Tender Flowering

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Chloe was dressed a bit too warmly for the weather. Though it was a pleasant day she was wearing a loose fitting sweater and a billowy, ankle length skirt. It didn’t bother her, though. She chose the clothes she was wearing precisely because they were so loose fitting and hid her figure from the gazes of all the passersby that she was sure that, given the chance, would stare up and down her body. Any other day she wouldn’t have given a second thought to the clothes she wore. Today, though, Chloe was feeling rather self-conscious and felt it would be best not to draw any attention to herself, real or imagined.

So there she stood looking across the street to the doorway of the Orthodox cathedral she had attended since childhood. Her father had brought her brother and sisters and her to this cathedral for as long as she could remember, willing or otherwise. As Chloe stood there debating whether or not to go in she remembered going to this cathedral with her family as a young child, not really understanding why they were there or what they were supposed to be doing but being fascinated by the exotic clothing the priests wore, the strange, sonorous chants and the magnificent artwork. But she was eighteen now, and with all the wisdom of her eighteen years she had decided that church was not was she was about. Still, she found herself stung by the memory of the beauty of the building and the ritual of the liturgy even if she was falling away from the faith.

So why she was standing here in front of the cathedral was a mystery to her. She had absent-mindedly wandered here on her way home from school that afternoon. In fact she had been rather absent minded all day. Her mind was on things other than geometry and American literature. Last night Chloe had had her first orgasm.

Of course Chloe knew what an orgasm was. She had once heard her mother have what she assumed was an orgasm as she crept past her parents’ bedroom one night. Chloe had been sort of grossed out when she heard that knowing what her parents must be doing. But up until last night she had never experienced one. Now she couldn’t get her mind off it. It was wonderful. Waves of pleasure had radiated all throughout her body and even though it lasted only a few seconds she found herself exhausted when it was over. As she settled down to sleep she began thinking about how incredible her body had felt yet also she was also overcome by a nagging sense of shame. She couldn’t understand why she should feel shame over something like this but the feeling was still gnawing at her the next morning.

Chloe wanted to talk about it, both the orgasm itself and the emotions she was now feeling. But who could she talk to? Certainly not her parents. Her father was an Old World conservative Greek who would probably condemn her for her sin. She thought she might talk to her mother, but the thought of talking to her mother brought the memory of the night she heard her mother moaning in (presumably) ecstasy and still made her a bit queasy. Perhaps her sister Angela, but then what would she say to Angela. Even worse, what would Angela say to her or, God forbid, anyone else. And she couldn’t talk to anyone at school. She was still new to that school and hadn’t made too many friends. She had one friend named Ben but she was much too embarrassed to talk about her first orgasm with a guy, let alone one for whom she nurtured a secret crush.

All of this was on her mind as she left school at the end of the day. Still feeling a slight sense of shame her feet seemed to take her by the cathedral as if they had a mind of their own. Now standing before the great doors of the building and looking up at the magnificent dome she realized that the shame came not from having experienced an orgasm, but from her intense desire to experience another… and another… and another. And not only on her own, but with someone like Ben.

Chloe feared that if her father found out what was on his youngest daughter’s mind he would think she was a slut. Her father Andreas had brought her and her siblings up as good Orthodox Christians. He had been a young professor at the University of Athens when the colonels took power in 1967. His wife had borne him two children before she died in the early 1970s. After the junta had arrested and tortured him for his political activities he and his two children had fled the country and settled in the United States where he got a job teaching political science at CUNY. It was here that he met Christine who a year later would become his second wife. Angela and Chloe were born soon after. Just last year her father had been offered a position teaching at the University of Portland and so the family had moved west to Oregon.

Perhaps it was because of his exile from his homeland that her father adhered so strictly to Orthodoxy. Chloe remembered once hearing a lecture her father delivered where he said he was embarrassed that his homeland, the birthplace of democracy, was for ankara escort so long ruled by a military dictatorship. But he was still proud of being Greek and did his best to pass that pride on to his children. That was why he was so intent on making sure his younger daughters did not forget their Orthodox heritage (her older brother and sister had both left home for college).

Chloe stepped over to a park bench and sat down. ‘So it’s come down to this,’ she thought. ‘The only one I can talk to about my…uh, thing…is God.’ If her father would condemn her, then surely God would strike her down with lightning. But she felt like she needed to confront God about what had happened to her last night and…what? Beg His forgiveness? Bargain with Him? Tell Him to get lost? With a twinge of regret for coming here, she got up and walked over to the bus stop. Within a few minutes she was on a bus headed home.

She awoke late that night. She had had a hard time getting to sleep. The memory of what she had felt the night before was still strong in her mind. She could hear the rain beginning to splash against the window pane as she finally began drifting off. The rhythmic patter of the raindrops against the glass had at last lulled her into slumber. When she awoke a few hours later the rain had become a steady downpour. It was a pleasant sound.

After lying there for a few minutes Chloe swung her legs over the side of her bed and rolled into a sitting position. Her legs were still heavy with sleep but it felt good to sit up and let the swirling dizziness clear out of her head. She rubbed her eyes, stood up, and went into the bathroom.

She stood there leaning against the vanity for a few moments looking into the mirror. The dim light of the night light was the only illumination and it threw eerie shadows around the walls. As she looked at her softly glowing reflection in the mirror, Chloe began to look at herself in a way she never had before. Where before she had only seen Chloe, tonight she saw a young woman. She had never given thought to herself before as distinctly a woman. She was just Chloe. But tonight she was acutely aware of her own femininity. She picked up a brush from the vanity and began to slowly brush her hair.

Though she had brushed her hair countless times before, she was aware for the first time of the sensuousness of such a simple act. The strokes of the brush running through her thick hair sent a tingling sensation through her scalp and down her neck, a sensation she found tantalizingly pleasurable. She continued brushing her hair, her gaze fixed on the mirror, as she noticed the transformation taking place in the reflection staring back at her. Where she had first seen an awkward teenager with disheveled hair, she now saw a young woman emerging with a mysteriously erotic beauty that she hardly recognized as her own.

She put the brush down and gazed at her reflection for a moment. She tilted her head and smiled slightly. Perhaps it was the shadows cast by the dim light, but she couldn’t help but notice how full her lips were. And her freshly brushed, sandy brown hair fell like a hood around her face. It made a nice complement to her slightly olive skin. She turned her head to one side, keeping her eyes fixed on the mirror. She saw how prominent her chin was; not large, but well defined. It didn’t slope into her gracefully slender neck as she noticed some others did. Her chin, jawbone, and high cheeks framed her face quite nicely. It was very feminine.

Turning back to the mirror, her head still tilted, Chloe looked into her eyes. They were almond shaped and brown with thin brows. She had never noticed before how clear her eyes were. In the dim light the pupils were quite large. Chloe wondered if the young woman staring back at her from the other side of the mirror somehow had a consciousness of her own and what she would see in Chloe’s eyes. It was all very mesmerizing somehow. “The eyes are the window into the soul,” she had read somewhere. Now, even though she was staring into her own soul, she was curious and slightly afraid of what she might find. She suddenly had an urge to look into Ben’s eyes and see what she might find there.

She almost immediately regretted this thought, unbidden though it was. She was overcome with embarrassment, for if she could look into Ben’s eyes, he could look into hers. She was not even certain of what she saw in her own eyes, let alone what Ben would find there. She turned and left the bathroom.

She sat down on the edge of her bed and listened to the rain pounding against her window. Thunder was rumbling in the distance and a flash of lightning illuminated the room for a moment. Chloe saw for a fleeting instant her reflection in the full-length mirror opposite her bed. Without even realizing it, she arose and switched on the lamp on her nightstand that threw a soft, pale light about the room. As she let her mind wander over the last few minutes she began to realize ankara escort bayan how heightened her senses were. Her response to all those little bits of stimulation that she had up till now taken for granted tonight seemed so fresh and new. Chloe had never felt so alive before.

She stepped back to the mirror and looked at herself. The light cast by the lamp behind her showed her silhouette through her nightgown. She noticed the curve of her hips and the straight lines of her legs through the thin silk of her gown and thought of the delicate lines on the Greek and Roman statues that she had seen in her father’s art books. Many of those statues were nude. Chloe considered that the female form had for centuries been a model of beauty and wondered where she herself fit in that idea of beauty. Her hands, which had been slowly caressing up and down her hips, were drawn to the laces of her nightgown. She untied them and let her gown fall to the floor.

For a minute she simply stood there looking at her naked body. Of course this was by no means the first time she had seen her own nudity in a mirror, but tonight she was fully conscious of her body as a woman’s body. She looked at her breasts, the curve of her hips, her thighs, and the hair that had grown around her vagina. As she looked at herself she began to think of those sculptures she so admired. They were beautiful in a way that was almost too perfect. Fitting that they should be sculpted of marble. Their beauty was an ideal. The flesh and blood woman that she saw before her was the reality of beauty.

Chloe drew herself up to her full height. She shifted her weight onto one leg and slightly bent the other in imitation of what she thought would be a classical pose. She began to draw her hands, which had been resting limply on her thighs, up along the smooth skin of her hips, her fingertips just brushing against the skin. It was a ticklish but electric sensation. As one hand continued to caress her hips and thigh, the other was making its way up along her chest between her breasts. She let her fingertip languidly trace the shape of her breast all the while watching with almost detached fascination the exploration of her own body reflected in the glass.

Her breasts particularly fascinated her. They were not large, but they were full. She let her fingertips linger for a few moments on her chest, then ran her hand along the rising flesh of her bosom. She was enthralled by the supple softness of her flesh as her breast seemed to rise out of her chest like a dune rising out of the desert. Her breasts seemed to give way to the touch of her fingers as they explored the smooth texture of her skin. Gliding her fingertips along the curve of her breasts, she could feel her nipples becoming firm. As her fingertips brushed over her nipples, Chloe was surprised at how sensitive they were. She never remembered her nipples responding to touch like this before. She drew her breath in sharply with a sudden rush of giddy dizziness at the fleeting but intense pleasure she felt as she massaged her nipples.

Chloe was so taken with the pleasure of caressing her breasts that it was several moments before she noticed the moisture between her legs. She watched in the mirror as her hand slithered down her abdomen and found the short hair surrounding her vulva. Every stroke through her budding pubic hair was like sparks of electricity shooting down her legs. “Mons veneris,” she thought. “The mound of Venus. That’s what the biology books say this part of my body is called. I can see why.”

For a few moments Chloe absent-mindedly massaged around her vulva while caressing her nipple. Her mind was going blank as she experienced all of these new and wonderful sensations. She had felt something similar the night before when that rush of pleasure overcame her, but tonight was different. Everything she had felt last night was so new that she had no idea what was happening and didn’t know what to make of it until it was all over. Tonight, though, she was consciously exploring her own body, acutely aware of each touch, reveling in each sensation with growing amazement at the heretofore undreamed of joy of flowering womanhood.

Sliding her fingers down over her swollen labia, Chloe felt an intense wave of pleasure as her fingertips brushed what felt like a little button. She was so overcome by the sensation that she could do little more than gasp. Her knees went weak. She was so giddy that she nearly collapsed on the edge of her bed. Sitting there for a moment, breathing heavily, she collected herself and slid up against the pile of pillows she always slept on. She lay there drinking in the moment. The rain was splashing on the windowpane, the room was bathed in a dim light that threw ominous shadows about. Chloe was taken by the romanticism of it all. She felt like Guinevere waiting for a secret tryst. All the while she let her fingers caress her naked flesh, basking in the sensations running throughout escort ankara her body.

Almost of its own volition her hand returned to that little button between her thighs. She stroked her fingertip over it and instantly her whole body recoiled as she stifled a cry. The sensation of touching it was so intense that it was almost painful. Her breath was heavy as her hand returned to her vagina. She placed her palm over her clitoris and just held it there for a few moments feeling its warmth. The moistness of her vagina was just enough to allow her to slip her fingertip inside. She let out a small moan as her finger massaged her vagina for several seconds. It was warm and moist as she withdrew it up to her clitoris.

Now that her fingertip was lubricated the sensations that clitoris massage sent radiating throughout her body were not so overwhelming. They were intensely pleasurable, to be sure, but now she was able to concentrate on them. Chloe closed her eyes and let the pleasure wash over her. She was pinching and tickling her nipples with one hand while the other made small circular caresses around her clitoris every once in a while stroking up and down directly on it.

Each rush of pleasure was more intense than the last. The sensations seemed to drive her out of her mind. She had no thoughts going through her head other than the desire for pleasure, a desire that her body was willing to oblige. The tension was building all over her, her eyes squeezed tight, her jaw clenched, her fingers running faster and faster over her clitoris. Then it happened.

The tension that had been building up in her body was suddenly released. The tingling pleasure built to a climax of ecstasy that consumed her whole body. They came in waves, one after the other, each more intense than the last. Her legs quivered as if she had no control over them. Chloe didn’t know how long it lasted until the tension was released and the orgasm began to subside.

As the pleasure receded and her head began to clear, Chloe realized she wasn’t breathing. She drew in a big gulp of air and let her body go limp. She lay there for a while breathing heavily, exhausted but satisfied. She tried to sit up, but her body wouldn’t cooperate. It felt nice to just lie there and let her body bask in the afterglow.

After several minutes Chloe pulled the blankets over her, not even bothering to put her nightgown back on, and reached for the lamp on her nightstand. The last thing she saw as darkness enveloped the room was the icon of the Blessed Virgin on her dresser. She drifted off to sleep a few minutes later, the satisfaction of sexual pleasure mixing with a renewal of the shame she had felt the night before.

The next day found her again at the cathedral. The last time she had come she was almost surprised to find herself there. Today, though, was different. She had brought herself to the height of ecstasy last night and it had felt, well, ecstatic. Yet the sight of that icon as she turned off the light had made the whole experience somewhat unsettling. She had spent most of that day thinking about how sexual fulfillment must be somehow sinful. After all, the Blessed Virgin was, she had been taught, free of sin and perpetually virgin. Does that mean that sexual expression was sinful? If so, why had God made people this way? Questions were swirling through her head. She didn’t know if there were any easy answers, but she was determined to sort through these feelings. She walked across the street, opened the door and stepped inside.

The cathedral was sparsely peopled. It was, after all, a Saturday afternoon. There were a few old crones scattered about, some sitting, some kneeling, most muttering inaudible prayers. Chloe remembered that this was one of the things that had turned her off about the Church. She feared one day becoming one of those old women constantly searching for forgiveness. A rush of empathy welled up within her, though, for she thought that perhaps she had come in looking for the same absolution that brought these women here day after day. Chloe sat down near the back of the church, somewhat unsure that she belonged there. She sat in silence for a few minutes. Not knowing quite what she was supposed to do, she picked up a Bible, opened it to a random page, and began reading.

“How beautiful you are, how pleasing, my love, my delight! Your very figure is like a palm tree, your breasts are like clusters. I said: I will climb the palm tree, I will take hold of its branches. Now let your breasts be like clusters of the vine and the fragrance of your breath like apples, and your mouth like an excellent wine that flows smoothly for my lover.”

Chloe stopped reading in puzzlement. This was certainly not the fire and damnation that she had expected. In fact, she found it quite erotic. She was puzzled by the gulf between the doom and gloom she had always associated with her religion’s view of sexuality (or at least her interpretation of it) and the sensuousness of the words she had just read. More confused than ever, she put down the book and made ready to leave. When she looked up she saw a shocking sight. Her sister Angela was walking toward her.

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