Carole Mortenson



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Everyone filed out of the Alpine Coffeehouse finally, shortly after 9 o'clock. They'd had a good practice. Lindsey had the motor running to warm up the engine before she drove Sarah home. Lindsey asked her, hoping against hope, "Would you like to go with me to Scully's tonight?" She knew the answer would be no. "I know I have to work, but—"

"Yes," Sarah declared. That's all she said.

"You mean you don't have to hurry home to your sister?" Lindsey inquired, taken completely by surprise.

"No," Sarah answered.

"But isn't Sylvia still upset over her daughter's accident?"

"Probably," Sarah answered. "But I stayed home with Lori all day yesterday and today. She can't go back to school till her stitches are out. I just don't want to go home and face that situation again tonight, even though the kids are probably in bed by now. Sylvia is there, and she can watch her own kids. I want to be with you, Lindsey. I don't care if I go home at all." She looked at Lindsey longingly. "Do you mind?"

"God, no, Sarah," Lindsey responded enthusiastically. "Whatever you want is all right with me." She felt an enormous ache coming from the bottom of her heart and didn't know how to express it. She wanted to be with Sarah so much !

She put the truck in gear and headed out to Scully's Tavern and Grill.

Sarah scooted over in the seat and put her head on Lindsey's shoulder. She could feel Lindsey's arm trembling as she held onto the steering wheel.

Lindsey finally turned loose of the steering wheel with her right arm and put it around Sarah, hugging her close.

I wish I didn't have to work tonight, she thought. And where can we go afterwards? Not to her house, not to mine , not to the Alpine Coffeehouse , because it'll be closed. Where can we go to be alone?

* * * * * *

"I'm sorry I have to work tonight," Lindsey said, removing her arm from around Sarah as they pulled up to her parking spot in front of Scully's Tavern and Grill. "Maybe it wasn't such a good idea bringing you here with me. I don't have any entertainment scheduled for tonight. Wednesday nights are usually slow. There's nothing for you to do. I—"

Sarah stopped her before she said anything else. "Lindsey, don't apologize. I said I wanted to be with you tonight. Isn't that enough?" She opened the passenger door and got out, saying, "It'll be all right. I'll find something to do. Trust me." She waited at the front door for Lindsey to turn off the engine and lock up the truck.

Dana greeted them as they walked in. She was ready to go home. Business had been slow all day. "There were some ladies here around six o'clock from the Girlz group," she said, "for someone's birthday. But they didn't want to stick around, as there wasn't going to be any live entertainment. There were about twenty of them. Stayed for dinner and then left. Stevie closed up the kitchen at 8 o'clock, as usual."

"I wish I had known the Girlz were coming. I could have rigged up something."

"Not your fault, Lindsey. No one knew they were coming. They just came ."

"Doesn't look like there are many here tonight yet," Lindsey said, looking around. She looked at her watch and knew business would pick up shortly, like it normally did. Scully's was a favorite place for lesbians to come and dance any night of the week.

There were a few occupied tables, and about half the bar was lined with customers. Ms. Emma was at her usual table and waved when Lindsey looked over at her. Lindsey took off her coat and hung it where she always did and then hung Sarah's coat over hers. After rolling up her sleeves, she tied her white apron around her waist while Sarah got comfortable at the bar. Then she set a Diet Coke in front of her. Dana quickly exited the place, having worked ten long hours today. It seemed even longer because she hadn't been busy.

Someone banged a beer mug on the bar down at the other end. Lindsey walked down to wait on the customer. After serving the man, she started walking back to where she'd left Sarah, to give her some additional information she had found out about the apartment coming up at the end of the year. She was surprised to see that Sarah had slipped behind the bar, had a white apron on and was busily washing beer mugs and other glasses in the sink!

"What are you doing?" Lindsey said awkwardly, striding up to her. "You're not supposed to be back here. You're not supposed to be washing dishes, either."

"I told you I'd find something to do," Sarah said, smiling happily. "I told you to trust me, Lindsey. The fact is that I was behind a bar years ago. I've had my share of washing dishes, as well as mixing drinks."

"Really?" Lindsey was amazed! Now she knew why Sarah had seemed so comfortable when she brought her to Scully's the other night for dancing.

"Yeah. It was quite a few years ago, but I don't think I've forgotten a thing," Sarah said, rinsing off a few glasses. She picked up a glass and began to towel it dry.

"Why didn't you tell me?" Lindsey said.

"Why didn't you ask?" Sarah replied.

"I never thought to ask. I mean...you only drink coffee, tea, and diet soda," Lindsey said, "as far as I know. Why would I ask if you were ever a bartender?"

" You don't drink, do you?" Sarah asked, raising her eyebrows at her.

"That's different. I'm an exception. I know other bartenders who have a few drinks now and then."

"Well, I've had my share of drinking, too, Lindsey. I've been on the wagon for over ten years now. I'm not about to spoil the clear-headedness I've enjoyed waking up with over these years instead of a hangover."

"I never would have known it." Another surprise. Lindsey was still in a state of disbelief.

Sarah laughed and said, "Like you said about yourself—there's a lot you don't know about me." She turned back to washing more dishes.

Lindsey put drinks on a tray for one of the servers and then came back to Sarah. "Why did you quit drinking?" she said curiously, standing close to her.

"I lived in California then. I'd been working as a bartender for a couple of years, and on my nights off, I would tie one on real good. One night I had a little too much to drink, and against my partner's wishes, I insisted on driving. We were in an accident. Melanie was killed. I suffered a broken arm, a concussion, and they had to remove my spleen. I never drank after that. After I recovered from the accident, my sister asked me to come to Denver where she and her husband lived. He'd gotten out of the military, had just finished school and had a job as an assistant professor at a university there. So I moved. After a couple of years of floating around the job market, I finally landed a good job with a travel agency— Lars Tours. I've been working for them for about eight years now. A short time after I found the job, my sister and her family moved up here to Laramie. Rich accepted a full professorship at the university here. Naturally, I didn't want to come. And the rest is history."

Lindsey became silent, thinking just how much she didn't know about Sarah. "Your sister doesn't know you're gay, does she?" she whispered in Sarah's ear.

Sarah shook her head and smiled, then said, "She'd kill me if she knew."

The evening passed quietly after that. Lindsey allowed Sarah to shake up a few mixed drinks and draw mugs of beer—and wash dishes. Lindsey was feeling very comfortable with Sarah at her side. She wondered what had happened during those years of Sarah's life in Denver after her sister moved to Laramie. God, what a horrible thing that must have been, to have the one you love die in an accident in which you were to blame. There were some important questions that Lindsey was dying to ask Sarah. Had Sarah found another partner? Had she ever become romantically involved again? But she was working, and it would have to wait for another time.

It was midnight when Sarah decided she wanted to quit. Lindsey was surprised that she had helped out as much as she had. There had been a brisk business for a Wednesday evening. Lesbian couples even enjoyed dancing to the jukebox music, but the crowd was thinning out now.

"Would it be all right if I went into the office to lie down on the couch for a while?" Sarah asked. "I'm kind of tired."

"Absolutely," Lindsey responded. She unlocked the door for her and told her to go on in. "Throw the woolen blanket over yourself if you want. If we don't have any more customers by the time another hour goes by, I'll close up early and we can leave. I'll wake you up if you're sleeping."

"Thank you," Sarah said. She went into the office and closed the door behind her. She spied the inviting fluffy pillows and woolen blanket and made herself comfortable lying on the couch. She fell asleep as soon as her head hit the pillows.


CHAPTER THIRTY-FOUR – FOILED AGAIN ( Thursday, December 15 )

Sarah was on a horse in a barrel-riding contest. She had made the turn around the second barrel, and the horse was just coming around the last barrel heading for the finish line. He stumbled, and Sarah could feel herself falling to the ground. She hit the ground with her shoulder and then softly bounced up and down on her shoulder two or three times.

"Sarah, wake up," Lindsey was saying, shaking her on the shoulder. "Wake up. It's time to go."

"What?" Sarah responded sleepily. "Where am I?"

"You're here at Scully's ," Lindsey said. "Were you dreaming?"

"Oh, Lindsey, now I remember. I was just going to lie down for a little bit and rest. I must have fallen asleep. Yes, I was dreaming. I was riding a horse in a barrel race and fell off."

"Well, at least it was only in your dream, and you didn't fall off the couch ," she chuckled, as Sarah sat up, pushing the blanket off herself.

"Are we going now?" Sarah asked, trying to get her eyes open.

"Yeah. I closed up early. The customers are all gone, and the other girls have left. Come on, I'll lock up and take you home." She reached out her hand and pulled Sarah to her feet. She got up wobbly. Automatically, Lindsey put her arms around Sarah to steady her.

As Lindsey held Sarah in her arms, she looked over at the couch and then looked at Sarah. It would be so easy, she thought , right here at Scully's . Sarah wants me as much as I want her. But I can't do that to her. I can't make love to her on the same couch that I've made love to other women. She deserves better than that.

She separated herself from Sarah, reached down and picked up Sarah's coat, and held it out for Sarah to put her arms in. Then, without a word, she took Sarah by the hand and led her out to the truck, pausing to lock up the bar's front door. Sarah did not speak further until they got into the truck.

"What time is it?" she finally asked as she settled herself into the seat while Lindsey started the engine.

"It's about 1:30 in the morning," Lindsey answered. "I hope your sister isn't waiting up for you."

"No. I'm sure she's gone to bed by now. And if she is waiting up, who cares?" The cold had finally awakened her, and she yawned widely, causing Lindsey to yawn, too.

As they headed back to Sarah's house, Lindsey asked, "Do you still want that apartment?"

"Oh, I'd forgotten about that. Did you get any more information?"

"Scotty said she spoke to the two girls, and you can go look at it any time. The rent is reasonable. It has two bedrooms, and a large living area and kitchen. And you'd have a garage where you can park your car—when you get one. The place is adjacent to one of our nicer green spaces. That is, green when it's summer. It's a large park with hiking trails and picnic tables and such."

"Wow! That sounds like what I'd be interested in. When can you go with me?"

"You want me to go with you?" Lindsey asked.

"Of course," Sarah said. "If you want to, that is."

"I'm off on Friday evening," Lindsey said. "We could go then."

"That's good for me."

"Great! I'll check with Karin to see if they're going to be there and what time to come."

They pulled into Sylvia's driveway, and Sarah started to get out. The house was dark, but the porch light was on. "Do you want to come in?" she asked, turning in her seat.

"Come in?" Lindsey asked.

"Yes. Come in and have a cup of tea," Sarah said. "Is there something wrong?" She noticed a frown had come over Lindsey's face.

"What about your sister and all the kids?"

"Oh, they're sleeping. Once they get to sleep, it would take another shotgun blast to wake them," she said, grinning, as she remembered the other night when burglars were scared away from Lindsey's house. "They sleep pretty soundly. Of course, we'll have to be as quiet as we can, just in case." She hoped the kids were asleep and Sylvia had been able to sleep, too.

"Okay, then," Lindsey said, her frown turning to a smile. "Let me back down and park on the street." Sarah got out, closing the passenger door as softly as she could. Lindsey turned the engine off after she parked at the curb and took the precaution of not slamming the door when she got out.

They went into the kitchen where Sarah turned on the light and put the teapot on to boil water. She took her coat off, threw it over a chair and motioned for Lindsey to do the same. Then they both sat down at the table and waited for the water to get hot, whispering back and forth over the different kinds of tea Sylvia had on hand.

"I told you two you shouldn't have eaten all that chocolate candy tonight," Sylvia said loudly, coming out of the bathroom and proceeding down the hall with Roger and Robert in hand. "Now that you've thrown it all up, let that be a lesson to you!"

With a few more harsh words, she took them to their room and tucked them in bed, while Sarah and Lindsey sat in the kitchen listening to Sylvia's tirade. They shrugged their shoulders and shook their heads, waiting for the inevitable. We can't even have a quiet conversation alone , Sarah thought. If it isn't one thing, it's another that keeps interrupting us.

Sure enough, Sylvia saw the light on in the kitchen and marched right in without hesitation. She guessed it was Sarah, as she had heard Lindsey's loud monster truck pull up in the driveway. Then she thought she heard it go back down the driveway and head down the street. She never expected to see Lindsey sitting in the kitchen with Sarah.

"Well," was all she said, surprised. She went to the cupboard, got a cup and set it down beside the two cups that Sarah had placed on the counter. Then she sat down at the table.

"Might as well join the crowd," she said. "Can't get back to sleep now, what with those boys throwing up all that candy. I'm too upset. They do this every time they get hold of a little too much chocolate. I warned them, but it didn't do any good." She stopped talking, as she realized Sarah and Lindsey were staring at her. "Am I interrupting something?" she asked innocently.

Sarah knew exactly what was going on, and she didn't appreciate what her sister was doing. Sylvia was bound and determined that she was going to interfere in any relationship between her and Lindsey whenever she could. What better place to do that than in her own kitchen! Sarah knew she shouldn't have asked Lindsey to come in. Nevertheless, she was also determined to outwait Sylvia, even if it took all night!

"What the hell time is it?" Sylvia asked, when neither of them responded to her previous question. She looked at her watch. "Two o'clock? In the morning? You guys must be nuts sitting here having tea at this time of night. I thought you were just going to have a Christmas practice at the church. Where have you been all this time, Sarah?"

Sarah started to say it was none of her business, but then Sylvia kept on talking. "I'm going to sit in the family room and read for a while before I go back to bed. I know I have to get up early to go to work and get the kids up for school, but I'm just not sleepy right now." She got up, poured hot water over her tea bag and headed toward the family room.

"Good-bye, Lindsey," she added, looking back over her shoulder.

Sarah breathed a sigh of resignation, echoed by Lindsey. So much for outwaiting Sylvia!

"I'm sorry, Lindsey," Sarah apologized.

"You don't have to apologize, Sarah," Lindsey responded. "Let's just drink our tea," she whispered. "Maybe she'll get sleepy and go to bed before we're finished."

A half hour passed, and it looked like Sylvia was going to win the battle. Lindsey finally got up, pulled on her jacket and gathered Sarah in close to her.

Sarah didn't want to let her go, but didn't have a choice. Not with Sylvia right in the other room. "I don't want you to leave," she said, holding her tightly, and then brought her lips to Lindsey's willing mouth.

"I don't want to leave, either," Lindsey said, finally releasing Sarah. She was trembling with desire.

"I'll try to get out to The Old West Town tomorrow," Sarah said softly, "but it will be difficult, since Lori will still be home. I have to babysit her while Sylvia is at work. Maybe after my sister gets home."

"Things will work out for us, Sarah," Lindsey said, hugging her close again. She didn't know how, but it would happen sooner or later.



"Lindsey," Sarah whispered suddenly, pulling away from her. "I have an idea. Wait right here close to the stairs. Be quiet...and don't move."

Sarah turned the light off in the kitchen, leaving only the nightlight on. Then she walked to the front door and opened it noisily. She stepped into the doorway, saying, "Oka-a-y. Talk to you later. Bye, Lindsey."

She made a loud show of slamming the door shut and going back into the kitchen. She picked up her coat and with heavy footsteps trudged up the stairs to her deck. She silently shushed Lindsey with her finger as she passed by her. Reaching the top of the staircase, she leaned over the railing.

"Sylvia?" she said loudly. Sylvia looked up from the couch where she was reading. "I'm going to bed. You might as well go back to bed now, too. Lindsey's gone." As if to emphasize that, she added in a disgusting tone, "I suppose that makes you happy!"

She heard Sylvia click the lamp off, get up and hustle down the hallway to her bedroom. She didn't even bother to glance into the kitchen, where she would surely have seen Lindsey by the dim light of the nightlight. Sarah was counting on her sleepiness to take over.

Sarah waited at the top of the stairs for a few minutes and then motioned to Lindsey to come up. Because the stairs and deck were recently built, they were solid and sturdy and hadn't had time to settle. There wasn't a single creak as Lindsey paced one foot in front of the other and made her way up to The Loft after Sarah.

Sarah fumbled slightly with the key to her bedroom because she was so nervous. Am I doing the right thing? she wondered. At the moment, she didn't care. Her heart had taken over whatever common sense she might have had. She opened the door wide and went in.

Lindsey followed, softly closed the door behind her and clicked the lock. She threw her coat over the small chair where Sarah normally sat to put on her shoes.

Lindsey met her in front of the closet door, just as Sarah turned away from hanging up her coat. This time there was no struggle. Lindsey put her arms around Sarah, who reached her arms around Lindsey's neck as their lips met, gently at first, then with a mounting passion that became hungry for release.

"We won't be interrupted now," Sarah said, in between gasps of breath. Oh, God, what are we doing? she thought. Sylvia isn't far away. What if she wakes up?

"Are you sure Sylvia isn't going to hear us?" Lindsey whispered breathlessly, as if she had already read Sarah's mind.

"No, I'm not sure," Sarah responded. "But her bedroom is at the other end of the house. So I think we'll be okay. Why would she be listening, anyway? She thinks you're gone."

Lindsey lifted Sarah's sweater over her head and Sarah helped Lindsey unbutton her shirt, which fell to the floor. They locked lips again, moaning as their tongues moved rapidly, all the while edging closer to Sarah's bed with their arms wrapped around each other.

Lindsey felt the bed at the back of her legs and fell backwards with Sarah on top of her. She felt Sarah's hands reach around her back and undo her bra. As it came loose, Sarah put her lips on one of Lindsey's nipples, which suddenly became erect with arousal.

She continued teasing that nipple until Lindsey thought she was going to die! Then Sarah moved over to the other nipple and began doing the same thing to it. Then she went back and forth from one to the other, sending Lindsey into a frenzy!

Lindsey reached around and undid Sarah's bra. As it came open, Sarah's size C-cup breasts fell out and rested between Lindsey's thighs. Sarah could feel the harsh jean material against her nipples and tried to adjust herself accordingly. Lindsey sensed her discomfort, so she reached down and pulled Sarah's head to her, making her breasts come forward to press on her own. Lindsey started kissing her again—their bodies fusing together as their mouths mated.

Finally, Lindsey could stand it no longer, and rolled Sarah over until she was on top of her. As Sarah started undoing the buttons on Lindsey's jeans, Lindsey stopped, sat up straddling her and helped her with the last couple of buttons. She unzipped Sarah's pants and hurriedly slid them off. Then she took her own jeans off. She was glad they weren't standing up, as her legs wouldn't have supported her.

The desire was overwhelming as Lindsey slipped her hand down inside Sarah's panties where her fingers found her, wet and ready. Sarah moaned at the first touch, struggling to hold on to her control of release. Lindsey's other hand slid her panties off and then opened her thighs wide and started to move around her clit with her fingers.

"Oh, God, Lindsey, I don't think I could have waited much longer for this," Sarah said. "I've been going out of my mind because we always seem to be interrupted." She rocked back and forth as Lindsey used her fingers and kissed her breasts at the same time.

"I know," Lindsey said, breathlessly, lifting her head for a minute. "I've wanted you from the very first time I saw you."

She stuck two fingers in Sarah's vagina, which was wide open with arousal now, and began moving in and out, much to Sarah's delight. She briefly thought of her big blue dildo, and how much more pleasure it might have given Sarah. But it was only a momentary thought as Sarah responded to her long fingers, and she never gave it a second thought.

Sarah hadn't had sex for a long time—too long to remember. She had almost forgotten how it felt to have a woman on top of her, with hands roaming over her and sending delicious sensations up and down her body. She caught herself holding back, wanting to explore those sensations for a while before she climaxed.

Lindsey took her fingers away and lowered her head down between Sarah's thighs. Sarah watched her hair cascade down the side of her head and then flow down her stomach as she made her way down to the center of Sarah's pleasure—kissing her as she went.

Then Sarah closed her eyes, and as she bent back, Lindsey's warm mouth began to explore every fold, finally pulling Sarah's clit to her lips, sucking the swollenness, teasing it with her tongue. Then as Lindsey's tongue reached deep inside her, Sarah held on to her luscious head of hair, aware of her hips moving urgently against Lindsey's face.

She didn't understand that her body needed to release all the sexual tension, and couldn't hold back the shuddering that exploded as she suddenly stilled and raised her back in an arch and let the orgasm flow through her. As she came back down, she felt Lindsey's mouth still on her, licking and sucking on her clit, until Sarah's desire was ignited all over again. Her clit engorged again, and another orgasm occurred, entirely out of Sarah's control!

"Oh, God," Sarah said, "I can't believe this is happening."

"I need you, Sarah," Lindsey said, coming up for breath. "I've never needed anyone like I need you . I don't know what's happened to me."

Sarah stilled her talking with her mouth and then rolled over until they were both on their sides facing each other. Sarah slid her hand inside Lindsey's panties, and Lindsey helped her take them off and then rolled over on her back and opened her thighs wide.

Sarah moved down on her, until her whole body was between Lindsey's thighs. She buried her face in Lindsey's cunt, and reached both hands around her buttocks and lifted her hips up, at the same time sliding down the side of the bed until she was on her knees on the floor.

Lindsey's legs automatically spread-eagled. She was amazed at how strong Sarah was as she held on to Lindsey's buttocks and moved her tongue around and in and out of her vagina. It was as if she were licking out a cake mix bowl—holding the bowl in both hands and licking and sucking with her tongue so as to not miss a single delicious spot!

Lindsey was going crazy with the sensations! She tried to follow Sarah's rhythm, then gave up and succumbed to the exquisite emotions that Sarah was bringing on her willing body. She tried not to scream as Sarah brought her to a climax. She gave out a long and agonizing moan instead. She had given in completely to the feelings Sarah was bringing out in her. She had lost control, and Lindsey had always been in control.

Sarah got up off her knees after she gave Lindsey's cunt a few more nuzzles and strokes with her tongue and crawled back up on the bed to lay next to her. Lindsey was filled with mixed feelings. Sarah put her arms around her. She felt herself melting into that strong embrace and trembling at the same time.

Sarah's gentle fingertips touched her breasts again. "Was that good for you?" she said. Lindsey could only mumble endearing syllables. She clutched Sarah to herself, not believing that she could be so carried away by her. She wouldn't have cared if Sylvia or even her father opened the door and saw them making love right at that moment!

Sarah covered her mouth with kisses again and then brought her head back down to Lindsey's breasts and took a nipple in her mouth. Lindsey put her hand on Sarah's neck and brought her closer, urging her to take more of it in her mouth. She did, sucking hard as Lindsey pressed into her mouth.

She spread her thighs wide again, as Sarah's fingers found her soaking wet cunt and began stroking her clit up and down. Then she inserted two fingers into her vagina. Feeling it open wide, Sarah stuck a third finger in, then a fourth, then stopped and moved up and down slowly.

Before Sarah could go any further, Lindsey gave in totally to her passion and let out another loud and long moan as she climaxed again and shuddered from head to toe. Sarah withdrew her fingers slowly and brought them back up to Lindsey's mouth where Lindsey licked the juices off one finger at a time, so overcome with emotion that a woman could completely take her like Sarah just did.

"You are so wonderful," Lindsey whispered, lingering over Sarah's fingers as she kissed them over and over again. She moved her mouth to her palm, then up her arm and gradually moved her body over Sarah again while their bodies moved together rhythmically.



It was 7 o'clock. The sun was coming up when Lindsey rolled over off Sarah's bed and got dressed. Sarah got out of bed at the same time because she wanted to be up when Sylvia got up with the kids. Neither she nor Lindsey had gotten much sleep! Since Sylvia stayed up half the night, too, Sarah relished the thought of seeing how well her sister did on very little sleep. It would serve her right for trying to interrupt her plans with Lindsey! She smiled at how Sylvia never succeeded.

Sarah had just wanted to have a quiet conversation with Lindsey over tea last night—not intending to lead Lindsey up to her bedroom at all. Then something clicked, and she saw the opportunity as clear as day! And what a night it had been!

She put on her sweats and went down the stairs with Lindsey and kissed her thoroughly before practically shoving her out the front door. Then she walked back into the kitchen and started making coffee.

As Lindsey climbed into her truck, she thought back over last night. She had never had such a night in her life! Now she had to go to work at The Old West Town in a couple of hours—with no sleep. And then work at Scully's tonight—also with no sleep. But it was worth it! Sarah was definitely hers now! Or was it the other way around? She hadn't quite figured that out yet. She thought she was in control of this whole sexual encounter from the beginning, and Sarah would be putty in her hands. But often during the night, Sarah was in control, and Lindsey was the play dough!

As Sarah made the morning coffee, she also was thinking back over last night. She had been anxious that Lindsey might think of her as just another quick conquest. But after last night, she knew it wasn't so. She was sure Lindsey was not the kind of woman Sylvia said she was. There was no way she could have given herself over to Sarah time and time again like that if she was just out to have sex with her and nothing else. Lindsey would have been the aggressive one and would probably have been rough with her. And she would have left right afterwards. Sarah knew already—having known her less than two weeks—that Lindsey was a control person. Lindsey, however, had been tender, caring and gentle last night—and stayed until dawn.

And herself? She couldn't believe she had been so wanton and possessive with Lindsey. Everything she knew about sex from her partnership with Melanie and another woman she'd had a short relationship with years after Melanie died came flooding back in as she made love to Lindsey. She had been deprived emotionally and sexually for so long. She took control over what she wanted to happen in bed with Lindsey, like she always did with Melanie. Her face flushed with the memory. When she heard a voice behind her, she almost dropped the coffee basket, startled.

"Aren't you up kind of early?" Sylvia inquired, staggering into the kitchen at 7:30. "I thought you'd sleep in today. Wasn't that Lindsey who just left? Isn't the coffee done yet? God, I need a cup of coffee in the worst way. I got hardly any sleep last night. Did you sleep at all?"

"What?" Sarah responded, feigning ignorance, her heart pitter-pattering rapidly. She had heard only the name Lindsey . Sylvia was running her questions together again, so she didn't know how to answer, anyway.

"Wasn't that Lindsey who just left?" Sylvia repeated herself. "I thought I heard her truck a few minutes ago."

"You must have been dreaming, Sylvia." Sarah said carefully. "You heard me say good-bye to her last night just before I went to bed. Remember?"

Sylvia nodded her head, remembering that she heard Sarah's good-bye to Lindsey and the front door slamming. But she didn't remember hearing Lindsey's truck take off afterwards.

"It must have been those two teenagers down the street I heard, then. They have a faulty muffler on their truck, too. Sounds just like Lindsey's. I just wish they wouldn't drive down the street so early in the morning. And so late at night! Where in the world are their parents?"

"They don't have you as a mother to guide them," Sarah said, hoping Sylvia viewed her remark as a compliment.

"Yeah," Sylvia said. She started on another subject. "Didn't you want to sleep in this morning? You could have, you know, because Lori will be sleeping for quite a while. Have you eaten breakfast yet? Where did you go after the Christmas practice last night?"

Sarah was glad her sister changed directions. She didn't want to answer any more questions concerning Lindsey, which she would probably wind up lying about. Life was getting extremely complex.

However, Sarah ignored the last question, and Sylvia—encased in her fog of sleepiness—never seemed to notice. "Yeah, I guess I am up early," she said, looking at the clock. "But I don't have to go to work today like you do. I can work at my computer. And I can take a nap if I want to." She smiled as she looked at the haggard face her sister presented. "I'm sorry you couldn't sleep in."

"Well, I've had a hard time sleeping since Rich left. Before you came, I was actually getting up in the middle of the night, pacing the floor—very restless continually. The boys getting sick last night was just one night among many. Your being here, though, has helped me to sleep better."

Thank God, you didn't get up again last night after you went back to bed, Sarah thought. She and Lindsey had taken a chance that Sylvia would be down for good the rest of the night. With Sylvia's revelation, she never realized until now just how close they had come to being discovered.

Sarah changed the subject abruptly. "Lindsey and I are going to look at an apartment," she said, not knowing how to break the news to Sylvia other than just saying it outright.

"Oh, is Lindsey finally going to move out of her father's house? Leslie—the girls' Sunday School teacher—told me they still lived at home." Sylvia asked, expressing interest. "I've wondered why they were both still living there at their age. But I didn't want to be nosey."

"No. I'm moving out," Sarah said. She waited a moment to allow her words to sink in.

"What?" Sylvia finally said, clearly surprised. "Why do you want to do that? Didn't you come up here to stay with me and help with the kids?" She stopped in the middle of pouring herself a cup of coffee, set the coffee pot back down, and stared at Sarah in disbelief.

"Sylvia, it's hard for me to explain. And I'm not sure you'll understand. But I'll try. I'm not used to living with a family. I've always lived by myself. And I've discovered it's too difficult for me to change my lifestyle as much as I've had to do here. But I will still be here for you—I will still take care of the kids—I will still help out. I just can't go on living like this. The kids are driving me crazy, being with them so much. I'm not used to kids. And, as you know, our relationship hasn't been that smooth since I came, either. We fight like cats and dogs. It isn't worth it to me, Sylvia. I have a job to do, too, and I've not been able to focus on that much because I've been so upset with things here. I've got to find a place of my own. It will work out better for all of us. Lindsey is going to pick me up at 7 o'clock Friday evening, and we're going to look at a place."

Sarah had been buttering her toast, reaching past Sylvia and pouring herself a cup of coffee, all the while giving Sylvia this lengthy explanation. Now she sat down at the table and paused to wait to hear what Sylvia was going to say next.

Sylvia had just been staring at her. She picked up the coffee pot and finished filling her cup. "Well, you know you can't take Rich's SUV with you!" she blurted out, joining her sister at the table. "What are you going to do for transportation, little sister?"

Sarah was shocked, as she replied, "You see, Sylvia? There you go again, trying to rile me up and start another argument!" Sarah was getting mad at her sister's reaction—it seemed so selfish to her. Did Sylvia actually know just how grating her disposition was?

"What do you expect me to say, Sarah?" Sylvia shot back. "You'll go ahead and do what you want to, anyway, no matter what I say. You've always been that way. And you're not thinking of me at all, Sarah, in this decision. You haven't even discussed it with me. Do you think that's fair? What am I supposed to say?"

Sarah suddenly looked at Sylvia a little differently. Indeed, what was her sister supposed to say? She hadn't consulted Sylvia at all in coming to her decision.

Sylvia wandered back down the hall, saying she had to get the kids up for school and get herself ready for work. "Lori has to stay home again today, and I'm hoping you can take her to the doctor's after lunch to get those stitches out! Do you think you can at least do that much?"

Sarah watched her leave, feeling about as big as a speck of dust.

To Be Continued...


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