Lavender and JasminebyMSTarot©
For me, coming to terms with what I am was like being born. It was something that happened when I was naked, wet and crying.
I'm not really sure what it was that got me to realizing it. A long string of dates with 'the hot guy' that always left me feeling... well, feeling something. What I'm not sure.
It was in the less than warm afterglow of yet another of those encounters that I was dragged kicking and screaming to the new spa that opened up nearby. My best friend since...hell pigtails, Julie said that my moping was bringing her down and that I was now her prisoner! My shoes leaving skid marks across the parking lot, I was dragged into the place.
Okay I'll admit before very long I was having kind of a good time. It's not often I like to feel pampered. Maybe it because they have a diaper named that?
My nails were done better than I can do them and my feet had all kinds of tools applied to every angle of them. My hair was given a conditioning that was so deep my brain got soggy. Then I was driven in a zombie like shuffle into the steam room.
Somewhere through this lengthy process, Julie acquired a temporary friend for herself. The woman's name was... oh, Sandy something another, it's unimportant. A more helium-headed person there has never been. But the way she looked!
When she stepped into the steam room and saw it was just us three, she let her robe drop, took off her towel and sat back on the warm cedar seats naked as naked can get.
Julie not wanting to be outdone did the same. I felt very reluctant to copy them. Call it a lack of self-love or the fact that I have a good mirror on my bedroom door but I suddenly felt very aware of how small chested, narrow-hipped, and hell, boney I was compared to those two.
Don't get me wrong. Julie's no cover model and Sandy...well, she might be able to get into a men's magazine if she lost a pound or two, but next to me they looked like goddess one and goddess two. I hovered on the outside of their chatter not wanting to be sucked in and lose brain cells.
After doing it twice I had to resist the urge to dip even more water onto the hot rocks... I was wanted to disappear into the fog.
Or maybe hide the two of them from my eyes.
Maybe it was Sandy with her dishwater blond hair, eyes that looked smoky even without makeup, or maybe just the way she moved, but suddenly I became aware of how beautiful they were. Now Julie could snag most man-toys with a shake of her long black hair and innocent looking face, but it wasn't really something I normally paid attention to.
My eyes seemed to acquire a mind of their own in that hot room. I would suddenly notice that they had drifted somewhere they shouldn't be. I found myself paying attention to things I shouldn't have. Like how firm Julie's breasts were when compared to the slightly sagging Sandy's. How small her dark nipples were when placed near the silver dollar-sized pink cones. How narrow-waisted, wide-hipped, smooth-skinned...it was a catalog listing. I could have filed a police report from the description I was taking in. Sexy faces, beautiful smiles.
Shaved, versus unshaved, but so blonde she might as well have been.
I looked up when Sandy's hand covered herself. My eyes met hers and the look she was giving me wasn't nice.
"Well, I've steamed enough," said Julie, getting up. She gave me a smile. "You're looking a lot less mopsey so I hope this did you some good?"
I gave a nod I wasn't feeling.
"Yeah! Go me, me go. BFF to the rescue once again." Julie gave her hands the little pompom routine that she had learned as a cheerleader. Without the gold and green uniform that little move did incredible things to her chest. I had to yank my eyes up to her face by sheer will. "Well I'm for a nice shampoo and blow dry from Ramone and a large glass of red wine."
"Oh that sounds wonderful." Sandy hopped up and put her robe on as quickly as she could. I looked away from her, my eyes on the hot rocks. "Coming?"
Looking back up and blinking I could see in her eyes she didn't want me to. Well she was Julie's new friend not mine. For a second, I wanted nothing more than to make the rest of her day uncomfortable. But then...
"No. I want more steam," I say. I dipped the ladle and let the water slowly rain down onto the rocks, smoky ribbons of water vapor answer up with a hiss.
"Well, maybe it will straighten out those curls," Julie said, shrugging herself into her robe. I tried not to watch her breast give a little shake but I couldn't help it. I felt Sandy's eyes on me the whole time. I could sense...something from her then. I couldn't name it but there was a...
Absently I lifted my hand and slicked back my wet hair.
As they left I felt the emptiness of the room the second the door closed. Just me and me... and at the moment I didn't really like me. I dumped huge amounts of water onto the stones and sent up a fog so thick I couldn't see anything. That's just what I wanted. Grabbing my robe I curl up onto the wet cedar and cover myself as the tears start to pour.
"What's wrong with me?" I thought as I shivered and held myself tight enough to bruise. My face came to rest on the wet wood and my tears soon made it even wetter.
Memories came to assault me then, awkward dates with guys that didn't interest me. Their mindless dialog about this car, that sport. It was a sickening mixture. But at the same time the gossipy hours of chatter from Julie was just as unbearable.
There was a light in the fog then. Quickly I try to compose myself but failed.
"I saw the condensation on the window. I was wondering if my sauna was broken." The cedar bent as she sat down next to me. "You okay? I'm going to guess no."
Lifting my head, I looked up at the owner of the salon. Her dark skin was the color of coffee with one cream. Her tight braided hair had quickly gathered a spider's web of water droplets from the air. She had greeted us at the door when we came in. She got us the long white robes and our first glass of wine.
The wine... maybe that was it. The wine must have been bad. It had got me all... whiny. I shook my head at the ludicrous thought.
She took it to mean no, that I'm not alright.
How I went from lying down to in her arms being hugged I don't know, but I suddenly found myself on the receiving end.
Maybe it was her arms. Soft and strong, they reminded me of my Mom's. Maybe it was the sweet jasmine scent that hung around her, reminding me of summer. Hell, it could even have been the little wooden beads in her hair, reminding me of the old rattle curtain at my grandmother's house. Whatever it is I simply hold onto her and bawled my eyes out.
Even though she didn't know what I was crying about she understood. Her arms gave comfort, her voice a whisper of not even half-heard words that gave even more. Her hands caressed the back of my head, holding me to her chest. Her chin resting on my head, she gently rocked me as I cried.
How many minutes I just let myself cry I don't know. It felt like forever but I finally stopped. It was at about the same time that I found myself becoming very aware of just how soft and nice my pillow was.
"Feeling better?" she asked softly.
"I think so," I said with a sniffle.
As I sat back I saw her give me a smile. Her lips under a covering of rose colored lip gloss looked so very kissable.
What the hell am I thinking!
Her hand appeared in my view when I looked down and she took hold of my chin. I let her lift it till I was looking into her eyes. I think her startlingly blue eyes might have been contacts, but I wasn't sure. I had never seen blue eyes on a person of her race but she could have been the exception.
"Want to tell me about it?" she asked with a soft tilt of her head. "I'm a stranger. What would telling me hurt? I won't judge you no matter what."
I could hear the sincerity. But dare I...?
"I think I might be a lesbian," I said softly, almost not believing I was saying it.
She slowly smiled.
"Why do you think that?"
"I was checking out the lady that was in here." I tried to look away from her but she moved her head to the side
"Lots of women do that, hon. It's kind of a game of 'I've got better than you've got.' " She smiled. "You don't just play that with shoes."
I sat quietly unable to find the words I wanted to say.
She again helped.
"Do you like guys?"
The question should have been a given but it hit me harder than I expected. I thought back through them, face by face, all the way back to Timmy Benson who talked me into do it... just a little. None of them were more than a flash memory of a face and a few dinners out. Then the memories of the sex came through and I felt...used. That was as close to it as I could think.
Slowly my head went from side to side.
She smiled and patted my arm.
"It's okay. Coming to grips with that is the hardest part. That and the first time you tell someone. Hell,Girl,you've already gone over the hump! Now you sit right there and I'll be back."
She got up and went out in a hurry and I found my eyes following her curves. She was a stunningly beautiful woman.
She was gone but moments.
The sudden inrush of cooler air and the parting of the fog were my warning that she was back. A metal bucket hit the bench next to me and she sat down on the other side of it.
"Girl, we going to have a party up in here," she told me with a grin.
I took the tall glass from her with a surreal feeling coming around me. She poured bubbling champagne into my glass, then her own.
"A toast to...what is your name?"
"Lavender Layton. My friends call me Elly... why are you laughing?" I asked a little hurt.
She waved her hand, dismissing my anger. "Your parents and mine must have had the same type of joke book. I'm Jasmine Jones. JJ."
I chuckled with her.
"Well, I'm not going to call you Elly. It doesn't make a lot of sense. Did your grandmother call you Flower?"
I looked up startled. How had she known that?
"My Granny did the same, I thought yours might have," she said with a grin. She leaned in and let her glass touch mine with a light ring. "Know what else we have in common? Well, let's just say you're not the only woman who checks out women in the steam room."
I glanced down suddenly aware that I had my robe more than half off me and a towel sitting in my lap. The embarrassment however passes much quicker than if she had been a 'He'. I looked up at her and blushing, I slowly chuckled.
"Lavender and Jasmine?" I asked with a smile.
"Hon, I guarantee the two of us would liven up any room."
Smiling, I sipped the champagne with her, letting my thoughts drift. I felt not quite sure of what I should do next. I decided to ask, after all she had been a help so far.
"So what do I do?"
"Well, you have a lot of choices, Flower. You can go clubbing. I know a few around here that you might like. They're a bit easy on the new and unsure there. You could try the personals. There are hundreds of sites online but a lot of them are crap. You also got a big decision to make. You don't have to make it now or anytime soon, but you will have to make it. Do you tell everyone? Do you tell a few select people? Do you tell no one... well, other than me?" she said with a flirty grin.
Smiling I nodded then started to think about it. Would I lose friends? How about family? There were a few that would scream 'unclean' from the pulpits when they heard. I could already hear their sermons.
I let my eyes drift as I think. I found myself focused on the golden locket around her neck. The fact it was hanging in that dark valley of cleavage might have had something to do with my eyes going there.
She looked down and ran a finger across the metal. I saw a half-smile, half-sad look cross her face.
"Yea," she whispered softly.
"What's the matter Jazz?" I asked.
She looked up at me and grinned at the nickname.
"Jazz, huh? Okay I've gone by that more than once." She lifted the locket. "This is all that I have left of the first love of my life. Her name was Merisa. It has a small piece of her hair and a pinch of her ashes in it. I glued it shut and she's always been there for me."
"What happened to her? Oh, I'm sorry, don't answer that. I'm being nosy."
Jazz shook her head, the beads rattling.
"It's okay. It was awhile back... hell, ten years." She looked down and took a deep breath. When she looked back up, I could see her eyes were shining. She smiled a bit seeing my concern. "I'm good. No, she was as buck wild a person as I've ever met. She loved life with a fiery passion! Everything that she could do to live it to the fullest she did. Fast cars! My god, that woman could drive. She loved anything with a bit of a thrill and some danger. She used to joke that was why she was with me."
I watched a single tear slip and drift it's way down her dark skin to vanish off her face and into the blouse.
"She was on her motorcycle...." Jazz swallowed like saying it was a bitter pill. "...and she of course had it going as fast as it could go. She hit a scrap piece of truck tire and left the road at well over a hundred and twenty. She struck a tree. The doctors said they doubt she even felt it."
She absently reached up to wipe away a tear.
"I'm sorry, Jazz," I said reaching over and taking that hand. The sharp contrast in her skin tone and mine made our hands look like a yin yang. I could feel the damp side of her finger against my skin.
She gave my hand a gentle squeeze but didn't turn me loose.
"Thank you, Flower. They say that time heals but it still feels like yesterday to me. I loved her so much. I miss her every day. I wonder what she would say if she saw me now running this place. She would have loved to come here for maybe a few hours but she would have quickly been bored to tears I think." She chuckled and filled my flute again. "To Merisa?"
"Merisa." I said softly and then as our glasses touched, I offer her hand a bit more pressure.
The bubbly wine was more like breathing bubbles than drinking but its sweet flavor was not lost at all.
Jazz drained her's and sat spinning the flute in between her fingers for a second then looked up at me. Her smiles reappeared.
"So! What are you going to do now?" she asked me then. "Are you coming out tits blazing? Going to scream from the rooftop I want to kiss girls and fuck you if you don't like it?"
Laughing, I shook my head. "I don't think I'm ready to do that yet."
She nodded."Okay. Well, I can get you in touch with some of the local ladies that are like us. We're kind of a lesbian support group. I keep telling them we need to call ourselves B.R.A. Bush Rakers Anonymous. They keep shooting the idea down though."
Chuckling, I nodded. "I can't see why, it sounds perfect to me."
She nodded and lifted the bottle. I watched her pour the last drop out the bottle into my glass.
"All gone," she said sadly. "If I didn't have a business to run I would say to hell with it and open up another. Sitting here getting steam-soaked and plastered with you till we pass out. But alas all parties have to finally turn off the music and close the door. I've got to go back to minding my store...before Ramone sets some poor lady's hair on fire."
She got up and pulled me to my feet in front of her with a tug. The strength of her grip was surprising.
"You never answered my question by the way. What are you going to do now?"
I stood there for a half second then shrugged with a sigh. "Damned if I know. Go find a girl to try kissing..."
Her mouth was on mine in less than a heart-beat. Those lips that were so plump and luscious were also demanding. I very quickly found that all the so-called experience I'd had wasn't worth a flip. Her mouth and then ever so slowly her tongue start me back at Kissing 101.
As the seconds passed and her hands drifted to my shoulders, her fingers caressed the skin down my bare arms, across my bare back. Her hands finally came to rest in the small of my back and in the short hairs at the back of my neck.
Kissing 101 and I wanted to be the teachers pet after the first moment.
"Elly did you fall asleep in here?"
My eyes went to the open doorway to Julie standing there with her wine glass slowly slipping from her fingers.
It hit the floor to shatter, the drops of sanguine heaven splattering outward. Some of them landed on the white robe that lay by my feet next to my towel.
** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** **
I sprinted across the living room but got the phone just as it stopped ringing.
Setting it back on it's base, I saw the red light come on after a second. Picking it back up, I hit the message button.
"You have one new message, recorded today at 6:25.... 'Hey Flower, this is Jazz. Look I know that our... last encounter was a bit of a shock to your system but if you would I would love to hear from you. I have an idea you might like. Kind of my surprise and a bit of an apology for what happened with your friend. Well, call me if you will."
I listened to the number, my mind filing it away.
Do I call or not? Setting my purse down I sunk into my favorite end of the couch and pondered that question.
I wanted to. I wanted to so badly but things were only now starting to get back to normal for me with Julie. She was surprisingly not at all understanding about what happened. She said it was everything from depression to break up blues to too much steam. The absolute denial that she went into when I told her that I was a lesbian was still even more shocking.
We hadn't talked for a week. Then she gave me a call with the name of a guy that she had already promised a date with me. She said he was so nice that one date with him and such silly thoughts would vanish.
I told her I would.
I grabbed up the phone and hit the call back button. I listened to the tones as they played her number for me. I tried to make my breathing quieter. I might make her think I was a phone sex perv
"Hey there Flower." I could hear the smile through the phone. "I had hoped you would call me back. Um look, I have something I promised I would do this weekend. It's a B.R.A. thing. I was wondering if you would like to come and join us. There will be a lot of us getting together Saturday for the Holiday."
Looking over at my cute puppies' calendar, I didn't see any holiday mentioned.
"What holiday is this Saturday? My calendar doesn't show it." I got up and went to it. I glanced at the ridiculous Shar-Pei puppy with his thousand wrinkles. "I've double checked and still don't see one."
"It's National Nude Day."
I just held the phone as what she said bounced around in my head for several seconds.
"I'm not sure I heard you right?" I finally had to ask.
She chuckled. "Yes you did. I said National Nude Day."
"There's a holiday to get naked on?"
"Nude," she said quickly.
"What's the difference?" I asked, confused.
"Nude is what you can be in front of strangers, naked is what you are with your lover."
I thought about that for a second and both still seemed embarrassing to me.
"Okay, so what are you going to do Saturday?" I asked not sure I want the answer. "Are you going to a nudist colony or something?"
I heard the deep throaty chuckle.
"No, my dear Flower. We are going to march in a parade."
The image of dozens of naked... sorry, nude people walking down the street in a parade came to mind then. I was also suddenly hit with the idea of a giant Macy day style float of a... never mind.
"I don't know, Jazz. That sounds like a bit too..."
"You don't have to get nude. Just come down. Meet a few of the other ladies. Talk with them for a bit. I think you'll have fun. I would advise maybe not standing to close to us once we start the parade though."