Sophie Adler stood in a state of nervous excitement at her violin tutor Eleanor Krieger’s door, too agitated to ring the bell and too hopelessly in love to walk away. And so she dwelt for some considerable time, attempting valiantly to compose herself before ringing the bell. But try as she might to quiet her jangling nerves and still the racing of her heart, the maelstrom of anticipation and anxiety which boiled within her, was simply too far out of control to be stilled.
For Sophie was determined that today would be the day, finally she would do what she had ached to do for so very long now. Finally her secret yearning would be acknowledged, to herself and to Eleanor both. Today Sophie would declare her love for Eleanor Krieger at last, and whether the consequences were to prove dire or miraculous only time would tell.
But Sophie Adler was out of patience with time, if she were to win Eleanor Krieger’s heart it would take courage and determination. Her mind was made up, the moment had to be now or never at all. Either she declared her affection and desire for the woman, or she walked away forever with her dreams abandoned and left unfulfilled.
Sophie put down her violin case and backpack and stood distractedly, clenching and unclenching her fists in nervous agitation.
“You can do this Sophie….”
“….pull up you big girl pants and be brave….”
“….be the woman you want to be….”
“….be the woman you are.”
Finally Sophie took one last deep breath, straightened her skirt and sweater and brushed her raven fringe from her eyes, securing it in place with a barrette. And then Sophie stepped courageously forwards, pressed the bell once then stepped back again to retrieve her instrument and bag.
And so she stood straight and proud, as noble and fearless as Queen Boudicca herself, ignoring the pounding of her heart and the trembling of her hands. And at last Sophie could hear the sound of Eleanor’s shoes on the hardwood floor, before they were muted by the hallway rug. And finally the woman’s presence became apparent as a shadowy and distorted apparition through the thick stained glass of the grand entrance.
There was an excruciating moment of anxious pause, as Eleanor dwelt at the door for a moment or two longer than might be considered usual. Could Eleanor feel Sophie’s determined intent, could the woman sense her anticipation and anxiety? Sophie had been sure for some time, that Eleanor Krieger could experience the emotions and thoughts of others, far more acutely than any other mere natural being. And Sophie was in fact convinced that Eleanor Krieger was indeed, far more than any mere natural being. For Eleanor Krieger was so very far from ordinary, she was something else entirely, she was ‘other’. Someone or something unique and entirely without precedent in Sophie’s experience.
At last the door opened and at once, before Eleanor had the chance to speak, Sophie awkwardly set down her bag and instrument once again.
“Mrs Krieger.” Sophie announced brightly.
She boldly stepped to Eleanor Krieger until they were inches apart, she stood on the tips of her toes and placed her hands on Eleanor’s shoulders to steady herself. Sophie then raised herself level with the woman, placed her lips upon Mrs Krieger’s and kissed.
And in that moment Sophie’s mind flooded with images of hopeful fantasy and romantic imaginings, and her heart swelled with the intensity of her love for the woman. Her head spun with dreams of Ellie answering her deepest wishes, and indulging the passionate yearning of her heart. How she ached for Eleanor Krieger to gather her up in her arms, to lead her to the paradise of her bed and make love to her this very moment. And in that instant as her lips met Eleanor’s, the pent up intensity of her adoration for the woman inundated her mind. Setting her heart racing and her entire being trembling with exhilaration.
She was doing it, at last she was actually doing it, and Eleanor was not recoiling from her kiss.
Sophie counted one, two, three, four in her mind, then stepped back, straightened her spectacles and clothing, and retrieved her belongings once again.
Sophie had thought long and hard about this moment, and she had decided that the count of four was perfect. Should Mrs Krieger object to her boldness, then she might argue that it was merely an overly impetuous display of friendly affection. She would insist that no romantic overture was intended, request Mrs Krieger’s forgiveness for the forward and inappropriate act, and pray that the matter be forgotten.
But should Eleanor not object, then the count of four was just long enough to leave no doubt about what Sophie meant to express. Long enough to convey that this was no idle friendly peck, but a confession of the intense attraction she felt for the woman. A declaration of love, for Sophie was indeed hopelessly and irretrievably in love with Eleanor Krieger. Sophie sincerely believed that she could reveal all the desire and hunger she felt for Eleanor in a single kiss. And in this she was correct, for indeed there was no doubt in Eleanor’s mind about what Sophie had intended to express.
But had Eleanor kissed her back or had she just imagined it, had those lips moved to meet hers or was it her wishful mind playing tricks. Perhaps in hindsight, Sophie considered that perhaps she should have counted to five.
Eleanor stood silently for a moment or two as Sophie resumed her former confident stance. Eventually the briefest smile flashed across Eleanor’s lips, at which Sophie beamed victoriously. She knew that Eleanor was a woman of exceedingly moderate expression and great reserve, and hat fleeting smile had spoken volumes, and so far the story was a happy one.
At length Eleanor stepped aside and extended her arm to admit her student, she spoke warmly and with an expression of fondness in her eyes.
“Good afternoon Sophie, I see you are feeling bold today….”
“….please come in and go straight to the rehearsal room as usual.”
And jubilance reigned supreme in Sophie’s heart at her victory, and her entire being thrilled with the excitement of the moment. Eleanor had not retreated in shock or cursed Sophie for her arrogance. But what did this mean, had she read the message in her kiss, had Eleanor felt the intensity of desire she had wished to convey?
“Good afternoon Ellie” Sophie replied as she proceeded, pausing only to add.
“I meant no offence by my boldness, Mrs Krieger. I merely wished to express….”
“….that is….” Sophie stumbled nervously over her words.
“To express what, Miss Adler?” Eleanor gazed deep into Sophie’s eyes.
“….my affection….” Sophie whispered.
And with this, Sophie abruptly headed into the house and made for the rehearsal room as instructed. She heard the front door close behind them, and felt Eleanor’s presence behind her every step of the way. And anticipation and excitement thrilled Sophie Adler right through to her very bones.
Sophie entered the rehearsal room and placed her burdens down. She retrieved her violin and bow from their case, and stood ready for Mrs Krieger’s instruction, with her instrument held neatly before her.
Eleanor regarded Sophie briefly, with an expression that Sophie had caught from time to time when Mrs Krieger thought she wasn’t looking, but the woman spoke not a word. The tension was palpable, Sophie knew that she had upset Ellie greatly with her kiss. With that single bold declaration of love and desire.
Although she moved with her usual easy grace and elegance, and her expression was as inscrutable as ever, Mrs Krieger’s perturbation was evident. Sophie could sense the intensity of Eleanor’s reaction to her kiss. But whether what boiled in the woman’s heart was anger or fascination, Sophie simply could not yet tell.
Sophie found that she could often sense Ellie’s feelings, when she was in a heightened emotional state. It was the queerest and most remarkable thing, a kind of telepathy which she otherwise never experienced. Sophie possessed no preternatural or telepathic abilities, but she could occasionally feel something of Eleanor’s emotional state, in a fashion which transcended mere human empathy.
And what Sophie felt in Eleanor now was an uncharacteristic discomposure and agitation, but also tender affection. There was a yearning in Eleanor Krieger’s heart, a kind of hunger. And Sophie could feel it as plainly as she could feel the thumping of her own nervous heart. But there was something more which she could not define, something hidden, something secret.
Eventually Eleanor began rummaging around amongst the many archive boxes of manuscript, which littered the room as her student waited patiently. She wore her usual black skirt and t-shirt, with dark patterned stockings and suede creepers. Her hair she wore in two tightly bound space buns, with a pencil thrust through one.
Sophie couldn’t remove her eyes from the woman, the graceful movement of her limbs and the seductive motion of her body was hypnotic. Rapturous bliss began to permeate Sophie’s entire being as she realized what she had done, she had kissed Eleanor. She had actually done it, and Ellie hadn’t rejected her advance.
But gradually Sophie’s sense of victory began to fade before Eleanor’s tacit inscrutability, giving way to a profound sense of the most gorgeous powerlessness. She had done all she could to express her affection for the woman, and she was now entirely at Eleanor’s mercy. The woman held her heart in her hands, to crush and obliterate her dreams or grant the fulfilment of her fondest hopes as she so pleased. But the sensation was far from one of hopelessness or peril, it was in fact a sensation of the most gorgeous domination.
It thrilled Sophie to her very core that she belonged entirely now to Eleanor, it was so very sweet and so very terrifying to be completely at her mercy. And Eleanor’s mercy might well prove to be unkind indeed, for Sophie had been playing fast and loose in Eleanor’s house.
Sophie knew full well that Eleanor was Mrs Krieger, a promised soul bound by oath and by the wedding ring upon her finger. And that she had every right to throw her out after her romantically charged advance. But what prompted Sophie finally to take the risk, was that the exact details of Eleanor’s family life were a little queer and somewhat obscure.
For although Eleanor shared her beautiful home with Isabella, Charlotte and Zoe, Sophie could not say to who Mrs Krieger was in fact wed. Sophie surmised that it must be one of the three. In truth Sophie had seen Ellie exchange intimacies with all of them, such as to suggest that any one of them might be the other Mrs Krieger. And possibly that theirs was an open union.
And Sophie wished with all her being that she was right in this, for she had come to feel the greatest affection for the entire household. Each of them had captured a piece of her heart in their own uniquely wonderful way. She had made love with all of them, although the matter of secrecy or infidelity was rather unclear.
Was Mrs Krieger aware of Sophie’s affairs? For all she knew Ellie knew all about it, and either she didn’t care, or she approved of the dalliances her companions conducted. But regardless of whoever the other Mrs Krieger might be, Sophie had never found it necessary to discuss the matter of discretion. And no one else had raised the matter either.
Then again perhaps Mrs Krieger was widowed or divorced, perhaps Sophie was needlessly concerned. It astonished Sophie that for a full year she had been coming to this house for her twice weekly violin lesson, and knew so very little about these curious women. She had spent entire days as invited guest and eventually as fond friend, and even casual lover. But she understood almost nothing of this curious household much less the queer workings of its familial bonds.
Entering this house was like entering some other reality, and Sophie felt that questions too probing or examinations too curious, would somehow break the spell. And it was this profoundly held conviction which accounted for Sophie’s near complete ignorance.
This was a house of dreams and of fantasies, somehow removed or separate from the mundane world without. And as mad as the thought sounded to her, Sophie had experienced the eerie and curious reality of it. This was a house of seduction and fantasy, of the sweetest dreams and of dark beguiling romance.
This is an excerpt from a work in progress titled
Thank you for reading