The young woman had been coming into the drug store every month, each time refilling her birth control pills, each time glancing at the different hair colorings, the make-up, the perfumes. She never bought any of those things though. Her fingers would brush across them; a sense of longing was often projected on her face whenever she turned away from the colorful displays and the cardboard boxes.
Today was no different; when Beth turned away, the same look of disappointment filled her features. She sighed and headed back to the pharmacy counter and checked to see if her prescription was ready.
Amber, the pharmacist on duty for that particular shift, told her it wasn't, but would be soon. She watched her sit down and grab the magazine from the neighboring chair and have a seat. Amber's green eyes swiftly glanced at Bethany Ann Reynolds and felt her pulse race. She had been attracted to the pretty brown eyed, brunette since the moment she filled her first prescription. When Amber saw it was for birth control her heart sank and she forced her attentions elsewhere.
She'd had a lover at the time, but that relationship soon ended when her lover had decided she wanted to top Amber and no longer wanted to be the submissive girl in the relationship. Amber had tried to switch back and forth, but she couldn't. When she got back to being the more aggressive of the two, she found herself taking her anger out on Carolyn and punishing her for being rough with her. This wasn't healthy for either of them, and so they mutually agreed that it was time for Carolyn to move on, whatever she wanted was no longer what Amber wanted or either needed.
"Misses Reynolds, your prescription is ready," Amber called out, watching the young woman's every move, as she made her way to the counter.
The front of Beth's shirt pulled tight as she rose and then loosened once she was standing. Amber's eyes took in the pink bra that showed briefly between the buttons.
"Thanks, though I don't know what I'll do with them," the young woman muttered.
"Misses Reynolds. You need to take them every day. You do that don't you?" Amber asked. Her face showed she was slightly confused. Bethany, as Amber preferred to think of her, had never voiced questions about them before. "Do you have any questions on how these work or how they are supposed to be taken?"
Bethany laughed. Amber stared in wonder. Amber had never seen Beth laugh. She'd never seen her smile, never seen her so much as chuckle as she read the magazines on the stand beside her. For a moment the dark-skinned pharmacist was lost in the ivory skinned woman's face.
"I've been taking them for five years. I know how and why and when," Beth said, rolling her eyes and giggling. "It's just. I don't have a need for them. I've not been with Adam for over a year now. We split up and the divorce became final a few months ago. I just keep getting these filled, just in case." Beth shrugged and then sighed, the laughter in her face suddenly gone as quickly as it had appeared.
"Oh, I'm sorry, Misses Reynolds," Amber whispered. She was sorry. She hated to see any marriage dissolve. In the back of her mind she saw married couples and hoped they would all be like her parents, happy and very much in love. She knew it wasn't the way it always worked, but it was nice to dream. Even Amber wanted it someday. She just didn't want it with just anyone. She liked both men and women, but right now she was free and had no one to go home to and she was getting lonely.
"Please, call me Beth. I've been getting my prescriptions here for a long time now. I mean I'd call you Amber that is your name right?" she asked, nodding to the name tag on Amber's white coat.
"Yeah, Amber Stone." She saw the raised brow of Beth and smirked. "Yes, Stone."
"Just checking. Amber is a gem though, as I'm sure you are." Beth smiled and started to walk away.
Amber took a deep breath and called out, "Misses... I mean Beth."
Beth turned and angled her head to one side. "Yes?" she asked.
The pharmacist left her little area of the store and walked over to Beth. "You have been coming in her a lot and I didn't know there were problems at home. I'm sorry for that. I did notice, many times really, that you often would look at these." Amber grabbed one of the boxes of hair dyes from the counter.
Bethany blushed and chewed on her bottom lip. "I've thought about it more and more now that Adam isn't around."
"He didn't want you too?" Amber asked.
"He wouldn't allow it."
"We had a different kind of marriage. He was adamant about certain things. Coloring my hair was one of them," Bethany muttered. She took the box and turned it over. "I'm not sure if I could carry off a new style or not."
"I bet you could. Besides, it may be just the thing to get you using those pills for the reason you have them," Amber said, with a wink. She watched Bethany struggle and then move to put the box back. "Wrong color?" she asked as Beth released the cardboard blonde.
"Yeah, but I'm going to pass. Thanks though."
"What color? If you were going to do it?" Amber insisted.
Bethany chuckled. "I kinda thought a lighter shade of brown, nothing too wild for my first attempt. I mean I'll mess it up most likely anyway and knowing me it'll come out green."
It was Amber's turn to laugh and she did. "Beth, you'll do fine. A lighter shade, huh? That's a good idea. It'll be subtle, but still different. A crack in the shell so to speak."
"Yes. I have a feeling you were stuck in a relationship you weren't happy with for quite a while. I know... I've been there."
"Many have," Beth said with a sigh.
"Yes, they have," Amber whispered. She didn't want Beth to dwell on that though; she liked seeing the look of temptation on the other woman's face. "Look, I have an idea. You've been coming in here for a long time, we've established that. You are single, young, hot and it's a damn shame you're alone. So, though we've never hung out and I know we aren't true friends, I do like you. You're a great customer and even though it's only medications and allergy interactions we've ever discussed, I think we could be friends. If you trust me with your medicines, can you trust me with your hair?" Amber grinned wide and waited on pins and needles for Beth's reaction.
Beth had been about to protest the comment of them not being friends. She thought of the young woman as a friend, a professional one. Looking back though she realized Amber had a point. She had never really shared anything with her, yet this woman did handle most if not all her prescription questions or problems. Why not trust her with a bit more? Besides, with Adam out of her life she was desperate for some kind of company, male or female. She'd not gone out yet and that was one of the first things she'd wanted to do after her divorce.
"You're right. You've got my address and phone number on file. Pick out a color you think will work for me... nothing too wild," Beth added quickly, "and come to my place... I kept the house."
"Good for you," Amber grinned.
"Well, it's not much, but he didn't need it." Beth shrugged and glanced over to the make-up. Amber saw where her eyes traveled.
"I'll take care of everything," Amber told her and then winked. She hooked her arm around Beth's. "Bethany. Can I call you that?"
"Bethany, I believe we'll have a great time this evening. I'll see you when I get off which will be around three, so give me a couple hours. . .five o'clock sound good?"
"Sounds like fun. Maybe when my new do is done, we can go show it off," Beth said, interrupted by only a few giggles.
"You bet we will "
Amber finished walking the young woman to the door and waved goodbye as Beth headed out to her car. The pharmacist stood there watching her and for a moment was lost in the gentle sway of the brunette's hips. When she opened her car door and slipped in, Amber continued to stare until the small compact car drove off.
A sigh left her lips and she turned away, stopping to check out hair colorings. She knew exactly which one to choose and would do so when she was ready to leave for the day. She headed back to the counter, where she worked, and quietly waited for the next customer to show up, all the while, she thought about the clock and willed it to move faster.
Bethany drove toward home; her thoughts focused on several different things. The first was on the condition of her house. She wondered if all the dishes were done, if the laundry had been put away, if the dog had made a mess in the kitchen again while she was gone, and then her thoughts shifted to the upcoming evening. Should she make finger foods to give to the young woman, should she make supper, if she did, should she make dessert? Beth fought a wave of nausea and panic as she pictured the girl coming over and seeing things out of place and she imagined every negative scenario she could think up. By the time she got home she was anxious and considered calling Amber up at work and telling her something came up and she had to cancel.
Eventually, Beth released the death like grip on the steering wheel and got out of the car. She took several calming breaths and forced herself to breathe normally, soon her pulse was back to normal and the brief panic attack had passed. She told herself to grow up, a command Adam had often tossed at her. Beth reached back into the car and grabbed her bag of birth control pills. She shut the car door and pressed the button lock, then headed into her small two bedroom home.
The idea of going out for supper played on the corner of Bethany's mind as she dropped her purse and the pills onto the table by the door. The dog was let out the back door, allowed to run free in the fenced in yard. She quickly picked up his chew toys, dropping them in a basket just inside the gate and then headed inside to work on straightening up her home. There wasn't a lot for her to do. She had always been a meticulous housekeeper. The dishes had been done, the laundry had been folded and yet she didn't feel as if the place was clean.
As she polished the wood furnishings, she thought of the young pharmacist. Amber wouldn't have cared if the place was sparkling, or so Bethany hoped. She dropped the cloth and sat down on the leather sofa. Amber would be the first person in her home, besides her parents since the divorce. Why was she worried about what the woman thought? She didn't know her, certainly wasn't her best friend, though if Bethany would admit it to herself, she wanted Amber to be a friend. Bethany was starved for friendship. Adam had kept her from having any kind of life; now she wanted to embrace it. She wondered if Amber would be willing to help her.
As the day wore on and five o'clock slowly crept closer and closer, Bethany had to fight the urge to call the evening off several times. Eventually a long hot bubble bath, another indulgence she'd given herself when Adam left, calmed her nerves and when she was relaxed she ended her preparations with a hot shower, letting the soapy froth rinse off her full-figure. She stepped from the shower and reached for the fluffy towel. A moment of indecision filled her and she snaked her hand back. Squaring her shoulders, she purposely walked out of the bathroom, dripping water all over the floor and carpet as she made her way across the house naked.
When she reached her bedroom, a smile formed on her lips as she thought of all the water that had dribbled onto the floor and how angry her ex would have been if he was still there, but he wasn't and so... she wasn't going to clean it up. A small wave of pleasure washed over her as she climbed on her bed and lay there, allowing the air to dry her freshly scrubbed body.
She fell asleep, only the sound of the dog barking and the door bell ringing stirred Beth from her slumber. She jumped up and cursed, grabbed a robe and quickly pulled it on. She flew across the house, knocking a small table which held a small potted plant on it. The violet went flying and skated across the floor, the clay pot shattering as it hit the wood. "Damn " Her voice could be heard resonating through the house. When Beth reached the door, she took several deep breaths, opened it wide and said, "Welcome to the house of misfits and horrors."
Amber stood there shocked by the obviously disheveled appearance of Beth. She ran her gaze over the robed figure that was barely concealed, the sash obviously quickly tied and not tight either. For a moment she stared admirably until she heard Beth's greeting.
"Umm... hi," she answered back, a small blush on her cheeks. She hadn't meant to ogle the woman and she hoped Beth hadn't noticed, well at least she hoped she hadn't cared.
Beth however, was too lost in the fact that she was ill prepared for Amber's arrival. "Come in. As you can see, I'm a bit behind on getting dressed and then I knocked this plant over. Give me a minute to get dressed and deal with the plant and," she nodded her head back to the rear of the house, adding, "the dog."
Amber chuckled, "Look, take care of the dog. I'll clean this up and don't bother getting dressed. It'll be easier to do your hair without worrying about getting coloring on your clothes. Is that robe okay to get dirty? I doubt we'll have to worry about it, but incase the coloring drops onto the material I'd hate to have something you like ruined."
"It's old, so no worries there. I'll deal with Buster, but leave the plant, really I can take care of it," Beth answered. "Why don't you have a seat in the living room. I'll be back in a bit." Beth left the room and cursed inwardly at her clumsiness as she passed the broken pottery. "Damn, clumsy fool," her husband's words filled her head.
Amber watched her leave, once more admiring the sway of her walk. She took a deep breath and bent down to clean up the broken clay. She had nothing better to do and figured a bit of cleaning up after another was no big deal. When she was done, she laid the pieces on the counter of the kitchen sink and then scrounged around looking for a broom and dustpan. When Beth returned it was to find Amber washing her hands and staring out the kitchen window. Buster, the German Shepherd mix, padded up behind her and sniffed at the stranger's bare legs, making Amber jump in surprise.
"Sorry," Beth giggled and called her dog back to her. "He's never met a stranger, well not since he met my parents and the ex."
"Another thing Adam wouldn't allow?" Amber asked, walking over and scratching the dog behind his ears.
"Yeah, how'd you guess?" she asked and then eyed the broken pottery and the plant saved in a small mug with dirt that had been collected from the pile on the floor. "Thanks."
"No worries," Amber said. "As far as my guess about the dog and your ex... something tells me he controlled more than your hair color."
"Yes, he did."
Amber said nothing more, just stood and took Beth's hand. "Well, he's not here and I've got a bag of goodies that will make your head spin. I'm glad to see you didn't change. Thanks, it'll make things easier. Let's get started. We'll order a pizza and while we're waiting we can get the color on, then while its working its magic we can eat."
Beth grinned. "Sounds like a plan." She headed over to the phone and called the local pizza place and then showed Amber where the bathroom was. "I'll let you set up while I get us something to drink. Soda okay with you? Or would you like something else?"
"A soda is fine, whatever you have." Amber enjoyed the view of Beth leaving and felt her body responding to the scent of the young woman's freshly scrubbed figure, that lingered in the air. "Calm down Amber," she told herself and then proceeded to move things out of the way, so she'd have room to get everything ready for Beth's make over.
When Beth returned, Amber was just finishing laying out the final make-up selections that she'd chosen for Beth's debut into the single life. "Wow, you went all out. How much do I owe you?" Beth asked.
"Nothing," Amber told her, shrugging her shoulders and asking Beth to have a seat on the commode.
"Nothing? But you had to have spent a fortune."
"Just a small one, but it was fun. I figured you had none of this and would need it, so consider it a gift. Your husband obviously had a few hang ups, so I'm just helping out a friend."
Beth looked up and gazed into the soft eyes of her new friend. "Thanks, Amber." She reached out and squeezed the other woman's hand and then turned, presenting herself to Amber and putting her hair into her willing hands.
"You're welcome," Amber whispered as she felt a rush of a heat wash over her. She took a minute to collect herself and then proceeded to chat about work, while she massaged coloring into Beth's hair.
Beth listened and felt herself relax as Amber's fingertips slowly moved over her head. "God, that feels good," she moaned.
Amber chuckled. "Yeah, I love it when I have mine done at the salon."
"You color your hair?"
"Yes. I don't do it often, but when I'm feeling adventurous I have it colored a punk red. I love it."
Beth giggled. "I've never seen it that color at the store."
"No, only on my vacations," Amber admitted. "Then I go back and have it colored black again."
"I'd like to see it red."
"Well we're going to be friends, so I'm sure you will."
"Good," Beth said and then felt herself once more becoming lost in Amber's ministrations.
After a few more minutes passed, Amber pulled off the plastic gloves and set the timer she'd picked up along with all her other purchases. "Let's go watch some TV or chat a bit while we let this set."
Bethany stood up and glanced in the mirror. "It doesn't look like it is doing anything."
"It will, give it time. I went three shades lighter than your natural color, so it'll be subtle for most folks, but enough for you to notice. That's what you wanted right?"
The door bell suddenly rang and Buster greeted it with a growl, followed by several barks. "I'll get it, you pick out something to watch," Amber said, moving around Beth and casually brushing against her rump. A spark of heat shot through her and she felt her sex tingle. "Sorry," she whispered against Beth's neck.
Beth blushed, but thought nothing of it. "It's a small bathroom, no worries."
Amber groaned in disappointment, but smiled. "I'll meet you in the living room? Or do you want to eat in the kitchen?"
"Living room... let's make it dirty," Beth said with a laugh following Amber out of the bathroom.
The doorbell rang again and Amber quickened her step. She reached the door and eyed the dog warily. "Hey buddy, mind if I answer it?" Buster looked up and stepped back, the low rumble in his chest was apparent as he eyed the door with caution.
Amber chuckled and whispered, "At least she's got a good watch dog." She opened the door and angled her head to one side. "Can I help you?" She'd been expecting the pizza boy, in his place though was a man, about 5'11 with sandy brown hair and blue eyes.
"Who the fuck are you?" the man demanded, pushing past Amber and then stopping short when the dog began growling low, baring his teeth in the process.
"Excuse me," Amber answered back. "I bet you're Adam."
"Yeah, still doesn't tell me who the fuck you are, though. Where's Beth?"
"I'm right here, Adam. What do you want?" Bethany asked, coming around the corner. She'd heard his voice and felt her body sway as fear overtook her. It had taken her a few seconds to rise from the sofa and approach him, but she couldn't let him railroad her guest.
"What the hell are you doing?" he asked. His gaze took in the sight of her hair, wet and discolored, her robe was loose and gaping, the curves of her breasts displayed whenever she moved. He looked back at the woman at the door and noted her stance of protectiveness. Adam chuckled. "Go lesbian did ya? Couldn't get a cock between those fat thighs, so you went and got a female to fuck you?"