She wasn't sure where she was due to the darkness in the room. An obscure light flickered at some unknown natural beat. She tried to still the panic rising up inside her while desperately trying to recognize her surroundings. A fleeting movement to her right caught her eye and she instinctually jerked away from it. A minute later, another movement from the opposite direction caused her to spin around. She caught a glimpse of a dark shape that was somehow familiar. Her panic slowly turned to curiosity as she felt a gentle pair of hands contact her shoulders with a soft, delicate touch.
As the faceless pair of hands skillfully relaxed her muscles and eased the tension in her body and mind an odd sense of tranquility passed through her. She unconsciously leaned into the warmth in an effort to gain more contact. The two palms slowly spread to her shoulders and tenderly applied pressure that begged her to turn. The shimmering light made it difficult to recognize the intimate figure. The hands remained on her shoulders as the dark figure leaned in closer to her. She turned her head slightly, lips parted, in anticipation...
BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP! BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP! BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP!
Groggily, Cynthia turned off the alarm and flopped over onto her back. She desperately tried to put a face to the image of her dream but the shadowy figure alluded her. She was aware of the reality of the warmth and tingles that emanated from her center. Without a conscious thought, she moved her right hand across her abdomen and downward toward her need. Slipping her fingers past the elastic band of her panties, she slowly began to trace circles around her clitoris. Dipping her hand lower, she moaned aloud when she came into contact with the evidence of her arousal. Within seconds she was hovering upon the edge. Rubbing her clitoris softly with her thumb, she pushed two fingers into her slick, wet folds. The muscled walls of her center gripped her fingers tightly as her body crashed over the edge. She continued to move her fingers and thumb, creating wave after wave of pleasure.
Her orgasm rippedd through her being with a fierce intensity, one she had never experienced before. Several minutes passed before Cynthia was again aware of her surroundings. Wow! My God, that was intense. What a way to start the day! After basking a few minutes in the after glow, until she was sure she was back in control of her body, she rose to begin her day.
Toni woke well before the alarm announced its presence. She rolled out of bed to prepare for the day. After the usual morning routine, she found herself standing in front of her closet. I should wear something a little nicer today. The usual gray sweats just won't cut it. For her outer wear she chose a simple affair of her favorite pair of black formfitting jeans and a white ribbed turtleneck sweater. She set these aside while she looked through her workout clothes.
Hmmm. Gray sweats, gray shorts, gray tops. I sense a pattern here. She finally came across a matching top and bottom in a dark blue tone. She hadn't worn these in about a year so she tried them on. Not bad. I've added more muscle mass to my legs but I remember these used to be a bit large. She turned around and checked out her backside in the mirror. I hope Cynthia doesn't think I'm trying to entice her with this. I doubt it, straight girls just don't think that way.
She assembled her workout bag with a change of underclothes, a few pieces of specialty equipment and her favorite pair of cross-trainers. She finished dressing and pulled on her favorite pair of boots to go with the jeans she was wearing. After all, you never know when someone might be checking things out.
Flinging the workout bag over her shoulder she checked out the total package in the mirror. Okay, that's about as good as I can do. I guess I'm ready to go. She glanced at the clock on the nightstand to check the time. 7:30! Wow, I guess I need to find something to occupy my time for awhile. She checkled to herself softly. I'm not anxious or anything!
Cynthia finished her morning class and walked anxiously to her car to get to her workout. She tossed her bag on the passenger seat and started toward the gym. As she drove she felt a strange nervous energy. Maybe some music? At a red light, she flipped through her CD case and decided that some grooving dance music would help. Choosing a Madonna hits collection, she placed it in the player, by the time the light turned green, she was already 'seat dancing' to the song Holiday.
Twenty minutes later she pulled into the parking lot at Goldie's Gym feeling a bit less anxious, thanks to Madonna allowing her to 'sing along'. She sobered knowing she needed to atone for her words and attitude to Toni on their previous meeting. She seems eager to forgive me though. I wonder if I could be so forgiving if I was in a similar situation? I hope so. Searching for a space, she saw Toni's yellow Durango, and found a spot nearby. She gathered up her gym bag and purse and headed toward the door of the gym. She was surprised to find Toni waiting in the vestibule.
"Um... Hi," she said shyly.
Toni's beautiful smile eased Cynthia's uneasiness immediately. "Look, I know we are both feeling a tad awkward. Let's try to put that aside and just have fun with the workout. Agreed?"
Relieved, Cynthia smiled, "agreed, we can talk about what happened last week at lunch, but now its time to sweat!"
"Great, follow me."
Toni gave Cynthia a quick tour of the facilities. Cynthia was surprised at the size of the place. There were two floors. The main floor was divided up into three exercise areas. Cardio, weight machines, and free weights. The cardio area had at least twenty treadmills, plus stationary bikes, stair climbers, and rowing machines. The machine area had machines to isolate every possible muscle group, and the free weight area was just plain huge. The dumbell racks wrapped around two walls, and there was every imaginable bench or sled.
On the second floor there was everything from aerobics rooms to a boxing ring. The gym even had massage therapists, whirlpools, and a sports nutritionist. Turning to Toni, Cynthia said, "This place is amazing!"
"Yea, I love it. And Goldie himself is a great guy. The whole staff is very friendly. I've spent a lot of time here, especially this past year."
"So you train a lot?"
"Oh yes, I do my cardio on the road when its warm enough, but I've been building my muscle mass a lot this past year. I have to be careful about not going overboard on the strength training though. I like looking fit, but I don't want to look like some genetic freak."
"I can understand that."
"Come on Cynthia, let's get busy."
They went down the stairs to the locker room area to put their belongings in Toni's locker then preceded to the cardio equipment.
They started with a brisk warm-up on the treadmill then moved to the stair-climber for a solid twenty minutes, exchanging smiles and looks of encouragement both feeling quite comfortable with the other.
"After or a short cool down period are you up to some free weights? It's a leg day for me, how about you?" Toni asked.
"Back and shoulders, and yes I am but I can do that tomorrow and switch to legs today. I like shaking things up a bit so the body doesn't get trapped into a routine."
"Good strategy, lets start with some calf raises," Toni said as they moved to the legs section of the free weight area.
Toni placed a large amount of weight on hers while Cynthia chose a much lighter weight. Toni managed ten reps before she stopped for a short break, while Cynthia went on for twenty reps.
"Building muscle endurance I see", Toni commented when Cynthia had finished her first set.
"Yea, it's been a long season and we still have the NCAA's coming up, I really need the endurance to run the court at the end of tight games."
Toni had started her second set and only grunted an acknowledgment. Cynthia noted that Toni was digging deep to finish the second set. "Going to failure in the third set?" She asked, while starting her second.
Breathing heavily, Toni gathered her breath. "Yep. Can you help on a few?"
Finishing her second set, Cynthia replied. "Sure, let me do my third set. I'm taking shorter breaks."
After about thirty seconds, Cynthia pounded out her third set of twenty reps. Standing, she moved in front of Toni's machine preparing to assist when needed. Toni gathered her energy for her final set, and started raising the weight. She held at the height of extension, then slowly let the weight back down. By the fourth rep, she was straining hard. On the seventh rep she almost faltered but Cynthia helped by slightly raising the weight to full extension. Toni completed the final three reps with Cynthia's help, groaning loudly with the effort.
After Toni extracted her legs from the machine she glanced up at Cynthia. "Thanks, I don't get to push past failure often since I mostly workout alone. If you don't mind, I'm going to really push it today."
"Nope, don't mind at all," Cynthia stated as she sat back on her machine to do her fourth and final set. "So why so much work on the legs?"
Just as Cynthia started her set, Toni answered. "Well, several reasons really. But athletically I am required to move a lot of weight. Also, I am trying to gain weight without that genetic freak look I mentioned earlier."
"What is your weight goal?" Cynthia asked as she finished on the calf-raise bench.
"Two Hundred Pounds."
"Two Hundred! Why?"
"Well, sometimes I compete against men."
"Really? What sport?"
"I tell you what, you try guessing. If you get it right, I'll tell you. But in the meantime, you have to come to one of my competitions. The next one is the day after tomorrow."
"Okay. I can make that."
"Great! Let's move to the leg press sled," Toni said with a wink. "And between sets, you can try a guess or two."
Almost an hour later as they moved to the last exercise, Cynthia still didn't know the sport that Toni participated in. She had guessed everything from judo to bowling, judging from Toni's reaction, she wasn't close.
"I still can't believe you want to put on so much weight. You aren't much taller than me, and I can't imagine putting on almost fifty pounds."
Toni taunted in a challenging voice, "I bet I am a bit heavier than you think I am."
Cynthia stepped back and eyed Toni carefully. Well there certainly isn't any fat, and her muscles aren't freaky. That outfit clings to her like a well fitted glove. I'm glad we are done with the leg curls, her butt was trying to escape the confines of those shorts! Concentrate Cyn, you can do this. I was 151 yesterday and she's not much taller. Maybe 165. Of course she thinks that I think she's lighter than she is.... Add 10 more pounds. "Well, I judge you to be about 175," she said proudly.
"Let's finish our squats, then we can both hit the scale."
Ten minutes later, Cynthia stared in shock at the scale. "One hundred Eighty Eight Pounds! You had to lose a pound or two during the workout too. That's unbelievable!"
Toni beamed a wide smile at Cynthia. "Told you I weighed more than you thought."
"I added ten pounds to my guess!" Cynthia said while she looked Toni over from head to toe. "I don't know where you put it." She's got a lot of muscle, but still has great curves. I bet she has women falling at her feet.
"Well mostly my legs, but also my shoulders and back. I'm a bit broader than most women, but I've tried very hard to keep proportional so it isn't noticeable. It's very tough now to add weight and stay in proportion. Today will help a lot Cynthia. Thanks for your help."
"It was my pleasure, although I still don't know your sport," she said with a hint of pleading.
A loud laugh escaped Toni as Cynthia growled at her playfully.
Both showered and changed then Toni led the way to a small cafe nearby. After the waiter left with their order of salads and two fairly healthy chicken sandwichs the two women sat silent in thought knowing it was time for a little apologizing, neither knowing where to start.
Toni took a deep breath and said, "How about I flip a coin? Heads I start, tails you start."
Toni reached into her purse and pulled out a coin then placed it above her right thumb. She flipped the coin and quickly caught it with her right hand, then slapped it down on the back of her left hand. "Tails," she said, slightly relieved.
Cynthia sighed, then looked at Toni. "Best two out of three? Just kidding. It's better this way. I was the one who had the problem. You already know I'm sorry. There's not really much I can say in my defense. When I thought back on what I had said to you, I realized that those words could have been spoken by my mother." Cynthia paused a bit to catch her breath, noticing that Toni was about to speak, she raised her hand to stall her.
"Better let me get this out." Toni nodded, and Cynthia continued, "When I was a teenager and first started rebelling against my parents a bit, I tried hard to ignore my parents influence. Like some other kids I drank at parties, hung out with the 'cool' people. It started with smoking a little weed. I don't know why, really. To be 'cool' I guess. Now you have to understand that I went to a private school. We lived in a very upscale area, but still I had this urge to be one of the in crowd and to be different than my parents." Again, Cynthia paused. She closed her eyes briefly, and took a deep breath.
Toni reached across the table for Cynthia's hand and gave it a comforting squeeze. Cynthia opened her eyes, catching Toni's gaze. Seeing nothing but warmth in Toni's eyes, she went on. "I started doing other things. Some of us started hanging with an older crowd. We started shoplifting for fun. I once took some acid. Then I started taking Ecstasy. I'd finish with school, do my homework, then head to the mall with some friends. We'd meet an older bunch and did stupid things, then head back to an apartment of someone's to party. When I was Seventeen, I told my parents I would be staying over at a friend's house one night. But instead we went to the apartment. I drank, took Ecstasy and eventually I guess I passed out." Cynthia again caught Toni's gaze with her own. "I woke up the next morning with a raging headache, but that wasn't the only pain I had. After I had passed out, the others moved me in to the bedroom and continued their party." Cynthia paused and lowered her voice, "I was raped that night."
Toni held tight to Cynthia's hand. She had been expecting a possible drug overdose, but not a rape. She gently squeezed Cynthia's hands. "Cynthia, I'm so sorry. Please, believe me when I say I'm here for you."
Sniffing back tears, Cynthia squeezed Toni's hand back. "Thank you Toni. But there's more and I want you to know it. When I got home that morning my parents knew something was wrong. Eventually the truth came out. I ended up in the hospital, the police became involved, and I went through a drug rehab program. The police questioned everyone I knew from the apartment. They ran tests on every guy. Turns out that none of them did it. There had been other people at the party too, some unknown to anyone. So basically, who ever it was is still out there. He took me while I was unconscious, he took my virginity, and some of my innocence I guess. They never found who did it."
Again Cynthia paused a second to wipe the tears away. "So after all that my parents clamped down on me, well deserved I might add. I also kind of figured I had been my own worst enemy. My rebellion against my parents had led to a drug problem, and to my rape. With my parent's help, I kicked the drugs, finished high school, and came here for college. But when I looked back on those things I said to you that night, I realized that not only did I stop rebelling against my parents, I also picked up a lot of their attitudes and prejudices. That's something I want to change about me because I think I'll be a better person for it. That's why I'm sorry for the words I said, and why I am so very glad you have found it in your heart to forgive me."
Toni again squeezed Cynthia's hand. "I completely understand Cynthia. Believe me, I know exactly how the prejudices of others can affect those close to them. I'm very glad you have decided to change something about yourself you don't like. It takes a lot of guts to say what you did to me today and I want you to know if you ever need a comforting hand or a shoulder to cry on, I'll be there for you."
Cynthia gave Toni a shy smile and said, "Thanks Toni. I may take you up on that sometime."
"Well, I guess its my turn then," Toni said with resignation. Just then the waiter arrived with their food. When he left Toni exclaimed, "Ahhhh! Saved by lunch!"
Cynthia picked up her salad fork, jabbed it toward her friend and said, "It's only a reprieve Toni, I want to hear why you think you need to apologize."
Toni faked a dramatic sigh and winked flirtatiously at Cynthia. "If I must."
Cynthia giggled, "Toni, please call me Cyn if you like. No need for us to be so formal."
"Thanks Cyn, "Toni's dark eyes lit up with a with a smile. "Now, lets eat before these sandwiches get cold!"
Both girls tackled their lunch like wolves at a slaughter.
The waiter refilled their drinks then gathered up their empty plates. He held up the check and Toni placed her charge card down on the table.
"I'll be back with this in a minute."
"So, when do you leave for your game tomorrow?" Toni asked.
"We meet at six tonight for a bus to the airport. We should be in our hotel and asleep before midnight. We're heading back to the airport right after the game Friday night, so we'll get back after midnight."
"Still want to come to my competition on Saturday?"
Cynthia smiled, "I wouldn't miss it... Whatever it is."
"Patience Cyn. I wouldn't want to spoil the surprise."
After the waiter had left the receipt, Toni took a sip of her drink and a deep breath. "Cyn, I guess its time for me to do some explaining about my anger that night."
"Toni, a few minutes ago you said if I ever needed a shoulder to cry on or a comforting friend, you would be there for me. I want you to know that it goes both ways. I'll be here for you too if you need me."
Toni searched Cynthia's eyes. "Thanks Cyn. Some of this still isn't easy for me to talk about." Pausing to take another sip of her drink, and to compose herself a bit, Toni looked over the rim of her glass at Cynthia and saw nothing but warmth and friendship. She leaned back in the chair a bit, then started talking in a low but serious voice.
"I guess I should fill you in on some things from early on in my life. As I grew up I was almost the definition of a tomboy. I'm sure having three brothers helped that along too." Toni grinned before continuing. "Although even when I was very young, like two or three, my mom had a tough time getting me into dresses when the occasion warranted. I always hated the shoes most of all. I mean what's wrong with bare feet? Or a good pair of Nike's?"
"I was always partial to Addias, but I know what you mean", Cynthia said with a laugh.
"Addias! You poor girl!" Toni exclaimed with false outrage. "Anyway, as I got older still, the people I hung around with started to change. The girls started talking about boys, makeup, and how cute some singer was. The guys I knew started noticing girls and me even, but I also got kinda bashful. For me it was strange. I liked being with guys and talking about sports and things, but I also liked being with girls although I was even shyer about that. I didn't talk much, but kinda agreed with the pack, if you know what I mean."
Cynthia nodded while Toni took another sip from her drink. "When the puberty fairy came along and zapped us, I got even more confused. One girl I made friends with developed faster than the rest of us, and I really noticed. Of course everyone sort of noticed, but I was amazed by the changes in her. She was also a bit of an athlete and I convinced myself I was watching her athletic skill, but to be honest those new curves of hers excited me. And her breasts! I was in awe of her. We played softball and basketball together, and we got to be closer friends because of it. But I was so confused, I had these strange feelings for her that I just didn't understand."
Toni took a deep breath before continuing. "This whole talking thing is harder than it looks."
Cynthia reached out and placed her hands over Toni's on top of the table. "You're doing fine. What was her name?"
Toni face grew brighter with her smile. "Stephanie. Of course I called her Steph. As you have probably guessed, she was my first crush. We grew to be best friends, although I couldn't tell her what I was really feeling. Heck, it took me a long time to sort through what I was feeling. I guess we were twelve or so. It's kind of funny really. My parents gave me a very Midwest version of the birds and the bees, It was a five minute chat I don't remember to this day." Toni smirked, "Anyway Steph and I had gone to see a movie after school, then we went back to her house to do our homework. We had been there about thirty minutes when the phone rang. Her mom yelled up it was for Steph and she went into another room to take it. She comes back in about fifteen minutes later with a strange look on her face. I asked her what was wrong and she sat down and told me that the call was from another friend of ours who had heard from someone that someone else had seen us at the theater. Basically that person was spreading a tale that since we played sports together and went to movies together that we were 'lezzies'. The funny thing is I had no clue what a 'lezzie' was."
Toni laughed a bit at the irony. "My best friend was a bit shocked at my lack of knowledge and filled me in. It was then that I knew what I had been feeling for her. It was also then that my heart was broken for the first time. She was not kind in her description and opinions about 'lezzies'. We remained friends, but started drifting apart. She started dating guys, and I concentrated on athletics. That summer, before high school started, my parents decided to move to a new house closer to where Dad worked that also had room enough for the whole lot of us. Steph and I promised to keep in touch, but we slowly lost touch."
Toni paused to take another sip from her drink.
"Wow, that must have been tough. To have that kind of rejection when the person doing it doesn't even know it." Cynthia paused as realization hit her and she started to cry. "Oh my, I am so sorry."
"Cyn, don't worry about it. You have apologized, and I have a greater understanding of how people come by some of their beliefs. Now it's my turn to apologize and I have a bit more to say. Steph was just the start of the story."
Toni grabbed Cynthia's hands squeezing them, then started shaking Cynthia's arms until she looked up. It was then that Toni crossed her eyes and stuck out her tongue making Cynthia laugh. "Okay, okay, no more funny faces Toni. Tell me more."
"Well next came high school. Right away I signed up for softball in the fall. I was good enough to skip over the freshman squad right to varsity. I didn't start, but came in if someone was injured or as a pinch hitter or defensive replacement late in the game. There was one other freshman on the squad who was a pitcher, Becky. She was kind of shy, but we hit it off fairly well due to being the youngsters. We became best friends by the middle of the season. Athletically she was a great pitcher, but her defense wasn't very good. In the classroom, she was brilliant, and I spent a lot of time with her becoming a better student. So after practice we'd hang out and I would help her improve her defensive skills. Then we would jog to either her house or mine and do our homework."
Toni glanced up at the waiter and waved to get his attention, then pointed at their glasses. He nodded his understanding while Toni continued. "The softball team ended up doing better than expected, which gave us high hopes for the following year since we were only losing three girls to graduation. Becky blossomed as a player, and I started the last five games due to an injury. We made it into the state sectionals before the local powerhouse ended our season. Right after that game I started talking to Becky about playing basketball, my favorite sport, and I wanted her to play as well. Eventually she agreed. The varsity squad was packed with seniors and great players, so we were both on the Junior Varsity squad. I started while Becky got a few minutes per game. It was her first time playing on an organized team so she had a lot of catching up to do. Again, we'd work more after practice, and her athletic gifts led her to become a great two guard. She took over a starting spot just past mid season. We finished with a good record, and there were hopes some of us would help the varsity squad the following year continue their dominance. In fact four of us were brought up to the varsity squad to help out during practice. Becky and I were both invited. We'd help the squad in the practices and really gave it our all. The older girls respected our efforts and we grew to be part of the team for their championship drive."
The waiter arrived and refilled their drinks. Toni gave her thanks, and both girls proceeded to take a few sips. Toni sighed slightly and said, "I admit I was starting to have the same feelings for Becky that I had for Steph. I also didn't want to go through the same heartbreak as before, so I pushed those special feelings aside. Anyway, the team coasted into the playoffs. They played hard and earned their way to the final four in the state championships. The girls from the JV squad were invited to go on the trip to Columbia so we all ended up at this hotel in Columbia not far from the University. The games were on Friday and Sunday, but we arrived on Thursday. We had a solid practice at The Hearns Center and went back to the hotel for a team meeting. The coaches went over some details on our opponents, then brought in sodas and snack food. We were told to have a good time, and to be back in our rooms by midnight. We had a great time really, bonding as a team. Somehow we got into a short game of Truth or Dare, and when I picked Truth I was asked 'Who was the last boy you kissed'. I was embarrassed to answer I hadn't kissed a boy yet. A few of the older girls started laughing and teasing me. I certainly didn't want to say boys didn't do it for me and that I had feelings for girls, including one who was in the room. I was starting to get nervous when Becky jumped to my defense and mentioned how young she and I were and that she hadn't kissed a boy yet either. The other girls teased us a bit, but also told us we had so much to look forward too. We went on to talking about movies and music but eventually the time neared midnight and we all said good night and headed for our rooms."
Ton's eyes glanced off as a small smile and her memories reached her eyes. "You probably guessed that Becky and I were roommates." Toni felt somewhat nervous telling her story to Cynthia but she went on. "We were inseparable."
"I was just thinking about those girls teasing you, and Becky. I'm amazed at how easy it is for people to hurt someone else without realizing it."
"Yes, especially given how confused you can be at that age. Something said in passing can be so damaging if said at the right time. I knew at that point I was gay, but I hadn't really dealt with what that meant to me or to others yet. It was much safer for me to try to ignore and even hide those feelings."
"That's kind of how I responded after I realized that someone had raped me. I wanted to keep it inside. I didn't want to deal with it. Luckily my parents knew something was wrong and got the details out of me." Cynthia paused while her mind skimmed over her memories of that time. "I'd really hate to see where I would be now if my parents hadn't noticed anything."
"Yes, I know what you mean. That little game of Truth or Dare had brought feelings I had tried to hide back into my mind. And now I was heading into a hotel room with my best friend who I had a thing for!"
"So what happened?" Cynthia asked with interest.
"Well we got in our room, and got ready for bed. By fifteen minutes after midnight, we were in our beds with the lights out. I was lying there with these images of people kissing going through my mind, and of course I imagined myself kissing Becky. A short while later I heard Becky whispering my name. She asked me why I hadn't kissed a boy yet. My heart was pounding but I was careful and just said I hadn't met the right boy yet. She sighed and said she hadn't met the right boy yet either. Then she said that she was also worried about how good a kisser she could be if she had never kissed before. I agreed that was a troublesome thought. Then we both grew quiet again. A minute later she said she had a solution to our problem. I asked her what that might be. She turned the light back on, looked me dead in the eye and said we should practice kissing with each other!"
Cynthia choked on her soda. "Oh my God! How did you react to that?"
"Well aside from the fact that the power of speech had left me, my heart started beating like I was running a marathon. You would not believe how many images passed through my mind in that instant. I don't think I was aware of what some of those images even meant! Becky was still looking at me expectantly while I tried to reattach my jaw to my face. I stuttered a bit, then lobbed the ball back into her court by saying that if she thought it was a good idea, I wasn't going to argue the point. She smiled, then she shoved her blanket away, got up and walked over to my bed and sat down. I sat up in bed and I guess I had that 'Deer in Headlights' look about me. She told me not to worry, it was just practice. I nodded my agreement nervously as she leaned in."
Toni reached for her glass while Cynthia said, "Don't you dare stop now!"
Taking a quick sip, Toni smirked at Cynthia, "Are you sure? I wouldn't want you to feel uncomfortable."
"Stop teasing, and start talking missy!" Cynthia said sternly.
Toni chuckled then continued. "When our lips met, I honestly felt like I had died and gone to heaven. They were so soft, but there was this underlying firmness. I imagined that to be Becky's inner strength of character. Then I felt something else. Her tongue was poking at my lips asking for entrance. As I opened my mouth a bit, her tongue darted inside and our tongues started to duel." Toni giggled again at her memories then noticed Cynthia on the edge of her seat leaning forward with genuine interest.
Cynthia groaned a bit then said, "You have a terrible knack at stopping at the interesting bits. Now kick it into gear Toni!"
Toni laughed. "Eventually we both came up for air. We separated a bit, breathing heavily, and stared into each other's eyes. Before I knew it, she was back for more. We kissed heavily for a few minutes, then she pulled back a bit. Before I could even begin to worry about this pause, she looked at me and said that she had wanted to do that with me since we first met. Surprised at her words, I kind of jerked back a bit. When she started to apologize I leaned forward and kissed her with all the feeling I had hidden for so long. I then proceeded to tell her she wasn't the only one that had those feelings. We kissed some more but didn't do much else. We both slept in our own bed that night but promised each other we would have more private practices. After the team won the championship, we went home to the spring season and field hockey. Oh, and of course we spent some of our homework time on our 'private practices'."
Cynthia sighed, "So, did you guys...ummm...."
"Oh yes! But not for almost two years. Eventually we knew that the time was right for us. Over those two years we became very close. We bared our souls to each other. Discovered our sexuality together. We won basketball and softball championships together. We were best friends, and lovers." Toni paused and Cynthia was saddened to see tears rolling down her face. Toni sniffed, then in a soft voice, "I thought I would spend the rest of my life with her."
Keeping one hand on top of Toni's, Cynthia moved her chair around the table and put an arm around Toni then held her tight while she cried. "Toni, maybe you should stop. This is too hard for you."
Toni smiled through her tears at Cynthia and reached for a napkin on the table. A bit embarrassed she wiped at her tears, then shook her head slightly. "No, I need to get through this."
"Are you sure?" Cynthia asked. "I don't want you to do or say something you may regret later."
Toni reached around Cynthia and gave her a quick hug. "I know now that we'll be good friends, and I trust you Cyn, like you trusted me earlier." Leaning back a bit, she took a deep breath. "Thank you for you support. It shows what a wonderful person you truly are."
Cynthia blushed a bit. "Thank you too Toni, your support and kindness helped to get me through some painful memories. I'm so glad you feel that you can trust me. I hope to prove worthy of it."
"You already have Cyn. You already have." Toni paused, then she flashed a quick grin. "Now sit right back, and you'll hear a tale. Well, at least the rest of it."
Cynthia groaned at the line from an old TV show but she did sit back in her chair and relax.
Toni took another deep breath, then continued. "So, I loved her. She loved me. We were always careful about our relationship. This is, after all, the Midwest. No one knew about us. We got to our senior year. The softball team won the championship on the strength of Becky's pitching. She had become the best player on our team and she didn't lose a game that year. Then we moved on to basketball and repeated as State Champions. Several colleges recruited us both and we discussed going to the same school. Then it happened. Someone saw us kissing on the back porch at her house. Worse yet, they snapped a damn picture. It was a student who lived nearby and could see the porch from the second story of his house. He of course did the most natural thing. He made up a bunch of flyers, and plastered them all over school on a Monday morning." Toni paused, then exclaimed. "The bastard!"
Shocked, Cynthia reached again for Toni's hands. Squeezing them she said, "Toni, its okay. Take a breath and calm down. It's the past. Nothing you can do about it now."
Toni followed Cynthia's advice, then she actually laughed. "You should have seen my anger back then. I went ballistic. It wasn't pretty. Of course I was taken to the principal's office. I heard later that Becky had arrived, saw the flyers, and went back home. They found out who did it of course, not that it mattered any more. So there I am, in the principal's office, angrier than a swarm of bees. When Principal Snyder came in, I was livid. I wanted the kid who had done the flyers suspended and I wanted Snyder to do it immediately. He looked at me, told me to 'shut my trap'. Then he told me that my troubles were my own fault. He asked me what I was thinking? I was shocked. He was chewing me out for kissing Becky, in private I might add, but he wasn't doing a thing about the guy who took a picture and distributed it all over the school! You might say I blew a gasket. I told him off, then explained how Becky and I had been in her backyard. We had kissed in private. Then I told him how much I loved her."
Toni paused, reached for her glass and took a drink. Still holding onto the glass she said, "Snyder looked at me like I had grown a second head. He got this ugly sneer on his face. God! I remember it like it was yesterday! He bellowed at me. 'Love! What you and Becky did isn't love! It isn't natural. It's evil! How could you think such a thing was love?' He paused a moment, leaned directly in my face and screamed, 'Just tell me what's wrong with you?'
Cynthia almost came to her feet. "That bastard!"
"Exactly. But Cynthia, you said those exact words to me that night on the Loop. Not in the same way Snyder did, but you need to understand why I was so angry when you said it."
"Oh my God! I'm so sorry!" Cynthia buried her face in her hands.
Toni grabbed her hands and said, "Cyn, don't be sorry. Because I'm so sorry for letting Snyder's words from five years ago make me yell at you that night. It wasn't your fault you chose those words. Cyn, you have the courage to admit you don't like something about yourself, and the willpower to change. Just being here, comforting me while I talk, is enough for me to see the truth. The night we argued you said things that you didn't really mean. And I did the same. We're both sorry. Let's move on, okay?"
Cynthia sniffed loudly to clear her tears. "Thank you Toni. Thank you for being the woman you are."
"Right back at ya, Cyn. So, still friends?"
"Oh yes Toni. Still friends."
They smiled at each other, both realizing that their friendship was solid, each feeling they could now overcome anything if they just believed in their trust for each other. A moment later the waiter arrived with refills for your drinks and as if sensing the need he spoke in a caring voice. "You ladies take your time, okay? No need to rush out of here today."
Both voiced their thanks as the waiter went back to his work. Words between them were no longer needed. They gazed out the window calm and content just to be sitting side by side, quietly relaxing, enjoying their drinks. The pain of their earlier revelations faded into a feeling of strength and friendship. Noise in the restaurant dimmed as life went on outside the window. For that moment in time it felt as though they were in the most peaceful, serene place along the journey of life.
"Well..." Toni began.
"I think..." Cynthia said at the same moment.
Both girls giggled playfully. Toni recovered first and said, "I was just going to say that it's probably time you headed back to campus. I wouldn't want to be responsible for the star player missing the road trip!"
"I was going to bring that up as well. Of course my version was full of apologies for listening and running." Cynthia said with a smile.
"No more apologies Cyn, as long as we both listen to the other when we chat, there won't be any need for apologies."
"You are so right. And I appreciate having you listen to me earlier, it felt so good to be able to voice all of my feelings about that time of my life. So, about this competition of yours on Saturday night. How do I get there if I don't know anything about it?
Laughing Toni reached for her purse. "I'll give you the info you need, in fact, I'll even meet you at the ticket counter at Seven o'clock."
"Ticket counter? Hmmm... That could narrow it down a bit." Cynthia said thoughtfully.
Toni joked as she wrote down the address and some quick directions to the venue. "Well, no more hints from me!" Holding the piece of paper up she said, "Here, now be there at seven. I'll get you in and you can sit with my family. Once you see the place, it will help you narrow it down even more."
"Okay, I'll be there. You can count on it."
"Oh I am." Toni said seriously, cracking another smile. "Let's get out of here and get you started back to campus."
As they left the cafe, they waved their thanks to the waiter. In the parking lot they stood by their cars, not really wanting their day together to end. "Cyn, have a great game tomorrow. Kick some ass!" Toni said with a smile.
"With encouragement like that I just know how you led your high school teams to their championships. I'll be sure to kick some ass, and think of you while doing it." A warm smile crossed Cynthia face as she looked at her friend. "And I'll see you Saturday at seven.". She took a step forward and hugged Toni. "Promise." She said softly into Toni's ear.
Toni hugged Cynthia back, while trying to keep her attraction to Cynthia in check, then just decided that the warmth and friendship offered by the hug was more important than anything her libido was telling her. So she enjoyed the hug as she enjoyed Cynthia's friendship. Her libido took the hint and controlled itself.
Stepping back a bit, Cynthia continued. "And thanks for the fun workout. We should do it again sometime."
"Bye-bye Toni" Cynthia said, trying not to show her sadness at their parting. She got into her car, started the motor, and backed out of the spot. She was already thinking about seeing Toni on Saturday as she smiled and waved as she proceeded out of the parking lot to the exit.
Toni watched until Cynthia's car was out of sight. Sighing she got into her Durango and sighed again. "I wish Becky had been more like Cyn. I guess I'll have to finish that part of the story for her someday." Toni put the truck in gear and headed back to her apartment so she could change and get ready for work. I hope she kicks total ass in New York!
Continued in Chapter 6
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