DISCLAIMER: First of all, the characters are mine, all mine! Mwahahahahahahahahaa! Oh, and this story is Copyright 2009 by The Bard of New Mexico. That's me, folks!
Secondly, this story is about a loving relationship between two women, so if it offends you or you're under 18 or it's illegal where you live, go play in some other sandbox.
Lastly, yeah, this puppy might get a little scary, so make sure to leave if you're starting to feel traumatized, or go get your blankie. This story is my modernized take on a legend from Fort Union, NM. I don't get scared too easily, but I read a version of the legend and it made my skin crawl a little.
If you want to feed the bard, you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Will You Wait For Me?
by The Bard of New Mexico
“Hi. What can I get you?”
The petite young blonde lowered her glasses a little, surprised to see a goth chick manning the bar at the coffee shop she’d never been to before. Still, there was an appealing quality about her. The goth barista's eyes sparkled an incredible green that a layer of heavy black eyeliner accentuated.
“Yes?” the barista inquired patiently in a quiet, friendly tone that surprised the blonde yet again. She was not the typical impudent goth personality that the blonde usually encountered, but there was still something underneath the surface whose pull was dark yet seductive.
“Ummmmm.... Just a small plain cup of coffee if you have one, please. Black.”
The goth chick poured the coffee and took the blonde's money. “Hey, you work at the university, don't you?”
“I'm at the law school. It’s nearly my second home.”
“Yeah. I've seen you walk by on the way to school. My name's Jude as in ‘Hey, Jude’.”
“Mickey –- Michaela, really, but people call me Mickey.”
“Nice to meet you.” Jude waited until Mickey finished putting a packet of sweetener in her coffee and stirred it. Then, she held out her hand to shake. Another customer came in whom Jude had to attend to, so regretfully, she said, “Enjoy your coffee and come back soon.” It was kind of a standard line, but Mickey could see that Jude really meant it.
“Thank you. I just might,” Mickey finished in her usual smooth, flirtatious way. She wondered if that hot redhead, Dianna, would mind if she canceled their date on Saturday or maybe she should cancel her date with Kate instead and try Jude.
* * *
Mickey stayed away from the coffee house for a week because she wanted to play it cool and not seem overly interested in Jude, but during that time, she thought about the goth chick a lot and those eyes that sparkled like green stars in the black space of her eyeliner. Mickey wondered how someone could seem so friendly, yet have a dark attraction that she couldn't ignore.
Finally, the week ended and Mickey went to the coffee shop. A few people sat at tables chatting and enjoying their lattes, the bright summer weather luring them outside.
“Hey, Mickey!” Jude called to her in greeting. “Plain coffee, black, right?”
“Yes, except make it decaf…. You don’t want me staying up all night, do you?” Mickey replied with a sexy teasing smile.
Jude grinned back like a tongue-tied schoolboy and discreetly cleared her throat. “Coming right up!”
Again, Jude took the money for the coffee and waited for Mickey to put some sweetener in it. The rest of the customers were outside and didn’t need anything, so Jude took her chance.
“Would you like to –-“ started both women at once. Jude laughed a little uncomfortably while Mickey just chuckled easily.
“Go ahead,” Jude replied. “What were you saying?”
“Would you like to go to The Duchess Club some night?”
“I usually hang out at The Velvet Rainbow,” began Jude, talking about the seedier women’s bar, “but that sounds good. I’ve always wanted to see the place. It's...ummm...a bit dressier?”
“Yes. Do you have something to wear, or would you rather go somewhere else?”
“No, no.” Jude hastened to add, “If a pants suit is fine, I have just the thing.”
“Yes, that will be fine. Does next Saturday work for you?”
“Yeah. My calendar is dusty 'cause it doesn't get opened much,” Jude quipped with a smile. Her heart was bucking like a bronco and she wondered how Mickey could seem so cool and smooth. Jude wanted a chance to melt the ice just a little.
* * *
Saturday came and found Jude sitting on a plush couch in front of The Duchess Club waiting for Mickey. Keep cool, Jude told herself, she's only five minutes late. Jude kept checking her watch every 30 seconds and eagerly eyed each car that pulled into the parking lot. No sign of Mickey. Jude checked her watch again. Fifteen minutes late. She's standing me up. Why did I think she could be interested in me? Jude waited five more minutes, but Mickey didn't come. Pain and anger flashed in Jude and she jumped to her feet, ready to leave, and she briskly smoothed down her black pants suit. She doesn't know what a good thing she missed out on, Jude told herself, giving herself a pep talk and not really believing it. She wished that small streak of jealousy that seemed to get in her way would keep a lid on itself for once.
A small dark green Toyota pulled up just then. Mickey fumbled with the door handle and popped out in a hurry. She saw Jude and moved a little slower and smoothly, swinging her hips just a little extra as she walked, but not so much as to look silly. It had its desired effect; Jude watched her carefully and all her anger and hurt dried up. She took in Mickey's beautifully coiffed blonde hair, sparkling blue eyes, and the short, backless red dress that completed Mickey's movie-star looks. “You look great!” Jude said, not wanting to show Mickey too much of her true feelings on the first date. Mickey carefully eyed Jude up and down, causing Jude both a little embarrassment and some excitement at the same time. Mickey generally didn't think pants suits looked good on women except in business situations, but Jude's black pants suit had soft lines and flares in just the right places. It looked more dressy than business. Mickey also noted Jude's gold necklace and bracelet and the way Jude toned down her goth makeup and wore a conservative shade of red lipstick that accentuated some very lovely, kissable lips that Jude's usual black lipstick hid.
Jude, already close to the door, opened it for Mickey and let her pass through first. Mickey saw the maitre d' and sent him a wink that Jude didn't see. “This way, if you please, mademoiselles.”
He led them through the doors on the left and into the grand dining room. The room was fairly full, and although there were some decent tables left, the maitre d' led them to a table in the corner that was half hidden by a leafy exotic potted palm. The maitre d' seated Mickey while Jude went ahead and seated herself instead of waiting. Jude was still half nervous and excited, but waited for the maitre d' to leave them with menus before she asked Mickey, “Do you want me to see if I can get a better table? Or is this okay with you?”
“Somehow I don't mind a quiet spot tonight,” Mickey said as she lightly touched Jude's hand. She opened her menu and Jude followed suit.
“Anything look good to you?” Mickey asked.
“Yeah. The small rack of lamb. It's been a while since I've had a good piece of lamb.”
“That sounds good to me, too. Wine?”
“No thanks. I don't drink much, but go ahead.”
“You know, I don't feel like drinking tonight, either.” Mickey brushed Jude's arm. Jude smiled.
When the waiter came, Jude ordered for them and also ordered some pita bread with tzatziki sauce for an appetizer. The food came quickly and was very good, but Jude and Mickey lingered slowly over dinner and talked and laughed a lot. They found they had more in common than their backgrounds originally led them to believe, and Mickey found herself caring more than she usually did with a woman she just wanted to bed.
After dinner, they had coffee. Jude asked, “Do you want to dance?”
Not really looking like she wanted to, Mickey replied, “I will if you want to.”
“Just thought I'd offer. I'm really happy right where I am,” Jude replied with a satisfied grin that made Mickey laugh.
They lingered a little longer, sipping their coffee, enjoying a companionable silence, Mickey rubbing her foot up and down Jude's ankle and loving the content look on Jude's face. She half expected to hear Jude purr at any moment. The waiter brought mints and the checks at that moment, however, and the ladies each paid their bill and ate their creamy mints. They got up and Mickey started leaving, Jude following her and stretching a little.
When they got outside, Jude noticed that the golden-orange sunshine of the early evening left and it was dark. “Wait up,” she said to Mickey. “Let me walk you to your car.”
She gallantly offered her arm to Mickey and Mickey took it. They walked slowly to Mickey's car, neither of them particularly wanting the evening to end. When they paused at Mickey's car door, Jude whispered into the darkness, “Thank you. I had a really good time.”
Mickey, stunned that anyone would ever thank her like that, turned and looked up at Jude, although Jude's face was obscured. “I did too,” she said softly. Then, Jude's lips were on hers for a soft kiss and Jude's hands ran down her hips. She wound her arms around Jude and pulled her closer for a deeper kiss. Jude's mind blanked, but she felt her wild side take over and she kissed Mickey more deeply, more passionately, and when she tasted blood on Mickey's lip after nipping there a little harder than she'd intended, Jude's mind screamed for her to stop. Thoroughly embarrassed, she stopped and stammered, “Dammit! I'm sorry.... I – – I didn't mean to....”
Mickey's mind was still too passion-hazed to tell Jude it was okay and she was disappointed when she saw Jude flee to her car, her long legs eating up ground so quickly that Mickey wouldn't be able to catch up. Frustrated and tense, Mickey opened her door, got in, slammed her door shut, and called Dianna to ask if she could come over. Mickey wanted someone, anyone.
* * *
Glenda, Mickey's black next door neighbor lady, went out to get her Sunday morning newspaper and watched as Dianna stormed out of Mickey's house and slammed the door behind her. Then, as Glenda took her coffee, toast, and eggs out on the back porch to eat and read the paper, she saw Mickey come out with her own cup of coffee. Glenda got up and went to the properties' dividing wall.
“Girl, that one didn't look like she had fun with you last night. Something wrong in Paradise?”
Mickey took her coffee with her to her own side of the wall. Generally, she loved chatting with Glenda, but her amiable neighbor/good friend couldn't cheer her up this morning.
Mickey summoned up a half smile. “We had a little fun, but I couldn't stop thinking about Jude.”
Glenda's eyebrows raised. “Jude?”
“Yeah. She's a goth chick barista at that coffee shop near the law school that I started going to. We had a really great dinner last night, but when we were saying goodnight at my car, she suddenly turned and left.”
The disappointment showed in Mickey's face again. The sharp-eyed Glenda caught it, even as Mickey tried to mask it. “Mmmmmmmm-hmmmmmmmmmmm.... I knew this day would come. I knew your womanizing would backfire on you and one of 'em would catch your attention someday.”
* * *
Mickey was disappointed once again when Jude didn't call her Sunday and when she went to the coffee shop on Monday, she was told that Sundays and Mondays were Jude's days off. So, finally Tuesday came and Jude was back behind the bar. Mickey ordered some coffee and noticed Jude could barely look her in the eye. As Mickey poured a package of sugar substitute in her coffee, Jude quickly whispered, “We need to talk, but not here, okay?” She scribbled her number on the back of the coffee shop's business card and handed it to Mickey. Not wanting to cause Jude more discomfort, she looked at Jude and whispered, “It's okay.” She took the card, didn't say anything more, and left Jude feeling a little better. For that matter, Mickey felt better when the dark attraction that emanated from Jude tugged at her again.
* * *
Jude got off work and headed home. She was anxious to hear from Mickey and apologize for the rough kiss. Her stomach was so knotted with butterflies that she didn't feel like eating dinner. She paced in her apartment for more than an hour and finally Mickey called.
“Listen, I want to apologize --”
Mickey interrupted her. “It's okay.”
“You don't even know what I'm apologizing for,” Jude accused.
“Whatever it is, it's okay. You didn't do anything wrong.”
“I was a bit rough with that kiss. I didn't mean to be.”
“It's okay,” Mickey said again. She let her voice take on a sexy, flirtatious tone, “As a matter of fact, I kind of liked it.”
“Thank God!” Jude blew out a held breath. “I thought I'd blown it with you.”
“The only way you could do that is if you don't ask me out again right this second.”
Jude laughed. “Okay. How does a movie and dinner sound?”
“Like a cliché, but great! Pick me up at 7 on Saturday?”
Mickey gave Jude the directions and hung up. She thought about how long the week was going to seem and sighed. Why the hell do I feel like this? How can I give a damn? she asked herself, trying to understand what she'd never felt for anyone else before and hadn't planned to.
* * *
Mickey's and Jude's relationship progressed nicely over the next month and a half and even though Mickey still saw other women once in a while, she'd backed off some of her womanizing to spend more time with Jude, and she finally stopped seeing other women altogether. She loved the dark, seductive attraction that pulled on her when she was in Jude's company and missed it almost like a physical absence when Jude was elsewhere.
After dinner at The Duchess Club one night, they were walking back to Jude's burnt orange, beat up Pinto when they saw a waitress putting up a flyer on the bulletin board outside that announced The Duchess Club's 7th Annual Halloween costume ball that was going to be held in two weeks. Mickey grabbed one of the bright orange flyers and finished the walk back to Jude's car, Jude already having opened the door for her.
On the ride home, Mickey told Jude about the ball. “Jessica, the owner of the club and Glenda's girlfriend, has this place out in the middle of freakin' nowhere. You take I-25 to Wagon Mound, find a little road there, and head due west for a few miles. There's a small mesa covered in pines, and two miles past that, there's a big open prairie. There's an old 1800's dance hall there. It's soooooooo awesome! It's one long adobe building, not very wide, and has a bar, the buffet, and tables at one end. There's a stage for a small orchestra at the other end. Jessica has them play only classical music or music from Old West balls and dances. She's unusual that way.”
“It always is. The costumes people choose range from pretty formal to downright outrageous.”
Mickey was waiting and hoping Jude would take the hint and ask her to go, but Jude didn't reply and the rest of the drive back to Mickey's place was quiet.
Jude finally pulled up to Mickey's house and made no move to get out.
“What's up?” Mickey asked, not getting out either.
“Just feeling a bit down, I guess.”
“Well, how about we fix that? Wanna go to the ball with me?”
“If I get back in time,” Jude replied.
“Get back? From where?”
“My great-aunt is dying and I have to go help take care of things.” Jude sighed sadly. She was sad about her great-aunt, but she also hated leaving Mickey. “I don't know how long I'll be gone.”
“I'm sorry to hear that,” Mickey said in barely above a whisper. She leaned over to hug Jude. “Are you two close?”
“We kind of grew apart over the years, but yeah, when I was a kid, she was a riot! Knew exactly the kind of things kids like to do and always had some fun surprises.” Jude paused for a minute, remembering the pink stuffed elephant she loved when she was a kid. Her great-aunt gave it to her for her birthday one year. The good memory switched to a picture in Jude's mind of the shell of a woman that her great-aunt had become since her sickness. Jude's voice softened. “It'll be all right. It'll be good for her to go. She's been suffering pretty badly the last few months.”
Jude opened up her door and got out to walk Mickey to her front door. The short walk across the front lawn and up the few front steps was quiet. When Mickey had her key out, she asked, “So.... When do you leave?”
Mickey felt an unexpected stirring of sadness. She slipped her arms around Jude and drew Jude's face down for a kiss. It was soft and sad, then turned passionate and strong. After a long time, Mickey broke the kiss, still as mindblown as the first time they'd kissed. “Jude?”
“Will you stay tonight? Please?” Mickey wondered at herself. She'd never begged a woman for anything before, but she didn't want to lose the seductive attraction pulling at her again and mesmerizing her.
“Yeah, babe. I'd like that.”
Mickey opened the door and took Jude's hand lightly by the fingertips. Mickey gently tugged her towards the bedroom and sat her up against the bolster that rested against the headboard. Jude kicked off her shoes and swung her long legs up as Mickey lit some small strawberry candles on the nightstand.
Mickey leaned over and gave Jude a long kiss before finally breaking it off and whispering, “Be right back. Make yourself comfortable.”
Jude gave a lopsided cheeky grin. “Oh, I am.”
Mickey went into her walk-in closet and came back out a minute later. Her glasses were still on and her golden hair was still up, but she wore nothing but a satiny pink half-slip. Jude's eyes widened when Mickey stopped short of the bedside and carefully reached up to slide her glasses off, slowly set them on the nightstand, and let her hair down. She tossed her head back and forth a little to shake out the strands of hair and smiled inwardly. She knew it was a cliché move, but she totally enjoyed the reaction it always got.
Mickey paused. “Like what you see?”
“Y –- yeah,” Jude replied.
Mickey smiled and got into bed where they kissed and cuddled a long time before actually making love.
* * *
The bluish early morning sunlight filtered in through the venetian blinds and striped the foot of the bed. Half an hour earlier, Mickey had gotten cold and unconsciously snuggled against Jude, who'd been awake and thinking. Mickey stirred a little and opened her blue eyes. She blinked a bit and kissed Jude's shoulder where her head had been resting.
“How long have you been up?”
“Maybe about 45 minutes.”
Mickey smiled sleepily. “You look so serious. Didn't you have any fun last night.”
“Yeah, I did, but that's just it. I know it's probably no strings attached and no exclusivity, and we certainly didn't make any commitment verbally or otherwise, but....”
“Go on,” Mickey urged, still groggy. Her mind replayed the night before and she was willing to promise just about anything right now.
“Will you wait for me? Could you hold off on others until I get back and we see how things go between us?”
“I will. Forever if I have to.” Mickey's brain was in a fog and she was only half-serious, but her answer seemed to satisfy Jude.
“Let's go back to sleep,” Jude suggested, content now that the weight was off her worried mind and her jealous streak evaporated.
* * *
A week later, Mickey skipped the late night news in favor of studying in her home office. The next morning, Glenda met Mickey at the wall for Sunday morning coffee and a little chatter.
“How're you doin' today, honey?” Glenda asked with a sympathetic tone in her voice.
“Funny you should say that,” Mickey began, always ready to tell Glenda things she'd never tell anyone else. “It felt like there was a weight lifted off of me that I didn't know was there. Like no more attachments or whatever.”
“Didn't you see the news last night?”
“Jude was coming home and was hit and killed by a drunk driver just over the Kansas-Oklahoma border. She should've taken her Pinto for a trip like that, not her damn motorcycle! Roads aren't safe for motorcycles anymore,” Glenda griped to cover her own sadness.
It was the first Mickey had heard of it, but she somehow wasn't surprised. The attraction that pulled her towards Jude snapped the night before when she was in her study. Oddly enough, for being as into Jude as she was, she didn't care much. Mickey felt as if she had just woken up from a hypnosis session and forgot everything she'd felt.
“I'm sorry, honey.”
“It's okay.... Really.” Mickey just couldn't cry.
They both went back inside their houses. Mickey idly wondered if she could get Kate to go with her to The Duchess Club's Halloween ball since Dianna might still be mad at her. Then, she decided to give it another day or two before she called Kate to give at least the appearance of mourning in light of Jude's tragic death, although it did bother her that what she thought was a deep love for Jude literally ended overnight.
* * *
“Thanks for coming with me tonight,” Mickey told Kate, the very tall woman who was incredibly dashing dressed as a Russian prince. Her reddish hair was pulled back into a ponytail and her white jacket was spotless. Even her dark pants were crisply pressed.
“No problem. I'm having quite a good time myself,” Kate replied as she and Mickey sat at a table and finished off cups of fruit punch. “That's quite a getup you're wearing.”
Mickey came dressed as the Queen of the Night from Mozart's opera, “The Magic Flute”. She wore a robe whose twilight colors went from black at the top of the robe to dark blue, a soft purple, muted red, mellow orange, and finally a pale yellow at the bottom. Silver spangles, representing stars, studded Mickey's robe and a crescent moon broach sparkled at Mickey's throat.
Old wagon wheels, tipped horizontally, hung suspended from the ceiling and held candles, providing plenty of light, yet a soft light that turned Kate's hair to auburn and made the spangles on Mickey's gown shimmer as if the gown were alive, truly transforming Mickey into the magical Queen of the Night.
Kate got up, stood next to Mickey, and bowed. She gallantly held her hand out to Mickey. “Would you care to dance?”
“Certainly,” Mickey replied, getting up. Kate's eyes flashed in the light and she looked so dapper and sexy that Mickey couldn't help giving her a deep kiss before Kate guided them toward the dance floor. Stacey, a real-life police officer who came dressed as a 1930s-era prisoner in black and white stripes, nodded curtly in greeting as she passed them with cups of punch in her hands.
Just before the small orchestra started another song, an inhuman wail of fury and pain tore through the air. The heavy carved oak doors flew open and the temperature in the dance hall dropped 30 degrees. Stunned revelers turned to see a tall bloody goth chick, clothes hanging off her frame in tattered rags, right side of her head caved in, and limping from an injury so bad that the right foot faced the left instep. Where there was once a pair of lively green eyes, there were now just flames.
Try as they might, nobody could move except to watch and stare at the figure who steadily crept closer to Mickey. The only sound was the clomp of the figure's left foot and the slide of the right foot. The figure finally stopped in front of a badly-trembling Mickey.
“Jude?” she whispered. She started crying. “No. You're not my Jude!”
The figure held Mickey so tightly against its crushed body that only Mickey's toes were on the ground. Still, nobody could move or speak. The musicians, not of their own accord, played a waltz so horrifying that only the devil could've composed it. One spin of the waltz – Mickey couldn't speak anymore. Another spin of the waltz – Mickey's feet stopped and the figure supported them both. The third spin of the waltz – Mickey started growing pale. The fourth spin of the waltz – Mickey was as pale as Kate's white jacket. The fifth spin of the waltz – Mickey gasped. The sixth spin of the waltz – Mickey lay slumped, dead in the figure's arms.
The figure laid Mickey's body on the dance floor and unleashed a long heartbroken wail. Then, it limped past the party goers and the haze they were creating with their warm breaths against the cold air. Finally, the figure stepped over the threshold and out into the night. Two minutes later, the oak doors banged themselves shut and everyone could move again.
Stacey pushed against the door and when it wouldn't budge, she slammed her body against it. When it opened, she ran outside and looked everywhere. The full moon and the prairie's flatness for a mile around aided in her search, but there was absolutely nobody there. She ran back inside and was the first one who dared to approach Mickey's body. Stacey hoped that she'd get a pulse, but Mickey was well and truly dead.
Stacey rounded up the terrified people at the party and had them sit at the tables and stay in the bar area. She secured the floor where the death waltz had just taken place, and then she found Jessica holding and trying to comfort Glenda.
“I need to borrow your cell phone.”
“Sure. It's on the bar.”
Stacey found it and with Jessica listening in, called the local police. She handed the phone back.
Jessica asked, “What're you going to tell them?”
Stacey shook her head in disbelief and shrugged. “God help me 'cause I sure as hell don't know.”