Disclaimer: These characters are mine.
Subtext warning: Yes, there is a loving relationship between people of the same gender. If this offends you or is illegal where you are, please press the back button or move on. If you are under the age of 18, go away until you're old enough.
Language: Mild profanity.
Author’s Note: This story is loosely based on a true story of one of my rather drama filled weekends.
Dedications: To Karen. All my love always…
Feedback welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org
Why does it always seem to rain when you’re the saddest?
Leslie Raymond ponders this very question as she stares out the window of her small apartment. The rain today seems to be the worst thing and the perfect symbol for her mood. Two days ago, she broke up with the woman she thought she was going to spend the rest of her life with. Ashton Anderson was everything Leslie thought she wanted in a woman. She was beautiful, inside and out. Ashton had the smoothest, creamiest coffee skin, a beautiful bright smile with deep dimples that snagged Leslie at first sight, a charming demeanor, the cutest little chuckle and most of all, two beautiful daughters Leslie loved like her own. Anyone who met Ashton loved her. How could you not? Ashton’s only problem was trying to please everyone…especially her mother.
Ashton loves the rain. Our lovemaking just seemed that much better when there was storm raging outside. And waking up next to Ashton after a night like that was Leslie’s dream come true. To watch her sleep brought Leslie the purest joy and when Ashton opened her pretty brown eyes and smiled at her, everything was perfect in Leslie’s tiny part of the universe. She was head over heels in love and was loved back…or so she thought.
Loving Ashton had brought Leslie so much joy. After losing her mother as a baby, then her only sister who happened to be her father’s favorite at age 14, and being estranged from her father, who after spending her whole childhood putting women before her finally chose another woman over her and told her to move out at age 16, Leslie thought she’d always be alone. So she sucked it up and put herself through college while working full-time. She didn’t have a social life for years because she didn’t feel she needed or wanted one. She and Ashton had met by chance through their two best friends. Finding and falling in love with Ashton and her two beautiful children, filled so many holes in Leslie’s heart. And knowing now that she’s truly alone again after trusting her heart so completely to another, nearly kills her.
Leslie’s startled out of her thoughts by the phone ringing. She looks over at it and sighs. Maybe it’s time to move again. I could get a job anywhere. She looks back out the window, deciding to let the answering machine get it.
“Hey, Leslie. It’s me…Ash. Baby, I know you’re mad and hurt but I need to talk to you. Please, Leslie. Call me.”
Leslie shakes her head as tears come to her eyes again. Why does she do that? Why won’t she just leave me alone if she doesn’t want me? She gets up and wipes at her tears angrily and storms off to her bathroom, thinking a shower would help her feel a little better. After getting dressed, she stands in the middle of her sparse living room. I’m tired of being alone. Being antisocial is not helping. She picks up the phone and decides to return numerous phone calls from her best friend, Lacey Martin.
“Lace? Hey, what’s up?”
“Hey, you. I’ve been worried about you.”
“I know. I’m sorry for taking so long to get back to you. What are you and Dana up to?”
“Nothin’ much. I’m just cooking us some dinner. Want some?”
Leslie smiles at her friend’s thoughtfulness. Even though she was a petite little thing, she had always been Leslie’s biggest champion. Being barely five feet tall with red hair and green eyes, she was the picture of innocence. But let her think you were threatening Leslie, Dana or anyone else she loved and she was a little spitfire. I’m not completely alone. I still have my best friend. And Lacey always did include her no matter what. “Actually, I would. I haven’t eaten all day. What ya cookin’?”
“Pork chops, collard greens, cornbread, mac and cheese…”
“Say no more! I’m there!” Leslie laughs.
Lacey laughs with her. “I know it. I swear you and Dana are related.”
“Oh come on, Sparky. A girl’s gotta eat and for you not to have been born black or in the south, you sure do know how to cook some soul food.”
“My baby calls it comfort food.”
Leslie nods, sobering quickly and looks back out the window. “I sure need some,” she says wistfully.
“I know, sweetie. Come on over. I’ll let Dana know that you’re coming,” Lacey says softly.
Leslie sighs, smiling. “Thanks, Sparky.”
Lacey giggles at the nickname. “No problem. See you in a few, ok?”
“Ok,” Leslie says hanging up starting to feel better already. She and Lacey had been close since they met Leslie’s freshman year in college. They even tried dating for a while because they were so close. Even when they broke up, they stayed the closest of friends because that’s what they were meant to be. When Lacey hooked up with Dana and she hooked up with Ashton, it was all great. She was happy. Lacey was happy. And it turns out that she had gained another champion in Dana. Dana was so understanding about Leslie and Lacey’s need to be close despite their previous sexual relationship and because of that Leslie was quick to reassure her that she would do nothing to ever come between the two. Dana took her at her word because she knew that Leslie was completely in love with her best friend, Ashton.
Lacey answers the door and smiles at the sight of her best friend on her porch. “Hey, you,” she says taking Leslie into her arms and hugging her tight. Even though they were only friends now, a part of her would always love Leslie.
Leslie hugs her back, feeling better every second. “Hey, yourself,” she says softly.
The redhead pulls back to look at her friend and shakes her head, smiling. “Wet enough out there for you?” she says smoothing back a few wet dark brown tendrils that had fallen into her face. Leslie nods, smiling as she sheds her raincoat and umbrella. “Come on in here and dry off. Can’t have you getting sick,” she says taking her hand and pulling her further inside.
Leslie follows her amiably. “Damn it smells good up in here!” she exclaims softly as Lacey stops her outside the hall bathroom.
Lacey shrugs, smiling as she hands her a towel. “You know how I do it.” Leslie chuckles as she dries her face, arms and hair. She hands the towel back to the redhead and starts into the living room. “Uh…hang on a second, Leslie,” she says touching her shoulder.
The brunette turns back to her with a question in her gray eyes. “What’s up?”
Lacey sighs. “I just thought you should know that Ash is on her way. Dana had already invited her, too before I got off the phone with you earlier.”
The brunette sighs and goes back to the front door, shaking her head. “I can’t be here then,” she says quietly.
The redhead stops her from getting her things. “Leslie, wait. Please. Come on. You both are our friends. I invited you. I want you to stay. Nobody knows what happened except you two. Maybe y’all should talk,” she says shrugging.
Leslie narrows her gray eyes at her best friend. “Does she know that I’m gonna be here?” Dana had better not have set me up.
“I don’t think so…but I know that she’s been trying to call you since late the night before last. She keeps calling us about you, too.” Leslie nods, looking down. Lacey rubs her arms, tenderly which causes Leslie to look into her eyes. “What happened, honey? You know you can talk to me.”
Leslie nods and shrugs. “She doesn’t want to be gay anymore. She doesn’t want me anymore,” she says her voice breaking as tears come to her eyes.
Lacey hugs her again. “Oh, I seriously doubt that, Leslie. She loves you.”
“But she doesn’t want to be with a woman anymore. She says it’s time for her to ‘live right’,” she says emphasizing the last two words with quotes in the air.
Lacey frowns and shakes her head. “We’ll see what Dana has to say about this…”
“She said what?!?” Dana yells frowning. Leslie shrugs and looks away. She looks to Lacey who nods in confirmation. Dana shakes her head, sighing. “That’s her Moma getting in her head. She’s always trying to run that girl’s life.” Dana shakes her head again and tsks. “But she can’t help it that she’s gay…and she can’t help that she loves you, either, Leslie. Her Moma needs to just accept Ash for who she is.”
Lacey folds her arms, frowning. “Well, Ash needs to stand up for herself and the woman she loves then.”
Leslie smiles warmly at Lacey. My champion.
The doorbell rings, interrupting the conversation.
“Oh… Well it looks like we’re about to get some answers right now,” Lacey says making a beeline for the front door with Dana hot on her heels.
Leslie sighs and goes to the chaise lounge near their window. Here we go…
Ashton smiles brightly when she’s greeted at the front door by her two friends. “Thank y’all for inviting me. It sure smells good in here. Hey, baby girl,” she says kissing Lacey on the cheek. She turns to her best friend. “What’s up, D?”
“What’s up? What is up, Ash? And what the hell is wrong with you?” Dana asks frowning at her with folded arms as Ashton looks at her in confusion.
Lacey touches her girlfriend’s arm gently. “Hang on, baby,” she says softly and looks back at Leslie by the window.
Ashton frowns, following Lacey’s gaze to Leslie who is staring out the window. Her face automatically softens as she starts towards Leslie until Dana stops her with a hand to her shoulder. She looks at Dana, pleading with her eyes to let her pass.
“She may not even want to talk to you, Ash. I know I wouldn’t after what you pulled.”
Ashton just stares at Leslie. Leslie turns to catch her gaze then looks back out the window. “I know. I’m sorry,” she says to everyone. She steps around Dana carefully in case she decided to stop her again and goes to Leslie. She kneels next to the lounge. “Leslie…baby…can I sit down? Can we talk?”
“About what, Ash? You made your decision. Well, you and your mother made your decision,” she says looking at her hands.
Ashton tilts her head and sighs. “That’s what I want to talk to you about. Can we? Please?” she begs softly. Leslie looks into her eyes for a long moment to judge her sincerity.
Lacey clears her throat. She looks at Dana then at them. “I can keep supper warm if you two need some time…” she says looking at Leslie with raised eyebrows that asked if it was ok with her.
Leslie smiles at her best friend tenderly. Her gaze falls back to Ashton and she nods. “Ok,” she says quietly.
“Ok,” Ashton says and looks back at their friends to confirm that they heard her. Lacey grabs Dana’s hand and pulls her into the kitchen with Dana mumbling the whole way. Ashton shakes her head, smiling slightly as she gets up. She’s my best friend but damn it if she isn’t more protective of Leslie. Just as well she should be. Ashton sits next to Leslie, watching her. Leslie watches her back, warily. Ashton sighs and looks at her hands. “I’m so sorry, baby.” Leslie looks down. “I was so stupid…listening to her. That’s all I can say.” Leslie shakes her head and looks back out the window. It’s now or never. I can’t lose her. I need to tell her everything. “You know, I went to talk to her the same night you left. I had to let her know that what I feel for you is not a phase.”
Leslie looks at her then. “Why did you have to let her know?”
Ashton shakes her head and swallows around the lump in her throat. Her voice breaking on her next words. “Because when I saw you walk out my door, it felt like my happiness left with you. I tried to think of how I would live my life without you and I couldn’t. I just felt so cold and alone when you left. And sitting there talking to her, I came to the realization that no matter what I did, I still wouldn’t live up to her expectations. I disappointed her when I got pregnant out of wedlock. I disappointed her when I married Eric so young because of it. So, I decided to live my life for me. You and the kids…you’re my whole life.” She takes a deep breath. “I’m gay. I understand and accept that now. But most of all, I understand and accept that I need you in my life, too…because I love you, Leslie. I love you with damn near everything in me,” she says barely above a whisper.
Leslie stares at her in shock. She loves me? How can I believe that? Oh god… “You told her all that?” she asks quietly.
Ashton nods and grabs her hands. “I did. I told her all of that and then some.” Leslie looks down, nodding still in shock. Ashton raises her chin and caresses her cheek. Leslie looks into her eyes. “Please tell me that I didn’t blow it. Please tell me you love me, too.” Leslie looks away as the unshed tears begin to fall. Ashton kneels in front of her, never letting go of her hand. “Leslie, please. Forgive me. Trust me. Please…”she begs, lowering her forehead to their entwined hands. Please…
Can I trust her with my heart again? Do I care enough to try? She caresses the dark head in her lap and her heart answers with a resounding YES! “I trust you, Ash,” she whispers. A soft sob and a tightening of her grip is Ash’s only reaction. Leslie raises her chin to look into her teary light brown eyes. Tears are falling unbidden down Ashton’s cheeks as she returns the gaze. “Don’t you ever do that to me again,” she whispers vehemently.
Ashton shakes her head. “I won’t. I promise. I love you so much.”
Leslie nods, smiling softly. “I love you, too, Ash. I forgive you.” Fresh tears fall down Ash’s cheeks as Leslie leans in to kiss her softly. Ash returns the kiss and it slowly progresses to a deeper, more sensual kiss. Ash moves to lay her down and Leslie stops her, chuckling. “Whoa, baby. Wait a minute. Wait!” she exclaims putting her hands on Ash’s shoulders to stop her.
Ash looks at her dazed. “What? What’s wrong?” she asks trying to get to Leslie’s neck.
Leslie pushes her back again. “Remember where we are, Ash,” she says looking around that back at her pointedly.
Ash stares at her for a moment then covers her eyes with the backs of her hands as sits back on her haunches. “Holy shit. I damn near forgot,” she says sheepishly, looking around as she brushes away her own tears with the back of her hand.
Leslie giggles as she wipes her lip gloss off of Ash’s lips. “We have plenty of time for make-up sex later…but I’m not leaving here without some of Lacey’s pork chops.”
Ashton chuckles, softly. “Gotta feed the beast,” she teases. She moves Leslie’s hair out of her face and wipes the remnants of Leslie’s tears away. “I love you,” she whispers.
Leslie hugs her close. “I love you, too.”
Ashton sighs and holds her tighter. “Move in with me?” she asks softly.
Leslie pulls back, sharply to look into her eyes. “What?”
“Move in with me and the girls,” she says, her voice steady.
“You mean it?” Leslie asks in a whisper.
Ashton nods as she looks into Leslie’s eyes, her gaze never wavering. “I do. I almost lost you for good, Leslie. I don’t want to be without you for another minute.”
Leslie’s heart rate picks up as she thinks of the repercussions of living with Ashton and her daughters. No matter how bad I want this, I won’t allow our relationship to harm her or those girls. Do I dare wish…? “What about your mom, Ash? What about Eric? The girls?” she asks caressing her cheek.
Ashton sighs. “My mother needs to understand that you’re not going away and get over it. Eric…he already knows I’m gay, Leslie. The divorce is final. He’s moved on with his life. It’s time I moved on with mine. And my girls…they love you.”
“I love them, too. You know I do.”
Ashton takes her hands. “I know. So, will you come and live with us?” she asks raising her eyebrows in a hopeful expression.
Leslie smiles and bites her bottom lip. “You really want this?”
“Yes. I want you, baby. I want a life with you. You want me to beg? I’ll do it. Just say you will and…”
Leslie cuts her off as she leans in to kiss her softly. “I will,” she whispers against Ash’s mouth before deepening the kiss.
Ash moans softly and squeezes her tight as the kiss progresses. She groans and pushes Leslie away, reluctantly. “Damn it, Leslie. Let’s eat some of this food before we end up scandalizing our best friends.”
Leslie giggles and kisses her cheek. She hugs her. “I’ll be your dessert later,” she whispers in her ear before kissing her neck.
Ash closes her eyes and groans again, pulling away from her and standing. “Come on here,” she says helping her laughing girlfriend up.
Leslie continues to giggle even as Ashton pulls her towards the kitchen. Passing through the living room, she glances out the window to see that the storm has passed and the sun was shining bright.
It’s true what they say. After the rain comes a brighter day…
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