Laguna Nights

by Carole Giorgio

Chapter 9

The remainder of the night/morning had not been an easy one. Twice Alex had awaken to Samantha mumbling, "No . . . please . . . leave us alone." She had tightened her hold on her partner and whispered soothing words as she stroked her hair to calm the fitfully sleeping woman. The experience in the wee hours of the morning had definitely not been conducive to a peaceful rest. To top it all off, because of the lack of sleep, Alex had slept later than usual. It was almost 8:15 and the guys would be knocking on the door in less than an hour. At least they had showered before going to bed so getting ready would not take that long.

"Samantha. Wake up honey. Pretty soon we're gonna have company. I over slept." She gently nudged the smaller woman who was still curled up in the crook of her arm.

Making soft cooing sounds Samantha simply tightened her hold on Alex's waist.

"No, no. That's not gonna work; it's time to get up. We have a busy day, today." She kissed her lover tenderly on the head and shook her again. "Don't make me have to get up and carry you to the shower, Samantha." Alex laughed as she tickled the small blonde.

"Okay, okay - I give -- I'm up -- I'm up," the smaller woman tried to catch her breath from laughing as she wiggled away from her lover and rolled off the bed still clinging to her pillow.

"I'll get you back for this; you wait!" she continued laughing as she threw the pillow and hit Alex in the head.

Alex started after her and she ran to the bathroom, slamming the door and holding it shut with her weight while trying to figure out how it locked.

"You don't actually think you can hold me out of there -- do you?" the larger woman asked as she quickly put her weight against the outside of the door, easily pushing it open.

"Okay, now you've asked for it, hit-and-run, that's a major offense." Alex walked over and picked Samantha up throwing her over her shoulder. She carried her back into the bedroom and threw her on the bed.

"Hey. No fair. You have an unfair advantage," Samantha rambled on as she landed flat on her back.

"You don't know how lucky you are," Alex grinned at the woman she held captive on the bed.

"Oh, yeah?? What'd ya gonna do?" Sam said taunting Alex.

"If we weren't in such a hurry, you'd be finding yourself being soaked at this very minute." Instead she leaned down, holding Samantha's wrists with her hands, the smaller woman's arms above her head and passionately kissed her good morning.

"You really get my juices flowing, my lovely," she said as she released Samantha from her grasp.

"Unfortunately we have to get dressed right now!" She let go of Samantha's wrists, grabbed her arms and pulled her back up into a standing position.

"I can certainly say I like the way you torture a person," Samantha laughed, then she suddenly became very serious as the impish smile disappeared. "Alex - I'm having a hard time letting go of last night. I don't want it to spoil our day, but I still have this horrible violated feeling . . . "

Long, slender fingers tenderly touched her lips to prevent the continuation of the sentence. "Samantha, I know how much it's bothering you," the taller woman started, "you talked in your sleep last night. I know you're troubled." Sympathetic sapphire-colored eyes stared lovingly into two emerald green pools beginning to overflow with tears.

"Come on, honey, don't." Alex brushed away a salty drop that trickled down the smaller woman's cheek. "Remember your coincidence thing? Maybe there was a reason those thugs ran into us. Maybe we needed to be there to teach them a lesson." Alex smiled and drew Samantha closer to her, uncertain how to reassure her lover.

"Yeah," Samantha began with a sigh, "Maybe they needed their butts kicked by My Hero." She hugged Alex tightly then looked back up into eyes the obviously adored her. "I'll let it go - I promise - back to the happy thoughts!"

"I don't have all the answers, Sam, but I do know that you're safe with me." Alex held Samantha in her arms and whispered in her ear, "I will try my best to be the hero you think I am."

"Now, I get one more good morning kiss before we spend the rest of the day in the company of friends." Once again she drew Samantha close and kissed her tenderly. "I love waking up with you beside me, Samantha. It starts my day on a positive note."

"I'd love waking up next to you, too, except I usually don't -- mostly you're already up and out of the bed by the time I get my eyes open." Samantha chimed in after being released by her lover. "But I do so like the idea of your face being one of the first things I'll see upon awakening for the rest of my life."

"Let's see if you still feel that way 30 years from now!" Alex said as she walked out of the bedroom.

"I'll put some tea on. Go ahead and dress for the morning and afternoon. I'll make sure we get some time to come back here to shower and change before doing the evening on the town. I always feel gritty after a day out in the wind and weather." Alex grabbed the portable coffee machine and proceeded to make a pot of tea. She then went back into the bedroom to get dressed for the excursion to the city across the bay.

Samantha was trying to decide which went better with her short sleeved lavender tee, the khaki shorts or the bibbed denim shorts. She hated clothing decisions. She already had the shirt on and her new lavender jade necklace matched it perfectly.

"The shorts or the bibbed denims, Alex? Which do you like better?"

"The bibbed shorts would look good. Gives you that innocent farm girl look," she answered and smiled over at the blonde holding up the two pieces of clothing.

"What are you wearing?" Samantha asked Alex.

"Oh, a pair of cargo shorts, you know with the pockets and probably my blue sleeveless shirt. Does that meet with your approval?" Alex smiled over at Samantha. "Been a while since I needed to check with anyone before dressing myself." She winked at the smaller woman which erased the almost pouting look that was coming over her face.

"I didn't mean it like that . . . I was just asking . . ." Samantha started.

"I know, I know -- I'm only kidding with you, Samantha. Lighten up." Alex shook her head smiling as she stepped into her shorts.

They finished dressing with the usual in and out of the bathroom rituals - teeth, hair, face . . . and managed to complete all the necessary activities just as a knock was heard on the door.

"Let's go, ladies," came the sound of Sonny's voice through the door, "the day's a waiting and we have lots to do."

"Keep your shorts on," Alex shouted on her way to let the guys in. "We're actually ready this time."

She opened the door and with a sweeping motion bid her friends to enter. "No one could ever say you weren't punctual, Sonny."

"That's for sure," Ray agreed. "He wants to leave the house a half hour early when we're only going down the street!" He gave Alex a 'you know what I go through' look and cocked his head toward his lover.

"Yeah, yeah, yeah -- whatever! At least I'm never late. I hate it when people are late!" Sonny walked over to the window and looked out at the water. "Nice view." He turned around to face Alex and his face lit up as Samantha came into the room.

"Don't you look nice, sweetness! I absolutely love those bibbed shorts on the right people and that color -- it's you." He sauntered over to his new friend, arms out, "I love that necklace! Wherever did you get it?"

"Alex bought it for me when we were in Chinatown," Samantha answered her friend, delighted to be able to show off the new gems. "Isn't it beautiful? It's lavender jade." She let Sonny admire the necklace and earrings as she glanced over at Alex and smiled.

"It's a very unusual piece, Sammie. That unicorn on top is perfect. What a lucky girl you are! Alex is going to spoil you rotten; I can tell that already. Better keep hold of her; you're in for a wild ride!" He smiled from one friend to the other and then clapped his hands together. "Okay - we're all here and we're all ready to go. So . . . let's get this show on the road. First stop Golden Gate Bridge on the way to Sausalito and breakfast."

On the way down in the elevator, Ray informed the girls that Sonny had insisted on bringing the convertible. He figured since neither of them had long hair to muss up that they wouldn't mind. Sonny's reasoning had been that it was a beautiful morning and that Samantha ought to be able to get a good look at the Bridge and all the sights along the way. Alex told Ray that the convertible was fine and Sonny was probably right about getting to see the big picture while they were driving instead of having to look out of windows.

Alex asked if they could go down Lombard Street first, because Samantha had requested seeing the crookedest street in the world and she had promised to take her down. Sonny agreed to the small variance in his schedule and decided to play guide as they pulled out of the hotel parking garage.

"So Sammie," Sonny began, "do you know anything about Lombard Street?"

"Only that it's labeled the crookedest street in the world. What more is there to know?"

"You need to know that the crooked part is only between Leavenworth and Hyde and that the street was originally built in the 1920s. The horses weren't able to get up the steep grades in San Francisco so they figured by making the street go from side to side and kinda bend back on itself the horses would be able to manage to walk up the grade."

"It's a real bitch to drive down," Ray mumbled under his breath.

"I'm sorry," Samantha replied as she heard the quiet complaint. "We could have walked down later."

"No. Don't be silly," Ray countered, realizing that Samantha was getting upset for having put her friend through what she thought was too much trouble. "I'm not totally awake yet and I have to pay attention to where the street goes, it may be difficult to maneuver in the car, but walking doesn't let you experience the full impact of the switchbacks. The only way to truly appreciate Lombard is to drive down it." He glanced over at his friend and gave her a small smile. "Enjoy the ride, Samantha, it's a short one."

In no time at all they were down the block and headed toward the Golden Gate Bridge. Sonny pointed out spots of interest along the way and tried to fill the girls in with what he had planned for their Saturday. Samantha couldn't believe that the color of the bridge up close was not the golden it seemed from a distance.

"Well, there's one illusion smashed," Samantha quipped as they neared the base of the bridge. "But the bridge is still beautiful and the view from here is gorgeous!"

Sonny played tour guide and filled Samantha in on all the historical facts about Sausalito. She heard about the Miwok Indians, who were some of the first inhabitants and the arrival of the Spanish ship 'San Carlos.' She found out that in the early 1900s the small town became a haven for rum runners and bootleggers because of prohibition - people and goods traveled to and from Sausalito on the newly acquired car ferry boats, making the train obsolete. But the most interesting part of his little lecture was when he got to the 'golden age' of Sausalito, starting right after World War II and continuing until 1966. The small city across from San Francisco drew to its shoreline a large variety of writers and artists including Jack London. Of course no tour guide worth his salt would forget Valhalla and the infamous Sally Stranford. By the time Sonny ran out of historic tidbits they were across the bridge and Ray was pulling into a private drive.

"Parking is horrible over here but weekends are the pits," Sonny continued changing the subject to the day at hand. "We have friends who live close to Bridgeway as you can see and they said we could park in their driveway for the day. I'd introduce you gals to them, but they've taken a mini holiday to Tahoe." He turned around and looked at Sam. "The four of us will have to go there some day. Alex needs to start spending some of that money she has stashed away on some fun stuff."

"Right," Alex answered, "I put most of my 'stashed' money into that clinic of mine and you know it! I'm sure you remember what it took to get the gym off the ground."

"Whatever! Ms. money bags! You couldn't spend all your money if you tried. But let's talk of something more interesting . . ."

"Food?" Samantha interrupted as they all exited the car.

"Yes, sweetness," Sonny smiled at her, "Food. The restaurant's just down the street. They have an patio area and we can gawk at all the house boats and try to guess what kind of people live in them while we eat breakfast." He gave her a big hug and they started off down the street with Sonny and Samantha in the lead, Ray and Alex bringing up the rear.

Breakfast was a big success. The restaurant belonged to another of Sonny and Ray's friends so there was no waiting for an excellent view table. The food was superb and even Samantha was full when they left to go explore the rest of the city. As it turned out Sonny and Sam were the shoppers in the group -- as if everyone didn't know that to begin with. He escorted her to all the cute, interesting, expensive and esoteric shops along the main drag and then scooted her off to some of the less commonly know places where the local artists displayed their goods. Ray and Alex simply walked a few paces behind at all times, talking about business and occasionally sitting outside the stores while the other two went in to shop.

Along the way Samantha bought some candles that she couldn't do without and a quaint little pen and ink from one of the locals. Sonny purchased incense and a new burner as well as an inspirational climbing picture that he planned on hanging near the new wall in the gym. The afternoon was a roaring success and the bonding of Sonny and Samantha was obvious to their lovers who watched as the two continued to shop, gossip and giggle.

Around 2:30 Samantha's hunger alarm started going off and they stopped at one of the open cafe's for lunch. Sonny warned that they would be eating at eight and Alex informed him that Samantha seemed to have a hollow leg that needed to be filled quite often. She told him not to worry, that by eight Sam would we well on the way to starving again.

Alex and Ray sat in front of yet another store waiting for their lovers to come out. "You know Alex, I don't think I ever remember Sonny taking to anyone quite as quickly as he has to your Sam," Ray told Alex. She seems like a super person. I think you've got yourself a 'keeper' as Sonny would say."

"I think you're right," came the answer from his friend. "They get along well, don't they? Alex asked.

"Sonny and Sam -- they get along great," Ray agreed.

"I think Sonny's a good judge of character. I probably should have listened to him when he told me Nikki would be nothing but trouble." Alex shook her head remembering the conversation she and her friend had over her involvement with the volatile Nikki. She quickly put the old memory back into storage, not wanting it to infringe upon this happy day.

You're right, though," Ray said, giving Alex a subtle smile. "My Sonny's pretty good at reading people. He never did give you the old 'I told you so' about Nikki, did he?" The quiet man, who usually let his partner do most of the talking, looked over at his friend. "He thinks the world of you, Alex. So do I. We're glad we've all become friends as well as business acquaintances."

Alex smiled back at the dark-haired man sitting next to her. "I feel the same way about you two."

Almost embarrassed to be seemingly baring their souls to one another the two ended the conversation as quickly as it had begun and looked out at the expanse of water across from the shop. They soon heard familiar voices and turned as the two prodigals exited the store. Samantha was grinning from ear to ear as she walked toward Alex. She opened her bag to and pulled out a cut little Beanie Baby unicorn. "Isn't it simply precious?"

"Yeah, precious," was the reaction from her lover. "Are you two almost finished here?"

Samantha looked over at Sonny and he nodded an affirmative. "I guess we are, if Sonny says we are," she smiled at Alex and gave her a quick hug.

"Let's take a look at the sea life in Sausalito as we make our way back to the car," Sonny called back to Alex and Ray. As he turned back around two roller-bladers almost knocked him and Samantha to the ground. Sam got a little more upset at the incident than seemed necessary and Alex rushed to her side to comfort her.

"Hey, girl -- they certainly weren't watching where they were going but . . ." Sonny began and stopped in mid-sentence as Alex shot him a shut the Hell up look.

"It's okay, honey, they were just kids," she said as she soothed the small blonde whose arms were around her waist in a death grip. "It's okay, I gotcha," she continued as she kissed the top of Samantha's head.

"I'm sorry," Sonny finally said, "But . . ."

"I wasn't going to mention it," Alex said, "but we had a run-in with a few wanna-be thugs early this morning when we left the bar. Sam didn't sleep too well and I think she's still a little shook up," Alex began and then filled the guys in with most of the details.

"Hey, I'm terribly sorry, Sweetness! It's men like that who give us all a bad name!" Sonny said, "Come on, group hug." He joined Alex and Sam and nodded to Ray who merely smiled. "Hey -- I know Alex musta made short work of those bad boys for ya, now didn't she?"

Samantha nodded and smiled at her friend, regaining her composure and apologizing to everyone for overreacting. She smiled but her mind went back to the night before -- the guys in the street and the blonde in the bar -- Strange people up here in San Francisco, she thought and decided that Laguna was much more to her liking.

"That's okay," Sonny began, "Let's go look at the seals - they make you forget everything unpleasant. We won't have time to go to the Marine Mammal Center so that's saved for your next trip."

The four friends walked on toward the jetting rocks where the seals of Sausalito congregated. As they approached the area they could hear the barking sounds getting louder and louder until it was almost deafening. They stopped to take pictures in front of the bronze sea lion along the waterfront and then continued on toward the rocks. There seemed to be a rivalry going on between two of the younger males. They were pushing and barking at one another and a large crowd was beginning to gather to watch the face-off.

"Probably fighting over some silly female," Sonny commented as he smiled and turned toward Samantha. "Some species never learn," he laughed.

"Oh, come on," Samantha retorted. "You think the males fighting over another male would be any different? Jealousy and dominance are the same no matter what." She laughed at her friend as he shrugged his shoulders and turned back to the confrontation in front of them.

After about 10 minutes of watching the comings and goings of the little sea community, Ray looked at his watch and suggested that their time in the small city should be brought to an end if they were to get to the dinner show on time. Everyone agreed and they started back across the Bay.

It seemed as though they timed their departure perfectly. The traffic was starting to get heavy coming into Sausalito from the big city and Ray assured everyone that the opposite traffic would soon be a match as it was Saturday night.

The guys deposited the gals off at the hotel and gave them a two-hour time limit. Alex promised they would be ready as she ushered Samantha off toward the lobby.

"So, Samantha, how did you like Sausalito?" Alex asked as they entered the elevator.

"Oh, Alex. I had a great time. Your friends . . ." Samantha was gently interrupted . . .

"Honey, I think you can safely use the term "our friends" when you talk about Sonny and Ray," Alex told her. "You and Sonny get along great and I'm thrilled. They're two of the nicest people I know."

"You're right, I do feel like they're my friends, too. Sonny's a lot of fun and he thinks the world of you, which endears him to me even more," the small blonde added they arrived at the suite and went inside.

"Okay we have about two hours like Sonny said -- how long will it take you to get ready?" Alex shot a side glance at Sam with a raised eyebrow and crooked smile.

"In a pinch I could be ready in about 45 minutes," the blonde answered hurrying toward the bathroom and leaving a trail of clothes along the way.

Alex followed behind her, picking up the clothes Sam had thrown and taking off her own. "We don't want the boys to absolutely know what we did in the extra time they gave us, now do we?" She laughed as she finished undressing and entered the bathroom where Samantha already had the tub filling with fragrant bubbles.

"Come on in -- the water's fine," she enticed Alex with sparkling Irish eyes.

"I'm on my way," came the response as Alex stepped into the warm tub. She sat down and stretched out her arms. "Come here and let me hold you." She pulled Samantha toward her, arms around the smaller woman's waist as she nibbled contentedly on Sam's ear and neck. "Now this is the way to take a bath."

"You're going to do more than just take a bath if you don't stop giving me love bumps!" Samantha told her lover.

"Promises, promises," Alex replied as she continued with baby kisses down Sam's neck and back.

"Alex, I'm serious . . . you're gonna start something you won't have time to finish," Samantha warned.

"Oh, I'll have time to finish - I'll make it a quickie."

Alex turned Samantha around to face her and picked up the soap from the side of the tub. She quickly lathered the soap on Sam's body and then on her own. Then she picked up the washcloth and rinsed the bubbles off both their bodies. "Okay, we're done," was the statement she made as she undid the stopper and let the water start to drain.

Alex stood up and pulled Sam up beside her. Grabbing the two closest towels she wrapped Samantha in one of the them and herself in the other then before the small blonde realized what was happening she was being picked up out of the tub and carried back into the bedroom.

"It's going to be a long night and we may be tired when we get back here," Alex muttered as she laid Samantha down on the bed. "You're beautiful when you're glistening," she smiled as she positioned her body next to her lover and began patting her dry with the towel.

Samantha could stand it no longer and wrapped herself around the taller woman smothering her with kisses. "I love you Alex Dorian," was the last complete sentence spoken, followed by half finished sentences, moans of pleasure and sighs.

Alex glanced over at the clock on the nightstand with a look of accomplishment and sparkling blue eyes. "And so, my Destiny," she began as she slowly traced circles in the stomach of the small smiling blonde laying beside her, "do you realize that we have exactly 45 minutes to finished getting dressed?"

"That's just great - I want to lay here and relive what moments ago happened to my body and you want me to jump up and get dressed!" Samantha rolled over on her side and stared into glimmering sapphire orbs.

"Your call, honey," Alex kidded her, "wanna stay here or go play with the boys?"

"What I want and what I should do at this point are two entirely different things. I might also add that it's not fair of you to give me that kind of option," the smaller woman smiled at her lover.

"Oh, Samantha, don't you know that the 'Fair's in Del Mar'?" Alex laughed as she got up from the bed grabbing Samantha's hands and standing her up, also. "You don't want to disappoint Sonny now do you? He's so looking forward to showing you his town."

"No, I don't want to disappoint Sonny," Samantha retorted, "I'm up, aren't I?"

"You're up because I pulled you up," Alex laughed. "Come on, let's get dressed."

Alex had told Sam to dress casually as she knew they'd be going to a couple different clubs and there was no need not to be comfortable. She took her khaki cargo slacks and a shirt off the hangers and examined them to make sure they didn't need to be ironed. She felt herself lucky as there didn't seem to be any wrinkles. Samantha decided on the pair of dark green capri pants she had brought along with a lighter green blouse that enhanced the color of her eyes and accentuated the blonde of her hair. She also had a small yellow/green butterfly clip for her hair with earrings and a necklace to match.

"My -- don't we look meadowy tonight," Alex said as she caught a glimpse of her lover in the bedroom mirror.

"Too much green?" came the unsure question.

"No, you look great in green. I was kidding with you," Alex explained. "You have to stop taking everything I say at face value, Samantha."

"Maybe it would be easier if you didn't say it with such a solemn look on your face," the smaller woman chided her lover. "When you smile then I know you may be kidding me, otherwise I'm afraid you don't like what I'm wearing or doing."

Samantha walked into the bathroom and stood beside her lover as she brushed her teeth and then her hair. "There, I'm completely ready with at least . . ." before the words were out of her mouth there came a knock on the door.

"Hi, girls. Ready to party?" Sonny's voice rang through loud and clear.

The two women looked at each other, smiled and shrugged their shoulders. "Guess you finished in the nick of time," Alex said as she walked to the door to let their friends in.

"Okay -- party time!" Sonny said waltzing into the room and up to Samantha. "Turn and let's see -- nice, very nice," he commented to Samantha. "Alex -- same old, same old," he smiled at his old friend. "Everyone looks ready, so let's boogie! First stop dinner and show. This place has some of the best drag queens in the country, I swear! To The Castro boys and girls!" Sonny exclaimed as the four of them exited the hotel and headed for the car.


The trip from the hotel to The Castro was another short one and Sonny had picked an establishment that had valet parking so they had one of the biggest headaches of his fair city taken care of. The entrance was down a winding spiral staircase and the door was reminiscent of an old speakeasy from the roaring 20's. Sonny was his usual gabby self explaining the history of the restaurant and that the bar and show were actually there before the restaurant. Ray, as usual, seemed to be along for the ride, mentioning something only occasionally, if Sonny forgot a detail.

"Don't be shocked if you walk into the ladies room and find some rather tall, even taller than Alex, "ladies" who stand when they pee," Sonny warned Samantha. "Some of these girls don't realize that they're really boys and after all, this is their club."

"Okay -- thanks for the warning," Samantha told her friend then turned around looking at the variety of people at the surrounding tables. "I don't mean to stare but this is fascinating! Some of these men are absolutely gorgeous -- I feel intimidated!"

"Yeah, but they're not all beauty "queens." Look a little closer," Sonny said as he poked her in the side. "See --over there -- he should have stayed a "he". I look better in drag than that. Hell, Ray looks better in drag than that!" Sonny snorted.

The waiter arrived and gave them their choice of the two main entrees and took their drink orders. By the time dessert had arrived the show was about to begin. Sonny had purposely chosen this particular club because they didn't perform the show during dinner but started when dinner was almost over.

The first queen out must have weighed about 300 pounds and looked like "she" had been around forever but "she" had a personality that wouldn't quit and got the audience in the mood to be entertained. Unfortunately for Samantha "she" had asked if it was anyone's first time at the show and Sam raised her hand before Alex could stop her. That left the rest of the night wide open for harassment from the performers, especially since they had an excellent table that was close to the stage.

"She" made mention to the fact that Alex was an unusually beautiful dyke and that Sam was one lucky little lady to have caught such a gem. Samantha blushed and Alex tried to look unaffected by the comment but her hand started tapping on the table and Ray reached over and brought notice to it. The announcer continued with "her" opening and ended it by beginning the song "We Are What We Are." She was joined by the entire cast, half of them dressed as female and the other half male, all donning tap shoes as they sang and danced their way through the entire song.

Samantha was enthralled. She couldn't believe men could look that good in heels and tights. "Look at the legs on that one," she would say pointing to one of the dancers. Or "Damn, I wish I had a figure like that."

The song ended and one of the torch singers was introduced followed by the club's own personal 'Barbra Streisand'. Again Samantha's eyes lit up when the personality came out on stage. "She" actually looked like Streisand and Sam was in awe as "she" did a lip sync rendition of "People."

"If I didn't know better, I'd think he was actually singing that," Samantha turned and said to Alex.

"Honey," Sonny interrupted, "Don't let any of them hear you call them a "he". You will be razzed through the rest of the evening." He smiled at his friend and she nodded in understanding.

The next act was another comedian who had to have been one of the ugliest "women" any of them had every seen. But the routine was hilarious and Samantha almost wet her pants laughing at "her", especially when she readjusted her "boobs" in the middle of the act by taking them out, fluffing them up and then putting them back into the costume.

A chorus line came on and did their rendition of "One" from the show A Chorus Line. The show seemed to fly by even with the kidding they occasionally got from one of the people up on stage. Of course they weren't the only ones being ribbed. The first announcer found another lesbian couple in the middle of the room to poke fun at and tell lesbian jokes about. One of the other performers picked on a gay male couple sitting at the table across from theirs and there was one unfortunate straight couple that became the brunt of quite a few vulgar jokes.

Between the comedians and the groups came a marvelous Judy Garland and Sonny went wild when "she" sang "The Man That Got Away". He was nearly in tears by the end of the song. But recovery came quickly as an extremely talented impersonator came out and did Diana Ross. The regulars in the audience obviously adored this performer. "She" came out dressed in a skintight shimmering blue sequined gown, singing a medley of the old Diana Ross and the Supremes songs. The best part about this act was that the impersonator was actually singing the songs and sounded very much like the real thing. When "she" did "Stop in the Name of Love" it became audience participation night and Sonny and Samantha both joined in as Alex and Ray sat back and watched with smiles on their faces, looking at each other and shaking their heads.

The show ended with a marvelous rendition of "The Best of Times" from LaCage aux folles with all the female impersonators dressed in long flowing gowns with feather boas, hats and fur drapes. The wardrobes included every color of the rainbow which is exactly what they looked like standing up there singing, a living rainbow. Samantha was one of the first out of her seat to give a standing ovation.

Sonny's choice of shows turned out very successful and everyone left with their spirits lifted.

"Next stop - Dancing!" Sonny announced as they exited the club and climbed back into the car.

"Maybe you should ask the girls if they want to go dancing, Sonny," Ray interjected.

Sonny threw his hands in the air, "What do you mean If they want to go dancing? Of course they want to go dancing." He turned to Samantha and took her hand, "Don't you Sammie?"

"When you ask like that, who could tell you no?" Samantha answered.

"See, Ray," Sonny said looking over at his lover. "You are such a poop sometimes. Off to the dancing place!"

The small bar with the large dance floor seemed to be frequented by a very mixed group, each in their own little world. Somehow the little group managed to find an empty table back toward the exit door off the dance floor. Ray told Samantha that this had been the first club he and Sonny had danced together at, so it was one of the their favorites. It didn't have a lot of atmosphere but the faceted ball in the middle of the ceiling gave the appearance of a '70s club. The music was also a mix ranging from the late 60s to early 90s and they played a good mixture of fast and slow, giving everyone something to like.

Alex danced with Samantha to the slow songs and Sonny became Sam's partner for the fast. Once or twice during the evening Ray asked Samantha to dance, once to a ballad because he didn't feel comfortable with some of the newer dances and once to a cha-cha, which he was surprised Samantha knew how to do.

The four friends found the evening speeding by and before they knew it, it was past midnight. They decided on one last dance before leaving, and as fate would have it an old Anne Murray song, "Could I Have This Dance" began to play. Alex whispered the words to Samantha. They glided across the floor as if they had been dancing partners for years instead of days. Samantha got love bumps all over her body and her eyes got misty as she listened to her lover's soft, velvety voice singing the love song in her ear.

"All right," Sonny said as Ray looked and pointed at his watch. "Last stop is over in the old Polk District. Alex, you'll remember this place."

Fifteen minutes later they were in a small after-hours establishment, sitting at a piano bar. Alex did a slight double take when they had originally passed the bar and turned around to park in the large lot adjacent to the front. She balked a little at Sonny about his final choice but gave in at the end because he insisted Samantha would love the place and Alex knew he was right.

The bar was definitely retro but Sonny loved all the old Broadway shows and had found out while they were dancing together that Samantha did, too. As they all sat around drinking and listening to the pianist and anyone else who cared to join in, Ray asked Samantha if she was going to tell her folks that she was gay. Sam almost choked on her drink and had to regain her composure before even attempting to answer the question.

"You know," she started. "I think I had put the inevitability of that confrontation out of my mind. I don't think I wanted to consider what I know has to come about." She sputtered on a little about her dad and her mom and how she felt they might take the news a little hard and then asked Sonny how he told his parents.

"Honey, you gotta be kidding!" Sonny started. "I think my parents have known since I was about 11, but they are very supportive and there for me and they both adore Ray. But now that you've joined the ranks of the Queens and the Dykes being in the closet and being with Alex definitely do not go hand-in-hand! That is one out girlfriend you've lassoed yourself with."

Alex gave him a 'shut up Sonny' look and he quickly decided to take the hint.

Samantha was too intent on asking Ray how his parents had taken the news of his being gay to see the interaction between Alex and Sonny. "I know Alex is real open, that's how I found out about her myself. But I need to hear some other people's stories to get an idea of how to approach my parents."

Ray asked Sam if she was sure she wanted to know his story. He told her it was not one with a fairy tale ending. She said yes, all tales were valid and she had no idea how hers was going to end. Ray went on to describe how his father had been informed by one of his classmates at college in his junior year that Ray was engaging in homosexual acts. His father had driven up to his dorm and asked him outright if he was "queer." Ray had been taken back by the affront but figured the best thing to do was to be honest with his father. That was definitely the wrong decision at that time in his life. His dad decked him and then told him not to get up until he left. He continued to rant that Ray was disowned and no longer welcomed home. He stopped payment on all funds to the college and Ray had to leave in the middle of the semester because he couldn't afford to stay. He had called his mom the next day, during the day, and she talked to him over the phone but was afraid to have him come to the house. She sent him a couple thousand dollars that she had stashed somewhere his father didn't know about and Ray had been on his own ever since.

He told her he still calls his mom, but only during the day when his father isn't home. He related that it's harder now to catch his mom at home alone, because his dad's retired and Ray never knows when he'll be there. Not wanting to get his mom in trouble, he doesn't call very often. The only up part of the entire story was that he gets to see his mom occasionally when she makes a trip to her sister's house in New Jersey and stays to visit for a week.

Samantha shook her head, "I hope my dad doesn't react like that, but he's more likely to go that route than the one Sonny's parent's took." She looked over at her lover who was sitting there listening to the piano player. She was going to ask Alex the same question but thought maybe it was time to lighten up the conversation a little. "Hey, Alex," she said. "Why don't you sing something with the piano man? You have a beautiful voice."

"Yeah, Alex," Sonny said. "Why don't you sing us a song?" He turned to Samantha and added, "You know, Sweetness, Aurora is gonna love the Hell out of you! She loves to hear Alex sing and now there's someone on her side." He laughed and looked his old friend squarely in the eyes, "Come on Alex, don't be a party pooper."

Alex glared at him and shook her head no. Then she added with an unnatural sweetness to her voice, "Okay, but only if he knows a Cris Williamson song," and smiled at the rest of the little group.

"As if, Alex," Sonny huffed.

"Cris who?" Samantha asked.

"Cris Williamson -- female music -- no respectable piano player knows any of Cris' stuff unless you're in an all girl bar. It's very esoteric, gotta be in the inner sanctum to know about it. It's a Lesbian thing." Sonny continued giving Samantha an explanation. "It's Alex's way of saying, No!"

Samantha looked a little perplexed and turned to Alex, "Oh, okay, if you really don't want to, but . . . who's Aurora?"

"Aurora's my mom," Alex answered the question.

"Okay, so . . . how did she . . . take you're being gay?" Samantha queried.

Sonny about doubled over in laughter. "Alex, don't you tell this little angel of yours anything?"

Alex shot him a look that almost knocked him off the barstool. "I've only had so much time, you know. I've told her everything that seemed pertinent as we went along. I would have gotten around to mom!" She turned back to Samantha.

"What's he talking about Alex?" Samantha wanted to know.

"My mother is Aurora Dorian, the writer." Alex told her lover. "I would have told you later if big mouth hadn't made such a thing about it."

"Aurora Dorian - The Aurora Dorian? The Think and Be Who You Think You Are, Aurora Dorian?

"The one and only," Alex smiled. "I'm proud of my mom, but I don't need to take her out of my back pocket when I first get to know someone. I would have told you soon, Samantha. The opportunity simply hadn't come up before now." Again, she shot a look of 'I'm gonna get you' over at her friend.

"By the Gods, I have her taped set on Loving Yourself and the one on Changing Yourself by Changing Your Thoughts. I absolutely adore her, but, Alex . . . isn't she . . . gay?" Samantha asked looking from one to the other of her friends.

"Yes, Samantha, my mom's gay . . ." was as much as Alex got out before Samantha went on . . .

" . . . then your coming out was probably a relief rather than a surprise! How lucky for you, and I guess for your mom! That answers the question of how your parents took your being gay." Samantha then continued on as usual with a rambling of questions shot at her lover without giving her a minute between to answer them.

"Was she gay before you were born? Were you planned? Was she with anyone when she was pregnant? Did you miss not having a father? Were you one of those artificially inseminated babies? Gosh, that was a long time ago, how did they do it then? Guess you had lots of aunts? How was it growing up with a celebrity in the house?" She went to continue on when Alex put a hand to her mouth.

"Breathe, Samantha and give me a chance to respond!" Alex laughed at her excited partner. "Let me try to answer the questions you've already thrown at me: Yes. Yes. Yes. No. Kind of. Samantha!!! Yes. Interesting. The rest we can discuss at a later date -- we are having fun now, remember? This is not the time to go into my life history." She glanced over at Sonny with a slight frown.

"Oh, don't you be giving him the look, Alex. I'm glad it came out," she giggled. "Came out -- guess everything is coming out this week. Not that you kept your mom in the closet, but we haven't talked about your family, just mine. Oh, Alex, I can't wait to meet your mom and your . . . your . . . ah . . ."

"My other parent, Kelley. She's been with my mom since before I was born. That's all for now Sam, listen to the guy singing, this is a great song." Alex drew her lover closer and kissed her on the cheek then whispered in her ear, "We'll talk more later, I promise, let's enjoy the rest of the night with the guys. I get uncomfortable when the total focus of the evening turns to me, okay?"

"Okay, Alex. Later." Samantha turned her head to look into her lover's eyes. "I'm so happy. This has been a great week for me."

The four friends sat listening to one of the other patrons singing his version of "All Out of Love", an old Air Supply song and felt very blessed to be loved when so much of the world was overrun by discontent and adversity. Sonny rested his head on Ray's shoulder and was engulfed by two strong arms. Samantha did the same with Alex and they all quietly listened to the light tenor voice seemingly baring his broken heart. When he finished they all applauded and Ray had the waiter give him another of whatever it was he was drinking.

They had a final round of drinks and listened to a few other people display their talent or lack of it. Alex got away without having to sing before the entire room which made her very happy. Before they knew it two o'clock was only minutes away.

"I know you wanted to watch the sun come up, Sonny," Alex smiled over at her friend. "But you have shown us a marvelous evening and early morning, what'd ya say we call it quits. I think Samantha is about to fall asleep in my arms." She looked down and Sam was comfortably snuggled up close to her lover, her head in the crook of Alex's arm . . . she had closed her eyes during the last ballad and certainly looked peaceful. "I don't think she's used to the late hours or the drinking." Alex confessed for her lover.

"Sure, Alex," Sonny answered. "It's been a great evening. I really love your Samantha -- I think you've finally found the right one this time, girl." He smiled over at his friend and gave her a slight pat on the arm.

Alex gently rocked Samantha. "Come on, honey, we're gonna go."

"Oh . . . I think I fell asleep," Samantha mumbled as she opened her eyes and looked around at her friends. "I'm sorry."

"Don't worry about it -- we've all been there, done that!" Ray said trying to keep Samantha from feeling too embarrassed. "I'm as exhausted as you are, only I've learned to sleep with my eyes open to keep from giving myself away." He smiled broadly at the sleepy blonde looking back at him.

"Okay, troupe," Sonny jumped off his stool and clapped his hands. "Next stop -- home!" He placed a large tip in the brandy glass on the piano and thanked the performer for a very entertaining night, then turned and followed his friends out the door.

The ride home was not very long and Samantha could not seem to thank Sonny enough for a thoroughly enjoyable and unforgettable day and evening. She raved about everything starting with breakfast and shopping and ending with dinner, the show, dancing and finally the piano bar.

"My goodness," Sonny said when he finally got a word in. "Alex maybe the next time you had better just pick her up and carry her to the car. You wake her up and it's like someone has wound her too tight while she was sleeping." He laughed and then got serious. "Samantha -- I'm . . . we're . . . glad you came up here with Alex. You are an absolute joy and we're glad you're going to be a large part of our Alex's life -- she deserves to be happy and we can see that you make her that. Welcome to the family, girl."

"So, girls," Ray interjected as they pulled up in front of the Marriott, "do you want to go to brunch around 11 and then we can take you to the airport?"

"That would be great, Ray," Alex answered. "I left the keys to the rental car at the front desk early this morning when we got in so that's all taken care of. All we have to do is pack up and we can do that before you get here, then we can leave from the restaurant."

"We got the new reservations for four in the afternoon, I believe. Is that right Sonny?" Ray asked.

"Yes, the tickets will be at the reservation desk, you just need to go pick them up. We should get you to the airport about three."

"Fine -- then we'll see you at 11," Alex finished as she and Samantha got out of the car. "Thanks for a wonderful evening."

"Yeah, thanks again from me, too," Samantha parroted.

"You are both equally welcome -- we had a great time, too. Wish you girls lived closer and we could do this more often." Sonny said with a sad smile on his face.

"See you in the a.m.," Ray concluded as Alex shut the car door and off he drove.

Once up in the room they decided to leave the packing for morning and to just get into bed. It was almost three and the both of them were exhausted -- a nice exhausted -- but exhausted nonetheless.

They undressed almost in silence with Samantha occasionally verbally reliving parts of the evening and then quieting down and thinking about it.

Alex was the first into bed and she lay there waiting for Samantha to finish brushing her teeth and messing around in the bathroom. "You coming or should I go to sleep without you?"

"Don't you dare," Samantha replied as she hopped onto the bed and snuggled up close to Alex. Alex put her arm around Samantha's shoulder and kissed her on the head, then lifted her face and kissed her goodnight. "Goodnight, honey, sleep tight."

"I will, Alex. I learned quiet a few new things about you tonight and there's still so much more to know. You are a very complex person, do you realize that?"

"Yes." Alex smiled slightly and kissed her lover on the head again.

"I had a marvelous time, but you know what?" Samantha asked.

"No, what Samantha?"

"Even though this has been a great vacation, I'm looking forward to getting back home and beginning our everyday life together. I can't believe how much my world has changed in one short week. I'm going to have a lot of explaining to do to my family, but I know you'll be there as support so I'm ready to face whatever obstacles might come my way." Samantha looked up at Alex with misty green eyes. "I love you so much, Alex. I can't begin to put into words how much."

"I love you, too, Samantha," her lover answered and wiped away a tear of joy that had run down Samantha's face. "But you don't have to wait until tomorrow or until we get home for us to begin our new life. Honey, we already started it -- this little trip was not merely for us to get to know each other a little better -- this was the start of our new life. Now, close your eyes and let's get some sleep. The morning will come quicker than we can imagine."

End of Chapter Nine

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