Sam closed her book. It was getting dark and difficult to see the print anymore. Tina should have been here by now I hope nothings wrong. Hearing the chirp of the BMWs alarm, the blonde smiled. Shes here! She must have parked in front of the house again.
Sure enough, Tina appeared, walking up the driveway slowly, backpack hanging off one shoulder. She saw Sam sitting on the steps to the apartment, waiting for her. Ive been looking forward to seeing that smile all day. Hi.
Hi. I was getting worried.
Traffic was terrible.
Sam heard the weariness in Tinas voice. Are you okay?
Yeah just tired.
They went upstairs. Tina headed straight to the couch and dropped down on it with a heavy sigh.
Concerned, Sam sat next to her. Are you sure youre all right?
Tina pulled the small woman into a hug. Its its been a long week. Weve been swamped at work seems like every one of Vivians clients has decided to travel somewhere for Thanksgiving. And then, rush hour was a mess
Sam realized that a large part of Tinas fatigue was probably due to the emotional turmoil that she had been through since last Sunday. And she has driven to Sarasota and back every night after work. T?
Would you like to rest for a little while? Ill let you know when dinners ready.
No. Really Im fine. It was an unconvincing, half-hearted protest.
A short nap and youll feel much better. Cmon. Sam got up and took Tinas hands, helping her from the couch.
Well maybe just for a few minutes.
Uh huh. Sam walked her into the bedroom. Tina slipped her sneakers off and lay down while Sam closed the drapes. Do you want a blanket? She asked as she sat on the edge of the bed.
Tinas eyes were already closed. She shook her head.
Sam watched the drowsy woman as her breathing deepened and she drifted into a peaceful slumber. You are totally exhausted, but you drove here anyway. Yet another case of you showing me how hard youre trying how much you want this. She lightly brushed the dark bangs from Tinas forehead and placed a kiss there. I love you. Carefully, she eased off the bed and left the room, closing the door quietly behind her.
Entering the kitchen, Sam tiptoed around, making the dinner preparations. First, the lasagna went in the oven to heat. Id better turn the temperature on low I dont know how long shell sleep. The Italian bread was buttered and put on a cookie sheet, ready to be warmed up just prior to mealtime. Some of the leftover salad was transferred into a small bowl for Tina and then returned to the refrigerator to remain cool.
Sam looked at the dinette set in the corner. Hmm maybe a quiet, relaxing dinner is in order. No eating in front of the TV tonight. After ten minutes of searching, she found the white tablecloth that was rarely called into service. She gathered several candles and set them in the center of the table, arranging the plates, utensils, and condiments neatly around them. She crossed her arms and proudly surveyed her efforts. I hope Tina likes it. Wandering into the living room, she was drawn to her guitar. She turned the amplifier on its lowest level and played, sometimes singing along softly.
Tina woke and glanced at the clock on the nightstand. Damn! Ive been asleep for over an hour! She hurried into the bathroom to freshen up before opening the bedroom door and peeking out. Wheres Samantha Im going to get her for letting me sleep that long. The kitchen was dark, so she stepped toward the living room, stopping suddenly when she saw Sam playing the guitar. Leaning against the wall, Tina smiled as she watched and listened to the musician. I love to hear her sing
Oh! Youre awake! Sam was surprised to see the tall woman in the doorway. She put the instrument in its stand and went over to give Tina a hug. Are you ready for dinner?
Its late. You should have woken me. Tina tried to sound angry but the warm body pressed against her made it impossible. Her voice softened. You must be starving. So much for being mad at her.
Well, Sam released her from the hug and led the way into the kitchen, I had a couple of Ring Dings to tide me over. She turned on the light and gestured toward the table. What do you think?
Tina looked at the nicely decorated area. Its perfect. She leaned down and kissed Sam. Umm hmm perfect.
I think so, too.
The women busied themselves getting the meal served. They sat at the table and Sam lit the candles. Oh wait. She quickly went and flipped the wall switch, turning off the overhead illumination. Returning to her seat, she smiled across the flickering candlelight at her dinner companion. Thats more like it.
Extremely hungry at this late hour, both women ate heartily. They didnt talk much, preferring to gaze at each other instead.
This was a nice idea. Tina commented as she stood and collected the empty plates.
Thanks. This was a FANTASTIC idea candlelight reflecting off those beautiful blue eyes
Ill take dishwashing detail, seeing as you did all the cooking.
I dont know if reheating lasagna is actually cooking but the dishes are all yours. Sam chuckled as she headed into the living room. Sitting on the floor in front of one of the bookcases, she rummaged through the bottom shelves and selected several photo albums. She put the books on the coffee table and then turned the stereo on, finding a radio station that played soft rock.
She went back into the kitchen to check on the progress of the dishwashing. Hows it going in here?
Sam opened the refrigerator and took out two beers. Would you like a drink?
Id better not. Its late and I have to drive.
You dont HAVE to drive.
Tina wiped her hands on the dishtowel and hung it over the handle of the stove. Samantha I dont think
What Im saying is, she put the beers on the counter and wrapped her arms around Tina, you could stay just to sleep. I miss you holding me at night.
I miss it, too.
Then, will you stay?
As if I could say no to you. Okay.
Great! Sam grabbed the drinks. Cmon, I want to show you something.
Oh THAT sounds like an offer I cant refuse!
Ha, ha very funny.
They sat together on the sofa. Sam picked up one of the large photo albums. I thought maybe it was time I shared a little of MY history.
Tina put her feet up on the coffee table, getting comfortable. Id like that.
The women looked at baby pictures, with Sam supplying explanations and funny stories about some of the shots. Many of the photos included other family members and Tina got a brief introduction to the extended Whitwell clan. They went through a couple of the albums, with school events and family gatherings highlighted on the pages, ending with pictures of the senior prom. They laughed when they saw the teenagers dressed in the style of the day.
I cant believe the clothes and look at my hair!
Hmm this blue ruffled shirt your boyfriend wore with the tux very hip.
Oh, yeah? Sam poked Tina in the ribs. Wait until I get to see YOUR prom pictures!
You cant because I didnt go.
Tina shrugged. Too busy with other stuff. I never dated in high school. But, she pointed to the handsome boy in the photo, who is this hunk YOU were dating?
Umm thats Bobby. He was in the band with me.
So, you dated boys in high school you werent gay then?
Well, back in those days, I wasn't even aware there was such a thing as gay people. Nobody ever talked about it. All I knew was something wasnt right. All my friends were swooning over boys talking about how they felt when they kissed them. I thought there was something wrong with me because I didnt feel like that. I really had no clue until I went to college and fell head over heels in love with one of my female classmates. It was all very confusing. It took me a while to come to terms with the whole thing.
What about you? Sam closed the book and put it on the table. She cuddled next to Tina. Are you gay?
Me? Umm I dont know.
You said that you were with men, too. I thought maybe you were implying you were bisexual.
Truthfully, Ive never felt like I fit into ANY group. I didnt have time to hang out with a gang of friends because I had school track work and Steven. She paused, not sure she had made any sense at all. Try to explain it, T. She wants to understand.
What I mean is in high school, I concentrated on my classes and track because I needed a scholarship to go to college. I was also holding down a part-time job, putting away money for books and expenses. So my attention was not on boys, or parties, or proms. Then, in college, the pressure was enormous. I carried a heavy academic load and I had to do well in track to keep my scholarship. The athletic talent at that level is phenomenal I had to work very hard just to keep my spot on the team. Completely focused on school and track, I didnt have the time or inclination for socializing and dating.
You MUST have had offers.
Yes. Every now and then, someone would ask me out. But the other things were more important. My family was counting on me to do well.
So much responsibility for one young girl. Sam sounded sad. You never did have a childhood.
Nothing I couldnt handle. Anyhow I think I got off the subject. You asked if Im gay.
Well youve been with women
Yes. Umm you really want to know about that?
Sam nodded into the shoulder she was leaning against.
Lets see after I had worked for Vivian for a while and my back had healed sufficiently, I started traveling. I would scout out new places for vacation packages and unique ways to sell the typical big-ticket tourist locations. During that time, I I went through something of a wild period. I realized that, when I was in the mood for it, I could lure people into my bed without too much effort. It became kind of a game who can I conquer next? I went after more and more challenging men it didnt matter if they were single, engaged, or married Her voice trailed off. This sounds awful it IS awful.
Its okay. You can tell me.
Umm one night a woman caught my eye. I felt a very strong physical attraction to her, which surprised me. It was something I hadnt considered before. But I talked to her and I was intrigued. I I slept with her.
I I liked it. And I found a whole NEW territory to conquer.
Did you still sleep with men?
At first, yes. But as time went along, I found I I liked being with women. So, now that I think about it, I guess I AM gay.
Im not asking you to put a label on yourself. I was just wondering thats all.
Hey, Tina tilted Sams face up so she could look into her eyes. If wanting to be with you means Im gay, then Im gay. I dont care what label anybody wants to put on it. Umm if you still want to be with me after hearing that part of MY history.
Of course I still want you.
How can you, after hearing that?
What I heard about was a woman who felt lost. She latched onto something she had control over and she used it. It gave her some semblance of power over her life. She traveled all over the world searching for something not knowing what it was until she found it. And it was right here at home all the time. Green eyes radiated love. I was right here all the time.
Tina shook her head. I was a b
WAS thats the operative word. Its not who you are NOW. At some point, you have to quit beating yourself up about the past and start living in the present.
I I know.
Im sorry. I wanted to talk about me tonight give you a break. And here we are, dredging up painful memories of yours.
I needed you to know all of it, but... Ive been afraid of what youd think of me.
Sam traced the curve of Tinas cheek with her fingertips. Those things happened a long time ago. I have things in my past I wish Id done differently, too... everybody does. But I have NO regrets for a single minute Ive spent with you. She slid her hand behind the dark-haired womans neck and pulled her into a kiss.
They came up for air with faces flushed and pulses quickened.
Oh listen! Sam smiled as a song on the radio began. Remember this?
Yes. How could I ever forget it?
Sam leaned her head on Tinas shoulder and sang along with the chorus:
I dont care who you are
where youre from
What you did as long as you love me
Who you are where youre from
Dont care what you did as long as you love me
They listened to the remainder of the song and Tina fought back tears as the emotion of the moment overwhelmed her. Ive told her the worst of it and she still wants me. Samantha?
I dont know much about this gay thing. Umm you called Kimberly your girlfriend
Sam was busy kissing Tinas neck. Mmmm hmmm. This is no time to be talking about my ex
What do people in gay relationships call each other? I mean Im kind of old to be somebodys girlfriend.
Youre not old. Shes saying were in a relationship a couple! There are several expressions girlfriend, lover, partner
Partner? I like that two people together partners in life
Sams head snapped up and she looked into serious blue eyes. Really?
Yeah umm would that be okay with you?
The answer was a kiss that left no doubt as to how the younger woman felt. And it left both of them breathing heavily.
So, Sam smiled at the lustful look on Tinas face. Id say its time for dessert.
I hear the ice cream calling to us.
Yes. Sam laughed. Nice, cold ice cream its gotten a little warm in here wouldnt you say? She gave Tina one more kiss before getting up to go in the kitchen. Wow! That look of desire on her face I bet she needs this ice cream as much as I do! One thing is certain she wants this relationship even though shes still scared. She trusted me enough to tell me about her history. And slowly, but surely, shes letting me past those walls shes built around her heart.
Tina picked up the TV Guide from the coffee table and fanned herself with it. A LITTLE warm? Shes got to be kidding She hastily dropped the magazine when Sam came around the corner of the living room carrying a large bowl of chocolate chip ice cream with chocolate syrup on it.
Thats not for me, is it? Tinas eyes grew wide when she saw the amount in the bowl.
No. Its for both of us. You dont mind sharing, do you?
Sharing? That sounds interesting.
Yes. Sam sat sideways on Tinas lap and rested her back against the arm of the couch. She took a spoonful of the dessert and fed it to the willing woman.
Mmmm thats good.
Sam had a spoonful next. Yum it sure is! She continued her serving duty, thoroughly enjoying her task. At one point, Tina tried to gain possession of the bowl and spoon, but Sam wouldnt allow it. When the ice cream was almost gone, she announced, Last spoonful and its always special to get the last one. She acted as if she was going to eat it herself before giving it to Tina and immediately leaning in to taste the sweet dessert on her lips. After the kiss, she pulled back slightly, so she could see Tinas face. She was pleased at the open look of love in her partners eyes. I take it you liked the ice cream?
Yes and the server, too.
Im glad to hear that. She put the bowl on the table so she had both arms free to hug Tina.
They sat like that for a few minutes until Sam unsuccessfully tried to suppress a yawn.
Oh, its late. Lets get you to bed.
Youll stay? You said you would.
Yes, Ill stay.
Sam turned off the stereo and made sure the door was locked. Tina took the empty dessert bowl into the kitchen and rinsed it out.
Ill shower in the morning. Sam yawned again as they went into the bedroom. Im too tired to do it tonight. She handed Tina her neatly folded pajamas. All washed and ready for you.
Feeling somewhat awkward, they changed silently and took turns in the bathroom.
Sam climbed under the covers first. Cmon. She patted the bed to encourage the nervously pacing woman to join her.
I are you sure this is all right?
Yes. She sprawled across Tina as soon as she got into bed. We belong together. Dont you know that yet? Sam rested her head on her partners chest and the sound of the steady heartbeat beneath her ear lulled her to sleep.
A feeling of contentment settled over Tina as she gently caressed the woman dozing in her arms. Ive missed this so much. Shes right we belong together. And the way she makes me feel is this what love is? It must be. I must be in love.
Once again, she fell asleep smiling.
To be continued
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