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Chapter 10 - the conclusion
Jan and I talked for over an hour until the interruption, the one I will never forget.
"So, you're over her, over the whole thing, you think?"
"Yes. I believe so."
Jan studied me. I hated it when she did that, because she was so damned smart, so incredibly intuitive, and well, had the most sensitive radar of anyone I knew.
"Why am I not buying this, completely?"
She wasn't? I was. Wasn't I?
"I uhh... I dunno. What are you talking about?"
She leaned back on the sofa, the same one, I realized just now, that Danielle and I had made out on that wild afternoon. Stop it, I told myself. Unauthorized memories, so just stop it.
Jan smiled. "Nina, you had this certain look in your eyes when you were with her. It's not there anymore."
"Yeah, so that's a good thing. That proves I'm over it, right?"
"No. Look I can't describe exactly what it was, but I'll tell you this, you look like you're back to your old self again."
"Hooray." I paused, watching her this time. She was chewing on her lip. "Right?"
She shook head. "Nope. Your old self was miserable."
"Shit, Jan. What are you trying to do to me?"
"Honey, I'm sorry. I'm just telling you what I see. I'm your friend and I'm just telling you exactly what I see and feel from you. I shouldn't be saying this at all. Just forget it, please."
But she was right. I was miserable. Giving the pool man a blow job wasn't going to make me happy. Horny and adventurous maybe, but not happy, not fulfilled. I was back with David, and David's loves were his bank accounts and investment portfolios.
That's when the doorbell rang. It was Officer Joy Clemens.
"Hi there," she said, spotting Jan and waving.
"Oh, Joy, this is Jan, a very dear friend."
"How are you, ma'am? Hey I'll come back, I don't want to interrupt nothin'"
"No please," I told her, "come in, relax. Need to use the bathroom?"
"No, actually I need to talk to you about somethin'..." she glanced outside, as if to indicate there was something going on in the neighborhood I needed to know.
Jan jumped up just then. "I have to get going anyway. Please... Nina I'll talk to you later hon." She pecked my cheek and gave Joy a smile. "Good to meet you, Joy."
"It's Jan, please, not ma'am."
"Now where have I heard that before?" Joy said, smiling at me.
I waved once more at Jan as she pulled out, and then went to where Joy had already taken a seat at the table where she sat last time to fill out her report.
"Coffee or anything, Joy?"
"Oh, no thanks, Nina." She looked a little tense today. Who knows what police work can do to people, I thought.
"Actually," she said, slowly, looking around the room and swallowing. "I uh... I have a message for you."
I blinked at her. A message? "Yes? Who from?"
Joy shook her head and smiled the enigmatic smile of someone not knowing quite how to say something.
"Look," she said, fixing me suddenly with a deep, sincere, stare. "I don't like doing this, but I was asked to, so here goes."
I said nothing. But the tiny hairs on my neck and arms were standing up.
Joy sighed and began. Her voice was so different from that girlish, carefree drawl I knew her for. It was measured and resonant, calm but full of urgency. "The message is from someone who cares very much for you. She said... she said she misses you, and... she loves you..."
"... and she says she really needs to say a few things to you. She's just askin' you to... uh... listen to her. And then she's willin' to accept wherever ya'll are gonna go." She stopped, and watched me.
I took a breath, and realized that I had been holding it since she began.
"I'm sorry if this upsets you, Nina," Joy went on. "But I had to do it. People I care about are involved."
I looked at her, unable to speak, my mind a tornado of shredded thoughts and emotions.
"Everyone over there wonders what happened to you, where you went. And of course, they all see Danny in this terrible, dark mood for the longest..."
There it was. No more thinly veiled euphemisms. She said her name, and the sound of it from Joy's mouth made me shiver. It was as if the forbidden door I had tried so hard to close and chain up had just flown wide open.
I nodded to her daisy chain pendant. "So," I said, unable to say anything else intelligent, "you lied to me about that. You said your aunt gave it to you."
She looked down at the pendant and flashed a very quick smile. "Nope, I didn't lie." Her eyes locked on mine again. "Joan, the barmaid, is my aunt. She gave it to me."
"What a very... small... world..." I heard my voice say. Joy was becoming blurry now, and I sat very still, not knowing what to do or say next. Joy fished some Kleenex from her shirt pocket and handed it to me just before a fat teardrop snuck out and hit the table between us.
I looked at her, now such a different woman to me. The arcane, beautiful, forbidden world I had fallen into, and crawled out of, was around me again. But I was lost, just like I was the first time. "What do I do, Joy?"
"Nina... I ain't much for givin' advice. And I can't. Yer you and I'm me. But I do know thisDanielle is one special woman."
I nodded. Who could argue that?
"And from what I seen... you're a pretty special lady yourself."
"That's very sweet of you, Joy."
She shook her head. "No sweet about it. Y'all make a damn pretty couple. That's what everyone over there thinks."
I had to laugh. I thought of the gang at the Daisy Chain, and how I had become this instant news item in just an hour or so. All the memories of those sweet, wild first days with Danielle came rushing back then. All the defenses I had thrown up started to dissipate, and I fought hard to stay in control just then.
The skies had been just fine, or at least so I had pretended. Now, a storm was blowing, it's winds powerful, exciting, and mysterious, and the hetero cheerleading squad was running for cover.
I looked up out of my trance.
"What're you grinnin' about?" Joy asked.
I was grinning? I glanced at myself in the mirror just then, because there was one nearby, as usual. Damn those mirrors! I looked excited again. Jan was right, as usual.
"Joy, I want to go to the Daisy Chain, but there's someone I'm kind of afraid of."
"Yes, you know about her?"
She nodded. "About her, and about the whole incident."
I looked at her in amazement.
"Like you said, Nina, it's an awful small world. Especially this one," she said, holding her daisy chain pendant in her thumb and forefinger.
I beamed at her. Joy Clemens was so much more than just this nice young cop now.
"You know," I told her, "I really appreciate what you did, coming here to tell me this. Police officers really are brave people."
She laughed. "This was scarier than chasin' a burglar, trust me."
I had to laugh at that myself.
"Why don't I meet you in the parkin' lot in..." she glanced at her watch..."an hour and a half?"
I swallowed. Was this supposed to happen? I checked my head, and the cheerleaders were gone. I checked my heart, and there was a lovely, handsome face, surrounded in blonde hair, asking me, "What's going on in beautiful Nina-land??"
In the parking lot, I did a scan for Marisol, and Joy, who had changed out of her uniform into her "civvies", as she called them, did the same. Then we both walked in.
The first face I saw was Joan's. She smiled broadly at me from behind the bar counter. "Well, well. Look who's here. Hiya, doll."
I hugged her, and noticed that there were about ten people in the bar. Most had stopped talking or had fallen to hushed whispers, and I distinctly heard someone say my name.
Joan took my hand. "I'm really glad you decided to come. She's in there," She said, nodding toward the office.
I walked to the office and turned the doorknob, my heart pounding. When I opened the door, Danielle was there, just getting up from her desk. When I saw her, all the pretending I had done, all the distractions and delusions, and the... denial, dropped out of sight as if swallowed up by a trap door.
Danielle covered her nose and mouth with both hands, and let out a little squeak that sounded like..."Nina..." I could see the tears in her eyes as I walked closer to her.
How, how on earth had I fooled myself into thinking this was not the person I loved?
I looked up into her eyes, and she brought her hands to my sides.
"Hi," was all I could get out.
And then, she said it, in a voice a little shakier than I was used to hearing. "How's everything in beautiful Nina-land?"
My tears would not be denied any longer now, and I let them flow. "Not so beautiful," I said.
Our eyes stayed locked on one another for a few more seconds, and then I melted into her, and pressed my face to her breasts. What heaven it was to be held by her again!
Neither one of us spoke was we stood there, her stroking my hair slowly.
"What's gonna happen, Nina?"
I looked up at her. She was incredible, she was wild, she was taboo. And she loved me. I knew what had to be done.
TWO MONTHS LATER
In my dream, slow motion raindrops were splattering slowly against the back of my neck. They were deliberate, sensuous, and warm, and I was trying to run away, out of the rain, to dry shelter, but the raindrops felt so good that I just kept going slower and slower, letting them work their magic on me.
David was in the shelter, holding out his arms, but he was looking the other way, at something else.
My eyes fluttered open, and I was looking at the wall air conditioner, the one in need of repair, or maybe even complete replacement. The warm, moist sensations on my neck continued, and I felt Danielle's hands go around me, and start to slide sweetly over my nipples, down my stomach, back up again. Her mouth lingered at the nape of my neck, kissing, sucking lightly, and making me writhe slowly under the covers. I moaned, and with her strong arms, she turned me to her.
"The Princess of Buckhead awakens," She murmured, and she ravished my throat and collar with more of those wondrous kisses. She moved up then, and claimed my mouth softly, but confidently. It was only moments later that her blonde hair, tousled from a night of sharing a small bed, was all I could see between my thighs. Her warm tongue bathed me in wicked splendor, and my day began with ecstasy, with the lover I could never have even dreamed of, tangled with me in naked embrace.
We had spent the night at the Daisy Chain, in the little sleep efficiency Danielle had carved out of the office space for those late nights when it didn't make sense to drive home. I would make it bigger, I decided.
After all, I owned the place now.
David and I divorced quickly, and I was surprised at how amenable he had been to everything. I filed based on lack of marital relations, irreconcilable differences, and a bunch of other things. He seemed almost relieved, and never even knew I had taken a lover, much less a female one. My attorney thought David himself had someone on the side, and I wasn't sure, but I didn't even really care at that point. David wasn't a bad man. He just wasn't even close to being a good one.
We agreed to split everything down the middle, and that included the sale of our home, which ended up going to some big CEO for $3.5 million. I got half of his investments, which came to another 750,000, and I got to keep the Mercedes, while he opted for the Range Rover. Good for him. It was the Mercedes, after all, that had broken down and caused my accidental meeting with Danielle.
I bought a nice 2-bedroom condo in Buckhead, and Danielle and I moved in together. Then I bought the Daisy Chain. We didn't change much, but we did advertise a little more, replaced the linoleum with tile, and spiffed up a few more things. Oh, and we have a "bi-sexual and bi-curious night" (Joy's idea) for ladies who want to explore, and that has drawn many more women than we ever dreamed possible. Jan even dropped in for fun one night, bless her heart, and we laughed ourselves silly while she drank for free.
Things have been going so well that we are going to open up a second place, on the other side of town, nearer to where I used to live with David.
We're going to call it, "Nina-Land."