By KG MacGregor
"Im sorry Sandy and I spent so much time talking shop." Anna and Lily were headed home in the black sedan from having dinner with Sandy and Suzanne at their home. It was the first time the dark-haired woman had socialized with her lovers longtime friends.
"Oh, it wasnt a problem at all. I think your work is very interesting." Lauren and Sandy were going to court the next day to petition for Sofia and Roberto Esperanza to be removed from Marias care, and placed with their aunt in Culver City. Maria had not complied with the visitation order for Miguel, and there was growing evidence that the childrens abuser was actually Marias new boyfriend, Jose. The final impetus had been a call from Serena, asking Lily to help her get custody. Since she was already Marias attorney, she had referred the case to Lauren. "And its important. Im very proud of you and what you do."
"That means a lot to me, sweetheart." Lily immediately reddened with shame as her mind flashed back to the scene before Christmas when she had derided Annas work as inconsequential. She hoped her lover wasnt thinking of the same thing, as some things were best forgotten. "Im almost afraid to ask, but now that youve spent a little time with my friends, what do you think of them?"
"I think your friends are very nice, and its obvious that they think the world of you." Anna was especially fond of Sandy, and it appeared that she and Lily shared a unique friendship, reinforced by their working relationship. "Why were you afraid to ask?"
"Well, its just that Suzanne can be sort of abrasive at times," Lily said meekly. "It took Mom a while to get used to it. Shes really a sweet person, but she doesnt always come off that way."
Anna chuckled. Suzanne had cornered her in the kitchen and threatened to break off her arm and beat her with the bloody end if she hurt their little friend. "Yeah, she did sort of warn me that I should treat you well, which I intend to do, by the way. I mean I might have treated you well anyway, but she gave me a little added incentive," she teased.
They were nearing Lilys apartment. "Can you stay tonight?" The blonde was hungry for her lover, especially after the hot tub scene. She had told Anna that they usually had an after dinner soak, but she would beg off if that felt uncomfortable. On the contrary, the beautiful woman nearly stole Suzannes breath when she pulled off her clothes and climbed into the tub in all her glory. Eat your heart out, ladies. Shes mine.
"Sure, Id like that a lot."
Lily had momentarily forgotten her own question as her mind wandered back to the majestic sight of the tall woman standing to leave the tub, water cascading down her sinuous body. Once she realized that Anna had just agreed to stay the night, she reached across the console and laid her hand in the womans lap.
Anna loved their nights together. Making love was wonderful, of course, but their connection now went far beyond that. The soft words theyd share as they lay in one anothers arms seemed to close a circle with both of them inside. Her whole world went still each time she awakened to find herself entwined with the naked blonde. This was contentment like Anna had never known.
A whole corner of the VPs office at Premier Motors was devoted to putting the Chamber of Commerce records in order, as Anna was happily passing the baton to the incoming treasurer. It had been a busy year for the Chamber, and the car dealer had made quite an impression on the members with whom she had dealings. Several were pressing her to run for vice-president next year, which would mean an automatic ascension to president the following year. On the one hand, it would mean a lot of extra work, with meetings, committee work, and special events. On the other hand, community service was something she believed in, and it was good business.
"Anna, do you have a minute for your dad?" George poked his head into his daughters office.
"Im sorry, do you have an appointment?" Anna was feeling somewhat overwhelmed by all of the things she needed to finish by the end of the week. This was definitely cutting into her Lily Time.
"I can come back later if you want." It was almost comical seeing the distinguished man pout.
"No, silly. I always have time for you." Anna stood up to move a pile of paperwork from one of her extra chairs.
George sat down and cleared his throat, obviously waiting for his daughters undivided attention. He had a plan. "Ive been giving some thought lately to how I I tend to interfere sometimes in matters that really arent any of my business."
Where on earth did that come from? In her 32 years, Anna couldnt think of a time when her father had come to her with such an admission.
"Anyway, I think I may have jumped the gun a while back when you were going out with Steve French." Anna couldnt believe her ears. "I talked with Steve the other day. He really is a nice guy, and Im sorry if anything I said about him dissuaded you from seeing him again." George reasoned that if Anna just got back into dating, she would surely abandon this fixation with her attorney friend.
"Steve French?" A knot in her stomach told her this wasnt about the account manager at all, but about a certain blonde attorney.
"Yeah, hes really a very interesting fellow. You two probably have a lot in common. I mean, with both of you in sales and marketing and all. Sure, he drives a Jaguar, but well win him over in time." He winked at his daughter, but this time, his usual charm fell short. Way short.
"Im not really interested in Steve French, Dad." That might have been the understatement of the year. The guy still gave her the creeps.
"You should give it a chance, darling. He offered us tickets on Sunday to the skybox. I told him you and I would come together."
"Youre right, Dad ."
George let out of a sigh of relief. That was actually easier than he thought it would be.
"You do sometimes interfere in matters that arent really any of your business," she finished.
"I already have plans for Sunday." Lily Time. "Im sure David will be glad to go with you," she said coldly, turning back to her work.
George was taken aback by his daughters tone. There were plenty of times that she resisted his guidance, but never before so adamantly. "Anna, Im worried about you." He would try a different tack. "Ever since Scott left, youve stopped dating. Its like youve given up on finding someone to love." Actually, it was more like shed given up on men, but he wasnt going to voice that one.
Yep, this was definitely about Lily! Anna now saw clearly through her fathers charade, and was appalled at his obvious attempts to manipulate her. Truth be told, he had always done this, granting or withholding his approval as a way of bending her to his will. It was time, she thought, to lay her cards on the table. The womans voice was shaking as she began. "Dad, I think theres something you should know ." She stopped herself. She needed to have this conversation with her mother also. "I was wondering if I could stop by the house tonight, about 7:30. Would that be alright?"
George nodded grimly. He knew it was time to face this, and that his daughter was thinking the same thing. "Sure, Ill call your mother. Do you want to have dinner with us?"
No, we may not have much of an appetite after you hear what I have to say. "No, Ill probably eat dinner later."
When her father left her office, Anna crossed quickly and closed the door. She called Lily first at her office, then on her cell phone. Getting her lovers voicemail, she left a message. "Hi sweetheart. Listen, I need to go to my parents house after work tonight. Its time for us to have that talk." She knew Lily would know to which talk she referred. "I dont know how long it will take, but Ill come to your place when Im done. Love you."
Promptly at 7:30, the black sedan turned through the hedges of the Kaklis home in Beverly Hills. George met his daughter at the door and ushered her into the family room, where Martine sat waiting nervously for the fireworks to begin. Anna sat not on the offered sofa, but on the ottoman next to her mothers wingback chair. She could be closer to both of her parents this way.
"Ive been feeling like it was time that we talked about Lily," Anna started. A pin dropping at that moment would have been deafening, she thought. Martine looked at her and smiled softly, while her father wouldnt meet her eyes at all. Turning to her stepmother, she continued, "Dad stopped in my office today and told me that he was worried that Id given up on love. I want to assure both of you that that isnt true at all, because I have fallen in love. With Lily. She feels the same way about me, and I hope youll be seeing a lot of her in the future."
Martine reached out and placed her hand on her stepdaughters knee. "Im really glad to hear that, Anna. Lilys a wonderful person." Anna squeezed the womans hand and turned to her father, who stared numbly at his lap. As family moments go, this one was pretty uncomfortable.
Finally, George broke the silence. "Anna, I just dont think this is right. I think youre letting all of the emotions from what happened in the earthquake cloud your judgment."
The words were all too familiar. "Thats funny, Dad. Thats exactly what Scott said when I told him that I wanted a divorce. It pains me that both of you think Im so weak that Id give in to emotional moments."
"It isnt that I think youre weak at all. But sweetheart, did you ever consider that maybe Scott was right? I hated seeing you leave him. He was so good for you."
"I hated seeing you leave him." The woman cringed inwardly at those words. What about what I wanted? Reluctantly, Anna acknowledged that it was time to knock Scott off the pedestal her father had created for him. "I had never intended to tell you this because I know how much you both liked Scott. I divorced him because he fathered a child with another woman, the woman that he later married. I probably could have forgiven him for that, though it wouldnt have been easy. But I realized that I didnt want to work that hard for something that had never made either one of us really happy in the first place." She paused to let the words sink in. "I realize now that I didnt know what happiness was until I found Lily."
George was dismayed to hear of his son-in-laws infidelity. Still, he didnt want to see his daughter giving up on men just because of Scott had turned out to be a louse. "Anna, darling, why didnt you tell us this about Scott? We dont blame you at all for leaving him under those circumstances. But all men arent like that."
"Which circumstances, Dad? His betrayal or the fact that we werent happy?" No matter how he answered, Anna acknowledged a bitter truth. If her father was happy, that was really all that mattered to him. "I want you to be able to accept Lily as the person I love, as the person that makes me happy. But if you dont, it isnt going to change anything. I dont know where its all going to lead, but Lily and I are going to play this out." She looked for her fathers eyes, but he still refused to look up from his lap.
Anna stood and reached for her jacket, a grim look of resignation on her face. This was one of the most difficult moments of her life, and she knew her heart would break the moment she left the house. For now though, she was determined to stand her ground.
Martine got up and pulled her stepdaughter into a tight hug. "Im happy for you, sweetheart." The tall woman could have cried on the spot, but she wouldnt give her father the satisfaction of seeing anything he might construe as weakness. "Hell come around," she gestured with a nod of the head to George, speaking as though he werent even in the room. "Hes hard headed and selfish, but he loves you very much."
Fortunately, that much was true.
"Im sorry it was so hard for you, baby. Maybe your mothers right. Maybe hell come around." Lily comforted her lover, trailing her fingers under the shirt across the bare abdomen. It wasnt meant to be a sexual caress, just a way to keep contact while they shared their heavy emotions. Anna was still distraught about what had transpired earlier at her parents home. She had arrived about an hour earlier, eyes red and swollen, unable to talk. Lily sat with her in the darkened living room for long quiet minutes until the woman finally found her voice. When she had finished with her tale, there was nothing for Lily to do except to hold her.
"I meant what I said, Lily." Anna spoke again after a long silence. "I have to see where this will all go."
Her words were meant to be reassuring, but the blonde woman still was unable to accept that Anna could really let herself do this. "Darling, I know this is hard for you. If " Lily couldnt believe she was going to say this and mean it. "If its too hard, I understand. I wont ask you to give up your family." What was that old Indian proverb about setting free something you loved? Lily had always thought that hokey, but at this very moment, she understood just how much you needed to love someone to make such a deep sacrifice.
Anna couldnt believe her ears. "Youd really let me go?" she asked.
"Yes." And then I would die.
I would fight my own family for you, and youd just let me go? Had she been reading Lily wrong all along? Anna was ready to give this woman everything, but Lily didnt seem to want it. Abruptly extracting herself from the arms that held her, the tall woman stood and gathered her things as she moved toward the door. "I need somebody wholl fight for me, Lily." With that, she was gone.
Lily finally got itAnna was really in love with her. Real love, lasting love, not just filling a gap in their lives. The stoic woman was willing to forsake her own family to see if she and Lily could build something together that would last. Instead of embracing this offering from Anna, Lily had held back, protecting herself against the certainty that Anna would someday leave. The real Lily would have worn her heart on her sleeve and Anna would have had no doubts at all about where she stood. Fuck me. She needed to show Anna that she wanted her badly enough to fight for her. How would the real Lily do that?
Anna saw the X5 through her bedroom window when it pulled up. She debated simply not answering the door, doubting that Lily would use her key if it were clear that she wasnt welcome right now. Deciding instead that nothing could happen that would make her feel any worse, she made her way downstairs to answer the persistent bell. She needed to know where they stood.
Despite herself, the sight that greeted the dark-haired woman brought a smile to her face which she quickly covered with her hand. Standing on the doorstep was the love of her life, dressed in a short brown skirt with a ragged hemline and a matching sleeveless top. Across her chest was what appeared to be a series of coat hangers, spray-painted gold and twisted into curly-cues to cover her breasts. Boots and kneepads covered her legs, and her forearms sported black cardboard gauntlets that matched her arm bracers and shoulder pads.
"Who on earth are you supposed to be?" Anna was losing the battle with covering her smile. Her sparkling blue eyes had already given away her delight. Lily looked adorable.
The costumed blonde reached over her shoulder and extracted a sword made of cardboard and covered with aluminum foil. Its business end curved significantly to one side, only adding to the comical effect. In her other hand, she gripped a plate-sized ring, also covered with foil, but painted gold and black. "I am Lily, the Warrior Princess. I have come to fight for you."
"Get in here before somebody sees you and calls the police!"
Lily lowered her sword and stepped into the darkened foyer. The Halloween costume from a couple of years ago had had the desired effect. She had managed to get herself invited in. Now it was time to lay it all out there. "Anna, can I have my words back and tell you how I really feel?"
Anna walked to the foot of the steps, turning to take a seat on the third step. Lilys face was now illuminated by the light from the upstairs hallway. "How do you really feel?"
Lily hadnt practiced this. Somehow she just knew the right words would come out if she only spoke her heart. "I love you, so much that sometimes it just takes my breath away. When you tell me you love me, or when I wake up and find you in my arms, its almost surreal. I just cant believe that someone as wonderful as you would choose me." She walked forward and kneeled on the bottom step. "What I said earlier about not asking you to give up your family had nothing to do with what I really want from you. Because I want everything youll give me, Anna, absolutely everything. If you someday decide that you just want to be friends, then Ill want to be the best friend you have. If you want just to be lovers for now, then lovers well be." Okay, here goes. Please dont run away from me. "And if you ever decide that you want to be partners, then Ill promise myself to you for the rest of time."
The anxiety that Lily expected from within herself never surfaced at all, since Annas response didnt matter this time. What shed told the beautiful woman wasnt a question, as it had been with lovers in the past. It was a statement, and whatever Anna wanted wouldnt change a thing about what Lily felt. She was offering everything, and Anna could take whatever part she wanted.
Indeed, Anna did understand what Lily was saying. Her words about needing the woman to fight for her seemed silly now. All this time, shed been waiting for Lily to feel secure enough to move ahead, and the little blonde had just covered all that ground in one fell swoop. The tall woman shifted on the stairs to touch her lips to those of the green-eyed warrior. "Will you come upstairs and hold me tonight?"
Lily knew that Anna had a mental block about making love with her in this house. "Ill do whatever you want. If youd rather go back to my place, Ill bring you back in the morning."
"What, and miss seeing you drive home in that outfit in the light of day? Not a chance, Pygmy."
Lily noted the caller ID before slapping the answer button on the speaker phone. Reaching instead for the receiver, she kicked at the door to send it swinging shut. "Lilian Stuart. How may I be of service?" The last time she had answered "How may I service you?" and it turned out to be the service department at Premier Motors calling to schedule her 7,500 mile check-up. She was mortified, and only hoped that she would have the chance to tell Anna before one of the mechanics did.
"Oh, I can think of several ways. But for starters, I wanted to know if you could get off early today." Anna was working hard to contain her eagerness.
"Sure. I can come in a little early tomorrow. Im prepping for a court appearance tomorrow afternoon." Maria had asked her to help get her kids back from her sister, but Lily had convinced her to petition the judge instead for visitation. That, the attorney knew, was best for the kids until Maria broke things off with Jose. The Esperanza children were going to have a happy ending if it killed her!
"How soon can you leave?"
Lily glanced at the clock. 3:30. "How about 30 minutes? Where should I go?"
"Meet me at my house. I have something to show you."
Traffic was crawling at four, and Lily didnt make it to Bel Air until 5:15. Her beautiful lover met her in the drive and hopped into the passenger seat. At Annas direction, Lily wound through the back streets and side roads until they reached Brentwood, one of LAs most upscale suburbs. On a quiet street, they stopped in front of a beautiful two-story Spanish-style home, white with a multi-level red tile roof.
"So what do you think?"
"Wow! Its beautiful! Did Kim find this?"
Anna nodded excitedly. "Ive got the keys. Lets go take a look." She had seen the house yesterday and again this morning. Lily gasped when they entered the grand foyer. Stained glass above the door played colors all the way up the swirling staircase. Anna walked her lover through the house room by room. Downstairs, there was a small formal living room, a dining room, a family room with a cozy office off to the side, and an enormous kitchen with a breakfast nook. Both the family room and kitchen opened up onto a beautifully landscaped patio and yard. The pool featured dark blue concrete and Spanish tile, with an attached hot tub. Anna pointed out the two-car garage in the side yard. Upstairs, they found three bedrooms, including a large master suite. The suite and one of the bedrooms had balconies overlooking the pool. Lily had never seen such a beautiful home, and she really hoped Anna had decided to buy it.
"So what do you think?" Anna could already tell that Lily loved it.
"Are you kidding? Its wonderful. Are you going to buy it?" she asked excitedly.
"I put a contract on it this morning." Anna paused and watched the smile that started to form on her lovers face. "I wanted to ask you about it first, but it was set to go on the market today and I was afraid it would get snatched up."
"Well, you sure didnt need my help. I think its a smart move."
"Yeah, its a great house, but thats not why I wanted to ask you first." She took her lovers hand and brought it to her heart. "Will you live here with me?" she asked hopefully, locking blue eyes onto green.
Lilys stomach did that thing again. Not the fluttering and sinking thing it did when she was nervous or anticipating bad news. This was a fluttering and soaring. The same thing it did every time Anna whispered to her while they were making love.
Anna waited nervously as a long quiet moment passed. Lily seemed to be thinking about it. That was a good sign, wasnt it?
"I dont think Ive ever told you before, but I love it when you talk to me in bed."
Okaaay. It was kind of exciting to hear her lover say that, but Anna was certain that she had asked a different question.
"I know, youre probably wondering where that came from. Its just that when you talk to me while were touching each other, I get this giddy feeling in my stomach. Its a pretty powerful sensation. Its when I know how deeply I love you."
Okaaay. This was all good news. But what about my question?
"I just got that feeling again when you asked me to live with you. That stomach thing."
"So, will you?" Help me out. Im dying here.
"Oh yeah." With that, the Pygmy dragged the Amazon to the floor of the master bedroom for a proper christening of their new home.
The End. Really. Thanks for reading. firstname.lastname@example.org
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