So many people think the Amish live an idyllic life. Hannah Stutzman knew its darker side. Victimized by her brothers, she was unable to forgive and forget as the church leaders commanded. So she left – but she still suffered. Fortunately, Hannah found solace and wisdom within the Free Spirit Connection. Guided by their counselor Lateshia, and living with a polyamorous triad, Hannah finds their simple and sensuous faith a radical change from her past. She learns not only to heal her wounds, but explore and embrace her sexuality. Perhaps she could even find someone to love, and to love her. But it’s not always easy to escape one’s past, especially when an old friend needs help dealing with her own terrifying secret…
Melinda nodded as she listened with an attentive expression. The line had moved quickly, and they were all now at the tables to make their selections. Once their plates were full, the three went back to the table where Lila and Hannah had been sitting, Melinda dashing to grab her things and bring them over. She did her best to maintain a balance, catching up with Lila while doing her best not to let Hannah feel left out. Once in a while, she’d unconsciously put a hand on Hannah’s forearm, and Hannah tried hard to control her reactions. When she excused herself, Lila then sat over by Hannah.
“Sorry,” she explained quietly, “I forgot that Melinda can be kind of touchy-feely.”
“It’s okay,” Hannah murmured. “I have to deal with it, after all.”
Lila wrinkled her brow and smirked. “You like her, huh?”
She looked up and nodded. “Yeah, she’s nice. I can see why you two are such good friends.”
“No, I mean … you’re attracted to her.”
Hannah shivered, feeling herself blush. “Oh! Is it really that obvious?”
She giggled. “Well, I just have a knack for picking up on that sort of thing.” Then she leaned closer. “Oh, and I’m pretty sure the feeling’s mutual.”
Hannah covered her face with both hands, just as Melinda came back from the bathroom, and Lila shifted back to her chair so Melinda could once more sit between them. She noticed the change in Hannah, and put a hand at her elbow. “Are you okay?”
Hannah seemed to struggle as she took a very deep breath. “Maybe,” she said, “I should explain something.”
Melinda folded her arms on the table, waiting attentively. But Hannah found it almost impossible to tell her. Finally, Lila broke the painful silence: “Hannah, if it would help, we could find a communion room to talk privately.”
Hannah looked up at them both, bit her lower lip, and nodded in agreement. With that, the three of them gathered their belongings and rose from the table, heading for the wing of the meetinghouse where the communion rooms were located. Along the way, Hannah caught sight of a leaflet on a bulletin board – the one asking for help finding Abena Gardner, the missing college student from Cleveland. Lila used a keycard for access, and they entered a small suite with a sitting room, small bathroom, and bedroom. They sat around a square coffee table, and with Lila’s encouragement and Melinda’s patience, Hannah shared her story.
Neither Lila nor Melinda said anything for the next two or three minutes. Strangely, it did not feel awkward. It felt much like the period of reflection at the service, as if they all expected and desired that silence.
Melinda then looked into her eyes, took a very deep breath, and began to talk: “I appreciate your sharing that with me. I feel honored you could trust me with all of that.”
Hannah trembled a bit, shifting in her chair. “Well, um … there’s a reason I shared all that.”
Melinda’s eyebrow arched with fascination. “And that is?”
Hannah struggled: “I, um, really want, uh, want very much if, uh, well, – ” She let out a frustrated gasp. ” – I, um, when I watch people and, you know, masturbate, I get this relief from it, but … I want more. I want to feel … someone else’s skin.”
Melinda nodded, murmuring ever so softly: “Uh huh.”
“It’s just, well, that would mean them touching me, and even though I want that, I’m still not ready, and – and – ” Another gasp, almost painful. “Am I making any sense?”
She looked up to see Melinda tilt her head, smiling, and with that sight her anxiety started to melt. “Honey, I understand. And there’s just one thing I’d disagree with you about all that.”
She leaned closer to her, just a bit, so she wouldn’t spook her. “It doesn’t have to be both of us touching each other. You can touch me without me touching you, if that’s what you want.”
Hannah felt such a rush, she needed to swallow hard in order to breathe again. “Uh, you mean … huh?”
Melinda’s smile broadened, and she relaxed a bit in the chair. “Truth be told, one of my favorite games is to be tied up, letting the other person do what they want with me. And, if you’d like to do that, then … sure.”
Hannah almost felt dizzy, as if she’d fall on the floor if she got out of her chair. “Tied … up? And … I just … touch you … like … whatever?”
The smile diminished to a pouty frown of concern, and her forehead wrinkled. “You’re nervous.”
“I’m guessing,” Lila stepped in, “this is pretty new territory for her.”
Hannah’s nodding was virtually automatic. Melinda looked over at Lila, then back at Hannah. “So, why don’t I lay down some ground rules, and then you can take some time to decide whether you’d like to go ahead with that. Okay?”
Was it the offer itself, or the mellifluence of her voice, that calmed her enough to accept? Whatever it was, Hannah nodded in reply, with slow deliberation. Lila then asked her whether she was more comfortable with her staying or leaving, and Hannah let her know she could leave. As soon as she departed, Melinda explained in more detail what she had in mind, and Hannah absorbed every word. And when that was done, Hannah not only felt comforted by those rules, but so filled with erotic energy that it was impossible to imagine putting things off any further.
Hannah trembled as she stood alone in the sitting room, her fingers almost struggling with her buttons and zippers. When she was finally down to her panties, she approached the bedroom where Melinda had gone…