Choices: That Old Flamebypatricia51©
(Since some other friends have been writing stories suggested by songs and song lyrics I thought I'd try myself. The song "Old Flame" was written by Donny Lowery and Mac McAnally, recorded by Alabama. From the album "Feels So Right" `1981. One pronoun has been changed to make the song fit this situation. This story is a sequel to the original "Choices". I don't think you will have to have read it for this to make sense.)
"There's an old flame burning in your eyes,
That tears can't drown, and make-up can't disguise.
Now that old flame might not be stronger, but its been burning longer,
Than any spark I might have started, in your eyes."
Barbara Clausen loved shopping with her girlfriend. Of course, as the still attractive and slender 50 year old admitted to herself, she loved doing just about everything with Lee. Lee had brought the color, the spontaneity, back into the attorney's life when she had thought it was gone for good. Two years had passed since they had met, fallen in love, and quit the prestigious law firm both had worked at to strike out on their own. Barb still couldn't get over the changes the lovely young Para-legal had made in her life.
Of course she had made changes in Lee's life too. The young woman was now following her dreams. In her second semester of law school, she approached her studies with the same fierce determination that characterized everything she attempted.
Barbara giggled, thinking about that first semester. She had immediately recognized the crusty old professor who was teaching Contract Law and recalled his actions of the first day of class. He would surprise everyone by demanding a student recite the facts of a lawsuit. Now yes, the syllabus that he passed out at registration listed that case and several others the student was expected to be familiar with by the first day of class. But he always caught everyone off guard and his chosen victims rarely made it through his class.
Well, she knew the old professor's tricks and she made sure Lee did too. The pair had spent the weekend before the first day of class going over each case until Barb was satisfied her young girlfriend was completely conversant with them.
That first day of class Barb had been on pins and needles all day. She had had to force herself to pay attention to the cases she was working on. For someone who prided herself on the attention and care she gave her clients the loss of concentration was extremely unusual. But so much of their future depended on that first day.
Just as Barb was flipping over the "Closed" sign Lee burst through the door. She spoke not a word but flung herself against the brunette and pushed her to the wall. The black haired girl showered her lover with kisses even as her hands ran over Barb's body. The female attorney felt the buttons give way on her blouse and her skirt get hiked up around her waist. Then Lee turned her lover around and pushed her back onto the receptionist desk where she usually sat, scattering papers and files onto the floor.
"Lee!" gasped Barb even as her girlfriend fell on top of her. A firm young thigh parted her legs and the excited law student jammed herself between those now spread legs. Barb was wearing pantyhose but had foregone panties, a habit she often followed since she and Lee had started living together. Lee was barelegged and from the touch of wet curls against her Barb surmised her lover had removed her panties sometime on the way home.
Lee broke the kiss long enough to reply. "What?" was all she said. She slid Barb down slightly so her ass rested on the edge of the desk. Then her mouth descended on the older woman's full breast, sucking it in. She grasped Barb's wrists and held her hands down. Bracing herself with a wide open stance, the young woman began to thrust, grinding her wetness against Barb's pussy.
"Lee!" repeated Barb. "The door's not locked! What if someone comes in? They could even look through the windows and see us." Barb's protests were rapidly running out of steam as her body responded to the assault on it. Her nipple popped to rigid attention in the wet, warm mouth covering it.
"Who cares?" responded Lee. She switched to the other ripened breast, capturing that nipple in her lips and tugging on it. Slapping sounds filled the room as she drove herself against Barb.
The lady lawyer realized she couldn't think of a single thing to say. Her heels feel off and she lifted her legs, wrapping them around the younger woman and holding her. Her ass lifted as she clung to Lee.
The younger woman was going wild. She ground herself hard against her older partner. Her clit rubbed against the soaking nylon of Barb's pantyhose and then found the equally hard and throbbing nubbin of her lover. The still firm and shapely legs holding her squeezed for all they were worth. Lee's head tipped back as she felt her body begin to shudder. She lifted her torso, giving Barb's nipple one tremendous jerk before releasing it. The older woman keened and cried out "Yesssssss.". After two years together the partners knew exactly when the other was about to go over the edge. One final heave of Lee's hips and they both tumbled into orgasm.
Lee collapsed on top of Barb. The two women held each other. After the aftershocks finally subsided, Barb took the other woman's face in her hands and kissed her. "I take it today went well?"
Lee started laughing. "Oh God yes, darling, It was great."
"I want to hear all about it, but could you possibly let me get up and breathe a bit?"
Lee opened her mouth for an indignant remark before catching the twinkle in her girl friend's eyes. She jumped up and helped Barb to her feet. Locking the front door, the pair went upstairs to their apartment on the second floor of the restored Victorian townhouse. They settled on to the couch. Lee drew her legs up under her and began.
"Well, Professor K., as they call him, called the roll, noting everyone on a seating chart and then gave his introductory speech. I understand that's pretty standard too. Then he looked over the class and I tried to look completely innocent and dewy-eyed. Sure enough, he called on me.
"In his dry voice he said, 'Now then, Miss Lee, give us the facts in the case of Adams versus Reynolds.'.
"I'm sure the proverbial pin dropping could have been heard. I watched his eyes widen as I looked straight back at him, smiled and started: 'Adams Wholesale Supplies contracted with Reynolds Manufacturing to produce a certain quantity of goods. The specifications of those goods were in an addendum to the contract rather than the original document itself. When a dispute arose over the quality of the provided items...'
"Oh honey it was priceless. I rattled off the pertinent basis for the case and was proceeding into the arguments advanced by opposing counsels when he lifted his hand and announced that was sufficient. I don't think I broke his composure, I doubt anything could do that from what I hear; he shook himself and started lecturing."
Barb giggled like a teenager. "He really IS an outstanding professor but his methods leave me cold. Pay attention though sweetheart, you will learn a lot from him."
"Well," the young law student grinned. "I'm always happy to learn. Or teach." With that Lee slid down Barb's body. The dark haired head disappeared under the attorney's skirt. Barb groaned happily as Lee commenced licking up the wetness her previous ministrations had produced.
Barbara shook her head and returned to the present as they approached the next store they were headed to. She enjoyed the sight of Lee, who was practically skipping ahead of her. The younger woman was dressed in cut-off shorts and a men's white shirt with the tails knotted under her breasts. She looked as though she didn't have a care in the world and practically could have passed for a teenager rather than a woman of twenty-four.
Well, the female lawyer smiled, she felt freer and younger than her own age too. She looked herself over. Before Lee she never would have been caught out in public in sandals and slightly ragged jeans and a loose fitting t-shirt. If she had made Lee more serious and prone to reflection, her younger girlfriend had certainly loosened up that stuffy old attorney she had been.
They approached the store where Barb intended to look for a new suit for Lee. She was considering whether charcoal gray would match Lee's complexion with a couple of different blouses when the sight of a red-head woman exiting the store caused her girlfriend to stop dead in her tracks and turn pale.
"Why, hello Lee," the new arrival smiled.
"Hello Ellie." Lee's voice was so low that Barb had to strain to hear her.
"I saw you staring at each other. I saw your eyes begin to glow. And I could tell you once were lovers. You ain't hiding nothing that I don't know."
Paying no attention to Lee's discomfort or to Barb standing there, Ellie started to chat brightly about "Old times" and how nice it was to see Lee again and how she hoped everything was going well. Making it a point to deliberately ignore Barb, she slid an arm around Lee and kissed her before turning exclaiming how she "simply had to fly" and turning on a heel and walking away.
Barb stood there with her mouth open. She desperately wanted to ask Lee what in the world had happened but couldn't when her lover turned and all but bolted from the front of the store. Barb took off after her but barely managed to catch up to the other woman by the time they reached Barb's Mercedes.
Deciding questions could wait until they got home. Barb drove in silence. They parked in the garage behind their office/home, gathered their packages and went up to their apartment that covered the second floor. They put away the purchases and Barb went into the kitchen to make tea while Lee collapsed on the couch in the solarium.
Barb offered Lee one cup and sat down beside her girlfriend with the other. Lee sipped and then leaned against the older woman. Barb stroked her hair and waited.
"I guess you want to know what that was all about."
"If you're ready to tell me."
"I was nineteen, just, and in college," Lee began. She went on to describe meeting and falling in love with the slightly older Ellie. Ellie was not Lee's first experience with another female. As Barbara had already known, Lee had realized she was gay in her mid teens. But Ellie had been her first real love affair. The two women had lived together through college and for a while after. Then, abruptly, Ellie had broken off the relationship and moved away. Lee had not seen her since then.
"I was sure I was over her," the young law student concluded. "Then I met you. And I KNEW I was over her because I fell in love with you. I can't understand why seeing her again after all this time could affect me so."
"Maybe because you're not as over her as you think you are, honey," said Barb gently.
"But that's absurd. Isn't it?"
"I just mean it sounds like there wasn't any closure. It ended on one side, her side, but you were left hanging."
The conversation seemed to clear the air, but over the next week Barb could tell that Lee was not even close to being herself. She put on a brave front, but two years together had made the attorney sensitive to her girlfriend's moods and this one wasn't fooling her. They worked, they studies, and they cuddled and made love. But sometimes the younger woman's mind was a million miles away.
Barb was the kind of woman who carefully analyzed everything before taking action. Even though she had loosened a lot over the last two years, when important issues arose she wanted to look at all the angles. Not that she couldn't make a decision on the fly, but if that wasn't required then she wanted to have all the information and weigh all the possible courses she could take.
Lee was off at class and she didn't have any appointments scheduled or any pressing work so she sat down at her desk and talked out loud to herself.
"Is Lee still in love with Ellie? I don't know, but a part of her thinks that she might be. Does Lee love ME? Without a doubt, yet her emotions have her all mixed up. Which love is stronger? I honestly think ours is, but as it stands right now I don't know for sure." She paused. "Do I dare to find out?" She stood up and walked around the office. Her hands tightened into fists, the nails digging into her palms. "Do I dare to find out?" she repeated.
The first of the next week Barb returned from court to find Lee pacing up and down in the front office. The instant the door closed Lee was in her arms.
"What in the world?"
"Ellie called. I don't have any idea how she knew how to find me. She wants me to meet her on Friday night for dinner. I put her off. I know this sounds terrible, IS terrible, but a part of me wants to see her. I don't know why, I'm just trying to be honest with you."
"I know you are honey and I appreciate it." Barb stroked Lee's hair. God, she really loved this young woman. At the same time she felt a flash of jealousy and not a little bit of anger at Ellie. Who was this other woman who had cast away Lee and hurt her to now come back into her life, and maybe between her and the woman who had fallen in love with her? She guided Lee to the couch visitors could wait on and sat down, taking Lee's hands in hers. She took a deep breath.
"Sweetheart, I've thought this over. Really, I have wondered if this might happen. And I'm going to give you my advice. You need to go." Disregarding the startled look the younger woman gave her, she plowed on, "You need to find out if there's anything there. If there's nothing left but the ghosts of the past you need to lay them to rest. And if there is more than that, well, we both deserve to know that don't we?"
Lee rested her head against Barb's shoulder. "I really can't believe it. You really think I should go?"
"I do," replied Barb firmly.
That didn't end the discussion. There were tears and arguments but Barb remained firm, in spite of her secret fears. Finally Lee agreed.
The next few days were tense. Barbara believed she had made the right decision and so had Lee when she called Ellie back and accepted the date. But the wall that was threatening to grow between the two women was building itself higher with every hour.
Finally Friday arrived and Barb took herself out of the way while Lee got ready. She watched her girlfriend as she left. The older woman was glad Lee hadn't gone all out. It looked like she simply was going to visit an old friend. Barb prayed that would turn out to be the case. Twice while Lee stood outside waiting for the cab she had called for she turned and looked back at the windows on the second floor. Once she started back towards the apartment. Barb wanted to throw open the windows and call to her, tell her to come back. But they both needed this to be settled. Finally the cab arrived and Lee climbed in and left. Barbara was alone.
"You say it ended, when she left you. You say your love for me is strong. But those old memories still upset you. Well I might be a memory 'fore too long"
For long moments Barb stood still. Finally she turned away. A spot of color caught her eye. Draped over the arm of the couch was a silk scarf that she had bought Lee for her birthday two months ago. She picked up the bright red material and clutched it to her cheek. It seemed as though somehow she could feel Lee's warmth, Lee's touch in the material. For a certainty she could detect her lover's perfume.
"GOD!" burst suddenly from the lady lawyer. Why hadn't she stopped Lee? Where had this insane idea of "closure" come from? Already her fears clutched her by the throat. What was she going to do if Lee decided she still loved Ellie? Her life would be as vacant as this apartment was.
Barb wandered up and down the stairs, visiting each floor, each room, in turn. Their office on the ground floor with Lee's desk at the front, her own office, the conference room and the library that she had planned to turn into Lee's office when the younger woman graduated and passed the bar. Moved by an impulse, she fumbled in the closet at the back of her office, finding the carefully hidden sign she had made the day Lee started law school. The sign read "Clausen and Waters, Attorneys At Law". She wondered if she would ever need it now. Her hands stroked the scarf, caressing it as though somehow it could transmit her feelings to the missing woman.
She went up the stairs. She didn't stop at their apartment but rather trudged up to the attic. Even here they had worked hard to make the place nice. Shelves lined the walls, chests held mementos of their lives before and after they had met. She looked over a few then closed the door and went to their apartment.
The late afternoon sun splashed through the French doors that lead to the balcony. Even more than their bedroom this was their special place. The wood floors had demanded hours of labor to strip and sand and seal. Barb sank onto the couch, not having the heart to look through the bedroom or the rest of the rooms. Her eyes rested on the painting on the far wall. A riot of colors, Lee had got her to buy it back when they were first dating. It had hung over her bed in her old apartment before they had left that stuffy old law firm and found this place together.
Barb's thoughts turned over and over in her mind. What was she going to do without Lee? Lee had brought color and life and love back to her when she thought it was gone forever. What if she had grabbed Lee and begged her not to go, not to have dinner with Ellie? She shook her head. She couldn't have done that. No matter what, she loved Lee and she wanted her to be nothing but happy. If that happiness was with someone else than so be it. But, please, PLEASE, she begged silently, let it be with me. She buried her face in the red silk. Let her happiness be with me.
It was just about dark. Barb rose and walked to the French doors. She opened them and stood on the balcony, looking over the tree lined square. The last rays of the summer sun danced through the live oaks. It was beautiful. She reminded herself that even if she had to go alone, the renewed fun and enjoyment of life that Lee had woke in her didn't have to go away if she determined to hold on to it
Brakes squealed below her. A familiar figure leaped out of a cab stopped before the front door.. That same front door slammed and feet pounded up the stairway, sounding like they were taking them two at a time. Then Lee was running through the doorway. Without slowing she flung herself at Barb, nearly toppling them over the railing.
Barb could barely make out what Lee was saying as the younger woman rained frantic kisses all over her face. The fact that both of them were crying probably contributed to the difficulty. All Lee could manage to say, over and over, was "Oh God. Barb, Barbara, God I love you so much."
'Goodness darling." Barb managed to wipe the tears from her own face, then from Lee's. "That must have been some dinner conversation."
Lee took a deep breath. Taking Barb's hands she led the older woman to the couch and sat down with her, still holding her hands.
"First, thank you! Thank you for urging me to go to this dinner with Ellie. Had I not, I might have spent the rest of our lives together wondering what might have been and it would have colored our relationship. Thankfully I now realize what I've always known subconsciously."
"What in the world is that?" Barb couldn't resist asking.
"That Ellie, is, and always has been, a twenty-four carat BITCH. She was when we were together and she will always be one," Lee burst out. She took another deep breath and got hold of herself.
"Dinner started out just fine. We talked and talked about everything that has happened since we broke up. But I noticed something. When Ellie talks, she talks about herself and when you say something, she isn't paying attention. She's thinking about what she is going to say next. It's not like you Barb. You listen. You did that first night we spent together. That was one of the reasons I finally admitted the crush I had had on you for sometime.