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(Wednesday 6th October 1999)
This time around, as an experienced and savvy final year student, Angie had deliberately skipped most of Freshers’ Week, arriving back at uni the Thursday before autumn term officially began. First thing she noticed on her return was a set of posters everywhere she looked. Make that posters “and fliers” everywhere she looked. All simplistic yet professionally prepared, featuring bold white letters on a black background, the notices had ensured everyone knew there was a new society in town.
GIRLS, GIRLS, GIRLS, one of the earlier ones read, WATCH THIS SPACE AND WHATEVER YOU DO, DO NOT MISS OUT!!
A more recent one proclaimed: COMING SOON TO A UNIVERSITY NEAR YOU!!
Like everyone else, Angie had wondered what the score was. Gossip on Lesbians’ Corner was easy to come by but not exactly informative. The publicity was all on behalf of the “Girls’ Society” (the name given in small print on every bit of blurb). Some new starter was behind it, the gals agreed. Judging by the efforts already expended, that new starter had done this sort of thing before. Therefore she had to be a mature student, most likely one with a grudge against LGBT.
In other words she had to be an older, “alternative” lezzie . . . which was, to say the least, interesting as a concept.
Not that anyone actually knew anything about the Girls’ Society’s aims and ambitions. Heaps of newly printed fliers appeared on the tables in the Corner every day, without fail. From that it seemed logical to assume lesbians and bisexuals were being targeted. But there again, new fliers appeared in heaps in dozens of other locations around the campus every day as well. So maybe it had nothing to do with orientation; maybe it was a feminist sort of an affair. Whatever it was, it definitely did not include guys. That had been clear from the latest posters, announcing an actual, physical meeting.
MAIN LECTURE THEATRE ON F FLOOR
ALL WILL BE REVEALED AT 7:30
BRING YOUR OWN REFRESHMENTS
B THERE OR B SQUARE
DON’T MISS THE GIRLS ONLY EXTRAVAGANZA!!
Normally Angie would have turned her nose up at such amateur dramatics, but something about the Girls’ Society campaign resonated. In fact it wasn’t amateurish at all. The public announcements had been printed on good quality paper. The outlay must have been considerable. And if the messages in the ads had been corny, hadn’t they been deliberately so?
She’s been toying with us, Angie decided. She’s dragged it out on purpose. It’s been a sophisticated version of the old don’t-open-the-box trick.
And it’s worked. Pandora would be proud of the little tease . . . Whoever she is.
Truth was, after a fortnight of wondering and in common with everyone else (male as well as female), by now Angie desperately wanted to see what was hidden inside.
She also wanted to know more about the “Girls Only Extravaganza”, naturally. Girls were a speciality of hers. She couldn’t just wait and hear it second-hand. No way could she possibly “miss out”.
So here she was, up on F Floor at twenty past seven, surprised by the mass of humanity swarming in the same direction.
The organizer had, she conceded as she took a seat, done well to secure such a venue. Most of the many clubs and societies had to settle for poky little meeting rooms, hired by the hour. This was one of the largest lecture theatres in the whole university, with seating for over a hundred. And Angie had personally done well to bag one of the last freely available seats. The dozen tiered rows were already packed and scores of latecomers were standing in the aisles.
There’s two hundred in here, she reckoned, at least. Don’t tell Elf and Safety, for gawd’s sake!
Looking down to the right of the lectern she saw a petite, punky girl at the door, turning away more latecomers with a winning smile.
‘Wait outside,’ the punkette said. ‘Half an hour and I’ll do it all again. It’s not in the programme, but I’ll do it, I promise.’
The girl wasn’t at all what Angie had expected. Going along with the mature student theory, she had been expecting a tall, composed blonde who was undoubtedly in charge. What she was seeing was a tiny eighteen-year-old with spiky black hair a la Siouxsie Sioux, and wearing a loose-fitting, vivid yellow NEVER MIND THE BOLLOCKS sweatshirt, along with purposefully ripped jeans.
She was most definitely in charge, though. Arriving behind the lectern at seven thirty precisely, facing an audience of hundreds, she tapped her microphone and coughed dramatically.
‘Testing, testing; one, two three. Can you hear me at the back?’
She grinned as a dozen of the standees behind the seated area confirmed she was loud and clear.
‘Good,’ she went on. ‘Thank you for all coming. Now, before we go any further, please all examine the person next to you, physically if necessary. Just to make sure we don’t have any undercover spies, if you know what I mean.’
Everyone present made a show of looking closely at her neighbour, checking for men. güvenilir bahis No spies were detected and, introducing herself as “Rachael”, Miss Spiky Hair got down to brass tacks.
Rachael proved to be a great public speaker. She got her message across quickly and capably and, if serious and passionate, still raised a few laughs along the way. As Angie understood it her vision was for everyone to fully embrace women’s issues whilst enjoying themselves as much as possible.
‘I’m not talking about a feminist society,’ she explained, ‘although I do expect all of the members to be feminists. And I’m not encouraging anyone to go round looking for trivialities to protest about. Most of the time I expect our meetings will be no more than a good old chinwag, followed by drinks in the bar. We’ll only spring into action when there’s good reason.’
A hand went up at the back. ‘LGBT do all this. Aren’t you just duplicating their work? Or have you a different agenda?’
‘LGBT are only fifty percent female,’ Rachael replied smoothly. ‘Don’t get me wrong; I joined LGBT on the very first morning of Freshers’ Week. I intend to attend all their meetings and I will timetable Girls’ Society meetings so they never clash. It’s that fifty percent that worries me, though, not to mention the divisions and sub-divisions. And, of course, it doesn’t necessarily follow that LGBT always looks after straight girls’ interests; not in the first instance, anyway.’
‘There’s a lesbian association too,’ someone else observed. ‘They devote a hundred percent of their time to female issues.’
‘I joined that as well,’ said Rachael. ‘But the same argument goes. They may not always look after the interests of straight girls. And I’m stressing the “may”. Obviously both the existing organizations are in existence for the greater good. Think of the Girls’ Society as their belt and braces. With any luck we’ll hardly ever have to step in. But when we do, we’ll step in with a vengeance. Our motto is going to be: “Equality at all costs.”‘ She laughed. ‘Or should it be “Girls just wanna have fun”?’
A blushing redhead timorously put up her hand. ”The gay aspect is rather confusing,’ she squeaked. ‘Are you saying you need to be at least bi to join the Girls’ Society?’
‘Equality at all costs,’ Rachael repeated. ‘I happen to be a lesbian but I’ll welcome everyone with open arms.’ She chuckled. ‘By that I mean in a friendly way, not an inexcusably forward way. I promise that I won’t grope anyone who isn’t up for a groping.’
‘Do you mean . . .’
‘I mean every girl is equally welcome, whatever her skin colour, faith or sexual preference.’
Angie raised her hand. ‘What particular issues to you anticipate us springing into action about?’
Rachael grinned, possibly at Angie’s use of “us”, possibly because she’d been itching to give out an example.
‘There’s an Asian girl on my course,’ she said, looking more like Siouxie than ever. ‘Her grandparents came to the UK in the 1960s and she’s lived right here in town all her life. I’m going to call her “Amy”, but that’s not her real name. Okay? Right, when she was sixteen her parents suggested it was time she got married. They even had someone lined up for her; a guy twice her age. You can imagine how much that scared her. Luckily, her brothers and sisters supported her when she said that she wanted to stay on at school.’
‘Damned right,’ someone interjected.
‘Amy got four A-levels,’ Rachael went on, ‘her lowest an A without a star. In other words she topped her class and could have got into any university she wanted, anywhere in the world. But instead she chose here, so she could live at home and travel in.’
‘Friggin’ parents,’ a voice said.
‘I think her parents have always had her interests at heart’ said Rachael. ‘I think they were just testing her when they suggested marriage. And I think she would have been out of her depth anywhere else but here. She really is innocent and unspoiled. I think this uni is perfect for her . . .
‘Except on Monday she missed her bus. In her own words “elated after another good day’s lectures”, amazed at how well her life was turning out, she decided to walk home, through Black Hill.’
The longer-established students winced at that. Despite its name, Black Hill was almost totally a white part of town. People with African roots were tolerated there, as were most European immigrants, but Asians were not welcomed.
‘Fortunately she only got verbally abused,’ Rachael continued, ‘sexually and racially, of course, but no actual bodily harm. She says she sincerely did not know her home town was segregated. Finding out the way she did was almost as upsetting as the names they called her. And the things they said they wanted to do to her. To say the least, her perfect little dream world has been shattered.’
‘Bastards,’ half a dozen attendees remarked with feeling.
‘Her parents reported it to the police,’ Rachael resumed, ‘but they didn’t really want to know. Reading between the lines they thought it was her fault for being there türkçe bahis in a no-go area. Whites didn’t go down her street, so why should she go down one of theirs? And don’t ask what LGBT intend to do; Amy will never dare approach them.’
‘Why daren’t she?’ somebody demanded.
‘Like I said, she’s sweet and innocent. She’s only got a very vague idea of what a lesbian is. The idea of pouring her heart out to a crowd of them terrifies her. It’s not going to happen.’
‘But she approached you?’ that same “somebody” persisted.
‘Yeah, I’m very approachable. And I’m not prepared to let the Girls’ Society sit back and whistle while Amy’s life is in ruins.’
‘What can you do?’
‘I can’t do anything but “we” can. We can march through Black Hill on Saturday afternoon, dressed to impress and en masse. We can turn the other cheek to abuse and let all the sexists and racists know they will never win.’
‘Sounds like a recipe for disaster,’ a prophet of doom gloomily proclaimed.
‘Not if we prepare adequately.’ Rachael’s eyes were gleaming. ‘We can go to the press first. We can get regional TV interested. We can get the local MP to ask a question in the House of Commons . . .’
‘Not going to happen,’ the miserable soothsayer whined.
Angie never did find out if that soothsayer was a plant. Whatever she was, she couldn’t have set up Rachael any better.
‘Yes it is,’ said Miss Spiky, producing a newspaper and casually tossing it to a girl in the first row.
‘Oh my God, Rache,’ said the girl. ‘You made the front page!’ She held the paper up so others could see the headline.
UNIVERSITY SOCIETY HIGHLIGHTS ABUSE AND LACK OF INTEGRATION
Under it, in smaller capitals:
PM DITHERS DURING INTENSE QUESTION TIME PRESSURE
‘I’ve not made TV yet,’ Rachael said modestly, ‘but they’ll be there to film us on Saturday, and I have agreed to let them interview me. The MP will be there too, following her sterling display in the House this afternoon. Now then, who wants to sign up before I bring in my second shift audience?’
Turned out everybody did.
There was only one logical place to go after the Girls’ Society meeting and, after providing her details and signing on the dotted line, Angie set off for it. She did not, however, join the queue for one of the lifts from F Floor. They had recently been refurbished and were now supposedly “breakdown-proof”, but old suspicions lingered. Okay, so being trapped in a confined space with a gaggle of girls wouldn’t be the end of the world . . .
But the Union Bar was calling. Bugger the minimized risk and bugger standing in line. She tackled the stairs in double-quick time, thinking about Rachael as she went.
Never mind the girl’s massive self-confidence, she was seriously sexy. And she was a lesbian as well; a lesbian and obviously proud to be out. To Angie’s way of thinking it was inevitable that they’d get it together. It was only too easy to imagine being in bed with her, running her fingers through that spiky crop of hers, rubbing their groins in ever-increasing urgency . . . both of them cumming and cumming and cumming.
Nice, nice, nice!!
The self-confidence was only a minor consideration. In a perfect world (and in Angie’s mental picture) she would be on top and Rachael would be begging for more. But the world wasn’t perfect, was it? So she might have to adapt.
Angie laughed as she strode along the main corridor of D Floor. I’m nothing if not adaptable, she told herself. If she wants to go first then fair enough. I’m well into equality, me. I’m game for anything.
(Little was she to know how portentous that sentiment would soon prove to be!)
Music was predictably blaring from the Union Bar. Still fifty yards from the entrance she could hear the unmistakable voice of Johnny Rotten, telling the world he was pretty vacant. Before her era or not, all the hairs prickled on the back of her neck.
‘Don’t make ’em like that anymore,’ she said with a grin.
The music made her think of Rachael again. What fun it would be to rip that yellow sweatshirt off her sexy little body. Yes, indeed. She could almost feel the girl’s legs wrapping around her, almost hear her crying “more, more, more!!”
Early evening and the Union was about as full as it ever got. Breathing in smoky air tanged with beer, ignoring the incessant clack of pool balls and anguished yells of dart players, Angie cast around. If the bar was full then the Corner was stuffed to busting. It was stuffed mostly with freshers, too.
Just lately there were bloody freshers everywhere she looked. And most of them were fresh off of the boat. In other words most of them were way too young for the likes of her.
Except for Rachael Spiky Hair, of course; she was definitely older than her years.
Scowling as My Sharona came on the jukebox, Angie made a bid to buy a pint. She’d had quite a lot of girlfriends in her short yet busy sex life but hadn’t even met a Sharona, never mind got in a clinch with one. Was it a real güvenilir bahis siteleri name or had she just been unlucky?
And wasn’t the song all about a provocative younger girl?
Hmmm . . . interesting; hold that thought!
There were lots of bar staff on tonight, she noted approvingly. Still, that was Joe all over. He’d have known about Rachael’s meeting and anticipated the subsequent rush by drafting in a few students on the minimum wage. And in best bar manager tradition, he’d have thrashed them all at I-Spy before the rush began.
‘Hi there Angie,’ said Gloria, the regular barmaid, pulling her a Marston’s without waiting to be asked. ‘You’re looking good.’
Angie could have said the same for Gloria. She was a significantly older woman, presumably straight but not above flirting. Now, with two years of clumsy double entendres between them, it was nearing the time to progress.
But not tonight; tonight there had to be a chance of Rachael showing up, after her second shift. And if she did show, she was going to be left in no doubt she was desired.
Turning from the bar, resting her back against it and holding her place, Angie laughed. If Rachael did turn up she’d be pursued relentlessly. And whatever happened, she’d feature prominently in tonight’s fantasies.
No, make that very prominently.
Some Blondie fan had taken over the jukebox. As she sipped her beer Angie listened to Picture This as it gave way to Denis and then Call Me.
Then it happened.
In Mario Puzo’s novel, The Godfather, exiled in Sicily, Michael Corleone is hit by “The Thunderbolt” on first sight of Apollonia, a particularly beautiful young woman. In other words he is instantly consumed by the irresistible urge to possess her at any cost.
Right then Angie knew exactly how he felt.
The beautiful young woman who’d just entered the Union was quite simply staggering. She shone far brighter than the sun at midday, eclipsing everyone else, casting the rest of the bar into dark shadow.
Angie gulped. This creature had it all: looks, presence and a body to die for.
As she gaped lustfully the newcomer approached the bar and bought herself a pint, joking with a very youthful barman as she did so. The barman flushed crimson and did his best to joke back. Angie sent him a venomous look which he fortunately missed. If he’d copped it he’d have died on the spot.
All thoughts of Rachael and Gloria were gone. Even Debbie Harry would have struggled to be noticed (in the unlikely event of Debs suddenly showing up in such a place).
‘Jesus,’ Angie whispered, ‘I do not believe my eyes.’
Tearing her attention away from the face of perfection, Angie studied the rest of the girl without finding her lacking in any way. She wasn’t so far short of six feet tall and had a mane of straight, jet-black hair flowing most of the way down her back. Dressed in blue jeans and a white T-shirt she was clearly bra-less, but not because she was flat-chested. No, her tits were ideally proportioned, firm and round and in no need of material support.
‘Jesus,’ Angie whispered again.
By some necromancy the girl was shapely and athletic at the same time. Her skin was deeply tanned and the exposed flesh of her arms was muscled but undeniably sexy.
Sexy!! Pheromones were coming off her in Arctic blizzards.
No, scrap that; there was nothing remotely chilly about this heavenly babe. She was hotter than hot.
All rational sense gone, Angie accepted the inevitable. Like Mike Corleone before her, she had no say in the matter. However foolish she made herself appear, she had to do something.
Yes, she had to do something right now.
Heather hadn’t yet become a regular in the Union Bar. Her three weeks at uni so far had been mostly spent in exploring the geography of the campus and, to a lesser extent, its surroundings. There were, she knew, four bars right there on site including the simply enormous Communal Bar. And there were also pubs galore in town, some of them even selling “proper beer”, brewed in Yorkshire.
Drinking was, to say the least, adequately catered for and, as for places to eat . . .
Well put it this way: every cuisine imaginable was available within a mile’s walk, all priced to fit into a penniless student’s budget.
Not that she was penniless. Dad’s generosity was embarrassingly boundless. She was doing her best to fit in, though. That meant adopting a spending behaviour much like everyone else’s.
Sadly the Union’s prime tipple was Marston’s, brewed nowhere near God’s Own County. But they did have Pedigree, which compared favourably with most other beers. The atmosphere here in the Union wasn’t bad, either. In fact it was infinitely better than the gloom of the cavernous, soulless dump built underneath the Communal Building.
And, of course, the Union possessed the world-famous Lesbians’ Corner.
Chuckling, Heather swigged down some beer. Lesbians’ Corner wasn’t listed in the prospectus or any of the university’s other publications, but it was there all right. It had even been pointed out by one of the guides when she’d visited to look round, back in the day, when there’d been snow on the ground. Alas, back then the bar hadn’t been open and the tables and chairs had all been empty.
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