As Therese looked at Carol her peripheral vision faded, leaving only Carol's face, her eyes her beautiful mouth, her hair and all the memories of how it had felt to be so close, so intimate, flooded through her. And Carol was returning her gaze because Carol knew what she was feeling and that she had changed her mind and yes the answer was yes to all of it - love, a life together, a future shared - and this gave Therese an overwhelmingly powerful feeling that yes it was all possible, that yes they could face and overcome anything as long as they had each other. She could feel the invisible strings she had imagined earlier entwining to pull her forwards to Carol, they all led her to Carol.
And in an instant it all came crashing in around her - the chaos of the real world.
Carol looked happy but slightly hesitant as if she wasn't really sure why Therese was there. Her dinner guests were turning to see why Carol had stopped responding to their conversation. The waiter tapped her shoulder and asked if he could help her bit in a way that made her feel like an intruder.
"Bring a chair please it seems we have an extra guest tonight thankyou" Therese had never heard a more welcome beautiful statement in her life. Carol had come to her rescue just as the world had come crashing against her. And Carol did know - or maybe not one hundred percent. "You are joining us, aren't you?"
"Why yes, of course" Therese smiled back at Carol, reached out to give her hand a slight squeeze that again seemed to be a moment frozen in time.
Therese liked Carol's friends but felt impatient and was unable to relax. She had such important things to tell Carol, she had questions that could not be asked here. She felt powerless when another round of drinks were being ordered but she was determined to wait the night out. But again Carol was saving her - making excuses for being exhausted due to such along day and an early start in the morning and that she had offered Therese a lift home if that was alright with Therese to leave early?
Outside in the street Carol turned to Therese again showing a slight vulnerabilty as if she wasn't really sure why Therese had appeared. "You do want a lift home then? Or .. was there something else?"
Therese again reached out for her hand "I wanted to tell you... I wanted to say that I... Can you just take me home please?" It wasn't the place or the atmosphere to tell Carol what she was feeling, to show her feelings in public here on the street.
Carol was surprised and pleased to see Therese's appartment looking freshly painted and comfortable. It had shocked her the first time she had visited, the drab walls and the fading paintwork. "Oh yes Danny and I worked on it an I think we made a good job of it don't you?" Therese turned to Carol and handed her a beer but Carols's expression had changed. "What's wrong - are you all right - is it Rindy?"
Carol sat on the edge of the bed as if she no longer had the strength to support herself. "Danny - is that what you wanted to tell me about Therese?"
"Oh no" Therese realised how it must be looking to Carol - her refusal to live with her, her lack of response to Carols' declaration of love, her job at the paper. "oh no Carol , Danny's a friend, he's been so good to me. I've been so lonely so alone. I missed you so much. My heart was so empty. The job gave me something to go on with. I don't know what I would have done. I tried to call you and you couldn't speak to me." Therese was now sitting next to Carol, here arm around her shoulders, willing her to look up at her - she reached for Carols face to make her look into her eyes "I love you Carol. There is only you. Even when I wanted to hate you I could only love you." Carol's eyes were a mess, her lips were quivering but she had never looked more desirable to Therese. Their lips met as they turned to each other in an embrace - an awkward embrace with the beer bottles in their hands. Therese smiled at Carol and placed the bottles on the floor. She stood and held her arms out to Carol who rose up towards her and the whole length of their bodies pressed tightly together as they held each other so tightly. And this felt right, so right and noone could convince Therese otherwise.
Again Therese opened her eyes in the morning to see Carol smoking a cigarette by the window. Carol was wearing her gown and Therese was completely naked. She remembered last night in a blur - lips and hands and gasps and feelings so many feelings so much tenderness so much love. She screwed her face up at the light and looked at Carol. Carol looked back at her and laughed tossing her head upwards. She put out the cigarette she had just lit, stepped out of her gown and walked towards Therese.