"Well that was …." Gail said entering the apartment; she locked the door behind her, latching on the safety before leaning against it. "Interesting." she decided. I laughed my head peeping out from the doorway of the kitchen. She had been downstairs a while, about 20 - 30 minutes with Hillary.
"I'm sorry; I wish I could have prepared you for that. I know Hilly can be … a lot." I felt the need to apologize.
"Its … fine." Gail walked over pressing a kiss to my cheek, her hand snaking beneath the hem of my top warming the skin there. "Hillary was nice." She confirmed before her mouth sought mine and her tongue found sanctuary in the contours of my mouth. "But she's no you …" she whispered before passing to enter the kitchen. "I know you said you had a twin sister. I just didn't expect to meet a family member so soon." I stood there by the doorway breathless. How had she recovered so quickly?
"I met your brother …" I reminded my brain playing catch up. I turn to see her eating one of the left over cupcakes.
"It's not the same." she decided, but I couldn't see the difference.
"I hope you didn't feel ambushed." I was trying to gage her mood. It seemed to have shifted. "I really didn't expect you to be back or I would have mentioned her coming over."
"No its fine." She started looking in fridge and oven and stove top.
"What did you and Hilly talk about?" I felt nosy. I would probably get the details from Hillary later, but it would have been nice hearing Gail's side.
"Just stuff. Regular stuff." she shrugged taking a beer out of the fridge. I deflated. "I'm hungry, where is dinner?" she asked changing the subject. Evidently she wasn't interested in telling me about the conversation.
"Babe, I didn't cook today." I sounded ashamed, like I should have cooked.
"I noticed." she responded flatly and I felt oddly worst.
"Maybe we can order something?" I suggested and she picked up one of the magnetic cards off the fridge before taking out her phone.
"The usual?" she asked showing me the card and I nod. "Hi, yes. I'd like to place an order…" She said to her caller before heading back to the living room taking her beer with her. My eyes scanned the mess that was still my kitchen, and I sigh before getting back to work. I still had an assortment of baking tools to wash.
With dinner squared away we sprawled out on the couch watching a marathon of some police procedural show. More actually I was watching the show while Gail snuggled behind me, our legs entwined while we laid there, her breath against my neck a reminder of her presence while she slept. She was a 'breast woman', I had discovered. Her hand had long abandoned my waist and found comfort beneath my t-shirt cupping and once or twice massaging the now taut nipple. No doubt pleased that I had disregarded the bra hours ago. It was funny the things, you found out about a person as the relationship progressed. Though, if I told her that she liked cupping my breasts while she slept, she would have probably denied it unless I had concrete evidence.
I resisted the urge to take a photo of us.
As the show drew to an end and the familiar music began to play with its closing credits. Gail's body flexed against mine as she snuggled pulling me in closer and her hold on my breast tightened causing a surprised moan to leave my lips.
"Mmm…" she purred waking; her ministrations to my breast now deliberate and I surrender to it, my head turning to seek her lips demanding more. Before long she's beneath me, her blue eyes glossy with desire, her lips pink, swollen, and her need for me urgent. "Holly …" she begged and I dared not deny her.
"So I wanted to know …" Gail began. We were sitting in the couch naked, a blanket about us as we ate ice-cream, while a movie watched us from the telly in the background. "If you wanted to eat somewhere."
"Hmm?" I asked mid bite. "Eat somewhere?"
"Yeah in a restaurant, not on your couch" her eyes glanced at the empty food containers that still sat on the center table. "Steve recommended a place." And there was the illusive phase two of the plan I had heard about.
"Like dinner?" I suggested.
"Yes." she agreed, "You could wear something like what you wore last night. I liked it." I went red instantly, so she had liked my outfit. This was the first direct comment she had made about it. I had started to wonder if it had been a miss. "And we could meet there and … eat." She paid little attention to me and much to the television as she spoke.
"So like a date?" I suggested again. My mind was spinning. She was asking me out on a date!
"If you MUST label it Holly. Yes a date." Her eyes flashed my way, her brow arching before she stabbed her spoon into the ice-cream container.
"I would love to." I smiled. Not even steely looks from her could bring me down. After four weeks. Gail had officially asked me out. I had tried in vain to get her to go to dinner, a work party, a science exhibition and a play all of which had been shot down with complaints of tiredness, boredom and a plain 'that's stupid, why would anyone want to do that'. I had all but given up hope, but here we were. "How about instead of us meeting there…." I had to be careful, I didn't want to spook her, she really was a cat. "I could get my car washed and waxed … bring you flowers …. pick you up at your apartment? 7:30pm…"
She sighed bringing a spoon full of ice-cream to her mouth and chewed on it long and thoughtful. The longer she took to answer the more I wondered if the ice-cream was made of rubber. "Its just food Holly." Her sigh was heavy. "But if you insist. You can do all of that." My smile was giddy and I lean over to steal a chocolate mint filled kiss. "The things I do for you." she shakes her head in disbelief before leaving the couch, taking with her the empty food containers. I lean back against the couch contented life was perfect. My phone rang again signaling another call from Mackenzie and I was quick to silence it. Correction, life was almost perfect.
"Um …about earlier … your sister." That was Gail again, breaking the easy silence that had settled between us while we watched a movie that every evening. "I know you said it was ok, but I feel bad about kissing Hillary." It was a confession of some sort. I reached for the remote to pause the TV, giving her my full attention. Gail rarely discussed anything, so the fact that she was now talking meant it was somehow important.
"You don't have to be. I know it was a mistake." I told her. "I have long forgotten about it, Hilly too." I didn't want Gail beating herself over the head with this. It was a none issue as far as I was concerned.
"I know what you said and I believe you." She told me. "I just don't like the idea of me kissing someone, that wasn't you. Mistake or not." She explained. "We are in this, right?" I nodded. "and we want this, right?" I nodded again. "and we are trying to build something, right?" I was fast becoming a bobble head doll. "So if we are in this and we kiss other people. It's like cheating. It is cheating." She decided and I couldn't help but think she was talking from experience. Had she allowed someone to kiss her who shouldn't have? And was I fast putting myself in danger of doing the same? I really needed to confront Mac and clear the air "… because kissing is such an intimate and personal state of being" she continued "… that to do it with someone that isn't you, feels like cheating." She finished and I swallowed a rigid lump in my throat. "If I saw you kissing someone else, it would kill me…and make me want to kill them." she confessed and all the colour drained from my face. "So, I know you say its nothing, but I am sorry about kissing your sister." She pulled me into her arm, planting a kiss on my forehead as we sat there on the couch and I felt the lowest of low and yet I still couldn't bring myself to tell her about what happened with Mackenzie. Even more so had she been serious about killing someone or was that just done to relay how serious she took the issue?
I woke with a start, my body flying upright, my hair wild my eyes wide. My heart pounded rapidly and I touched it, feeling it slam against my chest. I had woken to the safety that was a night in bed with Gail sleeping soundly beside me but I had been dragged from a hellish dream or rather a nightmare.
It had consisted, of a lot of convoluted scenes laced with lies and deception that I led to me in bed with Mackenzie and Gail killing her. Now Rational thought told me that Gail would never actually shoot Mackenzie, and I would never cheat on Gail. She was just more sensible than that and I knew better, but her confession tonight and my action at the Penny held me in doubt. Doubt that gripped like a noose around my neck and had me struggling for air.
"Gail? Gail?!" I shook her frantically feeling the need to unburden myself at this ungodly hour. I turn on the lamp on the night table. "Are you awake?" I was practically manhandling her.
"I am now …" came the groggy if not irritated reply. She turned to face me, perching on her elbow. She looked haggard. "Are you okay?" she squinted at the light and stifled a yawn. "What's the matter hun?"
"Saturday night at the Penny I think Mackenzie lip looked me and maybe was about to kiss me when you went to pay our tab and I may have handled it badly because I didn't tell her to stop though she didn't actually kiss me and I kind of just ran from her to you and now I need to tell her that I'm with you and that she cant do things like that but its complicated cause we have a past and she's my friend and she's my ex and we work together and now I don't know what to do about it and I don't want you to kill her!" I sounded out of breath and manic. Gail gave me a confused yet alarmed look before she sat up in bed and reached to pull on her t-shirt that had been disregarded hours before.
"I think Mac tried to kiss me." I breathed. Her eyes narrowed as she remembered who Mac was.
"She's your ex?" she sounded disgusted, like the words brought a bad taste to her mouth.
"You have the most fucked up timing! You know that Holly ?!" She looked at the alarm. "I have to be up for work in three hours!" she sighed raking a hand through her hair in sleep deprived frustration.
"I know, I just couldn't …"
"Sleep with the guilt any longer?" she challenged. I felt small and scolded and I pulled the sheet around me, trying to protect myself.
"How long?" she demanded.
"We started dating in 2007, officially ended four months now." I confessed. She leaned her head against the headboard and I heard her sigh. She closed her eyes and sighed some more before she asked.
"Did you want to kiss her back?"
"Are you still in love with her?"
"No I'm not." I admitted. "I know I should have told you about Mackenzie before. I had wanted to in the start but it got away from me. Your friend's death, then we snow balled into this relationship and then we weren't really talking about important stuff and then….and I didn't think Mac was an issue and now I'm not sure that she might not be."
"So this is my fault?! You deliberately kept the truth from me about her and now her almost kissing you is somehow my fault?" Gail looked at me insidiously.
"No …I don't mean it like .. I just … Please don't be mad."
"Too late for that!" she hissed. "What is it am I'm suppose to do Holly? What am I suppose to do with this? How am I suppose to compete with a woman you've had a life with for seven fucking years?!"
"It's not a competition Gail. I chose you. I choose you." I sounded small compared to her. I'd never heard her shout before, she was always calm even when upset. Her emotions always in check, but tonight they left nothing to the imagination. She was angry and hurt.
"If you'd done that Holly, there would be no need for this conversation now. Obviously you are having doubts! Which is why I have been woken to this guilt ridden tirade!"
"I know I messed up but I'm not having doubts Gail. This weekend has been wonderful and I know I want to be with you. I just didn't know how to handle Mac, in the moment that it happened but I can fix this." I assured. God knows I had to find a way to fix this. "I'm going to talk to Mac and straighten this out. I just didn't want to lie to you anymore." She sighed heavily at my suggestion, like the thought of me trying to fix this brought her even more burden. "Gail" I said touching her shoulder. "I know you're mad but I will fix it. I want to be with you." she finally looked over at me and for the first time I realized, she'd had tears in her eyes.
"Ok" she finally replied, but there was no believability to it. "You fix this, or I will." It was a command. I pressed a kiss to her temple and brought my hands around her and we stayed there for a moment before her forehead moved to rest on mine.
"I don't want to loose you" I heard her say.
"You wont." I promised.