Just Like Old TimesbyDracona©
We were drunk, my best friend Liz and I. No, we were beyond drunk. We were completely shit-faced, to use the vernacular. We sprawled side by side on the sofa in my apartment giggling at nothing.
“Do you remember that little pinch faced girl that wanted you so bad our last semester?” Liz asked me. He face was flushed and tears leaked from her eyes as she laughed harder. “The one who looked like she had just sucked a green persimmon?”
I tried to think through the liquor haze and came up with a name.
“You mean Bessie?!” I tried to act indignant as she giggled harder. “Hey, I could’ve married that girl!!”
“Get’em up Bessie.” She called out in a fake Southwest accent. “Yehaww!”
I couldn’t help but laugh too. Bessie Mason, that had been her name. She had followed me around like a stray puppy trying to get my attention. I tried everything I could think of to get her to understand that she just wasn’t my type. That was when Liz had come up with the perfect plan. We would pretend to be a couple. She had been dating another in a long line of total losers who took her for granted. She thought it would be fun to make him think she had ‘turned lesbian’, as she put it.
So we spent the rest of our senior year in college as a ‘couple’. We shared an apartment then, so it was perfect. We went on ‘dates’, did our shopping together, held hands in public and even gave a few fairly passable imitations of passionate kisses in public places. Word gets around in a small college town and soon my persistent suitor moved on to greener pastures. Liz's loser never even seemed to notice she had a new ‘love interest.’ She really could pick them, my Liz. Users, losers and abusers. That was her dating repertoire.
It seemed that her plan had no flaws, and we had carried it off well. There was only one small problem. My heart didn’t receive the memo that we were faking it. That last semester of our senior year I fell completely and irrevocably in love with my best friend, a straight girl.
I hid it well. We graduated and set off into the wide world to make our fortunes. She went her way and I went mine. She just didn’t know that she took my heart with her. I landed a great job in Portland, my home town, and I began living the lesbian dream. I had a nice car, a lovely apartment with a great view of the city lights at night. I went out and mingled in the local ‘scene’ and began to date. I dated a lot. I’m not saying that to brag, it’s a rather sad thing really. I rarely dated the same woman more than twice and I had my fair share of one night stands. My heart just wasn’t in it. My heart was in L.A. where Liz had gone after graduation.
We kept in touch over the next two years, through long phone calls, emails, chats on instant messenger. She called me to tell me about her engagement and impending marriage, at which she wanted me to be the maid of honor. I agreed enthusiastically, as any good friend would, then went out and got myself so drunk I don’t remember how I got home or why there was a woman in my bed who vaguely reminded me of Liz. Then I went out and celebrated when the whole thing was called off because she caught the intended groom in a compromising position with his office assistant.
When she had called in tears over her last romantic fiasco and asked if she could visit for a few days I hadn’t even hesitated. That’s what friends do, even when one is in love with the other and she doesn’t know it.
Now here she sat in the flesh, and she was as beautiful as I remembered. Her dark hair was longer, falling in a jumble of curls around her shoulders, and her figure had gotten just a bit curvier. Her blue eyes twinkled with the same mischief as always, and my heart did drunken flip flops of delight.
“What about that guy you dated...what was his name?” I waved my hand in a circle trying to conjure the answer to my question. Liz giggled madly.
“Which one?!?! I dated a lot of guys!”
“Yes you did! Slut!” We fell against each other in a fresh burst of laughter. “I know! Michael, not Mike, not Mick…’My name is Michael’.”
Liz laughed hysterically in recognition of my pitifully nasal imitation of one of her conquests during her ‘I need to catch a rich husband’ phase. That had ended badly for her as well.
A silence fell between us. One of those comfortable kinds that happens between good friends. I let my head fall back on the sofa and closed my eyes. It was good to have Liz here, just like old times. I felt her hand close over mine and turned my head to look at her through bleary eyes.
“You know, you’re a great catch, why don’t you have someone?” She said softly. She had turned sideways to face me and laid her head on the back of the sofa close to mine. I could barely breathe, but I knew this phase. We were entering the phase of the philosophical drunk, best to be avoided to spare embarrassment upon sobering up. Of course the curse of the philosophical drunk phase is lack of the ability to keep one’s mouth shut.
“Because I’m in love with someone I can’t have.”
“Oh.” Liz nodded sagely, “Is she married?”
“Not unless you forgot to invite me to your wedding.” I watched my answer swirl around Liz’s mind as she drunkenly contemplated it.
“Me?? But we’re best friends!”
And I had thought this was an intelligent woman. From somewhere anger bubbled up in me. Anger that she couldn’t see me as more than a friend, anger that my heart couldn’t let her go so I could get on with my life. I reached over and cupped her face in my hands holding her tight when she squirmed and giggled. Then I kissed her.
I kissed her with all the repressed passion I had felt for over two years. I crushed her lips under mine until they parted. My tongue slid into the warmth of her mouth and I thought I would cry at her sweetness. When I felt her tongue dart shyly against my own I drew back and stared at her in surprise. She had her eyes closed and she was breathing heavily. Her eyes fluttered open and the hunger I saw there was nearly more than I could take.
“Don’t stop.” She whispered. Her hands reached for me but I jumped to my feet and stepped back. “Jen, please…I…I want you.”
“You’re drunk, Liz.” I shook my head trying to clear it. “Hell, we’re both drunk. You don’t know what you’re saying and I have said too much as it is.”
I turned and stumbled off toward my bedroom. I waved an unsteady hand toward the guest room.
“Go to bed, Liz…just….go to bed.” My heart was breaking and my body demanded that I go back to her, but I couldn’t. She was the best friend I ever had; I wasn’t going to mess that up over some liquor inspired hormone trip. I somehow managed to strip out of my clothes and fall naked into bed to sleep the blissful sleep of the totally inebriated until morning.
Mornings always come too early and I was not a morning person on the best of days. When I felt the bed dip to one side I groaned and tugged my quilt up over my head. It being the morning after the night before made it even worse. I sniffed and smelled the tantalizing aroma of coffee. My nerves screamed for it. I peeked out and opened one eye.
Liz sat on the side of my bed with a perky smile on her face. She used to do this to me when we partied in college. The woman just did not have bad mornings.
“Come on lazy butt, you promised to show me around today.” She set a steaming mug of coffee on my nightstand and lifted the edge of the quilt to slip underneath. I closed my eyes again feeling close to panic. Maybe she didn’t remember last night but I did. Now here she was dressed in some short, thin kind of nightie that left little to the imagination, and she was climbing in bed with me.
In college we had often gotten in bed with each other on a weekend morning, it shouldn’t have been a big deal this time, but it was. For me at least. I took a deep breath and tried to act normal.
“What..” My voice squeaked and I cleared my throat to try again. “What do you have planned?”
She bounced a little as she scooted down farther in the bed and snuggled closer to me. I felt the panic again.
“I want to see this Saturday Market you’ve told me about for starters. Then Waterfront Park, I have a list in my room.” She reached out her hand and brushed my hair from my forehead. “Then tonight you are going to take me dancing.”
“Dancing?” I groaned and struggled to sit up. That’s when I was reminded that I had slept naked. Liz looked at my bare breasts and a strange gleam came into her eyes. I tugged the quilt up and looked anywhere but at her. “You aren’t going to make me go out and play straight again are you? I haven’t danced with a man since…forever!”
“Nope.” She leaned closer and kissed my lips softly. “This time I am going to play in your world, I’m going to ‘play lesbian’.”
I sat in shock as she slipped from my bed and sashayed out of the room.
“Oh this is going to be bad.” I thought to myself and headed for the shower.
Oddly enough, after a shower and a second cup of Liz’s fantastic coffee I was looking forward to the day. I slipped into my usual casual attire, faded jeans and a snug fitting t-shirt and comfy running shoes. The shirt showed off my breasts nicely making it clearly evident that I wasn’t wearing a bra underneath. I didn’t need to. My breasts were small enough and firm enough that they stayed where they were unless I set off at a jog, which I didn’t intend to do!
“Jeeze, come on woman! I thought you wanted to get going?” I called down the hall to the room Liz was using during her stay. She was such a stereotypical woman, always took forever to get ready and always late. She gave the rest of us a bad name. When she came out of her room though I took back all of my sarcastic thoughts. She looked amazing.
Liz isn’t very tall, at about 5’3” she just reaches my shoulder, and I figured that now she probably weighed in at about 145 pounds, making her nice and rounded in all the best places. Today she was wearing a retro looking halter top and pair of denim shorts and they showed her curves off to their best. I hadn’t noticed how tiny her waist was before, or the way her hips flared out. Or the way the muscles in her ass flexed as she walked. Her skin was tanned a beautiful honey brown and looked just as smooth. The last two years had improved on what nature had given her. She turned and gave a kind of pirouette when she saw me staring.
“You like?” She asked in a low husky kind of voice. God, what was she trying to do to me? I cleared my throat and grabbed my wallet and keys.
“I guess I’m going to be running interference to keep you safe from all the wolves out there, just like old times.” It was meant as a joke to lighten the grip of whatever emotion had a strangle hold on my heart. It failed miserably. Then Liz managed to make it worse when she walked over and slipped her hand into mine linking our fingers together.
“Not if you make it clear to anyone watching that I’m your woman.” Her eyes stared up into mine and I knew my confusion and pain showed clearly. “Just like old times.”
This was going to be worse than I had thought it would be earlier. A small voice whispered in my mind that it didn’t have to be, I could pretend. I could go with it and just for today treat Liz like she really was mine to love. In one day I could shower her with all the love I had never been able to give her before. I knew that when she left it would hurt more than anything I had ever experienced, but I was willing suddenly to take that risk.
“Well then,” I smiled down at her and brushed her dark curls back from her shoulder. “I hope you are ready for a great day, because my woman deserves the best. Come on gorgeous.”
The smile she gave me lit my whole being from the inside out. The world was suddenly a wonderful place to be in.
I kept hold of her hand as we went down to my car in the cool and shadowy underground parking garage. When I opened the passenger side door to hand Liz into the car I saw her staring at my chest in fascination. I knew from experience that my tiny nipples would be pointing through my t-shirt and I smiled to myself. Well, if she was my woman today why shouldn’t she look?
It didn’t take long to drive downtown and find a place for the car in one of the parking lots. Liz slung her bag over her shoulder and reached again for my hand, smiling almost shyly at me. I led her down the sidewalks and under the bridge to Portland’s Saturday Market. Vendor stalls of all kinds filled the outdoor marketplace; artwork, jewelry, clothing, food. So many things that one day rarely did it justice. Liz’s eyes were never still as she took it all in.
At one stall she stopped to ooh over the jewelry they had displayed. A particularly lovely pair of earrings caught her eye and she lifted them gently from the velvet display cloth. They were a chandelier style made from antique silver and sparkling crystals. I took one from her and held it to her ear. My fingers brushed lightly against her skin and I swear I felt her tremble. The earrings suited her and I turned to pay for them.
“I can get them.” Liz protested reaching for her bag.
“If I want to buy my woman earrings, I’m going to.” I said in a mock stern voice. She grinned at me then and slipped her arms around my waist.
“I will wear them tonight when we go out.” She murmured and stretched up on tiptoe to brush a light kiss over my lips. “Thank you, love.”
My heart lurched in my chest and I pulled her tighter against me without even thinking. She just felt so right in my arms.
Over the next few hours I took every opportunity to have her there. I held her hand as we walked; put my arm around her waist as we stood looking at artwork. Anything I could do to prolong physical contact with her.
I slid my arms around her from behind as she admired herself in the mirror of a clothing stall. She was holding a long sheer skirt up to her waist in contemplation. Our eyes met in the mirror’s reflection and something passed between us that I couldn’t quite fathom.
She purchased the skirt and a top that went with it refusing to let me pay for them, saying she was not a kept woman. I laughed and hugged her close again. Her body was so soft and yielding.
In another stall she held a vest made of white satin up to my chest and insisted that I try it on over my t-shirt. Her fingers beat mine to the buttons and seemed to linger a bit when they were done. She tipped her head to one side and looked me up and down before asking my opinion. I looked in the mirror and decided I liked the vest, but of course I would wear it on its own. I thought of the new pair of black jeans that were hanging in my closet that would go perfectly with it. I grinned. I knew what I was wearing when we went out tonight.
Liz slowly unbuttoned the vest and reached up to slide it off my shoulders. I watched her intently feeling heat coil low in the pit of my stomach. I couldn’t have hid my desire if I had wanted to. She looked into my eyes and swallowed hard, shy again. In that moment I wanted her more than I ever had. I wanted to crush her body to mine and kiss her until she cried for more.
“Are...are you hungry?” She stammered looking down as she folded the vest. I reached out and took her chin in my hand and tilted her face up to mine.
“Starving.” I said softly and leaned down to place my lips on hers in a slow kiss that gave no misconception of my feelings. It took several seconds for her to open her eyes when I ended the kiss and that hunger I had seen there the night before was back. A decision I had not even known I faced was made in that moment. Today she was mine. Tonight she would be as well. Tomorrow could damn me if it had to. “Let’s get something to eat and have it down at Waterfront Park.”
She nodded and handed the vest over to the vendor. I’m not even sure which one of us paid for it. I couldn’t take my eyes off of her and she seemed nervously aware of me. We carried our purchases back to the car and stowed them in the trunk. I kept an emergency blanket in there as well and grabbed it before shutting the lid.
We stopped by a little deli on our walk to the park and I ordered a cold pasta salad, a turkey sandwich and two drinks. Liz took the blanket from me and I carried our food. It was the first time that day we had walked without touching. I saw her glance at me from time to time and smile. My mind was racing with the implications of what was happening and I banished my worries and doubts.
The grass at the park was dotted with picnickers; couples, families, and groups of friends just out enjoying the sun. Liz spread out the blanket in a spot a bit away from the crowd and I started setting out our little picnic. I sat looking out over the river for a moment before picking up half of the sandwich and turning to hand it to Liz. She was rummaging through her bag and I watched her as she brought out a funny looking clip. Her hands gathered her dark curls up on her head and applied the clip to hold it in place. My mind became lost in thoughts of her soft hair in my hands, falling around my face as I looked up at her, or spread out across the pillow as I lowered my body onto hers.
“Jen?” Her soft voice took a moment to penetrate my daydreams and I realized I was sitting there holding out an empty hand. She had taken her sandwich while I was musing. “You were a million miles away.”
“No,” I said almost to myself, “Not nearly that far.”
We talked about little things. Our jobs, the cities we lived in, the people we knew. I wondered if she was finally ready to tell me what had brought her here. Why she had called me in the middle of the night in tears. I prompted her with innocent seeming questions leading her in the direction I wanted her to go. I had always been able to do this with her, talk her around in a circle until she came to the conclusions she already knew but wouldn’t admit.
“It’s never any good.” She said finally. She was leaning back on the palms of her hands with her legs stretched out in front of her. “I just can’t seem to find what I need in any of them.”
“In who?” I lay down on my back with my head near her knees and linked my hands behind my head. I asked the question knowing the answer already.
“The men I date.” She said with a touch of disdain in her voice. “You know, when I got engaged to Paul it was almost out of desperation. I needed to feel like I had someone totally devoted to me, someone I could depend on completely, someone who brought out the best in me and let me be all of that to them as well. Obviously he just needed to have a place to park his dick.”
“And this last man?”
“Oh, Phillip.” Liz sighed. “Phillip was absolutely perfect. He was attentive and devoted and caring and he should have been everything I have always been looking for. But I couldn’t love him. He finally got tired of trying to convince me it would work for us and gave up. The funny thing is I was relieved.”
We sat quietly for a moment and I felt like I could almost have slept I was so relaxed. Her voice came to me softly as if she didn’t really intend for me to hear her.
“There’s only been one person who ever made me feel like it was right before.”
I turned my head and looked at her curiously. Surely I would have known if my best friend had ever felt the kind of love she was talking about. She wouldn’t have been able to keep it a secret from me; she had always been an open book.
“Who?” I asked then watched in amazement as she averted her eyes and closed me off from seeing inside her. She shook her head.
“I’ll tell you later.” She said with false brightness and got to her feet. “It’s getting late, there are a few more things I want to do before we go out tonight. Break’s over, laziness, let’s go.”
All the way back to the car I wondered who it was that Liz had been so in love with. It had to have been someone she met in LA because none of the guys she dated when we were in college could possibly measure up. I was surprised to feel a pang of jealousy toward this unknown man. Had he held such a perfect gift in his hand and not even known it, not appreciated it?