Any comments, preferably positive, can be forwarded to the author, at firstname.lastname@example.org thank you for taking time to read the story, and I hope you enjoy! I am now posting on blogger, which can be found here. http://orheathedreamer.blogspot.com/?zx=e3c6a834ad626aa4
***NOTE this is sort of a sequel to my previous short story 'The Princess and The Roady' If you haven't read it, I would suggest you read that first. It just makes sense that way. ***
The rain came down so heavily that the sound of it splattered against the windows and drowned out the low music playing in the small car. She remembered a storm like this, long ago, and the feel of rough worn hands running over her skin. How long ago it seemed! Yet still she could taste the faint mint of Corrine's mouth, her long damp hair grazing over her chilled flesh. She could still feel her blood rush with a mixture of arousal, uncertainty and a overwhelming sense of need. Jesse sighed and shivered as a chill rushed her spine. Finally, the light turned green and she turned onto Main Street.
There were some renovations going on in the main buildings of town. Due to the rain the usual work trucks were out of sight, and patches of blue and white tarp covered the sporting goods store at the end of the corner. She adjusted the heat to clear the fogging glass and turned into a narrow ally. Lucky her destination wasn't a sporting goods store, but Mina's Bridal shop, and Mina's shop had private parking in the back for customers. Monday morning, and she was ready to pick up her dress!
Jesse grabbed her umbrella and dashed out of the car. It was good that Mina had the lot paved last summer, as a result instead of sloshing in mud her flat shoes slapped wetly against the pavement. Her hand twisted the door knob and she flung herself inside.
Immediately, the scent of lemon and vanilla filled her nostrils and she smiled, taking in the cheerful décor. Mina's hadn't been open for more than a year. The building had once upon a time been a bank. When the town bank had closed its doors and reopened at a larger, updated location, this building sat alone for some years until Mina rolled into town after a failed marriage and began stripping and remodeling with a vengeance. Jesse remembered watching Mina standing on the scaffolding, waving down at passersby as she delicately painted the letters adorning the building. They'd been friends in High School, but lost touch when they made separate choices for college. Mina was one of the few people that didn't ignore or freak out when she'd heard Jesse had been in a relationship with another girl. Who else would Jesse choose to help with her wedding dress?
Jesse walked past the cozy lobby, which boasted a sofa set upholstered in an English tea rose pattern, and Victorian style wicker chairs, and made her way to the main desk. Mina was there, scratching on a piece of paper.
Mina was also a petite woman. Her grandmother had been Native American, which attributed with Mina's strong cheek bones and straight, coffee black hair. She had a slight tint to her skin, which would turn into a healthy glow during the summer months. Her deep set, cloudy grey eyes came from her European heritage. She focused those eyes on Jesse and smiled warmly.
"Hello there." Her voice was slightly deep and rich with sensual undertone that Jesse was pretty sure she didn't know she had. She stepped from behind her desk and offered a well manicured hand. "I've got it here. I'm sure you'll be pleased." Her long hair was tied in a low ponytail at the nape of her neck and she was dressed in a pale blue business shirt and form fitting black slacks. Jesse found it a bit more severe than Mina's casual clothes, but Mina had returned to this part of the country with her own set of baggage and she wasn't going to tell anything unless she was good and ready. Mina was mostly business now, a shame too, because Jesse could recall a hint of the passionate, free spirited artist that still lingered behind those long dark lashes.
She took Mina's hand. "You are coming over tonight right? Some of Corrine's friends are here and we're going to make cocktails and talk about the wedding. "
Mina hesitated as they stepped into the dressing room. In the left corner of the room there was a divider where a client could step behind to change. Hanging on a silver hook next to the divider was the dress, carefully covered in plastic. "Ah.. well I don't know.. have to balance the books at some point.."
Jesse smiled, it seemed when Mina was uncertain, she had a tendency to switch from her newly acquired Midwest accent, back to her former country girl twang. "Oh common, you're not afraid of hanging around a bunch of lady lovers are ya?" After she said it, Jesse mentally grimaced, just then she'd used one of her dad's phrases. The shock of it didn't send her down that familiar spiral of pain as usual, instead it sent her into a fit of giggles as she gingerly picked the dress from it's hook.
Minda's almond shaped eyes widened in surprise and she shook her head vigorously."No! I like women! I mean…No, it's not like that... I... well there is more than one reason my marriage ended, let's leave it at that…"
Jesse gave her a curious look. "Are you coming out to me Mina?"
"Yes.. no.. . um.. this is highly inappropriate conversation… we were friends before… but now you're my client…" Mina knitted her brows and rubbed her hands together.
Somewhere inside Jesse felt a pang of sympathy, how must Mina feel? Trying to figure out her life, being in familiar territory, around family, yet probably feeling so alone? Jesse put her hand on Mina's shoulder. "I am friend first, and then a happy client." She gave a soft smile. "Look, if you need to talk, you've got my number, and… I'm going back to my roots, taking fewer clients for myself so I have time. Don't be a stranger okay? If you can stop by, things will pick up around seven. "
"Well…" Mina paused; a resigned sigh blew from between her lips. "You see, its like this…"
For the first time in a long time, Mina opened up. Jesse listened to Mina explain her marriage, a relationship that soon soured after the nuptials. They tried to make the best of it, Mina threw herself into work and Don, her husband, spent more and more hours out with his buddies. She expressed her concern for her lack of desire, the many trips to couple's counseling… and the surprising discovery that she herself had desires that lay elsewhere. Jesse wasn't surprised to hear the therapist had been unsympathetic to Mina's homo-erotic, confessions, recommending the couple to try new things, until all the 'new' things seemed pretty much exhausted. The last straw had been drawn when she'd come home from a particularly long night to find her husband naked in the bed with her own secretary. The divorce was handled out of court, with the couple agreeing to split everything down the middle. Feeling out of it, unsexy, and very much alone, Mina returned home and moved to Danville, determined to restart her life.
"Did you ever try dating?" Jesse asked her question once an uncomfortable silence filled the room, accompanied by the back drop noise of thunder and the flickering of lights.
"Odd thing was, finding them like that, I felt relieved you know? I had an excuse to leave. It's been well over a year hasn't it? I dunno… I thought about dating, but it seems so intimidating and I wouldn't know how to begin. I met Don at university, everything progressed so simply… I guess I should have known better, I know it seems strange doesn't it? I mean, who wakes up one morning and decides suddenly that they're gay? " She sighed and propped her chin up with both hands. They were sitting on the couch now, two mugs of steaming coffee on the low table.
Jesse bit her lip and shrugged slightly. "I suppose it happens sometimes. No two people are exactly the same, you know that. "She took Mina's hand and gave it a squeeze. "If you never try, you will never know what will happen. The decision is yours though, take what time you need."
Mina smiled, she felt relieved after getting all that off her chest, but at the same time, a million of the same questions blossomed in her head. She tried to push that away by concentrating on Jesse's face. Jesse had a wonderful face, slightly rounded with a soft, concerned expression. It made her feel comfortable, and she was grateful for a friend. "Thank you Jesse, I'm sorry to pour this on you so close to your ceremony. I won't make any promises, but I might stop by tonight just for a drink with a friend."
It was a start, a strong one and both of them knew it. They exchanged farewells and Jesse dashed out the door some time later, her plastic covered gown held protectively against her breast.
"It is coming down pretty hard out there… She should have let someone go with her." Corrine, 'Cork' to her friends, peeked through the curtains again.
Jace flipped a card onto the table and picked up two from the deck. They were playing Apples and Oranges, and not surprisingly, Cork wasn't winning. "Get away from the door, you're making ME nervous… If this is what happens when you fall in love, I'll pass."
Cork turned her head to respond but a flash of lights coming up the drive caught her attention and she was out the door in five seconds flat.
Jace rolled her eyes.
Mina slid her jeep into the driveway, careful to give enough space behind Jesse's car. Instantly she dimmed her lights, staring at the windshield wipers as they squeaked back and forth across the glass. "Why am I so nervous? It's just Jesse and her friends…" She groaned and rubbed her forehead with the palm of her hand. It had been so long since she'd been out socially, even if it's just a friend's house. She'd never been a social butterfly, though college and work experience had taught her to mingle.
Out of habit, and to stall for time she adjusted the mirror and examined her face critically. She'd taken a bath, put on a pair of comfortable jeans and a loose black shirt, and rolled her straight hair into a bun at the nape of her neck. No makeup, she wasn't trying to impress. She licked her lips and eyed the house critically. Maybe she had enough time to escape? It was too soon, and she could be doing research… Her hand went to turn up the lights, but she caught movement in the window, indicating someone inside had spotted her.
Damn… Sighing, she turned off the ignition and slipped out of the vehicle. It was used; when the divorce went through she sold her jag and bought herself something more fitting. It had been a gift from Don anyway, and it was never really her style. She slammed the door shut and sprinted to the door. It was opening just as her feet touched the porch.
"hey girl, get in here you look like a drowned rat!" Jesse laughed and stepped out of the way so that Mina could slip inside.
She could hear the sound of a blender going off in the kitchen and comfortable laughter.
"Everyone is in the kitchen." Jesse smiled as she shut the door. "Seems to be the hang out of choice at the moment, I'm glad you showed up!"
Mina nodded docilely and followed behind Jesse, meanwhile, her eyes wondered around the neatly decorated space. There was a picture on a small corner table, a laughing Jesse on a taller woman's back, her golden arms wrapped tightly around the woman's neck. Startling blue eyes sparkled to life from the picture, her wide smile an indication of shared happiness. Mina guessed the taller woman to be Corrine, though she'd never met her officially. She sighed. I want that…. The thought dampened her mood, but she pushed it away valiantly to focus her attention to her friend, who was busy making introductions.
"This is Mina everyone, and Mina this is Corrine, my partner." Corrine was in a loose white shirt and a pair of jeans, she waved from her position over the stove, where she flipped over a grilled cheese sandwhich.
"Hi, nice to meet ya.. just a sec.." Corrine set her spatula down and offered a strong, but slender hand. "Pleasure, Jesse told me a little about you, and she hasn't stopped gushing about the dress."
Minda felt heat rising to her cheeks, temporarily trapped by that stark blue gaze. "Ah.. thanks." She said, she added a little pressure to Corrine's palm and released their hands. "It's nice to meet you Corrine. Jesse seems so happy."
"Cork, please and lets keep it that way huh?" Her dark brows waggled.
"Don't burn my sandwich Cork!"
Mina glanced over to see a spikey haired woman, on the small side, waving her hand towards the stove, her other hand wrapped firmly around a tumbler full of something green. She inwardly winced at the multiple peircings, though she had to admit, the colorful blouse she was wearing did stand out. The woman next to spikey girl smirked, sipping from a wineglass. She was much more conservative, and her fingernails practically gleamed! Which was an odd thing to notice.
"Yeah like you burned the bacon this morning? " Miss conservative chuckled, but it was short lived when spikey woman jabbed her in the arm. "Oww!"
"The loud mouth pin cushion over there is Sue, and miss 'I prefer wine' is Cameron, her girlfriend. Cranky over there with the beer is Jace." Cork supplied the information with a roll of her shoulders as she slipped a sandwich onto a plate.
"Hey! There are good reasons to have piercings." Sue stuck out her tongue suggestively and Mina could see there was a sparkling ball on her tongue.
She shifted her gaze and her eyes landed on another figure standing against a wall. The woman was nearly as tall as Cork but… infinitely more dangerous looking. Her jaw was slightly squared, but her cheek bones were well defined, accenting dark chocolate eyes. Jace was it? Her dark hair curled at her ears, giving her a slightly disheveled look. She was wearing a wife beater and a pair of black jeans that clung to her thighs like….and just like that Mina caught herself staring, so she looked away, but not before she caught a slight arching of Jace's brow. "Er… nice to meet you." She should have stayed at home… she could have gone to bed early, or read a book…
"Do you want a cocktail?" Jesse touched Mina's shoulder. "We've got bear and wine too… If we did it Sue's way we would have bought the whole liquor store." She smirked and nudged Mina, hoping to get a smile.
"Ah… sure I'll have a glass of wine." She could definitely use the fortification…
The party moved into the living room, where the television was turned on and some random suspense movie plugged into the player. Jesse and Corrine were on the love seat, Jesse's bared feet curled under her as she leaned into Cork's side. Cork had her arm around Jesse's shoulders, her long fingers lightly stroked Jesse's arm in a random fashion. Corrine lifted a beer to her lips and glanced around the room. Cam was sitting on the right side of the couch. Sue sat on the floor, her legs flung out in front of her and her head firmly between Cam's legs. The lights were dimmed just enough that Sue's nose ring glowed eerily. Poor Mina sat very rigid on the opposite end of the couch, her legs tightly closed in front of her and a death grip on her wine glass. Cork wondered idily what was going through the poor woman's mind, then surprisingly, Jace, who was sitting in Corrine's overstuffed chair, spoke up.
"Hey, you want a refill? I'm gonna head back to the kitchen." Her voice was at a reasonable level so Cork could hear it from across the space. Unfortunately, Mina jumped, nearly spilling her wine glass before she caught the rim and turned her startled gaze to Jace.
Cork grinned when she saw Mina purposefully relax her posture. "Uh… probably not a good idea since I have to drive home tonight.. Maybe I should stick to water."
Jace offered one of her seductive smiles and stood up from the chair. "Fair enough, I'll get you a water."
"No no you don't have to do anything, I'll just come with you…" Mina sprung from her seated position and Cork saw her hand shake just slightly. She also noted that Jace's smile widened just slightly.
In the kitchen Mina placed her glass in the sink and grabbed the edge of it, looking out the window. The rain was dying down and she could see a bright moon peeking through the clouds.
"There is bottle water."
Thankfully, Mina didn't jump again from the sudden disruption of her thoughts. Instead she turned her head, just slightly too fast and eyed Jace. "Oh, that would be good thanks." She licked her lips. The wine had been good, but she could barely taste it. She watched Jace bend over to grab the bottle, plus another brown bottle of beer. All of that wasn't nearly as fascinating as the perky ass that her black jeans strained against. Realizing she was staring, Mina quickly glanced away, pushing a strand of dark hair over her ear.
"You should relax. You're jumpy. Nobody here is gonna bite chica." Jace offered a lopsided grin and handed over the water. Their fingers brushed, sending a mutual shock of energy through each woman. In response they both looked up at each other. Their gazes held.
It seemed to Mina that time stood still. Those eyes, so dark and fathomless, seeming to penetrate her soul and…. "Yeah sorry." She shook her head and just to have something to do, opened the water and took a long sip. She would NOT think about how warm and welcoming those lips seemed. Neither would she contemplate the tingle that had shot through her hand and straight through her body. It was just lust… yeah, just lust… "I ah… I haven't done this in a while."
Jace opened her bear and leaned against the granite surface of the counter. "Yeah Jesse said you're a work horse. I think she invited you over to keep me company. You know, since I am the only one not participating in the love fest."
Grey eyes met brown and Mina offered her own wry smile. "Maybe she did. Jesse has always been considerate. You would think being little rich girl she would have been more stuck up. Her mom though, she's the nicest person you'd ever meet." Mina's smile grew wider as she fondly recalled sleepovers supplied with fresh baking. Her mother had died when she was young and her father couldn't cook worth a damn.
Mina coughed on the water she just drank and cleared her throat. Yeah… real smooth. "Huh?"
Jace blinked, seeming to come out of a daze and shrugged coolly. "Your smile, you should make it a habit."
Mina's cheeks flushed. "Heh thanks. We should return to the party before they think we've gotten lost."
Jace shrugged. "I doubt they would notice…"
Morning dawned bright, but the trees still gleamed with water from the previous day. A few pearls dripped from the roof of the porch and landed on Jace's shoulders. She shrugged it off, stretching her legs, then took off at a warm up pace.
She failed to notice the malevolent eyes watching her from behind a tree…
The bell tinkled and Mina mentally sighed, using the distraction to stretch before stepping from behind her desk. She needed to hire a desk clerk, but until business picked up, she would serve. "I'll be with you in a minute!" She took a moment to adjust her shirt, check for crumbs of the cheese Danish she'd been eating, and dust off her slacks. Then, she strode down the hall to the lobby. Her easy steps stilled when she saw who was standing there.
"Hey… I was scoping out downtown thought I'd check in and see if you wanted to grab a bite?" Jace was wearing a pair of loose drawstring pants and a green tank top moist with sweat. She hadn't planned on this little excursion, but she had been thinking about the little brunette all morning. When she realized she'd passed Mina's shop twice, she decided to stop by. Worst case? Mina would say no, which would really suck.
Mina checked her watch. Her hair was down, long and straight, rich coffee strands brushed against the white collared shirt that stopped just before her wrist. "Well, I could eat something." She shrugged. "Let me go turn on the answering machine."
Some minutes later had both women sitting across from each other at the diner. Mina fidgeted in the seat and reached for a menu. "You surprised me. " She also secretly admitted she was pleased. "You should try the cheesy fries they're awesome."
Jace tried valiantly to pay attention to her menu but she was quickly losing the battle. Mina had loosened her collar by releasing a button on the way to the diner and now her position leaning over the menu revealed the most tantalizing bit of dusky flesh. "Hmm? Oh, then I'll take your word for it and try some." She glanced up at the waitress. "I'll take a burger too, heavy on the pickles, and if you got some jalapeños that would be good. I'll also take a coke."
The waitress nodded, scratching on her pad then looked at Mina expectantly.
"I'll have chicken tenders with ranch sauce to go with my cheese fries and um… tea. Thanks."
As the waitress flounced off to fill the orders Mina crossed and uncrossed her legs under the table. "you run every morning?"
Jace smiled. "Yeah, sorry for the poor dress." She rolled her shoulders. "This was kinda impromptu. "
"Oh you look good… I mean fine." The waitress brought their drinks and Mina distracted herself from Jace's impressive muscle by fishing out her lemon and squeezing it into the drink.
"Well I think you look fine too." When Jace caught Mina's gaze she grinned widely and sipped her drink. She wondered if Mina had any idea how beautiful she look flustered… Would she get fined if she lunged across the table and kissed those lips untill she forgot her own name? Would Mina kiss her back? Hmm… approach this carefully… "Cork and Jesse are going out to a friend's ranch. She thinks she can get me on the back of a horse. They said I could invite you if you want to come?"
"I dunno I.. when is it?"
"Ceremony is Friday, so we're doing it Wednesday, going to head back Thursday." Say yes… say yes…
Mina contemplated her tea for a long moment, and then shook her head. "I can't stay the weekend… but I could probably close shop early on Wednesday and stay for lunch. The guy is coming in to fix the air vents anyway. "
Both women looked in each other's eyes and smiled.
"Cool" Jace nodded and took another sip. She instinctively knew her usual seduction techniques wouldn't work for this one. If she came on too strongly Mina would probably run like a frightened chicken, but if she started out subtle… who knew? Maybe they'd hook up at the wedding…
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