Mysterious Neighbor Ch. 05byfantac64©
5 The finale
Sherri exhibits her sculpture, but the prize she wins is more than she could ever have dreamed of.
- 5 -
The long drive home from Lake Wanderlee gave me a lot of time to think. I wasn't sure exactly how I'd tell Lilly and Jillian. Lily knew Jennifer, or at least they'd met but I didn't think Jillian did. Oh, she might know of her, but I didn't think they'd ever met. So how do I explain that I was head-over-heals insanely in love with the woman that I was supposed to avoid? How would they react when they learned that I was, at the very least, bisexual, if not a total lesbian?
For now, there were more important things to do. I had to have a place to live until school started and I had to get my pieces over to the Arts building so I had time to get them submitted before the rush started. All that I needed for the first semester was the sculpture and one canvas, but I wouldn't be able to relax until they were both safe and secure in the class exhibit area. Fortunately, my first problem was solved when the key was right where I remembered.
I knew I was home when I went to the guest room to find a lovely letter from Lilly that started with "WELCOME HOME." I spent the rest of that day getting unpacked and organized, doing some laundry, (which presented some problems when the scent of our activities wafted over me.)
Once I was settled in and had a soda in my hand, I picked up the phone and punched in my calling card number. As her phone continued to ring, I got a terrible feeling but just as I was ready to hang up, I heard her sleepy voice.
"If you're calling to tell me you found someone else, hang up," she said.
"I've driven like a mad woman, cried my eyes out, missed you so very much, and what happens? I walk in to tell I'm home safe and you've been sleeping the whole time. Boy, I guess I know how much you miss me."
"I'm sorry, baby. I just got so bad I had to take something to knock me out. Did you see me chasing you down the road, begging you to come back?"
"I couldn't bear to look back, Jenn. If I'd seen you, I'd still be holding you in my arms."
"Where are you? I worried so much about you driving home alone in your state of mind."
"I'm at Lilly's and I'll be here until school starts. They won't be home before Sunday night some time."
We talked for nearly an hour, reviewing our plans and schedules, but then she started slurring her words and I knew that the pills were still working.
"Go back to sleep," I said. "I'll call later. I can't be there to lie next to you, but listen to my heart. She's telling you I love you."
"I love you too," she said. "I'll call when I'm awake."
"I'm driving up to the school tomorrow so I'll call you from the hotel."
"Try to stop me. Goodnight sweetheart. I love you."
Bright and early the next morning, I was on my way to the school, loaded with my art work and an overnight bag for the stay in one of the local hotels.
It was late afternoon when I checked in to the Heritage Inn, near the campus. I threw my overnight on the recliner and picked up the phone before I flopped down on the bed. My fingers flew over the keys and I held my breath. "Oh please, let her be there." I said.
She picked it up on the first ring. "I've been waiting for you."
"Oh really," I said. "Well, I'm here and I love you so much."
"So what are you doing now?" she asked.
"I just got to the room and you were the first thing on my mind."
"Are you naked?"
"No silly, I just got here."
"I've been laying here naked for an hour, thinking about you, trying like hell to keep my hands off your pussy but she's driving me crazy."
"Oh my god, Jenn, wait for me." I started to get up to strip but I heard her screaming at me so I picked the phone up again. "What? You're killing me."
"Does your phone have a speaker?"
"Put me on speaker."
"Honey, somebody might be able to hear us." I reminded her.
"I don't care," she said. "Maybe we'll give someone else an orgasm too."
I put the phone on speaker, but I threw a towel over it enough to mute the sound.
"Ok, you're on speaker."
"Now," she said, "I want you to stand up and listen to me. I'm going to strip you button by button, piece by piece and I want to hear you when you do it."
The slow strip drove me closer and closer to insanity. I wanted to rip everything off but she would have none of it. Her words, her obvious arousal as I got naked were bad enough, but to make the torture more intense, she made me caress, fondle, and toy with every bit of newly exposed flesh. By the time I was naked, I was so wet, it was seeping down my thighs. Only when I was completely naked would she allow me to lie down again. At that point, nothing she said or did could stop the intense need within my body for release. Nothing more was said, but, thanks to the speaker, we could hear, touch by touch, stroke by stroke, our rocket ride to the top, only to crash in screams and cries, into the abyss of orgasmic bliss. It was the strongest masturbatory orgasm I'd ever experienced, and one of two successive orgasms when my fingers refused to stop.
"I've been thinking about that all day," she said.
"I miss you so much," I told her but then those damned tears started again.
"Stop it," she said. "No more tears like that. We're going to be fine, both of us."
We finally settled down to talk about my mother, and Lilly and Jillian. Neither of us wanted to end the call but there wasn't a phone in the world that could give us the peace we both wanted.
With my exhibits in place, I could focus my attention on getting mentally prepared for school and making the move back to the tiny apartment I shared with two other girls, both seniors. Neither of them were in the arts though, so we didn't share many classes.
Late Sunday night, Lilly and Jillian got home from their cruise, frightening me to death when they tramped into the house, dragging suitcases and packages.
I got the wine out that I'd had chilling in the fridge and put out three glasses. I asked if they were hungry and put a cheese ball and some assorted crackers. In the meantime, they got everything up to their rooms and both came down wearing new robes with the name of the cruise line over their left breasts.
We hugged each other, I told them welcome home, and then Lilly broke out in a big smile.
"Oh good lord, Jillian, look at her. She is absolutely glowing! Someone's in love, I can tell."
I felt the blood flush into my face immediately. "Well, there have been some changes in my life," I admitted.
Lilly brushed her fingers over my face. "Love looks good on you, honey."
"So are you going to tell us or do we have to wait for the evening news?" Jillian asked.
"I don't know where to start," I said. "When I got to the cottage, I remembered that I didn't have a model for my figure study. When your neighbor was doing some stretches on her dock, I got the idea of taking her picture and working from that.
I was careful that she didn't know what I was doing, or at least I thought I was, but I'll tell you about that later. Anyway, I became very confused about feelings I had when I watched her and I had to keep reminding myself that I was not to contact her. Then the situation got worse when I saw her picture in a magazine I brought with me. The strange thing is, I had just ordered a print of her latest piece on line."
"Are you saying that you and she...? Jillian babbled.
"Oh hush," Lilly said. "Let her tell the story."
"Then one morning, someone knocked on the door. I thought it was UPS guy with my package, but there she was, in the flesh, more gorgeous than I could have imagined. She wanted to know if I needed anything from town, but then she invited me to go with her. She'd just sold a .major piece to someone and she wanted to celebrate but she didn't want to do it alone.
She insisted on buying me some of the most expensive sculptural clay there is, and a set of tools that I could never ever afford.
"You sold out?" Jillian asked.
"Will you keep quiet, Jillian? Damn you really know how to screw up a mood." Lilly said.
"So then we went out to eat and something magical happened. She reached up to wipe some sauce from the corner of my mouth and we looked into each other's eyes and we knew. We both knew in that instant that we had something special between us, but we shook it off. We went back to the house and went to sit in the chaises on the sun porch. The sun was almost behind the trees and I said something about wanting do that forever. In that almost darkness, I heard her get up and then it happened. I felt her lips on mine and I melted . It was such a sweet little kiss, but it set me on fire. Several days later, we both confessed that we were in love with each other."
"No, wait," Jillian said. "You went too fast from a sweet little kiss to the several days later part. We want the juicy details of what happened in between."
"Do I have to spell it all out?" I asked.
"Hell yeah," she said. "and I want the triple X version too, not the PG crap."
"Sherri, I know you think you love her," Lilly said," but you haven't known her for long and she is a very busy, very successful artist that travels a lot."
"I know, but I'll be in school so that works out."
"Wait till you have your first fight," Jillian said.
"We already went through a very nasty and very frightening time," I said, "and we never gave up on each other. When it was all over, we loved each other even more."
"I guess we'll be hearing a lot about her." Lilly decided.
"Yeah, you will," I said. "I know things are happening so quickly but I don't expect anyone else to understand. Just being in the same room with her excites me. A simple touch, or a soft kiss in the dark. The knowledge that she loves me as much as I love her. One of our special things to do is to work in the studio together.
"You may be assuming too much," Lilly warned.
"I don't think so Lilly. We've talked a lot and I think we both had to be sure before we could say it. One of the most beautiful things I heard was she told me that she bought the cottage next door for us. For us! Oh my god Lilly, I just about burst with love when she said that."
"Well, I'll be damned, my cousin is a lesbo. Welcome to the clan, girl."
"I just don't want you to have a broken heart." Lilly sad.
"There aren't any guarantees, Lilly. We both know that, and our love was certainly tested. I was ready to pack up and come home but what we have together was strong enough to carry us through. We just have to work at it ever day."
"With all that activity, did you get your work done?"
"Oh, I almost forgot. Thanks for reminding me. I'll be right back."
I ran up to my room to get the 8 x 10 print of "Ethereal Woman," a name Jennifer and I chose one day as we cuddled together in the studio.
I held it out to them and held my breath.
"Oh-my-god," Jillian said. "Is that her"
"That's my Jennifer," I said, with tears of pure love in my eyes. "She's even more beautiful when I'm holding her in my arms."
"Look at those nipples, Mom. I just want to bite one."
"Well, you can't," I said." They're taken."
I'd printed out several pictures of her, mostly in bikinis but a couple that I took of her in shorts and pullover. Then I showed them pictures that someone in town had taken of the two of us together. The last picture was a close-up of her which showed that beautiful smile, but even more outstanding, her eyes. Those beautiful eyes that made me love her more every time I saw her.
"Those are the eyes that captured my heart," I said. "They are so damned beautiful and when she looks at me like that, I just melt."
"I hate to ask this, Sherri, but what are you going to tell your mother?"
"I don't know, Lilly, but it isn't really up to her, is it? I mean, she's already told me I'm not welcome there and I look at the way she treats you and it just isn't important. I do want to tell her, but I don't want to throw it in her face. She still loves me. She just has a crappy way to show it."
"Do you still love her?" she asked.
"Don't be silly, of course I do. She's still my mother. I just hope she can find a way to keep loving me when she finds out. We'll just have to wait and see, I guess."
She came over to hug me. "If you're happy, I'm happy for you," she said. "I can't wait for a time when we can get together."
"That means a lot to me," I said, "but I knew you'd be happy for me. She's the best thing that's ever happened to me, and I'm not going to let anything or anyone take her away from me."
That night, when we were talking, I told her that Jillian wanted to bite her nipples."
"Ohhh, that sounds kinky. Maybe we could do a threesome."
"You'd better be joking, "I said, "or I'll bite those nipples right off."
"You'll never know," she said.
"Just remember who you're talking to. Would you take a chance on losing my love for a quick nipple treat?"
"You know better than that," she said.
A week later, Lilly and Jillian went with me to set up the apartment again. I put photos of her everywhere, but the good ones didn't go up until after they left for home. Once my computer was set up, I got online to one of the sites to order some new toys. A girl has to have something to keep her smiling you know.
Senior Showcase is a display of our summer projects in the gallery of the arts building. . Each student shows two pieces and the professor does a written critique, which we get after the exhibit. The pieces are then stored and displayed again at the end of the year, next to the works we did for class during the year. It was to show growth during the year.
The students did a walk-thru at a mixer the Friday before a public showing and I was quite pleased with the comments I received from the other students. Of course, everyone wanted to know who my model was, but they only got the name that Jennifer gave me
The next evening, our exhibits were displayed in the Crawford Room, a huge room with fantastic lighting. It was open to the public for a fee, which the college used to fun the arts program. We got to show off our talents, and it ended in a festive dinner dance.
When the doors opened, we did a quick walk-through and I was glowing with pride. The lighting department had done an outstanding job, placing a soft light below and in front of the interpretive piece which I called "Spiritual Flow." If anything, the colors seemed even more vivid, yet soft, highlighting the effect I'd worked so hard to achieve, (with Jennifer's guidance.). I'd used a variety of colors, swirling through the canvas, like a soft, summers breeze, over which I had applied filmy soft gray puffs, not unlike a fog. Using a combination of color patterns and the fog, I worked in a hazy image of a woman, obviously nude, but without any definition. She could have been any age or size, it didn't matter. She was floating through the mist with arms spread wide.
Each student had to remain near their exhibit to answer questions from the public, but we could talk to the students around us and to the public in general. There was a lot of interest in my display and a lot of question and I was on top of the world.
I heard a stirring at the front of the room, but I couldn't see what was going on. I heard someone say something about a wonderful surprise, but that's all I knew.
A couple from California and a woman from New York drew my attention and impressed me with the intensity of their scrutiny. The woman from New York asked if I was going to have a bid list for my work, but I told her about the spring showing. Any interest before that had to be directed to the school. I hadn't decided if I could sell either of them, but deep in my heart, I knew that "Ethereal Woman" wasn't going anywhere unless I was down to my last credit card.
I saw Professor Whitlow and a small group of people, who I assumed were financially supporting the school, working their way down the aisle, but my focus had to remain on the people at my exhibit.
I felt a tap on my shoulder and I excused myself to turn to see the professor, smiling at me.
"Well, Sherri, he said, "you've been stirring up quite a storm of activity over here. Several guests have already inquired about purchasing your works."
I flushed and smiled. "I'm not sure I'm going to let either of them go, Dr. Whitlow."
"I'm confused then," he said. "I understood that "Ethereal Woman" was already spoken for."
I shook my head. "I haven't talked seriously to anyone yet," I said, wondering where he got that information.
"Well," he said, "I have the lady right here with me."
He stepped aside and I melted. I couldn't speak, move or think. My angel stood there in a beautiful gown, with her long hair flowing over her breasts. My eyes filled with tears and I think I might have dropped to the floor save for the warm embrace of her arms as she held me so tight while I sobbed her name over and over.
Someone passed me some tissues and I eventually got myself under control to apologize to the rest of the group.
"Are we to assume that this lovely creature was the model for "Ethereal woman?" someone asked.
I took several deep breaths and held her to me. "This lovely creature is my mentor, my hero, my guiding light, and yes, the model for "Ethereal Woman," but more than that she is my best friend and just being in the same room with an artist of her talents is such an honor."
She kissed my hair and pulled me tight.
"Sherri and I met quite by accident this summer and I was taken not only by her beauty, but her commitment to her art," she said. She is very gifted artist in her own right and I'm extremely proud and flattered that she would choose this piece to show here."
"So Sherri," Professor Whitlow said, "Did you sell the piece to Miss Flint or not?"
I shook my head and looked into the eyes of the woman I loved. "No," I said, "but we reached a compromise. The piece she gets is larger and anatomically detailed."
There were some knowing chuckles as the group moved on but she bent to kiss me and tell me that she'd be back.
About an hour later, Lilly, Jillian and my mother came in. I felt a chill run through me and I muttered a prayer that nothing happened to spoil this most beautiful night. Lilly was dazzling in a champagne gown that flowed around her like a cloud. The pearls she wore were perfect She was, quite simply, beautiful. Jillian had chosen a soft, creamy ivory gown that went great with her long brown hair. Around her neck, she wore a necklace of amber gems that plunged down into her cleavage, which I knew had some help from a push up bra. For quite a while, Mom didn't even acknowledge me, speaking instead to some of the other students. Then she came over to walk around my exhibit. My heart was shaking so much I could hardly stand it.
"It's beautiful, honey," she finally said. "Absolutely beautiful."
I reached out to her and she came into my arms. "Thank you Mom. You have no idea how much I needed to hear that."
She pulled me to one side, behind the exhibit and took my face in her hands. "Sherri, you know I love you and I'm so proud of you. I said some things that I wish I could take back, and I'm so sorry. We have a lot to talk about later, but I want you to know that your choice of partners is something I can live with. Just give me some time. Male or female, she's still taking my baby away and it hurts. I need some time."
I wanted to bawl, but held the tears to a steady flow. "I love you mom. I love you so much."
I felt someone against my arm and I reached out to pull Jennifer close.
"Mom, I want you to meet Jennifer Flint."
"Jennifer, I'm glad to meet the woman that's making my girl so happy."
They embraced and we agreed to meet later. When they stepped away, I caught a smile from Lilly and knew that there was more than one angel in the room. She winked at me and the cloud I'd been on just floated higher.