Author's Note: I'm so, so, so sorry for not updating sooner. The thing is, I'm not a writer. I'm really not. Some sort of creative spirit settled over me and enabled me to write the first four chapters. Then it fled, the coward, leaving me to struggle with the last chapter, hoping I could make it as good as the first four. At first I thought, no big deal. I'll glean inspiration from real life. Then I waited. And waited. And waited some more. Alas, nothing useful happened in my life (on which I could base this chapter.) *sigh* And then someone threatened to put a scorpion down my pants if I don't put up chapter 5. So I figured, it's bad enough I don't have a girlfriend, I don't need someone searching me out to drop a scorpion down my pants on top of that. But luckily for you, this story's not about me. It's about people whose lives are worth reading about. Enjoy. :)

Chapter 5

Rachel arrived home before Luce did, which was a novelty for her. She skipped off to the kitchen to put up something for dinner. She wanted Luce to come home from work and be able to sit down and eat with her right away. She wanted to finally have a perfect evening. It wasn't much later that Rachel heard the key in the lock and then saw Luce enter the kitchen. The soft, pleased smile on her face validated Rachel's efforts.

They spoke about how their day had been, and Luce shared several amusing stories about her customers.
"It's a good thing that they don't need to sign a privacy policy before shopping. Some of those anecdotes are too good for me to keep to myself," she chuckled.
"That 'last chance' flower guy will always be my favorite, though," Rachel said. "I was just so... I don't know... nervous, I guess, talking to you that day, and he provided the most wonderful comic relief." She smiled shyly at the woman across the table, remembering how much courage it took for her to invite her for dinner that day. That seemed to have happened a lifetime ago.

They finished eating, and although it was still only 8 pm, Rachel headed towards the shower. In sharp contrast to her first evening in Luce's place, when Rachel just wanted to shut off all feelings, today she used this time to think. She needed to sort out the millions of untamed thoughts running through her mind. She needed to know where exactly she was standing in her life. The apartment was listed for sale, and she even had a showing scheduled for tomorrow evening. Hec left the country that morning. She had, with much trepidation, told her news to her coworkers, and the drama of it settled down after a few days. So many hurdles have been overcome. She felt free. Uplifted. And she felt ready.

Rachel stood in front of the bedroom closet in her bathrobe. Scanning the items on the hangers, she right away knew what it was she wanted to wear. There was a hooded sweater that Rachel knew Luce liked on her. It was velvet, and depending on which angle you looked at it, it was either a dusty plum or a soft grey color. Next, Rachel pulled out a slip that she usually wore under her business suit skirts. It was made of a smooth, thin, black material and its lacy hem hit right above her knees. She took off her robe, put on those two items, and twirled in front of the full length mirror. She started towards the door, but then backtracked and decided to blow dry her hair first.

When her hair was mostly dry, Rachel fluffed it out around her shoulders and all but skipped down the hallway to the kitchen. She leaned in the doorway and watched Luce's back for a few minutes through half-closed eyes. Luce wore her hair tied back today. It's not often that she did so, and Rachel made a mental note to ask her to consider this style more often. It gave Rachel a more enticing view of her neck and jawline, and it held a special spot in Rachel's heart because this is how she saw Luce for the first time.

Luce was washing dishes again. Predictable. And perfect.Taking a moment to compose herself, Rachel smiled and exhaled. It was time to play. She sauntered up to the counter and leaned her back against it, looking straight at Luce. Luce continued at her task, stealing glances at the curly-haired girl every so often until her silence and unwavering eye contact got to her.

"What is it?" Luce chuckled.
"You have magnificent eyes."
Luce shook her head and graced Rachel with a skeptical look and smirk before returning to her dish washing routine.
"You know, the good thing about dishes," Rachel smiled mischievously as she hoisted herself up onto the counter and perched on the edge, "is that they are very patient."
"Patient," Luce repeated amusedly, eyeing Rachel's legs mere inches away from her own hands, outlined perfectly by silky black material that draped loosely over her thighs. Patience is something Luce had to practice a lot of recently. She wasn't sure where this whole conversation was heading, but she couldn't help but smile as she waited for Rachel to continue.
"Yes," replied Rachel. The word came out as a laugh. "They wouldn't," she continued, "mind terribly if you'd do them tomorrow."
Luce couldn't help but wonder if they hadn't had a similar conversation once before. She opened her mouth to say as such, when-
"Let me rephrase that. Theydon't need you tonight," Rachel almost-whispered as she sidled up to sit at the ledge of the sink, right in front of Luce, whose eyebrows shot up with a sudden realization, "like I need you tonight."

Luce felt her insides melt and her heartbeat pulsate in her ears upon hearing those words. She put one hand on Rachel's lower back to prevent her from falling into the sink as she reached around her to turn off the water with the other. Feeling herself starting to lose balance, Rachel steadied herself by pressing her knees to either side of Luce's waist. The two women joined their lips in a slow and deliberate kiss. They pulled apart, and Luce placed her hands on Rachel's shoulders, hesitating for a few moments before deciding on a relatively safe gesture of sliding her hands down Rachel's arms. It has taken Rachel a long time to get to this place and Luce didn't want to overwhelm her straightaway. Their fingers met, and Rachel lifted Luce's hands back up to her own shoulders. Let's try this again,she thought, guiding the hands down a different path this time.

Luce was more than happy to let Rachel show her. The two pairs of hands, one guiding, one caressing, traveled over the front of the velour hoodie. They followed the curve until the guiding hands paused at the crest of the swell, imploring the caressing hands to linger. Rachel left Luce's hands she needed to feel them and moved her own to Luce's cheeks. They merged their lips and their souls once more. Luce moved her lips from Rachel's mouth to her neck, continuing on lower. She slid her hands out from between her own body and Rachel's, causing the younger woman to whimper into the kiss. The whimper turned into a shudder when Luce paused the kisses and brushed her fingers across Rachel's collarbone. Never before did she imagine that someone running a finger over her collarbone would make her whole body tense up like that, but this wasn't "someone;" this was Luce. Rachel had barely regained coherent thought before losing it again when she felt Luce's fingertips span the short distance between the collarbone and the zipper pull below it. At this point, Luce lifted her eyes to Rachel's face to watch her reaction as she inched the zipper down. Rachel's eyes were closed, her lips pressed together, and her breathing heavy but rhythmic.

The zipper went lower until Luce saw Rachel begin to lose her composure. Running a finger up and down the path the zipper had descended, Luce asked, "Rach, sweetie, are you sure you are ready?"
Rachel slipped off the counter and stood facing Luce, their bodies pressed together. Several answers ran through Rachel's mind. No! I'm not! or There's only one way to find out. or Trust me, you don't want to wait till I'm sure I'm ready. But when she spoke, all that came out of her mouth was a whispered, "To hell with sure." She took Luce by the hands and added, "Sure is for people who don't love enough." With that, Rachel began to walk backwards ahead of Luce, leading her to the bedroom.

They walked through the bedroom door, not bothering to turn on the light. The room was faintly illuminated by the light spilling in from the hallway. Luce moved her hands to Rachel's elbows, switching their roles and leading the younger woman towards the bed. She sat Rachel down, then climbed onto the bed on her knees. Rachel reached out and began to unfasten Luce's vest. Her fingers trembled and she kept fumbling with the buttons. Taking notice of this, Luce helped her finish up, and started on the blouse beneath. With Rachel wearing only one layer which was already half open, Luce had some catching up to do. Shrugging off both the vest and blouse together, Luce was left wearing a sleeveless shirt. She shifted the attention from herself back to Rachel. Feeling encouraged by the darkness around them, she found the zipper pull once again and undid the hoodie in one fluid motion.

They sat facing each other, each of them lost in the other's eyes for several long seconds, not daring to touch for fear of breaking the spell. Eyes still locked, Luce reached under Rachel's hoodie, placed her palms against Rachel's bare back and lowered her down. She gazed at the girl she loved, almost in disbelief. Here they were, together. The intense feeling of affection grew within Luce, first swirling deep in her center, then growing until she could contain it no longer. Urgently, she pushed herself back to an upright position for the few moments it took her to remove her shirt. Rachel used the time to wriggle her arms out of the sleeves of her sweater and shove it off the bed. Luce placed her hands on the sheet, on either side of Rachel's shoulders and hovered over her. Rachel waited for a moment for Luce to lower herself, but quickly lost patience and wrapped her arms around her lover's back, pulling herself up. Luce was able to maintain that position, holding her own weight and Rachel's for the duration of one kiss before weakening and dropping down to the bed. The two women ended up side by side. Rachel pushed herself forward to get as close to Luce as possible, throwing one leg over both of Luce's and burying her face in her neck.

She took several deep and comforting breaths, reveling in their closeness. Without looking up, she murmured, "Luce. I have never done this before. This is so new to me."
"It's new to me, too," Luce whispered back. "Because I have never felt like this before." She caressed Rachel's curls and turned her onto her back, kneeling over her. Rachel reached up and began to undo Luce's belt, and seconds later the pants joined the other clothes on the floor. Luce pulled Rachel up to a sitting position, and they were face to face.
"Neither have I felt like this before," Rachel murmured as she wrapped her arms around Luce and unclasped her bra. Luce took Rachel around the waist and brought her close, helping her position her legs into a comfortable position. Their lips locked and their tongues slid against each other. Electricity flowed through Rachel's body, causing her to tighten her knees around Luce's waist.

Whatever was left of Rachel's anxiety melted away with Luce's caress. Being with Luce seemed like the most natural thing in the world. It was as if Rachel's whole life has been leading up to this moment, and this moment only. And it would be a memorable one for them both. She took Luce by the shoulders and pushed her back gently, climbing on top of her. Luce reached up and ran her hands down Rachel's back, back up along her sides, ran her fingers through Rachel's curls. Rachel had propped herself up on her elbows and was tracing Luce's eyebrows with her thumbs.
"This feels..." Rachel began. "This feels like nothing I've ever felt before."
She moved her hands lower and caressed her lover's lips, her cheeks, her jawline.
"It feels like my soul knows your soul, Luce. Like my soul has been longing for yours. I've never felt so... complete."

They brought their lips together once more and lost themselves in each other for the first time.

Luce opened her eyes to soft morning light filtering through the lace of the curtains. It took her a moment or two to figure out why she was feeling so wonderful. Her eyes settled on the most lovely sight she could ever wish to wake up to and all the emotions from the night before flooded her once more.
"Hi," she murmured to Rachel, who was already awake.
"Good morning, love," Rachel replied, wriggling her arm out from under Luce, flexing her fingers to get the blood flowing again.
"Sorry 'bout that," Luce chuckled.
"Shhh!" Rachel interrupted her. "You better not be."
Once the feeling came back to her fingers, Rachel made to lift herself, but Luce put a hand on her shoulder, pinning her down. She swung one knee over Rachel's leg and began to drop little kisses on her cheek, mouth, neck... Luce continued on lower and Rachel writhed under the soft touch of her lover's lips.
"Your kisses," Rachel whispered.
"What about my kisses?" Luce paused long enough to ask with a one-sided smile before continuing the row of kisses where she left off.
"Uh, I... hmmm. I don't know. You're not," she broke off in a giggle. "You're not letting me form... mmm... a coherent thought."
Luce scooted back up and lay facing Rachel. She took her lover's face in her hands and said, "What can I say? You're just going to have to get used to it."