Home > Girls' Night Out

Girls' Night Out
Author: Vivian Arend

 

1

 

 

Julia

 

 

November, Lone Pine ranch

 

 

“I’ve got all the extra bits and pieces we need.” Hanna Ford gestured at the fabric piled on her living room table. “Only this part isn’t my forte. I’m a cleanup kind of girl. Making the mess is a little harder.”

Julia Blushing laughed as she stepped forward to help her new friend. Since arriving in Heart Falls the previous April, she’d had plenty of time to get to know her sisters and some of the women in the community.

Tonight’s girls’ night out activity promised to be an eye-opener, in more ways than one.

A week earlier, Hanna had looped Julia in and suggested that they set up a boudoir shoot. They’d brainstormed how to run the session in a low-key way, acting as their own photographers. When they emailed the idea to everyone in their group, along with a list of items to bring, the plan was greeted with enthusiasm. A few members of their regular group couldn’t make it, but the ones who could were fully on board.

Hanna’s husband, Brad, hadn’t been told the details, but he’d willingly taken their daughter out for the evening to leave the house empty for mischief.

“I can take care of this part,” Julia promised. “You finish getting the rest of the important stuff together.”

“You mean the food and drinks? That I have under control,” Hanna said.

“Pour me a drink, then, because I think we’ll all need something under our belts before we start.” Julia picked up one of the sheets Hanna had left on the table and began strategically draping it over a couple of chairs and pinning it to the curtains as a backdrop.

She’d barely finished when Hanna held forward a tumbler full of ice and something fruity. “Here. Strawberry mojito. Not very festive, but also not tequila.”

“Thanks.” Julia laughed before she tucked the final edge of the sheet between two chair cushions then took the liquid offering. She lifted it in a toast. “To an evening full of lots of blushing.”

Hanna’s cheeks flushed. “So it would seem. But since this is self-inflicted, I’ve got nobody to blame but me.”

Before Julia could respond, a loud bang and shout rang from the front door. “Hello. We’re letting ourselves in.”

A moment later Julia’s three sisters entered the room together, conversation swelling as if there were a dozen of them. Tamara caught Hanna in a hug, Karen put down an armload of snacks, and Lisa went straight to the draped fabric, hands planted on her hips as she examined it decisively.

“Make yourself at home,” Hanna said without a trace of sarcasm. The petite woman was just so damn sweet and innocent, which made it all the funnier that she was the one who’d come up with the theme for the evening.

Lisa twirled, rubbing her hands together. “I cannot believe it took this long for us to have a boudoir shoot. I am so looking forward to this.”

“It’ll be fun,” Tamara agreed, “but let’s make a pact right now. All pictures stay private unless we choose to put them out there.”

“Definitely.” Hanna nodded seriously. “Part of the reason I didn’t hire a real photographer was the money, but also, even if none of the pictures we take on our phones turn out great, we’ll still have the fun of doing something together.”

Karen had found the pitcher of drinks and poured a round for everyone. “Trust me, odds are we’ll have at least a few good pictures in the end.”

“Screw the pictures,” Lisa said with exaggerated flair. “I mean, I agree in principle. Considering how awesome the material, the pictures are bound to turn out gorgeous.” She gestured to the women around her. “But the whole point of boudoir is to celebrate our amazingness and absolute personification of sexiness.”

“In other words, a fuck you to a society that says my post-baby body is no longer drool-worthy?” Tamara asked with a smile. She’d settled on the couch, the rest of the group gathering around and getting comfortable.

“Pretty much,” Hanna agreed.

“I will say I have a fairly healthy attitude toward my body, and yes, I’m looking forward to celebrating that. But I’m also looking for a good Christmas present for Finn. Because not only are these pictures going to make me happy, but I really hope one or two make him happy as well,” Karen said.

Tamara raised her glass. “Hallelujah, Hanna. You solved my Christmas dilemma. Our husbands will all say thank you down the road.”

“Oops, we’d better kick Lisa out,” Karen teased. “No husband.”

Julia held her tongue. She and Zach were legally married, but their actual relationship was a lot more complicated.

“Shut up. Just because you decided you wanted to put a ring on it, doesn’t mean Josiah and I have to cave to antiquated societal norms. Permanently shacking up is like a step beyond marriage because there’s no paperwork demanding we stick together.” Lisa dipped her chin firmly then stuck out her tongue. “So there.”

A trickle of laughter danced around the room. “For a moment I was going to say that was an amazingly mature thought process, but then you had to go and reveal your true colours at the end.” Tamara clucked disapprovingly, dodging the pillow Lisa tossed at her.

“Speaking of sex,” Lisa began.

Karen snorted, wiping at her mouth as she apologized. “Were we speaking of sex?”

“We were bound to at some point,” Lisa said pragmatically. She leaned forward. “Just an FYI, since lifelong learning is a goal I aspire to, I found this wildly entertaining website last week. WowYes.”

Julia and the others paused as Lisa fell silent.

“We’re waiting. Great podcasts? YouTube? Cooking show? Oh, wait. You said sex.” Julia pretended to be shocked. “You’re sending us to a porn site?”

“Oh, I wouldn’t dream of ruining your fun. Just thought I’d share that I bought a membership. Josiah and I are working through some of the suggestions, and totally TMI, but holy fucking moly, I might have passed out from my orgasm the other night.”

Hanna’s cheeks were glowing hot enough to heat the entire room. “Um. Good for you?”

Tamara patted Hanna on the arm. “It takes all types, honey, and Lisa’s definitely an extra type. Exhibitionist, extrovert, extra out-there.”

“Hey, I resemble that remark.” Lisa winked at her own bad joke.

Tamara put her glass down decisively. “Okay, somebody’s gotta go first, so to get this show onto a slightly less risqué topic, I volunteer. Let me get changed.”

She stood, grabbing an oversize purse off the table and heading to the bathroom.

“Any ideas where you want to pose?” Hanna tossed after her.

Tamara glanced back over her shoulder, a mischievous smile flashing. “Let’s use the kitchen.”

She vanished from sight, leaving Julia to exchange confused but happy smiles with the three remaining women.

“Well, this could be interesting.” Julia got to her feet, bringing out her phone. “Hanna, did you find any suggestions for the best way to take shots?”

“A few. Don’t use terrible props. Watch the angle of your shots so it doesn’t feel as if the model is about to tip over. Don’t take pictures from too far away, don’t try to get too close. Try not to chop off limbs—”

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