The sound of the front door flying open and the pounding of small feet running through the house startled Elise out of her deep concentration. With a grin and a small shake of her head, the small strawberry blond woman gathered her senses and braced herself for the whirlwind she knew was on the way.
"Mama!" exclaimed the small girl as she launched herself into her mother's lap.
Elise caught her daughter in mid-launch and settled her on her lap giving her a welcome home hug. Looking into green eyes so much like her own she asked, "So, munchkin, how was school today?"
"School was so good today, Mama. We got to build forts out of sugar cubes and Bobby kept eating the sugar cubes and he ate so many he threw up all over Jacob! Then, it was SO gross, Jacob threw up all over Suzie and Wanda's fort and Wanda hit Jacob right in the eye!"
"That sounds like a pretty exciting but smelly day at school!" commented Elise.
"Yeah, it was. Ms. Powell had us go out to recess with Mrs. Harrington's class so that she could clean up all the barf. She had to throw out Suzie and Wanda's fort project and she said that was too bad 'cause they had done a good job!" After wiggling a bit, little Angel became quiet and looked into her Mother's eyes. With a seriousness that seemed beyond her years she said, "I met a new friend."
Concerned about the serious look and attitude her usually exuberant little girl was displaying, Elise asked, "Honey, why do you seem so sad if you've made a new friend?"
With a shrug and a sigh Angel replied, "Well, Ellie, that's my new friend's name, doesn't know we're friends yet. Mama, she so lonely and no one will play with her but I know she's really nice even though they all say she's not and I'm not going to let them tell me she's bad when I know she's really good."
It took Elise a moment to process the words as they spilled from her daughter's lips, but she understood the gist of what her little girls was saying. It sounded eerily familiar. "Honey, who is this girl and why do the other kids say she's bad?"
Angel scrunched her face up and said, "Ellie's new at school and she's really tall. She's quiet, Mama, and she just stands on the side of the playground looking at us playing dodge ball or red rover. Just 'cause she's quiet they all think she's a stuck up." The small face transformed into a determined mask, "Tomorrow, I'm gonna go talk to her and make her be my friend."
Smiling at her daughter's determination yet concerned for her daughter's soft heart, Elise wondered how she should handle this situation. She remembered when she was Angel's age and she had met a girl on her own playground. The girl in her memory was a tall, silent, seemingly angry girl who had been shunned by most of her classmates. The similarities between her daughter's new "friend" and that of her own long lost true friend was uncanny. A feeling of longing swept through Elise as she thought about her childhood friend.
Elise was roused out of her musings by a small soft hand on her cheek, "Mama?" inquired Angel, "why do you look so sad?"
Hugging the small body in her lap, Elise smiled, "Ah, Honey, I was just thinking about a girl I met on my own playground. I was just as determined as you are that she would be my friend. It took a while, but eventually we were the very best friends. I looked sad because I miss her."
"Where is she? Aren't you still friends?" Angel Asked.
"When we were in Junior High, her family moved out of the country. We wrote to each other for a while but then the letters stopped and I have no idea where she is now. But, Angel mine, no matter where she is she's still my friend."
"I'm gonna make Ellie my best friend, Mama, just wait and see!"
Kissing the top of the small head, Elise whispered, "I have no doubt about it, Angel mine."
Elise set her daughter on her feet and the two of them went into the kitchen to have their afternoon snack. After splitting a peanut butter and banana sandwich with her daughter, Elise asked what homework the child had been assigned. Once the child was settled at her own child's desk to work on her math and spelling assignments, Elise went back into her home office to work out the bugs in the latest web design had been working on when Angel had come home from school.
It had been a risk to venture out on her own as a web designer but that risk was finally beginning to pay off. If the prospective client liked this new design, it would mean a regular and comfortable income for a long time to come and hopefully word of her work would spread and she'd have work coming in from all over.
After an hour's time, Elise realized that Angel was being entirely too quiet and decided to find out what the young scamp was up to. As she stood in the doorway to Angel's room, Elise saw that the small girl was bent over her desk studiously working on something.
"Still working on your homework, sweetie?" asked Elise.
"Uh-uh, I'm working on a picture to send to Gran. I promised her on the phone last night that I'd send her a new piece of artwork for the art wall."
Smiling proudly at her daughter, Elise asked, "Mind if I take a look?"
The seven-year-old held up a brightly colored drawing of two girls holding hands under a rainbow. The first figure was a smiling girl with yellow hair and bright green eyes, the taller companion wore a diagonal line for a mouth, making a smirk beneath dark hair and blue eyes. Elise's breath caught in her throat as looked at the drawing her daughter had made. She took the drawing from her daughter's hands and sat on the edge of the twin-size bed. 'How can this be?' she wondered. She felt her heart racing as a sensation of deja vu washed over her. Her hands shook as she held the child's drawing and she felt tears prickling behind her eyes.
"Mama, why are you crying? It's a happy picture!"
"Baby, where did you get the idea for this picture?" Elise asked.
Angel shrugged her small shoulders and replied, "It's just the picture I have in my head when I think about Ellie and me. Mama, I just know we're gonna be the bestest of friends!"
Unable to keep from correcting her daughter's grammar, Elise said, "The best of friends, munchkin, you know you'll be the best of friends with Ellie." As small green eyes rolled beneath strawberry blonde bangs, the smiling mother said, "Don't you roll your eyes at me, young lady!"
"Yes Ma'am," responded the eye roller, "But Mama, why did you look so sad?"
"Honey, I wasn't sad, not really. I just..." with a sigh, the woman stood up from her place on the girl's bed, "come up with me to the Attic, I'll show you why I reacted the way I did to your beautiful drawing, honey."
When they reached the attic door Elise entered first and reached up to pull the string that dangled from the light fixture. Turning to her daughter, she beckoned her to come in. "I think what I'm looking for is in the boxes that Gran sent after we moved here. Look for one that says, "El, grade school" on it, ok?"
Loving a good hunt, the little girl's eyes sparked and she went to work looking at the neatly labeled boxes until she came to the one her Mother had mentioned, "I found it!" she exclaimed hopping excitedly, "I won!"
Chuckling at Angel's enthusiasm, Elise ruffled the girl's soft hair and acknowledged that she had, indeed, won the hunt. Elise's hands shook as she pulled the appropriate box from the stack. After removing the lid, she rifled through the contents until she came to the item she was searching for. A smile came to her lips as she pulled the yellowed paper from the box. New tears sparked in the green eyes as she looked at the childish drawing she held. The twenty-seven-year-old held up a once brightly colored drawing of two girls holding hands under a rainbow. The first figure was a smiling girl with yellow hair and bright green eyes, the taller companion wore a diagonal line for a mouth, making a smirk beneath dark hair and blue eyes.
"Let me see, Mama, let me see!"
"You ready?" Smiled the older blonde.
"Yes, yes, yes!" exclaimed the youngster.
As the twenty-year-old drawing was turned around the small girl's eyes grew wide with wonder. She furrowed her brow as she tried to wrap her mind around what she was looking at. "Mama, that picture is just like mine!" Angel whispered in awe.
"I know, Angel mine, that's why I was so affected when I looked at your drawing. It kind of scared me, little one, that you would draw a picture almost exactly like the one I had drawn when I was your age. It's kind of neat, isn't it?"
Angel's head tilted as she considered her Mother's words, "Yeah, I guess it is neat." Then taking a deep breath and letting it out in a puff, while rolling her eyes she continued, "Mama, everyone says how alike we are, how I have your eyes and your hair and your smile and now I have your drawing..."
Elise waited for Angel to finish her thought, watching the sneaker clad toe scuff the attic floor.
"Does this mean that I'm you? I mean, I love you Mama, but I wanna be me, not just another you, y'know?"
Kneeling down and taking her child into her arms, Elise quickly thought through what to say, "Baby, I'll agree that we do look very much like one another and it is rather unusual that you would draw a picture almost exactly like mine. But Honey, you are your own person. You can dance so beautifully and though I enjoy dancing for fun, I could never manage to move with the natural grace you have." After noticing the small nod from Angel she continued, "Then there's the fact that you love cats whereas I really like dogs..."
As the little girl caught on, she joined in the comparison game with "I like strawberry ice cream but your favorite is chocolate!"
"Exactly!" smiled the proud parent, "We share many similarities but we also have many things that are unique to each of us. I think that makes us a pretty special family, don't you?"
"Absolutely!" smiled the seven-year-old.
Looking at her watch Elise realized it was time to get dinner started. She closed up the storage box, keeping out the old drawing. The family of two then made their way down to the kitchen and they set about their nightly routine of dinner then story and bedtime for the younger family member.
After Angel was successfully tucked into her bed, Elise poured herself a glass of Merlot and went out to the back patio. As she relaxed on the softly cushioned porch swing she allowed her mind to wander back to the days she'd spent with her "very best friend." The memories were sweet, yet even after all the years that had passed; her heart still ached for her missing friend. After an initial reticence from the dark haired girl, the two of them had become inseparable. Their parents had dubbed them "Mutt n' Jeff" and the girls had argued as to which of them was Mutt and which was Jeff because neither of them wanted to be a mutt!
Elise remembered all of the things the two of them had shared, broken bones from escapades and mock battles they'd waged against the neighbor kids twice their age; the excitement of the last days of school; the fun of summer activities; the secrets shared. She remembered that as the two of them had grown, Angela had always been her champion...and she had been Angela's champion a time or two as well.
Her mind wandered to the day, when they were twelve years old, that Angela had run into Elise's room sobbing. Angela's father had been given a huge promotion and was being transferred to Greece. The whole family was moving and Angela's parents didn't know when, or if, they would ever return.
The recollection of that day brought fresh tears to Elise's eyes. She remembered how she and Angela had clung to one another swearing they wouldn't allow themselves to be parted. They had even plotted to run away together so that they wouldn't be separated. But, as most plans of the young go, their schemes didn't work out as they had determined and the day soon came that Angela was forced to move abroad with her family.
Realizing that she was working herself into a state, Elise got out of the swing and strolled barefoot through the lawn of the back yard, pulling herself back into the here and now. Although her heart still longed for her friend there was not a thing she could do about it and she steeled herself against the feelings of loss and longing and went into her home to settle herself for the night.
As weeks passed, Angel would come home from school with regular progress reports on how "Project Best Friend" was developing. Elise admired her daughter's tenacity in her quest to become the quiet girl's friend. As time passed the stories Angel told let Elise know that her big-hearted daughter had indeed won over the new, quiet girl at school. Almost every tale about school recess began with "Ellie and I..." It warmed Elise's heart to know that her daughter had a very special friend just has she had had. She hoped that Angel would never have to know the heartache of losing her new 'very best friend'.
One day before school Angel approached her Mother, "Mama?"
"What is it love?" replied Elise.
"Is it ok if I ask Ellie to spend the night on Friday?" Taking a deep breath, Angel rushed on, "Stupid Erica is having a slumber party at her house and she invited me but she said Ellie can't come so I'm not going to her dumb old slumber party but I wanna have a sleep over so can I ask Ellie?" The pleading look on her daughter's face melted Elise's heart.
"First things first, young lady," began Elise, "You are never to call people stupid, you know better than that."
"But Mom.." The young girl interrupted
"Don't you 'But Mom' me Angel mine. Name calling is not allowed in this house and you know that."
"I'm sorry, I'm so mad. I know Erica's not inviting Ellie just because she's mad that I'm friends with her. She's mad that I share my lunch with Ellie and Ellie gets my Ding Dongs and Erica doesn't but that's just too bad. I can give my Ding Dongs to anyone I want to"
Trying her best not to laugh at the 'Ding Dong defense', Elise pointed out that no matter what the reason; Erica didn't have to invite anyone to her slumber party that she didn't wish to invite. She also acknowledged that Angel didn't have to go to any party she didn't want to go to, but then she had to address the issue of the requested sleep over.
"Baby, as far as having Ellie over for a sleep over, it would be fine with me but you know the rules of sleep overs, what are they?"
With an exaggerated sigh the little girl replied, "Before I sleep over anywhere or have anyone sleep over here you have to meet the parents, we have to get permission and plan ahead."
Smiling at the seven-year-old's dramatic recitation of 'the rules', Elise responded, "You got it right in one, oh great daughter of mine!"
Remembering how, at seven, everything was life and death Elise decided to give the little girl a break. "I tell you what, tomorrow at school ask for Ellie's phone number and after school tomorrow I'll call her parents and see if they would be willing to meet with me. If they are willing, and if all the parents are comfortable after that meeting, I don't see why you can't have Ellie over to spend the night. How's that?"
A little fist reached up, grabbed air and was brought back to a little chest in a victory grab, "YES!" The small body hurtled into the larger one as a hopeful daughter hugged her Mama
The following day a very anxious Angel ran into her Mother's home office with phone and phone number in hand. She bounced on the balls of her feet, barely able to contain her anticipation, she just knew that everything would work out and that she would be able to have her new and best friend over that coming weekend.
Elise shook her head at her daughter's antics but she took the proffered phone and slip of paper. "Alright munchkin, you go into your room and get started on your homework and I'll call Ellie's Mom."
"But Moooooom, I need to know what happens!" cried the overly anxious blonde.
With a firm look and tone Elise cautioned, "Angel, we do not listen in on other people's phone conversations. I will not make this phone call until you are in your room and you have started on tonight's homework. Got it?"
"Got it", said a scowling Angel.
Elise took her daughter by the shoulders, pointed her toward her room and gave her small bottom a soft pat to hurry her to her assigned task. As soon as she was sure that her daughter was at least attempting to look at her homework she dialed the number on the slip of paper. The phone was answered after two rings.
"Hello?" the voice that answered sent a tingle down Elise's spine, it took her a moment to gather her thoughts to respond.
"Oh, uh, yes, Ms. Papodopolis?" Elise inquired.
"Yes, how may I help you?" answered the sultry voice.
'Gods, get a grip, El, it's only a voice!' thought Elise "Ms. Popodopolis, this is Angel Covington's Mother. I believe that our daughters are ' the very best friends in all the world'." Elise paused after hearing a soft chuckled from the other end of the line, "My Angel has her heart set on having Ellie come for a sleep over but before that happens I think our families should meet."
Another soft chuckle came through the earpiece of Elise's phone, "Yes, I've been expecting you to call. Ever since Ellie got home from school she's been hovering over the phone like a protective lion making sure no one touched the phone until your call came." This time, Ms. Popodopolis heard a soft laugh. "I agree completely that we should meet before there are any visits to one another's homes. Did you have anything in mind as far as a meeting time or place?"
The blonde Mother answered, "Well, a thought just occurred to me, do you and your family have dinner plans this evening? Perhaps we could meet somewhere for dinner tonight, that way I can get to know you and your husband and the girls would be able to see on another outside of school"
Enjoying the soft tones of the woman on the phone, Ellie's mother took a moment to answer, "Ah, no, actually I was just thinking about what to do for tonight's dinner so that would work out well. Just so you know, our family consists of only Ellie and me so it would just the four of us. Any idea where you'd like to meet?"
"How do you feel about The Old Spaghetti Factory downtown?" answered Elise.
"Sounds great, why don't we meet there around 5:00, that way we can hope to beat the after work crowd." replied the deep velvet voice.
With a smile in her voice Elise replied, "Perfect, we'll see you then. I'm not going to bother giving you a description of us since I know the moment our girls see one another not only will we know, but everyone for blocks around will know that two our two girls are together!"
"I have no doubt." chuckled Ellie's Mom, "We'll see you at 5:00 in front of the restaurant. Bye for now."
"Good bye, I look forward to meeting you." Ellie said as she disconnected the line.
Elise rose from her work chair and went to the door of Angel's room. As she looked in on her daughter she saw that although the girl was at her desk with her books open, no work had been done. The small feet were tapping on the floor and the small bottom lip was being nervously chewed upon. "Have you done any work at all in here?" asked Elise.
Angel's head whipped around to look at her Mother. Eyes wide with hope and wonder at how the phone call had gone. "Ummmm, oh Mama I've just been too nervous to do any work! Please, tell me what happened on the phone! Can Ellie come over?"
Putting on her 'Stern Mom' face, Elise walked over and put a hand on her daughter's shoulder. "The phone call went fine, but we have to do some more talking before a decision is made about this weekend." Looking down at the open books on the desk she continued, "Before any more talking will be done that homework must be completed. Do you understand me?"
Knowing that her Mother meant business, the little girl hung her head slightly and said, "Yes Ma'am, I'll work on it right now."
Bending down to place a soft kiss on the top of her daughter's head Elise said, "That's my Angel girl, thank you."
Only a few miles away, a similar conversation was happening between another mother and daughter pair. Both mothers had instinctively not told their daughters that they had dinner plans set for the best friends. Each of the women understood that any mention of the dinner plan would guarantee that the little ones would be too filled with anticipation to get their homework assignments finished.
As soon as she saw that her daughter had buckled down to do her few homework assignments, Elise walked down the hall to her bedroom. She walked over to her walk-in closet and started to choose what she would wear that evening. Thinking about the voice on the phone she once again felt a warm shiver move up her spine. 'Get a grip, El, this isn't a date, it's a meeting about Angel' she reprimanded herself. With hands on hips Elise looked through her clothing choices. Deciding that classy casual was always safe she pulled down a green linen button down shirt and a pair of tan casual slacks. She placed her clothes on the bed and went into the adjoining bathroom to shower. After her shower she found herself taking extra care blow drying her hair and applying a light touch of makeup. She didn't quite understand the feeling of anticipation she felt as she thought about the meeting with Angel's friend and her mother. Once she was satisfied with her hair and face, Elise padded down the hallway and back to Angel's room hoping that she'd find all the homework had been completed. When she reached Angel's room she found the little girl lying on her bed with a book. As she so often did, she sent up a silent prayer of thanks that she had been blessed with such a wonderful child, one that loved to read and who rarely asked to watch television.
"Homework all done, Angel mine?" asked Elise.
"Eyup, all finished and ready to be checked," replied the little one, barely looking up from her book.
Elise strolled over to the pages of homework on the desk and quickly checked to make sure that they were done and correct. "Excellent job as usual, love" complimented Elise. "I was wondering, how would you like to go get dinner at The Old Spaghetti Factory?" asked the Mother.
Young eyes lit up, "Really!? I loooooove eating there, maybe we can sit in the train car again like we did the last time."
Elise smiled at Angel's enthusiasm, "We'll never know if you don't change into some better clothes so we can go."
No sooner were the words out of Elise's mouth than a small blond blur moved across the room to pull out a favorite outfit and start to change. Laughing, Elise returned to her own room to put her own clothes on.
A few minutes later the two blondes were buckling themselves into Elise's car and starting off toward Angel's favorite eating establishment. Elise smiled to herself as she thought about how her daughter was going to react when she saw her 'very best friend' outside of the restaurant. She loved to surprise the little girl and never tired of watching the youthful excitement that her daughter exuded. Pulling the car into the Ace parking lot across the street form the restaurant, Elise scanned the area for a woman with a dark-haired child but didn't see anyone fitting that description. She felt relief at this knowing that if Angel caught sight of Ellie she might be apt to run ahead of Elise and cross the street without looking due to her excitement. Getting out of the car, Elise made sure that she took Angel's hand and held it firmly to be safe.
After crossing the street, Elise did not let go of Angel's hand. The fact that her Mom still held her hand caused Angel to look up at her Mom with a puzzled look, "You can let go now Mama, we're on the right side of the street."
"Honey, I'd feel more comfortable holding on to your hand. It's not always safe down town so humor me, all right?"
Realizing that sometimes adults are just a little on the crazy side, the little girl put up with her Mom's overprotective gesture. "Aren't we going inside?" asked Angel.
"In just a moment, Munchkin," replied Elise distractedly.
"Mama, you're acting weird," commented Angel.
"Weird, am I?" started Elise, "I'll show you weird!" and with that Elise bent down and started to tickle the little girls sides making the young child laugh and try to swat the tickling fingers away.
"I take it back, I take it back!" laughed Angel, hoping that would cause the tickle-fingers to stop.
"Oh, alright spoil sport but watch who you're calling weird next time," kidded Elise.
As Elise straightened up from tickling her daughter, she caught sight of a dark-haired girl with bright blue eyes and for a moment she felt as if her heart had stopped. It was like seeing a vision from her past; this girl was the spitting image of her lost friend. 'How can this be? How could she have not grown up?' the thoughts raced through Elise's mind as she tried to process what was before her.
Although the thought process Elise was going through felt like it had taken eons, it had only taken a moment in real time and she was brought out of her trance by the high pitched squeals of both her daughter and the beautiful dark-haired girl. The small dark-haired beauty was running pell-mell toward Angel with a beaming smile and as the two girls met and embraced, Elise noticed the form of a taller, much taller, version of the dark tike jogging to catch up to the small dynamo.
"Ellie! Get back here NOW!! demanded the frightened woman. As soon as Ellie caught sight of her best friend she had taken off at a dead run, leaving her mother behind as she locked up the car. As Angela ran to catch up to her daughter, she stopped short when she saw her daughter fly into the arms of...'gods, how?' Her daughter was wrapped in the arms of a little girl from Angela's past. The best friend she'd ever had, the friend she'd never gotten over. As Angela stood gaping at the embracing girls she heard a sobbing gasp and looked up into a pair of teary green eyes.
Neither woman was able to find their voice for a moment but finally the Blonde broke the silence with a cry of "Angel!" as she launched herself at the woman she knew instantly.
The 6-foot tall woman caught the small woman and held her in a tight embrace, her heart, brain and body all attempting to find a way to process what was happening. After a moment of holding the smaller woman close, she put her Ellie, the original Ellie, at arms length so that she could get a good look at her. She had to make sure that what she was seeing and holding was real.
"El?" asked the tall woman, her blue eyes searching the green ones before her. "How? Where have you been?"
"What do you mean where have I been, I never left. You moved to Greece, you're the one that stopped writing after..." A moment of hurt and anger passed through Elise as she remember how broken hearted she had been when her friend had stopped writing to her all those years ago, but then she remembered that she had vowed to herself that if she ever found her Angel again she wouldn't let resentment get in the way. She would take the way of friendship. Sighing, Elise continued, "Angel, I've been here, I'm still living in the same house I grew up in. Why are you asking me where I've been?"
Realizing they were still standing on the brick sidewalk outside of the restaurant, Angela said, "El, let's get the girls and go get a table, we'll talk inside." As she gathered all the smaller females together, Angela didn't resist the urge to put her arm around Elise's shoulders and pull her close against her as they entered the establishment. It was the most natural thing in the universe to do, and for once, she allowed herself to do what her heart told her to do.
Elise leaned her head against the strong shoulder, simply happy to be close to the person she'd been missing for so many years. Questions and answers would come later, for this moment she simply relished the closeness.
The two little girls had watched the exchange between their mothers. The only thing their young minds and hearts cared about was that their Moms were obviously getting along and that they were going to get their sleep over! The two grinning girls gave each other an enthusiastic high five as they entered the Italian eatery.
The foursome walked up to the elaborate reception desk to see about being seated. As the adults had hoped, they had missed the after work dinner rush and were shown to a table immediately. To the younger pair's delight the table they were seated at was inside one of the antique train cars parked inside the restaurant. As the hostess showed them to their table, Angela kept her arm draped around her companion's shoulder. Once at the table the smaller girls quickly commandeered two chairs on the same side of the table. Shrugging their shoulders, the adults took the seats opposing their respective offspring. The hostess looked between the young pair and the older pair and thought to herself that cloning must have come to pass in her lifetime. The pair of little girls were so similar in appearance to the larger pair it was almost uncomfortable. Shaking off her Science Fiction train of thought, the hostess graciously handed the little girls children's placement and menus and then turned and handed regular menus to the older pair.
"Thanks!" chimed the little girls happily. Both adult women thanked the hostess as well. Within a few minutes a young man came to the table to pour water as well as take drink orders. Angela ordered a glass of milk for Ellie and Elise said that Angel would have milk as well. Angela caught Elise's eye and smiled softly, "I think a couple of glasses of wine might be good about now, what do you think?" Elise nodded her agreement as she lost herself in the blue eyes she remembered so well. "We'll each have a glass of your house red, please" said Angela never taking her eyes away from Elise.
Feeling as if he was intruding, the young man blushed and said, "Uh, sure, be back with that in a flash."
Not knowing where to start talking, the women opted to simply be quiet in one another's company for a while. Each had a desire to be physically close to the other and as a consequence they felt themselves leaning into one another's shoulders, arms touching as they sat side by side in the bent wood chairs.
"Mom, what are you gonna have?" asked a smiling Ellie.
Realizing she hadn't even unfolded her menu, Angela shook herself out of her dazed state to read over her choices. Looking over at Elise she asked, "Do you know what you're having? You haven't looked at the menu."
A giggle from the blonde across the table caught Angela's attention. Smiling at the girl Angela asked, "and just what is so funny Miss Covington?"
Angel rolled her eyes and quickly informed the larger version of her best friend, "Mama always has spaghetti with mushroom sauce, a salad with creamy Italian dressing on the side and coffee with spumoni ice cream for dessert. She never has anything else so she never looks at the menu."
Dark brows arched up to disappear beneath long bangs, "I don't remember you being such a creature of habit, Ellie."
"Well, I'm still not. Not usually anyway. It's just that I really enjoy the mushroom sauce here so I decided that I'll stick with that when we come here."
Under her breath Angela commented, "Good, I'd hate to think you'd changed that much."
Green eyes met blue and Elise whispered back, "not to worry, my Angel, I'm basically still the same person you knew. I've just grown up a lot."
Maintaining the soft tones Angela said, "You've grown up beautifully, Ellie. I don't want to take my eyes off of you."
A reddish blonde brow raised, "Then don't."
"We have a lot to talk about, Mutt," said Angela.
"I know we do, Jeff," answered Elise.
Friday morning Elise was awakened before her alarm had a chance to go off. A small blonde body hurled itself onto her bed and bounced up and down on top of the groggy woman. "Mama, it's Friday!"
"Angela Janice Covington! What are you doing waking me up at..." prying her eye open to peer at the bedside clock, "FIVE O'clock in the morning!?"
"Mama, I'm just too excited to sleep, Ellie's coming over tonight and we're going to tell stories and play games and I just can't wait." The small girl oozed.
"Baby, you won't be awake enough to read or play games if you don't get some more sleep before school." Elise folded the covers back and motioned for her daughter to join her in her bed. "Come here, my Angel, and try to get some sleep, please." Knowing she would not win this battle, the little girl crawled into bed beside her Mom and immediately felt strong arms surround her and hold her close. Though she would have though it impossible, Angel felt her eyes becoming heavy and before too long she fell into slumber snuggled comfortably in her Mother's arms.
After waking for the second time, and at a much more reasonable hour, Elise got Angel ready for school and made sure she was out the door in time to be picked up by the car pool driver. Angel had reminded her Mom at least a dozen times that morning that she would need a note telling the school that she had permission to ride home from school with Ellie and Ms. Popadopolis. The excited youngster hadn't been willing to leave for school until the note was safely pinned to her sweater. Even if it looked dorkey, she was not taking any chances of losing that note!
To be honest, Elise had to admit to herself that she was as excited about tonight's "sleep over" as her daughter was. After dinner with Angela and Ellie, the two women had decided that the girl's sleepover night would be a good time for the two grown-ups to begin talking about all that had happened. The plan was for Angela to pick up the girls after school and drive over to Elise's house where the girls would spend the night and the women would have time to talk.
They hadn't discussed dinner plans, but Elise wanted to make a special dinner. In the days since seeing Angela again Elise had admitted to herself that the feelings that had started to blossom for the originalAngel all those years ago had never gone away. She knew that she had never been able to love or to fall in love with another person because no one had ever compared to her beautiful dark-haired Angel.
As Elise moved through her day, straightening and re-straightening, dusting and re-dusting the home she'd lived in her entire life, she allowed her mind to think back to her earlier years. After Angela had moved to Greece with her family, the two girls had written to one another faithfully. At first the letters were written and sent every day but as the girls grew older and their schedules grew busier, the letters became slightly more infrequent. There were never fewer than two letters per week from each girl to the other, though, until Angela's letters had stopped coming altogether. Thinking about the abrupt cessation of letters caused Elise's heart to clench all over again.
Taking one more trip through the house to make sure everything was ship shape, Elise found her footsteps taking her up to the attic. She realized she was yearning to re-read the last letters she had received from Angela. After she entered the attic, she went over and knelt in front of an old steamer trunk that had belonged to her Aunts Janice and Mel. She kept her most treasured belongings in this trunk. Elise lifted out the ribbon wrapped bundle of letters and sat just holding them for long moments.
Knowing the light in the attic was not sufficient to read by, she closed the lid to the beloved trunk and took her packet of letters down to the comfort of the living room. Leaving the letters in her favorite huge overstuffed chair, Elise went to the kitchen to make a cup of tea. Returning to the comfortable chair, she set her tea on the end table and untied the ribbon binding the package of mail. She smiled as she looked at the stamps in the corner of each envelopes, each stamp was upside down, it had been their code for "I love you" on each letter. The packet of letters she held were from the last six months of their correspondence. They had been sixteen that year. Looking through the stack, Elise made sure that she had put them in date order and then she pulled out the one dated the earliest and began to read. The letters from the dark-haired Angel were filled with words of friendship, and of love. With each letter the tone of the letters transformed to a grown up type of love between two teenagers. Words of longing and love; of plans to finish high school and find a way to be together all poured off the pages in neat precise handwriting.
Elise was so engrossed in the letters that she didn't hear the front door opening or the three sets of footsteps as they entered her home. She didn't hear the girls run upstairs and into Angel's room and she didn't hear the footsteps of the tall beautiful woman as she walked over and knelt in front of her. Only when a strong, tanned hand reached over and pulled the letter out of her hand, did she look up into startling blue eyes. Angela reached up and cupped Elise's cheek in her palm, she wiped away the tears on those cheeks with her thumb and softly said, "It's all still true, Ellie. Every word in these letters is true." Still holding Elise's gaze she reached inside the black leather satchel over her shoulder and pulled out her own bundle of letters, these with U.S. Stamps all upside-down. She set this stack of letters beside the ones already in Elise's lap. As Elise looked down at what had been placed in her lap a sob escaped her throat. She raised her eyes back to Angela's and said, "My Angel, every word in these is still true. I was never able to stop loving you, I was never able to forget you. But Angela, I was devastated when you stopped writing. You never warned me, you never gave me an explanation, you just stopped. It almost killed me!"
Confusion clouded the blue eyes as she said, "I only stopped writing after you did, Ellie." Taking a deep, calming breath she continued, "I even wrote to you after I stopped getting letters from you, but you never wrote back." A look of hurt flashed across the beautiful face quickly followed by a mask of calm, "Finally, my father told me that he'd heard from your family. He told me that you'd met someone here and that you all thought it would be best to just make a clean break."
"NO!" Elise interrupted, "that's not true! I never met anyone, I never did any of that. I don't understand!"
That was the moment the girls chose to come bounding into the room, arm in arm, to ask for an afternoon snack.
Elise quickly snatched a tissue from a nearby box and dried her face and eyes while Angela scooped up the two bundles of letters and stowed them in her bag. Both women stood and walked into the kitchen following the skipping seven-year-olds. Elise opened the refrigerator and pulled out the makings for an afternoon snack. As she cut up apples and smeared the wedges with peanut butter, Angela asked the girls about weekend homework. Both girls groaned exaggeratedly. They had hoped that because of their special sleep over they would get out of doing their schoolwork for that day.
"Oh no, young ladies, sleep over or no sleep over school work first, then fun." A stern faced Angela dictated.
Twin groans were heard from Angel and Ellie as they realized their unadulterated fun would have to wait. Angela and Elise caught one another's eye and they shared a smile over the joys of parenting.
After the snack was eaten and the dishes rinsed, Elise told the girls to get their schoolwork and bring it to the kitchen table so that the girls could work in the same area. Once they were settled with books and assignments, Elise offered Angela a cup of tea, the offer was accepted and after it was made the women moved back into the comfortable living room and sat beside one another on the sofa. "Angel, will you tell me about Ellie's father?" Elise asked.
Angela's shoulders slumped, but her reply was, "Yes, there really isn't all that much to tell." Gathering her thoughts she started her tale, "After Popa told me you'd moved on, I shut down, El. I did things I wish I hadn't done and I ran with a crowd that was as close to being a gang as I'd like to admit." Looking into Elisa's soft green eyes shining with nothing but loving interest Angela went on, "I got into some pretty deep trouble with the law. I was angry, El, angry at you, angry at the world, angry deep into my soul."
Elise's soft voice broke in, "I should have known that's what would happen. You got angry and fought and I fell into such deep a depression my family wasn't sure I'd survive it."
"Oh gods, Baby, no." Angela cried.
"Shhh, my Angel, I did survive and I'm fine now. Better than fine now that you're back in town. Please continue."
Angela nodded, "I met Miklos when I was in the hospital after getting stabbed in one of my fights. He was a young, handsome doctor and he made me his pet project. He showed me that my anger was getting me nowhere but closer to a grave. He taught me to defend myself without losing control. He dragged me back from a dangerous edge and over time we became lovers." Seeing Elise flinch, she continued, "To be more accurate, we became intimate friends. After a few years we decided to get married. It made sense since we both wanted children. We got along well, we had money to spare and our families thought it was a match made on Mt. Olympus." Pausing to sip her tea, she looked at Elise, "Are you all right, love?"
"It's just hard to hear that you loved someone." Elise said quietly, "I know it's unrealistic of me to think that you could have gone without being close to someone, and in my head, I can appreciate that you needed to love and be loved, to touch and be touched. But our letters...our letters promised that the first touches of love would be each other's. It hurts to know that you gave that to someone else."
With a furrowed brow, Angela asked, "But, what about Angel's father? He obviously touched you intimately."
Elise couldn't meet Angela's gaze, "But I didn't give him my first intimate touches, Angela, He took them."
As the implication of what Elise was saying penetrated Angel's mind, a rage filled her. She took Elise firmly by the shoulders and forced the green eyes to look at her, "He forced you, El? Someone forced you?"
"It was my own fault; I shouldn't have gone out with him. I knew I had no feelings for him and I knew he wanted me. I went anyway and I paid dearly for it."
Hearing Elise blame herself for being raped only served to further enrage Angela. "El, who was it? Who took what was mine, WHO?"
Putting her hand on Angela's arm to soothe her, Elise said, "Angel, it doesn't matter any more. I wasn't' the first woman he took advantage of and I wasn't the last. He was caught with his pants down, literally, by the boyfriend of one of his victims and he'll never hurt another woman again, believe me."
Taking Elise into her arms, Angela rocked back and forth while saying, "I can't stand that someone hurt you. I can't stand the idea that I wasn't here to defend you. Gods, I wish I understood why you and I lost touch, why things happened as they did. Someone stole your virginity from you and I gave mine to someone I could never love the way I loved you...the way I still love you."
Elise relaxed in Angela's arms for a moment more before moving away. "Hey Mutt, we should go check on the girls."
"You're right as usual Jeff" replied Angela.
Elise and Angela walked into the kitchen to find the two youngsters still sitting at the kitchen table. Their homework had been finished for some time but the girls had started playing hangman and were concentrating so hard that both little brows were furrowed.
"Hey you two, it's a beautiful afternoon, why don't you go out in the back yard and play until dinner's ready?" Elise said
The girls both replied, "OK!" and they made a beeline for the back yard.
As Elise pulled out the ingredients for dinner, she turned to Angela, "So, where is Miklos now?"
A flash of pain crossed Angela's face and she quietly replied, "He was flying his plane over the Aegean sea when something went wrong. The plane went down and sank under the water. Even though he crashed in only 10 feet of water, he couldn't get out of the plane. He drowned."
Elise rushed over to her beloved friend and wrapped her in her arms, "Baby, I'm so sorry."
Angela nodded and swallowed until she could find her voice again, "He was a good man, a wonderful friend and the best father I could ever have hoped for Ellie. They adored one another, it's been very hard on her." Wrapping her arms more tightly around the smaller woman, Angela went on, "Until we moved here and Ellie met Angel, I wasn't sure what I was going to do. She had stopped talking, she was a completely different girl than the one I'd raised. Then, your little Angel came along and brought my baby back to me."
Enjoying the closeness of their embrace, Elise commented quietly, "And Ellie and Angel brought you back to me."
"No, they brought US back to each other, love" purred Angela.
Remaining in Angel's arms, snuggling her face into the tall woman Elise whispered, "Angela?"
Continuing in her whispered tones, Elise spoke her heart, "I'm going to make dinner for the four of us, and then we're going to play games with our daughters until we tuck them into bed. After they're settled I'm going to wrap my arms around you and kiss you just the way I've dreamed of kissing you for 12 years."
Angela's eyes closed as she felt the rush of desire Elise's words stirred in her, "Oh gods, I have to wait that long?"
Pulling herself out of the strong arms, Elise looked frankly into the eyes she loved and said, "Yes, WE have to wait that long. Because if we start kissing now we'll never get dinner made and those two little girls will find their mothers doing more than playing hangman on that kitchen table!"
The fire in the green eyes gave Angela a warm rush and the adamantly spoken words brought a bright smile to her face. "You're right, ok, we'll wait, but no longer than absolutely necessary. Twelve years is long enough to wait for a first kiss, Damn it!"
Smiling smugly, Elise turned to start the dinner preparations in earnest.
Hours later, dinner had been eaten, the dishes washed and the foursome had played board games of Sorry, Monopoly Jr. and Disney Trivial Pursuits. The more activities the girls participated in the more awake they seemed to be. At 9:30 Angela leaned over toward Elise with a twinkle in her eye and a sassily arched brow and said, "Hey El, we need to get these two settled down, 'cause we've got a buss to catch."
Elise had just taken a sip of her soda and Angela's comment caused her to laugh, sending a spray of sticky liquid across the table and onto the two young girls.
"Ewwwwww Mom" cried Angel as she jumped up out of her seat.
"That is so gross, Ms. Covington!" commented Ellie.
The corner of Angela's mouth quirked up and one brow raised, 'hmmmm, not exactly what I had in mind, darlin', but I think this will work', she thought. "Ok girls, I think it's bath time. Since Ms. Covington showered you with soda, you now get to take a bubble bath!" Looking over at Elise Angela asked, "Is that great tub still in your folk's old bathroom?"
"Oh yeah, you didn't think I'd ever get rid of that did you?" replied Elise.
"Mmmm, nope, never dreamed it" smiled Angela.
"Ok girls, get upstairs and get ready for a bath." Elise looked at her daughter and instructed, "Angel, you can lend Ellie your extra robe. You two go into your room and get into the robes then come into my bathroom. I'll start the water and bubbles and you can get all that stickiness off of you. Scoot!"
The girls raced upstairs to get ready for their bath and the two adults followed at a more leisurely pace. Elise stepped onto the first stair tread and turned to face Angela. "We have a buss to catch?" Elise asked with a sultry smile.
Blue eyes filled with a mixture of humor and desire, "Mmm hmmm, we sure do. You got a problem with that?"
Putting her arms around the Angela's shoulders, Elise answered, "oh, no, no problem at all." She tilted her head and pulled the other woman close. She saw Angela's lips part saw that the blue eyes were focused on her lips and it took every ounce of strength she had to playfully push the taller woman away as she turned to dash up the stairs calling, "Payback's a bitch, Mutt!"
"Oh Jeff, you are gonna pay BIG time for that one!" Elise responded chasing up the stairs after Elise.
"Uh uh uh, that was payback for the buss comment that made me spew, so now we're even," said Elise as she reached the top of the stairs.
Reaching the top of the stairs herself, Angela reached out and wrapped her arms around Elise, pulling her back against her. Leaning down so that her lips brushed Elise's ear she whispered, "we're not even at all, you just upped the stakes and you know it. All I did was make you laugh, what you just did was..." She paused and ran her tongue along the shell of Elise's ear, "cruel."
Feeling Angela's warm wet tongue caress her ear, Elise moaned. Hearing Elise's moan drove Angela's pulse rate up but she had accomplished what she'd wanted so said, "now, we're even."
Elise growled her frustration then moved away from Angela and down the hallway, through her room and into the adjoining bathroom. Angela followed a few steps behind taking the time to admire how gracefully Elise moved and, quite frankly, to admire how nicely Elise's jeans molded her backside. As she entered the large bathroom, Angela got an even better view of the shapely rear as Elise bent over to plug the tub drain and start the water running. When Elise stood back up she saw where Angela's eyes had been and couldn't resist asking, "Like what you see?"
Groaning, Angela answered, "You don't even have to ask. Gods, yes I love what I see."
Elise grinned, "good!" Pointing behind Angela, Elise said, "The bubble baths are in that cabinet, I suggest we use the lavender scent, hopefully it will calm the girls down so we can get them settled for the night."
Reaching into the cabinet and choosing the appropriate jar, Angela commented, "Good idea they're pretty hyper right now." Handing the bottle of scented bubble salts to Elise she said, "They're so much like we were at that age, it's spooky."
"I know. Oh, speaking of spooky..." Elise went on to tell Angela about the drawing Angel had made and the similarity it had to her own drawing from years past.
"Amazing" commented Angela softly.
After the little girls were bathed and put into their pajamas, Elise and Angela each held their own daughter as Elise told story after story until both girls fell into sleep. Carefully tucking the small bodies into Angel's full size bed each woman bent and left a soft kiss on each girl's head and whispered soft prayers for a good night's sleep.
As Angela moved toward the hallway she held out her hand to Elise. Hand in hand the women exited the little girls' room and made their way downstairs. Once downstairs turned to Angela, "I'm so scared, Angel."
"I know, Baby, I am too." Looking into verdant green eyes she said, "El, we don't have to do anything we're not ready for. Even if you're not ready for that kiss we've been talking about, that's all right."
Cupping Angela's cheek in her palm, Elise said, "No, that's not what I mean, c'mon, let's sit down and talk."
"Sensitive chat time, huh?" asked Angela with a smile.
Chuckling, Elise agreed with Angela, "Yes. Have a seat on the sofa, I'll go get us some wine and we can talk."
Once both women were settled on the sofa, Elise reached over and took Angela's hand pulling it into her lap and began stroking the back with her thumb. "Angela, I'm not scared of the kiss, I'm afraid of all of this. I'm afraid of how much I feel. Gods, we've been separated for over twenty years and yet I feel as if we've never been apart. I look at you and I feel every ounce of love we shared as friends plus all the love that grew between us when we wrote those letters. I'm afraid someone is going to wake me up and I'll find that this has all been a dream." Taking a breath she continued, "I'm afraid that you'll find out that I'm just a silly side kick and will need something, someone more," raising her eyes to Angela's her voice caught, "I wouldn't be able go through it again, I can't let my heart accept that my Angel is back and then lose you, I wouldn't survive it another time. When we were 16 I had my family around me to help me, my heart was young enough to bounce back a bit. This woman's heart wouldn't be able to bounce back, Angel."
Raising Elise's hand to her lips, kissing the palm Angela answered, "Do you think I could survive it, El? I couldn't. I don't quite understand all that's happening between us, but I do know that what I feel is real. I know that when I look at you now, as a grown woman, I feel things that I never dreamed I would experience. I feel as if we've never been apart and yet I still have the ache that being away from you caused." Raising her hand to gently stroke Elise's face she continued, "El, we both want this, right? You feel the connection we share and want to continue, whatever this is?"
"Of course!" Exclaimed Elise.
"Good. Baby, let's just take it slow, we'll get reacquainted and let the rest fall into place. There's no need to rush into anything until we're both ready. What do you say?"
"I say that sounds good," replied Elise, "but only on one condition."
A worried look entered Angela's blue eyes, "what's the condition?"
"That you kiss me, right now." answered Elise as she leaned in to capture Angela's lips.
The kiss started as a soft caress. Angela's lips left Elise's then instantly returned for another kiss, and another. Soon their kisses deepened and Elise felt Angela's tongue stroking her lower lip, seeking entrance. Elise moaned as she actively took Angela's tongue into her mouth, her tongue dueling with Angela's. The kisses went on until both women's need for air overrode all else. Elise leaned her forehead against Angela's and attempted to get her breathing under control. "Wow," panted Elise.
"You can say that again," murmured Angela.
"Wow," repeated Elise, causing both women to chuckle softly.
"As much as I'd like to stay up all night talking and kissing, I think we should get some sleep. I'm sure our little ones will be up early and we're going to have to keep up with them!" Elise commented.
"I agree, let's go." Said Angela as she rose from the sofa and offered a hand up to Elise. As soon as Elise was on her feet, both women did a security check of the house making sure all the doors and windows were latched. Hand in hand they walked up the stairs and down the hall until they stood outside the door to the guestroom. Angela opened the door and walked in to the warmly appointed room and turned to say good night to the woman that held her heart. Taking Elise into her arms, she bent her head and captured Elise's soft lips. She felt Elise's arms wrap around her and felt one small hands run up and down her back, then felt that hand slide up and into her hair to pull her into a deeper kiss. Angela moaned into Elise's mouth and her tongue plunged into the sweet cavern that was offered when Elise parted her lips. Both women felt their passion racing out of control and, as if they'd planned it, they both broke off the kiss at the same moment.
Breathing hard and jaw clenched, Angela rasped, "Go, El, go now." She knew if Elise didn't leave at that moment, that they would do more than they were ready to do. No matter how much they desired one another, they needed to build a foundation together before the physical aches were eased.
"Good night, my Angel" Elise said from the doorway.
"Good night, my Ellie" called Angela.
The weeks after the sleepover were filled with regular visits, date nights that included the little girls, and nightly phone calls between Angela and Elise. They talked about their childhood, they talked about what had happened in the intervening years and they talked about what the future held. The more time the women spent together the more certain they became that they were, indeed, one another's destiny.
Although the women enjoyed spending time with their daughters, they desired some adult alone time. One morning, after getting Angel off to school, Elise picked up the phone and dialed a number from memory. Her heart beat nervously as she waiting for the phone to be answered.
"Hi Mom," answered Elise.
"Elise, Sweetheart! How are you? I've been worried sick that something is wrong! I've left messages on your machine and you haven't called me back. If you hadn't called in the next day or two I was going to come over to check on you." chastised Bonnie Covington.
"I know, Mom, and I'm sorry." Taking a deep breath Elise continued, "Mom, so much has been happening lately, I just got caught up in it and, to be honest, I've been afraid to call you."
"Honey, what's happened? Why would you be afraid to call me? Are you in trouble?" Elise's could hear the worry in her mother's voice and decided to jump in with both feet.
"No, Mom, I'm not in any trouble," Elise paused "unless being in love is trouble."
"WHAT?" exclaimed Bonnie, "Elise Melinda Covington, you get your little blonde butt over to my house this minute and tell me what is going on with you!"
Knowing there was no escape from her mother, Elise agreed to drive to her mother's house and update her on all that was happening. After showering and dressing in a comfortable yet sophisticated silk pants ensemble, she drove over to her mother's house. On the way to her mother's place, Elise called Angela on her cell phone.
"Hello?" answered the sultry voice.
"Gods, do you know what your voice does to me?" asked Elise.
"Mmmm, no, why don't you tell me, baby?" purred Angela.
"No, I'm not going to tell you because I'm driving and you distract me enough as it is!" Elise paused, waiting to hear the sexy chuckle she expected from Angela, "Listen, Mutt, I'm on my way to Mom's house right now. I decided it's time to tell her what's happening with us."
A moment's silence greeted Elise before Angela said, "Oh, Gods, Jeff, do you want me to meet you there?"
Touched at Angela's immediate offer, Elise said, "No, thank you Baby, I need to do this part alone. Knowing Mom she'll be calling you herself to demand a personal appearance!"
Remembering Mrs. Covington from her childhood, Angela laughed outright, "I'm sure you're right. I'll be ready. You sure you want to do this now, El?"
"Yes, I'm sure, the longer I wait the tougher it will be and she'll be hurt that I hid something this huge from her." Elise went on to explain, "I just wanted to hear your voice to bolster my courage and because I love to hear that sexy voice of yours." Looking ahead Elise saw that her exit was coming up, "I'm almost to Mom's exit, so I'm going to hang up now. I love you Angel."
"I love you too, El. I'm going to go jump in the shower, I'd put money on a bet that I'm going to be heading to La Jolla in a few hours!" laughed Angela.
"Safe bet, gorgeous. Bye for now," Elise laughed into the phone.
"Bye sweetheart," Angela signed off.
As Elise finished her drive, she rehearsed what she would say to her mother. When she pulled up in front of the ocean-view home and got out of the car, she took a moment to gather her courage then headed up the walk way. Before she was halfway to the house, the front door opened and out walked Bonnie Covington. "Hello Darlin', how is my little girl?"
Elise smirked and said, "Your little girl is in school, mother, your grown girl is just fine."
"Don't you get sassy with me young lady, no matter how old you get you will always be my little girl. But, speakin' of my grandbaby, how is my precious Angel girl?"
"Angel is thriving, Mama." Taking her mother's hand and placing it in the crook of her own elbow, Elise walked into the house, "She and her best friend tied for first place in the second grade spelling bee. Next time she sees you she'll show you her blue ribbon."
"Oh, she's a smart one, just like her Mama," Beamed Bonnie.
Elise bent and placed a kiss on her mother's cheek, "Thank you Mama, I love you too."
"All right, enough chit chat. I have tea ready and we are going to sit down so you can tell your Mama what is going on in your life." The elder Covington sighed, "I swear, I go on one little ol' cruise and come back to find the whole plantation in an uproar!"
Laughing, Elise said, "Mother, you haven't lived in the south for more years than I can count, why do you continue to speak like that?"
"Ms. Covington, once a southerner, ALWAYS a southerner," beamed Bonnie.
"Yes, Ma'am Mama," replied Elise with false seriousness.
Pouring two cups of tea and placing one in front of her daughter, Bonnie demanded, "So talk."
Taking a deep, cleansing breath, Elise began to tell her story. She told her mother about her daughter's determination to make the new girl in school, 'her very best friend', she told her about her daughter's desire for a sleep over and that she made plans to meet the parent of the child in a public place.
"Oh, that's very wise of you, Darlin', you never know these days." complimented Bonnie.
"Thanks, Mama" and with a grin added, "See, I was listening sometimes!"
"I suppose," muttered Bonnie, "Now get on with it."
"Ok, Angel and I went to meet Ellie and her Mother. Mama, when I saw Ellie, I almost fell over in shock."
"Why Darlin'? Is she hideous or somethin'?" Bonnie asked.
Elise couldn't stop herself from smiling at her mother's comment, "No, far from it." A thought came to Elise and she decided to act upon it. Reaching into her purse, she pulled out a packet of pictures she had just had developed. Extracting the photo she had taken of Angel and Ellie in the back yard, she quietly handed it to her mother.
After taking the photograph and looking at it, Bonnie's brow furrowed, "Why are you showin' me a picture of you and Angela?"
"Mama, that's Angela and her friend Angel." explained Elise.
"Oh My, " breathed Bonnie, "Oh my," looking up at her daughter, Bonnie said, "They are the spittin' images of y'all."
"I know, Mama" said Elise. "Mama, the sock I felt when I saw little Ellie was nothing compared to the one I got when her mother came running around the corner of the building." After a pause she continued, "Mama, Angela's back."
"Oh my Lord," Bonnie Covington paled and jumped out of her chair to go look out the window, "Oh sweet Lord."
Confused by her mother's reaction, Elise questioned "Mama?"
Elise could see the tight, controlled look on her mother's face. When Bonnie turned to look at her daughter, there was a look of profound sadness, and something else, guilt, in her eyes. "So, I suppose she told you."
"Told me what, Mama" Elise asked, more confused than ever.
"Told you about your Daddy's ultimatum." answered Bonnie.
"No, Mama, but why don't you tell me about it," demanded an angry Elise.
A mask of resignation came over Bonnie's face as she contemplated how to tell her daughter about the events from so long ago. Looking into her daughter's angry and confused continence, Bonnie asked, "I'm thinkin' its Angela you're in love with, am I right?"
"Yes, Mama. But I'm not telling you one more thing until you explain what you mean by 'Daddy's ultimatum'."
Closing her eyes and nodding her head sadly, Bonnie decided that she needed to clear the air. She had never agreed with what her husband had done so many years before, but she knew she was guilty as well because she hadn't done enough to stop it.
Bonnie walked over to Elise and held her hand out palm up, "Elise, give me Angela's phone number. I need to tell this to both of you and I'd rather do it at one time."
After Elise gave her mother Angela's phone number, Bonnie dialed and waited for the phone to be answered.
"Hello?" answered Angela after one ring.
"Oh my," sighed Bonnie, "Angela Amphipolis you sure do have one luscious voice."
With a sexy low chuckle, Angela answered, "Why thank you Mrs. Covington, it's good to hear your voice as well."
With a determined tone, Bonnie went on, "Angela dear, I think you had better get over to my house."
"Mrs. Covington, I figured you would be calling me so I'm all ready to leave the house. Elise told me that you now live in La Jolla, but I'll need directions to your home."
After directions had been given, Bonnie turned to her daughter, "Do you want to say anything to your Angel, Darlin'?"
Elise nodded yes, and Bonnie handed over the phone. "Angel, hurry. Drive safely, but come quickly, all right?"
"Baby, what's wrong?" asked Angela, immediately concerned by the tone of her love's voice.
"I'm not sure, Mama needs to tell us something and I just need you here." Elise answered with a tremble in her voice.
"I'm on my way, Baby." Angela said as she picked up the keys to her car.
"Drive safely, Angel," Elise said as she hung up.
As Angela drove the twenty miles north to La Jolla, she wondered what had upset Elise so profoundly. From the way Mrs. Covington had spoken on the phone it didn't seem as if their relationship was the problem. 'Guess I'll simply have to find out when I get there', thought Angela as she maneuvered her car up interstate 5 toward La Jolla.
Angela pulled her car in back of Elise's and headed to the beautiful home. As she raised her hand to ring the bell, the front door opened and her arms were filled with a bundle of crying blonde. Angela held Elise close, rubbing her back and stroking her hair until she heard the tears diminish. Leaning away to look into Elise's eyes, Angela asked what the matter was.
"Oh, I don't know, I just have a really bad feeling about whatever it is Mama needs to tell us," sniffled Elise.
With their arms around each other the two women entered the house. Angela couldn't help but smile when she saw Mrs. Covington, she had always liked Elise's Southern Mother. Mrs. Covington had always made her feel welcome in their home. Angela dropped her arm from around Elise just long enough to greet Mrs. Covington with a hug then replaced the arm around her love.
"Let's go into the Livin' room, girls. We'll need to be comfortable for this." Bonnie led the women into the expensively appointed living room. As Angela sat on the butter-soft leather sofa she gazed out the ceiling to floor windows that overlooked the Pacific Ocean. "Mrs. Covington, this is breathtaking." She said in awe.
"Thank you, Darlin', I always loved the ocean, and now I get to enjoy it every day," answered Bonnie. "Now, I have some mighty difficult things to tell you two and I'd appreciate it if you would stay quiet until I get it all out. After I'm done you can ask all the questions you want, agreed?"
Angela and Elise looked at one another then at Bonnie and both nodded their agreement. "Good." Taking a moment to gather her thoughts, Bonnie launched into her story, "Angela, when your family moved to Greece, my Elise was beside her self with grief. Not a day went by that I didn't see a look of longin' on her face." Angela turned her head to look into Elise's eyes as she listened to Mrs. Covington; her heart ached at the thought of her friend's anguish. Elise saw all of the feelings pouring from Angela's eyes and softly smiled at the woman she loved. Mrs. Covington had noticed the silent exchange between her daughter and the tall beauty at her side and paused until she saw that she had their attention once again.
"Elise, your Daddy and I knew that you were writin' letters back and forth to Greece. We were both amazed that even after four years; you two were still faithful in writin' to one another." Knowing that the rest of what she had to say was going to be the most difficult, Bonnie paused to gather her courage, "Elise, Angela, there is no excuse for what I'm about to tell you, but I need to say it anyway. One day your Daddy just got too curious about what you were writin' in all those letters, Elise. So, instead of droppin' one letter in the mailbox as usual, your Daddy opened your letter and read it."
Elise gasped and started to say something, but Angela's hand on her arm and her mother's upheld hand asking for quiet stayed her tongue.
"Elise, there is no excuse for what your Daddy did that day. There is no excuse for what he did after he read what was in that letter either." After taking a sip of water to moisten her nervous parched throat, Bonnie continued. "Honey, your Daddy had seen the kind of life your Aunts Janice and Mel had gone through. He saw, first hand, when Mel got beat up simply because she loved your Aunt Janice. He didn't want his little girl to go through the same torture." Holding up her hand once again to silence her daughter, Bonnie went on, "I know, it should have been your choice to either put up with people's small minds or not. But once your Daddy got it in his head that if he nipped your blooming romance in the bud you would both be better off, there was no stoppin' him"
"He called your Father, Angela. He told your Father what was in the letter and he told your Father that if any more letters came from you, he would cut the funding to your Father's project. Your Popa was caught between the proverbial rock and a hard place, Angela. To his credit, he argued that you girls had every right to love one another and that it was none of my husband's business to play god in you girls' lives. But James had made up his mind that his plan was the best and would not budge."
"Angela, if your father hadn't intercepted the rest of your letters, he would have lost millions of dollars and that would have put so many people out of work that he simply did what he was forced to do."
"I didn't find out about the whole fiasco until a year after the letters were stopped. I was so worried about you, baby," She said looking at her daughter who was now quietly sobbing into Angela's shoulder. "I went to your Daddy and asked him if he couldn't please find out what had gone wrong between you two. I had hoped that he could find out what you must have argued about and that we would find a way to mend your friendship. When he told me that he was the reason your letters had stopped I couldn't believe it." Even after all the years that had passed, Bonnie's insides still shook with anger about the situation, "We had a terrible argument about it. Actually we had several arguments about it but he would not budge. He had it in his mind that what he was doing was for your own good that he was unmovable."
"Girls, I regret that I didn't have the courage to defy him and find a way to get you back in contact with one another. All I can say is that I was taught that a wife was to obey her husband and that's what I ended up doing. I tried the best I could to change his way of thinkin', but in the end, I did what I thought a good wife was supposed to do and went along with him and for that, I ask your forgiveness, both of you."
Angela and Elise sat huddled together in a state of shock. Finally, Elise broke the silence, "What happened to all the letters I wrote to Angela after that?"
Bonnie couldn't meet her daughter's eyes, "He burned them, honey."
Elise didn't know how to react to everything she had been told. Feelings of betrayal, hurt, anger, and red-hot rage flowed through her. She jumped up from her seat and said in a frighteningly calm voice, "I need to think, I'm going for a walk and I'll be back. Angela, come with me, please?"
Looking at her watch, Angela saw that, although it felt an eternity had passed, it had only been an hour since she arrived at Mrs. Covington's house. They still had three hours until the girls got out of school. Getting up and joining Elise she turned to Mrs. Covington, "We'll be back," was all she said then led Elise out the front door.
As soon as they were outside, Elise turned to Angela with rage filled eyes, "Why aren't you angry? Why aren't you screaming? My god, Angel, they stole our life from us!" As she ranted, Elise pounded down the steps that led to the beach. Once on the beach Elise reached for every object that she could lift and started throwing them. Every can, every rock, every piece of driftwood was hurtled as far as her arm could throw. When she bent down and picked up an empty beer bottle, Angela reached out and stopped her from smashing it against the rocks. Elise spun around and looked at Angela, "I need to break something, give it back!"
With uncanny calm, Angela said softly, "No, baby, throw any of the rest of this, but not the glass. Angel plays on this beach, doesn't she? I won't let you do something that might harm you or Angel later when you walk on this beach."
Angela's words penetrated Elise's rage and as she realized that even now, Angela was protecting her and her daughter her rage fled and the hurt took it's place. She flung herself into Angela's arms and sobbed until she had no more tears to cry.
Finally, she pulled herself together enough to croak out, "Why are you so calm about all of this? Aren't you angry?"
Angela continued to hold her precious friend and love, caressing her back and stroking her hair as she answered, "Baby, I am angry and I am hurt. But I also understand that, although he was dead wrong, your father did what he did with good intentions."
"But.." interrupted Elsie.
"Please, let me finish," Angela continued, "Yes, your father was wrong. Yes, what he did hurt us for a lot of years, but El, it does neither of us any good to be angry with him, or with my father for that matter. They're both gone and what's done is done."
Angela turned Elise's face up and looked into her eyes, "I know that if you thought you could keep Angel from harm, you would do anything to protect her. I would do the same for Ellie. I would do the same for both our girls. I understand why your father did what he did. I also know that your mother's generation was raised to think that even if you disagree with your husband, you obey him. I can't blame her for doing what she thought was right for her."
Elise shook her head, "I don't know, Angel, they took all those years from us!"
Angela pursed her lips and grinned a half grin then said, "Yeah, but in the end they couldn't keep us apart, could they? The fates brought us back together, Baby, isn't that what is important now?"
Elise was silent for long moments as she contemplated Angela's words. Finally, she looked into the eyes she loved and said, "Yeah, that is what's important. I'm so glad we found one another again, I love you so much, my Angel."
"And I love you, Ellie mine," said Angela as she leaned down and kissed the tear swollen lips. Their kiss turned passionate within moments and tongues dueled as hands roamed through soft hair, over shoulders and backs and lower to cup firm backsides. Finally breaking the kiss, Angela gasped, "This isn't the place or time, baby, we need to slow down."
Elise nodded and worked to get her raging libido under control. She had never desired anyone or anything the way she wanted Angela. The strength of her passion overwhelmed her. She looked up into Angela's eyes, reached up and caressed her strong cheekbones and down along her jaw and whispered, "I want you."
The passion that had been momentarily banked, flared to life in Angela's blue eyes, then she closed her eyes and groaned before saying, "El, I want you so badly I ache to my soul, one kiss from your lips and I'm swollen and wet for you. Don't you think, for even a moment, that this waiting is easy for me." She took Elise's hand and placed it over her heart, "Feel that? My heart feels like it's beating out of my chest because I can't contain the love I feel for you, there are no words to tell you, El, words just cannot convey everything I feel."
Awed by Angela's declaration, Elise answered with one of her own. "Angel, my Angel, I have never intimately touched another person in love. I have never felt passion inside my soul the way I do now, with you. I thought I knew was wanting was all those years ago when we wrote our letters of young love, but that was child's play compared to what I feel for you now." Taking Angela's hand and placing it over her heart, Elise continued, "You own this, Angela. You hold my heart and soul in your hands. There is no one else I would trust with them. When the time is right, I want to give you all of my passion, I will show you how wet and hot and swollen I get from your kisses. I will give you what I've never given another soul?me."
Angela's hand slid from the space over Elise's heart and up to cup her face, "I am the most blessed woman in the universe, I will treasure you and this gift you'll give me for all time." She then leaned down and placed a soft kiss on Elise's lips.
Elise finally rose to her feet and put a hand out to help her tall friend up, "I guess we should go let Mom of the hook, huh?
Angela glanced sideways at Elise and said, "Yeah, she's probably worn a hole in the Berber by now."
A few weeks after the meeting with Elise's mother, Angela phoned Mrs. Covington with a special request. When Mrs. Covington answered the phone, Angela launched into her plea.
"Hello, Mrs. C," said Angela.
"Well, hello Darlin', how's my tall, dark and devastatingly beautiful daughter?" asked Bonnie.
Taken aback by Mrs. Covington's question, Angela paused, "Daughter?"
"Oh come now, Angela, I see how things are between you and Elise. You have always held a special place in my heart and I have no doubt that you will be a part of this family for whatever time is left in this world. Oh, and another thing, I'd be honored if you would consider callin' me Mom, or Mama instead of Mrs. Covin'ton."
Angela cleared her throat of the lump that had formed then said, "Thank you, Mama, it's a privilege I'll cherish. Um, Mama? I was wondering if I could ask a favor of you. I'd like to take Elise out on a date, a real date without the children and I was..."
Before she had a chance to finish her sentence, Bonnie interrupted Angela, "Of course, I'll watch those girls! Why it's been too long since I had my grandbaby to visit and now I'll have two of them to love and spoil rotten!"
Angela groaned as she thought about how true those words were. She had no doubt that the two little girls would be pampered and primped and given whatever they desired when they stayed with Bonnie Covington.
Bonnie's voice broke into Angela's thoughts, "Now, don't you go frettin', Angela, I spoil my grandbaby, but she knows that grandmama's word is law and she is expected to behave when she is in my house. It will be no different for your Ellie." As the light went on in Bonnie's mind she said, "You named your baby after Elise, didn't you, Darlin'?"
"Yes, I did. I couldn't imagine anyone else I would want to name her for. I'd never stopped missing her, Mama." answered Angela.
"Oh, Angel girl, I know. It was same way for Elise when she named little Angel. Even though the circumstances were what they were, Elise still wanted that baby and named her Angel while she was still in the womb." Bonnie confided.
Angela and Bonnie worked out the details for the date Angela had planned that following Friday night then said good-bye to one another.
When that Friday finally arrived, Angela had all of her plans set for a special evening. She and Elise had made plans to take the girls out for dinner and then to the movies. What Elise was unaware of was that Bonnie and Angela had tweaked those plans just a bit. Angela hoped that the evening would work out as she planned and that she and Elise would be finally be able to spend some special time alone together.
After the girls got to their respective homes after school Friday, both mothers supervised their daughter in doing their assigned homework. Then both girls were bathed and dressed for a casual evening out. While Elise was getting herself ready for their night out, only a few miles away Angela was rushing through the house packing an overnight bag for Ellie and then placing an evening outfit of her own it a garment bag for later. She had chosen her custom-tailored black leather suit and a sapphire silk shirt to go beneath it. She checked her make-up kit to ensure that everything she needed was there before she zipped it closed and placed it at the bottom of the garment bag. After checking on Ellie's progress, Angela took her garment bag and Ellie's small overnight bag and placed them in the trunk of her car. Before long the two of them were in their car and on their way to pick up their blonde best friends.
Upon arrival at Elise and Angel's house, the adults exchanged quick kisses, and the little girls gave one another exuberant hugs, even though they had been at school together most of the day!
"You ready to go?" Asked Angela
"Yup, all set" answered Elise.
"Then let's move 'em out, ladies" Said Angela as she held the door open for all of her companions.
When Angela drove past the turn off to Old Town San Diego, which was where they had planned to have dinner that evening, Elise sweetly pointed out that she has missed the exit. "I know, El, but I decided I'm not really in the mood for Mexican food tonight. I should have checked with you first but, do you mind if we go somewhere else?"
"Hey, Mutt, if you don't want Taco, you don't have to have no stinkin' Tacos" answered Elise.
Angela smiled and said, "Gee, thanks Jeff, you're da best!"
"So, where are we going to go, Mom?" asked Ellie from the back seat.
Angela looked in the rear view mirror to see her daughter and replied, "It's a surprise, Sweetie."
The girls tried their hardest to squeeze the surprise out of the tall adult but she was not budging and they finally started guessing on their own.
"Chuck E. Cheeses!"
On and on, they called out guesses but were never rewarded with an affirmative answer. It wasn't until Angela took the La Jolla exit and headed toward the Covington home that Angel finally squealed, "We're going to my Grandmama's!"
Elise turned curious eyes toward Angela, "Are we going to Mom's?"
Angela smirked, "Yes, she said she wanted to meet Ellie so...."
Elise took Angela's hand and placed a kiss on the back, then pressed the hand to her cheek, "I think that's perfect, love. Thank you for the surprise."
Angela was glad she was adept at keeping a stoic face in place because she was bursting inside at how well the plan seemed to be going.
When the foursome reached Bonnie Covington's home they all piled out of the car and headed for the front door. Angel grabbed Ellie's hand and they ran to the front door and rang the doorbell. It only took a moment for the bell to be answered by a beaming Bonnie Covington.
"Well, now who do we have here?" asked the older woman
"Grandmamma, It's me, Angel!"
"Well, so it is, my big Angel girl," then looking at the girl holding Angel's hand, "Angela Janice Covin'ton, I think you should introduce your Grandmamma to this beautiful creature beside you."
In her most adult voice, Angel did as instructed, "Grandmother Covington, I'd like to introduce you to Miss Elise Jacqueline Popodopolis. Ellie, this is my Grandmother, Mrs. Bonnie Covington."
Bonnie extended her hand and shook the dark haired girl's hand, "It is so nice to meet you, Elise, may I call you Ellie?"
"Yes, please, Mrs. Covington, everyone calls me Ellie"
"Good, and I hope you'll call me Grandmamma just as my Angel girl does." Then turning to Angel she said, "Angel I am so proud of you! That was a perfect introduction."
"Now, where are my hugs?" She said as she took Angel in her arms for a big squeeze and a kiss.
"I need a hug from my big girls too" commented Bonnie.
Once hugs were exchanged and everyone was in the living room, Bonnie looked over at Angela and gave her a sly wink. Looking down at the little girls, Bonnie said, "I've ordered dinner from your favorite Chinese place, Angel girl, how would y'all to like to drive with Grandmamma to go pick it up?"
Jumping with excitement the girls readily agreed to go with Grandmamma.
After the girls were buckled into the back seat of Bonnie's Jaguar and they pulled away, Angela took Elise's hands and said, "So this was a good surprise?"
"Gods, yes, Sweetheart, I love it!" smiled Elise.
"Think you could handle a fed more surprises?" asked Angela with a smile.
Elise's eye grew wide, "Why? What?"
Angela squeezed the hands she was holding and said, "Well, I asked your Mom if she'd watch the girls so we could have a real grown up date tonight. I have reservations for 8:00 at The Marine Room, and then I thought we'd just see where the evening leads us. What do you think?
Tears filled Elise's eyes, "I love it, I love you." Then she paused, "WAIT, The Marine Room? I'm not dressed for The Marine Room!" As she looked at her watch she knew she'd never have time to drive home, get dressed and ready and make it back to La Jolla for an 8:00 reservation.
"Honey, Honey" Angela said firmly to stop Elise's panic, "Your Mom took care of everything. She has clothes and shoes here for you, she said you two wear the same shades in makeup so you can use hers. So we have plenty of time."
"I need to go jump in the shower!" exclaimed Elise.
"Didn't you shower before I picked you up? Your hair was still a little damp..." puzzled Angela.
"Of course I did, but that was a kid's date shower, not a 'I'm going out with my lover shower'!" called Elise as she went through her mother's room and into the expansive master bath.
Angela shook her head and laughed, "A kid's date shower? Gods, you are such a girl sometimes!"
While Elise was in taking her "Adult date shower", Angela went out to the car to grab her garment bag and Ellie's overnight bag. While she was closing up the trunk, Bonnie and the girls drove into the garage and got out. With a twinkle in her eye, Bonnie looked at Angela, "So, did she say yes?"
"You could say that," smiled the dark beauty, "She in your room now taking a 'grown up date' shower, whatever that is."
Laughing out loud, Bonnie said, "Darlin' a 'grown up date shower means she's fixin' to come outta there and blow your socks off!"
"Mama, she blows my socks off every time I see her. She doesn't need anything extra. I'd want her if she wore a burlap sack." Angela said.
Bonnie shooed the girls into the house then took Angel by the arm, "Come on, Darlin' I think you need to get ready for your 'adult date' as well."
Bonnie showed Angela to the guest bedroom with its adjoining bath and left her to get ready. She then went to check on the girls and to ask them to please set the table in preparation for their dinner. Once that was done, she went in to her own room and opened the closet to pull out the clothes for her daughter's date. Just as turned from the closet, Elise came out of the bathroom with her head wrapped in a towel. Elise rushed over and gave her mother a huge hug and kiss, thanking her for helping Angela accomplish the wonderful surprise.
"You are entirely welcome, Elise. Now, go do your hair and makeup then we need to get you dressed to go out with your tall dark and drop-dead gorgeous date!" She pushed her daughter back toward the bathroom and said, "Scoot!"
Once Elise had done her makeup to perfection and had her hair fixed, she went back into her mother's room to get dressed. 'In whatever my mother has for me' thought Elise grudgingly. Her mother wasn't' in the bedroom, so Elise called for her. As Bonnie entered the room she had a cross look on her face, "Elise Covin'ton, we do not holler for one another in this house, you know better than that. What kind of example are you settin' for those two girls out there?"
Properly chastised, Elise apologized for her rude manners then asked what she was supposed to wear that evening. First, Bonnie gave Elise a bag containing beautiful matching green silk panties and bra and a pair of hose with garters. At her daughter's raised brow, Bonnie said, "She'll love them, believe me."
"MOTHER! What makes you think she'll see them?"
"Honey, I may be old, but I am not dead and I am not blind. I see the way you two look at each other. Now get those things on and let's finish gettin' you ready."
After Elise had donned the soft under things, Bonnie told her to close her eyes. The look of unease on her daughter's face prompted her to say, "Trust me, Honey, I promise you'll like it."
As Elise closed her eyes she felt her mother slipping a dress carefully over her head. Once the dress was over her head and her arms were through the sleeve holes she felt her mother tugging and smoothing the fabric in place. "All right, my love, take a look"
When Elise opened her eyes she couldn't believe what she saw. The green silk dress fit her perfectly. The Vee of the bodice was low enough to display cleavage without being brash, the fabric criss-crossed over her breasts then the skirt flared out slightly and ended well above her knee, showing off a good bit of her fit thighs. "Mother, this is beautiful," Elise sighed.
"Oh, I just knew it would be perfect on you!" her mother beamed, "When Angela called to ask me to help her tonight I just had to go shoppin' for you.
"Thank you Mama."
After donning the heels her Mother handed her, Elise took one last look in the mirror then decided she was ready. As she walked into the living room, she saw that Angela was standing looking out toward the ocean. "Angel?" she called softly.
Angela turned around and her breath caught in her chest as she saw Elise. "Oh my gods, Ellie, you look stunning."
At the same moment, Elise took in the amazing outfit her date had on and her knees came close to buckling at the desire that burst through her. "You are the most amazingly beautiful creature I've ever seen, Angel mine."
"Wow, Mom, you look pretty!" chirped Angel, Jr. "and you look very handsome, Ms. P!"
"Yeah, you guys are HOT!" Ellie chimed in.
The girl's comments cut the tension and everyone smiled.
Angela looked at Elise, her eyes slowly gazing down the smaller woman's shapely body. When she reached the Amalfi encased feet her eyes made the trip back up the body she desired, when her eyes reached Elise's silk covered breasts, she saw that the nipples had hardened her eyes shot from the luscious breasts to look into desire-filled pools of green.
Clearing her throat, but not taking her eyes away from Elise's face, "I think it's time."
"Absolutely," answered Elise, her voice an octave lower than usual.
Angela blinked her eyes and cleared her throat once again, "Dinner, time for dinner. You ready?"
With a sultry smirk, Elise whispered, "Very."
'Gods, give me strength,' Angela prayed as she showed her date out the door.
As Bonnie Covington watched the exchange between the two women, a smile appeared on her lips. It was good finally see the real light back in her daughter's eyes. Once the adults left for their date, the remaining females started their own "date" night.
As Angela drove the few miles to The Marine Room, Elise looked out the windshield and said softly, "Please tell me the girls are spending the night with Mother."
"They are," answered Angela in the same soft tone.
The restaurant Angela had chosen was quiet and elegant with windows right on the water, so that diners can gaze at the ocean, and if they're lucky, watch the grunion run or the waves beat against the glass. When they arrived at the restaurant, Angela valet parked the car and escorted her beautiful date into the building. They descended the staircase to the main dining floor and were soon seated at one of the window tables. After perusing the menu, the women ordered their dinners. Angela chose the closest thing she could find to steak and potatoes and Elise ordered the Alaskan halibut in a macadamia crust, with tricolor orzo and saffron Sambuca tarragon sauce.
While waiting for the dinners to arrive the women sipped glasses of wine and stared longingly into one another's eyes. Elise smiled after long moment then nodded toward the window at her right side, "What a waste of a beautiful view, you bring me to a wonderful place with a breathtaking view of the ocean but all I want to look at is you."
"Baby, you're more beautiful than any ocean, besides, your eyes are the same color as those waters but they hold so much more, I love you, El," the statement tapered off at a whisper.
Elise blushed at the compliment and wished that she could lean across the table to kiss her heart's desire. Their loving gaze was interrupted when the servers brought their dinners to them. Elaine looked down at the plate that was placed in front of her and smiled. "I always have to force myself to start eating when I'm served food like this. It's so pretty on the place I feel like I'm disturbing a work of art when I go to eat it!"
"I know," agreed Angela, But why do they always put this stuff all over everything? she asked as she picked up the garnish on her plate with a look of disgust.
"It's pretty, Angel, just put it down and eat your steak," said Elise. She secretly loved when her beautiful love got uncomfortable with the frivolities life sometimes threw her way. Angela had always been that way, preferring classic lines and basic colors over flair and dramatics.
As dinner progressed, the women's eyes kept meeting and holding, desire evident in blue and green orbs. When the server came over to ask if they would like to order dessert, soft music started in the dance area of the establishment. They ordered crème' Brule for Elise and the Mixed Berry dessert for Angela, then Angela reached across the table and took Elise's hand, "When we finish dessert, will you dance with me?"
"Yes," answered Elise without pause, "You don't care...?"
"What? That people might be bothered by two women dancing together?" Answered Angela, "No, I don't care. I want to hold you in my arms and dance with you, I doubt anyone will give a damn, though, I mean who could blame me for wanting to dance with the most exquisite woman in the place."
Another blush colored Elise's face, "My Angel, you hold that title. You take my breath away. I'll be proud to dance with you, here or anywhere."
After dinner the women moved into the dimly lit dance area and slid into one another's arms. Angela held one of Elise's hands against her shoulder and slid her other hand around the smaller woman's back. Elise slid her free hand inside Angela's jacket to rest against the silk covered back. The music was soft and slow and soon Elise moved closer to her tall beauty and rested her head against the strong leather covered shoulder. Mmmm, leather smells so good mixed with your natural scent, it does something to me," the blonde murmured.
"Glad to hear it, I like doing 'something' to you," whispered Angela as she placed a soft kiss at the crown of the blonde head.
"Angel, take me home."
Without saying a word, Angela dropped the hand that had been slowly stroking Elise's back but maintained her hold on the hand that she had been holding to her chest and led Elise off the dance floor and up to the parking lot to claim the car. When they were safely buckled into the car, Elise reached over and put her hand on a leather-encased thigh, causing Angela to a sharp intake of breath. Angela covered the hand on her thigh and gave it a squeeze before raising it to place kisses on the back and fingers. "Baby, the things you do to me."
Remembering Angela's earlier comment, Elise replied, "I like doing 'things' to you."
A deep groan came from Angela's throat as she shifted her concentration to her driving. She needed to get them home safe and in once piece so that she could show Elise exactly what kind of 'things' she wanted to do. By mutual consent, the thirty-minute ride to Elise's downtown Victorian was accomplished in anticipatory silence.
Once inside the house, Angela and Elise remained silent as Elise led them up to her room. As they reached the side of Elise's king size bed, Angela turned to sit on the bed and pulled Elise between her knees. She Looked into Elise's eyes and husked, "Kiss me, El."
Elise's lids drew heavy with desire at the tone of Angela's voice. She slid her fingers into Angela's dark tresses and leaned in to kiss her with everything she had. The kiss was fire, power, desire raging out of control and lips moved, tongues slid from one warm mouth into the other and teeth nipped at desire-swollen lips. Elise's hands, which had been wrapped around Elise, began to roam over the small compact body before her. The large hands slip up from Elise's waist until she felt the swell of soft breasts against her palms. Elise whimpered as she felt Angela's hands cupping her breasts, the whimper turned into a moan as thumbs stroked against erect nipples through the fabric of green silk. As Angela continued to gently squeeze Elise's breasts and caress her nipples, she moved her kissed down Elise's neck, to her shoulder and down her sternum. As her lips reached the fabric of Elise's bodice she looked up into emerald eyes, "Off, please, let me take this off of you," she pleaded.
The blonde head nodded and Angela's hands went to the back zipper of the dress and slowly lowered it. Once the zipper was undone, Angela's hands slid over Elise's hips and down the outside of her thighs until she reached the hem of the dress, once there, she took hold of the hem and lifted the dress up and off Elise's body. As the dress was raised, Angela's eyes roamed over the body that was unveiled and her breath caught in her throat. The dress was carelessly dropped to the floor as Angela croaked, "Oh sweet Athena, you are beautiful." Her hands returned to Elise's breasts, caressing them until she felt a physical need to feel the soft peaks against her tongue. She planted soft kisses along the upper swell of the perfect breasts then ran her tongue under the upper edge of the cups. She felt more than heard the moan that came from Elise and she felt Elise's hands leave her hair, she looked up as Elise reached behind herself to unclasp the garment. "Oh gods, El," Angela sighed.
"Please, Angel," Elise pleaded as she cupped her own breast and held it, offering the taut peak to Angel's lips. Angela swallowed, and then quickly divested herself of her leather jacket before wrapping her arms around Elise's waist to pull the offering to her waiting lips. As she devoured the warm breasts with her lips and teeth, her hands roamed over the rest of Elise's body, cupping the firm buttocks, sliding down tight thighs to encounter the top of silk stockings covering the shapely legs.
Elise's hands were busy at the buttons of Angela's shirt; her hands were shaking so much she could barely get the buttons undone. When the blouse was finally open, Elise pushed it down and off of the luscious woman in front of her. "Baby, you are way over-dressed," breathed Elise as she tugged on the waist of Angela's leather pants.
"Oh, yeah, gods, come here," panted Angela as she passionately kissed Elise's soft mouth again. "Want to help me with these?" she asked with a sexy smile.
"Mmmm hmmmm, stand up, sexy," Elise said after she'd pulled the boots off of Angel's feet.
Angela stood on unsteady feet and watched as Elise's hands unbuttoned and unzipped her pants and slid the leather down her legs. She watched as green eyes studied her body, the look in those eyes caused a rush of moisture between her legs. When the eyes stopped at the level of her breasts, Angela held her breath until she felt the small hands reach up to cup and caress the sensitive mounds. A finger hooked into the front of Angela's bra, "Off," demanded Elise.
With a smirk, Angela reached back to unhook her bra, then allowed Elise to slide the straps down her shoulders and off her arms. She watched as Elise sent the garment flying across the room but didn't see where is landed since her eyes closed as she felt a moist hot mouth close over her right nipple. She wrapped her fingers in soft blonde tresses and pressed Elise's face tight into her chest moaning with pleasure. Soon, she felt Elise's teeth gently grazing the erect nipple, she sucked in a breath at the pleasure, "Yes, El, baby, you can bite harder," she stated.
Elise backed away from the breast she had been feasting on and pushed the tall brunette back onto the bed. Once Angela was on the bed, Elise stretched out beside her then reached out to capture Angela's nipple once more. As her mouth sucked, nipped and bit one aching nipple, her fingers were working on the other neglected bud. Angela's hands held tight to the woman loving her, encouraging Elise's loving exploration of her body. Once Elise had thoroughly loved each breast with mouth and hands, she began to kiss down Angela's abdomen until she reached her navel. She swirled her tongue around and into the small cavity and looked up into Angela's eyes. Angela looked down at the blond head resting on her belly, at the questioning look in the green eyes; she raised her own dark brow.
Elise cleared her throat, "I've read books and on-line stories, but I've never," Angela reached down and gently stroked Elise's face, encouraging her to finish, "Every story I've read, I've imagined myself loving you, I want to feel you against my tongue, I want you to be the only woman I'll ever taste."
Tears filled Angela's eyes, "El, come here," she pulled on the blondes arm to bring her up so that she could hold her against her body. Kissing Elise thoroughly, she finally said, "I want that too. I want to feel your mouth and hands on me. I want to be the first and only woman you taste." after kissing Elise again she looked back into her eyes, "And I want you to be the first woman I touch, taste, fill. I've never been with anyone other than Miklos, El, and he never held my heart and soul as you do, he only had my friendship and my body. I love you, Elise Melinda Covington."
"I love you, Angela Xena Popodopolis."