Story – Gathering

“Mind if I sit?”
“Feel free,” she smiled, seeming happy with him asking.

He sat down at the other end of a couch that was furthest away from the noisy revelry. There was music, there was dancing, there was shouting, cheering and laughing, and it all seemed pretended gaiety to him. And her sitting here alone had just made him think he might not be the only one.

“Pondering as well how much fun this really is?”
She gave him a hesitative look.
“I know you ladies are all supposed to like this, but you can be honest with me,” he added.
“I wasn’t pondering then,” she replied with a subtle smile.

Her accent wasn’t Slavic, more German but then again not quite. Judging from how he’d seen them talk, she also seemed to be pretty close with the lady who organised this. Maybe that explained why she was allowing herself to be this honest, although something told him she simply was, as she was simply beautiful, literally simply so because there was nothing babe-like or spectacular in her appearance. Timidly attractive came to his mind when observing her in more detail, and he found it apt, which, even when he thought he was hiding his thinking, she appeared to notice.

“How about you?”
“Us gents are supposed to have the time of their life…”
“And you’re not?”
“The women are beautiful, don’t get me wrong. It’s just that I feel odd. I’ve very much looked forward to this and now I’m here, I’m feeling like I’ve got a change of heart.”
“Sorry to hear that…”
“Don’t be, please. You’re all doing your best to make this work. It’s me, really, and by the way, this chat is actually a lot more what I’d hoped to find tonight,” he said, smiling at her.

She smiled back, a little surprised to find him so open-hearted so fast. She also didn’t mind him having a better look at her. Not too surprisingly, most men gathered here made her feel like a trophy. After all this was a meet-up for devotees, graced by a selection of amputee ladies including herself, so she had counted on her high missing leg raising the odd fascinated eyebrow here. But he was somehow different, even when his stare frequently moved to her left hip as well.

“It’s not bad to feel odd, I’d say?”
“You think?”
“This is a little odd for me as well,” she confessed.
“I can imagine it is.”
“But don’t feel guilty for looking at me, okay? You and I both made a choice to be here, didn’t we?”
“Yeah, I guess we did,” he replied, somewhat shyly.
“Then look please. I’m used to it and your looking isn’t so bad actually,” she smiled invitingly.
“So you noticed eh?”
“It was hard not to…”
“Then I’d better not try to hide anymore,” he smiled with some relief.
“You do that, yes. I don’t mind you being attracted to it.”
“You wouldn’t be here if you would, I guess.”
“I wouldn’t, no,” she answered firmly.
“But you’re feeling odd nonetheless…”
“I’m also okay with people looking at me. I shouldn’t have come here otherwise. But let’s say interest in my person helps. I’m not some object of freak interest.”
“And you feel like you are here…”
Her reply was again firmly. “Yes, though not with you.”
“I appreciate that,” he smiled sincerely. “But what makes me different for you? We hardly know each other.”
“I think I can tell the difference between genuine and freak interest, and I’ve observed this mob a little since our gathering started,” she confessed with a secretive grin.
“So have I. That’s what got me the change of heart,” he grinned. “And it’s experience that you can tell the difference?”
“Yes, I often watch people,” she replied, well knowing this wasn’t what he was asking but somehow enjoying to tease him a little. His reply was a surprise though.
“I said I wouldn’t hide anymore, so I’m also saying now I was curious for a different experience.”
“I know,” she chuckled.
“Hmm, I’m predictable eh?”
“No, you’re curious. Predictably curious maybe, but still curious. And I’ll tell you if you are.”

She told him the story, that dated back eight years ago. About a hurry because her boss had made her work late to get something done she thought wasn’t really that important. About being irritated because she needed to make it to the theatre in time. About a rainy day and high heels she had considered not wearing because of the weather. About a slippery platform in the metro station and being distracted while walking fast because she thought she saw someone she knew. About the train entering the station honking at passengers standing too close at the same moment. About a weird sequence of tiny events that made her trip and slip as she frightened. And about waking up in hospital finding out it had cost her a leg.

“So that’s how a pair of high heels got me one-legged,” she smiled.
“You’re wearing them again, I’m seeing. Only one, obviously, but still,” he smiled back.
“I’ve actually hated them for quite a while. But not anymore.”
“I’m glad. You look great.”
“Thank you,” she replied, obviously charmed.
“Great with the high heel and great wearing only one,” he added tentatively.
“Thanks again. And so… I would be the type of amputee you feel most… attracted to…?”
“If you’ll forgive me the specificity of my liking, and as far as I’m able to see… very much so.”
“In that case I’ll forgive you,” she winked. “And my amputation is pretty high, just below the hip.”
“The devotee in me would call that perfect,” he smiled.
“And how about the man in you?”
“The man in me is very much enjoying this chat of ours, and the beautiful and nice woman he’s having it with.”
“Mmm, shall we continue it outside then?” she inquired, ogling. “It’s a beautiful evening and I could do without this music.”
“So you’re not a dancer either eh?”
“I wouldn’t pass on a slow dance,” she winked. “But that’s for later maybe?”

With the ice now broken and mutual interest confirmed, the stroll in the garden was without reserve. She actually quite enjoyed to see him absolutely love her walking with crutches, and find it gracious and sexy. She wasn’t looked at with admiration very often, and even when she’d left being bothered by pitying stares long behind, this did feel like a pleasant change.

What she found even more pleasant was his obvious interest in her. It had been a while since she’d last been courted, and the tingling excitement of it felt like all her senses reawakening. She inhaled the garden scents as they chatted freely, she felt her skin catch the softness of the summer evening breeze, and in the background of their talking, she heard the hoot of a distant owl. And when they approached a garden bench, she made him sit down, stood in front of him, lifted her dress to show him her stump and smiled bravely.

“If we’re going to meet again after tonight, which I would love to, you need to have seen this, I feel…”

He had heard how she lost the leg, and it was how it looked: the remains of a limb ripped off upon impact. She’d been very lucky it hadn’t killed her, he thought, looking at her very short and very scarred stump. He also thought it was mesmerising, her leg missing so high and the marks of amputation so prominent. He had never felt at ease with being so excited by what must undoubtedly be traumatic for her. But not being at ease was not the same as being able to stop it. He felt his fascination respond with dizzying vigour. And it didn’t remain unnoticed.

“This wasn’t meant to stifle you…” she smiled, now resting her stump on the handle of a crutch.
“I know. It’s just… I can’t find the words,” he stammered.
“It’s okay. Something’s telling me more than words…” she replied, eying the bulge in his trousers.
“Sorry…”
“I wouldn’t exclude I might like it,” she replied giggly.
“You do then??”
“I have this feeling we might come to really get to like each other…”
“Same here…” he nodded.
“And when we do, I would love to see you get hard on me, not on my stump only but most certainly not excluding it,” she continued, twitchting its muscles now to make him see every detail of her being amputated.
“You can be pretty sure I will. And do you have any idea how hot that stump twichting is for me?” he grinned, her unabashed candor making him feel much less embarrassed.
“No, but I’ll find out, no worries,” she winked.

He stood up and went to stand close before her. Very close. A tentative first kiss. Shy smiling, partly with surprise. After all this was all going very fast, and maybe without much rational reason. They had only just met, had only talked shortly. But then again not everything was rational. This felt good and it felt good for both, as it also felt pretty exciting.

His hand on her stump was soon becoming rather naughty, but she let him and enjoyed it with a relief she thought she didn’t have. She got over the loss. Missing a leg was hardly convenient, but neither was it the end of the world. It had never stopped her from leading a full life anyway. And yet, that full life suddenly felt a little fuller now.
If this was going to work out, any worry about how she’d come to look would belong to the past. There’d be no slight embarrassment if she was ever going to undress for this man. And while still kissing and flirting in the back of this garden, she had no trouble to envision her doing it. The mere idea even caused a sting in her lower belly, although there was also the hand of a nice man taking full advantage of her amputation being very close to her string, and to what it was covering less and less as his fingers became more naughty.

“The organisation will wonder where we went…” she then interrupted him, beit reluctantly.
“Should we care?”
“I should. She’s a good friend of mine.”
“Then we’ll return to the music.”
“And I’ll mix in with the crowd for a few.”
“I’ll only let you if you promise me the first slow dance.”
“Let me bribe the dj for you then,” she winked.

Their walking back was loaded with tickling excitement. It was a return to an atmosphere that had made them feel odd, but it wouldn’t now. The prospect of that slow dance and more so the prospect of what was to come after tonight made them simply not care anymore. They’d socialise a little, she would at least, and definitely more than he would. But it would be for the sake of it only, with much more alluring thoughts in mind.

Life had no certainties, she thought as she walked into the noise again. Life had even treated her to a very nasty accident, and she’d be dealing with the consequences for the rest of her life. The alluring thoughts made them more bearable than ever, though. And there was no guarantee this would work out, she was sure as hell going to give it a her best try, as she somehow was very certain he would.

She could feel his eyes in her back as she mixed in. And she smiled to herself, drinking in the certainty of being found beautiful.

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