Carla’s Gift

SSforXmasCarla’s Gift is a short story featured in Accent Press’ charity anthology Sexy Shorts for Christmas. More of the Sexy Shorts series featuring Jane’s stories can be found on this blog’s Books page.

Carla’s Gift by Jane Wenham-Jones

What do you say to a woman who has just had her first orgasm on the top of the multi-storey in a Ford Fiesta?

Congratulations was the word that sprang to mind but the others were strangely silent.

‘Good for you,’ I muttered to a cold shower of black looks.

I have always liked Carla. I liked her when she was married to Stuart and so I like her still. Round here, however, things are not so simple. I had witnessed a definite ripple of unease running around the circle of women I call my friends ever since Stuart walked out of 25 Arnold Drive and Carla – dry-eyed – walked out into the world and began to enjoy herself.

It was as if they feared that having gasped her way to ecstasy with her garage mechanic today, the next logical step would be tempting away their husbands. Frankly, she was welcome to mine. If she could stir Norman into producing the merest erect nipple, I’d cheerfully buy her gins all night. And quite honestly, by the look of the other lot’s assorted and spreading spouses, I thought they should be jolly grateful for any spark of enthusiasm injected there too.

Muriel, after a lot of sniffing, eventually said that Carla should be careful not to catch anything. Sylvia swallowed and did a lot of what I think the novels call, ‘dabbing one’s eyes’ with a pink tissue, before twittering on about the terrible ordeal that Carla had been through and how we were all so sorry and how she couldn’t imagine how she would cope if Roger left her, because he was such a comfort.

And I was just reflecting on the way we all just sat there, simpering, even though we knew that Roger had systematically got his podgy white leg over every barmaid the squash club had ever had, and that Carla had got totally slaughtered on champagne when Stuart had finally stopped just screwing them and had the wit to imagine he was in love and piss off, when I caught Carla’s eye and she gave me the most enormous wink.

It was then that I decided to discover her secret. For actually I’d never had an orgasm either.

It sounds ridiculous I know. Especially to a generation who have been encouraged by Cosmopolitan to have them every lunch hour. Be responsible for your own! Etc.

I would have been glad to, if only I’d known where to start.

Carla, with all the zealous conviction of the newly-converted, was full of enthusiasm for my plight. Before I knew where I was, she had me firmly by the arm and I was gazing at a mind-boggling array of battery-operated rubber and plastic in various eye-watering shapes.

‘My God, what do you do with that?’ I hissed intermittently, taking surreptitious looks at the other customers. I could not believe the neat navy blue suits and court shoes to be found in a sex shop.

‘What did you expect?’ asked Carla smugly, as she expertly jiggled one of the more painful-looking contraptions.

‘I don’t know,’ I muttered, hastily averting my eyes from the front cover of a particularly disgusting-looking magazine.

‘But I don’t think this is really me, Carla, not me at all,’ I added nervously as she began to propel me towards the counter.

‘She’d like one of these,’ said Carla unperturbed, pushing a long cardboard box into the hands of the multi-pierced shop assistant.

‘I’m not sure really,’ I squeaked, my eyes riveted by the woman’s naval.

‘And batteries?’ the assistant asked Carla, totally ignoring me.

‘Heavy-duty,’ replied Carla firmly, while I buried my scarlet face in the rubber corsets.

On the way home, Carla screeched to a halt outside the bookshop and leapt out.

‘Stay there!’ she called, leaving me on a double yellow line peering nervously up the road for traffic wardens, and clutching my guilty package in hot hands.

‘Here,’ she thrust a paper bag at me seconds later. ‘Never mind the stuff about self-esteem and letting go of guilt. Go straight to chapter seven and switch on! You don’t know what you’re missing.’


Four days later, after my deep warm bath, massage oil gleaming on my limbs, trying not to feel ridiculous for wearing a satin nightie at three o’clock in the afternoon, I lay back on the bed and tried my first session of what the book called ‘pleasuring’ myself. It wasn’t easy.

I listened to the soft music, I ran a hand up and down an oily leg, I tried to keep my mind firmly fixed on what I’d seen Mickey Rourke do to Kim Bassinger on last night’s video and I kept buzzing away.

But try as I might, my mind would keep wandering to the brussel sprouts waiting downstairs and how I was going to fit in getting Norman’s brown suit from the cleaners. The vibrator gave me a pleasant tingling feeling, but frankly I was no nearer to experiencing it.

Carla was reassuring.

‘Early days,’ she said cheerfully. ‘When I think how many years it took to get my first one out, but, now, well I can hardly stop.’

And she rang off quickly to attend to something that was evidently more pressing than talking to me.

I was not convinced. But the next evening, with the ironing complete in a pleasingly folded pile and the shepherd’s pie already reclining in the oven, I found there was still forty-five minutes before Norman was likely to appear and since I had to admit I’d been feeling oddly unsettled all afternoon and Mickey Rourke had broken into my potato-mashing reveries more than once, I thought I’d have just one more tiny little go.

I didn’t go through the focus-on-your-body-and-seduce-yourself-you-are-beautiful routine this time. I simply pulled off a few clothes and lay there thinking how times had changed.

The first time Carla had given me advice it was on a drop scone recipe. Now here she was casually adopting the role of sex therapist and here I was, lying around with a funny-shaped bit of white plastic pressed against me, waiting for heaven.

And then as I lay there further, idly wondering how Kim Bassinger’s bottom got to look so muscular and mine so flabby, and debating whether to have frozen peas or tinned green beans and thinking that this was all very pleasant and relaxing but hardly hot flush sort of stuff, then – two odd things happened!

First there was the unmistakable click, scratch, jingle of Norman’s key in the lock a whole half an hour early, and second, something very peculiar began to happen to my body.

At first it was just a hot heart-beating rush of panic, that there he was downstairs in the hall, and here I was, sprawled across the bed, half-dressed, gripping something undeniably phallic. But then I realised that another, unfamiliar heat was flooding other bits of me, and I was throbbing in an incredible set of spasms that were making me feel all at once both helpless and incredibly high and powerful.

Just as I was gasping from the shock of this assault of strange and delicious sensations, I heard his foot on the stairs and somehow I got off the bed and flung myself out of the bedroom and into the bathroom and turned on the taps and then leant weakly against the mirror grinning wildly.

‘I had one,’ I informed the toothbrushes in wonder. ‘I bloody well had one.’

Norman was puzzled and not altogether pleased to find me getting into the bath at this thoroughly unexpected time of day. He grunted irritably at my cheerful explanations of post-gardening sweatiness and went heavily downstairs to await his dinner.

Later I phoned Carla in ecstatic whispers to share my good news. She was touchingly delighted and proud.

But I couldn’t do it again. I tried everything. I went right back to chapter one, spent hours fantasising about a wide variety of tall, handsome, famous men (and even a few short balding ones who worked in the High Street) smothered my self from head to foot in sensuality-enhancing oils and creams and read my way through three volumes of women’s sexual fantasies that Carla said would blow my mind.

One or two of them made me wish I’d eaten a lighter lunch but none of them produced the faintest ripple of orgasm.

Until one afternoon, I lay there, belligerently determined not to move from the bed until I had forced my body to ecstasy when once again Norman’s key was heard turning in the lock.

And as I glared wildly at the clock, wondering where on earth the last three hours had gone and how the hell I hadn’t noticed their departure, the most exquisite feeling began pulsating through my body with an intensity that took my breath away.

And as I groaned a most peculiar groan that sounded nothing like me and certainly bore no resemblance to the magnificent wails I’d produced in my youth at an attempt at persuading fumbling boyfriends that the earth had moved, the penny finally dropped and I realised I had discovered my own secret.

After that it was easy. A bit of a warm-up ten minutes before Norman was due home and then, oh, the agony and the ecstasy of hearing his feet slap their way up the path and the indescribable delight that wracked my body as I heard him come in.

Norman got used to my six o’clock bath ritual and no longer seemed surprised to find me flurrying about in a dressing gown when he came upstairs to change.


As the weeks passed I grew more daring, How close could he get to the bedroom door before I moved? Before I leapt to my feet, threw the vibrator into the bedside cupboard, tightened my dressing gown cord and stood beaming as Norman entered the room.

I was now a multi-orgasmic woman. My record was three heart-stopping ones between first hearing the scrape of his shoe on the pavement outside the front gate, and the creak of the landing floorboard as he came towards the bedroom. Carla was deeply impressed.

‘He’s going to catch you at it,’ she said in awe. ‘Then what will you do?’

I was rather more concerned about what Norman would do! There was a whole chapter in the book about the threatening nature of sex toys to the average male; a series of sobering testimonies from women whose husbands, lovers and boyfriends had smashed their vibrators to smithereens and removed themselves to the shed at the bottom of the garden to have a penis-crisis for three days.

This, I felt, was not really Norman’s style, not being a man given to displays of emotion of any kind, but still a frisson of alarm sent my blood pounding as I took ever-increasing risks until I was shuddering in abandon right up to the moment when the door of the bedroom began to open. What would he say if he found out? The thought filled me with a mixture of shame and wicked delight. And I could not stop.

Of course he did find out. One day he burst through the front door like an elephant possessed and came pounding up the stairs, flinging open the bedroom door and appearing at the foot of the bed when I was mid-writhe and could not do a thing to hide from him what I was doing.

This did not stop him shrieking: ‘What are you doing?’ as if there could be some doubt, but I was so convinced that actually I was having a heart attack that I could not summon the wherewithal to reply. I just stared in mute horror at his crimson face and wondered wildly – as I looked at the feverish workings of his jaw – if he was going to kill me.

Then I realised he was trying to undo his trousers.

I think there we will draw a polite bedsheet over the rest of the evening. I may be bold enough to discover hitherto uncharted territories of my own sexuality with a battery-operated tool and a self-help book but, as I said to Carla, I’m still a prude at heart and not about to share the details of my marital intimacies with anyone.

Suffice to say that the Lancashire Hotpot dried right out and Norman went very happily for fish and chips.

And, far from smashing my vibrator, he found it a place of its very own in the hallowed cupboard where he keeps his electric razor and toenail clippers. He took the You-too-can-have-one book with him to read on the train and ever since then, well, things have changed around here.

I asked him to indulge me the other night. I said: ‘Norman, borrow your brother’s wife’s Ford Escort and come with me.’ And we drove it right to the very roof-top of the multi-story in the middle of town and looked at the stars. Then I silently thanked Carla for the most precious of gifts and ordered Norman out of his clothes.

I thanked Carla out loud the next day – on the quiet – in the corner of the coffee morning.

But I didn’t bother to mention my success to the others. I don’t suppose they would have congratulated me either!



SSforXmasSexy Shorts for Christmas, Amazon says, “is packed full of fun, raunchy reads by top international writers such as Robert Barnard, Katie Fforde, Jo Mazelis, and Christina Jones (and Jane Wenham-Jones!). A true ‘feel good’ and ‘do good’ book – each copy sold raises £1 for Breast Cancer Campaign. Aimed at the mainstream women’s fiction market the book will attract readers familiar with the authors and those who enjoy the growing women’s short fiction magazine market. Sexy Shorts for Christmas is a seasonal book with great stocking filler appeal.” and the readers agree…
  • “I read your Carla’s Gift within Sexy Shorts for Christmas. A superb, happy and indeed sexy story.”
  • “This is the third time i’ve read Carla’s Gift in as many days (the first were in the Sexy Shorts for Christmas I purchased).  It is beautifully innocent and uplifting.  A sweet tale with a lovely and loving ending.”
  • “Good rollicking read! Wonderfully sexy short stories which went down a treat for Christmas – the perfect accompaniment for all those mince pies and champagne! I devoured the whole thing in a day. Particular favourites were Liza Granville’s “May Day, May Day” which was incredibly sexy & sinister, and Jane Wenham-Jones’ “Carla’s Gift” which had me convulsed in laughter, and, being the last story, was the perfect way to end the collection. Great stuff. MORE please!!”


  1. Hi Jane, me again. This is the third time i’ve read Carla’s Gift in as many days (the first were in the Sexy Shorts for Christmas I purchased). It is beautifully innocent and uplifting. A sweet tale with a lovely and loving ending

  2. Hadn’t read this one of yours before, and what can I say? It’s laugh out loud funny as well as lovely. Satisfaction all round, I guess 🙂

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