DISCLAIMER: This story involves a love/sexual relationship between two
women. If this offends you or you are under 18, you need to move on to
somewhere else. This is an original work of fiction. All characters
are mine and mine alone.
LOVE/SEX: Plenty of it! Some graphically explicit scenes.
FEEDBACK: Constructive criticism only, please. Have a heart--this is my first work online! Seriously, though, I'd love to hear from you.
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CHAPTER ONE – THE CHRISTMAS PRACTICE ( Saturday, December 3)
Sarah Davis stepped off the city bus in front of a replica of an old west town on the outskirts of Laramie, Wyoming. The bus driver said "End of the line," so she—along with the remaining dozen passengers—had no choice but to get off the bus. The driver was headed for the maintenance depot, but said he'd be back in a couple of hours and take them back to town.
She followed the other people as they went into the Visitor and Information Center and stood there for a moment, glancing around at her surroundings and wondering how she was going to occupy the next two hours. She watched as the other passengers bought tickets, entered the old west town through a turnstile and began to fan out in different directions.
This must be some kind of a tourist attraction, Sarah thought. I should have gotten off the bus earlier, but I didn't know exactly where I was going. All I wanted to do was spend a leisurely, unscheduled afternoon in town, and now I've landed in this place!
She hadn't seen any shops around when she got off the bus, and a glance back out the window told her there wasn't a restaurant around, either. She noted with dismay that there wasn't even so much as a refreshment bar in the Visitor Center where she could enjoy a hot cappuccino.
The sun was sinking lower in the sky, and at three o'clock this Saturday afternoon, Sarah realized it wouldn't be long until it was dark. The only places to sit down were some wooden benches placed around the room. But she'd had enough sitting on the bus and so, just wanting some peace and quiet away from the family, she resigned herself to the situation. She bought a ticket from the attractive blonde woman behind the ticket counter and set out to explore the old west town with the other passengers.
* * * * * *
Sarah had been in Laramie only a few days and wondered if she had made the right decision to come and stay with her sister while Sylvia's husband, Rich, was on sabbatical. He was participating in an environmental study with a group out of the University of Wyoming. Sarah knew her sister needed someone to help her, but she never reckoned Sylvia's four children would be such a handful. Why, in God's name, did Sylvia have two sets of twins? It was nerve wracking just trying to tell them apart!
First, there were her twin nephews, Roger and Robert—Sylvia's thirteen-year-old boys. With brown eyes and brown hair—crew cuts—and chubby cheeks, they hadn't yet lost their baby fat. Sylvia said they took after their dad and Sarah would be able to tell them apart by a small, flat, almost flesh-colored mole on Robert's right cheek.
Then there were her six-year-old twin nieces, Lori and Lilly. They had light blue eyes and long blonde hair, usually tied back in a pony tail with ribbons. Sylvia said the way to tell them apart was that Lori had a small and faint light-brown birthmark on the left side of her neck.
But at a distance, Sarah could make out neither Robert's mole nor Lori's birthmark, so could only guess who was who most of the time.
The boys were antsy in anticipation of being out of school for the Christmas holidays. They had two weeks of school left and were a little too boisterous, too soon, and Sarah's nerves were rubbed raw. Plus, the girls seemed to get into everything and were driving her crazy!
Still, it was more practical that she move up to Laramie than Sylvia and her brood come down to Denver. If push came to shove—if she couldn't handle being around the kids all the time—she would find an apartment to rent, since her home was her office. Then she would still be there for Sylvia, who worked full-time during the day as the manager of a clothing store in town.
Sarah convinced her boss at the travel agency that she could work on the Internet from Laramie as well as from Denver. She emphasized to Deb that this would be a way of opening up a subsidiary Lars Tours office in Laramie, to see if it could be turned into a money-making permanent enterprise. They might be able to open a travel agency office in the downtown area if everything went well through Internet bookings. Her boss agreed to give it a shot, but only for one year. After that time, by having an accurate assessment of when was the most profitable season for tourists, Deb could make a determination whether or not to open a downtown office. A year was the exact length of time Rich was expected to be gone, so it worked out perfectly for Sarah.
On Sarah's last day of work in Denver, Deb told her, "Now you behave yourself up there in Laramie! You're my best employee, and I don't want to lose you to one of those good-looking cowboys!"
Sarah laughed to herself, as she knew there'd be no problem there. She wasn't interested in men. Although ten years had passed since Melanie's death, she had no desire to get involved in another long-term relationship with a woman, either.
* * * * * *
Sarah took her time strolling through the quaint old west town via the wooden plank sidewalk. She stopped once to sit on a backless wooden bench and gaze around at the old, unpainted buildings. When she got up from her resting place and started walking again, she saw a group of two dozen or so women ahead of her standing in the middle of the sidewalk, engaged in animated conversation.
It had been raining earlier in the day, mixed with snow. Although the sun was shining now and had dried off the wooden sidewalk, the town's dirt street was still muddy. She saw no way to go around the women except to step off the sidewalk down into that mess. She didn't have on the proper footgear for that, so she stopped a few feet away from the edge of the group and hoped they would soon move out of the way so she could continue on to see the rest of the town.
She couldn't help but overhear their conversation, through unintentional eavesdropping. It revolved around a Christmas program where choir practice was supposed to have started fifteen minutes ago, but the lead singer had not shown up yet.
"I think we'll go ahead and start with who's here," one of the women said. Sarah thought that might be the leader of the group, as she could sense an air of authority in her voice.
"Shouldn't we wait just a little longer, Lindsey?" someone asked. "All of us aren't here yet."
"No telling when Les will show up," Lindsey responded. "I know my sister. She's always late. We don't need to wait on account of her. I was hoping Annette would show up, too, but I guess she had better things to do. Come on, let's go inside and get started."
Sarah watched as the women turned and started walking toward what appeared to be a replica of a church in the days of the old west. It was sandwiched between an old clapboard General Store and a Barber Shop. The woman who had just spoken—whose name Sarah now knew was Lindsey—was of average height, about five-foot-six, and indeed was the one in charge. She opened the door to the church and went in first. Sarah followed the group in, out of curiosity, without giving her actions a second thought. No one stopped her. She thought she might sit down for a while and listen. She didn't think anyone would mind, as she was just another tourist. They probably had tourists watching all the time.
A folding chair on the floor at the end of the platform where the pulpit was located looked inviting. As she started to sit there, one of the women, mistaking her for part of the church choir, told her she could go up to the choir loft and find Marlene, who would tell her where to sit.
Sarah started to tell her she wasn't part of the choir, but on impulse, walked the few steps up onto the platform and over to one of the pews in the choir loft. She asked a woman standing there, "Are you Marlene?" After receiving an affirmative answer, Sarah asked her where she should sit.
Marlene asked her, "Are you an alto? Soprano? Or tenor, maybe?" Marlene didn't remember seeing Sarah before now, but thought maybe Lindsey had recruited someone else at the last minute. Marlene was Lindsey's right-hand when it came to matters concerning the choir. She handled seating arrangements and music distribution, as well as anything else Lindsey might want.
Sarah said she was an alto. Marlene said to sit between her and "so-and-so." So she followed Marlene and sat down where Marlene indicated. She picked up the sheet music that Marlene had just laid out on the pews, looked at it briefly, then focused her eyes on whom she had already assumed was leader of the choir.
She was mesmerized by the woman who had preceded them all into the church. She watched as the woman took off her heavy, knee-length, brown leather jacket and threw it over a pew. She then took off her western hat and shook out her thick, brown, shoulder-length hair. Sarah thought how delicious it would be to run her hands through that gorgeous hair! The woman was dressed in blue jeans and western boots, with a light-blue cowboy shirt and a darker blue bandana around her neck. Sarah thought it was hardly the type of clothing that would elicit admiring glances—unless you were a cowboy! Her jeans were form-fitting and her breasts were straining at her shirt, threatening to pop the snaps.
Sarah couldn't take her eyes off the woman. She looked a lot like the strikingly beautiful Claire, one of the stars of Australia's well-known drama about three women who ran their father's ranch.
The woman walked up onto the platform and sat down on a wooden pew at one end, looking sideways toward the choir loft at the back of the platform.
"Looks like Lindsey is going to preach to us," murmured 'so-and so', sitting next to Sarah.
"No, she's not," said Marlene on the other side of Sarah. "She just wants to sit over there and look out and see how all of us look from that angle. Bet 'cha she'll move over to the other side in a minute."
As predicted, the woman in question got up and moved to the other end of the platform and sat on a pew there and watched as the women finished getting comfortable in their seats.
So that's the preacher? A woman? Sarah had never seen a woman preacher before. But she hadn't been to church much, either. W hy not? Why shouldn't there be women preachers? And this was an old west town—or a replica of one—and there were women preachers in those old west days, weren't there?
She heard the choir member who had spoken first say, "You're right. I guess she leaves the preaching up to her daddy. But she doesn't listen to him half the time. She isn't at all like her sister, Leslie."
Lindsey got up and moved toward the center of the platform with a music stand in one hand and a conductor's baton and sheet music in the other. She stood with her back to the pulpit—facing the choir loft—and placed the stand in front of her and arranged the music and baton on it. Her eyes began roaming and taking in the whole choir. Her gaze stopped in mid-stride at the center of the choir as she locked eyes with Sarah and stared brazenly at her.
Sarah, not to be intimidated, continued to stare right back. She hadn't really stopped looking at the woman since she entered the church and had been watching her every move for the last several minutes.
After what seemed an eternity, the woman finally turned her eyes away and started looking at her music.
Ah-ha! Sarah thought. Gotcha! She had no idea why it seemed important to her that the woman named Lindsey had dropped her eyes first.
"You," Lindsey said, looking up towards Sarah again. "You with the short, dark hair. Come here."
The woman's voice was low and husky. To Sarah it sounded very sexy, but also a voice to be reckoned with. Sarah looked at the other women around her and noticed some had dark hair, but she was the only one whose hair was short.
"Me?" she asked. I'm in trouble now .
The woman nodded her head, beckoning with her left index finger for Sarah to come forward.
Sarah got up from the pew, blushing, knowing she had been discovered as not being one of the choir members. She stepped down from the choir loft and stood in front of Lindsey, who had both hands on her hips, leaving no doubt that she was the leader of the group.
"Who are you? Where did you come from?" Lindsey asked, genuinely inquisitive, looking Sarah up and down from head to toe and admiring her well-built body clearly visible beneath her light winter clothing. The stranger was about three inches shorter than she was. "You're not one of the regular choir members."
"Actually, I just walked in off the street," Sarah replied, looking toward the church door. "I was waiting for the bus to take me back to town. I followed the group. I was curious when I heard this was a practice for a Christmas program."
As she looked at Lindsey, she felt like she was being ravished by the woman's eyes, and an exciting chill went up her spine. Yet she was more embarrassed at the moment for having walked in with the group of women uninvited.
"I was just going to sit down and watch," she continued to explain. "I didn't think anyone would mind. That woman over there..." Sarah pointed to the woman who had first talked to her, "told me to go up to the loft and ask Marlene where to sit. So I did."
"Oh, really." Lindsey glanced over at the woman Sarah pointed to, looked at Marlene, then brought her gaze back to Sarah.
"Are you from around here?" she asked, focusing squarely on Sarah's deep brown eyes. Sarah returned her gaze without wavering.
"I came into town a few days ago. I'll be here for a while. Why?" Sarah shot back.
Ignoring her question, Lindsey countered with her own question, "Can you sing?"
Sarah defiantly returned, "Yes. Of course, I can sing. I can read music, too. If I couldn't sing, I wouldn't have sat down up there, would I?"
She was starting to get a little peeved at this woman who seemed so in charge! Her with her hands on her hips! Who does she think she is, anyway? God's gift to women? Sarah all of a sudden caught herself. The beautiful being standing in front of her was God's gift to women! She was breathtaking with her sculpted figure and face like a goddess! She gulped and felt herself go limp, but continued to look into Lindsey's deep blue eyes.
Well, this one is a little feisty, Lindsey thought, as well as a looker . She couldn't help but notice the pert little nose between the flash of impertinence in her eyes as she spoke.
She said, changing her demeanor and breaking into a wide smile, "I guess you can join us, then. At least, till your bus comes back. My name is Lindsey Hobbs. What's yours?" She held her hand out to Sarah.
"Sarah Davis," Sarah responded, slightly smiling as she grasped Lindsey's hand in a firm, warm handshake, surprised at the turnabout friendliness of the woman. The woman's smile was broad and openly displayed sparkling white, even teeth, as the smile spread over her whole face.
"Well, Sarah Davis, you can go back up to where you were sitting in the alto section," she said, nodding toward the choir loft. Turning loose of Sarah's hand, which she had held onto slightly longer than was necessary, she added, "We can use another alto."
Sarah nodded, then turned around, feeling the woman's gaze burning into her back as she walked back up to the choir loft. No one in the Christmas choir said a word, nor thought it a bit unusual that another singer was added to their group. They had overheard the loud conversation, as it echoed through the sanctuary, and knew Sarah Davis had walked in off the street. But Lindsey always did what she wanted to. They never questioned her.
Sarah was amazed that she would be accepted without question when no one knew who she was. She certainly hadn't planned on anything like this. But she couldn't just walk out now without finding out more about this mysterious woman named Lindsey Hobbs. Not after the way the woman had practically undressed her with her eyes! To hell with the bus ride back to town!
CHAPTER TWO – THE OFFERS
The choir had been singing no more than five minutes to an accompanying Christmas CD, when another woman burst into the old west church, slamming the door behind her. Sarah's eyes widened as she saw that the woman, except for a shorter and curlier hairstyle, was the spitting image of Lindsey Hobbs!
"You guys could have waited a few minutes longer, Lindsey!" the woman said, frustrated, stomping across the wooden floor. "You knew I had to get the communion stuff ready for the church service tomorrow before I could come here. I don't see you breaking your back to help daddy, dear sister!"
"Leslie, you know this Christmas program is just as important to daddy as his sacraments," Lindsey said, in an attempt to calm her sister down. "He has his precious communion service once a month. Every month. But we have to be ready for this Christmas program in just two more practices after this one. And that probably won't be enough, the way things are going. We may have to practice a couple extra times. I'm sure you could have gotten away sooner if you had asked daddy."
Lindsey and Leslie would have been identical twins were it not for the color of their eyes. Leslie sported a pair of hazel-green eyes with yellow flecks, which glared with potential jealousy—and now bristled with anger—while Lindsey's eyes were a deep emotional blue and hinted of sadness. Leslie's face also contained a harshness, which clashed with her beauty, whereas Lindsey's face was soft and radiant, which made her countenance even more beautiful.
Leslie had no further words for her twin sister and stormed over to take her place as the soloist at the side of the front pew where a microphone had been set up for her. She knew it was useless to argue with Lindsey, anyway. Lindsey had always been the one to take the lead in the family and usually did what she set out to do, regardless of their father's wishes. Leslie thought of herself as relegated to the role of Martha in the Bible, but she wasn't about to place Lindsey in the role of Mary, sitting at the Master's feet. Lindsey was too headstrong. Leslie knew her sister was their father's favorite daughter, and she resented it.
As her sister picked up the music and flipped on the microphone switch, ready to start singing, Lindsey forced herself to concentrate on the Christmas practice. But her gaze lifted again to the newcomer who had walked in off the street. She noticed the attractive woman kept watching her. Of course, she's watching me! I'm the choir director! She's supposed to keep her eyes on me!
She caught a glimpse, though, of something else in Sarah's eyes that was more than simply paying attention to her directing, and it clearly unsettled her. So much so, that she failed to watch what she was doing once—having glanced out of the corner of her eyes at Sarah. Her baton hit against the music stand and dropped to the floor. She stumblingly apologized as she leaned over to pick it up and caught Sarah looking at her amusedly, with a slight smile. Lindsey awkwardly smiled back, completely disconcerted, as she noticed for the first time the dimple at the corner of Sarah's mouth. She dropped the baton again as she straightened up. She bent over and picked it up again, trying her best not to lock eyes with Sarah.
"Let's take a fifteen-minute break, ladies," Lindsey said, after practicing for an hour and a half. "Deanna came down earlier and put the coffee on over there in that little room at the side of the sanctuary. And there's hot water for tea. And ...I understand some of you brought goodies! So let's have some refreshments, and then we'll come back and practice for another hour or so." She looked at Sarah and gestured to her with her head to join them and then went to get a cup of coffee.
Sarah had other ideas, however. She thought no one noticed when she got up from the pew, and instead of following the other women, she went out the church door to stand on the board walk. She wouldn't have felt comfortable helping herself to coffee and refreshments with the others—even though she was cold and would have welcomed the hot drink. She was a complete stranger to these people. She'd go back in when she heard them all come back into the sanctuary. She was enjoying singing with the group. It had been a long time.
But Lindsey noticed she was not among the women assembling in the little room. Well, so much for that. Probably left to catch her bus. I guess she wasn't really interested.
After everyone had finished their hot drinks and ate their goodies, Lindsey called them back to the sanctuary. When she moved over to take her place behind the conductor's stand, she noted that Sarah was seated where she had been previously. Her eyes lit up, and she felt a thrill coursing through her body. Maybe I misjudged her.
Six o'clock came sooner than Lindsey thought it should have. Yet it was the time she decided they were going to stop. "Okay, ladies, let's wrap it up for today," she said, folding up her music. "We'll get together next Saturday afternoon, same time, right here. If I think we need to practice before that, I'll let you know. Okay? Any questions?"
She watched her sister Leslie hurriedly exit the premises, without so much as a good-bye to anyone. Probably needs to get back to dear old dad . I don't know why she seems to feel it's her job to take care of daddy since our mother left. Our father isn't that old and doesn't need to be coddled. It wouldn't hurt for him to find another old lady to cozy up to for companionship. She didn't want to think along those lines, however, as her parents were not divorced—just separated. Her father's involvement with another woman would only lead to trouble. She wondered what Leslie would say if she knew what a reprobate their father really was.
The choir members filed out of the church—having no questions—placing their music in Marlene's capable hands as they left. Sarah followed the group outside. But instead of walking over and getting into a car as the other women were doing, she stood on the walkway and looked around, wondering what to do. She had no transportation of her own, it was dark, and she realized she shouldn't have stayed so long.
"It looks like you missed your bus," Lindsey said, walking up to Sarah. She was bundled up down to her knees against the chill evening, but saw that Sarah had on only a short jacket and was definitely not prepared for cold weather such as this. It crossed her mind that Sarah might not be familiar with Wyoming country in December. The weather could plummet from a balmy 50 degrees down to zero in just a couple of hours. Sarah had said she'd been here only a few days, and Lindsey wondered where she was from and what she was doing in Laramie.
"Could I give you a ride to wherever you're staying?" Lindsey asked.
"No, I don't think that's necessary," Sarah said. "I'm sure a bus will be by shortly." She looked around and saw none of the passengers who had been on the bus with her. A slight breeze came up, and she involuntarily shuddered as the cold night air gripped her. She wrapped her arms tightly around herself.
"Hate to disappoint you, but the last bus came an hour ago," Lindsey said, looking at her watch. "I probably should have let you go sooner so you could catch it, but you were doing such a good job singing and keeping the alto section on key, that I didn't want to disrupt the practice."
Sarah looked up into Lindsey's face with a smile, sensing the sincerity in her words. Sarah was glad that she could read the music and sing right along with the other altos in the group. She knew she had a more than passable singing voice, and from the sound of some of the women, they could do with someone who could stay on key. At one point when they were singing without instrumentation—a capella—she helped to keep the other singers from going flat! Lindsey had nodded to her approvingly. Now she was paying the price for not leaving to catch the bus earlier. What was she going to do? How was she going to get home?
Lindsey continued after a short silence. "I'm sorry. That was really selfish of me for keeping you from catching your bus. I guess I owe you a ride."
Sarah felt her face grow warm at Lindsey's words, and was relieved that the darkness hid her blush. "Well, since you put it that way," she said, "I'd be a fool not to accept your offer." She felt Lindsey's closeness, and a tingly sensation coursed through her body.
"Come on, then," Lindsey said, taking her by the arm. "My truck is right over here behind the outdoor stage. It's a little rough-riding, but hey, it's helped me out of a jam a number of times when I've needed a high-off-the-ground four-wheel-drive."
High-off-the-ground was an understatement, Sarah thought, as she looked at the oversized, massive tires holding up the body of the truck. A veritable monster truck! Lindsey turned loose of her arm, unlocked the passenger side and opened the door. Then she walked over to the driver's side, leaving Sarah to her own devices on how to climb into the monster truck. Thankfully, there was a step for her foot and a hand-grip on the passenger side which she latched onto to pull herself up into the cab.
She settled herself into the seat and buckled up as Lindsey started the engine. It was loud and shook awhile before it caught on good, and Sarah wondered if it was going to fall apart. But Lindsey seemed used to it and headed down the road to town, the truck rumbling along noisily because of faulty mufflers. Heat flooded the interior before long, and Sarah quit shivering from the cold.
"Gotta get that noise fixed one of these days," Lindsey hollered over to Sarah. "My father says a woman shouldn't be driving a vehicle like this. In fact, he doesn't think a woman should drive at all. But he's a little behind the times. I don't pay attention to him. My truck has a good heater for winter and air-conditioning for summer, and outside of the blown-out mufflers, it's in top shape mechanically."
"Why do you drive a truck like this?" Sarah asked, thinking to herself that monster trucks usually made the strongest impression on the male gender.
"It gives me an independence that I wouldn't have otherwise. I can't imagine myself driving around in a four-cylinder, silly little car like a lot of women do—car-pooling and getting stuck in snowdrifts. That's what my sister drives. I've pulled her car out of a snowdrift or two. Besides, this truck fits my personality."
Sarah wondered what kind of personality that was. From the way she talked and handled herself, Sarah guessed Lindsey might be a woman who was used to getting her own way and wouldn't take no for an answer.
They were both quiet for a few minutes and then Lindsey said, "Would you like to continue singing with us for the Christmas program? That is, if you're going to be around for a while?"
Sarah looked over at Lindsey in surprise. Her voice faltered as she responded, "Well...I don't know...I never thought about that. Why would you want me to? You don't even know me."
"You've got a good voice, and the Lord knows we need all the help we can get. I just thought if you were going to be around and didn't have anything else planned—" Lindsey's voice trailed off.
"Can I think about it for a few minutes?"
"Sure." Silence prevailed for a while before Lindsey spoke again. "What street did you say you lived on? We're in town now, and I need to know where to drop you off," Lindsey said.
"It's just right up here—the next street," Sarah responded, pointing. "I'm staying with my sister and her kids while her husband is off on an extended environmental study with a group from the University of Wyoming. Thanks for bringing me home. And to answer your question—yes, I think I'd like to sing in the Christmas program."
"Great," Lindsey said. "Maybe I can pick you up each time we practice—so you won't have to take the bus."
"I wouldn't want you to go out of your way," Sarah replied.
"Actually, it's not out of my way," said Lindsey. "I live on the next street up. We're practically neighbors." She pulled up at the bottom of the driveway of the house Sarah indicated.
"Well...okay, then," Sarah said.
"Give me your phone number, and I'll call you when the next practice is. We probably will have to have another practice before Saturday, so I'll have to let you know some way. But it would be in the evening because most of the ladies work during the day."
"Okay." Sarah said. "Do you have a pen and something I could write on?"
Lindsey handed her the pen that was in her shirt pocket, turning on the cab light as she did so, and then found a scrap of paper in her coat pocket.
"Why are there only women in the choir?" Sarah asked.
"Because I wanted an all-women choir this year," Lindsey responded. "And some of the women—believe it or not—can almost sing bass!"
Sarah laughed. "Well, thanks again for the ride," she said as she scribbled down her cell phone number and handed the piece of paper to Lindsey along with the borrowed pen.
Then she couldn't get the passenger door open. Lindsey reached over her, saying, "You have to wiggle the handle a little bit...like this." She demonstrated. "Then push it in this direction." Again, a demonstration. "Then it will open. Voila! " She opened the door by giving it a little push.
"I thought you said this truck was in perfect condition," Sarah said.
"What I said was that it's in top shape mechanically ," Lindsey answered patiently, allowing her hand to rest on Sarah's arm as she talked. "But the rest of it needs a little work, as you can see."
She gave Sarah's arm a little squeeze as she brought herself back upright in the driver's seat. Then she wondered what prompted her to assume a familiarity like that. She didn't even know Sarah. But Sarah hadn't seemed to mind, either.
Sarah struggled to get down out of the truck, dangling from the hand grip, one foot on the step, while her other foot frantically waved around in mid-air, searching for somewhere to set down. Lindsey chuckled at her and told her the ground was a little ways further down.
"Yes, I know!" Sarah lashed out, frustrated because she didn't have longer legs. When her feet were finally on the ground, she slammed the door shut and watched as Lindsey peeled off down the road. The truck's mufflers were loud enough to raise the dead.
Well, Miss Sarah has a little temper, Lindsey mused as she turned the corner. I like that. Shows she has a mind of her own and won't take any guff from anyone.
CHAPTER THREE – GETTING USED TO THINGS
Sarah walked into the kitchen after Lindsey dropped her off and slung her jacket over a kitchen chair. Her sister Sylvia was sitting at the table drinking a cup of coffee and looked up from reading the local newspaper.
"Where did you disappear to?" Sylvia asked, seriously. "I was getting worried about you. I know you said you were going to walk down to the corner and take the bus downtown, but I didn't think you'd be gone this long."
Sarah could see her sister was concerned. She should have tried to call her, but she'd forgotten to take her cell phone with her. It really never entered her mind that Sylvia would be worried. No one had worried about her for years!
"I rode a little further than I had planned," she explained, taking a cup from the cupboard and filling it with the freshly-brewed coffee. "I guess my head was in the clouds somewhere. I got off at the end of the line where there was a tourist attraction—a replica of an old west town. It's actually called The Old West Town . I missed the last bus."
God, this coffee is good, she thought, taking a sip. I didn't expect it to be so cold this early in December up here.
"That old tourist trap? Oh, thank God! At least you were somewhere safe." Sylvia breathed a sigh of relief. "What in the world did you do all that time? You could have caught the bus back to town earlier."
Sylvia looked at her watch and noted it was almost 7 o'clock. The kids were glued to a primetime children's TV program in the family room. They never heard their Aunt Sarah come in. "We ate dinner over an hour ago," Sylvia continued. "Are you hungry? Have you eaten anything since lunch?"
"No, I haven't eaten. It never crossed my mind," Sarah told her, joining her at the table. "I'll just grab a sandwich. I'm not really that hungry."
"Well, I could warm dinner up in the microwave. I saved you a plateful."
"Okay," Sarah responded agreeably. "That sounds good."
Sylvia had taken on the big sister role again. Actually, she was Sarah's older sister, but only by five years. If warming up dinner for her was what Sylvia wanted to do, that was all right with her.
"So what were you doing while you were waiting for the bus to bring you back into town?" Sylvia asked, almost repeating her earlier question. "How could you miss the bus? Were you playing the tourist? Parmesan or Romano?" She placed the nuked plate of food—spaghetti—in front of Sarah and then rattled around in a drawer for silverware.
Sylvia had a way of running questions together without waiting for answers, so Sarah wasn't sure which question to answer first. She decided on the food question, as the spaghetti was sitting in front of her getting cold. "Romano, please," she responded. She could talk about what happened at The Old West Town while she was eating.
She sprinkled the Romano over her spaghetti, then reached for a hunk of garlic bread and started eating. She looked up, sensing Sylvia's eyes on her.
"Well?" Sylvia asked.
"Well what?" Sarah asked back.
"What were you doing all that time?" Sylvia said, exasperated.
Sarah hesitated and then said, "I'm going to be singing in a Christmas program."
"What?" Sylvia asked, unsure of what she heard.
"I'm going to be singing in a Christmas program," Sarah replied. She hated having to repeat herself.
"How in the world did you happen onto something like that?" Sylvia was incredulous.
Sarah proceeded to tell Sylvia how she had walked in with some women into a small church in The Old West Town and thought she'd listen to them practice. She found herself sitting in the choir singing along with them. Afterwards, the choir director brought her home and asked if she wanted to sing in the Christmas program. She accepted.
"Well, that certainly wasn't what you were expecting when you left the house this afternoon, was it?"
Sarah shook her head.
"Who is the choir director?" Sylvia asked.
"Her name is Lindsey. She seems really nice. Lives on the next street up. She's picking me up for practices."
Her sentences were short and to the point. She couldn't say anything to Sylvia about how attracted she was to Lindsey from the moment she laid eyes on her. Sylvia didn't know she was gay.
"Well, that'll give you something to do. You'll probably welcome the chance to get away from the kids once in awhile. When are the practices going to be?"
"I'm not sure yet. Next Saturday afternoon for certain. But Lindsey said maybe before that. It would be in the evenings, though, so it won't interfere with your job. I'll be here with the kids during the day in case they need me. I gave her my cell phone number."
"Hmmm," replied Sylvia, getting up and taking Sarah's empty plate over to the sink. "By the way," she continued, "on Sundays we go to church—all of us. So that means you'll have to get up tomorrow morning and go with us. Can't leave you at home. I've already spouted off to some people that you were coming to stay with me for a while."
Sylvia didn't see Sarah roll her eyes and stick her tongue out at her, as she already had her back turned and was rinsing off Sarah's dirty dishes before putting them in the dishwasher.
Sarah went to church in Denver only on the odd occasion, like the baptism of a friend's baby. It was not normally a conventional orthodox church, as her friends were mostly lesbians. She wondered how she could get out of going with Sylvia and her kids. Maybe she could feign a headache—
"I think I'll go upstairs," Sarah said, adding more coffee to her almost-empty cup. Her insides were getting warm now, but her hands were still freezing. "I have some things to go over, and I need to e-mail Deb in Denver. Is there anything you want me to do right now?"
"No sweetie. I was just going to finish my coffee and then put another load of clothes in the washer. I didn't quite get it all done today. These kids go through clothes like we were a clothing store! You go ahead and take care of your business."
"Sylvia, why didn't you say something before I left this afternoon?" Sarah burst out. "I could have been doing that for you while you were doing other things. I didn't have to ride the bus to town." But I'm glad I did, she thought to herself. "You should let me know what you want me to do. In fact, I could have been washing clothes all week while you've been at work. Isn't that why I'm staying with you? To help out?"
She felt guilty now about sleeping in this morning and then taking off in the afternoon. The four evenings she had been here were the only times she'd seen the kids, hardly enough exposure to warrant wanting to get away from them so soon. But they had been so difficult and obnoxious in those evenings—and she wasn't used to kids—that she felt justified in taking off. They had been in school during the weekdays and got home around 4 p.m. Sylvia got home from work at 4:30. Surely Sylvia could leave the kids alone for half an hour, couldn't she? After all, the boys were teenagers and were old enough to look after their younger sisters for a few minutes. She was beginning to question why Sylvia wanted her to stay with her.
"Well, I'm not sure why I haven't asked for your help yet," Sylvia said. She could see that Sarah was upset. "I'm sorry, Sarah. I just have to get used to having you around. I promise I'll have things for you to do from now on."
"Good!" Sarah grabbed her coat and went upstairs to her bedroom. She had dubbed her room The Loft , as the house itself was built on an A-frame design with steep sloping roofs and a vaulted ceiling over the family room. To Sarah it just felt like a loft. The house was a large three-bedroom home, all on the ground level except for her room upstairs. That room had originally been an attic-like storage area reached from inside the garage and was quite spacious. It was quickly turned into a bedroom when it was decided that Sarah was going to come and live with them while Rich was on sabbatical. A three-quarter bathroom had been added, and a six-foot-wide wooden deck had been built adjoining the bedroom. It jutted out over the family room and was accessed by an open wooden staircase leading up from the kitchen area. The old stairs in the garage were torn out and new flooring in the bedroom covered the hole that was left.
Sarah could sit on her deck and enjoy looking out over the massive fireplace and living area downstairs or view the scenery outside from the large bay picture window. She could even watch the big-screen TV from her deck if she wanted to. But since the deck had a three-foot-high enclosed railing around it, she chose to use it as her office and computer space. The kids were given strict orders that they were not to set foot on her staircase. The arrangement was working quite well. So far—
Sarah hadn't realized that her sister lived in such a lavish place. The brick-and-stone house was built on a hillside. There was a beautiful view from the family room of some jagged mountain peaks in the distance. She thought Lindsey's house on the street behind them must have an even more spectacular view.
The house was surrounded by pine trees and xeriscape landscaping, with a cobblestone driveway leading right up to the two-car garage. But her husband was a professor at the University of Wyoming, so why shouldn't they live well? Sylvia didn't need to work. They didn't need the money. After being with Sylvia's kids only a few days now, Sarah thought she knew why her sister worked. She had never encountered such unruly kids in her life—especially the boys.
Puddy, the household calico tabby, sedately followed her upstairs and rubbed and purred against Sarah's legs when she stopped to set her coffee cup down on the desk next to her computer. When Sarah opened the door to her bedroom, which ensured her privacy from the open deck, the cat ran in and leaped up on the bed. She stretched out lazily—as if she belonged there.
"Well, you're just taking over, aren't you?" The cat looked at her briefly, then closed her eyes. Sarah shook her head, wondering if she still had the smell of her own gray-striped, white-pawed cat on her clothes. She knew Deb was taking good care of Boots, though she'd regretted having to give up her apartment for the year she'd be gone.
She walked over to the closet where she hung up her jacket and changed into more comfortable clothes to lounge around in. She realized she should have brought more clothes with her, but had put most things in storage while she was gone. However, since her sister managed a clothing store, she was sure Sylvia could get anything she needed for her on discount.
"Oh, shit!" she exclaimed, coming back out on the deck to sit down in front of the computer screen. "What the hell!"
She shouted down to the two sets of twins watching the large-screen TV in the family room. "Which one of you kids took my mouse?"
All four looked up at her at the same time. Lilly, one of the girls, said, innocently, "I didn't know you had a mouse." Lori, the other girl, giggled.
"Maybe Puddy ate it," the smart-mouthed Roger said, snickering. "She likes mice." His brother Robert laughed.
"That's not funny, you guys!" Sarah yelled, knowing that the kids had gotten the best of her again. She didn't know exactly how many times they had done that in the few days she had been here. She really intended that they be scared senseless when she yelled at them. But she came across as not being very serious.
She looked around on her desk some more. Her computer mouse was cordless, a Logitech MX Laser, and it came with a rechargeable stand. There was not much she could do on the computer without it.
Then she spied it. It was sitting in the rechargeable stand, right where she had placed it before she left to ride the bus into town. It was fully charged now. She felt ridiculously foolish and spoke apologetically to the kids downstairs, "Never mind. I found it." They looked up at her again and then went back to watching TV.
What is wrong with me? she wondered. I don't usually get all frazzled and come part at the seams because I've misplaced something. I've misplaced things before.
She tilted her coffee cup toward her lips and could have sworn she saw Lindsey's face reflected in the liquid. As she reached over and took the mouse from its stand, she remembered Lindsey bending over her and opening the truck door from the inside, her hand gently squeezing her arm afterwards. That simple touch had affected her more than she realized. She smiled and started punching keys.
CHAPTER FOUR – THE BIBLE STUDY
Lindsey made her way up the steps to the second floor of the Alpine Coffeehouse after dropping Sarah off after choir practice. She remembered her father arguing with her about moving the Bible Study group to a different place a year ago. If Hiram Hobbs had forbidden her to move the group, she would have disbanded it. She didn't want the group to continue to be subject to Hiram's lustful eyes. Plus, she wanted to have her own agenda concerning the group of women who met weekly to study the Bible. Fortunately, he finally went along with her wishes to meet somewhere else.
"Hi, Annette," Lindsey said as she spread her teaching materials out on the long, low coffee table in front of the couch at the Alpine Coffeehouse . "Missed you at practice today."
Annette smiled and answered, "I'm sorry. I couldn't make it. My ten-year-old brother fell and broke his wrist on the school playground equipment, and I had to take him to emergency. I don't know where my mother was. She got home just in time for me to come to the Bible Study group tonight—thank God!" She sat down on the couch beside two other women—Arlene and Susan—who had also just arrived.
"Well, I'm glad you could make it to the Bible Study." Lindsey was certain that Annette would never miss a Bible Study—even if it meant she had to hire a babysitter to stay with her youngest of four brothers. "You might be interested to know we have a new singer who's going to be joining us for the Christmas program," Lindsey informed her, with a bell-like lilt in her husky voice. "She just moved to town and wandered into where we were holding the practice when she was touring The Old West Town this afternoon. She sings pretty well. Her name is Sarah."
"Oh, really? You're not giving her my part, are you? Just because I didn't show up?" Annette looked alarmingly at Lindsey.
"I wouldn't do that, Annette. Besides, she sings alto. I doubt she could reach a very high soprano note."
"Do you think she'll come to our meetings here?"
"I honestly don't know," Lindsey said, trying to tone down the excitement in her voice. She turned in her Bible to where the lesson began. "Actually, I don't know if she'd fit in here. She's staying with her sister temporarily while her sister's husband is out of town."
Lindsey looked at Annette warily, thinking she detected a smidgen of jealousy from her because of the way in which she was asking questions about Sarah. Annette's green eyes, with flecks of brown, along with her fiery red hair, were not particularly attractive to Lindsey. At thirty-one years old, Annette's body could do with a little exercise, also, especially to get rid of the bulges—love handles—that were beginning to appear on her hips. In addition, she didn't like the way Annette smirked when she was talking with—or about—people she didn't care for. Lindsey tried not to rile her, as she didn't want to lose her as a member of the group. When it came to Lindsey's once-a-month agenda , Annette was always there, and she could count on her.
Lindsey looked around the large and cozy room and noted the fire in the fireplace. Terri—who owned the coffee house—had turned the gas burners on, and the shadows of the flames were dancing around the room, lighting up the darkest corners. The fire wouldn't give out enough light when they focused on the fine print in the Bible, so she turned on the table lamps on the end tables at each end of the couch.
Lindsey had chosen the Alpine Coffeehouse to hold the meetings because it had a second story that was large enough for as many women as she was willing to have in the group. She wished at times there was a door to close off the room instead of just stepping up on the top landing and finding yourself right there in the room. Yet there was no danger of people downstairs overhearing the women—there were excellent acoustics—and Terri always kept an eye out to make sure no one ventured upstairs when the group was meeting. She placed a chair with a sign on it at the foot of the stairs before the meeting, which designated the upstairs was closed. When the group wasn't meeting, the second floor—which also contained a fair number of tables and chairs—was open to the public.
Lindsey heard more feet clumping up the stairway to the second floor. Cameron and Rachel were arguing about something as they made their way over to the couch. Lindsey heard snatches of the conversation, now lowered to a whisper: "I told you she was waiting there, and you went and—"
"But I didn't know that—"
Lindsey spoke up then. "If you ladies have something you want to share with the rest of us, please do. Otherwise, let's get started with our study, shall we?"
Cameron and Rachel silently sat down next to the other three ladies on the long couch. Cameron zipped her lip with a hand gesture. Lindsey sat down on the opposite side of the low table in an easy chair.
"Does anyone want something to drink before we start?" she asked the group. "Terri informed me that she put on a fresh pot of coffee for us and has some new kinds of herbal teas on hand." She looked from one face to another, wondering why they hadn't thought to bring something up with them from downstairs when they first arrived. She had stopped on the way up and gotten a hot black cup of coffee for herself.
"That sounds like a good idea," Annette spoke up. "It's really cold outside tonight." When the other women nodded in agreement, they all got up with one accord—except Susan, who held up her bottle of water—and clumped back down the steps to the café below.
Lindsey looked after them and shook her head. She would never get to her once-a-month agenda if these women didn't get it together soon. She knew she couldn't be away from home for more time than a normal Bible Study would last, or her father would question her to no end about why she was so late. She had kept this group's real reason for meeting a secret for a year, and she wasn't about to mess it up now.
"Hurry up, you guys," she hollered after them.
After an interminable amount of time, they returned, chattering amongst themselves as if they had all night.
The women seated themselves once again on the long couch. Susan had slid to the floor, sitting cross-legged at one end of the coffee table.
Lindsey began, "As you know, we've been moving right along in the Book of Leviticus, and we've come to a very important section about what God deems as clean or unclean as far as the human body is concerned. A lot of Leviticus is like that, with God setting down strict rules of cleanliness for His people to follow. Most of it is outdated and obsolete, but it's the Bible we're studying, ladies. Some people think it's still relevant for the twenty-first century."
She looked at each of them in turn as she asked the question: "Did any of you do any research on the subject of masturbation in the Bible like I asked you to last week? Did any of you discover if it was a sin, like my father says?"
"Well, sweetie," Cameron spoke up, giggling, "If it's a sin, then we're all guilty!" Her words elicited a huge laugh from all of the other women—except Susan.
"What I mean by that, Cameron," Lindsey said, aggravated with her, "is, does the Bible actually say it's a sin? I know my father says it is, but does the Bible say that? Does the Bible even use the word masturbation? We've discovered that the word sex isn't in the Bible, and other words we use so much today when referring to sex—like fuck, screw, penis, cunt —are not there, either. And the Bible says copulate instead of fuck. Isn't that quaint?"
She stopped and looked at Susan, who was still very new to the group. This was her fourth week coming to the Bible Study. Susan was blushing, and Lindsey wondered what was going on behind those sparkling light brown eyes. She hadn't known Susan very long, and she was quite a bit younger than the other women. Susan had approached her in church about the Bible Study after Lindsey's father had mentioned it to her. She stayed when she found out it was not only a Bible Study.
Lindsey continued. "How can masturbation be a sin? Is it something that has been established by the hierarchy of the church to keep women under submission and have sex with their husbands? Does the church have any idea that women have sexual desires as much as men do? Sometimes even more. Can they deny women the same sexual pleasures of masturbation that men have the freedom to enjoy, like the Bible shows? And it definitely does speak of it. But—more importantly—where the Bible mentions masturbation, without using that exact word, does it say anything about it being a sin?"
"Where does the Bible talk about masturbation, Lindsey?" The usually quiet one of the group—Rachel—spoke slowly and started to open her Bible to no place in particular.
"Look at Leviticus 15, verses 16 and 17. Let me read it to you," Lindsey said.
'If any man has an emission of semen, then he shall wash all his body in water, and be unclean until evening. And any garment and any leather on which there is semen, it shall be washed with water, and be unclean until evening.'
"That's masturbation, ladies," Lindsey concluded. "Hasn't anyone done any studying on that in the past week at all?" She looked from one woman to another anxiously. "Do I have to do everything for you?"
"So here in Leviticus, doesn't that mean masturbation is a sin, then, if the man is unclean afterwards?" This again coming from Rachel, ignoring Lindsey's other questions.
"Look at the next several verses, Rachel. All of you look. In fact, let's take turns reading through to the end of the chapter, verse 33. I can't believe you guys haven't done any studying!"
"I did some studying, Lindsey," Susan said softly.
"Excellent!" Lindsey responded enthusiastically. "At least someone is interested."
"Explain it to us, Lindsey," Cameron said, when they finished reading. She knew that she and the other women—including Annette, who always went to church—rarely opened their Bibles and didn't understand what they were reading, anyway. So why try and study that which they knew nothing about? That wasn't really the main purpose of the group.
But Cameron knew they had to go along with Lindsey, because her daddy was the preacher, and Lindsey was supposed to be leading a Bible Study. That was the only way they could get away with having a lesbian book group without his knowing. They met together each week to read hot, sexy lesbian fiction novels aloud to each other—after a short Bible study.
"Actually, ladies, all the way through Leviticus, cleanliness is laid down by God. But look at what God says is unclean," Lindsey explained. "A man having sex with his wife. A woman having her period. And lumping it together with the other things, a man masturbating. But does that make masturbation a sin? Absolutely not! If it were a sin, it would say so in the Bible. S-I-N, sin. And it doesn't say so. It says that it's just unclean, and that it's a normal thing that happens. These things are unclean for only a short period of time. A man having sex with his wife or a woman having her period—are those two things sin? No. Neither is masturbation, because it talks about that in the same breath. But...I leave it up to you to decide."
No matter what my daddy preaches, she thought, masturbation is not a sin. And he doesn't abide by what he says is sin, anyway. He's nothing but a hypocrite!
"It doesn't say anything about a woman masturbating, Lindsey," said Arlene, knowing she was already on shaky ground with Lindsey because she never engaged in Lindsey's once-a-month agenda.
"That's because the Bible was written mostly by men, Arlene. Women didn't count for the most part back in those Old Testament days. Just like they don't really count today . I doubt that men back then even knew that women masturbated. But God knows. Why didn't he say anything about it? Because it's not a sin. Simple as that."
She went on, "Now does anyone have any more questions, or want to say anything more about masturbation? If not, then let's get ready to read our lesbian romance book, shall we?"
"I'm sure glad you enlightened us about this subject, Lindsey," said Arlene. "It makes all of us rest a little easier, I'm sure." She glanced at the other three women sitting on the couch. They were nodding in agreement. Susan was leaning on her elbows on the low coffee table. Her eyes were fixed on the Bible in front of her.
Lindsey folded up her Bible materials and opened the cloth bag she had bought at Barnes&Noble in Cheyenne. She pulled out her copy of the lesbian romance entitled All the Wrong Places and set it on the low table. Then she got up and walked over to the fireplace, squatted in front of it and looked at the fire. She wondered about tonight's agenda and wondered if she should go through with it. The face of Sarah Davis kept coming before her, and she tried hard to dispel it. But she didn't want to disappoint the other women, as they looked forward to it each month. Except for that dour Arlene person. She hadn't convinced Arlene yet. And Susan? She didn't know what Susan would think about it.
But just that quick, she changed her mind. She stood up, still looking at the fire, her back turned toward the group, and spoke. "Let's just do our reading aloud tonight and forget about anything else. I've got kind of a headache and want to get to bed early."
As Lindsey turned around to face them, the women looked at her with surprise. Lindsey hadn't missed her once-a-month agenda since they started the group. Was she having second thoughts about it now, after all this time?
Cameron and Rachel were thinking the same thing. What is wrong with Lindsey?
Arlene thought to herself, For once I won't have to sit here while everything is going on around me. It didn't include her, because it was her choice to not take part. She felt she was too old for that kind of nonsense. Sometimes she would leave early that one time a month, before the book reading began.
Susan, new to the group, was wondering what else was supposed to be happening.
But Lindsey always got her way. So Annette started reading the lesbian book aloud from where they had left off last week. Then she passed the reading on to the next person after she'd read a few paragraphs. She looked sideways at Lindsey, noting Lindsey's faraway gaze as she blankly focused on the book, not turning a single page as the rest of them read.
Lindsey was thinking about the way Sarah Davis had not taken her eyes off of her before the Christmas choir practice started, even though she tried to stare her down. Lindsey was the one who finally dropped her eyes! She might be wrong, but Sarah just might fit in here. If Sarah Davis decided to join the Bible Study, and then wanted to stay when she found out it was also a lesbian book group, Lindsey wondered what she would do when their once-a-month agenda came around.
But first things first, Lindsey decided. We need to get through the Christmas program, and then I'll approach Sarah about the Bible Study group and go from there. We really do study the Bible, though not much of it at one time. Once a month, I feel the need to make it more interesting for the women. Just not tonight.
On the way home, she stopped across the street from where she had dropped Sarah off earlier after the Christmas choir practice. She looked up at the well-lit house for a few minutes.
Then she proceeded on to the next street to her own house. She noticed the light on in the kitchen and knew her father was waiting up for her. Her sister Leslie would have already gone to bed. She always went to bed early on Saturday night, citing what a busy day Sunday was. She wanted to be well-rested for the sake of the little kiddies she would be teaching in Sunday School.
As she walked into the house, Lindsey readied herself to answer her father's questions about the Bible Study. As predicted, he inquired from his wooden captain's chair in the kitchen, "How did the Bible Study go?"
Lindsey stopped at the kitchen doorway, hesitating before she went upstairs. "It went fine, daddy," she responded. "The women caught on right away." She waited for her father to invite her to sit down while he asked her some questions. But he had turned back to a book he was reading, so she continued up the stairs to her bedroom. It had been a long day.
Yeah, she thought , they caught on to the fact that masturbation isn't a sin. But her daddy didn't need to know that she quite often deviated from his instructions every week. It meant a little more study on her part, as she couldn't agree with her father on how the Bible was interpreted. Her preacher-dad would rain down fire and brimstone on her if he knew she was a lesbian!As she undressed for bed, she started thinking again of the beautiful new addition to their Christmas choir—but in a most unsettling way, quite unlike what she usually thought of a woman to whom she was sexually attracted. There was definitely something different about Sarah Davis that went far beyond having a one-night stand.
To Be Continued...
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