Saturday night, the bar.
She is crying.
Devlyn looks up, beer forgotten, concern radiant in her features. The room is quiet; it's still early. The music is low, but enough to cover the weeping of the approaching woman. Dev rises quickly and moves to embrace her friend.
"Dev!" she hears clearly. Sylvia clings to her as if to a life-line. The waitress approaches. Janey has worked at the bar for twelve years and knows most of the patrons as friends.
"Hey gals--" she begins, not yet realising that there is a problem. "Y'all want another beer or something?" Dev quietly shakes her head, indicating her broken friend. Janey looks at the other woman, now concerned. "Oh Sylvie honey-what's wrong?" she croons in a motherly fashion, setting her tray down she also places a hand on Sylvia's shoulder. Sylvia reluctantly pulls from Dev's embrace, sniffing and wiping her tear stained cheeks. She tried to smile.
"It's nothing Janey, really." Collecting herself, she turns somewhat away, but Dev can still see the pain in her eyes. Janey frowns in sympathy. "Dev, y'oughta take her outta here....go some place where you can talk." She made shooing gestures as Dev nodded agreement and began to lead Sylvia away.
Later, in the car.
Dev drove conservatively, paying close attention to Sylvia but never taking her eyes off the road that stretched before them. Sylvia had stopped crying and was now speaking in painful monotone.
"Ten years Dev," she sniffed softly. "You know we just had our tenth anniversary. I can't believe she'd do something like this." Sylvia stared at oncoming headlights; the distant specks growing to almost painful intensity before passing out of sight. They were on a back road where there was very little traffic. Dev was driving almost aimlessly as Sylvia had her say, trying not to interject her own emotions. Sylvia and Dev had been friends for almost fifteen years. Well, Sylvia had been friends; Dev had been in love with the other woman from the first moment she laid eyes on her and now her heart ached with sympathy.
"You'd think after ten years she would at least have the decency to tell me there was someone else." Sylvia began again.
"Oh no, not Bonnie--with her flair for the fucking dramatic I have to be humiliated beyond all reason!" Bitterness enveloped the smaller woman's voice. "O.k. so maybe the last few years haven't been all that great, but at least she never came home to find me rolling around in our bed with some bleached-blonde, tattooed little freak!"
Dev swallowed uncomfortably as Sylvia paused to catch her breath.
"I swear to God, Dev...you have no idea what it feels like to have your home, your sanctuary, violated and cheapened to the point where it isn't yours anymore." Sylvia shook her head slowly, scornfully. "The noises! I could hear them together, moaning, and that damned old bed of ours creaking!!" she paused, eyes closed to the memory.
"I could smell them too." she turned towards the window, and stared out into the darkness, not wanting Dev to see her shame. "As I got closer to the bedroom, I could actually smell them. GOD I wanted to be sick!!" she erupted.
"Instead I just opened the door and stood there. Watching." She turned at last to face Dev again. "It took a minute before they realised I was there, then Bonnie covered her-friend-with my fucking blankets!!" she added explosively.
"That blonde bitch was so damn casual, so nonchalant...she just climbed out of bed and started getting dressed as if she had every right to be there!"
Sylvia cracked her window an inch or two and reached for a cigarette from her pack on the dashboard. She lit it with practised ease and inhaled deeply, holding the breath as long as possible before releasing it to cloud the air above her. Guiltily, she apologized, "I'm sorry Dev, I know you hate it when I smoke in your car but I really need this." Dev just nodded in understanding.
Before long they reached a crossroad. Dev turned west, which would take them towards the beach, she and Sylvia had often gone there to talk and spend time together. Sylvia brooded quietly while she smoked and Dev began to wonder if she would say anything more. They drove around a gentle curve, and there was the beach. The surf was calm, but they could still hear some waves breaking up the distant shore-line.
Dev pulled off the road slightly and turned off the ignition.
Looking out the window past Sylvia, she could see lights from across the bay, shining, distant stars that no one would think to wish upon. The full moon shone like a silver medallion off the lake, and in the black velvet sky a cluster of real stars were aglow.
Sylvia's silence was beginning to weigh heavily in the space between the two of them and Dev opened her mouth to speak when suddenly: "Do you know she actually had the nerve to kiss Bonnie goodbye and tell her she'd see her later?" Sylvia turned abruptly in her seat, glaring contemptuously in Devs' direction.
"What's worse....I just let her leave."
Sylvia looked away again, at the water in the night light.
"Bonnie didn't even have the decency to look guilty, she just lay there." Sylvia's voice had grown curiously calm, Dev watched her friend closely.
"I asked her how long this had been going on, she says "A couple of months.." Sylvia shook her head in disgust. "A couple of months" sweet as pie, and as natural as breathing! As if our whole life together has been one big, fucking, zero!"
Tears began to make their way down Sylvias' cheeks again, Dev reached for the box of Kleenex, and offered them to her broken friend.
Sylvia wiped her eyes, nose, before continuing matter-of-factly. "You know, it's not even as if our being a couple matters; these past three years, we've been more like friends, or sisters than lovers. Hell, she hasn't laid a hand on me in at least six months." She sniffed again, almost sadly.
"I knew we'd drifted apart..." she continued quietly. "I can't even honestly say that I love her anymore. But at least I cared enough not to hurt her."
Dev stared at Sylvia, surprised at her friends admission.
Sylvia began to weep. Dev leaned across the seat, drawing the woman to her, softly shushing her like an injured child. She gently caressed the blonde hair, soothing hands running across the back of her neck, shedding her own tears for this woman she loves.
She is calm now. Waxing philosophically on life and relationships. Hers and Bonnie's, hers and Dev's. Over coffee she says, "Don't look so surprised Dev, I'm not blind."
Dev looks away almost hurt, but it is more embarrassment that colors her features. She is silent, lip trembling with her own guilt and pain. Sylvia smiles faintly, reaches across the couch to take Dev's hand in her own. "It's alright.." she tells her.
Still Dev cannot meet her eyes. Sylvia squeezes her hand tighter and slides across the couch, she touches Dev's cheek softly. Turning the other woman's face towards her, she is momentarily startled by the almost animal-like look of fear in Dev's eyes. But she continues.
"Dev, please...it's o.k. Please don't leave me all alone here. I've just lost my sorry excuse for a wife, I don't want to lose you too!"
"I need you.." she tells her, in a small pleading voice.
Dev dropped her eyes....
Sylvia let go of her cheek and shifted away slightly. She hesitates briefley, almost afraid to say what Dev so desperately wants to hear. But her instincts tell her it's right, and she listens to them.
"Dev, I have to tell you something, " she begins slowly, with feeling. "I've known you for fifteen years; you've been my best friend, and you've never in all this time had one serious relationship." she paused briefly. "I know you've always said you just wanted to date and have a good time, and wait for the right woman to come along so you could knock her off her feet." Sylvia grinned at that, then she stared hard at Dev. "But I also know you're full of shit!"
"You've been in love with me for as long as I've known you." she swallowed nervously, looking down at her hands for a moment and then back at her best friend. "I have to admit I've always felt something, well, more..than just friendship for you too."
Now it was Sylvia's turn to look away as Dev raised her eyes in astonishment.
"I didn't want you to know, because I was afraid we might do something we'd regret--or maybe put too much strain on our relationship. I was afraid." She finally glanced up at Dev. The other woman's eyes were full, almost to the point of blackness, and every green-grey fleck glowed with desire. Struck numb in the light of so much naked need, Sylvia was breathless
Drawing closer to Dev she whispered, "Janey once told me that you were the one I should be with.." She wrapped her arms around Dev, "She just might be right!"
Dev gasped in stunned disbelief as their lips met. The kiss was long and oh, so sweet. There was no shyness or hesitancy, they kissed as if they always had. Sylvia broke away first and shifted. Climbing into Dev's lap, straddling and pressing the other woman back into the couch, resuming their kiss. Dev's hands immediately went to Sylvias's face, and she began to caress her tenderly. Dev stroked her almost reverently, her arms finally sliding around the smaller woman's body. She pulled her best friend closer and felt her need as Sylvia began rocking in her lap. Deepening their kiss, Sylvia cast aside any thoughts of Bonnie and concentrated entirely on the moment-and the woman-at hand. For the first time in ten years she was enjoying the touch of another woman..her dearest friend!
Dev's breath was sweet coffee, her lips warm, her tongue dancing patterns around Sylvia's. Dev's arms around her were strong, stroking intently up and down her spine. Bonnie had always just held her loosely, barely touching. She shifted and could feel the hardness of Dev's leg underneath her, pressing into her center which had started to throb intently. The hands that had been roaming up and down her spine were now clasping her butt and encouraging her as she eagerly thrust her heat against Dev.
The sweet heat and sensations had not been a part of Sylvia's life for some time now, and the secret joy of someone new caused her to shudder in sudden orgasm. She moaned almost painfully into Dev's mouth and the other woman paused with realization. Sylvia looked aside, emberassed, until Dev rose, urging her gently to her feet. She glared hotly into Dev's eyes, their bodies in complete rapport, she smiled. Taking the lead, she gently drew her friend towards the bedroom.
Sylvia sits in the modestly furnished living room. Dev's apartment is small but comfortable. Sylvia has always felt at home here. She speaks into the telephone.
"No--no, I'm not coming home." she is calm.
"No, I'm staying with Dev. I'll be over later to pack some clothes but I won't be staying."
Again the voice questions.
"Look, we'll worry about the rest of the stuff later, I can't deal with that right now." Her eyes are grainy, and she is tired from lack of sleep. She looks around the room, "....besides, if I'm going to live with Dev we'll have to get a bigger place. God knows Dev can afford it" she adds casually, thinking of Dev's job as a police officer.
The voice is finished with questions and now says goodbye. Sylvia gently returns the phone to it's place....and smiles. In a way, a great weight has been lifted from her, and she feels as if her feet are on a new path. Secure, she rises to go and rejoin her new travelling companion.
Thursday; the bar.
She is silent.
Sipping her beer nervously Dev watches the room, waiting for her arrival. It's early. Janey works nights, and most of the people in the bar are strangers, all in fact, but the one who now approaches.
She does not walk, she seems to flow across the room.
"Hello Dev," Camille greets.
She is lithe, cat-like and tall, her voice pure silk. She is very beautiful; blonde hair falls in a platinum wave across her shoulders. Several tattoos are plainly visible, including a single tear drop under her right eye. Dev watches her sit, warily.
Camille practically burns with self-confidence, and self-satisfaction. Dev silently pushes a small envelope across the table. Inside are fifty, one-hundred-dollar bills. Smiling, Camille picks up the envelope. She tucks it into her purse without opening it, then rests both elbows on the table. Entwining the long fingers of her hands she watches Dev's unchanging expression, then sighs.
"Oh Dev, don't look so worried. I did my job, and I did it well!" She reached across the table and picked up Dev's glass before continuing. "You got what-or should I say who-you wanted, and now I have enough money to get out of this shitty little town!" She drained Dev's glass and then rose to leave, offering a mischievious grin.
"Still though, I'm almost going to miss this place. Some of the job opportunities were simply delicious." With one last pointed glance at Dev, Camille glided away from the table, moving like smoke.
Dev watched her all the way, intensity in her stare, then rose to return home to Sylvia.
Return to the Academy