Drinks and CoffeebyVayene©
I sat in the back corner of Zorba’s and drank my third tiny cup of their Greek coffee. My head was no clearer, and I wondered if I should switch to retsina. I poked my lunch with my fork and sighed.
“You look like someone stole your teddy bear.”
I looked up into the smiling face of a woman with bright blue eyes, a wide, warm smile and thick black hair gathered into a heavy braid. She was about my height, but with an athletic build and she looked terribly familiar though I could not place her name to save my life.
She grinned wider. “Don’t know me with my clothes on, Dazzle? I’m Steph.”
I felt my throat and then my face grow warm as I blushed. I hoped she didn’t notice. “I guess not.” I waved at the chair facing me. “You’re welcome to join me.”
Steph sat down smiling. “That looks great, I love their pastichio.”
I shoved the plate across to her, “You eat it… I’m drinking.”
She looked at my coffee and my water and laughed. “Woo hoo! Heavy drinker here boy oh boy!”
Her smile was infectious and I laughed. Then I remembered Race and Anna and the tangled sweaty sheets I’d fled and I began to shake.
She same around the table and took the chair beside me. She held my hand and patted it a minute. “Take a deep breath, Baby-girl. Close your eyes, then take another.”
Obediently I did as she said. I could feel the shaking ease a bit. When I opened my eyes again, she had a forkful of food poised at my mouth. I laughed and took the bite.
“That’s my good Baby-girl,” she told me approvingly. “You going to tell me what happened to send you into a tailspin?” Her eyes were kind, and she was still holding my hand.
I intended to tell her thanks and let it go, but my mouth had other ideas. “You remember the bachelor party?”
She smiles, a slow, lazy grin that started in her eyes and filled them, spilling into her face, until I could almost feel heat coming off her like a stove. “I sure do, baby girl,” she told me. “My boss is still trying to get you to come in and dance for him regularly. He’d give me five hundred dollars cash if I brought you in to take a set.”
“He’s out of his mind.” The enormity of what she said distracted me.
She fed me another bite of my lunch. “He’s had requests... insistent ones.” She kissed my cheek softly. “So what about the bachelor party?”
I took a deep breath. “Race and Anna seduced me last night, and they want me back again.” The words just spilled out of my mouth.
Steph sat back in her chair and stared at me. “They did what?”
I felt relieved as I told her, the wine, the bed, the chains, and the sex. I blushed the whole time, but it was a huge weight off my chest to tell someone else. Through it all, Steph made me eat, she curled my hand around the fork and nudged it to my mouth whenever I started shaking.
God bless her, Steph hugged me when I was done. “No wonder you’re upset.” She pulled a ten out of her purse and laid it on the table. “Hey, Jason, ten cover Dazzle’s lunch?” she called to the man at the register.
“Ya, that does it,” he told her, smiling.
She dropped the ten on the table and got up, dragging me after her. “C’mon, baby girl. Let’s go someplace we can talk.”
Steph had a large second floor apartment with a lovely view of the train yards. She had a big airy kitchen, a huge living room. The bedroom was nearly as large as the living room. The bathroom was the same size as the kitchen and tiled in lemon yellow and glossy black. Her costumes littered the living room, along with a sewing machine and a huge pile of assorted trim; sequins, beads and ribbons of all kinds. She made us tea, ands settled on the couch. I took the other end of the couch and picked up a card of ribbon, rewinding it just so I didn’t sit there idle.
Steph picked up a bright green bra and began sewing sequins in place. She flashed me a big grin. “So Dazzle, did you like it?”
I choked on my tea. “What the heck kind of question is that?”
She laughed and kept sewing. “The only question that matters really. If you found it …pleasurable…and you really liked what you all did together… that’s where you start.”
I put my mug on the coffee table and stared at her. There was nothing in her eyes but simple kindness and a lot of laughter. I closed my eyes. In seconds the feelings flooded back, Race’s hands on my hips, fingers gripping hard, his thick shaft driving into me. I shivered, heat and pleasure rippling though me. My eyes snapped open.
Steph watched me, her mouth hanging open in awe. “Good heavens… did you just…”
I could feel the blush rise up my neck, and prayed to every god I knew that she wasn’t the kind who could tell when a black person blushed. My panties were decidedly wet and I got up and fled for the bathroom to dry and clean myself.
Steph was waiting when I left the bathroom. She pushed me back onto the couch and sat beside me. “Baby girl, if you could do that onstage, French would pay you any money you asked.”
I wanted the earth to open at my feet and swallow me alive. I could not remember ever being so embarrassed in my entire life. The thought of being on the runway flicked in my memory, merged with the feel of Race’s fingers filling my mouth, his teeth on my breast and Anna’s tongue flickering between my legs. I whimpered.
Steph pulled me closer until I lay half-sprawled on the couch, my head pillowed on her chest, her arms secure around me. “Baby-girl, you have got to get a grip,” she told me firmly. “How long have you known these people?”
“Always,” I told her, my voice breathy. Images of Race and Anna spun through my head. For Anna I’d attended a couple of football games, just so I could honestly tell her how she looked during the cheers. Anna perched on the railing of the deck at my parent’s house, posed like that silhouette girl you see on the mud-flaps of some trucks. Anna going up the stairs ahead of me as we ran to English. Anna dragging me to buy a prom dress, then patiently doing my makeup. That night would have been disaster, but Race had walked in, taken me away from my date, and together we’d laughed and danced and watched Anna be beautiful.
Suddenly I was back in the now and sobbing on Steph’s shoulder. She was warm and soft and smelled faintly of sandalwood. I could feel the soft swell of her breast under my chin. She stroked my hair and my back and made little murmuring noises into my ear. I felt calm and floaty. I sagged in her arms boneless and comfortable and safe.
Steph said something, it sounded like, “Baby girl, you should not be let out without a keeper.” She slithered out from under me. I remember making some sort of protest. But she kissed my forehead and covered me with a blanket. She asked me a question, and I think I answered her, but then I was asleep.
I woke up because I smelled ham baking. I knew I was at Steph’s, on her couch, but I felt rested and comfortable. I stretched under the blanket and rolled onto my side. I opened my eyes and froze.
Race sat on the floor, his eyes barely inches from mine. He reached out, caressed my cheek. “Have we ruined things Daisy-darling?” His dark eyes searched mine, anxious, loving, soft. “Did we scare you?”
My heart kicked and I couldn’t breathe. I stared at his face, his full mouth, the little grin that usually touched his lips was missing now. He looked serious and concerned. I did not remember ever seeing that look on his face before.
He leaned closer, touched my lips with his. His hand slid to the back of my head, holding me still as he kissed me. His lips were soft on mine. He coaxed my mouth open gently, then harder, forcing his tongue inside as his hand gripped hard and pulled me closer. He kissed me deeply, his mouth demanding.
I whimpered in his mouth as I flushed all over with heat and desire.
He broke the kiss, laughing a little. He dragged me off the couch and onto the floor into her lap. “Daisy-darling you scared us half to death. Never run like that again, promise me. Anna and I nearly called the cops looking for you.”
I heard the sound of heels, and then Anna squatted in front of us. Her glossy hair fell in front of the shoulder, and I could almost see the gleam of her panties up her skirt. She pushed her hair back, holding it out of her way with one had. “You ok, sweetie?” she asked, her eyes wide and anxious. “We were scared witless when you left like that.”
“I was scared,” I told her truthfully. I didn’t know why I wasn’t scared now, but I felt good in Race’s arms, safe and wanted.
“Dinner,” Steph called.
Anna got up, helped me to my feet. She hugged me hard, then walked to the kitchen. Race and I followed.
“No alcohol,” Steph said firmly. “You guys need clear heads.”
Race laughed and stood behind a chair. “I like you, Steph.”
Steph waved at us to sit down. “That’s what they all say.”
Race stayed on his feet until we were seated. “Smells great, thanks Steph.”
I ate hungrily, we all did. The ham was tender and Steph had gotten the edges all sweet and crispy.
Anna tasted the meat, looked at me, then smiled slowly. “Sweet and yummy.”
Steph swatted Anna. “Be good.”
Anna struck a sex-kitten pose. “I’m always good!”
We all laughed, and somehow, it was easy to be there. We laughed and ate and cleaned up in a friendly companionable way. Steph made coffee, spiking each cup, but gently.
“I know its none of my business,” Steph remarked. “But you three need to talk. And you probably need a referee.”
Race smiled and my heart gave a funny lurch. I loved that smile. I had always loved that smile. “Thanks Steph.” He held his hand out to me. “Come home with us, Daisy darling?”
Anna leaned forward, her cup cradled in her hands. “Please sweetie, we have plenty of room, we bought the house thinking of all of us. Race and I both make tons of money so that isn’t a problem either.”
I had taken Race’s hand from long habit, comforted as always by the warmth of his fingers. Now I froze.
“I think you might want to start a little further back,” Steph remarked. “Little details like why and for how long and when you hatched this plan might help.”
“Always,” Anna was perfectly sincere. She turned to me. “We’ve always wanted you, sweetie. Always. Those years in Waterbury were god awful, and I never want you so far away again.”
“I…” I had to stop and clear my throat. “I missed you too, you know that.”
Anna frowned and looked to Race.
He tightened his hold on my hand. “Not just missed you,” he used his reasonable voice. The same one he used when he talked me into posing on our English teacher’s desk. “I’m sorry it took us so long to be stable enough to be able to support you.” He grinned at all of us. “It couldn’t be helped, only you and Anna know I’m a genius.”
I laughed and felt a little calmer.
“So what are we talking?” Steph asked, “Sex toy? Second wife?”
Race looked annoyed and Anna flinched.
Steph merely grinned, “Someone has to use short words in this crowd. You guys will never get to the point otherwise.”
Race laughed reluctantly. “Yeah, we’re good at that.”
Anna looked tense, unhappy and lost, like she used to when we were younger. I hated that lost look in her eyes. Usually it meant she’d do something rash, or hurtful.
I got out of my chair and put my cup on the table, Then I went to her and put my arms around her. She huddled against me and nuzzled into my chest. I held her and felt more myself than I had since dinner the night before. This was my friend, the one who needed me sometimes, and sometimes was the one who tried to explain all about the real world. I felt strong and brave and confident, which is a lot better than feeling like myself.
I kissed the top of Anna’s head, hugging her gently. “We’ll always have Paris,” I told her, using one of our well-worn lines.
She smiled as she always did. “We’ve never gone to Paris,” she answered. She turned in her chair and wrapped on arm around my waist. “I don’t know how to say it. I really want you to live with us, or if you really want to have your own place, at least spend lots more time with us.”
“Now that you guys live close again…”
Anna shook her head. “No. Not like we used to. I mean, the way we, Race and I, always wanted to be with you.”
New, confident me had the guts to meet Race’s eyes, then Anna’s. “You mean, like dating spend time?”
Race smiled, his eyes dark, “We can date too. We want to take you places and spoil you silly, but I was a bit more interested in you naked and in bed with us in a permanent sort of way.”
The new brave me had a sudden urge to run and hide. “Yeah, well…”
Anna caught my wrist with surprising strength. I’d forgotten cheerleaders were strong in their own right. “No. Not like that,” she told me fiercely. “I want to be married to you, I want to wake up beside you. I want to know you’ll be there when I come home from work. I want you. I’ve always wanted you.”
“We should have said something sooner, but we wanted to be sure we could support you.” Race spoke quietly, serious as he seldom was. “We don’t want you as a housekeeper or a Cinderella. We want to marry you. It won’t work without you. We aren’t whole if you aren’t with us.”
I stared, struck speechless.
Race left his chair and wrapped his arms around Anna and me. “Daisy-darling, you’re all we’ve ever wanted. Please say yes. Come home with us, live with us, love us, let us love you.” His eyes glinted. “We’ve bought you chains and silk and really wicked clothes.”
I moved, intending to step away, but Race and Anna had their arms tight around me. “No,” Race said flatly. “No more running, darling.”
“Give her room to breathe, Race. Dazzle won’t run.” Steph leaned forward and patted my empty chair. “Take a breath. Sit down. Finish your coffee.”
Steph’s voice sounded like reason. I disentangled myself and resumed my chair. I gripped my cup and stared at my friends, trying to understand what they were thinking. They were quite serious. I could see it in their eyes.
“I’m… I’m at a loss,” I told them. “I mean, this isn’t exactly normal…” I felt silly as the words left my mouth. Race had never valued normal.
Steph said, “How do you two see this working. I mean, you really plan to support her?”
Anna said seriously, “She doesn’t have to work if she doesn’t want to, we can pay her an allowance so she has pocket money. Or she can work at whatever will make her happy.”
“I’d really rather you lived with us, Daisy-darling, but if you need your own place, that’s something we’ll just live with.” Race smiled at me as he stroked Anna’s hair. “We’re still us, darling. We can work everything out, I promise. Come home with us now?”
“You really want me… I mean…as if I was … pretty or something?”
Race pulled me from my chair and dragged me into his arms. He held me against him so tightly I could feel the bulge in his pants growing against my stomach. He stared into my eyes, his eyes so dark they almost looked black. He drove his tongue into my mouth, sweeping in past my teeth and filling my mouth until I could barely breathe. He held me prisoner against him, kissing me until my knees wouldn’t hold me upright. “Daisy darling, if you looked or felt or smelled any better, I’d take you here and now,” he said hoarsely. His eyes bored into mine, his gaze hungry and demanding. “Tell us yes, darling. Tell us yes.”
I glanced at Anna, then at Race. I saw our past unroll before me and realized suddenly, I did not have to give them up. “Yes,” I told Anna and then Race, said it twice so there could be no mistake. “Yes.”
“Thank god.” Race crushed me against him, kissing me fiercely. When he released my lips, I was dazed and my mouth felt bruised. “We’re all going home.”
Anna leaped to her feet and kissed me. When she stepped back, her eyes glowed. “I’ll start the car,” she said happily. She hugged Steph, “Thank you, thank you, thank you! If you ever need anything, you call us.” She left the kitchen and moments later I heard the door open and then close.
Steph put her hands on her hips and watched us. “You don’t have to go with them if you don’t want to,” she told me. “And you can always come back here.” She leaned closer and kissed me softly. Her lips were warm and softer than silk. She teased my lips with her tongue, then stepped closer, exploring my mouth with hers. She slid her tongue over mine and suckled it. She buried her hands in my hair and kissed me sweetly. Her mouth tasted of sweet coffee, and she smelled of sandalwood. “Don’t be a stranger now, Dazzle.”
Races led me out of her apartment, down the stairs and out to the car where Anna was waiting to take us home.