenne

I sleepwalked through my job on Monday. Spending a good part of the night with Anita was delicious, but not restful, and the epilogue with the strapon hadn't eased the slight soreness from Thursday. Promising myself that I'd go home alone, I decided to stay with my plan to show my face at Gabby's. I owed Clare and Imani an accounting of the evening, and Alan a drink or three, and I wanted to see my other friends.

There was no way I was glamming up, though. I'd worn a black midi skirt, black hose and ankle boots with a high collar beige shirt for work. All it took to turn it into a casual club outfit was to trade the shirt for a black tank top. I took down my work bun, reforming it into a messy bun, with several strands teased out at the front. Enough makeup to mask the tiredness in my eyes, and I was good to go. I added a heavier jacket than I'd been wearing. Fall was almost upon us, and the air had chilled significantly in the last few days.

Tiff and Emma's table had become two pulled together. Margot and Heather were at the second table, with Suze sitting at the junction of the tables, between Margot and Emma. Apparently she'd made peace with Margot. Val sat beside Tiff, opposite Suze. I set my jacket on the chair just around from Heather, opposite Margot, then went to get myself a drink.

The bar had hot coffee, which wasn't the best I'd had, but was welcome on a chilly evening. I brought my mug back to the table.

As with the previous week, the live band was fronted by a woman, but this week with a more traditional lineup of guitar, keyboards (occasionally switching to bass) and drums. Their material was either original or covers of songs that I didn't know. The singer's voice was soft and melodic.

When conversation flagged briefly, I looked up at Margot. "I still can't help thinking it," I said, "and I'm still not sorry."

It took several seconds for her to recall our earlier conversation. She grinned when understanding dawned, which made Heather frown at her. "What is it?" Heather asked.

I raised an eyebrow as I saw Margot clearly trying to think of a way to avoid telling her, then she shrugged and leaned close to whisper to her girlfriend. A moment later, Heather turned pink, glanced at me, then looked down at the table.

Margot sighed. "I knew that would happen. She has a hard time accepting how others see her."

"I understand," I said. "That doesn't make it less true."

Heather caught my eye for a fraction of a second, then mumbled, "Thanks."

Margot leaned close to her ear again, saying something I couldn't hear. Her partner sat up, her expression brightening. "Oh, yes! Yes, of course I do!" Then she turned to me, said, "Kayla, we're having a party on the Saturday after next. We'd love for you to come."

"It's not all weed, hard liquor and dark hedges is it?" I asked.

Heather shook her head, though she and Margot both looked puzzled. "No, nothing like that. At the coffee shop."

"Right, I guess neither of you were here last week. Forget I asked," I said, mock wiping my brow. "Someone getting engaged, maybe?"

At this, Heather turned an even deeper red than before, shaking her head. Margot scowled at me, and I realized I'd crossed the line in embarrassing the redhead. "I'm sorry," I said, raising my hands from the table. Margo squeezed her partner's hand and looked a little mollified.

"It's Cyndy," Margot said, "and no, she isn't getting engaged, either."

Overcoming her bashfulness enough to continue, Heather looked up. "She's buying the coffee shop. It's something she and the owner have been working on for a while. Pam has decided she wants to retire by year's end. There's a lot that needs to happen yet, but they've had their lawyers involved, and the papers are ready to be signed."

"That's great!" I said. "Yes, I'd love to come."

Heather took her phone from her purse. "Let's trade contact info and I'll email you an invitation," she said.

Margot narrowed her eyes at me. "I'm not sure I trust her with your info, love. She reminds me too much of myself."

Heather grinned, then smiled at her partner, with a look of such affection that if Margo seriously thought that I - or anyone else - could drive a wedge between them, she wasn't as observant as I believed. I gave her my number, and she sent me a "Hi."

"Did you invite Anita?" I asked.

Heather's eyes widened, though she schooled her expression into calm, glancing at Margot, as she dropped her phone back in her purse.

"Do I need to apologize for saying something else wrong?" I asked, eyebrows raised.

"No, it's fine," the redhead replied. "I like Anita."

Margot took her hand and squeezed it. "She'll be there," she said, then added to Heather, "I called her earlier today. She's bringing a date."

"She is?" Heather seemed surprised, and possibly slightly relieved. I was surprised too. I wondered who Anita would take as a date. Somehow, the idea of her planning to take someone specific, rather than hooking up on the spur of the moment, made my chest feel tight.


When my coffee was finished, I excused myself. "I promised Alan's friends I'd fill them in on what I thought to Gabby's Thursdays," I said.

Tiff pouted. "You haven't even told us yet!" she griped.

"Short version is that it was too cougarish for my taste," I said. "I might feel differently in a year or two, or less if anyone I know signs up."

"So you didn't hook up?" she asked, clearly disappointed.

"Ah. Well, perhaps," I said. "It wasn't entirely cougar country."

"If you don't tell us more later, I'm going to try to set you up with every available girl here," she said. "There will be cat fights over you, and you wouldn't want that, would you?"

"I promise to talk to you as soon as I can," I said. "Scout's honor," I added, deliberately botching the scout salute. Then I collected my jacket and headed to where I'd seen Alan and the girls sitting.

"What are you all drinking?" I asked, after they'd greeted me. "Don't be shy, I owe Alan several for looking after me, and you two for your encouragement."

At that they agreed and gave me their drink order, after which I sat on a bar stool waiting for Michelle to serve another customer. When she came over, I gave her the three drink names and ordered myself her ginger-pepper special. Her chopsticks were black, today, round, with a rust-colored pattern circling the handle.

"Were you trying to warn me about Danielle last Thursday?" I asked. "Emerald Dress?"

Michelle frowned at me. "Yeah. Well, not exactly warned, more... just wanting you to stay alert. I've seen her a few times. She likes girls who are young, easy on the eye, and maybe a little naïve. No offence meant, but her expression turned predatory the moment she saw you."

"No offence taken," I assured her, though I felt my cheeks warm. "I'm still new, and I have a lot to learn. If Danielle showed me anything last week, it was how much I don't yet know. But she was up-front about what she wanted. 'I like to dance with pretty girls until they're ready to go home with me,' she told me."

"Really." It wasn't exactly a question. "That's good. Though she might have put it so starkly to make you think she's being self-deprecating, and expect her to be less depraved than her confession."

"Whatever the reason," I said, "it was true. She's a hell of a dancer, I wanted to go with her, and I'm glad I did. I appreciate you looking out for us, though."

"I figure it's part of my job," Michelle said. "We may not have a big problem with predators here, but beautiful girls are always going to attract creeps and pervs. It's good to know Ms Green Dress isn't quite in that category." She set the last drink of my order down before me, and I handed her my card.

"Well, she did make me keep my glasses on," I said.

"Hon," said Michelle, as she ran my card, "if that makes her a creep, you'll have to chalk me up as another. Those glasses make you look totally hot." She grinned and tapped her own rose gold-framed glasses. "I'd wear contacts if I didn't think girls with glasses looked good."

I felt my face flush as I punched in her tip. What did the straight woman know about hot girls, anyway? I gave her a slightly embarrassed smile and took the drinks back to Alan's table.


The story I told Imani and Clare ended where I left the club. Maybe I hinted some about what Danielle was looking for, and maybe they could figure out that I was more than happy to provide it, but what I wanted to tell then was what the atmosphere had been like, the difference between the casual hookups on Mondays and the more troubling expectations that I'd had to shut down, and the differences in dancing.

On that topic I went into great detail, especially about how I felt dancing with someone who was both an experienced dancer and an attractive woman who so clearly enjoyed having her hands on me.

"Sounds like you enjoyed that part, too," said Clare. She had her hair tied back in a band today, loose enough to bush out below her temples to frame her oval face. Large hoop earrings continued the effect down to her chin.

"Fuck, yeah. I did," I admitted.

"Does have an appeal," agreed Imani, whose braids were symmetrical this week. Her tee shirt was round neck, featuring a fire-breathing rainbow dragon. A lovely shirt, but disappointing after last week's. "We should learn to dance."

'He can teach you," I said, nodding at Alan. "He's great, if less handsy."

"That's true," said Imani, and both girls turned their eyes to him.

Alan held up his hands. "Alright, alright, we can try. Kayla can help. Let me finish my drink."

"Hey, I only know the basic steps," I said, "and I never learned to lead."

"You said you owe me," Alan said. "I'm collecting."

Sighing, I nodded agreement. "We can all learn together." As both girls turned their eyes to me, I said, "Hold on, you can't rush me. I'll lose my taste buds if I drink this too fast."

"What have you got there?" asked Alan. "Is that what the woman at the bar sent you?"

"Without the alcohol, but yeah," I agreed.

Clare was peering into my glass. "Is that a pepper?" she asked.

"Yeah. Cayenne," I said. "The bartender's own recipe. Extra hot ginger syrup and hot pepper."

"Can I try it?" she asked.

I shrugged. Sharing a glass didn't seem like a big hygiene risk in an environment where hookups were the norm.

Clare took a small sip, then her eyes bugged out. She grabbed the napkin her own drink was sitting on and covered her mouth as she coughed.

"Michelle says I mustn't kiss anyone within thirty minutes of drinking," I said.

"I see why," she said. "But you could probably kiss Imani. She eats raw chili peppers. Try it," she instructed her friend.

Imani and I both turned to stare at Clare. After a moment, Imani asked, "Right here?"

"What?" demanded Clare at our joint glare. "Oh! I mean try the drink! Not try kissing. Not that anyone here would object," she added.

"Kayla would," Imani said.

I slid my drink over to her to try. After a pause, I said, "Don't be so sure of that."

One of Imani's eyebrows rose at my comment, then as she tasted the drink, it rose again. "Oh, this is good. What's it called?"

I shrugged. "I don't think she's named it." I glanced at the design on Imani's chest. "Maybe she could name it Dragonfire."

Imani nodded. "That, or Gold Dragon," she suggested. "Because the color's good, too."

I'd noticed Imani's suspicious look a few times, but I was starting to think Alan was correct. It was thoughtfulness, consideration, not skepticism. I - I don't like to admit this, but it's true - I realized that I read facial expressions partly from the play of shadows around someone's nose, eyes, and lips, and those were harder to read on Imani's dark skin. I felt that I was beginning to recalibrate, and see what Alan saw in her eyes, and that was interest. Maybe a pronounced interest.

I was sure she could see the same in me.


Everyone was waiting for me to finish my drink. I'd learned the hard way that it was a mistake to guzzle, and I really didn't want to abandon the rest, so I finished it over the next minute with a series of long, cautious sips. Then I exhaled sharply and said, "Let's do it."

Clare claimed to have been shown a few dance steps, which put her ahead of Imani, so Alan, who did know what he was doing, partnered with Imani while Clare and I could maybe possibly handle the basics while watching Alan.

It wasn't quite a disaster. We moved to a corner to work in, as far from the band as we could get, since they might not appreciate how badly we treated their songs.

I knew the cha-cha basics, so I showed them to Clare. When we tried walking through the dance together, I was fine holding her as the lead, but I had trouble breaking the habit of starting on my right foot, when the leader needed to start on the left. I mostly had it figured out, and we even incorporated the different directions and a turn or two.

When the band's set was over, the DJ noticed what we were doing, and slotted in a couple of latin songs.

Trying to start at regular speed in time to the song, I of course began on the wrong foot, dragging Clare off her footing. She collapsed into me, and I managed to stop us from falling as we both found our footing. "This isn't what I meant when I said Danielle had her hands all over me," I said.

"Hey, it works for me," Clare said as we finished disentangling.

By the end of the song we'd found our timing, and the next met with greater success. I managed to turn Clare, then send her stepping out while I moved in the other direction, before reeling her back in. I leaned close and muttered, "But she looks like a damn professional."

Clare turned to see where I was looking. Imani even had the requisite hip motion, and looked to be a natural cha-cha dancer, in her tee shirt and tight jeans. Alan was keeping the steps simple, and not telegraphing anything awkward, but she was still keeping up with him better than a beginner had any right to expect.

"She's good at whatever she turns her mind to," said Clare. "But, you know, I think I want to learn more. I'm enjoying this."

I grinned, holding her as close as we'd been when we'd whispering, moving her left - cha-cha-cha and right - cha-cha-cha, breast to breast, until I spun her out and brought her back to my side for the end of the song.

Shortly afterward, we were back at the table, and I collected my jacket. "I can't stay longer," I said. "I didn't get much sleep last night."

Imani's eyebrow rose in interest, again, but she didn't speak, while Clare and Alan expressed their disappointment and hope that they'd see me the following week.


After a good night's sleep on Monday, the rest of the work week went well. I spent some time thinking about the previous week, and decided I needed to invest in my own accessories. My preference would have been to avoid human interaction by ordering online, but I wanted to pick up some of the lube that Danielle and Anita had introduced me to. And as Anita commented, if I was going to visit the store that sold the lube, I should use the opportunity to take advice on equipment, too.

When I texted Anita to ask for the location and details of the store, she offered to come with me. I was truly tempted, but I had to learn to navigate this new world for myself. And really, she didn't need to know all of my secrets.

The atmosphere of the store was friendly, and the assistants very helpful, especially when I told them I had so little idea what I was about. I was there for two things: a strap-on, and lube, but I soon added a huge wand vibrator like Anita's, a different style of vibrator for my own personal use, super soft rope and fluffy cuffs.

I hadn't intended to acquire a purple satin babydoll nightie, and it's something I could have purchased anywhere, but it looked so good, yet was still something I could wear every day.

The other outfit I decided to leave with had less justification, but having seen it on the mannequin I spent several minutes trying and failing to talk sense to myself. It wasn't cheap, but it was perfect, though I couldn't imagine being in a situation that I'd want to wear it. Just knowing it was in my wardrobe would give me goosebumps.

I did say no to nipple clamps, chains, collars, paddles, whips, crops or any other BDSM staple. The rope and cuffs made me nervous enough. If I were ever to venture further down that path I'd have to be led, very cautiously, and I really didn't see the appeal. I mean, nipple clamps? What the hell?

I also left with a new appreciation of Danielle's disposable income. The lube wasn't cheap, and though I now had a couple of bottles, I wasn't ready to spend the amount that she must on her ice cubes. So I stopped at Walmart to pick up a tray to make mini ice balls.

After I'd arrived home and set a tray to freezing, I started to imagine what it would have been like to have had frozen lube when Anita had been tied to my bed. Those thoughts reminded me that I hadn't charged either of my new vibes. I opened them and plugged them in, spending the next two hours making myself food, washing dishes, clearing around and trying very hard not to think of what I might do with frozen lube, or cuffs and rope.

When two hours was up, I ran a bath, grabbed the bottle of lube, still a quarter full, that I'd used to fill the ice tray, and my new toy, almost dove into the bath, then tested the toy - a waterproof suction vibrator.

As much as I'd tried to banish my thoughts of rolling ice balls over Anita's naked body while I was cooking and cleaning, they kept intruding, and now I was turned on as hell. My slick, icy touch on Anita's small breasts, her nipples hard and aching for my lips. My fingers sliding over her heavily lubed clitoris, her lips parted, and her back arching for me.

And the vibe... damn, why had I never thought of trying one of these before? Its buzzing wasn't quiet, but unlike my small wand, it was a lower-pitched buzz, and pulsed. It wasn't anything like having a girl's tongue on my clit, but the effect it had was startling. It pumped far more power into my sex than my normal vibe. Maybe even more than the monster wand.

No longer trying to banish thoughts of the small girl, I pictured her before me, writhing in passion from my touch, my lips traveling down her body. I hadn't even visualized making it below her navel when the too-powerful stimulation drove me hard into climax, my back arching below the water as my sex pulsed. I had to curl up, squeezing my pussy, trying to reduce the intensity of the waves flooding into me.

My thoughts of Anita hadn't faded. I tried to push them out of my head, beginning to feel guilty for fantasizing about my best friend. I forced my mind to the first night at the club. The vibe was still buzzing in my hand, and I lightly touched it to my sex as I pictured Fi's rounded breasts. I had been so hot for her, lifting her shirt, getting my lips and teeth onto her nipples. She hadn't had many lovers, and she'd chosen me, though she didn't know me, and my need for her body had excited her, and I had been relentless as I took her with my fingers. She was only the second girl I'd made love to, and she'd been so passionate.

Somehow the vibe was pressed firmly to my clit again as I pictured her going down on me. The second girl to do that, after Anita had told me she'd lick me until I forgot my name, and that had been so intense, and my thighs were rocking in the bath - No!, not Anita, think about when Fi had licked me, and I'd been so turned on that she had hardly needed to give me more than a few strokes with her tongue, right where the vibe was sucking me... and I was over the edge again, whimpering, parting my legs to let the calm bathwater still my jangling nerves.

Not having done much to, you know, actually bathe, I ran more hot water, washed my face and all surfaces that hadn't been solidly submerged for the last thirty minutes, then lay back to relax. I found myself daydreaming of turning the tables on Danielle - whom I hadn't actually seen naked the entire time we were together, and only had a glimpse of her boobs, which had so needed the attention of my fingers and lips.

I felt a pleasant arousal settle over me. And maybe I hadn't seen Danielle's breasts for long, but I found that I could picture them, creamy and flawless, with hard nipples of pale pink. I felt that I should encourage my arousal with the vibe. It grew slowly from comfortably warm to tingling, to exciting, to demanding, though still under control.

I hadn't seen Danielle work her magic on my body. Being restrained and blindfolded, and not quite trusting her had turned me on. The memory fed the feelings swelling within my sex. And Danielle had led to me being intimate with Anita, and having her restrained where I could have used the ice and my tongue...

No! again. Not Anita! But it was too late. A third climax ripped through me. And though I again felt guilty about visualizing my stunningly lovely friend, I couldn't regret it.

The water was cold again. I pulled the plug, dried myself off, and stepped into the panties and babydoll top. It looked as sexy as I'd expected, and even though there was no one with whom to share the view, it made me feel good about myself.

I put the vibe back on charge before going to bed for an early night. I was never going to allow that toy to sit around with a low battery.