tagLesbian SexUnexplored Territory

Unexplored Territory

byAnn Douglas©

"Here you go," Ellie Travis said to the well dressed woman on the other side of the glass counter as she handed her the small store bag continuing her purchase, "and thank you for shopping here at R.J. Nickels."

Ellie always felt a little silly saying that after every sale, but knew all too well that some supervisors were eager to write you up for not doing so. As her customer walked away from the counter, the short haired brunette took a moment to check her hair and makeup in one of the oversized mirrors. As she did so, she once again thought it incredible how some women were willing to buy a product, just because it had some celebrity's name on it. In the twenty-five year old's opinion, the cosmetics that woman had just purchased really weren't any better than the ones Ellie bought for herself at her local drug store at less than half the price.

Still, if some women weren't willing to spend a small fortune every week on overpriced cosmetics, Ellie knew she would soon be out of a job. Working the counter at the block long, midtown department store might not have been the greatest of jobs, but it was a job nevertheless. One that paid the bills and gave her enough flexibility to take some college courses designed to help her get a better position down the line. Plus, the job did come with some perks, including a generous employee discount, and while Ellie wasn't willing to buy her cosmetics here, discount or not, she did make use of it for clothes whenever she could. Despite having lived in Manhattan all of her life, there was no way she could dress the part, at least the image that television and movies projected, without it.

Glancing down the length of her counter, Ellie didn't see anyone else that needed help, so it gave her time to reflect on the state of her life. She would've been further along in her goals, she knew, if only she'd paid more attention back in high school, or even had a definite plan what to do afterwards. Unfortunately, if it wasn't part of her social life back then, few things merited her attention. Thankfully, those days were behind her now and while she still valued an active social life she tried to keep it in proper perspective.

The job, such as it was, was one thing she had going for her; having gone back to school was another. If she had to pick a third, Ellie would undoubtedly choose the nice two bedroom apartment that she lived in just a short walk from Greenwich Village. That she shared the apartment with three other roommates was something she usually failed to mention when she told people about it.

Sharing the five room apartment called for some compromises, she knew, the most interesting of which was when one of the girls had an overnight guest. Normally, Ellie shared one bedroom with Carol Murphy, and her other two roommates, Bridget Kelly and Alice Moore the other. If one of the girls was planning to have an overnight guest, three of them would use the larger of the two bedrooms, turning the smaller one over to the roommate with the guest. It was far from a perfect arrangement, since you really didn't always know beforehand if you were going to have an overnight guest.

Up until about a month and a half ago, Ellie didn't have to worry about any of that, because she'd had a steady boyfriend in David Graham, who worked in the store's delivery department. They'd met at a company function the summer before and it had been love at first sight. Okay, maybe lust at first sight, but love at eventually found its way in there as well. Or at least what she liked to think of as love.

Three inches taller than her own five six, David, who was also two years older, had the kind of body you normally associated with a professional athlete. Not surprising seeing, he'd been a high school jock who made the all city team his senior year. But high school and college football were two different things, and he dropped out of college after his freshman year when he was cut from the team.

And while he wasn't the brightest bulb in the box, Ellie had never gone for the intellectual type anyway. The twenty-seven year old blond was smart enough, funny and totally awesome in bed. In hindsight, Ellie sometimes though that it was because he was such a great fuck that it blinded her to other things that she might have otherwise noticed.

During the last month of their relationship, the subject of Ellie moving in with David began to occasionally come up. Usually just after they'd finished an exhausting romp in his bed. David would be all for the idea post coitus, but then his enthusiasm would usually fade come the dawn. Ellie didn't press the issue because, given the number of nights she slept at his West Side apartment, they were practically living together already. Eventually, she reasoned, he would come to realize it and make it official.

What Ellie never understood, however, was that David didn't see it quite the same way. In fact, his whole take on their relationship turned out to be quite different than hers, quite different indeed. It wasn't until the day of the electrical fire at the store that Ellie discovered how dissimilar their views actually were.

The fire had started in a storage closet a little after lunch and while there was no major damage or injury, the store had to be evacuated and the lingering odor afterwards precluded customers returning. When the decision was made just to close up for the rest of the day, it hadn't taken Ellie five minutes to close up her counter and head for the door.

A few of the other girls decided to make the most of the free afternoon and head over to Times Square, but Ellie had other plans. David had called in sick that morning and although he said he was feeling much better when she'd talked to him during lunch, she'd promised to stop by after work to be sure.

She'd had her cell phone in hand to call him, to let him know she would be early, but then decided to surprise him instead. She'd stop at the deli on the corner by his apartment and pick him up some soup in case he was still feeling poorly. If the opposite proved true, Ellie mused, well then, a nooner wasn't out of the question.

Soup in hand, Ellie used the key David had given her to let herself into the large apartment. Almost twice the size of the one she shared with her roommates, the rent controlled apartment still had his grandmother's name on the lease, which explained how a simple delivery man could afford to live there.

When she didn't find David in the kitchen or living room, Ellie left the soup on the kitchen counter and headed down the long hallway towards the bedroom, slipping off her loafers as not to wake him if he turned out to be asleep. If he was, she'd already decided to crawl into bed with him, if only to help keep him warm.

The door turned out to be slightly ajar and, silently peeking in, Ellie realized that she could've been wearing combat boots and it wouldn't have made a bit of difference. David was in bed alright, but not only was he wide awake, he wasn't alone.

"Oh God, baby," she heard David say, his voice just loud enough to carry to the door, "your fucking ass is so tight!"

"That's because your fucking cock is so big!" came the reply from a dark haired woman, who, like David, was facing away from the door, her features hidden.

Ellie didn't need to see her face, however, to recognize the heavily accented voice of Lola Sanchez, one of the floor supervisors at the store. Ten years older and thirty pounds heavier than Ellie, the twice divorced Latina had a reputation as something of a slut. Never one to give much credence to store gossip, Ellie had never fully believed it until now.

Without a word, Ellie had silently exited the apartment, but not before leaving her key atop a hastily written note on the coffee table in the living room. The note had simply said, "It's over." The two of them had not spoken since. In fact, David never even tried to call her to try and explain - not that there was any explanation that would've mattered.

"Well, it could've been worse," Ellie's best friend from the store, Carmen Silva, told her a few nights later as the two of them commiserated in a midtown bar after work.

"How could it have been worse?" a slightly inebriated Ellie had asked.

"David could've been the one with the cock up his ass," the thirty-nine year old Puerto Rican woman laughed.

Although she had laughed at the joke, Ellie had thought, if that had been the case, she might not have felt as bad as she did. Oh, she wouldn't have been happy by any means, but at least she might have understood the reason more. In all the times she and David had gone to bed, he'd never even suggested that he'd wanted to fuck her ass. It wasn't something that Ellie had done before, but that didn't mean she wouldn't have been willing to try. After all, considering the things they had tried, David knew she was far from a sexual prude.

David must've told some story to his co-workers, because it didn't take long for the word to get out that the two of them were no longer a couple. Ellie never bothered to try and find out what he'd said, but it couldn't have been detrimental, because soon after, a number of single and some not so single men began to drop by her counter with invitations that ranged from lunch to drinks after work.

All of which Ellie had turned down as nicely as she could. Some she told that she needed some time to herself, others that she wanted to just concentrate on school for a while. Some, she just simply said no to. Eventually, she got the message across and the invitations stopped. At least for a while.

What she couldn't tell anyone, not even Carmen with whom she shared almost every confidence, was that something had changed in her life. Something she hadn't been willing to share up to this point. In fact, up until the week before, Ellie wasn't even sure how she felt about it. The only aspect of it all that she had been sure about was that it wouldn't have happened if she and David hadn't imploded, and that there was no doubt that she was venturing into unexplored territory.

-=-=-=-=-

It had all started only a few days before she walked in on David and Lola. With a two hour gap in between her Tuesday evening classes, Ellie had been enjoying a cup of coffee at her favorite shop down by Washington Square. Her enjoyment of the drink, however, was being offset by her difficulty in understanding the novel her English professor had assigned for the first exam, then only a week away.

Closing the book, having read the preceding chapter for the third time, Ellie still couldn't understand how the characters in the novel related to the questions the professor had brought up in class. Several times during her last reading, she had stopped and referenced her class notes, but found they didn't make it any clearer. It was becoming so frustrating that she was beginning to wonder if she might not be better off dropping the class altogether.

Absorbed with her dilemma, Ellie didn't notice that someone had sat down at the small table barely half a foot away from her own. It wasn't until the woman said something that she finally looked up and realized that she was there.

Her name, Ellie would learn, was Audrey Foster. Ten years her senior, although if she'd had to guess, the younger woman would've thought the difference no more than half that, she was wearing a pair of casual black slacks with a yellow top. Audrey also had curly, reddish brown hair that was cut in a style not much longer than Ellie's.

"Excuse me?" Ellie said, not having quite made out what it was that the other woman had said, but assuming that perhaps she needed something on her table.

"I said, I'm sorry to see that the professors at Eastside are still torturing students with that book," Audrey repeated. "That is where you're going, isn't it, Eastside Community?"

"Why yes," Ellie replied. "How did you know?"

"I had to read that novel during my first year there; I think every freshman does," Audrey replied. "Somehow, I doubt it's gotten any better with age, mine or the book's," she laughed.

"I'm pretty sure you're right," Ellie agreed with a smile, offering her hand as she introduced herself.

"Audrey Foster," the older woman said as she extended her own hand. "I think having to read that book helped inspire me to become a teacher, if only to save future students from having to suffer through it."

"Oh, can I transfer to your class?" Ellie asked with a laugh.

"You'd be more than welcome," Audrey said, "but I think you might feel a bit out of place. I teach over at West Side Elementary and most of my students are just hitting puberty."

"Considering some of the guys in my class now, it might not be so different," Ellie offered, recalling some of the lame come-ons she had been subjected to, in the first two weeks of class.

Audrey laughed at the remark, commenting that some men never outgrow that stage of life.

"Did you ever figure the book out?" Ellie asked. "I ask because I'm so totally lost that I don't even know where to start."

"Did your professor give you a list of questions you were expected to answer?" Audrey asked, leaning a bit closer to look at the notes on Ellie's table but not seeing any such list.

Ellie nodded in the affirmative.

"Well, let me take a look at it and maybe I can help a little," Audrey replied, "at least enough to get you on the right track."

"Oh, I didn't mean I expected you to help," Ellie quickly said. "I was just looking for hope that it could be done."

"Be that as it may, I'd be more than happy to see if I can help," Audrey smiled. "Like I said, saving people from that book was one of the reasons I became a teacher in the first place."

Not about to look a gift horse in the mouth, especially one that applied to a problem that only a few minutes ago seemed insurmountable, Ellie quickly accepted the offer before Audrey could change her mind. Reaching into her notebook, she pulled out the list of questions and handed them to the older woman.

Question by question, Audrey took the time to explain just what each one meant, which turned out not to be always be what Ellie had thought it did, and how it related to the novel. By the time they reached the bottom of the list, Ellie had a whole new take on the reading matter and was certain she wasn't going to have any problems with the exam. It also wasn't until they'd gotten to the last question that the younger woman realized that she had taken up more than an hour of the teacher's time.

"Oh my goodness, I can't believe I held you up this long," Ellie said as she looked up at the clock on the wall.

"It was my pleasure," Audrey said, helping Ellie gather up her class materials. "I enjoyed teaching someone who was actually paying attention for a change."

"Well, it was definitely appreciated, believe me," Ellie said as she stuffed her notes back into her carry bag. "I wish I had the time to at least buy you dinner or something, to show how much I appreciate it, but I have another class in about twenty minutes."

"You don't have to buy me anything," Audrey said as she reached into her own bag and produced a business card, quickly writing something across it, "but I would really like to hear how you make out on the exam."

As she took the card, Ellie saw Audrey had added her personal cell phone number to the pre-printed address and phone number of the school. She promised that she would let Audrey know and dropped the card into her bag.

"Oh my, isn't that lovely," Audrey said as she suddenly noticed the small cameo pendant that Ellie wore around her neck, a white ceramic face on a green and gold-trimmed background. "It's the goddess Diana, isn't it?" she asked as she reached out and held it in her hand for a moment.

"Actually it is," Ellie replied, adding that it had been a gift from her grandmother and that no one had ever identified it before.

At that moment, Ellie found herself looking right into Audrey's green eyes and saw something she really couldn't define. At least not coming from another woman. The feeling only lasted a heartbeat, but it was enough to make her feel a bit out of sorts.

"I...I really have to go," Ellie said as she picked up her bag and started to rise out of her chair.

"Remember to call and let me know how you make out with the exam, I'd really like to know." Audrey said, the smile on her face following Ellie as she headed for the exit.

Ellie returned an awkward smile of her own as she again thanked Audrey for her help.

-=-=-=-=-

Three weeks after her break-up with David, Ellie had been emptying her bag and found Audrey's card. She had gotten her exam back a week and a half before and had done much better than she had ever expected, scoring the third highest grade in the class. Because she had done so well, she now felt a bit guilty about not having called the teacher to thank her for the help.

"Well, better late than never," Ellie considered as she picked up her cell and started to dial the handwritten number.

The number rang a few times and Ellie hoped it would go to voice mail in another ring or two. Then she could just leave a message and appease her conscience. When, on the second to last ring before that, a live voice came on the line, Ellie was momentarily at a loss what to say.

"Hello?" Audrey said, pausing afterward as if she awaiting a response. "Hello? Is there someone there?" she repeated when none came.

"Hi Audrey, this is Ellie," the brunette finally said, wondering why she felt so nervous; after all, it was only a phone call. "I don't know if you remember me, but we met at the coffee shop off Washington Square a few weeks ago. You helped me with a book I was reading for class."

"Of course, I remember you, Ellie," Audrey said, the smile on her face evident in her voice. "I had been wondering how you made out on that exam. It's been so long that I'd figured you'd forgotten about me."

"Not at all," Ellie lied, not wanting to say she'd had a few more urgent things on her mind of late. "I only got the exam back a few days ago. You know how some professors are."

"All too well," Audrey said, "but don't keep me in suspense. How did you do?"

When Ellie told her, Audrey said that she couldn't help but be impressed.

"I don't think I would've gotten half that if you hadn't helped me that afternoon," Ellie heard herself say.

"Don't sell yourself short, Ellie," Audrey said in reply. "I just gave you a little nudge in the right direction; you did the rest on your own."

"Even so, I still owe you a lot," Ellie offered.

"Well, you did offer me dinner, as I recall," Audrey replied, "but I'll settle for a drink and a little adult conversation."

"A drink?" Ellie repeated.

"And a little adult conversation," Audrey also repeated. "You have no idea how hard that is when you spend most of your day with a bunch of teenagers who treat conversational English as almost a foreign language."

Audrey paused for a second, then, before Ellie could give a yes or no answer, asked if she knew a restaurant that was only a few blocks from the coffee shop where they'd first met.

"It's more of a little bar n' grill really, but a very nice place," Audrey clarified as she rattled off the address. "What would you say to Friday night about six?"

Ellie considered for a moment that, if Audrey had once been a student at Eastside, then she knew that they didn't have classes on Friday nights, which was probably why she picked it. Still, if she really didn't want to go, she could always say she already had plans - it was Friday night after all.

She was about to do just that, when the memory of that shared look back at the coffee shop flashed into her head. Both the memory and how it had made her feel. Without immediately realizing she had done it, Ellie said that Friday at six would be fine.

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byAnn Douglas© 17 comments/ 23928 views/ 50 favorites

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