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Catalyst
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Jennifer Green

Romantic Fiction

15




The clothes were strewn across the bed. Oh God, why have I got nothing decent to wear? Everything that looks good doesn’t fit, and everything that fits makes me look an old frump.

Elaine looked again at pile of clothes, and at the mumsy dress she’d planned to wear. Her wardrobe was a reflection of her life – dull and boring.

“Are you nearly ready? We have to leave in a minute!” came the bellow from downstairs.

As she turned to look again into the depths of the wardrobe, more in hope than expectation, she caught sight of herself in the full length mirror. A few extra pounds but not that bad, and the black underwear and hold up stockings looked pretty sexy – not that he’d even noticed when she’d put them on. Twenty years ago he’d have been practically salivating, and there would have been no way they would have got to the party on time. But that was twenty years ago.

At the end of the clothes rail in his half of the wardrobe – well it was called his half but in reality her clothes occupied a good part. In her half of his half she noticed a clothes bag hanging, and remembered what was in it. It had been over nineteen years since she’d worn that dress. They’d bought it for a ball when she had been twelve weeks pregnant with Chloe and her usual party dresses were too tight – it might be just the thing.

“Are you coming or am I going alone? Get a bloody move on!”

As she pulled up the zipper, she looked at herself again. Perfect fit – the black dress, covered in bumpy, sparkly stones still looked as good as it had way back when. Uh oh, this bra will have to go, too visible. So the choice is – no bra or frumpy dress. No choice.

“Hurry up, will you!”

“For God’s sake dad,” She heard Chloe’s voice in support. “It’s a woman’s prerogative to be late.”

She stared at the plunging neckline – it needed something. Rifling through the drawer she found the choker she had worn with it all those years ago. Perfect. She allowed herself a twirl. Crikey! That slash up the side is longer than I remembered – should have worn tights. Too late now. With a last flick of her short, spiky hair – the highlights looked terrific – and taking a deep breath, she turned off the light and went downstairs.

“About bloody t…bloody hell!”

Elaine held back the smile of satisfaction. That had shut him up.

“Come on; don’t hang about with your mouth open. Get in the car; I just need to grab my bag.”

She went into the living room where Chloe and her steady boyfriend, Jamie, were halfway through a bottle of wine watching TV.

“Mum, you look fantastic!”

Jamie just sat there – slowly looking her up and down, but mainly looking at her chest – his mouth open.

“Men!” thought Elaine,”one pair of tits and they are anybody’s.”

But inside her confidence was going through the roof. She hadn’t felt this good in … well, let’s leave it at a long time.

“You don’t think this neckline is a bit low? What do you reckon Jamie?”

Chloe raised her eyebrows and grinned. She and her mum shared just about everything. She’d mentioned to her mum that Jamie was definitely a “boob” man, and she knew her mum was teasing him. But it was a side of her mum that she hadn’t seen before.

“Right, I’d better go before he has a coronary.”

Chloe giggled, not sure if her mum was talking about dad or Jamie.

“Okay Jamie, I was going to tell you to be good, but seeing as Chloe tells me everything I’ll just say enjoy yourselves.”

Jamie looked horrified and Chloe shrieked a shocked “Mum!”, but Elaine just winked at them both, turned and left. She felt absolutely on top of the world. And for the first time in a very long time, she felt in control. Tonight was definitely going to be fun. In fact, it was more than fun, it changed Elaine’s life.

As she sat in the car, she remembered just how big that slit in the dress was. She was showing a fair slice of thigh. And it felt brilliant! Why had it been so long since she’d felt like that? Probably the same reason that her husband hadn’t jumped on her in her underwear – habit and familiarity. She had become what people expected her to become – a steady, reliable, unsurprising forty something mother and wife. Well it was time to become what she wanted to be. A mature woman who knew what she wanted and was willing to go and get it.

The pre dinner drinks and meal passed in a whirlwind of conversations with people she knew, but who normally never spoke to her. The men had difficulty maintaining eye contact for some reason, whilst the women were split into two camps. The “good for you, go get ‘em, I wish I could carry off a dress like that” group, and the (usually younger) green eyed set, who suspected she was trying to steal their husband or boyfriend.

It was a good job she was the nominated driver for the return – otherwise if she’d drank all the drinks that had been offered she would have passed out by the time the dancing started! As it was from the minute the music had cranked up, she spent most of her time wiggling her hips, flashing her thigh and generally having a great time. Although she kept having to adjust her top, she was enjoying the tease factor it afforded.

As the evening wore on she found herself dancing with a good looking man, probably similar age to herself, who turned out to be a colleague of her husband who had been recently divorced. 

During one of the slow dances as she rested her head against his chest, he moved her strap back onto her shoulder. She thanked him with a cheeky grin.

“I wouldn’t want you falling out with me!” he joked. “But if you really want to thank me you can remember four numbers.”

She asked what the numbers were.

“Two six three six”

“No idiot, what are they for?”

He replied that she had to remember them first, and then he’d tell her what they were for. She repeated the four numbers a few times to prove she had remembered. He smiled and said he’d test her again after the next dance, and then he’d tell her.

As the music went on she felt his hand move down her back, squeeze her cheeks and then move round to the slit in her dress. His fingers found the way in and gently made small circles on her thigh.

“If you don’t stop that in the next fifteen minutes I will scream for help!”

“Oh I don’t think I need any help.”

She giggled and punched him playfully, and was taken aback when he asked what the numbers were.

“Two six three six”, she answered proudly.

“Very good. So now you know my phone number at work – it’s the same as your other half’s but the last four digits are two six three six”.

The music finished and they broke off with a smile, he stooped down, his lips brushed her cheek, and he turned and left.

Elaine’s mind was traveling at the speed of light on the way home. Had this frumpy, middle aged mum really pulled a good looking bloke? What about the man dozing next to her? What was the future for him? What would Chloe say if she knew? All these and a zillion other questions rattled round her head. But more than that there was the exhilaration of something new, something exciting. A feeling that had woken up inside her like a sleeping giant – threatening to take over her entire life.

As they pulled into the drive, her husband woke up and turned to her. He stroked her face and looked into her eyes. His face broke into a rather sad looking smile:

“You know, if you worked in the Louvre, you’d see the Mona Lisa every day and you’d forget how wonderful it is. I see you every day, and I think I’d forgotten how beautiful and special you are. I won’t let that happen again. Come on.”

They went in and Chloe called to her dad, saying not to forget he’d agreed to run Jamie home. Elaine sighed:

“Come on, your taxi awaits!” she called, and she told her husband to go to bed and she’d join him soon. But she knew he’d be fast asleep by the time she got back. They waved Chloe goodbye and set off. Jamie had edged round in his seat so he could look at her. They chatted off and on, but most of the time they were silent. Then as they approached Jamie’s house, he put his hand on her thigh, on the bare flesh exposed by the slit in the dress.

“I hope it’s true what they say… that if you want to know what your girlfriend will look like in twenty five years, look at her mother.”

Elaine stopped the car in the quiet lane outside his house, and grabbed his hand to move it.

“Jamie, I...” - but that’s as far as she got as he moved across and his lips locked on hers. Elaine panicked, and pushed him away.

“Oh God, I’m sorry Mrs Evans.”

“Don’t be. I am incredibly flattered that you find me attractive enough to do that.” This time it was she that moved, closed her eyes and pressed her lips against his. To Elaine that kiss lasted half a lifetime, but as soon as she felt his hand against the bare flesh at the top of her leg, she stopped and looked at him.

“No, I guess you’ve had one member of the family tonight, so I think that’s enough. Let’s pretend this never happened. But if you ever get tired of Chloe, I know where to find you. Because, young man, you are a sensational kisser.”

As she drove home, Elaine marveled at how her life had changed in a few short hours. She had craved excitement, romance and love, and thanks to a dress that was twenty years old, she had it. Now there was only one thing left to decide… eeny, meeny, miny mo….

Then again, why does it have to be just one?





© Jennifer Green, 2007



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