Creating Two New Novels. Writing One Chapter Weekly. Podcasting As I Go. Welcome to The Experiment.
Chapter 1 Summary: When Carson arrives home, his wife attempts to pass off her new girlfriend as her cousin. Carson is not fooled. Nor is he happy about it.
Jane’s Favorite Line: “His lips were currently pressed together in disgust but their fullness was not compromised.”
Subscribe on iTunes: Enough for Four – iTunes
Click to listen to Chapter 1:
Read Chapter 1 Below: I’m new at podcasting. While we work to improve narration and sound, I’ll post the written chapter below the podcast until all of the kinks are worked out. ^.^
Ava grabbed Lily’s hand with a mixture of obvious nervousness and hidden dread. She’d spent the last five minutes trying to calm her fluttering heart by distracting it with one meaningless topic after another with Lily. Still, Lily could feel the damp sweat on Ava’s hands when Ava stopped in the middle of her sentence and all but yanked her to her feet when Carson stepped into the living room. “Honey, I would like you to meet my cousin, Lily.”
Carson allowed himself an undetectable deep breath while his dark brown eyes became fixed on the two women. As he exhaled, his fingers relaxed out of the fists he had made when approached with the insulting word, word “cousin”.
Ava had spent the day planning how to make Carson’s and Lily’s introduction as pleasant as possible. You would never guess how much work goes into making something that was planned to the tee appear to happen naturally. Ava succeeded, of course. To the naked eye, the moment had the promise of a cozy family reunion. The plush, brown leather sofas beckoned them to sit and learn all there was to know of each other. A sparkling silver tray of ice-cold tea and Carson’s favorite oatmeal cookies were placed within arms reach on the marble coffee table. These refreshments also attempted to lure them into familiarity. Ava even had one maid or another light the fireplace for the simple ambiance of it. Carson noted this detail as a damn waste of money. Oklahoma was a hundred and ten in the shade and it was only April. His wife was the only person alive that would order a full blazing fire just for the smell of it while having the AC on blast to counteract the heat. All of these little efforts of hers went unappreciated by him as the three of them stood on opposite sides of the room. Lily and Ava on the west side, Carson on the east.
Lily convinced her facial features to return to normal before Carson registered her shocked expression due to Ava’s introduction. She resisted the urge to let her sly half smile form on her lips while Carson eyed her from head to toe. All the heat of hell would fail to melt the ice-cold daggers coming from his eyes as he sized her up. Still, Carson was turning Lily on. Oh, so slowly, her lower lip began to curl into her mouth and her top teeth came down to nibble on it. The man was absolutely stunning.
Carson stood no less than six foot three and exuded an extremely powerful, no-nonsense presence. His lips were currently pressed together in disgust but their fullness was not compromised. His body absolutely begged you to take off the custom made Italian suit he was wearing to get a better look at the muscles underneath. Every detailed about him screamed, “clean cut”. Lily couldn’t decide if he was the walking definition of “man” or “Greek god”.
Lily did decide to break the all too literal ice forming with a “Hello,” but as soon as she parted her lips, Carson’s eyes darted from her to his wife. “You don’t look like cousins.” His voice was firm, stating a fact and confirming an accusation. Lily guessed that a man as rich as he was couldn’t afford to be stupid.
Carson was neither stupid nor blind. Other than both being white females, the likeness between Ava and Lily ended before it began. Although she was all American, Lily had a Parisian look to her. Her skin was so pale that her lips appeared red without a trace of lipstick added. She was skinny with not much body fat to speak of. Her white, off-the-shoulder shirt stayed on her tiny frame by sheer force of will. Yet, even though she didn’t have the full breast most men wanted on a woman, her delicate features were inviting. Her black fitted jeans and thin legs gave the illusion that she was taller than five eight. Her hair was jet-black and cut in a bob style that hung just above her collarbone. Her face was delicate and beautiful.
Ava, although thin and a petite five-five, had “something to hold on to,” as Carson used to tease her back in the days when he couldn’t get enough of her. The little fat she had on her body went directly to the right places. When their marriage had been sexual, he could spend hours sliding down every one of her curves. Despite her voluptuous body, Ava possessed a wholesome, girl next-door persona. The hint of a southern accent added to her charm. Her light brown hair was long with deep waves that often fell in front of her face giving her a little girl’s appearance. Her skin was rosy and always glowed adding to the illusion of youth.
“We’re distant,” Lily replied before Ava could respond. This time, Lily couldn’t stop her teasing smile. She took note of Carson’s strong fingers curling up once again at either side of his body. She knew she was a fool to tempt a man who could knock her unconsciousness with one blow and afterward sit down to his cup of tea before the ice melted and diluted the flavor. Yep. It was definitely foolish, but she couldn’t help herself. Carson seemed to be a man of great self-control. Lily wondered if that little gesture was the only taletell sign of aggravation Carson would let come to the surface. She wanted to find out.
“They say,” she said locking arms with Ava, “‘God picks your family. Thank God you can pick your friends’. Ava and I lucked out on both. You’ll see.”
Carson tilted his head to the left. “Will I?”
“Yes,” Ava chimed in. Lily’s touch made her relax. Sure, to say the moment was tense is to say nothing at all, but Lily’s smile and cheerful voice must have meant that Lily did not feel the quiet rage flowing from Carson. “Lily’s planning on spending her vacation with us.”
This time Carson’s chest visibly raised and lowered as he took his third deep breath in a two-minute time span. “And how long is that?”
“Hm, two, three weeks. Four or five tops.”
Carson lowered his voice and added a fierceness to his tone that was strong enough to strike both ladies down. “I suggest you remember our agreement, Ava.”
With that, Carson walked pass both ladies as if the last five minutes hadn’t happened. It wasn’t until he disappeared around the corner at the top of the staircase that Ava could clearly recall breathing.
“Well!” she exclaimed clapping her hands together. “Let’s get you settled in!”
Lily allowed Ava to grab her arm and guide her through Ava’s maze of a home. Upstairs, around corners, down hallways, Lily smiled to herself as she assumed this is exactly what falling down the rabbit hole felt like. And Lily couldn’t have picked a lovelier rabbit to follow. The skirt of Ava’s white with black polka dots dress swung from side to side as she took quick little steps to their destination. The dress was reminiscent of a 1950’s sundress, which fell just below her calves. It was a cute, modest length. However, due to the fullness of her bottom, the material in the back raised to mid-calf. As Lily took in the view, her lower lip once again found itself getting nibbled.
Ava chatted the whole way, filling Lily in on the details of one event or another she had plans to attend or host or both. The schedule ended with, “You’re welcome to join me. Whatever sounds interesting, you can do and whatever you rather skip, that’s fine, too. But don’t let me wear you out…at least not with parties.” She turned to face Lily and attempted a devilish smile, but she delivered a blush of deep embarrassment instead. She turned back around and pressed on. One of these days, Ava promised herself, she was going to grow the hell up. Lily thought she was adorable.
Ava pushed open the double wooden doors to Lily’s bedroom. Small apartment would be more accurate. Small, romantic apartment. If this is what the guest room looked like, Lily couldn’t wait to see Ava’s master bedroom. The walls were painted a soft nude with the accent walls a shade or two deeper. Recessed lighting was hidden in the cathedral-height, wooden ceiling. The only exposed lighting was a stunning, twelve-bulb golden chandelier hanging in the middle of the room. About ten steps inside of the room and to the left sat a king-sized, four-poster bed in between two doublewide windows.
The bed. It called Lily’s name. It wasn’t until that moment that Lily realized how tiring flying really had been on her, but it was barely six o’clock so she resisted the urge to answer the bed’s call and continued following Ava’s tour of the room. As she did, Lily wondered if the designer had been fired for even suggesting a home in Oklahoma that contained so many fireplaces. Her condo in snow-up-to-there Chicago only had one. This room had three, which thankfully, were all unlit.
“I had Claire unpack your things. Fresh everything is in the bathroom for you. Even an extra toothbrush in case you forgot yours. You’re all set to go. But if you think of anything you need, don’t you hesitate to ask.”
“Claire? Your daughter, right?”
“Oh, no. Claire’s a housekeeper. Sarah’s my daughter. She’s at drama practice right now, but she’ll be home for dinner at seven.”
“Right. Sarah. Sorry. She’s…sixteen?”
“That’s right. And don’t you fret about it. It’s a lot to take in.” Ava walked the two hundred feet and one step down that separate the living area from the sleeping area. She sat down on a burgundy, heart-shaped sofa. To Lily’s amazement, it looked completely elegant and not unbelievably tacky as she figured any heart-shaped piece of furniture would look.
The goal behind the design of the living area seemed to be to kick up the sexual ambiance a few notches above the rest of the room. A hard task, but mission accomplished. The dark brown walls of this section curved into a cozy semi-circle, which seemed to trap Ava in the space for safekeeping until Lily could reach her. Ava waited nervously with her legs tucked under her. She tried not to fidget with her hair as she wondered how close Lily would sit to her if she sat down at all. She succeeded in leaving her hair alone, but fidgeted with her dress instead. She positioned the bottom of it in a perfect circle that completely covered her legs underneath it.
As Lily neared Ava, the black sheepskin rug under her feet felt as soft and as tempting as Ava looked as she sat bathed in the soft red accent light reflecting off of the glass bar. The only other lighting for this part of the room came from your choice of the candles sitting upon golden sconces or the fireplace, neither of which was lit. This lonely red glow cast a very romantic flair. And an extremely sensual one.
Lily sat intimately close to Ava and gave the devilish grin Ava wished she could conjure up. “I figure a cousin would know this stuff already.”
Ava blushed. “So, I chickened out. And I’m not too quick on my feet.”
Ava gave Lily a playful push. She became giddy at the realization she was touching Lily in private. “Unlike you, Miss, ‘honesty is the best policy,’ and all that jazz. You’re a pretty good liar.”
“Bold faced lies don’t count. You might as well have told him everything. He knows we’re not cousins.”
“Well, we’re not exactly lovers.”
“Yet,” Lily said placing her hand on Ava’s thigh.
“Ever,” Ava said but slid closer to Lily, causing Lily’s hand to move higher up her thigh.
Lily lowered her head until her forehead touched Ava’s. She whispered in an attempt to keep the excitement from her voice. “That’s not true, A. We just need to get his permission first.”
Ava’s ears echoed Lily’s nickname for her causing her heart to race. The two first met online around three months ago. Ava thought it was such a silly little thing to try, but the anonymity online dating allowed a girl seeking girl relationship was alluring. Plus, she had been lonely romantically for sometime by then. The option literally opened the world wide-web for her. Even without posting her photograph, Ava received no less than twelve emails a day. Eleven of them weren’t worth a cube of ice in the desert’s sun. Six would be from women requesting their first, same-sex encounter. Four would have the nerve to ask for a threesome as a present for her boyfriend or husband’s birthday. At least one email would be from a female best categorized as “butch”. Nothing wrong with that if that’s your thing, but Ava is most definitely of the lipstick lesbian variety. The one plausible inquiry generally faded on its own within a week of emailing back and forth.
Lily had been different. Instead of shorter, the emails between the two became longer. They practically wrote novellas to each other. When the time to exchange phone numbers arrived, Lily realized she didn’t know if Ava pronounced her name with a long or short “A”. Out of desperation not to butcher Ava’s name, Lily started that first conversation with, “Hello, A,” and it stuck.
It stuck so deeply that hearing it in the flesh caused certain muscles of Ava’s located between her thighs to contract with longing. Lily’s red lips, which had just finished whispering her pet name, were so close to her own. Her hand so warm on her thigh. “He practically knows,” she whimpered. “You said so yourself.”
Lily’s sly smile returned. Ava didn’t notice. Her eyes may have been opened, but they were hazed over with desire. Forget a kiss. Ava would settle for a simple, accidental brush of their lips at this point. Lily knew it. And she played it for all it was worth. Practically stepping on the line without even a toe crossing it. Their lips were so close that if Ava had an ounce of courage, she could simply tilt her head up to get what she desired. But she wouldn’t. They both knew that.
“Knowing and giving permission is not the same thing. You’re aware of that.”
This statement fulfilled it purpose. Ava’s mind conjured up all of Carson’s mistresses. She knew each one by name. Permission, however, that was a joke.
“Fine,” she pouted.
“Don’t pout. It’ll work out. The worst he can say is, ‘no’, right?”
“Possibly, ‘hell no’.”
Lily laughed and pulled away before she ended up caught in her own seductive trap. “Okay, ‘Hell no’. But I’ll wear him down and get him to come around. You’ll see.”
Ava shook her head. This was crazy. Carson went around humping every girl who looked hotter than the weather without any regard for Ava, but the one woman Ava fell for was a woman with the weirdest principles. Lily was a married, bi-sexual who is allowed to date women because her husband said it was okay. “The best of both worlds,” as Lily liked to say. It sounded ideal. And Ava loved the honesty surrounding the relationship. She admired it. But could it really work? Sure, a real live example of this, “it’s not cheating if everyone agrees,” scenario sat to her left, but that didn’t mean Carson would follow her lead. Actually, Ava knew her husband wouldn’t. Yet, Lily talked her into at least asking. Well, sort of talked her into it. As she said, she chickened out.
“It’ll be okay,” Lily promised.
Ava’s lips curled downwards despairingly although she managed a reluctant and drawn out, “Okee dokee.”
“Okee dokee!” Lily mimicked with a smile so reassuring that Ava smiled, too. “So, what’s this agreement the two of you have?”
“Agreement?” Ava tilted her head in the same manner Carson had earlier. Lily wondered if one had picked up the habit from the other.
“Your husband said to remember your agreement.”
“Oh,” Ava said rocking her head from side to side in an all too cute, dismissive manner. “It was something along the lines of, ‘if people find out I’m a lesbian he’ll kill me’.”
Lily’s smile was uncertain, but she decided to treat the statement as joke as Ava seemed to be doing. “And you accepted this agreement?”
“Oh, why not? High stakes are so exciting. Besides, no one will find out I’m a lesbian. I’m bi.” Ava’s sarcasm was lost in the all too convincing laughter in her voice.
“And what will he do to me?”
“Nothing, I think.”
“You think nothing?”
“I know nothing,” Ava arched her back, tilted her head to the ceiling, and raised her arm to her forehead in a perfect, overly dramatic fashion. “What’s worse than you living with the guilt that I’m dead because of us?” she teased and playfully leaned in for a kiss.
Lily smiled from the inside out. How had she been so fortunate to have found Ava? The woman was an absolute doll. Lily fought for her own bad acting award by holding out both of her hands out with an exaggerated sense of urgency. This maneuver prevented Ava’s faux kiss when their lips were only seconds away from meeting for the first time.
“Oh, A,” she sighed on an airy breath. “We are definitely getting Carson’s permission first.”