Disclaimers in Part 1.
The Rose was written by Amanda McBroom and sung by Bette Midler.
Searching Part 4
Several hours later, June woke up to a cold, empty bed. She noticed that the clothes Adrienne had chosen were gone, as well as Adrienne’s boots. The sun’s deep golden rays indicated that she had slept longer than she planned.
June swung her feet around and sat up on the bed. She was still very much naked, but there was no chill. In fact, the sun was even hotter than the day before. A gentle breeze blew in, cooling the room.
June dressed quickly, and ran a hand through her short blonde hair. Rummaging through her dresser drawer, she pulled out a light floral summer dress. It seemed shorter on her than it was last time she wore it. That was nearly a year ago.
She stepped up next to her bookshelf and pulled out the one of her old journals. Ever since she learned to write, she often spent time recording her thoughts. When she returned home, she often would pull a journal at random and read an entry or two, to remind her of a different time and place.
June turned the volume over in her hand. On the front, in uneven handwriting was ‘The private thoughts of Juniper Ann McKenna. Keep out. This means you!’ She smiled, running her fingers over the shaky letters, thoughts drifting to her seventh birthday.
The bouncy seven year olds ran around the yard chasing each other. Juniper and Jenna had been born only a few weeks apart, and had been in separable since then.
“Juni, Jenna! Boys!” Abigale called, “Come on back, it’s time to open your presents!” Since the girls’ birthdays were so close, often the two families got together and celebrated at the same time.
“Yay!” the girls squealed and ran in the direction of Abigale’s voice.
Both girls sat on the birthday chair, squeezing in. They giggled, and whispered, as Abigale, and Jenna’s mother Diane handed each child a brightly wrapped gift. They took turns opening each present, and thanking the giver.
“This is from me,” Jenna said shyly, handing her best friend a smallish, brightly wrapped package.
June didn’t wait, and ripped the paper right off. It was a journal, her first one. Jenna had noticed that June loved to write when they were in school, so the small child saved her pennies and had a stack of writing paper bound at the local bindery.
“Oh, Jenna, thank you, thank you!” June gushed to her best friend, hugging her tightly.
Back in the present, June smiled at the old memory. She placed the journal back on the shelf, not yet ready to delve into other old recollections.
She put on a pair of sandals, and headed off to the markets, hoping to find Adrienne there.
With arms full, and tired feet June returned home with the items she would need on her next trip. She knew that she wouldn’t be staying home long, and in fact, she planned on leaving again tomorrow or the next day.
She plopped herself into her favorite booth, having yet to see a glimpse of her new friend and lover Adrienne. June wondered what the tall woman had been up to, but didn’t really worry. The marketplace wasn’t hard to find.
The blonde looked around the darkened room, still not seeing her Adrienne. She shrugged and with a sigh returned to her room.
“Hi,” The dark woman muttered as June came in the door. Adrienne was busy folding he clean clothes and packing the new things she bought. She didn’t turn around to greet June.
June’s face lit up at seeing the tall woman. “I see you found the market,” June replied, stating the obvious.
“You were right,” Adrienne answered, “They had just about all I needed. I can get the rest later.”
There was an uncomfortable silence.
“Why didn’t you wait for me?” June asked softly, her disappointment showing.
“You were asleep,” The dark woman answered offhandedly, “And I think I may leave sooner than planned.”
June’s face wrinkled in thought. “You were going to leave before I came back,” the blonde stated.
Adrienne shrugged. “I’m not used to being in one place for a long time.” In difference creeping into her voice.
“Oh,” June whispered, her heart in her throat. She sat down on her unmade bed.
Adrienne glanced at the forlorn looking woman, growing angry. Shit I gotta get outta here, thought the tall woman. June didn’t own her, and she certainly didn’t owe the blonde an explanation.
“Well, thanks,” Adrienne said, handing the blonde the clothes she borrowed, trying to rush out of there.
“That’s it? A thank you?” June responded, raising her voice. She stood now, her hands clenched into tight fists.
“Look, I didn’t promise you anything,” Adrienne hissed, her dark blue eyes flashing with anger.
“No, you didn’t,” the blonde stated, anger still evident in her voice.
Adrienne had enough and turned to leave. “Thanks again for the fuck,” She smirked.
Before either of them knew what was happening, June’s open palm connected solidly with Adrienne’s cheek.
“Get out,” June’s voice was low with rage. She was angry, but also crushed, though she vowed to never cry in front of the dark woman.
“With pleasure,” the tall woman spun, threw open the door, and stomped out.
June crumpled to the floor, tears overflowing her beautiful face.
Abigale peeked into her daughter’s room. She had heard the raised voices and came to investigate. She didn’t expect to see her daughter in a heap on the floor.
“Oh, Baby,” the blonde woman crooned, and she sat next to her daughter. She took the weeping woman in her arms and rocked her softly, crooning softly in June’s ear.
“What happened?” Abigale asked when June seemed to be calming down.
June sniffed, wiping away her tears. “I got my hopes up Momma,” the younger woman explained. “I thought that we… well that she would stay and…”
“Sssh,” Abigale ran her fingers through her daughter’s dark blonde hair.
“When people are alone… sometimes they seek comfort in another’s arms,” Abigale explained softly, “Sometimes the touch of another human hand is what we need for comfort. Sometimes we need it so desperately…and that’s ok, Baby.”
The two women held each other for several minutes. Abigale, relishing having her daughter so close again, June because nothing compares to your mother’s arms.
“Juniper, why don’t you come and… play for us?” Her mother asked. The blonde woman was a little hesitant asking, because June only played when the spirit moved her, and that wasn’t very often.
June looked up and smiled. “Ok,” She answered, “I have some new songs, I think you’ll like them a lot.”
June took her Mother’s hand as they walked down the hall. “I came across this music library on Long Island. They had volumes and volumes, Mom, I swear I’ve never seen some many pieces of sheet music in my life!” June prattled on, while her mother laughed at the younger one’s enthusiasm.
Abigale indicated that June should sit, while the piano was readied. Diane, behind the bar, placed a mug of homemade brew in front of her.
Adrienne stormed past the patrons, receiving a few curious looks, but most were either too interested in the company they were there with or the drink they were consuming.
Slamming the front door behind her, she cursed aloud. Her bike was no were to be seen.
“God damn it!” She yelled, kicking the porch railing.
“Whad that railin’ ever do to you?” A voice to her right asked.
She whirled around to see an elderly man. He was completely bald, though his eyebrows were stark white. Wrinkles adorned his weathered face, and sightless eyes stared past her. He was rocking slowly, creaking the porch boards beneath the chair.
“Do you know where my bike is?” She nearly growled.
“Can’t say as I do,” the old man answered, “But sit a spell, take a load off.” He indicated the chair across from him.
“I don’t have time for this, old man,” She answered, still quite angry.
“As I see it, you ain’t goin’ anywhere. Sit a spell,” He said, not affected at all by the woman’s emotion.
Huffing loudly, she plopped herself in the chair, unable to do anything else.
“People call me Seer, though I ain’t seen nothin’ in near 40 years,” He explained, and smiled at Adrienne.
“Look, I need my bike,” She said, now some what exasperated.
“Ain’t your bike you need right now,” The old man answered.
“What’s that supposed to me?” She retorted.
“It means you might just wana hear what I got to say,” He explained, as if it all made sense.
“Well hurry up about it,” She said, crowing her arms in front of her.
“Your Grandmom gave you better manners than that,” He said calmly.
“How do you know my Grandmom?”
“I told you, I’m called the Seer, I see things,” He answered as calmly as ever.
Adrienne narrowed her eyes. She didn’t know who this old fool was, but she was getting tired of talking in circles. She sighed loudly.
“I just want my bike,” She said, trying to remain in her seat. The old man was right, her Grandmom DID teach her better manners. She tried to take the edge out of her voice.
“Lovely lady,” He added, and smiled a toothless grin.
Adrienne just nodded. She loved her Grandmom. She remembered when she was a small child, the older woman would let her brush her long dark hair for hours. Adrienne was always secretly proud that she looked like the woman. The young Adrienne thought she was the prettiest woman in town.
“She say you’re not listenin’ to your heart,” He chuckled, “She want me to pop you upside the head for mouthin’ off.”
Adrienne looked puzzled. Her Grandmom always threatened her with that punishment, but the old woman never laid a finger on her granddaughter in anger.
“ADRIENNE LOIUSE NUSH! Get that potty mouth in this house right this minute!” Grandmom hollered, for the whole town to hear.
The eleven-year-old cringed. She knew she was in trouble when Grandmom used all three names.
“Coming,” She shouted back, though lead seemed to fill her shoes.
“I ought to pop you upside the head, girl!” Grandmom’s blue eyes flashed with anger.
Adrienne stood with her head lowered. She knew she’d made a mistake, but that Jenny Jordan just made her so mad!
“Did I hear you call that child a faggot, girl?” She asked more calmly than she felt.
Adrienne nodded. “Yes, Ma’am.”
“Addy, do you know what that word means?” Grandmom asked, kneeing down in front of Adrienne.
Adrienne shook her dark head. Grandmom sighed.
“Do you remember when I explained to you were babies came from?” the older woman asked.
Adrienne nodded and blushed.
“Well, sometimes people have different hearts. They don’t want to love a man or a woman. They want to love someone like themselves.” Grandmom explained.
Adrienne’s brow furled in puzzlement.
“Sometimes men love men, and women love women. But no matter who it is a person loves, it doesn’t matter. In this world, love is precious.”
Adrienne nodded at this. She understood now.
“The word faggot, that’s a slur for people who love someone like themselves,” Grandmom said softly, seeing Adrienne understood the magnitude of what she said.
“Now you go march back out there and apologize like I taught you,” the woman said, patting the properly chastised girl on the back.
Adrienne smiled at the memory, nearly forgetting the old man was there.
“I know you’re in a hurry, but I guarantee, you leave here, you be makin’ a big mistake,” He said, taking a long drink from the mug sitting next to him.
“What’s it to you?”
“Listen to what your Grandmom said, you know in your heart she’s right,” The man smiled again.
The window next to him was open, soft piano music drifted through, causing the Seer’s smile to grow even wider.
“She make me wana dance again with her music,” he stated, body swaying with a rhythm of its own.
Adrienne didn’t say anything, but she could see that June was the one playing the piano. The song was a fast one, and several couples were up, dancing in the middle of the floor. June wasn’t singing, but the song didn’t need her voice, it was rich enough already.
“If I was 60 years younger…” He paused, “I’d be runnin’ after that one.” He laughed aloud at this one.
“You’re not her type,” stated Adrienne, not amused.
“And you are?” asked Seer, turning his sightless eyes to the woman. “But she’s a beautiful one. Lights up faces where ever she goes.” He paused. “How’d it feel to be inside of her?” The man asked.
“That’s none of your business,” She snapped.
“It ain’t none of yours either,” He responded with another toothless grin.
Adrienne snorted her response. “I didn’t promise her anything. I wanted her, she wanted me. Can’t two people just fu… have sex?” She asked, remembering her manners, thought she had no idea why. Something about the crazy old man demanded he respect.
“She don’t give herself to just anybody, girl,” stated the old man, “In fact, she don’t give herself to anyone but you.”
Adrienne laughed but thee was no mirth in the sound. Though her anger has dissipated, she still didn’t know what was happening.
“That one don’t want promises, Addy.” The old man had peculiar look on his face, puzzled himself, as to where those words came from. “She just wants to know you,” he said softly.
“How do you know my name? Only my Grandmom calls me that.” The old man was crazy, but this conversation a getting a bit creepy.
“You march back in there and apologize like she taught you,” he said nodding, taking another long drink from his cup.
Adrienne could only blink at him in shock. How did this man know what her Grandmom said? How did he know about the fight? She squirmed in her seat, knowing what the man said was the truth. June didn’t deserve that kind of treatment.
“I’m gonna be seein’ her real soon,” he explained, “The Lord’s callin’ me back. She’s wavin’t you girl. Do her good. Now get in there,” he said, going back to rocking.
Adrienne stood in the doorway of the inn. The sun had decended past the mountain, but it was still light enough to see with out having to light all the lamps.
June was up on stage, sitting behind a grand piano, whose finish shined like the sun. The blonde flipped through music, and smiled as she found the right one.
Turning to the audience June said, “This one’s called ‘The Rose’, and it’s for you lovers out there.” June smiled as pairs of people, men and women, men and men, and women and women, took spots on the dance floor.
As she was turning back to her music, she noticed the lone figure standing defensively by the door. Green eyes looked shocked, but Adrienne quickly lost her aggressive stand and slide gracefully into a stool at the bar.
This time June sung and her voice seemed to hang in the air, and caress the people watching. Her voice was rich and powerful, and each person in the room was moved upon hearing it.
Some say love… it is a river,
That drowns, the tender reed.
Some say love… it is a razor,
That leaves your soul to bleed.
Some say love… it is a hunger,
An endless aching need.
I say love… it is a flower,
And you, it’s only seed.
June looked up, once again catching Adrienne’s eyes. The deep green her eyes had become, never left as she sang the next part.
It’s the heart, afraid of breaking,
That never… learns to dance.
It’s the dream, afraid of waking,
That never… takes the chance.
It’s the one… who won’t be taken,
That cannot seems to give.
And the soul… afraid of dyin’,
That never… learns to live.
Adrienne could see that June was singing this one for especially for her. The blonde’s eyes filled with tears again, but the song moved her.
When the night… has been too lonely,
And the road… has been too long,
And you think… that love is only,
For the lucky… and the strong,
Just remember… in the Winter,
Far beneath… the bitter snow,
Lies the seed… that with the sun’s love,
In the Spring… becomes the rose…
As the song ended, a hush filled the patrons. They always loved when June sang, but this song was particularly beautiful. They were in awe, and eventually applauded her. Whistles and cheers rang out as June stood and took a grateful bow.
June made her way through the crowd to where Adrienne sat. The dark woman didn’t have her defensive posture, but the blonde could easily see that she was uncomfortable.
“You’re still here,” June said, drinking from the mug in front of her, “I thought I told you to leave.” Green eyes looked to blue for an explanation.
“I can’t find my bike,” Adrienne explained, looking away.
“Oh, Josh probably took it around back,” the blonde said, “He’s the boy who served us today.” She nodded, as if that explained everything.
Adrienne nodded, and another uncomfortable silence followed. The tall woman looked down at her hands.
“Look,” She started, “I hurt you, and I’m sorry. I’m not very comfortable with people getting close to me.” Adrienne spoke so softly she nearly whispered.
June almost didn’t believe what she was hearing. Even though she didn’t know the tall woman that well, hearing her apologize made June realize that Adrienne was sincere.
June looked over at the taller woman, who fidgeted in her seat. “All right.” June looked away
Adrienne didn’t expect the other woman to actually forgive her, having been pretty rotten to her earlier. She reached out and touched June’s cheek, almost as if she was checking to see if the blonde was real.
“Will you stay the night?” ask June, meeting blue eyes again. She didn’t want to hope, but part of her wished the magnificent woman would stay.
“You are beautiful,” Adrienne said softly, fingers lingering on June’s cheek.
The smaller woman blushed and tried to look away, but Adrienne’s hand stopped her. The tall woman drew the other close, and kissed her sweetly on the cheek.
“If you’ll let me,” Adrienne whispered in June’s ear.
Let me know what you think, drop me a line at JenX
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