Whenever You're Ready
by Cephalgia

Disclaimers- This original story and characters belong to me. The song Whenever You're Ready belongs to Mary Chapin Carpenter and can be found on the Time* Sex* Love CD. No infringement of her rights is intended and the lyrics are used here without her permission.

This story contains subject matter pertaining to a loving/sexual relationship between two women. If this is a problem please find reading material elsewhere.

Thanks go to MJ for making me feel more talented than I am and more blessed than I deserve to be. Thanks also to Monica who knows what the dark and the wild and the different know.

Feedback welcomed at cephalgia@hotmail.com

Maybe tonight. Maybe it would be tonight. Del shifted in the front seat of her pick-up truck, relieving the tightness in her low back. She ran her fingers through her stylishly trimmed brown hair and rolled her shoulders, luxuriating in the feel of muscles relaxing. Glancing at her watch she was dismayed to note it was almost 5 a.m.; dawn would be arriving in just over an hour.

And another night will be wasted, another night apart. God, Claire, can't you see this was meant to be? Please don't fight it anymore.

Del had been patient with Claire, had been outside her home, her parent's home, every night for almost a week. She would wait forever if she had to. Whenever you're ready, Claire.

Del had hoped tonight would be different. She had hoped this would be the night Claire would come to her and they could start their life together. A life where no one's opinion counted but their own. A life open and unafraid, free of the need to hide the deep and profound love between them. Claire remained afraid though; afraid of her families disapproval and afraid of leaving the comfortable for the unknown.

Del had met Claire at the office, discovering her treasure filing folders efficiently in alphabetical order. From the first moment Del saw the shapely body and shoulder length blonde hair bent over the filing cabinet, she was enchanted. From the moment Claire turned and fixed her with baby blue eyes, she was enthralled. From the moment Claire touched her hand in an introductory handshake, she was in love.

Del's face betrayed no sign of the turmoil just beneath the surface. She exchanged pleasantries with the office clerk and explained her job as computer consultant to the mid-sized firm. A neutral smile was firmly fixed on her face and her answers to questions were appropriate but Del knew her life had completely changed in last few minutes.

So this is what they mean by being in love. It was a falling, a crashing and a feeling of absolute certainty that this was the person she wanted to spend the rest of her life with. Why Del felt these things was a mystery because she had never believed in love at first sight and had actually scoffed at those who said they had experienced it. Whatever the reason behind it, Del reveled in the feeling of slight breathlessness and almost missed the young blonde's proposal in doing so.

“.. so if you haven't had a better offer, maybe I could invite you out to supper. I know you can't have had time to look around much since arriving yesterday and I know a nice restaurant that has some pretty good food.”

If truth be told, Del rarely noticed the surroundings outside her job. Her consulting jobs usually lasted about two months each and during that time she slept, ate and worked out in the hotel facilities. A perpetual stranger, dinner invitations were infrequent but Del knew she would eat sawdust from a lumber mill floor if Claire asked her to and she accepted the blonde's offer without hesitation.

Returning to her hotel room, Del shed her smart business suit and showered quickly. Relaxing on the bed wrapped in a large fluffy towel she allowed herself to think once more of Claire. Indeed it had been difficult to think of anything else since their meeting a few hours earlier but now Del closed her eyes and let her imagination wander to decidedly less business-like areas. She envisioned the blonde's full lower lip under her stroking thumb then under her own warm lips. Tongues slipping out to duel and explore. Del's fingers splayed open on the bedspread as she saw her hands stroking creamy flesh after rapidly opening buttons and lowering zippers. Fingers gliding over generous breasts and thumbs over taut nipples. Arms reaching around and drawing naked flesh to naked flesh, hips meshing in an unconscious need for the other's most intimate touch. Del's hand slid silently beneath her towel and lightly stroked across flesh heated with need. Growling with frustration, the brunette tore her hand away before giving herself release knowing that that purely sexual relief wasn't going to do it this time. The need for Claire was transcending the bodily. Del wanted Claire physically, emotionally, spiritually and every way one person could want another. The brunette had certainly been in her fair share of relationships, but nothing prepared her for the fact that in all her 30 years she had never experienced a need like this.

Del left the bed and in 30 minutes she was standing in front of her hotel dressed informally in black jeans and a white silk shirt. Aviator sunglasses in place against the afternoon sun, Del knew she projected an image of casual coolness. She also knew she was anything but cool. Like a teenager on her first date the consultant thought. Her thoughts were interrupted by the arrival of Claire in an old VW Beetle. She gave Del a sheepish smile and explained that a struggling college student and part-time office clerk really couldn't afford much more. Del thought of the luxurious Dodge Ram pick-up parked in the hotel's garage. Usually she flew to wherever her consulting jobs took her but this central California city was close enough to her San Francisco home that she had driven.

“Not a problem, Claire, this is fine.” The ride to the restaurant was spent in easy conversation with Del explaining how she had always hated the name Delilah and had shortened it herself when she entered high school. “If I heard one more Samson joke I was going to have to hurt someone,” she laughed. Del's eyes slid to the blonde, enjoying the sight of the snug Levi's and maroon sweater the young woman had chosen. She raised her eyes further and met blue eyes with her own brown ones. Embarrassed to have been caught appraising the woman, Del's features flushed. Claire's eyes returned to the road as she asked, “Everything look alright?” Del would have choked on her own air if she had been able to breathe at that moment in the first place. Was that an innocent remark or was the other woman actually flirting with her? Del promised herself she would find out before the night was over.

Over drinks and dinner, the two women learned more about each other and a comfortable companionship blossomed between them. Eventually the conversation turned to personal lives. “So, Claire, any serious relationships in your life?” Please God let the answer be no.

“Only the one between my thesis advisor and myself. Other than that, well, it is a small city you know. Relationships get talked about.” Del's gay-dar was firing off persistent signals and the brunette prayed for the continued accurate functioning of her usually correct intuition. “So how about you, Del?” Uh-oh, moment of truth. Oh well, in for a dime in for a dollar.

“I lived with somebody two years ago. She left me for someone who was home more often than I was. There hasn't been anyone since then.” Del looked deeply into blue eyes trying to gauge the effect her words were having.

Claire gazed back steadily and said quietly “She was crazy.” All moisture left the brunette's mouth and it took her a moment to be able to ask the blond if she would like to continue their talk elsewhere. Claire explained she was living with her parents to keep her expenses low while finishing her Master's degree.

“My hotel then?” Del offered. I'm begging for a yes here!

Del's heart hammered a staccato rhythm when Claire said simply “I'd like that.” The blonde dropped Del off outside the hotel, parked, and met the brunette at her door. Del wanted there to be no mistake in her intentions. As she used her key card to open the door she turned to the younger woman.

“Claire, just so we're clear here I want you to know I am enormously attracted to you. It's even more than that. I, well…I'm not just inviting you in for coffee, okay?”

Claire smiled and took Del's hand pulling her into the room then shutting the door behind them. “I don't drink coffee anyway.”

Amazing. Magnificent. Breathtaking. The lovemaking had been all that and much more. Claire and Del had learned each other's bodies quickly and used that knowledge to reach new heights time and time again. Del thought she knew all there was to know about the physical act of love. She was wrong. There wasn't any comparison in having sex and making love to someone who truly had your heart. She learned there was a difference between having passion and being passionate about someone. She learned one thing more; she learned there was no way she could ever bear to let Claire out of her life. It was obvious to the brunette that she and Claire belonged together. She didn't care who knew it; she had never been happier in her life. Or more miserable.

Claire had been raised in the small city and was reluctant to have anyone know about their relationship. There were no open same sex relationships and the lesbians she knew were firmly planted in the closet. As a matter of fact as far as the city knew there were no lesbians there at all. There were plenty of roommates, but definitely no lesbians. Claire's parents were aware of her sexual preference and were grudgingly accepting but as the blond had never brought a lover home they had never needed to confirm that acceptance. Del took what the blonde was willing to give but desperately craved more. She wanted Claire to be with her in the light and the open, not relegated to hiding their relationship behind closed doors.

It was another stolen evening in Del's hotel room and the recently minted lovers lay tangled and happy in the sheets. For three weeks the women had basked in the glory of each new sensation. Claire snuggled her head on Del's shoulder while the brunette was idly running her fingers over the younger woman's skin.



“I love you.”

The stroking of skin stopped abruptly and Del wondered if she had merely imagined she heard the words. “What did you say?”

“I'm sorry Del, I tried not to. I know you have to leave here in less than a month and you probably don't need any complications. I wish we could be more open with our relationship here and I understand it's been difficult for you to sneak around for me…” Two fingers placed across her lips cut off her words.

“Claire, answer my question. Did you just say you love me?” The blonde nodded. “That's good” Del said and fell back against the pillow. If Claire expected a response from Del it certainly wasn't this.

“How can it be good? It's a totally impossible situation. I'm stuck here, you're leaving when the job is done…”

Del sat up quickly and looked deeply into baby blue eyes. “Come with me.” As the words left Del's mouth she knew with certainty that it was the most right thing she'd ever uttered. “I love you too, Claire. I have from the first moment we met. I should have told you before this but I didn't want to pressure you in any way. I'm asking you to come with me when the job is done here. I love you with every fiber of my being and if you'll let me, I'll spend the rest of my life trying to make you as happy as I am at this very minute.”

Claire smiled briefly and flushed with happiness but then sobered and could no longer meet Del's eyes. She fumbled with the painful words. “I can't go with you, Del. My parents wouldn't understand and I have my degree to finish and what about the things people will say? You're strong, but I don't know if I have the strength to do this thing with you.”

Del took Claire into her arms. “It's okay Claire, I realize I just dropped this whole thing on you. I'll give you all the time you need to see that this is right, that we are right. I'll wait for that because I know we're worth it. Whenever you're ready, Claire, I'll be there.” With those words she brought her lips to Claire's in a kiss filled with sweet promise. There was precious little conversation after that.


It had been three weeks since the confessions of love between the women in the hotel room. Little had changed in their situation and Del was feeling desperate. Her work was nearly finished and to be honest she was manufacturing reasons now to stay a few extra days. Though she and Claire continued on as casual co-workers by day and occasional lovers by night, the blonde hadn't been convinced to make the change in her life and leave with Del. The brunette had told Claire a week ago she would wait every night for her and all the blonde would need to do was pack a bag and come out to the truck. “The very second you decide to come with me I want to start on our life together.” Now Del had waited a week, cat-napping in the afternoon to stay awake outside in the truck all night. Del didn't know any other way to express what she felt for the blonde or tell her again how much she needed Claire in her life. Claire was her life. The brunette had even volunteered to stay in the small city; anything to be with the clerk but they both knew the impossibility of that situation. Staying would just lead to more lying and neither woman wanted that. So Del waited. Then, last night the local radio station had played a song that caught Del's attention. It said everything she wanted to say to Claire but lacked the eloquence to do so.

Whenever you're ready
I've got the car and the engine running
It's such a bore when you know what's coming
All the time.

Whenever you're ready
To slam the door 'til the hinges fly        
Trace an arc across the big blue sky.

It's always gonna be hard
To take things a little too far.

Picking up her cell phone she dialed information and got the phone number for the radio station. At the radio station the disc jockey told her the song was by Mary Chapin Carpenter. Del smiled and hope was rekindled in her heart.

The next morning Claire found a small gift-wrapped package in her mail slot at work. Claire opened the wrapping and studied the CD she found there. The accompanying note in Del's precise script said only “Whenever you're ready.”

So Del sat outside Claire's house in the early hours hoping that this would be the night. She was just about to check her watch for the thousandth time that night when a light came on in an upstairs room in Claire's home. The light stayed on and another light appeared in the room next to the first one. A few minutes later the downstairs lights and then the front porch light came on. The front door opened and Claire came out with a suitcase. She nearly ran over to the truck and throwing her bag in the back, climbed into the cab. The blonde smiled at Del and leaned over for a brief but warm kiss. She held up the CD and took the disc from the jewel case.

“I take it you want to go?” Del asked.

Claire just laughed as she inserted the disc into the player. “Whenever you're ready.”

The truck started and rolled down the road with Mary Chapin Carpenter's beautiful alto voice accompanying two very happy women.

Whenever you're ready
To light a match and to burn some bridges
Try to dance on a narrow ledge
That's way too high.

Whenever you're ready
To give it up or to just give in
The more you lose, hell, the more you win

In spite of all of your plans
It's always been out of your hands

Come on, baby
Yeah it's crazy
I'll be waiting
Whenever you're ready

Whenever you're ready

The End


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