tagLesbian SexMary Weaver: The Bookseller Pt. 03

Mary Weaver: The Bookseller Pt. 03

bydevagy©

VIII.

Some things change you utterly. If you have spent your life with your back turned to your true nature, there are two things that will change you, one way and then the other.

The first is the moment when you realise that you may never speak of what you want. Others may say what they like about their desires; they may say it dressed up in convention or suggestion, but there it is, aloud. You may not. Instead you live your life with the curtains closed on that part of yourself. It bubbles up in you all the same, leaves you wet and frightened upon waking, plagues you with half-remembered embraces all day. In the dull village, you only get the body you long for in your sleep.

The second is the moment you find that others are like you. To them, you may not have to say anything. You evolve a mutual understanding, a mute language of glances and signifiers. You know them as though you've met before, almost. They may become lovers, rivals, enemies, friends, it doesn't matter: they're there. They exist just as you do.

And if you're lucky, the third moment comes when another like you puts their hands to you, carefully, gently, joyfully, and brings your desire to the surface of your skin.

In every century this happens, in every place. Nothing can stop it. There is no way to beat it out of the human race, or burn it, or ban it by law or punishment. The same force that drives a tree root through a stone foundation drives this.

Mary Weaver felt as though her skin were about to burst into flower, break into leaf, send out some sort of sign that the blood in her felt as hot and fluid as it ever had. It was sap, alcohol, the nectar of the gods and it was in her. She felt the outline of ever nerve and fibre. Cabot drew one certain finger up the length of her spine, undid the buttons at the nape of her neck, brushed the skin there with sure fingertips. She drew the neckline aside, bent her sleek dark head to the skin of Mary's collarbone, to taste the salt sweat there.

"Come upstairs," she murmured, raising Weaver's chin to kiss the skin of her throat, her shoulder, her neck. She saw the pulse jumping. She had always loved the look of a woman's neck: the strong lines of the tendons and great vessels, so at odds with how delicate women's necks were supposed to be; the hollow at the base of the throat, dewed with sweat or powdered; the slenderness of it, beneath a mass of hair. She had come to adulthood when all women wore their hair long, and had never shaken off the erotic charge carried by the weight of a full head of hair. Mary Weaver's hair was long, dense, still damp at the roots and smelling of soap. Cabot found the grips and combs and loosened them one by one, drawing the locks down and running her fingers through them.

"Like fine silk," she said. In the dim light Weaver's hair was the colour of butter, buttercups, daffodils. "Come upstairs," she said again. Weaver's hand found the naked skin inside her open shirt. She stretched against her palm.

"What is upstairs?" Weaver was adrift, her head swimming.

"A bedroom," Cabot answered, mock-exasperated. Her hands wandered Mary Weaver's face: the lines of her mouth with its full lower lip, her small blunt chin, strong column of nose, the twin braces of her cheekbones, the full, enchanting span of her neck. The bolt of collarbone.

"A bedroom," Weaver said, and sounded unsure.

"Mm." Cabot kissed the skin beneath her ear, wound her fingers lightly into her hair, drew her head aside, kiss the nape of her neck.

"With a bed."

"Indeed." Her shoulder, her elbow with the hollow between the muscle and the tendon, the soft untouched skin of the inside of her arm, her wrist, the tensed palm. She felt the shiver go through her. "Do you not want that?"

"I -" Weaver, coming to herself, took back her arm. "I would rather not. Yet. Not upstairs. Not a bed, until, until - it's too much."

"Alright," said Cabot mildly. She stepped back, diffident, a little hurt.

"Can we, could we not stay down here?"

Cabot looked across at the room.

"It's just too much, a bed," Weaver said miserably.

"But it's just a bed. It's like every other bed."

"But that's just it. It's not. It's a bed with, with us in it."

"But it will be the same down here. A bed with us in it is the same as a couch with us on it or a chair with us in it, or - or, I suppose, the floor, with us on it. A bed doesn't solemnise anything. It's just a - well, it's just the usual thing, I suppose." She rocked from her heels to her toes, and back, thinking. "There's no rule that says it has to be a bed."

Weaver was staring down at her feet. Cabot rubbed a hand backward through her hair and admitted defeat.

"If you'd rather not," she said carefully, "that's quite alright. I don't - you shouldn't feel obliged."

"I suppose you've done this before," Weaver said lightly, dangerously.

"As it happens." Cabot felt herself stiffening.

"Often?"

"No."

"Do you have a lover, a husband?"

"No."

"A wife?"

"No!"

"Who, then?"

"Nobody, at present. None of those things."

"You live here quite alone?"

"Yes. I live here, I have my shop, once or twice a year I may go to Paris or London, if time allows."

"And do you do - this - in those places?"

"Frankly, yes. From time to time. It's hardly a habit."

"Tell me how you knew."

"How I knew what, for God's sake?" Cabot was stung now. "Miss Weaver, I am sorry if I have - misjudged - the situation, I suppose I have, and I apologise for it. If you would rather leave and we call this a, a misaffection -" her cheeks flamed - "then I'd rather you left. I will not have you here against your will."

"Tell me how you knew that this is what you wanted," Mary Weaver said, as if she hadn't heard.

"How I wanted what, for God's sake?"

"This," said Weaver, gesturing at herself, at Cabot. "Women."

"How I knew I wanted women?"

"Yes."

"Well how does anyone know what they want? By wanting it, of course."

"So tell me about it."

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