It was early Spring and the air felt fresh and clean and the streets were so quiet you could hear the birds singing in the acacia trees all the way down Paleisstraat to the canal bridge. I have a daily routine, or at least a morning routine. I don’t usually have breakfast in my hotel but walk all the way down to the bridge and the Molentje Cafe, which sort of means the ’Whirligig Cafe’. This morning, as I reached the bridge, a barge piled high with ﬂowers moved slowly past on it’s way from the ﬂower market. A girl was standing in the bow of the barge throwing little bunches of daffodils to people watching from the bridge. I caught one and the girl smiled at me. She was beautifully blonde. I gave the ﬂowers to the lady in the cafe.They know me there and they don’t need to ask what I want. A double macchiato, a big glass of water and a croissant. It was warm enough to sit outside today. Sometimes I need to sit inside and not always because of the weather. Perhaps I should explain.
I am a single twenty four year old British girl staying in a hotel in Amsterdam, right in the centre. It’s called the Krasnapolsky and it’s very grand. My room is lovely but I am in a rather vulnerable state. My boss (bless her) has sent me here to recuperate. I work for a very small research laboratory in Cambridge. My job is to work with big companies that hopefully will work with us and together we can develop new remedies. I know I am only there because I look honest and people seem to like me easily. Some people are good at science, some people are good at people. I am a people person, so it's lovely that I am free to recuperate because it hit me really badly.
What went wrong? Hardly an unusual story, I fell in love, truly, madly and oh so deeply. What kind of fool am I? The kind who falls in love with a married woman. I had simply sleepwalked into this and most nights you would have found me screaming into my pillow and feeling sick with shame. It was all about arrogance of course, how could the wonderful ‘ME’ ﬁnd herself in this kind of situation. But she did and from soaring to the highest heights, this girl crashed and burned. It was, of course, someone from work. She was one of our company’s lawyers. We were working together on a contract. I can tell you exactly how it happened. She was sitting across the table from me and I was explaining something and she seemingly unconsciously, slid a hand just inside her blouse and raised her head from the documents in front of us and looked into my eyes… and Boom!
We were the last to leave the wine bar. We snogged in the street. In a doorway she put her hand between my bare legs, pulled my knickers aside and ﬁngered me. Then she got into a taxi, I walked to the tube station and home. I could not leave myself alone for hours.
We met after work each week in a funny little hotel in the West End, just round the corner from the BBC. A drink at the bar and then to our room, the uncovering of the bed, the pretence at conversation and then the act itself. She was incredible. She found places and nerve endings that I never knew existed. Afterwards we would order room service and watch TV and cuddle and then it would all kick off again… every Wednesday. I loved her so fucking much. We made plans together, she was going to tell her husband and leave. We would get a ﬂat in the town centre. She told me she was about to become a partner in her law ﬁrm and maybe set up on her own. You know the rest I’m sure. The stabbing… lunch in a swanky place (which I don’t give a shit about) then the faux embarrassment and ﬁnally the knife goes in. A clean stab to the heart would be enough but no, dear reader, here comes the twist. She wants to share me with her husband. My own room, car, etc etc… and SHARE WITH HUBBY!
I was not the ﬁrst young woman to puke her guts up in Trinity Street. A man saw that I was in trouble, he was just passing by and, after a bit of a wipe down, he took me to a cafe and looked after me. He was sweet. He called it ‘safeguarding’ and it was something he obviously knew about. Long story short, he made me call my Mum and my boss and later he saw me all the way to my front door. He gave me his phone number and said. “I hope you never need to call me.” We shook hands very formally. I still have his card and I will always keep it.
After my coffee this morning I walked along the canal bank towards the vast Central Station. I saw the ﬂower barge again and the girl saw me and waved. I love the openness and conﬁdence of the women here. I feel safe. The only trouble is I fall in love about one hundred times a day! The weather is so lovely this morning and very little wind, wind can be a problem here, Holland being so ﬂat and everything. I turned to walk back to my hotel. I was on Damrak which is a long street which was once a canal. The Sex Museum was opening up in readiness for the tourists. It’s hugely popular. I have been there and it’s SO tacky.
Some peculiar relics, ancient dildos, and some horrible tableaux with showroom dummies dressed up. Enough to put you off sex forever.
As I walked along my thoughts kept interrupting me, pushing out the ‘here and now’ and allowing HER to intrude. I was almost at Dam Square and I needed a drink. Down a side street. A bar. Any bar. Suddenly … “O'Reilly's Irish Pub!” Perfect! It was not yet midday but here no-one cared and I ordered a huge glass of white wine and sat on a stool at the bar, right next to the door and no-one bothered me and I fought back the anger. These places are always cosy and in semi-darkness and it’s easy to forget the outside world so this was the perfect spot for me right now. The wine was helping big-time. I just HATE intrusive thoughts, when someone you are trying to be rid of, simple barges into your head without so much as an invitation.
I was settling, my head ﬁlled with my OWN thoughts. I began to think about a picture I saw in the window of a sex-shop. Amongst all the garishly coloured paraphernalia was a framed picture, no bigger than a postcard. A pencil sketch of a girl kneeling naked on a bed while an older fully dressed woman was facing her and smiling. The naked girl was hanging her head and her back was beaded with sweat. To me it looked as if the girl had just completed a task and the woman was pleased with her performance. This picture made a huge impact on me and I had to go back to look again. It became the theme for my fantasies and right now I wanted to go back to my hotel room and imagine it all over again. Looking up into the mirror behind the bar, I saw my cheeks all ﬂushed and down below my body was stirring and as always it would not take no for an answer. I shifted slightly on my stool.
It was then I saw her... ‘in back‘ as the American’s say. A sable fedora hat, a bleached-out safari shirt. Indiana Jones!
Are you SERIOUS lady? But people here are much more free and easy with their style and looks than in the UK. Plus, she wore it very well. Long dark hair, tied back, a face full of meaning, full of strength. She was the kind of person who seemed taller than their actual height, even without the hat. It's all about poise. From where I was sitting I couldn't see here from the waist down but once my second glass was poured, she stood up. Black leggings, the coated type, skin tight. And, by God, suede ankle boots. I was trying so hard not to stare but it was impossible to avoid. She was talking to another woman at a table where they were looking through a huge portfolio of black and white photographs but I was too far away to see them in detail. From my anonymity at the bar I found myself watching a drama unfold.
Something seemed to go wrong. The portfolio was abruptly closed and zipped up. ‘Indy’ stood up, shouldered her bag, and put the portfolio under her arm. She seemed to be in a hurry because she bumped into me on her way to the door. I moved my chair and our eyes met. Hers a remarkable blue. Pure ice, I was instantly frozen to the spot. I just HATE that… when someone you have never seen before looks straight into your fucking SOUL! And then she was gone… with her Fedora hat and skin tight leggings and those EYES.
Outside the world seemed so bright, and not just because of the darkness of the bar, and not just because of the wine. The hotel was just across Dam Square and without noticing the journey I was in the foyer and heading for the lift. I was completely alone in the mirrored box. As I looked at my reﬂection, I felt as if I was looking into the eyes of another girl - a beautiful stranger. We kissed, leaving a lipstick kiss on the glass. The girl in the mirror blushed. Then the door opened, the hallway was empty and I fumbled with the key and then I was inside and the door shut and double locked. I leaned back against the door, just as they do in the movies. Whatever was happening in the outside world, it sure as hell wasn’t happening in here!
Now! This is important… I have a theory. If you truly love yourself then making love to yourself should be a decorous affair. There should be an invitation, a slow seduction, the gradual revealing of hidden desires. And so it was that the lady, the older one in the little picture, gave me my instructions. To undress. To stand naked and unashamed. To touch myself as a lover would. With care and respect and understanding. Once on the bed? Pillows just so! This girl lay back and watched herself spread her legs and reveal herself completely. Now the person in the mirror sent me to the bathroom. To pee. And to touch as I was peeing and to feel the hot water from her own body. Then the shower. Rinsing, letting the spray play with my vulva… letting the hot spray cleanse myself.
Now I was clean and new and wrapped in a huge while ﬂuffy bath towel and once again I was called to the mirror. First of all I wrapped the towel around me covering my breasts. It was no good. I tried again with the towel around my hips and folded over the top so that it stayed put just above my mound. I eased it down so half of my freshly shaved mound was visible. That was a better look. Squeezing my breasts together and pushing up, I almost had a cleavage! I picked up the remote and found some music. The minibar supplied me with a can of Heineken and now this girl was in business. I found a piece of ribbon I had been saving and it was blood red. I wrapped it around my left bicep. It looked good. I ran my hands through my hair (pixie cut). Then I was told to lose the towel and lay on the bed and give myself an orgasm. Which I did, shamelessly. And extravagantly. And furiously…
I left blood on the sheets.
The sun was shining in, early afternoon. I suddenly felt so lonely. I just longed to be held, even knocked about a bit, just as long as I was loved. The woman who had so commanded me to display myself and touch myself was gone. It was just me and my body and my constant aching. I toyed with myself but to no avail. My emotions were too strong and, as usual I’m afraid, there were copious tears.
I must have drifted off, I woke to ﬁnd the sun was making a rosy glow in the wall. I was feeling better and so I decided to go out and enjoy the remains of the sunshine.
End of chapter one.
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