All Cats are GreyAll Cats are Grey



My life had ceased to have much by way of meaning. My love of ten years, Melissa Blake, had died accidentally two years before in 1999. Her death at age 38, left me bereft and mourning her absence. After the actual shock of her passing subsided, I gradually began seeing the world through a cracked prism. There was no longer any sunshine in my life, no music in the air, no sweet fragrance caressing my nostrils. Only a gray, blah, dull nothing. Every day alive was just an opportunity for more nothingness and depression, one more day missing Melissa. The first 28 years of my life had been heavenly, the last 2, closer to hell.

It was a cold month, that May of 2001, one made colder by missing her warmth, and wit, and beauty. That was the day when I got the news about Melissa’s will, and the second half of my real life began.

The news for this day delivered itself to our apartment in Brooklyn, in a cream-colored envelope embossed with the name of some fancy law firm. The letter lurking inside got off to the usual lurching Dear Ms. Wiseman…. start, but it ended up careening drunkenly around a corner I certainly didn’t expect. It invited me to the offices of Michaels and Somerset, Attorneys at Law in two days, for the reading of Melissa’s will. Well, that just started me crying again, and I sat on our shared sofa, sobbing, tears running down my face. At age 30, I felt as though my life were over, along with Melissa’s.

We’d spent 10 deliriously happy years together, as lovers and partners, ever since I’d been a freshman at Cornell, and she, an assistant librarian in the graduate library at school. At the reading, I got a sense of the life Melissa had led as a child. There was no one else there from her family. She’d been an only child, a late surprise to her elderly parents, and they had passed on by this time. But the family’s lawyers were upper crust, catering to the wishes of the very rich, and their offices showed it.

Leather, mahogany, and brocade everywhere, the place smelled like other people’s money. The lawyer, a pretty starched sort, greeted me, then droned on for a while explaining the terms of her will. A will that seemed kind of peculiar to me.

… Blake Foundation, as a condition of Melissa Blake’s Last Will and Testament, bequeaths to you, for your use as your sole domicile, her family residence at McKenzie Estate. Should you fulfill the further terms of this Will within one year, the residence, and all services required for its upkeep, will be made available to you for the rest of your life at no charge. In order to meet the requirements of this Will, and retain tenancy rights, you will have to complete the following…

Since I can tell you a lot faster than that over-priced lawyer Williamson could tell it, let me just sum it up. I had to move into, and live in her family’s mansion, named “The McKenzie Estate,” in upstate New York immediately, and live in it for at least one full year, without leaving the grounds even once during that time. It sounded to me like a strange gift, given to me by someone who I’d loved desperately, and who had loved me, but who was dead and gone now. I was pleased by the thought of her remembering me, though, and since I was able to move my writing work there, as well as being close to getting thrown out of our apartment, and the digs were nice, well…

And so I showed up at McKenzie Estate on June17th, Year of Our Lord 2001. Melissa and I had visited it at the beginning of our marriage, which was never formal, sometimes stormy, but always peculiarly intense. Melissa had always treated me like a long-lost lover, even from the beginning of our relationship, and I had never quite understood that, though I loved her love for me, and returned it fully.

The place matched what I remembered of it twelve years before, in 1989, though there were undoubtedly fewer Blakes running around now. Her parents had both died of old age five years before, and within a week of each other. That was rather romantic, I thought. That conceit came back to haunt me, when I endured the loss of my Melissa.

The estate was probably 100 acres surrounding a big, no, HUGE, stone mansion. 12 bedrooms, 15 bathrooms (I could never figure out that ‘more bathrooms than bedrooms’ thing – are rich people worried about the bathroom being occupied when they have to pee?)

Numerous weeping willow trees were rooted knee-deep in an ocean of close-cropped grass surrounding the mansion, several islands of granite boulders perched in a placid emerald sea of grass, that same smooth lawn tucking itself under the gentle waves of an attached lake. In the far distance, serving as a frame for the picture, were vast forests of old growth oak trees. All in all, a picture out of Great Baronial Homes of England , upstate New York edition.

Williamson, the starched barrister standing at the door, handed over the keys, and gestured vaguely at the hired help who’d keep the place up whether I lived there for Kartal Escort the next year, or whether I somehow ended up floating in that mirror-finish lake in a fit of depression.

He told me to call him if I had any questions, and said that he would see me in one year, reminding me that I must not leave the grounds until then. “Laura, good luck,” he said, a surprisingly friendly sentiment, though still delivered in that broom-up-the-ass way of his.

I had been reminded, painfully, at our first meeting, of how Melissa had died two years previous. Like all tragic deaths, it was needless and mindless, simply an unfortunate meeting of an innocent woman pedestrian with a drunk driver. Melissa had rewritten her will six months before her death, to insert me as sole beneficiary, a move that flattered me, but I didn’t think that either she or I were mansion types. We’d not wanted to move into the mansion when she inherited it, yet here she had left it to me, and wanted me to live in it now.

The attorney showed a second unexpected spark of life when he said, “Melissa really loved you, Laura. Don’t let her down.” His words puzzled me. How would it be possible to let her down now?

I nervously opened the massive, but delicately wrought oaken doors, and entered the place. I started looking around and checking the lay of the land for the next year. There was only one kitchen, fortunately, so I knew where I could go to keep my 110 pound, 5’3 30-year old body fueled up. After making myself a pot of almond herbal tea, I made my way around both the inside of the structure, and a small portion of the outside nearest to it.

I found myself attracted to a shaded bower, with clematis vines growing up trellises, the large purple blossoms so lovely, and some of the smaller-blossomed flowers quite fragrant as well as attractive. The small arbor centered on a small bench for two – a place for lovers. I wondered if that house had ever seen any lovers in the last twenty years. From what little I knew of her family, lovers of any kind, at least under 75 or so, seemed a remote possibility. On our initial visit, Melissa and I had lingered in the bower, and her lips had caressed mine softly and warmly, her fingers had aroused me through my clothing, the fragrance of rich flowers filling my senses, the only real memory I had of our visit.

Melissa and I had met at a gay mixer on campus at Cornell, twelve years before, in 1989. Melissa was twenty-eight and a librarian, new to the campus, having spent some long amount of time here at her ancestral home on unexplained business she apparently could not leave, and I was an eighteen year old sophomore coed majoring in English, who had gone to listen to the music at the mixer. I was too repressed to actually admit that I might be attracted to the other girls there too, and too shy to look anyone in the eyes. As I sat on the grey stone steps outside the Student Union, the breeze pushing richly colored maple leaves along the pavement beside me, I could hear the bass line of “She Drives Me Crazy” through the doors, and I wondered if I’d ever work up the courage to actually enter.

While I was standing outside the doors watching the girls come and go, Melissa walked up to me, smiled and quietly asked me if I were going in. I looked up at her when she spoke, and saw an attractive brunette with a moderately short, layered haircut, wearing a cute red plaid wool vest and skirt combination, with a cream colored blouse underneath, and a pretty gold locket, with a clear precious stone set in its center. Her smile seemed dazzling to me, and her shape was nicely rounded, her breasts full, much larger than mine. With her glasses on though, she looked every bit the librarian, although an attractive, smiling one. Come to think of it, she WAS speaking in a whisper, at least at first. Her eyes were a startling shade of blue, so very bright and clear.

I suddenly felt like a complete slob, wearing jeans and a sweatshirt, though in my defense it WAS a Cornell sweatshirt, and I HAD brushed my long dark blonde hair. Wearing sneakers, at 5′ 3 I felt tiny next to her 5′ 9 . I hemmed and hawed, as though I were afraid that I would be ravished if it were discovered that I liked music, and – the impossible possibility – other girls. As it turned out, Melissa was quite nice enough and she later did end up ravishing me, though with my consent and to our mutual pleasure.

We did both go inside to the dance, corny autumn-motif decorations all around us on the walls. We talked for a long time, and drank beer, and she told me that she had recently lost her lover, but that she was trying to get back into the social scene. I slowly found myself looking at Melissa as though she were completely different from any other woman I had ever met. I later discovered that she was. She treated me as though we’d known each other nearly forever, and were just picking up some threads from the tapestry of our relationship that had Kartal Escort Bayan come loose. I never did work up the courage to dance with her there.

I finally said that I had to leave, telling her that I had to study, and she said that she had an early morning at work the next day. In reality, I just didn’t know how to end the evening the way I wanted it to end. I wasn’t even sure how I wanted it to end, so I was desperately trying to continue it until, I don’t know, maybe lightning would strike. Or something. So I asked her if I could walk with her some of the way, as my dorm and her apartment were in the same general area.

“I’d love it,” she said.

We walked along a graveled campus path, orange and red and yellow chrysanthemums lining the way, and reaching a section of deep shade where the oaks blotted out the street light, we paused. I found myself reaching up, my hand on her neck, and kissing her, my lips trembling. She didn’t kiss back, but neither did she pull away. I pulled away, though, after a few seconds, and tried to look into her blue eyes, which were now deep pools of indigo in the shadow. Her dark brown hair looked black, and she towered over my slight frame at her 5′ 9 .

“Oh, I’m so sorry, Melissa. I’m not forward, and I hope you don’t think I am, and I’m sorry, I was wro- . With that Melissa planted her full lips on mine and stroked the back of my head gently, the tips of her fingernails on my scalp sending shivers through me. She pulled back, grinned and said, Be quiet, Laura, and just go with the flow.”

I looked at her as though I had been pole-axed, and said, simply, Okay.

She took me by the hand and led me to her apartment, a first floor studio, which was just off campus. As we got inside the door, Melissa pulled up my sweatshirt over my head, and gently lay it on a chair, my smallish bra-covered breasts nonetheless standing out proudly, my long hair cascading around my shoulders prettily. Then she unbuttoned my jeans, slipping them down my thighs, and had me step out of them, and placed them neatly next to the sweatshirt, as I adjusted my thin cotton panties nervously around my butt cheeks. I looked at her, and she looked so beautiful to me.

“Now young lady, you get in that bed, right over there, and sleep it off. I’ll see you in the morning,” she said. I staggered over to the bed in my bra and panties, and rapidly fell asleep, halfway there when my head hit the pillow.

The next morning when I woke up, I was extremely impressed, and somewhat disappointed, that she hadn’t taken advantage of me. But in some way, it didn’t feel as though she were being considerate, but rather just patient. I spent every day for the next week after that with her, when I wasn’t in classes or she wasn’t at work. We didn’t re-create that kiss during this time, nor did I get any closer to her bed, though.

It was a full week before I worked up the courage to translate my affectionate feelings for Melissa into more physical terms. I was over at her apartment as usual. Melissa was scrubbing out the bathtub, when I snuck up on her, overcome by a sudden wave of emotion. I hugged her, even as she leaned into the tub, nearly knocking us both in.

“Whoa ” she said, grinning. “What brought that on?” She pulled us off the edge of the tub, and we stood up. She nonchalantly touched my shoulder.

“I’m sorry, I, I just felt this burst of warmth right here,” I said, pointing to my heart.

“There?” Melissa said, pointing to the same spot, the tip of her finger resting lightly on my young breast. I thought my heart would explode.

“Yes,” I whispered. “But deeper,” and I took my hand and lightly pressed her finger into my breast. My heart was beating about a thousand times a minute. Melissa left her finger on me, and then it was joined by her other fingers.

“Your heart’s beating madly,” she said, softly. “Does it hurt?” A wry smile on her face.

“Yes, kind of,” I said. “It’s like an ache, kind of.”

Melissa brought her other hand to my face, and gently brushed away the hair that was hanging over my eye. “Does that help?” she asked. I pressed my cheek into her warm, soft hand.

“Kind of,” I said shyly. “Maybe if you touched me a little more in those places, maybe the ache would go away.” I looked into her blue eyes, my own sight blurring as my eyes suddenly teared up. Melissa leaned in and kissed my eyelids.

“You’re crying,” she said.

“I don’t know why,” I said, the tears increasing until I could feel them running down my cheeks.

Melissa kissed me again, on my cheeks, tasting my salty tears. And again, on my eyelids once again, then on the tip of my nose, and then on my lips. I voiced a loud moan, and threw my arms around her neck, holding her against me, wanting to feel those full, soft lips, tasting inexplicably of strawberries, on me, forever and ever.

The kiss was so short-lived. But then I would have thought that a year-long Escort Kartal kiss wasn’t enough either. “Do you trust me?” Melissa whispered into my ear, her sweet breath tickling me there, her dark hair mixing with my lighter hair momentarily. I didn’t say anything, only nodding my head into her shoulder.

“I want to please you, Laura. I want to make you happier than you’ve ever been, for the rest of your life. Do you want that too? Do you want me to make you happy?” Her eyes were on me now, trying to read my heart.

“Oh, you already do ” I exclaimed, my tears doubling in volume. “It’s just, it’s just…I don’t know how to make YOU happy ” I said, getting closer to the source of my emotions. It was there, in the middle of learning to think more of Melissa’s needs, that I suddenly became conscious of the closeness of her body to mine. I mean, really aware.

Melissa’s full, warm and soft breasts were pressing into my upper chest through her flannel shirt, and I became acutely conscious that she wasn’t wearing a bra, her nipples stiff and large, poking deliciously into me. I leaned down and rested my head against her generous breasts, feeling more closely her feminine warmth and smelling her body’s fragrance, even through the residual aroma of ‘Bon Ami’ cleanser on her hands.

“Your heart’s beating fast, too,” I said, as my ear rested against her fullness. “Maybe we have something, one of those bugs that goes around on campuses. Maybe we should check each other,” I ventured, shyly.

“Yes, I suppose you’re right,” Melissa said. “And it would save time, if we turn out to ‘have something,’ to already be in bed, don’t you think?”

“Oh yes, please,” I said, looking up at Melissa as I smiled, the expression on her face quite serious. We walked, hand in hand to her full-sized bed, and sat on the edge next to each other. I was at a loss as to exactly what to do, but to my relief, Melissa took the lead.

“Now, lay down here, and I’ll lay next to you, and we can begin our examinations,” she said. For quite a while no more directions were needed. I suppose that shows that much medical knowledge is actually instinctive. Or not.

Melissa unbuttoned my pink-checked cotton blouse so slowly, I thought it would take forever, and easily separated the two sides, exposing my small bra-covered breasts to her gaze. Her eyes were intent on me, it seemed as though she could never get enough of looking at me, clothed or unclothed, throughout our time together. I rolled over on my back, my breasts moving up and down rapidly with my breathing, as I felt a pain, a pain of excitement and anticipation. A most pleasant pain it was.

Melissa leaned down, and softly kissed the small swell of my breasts, already rosy with a blush of passion, her warm breath tickling me there, her moist lips blessing me there. I moaned as I felt her mouth linger on me, and I even felt the unexpected touch of her tongue on my skin, lightly licking me on the faintly freckled tops of my breasts just barely peeking over the white fabric of my bra. My hands went to the back of her neck, caressing her there in small re-payment of the gentle pleasure she was bringing me.

She moaned faintly, a slight vibration into my breast, and paid equal attention to my other breast. She caressed and kissed me there, and, feeling another surge of emotion, I guided her over to me so that her mouth left off kissing my breast, and brought it back to my own mouth again. This time, her lips melted into mine, figuratively of course, but I would have sworn that we became one person with that joining. I felt her tongue wiggling through as her lips parted. Mine followed suit, and soon her warm, wet tongue was dancing and playing with mine, as well as everywhere else in my mouth. I had been french-kissed by boys before, but Melissa’s kisses were for my pleasure, unlike the boys, who had only been looking to stimulate themselves.

I felt unexpected streams of joy flowing from my mouth, tongue and lips to my crotch, tingling me down there and causing a tremendous itching sensation. My thighs squeezed together anxiously, trying to make the feeling, I don’t know, go away? Get stronger? I was unsure, and Melissa sensed my confusion.

“What are you afraid of?” Melissa asked, unexpectedly.

“Umm, I don’t know,” I said, not sure what she was getting at, and wanting her to keep kissing me. I couldn’t look in her deeply beautiful eyes now.

“You must be afraid of something. You’re trembling,” Melissa said, her face serious. “Are you afraid of me?”

“I, I don’t think so, you make me feel good,” I said. “Please kiss me again.”

“Not until you face your demon, sweetie,” Melissa said. “Are you afraid of kissing a woman?”

I paused to think about that. “I was,” I admitted. “But now I’m not.”

“Are you afraid to be naked with me? Would you like to be naked with me?”

“Yes, I think I am. And yes, I would,” I said.

“Why are you afraid of that?” she asked.

“I don’t know. Because I don’t know what will happen?” I ventured.

“Do you think that I would do anything bad to you?” Melissa asked.

“Oh no, I trust you. You wouldn’t do anything to hurt me,” I said confidently.

“Then it must be you that you don’t trust,” Melissa said flatly.

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