tagLesbian SexCherrywood Circle

Cherrywood Circle

byNathanRavenwood©

It was as Elaine collected the hymnals from the ends of the pews after Mass on a dreary Sunday morning that she saw the young woman for the first time.

She was sitting near the back, dark-skinned and striking, slender like a big predator cat. Her head was bowed slightly, so that Elaine could see her metallic gold eye shadow. She had black hair, braided thin and fetched with colorful beads at the ends. The shirt she wore was a light pastel pink, simple enough for the outside yet a little understated for church.

Then those eyes opened, a deep aquamarine that made Elaine still for a moment. She'd never seen eyes quite that striking. Looking into them made her think of water and the ocean... and of what lurked beneath.

Their eyes met, and Elaine hurriedly went back to what she was doing. Perhaps the young woman was a newcomer, hesitant at first to hear the word of the Lord. Or maybe she simply wished to remain at the back because that's what she was comfortable with. Either way, it was none of her business.

Elaine gathered one full stack, set them on the table in the back of the sacristy, then moved to collect the hymnals from the other half of the pews. After she was done she would go out to socialize for a bit before heading home. She tutted softly. Maybe she'd socialize for a bit more than usual. Ever since their argument a few weeks prior things had grown rather testy between her and Vincent.

She reached the back pew where the young woman sat, and coughed demurely. "Excuse me, but I need that book," she said.

The young woman looked up at her. Up close those eyes were even more entrancing, accented by the glittering gold makeup brushed around them. "Don't let me stop you," she said. Her voice was level and strong, full of confidence and grace.

"I've never seen you here before," Elaine said as she reached for the hymnal by the young woman's leg.

"I haven't been here in a long time," she said as Elaine added the book to her stack. "My name is Nala. And you are?"

"Elaine," she answered as she walked to the shelf at the back to put away the rest of the hymn books. "You have a wonderful name, Nala."

"Oh, you don't need to butter me up like that," Nala snickered. "My mom is from Egypt and my dad suggested the name after the character in The Lion King as a joke. To his utter horror my mother actually liked it."

Elaine smiled as she slid the last of the books into place. "Your parents sound... interesting."

"You have no idea. That's where they are right now, actually. They took a trip overseas for a few months and asked me to watch the house." Nala got up from the pew. "I've been at college the past few years. We used to come here every once in a while."

"Oh. Did you go to another church on the weeks you didn't come here?"

Nala shook her head. "Nope! We just didn't go to church at all those weeks."

Elaine frowned. "It's good for families to get into the habit of going every week."

"Eh, the occasional trip worked for us," Nala said with a shrug. "And I think we turned out just fine."

Elaine's first instinct was to press onward and insist that she was right. But there was a pride in the young woman, she could see already. She'd have to work her way up to that. Nala was young, there was plenty of time to bring her into the fold. So instead of pressing forward, Elaine changed topics. "Where do you live?"

Nala inclined her head to the side, the motion making her beaded braids click together. "North of here on Cherrywood Circle."

"All by yourself?"

Nala arched a razor-sharp eyebrow. "Miss Elaine, with all due respect, I'm twenty-two. I can handle myself."

"I never said you couldn't."

Rather than hostility, she got a cocky grin in response. "No worries. Will I see you next week? I've got someplace to be but I'd love to talk to you more."

Elaine reached behind her and flattened her palm against the wall. "I'm here most days of the week if you'd like to stop by. I pre-school little ones during the weekdays."

"Ah, cool! I might just swing on by." Then, to Elaine's shock, Nala actually winked at her. The flirtatious gesture made the older woman blink and her face grow a little red. "LIke I said - got nothing better to do." Nala straightened up and walked down the pew away from her, giving her a little farewell wave. "Nice meeting you!" she called as she left.

Elaine stood there for a few moments, trying to parse what had just occurred. Was Nala...? No, definitely not. The young woman was slender, elegant and well-spoken, nowhere near the typical uncouthness of a sinful lesbian harlot. But then what had that wink been? Was she just being humorous? If she was, Elaine didn't find the joke funny.

Her work finished inside the church, Elaine bowed to the altar one last time before turning and walking outside to the courtyard out in front of the church. The parishioners had gathered there post-Mass to chat, plan social events, and gossip.

Ms. Brinny waved to Elaine, breaking away from her small group to meet with her halfway. "Hello, darling!" she said, wrapping Elaine in a tight hug, her small handbag thumping the small of Elaine's back. "Good to see you this week. Is Vincent okay? Have you two made peace yet?"

"No, not yet," Elaine sighed. "I'm certain he'll come around. I have faith that he'll find his way back to the Lord eventually."

"Amen," Ms. Brinny echoed.

"What about you? How goes the search?"

Ms. Brinny made a clicking noise with her teeth. "It's stressful to say the least. The last man I took on a date thinks that the homosexuals need further legal protections! The absolute nerve!"

Elaine let out a nervous laugh. "Indeed." She had told no one else that her son Tobias was gay. Such an admission would be an immediate deathblow to her reputation within the church.

Ms. Brinny touched her arm. "Did you get a look at the young woman sitting in the back? Who was she?"

"She and I talked a little as I was picking up the hymnals. Her name is Nala, apparently she's a recent college graduate that's here for a while to watch her family's home."

"Oh, what a dear! We should send her something." Ms. Brinny looked past her, then patted her shoulder. "Hold that thought, darling." She swept past Elaine in a swirl of teal Sunday dress. "Harold! Come here and let me look at you!"

Elaine watched her friend go, then was distracted by further conversation with another group of single church ladies. Most of them were mothers with chicks who had flown the coop, like her, and she felt an easy camaraderie with them as they lamented the silly things their husbands did and what their children were accomplishing. Elaine at least was able to talk about Tobias's academic achievements, and avoid any references to his sinful behavior. Her husband, though, was a more delicate subject, and she did her best to steer the conversation away from Vincent with vague answers.

Eventually, the crowd began to disperse, and Elaine drove home with the A/C on full blast. It was a brutal August, and even though she wore a light cream colored dress to church there was only so much she could do to combat the heat. As she drove, her mind went back to Nala, delving further into the past to see if she could remember the young woman from before. She had vague recollections of a mixed-race family with a young, dark-skinned girl, but wasn't sure if that was the right image.

Vincent's bike was gone when she got home, which meant that he himself was gone. As she parked and got out of her little sedan, her eyes wandered across the street to their neighbor's house. She wondered if Dante was home. Vincent had been spending a lot of time with him lately, the two of them whittling away long hours in the garage on his motorcycle. She'd wondered initially if her husband just missed their son and was using the neighbor's boy as a substitute to assuage his need for male companionship, but why spend time with Dante when his father Mister Jefferson, who was Vincent's age, was available? It didn't make any sense.

Elaine tidied up around the house that afternoon, fixing a dinner of roast chicken and vegetables and eating by herself as she indulged with a Hallmark movie. She left a plate in the microwave for Vincent, got ready for bed, and knelt down for her evening prayer just before ten P.M.

"Lord I beseech you for health, for strength, and to guide my husband and son back onto the path of righteousness and away from sin. Amen." The words were simple and easy, given to her by her pastor to say every night before bed. So far, they had yet to bear fruit, but Elaine had faith, and through faith she would be successful. The prayer said, she got up and slid under the covers, tucking it under her chin. The familiar position allowed her body to relax, and she was asleep in moments.

That night, Elaine dreamed for the first time in a very long time.

She walked along a tile floor, the smooth surface cool under her feet despite the warm wind blowing against her side. Her clothing was almost nonexistent, a simple white shift draping over her that concealed absolutely nothing. Despite this, she was not ashamed of her near nakedness. Her body was no different than it was in the waking world, but here she did not see the imperfections, only the positives - her figure was still slender despite some stretch marks, her hips wide and maternal, her breasts still perky despite some natural sag. Overall, she was easily a maternal demigoddess, desirable still.

To her sides were voids of white light, but she didn't pay attention to those. Her gaze was focused on the end of the hallway, where a step pyramid of white marble, topaz, and gleaming gold rose up into the air. Behind the pyramid were statues of great beings - a man with the head of a jackal and a man with the head of a falcon. This was an old place - the Christian God held no power here.

Atop the pyramid, sitting on a throne of gold, was Nala. The young woman wore no proper clothing, only pieces of gold jewelry designed to accent her naked form. Filigrees of gold snaked across her chest like ivy, wrapping around and holding up her bare, full breasts. A band of black leather wrapped around her waist, draping her upper thighs in a transparent silk skirt that did nothing to hide the delicious expanse of her thighs and the snarled thatch of black pubic hair between her legs.

Elaine reached up and undid the catch on her shift, letting it flutter to the ground as she ascended towards Nala. When she stood on the same tier of the pyramid as her, Elaine knelt, her head resting against the arches of the younger woman's feet. "Does my body please you?" she asked.

A hand, soft as a cool breeze in the desert, reached down and cupped her chin. Nala raised Elaine's head. "It pleases me greatly," she murmured. Those nebulous blue eyes looked down, and Elaine saw the color flow and roil like the ocean on a breezy day. Nala dipped her head, and Elaine raised hers to meet it...

...and then she jerked awake in bed, breathing heavily. The room was dark, and beside her, Vincent snored, his back turned to her.

Elaine looked around in a panic, then settled back into her pillows, holding a hand to her chest to still her racing heart. What kind of a dream had that been? It was more lurid and lewd than any dream she'd ever had before. The sight of Nala's naked body had filled her with desire, the same kind that had fueled her connection to Vincent in the early years of their marriage. She hadn't felt that for a long time, that particular spark of desire. But with Nala? A woman? A woman who had to be twenty, twenty-five years her junior at least? Unthinkable.

She adjusted her posture underneath the covers, and as she did, her thighs pressed together for a brief moment. Elaine froze.

Why was she so wet?

It was like those first few times with Vincent, desire pooling in her groin made manifest to allow his hard shaft to slip into her femininity and fuck her silly. But she hadn't felt that distinct delight in a long time. How had a mere dream of a woman triggered such a visceral reaction?

She closed her eyes. It hadn't been the dream. It was just... something she ate. Too much baisley in the roasted chicken. Yes, that was it. The simplest explanation was more often than not the correct one, after all.

Elaine had playground duty the next day during lunch. Now that Tobias was off to college, looking after the youngsters during playtime was the closest she came to feeling like a mother again. She sat in the lee of the gazebo in the center of the preschool's playground next to a small blue cooler of water bottles, watching the children play. They gamboled through the worn playground equipment as children did, hooting and laughing as they gave vent to their restless energy.

As she watched the children play, Elaine's eye was drawn by a flash of color at the corner of her eye. Nala walked in through the breezeway into the courtyard, before her eyes fell on Elaine. Immediately Elaine felt her body grow tingly with the memory of the dream asserting itself. She quickly quashed the thought - she shouldn't be thinking about such things, especially not here within the boundaries of the church.

"Seems like you have a way with kids," Nala said as she walked over. She was still underdressed for where they were, wearing a purple and pink sleeveless shirt that showed off lean arms and bluish-purple jeans.

"Comes with raising one of your own," Elaine said, looking over the youngsters with fondness in her eyes. "I'm sure you'll experience that joy soon enough."

Something flickered past Nala's blue eyes, there and gone in a moment. "Maybe," she said. "Are you free?"

"For a little while, yes. Their parents are coming soon to pick them up, then I have about an hour before the afternoon service."

Nala smiled, showing white teeth. "You're one of those every day of the week people, aren't you?"

Elaine nodded. "I find it's best. One must foster a deep connection to the Lord, and the best way to do what is through daily worship."

"Well, before you get to that, want to grab a coffee or something? There's a little shop about a block from here that makes pumpkin muffins that are to die for."

Was Nala propositioning her? Elaine almost shook her head, as if trying to shake the thought away like a fly. There was nothing wrong with going with another adult woman to a coffee shop for a drink. Nor was there anything lewd or ungodly about it. "Sounds good!" she said.

They set out a little while later after the last of the children had been picked up. Despite the short walk to the coffee shop, by the time they got there Elaine was already panting in the heat. Nala held the door open for her, and as she did her dreads parted to reveal a gold hoop hooked through her left ear that winked in the mid-afternoon sunlight. "After you."

The chilly air inside embraced them as the door closed behind them. The shop was modern in design, a sleek circular bar area in the center of the space in front of them with eclectic shaped tables and chairs around it. A single barista leaned on the countertop, purple nails tapping away at her phone. The sleeves of her black button-up were rolled up to her elbows, and Elaine's eyebrows rose as she took in the barista's tattoo sleeves.

"Hey, Priscilla," Nala said.

Priscilla the barista perked up. "Nala! 'Sup, girl?" Her phone went back into her pocket and she moved to the coffee maker. "You have perfect timing, just made a fresh pot. The usual?"

"Please," Nala said. "And Elaine here gets whatever she wants."

The coffee shop was so... chique, and Elaine felt completely out of her element. She was far more used to soft carpets and the worn wooden benches of the church than this stark, ultra-modern space. As she stepped up to the counter, she saw laminated ads pasted onto the counter by the register. Most were local businesses, but among them was the rainbow gay pride flag.

Priscilla set a steaming black mug on the counter and looked at Elaine expectantly, her expression easy. "I can make you anything Starbucks can but better, just say the word."

Elaine coughed politely. "That won't be necessary, I think. Just some black coffee with some sugar is fine."

"You got it," Priscilla said. "Want anything else in it? Cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves?"

"Just as is is fine."

Priscilla had another coffee poured in moments, sliding it into Elaine's hands with a smooth motion. "Easy peasy."

"I got this," Nala said, slapping a five down on the counter that vanished into Priscilla's pocket in a flash. The two women grabbed their coffee and took seats at a table in the back away from the street side entrance.

Elaine blew on her coffee a few times before taking a sip. "Oh, that's good."

"Isn't it?" Nala lounged against the back of the chair, holding her mug by the stem with her slender fingers as she sipped from it. "They get beans from a local guy and make coffee until it's gone for the day. Priscilla's absolute magic with it."

"I never even knew this place was here."

Nala looked at her over the steam from her mug. "Forgive me, but you seem like the type of woman who doesn't get out all that much. Beyond the church I mean."

Elain flexed her fingers against the warm ceramic between them. Idly she wondered if the heat would warp her nail polish. "No, you're correct. I don't do much else. My husband is the breadwinner of our family. He's an accountant that works with a lawyer. We live over on Orchard Street."

Nala whistled. "Fancy." She sipped her coffee delicately, her eyes growing half-lidded as she did. The motion of her eyelid revealed she'd brushed more shadow onto the top of her eyelid, this time a beautiful lilac color.

Elaine felt a warmth blossom in her chest as the coffee settled inside her. That was what it was, yes. "What kind of house do you have?" she asked.

"Two story, basement, Dad repainted it a couple years ago while I was away at school." She grinned, flashing those gorgeous white teeth again. "Kinda funny to go away to college for a semester and then come back to see the whole place is dark green now."

"That's not a bad color," Elaine said. "Much better than the garish yellow the Stevensons down the block from us chose."

Nala took another delicate sip from her coffee, her deep blue eyes not looking away from Elaine's. "You know your neighbors well?"

"We've lived in Orchard Street for almost twenty years. I made a point to get to know everybody, even as people moved out." Elaine smiled. "It's a lovely little place."

"Not as much camaraderie on Cherrywood, I think," Nala said. "We always kept to ourselves a lot." She shrugged. "It's whatever."

"Indeed. What did you study?"

Nala answered writing, and they talked about books and literature and all manner of related subjects until the ceramic cups in their hands had grown cool and the sunlight shafted through the windows and got right in Elaine's eye. She checked her watch, then went stiff. "Oh my heavens, it's almost five! I need to get home to make dinner!"

Nala blinked. "Got a dinner date with your husband?"

"No, he'll probably eat later," Elaine said, hurrying to gather up her things. "But I'm his wife and it's part of my job."

One of Nala's thin eyebrows shot up. "Does he... make you do that?"

"No, I do it because I know it's what God expects it of me." Elaine shouldered her purse.

Nala made a noise, then got up. "Here, I'll walk back with you."

The two women hurried back to the church, where Nala saw Elaine to her little sedan. "Well, I did enjoy talking with you," she said, leaning on the rear passenger door. Her posture emphasized the plush curve of her rear in her jeans, the gentle slope drawing Elaine's eye. "Tell you what, why don't you come over for dinner on Friday? I can whip you up something my folks taught me, make an evening out of it."

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