Shady Grove Ch.3
Two weeks later, in passing, Abigail asked Marty if he’d received any new complaints. “One hundred in just two weeks,” he said, noting that Charles Davis submitted thirty, all alleging Claire Winston was the culprit. “But it’s old news,” he said. “Nothing has happened since the meeting. I think I got my point across very effectively.”
“Do you have any…suspects?” Abigail said, leaning in.
Marty said it would be improper to share his “intel” before the next scheduled meeting. “But I’ll tell you this,” he whispered, and Abigail leaned in even closer, “we got over three-hundred dollars in the collection jar! The Fourth of July picnic is fully funded!”
Before long, the Shady Grove residents no longer passed the evenings in late spring sitting by their windows. Quinn spent hers mostly on dating websites. After a year-long string of horrendous dates, she became convinced that every man within twenty miles was a creep, and she needed to expand her reach. But a few months of searching online had so far been fruitless, and Quinn felt lonelier than she could ever remember.
Abigail was also lonely, but was used to it, and spent most of her evenings watching Entertainment Tonight. One night, after watching Parks and Rec, she fell asleep during Community, but was awoken by a stray cat in heat. Too hot to close the window, she pulled a pillow over her ears. She dozed, but was awoken by the cat again.
Suddenly, she bolted upright, realizing it wasn’t a cat. Abigail turned off the TV and shuffled to her window in the dark. Ohh, Abigail heard. To her ears, the voice was deep but female; when she heard it again—Ohhhh..Oh…Oh…Oh—she was certain of it. Unlike other tenants, Abigail didn’t stock up on spy gear. She didn’t actually care to find out who it was; in fact, she thought it was better not to know. She had heard it the first night it happened, and had been waiting for weeks to hear it again.
On the floor above, just having showered, Quinn stepped out from the bathroom holding a bath towel across her chest. Upon hearing a long, low, rumbling moan, she dashed to her bedroom and pressed her ear against the wall. When she heard it again, she bounded to the opposite wall. Hearing it for the third time led her to her living room, where she inched closer to an open window, and waited.
“Oh, baby!” an enraptured voice called, and Quinn gasped before snugging the towel up over her mouth. With her ear turned to the window, Quinn glimpsed her reflection in a mirror hanging on her dining room wall. Her cheeks, flushed from a hot shower, were still pink, despite cooler air wafting in from outside and passing across her face and bare back.
Waiting for another sound, Quinn’s reflection looked like it belonged to a stranger. My god, she thought, what happened to you? Inside the mirror was a distant memory—a young, fit woman with pale blue eyes, apple cheekbones, a delicate nose and radiant strawberry-blond hair. But outside of the mirror, in her mind’s eye, was a lonely, increasingly antisocial twenty-eight-year old straining to hear someone else’s ecstasy. Still gazing into the mirror, Quinn lowered her towel slowly, inch by inch, revealing her lightly freckled chest, and then further until the slopes of her breasts appeared. And further still, until a hoarse Uh…Uh…Uh snapped her out of her trance.
Through her window, Quinn spotted subtle movements in the windows across the courtyard, and realized she could be seen by any of them. She lunged for the light switch and crouched behind her window sill in the dark. Like Abigail, Quinn didn’t care who the moaner was. Not having had sex in a year, and because watching porn was never her thing, this was the most aroused Quinn had been in a long while.
The courtyard was so silent that Quinn, Abigail, and everyone else could’ve heard a pin drop. So, it was without any doubt they all then heard the same thing: a high-pitched squeal that sounded like a cat meowing into a microphone. Both eavesdropping women held their breath, finally exhaling when they were convinced the show was over. Then both of them gasped when they heard a terse aftershock—“Oh god!” Abigail crossed herself and closed her eyes, saying, “Please forgive her, Lord, just this once—”
“Oh my god!” the woman cried, leaving Abigail shaking her head and regretting asking the Lord for forgiveness on this woman’s behalf. Several seconds passed before they heard another cat-like squeal, and finally what sounded like a woman laughing and sobbing at the same time.
Quinn breathed heavily as she turned her wet back against the wall and slid to the floor. She ran her fingers through her damp hair, exhaling through pursed lips, as if she had just been ravaged by a lover. Meanwhile, Abigail smoothed out the wrinkles of her nightgown and paced about her apartment, straightening all of her knick-knacks that didn’t need straightening, trying to block out the warm sensation spreading beneath her gown.
Quinn let her towel fall to the side and opened her legs like a book. She cinched her eyes while trying to summon an imaginary lover, but no one came to mind. Finally she settled on the man who stopped to help her with a flat tire on the side of the road a few weeks back. He gave her his number in case she “needed anything,” but she didn’t call. With her clitoris already buzzing beneath her fingertips, Quinn’s fantasy quickly wrote itself. In it, she looked at the man’s number and dropped the scrap of paper; before it fluttered to the ground, she was already leading him by the hand to the rear door of her car.
The rest passed through her mind’s eye quickly. Quinn mounted him, pulled his flannel shirt apart and ran her hands along his hefty chest. His hands, dirty from repairing her flat tire, lifted her shirt up and pulled her bra down. Her breasts disappeared beneath his thick fingers; thumbs with dirt under their nails circled her nipples. Her backseat was compact, so his thrusts forced her breasts against his unshaven face. But as if Quinn were a doll, the man lifted her and laid her down. She began to moan, even if only in her mind, and not in her own voice but the voice she had heard through the window.
Quinn’s bare ass skidded along the hardwood floor as her legs trembled, until she tipped over onto her side, squeezing her thighs tightly and whimpering softly, “Oh my god.”
No more than a few feet below, Abigail peered up at her ceiling and furrowed her brow.