This is more love story than sex story. If you hang in there long enough there’s eventually some sex, but that’s not really what it’s about. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. If that’s not what you’re looking for, if you’re too young to view this legally, or if the idea of two women falling in love and having sex just weirds you out – go outside and play.
I’m indebted to jacuzzigal for editing and more. To whatever extent this story has merit, it would have had much less without her help.
* * * * *
For what seemed like the hundredth time, Jeanne alternated taking her hands off the steering wheel and flexing her fingers to relieve the cramped muscles. “Damn it, I’m never going to get there,” she thought. Almost as soon as she had started driving, a heavy fog had rolled in, making her to slow to a crawl and grip the steering wheel so tightly that her hands cramped. Then to add insult to injury, when she was still about an hour away the rain started – and came down in buckets for the rest of her drive.
Diana had been sitting on the wide windowsill for nearly an hour now, worrying and watching for Jeanne. She had tried to keep herself occupied, but as the evening wore on, she found herself unable to concentrate on anything else. When she finally saw headlights coming up the lane, hours late, she ran out to meet her friend with a huge umbrella. They put off the greetings until they could run in out of the storm.
When they were finally on the dry side of the door, still catching their breaths, they paused and looked at each other. Diana said, “Hi. Glad you could make it,” and they both laughed, relieving some of the tension they had been feeling, each for a different reason.
Diana gave Jeanne a big hug. “Seriously, I’m so glad you’re here, Jeanne. I’ve been worried about you. Was your drive horrible?”
“Horrible doesn’t do it justice,” Jeanne replied. “It’s going to take me a while to unwind.”
“Would a glass of wine help?”
Jeanne didn’t have to think long. “Sounds wonderful.”
Diana disappeared into the kitchen, telling Jeanne, “Make yourself at home. And try to relax.”
As she waited, Jeanne studied her surroundings. This had to be one of the coziest rooms she had ever been in. Old, obviously, with stone walls and hand- hewn ceiling beams, and a massive fireplace taking up most of one wall. Small though; with a bit of a stretch, she could touch the ceiling, and she could probably cross the room in five or six steps. With all the wood and stone and antique furnishings, it seemed like the room would be dreary, but it was just the opposite. With the fire burning away, adding a faint wood smoke aroma, and Nora Jones playing softly in the background, she could easily see herself curling up in one of the big stuffed chairs and spending hours here. Or days – which, come to think of it, was the plan.
When Diana came back with two glasses of Riesling, they sat and started to catch up. Jeanne lost track of Diana’s words for a moment, though, as she found herself staring. Diana looked…well, fantastic. Better than she had in years, Jeanne thought. She had thought for years that Diana was wearing her auburn hair too long and full for her face, but whoever had cut it this time really knew what they were doing. It was finally flattering; much softer. Really flattering, in fact. It didn’t just frame her face, it positively caressed it. And country life seemed to have given her face a color that made the whole package – hair, skin, and eyes – work together terrifically, and really made those green eyes pop. It was more than skin-deep, though. Diana seemed to have a calm and a confidence that Jeanne hadn’t seen from her in a long, long time.
When the tables were turned and Diana had time to study her friend, her thoughts were less flattering. Jeanne looked absolutely exhausted, and what’s more, she looked like this wasn’t a recent development caused just by the drive. She seemed nervous, not remotely relaxed. And was this the girl who usually took a lot of care with her appearance? She didn’t seem to have given it an instant’s thought. Diana was increasingly glad she had invited Jeanne for a little break.
If nothing else, Diana decided, she would at least make sure Jeanne left here more rested. “I was thinking; it’s pretty late and you’re exhausted. What if I draw you a nice hot bath, and we save most of the catching up for morning?”
Jeanne’s instinctive response of, “No, no, please don’t go to any trouble,” died before it crossed her lips. She had to admit that a hot soak sounded wonderful.
“Then come with me,” Diana said, taking Jeanne’s hand and leading her up the stairs.
Turning to the door on the right, Diana showed Jeanne her room, and excused herself to run the bath. Jeanne hadn’t tried to bring her bags in from the car in all the rain, so she just sat on the edge of the bed, taking in the amazingly cozy room, sipping her wine, and waiting for Diana. She was also thinking about her friend. Diana had always been a dynamic sort of person, and no one’s first impression of her would have been that she was the nurturing kind. But Jeanne thought nurturing was a good word for the way Diana was acting now. Imagine Diana thinking to draw her a bath! And Diana had obviously been genuinely worried when Jeanne was late. This was a calmer Diana, more concerned about other people, and Jeanne thought it was a little different, but really very touching.
Diana returned, with an arm full of towels. “There’s a smaller bathroom downstairs that we’ll make yours while you’re here,” she said, “But to soak in a big tub, I’m afraid you’ll have to use mine.”
“I wouldn’t care if this tub was in the garage, Di; just point me to it.”
The tub was just getting full when they crossed the hall to the opposite door and went through Diana’s bedroom to her bathroom, and the bubbles were piling up. Diana turned the water off, handed Jeanne towels, and said, “I’ll be downstairs if you need anything. But if you’re bushed and want to go straight to bed, that’s fine, I’ll see you in the morning.”
“Oh, I’ll see you before I turn in,” Jeanne replied. “I’m pretty sure I couldn’t unwind enough to go straight to bed.”
Jeanne peeled off the clothes that felt like she had been sweating in them – which in fact she probably had, she realized – and paused in front of the mirror for a moment. Who was she to make judgments about how Diana wore her hair? It was obvious she hadn’t been taking care of herself these past few months. She could use a good cut herself, and her honey brown hair was just scrunched into a shapeless wad on the back of her head, without a thought given to how it looked. Her golden-brown eyes, that she had always considered one of her best features, were getting lost in the tiredness showing there, and she hadn’t made even a token attempt to do anything about that with makeup.
They were the same age, and it pained Jeanne to think that while she probably looked older than her actual age, Diana looked years younger. She certainly hoped a little time here would be as good for her as it seemed to be for her friend.
And yet, as she settled into the hot water, she knew none of that would matter to Diana in the least. She thought, “Now I remember why I made that god-awful drive. It’s so nice to be with an old friend that I’m completely comfortable around.”
Jeanne lay back in the tub, sipping her wine, and enjoying the faint floral fragrance and silky feel of the bath salts, and feeling the tension drain from her body. As she started to relax, her mind wandered over the things that had led her to this point. Her current funk was, at least on the surface, caused by her second husband leaving her for someone younger…a lot like the first one had. That had knocked her for a loop, of course, but it seemed to be more that that. He’d left nearly six months ago, and she should be recovering a little more by now. Jeanne thought she was too young for a mid-life crisis, but here she was, feeling completely dissatisfied with nearly every facet of her life. She didn’t know what would fix that feeling – God knows she wasn’t ready for another man in her life – and she had really been sort of drifting for a few months.
She felt like her life was less together than when she left college almost fifteen years ago, and although it seemed like she should surely be all cried out by now, the reservoir of tears was apparently bottomless.
While Jeanne soaked, Diana sat downstairs with a magazine open in her lap, but the pages weren’t turning. Jeanne’s presence had brought up thoughts of her own past that weren’t particularly pleasant.
Diana had been through some pretty rough times of her own. But she really was getting through them, and coming out stronger than ever. She’d had marriage troubles of her own, as Jeanne knew all too well. Diana could never forget the night she had shown up at Jeanne’s door with tears running down her cheeks and blood trickling from her lip. “I didn’t know where else to go,” she remembered sniffing through her tears. That was the beginning of six weeks of staying with Jeanne while untangling herself from an abusive husband. She could never forget Jeanne’s support and generosity during that time. It was entirely possible, she knew, that Jeanne had saved her life. Inviting Jeanne here now and offering whatever comfort she could wouldn’t begin to repay her for that, but Diana would do much more very gladly for the woman who had pulled her through that horrible time.
Husband problems would have been plenty to deal with, but on top of that Diana had also had horrible luck with her career, being downsized three times in two years. She couldn’t pay her bills, she couldn’t keep her car in good order…on and on. She had done her share of crying on the phone with Jeanne as well.
That’s why Jeanne had been so happy for Diana when she inherited this farm. Well, that’s what Diana’s family had always called it: the farm. But when they used it at all, they actually used it more like a summer place, a getaway. While Diana certainly missed the great aunt who had left it to her, it couldn’t have happened to her at a better time.
It was a small stone building, just four rooms – two up and two down – as would have been very common in the 1830’s, when it was built. It still sat on nearly a hundred acres that had somehow escaped division into little building lots, probably because it was so far out in the middle of nowhere. It had been in the family for twenty years or so, with the house sitting unused while big plans were made to develop the land.
But Diana’s grandfather and her great uncle had passed away before the development could happen, and her great aunt had finally decided to fix up the house and use it sometimes.
Diana’s great aunt had done a superb job of keeping the character of the place intact while modernizing it. The room where Jeanne was soaking, and the room under it on the first floor (which had been divided into a smaller bath and a laundry room) were the only additions, and it was still just a little farmhouse. It was spotlessly clean and beautifully decorated, though, and everything that counted was modern and comfortable.
Jeanne had to admit that the atmosphere was one of the most relaxing ones she had ever felt. After being here only a little more than an hour, and not even seeing all of the rooms, she was feeling quite at home.
Diana had retreated here a few months ago to try to put herself back together, and it had obviously done her a world of good. Jeanne could tell just from talking to her on the phone that she was much better since she had come up here, better than she had been for a couple of years, or since her marriage fell apart, in fact. So Jeanne hadn’t had to think about it very long when Diana asked her to pack a bag and come up here to do a little recuperating of her own.
Jeanne’s morose thoughts were interrupted by a soft knock at the door. Grateful for the interruption to that particular train of thought, Jeanne said, “You don’t need to knock!”
The door swung open and Diana came in with a big terry cloth bathrobe and the rest of the Riesling.
“Here’s a robe,” she said, hanging it on a hook on the back of the door. “I don’t want you to go back out to the car in this storm. And here,” as she held out the bottle with a smile, “is a refill.”
Jeanne chuckled inwardly a bit at this mothering attitude. “Thanks. That’s sweet of you, but I’ll have to go back out to the car before I turn in anyway. There are a couple of things I’ll need.”
“Oh, toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, all that stuff.”
“Don’t be silly, I’ve got all those things.”
“The storage case for my contacts. The solution for them.”
“Well, at least a change of clothes for morning.”
“We’ve worn the same size for fifteen years, you dope! Would you relax?”
Jeanne smiled, loving the fact that she was with someone who could call her a dope and give her a chuckle. “You win. I’ll get my stuff in the morning.”
Diana refilled Jeanne’s glass and started to back out the door, until Jeanne stopped her.
“Di…sit for a minute?”
Diana came back in and perched on the edge of the tub. Jeanne laid her hand on her friend’s, and said, “Thank you so much. Not just for the robe, or the wine. Thanks for…everything. For inviting me. For taking such good care of me. I think this is going to do me a lot of good.”
Diana leaned over and gave Jeanne’s forehead a soft kiss. “I know you’d do the same for me. You have, in fact.”
“Still,” Jeanne said, “you’re being wonderful about this.” Then, “I think I might turn in after all, I’m feeling much better, thanks to you, and I’m really beat.”
Diana leaned in and kissed her forehead softly again, and said, “You go right ahead, Jeanne. Sleep as long as you like, and I’ll see you in the morning.”
With that, Diana scooped Jeanne’s clothes from their pile on the floor and left.
For her part, Jeanne climbed out of the bath, dried off, pulled on the robe, and headed across the hall to bed.
Diana had the covers turned down for her, so she dropped the robe and slid right in between the cool, crisp sheets. It felt better than climbing into bed had in a long time, and there was a small smile on her face as she sank almost immediately into sleep.
* * * * *
Jeanne slept like a log and woke up feeling more refreshed by a night of sleep than she had in months. She felt that jolt that comes from waking up and not knowing where you are for just a second, and when she remembered, that little smile returned. She could still hear rain against the window, but instead of being depressing, this morning it actually sounded kind of soothing.
She had no idea what time it was, and there was no clock on the night stand, but she had the feeling for some reason that it was quite late. She tossed the covers back, slid out of bed, and found the bathrobe on the floor where she had dropped it last night. That wasn’t like her, and she realized that she must have been practically asleep on her feet. Odd, she thought, how unlike that she felt this morning.
She crossed to the dresser and found things spread out there: shampoo, a brush, toothbrush, all the essentials, along with a note from Diana, saying, “Just use my bathroom this morning. We’ll set yours up later.” She could have sworn she had laid her watch on the dresser with her earrings before she took her bath last night, but she didn’t see it now.
After taking a long, hot shower and freshening up, Jeanne returned to her room to find that while she was showering Diana had laid out some clothes in a neat pile on a chair. She found a pair of jeans, a big soft sweater, even underwear and socks. No bra, but then, giving her one of Diana’s would have been pretty pointless. For Jeanne, bras were really just a propriety thing, there wasn’t much to support. Only in her dreams could she fill one of Diana’s.
As she started to get dressed, Jeanne was surprised by the underwear Diana had laid out for her. In the pile on the chair, its plain white appearance hadn’t grabbed her attention, but it certainly did now. First of all, it was a thong, which she didn’t wear. It was also gorgeous, with lots of lace. But, she didn’t have any alternative, so she slipped them on.
As she made her way down the stairs, she ran into the aroma of fresh coffee coming up, and realized that she was starving.
When she turned the corner into the kitchen, Diana was already pouring her a cup of coffee. “Good morning, sleepyhead! Would you like some breakfast?” And then, with a grin, “or should we go straight to lunch?”
“Why? What time is it?” Jeanne asked as she slid into a chair.
“Beats me. Late morning, I think. I haven’t been–”
“How could you not know? And speaking of the time, have you seen my watch?”
Diana came to the table and put the coffee cup in front of Jeanne, then moved behind her and put her hands on her shoulders.
“I don’t know because I’ve realized I don’t need to know. Except for a few appointments, I haven’t looked at a watch or a clock for a month now.”
“You’re kidding. I don’t remember the last time I saw you more than ten feet from your PDA, much less without your watch!”
“Nope, I’m not kidding. It’s been incredibly liberating.”
“Wow. I don’t know if I could do that.”
“Well, we’re going to find out,” Diana laughed. “That’s why you couldn’t find your watch.”
“Oh, Di…I don’t know…”
“Shush. I’ve learned a few things since I’ve been up here, and you’ll have to trust me on this one.”
Did she really need to know what time it was, Jeanne wondered? She leaned her head back and rested it against Diana’s tummy. “All right, I’ll give it a try. It sure seems to be agreeing with you.”
“Good girl,” Diana said, giving Jeanne’s shoulders a little squeeze. With that, she put together some breakfast. Or brunch. Or whatever you would call it for whatever time of day it was.
* * * * *
It rained all day long, which made Jeanne a little restless at first. But Diana accepted it so calmly that Jeanne eventually understood that it wasn’t the end of the world. As it turned out, they never set foot outside the house that day. They drank coffee at the kitchen table and caught up with each other’s lives. They played cards. Diana built a fire in the fireplace, and surprised Jeanne again with her relaxed mastery of a skill Jeanne was sure she hadn’t had in the city.
They settled into opposite ends of the couch and read longer than Jeanne had let herself read in probably years. One thing they did not do was watch television; Diana didn’t have one here. That had seemed like lunacy to Jeanne just a day ago, but she was starting to think of it as brilliant.
At one point Jeanne stretched out and rested her feet in Diana’s lap. As Diana almost unconsciously rubbed her feet, Jeanne sank into a nap. Diana laid her book down and smiled faintly, looking at her friend, sleeping so peacefully. It just seemed so right to have Jeanne here. It was like they hadn’t spent a minute apart. How strange, she thought, that she would feel this so strongly, when she had been working hard on her independence and not needing another person to be happy. But there was no denying how comfortable this felt. Maybe this visit was going to be as good for her as she hoped it would be for Jeanne.
They went to the kitchen when it seemed like dinner time, and cooked together, which they hadn’t done since before Jeanne’s first marriage. Diana had a great dish planned with chicken in port and gorgonzola.
“This is pretty fancy for you, isn’t it?” Jeanne kidded, as she chopped chives. “Since when do you know this much about cooking?”
“Well, I’ve had to feed myself since I’ve been here, and you know what I’ve discovered? It’s not really any harder to cook good food than mediocre food. Besides, I’ve got the time for it now.”
“My goodness. You’ve become a regular Martha Stewart,” Jeanne teased.
“Oh, this is a simple one. Wait till you see some of things I’ve got planned for your visit.”
Jeanne was starting to wonder if she could be any more surprised by the changes in Diana.
They lingered over a leisurely dinner for ages, drinking their wine and talking as only two friends of many, many years can talk.
And they laughed. God did they laugh. Diana thought she hadn’t laughed like she did that day for…well, she couldn’t remember the last time.
Diana fed more wood to the fire, and they read a little more, until Jeanne realized that her eyelids were getting heavy.
“Who knows what time it is, but I think I’m getting ready to turn in, Di.”
“Of course, Jeanne. That’s the idea; go to bed whenever you’re tired.”
Jeanne rose and crossed to Diana, gave her a kiss on the cheek, and said, “Thanks again, so much. I’ve had a wonderful day. This is just what the doctor ordered.”
Smiling, Diana said, “It is, isn’t it?”
Then Jeanne remembered. “Damn it. A whole day of doing nothing, and I still haven’t gotten my things from the car.”
She sighed and headed for the door. But before she could open it, Diana’s arms slipped around her from behind and stopped her.
“And that’s been a problem because…? Go to bed, sweetie, and try to let go of these things.”
Jeanne’s instinct was to protest. After all, she needed those things. But as she stood there with Diana’s arms around her, it was almost like she could feel the calm flowing from Diana’s body to hers. And she realized that Diana was right. She’d gotten along just fine today, and another night wouldn’t make any difference. She turned in Diana’s arms until they were facing, and, smiling a little sheepishly, said, “You’ve had more practice at this relaxing thing than I have.” With that she gave Diana a squeeze, rested her head on her shoulder for just a second, and said good night.
* * * * *
Jeanne didn’t know what time it was when she woke up to her second morning at the farm, but it was certainly earlier than her first. She could tell from the bright sunlight streaming through her windows at a fairly low angle. One of her windows was already opened part way, letting in a slight breeze with that clean, refreshing morning-after-a-rainstorm scent that you just don’t get in the city. Since when was Diana an early riser, she wondered?
She went through her morning routine again, vowed that she was going to unpack, so that she would have her own makeup and the right things to fix her hair, and returned to her room to find a fresh set of clothes on the chair. This morning, there were jeans again, but Diana had given her a white scooped-neck tee shirt with elaborate embroidery at the sleeves and neckline. Very pretty, but it gave a little more urgency to the bra issue. And the underwear! If anything, it was even fancier than yesterday’s. Sexy, even. Where did Di think she was going?
Again this morning, breakfast and coffee were ready for her downstairs.
“Good morning! How did you sleep?” Diana asked.
“I don’t remember when I’ve slept as well as I have the last two nights. There’s something…I don’t know, relaxing, about this place. Peaceful, I guess.”
Teasing, Diana said, “It’s not all the place, you know.”
“Oh, I didn’t mean that! You’ve been terrific!”
“I know you didn’t mean that, sweetie.” And Diana grinned. “I was just teasing.”
“Well, you have. You must have things to do besides baby-sit me.”
Diana looked into Jeanne’s eyes and said quietly but firmly, “I came up here to figure out what was important and what wasn’t, and to concentrate on the important stuff. Right now, the important stuff is you.”
Jeanne wasn’t sure why that touched her so much, but she felt tears welling up as she hugged Diana. “You’re such a good friend, Di.”
“You’ve been there for me, don’t forget.”
Jeanne hesitated to break the hug. She was acutely aware of Diana’s warmth; the texture of her shirt; her scent; the protected feeling of this embrace. “This is just about perfect. How about if you just hold me like this for a week or two?”
“Jeanne, I’ll hold you as long as you like.”
On one level, that was the perfect thing to say, just what Jeanne wanted to hear. But on another, it was a bit over the top for a friendly hug, and they were both a little surprised and embarrassed by it. Jeanne started to untangle from the hug, and Diana dispelled the awkwardness by changing the subject to breakfast.
Over breakfast, Jeanne remembered to ask, “By the way, what’s with this underwear you’re giving me? This might be the most expensive pair of underwear I’ve ever had on!”
There was a hint of a blush when Diana answered, “That’s all I have now.”
Jeanne’s eyebrows were raised a bit when she asked, “You dress like this every day?”
“Jeanne, when you don’t see another soul for days on end, it’s easy to let yourself start looking like a slob.” With that, Diana stood up from the table, unbuttoned the top of her jeans, unzipped, and pointed to the front of yet another pair of super-expensive, super-sexy underwear. “When the first thing you put on in the morning looks like this, believe me, you’re a lot less likely to let yourself go.”
Jeanne’s gaze couldn’t leave that small triangle of white. Her breath caught in her throat and she felt warm. What was this? She had seen Di changing lots of times. So why was this so arresting? So…sexual?
Diana seemed to feel it too, since she turned away to zip up, and changed the subject.
“I thought if you’re up for it,” Diana said, “we’d take a tour of the farm today. The weather’s just about perfect for it.”
“You’ll have to help me with some chores this morning, and we’ll go after lunch. Deal?”
“Of course. I’d feel better if I was doing something to earn my keep.”
“It’s not a matter of earning your keep, you goof. It’s just getting to the fun stuff quicker.”
“Well then, we’d better get busy,” Jeanne said with a smile, as they started clearing up.
Moving dishes from the sink to the dishwasher, Jeanne accidentally splashed herself, creating a big wet spot on the front of her shirt. Oh, great, she thought. Just the thing when you’re wearing a white shirt with no bra.
“Which reminds me,” she said, sticking her chest out in what she hoped was a comical manner. “I have got to get out to the car to get a bra.”
“Not for me, you don’t,” Diana replied, matter-of-factly. “I wish mine were your size so I could say to hell with a bra more often.”
“You don’t mean that. You know I’d trade with you in a heartbeat.”
“I do mean it.” Diana reached out to Jeanne and touched the side of her wet breast with her fingertips, assessing it frankly. “I think they’re perfect. You look good like that, you should go that way more often.”
There it was again. Jeanne knew she hadn’t meant it the way it sounded, but still, she blushed pretty hard, and she was surprised to feel her nipples blossoming. And not the blossoming that you get from the cold and don’t feel anywhere else, either.
* * * * *
They spent the morning cleaning, doing laundry, vacuuming, doing the mundane things it takes to keep a house running. Diana went outside to do some things, and when Jeanne went out to ask her a question, she found her behind the house, doing something or other with a compost pile. Jeanne found that pretty shocking; back in the city she would have bet that Di wouldn’t know a compost pile if she was standing in the middle of one.
When the morning was over, though, Jeanne still had not gone to unpack her car. She knew she should, but on some level she didn’t want to. On another, she felt like Diana didn’t want her to, and although she didn’t understand why that was important to her, it was, if she was honest with herself. Jeanne found the whole thing puzzling, yet somehow it seemed better not to examine it too closely.
When they met in the kitchen at the end of the morning, Diana asked, “What would you say to packing our lunch? There’s a terrific spot for a picnic up on the hill, and I’ve wanted someone to share it with.”
They assembled a classic picnic, with fruit, cheese, bread, and wine.
“Ready to go?” Jeanne asked.
“Well…almost,” Diana said. But she was looking at the floor and fighting laughter. “Except, this is a farm, you know.”
Looking down, Jeanne realized the cause of Diana’s amusement, and she had to chuckle too. She was still wearing the shoes she had driven here in; little loafers with tassels. Very cute, but entirely wrong for tramping around the countryside.
“I’ve got something better packed,” she said. “I’ll go get them.”
Just no. But it had popped out without Diana thinking about it.
“Wait,” Diana said, and she went to a mat by the door and got Jeanne a pair of those rubber L.L. Bean shoes. “These will be better.”
They probably were better. But there was something else going on, under the surface, and it had to do with unpacking. Apparently they both felt it. It was like unpacking would change something that neither of them wanted changed.
* * * * *
They decided to picnic first and finish the tour later, since they were both hungry. They walked up the little farm lane that led up the hill, and just past the top when the lane curved left, they turned off onto a path to the right. They walked through a small stand of trees, and out into what was, indeed, a terrific spot for a picnic. It was a sort of shelf in the side of the hill, covered in grass, and looking out over a view that stretched for miles. The sun was warming it nicely, and there was a little stream at one end, nearly overflowing from yesterday’s rain, and creating a lovely, delicate sound.
“Wow,” Jeanne said. “You weren’t kidding — this place is gorgeous. How did you ever find it?”
“You do a lot of walking,” Diana replied, “when you’re alone for days on end trying to figure your life out. Let’s eat,” she said, pulling a blanket out of her pack.
They lazed around, nibbling on their picnic and drinking the wine, talking sometimes, and other times just being quiet together and enjoying the view. The gentle breeze, the wine, the warm sun, and the stream bouncing over rocks combined to relax both of them better than a long massage would have in the city. When Jeanne lay back to enjoy the feel of the sun, she nodded off.
Diana moved close to her friend and gently pillowed Jeanne’s head in her lap. She sat staring out over the valley but not seeing it, deep in thought and toying unconsciously with Jeanne’s hair.
Diana knew it had been good for her to come up here. Until the past few days, she would have said she was doing very well, that she was happy, and that she felt more centered than she had in years. But it had been different the last few days. Before Jeanne got here, Diana had been visiting. Now, she felt she was home. The slight weight of Jeanne’s head in her lap was as comfortable as a well-worn pair of sneakers.
She didn’t know what was more surprising, the fact that she felt like this at all, or the fact that a woman had brought it on. She had never in her life had the slightest romantic feeling for a woman. Was that what this was? Sure, she loved Jeanne, but there’s love and then there’s love.
But one thing she had worked hard on since she came up here was acknowledging her feelings and not fighting them, and right now her feelings were that she did not want this to end. Yet, it had to – didn’t it?
She gradually realized that she had made a decision that this felt entirely too right to walk away from. She wasn’t quite sure what that meant, but she decided that while she wasn’t going to push Jeanne into anything she didn’t want, she was going to follow this where it lead rather than running from it.
Jeanne woke up slowly, feeling terrific, and taking a long, slow stretch. As she opened her eyes, Diana’s face was above her, looking into her eyes and smiling softly. Jeanne had a thought that surprised her: She had always thought Diana was the prettier of the two of them, but with the sun behind her head making a flaming halo of her auburn hair, and a soft smile that seemed to originate deep within those shining green eyes; it suddenly struck Jeanne that Di was stunningly, breathtakingly beautiful.
“Nice nap?” Diana asked. She brushed the hair from Jeanne’s forehead with her fingertips.
“Mmm. Very. I didn’t mean to do that, though. Sorry.”
“I’m not. It’s great to see you relax like that,” Diana smiled, still toying with Jeanne’s hair.
“Relaxed isn’t the word for it. I can’t tell you how much better I’m doing than I was a couple of days ago.”
“You don’t have to tell me. I can see it.”
“I guess I should start to think about how long I’m staying.”
The comfortable feeling Diana had been enjoying had suddenly been dealt a blow. “Why? Do you feel like leaving?”
Jeanne was surprised by the amount of concern in Diana’s voice. “God no! Leaving is the last thing I feel like. But I have to sometime. How long are you staying?”
“Well, no, you don’t have to. And I’m not sure how long I’m staying. To tell you the truth, I’m not sure whether I’m going back at all.”
“What do you mean I don’t have to? I do sooner or later, sweetie, and so do you. This place is heavenly, but picnicking on a hillside doesn’t pay the bills.”
“Well…that’s just it. I don’t absolutely have to go back to work. Turns out my great aunt was a much better investor than anybody ever dreamed.”
“You’re kidding! Why didn’t you tell me?”
“I, um…I guess I haven’t adjusted to it. I don’t really know how to tell people. Besides, I don’t mean I’m filthy rich. But I do have enough now that I could be pretty comfortable without working.”
Jeanne reached around her friend’s waist and gave it a squeeze. “Di! That’s terrific! I’m so happy for you.”
“I’m happy about it too, mostly. But it does create some questions about how to live the rest of me life. Like where to live it, for instance.”
“But you have the time to decide all of that with no pressure!”
“Oh, believe me, I appreciate that,” Diana said. “But…”
“But? What, Di?”
“Oh, it creates problems of its own. I’ll figure it out. Ready for a walk?”
* * * * *
They took a lazy stroll around the farm. Diana’s aunt had leased a lot of the fields to a neighboring farmer, so it still looked like a working farm, and the air had that earthy country smell that somehow seems to get down into your bones. At this time of year, the corn was cut, and little stumps of dry corn stalk bristled from the ground like a two-day growth of an old man’s beard, but at least they could see across the fields. Another field, closer to the neighbor’s place, held a few cows.
Jeanne kidded, “What’s with the cows? I didn’t hear you go out milking this morning.”
“They’re the neighbor’s too,” Diana laughed. “Dairy cows, they tell me. I didn’t know a thing about stuff like that before I came up here, but I’m learning fast.”
At the edge of the pasture they came to a stone fence, probably as old as the farm.
“There’s a gate,” Diana said, “but it’s pretty far down the fence. We can get over it.”
Diana backed up to the fence, and boosted herself a bit until she was sitting on it. Then she gave Jeanne her hand and helped her up that far as well. When they were both up, she turned her legs around and slipped off the other side. Taking Jeanne’s hand again, she guided her down to the ground on the other side. “You’re doing okay for a city girl,” she laughed.
They laughed and teased each other as they headed off, down through another field toward the house, but somehow their hands stayed together, and, in absolutely no hurry, they walked hand-in-hand down the lane until they came to the old barn.
Is seemed huge to Jeanne, several times bigger than the house, and she commented on that.
“That’s how they did things in those days,” Diana explained. “The barn was the business end of things. It kept you fed, and clothed. Come inside, let me show you.”
It had seemed natural to walk hand-in-hand down the lane, something you could tell yourself that any two close friends might do. But now, going through the door into the barn, there was a slightly awkward spot, where the natural thing would have been to release each other. It didn’t happen.
They walked into the center of the barn, and Diana pointed to things and explained to Jeanne how a barn worked. Mostly, Jeanne listened, but she couldn’t entirely ignore the warm softness of the hand holding hers.
“See, the hay would be up there, and they would toss it down to the animals.”
“How do you know this stuff?” Jeanne wondered out loud. “You used to think you were roughing it if you didn’t get your nails done on time.”
“You’d be amazed how willing a farmer is to talk about this stuff on a rainy day.”
Teasing, Jeanne said, “How willing he is to talk about this stuff to a pretty girl, you mean.”
“Oh; I don’t know about that,” Diana said; but she was smiling a little as she said it.
“Well, I do,” Jeanne said, and they looked into each other’s eyes for what got to be just a hair too long. Then longer still, until it was clear that neither of them wanted to break away.
“We should probably get back,” Diana said just above a whisper, and the spell was broken. “The neighbors said they would come by with the rent check. They worry about a city girl being alone out here, and if they see our cars there but can’t find us, they’ll probably call out the bloodhounds or something.”
Jeanne said. “Yuck. That sounds just like a stereotype: nosy neighbors.”
“No,” Diana said, thoughtfully. “I started out thinking that way, but I’ve decided it’s kind of sweet. People just watch out for each other more out here. They sort of have to.”
As they exited the barn and started back for the house they disengaged their hands. Diana was surprised that the absence of someone’s hand could be so palpable, and she wondered at how much she missed it.
It crossed Jeanne’s mind that she was no closer to knowing how long she was staying than she had been when she woke up this morning.
* * * * *
As they started toward the house, a dusty pickup truck pulled in. A man and a woman, probably in their fifties and definitely in work clothes, climbed out and went to the door.
They knocked: then waited a bit: then knocked again. When they didn’t get an answer, the girls could tell they were talking for moment. Then they started around the house, peeking in windows.
“See,” Diana said. “Told you they would be worried.”
“Oh my God,” Jeanne replied. I don’t know how you stand it.”
“It’s a different way of thinking in the country,” Diana explained with an indulgent smile. “They mean well. Besides, who else would know if something happened to me up here?”
They were quiet as they walked down to the house. Diana was concerned that her remark about being alone here had sounded like she was asking Jeanne for something. She hadn’t meant it that way. And indeed, Jeanne did find it somehow disturbing to think of Diana being up here alone, needing someone for some emergency, and being dependent on these strangers. She had worried about friends before, Diana included, but this was different. This bothered her on some sort of deeper gut level, and she vowed that after she left she would stay in closer contact with Diana.
Diana called out to the neighbors, and when they turned and saw the two girls, you could tell the smiles on their faces were genuine, and contained an element of relief. Di was right, Jeanne thought, it was hard to be mad about a thing like that.
Introductions were made all around. Jeanne learned that Sue and Dale were from the next farm down the road, and they learned that she was an old friend from the city.
She found herself saying, “I’m glad Di has you folks looking after her,” and there seemed to be some question in the look Diana gave her.
Sue was carrying a dozen eggs that she insisted Diana take, and Di pestered them to come in for coffee. This was yet another side of her Jeanne hadn’t seen before, and she thought it was really cute. It suited her.
They sat at the kitchen table and talked about things that Jeanne wouldn’t have thought Diana could pronounce, much less care about. The level of the well. Some health problem with a cow. As Diana made coffee and chatted, she would sometimes touch Jeanne’s shoulder as she walked by, or make some other gesture to let her know she hadn’t forgotten about her.
After one of these little touches, Jeanne noticed that Sue was looking at her differently. It was subtle, but Sue was studying her. And suddenly she understood: Sue was wondering if she and Diana were lovers! She told herself that that was understandable; they were awfully close. But there was more to what she felt, and she realized that down deep she kind of enjoyed that speculation. Wow, she thought, where did that come from?
Jeanne noticed that Dale’s gaze lingered just too long on her breasts when he addressed her. She began to think nasty thoughts about men being pigs right in front of their wives, when she remembered belatedly that she wasn’t wearing a bra. He was looking at her nipples, which were doing their best to poke a pair of holes in her top. She blushed, but she had the second strange feeling in as many minutes as she remembered Diana telling her that she liked her like this. And strangely, that outweighed the embarrassment she felt at Dale’s looks.
* * * * *
By the time Sue and Dale left, dusk was falling, and the girls decided that they were ready to put some dinner together. As she chopped vegetables for a stir-fry, Jeanne said, “You enjoyed that visit, didn’t you?”
Diana lowered the spoon she had been tasting with, and said “Well, sure. They’re nice people, don’t you think?”
“They do seem nice. But I’ll bet you didn’t know your neighbor’s name in the city.”
Diana thought about that for a second, and said, “You’re right, I didn’t. But here…it just seems right, you know?”
Jeanne smiled and said softly, “You’ve changed, Di.”
Diana was a little defensive when she replied, “I suppose I have, a little. But that’s kind of what I came up here for. You too, I thought.”
“Oh, no, Di! I didn’t mean it was a bad thing. I like seeing you like this, in fact. You’re…at home here, aren’t you?”
Another few seconds of thought, and then, “I guess I am, now.” Hadn’t she been thinking that very thing earlier this afternoon? “I wasn’t always.”
“Yeah, I’m sure it was a bit of an adjustment.”
“That’s not exactly what I meant.” Diana hadn’t intended to talk about any of this, but Jeanne gave her the “go on” look, and, again, Di reminded herself not to run from her feelings. “It wasn’t the same when I was alone here. The last few days…” and her voice trailed off.
“Aww, that’s sweet, Di. They have been nice, haven’t they?”
They moved on to dinner, but that conversation hung in the air around them.
* * * * *
The following morning, when Jeanne came back to her room to dress, she found a light, summery dress and a pair of sandals. The dress was white, with a camisole sort of top, spaghetti straps, and a “V” of lace between her breasts. Those breasts might not have been much, but this thing sure drew attention to them. She would never wear something like this to hang around a farm. It had been fun, in a way, letting Diana pick out her clothes, but she decided that she was just going to have to say something.
Of course, she didn’t realize that Diana had stared into her closet for almost half an hour this morning, thinking about what to give Jeanne to wear. Well, thinking about more than what to give Jeanne to wear. Thinking, too, about how they might spend their day, and how she would like to see Jeanne dressed for that. And tied up in all of this was a complicated bunch of feelings that she didn’t entirely understand, but she knew that the fact that it mattered to her so much what she gave Jeanne to wear was important.
As usual, Diana was waiting for Jeanne when she got downstairs.
When she was installed at the table with her coffee, Jeanne worked up her nerve and said, “Di, this has been fun, letting you surprise me with the clothes you lay out for me, but I can’t go around like this.”
Diana slid into the chair across from her, and said, “I thing you should. You look terrific in it.”
Why was this even a conflict, Jeanne wondered? It was silly to dress like this. Why did it matter that Diana thought she should? But it did.
“You look really sexy like that,” Diana said.
“I’m not shooting for sexy, Di. Nobody is going to see me but you.”
“And I’m chopped liver?” Diana grinned. “Actually, I thought I would take you into town today.”
“Yep. You’ve been raving about how much you like my hair. I thought you should see the girl who cut it.”
“See, as in let her cut my hair?”
“You told me you needed to get it cut. She’s really good.”
“I do need it cut. But just like that? And Di, I can’t go there like this.”
Diana was looking into Jeanne’s eyes as she said quietly but steadily, “Of course you can. You should. I want you to.”
Jeanne said nothing for a moment. She wanted to say no. And she wanted not to.
“But I won’t push you,” Diana said.
Silence hung in the air like a curtain between them for a full ten seconds. Jeanne had no idea why this was important to Diana, but she slowly realized that it was. But it also became clear that Diana had given her all the help she was going to.
Without consciously realizing that she had made a decision, she heard herself say quietly, “Okay, I’ll wear it.”
Diana beamed at her, and said, “I’m glad. Thank you, Jeanne.” Then, as if they had been discussing the weather, “Let’s have some breakfast.”
That sudden jolt of normalcy jarred Jeanne as much as the conflict had. But Diana was happy, and although that didn’t relieve Jeanne’s embarrassment one bit, it somehow justified it.
* * * * *
Jeanne had assumed that they would go to town immediately after breakfast, but Diana had other plans. She told Jeanne that she had a few things to do in the garden, and that Jeanne should just relax for a bit.
As if Jeanne could relax. She couldn’t believe that Diana was behaving as if nothing had happened, as if this was all normal. And then she realized that it wasn’t “as if.” Diana wanted this to be normal. Jeanne’s head was swimming and she had no idea if she could do this, or even if she wanted to. Or for that matter, even what “this” meant.
As she dug in the garden, Diana thought about what was happening between them. Somehow, getting Jeanne to wear that dress had been a turn of a corner for them. Even though she didn’t really understand why, that relieved her incredibly. She had feared that at any moment, Jeanne was going to shy away from letting their relationship grow any more intimate. For some reason that incident made her think that was less likely now.
Diana came into the house after a few hours, dirty and sweaty from gardening. And suddenly Jeanne was much calmer. Being in Di’s presence made all the difference. Alone, she would drive herself crazy with questions. But when Diana was with her, things were different.
“I’m going to shower before we go anywhere,” Diana said. “Would you be a sweetheart and bring me something cold to drink?”
As Diana headed up the stairs, Jeanne went to the fridge and stared into it for a while, trying to think of the perfect thing. Beer? Too early. Soda? Iced tea? No, she wanted to take Diana something more…what? More special, she realized. Finally she remembered the lemons in the produce tray, and she got out lemon, sugar, ice, and one of Diana’s best glasses, and made what she hoped was the perfect glass of lemonade. She found a tray and a cloth napkin, put everything together, and paused to make sure she liked the way it looked. She knew she was being silly, but she wanted to do something special for Diana. Jeanne wondered if she should go out to the garden and cut a flower to put on the tray, but even as she thought it she laughed at herself, and she headed for the stairs. Then she stopped, and stood there for a few seconds. She went back to the kitchen, found a bud vase, and went out into the garden, to cut a flower.
She took the tray up to Diana’s room. She could hear the shower running, so she put the tray on the bed and said loudly, “There’s a drink for you when you get out.”
The sound of the shower stopped, and Diana said, “Hang on a second, I’ll be right out.” And she came into the bedroom wrapping herself in a towel.
When she saw the tray, with the lemonade and napkin and flower arranged just so, she gave Jeanne a broad smile and said, “Jeanne. That is just perfect. Thank you. I’ll be down in a few minutes.”
As she descended the stairs, Jeanne had a grin on her face. She was pleased beyond reason that Diana had liked the lemonade.
* * * * *
Jeanne made them some more lemonade and got out some fruit and things for lunch. When she heard Diana’s tread on the stairs, she realized that she had been staring off into space, and wondered how much time had passed.
They had a very pleasant lunch, just as if this was just how everybody spent their days, and then Diana was ready to head into town.
It was a quiet ride. Jeanne felt as if every nerve in her body was on its tenth cup of coffee, and most of them had migrated to her nipples. Every time she moved she felt like the light dress was caressing her nipples, keeping them erect, and keeping Jeanne from anything remotely like relaxing.
It dawned on her, though, as they rode along the quiet country roads, that she was over-reacting terribly. Yes, this dress was a little more revealing than she would normally wear, but she had certainly gone without a bra plenty of times before this. She should have been mildly self-conscious, at worst.
Now that she thought about it, that was really only part of what had her so ridiculously keyed up, and a fairly small part at that. What really made this such a charged trip was the fact that she was dressed like this because Diana had asked her to. Obviously, Diana had had this trip in mind when she laid out Jeanne’s clothes this morning.
* * * * *
Improbably, there was a girl named Marsha in the little burg closest to the farm who was a real artist with hair. But because she was so good, she was also busy.
“Diana!” Marsha said. “I wasn’t expecting to see you.”
“I know,” Diana replied. “But I brought my friend Jeanne in for a cut. She liked mine so much she wanted you to cut hers.”
Jeanne thought that that was stretching it a bit, but bit her tongue.
“Gosh, Diana,” Marsha said. “She has great hair, I’d love to cut it, but I wish you’d made an appointment. I’m booked for another hour or so.”
“That’s okay, Marsha. We can wait.”
Jeanne found a magazine and a seat, hoping people would ignore her, but that hope was dashed pretty quickly. Marsha kept up a running conversation with her customers and with Diana, but it seemed like every time there was a lull she would try to draw Jeanne into the conversation. Where was she from? How did she know Diana? How long was she staying? It was nice of her to try, Jeanne thought, but it also had the effect of drawing the attention of every single customer to her.
Eventually, Jeanne softened a little, and joined in a bit. But in a way the dichotomy between the attempt at normalcy and the feeling that every customer who came or went was staring at the way she was dressed kept her more on edge than swinging to one extreme or the other would have. Certainly her nipples were no less sensitive, and no less prominent.
An hour and a little more passed like this, before Marsha interrupted her thoughts with, “Okay Jeanne. I’m ready for you.”
Jeanne was a little nervous as she settled into Marsha’s chair. After all, she didn’t know this woman, and she had no inkling when she woke up this morning that she would be getting her hair cut before the day was over.
“What are we doing today?” Marsha asked.
Jeanne hadn’t really thought about that. But as she searched for the answer, it was quickly obvious that Diana had. She jumped right up and went over to the chair, and started lifting sections of Jeanne’s hair, pointing to this and that, and saying things like, “Well, what would you think about…”
And Marsha would counter with things like, “No, I don’t think that would work with her hair. What if…”
Jeanne finally had to say, “Hello! Do I get a vote on this?”
They all laughed, and Diana and Marsha assured her that she could call the shots. But the fact was that Jeanne did do pretty much whatever Diana thought she should.
Jeanne wasn’t a vain person, but she did allow herself a little pride in her hair. She thought that she had really nice hair, and she hadn’t changed how she wore it for ages. But she sat there and let Diana direct things, terrified when occasionally the scissors would snip and a big hunk if it would fall into her lap.
When Marsha finally finished and turned the chair back to the mirror, Jeanne hardly recognized what she saw there. It was much shorter than she would have cut it on her own, and it fell entirely differently. But Diana and Marsha fussed over it and said how good it looked, and as a minute or so passed and the shock started to wear off, Jeanne had to admit that it was more flattering than the way she had been wearing it. It would take some getting used to; a lot of getting used to, in fact, but she could start to imagine liking it. But Diana really liked it, and against all reason, that meant as much to Jeanne as what she thought herself.
When they were back in the car, Diana took Jeanne’s hand and said, “You look incredible. I’m so proud of you!”
It had to mean something good, she thought, that Jeanne beamed at hearing those words.
* * * * *
Diana wanted to run some errands as long as they were in town; the bank, the dry cleaners, and a few stores, and before they knew it, everything was closing.
“It’s getting late. How about if we eat out tonight? I can show you off.” Diana laughed as though she was kidding, but Jeanne thought that she wasn’t, entirely.
Diana took them to the nicest restaurant in town. That wasn’t saying a lot – it wouldn’t have impressed anybody in the city. They did have wine, and candles, but not terribly good wine, or particularly pretty candles. But it was the best she could do and Jeanne appreciated the thought.
As they ate, Diana wondered if she was pushing Jeanne further than she wanted to go. She had promised herself she wouldn’t. “How has your day been, Jeanne?”
“It was…” Jeanne thought for a second, and said with a soft smile, “different. For one thing, this morning seems like a week ago.”
“Mmm. Or a lifetime, maybe. Good different?”
“Different different. I’m exhausted. But yes.”
“People are looking at you.”
Jeanne glanced down quickly to indicate her dress, and said sardonically, “No kidding.”
Diana paused, and then said, “It’s not the dress, Jeanne. Do you honestly not realize that you’re gorgeous?”
Jeanne blushed and said, “It’s just a haircut, Di.”
“It’s not the haircut. You were gorgeous before the haircut. You’re even more gorgeous now. You’re radiant. You’re lighting up the room.”
Jeanne was blushing furiously. “Stop it. I’m having a great time; I’m glad you think it shows.”
Diana smiled softly and shook her head the slightest bit. “You are such a nut. Ready to go?”
The car cut through the darkness along the country roads, with the windows opened a crack, filling the car with a rich, night time earth and hay smell. That wasn’t really registering with either of them, though. They were both thinking about that conversation in the restaurant, although their thoughts about it were very different. The subject of Jeanne’s leaving hadn’t come up once. And Jeanne’s bags were still in her car. How they had taken on such significance, she had no idea, but they represented something now, and unpacking would have been turning her back on…whatever was going on here. She thought Diana had really enjoyed taking her to town, and fussing over her, and she had to admit she found it awfully nice herself. And the next thing she knew, she woke up in the driveway.
* * * * *
Sometime in the middle of the night Jeanne woke with a start. She couldn’t remember exactly what she had been dreaming, but it had involved Diana, and it obviously had been sexy as hell, since her hand was between her legs and she was more than a little aroused. She lay in bed and tried to get back to sleep, but her mind was racing. What were they doing? They had gone way, way past a point where she could even pretend to herself that this was just how great friends behaved. Was this some sort of game, pushing an envelope that they knew they would ultimately not break? No. Whatever was going on, it was no game. But if they kept it up, it had to eventually come to an awkward point where they would have to back off. Diana wasn’t gay. Jeanne certainly wasn’t. There had to be a limit somewhere. What would happen when they reached it? Would it screw up their friendship? And would it be better to just tell herself she had reached it now, rather than later? But even as she thought that, she realized that she absolutely did not want to.
As these thoughts chased each other around and around in her head, Jeanne realized that her fingers between her legs were stroking softly. She thought she should remove them, but she didn’t – couldn’t, maybe. She let herself go, and, biting on the pillow to keep from making noise, found a release. It wasn’t as satisfying as she had hoped, but it was something. As she finally slipped into sleep, she was wondering if Diana had done that.
She couldn’t have known that Diana wasn’t sleeping either. She had been lying in bed, thinking about how much she wanted to cross the hall and climb into bed with Jeanne. She could hardly believe she felt like this, but there was no longer any doubt about it. She didn’t even have a clear picture in her head of what would happen if she climbed into that bed, but she knew she wanted Jeanne. She thought about what that meant. Did she want to kiss her? Yes, she realized. More? Yes. Suckle her breast? Touch her pussy? Kiss it? She knew, in the abstract, that those were the kinds of things that women did in bed. But even though she was letting herself acknowledge that she wanted a romantic relationship with Jeanne, those all seemed like alien concepts. Alien, yet she couldn’t stop thinking about them, as her own fingers found their way between her legs, and brought her a release of her own.
* * * * *
“How did you sleep?” Diana asked when Jeanne walked into the kitchen the next morning.
“Oh, I’ve done better.”
Bringing coffee and setting it in front of Jeanne, Diana said, “Really? You’ve been sleeping so well since you’ve been here.”
“I had some things on my mind, I guess.”
As Diana brought her own coffee and slid in to a chair across from Jeanne, she said, “Like what? You’re supposed to be relaxing here, remember?”
“Yeah, well…it’s not that simple.”
“Di; I don’t know what’s going on here. Pretending we’re a couple, or whatever we’re doing.”
“Oh. Do you feel like you’re pretending?”
Jeanne gave Diana a wry smile, and said, “Of course not. That would be too easy.”
Diana returned the smile, and, looking into Jeanne’s eyes, said, “Me either.”
This was getting Jeanne nowhere. “I know this has been fun, Di, but really, what are we doing?”
“I don’t know, Jeanne. But it seems to be what we both need right now. Why is it important to you to get the right label on it?”
Jeanne struggled with that one. “Well, because…I need to know…well…”
“What time it is?”
“What time it is?” Jeanne repeated. “What on earth does that mean?”
“You thought you always needed to know the time when you first got here. How do you feel about it now that you’ve let go of that for a while?”
“I’m getting used to it. Well, no, more than that, I’m kind of enjoying it, actually.”
Jeanne finally got it. “Okay, okay, I’ll try to let it go. But…I don’t know…”
“You don’t need to know, Jeanne. I don’t know either. We’ll find out. I don’t have all the secrets to life figured out either, you know.”
“You sure seem to.”
“Not even close, Jeanne.”
“So you’ve been thinking about this too?” Jeanne wasn’t sure if that made things better or worse.
“Not exactly. But about things like this, kind of.”
“I don’t understand. What kind of things then?”
Diana hesitated, thinking about whether to go ahead. But how could she not? If they didn’t move forward, they wouldn’t stay where they were, they could only move backward, and the thought of doing that gave her gut a wrench.
“You told me what you were feeling. I guess I should return the favor. You remember when I told you about not having to work? How that created questions of its own?
“Where to live my life will be easy, relatively. But…”
“I, um, also need to figure out…who to live it with.” And she hurried through, “I’ve been trying to figure out how to ask you to stay.”
It was like a punch to the stomach in a way, but yet a relief at the same time. Of course she had. Jeanne knew that on some level.
“Wait. Remember when I said it wasn’t the same before you got here?” Diana was struggling with herself. This would be crossing a bridge from which there was no going back. “This is how I want to live. It’s…well…I’ve never felt…”
A tear rolled down her cheek and just about broke Jeanne’s heart. There was no thought involved as she pushed her chair back and went to her friend. She dropped to her knees beside Diana’s chair and wiped the tear away.
Crying harder, Diana said, “I’ve ruined everything, haven’t I?”
Again, there was no thought involved as Jeanne leaned in and kissed Diana’s lips softly, and with their lips inches apart, whispered, “Shhhh. Diana, you know I love you.”
That hung in the air for a few seconds.
Then she whispered, more to herself than to Diana, “Oh…my…God. I love you.”
Then, to Diana again, “Diana,” and she started to laugh, “I’m such an idiot!” and she kissed her again. “I love you.”
Diana laughed through the tears, too. “I was starting to be afraid you weren’t going to figure that out.”
Now there were tears on both their cheeks, but not sad tears by any means.
Jeanne got serious for a moment, and touched Diana’s cheek as she looked into her eyes and said, “You knew this, Di?”
“Not all along. I think I started to figure it out on our picnic the other day, while you were napping.”
Their lips moved together again, and touched in the softest, barest possible way. Again. Closer by a hair; and again; until the touching became a real kiss. And it was like every kiss in their lives up to this point had been a pretend kiss. This was absolutely right.
Little by little, the kisses became less soft and more passionate. Their lips parted and Diana’s tongue tentatively traced Jeanne’s lips. It was hard to tell which of them was more surprised by how much Jeanne wanted that. Then the tentativeness faded as their tongues explored, dancing which each other.
Their hands got involved then, each of them hungry for this first feel of a woman’s neck, cheek, back. They couldn’t possibly stop exploring there, and the hands started traveling under clothes. Lips moved from lips and drifted over cheeks, eyelids, necks, ears…
When Jeanne’s hand found the curve of Diana’s breast for the first time, she stopped kissing long enough to say laughingly, “Mmm. Yep, I’d trade for these babies.”
Diana pulled away just enough to be able to move, and pulled her top over her head and off. “Well, you can’t trade for them, but I’ll tell you what; you can visit them any time you like.” It was a stupid joke, maybe, but their laughter dispelled the last bit of tension that had been lingering, and now this was pure joy. Jeanne reached around her new love and unfastened her bra and tossed it aside, then lowered her head and began to explore those beautiful nipples with her lips, her tongue.
Diana was unsure of herself when she moved to unbutton the top of Jeanne’s jeans, but when her hand traveled down to that point and hesitated, Jeanne took it and guided it forward, and just whispered, “Yes.”
Diana disengaged herself and stood, took a few steps away, and held her hands out to Jeanne, inviting her to come with her.
Jeanne’s eyes looked a question at Diana, then she started to say it out loud. “What are we…”
One more try. “Di, are you sure?”
“I’ve never been more sure of anything in my life, Jeanne. Are you?”
They headed for the stairs.
* * * * *
They spent the rest of that day just discovering each other. They both noticed with some amazement several times during the day that there was absolutely no self-consciousness about it. They made love gently and tentatively. They fucked hard and urgently. They slept and woke and made love again. They rose and ate when they were hungry, and went straight back to bed.
Diana was fascinated by her new lover’s pussy. She loved the look of it; she thought it looked like some gorgeous tropical flower. She loved the taste and smell of it, vaguely reminiscent of the outdoors; like her own but oddly different. She loved the feel of it and reveled in making it wet and slippery. She couldn’t get enough of it.
She rested her head on Jeanne’s leg and just looked at it while her fingers explored it, marveling at the way it was engorged. She pushed Jeanne’s hood up to make her pearl stand out just so she could look at it, touch it, kiss it. She moved closer and ran her tongue around and over that little button. She took it between her lips and sucked, gently at first, then harder as she sensed that that was what Jeanne needed. She never gave a conscious thought to technique, everything seemed instinctive, as though they had been lovers for ages and were tuned sharply to each other’s bodies. She would have been insanely happy to keep that up all day, but Jeanne arched and cried out so many times that she finally had to push Diana’s head away.
“My God!” she managed to get out, gasping for breath. “Need…a break!”
Diana slid up Jeanne’s body until she was lying alongside her, with Jeanne recovering from the stream of orgasms she had lost count of long ago. With her fingers moving softly between Di’s pussy lips and gently grazing the button at their apex, she discovered that watching her lover’s arousal was just about the sexiest thing she had ever seen. She strung Diana along so that she could watch that beautiful face, taking her gradually higher and higher, for so long that she forgot for a moment how badly Di needed to come, until Diana practically screamed, “Please!” And Jeanne slipped her middle two fingers inside and cupped Diana’s mons with her palm and put pressure on her clit. Diana immediately arched her back and went rigid, and Jeanne was amazed at how clearly she could feel the contractions around her fingers.
They rested in each other’s arms for a bit, until slowly, lazily, Diana started to return the favor.
Jeanne’s arousal was building slowly but steadily, when suddenly some sort of switch was thrown inside, and slowly and steadily wasn’t enough. She couldn’t get enough of Diana. She needed more, she was starving for more, just more; without even knowing what more was. She told herself that she should probably slow down, but she couldn’t, she was releasing something that she had to get rid of right now. She begged for more and pulled Diana into her until it hurt, and still she needed more. Even when the blood came, she needed more, and she pulled Diana and pushed herself onto her and willed more of her inside until she had her hand inside, and she came in a way that she had never dreamed possible, a way that made it seem like all the previous orgasms in her life had just been teasing.
It had barely peaked when another took her by surprise, even stronger. She was actually a little afraid. Was something happening to her head? Could she breathe if she needed to? She had never heard of anyone actually hurting themselves from coming too hard, but it sure seemed plausible at the moment. And she knew that this wasn’t just because she had a hand inside. It was because of who that hand belonged to.
And she sobbed. She lay there and sobbed, holding Diana’s arm tight, so that it was in her but still, with aftershocks sneaking up on her and causing her to tense and her breath to catch, over and over, each one barely less intense than the last, only slightly further apart. She sobbed and sobbed, releasing something dark that she needed to purge before she could let in the light.
She was home now, too.