Disclaimers: This story belongs to me so I don't give permission for it to be posted somewhere else under a different title, change in names or storyline.
Sex: But of course! J
Note: There will likely be somewhat graphic violence in this story, as part of it takes place during war times.
If you'd like to tell me what a wonderful writer I am or that I royally suck, feel free at: XenaNut@hotmail.com .
Wayne , NE 1943
The morning sunlight drifted in through the gauze-like curtains covering the windows and right into Danni's sleeping face. Her brow furrowed as she was pulled into wakefulness. A soft groan rumbled in her throat as she turned from her side to her back, startled awake when she bumped into something.
Eyes opening, she was surprised to see Allison sitting on the side of her bed, an amused smile on her lips. “What are you doing in here?” she asked, voice sleepy.
“I came in to wake you up, but I think the sun did it for me. Robert is here and is ready to cut your hair.”
Butterfly wings of fear beat at Danni's stomach as realization dawned fully, pulling her completely into the waking world. “Oh,” was all she could manage.
“You can still turn back, you know,” Allison said gently, brushing a few strands of hair from Danni's face.
Danni stared at the ceiling for a long moment, tumbling her options around in her mind before finally she shook her head and looked at Allison. “No. I want to do this. I gotta do this.”
Robert Joelson was a sight to behold. He was Allison's personal hairstylist and one of a very few males that weren't barbers in their careers in hair and style. He was a reed-thin man with close-cropped hair and large, watchful eyes. He eyed Danni with something of amusement in those big eyes.
Danni sat in a chair, Robert standing behind her looking in the mirror that had been placed before them. “What would you like, doll?” he asked, voice soft-spoken and less-than-masculine.
“Um,” Danni said, looking at her long hair, which Robert had just brushed out to a dark shine. “Maybe Clark Gable?”
“Mmm! Good choice.” Robert gathered all of Danni's hair in one hand, scissors in the other. “You ready, doll?”
Danni took a deep breath and gave him a short nod. “Let's do it.”
Allison sat back, one shapely leg crossed over the other as she watched the transformation of Danni into Danny. In truth, other than Danni's unusual height, she wasn't sure if she could pull it off or not, but as she watched, she saw an incredibly handsome young man emerging from Robert's skillful hands. She watched as Robert showed Danni what kind of grease to use and how to apply it.
When Robert finished with her, Danni took a deep breath and studied herself in the mirror, both Robert and Allison standing behind her, heads cocked to the side in amusing affect as they assessed the work that had been done.
“I must say,” Allison said at length, “you're one handsome devil. Robert, you've outdone yourself.”
“I must agree,” he said, followed by a wistful sigh. “Well, I must be on my way, doll.” He turned and gave Allison a hug before extending the same to Danni. “Go give those Nazi bastards hell.”
Left alone as Allison walked Robert to the door where they stood and talked for several minutes, Danni studied herself unobserved. Her heart was pounding in her chest and trickles of mixed fear and excitement made her shiver. This was it, no going back now. She'd made her decision and the young man staring back at her in the mirror was proof of that.
“Your father came by this morning,” Allison said softly, startling Danni as she hadn't heard Allison approach. “He didn't believe me when I told him I hadn't seen you so he gave me this to give to you.” She held out her hand, Billy's gleaming dogtags dangling from a chain.
Danni stared at them for a long moment, almost moved to tears by her father's understanding gesture.
“He said he hoped Billy would keep you safe.”
“Thank you,” Danni whispered, taking the precious metal chips from the older woman. She held them in a closed fist for a long moment before turning a brave smile to Allison. “I'm sure he will.”
“Well, we've got a lot to talk about and get ready for before your train tomorrow morning.” Allison took Danni by the hand and led her through the massive house and to her own bedroom.
On Allison's large bed was an assortment of various papers, Allison explaining each one: train ticket and schedule: a mock testimonial from a Wayne, Nebraska doctor giving Daniel Felts a clean bill of health and finally a fake birth certificate for Daniel, rather than Danielle.
Danni's gaze swept over a folded pile of clothing, toiletries and a roll of gauze onto something that she couldn't wrap her mind around. It was a long, tan object connected to leather straps. “What on earth is that?” she asked, walking over to the object.
Allison grinned, walking over to it and picking it up. “You, my dear and innocent young Mr. Felts, will need something to help solidify your claims as such.” Allison could see Danni was still baffled so she stepped in front of the younger woman. She was amused at Danni's shocked expression as Allison quickly unbuttoned her trousers, the baggy material falling around Danni's ankles.
“What are you doing?” Danni whispered, her heart about to pound out of her chest.
“I'm giving you a wonderful gift for all those beautiful young ladies that will be falling all over you.”
Still not understanding – and admittedly excited by Allison's prophecy – she remained still, even as her undergarments were shoved down to lie with her pants.
Allison met Danni's wide-eyed gaze with a saucy smile. She grabbed the tethered object from the bed and moved in close to the stunning young woman, taking her time to strap the leather harness around slim hips, the tan object protruding obscenely from Danni's crotch.
“When Harv and I were in Paris years back, I picked one of these up from a fine leather worker there.” She stroked the soft leather as she spoke. “This is the finest quality phallus you can get your hands on.”
Danni looked down at herself, too stunned to put any logic into the use. “Okay.”
Allison knelt down and pulled up Danni's undergarment and pants, standing completely within Danni's personal space as she buttoned her up then moved behind her, taking hold of her hips as she maneuvered her in the direction of the stand-alone mirror in the corner.
“You'll have to be careful as this little fella wants to always stand at attention,” Allison smiled, still standing behind Danni and looking over her shoulder at the reflection. “See? Even though you've got baggy pants on, this little fella helps bring Daniel to life.” She pressed her body against Danni's back as she reached around her, running her hand over the younger woman's slightly-defined crotch.
Danni could hardly breathe. She was being inundated with sensations that were completely foreign to her from the feel of what Allison had called a phallus against her privates to Allison's body pressed against her to Allison's hand putting slight pressure on the phallus, which in turn put pressure against her flesh.
“You see, darling, when you get to California , you're going to find all those young, beautiful girls all wanting your attention. You'll need this,” she took the phallus in a gentle hold, “to give them what they want.”
“And what's that?” Danni asked, her voice hoarse from fear and slight panic.
Allison smiled, her hands leaving the phallus and running up Danni's torso to cup her breasts. “This is something else I want to give you before you go,” she said, her voice soft. She turned Danni around until she was facing her. “I want to teach you how to please a woman, Danni. You're gonna need it.”
“But I'm not-“
Allison silenced Danni's protests with a finger to her lips. “Yes you are. I understand you, darling.” With that, she pulled Danni down for a long, exploratory kiss.
Danni lay awake, her friend, boss and benefactor asleep in her arms. Though their naked bodies were entwined, Danni's mind was a million miles away. Her train was scheduled to leave in less than nine hours, taking her off to the destinations un-traveled and un-explored. She'd never been out of Wayne , let alone Nebraska . And, it was likely she'd be leaving the country she'd known since birth, nineteen years before.
She and Allison had spent hours together that afternoon and into the night. Danni had been taught all about not only being a woman, but also how to love a woman. She'd thought she was alone on God's green earth, alone in her love and attraction for women, but Allison had taught her that wasn't quite true. She still had no idea what that would mean for her future, but at least she'd had this one experience, this one day and night of peace and self-understanding. Everything from here on out was in God's hands.
Beyond a potential love life, Danni's thoughts zoomed to what might be in a war zone. Since the day she'd been told her big brother was dead, she had fantasized about holding a weapon and letting loose all her anger and frustration and grief on a bunch of Nazis. That said, what if it wasn't that simple? Was she volunteering herself for what essentially amounted to suicide? How would her parents handle losing both she and Billy?
Danni sighed, her brain so filled with disturbing questions and worries. She just hoped the her decisions would back up her desires and that she could find some sort of peace in all of this. Maybe even love. She winced internally: not likely. Who could possibly love a girl from Nebraska who just wanted to be all that her big brother wasn't allowed to be?
San Diego , late spring 1943
Kate walked down the long halls of her high school, noting – not for the first time – the lack of young men in her senior class. The only males walking the halls or filling the classrooms were teachers, though some of them had disappeared, too, and the younger students. Most of the men in her hometown had vanished, up and enlisted and now were either in boot camp or already overseas. It was nearly a daily occurrence to see a group of girls crying as news came of yet another young man who was coming back home in a box. The wall outside the principal's office was papered with either pictures or names of the fallen.
“Hey Kate!” Carol said, meeting Kate in the hall, books hugged to her chest. “Are you ready for the dance tomorrow night?”
Kate faltered, wishing she could just smile and nod, but it wasn't that easy. “I don't know how I'm going to get out of class tomorrow.”
Carol looked at her best friend, completely not getting why it was an issue. “Don't go to class,” she supplied, thinking that was simple as pie.
“Carol, you know it's not that easy with my parents.”
“Your mom usually shows up when – mid-morning?” Carol stopped them by stepping in front of Kate, blocking her path.
“Typically, yes,” Kate said, moving around her friend to continue on to her class. Carol quickly caught up.
“Okay, well there you go! Let's hit first and second period then cut out after.” They walked down the hall, Carol tossing flirting eyes to a group of younger boys who passed before turning her attention back to her friend. “Will that work?”
Kate sighed, fear tickling her spine. “I don't know, Carol,” she hedged, finally reaching the doorway to her next class. She turned to her friend, both stepping out of the way of students who tried to enter the classroom. “I just don't know.”
Disappointed, but understanding her friend's dilemma, Carol gave Kate a brave smile. “Think on it, okay? Let me know tomorrow and we can go from there, ‘k?”
Kate gave her a genuine smile, appreciate of the unusual consideration her friend was showing her. “Okay. See you later!”
“See you later!” Carol echoed, hurrying off into the crush of students washing by in the hall.
Kate walked into the house, finding her mother sitting at the kitchen table with a newspaper spread out before her. She looked upset, a handkerchief clutched in her hand and cup of tea forgotten.
“What's the matter, Mamma?” Kate asked as she set her books on the table and plopped down into a chair across from her mother.
Beth Adams sighed, wiping at her eyes. “Doug Riggins was killed last week in Italy .”
“Oh no,” Kate breathed, her hand coming up to her pounding heart. The Riggins' family had been their neighbors all of Kate's life. She and Doug weren't friends, but it was still a shock.
“I'd been hoping that once Doug returned perhaps the two of you could have forged some sort of relationship,” Beth explained, once again dabbing at her eyes.
Knowing that her mother was upset was the only thing that stopped Kate from rolling her eyes or getting angry. “Mamma, we didn't even really know each other.”
“That doesn't matter, Katherine. That happens over time.” Beth sighed, taking a dainty sip from her tea. “You young people have this crazy notion that marriage is supposed to be about love.” The bitterness was very apparent in Beth's tone. “It's about a good match and guaranteeing yourself and your children a good future.”
Kate was quiet for a long moment, her fingers absently tearing off a corner of the newspaper and playing with the scrap of paper. “What if I don't want to get married?” she asked at length, sparing a glance up to the disapproving face of her mother. “What if I want to go to college after I graduate next week. I just think there's more to life than getting married and having children.”
Elizabeth Adams sat back in her chair, eyes fixed on her daughter. “Who has been putting some nonsense thoughts in your head?” she asked, voice cold as she crossed her arms over her chest. “I knew that Hardy girl was bad for you.”
“Trust me, none of this came from Carol; she's about as boy crazy as you can get. I just think I want more for myself.”
“Well, I think is certainly the operative word here, now isn't it? You're a young girl and know nothing of real life, Katherine.” Beth pushed back from the table, effectively ending the conversation. “Dinner will be ready by six.”
Left alone, Kate sighed and stared out the French doors into the yard beyond. Her parents' house was situated on twenty acres, a veritable wonderland for a child. When she w as a child, she used to run through the fields of flowers her mother had planted, the small blonde girl getting lost in a sea of color and fragrance. It had been a long time since she'd done that, and as she sat at the table, she felt wistful, wishing she could go back to an earlier time, a simpler time. She wished she could go back to a time before the stresses of war put a strain on her father and all the people she knew. She also wished she could go back to an earlier time when her mother didn't pester her constantly to marry.
Kate sighed again, her chin resting in an upturned palm. She had considered asking her mother if she could go to the dance the following day, but from their conversation and her mother's unwavering views, she knew it would have ended in her mother essentially tying Kate to her bed to keep her from going. A lowly serviceman would never be good enough for Katherine Adams. Well, not good enough unless he was either the son of a prominent general or from a prominent family. Likely, she would be meeting neither. In fact, she was supposed to be meeting a young serviceman she'd been corresponding with for six months named George Hannigan, finally come back home after a year-long stint all over Europe.
Kate pushed up from the table and headed up to her bedroom. After all, she had to find the perfect dress for tomorrow's dance. Maybe she'd find her Prince Charming.
Danni sat in the front seat of her friend, Mike's car. Her palms were sweating, so she wiped them on the thighs of her uniform pants. Tonight she and Mike were dressed in their crackerjacks: white bellbottomed pants with black leather shoes. A white jumper with tar-flap collar with a black polyester neckerchief was added, as well as she held her “ Dixie cup” cap in her lap.
Mike, a sweet 18 year old from New York glanced over at his friend. “Hey, you okay there, buddy?” he asked. He and Danni had met the first day of boot camp, which seemed like a lifetime ago but was finally over, and had instantly bonded.
Danni glanced over at her friend, giving him a nod though she actually wanted to vomit.
“Man!” Mike laughed. “You'd think you never been ‘wit a girl before.” He glanced again at his friend, able to see the nerves radiating off him in waves. “Alright. I know what you need.”
Mike pulled his 1935 Dodge DU Coupe off into the parking lot of a grocer. He cut the engine then reached around to the small back part of the car and grabbed a stashed bottle of whiskey.
Danni watched, wondering what the heck her friend was doing. She saw him reach for something, bringing back a bottle of brown liquid. She felt her stomach turn as the last time they'd drank together, she'd gotten horribly drunk and horribly sick.
“No way, Mike.”
“Eh, ya got sick last time,” Mike said, his New York accent coming through in every word, despite his time spent in San Diego . “This'll calm ya nerves.” Mike poured a capful of the fiery liquid and handed it over to Danni. “Drink up, buddy.”
Danni took a deep breath then accepted the alcohol. She drank it down, grimacing to Mike's amusement at the harsh fire rushing down her throat. She watched as Mike shot his own capful then poured them each one more.
“You're gonna kill me,” Danni choked, again grimacing at her second capful.
Mike laughed. “Yeah, but at least you won't scare away the ladies tonight ‘wit your nerves. Man, such an amateur.”
Danni thought back to his time with Allison and blushed, very much able to feel the object pressed between her legs. “Amateur, no. Nervous, yes.”
“Don't be, man.” Mike replaced the cap onto the bottle and stowed it back behind the seat. He banged on the steering wheel a couple times as the liquid fire pulsed through his veins. “Woooo!” he whooped, shaking his head at the effect of the strong alcohol. “Let's do this!”
“Let's do this!” Danni echoed, more for show than because she believed it.
Twenty minutes later, Mike found a parking space for his Dodge then both sailors climbed out of the car. Head swimming, Danni stood in the parking lot, looking at the sea of other cars and people that talked and laughed as they made their way to the entrance of the squat brick building, lights penetrating the daylight. She could only imagine what it would look like once night fell.
“Ready?” Mike asked, stepping up beside Danni.
“Yep. Let's do it.”
Danni put on a brave face but as they neared the building, she felt her world teetering a bit, the whiskey going straight to her head.
“You alright, Chief?” Mike asked, thoroughly amused.
“I'll be okay,” Danni assured, a hand up as physical evidence of her words.
Mike looked at her, utterly disbelieving but in no place to dispute. “Alright.”
A brass band backed an attractive singer on one side of the room, the most popular tunes of the day filling the space. Beautiful women wandered around on the arms of uniformed men or in groups while other couples danced. In a corner of the room was a cash bar, offering alcohol as well as punch.
“Look at them lovely ladies,” Mike commented, a veritable feast for the hot-blooded man's eye.
“I hear that,” Danni agreed, her eyes scanning all the beautiful faces, her heart pounding loudly in her chest. She tried to fight the nervousness that tightened her guts. “I'll a, I'll be right back, Mike.”
“Yeah.” Danni gave Mike a brave smile then turned and hurried to find the restroom.
She found the small alcove where the two restroom doors were, separated by a drinking fountain. Her mouth feeling like cotton, Danni gulped down several mouthfuls of water then headed towards the bathroom on the left, completely on autopilot, as well as that shot of whiskey had her in a slight daze. She was about to pull the door open when she heard someone enter the alcove.
Realization dawned on Danni of what she was about to do too late as the young woman was already upon her. Danni stood frozen for a moment from being startled and fear but then it was simply because she couldn't move. The woman who stood before her was stunning, her blonde hair coifed perfectly and her green eyes wide in mutual surprise. The red and white dress she wore hugged her figure to perfection, making Danni's heart pound faster.
“I think you want that one,” the woman said with a smile, a slight nod indicating the other bathroom door.
Danni glanced over at the other door then swiped the white cap from her head, bangs falling into her eyes. She gave the beautiful young woman a shy smile then backed away and turning to grab the door handle. She needed to see the blonde woman one more time and spared her a glance before she quickly ducked inside the men's room, feeling as though she could throw up.
She leaned against the wall once inside, eyes closing as she tried to get her breathing under control and calmed down. Danni had dedicated herself to her mission once she was sent to the Great Lakes Naval Training Center near Chicago. After eight weeks of boot camp, Danni and Mike had been sent to San Diego to continue training until they were shipped out in six weeks. In all that time, this dance was only the second outing she'd attended and it scared the hell out of her.
Taking several deep breaths, she pushed away from the wall and decided she needed to be social. After all, they were on a countdown before shipping out and she needed to try and make the best of her time in California.
The music still played, Danni recognized the song as one of her favorites, I'll Be Seeing You . She placed her “Dixie cup” hat back on her head and made her way through the throng of fellow-revelers, trying to see through the crowd to find Mike. Eventually she spotted him standing with a small group of beautiful women, just as she suspected she would.
“Hey!” Mike said with a welcoming smile. “Ladies, this is my good buddy Danni. Danni, this is Esther, Rachel and her sister Louise.”
Danni smiled and nodded at each of the young ladies as they were introduced. Rachel made it clear she had her eye on the tall handsome man with stunning blue eyes. “Hi, Danni,” she said with a bright smile.
“Ma'am,” Danni said then turned to Mike. “I'm going to get something to drink.” She turned to the women. “Would you ladies like anything?”
Kate entered the ladies' room and immediately found a stall, her heart hammering in her chest as she latched the lock and leaned against the stall door. Though it had only been a moment in time, she knew she had seen the face of ultimate… beauty? It was a strange thing, but the man she'd just seen in the hall – though incredibly handsome – was far more than that. He had the face of an angel, striking in its every feature. Was it possible for a man to be beautiful? It had to be, because he was.
“George,” she whispered, eyes closed. “I'm here to meet up with George.”
A few moments later, and with a freshly-applied layer of lipstick, Kate left the bathroom and headed back towards where she'd last seen her friends. Though she forced herself to conjure up George Hannigan's image in her mind, her eyes were searching for someone else. She tried to be casual about it, but at one point she found herself standing at the center of the room and turning in a slow circle, trying to get a glimpse of those blue eyes again.
She spotted her friends and headed in that direction. A moment later, she spotted him. He was at the bar getting drinks. As Kate watched, he pulled a wallet out of his pocket and handed over a few bills then looked down at the five beverages the bartender placed before him. It was evident he was trying to figure out how he was going to carry them all.
Kate hurried over to him, her legs almost working without the express permission of her brain. “Can I help you with those?” she asked, trying not to let the desperation show in her voice.
Those haunting blue eyes met her own, at first filled with slight uncertainty, then filled with the smile that brushed his lips. “Thank you.”
Kate was surprised by his voice: so soft and calming. “Okay. My two hands are yours.”
Danni looked at the woman from the bathroom incident, at first fearing she'd come back to admonish her for her stupidity, but instead offered her help. Danni handed the beautiful blonde two of the glasses and managed the other three on her own.
“I think you got a bit over your head with all these,” Kate commented, simply for something to say.
Danni smiled with a nod. “I think you're right. It didn't occur to me I'd run out of hands until he put all these in front of me.”
Kate smiled, feeling so completely disarmed with this quiet, seemingly shy boy. “My name is Kate.”
“Danni.” Dannie stopped, intending to shake her hand, but realized yet again that would require more hands than he had. “Uh, sorry. Guess we can't be real polite when carrying nearly half-dozen drinks.”
Kate laughed at that, utterly charmed. “I suppose not.”
Danni gave her another smile, though she knew she looked like a goofy dork, it didn't matter. One final look into those penetrating green eyes and she got them headed back towards Mike and the girls.
“Here you are, ladies,” Danni announced, doling out the drinks as requested, Kate handing her two drinks to those indicated.
Mike was very surprised to see that not only had Danni brought back beverages for them but also a gorgeous young woman. He grinned at Danni. “You dog,” he muttered under his breath, just loud enough for Danni to hear.
Danni blushed profusely. “She offered to help,” she said softly, her stomach in knots as Kate exchanged a couple words with two of the girls.
“So,” Mike drawled, “you gonna make her ya girl now or what?”
Again, Danni found herself blushing. “No!” she hissed. “I just met her!”
Kate could hear the whispering behind her but wasn't entirely sure what was being said. She turned and faced the two sailors. “So, I'm Kate Adams,” she introduced to the man talking with Danni.
“Ah jeez, I'm being rude. Kate Adams, this is Michael Carr, Mike, Kate.”
“Good to meet ya, Kate,” Mike said, turning his charm down as he could tell his friend was completely into the beauty.
“There you are!”
The entire group turned to see Carol rush up to Kate. “George found us and is looking for you.” As if realizing for the first time that Kate had been talking to people, Carol looked up and scanned the five sets of eyes focused on her. “Hi!”
“Carol, these are my new friends.”
As Kate introduced the entire group one by one, Carol's gaze never left Mike. A goofy smile spread over her painted lips as she felt her heart thump to life. “I'm carol,” she said to him, though she'd just been introduced.
“Mike.” In a gesture of aged chivalry, Mike took Carol's hand and kissed the knuckles, his gaze never leaving hers.
Kate watched the interaction between her best friend and Danni's friend, utterly shocked. Carol was as boy crazy as boy crazy got, but one thing she never did was let one boy get in too far before she tossed him aside to move on to the next. Kate even suspected that Carol wasn't a virgin. This however, was completely out of character. From the surprised look on Danni's face, he must feel the same way about his friend.
Kate turned her attention back to Danni. “Guess I should go,” she said softly, her heart falling. The last thing she wanted to do was to go meet George Hannigan, unknown soldier. In truth, she'd only continued correspondence with him because Carol was into it and she felt it was the right thing to do.
“Okay,” Danni said, hiding her profound disappointment. “Thanks again for your help.”
“You're very welcome.” Kate gave her a shining smile then grabbed Carol by the hand and yanked her away from Mike.
Danni watched as the two women left their little group, and all she could think about was how much she wanted to follow. She hadn't been interested in Rachel from the start, but now as the brunette flirted with her even more, she felt even less of a connection than the non-existent one of a few moments ago. Her heart hurt. It was unexplainable and plainly crazy, but her heart hurt.
Putting on a brave face, Danni turned to the conversation, adding a false smile and a few words of interjected subject matter. All the while, her mind drifted to a blonde-haired, green-eyed beauty who was now across the room with her friend and this George fella.
Kate followed Carol back to their little space on earth, Helen coming into view as well as a couple young me in uniform that Kate didn't recognize. She walked into the small group with a welcoming smile, though the last place on earth she wanted to be was with this group. She desperately wanted to be back talking to Danni.
“George,” Carol began, walking up to a handsome enough man with short light brown hair and hard hazel eyes. He was dressed in full-dress Navy blues, his medals pinned proudly at his chest. “This is Kate. Kate, George Hannigan. He cam all the way from Italy to meet you.”
Kate looked at the young servicemen, admittedly impressed by the number of medals and insignia he wore. “Nice to finally meet you in person, George.”
George for his part was taken aback by the beauty who stood before him. Never would he have though he would have gotten so lucky! He and Kate Adams had been exchanging letters for quite some time, and her words had made his days far less dreary.
“Kate,” he said, the mere verbal mention of the name sending chills down his spine. Fighting for so many months in Europe had left him and all his men sorely lacking in female companionship and horribly lonely.
“Hello, George,” Kate said. She was of mixed emotions: in one way, it was truly a joy to meet the man that she'd tried to comfort and brighten his day for months, but at the same time, she had no interest in him outside those letters and comfort.
He studied her for a long moment, almost making Kate uncomfortable. “You are certainly far lovelier than your picture, which was very lovely.”
“Thank you, George,” she said quietly, a slight blush coloring her cheeks. “I appreciate your compliment.
Danni stood with Mike and the three women, though her focus was across the room. She sipped her drink, which had been spiked with some of Mike's whiskey, as had everyone's drinks. Danni sipped, grimacing at the taste as she studied the man Carol called George. He was handsome enough, she supposed, He was also Navy and was an LTJG, Lieutenant (junior grade).
“Looks like she got herself an officer,” Mike noted, standing next to his friend. He put an arm around Danni's shoulders. “Lots more fish in this sea, brother. Come on.” He leaned over and whispered in Danni's ear. “Rachel wants ya, man.”
Danni sighed, knowing full well that Mike was right. She downed the rest of her drink then turned to the grinning brunette. “Want to dance?”
Kate was whisked around the dance floor as the band played a lively tune. She had to admit, George was a pretty decent dancer and she was having fun. He held her hand tightly within his own as his other hand braced on her lower back, fingers pressing to lead her this way or that.
Out of breath, Kate was relieved when the song came to an end and she was led through the crowd to the bar.
“A whiskey for myself and something fruity and fun for the lady,” George told the bartender, who gave him a knowing smile. The officer turned to his dance partner. “I was wondering if we might see each other while I'm in town.” The bartender set their drinks on the bar next to them then collected the money George handed him. George turned back to Kate, handing her a pink-colored drink. “Here you are.”
“Thank you.” Kate took the drink and one sniff told her there was alcohol in it. She knew she had to be careful. She remembered the question George had put on the table. “I don't see why we couldn't spend a bit of time together. I'm quite busy right now preparing for graduation and then I start college in the fall.”
“What's your plan to study?” George asked, taking his own drink and sipping. Instantly he felt the burn down his throat and the warmth that spread from there.
“I'd like to study history,” Kate said, curious to what George's reaction would be to that. Most women went to college simply to find a husband; not her. She wanted to teach at a college someday herself.
“I see,” George said, disinterested. “Let's find somewhere to sit.”
“Sir?” a uniformed sailor said, giving Kate an apologetic nod before saluting to George, which George returned. “I've been sent to find you. Admiral Cooper wishes to see you, sir.”
George sighed but nodded. “Alright, thank you.” Left alone with Kate, George sighed. “I'm sorry but I have to go.”
“No, I understand.” Kate gave him a polite smile, secretly thrilled.
Danni followed Rachel through the throngs of people, the room beginning to fill more and more as it got later. Soon, she and the pretty brunette were outside, the early evening breeze a welcome change from the heat inside.
Rachel led them around the corner of the building where she fell back against the brick, her cheeks flushed from their dancing as well as the alcohol. “Oh my,” she breathed, hand pressed against an exaggeratedly heaving chest. She glanced at Danni, who stood nearby, her gaze speaking loudly for what she was willing to offer the handsome sailor.
Danni felt her heart flutter and her hormones kick in even as her palms began to sweat. She stayed where she was, one shoulder leaning against the brick building, as Rachel stepped up to her, one hand resting on Danni's upper chest, the fiery red of her fingernails catching a glint of a light on the outside of the building.
“You certainly do look handsome in your uniform, Danni,” Rachel murmured, her gaze and fingers resting on the black neckerchief, fingers stroking the material with intent. Her eyes met Danni's. “Real, real handsome.”
“Thank you.” Danni brought a hand up, gliding the backs of work-roughened fingers along Rachel's jaw. “You're an awfully pretty girl.”
Rachel beamed at the compliment. “What do you say we duck outta here?”
Danni was about to respond in the affirmative when she noticed that George guy hurry from the building, tugging keys from his pocket as he went. She watched as he got into a car then drove away. Danni's heart began to pound, but in a very different way than it was a moment before. If George had gone, did that mean Kate was left all alone in there? In her pickled brain, she had dazed thoughts of whether she'd rather leave with Rachel and likely have sex with her or would she rather stick around and see if she could get something from Kate?
She was saved from the drunken decision when Esther and Louise suddenly appeared. “Come on Rachel,” Louise called out. “We gotta book. Dad found out we're here!”
Rachel rolled her eyes in irritation. “Be there in a minute.” She turned to Danni, leaning up to place a quick kiss on her lips. “Next time, Danni.”
Danni watched the three women hurry to a car and pile in, then roar out of the parking lot. She fell back against the building, letting out a heavy sigh.
“Tough break, huh?” Mike said, stepping up beside her. He lit a cigarette, offering one to Danni, who refused it. “Good thing that other gorgeous dame is still in there, eh?”
Kate's head was spinning as she finished the pink drink. She had no idea what was in it, but it was strong. Carol laughed as she watched her friend try and dance with one of the soldiers. The dance came to an end and the supremely chivalrous soldier helped Kate back to her friends, holding her up as she staggered a bit.
“Thank you,” she muttered, falling into the chair he held for her.
The soldier smiled then tipped his cap to the three women before heading off to find a more sober dance partner.
Carol flopped into the chair next to Kate's and studied the flushed profile of her friend. “I'm kinda wondering if that George guy was trying to get you really drunk.”
Kate glared at her. “Whatever gave you that impression?”
“I don't know,” Carol laughed, “but me thinks maybe we should go home. I think you've had enough fun for one night.”
Kate nodded with a disappointed sigh, her last scan of the crowd not finding Danni. “Okay.
“I gotta use the restroom before we go,” Helen said, the three women gathering their purses and heading that way.
Danni stepped into the room, stretching her neck as she tried to see above the crowd, looking for the familiar blonde head. Unfortunately, there were a hundred blonde heads, but not one seemed to be who he was looking for. With a sad sigh, he turned to Mike, who stood behind him.
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