[Note: The names were changed to protect the indecent. - S]
“Ugh,” I said under my breath when I walked into the bar. It was just past the John Jay College property and I had no idea what drew me in, probably the Springsteen tune playing on the juke box. Bruce was like the Pied Piper to this Jersey girl who wished to be the meat in the sandwich, with him and John Bon Jovi being the bread.
The reason for my apprehension was that there was a party going on, made up of about thirty kids who were obviously students at the college. I was in no mood to party, just feeling the need for a strong drink. I smiled when I thought of them as kids because I wasn’t but a few years older. The only difference was where these kids probably grew up in suburbia and had very few cares aside from having the grades for acceptance here; I spent three out of the last six years in a war zone. Iraq fucking sucked, to be plain about it, but I would have rather been there than in this bar with an obnoxious group of pampered rich kids.
I knew the reasons I was here tonight too, a beautiful September evening in New York City. It was depression, mostly, mixed with a bit of post-traumatic stress, and a healthy dose of shame. Three months ago, I was at the top of my game, on the list for promotion to tech sergeant with some great connections to get me into one of the intelligence agencies if I decided the Air Force was no longer the thing for me. That was just before I got a visit from the Air Force Office of Special Investigations; a relentless organization that doesn’t rest until it gets its man … or woman in my case. I broke no laws, committed no crimes, not in my book anyway, but there was that funny little rule called Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
Thanks to an affair of coincidence, all my plans for the future lay in ashes at my feet. I didn’t mean it to happen; I’m bisexual and I’m attracted to women but I’m smart enough to know that an affair with another female military member, in a war zone, was a recipe for disaster. Under normal circumstances, I would never have considered it. An ambush on the highway between the airport and the Green Zone while she and I were guarding a convoy changed that in a hurry.
It was hairy and for a time we thought we were done until a couple of Army Apaches came to our aid. We got back to the Green Zone in one piece but we lost two of the Army drivers and afterward we just needed to decompress. I’d gotten a hold of some weed and she and I found a place where we could smoke without detection. We did a lot of crying and soul searching and somehow ended up in each other’s arms. When the fact there could be no tomorrow hits home as it did earlier in the day, you go for things you normally wouldn’t. We both wanted it and it happened in a storage shed behind the vehicle maintenance area. The affair continued in secrecy for the two months until she shipped home.
I thought it was over and carried on. Unfortunately for me, and her in the end, she felt the need to tell her parents of our activities. A call to the Department of Defense by her father, wondering how some lesbian could corrupt his baby daughter, brought me to the attention of AFOSI. A month after that, I was standing at the curb outside Newark Liberty Airport, now a civilian, waiting for my mother to pick me up and take me home. I also had to tell my mother why I was thrown out of the military after ten years of distinguished service. I’d only planned to tell her if I found a woman I wanted to spend the rest of my life with and I was fully open to finding a man who fit the bill too. I love her even more for understanding but I still feel a little shame that she had to find out the way she did.
I was at John Jay now in an attempt to put my life back together. I was given a job by an officer I knew, another victim of DADT, a gay man who was an intelligence analyst, fluent in Arabic, Farsi, and Pashto, also deemed unfit for service to his country, even though we were fighting two wars in the Middle East, and was here to take a semester of refresher courses. It had been a shitty day and I just wanted a drink before I got on the train back to Jersey. I looked to the bar for an open seat and I was distracted by a flash of long, fire-red hair.
My taste in women leans heavily toward redheads, so I had to investigate, and I pushed my way through the crowd of upper-crust white kids with no rhythm to the bar. I caught a look at her and I was enthralled, a porcelain doll with the cutest freckles, with generous but proportioned breasts and an ass that was nothing less than perfect and she was dressed in clothes from designers I could never dream of buying. The blue eyes the color of sapphires burned with an intelligence and depth, what my mother would call ‘an old soul’. I smiled when I saw there were two seats open next to her. I sat and left one open between us. “Maker’s neat,” I said to the bartender when he arrived.
Taking a look at the young girl, I could see she was in the same mood to party that I was. “Are you okay,” I asked her when she caught me looking her over.
“I’m not in the party mood,” she shrugged as she looked back to her wine glass.
“Yeah, me neither,” I agreed with a nod when my drink came. “Are you at the college?” She just nodded. “So am I,” I said.
She turned to look me in the eye. “You look too old,” she said flatly.
“Thanks,” I said. “I didn’t feel bad enough about myself but you brought me back down to reality.” I knocked back my drink and stood. “It’s been nice talking to you.” I slung my rucksack onto my shoulder and turned to leave.
“I’m sorry,” she said. “I really didn’t mean to …” she shrugged. “I don’t feel too great about myself either.”
I stopped because I heard it in her voice. I heard it before, in Iraq, when someone comes to the conclusion there’s not much worth living for anymore. I sat back down. “What’s wrong, honey?”
She looked up at me, her eyes moist. “This party is for me,” she said. “It’s my birthday.”
“Happy birthday,” I said. “Did you get the wrong gift?” I motioned for another drink.
She shook her head slowly. “My boyfriend gave me the best gift of all two days ago,” the girl said sarcastically. “I got to watch some bimbo blow him in his car for ten minutes before he even noticed I was standing outside. That’s why they threw the party here; to cheer me up.”
“Shit,” I said, no stranger to betrayal. “I’m sorry. He’s an idiot for screwing things up with you,” my second drink arrived. “You’re beautiful.”
And it was the first time I saw her smile. “Thanks,” she replied, looking me over for the first time. “I’m Baby McManus.”
I smiled at her and was about to do something that I always found unbelievably amusing. “I’m Akiko Moskowitz,” and her eyes went wide. Happens every time and I love it.
“You don’t look Jewish,” she said innocently and I laughed.
“My mom is Japanese and my father was a conservative American Jew,” I explained. “They met when my dad was stationed in Yokosuka in the late ‘70s. I go by my middle name; call me Sara,” I said, watching her finish her wine. “Can I get you another?”
“Okay,” she nodded and smiled at me again. “What’s your problem today?” Baby asked me.
“I’m starting over,” I told her. “My plans changed suddenly a few months back and now I’m trying to put it all back together. I may be too old for this place, but I need to take some courses to get back to the top of the game.”
“I didn’t mean you were old,” she said as her wine arrived. “You just don’t seem like a student, more like faculty.” She looked over my arms that showed past the sleeves of my t-shirt. “I like your tattoos.”
“Thanks,” I smiled. “Do you have any?”
“Just a little rose,” she turned red. “Down there,” her eyes fell to her lap and she grew a devious little grin before looking up at me. “What did you do that made you have to start over?”
“Don’t ask, don’t tell,” I said as I took a sip of my bourbon. “Ten years in the Air Force down the tubes.”
“You’re a …” Baby stammered, taken a bit by surprise. “I mean, you like …”
“I’m bi,” I replied. “I like girls and boys.”
“I never …” she shrugged. “At this point, I don’t want a relationship with anyone.” And she stopped and thought for a minute. “Are you trying to pick me up?”
“I’ll admit I chose this seat because you were sitting here,” I told her with a grin. “Beautiful redheads are a weakness of mine.”
“Don’t get your hopes up,” she said nonchalantly.
“I’m not,” I said. “Do you have someone to talk to about the situation with your boyfriend?”
“I’m not suicidal,” she hissed.
“Maybe not,” I shrugged. “But you sound like your boyfriend meant more to you than you’ll admit, like you’ve been hurt more than you know.”
“And what,” she spat. “You’re going to take me home and comfort me? I don’t need fake sympathy from someone who only wants to get into my pants.”
“Don’t worry, honey,” I said, a bit annoyed with her. “I just was offering to talk if you didn’t have somebody, that’s all. I’ve seen someone put a gun in his mouth and pull the trigger because his wife fucked him over while he was in Iraq putting his ass on the line. I don’t want you to hurt yourself but if you say you’re okay, fine. Sorry I bothered you. Have a good life, Princess,” I said and hopped off the barstool, grabbed my bag, and headed for the door.
I was outside in a hurry, annoyed at the spoiled little rich bitch and annoyed at myself for letting her get under my skin. Setting off for the subway, I heard a commotion behind me and saw her run out the door. “Hey, Baby, come back …” someone called after her but she ignored him.
“What do you want?” I asked when she got to me.
“I’m sorry,” she sniffed.
“Apology accepted,” I said as I turned and headed off again.
“Wait,” she called to me and I stopped.
“Look,” I said. “I have to get back to Jersey. It’s been nice talking to a pretty girl but I really have to go.”
“I want to talk,” Baby insisted.
“You blew that when you decided to be such a bitch,” I said.
“You were in Iraq?” Baby followed, ignoring my insult.
“Yeah,” I said.
“Tell me,” she pressed.
I stopped and my gaze met hers. “No.”
“You’re too young.”
“I’m twenty-two… today.” Baby softened. “I … I need to talk to someone who understands,” she said.
“I have to get home,” I said, though my resolve was slipping. I realized Baby was hard to say no to.
“You can stay with me,” she offered. “I’m in the dorm.”
“I thought you were worried about me trying to get into your pants,” I laughed.
“You won’t,” and she gave me that gorgeous smile again. “You’re not like them,” she pointed up the block to the bar.
“I know, I’m old,” I kidded her.
“You’re responsible,” she replied. “I … I feel like I can trust you.”
I thought about it. Yes, I was smitten with her. Yes, she was what I always envisioned the perfect woman for me would look like. Yes, I wanted to spend more time with her, to get to know her, though she was almost eight years younger than I was. “I give you my word I won’t try anything with you,” I surrendered.
“So you’ll come with me?”
“Yeah,” I nodded. “What about your friends?”
“They’ll forget I was even there in a few minutes,” she grinned deviously. “Come on,” she pointed to an alley across the street. “We can cut through here.”
I followed behind her, trying to figure out what the young girl was up to in between being distracted by her perfect ass in her tight jeans and the red mane flowing behind her. It was two minutes to the dorm and she led me up to the second floor and down the hall. Opening the door, she flipped on the lights and pointed to a chair. “Have a seat,” she said as she went to the fridge, pulling out a bottle of white wine and grabbing two water glasses. “Do you like wine?”
“I’ll join you,” I said, tossing my rucksack on the floor before accepting the glass.
“To new friends,” she raised her glass and I did the same. We took a sip and she looked away from me. “My parents think I’m a virgin,” she told me, her cheeks flushing. “Steve was the first … the first who I went that far with.” A tear ran down her cheek. “I … love … loved him and he made a fool of me. I just wonder how many other girls he was with and how many of my friends knew about it beforehand.” She put her glass down when she started to cry.
“I’m sorry, Baby,” I said, not knowing what else to say. “Betrayal is the worst.”
“I know my parents will find out too,” she said and the tears continued. “I’m supposed to save myself for marriage … and now,” she shrugged. “They’ll disown me or something. I’ve ruined my life.”
I’d wanted to take her in my arms as soon as she started crying but I didn’t want her to think my motives were less than sincere. Even I didn’t know if my motives were sincere but I went to her now, sitting on the bed next to her and spreading my arms. Baby came to me and hugged me tightly and I returned the embrace. “It’s okay, Baby,” I whispered in her ear as she cried on my shoulder. “I’m sure your parents love you. They might be disappointed but they’ll get over it eventually. My mom learned about my orientation when I was thrown out of the Air Force and I know it hurt her but I know she loves me and the shock of learning my secret didn’t change that. Your folks wouldn’t turn their back on their beautiful daughter.” I kissed her cheek.
Baby brought her head from my shoulder and looked me in the eyes. “What’s worse is I don’t know if I can trust someone again. How do I let someone get close to me if I don’t trust them? How can I love someone I don’t trust?”
I smiled at her. “Those are the questions everyone asks when they’re betrayed by someone they love,” I said. “There are no straight answers but you can’t shut yourself off from everything. I’ve found, after having been in your position a couple times, that I no longer listen to what a potential lover says but how they act. Anyone can lay down a line of bullshit but walking the walk is a lot harder. Look at what they do, not what they say.”
Baby smiled at me and I took everything I had not to kiss her. “You’re pretty smart for an old lady,” she gave me a smirk.
“You’re no dummy yourself,” I said.
“I was the valedictorian at my high school,” she said proudly.
“Brains are sexy,” I smiled deviously, unsure of whether I was mainly stating a belief of mine or whether I said it with enough innuendo to seem I thought her delicious.
Baby gave me a suspicious look but she was smiling. “You do want to get into my pants.”
“If the situation were different, sure,” I said honestly. “But you made it quite plain it wasn’t in the cards and I don’t want to break your trust. You don’t need that now.”
“You’re a good person too,” Baby added. “Thanks for … this.”
I shrugged. “Maybe I needed someone to talk to as well,” I said, feeling a lot better than I did when I chose to walk in the bar. “Like I said, things haven’t gone well in my life lately either.” I went to go back to the chair now that her mood had improved. Holding her like this was now, for me, less out of concern and more about how aroused I was getting having her in my arms.
“No,” she said and held on to me. “I like this.”
“So, do I,” I agreed. “And I’m starting to like it a bit too much.”
“I’m turning you on?” Baby asked, still not letting go.
“Yes, incredibly,” I replied. “Let me sit over there.”
“Do you want to kiss me?” She grew a devious grin.
I pulled my head back as she brought hers closer. “If you were worried about your parents’ reaction to losing your virginity, you could imagine what they’d think about that.”
“I’ve never kissed a girl … not like that,” she whispered as she came closer.
“I’m not going to be your guinea pig,” I said, not as convincingly as I’d have liked.
“Kiss me,” she insisted and brought her lips to mine.
It was over for me when she slipped her tongue inside my mouth. I was wet already but my juices started flowing like a broken water main as we kissed, passionately, powerfully, and seductively. I pushed her down on the bed and straddled her. “Stop now, Baby,” I warned. “It’s been a while and I don’t know if I …”
Her eyes met mine as she gazed up at me dreamily. “I want this,” she breathed. “I need it right now.”
“If we do,” I told her. “It won’t be a one-nighter. You had your chance to get rid of me. I’ll want more than just one night of sex from you.” This was moving far too fast. Twenty minutes before, my mission here was to comfort a vulnerable young girl who’d been hurt badly. It had changed quickly to making love to the girl of my dreams.
“Make love to me, Sara … please,” she begged.
I yanked her up by the fabric of her top and looked her in the eye. “If you’re using me tonight, your parents will have to pick you up in the hospital,” I warned her.
“I … I’m not,” she said, seemingly terrified.
I pulled her top over her head and then her bra before pushing her back down. I removed my t-shirt as well, the bra too, and went to her. We kissed again, just as passionately and then I started on her neck, giving her playful bites interspersed with kisses. Down one side and then up the other, kissing, biting, kissing, the bites getting harder and she squealed, giggling.
“That hurts,” she laughed.
“But do you like it?” I asked her before kissing her and rubbing my nipples against hers, now erect like pale pink pencil erasers. Her areolae were so light as to blur the line between them and the even more pale skin of her breasts.
“Yes,” she moaned and her breath became ragged.
Bringing my face lower, I turned my attention to her little nipples, kissing, licking, squeezing, and biting, trying to determine what her pain threshold might be. Little squeals crossed Baby’s lips every time I bit down on one of them but her smile was one of lust. I sat up, still straddling her waist and reached behind, lightly caressing the warm and, I came to find, very wet spot between her legs.
“Oh god …” Baby sighed as I kneaded one of her breasts while masturbating her through her jeans. She reached up and grabbed one of my breasts, thumb and index finger pinching the nipple.
“Harder,” I hissed as I got hotter. “Hurt me, you little bitch.” Baby pinched for all she was worth and twisted it; the pain felt wonderful. It had been too long. “Slap my tits,” I demanded and she did as one who never slapped anything would. “Harder, bitch,” I demanded. “Hurt me, damn it,” I yelled and she didn’t need much coaxing, using both hands to slap them in turn as hard as she could. “Yeah,” I sighed as I felt myself coming, grinding myself on her waist. “Harder … faster …” and she responded. “Fuck …” I said as I flooded my panties. “Oh fuck …” It blew my mind when she slapped me across the face. I regarded her, surprised, and I saw something had changed in her.
“Let me up, you fucking whore,” she hissed and I instinctively rose, and she slapped me across the face again. I must have been stunned because I just stood there watching her kick off her Sketchers, unzip her jeans and take them off along with her panties. It stunned me even more when she grabbed me by the hair and pulled me on top of her as she got back in bed. “You’re going to make me come, bitch,” she hissed at me and forced my head between her legs.
She was as wet as I was and I gently licked up and down the length of her slit before using two fingers to spread her labia so I could get better access to her clitoris. She didn’t shave or trim her pubes and I ran my fingers through the almost-orange mound while sucking her little clitty into my mouth, teasing it, biting it as she squirmed. “Eat me, whore,” she demanded through her moans.
Grabbing her ankles, I pulled her legs up, her knees almost to her ears, so I could get better access to her special places. I was certain her ex-boyfriend never paid any attention to her ass when my tongue found her anus and she jumped. I began circling the perimeter with the tip. “God …” she moaned when I slipped a finger into her pussy and then two. She started to shake when I left her asshole and started assaulting her clit with my tongue and lips. “Shit …” she cried and I felt her tense up, her breath coming in gasps. “Oh shit … oh shit … oh shit …” Baby was close to hyperventilating but too far gone for me to stop. She lost it completely when I bit down on it. “Fuck …” she arched her back and sprayed my face with her fluids. “Shit …” she sighed as she settled back on the bed, her hands going to her face. “Fuck …” she lay there panting.
I crawled up next to her and took her in my arms, holding her as she tried to recover, kissing her lips lightly. “Are you okay, Baby?” I whispered to her.
“I never knew …” she brought her face close and kissed me, putting her tongue in my mouth. “I’ve never come like that.” And she stopped. “Did I really call you a whore?”
“Yeah,” I laughed. “It seems you’re a kinky little bitch under that innocent exterior.”
“I never realized,” she said honestly and looked me in the eyes. “I want to be with you again, Sara,” Baby declared.
“Oh you will,” I said as I pulled her close. “You’re coming home with me tomorrow.”