A weak grin crept across Tessa’s face. “I see. Goodnight, honey.”
Anton gave her a passionless kiss on the cheek, then floated into his bedroom. For a few seconds, Tessa stood there, pondering married life.
The first few years with Anton were nice, but not because she found him sexy or captivating. It was because of Mama. She knew her mother would love him and be delighted to learn her daughter was involved with a man of means. It never occurred to her to consider what she wanted. That would be selfish and childish.
After stepping down the hallway, Tessa stared at her bedroom. Like the rest of the house, it was roomy, luxurious and gleaming with old world charm. But it still felt like a cage. After a few hours of failing to get to sleep, she needed to break free.
Remembering that they had passed a small coffee shop on their way to the house, she figured a solo stroll down the road would help her clear her thoughts. Creeping to the front door, she hoped to slip out without waking anyone. But she didn’t make it.
A shrill voice from behind said, “Going out for a cigarette?”
Nearly leaping out of her skin, Tessa turned. “Oh, sorry if I woke you, Mrs. Redgrave. I was just getting some fresh air.”
Mrs. Redgrave stepped closer, her arms stern across her bright silk robe. “Really? You will be returning, won’t you?”
Tessa giggled. “Of course, I will. Did you think I was going to just disappear into the night?”
Pausing before a reply, Mrs. Redgrave stepped even closer. “Has Anton ever told you about Suzy?”
“No. Is there any reason he should have?”
“Suzy was a girl he dated a few years ago. High-spirited young lady, loved dancing in clubs late at night. That sort of thing.”
Tessa’s face sharped. She could sense this conversation about Suzy was really about her. “Suzy sounds like a pretty chill girl.”
“Not being familiar with the street vernacular of today’s young people, I don’t know what that means. But I do know this: Suzy had a habit of sneaking away at night to have a cigarette. A harmless habit, really. Until the day she decided not to return from her smoke break.”
“And she took with her Anton’s credit cards and checkbook.”
Tessa raised her arms in the air. “Do you want to frisk me?”
“No, my dear. That won’t be necessary. I would however, like for you to answer a question.”
“What do you want from my son? Apart from the obvious.”
“How about if you let me and Anton worry about that. He’s grown man, remember?” Without another word, Tessa stepped out of the door. It was a little cool out for the jeans and t-shirt she had crawled into, but she was happy to be outside anyway.
But as she strode down the street and toward the sign ahead that read ‘Cassie’s Coffee,’ she was troubled by Mrs. Redgrave’s question. What did she want from Anton? The answer wasn’t that clear.
Cassie’s Coffee was jumping for a Saturday night in a small rural town. Walking inside, Tessa attracted eyes immediately. The place was peopled by about a dozen coffee drinkers and a few employees. It was the kind of funky coffee shop you’d expect in the hip enclave of a big city. Walls plastered with tattered posters of bands and homemade want ads. The furniture was old school and wooden.
Every face seemed to wear a smile. She offered polite grins to everyone, then took a seat in a corner booth. “What will you need tonight?” the tall blonde behind the counter asked.
“Double latte is fine,” she answered, making no effort to mask her unhappy mood.
“You doing okay?” the lady asked.
“Not really. But I’m sure I’ll feel better after I start playing. That usually cheers me up.”
With a million things on her mind, Tessa had plenty to sort out. She was getting married in a few days to a man she didn’t love. The burden felt like a refrigerator on her back. She glanced around looking for a friendly face to share her blues with. Although she didn’t find any right away, something else came to her attention: no men. The people inside were all women – even the ones with their arms loving draped around others. My God! She thought to herself. This is a lesbian bar!
Tessa found the revelation both thrilling and scary. She had never been with a woman, but a strange recurring dream had always kept the idea alive in her imagination.
The dream would always start with kisses from a man – sometimes Anton, sometimes Max, her high school boyfriend. The kisses were nice, but not especially fiery. They were polite kisses, the kind a husband and wife would share after years of a passionless marriage. Then she’d feel a tugging from behind, dragging her from the man’s kisses. The hands doing the tugging, planted firmly on her hips, were delicate and slender. A woman’s hands.
She was tempted to turn away from the man’s kisses and fall into the loving embrace of the woman’s, but it was scary. It was something her family wouldn’t approve of. And in the end, she’d resist the urge.
Curious, Tessa walked to the wall, pretending to focus on a couple of want ads and posters. She grazed across a flyer that read, Musician wanted for Cassie’s Coffee. Tips only. Then she strolled to another ad ’81 Mazda for sale, good condition. Other ads featured old chest of drawers for sale, a kitten, and a pair of used headphones.
The ads were interesting, but really they were just a way to steal glances at the ladies in the coffee shop. They were a fascinating bunch. Some were tall, blonde, stylish. Others were more casual. But Tessa admired them all. These were ladies who didn’t care what the world thought. She wondered if any of them had mothers who insisted they only date highly successful men.
After spotting an alluring brunette crossing the longest pair of legs she’d ever seen, she wondered about a few other things too…
How does feel to kiss a woman? To caress her body and fall into her arms? Soft? Sweet? Is there something missing without the hard, muscular touch of a man? Or is something added?
A tingle fell over her body, causing her eyelids to flutter shut. She pictured herself drifting into kiss after kiss with another girl, savoring the taste and texture of her lips, her tongue, even her teeth. Her limbs began to rattle and she needed to grab the wall for support.
But her fantasy was interrupted by a voice from behind. “Looks like you’re new around here.”
Tessa turned, collecting her breath. But her efforts at composing herself failed. “Um… huh?”
The woman smiled and extended her hand. “I’m Marie. I haven’t seen you around her before.”
“I’m Tessa.” Their hands met in a gentle shake.
Red haired with a face full of freckles, Marie’s cuteness made it even harder for Tessa to compose herself. After clearing her throat, Tessa finally pushed out a coherent sentence. “Yes. I’m from Buffalo, New York. You’re really lovely.” Realizing what she’d just said, she frantically corrected herself. “Um, I mean this place is lovely. This coffee shop.”
“Yeah, we love it. It’s really the only place for girls like us to hang out in town.”
Tessa considered what girls like us meant. It occurred to her that Marie was assuming she was a lesbian. Far from making her uneasy, she found miscommunication naughty and fun. “Yeah. That’s always a cool thing when girls like us can hang out and have a good time.”
Marie’s gaze softened as their eyes found a warm contact. “I’m just getting out of a relationship, so it would be amazing if I could find somebody here to connect with.”
A panicked thought occurred to Tessa. Is she flirting with me? But after further scanning her face, the panic gave way to a heated curiosity. She somehow gathered the strength to flirt back. “Mmmmm. Anything on your menu in particular?”
Marie sent her eyes upward and thought about it for a second. “Honesty and integrity are always a plus. Brains are nice. A sense of humor is non-negotiable.”
“Agreed. But let’s not kid ourselves. Looks matter too.”
Marie tossed her head back and giggled. “So refreshing to meet somebody who can be honest about that.”
“Well, while we’re being honest, what are your preferences in looks?”
Marie pushed her soft lips into a pucker, considering the question. “Dark hair, dark eyes. A magnificent set of lips.” The words floating softly from Marie’s mouth as she offered the alluring description of Tessa’s face. “What about you? What features get your engine revved up?”
“Red hair is a good place to start.”
“Freckles, pale skin.”
“So what brings you from Buffalo to this tiny little Town in Connecticut?”
“Well, I’m here with my – “ Tessa halted herself before answering the question. Mentioning Anton, his parents and their upcoming marriage would not have been a good idea. Or would it? Maybe it would be best to come clean. Tessa didn’t like lying or leading people on. But on the other hand, flirting with this pretty lady was the most fun she’d had in ages. She was torn.
Luckily somebody interrupted before she could answer. “Marie, are you going to introduce us to your adorable friend?”
With a mischievous grin, Marie answered, “Actually, I was hoping to keep her to myself.”
Tessa turned and met another stunning lady. Her name was Maxine. Her looks were different from Marie’s. More masculine and intense. But Tessa was intrigued just the same.
After chatting with Maxine, she met Carla and Devon and Ingrid, having a wonderful time with her new friends and feeling a spark in the libido that had lay dormant for years. She ended her night getting a group hug from the ladies and promising that they’d see her again soon. This was very much a promise she intended to keep.
Walking back to the Redgrave’s home, she noticed a napkin that been placed in her pocket. She scooped it out, holding it up to the moonlight to read it. You’re adorable, it read. I’d like to take you home and gobble you up some night. I’d love to bathe in the sparkle of your eyes until you beg me to stop
But it wasn’t signed. It could have been any of the fascinating ladies she’d met that night. Tessa didn’t know where to begin guessing.
Tucking the note back into her pocket, she rang the doorbell, hoping whoever answered it to let her inside would know the reason for the glow on her face.
The door swung open, revealing Mavis, the housekeeper. “Hello, ma’am. I trust you’ve had a wonderful time.”
“I sure did.” She went to bed, eager awaiting the cascade of dazzling dreams to follow.
But the dreams didn’t come right away. Getting to sleep was a challenge with her head reeling with joy. A naughty idea had filled her head. She tossed the bed’s covers away and lifted her thighs apart, wasting no time sending her fingers south until they went under her pajama pants.
Her body was so heated that she shivered at the first hand-to-pussy contact. From there things only got hotter. A flood of images reminded her of the faces she’d seen that night. She pictured Marie, Maxine and all the others. One-by—one, the faces hovered past her. And she kissed them all, tasting their lips and tongues, yanking their sexy bodies into hers until their n*****s brushed and the warmth of their bodies turned the subtle shiver into a tremor.
Other faces wove themselves into the fantasy. Cathy McMartin, her best friend in Junior high, the first girl she ever wanted to kiss. Jessica Barr, the pretty redhead on the volleyball who offered to help her ‘practice kissing.’ Tessa refused because she feared getting caught. But deep down, she was intrigued. As the onslaught went on, she even thought about Miss. Conway, the gym teacher everyone gossiped about.