A parking space up front! A good omen, Martha thought. She got out of her car, locked it carefully — she’d been wearing gloves for so long now that handling car keys was nothing — and headed into the shop to see what her sex life was about to be like.
There’s nothing like a thrift store to really depress a person. A room full of castoffs, once-treasured items condemned to collect dust because they were scratched, out of style, or just not as treasured anymore. Everything here came with baggage. Everything here was used, passed on, handed down. Everything here had a history, which was good, since that’s why Martha was here.
It wasn’t crowded today; that made things easier. She grabbed a shopping basket, her attention on the rack at the far end of the store where the lingerie was. A large woman was over there, sifting through the hosiery and underwear bin. Martha shuddered. How could anyone buy second-hand panties? Didn’t she know where they’d been? Martha certainly did, better than most people.
The woman was living a dream anyway, one where she was a size 4. She passed over clothing that might actually fit to grab undies that would barely stretch over a supermodel. Martha smiled to herself. Any minute now she’ll get fed up and…
The woman left. After glancing around to see where everybody was, Martha meandered in a purely coincidental path that led her directly to the lingerie.
The rack was full; they must have just gotten new stuff. She took a deep breath at all the possibilities. Too many weekends she had come in to see the same threadbare rags hanging in the same places: pathetic teddies from discount stores, flimsy robes with suspicious rips, that sort of thing. Nothing she’d be interested in. But this looked like a collection of quality things, and she knew without looking that the prices would reflect it. That was okay. Martha got a lot more out of these garments than anyone would think. She looked around a final time — no one was paying attention — and pulled out a sheer silk nightie that had surely never seen the inside of a mall. She carefully pulled off her glove and brushed a hand against it.
. .red driving thrust and purple-black fuck and biting to taste his rich blood as he attacked, pounding and splitting her with his cock.
She yanked her hand away. A bit too rough, she thought, shaking. She always had stomach trouble after one of those, and a tendency to shy away from men. More than usual. Just her fault for being too eager — she should have known by now not to grab. She began lightly touching the next few dainties, enough to get the barest hint of each one without losing herself.
Martha had looked the word up after her life had exploded: what happened to her was called psychometry — the ability to touch something and “read” its history. Thank God it only happened when she touched something with her bare hands — otherwise she’d have gone insane the first year. It had first appeared in high school, when she got in a friend’s new (used) car and suddenly found herself in the midst of someone else’s maelstrom of flame and death. She’d screamed and the vision had stopped cold, but the memory remained.
Years of therapy followed. She was careful not to reveal her psychic ability. She knew what happened to people with…odd…abilities.
Then came years of loneliness, of thick, safe layers between her and the world. A few abortive relationships taught her that it’s not good to know everything about your loved one. How could she live with a person when every time she picked up something she became them, thought their thoughts, knew their secrets?
She wore gloves every second she was out of her apartment, and she was careful never to touch anything she had owned for less than a year, in case it carried memories of its manufacture, or some horrible disaster that happened in the store while it was on the shelf.
One night, depressed and lonely, she had been doing her laundry in the basement of her apartment building when the young blonde girl from the apartment next to hers came in with her own basket. Lucy, Martha knew, was a college girl with a cat and a boyfriend and a red Miata. Martha kept her eyes down, embarrassed. Many a night she had heard the thumping and gasping from next door; she considered her bitter envy inappropriate.
Lucy dumped her clothes on the wooden counter and started separating them, only to realize she’d forgotten her change. Martha agreed to watch her pile and she dashed upstairs, all bounces and shining golden hair. On top of Lucy’s laundry was a crumpled nightgown.
Martha lifted the nightie. It was a sheer thing, pink and lace-trimmed and entirely useless for modesty or sleep. Martha, flannel to the depths of her soul, had never worn anything remotely like it in her life.
Quickly, before she could change her mind, she had slipped off her glove and grasped the nightie.
When the girl came back down with a Pringles can half full of quarters, Martha was just finishing her load. Lucy never noticed the missing nightie or the way Martha’s face glowed, or how Martha trembled as she hurried upstairs with a basket full of wet laundry.
Now Martha trembled again at the cash register. She always did. It seemed impossible that the cashier wouldn’t wonder why she was buying five pieces of lingerie, no two even remotely the same size, but the woman rang the purchase up without comment. Martha clutched the bag to her chest as she hurried out to her car, cringing against the cries of “Pervert!” that never came.
She rushed into her apartment, locked the door, and began the weekend ritual that had crystallized over the last few years into ceremony. One glass of red wine, to accompany her into the bathtub. One capful of Amethyst Dreams in the steaming water. Exactly one half-hour in the tub, to relax and soothe and to make her skin soft and smooth (she wore rubber gloves: no telling what might have happened in an apartment tub). Dry off with a thick, fluffy towel, then walk naked-but-for-gloves to where her fantasies patiently waited in a white plastic bag.
She stretched luxuriously across her covers with an anticipatory smile, and then sat up with her legs straight out, like a child at Christmas. The lingerie spilled out of the bag into a small silky heap. Martha brought her hands in front of her face and, shivering, began to tug at the slick fingertips of her right glove, revealing the milky-white hand underneath. The heat began to build, a purely Pavlovian reaction reinforced over the last two years; her nipples tightened into knurled buttons. With naked hands, she snatched the first nightie, bunched it against her breasts, and she…
…she was Michelle, slipping her new teddy over smooth shoulders, feeling it drift down to caress her curves. Hank was due home any time. She was ready to show him that the honeymoon wasn’t over yet, not by a long shot. She slipped on panties so he could tear them off, applied perfume to the five main areas, and scooted under the covers to wait for him. She heard his car almost immediately, and the front door right after.
“Honey?” he called. “You left me already?”
“I’m in here,” Michelle/Martha called in a husky voice. “Did you bring dinner?”
Hank appeared in the doorway, a burly bear of a man with a big grin and a large bulge. “I did, ma’am,” he said. “Hot and ready and all you can eat!” He leaped out of his clothes and jumped onto the bed, capturing Michelle/Martha in a rough embrace and kissing her throat and breasts with a playful hunger that turned intense almost immediately. She arched up to meet him, her fingernails dragging lines across his broad back. His hands pushed her teddy aside to pinch at her nipples. His cock was a hard, red-hot presence, pushing at the sheets to get to her. Michelle/Martha swept the bedclothes aside to reveal herself in all her glory — tanned, tight, aching with need — and she slowly rolled over to her hands and knees, planting her face solidly in the pillow and pushing her rounded ass into Hank’s crotch.