Winter Solstice

by Claudette E. Dillard



The day was drawing closer and Red could feel it in her center finger. She didn't have a clue why every year as it got close to the Winter Solstice her much used center finger got all tingly and warm. The first time it happened was ten years ago when she'd been in Mexico. She had been trying to shake maracas while trying to do the Salsa or whatever that godforsaken dance was called. Her best friend Jen, also known as Doc for obvious reasons, had suggested it had something to do with the number of people she had directed to the north or the amount of alcohol Red had consumed. Whatever the reason the tingling warmth had gone away without any intervention and Red forgot all about it until the next year.

Dopey that she was it took her five years to make the connection between the solstice and the tingling in her right middle finger. In typical Red fashion she had been giving the finger to some asshole in Texas who called her a dyke because she wouldn't give him the time of day. She wondered what the jerk expected her to do because first he was a he and she wasn't in to them, and second and more importantly she saw the Confederate/Confederacy flag proudly displayed on the back window of his truck and there just wasn't much that turned her off more.

As Red stood there shaking the trigger finger on her right hand a light bulb went off in her head, only this one wasn't silent sounding more like a gong. She realized that not only was her finger all tingly and warm but it was also close to the shortest day of for the year. She starred at her finger as if it were a foreign object as her mind processed all the previous occurrences of the finger phenomenon. They had all happened when she was on vacation and she always took vacation right before Christmas. 'But what does it mean?' she pondered silently, moving her finger around and giving it a twist to see if she noticed anything different. A cute vixen walked by and totally disrupted any thoughts but what she would like to do with her finger so she quickly put the mystery behind her to follow the other woman.

So here it was five years after Texas and she still hadn't figured out the significance of the winter solstice as it pertained to her finger. At first she'd formulated a theory that it had to do with being in the South but that was thwarted when it happened to her in France and the northern part of France at that. Then she surmised that it had something to do with being in a foreign country and Red did include Texas in that category. I mean look who they gave the US for president. But of course that theory was proven false when it happened while visiting the Liberty Bell and she couldn't in good conscience categorize Washington D.C. as a foreign country, foreign sure but it was still in the U.S..

As she lay in bed starring at the glowing stars on her ceiling she couldn't believe it but once again the date was coming up, and Red couldn't swing another theory to explain her peculiar affliction. But it was getting late and Red was tired from learning to two-step and having to listen to country music for an extended period of time. Doc had wanted her to learn the polka as well but some things you just couldn't do even for your best friend. Being a dancer was something Red had never aspired to and she got pretty grumpy when it was suggested she learn a second new dance in one night. So Doc had smartly declared herself happy that Red agreed to one new thing and let the matter drop.

Red gave a big yawn and decided she was too sleepy to worry about the finger, the winter solstice, or dancing another minute. She got in her favorite sleeping position with a pillow under her head and a smaller one under her left knee and fell straight into slumber land. She was extremely thankful that she did not have visions of sugar plums dancing in her head.

In what seemed like too short an amount of time, Red came slowly awake to the sight of a tall female dressed in a bright, day glow yellow outfit. She blinked her eyes repeatedly to make sure she wasn't caught in that zone between sleep and wakefulness where weird thoughts would snare her imagination. She sat up slowly not at all afraid to find a strange, but extremely attractive, blonde standing in her bedroom.

"Do I know you?" she asked, a puzzled expression on her face. Surely if she had seen this blonde Amazon before she would remember. "I can't quite place you," Red admitted not one to be bashful about such things. Waking up to women she couldn't quite remember was not all that foreign an occurrence for her.

"You've known me for a long time," the stranger replied, her deep contralto voice sent shivers up and down Red's spine. "But this is the first time we've met face to face."

"Let me get this straight. I know you but we never met?" Red ran a hand through her short red hair, giving a momentary thought to how it might look to the other woman. She knew spiked hair looked like crap the morning after so she surreptitiously tried to undo some of the clumps. "I hope we didn't cross paths in Spain three years ago because I'll tell you right now I was under the influence of alcohol and therefore not really responsible for any slights that may or may not have crossed my lips." She paused to consider her last sentence. "Are you as confused as I am now?" she added with a disarming grin.

"Actually Red Rose, I did see you in Spain," the blonde replied with a charming smile that almost knocked Red to her knees. "I can't quite remember if you chugged the pitcher of beer before or after you did the Yeager Meister shots." She put a finger to her luscious lips and appeared to give the matter some thought.

"You were there," Red whispered, her gray eyes getting large. "But why don't I remember? I would have to be comatose not to notice you." She blushed an unbecoming shade of red once she realized what she had admitted. 'Damn, I'm usually smoother than this. It must be the lack of sleep.'

"You simply were not ready to see me then," the other woman replied with a gentle smile. "It was not time yet."

"Huh?" Red stood up and walked towards the blonde fully expecting to wake up from what surely must be a dream before she reached her. "If I touch you will you disappear?" she whispered, tentatively reaching out to what she knew would be air.

The blonde woman simply smiled and reached for Red's hand. As they touched blue lights swirled around the room in a counter clockwise motion. The tingling and warmth that previously had only been present in her right center finger spread through out Red's whole body. It was as if the Gods themselves were bestowing an honor upon the couple.

"Who are you?" Red asked looking dazed, feeling a sense of connection beyond the touching of their hands.

"I am known as Al in your tongue. In my world my name sounds like the sleigh bells. They are on the sleigh that carries Santa Clause and are accompanied by Donner and Blitzen."

"Time out." Red pulled her hand from Al's and motioned for a time out as well as any seasoned athlete with time running out in the game. "This is a dream," she announced. "I need to quit lying to myself and admit that dancing is much more strenuous than I gave it credit for. Or it could certainly have been all the country music I had to endure." She put a hand to her chin and silently debated before realizing she was getting off track. "It doesn't matter because I just need to waltz my butt back to the bed and wake up. I know it's almost Christmas time but I can't believe I'm dreaming of a gorgeous woman whose talking about reindeer. And why couldn't I have come up with Dasher or Prancer, I mean they're closer to the front of the sleigh? And Al! What kind of name is Al? I'm really losing it," she muttered and turned to walk back to the bed to join her sleeping body.

"Please do not go," Al pleaded. "I know this seems strange to you but it is real. Did it not feel real when you touched my hand?"

"It was better than real," Red acknowledged reluctantly. She turned back to Al, her face awash with confusion. "That's the problem, Al. When we touched it was like the beauty of a ballet, all graceful yet strong and binding. I heard cymbals and chimes going off and that can't be real. I'm a down to earth kind of woman who doesn't believe in fairy tales or ever after. I should be hearing things like a tambourine or some bongos, things that you shake and have earthy sounds. I don't know if I can do anything else."

"You can do so much more than you think Red Rose. If you could not I would not be here for you to see. Please give me, give us, a chance," Al begged as her hazel eyes looked at Red pleadingly.

Red closed her eyes to block out the call of cupid in Al's eyes. She was in a quandary because surely none of this could be real. But if it was a just a dream how did an unimaginative gal like her come up with such a creation? Her mind had never been prone to flights of fancy so why would she start now at twenty-eight? Red finally opened her eyes because even when they were closed the image of Al was just as strong.

"This is going to be like Indiana Jones, isn't it?" Red asked looking straight into those wonderful hazel eyes that seemed to turn greener the longer she looked at them.

"Indiana Jones?" Al crinkled her nose in an adorable way that made Red want to drop to one knee and worship her from up close.

Al cleared her throat to get rid of any thoughts of kneeling. "I think it was in the third movie that he had to take a leap of faith. You know, where you suspend belief in reality and trust in something you can't really see," Red explained. Her heart started beating like a bass drum as she contemplated stepping into an abyss.

"And what happened when he did?" Al prodded.

"He was able to get the Holy Grail and reverse the attempted murder of his father," Red answered easily. "So it was a good thing, Al," she remembered happily. "Can we talk a little more before we do what ever it is that we have to do?" Red motioned for Al to follow her as she went back to the bed. She sat down and patted the space beside her.

"If it will make you more comfortable I will be happy to oblige." Al sat next to Red and reached for her hand. Once again the blue lights appeared. But this time they were interspersed with streams of light that resembled a falling comet.

"Okay, how do you do that light show thing?" Red asked as she motioned with her free hand. "Is that something everyone can do where you come from?"

"Only when they are joined with their spiritual half," Al replied stroking the back of Red's hand gently. "I have never experienced it before tonight. I never knew for sure that it could happen to me," she said reverently giving the other woman a look of adoration.

"Lets start at the beginning," the red head said a little gruffly in an attempt to keep her feet on the ground. The warmth coming from Al's caress was quickly making her head spin. "How did you find me in the first place?"

"I hope this will not shock you Red Rose but my soul has known yours since you came into being. Where I am from we are charged with finding our other half no matter where they might be. I have been waiting to connect with you for a long time."

"So you know who I am but I'm not programmed to recognize you?"

"Therein lies the challenge. I have reached out to you for many years but it was only when you turned eighteen that you started to sense my presence."

"My finger!" Red gave a loud sigh as the mystery was solved. "It was you and I didn't even know it. What if I hadn't woken up and seen you tonight, Al?" she worried.

"Then I would have continued to try to reach you, Red Rose. It is my life's mission."

"Wow, this it too much for me to grasp. I feel like a catcher waiting to catch the pop up that will put my team in the World Series. What if I drop the ball, Al? What if I'm not worthy of being your life's mission?" Red jumped up and started to pace around the room. Well as much pacing as could be done in the small square shaped room that was dominated by her queen sized bed and not much else. She stopped abruptly and turned to face Al, running a nervous hand through her hair. "What if I can never pronounce your name the way it should be and more importantly, how can we ever be together if we're different beings? What the hell am I thinking anyway, this can't be real!" she shouted, mad at herself for even thinking for one precious minute that Al could be a reality for her.

"You have so many questions Red Rose that I do not even know where to start," Al said not attempting to approach the obviously agitated woman. "I would like to spend time with you and we can gradually answer your questions. I know this information must have you at war with yourself but cursing at fate will not bring you to any resolve."

"You are right about one thing, my heart and my brain are at war with one another and they seem to have drawn that line in the sand that can't be crossed. Why did you have to make me see you in the middle of the night when everything is caught up in the shadows anyway?" Red whined, knowing she sounded childish but unable to help herself. She was getting tired and her heart was starting to win the tug of war because she wanted so badly to suspend her notions of possibilities and embrace the promise of what was Al.

"I did not make you see me. You saw me because your soul connects with mine better during the reign of the moon. There are no false idols to convolute the situation. It is just you and me, Red Rose."

"And that's another thing," the red head said trying to stoke up some righteous indignation. "My name is not Red Rose, hell it's not even Red. If you can't call me just Red then you might as well call me Dennis because that's what my male-obsessed father named me. Dennis Michael Harlow to be exact," she added crisply.

"But you are like the Red Rose to me," Al explained patiently. "I will call you Red because you do not seem like a Dennis or like a Mike either," she said giving Red one of her sweet smiles.

"Don't do that," Red grumbled followed by a reluctant twitch of her lips. "You distract me with that beautiful smile," she charged. "And then I can't think right."

"You are so cute when you pout." Al crooked her finger and motioned for Red to rejoin her on the bed. "Come sit down with me, Red. In fact, why not come and lay down and get some rest. Now that we have made the initial connection we have all the time in the universe to talk."

"Okay," Red grudgingly agreed but knowing she couldn't possibly sleep a wink when the east and west sides of he brain were trying to outdo each other. "Just don't try to suck out my brains or anything alien-like while I'm sleeping," she said only half joking as every episode of the "X Files" did the hustle through her mind.

"Your people have very peculiar ideas." Al gave an infectious chuckle that totally disarmed the other woman. "I promise to limit myself to holding your earthly body while you sleep."

"Okay," Red said again but this time not at all grudgingly. Some excitement crept into her system as she thought about being held by Al. 'I should probably offer her one of my sleep shirts, surely it would be more comfortable than that Star Trek wannabee costume she has on. No Red, don't even think of her wearing that sexy short pajama set with the pink triangle in the appropriate spot. You're only going to be sleeping together and sleep is the operative word.' With a sigh for what could have been Red joined Al on the bed. Although she was sure she couldn't sleep a wink Red was spooned with Al and into the arms of Morpheus in a matter of minutes.

She dreamt not of being probed by alien beings but about dancing the night away in Al's arms. For someone who wasn't a dancer Red did a pretty good imitation of one as she and Al did the tango accompanied by the beat of a timpani. With every beat of the drum Red's heart beat harder and faster. The harder and faster her heart beat the faster the drum beat. As they shimmied from one side of the dance floor to the other the two women drew closer and closer together until it was hard for Red to figure out where she ended and Al began. Each exquisite movement was accompanied by the blue light that grew brighter and brighter until it filled the room as well as their senses.

Red awoke to discover that she and Al had become intertwined during the six hours they had been sleeping. To her surprise, she enjoyed waking up this way and that gave her a brief moment of concern. She was usually the one who liked having space, swearing that she couldn't sleep if someone was too close for too long. But that was before she was bewitched in the night by Al and the rhythmic dancing. Try as she might Red couldn't work up any angst about the situation she was in. She gave a deep sigh of content and gently kissed the shoulder her head was resting against.

"Good morning Red," Al whispered.

"Good morning Al," Red whispered in return. "Thanks for being my body pillow. It was the best night's sleep I've had in a long time."

"I am glad to be of assistance and I too had a good night of sleep." Very slowly not wanting to alarm the other woman Al placed a tiny peck on Red's lips. She drew back quickly to see how her boldness was being received.

"Is that how you beings kiss where you come from? Because here on earth we can do better," Red boasted. She pulled Al's lips to hers and proceeded to enlighten her on slow, deep earthly kisses.

"Wow!" was all Al could mutter when they broke apart to suck down oxygen.

"Yeah, wow," Red huffed, her body tingling with desire. "That was real, uh, real something." She wanted to say out of this world but thought maybe Al might consider that sarcastic. Red rested her head back on Al's shoulder. "UhÉ Al, can you, uh you knowÉwell, read my mind or any of that kind of psychic stuff?" She held her breath as she waited for a response that had all of a sudden become very important to her.

Al was silent for a moment because she didn't want to say anything that would scare her soul mate away but at the same time she knew it would be a mistake to lie. "I can," she admitted softly and paused. "But I have deliberately put up a block until such a time comes that you are willing to trust. It is important that we get to know each other at your level before moving to my level," she added quickly.

Red looked into the hazel eyes and realized that she could trust what she had been told. "I can live with that," she declared and sat up. "I don't know about you but I need food and we have a lot of processing to do," she said with an impish smile. "I'm going to take a shower and then I'll fix us brunch."

"That is good because this body is hungry and needs energy to do this process procedure," Al said with earnestness.

Unable to help herself Red gave the blonde goddess a sizzling kiss before floating off to the bathroom. Without any conscious thought she started singing as she soaped her tingling body. She was belting out a Beach Boys song when she realized what she was doing. She never sang like this in the shower. Hell, she didn't sing anywhere else either! Red wanted to get angry at Al for what she perceived as the theft of her dignity but she felt too damn good. There was a lightness to her soul that had never been present and it was all due to the wonderful being in her bedroom.

Toweling her hair, a sappy grin on her face, Red entered the bedroom only to come to an abrupt stop. Before her stood a blonde Amazon inadequately covered by a blue towel. If only I could trade places with that blue towel. Red you need to remember that covetousness is a deadly sin and can send you straight to hell. With a shake of her head she banish thoughts of the towel but as much as she wanted to Red couldn't keep her eyes from caressing the honey gold skin that her hands ached to touch. She fought to keep the lustful thoughts from taking over her weakened brain. Struggling to get a grip she tried to remember the names of the Beach Boys. Brian, Carl, ittzy, bittzy, teeny, weeny, yellow polka dot bikini É. Stop, she admonished her mind, don't go there! Not Bikinis, not soft downy triangles, now even long legs that could easily be flipped over the shoulders for closer access. Especially not that!

Red was sure her face was as red as her name and that she was rapidly approaching melt down. Her brain would simply slide out of her ear and the rest of body would turn to a puddle of drool. She needed to think of something else and damn fast!

She really did try to close her eyes against the onslaught of succulent flesh but they just wouldn't cooperate. With super human strength Red forced her mind to think of the Old Testament and wrath of God stuff that she'd learned in bible school. Nothing, she got nothing. Think girl, she told herself, there has to be something you remember about that tablet Moses carried down the mountain. Yeah, fornication, sex, fucking, humping, sucking, licking, face all in it! Finally Red's eyes closed, her body trembled as she clearly envisioned taking part in all the sins of fornication. Her heart was pounding so hard she felt faint.

"Red. Red, are you okay?" a concerned voice asked.

Red's eyes jerked open as she felt the soft gentle touch on her arm. Her vision was caught by hazel eyes that always seemed to change to green the longer she looked at them. "Adultery!" she blurted out. "Not fornication but adultery. It's okay to fuck, just not somebody else's wife," Red added proud of what she had just figured out.

"Something is wrong, please tell me what it is," Al said softly, her lovely eyes pleading as she ran a hand gently up and down Red's back.

"Wrong? What's wrong?" Red repeated her voice trembling in time with her body. "I'm trying to do the right thing Al but you make it so hard on a weak woman like me. Just minutes ago I was wrapped up in the rapture of our souls meeting and now I'm trying not to succumb to the call of your borrowed flesh. Help me, Al," she pleaded and stepped away. "I don't want us to be just about sex because I've already had my fill of those types of relationships. What am I saying?" She put a fist to her forehead and knocked a couple of times, then took a deep breath. "I don't know what I'm saying right now so please go take a shower and let me go fix breakfast."

Al stood still not sure if she should be happy or concerned. "We will talk more about this later I hope," she said with a poignant smile as her whole body effused the blue light.

"I'm counting on it," Red said with assurance. She wanted the woman in front of her with a hunger that would take all night to assuage. Only the notion that she needed to tread a different path with this nonhuman being that was her soul mate enabled her to turn away. "Come to the kitchen when you're done," she called sweetly over her shoulder. She smiled to herself because she knew she had just passed a hurdle.

Red marched to the kitchen determined to keep her mind on fixing her infamous chocolate chip waffles. She was once again singing as she pulled the necessary ingredients from the cabinets. If she had been cognizant of it, Red would have been upset that she was not only singing but also doing the tango as she went to the fridge to get milk and eggs. She tried to do a repeat performance after picking up the flour and dancing to the counter but she only succeeded in getting it all over her face. Quickly turning her back to the counter she let loose a tandem of sneezes that bent her body in half. Once Red recovered, she went to the sink to wash her hands and face. The last thing she needed was to end up with a white powdery substance on her nose like some druggy loser.

"Well Sneezy, maybe now you and Dopey will be more careful when you try to dip with the flour," Red said with a disgusted shake of her head. What an amateur move that was, she thought. She could only give thanks to the Goddess that Al hadn't been around for that maneuver.

By the time Al walked into the kitchen fully dressed, this time in a bright red form-fitting Star Trek like uniform, Red had finished pouring her first waffle. At the sight of the Amazon her heart started pumping as some, but not all, of her blood headed south. "Red is definitely your color, Al," she said with an appreciative grin. "Tell me, do you have an unlimited supply of those outfits hidden in a secret pocket?" she teased.

"No, the color changes by itself," Al explained in all seriousness. She stopped tilted her face up and sniffed. "Something smells very good, Red. This body cannot wait to sample your cooking."

"It's almost done," Red replied with a shy smile because this was the first time she had ever cooked for a woman she was romantically interested in. She could only hope the waffles would be up to their usual high standard. "What can I get you to drink?"

"Milk would go good with the waffles I think"

"Coming right up." She filled two glasses with milk and put them on the table. "Have a seat Al and prepare for some chocolate delights." Red expertly removed the waffle, placed it on a plate, smeared it with margarine, added some chocolate syrup and presented it to Al with a flourish. She held her breath as she waited for tasting results. The satisfied moan from the other woman brought a grin of satisfaction to her face. She quickly set about making more waffles still trembling at the moans of delight coming forth from Al.

Once their stomachs were satisfied, they cleaned up the kitchen before moving to the living room for the inquisition. Red, feeling that she had contained herself long enough, asked a question that had been burning on her mind but that at the same time she was afraid to have answered. "Where did you get the body?"

"It was made for me to accomplish my mission," Al explained. "I promise no people or animals were harmed in the production of this body," she added with a grin.

"Okay then, is it fully functional?" Red wiggled her eyebrows suggestively.

"Oh yes Red, it is," the blonde purred with assurance.

Red immediately wished she hadn't asked that question. She had to suck in her breath as a bolt of desire hotter than the sun hit her squarely between the thighs. All other questions flew out of her mind replaced by her earlier thoughts of biblical sins. She wanted to remove the red suit and worship the body sitting right next to her until they both couldn't move. Red shifted as she thickened and hardened and her breathing became choppy.

Almost hyperventilating she looked at Al, once again at war with herself but this time for a different reason. While she wanted to take the Amazon to bed, slowly strip off the red suit and get intimately acquainted with every inch of her skin, her mind screamed for her to consider the consequences. Would she be risking alienating the being inside the body by focusing on the body? She remembered the feelings from her dream, the closeness they had shared without the sexual contact. Surely that was more important?

Al did not need any telepathy to figure out what was going through Red's mind because it showed clearly in her expression. That look of longing and denial pushed Al to action. It was time to snare her prey, pass all the bases and go for broke. She put an end to the war by leaning forward and capturing Red's soft lips with her own.

Her humanly body let a moan escape at the quick response elicited from Red. That barely discernable moan pushed the score to libido one, mind zero. Red's sensual nature took over as she deepened both the kiss and the embrace. She was only dimly aware of the bright blue lights that surrounded them so caught up was she in the rush of her senses. Red couldn't get enough of the sweet lips and the accompanying feelings of closeness brought on by the contact of their souls.

She nuzzled her way to Al's neck while her hands wandered over warm, smooth skin. Her senses were in overdrive as the tactile sensations complimented the closeness encircling her brain. Red couldn't think all she could do was feel as Al lead her to a place she had never reached before. At some point they moved to the bed and started the process all over again.

An unashamedly naked Red put her hands under her head and gave a sigh beyond contentment. "Al?"

"Yes, Red Rose."

"We really are soul mates, aren't we?"

"Without a doubt my love, forever and ever."

"I can't believe I spent ten years resisting this. You've certainly opened up a whole new dimension for me."

"And you for me. This body enjoyed everything you did to and with it."

"I aim to please, ma'am." Red gave a self-satisfied smirk and turned to face the love of her life. Maybe there was something to be said about that Xena and Gabriella stuff that a lot of her friends raved about. True love and soul mates were real, she knew that now and gloried in the feeling. "I just have one more question for you," she added with a teasing look.

"Only one?" Al asked, a totally besotted expression on her face.

"What does xylophone mean where you come from and why were you screaming it so loudly?" Red smirked puffing out her chest. She continued before Al could answer, "And how bout I make you say it again and again and again?" she asked as her voice got deeper and deeper.

"That is three questions Red Rose, not one," Al said primly but her expression was anything but that. She smiled sensuously and once again captured the soul that she had been searching for so long. Then she willingly screamed xylophone again and again.

By my count I have utilized all 78 words, stretching my imagination to it's fullest.

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