The Club – Chapter 4
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I swallowed hard as we walked up to the door we were looking for. Lisa was clutching my hand tightly; she had grabbed it as soon as she could after we got out of the car and her grip had got tighter with every step.Taking both her hands and looking into her eyes, I asked, “Are you sure?”“Yes,” she replied, quietly at first and then she steeled herself; pushing her shoulders back she repeated, “Yes.”I raised my hand, clenched the knocker and pulled it back.+++It had been a long six months, starting with the night Lisa had told me she was going out for a business meal with the toe rag Mitch. There was a lot of fallout from that night, a lot of broken trust, but also some broken walls.It turned out that we both had deep-seated issues, nothing major but working together were enough to unsettle the bliss we had been accustomed to. Lisa had not trusted me enough to demand we find a way to meet her needs. She also hadn’t trusted me enough to talk about what Mitch was hinting at before the damage was done.This was built upon her perception of my feelings about her needs and my failure to be able to cross the line to even try a little of the lifestyle she needed. She thought that I was disrespecting her with my laughter when I was laughing at my own failure. Lisa now understood that this was more about my nerves than anything else.Then when Mitch started wheedling into her psyche over a couple of years, everything went to shit. Effectively he found the one tiny chip in her armour around our marriage. She was like a frog being boiled, Mitch kept turning up the heat, little by little, and Lisa didn’t notice the change until she was nearly cooked and I pulled her from the pan.Of some of the discussions we had before, I did not trust myself to look after Lisa’s needs, it was an alien way of life for me and I did not trust her to guide me. I had seen it as a bit of game and not realised quite how much it was a part of her. Then when everything had come out that night my absolute trust in her fidelity was shattered. All that remained were a million tiny reflections lying in shards like a broken mirror across the floor of our marriage.We were desperate. Desperately in love and desperate to save our marriage and our relationship. We are deeper than soul mates, we are twin flames. It is that connection that drove us to save us.+++When we first met, we barely realised the other was in the room. It was a quick introduction and then we carried on our own discussions with our own crowds. However, the following day I could have sworn I had said or done something wrong or I had started something but not finished it. Whatever it was, I just could not put my finger on it. Summer Fatih escort passed and I went off to start a postgraduate course and Lisa went to a different university to start her undergraduate one.The term flew by, meeting new friends both in the class and in my books and before I knew it, I was returning home for the Christmas break. I met with my friends a few times and on Christmas eve we headed out to the pub. We bumped into Lisa and her crowd, there was dancing and talking and drinking and laughing. When we were all kicked out of the pub, there were kisses and handshakes goodnight, wishing everyone a happy Christmas as we went our separate ways. The following morning, I woke up feeling like a rat had died in my mouth. It was not from the alcohol the previous night, I had not had that much. It was that feeling again, something unfinished, left unsaid.New Year’s Eve came around and the same crowds at the same pub only with a much more party-like atmosphere. Every year it was an unofficial fancy dress party, my crowd had decided on characters from Alice in Wonderland and I had gone as the Mad Hatter. Then I saw her, suddenly I knew what had not been finished. Lisa was dressed as a cat, she had a skin-tight bodysuit on, she had painted a nose and whiskers on and was wearing a pair of ears and a tail and of course a collar. She also had on a pair of wrist cuffs with a clip, I found those curious but did not realise the significance of them or the collar until many years later.“Good evening, Mr Hatter, sir,” she said to me as we got closer“Hello there, Kitty-Cat,” I replied, which elicited a giggle from her.That night, without even thinking about it, we broke away from our crowds a little. We danced a little, but not a lot, it seemed we wanted to talk more. Some people tried to cut in, some people asked both of us to dance, far more requests for Lisa of course. She turned them all down and I reciprocated. At one point I went to get us some drinks and while waiting, I felt someone put their arm through mine. When I looked around, Lisa was standing there, looking up at me, smiling. She asked if we could go outside to talk and when there, she explained that some guy had been pestering her. When she felt me tense up, she stroked my arm; I will never forget her words.“No one will hassle me when we are together,” she said while looking up and smiling at me.This was the first time she had voiced her trust in me; it was not her last. It still winds me up, six months later, that that shit, Mitch, had found the zero-point-one per cent, possibly zero-point-zero-one per cent, of a gap in our trust and got his finger in there and Fındıkzade escort bayan pulled it wide open.Midnight approached, the music from inside the pub stopped and the countdown started. We remained sitting on the bench, facing each other and counting quietly. When we reached zero, we leant in, I put my hands on her knees and they slowly slid higher as our faces got closer. Our lips touched and I felt a spark, I knew after all the talk and our lips touching, I needed more. I didn’t intend on taking Lisa to bed that night, but I knew I had to know more about her. My hands reached her hips and I pulled her towards me and opened my mouth.Such sadness filled Lisa’s eyes in that instant. She broke off from the kiss, pulling her head back, she did not pull her body away from me though. As I went to speak, she held three fingers over my lips.“Peter,” she started, “I can’t. Not now.” A tear escaped and rolled down her cheek which I wiped away with my thumb. I then sucked my thumb dry.“I have… I am…”I rubbed her arm and said, “It’s okay, take your time.”After a pause, she said, “I’m in a relationship at college. If I wasn’t, I would love to kiss you more and talk more and who knows.”She looked down and then up at me, screwing up her eyes in obvious thought.“First off, relax. If you’re in a relationship, then we can’t go further, it’s simple. I trust that we can be friends though.” I was holding her hands now and she squeezed mine back, as I squeezed hers.Lisa looked me in the eyes, obviously sad, but gave a little smile and said, “Thank you.”Although we had not had snow yet that winter, unlike the Midlands and further north, it was still cold. We had not noticed it while we had been talking, but now we both shivered. I’m not ashamed to say that I sneaked a look at Lisa’s chest and saw the material of her outfit start to strain a little more.I took her hand and as I stood up, said, “Come on, Kitty-Cat, let’s go and do the rounds.”Lisa didn’t say anything, she just smiled.We went back inside to wish all our friends and other random people a happy New Year. When we got inside, Lisa hooked her arm in mine once again. Finally, around three in the morning we left the pub, Lisa was still clinging to my arm.“Can I walk you home?” I asked.“Please,” she replied.We got together a few more times before we had to return to our universities. It was the early nineties; mobile phones had just launched on commercial networks in Europe. Email, in any way like we know today, was still a few years away. So, we did something rarely heard of today and put pen to paper and wrote to each other regularly.Easter came and went, followed Escort Gaziosmanpaşa by exams and the year was over. Once again it was to the King’s Head, our local pub to meet up with my friends. I was sitting on ‘our’ bench chatting, sitting next to me was one of the girls from our crowd. I looked up and saw Lisa walking across the car park. She locked eyes with me and then looked to my right and faltered. As she was doing this, I was standing to greet her which presented her with a bit of a fait accompli. It confused the hell out of me, we had got on like a house on fire when we met over Easter and Lisa’s last letter ended saying how much she was looking forward to seeing me.I suddenly knew how the gunfighters in the Old West felt. The two of us facing each other down the dusty main street. Spectators either side, watching, wondering who would draw first, who would lay bleeding when the day was done.Something was wrong, rather than angling to meet her at the door, I walked straight to her. As I got to Lisa, I took her elbow and guided her across the road to the common.“Something’s up,” I said as we started to walk along the edge of the trees. It was more a statement than a question.Lisa stopped and turned to face me, putting a hand on my chest, she asked, “Won’t your girlfriend mind?”“Okay, if ever a girlfriend could not accept our friendship, it would be a deal-breaker.” I took her hands in one of mine and then lifted her chin.Looking her in the eye, I said, “A deal-breaker for her. We have not known each other long, but you are part of my life, which makes you part of the package.“In the short time since we met, I feel we’ve developed a deep and meaningful friendship already. The time we have spent together during holidays, the letters back and forth, discovering a little more about you with every letter spoken and written.“Here’s the important bit, Lisa,” I paused for effect. “My girlfriend…”“Yes?”“She doesn’t exist.”“But…” Lisa looked over to the pub, I think more specifically to where I had been sitting.Slowly but surely the penny dropped. “Oh, Annie? Oh god no! She’s just one of my crowd. I mean, she’s lovely and if anyone hurt her, I’d be more than happy to tear them a new one. But, no, we’re just mates.”Lisa visibly relaxed, that is until I tossed her question back at her. “Won’t your boyfriend mind?”She looked down and when she looked back up, she was biting her lip. There was a glint in her eye that, over time, I learnt was full of mischief. Then she swallowed and looked deadly serious, it was like a veil had been dropped over her face.“I was hoping to see you today, if not today, soon. When we talked on New Year’s Eve, I said if I wasn’t in a relationship…”I cut her off thinking I had put my foot in it. “Oh shit! I am so sorry, I just assumed.”“Assumed? Assumed what?”“That when you said relationship, I assumed it was a boyfriend.”She giggled and then said, “I can’t say I haven’t been curious, but no, you were right, it was a boyfriend.”
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