Chapter Nine
Sausage and Mushroom, Miriam's Favourite

It finally happened. The phone rang at 8:30 on Friday evening but Miriam thought it was too early for Esther to call, since she'd been staying with the contractors until around ten, so with that disappointing thought in mind, she answered with the phone with very little enthusiasm. "Miriam, it's me." Esther's voice came in loud and clear.

"Hello, my friend. It's early, is everything all right?" Miriam thought she sounded a bit tired.

"Oh, I'm good. It just seems like it's been a long day, a long week. Hell, a long month." She took a breather and Miriam asked if there was something she could do. "Well, now that you mention it..." Esther sounded sneaky "...I was thinking about some pizza and a nice bottle of wine to celebrate your safe journey home and the completion of the loft. Doesn't that sound yummy?"

"Completion? Congratulations! But, I'm fresh out of pizza." Lake Circle was certainly not in the delivery area. "But, hey, I could pick you up in say a half-hour or so..." Miriam was interrupted.

"Nope." Esther emphatically said. "I've got the pizza called in for pick up and I'll swing by the liquor store for the wine." Esther seemed to have it all worked out. "Anything else you want?"

"Gee, no. It sounds like you've got things covered. Do I come to you or..."

Esther broke in again. "Would you mind if I came to your place? I sure would like to get away from all of this for a while." Esther's voice whispered, "if that's okay with you."

"Please, by all means. Come on." Miriam was pleasantly surprised. "I'll leave the front light on for you."

"Terrific." Esther's last word was short and sweet.

Miriam was ecstatic. Finally the phone call she'd waited so long for had come, Esther was brave enough to visit her house at last. Miriam busied herself with straightening things, and then jumped in the shower for a quick refresher. She was just making sure everything was perfect when the Mustang pulled in the drive. "Here we go, Pussycats. Be on your best behavior or else."

Esther tapped lightly on the door and Miriam instantly answered. "Hiya Miriam," she spoke as she performed a balancing act with the pizza box and the wine bottle, yet managed to offer a big, friendly hug. "Doesn't this pizza smell good?"

"Thank you, I needed a hug." Miriam helped her with the pizza box and invited her in. "You look good, maybe a little tired, but very good."

"I never would've guessed that there would be so much work involved in getting started in your own business." Esther shook her head. "I might not've started in the first place if I'd known it would be so consuming." She was busy taking off her work boots.

Miriam had already retrieved the plates and napkins, and went to the kitchen for a corkscrew and two glasses. "Ah, c'mon now. You're just weary, don't let it get to ya. You just told me last night how pleased you were that things are going so well."

Esther caved in, "I know I did, but I'm tired. Do you mind if I take off my socks? I don't think my feet stink."

Miriam thought she was pouting, "well, no, go ahead. Bless your heart, Honey. Lean back a minute and rest." When Esther leaned back, Miriam went to her and wrapped her arms around her shoulders as if holding a baby and rocked her for a moment. Then, Miriam said "let's eat pizza, and after that I'll make you a wonderful surprise. Deal?"

"Hey! That's my cat." Esther pointed to Vidalia, who was lazily draped across the television. "She went missing more than two weeks ago. Beanie, here kitty, kitty." Vidalia ignored the hell out of Esther's call. "You stole my cat!"

"Beanie? What in the world kind of name is Beanie?" Miriam was grinning as she prepared their plates and glasses, "and I didn't steal her, she adopted me fair and square."

Esther playfully hit Miriam with a pillow. "Beanie was aptly named because she is the colour of dark roasted coffee beans, thank you. You thief."

Still grinning, Miriam offered "here's your plate. Now there will be no more talk about my kitty, Vidalia."

"Vidalia? Like the onion?" Esther busted loose. "Who in Sam Hell names a stolen kitty after an onion?" Neither couldn't stand it anymore, they laughed hysterically at one another and tossed pillows around. "Vidalia?" Esther asked once more before as if baffled.

Miriam finally collected herself enough to answer the question. "She wasn't named after the onion itself, per se. She was named after the city in Georgia and for the sweetness of the onion."

"Well, she's my cat." Esther crossed her arms and put her nose up in the air. "Give her back."

"Let's eat, then we'll see." They each began to pig out on steaming hot pizza. Sausage and mushroom, Miriam's favorite.

Esther was inhaling her second piece when she remembered what Miriam had said earlier. "What kind of a surprise will you make me when we're finished?" Esther sipped wine, saying "and it had better be damned good since you stole my cat."

"You'll see." They continued their meal and had a wonderful time with one another, chatting about the cats and Esther's accomplishment at the shop. Miriam slipped away for a moment, and then returned without much notice from Esther. "You still doing good?"

"Oh! I feel like a whale. The pizza was so good, wasn't it?" Esther tossed her third pizza bone back into the box.

"Yes, it was very good. Thank you, I really enjoyed it." Miriam began closing the lid and gathering the debris. "Are you ready for your surprise?"

"Yes, unless it's pizza. Then I ain't ready." Esther was inching up from the floor, where they'd been sitting in order to use the coffee table for their feast. "Whew! That pizza hit the spot."

Heavy on the Middle Eastern accent, Miriam joked. "Come wid me to de kaz-bah, Princess." She led Esther willingly down the hall and pushed open the bathroom door. "Your bath awaits you, my Queen Esther."

When Esther saw what Miriam had done, her hands covered her mouth. There were dozens of candles illuminating the room and a whirlpool bath bubbled peacefully. "Oh, Miriam. It's beautiful, and it smells so sweet." She hugged Miriam tightly, then tiptoed inside.

"There's a fresh towel here. When you're finished, you'll want to rinse the bubbles off, so here's the shower. There's a clean bathrobe hanging here behind the door, or if you'd rather dress, you'll find a clean tee and some shorts on the vanity. A new toothbrush is here, next to the sink." She turned to go and pointed out the light switch. "If you need anything else, just call me."

"Wait. Don't you want to stay and visit with me?" Esther didn't seem to know how to act, or as if she might be afraid.

"Sure, I want to visit with you. But take some time for yourself, okay? Just relax and enjoy this. Do you think you can do that?" Miriam tucked a curl behind Esther's ear delicately. "I know you can. You're safe here, Esther, and I really think you'll enjoy this."

Miriam slipped away, leaving the door ajar behind her. When she turned on some mellow earth sounds, she noticed that Esther had shut the bathroom door for privacy. Then shortly, while she was clearing things away, she noticed that Esther had opened up the door again, as the candlelight cast a sleepy glow throughout the hall. That was good, Miriam thought. Esther would receive more benefit by taking advantage of both the bath and the peaceful music. Miriam remained stationary and quiet so she wouldn't pose any threat to Esther's safety. Then, after quite a long time, she began to worry just a bit. There was no noise coming from that direction at all. She stepped just down the hall, and called out "Esther, are you still with me?"

"Mmm. Yes." Came the response. "This is almost too good to be true."

"Okay. Well, I just wanted to check, take your time." Miriam had no more than turned when Esther called.

"Miriam?" Then silence. "Would you like to join me?"

"Naw, I didn't set this up for me, Esther. I set it up for you. Just relax and enjoy."

As she turned again to go, Esther beckoned "please." Miriam stood in shock not knowing if she should, but wanting to very much. "I know you're still standing there. Please, join me. I want you to."

"Okay. Just a second." As quickly as she could, she checked the doors, poured more wine and hit the lights. "I'm on my way." She arrived at the threshold and asked to be certain "are you sure you want company, Esther?" Without any response from inside, she walked through the doorway. Esther looked exquisite with the bubbles wrapped around her and ravishing by candlelight. "I brought us some wine, I hope it's okay."

Esther raised her head above the bubbles just a smidgen. "It's perfect. Miriam, everything's perfect. Please, join me in the bath" she said, just as Miriam crouched to the floor beside the tub. When Miriam ignored her comment, Esther sipped on her wine and casually sat it aside.
"My body aches for your gentle touch."

With moments passing between them, Miriam finally undressed and slipped into the tub facing Esther. For a moment she couldn't speak, and then she whispered in a low insecure tone. "Being with you like this, Esther, well, it's nothing less than remarkable."

After a time, Esther made the first move, inching herself slowly across the water, and Miriam received Esther's gentle kisses on her mouth and neck. Slowly, Miriam allowed the door to open, that door to sexuality that she'd closed long ago, feeding off Esther's passion for the first time. Feeling Esther's smooth skin beneath her hands, she searched until Esther's soft breasts responded to her tender touch. Miriam was suddenly in Heaven when Esther began to relax, and positioned herself in the tub beside Miriam. Hot, eager kisses ensued and then yielded to gentleness and patience as the two writhed to find their own comfort zone. Then, as if putting together two pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, Esther easily fondled Miriam's aching breasts for the first time. Instinctively, Miriam lowered her hand to Esther's muff and began to massage Esther's swollen lips, but restrained herself for fear she was moving too fast. But when Esther moved again, seemingly to push against Miriam's hand, Miriam went inside her. Esther became suddenly still, then as she french-kissed Miriam, she rocked her hips back and forth to the same slow, steady rhythm of her tongue. As if following Miriam's lead, Esther moved her hand to Miriam's mound and began to repeat the same even motion. When Esther climaxed, she sat straight up and arched her back, giving Miriam her first glimpse of Esther's perfect breasts. Then Esther returned to the water and fulfilled Miriam's need. Never leaving Miriam's side, Esther explored every inch of Miriam's body beneath her, and then she curled up in Miriam's arms, where they sat motionless and out of breath as the bubbles whirled around them.

With Miriam's pride growing minute by minute, eventually she felt monumental strength enough to pick Esther up and lay her comfortably on her back, leaving Miriam towering above her. With a thousand thoughts racing through her head, she looked long at Esther's face and touched her hair. Then focusing on the wonder before her, she pushed aside the remaining bubbles and gazed upon Esther's smooth breasts. First, she kissed her cheek, and then caressed her neck and shoulders. Miriam backed away, leaving an open space between them to offer Esther the wine, and as they sipped slowly and silently, each watched the other's every move. Finally Miriam spoke. "I hate to speak, this is all so perfect, yet I want you to know that this wasn't some kind of a trap. I didn't plan this tonight." Miriam was whispering. "As a matter of record, I couldn't have planned this if I'd tried, Esther."

As the soapy bubbles danced past her, Esther took another sip of wine. "I know you didn't plan it, Miriam, and I'm glad that you've shown me the way. It's as beautiful and tender as I've imagined, I feel alive for the first time in my life." Moments later, Esther spoke again, "I would've never allowed anyone else but you to show me the splendor I have known tonight, Miriam. And come what may, I thank you for this night."

Chapter Eight
Chapter Ten

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