Etiket: tenderly lovingly

Little 15

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A bittersweet tale of life’s regrets and second chances.


Author’s Note

I’ve been searching for a way to branch out a little in my stories. As much as I love the kinky escapades of Natasha and Charlotte, I’m also a fan of the slow-building romance. While I’m at it, I’m trying to get some much needed practice with third-person point of view. This story incorporates both of these elements. If you enjoyed Experimental Therapy, you’ll probably like this too.

Inspiration for this particular tale came from the Depeche Mode song of the same title. I think there is an opinion out there that the song is about a fifteen year-old boy who has a crush on an older woman, or maybe vice-versa. I’ve never thought of the song that way myself. I’ve always envisioned a middle-aged woman looking a photograph of herself from when she was fifteen years old. She thinks about how her life has turned out, and feels a longing for the happier, carefree days of her youth. This story is based on that interpretation.

Enjoy the story!
-Wax Philosophic


The events and characters in this story are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual events or persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.


Chapter 1

“Have you decided what you’re wearing?”

“David, I don’t even know if I want to go,” Janet replied, reaching up to put away the last of the clean dishes.

“Of course you’re going, you’re my wife. What would people think if I showed up alone?”

“It’s your reunion, not mine.” She closed the cupboard, a little harder than necessary.

“Janet, you’re going. End of discussion. Now pick something nice to wear. Maybe that new dress.”

Janet threw the dishtowel onto the counter. She was really getting tired of these one-sided discussions. It was his class reunion, but it’s just expected that she go. He didn’t even ask, and that’s what pissed her off the most. Of course she was going, he had said. After all, they had to keep up appearances, because heaven forbid anyone discover what a sham their marriage has become.

Janet poured herself a glass of wine and began leafing through the yearbook sitting on the table. His yearbook, not hers. David with the football team. David with the basketball team. David standing with his letterman jacket tossed casually over one shoulder, baseball MVP trophy in hand. David, David, David.

Oh, wait, what’s this? Finally, a picture of her — French Club 1988 — Janet’s sophomore year. “King and Queen of France” the caption read. That really took her back. Janet and Laurie — Laurie Whatsername. Laurie was elected queen and got to choose whomever she wanted as her king. She chose Janet. Janet was surprised at the time, but couldn’t really blame her. There were only three boys in French Club and not one of them was what she would classify as a winner.

Laurie Moyenne was her name. No, that wasn’t quite it. That’s just what Mademoiselle Toulon called her. There were two Loris and one Laurie in the class, so Mademoiselle Toulon arranged them by height. She called them Lori Grand, Laurie Moyenne, and Lori Petite. Easier to keep them straight that way, she said. Mademoiselle Toulon was a little eccentric like that.

Janet gazed at Laurie and herself in the picture, standing side by side, both wearing their paper crowns and a couple of huge grins. The longer she looked at it, the harder it was to not break out in a grin herself.


Chapter 2

“Come on Maureen, you promised you’d come with me,” Laurie said. “We’ve known about this for months.”

“I don’t want to fight about this, baby. I have to go to this conference. You know how important it is for my work.”

“What about me? I’m not important to you anymore?”

“Laurie, that was low.” Maureen walked off to the kitchen.

Laurie caught up with her. “I’m sorry, honey. It’s just that, well, high school wasn’t really very easy for me. I’d like to show up at the reunion with my beautiful, talented, girlfriend on my arm.”

“You forgot successful.”

“Beautiful, talented, and successful.” Laurie laid her head on Maureen’s shoulder, and looked up at her with her best puppy-dog eyes.

“Nice try baby, but no.”

“Come on, Maureen.”

“I am not going, Laurie. And I don’t want to be the big, gay middle finger that you stick in all your classmates’ faces.”

“That’s not …”

“Not going, Laurie. End of discussion.”


Chapter 3

“We could have saved some money and just stayed with my parents,” Janet said. David was already unpacking, so she knew there was no way she was going to win this one. They would be staying at the hotel tonight. Still, she felt the need to vent.

“I don’t really like your parents, Janet, and they don’t like me either. Your father has made that abundantly clear over the past several holidays.”

“But I like them.”

“Fine. Go stay with them tonight, I really don’t care. As long as you show up for the dinner and the dance, you can spend Eskort Kız as much time as you want with mommy and daddy.”

“Fine,” Janet said. She knew he’d probably use her absence as an excuse to bang some bimbo in their room later, but at least she’d be somewhere spending time with people who actually cared about her. “I’m going down to the bar,” she said. “I’ll see you at dinner.”

“Don’t be late.”


Chapter 4

“Thank goodness for solid ground,” Laurie thought as she stood outside the arrivals gate waiting for her cab. Waiting. Waiting.

“No, Laurie,” she said, “spelled with an A-U, not an O … yes, that one … I am standing at the arrivals gate … If I saw the cab, I wouldn’t be calling you, now would I? … OK, thanks.”

“Rosemont Hotel,” she said to the driver.

“There’s been a slight delay with your room, ma’am. If you’d like to have a seat in the bar, I can notify you when it’s ready.” The front desk clerk gave her one of those half-sincere customer service smiles, and slid a drink coupon across the counter. Laurie half-smiled back and wheeled her bag over to the bar.

“Chardonnay, please.” She plopped herself on a stool next to an attractive woman who looked to be about the same age, maybe a little younger. The woman smiled. Laurie half-smiled back. They both went back to contemplating their drinks.

“Laurie?” she heard a minute later. “Laurie Moyenne?”

A glimmer of recognition. Mademoiselle Toulon’s French Club. “Oh, my god. Janet?”


“Didn’t you graduate in ’91? What are you doing here?” Laurie inquired. “Wait sorry, that didn’t come out right. Rough trip. What I meant to say is, how are you? It’s been a long time.”

The two women stood up and hugged. It was an awkward embrace. They had formed a high school friendship, but it was brief — and it had been a long time ago.

“I’m fine,” Janet said. “I’m here with my husband. He was class of ’89.”

“Oh, right. Danny? Donnie? — Darrel.”


“Right. Super-jock,” Laurie said. “Sorry, that was rude. Rough trip.”


Chapter 5

“So how have you been, Laurie?” It was awkward. Janet really didn’t know what else to say.

“Good, good. Moved out to L.A. for college and never looked back. Been living there ever since. How about you?”

“Didn’t get that far. Twin Cities. Well, suburbs actually. David owns a couple dealerships out there. So, what do you do in L.A.?”

“I work in the music industry …”

“Oh, cool. You probably hang out with a lot of famous people. That’s gotta be fun.”

“Actually, it’s not nearly as glamorous as it sounds. I spend most of my time in the backroom, cleaning up vocal tracks. You’d be surprised at how many pop stars actually suck at singing.”

Janet laughed. “I always figured it was more about appearances than it was about talent. Blame MTV for that.”

“How ’bout you?”

“Me? Nothing much. I just … Sorry,” Janet paused to fish her phone out of her pocket and glanced at the message. “Sorry Laurie, gotta go. David just texted me. He’s worried that if we don’t show up to dinner together, people will talk.”


“Listen, I’d love to catch up some more. Maybe we can sit together at dinner. If your date doesn’t mind, that is.”

“She ditched me for a medical conference, so I’m flying solo tonight. You sure your hubby won’t get upset?”

“Did I just hear ‘she ditched me’?” Janet wondered. She thought that’s what she had heard. Maybe not. “Believe me, all David will be thinking about is how impressed his friends are going to be when he shows up with two hot chicks on his arm.” Janet cringed at her own words. She had just told Laurie she was hot — not directly, but still. She blushed. “Gotta go. See you at dinner.”


Chapter 6

“Janet, is that you?” Laurie was trying to play it casual, like the two women hadn’t just spent twenty minutes in the bar catching up. She didn’t want any inquisitions from Janet’s husband intruding on the possibility of a nice evening.

“Laurie? French Club Laurie?” Janet was playing her part splendidly. “Oh my god, how long’s it been?”

“Oh, fifteen, twenty minutes,” Laurie thought cynically. But instead of uttering the words, she found herself hamming it up, channeling a little 80s valley girl. “Oh my god, like, forever!”

They were good, and neither woman thought Janet’s husband suspected a thing. “Probably,” Laurie thought, “because he was too busy checking out my ass — in front of his wife even — what a sleaze.”

“Are you here alone?” Janet asked, as if this were all new information. “You should sit with David and me. Honey would that be OK with you?”

“Hmm?” Laurie noticed he manged to tear his eyes away from her backside just long enough to answer. “Sure babe. Any friend of yours is a friend of mine.”

“What a load of crap,” Laurie thought. “He’s probably busy calculating the odds of a possible threesome.”

Laurie smiled at Janet. Janet took her hand and led her over to their table. Laurie made sure she took the chair next to Janet, and not the one next to her husband.

“So, how’ve you been?” Laurie was still keeping up the ruse. Not that it mattered much, since Janet’s husband was too busy checking out every woman who walked in the room, along with half of the wait-staff. He was so oblivious to what was going on right under his nose, that he completely missed the fact that his wife’s hand was now resting squarely on Laurie’s thigh underneath the table.

“Janet, let’s go get a drink,” Laurie suggested, and the two women made for the bar. “Janet, what are you doing?” she asked now that they were out of earshot.

“I finally figured it out,” she said. “All those years ago when you put that crown on my head. I just put it all together. I’m sorry it took so long.”

At Laurie’s urging, the two women took their drinks and moved off to a quiet corner. Janet’s husband and some of the other guys around the table were in the middle of a heated discussion about football, so he wasn’t going to miss them.

“Just what do you think you’ve figured out, Janet?”

“You had a crush on me back then, didn’t you?”

Laurie fidgeted with her wineglass, spinning it back and forth between her fingers. “Um. I — I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Janet laid her hand on her friend’s arm. “Sure you do. You put that crown on my head because you had a crush on me. And here I thought it was because all the boys in French club were dweebs.”

“OK. Yes. I had a crush on you,” Laurie whispered. “But that was high school, Janet. A lot has changed since then. You’re married, I have a serious girlfriend.”

“I never got a chance to tell you this, Laurie, but that is one of my happiest memories from high school.”

“Really?” Laurie said, spinning her wineglass again. “Oh god, I wish you hadn’t said that.”


“Because it’s complicated, that’s why. And your husband is sitting at that table right over there.”

“So? He’s obviously not missing me that much. Besides, you saw his wandering eyes. Our marriage is a joke.”

“Maybe so, but that still doesn’t change the fact that I have a serious girlfriend waiting for me at home.”

“How serious can it be, Laurie? I don’t see her here with you.”

“Janet please, I did not come here to cheat on my girlfriend, that was not my intention at all. Besides, high school was a long time ago.”

“OK, I’m sorry. It’s just that when I think back to that day … Can we just go somewhere and talk? Maybe after dinner we could slip out and spend a little time together?”

“Sure. Let’s get back before the super-jock convention over there figures out what it is you’re plotting.”

Janet playfully punched Laurie in the shoulder. The two women looked at each other and grinned.


Chapter 7

After her brief exchange with Laurie, Janet found the rest of dinner to be excruciatingly dull. Finally, she excused herself to the ladies room. She made sure to take Laurie with her. David was already involved in another football debate, completely unaware.

“You are shameless,” Laurie accused. “First you’re practically feeling me up under the dinner table, and now you’re dragging me off to the restroom, for what? — You planning a make out session in the stalls?”

“If it makes you uncomfortable, Laurie, just tell me to stop and I will. I’m not trying to force you into anything. I’m just excited, that’s all. For the first time in I don’t know how many years, I’m excited to be near someone.”

“I’m not going to tell you to stop, Janet. Just slow down a little. You may have it all straight in your mind, but I’m not quite there yet.”

“OK, I’m sorry. Dance with me later?”

“Sure.” Laurie smiled.

Janet straightened her dress and the two women made their way back to the table as if nothing ever happened. Now that dinner was being cleared away, the DJ had just started playing — a band totally appropriate for a room full of Gen-Xers — Depeche Mode.

“Dance with me, David?” Janet asked, knowing full well what his answer would be.

“Not now, honey. Besides, you know I hate this Eurotrash music. Give me some good old rock and roll.” He glanced around the table. “Am I right, guys?” David’s entourage seemed to agree. They were all laughing it up as Janet turned her eyes to the woman seated next to her.


“Sure.” The pair made their way to the dance floor. “Pretty smooth Janet. You do this a lot? Sneaking around, right under his nose?”

“Sadly no. I have resigned myself to living with a cold fish. I thought that was the bargain I made for a comfortable life and financial security.”

“That’s kind of sad,” Laurie said. “I’m sorry, but it is.”

“I know. It’s just — well — I had forgotten what happy felt like until I saw that photograph of us together in the yearbook.”

“King and Queen of France?”


“I remember that too. I had it pretty bad for you back then, you know.”

“Why didn’t you say something?”

“Janet, I put a crown on your head. What more did you want from me?”

“Anything. I was fifteen, how was I supposed to know it was OK for girls to like each other that way?”

“Sorry, Janet. I just thought you knew.”


Chapter 8

The DJ decided to slow things down with a Richard Marx tune. The transition didn’t appear to faze Janet at all, she just slipped her arms around Laurie and kept right on dancing. Not wanting to make a scene, Laurie went along with it. And in truth, she did enjoy having Janet pressed up against her.

“Do you remember this video with his horrible mullet hair?” she whispered, the two women swaying as one.

“Everybody had bad hair back then, Laurie. It was the eighties, we didn’t know any better. You had bad hair too.”

“I did, didn’t I?” she smiled.

Neither of them spoke again while they continued their dance. Two women pressed together, and for a few precious moments, completely unconcerned with the rest of the world. That spell was broken three minutes later by Jon Bon Jovi, and they made their way back to the table.

“Honey, maybe we should ask Laurie to come up later for a nightcap,” Janet’s husband suggested.

“He really isn’t giving up on this whole threesome idea,” Laurie mentally groaned.

“I’m spending the night at my parents, remember?” Janet put him in his place.

“Take that Super-Jock,” Laurie thought. “She’s my girl now.”

David had reddened a bit at his wife’s rebuke, but was soon back to scanning the room for potential targets.

“Two forty-two,” Laurie whispered to Janet, and then excused herself. Janet gave Laurie’s thigh a good squeeze before she had herself pushed back from the table. Laurie began to wonder what she was getting herself into.


Thirty minutes later there was a knock at the door of room two forty-two. Janet was no longer wearing the dress from dinner, instead having changed into jeans and a button-down. “Hi,” was all she said.

Laurie paused a moment to admire Janet in her new outfit. “Come on in.”

Janet wasted no time, and had her hands wrapped around Laurie’s neck, pulling her in for a kiss. Laurie turned at the last minute, forcing Janet’s lips to land on her cheek.

“Whoa,” Laurie said. “I thought you just wanted to talk.”

“Yeah. Sorry.”

“I know you’re excited Janet. I guess I am too,” she said, shifting her weight back and forth from one foot to the other. “But this — this is not something I’ve ever considered doing before. I’ve …” Laurie’s speech was interrupted by a knock on the door. “What the …?”

“Relax, it’s just room service.”

“I didn’t order room service.”

“I did,” Janet said. “Before I came up, I ordered a bottle of champagne.”

“Oh my god, Janet.”

“Please don’t be mad, Laurie. Nothing has to happen. I just — I just want to spend some time with you. Is that alright?”

“Sure.” Laurie walked over to answer the door. “Just talking, though.”


Chapter 9

“Well, at least you got the good stuff,” Laurie commented, as she filled two hotel glasses with sparkling wine.

“So, why did you give me your room number?” Janet asked, as Laurie handed her a glass. “You know, if you didn’t want anything to happen?”

“I don’t know Janet. It was sort of a snap decision. I guess partly I felt sorry for you …”

“Really? Because if this is a pity thing … Oh, I should probably just forget it and spend the night at my parents.” Janet set her glass down and turned toward the door.

“Wait, I’m sorry,” Laurie said, taking Janet by the hand before she reached the door. “I had a really awful flight and I — well, I just haven’t been myself since I got here.”

Janet turned toward Laurie. “I’m listening.”

“You were right, Janet,” Laurie said, her eyes gazing down at their still joined hands. “My relationship with my girlfriend isn’t what it used to be. Honestly, I was hoping I’d be calling her my wife by now. It’s been six years.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be. She’s more in love with her career than she is with me, that’s all. Sometimes I wonder if she’d even … Oh hell, I don’t know. I still care for her though, and I wouldn’t want to hurt her.”

“I get it. So what do we do? — About tonight?”

“Well, Janet, you did order this nice champagne. And it would be a shame to let it go to waste.”


Two hours later the two women were still seated on the edge of the bed. They were sitting a little closer together now, but still just talking. The champagne bottle was mostly empty, though neither of them felt particularly inclined to order any more.

“So you really had no idea Mademoiselle Toulon was gay?” Laurie asked.

“No, not at all.”

“That’s why a lot of us girls flocked to French Club. It was like a safe haven for us. We could be ourselves and not have to put up a facade.”

“Hmm,” Janet said. “I never knew. I mean, Mimi I knew, like who didn’t. But you, Laurie, I never suspected for a minute.” Janet rested her head on Laurie’s shoulder. “I should have been a better friend. I’m sorry.”

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