Jude couldn’t believe Mel had been so unsympathetic. In many ways she saw Mel and Lucy as the perfect D/s couple. They had clearly defined roles: Mel the tough butch and Lucy the pretty femme. And yet, there was Mel doing the ironing. What on earth was that all about? Surely Mel could see that doing the ironing was degrading for a Domme, that it reduced her stature. How could a sub be respectful to a Domme who did the ironing?
But it was the things that Mel had said that had really got to her. She had been completely unsympathetic and had said that, somehow, she had ‘pushed Karen away’. And then there was this nonsense about Friday nights, how they were on hold for a few weeks, how they wouldn’t feel right without Karen. Although Mel had ducked the question, it was quite clear where she was pointing the finger of blame. What sort of friends were these, to turn on her like this? She had been so sure they were going to understand how she felt; and yet they had gone and taken Karen’s side. Where was their loyalty?
She got into her car feeling hurt and confused. She’d already had a couple of drinks at the club, and probably shouldn’t be driving; but, well, just as far as the next pub wouldn’t hurt, would it? Weaving slightly as she pulled out, she drove the couple of hundred yards or so to the corner, into the car park of the Rose And Crown, where she parked up and went inside.
She went up to the bar and ordered a whiskey, no, make that a double, and, moments later, Bushmill’s finest slid down her throat, warming her inside. She perched on a barstool and, hunched over her glass, took another sip and let the whiskey do its stuff.
“Do you want another?” the barman asked. Jude looked up and realised her glass was empty. She nodded and the barman poured her a refill. Another followed that one and Jude was just starting on yet another, when the door of the pub opened.
“Come along, Judy, you know you’re barred,” the barman called out.
“Be a love, just the one. Look, I’ve got the money.”
The back of the bar was mirrored and, when Jude looked up, there, in the reflection, she saw a bag lady shuffling across the pub, holding out a handful of loose change in front of her. However, the barman had come round from behind the bar and had started to kindly but firmly guide her back towards the door. Jude stared at the woman and then at the glass in front of her and her whole world seemed to shift. Sure, this wasn’t the first bag lady she’d seen; pulling the drunks out of the gutter was part and parcel of her job, albeit one she didn’t particularly relish. But why in Hell did this one have to be called Judy? There was even a faint physical resemblance. But she wasn’t a drunk, was she? Jude thought back over the previous week and realised she’d been tipsy, and that was putting it mildly, every day since she and Karen had split. She felt as if she were standing on the brink of an abyss, teetering on the edge. That forlorn figure being guided out of the door was her future unless she did something about it now. She put down her unfinished drink and walked out into the night. There, standing in the car park was Judy, the bag lady.
“Judy, Judy, wait up!” she called out after the shuffling figure. Judy just turned and stared.
“There’s a shelter, just down in Crown Street,” Jude continued. “You can get a cup of tea there.”
“Don’t want tea. I just need a little drink and that bastard….” Judy muttered.
“Please, let me help you,” Jude said firmly.
“Don’t want help, don’t need help, just want a little drink, that’s all,” Judy said in reply.
“Now come along….” Jude started.
“Go ‘way,” Judy snarled, “I don’t need you, I don’t need anyone, I just need a drink.”
At this point, had she been on duty, Jude would have had a number of options. Now, off duty and more than a little worse for wear, she could do nothing. She just stood and watched as the bag lady shuffled off. The stubborn pigheaded fool, Jude thought to herself before, once again, realising that the description fitted them both.
“I don’t need anyone, I just need a drink.” That’s what Judy had said and the words resonated deep within Jude. She felt as if the very ground beneath her feet had been whipped away and she was lost, floating, falling; she needed to go somewhere, anywhere, anywhere but here, although for the life of her she didn’t know why. She thought of going home but her house would be empty and lonely. She thought of calling up one of her friends but, after her roasting from Mel, she wasn’t sure what reception she would get; anyway, ten thirty at night is a little late to go calling. She went over to her car, got in and tried to start it, but she was so uncoordinated she couldn’t get the key in the lock. The realisation hit her that she was too far over the limit even to consider driving. She got out again, and, reeling slightly, locked the car after three tries, and walked away.
More out of something to do than any real hunger, casino şirketleri she walked towards a kebab stand that she knew could be found just around the corner. She’d eaten there often when on duty and their kebabs were not too inedible. She ordered a doner with everything and took it outside and started walking. Anything just to keep moving.
Ten minutes later Jude threw the soggy remains of the paper bag that had once held the doner into a waste bin. Now that she was walking it seemed like she just had to carry on; it wasn’t that she was going anywhere, it was simply the thing to do as her mind churned over the night’s events. So far the fortress of her pigheaded self-confidence was holding fast, but it was under siege from two fronts. Firstly there was the way the group, her so called friends, had apparently ostracised her, had taken Karen’s side and effectively banned her from Friday nights. Suddenly she was the outsider, the one who didn’t fit, and that brought back all sorts of memories of school days, of crushed emotions, hidden feelings and an overarching loneliness.
But if the past was painful so too was the glimpse of the abyss into which she was falling. Just because she could still afford Bushmills, and had yet to descend to Special Brew out of a can shakily gripped in a paper bag, didn’t detract from the fact that her first reaction to Mel’s harshness had been to head for the pub and that wasn’t the first time she had done so. She couldn’t deny it, she had been drunk every day since… every day since… every day.
Damn it, damn it, damn it! Why had she been so weak and let this happen to her? Karen was just supposed to be a bit of fun. She was just supposed to be a game, a silly little straight girl whose world she would rock, and then and then… but if anybody’s world had been rocked it wasn’t Karen’s, it was Jude’s. But what was it that Karen wanted from her? If she didn’t want Jude the Domme then what other Jude was there?
Jude’s meanderings had led her down to the river, and she turned right towards the promenade. On one side the closed arcades looked empty and forlorn; on the other the low tide had exposed acres of exposed mudflats dotted with the occasional pleasure boat. The streetlight’s yellow glow reflected on the oily surface, giving it an extra air of desolation. She leaned against a railing and stared out across the estuary, not staring at anything in particular, just staring. A sudden squall brought with it a shower of rain and Jude turned up her collar; all those nights on the beat meant that she wasn’t bothered by a drop of rain. But this rain had set in for good and, as the shower turned to a downpour, she just stood, leant against the railing, staring out to sea.
“Excuse me, are you OK?”
Jude turned to see who was calling her. A police panda car had pulled up at the curb and a copper had got out and was coming towards her.
“Oh, it’s you. Hello, Jude. A bit damp to be out at this time of night.”
“Hi, George,” Jude replied. “I just needed some fresh air.”
George gave her a long hard look.
“Are you sure you’re OK? You don’t look it. I could give you a lift home if you want. Sarge won’t need to know.”
“No, that’s OK. Thanks, George, really, I’m fine.”
The look on George’s face told how much he disbelieved her but, after a moment or two he said goodnight and went back to the car. Jude, her reverie broken, started walking again. With her head down against the rain she trudged through the night; it was as if somehow, when she was moving, the ache within her was easier. The only thing was not to stop, to just keep going, and going, and going.
Worn out at last, she leaned against a tree. Here it was slightly dryer and she could rest for a while. She looked up to see where she was and realised with a start that she was outside Karen’s house. Whether it was chance or her subconscious that had brought her this way was a question she didn’t want to answer. The neat suburban street with its row of identical houses, each with its manicured garden, spoke everything about Karen from the outside, the little Englander, the petit-bourgeois values. Here and there along the street a window glowed, often with the flickering light from a TV set, but Karen’s house was dark. Surely she must be in bed, asleep. Jude could just picture her, snug and warm in her flannelette nighty; so prim, so proper, so…
so warm, so desirable, so loving, so simply perfect.
Jude’s hunger for Karen was physical; she quite literally ached with need. But it was something other than sex that she craved; she wanted to be held, comforted, mothered. Sure it had started as sex but there was this other Karen, this real Karen, who kept coming through. Just beyond Karen the sexy sub there was another Karen she also needed, the Karen who stood up for herself, the Karen who was strong, who knew her mind, who took no nonsense, the Karen who….
“Jude, is that you? What on earth are you doing?”
Jude casino firmaları turned. She had been so lost in thought that she hadn’t heard the approaching footsteps and, there on the pavement, standing under an umbrella, was Karen, walking home from the bus stop after an evening out.
Jude felt like a fool. What was she doing there, how could she explain it?
“I was just out for a walk,” she said lamely.
Karen just stood and looked at her.
“Out for a walk. Pull the other one, it’s got bells on. Excuse me, but it’s pouring with rain, you’re right over on the other side of town from your house, it’s,” Karen glanced at her watch, “the thick end of midnight and you’re just ‘out for a walk’. Please, Jude, give me some credit. What are you doing, stalking me? I’m not a complete fool, you know.”
“No, you’re not a fool, I never thought you were. Nor am I stalking you, I just… I just…. Look, I’m sorry, I’m really not stalking you but, you’re right, I shouldn’t be here, I’ll go.” Jude, physically and emotionally exhausted, simply couldn’t find a way to explain. There was so much to say and she hadn’t the words to say it with. Better to leave, better to walk away. She pushed herself up away from the tree where she had been leaning and turned to go.
“Jude, it’s tipping it down, this is no weather to be out walking the streets. Can’t I at least offer you a cup of coffee?” Karen asked to Jude’s retreating back but Jude was already leaving. “Jude, stop, please!” Karen called out and, this time, Jude turned back.
“Jude, please,” Karen continued, “Stop being a bloody fool. I don’t know what’s got into you but I can’t let you just walk away like this. Please, come inside, have a cup of coffee and let me call you a taxi.”
Jude looked at Karen and, for a while, her stubbornness fought with common sense. She was cold, she was wet through and Karen was right, she was just being a bloody fool but, somehow, saying yes would be too much like capitulation. For a long while she just stood there dithering as the last vestiges of her pride held out but, in the end, common sense won. She turned back and meekly let Karen lead her across the road and into her house.
“There’s a spare towel in the bathroom,” Karen said as they stood in the hallway. “Go upstairs and dry yourself off. If you bring your clothes downstairs I’ll put them in the tumble for you and they’ll all be dry in no time. You can use my dressing gown in the meanwhile.”
“I thought this was just coffee,” Jude protested.
“Jude, stop being such a damn fool,” Karen said with exasperation. “Just because we’re not sleeping together any more doesn’t mean that… Oh, for Pete’s sake just do it, will you. Come on, bathroom, top of the stairs, second door on the right. You know the way.”
Karen’s school ma’am tone got through to Jude and, reluctantly, she did as she was told. She peeled off her sodden clothes and dropped them in the bath. The towel had been hanging over the radiator and was lovely and warm and, for the first time in ages, Jude was feeling some comfort. However, once she had finished, she realised that Karen’s dressing gown wasn’t hanging on the back of the bathroom door. It must be on the equivalent hook on the back of the door to Karen’s bedroom. Wrapping the towel around herself, she crossed the landing to find it. It was exactly where she had thought and, now that she was in Karen’s bedroom, she felt an overwhelming wave of nostalgia; they’d had so many good times right here. She remembered their first time, Karen’s mixture of naïveté and joy, of shyness and gay abandon; why had she thrown all this away? She looked around the room, wallowing in the memories. To top it all, there on her dressing table was a jewellery stand and, in pride of place, the necklace complete with its dog tag. Jude went to have a closer look and saw that, as well as the necklace, tucked in the clips holding the dressing table mirror, there was a photo of them both in happier times.
The contrast could not have been more clear; whereas Jude had been running away from all their shared memories, Karen was embracing them, treasuring them.
With a sense of shock Jude realised the extent and intensity of Karen’s feelings and, therefore, just how much it must have hurt her to walk away. Jude had been so wrapped up in her own self-pity that she hadn’t considered whether Karen would be hurting too. Here, dramatically, was all the evidence she needed. Just because Karen had acted with more dignity didn’t mean she didn’t feel the pain. Jude felt humbled, a petulant child beside this grown-up. However, it was time to go downstairs and face up to what she had done.
“I’ve made you coffee, is that OK?” Karen asked, as she took the sodden clothes from Jude.
“Perfect. Er… Karen,” Jude started.
“Just a minute,” Karen called out from the utility room. Jude heard the tumble dryer start up and Karen returned. She sat down at the kitchen table and motioned Jude to take the other chair.
“That’s güvenilir casino better. Your clothes will be dry in no time. Now, are you OK?”
“I don’t deserve this,” Jude said.
“What, I should have left you out in the rain? Just because we’re not… just because we’ve stopped…. Dammit, Jude, whatever has happened between us I still care about you! I can’t stop that.”
“That’s what I don’t deserve,” Jude said simply. “I don’t deserve you. I’m a bitch who only thinks of herself and I don’t deserve someone as wonderful as you.”
“Is that what you came all this way to say to me?” Karen asked gently. She reached out and took Jude’s hand in hers. “Anyway, I’m not sure that what you deserve has anything to do with it.”
There was another awkward pause as neither one dared say what she really wanted to. Jude looked down at Karen’s hand. Such a simple gesture but with so many meanings.
“I saw Mel’s video, the one of you coming out,” Jude said finally as a way of breaking the silence.
“That damn thing, I wish she’d just delete it.”
“I’m glad she didn’t. I’d never have known otherwise. I never thought you had the bottle, although I ought to have known. You were just fine and, well… I was proud of you.” There was another pause. Jude stared at their conjoined hands. She felt overwhelmed by the power of the emotions she was feeling but didn’t know how to put it into words. Sorry, that seemed like a good place to start.
“Karen,” Jude lifted her head and looked Karen in the eye, “I’m sorry, I’m so, so, sorry. I never should have hurt you, I was a pigheaded fool and couldn’t see right from wrong. Look, you said you had a girlfriend, in the video, I mean. Did you mean me?”
“Well, there’s no one else, if that’s what you mean.”
“No, I don’t mean that. It’s just that I wasn’t sure that I was your girlfriend any more. I mean I’d like to be but… well… I know I don’t deserve it but, please, do you think we could try again?”
“With you making all the rules and me agreeing to anything you say?” Karen knew she was being hard, but she had to know.
“No, no, not like that. I love you, I love you with all my heart and all my soul and I will never, ever, ask more of you than you’re prepared to give. I was a self-centred idiot who didn’t know what she had until she lost it.”
Karen, her heart singing with joy, was too overwhelmed to respond and Jude, taking Karen’s silence as uncertainty, slipped off her chair and fell on her knees before her.
“Karen, I need you, I’ll do anything for you….”
“Oh, Jude, did you really think you would have to beg? I never stopped loving you, not for one moment.” Karen looked down at Jude on the floor in front of her. Seeing proud Jude on her knees felt wrong, so wrong. “Please, Jude, you don’t belong down there. Get off your knees and kiss me.”
Jude stood up and there was a moment’s awkwardness as now she was standing over Karen and she didn’t want that either, so she pulled Karen to her feet and, standing together in Karen’s kitchen, they kissed and kissed and kissed. Jude knew that, whatever happened now, her life would never be the same. She had changed, changed for the better, and Karen had been the one who brought that about. But it wasn’t just about her, Karen too had changed and, as they snuggled together she could feel Karen pulling at her dressing gown so as to get closer, so as to have one less layer between them. Their emotional need had a very physical expression.
“I need you in bed, now!” Jude demanded huskily.
“I thought you’d never ask,” Karen replied and, still touching each other as much as possible, they made their way upstairs.
Six-thirty the next morning found Karen bringing a breakfast tray to Jude who was still sleeping.
“Come on, sleepy head, I’ve got work to go to. What shift are you on?”
“Eight ’till four. God, my head is thumping. Is that the time, I need to get a move on. Where are my clothes?”
“Still in the tumble. Shall I go and fetch them for you.”
“Please, I’ve got to rush. And my wallet, my mobile….”
“All downstairs on the kitchen table. You eat your breakfast and I’ll go and sort out your clothes.”
Karen was busy running an iron over Jude’s stuff when, wearing Karen’s spare dressing gown, Jude appeared at the kitchen door, holding her tea in one hand and a slice of toast in the other.
“Ironing? I’ve no time for that, Please, Karen, I’ll have to wear them creased. I’ve got to pick up my car and then go home and change. Do us a favour, will you, call me a cab?”
Karen kept an eye out for the taxi whilst Jude pulled on her clothes. She was barely dressed when she heard Karen call ‘it’s here’ so, grabbing her wallet and phone, she made her way towards the front door.
“Look, I’ve got to dash… Karen… really… look… must talk soon… really important… but we’ve no time now… I love you….” Anxious or not Jude took the time to kiss Karen, a kiss that threatened to go on and on.
“I love you too, now go!” ordered Karen. “Come on, your taxi’s waiting.”
Together they went to the front door but just before she left Jude turned once again to Karen.