Authors Notes: See Part One
Feedback to: Cephalgia@hotmail.com and/or firstname.lastname@example.org
On the grill
The Mercedes slipped smoothly over the Golden Gate Bridge heading out of San Francisco and toward Marin County.
As the car passed the halfway point across the bridge, the occupant of the passenger seat looked to her right and marveled again at the sight of The City in the morning. The northern California sun had bronzed as it rose and gave a burnished sheen to the metropolis. A small beacon flashed in the San Francisco Bay drawing her eye to The Rock. Alcatraz was no less impressive for being almost totally deserted. Glancing down to the bay, Wilder saw one of the fleet of tourist boats from Fishermans Wharf taking yet another group out under the historic bridge.
The barmaid turned forward again and sighed, "God I love this city. I wonder where all the peasants are living right now?"
Her mind on traffic, Darcy chuckled at her friends comment. "You know, I understand you like living here but Im pretty sure everybody thinks their home is the next best thing to perfect."
"Thats just it," Wilder protested, "they think, I know." Darcy just shook her head but silently agreed. She felt lucky to be living in a city so open and accepting, especially now that she and Wilder had become lovers.
Lovers! That thought filled Darcy with a feeling of dread; not that she and Wilder had gone beyond being just friends but rather that they were headed out to the traditional family End of Summer Barbeque to inform their parents of that very fact. Darcy and Wilders parents had been neighbors for many years and their daughters had been close for as long as that proximity had existed. I wonder if theyll all blow a gasket when they find out exactly how close we are now.
The executive glanced over at Wilder. She was tapping her fingers on her knee in time to a catchy soft rock tune on the radio and felt the eyes on her. She looked over at the driver and was struck again by the unmitigated beauty of her friend.
"What?" she asked.
"Nothing," was Darcys reply as she smoothly made a lane change to pass a slow moving SUV. "I was just thinking about the barbeque and talking to our families tonight. How do you think our parents are going to react to our news?"
The blonde appeared thoughtful. "Lets see, Ive been out since I was a teenager. Mom and Pop have known you and liked you for as long as I can remember. Id say my parents will be supportive, pleased and entirely happy with the idea. Youve been strictly hetero up until now and your parents really never saw me as anything but a tagalong and later something of a wild child. Im pretty sure your parents are going to shit a brick." Darcy laughed and Wilder knew her attempt at reducing the tension with humor was appreciated, but the barmaid also knew she probably wasnt far off.
"Will you still see me if your parents dont approve?" Wilder asked in an uncertain tone.
Darcy knew this was a moment when she would need to choose her words carefully. "I love my parents, Wild. What they think will matter to me, I wont deny it, but I want to make one thing perfectly clear to you." A quick glance assured her that she had the barmaids undivided attention. "Im in charge of my life and Im the only one who can say who will be in my life and in my bed. Okay?"
Wilder grinned and replied, "Yeah, thats very okay."
Eyes back on the road in front of her, Darcy let a small smirk play around her mouth. "Of course, Im in complete charge until someone calls up and demands Unlimited Sexual Favors. I seem to have let myself in for a little trouble there."
"I havent even started causing trouble yet," Wilder said in her most seductive tone.
Feeling her smile widen, Darcy risked a quick peek back at Wilder, not at all surprised to see her confident expression. Wilders eyes glowed with a predatory gleam.
"I dont know whether I should be secretly thrilled or alarmed by that remark," said the executive. She returned her attention to the traffic and passed another slow moving vehicle. The sun, which was shining high in the clear blue sky, stung her eyes and Darcy pulled a slender pair of Calvin Klein shades from the glove compartment and slipped them on.
With a wry smirk, Wilder studied her lover. "You dont really feel alarmed, do you?"
"Well... only if you demand hot monkey sex over the picnic table in my moms back yard!"
"Damn," Wilder cursed dramatically. "Well there goes that idea!"
Darcy shot the blonde a look of horror, only to see Wilder grinning inanely.
"I was only kidding," she laughed. "Come on, Darce, do you really think I would do that?"
The brunette rolled her eyes. "No but for a minute there you almost scared me!" She laughed lightly.
Shaking her head, Wilder turned to look out over the calm waters. It glistened crystal blue. The suns warm rays cast shadows from the magnificent structure of the bridge. Wilder opened her window and balanced her elbow on the door. She placed her chin in her hand and sighed contently. Not even the roar of the surrounding traffic could divest her of the mood she had awoken with that morning. Wilder closed her eyes.
"I wonder whether my Uncle Herbert is going to be there today."
Wilder frowned; her eyes still closed. "Is he the one who used to pull quarters from obscure places?"
"Thats the one."
Darcy smiled and pushed the sunglasses further up her nose. "Well, when I was sixteen he told me he was able to read peoples futures by studying their palms. He said if his palm was crossed with silver he would do mine so I gave him back the quarter he had just pulled from my ear and asked for a reading!"
"And?" Wilder asked, opening her eyes and turning to face Darcy.
"And he said one day I would meet and fall in love with a tall, dark and handsome man!"
"So what are you going to say to him?" Wilder asked curiously.
Darcy grinned. "Im going to ask for my quarter back!"
Wilder chuckled, her blue eyes twinkled as she looked back out of the window. She loved the refreshing feel of the cool wind blowing against her face. It blew wisps of blonde hair around her head, cooling the warmth of the car. Wilder always felt a little seared around the edges when she was near Darcy, but she still found it hard to believe the woman she had secretly been in love with since her teens, was now her lover. Unable to hold back her smile, Wilder turned to look once more upon Darcy.
Feeling a penetrating gaze upon her, Darcys eyes slid to Wilder. "What?"
Darcys eyes narrowed as she concentrated on the traffic ahead. "I know you well enough to see there is something going on in that devious mind of yours!" She took Wilders hand and held it softly. "What is it?"
With a shrug, Wilder shook her head. "Nothing, really." She lifted the feminine hand to her lips and kissed Darcys knuckles. "I was just thinking about how much I loved you."
The executive felt her heart melt along with the softly spoken words. Turning the barmaids hand within her own she pulled it to her own lips and returned the kiss. Her mind searched for something to say. "I um I hope Dad warmed the pool. I think skinny dipping is definitely on my list of things to do this evening!"
Wilders jaw dropped. "At your parents house?"
"What?" Darcy said and grinned. "We used to do it when we were younger."
"Oh, please!" the blonde scoffed. "In order to call it skinny dipping you have to be naked. Swimming in shorts and a t-shirt at night doesnt count." She stopped and thought for a second. "Although, if I had to admit it, in that wet t-shirt you might as well have been naked. You had a dynamite body even at sixteen."
Darcy blushed at the compliment. "I never knew you noticed. You know, Id like to return the sentiment but as a kid you were a tad flat chested. No offense."
"None taken. Dont worry, I know I was a pirates dream." At Darcys confused sidelong glance, she clarified, "A sunken chest."
The brunette laughed and shook her head. "I swear, sometimes you are a total moron!"
Wilders head whipped around in astonishment at her friends words. "What did you call me?" she asked in an incredulous tone.
"Not you, Wild, this guy." With a jerk of her head to the right she indicated a motorcycle slipping up through traffic by passing between vehicles. "Now theres an idiot with a death wish."
Wilder glanced to her right and saw the motorcyclist pass by, not having much interest in the rider. Darcy, however, saw immediately that the rider was a woman and a woman who was obviously checking her friend out through the window. The female rider paralleled them for a moment before zooming away, long red hair flowing out from under the back of her helmet. Wilder remained oblivious to being checked out, but the executive felt her jaw clench. Narrowing her eyes at the cyclists back she uttered, "Yep, definitely a death wish."
"Did you say something?" Wilder asked.
Darcy shook her head and smiled over at her friend. "Not really, I just saw that the moron on the bike was a woman." Quietly the brunette wondered Now where did this possessive streak come from?
"Oh, it was? I didnt notice," Wilder said almost absently and it was that nonchalance that made Darcys heart soar. Wilder had been a womanizer and cut a wide swath at Leather and Chains, the bar where she was employed. For her not to notice the shapely form on the motorcycle was something akin to a miracle.
Darcy spotted her exit ahead and maneuvered the Mercedes smoothly onto the off ramp. As she waited to make a turn she reached over and squeezed Wilders hand. Wilder returned the pressure and noted, "Were almost there. Nervous?"
"A little," Darcy replied honestly and retrieved her hand as traffic ahead of her moved. She accelerated smoothly and began to notice the very familiar landmarks. "Check it out, Wild, theyre finally remodeling the North Bay Cinemas."
Wilder glanced over to the building under renovation. "About time. Man, do you remember when you got me into my first R-rated movie there?"
The executive wrinkled her nose in distaste at the memory. "How could I forget? Two hours of slashing, dismemberments, dead teenagers and buckets of blood."
"Yeah," Wilder said blissfully. "Now thats entertainment! Of course Im a lot older these days. Give me a hot sex scene anytime now. Two women, a bed, a strap-on and youve got real value for your movie going dollar!"
Darcy laughed at her friends one-track mind. "You can take the pervert out of the adolescent but you cant take the adolescent out of the pervert."
Wilder laughed also but sobered quickly. "Hey, was that a shot? Im pretty sure that was a shot."
"It might have been," Darcy agreed as she turned onto the street where she and Wilder spent most of their youth and where their parents continued to be next-door neighbors. She laughed at the mildly pained expression on her friends face.
Wilder nodded her head thoughtfully as Darcy pulled the car into the driveway of her parents house. "Laugh it up, Chuckles, and I just might have to tell your grandmother exactly what it is you scream out as I "
"You wouldnt!" Darcy interrupted. "My Nana has a weak heart!" The women looked each other in the eye a moment before snorting and bursting out in laughter.
"Not damn likely, Darce," Wilder laughed. "Your Nana would wash my mouth out with soap! Might be worth it though." Their laughter quieted and they exited the car pulling out overnight bags from behind the seats. The barmaid gazed over at her friend. "Any second thoughts?"
Darcy looked into the face that had become increasingly important to her over the last few months. "Only one. Why did we wait so long?"
In reply, Wilder could only give Darcy a dazzling smile before they separated, each heading into their own familys house.
The side door opened quietly as Wilder poked her head into her family home. A commotion of several raised voices alerted her swiftly. Frowning, the blonde quickly stepped into the large home and followed the voices through the kitchen, hallway, living room and on into the den. There she found the cause of the commotion.
Wilders mother stood atop a wooden stool, brandishing a broom with both hands. Her mousy brown hair was hanging haphazardly around her shoulders, a styling brush still attached to the ends as she shouted at Malcolm, her husband. Malcolm McNeil, along with Wilders aunt and two cousins, were dashing around the room, searching all available crawl spaces upon the floor. Malcolm began hunting on his hands and knees as he looked under the cream sofa.
"I swear, Malcolm Ivan McNeil, I am not moving from this spot until you catch that thing!" Daisy yelled.
"We got mice again?" Wilder enquired. She looked up at her mother in amusement.
"Oh, Wilder honey, you are home!"
Malcolm looked up from behind the couch. "Hey there, Buttercup."
"Hi, Dad." Wilder smiled and said swift hellos to the remaining members of her family as they continued their search. She looked back to her mother curiously. "Whats going on?"
Daisy McNeil sighed. "Your father has got it into his head that he is the new naked chef." With Wilders confused expression, Daisy elaborated. "You know, the English guy on TV, he is a chef. Well anyway, Malcolm has become way too adventurous with his cooking the last couple of weeks. For the barbeque he though he would do a new dish crab."
"Okay?" Wilder asked suspiciously.
"He bought two live ones and the blasted things have escaped!" Daisy shuddered and turned to her husband. "I asked you not to bring live ones into the house, but no you said youd be able to handle them."
Malcolm rolled his eyes as he rose to his feet. "I only left them for about half an hour. How far could they have gone in half an hour?" He walked towards his daughter and winked before placing a welcoming kiss upon her head. "Glad to see you, Buttercup," he said and walked into the living room to begin inspecting behind the sofa.
Marion, Daisys sister, walked into the center of the room, hands on hips as she said, "Daisy, you really are overreacting. Theyre hardly the fastest creatures on the planet."
"You know how I feel about them," Daisy scolded her younger sister.
Suddenly, a movement from the window caught Wilders attention. Looking out into the garden, the blondes blue eyes were drawn to a grey plastic object. Wilder bit her lip in order to keep from laughing as she realised what it was. Out upon the patio, a plastic bag was slowly making its way across the yard. The barmaid snorted, causing her family to turn in question.
"I think Ive found the escapees," she said and pointed out the window.
Harvey, Wilders elder cousin was first to the window. "Theyre outside!"
"Oh thank goodness." Daisy, more calm now, stepped down from the stool.
"Well, at least one of them is," said Tim, Wilders younger cousin.
"What?" Daisy jumped back onto the stool. "Malcolm?"
"Im on it," the broad man called out as she headed towards the back yard.
Wilder blew out a relieved breath. "Im so glad were at Darcys parents this year. I bet all hell isnt breaking loose there!"
"What do you mean sharing?" Darcy's incredulous expression bore into her mother. The sun was getting hotter and as such the brunette pulled off her light denim jacket; she dropped it onto the back of her mother's dining chair with a pronounced pout. "You can't be serious, Mom!"
Christine Gardner didn't look up at her daughter as she continued arranging the array of foods upon the large teak dining table. Her husband and Malcolm had carried it out into the garden that morning, ready for the festivities. They had placed it on the grass near the barbeque. At the top end of the garden was the pool and it had already been prepared for the day's activities.
"Of course I am. Your cousins will be taking one bedroom... sharing. Patrick and my sister will be taking another room. Your father and I have our room and that leaves Tilly. The only remaining bed we have is the soft bed in your old bedroom. It is not like you'll be sharing the same bed, Darcy. But even if that you were ... Tilly is twenty-nine now. She stopped wetting the bed a very long time ago."
Darcy winced, still recalling the time she woke up after sharing her bed with her younger cousin to find herself cold and wet. "Okay, I accept that she no longer wets the bed, but I don't like sharing a room anymore, Mom."
"You're all girls," Christine replied. "There is nothing neither of you haven't ever seen before."
Come on, Darce... think. Darcy strode around the food-laden table. "What about the sofa?"
"I only got that last month."
"The air bed?" Darcy said in a moment of genius.
"The dogs kennel?"
Domino, the families pet Dalmatian, who had been listening half-heartedly under the table, barked suddenly and bounded into his wooden lodge of solitude.
"It's only for one night."
Darcy dug her foot into the grass like a broody teenager. Wilder will think of something. She thought.Besides... sleeping plans might have to change when we give out the good news!!!
"Don't look at me," Wilder whispered in frustration as she hefted a large bowl of potato salad, "I got relegated to the couch. Don't worry though; I've got an idea. Get that cole slaw would you?"
Darcy picked up the tub that Wilder indicated and they headed out the back door. The picnic tables had been set up and the last of the food was being placed on the long table now situated under a rented tent. The children from both families were in the McNeil's backyard next door in an area that held a swing set and sandbox- fixtures there since Wilder and Darcy were young.
Darcy looked over the fence and watched the children play a moment then smiled over at Wilder. "That sure brings back memories. I remember watching you on the swing set and playing in the sandbox. I'll never forget the day you found out the hard way that Mrs. Tompkins's cat had been visiting it on a regular basis. You screamed your head off that your G.I. Joe had been poisoned by touching cat poop and you spent the rest of the day out there with a spring rake!"
"Gee, Darce, thanks for the memories. I remember how surprised that old biddy was to find that brown paper bag of her cat's leavings by her front door. Old Patches was an indoor cat after that!"
"After what?" Christine Gardner asked, bringing paper plates and napkins to the table.
"Nothing, Mom," Darcy said quickly knowing the appearance of a bag of cat feces at Mrs. Tompkins's door was still a neighborhood mystery.
"You're not talking about when Wilder returned Patches' deposits to Mrs. Tompkins, are you?" Darcy and Wilder stared open-mouthed at each other.
"How did you know?" Darcy asked her mother. The question was greeted with a laugh.
"When you're a parent, you'll understand. We know more than you think," Christine said wisely. Wilder and Darcy shot each other quick glances and Darcy had to turn away to hide the blush that spread quickly across her features.
"Um, when are we going to eat?" Wilder asked. "I'm so hungry my stomach thinks my throat is cut. And why is Uncle Herbert working the barbecue?"
"We pressed him into service when your dad and my husband found out they had an errand to run. We'll eat when the chicken is cooked sufficiently to prevent us all from getting salmonella."
"What errand did they have to do now? They never miss out on cooking at the End of Summer Barbecue," Darcy noted.
"Well it seems Jeff volunteered to drive Malcolm over to the bay. It seems Daisy insisted he return those two crabs to their home and keep them out of hers!" The three laughed at the visual of Jeff Gardner and Malcolm McNeil placing two crabs back into the environment.
"Born Free! As free as the wind blows," Wilder sang and they burst into laughter once again.
It was late in the evening and the children were splashing in the pool having waited the obligatory one hour after eating to go swimming. The grown-ups were strewn around the various picnic tables talking and two or three couples were dancing slowly to the music coming from a stereo playing softly on the patio. Lanterns hanging throughout the area brightly illuminated the backyard and garden.
Jeff Gardner and Malcolm McNeil were taking on their spouses in a spirited game of Bridge at one of the tables. Darcy and Wilder were in the kitchen finishing up putting away the leftover food.
Wilder looked out the window to the table holding their parents. "They're by themselves now. This might be the best time to tell them." She turned to Darcy who had come up beside her after turning out the kitchen light. "You ready to do this?"
"Almost," she murmured and pulled Wilder to her. Gently, almost reverently, she kissed her friend. Tender regard passed between them and both felt their courage bolstered by the contact. Darcy broke the kiss and moved back to look into eyes that held her with such love. "Now I'm ready." The two women started out the back door together.
"Wait!" Darcy tugged upon Wilder's hand. "Are we doing the right thing?"
"Us," Wilder asked in alarm.
"No!" Darcy rolled her eyes. "Telling our parents. I mean, look at them." Darcy looked out of the kitchen window and Wilder followed suit. "Not a care in the world."
Wilder arched her eyebrows and turned to the executive with a wry expression. "Not a care in the world? Darce, these are our parents we're talking about." Wilder placed her chin upon Darcy's shoulder and watched their parents. "My mom is probably wondering whether those crabs left anything behind in the house that she'll have to clean up and whether the stress gave her another grey hair. Your mom only has one eye on the game... the other is on the kids and making sure none of them pee in the pool. My dad is counting cards and hoping they don't realise he has several up his sleeve and your dad..."
Darcy laughed and said, "My dad is probably worrying about those crabs. He probably named them before they were set free."
"He did," Wilder responded. "Carlos the crab and Calvin the crab!" Darcy smiled and the blonde wrapped her arms around her stomach. "Face it, Darce, we are the most normal people here!"
Smiling, Darcy took Wilders left hand and placed the palm upon her lips. She kissed the soft flesh. "Come on... lets go and freak out the folks!"
"That's more like it!" Taking Darcy's hand, Wilder led her into the garden.
The sun had long since disappeared into the horizon, leaving a star stippled sky behind. Artificial, decorative lanterns hung around the garden. They bathed the area in warm light, which was both comfortable and serene.
Darcy breathed in the cool night air. A light breeze had picked up, encouraging the pools water to undulate in gentle crests. The drop in temperature did nothing to deter the children from swimming in the pool. Its heated water was an added bonus. Even the family dog lay beside the pool, basking in its rise of heat. Holding hands, the pair wandered over to their parents.
"What have you two been up to?" Daisy asked, her eyes never leaving the selection of cards she held.
"Oh... you know... this and that." Wilder sat down upon a bench facing their parents. She pulled a stiff Darcy down beside her and elbowed the ridged woman. "Chill out," she whispered.
Darcy reached over to the table and took her mothers tumbler of wine. She drank it down in one go.
The brunette's mother looked at her in bemusement. "If you're after alcohol, honey, you are stealing the wrong glass." She tapped the now empty tumbler with French manicured nails. "Non-alcoholic wine."
"Really?" Darcy looked around the remaining drinks upon the table. It was a choice between her father's glass of light beer and Malcolm's Jack Daniels. Making an executive decision, Darcy chose both glasses. Pouring the whiskey into her father's beer, she downed the alcoholic concoction.
Wilder grimaced. "And I thought I made disgusting cocktails at the bar!"
"It wasn't that bad," Darcy said with a noticeable shudder.
"Okay," Christine placed down her cards. "What it is?"
"What is what?" Picking up the half empty bottle of whiskey beside her father, Darcy grasped its cap, only to have it pulled from her hands by Wilder.
The blonde sniggered at her lovers scowl. "If you're thirsty, Darce, why don't you go jump in the pool?"
"In that pee laden water?"
Christine rose from her chair in alarm. "What?"
"She is only kidding, Chris," Wilder assured her lover's mother.
Darcy grinned. "Sorry, Mom."
"Now I know something is going on." Daisy leaned back in her plastic garden chair. "Since when have you ever apologised for that wicked streak of yours. You adopted it from my daughter and I know she takes pride in hers!"
Wilder nodded with pleasure but she began to feel more than a little concerned. She turned to Darcy, fearing the brunette might be feeling the need to back out of telling their parents. Wilder looked deep into her eyes. She was surprised by the unexpected wink and smile of reassurance. Darcy had felt Wilder's apprehension and suddenly, more than anything, she felt the need to ease her nerves. If they were to continue their relationship(,) it was something that couldn't be kept a secret. She hand no shame in her feelings for Wilder. Whatever Wilder wanted, Darcy would willing comply... anything for her happiness.
The executive looked back at Daisy. "Actually, nothing is 'going on'. I... we both have something to tell you all though." Sitting side by side, nobody else was able to see the comforting touch Wilder places upon Darcy's lower back. A feeling of warmth spread from the blondes contact.
"Oh, good news?"
Wilder grinned at her father. "I hope so."
Taking a deep breath the executive bolstered her confidence. The sound of splashing water broke her chain of thoughts and she wondered whether they should be waiting until they were alone. It's now or never, she told herself. Darcy cast a gaze upon each parent, one by one, before speaking. "Well... in the past few months, things have changed."
"Yes." Wilder agreed.
"And um... these changes are... well they do... to a point, at least... affect you guys too... in a way."
Jeff Gardner frowned.
"So you see... the thing is... Wilder... and I of course... we are... well we are now..." Darcy paused, trying to find the words to eloquently state what it was that she and Wilder wanted to say. Wilder knew this was something Darcy felt she needed to tell them, so she sat quietly beside her. Her reassuring touches providing a sense of comfort.
"Wilder and I... we are now a 'we'." Darcy grimaced, oh yeah; the eloquence was oozing there, Darce.
Jeff looked to Malcolm before turning to his daughter. "A 'we' what? Do you mean 'we' as in the Scottish 'wee'? I am a wee bit drunk. Or do you mean the French we as in 'oui' ... meaning yes?"
Smirking, Wilder covered her lips to hide her amusement. Her mother seemed as confused as the rest of them at that point.
"An item," Darcy pressed.
Malcolm's eyes looked around the garden. "Of what?"
Jeff seemed thoughtful. "A drink? You want another drink?"
"I can get you a drink," Jeff said to his daughter.
"A small drink?"
"A 'wee' drink?"
Malcolm tapped his fingers on the table. "A 'wee' tipple?"
Daisy and Christine, who were sitting opposite each other, held eye contact as understanding passed between them. Daisy's mouth fell open and she turned back to her daughter. She noted Darcy and her daughters close proximity, the way their knees touched and the way they seemed to lean in to each other. Then she recalled something that hadn't registered before. As Darcy and Wilder approached the table they were holding hands.
Picking up the bottle of whisky, Jeff unscrewed the cap. "You want a wee dram of whisky?" he asked in his best Scottish accent.
"What?" Darcy shook her head. "No... no, no. How did we get to whisky?" The brunette sighed and eased the tension lines from her forehead.
Wilder rubbed the base of Darcy's spine. "Look, moms and dads, what Darcy is simply trying to say is that..."
"Wild and I are in love," Darcy stated bluntly.
The sound of glass shattering broke the stunned silence. Daisy McNeil gasped as she realized the wineglass had slipped from her grasp, but recovered her composure enough to glare at her daughter.
"Wilder McNeil, what have you done, young lady?"
Wilder raised her eyebrows and dropped her jaw in astonishment. "Me? What did I do?"
"Don't play dumb, Buttercup," her dad chimed in. "You've got a little bit of a reputation in this area you know. I remember sitting across from Reverend Chamberlin explaining why you and his daughter were caught half clothed in the vestments closet."
Wilder blushed furiously. "But Dad, that was years ago! I was still in high school."
Malcolm was about to say more when Darcy leapt to her lover's defence.
"Wait a second, Wilder didn't do anything. She hasn't..."
"...Done anything my daughter didn't want her to do," Christine Gardner assured her friends and neighbors. "She's quiet on the outside but Darcy has been in her share of trouble."
"And relationships!" Jeff added. "Good grief, if I had to hear one more story about Mr. Wrong I think I'd have gone crazy! Besides, she's older than Wilder, she should have been smarter than this."
Now Wilder's hackles rose. "Are you saying she's done something stupid? She hasn't, you know. She's a wonderful, sensitive and smart woman." She reached over and took Darcy's hand.
"She's that absolutely, but also plenty foolish when it comes to matters of the heart," Christine said sadly. She reached over and took Daisy's hand. "I'm so sorry, Daisy. I thought I'd raised her better than this."
"No, no, I'm sure it's been Wilder's hare-brained idea for these two to get involved. It sounds just like her, so I'm the one who should be sorry," Wilder's mom returned.
"No way! Darcy is clearly to blame here. I don't know how I'll be able to show my face down at the Chamber of Commerce meetings now," Jeff Gardner lamented. "I'm ruined, I tell you."
Wilder and Darcy could only sit and watch dumbfounded as their own parents disparaged their characters.
"Jesus, this is like something out of 'The Twilight Zone'," Wilder said to Darcy. "I don't know about you, but I'm out of here."
"Right behind you, Wild," Darcy agreed. "We don't need or deserve this." She took Wilder's hand and together they moved away from the strangers who had formerly been their parents. They took a few steps when applause broke out behind them. Turning back, they saw Malcolm McNeil come to his feet and applaud his three peers.
"Bravo! Professor Robinette would be proud!" Daisy, Jeff and Christine gave little bows and laughed when they spied the bewildered looks on their children's faces.
"Introduction to Drama, Central Marin Community College," Malcolm clarified. "We enrolled eight weeks ago. Next month we're helping put on A Streetcar named Desire. By the looks on your faces I'd say we're getting pretty good at this acting thing."
"You mean you were just pretending?" Darcy said incredulously.
"We, were acting dear" Christine said, "There is a difference. Oh, Daisy, the wineglass thing was inspired!"
"Thank you, Christine. I just remembered what the professor said about being 'in the moment' so I went with it."
"Wait a second!" Wilder interjected, shaking her head in confusion. "You mean to say this whole thing was an act? So...so how do you feel about Darcy and I being together?"
Malcolm walked over to his daughter, looked at her and then at Darcy. "Are you happy?" Exchanging shy glances, the younger women nodded. "Then we're happy," he concluded. He walked back to the other parents and they began discussing acting techniques and pre-production problems. They seemed wholly unconcerned that their daughters were in love.
"Wow," Darcy said, a smile working its way across her features. She looked over to her lover who was just as amazed at the parents' reactions.
"Yeah, wow," Wilder said in a quiet voice. "Hey, Beautiful, you want to take a walk with me?"
"Sure, where to?" Darcy asked.
"Remember when I said earlier I had an idea for us?" Darcy nodded at Wilder's question.
Retaining hold upon Wilder's hand, Darcy was willingly led to the side of the house, away from prying eyes. Wilder turned to her, once they were alone, and lightly pushed Darcy up against the wall of the house. She bore an unusual smile of which Darcy had never seen before and the executive wondered what was going on in the blonde's mind. If it was anything like what she had on her mind, they were in for some seriously hot fun this evening.
"I thought you had an idea for us?"
Wilder ran her fingertips over Darcy's shirt. "I do, but I have a question first."
"Did you mean it?"
Now Darcy was confused. She had absolutely no idea what Wilder was talking about. Her eyes flitted around the darkened sideway before asking; "Mean what?"
The barmaid's expression dropped. She looked away. "Oh nothing." Turning to leave, Darcy caught her arm, forcing her to look back. She could see Darcy's confusion. "I am... What you said earlier..."
Darcy searched her mind, trying to recall what she had said which seemed to have made an impression upon Wilder. "I said a few things, Wild. You're going to have to help me out here."
Feeling a momentary pang of nerves, Wilder brushed it aside. If she had learned anything in life it was that you never got what you wanted in life unless you took a chance. If there was one thing Wilder was willing to take a chance on, it was Darcy.
"Well..." Wilder smiled mischievously. "Back with our parents... you said we were lovers. Is that...I mean... do you feel that? Do you love me?" Her heart doubled its pace in anticipation. "I don't want to back you into a corner or make you say anything you don't feel. It is just that you know how I feel about you. I love you and always have ... but," Wilder stammered slightly. "I um... I was... I just wondered because of what you said..." Wilder looked around apprehensively.
Watching the nervous antics of her friend filled the executive with a warm glow. She smiled, cupping Wilder's cheeks in both hands. Blue eyes looked upon her in anticipation.
"Wild, of course I'm in love with you... ya numb-skull!"
Immense happiness exploded within Wilders heart yet her impish nature decided to play down her absolute elation. "Numb-skull? I can't believe you called me that!" Wilder feigned indignation. "At a moment like this... me declaring my heart, you insult me?" She attempted to stalk away but was captured by Darcy and pulled against the wall. As her back met cool brick, she was unable to keep the smile from her lips.
Darcy pushed herself into Wilder. "If I'm not mistaken, I was the one who just declared her heart and was made light of."
"Oh yeah!" Wilder wrapped her arms around Darcy. "Well I forgive you. And if you find a way to sneak up to your old bedroom, I'll find a way to... make it up to you."
With a smile, Darcy leaned into Wilder's lips. She brushed their noses together softly. "I do love you, Wild."
The blonde pulled her closer. "Love you too."
Their lips came together in a deep, passionate kiss. Hands began to wander as velvet tongues met and slid against each other seductively. A needing desire flared within Wilder's body and she grasped the back of Darcy's head, running her fingers through sun-tinted tresses roughly.
"Ahem!" A clearing of the throat informed Darcy and Wilder they were no longer alone. They separated, reluctantly, and turned to find their mothers standing by the garden gate.
Christine arched her eyebrows. "We'd like a quick word with you both, please."
In the den, Christine Gardner and Daisy McNeil took seats opposite their daughters who sat together on the comfortable brown leather couch.
Christine began the conversation. "I ...we just didn't want you girls to think we are taking your relationship lightly no matter what we said or did outside. You took us by surprise but, in a way, it wasn't unexpected either."
"You thought I was gay, Mom?" Darcy asked. Her mother smiled.
"No, I admit I didn't. That was the surprise part. The part that wasn't was the fact that you were in love with someone. I could hear it in your tone of voice when we talked. I saw it in your eyes when we had lunch in the City three weeks ago. You're a lot like me, you know, when it's love it's hard to hide. I just didn't know who. I think knowing your feelings helped me with the shock I felt when you told us. After that, we couldn't resist jerking your chain a little."
Darcy laughed hearing such an unfamiliar phrase come out of her mom's mouth. She sobered quickly and asked, "So, how do you really feel about this?"
" I'm a little torn right now. It's going to take me some time to adjust to the fact that my daughter is in love with another woman. Another woman, I might add, who I've known since she was a little girl. It's hard for me to see you both as anything but our little girls. I'm going to try though. I really will." She turned then to Wilder.
"Wilder, you've been a fixture in my house for so many years it feels like you're a part of my family already, but this is different. I hope you can see that this changes the light I see you in. You aren't the tomboy next door anymore who would come over to 'borrow a band-aid' to cover some new scrape she got from doing something she didn't want to tell her parents about. Now you're my daughter's.."
"Girlfriend?" Wilder offered. The word didn't seem to say enough about who they were to one another, but the vocabulary for their relationship seemed limited. Darcy nodded that the term was acceptable to her also.
"Girlfriend then," Christine continued. "My daughter has a girlfriend. It's a little mind-boggling. I wanted to cry at your wedding, Darcy, and baby-sit my grandkids. I guess I just wanted you to know that what Malcolm said outside is right. If you're happy, then we're happy. It's going to be an adjustment though so be patient with us, okay?"
Darcy left the couch and moved to her mom's side. She leaned forward and placed a soft kiss on her mother's cheek. "I love you, Mom. I know this has been a shock but how about this? I promise that if Wild and I get that far, you can still come to a wedding and someday maybe we could do something about that grandkid issue too."
Christine enfolded Darcy in her arms like she had done thousands of times before and Darcy knew at that moment that no matter what news she told her parents, that she would always be loved and accepted by them.
Wilder brushed a tear away as she watched the tender scene. She looked over at her own mother. "Mom?"
Daisy McNeil regarded her only daughter. "I remember what it was like, Wilder. The day you came to us and told us you were gay was quite unsettling. You were already having trouble feeling like you fit in with the other kids at school and your father and I worried that it would make you feel even more like an outsider. We were really concerned that you would move away from us, physically and maybe emotionally."
Wilder chuckled," I guess telling you 'I'm here, I'm queer, get used to it' at the dinner table wasn't the best way to break the news, huh?"
"Oh God, Wild, you didn't!" said Darcy who was now returning to her side.
"Yep, I did. I guess a semi-rebellious teenager doesn't really understand how to break news gently."
"I've had a lot more time to deal with the fact that you're gay," Daisy said. "I've had time to understand how some people can be judgemental and complete idiots when they learn you have a gay child. It ended a few friendships early on for Malcolm and I, but the friendship with the Gardners was never in doubt. That's what worries me a little I guess. Our children are in love. That might change things some."
"It might," Christine conceded. "It might make us even closer."
"Closer even than the time Jeff and Malcolm were in Phoenix on that golf trip and you and I stayed in the waiting room after Darcy's appendix ruptured?" Daisy asked.
"Good Lord, that was a mess, wasn't it?" Christine laughed.
"But it left such a cute, tiny scar right about..." Wilder stopped in mid-sentence, mortified at what she was saying and who she was saying it to.
The other three women in the room burst out laughing at the look of discomfort on Wilder's face.
"Don't worry, Christine, you'll get used to it," Daisy said to her friend as they rose to leave. " I suppose we should get back to Jeff and Malcolm. They're out back having another drink and congratulating themselves on how well they are handling the situation. Men."
"Listen, girls," Christine said to the younger women, "We just wanted you to know this is new territory for all of us so we're going to take it one day at a time. We all might make a mistake here or there but I think if we remember that we love each other, then things will turn out just fine. Now, why don't you two run along and try not to let anyone else stumble on that little scene that we did outside. Go ahead and show your affection, but try to stay outside of each other's clothes in public, please?"
"Gotcha," Wilder replied. "I tried to fend her off, but that Darce is..." She was unable to finish the thought as Darcy clamped a hand over her mouth.
The mothers laughed as they left. They could hear Christine ask Daisy, "You're sure I'll get used to that?" and more laughter.
Darcy removed her hand and replaced it with her lips. "I love you," she said as the kiss broke, "But you've got to watch that mouth."
"Just give me that first part again," Wilder requested.
"I love you."
"That's what I thought you said, Wilder sighed. "Just wanted to be sure. Now, lets go up to your room."
"Why? You know I'm sharing with my cousin Tilly."
"Didn't I tell you," Wilder said feigning innocence. "Cousin Tilly was sent to the liquor store on San Marcos Boulevard to get a few more bottles of wine. Bogus Valley Vineyards, 1993, I believe."
Darcy appeared confused. "But Wild, there is no liquor store on San Marcos Boulevard."
"You know that and I know that..."
"But Cousin Tilly doesn't! God, Wilder, you are diabolical!"
"I know," the barmaid beamed. "Great, isn't it? Now get up to that room. Your mother just said to watch what we did in public, she didn't say anything about in private!"
The two women raced to the stairs.
End of Part Two
To be concluded in Part Three
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