Disclaimer: original characters, inspired by hearing Barry Manilow's "Looks Like We Made" on the radio this morning. Brief quotes from the song. Time frame: mid-1970's.
Copyright © 2015 by JS Stephens. All Rights Reserved. Comments to email@example.com
Judy Lane brushed her long, sun streaked hair, looking at herself in the mirror. Only a month until I marry Roger she thought as she finished brushing the long, straight length, thank God for him. She leaned forward, applying eye shadow to bring out her hazel eyes, then brushing just the lightest touch of blush to enhance her sun kissed cheeks.
Roger compared her to Lindsey Wagner, which tickled her to no end. She had a guilty pleasure of watching "The Bionic Woman", but sometimes wishing the character would kick ass more readily and not be so wimpy. Angel would not have been wimpy, the small rebellious voice whispered. Judy shook her head, determined to forget her college friend. That was a mistake, she told herself sternly. Judy took a deep breath, rising from her makeup table to slide open her closet door, perusing her clothes for the perfect outfit for their date tonight. She finally decided on tan slacks with a white peasant style top, gold hoop earrings, and sandals. Just as she finished transferring everthing to her purse, the doorbell rang.
"Roger!" she sang out in delight as he swept her into his strong arms. They kissed tenderly, then he stepped back. "My baby," he said proudly, sweeping dark eyes up and down her toned body. "Come, we have reservations for dinner before the concert. I thought you'd enjoy a good steak dinner before we headed out."
"Oh, yes," she said, letter her gaze linger on her intended. Roger Billings was her same height, 5'10", so she had started wearing flats to minimize her height. He had dark curly hair, worn just over his ears, dark eyes, light skin, and a slim athletic build. They had met at the park two blocks at the jogging track, and had been inseparable since. "Let me just lock up," she said as he closed the door behind them.
Dinner was wonderful, steak and salad, a glass of wine, and now on to their guilty pleasure, a Barry Manilow concert. She had all of the albums he'd put out so far, and Roger admitted to having his greatest hits album, a birthday gift from his sister. They debated dessert, but decided it might take too long. Finally, they were seated in the amphitheater, waiting for the show to start.
The venue was full, so Judy was surprised that the two seats beside her were empty through the opening act. She gave a tiny sigh of relief, the chairs were quite close and it was so nice not to have her elbow jostled. But just before Barry took the stage, two women came sliding by. "Pardon us," the shorter one said as they passed. She and Roger half stood to give them more room. Judy slid back down, not paying much attention, miffed that she would have to share the elbow rest with a stranger. She glanced at the women, and her heart contracted painfully.
It was Angel Summers and another woman.
Angel of the thick black hair, the dark skin, the laughing brown eyes.
The woman who had held her heart until they both tore away from each other.
Judy took a deep breath, deciding to be pleasant, but distant, should Angel speak to her. Fortunately, the lights dimmed again as Barry Manilow strode out onto the stage to thunderous applause. She found herself cheering as he greeted the audience, then went to the piano to launch into his first round of hits. Judy was gratified to feel Roger's warm hand taking hers as she leaned against his shoulder, unable to keep from singing along with the maestro himself.
Having Roger at her side did not keep her from thinking about Angel, who was on her other side. Judy found herself glancing over from time to time, watching the woman paying subtle attention to her, like she did with Judy several years ago. The elbows nestled on the same arm rest, the slight pressure of knees touching, the quick glances. Judy kept tearing her attention away, concentrating on Roger and on Barry, who was pounding the piano with a rousing rendition of "New York City Rhythm". Roger was oblivious to Judy's divided attention, smiling as he kept her hand and enthusiastically sang along when Barry invited the audience to sing choruses with him.
Intermission came, and Judy quickly fled to the women's room. She managed to get into a stall, taking an extra few seconds to close her eyes and try to center herself, to find a bit of calm. Taking a deep, cleansing breath, she finished up and opened the door, nearly running into the woman with Angel. "Pardon me," the woman said in a high pitched voice. Judy nodded, side-stepping to thread her way to the sinks.
"Hey," she heard Angel's husky voice next to her, "fancy meeting you here."
Judy forced herself to smile. "Yes, I had no idea that Roger and I would run into you here."
"Roger? The skinny dude next to you?" Angel questioned, mischief dancing in her dark eyes.
"My fiance," she elaborated. "And your friend?"
Angel answered, "Gloria. We met a few months ago." Something flashed across her face before she smiled again as the warning chimes went off. "Guess we'd better get back to our seats. Good to see you, and best luck with Roger."
Judy nodded, gripping her purse. "Thank you," she managed before escaping the restroom.
The rest of the concert was a blur until the singer launched into "Looks Like We Made It". As Barry sang, memories of time with Angel flashed through her mind. Long rambling walks around campus, bumping into each other just for contact. Going to movies in the winter so they could hold hands under a carefully slung coat. Getting an apartment together and making explosive love in each bedroom and in the living room. The final weeks of their final semester, agreeing they should break up and go on to normal lives.
Looks like we made it
Left each other on the way to another love
Looks like we made it
Or I thought so until today
Until you were there, everywhere
And all I could taste was love the way we made it
Judy was aware that she had shifted, that her arm was brushing Angel's, feeling the familiar heat of the other woman next to her. Something made her turn and look, meeting Angel's dark, passionate eyes, lost in old feelings for a moment. Angel reached over with her other hand, stroking her arm once, smiling wistfully. Judy was almost overwhelmed with desire for her former friend - be honest - lover. The years fell away for a few seconds, then Gloria spoiled it by leaning against Angel's shoulder. Judy and Angel recoiled, the spell broken.
The concert came to a close, with the post-concert shuffle to stream out of the venue to the parking garage. Angel and Gloria were in front of Judy and Roger as they stumbled out into the warm night, Judy absently aware of Roger's arm around her shoulders as they walked. She was busy watching the two women, Gloria trying to walk close to Angel, but Angel pulling away. Lines from the song wafted through her mind, "Do you love him, as much as I love her? And will that love be strong when old feelings start to stir?" And she had no answer.
"Honey, we're at the car," Roger said, interrupting her thoughts. "Did you know that woman?" he asked, gesturing to Angel, who was across the row.
"She was a college roommate," Judy said, watching Angel unlock the car and usher Gloria in. Angel turned, and their eyes met. "I'll just say goodbye," she found herself saying as she strode over.
Angel turned, meeting her at the back of the car. "Hey, sorry if I made you uncomfortable," she said quietly, shoving her hands in her pockets, "congratulations. I hope he makes you happier than I could. It's hard being two women together, but looks like you're gonna make it."
"Are you happy with her?" Judy blurted out.
"Maybe," Angel said reflectively. Suddenly she smiled falsely. "But hey, you can live a normal life without me."
Time seemed to stand still for seconds as Judy fretted. Can I live a normal life with Roger? she suddenly wondered. She stared into Angel's warm dark eyes, then opened her arms without worrying, pulling Angel close. She could feel Angel's arms snake around her waist as she leaned her cheek against Angel's dark hair, closing her eyes and smelling the familiar shampoo. It felt so good, so right, so fitting for a moment, but she forced herself to step back. "Take care of yourself, Angel," she said quietly.
"I will, Judy," Angel promised.
Spell broken, Judy turned back to face her future.
It looked like she had made it.
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