Petra’s Tale Pt. 02

A ONE NIGHT STAND.

Petra has had a one night stand with Alicia but as it turns out, Alicia is somewhat reluctant to take things further. In this chapter we see them part as they struggle to put it all behind them, Petra gets married to a man but finds her desires for women are only strengthened by her marriage.

Author’s note. I won’t be able to publish the next chapter until the end of next week when I get back from Copenhagen and Stockholm. Thank you for all the kind comments and feedback, it makes it all the more worthwhile.

Alicia has read what I wrote last week and wanted to add her input into her state of mind after our one night stand. She admits to being confused and felt like she was clinging to a log in the middle of a stretch of water with two bodies of land in close proximity. She equated the land to choices, one meant she would be forever gay and the other involved rejecting her feelings and going down the traditional route.

Her mother was vehemently opposed to homosexuality and was part of some ‘family’ committee trying to prohibit sex education in secular schools. This struck me at the time as being hypocritical because her children were in private schools, which are usually run by churches but Alicia has said that common sense was never part of her mother’s vocabulary.

“It’s like she took a black marker pen and just drew lines over that entry in the dictionary, along with other words like hypocrite and homosexual.”

When she came back to Monash after her father finally passed away I detected no small amount of tension. It was like she was internalising her conflict and by natural extension, excluding anyone coming from outside to help. We remained friends but not once did we ever get ourselves into a situation where we couldn’t be disturbed, and whilst she initiated that protocol, I merely carried it on even when her enthusiasm for it waned. To be honest, if we had given into our natural desires and consummated our relationship I have doubts that it would have worked. Alicia’s mother had a strong hold over her children, and that grip only strengthened now that her husband was dead. Apparently he’d been a moderating influence on her worst excesses.

By the end of my final year though we’d moved on and I’d managed to put my overt seduction of a virginal Alicia down to an alcohol-fuelled thing. She’s spot on though when she says that I’m the thinker who turns things every which way but loose. Part of my decision to keep my hands to myself lay in the fact that Alicia was emotionally drunk, she’d lost her father quite suddenly and her mother had taken control of the reins in no uncertain fashion. Factor in her first sexual experience was a one night stand with a woman and it’s no surprise I was keen to put everything into a little box. It sat there very quietly so I thought but it was always there just waiting for me to open but I’ll get to that later.

First of all I have to explain how an atheist turned into a Christian lay pastor, to use the correct term. As I’ve mentioned already I was an atheist whilst doing this religious studies course, I had a respect for other religions but my interest in them was purely academic. That all changed when Ron was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer when I graduated from university. Ron was a hardened atheist to the point he could be a pain in the arse but faced with his own death that began to ebb away to reveal his inner doubts. His father had been a preacher and his mother was likewise very religious although his father wasn’t above mental abuse and he occasionally lifted his hands to his long-suffering wife.

One of his nurses was a man by the name of John, he was studying part time at bible college but had deferred a year to save up enough money to finish his course. He too had grown up in a household where a Christian man had mentally abused his wife and that was what drew him and Ron together to the point that Ron recanted his atheist views and became a Christian. Mum was staggered by this change in her husband but put it down to the massive doses of morphine he was getting. I on the other hand had a different take on the matter.

I accepted that whilst we had no physical proof of an actual God, religious belief could bring some comfort in times of need and thus I openly encouraged him to explore. John of course thought that I was a Christian when I brought in a book I’d picked up at a Christian bookshop and it was only when he came out with some Christian saying that invited a Christian response that he realised I was actually an atheist.

“I’m sorry,” he apologised, “I thought you were.”

“One of you?” I smiled crookedly, “I have a doctorate in divinity but I’m not religious.”

That might have put some men off but not John and over the course of the next few months we became quite friendly. We discussed religion frequently, tossing arguments back and forth and he’d fall back on his faith answers all questions, which clashed with my empirical view. However due to the fact we were the same age our conversations drifted to other matters and before too long I was dating escort my dad’s nurse. It was a somewhat casual affair because I was still standing watch over dad but somewhere in all that drama I came to believe not so much in God as a physical being, but the idea that faith in something whether it be a white guy in the sky or the Higher Power in an AA meeting found fertile ground in me.

This new ground was somewhat alien to me. John was the first man I’d met, apart from the gay men, who didn’t succumb to my feminine wiles and I did try hard to seduce him, doing everything but straddle him. I finally realised that he was the first man to look past the physical and instead look inside me as a woman, a novel perspective indeed. Looking back I can’t help but feel a slight twinge of regret at how it eventually panned out because even though I was involved with John in a romantic way, I found myself looking at women. Perhaps I was trying to find something of Alicia in one of them but as the months rolled on I found myself more and more involved in John’s life. He used to bounce his ideas off me, he was writing a thesis on New Testament feminism and because of my background in theology and ancient history I became the chief reader.

I suppose it’s true to say that I fell in love with his writing first, he was a good writer and when he eventually proposed I said no at first, purely out of shock but when he asked a second time some three weeks later I gave in and said yes. At the time mum was a bit concerned that I might be getting sucked into some weird cult. She was still trying to reconcile herself to the fact that Ron had indeed undergone a deathbed conversion. I reassured her that I was marrying John not his church but fate must have been sniggering under her breath as she kept spinning my web because not long after he proposed I signed up to a bible course run by the local Baptist church.

It was one of those foundations for Christian service type courses that on balance was quite a good course because they weren’t shoving their religion down your throat, but somewhere in the midst of that I underwent some sort of psychic change. It was nowhere near as dramatic as Ron’s but I felt some sort of change, a recognition that perhaps there was a Power greater than me. I’ve heard it said that one of the twelve steps in AA talks about coming to believe in a higher power and years down the track I can admit that was probably closer to the truth for me.

At the time though it was put out as something of a triumph for his church because an atheist had signed up to a bible course and ‘came to believe’ in God, Jesus and the resurrection of those who had died in Christ. What my brothers and sisters in Christ failed to see was that my conversion had more to do with my pragmatism than actual faith. I was in love with John, a man who had resisted my best attempts at seduction and seen the woman within and to be honest in those early days I did love him dearly. He was unflappable, slow to anger and his forgiveness was always there, granted we fought but I always felt guilty for the things I said.

But I’m rambling! I’m trying to compress several years into a few pages and so let me be as brief as possible.

We married when I was twenty five, an acceptable age I thought but I had no intention of having children right away, despite John’s wish for children. Instead I threw myself into my new job, a counsellor for a local charity, it was pretty mundane stuff. Our clients were people who’d fallen onto hard times financially. We assessed their needs, worked out a payment plan and took that to their creditors for a formal agreement. I actually found it quite exhilarating but it was at this place that I first flirted with the idea of revisiting my gay side as I called it.

Vanessa was a thirty two year old woman who’d been divorced for seven years after surviving a seven year marriage she described as pure mental torture. Her ex husband had a restraining order out against him that prevented him from going within a mile of her, thankfully he’d packed up and moved interstate to Cairns. It’s a town in the far north of Queensland that has long been known as the last port of call before you hit the jungle. For years it was a magnet for those running from the law, the Social Welfare department and society in general. It’s also one of those towns that tourists flock to in ever increasing droves.

I was drawn to Vanessa because she had a vulnerability to her that reminded me of Amanda and Alicia but she’d accepted her bisexuality quite readily after a short term affair a few years ago. Indeed she seemed quite content to just play the field and for some strange reason she alighted upon me as being a potential notch on her bedpost. To this day I have no idea why, I was newly married and freely admitted to being a regular churchgoer, maybe it was a challenge or she just wanted to see how far it would go.

As it turned out, she almost got to first base when I dropped in at her place one Friday afternoon to give her some papers to sign. They were the standard permission to act on a client’s bursa eve gelen escort behalf when approaching creditors and as I hadn’t been there long enough, she had to countersign. I was a bit distracted due to the fact John and I had been involved in some fairly complicated discussions with a real estate agent. We were trying to buy a house but there were problems with the sellers who had changed their price, much to the agent’s frustration.

“How does he feel about the arrangement?” Vanessa asked as she pushed the paper towards me.

“Pretty good, it was a fairly positive meeting all things considered,” I glanced at her as she slipped a hand beneath the collar of her blouse.

“Good,” she leaned back and fluffed out her hair, “so, you’ll put this through this afternoon?”

“Um, no, I’m doing the morning shift tomorrow so I’ll pop it in my safe at home and take it to work in the morning.”

“I’m so glad I don’t have to work tomorrow,” she undid the second button on her blouse and stroked her throat.

“Any plans for tomorrow?” I pulled my eyes from the deepening vee.

“Hair appointment, nails, and a bit of shopping,” she propped on her palm, “and then I think I’ll drop in at the local pub. They’re having a dirty thirties night, so with any luck I’ll find a dirty thirty something woman to bed, or a man but these days I’m gravitating more and more to women,” she peered at me for a moment.

“Sorry, I know you’re probably against gay sex.”

“I’m not,” I fiddled with my cuff, “it’s just a different way of loving.”

“Exactly,” she raised her wine in salute, “you sound like you’ve walked on the wild side before.”

“Once,” I admitted.

“And?”

I shifted in my seat.

“It was, nice.”

“Just nice?” Vanessa studied me as she fiddled with the faux pearl necklace, “how far did you go?”

“All the way,” I admitted with a half laugh, “I’m a boots and all girl.”

“Hmm, mm,” she put her glass down and leaned back against the couch, “would you fancy going out together one night?”

It took a few moments to register her intent and my eyes widened, not at the suddenness of the offer but the flutter in my stomach at the thought of it. She however read something different into it due to her seniority at work and she coughed and leaned forward suddenly.

“Shit, shit, sorry. I shouldn’t have said that, it’s the wine.”

I looked at her wineglass, which was nearly empty and nodded.

“Wine does have the same effect but you’re right, it’s not something we should discuss,” I leaned over to gather the papers together. “Maybe I’ll drop into the office on the way back instead of taking these home with me.”

“And you won’t tell anyone about what I just said?”

“Of course not,” I looked at her, “you’ve been drinking, you said it and I said no. Let’s just let it all go through to the keeper and move on.”

“Thank fuck for that,” she exhaled, “God, I am so sorry.”

“It’s fine,” I reassured her, “honestly, and I’m flattered but also recently married.”

What I didn’t tell her though was that I sat for nearly fifteen minutes outside the office trying to collect myself. I couldn’t predict how I would have reacted if she’d made a pass at me and that was what concerned me the most. Here was me, newly married to a really nice guy, I had a good circle of friends from both the church and the secular world and yet in a heartbeat I could have thrown it all away on a one night stand with a woman.

One thing that came out of that brief encounter was Vanessa’s decision to put me on an accelerated management course that also entailed going to management courses. She still flirted with me but it was always in a joking kind of way, which made it sound innocent but also playful. To distract the attention of the other women in the office she also came out with suggestive remarks to them as well but both of us knew that she had eyes for me and that merely heightened my desire and posed the obvious question. Am I bisexual?

That was a question with no easy answer. On the outside I had the mannerisms of a straight woman but inside I was still attracted to women in a big way, which perhaps explains why I was very often drawn to women’s bible study and prayer groups and not for the ‘normal’ reasons. I mean to say that we’re all secretly lusting after each other is disingenuous at best and downright chauvinistic at worst. However I was conflicted because it felt wrong to be sitting in the same room as some very attractive women who were totally unaware that I was secretly looking at them. What made it worse was when women did wardrobe adjustments on each other, which has been happening for thousands of years but when a woman I was particularly attracted to touched something I was wearing then I felt as if I was hiding behind a mask that would slip. If she really knew what I was thinking would she be standing so close to me?

And yet despite all of what I’ve just mentioned I loved being around the women in these groups because it was a relief to be with görükle escort your own kind. When I was with John it felt somewhat safer because I was able to slip into a well-defined role that I’d been cultivating for years, I knew how men thought and how to keep them happy. However staying with what I’ve just mentioned it does explain to some degree why I agreed to take a larger role in the youth and young adult groups, more so the first because there was a natural prohibition against taking things further with teenagers. I felt as if a burden had been shifted and it showed in my overall demeanour to the point that when the role of joint youth pastor was held out to me I took it.

The official title was lay youth pastor and this despite my credentials, I hadn’t gone through the three year training course to become an accredited pastor. Nevertheless, I accepted the restraints of the role readily enough, it meant I couldn’t perform weddings or conduct funerals and that was no bad thing in retrospect. It was also a part time role, so I held onto my position at the charity right up until the end although the last few years I was part time.

Getting back to the accelerated training course though, Vanessa booked me to go to a five day conference in Sydney that would count as a credit for this course.

“When I did it I learned a lot,” she stroked her chin, “and because it’s in Sydney you’ll be put up in a hotel,” she pushed an envelope across the desk, “the details are in there along with your tickets, bring me back a postcard.”

It was an exciting opportunity although it had come at a stressful time. John and I had put in a bid for a house in Kallista but the seller had changed the price at the last moment, which was causing the agent no end of frustration. They’d managed to add a small amount to the price but that all depended on us saying yes and the seller signing off on the deal. The house was a delightful cottage in Kallista, a suburb in the outer east of Melbourne. Located between Belgrave and Olinda, Kallista is home to two state forests where you’ll find healthy populations of Lyrebirds. I’d fallen in love with the cottage the moment I walked inside, it was far enough from more populous suburbs but still a short drive for the weekly shopping trip.

It was weighing heavily on my mind after my flight to Sydney and showed most vividly when I was booking into a hotel in downtown Sydney because I left my credit card on the counter, it was under a hotel brochure I’d picked up earlier I didn’t see it until a woman standing behind me tapped me on the back as I was walking away with my suitcase.

“You forgot something,” I turned around as she spoke to find her holding my credit card. I looked at it and winced.

“Oh, thank you, sorry, it’s been a long day.”

“Understandable,” she grinned, “I had the same thing happen to me when I was in Amsterdam last year, thankfully there was a good Samaritan who chased after me,” she took a step back.

“And here was me thinking some lusty Dutchwoman was making a pass at me.”

I blinked as I made the connection and it was then I took a good look at her. She was about forty or thereabouts with dyed blonde hair judging by the dark roots cut into a bob style, she had a petite figure clad in a dark blue slip dress over a black blouse. I felt a slight twinge of anxiety mixed with desire as she too noticed my eyes.

“Sorry, I shouldn’t have said that.”

“I’m not homophobic,” I replied, “you just took me by surprise, that’s all.”

“We don’t all wear army boots although one of my ex girlfriends was in the army but when we went out on dates she always wore heels.”

“I know, my best friend, Amanda is quite the fashionista,” I paused, “I’m Petra.”

“Susan,” she held out her hand.

I took her hand and felt the desire growing stronger but then it dissipated a little when she released my hand and turned to the receptionist.

“Well all’s well that ends well,” she smiled crookedly.

The receptionist adjusted his tie as she looked at him and Susan reached out and pointed at it.

“Where did you get that tie?”

“Um, David Jones,” he fiddled with the silvery tie that had a black Maori design on it, “my partner bought it for me a few years ago.”

“Fantastic design,” she peered at it, “is it a Maori design?”

“I um, think so,” he blushed, “he’s part Maori.”

“I must get along to David Jones,” she propped on the counter, “I’ve got a reservation.”

“Certainly, ma’am, your name?”

The encounter was at an end, so I thought but as I was unpacking my suitcase I heard her voice outside the door. She was on the phone to someone because I heard her say, “okay, okay, so I’ll hear from you tomorrow morning then, take care, love you.”

She was staying in the very next room and I consoled myself with the knowledge that she was obviously with someone else but the encounter had certainly fanned the flames of desire and I know it had something to do with my struggle with desire combined by the pressure John was putting on me to start a family. Here I was, alone in a city of five million people and no one would know if I slept with another woman. It felt both alien because I just wasn’t the cheating kind and exciting, I mean it’s not like I could get pregnant and there was little chance she’d try to contact me back in Melbourne for a round two.

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