We had our picnic in Annalara's garden. The sound of the rain hitting the canopy above our heads. When it was time to go I grabbed her hand and we ran in the rain together as far as the community center. As she pulled away to go inside I let her get at arm's length then held her hand so she would turn and face me. I smiled then let her go and ran around the corner to the community store.
I was beginning to like this person. It isn't about "falling for her," or wanting to get in her pants. That is a thing left in the past and long forgotten. No, it's not about that. It's about her and knowing her and finding the person inside so I can touch her and keep her close to me. Maybe it's about not wanting to let go of someone else so easily again.
But I think it's more about finding a friend.
I saw her the next day at the community center but no words were said. I noticed her noticing me and we both smiled but kept it at that. I think we were both thinking that, after what happened, it's not a good thing for either of us to be seen together. Things are finally starting to go back to normal around here.
She was absent from my life Tuesday and Wednesday. Then Thursday she came up to me at the community center and asked if I wanted to go walking with her again the next evening. She did this blatantly in front of a crowded room and I accepted.
We walked and talked for hours on Friday. When I went home I talked to Lora. We still aren't spending any time together, but neither seem to be concerned about it. I think we both need more time away from the other. Being together only reminds us of Emily and we're both trying to deal with it the best we can. Neither of us wants to push. Things WILL be alright between us again! She knows this and I know this.
I keep her fully informed of my relationship with Bethany and she trusts me. (Or she just doesn't care. But I'm sure it's the former.)
Sunday night we were both wearing jeans, sneakers and t-shirts. She had on a white T and matching jean jacket. I was wearing my black T with "I Am Boss!" across the front in red letters and a cape. (Yes, I've been wearing a long, dark blue cape recently. What about it!)
We only walked as far as Hopskin's Hill then she wanted to sit and watch the sunset over the Mississippi River.
After talking for awhile she right outta the blue said the Super-Amazing sentence that most people believe makes the world go `round...
"I'm not gay."
"You've said that," I replied.
"I just don't want you to get the wrong idea, Sara. I like you a lot. More than you know, but not THAT WAY."
I reminded her of my promise. "I don't even want you in THAT WAY," I assured her.
After a few minutes of silence, us both looking out over the river judging how much further till the Sun disappeared...
"Danny's cute," she said.
I replied, "Danny is adorable!," I told her. "And Emily did some research on him, too," I finished, then felt very sad at realizing I had mentioned her name.
"What kind of research?" She asked.
I remembered Emily's "The Case Of The Donkey Dick" story she had told me and just said to Bethany that I had forgotten what it was about.
"So, you've never dated a guy?" She changed the subject.
"Once," I said. "When I was fifteen I had an actual honest-ta-goodness BOYFRIEND. Aaaaaaannnd... He fucked me on the hood of his car then told all of his friends about it. No more virginity. No more boys," I said with a HUGE smile.
She got very quiet. "My father took mine," she said, but not looking at me.
I didn't know what to say to her. She didn't look at me, but said something else...
"I was twelve."
I couldn't take my eyes away from her but my mind couldn't think of any words to respond to her. I mean, what do you say to that??? She gave me a quick look then her eyes went back down the bluffs. I reached over and took her hand, clasped our fingers together, let her know that I was here and I was listening and that I wouldn't leave her.
"When..." she started then paused and looked at me again. "When I was fourteen I got so sick of it that I tried to hang myself in my parents living room. I tied a rope from the ceiling fan and tried jumping off the back of the couch, but the fan broke and fell on me."
"My mother was so angry," she said in a very sad voice.
I waited for her to talk but it seemed like she had said enough. Baby steps, I guess. I guess it was my turn.
"My dad died right down there," I said and pointed to the Mississippi River. "Right off Quincippi Island. It was a boating accident. I was waiting on the shore for him..." I started to choke up, "And..."
I stopped there. Knowing I had said enough. But Bethany was a little more curious than I...
"You saw it?" She asked.
I just shook my head then looked at her. We both had tears in our eyes now. I let her be the one to initiate the hugging, and she did. She whispered in my ear, "I'm sorry that I'm not gay for you."
Which made me laugh so fucking hard!
"It's okay, Lady Bethany," I assured her, "I'm not gay for you, either."
She smiled again then, "When... Back when I was trying to mentally escape from my father I use to make up all these fantasy stories in my mind. Different places I could go to when it happened. I always used the name Bethany in my fantasies. So when you called me that it kind of shocked me."
"It doesn't bother you for me to call you that does it?" I asked.
"No, I love it. In my favorite one I use to pretend that I was Captain Bethany Raye, thrown into the Delta Quadrant far, far away by a mysterious alien caretaker. Voyager was one of my favorite shows, and I always thought Captain Janeway was just so strong."
"I love Janeway," I agreed.
We noticed that the sun was setting and sat there holding hands watching it. I finally decided then that there was one last thing I had to tell her if we were truly going to make this friendship happen.
"I've been in your room," I said fast before I could change my mind about it.
"When?" She asked, but not in anger.
"David said he needed to show me something and took me up there," I told her then waited for the response.
"What did you think?" She said.
I smiled a little half smile and answered, "You're beautiful."
She stared at me for a few moments then took a deep breath and said, "I love you."
My eyes widened, "What?"
"No, I don't mean..." and, "Not IN LOVE... and, "I'm not gay..." She stammered out.
"I love you, too," I said, then decided it was my turn to initiate the hugs.
When we pulled away she said, "So, about Danny," then smiled.
And I thought of Emily again.
"You do that a lot," She said.
"What?," I asked.
"You look away. Then you close your eyes and look like you're trying to think of anything else except what's about to make you cry," she paused when I looked away and closed my eyes again. "It's Emily, isn't it?" And that one sentence did it. I started sobbing like a ten-year old and couldn't stop.
She hugged me and let me cry in her arms for a long time.
"You know what the worst thing about coming here after I broke up with Mark was?," she was whispering now that I had stopped making noises, "It was that he didn't come after me."
With that I realized I truly had someone new in my life that was going to become very close to me. It wasn't about sex, it was just that these were just two people who were both riding a wave of turbulence that intersected on their journeys.
I will love her forever.