| The Book
by Kelly Adams (email@example.com)
For Sally, the day began just like any other normal day. Her clock
radio went off at 6:30 am, "Morning Edition" prodding her out of her
sleep and into the waking world. A quick workout followed, then a
shower, a bowl of Special K and a cup of yoghurt for breakfast. She
did up her hair, put on her lavender skirt-suit, grabbed her purse
and headed out the door of her apartment, amazingly a few minutes
It was only after she left for the day that things started to
On her way to the elevator, Sally saw Terri, her neighbor, step
briefly out of her apartment to grab the newspaper from in front of
her door. "Good morning," she said.
Sally and Terri had one of those neighborly relationships that is
hard to quantify; they didn't know each other well enough to be
considered friends, but they were definitely closer than mere
acquaintances. Although they had known each other for over two
years, since Sally moved into the building, Sally supposed that it
was their vastly different lifestyles that kept them form become
close friends: Terri was a stay-at-home of two, while
Sally was a professional art dealer and unattached lesbian.
"Hi Sally," Terri said, standing up with the paper in her hand. She
struggled to keep her robe from opening with her free hand. "Do you
have time for coffee?"
"Sure, thanks," Sally replied. It was an invitation Sally couldn't
turn down--Terri's brew was much better than the cup she would
normally grab from Starbucks.
Sally followed Terri into her kitchen. In addition to having
different lives, the two women were quite different physically as
well: Sally was tall, fit, olive-skinned with long black hair; Terri
was much shorter, curvy, with fair skin and short curly hair.
Sally was dressed smart for work, while Terri had obviously just
gotten up: hair messed up, no make-up, wearing her robe. In fact,
Sally thought, Terri looked more than just a bit disheveled. There
was something else...
It wasn't until Sally isolated the odor in the air, hiding beneath
the strong smell of roasting coffee beans, that she figured it out:
sex. The combination of sweat and arousal was hanging around Terri,
who Sally figured had probably had sex with her husband not too long
For some reason, this realization really turned Sally on. Which was
funny, because she had never had any designs on Terri before. It
wasn't that she found Terri unattractive; far from it. But Sally had
long ago given up trying to seduce heterosexual women, especially
ones who were married. Still, Sally found herself wondering about
Terri, what she'd be like in bed, and if she'd even been with a
woman--or would want to.
"So, how's life?" Sally asked as she sat down at the table.
"Oh, fine, I suppose," Terri said as she brought a cup of coffee
over to Sally.
Sally dumped a good deal of cream into her cup and began to stir.
"Can't be too bad--looks like you and John had a bit of fun this
Terri blushed slightly and self-consciously pulled the front of her
robe tighter. "Well, one of us might have had fun," Terri said with
a bit of venom in her voice. "But I would hardly characterize laying
there on my back for a grand total of three minutes as fun."
Terri sat down across the table from Sally and took a sip from her
cup. "Still, I suppose I shouldn't complain too much. Many women I
know get hardly any sex at all after eight years of marriage and two
kids. At least John still finds me desirable."
Sally was finding Terri pretty darn desirable too, and thought it a
shame that she wasn't getting what she needed from her husband. "But
don't you want something more?"
"Well, orgasms, for one!"
Terri smiled, as though she was remembering what an orgasm felt
like. "I've got a husband who provides for his family, adores his
kids, and doesn't sleep around. That's more than most wives end up
getting these days. I can live without the orgasms."
Sally decided, right then and there, that she wanted to give Terri a
life that included not only her and husband, but orgasms as
well. And if her husband wouldn't give them to her, well, Sally knew
a neighbor who would be more than happy to!
Sally finished her coffee, then looked at her watch. "Oh shit, I'm
going to be late," she said.
"Thanks for stopping by," Terri said as she saw Sally to the door.
"It's nice to talk to someone in the morning whose idea of wit is
more than calling their younger a 'stinky-head.'"
Sally had an idea, a way to put her plan of bedding Terri into
motion. "Hey, are you doing anything this evening?"
"Not especially. Why?"
"I thought maybe you'd like to come over to my apartment for a bit.
We could eat pizza and Hagen-Daas, and watch Meg Ryan movies, and
have intelligent adult female conversation."
"I'd like that," Terri said with a smile. "Is seven okay?"
"Sounds perfect. See you then!"
Sally smiled to herself as she took the elevator down to the main
floor. She thought about Terri, and Terri's smile, her lips, her
breasts. She thought about that warm spot between Terri's legs, and
if it tasted as sweet as she hoped. Soon, she hoped, she would know.
She would show Terri the pleasure of being with another woman. And
orgasms. Lots and lots of orgasms!
Sally arrived at her office about fifteen minutes late. She stopped
by the coffee machine to grab a powdered donut and another cup of
coffee. She stuck the donut into her mouth and preceded to walk past
her assistant's desk into her office, using her behind to push the
Five minutes later, Jayne, her assistant, came in to go over her
schedule for the day. Sally freely admitted (though only to herself)
that she had hired Jayne because, out of all the qualified
applicants, Jayne was the most attractive. She had been disappointed
to learn that Jayne was a committed heterosexual, but delighted to
discover that Jayne was an amazing administrative assistant. She
figured it was better this way; lovers will come and go, but good
assistants are worth their weight in gold.
In addition to her usual meetings with clients and calls to auction
houses, Sally had a meeting with a lawyer from her late Great Aunt
Ethel's estate that she had nearly forgotten about. Of all her
mother's relatives, Ethel was the only one of whom Sally had any
happy memories. She had spent two summers at Ethel's home in her
early teens; one was the happiest summer of her life, while the
Ethel had passed away nearly two months ago; that Sally had only
heard of her great aunt's passing from the lawyers last week spoke
volumes about the relationship between her ad the rest of the
family. They had not been pleased when her had an
Iraqi (a 'fucking towel-head,' as her ignorant Uncle Joe put it).
That Sally's ill-timed conception was the reason for the marriage
was plenty enough reason for them to treat her with derision, but
learning that Sally was a put her on the permanent pariah
The lawyer and her assistant arrived at about 2pm. She was impecably
dressed, in a flattering yet conservative charcoal grey skirt suit,
dark-rimmed glasses, and her hair braided and tied up. Her
assistant--an intern, perhaps?--was dressed in typical male 'work
casual' and was carrying an old, fairly large handled case.
Jayne offered the guests coffee which they turned down, preferring
to get right to the business at hand. The lawyer, who introduced
herself as a partner at Jamison and Associates, had a that
Sally's Aunt Ethel had recorded as part of the will:
"Hi Sally, sweetheart," Ethel's image on the television screen said.
She was obviously a few years than when Sally had last seen
her; but, while not looking in perfect health, seemed to be as sharp
as ever. "Since you're seeing this, that must mean that the big C
has finally caught up with me. But I've had a good, long and happy
life, so don't shed any tears over my passing.
"I know from your letters that you've done very well for yourself,
so I know that you don't really need anything from me. And besides,
if I leave you too much those idiot relatives of ours will contest
the will and just tie everything up for years. Still, I'm leaving
you some shares in a little company my investment advisor had me buy
some years back--hopefully they're worth something, I don't know.
"And I'm also leaving you the book. I think you know which one it
is, the book that you and Amanda spent so much time with that first
summer you stayed with me. I know that it brought you joy, just as
it did for me when I first read it when I was a teenaged girl. I
hope that someday you'll be able to pass the joy on to another
Sally didn't really hear the rest of the tape. The book. After all
these years she had nearly forgotten about it.
Sally had Jayne give the lawyer the contact information for her
financial advisor, thanked the two of them for coming by, and had
Jayne show them out. She asked Jayne to cancel the rest of her
appointments for the day, then asked to be left alone for a bit.
The book, more of a tome really, was in the case that the lawyer had
left behind. Tentatively, Sally opened the case by undoing the
buckles and folding down the sides. The book was just as Sally
remembered it: about four inches thick, leather bound, gold-gilded
leaves. There was no title on the cover, just a rudimentary map.
Sally didn't open the book--she couldn't stand to, not yet. But the
memories came flooding back anyway:
Amanda had lived a couple blocks away from Aunt Ethel. She was
pretty, blonde, tall, smart, funny and a year than Sally. The
two of them became fast friends that first summer Sally spent at her
aunt's, spending nearly every day together.
One rainy day, up in Ethel's attic, they found the book. They were
fascinated by the tales contained therein, of the mystical land of
al-Hazim, full of dragons and djinni, magic carpets and mystic
potions, handsome heroes, beautiful princesses and talking animals.
She and Amanda imagined themselves as adventuring princesses in
al-Hazim, discovering treasure, fighting pirates and battling evil
Everyday she and Amanda would read a in the book, and then
reimagine the adventure with themselves as participants. When they
ran out of from the book, they made up their own. It was
fun. It was magical. It was romantic.
Somehow, through all of their imaginary adventures, she and Amanda
fell in love.
Sally could still remember the first time that she and Amanda had
kissed. There was a storm raging outside. They were huddled together
up in the attic with the book, the wind banging the shutters and the
light dimming as the power throbbed. Their lips met, softly and
longly. Sally had never felt that way before. Amanda was beautiful
and special, and Sally was in love.
They were inseparable over the summer, within their fantasy
adventures and without. But eventually the summer ended, and Sally
had to return home.
That next year for Sally was the worst she had ever lived. Not only
was she a half-Arab teenaged freshman girl, she was a half-Arab
teenaged freshman *lesbian*, increasing her status as a social
outcast to the nth degree. And as if that wasn't enough, her divorced; and, as most teenagers feel, she felt responsible (though
she wasn't) and that neither of her wanted her around (which
was only true sometimes).
Still, Sally had summer to look forward to, when she could return to
Aunt Ethel's and be with Amanda. They would once again be able to be
together, to play together, to love together. It was the only thing
that kept her life bearable that year, knowing that come June she
and Amanda would be together again.
Sally was crushed when, upon returning to her aunt's that summer,
she learned that Amanda had a boyfriend, and wanted nothing to do
with, as she put it, "those silly games we played, and those...
those 'things' we did."
Sally had been driven to despair, and it had only been through the
love and kindness of her Aunt Ethel that she managed to survive.
That had been the last that Sally had seen of her great aunt,
although they exchanged letters often.
Now, Ethel was dead, and had left Sally the book. The book that had
led to such joy, and ended up causing so much pain.
Sally left the office early that afternoon, taking a cab as she
didn't want to tote the book with her on the subway. Dark clouds had
rolled in, and it began to storm as Sally left the cab. She thanked
the doorman for holding open the door for her and took herself and
the book up the elevator and into her apartment.
After setting the book in its case on the kitchen table, Sally
stripped out of her work clothes and fell into her bed for a little
nap. Though she hadn't really done all that much today, she still
felt exhausted. She was asleep as soon as her head hit the pillow.
She dreamed, for the first time in ages, about al-Hazim. She was
fourteen again, and Amanda was with her. They were dressed in silk,
running through the palace corridors, attempting to evade their
tutor, Suleyman, who thought that running around and having
adventures was no way for princesses to behave. They went into the
courtyard with the hanging gardens and hid behind the large plants.
Amanda kissed her, and Sally giggled with delight. Unfortunately,
the sound of their laughter led Suleyman to where they were hiding.
When Sally woke, it was nearly six-thirty, and she remembered that
Terri was due over in just half an hour. She took a fast shower,
quickly tamed her long wavy black hair, rolled on some deodorant and
brushed her teeth. She wanted to look casual, so she put on a pair
of white drawstring pants and a grey ribbed tank top over her
underwear (panties, no bra). She finished off by dabbing a slight
bit of perfume behind each ear.
Sally was just walking out of her bedroom when she heard Terri's
knock at the door. She crossed the living room, her slightly damp
bare feet sticking a bit to the hardwood floor.
Terri was dressed even more casually than Sally, wearing a simple
denim overall over a white tank tee. "Hi Terri, come on in," Sally
"Thanks. I brought a bottle of wine--hope that's okay," Terri said
as she entered. "It's nothing fancy, but I thought that maybe we
could do for a little something to relax."
"It's great, thanks," Sally replied as she took the bottle from her
guest. "I just woke up from a nap, so I haven't ordered the pizza
yet--I hope you don't mind."
"Not at all. We just got through with dinner, so I'm not terribly
hungry yet anyway."
"Have a seat on the couch," Sally offered as she went into the
kitchen to find the phone book. "Is one with everything okay?"
"Sure, but no anchovies."
"Okay, no anchovies." Sally looked up the number for the closest
place that would deliver, called in their order, then poured Terri
and herself each a glass of the sweet white that Terri had brought.
Sally prefered dry wines, but wasn't going to spoil the opportunity
to get a bit of alcohol into Terri's system to loosen her up a bit.
"I love what you've done with the place," Terri told Sally as she
took the glass of wine from her friend. "The artwork you have is
"That's one of the advantages of being an art dealer--you get to
pick from the best."
"Hmm, maybe I should go into used book dealing," Terri mused.
Sally learned that Terri had majored in comparative literature in
college. She had wanted to go into teaching, but when she got
pregnant soon after graduation her dreams of a career were pretty
much dashed. "I thought I could do it all," she told Sally. "But the
baby ended up being so much work, and with John's job paying well we
really didn't need to extra money."
Sally placed a sympathetic hand on her friend's shoulder. "Surely
there must be a way to meet your family's needs as well as your
own." She squeezed slightly on the word 'needs', sending a signal
that the needs she was referring to were more than just professional
aspirations. The moment was there--Terri wasn't pulling away. Sally
started to lean in to give Terri a kiss... then the buzzer rang.
They both jumped, startled by the interruption.
"Must be the pizza," Sally said, standing up from the couch. The
moment was ruined--hopefully there would be another.
"Yeah. Must be."
Sally went to the intercom to tell the doorman she'd be right down,
then grabbed her keys and put on a pair of sandals. "I'll be right
back," she told Terri.
After giving the delivery a generous tip, Sally took the pizza
back up the elevator. The smell of the tomato sauce and melted
mozzarella in the confined space was too much for Sally to bear, so
she took out a piece and took a bite.
When she reentered her apartment, Terri wasn't in the living room.
"Hey, where's you go?" Sally called.
"In the kitchen," Terri replied.
Sally crossed the room, taking another bite of pizza. Turning the
corner, she saw Terri standing at the kitchen table, looking at the
book. The book. And she was turning pages towards the back. "This is
fascinating," Terri said. "I've never seen or heard of this. And in
these later stories, one of the characters is named Salima--Sally,
same as you!"
Sally wanted to shout out, to tell Terri to stop reading, but her
mouth was full of pizza. She was remembering again--that maybe it
wasn't all just a fantasy...
"Hmm, this is interesting," Terri said as she continued to turn the
pages. "These last few pages are blank. And right before that, it
'"Hmm, this is interesting," Terri said as she continued to turn the
"Whoa, that's... that's..."
Sally dropped the pizza box to the floor as she felt a feeling come
over her--a feeling she hadn't felt in over sixteen years. The room
spun, and she blacked out.
[end chapter 1]
The Fine Print: This is copyright 2001 Kelly Adams.
Permission is granted to distribute via and archive in
alt.sex.stories.moderated and ASSTR in accordance with a.s.s.m.
guidelines and policies.
Visit my site at http://www.asstr.org/~Kelly/