The sun shone brightly in the sky with the backdrop of the mountains and a few birds could be seen flying about. The view could make anyone looking at it take a deep sigh of contentment but not for the woman standing in front of her office window. In fact, the sigh that she gave was one of sadness. Not the deep heart wrenching kind she used to have six months before but sad just the same. Toni asked herself when she would start not to have that twinge whenever she would think about her. At least now she could say her name in her mind without having the waterworks start.
'Has it really been six months?' Toni thought. Well time flies when you are busy especially when you are trying to forget and she has been at that. In the past six months she has up and left Los Angeles to set herself up in Denver with a new job, new house, and a new small business on the side. She even has a new look her raven hair used to have a bob hairstyle but it was now past her shoulders bringing out their natural waves with her hazel eyes making her appearance more alluring. She worried about her chest size going down from C cup when she loss weight from a size 14 to a size 10 but that remained the same. On the light side it kind of felt like being in the witness protection program except for her name being changed. She was still Toni Stevens, daughter, sister, aunt, and ex-lover. Another twinge at that last role. The only bright spot of her transferring to Denver was being close to her sister and her family.
Lost in her thoughts, her intercom buzzed loudly in the room. "Toni, your sister Liz is on line two. Do I tell her to call you back?" Ems, her secretary asked.
"Thanks Ems. I'll take the call." Toni punched the line. "Hey Liz! Is there something I can do for you that you can't do for yourself?"
"Oh Goody! I see some of your humor is coming back!" Liz threw back. "For a while there I was worried you were getting too old and join the land of the fun loving and living, sister."
"Hey! May I remind you that I am 31 years old and you are 35 which makes you the older one." Toni quipped. "Besides, don't I join the land of the living whenever I am with you at the bar every weekend?"
"Honey! Helping out bartending every Friday and Saturday nights at a bar that you partly own with me is not what I would call having fun. Especially since you totally ignore all the flirting going your way by our customers both from the men and women species." Liz sighed. "It's been six months, Sis. You have to move on. Anyway, the reason I called is to remind you that you are having dinner at my house tonight. No excuses! Gotta go I have to pick up Ward from preschool . Love ya Sis!" then hung up.
Putting the phone down Toni thought back to six months ago when her world was torn apart by Laurel, the woman she fell in love with. Well, she was the first woman she fell for since she has always dated guys. There was just something about Laurel that Toni could not explain when she first saw Laurel. They met accidentally in a lesbian bar that she and her friends went to as a dare. And when I say accidentally it meant just that. When she and her friends entered the bar the place was so packed that they were separated from each other. In trying to locate her friends Toni backed up on Laurel when a tall & dark butch was trying to the put moves on her.
10 months before....
"Come on guys! Hurry up and let's get in there already." Deidre hissed at Toni and Jen as they dawdled outside of the bar.
"Do we really have to do this? Couldn't we just lie to Jeff and the others at the office and tell them that we did enter?" Jen pleaded while holding on to Toni's arm with a death grip as she saw some butch type coming in the place with one of them giving her the once over.
"No way! I am not going to lose out on the $100 cash that we will each be getting once we get this over and done with. Besides, we have to show them pictures from our cellphones and receipt that we were inside that was the deal. So get in there and let's party!" Deidre ordered pushing the two girls ahead of her. As soon as they entered they were literally separated from each other since the place was packed.
The next thing Toni knows she is already by the dance floor. She tries in vain to look around the crowded place looking for either one of her friends. That is when she notices a tall and dark butch come up to her really close. "Hey baby cakes! I haven't seen you here before. How about you and me getting to know each other better?" the butch flirtingly says as she touches Toni's hair.
Toni was so shocked with what has happening that she backed up on somebody. She turns around to apologize. It is upon seeing the person she hit that she feels for the very first time in her adult life a sense of rightness as she gazes at the face of the blonde that looked to be in her early to mid thirties. The deep azure of her eyes pulling her in like a magnet.
"Are you alright?" asked the beautiful stranger as it took Toni a few seconds to get her bearing especially when two arms were holding her waist to steady her.
"Umm..yeah...I'm so sorry to bump in on you like that." Toni replied. The blonde looked over Toni's shoulder and saw her predicament. She gave Toni a wink and whispered, "Follow my lead ok." And before she could even respond the blonde kissed her on the lips and said rather loudly for the butch to hear, "Honey! Where have you been? You said you would be here early."
Upon hearing this the butch grumbles and walks away. "Okay, she's gone now." I'm Laurel by the way. What is your name?" Laurel asked. "Toni. Thanks for helping me out." She thanked the blonde.
And from that time on the two started going out. After a month of Toni hesitating since it was her first time going out with another girl they were exclusively dating each other. The first time they made love was so special and romantic since Laurel wanted Toni's first to be a memorable one. She understood where Toni was coming from especially knowing the very conservative background of her girlfriend.
But after three months of being together and trying to persuade Toni to move in with her things started to crumble. The were factors involved in contributing to their demise. The first one was the fact that Toni still has not told her family about them. While Laurel, on the other hand, introduced her to her family and even had Toni join her family for Thanksgiving. The second one was Toni's officemate Chad who Laurel felt was forever flirting with her even with Laurel around. Laurel once said angrily while having one of their lover's quarrel that Toni was just experimenting and given the chance would jump on the bones of Chad.
It was on that horrible day six months ago that Toni remembers vividly Laurel's stoic face looking up at her from the bed that they shared so many nights and was now sharing with another woman and saying in a cold voice when she cried out asking why, " You are not worth it."
The words still reverberates in her mind after all this time and her eyes glistens as she remembers the pain on that faithful day.
"Toni, it's Doug on line one and he says it's very important that he speak with you." Ems buzzed bringing Toni back to the present.
"Yes Doug. What is important for you to call me while you are supposed to be vacationing on sunny Florida?" Toni asked.
"I am so sorry to bother you but remember the Forrester deal I was working on before I left? Well the buyers are insisting on signing the loan today instead of next week when I get back. It's either they sign now or they cancel buying the house. Please! Please! Could you just handle the transaction for me and I swear I will make it up to you." He pleaded.
"Where are the documents and what time are the clients arriving?" she asked without preamble.
"Umm... They are actually in the conference room and Lori has already given them the paperwork. All you have to do is sign off on the transaction." He stated.
"Wow! They must really want the house. Okay I will handle it from here. Just do me a favor and enjoy your vacation." She ordered.
"Thanks Boss! You are the best!" He shouted as he ended the call.
As Toni walked towards the conference room she saw Lori waiting for her just outside the door . She winks at her and says, "You're one lucky devil. The client is a hunk!" Toni raises her eyebrows and just shakes her head at Lori as she pushes open the door. Mr. Forrester was sitting while his female companion was looking outside one of the windows. Lori introduces her to the client, "Mr. Forrester, this is Doug's boss that will handle your transaction Ms. Toni Stevens." After Lori's introduction two things happened at the same time. Mr. Forrester stood up from the chair and his female companion whirled around from her perusal on the window with a loud gasp. It was latter that made Toni turn towards the sound and her whole world started to spin. "Oh my God! Laurel!"
To be continued.......