A Temptation to Substitute

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Snapping out of it, the slender young artist suddenly became aware of her image in the bathroom mirror. Ready for her shower, she must have been standing there naked for ages in the early morning chill lost in her thoughts. The interruption had been that ominous tingling that warned Amelia that what she had nicknamed her affliction was about to flare up.

Even alone, she felt embarrassed. Yet she was unable to tear her eyes away this time as the dreaded spectacle unfolded. At its peak she winced and turned away, reminding herself how much it ruined the look of her well-shaped chest. Although she had been careful to hide it in its worst moments, she knew Rob had spotted it a few times in their four years together. Thankfully although he had stared, he had never made any adverse comment.

The thoughts she had been lost in had been about Rob. It was only a few weeks ago that he had come back to her after four months of separation. And only two days since they had bought the brand new king-size bed that she had seen and fallen in love with. When it was delivered that afternoon, they had taken their time tenderly making love on it. When she had felt his warm fluids finally spurting into her, she had never felt more in love.

But Rob had left her yet again just yesterday. This was his third Navy tour of duty overseas in under three years and would last at least five months. As she had helped him pack yet again, the salty tears had flooded down her cheeks making her pretty face a blotchy mess.

Standing beside her, Rob had tried to cheer her up by half-joking that her creative time would be freed up with him out of the way. When he saw this didn’t help, he reminded her that they would be in regular touch. But she knew the brief calls, letters, emails and occasional gifts wouldn’t compensate her for not having him around for such a long period.

Before his last stint overseas, he had decided the problem was just that she lacked company. His solution had been to put her in touch with a group of Navy women who got together socially while their husbands were away. She dutifully turned up a few times before finding out that all their occasions were the same – weekend afternoons at someone’s house, warmed-up finger food, cheap beer, cask wine, and bawling babies. Worse, their conversations never strayed from the Navy, their menfolk or kids. Amelia quietly gave up and refusing all invitations, sank her social time back into her art.

She relived yesterday’s sombre walk down the wharf, her face buried into the shoulder of his uniform. She had only lifted it when he took her chin for that last goodbye kiss before he strode up the gangplank. Feeling abandoned, she had stood there waving despite a constant blur of tears. Her battle to cope with the ‘feast or famine’ aspect that came with Navy husbands had been lost before his ship was out of sight.

An hour later, alone in her car at the pier, Amelia had felt the void close in with its vast all-consuming silence. She’d had to sit there for ages, dabbing tissues around her red eyes until she had recovered enough to drive home.

Thankfully the random outbursts of tears had dried up overnight. She better have that quick shower before more time slipped away. Drying and throwing on some old overalls, she started to bury herself in her painting. Taking a break around noon, she nursed a coffee before suddenly remembering a promise to go next door for a few hours and help Julie set up for her party tonight. Talking with her best friend would help take her mind off things for a while. But she really wished she hadn’t accepted her invitation three months ago not knowing Rob wouldn’t be there to accompany her. Then again, she really didn’t want to be alone in the house tonight either. She fought the niggling thoughts that insisted Rob should be around more, like normal husbands.

That night, to hide the girlishness of her figure, she threw on a loose pale yellow T-shirt top and slid an off-white mini skirt on under it. She was pleased with the look of her long bare legs in the mirror, and put the stockings back in the drawer. Leaning to the side, she aimed the hand dryer at those last damp patches in her light brown hair before running a final brush through it. Standing up straight, she used her hands to finish arranging it around her shoulders. Now, which sandals should she wear?

Cradling a chilled bottle of sparkling wine, she nervously set off on the short walk next door to Julie’s. It was still just after eight, but the summer sky was still light. Somewhat shy by nature, she hoped she would meet some extroverted souls early on. From past experience, she knew that could provide the boost needed to become more confident and outgoing.

It was such a relief when Julie was there at the door to greet her. Behind her rang the uneven din coming from groups of people spread throughout her large house. A lot of the early evening was spent mingling with Julie at her side, meeting her friends and guests and listening canlı bahis to group chatter. Amelia soon felt at ease. She surprised herself when catering duties began to call Julie away by mingling alone among the small groups.

She soon found she liked Julie’s acquaintances. Male and female alike, they were the type of creative and articulate individuals she wanted to find out more about. They were totally opposite to the Navy set; sensitive, unorthodox, opinionated and yet informal, yet openly warm.

In one group, she found herself drawn into a discussion between some actors about the importance of enjoying or avoiding solitude. To her surprise, she found herself caught up as a regular and fluent contributor after being challenged for her initial thoughts, calling on her current and past experiences. She felt pleased when the others around not only listened to her, but built their own ideas on her insights.

It was just after ten. Amelia needed a drink and withdrew from socialising to catch her breath. She found an ideal spot to sit down on an empty two-seater couch in the corner of the living room. This was her first time alone, and she felt pleased that it had nothing to do with feeling left out. She had only just put her glass to her lips and taken her first sip when Laura walked over, sat down beside her and re-introduced herself.

Amelia had met the leggy model earlier in the night, and they had exchanged smiles across various circles since. She was struck by how beautiful Laura was. A little taller than her, the slender, tanned young woman had loose strands of chin-length honey brown hair that framed her high cheekbones. Khaki shorts highlighted a narrow waist. But it was her top that kept catching Amelia’s attention. Or more precisely, the perfectly pointed breasts she could clearly see through the sheer grey material. Each time she had spotted Laura earlier in the night, Amelia found herself trying to fathom how anyone could choose a top which blatantly displayed her nipples in public. But she was astute enough to notice everybody else there except her was quite blasé about it.

The young artist decided to just ignore the top as she half-turned to Laura. Keeping her gaze above Laura’s shoulders, she looked into her glowing coffee-syrup eyes only to get totally lost in them. She surprised herself with the first words that finally stumbled from her lips.

“Your top is lovely. But I couldn’t wear it. I’m not that bold.”

Laura looked down her front in surprise, then slowly back at Amelia.

“Bold?” Laura responded, eyebrows rising. “Trust me, once you get to know this crowd as well as I do, you’ll realise it would be very hard to shock them let alone with this.”

The dark brown eyes looked into Amelia’s, her head curiously tilting on a slight angle. “But let’s look further at that assertion that you couldn’t wear it! Given my field of work, I think I may be a better judge than you about that. Let me get a better look.”

Laura lowered her glass to the floor and angling her own body towards Amelia, ran an astute eye up and down her.

“You’re reasonably tall, have a beautiful face, lovely hair and eyes, nice shapely legs, and a perfect figure,” she slowly listed approvingly. “You even look about my size across the bust.” She put a reassuring hand on Amelia’s knee as she leaned and delivered her verdict.

“I’ve no doubt you would carry this top off superbly.” Amelia heard, bashfully lowering her gaze although pleased with the flattering assessment. She even imagined herself in the top for one daring instant. But she came back to earth as she reminded herself that an outbreak of her affliction would ruin the whole effect.

“I’m still not convinced. I’d be too aware I had it on,” she stammered.

“Can I let you into a secret?” Laura advanced. “I shouldn’t say this, being in the fashion industry. But once you put on anything, you usually forget what you’re wearing pretty quickly unless someone comments on it. For example you chose that striking T-shirt carefully tonight for effect but honestly, how often have you been aware of it until now?”

“I haven’t given it any thought at all now that you mention it,” Amelia admitted, looking down.

“My point is that if we were to exchange tops right here and now, you would again not be the slightest bit aware that you were wearing this in ten minutes’ time?” Laura argued. “In this company especially,” came the late addition, her hand gesturing to those around.

“I’m sure you’re probably right,” Amelia conceded.

“Good, then. We agree. So let’s swap for twenty minutes or so and see. Take your bra off as we change over,” Laura advised, leaning back and pulling the sheer blouse out of her shorts.

“What! Wait! Here? Now? Good God, no, I mean, I just couldn’t,” Amelia stammered as she grabbed Laura’s closer arm, looking about as she blushed profusely. Laura’s look of surprise slowly morphed to an impish smile, then to Amelia’s relief a wink as the model bahis siteleri started tucking her sheer top back in. Amelia was absolutely scarlet but relieved it was just a joke. Laura obviously had a wicked sense of humour.

“Have you known Julie for very long?” she managed, buying time to compose herself.

“Oh yes. We’re long-standing friends since our teens and have kept in regular touch ever since,” Laura answered. “I get sick of being alone in hotel rooms and eating in restaurants by myself. I’ve promised Julie many times in the past to stay here when I’m in this city. It’s so lovely, handy to shops and cafes, and two houses away from the beach.”

“So you’re staying here tonight?” Amelia asked.

“If the only problem was that Julie is heading off to on her overseas holiday tomorrow, I would have,” Laura answered. “And this party may get noisy and go on until late. No, I’m heading off to Fiji for a shoot early tomorrow morning. I’ve had to reluctantly book into a city hotel this time around to ensure I get the sleep I need. I’m only staying until eleven.”

Amelia already had a good instinct about Laura and she impulsively blurted out an offer.

“Well, since you like this area so much, while Julie’s away you can always come to my place. I’m next door, right next to the beach. In fact my back gate leads out onto it,” Amelia suggested. “I’m quite serious. I’ll give you my number later.”

“Honestly, you have no idea how nice that offer sounds Amelia, especially compared to being alone for days in a huge hotel suite with absolutely nobody to relate to,” Laura started. “I may just take you up on that offer one day.”

“Good. Make sure you do!” Amelia reinforced.

In the conversation that followed, Amelia found herself becoming more and more intrigued at just how alive her new companion was. She just seemed to radiate energy through her eyes, her facial expressions and her hand movements. She could easily see how men could worship her. As she was having that thought, Amelia suddenly realised Laura was looking all over her in a peculiar way. She stopped when she became aware of Amelia’s questioning eyes.

“Sorry. In my line of work, I usually know the answer to this and not have to be impolite by actually asking,” she began.

“Asking what?” Amelia enquired.

“You seem absolutely flawless,” was the playful reply. “Is there any part of your body that’s not?”

Lowering her head, Amelia felt herself reddening for the second time in minutes.

“Ah ha! So! There is a weakness!” Laura pounced. “God, you’re nearly crimson! It must be well hidden away then.” She leaned in to the young artist. “Want to see my oddity?”

“Not if it’s too personal or embarrassing to you,” Amelia replied.

“After all this time, it’s not,” Laura shrugged. “You have to move your face closer to mine though to get the full effect. Even closer. Don’t be shy. Now, watch my face.”

Only centimetres separated them. There was no sign of anything amiss around the intense almond eyes, nor anywhere on the beautiful smooth skin. She was just looking down around the full mouth when Laura’s tongue shyly began to protrude.

“That’s it?” Amelia responded, almost in disappointment.

“Can you touch the tip of your nose with your tongue?” challenged Laura.

“No. And I’ve only ever seen a few others who can. Show me,” Amelia dared.

“Stay right where you are,” Laura instructed.

Amelia watched dutifully as Laura turned her face side-on. A longer length of tongue slowly re-appeared and began a series of almost wave-like movements. Then it curled upwards and easily touched the tip of Laura’s nose. Amelia was fascinated. It was so long and almost seemed to have a life of its own.

Laura turned her face to Amelia’s, just two centimetres away. The thick moist flesh moved across and touched the tip of her nose. Giggling with surprise, Amelia stayed still, fascinated as even more protruded and it playfully swiped her cheek. When it started to lightly lick her chin, it made her titter again. Laura eased it back. Amelia sat back, amazed at the controlled pressure in its touches.

“That was awesome,” Amelia exclaimed. “Was it all out in the end?”

“Not all, no. And you’re not put you off by it one little bit, are you?” Laura observed “You even seemed to be enjoying my little oddity. I guess we all have to have one. Perhaps once we get to know one another better, you’ll show me yours.”

My God, no way, Amelia briefly thought, offering only a bashful smile.

The warm conversation continued to flow and Amelia started to feel flattered by the genuinely warm attention Laura gave her. If they shared a laugh or a mutually pleasant thought, Laura would lean forward and lightly touch her forearm or leg. She too found herself doing the same as she hung off every word Laura said. In a lull while Laura refreshed both their drinks, she reflected that it had just been over a day since Rob had left.

Her self confidence bahis şirketleri had grown steadily with Laura and she became more and more fluent as they compared views and observations across a range of topics. Amelia welcomed Laura’s gentle probing asking her about her likes and dislikes, constantly surprised when Laura expanded on her own that they shared so much in common. Their conversation ran smoothly until she asked Laura what she was least keen about in her profession.

“Mainly the drain and the solitude of constantly travelling around,” came the sober revelation. “Being single and alone is starting to get to me. Honestly Amelia, count your blessings being married. You wouldn’t have to face being lonely very much I imagine.”

This struck a deep nerve, and Amelia was not able to fully evade it. She started well enough by admitting she did have some idea of Laura’s plight, going on to explain Rob’s career, his three long absences and how she had increasing trouble coping each time. Then tears started welling and Amelia had to stop in mid-sentence. She was unearthing too much pain to go on, and took advantage of the offered arms, thankful for the warmth and closeness before dabbing an offered napkin to her eyes and leaning back.

Sensitive to the fact that this had become too delicate a topic to persist, Laura decided to lighten things up. Tossing her hair behind her shoulders and sticking her chest out, her hands did a game-show flourish around it.

“So honey, you haven’t actually said whether you like the boobs or not?” she asked in a mock American drawl, ending with a cheesy grin.

Caught by surprise, Amelia snickered, relishing the relief and instantly starting to cheer up. She glanced at them briefly. “I’m not sure how to answer that and any attempt by me to put on an accent would be abysmal. Let me just say they look perfect.”

Laura leaned forward confidentially. “Thanks. But I have to be honest.” She playfully looked about as though about to divulge a State secret. “They’ve been surgically enhanced!”

“Really?” the artist responded, curious. “What did you get done?”

“Nothing major. Just a tiny bit of reduction, with some shaping and symmetry work last year. Plus some proactive anti-gravity work. Believe it or not Amelia, it was claimable as a work-related expense on my tax,” she confided in a self-mocking tone.

Amelia laughed again. “You look too young for cosmetic surgery. Aren’t we about the same age, Laura? I’m twenty eight.”

“Twenty eight? I thought you were six years younger. Well, thanks for your compliment, but I’m thirty two,” answered Laura. “I’m one of the few people in modelling you’ll ever meet who admits to being over thirty. Tell me, out of interest, would you ever see yourself getting plastic surgery on your boobs later on?”

“Probably not,” Amelia said, then laughed and added. “It’s not claimable as a tax expense for artists as far as I know. Yours are a nice size and very shapely though, Laura. Were there any scars?”

“No permanent ones,” was the reply.

“Do they feel any different?” Amelia asked.

“You be the judge,” was the offhand reply from Laura, turning slightly side-on. Laura took Amelia’s left wrist with one hand and moulded her palm onto the thin material over the woman’s right breast. Amelia realised the imprint in her palm must be the slightly raised nipple.

The thought that this was surely a highly abnormal act between two women in public crossed her mind. But a glance into Laura’s lowered eyes showed no deviant intent. She looked about. Quite a few people were in their line of sight, but hardly anyone seemed interested in them, let alone shocked or offended. Laura was right, she thought. This crowd is quite casual about a lot of behaviour that Navy folk would gape open-mouthed at.

“So, be honest. Does it feel natural?” she heard Laura ask. The guiding hands trustingly rose, isolating Amelia’s palm. After a few seconds, the artist let it timidly move on the breast surface then became bold enough to let it explore, careful though to avoid the aureole area.

After what she deemed a polite amount of time, Amelia casually withdrew her hand to her lap as the other one swung her wine glass round to her lips.

“I’m hardly an expert, but it does feel natural, yes. I’ve only my own to judge by though,” she said apologetically taking a sip.

“That’s an interesting point. I wonder if yours would feel the same to me.”

She was too distracted emptying her glass to fully appreciate the full meaning of Laura’s response until it was too late. Frozen, she felt the hand that had nonchalantly slid under her loose T-shirt firmly cover her left bra cup. She decided to swallow her initial objection, not wanting to seem prudish or to draw unnecessary attention.

“What on earth made you put such a thick bra on?” she heard Laura’s soft chiding. “I can’t tell a thing through this. But it’s a front opener. Let’s remedy this.”

Amelia was totally stunned, looking down past her empty wine glass as it hovered aimlessly. She was unprepared when Laura’s expert hand found the centre of her bra and with one quick tweak she felt the tell-tale sudden sense of release.

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