Disclaimers – See Part 1

Turning on a Dime

By

K-Morgan

kmorgan.5674@yahoo.com

(Feedback?)


Part 8 —

Later that evening, it was Jean Paul who opened the door for Addy. “Hi beautiful!” “ Comment ça va , Jean Paul.” “Bien, bien, cherie.” She kissed him on both cheeks in the European tradition they were both acquainted with. Karen saw the whole kissing performance from the living room and smiled at how well they got along. She was perched on the sofa's arm nearest to the windows. Addy saw her the minute she came in. They always joked about how they were always able to spot each other immediately upon entering a room. Neither of them realizing that it was probably because they were always looking for each other.

As she came into everyone's view Jean Paul announced to the group “Ladies and gentlemen allow me to introduce our friend ‘the Spanish goddess' Addy.” Addy smiled shyly. “Thank you for that wonderful introduction, JP.” She got close to him and whispered. “I thought we were going to stay off the wine tonight!” JP smirked.

Karen heard one of the women sating on the sofa say “I'll pray to that goddess any day!” Karen wasn't sure who made the comment but she didn't like it.

Addy looked gorgeous. She was wearing tight beige jeans and a black half sleeve button down sweater. The three or four top buttons were open exposing some cleavage. Addy was very well equipped and today's outfit marked all her curves well. She had on small gold earrings, gold necklace and a gold cuff bracelet. The gold contrasted beautifully with her slightly tanned skin tone. The woman looked like an exotic jewel. Her brown hair, loose and shiny gave her the look of a twenty-eight year old, and those fabulous brown eyes beamed with life. Karen was hypnotized when she saw her.

Addy came towards her immediately and kissed her on the cheek. Umm, she smells so good! “Hi, babe, how's the party going?” Karen was already at the meltdown point, it didn't take much lately. She looked towards the sofa to sort of signal a ‘keep off' message to whoever had any smart ideas about this woman. She hoped that Addy didn't get the message, but that it would be obvious to the other women on the sofa. Oh God, now I'm protecting a territory I don't even own! This is pathetic!

“Everything is going very well. Let's go to the kitchen. Let me get you something to eat. By the way, you look great.”

“Thanks. You too.” She straighten Karen's collar, as she did her hand brushed against Karen's collarbone. Karen tensed, and for a moment there she didn't breathe. She thought her heart must have skipped a beat. Karen knew that Addy liked her to wear colors that would bring out the color of her eyes. Karen was wearing a turquoise color sweater and black jeans. She looked like a million dollars.

Karen seemed a bit uneasy. “You okay?”

“Yeah, how about you?”

“Fine. I promise that I will not have more than one glass of wine tonight! I'm sorry for any stupid thing I might have said or done last night.” Addy, came close to her and made a funny cute face.

Oh God! She's adorable! Karen chuckled. “You don't have to apologize, Addy, you are a pretty respectful drunk.”

Addy smiled looking at the gorgeous woman in front of her. As of lately, Addy couldn't help noticing how beautiful Karen looked. It didn't matter what she was wearing. She sometimes caught herself looking at her with the most stupid look and it made her feel uneasy. She also felt this need to touch her, to be near her and she couldn't explain why, she just wanted to connect to her somehow.

“What?” Karen asked.

“What, what?” Addy wrinkled her nose and smiled.

Karen offered her some of the appetizers. “I don't know, you keep looking at me as if you had something to say. What's going on?” Karen smiled sweetly.

Addy was a bit off guard. “Sorry, I didn't mean to….I just, no, I don't have anything to say. I just….Oh, never mind!” She waved Karen away with her hand as she left the kitchen to rejoin the rest of the group in the living room.

JP immediately monopolized her. “We had fun last night, didn't we, Addy? Except for Karen's crack down on the wine, of course, don't know what got into her! Of all people, she telling me not to drink! Really, I think she's gotten too serious lately, don't know what happened to my little devilish friend. We need to do it again. I've got to bring James there. The food was excellent, and the wine divine!”

Jean Paul was being his very flamboyant self. James looked at him and rolled his eyes. James was a real mellow guy and had a special ability to bring reason into JP's ‘behavioral disorders' as James called it. They made a very nice couple. Addy wished that things between them would work out and that they would stay together. She really enjoyed their company.

Karen kept looking at Addy as JP continued his nonsense talk. Karen had not taken her eyes from Addy since their conversation in the kitchen. The previous night's comment about Addy wanting to kiss her and then that kiss, that totally unexpected kiss had been like throwing wood into the fire. All Karen could think about was that kiss.

Addy didn't dare look in Karen's direction. Karen was however in her peripheral vision and she could sense the green eyes on her. She also had the previous night's happening on her mind. I can't believe I kissed her and then, I could have sworn she said she loved me, did she? Oh God, what is wrong with me? Did I open a can of worms last night?

When James joined the group, he approached from the kitchen area and Addy turned to greet him. It was then that she confirmed that the green eyes were fixed on her. Addy smiled sweetly, she couldn't help winking, it just happened! Karen could feel the dampness between her legs, it didn't take much lately. Addy aroused her like no one ever had. I'm a mess! She quickly turned and busied herself in the kitchen, she had to look away. Dam! She caught me looking like an idiot! Addy had her eyes on Karen also. She couldn't be in the same room with her and not know where the woman was! She felt this need to keep track of her.

Addy tried to keep her mind occupied by mingling with the rest of the people in the group. Most of them were in the performing arts business and had a lot of interesting stories. Karen also got busy being hostess and didn't realize that Addy had stepped out on the balcony.

One of the women, who had been seating on the sofa followed Addy outside. Karen saw the move and panicked. She didn't want anyone coming on to Addy, much less in her own place. Addy would be uncomfortable. She also felt jealous and threatened. How dare this woman makes a move on her! Addy is off limits, you idiot! Oh God! What do I do? Should I go rescue her? I can't, what would I say? As soon as she caught Jean Paul's eyes, she signaled him. They had developed all sorts of signals from their clubbing days in case they needed to rescue each other from some malady. JP was surprised when he saw Karen signaling the ‘imminent need' signal.

“What's going on?”

“Quickly go out to the balcony, I think Sarah is hitting on Addy! Hurry!” Jean Paul looked to the balcony.

“Oh my God, that woman is a sex magnet!” He headed to the balcony. Tell me about it! Karen kept close watch.

When Addy heard the door to the balcony, she turned and greeted Sarah. “Hi. You too came to look at the moon? Isn't it beautiful?”

Sarah hadn't even notice that there was a moon! “Yeah, it is, although I can see something a lot closer, a lot more beautiful.” Sarah had that look on her face that obviously pointed towards the beautiful close thing she was looking at! Addy grimaced not knowing what to say. Oh, oh, I'm in trouble! Sarah dove in. “Addy, are you seeing anyone?”

Oh shit! “I beg your pardon?” “Just wanted to know if you were taken, or seeing anyone, or if you would maybe like to go out with me some time. I would like to get to know you. I like you.”

“Oh! Thank you Sarah, but I'm sorry, I already have someone.” She hated to admit that she was taken. She'd always told Luke that she didn't belong to him or anyone, that she belonged to herself. What is it about me and all these women? What do I do to attract them? Do I have a sign on my forehead declaring ‘open season' or what? She wasn't really ‘doing' anything to attract anyone. The truth was that Addy was a hell of a woman. It was not just the way she looked. She was likeable. Addy was charming in every way, her topics of conversation, her laughter, the way she moved the way she behaved, the way she treated people. She was adorable. Also the fact that everyone there was gay sort of gave the presumption that she was too.

“Thanks for asking, though.” Addy was always polite.

“I should have known, it's Karen, right?” Addy remained silent. She sort of smiled to cover up any shock. She was unable to comprehend why this woman would have made such an assumption. “I noticed how she looked at you when you came in. Now I understand why Karen has never been interested in anyone, she's got you. I'm sorry. I should have caught that.” So should I! Addy was stupefied. All of a sudden realizing a million things! Other interests, brunettes, secret, impossible love, those looks, those eyes on her all the time! Shit, shit, shit, it's me! No, it can't be! Oh my God, of course it is! Sarah just said it! Shit!

“Can't blame a girl for trying, right?” Sarah looked disappointed. Addy smiled politely. Shit, shit, shit! Jean Paul walked in at that moment.

“You ladies here for a breather?”

“Yeah, but unfortunately the wind is not blowing in my direction tonight. Looks like I'm too late. I'm going back inside JP.” Sarah left the balcony and went back inside.

“You okay?” he asked Addy. Addy didn't look okay. JP thought it was because of Sarah.

I need to calm down and sort all these out, I could be wrong. Maybe she was just assuming things .

“Are you the cavalry?” Jean Paul chuckled. He liked Addy so much, she was so much fun. She would be just perfect for Karen, if….

“Did the boss send you to rescue me?”

“Yes, she didn't think you would appreciate a certain type of action?”

“Is that it, or was she just protecting her turf?” JP looked like he had been kicked in the gut. He remained quiet and turned to leave. He also perceived that the wind was not blowing in the right direction out there.

“Jean Paul…?” He froze. He looked freaked out.

“Addy… . ” He swallowed hard.

“The secret love theory, is not a theory ….”

He looked away, down, everywhere and finally at Addy, but didn't say a word. Addy looked at him.

“Never mind, JP, I get it.” JP looked like he was ready to jump off the balcony, and at the point of almost crying. He was a very sensitive man. “Addy…. this is too serious, too important.”

Addy swallowed hard. “You have no idea, JP!” Addy had never seen JP look so serious, what the heck; she had never seen him serious at all!

“I need to be alone now JP, if you don't mind.”

“Addy, be very careful. There's a lot….”

Addy put a hand up to stop him from any further talk.

He walked back inside with a very serious look. He tried to hide it, but Karen knew that there was something terribly wrong and immediately became worried.

“Everything okay out there?”

“Don't know.”

**

Addy stayed outside trying to compose herself. She couldn't. She raked her hair with her hands and looked at the night horizon. Why was life so complicated? Karen saw her doing the hair thing, a signal that Addy was anxious. This couldn't be good. Addy sensed Karen's approach. Another thing about them was that they knew when the other was near. They had developed a sense for each other's perfumes or body odor, or something and they knew when the other was either approaching or been in a certain place. They just liked each others' scent and could recognize it anywhere.

Addy didn't turn around. “Thanks for sending the cavalry.” Karen chuckled.

Addy looked down. “How did you know what she would do?”

“I heard her made a comment after Jean Paul introduced you when you first got here. I knew she'd get around to do it?

“She said she suspected ‘I was taken.' But decided to check anyways.”

“Addy, I'm sorry this happened. I'm sorry she made you uncomfortable.”

“It's not your fault. Thanks for sending JP to the rescue. I was already rescued when he came out here, though. She thought I was your girlfriend.”

Karen's heart skipped a beat. “What?! Why would she think that?” Addy couldn't look into Karen's eyes. She couldn't imagine what would happen if she did. But she had to test herself. She did. Karen's eyes were like ping pong balls searching her face. She knew that when Karen eyes were so restless it was because she was anxious. She had a cool head, but her eyes always gave her away to those who had studied them long enough to know better. Karen could control her emotions very well, but she couldn't control her eyes. Addy knew it. She could read those eyes like an old book. And, there it was, written all over them, all that anxiety. Addy could feel her nervousness.

Addy didn't say anything, she couldn't! She was also a pack of nerves. She was totally unsettled by her discovery.

She walked back inside. If she had stayed out there with Karen one more minute, Karen would have seen in her eyes what had just become apparent to her. She knew Karen could read her also. In fact, she feared that it wouldn't take long for Karen to realize what was going on.

She was caught in a situation she had never faced before and she didn't have a clue as to how to handle it. There was too much going on here, too much at stake. This really mattered and could not be taken lightly. She didn't know how to handle it. She was freaking out!

Karen followed her inside, keeping her eyes on her. Addy went straight to the bathroom lowered the toilet lid and just sat there to get herself together. She stayed there for a little while. Karen kept her watch. When she came out of the bathroom, she immediately saw Karen looking at her from the other side of the room. She came out, got some wine and sat in one of the stools in front of the kitchen counter looking at her wine glass. Karen felt lost. She didn't know what to do. Why did Sarah say that to her? Oh, God, it's that obvious! Can people tell?!

Karen thought that the best thing to do was to be on the offensive. She needed to know what was going on in Addy's mind. Karen knew that Addy was on overdrive. She feared when this happened because she knew Addy was a fast whenever she got into one of those inward withdrawals. When Addy looked up she found Karen's worried face looking at her. She could almost feel Karen's fast breathing from the other side of the room. Her own breathing took on speed as Karen approached.

It didn't take much to put two and two together at this point, it was so easy! It was so obvious. She was the mystery person, Karen's secret love. She was the reason why Karen couldn't move on and find someone. Even when she was going to do it and had someone throwing herself at her, she would rather spend the night in a hotel room on the phone with her!

She thought about the times they'd spent together, and how much time of her life this fabulous, gorgeous woman had devoted to her. It was so clear now. What scared her the most was not so much the thought that Karen loved her, but rather the thought that she liked the fact that Karen loved her and the fact that she loved Karen too!

Her head felt as if it was going to explode. Her heart was pounding. She was feeling the rise in her blood pressure. She felt flushed. She was going to combust, if she didn't move. She needed to leave. She needed air, she needed space, she needed to think. She looked up and there was Karen. Their eyes met. They both had the same look on their faces. Their eyes were like ping pong balls searching each other's face. She knew that Karen knew exactly what she was thinking. They had that moment, that telepathic moment, so common for them, when they both knew what the other was thinking.

Addy looked down. She put her hands together as if she was going to prey and brought them to her mouth. She inhaled and nodded. Karen just watched her. She couldn't think of a single word that would be appropriate at this moment. Most likely because her mind had left her and her heart was beating so fast she thought it would give up on her. Addy cupped her own face, looked sideways, got up and headed for the door without even saying a word.

Karen's heart sank. She ran towards Jean Paul and pulled him away. “Go after Addy, JP!”

“What happened now?”

“She knows.”

“Did you say something?”

“No, she figured it out.”

“How do you know she knows?”

“I just know!” Her eyes were pools of tears. When Jean Paul ran out, he found Addy waiting for a taxi. Addy had a stoned look on her face.

“She sent me again, Addy. She didn't know what to do.”

“I know, JP, she knows I know.”

“How do you do that? How can you tell?”

“I just know. I need time to think. Things are very complicated, JP. More than anyone knows. Tell her not to worry about me.”

JP interrupted. “Your friendship matters more than anything to her, Addy, keep that in mind.”

“I know, JP. How long has this been going on?” She looked at him for the answer.

“Forever, Addy, forever. You took her heart from that day at the Gym.” Addy closed her eyes and brought her hand to her face. There were tears in her eyes when she opened them. She kept nodding her head sideways. Her lips were twitching.

“How could I have been so stupid and not see this happening right before my eyes? Her eyes were all teary. “All these time and she said nothing, almost two years! TWO YEARS!” Addy closed her eyes nodding, tears running down her cheeks. “Oh, God!”

“I've tried for the longest time to bring her to NY and throw women at her. I wanted her to forget you. Melanie has tried also, but none of us have been able to stop her sun from shinning. No one is good enough for her, Addy. I don't know what else to tell you. We all knew she would be hurt in the end, that's why we tried to pull her away, but she wouldn't, she can't. Please, let her down easy.”

Addy's eyes were red, tears were running down her cheeks.

“JP stop! I don't know what I'm going to do. There are so many people who could get hurt here, please, don't say anything else, just let me go. I have to think.” She put her hand up to stop him from any further talk. She then stopped a taxi, got in and went home. “I'll call when I get home.”

When Addy got home, she went to her home office and sent Karen a text message. “I'm home and okay. I need time to think. I have no idea of how to handle this. I care too much. Can I ask my friend what she suggests we do?”  Karen replied amidst tears. “Your friend thinks this chick is an idiot. She knew her odds and she's okay with loosing. Your friend suggests blowing her off. She'll live.” Addy was in the bathroom crying. She texted back. “Will I?”  “Why wouldn't you?” “G'nite.” “Addy?” Why did she ask that question?

**

After Addy left and Jean Paul came back Karen had a good cry on Jean Paul's shoulder. “Oh my God, all I get tonight are tears!”

“Was she crying?!”

“Yes.” JP could hardly talk himself. The emotional moment had been too much for him also. Addy was hurting, Karen was hurting, he felt like crap! James was standing by trying to be helpful in whatever way, but there was really nothing to do but just be there and offer whatever support.

“I've lost her Jean Paul, even though she's very open minded, she's not going to be able to handle this! I ruined everything! She's going to be torn because she doesn't want to hurt me…..all these is my fault, I messed up, I'm all screwed up, I should have known better.” She cried hopelessly.

“Yeah, sweet heart, but sometimes one cannot control the matters of the heart. Who knows what could happen. Life turns on a dime sometimes, you know? Have faith sweetie.”

“Yeah, right, JP, she'll leave her husband and become a lesbian because she is passionately in love with me!”

“Wouldn't that be something!?” They all chuckled, then she started to cry again. After a long chat she was exhausted from all the crying and fell asleep. Jean Paul took her to the bedroom.

When Jean Paul came out of Karen's room, James was waiting outside. “Is she going to be alright? JP, I'll say this to you only, and you know that I'm pretty observant…..if I didn't know any better, I'd say Addy has feelings for Karen.”

“Wouldn't that be something, my dear? I'd give anything for that to be true. I hope you are right. Come on baby, let's go to bed, I'm exhausted.”

**

Karen didn't come to work the next day, she called in sick. Addy wanted to call her but didn't know what to say, so she didn't. The next day Karen called in sick again. This time Addy decided that a talk was necessary. This matter needed to be tackled and she was the one who had to do it. Karen had to come to work, and they were going to have to find a way around whatever!

Addy dialed Karen's number. Karen didn't want to answer, but she did because she knew Addy, and she was afraid that Addy would end up showing up at her place. Karen lied, and told her that she really wasn't feeling well. Addy didn't believe her, but what else could she do?

The next day, Karen called in sick again. “Enough, this has to end!” Addy dialed her number. This time Karen didn't pick up. The truth was that Karen was so depressed she couldn't face seeing Addy, or talking to her. Melanie had been over and had a long session with her about how she needed to meet other people and get on with her life and move on. Addy, as great as she was, was not available and she had to accept that fact.

When Karen didn't pick Addy left a message. “Karen, I know you are there and I know you are listening….” She was. “We need to talk. You have to come to work, this can't go on. We both know you are not sick.” Dam, she knows me too well! “Yes, I know you too well! We need to find a way around all this and get on with our lives. I'm coming over to see you now and you are going to open the door for me. We are going to talk like the two adults we are and that's that!....Ker, you are my best friend, and I love you too. Please, let's talk.” Karen shut her eyes leaned her head on the sofa and then her mind went blank. Yes, I need to move on, maybe this talk is what I need to get me going.

**

Thirty minutes later, the doorbell rang and Karen opened the door.

Karen didn't even say hello, she barely looked at Addy. She kept looking down not because she was ashamed or anything like that, but because she couldn't look at that face and know that she couldn't grab it and kiss it to death! Addy came inside. She also barely looked at her, for the same reasons. She couldn't. She did notice that Karen looked like she had been run over by a train, but Addy had a plan and she knew she couldn't deviate from it or else she too would crumble, and then what?

Follow the plan! Addy went into one of her talking rampage. “You are going to work tomorrow. Listen to me…I'm not gay, and I'm married. My marriage sucks, but that's my problem. I am not what you want, nor what you need.” Addy thought that taking the lead and getting it all out in one burst would be helpful to both because that way all that needed to be said would be said and any further conversation would just build on that initial foundation.

Karen looked at her. She smiled enjoying Addy's burst of energy.

Addy was petrified. She thought she had to assume a tough position. She couldn't allow herself to become emotional or the crap would hit the ceiling! “What are you smiling about?” She asked the question in a serious, stern tone. She had a wall around all her emotions and she was resolved to not let it crumble.

Karen knew Addy well, she knew this tough attitude was a sham, but she also thought Addy had the best approach. “I'm pathetic, Addy. I even like the way you are blowing me off!” She chuckled trying to put a damper on her words. “Sorry.”

“Ker…get serious! This is no laughing matter!”

“I am serious. Addy, I'll get over it somehow. Please don't worry about me. It's my problem and only I can do something about it. You didn't start anything or misled me. It was me, this was my own doing….please, don't blame yourself. Do you think we can still be friends? Your friendship means a lot to me.”

“Ker, we are friends. We are best friends. Nothing will change that. I want to see you tomorrow at the office. Is that clear?” Karen nodded as Addy opened the door and left. Addy didn't want to prolong the visit. She was already feeling her defenses coming down. Fuck, she had no defenses around this woman! She feared herself more than anything or anyone!

Karen was left with the feeling that things would never be the same.

They never were.

**

Addy left Karen's apartment with a profound sense of loss. She didn't return to the office. Before she got to her car she was already crying. She had to calm herself down when she got in the car. She needed to drive and clear her mind. She drove up the George Washington Parkway towards Mt. Vernon , about a 15 mile drive along the Potomac River . Looking at water always calmed her. She pulled up in one of the sight seeing areas along the river, turned off the car and just sat there. She needed to think.

This was all so unreal. She loved her kids, but she was unhappy in her marriage, she was not in love with her husband. On the other hand there was Karen. She loved Karen. If it hadn't been for Karen she wouldn't have known what the last two years would have been like. Karen changed her life in more than one way. She not only got her out of the job she hated, but opened a whole new world for her. Karen filled up every single one of her days for the last two years in one way or another. She had been there every time she needed her when the kids were sick or when someone needed to be picked up and she wasn't available. Karen had never said no to her on anything. Karen was everything to her. How could I feel so strongly about her! Nothing makes sense without her!

She kept asking herself and wondering if she was gay. How could I not know this? She had found other women attractive in her life but she had never acted on any feelings or thought much of it. She just thought that it was because the women had characteristics that she found appealing, but there had never been any sexual attraction. She was convinced that it was only Karen who made her feel this way.

She also thought that, sexually, she wouldn't know what to do with the woman. Would I? My God, but this is Karen, my Karen, how could I not find a way to love her, I'm pretty sure I would! Maybe if she told me what to do! In her mind all she could hear was ‘My Karen, my Karen.' When her thoughts led her to no solutions, she started the car and drove away. Her mind was not any clearer than when she took off driving. There appeared to be no answers, no solutions, just the feelings, and the not knowing what to do!

I need to do some research. Read a few books. How is sex with a woman? Can I not be gay and love her? Am I gay? I need answers! Where's my Kindle?

**

Karen did come back to the office the next day. The women resumed their friendly terms, keeping a bit of distance, both women trying to suppress their feelings. Karen began to go out with friends and to ‘date.' She met a couple of interesting people, but in the end it didn't work out. It always happened, mainly because Addy was ever present in her thoughts and no one compared or even reached a point of fair comparison. Addy was above and beyond. Addy occupied herself with whatever, trying not to think about Karen. She was not being successful either. She was scared shitless.

A few weeks later Karen met Susan while on a deposition for a client. Susan owned a line of popular book stores and she was about to inaugurate a new store in Georgetown . She was immediately attracted to Karen and asked her to lunch. The two women went out a couple of times and had a good time. Karen liked the fact that Susan was educated and could hold an intelligent conversation. Also, anyone could tell that Susan had been around the block, and knew a good thing when she saw it. So, when she met Karen she knew she hit gold.

Karen told Addy about Susan. Karen thought that Addy would be glad that she was moving on. Addy appeared to be happy that Karen was trying to move on, but there was a certain uneasiness about the whole matter. Addy was having difficulties coping with Karen's news.

When there was a third date and Karen told Addy about a trip she and this woman were planning Addy was not happy. Addy's face did not reveal amusement, or joy, rather it became a somber worried face.

Susan was an older woman. She was apparently independently wealthy and worldly from what Karen had mentioned. Addy was afraid that Karen would become the woman's new toy and that she would toss her when the fun was over, or when she found someone new. Addy didn't want to see Karen mistreated or hurt.

“What?”

“You barely know this woman and you are ready to jump in the sack with her?”

“Addy. I'm not twenty anymore, at this age people expect other thing in a relationship!”

“It's not like you biological clock is ticking! And what are you saying? Are you in a relationship with this woman?”

“Well, not yet, but she obviously wants one!”

Addy almost asked ‘and what do you want?' But she knew the answer to that question.

“You don't get into a relationship unless you are in love. Are you in love with this woman?” Addy knew she had hit home. Karen didn't answer. She stormed out of Addy's office. Karen knew Addy was right, but she needed a diversion or she was going to go mad.

The woman didn't talk about the trip until the following week, when the subject came up at the office that Karen was taking a few days off around the weekend. Addy went back into her office. She couldn't believe that Karen was going to do it.

**

The following week, Karen found Addy reading her Kindle during her lunch hour.

“What are you doing?”

“ Reading .”

“Something good?”

“No, not really.” Oh God, she'd better not see what I'm reading! Addy had, by now read, about twenty lesbian romance novels. She couldn't finish one to start another. She was fascinated and totally absorbed by the whole discovery. She felt so good when she read about those loving relationships. She started to wonder whether she was in fact a lesbian! Could it be so ? I'm forty two, isn't it a bit late to discover this? She had to laugh at her own predicament. I guess everything is possible! She wanted a relationship like the type she was reading about. Why haven't I been able to find a woman like this? Oh, my God, have I? She was near panic!

On the other hand, as she drove home every night, she would look at women walking on the streets to see if she liked any. She wanted to know if she could say something like ‘Nice ass, I wish I could be all over it' or ‘nice boobs I want those too.' But, she couldn't, no one appealed to her! This was just a Karen thing! How could it be possible?

**

The following week Karen stopped by Addy's office to say good-bye before her trip. Susan was going to meet her at the airport. “Okay, I'm ready to go.”

“Are you sure about this?” Addy asked from her desk. Addy was fussing over some papers.

“Ker, I don't want you getting hurt, and I don't know who this person is!” Addy's face had a worried look.

“You are going to have to trust my choices. I usually hang out with nice people.”

“Yeah, but this is different, this is going away for the weekend, far away with someone whose intentions you really don't know.”

“So, what are you saying? That I shouldn't go? Should I not go, Addy?” Please, ask me to stay and I will!

Addy was torn inside. On the one hand, she wanted Karen to be happy and find someone to take good care of her and to love her; on the other hand she didn't want anyone to hurt her. If anyone hurt Karen it would kill her. She wanted Karen to find the best person in the world, and all the love and tenderness that anyone could give. She was a loving true, good hearted person and if there was any God in heaven, Karen had to find her other half. How could she not find that special person to love her and take good care of her? Lord, where is that person?

No, she could not tell Karen not to go, how could she? Why would she? She had nothing to offer her. So, with a torn heart, she said, “No Ker, I can't tell you not to go.”

Karen looked down. She was hoping that Addy would stop her, that she would say something like -- I can't let you go into another woman's arms, I love you and I want you for me! However, that didn't happen. All she saw was Addy's face of concern. Karen knew that she had to move on, she had to.

“I'm off.” As she turned to leave, her heart ached. She closed her eyes as if to shut the pain away.

Addy watched her go. As soon as Karen was gone, Addy hid her face in her hands. She felt like running after her and beg her not to go. She was in pain. Her heart was heavy. She was anxious. She got up and paced the length of her office, back and forth.

**

Karen was meeting Susan at the airport. The whole purpose of the trip was to attend a retreat for gay and lesbian couples with the objective of assessing couples' compatibility through fun planned activities. The retreat was offered by a consortium of psychologists, and Melanie was the psychiatrist in charge. Karen booked the trip through Melanie and before anything else was said or done, the trip was there and they were meeting at the airport.

When she left Addy's office, Karen was so torn between what she was about to do and her true feelings that when she got to her car she broke down and cried helplessly.

If she went on this trip, she would be taking a step closer to Susan and it might all result in some kind of commitment to this woman whom she liked, but did not love. Addy was who she wanted. Her true love, the one and only love of her life! She couldn't do this! What the fuck am I doing? Who am I kidding? This is not what I want. I know what I want and I can't have it! It's not fair! I can't complicate matters further. If I want sex, I can have in the back seat of the car, for all I care. But I don't just want sex, I want Addy.

The crying stopped. She remembered Addy's rule for life. “If in doubt don't do it.” How could this woman have gotten so under her skin that absolutely everything she did or thought about was in one way or another influenced or related to her! It's as if she owned me, God! How could this be? I belong to her!

She picked up her phone and called Susan. “Susan, listen, uumm, you are going to hate me for doing this, but I'm going to cancel on the trip.” Susan was speechless. “I know this is awful, but it's better this way. You deserve better. You don't want to end up with someone who is not in love with you much worse who is in love with someone else. I think that you are a great woman and eventually you will find someone who loves you for what you are. I'm not that person, Susan. My heart belongs to someone else, and I don't think I can ever give it to anyone else.” Karen had told Susan about Addy.

“Karen, I don't know what to say. I'm terribly disappointed, but on the other hand, I thank you for your honesty. Please, do something, act on you feelings for this woman once and for all, or move on. What you are doing is not healthy. Take care of yourself.”

With no more to say, Susan hanged up.

Now what? Well I have a trip booked to Vegas, might as well get away and cool off . As in automatic pilot, Karen drove to the airport, parked her car and got on her plane. Once she was on her seat, she asked the flight attendant for a Bloody Mary and looked out the window and decided not to think.

**

Addy, sat on her chair unable to move. She had just waved good bye to the one person she adored. This woman whom she loved to the bone! She looked out the window at the dark sky as if searching for answers. What was she to do? Karen was gone. It would never be the same. Karen now had someone else in her life and wouldn't need her as much, or maybe at all! What would become of her without Karen? What would become of Karen? Would she find love and happiness with this woman? No! She wouldn't! No one is good enough for Karen, she needs unconditional, complete, true, good, wholesome love, a love like - Oh God! Like mine! Shit, shit, shit! All of a sudden realizing the obvious. Addy stormed out of her office, the walls appeared to be crumbling on her, she had to get out, but where to go, home?

There was no one home. Luke was on a business trip, the kids were away in college, and she was all by herself. She was going mad! She turned on the television, nothing matter, nothing interested her. She picked up a book, but she was so restless she couldn't even seat still for five minutes, she looked out the window, everything was so peaceful, so still, so empty. In truth all she could see and feel was the emptiness in her life without Karen,

Oh God, I have to stop this train wreck, I can't lose her! I can't let her go through with it. I can't let her get hurt! This woman does not love her. I do! She went to the refrigerator and took the bottle of Merlot and served herself a glass. She sat in front of the computer and Googled airlines. When's the next trip to Vegas? And how about a car rental?

She called Luke and got his voice mail, thank God, she didn't want to talk to him. She left a message letting him know that she was flying to Vegas to meet Karen because, at the last minute, she realized that Karen was not going to be able to handle these clients on her own that that she needed help. This was a lie, but who cared? She told him that she would call as soon as she arrived there. She had to rush to make her flight. I need to pack for a couple of nights, where is my carry on? And yes, I need a taxi.


To be continued in Part 9

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