Continued from Part 3
FEEL LIKE A WOMAN (4)
"Elena," Claire said, flat voiced, to her and, "Gloria. I can't say it's a pleasure."
Turning jealous eyes on Elena, she said tightly, "I see you're quite happy to come out with her. Why am I not surprised?"
Elena was at a loss for words. The last person she had expected to meet was her ex, and it could not have occurred at a worst moment. Unprepared for a confrontation, she was already on the backfoot; pegged as the guilty party to whatever Claire chose to imply. She would have to be careful not to create a scene or to increase Claire's ire as she would twist anything she said to fuel an argument. And because Kelli was watching mere steps away – Elena felt defenseless. The evening was unraveling quickly with her at the centre of the maelstrom. Why did stuff always happen to her?
"Can't you leave her alone?" Gloria jumped in by wedging between them. "It's none of your business what she does with her life."
"Or whom she chooses to do it with, I see." Claire said contemptuously. "I always knew you wanted her. Now, that I'm out of the way, the coast is clear for you. How convenient."
Gloria bristled. "The most convenient thing to move was you. In case you've forgotten, I'm still straight, but I threw a Happy Divorce party for Elena when you left." She lied, but Claire didn't know that.
"Bitch!" The angry look in Claire's eyes turned wild. Coupled with her ruddy colouring, a definite sign that she had been drinking, Gloria knew it wouldn't take much to goad her over the top.
Elena withdrew from the bickering pair by taking a step back. Ordinarily, she would placate Claire or simply leave, but her escape route this time lead to Kelli, who hadn't taken her eyes off her the whole time. Already alerted by the evening's atmosphere, her nipples hardened even more under Kelli's interest, but they weren't the only part that came alive. Elena pressed her thighs together. Her chiton felt sensuous, she felt sensuous, from the smouldering attention.
"That's some costume." Claire's possessive gaze crawled over Elena. Her ex was a vision of sweet curves in translucence. Elena's bound golden hair trailed stylishly released tresses and her make-up framed her startling blue eyes. They might not be a couple any longer but she still found Elena extremely fuckable, and with the way she looked dressed in that outfit, she wanted to do just that. She had chosen a senator's robes for herself, one she fancied a Caesar might've worn. Her date was similarly dressed but Elena had every woman at the party beat.
"I've never seen you dress like this," She rubbed the chiton. "It's so … thin." Her finger trailed up Elena's bare arm.
Unnerved, Elena moved out of range. She was not comfortable being in close proximity to Claire, especially when she was inebriated. Claire's mood could swing in a flash.
"Please don't," she whispered.
"Why not? It's not like I haven't before." Claire was irked. "Why are you always refusing me? I can't even talk to you?"
Gloria quickly interrupted. "Hey, isn't that your date?" She waved at nobody.
"My date?" Claire frowned. "I suppose I should get back to her. At least, I won't be sleeping alone tonight," she jibed.
Kelli watched the delight on Elena's face drain when faced with a dark-haired woman who wore purple-lined robes and a laurel wreath. The newcomer seemed to be saying something unpleasant because Elena looked more and more unhappy. When the woman touched Elena, Kelli took an involuntary step forward.
"Are you okay?"
"Yeah," Kelli said to the woman she had been talking to. "Excuse me, I've just seen someone I have to meet." She didn't even notice the hand falling from her thigh.
Her steps almost faltered when Elena's girlfriend waved, thinking that she was referring to someone behind her, but noone seemed to have noticed. The stricken look on Elena's face clinched the decision for her. Girlfriend or no, she couldn't bear to see Elena being hit on by another woman.
All three noticed her arrival. Their conversation ceased as they each took in her costume and her stature. The newcomer perused her from toe to top then dismissed her. The curly-haired blonde watched her curiously, but Kelli was only interested in Elena's reaction.
From the way Elena's eyes darkened in appreciation, Kelli was proud that she looked good in her chosen outfit, but up close, it was Elena that took her breath away. Her body became more relaxed even as some parts strained towards the blonde. She hoped that the look of pleasure on Elena's face was because she was happy to see her. The importance of that suddenly meant more to her than her determination to play the field or her reputation – all of which went out the window with one look into Elena's eyes. There wasn't anyone else that Kelli wanted or would want tonight.
"Hi," she said thickly.
Elena lifted her head and smiled beautifully. "Hi yourself."
Kelli's restlessness faded along with every other woman in the room. There was only Elena and the unabated desire between them. She forgot about the endless nights and the doubts that had plagued her, but the vague musings of what it might be like to be with someone, all came home in a moment of clarity. She didn't know she had been looking, but Elena was the one she had been wishing for.
In an instant, the look that passed between them put them back to the moment when they knew, like that afternoon, that this was where they were meant to be. The rightness of their meeting, the unhurried expectancy of knowing they would be together; in the midst of strangers, chosen by fate; to be inexplicably drawn towards each other, and wanting when they were apart.
The glow of excitement in Elena's eyes lit up her face, chasing the shadows from both their moods. Kelli smiled in return.
"You look amazing."
Elena blushed. "Thank you. So do you. I didn't know men could look good in skirts – not that you are one, I mean, but," she inhaled, "you look really really good." She had not missed the well-developed length of Kelli's athletic legs nor the flex of her thigh muscles when she walked up – just like her tight ass that she had creamed while sliding over her rippling back. Elena brought her cold glass up to rest against the side of her neck.
Kelli grinned at Elena's sudden bout of shyness. Her ability to switch from sensuous vixen to natural innocence was charming and intriguing. In fact, she found every facet of Elena fascinating. She could not tear her eyes from Elena's face.
"Who the hell are you?" Claire did not like the way Elena was absorbed in the woman wearing the soldier's uniform.
Kelli held out her hand and introduced herself, only to be snubbed.
Claire ignored the proffered handshake. "We were conducting a private conversation, if you don't mind."
Gloria blurted, "Claire, she's not your girlfriend anymore."
Gloria's eyebrows lifted when she saw Elena making goo-goo eyes at the very fit brunette who had joined them. At the mention of her name, it all made sense. Now if Claire would only leave.
"She's not yours either," Claire dug her fingers tightly into Elena's arm. "Elena and I have unfinished business, don't we, sweetheart?" She tried to pull Elena closer, who stumbled at the unexpected jerk.
Kelli's jaw clenched. Elena's wince was more than enough for her. She walked smoothly into Claire's elbow, the move breaking her hold and caused her to release her grip on Elena or be pushed off balance. She followed it up by flicking her cloak into Claire's face, confounding her view. At the same time, she looped her other arm around Elena's waist and bonded the whole length of their sides.
The grateful look on Elena's face was confirmed by the touch of her palm as it covered Kelli's hand splayed on her hip. Kelli crooked a smile, glanced briefly at their spooned hands, then up to Elena's lips, before lifting to meet her waiting gaze. There, in her clear blue eyes, was the welcome she had been waiting for.
Their heads bent towards each other, lips within inches and closing in.
"What the fuck …?"
Kelli sighed at the interruption. She had had enough of Claire's grouse. The woman was rude and obviously jealous. Too bad. She turned them to face the belligerent woman, ensuring that her arm around Elena was obvious, but if it didn't, she was ready to put it into words.
"As I was saying before you interrupted, I'm Kelli Wilford." She took a menacing step forward. "Now, who the fuck are you and what are you doing with my girlfriend?"
Gloria was surprised by Kelli's claim. To meet the woman her friend had been obsessing about and to see the blissful expression on their faces as they gazed at each other; Gloria wondered if the sex had been so good that it had addled their brains, or they were indeed as lovestruck as they looked, even if they didn't know it.
Observing both Claire and Kelli's behaviour over Elena, Gloria concluded that either lesbians were very possessive or they were just possessive about Elena.
Her friend sure had some powerful juju, she snickered.
Claire was caught short. She thought that she was the most important woman in Elena's life, one even her parents-in-law approved of. She couldn't fathom how this other woman could elicit such a tender look from Elena when she was never a recipient of one even close to it. The realisation that this woman meant something to Elena, and vice versa, fired her jealousy, but she struggled to hide it. She could be cool about it, if only to take them down.
"Elena's never mentioned you at all." She turned to Elena, "Why didn't you tell me? I've never known you to keep secrets."
"I don't have any," Elena murmured, still dazed by Kelli's announcement. Girlfriend. I'm her girlfriend. Why did she say that?
"That's right. She doesn't." Kelli pulled the blonde closer into her side. Claire's presence was annoying the hell out of her when all she wanted was to be alone with Elena.
"Oh yes, I suppose you lovebirds want to be together without the ex around." Claire then said cryptically, "I'll be seeing you."
Her departure immediately released the tension Gloria had feared would escalate when Kelli showed up. She was relieved it was all over and Claire finally got the hint. It looked like her work was done for tonight. Gloria grinned at her friend who was more interested in snuggling up to Kelli, and left them to their reconciliation. She now knew the reason Elena had been so preoccupied lately.
Kelli and Elena's faces were close, brought together by Kelli's cloak that enfolded them both.
"You're not going to run away this time, are you?" She joked, half serious. Her breath hitched when she felt Elena's arms slide around her waist.
"I don't think I'd get very far." Elena sighed, tucking her face into Kelli's shoulder. She had all but forgotten about Claire.
"My knight in shining leather. This is a really nice costume." Her hand drifted down to the fringes of Kelli's skirt and through the flaps for the tips of her fingers to just skim her thigh.
Elena's touch sent a shiver through Kelli, the tingle racing under her skin to a bursting end in her twitching clitoris. She sucked in her breath.
"I can't think when you do that."
Elena relented by bringing her hands up onto the leather breastplate covering Kelli's chest. "Sorry," she said, smiling.
A moment's hesitation passed as they searched each other's eyes before their gazes dropped meaningfully and they moved in for a gentle kiss that stretched longer and longer until the scratching sound of Elena's hands scrambling for a better hold on the hard leather finally broke through.
Kelli laughed gently. "I don't even know your name," she said. "It's impossible to find you."
"You've been looking for me?"
"I didn't know." Elena said half to herself.
"Well, I've got you now," Kelli tightened her arms around the blonde. "Think we could talk? No more running away? I promise I won't do anything to make you uncomfortable." She still felt guilty about her behaviour the last time they met.
Elena was touched by Kelli's concern, and thrilled that her attraction was not one-sided. "I'd like that. I've been thinking about you too," she said shyly, her gaze fixed on the base of Kelli's throat. "I bet you hear that a lot."
Kelli stroked Elena's cheek. "Only matters when you say it." It was the simple truth.
While it felt like heaven to hold Elena in her arms, they could not stay embraced in the middle of a party the whole night. They needed a quieter place to talk, and perhaps more. Kelli really wanted more. From the way Elena was flush up against her, she knew she did too.
"Want to get out of here?"
"Your place?" Elena groaned.
"Anywhere." And soon.
They parted reluctantly.
"I have to let Gloria know that I'm leaving." Elena hoped her friend would understand.
"Is she the one you came with? Curly blonde, didn't like your ex?"
Elena laughed. "That's her. She's my best friend."
"Would you like me to come with you?" Kelli had a sudden apprehension that Elena would disappear again.
Her blue eyes dancing, Elena said, "I'll be back before you know it."
"Wait! How do I find you if …"
The blonde walked back to kiss her briefly. "Elena Hammond. I promise not to leave you this time, Kelli."
Every eye in the room, including Kelli's, was drawn to the swell of Elena's barely concealed derriere as she walked away. For all her experience in the gym, Kelli wouldn't have dared to wear something so transparent in public but she was very appreciative that Elena did it justice. She wanted to take Elena, naked or half-dressed, from the back, front and everywhere. Their costumes were playing a prominent role in the fantasies romping through her head and they were sending urgent demands to her sex. Everyone else could look but she would be the only one touching Elena tonight.
Perhaps more than just tonight.
Claire fumed her way across the floor towards a group of smokers huddled on a tiny balcony. She needed a cigarette badly. She marched up to them and pushed her way in. In her haste, her robe swept through ash and bird droppings, something that would later lead her into a screaming match with the costume shop when they docked her deposit.
"Give me one of those." Someone passed her a lit cigarette. She inhaled hard and coughed. It was not a menthol light.
"Take it easy."
"No need to be nasty. We're all friends here," a raspy voice said.
"Yeah, the sisterhood of the weed," someone else said, making the whole group to laugh.
"Try this." A joint was passed down to her. Claire took a few deep puffs, then gulped a drink that was close at hand.
"Is it a woman?"
"The reason you're out here, is it because of a woman."
"What makes you think it's a woman?" Claire squinted against the smoke blowing into her eyes.
"Ain't it always?"
"Hey, did you guys see that chick in the see-through dress? Sweet. I wouldn't mind having a crack at her."
The group laughed.
"That's not a dress, moron."
"She's with Kelli."
Claire's interest perked. She was still agitated by her encounter with the woman who had dared to usurp her position.
"No shit. She's always got some woman."
"What's her name - Ellen?"
"Kelli's pretty hot too." Someone whistled and said, "Yeah!"
"I heard that Kelli was doing it with Xixi."
Protests greeted that statement.
"It's true. Someone told me they saw them going at it in the alley behind the Vineyard, of all places."
"Xixi's been after her for ages, maybe she, like, gave in, y'know?"
"Xixi can have anyone she wants." Murmurs of agreement rose.
"That's pathetic. In the alley. Now, if you'd said in the toilets then we might've believed you." They laughed and the talk broke into off topics.
Claire upper lip curled as a plan formed in her mind.
Raucous laughter spiked the loud hum of too many voices blending inside the enclosed space, but the noise washed easily over Elena. She was floating on a wave of happiness and excitement. An evening that could have gone wrong had turned out so right, and, if the eagerness in Kelli's eyes mirrored her own, it was going to get better.
She tamped down the little nervous flutter in her stomach at the thought of where they were headed. If they got round to talking, she would reveal the string of steps that brought them together the first time. Fingers crossed, she hoped Kelli wouldn't think badly of her.
Elena paused. What if this was just a fling and she had misconstrued Kelli's sexual interest for more? She had hardly escaped unaffected the first time. So much for my grand plan.
Whatever happened after tonight, she would just have to deal with it because she couldn't deny the magnetism that leapt between them. It made her feel alive and desired, and it carried the hope, however faint, that their attraction was blossoming into something deeper. Their first time had linked them in passionate unexplained ways. She hadn't expected it but there it was, and she would be fooling no one if she denied that she wanted it too. Her heart told her that Kelli treated her differently, special. The regard in her eyes spoke deeply of desire and more - she was sure of it. She was willing to risk everything she had to take the next step. If it didn't work out, she would be headed for a world of hurt.
Claire watched Elena walking around alone. Her friend was not in sight. She slipped into a corner that she judged Elena would pass by in her sweep of the penthouse.
She stepped out just as Elena rounded the corner. "Where are you going in such a hurry?" She was amused by Elena's shock.
"Home." Elena sounded breathless. "Just home."
Claire's eyes narrowed. "With your lover?" She spat out the last word.
"Look, I don't want to discuss her with you." Elena tried to move past but Claire blocked her passage.
"I don't know what you see in her. Did you know that she picks up women like a dog picks up fleas?" She grinned cruelly. "She even ruts like a mongrel."
"If you don't believe me, ask her. Ask her what she did in the alley behind the Vineyard, with Xixi."
"What did you say?" A cold wave of dread crept up Elena's spine as she remembered that night.
Claire could see the confusion sweeping over Elena's face at her words. The little bit of gossip she had picked up proved to be useful after all.
"Didn't know that about your precious Kelli, did you?"
"She's using you, Elena. Don't be a fool. She'll eat you for breakfast and have someone else by lunch."
Elena's resolve was weakening against her own doubts and Claire's poisonous words.
"She won't care about children." Claire scored on Elena's weakness. "Women like her never do."
"You mean like you?" Elena's defiant fury struck Claire into silence. Her temper, when roused, was a force of nature, and it rose protectively around those she loved. Claire backed off.
"I'm only looking out for you," she said friendly-like.
If Claire had not changed her tone, Elena would not have known it was another tactic to confuse her - she never spoke well of anyone unless it gained her an advantage. Elena was savvy to her falsehoods and thought she was free of her mind games.
"Don't do me any favours, Claire. Just stay out of my life." She was angry but it was a thinly placed over her crumbling confidence. Suddenly, she saw the futility of her position. Kelli was a playgirl. She had known that then and it was apparently still true now. Kelli's seduction technique was so well practiced she must have seemed like easy game.
Elena knew she shouldn't trust Claire but she was right. A player like Kelli would not stay around long enough to know she had a son, or would want to stay when she found out. Playgirls weren't known for settling down. Kelli was a dream, and like all dreams, it would end with the morning. If they made love tonight, she would be back right where she had been, only with a heavier heart.
The weight of her gullibility and Claire's tone mocked her. She had to get out of there.
Kelli waited impatiently for Elena to return, her interminable absence seeming longer than it should. She wished she had worn her watch or brought her cell phone to capture Elena's phone number. Despite her assurances, Kelli felt she should have gone with her.
Where is she? The questions were creeping in. This place isn't that big.
The minutes ticked by, adding to her mounting suspicion that Elena had done a runner.
Kelli shook her head in disbelief. I can't believe she disappeared again. That woman will drive me insane.
There was only one way off this floor and that was down the elevator. If she was quick, she could catch her there. Kelli grabbed her coat, squeezed her way through the crowd to the liftwell but there was no sign of Elena. The elevator was waiting on the ground level. Kelli feared she was too late. She jabbed the call button repeatedly, willing the car to come up faster. The twin doors finally opened to reveal Elena inside.
They stood silent in opposite corners as the ancient elevator descended. Kelli watched Elena worrying her inner lip, shoulders slightly bowed and indecision rife on her face. She had obviously ridden down then up instead of leaving. Kelli needed to know how far her change of heart would take her and if she still had a chance to win her over. The frantic moments when she thought she had lost Elena again had hit her hard. She didn't want to know how she would handle it if Elena had returned just to end it – whatever 'it' was. At least, this time, she hadn't run away.
The ding of the bell signaled their stop but neither moved. Elena stared at the open doorway like it was the greatest decision of her life. It was her way out of everything; Kelli, excitement, Claire and her noxious ways; a chance to feel like a woman again or back to Andrew and her uncomplicated life.
The closing doors were halted by Kelli's well-defined arm. She was waiting patiently for Elena. A quizzical half-smile on her face bordered on uncertainty but her warm brown eyes were still hopeful. Elena's heart raced. It was time to stop running and make a decision, even if it broke her heart.
Lifting her head slowly, she said, "I can't go with you."
The cab idled with its passenger door open for either one of the two women by the kerb.
It was supposed to be a quick kiss goodnight but as it happened whenever they touched, Elena and Kelli were oblivious to their surroundings, their only care was for more lips, more tongue, less clothes.
"Are you sure you won't come with me tonight?" Kelli's voice was husky. Her hands had wandered all over the blonde's back and they confirmed that she was totally naked under her costume. Their bodies were plastered front to front all the way down. The delicious softness of Elena's breasts were flattened against her leathergear and if she looked down, she knew a shapely leg was exposed by the full-length slit of Elena's chiton. Her hand stroked the smooth thigh.
"I won't be with you but I think I'll be coming." Elena chuckled, fanning herself.
"Do you really have to go?" Kelli suspected she was whining. She never whined for anyone before. Elena had promised to explain her reasons for tonight and she had not pressed. It didn't stop her from begging though. The brief flash of panic that rose at the thought of Elena leaving cut her unexpectedly. Elena was the warmth she craved, the woman she couldn't forget – she didn't want to return to the lost state she had been fumbling around in, subsisting on memories aching with need and confusion. She swallowed hard at her own vulnerability.
"There's someone I want you to meet," Elena had said.
"When?" Kelli was still turned on but where she was ready to have sex with Elena anywhere a while ago, their kisses had assuaged some of the urgency. She would have ravished but Elena had taken their passion down a notch yet delivered a sustained guarantee that it was far from over. She had the unusual sensation of sitting on a calmed carnal beast that was willing to abide by Elena's rules, and quite happily too.
"Give me a couple of days." Elena tucked a piece of paper into Kelli's wristguard. "That's my address and phone number. Call me."
"It's not another girlfriend or husband or anyone like that, is it?"
Elena laughed. "No, but it is someone very important to me."
"Then I can't wait to meet them." Kelli kissed her on the nose.
Continued in Part 5
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