Lori rifled through Ada’s closet, humming along with the record as she slid the dresses along on their hangers with sharp efficient little snaps. Ada was almost sure the other woman– in her tight, trim little suits– must be so embarrassed by her wardrobe, which felt at best girlish and at worst, unforgivably plain. Lori stood for a moment, tapping her barefoot on the beige carpet, her expression resolute.
“This one.” She declared, pulling out a green dress with a fluffy gathered skirt and a little jacket that matched. Ada thought perhaps she had bought it for a friend’s wedding and hadn’t worn in since. Lori handed it to her and moved across the room to Ada’s dresser, with all the confidence of someone who had come to know the bedroom perfectly well in just the short amount of time that their Friday afternoons had become a little longer and lazier than a quick fumble in the kitchen or on the sofa. And sometimes, extended to days that weren’t the usual Friday of Lori’s Avon rounds at all, like today. And today was the first time they were all going to have dinner together: Ada, Lori, and Everett, who was to meet them at the restaurant when he got off work. So naturally, Lori had wanted to make sure Ada was dressed for a nice evening out, as if she knew without Ada telling her that she did not often dress up. Ada took the dress and laid it on the bed, smoothing the fabric, some kind of jacquard with a barely-there pattern of green ivy. It was a very nice dress, she probably could have worn it again some time other than that already half-forgotten wedding, but she was never sure when she had the occasion. She looked up and watched Lori open her top drawer and consider the contents with the same quick appraising movements as she had assessed the contents of the closet.
Ada’s face burned, watching Lori go through her lingerie drawer, running her perfect, red-polished fingers over all the underwear and bras. She wondered why she didn’t stop the other woman going briskly through her most intimate things but instead, she turned away, flustered She couldn’t stop Lori but she also couldn’t stand the idea of seeing her affronted by the mostly utilitarian contents of the drawer. She twisted her fingers in her apron, eyes squeezed shut. The fact that Lori had seen her panties– usually right before they were removed from Ada’s person and tossed somewhere careless– plenty of times seemed to have escaped her in the moment.
“Put these on. I’ll help you with the clasps.” Lori deposited a heap of peach-colored satin on the bedspread, delicate things Ada had bought on a whim once but always seemed too fragile to wear. Ada stripped out of her day dress, wiggled out of her plain underthings and began to dress. The buckles on the garter belt– made of peach lace and blush-colored satin– jingled as she pulled the panties on and Lori cheekily reached to make sure they didn’t get caught up in the fabric, smoothing the ribbons along her thighs and laughing at Ada’s squeak when Lori goosed her.
“Come on, I’ll help you with the bra hooks.” Lori offered, though this fastening came with the brush of Lori’s lips across the back of Ada’s neck and the slope of her shoulder, manicured fingers following the spiral stitching until she could tease Ada’s nipples where they strained against the whisper-thin fabric. “You’re going to wear this again for me.” Lori decided, not satisfied until she drew a tiny moan from the woman in her arms.
The stockings were unworn, still wrapped in their packaging, the nylon slick between her fingers as she gathered them to pull them on. Lori chuckled and knelt down at her heels, and Ada felt her deft hands brush over her calves as the other woman gingerly straightened the sharp black seam of the stocking, tracing the accentuated shape of the leg beneath it with an admiring smile. Fingers skimming under the satin strap of the garter belt as she turned her head to kiss a bit of bare thigh between stocking and underwear just before the pale fabric of the slip hid Ada’s thighs from her teasing fingers and lips. The actual putting-on and zipping of the dress was relatively innocuous, though Lori’s hands lingered happily at Ada’s waist, her body pressed against Ada’s back.
“Nice lingerie suits you. We’ll have to get you some more.” Lori said. “Now sit.”
Ada, never able to deny Lori anything, sat on the end of the bed. Lori went to her vanity carefully balancing the curling iron on one of the vanity trays as she plugged it in to heat up, pausing to check her own lipstick and hair in the mirror before going back to the bed. Lori sat down on the foot of the bed, hitching up her pencil skirt so she could tuck one stockinged foot under the other.
“Hands.” She ordered, eyes sparkling with delight as Ada presented her hands, palms down. Obedient despite her confusion about where this was going. Lori rattled around in her makeup case until she found a couple of bottles of nail polish, flipping them so she can read the colors before selecting a familiar rich red.
“Ripe Cherry, your favorite! Now, hold still.” She said, taking hold of Ada’s hands. Ada felt self-conscious of her practical, short nails in comparison to Lori’s, which were long manicured ovals in perfect blush-pink but as usual, Lori said nothing about it, just applying the bright red lacquer in quick, confident strokes with not a single bit of polish gone astray. “Hands down, make sure you don’t touch anything.” Lori said, leaning forward to kiss Ada on the lips. Hearing her lover squeak as Ada was forced to hold her arms out, stiff and frantic, so as to not smudge the polish despite the desperate desire to embrace Lori in return. Lori laughed softly, tipping Ada over onto the bed, stretching out on top of her, the warm weight of her body settling between Ada’s legs. “Don’t. Touch.” She reminded Ada, bowing her head to kiss the other woman’s neck and collarbones until Ada moaned, squirming beneath her.
“It’s a pity I’ve already dressed you.” Lori pouted. “I’d love to have you while you have to hold still and not touch.” Ada whined in frustration, her body aching for Lori’s touch as if they’d already not had sex after a perfunctory cup of coffee, twenty minutes after Lori arrived. But apparently, she wouldn’t be satisfied– it wouldn’t do to wrinkle her dress or run her stockings, she supposed. Lori sat up and then moved to help Ada, drawing her up by the wrists in a way that made Ada feel more like even more like a doll than she already did. Lori was back to rummaging around in her makeup case, humming as if nothing had transpired.
“You know the drill, darlin’. Close your eyes.” She said, taking Ada’s chin in one hand, the little jars and tubes of her sample kit clinking together.
Ada realized she’d never let Lori touch her face this much before. Just a cursory swipe of eye shadow to consider the color, the gentle swoop of the lipstick samples. But now she felt brushes move over her face, tracing shapes she never thought to pay attention to, delicate powders drifting across her skin, settling on her throat and her chest, to be gently smoothed into matte softness by a soft puff. The contrasting bite of Lori’s manicured fingers to hold her steady as she traced the cupid’s bow of Ada’s lips. Lori’s favorite shade for Ada: Ripe Cherry, shiny and brazen and tempting.
“Perfect!” The mattress squeaked as Lori bounced triumphantly to her feet, taking hold of Ada’s hands, guiding her to the vanity stool– which Lori had cleared of a stack of Everett’s work-shirts with a tutting noise.
“See? You look lovely. And you’re ever so fun to dress up.” She plucked all the pins out of Ada’s hair and gave it a cursory brush– which seems more like an excuse to just stroke her hair– and then begins to make shiny dust-colored curls with the curling iron. Ada watched her in the mirror, her lover’s face a mask of concentration as she ran her fingers through her hair seeming to know exactly which way to roll the curls so they wouldn’t be messy. Knowing just the right amount of hairspray to add. Ada studied her own face, finding herself not too heavily made up for all the time Lori had spent in doing her face. That was good, she didn’t look quite charming if she was as made-up as Lori liked to be. Not that Ada could ever think of her as looking any other way. But Ada thought Lori had made her look quite presentable without over-doing it. Her face looked smooth, her eyes bright, and the Ripe Cherry lipstick was bright and inviting.
“Can’t stop looking, can you?” Lori grinned, dazzling in the vanity mirror. “I told you that red looked good on you.” She finished the curl and then set it gently tumbling, warm and sleek, over Ada’s shoulder. “It wouldn’t kill you to get dressed up once in a while, just for fun. Why, I could even come over and dress you up more often! It’s great fun. Oh! We should go shopping together one of these days, don’t you think? You really should spoil yourself more.” She leaned over and kissed Ada’s powdered cheek– lightly, so as not to leave a smudge. She unplugged the curling iron and checked the delicate gold wristwatch on her arm.
“Oh gosh! I think we got a little bit carried away. Quick! Shoes on, I’ll get our coats. Everett is going to be furious with us if he has to wait outside in the cold and we’re late!”