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All characters found in this story are the creation of Lisa S. and are her property exclusively.
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By Lisa S.
I dreamed of her last night again. As vivid as always, I was left with the idea of her and no image.
She stood before me, her face in shadows, obscured from my view. Her hands reached out to me, beckoning me forward. Seeming to float, I moved toward her, long slender fingers gently grabbing my wrists, pulling me forward.
Happily I submitted to her embrace, feeling her naked breasts press against mine, her skin silkily brushing against mine, intoxicating me with the sensations. Still, I couldn’t see her face, the one part of her I really wanted to see. Frustrated, I tried to cup her face with my hands and force it into the light.
Laughing lightly, she resisted, pulling away completely, turning from me. Watching the muscles in her naked back flow as she walked away, I felt entranced. Sexual desire and lust coursed through me, my blood warming and traveling as my need grew.
My head felt light as I again went to her, this time to a bed that appeared in the room. With a sure touch she pushed me down onto the bed, not that I fought her any way. I was dying to see her, dying to see the face on this woman who had tormented my dreams too often, but I was also hungry for her touch.
With confidence born of shared love, she began to stroke my body, her caresses fanning the flame within me. I know I must have been moaning, but I couldn’t hear anything but the sound of my own heartbeat in my ears.
For the thousandth time I let myself sink into her love making, not knowing who she was or where she was. All I knew was that I would spend the rest of my life searching for her.
I could see in her eyes the pain she was feeling. Brilliant blue became hazy as tears formed and fell. I wanted so badly to reach out to her and comfort her.
Unfortunately, she was sitting two tables away and with a man who, though I could only see his back, seemed very possessive, even though he was the cause of her tears.
Staring at her had become an afternoon obsession for me. I’d never seen her before and I’d never see her again, but for some reason she caught my eye, making me forget my afternoon appointments and any sanity I might have still claimed.
I’ll be the first to admit that women catch my eye all the time, turning my head so often that I was in a state of permanent whiplash. I liked to look, to study their faces and wonder if I could read their personality through a wrinkle here, an arched brow there. Faces told tales that bodies and minds could not. At least that’s what I had always believed. My friend Megan once told me that if I looked at women’s bodies the way I did their faces I stood a chance at being what she called a “lazy-eyed lesbian”. You know, the kind that will be sweet-talking one woman and then casually be checking out all the women around them. Yes, I looked, but I wasn’t looking for sex or a cheap thrill, I was just looking for her.
I know that one day I will see her and I will know by looking at her face that she’s the one I’ve been waiting for. Her face will tell me that she’s supposed to be mine. That we’re supposed to come together to form one being.
I thought I’d found her many times. I’d see a woman across the room, or walking down the street, and I’d find her face fascinating. I would follow her until I worked up the courage to say something witty, usually something to make her laugh.
Needless to say, I’d heard many different kinds of laughter in my 35 years. But none of them were her.
So, I made the decision to stop the heartbreak and live a celibate life of just work and friends, keeping sex out of my life for good. Don’t get me wrong, I like sex and all of that, but I could go without. The act of making love without her was simply an act. Nothing satisfied me in the way that I knew she would. Sitting back, out of the lesbian rat race, I thought I’d give her a chance to come to me. I’d stop looking for her in everything I did. I’d just live. But, I was still preparing my life for her. Saving things that I’d one day want to show her, creating scrapbooks of my life before her.
I know, crazy right? Well, I think so. It’s so crazy that sometimes I annoy myself with my obsession with her. I don’t know what she’ll look like, her age, her hair color, or anything else that would be pertinent to finding her. All I know is that she’ll complete me and that I’ll want to spend forever with her.
I’d done well with not looking for her. Until today that is. This woman across the restaurant was too intriguing. Too tempting to ignore. Her face told me a thousand things, her eyes expressive and her mouth full and tempting. I could feel my body heat rise as I tried to watch her discretely. I had a clear line of vision. People passed between us, but overall, I could unobstrutively see her and her lunch companion.
Now while she looked to be an angel, he was definitely along the asshole category. I was having serious problems with him. Generally, I’m not the man-hating-penis-destroying kind of lesbian. I don’t have a problem with them if they don’t have a problem with me. In fact, I cohabitat with one right now, which was as much of a PC statement as it was a money saving deal. But this man that was with her was just too much. Cocky didn’t cover the amount of stuck up, self-indulgent pride coming from this man. At least that was what I got from behind him. His posture and poise indicated all of this, as did the reaction he was causing her to have.
The I’m-bigger-than-this –life type of shmuck who went through life on the backs of millions of peons before him. I hated him on sight. The fact that he was causing the woman I was watching to frown often and saying things that caused tears to fill her eyes didn’t help his case. I began to envision numerous Lorriena Bobbit type crimes, making a note to find out what kind of punishment she ended up with before I made any rash moves. But that train of thought didn’t last long as I gazed at her.
She wasn’t right for him. As I studied her face, trying to appear as though something was fascinating on the wall behind her, I could see her misery. It wasn’t the kind of misery that grew from a single event, but the kind that had festered over years, forming a mountain of misery within her. Something in me longed to move that mountain for her and to show her that she didn’t have to be miserable. There was something akin to an ache inside of me that longed to show her happiness and life.
Once again my mind betrayed me. I wondered if it could be her that I was looking at. If she were the one that I had been searching for. Doubt filled me as I recalled the women before this moment, those that I thought had been the ones, who had only hurt and disappointed me. How could I know anymore, how could I trust myself? How could I trust my heart not to lead me once again into the arms of the wrong woman?
Even as I sit here and debated this with myself, I feel a longing to go over and speak to the woman. Odd how our brain sometimes takes two paths, each path contradictory to the other. But, that’s neither here nor there I guess.
“If you think that I’ll live like that, you have another thing coming!” She stood up, her hands clenched into fists, her eyes flashing with anger. “I am not your whore!”
This was getting interesting. Very interesting indeed. I watched as she stormed off in the direction of the women’s bathroom. And now my dilemma increases. I could go after her and make myself useful. I envisioned walking in and finding her in tears, taking her into my arms and murmuring soft words of comfort into her ear.
Or, I could sit here as I have
been for the last hour and a half and wait for the drama to unfold. But, I
had to get up from that table and I had to make the trek to the bathroom. What
if it was her? What if this was my only chance? If I missed it, would I get
Putting both hands on the table, I pushed myself up and moved the chair back from the table at the same time. The loud screeching of the chair sliding across the floor seemed exceptionally loud to me, but no one else seemed to notice. Breathing deeply, I mentally flexed, trying to create a clear picture in my mind.
One foot in front of the other, I told myself as I walked to the bathroom, my heart pounding in my chest. One more deep breath and I pushed open the door to the women’s room.
She wasn’t in there. I checked the three stalls, each one of them empty. Turning, I looked into the mirror seeing my reflection staring back at me, the room behind me completely empty.
I had lost her.
“So, you just sat there for almost two hours watching her and didn’t say anything to her?” Megan’s face registered disbelief and I felt my own face heat up in a blush. I had been telling her of my interesting encounter with the woman at the restaurant.
“What was I supposed to do, walk up and say ‘Hey, I think you’re supposed to be with me’?” Megan was the only friend I had that knew everything about my quest for the one person who would complete me. She teased me often and made disparaging remarks about my sanity frequently, but overall, she was supportive. Each time I had realized in the past that I still hadn’t found her, it was Megan who had put her arms around me and told me not to give up.
“You should have done something. Like, you could have gone up to that man she was with and told him to leave her the fuck alone.” She screwed her face up into what I supposed was her version of fierce. With her small build and elfin face she looked like a very upset monkey. I could help myself. I started to laugh loudly. After holding her face for a few moments, she relaxed her facial muscles and began to laugh herself, a bubbly kind of sound escaping from her mouth, making me laugh harder.
Leaning toward her, I wrapped my arms around her and pulled her into a tight bear hug. “Oh M, you really know how to make me lighten up,” I said through my laughter.
Hiccupping, she pulled back and gave me a brilliant smile. “That’s my job Spooky,” she said, using the nickname she’d given to me after the X-Files premiered on TV. “I’m just glad that you’ve learned to laugh at yourself. You used to be a real pain before that.”
She was right. I had been a pain. Mostly because I was in pain. It had been a difficult road to learn to laugh at myself, but once I had, the world became a different place.
Flopping down on her giant king sized bed, Megan starred up at the ceiling. “So now what?”
I flopped down next to her, putting my head against hers and joining the path of her eyes. Her ceiling had those little glow-in-the-dark stars that they sold for kids. She’d created various patterns with them, forming what she called “Star Art”. For about a week she seriously considered charging money to go into other people’s houses and create these works of art on their ceilings. But, like most of Megan’s ideas, it hadn’t lasted “When’s Tree coming home?”
Tree was short for Theresa, her girlfriend. They’d been together for almost two years, coming close to that dangerous point in lesbian relationships. I wished them luck, having never surpassed the two year mark myself.
Shrugging, Megan’s face took on a serious look. “I think she’s cheating on me.”
Sitting up, I looked at her in shock. Tree was one of those women who were so loyal that they didn’t even see anyone else. Her vision was on Megan and that was it. “What? Why do you think that?” I had always thought that if anyone in their relationship would stray, it would have been Megan.
Shrugging again, her eyes didn’t leave the ceiling. “I heard her talking the other day with Joanne and when I came around they shut up really quickly and gave me one of THOSE smiles.”
I didn’t need to ask what she meant, I had seen the smile too many times directed at myself. “But you don’t have any proof?”
Finally, Megan turned her head and looked at me, her eyes blazing with hurt. “What proof do I need? She’s been spending free time with Joanne these days instead of with me.” Turning her head back too look up, she finished quietly, “At least that’s what she says.”
I felt as though I were the one being cheated on. My chest began to ache and my head grew cloudy. One of the things that Tree and I had in common was our loyalty. I had never, ever thought her capable of cheating on Megan, or at least causing her that much pain.
We lay there in silence for I don’t know how long. Megan lost in her thoughts, and me in mine. The woman from the restaurant haunted my thoughts, mingling with my sadness for Megan and my disbelief of Tree’s actions.
What was happening to the world where two people couldn’t fall in love without something destroying that love? Why had human nature become so damn dishonest. I told myself that it was all bullshit because people had been cheating on each other and hurting each other since time began. It was a never ending cycle that didn’t show any sign of stopping in the near future. It all made me so sad that tears began escaping my eyes before I could stop them.
What was the point of looking for completion when there was no guarantee that it would last? What happened to faithfulness and to hope and to dreams? What happened to love and the simple desire for one person?
It was with these thoughts in my mind that I got up from Megan’s bed and said my good-byes. Slowly, I walked out her front door and headed toward my car.
“Hey stranger.” Tree’s familiar voice boomed out at me. She was a very large woman, tall and muscular. To look at her you would think that she was a cheater from way back, but in truth she was a complete teddy bear.
I glared at her and started to
walk by without saying anything. She grabbed my arm and stopped me. “Hey,
I need to talk to you about something, something important.”
I stopped and waited for her to tell me that she was cheating on my best friend and that she wanted me to break the news to her.
“I’ve been planning a surprise two year anniversary party for Megan. Joanne’s been helping me with the arrangements, but I need you to help get Meg to the party without her suspecting.” She stopped talking when she saw the look of surprise on my face. “What, you don’t think it’s a good idea?” She suddenly looked worried. “I thought she’d like it.”
“No…no, it’s a great idea,” I managed to say. “Tree, she thinks your cheating on her.” It just flew out of my mouth before I could stop it.
Blanching, Tree looked as though I’d punched her in the gut. “What?” Her voice soft and filled with pain. Gripping my arm tighter, she seemed to be leaning on me for support as though her knees were too weak to do it.
“She thinks your cheating on her,” I repeated. “Says you’ve been spending more time with Joanne than with her.”
Eyes wide, Tree began to shake her head. “No! No, I was planning this party!” Suddenly she grabbed me by both shoulders. “You’ve got to believe me! I would never, ever hurt her! Oh God!” She looked like she was going to throw up so I backed off quickly.
“I believe you Tree, I believe you.” I tried to reassure her because I did believe her. “But you need to make Megan believe you.”
“Megan!” Tree suddenly stood straight and ran into the house, leaving me outside alone. I could see her and Megan in the living room. Tree looked like she was crying and I saw Megan practically jump into her arms.
Well, maybe the world wasn’t as bad as I thought.
A knock at my office door interrupted my thoughts. Looking up I saw my secretary, Marie, standing at the doorway, leaning against the door frame.
“Fox? I wanted to tell you that they asked again about the Astoria account,” her voice was soft. “Is everything okay?”
My work is suffering. I know it and she knows it. She’s worked for me for five years now, longer than any of my girlfriends. She knows my nuances and my habits better than anyone else does.
“I’m okay. Where are the files for the account?” Advertising had a lot of files. I discovered that my first day on the job when I was an apprentice for my mentor and then lover, Annie Cantor. That was 11 years ago, and she was long gone, leaving me her legacy at the firm, and her office. My bed hadn’t exactly been empty either, but I tried hard to keep work and play separate.
Coming into my office, Marie stopped in front of my desk and began thumbing through one of the piles on my desk. Finally, pulling out one from the bottom she handed it to me.
“Show off,” I muttered, catching her grin in return. We had a good relationship. She had found out I was a lesbian almost 2 years ago, and since then had taken to adding a bit of flirting to her normal attitude. Having met her six foot three inch tall husband, I of course, didn’t flirt back. But, it gave the office a not altogether unpleasant spin.
Suddenly, she put her hand over mine. I looked first at our hands and then I looked up at her. “Listen, if you need anything, I’m here.” And then she was gone, only the hint of her perfume left in the air.
Very interesting, I thought to myself. I guess I had always thought that I had left a cold presence at work, never really presenting myself as the human being I was in my personal life. Looking out my door, knowing that Marie was sitting outside at her desk, I began to rethink my assessment of myself.
Even with the folder sitting in my hands, a reminder of my responsibility, my thoughts began to drift again.
She haunts me. The woman from the restaurant visits my dreams frequently. I try to forget her, try to shake the feeling of need I get when I think of her. Try to do many things, never succeeding. She gets in the way each time. In my mind, she had become synonymous with the one I’d been looking for all these years. Dangerous, I know, but I can’t control myself. Every waking moment passes with thoughts of her.
I got up from my desk chair and looked through the small window in my office. The day was gray with the Spring sun barely showing through. My window looked out into a small courtyard type area, the rest of the building surrounding it on five sides, leaving only the very top open. By looking up I could see a small patch of sky. On good days, the sun would slip through and shine into my office, but most days I was stuck with just the electric glow of the lights overhead.
Today I noticed the building itself. Built in the 1930s, it was a gray color. Whether it was originally built gray, or whether the industrial waste had turned it gray, I wasn’t sure. But it was gray nonetheless. I thought it fitting to my mood, so I studied it longer, taking in the shape and texture, noticing where chips of brick had come off through time. Tears filled my eyes as I realized that the chips off the building were so like the chips off my heart.
Life had taken a toll that I tried to ignore. But, when I was vulnerable I could feel it. And this woman, just the thought of this woman, made me vulnerable. I was tired. Tired of looking, tired of waiting, just tired.
Sighing, I closed my eyes for the hundredth time and saw her. Her eyes bore into me, as though she could see my soul. She smiled at me, her eyes crinkling at the corner, becoming slits which twinkled in my direction. Her mouth, full and wet, curved up at the ends, almost as though she were deliberately tempting me, opening slightly. I, of course, was tempted, as she seemed to know I would be. Tempted to taste those lips, tempted to explore her mouth with my tongue and teeth, making love to her mouth with all the passion and fire in me.
Fire. That’s what I felt. I opened my eyes in surprise. For days I’d tried to figure out what was so damn compelling about the woman, what it was that had grabbed my attention. It wasn’t how she looked, although I would swear on a stack of The Well of Loneliness that she was the most magnificent creature on this earth. It wasn’t the penetrating eyes, or the luscious mouth. It was the fire she had aroused in me. Not sexual arousal, although that was one of the forms it took, but a fire of need and desire, wanting and lusting, and so much more. All for this woman who hadn’t even looked my way once.
Damn, I needed to get it together. I was loosing my mind, loosing my sanity, loosing my one grasp on life. It was time to talk to David.
Pulling up into the driveway of the three-story house I shared with David, I became nervous. Now, don’t misunderstand, David and I get along very well. However, he hasn’t always been the most supportive of my search for her. He had a tendency to give me sharp doses of reality from time to time, which would really help, but hurt nonetheless. That’s why I wanted to talk to him. He’d set me straight, so-to-speak. He’d tell me I was being stupid and to get my head out of the sand.
I slammed my car door as usual, waiting for the loud barking that would start. Sure enough, Toto, my cocker spaniel came flying at me from behind the azalea bushes David had planted last spring.
“T, are you eating Uncle Davey’s bushes again?” I admonished her in a serious tone that she knew was without sincerity. Jumping up and down by my legs as I walked, she barked continuously, telling me about her day. Toto was a gift I had given to an ex-lover after she and I watched Lady and the Tramp and she swooned over the puppies at the end. But, it was a serious of mistakes, the first being naming the poor dog Toto! When we broke up, I kept the dog because she proclaimed that she was allergic and anyway, I liked the dog more than I liked her. That was fine with me, it was a good little dog.
“If I hear you call me Davey one more time, I’m going to go into your closet and replace all your pants with skirts.” A voice floated from an open window on the second floor.
“You and what army?” I shouted back up at him.
“Me and the fag’s hags will do you in!”
“Ha! I’ll convert them all to the grand religion of lesbianism and you’ll never hear from them again!”
“Damn, they aren’t that good looking, I wouldn’t bother,” was his sensible reply. He had a slew of heterosexual women friends who loved to hang all over him. My aunt once told me that a gay man’s a girl’s best friend. The fag hags took that to heart. The security offered by David combined with the fact that he was still male gave him some kind of allure to them. I’d seen it before, but I still didn’t understand and I didn’t really think that I wanted to. And truthfully, they weren’t a very attractive lot.
Opening the door with my key, I dropped my briefcase by the door and braced myself for the next attack. My two teenage cats came at me, each one meowing as loud as possible, moving as quickly as their little feet would allow. Crouching down, I said hello to each of them and gave them each the obligatory pat on the head and scratch under the chin. That done, I was free to find David.
The entire second floor of the house was devoted to David and his hobbies, leaving the third floor to me and mine. I climbed the stairs slowly, feeling the day weigh me down. Finally I reached the second floor landing and found David in the third room. He sat in front of a giant mirror which was attached to a vanity covered in makeup. Drag was a part of David’s life, not a career choice. Facing the mirror, which had lights around it like you would see in the theater, he was puckering as he applied lipstick.
“I thought you weren’t going to do blonde anymore,” I said, referring to the wig he wore on his head.
“I wasn’t,” he sighed. “But Dwayne really likes me as a blonde.” Flipping his hand through the air, he dismissed his own concerns. Dwayne was his newest lover, one of hundreds that stormed through David’s life.
“How is the boy?” I didn’t like Dwayne. Let me rephrase that, I didn’t like the way David acted for Dwayne’s sake. I hated watching David jump through hopes to impress a man who would fuck him and dump him all in one breath.
Ignoring whatever connotation there might have been in my question, David answered, “He’s doing well. We are going to the theater tonight.” Rubbing the lipstick off his mouth, he proceeded to try a different shade.
Sitting down in the overstuffed chair in the corner of the room, I watched him in silence. He finally stopped studying his lips and turned to face me. “You’re sitting. Must mean you need to talk.” Repositioning himself, David crossed his legs and leaned forward. “Go ahead sweets, tell me everything.”
Taking a deep breath, I leaned forward, almost matching his position. “I think I found her.”
I was expecting him to roll his eyes and tell me that I was crazy. The last thing I expected was for tears to fill his eyes. “Are you sure?” He asked breathlessly, his brown eyes taking on what I would describe as a dreamy look.
“Well, I mean, I’m not completely sure, but I think it is. That’s what I wanted to talk to you about.” I waited till I saw that I had his full attention again.
“Tell me about her.”
I was surprised that he wanted to know. Normally, we both talked about our love life’s in general terms, neither of us going into detail. “She’s all I think about. I dream about her day and night. It's like she’s in the air and I breathe her into me.” I could feel myself slip into some kind of fantasy, seeing her before me, calling to me. The passion and need I felt well up inside of me took my breath, leaving me floating in some kind of strange place between reality and dreams.
David’s face had that dreamy look again. “When you hold her in your arms does it feel like you’ve been there all your life?”
Uh oh, here was the stinker of it all. I hadn’t held her in my arms. I hadn’t even talked to her. I had only seen her once, for an afternoon, and only from a distance. How did I tell him that I saw my past and my future in that one afternoon? “Um, well…you see…that’s kind of what I wanted to talk to about.” He looked at me expectantly. “Well…I mean…you see…” I stuttered, my face flushing as I tried not to make myself look too stupid.
The soft brown eyes that probably made a lot of men and women swoon looked at me with concern. “What is going on?”
Breathing deeply, I closed my eyes. “I haven’t held her David. I don’t even know her name.”
There was silence, which was ominous after my confession. I kept my eyes closed, waiting for him to berate me.
“You know,” he finally began to speak, “when I met Dwayne, I thought he was an annoying prick. His neck was thick like a football player and his arms and legs were stubby.” Slowly I opened my eyes and looked at him in surprise. He had a far away look, starring past me at some memory or thought.
“He talked like a redneck and smelled like a barn.” A small laugh came from David, his lips curving into a smile. “Of course, he was a redneck and he did work in a barn.” I laughed with him at that. “But, that first night I met him, he asked me to dance. I said yes, mainly to piss off Greg, who was being an ass. When Dwayne held me in his arms and we swayed to the music, I lost myself.” He shook his head and then focused his eyes on me, looking at me intently and with passion as he continued. “I felt for the first time that I fit with someone. And it was amazing that someone so different from me could be the one that I fit with.”
To say that I was shocked at what David was saying would be an understatement. In the past, he had always mocked my idea that there was someone out there for everyone. He told me that I was too romantic and needed to face the reality that relationships were work and nothing less. And now, he’d fallen in love. Not just that idealist, puddle deep kind of love, but the real love that takes your breath from you and leaves you dying for more.
“If you think that this woman is her, you need to go after her. You need to pursue her till she agrees to talk to you only so that you leave her alone. You need to dance with her, hold her in your arms and you’ll both feel it. You can’t mistake that feeling.”
I felt like I had been punched in the stomach. The room swayed slightly as his words hit me, biting into my sense of self, taking away my own confidence. If I hadn’t already been sitting, I think I would have fallen. How did David, ever cynical David, understand?
This was mind altering. My world
felt unstable. That’s what happens when you think you can count on someone
for something, for stability, and then they go and change it all.
When I finally caught my breath, when my heart stopped pounding painfully in my chest, I finally spoke. “David, I don’t know whether to punch you or to hug you,” I said through my clenched teeth.
“Well, don’t hit me honey cause Dwayne is much bigger than you are and not afraid to hit you in my defense,” he mockingly turned his nose up at me. “Baby, don’t be upset. I know, I never thought I’d fall in love either, but it happened. You were right. Take pity on me for foolishly believing that love was a fairy tale.” He batted his eyes at me, his fake eyelashes so long I almost felt a breeze.
Actually, I felt pity for myself. For so many years I’d been telling David that there was such a thing as belonging to one person, to finding one person who would complete you body and soul and he haughtily denied that such a thing existed. And now he had found it and I was still looking. How was that fair? I was the one that had the dreams, I was the one who had the empty feeling inside of me. I was the one who had been looking for so long. David hadn’t even been looking and it had found him. Where was my other half? Where was my missing piece?
Looking up, I saw tears in David’s eyes. Rising to my feet, I put my arms around David’s shoulders and hugged him tightly. “I’m so happy for you,” I whispered into his ear and felt his body shake as he began to sob. Pulling back, I looked at him in surprise. “Davey, what’s wrong?”
He sniffed loudly, tears streaking paths down his finely sculpted cheeks, making his mascara run. “It’s so frightening. To need someone so badly, scares the living bejesus out of me!” Grabbing at a tissue, he patted his eyes, trying not to further smear his makeup. “Sometimes I want to run and hide, I get so scared. But then he says something sweet, or just looks at me a certain way and I feel happiness like I’ve never known before.”
Something was rising in me, a feeling I rarely felt. Jealousy. I was jealous of David. Here he had everything I’d longed for all of my life, and I was still alone. He had the very things I’d dreamed of having, the emotion and the need of love. If I had been just a few years younger, I would have stamped my foot and started a temper tantrum. Don’t think I wasn’t tempted, but the sight of a 35 year old kicking and screaming which on the floor would probably cause laughter more than anything else.
“I’m happy for you David, I really am,” I managed to say even though my stomach was threatening to revolt. Hugging him again, I headed out of the door, leaving him to straighten his makeup and his wig, which was now sitting askew on his head.
“Go after her,” David called out after me. “Don’t let her get away.”
“So, he tells me to go after her.” I finished telling Megan what had happened with David.
“Dwayne??!” She said for the umpteenth time. Megan had met Dwayne once and still couldn’t see the attraction.
“I guess when you fall in love you can’t control who you fall in love with,” I said, slightly annoyed that Megan was concentrating on David rather than me.
“Yeah, but Dwayne??”
“MEGAN!” I yelled. “Listen, can we get passed this David and Dwayne thing!” I must have yelled really loudly because Tree stuck her head into the bedroom.
“Everything okay in here?” She asked casually. She knew better than to assume I was upsetting “her woman” or anything.
“You won’t believe it!” Megan proceeded to tell Tree all about David and Dwayne, leaving me and my mental crisis in the dust.
Sighing, I got up and started to leave.
“Where are you going?” Megan quickly got up and grabbed my arm. “I’m not done with you yet.”
Pouting, I twisted so that she had to let go of my arm. “I’ve been trying to talk to you for the last hour and all you could say was Dwayne.” I added a sniff to my melodrama, hoping to earn sympathy points.
It worked because Megan grabbed my arm again and pulled me into a bear hug. “Oh, my poor little Spooky!” She rocked me back and forth, cooing into my ear like I was some kind of pet dog or something.
Dragging me over to the bed, she shoved me back down, sitting down next to me. “So, how do you go after her if you don’t even know who she is or where to find her?”
Shrugging, I started to really get down. Meg was right, how was I supposed to find her? Maybe if I had a name, I could find her, look her up on the ‘net or something, but as it is, I couldn’t do it. I felt my spirits sinking lower and lower, until I began to wonder what the point was.
“Why don’t you go back to the restaurant you first saw her in?” Tree suggested.
“Huh?” I managed to get out without crying.
“Tree honey, I don’t know…” Megan’s eyebrows furrowed as she thought. “What if she doesn’t come back?”
“Then you could talk to the people who work there, find out if they know anything about her or the guy she was with. Find out whether or not she goes there often.” Kneeling down so that she was eye level with me, Tree looked at me with sincerity on her face. “Listen, if you really want to find her, then you need to go and make the effort. She won’t just land on your doorstep one day. You need to really seek her out.”
“Great idea baby!” Beaming at her girlfriend, Megan’s face lifted into a huge smile. “I’ll go with you if you want.”
“Go with me? To the restaurant? To find her?” I was still playing catch up with my mind. Hunt her down? That’s basically what they were suggesting, that I go and hunt her down.
“Yes! Let’s plan on going tomorrow. All three of us will go around the same time you were there when you saw her and wait for her. If she doesn’t come, then we will start to ask questions. Someone’s bound to have noticed her. We’ll find her Spooky, I promise.” I had to admit, Megan’s enthusiasm was catching. I began to feel better about it, thinking that maybe there was a chance. Maybe I would be able to find her.
As I was walking into my house, the phone was already ringing. When I picked it up it was Megan. Her voice still held that same excited tone.
“I just have one question about all of this.” She sounded serious, so I prepared myself for something deep and complex.
“What kind of food do they serve at this restaurant?” She was deadly serious. “I want to know before we leave, just in case I don’t like the food, I’ll bring some graham crackers with me.”
Cuisine to Please was located on a dead ended street. It faced out at the rest of the streets, almost like the epicenter of the entire area. The outside was decorated with white brick and iron work, which transferred to an outdoor eating area. It wasn’t what you would call a posh place, but it wasn’t McDonald’s either.
We all met at the restaurant the next day. Megan and Tree run their own business, creating web pages for various companies. I have recommended them to several of the companies that used the advertising firm I worked for and had swung a lot of business their way. They now employed several other computer nerds that uploaded and downloaded all day, whatever that means. Anyway, point being that their time was their own. If they wanted to spend hours at a restaurant with me staking out the woman of my dreams, then they could do it, no problem.
The hostess who served us was nice enough, her fake smile the same that she used on me the last time I was there. As we looked at the menus, Megan’s face scrunched up in distaste. Slamming down the menu when the waiter arrived, she ordered a Sprite and took out a large bag of graham crackers. The waiter’s previously jovial attitude quickly changed. A cold wind swept through his smile and his eyes narrowed as he starred at Megan’s audacity.
“Can we have a minute,” I said to the waiter. He nodded, turned on his heel and left. “Megan,” I hissed at her. “What are you doing?”
Looking surprised, Megan starred at me. “I’m eating, what does it look like I’m doing?”
“You can’t just bring your own food into a restaurant.”
“It’s…it’s rude!” I sputtered quietly. I was not going to make a scene with Megan.
“I ordered a drink! Doesn’t that count for something? It so happens that I need to have my graham crackers daily for lunch, otherwise I get grouchy.” She replied indignantly, not trying to keep her voice down.
“It’s true,” Tree affirmed. “It’s like how some people need and crave chocolate. That’s Megan and her graham crackers. You should see the supply she buys every week just to get through.” Shaking her head, Tree looked fondly at her girlfriend, the love obvious in her eyes. Jealousy spit at me, challenging my ability not to react to such unquestionable acts of affection. Damn, I wanted that so badly.
After Tree and I ordered and the waiter huffed off, Megan began to plan our attack.
“You never did tell me what this woman looks like.” She said between a mouth full of graham. Little pieces flew out her mouth as she talked. Sometimes I wondered how she and I managed to stay friends for so many years.
I nodded my head, playing with my fork. “Yup, she is.” I looked around me, starring at every patron as slyly as I could, but truthfully, I didn’t care if they noticed me starring. It took me a few moments before I noticed the silence at our table. Focusing my attention on Tree and Megan, I found them both starring back at me. “What?”
Rolling her eyes, Megan sighed loudly. “I wanted more of a description of who we’re looking for.”
“I told you, she’s beautiful,” I said distractedly as someone walked through the front door of the restaurant. My heart felt like it literally rose in anticipation and then dropped to the bottom of my stomach as I realized it wasn’t her.
“Spooooky!” Megan’s exasperated voice pulled me from my search. I saw her two hazel colored eyes blazing at me, frustration and anger coming in my direction. Okay, she was on the verge of being seriously pissed at me. Whoa, time to listen. “What does this beautiful, amazing, perfect woman look like?” She hissed this out through clenched teeth.
“Those years with braces really paid off,” I said the first thing that came to my mind, speaking off the top of my head as I usually did with Megan. And, to my not-so-great shock her eyes grew cloudy with anger. We were no longer on the verge of Megan’s anger, we were about to experience it full blown.
Just was I was about to be the target of her infamous anger, Tree spoke up. “I didn’t know you had braces honey.”
“She did, up until our senior year of high school.” I could see that Megan was much too consumed with piss and vinegar to respond for herself, so I took it upon myself. “She used to floss after lunch.”
“She does have great dental hygiene habits.”
A loud thonk was heard as Megan’s head hit the table. I knew that it hadn’t actually been her head, but rather a slight of hand in which her hands hit the table just before her head. A bit of stage combat we’d learned in high school. Funny thing was that Megan had been the best at head banging, but for weeks until she got the hang of it she’d sported a black and blue, golf ball sized lump on her forehead from all her practice.
“Honey, I wish you wouldn’t be so dramatic sometimes,” Tree commented casually. “People’ll thing you’ve passed out or something.”
Sure enough, a waitress hurried over and stood next to Megan’s prone form. “Is she okay?” She asked frantically and without waiting for an answer, she grabbed Megan’s shoulders and began to shake them. “Miss? Miss, wake up!”
With a growing growl, Megan threw her head back and growled at the waitress. “Will you kindly get your hands off me?” The waitress’s eyes were wide with shock and surprise, her hands frozen on Megan’s shoulders.
Tree and I were laughing so hard that we were helpless to calm the waitress. With a little yelp she released her grip on Megan and ran off.
Huffing, Megan pushed at her blonde shoulder length hair. “What is wrong with people these days?” She said, causing Tree and I to laugh harder. Glaring at both of us, she began nibbling on a graham cracker, taking small, little bunny-sized bites.
“Oh Meg, you’re good for my soul,” I wheezed out as I tried to catch my breath from laughing. She just shook her head at me. “So, you want to know the sensory details of our mission’s goal?”
“Well duh,” she replied in perfect valley-girl intonations.
Taking a quick look around and not seeing her, I closed my eyes and summoned the vision of her. “I only saw her stand once, but I’d say she was about my height, 5 feet 6, maybe a little taller.” I licked my lips, trying to stop, or at least ignore, the warmth threatening to consume my body. “She has dark brown hair that falls just beneath her shoulders. It was styled straight, but I got the impression that it was really curly.” In my mind she smiled at me and my heart beat more quickly, pounding in my chest.
I could no longer look at this mental image, the need in me was too great. Believe it or not, it wasn’t a sexual need. No, it was a need I couldn’t explain, a need so deep and ingrained in me that I couldn’t even see its origin. But, it was a need for her. Everything about her, I need it like I need air. Damn, I was in love with her! No, it couldn’t be possible. I’d never even talked to her, love wasn’t called for.
“Spook?” Meg’s voice called me out of my haze.
“Sorry,” I tried to remember what I’d been saying. “ Ah, her eyes are blue, very intense.” I paused again, seeing her eyes even with my own open. “Anything else?”
“Shape.” Megan said clinically.
I thought, remembering the shape of her body under her clothing, the curve of her hips which swayed when she walked to the bathroom. “Neither. She’s very curvy.”
There were other things about her that I had noticed but didn’t want to share with Megan and Tree. They were my memories, noticed by me, for me. A part of me was afraid that if I told them then I’d lose what little of her I claimed as my own. Things like the way her hands were long and beautifully shaped. She used them while she talked, allowing them to slice through the air or float downward, depending on what she was saying.
Her lips were another detail I kept close to my heart. They were full and curved, perfectly shaped. I swear they looked like she was constantly wanting to be kissed. At least that’s how I remembered them. I watched her lips so carefully as she talked, watched how she formed her letters and how she spoke.
But, I wasn’t going to share this with them, or anyone else for that matter. I needed to keep something just for me.
As we sat around, looking at everyone who came into the restaurant, we slowly ran out of things to talk about. The silences were not uncomfortable, but truthfully, my eyes were starting to get heavy. I hadn’t slept that night before, so anxious about finding her that I kept myself up with my thoughts and dreams.
“Reminds me of how we met, huh Meg?” Tree gave her girlfriend a rakish grin and I knew I was in for the story. They loved to tell about how they met.
“And how did you meet my best friend here, Tree?” Okay, I admit it, I’m a sucker for the story. Romantic at heart I most certainly am.
“It was a cold winter’s day, snow and ice covering the ground,” Tree’s eyes closed as she began to reminisce. “I was on my way to a meeting, having parked my car on the curb.” There was something about seeing this large, very butch looking woman get so soft and warm when talking. You could tell that it was a very happy memory for her. “As I was approaching the building, this crazy person came careening at me on roller blades!”
Tree opened her eyes and we both looked at Megan fondly. She shrugged. “I thought it was an interesting idea.”
“Megan had hit a patch of ice on her roller blades and couldn’t stop. She was headed straight for a set of stairs that were headed down, crowded with people.”
Picking up the story, Megan’s eyes began to take on the same dreamy look that Tree had. “And, as I’m about to hit the top stair and begin my perilous journey down, this huge figure comes out of nowhere, grabbing me by the waist and hauling me up in her arms.” She looked at Tree, her entire face smiling. “I was both angry and happy at the same time. How dare this person grab me like that, but then again I wasn’t falling to my death. And then, I looked into this deep brown eyes and found myself swooning.”
“I asked her out right then and there.” Tree finished. “And the rest is herstory.”
“I have to admit,” I said shaking my head. “When I first met you, I thought you’d be some girlfriend beating brute.” Looking into those very brown eyes, I grew very serious. “I’m glad you’re not Tree cause my friend here loves you an awful lot and I’d hate to have to kill you.”
We all sat at the table grinning like fools, feeling the warmth the story provoked within all of us and giving me a new sense of hope for my own love story.
Two weeks of going to the restaurant, Cuisine to Please, every day began to take its toll and wasn’t getting us anywhere. The staff began to harass us, putting extra floaty things in our water and taking forever to get our food to us. Megan’s graham crackers began to end up on the floor, smashed to bits, every time one of the waiters passed. It got so bad that Megan resorted to sticking out her foot each time they passed and if they even tried to get close to her little baggie of graham crackers they would crack their shins against her massive boots.
It was a war waged, fought and lost on our part. She never showed up. Tree was the one who finally said that maybe we should start waiting outside the restaurant. I was just plain discouraged.
I began to work harder for my clients, turning out some of my best work ever. Immersing myself in work seemed the only way for me to escape the hurt I felt in my heart.
The long neglected Astoria account paid off. Astoria was a new housing development that featured homes for “those that could afford luxury”, as the CEO of the developing company told me. In other words, they wanted all the right people buying their homes, rather than anyone who would bring them embarrassment.
Now, I don’t condone this type of attitude, but it was my job to make them look good. Which, I did. I put together a series of commercials and billboards that featured their home models and beautiful sunsets and other backgrounds which made the houses shine in beauty. Thanks to my own computer knowledge, I was able to fit the houses into these backgrounds and provide things like reflections of the sun and the right shadows that fit the pictures. I have to admit, it looked damn good.
I don’t know how I did it. Every time I worked on it, I thought of her. I saw her against those very backgrounds and saw the sun reflecting off her skin rather than the house, her hair rather than the windows. I saw her in everything I did. She was a part of it all. And yet, she wasn’t. If I let myself think about it too much I felt my heart breaking. So, I didn’t think about it.
Two weeks after the Astoria campaign was launched, the company had a large celebratory party. I, of course, was invited. Tree and Megan had helped with the technological aspect of the project, so I got them invites as well.
The party was held in the posh model home for the Astoria development. It was the house they used to show potential buyers. Completely done in elegance and smooth lines, the house was all creams and soft colors. Warm lightening added to it, making it gentle and yet refined. I was impressed.
The three of us decided to go together. By the time we arrived, due to Megan’s wardrobe dilemma, the house was full of people. Men in business suits and women in either similar attire, or gentle dresses, talked and socialized. There was a bar in the corner and a buffet close to it. I think that Megan’s nose is a food magnet. If there’s any food within 500 feet, she will find it and attack it. She and Tree headed to the buffet, Tree offering to get me a drink on their way back. I smiled as I watched her salt and pepper head above most of the crowd while Megan had disappeared from view as the crowd swallowed her.
I smiled to myself. Casually, I straightened out my soft white blouse, wondering why I always choose to wear classic black and white to parties. I’m just not the bright, flashy kind of gal, I guess. So, this time, I was wearing just a normal skirt suit, my skirt cut just above my knees, showing my legs at a nice advantage. The blouse wasn’t tight or loose, fitting just right. A jacket finished the entire outfit. Simple. That was me. I was more comfortable in my jeans and a nice shirt, but there were sacrifices you had to make for your work, right? The heels on me feet were testament to that, but I was used to them so they didn’t bother me too much.
Looking around me at the other people there, I saw quiet a few familiar faces. I caught a few eyes and had a few drinks waved in my direction. I wasn’t out of place here, these were my peers. I was good at what I did, so I felt secure in their company. But, I didn’t feel like talking to any of them today. I didn’t even feel like being there. I wanted to be home, curled up with a good book, trying to get my mind off of her. But, nothing worked anymore. She was constantly there.
My eyes continued to travel, and then stopped suddenly. It was her! Blinking my eyes quickly, I rubbed at them gently, not caring if I smeared my eye makeup. It had to be like the mirages in the desert. When you think about something enough, your mind decides to play tricks on you. It couldn’t be her.
I continued to watch her. She was standing by herself by a wall, her eyes taking in the room around her similar to my own. She looked beautiful in a soft, flowing dress that was maroon and cream, fitting into the room with quiet perfection. Her hair was softly arranged on her shoulders. My breath left me.
In painfully slow motion, she turned her head in my direction, as though searching for something or someone. My heart had already dropped to my feet, a cold lifeless organ no longer seeming to be capable of love or desire. But then her eyes focused on mine, the momentum of her head stopped and she was looking right at me.
I thought that her eyes would pierce my head with their intensity. I felt naked, as though she were looking through me, able to see clear into my very soul. It was uncomfortable and relieving at the same time. I knew when I felt that that it was her. No doubts this time. She was what I had been searching for. I could see it clearly in the way she looked at me, and I could feel it as the warmth consumed my empty chest and my heart was replaced, not with my old, scarred heart, but with the one she gave to me the minute she recognized herself in me.
Her heart was mine and mine was hers. The one I had thought I had was like a false wall. It wasn’t true or strong, it was merely a stand in until I found my true heart. I knew that I would love her in ways I had never imagined loving anyone, that she would make me feel intense joy and happiness, pain and sorrow. She was capable as of that moment of destroying me and my heart, of killing my spirit and my passion. She was the center of it all, the catalyst for what my life had been and what it would become.
Hypnotized, I didn’t notice that she was walking toward me until we stood face to face. I couldn’t take my eyes off hers, feel as through I was looking at myself.
“I…I…I…” she stammered over and over again and I knew that she felt the same way, that she was feeling these incredibly intense emotions. And like me, she didn’t know how to process them, she didn’t know what to say or how to say it. It was just so much to deal with.
I wanted to find the words to describe how I felt for her. The words that would sum up lifetimes of wanting and needing did not exist. Many different cliché phrases went through my mind, none of them coming close to the actual feelings. I wanted to cover her with my kisses, my mouth touching every part of her, conveying in each touch my absolute love and devotion. But her eyes conveyed that such action would not be appreciated.
“Do I know you?” Was the first thing she said to me when she finally spoke, confusion lacing her voice. I wanted to remember her exact words so that I could tell our future generations how we merged into coupledom.
I wanted to shout at her ‘Yes!’ I wanted to tell her to look into my eyes and see her past, present, and future there. I was her; all she had to do was look and she would realize that.
She was looking at me questioningly, and I realized that I had been standing there, starring as I willed her to see me, to actually see me. She must think me insane, crazy. I felt my own brow furl as I had something new to think about. Her gaze finally penetrated the clouds covering my mind.
“Huh?” Oh, brilliant as ever.
“Do I know you?” She repeated. She must have thought this needed explanation because she followed with “I just feel like I know you from somewhere, you look familiar.”
“Uh, no, you don’t know me exactly,” I had no idea how to explain to her. I had imagined being with her a hundred times – talking with her, gazing into her face, making love with her – yet, I had never planned what I was going to say to her when I met her.
“Hey Spooky!” Tree’s loud voice boomed from across the room. My head turned, at the same time my hand reached out and touched her wrist. I wanted to make sure that I didn’t lose her.
I saw Tree’s tall form coming through the crowd, two drinks in her hands which were above most of the crowd to avoid being spilled. When she got close enough to see that I wasn’t alone, she stopped and studied her.
“Spooky?” Her gentle voice broke though, surprise in her voice.
I felt a blush come over my face. Me! Blushing! I hadn’t blushed since I was 5! I couldn’t believe it. “It’s a long story,” I mumbled.
She raised a perfectly manicured eyebrow at this and waited for my explanation.
“It’s from the X-Files?” Oh God, I had formed that in a question hadn’t I? I felt like a teenager all over again, awkward and gangly.
“So do you go around chasing after extraterrestrial beings?” She came back with quickly, not missing a beat.
“A woman with good tastes,” I bantered back without thinking. “Actually, my name is Fox, so my witty friends cleverly nicknamed me.” I found myself slowly drowning in her eyes, seeing for the first time the flecks of gold that interspersed her blue irises, catching the light with marvelous clarity.
Everyone else around us disappeared, leaving just me and her in a plane of space which was colored only in her beauty, otherwise stark with soft, diffused lightening.
“Ah, Spooky?” Goddamn Tree! I thought bitterly.
Turning once again, I gave Tree the look for death, which she must have caught because she visibly flinched. “Yes?” I asked through clenched teeth.
“Your drink?” She said weakly, handing me the cup.
Megan bounced up behind Tree, inserting herself in the middle of all of us in a uniquely Megan-like way. “Who’s your friend Spook?”
Megan directed her question to me, but her eyes studied her. My mind screamed at my best friend, throwing every swear word I could think of at her. But, out loud I was all grace and calm.
“Megan, this is…” Of course, we hadn’t gotten that far, had we? I looked at her blankly.
Smiling, she extended a hand to Megan. “I’m Madeline.” Her voice was warm, filling my senses. With envy and waves of jealousy, I saw Megan take her hand. How dare Megan touch her.
Irrational? Maybe. Did I care? Absolutely not! I wanted to be alone with her…with Madeline.
“Madeline?” She turned to look at me, immediately looking into my eyes, and I wondered if my murky brown eyes had any affect on her. “Would you excuse us for a minute? I’ll be right back.” I couldn’t let her go, but I needed to get Megan away. She’d zero in on Madeline and attack her with a vengeance if she thought I’d get hurt. While I appreciated the gesture, I didn’t need her protection tonight.
Madeline nodded slightly in understanding, and I took that to mean that she’d wait till I came back. And believe me, I was going to come back.
Grabbing Megan’s arm, I dragged her away until I could talk without being heard. “Megan,” I tried to remain calm until I could explain. “That is HER.”
“Her?” Megan’s head whipped around and she starred again at Madeline. “That’s HER?” Eyes narrowed into slits as she raked her eyes over Madeline’s form. “She’s wearing a wedding ring!” Her voice was so loud that many might have said she was screaming. But, for Megan it was just her normal voice of disbelief. With frantic gestures, she pointed at what I assumed was Madeline’s left hand.
Of course, I hadn’t seen the wedding ring. All I had seen was her face. But I wasn’t going to let Megan know that. “Will you be quiet?” I grabbed the arm she was pointing with, holding it down against her side. “Listen to me Megan, I’m only going to say this once.” I knew my tone was harsh, my grip on her more firm than it needed to be, but this was the most important moment in my life and I wouldn’t let anyone, even Megan, ruin it for me. Silent, Megan’s eyes were wide as she waited for me to continue. For a brief second I felt regret for how I was treating her, but only for a second. “Don’t do anything to mess this up for me Megan, or I swear I’ll walk out of your life.” It was a true threat and she knew it. I had never been more serious about anything. “Megan, it really is her. I need to convince her Meg, and I need you to support me on this.” Tears formed in my eyes before I could stop them. “Please Meg, please.”
Pulling out of my grasp, she wrapped her arms around me, pulling me close. “Anything Fox, if it’ll make you happy. You know that’s what I want.” She held on for a few moments before she released me. “Go and get her.”
Not hesitating, I turned and immediately found Madeline’s eyes. Her gaze captured me, drawing me in as the mere intensity of her stare made a flare of heat flow through my body. Floating, I went to her. “Sorry about that.” I said softly once I reached her side once again. My thoughts were filled with the very idea of being by her side for the rest of time. For the first time I can ever remember, I felt content. Content to be by her side.
“Everything okay?” Her voice was light but I could see concern in the way her face spoke to me.
I felt the corners of my mouth turn up in a satisfied smile. She was already concerned about me. I was completely touched.
A wisp of hair fell into her face and I felt the desire to brush is back. For the first time I noticed that although her hair was a rich, dark brown, it had auburn highlights that when caught in the right light made her head look like it was ensconced in fire. And though cliché as it might be, I was a moth, attracted to the light that was this woman, that came from this woman, threatening to consume my very being.
“Fox?” She said my name for the second time, filling me with a newfound likeness for my name, or at least the way it sounded coming from her mouth.
“Huh?” I realized I’d been starring at her like some kind of maniac. I was a maniac, I was insane. I was in love.
“Are you okay?” This time the concern for my well being crept into her voice.
“Yeah, I’m fine.”
Suddenly around us, the noise grew incredibly loud and I felt my frustration join it. “Do you want to step outside for a minute?” How ridicules did I sound? Asking this woman who barely knew me to step outside with me? Away from the people and the party, into uncertainly and aloneness.
She hesitated and I could see the indecision in her eyes. That was enough to give me hope because obviously at least part of her wanted to go. “I promise I don’t bite,” I gave the old line, hoping to see her smile.
I was rewarded with a wane smile as she glanced at the people around us. “Okay, but I can’t be gone too long,” she finally consented.
With a hand under her elbow I led her out of the French doors on the side of the house, out onto the terrace which looked out into the back yard. A cool breeze filtered through the scattered trees. There were a few other people from the party outside, but not enough to bother us.
My knees were shaking so badly that I thought I was going to fall. I didn’t know what I was going to say to her, what I was going to tell her, but just the thought of talking with her alone made me nervous. I damned my choice in wardrobe that evening, wondering if she could see my knees shaking below the line of my straight skirt.
Having been following my lead, she stopped when I did, both of us looking at each other, unsure. Before I could say anything, she spoke for me. “Fox, what is going on? Why do I have this crazy sensation in my stomach when I look at you? How do I know you?”
I carefully watched her face as she talked, noticing the contours and the planes that made up this beautiful woman. There was no longer any doubt in my mind. I loved her. Damn it to hell and back.
What do I say to her? Do I frighten her with the truth, propose that she spend the rest of her life with me, starting tonight? Tell her that I was meant for her, to be with her, to love her? I ran my hand through my own hair, wishing for something other than the mousy brown that it was. Yes, I could tell her that and risk that she’d run away from me.
“Do you feel it too?” I asked carefully. She was going to dictate how I handled this, how things proceeded. It was in her hands. “This familiar feeling?”
Madeline sighed, the most heart wrenching sound I’d ever heard. “I don’t know. I simply don’t know.” She shook her head as though trying to physically sort out the thoughts she was having. I could have told her it wouldn’t work and that she’d only get a headache trying. The seeds of knowledge were planted already, her mind would do the rest. Mine had. Until finally I had no choice, my need for her too strong to ignore.
Suddenly, as though sensing something, she looked up, her eyes focusing on the doors we’d come out of. Something indescribable flashed through her face, leaving me concerned. “Madeline?” I asked softly, almost choking on her name as it provoked a deep sense of emotion within me.
“I have to go,” her voice shook a little as she spoke. Her eyes found mine and again I was left breathless by the depths before she looked away again.
“Meet me. For lunch, dinner, breakfast, something!” I said desperately. Desperate wasn’t strong enough to describe it. I wasn’t going to let her go again. Fumbling for my purse, I cursed myself as I remembered I didn’t care a purse. Instead, I reached into my blazer’s inside pocket, pulling out a business card and a pen. Quickly, I wrote my home phone number on the back. “Please call me tomorrow.” I handed the card to her, noticing that her hands were unsteady. I was getting really worried at this point. What was so wrong? Damning all convention and propriety, I reached out and used her chin to guide her eyes to me. “I need to see you again Madeline. Please?”
Looking briefly at the business card, she nodded. Looking at me, I felt that she was trying to reach out to me with just a look. I couldn’t resist the temptation that her lips provided me. I leaned toward her and brushed her lips with mine. Her mouth had been slightly open when my lips touched it, and I felt the warmth of both her soft lips and her mouth all in one enticing second.
Gasping and looking at me with a mixture of what seemed like fear and awe, she rushed off toward the French doors, leaving me in the cool evening with only the memory of her full lips and warm voice. I knew I wouldn’t see her again that evening, but I also knew that she would call. She can’t stay away, she can’t not reach out to me. I am her destiny.
Meetings bored me to death. Especially with my fellow employees. In my opinion, which I admit is highly over rated, only a few of them were worth wasting time on. Most of the people at the firm were very self absorbed and only cared that they looked good in their position rather than the quality of their work. I reasoned that most companies were the same, but I didn’t have to deal with most companies, only mine.
This meeting in particular took place once a month. It was kind of a checkpoint to see how everyone was doing and what they were doing. They were short, sweet, and to the point.
I took my seat and waited for the other Directors and VPs to fill the room. Doodling on my pad, I heard Daniel Combs coming down the hall. You can’t miss Daniel. He had a loud, obnoxious voice that filled any space he was in. Most of the time he talked about sex or women, both of which I was normally interested in, but was disgusted when I listened to him. So, I ordinarily tuned him out.
“Yeah, the woman wouldn’t put out! I swear, I romanced her, I literally spoiled her man, but she still wouldn’t give out!” Daniel was on his usual role as he walked into the room. “Hey Monte!” He yelled to Monte Sullivan, one of the firm’s partners who had settled into the corner of the room. “What do you do if your wife doesn’t put out?”
Monte stood, hitching his pants up and walking over to Daniel, a stern look on his face. “Daniel, Daniel, Daniel,” he started, making it sound like he was going to give Daniel a piece of his mind. “I do what any real man should do,” he continued, showing that he was as much of an asshole as the others. “I tie her up and take what’s mine.”
Hoots and howls filled the room as the men all went and pounded Monte on his back. I was disgusted, reminded of one of the reasons I was glad to be a lesbian. Don’t get me wrong, women could be vulgar about sex, but most of the time there was still a respect issue. Men didn’t seem to respect anything but the power of their own penises.
I could stand it as I heard the men all comment on Monte’s revelation. Slamming my pad against the table, I stood up. “Can we start the meeting now, or should I get a ruler?” I eye Monte’s crotch, then looked at his face with a leering smile. “If it’s the latter then I think you should reconsider joining, you won’t measure up.”
This quieted the room and I heard many of the men muttering things like “dyke” under their breath. Yeah, so what. Dyke or not dyke, I had had enough.
Monte’s face was red as he sat down, but his eyes were blazing with hate as he starred at me. “Whatever you say Foxy,” he murmured pleasantly, but I could feel his hatred underneath.
After the meeting I hurried out, not wanting another verbal confrontation with the man. I barely knew Monte, only having seen him a handful of times in my years at the firm, but he was a partner after all. I just didn’t make sense to antagonize him anymore than I already had. So, I avoided it and closed myself in my office for the rest of the day.
Slipping my heels off under my desk, I played with my favorite pen, let it slide in and out of my hand. My other hand held my head up. It was 6:30 PM and I was still at the office. I had been staying later and later lately, trying to get my mind off Madeline.
Her lips haunted me as the image of her had in the beginning. My dreams were filled with her softness, her full, wet lips on mine at first, and then over my body. They taunted me, teased me, and fulfilled me. Desperation consumed me in new ways each time I remembered how they felt. Driving me to distraction, I needed work to anchor me, to pull me back to reality.
A full week had passed since the party and I hadn’t heard from her. My confidence was waning. When she left me at the party I had been so sure, so convinced that she knew she couldn’t do without me. But, soon after that I found out some more details about her hasty departure, and it left me doubting. Not doubting my love for her, or her interest in me, just doubting, I guess. I couldn’t put my finger on what exactly I was doubting.
When she left me on the terrace, she had gone directly to the side of a man that matched the description of the one I had seen her with in the restaurant. Apparently, from Tree’s view point, he had possessively put an arm around her. What was the significance of the ring on her left hand? Was she married? Engaged? Jealousy and anger course through me the longer I thought about it, and though I’m ashamed to admit it, I thought about it a lot.
She is mine. I was filled with a possessiveness I never thought I had in me. Savage and course, it consumed me, creating the desire to make some kind of move that would prove that she was mine. A public statement that would make him and the world see what should have been all along.
But, I couldn’t do that, could I? I didn’t even know how to find her.
I thought about the man touching her, having her in his bed, and I felt physically ill. But, I couldn’t seem to help myself. I felt so bitter and angry that I didn’t even recognize myself. I didn’t want to think about it, I didn’t want to imagine it, but it haunted me, creeping up on me when I least expected it.
In many ways I thought I was going insane. This possessiveness, jealousy, anger, love, need, desire, and passion all coalescing within me, creating a myriad of emotions, feelings and reactions. Topped off with the fact that she hasn’t called me, I began to think that maybe I had imagined everything. Maybe I would wake up in some dank cell, white walls my only company, a straight-jacket my only protection from myself.
I looked out my window, a piece of dark sky visible. There were no stars that I could see. Good, the sky was as lonely as I was. Made me feel better to know that I wasn’t the only one alone. Tree and Megan had invited me over to their place for dinner and a movie many times since the party, but I had declined. I just wanted to dwell in my loneliness. While I loved Megan and liked Tree, sometimes their love for each other was too painfully obvious. I was jealous of them, wanting my own love. This was just one of the times that I couldn’t be faced with their happiness.
But, I couldn’t seem to escape it. David and Dwayne were cooped up like two love birds, constantly at the house when I just wanted to be alone. Luckily, the third floor had once been an apartment separate from the rest of the house and had its own tiny, functional kitchen. Normally, David and I both used the giant kitchen on the first floor, but I couldn’t stand the way he and Dwayne flirted back and forth while we ate.
I basically hibernated up stairs, leaving them alone.
As I thought about this, thought about retreating to my huge king sized bed and burying myself in pillows and blankets, the phone on my desk rang.
I couldn’t figure out who the hell was calling me at work this late. I was the only one left at the office, which had become normal lately. I had a direct line in my office, a private line, which only a few people had the number.
“Fox Owens,” I said in a clear voice. Clearly annoyed that is.
“Foxy baby, someone just called for you here.” It was David. “I think it was your long lost lady,” he hurried on and finished.
“How do you know?” I was anxious to know whether it was her, but I was also cautious. I didn’t want to get my hopes up.
“How many Madeline’s do you know that you’ve met at a party?”
“Smart ass. What did you say to her?” I grew worried.
“Who me? Nothing at all! I gave her you’re private line number, so she should be calling soon, buh-bye!” And he hung up.
He should be glad he wasn’t standing in front of me cause I’d probably kill him. Or at least maim him. Fuming, I still wondered what exactly he had said to her. Why had it taken her so long to call me?
The phone rang again and I starred at it like it was going to bite me.
“Hello?” I said tentatively into the receiver. I could hear my voice shake slightly.
“Fox?” It was her voice! I’d only heard it on two occasions, but I had memorized it. “Fox, it’s Madeline.”
As I saw it, I had two choices:
I could play it cool and pretend that I just barely remembered her from the
party, or else I could be sincere and honest.
“What took you so long to call me?” Okay, I picked the second option. And maybe that was as little strong, but it’s what came out of my mouth.
“I’m sorry, I…just couldn’t call you before.” She sounded sincere, and my heart believed her before she even spoke. I was a goner. She could crush me with her bare hand and I would willingly let her.
“It’s okay, at least you called.” Licking my lips, I hoped that she could talk for awhile. “How is everything going?” Real casual, real relaxed.
Madeline sighed before she answered. “I’ve been busy. How about you?”
“Pretty much the same.” There was silence on the line. This was too awkward. I wanted to say so many things to her, from I love you, to what about your husband. “Listen, would you like to have a late dinner with me tonight?”
“Um, tonight won’t work.” She hesitated before continuing. “Could you meet me for lunch tomorrow?”
Could I meet her for lunch tomorrow??
See if anything would stop me! “Definitely. Where do you want to meet?”
“Dominick’s. Do you know where that is?”
I racked my brain. It was a nice enough restaurant, but out of the way from just about anywhere near by. It was a half hour away, in a completely different town. “Sure, sounds great. What time?”
“Is 1:30 too late for you?”
Again, there was silence on the line. I got the feeling that she wanted to say more, to say something to me at least.
“I’ll see you tomorrow.” And she hung up.
I was left there, holding the receiver
in my hand, just starring at the wall. Tomorrow I’d see her again. This time,
just the two of us. We both were meeting on purpose, not by accident. She
wanted to see me.
My mind was filled with so many thoughts, so many ideas and hopes. Damn, she definitely had control of this situation, but she didn’t know it. She wouldn’t know it. Only my heart and I know it.
“I think that’s the first smile I’ve seen on your face in a very long time!” David commented as I walked into the front door. And he was right. My funk seemed to be ending, now that I’d heard from Madeline. Grabbing me into a hug, he spun me around. “It must have been her then. I’m glad for you Fox,” he whispered into my ear before planting a loud, wet kiss on my cheek.
“Thanks Davey,” I said into his chest as it became difficult to breathe. “Can’t…breathe…”
“Oops, sorry!” He suddenly let go of me and I almost fell at the sudden lack of support. “Steady there now girl.”
Breathing deeply once again, my smile was still plastered on my face. “Hi Dwayne,” I called loudly, figuring he must be somewhere in the house.
A sudden troubled look flew across David’s face, but he covered it up quickly. “He’s not here tonight Spooky.” Trying to sound cheerful, I could hear the catch in his voice. Uh oh.
“Everything okay?” I asked tentatively,
not wanting to push him.
Emotion made his face look older and I saw for the first time circles under his eyes. “Dwayne decided that he needed some time alone. Said he wanted to figure out what he wanted for his life.” David’s shoulders drooped as he spoke. With a weak shrug, he gave me a weary smile.
“David, let me ask you something.”
“Do you love him? I mean, really love him?”
Very serious eyes met my own. “With all my heart.”
“Do you love him like you’ve never loved before?”
Taking a deep breath, I pushed on. “Now, be completely honest with yourself. Do you really, honestly think that he’s the one person on this earth who can complete you? Put aside any romantic notion you might have, be real. Think about it. If you really, honestly think that he’s the one you’re supposed to be with, then wait and he’ll come back to you. If he’s the one, he can’t stay away. He needs you as much as you need him.”
I saw a small glimmer of hope in David’s eyes. He began to open his mouth, but I hushed him. “Don’t speak, just think. Spend the night alone, thinking about Dwayne. Think long and hard David. Don’t fool yourself. I’ll be upstairs if you need to talk.” With that, I turned and began the long trek up the stairs.
I felt fire in my conviction. It was the same for Madeline and me. She can’t stay away from me, no matter how hard she may try, because we are meant for each other. We’ve been searching for each other for so many lifetimes, I wasn’t going to let her go now. She was mine, and I hers. She couldn’t live without me, not now. And I know I can’t live without her. I love her.
My steps were measured as my thoughts consumed me. I finally reached my floor, and turned to head to my bedroom. I had always thought of my room, wherever that room was, as a refuge. My bed was my biggest source of serenity to me, so I always made sure it was very comfortable.
David owned, though I’m not sure how he managed it, the Victorian. I paid a small fee each month to be allowed to live on the third floor. He offered it for free, but my pride wouldn’t allow it. Plus, I help out with groceries and repairs. I think it’s a fair exchange over all.
The room that I choose for my bedroom is the largest on the third floor. It actually takes up almost half of the floor, leaving a full bathroom, a small kitchen, and two other very tiny rooms.
As I entered my bedroom, I looked around and took a deep cleansing breath. I had left the windows open to let in fresh air and the sun during the day. Even though it was already dark outside and the air had cooled, I could still smell the air the sun had warmed as it wafted through the room. Such peace filled me as I put my briefcase down and kicked off my heels.
Lucky, one of my oldest cats, came out from under the bed, pausing to perform a bit of cat magic, stretching and reaching at the same time. Cats are such amazing creatures. Their bodies are works of individual art. I loved to watch them play and tumble with each other, usually ending in a full out love feast filled with bathing and touching. Very therapeutic to watch and enjoy.
Giving Lucky a token scratch on the head as I walked by, I immediately went and sat down on my large bed. King sized, it seemed huge, especially sleeping it in alone. The entire room was decorated in pale blue, green and white; airy colors that sometimes contrasted with my darker thoughts.
I had huge pillows on my bed, which I used for relaxing against. There was nothing else to sit on in my room. My bed served that purpose. I lay in my bed, sit on my bed, relaxed on my bed, and I used to make love in my bed. But it had been many, many moons since that. With each lover I changed comforters, never keeping the old one after the flame had dissolved. It would be like keeping a picture of my old girlfriend. I wouldn’t be able to lay in my bed again without thinking of what we had done in that bed, on those sheets, under that comforter.
My huge dresser sat against one wall, its wood matching the light tones of the room without being considered blonde. Two large bookshelves covered another wall, each one filled to capacity and then some. I liked to keep my books close in case I got up in the middle of the night and wanted to read something. I used to have the bookshelves in one of the other rooms, but after a few weeks there was a trail of scattered books leading from the shelves to my bed. I had a tendency to start something and then get interested in something else, leaving the book wherever I had last read it.
Sitting down on my bed, I leaned back and enjoyed the gentle firmness of the mattress combined with the softness of the blankets underneath. A deep sigh was pulled from me as I let the strain of the day melt off. The recuperative powers of my bed never ceased to amaze me.
Stripping of my blouse and my slacks, I hung them up in the closet and realized that I needed to pick out something to wear tomorrow. What do you wear when going to meet the love of your life, who doesn’t know she’s the love of your life? Flipping through the clothes on the hangers, I felt completely inadequate. My wardrobe was made up of two primary sets of clothing: my work clothes, which I admit are plain and pretty dull, and my play clothes which was mostly jeans and things like that. Nothing in between, nothing casual but dressy.
This called for an emergency. This call for drastic measures.
It took hours, and I mean literally hours for the two of us to decide on an appropriate outfit. David wanted to put me in something flashy that, according to him, said “Come and get me!”
I wanted something a little more subdued yet more exciting than what was in my closet. Finally, we settled on a long, flowing skirt covered in dark pink flowers and a soft, short cashmere sweater to wear with it. Rather than my usual heels or army boots, I choose my seldom worn black flats to finish the outfit. As usual, I did not include pantyhose in my choices.
When I was once again alone in my room, my nerves really hit me as I got ready for bed. Scenarios played in my head, completely unbidden. I had, with good reason, the suspicion that she was not a lesbian or even inclined in that manner. I could be wrong, but my gaydar did not even register with her. But, that didn’t lessen my interest in her.
What was I going to say to her? Maybe I should just play it by ear, she what she thinks, how she feels. I know she felt something. She wouldn’t have bothered to call if she hadn’t. The kiss we shared hadn’t been long or detailed, but it had been something. I’d like to think I conveyed something to her in that kiss.
For once I didn’t feel the satisfaction of sliding in over cool sheets as I climbed into bed. My head was filled with worse case scenarios and how I would handle them. What if she told me to fuck off, or some such message? How could I convince her?
I fell to sleep eventually, my two cats Tigger and Tippy on top of me. My dreams were filled with anxiety, stress, and a beautiful brunette with clear blue eyes.
Dominick’s was just getting into the swing of their lunch rush when I arrived. Of course, I was early. I had tried to go to work, but found myself unable to concentrate.
I think I had been to Dominick’s once before, but it was hard to remember. It was a typical Italian restaurant. The colors of Italy flew outside and the interior was dark with soft lighting that was supposed to promote amour.
“We’ll see about that,” I said under my breath as the host led me to an available table. I asked for something with a view of the door so that I could see her when she entered. I didn’t want to miss her.
Toying with the menu, I found it hard to read because I kept looking up at every new noise. In a crowded restaurant, new noises were a constant interruption. After I read veal parmesan over for the umpteenth time, I gave up, setting the menu down on the table and sipping at the glass of water that had been brought to me.
As I took yet another sip, she walked in, almost causing me to choke on the water that had flooded my mouth. God, she was so beautiful. I swear that my chest hurt to look at her. She hadn’t spotted me yet, but was definitely looking around. Presumably for little old me. I felt a passing bit of glee at this thought.
She wore a light blue summer dress that was simple and causal with a slightly flared waist. Her skin was pale where exposed, contrasting with her dark hair. Once again, I waited until our eyes met, as I knew they would. How could she not seek me out and find me in any crowd set before her? She would always know me and I her.
Approaching the table, she gave me a smile, and a tilt of her head to ask if the extra seat at my table was for her. I raised my eyebrow and nodded my head at the chair, indicating that yes, it was for her. It was a very civilized way of communicating which I found enchanting. Rather than assuming anything, she asked with gestures.
I wanted to jump up and pull out her chair for her, a gallant gesture if I did say so myself, but propriety kept me from doing it. It would have been too obvious and I didn’t want to push anything too far.
Pulling out her own chair, she sat down gently, scooting the chair into place. A menu was already sitting at her place, but she didn’t appear to need to look at it, or at least she wasn’t in any hurry.
“I’m glad you could come,” she spoke first. I had been sitting there playing the role of dumb mute, I realized. What an ass!
“It’s my pleasure.” When would we get off this pleasant, none committal type of conversation?
“Are you ladies ready to order?” The waitress came up to our table, pad in hand, ready to take our order.
“I’d like just a salad and a glass of milk,” Madeline said, not missing a beat. “Blue cheese dressing, please,” she answered the waitress’s second question before she asked.
Turning to me, the waitress waited for my order with a look of expectation on her face. “Veal Parmesan and a Sprite,” I said automatically, not realizing until after the waitress had left that I don’t like veal.
Left alone once again in our silence. I fiddled with my fork, thinking of something witty and enlightening to say. “Milk with salad?” I questioned stupidly. Oh shit, what was I thinking? That could definitely be seen as judgmental. My thoughts quickly turned in my head. Did she just like milk or was it something else? Was she…?
“I just have strange tastes,” she shrugged, “that’s all.” Smiling at me shyly, Madeline seemed perfectly content to answer my questions, not seeing them as judgmental. Her eyes narrowed, but her smile stayed in place. “Why do I feel like I know you Fox?”
I smiled back at her, a genuine kind of gesture that I rarely made. Mostly I gave people what they expected, but not with Madeline. No, I wasn’t going to hold myself back with her. “I don’t know,” I replied honestly. “I feel the same way though.” I didn’t tell her that I had theories of my own, explanations that would scare her away for sure. Insanity was already against me, I didn’t need to add more to that.
“It’s almost…” she stopped mid sentence.
“Spooky?” I suggested, my eyebrow creeping up my forehead.
Giving me a mock glare, she moved her head back and forth. “No, I was going to say scary, NOT spooky!” We both laughed, the between us breaking a little.
Starring into my eyes, she grew serious. I studied her face as she studied mine; both of us lost in our examination of each other. I noticed that when she was serious, when her face was relaxed, she had the slightest hint of laugh lines around her mouth and the crinkles of crow’s feet around her eyes. To me, this was a wonderful sign, to see in her face that laughter was a part of her days. Her face showed her gentleness; her soft femininity was so evident.
“You have such beautiful eyes, Fox,” she said suddenly, surprising both of us. A soft reddish color hue climbed her cheeks. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to say that out loud.” Her embarrassment touched me deeply and I wanted to reach out and caress her reddened skin with a tenderness before unknown to me.
“I always thought they were just plain brown,” I said, sounding almost shy.
“Oh no,” she shook her head, her hair falling around her face. “They aren’t plain in anyway.” Gazing still more intently into my eyes, she squinted as thought trying to see even the most minute detail. “You have dark green specks that break up the brown, creating something unique.” Focusing for a moment longer, she suddenly seemed to pull back. Shifting her eyes from my face, she slowly took her napkin from under her fork and unfolded it, putting it on her lap. Smoothing it out, she spoke without looking up. “They are very beautiful.”
I was rather speechless. I didn’t know what to say to her. The waitress coming back with our drinks broke the silence. A large glass of milk was placed in front of me and a clear, bubbly Sprite in front of Madeline. The waitress hurried away, and Madeline and I looked at each other. In synch we both picked up the glass we’d been giving and put it on the other’s place mat. Our eyes met without thinking and we both broke out into laughter again. The sight of her laughing caused me to laugh harder and I think it had the same effect on her, cause we couldn’t seem to stop.
Finally, we both wound down, a smile on both our faces. Her eyes crinkled nicely on the sides when she smiled and her eyes grew smaller with delight. For the first time in weeks I felt tension and stress fade from my body as Madeline’s company chased it all away. It felt as thought I hadn’t laughed in a lifetime, I realized as I gazed across the table at my smiling lunch date.
We were just sitting there, soft chuckles coming from us now and again, when the food arrived. As my plate was set down before me, I felt my stomach turn at the odor of the Veal Parmesan hit my nose. “Ugh,” I moaned, unable to control my distaste. Wrinkling my nose, I pushed the plate a little further away from me.
“Why did you order if you don’t like it?” Madeline asked, an enticing grin on her face.
“I don’t know,” I replied. “It sounded good at the time?”
Laughing lightly, Madeline speared part of her salad and lifted it to her mouth. “Sure, Fox, sure,” she said before putting the food into her mouth. If I hadn’t noticed her mouth before then, I surely would have at that moment. Her lips closed around the fork and she slowed pulled the fork out, leaving the food in her mouth. I envied the food at that moment, wanting her to consume me, not the lettuce.
I watched as she slowly ate her salad, not touching my own food. Simply sipping at my Sprite when the vision before me got to be too much. We talked a bit about nonsense things that didn’t really matter to either of us. An hour passed, and then another. I didn’t want to get up. I didn’t want to end what I was feeling while just sitting there talking to Madeline. Her smile and the sound of her voice was like a warm blanket thrown over top of me, as well as being a means of seduction, a light teasing blowing into my ear.
She was the sexiest woman I’d ever encountered and I don’t think she even realized it. The affect she was having over me was amazing. I was trying hard not to focus on those feelings, wanting to get to know her for herself, not for her sensuality. But it was damn hard.
“Fox?” Madeline asked, quietly breaking into my erotic thoughts.
“Yeah?” I blinked my eyes a few times to readjust my vision.
“Tell me about your name.” The smile on her face seemed to be permanent. She smiled a lot and I found myself enjoying it. Her mouth had so many different ways of smiling that I never got tired of seeing it. “I was going to ask before, but I figured you got asked that enough.”
I nodded slowly. “I tend not to mention my name unless it’s necessary. With casual acquaintances, I’m introduced as Spook more than anything else, which is fine with me. I get a lot of questions.” I hadn’t realized it, but as I spoke my hand had wandered over to where her hand was resting on the table and had covered it. Madeline hadn’t made any attempt to move, but I suddenly felt unsure. Giving her hand a quick squeeze, I pulled back. “But, for you I will be glad to tell the story.
My father was an American Indian, a member of the Chippewa tribe. He married my mother, a nice girl from New England who had never experienced anything outside of her own kin before she met him. They met, apparently at a festival of some sort, when they were teenagers. According to my mother, it was love at first sight. But, if you were to ask my father he would tell you that this little pip-squeak, white girl started following him around and wouldn’t leave him alone until he agreed to go out with her.
So, he did. All his friends teased him, telling him he was loosing his edge. But, he kept his promise and that was the last time his friends teased him because after they both graduated high school, they were married. My mother’s parents weren’t happy with the union, but they had gotten to know my father and accepted what they couldn’t prevent.
My father’s parents on the other hand refused to acknowledge the marriage. Their wedding night was spent on the reservation and even then his father brought over a young Indian woman, extolling her virtue. Well, my mother wasn’t going to let this continue, so she told my grandfather off in his own tongue, and from that day forth, he never tried anything like that again.
Within their first year of marriage, mom got pregnant with me. My father wanted to name me some long Indian name that would prepare my spirit for life on this realm. My mother wanted to name me Jean. In the end, they compromised and named me Fox, saying that I would be quick and smart, beautiful and cunning, able to out run my enemies and surprise my lovers with my beauty and grace.”
I began to blush as I finished, sure that I sounded as though I were tooting my own proverbial horn.
“So, here I am with the name Fox.” I shrugged, feeling my face growing warmer by the second.
“Your parents sound like interesting people. Do you see them often?” Madeline asked innocently, even as I felt the twinge of pain in my heart.
“No, they died when I was 17,”
my voice dropped as I spoke, still feeling the confusion and pain I’d felt then.
I could never understand why they were taken from me. They had been full of
such love for each other. I guess in many ways, I wanted that much in my own
life and I wouldn’t settle for anything less. I wanted someone to look at me
the same way my father looked at my mother when he thought no one saw him.
His large brown eyes would glaze over in admiration of what he thought was the
most beautiful woman in the world, and this silly little smile would make the
corners of his mouth turn up.
As I looked at Madeline right now I knew that I wanted her to look at me like that. I wanted to look into her blue eyes and see unconditional love for me.
“I’m sorry Fox,” Madeline said softly even as I looked at her. Her hand found mine and gently caressed it. “I didn’t mean to bring up painful memories.”
I felt passion for so many things surge through me, surprising me. I hadn’t felt real passion for life for so long. “Madeline, you should have seen my parents. They loved each other so much you could feel it!” Do you feel it now? I wanted to ask her, to see if she could feel what I was feeling, the love I had for her. Madeline’s eyes filled with tears as I watched her.
“I don’t think I’ve had a single model for an ideal marriage in my life. It was always full of hate and heartache. I guess I’ve always wanted to see two people who really loved each other and were devoted to one another, at least once.” Her eyes dropped from mine as she spoke, as though she was ashamed of what she was saying. “Does that sound silly at all?”
I smiled at her gently, her question so full of innocence and wonder. “No, Madeline, it’s not silly.” Her hand was still on mine, the weight of it pleasantly sending waves of warmth through my body. “Any child growing up wants to see that their parents love each other.” There were puzzle pieces that were growing in my head, creating a picture of Madeline, but so many pieces were still missing. I wanted to fill them in, but I understood that those were gaps that would come with time. I would take that time any way I could get it, in friendship or otherwise.
“I always wanted what they didn’t seem to have. A love that was all encompassing and all consuming. A passion so great that it filled my every hour life gave me.” I could see that she had drifted away from our table, her mind having gone to some distance place where she saw herself. I could tell by looking at her eyes that her thoughts were very far away.
“Sometimes we can’t have what we want no matter how much we’re willing to sacrifice for it,” she said cryptically, but I had an idea of what she was talking about. I remembered the man she had been with, the man who had some sort of unspoken control over her. And then I took a moment to study her hand, seeing the ring on her left hand. A wedding ring, no doubt. It was large and it sparkled in the light of the restaurant.
Shyly she pulled her hand away from mine, as though she had suddenly realized what she was doing and wasn’t completely comfortable with it. Our light laughter and joking was over, seriousness had seeped in and taken over. Madeline’s eyes focused on me and I felt like I was in for something, although I wasn’t sure what.
“Why did you kiss me at the party?”
I swallowed hard as I felt a lump literally fill my throat, constricting all vocal abilities. “Wh…what do you mean?”
A gentle smile was formed by her lips, easing my anxiety slightly. “Fox, that was more than a friendly kiss on the cheek. Was that an accident?” Her eyes soften as they fixed on me.
I knew I had to have been blushing, but at the moment I didn’t feel anything. I was numb with shock and apprehension. How should I answer? As I looked into her eyes I knew I couldn’t lie when she asked me such a direct question. “Not exactly,” I muttered.
Moving back slightly in her chair, she crossed her legs and continued to look at me. The silence was so daunting. What was she thinking as she sat there, her face serious but not upset. The lines around her mouth were smoothed out, but her eyes still crinkled as they smiled at me.
The waitress came back to the table, our check in her hand. “Can I get either one of you desert?” She asked pleasantly.
Madeline raised an eyebrow at me, silently asking me what I wanted. “No, I don’t care for anything. Do you?” I returned the question to her.
“No, thank you.” She smiled demurely at the waitress.
“Have a good day ladies,” the waitress said as she placed the check conveniently between us, letting us fight over who paid.
There would be no fight. I swooped up the piece of paper before Madeline could make a move. She looked at me with a pointed look. “Please let me pay. It’s the least I can do.” I was thoroughly embarrassed by this point. I guess I had an idea that she might bring up the kiss at some point during the meeting, but I hadn’t expected her to be so direct. What could I say? I wasn’t going to lie to her if I could help it. If I had any sort of future with this woman than I needed to be honest.
“Fox, please don’t be embarrassed. Can I ask you something?” Her voice was warm and I had to admit that her kindness was easing my discomfort slightly.
“Are you a lesbian?”
What? What did that have to do with anything? Only lesbians kiss other women? I thought about that. I guess that was kind of true. What if I was just a straight woman who missed her cheek? Or maybe I had been attracted to her, but had never been attracted to another woman in my life? Yeah, right. I was as lesbian as they come. Even my mother knew it before I did. Shit.
“Yes,” I gulped, waiting for the cold to settle in as she processed my answer. “Is that…a problem for you?” My question came out more hesitantly than I had planned. I really was afraid of her answer, but better to know now then to go further and have a door slammed in my face.
“Not a problem, no. I’ve had many gay friends and I’d like to be friends with you.” The sincerity in her face told me that she wasn’t at all uncomfortable with me or my life choices.
Friends. Yeah, that’s the ticket. Friendship was a good thing, right? It meant that I’d be part of her life. Part of her existence. Maybe, eventually, she would come to think of me as more than a friend. Maybe. Come on Fox, don’t get your hopes up. I might have to settle for loving her from a distance. Unrequited love was a concept that sounded fine on paper when the alternatives were nothing, but in reality it was the hard life. Okay, so being a lesbian was already living the hard life, but this would be an added hardship.
“I would like that a lot Madeline.” I forced a smile at her, feeling my stomach drop with the realization that it was all out of my control. She could fall for me, but I had no way of determining whether or not that would happen.
Glancing at her watch, Madeline sighed. “I’m sorry Fox, but I have to get going.”
I guess it was too much to expect her to stay at the restaurant and talk to me all afternoon. We’d already been sitting at the table for two hours, I noticed as I looked at my own watch.
Nodding, I searched in my purse for my wallet, knowing it was in there somewhere. Madeline had already stood up, but had forgotten that her purse was sitting under the table. Leaning down to pick it up, her shirt shifted, revealing to my eyes the uppermost swell of her breasts. I felt my heart rate increase as I starred. Such beautiful breasts, I could imagine while looking at the milky skin that they would be so soft to the touch, a silkiness like none that I had ever imagined. My mind was moving quickly, imagining what her breasts would look like complete uncovered. I could see perfect nipples in the middle of each swell, my mouth water at the thought. My hands began to itch as I felt the desire to reach out and gently touch them, cupping their fullness.
Such a sensual sight was reeking havoc on my body. While my mouth was imagining her hardened nipple slipping between my moist lips, my hands were aching to touch her, and there was a growing need between my legs that demanded attention. I knew I was lost as I felt the wetness there growing, warm sensations ebbing through my body. My mind was hazy as my desire and passion consumed me, leaving my mouth dry and my cunt wet.
But the vision was over too soon as she stood back up, straightening her shirt as she did and the light played off the ring on her left hand, a cruel reminder of how things really were. I felt the vile creep up my throat, and I swallowed it. How quickly the body can go from feeling one thing to feeling another.
Go back to your husband Madeline, I thought at her. Go back and forget about me. Dammit, I wanted to leave her with my scent on her fingers, my taste in her mouth so that she would know without a shadow of a doubt that she was mine. I felt an animalistic need to mark my claim, but reason and sanity held me in check. I had no claim to this beautiful woman except that I loved her and knew we were meant to be together. Fate and destiny don’t hold up in court or anywhere else for that matter.
Be strong Fox, I told myself. I needed to be strong, to take this all in stride and have faith that she would one day feel what I did. There was no doubt in mind that she was worth waiting for. I would wait forever for her. I smiled at her, her eyes sparkling back at me. Leaning over, I gave her a friendly kiss on the cheek this time. “Call me when you want to get together again.” She nodded, and I left, taking with me the blazing image of Madeline’s cleavage.
I didn’t go back to work that day. Instead I went to an old haunt to think and to clear my head from the image I left with. What an image though!
The Alston Park is about 10 miles from where my parents used to live when I was growing up. In 35 years, things had changed around the park, but the park itself was immortal.
I parked on the street and crossed to where the park’s land was delineated from the rest of the neighborhood by a wide sidewalk welcome to those who liked to walk. A separate concrete trail was created for those that wanted to use wheels around the park – from bicycles to roller blades. Both of these paths were on the outskirts of the actual park.
The far left quadrant, furthest from the street, was devoted to a play ground for children. Over the years the equipment on the playground had changed, but the atmosphere still held the safety that very few places held for children anymore. The city had hired an attendant to be at the playground to watch the children.
Next to it was a quiet field that held scattered benches and trees. This was always my favorite part of the park. When I stood there, I could close my eyes and see my mother with her long blonde hair reading out loud from a picture book. Every once in awhile her blue eyes would catch mine and she’d wink.
The front part of the park was more busy, devoted to basketball and tennis, with a small soccer field off to the right.
Ignoring what was going on in these sport areas, I headed back to the field. I found a bench that was shaded by a tall tree that was vacant of any occupants – human or other wise. Sitting down, I folded my legs up underneath me, careful of the skirt. I didn’t need to be flashing the wildlife. Propping my head up with my hand, I braced my elbow on the bench’s armrest.
All of a sudden I felt very heavy in the head, almost as though I was weighed down. What I had I done? I had left the proverbial ball in her court. That had to have been the most stupid thing yet. Was that the stupidest thing I’d done yet? Well, there was the kiss, that wasn’t smart. Well, just because I told her to get in touch with me doesn’t mean I can’t nudge her a little, right?
I sat there and tried to believe that. But, I was lying. I had to give her the space to feel this connection on her own. I know that she felt it now, but wasn’t willing or able to process what that meant. I knew though, without any doubt, that she was meant for me. There was this beyond-this-plane type of attraction between us. Something that contained both the physical and the emotional lusting and needing. I want her with my mind and my body. It was the strangest, most exhilarating feeling I’d ever experienced.
Clearing my mind, I watched the park’s other visitors, other people enjoying the beautiful day and the solitude of nature. Taking deep breaths, I slowly let my thoughts resume.
Madeline. My thoughts have been consumed by her since I first saw her. It seemed like she’d always been a part of my thoughts, but I’d never known her name. Or her face, but I knew that her face would strike me in a way no one else’s ever had.
I wanted to whisk her away, take her some place where I could show her that fate wasn’t just an abstract concept, but a tangible idea. And that I was a part of her fate.
God, I sounded like a fruit case! Fate and destiny! And yet, I found myself firmly believing in these things for the first time.
I mean, I always knew that there was someone out there that was perfect for me. Someone who would complete me and make me whole. She would find in me everything that she needed. I would be the only person she desired, the only person she wanted forever with. And she would be all of that and more for me.
Madeline. She was all of that for me already. I knew the first time I saw her face that she was meant for me and I for her. After lunch today, I was only further convinced.
But, how do I show her? How do I make her see?
Sighing, I rubbed at my forehead, a gesture of frustration. I never thought that when I met her it would be this difficult. I guess I assumed that we would fall into each other’s arms when we found each other. In my mind, the most difficult thing would be finding one another. But I was wrong. That was just the first mountain, the foothills actually. The real climb was yet to come.
From where I sat I could see the children on the playground. They ran around, over under and through the equipment without a care in the world, oblivious to anything else going on around them. I wanted to be one of them, just for a moment. I want things to be easy going, without concern or hassle. I wanted to be able to hold little Madeline’s hand and shyly kiss her cheek on the merry-go-round.
Sighing again, I rubbed my eyes this time, mascara and eyeliner be damned. My eyes hurt, my head hurt, and my heart was aching for what I wanted but couldn’t have.
I felt like one of the kids climbing the monkey bars. Holding on for what seemed to be life or death and trying to get to the next rung without dropping. I was hanging on for dear life, hoping to just make it to the next rung without the life being sucked out of me, like the air in my lungs when I exhaled, being expelled from the depths of my soul.
I had waited for this long to find Madeline. I could wait longer if necessary. I wanted her, but I wanted her to want me too. And she would, I had no doubt. But she had to see it for herself, and that would take time and patience – not a virtue I have by nature, but one that I can create a reasonable facsimile of.
Taking deep cleansing breaths, I felt my strength begin to build again. I would wait. I would sit by patiently, waiting for her to see me. Now, that wouldn’t mean that I wouldn’t be persistent. No, eI wouldn’t back away completely, but I wouldn’t push her either.
Closing my eyes, I lay my head down and just let myself relax. Well, relax as much as I could.
“Ahhh!!” I yelped as my jacket pocket began vibrating. I had left my cell phone on vibrate, as was normal for me. I rarely got calls on it, however, because very few people knew the number. I mainly used it to call out or for emergencies.
Pulling up the antenna, I flipped the lower half of the little Motorola StarTAC down before bringing the contraption to my ear. “Hello?”
It was Megan. Of course.
“Has someone died?”
No one had.
“Has there been a fire and you’re homeless?”
Wasn’t that either.
“Have you been abducted by aliens and are allowed one call?”
She said that anything was possible, but if she had been abducted, her memories had been erased.
“Okay then Megan, why in God’s name are you calling me then?” I knew she wanted dirt. She wanted to know how things had gone with Madeline.
She hemmed and hawed, commenting on the fact that she just wanted to see how her best friend was doing.
“I’m doing just fine Megan, and how are you?” I asked sweetly. If she wanted to play, I’d play, no problem.
Finally, she got down to it.
“Did I do her?” I repeated her obscene question incredulously. “Megan Marie! You did NOT just ask me that question!”
She assured me that she had indeed asked that.
“Since you’ve digressed so far down the maturity chain, then I’ll choose not to inform you of what transpired at the restaurant today.” I huffed at her. I was honestly offended that she asked me that of Madeline. It wasn’t atypical of Megan, but still, this was a different situation completely!
Continuing with another inappropriate comment about what we had done in the restaurant, I interrupted her.
“Down Megan!” I yelled into the phone, I’m sure causing all the dogs in the park to perk up. “Listen to me. I love you but you’re going too far. I don’t want to hear you talking about Madeline that way.” I took a deep breath to calm myself.
A more sober comment about my chivalry followed.
“This has nothing to do with being chivalrous. I just am very serious and sensitive about her, that’s all.”
Megan began on a different thread after that, asking me if I remembered what tonight was.
“Tuesday? Um, Buffy’s on?”
I was promptly chastised for forgetting. It was Megan’s surprise party. Ironic being informed of it by the person who was supposed to be surprised, huh?
“Shit, I did forget. I’m sorry Megan. It’s at Iris, right?”
Yes, I was told, at 8 pm. I was
to arrive early to surprise her and gifts were welcomed.
Laughing, I told her I’d be there, gift in hand. She said she’d talk to me there and we hung up. Shaking my head, I once again marveled at my best friend. She was definitely an unusual cookie.
Continued in Part 2
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