Much as Alice Young enjoyed the chemistry between women and men, she enjoyed women too – every once in a while. They had a subtle pull, an energetic presence than was enticing in an entirely different way. Unable to say who or what she preferred, Alice Young simply refused to choose. It wasn’t a matter of one or the other, or both equally. Alice certainly liked men. But she loved the female form, too. And everything in between, in fact. And in those moments when she noticed a beautiful, elegant woman felt a spark pass between them she felt a little thrill. Energy passed between two women felt different to the energy between women and men.
For most women, after marriage and career settled in, girl on girl action was relegated to their youth, wild parties and the occasional confession of an experience with a uni friend. With their pilates classes and weekly waxes, most women Alice Young met in Sydney were like neatly mown yards with fences that hemmed them in. Those who knew about Alice’s career as a professional escort were either intrigued or judgmental usually a little of both. Alice didn’t mind. Alice Young was a rogue, a stray bullet a woman who had never been conventional.
It so happened that she met Nina Woolf at a party. A party in Sydney where everyone looked beautiful and yet everyone looked fairly similar. Alice had come as somebody’s date, to drink champagne and look across Sydney Harbour at night a sight that never got tired. Yet that night, another sight caught Alice Young’s eye. It was her legs she had noticed first, brown and freckled with a hint of muscled thigh. She was in a soft cream coloured shift dress and sleek black stilettos. Not Alice’s style, at first glance. Then they’d been introduced.
“Hello, I’m Nina Woolf.”
She was older early to mid-forties with that youthful, well-kept older woman look Alice liked. The kind of body that suggested many hours with a tennis instructor, with shoulders that were petite yet firmly sculpted under the straps of her dress. Her blunt-cut honey blonde hair tickled her shoulders. Her mouth was wide, with a smile that spread into her whole face. Her eyes, which crinkled corners, were an unexpected pale grey. Both on the arms of their dates, it was an introduction in passing. Feeling her gaze, Nina Woolf looked up with a moment of interest. Then, immediately distracted, the connection was lost.
Alice drank. One glass, two, three. She felt loose, the air was cool. Nina’s small, strong features played on her mind. A stranger except an air kiss and a smile, this woman was certainly exceptionally pretty. She had probably gone through life breezily, easily bending men to her will, having them fall madly in love with her and shrugging it off lightly. Alice had felt an unexpected but all too familiar quickening. A sudden sweat of her palms when the woman had said;
“This is my husband, Dominick.”
He was tall and imposing beside her. About fifty, strong and broad. Shaking Alice’s hand, he had looked her up and down approvingly. Usually, she’d be interested in Dom too. He was greying but sharp with the relaxed energy about him of a successful businessman. And yet despite his obvious charisma, it was definitely Nina her smile was for.
Later, the guests were milling some drunk, some high starting to leave the party. She’d seen Nina and Dom Woolf across the room several times, always busy. A popular couple, they seemed to know everyone, and Nina seemed content to stay in the range of her husband the entire night. She’d seen her once, glance at her watch while her husband stood engrossed in conversation. Then she had returned, to listen attentively to the discussion, nodding and smiling appropriately.
It was in the ladies room, of course, that they crossed paths. The room was plush; a long, curved sink with low lit flattering light. A door unlocked and a woman came out of a stall. Nina Woolf. Her pearl coloured dress softly illuminated the curve of her breast and her hip bone. Alice put away her lipstick. Looking down while washing her hands, Nina was unaware of her gaze. So Alice looked, shamelessly. Noted the muscle in the woman’s toned arm moving as she rubbed the soap over her tanned, slightly bony hands. She had short, pale pink nails. She was delicate, but with an energy of strength that radiated from her person.
“Hello. We were introduced earlier. I’m Alice.”
Nina looked up in surprise, as if Alice had caught her off guard in a private moment. She was ever so slightly drunk, Alice observed. Yet she recovered well.
“Alice, of course. Lovely to see you. How’s your night?”
She had a slight English lilt to her voice, as though she might have lived in England child, or grown up in Adelaide. There was freshness about her person, in fact, that suggested she hadn’t always been in the melting pot of Sydney.
“I’m good. Thank you.”
The words came out hoarsely, sounding unlike her own.
Nina looked at her briefly, almost quizzically, and then examined her reflection, fluffing her hair quickly in the mirror. Her eyeshadow was a smoky grey with a hint of glitter. God, she was beautiful.