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Laurel McAlister laid in her bed, staring up at the small crack in the ceiling above her. Regardless of how long the day had been, the twenty-six year old knew it was going to be one of those nights where sleep just wasn’t going to come. Not for the first time, she made a mental note to stop by the hardware store on the way home to pick up spackle to repair the crack, knowing full well that she would inevitably again forget to do so. In a way, the tiny crack had become symbolic of her life, the void above her mirroring the empty space next to her in bed. One that had also been there longer than she cared to remember.
‘Well, I could always get up and make myself a glass of warm milk,’ the short haired redhead thought in reference to her sleeplessness, then discarding the voice in her head as that of her mother speaking.
Instead, Laurel opted for her personal remedy for insomnia, one which she was sure her mother rarely, if ever, employed. Using her feet to kick off the thin sheet that covered her, she laid both hands across the bare skin above her blue baby doll nightie. With infinite slowness, she began to slide her fingers down across her cloth covered breasts, tweaking each nipple to a pleasing hardness. Then, extending her fingers as wide as she could, she cupped both breasts and squeezed them softly, letting out a quiet sigh as she did.
Then her hands moved down across her stomach, with her left taking hold of the bottom of her gown and pulling it upward while her right moved further, coming to rest between her legs on the treasure found there. Gently she rubbed her fingers across the thin material of her panties, her touch producing both a spark within her and a much louder sigh.
Up and down she rubbed, stoking that single spark into a small blaze which would, she knew, grow and spread quickly enough. At the same time, she ran her other hand down the length of her bare leg, lifting it just high enough for her to reach her knee before it began its journey back. From there it returned back up to her breasts, which she began to alternately squeeze and massage in time to the motion of the hand caressing her pussy.
Her entire body began to rock back and forth on the bed, the warmth of the fire between her legs spreading out across her body. She paused for a moment, just long enough to lift off her nightie and toss it to the floor, then grabbed a breast in each hand and squeezed each even more tightly, the nipples below her thumbs now rock hard.
Releasing their hold on her breasts, both hands worked their way down to the sides of her panties and, raising her bottom just enough to allow her to slide the now damp garment down her legs, soon to find its way to the floor as well. It only took a heartbeat for her right hand to again find its way to her womanhood, brushing past the small red bush as one, then two fingers slipped inside her.
Faster and deeper her fingers moved, even as her other hand danced across her chest with equal speed and dexterity. Her eyes were tightly closed as her thoughts traveled back in time, to nights not all that long ago when the space next to her on the full sized bed had not been cold and empty.
In her mind, the fingers caressing her clit belonged to a lover not seen, as did those enthusiastically plying her flesh. A lover who soon brought her to the precipice and then, with one last loud cry, sent her hurtling beyond it, triggering the release she’d sought.
A release that, while pleasing in its moment, ultimately failed her. A half hour after her joy, Laurel again found herself staring at the crack on the ceiling, even more wide awake than before and feeling just a bit sorry for herself.
“Oh, what the fuck,” Laurel said to the mocking fissure above her as she rose from bed and, still naked, walked over to the small half desk against the far wall where she kept her laptop.
Having left the computer on to run its weekly anti-virus scan, it took no time at all to boot up her mail program. That done, Laurel scanned her inbox, searching for an advertisement she had gotten last month. Forwarded by her brother’s girlfriend, it had slipped by the spam filter that normally deleted such things before she even saw them.
When she’d originally read it, Laurel had laughed and wondered if Cecile had meant it as a joke, or was she serious at the suggestion? Either way, it was an act of desperation in the redhead’s eyes – one she really couldn’t imagine herself entertaining. Yet here she was, only a few weeks later, no longer thinking the idea as crazy as she once had.
‘Bingo!’ she thought as she finally located the missive, fearing for a moment that she might have forgottenly deleted it.
The note carried a link to a site for a company that Cecile’s own brother evidently worked for. Called “Round Robin”, they ran weekly speed dating events at a downtown hotel. With her finger resting on the button on her trackball, Laurel paused for a breath while she considered whether this was really something that she’d want to do. Then deciding that all she had to orhangazi escort lose at the moment was another sleepless hour staring at the ceiling, she clicked on the link and began to read the introductory paragraph at the top page of their web site.
By the time she’d reached the last page of the presentation, some twenty minutes later, Laurel was surprised to discover that this whole speed dating idea was much more popular than she’d imagined. At least based on the number of hits the site displayed, as well as the multiple pages of glowing testimonials. Of course she took both with the proverbial grain of salt, but they did encourage her to consider the idea more seriously than she might have.
The company was surprisingly progressive, dividing their weekly events, held on Wednesday nights, between both gay and straight couples. The gatherings in the first and third week of the month were set aside for men and women and the second and fourth reserved for just men and women respectively. The next girls only night, Laurel learned, was this Wednesday.
‘Well, if I’m going to do this, let’s do it,’ she thought, knowing full well that if the event had been a week or more off, she’d have found some way to talk herself out of it.
When she brought up the enrollment page, however, the cost of admission almost did that anyway. She could go out to dinner and a play for what they were charging, she thought, but then reminded herself, what good was that do if she had no one to go with?
With only a few days to go to the event, a display on the top of the page announced that there were only three seats left. A number that suddenly dropped to two as she watched.
‘I guess I’m not the only one who can’t sleep tonight,’ Laurel thought, taking the fact that the event seemed to be just about sold out as a good sign.
Pulling her credit card from her wallet on the desk, Laurel entered the number and the rest of her basic information, smiling as the seat counter dropped down to one. Then she sent the ticket that appeared in her email a few minutes later to her printer, picking up the colorful paper and folding it so that it fit into her wallet.
Powering down her computer, Laurel moved back to the bed and pulled the sheet over her again. She found herself asleep almost as soon as her head hit the pillow.
Busy as she was at work, the four days until the event passed rather quickly. So much so that Laurel decided to use some flex time and left work early on Wednesday to get ready. Which, in the end, turned out to be fortunate, because it took her most of the afternoon just to decide what to wear.
With so little time in which to make a connection with someone, Laurel knew their first impression of her would be key. The question was, how far could she go without coming across as too brazen? After all, this was about meeting someone, not just getting laid – well, maybe partly about that, she smiled to herself.
She finally narrowed down her choices to two of her favorite outfits. One was a sleeveless green dress just a bit more daring than the sort she would wear to work. It was short enough to show off her legs and cut just low enough to display sufficient cleavage to keep someone’s attention without being overly obvious.
The other selection was a pair of tight jeans that shamelessly hugged the cheeks of her ass and a white peasant blouse that one of her exes had given her as a birthday present a few years back. Having worn it a number of times since then, Laurel well knew the sort of impression she made in it – especially when she chose to go braless beneath it.
After much vacillation, the green dress finally won out. Tonight, she decided, she wanted the woman on the other side of the table to pay more attention to what she had to say than what she had on display.
It took only another quarter hour for her to fix her face, and then she was on her way. The hotel where the event was held was only a short bus ride away and Laurel arrived about a half hour before it was scheduled to start. With the ball room the sponsors had reserved not yet open, most of the participants seemed to have found their way to the bar. Thinking a good drink beforehand was definitely in order, Laurel opted to follow their example.
‘God, there have to be almost a hundred women here,’ Laurel thought as she stepped into the bar and saw the large crowd. ‘They can’t all be here for the event.’
Laurel was closer to the mark than she knew. When the closed doors a short walk away finally opened, she would find a total of fifty-two small tables for two set up, and every one of those seats would be filled.
Sipping her drink, Laurel took in the crowd around her, taking note of the wide diversity. Unlike in the clubs she occasionally frequented, there didn’t seem to be any one type of woman, a fact she quickly decided was a good thing. Perhaps shaking up the dating pool might be just what she needed. Too often, when she went out to one of her favorite haunts, not only did nilüfer escort she always find the same sort of women, but literally the same women week after week. Variety, as they say, is supposed to be the spice of life.
At the stroke of eight, the doors to the ballroom swung open and, under the guidance of a fifty-something woman who seemed to be in charge, the large crowd of women was ushered in. In a loud clear voice, the woman told everyone to just grab any available seat, it didn’t matter where, because they’d be changing tables in a few minutes anyway.
The announcement drew a few disappointed looks from around the room, from women who, in the mistaken impression that the women they sat with now would be their first date, had quickly sat down with someone who had attracted their interest back in the bar. Once everyone had taken a seat, the woman, who now identified herself as Madeline, began to explain how the event operated.
“We try and make this all as random as possible,” Madeline began, “because, as I’m sure you’ll learn as we go along, that makes it all the more interesting.”
She went on to explain that in the first box on the main table were small clipboards for everyone in the room. In the second were pads to go on the clipboards, half of them white, and half blue. Those who picked a blue pad would find a single table number in the upper right hand corner and would stay at that table for the duration of the event. Those who drew a white pad, however, would find a list of table numbers along the right side. Starting with the one on top, they would move to the next table on the list at the conclusion of each date.
Laurel listened to the instructions and found herself nodding her head as she did so. It did seem a fair way to make it all as random as possible.
Madeline paused to see if anyone had any questions so far. When none were asked, she continued.
“In front of you on the tables where you are now sitting,” she said, “you’ll find a name sticker.”
Laurel glanced down and sure enough there was one of those ‘hello, my name is _____’ stickers.
“Now in addition to your name, first name only please, we’d like you to also put down the three digit number that you were given in your confirmation email,” Madeline instructed. “As you each meet someone new, we’d like you to record that number on your pad. It might sound a bit impersonal at first, but we’ve found that it actually saves a lot of time and confusion in the long run.”
Thinking about it, Laurel found herself agreeing. Poor handwriting, hard to spell names, or simply a commonly shared name were all eliminated by that approach. The lack of last names would preserve a degree of anonymity for those that wanted it.
“Now,” Madeline added, “if you meet someone tonight that you’d like to see again, simply check off the box next to where you put down their number at the start of your date. If that person expresses a desire to see you again as well, then both of you will receive each other’s contact information. If, however, only one of you has expressed an interest, then it’s a little bit different. Only the person whose name was checked off gets the contact information. That way, she has a second chance to consider the person who expressed an interest in her and respond, or not. We send this information by email, usually within twenty-four hours. It’s all really simple enough.”
This time, one woman did rise with a question, asking why they had to wait until the next day instead of being told right after the end of the event. Madeline explained that they’d found that sending the information out by email the next day avoids the sort of awkward situation that can develop when only one participant expresses an interest in the other. The questioner seemed satisfied with the answer and sat back down.
“One important item,” Madeline said as she continued, “as I’m sure all of you saw on our web page when you signed up, the event is scheduled to run two hours. I just want to assure you that the time I’ve spent explaining our rules to you, as well as what it takes to distribute any materials, is in addition to that time. The clock doesn’t start running until we ring the bell for your first date.”
A soft murmur across the room seemed to indicate that more than a few participants had been concerned about just that, the idea that they might not get their full money’s worth.
“Each date runs eight minutes,” Madeline said, “a time we arrived at based on feedback from previous events, that five minutes was too short for a good date and ten too long for a bad one.”
That brought a few laughs from around the room.
“So if you’ll all just line up on the left side of the room, we’ll get this all started,” Madeline finished. “Good luck to you all, and have a good time.”
The distribution of the material took almost no time at all. Laurel found herself with a blue pad with table twelve imprinted on the top. She quickly found table twelve and took her place in one of the empty chairs. Around her, türbanlı escort half the women likewise took seats, while the rest moved to the wall closest to the tables on the top of their lists. At the sound of one of those old time hotel front desk bells, the first rounds of dates began.
In that brief interlude while she had waited for everyone with a blue pad to find their seat, Laurel did the math in her head. With eight minutes to a date and a two hour window overall, she figured she had time for about ten dates. If only one of them proved productive, then the night would certainly be worth it. If not, well then, at least she might get an interesting story or two to tell.
“Hi, I’m Jeannie,” said the light brown haired woman who sat herself down in the empty seat across from Laurel. “It’s nice to meet you.”
“Nice to meet you too, Jeannie,” Laurel said, taking just a second to jot down the woman’s number on her pad.
They each took a moment to take a good look at each other, and Laurel had to say she liked what she saw. Jeannie was about her age and well built, with breasts that could, as they say, stop traffic. Laurel had always been a ‘breast girl’ and while the lack of big boobs had never been a deal breaker, they were always a definite plus.
Without missing a beat, Jeanne began asking questions that Laurel recognized as being right out of the sample date videos that she had seen on the sponsor’s web site. As she answered, alternating her responses with a few questions of her own, Laurel thought those videos had been a very smart idea on the organizers’ part. Without at least an idea what to expect, both participants could very well spend a good part of their eight minutes simply staring at each other. Instead, they were able to formulate questions beforehand, allowing them to maximize the amount of information they could exchange in a relatively short span.
Their eight minutes passed quicker than Laurel thought they would, but in that time she’d learned that Jeanie was a secretary at an East Side law firm, loved to cook and travel, and had been in a serious relationship up until six months ago. She also learned, much to her surprise, that the conservatively dressed twenty-five year old had a thing for strap-ons, being on the receiving end, not wearing one, that is.
That revelation took Laurel by surprise, not so much the admission, but the ease with which the brunette had worked it into the conversation. Evidently it was an important enough element in what she was looking for in a relationship that Jeannie felt the need to put it out there. Laurel gave her credit for that, but since she had never felt the need to act like a man in bed, which was how she couldn’t help but view that, it had been enough to leave the box next to Jeannie’s name unchecked.
As the bell rang and half the women in the room rose to go to their next table, Laurel wondered if the time it took to reorganize the seating arrangement was outside of or counted against the two hour window. That part hadn’t been made clear by Madeline. If it was the latter, she might have to recalculate the number of dates she might expect to have.
Date number two made Laurel think of the old adage, never judge a book by its cover. It also made her think that even eight minutes might be too long on a bad date, especially if those eight minutes seemed to drag on forever.
At first impression, the twenty-nine year old hairdresser, who introduced herself as Georgia, looked like the kind of girl Laurel was usually attracted to – tall, pretty, well proportioned and immaculately dressed. Had they met in one of the clubs, Laurel would most definitely have offered to buy the short haired blonde a drink. That image vanished, however, the moment the curvaceous beauty opened her mouth, causing Laurel to wonder if maybe, somehow, Georgia had originally been born a man. In fact, at one point, she actually found herself looking to see if she might have an Adam’s apple.
Having come out early in life, Laurel had never dated a man, but that didn’t mean that she’d never been propositioned by one – usually someone who didn’t know her lack of interest in their attentions, or someone who did and was certain that he could be the one to change all that. Either way, few of them had used lines half as bad as the ones that came out of Georgia’s mouth. One in particular, Laurel knew, she would have a hard time forgetting.
“I’d really love to check your box,” Georgia had said, with such a ‘you know what I mean’ look as to leave no doubt.
Candice was date number three and even before she sat down, Laurel felt an overwhelmingly strong reaction to the twenty-year old brunette – one centered between her legs, not from beneath her breast. Only four foot eleven and ninety pounds, most of which seemed to be centered in her breasts, the slim, dark haired young woman had on a top that made Laurel’s peasant blouse look like something a nun might wear – what little there was of it – along with a pair of hot pants that looked so short as to be almost non-existent. Two weeks past her eighteenth birthday, the busty college bound girl spent a good deal of their time together speaking what Laurel could almost imagine was a foreign language – or at least foreign to her.
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