(Part 7 of the Ordinary series)
by EvelynC © January 2005
Crash test dummy. Email me to rant about the story - email@example.com.
Luna Negra was playing on the stereo and Ella's hip swayed in time as she hummed along to a lively tune while busily moving about the kitchen. Steam was puffing from the pot of boiling potatoes and vegetable parts lay littered around the chopping board. She had promised Sally, Brian's wife, a potato salad for the barbeque.
She heard the key turn in the lock and Dee opened the door. Cleaning her hands on a towel, Ella skipped over to take her bag.
"Hi ya." She gave Dee a quick kiss.
"You're looking good, sweets." Dee smiled, "Did you have a nice time yesterday"
"Yes, we went to a new club with great music. I should take you sometime." Ella said from the kitchen. "Thanks for getting the parsley."
"Yum, smells good in here. What's for lunch?" Dee hugged Ella from behind, grinding her mound into her lush bottom.
Giggling, Ella slapped her arm, "Stop, I'm cooking." Turning around so she faced Dee, she crossed her wrists behind the dark head, "I could make some pasta if you're hungry, or if you'd like something else …" Ella switched off the stove. Lunch could wait.
"You smell nice, all musky and sexy." Ella sniffed Dee's neck. They started kissing. Ella took her time tracing her tongue inside Dee's mouth until Dee grabbed her bottom and walked them into the bedroom.
Half an hour later, Dee took a shower and Ella cooked lunch. They lounged around in their underwear, watching TV and cuddling when Dee's cell phone rang. She answered the call on the balcony.
When she returned, Ella said, "It's a shame you have to work this weekend."
"Yeah, but you know how it is." Dee said in a bored tone.
"You know that guy who brought me home on Thursday?" Ella began.
Dee looked at her and frowned, "What guy?"
"Jeremy, he works in my company. He saw I wasn't feeling well and drove me home."
"All the way here? Do you know this guy? You can't just bring strangers home." Dee was astonished by her girlfriend's naivete.
"Of course, I know him." Ella smacked Dee's firm stomach. "Anyway, he brought me to the club last night."
"With the other girls?"
"No, just him and me … it was nice to be able to talk without shouting over the music. You'll really like this place." She nodded.
"If you say so," Dee continued stroking Ella's shoulder.
"He wants to have lunch with me on Monday."
Dee sat up, "What's he up to?"
"Nothing. He's just a friend. He's always nice to me."
Snorting, Dee said, "Yeah, right."
"What do you mean by that?" Ella was now sitting up too. She was a little annoyed by Dee's presumption. "Can't I have my own male friends? Not everyone is out to score, you know."
"You're right, you're right," Dee held up her hands in pacification. "For all I know, he could be gay or married."
"He's neither." Ella crossed her arms over her chest.
"Well, as long as he doesn't try anything funny …"
The party was in full swing when they arrived at Brian and Sally's house. Kids were running everywhere and the noise from the back yard could be heard inside the house. Ella and Dee walked straight through and met Sally first. Dee went to the men who were grouped around the beer cooler and Ella stayed to give her hostess a hand. Brian waved from where he was manning the grill.
"Thanks for making the salad, El. The kids have been asking for it since Labour Day."
"My pleasure. The food smells great." Elle poured herself a glass of punch. "Dee loves a good barbeque."
"What are you vacation plans?" Sally asked.
"Well, she's been working very hard lately. The new client wants everything up and running by the first of January. Can you imagine the nightmare if the system broke down during the holidays? Anyway, we're planning a trip for a week or two later in the month."
"Brian did mention the new client, some shipping company. But he's managed to get his stuff done on schedule, which is why we can take the kids home to their grandparents for Christmas." Sally finished putting the salad into a big bowl. "Let's take this out."
Ella thought, I'll ask Brian if he can give Dee a hand at work.
Brian was in his element, happily shrouded in smoke from the grill, playing the chef. Ella brought him a beer.
"Hi, Brian. Merry Christmas."
"Hey, El. Glad you could make it." They kissed in greeting and then Brian proceeded to show off his new grill. Ella ferried the freshly cooked food over to the buffet table and chatted with him.
"I hear you're taking the kids home for the holidays."
"Yep, good timing too. My brother and his family will be there this year."
"Do you know if Dee will be able to finish her work this week? She's been working so hard I'm thinking of surprising her with a weekend away."
How could he answer that? "Ah, well …" Brian scrapped his grill, "will you look at that, this thing self cleans."
"Yes, this is a nice set." Ella fingered the tongs, "So, do you think she'll be done by next weekend?"
Brian scratched his head, "I don't know, El. You might have to play it by ear on this one. The client has been all over Dee." He looked her in the eye, "But as far as I know, we've been on schedule. She may be tying up loose ends."
Unnerved by his stare, Ella said, "Thanks, I'll see how it goes."
"Ella," he said quietly, "Like I said, the client has been all over Dee. She's pretty demanding but Dee is handling her well. They've been working long hours, on and off the site."
The hairs on her nape started to rise and Ella felt a shiver run up her spine, "Long hours together?"
Brian shrugged, "Sometimes."
They stared at each other, the growing disbelief in Ella's eyes warred with his pitying look. Brian was the first to look away. "I'm sorry, I shouldn't have said anything."
Ella looked at the grill, the meats around them, the grass, the sky, the children and finally, the group of men laughing with Dee, anywhere but at Brian and his sympathy. One of the men caught her eye but he quickly looked away. No one seemed to be watching her, as if they were deliberately ignoring her turmoil and would not share her shame. Not again, oh god, please, not again.
Suddenly, the yard seemed over crowded and noisy. The sizzling smell of charred meat made her want to gag. She was starting to hyperventilate.
"El, honey? Are you ok?" Dee had walked up on seeing her distress.
"I don't feel so good." Ella couldn't look at her girlfriend. The implication of Brian's revelation made Dee repellent but in her upset state, Dee was still her source of comfort.
"Is the headache back? We should see a doctor." Dee looked around for Sally.
"NO!" Ella fought to keep calm, "No doctor. I'll be fine. Could you please take me home, Dee?" She didn't wait for an answer but started walking out. Somewhere, her manners made her speak with her hostess before leaving.
I don't believe him, she chanted in her head even as she hurried to put as much distance between herself and Brian. I don't believe him.
Continued in part 8
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