The Hardest Answer: Morning Afterbycawastedyouth©
Julia stretched and slowly opened her eyes and inhaled. She smiled seeing Lauren asleep next to her. Julia kissed Lauren's forehead and reached for her robe. Lauren only turned on her side.
'She wasn't lying. She's not going to wake up for anything until she's good and ready.' Julia smiled to herself and went to go make coffee.
Wrapped in her robe, Julia felt a little giddy. Never once had she imagined that waking next to Lauren could be so eye opening. Falling asleep in Lauren's arms relaxed her in a way she never imagined she would have ever felt. No one had ever seemed to give her that peace of mind.
Lauren was a curious lover. She'd hesitate with every touch they shared, and at time seemed to be youthfully shy.
'Give her time.' She mused with a smile as she measured out the coffee into the filter and turned the machine on.
The smell of fresh coffee puzzled Lauren. She never had coffee so her mind flew to an immediate emergency, until she sat up and realized she wasn't at home. Lauren lifted the sheet she was under and looked down. Promptly pulling the sheet against her, a flush grew over her and Lauren stared at the ceiling for a moment trying to figure out what to do. With a quick glance at the door, she grabbed her t-shirt and found her underwear and her pants and pulled them on. She ran a hand through her hair wishing her hair were shorter.
Lauren looked around the room trying to locate her button down shirt and scratched the back of her head. Her hands repeatedly checked her pockets. One had a wallet the other had her keys.
Julia walked into the room with a cup of coffee and was slightly amused to see Lauren dressed.
"Trying to find everything?" she teased.
"Well, I was pretty sure it wasn't a rip-your-clothes-off night." Lauren didn't respond, constantly patting her pockets and walking in a little circle.
"Are you okay?" Julia put down her cup on the dresser and found Lauren's shirt. Lauren was increasingly distracted walking around in circles by the bed. Lauren held one grey sock and looked at it detachedly unsure if she was going to put it on her hand and use it as a finger puppet or actually place it on her foot.
"Lauren come here." She pulled Lauren to the bed and sat next to her. Julia held Lauren close. Watching Lauren start to panic worried her greatly.
"Nothing is going to rush you right now Lauren. I'm here with you. Take your time." She whispered softly. Though Lauren's breathing was even and steady, Julia could feel Lauren's heart working overtime trying to reach a calming point.
Time passed slowly and finally Lauren spoke.
"I've let your coffee get cold."
Julia laughed. "I can heat it again Lauren."
"I know it is a lot for you right now. This part, the waking up and knowing what to do and what might be going through the other person's mind, this is the hard part." Julia said softly. "It's okay Lauren. I still want you. I still feel everything I felt for you last night when we kissed. You don't have to go anywhere right this instant, unless you need to. You can stay here with me until you're ready to talk because I know you will need to talk."
Finally, after another few minutes, Lauren's voice cracked. "Thank you."
Julia could feel Lauren relaxing.
"Do you drink coffee?" Julia asked softly.
Lauren shook her head. "Good, because I was going to say you need to stay on decaf." Julia laughed softly.
"I have a new toothbrush in the medicine cabinet. There are clean towels on the rack if you want a shower. I'll make breakfast." She rubbed Lauren's back gently and stole a gentle kiss.
Lauren mechanically went into the bathroom and sat down on the covered toilet seat with the lid down. She still shivered with paranoia.
'She was happy. She is happy. Why can't I be happy?' The film in Lauren's mouth won her attention and she opened the medicine cabinet to find a toothbrush and began scrubbing her mouth. Lauren's preoccupation dulled her senses. She might have otherwise smiled at the fact that Julia's bathroom was well coordinated, and that her toothbrush was the only odd color in the entire bathroom: a green one in a room of subtle blues and golds. Everything had a place in Julia's bathroom, even the blue plastic stepstool her son used to reach the sink. However, unlike other women, Julia did not keep her makeup in the bathroom, so there was no clutter around the sink, even with Jeremy's nearly florescent blue cup dispenser. In the dispenser, were a series of paper cups based on his favorite cartoon.
Lauren's mental tirade continued despite herself.
'She wants to talk. What are we going to talk about? I don't know if I can talk about last night. Please let it not be about last night.' A flush flew over Lauren yet again.
'How can I have sex and suddenly be afraid to talk about it with the one I had sex with? This is not okay. I need to be able to do this. She needs me to be able to do this.'
Lauren walked into the kitchen where Julia was busy toasting bread.
"Want anything in particular?" she stole yet another kiss from Lauren.
'I like this part.' Lauren told herself.
"Um, the toast looks good."
"Orange juice or milk?"
"Juice will be fine. Anything you need help with?"
"No, I've got it all under control."
Julia set a plate down with toast and a cup of juice for Lauren and sat across from her with a cup of coffee. "What's it like when you panic Lauren? What do you hear in your mind?" it was a stiff probing question from Julia.
She paused for a moment. 'She should know. It's not some dirty little secret.'
"It changes. Mostly its white noise of thoughts that I can't focus on one thought."
"What's in those thoughts?" What was in those thoughts that caused the anxiety just earlier?
Lauren played with the crusts of her bread trying to formulate the answer.
"I don't know. I guess it was weird waking up here. I didn't expect to. I don't know if there's stuff I'm supposed to do." She stared down the crusts wishing she didn't have to talk at all right now.
"Would you want what happened last night to happen again?" Lauren squirmed more both physically and emotionally.
Julia watched Lauren apprehensively, afraid that Lauren was going to deny her right at this moment. The hard questions needed to get out of the way now. The new day required that they face the reality of what both wanted.
Lauren continued to feel uneasy, she knew her answer wasn't even remotely constructed. Normally decisions requiring this much thought had more time between the question and the expected answer. To have Julia staring hopefully across the breakfast table with a sheaf of morning sunlight glaring off the well polished wood made things seem all the more vibrant and real.
'Last night I was in your arms and I wanted to be there more than anything else in the world. Just take me and don't let me go.' Lauren looked across at Julia. Lauren swallowed hard trying to brace herself at least physically for the probability that Julia had morning after remorse.
"I wanted last night more than anything in the world. I don't see an end, but I don't know where to go from here. I didn't know where to start. I need your help." Tentatively, Lauren reached across the table to take Julia's hand and Julia was bowled over when Lauren did not only take her hand but gently caressed her fingertips with a kiss.
"You're the first person since my husband that I've had unprotected sex with Lauren." The awkwardness of the preamble to this conversation was apparent but Lauren just tipped her head to listen to Julia.
"I don't know who or what I was waiting for. But having you here last night, I knew it was you. I just want you to know that. It's not too late to ask me anything personal that you want answered Lauren. It's important to both of us, at least sexually. I know it's probably the last thing on your mind, but it's there for you."
Lauren nodded taking a sharp breath and still reaching out to play with Julia's fingertips.
"I've never.." The honesty was unnecessary between the two of them. Julia held her hand. Lauren flushed uneasily and put her head down on the table. Julia ruffled Lauren's hair playfully a smile on her lips.
"I don't want you to go yet."