Based on a true story but with all names and places changed and the story shamelessly exaggerated to the point of fantasy. All characters featured are over 18 for all of the events described.
The story begins with Jessica.
I first met Jessica when I worked in Manchester in the UK on a scientific research project. I was a postgraduate at the time, just finishing my thesis. I felt the need to escape to the countryside for a week and volunteered to help out on a field work exercise based in a farm house in an isolated village in The North Pennines, a range of mountains and hills to the east of Manchester. Jessica had been drafted in as a member of the support team which meant that she organised the food and kept the base clean and tidy so that the science team could focus on the sampling and analysis. She was nineteen, a natural blond with ice blue eyes and a stunning body. Her looks and personality attracted me straight away but I had no idea at the time what a close friend she would eventually become. And the journey of sexual discovery we would share together.
The summer of that year was warm and, at least for Manchester, relatively dry. I was struggling through the last phase of my postgraduate studies at the university and I had previously worked on a couple of these summer fieldwork projects over the years of my degree so it was familiar territory for me. I was asked to manage the data by the team leader and help keep the undergraduates in shape. I knew some of the undergrads already from the university labs that I ran for the biology department and I had built up a good rapport with them so pretty much we were all there to get the task done but have a good time as well.
I will always remember the moment Jessica arrived. I was in the kitchen by the back door of the large farm house when she knocked. I opened it to a blond vision of loveliness with a back pack, hair wild and wet from recent rain and breasts shouting out from a damp white T-shirt. “Hi I’m Jessica Nicholson,” she said. “I’m here to do the cooking and cleaning.”
For me it was lust at first sight. She was simply delicious but I didn’t betray even a hint of the attraction I felt for her other than the typical warm greeting that was appropriate for a new team member. I invited her in and gave her a quick tour of the building and ran through the way the project would work. Half way through I realised my thoughtlessness at not inviting her to change into dry clothes and I apologised profusely. “I’m so sorry Jessica. You’re wet from the rain. Why don’t you go and change and I’ll make you a cup of coffee before showing you the kitchen and store.”
“Don’t worry,” she said. “I live in Manchester. The rain is my constant companion.”
By about 6pm the whole team had arrived and as the food supplies had only just been piled up in the kitchen, we voted to go out to a local pub for food rather than wait for it to be cooked. Jessica seemed relieved by this as she’d not been here long and the pile of food boxes in the kitchen needed some serious sorting. “I’ll stay and get this organised,” Jessica said. I was never one for treating the support staff differently from the science team so I offered an alternative suggestion.
“Why don’t we put our orders in for food with the others then spend twenty minutes unpacking. With me helping it won’t take long. It’s only a five-minute walk to the pub so by the time the food arrives, we’ll be there.”
She smiled and said politely, “OK Steve. That’s very kind of you to invite me.”
It was the start of one of the most memorable relationships of my life – but not in the conventional sense. This was to be something quite rare and unexpected.
That first evening was fun from the first moment. As we unpacked it quickly became obvious that not only was Jessica a stunning and sexy young woman, she was wickedly smart and amusing. I joked about the number of tins of beans that our administrator had felt necessary for us to have for a week in the country and Jessica spent the next ten minutes making me laugh with stories of how she would find multiple ways of making the beans interesting to eat through various outlandish and imagined recipes. It finished with “Oh yeah, on Friday though I’ll be cooking my signature dish – fish surprise.”
“What’s the surprise?” I said dutifully.
“It’s just beans.”
All the banter we had was alongside fast paced unpacking of goods from the many boxes and we made good time. “OK,” I said as our twenty minutes was up. “Time to go.”
As we walked the short distance to the pub I tried to find out a little more about her. I had detected a strong Manchester accent so I guessed she was local. Support teams of the past tended to be made up of students looking to earn a bit of extra cash so they could be from anywhere but I sensed Jessica wasn’t a student. “OK Jessica – I’ve guessed you are from Manchester. I’m thinking you need the extra cash rather than you are hoping to learn more about the biodiversity of peat bogs,” I said. “So what’s the story? Tell me everything.”
Jessica smiled, her cheeky grin protesting at my assumptions but her body language betraying that I was more or less correct. “You guessed I grew up around here from my accent, I suppose? I was born in Wales but you are right, I’ve always lived in Manchester. Not really been anywhere else much. Bog biodiversity is like going to Florida for me. It’s my dream holiday,” she laughed. “I’ve taken a week off my shitty job to do something a bit different and technically it’s my holiday allowance so here I am. On holiday.”
“You work in Manchester?” I asked.
“I’m a waitress in restaurant but I’m not going to recommend it. I’ve seen the kitchen!” she replied, “but I need the money so I put up with it.” I detected a sadness in Jessica and frustration with her situation but she was young and sometimes you’ve got to put up with tedious stuff for a while before opportunities open up. “So what’s your shitty job?” she enquired, lightening the mood a little.
“I haven’t got one at the moment but I’ve got an interview next week in Oxford,” I replied, not really wanting to explain the nerdy nature of the job in biotechnology.
“So is that flipping burgers in Oxford?” she said, emphasising the “Oxford” in an upper class accent.
“It, it’s sort of a lab job, working with fungi and bacteria and utilizing them…” I stuttered but she soon shot back.
“Oh, working with fungi in Oxford. How terribly fascinating!” and laughed.
So the topic for most of our banter was now defined. She would be the down to earth, working class girl from the unforgiving inner city and I was the “posh” boy with the prospects and the education. But of course, every conversation from now on was a joy. We made fun of each other but the warmth and affection grew because in between the banter she was so interested in university life and I guess the way I saw the world and I was equally fascinated by her story of growing up in Moss Side, one of the toughest neighbourhoods in Manchester.
The field work turned out to be pretty good. The weather was surprisingly sunny for The North West and in the evenings there was a great atmosphere and a real mix of people, most of whom being very outgoing and lively. Jessica enthralled me. She was so different to university girls I tended to meet. She spoke her mind so freely, so openly and honestly with none of the reserve and self-consciousness of people I met at the university who seemed to temper their every word with judgements about how it would be received, whether it was appropriate, how clever and cool it made them look. I always found time to chat to Jessica several times during each day, helping with the washing up and sitting out on the back steps after dark while Jessica indulged her occasional passion for a cigarette.
I found myself drawn to Jessica more and more as the week passed and I started to sense that she really liked me too. I did find that that Jessica was a little guarded about her own personal life. I would ask her about friends and family and whilst she would talk freely and share some amusing anecdote about the eccentricities of people she was close to, she seemed to steer away from anything too personal. If she mentioned boyfriends, they were always “when she was younger” rather than recently. It puzzled me but I didn’t ask about it. I had the notion that maybe she had a long term boyfriend and that she may have thought admitting it would dampen the way our friendship was developing. Maybe I thought too much about it!
We were staying in an old three story farm house building that had been converted by the university to a field centre but it was undergoing refurbishment and there were not really any bedrooms; so we had sleeping mats and because different people stayed up later on different nights, then maybe went to bed earlier the next night, the people who slept in each room varied each night. On the last night of the project, I needed an early night so I headed right up to the top floor as I knew this was the least likely place for anyone else to sleep. The constant socialising each evening had worn me out and I needed a little down time. I checked the news on my phone, lined up my air mattress and laid out my sleeping bag, looking forward to a decent rest. I clicked on “Indy folk 4” – something mellow to ease me into sleep.
Suddenly, Jessica walked through the door, an armful of sleeping bag, sleeping mat and dressed in a T shirt and yoga pants. “Shit, you had the same idea as me!” she stated, feigning annoyance.
“I can move out if you really need to be ‘Manchester Queen of the Top Floor’ all by yourself, if you want,” I said but with a grin to reassure her that this was just our usual banter.
“No,” she said. “We can share as long as you don’t go calling your butler to come up and give you your glass of milk at midnight.” We both laughed and she set her mat and sleeping bag down fairly close to mine. “What are you listening to?” she enquired, seeing the playlist on my phone.
“Have a look,” I said passing the phone over to her and offering an ear bud. She popped it in but then scanned through all my playlists.
“What’s S1?” she said after a moment, noting the first of three playlists that shared a similar notation; S1, S2 and S3 to be exact. I guess they stood out because they were the only playlists with coded titles rather than words.
“They are just playlists I didn’t quite get round to naming,” I lied. In reality they were my “S for Seduction” playlists. Carefully selected to be the sexiest tracks to make love to but of course not playlists that I was crass enough to label with their true meaning.
Jessica studied S1 for a moment and pressed play, handing me back the phone with a cheery “I like music to go to sleep,” and within five minutes Jessica was in her sleeping bag next to me, sharing my S1 music and commenting on each song. After 3 or 4 songs she took out the ear bud and said “Steve, I’m really sorry but I’m freezing”. She let her words hang in the air and I felt the need to respond.
“Do you want me to zip both our sleeping bags together so you can cuddle up for some warmth?” I said tentatively.
“I don’t know whether that’s appropriate?” she said shyly, “but I am really cold”. I didn’t know quite what to say but I reflected on the last few days and tried to reassure her.
“Jessica, we seem to have got on really well over the last week and I’ve talked you more openly and honestly than I think I’ve done with anyone for a long time. Plus, if I was going to make a move on you, I would have done it by now! I’d like to feel that you can trust me to warm you up without doing anything inappropriate.”
“Yeah, OK Steve, no need for the frigging speech!” she said with a smile, “I guess I do trust you,” and she slipped her sleeping bag off and handed it to me while she hugged her knees to keep warm. I quickly unzipped the sleeping bags to fashion a sort of double bed, pulling the top “sheet” back and gesturing with my hand to invite her to lie down. I tiny frown formed just for a moment on her face but she lay down and as I joined her she put the music bud back in her ear. She lay down facing away from me and I spooned behind her to give her benefit of my body warmth. Despite the strong desire I felt for the lovely person sharing my sleeping bag, at this point I fully intended to be the perfect gentleman and whilst it might be hard to believe, I only had the most innocent intentions as I let my body warm hers.
Sharing the ear buds as we were, after another the few songs Usher’s “Love in this club” began. “Ha ha,” Jessica said as it started, “this is the song that was playing at The School Dance when I had my first kiss with a boy. He had a tongue like an anaconda!” She made a few sleeping bag dance moves, laughing and then turned towards me and added “I prefer being kissed really softly and gently.” Her eyes locked with mine and she leaned across to me. “Like this,” she whispered. Her face moved to mine, very close our lips almost touching. I stayed completely still as she placed the lightest butterfly kiss on my lower lip. Her lips were exquisite. So smooth and soft and she kissed me with increasing passion, over my face and neck.
What does “S” really stand for in this play list?” she asked as “Promiscuous” by Nelly Furtado started playing. I didn’t answer but smiled and began kissing her the same way she had first kissed me. Gentle tiny kisses on her lips and face. My hand moved to her face and my fingers drew back her hair so I could kiss her neck and ear. She moaned, “That’s nice” and her hands went to my face pulling my lips back to hers and for the first time I felt her tongue moving into my mouth. A more urgent and deep kiss. This beautiful girl was really turning me on now – the strange mix of shyness and confidence, the very obvious passion that her lips betrayed and the soft feel of her skin made me desperate to explore every inch of her perfect body.
Kissing her neck again, I slid my hand down from her hair and caressed her shoulder before moving my hand to her breast. As I felt the hardness of her nipple, Jessica’s whole body tensed and her shoulder jerked to push my hand away. I stopped, looking up at her face. “Sorry,” she breathed, “you can touch me.” Her hand went to mine and guided it back to her breast but as my fingers touched her nipple again through the thin fabric of her T-shirt her face turned away slightly as if to avoid looking at me and I thought I saw the glint of moisture in her eyes.
I couldn’t quite work out what was going on but there was no way I was going to risk making this lovely, intriguing girl upset. I didn’t touch her breast again. Instead, I stroked her hair, gently kissing her cheeks and forehead, running my fingers down her arms and feeling the soft skin beneath my fingertips. Her lips soon sought mine out again and she kissed me again with renewed passion, her lips parting just enough for her tongue to dart out and push between my lips. I was very aroused but I pressed my erection into the air mattress and returned Jessica’s kiss more urgently, our tongues probing and caressing each other’s mouths.
Again she took my hand and guided it to her breast. I felt the hardness of her nipple but rested my hand lightly on her, waiting for her hand over mine to signal her desire. She was tentative and stilled her movements as if waiting to see what I would do. My body was screaming for me to touch her but I sensed Jessica’s conflict and resisted, instead moving my hand away from her breast and stroking her hair while I kissed her face. “Kissing you is lovely,” I said rather clumsily. “And just kissing is fine,” I added.
There was a pause then Jessica whispered, “I’d like to do more but I get panicky. I know it’s stupid. I’m stupid.”
“Not at all,” I countered. “What makes you panic?” I asked as gently as I could.
“It’s complicated,” she said. “I…I can’t really talk about it very easily. There’s a friend in Manchester I’ve started talking to about it. She really good at helping me work out some issues but she’s also trying to kiss me at the same time so it’s…complicated.” Jessica laughed at her repetition of the word and explained that this person had sexual feelings towards her but she was also a really good friend and they could laugh about the situation and somehow manage a close friendship.
We talked and kissed a little more and I realised I felt such a gentle affection for this girl I almost wanted to freeze the moment in time. She tried once again to encourage me to explore her body more intimately, this time taking my hand with both of hers and pressing it firmly to her breast. She whispered softly in my ear, “Go on – touch me. If you want to.”
“I do want to, very much,” I replied. “Would you like it if I kissed you some more and then held your hand while you went to sleep?” My body was screaming out, “Make love to this girl – touch her – taste her,” but what I said reflected my sense that Jessica was uncomfortable with the sexual intimacy that she was apparently asking me for. It was a strange situation and I didn’t want to say something crass like, “I don’t think you really know what you want,” so I opted for relishing her kisses and I moved my lips towards hers. An inch away. I waited.
She said nothing but kissed me some more. Deep lustful, sexy kisses, her hands pulling at the back of my head, fingers grasping my hair and pulling me hard against her. We didn’t speak again but kissed for a long time and finally I took her hand and said, “Goodnight”. She didn’t reply again but gave me a tiny soft kiss on my lower lip and turned on her side, burying her head in the softness of the pillow. She held onto my hand.
We parted the next day, making sure to swap contact details and both promised to stay in touch. I’ve promised that a lot of times and of course it doesn’t always mean it happens but I really thought that we would see each other again. I left Manchester within days of getting back and started my new job in Oxford. It was pretty good. New and interesting with, of course, a proper income for a change. I was busy. Getting a flat, getting to know the area, finishing my thesis, trying to impress at work but every time I got on a bus or went to get some lunch or had any time alone, my thoughts turned to Jessica and I got my phone out.
Over the next few weeks we texted regularly. All sorts of stuff but mainly the usual banter about our apparent cross cultural friendship. Then Jessica sent a short text which was atypical. “Actually – I miss you.” It had followed a few hours after quite a long text ranting about how the job she was doing was bringing her down, the Manchester rain was unremitting and in her words, “If my sleazy boss eyes up my ass one more time, I’m going to freak!”
It was the, “Actually – I miss you.” that changed everything. I had just read that the new science park at Sandford-on-Thames was expanding and new jobs were being advertised.
On impulse I texted, “I don’t miss you but The Oxford Science Park does. They are looking to employ. Come and stay and go to The Open Day – you’ll appear clever in a white lab coat just as long as you don’t speak.” To my surprise, Jessica asked about the Open Day and if I really meant that she could come and stay. I replied, “Of course” and added, “but don’t steal the towels,” and we fixed a date that matched The Open Day for The Science Park, running into a weekend where I pondered on how I might entertain my guest. In Oxford there was lots to do.
And so, a couple of weeks later, Jessica arrived at Oxford Train Station and well, stayed.
I showed her the city sights, went along to The Open Day with her and towards the end of the weekend she made the decision to apply for one of the jobs. I thought she had a good chance but nevertheless I took some time to help her write an application form and coached on what to expect from the interview. Each evening, I so wanted to invite Jessica into my bed but I resisted and set up a camping mattress in a box room next door. I slept in there and I gave up my bed for Jessica. Neither of us brought up the night we spent kissing on the field trip although I felt that it was always close to the surface of our thoughts. Jessica was warm and excitable for the whole time she stayed and even affectionate, often touching my arm or hand; once touching my hair to remove a leaf. I found every slight contact electrifying.