Tom had gotten somewhere. Drinks? Probably getting drinks. Molly wasn't paying him much attention, to be honest. She was having a much nicer time with Mary's maid of honor, the woman with the long dark hair and the gorgeous Irish accent. She was certainly a much better dancer.
The song ended. Janine laughed and took Molly's arm. "Want to sit down a minute?"
Molly didn't, she wanted to keep dancing, but— "Sure."
Janine led them over to a chair and they plopped down, Janine still laughing.
"Give me your phone," she said.
Molly giggled. "Sorry—what?"
Janine beamed at her. "Your phone. I'm putting my number in it."
"Why—oh!" Molly blushed instantly scarlet. "Oh, I'm—sorry, I've got a—Tom. Otherwise, I'd—"
"Relax," Janine soothed. "It's only a number. You'll have it, and if you use it, you use it, and if not…" She shrugged. "C'est la vie."
Molly's eyes darted to the punch bowl, where Tom was chatting with Greg. She fished her phone out of her purse and handed it over.
"Text me anytime," Janine said when she had added her number and passed the phone back.
When Molly went home with Tom that night, she did not think of dark brown eyes and small, slender hands. Not yet.
The apartment was empty except for Molly and Toby. Tom's boxes were all gone. It was truly, officially over.
After half a bottle of wine, Molly was feeling pleasantly warm and oddly daring. She'd meant to open the group text with her work chums. Instead, she was staring at an empty text field with the name "Janine" at the top.
She shouldn't. This was classic rebounding. This was crazy. This wasn't her.
Molly opened a text and tapped out a message.
Hello! Backspace. Was wondering if—backspace. What are you—backspace.
Molly stopped. Breathed.
Hey. This is Molly. She pressed send.
She put on an episode of Bake Off and resolved not to stare at her phone. She needn't have worried. Five minutes in, it buzzed and lit up.
Hello, darling. What's the occasion?
Molly chewed on her thumbnail. What was she supposed to say back? She never did this, never.
Before she could lose her nerve, she typed, Was thinking of you and thought I'd get in touch.
Haha, you shouldn't have. I'm flattered. Night in for you too?
Yeah. Wine and Mary Berry.
Good stuff. What would you say to wine and a night out sometime soon?
Molly giggled. That was rather smooth.
How's Friday? I know a nice Italian place.
Love it. Send me the details. I'll be there with bells on.
Janine's hand is on Molly's knee, just below the hem of her skirt. Molly is looking out the window of the cab and determinedly not at Janine, her hand at her mouth and her breath very measured. She feels, rather than sees, Janine's smile as her thumb brushes back and forth over Molly's bare skin. The hairs on the back of Molly's neck prickle.
Janine leans towards her, lips to Molly's ear. "I can't wait to see what you look like," she whispers, "spread out on the bed with half my hand in your cunt."
It's all Molly can do not to gasp. She reaches down and tugs the hem of her skirt up, a silent hint. Janine just stops the little repetitive motions of her thumb and covers Molly's thigh with her hand possessively. Molly covers her hand with her own and presses down.
They pay the cabbie and are up the stairs of Molly's building. Molly unlocks her door, very conscious of Janine at her back. The door opens and they step inside.
"I've got wine in the cupboard if you'd like, or beer if you prefer," she says, shutting the door.
Janine doesn't push her up against the door, exactly. It's nothing so overt. She simply moves in close until Molly flattens herself against it to make room for her to come closer, closer.
"I know what I'd like," Janine says, and kisses her.
Molly kisses back, spiraling down, down, into oblivion.
Friday came quickly, especially considering how full the rest of Molly's week was with sympathy and token attempts at shallow comfort. There's only so many times a girl can say, "Really, I'm fine, it was mutual," before the words start to lose all meaning.
Six o'clock Friday found Molly naked in front of her closet, freshly showered, debating whether it was overly optimistic to wear her matching bra and knickers with the pink and black stripes.
Was there enough of an…understanding between them to have that kind of expectation? She had no idea. Well, better prepared than not. Molly put them on.
She went through the rest of her preparations with an eager buzz in her stomach. She picked out a cute floral print dress, blow-dried and did up her hair, and applied a careful layer of makeup. Pink lipstick, to go with the dress. She regarded herself with a sense of pride and daring.
"Molly Hooper, you are a very pretty girl," she told her reflection, quite pleased with herself.
They are in the bedroom, and Janine is kissing Molly. She feels warm and lightheaded, and wonders if it's the wine or the kissing, or a little of both.
Janine reaches around to Molly's back, finds the top of the zip on her dress, takes hold, and lowers it slowly, as if she's unwrapping a Christmas gift and trying to preserve the wrapping paper. With every inch of exposed skin Molly feels more of her breath leave her and enter Janine. When it's fully undone, she rolls her shoulders and lets it fall down her body and to the floor.
Janine takes a moment to inspect what she's revealed, and the appreciation in her eyes is immensely gratifying.
"Gorgeous," she breathes, covering one satin-cupped breast with her hand and squeezing. Molly gasps. "Let me see more."
The moment she spotted Janine, she felt hopelessly outdone. Janine was wearing a tight dress in a shocking shade of green that made her eyes glow faintly silver. Her hair was partially pulled back and loose, and her long, smooth neck looked otherworldly against the dark curtain of her hair. Her lipstick was a deep, dark red and her eyes were heavily lined in black. She looked like she'd dressed to meet James Bond, not a frumpy girl in a floral dress. Molly had the brief urge to sink into the floor and disappear.
Then Janine spotted her and smiled, and Molly thought, Well, now, that's not so bad.
Janine maneuvered her way through the tables and took the seat across from Molly. Her eyes swept her up and down, and suddenly Molly didn't feel the least bit frumpy.
"Don't you look darlin'," she said, in her lovely Irish lilt.
Molly blushed. "Thanks. You look…wonderful."
Janine waved her off. "Really, I should thank you. I've been looking for an excuse to buy this for a dog's age."
Molly had bought her dress from a Modcloth sale. She chose not to share this. "How's…things? I've seen quite a lot of you in the news."
Janine dimpled. "Lovely. I've nearly closed on a cottage in Sussex, and I'm opening up a consulting business. Social media stuff. I've a couple clients lined up already."
"Wow," said Molly.
"But I've been talking on every trash news show on television, it feels like, and I'm tired of it. How have you been?"
Molly shrugged. "Oh, fine. My cat's enjoying having the apartment to just the two of us again."
Was that the right thing to say? Oh, God, she didn't sound like a mad cat lady, did she?
Blessedly, Janine laughed. "What a dear. What's his name? And have you got pictures?"
"Toby," said Molly, already reaching for her phone.
Molly lies back on her bed, naked as a jaybird and unashamed, and props herself up on her elbows. Anticipation is humming in her veins.
Janine's dress peels off her body like a flower blooming. Molly's breath locks in her chest.
Janine smirks. "That's what I like to hear," she says, reaching behind her to unlatch her black lace bra one-handed.
She lets it fall down her arms, and Molly's jaw goes loose as she is briefly, wildly envious.
"Don't be jealous," Janine says, as if she can read minds. "They're a tremendous hassle most of the time.
She's shedding her knickers now, and a steady heat is building between Molly's legs.
"Come here," Molly is saying. "Come on."
Janine smiles and comes.
"Oh, you don't want to hear about my work," Molly said.
A broad grin spread across Janine's face. "On the contrary," she said, "I really, really do." She leaned in close. "Tell me the maddest thing you've seen this week," she said in an undertone.
"Well," said Molly, "I had a man Wednesday who'd turned blue. Colloidal silver poisoning. He took it on purpose. For his 'health.'"
"Eurgh!" said Janine, looking delighted. "How does that happen? How do you not see yourself going over all berry-toned and not think, 'Well, I'd best knock it off'?"
"His left testicle was hard as a rock," Molly added, somewhat daringly.
"Excellent," Janine said gleefully. "Have you ever gotten anyone who turned out not to be dead?"
It's a glorious thing, kissing a woman. Molly missed it so. She arcs up into Janine, feeling the soft curves of her body meld against her own, her hands skimming over smooth skin. Janine insinuates one thigh between Molly's legs and Molly's knees fall open. She sighs, pushing down against it.
"Tell me what you like," Janine says. "I want to make you feel good."
Oh. Molly's lips part. "Your…mouth. And your fingers."
Janine grins widely. "Goody."
"…and then he tries to say to me, 'If you tell anyone, you'll never be heard from again'!"
Molly nearly spat out her wine. "Really? Him? I'd never have thought!"
"You'd never think it of any of them, but they're all nutters, the lot," Janine said fervently, gesturing with her wine glass. "Once a person starts making a certain amount of money they frankly stop being real people. Lose all sense of reality and proportion. It's mad."
"I'd still not kick him out of bed," Molly confesses.
Janine considers. "Nor would I, I think."
Molly fights not to squeeze her thighs around Janine's head as she laps delicately at her clit. Instead, she combs her fingers through her hair and fights to ride the waves of pleasure that tug at her with every pass.
"Tell me what's working," Janine had said, Molly is remembering, and so she summons up words.
"Not too hard. I—yes, just like that. Yes." Her eyelids flutter closed and she rocks her hips with tiny, steady movements. "Yes."
She bites her lip and breathes as Janine spreads her wider and slips one slender finger into her cunt. It's not much, but then she crooks it in the beckoning "come-here" gesture the ladies' mags describe and Molly gasps.
"Oh, yes, like that."
Janine does it again, and again, and now there are two fingers and the pressure is that much more. She bites her lip and whines, and she hopes Janine doesn't want to say something because that right there is perfect, and if she just keeps going then Molly will—and then there are three fingers and Molly is lost, groaning openly and rocking herself against Janine's tongue and tangling her fingers in Janine's dark curls and curling one leg around Janine's shoulder until her foot is curling desperately against Janine's back. She feels so full, and open, and Janine's tongue is so hot and clever and now so quick and she isn't stopping, she isn't stopping—
Molly comes with a choked cry, pulsing helplessly around Janine's finger and against her tongue.
Janine set down her glass of wine and blinked slowly at Molly from across the table. Molly, strengthened by her own third glass, did not shrink.
"What made you text me, after all those weeks?" she asked finally. "It wasn't my being in the news. You're not like that."
For an instant, Molly considered lying. "Just a lark," or "You're just that pretty." But what came out of her mouth was the plain and simple truth.
"I thought I was never going to be adventurous again," she said. "When we got engaged. I thought I didn't want to be. Then all of a sudden, the opportunity was open again, and I realized I did want to. Quite a lot, actually."
Molly did not break eye contact with Janine as she said this, despite the furious fluttering in her chest. Janine studied her, head cocked slightly to the side, and then smiled.
"Adventure, hmm?" she said.
Beneath the table, she stretched out one foot and set it just inside Molly's, crossing their ankles together. Molly held her breath.
"Let's get adventurous," she purred.
Still twitching with the aftershocks, Molly tips Janine's head up by the hold she has in her hair. Janine's mouth and chin glisten, which Molly finds perversely lovely. Her eyes are dark and heavy-lidded.
"Let me have you," Molly says.
Janine climbs up and kneels over Molly's hips, just inside of a comfortable arm's length. Molly glides one hand up the outside of Janine's thigh and the other up the inside. She finds Janine slick and ready. Janine moans.
"I want to know what you need," Molly murmurs.
"Two fingers, and let me grind against your hand, and I'll be the happiest girl in England."
Molly slides two fingers in and presses her hand against Janine's mound, and Janine throws her head back and makes a delightful, birdlike little sound that Molly immediately resolves to hear again.
"Hard," says Janine, so Molly presses hard.
Janine makes another sound, lower, and begins to twitch her hips in tiny little movements.
"Good," Janine sighs, "yeah, that's good, love, that's perfect. You're perfect. Oh, yeah, like that."
Molly's cheeks heat. She curls her fingers to see what Janine does, and more words spill out of her, as if she has an infinite supply.
"So good, keep—yes, keep going. Oh, that's wonderful."
Molly keeps going, and keeps going, until Janine loses words altogether, and falls apart with a throaty moan.
Molly makes breakfast in the morning, and dimples at the sight of Janine wearing one of her nightshirts. Janine fusses over how her makeup smeared the way she slept on it, and borrows Molly's sweatshirt so she's not riding the Tube in her date dress. She kisses Molly on the way out, and it leaves Molly with a warm feeling that has still not faded when her phone lights up with a text a half hour later.
Same time next week?