Learning Pleasure


I guess I should warn people that this story takes quite a long time to get to the actual sex. 🙂


She wore a tiny dark red strapless dress that must have been magical. At least, supernatural seemed like the only explanation for how it somehow covered everything while being so small and so tight. It left miles and miles of legs uncovered, and they were taking small but purposeful steps toward me, balanced on three-inch heels. To the north her raven black hair hung below her shoulders, straight, glinting in the dim party light. Dark eyes matched dark red lipstick on her smile. And a broad, inviting smile it was, aimed straight at me. Barely held in place by the dress, her breasts looked like ripe fruit pressed close together, ready for some aspiring man to try to pluck. I don’t know how her nipples weren’t peeking out the top of the dress, but somehow they weren’t.

I was neither aspiring nor a man. Carol Small, housewife, present at this particular party only because my husband worked for the law firm holding it. The floor-to-ceiling plate glass windows combined with the black autumn night outside to create a kind of mirror, and in it I could see my much plainer black sheath dress with a hemline that felt like it might have been an entire foot lower than hers. I wore my brown hair in a neck-length bob, with a simple string of pearls not far below it. I wasn’t showing even half as much cleavage as the girl in the red dress, and my breasts weren’t as perfectly-shaped if I had been. I could probably compete in the leg department, if I wasn’t covering half of mine with a respectable-length dress, but not in many other ways. I was a mother in her mid to late thirties, sweating for hours at the gym most days to keep my figure, and way too middle class to afford a dress like the one the girl in red was almost wearing.

And girl she was. She looked eighteen, but despite that she held a glass of amber liquid in each hand and appeared to be heading toward me with them.

It was late October, and my husband’s law firm was holding a fundraising party for their favored candidate in the upcoming election for Governor. Lawyers, politicians, clients, and arm candy mingled and sparkled in a vast conference room designed to display the firm’s opulent financial success. I supposed, of the four categories of people here, I came closest to fitting into the arm candy role, although I certainly felt less like it than the girl in red. Reaching me, she stretched that already beaming smile even wider, and offered me one glass from her hand. I watched the potent spirit climb the walls of the glass, then decided to take it. When I did, she introduced herself.

“Aria Thames.”

They were the only two words out of her mouth, but they were enough to stop me in my tracks. The glass of what smelled like bourbon hung halfway to my lips as I processed what she had said.

Aria Thames.

My husband told me the rumors about her.

Other lawyers from the firm, or sometimes their wives, told me more rumors. The ones from the men had shades of goddess-worship to them. The ones from the women were a bit more catty.

Aria was the daughter of the majority owner of Thames, Mason and Kant. Eighteen years old, a senior at the same private school my own daughter attended, her father gave her an “internship” at TMK. According to all those rumors, they called her intern but the reality was so much more. She was the owner’s daughter; no one dared say no to her. Intelligent, ambitious and spoiled, Aria Thames, eighteen-year-old girl, halfway ran one of America’s oldest, richest, most storied law firms.

I once overheard a lawyer say she had to ask Aria before taking on a new client. The wife of a man bucking for partner told me that Aria could make or destroy someone’s chances. And she was only in the building after school!

She raised her glass toward me, winking at me over the rim of it. “Here’s to me learning your name,” she said, then touched her drink to mine, resulting in a chime that could only have been crystal. She sipped, so did I, and… wow!

I’m much more of a wine or umbrella-drink girl myself. Hard liquor isn’t my thing. But my husband drank whisky, so I’d tasted it before. This, though. This bourbon was like nothing else. Rich, flavorful, with that hint of sweetness bourbon always has but a bit exaggerated. I blinked, and sipped again, surprised it wasn’t burning my tongue.

“Wow, that’s really, really good,” I said.

She grinned. “It ought to be. The actual name sounds so deliberately redneck I can’t bear it, but this is basically the best bourbon in the world. But you drank to my toast, which you’re not supposed to do unless you, too, believe in what’s being expressed.”

Drank to her toast… believe in… what? Oh!

“Carol. Carol Small. Nice to meet you.”

She smiled, and her eyes left mine to wander down my body, all the way down, taking their time, lingering. When they came back up to mine, her smile had become larger and smaller at the same time. Her lips were open wider, showing perfect gleaming teeth. And yet casino oyna somehow the smile was only for me. I felt like no one else in the room could even see it.

“Nice indeed. To what do I owe the pleasure…” (The way she said pleasure!) “…of your company this beautiful evening?”

She took simple ideas and added a kind of unspoken charisma until they were hard to follow. It took me a couple seconds before I could reply.

“Oh! My husband works here.”

That smile flashed again, and her gaze alighted on my (sigh, admittedly tiny) ring, then came back to me. When she said my last name, it almost sounded like she was describing my engagement ring.

“Small. Small… Ah. Junior associate in corporate. Works the First Global account.”

Yes, I thought rather than saying. *Junior* Associate. For eleven years. My poor dear of a husband was a fine lawyer, he just wasn’t very good at self promotion or office politics. And he was swimming in a sea of hyper competent sharks, as the girl before me clearly illustrated. I was impressed that she could pin him down so precisely right off the top of her head. Did she know the name and clients of everyone in the firm?

“That’s him,” I smiled back.

“I think they have him writing a response brief for that appellate court in Texas, right? The Rogers appeal?”

I blinked. The girl knew exactly what my husband was working on that week, and she had only learned my name a minute ago. The rumors about how thoroughly she ran the firm might be more than just rumors.

All I could do was nod.

“Well I’m delighted he came tonight,” she purred. “He brought the most radiant company.”

Then her hand lifted, floating like an exotic bird until it touched my upper arm ever so gently and eased me toward the window. The city skyline twinkled like diamonds below us, and the moon was the queen of pearls.

“The view is exquisite,” she murmured, her voice barely loud enough for me to hear over the din of a thousand party conversations behind us.

Earlier I mentioned the reflective effect of those huge glass windows with the black night behind them and the brighter light inside. It made them like mirrors. And in the glass before me I could see Aria’s eyes drinking in every inch of my reflection, but lingering below the waist. She savored the sight of my legs boldly, not afraid at all of being caught staring. In fact her eyes cut up to mine just for a second, like she was making sure I saw her looking.

When she said the view was exquisite, she wasn’t talking about city lights.

I’d been faithful to my husband since he got me pregnant in the back seat of his car at our high school graduation party. I don’t play around at all, I don’t respond to overtures from other men. The figure I slave for constantly in the gym is for him, not for anyone else. I’m just not in the romance game except at home.

So, looking at her looking at me, knowing she knew I was watching her, watching her gaze linger below my waistline, all of a sudden it hit me out of the blue. With an impact like electricity, I realized she was flirting with me. Her hand hadn’t left my arm. Her voice carried a seductive pitch meant only for me. The expensive whisky, the toast… My breath sucked in involuntarily, and I was all of a sudden at a loss for words.

“Your dress is like the night,” she whispered. “And your eyes are like stars.”

I found myself unable to speak.

Oh so gently, her hand caressed my shoulder and arm through the fabric of my dress. “You make the entire night worthwhile for me,” she purred. Then she raised her glass again, with the last of that incredible bourbon in it.

“Here’s to our next meeting. Soon.”

I touched the rim of my glass to hers and finished off the bourbon. After her remark about not drinking unless you agreed, the thought came into my head of not responding. But my hand was already in motion before I thought it. Ignoring an offered toast seemed so deliberately rude, and the girl’s power at the firm, and thus over my husband’s career, was so great…

Her hand on my arm went the tiniest way up my shoulder to brush my neck before she turned and walked away.

That walk! If I was a man I might have fallen on my face. Even as a happily married heterosexual, monogamous and, let’s face it, prude woman, I still found it hard not to stare. With every step that tiny dress seemed at risk of revealing whether she wore underwear or not. To be honest I was betting on “not.”

I walked so fast it was almost running. First to the bar for two glasses of – after that bourbon – disappointing Malbec. I drank one standing there, sipped on the other as I went to my husband, just to stand beside him as my heart whaled on my ribcage like a boxer on a speed bag.

Larry was talking to one of his clients, boring stuff about some contract. I didn’t care. I just wanted to be beside him to remind me of almost nineteen years of marital fidelity and try to get my head off of the fact that the wealthiest, most powerful, most confident, most charming person I had ever met slot oyna in my life desired me.

In my head I turned it over and over. She liked the look of me, and wasn’t shy about making it obvious. She wasn’t shy about planning to see me again, either. She didn’t so much ask as inform me that it would be happening.

She was female! She was half my age!

She was not the person who I had given my word would be the only one I ever did anything with in my life!

My brain bounced back and forth between those three thoughts for what felt like an hour until my husband finally announced he was ready to take an Uber home.

“Well, that was fun,” he said on the ride home. “I almost never get invited to parties like that. Too low on the totem pole, the firm doesn’t gain anything by having me there. Must have been because First Global was not only coming, but is also one of the future Gov’s biggest donors. It’ll probably be a year before I get invited to something like that again. Hope you had fun, honey.”

On a Friday night, of course my daughter Lisa was out with her friends. So my husband and I fell into bed almost as soon as we got home. His lovemaking was better than he had been in a long time. Being invited to the party must have done something for his ego. All of which made me feel guilty.

Because for the first time in our marriage, I could not get my mind off another person during sex. I had to fake an orgasm, because I couldn’t push through my memories of the party to focus on my own body.

Saturday was a weird day for me. My husband went in to work, because he really, really did want to rise above junior associate, and I guess snagging an invite to that party had him feeling like maybe it was possible. My daughter went out with a gaggle of other teen girls. That left me alone in our tiny apartment to think about …

Aria. Nothing but Aria.

In all my life I had never had an interaction with another female that had a sexual edge to it. It wasn’t that I would have found her attractive just looking at her on her own. Of course she had an airbrushed magazine-perfect body, but what was that to me? I liked men. Or at least one.

What had me all flustered wasn’t her looks, it was the experience of her desire. Confident, like the way she enjoyed looking at me. Subtle, like the way her hand so gently brushed against my arm and suddenly I was turned to face the window. Witty, like her remark about the view being exquisite. Playful, like her toast about learning my name.


All qualities my husband wasn’t really overflowing with.

Aria Thames did not flirt like someone who was crossing her fingers, praying that I wouldn’t tell her no. She flirted like she was delighted to have discovered the next person who was predestined to tell her yes.

She was just wrong about that. The same three giant-sized barriers loomed in my thoughts as had been there the moment I realized she was flirting. Female. Young. Not the person to whom I had promised “’til death do us part.”

As I thought about her – obsessively, all day – it occurred to me that my daughter actually knew her. In school, They weren’t in the same social circles by far. Actually Lisa kind of resented her for being the most popular of the popular girls at Shale and Heather Preparatory Academy.

I wondered if my daughter’s high school rumor mill knew Ms. Thames liked to flirt with other women?

I spent days and days turning over the same series of thoughts. All the while I kept telling myself how mistaken she was to be so confident, and how I would never do anything like that because I was married and not a pervert. And yet my head would not go away from the subject of Aria Thames.

All of that big jumbled hot mess went around in my head like clothes in a dryer, until almost a week after the party, on Thursday, I brought in the mail. Most of it was the usual junk.

Everything but one envelope.

Thames, Mason, & Kant. In dark gray, elaborate font, hard to read on the matte black envelope. My husband’s name and our address on the front. Inside, the same matte black heavy woven paper, the same hard to read dark gray print.

We respectfully request

the pleasure of your company

and that of one guest

at an exclusive VIP reception

For George Blascombe

Election Night

Beginning at Seven PM

In the Partners’ Room

My heart became an Olympic athlete doing jumping jacks in my chest. On steroids. Going for a new world record.

I had never seen the firm’s partners’ room. Neither had my husband. It was supposed to be, according to company myth, a kind of super luxury bar for the firm’s most highly placed lawyers.

My husband hardly ever got invited to the firm’s after hours social events, and never to any of them at this level before. This was the next Governor we were talking about here! I had no desire to disparage his work or professional success, but I could think of only one reason he had been invited – and told to bring a guest – this time.

“Here’s to our next canlı casino siteleri meeting. Soon.”

I put the envelope where my husband would find it. He wouldn’t blame me for having opened it, even though it was addressed to him. Until now we’d never had a secret from each other. We opened each other’s mail and answered each other’s phones all the time. Then I poured myself a glass of wine and flopped down on the couch to think.

I wouldn’t go.

That was the only reasonable answer. I’d stay home. My husband could go on his own, and meet the new governor, and…

And like a blazing sun, the gravity of Aria Thames pulled me in. I thought about seeing her again. I didn’t want to give in to her advances. I could never give in to her advances. But she was just so fascinating, and composed…

I remembered the feeling of seeing that smile that never asked me whether I wanted to see her again, just took it as a foregone conclusion. I remembered what it felt like to toast with bourbon that cost as much as my car. I remembered the feeling of her eyes all over me.

I wasn’t sure, as I belted down the rest of my wine and poured a second glass, that I would have the willpower not to go.

I was in the kitchen when Larry came home. I puttered around, pouring him a glass of bourbon, knowing how this was going to go.

“Oh my God Carol!”

He had read the invitation. I walked out with bourbon for both of us. Thinking of Aria, of seeing her again, of that dress of hers with it’s butt-length hemline, and of her toasts, I was in a bourbon mood. But with two glasses of wine already in me, I knew I’d have to be slow about sipping it.

I handed one glass to him. He held it in one hand and embraced me with the other arm, kissing me on the lips, and only then took a sip.

Larry Small was a nice man. I mean really. He held open doors, not just for me, not just for women, but for everyone. If you asked him to loan you a few bucks he’d hand it over and never ask for it back. He was smart, and good at law. But he was 36 now, like me, and his love of starchy food was showing on his gut. I did my best to keep him in good clothes, but if I wasn’t there to help he didn’t know how to put them together well, and the cuffs of his pants were always getting frayed.

He was kind, he loved the daylights out of me and our daughter, and he had kept food on the table for all those eighteen years from our little backseat adventure to his proposal a month later til now. I worked early on, but we were finally to the point where I didn’t have to anymore, which was good, because Lisa needed a full time chauffeur, and the two bed one bath townhouse needed a lot of cleaning, and cooking breakfast and dinner for everyone…

I sighed quietly to myself. Larry was a good husband.

“Carol did you read this?”

“Of course I did silly. How else would it be open?”

“Carol, I’ve never been invited to the partners’ room before. I wasn’t even sure it really existed. I might be the only junior associate at the firm who’s ever been invited to the partners’ room. How did this happen?”

“I don’t know. I assume you must have done well at the party last week.”

Sigh. “Here’s to our next meeting. Soon.” Sigh.

“I knew I was really impressing that guy from First Global, but…”

“That must be it,” I told him. “I knew it was something at the party.”

It was me. Aria invited him because she wanted to see me again. But obviously I couldn’t tell him that.

“What are you going to wear?” Larry asked.

He just happened to ask at the wrong time, that’s all. If he’d asked while I was on the “this is wrong in every possible way” side of the seesaw, I would have asked him about not going. But I was remembering how it felt to have her grin at me after eyeing every inch of me.

“I kind of think I want to buy a new dress.”

He handed me the credit card and said, “Go nuts.”

Tuesday night, election night, my heart started pounding while my family ate dinner, and didn’t stop. It got worse with every tick of the second hand toward the party. The two halfs of my thinking – faithful wife and… and… I didn’t know what – whipped back and forth faster than ever, until I didn’t know from one minute to the next what I wanted.

Snow had been falling all day, and the fresh, white blanket outside set my mind on a purity I didn’t feel. Snowing in early November pointed toward a long winter, but the heat in my body as I thought of Aria contradicted that.

After dinner, it was time to get dressed for the party. I threw my husband out of the bedroom as I put on the new dress. Part of me wished Aria could be the first to see me wearing it. But of course that was impractical. Besides, I just had to take a few deep breaths, wait for my mood to change, and then I wanted my husband to be the first to see me in it again.

But I had bought it with Aria in mind. I had nowhere near the courage to wear a hemline like hers, but this dress was a lot shorter than my last one. Sleeveless and high-necked, it was much more of a party dress than the everyday thing I wore last time. I bought a pair of sexy, cheeky panties and lace bra to wear with it. I wiggled into them all and stood staring at myself in the mirror for a long time. There was no question: I looked hot.

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