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I Taught Her That

by Alexis Siefert
Copyright © 2003

This is a work of adult fiction and should be read only by adults. It is also my work. Although I receive no compensation other than your comments, it is still my work. Please respect this and do not repost it somewhere else without talking to me first about it. If you are not allowed to read works with sexual content, either due to your age or by virtue of the laws in the geographical location in which you reside, please do not continue.

Enjoy, and if you're so inclined, please let me know what you think. —Alexis

I could feel her breath. She leaned in close, lifted up on her toes to reach his ear, and whispered something naughty. I couldn’t hear what, specifically, but it didn’t matter. I could tell it was naughty. Whenever she whispered like that, with her fingers fluttering at his waist and a hint of the almost-but-not-quite embarrassed blush that started right at her collarbone, I knew whatever she was saying was meant to excite her enthralled listener.

I should know. I taught her that.

She used to do that to me. When we were together, in the beginning, she’d stroke my side when we were together, just like she’s doing to him now. It was easy for her to do that in public. No one had to know how intimate that touch really was.

And then she’d giggle, lift up on her toes, and whisper something salacious and suggestive that was guaranteed to make me shiver. Then she’d blush. And I’d melt. It was a cheap trick, and it worked every time.

I should know. I taught her how to do that.

Not the blush. The blush is all hers, and she gets a lot of mileage out of it. Some endearing little traits come naturally, but others are definitely acquired. Like a pre-teen schoolgirl practices putting on her eye shadow and lip gloss and blush in front of her vanity mirror, a young woman practices her laugh and her hand movements so they look and sound casual, yet lilting. She sits at her dressing table and practices looking up from under lowered lashes and giving just the right delicate shake of her head to make that errant lock of hair fall ‘casually’ over her left eye. After all, what better way to get Him to feel her perfect skin and to gaze deeply into her perfect eyes, and lean close enough to smell the delicate scent of her thirty-dollar-a-bottle shower gel and sixty-five-dollar-a-box after bath talc, than to give him a reason to brush that lock of hair back behind her ear?

The men love that, the hair thing. Somewhere they’ve been told it makes them seem more ‘romantic,’ and they’re convinced that we women will get completely butter-kneed and unable to resist their frighteningly transparent efforts to end up between our legs.

But no one tells us that we’re supposed to practice, to teach ourselves how to be charming and sweet and sexy and sultry and innocent all at the same time. So most of us go through our pubescent years desperately yearning for a clue. Desperately longing—as only teenaged girls can desperately yearn—for the answer. Desperately searching for the thing that will make the boys look at us like they look at Carrie Newell, head cheerleader and all-around favorite girl.

Then, if we’re lucky, somewhere at the end of our miserable teen years, the penny drops and the girls Get It. Carrie Newell wasn’t born like that. Carrie Newell doesn’t roll out of bed looking like God’s gift to wet dreams. So they sit at their mirrors and take stock of their good points. They experiment with honey-blonde rinses and Cover Girl blusher, and they stop eating their mom’s mashed potatoes, and they start practicing. They wink and giggle and flip their bangs back until they, too, know that the boys will be slavering and sniggling, and although they protest and stomp their pretty feet, inside they’re thrilled to find out that their name is included in the "for a good time" graffiti in the boys locker room.

I was even luckier. I’m Carrie. The perky breasts and blonde hair and blue eyes and peaches-and-cream skin were assets I was born with. And, since I knew by the time I was 8 that I wasn’t at all interested in impressing the boys, the pressure was off. I could work on my feminine wiles, using my desperate, unsuspecting high school classmates as test subjects. That was before it was "in" to be a lesbian, or to have a lesbian experience. That was back when lesbians all had to have short hair and tough looking tattoos and no breasts. Perky blonde pretty cheerleaders weren’t lesbians, and ‘experimenting’ just wasn’t done. Especially in rural Iowa.

So I figured the guy-thing would come with time, and meanwhile I taught myself how to be attractive, and I had my sexual experiences under the bleachers of the football stadium like all of the other perky blonde cheerleaders. Fumbling, awkward experiences. There’s nothing at all magical about two teenagers having sex. They’re not smart enough about their own bodies to truly enjoy it. And what teens understand about the opposite set of genitalia would fit on the tip of my perky little teenaged nipple. So I let the boys feel my breasts and I put my hand down their Levi’s, and everything was as it should be.

It wasn’t until I left small town high school that I was able to figure out what sex was supposed to be like. Actually, it wasn’t until after I left small town college. After two years of flitting around majors and departments, and trying to find lust and love amongst the graduate student TA’s responsible for giving me a passing grade in Chemistry 105 lab, I came to the realization that I didn’t know who I was. And until I figured that part out, shelling out tuition money each semester was a waste of resources.

So I left and went west. Kept going until I hit blue water and warm beaches and an entire state full of employers awe struck over anyone who got to work before 10:30 in the morning. I never thought that growing up in farm country would turn out to be an advantage, but there’s something to be said for the Mid-western work ethic. I signed on with a temporary agency to do office jobs and discovered that I liked it. I worked when I wanted to, and since the jobs were temps, my nights were low-stress and I was free to explore southern California.

And I explored. Not only were the employers awe struck, the men of Southern California were all-too-willing to be part of a young, relatively innocent, pretty farm girl’s west coast education. I dated men from bars, from my apartment building, from the offices where I worked, from the corner grocery store. I went to dinner, and I went to clubs, and, with some of them, I went to bed. Men who were charming and smooth and confident at dinner or on the dance floor, I figured would be charming and smooth and confident during sex. If a man could move my body to the beat of the music, I hoped he’d be able to move with my body in a sexual rhythm that I knew I had somewhere inside.

I discovered that even grown up men don’t really understand a woman’s body. I knew that there was something I was missing. I watched the electric connection between couples on the boardwalk and I longed to feel what they were feeling. I dated. I dated and dated and dated. Men from bars, men from offices, men from the club. Professional men, surfer boys, older men, father figures and grandfather figures. They’d lie over me or beside me and thrust their fingers into my KY’d pussy in their obligatory foreplay attempt. Then they’d spread my thighs and push and pound and grunt and groan for five minutes. I closed my eyes and tried to make it feel good.

Then I found out that men may not understand a woman’s body, but another woman does. Beautifully.

The first time was a surprise. I was nursing a vodka rocks and eating chips and salsa on the veranda of a Tex-Mex café, watching the sun set over the ocean when she joined me. She didn’t ask, she just sat down without saying anything, drank her drink and ate my chips and salsa until all that was left were corn-chip crumbs in the plastic basket, melting ice in our glasses, and red streaks reflecting on the water.

Then she spoke.

"I haven’t seen you around before. Why not?"

And, despite my attempts to be California-cool, Iowa-Cheerleader answered her. "I’ve only been here a few weeks. I’m still getting my bearings."

California-cool arched eyebrow. "Oh? Tell you what. Come back to my place and I’ll help you get your ‘bearings.’"

She was giving me the opportunity to back out. I could have feigned ignorance and left, but I didn’t. Had a man used that line, I’d have picked up my purse and walked out. But this was a woman. And a beautiful woman. Where I was perky blonde American Beauty cheerleader, she was exotic Like Water for Chocolate sensual. Ebony hair, tanned skin, chocolate brown eyes, and a voice that reached between my thighs and did very pleasurable things to my insides.

So I threw aside the Iowa Baptist reservations, and I went. And her voice wasn’t the only thing that did pleasurable things to my insides.

Her name was Anita, and we stayed together for the next six months. She opened herself up to me, and she was so patient. She let me explore her body as I’d only previously explored my own. We spent whole weekends in bed together tracing erotic pathways over each other’s breasts and thighs. She touched me the way she wanted to be touched, and I imitated her finger strokes. We’d lie on top of the cotton sheets next to the open window and let the salt breeze wash over us as I learned what it was like to have an orgasm brought only by someone else’s tongue. Gone were the painful and fumbling pokes and jabs and thrusts that I remembered from under the stadium bleachers.

She took me dancing and introduced me to places I’d only imagined. Bars full of women, openly admiring each other. Clubs packed with women of all shapes, sizes, colors, and preferences dancing together, holding each other, sharing drinks and secrets and strokes and kisses. Gatherings where no one was furtive. Where being a lesbian wasn’t being "different." I felt as though I’d finally come home.

It didn’t last. First romances rarely last. We drifted apart, congenially, but there was a finality to our parting. She was my first, and I’ll always love her for that. She taught me how to be with a woman, and I’ll always love her for that.

I spent the next year wandering from casual relationship to casual relationship. I switched bed buddies almost as often as I changed lipstick colors. It was easy. There were women all over the place. Tanned women, fit women, bikinis and sarongs and sunglasses and breasts and lips. I never lost the look of my Iowa Farm Girl naiveté, and I reveled in the attention of the women ready to help me explore the delights of another woman’s body. They all taught me something new.

Bekka taught me how to wrap my lips around her clit and suck ever so gently, delicately drawing the moans from her throat until she whimpered. Lori taught me to listen to her breath come in gasps and starts and not to stop my tongue until she tightened her thighs around my head and collapsed in a quivering heap on the bed. Chris taught me that men are bedroom simpletons and all of the wonderful, flirty poses and giggles and sighs that I’d perfected were transparent to the women who had also perfected the same poses and giggles and sighs. Holly taught me that there’s no way to equate the rough thrusting of a single, thick, stiff cock with the gentle brushing, twirling, flicking and fluttering strokes of two flexible moving fingers.

From them all I learned how to finally let go. How to discover my own rhythm with another person. From all of them I learned that sex is amazing. From all of them I learned who I was and that I liked being who I was.

I had always been beautiful, but now I was beautiful and alive and confident. I fell into southern California with a fervor.

It was so easy. Falling in and out of love, falling in and out of lust. I almost forgot the fumbling football players and rough fingers and inept thrusting of my high school and college introductions to sex and lust. I was enthralled with the smooth skin and soft bodies. So different from the sharp angles and sandpaper-rough chins. It was easier to click with the women. The bullshit back-and-forth that is so fundamental between men and women was pushed aside. They knew when I was full of crap. It was okay to go to a chick-flick, and the toilet seat was always down. It’s the little things. And it really was enough for a long time.

I met Chloe at the office. I had stopped working temporary jobs and settled into a secretarial position for a California steel building company. Construction workers and project managers and designers and contractors. It was a big firm with enough employees to keep the workplace from becoming too cozy. We were all friendly, and there were the occasional Friday night, just won a big bid celebratory drink bashes, but on the whole we did our jobs and went our separate ways when the clock struck 5. With the exception of baby showers and divorce announcements, I couldn’t have told you much about the personal lives of any of my coworkers.

Until Chloe started.

She was a project engineer. A structural design expert brought in to help manage a massive office/hotel/convention center job we’d just successfully bid. She looked like a construction project manager. She had graduated from actual construction work, but from the wonderfully defined lines of her shoulders and the delicately sculpted muscles of her biceps it was obvious she’d paid her dues with a welding torch and she knew her way around a set of blueprints and specs. There were the initial, obligatory passes made by the men—it was a sort of initiation—and Chloe held her own. She gently, but without question, made it clear that she was the boss, and not to be trifled with.

The week after she started, some wiseass welder left a trashy pinup taped to her wall of her cubicle, some black-and-white spread beaver shot from a cheap magazine. Chloe didn’t blink twice when she saw it. She pulled it from the wall, glanced at it appraisingly, and muttered, "nice tits" before wadding it and tossing it casually in her trash. The guys pretty much left her alone after that. She knew her job, she called bullshit on the men when they deserved it, and, once they saw her leave for lunch, arm-in-arm with a steel worker from another firm, the dyke jokes pretty much stopped also. That’s also when I stopped looking seriously. She was beautiful, but not charming. She had beautiful eyes and great lips, but there was awkwardness in her demeanor that kept people from flocking around her. She laughed too loud at the big boss’s jokes during project meetings, or she didn’t laugh enough at the jokes told by everyone else at the water cooler on Monday mornings. She wore jeans and sweatshirts that hid the curves I suspected were longing to be exposed. But she apparently had her man, and I had enough female friends. So I took her off the possibilities list and put her out of my mind.

Until the day I found her in the Ladies Room. I heard crying. I could hear it from the hallway and it’s not something you can ignore. If it’s bad enough to be bawling at work about it, someone needs to do something about it, and construction firms—even large ones—are critically lacking in the compassionate female category.

Chloe was in a closed stall, but I could see her sensible shoes under the door. I knocked gently—I wasn’t sure if she’d be open to my overtures.

"Chloe? It’s Carrie. Can I help?"

The door pushed open and I stepped back against the sink. She was a mess. Her eyes were puffy and swollen. Tears left black mascara-tracks down her cheeks. "I don’t understand men, Carrie. I just don’t get it."

"Fuck, Chloe. Men aren’t that complicated. Give ‘em the remote and a beer and fuck ‘em and compliment their skills at the grill. What could be easier?"

She burst into fresh tears. Okay, it wasn’t the right moment for smart-ass. "Oh, Chloe. I’m sorry. Tell me what happened. Maybe we can fix it."

"He found someone else, that’s what happened. And he told me today. Over lunch. I was happily enjoying my soup, and out of the blue he asks for his apartment key back. He’s got my stuff packed up and he’ll bring it by tonight and could I have his stuff ready for him to pick up? Damn it, Carrie. I don’t know what happened."

"I don’t know what to tell you, Chloe. Men are pigs. They think with their dicks. It’s a documented fact. Do you want him back?" I ran a paper towel under the cold water and handed it to her. "Here. Dab, don’t rub, you’ll only make it worse. You’re a mess."

More tears, but with less heart behind them now. "I don’t know if I want him back, but I want to know why there’s always a someone else they’re leaving to. What is it, Carrie?"

I thought for a moment. I knew what it was, but there was no nice way to tell her. Especially not right now, as she stood appraising her streaked and puffy face in the hideous florescent lights of the Ladies’ room. Men left her because the penny never dropped for her. She never learned how to play the games. She was an intelligent, capable woman, and although men think that’s what they want, pretty soon they start to wonder if it wouldn’t be better to have flirty and giggly and perky instead. The trick, the lucky girls learned early, was to get that perky thing in as the bait, then hook them with the intelligent-capable combination. She didn’t have the bait. But it was the wrong time to mention it. I figured it was girlfriend time. Female bonding in a male-dominated building.

"Chloe, look. You and I both know that it’s his loss and that he’ll get tired of whatever bimbette he dumped you for—or she’ll get tired of him and leave him the same way he dumped you. So here’s what you do. Pack his stuff in a grocery bag and have it ready for him tonight. Let me bring over dinner. We’ll be happy and cheerful when he gets there, and he’ll realize that you’re none the worse for him leaving. It will drive him nuts, and you’ll feel better."

She thought for a minute. "You’d do that for me? Why?"

I didn’t know why. It was a girl thing. "Because that’s what women do, Chloe. So we’re on? Your place. I’ll bring dinner and wine, you supply music and candles, and we’ll make him regret ever setting eyes on the bimbo-du-jour."

"Thanks, Carrie. I appreciate it." I got directions and she washed her face and we both went back to work.

She was still a mess when I got to her place. It was obvious she’d been cleaning and rearranging—there’s no quick way to get rid of the sofa-leg marks in the carpet when you move things around—but I figured she was nervous about her now-ex showing up, not about having me there. She’d taken some care with her hair and her makeup, although there was still a telltale red tinge to her eyes from what I figured had been an all-day, on again-off again crying jag.

She’d dressed carefully also. I could tell. A man might not have noticed, but a woman knows these things. Her jeans were a little tighter than what she’d wear to work and her blouse showed a bit more cleavage than would be appropriate. Nothing obvious, just care. I wondered for whose benefit the cleavage was intended. My interested piqued, and I felt a stirring in my belly. I forced myself to concentrate on dinner. A woman freshly scorned is no woman to get involved with. Especially a repeatedly-scorned straight woman. This is friends only, Carrie. She’s not a date. Be a girl, not a Prospect this time. Damn hormones.

Dinner was awkward at first. We didn’t know each other and there were a lot of pleasantries to work through before we could figure out if we could be friends. Childhood, growing up, where, how fast, other jobs, music, movies, the surface images of our lifetimes exchanged over primavera and garlic bread and middle-of-the-road white wine.

We had moved the dishes into the sink and opened the second bottle of wine when the doorbell rang. Chloe nearly dropped her glass when the chime sang through the apartment. "Damn it." She dabbed at the wine stain spreading above her left breast. "I’m such an idiot. Answer the door, will you? Let me change real quick before I see him."

"No. Stop. This is perfect. Trust me. Follow my lead, and I guarantee he’ll be regretting his decision before he’s back to his car."

She was skeptical, but when the doorbell rang again, she stood and looked at me. "Okay. Tell me what to do."

"Answer the door. Hold your wine glass in your hand and smile. Like you mean it. Like you forgot he was coming. I’ll be right there." I went into the kitchen as I heard the door open. I couldn’t hear his words, but I didn’t like his voice. He wasn’t nice. I hurried, grabbed a dishtowel and ran it under the faucet.

In my sweetest, didn’t-know-anyone-was-here voice, I called out in the direction of the living room. "Chloe? Don’t rub your blouse, we don’t want it to stain. I’m coming. Who rang the bell?"

Mr. Steel Worker was standing in her door, dumbly holding a cardboard box. Chloe stood just as dumbly, holding the door open. I walked to stand between them.

"Hi. I’m Carrie. Chloe, let me see that stain." I slipped my hand beneath the open collar of her blouse to push it away from her skin and began to dab at the spilled wine. I could feel her pulse pounding under my fingers and her skin was hot. She was starting to blush and I was afraid she’d stammer if she tried to speak, which, of course, would ruin the game. "You must be…?" I let my voice trail off, but I didn’t stop dabbing to offer either my hand or my assistance with the box.

"Matt. I brought Chloe’s things."

I pretended to think, letting the silence build a bit. I could hear him breathing in the doorway behind me, and I wondered how long I could make him stand there. I let my hand linger and brushed my fingers obviously over her collarbone before I turned to face him.

"Oh. That’s right. Chloe did mention you might be dropping by. You can just set that box over there," I gestured vaguely at the dining table. "Chloe? Where did you say you put Matt’s things?"

"What? Oh. Um. There." Not the smoothest chocolate in the box, this girl. No wonder men weren’t falling over themselves to keep her around. She pointed to a paper grocery bag. Good girl. I was afraid she’d have his things neatly pressed and on hangers for him. I picked up the bag.

"So, Matt," I added an emphasis to his name, dropping my voice a half-octave as I spoke. "If there’s nothing else?" I handed him the bag and reached behind Chloe to start closing the door.

"Look, Chloe," he said, full of bravado, "I’m really sorry about this, but you know how it is."

I could hear her breath hitch, and I knew she’d break if I let her talk, so I jumped in. "Matt. Thanks, really, for stopping by. If there’s anything you forgot, you can call the office and Chloe will put it in the mail to you. Or if she’s not there, feel free to ask for Carrie. I’ll make sure she gets the message." I put my hand around Chloe’s waist and pulled her back gently before shutting the door. We waited a ten-count before we heard his footsteps heading away from the door, and I could feel her relax against my shoulder.

"There. That wasn’t so hard, was it? And I guarantee you he’s fuming about how delighted you were to be getting rid of his things."

"Carrie? What do you think he thought? I mean…about you and me and you being here and the wine and your arm and…"

I was wondering the same thing myself, and I wasn’t sure I was comfortable with my thoughts. "Chloe, relax. He’ll think all sorts of things, each one more infuriating than the last. Which is exactly what you want him to do. He was an asshole, and there’s no point wasting any more energy on him."

We were still standing at the door, and she was still leaning against me. My hand tightened a bit around her waist and I started to realize just how much of the wine she’d had. I wondered if I was talking to rational-Chloe or to drunk-Chloe. I figured someone in between the two.

"Carrie?" Her voice mushed slightly on the r’s. "Carrie? You’re not interested in men, are you? There are rumors, you know, the men, how they talk? They say that you’re a, well, you’re…you know."

Truth or consequences time. I wasn’t in hiding, but I wasn’t "open" at work either. I didn’t flaunt, because it still worked to my advantage sometimes to be able to smile and flirt. I wasn’t sure I wanted to deal with the bigotry that was rampant in construction firms. Hot chick-on-chick action is big with the burly guy crowd—but only in stag films.

"I’m what, Chloe? A lesbian?"

"Right. A lesbian." It was the wine, it had to be the wine. She was flushed from her collar to her ears, but it was cute. Damn-adorable-cute. It was the first time I’d seen her relaxed since she came to work, and it took away the awkwardness that always made her less than approachable.

I pulled her closer to me, experimentally, my hand tracing circles on her lower back. She could pull back any time she wanted to, I wasn’t pushing, I wouldn’t push. But if this was what she wanted…

I stroked her hair, brushing it back behind her ears. Her hands came up to wrap around mine, our fingered intertwined. I brought our hands to my lips and kissed her fingers softly.

"Tell me to stop, Chloe. Tell me to stop and I’ll stop and we’ll leave it at this."

"No. I don’t want you to stop."

I didn’t.

For the next three months I didn’t stop. She wanted to explore and discover, and I reveled in it. It wasn’t perfect, relationships never are, but it was close. She was warm and gentle, in bed she was tenuous and hesitant, and it was irresistible. I thought about Anita and how she had introduced me to her body. I tried to be loving and sensuous like Anita had been, and I found my new role—as teacher instead of student—confusing and liberating at the same time.

We were professional at work—technically she was above me in the office politics power chain—and neither of us wanted to answer questions about propriety in the work place. But nights were different. Nights were ours. We left work at work, and closed our world in around us like a cocoon. In the heat of the California summer we’d lie on her balcony, staring up at the sky as we shared an ice-cold bottle of wine. She drew languorous illustrations on my belly, tracing invisible lines like she’d trace blue-prints, then with the tip of her tongue, kiss away her artwork.

Then there were the nights at my apartment. We’d lie on the bed by the open window and I’d nestle between her thighs, nibbling her to repeated orgasms.

She became beautiful. She found comfort and confidence in her body. I realized she was watching me during the day, imitating my gestures and mannerisms.

We talked about it once, about how beautiful she was. She didn’t believe me. I’d whisper to her, telling her how much I loved her breasts and her cheeks and her eyes and her lips. "Beautiful Chloe," I’d taken to calling her, "with lips like roses and eyes like the sky. A face to drive women mad." She laughed at me when I’d say it, brushing aside my compliments with a flick of her wrist and a giggle.

"Stop, Carrie. Don’t tease." She didn’t see it, at first. She didn’t see that the more she loved me, the more she allowed me to love her the more beautiful she became.

She may not have seen it, but the men noticed. I saw them take surprised second looks as she walked by. They watched her bend over to retrieve dropped pens. She knew they were watching, and I think she dropped her pens on purpose. She no longer cared, and because she didn’t care, they watched her all the more.

Saturdays were ours. Only ours. I tried to introduce her to the social life, to the world of being comfortable with being a lesbian, but she was reluctant to take that step. She was afraid of being seen, afraid of having to explain. So we stayed in.

Then one day Chloe cried.

"Oh Carrie. I don’t know anymore. I don’t know if this is who I am, really."

I should have listened. But I didn’t want to be. I wanted her to be part of me. I wanted to show her how happy she could be, how happy I was with her.

But it didn’t last. It wasn’t my first relationship, but it was hers. And first relationships never last.

It was sudden. Friday night she was too tired to go out, and she didn’t want to stay in.

I found out later that she wanted to stay in, but not with me.

His name was Roger and he was one of our contractors. He noticed Chloe—everyone noticed Chloe now—but the difference this time was that she noticed him back. I didn’t want to believe it. I told myself that she was just flirting, trying out her new look, her new bag of tricks. She was a beautiful woman, and she had learned how to use her beauty.

She told me about it the next week.

"I’m sorry, Carrie." She cried. Big tears, real tears, turning her beautiful face puffy and streaked. "This just isn’t who I am. I thought I might be, and you were wonderful, but it’s just not me."

What could I say to that?

So now, as I watch her flirt and giggle, I know that she’s happy and she’s beautiful.

And I know that she knows it, because I taught her that.

There’s another woman. She’s in my building, and she’s been acting interested, but I’m staying away. I saw her boyfriend move out last week, and it’s not a good idea to get involved with a woman who wants to explore her sexuality. I know this now.

Chloe taught me that.

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