Until I Kissed Her
Disclaimers. All the regular stuff – two women, no sex so it should be fairly harmless, all the same don’t read it if you’re too young, live in the wrong place, or don’t like the idea of women together.
“English” english spoken here – the spellings and usages are correct, just unfamiliar to Americans.
This is a “prequel” to my earlier tale“Home for Christmas”, and as such concerns the same protagonists. It’s the story of how they met. The other yarn you can find floating around on this website somewhere if you haven’t read it and feel as if you must.
They’re mine; don’t play with them without permission. Make sure you put them back nice and tidily afterwards
As usual – comments, complaints, phone numbers, (nude photos if you really, really insist – note offer open to those of the female persuasion only), to email@example.com.
Jen rolled out of bed panic-stricken, the alarm had not gone off; she must have forgotten to set it when she’d tumbled into bed in the wee small hours of this morning.
“Oh, goddammit, I’m going to be late for work.”
In the three years she’d worked for the firm of Garrett and Marshall she’d never once been late, why did today – of all days – have to be the first time. She had hoped to be there nice and early to greet the new trainees.
‘I knew it was a mistake to go out drinking with Sue last night, thank God I only had a couple. I’ll bet she won’t even make it into work today.’ She smiled at the thought of her best friend and exactly how drunk she’d been when Jen had poured her into a cab at midnight. Jen stared into the wardrobe, hoping her brain would kick-start swiftly enough to choose a suit to wear before the day ended. ‘Oh boy, is she going to feel rough. Serves her right for lecturing me about my love life – or rather, the lack of it.’
Twenty minutes later, showered and dressed but still smarting from Sue’s comments of the previous evening, Jen stared at herself in the mirror analysing the image it reflected. She looked exactly what she was. A 24 year old accountancy graduate, junior associate in a West Country firm, respectable, middle class and totally unexciting. Perhaps Sue was right, she mused as she retrieved her cup of herbal tea from the counter where she’d placed it, her mind drifting to the conversation of last night.
It had started, after far too many bacardi-and-cokes, with her best friend eying up the barman.
“Oooh, he’s cute, don’t you think.”
Jen had snorted with laughter, “How the hell, would I know?”
Sue produced a grin of her own. “Well, yeah. But you don’t even go out with girls anymore so you could have turned straight for all I know.”
“Come on, Jen. When was the last time you had a date?”
“I was with Stella for three months!”
“Jen that was when we were in college together - four years ago. I can’t believe you haven’t had a date in four years. You seriously need to get laid, girl”
“I’m not like you, Sue; I can’t just hop into bed with someone I hardly know. I’m the monogamous relationship sort. I just haven’t found anybody lately that I want to be with.”
“My very dear friend, in order to find someone you have to be looking, when was the last time you went to a club? Or a gay pub? You won’t find the love of your life at work you know, or even the love of your night - you need to get out to be able to find people. You’ve become boring and middle-aged well before your time. Get out there and live.”
It had stung; she’d tried to ignore it, told herself it wasn’t Sue talking but the drink. Now, however, she was admitting to herself that possibly Sue was right. Not that she’d become middle-aged or boring, but that she perhaps wasn’t adventurous enough. She sighed. Well – she was an accountant – she wasn’t supposed to be a daredevil. Looking at her watch she realised it would be lunchtime before she reached her desk if she didn’t get a move on. She grabbed her keys from the dresser and headed towards the door.
As it happened she wasn’t as late as she’d feared. In one of those strange quirks of travel, familiar to all drivers, the roads were totally clear instead of the nose to tail traffic she would have encountered had she left at her regular hour, and she covered the distance in less than a quarter of the usual time. Consequently she strolled into her shared office at a mere seven minutes past the nine. Jonathon, the room’s other occupier and a fellow associate looked up as she entered.
“Wow, the clockwork accountant is late, I must make a note in my diary! Oh very mature, I must say.”
This last was due to Jen having stuck out her tongue at him as she flipped her briefcase onto her desk.
“I don’t suppose your late arrival is a sign that you’ve finally got yourself a girlfriend?” Jon enquired hopefully. He was a good friend, the three of them, Jon, Sue and Jen having met at university and shared a house for the final two years they were there. At first it had been complicated, with Jen having a crush on Sue, the straight woman, and Sue having a crush on Jonathon, who was every bit as gay as Jen. Once they’d sorted all that out they’d become inseparable friends and mischief makers, not even their various boy or girlfriends coming between them. No-one on campus had been able to resist the temptation and so they’d been dubbed “The Three Musketeers”.
“Not you too! Have you been conspiring with Sue, or something?”
“Oh? Why? Do you have something to do with the fact that she rang in sick today, claiming a ‘virus’ whose symptoms sounded suspiciously akin to those of a first class hang-over?”
“Ah, that’s probably because she has a first class hang-over. But it’s not my fault, I didn’t ask her to try and beat the world record for bacardi drinking. We went to the pub after work for a quick drink, stayed all night, I drank coke – she didn’t. But she did manage to give me a really hard time about my love life – or rather the fact that I don’t have one.”
“She only wants to see you happy, Jen. We both do. You’re not like us, you’re a happy household type, we’d like to see you settled with someone. It’s only because we care.”
“I know”, she smiled, “and I appreciate it, but it has to be the right one. Anyway, changing the subject, have the new trainee clerks been introduced around yet?”
“I’m not letting you off that lightly, we will return to this discussion. But in the meantime, no, I’ve not seen them, but I’ve a memo with the details here somewhere. Two women and one man. One of the women has a foreign name I’m not going to attempt to pronounce until I’ve heard it at least five times; she’s done a two year intro college course. The other two are bog-standard English names, not that that means much and they’re both younger – straight from school types.”
“Right, well I expect we’ll meet them sooner or later. Better do something to earn our keep. How’s the Simkins audit looking?
The Simkins audit was turning into a world class nightmare. The man seemed to be incapable of keeping his business and private bills separate; it was starting to look as if Jen would be staying late tonight. Frustrated by the difficulties she was having working her way through a shoebox full of till receipts, two-thirds of which were supermarket tickets and had absolutely nothing to do with her client’s plumbing company, and noticing it was well past her usual lunch break, Jen abandoned the attempt to bring order to chaos. Grabbing her favourite mug she headed for the kitchen; cursing all clients as she did so.
Entering the small staff room she pulled up short.
“Oh I am so sorry about the bad language; I really didn’t expect anybody to be here at this time of day. You must be one of our new clerks.” Jen looked into the smaller woman’s eyes and was lost. She floundered, “Er, erm...” She couldn’t seem to formulate a sentence, and realised that, at that precise moment, she couldn’t have told you her own name had her life depended upon it. She was mildly gratified to realise that the other woman appeared to be similarly stricken. Neither of them had broken eye contact and neither seemed inclined so to do. The decision was taken out of their hands as a gaggle of giggling typists pushed between them and into the staff room.
“Excuse me.” The woman spoke quietly and, brushing past Jen, walked quickly away.
‘Way to go, Jen, now she thinks you’re a complete prat’, Jen mused as she noticed that the stranger had been carrying two cups and hoped that no-one was taking advantage of her newness – everyone fetched their own drinks here, from senior partner right down to mailroom junior.
The afternoon was no better than her morning had been. Searching through piles of the grubbiest, scruffiest, badly written invoices it had ever been her misfortune to attempt to force into some kind of order Jen was close to considering murder a viable solution. It didn’t help her powers of concentration one jot that the only thing she could focus on was a pair of startled eyes boring deep into her soul. She read enough trashy novels to be extremely scathing on the purple prose descriptions of ‘struck by lightning’, but for the first time in her life she knew how that felt.
“Oh, for God’s sake woman, get a grip”, she chastised herself and refocused on the delivery note she was holding. It was undated of course and contained no corresponding invoice number, she hadn’t the foggiest notion how she was expected to tie it in to the books.
There was a gentle tap on the door and two figures entered, Phyllis Crawford, one of the partners, and a woman dressed in a sari, the woman from the staff room. Jen stopped breathing for a long moment, desperately trying to concentrate on anything and everything but the newcomer, she absolutely did not want to get lost in her eyes again, and end up make a total idiot of herself in front of the woman and her immediate boss! Her eyes dropped to the stranger’s hands. She was carrying two fresh cups of coffee.
Phyllis spoke. “Jen, this is your new clerk, introduce yourself and show her the ropes will you, I have to run. She’ll be working exclusively with you and Jonathon.” With that she turned and left the room, closing the door behind her.
Jen cleared her throat, twice, and then held out her hand. “I’m Jennifer Monkton, one of the associates.”
The small woman put down one of the two mugs of coffee she was holding and shook the proffered hand. “Sandhya Pithasthana Maheshvari.”
Jen now understood Jonathon’s earlier remarks regarding name pronunciation. “I’m dreadfully sorry, you must think I’m awful, but what was that again, Sandh which?”
The other woman laughed. “Sandwich – no, not quite.”
Jen blushed to the roots of her hair, “Oh, my god. I really didn’t mean that. I’m so very, very..... oh dear.”
Sandhya laughed again. “Not to worry. I know it’s a mouthful, most people call me Sandy, it’s a lot easier for you to say. Now what was that again Yenif?”
Still blushing, but now smiling as well, Jen replied, “Most people call me Jen – it’s a lot less pretentious than Jennifer Jayne Marguerite Monkton, which was the awful combination my parents seemed to think suited the poor defenceless infant I was at the time.”
“Nice to meet you, Jen.”
“Nice to meet you too Sandy. Erm, while I’m thoroughly embarrassed and ready to crawl under a desk, I might as well go for broke. You have two mugs of coffee – has the morning been that bad that you need the caffeine jolt, are we putting you to sleep?”
Once more Sandy laughed. “I always get two coffees; it saves me having to go back for more. I’m a caffeine junkie, it won’t make a bit of difference to whether I sleep or stay awake.”
“Hope you don’t mind me asking, but where are you from?” Jen noticed the younger woman stiffen slightly and realised her question was open to misinterpretation. “It’s just I can detect a slight accent, it sounds like you’re from ‘up north’ somewhere. Leeds, maybe?”
Sandy relaxed. “Well spotted. Not quite Leeds, but close. I was born and bred in Bradford.”
“What brings you...no, please excuse me, I don’t know what’s come over me, I’m not generally this nosy, I swear.”
“It’s alright, I don’t mind, you’re the friendliest person I’ve met today. I’m quite happy to answer any questions – as long as it’s reciprocal.”
“Absolutely. Fire away.” Jen smiled.
“You’re not from round here either, are you? Not because I can hear an accent, more because I can’t. You don’t have any trace of the local burr. So where, and why?”
“No, I’m from deepest Ruislip actually. My widowed mother now lives in Hounslow. I left home as much to get away from her as anything else. Don’t get me wrong, I love her to bits, but she can be just a tad overbearing. I wound up in this city chiefly because I came to the university here. Your turn”.
“I’m here because...well it’s complicated....my parents want me to marry, they’ve picked out a nice boy, well several nice boys really, from suitable families in India, for me and I’m running out of reasons to turn them down. I’m actually staying with an aunt at present, so that she can chaperone me in this strange town and ‘talk some sense into me’. I really think I’ll have to take this one, because, as my aunt was kind enough to point out to me I’m getting too old to be unmarried and soon I’ll be unsuitable to be considered by anyone other than a widower. Plus I have a younger sister, and she is much keener on marriage than I am, it would be a disgrace to let her be married before me and it’s not fair to keep her waiting because I can’t make a choice.”
Jen was flabbergasted. She’d felt her jaw drop open whilst listening to Sandy’s explanation.
“Good Lord! You’re being forced into marriage? This is England you don’t have to...”
“No, no, no it’s not quite like that,” Sandy interrupted. “I’m not being forced, it’s just my parents are very traditional and they’re arranging a marriage. I won’t be made to marry someone I can’t stand, or who’s totally unsuitable, it’s just that my parents feel that it’s better if they get together with the parents of available young men, discuss our interests and abilities and use their greater experience of life to select prospective partners rather than leaving it up to inexperienced young people who can be swayed by fickle emotions. They believe that if you have the right partner you will grow to love them, as indeed my parents have. They love each other very much and I only hope that one day I will be fortunate enough to love and be loved in the way they are and do. I have the right to say no to anyone I don’t feel I can get along with. It’s just that – while all my parents’ selections have been very nice boys I would rather have gone to a football match with them that get married, and I hate football. There has been no spark. I’m not sure if I can explain but I need a little more. I don’t need to ‘fall in love’”, Sandy spoke those words as if each should begin with a capital letter, “but I need to feel a connection. I haven’t so far. It’s just that I’m 20 now and there will be fewer options the older I get. Most men want a younger wife. My parents have found a young man in their home town in India who they believe might be suitable and they are saving to bring him to England to meet me. I’m staying with my aunt until that happens so that she can help persuade me to choose soon.”
Jen nodded, understanding the situation better now than she had before.
“I see, I don’t think I appreciated the difference between arranged and forced, thank you for explaining. And you’re happy with this. It’s what you want?” Jen was genuinely interested.
“Well, I wouldn’t say it’s what I want, but since I don’t really know what I do want, and this has worked for centuries it seems the best way to do things, don’t you think?”
“Well, it’s not how I’d do it, but if it works for you then go for it.” Jen smiled. “Now having been incredibly rude in the pursuit of satisfying my curiosity I think I’ll just move quietly on to what I should be doing and show you the office routine.”
Sandy grinned back at her, “Lead on.”
Three weeks had passed and Sandy had settled quickly into the routine of work. She enjoyed the job, got on well with Sue and Jonathon, not to the same extent as she did Jen that was true, but enough so that the office nickname had stretched the Three Musketeers to four. She and Jen seemed to mesh incredibly well. Watching them work was a treat to behold, each appeared to know exactly which document the other sought, or what the next calculation would need.
Since the day, early during her first week travelling to work by bus when Sandy had been harassed by a couple of racist thugs, discovering they lived in the same area Jen had given her a lift. Sandy had declared that it wasn’t necessary, she had been shaken but not harmed, Jen had insisted declaring it did not behove her to allow a fellow worker to be subjected to such trials when she had a perfectly serviceable car and was making the journey anyway. It was inevitable that the gossip would start.
On the Monday of her fourth week it reached Sandy’s ears.
Jen looked up as Sandy strode in and slammed the office door.
It was about as strong an expletive as Sandy ever used.
“What’s wrong?” Jen enquired, although with a sinking heart she thought she probably knew, it had only been a matter of time, it wasn’t as if she wasn’t completely out at work. Sandy was bound to hear eventually; perhaps she should have mentioned it to her friend first, before she heard it from the wrong sources. But it didn’t occur to Jen that Sandy would need telling after a while, unfortunately her friend’s slightly sheltered upbringing had meant that Sandy truly had no idea. When Jen had realised this she genuinely hadn’t a clue how to bring the topic up.
“Those, those......aargh... I can’t think of an appropriate epithet. Do you know what they’re saying about us?”
“Sandy, you’d better sit down.”
“Why? It’s not....is...oh.” Sandy sat.
Jen ran a hand through her hair, pushing it back way from her face. She leaned back against her desk and contemplated her friend.
“Let me guess, they’re saying I’m gay, although I would imagine that, depending on who you heard it from, the term used might have been a bit harsher.”
Sandy nodded, “Yes, it was Jeremy in the IT department. He slithered over to me,” Jen grinned at the picturesque, but very accurate description. “He said that as I was new here and obviously ‘unversed in the ways of perversion’ “, Sandy made quotation gestures in the air, “that he considered it his duty to warn me exactly what kind of person you were. He called you a dyke and when I said I didn’t care to hear his revolting gossip he declared that I was patently another dirty queer.” Sandy looked as if she wasn’t sure whether to be angry or upset or both.
Jen took a deep breath. “Sandy my friend, I probably should have mentioned it to you earlier, but since I’m definitely not in the closet in any way I hadn’t realised at first that you didn’t know. Yes, I am most certainly a lesbian. Does that bother you?”
Sandy was quiet for so long that Jen was convinced she was trying to find a way to end things without being rude, then slowly, thoughtfully Sandy began speaking, staring at the floor as she did so.
“Does it bother me? No, I guess it doesn’t, I wish I’d known before so that I could have been prepared, I wish you’d told me, but I can understand why you didn’t think it necessary. Do I still want to be your friend?” Sandy raised her head and their eyes met, robbing Jen of sense and breath as it always did. “Yes, I do. I like you, I have fun with you. The people that call you ‘dyke’ are likely to be exactly the same ones who will willingly name me “filthy Paki” when they think I can’t hear. They can go to hell. I’m not throwing away the best friendship I’ve ever known because of a few bigots.” And with that she closed the gap between them and hugged Jen fiercely.
Jen hugged her tightly in return, amazed to feel tears prickle in the corners of her eyes. She managed a rough whisper. “Thank you.”
As they returned to their seats Jen struggled to regain control of her emotions as Sandy grinned, “And Jonathon?”
“Do you really need to ask?” Jen smiled, “the man’s a walking stereotype. Come on, you saw him last week, standing on his toes on his chair, clutching his trouser legs up to his knees and squealing because there was a spider on the floor.” They both chuckled, Jonathon was almost two metres tall and weighed somewhere in the region of 120 kilos, when you added in his full beard and preference for wearing heavy duty boots with his silk business suits it was impossible not to see the absurdity in the remembered image. “The Musketeers are evenly split, me and Jon on the gay side, you and Sue as our token straights.”
Sandy nodded. At first she had been shocked by Sue’s promiscuity, but getting to know the woman better she realised that Sue was a good friend and a thoroughly sweet woman, she didn’t have a nasty bone in her body. She was free with her favours, yes, but very careful too. Sandy considered herself blessed to have made such good friends so quickly.
Towards the end of that week Jen walked into the office to find Sandy on the phone, speaking Hindi and obviously pleading with someone. When she hung up, she looked at Jen and made a wry face.
“My aunt has spoken!”
“What’s the problem?”
“I want to go to the cinema, but not our local ‘bollywood’ cinema, I want to go to a western film. My aunt doesn’t object to that per se, just that I would be unchaperoned in a place where there are lots of men”
Jen looked at the local paper which was spread out on the desk. “That one?” she indicated the advertisement. Sandy nodded. “Look, I want to see that one, too. Would your aunt consider me as a suitable chaperone for you?”
Sandy’s face lit up. “I’ll bet she would, she likes you, thinks you’re very polite and respectful for a western girl. She likes the way you don’t run around after men.” They both grinned at that. “Let me call her back.”
That evening had turned out to be the first of their weekly cinema trips. It became a tradition, Jen paid for the tickets, the popcorn and the drinks while Sandy bought dinner at one of the many local Indian or Bengali restaurants, gradually widening Jen’s knowledge of and appreciation for dishes from the sub-continent beyond the usual balti.
They settled into their easy affectionate camaraderie so gently that even Jen failed to perceive the danger. Until it was brought home to her forcefully some three months after their first meeting.
Jen had dressed with care; she was wearing her best suit, a deep, almost midnight blue affair comprising jacket and skirt. It brought out the blue of her eyes. She had her long hair trimmed and styled for the occasion. As she reached up to knock on the door of Sandy’s aunt’s house she couldn’t remember a time she’d been more nervous. She giggled and acknowledged to herself she sounded at least bordering on, if not downright hysterical.
The door flew open, ending her musing and she looked at Sandy. Her friend was dressed in a jade coloured sari, she had several exquisitely thin gold bangles on each arm and her face was made up in a traditional style. Jen caught her breath. Sandy had never looked more beautiful.
“How do I look?” Sandy seemed nervous.
“Stunning.” Jen declared, “Absolutely stunning”.
Sandy smiled. “Do come in, the others aren’t here yet but they shouldn’t be much longer. We had a call from them at the last motorway services to say they were not far away.”
Jen walked into the sitting room and greeted Sandy’s aunt; placing her hands together in the manner she’d been taught. She was conscious of the honour she’s been granted as Sandy’s best friend, to be allowed to be present when Sandy’s family introduced their daughter to her future husband.
Jen sat sipping her tea, the meal had been delicious, Mr and Mrs Maheshvari were delightful, very welcoming, Ravi, Sandy’s brother was a charmer, flirting with her and outrageously buttering up his aunt, and her little sister was a sweet kid. Jen couldn’t understand why she felt so...on edge. She couldn’t concentrate; she was having trouble pinning down her feelings, restlessness? Glancing towards Sandy who was talking to her future husband, he was a nice enough man she felt, just not really good enough for her friend, she recalled their earlier conversation.
“He seems nice”, Sandy had said, “He doesn’t mind if I continue to work until our first child. He’s a doctor, he’ll be coming to England to work, he has very good prospects. My mother is right, I’m not likely to get a better offer, he’s a very good catch.”
“So are you going to accept?” Jen had asked, “He really..” she broke off,
“No, I’m sorry, it’s not my culture, not my heritage, it really isn’t my place to question or pass judgement.”
“No please, tell me, you’re my friend you should be able to tell me what you think.”
“Well, I don’t think it should be up to him whether you work or not. It should be your choice, But as I said, my customs are not yours.”
Sandy hadn’t replied, and now Jen was left wondering what she’d thought, She watched Sandy giggle and cover her mouth, being careful to look down and not meet whatever-his-name-was’ eye. Jen grew annoyed at the games her strong, independent, beautiful friend was compelled to play. Then he bent and kissed the back of Sandy’s hand. Jen had to hold on tightly to the arms of her chair to stop herself racing across the room and ripping them apart. She couldn’t remember ever feeling this much anger. Suddenly it hit her, she slumped horrified back into her chair. ‘Oh no, how could I let this happen, how did I not see it. Oh, of all the foolish things.... I’m in love with Sandy. My totally straight, about-to-be-married, friend. Oh God. Now what?’
Jen had no recollection of how she’d managed to get through the rest of the day.
Sandy hadn’t exactly accepted his proposal but she hadn’t rejected him either. She’d chatted to Jen about how well they’d got on and how much they had in common, Jen wasn’t sure what she’s answered but Sandy seemed satisfied with her replies. Sandy’s parents had returned to Bradford to make the preparations for the wedding. The happy couple were to return to Bradford for the ceremonies and then settle there. Jen was torn between wanting to spend every moment possible with Sandy knowing she would lose her soon, and pulling away, putting some distance between them now so that the pain would be less when she did go. She’d decided on distance, but wryly acknowledged to herself it made no difference, it was too late, her heart would be shattered no matter what happened.
She’d confessed her feelings to Sue over three bottles of wine, needing desperately to tell someone, crying and swearing Sue to secrecy. Sue had held her and comforted her and said she was sorry, but really there was nothing Sue could do. At least Sandy was so caught up in her plans for the future she hadn’t noticed.
Hearing a noise Jen looked up from her screen. Sandy was there – the noise had been the door closing. Oh-oh, this was serious, it was generally accepted that – outside of client consultations – their door was only ever closed for ‘serious’ talks.
Sandy leaned back against the door and looked at Jen, who steadfastly refused to meet her eye.
“What’s wrong, Jen? Did I do something to upset you?”
“Wrong? Why should anything be wrong?” Jen’s voice sounded strained even to her own ears.
“Don’t play games, Jen. You’ve been distant all week, you haven’t wanted to be around me, you’ve worked through your lunch breaks, if we didn’t work for the same company I’d have seen nothing of you all week. And now I get a note on my desk cancelling our weekly cinema outing. You’ve never missed a trip to the movies, no matter how busy we’ve been, and now you can’t make it? And you don’t even have the courtesy to tell me to my face. I must have done something, please tell me what so I can put it right.”
Jen ran her hand through her hair. “It’s not you, it’s me..” she began, only to be stopped by Sandy’s snort of derision.
“Please, spare me that old cliché.”
“Ok, you want the truth? You aren’t going to like it. You, my nice sweet, straight, friend are about to get married, as soon as your parents complete the arrangements, to a man you do not love, and it’s tearing me apart.” Jen looked up, they stared into each others eyes for long moments, both of them feeling the familiar flash of electricity, but this time Jen knew it for what it was. and she knew she could no longer hide from it, or hide her feelings from Sandy, even though she was about to wreck their friendship, she had to speak or burst.
She stood and walked towards Sandy. “It’s tearing me apart, because, God help me, I have fallen totally, completely, absolutely in love with you. I can’t stand hearing you talk about him because I want you. I want to hold you in my arms and never let you go. I want to kiss you and take you home with me and make love with you all night long, and do the same thing every night for the rest of our lives. Sandy I love you. I’m in love with you.”
“oh.” Sandy’s voice was very subdued. “I need to think about this, I’m sorry.” She opened the door and fled.
Jen slumped against the wall and allowed the tears to come.
It had been a very long weekend. Jen had barely slept at all; she’d struggled into the office on Monday morning and thrown herself into her work. She’d been alone in her office, Jonathon was on holiday and Sandy had gone to Bradford for the weekend, receiving permission to skip the morning and arrive after lunch.
‘It was turning into a really bad day’, she mused as she finally gave up her unequal struggle with the packet of paper she was attempting to load into the photocopier, wishing she’d just asked one of the typists to do it for her, Losing her temper she threw the paper against the wall and stormed back to her room, slamming the door with as much force as she could muster.
Sandy was perched on her desk and she jumped at the noise.
“Hi. Did you...a...have a good weekend?” Jen was stammering, she hadn’t expected to see Sandy today.
“Well, yes, sort of. Jen....” Sandy stood and walked over, coming to stand directly in front of her friend, “will you do something for me, don’t question, just do it, I’ll explain later?” Receiving a nod of agreement she continued, “Kiss me.”
“WHAT!” Of all the things Jen had expected to hear that certainly wasn’t in the list.
“Kiss me. Please.”
Jen swallowed. Should she, could she do this? Could she not? It was going to rip her to shreds but it was a dream come true. She gave up thinking and bent her head. Sandy’s lips were the sweetest she’d ever tasted. She deepened the kiss, tracing an outline with her tongue, heart singing with joy when Sandy’s mouth opened and granted her access. The kiss seemed to go on for hours as she gently explored, stroked, teased and tasted. Eventually she pulled away and breathed, “Oh God.”
The smaller woman rested her head on Jen’s shoulder. She didn’t speak but her breathing was ragged.
After another eternity Sandy raised her head and uttered a single word.
It was a command not a question, Jen obeyed. This time it was Sandy who requested entry, and Jen gladly allowed her tender exploration.
Sandy moved back, but left one hand on Jen’s hip.
“I let him kiss me this weekend,” Jen looked away, “No, keep watching me. And then I told him I wouldn’t be marrying him. I felt nothing. I wanted, needed to kiss you before telling my parents. I needed to be sure. Now I am. I love you Jen. I’ve never felt anything like this for anybody, ever, so it’s not surprising I didn’t know what it was when I met it. But I’ve done a lot of thinking this weekend. I’ve decided I want to spend the rest of my life with you. If you still feel the same, if you meant all those things you said last week then my answer is yes.”
“I meant it. Every blessed word.”
“Now all I have to do is tell my family I won’t be marrying any man, ever. You do realise they’ll disown me?”
“I’m sorry you’ll have to go through that, but I will be there with you, always, every step of the way. We will be each other’s family.” She caught Sandy’s hand, bringing it to her lips and kissing the palm, “Forever.” It was a promise.
Sandy’s eyes closed, “Forever,” she echoed, “Now kiss me again.”
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