Disclaimers: Please be gentle with me as this is my first posted work. All the characters belong to me and me alone. Copyright 1997, 1999. Love/Sex/Language: This is an uber alternative fiction story. It depicts a loving relationship between two consenting adult women. If you are under the age of 18 or live in an ignorant state wherein this may in any manner be illegal, please move on. There is bad language that may offend some, but given what is on tv/cable these days, it's probably tame. There's also drinking of alcohol and a tad bit of angst. Feed The Bard: Please let me know if you like my email@example.com
Stacy woke up the next morning feeling as if the Super Bowl was being played in her head. She covered her face with a pillow, hoping to block the insidious sun rays adding to her torment. When she arrived at the bar the night before, her friend Carol sat waiting for her with a screwdriver calling out her name. Keeping her promise to herself, she got completely plastered. She explained to Carol what had happened and through the night let herself escape from reality, dancing with a few women and pocketing a few phone numbers.
Despite the temporary attempt to forget the reason for her binge, even with her hangover she couldn't block it out of her mind. She dragged herself out of bed and went to the kitchen to start a pot of coffee. Listening to Alex's voice on the phone message, she started to cry all over again. She knew she wasn't ready to speak with Alex, pleading or no pleading.
She drank her coffee and ate some toast to calm her stomach. As she read the Sunday paper, the phone rang. Thinking it could be Alex she let the machine pick it up. Hearing Ginny start to leave a message, she picked up the receiver with anger.
"I'm here Ginny, but right now I really don't have anything to say to you."
"I understand Stacy and I'm very, very sorry. I know it's no excuse, but I was toasted and everything seemed harmless at the time," Ginny tried to apologize.
"Some friend you are. You knew how I felt about Alex and you did nothing! You didn't even try to warn me, and from what I heard, actually instigated matters!" Stacy shouted, cringing from the increased pounding in her head.
"Listen Stacy, I told you what I knew and answered your questions. Up until yesterday that's what I knew. Alex didn't give me or Izzy any indication that something like this could happen."
"You had to have some clue. Even if you didn't, you sold her! Puh-leese!"
"I explained that, and again, I'm sorry. I've caught hell for that from Izzy for the past two days. After you left Alex's last night she came over here and told us what happened. I at least owe it to both of you to talk to you about it."
"What can you say now Ginny? The damage is done. I feel like such a fool. I'm not going to set myself up again. I'm not that much of a masochist."
"I'm not asking you to do that. I just thought I owed it to you to tell you what little I know."
"And what's that?"
"That what she told you is true. She really does care for you, but she's confused. Remember Stacy, until that dinner at my house and what's happened between the two of you since then, she's been by herself for a long time. Even before that, she wasn't used to anyone on a constant level. Now, things have changed for her. Although she hasn't come out and admitted it, I think you terrify her."
"You represent what can be real. I mean . . . The quality of time she's spent with you is the type of real relationship she's always wanted, but avoided. Whether it is from choice, immaturity, or otherwise. I think that scares the crap out of her."
"That's nice Gin, but it doesn't make things right."
"No, it doesn't, but Izzy told her to her face that you were right and that she's going to have to make some decisions."
"Well I'm glad someone agrees with me for a change," Stacy muttered sarcastically.
"All I'm trying to tell you Stacy is that if you want her, be patient. She is really confused and she truly does care for you." Ginny didn't know how else to say it. She knew it wasn't her place to even call Stacy and say what she did, but she felt like she created the situation so she should help resolve it.
"What are you asking, Ginny? That I just sit here and continue to see her while she's out screwing around? I think you know me better than that. I wouldn't put up with it from Jan, and I certainly won't put up with it from Alex or anyone else."
"No, I'm not asking you to do that. I guess I'm just saying that you do what you have to do to protect yourself. Whether that is what you just said, telling Alex to go fuck herself, or some sort of compromise. That's up to you. All I'm asking you is to not act rashly. Listen to her carefully. Believe me, she's not a game player, even when it appears she's playing a game. She'll tell you 99% of the truth. If she does hold something back, it's to avoid hurting you, or anyone else for that matter. She's a fighter Stacy, by her very nature. She works hard and fights for what she wants. But give her some space and time. She's got to figure out things for herself. Given Alex's poor history of relationships, she's probably running right now. But after the state I saw her in last night, I'm telling you, she'll figure it out and will eventually propose to you on one knee."
Stacy was quiet. She listened to Ginny and was torn on whether she should trust Ginny's intentions; whether she was really trying to help Stacy, or just help Alex. Knowing Ginny, she thought it was probably concern for both.
"O.K. Ginny, I get the picture, but I can't sit here forever waiting for her. I love her and I know part of this is my fault for not discussing our feelings sooner. But that's still no excuse for what happened. I believe that she didn't sleep with that woman, but I don't want to be around when that day comes. I may be overreacting now, but after what happened with Jan, I see the writing on the walls. That day will come."
"I understand Stacy. I know you were hurt before and I know how much you care for Alex now. Like I said before, I can't tell you what to do other than give you a sounding board and what information I can. I'm going to tell Alex I'm talking to you and what I said or will say. I don't want anyone coming back to me on this for betraying a confidence. But I feel that I have to do something because I feel responsible. So, if you ever want to talk, give me a call, okay?"
Stacy reluctantly thanked Ginny and hung up. She felt road worn, both emotionally and physically. She decided to take a shower praying that it would help her hangover. It didn't. Drying herself off she felt as drained and spent as she had when she woke up. Deciding that maybe a sunbath and a beer would help, she changed into her bathing suit, grabbed a beer and a book and went to lie out in her backyard.
After awhile she heard the doorbell. Standing up, she put on her shorts and T-shirt and went to answer the door. Not expecting anyone, she had a good guess who it was before she opened the door.
"Hi," Alex shyly greeted, holding a bouquet of flowers out to Stacy.
"Hi," Stacy responded coolly, taking the flowers.
"Can I come in?"
Stacy stepped back and motioned Alex to walk in. "I don't know what else I have to say Alex. I think I was pretty clear last night," she answered curtly, closing the door and walking into the kitchen, placing the flowers down on the counter.
"I tried calling you last night and left a message on your machine."
"I know, I heard it this morning. I wasn't home when you called."
"An eye for an eye?" Alex asked with apprehension and jealousy.
"I don't think so. I went out and got shitfaced with a friend. If you call that retribution, it's up to you. I did get phone numbers from women who obviously think I'm fun to be with." Stacy hoped the words would scald Alex.
"Dammit Stacy! That's not it at all and you know it!" Alex shouted out of frustration.
"Listen Alex, you made yourself pretty clear last night as well. You're not ready to commit to a relationship and you want the opportunity to date others. Fine, just do it without me around. I told you when we first met there were two things I would not tolerate, physical abuse and screwing around. I'm sticking by what I said."
"I haven't 'screwed' around Stacy! I could never sleep with anyone else while I was seeing you. It wouldn't be fair to either of us and it wouldn't be right!" Alex stepped over to where Stacy was standing and tried to take Stacy's hands into her own. Stacy pulled away. Tears started to run down Alex's face. "Please, just sit and talk to me. You are very important to me and I don't want to lose you," she pleaded.
Stacy stood and watched Alex, torn between her anger and love for Alex. Seeing Alex's pain, not unlike her own, caused her to relent. "Fine, let's go outside. Do you want anything to drink?"
"A soda will be fine. I'll help myself. Want anything?"
"A beer," Stacy answered walking out the back door onto the patio. Alex walked out of the house a couple of minutes later with their drinks.
"It's your quarter, talk," Stacy said, taking the beer from Alex.
"Ginny told me she talked to you and apologized. She feels responsible for what happened between us. I wasn't very pleased when she told me, but I no longer seem to have control over anything, including myself."
"Yeh, I know. Get to the point Alex."
"I don't want to lose you Stacy."
"Alex, you know the solution and you can't do it. What's the point?"
"The point is that I do love you Stacy. You are beautiful, intelligent and have a great sense of humor. You're warm and generous. I want to keep seeing you. I want you to stay in my life."
Stacy stared at Alex in disbelief that she finally heard the words she so desperately wanted to hear before, but shocked she was hearing them now. Recovering slightly, she looked at Alex as she sat pleading and Stacy started to cry. "I can't handle you sleeping with anyone else Al . . . I just can't."
"I'm not going to do that Stac, not while I'm with you. I told you that." Alex kneeled in front of Stacy.
"It's not just the sleeping part . . . it's all sorts of physical aspects. I know what 'dating' entails Al, it's more than just going out with a friend for a drink. It's kissing and the possibility of going and screwing each other's brains out. I know you may see a difference between dating and 'dating', but I don't right now. The thoughts I had of you just kissing that woman the other night killed me Al. I can't go through that all of the time, I just can't," Stacy cried, wiping the tears from her face with the back of her hand. Alex placed her head on Stacy's knee, and looked up at her, taking Stacy's hands into her own.
"I know Stac . . . There's got to be a way that we can compromise for a while at least, until I figure things out. Please."
Stacy leaned over and cupped Alex's face between her hands and gently kissed her on the lips. "Goodbye Alex. I do love you more than you'll ever know. Go figure yourself out and give me time as well. Maybe one day, but not today."
"Stacy, please don't. Take some time now and think about it first. Think with your heart, please."
"Al, if I thought with my heart I'd be on top of you this very second. But I'd also break it by doing that. I can't. Please go now," Stacy whispered through her tears.
"This is unreal. I must be in the middle of a bad nightmare and can't wake up," Alex cried as she stood up.
"You're asking me to justify your own decision, Alex. Only you can't do that. You can't have your cake and eat it too. It doesn't work that way."
"I know that, but I can't believe that there is no way we can work it out. I never said I wanted to date others right now, just that I couldn't say that I didn't want to. You'd have the same options' Stacy. It wouldn't just be one way."
"The difference is Alex, is that I know I have no desire to see anyone else but you."
"Do me one favor please, just give me that."
"I promise you that I'll take the time to think things out on my end. Just promise me that you'll do the same and maybe reconsider."
"I know what my answer will be Alex, but if you make the promise, I'll think things over."
"Good, at least I have that. I love you Stacy."
"I love you too, Al, but sometimes that's just not enough."
Alex looked at Stacy through her tears, stood, turned around and ran out of the house.
To avoid the reality of her personal life, Alex buried herself in her work, working long hours to escape the pain she felt. She turned into Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Hyde; she was warm one minute and a task master the next. Concerned, Sally tried to draw Alex out, asking if anything was wrong. Alex almost bit off her head, curtly stating that she and Stacy had stopped seeing one another and abruptly ending the conversation by declaring she had a lot of work to do and so did Sally. But every time the phone rang Alex silently wished it was Stacy. There were more than a few times that she wanted to pick up the phone and call, but she was too afraid; afraid of Stacy hanging up on her and the rejection.
On Wednesday night Alex sat at home doing work when the phone rang.
"Hi, Alex? Chris. How ya doin'?"
"I've been better. How about yourself?" Alex responded clearing her throat.
"No complaints. Is anything wrong?" Chris asked concerned.
"Well, I told you I was seeing someone. We sort of broke up."
"I'm sorry to hear that. Are you okay about it?"
"I'm hanging in there. She wasn't horribly pleased about what happened last Friday night and wants me to commit to not seeing anyone else. I can't do that and apparently there's no compromise."
"Listen, Alex, if you want to skip Friday night, I'll understand. I'm sorry I was involved in this. I know you felt something for this woman and you're probably not up to going out," she offered sympathetically.
"No, I still want to go out, but to be honest with you, I don't know if I can call it a 'date' though. How about two people who are going out for a couple of drinks?"
"That's fine with me, I understand. You just want to meet at Flickers at about sevenish?"
"Sure, that's fine. I'm sorry to put this on you, I'm just really confused right now. I'd understand if you wanted to back out."
"I told you it's okay. I'll see you Friday. Give me a call if you need someone to talk to or if plans change."
"Will do. Thanks Chris. I'm glad you understand. See you Friday."
Alex hung up the phone and sat staring into space, thinking of the mess her life was in. It was much easier being by herself, she thought. No one but her friends to expect anything from her, coming and going as she pleased. Independence instead of co-dependence.
If she was a third person looking in, she felt that she would be watching a bad episode of a lesbian 'Thirty-Something' or a romance novel. But she wasn't. What was happening was all too real.
She lit a cigarette and again thought of Stacy. Alex didn't blame her for the position she had taken, she only wished that Stacy would in some manner compromise. There had to be a way they could agree on a relationship that they both could live with. Why did it have to be all or nothing?
She realized that she missed Stacy. It had been three days since she last saw or spoke to her. She thought of Stacy cheering at baseball games, her laughter while they watched a television show and their love making. Was it Stacy, or the thought of what she offered? Alex wondered. She then thought of her early Saturday morning make out session with Chris and the excitement it created within her. Although she hardly knew the woman, she sensed that if and when they ever made love, that it would be extremely passionate. But that may never happen, she also thought. It wasn't fair to Chris as long as she felt something for Stacy.
Alex laid down the papers that she had been working on and put out her cigarette. She thought of a question Stacy had asked her days earlier, which she still couldn't answer. She didn't know what she wanted. All she knew was that she couldn't do what Stacy was asking of her. She could not commit to a relationship. Maybe she was being selfish, but she thought she had no other choice. Alex knew that there was a risk, but both her emotional and intellectual sides had to accept it. Unfortunately, her emotional side wouldn't and couldn't. In fact, the more she thought about Stacy, the more she wanted to talk to her just to hear her voice. Looking at the clock she saw it was about a quarter after nine, still early enough to call. Summoning her courage, she picked up the phone and dialed Stacy's number.
She held her breath when she finally heard Stacy's voice say hello.
"Hi there. How are you doing?"
"Hi. What's up?" Stacy was surprised to hear Alex's voice. Although pleased to hear from her, she knew she had to remain cautious and distant.
"I just wanted to talk to you."
"I've missed you," Alex said warmly.
"I've missed you too," Stacy responded coolly.
"What've you been up to?"
"Nothing much. Has anything changed Alex?" Stacy asked closing her eyes to hold back the tears. She didn't want to be cold, but she knew she had to act out of self-preservation.
Alex knew what Stacy meant. "I don't think so. I'm trying to figure things out Stacy. It's not that simple."
"I don't want to be rude, but I've got to go to sleep. I have a big day tomorrow."
"Stacy, I really miss you. I miss talking to you. Please don't hang up."
"Alex, you made a decision. I can't continue to hurt myself. I don't think it's a good idea for you to call for awhile."
"Stacy, don't. Don't cut me off completely. At least talk to me. At the very least I want to maintain our friendship."
"Not right now Alex. Maybe in time, but not now. You do your thinking and I'll do mine. Give me a call if things change. Bye." Stacy hung up the phone abruptly ending the conversation. They both sat in their respective houses crying and wondering why things had to be the way they were.
As Alex ate dinner early Friday night, she debated whether she should call Chris and cancel their meeting. Deciding to go ahead with her plans, she put her dishes away and finished getting dressed. Arriving a few minutes late, she walked in and saw Chris sitting at the bar drinking a beer and looking in the other direction toward the dance floor. Walking over to join her, she saw Chris' face light up when she turned to watch Alex approach.
Not knowing whether or not to hug her, Chris briefly touched Alex's shoulder with her hand. "Hi!" Chris greeted enthusiastically as Alex sat on the bar stool next to her. She gestured to the bartender for two beers.
"Hi, sorry I'm late. Been here long?"
"No, not at all. I decided to come a little early so we could get a place to sit. Lucky I did, the bar stools went fast."
The bartender delivered their beers and as Chris went to pay for them Alex stopped her. "No, you don't. You bought enough last week. I'll get them," Alex said, handing the bartender some money.
"Thanks," Chris said raising her bottle in a toast, "To a beautiful lady." Alex raised her own beer and clinked her bottle with Chris'.
The two sat talking, taking an occasional break to dance or briefly speak to friends. As the evening wore on, Alex relaxed and was glad she decided to meet Chris after all. She also admired Chris in a way, knowing how difficult it was to come out, even more so while being married and in your late twenties. Although Chris didn't have much formal education, she seemed to have wisdom one only gains through living. As the night wore on, Alex could tell she was becoming more attracted to Chris. Watching Chris' lips move as she talked, he yearned for Chris' lips to meet with her own.
Around midnight the D.J. started to play a block of slow songs. The two danced, their bodies pulled tight against the other, as their mouths hesitantly sought out the other's.
"Alex?" Chris whispered in her ear.
"Last week, I really wished I could have spent the night at your house. I know you're a little confused and I may be pushing things a bit, but is it possible I can do that tonight?"
Alex answered without words, meeting Chris' lips with her own. When the song ended, Chris led Alex back to their stools, pausing long enough for Alex to pick up her cigarettes before they walked out of the bar.
Chris followed Alex home in her own car. Alex opened a bottle of wine which they drank sitting on the couch and talking. Chris put her glass down and pulled Alex toward her, engulfing Alex's mouth with her own. Their tongues and lips began to explore and tease. Alex pulled away and stood. Without speaking, she took Chris' hand in her own, pulled her off the couch and lead her to the bedroom.
Alex's eyes fluttered open, seeing Chris laying on her side watching her, resting her head on her hand.
"Morning," Chris happily greeted.
"Morning. Been watching me drool for long?" Alex smiled, stretching her arms over her head..
"Awhile, but you weren't drooling. Mumbling a bit, but no drool. I took the liberty of scavenging around the kitchen and making coffee. I didn't know what you took in yours so I left it black. It's on your night stand and should still be warm. I'll get you a fresh cup if you want," Chris offered.
"Thanks, you didn't have to do that," she said rolling over to take a sip of coffee.
"My pleasure," Chris smiled.
Alex sat up sipping from the cup. "Mmmm . . . this is good. Hits the spot. So, what's on your agenda today?"
"There are a couple of apartments I'm supposed to go look at. Hopefully I'll get one of them. It's a drag going to all of these places and looking. They're either too small, too much money, someone else has already got it, or they're in a bad part of town. I can't seem to win to lose," she stated in frustration.
"I know how it is. That's why I bought something as soon as I could. Anyhow, I thought you were going to wait a few weeks."
"I was, but I've been thinking the last week that I need a place of my own. I live so far out that it's rough. Plus, it would be a lot easier to see you," she said with a mischievous smile, running her finger along the top of the sheet covering Alex's breasts.
A warning light went off in Alex's head causing a momentary wave of panic to wash over her. "You're not changing your plans because of me, are you?"
"Not really. It's a factor I considered, but only one of many. I work down here and it makes a lot more sense overall. Don't worry Alex, I'm not like your friend. I want to see you, but where I'm at right now I also don't know if I want to just date one person. In a lot of ways we're in the same space, but for different reasons. I don't think a serious relationship is in my cards right now," she added sensing Alex's apprehension.
Alex silently let out a sigh of relief. "Good. I'm glad we're getting this out in the open now Chris. I don't think I could go through what I'm going through with Stacy again. But I'm also going to be honest with you, I don't sleep with more than one person. I mean, if we continue this, I won't be sleeping with anyone else. Also, communication is very important to me and, unfortunately, it was the lack of it that recently led to major misunderstandings. I guess all I'm asking is that you be honest with me as well."
Chris leaned over and took Alex's coffee cup out of her hand and returned it to the night stand. Laying on top of Alex, she gently kissed Alex all over her face. "I can't sleep with anyone else either Alex. And I promise you, I will be honest." Alex put her arms around, Chris holding her tightly as their mouths met hungrily, continuing the passion they had shared only hours earlier.
When Stacy hung up the phone after talking to Alex on Wednesday, she sat and cried. She had not felt so adamant about anything like this before. She knew she was risking any future happiness with Alex, but she felt it was all or nothing. She knew she couldn't be true to herself if she in any manner compromised with Alex.
'Good God,' she thought aloud. 'I'm starting to feel like a character in a Danielle Steele novel.'
Despite the pain it caused, it had been nice to hear Alex's voice. Stacy missed her terribly in those three days. She missed holding her; talking about sports, world events and the menial events in their daily lives. Over the last few weeks she not only shared her body with Alex, but also her soul.
But with all the joy she experienced from her time spent with Alex, she remembered the living hell she experienced with Jan. The nights when Jan claimed to be working, but was actually out sleeping with other women. The pain and humiliation she went through when she first found out about her lover's infidelities, sitting at home imagining someone she didn't know touching places that she thought were hers alone. She didn't want to make the same mistake twice. As had Alex, she made a choice and she was going to have to live with it.
The next few days Stacy found herself in a veil of fog, living her life like a drone; she went to work and came home to an empty house. By Friday, she knew she had to do something before she went crazy. She was starting to feel the walls of her house close in on her and was growing tired of the same tape repeating over and over in her head. Calling her friend Carol, they agreed to again meet at Paradise, knowing that if Alex went out, she would go to Flickers.
Sitting at the bar drinking their cocktails, Carol urged her to jump back into the saddle and pursue an attractive woman that walked by. She sat listening to Carol's urging but she was not in the mood nor did she have the desire to pursue other women. Maybe it was a feeling of retribution for all of the women she had hurt in the past, but she knew the truth. She was in love with Alex and had no desire to be with anyone else until the wound healed.
Continued in Chapter 8
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