Disclaimers:

The characters in this story sprung from my (sordid) imagination and are copyrighted (if that is a word) to me. Only me. No one else but me. Got it? Good…

Oh, and all of the characters in this story are completely fictional and any resemblance to certain TV-stars is done purposefully.

Foul language: Very much so. One of my gals tends to get carried away and when all else fails, she uses the "F-word". A lot…

Violence: No. No junior delinquents, no Mafia bosses, no righteous cops, just two ordinary women dealing with reality biting them in the arse.

Sex: Oh, yes. It’s mind-shattering, it’s gratuitous, even explicit at times and it is between two women. Now, we all know this is the main reason you read most of these stories, but hey, I gotta say it: If you are underage or this is illegal where you come from, well, um, I don’t know – you’ve been warned. How about that?

Location: The story takes place in Boston and its suburbs and I have attempted to be as geographically accurate as possible. "Rites of Passage" is an actual piercing studio and the only one I would recommend if you are considering getting anything pierced in the greater Boston area. However, any and all piercings described in this story are totally fictional and do not reflect beliefs or practice of the actual place. Any semblance of the fictional employees of "Rites of Passage" to the actual ones is incidental and unintentional.

Whew!

Thank you’s: Most of all, I want to thank my dear friend and fellow bard Reneegade, who has helped me through writer’s block, beerless nights and general day-to-day blues. Here’s to you, Fisty.

A big thanks goes to my Beta-readers, Kimly - who has had to grapple with my horrific grammar and sentence structure and who has made this a much more legible story; and Shalon who has given me so many great suggestions and kept me enthused with many kind words. Thank you both very much.

I would also like to tip my hat to all the wonderful writers who have kept me alert at work (for all the wrong reasons, but still), away from exams and have made me believe in soulmates, if only on paper. Thank you, Missy Good, the "Exposure" ladies, Sword ‘n’ Quill, Frost, the Nano Goddess, and all the others that have captured my attention over the months.

And lastly… If you want to share your knowledge of good microbreweries, tattoo parlors, poetry books or good livin’ tips in general, I can be reached at xenalicious@xenafan.com_

Hope you enjoy the ride…

 

 

 

* * * * *

 

 

Though never plagued by the infamous tequila hangover herself, Marissa imagined that the headache caused by Caroline’s incessant bitching and moaning had to be just as bad. Maybe she should think about investing in a guest room – as it was now, she had no choice but share her bedroom with Caroline’s hangover.

"Oh, for Chrissake Lin! Could you be any more whiny?" She threw a pillow towards the other end of her bed where, wrapped in all of her covers, a mess of blonde hair peeking from between the sheets, Caroline was being busy feeling sorry for her self and cursing the ancestors of whomever invented the process of fermentation. "You only had seven shots! Seven! I remember you polishing off half a bottle before and being the perkiest cheerleader on the goddamn field the next morning!"

A pathetic little moan escaped the covers. "Owww. Do you think you could turn the volume down just a goddamn little bit?" Caroline was curled up in a fetal position pressing the new acquired pillow over her face. "That particular little escapade was in high school, at the height of my drinking career, if you remember, and I was the perkiest goddamn cheerleader because I was still high as a goddamned kite! Ow!"

Deciding that raising her voice was not the way to go about curbing her headache, she carefully flopped over on her stomach, facing Marissa. "Hey!" A quick poke to the exposed ribs quickly brought down Marissa’ss hands that were covering her face. "No sleeping! If I can’t sleep, you can’t sleep! Last night’s excursion was your idea anyway!"

Groaning, Marissa gave up on any more sleep and took what she hoped was a deep, clarifying breath. What was she thinking? "Had I known you would turn into a gremlin the next morning, I would have sent you home with some hot chocolate. Can you keep quiet now, you’re giving me a headache!"

"Oh, I am giving you a headache?!!" Wincing again, Caroline plopped back down. "You made me catch up to you after we left the piercing studio. I drank twice as much as you did and I’m half your size! And how the hell am I going to explain this to Anne?" She pulled back her T-shirt exposing her new tender-looking and slightly red piercing.

"Oh, relax." Marissa sat up swinging her legs to the side of the bed. She must have been more drunk than she realized, she had no idea where her glasses were. "You know how she always drools over that Gillian Anderson picture where she has a belly-button ring. She’ll love it. Now, I am going to make you some coffee and you work on improving your disposition."

Padding out of her bedroom she could hear Caroline’s disgruntled mutterings. "Oh, yeah, she’ll love it, my ass! Gillian Anderson! Of course she drools, it’s Gillian Anderson! Oh, she’s going to kill me…"

Giving up on trying to locate her glasses, she retrieved her spare pair from the bathroom, throwing on her heavy bathrobe in the process. It was only slightly past 10 o’clock on a Sunday morning and decidedly too early to be up. After leaving the piercing studio last night they went back to Boylston Street and spent the rest of the night trying to score phone numbers in every bar from the Theater district to Copley Square.

Their whole excursion was organized by Marissa in reaction to the news of Anne’s scheduled C-section. In two days Caroline will become a mother and another chapter in their relationship would be over. No more impromptu pizza and Blockbuster nights, no more weekend trips to New York for a Broadway show, no more skiing trips to Colorado. Despite best attempts from all three of them, feeling like a third wheel with Anne’s inclusion in Caroline’s life was inevitable. But they had adjusted, compromised, Caroline and she were best friends after all. Now, however, she couldn’t avoid recognizing that the baby would change everything. The small screeching bundle would become the center of Caroline’s life for good and there would be diapers to change, "The Little Mermaid" to rent, and Disneyland to visit.

Trying to shake off her pensive mood she passed the coffee maker opting to make some strong Turkish coffee. It would make her fully awake, if nothing else.

The truth was, she was happy for Caroline, who had found someone she loved more than life itself and was creating a family for herself. It was just hard stepping aside and renouncing her position as the most important person in Caroline’s life and her first confidant with good grace. In truth, she couldn’t avoid admitting this to herself, she was jealous of what Anne and Caroline had – that fulfilling feeling of happiness and contentment when you find the other part of your soul. She grew up basking in the love her parents had for her and each other and, seeing her mom and dad’s total devotion to each other, she grew to expect the same would be waiting for her when she grew up. The truth was, true love, the kind her parents and Lin and Anne shared, was the most precious and rare thing in the world. She wasn’t sure if she was cursed or blessed to know people who shared that bond.

She put water on the stove to boil and measured four teaspoons of coffee into small iron coffee pot. She knew Caroline hated the stuff, black liquid too strong for her Starbucks-connoisseur friend, but Marissa was addicted to it ever since she had it the first time in Istanbul. It was sure to get Caroline out of bed, if nothing else. If she couldn’t sleep, neither would Caroline.

They were both going to get in trouble with Anne, that much was for sure. Her doctor, due to the baby being over a week over-due and Anne’s petite frame, had recommended a C-section. After the date was set, Anne’s mother had taken her daughter to her apartment for the weekend, for some last minute "mother-daughter" bonding. Though left with clear instructions to "behave", Marissa couldn’t pass on the last opportunity to have her friend all to herself. So she took her out drinking and got her a little souvenir to remember her by. A smile crossed her face. Caroline didn’t know how lucky she was that tattooing was illegal in Massachusetts.

Setting up the tray with coffee and milk and other fixings, she walked over and set it on the coffee table in the living room. She walked over to the window and opened the curtains revealing wall-sized windows overlooking Commonwealth Avenue. Her apartment was relatively small, with only one bedroom, but the room size more than made up for lack of an extra bedroom. Her kitchen and her bathroom, and especially her living-room, were spacious and airy and she couldn’t imagine living anywhere else now. The apartment was her parent’s gift for graduation and at first the incessant bustle of the busy street below her windows drove her mad. Now she had a hard time falling asleep without the sounds of passing cars and flashes of headlights across the ceiling.

Stepping back, she yelped when she stepped on something cold and pointy. Her glasses. Frowning, she picked them up, hazily remembering Caroline tackling her last night, apparently unfazed by her refusal to play football at 3 in the morning. That would explain the developing bruise on her hip. They had stumbled back to her bedroom and passed out as soon as they touched the bed. She vaguely remembered waking up at one point and removing her clothes, the darkness around her spinning with the speed of a deranged dervish.

Walking back to her room she found Caroline fast asleep on her back, snoring softly, one hand protectively cupping her new piercing. Her short hair was mussed, blonde spikes shooting in every direction and Marissa found herself wondering how much gel Caroline used every morning in order to make it look somewhat presentable. Oh, I might as well let her sleep. God knows she won’t get much of that once the baby pops out.

Going back to the living room she sat down on the plush brown sofa. It was going to be difficult, she knew. Caroline was her only friend, the only other person besides her mom to whom she confided in. She found herself, for the first time, wishing she had a brother or a sister to turn to. Her parents were on a vacation in Greece, not due back until Christmas and she didn’t want to give in to what she considered to be a childish urge to call her mom and tell her she felt lonely. That’s what it was – she let herself fully realize for the first time that her parents had each other and Caroline had Anne and all she had was whichever one of her tepid relationships she was engaged in at the time. And however happy she was for Caroline every time she saw her and Anne together, she couldn’t help but be reminded of what she didn’t have.

It seemed to her that all of her relationships in the last four or five years were basically with the same woman – she was beautiful, well-educated, a respectful professional in her field, shared Marissa’s interests and, though engaging intellectually, left her feeling decidedly uninspired romantically. It seemed to her that she had, at one point or another, dated most of the eligible lesbians in her social circle at least once. Right now, when she most needed a distraction, there seemed to be no one in the greater Boston area that she would consider dating.

Unbidden, an image of twinkling verdant eyes and a shameless smile flashed before her eyes and she sat up with a start. She had totally forgotten about her brazen behavior at the piercing studio from last night, and the way she practically threw herself at the attractive piercer. A blush creeped up her cheeks when exact words she had spoken came back clearly to her mind. God, she had never done something like that before! And the woman, she was practically stripping her with her eyes last night! The memory of the slow, burning look the green eyes appraised her with last night brought back another sensation she hadn’t experienced in a long time – a tingling warmth between her legs.

She sat back on the sofa, stretching her legs and covering them with the long terry-cloth robe she was wearing. God, she remembered now! The woman – Sydney, her mind supplied helpfully – had walked in shortly after them and Marissa’s libido instantly perked up. Not that that was anything unusual after some tequila, but she had been drunk before and she never came on to someone like that.

She closed her eyes trying to recall the image of the blonde piercer as she saw her last night. She stood by the door, holding the doorknob, the light above the door illuminating her face and making her long blonde hair sparkle with reddish highlights. Even from across the room Marissa was able to see the deep green of her eyes. Now that she thought about it, the girl couldn’t have been older than 19, 20 at the most. God, I assaulted a teenager!

The girl seemed startled at first, Marissa remembered noticing that last night. Sydney recovered remarkably well though, flirting right back with her at full force, as if having drunk older women flirt with her was an every day occurrence. Which, for all Marissa knew, could be true, after all. Still there was something so … soft, so vulnerable about the girl at that one moment as she looked up at Marissa, fair skin of her face flushed by the cold, golden hair cascading down her shoulders. Marissa could easily imagine her in one of the Klimt paintings, hair fanning around her, lips engaged in a soul-exchanging kiss…

She shook her head, opening her eyes. Okay, so maybe I just found myself a new distraction…

 

 

* * * * *

 

 

The week passed in a blur – Anne’s delivery of a beautiful baby girl and the loss of a major talent at work both compounded to keep Marissa’ss wakeful hours fully hectic. The birth in itself and the delightful cacophony that it caused, would have been able to amuse her enough, but the chaos at work was proving too much for her at the moment. She pushed away from her desk with a sigh of disgust and stood up. It was just past eight o’clock on a Friday night but she had no desire to go home yet. Not that she had anything special to do at work really, but the emptiness of her apartment did not appeal to her either.

She flicked open the blinds on the window and stood gazing out on the brilliant lights of the city below her. She recalled the excitement and happiness and buzzed urgency of Caroline and the last few days. Her friend took maternity leave and had eyes for no one but her wife and their baby. Watching them interact, a tight-knit family bundle, Marissa had to fight to suppress the tightness in her chest. She was so happy for Caroline but at the same time she realized that she was feeling overwhelmingly sorry for herself.

Never before had she felt such a feeling of loneliness and profound disappointment as in the last few weeks. She prided herself in her ability to enjoy solitude and her own company instead of rushing from one relationship into another simply to avoid being alone as she has seen so many people do. And now, for the first time in her life, the happiness of someone else has made her feel as if everything she has achieved in her life was worthless when compared to what Caroline and Anne shared.

Shaking her head she closed the blinds again and bent down to shut off her computer. Maybe she should try throwing herself into someone’s arms as a means of cheap escape. A dry chuckle escaped her lips. God knows it would help with all the nervous energy I was spending by snapping at people at work. If nothing else, at least the crisis at work could keep her occupied for a while.

They had just lost one of their best-selling authors to their main competitor. Although not a major setback, they still had four of the ten bestsellers on the New York Times list, two of which were being made into major movies, the loss was a slap in the face. With the change in administration four years ago and the shift in the publishing house’s focus on fresher blood, Somersby Publishing has become a force to be reckoned with in the publishing business. The new CEO, a fellow Wellesley College graduate ten years her senior, had delegated power, authority and responsibility to the people she thought should know how to use it.

That is why Marissa, along with a select number of her colleagues, was charged with seeking out new talent as well as keeping up with her editorial work. The work was fascinating and rewarding and they had quickly acquired publishing rights to a number of promising new authors. Of course, the fact that her mom was a good friend of Oprah’s and had recommended a number of their books to the talk-show host didn’t hurt either. Oprah’s picks regularly ended on the best-seller’s list.

Now, however, they needed something to cover their loss and everyone was scrambling to find new talent for the company. She frowned opening the top drawer on her desk. There, carefully laid on top of other paperwork, laid hauntingly expressive poems that revealed so much talent and raw emotion. She re-read the one on the top again, those few lines so sharply focusing the emotion that moved the poet enough to write it down. None of the poems were named, but as she leafed through them she realized the titles were not necessary. She could name what was being conveyed as she scanned over each one of them – disillusionment, helplessness, insecurity, wide-eyed wonder – all stemming from being in love, that was painfully clear. Whoever wrote these poems must have been terribly hurt – the sense of loss was practically leaping off the page.

She had mailed her letter almost ten days ago – if she didn’t receive an answer by Monday she’d try again. Though poetry, even excellent poetry like what she was facing now, held little promise of high sales profits, she would make sure this person got published – the poetry lover in her insisted.

But, for now, she needed a stiff drink. Grabbing her coat, she strode out of her office and closed the door behind her.

 

* * * * *

 

How she got onto the train and why she got off at the stop at which she did, she didn’t know. But now that she was there she found herself walking hesitantly towards the building which housed the piercing studio. Standing in front of the beat-up gray door, she nervously checked her watch. It was just past 8:30 and she felt ridiculous standing there in the blustery cold, feeling her mouth go dry at the mere thought of going upstairs and seeing the green-eyed piercer again.

"As well you should feel ridiculous, you fool." She surprised herself by voicing her thoughts out loud. You were drunk off your ass when you saw her and were busy making lewd suggestions. She craned her neck up to where she thought windows of the studio should be. Well enough, a bedraggled-looking neon sign was flashing "Rit_s o_ Passag_" in wavery green fluorescent above lighted windows. The burned out letters transformed the name of the studio into something that sounded suspiciously like one of those Medieval sodomy books Caroline made her read in high school.

She sighed, lighted windows taking her excuse to leave. Mumbling to herself, she stepped into the building. "She probably won’t be there. Either way, you do owe her an apology for your behavior…"

* * * * *

 

 

Ariana felt at ease. For the first time in a month, since she sent her poems in to the magazine, she felt peaceful. As disappointing the experience had been, she did draw a lesson out of it.

She stood up behind the counter and walked to the window. These were going to be a quiet couple of months, business-wise. Whether it was the fact that it was the finals season for the college kids or the fact that they would have to go home for the holidays and didn’t want to surprise their parents with a new piercing, she didn’t know. The fact remained, from the end of October through January the number of their customers fell to about a third of what it usually was.

She returned to her seat behind the counter. Not that she was complaining. She liked having the place all to herself. Helped her to think. She pushed her notebook across the counter with the end of her pen. Helped her to write. She dropped her pen, leaning on the counter and scrubbing her face with the palms of her hands. Her thoughts returned to that day almost a week ago.

She had been so happy, so light-hearted when she read the letter from the editor. The woman had seemed to genuinely like her poems and, for some reason, that meant so much to her. She snorted, straightening up and taking a step around the counter. For some reason! Come on Ariana, if you can’t be honest with yourself, who can you be honest with? You made the step, you were finally ready to put the past behind you and you took the step - a fucking leap! - towards starting it all over. Towards starting giving people a chance again, and the fact that you weren’t slapped in the face the first time you tried meant a lot to you.

Hands stuck deep into pockets of her green cargos her head was bent, intently watching her feet scuff the floor as she paced. Maybe you weren’t ready after all. Baby steps, isn’t that what Geshe always says – baby steps. You were being fed the "you’re a worthless shit" line by people you loved for as long as you can remember and now, for the first time in your life, you are starting to actually like yourself. Now you want to start sharing a little bit more of yourself with the people who actually deserve it. And you were scared shitless of it so you compromised. Instead of showing your writing to Eva or Gesh, you sent your most exposing poems to a magazine.

She stopped, peering out the window again. God, she wasn’t good at this. Even admitting simple things to herself was an ordeal. She knew she was fucked up, normal people didn’t expose their emotions only to pieces of paper and didn’t fly into bouts of destructive rage when afraid. And she was afraid most of her time – of feeling, of being close to someone, of being alone for the rest of her life.

She shook her head. At least she was trying now. That is why that letter meant so much for her. It was not simply the fact that she wasn’t ridiculed for her writing, she also took it as a sign that she was doing the right thing, going in the right direction. And then the editor showed up at her doorstep and wiped it all away with one single sentence.

"I read people’s shit and try to make it sound better."

She could still taste the bitter residue of disappointment in her mouth. The woman left, door closing behind her and she was left standing there, frozen smile contorting her face. She remembered feeling drained, she had to slump on the stool behind the counter to prevent herself from falling. Every little atom of cheer, of happiness, of energy seemed to drain from her leaving her numb and staring at the door. She didn’t think then, she didn’t feel, she just shut herself down, moving on automatic pilot. She didn’t remember leaving the studio, moving past bewildered Jarred on the stairs, didn’t remember the T ride, walking to her apartment, closing the door behind her.

She did remember sliding down the wall, feeling like someone kicked her in the face. The wicked twist of fate took a good day and turned it upside down and she was still falling. She cried that night, still not fully comprehending why, she just knew that the feeling of betrayal and disappointment was too much to bear. So much for going in the right direction.

She hadn’t thought about it until now. She just put it away without dealing with it, like she always did. She closed her P.O. Box first thing on Monday, and she went to work every day and picked up a new college girl to amuse herself with at night. Caren was the girl’s name and she was sweet and innocent. Just like she liked them. The problem with sweet and innocent girls was, just as you broke them in and taught them everything you liked, they would start getting attached. She overheard Caren talking about Thanksgiving plans.

Thanksgiving, for Christ’s sake! Ariana shook her head with a bemused smile. She’d have to let Caren go soon. Which was a pity, really, cause Caren had these long legs and she would wrap them around Ariana’s waist as she rode her and Ariana just really, really enjoyed that. Gazing out the window, her mind firmly entrenched in a more pleasant train of thoughts she didn’t even notice the studio door opening and a person stepping in until she heard a discreet cough.

 

* * * * *

 

 

It was quiet in the building as she was making her way upstairs and she wondered again if this was a mistake. For all she knew, the girl didn’t even remember her. Marissa stood in front of the brown door gathering her thoughts. Well, if she didn’t remember her, she’d ask a few stupid questions and be out of there. And if she did, well, she would apologize and leave. She frowned grasping the idiocy of the situation again. Either way you’ll just walk out. Why the hell are you here then?

Well, to hell with it now, you’re here, might as well go in now. With that she pushed the door open and stepped in.

Sydney was standing by the window, her back turned to her. Her hands were stuffed in the pockets of her baggy pants, shoulders slumped and she was staring out the window. Marissa wondered if the girl saw her as she walked up to the building, but she quickly recognized Sydney’s stance for what it was – someone lost deep in thought. She was wearing a red long-sleeved shirt which looked like it saw many washes and clung snugly to the girls’ frame. Her hair was pulled back in a loose pony-tail which hung low on her back, soft curls shinning in light copper tones, her head bent in concentration.

As she watched her, something struck a deep chord within Marissa. Again, standing there in front of her, unaware of her scrutiny, there was something so vulnerable, so soft about the girl. The impulse to walk across the room and wrap her arms about the girl, somehow knowing that Sydney’s head would neatly tuck under her chin was so strong and sudden she had to grip the doorknob to stop herself from stepping forward. Her heart picked up its pace and her palms broke out in sweat. What the hell is wrong with me?!

At that moment she heard a soft snort of a chuckle come from Sydney who was shaking her head. Realizing that the girl could turn at any moment and catch her staring at her, she tried to clear her throat. Unfortunately she found herself swallowing at the same time and what she ended up with was a gurgly choking sound. Well, it got Sydney’s attention anyway.

Sydney turned with a start and any doubt Marissa had as to whether the girl remembered her or not, was wiped out by the shocked disbelief that was etched on the girl’s face, quickly followed by what Marissa thought looked like anger. Oooh, I didn’t think I behaved quite that horribly the other night, but I guess I’ll be apologizing profusely now.

Clearing her throat again with a bit more success she tentatively stepped into the room. Had Marissa been any less flustered than she was she would have noticed that the woman in front of her looked like she had just tried to stop a cannon ball with her bare chest. As it was, she was just aware of the fact that Sydney was staring at her and not saying a word.

"Eh, hi." It came out squeaky and she cleared her throat again. "I mean, I’m not sure if you remember me from the other night, or, er, more like a week ago, but, well, I’m sure you must cause you look like you do, but…" Oh, no. Not the babbling Marissa. Oh, anything but the babbling Marissa. The stuttering one, the twitching one, just not the babbling one…

"Well, either way, I just eh, came by to… um, to…" She was paying close attention to her hands which were busy twisting her $80 leather gloves into unrecognizable shapes and darting nervous glances at the woman who was still staring at her in frozen silence. Oh, for goodness’ sake, get it over with and flee! "…eh, to apologize, yes, to, ah, apologize for my recent behavior when I, I mean, when we came over here the other night. I don’t think it was appropriate and I was drunk – not that I am offering my being drunk as an excuse, because my behavior was truly inexcusable, but it might shed some light onto why I did what I did."

Why couldn’t she stop talking and leave? "Not that I don’t know why I did it, I mean you’re…uh, that is, I was… but that doesn’t matter, the principle of the point that I’m trying to make here is that…" She nearly jumped away when a warm hand descended upon her twitchy ones. She looked up, startled, and met the green gaze of the girl standing directly in front of her. Sydney’s face appeared carefully cultured but her voice was soft when she said: "Do you want to go get a drink?" and all the tall, normally eloquent editor of a major US publishing company could do is mutely nod her assent.

 

* * * * *

 

She turned and those blue eyes were watching her again. She gasped, but surprise quickly gave way to an all too familiar emotion – anger. She felt a chill raise hairs on her body as cold fury swept through her. She didn’t think she would be given a chance to return the favor to the editor, to make the tall woman feel the same kind of worthlessness she graced Ariana with, with just a few carelessly spoken words.

Now she was here again, mumbling incoherent excuses, but Ariana knew why she came back. She came back for the same reason all the little college girls liked her – the mouthy little piercer could offer you a walk on the wild side with no emotional attachments, something exciting to tell your friends about, and keep quiet about to your family. As long as Ariana was being appropriately rambunctious and aggressive, giving and taking what was wanted, everything was fine. But god forbid she should ever assume to attempt to join a serious discussion about anything other than a new piercing style. The smart little girls didn’t like to be contradicted or proven wrong.

Not that Ariana minded all that much – she could roll and play dumb if it got her what she wanted and most of the time it certainly wasn’t a conversation. And she tended to get what she wanted – her sweet face and sugar-coated smile would calm the most skittish of virgins and once they were lulled in, innocent touches would turn more suggestive and she would have them breathing hard within a half hour. It was a gift, really. And tonight Ms Weller would be the main recipient…

The fact that the tall woman seemed genuinely flustered in her presence and kept apologizing for her behavior would only make things easier for her. If she played her cards right, she will have hand-fed the bitter pill of humiliation to dear high-and-mighty Marissa Weller by the end of the night. It wouldn’t be the first time for Ariana to have her way with a woman and then give her a chance to call a cab before she spirited her out of her apartment, but she had a feeling it would be the first for the uptown editor.

With a sweet smile she crossed the distance between them and cut of the nervous flow of words from Marissa’s mouth with a touch of her hand. She could feel the subtle shiver run through the tall woman as she agreed to go have a drink, and allowed herself another smile. This was why Jarred couldn’t get laid. He cared too much. She, on the other hand, knew people weren’t worth caring for and never gave them a chance to prove her right. Or wrong, for that matter. Tonight, however, she would give tit-for-tat and she would enjoy it. Tonight she would let herself believe that Marissa Weller was the cause of all her misery and she would get even.

 

* * * * *

 

Marissa was still stunned by the turn of events. One moment she was blubbering incoherently to this beautiful woman and the next she was sitting in a rather shady establishment having drinks with her. As soon as she agreed to the drinks idea, Sydney had picked up her coat and closed the studio. They were on the street and Marissa was walking beside the younger woman before she had the time to realize what was going on.

Sydney had told her that she remembered her from last week, as a matter of fact, she was wondering if Marissa would come back as she said she would. Marissa was pleasantly surprised that, not only did the girl remember her, she was actually thinking about her during the week. The younger woman kept throwing timid glances in her direction and Marissa found it endearing.

Sydney had asked her about Caroline and how her piercing was doing and Marissa found herself telling an attentive Sydney all about Caroline and Anne and baby Michelle. She wasn’t paying attention to where they were going and when Sydney stopped she had kept walking, plowing into the smaller woman and stumbling off balance. Sydney had reached out to stabilize her, strong hands reaching out in reflex, landing on her hips and giving her support. She was wearing a long black wool coat over a business suit and it wasn’t buttoned. When Sydney reached out, her hands slipped past the coat to end up on her hips and Marissa could feel their heat seeping through the fabric of her skirt and jolting her, even in that brief touch.

They were standing in front of one of those universal-looking bars, complete with a solid door with chipped paint and a Bud-on-tap fluorescent display in the window. They couldn’t have been more than a few blocks away from the studio but the area was completely unfamiliar to her. When they walked in Sydney had taken her to a secluded booth in the back of the room and disappeared to get them drinks. Now Marissa was sitting there peering at her surroundings through dim lightning and heavy smoke and wondering if her date was even old enough to buy them drinks.

Her head snapped back. Her Date? Well, now that was just a tad presumptuous, wasn’t it? She frowned, thinking. Was it? What was this – two women having drinks in a bar after shamelessly flirting with each other a week before? And how old was Sydney anyway?

"You know, you can take your coat off. I promise no one will steal it."

She looked up, startled, and found the blonde girl at her side, smiling down at her with the most charming, two-dimpled smile Marissa had ever seen. She found herself smiling in return and reaching for the glass Sydney was holding out for her. "How old are you anyway?" Only a slight pause in Sydney’s movement as she was sitting down made her realize that she voiced her question out loud.

Sydney settled in the seat opposite of her and leaned back, keeping her face out of the reach of the dim overhead lamp. "Oh, how old do you think I am?" The teasing in her voice was obvious.

Marissa shrugged out of her coat and took a sip of her drink as she contemplated her answer. She raised her eyebrow when she realized the glass in front of her held a very good Long Island ice tea.

Sydney shrugged her shoulders in return. "I thought you’d like it. Didn’t seem like a beer kind of a gal." She said, raising her own bottle of Bass Ale.

"It’s very good, thank you." She took another sip. "I, uh, I don’t know, 21?" Well, obviously, since she did purchase the drinks. Although, everyone at the bar seemed to know her well, so that doesn’t have to mean anything…

Sydney smiled again as if Marissa’s answer confirmed her thoughts. "I will be 24 in about two weeks. You really meant to say 19 or so, didn’t you?"

She smiled back, slightly unnerved the girl was able to see through her that easily, but nonetheless glad the difference between them was a "mere" six years, as opposed to ten she was imagining. "I bet you get that a lot, huh?"

"Yes, but I hear I’ll learn to appreciate it in another five or so years." Marissa received another smile. "So, let me guess, you are…" the girl closed her eyes and tilted her head in concentration, "…going to be 31 in June, correct?"

Marissa was glad she was not taking a sip of her drink at that moment because it would have surely made its reappearance through her nose. "Wh… That’s… Hey, how did you know that?" God, I hope she’s not psychic, because if she can sense the thoughts that I’ve been having about her for the last hour…

Sydney was looking positively smug, giving her a raised-eyebrow look from across the table. "Relax, I’m not psychic or anything…", this time the drink did come up Marissa’s nose and she coughed, trying to cover it up while pressing a napkin to her nose, "It’s just that you had left your wallet open on the counter as I was ringing you up, and I could see your driver’s license from where I was standing." She looked away, focusing on her beer bottle. Her voice sounded almost bashful. "You don’t look your age either."

"Thank you." Marissa didn’t know what to say. What was she thinking coming here anyway? The girl was beautiful, true, but Marissa didn’t know what it was that they were doing – flirting, or was she still supposed to be apologizing?

"Are you nervous?" Sydney’s voice was soft and Marissa looked up with surprise. Sydney was sitting with her hands in her lap, watching her. Marissa flashed her a quick smile and released a death grip she had on her glass.

"Ah, no, not really." A raised eyebrow met her response and she smiled meekly. "Yes, a little."

"Why?"

It was a simple question, really. What could she say? ‘Oh, I don’t know, I see you smile and all I can think about is biting your lips and capturing your moans with my mouth. Or, every time I look at you I can feel your hair sliding down my torso as you kiss your way down my body and I can imagine how you’d taste on my lips? Or maybe because my body won’t stop tingling when I’m around you and I haven’t’ reacted to anyone like that since I was twenty?’

"Well, it’s more embarrassment, really." She willed herself to look straight into the green eyes across from her. "After all, my behavior when we met was hardly appropriate."

"Oh, I don’t know. I’d say your behavior was highly appropriate to the state you were in." This was said with a smile as Sydney leaned forward and Marissa found herself admiring the beauty of the girl, no - woman, in front of her again. "Besides, I haven’t had that much fun flirting in a long time. There is nothing to be embarrassed about."

She had to laugh. "Flirting? I thought flirting was a subtle form of courting. I was anything but subtle last week."

It was the girl’s turn to laugh. "True, true enough. However..." her voice dropped an octave and Marissa could feel the hairs on her arms rising in reaction "...I would like to think that the message you were trying to convey would have been the same, no matter the approach."

This time Marissa didn’t get flustered. Now she knew what was going on. After all, this is why she went back to the studio tonight, wasn’t it? Who was she fooling? She sat back and let a lazy smile spread across her face. She was looking for a distraction, didn’t she? If the kid wanted to play, she’d be more than willing to indulge her.

"Possibly. What message do you suppose I was trying to impart?"

Sydney sat back as well, taking a leisurely sip of her beer. All of a sudden, all the timidness, all the coquettishness that the girl had shown that evening was gone. She flashed Marissa a look through half-lidded eyes that caused a shiver to run down her spine.

"That doesn’t matter now." She pursed her lips as if lost in thought and Marissa couldn’t help but be drawn to their wet shine. "Now we start from scratch." She leaned in and Marissa could swear there was a predatory gleam in her eyes. "So, tell me about you job, what is it you do again?"

 

* * * * *

The night had started so well. The editor came back and Ariana was going to exact her petty revenge.

She had taken Marissa to "Benny’s", the bar to which she rarely took the same woman twice. She was playing her "I want you, but I don’t know what to do about it" game. It always worked like a charm. She would interweave intervals of bashfulness and quiet admiration with moments of undiluted sexuality and lingering touches, always retreating right when her prey would think she was about to pounce. It kept the women she was courting on the edge of excitement and it would inevitably draw them to make the first decisive move. For Ariana it was all rather predictable but it got her what she wanted - a quick roll in the hay and a healthy complexion.

So, she had gone through the motions and could see the woman responding to her little play. Marissa had gone from skittish and nervous to openly suggestive and now it was time to sit back and enjoy the show. There was no hurry though, she might as well play a bit with the woman.

"So, what is it you do for a living anyway?" She could see Marissa was slightly taken aback by the sudden change of pace and she smirked to herself. Oh, the surprises are just starting, hon...

The conversation hadn’t gone the way she imagined it though. Even though she was simmering with hurt anger just below the surface, Marissa’s beauty still left her breathless. She needed something to keep her resolve strong, to remind her of the hypocrisy of the woman who could write to her one day saying she was deeply moved by her poems, just to call them shit the next.

In truth, Ariana had never purposefully taken advantage of anyone. She always made it perfectly clear to the women she slept with that it was going to be sweet and short and if they wanted to romanticize it into something more than sex, that was up to them. What she was doing now, seducing Marissa with the intention to hurt and humiliate her, was making her feel worse, not better. Which, in turn, was pissing her off.

Marissa, on her part, did nothing to help her resolve. As soon as she realized that the young woman was serious about hearing about her job, she started talking about it, love and pride in her work obvious with every word she said. Ariana felt bile rising in her throat.

"Well, you sound like you love what you do?" She smiled sweetly to cover the bite in her voice.

Marissa looked up at her, a slight blush gracing her cheeks. "Oh. I guess now you know what happens when you get me started on my job. I must have bored you to death with all this talk of publishing. But, yes, literature has always been my passion and I just love what I do for a living."

"Well, I was just surprised, I guess." Ariana paused, waiting to receive an inquiring look from Marissa and then continued, leaning in again. "I mean, the way you described what you do, last week at the studio, it sounded awfully painful. To read other people’s shit, to paraphrase." She could feel the anger bubbling again and some of it must have seeped into her voice because Marissa looked slightly taken aback.

"Wha… I didn’t…" Seemingly remembering what Ariana was talking about, the blush returned to her cheeks. "I didn’t mean that. I just…" she darted a look at Ariana, quickly returning her eyes to her empty glass again "…I think I was just trying to sound cool in front of you, or something. I mean, editing – as much as I love it – is just not as exciting as…", a vague wave of her hand, "well, piercing, you know."

She took a deep breath and shrugged uncomfortably. "I guess that was my ‘geek in front of the cool kids’ reaction."

Ariana laughed. She hadn’t realized she was holding her breath, waiting for Marissa’s answer, until she laughed, a short burst that made her feel lighter somehow. Oh, this was precious!

"A top-notch editor of a major publishing company in the country was trying to sound cool in front of a two-bit piercer?" She shook her head, chuckling.

The admission by the tall woman both made sense and leveled the field between them. She understood insecurity and what it could do to a person. How many times had she gotten into bar brawls because she felt the need to prove that she could hold her own, or drink as much as the next person, or get any woman she wanted? It also brought the editor down to her level and now she seemed to see Marissa for the first time – an embarrassed, fidgety woman flirting with her, not a high and mighty corporate bitch without a flaw. There was something about this woman that made Ariana want to like her.

That thought sobered her up. Like her? That wasn’t in the plan. God, Ariana, you are just begging for something to make it better, aren’t you? Go on, why don’t you ask her what she likes about her job that much to be embarrassed about it.

"So you enjoy what you do? Reading boring books and making grammatical corrections?" She let some of her acidity seep into her voice. Oohhh, that got a raise out of the editor. Marissa straightened in her chair and Ariana could swear she could see her hair rising slightly as in warning. Blue eyes were hard and focused sharply on her and she resisted the urge to shift under their gaze. The transformation was immediate and stunning. God, she’s breathtaking when she’s angry!

"I enjoy my work immensely, Sydney, and I don’t consider reading to be boring or meaningless." Her voice was low and her words clipped. "I am sorry if I gave you that impression, but I take great pride in my work. And my job is not to simply make grammatical corrections."

Time to back-track if you want to get laid, little girl. "Hey, I was just teasing. I didn’t mean to offend you." How did she get my poems though? I didn’t send them to Sommersby Publishing. She smiled her sincerest fake smile. "I happen to like to read too, you know. Especially poetry." A suspicious look greeted her but Marissa looked slightly mollified.

"It’s okay." How did this woman manage to invoke all these emotions in her, racing from bashfulness, to lust, to anger and back , all within fifteen minutes? Not to mention curiosity. "You like poetry?"

"Yeah, yeah I do. I think so much emotion can be contained in just a few simple words with poetry. It’s beautiful, really. You can’t really do that with prose. It’s like the emotions get diluted, or something." She could see that the editor didn’t quite expect that. Figures. I’m blonde and uneducated, what do I know about fine literature?

"Ah." Marissa was left speechless again. This woman just kept surprising her. What next? She’s going to tell me she’s straight? "Do you have any favorite poets?"

Sydney nodded. She never got to discuss her love of poetry with anyone before, especially not someone like Marissa, who must have a great knowledge of the subject. "June Jordan. There is so much passion and such strength of conviction in her poetry. It just sways you with its beauty." She could see Marissa nod in agreement. "And Pablo, of course. Nothing like some Neruda to put you in a romantic mood." And what exactly would you know about romance Ariana? "How about you?"

"How about me what?" Marissa asked, not quite sure what they were talking about. With the last words the young piercer had spoken, her mind had taken her to a moonlit beach where Sydney held her in her embrace and was whispering soft rhymes in her ear: ‘Sleeping and naked, love me: on the shore you are like the island: your love confused, your love astonished, hidden in the cavity of dreams, is like the movement of the sea around us.’ Ah, Neruda... Sydney’s question rudely brought her back to reality. She blinked. "Oh, poets! Yes, yes, I do." A pause. She looked up, realizing Sydney was waiting for her to continue. "Oh, let’s see... Well, to tell you the truth, it’s not so much that I have favorite poets as much as there are poems that just... capture me, you know?"

Seeing Sydney nod, she continued. "You are right, there is so much focused power in the verses. We, unfortunately, don’t publish very many poetry books, but I volunteer some time on the side editing for a poetry magazine." She smiled. "That’s how I get my fix."

The words were out of Sydney’s mouth before she even knew her mind had formed them. "Read anything good lately?" God, glutton for punishment, aren’t you? She shifted uneasily, watching Marissa ponder her question, wanting desperately to leave before she could hear her answer.

"Yes, yes, as a matter of fact, I did." Marissa took a sip of her drink, failing to notice the fact that Sydney stopped breathing. "I came across a very talented poet just last week. Ariana..." Her brows drew together. "I can’t remember her last name, but I know I haven’t heard of her before. Incredibly talented. Such economy of expression and yet emotions behind the verses are simply... breathtaking..." She paused looking up. Sydney was staring at the table, and Marissa could see her jaw working, muscles bunching under the smooth skin of her cheeks. "Are you okay?"

The girl looked up at her and the smile she bestowed on Marissa dazzled the tall editor. Then Sydney threw her head back and started laughing.

"What’s so funny?" Marissa sounded indignant but she was fighting hard to keep a smile from quirking her lips. The sight of the young piercer laughing with her head thrown back was enough to pique her libido again. The skin of the girl’s neck was smooth and so fair, Marissa could see a vein running down the length of it, disappearing under her shirt. She wanted to trace it with her tongue and discover where it led to… What were we doing here talking anyway? Surely we could be doing something much more engaging…

Ariana wasn’t prepared for the wave of joy that swept over her with the editor’s words. It was a simple pleasure derived out of an honest praise. The pure quality of the feeling stemmed from the fact that she could number on the fingers of one hand the times someone had commended her in her life. She felt light-hearted, all the bitterness and animosity she harbored towards the woman before her erased with two words. ‘Incredibly talented.’ It felt good.

She contained her merriment realizing Marissa was waiting for an explanation for her sudden outburst. Eh, what can I… "Um, sorry to interrupt you like that, it’s just that I remembered you saying how you were trying to be cool in front of me." She chuckled again. "I don’t know, it just struck me as funny. Aeh, I don’t… forget it." She tried to keep a straight face, but a happy smile threatened to break through. She was amazed at how good she felt now that the need to feel angry was gone. Now she could concentrate on the pleasurable aspect of the evening. "I just didn’t take you for the insecure type, that’s all."

For a moment she thought Marissa was going to call her poor excuse and demand a real explanation. Then the tall woman shrugged, keeping her in sight.

"Oh, I’m usually not. Just like I usually don’t blush like a fifteen year old girl every ten minutes. It must be the company." Marissa was ready to get down to business. After four drinks, which - she suspected - were made with more kick than usual, and no food in her stomach, her old decisiveness and impatience started reasserting themselves.

A low chuckle. "Yeah, I get that a lot. It’s my boyish charm, isn’t it?" Not too long now. Ariana could see the undisguised gleam of lust clearly in Marissa’s eyes. Four drinks and the woman was ready to go. Cheap date, just like she liked them.

Marissa had to take a long draw of her drink in order to calm herself down. It wouldn’t work if she lunged at the woman right now. The conversation had taken another sharp turn and now the blonde in front of her, for the first time that night, was in the same mood as when they first met. She seemed more open somehow, carefree even, in contrast to her measured and attentive behavior from just a moment ago. Her eyes were sparkling, her voice was richer and the look she was giving Marissa right now, brought back that tingling feeling in between her legs. Dear god, and here she was wondering if she had misread the young woman’s intentions.

"Hardly. I don’t find boys charming at all." But she wanted to play some too. Why not return the favor in kind. "So, Sydney, how did you become a piercer?"

Ah, so she wants to play tease. I can do that. "How did I become a piercer?" The question was a common one, every woman she bedded ended up asking her that at one point or the other. She surprised herself by telling Marissa the whole story, instead of her usual ‘I like to inflict pain’ answer. "My friend Eva got me off the streets few years back and when she moved back here to open a studio, I went with her. I decided to give it a try and discovered it wasn’t a bad way to make money."

"She got you off the streets?" Marissa’s voice sounded a bit strangled and she seemed shocked.

Ariana laughed again. "No, not like that. God!" She took a sip of her beer, letting Marissa wait for her clarification. "I was living in Seattle at the time, except I didn’t really have a place to stay and I was odd jobs for this guy in order to make some money. I wasn’t walking the corners or anything like that."

"I-I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to…"

"Don’t worry about it. Shit, if Eva didn’t decide to help me out, who knows what could have happened." She knew she would have rather returned to Boston and her mother than start whoring like so many kids did, but if she could play the ‘poor kid on the streets’ card, why the hell not?

"How did, um, you and Eva meet?" What she really wanted to know was where Eva was now and exactly how ‘helpful’ was she to Ariana, but now that the girl had finally started talking she didn’t want to risk pushing too much. And where the hell did this jealous interest come from anyway?

Ariana paused as if deciding whether to answer or not. When she started talking her voice was low and she seemed more preoccupied with peeling off the label on her bottle than talking. "I was making a run for Steve – the guy I worked for – and he sent me to her place to drop off a … delivery. I spent the night." She looked up, blinking slowly, as if dispelling sleep from her eyes. "Eva offered me a place to stay and a job at the studio she worked at. When she decided to come to Boston, I came back as well."

When she smoothed a perfectly peeled Bass Ale label on the table in front of them, Marissa realized the girl was done talking. Amazing. So little said and so much implied. Unable to restrain her curiosity, she asked again. "Oh, so you’re from around here? You don’t have an accent."

With a smile, Ariana was back again. "Oh, yes. I’m a Chelsea baby, all the way. And I can say ‘pahk the cah at Hahvahd yahd’ as good as anyone else if I need to."

"And…" Marissa prompted. God, beautiful - yes, but eloquent…

Ariana chuckled. She had the editor hook, line and sinker. She wouldn’t even have to use her poor adopted baby story. "Nothing more. My parents, while they still talked to me, weren’t natives so I didn’t pick it up from them. And from the time I was seven I spoke more Spanish than English. Yo hablo Espanol como soy de Puerto Rico, Marissa." She loved to roll her R’s, and Marissa’s name just sounded so much better with a Spanish lilt to it. Apparently the editor liked it too, if she was to judge by how ice crunched under her teeth when Ariana said it.

"Chelsea, huh?" One of the Boston neighborhoods familiar only by constant stream of gang violence that was dutifully reported by the local news stations. "You had lots of Puerto Rican friends?" An image of a blonde, green-eyed girl amidst a group of Hispanic children flashed before her eyes and she wondered how close to the reality it was.

"Yeah. Kinda hard not to, living in my neighborhood. I was practically raised by our neighbors. The Garcias." Where her voice was flat and devoid of emotion at the mention of her parents, in that one word Marissa heard more warmth than in the last hour and a half put together. Straightening in her seat Sydney waved her hand dismissively. "Enough about that. How about you? I think I hear a trace of a Boston accent coming back again."

"I wouldn’t be surprised. It comes out in full force whenever I have a bit more to drink." Or when I’m flustered, and I sure as hell fit into both of those categories tonight. "I was born and raised in Cambridge but my parents aren’t natives either and they tried desperately to prevent me from obtaining it. Which of course did exactly the opposite, I would speak with the most god-awful South Boston accent you can imagine, grammatical errors and all. Drove them mad until they used the good old reverse psychology on me and I dropped it."

She chuckled remembering how her mom would have her speak with her Boston accent to all of her colleagues from the University, commenting on how good Marissa was at capturing the accent and inflection of the Bostonian pronunciation of the word horse. At first Marissa would proudly say ‘hos’ to all the Harvard professors that would indulge her mother with listening to her, but then, in true teenage fashion, she rebelled, reverting back to her schooled, accentless pronunciation.

"Huh. That would be a sight to see – a highly polished and educated woman like you speaking in true Southie fashion." Ariana paused debating ordering another round of drinks. Deciding she didn’t want to stay there long enough to finish them, she continued. "Where are your parents from?"

Unsure whether to take the ‘highly polished’ comment as a compliment or a poke at her fashion sense, Marissa just smiled. "Well, my grandparents on my mom’s side were from Barcelona and came here during the Second World War. My grandpa taught Spanish at Wellesley College and if you’ve ever been to Wellesley, you’d know that people living there would never be caught speaking with a Boston accent. My dad, on the other hand, is a nice all-American farmer boy from Iowa."

Well, that explains the complexion and the eyes. I wonder if under all that refinement she hides a temperament to match her Latin heritage. Oh, one way to find out… "So, what was a nice girl like you doing drunk at a piercing joint at six o’clock in the afternoon?" Ariana was ready to get back to flirting.

There she goes again! Just when I think I know where this conversation is going. "Well, I already told you about Caroline and the baby and the girl’s night out and all." A small shrug. "As for me being drunk that early, I don’t know." Why was she telling her about this? "I guess I was feeling sorry for myself. I knew that with the baby I just wouldn’t be able to see Lin as much." She saw the girl’s expression sober with her words and she didn’t want that happening. Two can play this game. "How about you? Do you shamelessly flirt with every woman that walks in the studio?"

Ariana managed a laugh, but Marissa’s words rang only too familiar to her. She knew all too well what it felt like to be left for a new family. But this was no time to reminisce. Here we go. "Oh, no, not every one." She rested her forearms on the table, leaning as far in as she could, keeping her gaze level on Marissa. Her voice dropped to a purr. "Only the most beautiful ones."

It must be her cologne, because every time she leaned in towards Marissa like that, the tall editor looked as if she was ready to leap over the stained table and straddle her lap. God bless Estee Lauder and Pleasures for Men! That was the best fifty bucks she spent in a long time.

On her part, Marissa was having difficulty controlling her breathing. Every time the girl leaned forward like that, the overhead light would illuminate her face and her eyes would be clearly visible. And what eyes they were! As nonchalant or animated the piercer’s face was, her eyes always reflected a sliver of such sadness Marissa just wanted to reach out and soothe her. What is it with my protective streak and this girl anyway? Right now, though, the sparkling green of Sydney’s eyes was darkened by desire and the look she was giving her was raising goosebumps on every inch of her flesh covered in its hungry exploration. Why in heaven were they still sitting here?

She cleared her throat trying to get rid of the raspiness she knew would be there and failed. "Why, ah… Why don’t we go somewhere more… quiet?"

* * * * *

Again, they were out the door and walking briskly down the street before Marissa had a chance to say "Gotcha!". Sydney had just nodded her head in response to Marissa’s suggestion to leave and now Marissa was being spirited back in the direction where they came from. She wasn’t sure where the blonde piercer was taking her, and she didn’t care. As long as she could finally get those lips to do some of the things that green eyes have been hinting at for the last hour and a half. Now that they were actually moving she could feel how soaked her panties were.

The girl was pressed up against her as they walked, one arm hooked through the crook of Marissa’s elbow, the top of her head reaching Marissa’s shoulder. They were walking against the wind and long strands of strawberry-blonde hair were swept back, one floating up and caressing Marissa’s face every so often. She could smell the scent of sunflowers as it trailed past her nostrils and a faint trace of a man’s cologne.

As they rounded the corner she realized they were back at the studio. Sydney had stopped by the door, releasing her arm and fiddling with her keys, trying to find the right one in the semi-darkness. The only light was the flickery green of the neon sign above them and, looking up, Marissa saw that there were no lights on in the building. The girl was softly cussing, trying one key in the lock and failing. Marissa gave in to the impulse, stepping in closer, pressing her body against the smaller one in front of her, and lowering her head to nuzzle the neck obscured by the curtain of blonde hair. The scent of the younger woman was dizzying - soft and penetrating at the same time - and Marissa placed her hands on Sydney’s shoulders, pulling her in closer.

With a rattle the keys fell out of Ariana’s hands and she had to place both of her hands against the door in front of her in an attempt to keep upright. The warmth of Marissa’s breath on the back of her neck zipped straight down to her crotch and the intensity of the feeling was so overwhelming she could actually feel her head spinning. Dear God! You’d think I hadn’t gotten laid in months! The taller woman pulled her into her and Ariana could feel the warmth of Marissa’s body penetrating layers of clothing and burning its imprint into her back. Her hands trembled against the cold surface of the door, but she knew if she gave into the urge to turn around and pull the woman down to her lips, they would never make it inside.

"Wait." It came out as a harsh whisper and Ariana had to work her mouth for a few seconds in order to get enough saliva to form another sentence. "The door. Let me get the door." She unlocked her knees and slid down to where her keys lay and she found herself wondering if she’d be able to stand back up. A large hand covered hers and she looked up to see Marissa pick a key from the bundle she took from her and insert it into the lock. The door opened without a sound, exposing the darkness behind it. Oh, yeah!

 

To be continued…