A Distant Memory
DISCLAIMER: This is an original work of fiction. All characters are the property of the author and cannot be used without permission
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© February 2016
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Elise glanced around at the call of her name. A woman standing two positions behind her in the supermarket queue waved at her. There was something familiar about her but she couldn’t put a name to the face.
“Hey! How are you?”
“Fine.” Elise grappled with her memory. The woman obviously thought she knew her but she was at a loss. “And you?”
“Fine. You look great.”
Elise couldn’t help but notice the woman’s gaze slip over her, from head to toe, familiarly. Maybe a little too familiarly for someone she couldn’t name. “What have you been up to?” She glanced at the scowling man standing between them and decided to swap places. He obviously didn’t like being spoken around. “Sorry.”
“You know, the usual. Switched jobs, switched partners, switched towns. And you?”
There was no clue there. “Much the same.” Elise moved forward as the next customer approached the checkout.
“You still with… what was her name…?”
Elise felt the conversation going out of control. How much should she reveal? “Jackie.”
“Jackie? No, I don’t think it was her. Was it Molly? Mary? Marissa?”
“Martha! Yes, that was it. Martha Michaels. We used to call her ‘M & Ms’. Remember?”
Okay, now it was getting creepy. Here was someone from her past and she had no idea who it was. How could she ask without embarrassing both of them or hurting the woman talking to her? Martha was around in her college years, when she made that first tentative step toward her sexual freedom. There were only a handful of people then that she would have called ‘friend’, but this woman didn’t look like any of them. “Yeah, I do. Funny running into you here.”
“It sure is. I only just moved here. Still getting a feel for the place. Maybe you, being a good friend and all, could show me around to get acclimatized.”
Elise nibbled her bottom lip. How could she get out of this one? “I’m pretty busy at the moment, but–”
“But?” She asked hopefully. “If you don’t have the time for a little sight-seeing how about a drink for old times’ sake?”
“Great. There’s a bar just down the street. We can go after we’ve cleared the checkout.”
“Now?” Elise saw the woman’s expression and she knew she had run both out of time and out of excuses. “Err, sure. Just one though. I’ve got to drive home.”
Unfortunately the checkout line moved swiftly and after they had put their groceries in their cars, Elise was faced with a woman ready to renew and old friendship. Why couldn’t she remember her? Had something bad happened that forced her to wipe the woman’s identity out of her mind? “So…” Elise tried to make the word sound like the invitation for a name.
“So. Who’d ever thought we’d run into each other like this, huh?”
Either the woman was dense or she was prolonging the agony. She didn’t look like an idiot, so Elise decided she was the butt of the tease. She started to walk toward the bar. It would mean continuing the game of twenty questions but it would also mean that she was that much closer to ending the night. Anything to get this over with.
She reached for the door but found her hand batted away. “Allow me.” The words were spoken slowly and in a low tone, lending a hint of sensuality to the statement. The door pulled outwards, and she welcomed the cold air blowing onto her heated face, which she was sure was turning a nice shade of pink.
They were shown to a booth and Elise slid onto the bench with ease. The woman took the seat opposite her and smiled. With their drink orders taken, Elise was left in a vacuum of silence between them.
The woman laughed. “You really don’t know who I am, do you?”
She was cornered. “I wouldn’t say that.”
“What would you say then?” She seemed amused by the whole situation, and Elise was tempted to call the whole thing off.
Elise threw up her hands in defeat. “You got me.”
“It’s Kate.” When Elise stared at her she continued. “Maybe I should be insulted. Kate Wilson. Your old next-door neighbor.”
“Katie???!?” Elise did a double-take. “Katie? Katie Wilson?” She was babbling and didn’t even know it. “Little Katie Wilson?”
“I know my name. Don’t wear it out.”
The waitress arrived and deposited the two glasses on the table top. Elise grabbed her drink and took a mouthful of the wine. “Wow. You’ve… changed.”
“Enough to fool you, it seems.”
“No, no, no. You’ve changed for the better… much, much better.”
Kate ducked her head.
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to embarrass you.”
“It’s been a long, long time since someone was able to do that. You really didn’t know who I was?”
“I felt I should know you but I couldn’t recall a name. Katie Wilson, huh? Well, well. Look who’s all grown up.”
Kate’s blush deepened.
“How’s your mom and dad?”
“They’re fine. Still living in the same house, as a matter of fact. How’s your mom?”
“She’s in aged care, but your parents probably know that already.” Elise studied Kate as she spoke. The kid had sure changed from the last time she saw her. Who knew? “You moved here for the job, the location or the boyfriend?”
“You said before about moving.”
“Oh, yeah. None really. I just felt it was time to move on. No new attachments.” Kate stared her right in the eye when she uttered the last three words. What was Kate trying to tell her?
“It shouldn’t be a problem around here. There’s lots of unattached guys looking for a good-looking woman.” Elise gazed around the bar and noticed a few men staring at them. “I’d try somewhere else, though. These guys are on the prowl.”
Elise felt something brush her hand and she looked back at Kate. Her gaze dropped to the table and watched as Kate idly caressed the back of her hand. “Oh.” Now she understood. “Then these guys are a waste of time.”
“Yep,” Kate said succinctly.
“So this meeting wasn’t a coincidence?”
“Yes it was, but I decided to make most of it. Chances were likely I’d not see you again.”
“Not unless you staked out the supermarket.”
“Hmmm… I hadn’t thought of that.” Kate stared right into Elise’s eyes. “You know, I’ve had the biggest crush on you since I was twelve years old.”
Elise didn’t know how to answer that one, so she didn’t. “What do you want, Kate?”
“I want the chance to get to know you better.”
“You know me as well as anyone. What more is there to tell?”
“Things change. I’ve changed. You’ve changed. I just don’t want to let this opportunity pass me by. I think you know what I mean.”
She did. “Yeah, but to me you’ll always be little Katie Wilson, that snot-nosed kid who hung around with my group of friends.”
“Who also grew up and would like to find out the answer to an old question that has been locked up in her heart for half a lifetime.” She spread out her hands. “Hey, I’m snot-free!” she said a little too loudly.
“Good to know.” The comment came from the booth behind her which produced a rather endearing shade of pink on Kate’s face.
Elise sat back and thought about what Kate was asking. Was there any harm in renewing their friendship? They were both in between relationships, so there was no fallout between partners. Her only concern was Kate’s wish to pursue the friendship to a more intimate resolution. She studied the woman seated across from her with a critical eye. Kate had grown into a beautiful woman, Elise couldn’t deny that, and she still held that irrepressible ‘joie de vivre’ she had as a kid.
But she wasn’t a kid and Elise had to get past that. Fifteen years had passed since that twelve year-old hung around her and her seventeen year-old friends; when a kid was no longer welcome in an adolescent lifestyle.
Maybe they wouldn’t be compatible. Then again, maybe they would be, and that thought scared her. Kate knew a lot about her that none of her other girlfriends did, which could be both a good thing and a bad thing. Elise continued to sip her wine as she watched Kate’s expression.
Kate smiled. “Well, that’s a good thing.”
“You didn’t say ‘no’ straight away. That means you’re at least considering it.”
She was right, and if Elise was honest with herself that was an answer in itself. Before she could change her mind, Elise swallowed the remaining wine and slid herself off the bench. “Come on,” she said quietly. There was a loud noise behind her as she walked away. She imagined that Kate had finally gathered her wits about her and downed her drink before throwing a few bills on the table.
“Did I hear right?” Kate rushed to open the door.
“Yeah.” Elise stepped out into the cold evening air and breathed deep. She wanted the stark harshness of the cold to snap her out of her dream state. Was she doing the right thing? Only time would tell her on that point. If it didn’t work out then she could just refuse to give Kate her cell number.
“Don’t sound so enthusiastic. If you don’t want to–”
Elise stopped and turned to face her companion. “At this point I don’t know what I want. I’m not sure this is a good idea, but if I do nothing it might turn out to be the biggest mistake of my life. It’s not like I went out tonight to look for a date, you know?”
“Yeah, I do,” Kate said wistfully, “but if I don’t take this opportunity I may never know the answer to my question.”
“And what is your question?”
“Was it just a crush or something more?” Kate held up her hand before Elise could answer. “I know, I know, but this could be the only chance I get and I don’t want to go through the rest of life wondering ‘if only’.”
They walked back to the parking lot in silence, each deep in thought. Elise stopped at her car. “Follow me.” Kate nodded and continued on to her own car. For a moment Elise thought about speeding off, losing Kate in a puff of exhaust fumes. But something stopped her. Did she want to know the answer to Kate’s question just as much?
Elise started the engine and waited for Kate to pull up next to her. The procession took off, with Elise moving along at a slow, steady pace so she didn’t lose sight of the car behind her. Five minutes later they pulled up in front of her apartment block. She got out of the car and moved to the trunk to pull out her groceries.
The sound of a closing door made her look up. “Grab anything that needs to go into the refrigerator. No point in it defrosting.” Was Kate staying that long? That was as much a mystery as whether they were ‘compatible’. Elise internally winced at the word. It sounded so… clinical.
She no longer had the option to change her mind as the key slipped into the lock of her front door. When it opened she flipped the light switch, illuminating the stylish living room. “Please excuse the mess. I wasn’t expecting company.” That part was very true. Not in her wildest dreams did she expect to go to the supermarket and come back with a bedroom partner. Oh Lord! She just remembered the state of her bedroom.
Perishables went into the refrigerator without comment, but as soon as the door closed Kate kissed her. It was a tentative kiss at first but it rapidly increased to a full-blown passionate one. Elise pulled back panting and stared at her.
“Is there any point going through the pantomime of a coffee?”
“I suppose not.” Things were awkward enough without the strained silence of a coffee break. “But I’m not sure I’m ready for this.”
“So, coffee it is.”
To Elise’s ears, Kate sounded disappointed. “No, I can do this.” That sounded worse. “No, no! That’s not what I meant!” Panic set in.
“Look, you obviously don’t want to so how about we call it a night? It was good to see you, Ellie.” Kate turned to leave.
“Kate! Please! This whole thing has taken me by surprise. I went out for milk and I come home with a woman? How would that sound to you?”
Kate smiled wistfully. “Weird.”
“But in a nice way,” Elise added. “I just need a moment or two to get my mind around this. Hell, I still think of you as a kid!”
Kate reached for the top button of her blouse. “You shouldn’t. Here, let me show you.” She laughed at the gob-smacked expression on Elise’s face. “Think of it this way, after tonight you’ll either say ‘goodbye’ or ‘hello’. The choice is yours. I’ve made my choice, otherwise I wouldn’t be here.” Kate took Elise’s hand and walked down the hallway. “Which door?”
Dumbly, Elise reached for the nearest door handle. Kate led Elise into the room and stopped in front of the bed.
“…wasn’t expecting anyone. I know. Forget about it.” Kate reached for Elise’s blouse and pulled it free of the waistband. “Relax.”
Relaxing was the last thing on Elise’s mind. Every sense she possessed was clamoring for attention. “Close your eyes.” Elise did as she was told and her anxiety eased a little. Now one less sense was beating its fists against her brain. However, her other senses intensified, intent on extracting every bit of sensory information it was able to. The brush of cloth as her shirt was removed, the slight coolness of the air on her skin, and the subtle smell of Kate’s perfume; all these delights, together with her imagination, had turned her mind into a pool of sensual delight which was slowly pulling her in.
“So soft, Ellie. Just as I knew you would be.” Kate whispered into her ear. Kate’s hands slid down her arms caressing the skin with reverence. Elise’s body betrayed her with goosebumps following the path Kate’s hands had taken. “Like that, huh?” Kate’s hands moved across her back and found the clasp to her bra. She hesitated. “May I?”
Elise could barely breathe so she settled for a nod. Before she could finish giving permission the clasp was free. The moment of truth. What would Kate think? Warm hands replaced harsh material and started a gentle caress. Elise stood transfixed, each slow pass of a hand over a nipple drew a response, and each response led to another pass. The change was subtle, as if to not alarm her, but it was exquisite in its execution. Kate certainly knew what she was doing.
Elise let herself lean back until she touched Kate’s body. The hands shifted and one hand traveled slowly over her stomach to her belly button while the other continued to entice her nipples. One finger daintily poked the indentation and she laughed, but the feeling was gone quickly. The finger moved downward. It seemed it had a single-minded purpose to discover the source of Elise’s sexual energy.
She was spiraling out of control quickly and Elise doubted she could stop it even if she wanted to. She found her voice. “Wha– What about you?”
Kate chuckled. “Don’t worry about me. You should be more worried about you.”
“Me?” she said in a squeak.
“Oh yes, you. Prepare to be ravished.”
There was another squeak but Elise couldn’t decide whether it was a sigh or a squeak of panic. All she could say was “okay”. To her it sounded like a word of submission.
Kate came around her body to face her, a wicked smile touching her lips. Kate’s gaze dropped the length of Elise’s body. Her fingers grabbed Elise’s jeans and the practical pair of underpants hidden inside and pulled them down. Elise’s hands crossed themselves in front of herself even though it was a pointless exercise, but the action was her only piece of armor.
“You won’t need that.” Kate slowly pulled her hands away. “You are beautiful.” Elise felt the heat of her blush erupt through her chest. “Don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise.” Kate took two steps forward, which brought her in close contact with Elise. She cupped Elise’s face in her hands and kissed her reverently, repeating the loving caress a number of times until Elise’s stiff body relaxed. While Elise watched, Kate slowly removed her own clothing, making sure to stretch out the revealing of her best assets. By the time she was completely naked, Elise was standing there in a mind-numbing stupor.
Elise swiped her hand over her mouth, sure that drool was coming out. Kate was… spectacular. No, Kate was perfect, and definitely not a kid any more. Kate extended her hand and Elise took it as she was guided to the bed. It took no effort on Kate’s part to push her down because Elise was still in shock. Whatever was going to happen would be spectacular.
“Stay.” Kate’s voice dropped to a whisper, both commanding and sensual at the same time. Elise could do little else but obey. She let her hands drop to either side of her head and waited, giving Kate a look of complete trust.
Again, she closed her eyes and let herself feel. Unseen fingers and tongue wove a magical net over her skin, enticing her to surrender to the woman above her. How could she not? The slow, overwhelming onslaught wore down her resistance, her body rising rapidly to the sensual tide washing over her. When she thought she could stand it no longer, Kate took it to another level. Elise could barely breathe as she felt the tremors begin. With each shudder she slipped more and more into debt to the woman who had brought her to this point.
When her galloping heartbeat settled, Elise opened her eyes. “W… W…”
“Shhhh.” Kate placed a finger over Elise’s lips. “No words.”
Elise breathed in. She knew that scent. It was her own. It was a sensory reminder of what had just happened. As if she could forget. As if she wanted to forget.
Kate lay down next to her and welcomed her into her arms. “That answers that question.”
“Hmmm.” Elise knew what question she was talking about. Now she was glad she had the courage to say ‘yes’. She looked at Kate. “Where’s your cell?”
“What do you want that for?”
“So I can put my number in it, silly.”
Kate smiled at her warmly. “I don’t need your number. I know where you live.”
Suddenly, Elise’s life had taken a turn for the better, and she didn’t even have to actively seek it out. Here Kate was, presented like a Christmas gift wrapped up with a bow. “Hello,” Elise whispered.
She snuggled closer to Kate, waiting for the moment when she could return the favor… and get Kate’s phone number.