Carole Mortenson



FEEDBACK: Constructive criticism only, please. Have a heart--this is my first work online! Seriously, though, I'd love to hear from you.
Contact me at cardi38morn@gmail.com




"Here we are—safe and sound," Lindsey said. "This is where I work four nights a week. Sometimes more."

Lindsey had pulled the truck into a parking slot facing the building. Sarah looked out through the windshield where snow started to accumulate as soon as Lindsey turned the wipers off. She saw a red neon light in one of the front windows that said Budweiser . Another red neon light in the other front window on the other side of the door said Scully's Tavern and Grill . The word OPEN in huge blue neon letters was beneath that. Christmas lights chased each other around the window frames, their multicolors twinkling brightly through the falling snow.

Sarah didn't think it was a very big place, but knew from experience that sometimes a bar's appearance on the outside could be deceiving. She had gone with female friends to lesbian bars in Denver, which looked to be small holes in the wall from the outside, but were quite large inside. When she walked into one place, she was greeted to a full stage with a live band and a good-sized dance floor!

It was crowded for the lunch hour, if the number of cars in the parking lot were any indication. A couple of Mack semis were parked along the street. From the amount of snow covering them, it was evident they had been parked there overnight. A motel was close by Scully's where they probably holed up.

Why isn't Scully's closed today because of the storm ? Lindsey wondered. Then she said to Sarah, "I can't believe all these people are out in this weather!" She looked over to her and laughed. "What am I talking about? Here we are, too. But I'm not going to let myself be roped into helping out at the bar today. Stevie and Dana will have to handle it. We normally open at 11 in the morning for those who want a beer with their lunch. But I didn't think anybody would be here for lunch today because the weather is so awful!"

She tried to be upbeat as she talked, but was disappointed that her hoped-for plans with Sarah were not going to work out. It seemed as if everyone in town were here!

"Stevie and Dana?" Sarah questioned.

"Stevie is our gorgeous female cook," Lindsey said. "She puts out the best food this side of heaven. She works the day shift during the week and has a couple of assistants to help her. Then when the kitchen closes at eight, we have ready-made sandwiches along with chips and stuff like that for the customers. A huge crowd was here last night because the storm had closed the Interstate, so the kitchen was open till midnight. On the weekend, we have another cook that comes during the day. Dana tends bar during the weekdays, like today. I normally tend bar Monday through Thursday nights and then someone else takes the night shift on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Robbie and Carrie probably came in today, too, to wait tables." She looked around again at the parking lot. "Boy, it sure is crowded today!"

Sarah was thoroughly confused, but kept the conversation going. "What if someone gets sick and can't come in?"

"We can usually round up someone who can come in on the spur of the moment."

"Are you the manager of the bar?" Sarah asked.

"I kind of look after things. Everyone who works here knows what's expected of them and follows the procedure the owner lays out. On snow days like this, the boss calls one person, that person calls two others, who each call two people, and so on down the line. The boss must have decided to keep the place open today. He's probably expecting a booming business again tonight."

"It's cold sitting out here in the truck, Lindsey," Sarah said. "Can we go in now?"

"Oh, I'm sorry," Lindsey replied apologetically. "I didn't mean to get carried away. We can talk more when we get inside. I'll show you around while Stevie is fixing us something to eat."

They got out of the truck and hurried to the door with the wind whipping up behind them.

"I need to tell you something," Lindsey said, as they stood inside the entrance and brushed the snow off their coats. "Truckers aren't the only ones in here. A lot of women come here, too. So I want to warn you about that."

"I know," Sarah said simply. "Sylvia told me."

"Oh, really?" Lindsey was astonished that the strait-laced Sylvia—that is, who she thought was strait-laced—would know that Scully's Tavern and Grill was a lesbian bar. "What else did she tell you?"

Changing the subject, Sarah said, "So is that what you wanted to warn me about? That it's a lesbian bar?" She looked up into Lindsey's eyes.

"Partly," Lindsey replied. "Plus the fact that some of these women might try to hit on you. But they'll see you're with me, and they'll back off."

"Why would they try to hit on me ?"

"Because you're a beautiful woman," Lindsey said, looking at her desirously.

Sarah bowed her head, because she didn't want Lindsey to see how red her face had gotten. She was thankful the entry way was encased in semi-darkness.

Lindsey greeted people right and left as they made their way to the bar. "Dana, I'd like you to meet Sarah Davis. She's new in town. Sarah, this is Dana, the best bartender around these parts. Outside of me, that is," she added. Dana punched her playfully in the arm.

"Well," Dana said, "looks like you're doing all right, Lindsey." She looked at Sarah from top to bottom, while Sarah continued to blush after softly saying hello. "You'll have to fight to keep Dixie and Amy away from this one! They're here for lunch today," she said, nodding her head toward two women sitting further on down the bar.

Lindsey grinned broadly. Dixie and Amy were regulars and hit on just about every new lesbian who walked into the bar.

Dana was a good-looking woman, and Sarah knew she'd been around the corner a few times from the way she talked—and the way she looked. Dana had short, light blonde spiked hair, and tattoos ran down the full length of her arms. Nice figure, but definitely butch , Sarah thought. It was her first encounter with a lesbian other than Lindsey since she had arrived in Laramie. She felt right at home.

Lindsey led her over to the kitchen and introduced her to Stevie. As Lindsey had said, the woman was drop-dead gorgeous! Lindsey told her what they'd like to have for lunch, turning first to Sarah and checking with her.

"Now let me show you the office."

She took Sarah's hand and maneuvered their way back through the crowded tables filled with customers pressing up against each other with their chairs. Sarah heard a couple of wolf whistles, and Lindsey waved her arm and continued over to a door at the other end of the bar.

"Well, hello, beautiful," a woman said, touching Sarah's shoulder as they passed by her.

Sarah turned and Lindsey turned with her.

"Go away, Amy," Lindsey said. "She's mine."

Amy winked at Sarah as she turned back to the bar. Sarah blushed again.

"Didn't I tell you you'd be hit on?" Lindsey said, smiling at her.

Sarah noticed the layout of the place as they walked toward the office. It wasn't quite as large as she had hoped it might be from the outside. There was a small dance floor, and one corner was set aside where a couple of musicians could entertain or a DJ could set up and spin discs. The bar was long, with a backdrop of mirrored glass that was frosted around the edges. Liquor bottles were displayed on the shelves in front of the backdrop. An old-fashioned jukebox near the kitchen was cranking out some country and western music.

The place was decorated around a western theme, from the wagon wheel chandeliers to harnesses and different tack, yokes, and spurs adorning the walls. Old-fashioned spittoons and other western decor lined high shelves along one side of the room. There were several paintings on the walls of notable women in western history—Calamity Jane and Annie Oakley among others—and champion barrel racers of the modern era. The barroom floor was solid oak, as were the tables, which were tough and sturdy and painted with polyurethane so that liquid spilled from various beverages wouldn't penetrate. The bar catered mostly to customers—including women—who dressed in jeans, cowboy boots, Stetsons and western shirts. The only exceptions were truckers and other travelers passing through.

A fully decorated Christmas tree sat on a small table next to the office door, and Sarah saw other Christmas decorations hanging on the walls, chandeliers and dangling from the ceiling. It reminded her that Christmas was right around the corner, and she would have to do some Christmas shopping for Sylvia and the kids. She wanted to get a gift for her boss, too, who had been so nice to her over the years. She could never repay Deb for all she had done for her. But Deb was just that way—kind, almost to a fault, never seeing the negative in anybody who worked for her.

Lindsey opened the door which was designated—appropriately— OFFICE. EMPLOYEES ONLY . They walked into a small office which contained a compact wooden desk and swiveling leather office chair with a couple of straight-backed chairs in front of and facing the desk. A gray metal filing cabinet with four-high drawers was in one corner. A brown leather couch strewn with fluffy pillows and a woolen blanket folded up and lying over one arm was against the opposite wall.

"Let me sit down here at the desk and take a look at this paperwork real quick," Lindsey said, closing the door behind them. "Dana will buzz me when our lunch is ready. Make yourself comfortable over there on the couch." She gestured with her hand as she sat down in the office chair. "You can wrap yourself in the blanket if you want. It's a little chilly in here."

Sarah stopped on the way over to the couch to look at a large painting hanging on the wall above the desk. It was a depiction of The Old West Town . She asked who the artist was. Lindsey stuttered with embarrassment as she admitted to being the painter.

"Oh," Sarah said, surprised. "I didn't know you were an artist." She looked closer and saw Lindsey's signature.

"I told you there's a lot you don't know about me," Lindsey responded. "I painted that when we first came here five years ago. I fell in love with The Old West Town the minute I saw it. My daddy always said I had a bit of the old west in me. When I found out that it didn't have anyone to manage it, I offered to work it for them. That is, for the city of Laramie. It's owned by the city, and it keeps me hoppin' in the summertime! But the tourist season is kind of slow in the winter, so I put in more hours here at Scully's ."

"So you actually work at The Old West Town ? I thought you were just holding the Christmas practice there." There was surprise in her voice—again.

"Yes," Lindsey responded, glancing at her. "I work there." She wished Sarah would stop asking questions. She didn't have time to answer her like she wanted to. She needed to find those papers Ed left. She began sorting through some scattered papers on top of the desk.



"Where are those papers?" Lindsey muttered to herself. "Where would Ed have put them?" They weren't among the loose papers on top of the desk. She began sorting through piles of folders that were off to one side, vowing she would take time soon to put the folders back into the file cabinet. She hated a messy desk. She didn't find what she was looking for there, either. She pulled desk drawers open, moved stuff around and came up empty-handed again.

"They're not here," she finally said, looking over at Sarah. "I need to make a phone call. Excuse me."

Lindsey used the land line on the desk. "Hello, Ed? [ pause ] This is Lindsey. [ pause ] Yes, I'm fine. And you? [ pause ] I came to the bar and grill to look over those papers, but they aren't here."

Sarah was sitting on the couch leafing through a copy of a Western Frontiers magazine that had been lying on the small end table. She looked up while Lindsey was talking. Lindsey's face was clouding over with disappointment and then anger.

"You did? Why? [ pause ] I don't understand. [ pause ] All right, Ed. Can we talk later about this? [ pause ] You'll be coming here on Monday? [ pause ] Yes, I can be here by then. [ pause ] Okay. [ pause ] Sure. You too." Lindsey slammed the receiver back on its base. "Damn," she said under her breath.

"Is everything all right?" Sarah asked.

"Not really," Lindsey responded, still looking at the phone. "But I'm sure it will work out."

She looked up at Sarah and didn't want to leave her hanging. "That was my boss, Ed Scully, the owner of Scully's Tavern and Grill. He took the papers back home with him."

The question was burning on Sarah's tongue. What papers? But she didn't ask and waited for Lindsey to say more.

Lindsey was going to say more, too, when a buzzer sounded loudly from somewhere in the office. End of explanation.

"Lunch is ready," Lindsey said. "Let's go eat."

Today was not turning out like she expected it to—or wanted it to. She hoped the meal was extra special. She somehow knew that even that wouldn't make up for what she had been anticipating. The phone conversation with Ed just added another disappointment.

A table next to the kitchen was cleared for them, and their food was already there when they sat down. "Do you want anything to drink?" Lindsey offered.

"I'll have coffee," Sarah said.

"Sure." She looked around and caught Dana's attention. "Dana, could you bring us some of your delicious home-brewed coffee?"

"You got it, babe. Comin' right up."

Sarah dismissed the phone conversation in the office—it was none of her business—and focused on her meal. She cut into the steak sitting in front of her, eyeing at the same time the shrimp and the baked potato topped with the works. There was also a side salad, but she didn't want to fill up on rabbit food, so decided to save the salad for last—if she had any room left. She dove into the steak with gusto, and as she put the first bit of meat into her mouth, she said, chewing around her words, "Oh, this is delicious! You were right. Stevie has a way with food."

Lindsey looked at her and smiled. "I told you so. The sirloin and shrimp platter is one of her specialties. Wait till you crunch down on one of those shrimp." As if to demonstrate, she picked up a single shrimp from her plate, popped it in her mouth and savored it, taking a sip of the hot coffee at the same time. "The coffee's good, too, isn't it?"

They held to a minimum of conversation while they ate. Lindsey told her about some of the musicians who had performed at Scully's , most notably Sam and Gina. They were a lesbian couple on guitar and fiddle whom she was trying to book again. They were based out of Cheyenne and carried their own percussion section in a black oblong box that contained their 'drum machine.' They were a lot of fun. The women who frequented Scully's adored them.

"So you take care of the entertainment side of the bar, too?" Sarah asked.

"Sort of. I just took it on because I love music. And I'm good at it," Lindsey said, not the least embarrassed by her own praise. She looked at her watch. "I think we should be getting back now."

She stood up and shoved her chair back. Sarah took one last gulp of coffee, wondering why Lindsey was in such an all-fired hurry. She had wanted to relax a little more before confronting Sylvia's kids again. They had been at Scully's only about an hour.

Another two inches of snow had fallen when they got out to the parking lot, but seemed to have let up a little bit now. Knowing what usually happened in Denver, Sarah wondered if it was the same way in Laramie—with more snow likely before the storm was over. What does it matter how much it snows, she thought . I don't have anything to do or anywhere to go, so I don't have to worry about it. It sure doesn't keep Lindsey from getting around. She eyed the monster truck as she approached it.

They climbed into the bench seat of the truck, and Sarah got comfortable while Lindsey started the engine and let it idle. Then she climbed out and reached up with a long, curved snow brush and brushed the snow off the windshield.

The ride back to Sylvia's house was uneventful. The monster truck had no difficulty navigating the roads. Lindsey pulled up into the driveway right to the front walk, and Sarah jiggled the door handle, turned it just a certain way and started to open it.

"Thank you, Lindsey, for a wonderful lunch," she said as she turned and looked at her.

"You're welcome."

"Will you be having a Christmas choir practice tonight? Do you think all of the women will be able to make it out to The Old West Town ?"

"Well, definitely no practice tonight. The weather is just too bad. It should clear out overnight, and we'll have a regular practice tomorrow. I think I might come in to work at Scully's for a while. Scotty tends bar on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. But there are a lot of people who are dropping in because of the storm. As they say, 'misery loves company.' My help might be appreciated."

"Scotty?" Sarah asked.

"We call her Scotty, because she has a definite Scottish brogue, being from Scotland. Her actual name is Mary." She laughed as she said, "Mary, Mary, quite contrary. You'll have to meet her someday. She's a character."

"I'd like to," Sarah said. She sat there for a moment, and when Lindsey never moved, she began to get out of the truck. "Thanks again."

Lindsey looked at her and thought how she'd like to reach out, pull Sarah to her and kiss her wildly and passionately. She had intended on doing just that, knowing deep down that was what Sarah wanted, too. Then she remembered her promise. "I'm sorry. It won't happen again," she had said. So she turned away agonizingly while Sarah swung out and jumped down into snow that was knee-high.

"I'll pick you up tomorrow at three o'clock for Christmas practice," Lindsey said loudly just as Sarah closed the door. She saw Sarah nod her head and then watched until Sarah got into the house safely before she drove away.

* * * * * *

Dammit Ed, Lindsey thought, as she pulled up in front of her house. Why did you change your mind all of a sudden? I thought it was a done deal. Well, I won't be able to talk to you till next week, so I may as well put it aside for the time being. She walked into her house with a heavy heart.

"Daddy, I'm not really in the mood for discussing the Bible Study lesson for this week," she told her father, who was sitting in the living room reading the local newspaper. "I'm tired and I have a headache. Can we let it go this time?"

She knew he would be thinking she had been out to The Old West Town , because when she went somewhere, it was usually there or to Scully's . He wouldn't have known about her luncheon date with Sarah. Hiram knew she'd gone to Cheyenne earlier in the week, but he didn't know Sarah had ridden along with her then, either.

"I guess that would be all right—this time," her father said in his deep voice. He eyed his favorite daughter carefully, wondering what was on her mind. When Lindsey didn't say anything further, he continued, "I'll have to admit that Leviticus gets kind of bogged down with all the laws God had for His people. It's all important, but there's really no need for discussion about this section. I'm sure you'll do just fine tomorrow night."

"Thanks, daddy," Lindsey said. "I'm going to lie down for a little while. I'll set my alarm for 5 o'clock, but would you check on me to make sure I'm awake then? I'm going to Scully's tonight to help out at the bar. A lot of stranded people will probably show up, like last night, so the place is going to be packed. Scotty might need me."

She wished she didn't have to lie all the time, but felt she had no other choice. Her father thought Scotty was a man. He thought Stevie, the cook, was a man, too. If he knew the masculine names belonged to women, it might cause him to wonder what kind of an establishment she worked in and stop by to check up on her. She let him believe there were men that worked there, by virtue of their names.

Her father nodded and turned back to his newspaper, and Lindsey trudged up to her bedroom. Leslie hadn't gone to work today at the day care center. It was closed because of the storm. Lindsey could hear her piddling around in the kitchen. From the delicious aroma coming from that direction, she knew her sister was baking some goodies—maybe cookies. Leslie was the virtual homemaker. It was too bad she focused on homemaking for daddy instead of finding a husband for herself.

Lindsey took her clothes off down to her underwear and crawled under the covers. She lay there awhile thinking about Sarah. Sarah, with the dark brown eyes, sparkling smile and little dimple at the corner of her mouth. Sarah, whose name in Hebrew meant princess . Sarah, whom she couldn't get out of her mind. She fell into a dreamless sleep.



”Did you have a good time?" Sylvia asked when Sarah walked into the kitchen.

"Yes, it was very nice. We had steak and shrimp for lunch," Sarah replied. "Absolutely delicious!"

"Oh, really? I didn't think the Alpine Coffeehouse served that type of food." She was at the sink washing out her coffee cup.

Too late, Sarah realized her slip-up, and remembered what Lindsey had said. "Well, the other ladies wanted a good lunch, so Lindsey offered to treat us all at Scully's where she works."

"You mean you and those two ladies who are in the Christmas program went to a bar?" She turned and looked at her astonishingly. " Scully's bar?"

"What's wrong with that?" Sarah said. "It was packed with people. Some of them were truckers who are stranded here because of the storm and some older couples were there, too. None of us had a problem with eating lunch there. They serve excellent food."

Sarah thought for a moment and then said, "Sylvia, what's bugging you? You've been throwing these statements out at me for three days—obnoxiously, by the way—insinuating that I should stay away from Lindsey for some unknown reason. Now you're questioning me because I happened to have lunch where she works. Lindsey is a great person, and she's never been anything but nice to me. Plus, I don't think where she works is such a b-a-a-a-a-d place that I should stay away from there. I don't get it, Sylvia. What's going on inside your head? What do you know that I don't?"

"I've heard from a pretty good source that Lindsey has laid just about every lesbian in town and that Scully's is really a cover-up for a lesbian brothel." Sylvia had moved to the stove and was now stirring something in a large pot, her back still toward Sarah.

"What?" It was Sarah's turn to be flabbergasted. "Where in the world did you hear something like that?" She thought she better throw the next question out to Sylvia, as she was not supposed to know Lindsey was gay. "Lindsey is a lesbian?" she asked softly, feigning innocence as well as astonishment.

Sylvia was silent and continued stirring the pot on the stove. She chose not to answer directly. What she had just said about Lindsey was the answer to Sarah's question.

There was no way, though, that Sarah would believe anything Sylvia was saying about Lindsey. "Sylvia! Look at me and stop stirring that pot!" Sylvia turned around. Sarah continued. "What source, Sylvia. What source? Who is telling you these things?" She stood with her hands on her hips, glaring at her sister.

"Someone in church," Sylvia said haughtily.

"Who?" Sarah demanded. She was ready for another knockdown, drag-out with her sister.

"I'm not going to divulge that information. It's confidential," Sylvia said, knowing she had already said too much. The information she got could not be frivolously tossed aside. It was beyond dispute, because the person who told her was well respected in the church, knew Lindsey, and would not lie about such a thing.

Sarah threw up her hands in disgust. "Well, for your information, I don't believe a word of it! Lindsey has never been out of line with me, and I don't think she ever would be. And as far as the bar goes, it was a decent place. I can't believe it's what you say it is!"

"Well, you're so straight , Sarah, that Lindsey probably wouldn't make a pass at you. But then again, she might. That's what I'm worried about. As for what she's done and the situation at Scully's , I still believe what I've been told."

"Tell me, Sylvia," Sarah said, leaning her arm on the kitchen counter, "how would someone in the church find out things like that? Answer me that! Is there someone in church that deliberately goes around trying to dig up and spread dirt about people just for the heck of it?"

"I'm not going to say any more." Sylvia turned the stove down to low after putting a lid on the pot. She walked into the family room and started to make a fire in the fireplace.

"That's right, Sylvia. Just walk away from it!" Sarah yelled at her sister. "You're the one who brought everything up, and now you won't even talk about it anymore!" She stopped yelling when she realized Sylvia wasn't coming back into the kitchen. She went to the fridge and pulled out a Diet Pepsi.

Well, that settles it, she thought. I'm going out Monday to look for an apartment. There is no way I can continue to live with someone who feels the way Sylvia does. I'm finally seeing her for who she really is—prejudiced and homophobic—even if she is my sister!

She clumped up the stairs to her deck and sat down at her computer. She popped open the can of soda and took a long drink to clear her throat and get over her anger. She noticed something moving at the other end of the deck, where there was no exit to downstairs.

"Hey, you! Roger! Or Robert! Whoever you are! What in the hell are you doing up here? Don't you know up here is off-limits?" Her smoldering anger was on the verge of igniting again.

"I was looking for Puddy," Roger said, sheepishly. "I thought she came up here." Sarah looked and saw her bedroom door slightly ajar. Sure, he's been looking for the cat—MY FOOT!

"Sylvia," she shouted downstairs to her sister, anger boiling up to the surface again. "Come and get this brat son of yours. He's invading my space!"

"Roger, what are you doing up there? I told you not to go up there," Sylvia said, looking up from the fireplace. "Come down here this instant!"

"Aw, mom," Roger whined. He grudgingly dragged himself down the stairs. "I wasn't doing anything. I was just looking for Puddy."

Sarah watched him leave. She halfway believed him, because Puddy at that moment opened the door to her bedroom with a paw—wide enough so she could get out—and then padded over to Sarah and jumped on the computer desk, purring at her. But that didn't explain the door being open a crack in the first place, as she always closed it when she left the house. She didn't think it was necessary to lock it.

Then she noticed that one of her desk drawers was slightly ajar, also, and realized she wasn't mistaken. Someone had been going through her things! She was more determined than ever now to get her own place. She didn't know who was invading her privacy—it might have been Roger, but could even have been her sister—and she wasn't going to stand for it.

Sarah stayed upstairs working at her computer all afternoon, trying to focus on her job. Her anger finally dissipated through the computer keys. She'd been a little upset with Deb, too, and knew she shouldn't have been. When she sat down at her computer after arguing with Sylvia, she had e-mailed Deb, wondering if the material she sent had arrived. Then she remembered that her boss said she didn't know what the computer situation would be like at the conference, so she didn't expect to get an answer until Deb got back from Minneapolis.

Much to her surprise, within half an hour Deb had e-mailed her back and said the conference had been postponed. A strong winter storm had moved into the area and the airlines had cancelled some flights—including hers. She had never left Denver. She left word for the hotel in Minneapolis to forward the material to her that Sarah sent—to use when the conference was rescheduled.

Sarah felt she had gone all out to get that material to Deb, and now she didn't need it! Why didn't Deb e-mail her before now? Maybe I wouldn't have had to hurry so much trying to get the statistics to her in time! Maybe I could have waited on the feed rollers to be shipped to me. Maybe I could have held off going to Cheyenne and tried to go sightseeing at a later time. Maybe what happened between Lindsey and me wouldn't have happened. She knew she was being irrational—even some of the statements she was pondering were irrational. But at the moment, she didn't care. Why has life suddenly become so confusing? she thought.

Yet everything did happen and there was no use crying over spilt milk. She shoved all such thoughts from her mind when Sylvia hollered up around six o'clock that dinner was ready. Sarah calmly and deliberately locked up her computer desk so no one could go through its contents. She also made sure her bedroom door was locked and came downstairs to eat. Some of the fire had gone out of her. She was considerably calmer as she sat down at the kitchen table.

Sylvia seemed to have forgotten their earlier argument and conversed over dinner as if nothing had happened between them. She talked about what the kids did during the day and how she was disappointed that she couldn't go to work. Sarah only half listened to her as she dug her way through the tough fried pork chops and overcooked fried potatoes. The only redeeming meal item was the pot of homemade soup that had been simmering on the stove all afternoon. Sylvia needs to go to cooking school, she thought. She remembered the mouthwatering sirloin and shrimp she had eaten for lunch.

After dinner, Sarah made up her mind she wasn't going to stay around the house for the evening. She wanted to go out—just to get away for a while. She felt suffocated in Sylvia's presence and didn't want to listen to the boys fight any longer. They had whined all through dinner and Sylvia did nothing to stop them.

She looked at the entertainment section of the newspaper and thought she'd take in a movie. She called one of the theaters in town and asked if they were open and what their show times were. She regretted she wasn't in the big city of Denver where theaters had multiple screens with some of the same movies showing at different times—with a myriad of films from which to choose. The ticket seller said yes, they were open, but to give herself plenty of time to get there because of the snow. They had two screens and started showing two different films at the same time—precisely on time.

She told Sylvia she was going to a movie at the Star Theater. Sylvia went straight up in the air. "You can't go out in this weather!" she yelled. "You're crazy! I'm not going to let you drive Rich's SUV out in this!"

"Okay," Sarah replied simply. She wasn't going to argue with her sister. There was more than one way to skin a cat. She'd call Lindsey and see if she wanted to go to a movie with her. Lindsey could pick her up in her truck.

She vaguely remembered Lindsey saying she was probably going to go to Scully's to help out tonight with the big crowd they expected to be there. Nevertheless, she looked up Lindsey's phone number in the small phone book downstairs, went up to her deck and called her house. Maybe Lindsey didn't go to Scully's .

A woman answered. "Hello," she said. Sarah knew it wasn't Lindsey.

"Could I speak with Lindsey, please?" Sarah said. She hoped Lindsey hadn't left for Scully's yet.

"Hang on," the woman said, and then hollered, "Lindsey! Phone!" Sarah guessed the woman was Leslie, Lindsey's twin sister whom she had seen only twice—once last Saturday at the Christmas choir practice and then at church on Sunday when she sang that beautiful solo. But she had never met her formally.

A few seconds later Lindsey answered. "Hello?" she said, questioning. She glanced into the parlor and saw her father working at his roll-top desk. Probably working on his sermon for Sunday , she thought.

"Hi Lindsey, this is Sarah."

"Well...hello," Lindsey said, keeping her voice low. She couldn't think of a single reason Sarah would be calling her.

"Is something the matter, Sarah?" Lindsey asked, almost whispering.

"No. Not really. I wanted to go to a movie tonight. My sister and I had a big argument, and I just don't want to stay home. But Sylvia doesn't want me driving her husband's vehicle out in the snow." She paused to take a breath. "Then I remembered you said you were going to work at Scully's, so you probably can't go, can you? I just thought I'd take a chance and see if—" her voice trailed off.

"Yes, I am planning on going to work at Scully's, " Lindsey interrupted. Sarah's heart sank. "But hang up and let me call you back on my cell. Okay?"

"Okay." She hung up, and no more than thirty seconds passed before Lindsey called her back. She had gone up to her bedroom. "Sorry about that," she said, "but I don't have any privacy on the house phone. Let me give you my cell phone number, so we won't have this problem again."

Sarah hurriedly grabbed a pen and paper from her desk and jotted down Lindsey's number.

Lindsey continued, "Yes, I'm working at Scully's tonight. But if you'd like, you could go with me. I could come by and pick you up. There's a great group of women there on Friday nights, and we're having a cool DJ spinning some discs for dancing tonight. Do you want to go? You'd have fun. You can dance by yourself if you don't have a partner. That's allowed."

Sarah's spirits lifted as she thought about dancing. It had been so long. Even though Lindsey might not be able to dance with her, maybe she could get out on the floor with some other single lesbians. She was sure Lindsey would keep an eye on her so she didn't get into any trouble. It would feel good just to unwind.

"I told my sister I was going to go to a movie at the Star Theater, but she won't have to know that I'm going to Scully's ," Sarah responded. "I would love to go dancing!"

"Good!" Lindsey said enthusiastically. "It's seven o'clock right now. I'll pick you up in an hour. Would that be okay?"

"That would be great!" she exclaimed. "Thank you, Lindsey, for coming to my rescue."

She hung up, excited to be going to Scully's for the evening. Maybe she could wear off some of her frustration. She missed living by herself, where she could take off in the evening without having to tell anyone. She could go where she wanted to without the restrictions she had living here. Now all she had to do was tell Sylvia. She knew what Sylvia's reaction would be and braced herself for it.



Lindsey folded up her phone, exquisite warmth radiating through her body. She'd already started counting the hours until she picked Sarah up for the Christmas program practice. But Sarah had unexpectedly called her only an hour ago! She thought that either Sarah really argued with her sister and wants to get out of the house because of that, or maybe she was just lonely and wants to be around other lesbians awhile. Still, maybe Sarah wants to see me! Her heart beat faster as she thought of the possibilities.

* * * * * *

"I don't know why you called Lindsey," Sylvia said. "I could have driven the SUV and we all could have gone to the movies."

Oh sure, Sarah thought. One big happy family with four hollering kids wanting popcorn, candy and soft drinks and arguing over who was going to sit where in the theater.

"I'm sorry, Sylvia, but you led me to believe I shouldn't be out in weather like this. So I can't imagine you'd want to be driving out in it, either. Even in the SUV." She looked at Sylvia with mixed emotions and simply stated again, "So Lindsey is picking me up in an hour, and the two of us are going to see a movie."

She knew she was acting like the proverbial rebellious baby sister, but she didn't care. She went back upstairs to change her clothes from the jeans she wore into something more suitable for going out dancing in the evening. She longed to tell Sylvia about dancing at Scully's , just to see her eyes widen in horror. Yet she bit her tongue and refrained from saying anything. She'd had enough of arguing with her sister to last for some time.

Lindsey knocked on the door precisely at eight o'clock. Sarah and Sylvia both rushed to the door at the same time. Sarah opened it, however, and told Lindsey to come in while Sylvia stood to the side. "I'll be right back. I just need to run upstairs and get my coat," she said, noting Lindsey's nod as she left. Lindsey stood there uncomfortably.

"So," Sylvia said, "what movie are you going to see tonight?"

"I'm not sure yet," Lindsey replied. She jingled her truck keys in her hand, glad that Sarah had told her of her plans to see a movie at the Star Theater. "The theater we're going to has two movies showing at 8:45, and I don't know which one Sarah has in mind. We have the double screens now at the Star Theater , so they run two different movies at the same time."

"How long are the movies?" Sylvia asked.

Fishing again, Lindsey thought. "I have no idea," she answered. "We'll probably get a bite to eat afterwards."

"Sarah already ate dinner just a little while ago," Sylvia said matter-of-factly.

Lindsey didn't know how to respond. Right then, Sarah came bounding back down the stairs, much to her relief.

"See you later, Sylvia," she said brightly. Then Sarah added, "You don't have to wait up for me. I'm a big girl now." She was being the petulant baby sister again, on purpose, as she opened the front door. Sylvia just stared at her.

"Bye," Lindsey said, following her out.

"God, I'm so glad to get out of there," Sarah exclaimed, as she buckled up.

Lindsey looked over at her. "Yeah, I could see that," she said, turning the keys in the ignition. The truck started easily, as the engine was still warm, and she carefully backed down the driveway. "Are you having a problem with your sister?"

Before they got very far down the road, Sarah opened up to her.

"Lindsey, do you know of any apartments for rent?"

Lindsey raised her eyebrows and looked over at Sarah, taking her eyes off the snow-packed road for a moment. "That bad, huh?"

"Yes," Sarah said. "I can't continue to live with my sister. It's not what I expected when I came up here to help out while her husband was gone. Her kids are driving me crazy, and Sylvia isn't at all like I remembered her from the last time I visited with her for any length of time."

"How do you mean?"

"We're so distant from each other. It's like we're practically strangers. We've also been arguing ever since I got here—just like we did when we were kids."

"How long ago was it that you spent some time with her?" Lindsey asked out of curiosity.

"About eight years ago, when I helped them pack for the move up here from Denver. Her husband had just taken a job as Professor of Environmental Education at the university in Laramie. They had only the five-year-old twin boys then. The girls were born after they moved here."

"Is that all the family you have?" Curiosity again, desiring to know more about Sarah.

"I'm afraid so," Sarah responded. "Just us two sisters. Plus all of Sylvia's kids. Our parents died a few years ago."

Lindsey thought how fortunate she was to still have a father, in spite of his deep character flaw. She also knew where her mother was, and had kept in touch with her for the past five years. She couldn't imagine a separation of eight years from her whole family. She had always been around them, even though it was difficult at times keeping up appearances. More than once she'd thought of throwing caution to the wind and moving out from under her father's heavy hand and her sister's jealousy. But her father insisted over the years that 'his girls' continue to live in his house with him. He didn't believe that single women should live alone. He felt that there were too many bad things that could happen to them. So Lindsey still lived with her daddy.

"How soon do you need this apartment?" Lindsey asked, seeing the disheartened look on Sarah's face.

"Yesterday," Sarah replied.

"Oh...that soon," Lindsey said. "I don't know of any apartments right off hand, but I'll see what I can do."

"Thank you. I thought I'd check around on Monday and see what's available," Sarah said. She was disappointed that Lindsey didn't know of something to rent right away. If anyone would know, she certainly would.

They pulled up into the crowded parking lot at Scully's into the same slot they'd parked in earlier in the day. Sarah noticed a sign saying 'Reserved' at the front of the parking space. She asked, "Is this place reserved just for you?"

"My boss lives in Cheyenne and doesn't come around much, so I use his parking slot most of the time."

She watched Sarah wiggle the door handle and push it in the right direction so it would open. She smiled because Sarah was catching on to things very quickly. It took Annette forever before she mastered the door handle! When Lindsey first met Annette at church, she used to give her rides from time to time, but not anymore. As a matter of fact, she went out of her way to avoid that now, because Annette had started being very possessive toward her. That flat turned her off. She didn't belong to anybody . But she wasn't going to think about that right now. She planned on having a good time with Sarah. If everything worked out this time like she wanted it to—

To Be Continued...


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