By Mavis Applewater
Disclaimers: the story and characters are the sole possession of the author and may not be reproduced, posted or sold without the author's permission. So there! If for any reason real or imagined you are uncomfortable with or do not wish to read a story with graphic descriptions of two consenting adult women in a loving and sexual relationship do not read this story or anything else I have ever written. If for any reason it is illegal for you to view this material go away and do not return until it is no longer a crime.
Thanks to my beta reader Mary
As always this is for Heather
Portrait of Myself
I know what you are thinking. I shouldn't have started with a self portrait, but this is my story. My story is not as unconventional as I had always assumed it was. When I was all of nineteen I was going out with a guy who I thought that because he said he loved me and my parents liked him was the reason I was alive. He was only a gentleman around my parents, but when it was just the two of us it was all about him. I let him get away with it. Buy me cigarettes, drive me here, give me money, and sorry I missed your call but I was busy though you better be there when I call. The guy was a controlling ass. Now before you go assuming that I was just in the closet let me say it again, the guy was a controlling ass. Now if my sister who is straighter than straight dated him I would tell her to dump him.
He told me what to wear and how to act and I, for some unknown reason, put up with it. No matter how many times my co-workers at the crappy waitress job I had told me I could do better I defended this smuck. Only kicking him to the curb once. He, of course, responded by calling me constantly and hanging out at my job. Oh, and there was the threatening any guy I hung out with. Charming to say the least. I almost got fired. For some unknown reason I took him back and he quickly reverted back into his old habits.
Then he had the unmitigated gall to dump me when someone better came along. I was even crushed when I discovered he had been playing the field the entire time we were together. During this time I had finished school and gotten a good job. Still I endured his shenanigans. Then he made his untimely departure and I was devastated or so I thought. You have to understand that I didn't know that the person you think you are in love with at nineteen isn't going to be the person you are still in love with at twenty-nine.
Enter the ski trip offered by my company. I went even if I was to be sharing a room with a complete stranger. I needed to get away. I still didn't respect myself enough to understand that I was growing up and dumb ass didn't deserve me. Then I met my roommate Caroline. At this point I was over twenty-one. Well just barely, and my bunkmate was only slightly older than me.
I thought she was suave and sophisticated. Little did I know back then she was just a wet behind the ears pup much like myself. Moving along I just couldn't enjoy the trip. I was so upset by being dumped. I must have taken leave of my senses. Not stopping to think about the fact that I had been on again off again with this boy since I was a teenager. I tried calling dumb ass only to be completely blown off. I was hurt and retreated to my room. I started crying thinking my world had come to an end. Enter Caroline with a warm embrace and an understanding smile.
She found me in our room crying like a child. She was so sweet when she held me in her arms. She kissed the top of my head then my brow and then my lips. It was just a shy brushing, sweet and innocent or so I thought at the time. When she kissed my brow it felt good. Still I was clueless. Her kisses began to drift. It felt so natural at the time I didn't question what was happening.
Caroline's lips drifted to my cheek then faded to my jaw. My head instinctively fell back. I found myself stifling a moan from the feel of her lips grazing along my neck. I never stopped to think about what she was doing or why I enjoyed it so much. When I felt her lips once again greeting my own I eagerly accepted her invitation.
Parting my lips and greeting her tongue with my own I found my body reacting. She cupped my face in her hands deepening the sensual kiss. I felt my body melting against hers. My arms had somehow wrapped around her body drawing her closer. I have to confess Caroline was an amazing kisser. I was so captivated by what her lips were doing to me I failed to realize that her hands had moved. That was until I felt her fingers brushing against the swell of my breast.
My entire body shuddered with excitement. Thinking about it now I am amazed by the fact that not only was I making out with someone who was a virtual stranger, but a woman to boot. Up until that moment in time I had never even considered doing something so bold. Later I would attribute my actions to the extreme vulnerability I was experiencing at the time. The truth is it felt so damn good I couldn't have stopped what was happening.
Caroline gently lowered me down onto the bed. I willingly allowed her hands to wander. Soon my own hands were exploring. One of her hands slipped up and under my cumbersome sweater. Soon I was mirroring her actions amazed by the feel of her flesh tingling beneath my touch. I felt my hips swaying; my body arching against her touch. I felt adrift lost in the feel of her hands cupping my breasts.
For the first time in my young life my nipples were erect; my body humming with raw desire. Caroline kept me off balance with her kisses. I eagerly allowed her to undress me. I also enjoyed undressing her. There I was sprawled across the tiny bed completely exposed. Lying beside me was an equally naked Caroline. I must confess the sight of her naked form was nothing short of glorious.
I couldn't stop kissing her; our hands exploring one another's bodies. I was confused when her kisses began to drift lower, but it felt so good I brushed my concerns aside. Her lips and tongue blazed a very determined trail down my body. It felt so good my toes literally curled. Another first. My body was on fire just from feeling her long dark hair tickling my skin.
She nestled her body between my quivering thighs. Up until that moment neither of us had uttered a single sound. I was afraid to speak. If I spoke it would make it real or worse I would awaken from a very nice, albeit confusing, dream. When I felt her warm breath caressing my wetness I couldn't suppress the guttural moan that escaped me. I might have also praised Jesus. I can't quite be certain. She must have sensed my naivety. Caroline guided my legs over her shoulders.
She parted me with her fingers her breath still teasing me. I shivered from a mixture of fear and wanton desire. Somehow I managed to dismiss my fears giving over to the desire pulsating through my body. When her tongue first touched me my entire body screamed for release. With each stroke of her tongue I couldn't keep my body still.
Unlike my previous sexual encounters my body was not only alive it refused to be idle. Each time she touched me; my body thrust needing to feel more contact with Caroline. When she finally gave me what my body was screaming for I exploded. I had never experienced anything like it before. I mean it was the full parade complete with bells, whistles and a marching band. When I finally came down to earth I was all over her. I wanted to touch her, to make her feel everything I had felt. I must confess I fumbled at first, but somehow I figured out what to do.
For the remainder of the short trip I spent my days on the slopes and my nights in Caroline's bed. We never talked about things. Everything was unspoken before, during and after our tryst. I was still living under the delusional cloud that I was only curious. On the day I was leaving to head home Caroline made it clear that she was interested in seeing more of me. I was stunned. She actually wanted to date me. Now in my distorted corner of the universe I was straight.
I managed to ignore the fact that I had just experienced the best sexual encounter of my life. I mistakenly assumed that Caroline had preyed upon my vulnerability. I think it was then I realized that Caroline had no idea that the person I was crying over was a guy. In my infinite wisdom I decided to blow Caroline off. I wasn't cruel or mean I was just evasive enough for her to get the hint. Thankfully she worked in an office in another state so there was little to no chance of our paths crossing.
I went on with my life or so I thought. The stirrings began almost immediately. I ignored them for as long as I could muster. Then I gave in and began searching for places where I could meet women. I would cruise the bars, meet a woman, have fun and return to my quiet little life. No harm no foul. Yeah right. I managed to convince myself that having sex with women was something I liked to do every now and then. It certainly didn't make me gay. After all I usually had some man on my arm.
Let's be honest here; if I was as straight as I thought I was I would have invited my boyfriends along for the ride. Come on straight guys really like that stuff. I went on like that for about a year or so. I advanced at the company and kept thinking that I was going to meet the right guy. Then it happened I met the one. Or I thought she was the one.
The first time I met Gina I was positively smitten. I didn't realize this at the beginning. I simply thought she was great and what a good friend she was. It is only when I look back on things now that I realize I was completely captivated by her from the get go. Oh and I was completely convinced that she could walk on water. No really. Fine, not really, but darn close. Gina and I hung out together all of the time. Even when she confessed that she was gay I wasn't exactly forth coming about my trysts. Later one night after dinner and a couple pitchers of sangria I let it slip. She just nodded and smiled before explaining that she had suspected that it wasn't a foreign concept for me.
I loved hanging out with Gina and we were inseparable. Slowly I came to understand that I was completely gaga over her. Not only did I realize that I had fallen for her but I also realized it was the first time I had fallen in love. It was an earth shattering moment for me. It took time for me to bolster my courage and tell Gina. Secretly I was hoping that Gina would confess her feelings for me first.
I kept dreaming of the moment when the two of us confessed our feelings and rode off into the sunset together. Reality sucks sometimes. My hopes were crushed when I tried to make plans with Gina one Friday night. Imagine my horror when she confided that she had a date. I thought I had managed to hide my jealousy. Like she wouldn't be taken aback by my suddenly not speaking to her. Hey I told you I was delusional.
When she finally cornered me I lied saying that I had some stuff on my mind. We went on like before. Well almost like before with the notable exception of my snotty attitude especially whenever her new girlfriend was around. I just couldn't accept that she was in love with someone else. I had taken to crowding in on their private time. Oh, and the perfectly mature habit of calling her late at night and hanging up. Thank God this happened before caller ID was common place and stalking laws.
Honestly if anyone ever did to me what I did to poor Gina I'd be calling the cops. This went on for awhile until Gina finally had enough mostly because I was beginning to freak her out. That is when I did it. I told that I was in love with her. Then she did the one thing you never want to happen after you tell someone that you love them. She used the "F" word. That's right she told me what a good friend I was to her.
I snapped, bouncing between moping around and outrageously moody. No one and, I mean no one, could stand to be around me. Gina was the last hold out. Finally she informed me that she couldn't hang around with me anymore. I was hurt beyond belief. What hurt the most was when she told me that I really needed to examine my life. Somehow I was still clinging to the lie that even though I was in love with a woman I wasn't a lesbian.
Gina's accusation had thrown me for such a loop I immediately went into a full blown denial. I cut off all ties with her. Not a hard task since she along with everyone else was avoiding me. Then I transferred to another department. Also not a difficult achievement since, again, everyone was avoiding me.
I threw myself into working and many pints of Ben and Jerry's. I refused to accept there had been even the slightest kernel of truth to Gina's assumption. Time passed and after I dragged my pathetic ass out of my sugar coma I took a hard look at myself. I realized a couple of things about myself. First I was a complete freak show concerning Gina. Secondly I wasn't straight. I came out with a vengeance. Beginning my angry young dyke period.
The world and everyone in it was against me because I liked women. And everyone who wasn't a lesbian should kiss my ass. I entered the Lesbian world like a fire storm. The only good thing about this time in my life was I did finally realize that yes I'm gay. Everything else was crap. This included the long list of girlfriends who thought that all men should be banished to an island in the middle of nowhere.
I think my awakening came about when I realized that men weren't the scum of the earth. In fact there were many men I knew and enjoyed hanging out with. At that point in my life I was nearing thirty and found myself becoming centered. I spent almost thirty years trying to define myself with a label. I really didn't know who I was. All I knew for certain was that Ben and Jerry's rocked, I liked jazz music and I'm gay.
I still didn't know me. I spent time getting to know myself right down to admitting that I like cheesy sitcoms. I was still driven but not to the frightening extreme that had once ruled my life. I moved to another city, found a new job that I not only enjoyed but was successful at and just started living.
That is when I met her. And by her I am referring to my most recent relationship. I guess I should mention Hannah since if it hadn't been for her dalliances and our subsequent break up I wouldn't be facing my present quandary. I met Hannah and we hit it off right away. Long ago I had outgrown the need to move in with a lover two seconds after meeting her.
That being said Hannah and I met, started dating, and I mistakenly assumed both of us had fallen in love. That isn't the exact truth. We had been in love once . I'd like to think that even she can admit to that. After dating for about six months we found a nice apartment and moved in together. We had a good life together. In so many ways we were on our way to becoming a poster couple.
It never mattered to me if others viewed us as a poster couple. The only thing that mattered to me was that the both of us were happy. Sometime after our second anniversary things started to change. We weren't really happy anymore. Instead of taking delight in the day to day occurrences we seemed to be fighting a lot. I thought it was normal and worked very hard to change the sudden stress that fell upon us. The thing I was unaware of was that all of Hannah's relationships ended during the second year. Oh and before celebrating her second anniversary she had already met and slept with her next lover. None of Hannah's friends felt a need to clue me into that little defect with her personality until it was too late.
I was floored the day I discovered that she had actually been living with someone when she started dating me. What I found most astonishing was I didn't find out until the end of my relationship with Hannah. You'd think that someone over the past two years would have told me. And by someone I mean Hannah. Judy and Rhonda, a couple of Hannah's friends, had already began dropping hints to me about her past relationships. Over the past couple of months the hints were less and less vague.
You can probably guess what happened after our second year together. Hannah started working odd hours. She also started taking trips without me and with her new friend Jane. I spent far too many nights crying myself to sleep trying to understand what I was doing wrong. It happened just a few hours ago. She was late for dinner. Not an unusual event these days.
We dined together during which I tried to engage her in conversation. I had grown accustomed to her silence as it had been going on for months. Hannah's verbal skills had been limited to grunting. After dinner I cleaned up and she stomped off to the living room. I joined her and before I could ask her what was wrong she started speaking. I flinched when she uttered those dreaded words, â€˜We have to talk,' and by talk she meant she would do all the talking and I wasn't supposed to say anything.
Everything came out. I learned all about her past including that when we met she was involved with someone else. I guess I had suspected something all along. Still hearing her explaining things was mind numbing. When she finished she dropped the big one on me. The words I knew were coming.
Big surprise. She had met and fallen in love with another woman. Oh and it wasn't my fault. â€˜No kidding!' I tried to discuss the bombshell she had dropped. No it wasn't going to happen, she was leaving that night. In fact she already had a bag packed and was leaving right then and there and would be back for the rest of her things.
She seemed pleased that I didn't cause a scene. Silly girl. Her first mistake was assuming that I would put up with the load of crap she dumped in my lap. Her second mistake was not taking all of her belongings with her. I'm not a petty person. I really have grown up a lot since that ill fated ski trip. But I am human which is why I did manage to wait a full hour before I started pitching her belongings out of our fifth story window.
After I realized that I wasn't the first or the last lesbian to experience a relationship where the other woman believes that a lifetime is equivalent to twenty four months I went wild. Between my own stupidity and poor judgment I am more than ready to be on my own. I stood there sending her belongings crashing down on the street below vowing that next time I would listen to the little voice in my head. The same little voice that told me that whenever Hannah spoke of her past relationships something didn't add up. Or when I tried to get her to open up and she shut down. Or my personal favorite when the voice told me I was a fool if I thought Hannah and Jane were just friends.
Granted it was extremely immature to trash Hannah's belongings. I have to admit I found it very cathartic. Most of Hannah's precious belongings which she never let me touch had already met a horrible end. I was down to her treasured collection of CDs. Now as good as it feels to toss your cheating spouses stuff out a window, there is something you really should stop and think about. When throwing things out a fifth story window look first.
I held in my hand Hannah's collection of Gregorian Chants and hurled that sucker right out the window. I never expected to hear someone yelping in pain after I did it. In all my years of stumbling, bumbling and generally screwing up I had never maimed someone. Until tonight. I hung out the window praying that I hadn't just heard a horrified scream. I went pale when I spied you sprawled out on the sidewalk clutching your head.
I released a steady stream of curses while rushing down the stairwell. When I found you I almost threw up. You were covered with blood. Apparently the extremely thick jewel case whacked you in the head. I don't know if you know anything about head injuries but there is a lot of blood. Sadly I don't fair well with the sight of blood.
By some miracle I managed to pull myself together and help you. You were dazed and confused. Much like you are now. I know that you were completely unaware that I was the culprit who had wounded you. I tore off my shirt. Thankfully I was wearing a sports bra. I wrapped your bleeding head and hailed a taxi. We are on the way to the hospital. I hope that you can find it in your heart to forgive me.
"You can't understand what I am saying can you?" I wince watching her head bobbing up and down. "Man and just an hour ago I thought my life wasn't that out of the ordinary."
The Other Side
"May I use your phone?" I politely inquire despite the constant pounding in my head. "I seem to have misplaced my cell phone."
"I have it," she nervously explains jumping up from what I can only assume is her bed. I gasp with horror when I reach up to feel my head. I am sickened by the stubble and what I can only assume is bandage greeting my touch. "My God it is all true. The cab ride and the crazy woman telling me her life story."
"I'm afraid so," she sheepishly confesses entering the room holding a plastic bag with the initials MGH boldly printed across it. "I whacked you in the head with a very thick collection of Gregorian Chants. The doctors think you were more stunned than anything else. Here you go Jules." She adds handing me the bag which contains the few meager items I was carrying at the time of the assault.
"How do you know my name?"
"You did manage to tell the triage nurse at the ER last night," she wearily tries to explain.
"Why am I here?" I question still trying to piece together the events that led up to my waking up in a strange bed.
"Your name was easy after that you weren't very responsive," she expands. "I thought of going through the numbers in your cell in hopes of trying to find someone you could stay with."
"Why didn't you?" I pressed feeling the clouds finally lifting.
"Back when I was in college I had a really good friend who had lost a brother in a car accident," she prattles on. "To make a long story short. I know too late," she laughs. "She explained that the phone call from the hospital was the hardest. The ringing in the middle of the night, hello this is the hospital there has been an accident. I didn't want to subject your loved ones to that."
"Good point," I reluctantly concede digging through my belongings. It was logical and I do so need logic in my life. "What is your name?" I inquire clearing my throat.
"Verna Welch," she sheepishly offers fidgeting nervously at the end of the bed. "I'm not usually this much of a fruitcake. Well not completely, but after last night and all that blood. You get the point."
"I believe I did," I grumble sneering at my blouse when I extract it from the bag. My new silk blouse was covered with blood. Adding to my strife is that when I was blind sided by the thick CD I was on my way to meet a date. Now how am I going to explain this to Sandy? â€˜No, I didn't stand you up. On the way to our first date I was attacked by a rouge collection of Gregorian Chants?' I reach up feeling my injury once again. "Well at least I have proof," I mutter bitterly pondering if I look as bad as I think I do.
"Proof?" she questions.
"I stood someone up last night," I bitterly inform my quirky hostess. Honestly Verna seems nice enough. She did rush me to the hospital and took care of me afterward. Then again she is the one who cracked open my skull. "First date."
"No," she whines with a crestfallen look. "Well at least you'll have an interesting story to tell her. I just assuming that it is a woman. I couldn't help noticing the pink triangle tattooed on your shoulder when I put you to bed last night."
"How much did you see?" I squawk suddenly feeling violated. My hand flew to my shoulder in an effort to conceal the one rambunctious act I had committed in college.
"Nothing," she quickly asserted. "I couldn't let you sleep that hospital gown. That's it. I swear. You know what? I'll just let you make your phone call." She adds back-stepping out of the room.
"Wait!" I bellow. "Where am I?"
"My apartment. Well mine and my recently ex-lover's apartment," she grunts.
"Yes, Hannah," I drolly respond. "I caught the story. Most of it. I think. I meant the address. I need to call a friend to come get me."
"Oh right," she almost laughs before giving me the address. "Would you like some tea or something?"
"Sure. Why not?" I groan eager to be alone. Once I am alone I quickly called my roommate. She was excited to hear how my night went with Sandy since I failed to return home. "You're not going to believe this," I tersely begin.
"She told you all of this in the cab?" My roomie laughs. I am more than a little irritated that she would have the bad manners to find this funny.
"In graphic detail," I hiss my knees buckling slightly when I try to stand. "First she tries to kill me then she tells me her life story. What am I a magnet for every nut job in the city?"
"Well in her defense she wasn't trying to kill you," Caroline annoyingly points out. "She was trashing her cheating ex-lover's stuff. We've all had those moments. Except for you of course, who makes forty-seven lists as to why the relationship failed before parting as the best of friends."
"Hey I'm the injured party here," I spit out hobbling towards the dresser so I can see what I look like. "Oh God! They shaved my head."
"All of it?"
"No just a patch about two inches wide," I whimper looking at my pale reflection.
"That's not so bad," Caroline tries to reassure me.
"Not so bad?" I echo. "I'm going to be forced to wear a hat for months. I don't look good in hats."
"Sure you do," she snickers.
"Liar," I growl. "Now focus Caroline. I am in a crazy woman's apartment and I need you to come get me. Now would be good."
"Sure, sure," she offers. "Just give me the address."
I prattle off the address pausing before asking the question that had been plaguing me since I remembered the details of the previous evening. "Uhm, Caroline didn't you think that ski trip story sounded familiar?"
"Mildly," Caroline blandly responds. "It couldn't be the same person. The woman I told you about blew me off, but she was most definitely gay and my age. No way she was a twenty-one year old kid."
"How old were you then?" I curiously press.
"Uhm," she hesitates. "Well it was my first job out of college I was there about a year when it happened. Work. I would have been twenty-three maybe twenty-four. Wow, I didn't realize how young I was when that happened. What did you say her name was? Never mind I'll find out when she answers the door. I do so love surprises."
"You're a freak," I groan. "Just hurry up and get here."
I hang up and lean back. I try to recall the story Caroline had told me years ago. We had been sitting around one evening swapping war stories. Well she told her war stories; I really didn't have much to add to the conversation. Caroline had never been opposed to one night stands or having a fling. The only thing was that sometimes her cavalier attitude backfired. She had been on a company trip and met a woman who she had really hit it off with. Things went great until the trip was over. The other woman was cold and completely blew Caroline off.
"Weird," I mutter looking at the t-shirt I am wearing. I tried to remember the exact details of the story. It was long time ago when I had heard it. All I remember is that Caroline had been really hurt. I pick at the t-shirt realizing that I would have to wear it home. "I should have asked Caroline to bring me something to wear."
"The tea is ready," my hostess exclaims popping her head in the bedroom. "How do you take it?"
"Just a little cream and sugar please," I manage to request. "Thank you."
"No need to thank me," she blows out. "The fact that you haven't called the police is thanks enough."
"It was an accident," I wearily conclude hobbling back to the bed.
She stands there for a moment with a troubled look on her face. "I'll just get the tea," she finally offers before ducking out of the doorway.
"What a day," I sigh leaning back trying to get comfortable. My hostess returns and hands me the tea before quickly vanishing.
I must have fallen asleep because the next thing I noticing happening is my strange companion removing the now cold cup of tea from my hands. A loud buzzer echoes from the outer room. "That must be your friend," she whispers on her way out the room. I blink looking at the clock.
"No way," I groan. One of Caroline's many annoying habits is that she is never on time. My eyes widen fearfully when I hear shouting coming from the other room.
"How dare you!" A strange voice bellows.
"How dare I?" I hear Verna shout. "You freak. You cheat on me, leave me for another woman and expect me to just sit back wishing you well? No way. If you want your stuff it is down on the street."
"Oh goodie Hannah's here," I groan feeling thoroughly exasperated.
This is certainly not the way I had anticipated spending my Sunday morning. If all had gone well last evening right about now I would be seated at the kitchen table finishing the New York Times crossword puzzle while sipping on a freshly brewed cup of lemon tea. Then after waiting an appropriate amount of time I would ring Sandy. After thanking her for a lovely evening I would proceed to make plans for another engagement. That is the way I had planned on spending my Sunday morning. I had even scheduled it in my day planner.
Now I am in a strange bedroom listening to two people who just broke up arguing over who did what to whom. I try not to listen. I certainly won't take sides. There are two sides to every break up and frankly Verna has failed to make a positive impression. Well she did make one impression. Sadly that was on my head. "Oh dear," I sigh wearily noting that the conversation is becoming more and more heated.
"You drove me to her," I hear Hannah exclaim. "Jane is more woman than you'll ever be. This is all your fault."
"Now that was uncalled for," I mutter climbing off of the bed. I feel slightly relieved that this time I don't feel woozy. No matter what may or may not have transpired in their relationship I think it is extremely unfair, not to mention cruel, to suggest that your spouse drove you to sleep with another person.
"Destroying my stuff was petty," Hannah continues to bellow.
"Yes it was," Verna hisses. "But it felt good. Why didn't you tell me that I was the other woman when we started dating? What kind of person does that?"
I had to go with Verna on that one. She did have a right to know. "You wouldn't have understood," Hannah has the nerve to say.
"You mean I wouldn't have slept with you," Verna snaps.
â€˜Good one,' I silently agree stepping out into what I assume is the living room.
"Verna," Hannah angrily begins before noticing my presence. "Who the hell are you?"
"Shit," Verna moans burying her face in her hands.
I can't say that I blame her. Verna's life seems quirky enough without having a stranger witnessing her break up. I blow out a terse breath collecting my thoughts. "You know I'll just wait downstairs," I sputter eager to excuse myself from the situation.
"Jules, I am so sorry," Verna tearfully offers.
"Jules!" Hannah barks indignantly. "And just how long has this been going on? You brought another woman to our home?"
"Our home?" Verna gasps. "You walked out on me last night."
"So you bedded your whore?" Hannah demand. "I trusted you."
"Excuse me?" Verna chokes out seemingly ready to do battle.
For some unknown reason I suddenly feel protective of Verna. I know it is simply because this Hannah person is rude and obnoxious. Not to mention calling me a whore really doesn't sit well with me. "Hold on!" I shout raising my voice for perhaps the first time in my life. "Where do you get off? You left her. Who she does or does not keep company with is no longer your concern. You forfeited that right by walking out. And frankly I don't care for you language."
"Bitch," Hannah growls.
"Very clever," I groan at her lack of creativity. "Honestly what did you see in her?" I address Verna who is suddenly smiling.
"I have no idea," Verna shrugs. "This is not the person I thought I was living with."
"I should hope not," I assert.
"Hey!" Hannah fumes. "I want you out of here!"
"Me?" I almost laugh. "You are the one who isn't invited. In case you forgot you don't live here anymore. Now I suggest, no I insist, that you vacate the premises immediately. Does she have any belongings left?"
"Just a couple of CDs," Verna winces.
I cast a very stern look down at Verna who gulps in response. Hannah is still ranting and raving until she threatens to call the police. "Fine!" Verna volunteers.
"Uhm I am the police," I shyly confess.
"What?" They exclaim in unison.
"Oh boy," I grumble under my breath.
"A dyke cop," Hannah sneers. "Doesn't that just figure."
"Hey!" I bark looking at my slender form thinking I'm not the least bit butch.
"So what now are you going to have your cop friends bully me?" Hannah growls.
"You really are a freak," I groan. "I wasn't going to take sides but you are seriously annoying."
Well that just sparked a whole new feud. I shrank back listening to them exchanging nasty barbs until thankfully Hannah stormed out. Based on what I had overheard Verna was being truthful about who was to blame for the break up. Now we are standing in the middle of her living room in an awkward silence.
"So?" She begins her lips curling up with a curious expression. "You're a cop?"
"Yes," I begin shifting nervously. "Well, not in the way you think. I'm a computer forensic analyst for the state. So, yes I am a police officer in the sense that I work for the police and carry a badge, but I don't carry a gun or anything or arrest criminals. I just analyze data and evidence. I stay in the lab except for when I need to testify in court."
"Sounds very interesting," she encourages me.
"I think it is," I respond. "Most people become extremely bored when I talk about my work."
"Do you enjoy it?" She tenderly inquires.
"Immensely," I confirm.
"Then that is all that matters," she quickly surmises.
"What is it you do?" I question out of politeness.
"Did I leave that part out of my biography last evening?" She quips. "I'm the associate director of the human resources department for Sterner Shoes."
"Oh." I nod politely.
We just stand there, the silence once again looming over us. I jump when the buzzer sounds. "Crap I hope that isn't Hannah," Verna groans hitting the call button. "She just loves having the last word."
"I hope not," I whine the exhaustion is overwhelming me. "Maybe it is Caroline."
"Caroline?" She questions. "Did I tell you about, never mind of course I did. I can't believe how I just spilled my guts last night. Is Caroline your,"
"Roommate," I quickly cut her off. I stood there silently praying that my roommate having the same name as the first woman she slept with was just a bizarre coincidence.
There is a loud knock on the door. I am holding my breath waiting for her to answer it. I don't know which will be worse Hannah returning for a last hurrah or having my roommate step inside?
"Hi I'm here for Jules," I blew out a sigh of relief when I hear the causal tone Caroline is using. My relief vanishes when Caroline enters the tiny apartment her eyes bulging. Maybe I'm just imagining things since Verna has failed to react to Caroline.
"The doctor explained that the stitches need to be removed in two weeks," Verna explains handing Caroline the paperwork from the hospital. She pauses for a moment. A strange look crosses her face. "I'm sorry but is your last name Parenti?" She questions much to my horror.
"Yes," Caroline smirks. "It has been a long time. How are you Verna?"
"Knee deep in the middle of the twilight zone," Verna stammers. "I'm sorry. I'm well and you?"
"Good," Caroline beams turning towards me. Her smile quickly vanishes. "Oh my . . . I mean it doesn't look that bad."
"Don't lie to her," Verna guiltily whimpers. "I can't begin to apologize."
"It was an accident," I groan eager to make my departure and return to the realm of sanity. "Can we go?" I plead. I am thankful that Caroline just nods and doesn't try to chat up her old flame. "I'll get the shirt back to you." I add making my exit.
"Don't worry about it," Verna insists.
"Uhm, just one thing," I begin not understanding why I was bothering. "Can I make a suggestion?"
"Look before I try to act like Curt Shilling? Or better still don't throw things out the window?" She gulps.
"That too," I dryly respond. "I was going to say that it is none of my business, but I'd change the locks if I were you. Hannah doesn't seem to be a very stable person."
"No kidding," Verna grumbles.
"Oh the ex?" Caroline chimes in. I cast a hostile glare at Caroline who shrugs innocently.
"Oh man," Verna sighs.
"Take care of yourself," I politely offer before finally exiting the apartment.
"I can't believe that Sandy won't take my phone calls," I mutter entering the kitchen. Caroline just shrugs. "I feel terrible about what happened. I explained the situation to her and still she won't listen. Perhaps I should write her a letter?" It has been about a month since my ordeal. I am surprised by Sandy's reaction.
"Her loss," Caroline concludes looking up from the want ads in the paper. "Jules, think about it? There is only one acceptable excuse to stand someone up and you had it. On the way to meet her you were seriously injured and ended up in the emergency room. You called her before we reached the car. Granted her initially hanging up on you is understandable. Not believing you once you explained things isn't. I mean what the hell? She saw the stitches. Frankly if she is that put off about it I'd be worried that there is something wrong with her."
"I did stand her up," I argued silently agreeing with her assessment.
"Through no fault of your own," Caroline fussed. "I've been listening to this saga for weeks now. She is treating you like you did something wrong. Lose her number. You can't be that into the girl."
"At first," I try to explain. The truth is I'm just feeling guilty. "We did seem quite compatible on paper."
"Quite compatible on paper?" Caroline groans. "Who talks like that?"
"I do," I huff plopping down in the chair next to her.
"Do yourself and the rest of the world a favor stop making lists and live your life," she mutters before returning her attention back to the want ads.
"That night was such a mess," I grumble noting that she still isn't looking up. "At least my hair is beginning to grow back."
"Uh huh," she absently responds.
"I think you might be right about Sandy," I ramble on.
"You think?" She grunts.
I curl my lips in disdain while she continues to circle ads. "No luck?" I toss out.
"Not really," she sighs wearily casting the paper aside. "I do have an interview on Tuesday."
"Where?" I encourage.
"Sterner Shoes," she causally answers.
"Sterner Shoes?" I gulp with surprise. "Isn't that where?"
"Verna works," she shrugs. "She got me the interview."
"She what?" I sputter. "She got you the interview?"
"My God there is an echo in here," she wryly retorts. "Is that a problem? The poor girl feels terrible about what happened."
"You've spoken to her?" I am astonished by this turn of events.
"Yeah," she shrugs once again. "I wanted to clear the air between us so I got in touch with her. No big deal. You know when we finally exchanged stories I realized that I had blown the whole thing out of proportion."
"So what you're friends now?"
"More or less," she calmly supplies. "Why? She wanted to know how you were doing. She was too embarrassed to contact you directly. We got together for coffee a couple of times. Is this freaking you out?"
"You don't think that there is something wrong with her?" I bellow. "I have the scar to prove that she isn't normal."
"That was an accident," Caroline tries to reason with me. "You said so yourself. You should call her."
"What?" I am flabbergasted by her suggestion. "Why?"
"Because she feels like crap over what happened," Caroline stresses. "You know when you sit down and talk to her she's quasi-normal. A lot of the stuff she told you that night was exaggerated. She was freaking out."
"What about stalking that poor woman?" I exclaim.
"Gina," she corrects me. "Again when you sit down and have a normal conversation with her you'll find out that it wasn't that bad. She was rude to someone who didn't return her feelings. Back when she was starting to realize that she wasn't straight. For the record she didn't stalk her. Verna simply got a case of the drunken dialies a few times."
"That was it?"
"That was it," she confirms. "No hiding in the bushes. No cooking her pets. Just having too much to drink calling and hanging up when she realized what she was doing. Most of us have done it. Not you, of course, because you would never pencil in such a ludicrous act into your day planner. She's not crazy. You happened to meet her when she was under extreme emotional distress."
"Well it is understandable," I concede. "I guess. After meeting that Hannah person I can see that she wasn't in the right frame of mind that evening."
"Do you ever talk like a real person?"
"Do you never tire of picking on my idiosyncrasies?"
"No," she snickers gleefully. "Call her. You've been mentioning that you want to return her shirt. In fact you've been kind of obsessing about it."
"No I haven't," I try to argue secretly knowing that I had been thinking about it a great deal.
"Fine you haven't," she grunts. "Then why haven't you just mailed it back to her?"
"I didn't know what to say," I protest.
"In the note," I reason. "I can't very well return it without a note."
"Heaven forbid," she scoffs. "I think she'll understand. I swear when she isn't dealing with her ex-lover and someone she injured she's just like us. Well me. No one is like you."
"Caroline," I draw out slowly. "What about what happened on the ski trip? You told me that she was an insensitive ass."
"That is what I assumed," Caroline tried to clarify. "After finding out that the person she was crying over was a guy puts a whole new spin on things."
"Wait," I interject. "You knew she was trying to get over someone and you hit on her? What you found her crying in your room and you just pounced."
"No," Caroline feigned innocence. "I felt a connection."
"Apparently I was right," she beams. "After all we did end up naked together."
"You really are a pig," I groan.
"Whatever," she sneers. "Just call her."
"Why?" I repeat.
"Because you're a nice person," she reasons. "She'll probably needs to get out of her apartment. Hannah's making her life hell."
"That witch is still loitering about?" I gasp.
"Wow," Caroline gapes. "What gives?"
"Nothing," I quickly deny. "I just don't like Hannah. She failed to make a favorable impression. What has she been doing?"
"Half the time she is laying claim to everything left in the apartment. The other half of the time she is trying to bed Verna," Caroline explains giving me a curious look.
I am about to start ranting and raving about the serious defects in Hannah's personality but the way that Caroline is studying me gives me pause. I stand deciding that perhaps leaving the room will end the conversation. I feel uncomfortable and for some unknown reason a little guilty.
"Jules," she calls after me.
"Yes," I dryly retort despite the way my heart is hammering against my chest.
"Did you want Verna's number?" She questions in a cautioning tone.
"No," I quickly refuse. "You can tell her the next time you see her that there aren't any hard feelings."
"Okay," Caroline shrugs.
I turn eager to find refuge when suddenly my senses are clouded and I ask the question that has been nagging at me since this strange little chat began. "Are you dating her?"
"No," she is taken aback by my question. "Why would you think that?"
"Well, you being, well you, it isn't unheard of," I stammer out. "You did share a tryst once."
"A very long time ago," she laughs. "No the connection I thought I felt is long gone. We were kids back then. Plus it would bother you."
"Me?" I shriek horrified by her not so subtle innuendo. "I don't even know the girl."
"Right," she scoffs. "It wouldn't be your style to simply go with your emotions. You would need to do an in depth interview before analyzing things and make dozens of lists before coming to the conclusion that there is a mutual attraction. How did you ever lose your virginity? Oh wait never mind I remember the story. Celia who you painstakingly took your time getting to know before surmising that she would be an appropriate candidate. Very romantic."
"Romance doesn't exist," I argue not for the first time. "Being practical isn't a sin." She rolls her dark brown eyes disgusted by my sense of reason. "Look at you, me and Verna. All three of us have endured how many disastrous dates and relationships? Still all three of us have failed to find a compatible partner."
"Love isn't a math equation Cookie," she jests. "If your freakishly bizarre theories held any merit you wouldnâ€˜t be single."
I am dumbfounded. I am used to Caroline's misguided attitude that passion and lust should rule ones' life. Having her challenge my theories with logic is quite upsetting. Going against my normally composed nature I stomp out of the room.
"I hit a sore spot," I hear her chuckling before I slam my bedroom door shut.
The past month has been an exercise in lunacy. Hannah's constant flip-flopping on what is rightfully hers and what is mine is driving me crazy. Not to mention she doesn't understand why I find her lame attempts to bed me for one last hurrah completely insulting. "What a jerk," I hiss looking around at the boxes neatly stacked around what is about to become my former home. I really don't mind leaving this place behind. At one time it held nothing but happy memories. Those memories have been forever tarnished. I'll feel much better about things when I find a new place. Which is difficult. An affordable apartment in the city for one person is a fantasy. Man, I really need to get out tonight. Thank the heavens that Caroline suggested we get together for coffee. I was more than a little surprised when she informed me that Jules would be joining us. "What am I going to say to that poor woman?" I fearfully question. "Hey how's that head wound? Nah too obvious."
The buzzer chimes and I glance at my watch noting that they are exactly on time. Something Caroline has never done before. I hit the call button feeling mildly uneasy when I hear Jules greeting me. I open the door grimacing when I spy the Red Sox cap planted firmly on her head. I know why she is wearing it. The reason is because of the big gaping wound. Okay a little over the top but not that far off base. "Hi," I greet her nervously.
"Hello," she responds politely handing me my t-shirt. I can't resist furrowing my brow noticing how neatly pressed and folded the ratty old thing is.
"That wasn't necessary," I offer allowing her to enter what is still barely my home.
"What happened?" she squeaks after looking around my now sparse surroundings.
"Hannah," I grumble placing the shirt down. "I'd offer you a seat but as you can see my furniture seems to have vanished."
"Why did you?" she begins.
"I didn't," I cut her off. "We had been bickering over who owns what when she decided to swing by one morning when she knew I'd be at work. She cleaned me out. It sucks. I know we bought most of the stuff together still she could have been a tad more respectful."
"One would hope," she hisses. "Granted I understand that dividing up belongings you accumulated together is always painful, but to sneak in after she was the one who ended the relationship. Well it is just snotty."
"I think she is still pissed that I trashed most of her stuff," I explain. "Speaking of which. How is your head?"
"Oh, Uhm," she hesitates. "I'm fine."
"Yeah right," I laugh. "You know I am impressed. I injured you causing a great deal of blood loss. Then I spew out the most intimate details of my sorry life and you still find it in your heart to have coffee with me."
"Think nothing of it," she shyly responds.
"Speaking of which where is Caroline?" I question just now realizing that the quirky brunette is missing.
"Ah well you should know that Caroline may wear a watch, but I have serious doubts that she ever looks at it," she explains with a lilting laugh.
"I kind of noticed," I laugh along with her finding myself feeling suddenly at ease. "She was on time for her interview."
"No worries when it comes to work. She can be a professional. I think," she laughs.
"Don't tell her I said anything, but I heard good things about her interview," I confide in her grabbing up my coat. "I don't want to get her hopes up. They are only about half way through prospective candidates."
"I hope she gets it," she murmurs helping me on with my coat. "She's been so stressed with her unemployment running out and everything. Speaking of little Miss Tardy I'll call her and tell her to meet us at Dunster Street. If we wait for her to show up we'll end up spending all night here."
I turn to her stunned. "You are a remarkable woman, Jules."
"What?" She laughs nervously.
"The first time we met you ended up bleeding profusely," I try to explain. "Now you're being so nice, helping me on with my coat. Worrying about Caroline who I know for a fact is high maintenance."
I can't help smiling at the way she is blushing and shifting nervously. I don't know what it is but I find her shyness endearing. I grab my keys and lead her out of the apartment. She seems thankful for the reprieve. All in all I think that our coffee gathering tonight will be interesting.
For the life of me I don't understand how this happened. Verna is moving in. I know that what happened two short months ago was a crazy way to meet. What am I saying crazy doesn't even begin to describe it. Granted the three of us get along fairly well. Caroline was stressing about the bills. Even with her new job at Sterner Shoes her money is tight. She knows that come tax season she is going to take a major hit.
She was extremely reasonable when presenting the idea of adding another roommate to our current living situation. If both she and I cleared out the room we shared as office space we could easily include another person. I agreed since technically this was Caroline's place first and making the rent for the next couple of months was going to be a struggle for her. When she suggested Verna I was flabbergasted by her suggestion.
I don't understand my misgivings. Caroline was truthful; when Verna isn't hurling objects out the window she really is quite normal. Perhaps that is the problem. She isn't just normal she is really nice to be around. Caroline is correct that we need another roommate and the three of us get along so why not Verna who needs a new apartment? I guess my misgivings stem from my past living situations. Simply getting along with someone doesn't mean that you can live with them. I guess I will find out if Verna is as easy to get along with on a day-to-day basis. I tried to debate the subject with Caroline. I lost since for some unknown reason Caroline was suddenly organized and reasonable. I on the other hand had no valid objections.
"You never told me how you and Caroline ended up rooming together?" Verna inquires placing the last box of her meager belongings in her new bedroom.
"I was looking for a new place," I begin. "I had just ended a relationship with someone. I answered Caroline's ad. After interviewing her several times we seemed compatible."
"You really are organized," Verna chuckles.
"I told you," Caroline chimes in wiping her sweaty brow.
"The two of you make it sound like a bad thing," I pout.
"It is," Caroline taunts me.
"Don't listen to her," Verna chastises the annoying brunette.
"Fine," Caroline grunts. "I have to admit Jules' attention to detail did make her a prime candidate to move in. Are we done?"
"You're such a whiner," I grouse.
"Oh Jules you neglected to tell her why you needed an apartment so quickly," Caroline evilly snickers.
"Caroline," I sneer not eager to reveal the tragic details of my ill-fated relationship.
"You don't have to," Verna tenderly interjects.
I pause for a moment realizing that it might make Verna feel better about her current situation if I related the story. "Her name was Tandy," I ruefully begin. "In the beginning we did seem very compatible. Until I began to notice she was overly jealous. Not just jealous but disturbingly so. We weren't living together yet. We had discussed it, but I just felt it was much too early in the relationship. She, of course, interrupted my hesitation to mean that there was someone else. I came home from work one night and found her hiding in my closet shredding my things. When I asked her what was going on she explained that she was simply looking for something. She was so calm about it."
"Oh my God," Verna squeaks. "What did you do?"
"The only thing I could do," I grimly continued. "I hid in the bathroom and called someone I worked with. I was terrified."
"No small wonder," Verna shivers. "Good thing you work with cops."
"It was a life saver to say the least," I try to laugh it off. The truth is my brief relationship with Tandy still troubles me. The girl seemed completely normal when we started dating. How could I have missed the signs that trouble wasn't just looming on the horizon but would end up hiding in my closet.
It has been a couple of weeks since Verna moved in. I have to confess that my trepidation regarding the situation seems to have been misplaced. It is Sunday morning and I am only slightly annoyed when I enter the kitchen and find Verna sitting on the counter.
"Are you sure it is mine?" Caroline questions holding up some mystery item I can only assume she discovered in the refrigerator.
"Well I'm going to go out on limb here," Verna dryly begins smiling over at me. "Jules labels all of her leftovers with the date and contents and I don't keep leftovers. Despite my best intentions I never reheat anything. So yeah it is yours."
I peer over Caroline's shoulder grimacing at the fuzzy green blob that may or may not have been food at one point. "What is that?"
"We don't know," Verna supplies.
"Throw it out," I instruct Caroline who is still trying to smell the odd looking mass. "Do it now just in case it is toxic."
"The two of you are a riot," Caroline sneers tossing the unidentifiable mess into the trash. "Tell us dear Jules have you made a list of household chores yet?"
"Hey," Verna comes to my defense perhaps it is because of the crestfallen look I am sporting. "Having a schedule is a good idea. I endured a long list of roommates who didn't seem to know where we kept the dishwashing liquid or the trash barrel."
"So you and Caroline have roomed together before," I merrily quip.
"Funny," Caroline drones in response. "I clean, sometimes."
"Yes, once a year. Just before your birthday. I think you only do that to ensure I will buy you a gift," I snort indignantly. "I'll post the schedule later today."
"Now that's settled," Verna interjects before Caroline can say something snooty. "What are you two crazy gals up to today?"
"Date," Caroline causally answers.
"It is crappy out so I was just going to try to catch up on my reading," I offer secretly pleased that Caroline has a date. I had been worried that she might try something with our new roommate. Living with a couple was not what I had signed on for.
I've made that mistake before allowing a roommate to move their girlfriend in. Gay, straight or indifferent couples should only live with their children and when necessary family. Living with outside people just doesn't work. Couples need privacy, and a third party will eventually trample on that without even knowing it. Couples also fight, even the happiest of couples will have a spat now and then. It is the ones that don't that you hear about on the evening news.
It is human nature during a spat to try and form allies. Normally you go out with your friends without your spouse and vent. Everyone does it which is why when you break up with someone and get back together with them, your friends think your an idiot. Why wouldn't they? Honestly most of what they've heard is the bad stuff.
A built in third party sucks for the third party. Each of them will try to coerce you into taking their side of things. Suffice to say listening to Mary yelling at John for drinking out of the carton is not what I want to greet me when I come home from a long day at the lab.
I am a firm believer that when a couple has a disagreement 99.9% of the time there is two sides to the story. I use to believe that there was always two sides to the story until I met Hannah. Geez that woman was unnerving. Thank goodness Verna cut off all ties with her once she decided to move in with us. I was more than a little concerned that Caroline would try to rekindle something with Verna. If they ended up a couple it would make my life unbearable. If they only had a brief fling it would be even worse. Verna is on the rebound and Caroline well she can be a bit callous. The girl can be blind when it comes to matters of the heart. More times than I can count she has simply dismissed a woman's emotions. It is worse when Caroline cares. She has the most disturbing habit of not confessing her feelings until it is too late.
I don't know why I'm still worried about any of this. Verna doesn't seem ready to fall for Caroline's considerable charms again. And dear sweet Caroline seems to be seeking companionship elsewhere. It appears that our new living arrangement is going to work out. Of course I am opportunistic since Verna has on more than one occasion acted as a much needed buffer. I really enjoy Caroline's company. I always have. Yet at times that smart mouth of hers is off and running before she can stop and think that I do have feelings. It is kind of nice to have someone come to my defense.
"Hey," I greet Caroline who is playing on her computer which is now stored in her bedroom.
"Hey yourself," she absently greets me.
"Getting used to having all of your stuff crammed in here?" I question wondering if Caroline even notices. Her room is never clean unless she is planning on entertaining her latest flame.
"I'm sorry about that," she murmurs looking up at me. "The money was just getting so tight."
"That isn't why you wanted her to move in," I wryly correct her.
"What?" She waves off my comment.
"We could have survived the recent economic strains you are facing," I scold her. "You asked her to move in to help her. Face it sometimes you're a nice person."
"Don't be ridiculous," she tries to argue suddenly looking completely embarrassed. "And hush up about it. I don't want to ruin my reputation."
"Of course not," I laugh. "So tell me about your date? Is she someone special?"
"They're all special," she brightly responds.
"Right," I groan not buying her act. "So where did you meet her?"
"Work," she grins like an idiot. I can see that this one means something. I say a silent prayer that if I'm correct in my assumptions that this time Caroline won't keep this information to herself. "Her name is Nadia and she seems really nice. Of course they all seem nice in the beginning."
"How did you become so jaded?" I sigh wearily.
"Years of experience," she grumbles. "What's your excuse?"
"I'm not jaded," I scoff at the notion.
"Uh huh," she sniffs. "Then why are you so on edge?"
"I am not," I fuss not understanding what in the world she is talking about.
"Yes you are," she counters. "The past two weeks you've been tip toeing around this place. What has you so wound up?"
"There is always a period of adjustment when," I begin to explain that our new situation has thrown me a bit off kilter.
"Stop," she interrupts holding up her hand. "First talk like person. Secondly that isn't it. Tell me what you really think about Verna?"
I am gaping at her certainly she isn't suggesting that I've taken an interest in our new roommate. That would go against everything I believe in. "Never mind," she snickers in a cocky manner. I am still staring at her with disbelief. "Jules, I'm sorry I said anything. Look I need to take a nap before I go out tonight."
The sappy sitcom I am watching comes to an end. I can't help smiling. I don't know what is about these shows that entertains me so. I am just about to reach for the remote when Jules sits down beside me on the sofa. "Here," I offer handing her the remote.
"Oh you can pick," she smiles. "I'm not much for television but I ran out of stuff to read. Maybe I'll go to the bookstore tomorrow."
"It is getting late," I comment flicking through the channels. "I can only assume that Caroline's date is going well." I can't help smiling at the way Jules just rolls her eyes.
"Knowing Caroline she brought her toothbrush along," she grumbles.
"The two of you certainly enjoy hassling one another," I playfully note.
"I guess," she mutters quietly.
I suspect that at times Jules takes some of Caroline's comments to heart. Funny thinking about it now. When I first met Caroline I thought she was suave and sophisticated. Now I think she is an over grown child. In many ways I feel I'm baby sitting whenever she starts acting up. I know Jules' organizational skills are a bit extreme. I just don't find it an endless source of amusement the way Caroline does. Given Jules' profession I would be worried if she wasn't a freak when it came to small details.
"How was work this week?" I ask settling on an old episode of All In The Family.
"Uhm good," she sputters.
"Why are you always surprised that I ask?" I gently ask turning towards her. I love our late night chats. Even when Caroline is around Jules and I seem to end up like this almost every night.
"No one ever asks," she mutters under her breath. "Like I told you before most people are bored whenever I talk about work."
"I don't get it," I assert. "You help catch the bad guys."
"Well this week the bad guys were limited to a bunch of yoyo's trying to get around a firewall so they can change their grades," she groans.
"High school kids?"
"College," she grunts. "They weren't very discreet or clever about it."
"Probably why they needed to change their grades," I laugh pleased when she offers a shy smile.
"That is what I assumed," she beams.
"Tell me how you did it?" I encourage eager to keep the smile on her face. I click off the television so I can listen to every word.
I sit back listening to the details of Jules week. I have to confess I really do find it interesting. What I enjoy most about it is the way her face lights up. Not for the first time since re-meeting Jules I remind myself to ignore the warm fuzzy feeling humming through my body. â€˜You're on the rebound,' my mind silently screams.
"I can't believe we've been talking for so long," she comments checking her watch.
"I enjoyed it," I smile up at her. The air catches in my lungs when our eyes meet. â€˜Oh no!' I mentally shriek feeling my heart beat becoming erratic.
My mouth is dry and my mind is racing searching for something flip to say. I need to get away from the intensity of her gaze. Nothing comes to mind all I can do is stare deeply into her eyes. She has amazing eyes. I didn't notice the first time I met her. Then again she couldn't really focus that night or the subsequent morning after. The turbulent memory does nothing to break the connection. Despite the way I am silently chanting for Caroline to suddenly walk in there is something stirring inside of me that does not want this moment to end.
She brushes my cheek with the back of her fingers. I can only gulp in response. All thoughts of being rescued by our quirky roommate fly out of my head. I can feel her breath on my face and I am helpless. Her lips brush against my own teasing me at first before claiming me in a smoldering embrace. I lace my fingers through her long soft locks; drawing her closer.
Her body is melting against my own making me tingle all over. I am teasing her tongue; her hands are slipping down my body. I can't breathe, I can't think. The only thing I am capable of is to kiss her deeper and caress her body. â€˜Damn she feels good!' It is the only coherent thought that manages to emerged in my muddled mind.
We need to breathe so somehow we manage to break free from the passionate embrace. Her face reflects my own shocked expression. "We can't," she sputters.
"Bad idea," I stammer like an idiot.
"Roommates," she babbles.
"Wrong," I mutter in agreement fully aware that I sound like an idiot. â€˜What do I say? What do I do?' My mind races. Finding no answers I jump up startling Jules. "Night!"
"Night!" She blurts out.
I barely catch her response since I am racing towards my bedroom. I lock the door before climbing on the bed. "What in the hell did I just do?" I whimper covering my face with my arms. I struggle to catch my bearings and my breath. I am a mess. My body is still quivering. I touch my fingertips to my lips. "Wow," I gasp. "It is always the quiet ones." The realization hits me hard. I curl up berating my lack of control. Honestly I haven't been single for that long. Not to mention that Jules is my new roommate. "Dumb ass," I scold myself. "I shouldn't have kissed her. Then again she kissed me first. No, no, not going there."
I toil over my computer in the lab. My work is basically complete and nothing I am working on can't wait until morning. I am avoiding going home. I've been avoiding spending time at home for over three months now. Ever since that night I lost my mind and kissed Verna. I don't know why I did it. It certainly isn't my style to act on a whim. Spontaneity is not my strong suit. Hell it isn't in my vocabulary.
Adding to my stress is not only did I kiss her, something phenomenally out of character for me, but I've been avoiding her. Not discussing things until the awkwardness of the situation reaches epic proportions is not something I've ever allowed to happen. I'm just terrified. What could I possibly say that would explain my ludicrous actions. I log off shutting down my computer for the night. "I have to apologize," I reason grabbing up my things.
Making my way back to our apartment I ponder what I should say. Hitting on her when she was so vulnerable was uncalled for. But avoiding discussing the situation and having the two of us dancing around one another is not only ridiculous but childish. Realizing that what I have been doing is something that Caroline would do bolsters my courage. "I'll just apologize and clear the air," I assert ignoring the strange looks I am receiving from my fellow passengers on the green line. It does nothing to dissuade me from the task at hand.
I feel determined that I am finally going to get my well planned life back on track. I open the door to my apartment. My determination doesn't waver even when I find Caroline and Nadia cooking dinner together. The only good thing that has happened over the past couple of months is that Caroline seems to have really found someone.
â€˜I'll just pull Verna aside,' I reason to myself vowing not to waver from my mission. I greet the couple who barely notice my existence before depositing my belongings in my room. I change into more comfortable attire. I run a mental check list of what I need to say to Verna. Feeling confident that our much needed talk will go well I step out into the living room.
"Wow," I gasp greeted by the sight of Verna nervously rummaging through her purse. She looks amazing clad in a simple black dress. The dress fits her body perfectly revealing every curve. I know my jaw is hanging open. I know I should stop staring, but I can't; the woman looks amazing.
"Look Mother," Caroline teases wrapping her arm around my shoulders. "Our little girl is all grown up."
"I can see," I squeak out still trying to regain my composure.
"She has a date," Caroline offers with a sly whisper.
"Oh?" I choke feeling strangely disappointed.
"Stop it," Verna snaps looking thoroughly embarrassed. "She's been doing that all day. She told everyone at work, twice. It is just a date."
"I disagree," Caroline chimes in. "It is your first date. This is transition woman. A very pivotal step on the road to recovery."
"Road to recovery?" Verna snaps. "What am I in rehab? I got dumped. In the scheme of things Hannah ended up doing me a favor. I can't believe I endured that farce for over two years."
"Stop," Caroline cautions her. "Don't go there. If you start with this you'll end up spending the whole night bitching about your ex and you won't score."
"Caroline," Nadia thankfully scolds her lover. "Verna might feel a little less nervous if you stop talking now."
"I'm not making her nervous," Caroline argues.
"Yes you are," Verna hisses.
"Caroline," Nadia cautions. Her tone is calm but there is no mistaking the cool look in her hazel eyes. We've all seen that look. It is the one that says, shut up now Darling. Thankfully Caroline heeds her warning.
I feel disconcerted just staring down at my shoes. â€˜Transition woman? Is that what I was?' I question to myself trying to use logic to dismiss the notion. I kissed her once and it was months ago. Nothing really happened between us. Verna seems to have moved on and I can always have the little chat I had planned with her at a more convenient time. So why do I feel so miserable?
"Are you alright?" Caroline pries once dinner is over.
I couldn't enjoy the meal or the conversation. I simply pushed my food around my plate like a part of me was missing. "I'm fine," I mumble standing to rinse off my plate.
"Then it must of been the food?" Caroline tries to bait me.
"I'm just tired," I sigh not falling for her transparent attempts to poke and prod me. "I've been putting in a lot of late nights."
"I've noticed," Caroline continues in a suddenly thoughtful tone. "I hadn't realized that the city was hit by a sudden crime wave. It seems to have started right around the time Verna moved in."
"Caroline," Nadia jumps in. "She's tired."
"So she said," Caroline nods.
There is something in those dark brown eyes of hers that alerts me that she isn't going to simply let things go. "I'm tired," I growl my eyes narrowing. She opens her mouth to say something but one stern look from Nadia stops her in her tracks. I retreat to the living room. Sadly my busy body roommate trails after me.
"What?" I bark.
"Nothing," she smirks. "How about that Verna going out on date? It is about time don't you think?"
"Yeah it is freaking great," I snap suddenly embarrassed by my actions.
"I don't think I've ever heard you talk that way?" Caroline gleefully exclaims.
"Caroline if you have something to say just say it," I demand growing weary of this conversation. "Frankly I'm exhausted and I just want to go to bed."
"That is what I was going to say," she tenderly explains confusing me to no end.
"If you have something to say you should say it," she prattles on. "I mean how many times have you told me that if have real feelings for someone I should tell them. The worst that can happen is they don't feel the same. But at least I'd know."
"What the hell are talking about?" I sputtered completely mystified by the conversation.
"Verna and the crush you have on her," she dryly explains. "You should tell her."
"Hey just because I kissed her doesn't mean," I blurt out before I realize what I am saying.
"What?" Caroline is shocked. "When?"
My face is crimson and I am standing there feeling completely exposed. None of my behavior this evening bares even a slight resemblance to my normally collected demeanor. "It was a long time ago," I begin to babble. "It was a mistake. I shouldn't have done it."
"Hold on. When?" She gapes over at me.
"Right after she moved in," I blow out collapsing onto the sofa. "Look Caroline it was a fluke. Don't go jumping off that bridge you are so fond of. Granted the event has thrown me off kilter. But I was going to discuss things with Verna this evening. I will simply do it tomorrow or the next day."
"Now you're procrastinating?" Caroline is horrified. "Wow this girl has really upset you."
"Caroline what are doing?" Nadia demands finally joining us. "I told you not to pry."
"She kissed Verna," Caroline shouts with far too much enthusiasm for my tastes.
"It is about time," Nadia beams before her face dims. "Wait? You kissed her and now she is going out with someone else."
"What do you mean it is about time?" I demand. "Have the two of you fallen under the misguided assumption that there is something going on between Verna and myself?"
"Uhm," Nadia hesitates. "Well I thought there was when I first met the both of you."
"Well there isn't," I snap jumping to my feet. "The fact that she is off wining and dining someone else should be proof enough."
Having had my say I stomp off to my bedroom slamming the door to emphasize my point. Throughout the night I can hear their hushed whispers. It isn't difficult since the both of them can be as subtle as an elephant trying to tap dance. I stomp about my bedroom muttering obscenities under my breath. They must have taken exception to my actions since somewhere around ten they informed me that they had suddenly decided to spend the night at Nadia's apartment. I was tempted to tell them good riddance instead I grunted at them.
I am completely astonished that they would assume such things. I am also completely confused as to why I care so much. Frankly I am not only angry but I am as Caroline would tactlessly say, pissed off. I don't get pissed off. I don't even say pissed off. It is not who I am.
I have to confess that in the annals of dating this wasn't the worst date I've ever experienced. It wasn't the best either. Still as Caroline explained it was necessary. Mara was nice enough, even a tad charming. I just couldn't help feeling this incredible void between us. Now if that isn't a sign that there isn't a spark I don't know what is. I can only hope that my evasive response when she wanted to plan our next date got through to her. I suspect that it didn't and she is going to call me.
You would think when I avoided kissing her goodnight she would have been clued in. "Hope springs eternal," I mutter entering my apartment. I am taken aback to find Jules not only awake but sprawled out on the sofa watching television. Jules isn't a television person and she looks very sullen. Also not her style.
"Hi," I greet her trying not to reveal my concerns.
"Oh hi," she responds trying just a tad too hard to sound casual. "Have a nice night?"
"It was okay," I shrug sliding down beside her. I miss talking to her. It feels strange how things changed so much after that one night. Stranger still since we never really knew one another to begin with.
"Oh?" Jules mumbles slumping down slightly.
I am about to ask her what is wrong? Her demeanor screams that whatever it is she doesn't want to talk about it. I sit there for a moment trying to think of someway to keep the conversation going. The silence is stifling; it is then I realize that it is too quiet. "It is too quiet," I voice my observation. "Don't tell me that Nadia and Caroline went to bed and actually went to sleep?"
"I doubt it," she grunts.
"They decided to crash at Nadia's," Jules mumbles in a dejected tone.
"Why?" I question confused that they would change their plans in the middle of the night.
"We had a fight," she reluctantly supplies.
I am stunned. She and Caroline may butt heads but they never fought. Frankly Jules never argues with anyone. She is the picture of reasonableness. When confronted by anyone she tries her level best to see the other person's point of view. Then she either avoids the situation or she discusses it in an overly objective manner. I think that is why she and I haven't discussed what happened. Then again maybe it wasn't that big of a deal to her. "Uhm I don't want to pry but that doesn't sound like you," I carefully start.
"She was being a dumb ass," she grumbles.
"Did you just cuss?" I question taken aback.
"Yes," she groans brushing her hair back. "I am so out of sorts today. Caroline just went off on one of her tangents and I took it to heart."
"Well," I pause for a moment trying to organize my words. "What did she say?"
"Stupid stuff," she fusses looking completely adorable pouting like a bad child.
"Nothing new there," I quip in an effort to cheer her up.
"This was," her pout growing bigger. "Well not entirely. She just, I can't talk about this."
"Fair enough," I offer.
I relax against the cushions kicking off my pumps. It was nice to just sit quietly like we use to do. â€˜Should I say something?' I ponder thinking now might be a good time to clear the air about that kiss. That damn kiss; it was such the wrong thing to do but it felt so good.
"Verna?" She quietly begins breaking the silence.
"Yes," I encourage her.
"One of the things that has me off track is that I've been avoiding talking to you," she shyly begins. "I had planned on talking to you tonight about what happened."
"The kiss," I sigh with relief. "Jules it just happened. We shouldn't read too much into it."
"Thank you," she smiles up at me. "I've been feeling so guilty."
"Why?" I laugh. "Hey it was nice."
"Uhm thank you again," she blushes. "It is just that you hadn't been single for very long. I don't know why I did it. One moment we were just sitting there and the next thing I knew I was kissing you."
"Well now I've made out with both of my roommates," I quip pleased that she laughs.
"You and Caroline did a great deal more than making out," she corrects me her tone is light still I feel something lurking behind her words.
"Want to catch up?" I tease relieved when she punches my arm. "Is that a no? Fine no sex," I sigh dramatically.
"I'm just glad we talked," she shyly smiles.
"Hey it just happened," I reassure her. "Hell you're a good looking woman. I'm not embarrassed about it. It helps no one else knows."
"About that," she cringes.
"Now why do I think I'm not going to like what you are about to say?"
"Hey kids," Caroline greets us dumping her belongings on the sofa. I peer over the rim of my glasses and glare at her. "Problem Jules?" She taunts me with a wink. "I'll clean it up in a minute. You're home early. No more late nights?"
"Leave her alone," Verna cautions her with a wag of her finger. "Just so you know you nosy little thing, we had a long talk last night and I think both Jules and I would appreciate it if you butt out and mind your own business."
"You guys are no fun," Caroline sounds exasperated. "Can I just say one thing?"
"No," I growl.
"Oh okay so I shouldn't say she's a good kisser? " She laughs.
"Out!" I demand.
Caroline turns to Verna for help only to receive a stern look. "Oh don't come crawling to me. You just tried to rate my kissing skills with another woman," Verna cuts her to the quick.
"Well that should put her in her place," I offer hopefully.
"You think," Verna mutters. "Somehow I doubt it. I can't believe I use to think she was all that."
"Hey who is cooking tonight?" Caroline shouts from her bedroom.
"If you checked the schedule every once in awhile you would know these things," I scold her.
"I guess Nadia's busy tonight," Verna snickers. "That means we get to baby sit."
"Don't worry it is my night to cook," I state. "I've already ordered Chinese. It should be delivered soon."
"Take out," Verna nods.
"I was tired after work," I feebly offer.
"Me too," she yawns emphasizing the point. "No surprise we were up until dawn just talking. I missed that. The first couple of weeks I lived here we did that all the time."
"We did; didn't we," I quietly note.
Two months later things are back on track. It is late; the three of us got caught up in a game of Trivial Pursuit after dinner. "No Nadia tonight?" I question poor Caroline who is still grumbling over being so far behind in the game.
"I swear the two of you are cheating," she sneers. "And no she has a project due for work."
"Oh so horny and losing no wonder you are so cranky," Verna teases giving me a playful glance.
"But things are okay between the two of you?" I question rolling the dice. "History?" I offer after landing in the center circle.
"Things are great," Caroline blushes before reading the question which I answer easily. "You win again."
"Good game," Verna smiles.
"Whatever," Caroline pretends to be miffed.
We begin to clean up the game and I can tell that Caroline's mind is elsewhere. "My God you'll see her tomorrow," I nudge her playfully.
"I know," she concedes. "I'm still in the I can't wait to see her phase."
"You've been in that stage for what is it six months now?" I tease surprised when she blushes again. "Honestly I don't think I've ever seen you date the same woman for six consecutive months."
"Since I've known you I haven't," she smiles. "And yes before you ask I haven't been acting like an emotional coward. I've told her how I feel."
"And how is that?" Verna merrily joins in.
"I said I told her. I didn't say I was going to share with you two wayward idiots," Caroline scolds us. "Still it is new for me telling a woman that I care for her before she is walking out the door. Feels kind of nice."
"Our little girl is growing up," I sniff feigning being emotional.
"Jerk," Caroline laughs.
"So are we adding to the occupancy around here or are you moving?" Verna continues to tease.
"Hey I said I was honest about my feelings let's not rush things," Caroline turns pale before excusing herself.
"Now that was fun," I laugh along with Verna.
"She really is fun to screw with sometimes," Verna readily agrees.
"I guess it is just you and me tomorrow," I start feeling happy about the concept. "Want to go out for dinner?" A shadow crosses over her features and I feel terrible. "Oh you have plans. Kathy again?" I add trying to sound casual.
In the past couple of months both Verna and I have moved on forgetting all about that silly kiss. Well I've tried. I'm sure that she has. The both of us have dated other people here and there. Kathy barged into the scene a few weeks ago. I don't like her. When she and Verna met my roommate and I went out for a drink and there she was practically stalking the poor girl. Fine she wasn't stalking her per say but she pushed right in between us and took over the conversation. What could I say, Verna and I just roommates?
I didn't want to appear jealous so I backed away. Late at night when I'm all alone I know that I am jealous. I swear since Verna entered my life I don't know who I am anymore. Not that I dislike the changes still getting jealous over my roommate's date is disconcerting to say the least. What really troubles me is that Verna has been dating this Kathy person since they met and I don't get it. I don't see her face light up when she talks about her or even when they go out together. I know I am lying when I tell myself I just want to see Verna happy.
"What is it Jules?" She asks breaking through my thoughts.
"Nothing," I lie.
"You don't like her," she sheepishly inquires.
"Not really," I reluctantly confess. "Do you?"
"Uhm yes," she stammers. "I mean we have fun."
The tone of her voice explains everything to me. Yes, she likes Kathy as a person but isn't in love and knows that she isn't going to fall in love. â€˜So why are you dating her?' I want to ask even though I think I know the answer. Kathy is that all important transition woman. Still doesn't mean I have to like her.
"Don't you ever knock?" I squeal noticing Caroline rummaging about the bathroom while I am in the shower.
"I just need to grab something," she explains in a blasÃ© manner. I don't know why I am so surprised. It isn't the first time Caroline has barged into the bathroom surprising either Jules or myself. I normally handle it better; after all it isn't as if I haven't seen Caroline naked.
"Going out tonight?" She prattles on. I peek out from behind the shower curtain watching her tossing some stuff in a bag. â€˜Caroline and Nadia are going away for the weekend,' I note. She smirks over at me. "So plans tonight?"
"You think?" I jest.
"Date?" She continues finishing up her packing.
"Yes," I dryly answer. "You done yet?"
"Yeah," she responds leaning against the sink. "So who you going out with?"
"Uhm Kathy," I answer her by stating what I assume is the obvious.
"You haven't dumped her yet?" She grouses.
"Captain Spunk you're still seeing her?" She asks in an incredulous tone. "I just assumed that once you got back in the saddle you'd mosey along."
"Western analogies aside," I blink with surprise. "Why would you assume such a thing?"
"Because you aren't really into her," she flatly explains. "Unless I'm wrong."
"No, you're right," I snap back the shower curtain. "I'm going to break up with her I'm just waiting for the right time."
"Do it soon," Caroline stresses. "Little Miss Clingy won't give up without a fight."
"I thought she was Captain Spunky," I shout back trying desperately to finish my bathing.
"Who is Captain Spunky?" I hear Jules questioning.
"Jules!" I scream peeking out from the curtain wanting to die when I find not one but both of my roommates standing in the bathroom.
"I'm sorry," Jules blushes out her apology. "I just came to get our resident Peeping Tom. Nadia is here. Now come along Caroline and give the girl some privacy."
"Thank you," I sigh with relief. My reprieve is short lived when Caroline refuses to budge.
"Captain Spunky is Kathy," Caroline prattles on. "I was just asking Verna when she was going to send her packing."
"That is none of our business," Jules curtly informs her.
"You heard her," I wag my finger at the overgrown juvenile delinquent.
"I'm just saying," Caroline continues. "That if you don't ditch her soon you're stuck with her. I know you know how to dump a woman. You dumped me."
"I blew you off because I was confused," I sputter. "Now enough about ancient history can I finish taking my shower now?"
"Caroline let's go," Jules insists.
"Aren't you curious I mean after everything that has happened?" Caroline innocently inquires.
"One kiss does not constitute," Jules defensively cuts her off.
"Not the kiss the reason you and I got into it," Caroline scoffs.
Even though I am completely naked my curiosity is peeked. Jules never did explain what she and Caroline had argued about. She only informed me that in the heat of the moment she blurted out that we had kissed. Jules never did go into complete detail about the tiff. Only that Caroline was behaving like a jackass and prying into matters that weren't any of her concern. Frankly Caroline does that at least once a day. I've been more than a little curious as to the exact nature of her prying and how it somehow led to the night Jules and I made out.
"Caroline," Jules blanches.
"What?" Caroline barks. "I still think the two of you are attracted to one another. Come on you must have talked about what I said," I am stunned when her voice trails off. "Or you didn't and I just shot my mouth off." She sheepishly concludes not before Jules storms out of the bathroom. "Shit."
"Caroline?" Nadia pops in.
"Oh my freaking God, can't I take a shower without an audience!" I scream startling my companions.
"Sorry," Nadia quickly apologizes yanking Caroline out of the room.
I am still numb by the bizarre events that happened in the bathroom. I feel terrible after overhearing bits and pieces of Caroline and Nadia arguing. The gist of the argument was that Caroline really needed to mind her own business. I have to agree with Nadia on that one. All is quiet now and I am trying to focus on getting ready for my date. â€˜What did she mean? Jules and me?' I shake my head trying to refocusing my attention. Dating Jules wasn't an unpleasant notion. Still after the way we met that wasn't going to happen.
I am stirred out of my musing by a shy knock on my bedroom door. I am surprised to find Caroline waiting on the other side. I would have assumed it would have been Jules wanting to explain things. Caroline I mistakenly assumed left with Nadia. "Can we talk?" She timidly begins.
I step aside allowing her inside my inner sanctum. "I don't have much time," I politely explain. "She left without you?" I ask feeling terrible that I was in some small way behind the couple parting ways.
"We'll work it out," Caroline quietly reassures me. "I just wanted to apologize. First to you and then I'll go find Nadia and apologize to her."
"And Jules," I stress.
"She won't open her door," she grimly confesses. "I'm sorry I butted in. Jules was right it isn't any of my business."
"No it isn't," I sternly answer. "One of these days you are going to learn that you can't just shoot your mouth off. Give your brain a second or two to catch up. This is real life not a game of stick ball; you don't get a do over. Don't sweat it. I'm not mad anymore. I can't believe you thought that Jules and I had something going."
She scrunches her brow before speaking. "At the risk of shooting my mouth off again I don't think I'm off base. Then again it isn't any of my business. I just really care for you and Jules."
"Jules and me?" I almost laugh. "She is bright, intelligent and not to mention attractive. She is nothing short of amazing. I introduced myself by cracking open her skull. Now why would she even give me a second glance?"
Once again Caroline pauses seemingly taking my advice to heart. "Yes she is," she agrees. "I'm just going to say one last thing before I go kiss my girlfriend's ass."
"Bring flowers," I instruct her.
"No kidding," she blows out. "Okay getting back to my meddlesome ways you didn't deny being attracted to Jules. In fact you extolled her virtues."
"Huh?" I gulp feeling suddenly exposed.
"You also seem to be forgetting that Jules is very controlled and organized. She never just leaps," Caroline carefully expands. "So if she couldn't or doesn't find you attractive then why did she kiss you? She isn't the irrational type." She apologizes once again before excusing herself.
Her words are echoing in my mind. â€˜Then why did she kiss you?' I blink with surprise. "Good question," I fearfully say out loud.
I can't focus on dinner Caroline's parting words are still ringing in my ears. Why did Jules kiss me? "Are you paying attention?" Kathy barks frightening our waiter and the other diners.
"I'm sorry," I absently respond shaking my head in an effort to clear my thoughts.
"You haven't heard a word I've said all night have you?" She accuses me.
"I'm sorry," I repeat. What else can I say I've been ignoring her all evening. Then again all she does is talk about herself. "What were you saying?"
"Well if you had been listening," she begins not even trying to hide her anger.
"I'm sorry," I repeat once again. "Tell me about your day?"
I can't focus on her words. I'm trying but I just can't stop thinking about Jules and what Caroline said. I pretend to listen lifting my glass of wine to my lips. My hand stops midway when I spy them being seated next to us. "You've got to joking," I spit out my words aimed at whoever rules the universe.
"Verna," Hannah sneers at me before glaring at Kathy.
"Hannah, Jane always a pleasure," I spit back feeling sick to my stomach. The churning in my stomach grows worse when I catch the completely clueless look on Jane's face. I used to have that look. I'd be out with Hannah and she would run into someone. Another woman with whom she always ended up having words with. Back then I didn't understand why she felt a need to speak to someone who bore such obvious dislike for her. Now I know and it makes me sick to think that one of those women had probably been her lover back when I first slept with her.
"Hannah," she introduces herself to my date.
"Kathy," returns her greeting her brow furrowing with concern.
"My ex," I explain understanding that there wasn't a chance in hell that Kathy hadn't picked up on the tension. To her credit Jane is the only one to have the good manners to look embarrassed.
"Oh," Kathy groans.
"Enjoy your meal," I try cutting Hannah off.
"So what happened to Jules?" Hannah cruelly inquires.
"Your roommate?" Kathy questions in a miffed tone. "You and Jules?"
"No," I fume slamming my napkin down on the table. Now Jane looks really confused. I can only guess that Hannah's version of events was that I was the cheating spouse and we were only rooming together until matters were settled. Again I have to ask just what did I see in her?
Hannah does seem pleased with herself when she takes her seat. Kathy on the other hand is mad as hell. We get into it. Arguing even after the waiter not so subtly dumps the check in my lap. Much to Hannah's delight the arguing continues as I pay the check before Kathy and I storm out of the restaurant. We broke up before reaching the front. Oddly enough once again Hannah has done me a favor. I feel relieved watching Kathy hailing a cab and driving out of my life.
I'm still mad at Caroline although I do feel guilty that she and Nadia got into a fight. Well she isn't home yet. I can only hope that is a good sign. I try focusing on the book that I've been trying to read for the past hour. This is a sad way to spend my Friday night. Sitting around stewing over Caroline and her big mouth. I had purposely left out the part of what had happened to avoid the embarrassment I ended up facing in the bathroom just a few short hours ago.
"Why am I embarrassed?" I ask to the empty room. "Verna knows me and better still she knows what a flake Caroline can be. I'm sure that when we discuss it everything will be alright. Now I'm talking myself. Maybe that CD hit me harder than I thought."
I jump up when I hear the door open. "Hi," I greet Verna who looks extremely happy.
"Hi," she beams in response kicking off her shoes. "God why do I wear those things? My feet are killing me."
"Good fashion sense," I offer my brow furrowing.
"Right," she laughs locking the door behind her.
"You're back early," I stammer watching her crossing the room and flopping down beside me.
"Yeah it was a fun filled evening," she laughs my eyes widen at her unusual behavior. I may not be very sophisticated but even I know that a good date lasts longer than an hour. "It was jammed packed with thrills, chills and excitement. Hannah showed up with the new â€˜ho. She said just the right thing to get Kathy mad. We got into a big argument and broke up."
"And to you that is a fun date?" I tentatively inquire feeling that I must be missing something.
"I was going to break up with her anyways," she waves off my concerns. "How was your night?"
"I'm afraid to answer that," I gulp my eyes darting around nervously.
"Seriously Jules how was your night?" She gently inquires kneeling beside me.
"Well I've been moping around torn between kicking Caroline's ass and finding out if everything is okay between her and Nadia," I answer honestly. "I'm not a firm believer in true love. But I don't know; there is something special between them. I'd hate to see them split up over something trivial."
"You don't believe in true love?" She sputters her eyes bulging out. "How can you not believe in true love?"
"I don't disbelieve," I quickly back peddle. "I just always thought that it is more of a compatibility issue. Or that is what I used to think now I don't know what to think anymore. Iâ€˜ve just been overly cautious after finding Tandy lurking in my closet."
She leans back seemingly thinking things over. I have to confess I'm a little afraid. Where is this conversation going? "Verna?" I say her name slowly not wanting to frighten her.
"Can I ask you something?" She asks in a very serious tone.
"Sure," I gulp still feeling off balance.
"Why did you kiss me?" She asks holding me in a smoldering gaze.
I can't think between her question and the way she is looking at me. My mind is completely blank. I jump back when I hear her saying my name. "Shall I repeat the question?" She carefully questions.
"I thought we agreed that it was just a fluke," I sputter absently uncertain how or if I should answer her question. I am impressed by the way she is just sitting there waiting patiently for my response. I take a hard swallow trying to summon my courage. "I couldn't stop myself," I confess feeling completely ashamed. "I took one look into your eyes and I was lost," I finish. What the hell I've already made a fool out of myself. I might as well go for complete jackass.
I try to look away and run for cover. Instead I find myself wrapped up in her arms. She kissing me! I am kissing her! It feels so good. Her lips and mouth are warm and inviting. My hands are roaming along the supple curves of her body. I actually feel giddy. Amazing; simply amazing. I moan into the warmth of her mouth. Her fingers caressing my scalp. I'm actually purring.
I struggle for air when she breaks away from the kiss. She looks ashamed after her fingers brush against the telling bump on my head. "I can't believe I hurt you," she whimpers.
"Let's just say you made an impression," I tease unable to stop smiling. My fingers lightly tracing her jaw.
"In your skull," she shrinks back.
"Just be happy that Gregorian chants aren't played on the popular radio stations," I tease in hopes of easing her embarrassment. "Other wise I'd be experiencing daily flashbacks."
She blinks with surprise. Stunned that I am joking about the situation. "Whatever happened to that CD?" I ask allowing my fingers to continue their exploration. She moans softly her eyes fluttering shut.
"I threw it out," she gasps tilting her head back offering me more of her delightful flesh. "In the trash not out the window."
"Good," I lightly laugh nuzzling her neck. Her perfume is intoxicating. My lips graze along her neck. My heart races from hearing the soft squeaks she is releasing.
I murmur against her skin drinking in the soft inviting feel of her body quivering beneath my touch. Normally this is when I pull away and discuss what is happening. No wonder all of my relationships end so quickly. My hand slips between our bodies. Gliding higher until my fingers are caressing her breast.
For the first time in my life I am a firm believer that talking is overrated. Having a discussion isn't topping my list at the moment. I don't give one wit that she slept with Caroline or the unconventional way we met. The only thing I can focus on is the way her body is arching against mine.
Her tongue peeks out and I quickly capture it teasing and sucking it. I can feel my excitement growing. My hand teases her breast and I can feel her nipple hardening despite being hidden beneath her beaded dress. I lower her down on the sofa my hands fumbling in an effort to find the zipper. Amazing that I don't stop my risquÃ© behavior and suggest that we retire to a more appropriate setting. Nope, I want her naked and I want her naked right here and right now.
I cry out when her knee slips between my thighs. I feel wild and free riding against her. Verna's hands somehow slip between our gyrating bodies. I feel her tugging on my belt. I burrow my face against her neck. My pulse is racing suckling her neck not caring if I leave a mark. I can feel her hands loosening my belt. Her nimble fingers unbuttoning my slacks. I wiggle my hips helping her lower my slacks down to my hips.
My teeth nip at her flesh; my hands furiously tearing at her clothing. My body jerks forward upon feeling her fingers slipping past my panties. I balance myself hovering above her parting my thighs eager to feel her touching me. My arms are aching; I fight to keep my body suspended. I am losing the battle. Her fingers glide along my wetness teasing my throbbing sex.
I need more. I need to feel all of her. I am frustrated by our clothing and my deep seeded need for us to be naked. She groans with disappointment when I slip from her touch. My hands clasp her thighs pushing her dress up. I wet my lips enjoying the sight of her dress bunched up below her breasts. The sound of her whispering my name only fans the flames of my desire.
My breathing is labored as our eyes meet. I feel my heart stopping from the smoldering gaze she is bestowing upon me. I can't break the connection. My fingers grasp the elastic band of her pantyhose. My only thoughts are yes she's not wearing underwear and how much I want her. She burns me with the intensity of her gaze. Her face is flushed. Her lips slightly parted in an effort to catch her breath.
I roll her pantyhose down her legs my fingers trembling from the feel of her body quivering beneath me. I slip to the floor; my body trembling. My pants are interfering with my task. They must go. I stop touching only long enough to shed my slacks and underwear. I feel my desire glistening against my thighs. I eagerly return to the delightful task at hand.
I am kneeling on the floor and she is lying half on and half off of the sofa. I roll her pantyhose further down her firm thighs. I can barely breathe. I feel elated when I finally remove her hosiery. I toss them across the room not caring where they land. I run my hands up along her legs. My lips quickly follow the path my hands have taken kissing her legs. I tease the back of her knees with my tongue. She is begging me for more. The musky aroma of her desire invades my senses.
I am helpless to resist her pleas. My tongue caresses the inside of her thighs. I moan with pleasure tasting her wetness. She drapes her legs over my shoulders guiding me closer to her wetness. I growl like an animal lowering my lips to her passion. I feel drunk from the feel of her body swaying against me. I blow a warm breath against her wetness.
My hands cup her bare backside. I draw her closer parting her with my tongue. I hear her chanting my name. I glide my tongue along her swollen nether lips. Her taste further intoxicates me. I capture her throbbing bundle between my lips. Suckling her urgently I fight to hold her body steady. She thrashes against me. I suckle her harder.
Her blunt nails claw at my blouse her body pressing harder against my lips. I tease her with my teeth and my tongue. Her body tenses. I am delightfully trapped against her. I pleasure her harder, faster knowing what I need to feel. I feel her tremors growing urging me to take her fiercely. I am lost in an euphoric haze needing one thing. I need to drown in her passion.
Verna's fingers dig deeper into my flesh her body convulsing. I feel the heels of her feet burrowing into me. She screams out something incoherent. Her body erupts still I refuse to yield. I am driven to the brink, my own body threatening to join hers in ecstasy. I curl my tongue before slipping it inside of her. I plunge in and out of her. She is gasping and pleading until she pulls away from my touch.
She collapses like a rag doll struggling for air. I climb up beside her taking her into my arms. I feel at peace cradling her trembling body in my arms. She is mumbling something I can't decipher. I feel more than a little proud of myself. She turns to me sporting a silly grin. Her eyes are glazed over. My heart is still racing. "Don't you look proud," she chokes out her voice raw.
"Shouldn't I?" I boldly proclaim running my fingers through her long blonde hair.
"Yes," she sighs appreciatively.
I can't resist. I kiss her again and again. My body is humming. I feel her hands struggling with the buttons on my blouse. I squeal with delight when she abandons her quest and simply rips open my blouse. "Much better," she murmurs nuzzling her face between my breasts. Her tongue slowly begins tracing the swell of my breasts. My eyes flutter shut. I feel my bra snapping open. She nudges up over my breasts. Her hands covering my exposed flesh. "I want to be inside of you," she vows her hands gliding down along my body. My thighs instinctively part eager to feel her touching me.
She doesn't disappoint me. My body arches as two fingers slip inside of my wetness. My head falls back against the cushions. She is teasing my clit with the pad of her thumb while plunging deeper inside of me. Her touch is amazing. My body rocks against her demanding rhythm. I dig my fingers into the sofa cushions. Her lips clasp my erect nipple.
My hips jerk up off the sofa. She pleasures me harder, my mind is spinning. I can't focus torn between her mouth worshiping my breast and her fingers gliding in and out of my wetness. I am unable to utter a sound. My entire being crashes into the abyss. I've never felt anything so powerful before. In a single moment Verna has managed to dispel every sense of logic I used to cling dearly to. Frankly to hell with logic. This woman is hot.
My vision clears and I find myself captured in a smoky gaze. The intense look in her eyes draws me in deeper. Her fingers dance against my aching nub. I try to speak but words fail me. My hands speak for me; clawing at her dress. I growl frustrated that I am unable to undress her. I retreat kissing her instead. I feel a part of her as our bodies melt together. I no longer know where I end and she begins. She cups my face in her hands. Our kisses deepen.
My heart is beating in a frantic rhythm. Reluctantly I withdraw from the sweet nectar of her kisses. Verna's head is resting on my shoulder. We cling tightly to one another. I feel cold when she pulls away. There is a serious look on her face. "Should we talk about this?" She tentatively asks.
I am grinning like a kid on Christmas morning. "No," I offer determinedly. "The only thing we need to talk about is whose bedroom we are going to share tonight."
"Whatever did I do to you?" She brightly questions kissing my cheek.
"You smacked me upside the head," I laugh helping her to her feet. "Turned my world upside down and most importantly made me feel alive. Now answer my question. Your place or mine?"
"It doesn't matter so long as I get to wake up with you," she beams taking me by the hand.
We stumble along our limited clothing hanging from our bodies. "Wait shouldn't we clean up?" I question looking around at the mess in the living room.
"No," she laughs.
"What about our over inquisitive roommate?" I question before I suddenly realize that I could care less.
"Let's keep her guessing," Verna boldly proclaims urging me closer toward the bedrooms.
"I don't know what is worse," I begin. "That she meddles so much or that she is always right."
I don't give her time to respond. I press her against the door to my bedroom. "Damn you are so beautiful," I gush before stealing a kiss.
"Oh no that would be you," she corrects me. She reaches up guiding me closer.
I press her harder against the door claiming her lips. I don't care that we are groping one another in the middle of the hallway. I don't even care that my bare backside is hanging out. All I care about is the feel of her body. Her thigh slips between mine. I mirror her actions. Stealing longing kisses our bodies rock wildly against one another's. Our screams of pleasure smothered by the other's kiss.
"I don't think I've ever felt like this," she whispers her voice filled with wonder.
"I know I haven't," I whole heartedly confess reaching for the doorknob. "Do you want to try this in bed?" I wickedly suggest.
"Absolutely," she exclaims yanking me inside the bedroom.
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