Disclaimers – See Part 1
Part 9 —
It was 6 pm in Vegas when Addy's plane landed. She picked up her car and programmed the GPS with the ranch's address. According to Garmin, she would be arriving at the ranch before dark. Good! Right on time to stop Karen from making the biggest mistake of her life. She was a woman on a mission. When Addy was focused, she was on target and there was no room for error. She would get there even if she had to walk, hitch a ride, or ride a horse! It didn't matter what time it was, if it was dark or not, she was getting there!
It was a warm summer night, and the drive was long and lonely. Under normal circumstances, Addy would not have undertaken that ride into the desert by herself, but this was not a normal circumstance. She had Karen on her mind and she needed rescuing, so she would have climbed mountains and swam rivers to get to her. It took her about three hours to get to the gates of the ranch. The last couple of miles were scary and dusty because the ranch was somewhere off the road. There were no more than twenty cars on the parking area, so she had no trouble parking. She got off and entered the reception area of the lodge. It was beautifully decorated in the western tradition.
She approached the desk and asked for Karen Larsen's room. The receptionist asked who she was and politely told her that, for privacy reasons, they were not authorized to disclose that information. Addy was tired from the trip, emotionally drained and now, to make matters worse, frustrated for not being able to locate Karen.
While standing there, looking helpless, a woman who was walking by stopped. “Sorry, I couldn't help overhearing, if you are looking for Karen, I just saw her walking out towards the stables.” “Thank you.” As she headed outside, Addy felt a bit of hope.
However, the possibility of an immediate face to face with Karen started her heart pumping in such way that she could feel her heart throbs in her throat. She made it to the stable area, and Karen was not where to be found. There were a couple of ranch hands piling hay inside a barn, a man handling a horse inside the stables and a small group of women coming towards the ranch house.
Addy was exhausted. What am I going to do now? God, I need to find her! As Addy turned around to head towards the ranch house, she saw the familiar figure. Her body half leaned on the fence. Her face looking to the remnants of the sun as it settled in the horizon painting the sky in a blackish red color.
Addy could not see her face, as she approached. “Karen?” As Karen turned, the number of emotions on her face were so many that Addy didn't know what to make of any of them, much less what to say. Oh God, Oh God, help me here!
Karen was in shock, astonished, unable to utter a word. She wanted to say something but words wouldn't come out, there were no words that could convey whatever she was thinking and feeling. Barely audible, still in a state of shock, she managed to say, “Addy, Wha… what are you doing here?” Then the torrent of questions seemed interminable and seemed to just pour out of her. She needed immediate answers, but her state of nervousness and the many emotions running through her were not allowing time for any replies.
“What's wrong? What happened? How did you get here? Are the kids okay? Is anything wrong with Luke? Is anything wrong with you?” While the persistent interrogation continued, she walked towards Addy. Karen was desperate. She kept thinking that something terrible had happened in Addy's life to bring her here, to look for her. Addy's silence made things worse. Her fears were making her heart beat as if it was about to pop out of her chest. “Please, say something!”
Addy was paralyzed. Seeing Karen had taken her to another dimension. Oh God! What do I tell her? Why am I here? What is this all about? How dare I do this? I have no right ! Karen noticed that Addy was in some kind of shock. She switched gears and tenderly held Addy's hands. Karen tried to calm down, and spoke in a very sweet voice. “Addy, talk to me baby, talk to me.” Addy reacted. She needed to let Karen know that nothing was wrong at home.
“Nothing's wrong, Ker. Everything is fine at home.” How do I tell her that I'm here just to mess with her life? “Please, don't hate me, Ker!”
“Why would I hate you?”
“Because I have no right to be here and meddle in your life. Oh, Ker, I hope that you find it in your heart to forgive me, I ….just want the best for you. I don't want anyone hurting you. You are too good, too precious…”
Karen ran her hands up and down Addy's arms. She massaged her upper arms as if trying to extract the answers from her. “Addy, who do you think its going to hurt me? What is this about? At this point, Karen was exasperated seeing the look of distress in the face of the woman she loved. “Tell me, you can tell me anything, baby, you know I love you, and there will be nothing to forgive!”
At that moment, Addy's eyes reddened and swelled with tears which began to run down her cheeks. She said she loves me! Karen had never said this in so many words. Karen was now holding her hands with such a grip that her knuckles were white. In a barely audible voice Addy spoke. “I couldn't let you go off with that woman. I don't know who she is, or if she really loves you, Ker, I don't want anyone hurting you. What if she doesn't love you like I…. I don't want anyone hurting you! I couldn't take it! I had to come and stop you! This is not fair to you, I really don't know…. ”
Karen became somewhat relaxed when she realized that there was no major disgrace happening with Addy's kids. Addy was obviously in a perturbed state of mind, and she was nervous and rambling. At the same time, Karen could not believe what she was hearing. Did I hear right? Am I missing something? Is she saying what I think she's saying? Does she know what she's saying? What is she saying?! Then, another wave of shock ran through her body leaving her speechless again as she realized what Addy was saying. She's here to ‘stop me from going off with another woman!' That's all that registered in Karen's mind. Could this be possible? Is this for real? Is this really happening?
Karen couldn't believe it. This was what she wanted. She wanted Addy to ask her not to throw herself at another woman, she wasn't sure of her reasons, but she was surely going to find out.
Addy thought that this meddling, for sure, was going to cause an irreparable riff on their friendship and began to walk away in tears, her nerves taking the best of her.
“Wait!” Karen ran towards her and held on to her arm. She needed to calm her down to talk to her.
“Where are you going? I'm not mad at you! How could I be mad at you when you've come all the way here for me?” Addy continued to walk still shaking from her nerves, wrapping her arms around herself to contain the tremors of her body.
“Wait! …” Karen ran towards her and grabbed her, this time she grabbed both arms. She turned her around and held her in place. She repeated her words. “I'm not mad at you, I can't be, I LOVE YOU, and she's not here!”
Reddened brown eyes and nose looked at her. “WHAT?!”
Karen repeated in a subdued tone. “She's not here, I came by myself.”
“Do you mean to tell me that she canceled on you at the last minute? How could she? Dios mio! Que es esto! What is going on?” Addy loosened up from Karen's grip and was walking back and forth, her hands raking her short hair and landing on her neck. Karen was having trouble understanding Addy's behavior again. Now she's mad at Susan for not being here?!
“She didn't cancel on me, Addy, I canceled on her.”
“When I left your office, I sat in the car for a while and I realized that it was all a mistake, so I called her and canceled.” Addy couldn't believe her ears.
“What happened? Why would you do that?”
Karen nodded and looked away. “It was they right thing to do. The whole thing was not right and would not have been fair to her or to me.”
“Why?” Addy was in such a state of mind that she didn't realize what she asked, or that she already knew the answer to her question.
Karen's eyes misted. “I can't be with someone when I'm in love with someone else. I'm not in love with her, I don't love her. I'm fucked up! You think your life's a mess because you don't love your husband…well my life is super fucked up…I'm dammed in love with a woman I cannot have!!”
Karen had an anguish look on her face, she sounded mad, sad, unbelieving what she had just said. She tried to make up for her indiscretion.
“It's not your fault, Addy. It's me. I allowed things to happen. I just set myself up for failure and now I can't live with it! I can't change how I feel, and I can't make me feel things I don't feel. Most definitely, I can't change the world or things as they are! I need time to cope, I guess. Susan would have been a diversion. It wouldn't have lasted. I had the plane tickets, I decided I needed to get away, so I got in the plane and left. You must be the one hating me now!”
Addy placed her hands in her mouth, wanting to contain the spasms on her face. She choked as her already reddened eyes swelled with tears. Her heart ached. Her emotions were taking the best of her. Her pain was such that she bent down having to lean against the fence so as not to fall. She was crying rivers of tears, she was shaking, she was falling, she was a mess. Karen put her arms around her waist and held her from the back to straighten her and keep her from dropping to the floor. Karen hugged her dearly from the back.
“Addy, don't cry, it's not your fault. I'm so sorry I said what I said!” Karen pulled her up and turned her around. She needed to look into those big, lovely brown eyes. Addy said nothing. All she saw was the agonizing painful look in Addy's face. Karen held her tight against her, not knowing what else to do and wanting to fix things, to love her, just to love her. Karen caressed her back as she whispered. “Addy, Addy, talk to me, please, talk to me.”
Karen thought that Addy was hurt because of what she said about being in love with a woman she could not have. The truth was that Addy was hurting because this woman Karen ‘could not have' wanted her, but could not have her either! She just couldn't tell her. She wanted to hug her and kiss her and tell her that she loved her more than anything on earth, but she couldn't! Her kids, Luke and an entire life stood between them. She didn't care about Luke, but her kids! How could she live with her kids maybe hating her for her choice! Addy's heart was in a knot.
Addy closed her eyes as she buried her face in Karen's shoulder. She couldn't contain the tears. Her tears were soaking Karen's shirt. This was too much. Karen gently pulled her out and cupped her face with both hands and barely, just barely, brushed Addy's tears with her lips. The action was so tender, so loving that Addy stopped crying, she could hardly breathe. She gasped. She was petrified. Karen's eyes were inundated with unshed tears also. Karen's lips came to Addy's eyes, and tenderly kissed them. First one, then the other. Karen's tears began to fall and her lips came naturally to Addy's, barely brushing them. Addy's lips were soft. Karen could feel her breath. Both women closed their eyes and froze. Both wanting and allowing the inevitable to happen.
As Karen's lips brushed Addy's, Addy's lips parted, and Karen not feeling rejected, pressed her lips against them with hunger until she felt the warmth, the sweetness, the softness of that mouth. The moment was indescribable. She had never wanted to kiss anyone in her life like the way she wanted to kiss this woman. She had never felt the hunger, the want, the desire and the love she was feeling at this very moment. Addy's lips felt like home to her. It was like arriving where you belonged, where you were wanted. It was like falling into an abyss of softness and pleasure. A place where all would be given and forgiven, a perfect place.
As the kiss increased in tension, Karen's tongue found Addy's. Addy did not back off. She was into the kiss, she wanted it. She wanted to kiss this woman and she wanted this woman to kiss her. This kiss felt good, it felt right. She could have kissed her forever and more. Addy thought she would pass out. Her knees were weak and her body was churning. As they kissed, they held each other tight. Time and the world seemed to have stopped. Karen panicked as she realized what she was doing. She dared not go any further, but at the same time she couldn't let go of her. This was sacred ground, this was her heaven . Oh God, how I love her! I'm afraid to even kiss her!
While still kissing, Addy's body began to tremble. She grabbed on to Karen. Karen felt Addy's body tense and shake. “Hold me, Ker, hold me… tight.” Addy didn't need to repeat her request. Before she even made the second request, Karen was holding her as if her very own life depended on it. Karen was sobbing in her state of panic. Addy placed her hands on Karen's abdomen and slid them to her sides and back. She grabbed on to Karen's shirt, making a fist ruffling and wrinkling the shirt in her hands. Addy buried her face in Karen's shoulder and held on to her. Karen could almost feel her fingernails clinging on to her sides and back, as the woman in her arms shook and trembled.
Karen was near panic. “I'm sorry, Addy, I shouldn't have kissed you, I crossed the line, please, forgive me!” She caressed the woman in her arms kneading every muscle in her back. The more she held her, the more Addy trembled. She was lost and in panic thinking that she had ruined everything with the kiss. She knew that the kiss had open a door beyond which was the unknown. She had opened a can of worms and the worms were loose everywhere and they weren't coming back!
There was no fix this, she screwed up. How could she rewind time, how would she explain, this awesome, hell of a kiss? Oh God what did I do? I've hurt her! I shouldn't have kissed her! Dam, dam, dam! Addy wouldn't let go of her, though. She held on to Karen. Karen returned the embrace instinctively. They hugged for what could have been two minutes or twenty. Karen didn't know what was going through Addy's head or how this kiss would set back their relationship.
Karen wished that a boulder would fall from the mountain and smash her, or a meteorite fall from the heavens and land on her, or maybe that there would be an earthquake and she would fall through a crack! But none of that happened. It appeared that she would live beyond this moment to face her crappy, shitty life.
Addy had been hanging on to Karen. “Addy, Are you okay?” “I'm okay.” She wasn't. She didn't want Karen to feel bad. She was confused and felt almost faint. Her head was still resting on Karen's shoulder, burying herself deeper into it. Still unable to look at Karen. Karen never let go of her for one minute. As far as Karen was concerned, Addy could have stayed there forever.
Karen was restless, though. Still trying to find Addy's face to look into it and find a clue as to what was happening, what were her feelings or thoughts, but as she was trying to look for Addy's face, Addy pulled away, turned around and started to walk away.
Addy was confused and overwhelmed. She didn't know what to say, what to do, even how she felt. She felt like she needed to run, to get away. She needed to get her bearings. She hated feeling so insecure, so lost. It was not like her to feel like that.
What the hell! “Where are you going?” Karen was baffled.
“What?” Karen ran after her, and yelled. “Wait!”
Addy kept walking faster. Karen caught up with her and again grabbed her by one arm. “You can't go home!” It's late, it's dark and it's a three hour trip to the airport. Plus, there are no planes leaving at these hours.”
“I'll make it.” Addy kept on walking.
“No you won't!” Karen stopped her again, and grabbed her by both arms. “Dam it Addy, you are not going anywhere tonight and that's that!”
Addy was surprised at Karen's tone. Karen had never spoken to her like that. But Addy knew that she had only done it out of concern. The truth was that, surprisingly, she didn't mind. She didn't like to be bossed around, but now that Karen had given this command, it didn't seem to matter. Addy looked into the green eyes and knew that Karen was right.
Addy didn't put up a fight. “Okay.” Addy was looking down, and away from Karen.
Karen was also astonished by the tone she had used in speaking to Addy, which was totally out of character for her. She was equally surprised by Addy's reaction of compliance, totally out of character for her also. Seeing Addy so confused, Karen decided to take control again.
Karen came close and placed her hands on Addy's forearms. “Addy, I don't understand what is happening here, but it's evident that a lot is going on and that we need to seat down and sort things out. Right now, all I know is that I can't and will not let you go, you are tired and very emotional. So, let's go inside and get you a room. You've had a long day and need some rest. Tomorrow we'll talk and decide what to do.”
Addy bit her lower lip and nodded.
As they walked towards the main building they were both quiet. Karen kept looking at Addy still incredulous that she was there, of what she had said and of the fact that Addy didn't put up a fight about staying. Instinctively, as if it was the everyday thing, Karen put her arm over Addy's shoulder, and Addy put her arm around Karen's waist and leaned into her shoulder. Karen held her tight and brought her closer to her. What the hell is all these? I can't believe I kissed her! I can't believe she let me! Wait! She kissed me back, didn't she?
As they walked, Addy stopped and asked. “Are you mad at me?
“Why would I be mad at you? Addy couldn't even look at her.
“For barging in here and meddling in your life.”
Karen chuckled. “Addy, you are here for me, because you care for me. Why in the world would I be mad at you for that? As a matter of fact, I'm glad you are here. If I had to choose, you would have been my first choice to be here!” Karen blushed. Shit, maybe I shouldn't have said that!
Addy smiled and continued to walk in silence again.
“Wait!” It was Karen who stopped walking now. “Are you mad at me?
Addy had a clueless look on her face. “Why would I be mad at you? I'm the intruder here!” Karen looked down to her feet and then back at her.
“For kissing you.” Addy looked up at those adorable green eyes.
“No.” She looked away. “It was a good kiss.” Karen's eyes sparkled like emeralds in the moonlit night, and a tiny smile appeared on her face. Addy knew that her comment would have that effect on Karen. She looked at Karen shyly, only to see that sweet smile and those gorgeous green eyes looking at her. A little embarrassed she looked down and went inside the building. Good?! Good doesn't begin to describe it! That was a hell of a kiss! It was awesome! Oh God, what's going on here? Could she be having feeling for me? Am I dreaming? Is this for real?
“My friend here needs a room, what do you have available?” Karen asked the desk clerk.
“I'm sorry, we are totally booked.”
“Well, then what is your nearest hotel?” Addy asked.
“The next nearest hotel is one hundred and twenty five miles north on the Interstate, I can call to check if they have any rooms available, would you like me to do it?
“One hundred and twenty five miles is too far, you can't drive that far at night all by yourself!” She turned to the clerk. “Thanks, I'll guess she'll be staying with me.”
She took Addy's bag. “Come on.” Addy followed her up the staircase and down the hallway. Karen was surprised she was still not getting any argument from Addy.
When they got to the room and they both entered. Once inside, Addy looked at the king size bed. Karen swallowed almost embarrassed.
Addy pointed to the bed. “Is this why you wanted to get another room for me?”
“Yeah, but I can sleep in the sofa. You take the bed.”
Addy tilted her head. “No way! I trust you, Ker.” I don't know if I trust myself!
Karen pursed her lips and smiled. “Addy this retreat is for lesbians. Everyone is going to think….”
“It's okay, Ker, I'll deal.”
“Listen, make yourself comfortable, clean up and then come down for some food. I'm going to go see if I can find Melanie. I think she needs to know that we have an extra person on board, okay?”
As she came down the stairs, she found Melanie talking to a couple. When the couple left, Melanie greeted her.
“What's up, pal?”
“There's been a development.”
“Oh, oh! Don't tell me Susan showed up here anyways?!”
“Nope, put on your therapist hat, you are going on overtime this weekend friend! I feel like I'm going to need a lot of help here.”
“What's going on?” Melanie sounded a bit alarmed. Karen was no one to ask for help. The truth was that Melanie was Karen's therapist because they were friends from college. Karen would have never gone to a therapist of her own free will. She only talked to Melanie out of friendship and because Melanie was good dragging information from her.
“Addy is here.”
“What?!!” Her eyes almost popped out of her sockets. Karen had to laugh at the therapist's loss of composure. With anyone else Melanie would keep a very professional subdued attitude, but she knew Karen well and they had been friends before she had become a therapist, so she couldn't help the expression of shock. She knew how Karen felt about Addy and the whole situation surrounding this impossible love. Aware of the seriousness of the situation, she immediately switched back to therapist mode. No kidding, this was serious.
“I guess that your response should give me some comfort. If this can shock you, I don't feel so bad about being so shocked myself. I don't know what's going on for sure.” Karen proceeded to briefly tell her the events of the evening.
“Karen, we don't know what's going on here. We don't know what brought her here. The most important thing for you tonight is to be cool. I mean she's here, she's emotional, she's under stress, she's vulnerable…Do not act on your feelings for her tonight, no matter what. If you do, there will be irreparable regrets, and damage. I cannot emphasize this enough. If there's anything going on with her, in terms of she having feelings for you, and I'm not saying that there is, it has to progress at her own pace. She might just very well be worried about you. No doubt about the fact that she cares for you. So, be careful, receptive, understanding, but remain in control all the time as hard as it may be.”
“Aye Captain! Don't worry, Mel, that's what I though to do anyways. The last thing I want is to hurt her. God help me! I convinced her to stay over night, but she'll probably want to leave tomorrow. I will probably leave with her. It's the least I could do, I think. Why did you say we don't know why she's here? She told me and I just told you.”
“I want to talk to her, ask her a few questions.”
Mel smiled. “Sometimes people do things and they don't rationalize the reasons behind their actions. Let me talk to her first, then I'll talk to you, if I need to.”
Melanie looked at her and said “It would be great if you could convince her to stay the weekend. That would give me an indirect chance to casually talk to her to check her emotional state.”
“Gee that would be great, but she knows this is a couple's retreat and I don't know how willing she would be to do it.” “She'll be coming to the dinning room in a bit maybe you can show up and invite her to stay since I paid for two and all…..what do you say?”
“You've got a deal. Here she comes.”
To be continued in Part 10
Return to the Academy