Teaser for A Godless Love by Brenda Thornlow
Chapter 3 teaser
Cherise met Aaron on her twenty-first birthday. Although her religious beliefs dictated that celebrating birthdays were a sin, she and her friends still acknowledged that this was a big day. Technically, there was no birthday party, no presents, and nothing else to indicate she and her friends were going out to celebrate; but there was a night out consisting of dinner and drinks ‘in moderation.’ Party time within the JW community! Even at the time, Cherise acknowledged this was pretty ridiculous, but she was grateful to her friends for simply remembering her big day. She even managed to keep her sarcastic comments to herself when Jennifer chose The Old Spaghetti Factory for their big night out; middletown suburbia's favorite Italian chain restaurant. She found referring to it as an ‘Italian restaurant’ to be a colossal joke.
While waiting for their table, she noticed the tall blonde stranger walk through the double doors surrounded by a few of her friends. She hoped that he was a guest of theirs and not someone who happened to walk in at the same time and would make his way to another part of the waiting area. To her relief, he was with the group. Her friend Jason introduced him to everyone as Aaron. Aaron just moved to Mission Viejo from Northern California. Where in Nor Cal he was from or why he moved to a boring bedroom community like Mission Viejo didn't matter to Cherise. She simply wanted to be near this beautiful person and gaze at him all night. His blue eyes bore into hers as they shook hands. She had a distinct feeling that he was as fascinated with her as she was with him. He was just about to say something to her when Jennifer butted in to introduce herself.
Bitch, Cherise thought. JW girls were so desperate. Since sex out-of-wedlock was an excommunicating offense within the religion, almost every single person was dying to get married. To make things worse, the married people Cherise and her friends knew expected for people her age to start looking around for their future spouse. In fact, Cherise had been asked a few times why she hadn't yet met anyone and she only turned twenty-one! Recently, she attended the wedding shower of a couple who were both eighteen years old. She had to run into the restroom as she was unable to contain her laughter when the bride-to-be opened a present that contained a crock pot and exclaimed "oh my God, cool!"
As the hostess led the group to their table she was happy to note that Aaron was by her side. As she sat down, he settled himself next to her.
When they got their drinks he leaned in and said, "I know it's a mortal sin to say this, but happy birthday to you."
She giggled demurely and to her horror felt herself blushing. Cherise immediately knew she and Aaron were kindred spirits. She believed all the rules imposed on the followers of this faith were completely ludicrous. She wasn't even 100% sure she understood the ‘no birthdays’ creed.
Although Aaron moved to the same city where Cherise lived, they were not in the same congregation. A month would go by before their paths crossed. One Sunday, as Cherise was making her way out of the Kingdom Hall - after explaining to one of the congregants why she wasn't going out preaching - she saw him outside speaking to an older couple. He was obviously there to attend the next meeting. He was laughing and although she had only met him once, she could tell it wasn't a genuine laugh. She noticed he wasn't wearing a tie which was a huge no-no. Just as she took note, he pulled the tie out of his pocket and showed it to the couple. There you go, she thought to herself. The couple had cornered him and started up a conversation to casually find out why he wasn't wearing it. Cherise didn't realize she was staring until they made eye contact. She wasn't completely sure, but it looked as though his face lit up when he saw her. He's probably relieved that he now has an ‘out,’ she thought. He waved to her, said his goodbye to the couple, and walked over.
"Don't forget to put on your tie!" said the husband.
"Seriously?" Cherise asked with a smile.
"I know!" he laughed, "But these things are so uncomfortable that I'd rather wait till last minute to put it on." To Cherise, it almost seemed as if he were apologizing for not wearing it. She literally waved it off and asked how he's been.
"Not bad," he responded, "I've been hoping to run into you. Also been kicking myself for not getting your number that night we met. I've wanted to ask Jason for it but...you know....you know how people are." he said nodding toward the Hall.
"Oh, no worries," she reached into her purse, grabbed a gas receipt, and wrote her number on the back. She knew exactly what he was worried about. The gossiping with these people was out of control, especially when it came to relationships and dating. If you wanted to stay under the radar, you had to keep everything close to your chest.
Before long, it was common knowledge within both congregations that the two were dating. This meant all kinds of questions about when they were getting married; would he work while she pursued preaching full-time (which was puzzling to Cherise as she never even hinted that she had any interest) and reminders from the long-time married couples not to go on dates alone because this could lead to ‘temptation.’ Unbelievably, they were even warned about going out with other couples and that they should keep it to either one person chaperoning or three or more people in attendance. So only odd numbers, Cherise thought to herself. Apparently, these people never heard of threesomes. The rules were exhausting.
"Hey," Aaron greeted her on the phone one night, "let's get out of here this weekend."
"What do you mean?"
"Ever been to Santa Barbara?"
"When I was a kid," Cherise was confused, "who's going?"
"Us. Just us."
"Really?" she was excited now. They needed time alone even though it was forbidden. How was a couple supposed to really get to know one another if they didn't spend quality time alone? Talking on the phone was not the same, no matter what they were told.
She thought about it for a second and asked, "Isn't it going to look suspicious if we both miss our meetings on the same Sunday?" That was, by no means, a far-fetched question. Their absence would be noticed in both congregations and people would talk.
"I don't care," he said, "we'll think of something when the time comes. I want to spend time with you without being constantly monitored." Cherise couldn't agree more. She was elated. Not only could she not wait to get out of town with him, but her imagination began taking her to places where she knew she shouldn't go. She wanted to ask about the room and sleeping arrangements but held off.
That Friday they both met at the bar of the Hilton in Santa Barbara. They drove separately not only because of their work schedules, but if anyone in Mission Viejo happened to see them in a car together unchaperoned, they would need to explain themselves. Cherise joined Aaron for a drink before they went up to their room, which she found out had a king sized bed they would share.
"Is that okay with you?" Aaron asked her as his lips grazed her neck. She shivered and felt the inside of her thighs heat up.
"Oh, yeah," she whispered. She took a gulp of her wine in an attempt to tame the nervousness she felt. This wouldn't be her first time. She had experience with one other person, but he wasn't of the same faith and didn't even live in the same state so unless she confessed to someone, there was no way of getting caught. She was now taking a chance ‘committing fornication’ with someone from the faith. What if he felt guilty afterward and confessed? Would he take her down with him?
As if reading her mind he said, "Don't worry, this is between us and nobody else."
"Same here. No one's business but ours."
In the bathroom of their hotel room, Cherise reapplied her makeup with shaky hands. She felt a combination of anticipation and uneasiness. She almost liked the feeling. She had no idea why she was fixing her makeup; she was supposed to be getting ready for bed. She looked down at what passed for pajamas; a t-shirt and shorts. A Snoopy t-shirt, of all things! Should she walk out there naked? Even though she had a little experience, no one but her parents and her gynecologist had ever seen her without clothes. She took a deep breath and walked out of the bathroom.
"These are the only pajamas I brought with me," she said, bashfully.
Aaron laughed. "I don't care."
He got up from the bed and shut off the television. He took her face in both his hands and kissed her. It was a deep kiss full of longing. They had kissed each other hello and goodbye before; a simple peck on the lips but, until now, they never had a chance to kiss each other in this way.
They wrapped their arms around each other and Aaron’s hand slid down to her bottom, gently pushing her upward. Then he slipped his hand under her shirt and began playing with one of her breasts. Cherise moaned and found herself pushing up against him, wanting him. He took one of her hands and placed it between his legs. She didn't know when he had the chance to open his pants, but there it was, and it was big. She felt his fingers inside her shorts and her body began to convulse. She had no idea how much she had been craving this type of physical contact.
Aaron laid her on the bed and started kissing her neck then made his way down to her breasts, her waist, her belly, then between her legs where his tongue teased her mercilessly. Cherise thought she would never stop coming. Her body was almost numb by the time Aaron entered her. Her other sexual experience was nothing like this. Every thrust made her want to scream.
He rolled off of her, laid on his back, and pulled her on top. Aaron watched as she rode him; her head thrust back and moaning, his hands squeezing both her breasts. He closed his eyes as watching her would make him come sooner than he wanted. After a few more thrusts, he couldn't stop himself and he came.
The two lay next to each, Aaron's fingers caressing her body. She was so beautiful.
"Any regrets?" he asked.
She turned to face him, "None."
At that moment, they smiled and knew this was just the beginning.
(C) 2015 Brenda Thornlow
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Brenda Thornlow was voted one of the 50 Great Writers You Should Be Reading for 2015. She is the author of the new fiction series My Life as I Knew It; the short story, The Revolving Door and A Godless Love.