"Get your buns out here Hunter or you're gonna be toast." Alex yelled into the open downstairs window.
"I'm coming," Hunter returned as she rushed out the front door toward Alex's truck. Opening the door she plopped down on the Holstein patterned seat and let out an exasperated sigh, "well, hell Alex, here I am, where are you? I?em going to be late?"
Alex shuffled toward the driver's side, opened the door and started the car without comment.
With a voice as smooth as dripping honey Hunter said "Alex, thank you for taxiing me to this meeting today while my car is in the shop. You are such a lamb."
Alex glanced toward her friend, "you're welcome. Tell me again, why do I put up with your abuse?" her face twisted with a smirk
"Because you love me?"
"Yeah, because I love you and you know how to milk me in every way." Alex chuckled.
"Hey, it's a little chilly in here. Can I roll up the window?"
"Sure. What's this meeting all about?" Alex asked.
"It's my last hope. I've had writer's block for three solid months and I've tried just about everything I can think of to help break it and finish my novel. I'm hoping this writing coach will be able to help me. It's costing me an arm and leg but I'm desperate. Thanks again for taking me I was afraid I would miss the appointment because my darn car chose today to conk out. I'd be in a real pickle without you."
"We're almost there. What time would you like me to pick you up?"
"The initial session is two hours long. I'll meet you in front of the building by the flower bed if that's ok."
"Sounds great. Good luck." Alex leaned over and gave her a friendly kiss on the cheek as they came to a stop in front of the small bright yellow apartment complex.
Nervously Hunter pulled the door open and walked into foyer in search of apartment 12. She readjusted her portfolio strap for the last of over a dozen times, wiped her wet palms across her thighs and with an expansive sigh she began lightly knocking below the metal numbers one and two. The soft scuffle of feet was followed by a click and scraping metal locks, as the door was pulled inward. "Hello, Hunter?" a tall brunette with tortoiseshell glasses inquired.
"Yes." Hunter regarded the brown-eyed coach with wary eyes.
The woman shoved a loose strand of brown hair behind her left ear and opened the door wider, "welcome, I'm Abby." she said stepping back to offer her hand.
Hunter squared her shoulders, mustered her courage and entered the room. She looked up abruptly realizing that she had taken Abby's hand, startled by its softness, she dropped it in surprise.
Abby smiled lightly, "please come in and have a seat. Would you like something to drink before we get started? I have hot water for tea, iced tea in the fridge, some sodas and water of course."
"Water would be fine, thank you." Hunter replied as she stood uncertainly on the colorful rag rug centered in the living room floor. The room smelled of peaches and a spice that reminded her of the quaint Chinese restaurant within walking distance of her place. She always ended up making several trips to the restroom to pee every time she ate dinner there because she drank so many pots of her favorite Orange Dragon tea.
Abby interrupted her musings, "I wasn't kidding you may sit anywhere."
"Oh." Hunter jerked toward Abby's voice and then cautiously surveyed the room. The multitude of choices caused her brow to furrow and lips to pucker -- a comfortable upholstered chair, a mint condition leather chair, a large beanbag, a long traditional couch, a small rocking chair and an ottoman.
Hunter turned as Abby pressed the cold, wet glass against her bare arm. "This really isn't a test. You won't be judged or graded on what seat you choose." Abby said, clearly suppressing a laugh as she walked over to the couch and scrunched down into the cushions. "However, you snooze you lose. This seat is now taken." She grinned.
Hunter returned a wry smile and took a perch on the edge of the comfortable upholstered chair trying not to squash the pile of decorative pillows.
Abby smiled widely, scooting to the other end of the couch so that she was sitting directly opposite the upholstered chair and began to speak, "first, let me tell you a little about myself. That should help you relax or at least bore you so much that you doze off."
Hunter nodded slightly, taking a sip of water.
"I've been a writing coach for a little over seven years. I have an English degree from Florida and I've been to numerous writing institutes. I'm also a writer myself. I've had short stories published in lit magazines, a couple of current events articles published in the local newspaper and a serial story series published in a regional publication. I specialize in writer's block but I have given aid to other artists when they have had creative blockage issues"
Abby pushed her glasses back onto her face. "Our sessions will start with us talking through issues but we will also work on writing activities and we'll have homework assignments too. At some point this first week I would like to visit your home or place that you write. Will that be possible?"
"Ahem. Sure." Hunter said softly and set her water on the coffee table.
"Do you have any questions for me?" Abby asked.
"I don't think so." Hunter was beginning to rue her decision to open up to this woman.
"Ok. Let's start by you telling me a little about yourself and then we'll talk about why you are here today."
Hunter squirmed into the cinnamon ultra suede chair trying to find a comfortable position. "I'm a little nervous." Her voice tittered and she sighed. "I've never been to any type of therapist before but this has become such an overwhelming problem that I had to see someone." She sighed again but didn't continue.
"I'm not really a therapist. I'm just a fellow writer with a little more experience that can help you get through this dry patch. Why don't you tell me about your situation." Abby gently encouraged noticing that Hunter had the shakes.
"Ok. I signed a contract to write a novel based on some of the short stories I wrote online. I've never had any trouble writing before and didn't have difficulty with the novel until the last few chapters. My deadline is looming, I can't seem to finish the novel and I'm in a real jam. I sit at my computer for hours and nothing happens. Well, I stare at the screen, but that's about it sometimes I feel like my head is going to pop."
Abby is a beautiful soul, Hunter thought. She has intelligent doe colored eyes, bred with long giraffe legs that fold under her body and beautiful lips, the luscious kind that old-fashioned movie stars sported. Naturally voluptuous, not the botox induced look of today. Abby's voice broke into Hunter's contemplations. "Three months of staring at a screen. That sounds pretty foul. Have you tried any relaxation methods such as yoga or meditation to help break through whatever ails you?"
"I run and I've been running every night. After I sit at the computer for a few hours I get so frustrated that I have to do something so I run, usually about five to seven miles. I beat a path from my door to the track at the local high school. "
Yeah, she has runner's legs, thought Abby. They are really well toned muscles. She was struck by how silky smooth texture of Hunter's hair. The sunlight streamed into the thin window behind her and yet you couldn't see any of the wispy tendrils indicative of split ends. Hunter's hair was healthy and beautiful. I wonder what it would be like to touch those golden tresses, Abby thought. Realizing Hunter had stopped talking, Abby cleared her throat as she tried to maintain an air of calmness, she regurgitated what she could recall of Hunter's sharing, hoping that Hunter would help her catch-up by adding anything she had missed during her moments of delicious pondering. She's going to think I'm nuts.
As Abby droned on about possible relaxation techniques and potential writing exercises Hunter mentally kicked herself for letting her mind wander in appreciation of Abby's attributes. Shit, that's what got her in this predicament. She was out drinking with Alex and some of their friends when they started this conversation about her latest boyfriend. He hadn't appreciated her skills at writing online lesbian fiction and wanted her to stop so she had told him to hit the road. Really, what kind of guy would make you stop doing something you like? He was just a big moose anyway. Besides, she had a contract to expand one of her really popular online stories into a novel length story for publication by a small lesbian publishing company. Yeah, they all had agreed.
"I just wonder why you write lesbian romance and not het stories, Hunter?" Sheri asked.
Alex smirked, "yeah, that's a good question? Why, Hunter? Maybe that's why none of your boyfriends last, you really want a girlfriend?" Everyone at the table had laughed.
"Give me a break guys." Alex responded with a whine.
"I'm sure any of us would give you much more than a break, babe, all you have to do is ask and if you aren't interested in any of us we all have a list of girls we'll hook you up with, anytime sweet cheeks." Sheri teased. More laughter.
Hunter laughed along with the gang. Blushing, she poked Alex in the rib, "leave me alone. You guys are just plain mean."
Abby had stopped talking. "Hunter, what were you thinking about? You had one of those ah ha looks on your face."
"Um, I was thinking back to a conversation I had the night my writer's block began. I haven't written a useful word since."
"Tell me about the conversation."
"Well, my friends were harassing me about my breakup with my boyfriend. Teasing me about writing lesbian stories and saying that perhaps I was really interested in women." Hunter told the condensed version of the conversation with a nervous chuckle. "We had all had a trifle too much to drink that night and were acting a little bananas."
"Let's hash this out, other than this conversation with your friends has anything else changed in your life?" Abby asked.
"Not that I can think of, I mean, I stopped dating my boyfriend but nothing big."
"Tell me about where you write. The actual physical location."
"I have a little nook dedicated to writing in my guest room. It's well lit with the perfect chair and I have music available and my favorite candles. Look, it's not the setting, it's up here." She tapped hard on her noodle and sighed heavily. "I can't get their comments out of my head. Every time I sit down to write I think about all of my failed relationships it's like I'm in a horrible movie. A movie of my life that plays all of the bad scenes over and over again. All of the break ups. You know, the moments of realization in my relationships either by me or my boyfriends that the relationship wasn't going anywhere and that I didn't want to see this person or that they didn't want to see me any more. Do you know what it's like to keep seeing scenes from your unsuccessful bedroom frolics played over and over in your head when you are trying to write the final two chapters of a romance novel? It's not pretty and it does nothing for my mood." Hunter put her head in her hands and sighed.
"Have you dated since your break-up?"
"No, I've been sitting at home whipping myself into a frenzy over not being able to write these last two chapters. The worst part is that the rest of the book went really well. It's so damn frustrating."
"Tell me about your novel, the story," Abby asked with genuine interest.
"Well, it's a classic girl meets girl romance with the typical relationship curveballs thrown in for dramatic flavor. The main character is a chef. She has been dating guys for years but hangs out with her best friend at lesbian bars. Over time she meets another woman that shares an interest in cooking and they become a pair of good friends. The caper follows the ups and downs of their friendship and the main characters burgeoning realization that she has fallen in love with her cooking friend. She suffers from an extreme case of denial and finally faces her true feelings only after another failed dating fiasco with a man and being extremely jealous of her friend when she dates another woman."
"Hmmm. That's very intriguing. Ok, our session is over for today but since your deadline is imminent I think we should meet again fairly soon. How about the day after tomorrow and I'll come to your place so that I can see where you write and perhaps I'll have a few suggestions for making it a more relaxing or inviting place to help set the atmosphere. Would that be ok?"
"Alright, one more thing. I have some homework for you."
"Hotdog." Hunter said sarcastically.
"Don't worry, it's not going to be so bad," Abby reassured. "When you sit down to write your novel if you still have difficulty I would like you to write what is going through your mind. Free association. For instance, if you are trying to write the novel and it's just not happening then you can tell me what's going on in your head instead. If you are thinking of a past relationship then give me specific details especially what your role is during the relationship. Ok?"
That evening Alex wanted her friend to come out and play. "Come on Hunter, you are way too stressed. Just come out for a little while. We'll go to Joe's it's within walking distance and you can come home anytime you would like," Alex cajoled.
"Ok," Hunter sighed deeply, "I'll come but you have to promise not to tease me. I just want to have a couple of laughs so that I can relax. I have a lot on my mind. Do you promise that you will walk me home as soon as I tell you I'm ready? I'll cream you if you don't."
"I promise," Alex said sincerely.
Hunter was drinking her second Nut Brown Ale when she saw Sue, the friendly bouncer step to the side to admit her favorite writing coach. Abby shared a laugh with Sue as she took off her sunglasses and surveyed the room. She caught Hunter's eyes and graced her with a 10-carat smile. She sauntered confidently toward the bar, sat on the end barstool and ordered a drink.
Hunter's plan to make the evening a short one was thwarted as the two women exchanged heated glances during the next hour. Abby turned down a dozen offers for dances while across the room Alex worked her magic trying to convince Hunter to go talk to Abby and ask her to dance. Finally, she summoned courage and walked toward the coach.
Hunter's determined gait set the gang abuzz. The other gals started to pepper Alex with questions before Hunter had walked more than a few yards. She couldn't answer with more than a speculative let's wait and see, earning her the title of sage for the evening. Although they had all thought for years that her boyfriends had been red herrings, they were still a bit shocked when she navigated the maze of bodies to approach Abby and ask her to dance.
Abby hesitated, frightened to say yes because her professional reputation was at stake, she had always been a consummate professional with a high moral code and wouldn't want to be accused of coming on to one of her clients. This was different because her client was the one coming on to her but many people still wouldn't or couldn't understand. For once, she decided to let the chips fall where they may and give into her personal desires.
She agreed to a dance. During the first dance the tentatively women placed their hands safely along each other's outer curves. The second dance pulled them closer with hands tucked chastely along inner nooks. Finally, a slow song drew them together like magnets. It felt right, the way everything fit. Hunter nuzzled Abby's neck, breathing the sweet smell of her essence deeply.
Abby broke the intense mood. "I think it's time for me to head home. I'm glad I took a chance tonight. Sunday is going to be our last meeting and I must confess to feelings that a writing coach shouldn't have for their client so I think I need to refer you to a colleague. Ok?" Abby said softly looking into Hunter's eyes.
Pleading eyes met Abby's, "that's ok, if you intend to see me but not as a client?" Hunter implored.
"That, will depend on you Hunter and how you feel about this situation," Abby said plainly.
"Ok, I think I need to get home too. I'll say goodnight to my friends and walk you out if you would like."
"Great. Could I give you a ride home? You live close don't you?"
"Yes. That would be great. I'll be right back."
Hunter walked back to her friend's table. "Goodnight everyone."
"Wow. Taking her to your place? You work fast."
"You guys have a one track mind. I'm tired and I want to try to work on my novel tonight. I'm going to grab a ride home with Abby. Bye."
"Goodnight," the jovially replied in unison.
They drove in silence the three short blocks to Hunter's home. Abby didn't turn the car off when she pulled into the driveway. "Goodnight Hunter, I'll see you in the morning."
"Goodnight." Hunter leaned over and lightly kissed Abby's cheek.
Abby rushed toward her apartment door in response to incessant banging. She checked the safety eyehole. A smiling Hunter returning her stare. Relaxing, she pulled her robe more tightly, adjusted the towel on her head and opened the door. "Hunter, its 9:15, is everything ok? Come in."
"I'm sorry, I just couldn't wait." Hunter stepped forward, closed the door behind her and grabbed Abby's upper arms. "I finished the novel and it's good."
Abby burst into a huge grin. "That's fantastic. What happened?"
"I think I finally came to my senses. You see, I met this incredible woman and she helped me realize that my real hang-up was that for years I'd been denying my true feelings. Between some very drunk and loving friends and a gorgeous writing coach I was able to finally embrace my potential happiness."
"Are you certain?"
"Look, my best friend since 3rd grade, Alex, has been telling me for over 15 years that I love women not men. I can't help it if I'm a little slow. I guess I just needed a second opinion."
"Hey, I don't want to take the blame. I never once said you liked women or suggested that your writing was a manifestation of your own complex feelings and confusion regarding your sexual orientation."
"Yeah, whatever. I like your methods a lot better than Alex's. Learning by doing?c hmmm." Hunter leaned in for a deep kiss. Abby's hands linked behind her neck coddling her head, which caused the towel to fall to the floor. So much for getting dressed this morning she thought.
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